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Forgery

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Forgery
Soulstamp.png
by Isaac Stewart
Related to Devotion, Dominion[1][2]
Focus Forms
Type End-Positive
World Sel
Featured In The Emperor's Soul

Forgery is a manifestation of Investiture on Sel that is powered by the Dor.[3]

Much like AonDor, Dakhor, and the other known magical systems used elsewhere on Sel, Forgery involves shaping a specific form in order to evoke some sort of extra-normal event. There are many types of Forgery that are explored in The Emperor's Soul, but all seem to involve the carving of a sort of stamp, the application of ink to the stamp, and then applying a mark onto the desired object or person.

One appears to need an extraordinary amount of knowledge of the background and composition of the object or person being Forged in order to make a stamp affect a target for an extended period of time. Therefore, Forgers probably need to be scholars and researchers as well as talented artisans.

Forgery is a cousin system to Bloodsealing, which shares some similarities.[4]

Prerequisites[edit]

In order for a Forger to access the Dor a few things have to occur. A bloodline connection to MaiPon is required, but doesn't always enable someone to use Forgery.[5][6] A form, which is done with the use of soulstamps. Most Forgers are taught how to do mundane forgery such as reading people,[7] writing, art, or personal signets before being taught to use soulstamps. Though it is not necessary, these skills are useful combined with Forgery.[8]

Soulstamps[edit]

Soulstamps are the main medium for enacting a Forgery. They are used to stamp an object with a seal, which changes the object's past in a way described by the design of the stamp.[9] The seal left by the stamp itself is also called a soulstamp.[10] If the new history that the stamp imply is convincing enough the stamp will take and hold indefinitely. If not, the stamp will fail after an amount of time relative to the similarity of the histories. When failing, the soulstamp will evaporate and the subject will revert to normal.[11] The subject will also turn back to normal if the soulstamp is forcefully taken off.[9] A plausible enough stamp will stay nearly permanently. The more people who know of a Forgery, the more likely it is to fail.[citation needed] There are power modifiers for soulstamps similar to power modifiers for AonDor.[12]

The seals left by soulstamps are slightly indented, and have a noticeable texture to them, regardless of the material they are stamped into.[9] When a stamp fails, the embossed texture disappears, and the ink becomes as if fresh.[7] While difficult, it is possible to soulstamp liquids.[13] Anyone can apply a soulstamp after a Forger has created it.[7] Soulstamps will not work if a Bloodseal is being used on the subject.[14]

Carving[edit]

In order to carve a soulstamp, one must have two bases of knowledge. The first base of knowledge is of the forms necessary to program the stamp. The forms imprinted on the stamp act like symbolic functions in a computer program, and it is necessary to put the correct forms in the correct positions to achieve the desired effect. The modifiers and forms required to encode a soulstamp function in a way similar to those of the AonDor, though different shapes are used.[15][16]

The second base of knowledge is that of the altered history. The success rate of a soulstamp relies on the plausibility of a stamp to established history. While a Forger does not need to know everything about a subject to create a stamp for it, the more knowledge they have on the topic the more plausible, and thus successful, their stamp will be.[17][18]This is the reason why most Forgers spend much time studying various knowledges and mundane forgery. Many simple Forgings require very little knowledge of the object, its history, or pertinent topics. Examples include reforging a table to be cared for rather than neglected,[11] or reforging an awakened object to have a different command phrase.[19] Reforging things that are already invested is more difficult.[20]

Materials[edit]

Known materials that can be carved into a soulstamp are wood, crystal, soulstone, and bone. It is implied that any material can be used as a soulstamp, as long as it can be carved to have the proper seal on it.[9] The material used in the creation of a soulstamp affects the quality of the stamp, with harder, finer materials being more prized. Soulstone is prized most of all because it is soft and easy to cut, but after being baked, it becomes very hard.

The ink used to stamp the seal also has an effect - only fresh, organic inks will function, though they can be mixed with other compounds such as wax. Clear, bright colors are the best. Animal inks are superior to plant-based inks, squid ink being well regarded.[9] Given its relation to Bloodsealing, it is speculated that human blood would be quite potent. It is possible that the suitability of the ink is determined by the original Investiture in the creature. Realmatically, organic objects have higher Investiture than non-organics, and sentient creatures more than non-sentient.[21][9]

Realmatics of Forgery[edit]

Forgery involves the use of Investiture present in the Dor accessed through a medium of a soulstamp. The seal on the soulstamp acts as the focus through the specific symbols carved upon it.[3] Like other Selish magic systems, Forgery uses a series of symbols that represent linguistic concepts applied with a variety of modifiers to encode the Intention of a given action into the focus directly. Though the Selish magics are often considered to use the concept of 'form' as their focus, it is more correct to think of these symbols as being a type of programming language using symbolic representation.[22][15] A Forger must detail their intent with the correct pattern and arrangement of symbols and modifiers. The Dor is accessed through a Connection to MaiPon, and each soulstamp carries an impression of MaiPon on the reverse.[7][23]

Forgery utilizes a relatively small amount of Investiture in comparison to many other systems. As such, Forgers do not seem to be particularly Invested in ways that manifest outwardly, like the highly Invested Elantrians or the Dahkor Monks.[24][25] Another side effect of this is that Forgery has difficulty affecting Invested objects, though the unusual nature of Forgery has a number of loopholes available to it that offset that particular issue.[19]

The mechanics of Forgery are not specifically clear, but it functions Realmatically in all three realms, more so than many other forms of Investiture. When a Forger stamps an object with a soulstamp, the stamp is initially impressed into the object's physical being. A slight embossing is made in the object, regardless of the material, indicating that the impression is present in more than just the physical body of the object. Likewise, the seal actively resists being removed by force, with a stronger resistance than the physical properties of the object should allow. The ink of the stamp is unable to be easily damaged, and does not fade or run until such time as the seal is broken or dissipates.[9] It is probable that the seal impresses itself into the cognitive and spiritual aspects of an object.

The nature of Forgery makes it unusually Realmatically aware. Realmatics are in fact part of the core of the theology surrounding Forgery.[26]. Shai demonstrates this by offering the most complete in-text definition of the three realms currently known.

All things exist in three Realms, Gaotona. Physical, Cognitive, Spiritual. The Physical is what we feel, what is before us. The Cognitive is how an object is viewed and how it views itself. The Spiritual Realm contains an object’s soul— its essence— as well as the ways it is connected to the things and people around it.
— Shai discussing Forgery with Gaotona[11]

Soulstamping an object functions by rewriting the history of an object or individual to match the encoded intent of the seal.[9][27] The likelihood of a soulstamp taking is dependent in part on the plausibility of a stamp. This includes both how the object views itself (the object's history) and how others view it. This is congruent with what we know of the Cognitive Realm, and suggests Forgery is similar to Soulcasting.[28][17] A Forger's technical skill of what they are imitating also plays a factor to an extent.[14] It is also likely that Forgery draws heavily on the spiritual aspect of an object, as connections that should be otherwise unavailable to the object cognitively affect the plausibility of a stamp, such as the instance where the room Atsuko of JinDo was placed in was modified in order to influence the drawing of a mural.[14]

The innate Investiture present in the materials to carve and ink a soulstamp seem to have a positive correlation to the ability of the stamp to take.[9] The amount of Investiture present in soulstone is unknown, but Forgery ink is known to function better with organic materials as physical mediums, with inks from more complex creatures (suspected to correlate to innate Investiture from Adonalsium upon creation) being more effective at aiding a seal in taking.

Forgery shares a number of Realmatic similarities with other forms of magic. As with all Selish magics, it is powered by the Dor, limited by location, limited by bloodline, and encoded with symbols in a programmatic fashion.[29][22][15][23] Forgery is similar to Soulcasting, however instead of influencing a Cognitive aspect directly, it offers the change through the encoded symbols. It is theorized that the plausibility factor of Forgeries is why a physical transformation from a Forgery takes vastly less Investiture than the more forceful change from Soulcasting. The careful encoding also makes Forgery more precise and detailed than Soulcasting. The subtype of Forgery known as Resealing is suspected to work in a similar fashion to Aon Ien, and to a lesser extent other healing methods throughout the cosmere such as Feruchemical gold or Stormlight healing. The physical medium of stamps and seals are shared with the cousin system of Bloodsealing, as is the use of organic inks.

Subtypes of Forgery[edit]

Soulforging[edit]

The Forgery of the soul, that was what they considered an abomination.
— Wan ShaiLu[10]

Soulforging is a type of Forgery practiced by the people of MaiPon, requiring the use of specialized stamps called Essence Marks. The use of Essence Marks is termed soulforging due to the fact that they forge the Spiritual aspect of an individual.[11] This is considered blasphemous by many cultures.[7][14]

The people of MaiPon practice Forgery on their own souls, making Essence Marks which can be used to impart new skills, enact disguises, change their personality or physiology, rewrite their memories, or in general affect the history of a person in a manner similar but more complex than ordinary Forging. Essence Marks are powerful, but incredibly difficult and complex to make, requiring a lattice of hundreds of different stamps networked together.[30][14] Using the power of Allomantic gold is very useful for making Essence Marks.[31]

When applying an Essence Mark the seal will give off faint wisps of red smoke, which happens when a soulstamp is put on an living object. This indicates that the soul is fighting against the rewriting.[7] Because a human soul is constantly growing, changing, and shifting, a soulstamp will last at most a day before failing.[7] In order to keep the changes made to a soul, a soulstamp needs to be reapplied every twenty-four hours.[14] If an Essence Mark is used consistently over a few years, it is possible that a person will no longer need to be stamped in order to keep the changes.[30] A person constantly using an Essence Mark can have the capability to remember, grow, and change if it is programmed into the soulstamp.[7] A person will barely be able to recall memories and emotions from Essence Marks within an hour of not using them.

Resealing[edit]

Resealing repairs a body and makes it anew.
—An unnamed Grand surgeon

Resealing is a form of Forgery practiced by surgeons skilled in the art of Forgery.[32] This subset of Forgery allows the practitioner to repair damage to the human body. It is also called Flesh Forgery by the MaiPon.[10]

While Resealing can effect miraculous healing, even allowing Emperor Ashravan to survive a crossbow bolt to the head, it only repairs physical damage. After a traumatic brain injury like Ashravan's, the mind remains empty, and requires the Forging of a new soul to return the subject to functionality.[10]

Resealing requires a great deal of skill and specialization. According to Shai, a Forger has to know everything about the body of the subject, including the placement of veins, muscles, and sinew in order to properly perform Resealing.[10] Resealing is expected to work in a similar fashion to Aon Ien, and to a lesser extent other healing methods throughout the cosmere.

Get a Flesh Forgery wrong, and people died.
— Shai[10]

Remembering[edit]

Our workers are not Forgers, we don’t use that word. They are Rememberers.
— Gaotona[9]

Remembering is a subset of Forging employed by the Heritage Faction. Remembering is limited to the creation of culturally historic objects; Forgers are employed to manipulate common objects for aesthetic purposes.[9] These restrictions are enacted due to the general disregard for Forgery in the Rose Empire.[10] Rememberers employ methods of mass production to convert low quality goods into historic works of skill.[9]

Relationship To MaiPon[edit]

Forgery has a specific tie to the land of MaiPon. Like all Selish magic, Forgery will decrease in power the further from MaiPon a Forger gets.[6][33] The Dor is accessed through a connection to MaiPon, and each soulstamp carries an impression of MaiPon on the reverse.[7][23] For the same reason as the bloodline, the glyph of MaiPon cannot be simply changed to another glyph (such as Aon Aon) to correspond to a new area to power Forgery.[29] If a Forgery is taken to another Shardworld, the Forgery would collapse.[34]

Interactions with Other Investitures[edit]

Elantrians[edit]

Forgery could be used to turn a person into an Elantrian. This would require changing were they were born and then soulforging themselves into an Elantrian. However, this would not give them access to AonDor, which would need a kind of super push from AonDor to achieve.[35]

Allomancy[edit]

It is possible for an Allomancer to start burning a metal that has been Forged from one kind to another, but the process would disrupt the metal's Spiritual nature and cause it to change back.[36] Because Forgery changes a person's soul, a Forged person's gold shadow would also change.[37]

Forgery can be used to turn someone into an Allomancer, with more Investiture being required than breaking a Surgebinder's bond with their spren.[38]

Hemalurgy[edit]

Forgery could be used to change the properties and metal of Hemalurgic spikes, but would require a lot of power to do so.[39]

Awakening[edit]

An awakened object could be reforged to have a different command phrase.[19]

Surgebinding[edit]

Forgery can be used to break the Nahel Bond between a Surgebinder and their spren.[38]

It can also be used to change the Radiant Order a Surgebinder belongs to, though there might be issues with Oaths not aligning well. This is easier than turning a non-Surgebinder into a Surgebinder, due to the preexisting Investiture in that person and the basis of the First Oath.[40]

Shardblades and Shardplate[edit]

It is possible to make a Shardblade with Forgery, but requires a large amount of Investiture and is extremely inefficient.[41] If a person broke a bond with a Shardblade, a Forger could rewrite their past so that they never unbonded the blade. If another person has since bonded the Shardblade, the blade could be summoned by both people (only one person could have it at a time) since the Shardblade thinks it is bonded to both of them.[42]

While difficult, a Forger could alter how a Shardplate looks.[20] Forgery could also be used to give a Shardplate life or a robotic status.[24]

Notable Forgers[edit]

Development[edit]

Example of a Chinese seal and seal paste, to compare to soulstamps

The idea for Forgery as a magic system was developed during a trip to the National Palace Museum in Taiwan. While investigating the museum, author Brandon Sanderson was inspired by the east asian seals which had been applied to works of art by ancient Chinese nobility who appreciated the works. They would stamp the work of art with their personal seal to indicate their approval, sometimes covering works of art with stamps of various patrons.[17]

What a fascinating mind-set. Imagine being a king, deciding that you particularly liked Michelangelo’s David, and so having your signature carved across the chest. That’s essentially what this was.
Brandon Sanderson

This seed led to the concept of a stamp magic, soulstamps, that rewrote the nature of an object's existence. In order to not overlap too much with Soulcasting, inspiration was taken from the setting of the museum. Thus, soulstamps became objects that could rewrite history. As it developed, the seals grew to match the symbolic programming of magic systems on Sel that had already been in development, and as Sel had several pre-established Asian-style cultures, the seal system fit naturally into Sel's established background.[17]

The story of The Emperor's Soul grew from the starting place of the magic system of Forgery engendered there, the National Palace Museum, and the Asian setting on Sel.[17]

Notes[edit]

  1. SpoCon 2013
    Arcanum - 2013-07-10#
  2. /r/fantasy AMA 2013
    Arcanum - 2013-04-15#
  3. a b 17th Shard Forum Q&A
    Arcanum - 2012-09-25#
  4. SpoCon 2013
    Arcanum - 2013-07-10#
  5. Calamity Chicago signing
    Arcanum - 2016-02-22#
  6. a b Oathbringer San Francisco signing
    Arcanum - 2017-11-15#
  7. a b c d e f g h i The Emperor's Soul - Day 30 #
  8. The Emperor's Soul - Day 17 #
  9. a b c d e f g h i j k l The Emperor's Soul - Day 3 #
  10. a b c d e f g The Emperor's Soul - Day 2 #
  11. a b c d The Emperor's Soul - Day 12 #
  12. Firefight Chicago signing
    Arcanum - 2015-02-20#
  13. JordanCon 2018
    Arcanum - 2018-04-20#
  14. a b c d e f The Emperor's Soul - Day 76 #
  15. a b c A Memory of Light signing Seattle
    Arcanum - 2013-02-18#
  16. Salt Lake City signing 2012
    Arcanum - 2012-11-06#
  17. a b c d e The Emperor's Soul Postscript #
  18. /r/books AMA 2015
    Arcanum - 2015-06-27#
  19. a b c Words of Radiance Washington, DC signing
    Arcanum - 2014-03-20#
  20. a b Calamity release party
    Arcanum - 2016-02-16#
  21. Words of Radiance San Francisco signing
    Arcanum - 2014-03-06#
  22. a b SpoCon 2013
    Arcanum - 2013-07-10#
  23. a b c A Memory of Light Milford Signing
    Arcanum - 2013-02-16#
  24. a b Chris King interview
    Arcanum - 2013-09-24#
  25. Salt Lake City signing
    Arcanum - 2014-03-29#
  26. Hal-Con 2012
    Arcanum - 2012-10-30#
  27. Salt Lake City signing 2012
    Arcanum - 2012-11-06#
  28. /r/fantasy AMA 2013
    Arcanum - 2013-04-15#
  29. a b /r/fantasy AMA 2013
    Arcanum - 2013-04-15#
  30. a b The Emperor's Soul - Day 58 #
  31. Skype Q&A
    Arcanum - 2018-10-08#
  32. Chris King interview
    Arcanum - 2013-09-24#
  33. Shadows of Self Chicago signing
    Arcanum - 2015-10-12#
  34. Salt Lake City ComicCon 2017
    Arcanum - 2017-09-23#
  35. Orem signing 2014
    Arcanum - 2014-12-06#
  36. Shadows of Self Lansing signing
    Arcanum - 2015-10-13#
  37. Arcanum Unbounded Fort Collins signing
    Arcanum - 2016-11-29#
  38. a b Skyward Pre-Release AMA
    Arcanum - 2018-10-15#
  39. Firefight Phoenix signing
    Arcanum - 2015-01-21#
  40. The Great American Read: Other Worlds with Brandon Sanderson
    Arcanum - 2018-10-25#
  41. Calamity Seattle signing
    Arcanum - 2016-02-17#
  42. Firefight release party
    Arcanum - 2015-01-05#
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