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Investiture and Relativity


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Dual Definitions of Investiture, and

Investiture and Relativity

(In case anyone wonders about the two titles, this is sort of two theories. It started out as the first, and the second one grew and developed on its own.)

Well, friends, I’ve been thinking (always a dangerous pastime), and it strikes me that we’ve been seeing a delightfully ambiguous usage of the term Investiture. Or, rather, that we’ve seen it being used in two separate ways.

As an example (to show what I mean), I will use the word promenade. This word can mean:

A form of walking


“ ‘Hm,’ he said. ‘Yes. We’ll be getting right to that soon. It’ll be grand. Lots of prancing, sauntering, and, er…’

‘Promenading?’ Yis the leatherworker offered.
‘Isn’t that a type of drink?’ Adolin asked.
‘Er, no, Brightlord. I’m fairly certain it’s another word for walking.’ ”


Or a street; a place one would walk:


“The building appeared to be constructed as one broad, high, and long tunnel, burrowed into the rock. Grand chambers lined the sides, and subsidiary corridors branched off the central grand promenade.”


Perhaps the best way to explain myself is to jump right in and give the definitions of Investiture(as I see them).


Definition 1: Magical Chemical Reactions of Creation

Investiture n. (v. Invest, adj. Invested):

This is what Brandon Sanderson has termed so often “The Power of Creation[3];” what we are usually thinking of when we hear the word. This is the energy that came from Adonalsium, now primarily held in the Shards. However, it is also used elsewhere and is what powers the magic systems of the Cosmere. Investiture of this sort can be had in a solid, liquid, or gaseous form (i.e. Preservation: Lerasium, the Well of Ascension, and the Mists)[4]. Every person (possibly every thing) in the Cosmere has innate Investiture to a certain degree – On Nalthis, it is their Breath, and on Scadrial, it is a piece of Ruin and a piece of Preservation. One can Invest an object (endow it with Investiture), which is then considered Invested.

Side Speculation: After rereading the Ars Arcanum to the Alloy of Law, I consider this type of Investiture to be a … reaction, of sorts. The terminology used seems to imply this (at least to my mind)[5]. It has long been theorized that magic requires three parts: Physical, Cognitive, and Spiritual. With these (or possibly other) components, along with the power of Adonalsium (usually directed through a Shard), the magical effects would be the result of something akin to a chemical reaction (again, the similarities mainly hark back to the terms used).


Definition 2: Holy Lego Blocks on a Galactic Scale

Investiture n.

This is where I believe the ambiguity kicks in. You see, Investiture is described another way (only by Brandon, mind you), that doesn’t quite fit with the previous definition: “The building blocks of the Cosmere.”[6] While, as noted above, it is quite plausible that everything has a component of Investiture (As defined in #1), I feel that this is more absolute than that, more all-encompassing. It doesn’t seem to refer to a slight addition of Investiture to everything; I feel it seems to refer to something grander: something like matter itself.



And this is where I sort of negate my entire premise of Investiture really being two things, while at the same time presenting the main point of my theory:

In our world, as was discovered as part of Einstein’s Theory of Special Relativity, matter and energy are essentially the same thing[7]; so much so, in fact, that they can be converted back and forth. The only differences are in its temporary state. I propose that Investiture is the same:

Investiture is the Cosmere equivalent of matter and energy. As “the building blocks of the Cosmere,” it takes the shape of the atoms and particles that make up the worlds. Everything is literally Investiture, of a sort; hence why all of the major worlds were created by Shards of Adonalsium. Adonalsium itself is called “the power of Creation.” This implies that everything not formed by Shards post-Shattering was made by the same power pre-Shattering. A Power, in fact, that the recipient of The Letter calls God[8]. This is why Investiture is “beyond” all three realms: The three realms are how different parts of the Cosmere experience everything. As Investiture composes everything, it would literally be “beyond” the Realms.

(As an aside, Investiture also demonstrates properties of quanta. For example, Investiture resists itself [Hence why it is harder to Push on an Invested object, or why an Invested object stops a Shardblade.] Similarly, two electrons with the same spin and energy level cannot occupy the same space.)

The other side of the coin, then, is energy. This is easy enough to identify: power is manifested by Shards. This power can be used for creation, as seen with Ruin and Preservation. This Shardic energy is also used to power the magic systems and in the other manifestations of Investiture (Definition 1). It is also interesting to denote that this energy can be “condensed” into matter, of all three states. This, in fact, seems to be how most, if not all, of the energy is contained. The “reaction” of Investiture thus converts the substance back into its energy form, making it usable.


Speculation: In fact, I just had a thought that explains some of this (though it is not the main point). You see, we have a WOB that any of the Shards can power any of the magic systems, but it requires expending energy in a way they were hesitant to do. We also have one that any Investiture can power any magic system, but it requires some jury-rigging. This could be because each magic is attuned to the Shard that inadvertently created it – for instance, Preservation is able to fuel Allomancy directly, Ruin can fuel Investitures through Hemalurgic spikes, etc. because these magics utilize the same type of Investiture as the Shard. (Allomancy doesn’t use Preservation’s power directly, but the power accessed is the same. Thus, it is no different for Elend when Vin fuels his Allomancy; the power is the same, but from a different source.) Using Ruin to fuel Preservation’s magic, however, would be like trying to fit a steel cube into a spherical hole; to do so, it would have to be forged into the same “shape,” or “type” of Investiture as Preservation’s. This might change the Intent of that Investiture, and it would be irretrievable until the steel –Investiture- was changed back to what it was before.


(Back to main theory) In conclusion, I split how Investiture has been used as a term into two definitions I feel are best considered separately. These definitions fit the famous equation of the Theory of Relativity that states that matter and energy are convertible to each other; that matter and energy are intrinsically the same thing. The two uses of Investiture correlate strongly to each of these, suggesting that the same connection applies: that Investiture is the Cosmere equivalent of both matter and energy.


Postscript: This all reminded me of the theorized Dark Matter and Dark Energy. According to NASA, 68% of our universe is Dark Energy, and 24% is Dark Matter[9]. Since so much of the Investiture has always been held by Adonalsium and the Shards, this could have been the origin of the concept. This, of course, is completely baseless; it’s more a random guess than anything else.

(By the way, physics for me is a hobby; unfortunately, I have as of yet had little time for studying it on a large scale. If those with more complete knowledge than mine can correct me on wording or usage, please do so; I will try and fix any problems or inaccuracies as quickly as possible.)



[1] The Way of Kings, Kindle Location 4896

[2] The Way of Kings, Kindle Location 1142


The powers of Ruin and Preservation are Shards of Adonalsium, pieces of the power of creation itself. Allomancy, Hemalurgy, Feruchemy are manifestations of this power in mortal form, the ability to touch the powers of creation and use them. These metallic powers are how people's physical forms interpret the use of the Shard, though it's not the only possible way they could be interpreted or used. It's what the genetics and Realmatic interactions of Scadrial allow for, and has to do with the Spiritual, the Cognitive, and the Physical Realms.

Condensed 'essence' of these godly powers can act as super-fuel for Allomancy, Feruchemy, or really any of the powers. The form of that super fuel is important. In liquid form it's most potent, in gas form it's able to fuel Allomancy as if working as a metal. In physical form it is rigid and does one specific thing. In the case of atium, it allows sight into the future. In the case of concentrated Preservation, it gives one a permanent connection to the mists and the powers of creation. (I.e., it makes them an Allomancer.)

So when a person is burning metals, they aren't using Preservation's body as a fuel so to speak—though they are tapping into the powers of creation just slightly. When Vin burns the mists, however, she'd doing just that—using the essence of Preservation, the Shard of Adonalsium itself—to fuel Allomancy. Doing this, however, rips 'troughs' through her body. It's like forcing far too much pressure through a very small, fragile hose. That much power eventually vaporizes the corporeal host, which is acting as the block and forcing the power into a single type of conduit (Allomancy) and frees it to be more expansive.

WOB, Theoryland


He knew, for instance, that the nuggets of metal in the Chamber of Ascension would make those who ingested them into Mistborn. These were, after all, fractions of the very power in the Well itself. Nuggets of pure Allomancy, the power of Preservation itself.

Hero of Ages, Epigraphs 9 and 10


The key to drawing this power [Allomancy] comes in the form of various types of metals, with specific compositions required. Though the metal is consumed in the process, the power itself doesn’t actually come from the metal. The metal is a catalyst, you might say, that begins an Investiture and keeps it running.

The Alloy of Law, Ars Arcanum


Q:  What you can tell me about Investiture?
A:  That is the word for someone or something which has gained a portion of the magic of Adonalsium, so the original whatever-it-is.  Like a Shardblade is an Invested object, and people if they draw in the Stormlight, they're drawing in the magic-they're Invested.

Q:  What is the realmatic composition of Investiture?
A:  Investure is intended to be the building blocks of the Cosmere so I would say for the most part it transcends the different realms. Probably more of the spiritual if anything but more accurately it transcends them.

WOB, Words of Brandon Compiled, #2

[7] Einstein’s equation E=±mc² shows how energy and mass are convertible.


Rayse is captive. He cannot leave the system he now inhabits. His destructive potential is, therefore, inhibited. Whether this was Tanavast’s design or not, millennia have passed without Rayse taking the life of another of the sixteen. While I mourn for the great suffering Rayse has caused, I do not believe we could hope for a better outcome than this. He bears the weight of God’s own divine hatred, separated from the virtues that gave it context. He is what we made him to be, old friend. And that is what he, unfortunately, wished to become. I suspect that he is more a force than an individual now, despite your insistence to the contrary. That force is contained, and an equilibrium reached. 

Words of Radiance, Excerpt from the Epigraphs for Part 4


 It turns out that roughly 68%of the Universe is dark energy. Dark matter makes up about 24%. The rest - everything on Earth, everything ever observed with all of our instruments, all normal matter - adds up to less than 5% of the Universe. Come to think of it, maybe it shouldn't be called "normal" matter at all, since it is such a small fraction of the Universe.


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