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Skyward Chicago signing ()
#51 Copy

Volratho

Was Roshar equally Invested by Cultivation and Honor originally?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes.

Volratho

How 'bout now, since he's been--

Brandon Sanderson

So the Investiture is all still there... It is not all accessible. So, at this point, you might say-- I'd say it's a point of disputation. It would be worth arguing either way. I will say at this point, no, it's not equal anymore. But definitions of where the power is and what it counts as is ambiguous.

Volratho

So Cultivation has more active Investiture?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, I would say yes... Well, but she's been very coy. I'm gonna leave it at that.

Skyward Pre-Release AMA ()
#53 Copy

LordSkybreaker

Hey u/mistborn I have a couple questions about Magic: the gathering.

What colors/kind of deck do you play in magic?

What colors are the known shards?

What colors are the various orders of the knights Radiant?

And finally, have you ever thought of doing the story for Wizards Of The Coast on one of their mtg blocks?

Brandon Sanderson

Any combo-style deck I can draft--or esper if I'm constructed.

Ruin: Black. Odium: Red. Honor: White. Preservation: White. Cultivation: Green. Devotion: Green/red. Dominion: Black/White. Autonomy: It's complicated.

(Also, question 3 is way too large for me to commit to right now. And for 4, if the right opportunity came along and they were interested, I could see myself doing this.)

SoupOrMan692

What about Endowment and Ambition?

Brandon Sanderson

Ambition is mono-black, and endowment is probably mono-green. Some of the blue shards are ones we haven't seen as much from yet.

Calamity release party ()
#55 Copy

Little Wilson

And so are there any Shards that we don't know of that are Shattered?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes.

Zas678's sister

Four, right? Ish?

Brandon Sanderson

Eh... eh... Honor is gone.

Little Wilson

And Devotion and Dominion.

Brandon Sanderson

Devotion and Dominion are gone. There are others. The question is, [is] Cultivation gone or not? I'm not-- I haven't answered that for you. There are others. So this is what I can't-- I'm not gonna <just> share the answer. This is why I'm not gonna give you answers on these things.

Oathbringer release party ()
#58 Copy

Questioner

Does the Almighty and the Heralds have anything to do with the bigger cosmere gods and deities?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes.

Questioner

The Heralds, as well?

Brandon Sanderson

...Not as much, but a little bit. They do. 

Questioner

Does that mean that the Almighty is able to worldhop as well?

Brandon Sanderson

Well, the Almighty is Honor, and he is one of the Shards of Adonalsium, so he didn't originate on Roshar.

/r/books AMA 2015 ()
#60 Copy

LongclawDescended

If Gavilar was still alive, would he most likely have aligned himself to or taken actions most similar to Dalinar, Amaram or Taravangian? In other words, which of the three is best acting out his will?

Brandon Sanderson

I can say he would align with one of them most certainly, but I want to RAFO this for now. (Though I might have made it clear elsewhere and not be remembering.)

Oathbringer San Francisco signing ()
#61 Copy

FirstSelector

...The Tenth Name of the Almighty, Elithanithile, He Who Transforms. Is this related to the fact that Akinah is divided into ten parts, and the things  you find there?

Brandon Sanderson

Uh, yes... Are these things all related to the concept of change and why things are divided into ten parts in The Stormlight Archive, and the answer was "Yes, these are all very much interconnected."

Legion Release Party ()
#63 Copy

Mason Wheeler

One of the Letters in Oathbringer suggests that the Shards had a pact to all go their separate ways. And some of them held to it and some of them didn't?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes.

Mason Wheeler

Out of all of them, how is it possible that one of the ones that didn't is the one whose nature is to obsessively keep your word at all costs?

Brandon Sanderson

He would argue that he kept his word.

Mason Wheeler

Okay, so loophole.

Brandon Sanderson

He wouldn't even call it a loophole.

Boskone 54 ()
#67 Copy

Questioner

It was mentioned that there are 16 gods in your Cosmere.

Brandon Sanderson

Depends on your definition of god.

Questioner

Shards. Are the ten orders of the Knight Radiants related to specific gods? Because Honor, child of Honor-Kaladin

Brandon Sanderson

So all the magic on Roshar, all the surgebinding on Roshar, is going to have its roots in Honor and Cultivation. Um... There is some Odium influence too, but that’s mostly voidbinding, which is the map in the back of the first book.

Questioner

I was wondering how much-

Brandon Sanderson

But, but even the powers, it’s, it’s really this sort of thing. What’s going in Stormlight is that people are accessing fundamental forces of creation and laws of the universe. They’re accessing them through the filter of Cultivation and Honor. So, that’s not to say, on another world you couldn’t have someone influence gravity. Honor doesn’t belong to gravity. But bonds, and how to deal with bonds, and things like this, is an Honor thing. So the way Honor accesses gravity is, you make a bond between yourself and either a thing or a direction or things like that and you go. So it’s filtered through Honor’s visual, and some of the magics lean more Honor and some them lean more Cultivation, as you can obviously see, in the way that they take place.

Questioner

The question kind of rooted because, Wyndle in the short story is always saying that he’s a cultivationspren, he doesn’t like [...]. I kind of got the idea that each order had a different Shard.

Brandon Sanderson

That is a good thing to think, but that is not how it is. Some of them self-identify more in certain ways. Syl is an honorspren, that’s what they call a honorspren, they self-identify as the closest to Honor. Is that true? Well, I don’t know. For instance, you might talk to different spren, who are like, no, highspren are like “We’re the ones most like Honor. We are the ones that keep oaths the best. Those honorspren will let their people break their oaths if they think it’s for a good cause. That’s not Honor-like.” There would be disagreement.

Questioner

Are you saying that the spren’s view of themself influences how they work?

Brandon Sanderson

Oh yeah, and humans’ view of them because spren are pieces of Investiture who have gained sapience, or sentience for the smaller spren, through human perception of those forces. For instance, whether or not Kaladin is keeping an oath is up to what Syl and Kaladin think is keeping that oath. It is not related to capital-T Truth, what is actually keeping the oath. Two windrunners can disagree on whether an oath has been kept or not.

General Reddit 2017 ()
#68 Copy

B-more_freshout

I think [Brandon] would benefit a lot from finding some kind of way in-universe to convey when we can be certain that the character is dead. Something like what we see of Vin and Elend in Secret History after they die. I think that he was trying to prove how definite their death was.. I don't know how he could realistically or smoothly accomplish this, but I think that until we see some proof beyond what is normally expected to see for a death, we can't be 100% sure that anyone is dead.

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, I've been thinking about this. Spoilers below.

The issue is, resurrection is a major theme of the cosmere. The very first line of the first chapter of the first cosmere book starts with someone dying. The story is about his return to life.

The death of Adonalsium, and the questions surrounding the persistence of his power, is THE single pervasive theme of the works. And so, I've returned to this theme multiple times--from Sazed's more metaphorical rebirth in Mistborn Three to Syl's more literal one in Words of Radiance.

At the same time, the more this theme continues, the more it undermines the reader's ability to believe someone is really dead--and therefore their tension at worrying over the safety of characters. So we need a better "Dead is dead" indication, otherwise every death will turn into Sirius Black, with readers being skeptical for years to come.

So, let's just say it's something I'm aware of. Josh, of the 17th Shard, was the first one to raise the issue with me years ago. We need a balance between narrative drama and cosmere themes of rebirth.

dce42

I figured Nightblood was your answer to dead is dead.

Brandon Sanderson

He's certainly AN answer. But there are way more ways to kill someone in the cosmere--I just need to be more clear on how that works, giving the right indications to readers.

Words of Radiance San Francisco signing ()
#70 Copy

Questioner

Spren bonds: there was some intimation somewhere that I read that there might not have been spren bonds before [Aharietiam, the day the Desolations ended]?

Brandon Sanderson

I'm not going to answer that one either but we will delve much more into this. The spren were around back then but they were not nearly what they are now: they've changed over the course of the book obviously. I think the cosmere theorists have figured it out. They are much more prevalent following Honor and what happened to him, but there were some spren on the planet before even that happened.

Footnote: It seems that Brandon is referring to the Expulsion and/or the arrival of Honor on Roshar, not Aharietiam
Emerald City Comic Con 2018 ()
#71 Copy

Questioner

Shards. We started with fairly obvious ones, magic wise. Trying to keep this spoiler free, so: Ruin, Preservation, this kind of thing. Then we get the weird ones. Why do we have Shards that can only exist in the mind of a sentient creature? ...Like the concept of Honor can only be done when it's carried out, essentially, by a sentient creature.

Brandon Sanderson

So when I split Adonalsium I said, "I'm going to take aspects of Adonalsium's nature." And this involves personality to me. So the Shattering of Adonalsium was primal forces attached to certain aspects of personality. And so I view every one of them this way. And when I wrote Mistborn we had Ruin and Preservation. They are the primal forces of entropy and whatever you call the opposite, staying-the-same-ism-y. Like, you've got these two contrasts, between things changing and things not changing. And then humans do have a part, there's a personality. Ruin is a charged term for something that actually is the way that life exists. And Preservation is a charged term for stasis, for staying the same. And those are the personality aspects, and the way they are viewed by people and by the entity that was Adonalsium.

So I view this for all of them. Like, Honor is the sense of being bound by rules, even when those rules, you wouldn't have to be bound by. And there's this sense that that is noble, that's the honor aspect to it, but there's also something not honorable about Honor if taken from the other direction. So a lot of them do kind of have this both-- cultural component, I would say, that is trying to represent something that is also natural. And not all of them are gonna have a 100% balance between those two things, I would say, because there's only so many fundamental laws of the universe that I can ascribe personalities to in that way. 

So I find Honor very interesting, but I find Autonomy a very interesting one for the exact same reason. What does autonomy mean? We attach a lot to it, but what is the actual, if you get rid of the charged terms, what does it mean? And this is where you end up with things like Odium claiming "I am all emotion." Rather than-- But then there's a charged term for it that is associated with this Shard. I'm not going to tell you whether he's right or not, but he has an argument. 

Steelheart Chicago signing ()
#72 Copy

Argent (paraphrased)

Is Cultivation's Shardholder still alive.

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

Good question, what do you think?

Argent (paraphrased)

I want to say, but that's based on my knowledge before I read Lift's interlude from Words of Radiance. Now I am leaning towards no. Based on that interlude, it looks like spren have essence from both Honor and Cultivation. It's almost like they exist in a spectrum, on one end of which is Honor, and on the other - Cultivation; so there are spren that are, for the lack of better example, 90% Honor and 10% Cultivation, and there are spren that are 15% Honor and 85% Cultivation.

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

That's a very astute observation!

Argent (paraphrased)

And since we know that Honor is Splintered, then it might be the case that Cultivation is also Splintered, and their Splinters form the spren.

/r/books AMA 2015 ()
#73 Copy

The__Good__Doctor

Hi Brandon! I wanted to talk about the revised ending of Words of Radiance.

So, it looks like Kaladin won't be actually delivering the killing blow to Szeth any more. I think that Kaladin was entirely justified in doing this, since it was a fight to the death, and Kaladin was protecting not only Dalinar but his entire squad below. Kaladin even seems surprised when he lands the blow, expecting Szeth to block it like he had been doing the entire fight. The killing was not done in vengeance or with malice, unlike what Adolin does later. Having the storm kill Szeth seems like an anti-climatic way to end the scene, since it takes away Szeth's decision to die by the sword, and means we no longer have an example of why the spren Shardblades don't immediately kill people.

Brandon Sanderson

I woud be fine having him do it, though I think killing a foe who has given up was against this thematic plot. But what pushed me over the edge to change was the sense that I was pulling too many fast ones on the reader with people coming back to life. I wanted it clear to readers that Szeth was not dead, so this scene wasn't a fake out, which would weaken Jasnah's arrival later.

Dancingedge

Um, Mr. Sanderson, I don't mean to be disrespectful as you probably have the scene better in your head than I do but how is a man without Stormlight falling from a very large hight, while in the middle of two Highstorms coliding and throwing entire platoos in the air expected to survive? Maybe I don't have the right persective on this given that I saw both Jasnah (the body disapearing is just as much a give away as it never being shown in my book) and Syl (Pattern outright said Sprens can be revived) coming but unless you severly change the fight scene I don't see how being stabbed actually matters for Szeth survival chances.

Brandon Sanderson

The idea is that the reader didn't see him die, so there's a psychological trigger--one that says "Ah, I didn't see a body. He's probably not dead."

Yes, Szeth totally died from that fall--just as the young man that Lift revived had died from what he suffered. We know that Stormlight can fix the body and bring back the dead, so long as very little time has passed.

The import of the tweak to me is allowing some question in the reader's mind, so that the return is not a betrayal.

The__Good__Doctor

That is a lot more understandable. Having too many reveals at the end could be problematic. I agree that Jasnah coming back felt like pulling a fast one right at the end. However, I think the suprise of Szeth coming back was really well done, especially with the reveal of Nin (Nale, Nalan? This dude is so old he has three names!) at the very end with his special sword friend. I feel like that was the real zinger that should have closed the book.

I was a little underwhelmed with Jasnah coming back, not because I dislike her, but because I thought she was well and truly dead. She died so early in the book that I was completely accepting of her death by the end, and her coming back in a 'gotcha' moment felt a little hollow. Perhaps this could have happened about a hundred pages into the next book? I don't know the entire story like you do, of course, but as a reader it felt like Szeth and his rebirth should have been the final closing image.

Brandon Sanderson

This all came about, if you're curious, during the detailed plotting of the second book. Originally, the outline did not call for Jasnah to leave, but I was having real trouble getting Shallan into a place--emotionally and experience-wise--where she could do the things she needed to do while Jasnah was around. I determined that Jasnah needed to pull a Gandalf, and let her ward alone for a while, and I'm glad I did it--the book is much, much stronger for it. However, the side effects of the last-minute change in the plot required Jasnah's reappearance, which sent a few waves through the book. (Szeth's death and survival being the main one.)

Oathbringer Houston signing ()
#74 Copy

Questioner

When it comes to regeneration, what's the limit-- when Lift resurrected Gawx, was he actually dead?

Brandon Sanderson

He wasn't dead.

Questioner

So, you can't actually bring the dead back from the dead.

Brandon Sanderson

If you could bring someone back with CPR, you can bring them back with-- does that make sense?

YouTube Livestream 2 ()
#75 Copy

Coachdorax

Did you write Amaram as an opposite of Dalinar or was he simply a bad guy meant to spur Kaladin?

Brandon Sanderson

I meant Amaram to be the representation of the corrupt side of the Alethi. Meaning they are all talk and very little heart. Very little of what they say, to the worst of the Alethi, gets to who they really are. They would rather be known as someone honorable than be actually honorable. And this I consider a major problem with their society, and I needed somebody to represent this. Part of it is, to represent a contrast to Kaladin’s ideals. This belief that lighteyes were these paragons of virtue. But I also needed somebody, you may say an opposite to Dalinar. In a way, he is an opposite to Dalinar, but more he just represents Alethi society. And I did want it to be that he wasn’t just all the way corrupt. When he makes his decision in Book One in the flashbacks, he is making a decision. There is a moment where he is considering. By the time you are seeing him in later books, that decision has taken him down a path that leaves him very far from any sort of redemption. But it was a choice. And he wasn’t just corrupt from the get go. But yeah, he represents what I feel would be bad about Alethi society. A kind of honor society that is more about looking honorable than being.

Boskone 54 ()
#77 Copy

Steeldancer

The Heralds, back before Honor died, were they directly powered by Honor?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes. You’ll find out more about that, but the Shardblades [pretty sure he means Honorblades here] were pieces of Honor’s soul that he gave them and direct access to his essence.

Steeldancer

Like Vin and Elend?

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah, a little like that. That’s why Honorblades don’t work like Shardblades do, like Radiants do.

Steeldancer

The second part of the question is, what would happen if they were directly powered by Honor and they were holding Nightblood?

Brandon Sanderson

RAFO

Boskone 54 ()
#78 Copy

Questioner

Have you ever read 1491 by Charles C. Mann?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, I have.

Questioner

Did that inform [plans for The Aztlanian]…

Brandon Sanderson

That did inform, that was one of the main books I went to in my research where they’re like, you need to read this book. I read that book and I loved it. Even the book points out some people don’t agree with this hypothesis, but it feels right to me, so I’m running with that idea.

Questioner

Even if the details weren’t totally clear in the archeological record, the story in it is just...

Brandon Sanderson

Is great. This is the idea that South America in particular but, Central America and parts of North America, were much more densely populated than we assumed and the introduction of diseases that the Europeans brought was more devastating than previous people had theorized. Which is really, really interesting, because it deals with this other idea of America Pox, right? Why did the Europeans not get a disease? Why is there no mythical America Pox that was given back to them? That’s a big question that people have. If you haven’t thought about it, you’re like “Hey, yeah!”. They were both isolated populations from one another, why was there no disease transfers? One of the big theories is that this goes back to animals. Most deadly diseases that we have transferred from animals to humans and they kill us because diseases don’t actually want to kill you. They want you to get sick enough to keep spreading the disease, as long as you have the disease, and if it kills you, it fails in that. Most of them, there are some that, you know. A lot of diseases that are deadly to us were not deadly to cattle, where they originated, and they jumped species. The argument is, and some disagree with this, but the argument is Europeans had these animals that they used. They moved them into the seas with them, they caught a whole bunch of these terrible diseases that wiped out big populations, but they got over it. And in North and Central and South America, they did not have as many animals living in close proximity to humans in large population centers, and so the diseases did not pass to humans, and there were no big deadly diseases for the Europeans to catch when they came over.

[says he got the term America Pox from CGP Grey, a Youtuber, who he likes watching and was clearly reading some of the same books]

Barnes and Noble Book Club Q&A ()
#79 Copy

Nadine

Melissa, I think we have members from another forum joining us and they have information that we don't have. Maybe even advanced book information, like we know nothing about The Way of Kings and only heard about the book recently and know nothing of its content.

Could some of you newcomers introduce yourselves (maybe on our "Introduce Yourself" thread and not clutter up this one) and tell us where you are from? We love the information you are bringing and introducing on this thread but we are confused.

Brandon Sanderson

I posted on my website that I'd be doing this, and I don't often have time to interact on forums. (They are a delightful way to interact with readers, but have proven a HUGE time-sink for me in the past. As you might have noticed, I tend to write—and respond—in depth when people ask questions of me.) So I only appear on forums occasionally. Hence the involvement of those from my forums looking for some answers to questions.

Some backstory might help you all. I began writing in earnest in 1997. During those years, I shared the books I wrote with a group of friends. This group worked with me on The Leading Edge, a science fiction fanzine/semiprozine at BYU. Eventually, once we graduated, we founded the Timewaster's Guide, partially as a forum where we could hang out. (Tage and Ookla from the TWG forums—aka Ben and Peter—are among them, and are still very good friends of mine. Another easter egg is to watch how Ben Olsen and Peter Ahlstrom are treated in the acknowledgements of many of my books.)

The overarching story and theme of my books, what I wanted to accomplish as a writer, and how I approached the fantasy genre, all took shape during this time. These readers read many of my most important, and influential (on me as a writer) novels while in draft form. The biggest three of these during this era were White SandDragonsteel, and Elantris. (On the tail end, I wrote—but never finished—the foundations of what years later became Warbreaker.)

The next era of my unpublished writing was when I worked on the worlds, stories, and themes that eventually became Mistborn, The Way of Kings, and a book called the Aether of Night. Many of my writing group friends have read these books, including the first draft of Kings (which is very, very different from the current draft.)

Anyway, these unpublished books are NOT canon yet. I don't canonize a novel until I publish it. But some of the hidden themes (including Hoid and Adonalsium) of my books are present in these novels. (Dragonsteel and Aether of Night are particularly connected—though of the unpublished Shardworld books, White Sand is probably the best written.) Again, none of this is canon yet. (For instance, I've taken chunks out of Dragonsteel to use in the revision of The Way of Kings.) However, these old books do contain clues that aren't available to the average reader.

Dragonsteel can be ordered through inter-library loan through the university library system. There are only four or five copies in existence. The BYU library has one (the book was my honor's thesis.) I believe the honors department has one. My thesis chair has one. (And maybe the committee has one, I can't remember.) I've got one in my basement. And I believe Ben's sister may have sneaked a copy out of the trash when I was cleaning out old manuscripts. (That might be White Sand.)

I do have intentions of rewriting these books and publishing them eventually. They each have pieces of the story. (Though I may decide to shift certain themes from one series to another as I eventually write and publish them.) I've been known to email White Sand or Aether of Night to readers who email and ask. (Though it does make me cringe a little to do so. In many of these books, I was experimenting with magic, theme, and narrative style—some experiments were a success, some were failures.)

Dragonsteel is frozen; I don't send it out any longer, as to not spoil the parts of The Way of Kings that I decided fit better in that world. So the only way to get it now is to borrow it from BYU. I've been told that Dragonsteel is the only undergraduate BYU honor's thesis ever to have been be read so often that it needed to be rebound. (A dubious honor, I'm not sure how I feel about so many people reading a book of mine that is that mediocre.)

Calamity release party ()
#80 Copy

Little Wilson

You mentioned that half(-ish) Shards are whole at-- during Shadows of Self. Is that counting Splinters?

Brandon Sanderson

Okay, one more time.

Little Wilson

You mentioned that half-- like I think it was at the Bands of Mourning release party-- you said that "half-ish Shards are whole" during Shadows of Self.

Brandon Sanderson

"Half-ish Shards are whole?"

Little Wilson

Yeah, you didn't want to do the math, because it was-- *interrupted*

Brandon Sanderson

Oh, I get it. You're saying-- Okay, so I'm sorry. I'm trying to think of Shards that are half-powered. That's not what you're saying. Half of the existing Shards. 

Little Wilson

Yes, yes.

Brandon Sanderson

Okay, got it. Yeah.

Little Wilson

And does that-- is that counting Splinters? Splintered Shards?

Brandon Sanderson

Um, no. I mean, a-- Splintered is one of the ways that they are not considered whole.

Zas678

Like completely Splintered as in Dominion and Devotion.

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah. That's what-- That's the opposite of whole.

Zas678

But having a Splinter, like Endowment...

Little Wilson

Because I-- I was kind of going with "Shattered" <and> "Splintered". So Shattered would be kind of what I was going with Devotion and Dominion. 

Brandon Sanderson

Okay.

Little Wilson

And then Splintered would be more like... You mentioned that Honor kind of Splintered himself off to create the spren before--

Isaac Stewart

Oh, and that's mentioned isn't it?

Brandon Sanderson

Right, but you've got to keep in mind that-- um... So in Scadrial, Ruin and Preservation did the same thing. Their bodies are part of the world. They-- if their exist-- like, the things on the Spiritual Realm don't matter where they are in relation to each other and things like this. All those <piece> spren are still Honor, when he was alive. Does that make sense? Like, yes those are little Splinters of Honor, but they are still Honor. It's not like he's diminished, because his whole essence is the world, right? There is no diminishing that. And so that thing is we're talking about the fracturing of the mind and the killing of the Shard. That's the distinction between whole and not whole as I was making it for you there.

Words of Radiance Los Angeles signing ()
#81 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

<Eelyell> was awakened by the whispering of the dead child who followed him.

“Death and die. Death and die.” The girl’s words were often gibberish, though usually he could make out a few of them. Tonight, what she said felt eerie. It made the whispering in the darkness send a shiver up his spine.

<Eelyell> sat up in his cot, realizing that he had fallen asleep in his uniform again, and looked across the darkened room, seeking out the child. There, she hid in the shadows beside the wooden bin that held his canes. Small, maybe four years old, she had long straight blonde hair that hung down by her face, ears peeking out like rocks in the sand.

She met his eyes, “Death and die,” she whispered. It would be nice when that particular Echo passed.

<Eelyell> rose, tugging at his crumpled jacket, still enough of a soldier to feel ashamed at its state. His father would have had <Eelyell>’s head if he’d seen such a uniform. Climbing from bed <Eelyell> took the cane beside it for support, then walked out onto the balcony. He put his back to the dead child; she was a figment, an Echo, or a side-effect from an Incubation he’d done a few years back. It was so long ago that he was losing hope that the Echo would ever fade. He might be stuck with this hallucination, for good.

He stepped out onto the balcony, using the cane by habit though he was currently strong enough that he didn’t need it to walk. He was recovering from his Incubation two months back. The grind from that one had finally worn off. In fact he was probably too strong; he’d been getting too much sleep lately, he'd been eating too well. He needed to maintain a certain level of physical weakness so he could be open to Incubations, assuming he wanted to remain effective in his duties. And he did want to remain effective, for his own reasons, if not for the Corps themselves.

Outside on the balcony, the sky burned. It smoldered high above, deep red lines, the color of a serpent’s tongue, glowing like rips in the air. The magma cast a warm red light across the city of <Suigmaat>. As always the air smelled faintly of smoke, though he only noticed it when he was first stepping out of the building into the open air. He knew logically that the burning place he saw above was actually the ground. He knew <Suigmaat> flew in the air, a city reversed, one of the few bastions of life left in the burning land. <Eelyell> was the one who was upside-down, as were all of the city’s inhabitants. It didn’t feel that way to him; he’d lived here too long. Upward was towards the burning ground and the land, downward was toward the sky and the sun. Things he never saw except on the rare occasion when he was called upon to visit the farms and orchards on the city’s sunward side.

<Eelyell> stood for a time, holding to the cast-iron railing, staring up at swathes of burning ground high above. Molten rivers, a land destroyed. A warning flag, raised to them all. Omnipresent. Undeniable. The city itself slept beneath that scarlet glare, bathed in red. Sleeping.

“Death and die,” The girl whispered from behind. She’d crawled out onto the balcony and now crouched there, looking up at the air.

<Eelyell> glanced at her, “<Kareem’s> gaze, you’re a creepy one,” he whispered, “What must I do to be rid of you?”

“Death and die,” she whispered

He tapped his finger on the railing, then strode back into his quarters, splashed some water on his face, and checked the sword blade of his walking cane. Seconds later, he was out the door.

The offices of the Corps did not look as a police station should. A police station was supposed to be a box-like thing, stable and functional, designed to indicate to all who visited that this was not a place where nonsense was permitted. Those ornamented columns, etched with the silver serpents of <Mokdeelor>, those golden doors, those soldiers with ridiculous feathered helms. Those were not the symbols of efficient law-keeping. They were quite the opposite.

<Eelyell> walked up the steps and approached the guards, who were at least armed with functional halberds and two flintlock pistols at their belts. They saluted him by raising fists to their sides. As an Incubator, he outranked everyone in this building, except of course the ones who actually mattered. <Eelyell> felt a moment of lightheadedness at the top of the steps and was forced to stop, gripping the railing and leaning on his cane. So he wasn’t completely well. Good. Neither guard stepped to help him. Weakness was expected of Incubators, one of the marks of their station. And being near one of them at the wrong time could be dangerous. One need only look upward at the burning land to be reminded of how dangerous.

With his head cleared, he continued up the steps, cane clicking, and passed the men without returning their salute. He stopped just inside the building, however, coming alert. Motion. Lesser watchmen calling to one another in a large room, aides carrying stacks of paper. Reddened eyes and yawns accompanied both groups. Many of these people had been called up unexpectedly, despite the early hour.

“<Eelyell>?” A woman rushed up to him through the bustle. <Cual> wore the yellow and blue uniform of an Incubator, like his own but better fitting and far better kept. “You look like ash, man,” she said, “Are you still on a grind?”

<Eelyell> looked back at the hall, noticing the motion of the bodies. Nobody was going into the weapons locker, though riot gear had been set out at the side. Large metal shields and larg swords cordoned in rubber from trees on the sunward side. They were getting ready for something, but he didn’t know what yet. A prophecy, he guessed.

“I still can’t believe they called you up,” <Cual> said, “You deserve some relaxation after--”

“I will visit <Patseepa>,” <Eelyell> striding, striding through the room, leaving <Cual> behind. He tried not to let himself be carried away in the chaos. The event that he'd been waiting for would come eventually, but this might not be it. <Patseepa> made prophesies with some frequency; that was why the Corps maintained her, and why she carried her terrible burden.

It was difficult not to feel tense, however, in the room's frenzy. Nearby, a scribe turned and accidentally knocked over an hourglass, smashing it to the floor and spraying sand across it. He spared it a glance; sand always drew his attention. But he otherwise ignored it, focusing on a set of doors at the back of the room. This must have been an alarming prophecy indeed to cause such a fuss. The guards at these doors were even more flowery, with feathers on their shields after an old-fashioned style almost no one used any longer. The murals might depict men in simple wraps and women in nothing above the waist but necklaces. Those days had long ago passed, centuries before <Eelyell's> times. The <Moknee> people were as modern a one as he'd ever known. His own brownish-tan skin and dark hair blended in here well enough that he could have passed for <Moknee> himself, assuming he didn’t open his mouth. That was something he'd been better at when he'd been younger.

These guards let him pass too, and no scribes or watchmen beset the hallway beyond. Only Incubators were allowed in here. Unfortunately, while they presented a more solemn group, it was no less unruly in its own right. Some two dozen of them clumped together at the other end of the darkened hallway, like a clot of hair clogging a drain. <Eelyell> strode forward, passing doors on either side set with glass. The small, well-lit rooms showed in the glass that they weren’t exactly cells, just like their occupants weren’t exactly prisoners. They just couldn’t leave. With the hallway dark and the rooms lit, each window glowed, like they looked into other worlds. Other worlds inhabited by the sick.

It was hard to think of it that way anymore, after so long in this land. The people in those rooms weren't simply ill; they were Lay Incubators. Their job was to live in those little rooms, bearing their afflictions until they started to recover. Whereupon another individual could be brought in to catch their malady and take their place, ensuring the Incubation itself didn’t vanish. It was good money, assuming you didn’t mind the discomfort, which could range from the sniffles to deadly fevers, depending on the Incubation you agreed to receive. And of course there were... other benefits. In one room he passed, the occupant, a young man, hovered in the air reading a book; and in another, an elderly woman tapped on a cup, idly changing the color of its liquid inside with each tap. In <Suigmaat>, indeed upon on this entire land, every disease also granted a special capacity. That ability lasted as long as the ailment did. Many of these blessings were minor, while others were grand. Some few were very, very dangerous. And hence the existence of the Incubators themselves.

Idaho Falls signing ()
#82 Copy

kurvyyn

If Dalinar actually brought Honor back together to summon the perpendicularity, and Odium said he Ascended. Dalinar did he actually hold the Shard Honor and is he now considered a Sliver?

Brandon Sanderson

RAFO! They are really waiting on this one. Let's just say, he is not Honor currently. But of course, you knew that.

JordanCon 2018 ()
#83 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

A focused southern breeze made the trees sound like they were chattering. Tiny crisp leaves spreading the news of the Traveler's return. Pure white leaves, clustered along branches like skeletal limbs. Even the bark clinging to the trees was white. In some lands, white meant purity; in others, it meant death. Here, it didn't mean a thing. It was simply, normal. 

The Traveler sat on the mossy white ground, back to the tree, legs crossed idly as he picked at a pomegranate, eating the seeds one by one then spitting out the pits. They fell on the stark moss-covered ground, leaving red juice like blood running across a sterile white floor. To say he wore rags would have be an insult to many a goodwife who kept her washing rags in much better shape than the Traveler's costume. Ragged brown and black canvas, tattered cloak, and scruffy beard, rubbed dark with a black material that might have been soot — or ash. 

The leaves suddenly fluttered excitedly behind him, and a strange puff of wind blew across the trunks. A moment later, a figure in simple gray robes walked into the clearing. Clean-shaven and silver-haired, he had the look of an aged scribe, not haughty, but tired. 

"So, you're back," the elderly visitor said. 

"Did I leave? I am the lingering odor you can never quite locate, my friend. Just when you think I've faded you open your cupboard and find, in an overpowering reveal, that I've merely been… ripening."

"Hmph, that's a new look for you."

The Traveler looked down at his ragged clothing. "I've been learning to blend in. Hard to do that in one of my normal costumes."

"I doubt you'll ever be the type to blend in."

"You'd be surprised!"

"Is that soot in your hair?"

"Maybe."

The elderly man sighed, walking across the short clearing and settling himself down on a large protruding tree root. "You can't keep doing this." The Traveler continued to eat his seeds, though he had started to chew them up rather than spitting out the pits. "You will just make things worse." 

"Ati and Leras are dead," the Traveler said, picking a piece of seed out from between his teeth. The elderly visitor said nothing, and the Traveler eyed him, leaning in closely, studying the man's eyes. The pupils were rimmed with a silver far too metallic to be natural, at least for a human. 

"You sly old lizard!" the Traveler said, pointing. "You already knew! You were watching! And here you were chastising me."

"I did NOT interfere," the elderly man said. "You meddle in things we promised to leave alone. Things that we—"

Traveler held up a finger, interrupting him, then slowly he pointed at the older man. "I. Made. No. Promise."

"You made your choice. Why now seek for things you so eagerly denied? My friend, it's the dangerous desire, the lust for power best untouched, that created the situation in the first place."

The Traveler did not reply. The two sat for a time, listening to the winds through the garrulous trees.

"Did you… find what you were seeking?" the elder man finally asked.  

The Traveler shrugged, picking at another seed and nibbling on it. 

"You will not find a way to restore what you have lost, old friend," the aged man said softly. "It is impossible." 

"You don't know that. The old rules no longer hold." The Traveler turned the pomegranate over in his fingers. "Besides, I've heard of a place… It doesn't matter. I don't care. This isn't about the dead… or it's not JUST about the dead, at least." He dropped the fruit to the ground, wiping his fingers on his riding coat.

"So it's a simple vendetta, then," the aged man said, sighing. "How many years have you lived, and you still can't learn the wisdom of just letting go?"

"A simple vendetta?" the Traveler said. He rose, stalking up to the older man, holding out a finger and touching the man's chest. "You saw what Ati nearly did." The Traveler leaned down, face even with that of his older companion. "I would not think it MY vendetta that should worry you, old friend."

White Sand vol.1 release party ()
#84 Copy

Questioner

*reading a question from a friend* He asks you, "How a dead Splinter [Sliver] can interact with the physical world," and the follow up, "What could they do?"

Brandon Sanderson

A dead Splinter... So something like a dead...

Questioner

Someone who's held the power and let go of it, so someone like... someone like...

Brandon Sanderson

Someone like the Lord Ruler.

Questioner

Yeah, Lord Ruler or Vin or <someone like that>.

Brandon Sanderson

Okay, so... How could they interact with the world?

Questioner

Yeah, the physical world.

Brandon Sanderson

So they would have some of the same problems that Kelsier had. But would have slightly more advantages than him. So for instance, speaking to the mad is something they could probably do. 

Questioner

Because Kelsier can't do that.

Brandon Sanderson

What's that?

Questioner

Because Kelsier can't?

Brandon Sanderson

He can't?

Questioner

He can?

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah, in Secret History he's able to speak to them. He has a lot of trouble getting through, but he can. So yeah. So I-- read Secret History and... *stutters* <a bunch> of the same answers. But they would be slightly more Invested than Kelsier was... No, but then he... yeah... They'd be about roughly the same.

General Reddit 2019 ()
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PM_ME_UR_SEX_VIDEOS

Think Dalinar could lift [Mjolnir]?

Brandon Sanderson

Hmm... It's a question I hadn't considered. I guess it depends on the criteria. I've never been able to figure out exactly what makes one worthy. Maybe it's more of a feel than specific criteria.

Of my characters, I'd suspect Dalinar is the closest. I'd say yes, depending on circumstances, but I am not 100% sure in the judgement.

HeavyShake7

Do you think Dalinar may have some problems with the hammer since he's afraid of himself, his powers?

Also I think Dalinar made a mistake when he refused to be a king...He's probably the best choice, but he still follows that promise he made to his brother when he was a young man.

Wouldn't it be better for Dalinar if he stopped being so uncertain of himself?

Brandon Sanderson

It would indeed be better for Dalinar if he'd grow a little more confident about himself--but I think he's no more uncertain than Thor in Endgame. So I think he'd have a good shot of at least budging the hammer.

PreventFloristFriars

What about Wax? Not that I see him using a hammer...

Brandon Sanderson

I wouldn't say Wax could lift it. Doesn't feel right. He resents being Harmony's agent, even still. He's a weapon himself, in many ways.

PandaEatsRage

Thor makes mistakes. Picks the wrong sides, gets tricked into wrong actions. It’s intent I think. It’s the courage to go on when faced with impossible odds. It’s also Odin who puts the requirement on it. It’s not some nebulous spiritual ideal. He needs a warrior and a fighter who can still get up in the morning after what they’ve done for a greater good.

Brandon Sanderson

I agree. It's more than just being a good guy--otherwise, Spider-man would be able to hold the hammer. You've got to both have good motives, but also the soul of a fighter.

This prevents someone like, say, Sazed from my books from being able to hold it. But I don't think someone like Kelsier, though shooting for good goals in the end, would be able to lift it. He's too much of an assassin, and a little too concerned with himself. Vin, as someone else pointed out, probably could have done it at the end of the third book. Dalinar. Kaladin wouldn't believe in himself enough, I suspect--but it would depend on the situation.

It's tricky because you don't simply want the magic of the hammer to be about someone with pure motives--you want it, I think, to be someone who fits the spirit and intent of the hammer.

[deleted]

What about Elend? He's the character that immediately came to mind when I heard this question.

Brandon Sanderson

Elend, I'd say no. He probably wouldn't want to--more of a Black Widow situation there. "Not interested. Isn't relevant to me."

BastMatt95

What about Taln? Could he lift it, assuming he hadn't lost his sanity?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, Taln would be one of the most worthy I could think of in the Cosmere. Less of a question than Dalinar, actually.

mraize7

What about Vasher??

Brandon Sanderson

Vasher has enough trouble with magical weapons. He wouldn't go near another one.

Rhea_and_Migi

What about Adolin? He has a good heart, he is compassionate, honorable and he definitely is a fighter.

Brandon Sanderson

My gut says no. It's about more than being honorable and a fighter--the fact that Iron Man and Spider-man are both shown being unable to lift the hammer (granted, Spider-Man it was only implied by the hammer towing him away) says it's about more than just being a fighter and being honorable.

Enasor

What would, in your estimation, be what Adolin is missing to lift the hammer? Is it because he doesn't have as much of a warrior's heart as Taln or Dalinar? Or is it a matter of him not being as strong as he believes he is?

Brandon Sanderson

It's hard to say specifically, as I don't know the canon reasoning for who can and can't lift the hammer. Tony can't, Peter can't, but Steve can--and so can Thor, even in the new film.

I'd say that Adolin needs to decide what his ideals are. He's in a confusing stage for himself, because deep down, he can't decide what man he wants to be. Is he an inferior version of his father, or is he someone else, who needs to find his own way?

Settling this question is going to be vital to Adolin in coming years.

Enasor

Are the reasons why you believe Adolin wouldn't be able to lift Mjolnir the same reasons why the sprens skipped him when came the time to turn the Kholin family into Radiants?

In other words, is this why Adolin isn't a Radiant? Because he doesn't know who he is nor who he wants to be?

Brandon Sanderson

That's a RAFO, I'm afraid. (Sorry.)

[deleted]

[deleted]

Brandon Sanderson

Old Dalinar. I don't think young Dalinar's motives were right for holding the hammer.

grrrwoofwoof

How about Rock? He could probably lift it without even realizing what it means.

Brandon Sanderson

I think Mjolnir might have problems with his pacifism.

learhpa

Hmm. that leads to the hard question: could Hoid lift it? :)

Brandon Sanderson

No. Not a chance.

eri_pl

What?!? No seriously… I don't mean Hoid honestly being worthy… but he doesn't do much things honestly anyway.

I think that (assuming that Mjolnir's power level is +- a Honorblade), Hoid could deceive Mjolnir for long enough to be able to use it… wouldn't he?

Brandon Sanderson

I think if we're bringing a Marvel item into the equation, we have to play by their rules, not mine. Odin is one of the most powerful beings in the MCU, powerful enough that even Thanos feared him, by my understanding. I think by their rules, it would be difficult to fool the magic.

Hoid would be much more likely to find a being who IS worthy, but who is also dumb enough to be duped, and get them to do what he wanted with the hammer.

BookCon 2018 ()
#88 Copy

WeiryWriter

The Nightwatcher is described as having an amorphous, vague, humanoid form of dark green mist with a smooth, defined face. This is similar to how the mistpren are described (faces like porcelain masks and bodies of swirling fog). Did the Nightwatcher serve as the progenitor of the mistspren similar to how Honor, and later the Stormfather, were progenitors of honorspren like Syl.

Brandon Sanderson

One more time.

WeiryWriter

...Did the Nightwatcher serve as the progenitor of the mistspren similar to how Honor, and later the Stormfather, were the progenitors of the honorspren like Syl.

Brandon Sanderson

...Are you talking about author inspirations or in-world sort of things?

WeiryWriter

Either.

Brandon Sanderson

No, not in-world. And out of world, it's the reverse. Mist spirits came before. I ended up doing--

WeiryWriter

No, mistspren.

Brandon Sanderson

Oh, mistspren. So you're saying the ones in Shadesmar... You're using terms for things, because I haven't given you other terms.

WeiryWriter

They are named mistpren in the books.

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah. So ask me one more time.

WeiryWriter

Did the Nightwatcher serve as the progenitor of the mistspren similar to how Honor and later the Stormfather were the progenitors of the honorspren like Syl.

Brandon Sanderson

Okay, I see what you're asking now. I was thinking mist spirit the whole time. We'll RAFO that. More because-- yeah we're just going to RAFO it.

Skyward release party ()
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Questioner

On Roshar, if a Herald were to die, to not-really-come-back die, would it possible for someone to take up the mantle of that Herald?

Brandon Sanderson

You're gonna need to read and find out, because this is the first time that happened was at the end of Oathbringer.

Questioner

Because he is dead--

Brandon Sanderson

He is dead dead.

West Jordan signing ()
#90 Copy

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

I sold Legion, which is a novella I wrote, to Lionsgate, for a television pilot. We will see if they will actually do it or not. That’s a modern day thriller I wrote. It’s a novella. I’ll release it next summer or something. It’s short, but it was meant for a pitch for a television show. So that’s coming out, and we’ll hope that they actually film that. We did sign deals on that, and since there’s Lionsgate, which is a big studio, behind that, there’s a production house attached to it, and it will go much faster.

Other than that, there’s the Wheel of Time, which keeps slowly moving forward. It is moving forward, but really slowly. And Alcatraz is basically dead in the water right now. The option lapsed in June, and no one else has snatched it up, so it’s now been six months, and that one’s pretty much dead in the water. Which is sad. We got really close on that one.

Questioner (paraphrased)

Will you still write the fifth book?

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

Yes, I will write the fifth book. Just the movie is dead in the water.

Google+ Hangout ()
#91 Copy

CrazyRioter

Was Honor Splintered?

Brandon Sanderson

Was Honor Splintered? Ooh someone's been paying attention, very much. I would say that yes, Honor was Splintered. That is a very important question to be asking, someone knows their stuff.

Firefight San Francisco signing ()
#92 Copy

Silver

If you created a Forgery where someone was killed, would that person stay dead or would they wake up when the stamp wore off?

Brandon Sanderson

Umm ok. So you, in order to kill them, would have to Forge them to death, right. You can't just like-- for instance, if you rewrote this table so for whatever reason it believed that I was dead, it wouldn't affect me at all, it would only affect the table, because if you rewrote the table to believe it had been carved a certain way and I was the carver, I wouldn't remember doing that. So the Forgery affects only the item. If you stuck a stamp on me that forged me to be dead, I think that would probably be-- Depends on what you do to me, but it could go either way.

Questioner 2

It would have to be be believable wouldn't it?

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah it would have to be believable, but it could go either way. Depending on how you created it, and what was going on. It's a good question.

Silver

I did not come up with it!

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah, it is a good question... That could create some interesting paradoxes also.

Stormlight Three Update #3 ()
#93 Copy

twixttwists

I couldn't help note that Adolin seems to have a somewhat special bond with his Shardblade. And there have been hints about reawakening the dead spren (mostly characters speculating it wouldn't be possible). But what I wanted to know is if someone like Adolin could convince his Shardblade's dead spren to become a spear or shield, like Kaladin gets to with Syl. Or does a spren need sentience to anticipate its bearer's needs?

Brandon Sanderson

Adolin's Shardblade is a RAFO, as I want this to play out naturally and not squelch discussion. Suffice it to say that a dead Shardblade, under normal circumstances, is locked into a single form.

YouTube Livestream 12 ()
#94 Copy

Questioner

What is the biggest continuity error you've caught?

Karen Ahlstrom

If he puts in somebody that's dead...

Brandon Sanderson

Once in a while, it usually happens with Bridge Four characters, the side characters. One of them, I had accidentally get resurrected.

Peter Ahlstrom

Karen came to me yesterday, and she's like, "This guy is dead!" I'm like, "No no no, it's a different guy, it's okay."

Karen Ahlstrom

They didn't write his name. But there is a character with that exact description that is dead, and Peter convinced me it could have been a relative of theirs. So I'll give it to you.

When Worlds Collide 2014 ()
#95 Copy

Khyrindor (paraphrased)

Hoid went through Cultivation's Shardpool to get to Roshar as opposed to Honor's. Yet, he notes he never got along well with Cultivation. Why did he choose her Shardpool rather than Honor's?

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

You're making assumptions!

Khyrindor (paraphrased)

Is it possible that it is Honor's?

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

It's possible.

London signing ()
#96 Copy

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

For the first 5 SA books he's heavily outlined them. For the last 5 SA books he has outlines for the main climax scenes. For the flashback characters for the last 5 books he's not settled on which ones or order but current plan is for Taln, Ash (aka Shalash), Lift, Jasnah and Renarin.

He also specifically stated that for one of the flashback characters that they would be already dead (sounded like definitely dead not maybe dead).

Skyward Seattle signing ()
#97 Copy

Questioner

What do you feel about people who take your books and are really inspired by them and taking them as their life motto? For the example, the Stormlight Archive mantra "Life before death..."

Brandon Sanderson

I am honored. Absolutely. The things that I am putting in the books are things I'm passionate about, things I'm thinking about, things that I think are relevant. I am completely honored. And I guess it would depend on whose motto you take. But absolutely honored, I think it's awesome.

Arcanum Unbounded Seattle signing ()
#98 Copy

Questioner

Can it be restored? The Splinters...

Brandon Sanderson

Um, Splinters, can they be restored to... So it is, that is a yes, but restoring them will not restore Honor, the Vessel of Honor, right. They would restore Honor the Shard if this were to happen, but a new Vessel would have to take it.

Questioner

Ok so, [Adonalsium] can be put back together?

Brandon Sanderson

Adonalsium? It is theoretically possible to put a Shard back into, you know, to meld Shards together. The fact that we have already seen someone meld powers, in Sazed. So yes, but the question is who or what was Adonalsium, and is putting it back together going to do anything? Or...

Skype Q&A ()
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Jofwu

Continuity question:

Just prior to meeting with the Nightwatcher 5.5 years ago, Dalinar wakes up at the end of a highstorm and seems to have experienced a vision from Stormfather. But in The Way of Kings, Dalinar says that the visions only began "a few months ago." He also seems to have specific memory of the "first" even if he can't recall all of the details, and it seems unlikely he would have visions for several years without anyone having noticed.

So, should we assume that (1) this strange "dream" in Oathbringer was not actually a one of Honor's visions? Is that just a weird dream, or perhaps some OTHER vision from Stormfather?

Or, (2) this is one of Honor's visions and any contradictory details from The Way of Kings are superseded by Oathbringer?

Or, (3) this is one of Honor's visions, and Dalinar just doesn't remember his history of the visions very well.

Brandon Sanderson

So, I did this quite intentionally, it's not number two. But I expected these questions to be asked, and it's a RAFO, but it's one of these RAFOs where I wrote it very deliberately the way I did on purpose, and I'm going to leave it to your speculation as to what it means.

General Reddit 2017 ()
#100 Copy

Snote85

Have the Highstorms always existed on Roshar? The excerpt that talks about how one of the Bondsmiths had resigned himself to fight the Voidbringers but woke up and had a new idea, one that had to do with the nature of the Heralds themselves. Then, inside the Oathgate, we see "mythical creatures" like lions and such. It would make sense that the world might have been different when the KR were last around. So much so, that if the Highstorms "Opposite" is the Everstorm and it was made by followers of Odium, then the Highstorm would have been made by followers of Honor.

Brandon Sanderson

Highstorms did predate the arrival of Honor and Cultivation on Roshar, but it has evolved much during the thousands of years since that event. It was not created by followers of Honor, but there is more to this story that you'll find out as the series progresses.