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TheBlueShifting

Secrets of Zinc and Brass - "Letters from the Cosmere" Part 16

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Spoiler Alert for Mistborn and Stormlight

 

We are back after a very very long hiatus! This week we will look at an excerpt from Elsric's Allomantic Thesis Papers where he discusses the powers of Allomancy in depth. Today we look at the external emotional allomancy fueled by Zinc and Brass. These metals have yet to be explored to their fullest potential. Perhaps Brandon has some secrets he is keeping to himself for the moment. Let's speculate the majesty and wonder of emotional manipulation.

A shout out to the wonderful artists who keep letting me share their work, you guys are the best! 

 

Transcript + Bonus Preface

Preface: This excerpt is not a part of Elsric’s original publication. Instead, this was a missive that he sent to the other university professors who questioned his status in Silverlight. I’m sure he meant this to be reassuring but as usual, he couldn’t help running his mouth. It’s a trait we share. (You should listen to our dinner conversations) I have decided to submit this to the compendium rather than the officially published essay on Brass and Zinc which are about the length of a novel all on their own. You should see him running about the campus, it's a wonder he finds time to sleep considering how excited he is. 

 

I am afraid that I have cheated my way onto the greater Cosmere. Many members of the World hoppers and the citizens of Silverlight must work long and hard to find themselves able to travel and survive in the spaces between worlds. Finding your way into the Cognitive realms is relatively easy, but surviving in this realm? Now that takes a little bit of luck and a lot of tenacity. However, I have found it easy to adapt and even to thrive in this harsh environment. If I had traveled alone I doubt I would have lasted a month. Cooperation and mutual gain are the means to civilization and long-term survival on the frontier. Dear Kassar is quick to point out that my talents in regards to persuasion and manipulation are more or less cheating considering how easily I make people dance to my whims. Such are the effects of properly wielded emotional alomancy.

I remember when I first explained to Kassar the art of Brass and Zinc burning. On Scadrial there are many accounts of the inner workings of emotional alomancy, so I find it likely that you dear reader are already intimately familiar with these arts as a concept. The Allomancer burns their metal and creates a field of influence that can be easily directed at a single person or in a general area. If the Allomancer burns Brass they sooth and smother the emotions they desire. This acts like a suppressive blanket, dousing a runaway fire and bringing the atmosphere into a controlled and contained state. Soothers can act as a means of mob control, but one who is skilled at the art learns to sooth the wild emotions so that more desirable emotions can grow and thus the soother sets the stage for his needs.

If Brass is a blanket that controls the spread of wild emotions, then Zinc is the bellows that turns the fire of emotion into a forge. By inflaming the desired emotions, the Rioter takes the raw iron of his will and lets the emotional forge shape his blade. By stoking the hearts of men, they can be uplifted, giving them strength in times of desperation or courage against overwhelming odds. Men become agitated, desiring to move and to act as their passions are fueled into a frenzy. Any Rioter can start a commotion, but a gifted allomancer can shape men into weapons of the finest quality. These arts are subtle and beautiful. They craft an environment in which the desired emotions are carefully cultivated and harvested. But this is just the beginning. I believe that the emotional arts are some of the most powerful investitures in the greater Cosmere.

The first and most important lesson you must learn about allomantic emotional manipulations is that it is not mind control. I assume that you already know this, but it needed to be said. Yet after all these years of mastering the emotional manipulations powers of Zinc and Brass, I find the concept of mind control is far inferior to what we can do. We don’t shape thoughts, we condition thoughts. To the common man, these might seem nearly interchangeable. Imagine you are asked to perform a surgery on a wounded soldier. If Emotional manipulation can be likened to a surgeon’s scalpel, then mind control would equate to attempting to perform the same surgery with a longsword. A surgeon only cuts where necessary and he sees his patient as a person who needs a little realigning for them to return to the path they must walk.

Those who experience my alomancy retain their free will. Obviously, I could not persuade a man to murder another or harm themselves. Besides the fact that such commands would be so obviously unnatural, people don’t think with emotions. Emotions provide the framework that can facilitate actions but the thoughts must originate in the mind of the person being soothed or rioted. A common example in my experience is when I meet with a fellow merchant for a business negotiation. Such meetings are stymie by mistrust and fear of being taken advantage of. By soothing their fear and rioting their excitement I simultaneously brush aside the validity of paranoid thoughts and encourage the desire to make a profitable deal. These thoughts didn’t come from me they were already in their minds. I assessed the situation and manipulated the emotions that were tied to the thoughts I needed to affect. It’s all about predicting the thoughts and emotions of others.

Mind control would be making use of men as if they were tools. This point is moot for nearly all people are free in thought and could never be persuaded to go against their inner nature no matter how skilled the rioter or soother. But there is one exception in which men and beasts may be controlled by emotional alomancy.

If there is a form of Mind control it would be achieved through Hemalergic Intrusion. Those who are pierced by more than three hemalergic spikes are subject to the manipulations and control of Harmony. This intrusion ability is an inheritance from the shard of Ruin. The more spikes that puncture the spirit web, the easier it is to override an individual’s free will. In fact, it is possible that allomancers who can push hard enough could control such people. In a way, soothers and rioters can control minds, but only the minds of the damaged and spiked. Yet this might only be the start. Hemalergic Spikes are not the only way to damage and alter an individual’s spirit web, they are just the most direct method that I know of. It has been documented that the mentally unstable are also susceptible to exterior manipulation. Perhaps an allomancer that could burn brass hot enough could assume control of those with weakened spirit webs. Once again this is a branch of study that has limited application and troubling implications. Most forms of investiture are only realized in individuals who develop damaged spirit webs such as the broken natures of the Knights Radiant, and the snapping of ancient scadrians.

The abilities of Rioters and Soothers have been well documented and accounted for, but I wish to speak of the heightened potential of the Mistborn. In the world of ash, Mistborn were called upon to act as assassin and spies. They mobility and many layer power sets make them perfect instruments of death, especially when they possessed Atium. The flaw of this system was how overlooked the emotional metals became in the training of Mistborn. Why both to manipulate the emotions of men you were going to assassinate? I can see the reasoning but I also know through experience that Mistborn were often short-changed by this specialized training. The power to sooth unwanted emotions and riot others at the same time can turn the hearts of men into putty to shaped. Often this is achieved by teams of Soothers and Rioters working in tandem. But such teams are hard to coordinate and are sluggish to adapt to change. But one individual, one Mistborn can simply enter a room and sway an audience. It is almost enchanting, watching the eyes of others flit to you in awe. To watch hostel men, slip softly into a jovial conversation. To watch as every whim and will work toward my desires and to temper anger before it can set in the mind. I am a gardener, trimming weeds in the garden of the Cosmere. I will not lie, I really am cheating at this. The 17th Shard constantly reminds me of how much I am meddling with people just by walking by them. I reach out to their minds instinctually, without thought. Yet I cannot feel guilty when I know that even in passing I bring something special into their lives.

It is easy to be captivated by the flashy abilities of Coin Shots and Learchers, or the practical abilities of Pewter and Tin. But my heart and my talent will always be held by Zinc and Brass. They have kept me alive and provided for all my needed comforts. Even if I find individuals who protect their emotions with Aluminum lined hats, the instinct to understand the emotions and pressure points of those whom I meet continues to light the path before my feet. So, chastise me as you will, call my success a hoax and rebuke me if you so desire. If we ever meet I am sure you will come around to my way of thinking. In fact, I daresay I can guarantee it.

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