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Sand Lord.jpg
Vessel Bavadin[1]
Slivers None
Splinters None
Status Whole
Magics Sand mastery
Residence Taldain
Universe Cosmere
Featured In White Sand

As the waves of the sea must continue to surge, so must our will continue resolute. Alone.

—Autonomy (as Patji)[2]

Autonomy is a Shard of Adonalsium, currently held by Bavadin.[1] It's presently located on Taldain, Invested in one of the local suns, though it possesses a number of avatars in other worlds throughout the cosmere.[3][4][5]


We need not suffer the interference of another.

Autonomy wants to remain alone; she does not wish to be corrupted by other Shards and thinks the Shards are better off on their own.[7] However, this doesn't stop her from meddling in affairs of others.[4]

Associated Magics[edit]

Kenton using sand mastery

Sand mastery[edit]

Sand mastery is the magic system of the Dayside of Taldain. Autonomy's Investiture travels through the atmosphere there and is absorbed by a small lichen living on the local sand; this has the effect of turning the sand white.[4] Sand masters can use this to command the sand, making it move around. Sand is controlled in ribbons; the strength of a sand master is defined by how many ribbons they are capable of calling forth.[8] They do so at the cost of their internal stores of water.[4]

It's unclear what the conditions for becoming a sand master are. The ability seems to be a combination of nature and nurture, and must be encouraged to appear in a person; it can take weeks of training before one can control sand. At the same time, it appears to be in-born to at least some extent, as different people have different strength, and in some, the power will not appear at all.[9]

The same Investiture used in sand mastery can be also utilized by people in other star systems, if Taldain's sun is visible from their location.[10] Surgebinders could draw Investiture from the sun's light.[11]


Aviar are a type of birds on the planet of First of the Sun. They are known for their supernatural abilities; every species of Aviar has their own, specific gift. They gain those talents by feeding on fruits of Patji's Finger, a tree native to the island of Patji. This fruit contains worms, which bond with Aviar to grant them their powers. Aviar abilities include hiding one's mind from those capable of perceiving it, and showing others their possible deaths.[12] As the mind of Patji is an avatar of Autonomy, it's highly likely that Aviar make use of Autonomy's Investiture.[13]


Perhaps if you had approached the correct one of us with your plea, it would have found favorable audience.

Like all Shards,[15] Autonomy is able to create avatars, personas that can act independently from her. Avatars can be of any gender, race and species, including fully inhuman ones.[16] They are considered to be Shards of Adonalsium, in a way.[5] Autonomy can create avatars on planets in the cosmere without physically visiting them.[17] They can also form without a direct and conscious decision on Autonomy's part, but she will always be aware of this happening.[18] These avatars are semi-autonomous pieces of the Shard.[19]

Through this, Autonomy has created several personas, both male and female; she has more female personas than male ones, though the latter are also quite popular. She prefers to make her avatars rather than herself the center of attention.[16] As such, it's unknown if she ever interacts with people directly, or if she always leaves her avatar to handle such matters.

Known avatars[edit]

  • Patji, located on First of the Sun; the origin and amount of its Investiture is unknown.[13][5] It wrote a letter to Hoid where it dismisses his concerns over Odium.[20][21][5]
  • Sand Lord, on Taldain; Taldain is also home to many other, unnamed personas of Autonomy, though it's unclear if they're all avatars or if they are all different "faces" of the Sand Lord.[22][16] He apparently manifested himself at some point to Elorin, leading to an attempt to destroy the sand masters, though whether driving sand mastery to extinction was his goal remains uncertain.[23]
  • Obrodai avatar, younger than either of the above. She has been instilled with a great dislike of Hoid in order to prevent him from returning there.[24]


Autonomy was created in the aftermath of the Shattering of Adonalsium, and taken up by Bavadin, who carried it away from Yolen.[25] Eventually, she settled in Taldain system.[4] Someone altered the system into its current, unnatural shape, though whether this was Autonomy or some other force is unknown.[26] Eventually, Autonomy began to enforce a policy of strict isolationism for the planet, preventing people from leaving and travellers such as Khriss from returning.[4] Despite that, she also started to nurture avatars of itself on various worlds, including Taldain and First of the Sun.[27]

It's possible Autonomy aided Odium in killing Devotion and Dominion in an unknown way.[28] Millennia later, when asked for assistance in dealing with him, her avatar on First of the Sun refused, though it indicated that other avatars might be more inclined to assist.[29][30] At the same time, Autonomy was manifesting another avatar on Obrodai, and demanded that Hoid does not return there.[24]

At some point Autonomy had interactions with the Ghostbloods.[31]


Ker'Reen Philosophy, the religion of Kerztians, calls the sun the manifestation of the Sand Lord, the source of man's autonomy and independence.

Autonomy is widely worshipped by many of cosmere's worlds and cultures. She -- or, sometimes, he or they -- appears in various forms and under various names throughout her many religions. In some places, there are entire pantheons of gods where every member is actually a different persona of her.[27] Religions worshipping Autonomy include Ker'Reen Philosophy of Taldain, which worships her under the male persona of Sand Lord, and the Eelakin faith, which considers the island of Patji, the site of the Patji avatar, one of its gods.[32][12]

Autonomy's insistence on isolating Taldain has led to the planet's technological progress stopping. Despite being one of the most technologically advanced worlds, because of the Shard's interference, and possibly other reasons, off-world travel to and from Taldain has all but ceased.[33][34] This also had the result of cutting worldhoppers from Taldain off from their own homeland; as such, people like Khriss and Baon are virtual exiles.[25]

This page or section deals with theories or speculation.
Please read carefully and note that this is not necessarily canonical.

Autonomy herself interferes directly in a number of cosmere's worlds.[35] She might have aided Odium in killing and splintering Devotion and Dominion among other Shards. She may be taking over multiple worlds through her avatars [36][28] and is one of the possible candidates for the true identity of Trell, the mysterious force that is invading Scadrial some three hundred years after the Catacendre.


  • If Brandon were to become a Vessel, Autonomy is one of the Shards he has said he might choose.[37]
  • Had Rayse not been captured in Roshar, he likely would have went after Autonomy, double crossing them.[38]


  1. a b Shadows of Self release party
    Arcanum - 2015-10-05#
  2. Oathbringer chapter 45#
  3. /r/fantasy AMA 2011
    Arcanum - 2011-08-31#
  4. a b c d e f Arcanum Unbounded - The Taldain System#
  5. a b c d Oathbringer signing London
    Arcanum - 2017-11-28#
  6. Oathbringer chapter 46#
  7. JordanCon 2018
    Arcanum - 2018-04-20#
  8. White Sand Volume 1 chapter 1#
  9. White Sand Volume 1 chapter 5#
  10. Kraków signing
    Arcanum - 2017-03-21#
  11. YouTube Spoiler Stream 3
    Arcanum - 2021-12-16#
  12. a b Sixth of the Dusk#
  13. a b Orem signing
    Arcanum - 2017-12-21#
  14. Oathbringer chapter 47#
  15. Salt Lake City signing
    Arcanum - 2017-12-16#
  16. a b c General Reddit 2016
    Arcanum - 2016-11-28#
  17. /r/Cosmere
    Arcanum - 2018-03-18#
  18. Prague Signing
    Arcanum - 2019-10-26#
  19. YouTube Livestream 32
    Arcanum - 2021-06-03#
  20. Oathbringer chapter 42 epigraph#
  21. Salt Lake City signing
    Arcanum - 2017-12-16#
  22. Shadows of Self release party
    Arcanum - 2015-10-05#
  23. White Sand Volume 3 chapter 6#
  24. a b Oathbringer chapter 50 epigraph#
  25. a b Mistborn: Secret History part 3 chapter 2#
  26. Leipzig Book Fair
    Arcanum - 2017-03-24#
  27. a b Starsight Release Party
    Arcanum - 2019-11-26#
  28. a b Lisbon signing
    Arcanum - 2016-11-07#
  29. Oathbringer chapter 46 epigraph#
  30. Oathbringer chapter 47 epigraph#
  31. JordanCon 2018
    Arcanum - 2018-04-21#
  32. a b White Sand Volume 1 chapter 3#
  33. Stormlight Three Update #6
    Arcanum - 2017-02-08#
  34. Idaho Falls signing
    Arcanum - 2018-12-29#
  35. Arcanum Unbounded San Francisco signing
    Arcanum - 2016-11-30#
  36. Oathbringer chapter 44 epigraph#
  37. YouTube Livestream 32
    Arcanum - 2021-06-03#
  38. Mini-Con 2021
    Arcanum - 2021-11-22#
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