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Something we know about Vax


Ripheus23

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At the library, I found a copy of the updated/10th Anniversary/w/e Elantris. In it, I found out that there's a process on Vax that is similar to the whole "you have to be broken" thing, about becoming an Investiture-wielder, or whatever. Not a lot to go on, granted, but let's pull a whole bag of Top Ramen out of this one noodle, eh?

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Yeah that's... not really news. Having some kind of crack in your spiritweb is pretty much a universal requirement to be Initiated into any system because it makes it easier for the magic to get in. And because it makes for more interesting characters to write/read about. The only system that we know doesn't require it in some form is BioChroma because the Shard literally endows you with the power when you're born and Breath has all the necessary Connection components baked in so anyone can receive and use the magic.

All we really know about Vax is that it has a magic system and its method of Initiation is different from what we've seen on other worlds so far. Or at least, it's different as far as Khriss knows at the time she wrote that particular entry. Technically, we don't even know that Vax is a planet, though it almost certainly is. :D

Edited by Weltall
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1 hour ago, Weltall said:

its method of Initiation is different from what we've seen on other worlds so far

Though to be sure, the method of initiation is different in every case, it seems.

I think my instinct is that Khriss contrasted Vax with [Sel? I don't remember] so the retro-psychological question would be, "What is it about [Selish] magic that prompted Khriss to bring up Vax specifically instead of just speaking generally?" So the inference would sort of be to something like, "There's something about [Sel] that brings Vax to mind [a Cosmere scholar's mind]," which is at least Noodle Number 2.

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I get the feeling that Vax is much more intentional about the magic. Sel is based around being devoted to something or from somewhere and seems to mostly happen randomly. Scadrial is a combination of genetics and trauma. Roshar is either mechanical or the sort of random attention of sentient magic. Taldain is heritage so far. Nalthis is inherent to natives. Which tells me that Vax is probably very intentional about acquiring magic, a if you must want it and seek it out to gain it. And if you seek it out, you will get it. Which also tells me there must be some sort of massive downside or limitation to the magic. Maybe it makes you become a savant quicker or kills you if you use it too much, or you get consumed/hunted by some eldritch horror if you use it.  I do not know, but it seems a little fishy to me. 

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Ooooh, I just ate a third noodle. So, when Vax is brought up in-world, it seems as if the characters act as if they're referring to a well-known subject. That's definitely true of Khriss' reference, and though Ati wasn't of sound mind or what when he referred to Vax, it's not like he thought he was referring to something supermysterious. So, ironically (paradoxically), Vax is not a mystery in the Cosmere, at least not to Cosmere-aware folks.

Now, if this is so, Vax must be something that can be known about in-between the less-developed/more-isolated Shardworlds.

If magic systems can be specifically grounded(!) in the relationship between planets and Shards, let's suppose the general rule is that magic systems are grounded in the relationship between large celestial objects and Shards. In the Wikipedia article on the heat death of the universe, in the "Controversies" section, it is said:

Quote

A recent analysis of entropy states, "The entropy of a general gravitational field is still not known", and, "gravitational entropy is difficult to quantify". The analysis considers several possible assumptions that would be needed for estimates and suggests that the observable universe has more entropy than previously thought. This is because the analysis concludes that supermassive black holes are the largest contributor.[31] Lee Smolin goes further: "It has long been known that gravity is important for keeping the universe out of thermal equilibrium. Gravitationally bound systems have negative specific heat—that is, the velocities of their components increase when energy is removed. ... Such a system does not evolve toward a homogeneous equilibrium state. Instead it becomes increasingly structured and heterogeneous as it fragments into subsystems."

... which might connect up with Adonalsium's law of thermodynamics, to boot. Anyway, what if Vax is a star? Then the magic system at the very least would have something to do with being able to sustain organic life on a star :P :ph34r: (or maybe... a black hole... or some other peculiar gravitationally-formed object*...)

*For an example in the literature: ever heard of https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dragon's_Egg?

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4 minutes ago, Ripheus23 said:

Ooooh, I just ate a third noodle. So, when Vax is brought up in-world, it seems as if the characters act as if they're referring to a well-known subject. That's definitely true of Khriss' reference, and though Ati wasn't of sound mind or what when he referred to Vax, it's not like he thought he was referring to something supermysterious. So, ironically (paradoxically), Vax is not a mystery in the Cosmere, at least not to Cosmere-aware folks.

Now, if this is so, Vax must be something that can be known about in-between the less-developed/more-isolated Shardworlds.

This is a complete stretch. Khriss is as knowledgeable as it gets in the Cosmere short of being one of the Shards themselves to the point that at least as far as Investiture mechanics goes, she far outstrips Hoid in awareness. She's also writing these essays for a very Cosmere-aware audience in Silverlight. We can't assume anything about wider knowledge of Vax from that.

Ati himself is one of the Shards and so has had some ten thousand years worth of opportunity to 'explore' via the Spiritual Realm, plus whatever knowledge he gained in Ascending, whatever he knew before Ascending and whatever he might have gotten up to before he and Leras created Scadrial when he could still travel Physically. That he says it to a non-Cosmere aware Kelsier can't be taken as evidence that he expected Kelsier to know what he was talking about; as you say he wasn't of entirely sound mind at the time.

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20 hours ago, Weltall said:

Khriss is as knowledgeable as it gets in the Cosmere short of being one of the Shards themselves to the point that at least as far as Investiture mechanics goes, she far outstrips Hoid in awareness. She's also writing these essays for a very Cosmere-aware audience in Silverlight. We can't assume anything about wider knowledge of Vax from that.

Hmm...

Quote

Questioner (paraphrased)

Is Hoid the most knowledgeable about what's going on in the cosmere?

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

No, Khriss is the most aware by a long shot. Nazh knows a lot as well. Hoid might know more than Nazh but he is pretty in the know as well so it's close.

source

It seems there's a difference between Realmatic and Cosmere awareness (difference between metaphysics and astrophysics). The WoB only has Khriss being the most Cosmere-aware. Khriss knows more about what forms Investiture has taken across the Cosmere, granted. But we don't know how many types of Investiture she can use, and I daresay if Hoid can use more, he'd have much more Realmatic knowledge as such (in terms of internal-empirical evidence, for instance).

Anyway, "a very Cosmere-aware audience in Silverlight" is vague. Silverlight is said to be a full-fledged city, explicitly not a town. I tried finding statistics on the University of Paris from long ago, and BYU nowadays, as far as coming up with a plausible range for an estimated student body + faculty at a Silverlight university (the WoBs indicate more than one university, to note), no luck but as I said, I'm not saying Vax is well-known tout court but it's still not the Cosmere equivalent of some hyper-obscure geographical mystery IRL (like, once upon a time, whether Troy existed and if so, where). The Ars Arcanum essays have the feel of undergrad intro materials more than all-out dissertations.

EDIT:

20 hours ago, Weltall said:

This is a complete stretch.

I don't like eating Top Ramen dry :P

Edited by Ripheus23
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The point is that she's writing for an audience who already knows that there are multiple inhabited worlds and have at least a basic understanding of Investiture and the Shards. There's no way you can take from that the idea that Vax isn't an unknown to the broader Cosmere. To the people living in Silverlight, of course. It's a worldhopper city so they're going to have an amazing knowledge base to draw upon. But to go from that to say that "Vax must be something that can be known about in-between the less-developed/more-isolated Shardworlds" does not follow at all.

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2 hours ago, Weltall said:

There's no way you can take from that the idea that Vax isn't an unknown to the broader Cosmere.

Most of the worlds we've been shown don't know a lot about other worlds, so the broader Cosmere would not know about Vax. Now whether it can be more easily known to the in-between/more-developed worlds, is a different matter. Notice I said "can be" instead of "is."

The point is that Vax is not as relatively mysterious to people in the Cosmere as it is to us.

EDIT:

So not only is the contrast between Sel and Vax, but between {Sel} and {Taldain and Vax}. This makes me think the Initiation process on Vax is substantially comparable to that on Taldain. Unfortunately, I read the WS graphic novels in a blur so I don't recall if they described the Initiation process.

Edited by Ripheus23
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