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TheBlueShifting

Adonalsium and the 16 Shards: Letters From the Cosmere Part 2

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Welcome to the second Episode of "Letters from the Cosmere!" Today we talk about the origins of the current Cosmere system and the implications of the Shattering of Adonalsium. You may notice a few changes to the series, most noticeably the name change. Yes, I have read White Sand (now) and yes the name correlation was literally happenstance. However, despite this I do not want to cause confusion about who is who in the Cosmere so I made the change to my character. It is slight, but it made the most sense. I look forward to hearing your thoughts about this episode. Hope you enjoy! I will put the transcript in text below:

Adonalsium. Such a strange word. I remember when I first found it as I studied the Words of Founding. In that moment, I thought little of it. Of all the incredible revelations that came in the wake of the Destruction of “The World of Ash” I was distracted. Now all these years later, I discovered that it was all connected. If you, dear reader, think for a second that I have been fooled into quiet worship and submission you are woefully mistaken. If there ever was a God, he is long since dead.

There are merely scraps to pull this knowledge from. Yet just as scraps of a tapestry can yield a pattern, the grand machine that is the Cosmere is starting to become apparent.

No one seems to know what Adonalsium was, except that it was incredibly powerful. It stood above all, and held the creative and destructive powers of the Universe. I say it because there is no indication if this entity had an intelligence like a sentient man. The Scholar seems to think so, but she thinks a great many things that seem to convoluted, and they cannot all be true. She seems content to sit back and learn, content to watch worlds crumble and die rather than using the knowledge she has. However, I am indebted to her, for each of the two times I have crossed paths with her she seemed pleased to answer my questions.

Unlike you.

However, The Scholar was not who first told me of the Shattering, but The Wanderer. I met him just before I was called back to start these letters. I never learned his name but like me, he seemed to Wander from place to place. Something about him was off, and he seemed so focused on striding deeper into Roshar I almost escaped his notice. Yet when he did notice me he seemed adamant that I listen to his story. I mostly had no idea what he was talking about until he brought up the death of Scadrial. He spoke of the powers Preservation and Ruin, and called them by names I had never heard. Then he told me quite frankly about how these powers, these so-called Gods, were once men.

Men who had risen up against Adonalsium. They rebelled against It, and shattered it into 16 primal powers. Wanderer didn’t say much more than this, except to tell me that these people slowly were changed by this power. He spoke of Ati, who had once been a good man, who later manifested as Ruin and sought to destroy all life in the Universe by braking it. His parting words were the only words he seemed to take seriously. He told me that history would be repeating itself before long, and that I would have to make a choice. Almost as if his words heralded some great tragedy, I could feel something change.

Odium had come. At the time I didn’t know Odium or what he brought with his influence. But for the first time I wondered if watching would be enough.

It wasn’t.

As you know, I would eventually dedicate my very existence to fighting for the lives left behind on Roshar. The Desolation that Odium began and the destruction caused by his Everstorm left hundreds of thousands cowering in the dark. I left my life of grieving solitude, and took upon myself a mantle of leadership. Wanderer was also there; I assume fighting in his own way. And all this time, I was thinking about the 16 who took upon themselves such great power.

Apparently they dispersed, moving through the cosmere and building up peoples and cultures across the stars. The worlds I have touched have been both crafted and scared by their fumbling hands, hands of men ascended. They created many great and incredible peoples, and gifted unto them the investitures that allow men to touch the divine. But at what cost? For it seems they see fit to destroy what they create. That their Shards have twisted them into intelligent agents of the Shard’s will and Purpose. I do not understand it, but the nature of each Shard eventually bleeds through these ascended men and overcomes their personalities, twisting them into dangerous servants bound by their instincts. And now we suffer the consequences of their lack of restraint.

Who were these people? What right did they have to become Gods in the place of the Thing they had killed? Apparently this Odium has murdered several of his fellow Shards, dispersing their power so as to continue his rise to domination. All along this path of Power and Control, Millions have died. To these ascended beings, our lives must seem as the ants of the dirt. When I see the destruction that Ruin and Odium have been allowed to cause, I am resolved by one simple truth. These flawed Gods should never have been.

Tell our Friend that I intend to fight until the lives of men can continue under their own wills. Tell Him that this war is far from over, and that I will struggle against Odium and all other Shards who fall. I do not feel that I can do much else than be a knife in the dark. I will gather the precious few I can save and set them up as a banner, to fight back however we can. I am unsure how to fight a God, but that won’t stop me from trying.

Be wary of this Wanderer, a man who is far more removed from time than I am. He moves with a purpose that I cannot comprehend. I am grateful to him and see him as a mentor of sorts. Yet I cannot help but be cautious of his intent. Even now I wonder if he hinted to me of The Shattering simply to recruit me for his side. Because of my choice I am actively being pursued by the members of the 17th Shard. I do not know what will happen if they catch me, but as of yet I have not let them get too close.

However, as I cast my thoughts back to the Shattering, back where this all began, there is one thought that chills me to my very core. These 16 usurpers struck down a God. Something with, for all intents and purposes, unlimited power. Yet these men shattered Adonalsium. What could mere men wield that could kill a God? And worse, where is this weapon that can lay waste to the powers of Creation? This weapon could be more threatening than even Odium, for he is only a part of what the Weapon destroyed. Odium is the most prevalent of threats, but I fear more for the resurgence of this fiendish secret. For if the Weapon can destroy a God, what unspeakable things could it do to the peoples of the Cosmere?

{Sigh]

This fight, what it represents… it has taken a toll on me. Perhaps I can learn to trust, to believe that such power can be wielded for the good. Preservation did try to lock away Ruin, and even restored hope to a failing Emperor. And Honor left some of his will behind, granting visions and Nahel bonds to his people. I am uncertain if what they offered us will be enough to stop the destructive Shards, but perhaps what they did will give us a chance. Regardless I have a work to do, for I am determined to keep my people alive if at all possible.

Until the next time,

Elsric

 

Edited by TheBlueShifting
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Well, if nothing else, the name doesn't point directly toward Scadrial anymore.  (I had a feeling when I posted the YouTube comment that the name overlap was entirely accidental, if only because the Aarik in the first episode didn't feel like the Aarik in White Sand.)

However, Elsric has read the Words of Founding, and was present for the "incredible revelations" that came after the Catacendre.  (Not the way I'd choose to describe it, but hey, I'm sure he has a proper rationale for calling it that).  His correspondent is in contact with "our Friend" (I assume the capitalization is important, but I'm getting ahead of myself), and Elsric considers him close-lipped and unhelpful.  My hypothesis is as follows: One, that Elsric's correspondent doesn't tell him anything cosmerically germane because all they know is in the Words of Founding, and Two, Elsric and his correspondent's "Friend" is a Shard, which I assume to be Harmony, from the rest of the circumstantial evidence.  (Most salient is the fact that not only is "Friend" capitalized, so is the pronoun "Him", plus all the non-name related evidence from the first letter.)

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