6 posts in this topic

Now that the Dawnshard spoiler period has ended...


(0.) TL;DR

I believe Dawnshards grant microkinesis. Whether this is the only requirement to access it, whether this is the only way to get microkinesis, and whether this is even still canon are all questions left unaddressed by this theory, though I have my own opinions on them.

(I believe the answers are "no", "probably yes", and "probably yes", respectively. The first is due to Rysn, the second is due to a line from Hoid in Dragonsteel Ch. 14, the last is part of a whole other post that I need to write after this one.)

(1.) [REDACTED]

Spoiler

Here, I will be going over every redaction in the Bridge Four samples from Prime on Brandon's site (even the ones not necessarily related to microkinesis). This may be a bit of a long one.

(1.1) Chapter 25: Bridge Four 1

Spoiler
Quote

Frost sighed, looking out over the Shattered Plains. The sight was familiar to him; though, admittedly, [REDACTED]. The land was a dear old friend to Frost, no matter what face it chose to put on. Looking at the Shattered Plains, however, he felt a special affection well in his heart. Not for the Plains themselves; to him those only represented Dragonsteel and death. They did, however, remind him of a place nearby, a place he had once called home.

This one doesn't actually bear any relation to Jerick's powers, but is interesting nonetheless. Presumably, this is a hint at his nature as a dragon. "not from this angle", perhaps?

(1.2) Chapter 31: Bridge Four 4

Spoiler
Quote

The world lost its focus. Then, suddenly, it snapped back into place—back into place in a way that Jerick only vaguely remembered from his former life. The world became [REDACTED]. The arrow hovered in the air, moving slowly toward his breast. Its shaft no longer wood, but [REDACTED]. Its tip was the cold dun gray of iron.

It's confirmed later in the book (chapter 37) that this is looking through the Cognitive to a degree, which makes sense with this description. Also, microkinesis allows seeing and manipulating subatomic particles[3], so perhaps that's what it looks like to him.

Quote

[REDACTED] hummed in his mind, [REDACTED].

Go, Jerick felt himself urge.

[REDACTED]

Then, the world was back.

(The arrow disappears, here.) Well. This is a juicy one. I'll be coming back to it later.

Quote

Part of him was incredibly disturbed by what had just happened. He had only barely discovered [REDACTED], still uncertain of whether to accept it as good or evil, when the events at the palace forced him to leave.

Probably just says "microkinesis". Superstition against magic and stuff. (Also, interesting way of phrasing that latter part, considering everyone else told you not to go, but oh well, self-awareness may be too much to expect yet.)

Quote

Yet, another part of him—strangely, the part trained by Vendavius—was curious about [REDACTED] what he had done. Experiment, it urged. Find out what you can do. Use it.

Not sure what word fits there, honestly, but it's clearly talking about practicing with his power to find out what all it can do. Nothing super suspicious, though I really want to know the exact phrasing, because I'm kind of scratching my head here trying to work out something that both grammatically fits but could need redaction.

Curious who Vendavius is. The scholar from Chapter 1, perhaps? (Based entirely on the fact the other mention of him, in Ch. 28, calls him a scholar.)

(1.3) Chapter 33: Bridge Four 5

Spoiler
Quote

After the second death, following their fourth run, Jerick had realized his selfishness. He had been forced to confront his own strange abilities, realizing that no matter how distasteful [REDACTED] was, he couldn’t justify ignoring it when men were dying.

Similar to the previous ones. He doesn't like using the power, but will use it if he must to save people.

Quote

From that moment on, he had gone into battles [REDACTED].

Not sure on what the exact wording is, but the gist is clear.

Quote

Unfortunately, he had never been able to reproduce the extraordinary events of before, when he had destroyed the arrow. [REDACTED] It was almost as if a piece of him were holding back. He wasn’t certain what he had done that once, but he was beginning to feel that he would never be able to do it again.

So he has difficulty actually changing things with the power. The positioning of the redaction makes it seem like an entire sentence was cut out, which is interesting. Probably goes into a bit more detail on what happens when he tries. If this theory is true, then perhaps the Command isn't responding or something.

Quote

Not that [REDACTED] wasn’t proving useful. “Don’t touch that one, Gathban,” Jerick warned.

Gathban, a squat, overweight Kaz’ch, looked up with surprise. He had been reaching to move a still-rotting corpse out of the way, trying to get to a glimmer of metal underneath.

Jerick looked at the body, [REDACTED]. He could sense small—but still intricate—[REDACTED] crawling across the corpse’s skin. He had seen the same things on the body of a man dying of the dark fever.

Sounds like he can see germs, which fits what we know of the power reasonably well. The fact they're "intricate" backs up the idea he's seeing on an even smaller level than their cells themselves.

Quote

“Yes sir, Dent replied, reaching to put the skeleton in the sack. The first bone his hand fell on, however was a long, thin one that came to a point at both tips.

“Wait,” Jerick said, feeling a coldness about him. Though he was not looking [REDACTED], he could sense the pulses of energy coming from the bone. The Tamu Kek. “I’ve warned you about that bone, Dente. Leave it behind, but take the rest.”

Wonder what specifically microkinesis would do here? Maybe see something specific off compared to a normal bone that makes it clear it's the Tamu Kek?

Quote

In a moment of curiosity, he [REDACTED]. The creature’s armor was nothing more than painted steel—not Dragonsteel.

It makes sense that he can tell this, nothing new here.

Quote

Jerick couldn’t be certain the creature itself wasn’t an illusion—he had tried looking at illusions [REDACTED], but they looked the same as anything else, [REDACTED]. The illusions were detailed enough to fool even his abilities.

Interesting, makes sense with the explanation of the powers that's provided later. The first redaction is probably "in the other world" or something similar. Latter might describe what it looks like more, perhaps? Nothing super noteworthy about the nature of his power here.

Quote

The Lord of the War slammed into the human ranks, laying about him with an enormous weapon that was some cross between a sword and an axe—a construction that was short in length but at least four handspans thick and covered with wicked barbs and spikes. Jerick didn’t need [REDACTED] to know the blade was forged of Dragonsteel—its edge sheared through men’s armor like an oar through water, splitting soldiers completely in half with nearly every swing. Within a few minutes, the battle was over, the men retreating across their bridges.

Pretty much just the same as the last one.

(1.4) Chapter 25: Bridge Four 6

Spoiler
Quote

Jerick shifted visions, [REDACTED]. This had better work, he thought as the spear plunged toward his chest.

Peeking into the Cognitive, though probably not that exact phrasing. Nothing special here, though the next set of juicy bits are coming riiight up.

Quote

He commanded the spear to [REDACTED], as he once had the arrow, months ago. Nothing happened.

"commanded", eh? But the command he gave was....

Quote

Go! Jerick ordered, without result. [REDACTED]! his mind wailed ineffectually.

...yeah, that's the command he gave last time too. "Go". And a redacted command, too. I'll be coming back to this one for sure.

Quote

Then, just before the spear hit him, he felt something else. It was like a force, a force that surrounded him, similar to the force that held all of the [REDACTED]. He couldn’t see it, not even [REDACTED], but he could feel that it wanted to leave him. It wanted to escape into the ground. A lesser force was also pulling it toward the Sho Del warrior—or rather, Jerick realized, not the Sho Del, but his armor.

I don't know what the exact thing he said is likely to be, but this is right before he summons lightning, and it's attracted to the dude's armor, so he's probably sensing electricity here. Not sure why it's coming from Jerick, though. (I imagine "the force that held all of the [REDACTED]" maybe could be talking about molecules? At least to my understanding, those are held together by the electromagnetic force, right? But my sciencey knowledge isn't very great.)

Quote

Go there! Jerick thought, indicating the armor. Not knowing quite how he did so, Jerick released the force.

There was an explosive clap and a flash of light so bright, that Jerick screamed in pain. Then there was a thump beside him. He shook his head, trying to clear the bright streak from his eyes. From the edges of his vision, Jerick could make out the form of the Sho Del warrior, dead on the ground. Its breastplate was charred and black, and the smell of burnt flesh was heavy in the air.

There's no redaction here, but it immediately follows the previous paragraph. He seems to command the probably-electricity to go towards the warrior, and it blasts them hard.

Quote

Drephrast, god of the Sho Del, continued to watch the humans for a long moment. Then, it turned its unreadable eyes back on the Sho Del, who, en mass, lay prostrate on the ground before it. Jerick heard a faint buzzing in the back of his mind, like someone yelling a great distance away.

Enough, Ethain, a powerful, and aged, voice said in Jerick’s mind. They have earned their escape.

The Lord of the War regarded Jerick for a moment. Then he spun, marching back through the prostrate Sho Del. The dragon turned eyes on Jerick, [REDACTED]. Then Drephrast launched himself into the air again, leaving stunned humans and penitent Sho Del. A few moments later, the Fain creatures rose and turned their backs on the humans, retreating toward their own land.

This one isn't directly about the powers, either, but is also interesting. I'm not sure what the buzzing is. The redaction here could be a lot of things, but I'm not sure what exactly I think it is. Might have to do with his Cognitive senses, might be it recognizes him or something, etc.

(1.5) Chapter 37: Bridge Four 7

Spoiler
Quote

Tzern didn’t answer immediately, instead sitting with a contemplative look on his face. “All right, then, Jerick,” he finally said. “Now that is resolved, perhaps you can answer a more perplexing question for me. How, in the middle of a cloudless day, did a bolt of lightning strike down that Shen Da rider just before it killed you?”

Jerick felt himself grow cold. “I don’t know, my lord,” he answered truthfully.

“I listened to your men as we marched back to the camp,” Tzern continued. “They say the White One himself attends and protects you.”

“The priests say he watches over all of us,” Jerick responded.

“Isn’t it curious, then,” Tzern continued, “that lightning is not the tool of Oren, but of his brother Keth the Black?”

No redactions here, but it's relevant. This confirms that what Jerick did at the very least looked like a bolt of lightning. The part about "Keth the Black" might be lore about the backstory of his power, but there's not enough to take away anything specific for certain.

Quote

Tzern’s eyes caught Jerick’s and held them for a long moment, as if searching for something. Finally, the tall Tzend turned away. “Regardless, one thing is obvious. You are no average lumberman. I saw you jump through the center of that Sho Del illusion.”

“Sir?” Jerick asked with perplexment. “It was only an illusion; it wasn’t really there.”

“Ah,” Tzern replied, “but even knowing that, most men cannot force themselves to do such a thing... Men often die from Sho Del illusions. Most soldiers, jumping as you did, would have convinced themselves that instead of passing through the illusion, they had run into it. They would have fallen to the ground, as if knocked unconscious.”

“I don’t know how to respond, sir,” Jerick confessed. “I knew it was an illusion and that I couldn’t let it distract me.”

“A good enough answer,” Tzern decided.

Once again, not redacted, but likely relevant to the nature of Jerick's power. Seems he has some sort of resistance to the deadliest part of the visions, or increased ability to ignore them? Probably related to what Frost later says about people having Cognitive sides of varying strengths.

Quote

“It has to do with the nature of Sho Del illusion, Young Master,” Frost explained, noting Jerick’s continued confusion. “The Sho Del do not send images themselves, they just project an imprint into your head—a general set of instructions. Your own mind translates those instructions, creating the things you see. Each person who sees a Sho Del illusion is really creating the image in their own mind, assembling it from the things they have seen before. That’s why the illusions seem so real. A person can know logically that he is seeing an illusion, but since his own mind is creating it, filling in every necessary detail, it can still feel completely tangible to him.”

This actually goes in the ellipses of the above quote, but I wanted to get it separate. This part explains why it can fool Jerick's power, why the visions are so personalized, that sort of thing. I imagine this is pretty important, but I won't be diving into it here.

Quote

“Not exactly,” Frost corrected, holding a finger into the air. “The Sho Del tend to have powerful Cognitive sides, true, but they exist primarily in the Physical realm, just like humans. Men can have powerful Cognitive sides as well, though humans vary wildly from person to person. Some have more Cognitive power than even the greatest of Sho Del, others have so little they are only slightly better than a rock.”

“I’ve met a few of those,” Jerick mumbled.

Frost smiled. “You, Young Master, appear to have a strong Cognitive side.”

I would guess this "strong Cognitive side" is likely why he can resist the illusions enough to survive them.

Quote

“How can you tell?”

“Because [REDACTED] is Cognitive magic. When you look at the world [REDACTED], what you are really doing is looking through the eyes of your Cognitive self. Almost like you have slipped into the Cognitive Realm for a moment, and are peeking out at the Physical world.”

Here's the explanation on how the sight works, at least to an extent. Still doesn't tell us what it looks like (though WoBs already give some kind of idea).

Quote

“And when I use [REDACTED] to . . . change things?” Jerick asked quietly.

Frost paused. “I wasn’t aware you had gotten that far,” he admitted. “The essence of [REDACTED] is changing things—using Cognitive energy to make alterations in the Physical world.”

Sounds almost like Soulcasting. Though, Soulcasting working with atom vision.

 

There's some more really interesting things in that chapter, but not much related to Jerick's power itself.

(2.) Topaz and Jerick

Spoiler

On the page from Prime that Brandon showed on the livestream[2], Topaz (aka Hoid[4], but the book calls him Topaz), Bat'Chor, and Frost have a relevant conversation:

Quote

Topaz didn't stop his string of curses. "I search all this time, Bat'Chor, and I finally discover another human who can do microkinesis, and he runs off like a Lords-cursed idiot!"

"You are certain?" Bat'Chor asked. "He ees like you?"

"Yes."

"No," Frost corrected, watching Jerick ride away with discerning eyes. "He's not like you, Topaz. You have the power of life—this one has the power of destruction. He worries me."

Topaz frowned at the observation. "How do you—"

Big takeaways:

  1. Microkinesis is so rare (at least among humans) that Topaz has not managed to find anyone else with it until Jerick.
  2. Jerick and Topaz have different, though related, microkinetic powers.

(3.) The Actual Theory

Spoiler

Alright, I lied. Not the theory yet, there's one more crucial thing: according to Brandon, "the primary story of Dragonsteel... was about several people who unwittingly become Dawnshards".[5]

Okay, I've put that very important line in here, now let's get to the theory:

  • Topaz and Jerick are Dawnshards, though they do not understand this. Topaz was definitely a Dawnshard at some point, and Jerick is the main character. The Dawnshards Brandon speaks of are probably them.
    • I believe Ryalla probably is too, mainly because her PoV[2] gave me "recurring major character" vibes (though I could be wrong and it's a one-off or close to it, like I feel Frost's[1] probably is)
  • Frost's mentions of "the power of life" and "the power of destruction" are the themes of the Dawnshards they hold, respectively.
  • When Jerick destroys things by commanding something to "go", he is sending part of the Command of destruction out to them. This is why his powers are the "power of destruction": he's limited (or at least strongly restrained) by what the Command itself is capable of.
    • This explains the [REDACTED] humming in his mind right before destroying the arrow, as well.
    • A loud voice screaming DESTROY in his mind every time he tries to use his power probably would contribute to him thinking it's evil, lol. (Though this explanation isn't necessary; it could be just superstition about magic.)
  • The reason Jerick can see into the Cognitive is due to the Dawnshard, which grants him such a powerful Cognitive side he can actually consciously perceive through the eyes of his Cognitive self. (Why does it show him atoms/subatomic particles? Who knows, the Cognitive Realm is weird. Maybe he's sort of overlapping both, and is seeing the Cognitive aspects of the particles, but in their Physical locations. Or maybe Yolen's Cognitive just is that way.)

As for why Hoid specifies he hasn't found another human with microkinesis specifically, I have two possible thoughts:

  • One, he's met a Sho Del or dragon Dawnshard.
  • Two, he's met a Sho Del or dragon with a power that might seem related, but he doesn't understand the power deeply enough to realize it's something fundamentally different.

(I.) References

Spoiler

(The first two mostly cover things embedded directly into the relevant portions of the theory, and so they will not be embedded here.)

  1. Dragonsteel Prime sample chapters (Bridge Four)
  2. My transcription of the pages from the New Years stream
  3. Stormlight Three Update #4 (Oct. 19, 2016)
    Spoiler

    ccstat

    There IS historical precedent of accidentally setting off fission reactions in the cosmere using the magic

    Now this is a story I look forward to hearing :-)

    Brandon Sanderson

    One of the first magic systems I designed for the cosmere was based on the manipulation of sub-atomic particles, and involved the ability to look directly at atoms and interact with them. I decided to back off on this, as it was a whopper of a magic system to get right with my limited (at the time) writing experience. It was fun, though, and is still a canonical Cosmere magic.

  4. Shadows of Self release party (Oct. 5, 2015)
    Spoiler

    Questioner 1

    In The Way of Kings, when Hoid is talking to Kaladin and he says his name is Hoid, he said that he took the name from someone else.

    Brandon Sanderson

    He did.

    Questioner 1

    So why is he Hoid in everything else?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Hoid is not his original name.

    Questioner 1

    So...

    Questioner 2

    Does he still go by his original name ever?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I don't know if you've ever seen his original name.

    Questioner 2

    I've read your Master's thesis [Dragonsteel Prime].

    Brandon Sanderson

    Oh, he doesn't go by the name that is in there very often but there are people who know him by that name.

    Questioner 1

    What is his original name?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Well he's assuming that the name he is using in there is actually his original name. He's using the name Cephandrius. Which you're assuming is his original.

    Questioner 2

    Closer to the truth than Hoid is.

    Brandon Sanderson

    It is closer to the truth...

    Questioner 2

    Cephandrius is closer to his original name than Hoid, it's an earlier alias.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Well Hoid was one of his very first aliases.

    Questioner 2

    So I stand corrected.

    Brandon Sanderson

    But, Cephandrius is more him.

    Questioner 2

    Does he still go by his nickname he got.

    Brandon Sanderson

    To some people, Topaz.

    Peter Ahlstrom

    Cephandrius Maxtori.

  5. Dawnshard Annotations (Nov. 6, 2020)

    Spoiler

    Brandon Sanderson

    Hoid was a Dawnshard at some point in the deep past, and the reason he (even still) cannot physically harm people, or even eat meat, is related to the changes this made to his spirit. (Consider this the same fundamental principle as savanthood.) The few of you who have read Dragonsteel know that him being a Dawnshard was also the source of his immortality in that book, though the terms were different back then. (The word Dawnshard was never mentioned, for example--though the primary story of Dragonsteel (which is no longer cannon) was about several people who unwittingly become Dawnshards.)

    And a preemptive RAFO to all questions on this point. :)

Edited by LewsTherinTelescope
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Good theory. Ive had the same thoughts for a while too.

Brandon has said(not recently) that Microkinesis is still a canon magic but it doesn't work anymore after the Shattering. maybe it has something to do with the fact that the dawnshards seem to be different after the shattering?

in Dawnshard we learned they were used to "undo"/kill Ado.
And through WoB we also know that the weapon used to kill Ado isnt in its orginal form anymore. It was "expended"

Edited by Chaos
Removing unreleased info
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I have removed some information that is not publicly available, sorry. Keep things to the publicly released stuff.

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On 2/12/2021 at 4:10 PM, Chaos said:

I have removed some information that is not publicly available, sorry. Keep things to the publicly released stuff.

Thanks, particularly since this is now linked to in theory posts outside the "unpublished works" section.

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@Eternal Khol, DM me the unreleased info u found? *makes pitiable anime eyes*

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1 hour ago, Honorless said:

@Eternal Khol, DM me the unreleased info u found? *makes pitiable anime eyes*

I would, But I dont even remember what it was i said.

must not have been too important lol

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