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Dayside map.jpg
Shards Autonomy
Investitures Sand mastery, Starmarks
System Taldain system[1]
Universe Cosmere
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Be aware that in its current state, it may not include all additional content yet.

Taldain is one of the most bizarre planets in the cosmere, a fact that, in turn, feels bizarre to me.

Taldain is a planet in the cosmere located within the Taldain system and is the current residence of the Shard Autonomy.[3][4][2] It is the home world of Khriss. The demonym of Taldain is Taldain.[5]

Geography and Ecology[edit]

Taldain is a tidally locked planet; one side of the world experiences perpetual day while the other side is locked in a type of endless night. This caused the ecology and culture on both sides of the planet to develop separately from one another. The two prominent cultures on Taldain are known as Dayside and Darkside.[2] The individuals pertaining to each culture are known as 'Daysiders' and 'Darksiders' respectively. There is a temperature difference between the two halves, though not enough for it to snow on Darkside.[6]

The area between both sides is known as the Border Ocean which has the Terminal Storm at the center, a perpetual storm making it dangerous to cross.[7][8]


Kerla Landscape, as sketched by Duchess Khrissalla.

Most of the planet’s Investiture is found on Dayside.[9] Much of Dayside is covered in sand and rock, the sand itself being covered by lichen. This lichen is where the sand's striking white color comes from as well as the reason it changes between white and black in the process of sand mastery and other forms of Investiture.[10]

Dayside is home to one large circular landmass that is surrounded by ocean on all sides. On this landmass there are five nations; Kerzta, Lossand, Denka, Seevis, and Tallon. There is a mountain range on the eastern side of the landmass, which marks the borders of Seevis and Tallon and separates the Rim Kingdoms from Kerzta and Lossand. A mountain named KraeDa lies at the center of Dayside.[8] A wide variety of Flora and Fauna make their home on this part of the planet. But due to the harshness of the sunlight and environment, most of the flora and fauna live beneath the surface of the sand.[2] In the Kerla, where the water table is high, the majority of life is found in a unique ecosystem beneath the sand that has been described as more like a lake of sand than a desert.[7]


In the Kerla, most plants, including farms of vegetables, exist beneath the sand.[7] The dorim vine is a plant used as a water source on Dayside by its inhabitants, and areas where they grow are not considered to be a desert. The plant stores water primarily as a defensive measure against other creatures as water dissolves the shells of many sand creatures. Because of this any creature attempting to eat the plant would find their mouths beginning to melt.[11] As a result, the growth of dorim vines limits how large sandlings can grow in these regions.[12]

The banks of the Ry'do Ali in Lossand is cultivated for farming despite the area being less fertile than the Kerla.[13][14][7] Plants in this area of rocky low sands are described as being noticbly shorter and "more stumpy" than Darkside flora.[7] The Darkside quarter of Kezare has flowers native to Darkside growing within it.[15]


Sandlings inhabit all areas of the continent, ranging in size from insectile sandlings found everywhere to gargantuan deep sandlings. It is rare for a deep sandling to venture far from the deep sands.[16] Most sandlings live by eating the layer of sand exposed to the sun, and digesting the lichen that covers the sand. The sand turns dull after being digested, but the lichen from undigested sand will spread back onto it, given time.[7] Some sandlings, like the DelRakin are predators that eat other sandlings.[12]

There are multiple breeds of deep sandling. Some of them, such as KaRakin, are hunted for sport. Another breed consists of thousands of small sandlings which act as a group in the deep sands; when they move they agitate the sand above them causing them to be mistaken for a much larger creature forcing wanderers to retreat. Delrak Naisha are another breed found in the deep sands. They are creatures that wait just beneath the sand; if the sand above them is disturbed, they emerge and consume whatever is above them.[7][12]

Tonks are a type of domesticated sandling on Dayside used as beasts of burden; they are primarily used as mounts.[7][11] They are scared of water, however, and refuse to cross it. Travelling with tonks is also frustrating because of their natural instinct to bury themselves underneath sand during a sandstorm and their tendency to mistake many things for sandstorms.[13]

Terhan are another beast of burden, larger than a tonk and often used by soldiers as beasts of war. They may be treated by DoKall to make their carapace immune to water when used in this role.[7][12] Rezalin may be used for faster long-distance transportation beasts, as their oversized rear legs allow them to move quickly from dune to dune.[7][fn 1]


Darkside, also known as Starside in Elis,[8] is illuminated by the Eye of Ridos with a spectrum composed primarily by UV light, with most visible light filtered out by the particulate cloud.[7] The result is that the sky is perpetually in a state of twilight as if the sun had just set.[2] This causes Darksiders to have illuminated teeth, eyes, and nails.[17] The plant and animal life also glow under UV light.[6][2] Visitors to the region often describe it as looking somewhere between striking and garish.[2] It also accounts for why Darksiders have dark skin when they don't live in a traditional climate where a high melanin content is common. When visiting Dayside, Darksiders must wear dark lenses to protect their eyes. They can go without, however, if the angle of the sun is not directly above them or they force themselves to adapt.[18][fn 2]

The landmass of Darkside is of an unknown size and shape. There are many countries, though most have been subordinated to the Dynastic Empire. Elis is a landlocked country on Darkside.[8] Nimmyn is a geographical location whose flora has been imported to Lraezare, but it is not known if it is a country or region.[15]

Unlike what was once assumed, Darkside is Invested by Autonomy, though the effects of this aren't as noticeable.[2][19][9] The particulate cloud around Ridos's Eye emits a pulse every week that Invests Starmarks on Darkside, even if only some people can access that Investiture.[7]


On Darkside, the flora having adapted to utilize the UV section of the electromagnetic spectrum.[20] Lichen is a common growth across the entire Darkside continent,[10] but flowers and crops also grow well.[2] Grapes have been exported to Dayside for the making of wine, and some flowering plants have been imported for the Lraezare district of Kezare to help Lonsha expats feel more at-home.[13][21][7]


Fauna on Darkside is "remarkable" are often referenced as proverbs, usually with reference to Starmarks.[2] Wombears are a saddle-able beast of burden on Darkside.[7] The diversity of animal life extends at least from invertibrates, like the venomleech, to apex predators, like the devil-tiger.[8][22]


At an unknown date the planet was created and purposefully placed in its current location in the Taldain System.[23] Following the Shattering, Autonomy settled into the system as the sole Shard present.[3][4] At another stage in its early history the planet was settled by humans; due to how the genetics of the settlers played out, Daysiders ended up with paler skin.[24]

Over time those on Dayside began to notice the influence of one of Autonomy's Avatars which became known as the Sand Lord.[19] This entity eventually would form the basis of the Ker'reen and Los'seen religions and became the dominant object of worship for the people of Kerzta. Differing religious beliefs were formed in the Diem, an important part of the government of Lossand. This difference of faith led to frequent war between Lossand and Kerzta. Peace was eventually gained when the high priest government of Kerzta was replaced by a merchant nobility.[11]

After 200 years, there was a push again by the A'kar, the head priest of Ker'reen, to take control by democratic means. They made contact with a recent convert to Ker'reen within the Diem's ranks and persuaded them to remain a member of the Diem and assist with a plan to wipe the organization out. It was hoped that by doing so the A'kar would win favor with the public, under the pretense that the destruction of the Diem was the Sandlord's whim.[16][25] Their efforts nearly succeeded but ultimately the remnants of the Diem managed to organize themselves and the new Lord Mastrell succeeded in persuading the Lossand government to maintain the Diem. This allowed the Diem to grow more powerful than before. As a result, support for the A'kar crumbled and they failed to take control of the Kerztian government.[26]

At a later point, for reasons unknown, the planet became closed off to visitors.[27][2][28] Around this time the planet also stopped progressing technologically, this was a sudden shift as the world used to be one of the most advanced planets in the Cosmere.[27][28] At a later date it became easy to visit Taldain again.[29]


The culture of Taldain is split between the Dayside and Darkside due to the planet's unique geography.[2]


Because the sun does not set on Dayside, individuals living there have a variety of issues that needed to be resolved. In regards to keeping time, an hour on Dayside is 90 minutes long.[7] Because of its stationary nature many Daysiders find it easy to navigate by using the sun as a reference point.[11] Due to its ever present nature many Daysiders feel a spiritual bond with their sun, and some, such as the Kerztians, worship it.[11] Most Daysiders are afraid of the dark as well being unused to it.[30]

On Dayside there is a large circular continent that can be found, on this landmass there are a variety of countries. The largest and most powerful nations is Kerzta which is located on the western portion of the Dayside continent. Its people worship the Sand Lord and abide by the Ker'reen religion. Lossand is a country that is immediately next to it and stretches in a wedge from KraeDa in the center of the continent to the southern coast around the Ry'DoAli River. It is ruled by the Council of Taishin, the heads of the eight Professions vital to their life and culture. Both of these nations have an enmity with one another due to Kerzta accepting Sand mastery, although they have not been in direct conflict in centuries.

In addition to these countries are the Rim Kingdoms which are a series of smaller nations on the eastern and north-eastern coast of the Dayside continent. They consist of; Denka, Seevis, and Tallon.


On Darkside or Starside, the most powerful and influential force in regards to culture, economics and politics is the Dynasty. This force is ruled by Skathan.[13] Its dominance is so strong that the language Darksiders speak is called Dynastic after the country.[11] It also is the most technologically advanced country in the planet with weapons such as guns and explosives being common creations within its borders.[13] They also had instant noodles, which Hoid enjoyed, and wants Scadrial to replicate.[31][32] Despite its dominance some minor nations such as Elis and Iiaria resists the Dynasty's push to grow and expand its influence even further.[33] Despite this however the nations power runs deep within Darkside with them being able to send their agents to infiltrate different groups throughout the continent.[33]

The Kerztian word for Darksider is Lonsha.[11]


Top-down view of Taldain's Orbit.

Taldain is tidally locked around two suns, this makes it unique among other planets in the Cosmere.[2] It is located between the two suns in the system which orbit one another, because of a layer of particulates around one of these suns one half of the world is trapped in endless sunlight and the other half in night.[2] This placement was done purposefully by its creator.[7][23] It is the only planet within the system and a single moon, Nizh Da, has a polar orbit around the world.[2]

The orbit of Nizh Da is what defines the length of a day on Taldain.[7] The exact precession and movement of the moon is controlled so that it remains in the same position at the same hour, at any point in the year. This is due to the influence of Autonomy.[7]

An hour on Dayside is ninety minutes long and each day is separated into fifteen hours. On Darkside, an hour is sixty minutes long, and a day is separated into twenty-four hours.[8][7] Due to this, ninety Dayside minutes are equal to ninety-six Darkside minutes, with one dayside minute being equal to approximately 1.066 Darkside minutes.[7]

It is kept in an unstable orbit around AisDa by the gravitational pull of Ridos, and by some other, unknown force, presumably Autonomy. This astronomically unstable orbit is known as "Wombear's Saddle".[7]

Both of Taldain's suns are Invested, with AisDa constantly bombarding Dayside with Invested light, and the Eye of Ridos releasing a pulse of Investiture every seven orbits of Nizh Da.[7]

Magic System[edit]

The world of Taldain has been settled by Autonomy and as a result her Investiture can be found throughout the planet, primarily in the atmosphere.[19] Autonomy has allowed it to spread unusually; making it in theory easy to access, a Returned for instance would have little difficulty living on Taldain[28] and one could also theoretically access the worlds Investiture on another planet so long as they can see the star system.[34] For a time this was the only way to access its magic system as the world was shut off from the Cognitive Realm[19] but eventually it became possible to visit the world again.[29]

The most dramatic form of Investiture that can be found on the planet is Sand mastery which is located on Dayside. Despite its flashy appearance, it uses very little Investiture however and primarily works through subtle manipulation with Connection between the user, Shard and White Sand. It is believed by residents of Taldain that only Dayside was Invested by the Shard; however, this is incorrect, and in fact both parts of the world are Invested, with the majority of it falling on Dayside.[2]

Darkside magic primarily functions through tattoos,[35] but its effects are not nearly as noticeable.[9][19] This is seemingly the system referred to as Starmarks.[7][8]


  1. Use of rezalin as mounts was described in the prose version, but they only get one picture in the Omnibus and a passing reference in the Ars Arcanum sandling table.
  2. This was explained in both the prose version and original Graphic Novel Vol 3. For the Omnibus, Khrissalla is still shown without her darkened spectacles while in Lraezare, but the dialog about them has been cut.
  1. Map of Taldain system
  2. a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p Arcanum Unbounded - The Taldain System#
  3. a b /r/fantasy AMA 2011
    Arcanum - 2011-08-31#
  4. a b Words of Radiance San Francisco signing
    Arcanum - 2014-03-06#
  5. The Lost Metal chapter 20#
  6. a b Manchester signing
    Arcanum - 2014-08-06#
  7. a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w White Sand Ars Arcanum#
  8. a b c d e f g White Sand prologue#
  9. a b c Arcanum Unbounded Chicago signing
    Arcanum - 2016-12-06#
  10. a b White Sand chapter 11#
  11. a b c d e f g White Sand chapter 3#
  12. a b c d White Sand chapter 9#
  13. a b c d e White Sand chapter 4#
  14. General Reddit 2016
    Arcanum - 2016-10-12#
  15. a b White Sand chapter 5#
  16. a b White Sand chapter 2#
  17. White Sand vol.1 release party
    Arcanum - 2016-06-28#
  18. White Sand chapter 1#
  19. a b c d e Shadows of Self release party
    Arcanum - 2015-10-05#
  20. Manchester signing
    Arcanum - 2014-08-06#
  21. White Sand chapter 15#
  22. White Sand chapter 12#
  23. a b Leipzig Book Fair
    Arcanum - 2017-03-24#
  24. Warsaw signing
    Arcanum - 2017-03-18#
  25. White Sand chapter 18#
  26. White Sand epilogue#
  27. a b DrogaKrolow.pl interview
    Arcanum - 2017-03-17#
  28. a b c Salt Lake ComicCon FanX 2016
    Arcanum - 2016-03-26#
  29. a b Shadows of Self release party
    Arcanum - 2015-10-05#
  30. White Sand chapter 16#
  31. Oathbringer release party
    Arcanum - 2017-11-13#
  32. Shadows of Self Chicago signing
    Arcanum - 2015-10-12#
  33. a b White Sand chapter 14#
  34. Kraków signing
    Arcanum - 2017-03-21#
  35. FanX 2021
    Arcanum - 2021-09-16#
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