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TheBlueShifting

What is a Worldhopper? Letters From the Cosmere Part 5

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What is a Worldhopper? They are select individuals who have learned how to travel between the different Shard worlds in the Cosmere. The most likely way that these individuals do is is by sinking into shard pools and emerging in the cognitive realm, where the minds of men connect across the vastness of space. This allows for people to walk from world to world, assuming they can do so in safety. Hoid is a perfect example of a worldhopper, although there are others. There are also other, less known ways of entering the Cognitive realm. Who know what will become of worldhoppers.

 

Transcript: 

This letter is more of a journal entry than a field report. I had started to wonder if I would ever see another messenger. I know that travel across the Cosmere is difficult and dangerous, but it’s been years. Your call back is… troubling at best. However, I will not disguise the fact that your abrupt silence was causing me to consider returning anyway. Needless to say, the Cognitive Realm may be a home to dreams and ideas of men, but some of those dreams are nightmares come with some serious teeth.

 The philosophers of the various worlds often discuss the dangers and natures of ideas among a population. Naturally they were making references to the fickle hearts of men in times of transition and stress. Individuals such as you and me know that the dangers of ideas are real in the Cognitive Realm. There is nothing more terrifying than the realization that one slip, one misstep or encounter with a powerful cognitive being and your life can be snuffed out like a candle in the wind. I once practically lived among the shadows of the cognitive realm, and now that I have returned once again, I find myself fearing that abyss.

                Although you may understand the traversing of the Cognitive realm in an academic sense, I doubt you truly understand the strange and fascinating perils that reside here. Roshar is of itself particularly dangerous, for the Spren here are far more powerful than their diminished counterparts in the physical realm. Here they are a horde, most are more like forces of nature rather than beings of intellect. They move and act, bound by their nature and intent. I have been warned by the whispers of the cryptics of the dangers their fellows present. One should not travel the Cognitive realm lightly here. On the other hand, the spren are fascinating to converse with. The cryptics in particular seemed to enjoy my company, something about the lies I tell. I found that they themselves were hard to ply for information, but if you listen carefully you can decipher meaning in their circling words. They remind me of politicians if I am honest, perhaps that is why I felt I could follow their logic better. It was almost like being with family again.

                I have seen the powers of Investiture here on Roshar that create holes or perpandicularies in the cognitive realm. This is most fascinating because until now, I had assumed that the only points where someone could pass from the physical world into the Cognitive real was through locations of condensed Investiture. Shard Pools, as they are called, are points on the various worlds where the raw power and investiture of a Shard collects and condenses. So far I have found such pools on each of the worlds I have visited, for I could not have traversed there without them. Yet there are old stories and new whispers that claim that some of the Knights Radiant can send themselves physically into the Cognitive Realm without using a shard pool. I also believe that the Oath Gates that I’ve used to travel great distances in an instant also operate by traversing the Cognitive Realm but how this works is still a mystery to me.

                I wonder if someday everyone will have access to the Cognitive Realm. I have a…unique background and with concentration, I can pass through a perpendiculary with relatively safely. The issue is, I don’t know if just anyone can survive this process. I have never tested it, fearing what would happen if the concentrated power would harm or kill others. The concentration of pure Investiture is so great that it effectively dissolves the boundaries between the physical and cognitive realms. Perhaps like so many things in the Cosmere, using the Shard pools in this way is more about Intent, rather than physical limitation. Sadly, the ways of these pools are far exciding my understanding. One of the many reasons why I am hesitant to use them is rooted in the knowledge that I understand almost nothing about the mysteries of shard pools, except that they can carry me between realms.

                Even so, I know there are others who use these pools for the very purpose I do. As I have written to you before, Hoid is a master of traversing the various worlds via shard pools. In fact, I think that the only way he can be reasonably tracked is watching the points where he can travel. However, he is far too crafty to make it that easy to catch him.

                Independent of our little organization, the 17th Shard is the only operating group of Worldhoppers that I know of for sure. They seem to see themselves as a policing force, attempting to keep some kind of balance and observing the actions that are happening across the Cosmere. Like I have said before, they are no longer fond of me since I set foot and integrated myself among the people of Roshar. They seem to feel that these peoples are far too easy for an outsider to manipulate. Although they have sought me out, I have hidden myself well and make sure not to draw attention or meddle in things other than behind the scenes. Besides, subtlety is often a more powerful tool in making things happen. Let the heroes take the spotlight. Instead I move people into places they need to be, funds where they are most advantageous, and building structure and wealth where there is chaos. Where some wield knives or armies, I wield politics, information, and influence. I sometimes feel ashamed of the distinct advantages my skills and knowledge allow me. Yet doing nothing, as my pursuers would wish of me, would go against all that I have become. Never again will I sit back and watch the world burn beneath me. I have been given too many gifts and understanding to just let myself wander away. I will watch, and I will nudge when I feel it will be of greatest benefit. I am not a man to make history, just a man who wants things to run as smoothly as possible. Regardless, I have kept an eye out for these 17th shard peace keepers, they will not get in my way for long.

There must be others out there that traverse the worlds beyond their home. The only possible exception would be travelers from Sel. Sel is nearly impossible to visit, and very dangerous at that. Well, all the Cognitive Realm is dangerous for the physical bodies that walk the dark paths. But Sel is far more so even than Roshar. Yet I have a feeling that if travelers haven’t been able to leave as of yet, they someday will find a way.

At the moment, only a small number of people know that Worldhopping is possible. But as the peoples of these worlds grow, it becomes more and more likely that others will eventually learn of the secrets of the shard pools. Will we one day see networks of interdimensional highways connecting the peoples of the Cosmere? Will worlds ever push to expand their borders, seeing opportunity in the lands of beyond? With there ever become a time where I become so well know, that I can no longer blend in with alien societies?

The future of worldhopping is as unpredictable as the people who practice the art. It is amusing how often we cross paths, seeing how large the Cosmere is. But I feel that many of us are drawn to large and pivotal points in the narratives of the Shard worlds. In fact, as I make my way back to my homeland, I wonder if Hoid or the Scholar have already traveled there.

I never thought I would return, but what is more surprising is the fact that I think I am ready to return. After failing my family, knowing they died because I was not strong enough to protect them, I thought I could never face the world that let them die. Yet, dare I say, my travails on Roshar has shown me that through despair and failure, we often learn and gain the strength that we lacked when we were younger.

Your report was cryptic at best. Your long silence had me believing that our communications were being intercepted or lost somehow. Disturbing thoughts, that remind me of darker days. In fact, I wonder what forces could be out there, continuing to conspire against us. Perhaps this is why I was called in the first place, to stand and recognize the signs of corruption as they manifest. If the danger you implied is caused by a fallen Shard… well, I just hope I am not too late.

I look forward to meeting in person once again, if anything I can’t wait to see the look on your face to see the backlog of reports you now need to sift through, you could make a book out of them I’m sure. I also bring a gift from Roshar, something that might make these reports easier to manage in the coming years, assuming we can keep the gemstones charged.

Until we meet again,

Elsric

 

Please remember, anyone can submit art for this series, so if you want to share anything, please message me and we can get it in there!

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