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What is Investiture? For such a foundational aspect of the Cosmere, it is not always clarified what exactly the word means. In this episode we talk about the meaning of the word and stare some specific examples of Investiture on several major Shard Worlds. Elsric also shares some of his personal terminology about the different types of Investiture and the ways that people can access the power. 

To read the story about how I worked with Brandon Sanderson to make this series, look at my post here: 

 

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Here is the transcript for this episode: 

As I have said before, my father was a scholar at heart. He was taken with locking himself away with his books and a chalkboard in the family library. As I grew he took it upon himself to teach me what he could. However, I never had any formal lessons because he was often so scattered in his research projects that he would shut himself in his study and turn us away having completely forgotten that he was the one to invite us to join him an hour earlier.

Eventually my siblings and I would catch him and we would dive into the lessons as best we could. He was a soft-spoken man, but he was truly brilliant. On rare occasions, noble scholars from far away would stop by and converse with my Father. I’m not entirely sure what his specialty was, but based on his contraptions I think it had something to do with Engineering.

I will never forget the phrase he often repeated during our studies. He said, “In all things there is balance if you look closely enough. Cause and Effect, Push and Pull, Action and reaction.” He said that there was no better laboratory than nature, for all things followed the fundamental laws that ran all of creation. I wish I could share with him what I know now. After all these years, I finally see what he was trying to teach me. The miraculous things that I witnessed on other worlds are bound by natural rules and there is an accounting for all the incredible abilities that people can wield.

Investiture is just one word to describe the fundamental power by which men bend the forces of the Cosmere with intent to their will. Words like Sand Shaping, Burning Metals, Drawing Aons, and Surgebinding are all in effect the manipulation of Investiture. When something or someone is considered Invested, they hold a portion of Divine power or potential. Stormlight is possibly the best example because the body literally thrums with unbridaled power that is then translated into a Focus by the user via a bond to a spren.

When I say Focus, I mean the nature and shape that the power takes. On Sel, the Elantrians use the complex shapes and markings of Aon Dor to dictate the shape and power of the Investiture. While this is a complex system to master, it holds the most fluidity. In application it is near limitless in what it can do with the right knowledge. However, their power is, for the most part, limited to the geographical location of Sel, even to specific continents. I would call this an Open Concept Manifestation, because it really has no set shape or application, although the time and learning necessary to access the power of the dor is a distinct downside to such an adaptable system.

On the other hand, the best example of a Closed Concept Manifestation of Investiture can be found in Alloymancy. By its nature, Allowmancy is limited by very harsh rules. The metals that can be burned to access Investiture need to be pure and properly mixed as alloys in order to work. In fact, an allomancer who burns metals that are impure or improperly crafted can get sick or die from the mistake. The benefit is that the powers granted by Aloymancy are dependable and simple. However, there is little to nothing more to be learned. All Alloymancers are limited to the powers of the metals, no matter the skill or experience of the user. This means quick and adaptable powers, but sever limitations in shaping the Investiture that gives them power.

The application of each type of Investing can range to fit a variety of settings, but each one must take a unique coarse to the eventual goal. The paths to Investiture vary in form and execution just as how languages differ between different nations. All Language seeks to bring together understanding, but the execution can be very different between different peoples and are usually not compatible with each other.

I would assume that Investiture would be the same, although I am not sure if there are limitations to using said powers. I know for instance that the proper metals and alloy mixes are useful to Alloymancers no matter where they physically are. I’ve seen that Elantrians can employ Investiture outside of Sel, although I am unsure how they overcome the natural geographical limits to their powers. In fact, I think that travel in the Cosmere would be impossible if the beings who traverse it ultimately did not have access to the powers of their homelands. It is clear to me that the power of the Spiritual Realm is accessable in all places in the Cosmere. Unlike the Physical and Cognitive realms, it seems there is no apparent change in the ability to access the Spiritual realm no matter the location of the individual. So the limitation is found in the abilities to access the power itself

Each world is governed by a different set of natural laws that determine who can access the power and how that investiture can be used. On Nalthis, each person is born with an endowment of Investiture called breath. It is a small connection to the Cosmere itself and has little effect. But it can be given to others, and with enough Breath one can command once living objects into servitude.

Words and symbols hold the key on Sel, where elantrians draw patterns in the air to give shape to the Dor, and Dakor etch their will onto the bones. There are whispers of other arts with ink and blood that shape the fabric of reality itself, but I have not seen this personally. But what all these forms share is the dependence of a physical drawing that shapes the Investiture into what they need.

There is a world called Taldain that I only just heard about. I hope to visit it sometime soon, but there is very little known about it yet. However, there are hints of shapers of the sand, who manipulate and mold the sand found on that world. I imagine it would be a beautiful art to observe.

On Scadrial, the people use the metallic arts. The use of metals manifests physical, mental, enhancement, and temporal power through three known forms. Aloymancers draw Investiture directly from the source and use the power in a limited fashion. Ferochemists storm their natural attributes by saving them up into the metals, using them like the gemstones on Roshar to store the abilities for later use, and can use them in an accelerated rate. And then there is Hemalergy, darkest of the arts that I know, which destroys life to steal power from the sacrifice, to then spike it into another’s soul.

On Roshar, as I said, the spren form a bridge between the Investiture of Stormlight for use by the Radiant to whom they are bonded. The Parshendi seem to be able to bond spren as well, but it is not the same as the nahel bond, and I don’t know by what method they do this. The unknown bond is actually a focus of my study, for I feel that this is critical to understanding the struggles we are facing in this war. It might even be the key to our salvation.

 I am positive that there are other worlds that I have not even heard of. If there is one thing that I hope for, it’s that I can continue to learn more about the incredible abilities and peoples of the Cosmere. Despite the danger I am currently in, I am living life again. I never thought that the struggles and danger here would awaken my soul.

 

Elsric

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Awesome! I tried watching the last one a couple of times, but It wouldn't load. I'll definitely watch this one!

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1 minute ago, KnightRadiant said:

Awesome! I tried watching the last one a couple of times, but It wouldn't load. I'll definitely watch this one!

Really? That's strange. Well here is the link to it on YouTube: 

 

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