Sel

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Sel
Sycla-Opelon Map.jpg
Shards Devotion, Dominion
Perpendicularities The Lake, Second perpendicularity[1]
Investitures AonDor, ChayShan, Dakhor, Forgery, Bloodsealing
System Selish system[2]
Universe Cosmere
Featured In Elantris, The Hope of Elantris, The Emperor's Soul

Sel—home to multiple empires that, uniquely, have remained somewhat ignorant of one another. It is a willful kind of ignorance, with each of the three great domains pretending that the others are mere blips on the map, barely worth notice.

Sel is a planet in the cosmere and is the setting of the books Elantris and The Emperor's Soul, as well as the short story The Hope of Elantris.

Sel is inhabited by humans and artificially created beings called seons and skaze. It is a relatively large planet, being 1.5 times the size of the cosmere standard, and contains diverse landscapes home to multiple great civilizations including at least three empires.[4]

Another name for the planet is Seol.[3] People from Sel are called Selish.[5]

Astronomy[edit]

The location of the planet Sel within the larger cosmere is as-yet unknown, though it is known to orbit a yellow star named Mashe while in turn being orbited by a single moon named Oem. Its size is 1.5 cosmere standard and its gravity is 1.2 cosmere standard.[4]

Geography and Culture[edit]

Opelon/Sycla[edit]

The story of Elantris and the short story The Hope of Elantris are both set on a continent on Sel called Opelon by those in the west[6] and Sycla by those in the east.[7] There is a vast desert to the south of the known nations of the continent.[8]

Fjordell Empire[edit]

Most nations on Sycla have been subsumed into the Fjordell Empire. The empire is ruled by a leader known as Wyrn, who is also head of Shu-Dereth, which has been used as a vehicle to dominate nations. The Fjordell Empire is, on the surface, completely Derethi. However, many of the people of the empire, especially those in backcountry areas like Hrovell, still secretly follow their old religions, like the Jeskeri Mysteries.

The Fjordell Empire is made up of the following nations:

Arelon[edit]

Located to the west of the Fjordell Empire, Arelon is the only remaining independent nation on Opelon. The capital of Arelon is the city of Elantris, which is a monarchy ruled by the Elantrian King Raoden. Under the king, there is a class of nobles who control various plantations throughout Arelon. Their primary function is to distribute food to the people of Arelon. Arelon controls the area to the west of the Atad Mountains, and south of the northern ocean. Arelon is mainly made up of followers of the Shu-Korath religion, although there are still remnants of the old pagan religion that worshiped the Elantrians. There is also a small number of followers of the Jeskeri Mysteries.

The Northern Continent[edit]

There is another continent north of Opelon. No official name for this continent has been revealed.

Teod[edit]

The nation of Teod is located on a small peninsula attached to the northern continent.[8] The capital of Teod is Teoras, and its ruler is King Eventeo.[9] Teod's martial strength exists mainly in the form of its navy, which dominates the northern sea, protecting Teod's borders from the Fjordell Empire. Unlike the rest of the northern continent, Teod is within Opelon's cultural sphere of influence. For example, the nation's state religion is Shu-Korath, which originated in Opelon. The Teo people are also of Aonic descent and are therefore related to the Arelene and Dula people of Opelon.

Rose Empire[edit]

North of the Teod peninsula, beyond the mountains, is the Rose Empire.[10] This empire has many provinces, including but not limited to Mulla'dil, MaiPon, Dzhamar and Ukurgi. The empire maintains a little-used mountain pass that leads to Teod.[11] Unlike Teod, the Rose Empire has limited cultural exchange with the nations of Opelon, though it has some diplomatic relations with Svorden and JinDo. By the time of the assassination attempt on Emperor Ashravan, they seem to have made contact with the Fjordell Empire, as a southern ambassador with red priest's armor is present while Shai is rushing through the palace.[11] Certain segments of the population seem to have a concept of Realmatic Theory.

The story of The Emperor's Soul is set on the Rose Empire.

Aonic Calendar[edit]

The Aonic calendar is used by the people of Arelon and Teod. It has at least six months, with Eostek being the sixth, and at least six days in a week, with MaeDal being the second and OpeDal being the sixth.[12][13][14]

History[edit]

Early History and Mythology[edit]

Both Devotion and Dominion were destroyed. Their Investiture - their power - was Splintered, their minds ripped away, their souls sent into the Beyond.

Khriss on the history of Sel[4]

At an unknown date the planet was settled by Devotion and Dominion against the rules made by the original Vessels. Odium used this as justification to attack both of the Shards,[15] this battle resulted in their Splintering. Their Investiture was then moved from the Spiritual Realm into the Cognitive to prevent anyone else from taking the Shards. This latent Investiture became dangerous plasma[16] and was named the Dor[4] and some of these splinters became the seons and skaze.[17][18][19][20][21][22] They were created from the Investiture of Devotion and Dominion respectively.[23] Because of this, the world's magic systems became region specific.[24] These consequences were a side effect of Odium's actions, he didn't intend them to happen.[25]

Three major empires eventually formed on Sel. Due to the planet's size, these empires largely ignored each other and considered the others as irrelevant.[4] One of the reasons for this isolation is the difficulty of travelling between the empires.[26][27] Two such empires are the Rose Empire and Fjordell. Shu-Keseg rose as a religion focused on the unity of all people.[28][29] A schism later formed in the religion over a disagreement on what unity meant, this lead to the creation of the Shu-Korath and Shu-Dereth traditions.[29]

The original Fjordell empire was formed and the first Wyrn was created. The empire eventually collapsed three hundred years before the events of Elantris.[30] Around this time a schism formed in the Shu-Keseg faith forming Shu-Korath and Shu-Dereth.[31] The remnants of the Fjorden empire blamed their collapse on a lack of true unity, as a result they adopted the newly formed Shu-Dereth as the state religion,[31] it was hoped that by doing so they would prevent any future rebellions or political problems.[32] They mixed the Shu-Dereth faith with Fjorden mythology and made Jaddeth the central deity of their religion.[31][32] A movement was begun to update their religious and historical texts in order to make it seem that Fjorden was always of this faith and that the first Wyrn also worshipped Jaddeth.[31]

The New Fjorden Empire[edit]

The monasteries of Fjorden were formed and began training their members.[33] These monasteries and internal Fjorden politics began to be influenced by the Skaze,[34][35] in particular their want for power.[36] Overtime this new empire expanded so as to include most of the continent, with only Duladel, Teod and Arelon resisting them. By this time the new empire had become stronger than the original ever was, though their strength was in the power of their priests rather than military might.[30] Wulfden the fourth became the new Wyrn and leader of the Shu-Dereth church. Feeling threatened by this new Wyrn the leaders of Shu-Korath named Seinalan as their new high priest because of their relative youth.[37]

An earthquake happened near the city of Elantris, this earthquake then triggered an event known as the Reod causing Elantris to fall. The earthquake was not due to natural causes.[38] The native Elantrians became hoeds and Arelon government collapsed.[30] The majority of damage and death during the resulting riots was caused by the countries servant class. After the riots eased the government was replaced with a system where the wealthiest ruled the country.[30] The newly empowered merchant class blamed the riots on the servants of the city being too pampered.[30] King Iadon was crowned in response.

Deciding that the new system of wealth based politics was unstable he secretly wrote a new law that was to take effect either fifteen years after it was written or after his death, whichever came first, he then entrusted this with Seinalan. The law removed the wealth based system of Arelon government and made its positions be determined by lineage like other nations, he based this model of Teod's.[37] To foster peace with the Fjorden empire he also allowed for Shu-Dereth priests to preach to their people.[30] Nevertheless the empire remained dissatisfied and a push was made by Fjorden to convert the leaders of Arelene from Shu-Keseg to Shu Dereth and have them pledge loyalty.[30] The nation of Teod also spoke less with Arelon after the events of the Reod.[39]

Gyorn Hrathen was assigned to convert Duladel to the empire, as it was one of the few remaining nations offering resistance. Within six months he managed to lead a revolution that led to the deaths of the republican class and collapse of its government.[33] In its place a monarchy was formed and Shu-Dereth pronounced the state religion at the expense of to the Jesker religion.[39] This event caused a renewed interest in an alliance between Teod and Arelon, a marriage was planned between prince Raoden and princess Sarene.[39] Having successfully converted Duladel Hrathen was then dispatched to Arelon. Unknown to him Dilaf, his old mentor,[40] was already dispatched to the area and preparing to invade it.[41] Upon meeting Hrathen failed to recognize him and also misunderstood his orders as to convert the people of Arelon, not destroy them.[7][41]

Before the marriage of Sarene and Raoden could take place Raoden found himself taken by the Shaod.[6] An effort was made by Sarene to oppose Hrathen's preaching and his attempts to instate Telrii as the new king of Arelon. Telrii had agreed that if he became king he would make Arelon convert to Shu-Dereth. After Sarene discovered the King Iaoden was part of the religious cult known as the Jeskeri Mysteries where he sacrificed women the king was dethroned.[42] After this event king Iadon killed himself.[43] To try and prevent the nation of Arelon from falling into Derethi control it was decided that Sarene had to marry Roial in order to legitimize his claim to the throne.[43]

Before the marriage the funeral of King Iadon took place and as per his will a new law was pronounced by Seinalan that reformed the Arelon government again.[37] Hrathen managed to make it appear Sarene was taken by the Shaod before her marriage stopping it.[37] This led to Telrii being crowned king of Arelon.[44] After this Telrii refused to follow through on the deal he made with Hrathen unless he was also made a gyorn as a gyorn held greater power in the Fjorden empire.[45] He insisted on this despite Hrathen's protests that such a thing was impossible. Seeing this failure Dilaf then announced his true rank as Gragdet and the true nature of Hrathen mission. He then began the invasion of Arelon.[41] During the invasion Raoden worked out how to undo the Reod and restore Elantris.[46] With their renewed power the Fjoredell army was removed and Raoden and Sarene were both crowned the new leaders of Arelon.[47]

The Skaze for a brief time worked alongside Hoid.[48] Hoid promised them that he could become an Elantrian, when his efforts failed the Skaze mocked him for it.[49]

The Rose Empire[edit]

The Shu-Dereth religion never historically threatened the Rose Empire because they view its land as not holy.[50] The Rose Empire was ruled by eighty factions, one faction for each sun that they believed existed.[51][52] These factions then elect an emperor to sit on the Rose Throne.

Emperor Yazad died and under pressure from his faction Ashravan put himself forward for the position. This was accepted and he became the new emperor.[53] Initially he hoped to lead a series of reformations to help the empire[54] His desire waned however and he became distracted with the bureaucracy of the empire.[52][55]

The Glory Faction of the empire moved in and assassinated emperor Ashraven. His wounds were fixed by a Resealer however he was left brain damaged.[56] Because his wife died as well his faction, the Heritage Faction claimed that he was well and in his customary one hundred days of mourning. In desperation they turned to a Forger known as Shai in order to recreate the Emperor's soul.[51] She succeeded in these efforts and also escaped the country on the 98th day of her imprisonment.[11] Ashraven had their soul recreated and they quickly worked out what had happened,[11] his soul was made so that he would remember his old ideals and bring about the reforms he had wanted to as a youth.[57]

Invested Arts[edit]

Each Invested Art on Sel use symbols, shapes, or forms as "code" to direct magical effects.[58] They are all powered by the Dor, making them end-positive.[59] Because their power is coming from the Cognitive Realm, the Selish Invested Arts are highly location dependent.[4] The strength of each Invested Art decreases the farther one travels from its associated region,[60][61] symbols in an Invested Art often come from the geography or culture of their region,[62][47][54] and Initiation is often restricted to people from the associated region.[63][64]

  • AonDor uses symbols called Aons, which can be drawn directly in the air as glowing light, or in a large variety of physical representations, such as etched into metal plates, or incorporated into the design of buildings. Anyone can learn to draw Aons, but they only have power when created by an Elantrian. AonDor is tied to the land of Arelon and is only practiced within its borders.
  • ChayShan seems to be a type of meditative martial art practiced by the JinDo, with the forms one moves through granting access to the Dor. It appears that, like Aons, these forms can be practiced by anyone without supernatural effect,[9] with additional factors such as intent or bloodline establishing the connection to the Dor.
  • The monks of Dakhor Monastery use an Invested Art often referred as Dakhor. Dakhor monks have unnatural and twisted bone structures that form patterns under the skin.[65] These bones are inlaid with ancient Fjordell characters,[47] which are likely the symbols used to access the Dor. Some Dakhor magics, such as instant transportation, require human sacrifice.[40]
  • Forton's potions are Invested,[66] likely derived from the Invested Art associated with Hrovell. This suggests that, despite Hrovell being under Derethi rule, it maintains an Invested Art of its own. It is not yet known what forms are used to create these potions.
  • Forgery involves shaping a specific form, by the carving of a sort of stamp, and then the application of ink to the stamp, and then applying a mark onto the desired object or person. Supposedly the forgery helps the object (or soul) remember a different past, or a likely destiny in order to change the actual essence of the object. The symbols on the front side indicate what a soulstamp does; the "setting mark" on the back side indicates that the stamp is complete and looks like MaiPon.[54]
  • Bloodsealing, like Forgery, uses stamps, but they must be inked with fresh blood. Bloodsealers can mark a door, which will set their Skeletals to attack the person from whom the blood came if they pass through the door.[67]

People on Sel can also form bonds, similar to the Nahel bond on Roshar, with seons and skaze.[68] Unlike the participants in the Nahel bond, people bonded to seons are not shown to gain direct supernatural powers themselves, instead requesting that their companions use their abilities. What advantage a skaze bond grants is not clear at this time.

Cosmere[edit]

Sel is the most realmatically knowledgeable of the known planets in the cosmere.[69] It is home to two Shards, Devotion and Dominion, and their powers have influenced many Selish traditions, religions, and languages.[4]

At some point in Sel's distant past, Odium killed the Vessels of both Devotion and Dominion and Splintered the two Shards.[70] The collective power of the Splintered Shards became somehow trapped in the Cognitive Realm, and is now what Selish people call the Dor.[4]

Because of this, while travel to Sel is possible via the Cognitive Realm (for example, one can use a Perpendicularity that exists in the form of a pool of sapphire-colored liquid near Elantris), the raging uncontrolled power of the Dor makes travel through the Selish Cognitive Realm incredibly dangerous.[71]

Hoid has visited both Arelon and the capital of the Rose Empire.[72][73]

Trivia[edit]

  • Initially, Brandon had the shadows of Elantris falling on the city of Kae at dawn. As Kae is to the east of Elantris, this indicated that the sun rises in the west on Sel. However, in the Anniversary Edition, this was identified as an error and corrected.[6]

Notes[edit]

  1. ICon 2019
    Arcanum - 2019-10-17#
  2. Map of Selish system
  3. a b Arcanum Unbounded - The Selish System#
  4. a b c d e f g h Arcanum Unbounded - The Selish System#
  5. 17th Shard Forum Q&A
    Arcanum - 2012-09-25#
  6. a b c Elantris chapter 1#
  7. a b Elantris chapter 3#
  8. a b Map of Opelon
  9. a b Elantris chapter 17#
  10. The Emperor's Soul - Day 76#
  11. a b c d The Emperor's Soul - Day 98#
  12. Elantris (book) glossary section E
  13. Elantris (book) glossary section M
  14. Elantris (book) glossary section O
  15. Oathbringer Houston signing
    Arcanum - 2017-11-18#
  16. Shadows of Self Lansing signing
    Arcanum - 2015-10-13#
  17. Alloy of Law 17th Shard Q&A
    Arcanum - 2011-11-05#
  18. Rithmatist Denver signing
    Arcanum - 2013-05-16#
  19. A Memory of Light Signing Milford
    Arcanum - 2013-02-16#
  20. Arcanum Unbounded Seattle signing
    Arcanum - 2016-12-01#
  21. Steelheart Chicago signing
    Arcanum - 2013-10-05#
  22. /r/Cosmere
    Arcanum - 2016-11-19#
  23. White Sand Volume 1 signing Orem
    Arcanum - 2016-06-29#
  24. Ad Astra 2017
    Arcanum - 2017-05-05#
  25. Oathbringer release party
    Arcanum - 2017-11-13#
  26. Hal-Con 2012
    Arcanum - 2012-10-30#
  27. Firefight Houston signing
    Arcanum - 2015-01-23#
  28. Chris King interview
    Arcanum - 2013-09-24#
  29. a b Elantris Annotations
    Arcanum - 2005-08-05#
  30. a b c d e f g Elantris chapter 5#
  31. a b c d Elantris chapter 43#
  32. a b Elantris Annotations
    Arcanum - 2005-10-17#
  33. a b Elantris chapter 15#
  34. Tor.com Q&A with Brandon Sanderson
    Arcanum - 2011-01-10#
  35. Tor.com Q&A with Brandon Sanderson
    Arcanum - 2011-01-10#
  36. Shadows of Self signing Chicago
    Arcanum - 2015-10-12#
  37. a b c d Elantris chapter 38#
  38. West Jordan signing 2012
    Arcanum - 2012-12-06#
  39. a b c Elantris chapter 16#
  40. a b Elantris chapter 60#
  41. a b c Elantris chapter 57#
  42. Elantris chapter 32#
  43. a b Elantris chapter 35#
  44. Elantris chapter 47#
  45. Elantris chapter 48#
  46. Elantris chapter 61#
  47. a b c Elantris chapter 63#
  48. Oathbringer signing Houston
    Arcanum - 2017-11-18#
  49. Elantris epilogue#
  50. Bands of Mourning release party
    Arcanum - 2016-01-25#
  51. a b The Emperor's Soul - Day 2#
  52. a b The Emperor's Soul - Day 42#
  53. The Emperor's Soul - Day 17#
  54. a b c The Emperor's Soul - Day 30#
  55. The Emperor's Soul - Day 52#
  56. The Emperor's Soul - Day 85#
  57. The Emperor's Soul - Day 101#
  58. ICon 2019
    Arcanum - 2019-10-15#
  59. Calamity release party
    Arcanum - 2016-02-16#
  60. Elantris chapter 62#
  61. Oathbringer San Francisco signing
    Arcanum - 2017-11-15#
  62. Elantris chapter 49#
  63. Elantris chapter 19#
  64. Calamity Chicago signing
    Arcanum - 2016-02-22#
  65. Elantris chapter 56#
  66. General Twitter 2016
    Arcanum - 2016-01-17#
  67. The Emperor's Soul - Day 3#
  68. /r/books AMA 2015
    Arcanum - 2015-06-19#
  69. Hal-Con 2012
    Arcanum - 2012-10-30#
  70. The Way of Kings chapter 22 epigraph#
  71. Oathbringer release party
    Arcanum - 2017-11-13#
  72. Elantris chapter 58#
  73. Deleted prologue from The Emperor's Soul
    Brandon's website - March 31, 2014#
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