Aethers are a manifestation of Investiture in the cosmere. Their source is unknown, but they presumably originate on an unrevealed planet. A piece of aether is seen on Roshar alongside other Investiture-related artifacts.
It is not known how aethers work or what abilities that they grant. There are supposedly many types of aether. Only certain people can activate aethers, and physical pieces of aether are not particularly useful to anyone else. Even cosmere scholars such as those in Silverlight do not yet understand how to control them.
Mraize is confirmed to have at least one piece of an aether in his collection of curios on Roshar. Shallan Davar describes several of Mraize's trophies; through the process of elimination, it is likely that the aether is an exceptionally delicate pink crystalline substance.
Because Mraize is a worldhopper, the provenance of his aether is unknown. He owns several items related to Investiture on other planets, such as an Aviar from First of the Sun and white sand from Taldain. Some of these items retain magical properties, but the aether does not. Mem was tasked with removing an unusual stain on Mraize's Azish cavalrylord's suit. She thought it might be a combination of oil and blood and had a great deal of difficulty removing the stain, but eventually cleaned it off without damaging the suit's delicate Mycalin dye. Mraize was surprised by her success and gave her a bonus, mentioning that the stain was "aether". Mem was clearly unfamiliar with the word.
- Aethers originated in the unpublished novel Aether of Night. Elements of the novel have already been repurposed into other works, and it would be completely rewritten before the world is introduced to the cosmere. Aethers and their home planet are confirmed to exist, but the details have not been canonized.
- Aethers are the only "major" magic system that has not yet been used extensively in any cosmere work.
- The planet where aethers originate is not central to the overall cosmere arc. Brandon has not decided how many aether novels he will write or where to fit them into the cosmere release timeline. He has considered doing a trilogy towards the end of the cosmere sequence, but he may need to introduce the magic system sooner in a novel or novella since it is relevant to other planets.
- Aethers are expected to be "relevant to space-age cosmere".
- YouTube Livestream 14
— Arcanum - 2020-07-30#
- General Reddit 2020
— Arcanum - 2020-07-13#
- Oathbringer San Francisco signing
— Arcanum - 2017-11-15#
- Oathbringer interlude I-8#
- Idaho Falls signing
— Arcanum - 2018-12-29#
- Waterstones RoW Release Event
— Arcanum - 2020-11-18#
- Emerald City Comic Con 2018
— Arcanum - 2018-03-01#
- Rhythm of War Ars Arcanum#
- Skyward Houston signing
— Arcanum - 2018-11-19#
- Words of Radiance chapter 43#
- Orem signing 2014
— Arcanum - 2014-12-06#
- Orem signing
— Arcanum - 2017-12-21#
- Oathbringer release party
— Arcanum - 2017-11-13#
- State of the Sanderson 2017
— Brandon's website - 2017-12-18#
- General Reddit 2014
— Arcanum - 2014-12-18#
- YouTube Livestream 23
— Arcanum - 2020-12-17#
- State of the Sanderson 2019
— Brandon's website - 2019-12-19#
- Tor Instagram Livestream
— Arcanum - 2020-11-25#
Big Smooth (talk) 22:30, 6 January 2021 (UTC)
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