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What came first

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 How did elantris start. Were their Aon Dor users before the city.

Secret history spoilers

Spoiler

Were they more like the elantrians In secret history?

 Or did people discover the Aons had power and built the city and elantrians started being made? Always been curious to how it was started any ideas?

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Knowledge of the Aons came before Elantris:

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Brandon Sanderson

Aons are an interesting part of this book–perhaps my favorite of the world elements. If you think about the system I've set up, you'll realize some things. First, the Aons have to be older than the Aonic language. They're based directly off of the land. So, the lines that make up the characters aren't arbitrary. Perhaps the sounds associated with them are, but the meanings–at least in part–are inherent. The scene with Raoden explaining how the Aon for "Wood" includes circles matching the forests in the land of Arelon indicates that there is a relationship between the Aons and their meanings. In addition, each Aon produces a magical effect, which would have influenced its meaning.

The second interesting fact about the Aons is that only Elantrians can draw them. And Elantrians have to come from the lands near Arelon. Teoish people can be taken, but only if they're in Arelon at the time. Genetically, then, the Teos and the Arelenes must be linked–and evidence seems to indicate that the Arelenes lived in the land first, and the Teos crossed the sea to colonize their peninsula.

Only Elantrians can draw Aons in the air, so someone taken by the Shaod must have developed the writing system. That is part of what makes writing a noble art in Arelon–drawing the Aons would have been associated with Elantrians. Most likely, the early Elantrians (who probably didn't even have Elantris back then) would have had to learn the Aons by trial and error, finding what each one did, and associating its meaning and sound with its effect. The language didn't develop, but was instead "discovered."

There are likely Aons that haven't even been found yet.

Elantris Annotations (Feb. 14, 2006)
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Brandon Sanderson

Weak Aons

Elantris is like a massive power conduit. It focuses the Dor, strengthening its power (or, rather, the power of the Aons to release it) in Arelon. This far away from Elantris, however, the Aons are about as powerful as they were before Raoden fixed Elantris.

If you consider it, it makes logical sense that the Aons would be tied to Elantris and Arelon, yet would work without them. The Aons had to exist before Elantris–otherwise, the original Elantrians wouldn't have known the shape to make the city. Their study of AonDor taught them a method for amplifying Aon power.

Elantris Annotations (May 12, 2006)

The exact details of the city's creation is (almost certainly) connected with Sel's resident Shards and thus something we'll probably learn more about once Brandon starts revealing more information in the sequels. We're in a holding pattern there until at least 2024 according to the most recent State of the Sanderson, since he's not planning on working on them until The Lost Metal and Stormlight 5 are out, the latter being planned for 'Fall 2023'.

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Yup, there were Aon Dor users before Elantris itself was built.

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Questioner

Was the wall around Elantris soulcast?

Brandon Sanderson

Ah, good question! It was not soulcast. Excellent question.

Questioner 2

*Inaudible* find out later, maybe?

Brandon Sanderson

Their own magic was involved in the creation of Elantris. The local magic was involved.

Legion Release Party (Sept. 19, 2018)
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chalkonthewall

In Elantris did Elantris ever not exist? like before it was built did the Shaod choose people? and if it did was their power the same? I'm mostly asking that if they were to build another Elantris in Teod would Elantrians be just as powerful over there?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, there is a point where Elantrians didn't exist. Excellent question. The rest is a RAFO.

Stormlight Three Update #5 (Nov. 20, 2016)

 

Brandon himself said it best:

Quote

Brandon Sanderson

Weak Aons

Elantris is like a massive power conduit. It focuses the Dor, strengthening its power (or, rather, the power of the Aons to release it) in Arelon. This far away from Elantris, however, the Aons are about as powerful as they were before Raoden fixed Elantris.

If you consider it, it makes logical sense that the Aons would be tied to Elantris and Arelon, yet would work without them. The Aons had to exist before Elantris–otherwise, the original Elantrians wouldn't have known the shape to make the city. Their study of AonDor taught them a method for amplifying Aon power.

Elantris Annotations (May 12, 2006)

 

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I have been wondering about this for some time, were the Elantrians before Elantris the sickly half spotted ones in the story, or were they shiney blue, did the Elantrians build the city or a shard, so many questions.

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On 1/5/2020 at 2:03 AM, Weltall said:

Knowledge of the Aons came before Elantris:

The exact details of the city's creation is (almost certainly) connected with Sel's resident Shards and thus something we'll probably learn more about once Brandon starts revealing more information in the sequels. We're in a holding pattern there until at least 2024 according to the most recent State of the Sanderson, since he's not planning on working on them until The Lost Metal and Stormlight 5 are out, the latter being planned for 'Fall 2023'.

All Dor magics came about after the shards were shattered and shoved rudderless into the Cognitive Realm, and the Seons of elantris in particular were created by that event itself.  They will be connected with that mass (if that was you meant), but Im not sure anything will have survived the actual Shattering of the shards.  

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4 hours ago, Booknerd said:

I have been wondering about this for some time, were the Elantrians before Elantris the sickly half spotted ones in the story, or were they shiney blue, did the Elantrians build the city or a shard, so many questions.

Pre-city Elantrians would not be Reod Elantrians because the Reod was caused by a flaw in the system. Removing Elantris entirely would mean no amplifier Aon to repair, so no reason for any discoloration. 

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14 hours ago, Quantus said:

All Dor magics came about after the shards were shattered and shoved rudderless into the Cognitive Realm, and the Seons of elantris in particular were created by that event itself.  They will be connected with that mass (if that was you meant), but Im not sure anything will have survived the actual Shattering of the shards.  

I don't know, there could have been a version of AonDor before Devotion was killed.

Agreed on the Seons being born during Odium killing Devotion:

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Questioner

When you're sad, would a seon, especially when you're a kid, would it like nuzzle you and tell you nice things?

Brandon Sanderson

It would definitely tell you nice things. Seons barely have any weight to them, and touch, and so nuzzling is not a natural instinct, I would say, for them... But they will definitely comfort you.

Questioner

Okay. So they're not born?

Brandon Sanderson

No, not really anymore. They were all created kind of around the same point.

MisCon 2018 (May 26, 2018)

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Kogiopsis (paraphrased)

How long before the events of Elantris did Odium kill Aona/Devotion and Skai/Dominion?

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

Same time as the origins of the seons.

Footnote: Kogiopsis: This was the second-closest I came to getting RAFO'd. He was sort of jovially apologetic about this answer; I tried to get a solid number of years but to no avail.
Rithmatist Denver signing (May 16, 2013)

I do take issue with the phrasing "Seons of Elantris", why put it like that? 

Edited by Honorless
underlined for clarification
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10 hours ago, Honorless said:

I don't know, there could have been a version of AonDor before Devotion was killed.

How?  It's based on the shapes of the metaphysical blood splatter of their murder, and function like No other magic ever has with fundamentally different rules by virtue of being sourced in the Cognitive Realm rather than the Spiritual, with a corresponding Cognitive Focus (symbols).

10 hours ago, Honorless said:

I do take issue with the phrasing "Seons of Elantris", why put it like that? 

The subset of Seons that are involved in Elantris, Elantrians, and the AonDor.  Wasnt trying to imply that the entire species was part of Elantris, if that's what you mean.

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2 hours ago, Quantus said:

How?  It's based on the shapes of the metaphysical blood splatter of their murder, and function like No other magic ever has with fundamentally different rules by virtue of being sourced in the Cognitive Realm rather than the Spiritual, with a corresponding Cognitive Focus (symbols).

We do see symbols appearing as a natural part of other Investiture systems (Surgebinding), though not involved as heavily as AonDor, it might be a good indicator of a Cognitive Realm based source or conduit of power, good catch there

I believe Selish magics' focus very much were symbols even before D&D's death, it's just the region-specificity (in form & function) that was introduced to them afterwards. The Surges were very much a part of the Rosharan system before the Shards' arrival, weren't they?

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1 hour ago, Honorless said:

The Surges were very much a part of the Rosharan system before the Shards' arrival, weren't they?

Not that we know of.  The Highstorm, the investiture Cycle, and Stormlight in Gems all predate the Shards (and the Shattering of Adonalsium, for that matter).  But also, Roshar is its own corner case, since it was intensionally created by adonalsium for some purpose, and currently has unnatural processes that will eventually wind down (fractal continent, unnatural planetary orbits).  If I recall correctly the Ashyn magic was supposed to be based on some form of Surges, but I was pretty sure they werent the same 10

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The Surges were very much a part of the Rosharan system before the Shards' arrival, weren't they?

Not that we know of.  The Highstorm, the investiture Cycle, and Stormlight in Gems all predate the Shards (and the Shattering of Adonalsium, for that matter).  But also, Roshar is its own corner case, since it was intensionally created by adonalsium for some purpose, and currently has unnatural processes that will eventually wind down (fractal continent, unnatural planetary orbits).  If I recall correctly the Ashyn magic was supposed to be based on some form of Surges, but I was pretty sure they werent the same 10

That's speculation

Should we continue our discussion here, on your thread?:

or here on Oltux's:

It's disorienting having the same debate across multiple topics.

Edited by Honorless
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