Benkinsky

Theory on Azure's blade [updated with RoW]

17 posts in this topic

So last year I had some thoughts on Azure's blade, and like with my Thaidakar theory this one also deserves an Update post-Row, only the update will be a correction, not just an extension. Prepare for some rambling:

The theory:

Azure's Blade was awakened using Valor's investiture.

 

1. The Nightblood book will feature Vasher and Vivenna visiting Valor's shardworld during their travels.

2. Either Vasher or Vivenna who learnt from him (Or Ysteel) will there awaken a new blade and use Valor's investiture to do it.

See my old theory on my thoughts on the mechanics of this, but this prediction/theory is less about Investiture mechanics and more about, uh, themes and story.

 

So, why do I think Azure's Blade is Valor-fueled:

- We've seen the major shardworlds and magic systems already. I don't have the relevant WoB on hand, but I remember that that's the status. The only "major" magic system planned to maybe be introduced still would be Aethers, we've seen the other big ones already. We've had Valor namedropped in RoW, so I doubt it will be a shard that gets its own Novel to show off the world. What better place than the Established-characters-go-worldhopping-novel to introduce us to those kinds of worlds?

- Azure's whole story in Oathbringer is so Heroic. The way her men talk about her, the way she defends this seemingly hopeless situation on a planet she isn't from and doesn't even really seem to plan to stay on. You could argue "yeah, duh, it's a fantasy novel, there's always Heroism there" and you'd be right, but I think this isn't just a coincidence.

- I think the key to understanding why Azure's blade is so different from Nightblood is that it was created with another shards investiture in it. I'm a big fan of grouping shards not into "good" and "bad". In this case, I think the distinction we need to be looking for is "involved" and "distant/apathetic", if that makes sense. What I mean by that is that Endowment, for example, gives you your breath and the rest is up to you, which is in line with her role/intent. On the other hand, the Knight's Radiant have a lot of checks and balances included in their magic system + their oaths, which line up with Honor. I believe we see a hint of Valor's character in Azure's blade:

Quote

Upon someone drawing Vivenna's Blade for the first time, they will feel a tingling sensation as the Blade investigates them.[6]

Does that remind anyone else of Mjölnir? The weapon investigating the wielder, pssibly checking to see if you are "worthy".

- We don't see the signature black smoke or any of the symptoms both Vasher and Szeth displayed when Nightblood fed on their Investiture when Azure used her blade. The black smoke seems to be because is Nightblood is filled over-the-brim with Investiture, but the other symptoms are It eating Investiture. Azure's blade didn't display that. I think this is due to two factors:

1. a different command, more refined and well-crafted than Nightblood's.

2. some kind of inherent difference, that leaves less to the Blade itself. The Blade's sentience seems to be more rudimentary than Nightbloods, whose sentience might stem in part from the character of the Investiture it was awakened with: Endowment.

 

Nightblood is already the result of using one magic system to create an hommage to another, Awakening to imitate a Shardblade. Whose to say we can't go one degree further, Awakening with Valor's investiture to imitate a Shardblade. The combination of a more refined command plus the nature of Valor's investiture result in a blade a lot less volatile.

We've seen Azure preparing to Awaken in Oathbringer. Nonetheless, the Vivenna we see in Oathbringer is a lot more confident and valorant (pun intended) than the Vivenna at the end of Warbreaker. I doubt we'll get a whole novel dedicated to Valors world, so I think we might expect to see it feature in Nightblood (book), with Vivenna learning some more things there and maybe gaining access to the resident magic system too, which might have a lot to do with/result in her motivation to a ) find Vasher and b ) help in Kholinar.

 

What do you think? Crackpot theory or reasonable expectation?

 

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Valour is a She

(I have nothing to say about your theory, could be and could not be.)

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I think it would be interesting to see a mimicked Shardblade from another Shard, but I'm not sure assuming that Azure's blade is any different other than lacking whatever chunks of Ruin got involved in Nightblood's creation (per the spoilered WOB) is the right path. There's too many routes to go down for that, including with the two still-unknown Shards.

It's a good theory though!

Spoiler

 

Quote

Walin

Does Nightblood contain any of Ruin's Investiture? Like, not atium, but...

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, technically; and I'm not wiggling around that, because technically, location in the Cosmere and who belongs to what gets really weird, right? Because Ruin's Investiture is everywhere--but I'm not talking that way. I'm talking the way you actually mean it. 

Legion Release Party (Sept. 19, 2018)

 

Edited by Invocation
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7 minutes ago, Invocation said:

I think it would be interesting to see a mimicked Shardblade from another Shard, but I'm not sure assuming that Azure's blade is any different other than lacking whatever chunks of Ruin got involved in Nightblood's creation (per the spoilered WOB) is the right path. There's too many routes to go down for that, including with the two still-unknown Shards.

It's a good theory though!

  Reveal hidden contents

 

 

If the hypothesis that a Dawnshard was used to create Nightblood is true chances are it was not the case Azure's blade

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2 hours ago, Benkinsky said:

 

Either Vasher or Vivenna who learnt from him (Or Ysteel) will there awaken a new blade and use Valor's investiture to do it.

 

 

 

1. a different command, more refined and well-crafted than Nightblood's.

 

I love the theory! There are two ideas/questions that arise as I think of it and from what we've seen of Endowment on Roshar already. We know that as a Returned, Vasher has to consume a breath a day or die. Instead of living off of a stockpile of breaths he consumes investiture in form of stormlight. Because he is investiture dependent, I don't think it matters what investiture it is. Knowing that, when he fights Kaladin, he still awaken objects, but I don't think that he just needs investiture. I think he would have to rely on the breaths that he has saved up to continue to awaken objects. (This opens another can of worms as to what an allomancer would do on Roshar with access to stormlight. Would it still work by consuming metal, or would people be able to 'breath in' stormlight to fuel allomancy. My belief is they would still need metal.) So, getting back to your theory, if they were to awaken the blade, I think they would need breaths to do it. 

2nd) If they did use breaths but supplimented it with different investiure as well. (much as nightblood has ruin in him + who knows what) I can totally see it being with Valor's investiture.  

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46 minutes ago, Shinwarrior said:

I love the theory! There are two ideas/questions that arise as I think of it and from what we've seen of Endowment on Roshar already. We know that as a Returned, Vasher has to consume a breath a day or die. Instead of living off of a stockpile of breaths he consumes investiture in form of stormlight. Because he is investiture dependent, I don't think it matters what investiture it is. Knowing that, when he fights Kaladin, he still awaken objects, but I don't think that he just needs investiture. I think he would have to rely on the breaths that he has saved up to continue to awaken objects. (This opens another can of worms as to what an allomancer would do on Roshar with access to stormlight. Would it still work by consuming metal, or would people be able to 'breath in' stormlight to fuel allomancy. My belief is they would still need metal.) So, getting back to your theory, if they were to awaken the blade, I think they would need breaths to do it. 

2nd) If they did use breaths but supplimented it with different investiure as well. (much as nightblood has ruin in him + who knows what) I can totally see it being with Valor's investiture.  

Yeah, you're totally right. To support this with some WOBs . . .

Yes, Awakening with Stormlight is very hard to do:

Quote

Questioner

In the Stormlight Archive series, we have not yet seen Vasher or Vivenna Awakening.

Brandon Sanderson

You have seen Vivenna Awaken stuff, technically. She is Awakening part of her... what's she doing, she's got her cloak out and stuff. You see <very> glimpses of it in the [third] book, so you technically have seen her. You've also seen Hoid Awakening in the epilogue. So yes, you can Awaken on Roshar, it's just been really subtle so far.

Questioner

So, does the Investiture just feed off of the...

Brandon Sanderson

You can make a Returned feed off of Stormlight very easily. You can't use Stormlight to power Awakening very easily, but if you still have those Breaths, you can use them and reclaim them.

Starsight Release Party (Nov. 26, 2019)

Vasher has not figured out how to do it:

Quote

ZenBossanova (paraphrased)

Can Vasher use Stormlight to Awaken things?

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

No, all it does is keep him alive. But he has tried and has not figured out how to Awaken things.

Firefight Phoenix signing (Jan. 21, 2015)

Allomancers can use Rosharan metals:

Quote

Questioner

The metals used in Allomancy are they naturally occurring on Roshar?

Brandon Sanderson

They do.

Brandon Sanderson

And all the alloys as well?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, the magics would...oh, all the alloys in Roshar naturally occurring… The magic of Mistborn is related to the actual metals' structure being the key. So, you can use metals from other worlds, there's no actual power in the metal. The metal is like a password.

Shadows of Self San Jose signing (Oct. 9, 2015)

And transferring one form of Investiture into another seems to be hard in general, not just for Breaths and Stormlight:

Quote

Moogle

If you used Stormlight to Awaken, would you drain color or create frost?

Brandon Sanderson

You'll have to see if this happens in the future! (Note that mixing the investitures is usually not easy to do.)

Goodreads: Ask the Author Q&A (Aug. 13, 2014)

 

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Im in the camp that the secret to Nightblood is that the 1000 Breaths plus the Command actually forged a primal Connection to a Shard, which is why it has significantly more Investiture than just the 1000 breaths themselves.  He's known to behave differently once drawn because "his Command takes force" which I think is hardcore channeling the Shardic Intent most aligned with it's Command.  In Nightblood's case Destroy Evil forged a Connection to Ruin, the primordial expression of Entropy, and that's why he destroys in all three Realms.  If Azure's blade where made with the same general method but a different Command, I could entirely see it creating a Connection to some other Shard that would then manifest different powers/effects because she's drawing from some shard other than the Ruin that is in/behind Nightblood.  

 

 

Quote

 

Brandon Sanderson

Anyway, a lot of important things happen here. Note that Nightblood doesn't remember being drawn. When he was created, the Breaths gave him sentience as planned. (That was a big part of the goal in making him—to prove the existence of Type Four BioChromatic entities.) However, once he is drawn, his Command takes force and he acts much more like a regular Awakened object—but one with very strange abilities and powers. During this time, his Breath is diverted to creating the powers, and his mind goes fuzzy.

Warbreaker Annotations (July 25, 2011)

 

 
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3 hours ago, Shinwarrior said:

(This opens another can of worms as to what an allomancer would do on Roshar with access to stormlight. Would it still work by consuming metal, or would people be able to 'breath in' stormlight to fuel allomancy. My belief is they would still need metal.)

Imo, if they became a Radiant they'd be able to sort of "plug in" Stormlight in a way similar to what one can do with the mists, like how Venli is able to take Voidlight due to being a Regal (presumably that's why, anyway) but can use it for Surgebinding due to the similarity in the way it and Stormlight work as fuel. But I doubt they'd be able to breathe in Stormlight without a bond, any more than they can breathe in the mists without whatever happened with Vin.

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We've generally seen a pretty much universal compatibility when it comes to investivores such as larkins, Returned, and Nightblood. Personally I find that very interesting, but don't quite know what to make of it. Just as humans and other animals have different stomach proteins that allow us to digest different foods from each other (the most obvious example being human's inability to digest grass) you'd think digesting different investitures would require different specializations. Anyway, that's a whole tangent in and of itself for why can Vasher survive off of just stormlight.

Back on topic, I like this idea, but partially just because I honestly want to see more of Valor. As for how supported it is, I really can't help but imagine that its main different is either going to be in command or intent. As we the readers are given a better and better understanding of realmatics, I imagine that intricacies of the magics are going become more important, and as such, I think Vivenna's blade is probably intentionally similar to Nightblood to show how significant both elements were in Nightblood's very unique creation. Nightblood has shown us that awakening+ is absurdly powerful (in this case the plus referring to that WoB that says Endowment was involved in its creation) and I think Vivenna's sword will ultimately show us how powerful awakening on its own can be, and frankly I look forward to it. Awakening has always felt like the sleeping giant of magics to me, where we can be kind of quick to dismiss its raw power due to the breath costs associated with grand effects, and I feel like we sometimes forget just how much potential it has, and we see Nightblood as terrifying anomaly. Frankly I'm expecting there will come a day when some awakening that truly surpasses Nightblood. I don't know quite what that will look like, but when Nathis reaches a technological point that there population begins spiking (not a hemalurgy reference) then there's going to be a lot more breaths in circulation. That got off topic again, but I'm okay with that for the moment.

 

WoB referenced above in regards to Nightblood's creation:

Quote

OrangeJedi

When Nightblood created, was Endowment involved in any way more than normal?

Brandon Sanderson

Good question, you qualified that the right way! I would say yes, but maybe not to the extent you're thinking.

OrangeJedi

Normal being using Endowment's Investiture to Awaken. There's something special.

Brandon Sanderson

I would say, there is something special.

Legion Release Party (Sept. 19, 2018)

 

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On 9/9/2021 at 7:19 PM, HSuperLee said:

We've generally seen a pretty much universal compatibility when it comes to investivores such as larkins, Returned, and Nightblood. Personally I find that very interesting, but don't quite know what to make of it. Just as humans and other animals have different stomach proteins that allow us to digest different foods from each other (the most obvious example being human's inability to digest grass) you'd think digesting different investitures would require different specializations. Anyway, that's a whole tangent in and of itself for why can Vasher survive off of just stormlight.

 

What is interesting is that the type of investiture doesn't matter when Investiture is being consumed, but does when it is being used to do something.  I think this might be related to energy transfer and reaction kinetics.  The consumption of Investiture releases energy, so it happens spontaneously when the chance occurs.  Using Investiture to do work requires an input of energy (hence the Frost from use of Stormlight), so it requires particular "enzymes" for the reaction to proceed.  Each type of Investiture relies on its own enzyme, which has a specific "shape" that is necessary to use that Investiture.  Initiation into a Magic system is basically the creation of that "enzyme" in the Spiritweb.  What Vasher is trying to do is to figure out how to make Stormlight fit into the enzyme for Breaths.

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On 9.9.2021 at 10:44 PM, Quantus said:

Im in the camp that the secret to Nightblood is that the 1000 Breaths plus the Command actually forged a primal Connection to a Shard, which is why it has significantly more Investiture than just the 1000 breaths themselves.  He's known to behave differently once drawn because "his Command takes force" which I think is hardcore channeling the Shardic Intent most aligned with it's Command.  In Nightblood's case Destroy Evil forged a Connection to Ruin, the primordial expression of Entropy, and that's why he destroys in all three Realms.  If Azure's blade where made with the same general method but a different Command, I could entirely see it creating a Connection to some other Shard that would then manifest different powers/effects because she's drawing from some shard other than the Ruin that is in/behind Nightblood.  

oooh, I like that theory. The "Nightblood contains Ruin" WoB is one of my absolute favourite tidbits that we don't know the full volume of. The idea of a "primal Connection" i like a lot. Iirc, that's kind of what Investiture did at the Shattering. All the Investiture was there before, and at the Shattering, the raw investiture "got asigned" or "aligned itself" - or whatever process that was - to the Shard most fitting, in 16 equal parts of infinity.

Which raises the question if you could do that again, for example by creating a Intent aka Command that's both so invested and so clearly aligned to another Shard, that it attracts that Shard somehow. Of course, the "claim" that a shard had to Investiture at the shattering was much stronger than a mere 1000 Breaths could be, but Endowment was involved, aka God's own divine Endowment, so I could imagine Ruin getting connected to Nightblood in some way.

And yeah, if Azure's blade was made with a command like "protect in the face of adversity" or "help those that need help" or something windrunner-y like that, something could have happened similar to that with Valor. Hm.

 

On 9.9.2021 at 6:34 PM, mathiau said:

Valour is a She

Quote

It is known that Vivenna at least views the Blade as female, although the gender identity of such constructs may be subject to interpretation by the wielder.[7]

crackpot theory: Obviously, those don't have to be connected. Valor is the only one of the recently revealed shards that we know a Gender for, maybe Valor being a She is part of the reason Vivenna views her blade as female while Nightblood is neutral. We've seen a lot of "mother" and "father" between Spren, Godspren and Shards on Roshar, maybe Azure's blade is viewed as female because she's a sort of "daughter" to Valor

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I think it is a valid theory. We just need more books to confirm it. I had a theroy just like it, but had less research. :P

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Is it possible that Nightblood could also have Valor's investiture in them?

Did we get a look at the blade in Shadesmar?

 

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12 hours ago, apepi said:

Is it possible that Nightblood could also have Valor's investiture in them?

Did we get a look at the blade in Shadesmar?

 

I don't think so! we saw Azure's blade in Shadesmar, but Nightblood not yet. Maybe we'll get that in SA5

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I like the idea, because I want to see more of Valor. But the fact that Viv's blade drains people of color when it kills them is simular to awakening, and I think good evidence that it is tied to Endowment and bio-chroma.

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On 9/9/2021 at 4:44 PM, Quantus said:

Im in the camp that the secret to Nightblood is that the 1000 Breaths plus the Command actually forged a primal Connection to a Shard, which is why it has significantly more Investiture than just the 1000 breaths themselves.  He's known to behave differently once drawn because "his Command takes force" which I think is hardcore channeling the Shardic Intent most aligned with it's Command.  In Nightblood's case Destroy Evil forged a Connection to Ruin, the primordial expression of Entropy, and that's why he destroys in all three Realms.  If Azure's blade where made with the same general method but a different Command, I could entirely see it creating a Connection to some other Shard that would then manifest different powers/effects because she's drawing from some shard other than the Ruin that is in/behind Nightblood.  

I like the idea that Nightblood is somehow linked to Ruin - I think we can all sort of sense that - but the question has always been how, and why?

We know it wasn't something planned by Shashara or Vasher; but was it a conscious act of Endowment, of Ruin, the two of them in cahoots, or (as you suggest) Just Something That Happens mechanically with such a Command?

We do know that Nightblood was constructed of ordinary steel before being Awakened, so we can rule out some kind of "secretly alloyed with atium" angle...

Other questions: why were 1,000 Breaths used for Nightblood? Did Shashara explicitly experiment with that as a starting figure, ascertain a priori that that would be the cost for the desired effect, or were a thousand of her Breaths just pulled out of her as she spoke the Command (being as she had to have had at least 20,000 Breaths to be of the Ninth Heightening, to do the Awakening in the first place)?

After all, 1,000 Breaths is what in a person is the threshold to reach the Fourth Heightening, at which stage "Life Sense is perfected". Perhaps that was required for sentience and the ability to detect (if not to clearly discern) what "evil" was in a target, in order to fulfill the Command to Destroy Evil?

1 hour ago, i’m in the details said:

I like the idea, because I want to see more of Valor. But the fact that Viv's blade drains people of color when it kills them is [similar] to awakening, and I think good evidence that it is tied to Endowment and bio-chroma.

We don't know what Vivenna's sword's Command was, but one can imagine the effect of draining the target of life/color rather than the wielder was somehow explicitly stated.

Remember "Lolan", the priest of Mercystar in the Court of Gods in Warbreaker, who starts to draw Nightblood when Vasher left it out as a trap but is interrupted by Vasher knocking him out and re-sheathing NB before it could devour him? His hand had gone gray, but he still retained the use of it (unlike a limb that "goes gray" and is severed from a Shardblade cut).

Oh, and Szeth's hands and face have streaks of colorlessness as well, from having drawn and wielded Nightblood with too little Investiture to give it (borderline death). Szeth later drawing Stormlight doesn't heal that, either. So an early stage of being "destroyed" from wielding Nightblood without a sufficiently large "endowment" is to be drained of color.

Isn't that suspicious?

Perhaps it is something recursive that ends up "linking up" to another Shard's Intent and even power?

perhaps-the-command-destroy-evil-is-itself-evil.jpg

 

I mean, isn't that one of the basic moral principles in the foundational work of epic fiction in the English language?

"Deserves [to die]! I daresay he does. Many that live deserve death. And some that die deserve life. Can you give it to them? Then do not be too eager to deal out death in judgement..."
 
Edited by robardin
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On 9/14/2021 at 8:26 AM, Benkinsky said:

I don't think so! we saw Azure's blade in Shadesmar, but Nightblood not yet. Maybe we'll get that in SA5

I meant Azure's as 'that' blade, sorry for the confusion.

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