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On Invested Objects and Shardweapons

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Ok, so I was thinking about invested objects we have seen in the Cosmere to try and find some commonalities in order to gain some insight into the construction and nature of Shardblades and Shardplate.

 

The big headline invested objects we know of are:

 

Nightblood

Metalminds

Hemalurgic Spikes

Fabrials (modern)

 

  1. Making Invested Objects

Firstly, we know how Nighblood, Metalminds, Spikes and Fabrials are made:

 

Nightblood was a regular sword invested with a huge number of breaths (1000?) and given a Command.

 

The breaths provide the investiture and the Command is the focus of Nalthian magic.

 

Metalminds - The Feruchemist 'saves' an attribute into the appropriate metal for use later.

 

The investiture comes from the Feruchemist and the focus is the metal.

 

Hemalurgic Spikes – the appropriate metal is stabbed into (or through?) an individual with the appropriate power, in the correct location and therefore gets charged with the power. This can them be grafted onto the recipient by stabbing them with the spike (again on the correct location).

 

The Investiture comes from the donor and the metal is again the focus.

 

Fabrials (modern) – A spren is trapped in a gem that is cut in a certain way and mounted in a framework. The cut and type of gem determines the species spren that is trapped and the framework determines the final application of power available.

 

In this case the Spren seems to be providing the investiture and focus seems to be the gemstone. (I am far less certain about this as the metal framework seem to have an impact on the application of the final fabrial).

 

In all the cases above, the common theme is that they all began life as mundane objects, even if specific materials or shapes were required. This may seem obvious but I think it is worth noting.

 

  1. Invested Objects in Action

When we look at the various types of invested objects in use, there are also some general commonalities.

 

Nightblood – Acts as a self aware sword and consumes breath from the wielder. In this case, I believe the Breath is acting as a power source for Nightblood’s abilities.

 

Fabrials (modern) – Have a single function as defines by the makeup. IT is not explicitly stated I the book but I have always assumed that the gemstones in the fabrial must be infused for them to work. This would be consistent with our knowledge of how magic works on Roshar. Therefore the Stormlight is acting as a power source for the fabrial’s abilities.

 

Metalminds – Returns stored attributes for use. No real power source here, I think, due to the end neutral nature of Feruchemy. You can only use what you store so there is no need for a power source.

 

Spikes – Imbue recipient with power though spiking. Again no power source required since it is end negative. The maximum you could graft to the recipient is the total of what you stole from the donor.

 

This is more shaky ground but I believe each end positive result requires an active power source to make the objects function as required.

 

  1. Shardblades and Shardplate

So now I come to the theory aspect of my post.

  

First, I believe that both Plate and Blade are end positive as we do not see any diminishing qualities in either of these. Neither do thay seem to have a trade off of power with the holder / wearer.

 

So looking at the above discussions I have come to the following conclusions.

  • Plate / Blade started life as regular swords / armor and were invested afterwards making / forging. (Given the ornate nature of many blades, they may have been carved in wood and then soulcast into metal before being invested).

 

  • Given this is it logical that different weapons could be invested in the same manner. So swords were merely a convention with the KR rather than a necessity of construction. By the same logic a ShardShield (along similar lines to Plate) would also be possible.

 

  • Blades draw power / stormlight from somewhere*. Plate is clearly powered by stormlight in the form of gemstones (if it was powered differently in the past, I believe it still required a power source).

 

I am not going to theorise about how this investiture occurs. Maybe one of the Surges / Orders we have not yet seen allows the constriction of the Blade / Plate. Maybe only a full KR is able to make them. Maybe a spren needs to sacrifice itself to make them. Maybe the Heralds made them. Maybe a wizard did it!

 

The big question to answer this is: What is the focus of magic on Roshar?

 

Either way I think the above are fairly logical conclusions

 

Why do you guys think?

 

 

 

(* I suppose a possible work around to this could be that the investiture of the blades makes it special abilities properties of the blade rather than abilities. However given that the Plate does not behave this way, I think it unlikely)

Edited by MadRand
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Good idea to compare Invested objects. Upvote.

 

A fabrial needs stormlight to work. It's not stated in text but it is stated in Navani's notebook. I think that's a clear sign the Investiture is stormlight.

 

Focus is trickier:

The cut and type of the gem determines what kind of spren are attracted to it and can be imprisoned in it.

...

Patterns of stormlight filtered through the fabrial determine the power of the gem

...

The pattern cannot be seen by the naked eye

Obvious answer is since the pattern of stormlight filtered determines the power, the pattern is the focus. But I'm not sure about this. We don't know exactly how that pattern is formed. The focus could be what causes the pattern. Maybe the spren (which I think is the most likely), or the gemstone (maybe) or the metal framing (doubtful).

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Thank you,

 

You have hit on the same problem I encountered defining the focus. Both Spren and Gemstones are recurring themes in Roshar magic.

 

The gems seem like a logical focus, but then, a spren could also been seen in the same way... as could the metal framework in the fabrials.

 

Maybe it is all three together.

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Maybe it is all three together.

Maybe. But that's just something we've never seen before, you know? It's always been one focus for one magic system. Aons, ancient Fjordell letters, metals, commands. It's never been a combination of multiple things. I just don't know if Brandon would change it now.

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On fabrials: couldn't this be a mechanism to either read the current stormlight pattern (emotion detector thing) or a physical limiter of the pattern to force a behavior? Like making shadow puppets.

It's not enough to discount it entirely, but I'm inclined to view the framework less as part of the magic and more as a mortal hack to make it behave a certain way

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I think the stormlight is the focus.

In Mistborn terms,

 

spren bond = allomantic gene

stormlight = metal

gem + stormlight = lerasium|atium bead (that cannot be "consumed")

 

I think BS said the pattern cannot be seen with the eyes, though maybe it's seen when stormlight is filtered through. Maybe the glyphs shining on the KRs plates are patterns, the entire plate being a big fabrial. We know it contains stormlight (which starts leaking when the plate is cracked), so maybe putting a spren in it + having a pattern => "fabrial"

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Stormlight is not the focus. It's Investiture.

 

In Scadrial, every human is Invested with a bit of Preservation's essence. Allomancers are people with more than a certain amount of that power. Lerasium is this essence made physical, so when someone burns it he/she is Invested with more power. This is where the Mistborn come from. When the Allomancer burns other metals, Preservation's essence within the Allomancer is unleashed, and what it does is determined by the molecular structure of the metal he/she is burning. This is what focus is, it determines what the Investiture does in the Physical Realm. Mists are also the essence of Preservation like lerasium, only in gaseous form.

 

In Roshar, people are not Invested innately. They gain Investiture depending on the way act. A spren is attracted to a person and forms a Nahel bond which gives the person the ability to use Stormlight to manipulate the natural forces (or Surges) of Roshar. Stormlight is akin to mists from Scadrial. It is Honor's essence.

 

As far as Investiture goes, Stormlight and Dor (combined essence of Devotion and Dominion) are similar. They are both outside of the person's body. While Breath (Endowment's essence) and Preservation's essence are within the person.

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Don't all humans need some amount of investiture to be intelligent, or have souls or something? So even if the lerasium supercharge equivalent is handled externally - such as with a spren bond - Rosharians still need a base investiture to come from somewhere.

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I've been theorizing a bit myself, and have come to a few conclusions that may or may not be correct.

 

Gems don't appear to have held a great deal of significance to artifact fabrials like Shards and Soulcasters outside of a power source. In an artifact Soulcaster, the gems are interchangeable. It's true that the actual process is kept somewhat mysticized and that our best source for information regarding them is Kabsal who is an untrustworthy narrator. Still, he's all we have. Kabsal said "But the truth is, there's not much to them. You just put one on, press your hand against something, and tap a gemstone with your finger. It works that simply.". Regardless of the veracity of his claim, we know the gemstones on Soulcasters are replaced, regularly. This leads me to believe that they operated on a different set of principles than modern fabrials. Navani, a reputedly distinguished artifabrian of the current era claimed that the design and workings of Shards are completely different from everything they had discovered. This statement from what we can assume is a trustworthy narrator says that everything we've learned about the artifabrian craft can be thrown out the window. That means it is unlikely that they were reliant upon trapped spren to achieve an effect.

 

So if the gemstones are just a power source, which seems rather obvious in the case of Shardplate, then we are left with the artifacts themselves. The metal they are made from, and the way they are designed. Lets look at a recent quote and see what further speculation we can draw.

 

Q: Fabrials replicate Soulcasting abilities. Is it possible for fabrials to replicate all such Surgebinding abilities?
A: Yes, good question! Fabrials can replicate all of the Surgebinding abilities.

 

This comes from a fairly reliable source, who only rarely contradicts himself.

Now, if all the fabrial science that we have been made aware of is completely different from what was done in ancient times, and those ancient fabrials can replicate all Surgebinding abilities, this leads one to believe, that all ancient fabrials were created by Surgebinders. This means that Surgebinders had some way to infuse the power into the metal and permanently invest the object with Stormlight.

 

Shards in particular are baffling. Plate can be regrown, and Blades require nothing. I would speculate that each set of Plate has a representation of itself in the Cognitive Realm which allows the Plate to be regrown to its previous form. Provide the plate with enough investiture, and it can activate a form of regrowth that allows it to return to it's original condition. Plate can also adjust its self to the form of the wearer. I would surmise that the Surge Surface Tension, or whatever it ends up being is also infused into the Plate. As far as the Blades go, I would need more information to even begin to speculate.

 

Don't all humans need some amount of investiture to be intelligent, or have souls or something? So even if the lerasium supercharge equivalent is handled externally - such as with a spren bond - Rosharians still need a base investiture to come from somewhere.

 

I prefer to call those who are not inherently magical in nature investiture neutral. In the case of Scadrians, they can access the power of Preservation because of an imbalance in their make-up. In the case of Endowment, each person is endowed with a touch of investiture. So if you aren't imbalanced, or weren't granted anything extra, you remain in a neutral state.

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