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Autonomy by ML Malandrino.jpg
Abilities Shard of Autonomy
Titles Autonomy
Aliases Sand Lord, Patji, Trell
World Taldain
Universe Cosmere
Featured In White Sand, Mistborn Era 2

It is only in the struggle to survive that a person—a people—achieves their potential.


Bavadin is the original and current Vessel of the Shard Autonomy.[2][3][4] She is the only Shard of Taldain, where she's Invested in one of the local suns.[5][6][7]

Appearance and Personality[edit]


Bavadin has a habit of taking on multiple forms and appearances. She has several male and female personas, and will often present herself as different people to the same culture; although she is usually referred to with feminine pronouns, gender, as well as race and other qualities, are fluid where she is concerned.[8][9] Bavadin seems fond of changing her appearance, and she does so daily.[10] Even her original species is unclear; she is not a dragon, but it's unknown whether she's human or Sho Del.[11][12] In artwork, she is sometimes depicted as a feminine figure with long, vividly red hair; it is unclear, however, if this is her "true" appearance, or if she even has a "true appearance" in the first place.[13][14]


Trell demands that her servants prove themselves. Against adversity. Against society. Against the roles we take. And when there are several who fit the same slot in life … well, only the strongest can survive and be rewarded.

Bavadin is a strong believer in strength through struggle; to her, only those who can overcome great adversity can be truly worthy, while those who cannot keep up do not deserve to survive in her world. She admires tenacity and individualism, and appreciates people who are bold and willing to do whatever it takes to achieve their goals.[2] She does not care for those who try to fake their drive and passion, however, preferring those truly dedicated to their causes rather than those who try to appease her. While she typically acts through her avatars, she will occasionally talk directly with those who truly impress her.[1] In person, she is haughty and self-assured, goading her opponents into acting against her and wanting them to present strong opposition; at the same time, she does not like being denied her goals.[1][16] She is, however, strategic; she knows when to withdraw and regroup, and has back-up plans in case of failure.[16][17]

While Bavadin appreciates the driven and the ambitious, she is also extremely controlling. Under Autonomy, people are only allowed to express their individualism in the forms she approves of; a sort of assigned uniqueness, manufactured to fit into the larger whole she is building.[8] She is also not opposed to meddling with the affairs of other planets, including those that already have Shards of their own, even as she herself seeks to remain isolated and separate, unwilling to let herself be "contaminated" by any other Shard.[6][18] She is extremely proactive in making sure that her own autonomy is enforced, to the detriment of others.[2]

When acting on other worlds, she is cunning and scheming, using fake personas and setting up entire made-up faiths with the intent to reactivate them later, when it suits her purposes.[2] She is particularly fond of crafting avatars, sapient entities holding a portion of her power; her overall goal appears to be "crowding out" the other Shards with the many versions of herself.[8]

Abilities and Attributes[edit]

Bavadin and her avatars

Shard of Adonalsium[edit]

Bavadin is a Vessel of a Shard, making her ageless, incorporeal and incredibly powerful. Whether Autonomy grants her any unique strengths or abilities is unknown; however, Bavadin is highly skilled in using her Shardic powers.

Bavadin's main area of expertise is the creation of avatars, sapient, semi-autonomous entities wielding a portion of her power.[2] Through her avatars, Bavadin can take on a myriad appearances, often multiple at once; she is a keen actress, assuming dozens of made up-personas. Her primary focus on using those avatars is creating and maintaining religions. There are entire pantheons of gods where every deity is actually Bavadin in a different disguise.[8][9]

Aside from her avatars, Bavadin seems to have some measure of skill in combating other Shards. She successfully manages to infiltrate and Invest Scadrial without Harmony being able to act on it until it is too late. When acting directly, Bavadin knows how to bind another Shard, blinding them and effectively restricting their access to future-sight.[2] She can do so without endangering herself; like all Shards, Bavadin is unwilling to use her full power and thus expose herself to retaliation, preferring to act through intermediaries instead.[19]


Through her propensity for creating avatars and faiths focused on those avatars, Bavadin has gathered no small amount of religious influence throughout the cosmere. She has been known to leverage it for her own purposes at times -- such as manifesting her Sand Lord persona to Elorin to facilitate the destruction of the sand masters.[20]

Outside of Taldain, Bavadin has more people to draw on. The best-known of them is the group called the Set from Scadrial. Worshippers of Bavadin's Trell persona, the Set have been activated by her at some point after the Catacendre with the purpose of taking control over Elendel Basin and through it, the whole of the planet.[21] Vast majority of the Set appear unaware of Trell's true nature, with only their last leader, Telsin Ladrian, knowing Bavadin's full intentions for the planet; nevertheless, the group is closely tied to Autonomy, enough so for her to Invest Telsin as her avatar.[2][19]

When religious or subtle methods prove insufficient, Bavadin controls a more brutal group known as the men of gold and red. Those inhuman, advanced warriors serve as Bavadin's army of destroyers, to be brought through by Cognitive Realm and lay waste to a land when other methods have failed.[22] However, the men of gold and red are apparently difficult to control once let loose; it's unclear how well Bavadin can command them once she gives the order to attack.[23]


Like all original Vessels, Bavadin came from Yolen.[24] She and a number of others killed the creator-god, Adonalsium, and split up his power into sixteen pieces.[25] Bavadin herself picked up the piece which became Autonomy and departed Yolen, eventually winding up in Taldain, where she Invested herself in the local sun.[6]


Immortal Entities[edit]

You must know better than to approach us by relying upon presumption of past relationship.

Bavadin seems to have had some alliance with Rayse, the prior Vessel of Odium, although whether this alliance still stands with Taravangian is unclear. She assisted Rayse in splintering the shards of Devotion and Dominion, though the extent and nature of this assistance is uncertain.[27] Hoid holds a deep grudge against both Bavadin and Rayse, for unknown, but related reasons.[28] Bavadin herself doesn't seem to be overly fond of Hoid either, though they two have had a prior relationship of some nature.[26] In the present, her avatars deeply dislike Hoid, and at least one of them -- the Obrodai avatar -- has been instilled with deep dislike of him as a precaution.[29]

By contrast, Bavadin appears to feel threatened by Harmony, or perhaps Scadrial and what its technological development may mean to her own isolationist policies. She does not respect Harmony's hold on his world and infiltrates it, both through her followers and with her own Investiture. While she intially approaches Harmony with an offer of a peaceful resolution to their conflict, seemingly willing to let the Shard live (at least for now), when Harmony rejects it, Bavadin doesn't hesitate to blind him.[2] It is unclear what her plans are for dealing with Harmony after she would wipe out Scadrial.

Wax and Telsin Ladrian[edit]

Such drive. Such individualism. A shame that Harmony got you first.

—Bavadin to Wax[1]

Bavadin seems very interested in the Ladrian siblings, perhaps due to their uncle Edwarn's involvement with the Set. She particularly likes Wax, calling him a "masterpiece" and bemoaning the fact that he was claimed by Harmony before she could get to him.[1][19] She takes the time to speak with Wax, commending him on his pursuit of her people and challenging him to prove that Scadrial deserves to be left free of her manipulation.[1]

Once Telsin Ladrian takes over the Set, Bavadin seems to respect her drive and desire to survive. She makes her Autonomy's avatar, granting her the title of Trell, and gives her time to enact her own plan to take over the planet before she unleashes the men of gold and red on it.[19] However, Bavadin finds Telsin somewhat more tedious and lacking in the individualism; she considers her attempts to display it fake and manufactured for Bavadin.[1] Once Telsin's plan begins to unravel, Bavadin abandons her altogether, no longer interested in anything Telsin may want to say or do.[17]


  • Among the original Vessels, Brandon is very fond of Bavadin.[30] Part of the reason he regretted moving on from White Sand is that he couldn't properly introduce Bavadin in-story just then.[9] He has since introduced Bavadin in The Lost Metal.
  • Bavadin appears to be genderfluid by various Word of Brandons, with Brandon even going as far as to saying her gender changes depending on the day,[10] telling fans to not "get too hung up on gender... where Bavadin is concerned";[9] and Shai, when describing Autonomy, said "He, she, they, it varies".[8] Brandon has also previously not corrected fans referring to Bavadin with he/him pronouns, and used the same terminology for them.[7]


Preceded by
Vessel of

Succeeded by
  1. a b c d e f g The Lost Metal chapter 55#
  2. a b c d e f g h The Lost Metal chapter 19#
  3. Oslo signing, 2011
    Arcanum - 2011-05-30#
  4. Firefight San Francisco signing
    Arcanum - 2015-01-17#
  5. /r/fantasy AMA 2011
    Arcanum - 2011-08-31#
  6. a b c Arcanum Unbounded - The Taldain System#
  7. a b Words of Radiance San Francisco signing
    Arcanum - 2014-03-06#
  8. a b c d e The Lost Metal chapter 20#
  9. a b c d General Reddit 2016
    Arcanum - 2016-11-28#
  10. a b Arcanum Unbounded Seattle signing
    Arcanum - 2016-12-01#
  11. Mini-Con 2021
    Arcanum - 2021-11-22#
  12. Arcanum Unbounded release party
    Arcanum - 2016-11-22#
  13. Map of Dayside
  14. Autonomy Playing Card.png
  15. The Lost Metal chapter 65#
  16. a b The Lost Metal chapter 74#
  17. a b The Lost Metal chapter 69#
  18. JordanCon 2018
    Arcanum - 2018-04-20#
  19. a b c d The Lost Metal chapter 66#
  20. White Sand chapter 18#
  21. The Bands of Mourning epilogue#
  22. The Lost Metal chapter 60#
  23. The Lost Metal chapter 50#
  24. Words of Radiance Philadelphia signing
    Arcanum - 2014-03-21#
  25. Mistborn: Secret History part 3 chapter 2#
  26. a b Oathbringer chapter 42 epigraph#
  27. Lisbon signing
    Arcanum - 2016-11-07#
  28. FanX 2018
    Arcanum - 2018-09-06#
  29. Oathbringer chapter 50 epigraph#
  30. Words of Radiance San Francisco signing
    Arcanum - 2014-03-06#
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