Oudeis

The Power of Awakening

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Something Moogle said in another thread got me thinking. It's always bothered me that Awakening doesn't actually use up any Breaths. The idea that color is somehow fuel is... odd, to me, and I don't really buy that, either.

 

But we have two other examples, and I hereby propose a hypothesis that Endowment directly powers Awakened Objects.

 

In allomancy, the power doesn't come from the metal; the metal is simply a channel you use to get at Preservation's own power. Likewise, in AonDor, you draw a picture, and the simple power of the Dor flows into you.

 

Given these examples, I propose that since Awakening is clearly end-positive, it operates on a similar principle. I think the Breath is this time a catalyst, that it mainly provides a channel for the power of Endowment to flow into the object, make it move.

 

Likewise, this explains why the Heightenings don't seem to draw power from anywhere, or to use up Breaths. By possessing the Breaths yourself, the direct power of Endowment grants you additional abilities.

 

Hrm... but what of the Returned, who consume Breaths? Why isn't the power of Endowment enough to keep them going? Why does their catalyst get used up? Nightblood exhibits a similar phenomenon. Are the two related? The answer seems obvious; I'm always wary of 'obvious' answers.

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since Awakening is clearly end-positive

 

Q [30:33]: Is Awakening and BioChroma an end-neutral system?

A: Yes. You don't lose Breath in the process of Awakening.

 

(source)

Edited by WeiryWriter
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Hrm. While I of course don't dispute the WoB, I have to admit, it perplexes me. You get something out of it without putting anything like the same thing in. Losing a few scraps of color hardly seems equal to the amount of energy you can get out of an Awakening. It's like saying the metal lost is equal to the power achieved by allomancy. We obviously know that it's end-neutral, but it doesn't look end-neutral. Where, then, does the power come from, if not Endowment?

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This all feels oddly familiar...

 

If you'd really like to go at it again, you never did reply to my last post on the topic. ;) (though that might have just been because of how hard we were derailing the topic...)

-To summarize, I'd say that the energy comes from the Breath itself, namely that it's just in the same "water through a turbine but nothing is lost" (paraphrase)

 

MISTBORN SPOILERS

Edited by Kurkistan
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Mistborn:

 

But that's exactly what I was suggesting. However, Preservation's addition of energy to the scenario makes it end-positive. WoB says this is end-neutral, implying that Endowment is not actually adding anything.

 

In your example, gravity pulling water down provides the energy that runs the turbine. Are we suggesting then that Breath is simply an incredibly sophisticated bit of Investiture that drawn ambient energy from a different realm, like the spiritual equivalent of a windmill? Nothing in nature produces energy out of nothing. No Investiture that we've seen, barring direct Shardic involvement, creates energy out of nothing. Where does the neutrality of Awakening come from? What is being lost at another time or place in order to power Awakening as it happens?

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You're rather misreading the example, I think. Brandon likens the power itself to water. The water moves around and causes something to happen, but is not lost. The power flows and creates magical effects, but is not lost. There is no need to draw energy from elsewhere, then, and so in no way am I suggesting that the energy is pulled from elsewhere.

 

There's no need for Endowment to add the energy to the process (at least not directly: everyone gets their first Breath from somewhere) if it's already there, then: if the Breaths themselves are already this "water" that can non-entropically cause magical effects.

Edited by Kurkistan
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Copying my thoughts from the other thread, since they're much more reelevant here:

 

As a possible explanation for why Breath powers itself when used to Awaken things: by getting a Breath, it becomes 'yours', and you become a mini-Shard - Preservation doesn't lose power when he fuels Allomancy because it returns to him, and so perhaps your own Breath returns to you as it is passively used up. Endowment would have permanently given up a claim to it in that case. This is supported by the WoB where each Breath incorporates the idea of being endowed by Endowment (thanks again for that one Kurk, I use that WoB everywhere).

 

The color aura of each person, then, is much like the Light leaking from a person's skin, and the mist leaking from someone who took in the Mists. The difference is where the Investiture returns when used up - Stormlight returns to the highstorm, since it doesn't belong to you, but Breath returns to you, as it was formally bequeathed to you ("My Breath to yours").

 

Of course, this theory fails miserably because the Breaths eaten by a Returned seem to be returned to Endowment. But perhaps that can be dealt with.

 

Anyone know if Nightblood actually stores the Breaths/souls he eats? It seems to leak from him whenever he's drawn - if he were kept unsheathed, would he eventually stop smoking?

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@Moogle

 

I'm feeling a sense of deja vu and feel as if we may have even discussed this before...

 

To what degree do you consider this deep "ownership" to be necessary? Because I would hardly say that the Breath you put in a rope belongs to that rope as deeply as it belongs to you—since you can retrieve it—but it's still quite clearly doing some power-demanding stuff. It would seem both clumsy and unfeasible for the Breath's power to have to be "recycled" through the Awakener, I think, so that draws us to the conclusion that stuff/people can be endowed with self-replenishing Investiture sources at least somewhat casually.

 

Regarding the aura, I would like to clarify that: we are both operating under the understanding that there is no independently-visible "aura" around Awakeners, right? It manifests as an effect on the colors of nearby objects, nto just as a shimmery wave of colorfulness around the Awakener's body.

 

P.S. Yeah, I have a complicated relationship with that WoB. ;) On the one hand it's really cool/unique on its own, and gives us a nice insight into something we hadn't really known about before (though, on reflection, we probably could have extrapolated something like it from the Intent-warping effects of full Shards), but also dented my ego because Divine Healing had historically been one of my canonical examples of Forms. The scales are very nearly balanced between the value of novel knowledge and my ego, then. :P

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@Moogle

I'm feeling a sense of deja vu and feel as if we may have even discussed this before...

It may have come up with discussions over metalmind ownership, but I don't think I've expressed things in quite this way.

 

To what degree do you consider this deep "ownership" to be necessary? Because I would hardly say that the Breath you put in a rope belongs to that rope as deeply as it belongs to you—since you can retrieve it—but it's still quite clearly doing some power-demanding stuff. It would seem both clumsy and unfeasible for the Breath's power to have to be "recycled" through the Awakener, I think, so that draws us to the conclusion that stuff/people can be endowed with self-replenishing Investiture sources at least somewhat casually.

I would say that you endow the rope with "ownership" of the Breath, even if you yourself retain some link to it so you can retrieve it. The Breath is then continuously used up to power the Awakening and returns to the rope. The idea of endowment is evoked very strongly by Awakening.

Self-replenishing Investiture sources definitely don't seem easy to do. Awakening is one of a kind in this regard. The property, I would guess is based entirely on the Intent of Endowment. The idea of Endowment is to endow something - in this case, Investiture, and somewhat permanently. The very Intent evokes a sense of self-sacrifice. Most every other kind of Investiture uses itself up and returns to its source (Hemalurgy being an exception, I suppose).

Regarding the aura, I would like to clarify that: we are both operating under the understanding that there is no independently-visible "aura" around Awakeners, right? It manifests as an effect on the colors of nearby objects, nto just as a shimmery wave of colorfulness around the Awakener's body.

My model of the aura has shifted over time. I agree that things are as you say, in that colors of nearby objects are affected. However, I would guess very strongly at this point that this the result of Breath passively being ejected from the Awakener. Look at Stormlight: it leaks from the skin. The mists leaked from Vin's skin. The Dor leaks from Elantrians. Breath, another gaseous thing, should also leak - though this may not be the case due to the permanance of the Breath. Breath in this case doesn't visibly warp the air, however, but I'm guessing it reacts with objects it comes into contact with and causes their color to brighten for a moment.

To explain why Awakened objects do not have the same color aura, I have two factors:

  • Objects act like gemstones, in that they are much less porous than the human body for holding Investiture, so there's less leakage.
  • Most of the Investiture's power is devoted to Awakening the object and is constantly being used up, which means there's less available to leak.

Note that Awakeners with enough Heightenings can detect Invested objects. I'd speculate that this may be because their color perception grows strong enough to see the minute leakage of Breath from the object, though it could easily be due to shenanigans with the Spiritual Realm I suppose. (We have so little evidence to work on, it gets a bit frustrating. But then, if we had any evidence, the answers would be obvious, I suppose.)

Another point: objects with enough Investiture do gain color auras. Nightblood is the prime example... and frankly, the only example, since not much else is Invested with a thousand Breaths. This also parallels Surgebinding, where Lashing an object causes it to glow visibly and leak Stormlight.

 

(In the process of writing this, I just realized that Awakening is probably my favorite system for the moment. There's just so many nice things going on with it, and Nalthis is one of the rare Shardworlds without a malevolent Shard screwing up everything. Yay Endowment!)

Edited by Moogle
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Color me persuaded, I suppose.

 

P.S. I also find Awakening to be quite the fascinating subject; so many Realmatic goodies if you dig deep enough. :)

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My model of the aura has shifted over time. I agree that things are as you say, in that colors of nearby objects are affected. However, I would guess very strongly at this point that this the result of Breath passively being ejected from the Awakener. Look at Stormlight: it leaks from the skin. The mists leaked from Vin's skin. The Dor leaks from Elantrians. Breath, another gaseous thing, should also leak - though this may not be the case due to the permanance of the Breath. Breath in this case doesn't visibly warp the air, however, but I'm guessing it reacts with objects it comes into contact with and causes their color to brighten for a moment.

 

So are you suggesting that there is a constant flow of Breath through every individual born on Nalthis, and that when giving up your Breath you are instead just rewriting your personal stream to flow into someone else? Perhaps I am misunderstanding your use of the term "leaks." In all the examples given, the leaked investiture never returns to the holder (not directly, anyways). Stormlight, once leaked, is gone until you intake more. The Dor, as I've come to understand it, is a vast amount of investiture that is waiting to be released, and so it leaks from the Elantrians (and like all investiture ends up returning to the "pool" it originated from). I understood the mists to act similarly (both being gaseous investiture). Unlike these, though, Breath persists. An individual who has attained the third heightening will maintain that heightening all their life so long as they don't give up or lose their Breath (unless I've missed something?).

 

Does my post even make sense?

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I think the reason awakening is end neutral because investiture is not the same as the E=MC2 energy. Investiture can create energy, the proof of this is that an iron ferring can just create infinite energy since tapping will not slow someone down. Investiture is the thing that can't be created or destroyed (probably). Positive systems the power goes shard->spiritweb->shard, neutral is spiritweb->spiritweb, negative is spiritweb->shard.

http://www.17thshard.com/forum/topic/17573-similarities-between-worlds/?p=189182 this is good explanation of what colour does.

Edited by Fallen Rope
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So are you suggesting that there is a constant flow of Breath through every individual born on Nalthis, and that when giving up your Breath you are instead just rewriting your personal stream to flow into someone else? Perhaps I am misunderstanding your use of the term "leaks." In all the examples given, the leaked investiture never returns to the holder (not directly, anyways). Stormlight, once leaked, is gone until you intake more. The Dor, as I've come to understand it, is a vast amount of investiture that is waiting to be released, and so it leaks from the Elantrians (and like all investiture ends up returning to the "pool" it originated from). I understood the mists to act similarly (both being gaseous investiture). Unlike these, though, Breath persists. An individual who has attained the third heightening will maintain that heightening all their life so long as they don't give up or lose their Breath (unless I've missed something?).

 

Does my post even make sense?

 

You've misinterpreted me slightly. My fault for not being clear enough (I tend to ramble and over-write so as to make sure my point gets across, which ironically enough hurts clarity). .

 

What I am suggesting is that the human body can be Invested, but it is a poor container in general. Stormlight, for example, "leaks" out of your skin, escaping into the air, and returning to the highstorm. This happens with Allomancy, too - you take some of Preservation's Investiture temporarily when you burn a metal, but we have a WoB explaining that once you use it, Preservation's Investiture returns to the Shard.

 

I am expanding this to Awakening and Breath, even though it might not seem like you "leak" Breath like you might Stormlight. My theory is that Breath leaks from you exactly like Stormlight (causing the color aura effect), but that Breath is yours, it belongs to you and not Endowment, so when the Breath leaks out of your body, it eventually returns to you rather than Endowment. This gives the illusion that your Breath doesn't run out, even though it just replenishes itself as it leaks from you. So yes, you've sort of got a "stream", but that's not quite what I'm trying to convey. When you give your Breath to someone else, you're still passing them Breath and more importantly you're telling the Breath that it now belongs to whoever you've given it to, so leaked Breath will return to them.

 

So Breath is unique in that. Most other Investitures just return to the Shard or highstorm or whathaveyou. I propose this is because of the Intent of Endowment, as he's/she's literally given away her Breath, and endowed it upon you. It's not Endowment's anymore, its yours. This is different than most every other system - for example, when you take in Stormlight, it's not yours, it's the Stormfather's.

 

If I'm still not expressing myself clearly, let me know.

Edited by Moogle
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You've misinterpreted me slightly. My fault for not being clear enough (I tend to ramble and over-write so as to make sure my point gets across, which ironically enough hurts clarity). .

 

What I am suggesting is that the human body can be Invested, but it is a poor container in general. Stormlight, for example, "leaks" out of your skin, escaping into the air, and returning to the highstorm. This happens with Allomancy, too - you take some of Preservation's Investiture temporarily when you burn a metal, but we have a WoB explaining that once you use it, Preservation's Investiture returns to the Shard.

 

I am expanding this to Awakening and Breath, even though it might not seem like you "leak" Breath like you might Stormlight. My theory is that Breath leaks from you exactly like Stormlight (causing the color aura effect), but that Breath is yours, it belongs to you and not Endowment, so when the Breath leaks out of your body, it eventually returns to you rather than Endowment). This gives the illusion that your Breath doesn't run out - it just replenishes itself, even as it leaks from you. So Breath is unique in that - most other Investitures just return to the Shard or highstorm or whathaveyou. I propose this is because of the Intent of Endowment - he's/she's literally given away her Breath, and endowed it upon you. It's not Endowment's anymore, its yours.

 

If I'm still not expressing myself clearly, let me know.

 

That clears it up. Thanks. It's a nice theory, but the retaining of Breath could also be a result of the Breath being an innate investiture, unlike all the other investitures we have thus far seen. I like the concept of Endowment, well, endowing Nalthians with the investiture, but I wonder if that is not just a result of the Breath being innate.

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You've misinterpreted me slightly. My fault for not being clear enough (I tend to ramble and over-write so as to make sure my point gets across, which ironically enough hurts clarity). .

 

What I am suggesting is that the human body can be Invested, but it is a poor container in general. Stormlight, for example, "leaks" out of your skin, escaping into the air, and returning to the highstorm. This happens with Allomancy, too - you take some of Preservation's Investiture temporarily when you burn a metal, but we have a WoB explaining that once you use it, Preservation's Investiture returns to the Shard.

 

I am expanding this to Awakening and Breath, even though it might not seem like you "leak" Breath like you might Stormlight. My theory is that Breath leaks from you exactly like Stormlight (causing the color aura effect), but that Breath is yours, it belongs to you and not Endowment, so when the Breath leaks out of your body, it eventually returns to you rather than Endowment). This gives the illusion that your Breath doesn't run out - it just replenishes itself, even as it leaks from you.

 

If I'm still not expressing myself clearly, let me know.

In case I understand you correct and you think that Breath doesn´t actually stick to a person but cycles, how would you fit the lack of capability to retrive Breath from corpses and objects like Nightblood? The sentience in the objects might play into this, forcing the Breath to become theirs but that would kind of contradict the self-sacrifice angle you braught up before. After all the creation of Lifeless is mostly for selfish reasons.

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That clears it up. Thanks. It's a nice theory, but the retaining of Breath could also be a result of the Breath being an innate investiture, unlike all the other investitures we have thus far seen. I like the concept of Endowment, well, endowing Nalthians with the investiture, but I wonder if that is not just a result of the Breath being innate.

 

I'd say that the Breath is innate because it was endowed upon you. Remember, Preservation gave up his own power, and this was a permanent power hit, to give humans on Scadrial life. I suppose I should correct my theory, since I didn't make that connection until now: the Intent of Endowment doesn't make Endowment unique in that he/she can endow their power on humans (giving them ownership of a chunk of Investiture), but rather the Intent of Endowment is unique in that it allows you to endow others with what you have. I suppose every human on Scadrial has their innate Investiture leaking and returning too, then? I'll have to think on that one.

 

In case I understand you correct and you think that Breath doesn´t actually stick to a person but cycles, how would you fit the lack of capability to retrive Breath from corpses and objects like Nightblood? The sentience in the objects might play into this, forcing the Breath to become theirs but that would kind of contradict the self-sacrifice angle you braught up before. After all the creation of Lifeless is mostly for selfish reasons.

 

Lifeless are actually sorta-sapient/sentient, horrifyingly enough. They're not just puppets. When you give a Breath to a Lifeless, it's like giving a Breath to a person. Vasher couldn't take back the Breaths he gave to Denth, so you can't take back Breaths you give to a Lifeless. WoBs:

The reason that you can't draw the Breath back from a Lifeless is because the Breath clings to it. If the Lifeless were sentient enough, it could give up its own Breath, but you can't take it, just like you can't take a Breath from a person by force. You have to get them to give it up willingly. So it sticks to the Lifeless. A Lifeless is, let's say, 90% of a sentient being. The Breath doesn't manifest in them, because they aren't alive, yet they're almost there. A stone statue brought to life would be way down on the bottom rung.

(source)

 

Lightsong Sees the Lifeless and Takes Command of Them

They keep them in the dark. This is a bad idea. They don’t realize it, but the Lifeless are far more aware than everyone assumes.

(from the Annotations)

 

I'm not sure if Nightblood's Breaths can be retrieved or not. I suspect they could not, since he serves sort of like a black hole for Investiture. Getting any out of him would be odd.

Edited by Moogle
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I'd say that the Breath is innate because it was endowed upon you. Remember, Preservation gave up his own power, and this was a permanent power hit, to give humans on Scadrial life. I suppose I should correct my theory, since I didn't make that connection until now: the Intent of Endowment doesn't make Endowment unique in that he/she can endow their power on humans, but rather the Intent of Endowment is unique in that it allows you to endow what you have to others. I suppose every human on Scadrial has their innate Investiture leaking and returning too, then? I'll have to think on that one.

 

This "power" of Endowment, if you will, then manifests in the magic system itself. I like this theory. Kudos to you Moogle!

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Lifeless are actually sorta-sapient/sentient, horrifyingly enough. They're not just puppets. When you give a Breath to a Lifeless, it's like giving a Breath to a person. Vasher couldn't take back the Breaths he gave to Denth, so you can't take back Breaths you give to a lifeless.

WoBs:

 

 

I'm not sure if Nightblood's Breaths can be retrieved or not. I suspect they could not, since he serves sort of like a black hole for Investiture. Getting any out of him would be odd.

Let me rephrase my question. At which point is the destinction made between reclaimable and not reclaimable, to what degree and how does intend act into this. I can see why giving something with sentience would make a difference, I braught this up myself but if we compare the command for a lifeless

 

“Awaken to my Breath, serve my needs, live at my Command and at my word. <Security phrase>.”

  with the basic command to give Breath to another person

 

"My life to yours, my Breath become yours."

it´s noticalbe that only the second one adresses the transfere of ownership, while the first one is very much centered around the Awakener.

 

Going from the commands and the lifeless having to obey, one could argue that the Breath is still owned by the Awakener, yet for your theory to work the Breath needs to be synced with the lifeless, which could work. Maybe the Breath get´s twisted somehow. I just find the implications interesting. Apart from that I can say that I like this model very much.

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Let me rephrase my question. At which point is the destinction made between reclaimable and not reclaimable, to what degree and how does intend act into this. I can see why giving something with sentience would make a difference, I braught this up myself but if we compare the command for a lifeless

  with the basic command to give Breath to another person

it´s noticalbe that only the second one adresses the transfere of ownership, while the first one is very much centered around the Awakener.

 

I don't think the exact phrasing matters a whole lot here. I believe that the Lifeless gains ownership of the Breath, even if it has a Command attached to it. I also believe items you Awaken are granted ownership in the sense that the consumed Investiture/leaked Investiture will return to the object, even if there's a link to you that allows you to take the Breath back at some point. Brandon's clear that if the Lifeless was more sentient, they could give the Breath away if they wanted.

 


 

A major problem with this theory comes in the form of Returned. Returned consume Breath and use it up, but it doesn't return to them - it goes poof and heads off to somewhere else. The theory doesn't predict why this should be the case. It may be like Nightblood, in that they "corrupt" the Breath they feed on and radiate it. Which begs the question: where does the Breath that radiates from Nightblood when he's unsheathed go? Back to Endowment? Why?

 

Also, this theory would predict that Surgebinding using Breaths as a power source could create 'permanent' Lashings and the like, or perhaps you'd regenerate the Breath over time. This is also a major point against it, but perhaps it is the case.

Edited by Moogle
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A major problem with this theory comes in the form of Returned. Returned consume Breath and use it up, but it doesn't return to them - it goes poof and heads off to somewhere else. The theory doesn't predict why this should be the case. It may be like Nightblood, in that they "corrupt" the Breath they feed on and radiate it. Which begs the question: where does the Breath that radiates from Nightblood when he's unsheathed go? Back to Endowment? Why?

 

Ooh, I'll need to remember that horizontal-rule bbcode...

 

Ahem.

 

The way I myself have modeled it, historically, is something of a "captial vs. interest" model. To adopt some of your terminology for the example, X amount of innate/owned Investiture in my model would have Y% of "free" energy that Awakening utilizes: As an example (with arbitrary numbers), if a Breath has 10 "units" of power then you can "reusuably" use 10% of it, for 1 unit/second without diminishing it. But If you want more than 1 unit/second, then you're going to need to stop living off the interest and dip into the capital; in so doing fundamentally reducing the amount of energy that you'll get going forward. Use 2 units for a second and now your capital is only 9 and your interest is 0.9; then...

 

So in this case, if we're to adopt Moogle's model, then people can only really access a certain amount of the power of each Breath without triggering the "disperse and go back to Endowment" process for at least some of its "base" Investiture.

 

--

 

One thing to note with Returned is exactly how their feeding cycle works: They grow weaker as time passes after "eating", then consume a single Breath each week to go back up to full strength. If they don't have a spare one, then they immediately die upon trying to eat their Divine Breath. This seems to indicate both a suddenness and a gradualness to the Breath-eating process.

 

Perhaps Divine Breath is just very finicky and reacts poorly when you try siphon off any of it?

 

In contrast to this, we get no indication that any of the "high Breath Returned" (Vasher, Susebron, Denth) follow this strength->weakness->strength cycle. This isn't definitive, but suggests a continual process of gradually transitioning to feeding primarily on a new Breath as the week goes on, rather than suddenly as with the one-and-done Returned.

Edited by Kurkistan
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The way I myself have modeled it, historically, is something of a "captial vs. interest" model. To adopt some of your terminology for the example, X amount of innate/owned Investiture in my model would have Y% of "free" energy that Awakening utilizes: As an example (with arbitrary numbers), if a Breath has 10 "units" of power then you can "reusuably" use 10% of it, for 1 unit/second without diminishing it. But If you want more than 1 unit/second, then you're going to need to stop living off the interest and dip into the capital; in so doing fundamentally reducing the amount of energy that you'll get going forward. Use 2 units for a second and now your capital is only 9 and your interest is 0.9; then...

 

I was thinking on this, but I wasn't satisfied. If Investiture is yours, why would using it more strongly erase whatever tag says 'I belong to X'?

 

But then, I distinctly recall agreeing with the dividend/interest model you put forward. I may have even come to it independently at one point. To quote myself:

Well, Investiture seems to be a constant, unending power source, at least for Shards.

To make an analogy ... with money, imagine if you put 1000 dollars in a bank account and let it gain interest. You can use that interest ($10 a year or whatever) in order to buy something cheap, but keep buying it over and over forever. This would be like animating a human body (which doesn't seem too high power; we humans only use something like 600W, right?). This is Breath.

 

Or, you could splurge and spend all $1000 on one thing and buy something really nice. Like, say, flinging a chunk of wall up in the sky. This is Stormlight, and it only lasts a short period of time, but is capable of higher power feats than Breath.

 

I'm not quite so sure I agree with this anymore.

 

However, going forward with it, I think the concept of escape velocity may apply to Investiture.

 

Theory: Imagine when you use Investiture, it disperses. If it doesn't disperse very strongly (say, it's just leaking slowly from you like maybe in the case of Breath), it's trapped in your "orbit". You have a sort of Spiritual gravity, such that Investiture that belongs strongly to you will be attracted back, even as you push it away temporarily by using its power.

 

However, if you give the Investiture too big of a kick, it'll escape your orbit. If you go fast enough, you can break free of Earth's gravity and you won't ever fall back to it. Similarly, using Investiture too strongly kicks it out past where it'll return to you - instead, it is attracted to other Spiritual gravity sources... the most obvious, of course, being Shards themselves. So, Endowment picks up any Breath a Returned consumes, because spontaneously using it all up to sustain themselves (why is that so discrete? Why do they not, like, eat just part of the Breath?) kicks it away so far they can't re-attract it.

 

In practice, this looks almost exactly like the interest/capital/dividend/insert financial term here model.

 

Edit: And this can be extended to Surgebinding and gems. Surgebinders have very very small "Spiritual gravity" (relative to Awakeners, anyways), except when they temporarily breathe in. This causes nearby Stormlight to rush into them. (This might mean that the analogy should use pressure rather than gravity, but pressure doesn't work as nicely.)

 

During a highstorm, the Investiture-filled storm is flinging out massive amounts of Investiture, some of which intersects with gemstones, which have a very very small Spiritual gravity, or Surgebinders, who also have a small amount of it. The Investiture begins orbiting the gemstones, but it's an unstable orbit such that the Investiture slowly escapes the gemstones over time.

 


 

Just to devote a section to Breath feeding mechanics: they are weird. The way they sort of lose the Breath almost reminds me of how Breath supposedly unsticks from Awakened objects if you leave the Breath there long enough. I don't think that's the same thing at all though.

 

And it bears repeating: what is up with the inability to partially eat a Breath? Why is it all or nothing? (Is it all or nothing? Sure seems that way to me.)

 

I'll need to think more on this.

Edited by Moogle
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So far as Breath feeding mechanics goes, it really does seem that the Breath sticks around for a while, at least in some form. Otherwise we wouldn't get the observed decline in strength. So that does suggest that the Breath is partially eaten...

 

Perhaps the act of eating any of the Breath irrevocably alters it—maybe "tying" it even more closely to you, or changing its form to that of raw energy rather than the more modular Breath we know and love—but doesn't destroy it outright? Because there has to be something there keeping Returned alive during that week, and that something declines over time until you get another Breath to eat.

-But then that doesn't explain why Vasher doesn't, say, lose 2 Breath at a time if we're to posit that he doesn't suffer from periodic weakness... ergh.

 

--

 

EDIT: Also, to be fair, I likely beat you (and everyone else) over the head with my interest/capital model at least half a dozen times before Jan. 2014, so you can't blame yourself if you started subliminally adopting it. ;)

Edited by Kurkistan
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So far as Breath feeding mechanics goes, it really does seem that the Breath sticks around for a while, at least in some form. Otherwise we wouldn't get the observed decline in strength. So that does suggest that the Breath is partially eaten...

 

The problem with this is that Returned get a week to live when they just have their Divine Breath. Their color aura isn't noticeably harmed (else we'd expect variance in Returned auras such that some aren't at the Fifth Heightening) as if they were partially eating their Divine Breath in that time. So, where does the energy come from to sustain them during that week?

Edited by Moogle
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I think we may have a divide here in how we understand the process working.

 

By my understanding, it goes like this.

 

  1. Returned eats a kid's soul. The Breath is functionally gone, and now the Returned is just walking around with 1 Divine Breath and that's it.
  2. Over the course of a week, he grows gradually weaker.
    • If he does not get another Breath at the end of the week, he consume his own Breath and dies.
    • If he does get another Breath at the end of the week, he immediately consumes it and we start at 1 again.

So the Returned here is never really "holding" the Breath as such for more than a moment, and he can't use it to Awaken or anything. The cost is paid upfront, and this cost is what pays for their next week of life.

 

I'd like to emphasize my "at least in some form", then. As you agree, something needs to be sustaining our Returned throughout the week. A possibility, then, is that the Breath is "converted" into some kind of Spiritual battery or the like, or perhaps "locked for editing" while they eat it, or some other mechanism. Something that allows it to continue existing while still not being discernible from the outside.

 

--

 

Are you suggesting, though, that during the course of a normal week a Returned is in fact holding 2 Breaths—1 Divine and one Soul of a Forsaken child—and gradually consuming the non-Divine one? The distinction is subtle, but if you're right than the Returned could theoretically use that 1 Breath to Awaken or the like and so immediately die from "switching to backup battery", as it were, and eating their Splinters.

 

EDIT:

 

Hmm... Maybe Vasher & Co. can avoid the weakness by supplementing waning eaten-Breath power with the normal "dividend" produced by other Breaths? If so, we'll need to establish a reason why a Returned couldn't simply get away with having some arbitrarily large number of Breaths and never needing to actually "eat" any of them as he lives off the interest. Perhaps, if this is indeed how it works, the weekly eating of the Breath is simply hard-coded into Returned, whether or nor it's necessary/beneficial?

 

Though it's speculative to say so, I doubt that Returned are about to just keel over dead from weakness in the moments before they consume their own Divine Breath: if so, then that provides evidence that the weekly Breath-eating is at least somewhat unconnected to their actual need for energy.

Edited by Kurkistan
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An idea about what the extra breath actually does, maybe 5000 breath's of power can't stably exist as one breath. The power of weekly breath is to stabilise the breath. Similar to in feruchemy, drawing more then the natural power level from a metalmind means that some power is lost, having a breath larger than the natural level causes power to be lost.

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