RShara

Theory: Ashyn's Magic

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In the exerpt of The Silence Divine that Brandon read from a while back, we learn that Ashyn has magic that involves a person getting infected with a disease, and that disease grants them powers as long as it is active in their system.

 

We also have a WoB saying that in some cases, those diseases cause a flaw.

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coltonx9 [PENDING REVIEW]

How are the floating cities in Ashyn held aloft?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

By local magic. One of the diseases gives this power. the reason its called the silence divine, is right now the way I've devised it is this power also causes hearing loss. so you have this virus that does this weird thing, but also gives you the power. and so there's a conclave of them, a chorus of them that keep the cities aloft. and that's why the book, if or when I write it, I guess it cant be a virus in this case. whatever disease they have, someone develops pennecillin and can potentially cause the city to come crashing down. That was the premise for me, but that means it needs to be a bacteria, not a virus but it needs to be a bacteria that stays with you long so I have to work out exactly I would make these diseases work.

source

This sounds suspiciously like the Nightwatcher's Boon/Curse mechanic.

Since Ashyn is in the same solar system as Roshar, even though it doesn't have a Shard directly dwelling there, I propose that the magical influence of Honor and Cultivation dwelling on Roshar is nonetheless enough to have Ashyn follow many of the same concepts as Rosharan magic.

1. Brandon has said that the magic on Ashyn is the same basic principles, with the system being a little different. This theory would fit with that statement.

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Shardbound [PENDING REVIEW]

Were the Surges used by humans, the ones that destroyed their previous home, the same as the ones that the Radiants are using.

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

Yes, same basic principles. Magic system slightly different. Same basic principles.

source

2. Bonds: On Roshar, people attain magic by forming a bond with a spren. On Ashyn, I theorize that they attain magic by forming a similar, weaker bond with bacteria or viruses. This bond allows them to use some version of the surges, perhaps in more limited ways. Then, once their immune system kills the infection, the bond breaks, and they need to reform it. In the reading, we see a woman changing a goblet of liquid into other types of liquid (Soulcasting/Transformation?) and others are able to float/fly (Gravitation?) or see the future (perhaps Odium's influence/Moelach?)

3.  Boon/curse: On Roshar, people can go to the Nightwatcher and receive a boon and a curse. From the WoB above, at least some of the powers on Ashyn work the same way. You get the power to float a city, but you go deaf while having that power.

4. Echoes: (Wild speculation) I also theorize that the Echoes are from the accumulation of the dead bacteria's spiritwebs. We've never seen what happens if a spren permanently dies while being bonded to a Radiant. Since it seems likely that the Radiant and spren's spiritwebs are partially merged (more and more) as the bond grows, I'm thinking that if the spren dies, a piece of their spiritweb would be left in the Radiant. If this is the case, then the bacteria or viruses that are dying while bonded to the Corpsperson might be leaving behind tiny spiritwebs of their own. With enough time, that accumulation could cause the Echoes that they experience.

 

Thoughts?

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@RShara Nice theory :-) My own was that the magic was a combination of Odium and Cultivation's presence in the background altering the magic, so you have both cultivated infections, but the hatred of being sick.

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31 minutes ago, Ixthos said:

@RShara Nice theory :-) My own was that the magic was a combination of Odium and Cultivation's presence in the background altering the magic, so you have both cultivated infections, but the hatred of being sick.

Hmmm interesting. I think there's more a strong influence of H&C, and a possible weaker influence from Odium, myself. The seeing the future could easily be from Cultivation, instead of Odium.

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@RShara I don't know how much the different powers can be used to map to the shard - shards control how the power is accessed, but not the power, so Ruin, with weak future sight, or relatively weak, still granted future sight with Atium, etc.

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My issue with the boon and curse thing is the lack of information we have.

On Roshar both boon and curse are supernaturally imposed, whereas the deafness on Ashyn seems likely to be a side effect of tbe disease, with the "boon" being the only magical part.

Aside from that I like the theory and it certainly seems likely that two nearby Shards would do something to Ashyn's magic system.

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Posted (edited)

I think Ashyn's magic has to be powered by Honor/Cultivation.  The magic system there has all the hallmarks of that of a major Shardworld's (they were able to basically destroy their planet), but without any Shards in residence.  The magic has to come from somewhere, so the simplest explanation is that it's from the next planet over (i.e. Roshar).  And, as you mention, the a number of the Ashyn magics seem similar to the Rosharn Surges.  

Plus, we know that the "awareness region" for Shardic influence is approximately their solar system, so it would make sense that Honor/Cultivation would have effects on the other planets.  

I like the boon = Cultivation and bond = Honor idea.  

Edited by Scion of the Mists
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I like it.  The only thing I can contribute is that I suspect the Ashyn diseases are the equivalent of Single-Cell Spren (where lesser spren are animals and the Higher spren are sentient).  The bacterial form they had on Ashyn would be them forming a Bond to allow them to manifest in the physical realm similar to Spren on Roshar.  Without the Highstorm ecosystem to help larger spren "leak" through there were limits to what one could manifest, so they did it more as a colony of single celled beings that were more vulnerable to mundane human immunity systems. 

Does that jive with how you are imagining things?

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Posted (edited)

It would be interesting if The Old Magic was magic from Ashyn, and that that a Spren representing "where we came from" formed on Roshar. THis  would explain why the Old Magic is so different, and why the Nightwatcher looks so peculiar. 

Edited by teknopathetic
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Posted (edited)

On 1/4/2019 at 1:39 PM, RShara said:

4. Echoes: (Wild speculation) I also theorize that the Echoes are from the accumulation of the dead bacteria's spiritwebs. We've never seen what happens if a spren permanently dies while being bonded to a Radiant. Since it seems likely that the Radiant and spren's spiritwebs are partially merged (more and more) as the bond grows, I'm thinking that if the spren dies, a piece of their spiritweb would be left in the Radiant. If this is the case, then the bacteria or viruses that are dying while bonded to the Corpsperson might be leaving behind tiny spiritwebs of their own. With enough time, that accumulation could cause the Echoes that they experience.

I've been theorizing in my head a bit about these Echoes we see in the sample chapter. My idea is that they are akin to the voices Szeth and Dalinar hear. My reasoning is predicated in part on a couple complicated theories of mine involving Unmade influence, but long story short cause I'm in a rush, the unmade seem to be involved in magical hallucinations (like people seeing things when deeply under the Thrill) and madness and I think this might be a related phenomenon, not caused by Unmade but maybe coming from the same magical ballpark. Reference WoB below:

Quote

Blightsong [PENDING REVIEW]

People tend to hear a lot of voices on Roshar in their heads. And I've noticed that a lot of people either have been confirmed to be in contact with Unmade or show a lot of signs of that. Is there a correlation there?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

Yes.

 

Edited by Blightsong
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25 minutes ago, teknopathetic said:

 

It would be interesting if The Old Magic was magic from Ashyn, and that that a Spren representing "where we came from" formed on Roshar. THis  would explain why the Old Magic is so different, and why the Nightwatcher looks so peculiar. 

 

You never know, you could be right.  But a lot of people think the Old Magic seems more like direct shardic intervention rather than a complete magic system.  There aren’t really any rules guiding the old magic except that you always get one boon and one bane.  And that could just be the result of Cultivation’s nature, and her desire to make people grow.  

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Another thing to consider, Ashyn disease magic could just be pure Cultivation without the presence of Honor in the equation. No honor means no oaths to consider, and I feel like it's been hinted that the lack of oaths are why early surgebinders were able to devastate Ashyn to begin with. 

The use of the immune system feels very Cultivation-y to me in a natural, get stronger or die trying sort of way.

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21 hours ago, Quantus said:

I like it.  The only thing I can contribute is that I suspect the Ashyn diseases are the equivalent of Single-Cell Spren (where lesser spren are animals and the Higher spren are sentient).  The bacterial form they had on Ashyn would be them forming a Bond to allow them to manifest in the physical realm similar to Spren on Roshar.  Without the Highstorm ecosystem to help larger spren "leak" through there were limits to what one could manifest, so they did it more as a colony of single celled beings that were more vulnerable to mundane human immunity systems. 

Does that jive with how you are imagining things?

I'm not sure. The use of Incubators makes me thing the bacteria are always present and looking for hosts.

10 hours ago, Solant said:

Another thing to consider, Ashyn disease magic could just be pure Cultivation without the presence of Honor in the equation. No honor means no oaths to consider, and I feel like it's been hinted that the lack of oaths are why early surgebinders were able to devastate Ashyn to begin with. 

The use of the immune system feels very Cultivation-y to me in a natural, get stronger or die trying sort of way.

It's possible, but I think that H+C are pretty intrinsically tied together in the entire Rosharan system.

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