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Dark Talent release party ()
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Windrunner Savant (paraphrased)

I asked about the importance of a lot of the religion from the "Final Empire Era" Scadrial. I pointed out that there were a lot of little nods and references to other shardworlds.

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

He assured me that there was something there, perhaps not anything as big as I was hoping for, but definitely more than just "Easter eggs!"

General Reddit 2017 ()
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One thing about the sex scenes (or hints of) between Vin and Elend that strikes me, and those I've discussed it with, as odd is that there seem to be no contraceptive in the Final Empire. That'd be the most logical conclusion, seeing as skaa raped by Noblemen needs to be killed, there seem to be no other way to handle it. But that means that, to our understanding of the character, Vin wouldn't have sex unless she actively wanted to get pregnant. She's all too paranoid in general to just leave a thing like that to chance it, even despite loving Elend. How does it work?

Brandon Sanderson

There are indeed contraceptives, but noblemen tend to not trust them. After all, they can be executed for making a mistake.

Holiday signing ()
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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.


That's specific to the Endowment Shard?

Brandon Sanderson



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.

17th Shard Forum Q&A ()
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When Scadrial was closer to the sun, can we safely assume that the middle section of the planet was scorched clean of anything living? Could there have been some underground life thing going on? Anything cool or interesting sitting out there (like ruins or some lost technology)?

Brandon Sanderson

The middle section was scorched pretty clean. I know of a few interesting tidbits, but it's not technology. (The tech level before the Lord Ruler took over was nothing particularly special, early industrial era.) The cool and interesting things are on the southern continent.

General Reddit 2017 ()
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What is Scadrial's primary intergalactic export?


Okay so, this is what I got from Brandon.

Prior to Kelsier exploding the Pits, Scadrial's canned goods were one of the main things exported to the intergalactic market from the planet.

NB: This is something that Brandon can change at any time if the story calls for it.

Firefight San Francisco signing ()
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Are there cats anywhere in the cosmere?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes there are cats in the cosmere. There are lions in Mistborn, and have been mentioned numerous times, so you can assume, extrapolation, that there are also cats in the worlds somewhere. Scadrial, the Mistborn world... is my Earth analogue. When I was designing I'm like, I'm gonna design this one in such a way that I can-- because I knew I was going to be doing 1900's fiction, and 1980's fiction, I wanted it to have some sort of parallel societal evolution and so I put in a lot of parallel cultural things, and things like that. So you can make an assumption that, unless I say otherwise, on Scadrial they have basic Earth ecology, particularly now after events that I can't talk about because they're spoilers.

JordanCon 2016 ()
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What color are Marewill flowers?

Brandon Sanderson

Marewill flowers I've always imagined as a kind of bluish-white. But I don't know if I ever describe that, so it's possible that Peter pushed me once and I said something else. But I'm assuming I've never done it because you don't know. So I'm imagining a bluish-white… with a green actual plant.

The Alloy of Law Annotations ()
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Brandon Sanderson


Yes, one of the months of the year is named after Vin. There are twelve months, one after each member of the crew, with a few tweaks. (The days of the week have different names too, but we ended up not using any in this book.)

By the way, Scadrial—the world of Mistborn—is the closest Earth analogue in the cosmere. I did this intentionally, as I wanted one planet where technology and the like progressed similarly to what we have. There are distinctions, of course, but generally we've got a lot of similarities. Even in the original Mistborn, we referenced plants and animals by Earth-style names. You can assume that on Scadrial they have horses, dogs, cats, sparrows, and the like. There are twelve months, and a twenty-four-hour day. Gravity is earth gravity. Things like this.

There's no hidden meaning there—no tie back to Earth, at least not in any important way. The cosmere is entirely separate from Earth. This one planet, however, has creatures that were developed along the same lines as Earth. (Well, it's not the only one, but to say more would be to give away too much.)

/r/fantasy AMA 2011 ()
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The characters in Mistborn all have very French names. My girlfriend insists Vin's name is pronounced almost "Veh", as it would be in France, and I'm almost convinced. How do you pronounce it?

Brandon Sanderson

The Central Dominance is intentionally French sounding. I say Vin's name like an American would, but everyone in world would say it with a French accent. Same goes for Kelsier, (which they would say Kel-syay.) Again, I say it as an American would, but then I'm not from the Central Dominance.


One further question on pronunciation- Sazed. Is it sayzd, sayzed, or sah-zahd? I always pictured the Terris people as somewhat Arabic so Sah-zahd came more naturally to me, but I'm curious as to what the intended pronunciation is.

Brandon Sanderson

I say Sayzed, as does Kelsier. The Terris a is not as harsh as that, but it's not quite a soft "a" either.

Stormlight Three Update #4 ()
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When you say Scadrial has an earth similar year, are you referring to the time it takes the planet to go around the sun? Or the year as people on the planet would measure it (e.g. Vin is fifteen years old when her brother leaves her)? Are these the same thing?

While I'm here, a selection of related questions for you if you have the time:

  1. Did the length of a year (as measured by the people on the planet) change when Scadrial was moved by The Lord Ruler/Harmony?
  2. I've assumed that lengths of time given in the books use that world's time lengths. For example, the Reod happens ten Selish years before Elantris (which may not correspond exactly to Scadrian years or Earth years), or that the 4500 years between the prelude and the prologue of Way of Kings is in Rosharan years. Is this an accurate assumption?
  3. I've assumed in the past that all the major shardworld planets we've seen have roughly earth similar years. Can you confirm/deny this for any of them specifically? I'm especially interested in Sel and Nalthis. (Specific numbers would be ideal, but even a yes/no for any of the planets would be super super awesome!)

Brandon Sanderson

  1. I mentioned in another post that I'll wait a bit to give you exact numbers, because I want to make sure Peter has run all the right calculations. But yes, changing the orbit had an effect on things--though official calendars didn't need to change, as they'd been used since before the original shift happened anyway. When we talk about 'Years' in the Final Empire, it's original (pre LR) orbit anyway. I knew I was going to go back to them later in the series, and when characters were actually aware of things like the calendar, it would be close to earth standard.

  2. Though, since you mention it, all numbers mentioned in their respective series are in-world numbers. This makes things tricky, as Rosharan years (with the five hundred days) are blatant enough to start the average reader wondering about these things.

  3. Mostly, Roshar is the big one (not in actual deviation--I think a Roshar year is only 1.1 Earth years--but in how the scope and terminology of the novel will make people start to notice and ask questions.) Other planets have deviations from Earth, but it's not as noticeable. We'll give specific numbers eventually. I promise. interview ()
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Technological progress. So Scadrial is going all the way to cyberpunk.

Brandon Sanderson



But do you plan to do it anywhere else?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, with an asterisk, right? Roshar has a very different technological path but they have access to so much more Investiture in an easy to use format. Roshar is really heading toward what we call magicpunk, or things like this, magepunk, where you are using a magical power source and things like this. So their technology is going to go weird but it's going to go fast once they start figuring things out because they have easy access to Investiture resources.

Scadrial: slower for various reasons and things like that, but it's ahead.

And then there was Taldain, which was really far ahead but then froze when it got-- Offworld travel was stopped and it became isolationist.

So most everybody is kind of heading that direction but, yeah.

Oathbringer release party ()
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Someone on the forum I'm on wanted me to ask you about citrus fruits during Vin's time.

Brandon Sanderson

Citrus fruits during Vin's time because of the lack of flowers, and things like that? Their fruits were not our fruits. Let's say that.


Were they close to, like, Rosharan, like bulb fruit?

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah, there were definitely some bulb fruits. But any actual citruses, I don't think that there were.

General Reddit 2016 ()
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Kwaan might have understood realmatic theory.

In the chapter 19 epigraph for the final empire, the author of the journal says "When we first met, he was studying one of his ridiculous interests in the great Khlenni library - I believe he was trying to determine whether or not trees could think."

I wonder if that means he was looking into trees have a cognitive aspect. It seemed weird to me the first time I read it, but knowing what I know about the Cosmere and Sanderson loving worldbuilding, I feel like that's what this was about.


Was pre-ascension scadrial cosmere aware?

Brandon Sanderson

The OP's theory is correct. The rest is a RAFO.

JordanCon 2016 ()
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What happened in the Cognitive Realm during the Catacendre?

Brandon Sanderson

Um… *sighs* So, um... Have you read Secret History?



Brandon Sanderson

You are in the Cognitive Realm for the Catacendre in Secret History, that's some things that happened. Saying what happened there is like saying "what happened on Earth in 19--"


Well I was thinking more like what you couldn't see on-screen, if you would comment on that.

Brandon Sanderson

"What you see is what you get for that one." Is what I'm going to say of it.

Skyward Pre-Release AMA ()
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Is there a market for decorative metalminds on Scadrial? (IE gemstone studded earrings or fancy engraved bracelets. A jeweler's gotta make a living somehow, y'know. d= )

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, there is a market for this--even among those who don't have specific talents themeslves.

Miscellaneous 2016 ()
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Peter Ahlstrom

The [Scadrian] calendars don't appear in Arcanum Unbounded, but they're mentioned on the map as old calendar/new calendar. Since the Lord Ruler actually kept the calendar the same, what this is referring to is only the placement of seasons, since those have to change from year to year because of the orbit.

17th Shard Forum Q&A ()
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Since Allomancy is powered by burning metal, isn't Scadrial going to eventually start running out of metal?

Hmmm... is that why there's a space trilogy? They have to mine asteroids and other planets for their metal?

Brandon Sanderson

It could happen. However, it's not really a danger with the current population of Allomancers. There just aren't enough of them.

Firefight release party ()
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Is there more to the Roshar world than what is shown on the map or is it just that?

Brandon Sanderson

There is only one continent. Now if you are paying attention, that's not answering your question completely.


It's just different realms and all that. I meant like more landmass.

Brandon Sanderson

There is only one continent on Roshar.


Just different versions of it.

Brandon Sanderson

That doesn't mean there aren't islands out there.

Now the Mistborn world there is a whole lot more.


We've only had that one little part so far.

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah, but it's basically almost all empty because... Which is actually very fun for the worldbuilding, is this idea of a mostly unpopulated world.

General Reddit 2017 ()
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Is there any noble house in Elendel that plays up their relationship to Kelsier and Marsh?

Brandon Sanderson

They tend to leave Kelsier/Marsh alone and focus on the other crew members. Getting authority from Kelsier is kind of presumed, a little like the Catholic church using Peter as its line of authority, rather than Christ--because the Christ part is assumed.

Words of Radiance Omaha signing ()
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Are they any other continents on Roshar?

Brandon Sanderson

Roshar is, I haven't said that there's anything else out there, but I have said it's pangea, meaning if there's anything else out there, they are small.  They are not of a similar scope and size.  Now on Scadrial, there is other stuff going on.  And I've told people that for years, and years, and years.  So, you may find some other stuff going on there.  For years, you know, the southern continent was populated on Scadrial during the Final Empire era, even.  It was just impossible to reach because the heat, the poles were the only habitable places on that planet, and so anything in between, you just couldn't deal with it.  The Final Empire was on the North Pole.  

General Reddit 2017 ()
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How is homosexuality regarded across the cosmere?

I know one member of Bridge 4, though I forget who, is gay, but I'm asking more in the sense of legality, societal view, etc.


It would probably depend on the planet and culture involved. Roshar has many varied cultures and probably has multiple different acceptance levels. Scadrial is much more progressive and really only has two cultures so it's more likely that most if not all of the world accepts it. Maybe this is something you could ask [Brandon] at a signing or during an AMA.

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, this varies widely based on the planet, and even culture, TimAnEnchanter.

Roshar, for instance, has a lot of different perspectives on homosexuality. In Iri, the more religious segment (who believe that life is about new experiences) would approve, while the more rigid modern, secular society has outlawed it.

In Azir, you'd find something like existed in middle-ages India. (Some societies there had this curious system where a gay man would be given "social reassignment" so that he was treated like a woman, dressed like one, and had relations with men--even if he wasn't actually transsexual.)

Vorin culture is concerned with oaths. Extra-marital sexuality is strictly forbidden, but homosexuality is regarded the same by most as heterosexual relationships. If the proper oaths are spoken, then the Almighty approves. (This usually means marriage, but there are certain official forms of other relationships that would allow it also.)

There are actually a couple of scenes in Book Three talking about it, for those who are interested, as the family and romantic relationships of the bridgemen are becoming a larger part of the story. (Still a small part, I should note, for space limitations.)

On Scadrial, it's going to fall between Pathian lines (each individual decides for themselves) and Survivorist lines (you follow church hierarchy, which forbids it.)

Don't even get me started on Bavadin's religions.


What reasons do Survivorists use to rationalize heterosexuality? Thank you so much for these tidbits it's really interesting to hear more about this stuff from you. It would be great to see some of this canonized, maybe in an interlude, or random background discussion somewhere. Thank you again for your books! Also very interested in hearing why secular Iriali have decided to 'regress' on that.

Brandon Sanderson

Survivorism calls it unnatural, and not conducive to the survival of the species. More than that, though, Survivorism has become very conservative and slow to change. What early thinkers had to say is regarded very strictly in the religion. Back during the early days of the new era, repopulating the basin was of prime concern, and this became a big part of what led to moral codes in Survivorism.

General Reddit 2018 ()
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If the Olympic Games existed in the Mistborn universe, what would some of the events be? This is assuming, of course, that magic is allowed and isn't seen as a form of cheating.


I'm fully expecting to find out in Era 3. Will be very disappointed if sports are never mentioned.

Brandon Sanderson

I already started laying the groundwork, if you look in the Era 2 books.

Shadows of Self San Jose signing ()
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Was it a deliberate move on your part to make it such that on Scadrial, people who wear aluminum foil hats actually are safe from mind control?

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah, yeah that was a big inside joke. *laughter* When I realized it would work, I had to put it in. *pause* I’m doing some fun things. The gun thing is another one I’m very fond of.

Oathbringer release party ()
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If people from Scadrial were to colonize, like, Nalthis, and not intermarry with the people there, would their children continue to have the Scadrial Investiture, or would they have the Nalthis Investiture? In the sense that, is it genetic, or is it planetary?

Brandon Sanderson

Scadrial is more genetic.


Than Nalthis, where they have the Breaths?

Brandon Sanderson



So, would their children continue to--

Brandon Sanderson

Their children would continue, for a while, to have Scadrian Investiture.


For a while. Could you say, like, how many generations?

Brandon Sanderson

I cannot.

The Alloy of Law Annotations ()
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Brandon Sanderson

Chapter Seventeen

The Mists Form

In writing this book, I had to nail down a few worldbuilding issues I'd been contemplating even before the first trilogy ended. What would happen to the mists, for instance, once Sazed took over and became Harmony?

The mists, obviously, are a big part of the series. It didn't make sense—either narratively or worldbuilding-wise—to lose them completely. However, they'd been created as an effect of Preservation trying to use his essence to fight against Ruin's destruction of the world. So . . . wouldn't they go away?

I decided that Sazed would still send them. They're part of the nature of the world now. To acknowledge what had happened, they wouldn't come every night any longer. But they would come. They were changed in that they are no longer simply the raw power of Preservation; they're now a part of Harmony—so they no longer pull away from Hemalurgy in the same way as they used to. They still have the odd effect of being able to power Allomancy. (And Feruchemy as well—if one knows how to do it.)

The mists are, in part, the raw power of creation. And when one is favored of Harmony, the mists have a greater effect than they might otherwise have. We'll see more of this later.

TWG Posts ()
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Peter Ahlstrom

The round map [in Mistborn: The Final Empire] makes it look like it takes place over a that intentional?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, actually. Though, when we put a map in the book, we'd probably fuzz the edges so we don't have to deal with that. However, after what the Lord Ruler did to the world to try and stop the Deepness, the only habitable parts on the planet are the poles.

/r/books AMA 2015 ()
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This is just a stab based on perceived hints, but is Yolen the most "Earth-like" planet in the Cosmere?

Brandon Sanderson

Scadrial is, actually. Sel isn't too far off either. Yolen has some strangeness to it. Two competing ecologies, and some strange geography. But I have wavered on how to convey all of this, so none of it is set in stone yet.

Goodreads: Ask the Author Q&A ()
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In Well of Ascension, it mentions that the language of Terris had a gender neutral pronoun. If you actually constructed the language, what was that pronoun? Or did you just leave it as its English translation of "it"?

Brandon Sanderson

I didn't spend a long time on the languages in Scadrial, since most people were speaking the same tongue. I just used "it" in my own writings. Roshar has a lot more detail on the languages, because culture-clash is a bigger part of the theme of the series.

YouTube Spoiler Stream 2 ()
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Yoonseo Chang

Looking at Allomancy, you've mentioned that over time the power dilutes and each ability becomes less powerful. (for example a Tineye in Era 2 will generally be less powerful than one in Era 1) Does the same effect happen in Feruchemy as well? How would Feruchemy become less pure or diluted (other than Ferrings appearing)?

Brandon Sanderson

I have not gone as far with Feruchemy in that regard. I would say that if you're going to get a weakening of Feruchemy, which you're asking about, is the amount of stored attribute you get for lost attribute. There is decay there, you don't get a 1:1. Feruchemy generally I would say is not much weaker than it was before, a little bit but not much. This was done partially for narrative reasons. I wanted Allomancy... I wanted to back off a little on Allomancy and tell stories with it a little bit weaker. Again, mostly narrative reasons at this point. At this point on Scadrial, it's weakened about as much as it's going to because by this point people are having children that are more powerful because of the certain mixing. I'm not saying it's going up, I'm saying they have hit an equilibrium on Scadrial for the most part, at least in the Basin.

Salt Lake ComicCon FanX 2016 ()
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This is about certain people from Nalthis... living on Roshar and how they are living on Roshar. Could they also do that on Scadrial?

Brandon Sanderson

Scadrial would be a lot harder because getting the Investiture out of things on Scadrial is tough, there are ways you could do it but it would be much more difficult.


Does that have to do with the Investiture being more directed?

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah, it's more the genetic component is a big part of it. The directed component-- In Roshar its just flowing around all over the place. For instance, if he could get to a Shardpool he could feed off that, but then he's at the Shardpool and that's kind of dangerous and things. Roshar is really the easiest place in the cosmere for him to consistently get this sort of stuff. Taldain would not be bad either, that's the White Sand world but it is inaccessible currently in the cosmere

17th Shard Forum Q&A ()
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What's the closest that humans had gotten to the 'inhabitable' zone of the planet during the events of the first Mistborn trilogy?

Brandon Sanderson

There were groups who would go out there to escape the Lord Ruler, and the Final Empire in general. Survival was practically impossible. It's possible someone might have gotten across to the southern continent, but it would take a small miracle.

Goodreads February 2016 YA Newsletter Interview ()
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In Shadows of Self a few characters use some variation of "Hell!" as an exclamation when things go awry. I don't recall any reference to "Hell" as a place or philosophy in the religions of the Mistborn series. How does this word fit into their world, does it differ from our own?

Brandon Sanderson

The characters in Mistborn have been using "biblical" curses since book one. This was a specific choice made on my part, as I want the "feel" of Mistborn to be like London in the early 1800s. All of my books are to be read as if there's a phantom translator who took it from the original language and translated it into English. In many cases, there isn't a word that is an exact translation—so the translator does their best.

In The Final Empire, there was indeed a kind of "hell." Though there wasn't a specific idea of a devil—it was just the punishment ascribed to the souls who failed or disobeyed the Lord Ruler. Even the skaa knew of this, though religion was forbidden them. So it was a more vague sense, than specific theology, to them.

The Hero of Ages Annotations ()
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Brandon Sanderson

Chapter Seventy-Six

The North Pole

One of my big challenges in the geography of this world was figuring out how we could have a kingdom set at the pole of the world while at the same time maintaining a normal day/night cycle. My original plan was for the Well of Ascension to be located a distance to the north of Luthadel, up at the geographic north pole of the planet. When I was revising the second book, I realized that wouldn't work for various reasons. (More on this on the MISTBORN 2 Alternate Ending deleted scene page.) I changed things so that when the Lord Ruler held the power in the Well, he decoupled the geographic north pole and the magnetic north pole.

In our world, the magnetic north pole is located about eleven degrees of latitude south of the geographic north pole. On Scadrial, the two poles were originally in the same location. When the Lord Ruler moved the planet too close to its sun and realized he didn't have the control to place the planet in the proper orbit, he created the ashmounts to cool the atmosphere. He also wanted to keep access to the Well under his control, so he decided to build his capital city right above it. However, he realized that on a planet with a tilted axis, a city at the north pole would have seasonal daylight variation so extreme that at the height of summer the sun would never set and during the dead of winter the sun would never rise. He could remove the axis's tilt, but that would just make the sun perpetually skirt the horizon all year round.

What Rashek decided to do (and he had to make split-second decisions in the brief time he held the power) was to shift the crust of the whole planet so that the Well was at a latitude that would have more standard seasonal variation, and to re-create the Terris mountains in the new North (to maintain the rumors that the Well was located there). He worried that the new location of Luthadel would be too hot due to the latitude, but it turned out that moving the Well created an unexpected effect. The planet's magnetic pole followed the Well as he relocated it—and the ash from the ashmounts was slightly ferromagnetic. (Ferromagnetic volcanic ash has some precedent in our world.) So the interaction of the ash with the planet's magnetic field's new alignment meant that its protective cloak over the area of the Final Empire caused it to be cooler than the now unprotected geographic north pole.

One side effect of this is that all compasses point toward Luthadel. Since it's been that way for a thousand years, no one finds it odd–in fact, it's used as evidence of the Lord Ruler's divinity. It also makes it mathematically very easy to pinpoint one's exact location in the Final Empire using a combination of the compass reading and noon observations. Not that it's easy to get lost in the Final Empire in the first place—the geographical area of the planet's surface that the Final Empire covers is actually quite small.

Ultimately, when it comes down to sophisticated geography and astrophysics, I'm out of my element. If there are mistakes in my reasoning above, that is why I write fantasy and not hard sf.

And I still haven't said anything about what happened at the south pole.

Dragonsteel 2022 ()
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spectria.limina (paraphrased)

On [the Wax and Wayne deck of cards distributed as con swag], on the Joker, there's a figure that looks like it might be Autonomy, with a symbol in it that's kind of like the harmonium symbol but different. Is that symbol for trellium?

Isaac Stewart (paraphrased)

That's just a later version of the symbol for harmonium. Part of how the symbols evolved between eras. There are other differences too, like with the spikes. It's also the symbol for Scadrial.

The figure does look like they might be related to Trell, huh...?