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Pure Investiture


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In The Lost Metal, we are introduced to the concept of purified Dor. (I haven't reread Secret History with it in mind, but even if the Ire use it there, I'll call this its introduction. Secret History was more like creeping on it through a window, rather than being properly introduced.) Standard Dor, you have to access through AonDor or some other Invested art from Sel; but purified Dor can be used by TwinSoul or by Armal and the other kidnapped allomancers. It's still Dor (which is why they still call it Dor), but now it's in a form that anybody can ingest it and apply it to their Invested art.

Impure Investiture

If this is "pure Dor," then what is the impurity in regular Dor? There's some retconning going on right now around atium versus pure atium, and I don't think that's the same situation as Dor versus pure Dor. The impurity in atium is electrum; it manifested in the pits as an alloy of "true atium." I don't think that Dor has a material contaminant, but it's going to be more like a property of the substantial Investiture, why it's only able to be used within the context of its Invested Arts.

Think of it like Identity on an unkeyed metalmind. Normally, the Identity associated with that metalmind prevents anybody from accessing it through their Feruchemy. When you strip the Identity off of it, anybody can access it Feruchemically. Now, take that a step back: Investiture like the Dor is inherently tied to its Invested arts, and it can only be accessed through them. I'm going to go out on a limb and call it "Connection to a magic system" up front, and I'll make callbacks to the concept in later sections as it becomes relevant. Pure Investiture has that Connection stripped away from it so that it can be used by anybody, even if they don't have access to the appropriate magic system.

This also kind of gets into why Rysn, as a Dawnshard, isn't permitted to bond a spren. She's the flip side of the coin; the Dawnshard allows her to manifest Investiture with dangerous flexibility, so she's not allowed to gain the ability to breathe in Stormlight. Pure Dor, on the other hand, can be used by anybody, but it doesn't do anything on its own. (As far as I know, it doesn't innately heal you like Stormlight does.) But, by the nature of the purified Investiture, it has been stripped free of the "locks" that normally prevent anyone from Investing themselves with it.

But is this actually the first time we've seen pure Investiture in the cosmere?


Did you know Brandon alluded to medallions containing pure Investiture six years ago? Relevant portions bolded below


Brandon Sanderson

So one of the things people have been asking about a lot the nature of Identity and its uses for accessing other people's metalminds, and things like this right. And I hedged a little bit when somebody asked me... *inaudible*...send people into spirals of confusion, so I'm gonna clarify it for now. So, someone comes in and says, we need a blank metalmind, anybody can use that. I'm like, yes but, the reason that it's a hedge is that you need to actually be a feruchemist to access it, right, you can't just hold the blank metalmind not being a feruchemist, even though it's somebody else's investiture that's been blanked, right. So people keep kind of missing this thing. I'm hedging in the sort of, you don't quite have it, I've kind of dodged it, but I worry that it's just going to be confusing.

So the issue is, you need two things from one of these. You need something that makes you a feruchemist, and then you need a metalmind that somebody else has filled with blank investiture, ok. Now if you can get pure investiture, that can be used by anybody, regardless, ok, you need it in pure form though. But, so there are some other tricks with this as well that don't make it...so anyway, you've got a couple of things that can go on. So you've got a blank metalmind, right, with nothing. You need either investiture, to be able...like you need to be the right type. There are ways to access that if you are completely blank also, if you were a blank slate, but that is still...kind of hard. It's even harder if you are blank, and the metalmind is not blank, but that's not what they're doing in Mistborn right now. You are tapping investiture, gaining the ability of feruchemy and then you are drawing out a blank metalmind, ok. That's the one you need to be...and everything else I'm hedging on intentionally, and I'm worried I hedged in a way that made it sound confusing, ok. So you know now what they're doing. You know that there are other things possible. But I don't want you to think that you have the explanations for how all those things happen, ok.

Arcanum Unbounded Seattle signing (Dec. 1, 2016)

There is a parallel between pure Dor and medallions in that you can access it without already being its magic user. There's something special about the piece of Investiture stored in the nicrosil portion of a medallion. (Which is a discrete piece, like what is stored in a coppermind.)



When you tap the nicrosil portion of a medallion, will it run out over time? Or is it like a coppermind, where something discrete is taken, used, and returned?

Brandon Sanderson

Good question! Like a coppermind.

General Signed Books 2018 (Oct. 15, 2018)

So, you've got this piece of Investiture that grants, say, iron Feruchemy and brass Feruchemy. Not only is it unkeyed (no Identity), it is also pure (no Connection to Feruchemy), so anybody is able to tap it. (I don't think it needs to also grant nicrosil Feruchemy, but that's just my gut feel.)

But hold up, isn't this getting too complicated? Why put pure Investiture in nicrosil, instead of just doing it to the brass metalmind, for example? That gives you something anyone can tap, but the Bands are more complicated than that. And the weight medallions; you need a medallion anyone can fill. And it also wouldn't let you make allomancy medallions; nothing to tap there. So, practically speaking, you wouldn't be able to replicate all the observed effects without pure Investiture in a nicrosilmind. But beyond that, it also begs the question of the specific mechanism for removing this Connection and whether it could be done to other metalminds, or if the phenomenon can only be accomplished on nicrosilminds.

We know how to blank the Identity. But how to remove the Connection? Well, this touches on the mystery of why Feruchemical duralumin (i.e. storing Connection) is relevant to the creation of medallions:



Does creating unsealed metalmind involve Feruchemical duralumin?

Brandon Sanderson

(hesitating)...Yes. I will write it all out for you eventually. I want to get at least one more book done, then you find out exactly why and how.


Because I was pretty confused about the Investiture and Spiritweb...

Brandon Sanderson

Here is the reason I'm kind of hesitant of this, [why not you just RAFO this one right now], but it is not a RAFO, because it is like it's a secret. I want to write it out exactly how it happens, because I have it in my notes in bullet points and it's complicated, right? Cause I want some of the things in the magic system as be as complicated as for instance explaining how a computer works right now. You can do it, but you know...I want the magic to start getting that technical if that makes sense. When you say "involve", right, that's a big word. Why just don't you let me, after lost metal...if I haven't released it, you have permission to come to me and say: "Brandon, you said you would release this, you haven't yet [...]" and I will give to you the bullet point flowchart of how you build the unkeyed metalminds.

Leipzig Book Fair (March 24, 2017)

I don't have a great handle on exactly how it's relevant yet, but I think it's something a Feruchemist does to themselves while they are in the process of creating a medallion. Because, when you think about it, nicrosil Feruchemy is the only type of Feruchemy where there is no conversion of an attribute into Investiture. For pewter Feruchemy, you can't "purify" your strength, because your physical strength isn't Connected to a Shard. You convert that strength into Investiture and store it in pewter, but then the Investiture is in pewter; if you tap it to manipulate it, it turns right back into strength. But Investiture that you store in nicrosil, you can manipulate it while it's still part of your own spiritweb, and then that purified Investiture can merely be moved out of your soul (or compounded to duplicate it) and placed in nicrosil for anybody else to use.

So, a lot of details there. But take a step back and think of the big picture: both pure Dor and medallions are types of magic that anybody can draw on, even if they are not a magic user. I think that's the big takeaway of what pure Investiture is and why it's important to the future of the cosmere.

Other pure Investiture

Where else have we seen Investiture that can be used by anybody? There's a WoB making a direct parallel between medallions and Honorblades. I think the "same princple" is that they are both pure Investiture; Honor made ten pieces of pure Investiture that anybody could use to Surgebind.



Do Honorblades bestow their abilities similar to an Identity-free nicrosilmind with other Metalborn abilities?

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah, these are working on similar principles. Same principle, divergent applications by the magic system, but yeah, I would say, they come back to the same principles.

Orem signing (March 10, 2018)


Breath is another candidate for inherently pure Investiture. Which would be kind of a revolutionary concept; can you use Breath to power Allomancy without any hoops to jump through? I suspect you can, but the utility of Breath is greater than just using up as an Investiture source (i.e. holding Breath doesn't run out, and it grants you Heightenings). But three things make me wonder in that direction. First is how anybody can be invested by it, same as pure Dor. Second is the mother-of-pearl description it gets, same as the pure Dor. And the last is how it can be transported offworld, made intentionally by Endowment without some of its otherwise-expected Connection.



If Investiture can’t be moved beyond a certain point away from its world/solar system, how in the Cosmere did three Awakeners end up on Roshar?

Brandon Sanderson

Investiture from different systems acts in different ways. Certain people have managed, for example, to get some kinds of Investiture to leave their home world through the use of a kind of magical pipeline. Breaths attach to the identity of the individual, and are fully given away--freely, which removes some of this Connection. It's a nature of Endowment that the gift is given without strings attached, so to speak. But while it's a renewable resource, it's a difficult one.

Roshar is extra "sticky" so to speak with Investiture. It's part of the nature of Honor, Cultivation, and oaths. So getting it off is a problem, though collecting it is not.


Wouldn't consuming it also be a problem? You need a direct or secondary Bond to take in Stormlight Investiture. It's not like metals or Breaths that anyone could absorb. Although a certain grouchy ardent might have found a way...

Brandon Sanderson

You are right in that Stormlight is more being seen as a power source, since certain systems in the cosmere can work on a variety of different kinds. Not just anyone could make use of it, at least not unless it is refined.

Rhythm of War Preview Q&As (Oct. 8, 2020)


And I think pure Stormlight is where we're heading in the books, with everybody trying to get it off-world. The same WoB I shared for Breath ends with a bit about Stormlight, that it needs to be "refined" before anybody can use it. And Kelsier knows how to purify some forms of Investiture (since he made the Bands of Mourning), but if we ever get the full medallion creation flowchart, I think we'll see that his mechanism for creating the Bands of Mourning and the medallions won't quite work for Stormlight (somehow). They need a new mechanism, one that could work on both Stormlight and on spren.


Bonus theory that I came up with while researching purified Investiture. The perpendicularity that Autonomy was creating may have been made through pure Dor, as well. It's described as being visually similar, and it gets used up by allomancers in the exact same way.


I have to find a way to close that portal, she thought, looking through the bubble of slowed time toward the room with the light. Again she thought it seemed familiar. White, with a mother-of-pearl sheen. Yes. It was like the pure Investiture from Moonlight's jars.

The Lost Metal, Chapter 59

Combined with two of our Ghostbloods in Rhythm of War being Selish exiles, I'm worried Autonomy has already gone to war with Sel.

And won.

And now she's got access to all of this purified Dor to use to make perpendicularities, but her adversaries just have little bits and pieces of it that they save in jars.

And, out-of-universe, that's the reason Brandon's still saying that Elantris sequels are important to Mistborn Era Three. Because Autonomy is the antagonist for both of them.


Brandon Sanderson

Elantris sequels

The Emperor’s Soul is now two years old, so it is probably time to get back to Sel and do some more there. We should be releasing a trade paperback of Elantris in the next year or two, with revised (and new) maps and a better Ars Arcanum. (Read: an Ars Arcanum.)

The full sequels will need to be finished before I can do the contemporary (1980s tech) Mistborn novels because of behind-the-scenes Cosmere bits, so I will do my best to find a place to squeeze these in. At the very least, I will write them following the end of Stormlight 5. So, these are distant, but not too distant.

State of the Sanderson 2014 (Dec. 18, 2014)



We've always understood Elantris to be one of the earliest books in the Cosmere, but we see Kaise as Codenames in The Lost Metal, one of the latest books. Has the timeline contracted significantly, or are we just looking at the typical Shadesmar time dilation tricks?

Brandon Sanderson

So, here's thing, Argent. I'm not going to be able to give you strict timelines until I write Elantris 2 and 3. So my plan, originally, which might have been a bad plan, was Elantris 2 to take place some ten or fifteen years after Elantris 1. Maybe a little less than that. But years have passed. It was called Dakhor, in my notes. And then for 3 to be hundreds of years later. I don't know if that's the right move anymore, and if 3 isn't hundreds of years later, then where we slot Elantris in is going to change because of where I need certain characters to be in some of these things, and certain things to happen. We are getting really close to where this is going to be nailed down and locked down, and I'll get locked down. Probably right when we start Era 3 is when all of this is just gonna start... I've promised you guys a timeline. Once we've released that, we don't want to retcon it, does that make sense? So that's why we're waiting to release it.

But Kaise does have some time dilation going on, though. Though I say her name wrong because I'm not from Sel. But yeah, she has time dilation going on, she is... yeah. More time has passed than the ten or so years that... she's like what, 7 in Elantris? And she's like young 20s now, visibly, the age that she appears. I believe, something like that. So yeah, there you go. There's some information for you on that. I'm playing loose and free with this until I really get down to writing these. My loose plan is still write Mistborn Era 3 book 1, Elantris 2, Era 3 book 2, Elantris 3, Era 3 book 3. Five years of writing there that I can't even really think about until I've got Stormlight 5 in Tor's hands, if not your hands.

YouTube Spoiler Stream 5 (Dec. 2, 2022)


Edited by Pagerunner
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1 hour ago, lacrossedeamon said:

I don't remember but were Navani and Raboniel able to make unkeyed Light?

I don't believe so. They were able to make Warlight, which was a blend of Honor and Odium's Investiture, and Navani was able to make Towerlight, a blend of Cultivation and Honor's light.

Making unkeyed Light would require stripping the Identity away from the Investiture, which I think only Odium's been able to do with the creation of the Dor. 

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