”Hemalurgy is a power about which I wish I knew far less.
Hemalurgy is one of the three prime manifestations of Investiture on Scadrial. The natives of that world consider it one of the three Metallic Arts. People who use Hemalurgic abilities are called Hemalurgists.
Hemalurgy is the transfer of attributes, such as Allomancy, Feruchemy, or innate human strength via Spiritweb theft and splicing. In the Physical Realm, a metallic spike is inserted into a bind point, such as the heart, in order to Hemalurgically charge it. The spike, now containing a fragment of stolen Spiritweb, is then ripped out and embedded in the recipient, stapling the ability directly into their spiritual DNA (sDNA). This causes wear and tear on the Spiritweb, creating "holes" through which Ruin or a sufficiently powerful Rioter or Soother can whisper to or even control a Hemalurgical subject. Hemalurgy is named for a quirk in bind point placement: due to the interaction between the Spiritual and Physical Realms, the spike must come in contact with moving blood in order to remove or add an attribute. Intent is important, but the way Hemalurgy interacts with the Cognitive Realm, if it does so at all, is unknown.
Since Hemalurgy involves the transfer of Investiture from one person to another, if the donor is killed, they will enter the Cognitive Realm in a damaged state and leave faster. Likewise, if a recipient dies, they will take longer to leave, since they are more invested.
Creating a Hemalurgic charge requires physical injury, but death is not a requirement to charge the spike. This would leave the donor in a similar spiritual condition to a Drab, but in a worse condition. However, this is contradicted by a quote from Harmony, in The Hero of Ages:
Marsh once described it as a “messy” process. Not the adjective I would have chosen. It’s not disturbing enough. ”Hemalurgy, it is called, because of the connection to blood. It is not a coincidence, I believe, that death is always involved in the transfer of powers via Hemalurgy.— Harmony
After the spike pierces through the initial person and is Hemalurgically charged, the Law of Hemalurgic Decay states that the spike loses some of its potency. The longer a spike is outside a body, the weaker it becomes. Thus, when the Steel Ministry created an Inquisitor, the spikes were outside of a person for as little time as possible. Additionally, spikes which are physically broken into several pieces will split the charge into the broken pieces, and more Hemalurgic power will be lost when spikes are split.
Coating a spike with blood can reduce the Hemalurgic decay significantly similar to having it placed inside a body. It is unknown how much blood is necessary to make that effect happen or, for how long blood will maintain this effect before needing to be renewed with a fresh batch.
It is currently thought not possible in-world for multiple attributes to be stolen from the same person.
Hemalurgy can be used anywhere in the Cosmere, as long there is an Intent to create a Hemalurgic spike, and it has indeed shown up at least once on a different Shardworld, though in a subtle way. Hemalurgy can also steal attributes from other forms of Investiture. Hemalurgy can be used on animals, however it can't be used on plants.
For some reason, Hemalurgic spikes don't cause infections.
Any Hemalurgy warps the Spiritweb, but physical change is required for a subject to be classified as a Hemalurgic Construct. Four types of Hemalugic Construct are known on Scadrial
- Steel Inquisitor are former humans with nine to eleven spikes, each charged with an Allomantic or Feruchemical power. Their characteristic eye-spikes give them enough Allomantic Iron/Steel to "see" in lieu of eyes. A linchpin spike, placed in the lower back, is required to hold their fraying spiritwebs together; removal results in death. An Inquisitor's tattoos signify the initial Allomantic ability they had as a human. The Steel Ministry prefers Seekers, bronze mistings, as their natural ability stacks with Allomantic bronze given by the spikes and results in Seekers strong enough to pierce Copperclouds.
- Koloss are brutish monstrous beings, are created with four iron spikes, each charged with human strength. They lose their intelligence, but gain immense strength. They continue to grow until they die. After the Final Ascension Harmony changed them into a breeding race.
- Kandra are former Mistwraith given sapience by two spikes, both charged with the same human attribute. To the Kandra this is known as a Blessing. It is possible for a Kandra to have sapience with only one spike.
- Chimeras were creatures created by Paalm to stall Waxillium Ladrian and were created with a single spike, charged with an unknown attribute. They were quadrupedal, with long fingers. The joints at the elbows and knees bent the wrong way. Their eyes were pure black, and their faces were twisted from human features into features more resembling canines. Their skulls were thicker than those of normal humans. The spike was made from a metal not known to Harmony.
The more spikes an entity has, the more their form and body can be changed.
Hemalurgic Properties of Metals
- Steals human strength
- Steals Allomantic Physical Powers
- Steals human senses
- Steals Feruchemical Physical powers
- Steals human emotional stability and fortitude
- Steals Feruchemical Mental powers
- Steals intelligence and memory
- Steals Allomantic Mental powers
- Steals Allomantic Enhancement powers
- Steals any attribute, whether it be Allomancy, Feruchemy, or human
- Unknown metal
- A metal capable of stealing many attributes including Allomancy and Feruchemy. It is able to grant a Kandra Allomantic and Feruchemical abilities.
copperminds, or best able to manipulate his weight with iron.For all that it disgusts me, I cannot help but be impressed by Hemalurgy as an art. In Allomancy and Feruchemy, skill and subtlety come through the application of one's powers. The best Allomancer might not be the most powerful, but instead the one who can best manipulate the Pushes and Pulls of metals. The best Feruchemist is the one who is most capable of sorting the information in his
The art that is unique to Hemalurgy, however, is the knowledge of where to place the spikes.
The points which can be used for Hemalurgy are known as "Bind points" and there are between 200 and 300 in the human body which can be pierced depending on the effect needed.
Another important aspect of Hemalurgy is spike location. The spike must be placed in certain locations on the human body in order to steal a power or attribute, and then placed in another point on the recipient to tap into their Spiritweb. Most commonly attributes are stolen through the heart. If a spike is placed in the wrong location it can have unforeseen effects, such as killing the recipient or possibly not granting any power at all.
|Bind Point||Spike Types||Hemalurgic Effect|
|Eyesocket||Steel||Unconfirmed, likely Allomantic Steel and Iron|
|Upper Arm||Bronze||Allomantic Bronze|
|Between Shoulder Blades||Spike type varies. It is also known as a linchpin spike.||Unknown; binds other spikes together to keep the receiver alive|
Side Effects of Hemalurgy
When an Allomancer can sense Allomantic pulses through a coppercloud (known as piercing a coppercloud), it is most usually due to a Hemalurgic spike. It's simply a matter of Allomantic strength to pierce copperclouds, so if a Seeker has a spike charged with Allomantic bronze, that essentially makes them twice as powerful, allowing them to overpower a coppercloud.
Hemalurgy is a destructive art. It twists the body into something almost inhuman. This twisting is how Inquisitors survive with spikes through their eyes and other vital places, and explains the physical deformation of the Koloss. In the case of the Inquisitors, it is known that their heart is in a different place and their brain is shaped around their eyes' spikes. Extracting the spikes of an inquisitor at such important places would invert the transformation, causing his death.
Ruin constructed Hemalurgy with a flaw: each spike creates holes in the mind, making them easier to manipulate. Through powerful emotional Allomancy, one can Push or Pull on a spiked creature's emotions so hard that they literally come under the Allomancer's control. Indeed, the spikes in the koloss were what allowed the Lord Ruler to control them. Kandra also can be controlled in this way, but as Allomancers decreased in power, this knowledge was forgotten.
Allomancy and Feruchemy
If an Allomancer attempted to burn a Hemalurgic spike, the Allomancer's spiritual DNA would be spliced to that of the person's contained in the spike. The consequences of this are as of yet unknown.
The same piece of metal can be Hemalurgically and Feruchemically charged at the same time.
When a Feruchemical ability is stolen, the spike's recipient is able to access any metalminds created by the donor. If that spike was split into two pieces and given to two different people, they would both be able to access their donor's metalminds but not those made by the other person, due to the recipients' own identities "muddying" the metalminds' keying.
More could be taken from an Elantrian than most other beings.
It is possible for a spike to be awakened, but it would be more difficult than awakening metal without a Hemalurgic charge.
- The Hero of Ages chapter 35 epigraph
- Annotation for The Hero of Ages chapter 54
- Annotation for The Hero of Ages chapter 79
- Arcanum Unbounded Chicago signing
— Arcanum - 2016-12-6#
- A spike does require you to rip pieces of a soul from the victim, but that does not mean they must die.
— Theoryland - 10 January 2011#
- I remember reading you answer earlier that a person being used to charge a hemalurgic spike does not necessarily have to die. Would that victim be similar to a Drab from Warbreaker?
— Theoryland - 15 April 2013#
- It IS possible to spike someone without killing them. But they'd never be the same. It would be worse than being a drab.
— Twitter - Feb 4th, 2016#
- The Hero of Ages chapter 13
- The Hero of Ages chapter 36 epigraph
- Hemalurgic power can be split among multiple spikes and reforged
— Theoryland - 10 January 2011#
- Shadows of Self chapter 6
- General Signed Books 2018
— Arcanum - 2018-3-20#
- Can Hemalurgy be used to steal magic attributes from any Shardworld?
— Theoryland - may 2010#
- Arcanum Unbounded release party
— Arcanum - 2016-11-22#
- Hemalurgy crosses magic systems
— Theoryland - 23 September 2012#
- Would Hemalurgy work on animals?
— Theoryland - October 2008#
- FAQ, Would Hemalurgy work on plants or animals?
— Brandon's website faq - N/A#
- Oathbringer release party
— Arcanum - 2017-11-13#
- Koloss reproduce naturally
— Theoryland - 6 December 2014#
- Shadows of Self chapter 21
- Paalm's spikes are made of a metal unknown to Harmony
— Theoryland - Oct 12 2015#
- More spikes are capable of changing form and body more
— Theoryland - 15 December 2011#
- Mistborn Adventure Game chapter 10
- The Hero of Ages Ars Arcanum
- Why does Atium steal temporal powers?
— Theoryland - Jul, 2009#
- The Hero of Ages chapter 43 epigraph
- The Hero of Ages chapter 42
- Burning a Hemalurgic spike would have the effect of splicing your spiritual DNA to that of the person's that is in the spike
— Theoryland - 10 January 2011#
- Can you both Feruchemically charge and Hemalurgically invest in the same piece of metal?
— Theoryland - 10 January 2011#
- If someone used Hemalurgy to take someone's Feruchemical abilities would they be able to use that person's personal metalminds?
— Reddit - Dec 8th, 2015#
- Worldbuilders AMA
— Arcanum - 2015-12-3#
- Hemalurgic spikes would do very strange things to Elantrians.
— 17th Shard forums - Oct 8th, 2015#
- Can a hemalurgic spike be awakened, and if so would it be able to use its powers?
— 17th Shard forums - Oct 9th, 2015#
- London signing
— Arcanum - 2014-8-4#
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<references> is not used in prior text.
|The Metallic Arts|
|Arts||Allomancy · Feruchemy · Hemalurgy|
|Concepts||Metalborn · Snapping · Savants · Metalminds · Twinborn · Compounding · Blessings|
|Constructs||Steel Inquisitors · Koloss · Kandra|
|Base Metals||Iron · Steel · Tin · Pewter · Zinc · Brass · Copper · Bronze · Cadmium · Bendalloy · Gold · Electrum · Chromium · Nicrosil · Aluminum · Duralumin|
|God Metals||Atium (Malatium) · Lerasium · Ettmetal · Trellium|
|Era 1 books||Mistborn: The Final Empire · The Well of Ascension · The Hero of Ages · (Mistborn: Secret History · The Eleventh Metal)|
|Era 2 books||The Alloy of Law · Shadows of Self · The Bands of Mourning · The Lost Metal · (Allomancer Jak and the Pits of Eltania)|
|Shards||Preservation · Ruin · Harmony|
|History||Classical Scadrial · Final Empire · Catacendre · Elendel · Southern Scadrian|
|Magic||Metallic Arts (Allomancy, Feruchemy, Hemalurgy) · Metalborn · Mistborn · Misting · Savant · Ferring · Twinborn · Compounding · Atium · Lerasium · Ettmetal|
|Other Media||Mistborn Adventure Game · Mistborn: Birthright · Mistborn film · Mistborn: House War|