How did I come up with the magic system for Emperor's Soul? A couple of things. One was the procedural magics in Elantris based on coding, and things. But also, when I was at the Royal Museum there in Taiwan, one of my guides was showing me this piece of beautiful jade. And it had a stamp in it. You know, the stamps, are you familiar with these? They call them chops, we call them dojangs in Korea, you use them as a stamp for your name. They're round, sometimes they're square. I saw this, I'm like, "Why is there a stamp on this piece of jade artwork? That's been carved and sculpted?" They're like, "Well, there was this emperor, who was hot stuff, and thought he was very important. And so he ordered his stamp carved into the piece of artwork, because he thought it was a good piece of art."
And lo and behold, I go through and I start seeing these. There's this great poem, and it's covered with, like, forty stamps. And I asked, they're like, "These are all the scholars who are like, 'Yeah, I like this.' *stamp*" It's like carving your signature into Michelangelo's David, like the forehead. It's like, "Yeah, I think this is pretty good. 'Brandon approves.'" And that's what these people were all doing. And those stamps, the ubiquity of the stamps... I don't know how I got from that to "rewrite something's history by stamping it." But that was the inception of it.
I have several of these stamps that I brought home with me from Korea. Mine actually says Sainja, which-- "Sa" in Korean is "Sand," and "In" is "Person," and "Ja" is "Son." So, it's the Son of the Sand Person. It's really, it's a pun. They see that, and they're like, "That doesn't make any... Oh. That's really dumb." It's exactly what I was shooting for. Either that or they look at it and "Salinja" with an "l" is "Murderer," and read it and they're like, "Oh, wait."
Anyway, it came from that trip.