Apollyon

Losing Breaths

14 posts in this topic

So... I’m doing a re-read of Warbreaker, and this thought came to my head. When awakening, can you lose breaths? To add some clarity, I’m asking that when you awaken something and retrieve your breaths afterwards, can you possibly lose some? Ex. You awaken a rope. It takes 50 breaths, you only retrieve 35 because some was ‘used up’. The book always says you get all of them back, but I’m just asking if it’s possible.

(And as a smaller question, do non-Nalthians have Breath?)

Edited by Apollyon
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Awakening is end-neutral and in typical circumstances you don't lose Breath, ie when you're creating Type-III Entities. Breath 'sticks' to Type-II entities (Lifeless) and so are lost to the Awakener and Type IV's (Nightblood) are special. The only way you can lose Breath while creating a Type-III Entity is if the object you've Awakened is damaged, in which case there may be a loss of Breath. In any case however the Breath gets recycled so it's not permanently 'lost' to Endowment.

Non-Nalthians do not have Breath but they can be given it and use it. Because of the way the magic works, Brandon has said it's the easiest system in the Cosmere to get access to. You just need to find someone who already has Breath and is willing to give some to you.

Relatedly, I asked Brandon at a signing whether there's such a thing as 'Breath decay' where over time your store of Breaths gets weaker for Heightening purposes (in the way we know individual Breaths can be more or less 'vibrant') and he said that it wouldn't be noticeable once you accumulate enough Breath.

Edited by Weltall
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As Weltall said, Breath isn't usually used up in normal awakening. However, Brandon has said that if the Breath is left in the object for too long one of them vanishes. That seems to only take place over long time scales though, not over the amount of time of most Awakenings seen in the book.

Also, as Weltall said, non-Nalthians do not have Breath. However, that doesn't mean they are Drabs. A Nalthian with a single Breath does have slightly more investiture than a normal non-Nalthian, but the amount in a Breath is more than that little bit so a Drab Nalthian has less investiture than a normal non-Nalthian.

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7 hours ago, Weltall said:

Non-Nalthians do not have Breath but they can be given it and use it. Because of the way the magic works, Brandon has said it's the easiest system in the Cosmere to get access to. You just need to find someone who already has Breath and is willing to give some to you.

So part of this is confusing to me. It has been a while since I read Warbreaker so correct me if I'm wrong. But I thought giving breath to other people was an all or nothing thing. You can't just give them some of your breath. So someone wanting to become an awakener and use breath would have to find a Nalthian who, regardless of how many breaths they have, would have to be willing to become a drab. 

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16 minutes ago, Philomath said:

So part of this is confusing to me. It has been a while since I read Warbreaker so correct me if I'm wrong. But I thought giving breath to other people was an all or nothing thing. You can't just give them some of your breath. So someone wanting to become an awakener and use breath would have to find a Nalthian who, regardless of how many breaths they have, would have to be willing to become a drab. 

There's a WOB (that I can't find), that says that you can learn to give partial breath stores.  However, barring that, you could still deposit most of your breath in an object, give the recipient the remaining, and then retrieve the rest.  

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@Scion of the Mists Thanks. I realized they could just store some to retrieve later after I posted that and felt silly. Ha ha. I didn't know you could learn to give partial breath. That is cool. 

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Here's a WoB where Brandon discusses this. The gist is that what Denth tells Vivenna about giving all your Breath is a lie but it's widely believed to be true, so if she realizes Denth was wrong it will look like he made an innocent mistake rather than that he was lying. In addition to the obvious method of partitioning your Breaths through a series of smaller Awakenings, it is possible to selectively give only some of your Breath with the 'My life to yours' Command. It's a skill that comes with practice and is an extension of what people do all the time, where they give just enough Breath to Awaken a Type-III Entity instead of giving everything they have.

9 hours ago, luckat said:

As Weltall said, Breath isn't usually used up in normal awakening. However, Brandon has said that if the Breath is left in the object for too long one of them vanishes. That seems to only take place over long time scales though, not over the amount of time of most Awakenings seen in the book.

Ahh, I didn't see that one. I'm not sure if it's actually canon though, as Brandon wrote that while he was working on the book and said that he would use the idea, but it doesn't seem to have been incorporated into the final published version. I did a quick skim of older versions and he doesn't seem to have incorporated it into any of the drafts either, or at least none of the obvious search terms panned out. It's possible he changed his mind on this point. Either way it's probably one of those things he'll go into more detail on whenever Nightblood is written.

Edited by Weltall
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9 hours ago, luckat said:

As Weltall said, Breath isn't usually used up in normal awakening. However, Brandon has said that if the Breath is left in the object for too long one of them vanishes. That seems to only take place over long time scales though, not over the amount of time of most Awakenings seen in the book.

I don't think that can be considered canon at this point.  Brandon liked the idea of Breath leaking away, yeah, but he hasn't written it or said definitively that it will happen.

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On 4/18/2018 at 10:39 AM, Philomath said:

But I thought giving breath to other people was an all or nothing thing. So someone wanting to become an awakener and use breath would have to find a Nalthian who, regardless of how many breaths they have, would have to be willing to become a drab.

Long story short: Denth lied.

Quote

Warbreaker Annotations Chapter 58:

Brandon Sanderson
The big question is, if Vasher is Returned, why can he give away his Breaths and Awaken things without killing himself?

The answer is simple, in many ways, but I’m not sure if I have the groundwork for it properly laid in the book. (Which is why I hesitated in explaining it.) Remember when Denth said that Awakening was all or nothing? Well, he lied. A very skilled Awakener can give away only part of their Breath. It depends on their Command visualizations. So Vasher needs to always give away everything except for that one Returned Breath that keeps him alive.

Perception and Intent are a big deal when it comes to Brandon's magic systems. Since everybody thinks it's all or nothing, they never intend to transfer a partial amount, so they aren't able to do just a few. It's a more literal example of "repeat a lie enough times and it becomes the truth." :P

Denth/Vasher know that you can do partial transfer, so they are able to do so if they want to.


Additionally, you could awaken several objects(using most of their Breath), gift the remainder of your Breath reserve to someone else, and then retrieve the breath from the awakened objects, thus circumventing the whole "all or nothing" shtick anyway.

Edited by The One Who Connects
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Hi:

In Warbreaker, Vivenna tries to touch Tonk Fah and send breathes and an order, but he moves, and her breathes are lost. I suppose that those breathes can be lost if you don't send an order.

Edited by Marasi Colms
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I have just understood that the breathes wasn't lost, they are in the object until they are used, but not lost.

(I'm reading Warbreaker right now.)

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Psst, double-posting is frowned upon.

Anyhow, the Breaths aren't lost when you fail to properly Awaken, they just sit in the object without doing anything but they can be retrieved with the proper Command. Vivenna's problem isn't that Tonk Fah was moving at the time but that she doesn't know enough about how Awakening works; she doesn't know the proper Commands to say or how to visualise them, so her attempt fails.

Edited by Weltall
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Yeah She also recovers those Breath later

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Yes, I saw this later.

Sorry for the double-posting, this is new for me.

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