KChan

Identity, Regional Magic, and Feruchemy

27 posts in this topic

Two theories in one night? Why not?

 

This theory has to do with Identity, particularly as it ties in to region-specific magics. It uses some of the same quotes as my other theory regarding this topic, and relies on the same basic principle, but hopefully won't be nearly as long-winded. To start with, let me toss you a couple quotes. First we have this one:

 

In The Emperor's Soul and Elantris the magic systems have very different methods and powers, though both work through symbols. Assuming they adapted the symbols to their local geography could they use each other's methods? Could an Elantrian forge a soulstamp say?

Birth in a certain location on Sel gives a certain affinity for the local symbols, and their usage. To use the magic of another region, one would need to have a rewritten connection to that area instead.

 

 

And then, this one (emphasis mine):

 

If Odium were lured to Scadrial, would his physical body turn into a burnable metal?

 


The difficulty here is, again, one of Identity. People born on Scadrial have an Identity tied to it and its magic. Odium would have to do certain things to make them able to use a magic he fuels. He has done these things on Roshar, so it's not impossible for him to manage it on Scadrial.

 

Now, these two things tell us a lot about Identity and regional magic: namely, if I'm reading and interpreting these quotes correctly, that they are very much interdependent. I talk at length about that in my other theory, so for the sake of brevity I'll just say here that I believe this to be the case, and that the rest of this theory builds on that belief.

 

So, we have on our hands a magic - or set of magics, depending on your perspective - that very strongly depends on Identity. What else do we know about Identity? That it's a Feruchemical attribute, of course! Now, we've debated on this forum about the use of Feruchemical Identity before, but the discussions that I was a part of at least focused primarily on its use on Scadrial specifically.

 

But wait, you ask, who else was just confirmed to have Feruchemy? Oh yes, that's right. None other than Hoid himself.

 

Now things are getting interesting. Suddenly we've gone from exploring the use of Identity solely on Scadrial, to applying its potential benefits to a known worldhopper with significant knowledge of the Cosmere and the worlds he visits. Dangerous indeed. 

 

Now, the canon is very clear that there isn't much in-world knowledge about Feruchemical Identity yet, or if there is, it's a closely guarded secret. So we don't have much to go off of here. But given the quotes pasted above, I'm comfortable proposing that Feruchemy could theoretically be used to swap out regional magics at will. I imagine that the process would go something like this:

  1. Store as much of your own "default" Identity as you possibly can.
  2. Rewrite yourself a new Identity as part of the region whose magic you want to use. (If my other theory holds true, this could potentially be done by having a skilled Forger rewrite your cultural Identity; other suggestions are also welcome)
  3. If you want to create ways to access more magics, repeat the process.

Of course, this requires a lot of effort, and being able to Compound would make this process much more efficient, but my theory has less to do with how practical it is and more to do with the implications this would have on our understanding of Realmatics and Identity if it proves to be true.

 

Also, Hoid also has lerasium. Just saying. ;)

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I've only heard of three ways to mess with Identity: Hemalurgy can steal it, Feruchemy can store it, and Lerasium seems to be able to create it. I very much like the idea of forgery swapping your Identity to a different region of Sel. That could be much harder if you want powers from a different planet though.

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Maybe I'm being dense and maybe it's because I didn't click the links but...

Hoid feruchemy what?

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Question

How does Hoid know where to go when?

Brandon Sanderson

Alright, who does not know who Hoid is? If you want to know about Hoid, the 17th Shard, which is the official fansite for my works, has some great information about him. There is a character who showed up in Elantris, who showed up in Mistborn, who showed up in Warbreaker, who showed up in Way of Kings. All with the same name, the same person. So there’s lots of theorizing about it. How does he know? He has his ways! (general groans) So a little bit more? Just a little bit more? He may be capable of a little bit of foreseeing of certain events, not what’s going to happen, but he may need ot be in a certain place in a certain time.

Mike Cockrum

Hoid is regularly around when important events take place. How does he know where to go?

Brandon Sanderson

He uses Feruchemy. Part of it that will show up in later books.

That's all we know. Edited by Phantom Monstrosity
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I've been thinking about your reference to compounding. Could it theoretically be possible to use an aluminum spike to steal someone's Identity with Hemalurgy, burn the spike with allomancy to "splice" it into your DNA, store it in an aluminum-mind, and then compound it? Could be a fast way to get your link as strong as Lerasium can make it.

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I imagine that the process would go something like this:

Store as much of your own "default" Identity as you possibly can.

Rewrite yourself a new Identity as part of the region whose magic you want to use. (If my other theory holds true, this could potentially be done by having a skilled Forger rewrite your cultural Identity; other suggestions are also welcome)

If you want to create ways to access more magics, repeat the process.

Hmm. My real question is, if you rewrite your identity how do you retain your feruchemy?
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This is where I bank a lot on my other theory having to do with how cultural Identity works in relation to Selish magic. It involves rewriting your cultural Identity - which can be different from your actual blood heritage - to be centered on the nation whose magic you want to use (so imagine, as a parallel, kids who are born in other countries, adopted, and then raised as Americans - they might still know about their original heritage, but their Identity would likely be that of Americans).

 

And just as a side note, you would still have to have done something to have gained access to Selish magic in the first place, but that's a whole other critter to begin with (and probably involves Hemalurgy, if the Alloy Ars Arcanum is any indication).

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Here's what we know about regional magic inheritance. It looks like it takes several decades for the changes to sink into your family line under normal circumstances. I also find it interesting that there's possibly seperate cognitiveDNA, unless Brandon was just referring to culture as a kind of cognitive genetic inheritance.

Regardless, I think that being born somewhere is more than just 'where you think yourself as being from'.

In the Cosmere, a person has three sets of genetic material. Biological DNA, Personality/Cognative self, Spiritual Soul. All are influenced by heritage and parents. All all are also influenced by the land you are born in. A Punnett square wouldn't cover it. Think of a 4-dimensional Punnett square.

twitter -8/2/2010

http://www.theoryland.com/intvmain.php?i=768

The story tells of the first princess of Arelon. This was some years after the founding of Arelon following the migration of the Aonic people from other lands. Elantris, of course, had already existed as a city when that migration occurred, and had been discovered empty. While some people assumed it haunted, Proud King Rhashm (later renamed Raoshem) determined to conquer the fears of his people and set up a kingdom centered on Elantris.

The transformation of the first Elantrians happened beginning several decades later. Princess Elashe—the first of Raoshem's line to be chosen as an Elantrian—claimed to have seen the pattern of this Aon inscribed on a coal in her hearth the day after she underwent the transformation. Whether or not this story is true, a coal or rock written with Aon Ehe on it is considered good luck and a ward against winter spirits. (Though this kind of superstition is frowned upon by the Korathi priests.)

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BRAINWAVE!!!!

 

Recently in a topic connecting Gold Allomancy to identity I speculated thus:

"Also, with regard to the theory connecting Gold to identity, while it is true that Gold is a temporal metal, I wonder if Aluminium Feruchemy could be used to store these shadow identities. A Gold/Aluminum Twinborn might actually be really interesting, able to have several different versions of themselves 'living' in different Metalminds able to be drawn in appropriate situations... or you could tap them all at once and have multiple personality disorder..."

 

And then it hit me! What if this is the key to what you're talking about?! What if MALATIUM shades could be stored in Aluminium instead of Gold ones? The Malatium shades of someone from a different region?

 

 

Obviously though there is more to being born somewhere than where you think you're from, as Phantom Points out.

 

 

EDIT [Mistborn spoilers]: Forgive me if this doesn't give enough of an explanation, and sounds like crazed ramblings... I hope quoting myself (as conceited as that feels) from the other topic gives enough background, but brainwaves tend to skew my perceptions a tad. I remember this one time, I had an iced coffee before bed... it was all crazy fever dreams and arguments (in the logic sense) which made no sense running through my head at a million miles an hour... it felt kind of like how I imagine the Magic the Gathering card "Mind Unbound" would feel: a surge of insight and then your head explodes. Suffice it to say, now that I have cooled down a bit, I see some obvious problems... the Gold thread examines the connection Vin felt to her Shadow Self, but I don't recall if any such connection or insight was experienced by her when she burned Malatium... I only recall the visual she got... perhaps a trained Malatium burner could gain the connection to another's past/possible self to be able to store it in an Aluminium-mind.  

Edited by Kadrok
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A regular Malatium burner would most likely not be strong enough,but what about a Mistborn malatium savant burning duralumin?Perhaps that could work...Although I doubt it would be possible to obtain enough atium to become a savant.

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Recently in a topic connecting Gold Allomancy to identity I speculated thus:

"Also, with regard to the theory connecting Gold to identity, while it is true that Gold is a temporal metal, I wonder if Aluminium Feruchemy could be used to store these shadow identities. A Gold/Aluminum Twinborn might actually be really interesting, able to have several different versions of themselves 'living' in different Metalminds able to be drawn in appropriate situations... or you could tap them all at once and have multiple personality disorder..."

 

Whoa! This sounds exactly like my own theory about Aluminum and Identity. I thought I was the first to think of that, but apparently not. I should have read more threads before starting my own. :P

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I've been thinking about your reference to compounding. Could it theoretically be possible to use an aluminum spike to steal someone's Identity with Hemalurgy, burn the spike with allomancy to "splice" it into your DNA, store it in an aluminum-mind, and then compound it? Could be a fast way to get your link as strong as Lerasium can make it.

 

Slight problem with this. Though Brandon has waffled a bit on what burning a spike does, his most recent answer was that the sDNA of the burner would get spliced into the spike, not the other way around. Now if Brandon misspoke and it is the way you suggest, I agree wholeheartedly that this would be a good way to pick up new Identities on the cheap. Assuming what we have is accurate, though, not so much.

 

2009

CZANOS

Would anything interesting happen if an Allomancer Burned a Hemalurgic spike, or a Feruchemist Tapped one?

BRANDON SANDERSON

Er, well, it’s possible. But you’d have to be burning a Hemalurgic spike that killed you and took your power... Just like you can’t gain anything by burning a metalmind unless you infused it yourself.

 2011

MARU NUI ()

What happens when you burn a Hemalurgic spike?

BRANDON SANDERSON ()

Burning a Hemalurgic spike would have the effect of splicing your spiritual DNA to that of the person's that is in the spike, which would have some very strange consequences.


 

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^ Your sDNA getting spliced to the sDNA from the spike vs the sDNA from the spike getting spliced to yours. Is there a functional difference here? The spike is now vaporized, so I think both ways end up with the DNA in the same place.

The first quote seems to be saying the Allomancer needs the same Identity as the person in the spike, which could create some circular logic problems. You can only burn a spike if you stole the Identity of the original soul, but if you take the aluminum spike out to burn it you lose the Identity. I wonder what happens if you snap a spike in half and burn it in two chunks?

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^ Your sDNA getting spliced to the sDNA from the spike vs the sDNA from the spike getting spliced to yours. Is there a functional difference here? The spike is now vaporized, so I think both ways end up with the DNA in the same place.

 

The difference is that in one instance you permanently bind the sDNA of the donor to you, so you get the Hemalurgic effect without requiring a spike to be placed in yourself (which from the quotes is not what happens, and impossible) and in the other you remove part of your own sDNA - and who knows where that ends up, if you are vaporising the spike in its entirety.

 

Assuming you didn't burn the entire spike, you could feasibly create a spike which now has part of your soul attached, along with the original Hemalurgic charge.

 

I think part of the issue here is that it's not clear if he's talking about simply swallowing a powderised spike and burning that, or actually burning a spike which is currently piercing your body (which I think he's suggested in the past that inquisitors could do, although it would be excruciating).

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The difference is that in one instance you permanently bind the sDNA of the donor to you, so you get the Hemalurgic effect without requiring a spike to be placed in yourself (which from the quotes is not what happens, and impossible) and in the other you remove part of your own sDNA - and who knows where that ends up, if you are vaporising the spike in its entirety.

 

Splicing X to Y is identical to splicing Y to X, since you're combining the two objects together.

 

You're overthinking this.

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^No, not really, since the goal is to be able to walk around without a spike but still with the appropriate Identity. If you're okay with keeping the spike in, why bother doing all the splice and dice? You could just have a normal, non-freaky spike doing its normal, freaky alterations to your spiritweb without needing to tear off a part of your soul and bind it to the spike itself.

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This is going a bit off the current line of discussion, but going back to KChan's original posting and his thoughts on Hoid, I have a thought.  Bear with me on this (and cure me of my ignorance if necessary), I am rather new to the Cosmere stuff.  I only have a big picture grounding when it comes to Adonalsium.  If I am not mistaken the shardholders (less Sazed of course) are also from Yolen.  Looking back to Mistborn, it has been shown in the books that 'human' life on Scadrial was the result of a joint effort of Preservation (sorry, don't recall off hand his original name) and Ruin (Ati) to create this life. 

 

Presumably, all shardworld 'humans' were created in a similar fashion with, again, presumably, Yolen 'humans' being used as the general pattern but with subtle differences from world-to-world. 

 

Now, regarding Hoid specifically being able to have multiple magic adeptness (i.e., lightweaving, feruchemy, etc.) in conjunction with the comments above about identity.  Hoid is also from Yolen (homeworld) so he embodies the master DNA, if you will, upon which shardworld 'humans' were patterned.  Could this not result in somewhat of a flexible 'identity' for anyone having the master DNA?

 

If so, this would go a long way to explaining Hoid's versatility.

Edited by Shardlet
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That's a good point Shardlet, have an upvote. If that is the case it does make my own speculations less relevant, never-the-less I will continue them in the absence of WoB on the issue...

 

Now, sorry to jump back a bit with something relevant to my earlier post but I've just rediscovered that Brandon mentions in the MAG (Brandon himself... it's in a "From Brandon" section) that it is theoretically possible to use someone else's metalminds with Feruchemical Aluminum (which Stores Identity) and I wonder if this has further implications for regional magic (though of course Aluminum has already been mentioned).

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^No, not really, since the goal is to be able to walk around without a spike but still with the appropriate Identity. If you're okay with keeping the spike in, why bother doing all the splice and dice? You could just have a normal, non-freaky spike doing its normal, freaky alterations to your spiritweb without needing to tear off a part of your soul and bind it to the spike itself.

You're trying to read 'splice to' as if it isn't a transitive operation that combines two things.

 

If you splice together a rope and a chain, you start with this

warpchain1.jpg

and end up with this

warpchainf.jpg

 

 

There isn't any 'tearing off' involved.

Edited by Phantom Monstrosity
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You're trying to read 'splice to' as if it isn't a transitive operation that combines two things.
 
If you splice together a rope and a chain, you start with this
warpchain1.jpg
and end up with this
warpchainf.jpg
 
 
There isn't any 'tearing off' involved.

 

That's a fair point, Phantom, but I think the point still stands that burning a spike isn't going to help you not need a spike, which is kind of the point of this endeavor. I can't imagine that Hemalurgy doesn't allow for a less exotic way to steal regional Identity.

 

I also read "splice" as "chop off part of your spiritweb and splice it into the spike's bit of spiritweb", but I could be wrong.

Edited by Kurkistan
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That's a fair point, Phantom, but I think the point still stands that burning a spike isn't going to help you not need a spike, which is kind of the point of this endeavor. I can't imagine that Hemalurgy doesn't allow for a less exotic way to steal regional Identity.

 

I also read "splice" as "chop off part of your spiritweb and splice it into the spike's bit of spiritweb", but I could be wrong.

 

Steel Inquistors get knocked out from pain if they try to burn their own spikes.  I figure it's just impossible to keep burning the metal long enough to accomplish anything.

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zas678

Does the person being pierced in order to charge a Hemalurgic spike have to die?

Brandon Sanderson

Not necessarily. A spike does require you to rip pieces of a soul from the victim, but that does not mean they must die. They would be a very different person afterwords though.

 

Notice the bold part. It seems that hemalurgy works by ripping off a piece of a soul and splicing it to another soul.

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I think part of the issue here is that it's not clear if he's talking about simply swallowing a powderised spike and burning that, or actually burning a spike which is currently piercing your body

 

This really is the crux of the issue. Both views seem consistent with the quote, but have very different end results. It may even be possible that both ways are possible depending on how you use the metals...

 

Option 1) you swallow the spike (whole or powdered, probably doesn't matter). Burning it vaporizes the spike, freeing the sDNA. The Allomancer's DNA is then spliced to the liberated sDNA. Spike gone, powers intact. (This is my interpretation)

 

Option 2) you spike yourself. From what I gather, the sDNA is now technically part of the Allomancer, so burning it would literally be incinerating chunks of your own Soul, then compounding them. (Ouch) Do the compounded bits remain linked to the hemalurgic spike? Perhaps, perhaps not. If it remains linked, I think it's reasonable to assume your sDNA would be partially spliced into the spike too, and removing the spike would rip off a chunk of your own soul, just as if you were the victim of hemalurgy. (Kurk's interpretation)

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This really is the crux of the issue. Both views seem consistent with the quote, but have very different end results. It may even be possible that both ways are possible depending on how you use the metals...

 

Option 1) you swallow the spike (whole or powdered, probably doesn't matter). Burning it vaporizes the spike, freeing the sDNA. The Allomancer's DNA is then spliced to the liberated sDNA. Spike gone, powers intact. (This is my interpretation)

 

Option 2) you spike yourself. From what I gather, the sDNA is now technically part of the Allomancer, so burning it would literally be incinerating chunks of your own Soul, then compounding them. (Ouch) Do the compounded bits remain linked to the hemalurgic spike? Perhaps, perhaps not. If it remains linked, I think it's reasonable to assume your sDNA would be partially spliced into the spike too, and removing the spike would rip off a chunk of your own soul, just as if you were the victim of hemalurgy. (Kurk's interpretation)

 

I don't disagree with you, I just wanted to note that even if burning a spike which hasn't pierced you (option 1) allowed you to splice on sDNA, I don't think it would allow you to have two, and only two Allomantic powers... I think it would work like a Misting burning a bead of Lerasium alloyed with a metal which isn't their metal (eg. A Coinshot burning a Steel spike containing Allomantic Iron will map the Iron sDNA over his Steel sDNA, losing Steel and gaining Iron, just like if a Coinshot burned a Lerasium-Iron Alloy).

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