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Solid and Gaseous Stormlight (Difference between Soulcasting and other Surgebindings)


Swimmingly

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In tWoK, we see stormlight in three main different ways: a) making gems glow, b ) wisps of gas, and c) within a person turning their eyes light.

We also know that solid shard-matter is the body of a god, capable of very specific things, that the liquid form is pure power, more or less, and that the gaseous form can power a user without the usual foci required - no specifics without spoiler tags on this please. I theorize that the stormlight turns gems into the body of the shard/s spowering the storms, that the wisps of glowyness are the gaseous form, and that Surgebinding (apart from Soulcasting) does not appear to use specific foci, or gateways to the Shardic power, because the power has already been brought into the physical realm via high storms. The spren/Navel bond are the thing that boosts a person's Innate investiture enough to use said pure investiture. Soulcasting is different in that it uses specific investitures from each type of gem directly, similar to mistborn opening the power of Preservation using metals as gateways - but with the gates holding charges of Investiture instead of being directly used.

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In tWoK, we see stormlight in three main different ways: a) making gems glow, b ) wisps of gas, and c) within a person turning their eyes light.

We also know that solid shard-matter is the body of a god, capable of very specific things, that the liquid form is pure power, more or less, and that the gaseous form can power a user without the usual foci required - no specifics without spoiler tags on this please. I theorize that the stormlight turns gems into the body of the shard/s spowering the storms, that the wisps of glowyness are the gaseous form, and that Surgebinding (apart from Soulcasting) does not appear to use specific foci, or gateways to the Shardic power, because the power has already been brought into the physical realm via high storms. The spren/Navel bond are the thing that boosts a person's Innate investiture enough to use said pure investiture. Soulcasting is different in that it uses specific investitures from each type of gem directly, similar to mistborn opening the power of Preservation using metals as gateways - but with the gates holding charges of Investiture instead of being directly used.

This all sounds pretty plausible, though I'd like to clarify the bit on the Nahel bond. I think that's that actually changing your spiritweb, or at least grafting onto it it, just like how Hemalurgy works but a lot less violent. Not sure what you meant by "stormlight turns gems into the body of the shard/s". It seems pretty clear the gems are just acting as containers: the gems themselves aren't actually changing into anything.

Edited: I like using dashes too much.

Edited by PorridgeBrick
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I guess technically, anything Invested with Shardic power is part of that shard's body. I was comparing it to Atium and Lerasium in that they actually contain Shardic power instead of act as a gateway to it - a glowing gem contains Investiture, but an ounce of copper is just an ounce of copper (as far as we know). On Roshar, of course, Investiture tends to hang around all glowy in between being called in from the Spiritual, so I'm basing the designation on the fact that we call anything containing a Shard's investiture the body of that Shard. I think you're right, however. Infused gems are not the body of a Shard.

 

You could put it this way:

The gemstones have four functions:

1)They are gateways into the spiritual triggered by exposure to highstorms

 2)They are batteries capable of holding raw investiture

 3)They are filters that change the element of the Investiture inside when used for Soulcasting

 4)They hold spren inside them to do a task when given Stormlight

 

In the terminology of "focus, fuel, caster, power" , they are the focus in the first, as defined as a gateway into the spiritual realm. In the second, they are the fuel, though they are not consumed by removal of that power - just rendered inert until the next highstorm - though in that capacity they are closer to a hemalurgic spike, as a vessel holding a bit of raw shardic power. In the third, they are also the focus, and occasionally the fuel when the pressure of the Investiture being changed by them breaks them.

 

(The entire process of the first three uses, in fact, is basically a time-delayed version of what happens when an allomancer burns a non-god-metal. A surgebinder who doesn't need the elemental specification, basically everyone but Soulcasters, simply converts the Investiture to its gaseous form, not losing anything, while a Soulcaster is forcing the raw investiture through the gem to change it, like draining a rather hard cheese forcefully with a weak cheesecloth - it's not going to break every time, but there's definitely a chance. Also, you eat the cheese, it takes you another dimension, and you bribe things with the particular flavour of whey you've pressed, which is determined by the cheesecloth and subtly altered by the way you hold it. The metaphor isn't perfect.)

 

In the fourth usage, the spren/gemstone itself is the caster, focus, and fuel - they can presumably be fed Stormlight, store it, and use it.

 

Surgebinding is a four-step process. There are three entities involved in the Surgebinding:

-The Surgebinder

-The bondspren/Nahel Bond

-The infused gemstone

 

The three steps are:

1) The surgebinder turns the stormlight into gaseous form with their order's body focus and the Nahel Bond

2) The Nahel Bond acts a spiritual conduit between the gaseous stormlight and the surgebinder's body (similar to the fragment of Preservation on Scadrial that allows Mistborn to absorb power released when burning the metals or the mists) allowing them to take in the gaseous stormlight

3) The stormlight held in the surgebinder's body slowly escapes, making them glow, have light eyes, healing minor injuries, replacing breathing, and exploding outwards in puffs of mist when used to brace against a force

4) The surgebinder surgebinds, instinctually, pushing the Investiture into the Physical realm in a certain form, the possibilities of which are determined by the type of Nahel bond and the exact specification as to which one and where it's going are determined by intent.

 

In this case, the surgebinder is the caster, the nahel bond/spren is the focus, and the gaseous stormlight is both power and fuel. The infused gemstone could also be considered fuel.

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I guess technically, anything Invested with Shardic power is part of that shard's body. I was comparing it to Atium and Lerasium in that they actually contain Shardic power instead of act as a gateway to it - a glowing gem contains Investiture, but an ounce of copper is just an ounce of copper (as far as we know). On Roshar, of course, Investiture tends to hang around all glowy in between being called in from the Spiritual, so I'm basing the designation on the fact that we call anything containing a Shard's investiture the body of that Shard. I think you're right, however. Infused gems are not the body of a Shard.

 

You could put it this way:

The gemstones have four functions:

1)They are gateways into the spiritual triggered by exposure to highstorms

 2)They are batteries capable of holding raw investiture

 3)They are filters that change the element of the Investiture inside when used for Soulcasting

 4)They hold spren inside them to do a task when given Stormlight

 

In the terminology of "focus, fuel, caster, power" , they are the focus in the first, as defined as a gateway into the spiritual realm. In the second, they are the fuel, though they are not consumed by removal of that power - just rendered inert until the next highstorm - though in that capacity they are closer to a hemalurgic spike, as a vessel holding a bit of raw shardic power. In the third, they are also the focus, and occasionally the fuel when the pressure of the Investiture being changed by them breaks them.

 

(The entire process of the first three uses, in fact, is basically a time-delayed version of what happens when an allomancer burns a non-god-metal. A surgebinder who doesn't need the elemental specification, basically everyone but Soulcasters, simply converts the Investiture to its gaseous form, not losing anything, while a Soulcaster is forcing the raw investiture through the gem to change it, like draining a rather hard cheese forcefully with a weak cheesecloth - it's not going to break every time, but there's definitely a chance. Also, you eat the cheese, it takes you another dimension, and you bribe things with the particular flavour of whey you've pressed, which is determined by the cheesecloth and subtly altered by the way you hold it. The metaphor isn't perfect.)

 

In the fourth usage, the spren/gemstone itself is the caster, focus, and fuel - they can presumably be fed Stormlight, store it, and use it.

Thanks for the clarification. Though I'm not entirely sure if #1 is entirely correct. I don't have a copy of the book, and it's been too long since I last read WoK, so this is probably wrong. But I got the impression that the gems don't actually act as a gateway to the Spiritual in that instance. I thought they just acted as sponges, soaking in all the free-floating Stormlight suffusing the highstorms. In that case, the Stormlight would have already been brought into the Physical, and the gem's function in this would really be the same as #2. Everything else seems spot on here.

Surgebinding is a four-step process. There are three entities involved in the Surgebinding:

-The Surgebinder

-The bondspren/Nahel Bond

-The infused gemstone

 

The three steps are:

1) The surgebinder turns the stormlight into gaseous form with their order's body focus and the Nahel Bond

2) The Nahel Bond acts a spiritual conduit between the gaseous stormlight and the surgebinder's body (similar to the fragment of Preservation on Scadrial that allows Mistborn to absorb power released when burning the metals or the mists) allowing them to take in the gaseous stormlight

3) The stormlight held in the surgebinder's body slowly escapes, making them glow, have light eyes, healing minor injuries, replacing breathing, and exploding outwards in puffs of mist when used to brace against a force

4) The surgebinder surgebinds, instinctually, pushing the Investiture into the Physical realm in a certain form, the possibilities of which are determined by the type of Nahel bond and the exact specification as to which one and where it's going are determined by intent.

 

In this case, the surgebinder is the caster, the nahel bond/spren is the focus, and the gaseous stormlight is both power and fuel. The infused gemstone could also be considered fuel.

Again, #1 seems a bit off. I don't believe they're actually changing it into a different form, but rather moving it from one container to another, even if both events would be probably, as you said, determined through the body focus. From the moment it's called into the Physical Realm until its used up by the magic, the Stormlight seems to stay the same, as spiritual energy manifested in the form of "gas" that doesn't really interact much with physical matter, much like how spren only manifest semi-physically. Still, I'm just really nitpicking at this point.
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Thanks for the clarification. Though I'm not entirely sure if #1 is entirely correct. I don't have a copy of the book, and it's been too long since I last read WoK, so this is probably wrong. But I got the impression that the gems don't actually act as a gateway to the Spiritual in that instance. I thought they just acted as sponges, soaking in all the free-floating Stormlight suffusing the highstorms. In that case, the Stormlight would have already been brought into the Physical, and the gem's function in this would really be the same as #2. Everything else seems spot on here.

Again, #1 seems a bit off. I don't believe they're actually changing it into a different form, but rather moving it from one container to another, even if both events would be probably, as you said, determined through the body focus. From the moment it's called into the Physical Realm until its used up by the magic, the Stormlight seems to stay the same, as spiritual energy manifested in the form of "gas" that doesn't really interact much with physical matter, much like how spren only manifest semi-physically. Still, I'm just really nitpicking at this point.

We never actually see the storms infusing gems, or hear it described by an eyewitness. Kaladin is semiconcious and possibly hallucinating when he sees the storm, and highstorms aren't described as containing any glowiness all about in the air. To your second point, I see what you mean - however, the gas seems to interact with normal matter in the same way you would expect smoke to by default - there are oddities, but there are oddities in the mists on scadrial as well that are affected by Investiture and artistic licence.

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