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Shard of Thought

I'm Already Dead

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I'm not usually one for theories, and I can hardly say this counts as one, but here goes. So, Preservation makes a point of saying that he's "already dead" throughout Secret History. I've always thought that he's referring to his "death" as when he locked Ati away. That's a little vague so let me explain further. Basically, it would mean that Leras was so crushed by having to do that that he let his Shard take him over, thus "killing" what consciousness Preservation's Vessel had left. I really wish I could explain this more simply. But what do you guys think?

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(Secret History spoilers to follow, but that's following suit with the OP itself, so no boxing.)

What Kelsier meets in the Cognitive Realm after death is a fraction of Preservation that is missing enough of the full Shard as to be considered a Cognitive Shadow of the Shard. And - this is key - it's missing enough of the Shardic power in a way that cannot be reacquired or merged back by Leras. But, it's enough (I'm guessing a little more than half) that it also identifies as "Preservation" and not something like on Roshar, where the Stormfather identifies as "the remnants of Honor" (though in that case, the Stormfather existed before the splintering of Honor, so maybe not quite the same parallel).

The way I understand it, Leras basically Splintered himself to create Ruin's prison, which involved mini-Splintering some of Ruin's power away as atium, and then giving a large portion of his power not sentience but its own Intent (to hold back Ruin), in a way that also required a renewal of that Intent by a proxy Vessel at the Well of Ascension every 1,024 years. In which act the Splinter would somehow leverage the full power of Preservation, to re-create the prison, then re-Splinter off.

When Vin "released the power", the prison was not renewed and Ruin was set free, but the splintered power of Preservation didn't go back to Leras and make him whole again, either. It went to mist, I guess? The point is that Leras doesn't get it back, because it was his own Intent that created the splinter in the first place. No backsies, even if the purpose for that splintering is now moot.

Which meant that the freed Ruin, minus the atium, was slightly greater in power than Preservation minus the released power of the prison, and minus the extra amount he put into Scadrian humans... Who then set about destroying Preservation, aiming to Splinter it, but it took some time to get there, enough time for Kelsier to do his thing with the Connection Bomb to take the entirety of Preservation (minus the humanity-plus part) as a new Vessel.

What's confusing is that we don't see the physical body of Leras, the Vessel of Preservation, drop into the Physical Realm until that is essentially complete, and the Cognitive Shadow of Preservation retains the personality, memories, and countenance of Leras, even as it is self-aware enough to know that it isn't the Full Monty.

Put another way: when Preservation says to Kelsier that he's "already dead", that's not Leras the Vessel speaking, who doesn't actually die, leaving behind Physical remains and passing into the Beyond, until he's fully separated from the Shard (after giving Elend one last spark of hope). That's the Shard of Preservation speaking, whereby "missing so much of myself that I'm not really a Shard any more, but a giant Splinter" is equivalent to "dead".

Edited by robardin
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