Sand mastery

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Sand mastery
Sand Mastery.jpg
Related to Autonomy
Prerequisites Unknown
Type End-Positive
World of Origin Taldain
Universe Cosmere
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But now I see it, I feel it inside me like a childhood song I thought I had forgotten. And the sand is beautiful--alive.

Sand mastery is a manifestation of Investiture on the Dayside of Taldain, where the Diem recruits and trains sand masters. It involves manipulation of white sand at the cost of the user's internal water supply. In addition, white sand that has been manipulated will turn black, becoming unresponsive. Black sand turns white again after four hours of sun exposure.[2] Sand mastery is highly connected to starmarks.[3]


It's as if one has to be introduced to the power by one who already holds it, then the power itself chooses who to unlock and to what degree.


Nobody can become a sand master without first being tested, and the test must be administered by an existing sand master.[3] During the test, sand is placed in a person's hands so they can feel its grains. They are directed to change the direction of the flow of sand, like disrupting a water's flow.[5] The sand in the candidate's hand may or may not come to life, and the strength of the effect gives a rough idea of their potential.[3] How that potential is determined is not well understood, but the pattern of initiation is different from how Elantrians are chosen on Sel.[6] Some believe that strength potential in sand mastery may be genetic and limited to daysiders.[2] However, the Diem did not test any full darksiders until Khriss and Baon,[7] and Baon tested positive[8], so it is unclear what role ancestry plays if any. After the test, the ability continues to develop for a time as the new sand master learns to control more and more ribbons at once. Eventually, the number of ribbons stops increasing as the sand master reaches their full potential,[3] but this number can be increased later through overmastery.[6]

White Sand[edit]

Sand mastery makes use of the white sand found on Taldain's Dayside. The whiteness of the sand, due to a microorganism which lives on the surface of the sand particles, indicates that the sand is Invested. White sand glows when used in sand mastery, and then turns black afterwards. The glow is colored like a rainbow, with bright colors that can only be seen in darkness and is seen as a white glow in the light.[9][2] The sand will also glow and turn black when touched by water or other liquids.[9] The microorganism requires four hours of exposure to sun above Dayside in order to be re-Invested and turn white again.[10] The sand can also be recharged by other highly Invested things, such as highstorms, and will still be masterable.[11] The organisms can survive and spread on other planets, but would need Investiture to do so.[12] More can be made with proper materials and a seed of the original.[13] The organisms in the sand react to Investiture, and if allowed to fade, will turn white again in the presence of kinetic Investiture.[14][15] This can be used similar to a Seeker to tell when someone is using kinetic Investiture.[14]


Water plays an important role in utilizing the Investiture in white sand. Water causes a chain reaction of sudden growth, energy, and Realmic transition in the microorganisms, and sand masters are able to use water to forge a brief Cognitive bond.[10] This allows them to draw small amounts of Investiture directly from the Spiritual Realm that is used to control the sand. Water is drawn directly from the sand master's body as they work, which can lead to dehydration. The first thing sand masters learn is to keep track of their water supply, and they typically carry a qido at all times.[2] Overmastery occurs when a sand master uses too much of their water supply and suffers from dehydration. If moderating themselves correctly, a sand master can last over a half hour without a drink.[2] If a sand master is not careful, overmastery can even lead to death.[16]

Abilities and Weaknesses[edit]

Sketched examples of sand mastery in use.

Sand mastery allows for the manipulation of ribbons of sand. The number of ribbons someone can control indicates their level of power. Young or weak sand masters may only have strength for a single ribbon, while the most powerful sand masters can utilize over two dozen.[2] When using multiple ribbons, a sand master's consciousness will expand to allow better control over them.[6] The power of a ribbon can increase the more sand is put into it, and a ribbon's precision and speed can be increased with training and practice.[8][2] The tip of a ribbon contains the concentration of its energy. Attacking a ribbon from the side will make it collapse. Having two ribbons collide directly will make both ribbons collapse.[17] The more ribbons a sand master is controlling, the faster they will lose water.[16]

There are many uses of sand mastery. Sand masters often use whirlwinds of sand to lift themselves and fly, which typically requires at least three ribbons.[2][18] Sand can be used to make platforms to walk on and can be used to temporally construct things like staffs or poles.[19] Their powers can also be used in battle. Sand can be used to hurl powerful ribbons or sheets of sand at their enemies or to hurl heavy objects.[20] The ribbons of sand can be powerful enough to go through a human skull[16] or the shell of a Karak.[19] Some powerful sand masters can unleash a massive wave of sand across an entire battlefield and can have the precision of only harming those the sand master wants to harm. The sand can also be used as a shield, creating a bubble around the sand master.[16]

Sand mastery can also be used to construct buildings, though this has not been performed by members of the Diem in quite some time.[18] If something goes through a sand master's stream of sand, it can throw off the entire creation of the sand mastery.[21] Alcohol does strange things to a sand master.[22]


Overmastery occurs when a sand master overexerts themselves and uses too much of their water supply, resulting in dehydration. When overmastering, a sand master's mouth will go dry and their eyes will burn.[2] After overmastering, a sand master's powers will temporarily disappear, which can last as long as a week.[23] During this time, when they attempt to sand master, the sand will immediately turn black.[1] Once they recover, a sand master's power will increase, similar to how exercising muscles until they are sore will make a person stronger.[6][17] Each time a sand master overmasters, the strength they can obtain yields diminishing returns.[6] If a sand master is not careful, overmastery can lead to death.[16] If a sand master dies from overmastering, their skin and eyes will dry up as the water is sucked out of their body and they will die from dehydration.[16]


If overmastery is kept up for too long, an accomplished sand master under extreme duress can push themselves far beyond overmastery into what the Diem calls overburning. This comes when the sand master feeds the sand the last drops of water from their body and then gives up their lifeforce to the sand in exchange for one final explosive command.[8]


Some creatures on Dayside have carapace that is "terken," meaning that it is completely impervious to sand mastery.[2] Kerztian assassins sent specifically to kill sand masters have taken advantage of this weakness by either wearing terken carapace as armor or dissolving the carapace into a paste, which is then applied to their bodies.[20] If sand controlled by a sand master touches a Terken shell, it will turn black.

Notable Sand Masters[edit]


  • In previous versions of White Sand, powerful Sandmasters were mentioned to posses another ability known as slatrification, this meant they could turn sand into water. Brandon had said that he regretted adding this feature to the magic system, and that he'd like to turn it into a in-world legend rather than something that is actually possible.[24] Slatrification was never even meant to be in White Sand Volume 1 but somehow slipped in; it was edited out in the omnibus edition.[25][2]


  1. a b White Sand chapter 4#
  2. a b c d e f g h i j k White Sand chapter 1#
  3. a b c d White Sand Ars Arcanum#
  4. White Sand chapter ars#
  5. White Sand chapter 13#
  6. a b c d e White Sand chapter 16#
  7. White Sand chapter 12#
  8. a b c White Sand chapter 18#
  9. a b White Sand chapter 11#
  10. a b Arcanum Unbounded - The Taldain System#
  11. American Fork High School Signing
    Arcanum - 2019-12-12#
  12. General Reddit 2020
    Arcanum - 2020-09-30#
  13. Rhythm of War chapter 63 epigraph#
  14. a b Emerald City Comic Con 2018
    Arcanum - 2018-03-01#
  15. DragonCon 2016
    Arcanum - 2016-09-03#
  16. a b c d e f White Sand chapter 2#
  17. a b White Sand chapter 10#
  18. a b White Sand chapter 5#
  19. a b White Sand chapter 9#
  20. a b White Sand chapter 8#
  21. Firefight release party
    Arcanum - 2015-01-05#
  22. White Sand chapter 7#
  23. White Sand chapter 6#
  24. Warsaw signing
    Arcanum - 2017-03-18#
  25. General Reddit 2021
    Arcanum - 2021-11-02#
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