|Function||Collects water in Shadesmar|
|Featured In||The Stormlight Archive|
”Cold makes water. Water collects in that basin. You drink, and don't die.
Design and Function
Hydrators are typically about three feet tall and made entirely out of steel. A number of prongs akin to tree branches surround a central column rising from a round basin with a spigot at the bottom. There is a hole in the center just large enough for a Shadesmar bead to be inserted. A tin cup for drinking may also be attached.
To function, a hydrator requires three elements. A user needs to have at least one Shadesmar bead corresponding to ice that comes from a high place, high enough that it would never melt. Secondly, a spren or a human that can manifest souls from beads is needed. Lastly, a source of Stormlight is required to fuel the process of manifesting a soul. When all of these elements are present and the soul of ice is manifested in Shadesmar, the corresponding bead begins to emanate cold. It is then inserted into the hydrator. Eventually, mist begins to collect on the prongs and drip down into the basin, producing tasteless potable water. It takes about half an hour to make a small cup.
Kaladin speculates that a hydrator somehow pulls the water out of the ice through the bead. Shallan, on the other hand, is confident that the device simply collects moisture from the surrounding air through condensation, similar to how a glass of cold drink will start collecting droplets of water on its outside. Ico's description of a hydrator seems to support Shallan's theory, wherein the ice bead serves only to cool the metal. This theory would also explain the treelike structure of hydrators, as such a design would help ensure that condensed water would flow into the basin.
Hydrators were presumably invented to allow humans to survive in Shadesmar for extended periods of time, as it lacks any naturally occurring bodies of water. It is possible to Soulcast drinking water, but it requires someone who can manipulate the Surge of Transformation.
Hydrators may not be particularly common, as Ico notes that the ability to manifest souls is rare among both humans and spren (with the exception of cultivationspren). Additionally, very few humans would have traveled through Shadesmar for several millenia after the Day of Recreance. However, some spren ships continue to carry hydrators and the appropriate beads on board and bring them out if they do take on human passengers. Ico's ship and Unativi's barge each have a hydrator on board. As spren do not require water, a working hydrator is a clear sign of human presence in Shadesmar.