Recent entries

    ICon 2019 ()
    #701 Copy

    Questioner

    When can we expect Elantris 2?

    Brandon Sanderson

    So, Elantris 2... Elantris 2 has to be done by the time I do Era 3 of Mistborn, which is the contemporary era. There are certain things that have to be in there before I can finish that series. So, right now - what it's looking like - I will finish Stormlight 4, I will do Wax and Wayne [4] and Skyward and then I'll do Stormlight 5. *applause* And then, what I'll probably do is, I'll try to - this is not a promise - but this is what my goal will be because Mistborn and Elantris books are about each half the size of a Stormlight book, I can probably do one a year, where Stormlight takes me about one every three years. So the goal will be to go, Mistborn Era 3 book 1, then Elantris 2, then book 2 of Era 3, then Elantris 3, then book 3 of Era 3.

    Questioner

    So it will be a trilogy, right?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Elantris? Yeah. But the trilogy of Elantris is not the same. It's the story of the world more than just the story of characters, so you'll find about the characters and things, but don't expect... Sarene and Raoden will not be the main characters of Elantris 2. There will be a time jump. Elantris 2 is probably Kiin's children who I've seeded to be main characters for the sequel and book 3 will probably be somebody else, right? So, keep in mind that that's how the Elantris books are intended to go.

    ICon 2019 ()
    #702 Copy

    Questioner

    The Emperor's Soul was intentionally on Sel or was it just picked up as...

    Brandon Sanderson

    No, it was intentional, because the magic system... the way I build the magic systems in the Cosmere is very deliberate and certain planets have certain themes for their magic. And Sel's magic systems are all basically computer programming languages and when I was designing that magic system, it had to be on Sel, it couldn't work on any of the other planets for various reason.

    Questioner

    And another question, is the Shaod random or is there a purpose beyond it?

    Brandon Sanderson

    It is not completely random. *laughter from audience*

    ICon 2019 ()
    #703 Copy

    Questioner

    Also, The Emperor's Soul, will we see Shai in future books?

    Brandon Sanderson

    You will see Shai in future books. *applause* I came up with a really good idea for a sequel for her, also. I don't know if and when I can write it, but there's a really solid idea I have for one, so, we'll see. But she'll make appearances, she is around.

    ICon 2019 ()
    #704 Copy

    Questioner

    We've heard a lot about the lighteyes' ranking system, but less so about the darkeyes. I would like to ask you about what would happen to, like, tenth nahn, the lowest of the lowest.

    Brandon Sanderson

    So, tenth nahn is easy, because that's the slaves. So, it's the middle ones that get really interesting. And actually, in some ways, the top ones are interesting because the nahns, the top of the Alethi darkeyes, would be analogous to how in the early 1800s, you saw a rise of a merchant class - that actually started back in the 17, maybe 1600s - but the rise of a merchant class that were not noble, but more powerful or richer than the nobility in almost every situation except for some legal situations. And that's what you're seeing there. That's really interesting.

    The middle nahns are also really interesting because they have the right of movement, which is an Alethi right that you can leave a city and move to another city. You basically can't be a <share cropper>, you can't be required... you can't be a serf. And that power can be wielded over the lighteyes, by - if the lighteyes is terrible, they can call upon the right to move, leave to whatever city and that lighteyes is demoted, right? Because your lighteyes rank can be influenced by how important the people... your civic rank, you could actually become a lower dahn because of that, or at least lose a lot of prestige because of that.

    And then the lowest of them are basically serfs, they don't have the right of movement, and the right of movement is a big dividing line. There is a nahn that doesn't have the right of movement that isn't a slave, also, and these people have pretty dismal lives.

    ICon 2019 ()
    #705 Copy

    Questioner

    My question is connected to an acquaintance of both of us. Namely, a lovely, lovely Australian named Shad, who is an expert in weapons and medieval warfare. It is very easy to criticize books and everything about *interjection* because we have the real things in the world, but in all of your books, you have created magic systems that are so... real. How is the initial thought when you create a new world, what is the initial process of creating a new magic system?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yeah, so first off, <I'll point you toward> my essays called "Sanderson's Laws", which are basically stepping through the rules I follow to make a magic system. There are just three of those. I would recommend going and reading those.

    The process is really me trying to create something that is both different and unique and something that approaches the theme of the story the right way. Like, I want a magic system that accents my story, not one that contradicts my story. And these things all come together into it: I'm looking for interesting flaws, interesting costs, interesting powers, and interesting connections to the rest of my world.

    ICon 2019 ()
    #706 Copy

    Questioner

    I read the Mistborn series in audiobook form and it was just such high quality. And I was wondering if that was specifically your decision and if so, what made you choose to make it so?

    Brandon Sanderson

    So, if you're thinking of the Michael Kramer version. That came about because I loved him and Kate's readings of the Wheel of Time audiobooks. And I just... they were my favorite audiobook readers. When they came and said "Who do you want for your audiobooks", I said "Please get Michael and Kate".

    If you're thinking of the full cast audios... the full cast audios are done by a group called Graphic Audio and they just do high class work, that's why we picked them. I listen to a bunch of things they've done and I have nothing to do with how great they are, that's all on them.

    ICon 2019 ()
    #707 Copy

    Questioner

    I want to ask how were the Realms created and does their creation have anything to do with Adonalsium and the Shattering?

    Brandon Sanderson

    So, good question. The Realms predate the Shattering of Adonalsium and are part of the fundamental physics of the cosmere. So they would have been created at the equivalent of the cosmere Big Bang when time was created and things like that.

    ICon 2019 ()
    #708 Copy

    AviH

    So, the Shades on Threnody, they're enforcing the Three Rules. Would something bad happen if they weren't enforcing those rules?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I'm gonna RAFO that. The book on Threnody will not take place in [the Forests of] Hell, it will take place on the continent where the Evil is, but I hope to get into some of the rules for Hell when we're there.

    ICon 2019 ()
    #709 Copy

    Questioner

    I just wanted to know what you think about writer's notebooks and do you have one?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yeah, mine's... I have two, I have a little... whatever they call them... the little leatherbound ones that I put in my pocket. That's if I'm working on a specific book. If I'm not in the outlining stage on a specific book, which I'm not right now because I'm writing prose on something. At that point, it's just my phone and I email cool ideas I have to myself to put in my file. It used to be called "Cool things that need to be used some time", but it was just too weird a title, so now it's just called "Working ideas".

    ICon 2019 ()
    #710 Copy

    Questioner

    When I read Wax and Wayne, I have in my head, "That's how Batman would look like if Brandon wrote it." When I read The Rithmatist, I think "That's how Harry Potter would look like if you wrote it." My question is: Do you have this in mind when you write such stories and is it intentional?

    Brandon Sanderson

    It wasn't intentional for Wax and Wayne, but my pitch for Rithmatist to my publisher was, "The Muggle at Hogwarts." The Rithmatist is the person with no magic, who's a superfan of the magic, who gets to go to the magic school. So for The Rithmatist, it was actually part of my original pitch and concept, so yeah.

    ICon 2019 ()
    #711 Copy

    Questioner

    I have a question about emotional Allomancy and ways it can affect things that aren't from Scadrial. Specifically, I had a conversation about what it would do to Lifeless.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Emotional Allomancy would have a more compelling effect on Lifeless than on a regular person.

    Questioner

    Like breaking Lifeless with Allomancy?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Oh... to break Lifeless. This... I'll RAFO that for now, just because the actual details there I'm gonna RAFO. So, you're really asking, "Can emotional Allomancy bring back the person behind the Lifeless," and that I'll have to RAFO.

    Questioner

    I meant like breaking the Command.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Oh, breaking the command of a Lifeless. Ohhhh... I'll still RAFO that. *laughter and applause from audience* That's not nearly as difficult a question, but yeah... I would say if you're doing that in a roleplaying game, I would call that a viable use of the magic as currently understood. So you could make that happen and have my authority to do it.

    ICon 2019 ()
    #712 Copy

    Questioner

    We know that on Sel, it's incredibly difficult to worldhop there because of a certain dangerous factor in the Cognitive Realm.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yep.

    Questioner

    Is it possible to worldhop by means that are not through the Cognitive Realm?

    Brandon Sanderson

    You wouldn't call it worldhopping, but if you could FTL there, you could get there without having to go through the problems. I call worldhopping mostly using non-physical means, but we haven't gotten there in the Cosmere really yet, except for, like, Sixth of the Dusk and things. So, the fan terminology may include worldhopping as jumping in your ship and FTLing over. But... nothing would prevent that. If you had a ship that could FTL using one of the magic systems in the Physical Realm, you would probably be okay, getting to Sel.

    ICon 2019 ()
    #713 Copy

    Questioner

    Why did the Elantrians came to Roshar in the first place? Because the question came up after I reread Elantris, so...

    Brandon Sanderson

    Are you talking about... specifically... the old ones? Yeah, why were they on Roshar? So, those specific individuals - the Ire, as we call them - are a group of Elantrians that are not representing all Elantrians. They were there. The one you've met is there for a specific reason. The Ire are involved there. They're mostly... where you've seen them, is on Scadrial so far, but they're interested in Roshar. You are talking about the lighthouse keeper, I assume? So, the lighthouse keeper, wouldn't... would be counted, I guess, as one of the Ire and is there for a specific purpose, but it is not related to their general purpose, that they're trying to achieve.

    How's that for being vague? I'm sorry.

    ICon 2019 ()
    #714 Copy

    Questioner

    So, yesterday on the metal panel, you talked about how creating aluminum revolutionized our society. So ever since yesterday, I wondered if you one day can see some kind of... like you know, the Empire from Star Wars? Like, a society like that, probably from Scadrial that is made entirely out of aluminum and things of that nature.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yeah, I totally can. Absolutely, I can see that and it's going to be pretty cool, if I can get it all to work.

    ICon 2019 ()
    #715 Copy

    Questioner

    We were talking about Nightblood. How do you go about creating characters that are inanimate objects, but come to life? Because it seems a lot different. Also, gods... like, things that are otherworldly, because characters like real people, it's easy to write that. But considering gods and inanimate objects, that's beyond, sort of.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Well, fortunately, for us writers, nobody among our audience will be able to contradict us. Right? So, in some ways, writing something that nobody has ever experienced is a lot easier than writing something that a fair percentage of the population has experienced but you have not. And so, I just do my best. Being a writer is about learning to, "fake it." To pretend you're someone you're not, to pretend to have the experience that you don't, so that character sounds authentic. And faking something that no one can call you on is actually fairly easy.

    ICon 2019 ()
    #716 Copy

    Questioner

    In the world of Stormlight, we have the Weeping season, where there are no large storms [highstorms], we don't have any new Stormlight. How did the Knights Radiant deal in the past? Like, how did they handle this time?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Well, there's a couple of things, some are spoilery for the books. Large gemstones can keep the Stormlight, though. Some dealt without and just didn't have it. In some cases, they had the large gemstone reservoirs. It was a thing they planned for and there were a couple of other little hacks that are not obvious in the beginning of the series. So, you actually get a RAFO on that.

    ICon 2019 ()
    #717 Copy

    Questioner (A wheelchair user)

    Have you had any negative feedback from other wheelchair users about Rysn's storyline?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I did go to a bunch of them to ask, so I've been trying. But if you have negative feedback to give me, I would love to hear it, because I had two beta readers in wheelchairs give me the best advice they could. But I obviously do not have that same disability, so there's things I'm going to get wrong.

    ICon 2019 ()
    #718 Copy

    Questioner

    How do you think you did? How did you do [on Wheel of Time]?

    Brandon Sanderson

    How did I do on Wheel of Time? I think I did as close to as good a job that I could have done. There's a few things I'd change if I could. I think I dropped the ball <on the one time thing>, in retrospect, and my Mat, particularly in Gathering Storm, was... I got there on Mat, I feel, as best as I could do Mat, which is not as good as Robert Jordan could, by the time I got to A Memory of Light, but it sticks out a little bit. But he just had a big event in his life, no spoilers, just a big event. Just pretend he's off kilter because of the big event.

    Those are my two biggest regrets on that. I think I got pretty close to as good as I could have done. I don't think I did the job that Robert Jordan could have done. By definition, his would be better.

    ICon 2019 ()
    #719 Copy

    Questioner

    If you were in the Reckoners books, what kind of superpowers would you have and what would be your weakness?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I'm canonized in the Reckoners books and the Reckoners board game as Quicksand. My weakness is early mornings.  Wake me up too early and my powers go away.

    ICon 2019 ()
    #720 Copy

    Questioner

    Does Gavilar and Amaram know that Nale and Kalak are the Heralds and that all the other Heralds also...

    Brandon Sanderson

    That's a spoiler. Can you talk around it?

    Questioner

    Yeah. So did they know that the people being met, who were they and also if they knew, why'd they still continue on the missions?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Let's just say that information is not being shared clearly and succinctly between different groups that are interacting in the prologues of the Stormlight books. How about that.  But the cat obviously got out of that particular bag that you're asking about and the ramifications of it are in the first prologue. You'll find out. When this book comes out, your question will get answered pretty clearly so just know that you'll get your answer in about a year.

    ICon 2019 ()
    #721 Copy

    Questioner

    My question is about, especially in the Stormlight series, I noticed that you use a lot of different languages and that when people speak in languages that is not their mother tongue, they use different phrases and they make mistakes that really remind me of the mistakes that we Israeli do when we speak English. Do you speak multiple languages and can you tell us a bit about languages in the Cosmere?

    Brandon Sanderson

    So, yeah. I do speak... poorly... I studied French all through high school and my French is really bad. And I was a missionary in Korea and learned Korean and my Korean is slightly less bad. *speaks Korean* I said, "I don't speak Korean very well, I speak about as much as a rat's tail," which is a phrase in Korean. Learning another language was really helpful for writing fantasy books. Going and living in another culture? Really helpful for writing fantasy books.

    Languages in the Cosmere are going to vary based on my needs for a given book. I spend my worldbuilding time on what is relevant to the characters and story. So, for instance, the linguistics in Elantris were really important to the story. The linguistics in Mistborn were not as important to the story and so I spent more time on the languages for Sel than I did for Scadrial. I did spent a decent amount of time on the languages for Roshar because all the different cultures and things like that having conflicts with one another is a big part of the story.

    Worldbuild in service of the story, is my suggestion to you guys. Spend your times on things that are going to be relevant to the characters.

    ICon 2019 ()
    #722 Copy

    Questioner

    Is Hoid named after the Sephira of Hod? Like with an Ashkenazi pronunciation? The Kabbalistic thing.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Oh, the Kabbalistic thing. Not consciously, though the Double Eye is based a little bit on the Kabbalah tree of life, consciously. That's the illustration on the front cover of the first Stormlight book. And I have read a bunch of Kabbalah, so it's totally possible that it ended up in there on accident.

    ICon 2019 ()
    #723 Copy

    Brutal_murder

    How was it that the Lord Ruler was able to speak into the minds of the Terris and ask them if they want to become kandra while he was wielding Preservation?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Lord Ruler... able to speak with the minds of the kandra...

    Brutal_murder

    At least TenSoon said in the text that he spoke directly into their minds.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Send that to me, I want to go to Peter for that one. I think we have an answer for that one, but I want to make sure I'm getting it right.

    ICon 2019 ()
    #724 Copy

    Nameles36

    Why was it that Vasher was able to throw Nightblood while fully drawn but Szeth couldn't even drop him

    Brandon Sanderson

    So it may have been part to why Nightblood has less an effect on Vasher in general than the other people, but there's also a little of a bit a measure of experience... but there's some other stuff going on with Vasher.

    ICon 2019 ()
    #725 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson

    I often, when I'm building languages, there are a lot of different ways that I go. I am not a philologist like Tolkien was. I'm not a linguist. Peter is, my editorial assistant, but I am not. I have had a little bit of schooling in linguistics, but not enough to be creating complete con-langs out of nowhere. So I'm usually using a few tricks to develop my language, one of which is to look for historical languages and seek inspiration from them.

    And the pitch for myself on the whole thing, in Fjorden, was what if the Vikings had created a very hierarchical religion like Catholicism, and had instead of conquering the world as Viking, Nordic destroyers, they had become a religious group. They're really based off of the Geats, which is Beowulf's people, which are Nor--are British, they're British Vikings, basically. And so when I was developing them, I was using a bit of Nordic--old Nordic and things like that--and I'm using a bit of old English, and just trying to get that feel. In Beowulf, because in Beowulf they have some Danes and you have some people from the British isles, and there's this crossing over, and things like this, and it's this interesting sort of mix and hodge-podge of cultures and languages, from, 1000AD, and i really liked that feel, I really liked that linguistic flavor, so to speak, and so, I was really reaching towards lots of names out of Beowulf as inspiration.

    ICon 2019 ()
    #726 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson

    When I was first naming all the characters, I did this--it's a very classic mistake new writers make. And sometimes it works, but sometimes it doesn't. And this is to name the characters things that relate to their role in the plot. So I was naming all these characters and I was basing their Aons on their personality. Which if you think about, doesn't make any sense. Parents could not name their characters after the trait the characters was going to eventually exhibit?

    Questioner

    But it's like a mystical thing! Maybe determined or fates...

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yeah, you could say that. But at the end of the day, if you could look at the back and be like, "This one means Traitor. That character probably is the traitor!" It worked for Star Wars, right? He named Darth Vader, "Dark Father," in German, and none of us got it. When I went back to the books and I looked him over again, when I was editing it, my editor said, "Do you really want to do this. Do you want to name the character this, because they can just look in the back and find out what the character's name means." And I realized no parent would name their kid, "Traitor." I thought it was cute but it was actually just dumb. So I went back and changed it all.

    Questioner

    Who was it originally and what was his name?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I'm trying to remember who I named, "Traitor." I named one of the nobles, "Traitor." I'm trying to remember who it was.

    Questioner

    Probably the traitor one.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yeah probably the traitor one. It was more than that. I named all of the nobility these names based on what their role in the plot was.

    Questioner 2

    *Inaudible* Ahan maybe?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yeah. That's who it was, yeah.

    ICon 2019 ()
    #727 Copy

    Questioner

    If you could meet any author from history, and you could meet with him and ask him a question. Who would it be, and what would be the question?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I'm going to guess God doesn't count?

    Audience

    *laughs*

    Questioner

    Moses!

    Brandon Sanderson

    Moses, I could go with Moses. *sighs* Would it be Moses? Would it be Abraham? It's gonna be one of the bible writers, right? It might just be Isaiah, or one of the ones like... It would probably be Daniel and I would be like, "Let's go over that dream. Right?" *laughter from audience*

    "Let's go over that dream and you can tell me exactly what it actually means. You can trust me, I won't tell anyone." *audience laughs and claps*

    Questioner

    So, *inaudible*

    Brandon Sanderson

    Secondary answer would be "Robert Jordan" and "How did I do?"

    ICon 2019 ()
    #730 Copy

    Questioner

    In Warbreaker, the royal family's hair can change colors based on their emotions. Why is it only natural colors? Is there a reason for that?

    Brandon Sanderson

    It's only natural colors, they could go further than natural colors. Basically, their perception is what's influencing that. They can actually change more than just the color of their hair, but as in a lot of things in the cosmere, the way you view how your abilities work shapes the actual abilities.

    ICon 2019 ()
    #731 Copy

    Questioner

    Are you going to put a gay character in your book as a major character?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes! Someday I will, I want to... I'm easing my way into it because my specific culture and biases, I think would lead me to do it poorly, until I've... until I kind of ease my way in. There will be main characters who are LGBTQ in the future. I'm getting there, be patient with me.

    ICon 2019 ()
    #732 Copy

    Questioner

    About the end of Secret History... We see that Saze is being very shy with Kelsier. Seems like he is afraid of what he's gonna do. Can you tell us about it?

    Brandon Sanderson

    *carefully* Sazed believes in Kelsier more than Kelsier does.

    ICon 2019 ()
    #733 Copy

    Questioner (paraphrased)

    Is there a Dawnshard in Aimia?

    Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

    Yes. Well, there definitely has been a Dawnshard in Aimia in the past, that is why it has been protected so well, obviously. Maybe it is still there and maybe not, that is an open question for now.

    ICon 2019 ()
    #735 Copy

    Nextorl

    Well, in Elantris, we saw two people get in the Shardpool, right? We saw Riino, who we later saw in Oathbringer, and we saw Saolin- the warrior. Will we see him again? Like, will we see a cameo?

    Brandon Sanderson

    It is possible that you will, but I will have to RAFO it. You'll have to wait to see.

    ICon 2019 ()
    #736 Copy

    Kalanit Taub

    When Jasnah picks up the bead for the palace, is that the same bead that Shallan picks up in Oathbringer?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yeah.

    Kalanit Taub

    Is that a coincidence or is there something else...?

    Brandon Sanderson

    So, whenever things like that happen you can assume there's little bits of Connection going on that's changing the probability a little bit. You're not meant to read much into it, but the probability is increased because of thing like that.

    And you'll find, if you look really closely, there are connections between the characters that are really subtle that I'm doing, that anyone who's touching the Spiritual Realm or thing like that. For instance, in the second book, Syl turns into Shallan while Shallan is washed up on the beach while Syl is talking to Kaladin somewhere else. There's enough Connection going on that you see Syl change shapes, and Kal's like, "It looks like she's walking on a beach!"

    It's just Syl... because through all of that, is turning into... You'll find things like that <happening> all through the books, really subtle, really small. There's just meant to be, one of the things in the Cosmere is Connection. Your Connection to people, Connection to things, places, influences probability a little bit.

    ICon 2019 ()
    #741 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson

    That was maybe a half or two thirds of the prologue. Um, like I said, hasn't gone through continuity yet, and they are sure to find things that contradict things that I have written in previous books, so don't hold me too hard to first draft, really in first draft I'm trying to lay down emotional beats, and some of the story beats, and then we will worry about continuity.

    ICon 2019 ()
    #742 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson

    My editor in America made me cut out half of the kolo's – what did you translate "kolo" as?

    Questioner

    "Kolo." 'Cause you know, it's foreign language, so I just preserve it as it is.

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yeah. He made me cut half of those. He was so annoyed by my kolo's. You don't to understand, languages use these little verbal tics, that are very common – I don't know if Hebrew has one, but, like, they're very common, like - Korean has one - <Kuritzu?> - which people put at the end of a lot of sentences, and they just mean "Isn't that so?" or "Am I right?" or... it basically gives you a moment to think while you're talking, and a lot of languages have them. So, this is one of the examples of: fiction happened to be less realistic than real life, because in a lot of real-life texts you would have one of those every other sentence. And I use them like, you know, once a page, and my editor is like, "This is way too much."

    ICon 2019 ()
    #744 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson

    Of course the Parshendi wanted to play their drums. Of course Gavilar had told them they could. And of course he hadn't thought to warn Navani.

    "Have you seen the size of those instruments?" <Hratham> said, running her hands through her black hair. "Where will we put them? We can't..."

    "We move to the upper feast hall," Navani said, trying to project a calm demeanor. Everybody else in the kitchens was close to panicking, cooks running one direction or another, pots banging. Gavilar had invited not just the highprinces but their relatives. And every highlord in the town. And he wanted a Beggar's Feast. And now... drums?

    "We've already set up in the lower hall," <Hratham> cried, "I don't have the staff to..."

    "There are twice as many soldiers as usual loitering around the palace tonight," Navani said, "We'll have them move the tables." Gavilar never forgot about things like posting extra guards. Projecting strength, making a show of force? He could always be counted on for that. For everything else, he had Navani. 

    "Could work, yes," <Hratham> said. "Good to put the louts to work rather than having them underfoot. Alright, deep breaths."

    The short palace organizer stumbled away, narrowly avoiding an apprentice cook carrying a large bowl of steaming shellfish. Navani stepped to the side and let the cook pass. The man nodded in thanks. The staff had long since stopped being nervous when she entered the kitchens. She'd made it clear to them that doing their job sufficiently was superior praise to her than a bow. Fortunately, this staff was the kind of middle-ranked lighteyes who understood the need for a little practicality.

    They seemed to have things well in hand now, though there had been a scare earlier when three barrels of grain had been discovered with worms in them. A little creative thinking had reminded them that Brightlord Amaram had stores for his men, and Navani had been able to pry them out of his grip. For now, it seemed that with the extra cooks borrowed from the monastery, they might actually be able to feed all the extra people Gavilar had invited.

    "I should leave some of the tables set up in the lower hall," she thought, slipping out of the kitchens and into the palace gardens. "Who knows who might show up with an invitation." At the very least she might need to feed some of the military officers who couldn't be seated in the main feast hall. 

    She turned to hike up through the gardens and entered the palace through the side doors. She'd be less out of the way and wouldn't have to dodge servants if she went out here into the gardens. Maybe she could...

    Navani slowed. The Kholinar palace was brightly lit tonight, with spheres adorning every hallway and all of the garden walkways. By that light, Navani could easily make out Aesudan, her daughter-in-law, Elhokar's wife, standing just near the fountains. The slender woman wore her long hair in a bun, which was lit with a gemstone of each shade. All those colors were gaudy together. Navani preferred a few simple stones themed to a color, but it did make Aesudan stand out as she chatted with two elderly ardents. 

    Storms bright and brash. Was that <Grushu Kris>, the artist and master artifabrian? When had he gotten into town? Who had invited him? He was holding a small box with a flower painted on it. Could that be one of his new fabrials? Navani found herself drawn toward the group, all other thoughts fleeing her mind. How had he gotten the heating fabrial to work? What had captured the flamespren? How did he make the temperature vary? She'd seen drawings, but to talk to the master artifabrian himself...

    Aesudan saw Navani and then smiled brightly. The joy seemed genuine, which was unusual, at least when directed at Navani. She tried not to take Aesudan's general sourness around her as a personal affront. It was the prerogative of every woman to feel threatened by her mother-in-law, particularly when the girl was so obviously lacking in talents. Fortunately, Elhokar liked her, and she was of a good family. Navani smiled at her and turned, trying to enter the conversation and get a better look at that fabrial. Aesudan, however, took Navani by the arm.

    "Mother! I had forgotten completely about our appointment. I'm so fickle sometimes. Terribly sorry Ardent <Kris>, but I must make a hasty exit," Aesudan tugged Navani forcefully back through the gardens toward the kitchens. 

    "Thank Kelek you showed up Mother. That man is the most dreadful bore."

    "Bore?" Navani said, twisting to look over her shoulder.

    "He was talking about gemstones, and other gemstones, and spren, and boxes of spren, and... storms, what a night! You'd think he would understand I have important people to meet. The wives of highprinces, the best generals of the land come to gawk at the wild parshmen. Then I get stuck in the gardens talking to ardents! Your son ditched me there, I'll have you know. When I find that boy..."

    Navani extricated herself from Aesudan's grip. "Someone should go entertain those ardents. Why are they here?"

    "Don't ask me," Aesudan said. "Gavilar wanted them for something, but he made Elhokar entertain them. Poor manners that is, really."

    Gavilar had invited one of the world's most prominent artifabrians to visit the palace, and he hadn't even bothered to tell Navani? An anger stirred deep inside her, a fury she kept carefully penned and locked away most of the time. That man. That storming man. How could he...

    Calm, Navani, the rational side of her mind said. Maybe he intends to introduce you to the ardent as a gift. He knows how interested you are in fabrials. Perhaps that was it.

    "Brightness!" a voice called from the kitchens. "Brightness Navani, oh please, we have a problem!"

    "Aesudan," Navani said, eyes on the ardent who was slowly walking away toward the path to the monastery. She could catch him. She could spare a few minutes. "Could you help the kitchens with whatever they need. I'd like to..."

    But Aesudan was already hurrying off towards another group in the gardens, one attended by several powerful highlord generals. Navani took a deep breath, shoving down another stab of annoyance. Aesudan claimed to care about propriety and manners, but she'd butt into any conversation between men without even her husband with her as an excuse.

    "Brightness!" the cook called, waving to her. Navani took one last look at the ardents and then set her jaw and hurried back to the kitchen, careful not to catch her skirt on the ornamental shalebark. "What now?"

    "Wine", the cook said. "We're out of both the <clavina> and the ruby <bench>."

    "How?" Navani said. "We ordered..." She shared a look with the cook, and the answer was evident. Dalinar had been at the wine again, it appeared. "I have a private store," Navani said, pulling her notebook from her pocket. She gripped it in her safehand through the sleeve, scribbling a note. "I keep it in the monastery, with Sister <Nana>. Show her this, and she'll give you access."

    "Thank you Brightness," the cook said, taking the note. Before the cook was even out the door, however, Navani spotted the house steward, a white-bearded man with too many rings on his fingers, standing in the stairwell up to the palace proper. He was fidgeting with his rings on his left hand. Bother.

    "What is it?" she asked, striding over.

    "Guests have started to arrive, Brightness, including Highlord Vamah, who was promised an audience with the King regarding the border disputes. You know the one..."

    "...about the misdrawn maps, yes," Navani said, sighing. "And my husband?"

    "Vanished, Brightness," the steward said. "He was seen with Brightlord Amaram and some of those... uncommon figures." That was the term the palace staff used for Gavilar's new friends, the ones who seemed to arrive without warning or announcement, and who rarely gave their names.

    Navani ground her teeth, thinking through the places Gavilar might have gotten himself to. There were a few rooms he tended to use. He would probably be angry if she interrupted him. Well, good. He should be seeing to his duties rather than just assuming she'd handle it all. Unfortunately, at the moment… well, she would have to handle it all. Brightlord Vamah couldn't be left waiting.

    She let the anxious steward lead her up to the grand entryway where guests were being entertained with music, drinks and poetry while the feast was being prepared. Others were going with master-servants to view the Parshendi, the night's true novelty. It wasn't every day that the King of Alethkar signed a treaty with a group of mysterious parshmen who could talk. 

    She dealt with Vamah, offering apologetic words, even going so far as to promise to review the maps herself and write him a judgement. From there, she was stopped from locating Gavilar by a line of needy men and women who had come specifically to get the King's attention, a privilege that was growing more and more difficult these days, unless you were one of the 'uncommon figures.' Navani assured Brightlords their petitions were being heard. She promised to look into injustices. She soothed the crumpled feelings of those who thought a personal invitation from the King would mean they'd actually get to see that King. It was emotionally taxing work, but nothing new to her, and fully within the Queen's expected duties.

    Navani didn't resent her station. Perhaps some day she'd be able to spend her days tinkering with fabrials and pretending that she was a scholar. For now, she had duties. The only thing that truly bothered her was the fact that she shouldn't have to do those duties alone. She was unsurprised at asking that more guests were indeed still indeed showing up, ones that weren't even on the list an annoyed Gavilar had provided for earlier that day. Vev's Golden Keys! Navani kept her increasing fury under control, painting an amicable face on for the arriving guests. She smiled, she laughed, she waved. Using the cheatsheet she kept in her notebook, she asked after families, new births and favorite axehounds. She inquired about trade situations, took notes on which lighteyes seemed to be avoiding others. In short, she acted regal.

    She always felt like an imposter, and with good reason. She hadn't been born to this station. Gavilar, Navani, Sadeas, Ialai, they'd taken these mantles upon themselves. And however prestigious their ancient lineage, Navani had to work hard to suppress the anxiety that whispered she was really just a backwater country girl wearing someone else's clothing. Those insecurities had been stronger lately. Calm calm, no room for that sort of thinking.

    She rounded the room and was happy to note that Aesudan had found Elhokar and was chatting with him for once, rather than other men. Elhokar did look happy presiding over the pre-feast gathering in his father's absence. Adolin and Renarin were there in stiff uniforms, the former delighting a small group of young women, the latter looking gangly and awkward as he stood by his brother. 

    And there was Dalinar, standing tall. Somehow taller than any man in the room, but with those haunted eyes, simmering with passion. He wasn't drunk yet, and people orbited him, like they might a fire on a cold night, needing to be close, but not daring to step up and risk the true heat of his presence. Storms. She complained to her current conversation partners that she was feeling a little faint and, after assuring them that she would be fine, made a brief exit up the steps to where she wouldn't feel so warm.

    It was probably a bad idea to leave. They were lacking a King, so if the Queen vanished too, questions were bound to arise. But surely everyone could get on without her for a short time. Besides, up here she could check one of Gavilar's hiding places. He would probably come this direction, away from both the guests and the location of the new feast hall.

    Parshendi with their drums passed nearby, speaking a language she did not understand, though one of the young interpreters was with them, so Navani could have asked if she'd wanted. Instead, she twisted her way through the dungeon-like hallways. Why couldn't this place have been a little more light, had a few more windows? She'd brought the matter up with Gavilar but he liked it this way. It gave him more places to hide. 

    There, she thought, stopping at an intersection. Voices.

    "Being able to bring them back and forth from Braize doesn't mean anything, Gavilar," one of them said. "It's too close to be a relevant distance."

    "It was impossible just a few short years ago," said a deep, powerful voice. His. "This is proof. The Connection is not severed, but can be warped to allow for travel. Not yet as far as you'd like, but we must start the journey somewhere."

    Navani inched forward, looking around the corner. Yes, there he was, right where she'd expected him to be. In her study, a place she rarely had time to visit but also a place where people were unlikely to search for the King. It was a cozy little room with a nice window, tucked away in the corner of the second floor. He'd left the door cracked, and she inched up to peer in.

    Gavilar Kholin had a big enough presence to fill the room all by himself. He wore a beard, but instead of being unfashionable on him it looked classic, like he was a painting come to life, a representation of old Alethkar. By wearing the beard, some had thought he might start a new fashion trend, but nobody else had been able to pull off the look. Others simply didn't have Gavilar's strong features. Beyond that, there was an aura of distortion around Gavilar. Nothing supernatural or nonsensical. It was just that... Well, you accepted that Gavilar could do whatever he wanted, in defiance of any tradition or logic. For him, it would work out. That was just the way of things.

    The King was speaking with two men that Navani vaguely recognized. 'Ambassadors from the West' were what they'd been called, but no kingdom had been given for their home. They were simply among Gavilar's uncommon visitors.

    A tall Azish man with a birthmark on his cheek, and a shorter Alethi man with a round face and a small nose. The Azish one leaned back against the bookcase, arms folded, face completely emotionless. The Alethi man wrung his hands, reminding Navani of the palace steward, though this man was much younger, somewhere in his twenties, maybe his thirties? No, he could be older…

    On the table between Gavilar and the men were a group of spheres. Navani's breath caught as she saw them. They were arrayed in a variety of colors and brightnesses, but several seemed strangely off. They glowed with a color that seemed somehow an inverse of light, as if they were pits of violet darkness, sucking in the color around them. She'd never seen anything like it before, though gemstones with spren trapped inside them could have all kinds of odd looks and effects. Those spheres… they must be for fabrials. And Gavilar was talking to two strangers about them? She was reminded of the artifabrian in the gardens. What was he doing with spheres, strange light, and fabrials? And why couldn't Gavilar talk to her about…

    Gavilar suddenly stood up straight, then glanced towards the doorway. Their eyes met. She couldn't tell how he'd spotted her, as she hadn’t made any sound. As soon as she was seen, she pushed open the door, acting like she had been on her way in, anyway. She wasn't spying, she was Queen of this palace, she could go anywhere she wished, particularly her own study!

    "Husband," she said, "There are guests missing you at the gathering. You seem to have lost track of time."

    "Gentlemen, " Gavilar said to the two ambassadors, "I will need to excuse you for the moment."

    The nervous Alethi man ran his hand through his wispy hair.

    "I want to know more of the project, Gavilar, plus you need to know something else. I think another of us is here tonight. I spotted her handiwork earlier."

    "I have a meeting shortly with Meridas and the others," Gavilar said. "They should have more information for me. We can speak again after that."

    "No," the Azish man said, voice sharp. "I doubt that we shall."

    "There's more here, Nale!" The Alethi man said, but his friend towed him out the door, protesting. "This is important! I want out! This is the only way!"

    "What was that about?" Navani asked as Gavilar closed the door. "Those are no ambassadors. Who are they really?"

    Gavilar did not answer. With seemingly deliberate motions, he walked back to the table and began plucking the spheres one by one and placing them into a pouch. Navani ducked forward and snatched one off the table.

    "What are they? How did you get spheres to glow like this? Does it have anything to do with the artifabrians you invited – without telling me, I might add – to come visit you?"

    She looked at him, waiting for some kind of answer, some kind of explanation. Instead, he held out his hand for her sphere.

    "This does not concern you, Navani. Return to the party."

    She closed her hand around the sphere.

    "So I can continue to cover for you? Did you promise Vamah that you'd mediate a dispute tonight, of all times? Do you know how many people are expecting you? Did you say you have another meeting to go to now, before the feast even begins? Are you simply trying to ignore our guests?"

    "Do you know," he said softly, "how tired I grow of your constant questions, woman?"

    "Well, perhaps try answering one or two of them, then! It’s a novel experience, answering someone, treating them like a human being, rather than a machine built to count the days of the week for you!"

    He wagged his hand, demanding the sphere be returned. Instinctively, she shied back, holding it.

    "Why? Why do you continue to shut me out? Please just tell me…"

    "I deal in secrets you could not handle, Navani. If you knew the scope of what I'd begun…"

    Footnote: This reading is from a draft of the prologue and may change before publication
    ICon 2019 ()
    #745 Copy

    Brandon Sanderson

    I didn't know the whole cosmere when I wrote Elantris. In fact, a lot of the things I put into Elantris, like the shardpool, I put in feeling like I would connect them later on, but I had no idea how they were going to connect. By Mistborn, I did have all the cosmere. I have an advantage in that, because I took so long to publish, I was able to do a lot of practice books, and it let me really settle in on what I wanted to do, and I was able to build the cosmere... For instance, Dragonsteel (which I wrote after Elantris) is Hoid's backstory and his origin story and things like that. (And also has Bridge Four in it. Back then, they were on a different planet.) I was able to really experiment in Aether of Night with what shardpools meant, and the gods and the Shards of Adonalsium. You can read that one, that one's on the internet just for free. I think the easiest way to do it is to go to my forums and ask them for a copy. I told them they could give it away. It's not very good. It's not terrible, but it does have a lot of shardpool stuff in it, so if you're interested in that.

    So by the time I wrote Mistborn, I knew what I was doing with all of this. And I think kind of retrofit to make sure Elantris still fit it all. Hoid still had an appearance, the Shardpools worked the way I wanted to, the magic systems were based off the cosmere magic, the realmatics were all consistent, and things like that.

    People ask me a lot, "Where did you get the cosmere?" It was a gradual evolution during the unpublished novels, and then was done by the time I wrote Mistborn.

    General Twitter 2019 ()
    #746 Copy

    @elleojelo

    Will we get the poly triangle we deserve?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I could see a world where Shallan and Adolin would go for it, but Kaladin is as prudish as I am, so I doubt you'd persuade him. :) For now, we'll have to leave that to the imaginations of the fanfic writers.

    General Reddit 2019 ()
    #747 Copy

    Aradanftw

    The cultivationspren at the bank in Celebrant was also a bundle of vines like Wyndle. I wonder if it has something to do with the bond or if she is different in the Cognitive Realm because Adolin thought of her as different (with him speaking to her often).

    Mayalaran is described as being a woman while other cultivationspren are described as being vines. I was just wondering if that was an inconsistency on (Brandon's) part or if there was a reason behind it.

    Brandon Sanderson

    She's made up of vines (visually, this kind of looks like a person with the skin removed--showing muscles--but not quite.) I mention it some places in the text, but because her skin is a darker brown (with the vines a different color) it's a little harder to see on her, and the eyes tend to distract people and draw their attention first.

    Aradanftw

    So she's kind of a female Groot rather than a vine covered woman?

    Brandon Sanderson

    No, more vine covered woman. Or woman made from very small vines tightly wound together like muscles. If you saw her on earth, you would think, "huh. Cool cosplay. Wonder if that latex is uncomfortable" not "holy cow, that is an alien."

    Isaac Stewart r/Stormlight_Archive AMA ()
    #748 Copy

    ArtemosHyre

    There was a really neat recent post that showed how they use a rotated Copper symbol like we use the "cent" symbol ¢. Are there any other examples in your mind?

    Isaac Stewart

    I'm glad someone noticed that we took copper and rotated it to mean "clip." Since Scadrial is the closest planet to being like Earth in the Cosmere so far, it's fun to do little things like that. I could see us doing something similar with one of the other symbols to use it to mean a boxing, maybe the symbol for Gold.

    Isaac Stewart r/Stormlight_Archive AMA ()
    #749 Copy

    ArtemosHyre

    The Steel Alphabet is interesting in that each symbol represents a letter, a number, and a metal. When a Scadrian is reading a sentence with words, numbers, and metals, how do they know which of the three each symbol refers to?

    Isaac Stewart

    It's all related to context, similar to how we usually know which "they're, their, or there" is being used, even if we sometimes don't know how to spell each.

    Isaac Stewart r/Stormlight_Archive AMA ()
    #750 Copy

    TalenelFPV

    I'm getting "Taln's scar" tattooed on my right shin to cover a scar. Any input on the size/shape of the galaxy? (more than just the star map in the front of arcanum)

    Isaac Stewart

    That's pretty cool! Well, Taln's scar is going to look different from different vantage points in the Cosmere. From the vantage point used on the Arcanum star map, it looks like a curved string of red stars. Elsewhere it's straighter. From some vantages, it will be horizontal, and others it will be vertical. There will be the sides of some planets that won't see it at all, kind of like how the North star isn't visible from the southern hemisphere of earth.

    TalenelFPV

    Are just the stars red? Is there cosmic space dust around them that's also red? Like a Nebula, but also red?

    Isaac Stewart

    I honestly don't know if the stars are red or if there is space dust around them making them appear to be red. This is a question better asked of Brandon. However, I don't think you can go wrong making the stars red themselves as they appear on the chart, especially since most of the Cosmere views them as red, too.