king of nowhere

nalthians, drabs, and other humans

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nalthians are born with one breath and consider it the normal status. a drab, someone who lost their breath, to them is more grumpy, less lively, more likely to fall to disease. However, the difference is not that big, and people can live normally without breath.

Humans outside of nalthis are born without breath. are they like drabs for nalthian standards? Of course they would never consider themselves less lively or healty; in their worlds no one has breath, so being like that is the normal way of being. Thgey would never notice one way or the other. only the nalthians can make the comparison.

So, are humans on nalthis blessed for their breath? do they have something more than humans elsewhere because of their single breath? or they are like humans elsewhere with their breath, and if they lose it they would be seen as different even in other planets? do inhabitants of other planets receive something that equals the benefit of having one breath?

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I think that Nalthians are just at a normal level when they have a Breath, and that the magic system simply enables them to give up some part of their natural Spiritual energy.

Note that among the other consequences of being a Drab is that you have no "life sense" and people cannot sense you in turn. Brandon has said that he took this from the real-life belief that people can tell when they're being watched, when someone else is in the room, etc. Presumably a Rosharian would also have the normal, "1-Breath" level of this ability, as a normal human would, rather than not having a life sense at all.

EDIT:

Also, just thematically, I doubt that Brandon would want the peoples of one of the worlds to be fundamentally different--fundamentally more capable, really--than those of any of the others. In the end, he is telling human stories, and so wouldn't want to make the entirety of one of his books about super-human (in terms of disposition, drive, etc. at least :P) characters, or to elevate Nalthians to essentially being a race of Ubermensch as compared to the rest of the Cosmere.

Edited by Kurkistan
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I think that Nalthians are just at a normal level when they have a Breath, and that the magic system simply enables them to give up some part of their natural Spiritual energy.

Note that among the other consequences of being a Drab is that you have no "life sense" and people cannot sense you in turn. Brandon has said that he took this from the real-life belief that people can tell when they're being watched, when someone else is in the room, etc. Presumably a Rosharian would also have the normal, "1-Breath" level of this ability, as a normal human would, rather than not having a life sense at all.

EDIT:

Also, just thematically, I doubt that Brandon would want the peoples of one of the worlds to be fundamentally different--fundamentally more capable, really--than those of any of the others. In the end, he is telling human stories, and so wouldn't want to make the entirety of one of his books about super-human (in terms of disposition, drive, etc. at least :P) characters, or to elevate Nalthians to essentially being a race of Ubermensch as compared to the rest of the Cosmere.

I don't know. Drabs aren't really all that different from other people, that's mostly Idris superstition. There are slight differences, but they're barely noticeable. I think it would actually make sense that the rest of the cosmere are drabs, and the Nalthians are blessed by Endowment.

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I don't know. Drabs aren't really all that different from other people, that's mostly Idris superstition. There are slight differences, but they're barely noticeable. I think it would actually make sense that the rest of the cosmere are drabs, and the Nalthians are blessed by Endowment.

And what about a Drab's complete lack of a life sense?

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So other magic users aren't super-human? Essentially everyone on Nalthis is given very low-level magic so I don't see making them slightly super-human a problem.

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So other magic users aren't super-human? Essentially everyone on Nalthis is given very low-level magic so I don't see making them slightly super-human a problem.

First of all, every other Cosmerian's (?) "default" level is fundamentally human and their minds are fundamentally the same. The Skaa of Luthadel weren't beaten down because that's just how Skaa are, they were beaten down because they were being constantly Soothed (and because they were under the iron rule of an evil God Emperor).

Second, it's usually just the active magic-users who get benefits. Joe down the street is the same as Bob down the other street. If King's theory is correct, than every single Nalthian is fundamentally a healthier, more driven, and less irritable person, as well as having fundamentally better perception of color and of others' life forces.

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Elantrians were healthier, etc. so we have basis for that, I'm just saying that everyone on Nalthis is invested to a slight degree and so have a fraction of the amount of changes the Elantrians have.

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Again Elantrians weren't everyone. I'm pretty sure everyone has a breath or breath equivalent but only Nalthians can give it away. However I cannot remember if that is word of Brando nor just the conclusion of earlier discussions on this topic.

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Again Elantrians weren't everyone. I'm pretty sure everyone has a breath or breath equivalent but only Nalthians can give it away.

My point was to show that people who are invested can have passive-body altering effects. I don't think we have ever heard WoB on something like that, since it's the whole magic system on Nalthis.

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I think the question is whether or not the investiture of Nalthians makes the "uber" or is just a critical component of making them human. Spoiler tags for other novel discussion:

I equate this somewhat to Scadrial and how Ruin and Preservation contributed to make humanity there; that could also be interpreted as all humans on Scadrial being slightly invested. Actually, that probably extends to nearly all humans that were created after the Shattering since a part of the "power of creation" may be inside each of them.

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after reading the arguments, i came to the idea that nalthians are "uber". the reason is, magic users can be physically improved in other worlds, and any breath-possessing nalthian is a magic user. with one breath you could give a very simple command to a piece of straw, or you could animate a lifeless. every nalthian is a caster, and so every nalthian has a bit of blessing from it. So, from our point of view, drabs would be the normal ones.

Also keep in mind there is no suich thing as life sense on other planets. you realize someone else is in the room because you unconsciouwsly hear their breathing, feel the ari shifting, stuff like that. nalthian's life sense is different.

And there is little difference between having one breath and being drab. you can live well without, which is what we do all the time. nalthians feel it like a privation because they are accustomed to the breath, just like we would feel about having to live without electricity

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1. Brandon has pointed out several times in his annotations that being Drab does significantly affect you.

2. There is no reason to suppose that life-sense doesn't exist on other planets. I've felt it myself sometimes, for that matter.

3. Brandon said in an interview somewhere that non-nalthians "cannot use what they have". that strongly implies that the Breath is a fragment of the natural soul.

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ZAS

After several more signings, I asked my other question. "Do people in the Comsere, besides Nalthis, have Breaths?"

BRANDON SANDERSON

"No." He then signed a person's books, then said "To elaborate a little more, that's not to say they don't have a life force, because they do. But if someone not from Nalthis were to suddenly gain the ability to become an Awakener, they could not use what they have to Awaken something. That's not to say that they can't receive breaths though."

This is what you were looking for I think, but it implies that Breath and a soul are two seperate entities, they can't use what they have because it's not a Breath.

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This is what you were looking for I think, but it implies that Breath and a soul are two seperate entities, they can't use what they have because it's not a Breath.

To me that implies that Breath is the result of an artificial (read: magical) partitioning of a normal person's soul so that it can be split off and used for magic. "What they have" is a full soul, what they can't use is the portion that Breaths split off, since they lack such a partition.

Edited by Kurkistan
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To me that implies that Breath is the result of an artificial (read: magical) partitioning of a normal person's soul so that it can be split off and used for magic. "What they have" is a full soul, what they can't use is the portion that Breaths split off, since they lack such a partition.

That's what I get too. +1.

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Doesn't really fit with Endowment if they all possessed it anyway IMO.

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Doesn't really fit with Endowment if they all possessed it anyway IMO.

It enables Nalthians to endow part of their souls to others, with Endowment simply providing an easy means of doing so. Fits with Endowment well enough, I would say.

Endow: Give or bequeath an income or property to (a person or institution): "he endowed the church with lands".

EDIT: Actually, that seems much more appropriate for an Endowment-driven magic system. Awakening and BioChroma are all about giving up something and putting it into something else, endowing objects with life or people with Breath.

It seems kind of odd to say that the system consists of Endowment handing out Breaths like quarters to schoolchildren and then letting them go off to pretend they have an economy.

Thematically, Warbreaker stresses the give and take nature of BioChroma, how every Awakening is a sacrifice for the Awakener and how much richer a life with Breath is. This theme is cheapened by the ultimate sacrifice--giving up all of your Breath and becoming a drab--being a case of just giving up what was never intrinsically yours. Giving up your Breath to your god then becomes re-gifting, essentially.

Edited by Kurkistan
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Im with kurkistan and reader, Endowment gives the divine breath, not everyone has one of those, I think every normal breat his a part of the initial owners soul.

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This is my take on what has been said:

I think that every human (and very likely every sapient creature) in the Cosmere has something "extra" (possibly divine) which makes them a self-aware agent. I suspect that this something extra is spiritual. It is also this "something extra" which gives them access to their respective magics, at least potentially. (See also, sDNA.) Thus people throughout the Cosmere access their magics from their respective Shards by doing something in accordance with their Shard's purpose.

This then makes the case of Breath seem logical, as follows. People on Nalthis have the sDNA to endow others and things with some of their "something extra." It just follows naturally from the Shard that created or influenced them. This would then make a drab slightly less than baseline human. This then thematically fits in with the notion of the sacrifice that endowment implies, as others here have noted. It definitely makes Breaths a more balanced system in Cosmere terms, as well.

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This is all very interesting. Until reading this, I had never even stopped to consider that Breaths might be anything other than "mini-Splinters." I must admit, I like the idea that it is a portion of your own soul much better. Beyond the aforementioned reasons, it also has a very appealing sort of symmetry: humans on Nalthis give away pieces of their souls to others, and meanwhile, on a higher level, Endowment gives fragments of its spiritual self to the Returned.

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To be honest, I think it is kind of both. A Drab is less Invested than someone from Roshar or Scadrial, but a Nalthian with his Breath intact is more Invested.

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I had a thought concerning this earlier, which I'm hoping I have straight enough in my head to word correctly.

It revolves around the idea of Nalthians keeping Breath in circulation.

Basically, my thought was that if Breath IS a gift from Endowment (and not an intrinsic part of the human soul) then logically there would be an upper limit to the amount of Breath that could exist (probably an inordinately huge number, but bear with me).

Following this, it could be assumed that upon death, any Breath held by a person would be returned to Endowment (or put back into circulation for new human births); much as burning Atium allows Ruin's power to coalesce back in the Pits of Hathsin as more Atium beads.

If every human were to give up their breath before death to another human, the breaths would not be available for new humans, requiring Endowment to give up more of itself with each generation, until the theoretical cap was reached.

If however the Breath IS a part of the human soul, end Endowment simply gives the gift of (well, of the ability to Endow I suppose) then this would not be the case.

Any thoughts? At the very least, this could be a sneaky way of wording a question to Brandon (something like, "Is there a limit to the amount of Breath than can exist in the population at one time?").

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^Good idea.

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Could one not simply ask

"If you compare a human from Naltis to one from scadrial, would the scadrielese be "equal" to a drab or to a 1 breath human in respect to lifesense and such"

Would he rafo that youthink?

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A bit of musing:

I think, the Breath is a part of any human's soul. But only on Naltis the special premises (the Shard of Endowment) give the people the possibility to share this part with others. It strikes me that the "normal" Nalthian (one who has one Breath) doesn't have a better "life sense" than humans on other shards. It's the "give-up" of this Breath that makes one a drab. So while humans on the other Shards don't have the possibility (or at least they don't know about it) to give their Breath away, they will not become drabs.

Please correct me if I'm totally wrong.

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