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Holiday signing ()
#1 Copy

Questioner

The nature of humans on different worlds, like people from Warbreaker have a Breath, people from Scadrial, do they have a Breath as well?

Brandon Sanderson

They do not.

Questioner

That's specific to the Endowment Shard?

Brandon Sanderson

Yup.

Questioner

I've read that Hoid does have a Breath. Was he born with a Breath or--

Brandon Sanderson

Hoid was not born on Taldain-- err Nalthis, on Nalthis. So no, he did not start with one. But the magic was much different when he started. He was before the Shattering of Adonalsium so things are weird regarding him.

JordanCon 2018 ()
#3 Copy

Trae [PENDING REVIEW]

Previously, you've revealed that the mechanism that determines the Returned on Nalthis is a decision of a sapient entity. Is the determination by which the entity that selects the recipient of a Divine Breath to come back as a Returned predicated on that recipient fulfilling some purpose in the Physical Realm?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

So, the question is, "Why does the entity that picks who Returns, why did they pick who they did?" And, your question kind of implies there's, like, specific tasks to fulfill. I'm gonna say, there aren't specifics, but there are certain things the entity is looking for...

Trae [PENDING REVIEW]

In the Physical Realm?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

Yes. There are certain things that they are looking for. Now, let's just say this entity is not necessarily the most consistent of entities in the cosmere when it comes to making decisions like this. But there are certain things they are looking for.

Arcanum Unbounded Chicago signing ()
#6 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

*reading a personalization request* Name a Shard not--

FirstSelector

Preservation... from the alternate [Well of Ascension] ending.

Brandon Sanderson

Oh! Oh, oh, oh, oh! What do you mean by that?

FirstSelector

I thought that those four were-- the four mist-people--

Brandon Sanderson

Oh the four mist-people that's-- Oh... *sighs* I gotta RAFO that, right?

FirstSelector

Well it's not canon technically.

Brandon Sanderson

No it's not canon... Okay I just have to dig back deep... But there's stuff--

FirstSelector

Star.

Brandon Sanderson

There's a star, just remember the star.

*writes*

"Endowment was there*"

Oathbringer San Diego signing ()
#9 Copy

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

About how many Breaths do you need to become Invested enough to be influenced by Endowment's intent?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

On the small scale, not very many... One could argue that even someone with one is influenced a little bit. 

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

Significantly influenced?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

No. But the more you get the more likely that is.

Calamity Philadelphia signing ()
#10 Copy

Questioner

What is Endowment’s long term plan?  Like just even in general, is she just like “Keep Nalthis safe” like Sazed is or is she like, does she have a plan for...

Brandon Sanderson

Nooo, um...

Questioner

You don’t have to tell me but like, does she have a plan that involves the cosmere...

Brandon Sanderson

Not really.

Questioner

...or is it just to stay on...

Brandon Sanderson

She’s more focused on her thing.

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

Melhay

Is Adonalsium going to be mentioned by name in Warbreaker and The Way of Kings or is he going to be an underlining "God"(I don't know what to call him yet) idea? I am curious now, so I will have to keep my eyes open for him.

Brandon Sanderson

Adonalsium (Ahy-doe-Nahl-see-um) will be mentioned by name again. Ruin and Preservation were what have been called Shards of Adonalsium. (The Voice from Warbreaker is another Shard.)

Melhay

Is this "character" a common link between your books for religion or magical or maybe even both?

Brandon Sanderson

Adonalsium has to do with the Cosmere, which is the word Realmatic philosophers use to refer to the greater universe of the Shardworlds. It's hard to separate religion, magic, science, and society in most of these worlds. So "both" is a good guess.

Melhay

I was curious because he just seemed to appear and nothing further on him/it. Thank you for mentioning that he is in these two other books, I will have to look for hints of him.

Brandon Sanderson

The word Adonalsium (or, well, the miss-spelling of it) appears in only one of the books. Other clues and links between the books can be found as well. (Some people on my forums have spotted some of them. Others have gone unspotted so far.)

Legion Release Party ()
#14 Copy

OrangeJedi [PENDING REVIEW]

When Nightblood created, was Endowment involved in any way more than normal?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

Good question, you qualified that the right way! I would say yes, but maybe not to the extent you're thinking.

OrangeJedi [PENDING REVIEW]

Normal being using Endowment's Investiture to Awaken. There's something special.

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

I would say, there is something special.

Firefight Chicago signing ()
#17 Copy

Argent

Awakening and Surgebinding, Stormlight and Breath seem really similar in some aspects--

Brandon Sanderson

Yes.

Argent

--except Breaths seem to stick to things better--

Brandon Sanderson

They do.

Argent

--than Stormlight. So when you are holding the Breath it doesn't expire when you put it in something it doesn't go away. Can you tell me something about why that's happening?

Brandon Sanderson

Part of this is kind of inherent to the Shard and the power it's coming from. I mean the power of Endowment is just going to stick, that's part of the nature of its magic. Does that make sense? But it also kind of has to do with how the ecosystems are working. For instance the Stormlight is essential to the ecosystem of Roshar, it needs to be expended, it needs to get out and-- It's like evaporation, does that make sense?

Argent

Recycling? Not the recycling but the cycle of--

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah, yeah like the cycle of water. And so just part of the way the nature of it works, it has to get out, it has to leak out, it has to run out. I mean it leaks even from spheres, right?

Argent

And when you lash things it's temporary--

Brandon Sanderson

Yep. And even though Szeth says that he thought Voidbringers could hold it they can't. Like it is just not the way that it works.

Argent

Can they just hold it better?

Brandon Sanderson

They can hold it better. It's not permanent. Now there are things that can do it permanently but--

Argent

Like the black sphere for example?

Brandon Sanderson

Well we are not going to... The black sphere is something different. You guys have guessed what the black sphere is, right?

Argent

Well we have some ideas. I support that it holds an Unmade. Am I wrong?

Brandon Sanderson

I'm not going to answer that.

Argent

But you said--

Brandon Sanderson

I'm just curious what the theories are. Book 3 the black sphere is-- Everyone who reads the books will know what the black sphere is by the end of Book 3.

17th Shard Forum Q&A ()
#21 Copy

Stroniax

Is there a way to harvest BioChromatic Breath from a planet, if it holds any? (If a person dies, and their body turns to dusty he dust of the earth, then doesn't [Nalthis] therefore hold thousands, if not millions, of BioChromatic Breaths?)

Brandon Sanderson

Possible. It would be the same thing as harvesting the nature of Preservation or Ruin, which--on Scadrial--took the form of nuggets of metal.

Words of Radiance San Diego signing ()
#22 Copy

Leinton (paraphrased)

If Endowment were killed, would the Returned still come?

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

Somebody needs to hold the magic. If no one holds the magic, the magic will start to gain sentience. Interesting and bizarre things happen then, so I would say yes, but with the caveat that with whoever picks up the power or what happens with the power could end up changing that.

/r/books AMA 2015 ()
#23 Copy

Enfeathered

Assuming that the events of the first Mistborn book took place on Nalthis instead, and especially considering the circumstances of Kelsier's passing and the events afterwards, would he have Returned?

Brandon Sanderson

That's a very interesting question. Endowment can be somewhat...erratic. I don't know, honestly. I'd have to think about it.

General Reddit 2015 ()
#27 Copy

emailanimal

From a very recent signing, we have this new Word of Brandon...

chasmfriend's son: Is there a finite amount of Investiture?

Brandon: Yes.

chasmfriend's son: So is Nightblood consuming it?

Brandon: Yes. Very, very slowly.

This worries me somewhat because of the following observation.

Nightblood consumes Breath (and other Investiture, but let's limit ourselves to Breath for a second).

Every person on Nalthis is born with one Breath.

Populations tend to grow. Which means that under normal rules of demographics, population of Nalthis should keep increasing.

This in turn means that under normal circumstances the number of people with Breath on Nalthis should be growing.

I can see the following possible explanations to this:

  1. Endowment can give Breath to many more people than are currently living on Nalthis. So, the exponential population growth has not yet reached the level at which Endowment's ability to award a Breath to each Nalthis-born human is seriously challenged. When it happens though, things will not go well.

  2. There is some built-in mechanism controlling population growth on Nalthis, making certain that the population stays within the limits. Nightblood's consumption of Breath makes these limits smaller, and overall may lead to Endowment's inability to grant Breath to Nalthis-born, but not for a while (essentially, Endowment controls population trends at she sees fit).

Thoughts?

Brandon Sanderson

Just as a point you should understand, the amount of MATTER in the cosmere is finite too. As is the amount of energy.

Worrying that Endowment will run out of Breaths to give is a little like worrying that the amount of carbon on Earth will run out because people keep being born.

uchoo786

So just for clarification, once Nightblood consumes investiture, that investiture gets recycled? That's what I've always assumed. That it enters the cognitive/spiritual realm?

Brandon Sanderson

The investiture he consumes is not gone forever--it's not leaving the system, so to speak.

/r/books AMA 2015 ()
#28 Copy

vandar10

Could someone with enough Breaths use part of them to heal himself without the help of a Returned?? Could the God King have healed himself without Lightsong with enough knowledge?

Brandon Sanderson

The nature of the Warbreaker magic is tied to the shard of Endowment, which is about giving. There are, therefore, things you cannot do for yourself.

RobotAztec

For healing can Big Breaths heal only one person at a time or can you heal a bunch of people at once?(as long as they are not yourself)?

Brandon Sanderson

Legends say you can heal many.

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

Zas678

Now this one will probably be RAFO'd: I know you already said that there are four Shards outside of Ati and Leras in your other books. Could you tell us the numbers per book? Is just a standard two per book? Or do some have more than others?

Brandon Sanderson

Some worlds have more than others. You have seen the effects, influences, and work of four other Shards. One Shard, however, was no longer on the world by the time the story was told there.

Zas678

I know that we've "interacted with two directly" (the pool in Elantris, and The Voice that called Lightsong back to life) that we've "seen it's power" (Dahkhor??) and another that we've seen their infulence (I have no idea on this one, though I think it might be whatever pointed out Aon Rao in Elantris to Raoden)

Brandon Sanderson

Nice guesses on most of those. You've got some things right. You've got some things wrong. The only thing I'll confirm (and I don't think I've said this before) is that The Voice is, indeed, one of the Shards of Adonalsium. (Endowment is that Shard's true name, by the way.)

Shadows of Self release party ()
#32 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

You're going to make me. They're trying to get me to canonize Endowment's gender. *crowd goes oh* ...Yes I have... I'm going to look at the thing that you guys would just love to see--

Kendra Wilson

So now's not the time to snatch that?

Isaac Stewart

It's encrypted, we've been developing a language that only we can read. *laughter* It's all in glyphs.

Zach Stay

Is it in the women's script? 

Eric Lake

Should we get Mi'chelle over here?

Isaac Stewart

It’s in a language that will never be decrypted...

Brandon Sanderson

I can't find-- Karen must of moved this. I have the name in here. I haven't canonized the name either have I?

Kendra Wilson

We don’t know. You can put that information on there too.

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah but Karen moved it.

Zach Stay

People have guessed that it's Edgli but..

FeatherWriter

I think it’s gotten RAFO'd before...

Brandon Sanderson

*writes* Endowment is female.

There you go. You guys got two big ones out of me.