The Traveller

Awakening + Healing

11 posts in this topic

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In the midst of the rubble were a pair of corpses.  One was Blushweaver, bloody and red, face down.  The other was Lightsong, his entire body drained of color.  Like he was a Lifeless. His eyes were closed, and he seemed to sleep, as if at peace. 

So, this got me thinking. We know that Lightsong died healing Susebron. We know for a fact that all the Returned specifically Hellandren Gods can heal one person but in doing so they give up their life. 

Heightenings also provide self-healing. But, i have been thinking that normal Awakening using breaths should be able to heal other people as well.

Spoiler

Much like Regrowth healing of Truthwatchers and Edgedancers

What would be the requirements for healing using awakening? 

- Breaths: LS had the fifth heightening because of his divine breath

- Colour: His entire body is drained of colour.

 

Anyone with enough breaths to grant the fifth heightening should be able to heal other people. LS is doing awakening only in some way taking colour from his body, it is different from normal awakening, but, i dont see why the same can not be accomplished using breaths. 

If a returned has more breath than his divine breath, they might not even die healing people. 

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I dont think so, for a couple reasons.  For one, the Healing capability of divine breath is pretty specific, to the point where Returned have tried and failed to use their Deathwish miracle for something other than healing and failed.   And from a Doylistic perspective, Brandon has said the way that "supercharged" healing doesnt violate his own Laws of writing about having limitations on magic is that it can only be done Once, then you die.  Given that is the specific narrative limitation on the healing effect, I dont anticipate him making it so easy to mimic with the 5th Heightening alone. 

 

 

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Questioner

When you transfer divine Breath, is it possible to have it result in something other than healing?

Brandon Sanderson

Lots of things are possible. Let's just say that that is not something people know how to do, and they have tried to do something else.

Skyward Chicago signing (Nov. 16, 2018)

 

 

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Questioner

Given Sanderson's Laws about limitations...

Brandon Sanderson

Yes.

Questioner

What would you say are any spiritual, cognitive, and or physical limitations to a Returned's healing ability?

Brandon Sanderson

That they can do it once.

Questioner

That they can do it once, and that's it?

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah, right? The Returned get one heal and then they die. That's a pretty big limitation. Like you have to choose really well. However, what they can heal is bounded by cosmere limitations on healing, but it is a supercharged version.

Questioner

Okay. Could you define more cosmere limitations on healing?

Brandon Sanderson

Cosmere limitations on healing can be affected by your own perception.

Questioner

Okay. Cognitive stuff.

Brandon Sanderson

Cognitive stuff. And so there's a part of that, and... But that's really-- cognitive interferes. And if your spirit is gone? Right? Cosmere healing, you know, if your spirit is passed on you just get a dead body even though you've healed it.

Questioner

So potentially Vasher, having a much greater cosmere knowledge than others could potentially have a much greater usage of that healing than regular--

Brandon Sanderson

Well the healing-- What I mean by that is yourself. You impose limits. So the person being healed can impose some limits on the healing working. It doesn't happen as often as I'm making it sound. But, you know-- why Kaladin's scars have not healed, right? So Kaladin being hit by a Returned would still not heal his scars. He's got a major hangup about those scars.

Footnote: The questioner seems to have been asking about cosmere healing in general for Returned, but Brandon focused on their ability to give up their Divine Breath to heal somebody else.
Arcanum Unbounded release party (Nov. 22, 2016)


 

 

 

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21 minutes ago, Quantus said:

Questioner

When you transfer divine Breath, is it possible to have it result in something other than healing?

Brandon Sanderson

Lots of things are possible. Let's just say that that is not something people know how to do, and they have tried to do something else.

But that itself suggest that more is possible. May be via divine breaths it is limited, but if you hold extra breath like vasher then you can awaken. 

23 minutes ago, Quantus said:

Questioner

What would you say are any spiritual, cognitive, and or physical limitations to a Returned's healing ability?

Brandon Sanderson

That they can do it once.

Questioner

That they can do it once, and that's it?

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah, right? The Returned get one heal and then they die. That's a pretty big limitation. Like you have to choose really well. However, what they can heal is bounded by cosmere limitations on healing, but it is a supercharged version.

 

This is specifically with regard to healing by returned using divine breath.  But a normal awakener like Vivenna will not be held back by the same limitations. There are many things that awakening can do, which have never been explored. The extent of healing will depend on the congnitive and spiritual aspect of the person being healed but healing is still possible. 

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5 minutes ago, The traveller said:

But that itself suggest that more is possible. May be via divine breaths it is limited, but if you hold extra breath like vasher then you can awaken. 

This is specifically with regard to healing by returned using divine breath.  But a normal awakener like Vivenna will not be held back by the same limitations. There are many things that awakening can do, which have never been explored. The extent of healing will depend on the congnitive and spiritual aspect of the person being healed but healing is still possible. 

I guess my main point is that there are a ton of qualitative differences between a Diving Breath and simply having the 5th heightening from normal Breaths.  Having a Divine Breath mimics all the benefits of holding ~5000 Breaths, sure, but I dont think it goes the other way.  I believe there are enough examples of things that the Divine Breath can do that Breaths will not.  Combined with the WOB that Divine Breath Healing would be narratively unbalancing if it didnt require full self-sacrifice, and I strongly believe we will not see ordinary Breaths perform such a feat.  

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The Divine Breath healing is clearly capable of a couple of things that normal healing isn't.

For one thing, Susebron had his tongue cut out as an infant. He should have no self image of himself with a tongue to begin with, so the "Cognitive filter" should have kept that from being healed... But not only did it heal his tongue, it's specifically noted in the text that it did more than just healing in granting him the ability to use that tongue perfectly for speech without every having learned to do so physically. 

Generally, from what we've seen, breath provides no passive healing, just a sort of... Resilience to internal processes. 

If healing via breath is possible, which I don't see why it wouldn't be, I doubt think it will match what a divine breath can do,and it will probably be a use of awakening that actually consumes breath itself rather than just color...

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8 minutes ago, Calderis said:

If healing via breath is possible, which I don't see why it wouldn't be, I doubt think it will match what a divine breath can do,and it will probably be a use of awakening that actually consumes breath itself rather than just color...

Yes I agree with everything you just said. 

I think it should be possible but the healing would be your normal kind of healing with all the usual shenanigans required breathe, colour and command. 

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7 minutes ago, The traveller said:

Yes I agree with everything you just said. 

I think it should be possible but the healing would be your normal kind of healing with all the usual shenanigans required breathe, colour and command. 

Agreed, I could get behind that as a use of Breaths, simply of the more common type of cosmere healing with those same limitations.  

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2 hours ago, Calderis said:

The Divine Breath healing is clearly capable of a couple of things that normal healing isn't.

For one thing, Susebron had his tongue cut out as an infant. He should have no self image of himself with a tongue to begin with, so the "Cognitive filter" should have kept that from being healed... But not only did it heal his tongue, it's specifically noted in the text that it did more than just healing in granting him the ability to use that tongue perfectly for speech without every having learned to do so physically. 

Generally, from what we've seen, breath provides no passive healing, just a sort of... Resilience to internal processes. 

If healing via breath is possible, which I don't see why it wouldn't be, I doubt think it will match what a divine breath can do,and it will probably be a use of awakening that actually consumes breath itself rather than just color...

Not to mention that the Divine Breath resulting in a mega-healing if given to another person with "My life to yours, my Breath become yours" is far from the only thing it's doing or capable of doing. Aside from being enough Investiture to grant the Fifth Heightening all on its own, the Divine Breath it's constantly maintaining a link between a CR ghost and its reanimated dead body, while enforcing that person's cognitive image onto the body. And unlike a Lifeless, which is also a kind of reanimated dead body based on Endowment's Investiture, it requires continued input of more Investiture to operate - one Breath a week or its equivalent. A Lifeless never needs more Breath put into it, but a Returned does, or it's kaputsville.

And it's not like magic doesn't exist to reattach a newly deceased person back into their body. Both tapping a sufficiently large goldmind, or the Surge of Regrowth, can accomplish that. I'd guess there is some purely non-Divine Breath way for an Awakener to achieve that, with the right Command.

It's like a Returned is Endowment Awakening a dead human with a Command in such a way that requires a constant magical draw. The only other example of that we've seen is Nightblood. Hey?

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7 hours ago, robardin said:

The only other example of that we've seen is Nightblood. Hey?

I don’t think that nightblood is actually a dead person whose cognitive image has been imprinted onto the sword using command. 

For one, if it were so, then, would not nightblood have better understanding of concepts like what is evil, or human emotions etc? It sounds more like an AI with rudimentary programming regarding mimicking emotions but no underlying databanks to give context and meaning to those emotions..

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9 hours ago, The traveller said:

I don’t think that nightblood is actually a dead person whose cognitive image has been imprinted onto the sword using command

For one, if it were so, then, would not nightblood have better understanding of concepts like what is evil, or human emotions etc? It sounds more like an AI with rudimentary programming regarding mimicking emotions but no underlying databanks to give context and meaning to those emotions..

I didn't mean to suggest that, actually. In fact, I think that question has been directly put to Brandon, and he replied that Nightblood was never more than an ordinary steel sword before being Awakened by Shashara (a casual search was unable to find it near the top in the WoB Arcanum, but maybe I'll search with more keywords later).

Awakening, in general, does not consume the Breath/Investiture over time the way Stormlight infused effects do (Lashings, Lightweavings, etc.). A rope Awakened at the cost of 20 Breaths does not eventually wind down and use up the Breath, the Awakener can retrieve all 20 Breath from it no matter how much activity the rope has done while Awakened. The only exceptions are creations where the Breaths "stick" in the Awakened target, like a Lifeless, and even then, a Lifeless never needs more Breath to keep on going whether it exists for a day or for a century, just maintenance of its physical body.

I then observed that a Returned person is kind of like a Lifeless, a dead body reanimated, but one directly created by Endowment instead of by a mortal using Endowment's Investiture (Breath), and with a Spiritual/Cognitive tie restored from the original occupant of the body.  And that for some reason, unlike Awakening in general, that Returned mechanism requires constant input of Investiture to continue to function. Something is consuming Investiture there, which seems unnecessary, given how other forms of Awakening don't, and in fact, how other one-shot forms of "restoring life to the newly deceased" magic in the Cosmere don't, either.

And then there's Nightblood, an Awakened sword that also consumes Investiture, in a big way. I don't know if Nightblood needs to do that to continue to exist, the way a Returned does, or if it's something else (it's implied to be "something else" - and in Oathbringer, we have another strong hint that Vivenna's sword is a more properly Awakened sword that is "Investiture  locked" like a normal Awakened object would be).

But it is still noteworthy that they're the only two cases we've seen of an Awakened thing requiring more and more Investiture over time.

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7 minutes ago, robardin said:

I don't know if Nightblood needs to do that to continue to exist, the way a Returned does, or if it's something else (it's implied to be "something else" - and in Oathbringer, we have another strong hint that Vivenna's sword is a more properly Awakened sword that is "Investiture  locked" like a normal Awakened object would be).

But it is still noteworthy that they're the only two cases we've seen of an Awakened thing requiring more and more Investiture over time.

Ok thank you for explaining your point. 

Yes I agree. 

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