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Initiation

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Initiation
Related to Investiture, Shards
Universe Cosmere

Initiation is the process by which a person is chosen to gain the ability to access a manifestation of Investiture (and/or the process of actually gaining such access).[1] Shardholders can choose to alter how Initiation for their Shard's magic works to some extent, subject to some limitations determined by the underlying mechanics.[2] The method of Initiation varies between different manifestations, but there are cosmere-wide principles underlying the different methods: in order for a person to be Initiated, it is generally necessary for their soul to have some degree of "damage", creating cracks in their Spiritweb that Investiture can rush into and fill, thereby linking them to the magic.[3] Some magic systems make it much easier than others to achieve this.[2]

Scadrial[edit]

The method of Initiation for Allomancy is known as Snapping.[4] Each person's potential for Allomancy is set at birth according to their Physical, Cognitive, and Spiritual aspects[5]; sufficient trauma during life (or even during birth itself[6]) can then provide the necessary damage to the soul to release this latent potential. A large part of the potential is determined genetically, and Allomancy is known in-universe to run through family lines.[7][1]

After Sazed Ascends, creating the new Shard Harmony, he becomes bothered by how Snapping works and alters it somehow[8], making it much easier to reach the necessary threshold of Spiritual damage; however, he is unable to remove the need for the process entirely.[9]

Initiation for Feruchemy also has a genetic component[10]; whether it has any further requirements analogous to Snapping is unknown.

Roshar[edit]

Surgebinding differs from Snapping in that the determination of who is granted access is made on a case-by-case basis by conscious entities (the spren of the Nahel bond) depending on the behavior of the person. They are looking for people with broken spirits, as with Snapping[11], but each kind of spren also applies to its own specific requirements. Also, perhaps uniquely among magic users, Surgebinders gain access to additional power by swearing oaths[12][13], and can lose power or break the bond entirely by violating their oaths or acting contrary to their spirit.[14][15]

Nalthis[edit]

The Returned are individually chosen by Endowment; after a Nalthian dies, she may choose to grant them a Divine Breath, bringing them back as a Returned. She is looking for "certain things" when choosing who should Return, but can be erratic in her decisions.[16][17]

Awakening has the easiest prerequisites of all: anyone who is given BioChromatic Breath can use it for Awakening (even, hypothetically, real-world humans)[18], and Endowment provides each Nalthian with a Breath automatically.[19]

Sel[edit]

The moment of turning into an Elantrian and gaining access to the AonDor is called the Shaod. It is distinctive in that it only affects those with sufficient Connection to certain geographical areas on Sel, primarily Arelon[20][21], which happens because the Investiture of Devotion is trapped in the Cognitive Realm rather than the Spiritual Realm.[18] Khriss considers it one of the more mysterious forms of Initiation, as she is unable to find out anything about how Elantrians are chosen beyond the geographical restriction; she guesses that there may simply be an element of randomness involved.[1]

Little is known about Dakhor, but it may only be available to those from Fjordell, and training in Dakhor Monastery somehow enables monks to access it.

Taldain[edit]

The precise method of Initiation for sand mastery is unknown, but it differs from that of AonDor.[1]

Vax[edit]

Initiation on Vax works differently than it does on Sel, Scadrial, Nalthis, or Taldain.[1]

Trivia[edit]

  • An out-of-universe reason that the magic systems often target broken people is that "characters in pain are the most interesting to write about".[3]

Notes[edit]

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