Swimmingly

Royal Hair as Awakening Fuel

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The fuel for Awakening is colour.

The royals can change their hair colour by their mood.

The royals can have essentially infinite awakening fuel by draining their hair colour.

Not that colour is too hard to find in a pinch, but, for instance, in a spotless white prison, you have that and your blood to catalyze an Awakening.

Because Breaths are finite quantities as well, giving a much less overpowered effect than, for instance, infinite metal for a Scandrian, the ability to use Awakening no matter what the circumstances seems all right.

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I'm not sure that you can drain color from your hair. It seems like there are a few occasions in Warbreaker when the characters are out of color to use when being able to draw color from hair would have been useful. I think it would probably be considered a part of your body. After you cut it, that might change but I'm not sure how swiftly the hair would stop considering itself as a part of you.

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Well we know Realmatic Theory is a heavy contender on this planet, with Forgery and all, so I guess it does depend on how the hair views itself after you cut it off. Or is it how you view the hair? Or both?

But, Royal Hair can be instantly regrown too(IIRC). So that doesn't sound like a problem. Was there a drawback to growing hair back quickly? I can't remember.

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Siri got hungry when she regrew her hair, so presumably her body is fueling the growth. I don't know why instantly regrowing hair would make the old hair less a former part of you, though.
 

Also, Forgery is on Sel, and Awakening is on Nalthis, but Realmatic Theory applies everywhere.

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I recall that Vasher used his own blood to fuel his Awakening, for a rather morbid and unusual image of him leaping around the Court of Gods with greyish blood splattered and leaking from a wound, but, imagery aside, blood is probably considered a part of you

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Um... Are we reading the same version of Warbreaker? I've never seen anything about Vasher using his own blood for Awakening fuel. Are you, perhaps, referring to the scene where he draws Nightblood and turns everything in the vicinity into thick smoke?

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I wouldn't phrase it as he uses his blood. There is a scene where Vasher uses the color of his blood that has been spilled on his trousers. So he does run around with gray blood on him but it's nothing out of the ordinary.

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Um... Are we reading the same version of Warbreaker? I've never seen anything about Vasher using his own blood for Awakening fuel. Are you, perhaps, referring to the scene where he draws Nightblood and turns everything in the vicinity into thick smoke?

 

 

I wouldn't phrase it as he uses his blood. There is a scene where Vasher uses the color of his blood that has been spilled on his trousers. So he does run around with gray blood on him but it's nothing out of the ordinary.

    “Your Breath to mine,” he yelled as his momentum slowed. The rope dropped free and he landed on the first block. “Become as my leg and give it strength!” he Commanded, drawing color from the blood on his chest. The rope twisted down, wrapping around his leg and foot as he leaped off. He landed on the next block, one foot down, the coiled rope—and its strange, inhuman muscles—bearing the brunt of the shock.

 

-Warbreaker, Ch 56

 

edit: fixed accidental quote-destruction

Edited by Swimmingly
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Ah, that. Yes, well. Hmm. I guess it's a matter of how long it takes for a body part separated from the body (be it hair, blood, or arm) to get the separation memo in Shadesmar.

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Ah, Derp. Don't know why I thought this was Sel, that was kind of silly.  But Realmatics is still at play. And I would think of your hair or blood as losing identity with you fairly quickly. I guess it depends on how attached (har-har) you are to whatever it is. If you don't view it as part of yourself anymore, then it will probably take a lot faster to get the "seperation memo" (great term, btw) in Shadesmar.

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Fact is though, we don't know if you couldn't use the color from your attached hair as fuel because no one has tried it in the story.  We suspect it because of our understanding of realmatics.  But even then, I don't think our understanding is strong enough to outright nix the idea.  Same rationales apply for cut hair.  Fact is, we don't know.  Seems like an interesting idea to me.  This would also make the Royal Locks something more than a novelty.  Right now, IIRC, there doesn't seem to be a particularly practical reason for the locks.

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Fact is though, we don't know if you couldn't use the color from your attached hair as fuel because no one has tried it in the story.  We suspect it because of our understanding of realmatics.  But even then, I don't think our understanding is strong enough to outright nix the idea.  Same rationales apply for cut hair.  Fact is, we don't knowSeems like an interesting idea to me.  This would also make the Royal Locks something more than a novelty.  Right now, IIRC, there doesn't seem to be a particularly practical reason for the locks.

 

Man, you are full of confidence today :D

 

On topic though, hair is weird. In some ways it's a part of the body, and it would make sense that its Cognitive aspect (if it has a separate one) would be entangled with its owner's one, but it is also dead matter. Does anyone know whether chitin is similar to nails or hair? If it is, then I'd imagine that one's hair would not be considered a separate entity (and thus will be useless for Awakening) on the account of Shardblades being unable to cut through the greatshells'... shells... while the creatures are still alive. 

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Chitin is functionally analogous to keratin but chemically very different.  Chitin is a long-chain polymer which is essentially a polysaccharide simlar to cellulose.  Keratin is formed of bundles of proteins.  I haven't found anything to indicate whether or not chitin on a crustacean is functionally dead in the same way that hair and fingernails are.

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Another thing is, we know that the living beings can be drained of color. Nightblood dies that habitually, and IIRC, there is a quote indicating that the color of the person is used when Breath is transferred ( phone, so I can't source it) - though in second case, it doesn't seem permanent. I don't see the problem with draining one's cut hair, royal or not ( though do the royal locks retain color on cut? )

Draining attached color, though, It may be like advanced ironsight - something that can be trained. Though whether the royal locks provide advantage it that case, or whether they stay gray once drained is another question.

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I believe you are thinking about the process of creating a Lifeless - the color of the corpse fuels the Awakening there. People don't lose color when they give up their Breaths - otherwise Drabs would be much easier to identify. 

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If hair can be used as Awakening fuel, then that offers great potential for assassins. Sneak a maid in to an important place, maybe give her one or two extra breaths, not enough to be really noticed but enough to make sure the awakening is strong enough. But one should suffice. But either way, sneak in, have her long hair braided tightly, very tightly, she chops it off and wraps it around the unsuspecting noble (or returned's?) neck, give the command "Choke".

Might work? Depending on the Realmatic, cognitive aspect of hair. Maybe a question to ask Brandon?

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Actually, Argent, I refer to the following WoB:

4

INTERVIEW: Apr 15th, 2013

Reddit AMA 2013 (Verbatim)

CHAOS ()

Why does giving your Breath to another person not require color? Every other Command does.

BRANDON SANDERSON

I thought I answered this in the book. You use your own color. :)

TAGS

warbreaker, breath,

I am not sure how to interpret it, but there it is.
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I can't see attached hair ever being used for awakening.  That just opens up way too many cans of worms.  If can do hair, why not eyes, or skin color?  We do have examples of skin color and hair color changing, but that was on inanimate objects.  The royal locks wouldn't do you any good if you had to be dead to use them for awakening.

 

Hair cut and braided into a rope or something else, now that would be a different story.  I don't see any difference between that and straw that used to be a blade of grass.  What might be extremely useful are extension made from real hair.  Attach them as part of an outfit for a princess awakener, and she has a functional means of self-defense and offense if someone tries to attack.  She could even wear a completely white outfit to put people at ease.

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If hair can be used as Awakening fuel, then that offers great potential for assassins. Sneak a maid in to an important place, maybe give her one or two extra breaths, not enough to be really noticed but enough to make sure the awakening is strong enough. But one should suffice. But either way, sneak in, have her long hair braided tightly, very tightly, she chops it off and wraps it around the unsuspecting noble (or returned's?) neck, give the command "Choke".

Might work? Depending on the Realmatic, cognitive aspect of hair. Maybe a question to ask Brandon?

I think you could use the colour from the hair without worries. However you would still need a reasonable amount of breaths. The specific number would depend on how good a command you came up with.

 

Not really relevant but I think a command like "hold things" would actually be cheaper in terms of breath in this situation, "choke" is a little more abstract. ;)

Edited by lord_Ffnord
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I just realized we were talking about the one of the world's most masterful Awakeners, with the practice of decades in controlling his Cognitive and Physical form, possibly Spiritual as well, depending on how Divine Breaths are muffled, using a bit of his body, which apparently is a cognitive connection, to fuel an Awakening. Sure he can convince himself that that blood doesn't count as him. He does it all the time!

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Chapter 46, Vivenna learning to Awaken via trial and error.

She stood beside a branch, touched the bark of the tree's trunk itself to use its color. She held out the rope to the branch. "Hold things," she Commanded, reflexively letting out some of her Breath. She felt an instant of panic as her sense of the world dimmed.

 

The rope twitched. However, instead of drawing color from the tree, the Awakening pulled color from her tunic.

 

...

 

She eyed her clothes, which were now completely grey. Out of curiousity, she tried Awakening the rope again. Nothing happened. She picked up a stick, then Awkened the rope. It worked this time, the stick losing its color, though it took a lot more Breath. Perhaps this was because the stick wasn't very colorful. The tree trunk didn't work for color, though. Presumably, one couldn't draw color from something that was itself alive.

 

Granted, not hard-and-fast. It is from the perspective of someone who herself doesn't understand Awakening. That said, until someone can prove me wrong, I'm taking as strong, if not conclusive, evidence that you cannot drain color from your own, living, hair. If you have Royal Locks and cut them off, then yes, you should be able to use the color, then grow more hair, as long as you have the metabolic energy to do so. As was stated (I think in the OP), your remaining limitation on Breath makes this far from over-powered, not to mention that it's something not everyone can do very often. Still, an interesting little side benefit to being Returned, or the child of a Returned.

 

Someone menioned the assassin-maid... two Breaths probably would not be enough to Awaken anything strong enough to kill. Why not just store Breath in a shirt? For that matter, is this really an easier form of assassination than a knife or poison? Occam's razor might apply to killing people as easily as scientific conjecture.

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Ha - that would be a funny scene. A conventional assassin walks in and stabs someone in a completely Awakener-proof fortress

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But remember that Vasher plucked out some of his own hair to use as part of the Awakening, and there was no wait needed. So, presumably, you could cut off a chunk of the Royal Locks to use as fuel, and growing it back only makes you somewhat hungry IIRC.

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On 4/1/2016 at 4:05 PM, CarrotInquisitor said:

But remember that Vasher plucked out some of his own hair to use as part of the Awakening, and there was no wait needed. So, presumably, you could cut off a chunk of the Royal Locks to use as fuel, and growing it back only makes you somewhat hungry IIRC.

Wasn't that to make his straw figures more lifelike?

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On 11/13/2013 at 9:47 AM, Argent said:

On  topic though, hair is weird. In some ways it's a part of the body, and it would make sense that its Cognitive aspect (if it has a separate one) would be entangled with its owner's one, but it is also dead matter. Does anyone know whether chitin is similar to nails or hair? If it is, then I'd imagine that one's hair would not be considered a separate entity (and thus will be useless for Awakening) on the account of Shardblades being unable to cut through the greatshells'... shells... while the creatures are still alive. 

Is there a WoB that someone couldn't invest in just a specific part of themself, like say your hair? Revisiting this thread made me think about this, reread specific chapters, and think about the Cosmere.

While Vasher is explaining awakening to Vivenna he explicitly states a "deceased host" in chapter 46.

Quote

 

Quote

 

“There are four kinds of BioChromatic entities. The first, and most spectacular, are the Returned. They’re called gods here in Hallandren, but I’d rather call them Spontaneous Sentient BioChromatic Manifestations in a Deceased Host. "

...

“Type Two being Mindless Manifestations in a Deceased Host."

Then there's the whole part of where he teaches the girl that was kidnapped commands to change her cognitive view, so she forgets in chapter 49.

Quote

 

They passed from shanties, to tenements, to decent homes on tree-lined streets with burning lanterns. As they reached the mansions, Vasher paused on the street, setting the girl down. “Child,” he said. “I’m going to say some words to you. I want you to repeat them. Repeat them, and mean them.”

The girl regarded him absently, nodding slightly.

He glanced at Vivenna. “Back away.”

She opened her mouth to object, but thought better of it. She stepped back out of earshot. Fortunately, Vasher was near a lit streetlamp, so she could see him well. He spoke to the little girl, and she spoke back to him.

After opening the cage, Vivenna had taken the Breath back from the thread. She hadn’t stowed it somewhere else. And, with the extra awareness she had, she thought she saw something. The girl’s BioChromatic aura—the normal one that all people had—flickered just slightly.

 

This isn't a one off, either it's expanded upon slightly in chapter 57.

Quote

 

“You were a good person,” Vasher whispered.

“That man saw and did terrible things,” Denth said. “I’ve tried, Vasher. I’ve tried going back. But the darkness . . . it’s inside. I can’t escape it. My laughter has an edge to it. I can’t forget.”

“I can make you,” Vasher said. “I know the Commands.”

Denth froze.

“I promise,” Vasher said. “I will take it all from you, if you wish.”

Denth stood for a long moment, foot on Vasher’s arm, sword lowered. Then, finally, he shook his head. “No. I don’t deserve that. Neither of us do. Goodbye, Vasher.”

 

What if the commands for bodily enhancing were just never investigated? After all Vasher says back in chapter 46:

Quote

 

Even now, we’re not sure if we understand how it works. I guess this is the first thing I’d like to get across to you—that BioChroma is complicated, and we really don’t understand most of it.”

...

(When discussing Type 3 entities)

This area is where you really begin to understand how little we know. There are probably thousands of Commands we don’t know. The more words you add, the more complicated the mental component becomes, which is why discovering a new Command can take years of study.”

 

When someone asked Brandon about the similarities of the Cosmere magic systems he said:

 

Quote

 

STRONIAX

Are Surgebinding and Awakening related?

BRANDON SANDERSON

All of the magic systems are related, and these two do share some defining fundamentals.

 

 
What if this person just asked the right question but compared the wrong magic systems? What if Nalthian magic, which is extremely specified with the correct phrases and visualization, could imitate investing one specific aspect (or bodypart) of a person like Scadrian magic (pewter or tin) but with a more specific purpose than just make me stronger/faster/dextrous? 
I look forward to one WoB destroying this post that I spent almost 2 hours researching and writing this post.
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