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Investiture is a term describing the energy that infuses the Cosmere and on which all Cosmere Magic systems are based.


The term Investiture[1] has only seen in-world use by the Seventeenth Shard and spren. Most who refer to investiture use magic-specific terminology; Feruchemists refer to the process of investing a Metalmind as 'charging', and Windrunners refer to the process by which they create Lashings as 'infusing'.[2]

The Nature of Investiture[edit]

Investiture transcends the three realms Physical, Cognitive, and Spiritual that consist of most of the Cosmere. In the Physical Realm Investiture is known to exist in solid, (ie Atium and Lerasium), liquid (Shardpools), and gaseous physical forms (Preservation's Mists, Stormlight, BioChromatic Breath). Most often these appear due to influence by a Shard holder, however some formations occur in a more natural way. Investiture works in a similar fashion to energy in that it follows its own laws of thermodynamics. It is not possible to destroy Investiture it can only be redistributed.[3]

Accessing Investiture[edit]

Lots of ways to access Investiture exist. Most often Access to investiture is a function of a Shards Influence with the planet that they are located on. Investiture can be directly given by a Shard to fuel magic (Preservation's Mists). Some shards will innately imbue people living on a planet With Investiture (i.e. Scadrian potential for Allomancy and Feruchemy, the initial BioChromatic Breath). Some Methods require an external force to influece a persons Spirit web or SDNA before use of investiture is possible. Things like a Nahel Bond, Hemalurgy, and Forgery alters a persons SDNA without direct influence by a shard. Some Systems of magic like Classic Allomancy required snapping of a person through extreme mental or physical trauma. Some systems of magic are accessible through a mechanical means like Rosharan Fabrials though this may not truely be mechanical in nature due to the use of Spren in their construction.

Intent of use[edit]

The intent of a user is very important to several magic systems. Several magic systems require a mental component to function. Some like Hemalurgy simply require that someone intend to make a spike when they do it and others like Awakening require complex images created in your mind with the spoken command to function. Hemalurgy has only one known Mental component and that is that a user must be trying to do Hemalurgy. This mental component if not present renders the spike to a normal metal spike and simply harms the victim. When present it controls what is stolen when used in conjunction to the correct binding point. However the person doing the spiking does not need to be the one intending to create a Hemalergic Spike, the holder of the Shard Ruin is able to provide this intent for the person doing the Spiking. Awakening is almost as much mental as spoken. If the image of what you wish an object to do is not firm then the awakened object can behave in a unknown manner or not at all. The more complex the command the more important that mental component is. Surgebinding depending on the Surge used the mental component can be very important. Lightweaving requires an extremely clear image in a persons mind to make something display correctly, but Surges like a full lashing the user does not have to have any idea of what they are doing the surge will do the same thing regardless. Some Surges do require simply that the user wish it to happen often with Surgebinding this can be accomplished by instinctively pushing Stormlight into something.


Bonds are connections between entities in the Cosmere that exist outside the Physical Realm. Depending on the Shard world, its type, and its constituent entities, the Bond will provide different things. Bonds are typically formed between entities with greater-than-normal Investiture(i.e. Spren) and other entities, allowing them to gain enhancements of some form. It is unknown if a person with only innate Investiture is able to create a Bond.[4] Bonds are not limited to connections of entities with greater-than-normal Investiture to innately invested entities; they can also be made between two entities with greater-than-normal Investiture.[5]

Types of known Bonding Entities[edit]

Spren: Entities of the Cognitive Realm

Sapient Awakened entities in an inorganic host: Intelligent inorganic entities created through the use of Breath.

Seons: Intelligent entities with connections to AonDor

Aviar: Birds infested with symbiotic worms native to the Pantheon

Bonds By Shard World[edit]

Roshar Bonds[edit]

The Nahel Bond: This Bond is between a human and a Spren. The Nahel Bond Provides access to the System of magic known as Surgebinding to the human, while granting intelligence to the Spren. There are ten known forms the Nahel Bond can take, each giving access to two different Surges. See Surgebinding and Nahel Bond for more information.

Listener Bond: The Listeners (Parshendi) can bond a with Spren, and this grants the Listeners a Form (physical and mental change). Not all Spren grant a unique Form most Spren give the listeners Dull Form. Without a Spren Listeners exist in what is known as Slaveform (Parshmen). Listeners in Slaveform have very little mental capacity and are extremely docile. Dullform Gives more free will and a small increase in mental capacity, Slave and Dull Form are physically similar. Listeners can not become Surgebinders but Forms of power exist that grant abnormal abilities to the Listeners. See Listener for more information on Forms.

Shard blade: Shardblades are able to bond with people through the use of charged gemstones. The gem is placed in the hilt of the blade and after a week of constant contact the blade is bonded, and can be dismissed from and recalled to the Physical Realm. Once bonded the blade can be dismissed and recalled by syncing with the user's heart to the blade, ten heart beats are required. A person's iris will lighten during the bonding process. Surgebinding is not granted by this bond.

Void Bonds: Nothing is known at this time about Voidbinding.

Lesser Spren Bonds: Non-intelligent Spren are able to form bonds with humans[6] This Bond does not grant Surgebinding.

Other Spren Bonds: Certain spren bond with native life on Roshar enhancing them and granting ability to the animals. Confirmed animals to have these bonds are Chasm Fiends, chulls, and Sky eels.

Honorblades: Do not bond with humans in the way that Shard blades do.[7]

Sel Bonds[edit]

Seons: A Seon is able to create Bonds with people and Elantrians. Little is known of this Bond other than that the Seon follows and helps the person it is bonded too, functioning in a servant position to the owner of the bond. This Bond does not provide an innate ability to find the human connected to the Seon. Seons will automaticaly seek out a new person to bond with following the death of its master; often the new master has been prearranged. During the time of the Reod while the Shaod was unable to finish forming an Elantrian from a human, any Seon Bonded to a Elantrian lost its mind and would float around the city, often near their master. This Bond grants new unknown powers to the members of the Bond while on Roshar and is very similar to a Nahel Bond. [8] [9]

First of the Sun Bonds[edit]

Aviar: Aviar's create a bond with a person and grant a specific power based of the type of Aviar bonded. Aviar are granted their ability if raised on one of the pantheon islands and consume a worm native to the island. See Aviar for more information. Has no known effect on Roshar.

Other Worm Infected Animals Other Birds besides native island Aviar are able to eat the worms and create a Bond with a new effect (i.e. Sak). It is unknown if eating the worms will grant new abilities to other non bird animals.

Nalthis Bonds[edit]

Sentient Awakened Entities in an Inorganic Host: Only known entity of this kind is Nightblood. Nightblood is a sentient sword made using 1000 breath and the command to destroy evil. It makes a bond with anyone with whom, it wishes to communicate, and it is able to read and speak with minds directly. [10] Distance appears to be a factor, but this may be a limitation of the mind of Nightblood and not its ability. Nightblood, while idle, reaches out to other people ether repulsing them with great nausea, even inducing vomiting if they attempt to draw the blade, or creating a desire to use the blade. Anyone who is able to wield Nightblood and survive, Bonds with the blade to a greater degree and is no longer repelled by or abnormally drawn to use it.[11] Those unable to control Nightblood are controlled by it, in effect Nightblood wields them killing everyone around and absorbing all of the Investiture from the victim including the spark of life(i.e. the soul).This bond may grant additional powers on Roshar.[12]

Scadrial Bonds[edit]

No Bonds are known of on this shard world.

Of note is that by using Hemalurgy, Bonds my be stolen and given to a new person.[13][14]

The Known effect of Bonds while on other Shard worlds[edit]

Bonds created using Investiture from each Shard have unknown effects when used away from their home Shard world.


It has been confirmed that at least one Bond other than the Nahel Bond will provide powers to the constituent entities of that Bond, what these powers are is unknown, and will not be of the ten Surges. At this time only the Seon Bond is confirmed to do this, as the Nahel bond and the Seon bond are very similar. [9]

Categories of Investiture[edit]

In the Alloy of Law Ars Arcanum, the author categorizes the three Metallic Arts.[15] Every type of Investiture can be classified along these categories.[16]

End-positive Investiture[edit]

When practicing an end-positive Investiture, the practitioner draws in power from an external source.[15] The practitioner gains power from the external source. The Investiture is positive in that it adds -- in most cases temporarily -- power to the practitioner. Most types of Investiture are end-positive.[16]

Allomancy draws Investiture from Preservation in a similar way to AonDor pulling power from the Dor; both are considered End-Positive since they add power to the Allomancer or Elantrian. Allomantic Atium draws power from Ruin's concentrated Physical form, but is still considered End-Positive as the power comes from an outside source.

End-neutral Investiture[edit]

For an act of Investiture to be considered end-neutral, power is neither gained nor lost[15]. A practitioner manipulates power that already exists or power that comes from themselves..

Feruchemy is end-neutral, since the amount of Investiture remains constant. Awakening is also considered end-neutral, even though color is lost.[17]

End-negative Investiture[edit]

In the practice of an end-negative Investiture, some power is lost.[15] End-negative Investiture is very rare.[16]

Hemalurgy is end-negative. Investiture held in a spike outside the body decays.

Investiture of people[edit]

Generally, humans are not Invested. However, on some worlds, a Shard has invested humans. For example, Preservation gave part of his power to humans to make them sentient. On Nalthis, people are born with Breath. Both cases are known as Innate Investiture.[1] All people have some Investiture and this can be known as the Spark of life, this does not truly count as innate Investiture.[4] For example On Nalthis every person is born with a breath and have innate Investiture how ever a person who has given up his breath is no longer innately invested while still maintaining his Spark of Life.

Under specific conditions, some humans can become Invested with more power than others. In general, the closer the connection between a human and a Shard, the more powerful the human becomes. A normal human on Scadrial is less connected to Preservation than a Misting, who snapped (chose Preservation) at some point but is less powerful than a Mistborn, who either consumed Lerasium (the direct Physical essence of Preservation) or has the proper Spiritweb needed to access all the Allomantic Abilites who is weaker than a Sliver during the time they held the power of Preservation, who is weaker than a human who held the Shard permanently.

The conditions required for becoming invested with a larger amount of power differ from Shardworld to Shardworld. It is assumed that the intent of the respective Shard influences these conditions. On Scadrial connection to a Shard is determined by genetics and Snapping, or choosing to live, following Preservation. On Sel it's the Shaod comes to those who live in the correct area and are Devoted to something, and on Roshar acting with Honor allows a Surgebinder greater strength.[18]

Investiture of Objects[edit]

Objects are not Invested in their original state. They can become invested by a Shard or by a human having met the above-mentioned requirements. An Invested object gains magical properties. The more invested an object is, the more power it has. Examples for invested objects include:

Invested objects are harder to affect with any magic system, the more Investiture the more difficult to affect.[19][20]Once an object has been invested it is very hard to invest it with a different kind of investiture as well.[21] Sometimes when an object in one of the Realms has a large amount of Investiture it can gain sentience.(see Spren and Nightblood)

Investiture of Natural Phenomenon[edit]

It is possible for a natural force to become Invested. On Roshar, Zahel states that the Highstorms are Invested. Whether this is the result of purposeful design by a Shardholder, or the continued maintainence of another entity such as the Stormfather, has not been revealed. It is also not clear whether the storm is invested in and of itself, or if it houses another form of Investiture.


  1. a b What do we call a Shard's power inside someone?
    Theoryland - 2012-09#
  2. Can we change charge to imbue?
    Theoryland - 2010-05#
  3. Investiture can not be created or destroyed. It follows it's own version of the laws of Thermodynamics.
    Theoryland - Mar 12th, 2015#
  4. a b Do all humans have innate investiture?
    Theoryland - Mar 6th, 2014#
  5. Can Nightblood Bond Spren?
    Theoryland - Aug 4th, 2014#
  6. Can any Spren bond even if they do not create a knights Radient?
    Theoryland - Mar 24th, 2014#
  7. You can't bond an Honorblade
    Theoryland - Mar 4th, 2014#
  8. Is the bond between a Seon and its master similar to the Nahel Bond between a Surgebinder and his spren?
    Theoryland - Oct 1st, 2013#
  9. a b If an Elantrian bonded to a Seon and traveled to Roshar, would that act as a Nahel bond?
    Theoryland - Mar 20th, 2014#
  10. How is it that Nightblood, who is merely a near-sentient awakened object, was able to read minds, something a Shard like Ruin was unable to do?
    Theoryland - Oct 1st, 2013#
  11. Warbreaker Annotations
    Arcanum - 2011-06-22#
  12. Nightblood is a shardblade
    Theoryland - Mar 6th, 2014#
  13. Hemalurgy affects all Magic systems
    Theoryland - Mar 6th, 2014#
  14. Hemalurgy can steal a Shard blade bond.
    Theoryland - Sep, 2012#
  15. a b c d The Alloy of Law Ars Arcanum #
  16. a b c Can all Investitures be classified as end-positive, neutral, or negative?
    17th Shard forums - 2012-09-26#
  17. Chicago Signing (transcription)
    17th Shard forums - 2014-02-22#
  18. A discussion on investiture
    Theoryland - 2011-05-30#
  19. Could Allomancy affect a Shardplate/blade?
    Theoryland - 2012-01-16#
  20. Can an infused Hemalurgy spike be affected by Allomancy?
    Theoryland - Apr 15th, 2013#
  21. it is really, really hard to invest things that have already been invested.
    Theoryland - Sep 24th, 2013#