Kind of a similar question about the Midnight Essence, now that we have seen that crop up in Tress as well as in Stormlight Archive. Is something similar happening with the Midnight Essence? We have also the nightmares, in Yumi, that appear similar, they're also mimicking things.
So, there's a couple of things getting interwoven here. The actual idea of Midnight Essence is a concept like Lightweaving that predates the Shattering of Adonalsium, that various magic systems are basically "borrowing" a law of the cosmere and creating a parallel effect from the same basis, if that makes any sense.
Yumi is a little distinct from that. It's feeling similar; I would not call it true Midnight Essence. It's an awful lot more like a Lightweaving that has--because Lightweavings can have mass to them, because investiture can have mass to it--so you're looking a little bit more like... imagine a bunch of Stormlight becoming tangible, you can touch it, because of a powerful Lightweaving or something like that. Of course, these things all bleed together because I'm using the same fundamental principles to make them. But, for me, Midnight Essence has this personality that comes prefixed. What the Midnight Mother is making, what you're seeing in the Midnight Sea and things like this, you're gonna get some similar personalities to these things, and not necessarily the same with the nightmares.
So it's more of a autonomous-- a Lightweaving that's become autonomous and has kind of broken down a bit?
Yeah... the problem is it's also got the Cognitive Shadow, right? It's a really invested Cognitive Shadow that is borrowing this Investiture to interact with the world. Because these are their shadows; these are their Cognitive Shadows, all of these people's Cognitive Shadows. But the power is not themselves. Remember, a Cognitive Shadow is a little bit like a fossil, like Vasher describes it. You've got this pattern there, and then the power kind of makes it manifest and be able to interact, and things like that. And, when that personality asserts itself with that power in the right place, you end up with a person that is the shadow running it. But at the same time, you've got this mass of power and energy that the machine is kind of controlling, which pulls back and overrides the personality sometimes. You've got a very weird set of circumstances going on here.
But it was very fun to figure out all the backstory and the behind on it, and get it all working. This one was a little complex, to get these things all working behind the scenes. I like how they turned out. Yumi, if you dig into it, it has both pluses and minuses. The minuses is - from the beta readers and the alpha readers - the ending for non-arcanists was really overwhelming, which is why we have those Hoid scenes where he's like, "Okay, let me explain." It seems pretty obvious, I would expect that this is, like, "Alright, Brandon needs to do better explanations, Hoid's just gonna do it." But, because of all the work I did behind the scenes on Yumi, Yumi matches kind of cosmerological magic system stuff in ways that a lot of the side projects that I do just don't. Yumi is very deeply intertwined and following all of these processes in a way that works really well for me. But it also gets you into where you start to need a master's degree in the cosmere to figure it all out, which is why to make it easier, we have Hoid just spell it out for people. It is a little clunky; I prefer the clunkiness to the previous version where you needed a master's degree in the cosmere to understand even what was going on.