Father machine

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Father machine
Related to Hion, Hijo
Type Awakened device
World of Origin Komashi
Universe Cosmere

Let this be a lesson. When you Awaken a device like this, be very, very careful what Commands you give it to follow.


The father machine, or simply the machine is an Awakened device created by the scholars of the Institute of Mechanical Solutions in Torio City on Komashi. The machine was created to summon hijo by stacking stones and to use their Investiture to produce and distribute hion. The activation of the machine created the shroud and turned most of the inhabitants of Torio into nightmares.[2][1]

A machine prototype is used by the scholars who later investigate Yumi in Gongsha Town.[3]

Appearance and Abilities[edit]

The father machine itself is large and dominates the exhibit hall it is located in, at thirty feet tall with hundreds of legs used to pile and knock down stones.[3]

The father machine was given instructions to harvest Investiture from spirits (although this includes souls), to be used as a power source, and to protect itself. The machine's abilities derive from this command and it was Awakened using something other than Nalthian Breath, but the exact method is unknown.[4] The Investiture drawn from the hijo is used to create and power hion lines. The machine grows these hion line stubs up from the ground in the surrounding countryside.[3]

When threatened, the machine can increase the rate that it works to stack rock, though it becomes more reckless in doing so.[5] In order to protect itself, the machine uses Investiture to create a transparent barrier around its vicinity which people cannot pass through.[3] It is also able to repair itself, creating physical parts out of a smokey Investiture drawn from the spirits.[3] By the time the machine was destroyed, most of the machine had long been replaced in this manner.[6] The machine is also able to exert influence over the nightmares, and uses these as additional tools to defend itself.[3] Since it was activated, the father machine's level of Investiture endowed it with some level of sentience.[3]

The machine is able to draw souls from a great distance, apparently due to each human on the planet having some of Virtuosity's Investiture within them.[4]

Prototype Machine[edit]

A machine prototype was first developed to experiment with the mechanisms that would be employed in the father machine.[1] The prototype is a metal machine four feet wide and the size of a clothing dresser, with a few dozen rod-like appendages giving it the appearance of a spider.[7][8] In operation, the machine vibrates with a soft energy[9] and the arms move smoothly to stack stones, or to clear away fallen stacks.[8] An access panel at the side of the machine may be opened to reveal a plate, which can be used to prime the device. In order to function, the machine requires an energy source, such as the Investiture provided from a spirit or a nightmare.[2] Spirits summoned by the machine may be bound when presented with images, though these bound spirits do not work as well as those bond by a yoki-hijo because the machine itself retains a portion of the spirit's soul in order to continue operating.[8]

Various devices may also be plugged into the machine. This includes a detection device, with a needle that points toward nearby spirits,[2] a capture device used to trap spirits,[2] and a Connection severing device, which was used to separate Yumi and Nikaro.[5]


Scholars of the Torio City university worked to create a machine capable of using the hijo of the region to produce a power source. Their early prototype was capable of creating simple rock stacks which were adequate to attract spirits at a low but consistent rate. A portion of the spirits' souls could be siphoned off by the machine to allow continued operation and to power auxiliary devices. This invention eventually led to the development of the father machine, which was significantly larger and capable of producing hion lines.[1] The machine was activated by Gyundok and his team of scholars when Yumi was nineteen years old, at the Festival of Reveals. Due to an oversight in the instructions given to the machine, before working to draw the hijo to itself the machine seized the souls of the humans instead. It consumed nearly all of the Torish people, sparing only the more distant nomadic peoples at the kingdom's outskirts, in order to jumpstart its mission. This created the shroud--a black miasma of wasted Investiture which settled over the planet. The machine subsequently converted to powering itself by means of the hijo, and eventually created hion stubs which grew from the ground out of a burst of light in surrounding villages.[1]

The yoki-hijo's souls were too powerful for the machine to permanently destroy. To protect itself from them, the machine set up prisons for these women in the form of fake towns. By altering their memories on a daily basis, it was able to keep these powerful beings unaware of their imprisonment.[1]

The machine continued in this way for over seventeen hundred years, until a few hijo were able to escape from its clutches and communicate with the people of Futinoro. To prevent the people of Nagadan from becoming aware, a small army of stable nightmares was sent by the machine to destroy the entire city. This event became known among the scholars as the Incident.[2][1]

Several decades later, another spirit was able to free itself from the machine and contact Yumi. By forging a Connection between Yumi and Nikaro, the spirit rendered the machine incapable of altering Yumi's memories. The machine recalculated based on this development and initially decided to extend the ruse by simply allowing Yumi to visit different towns each day. Due to their circumstances however, Yumi remained on Gongsha Town, and the father machine was forced to reconsider the situation. It sent Gyundok and his team of scholars, along with their prototype machine, to investigate the town and to capture the rogue spirit. These eventually discovered what the spirit had done and separated Yumi and Nikaro.[3]

The father machine attempted to patch over Yumi's memories to hide the truth from her, but she was eventually able to break through this patch and recall her time with Painter.[10] After confronting the scholars, Yumi traveled to Torio City and encountered the father machine there, though she was unable to approach the machine directly due to the shield it used to protect itself. Through a series of towering rock formations, Yumi stole the hijo from the machine. As she did so, it worked more recklessly, but was ultimately unable to compete. The father machine slowed to a halt, and with most of its original, physical parts no longer in one piece, it began to disintegrate along with the shroud and nightmares.[6]


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