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This page or section contains spoilers for The Sunlit Man!
This information has the ability to potentially ruin elements of the plot for the reader. Proceed with caution if you have not read this book.

Investiture. The essence of the gods.

Investiture, along with matter and energy, is one of the three essences that make up the cosmere. Investiture can be considered a kind of Spiritual energy. While everything in the cosmere has an Invested component in the Spiritual Realm, known as a spiritweb, that Investiture is usually inaccessible. Magic systems provide the most common access to Investiture, which allows people to commit incredible feats using the power.[1]


Laws of Investiture[edit]

This page or section deals with theories or speculation.
Please read carefully and note that this is not necessarily canonical.

In the cosmere, matter, energy, and Investiture are interchangable and together compose the universe.[1][2] As a result, Investiture is governed by a variation of the Three Laws of Thermodynamics, plus a fourth law that is unique to the cosmere. [3]

Investiture, energy, and matter were all one, as per Khriss's Second Law. It couldn’t be created or destroyed; it could only change from one state to another.

Nomad's explanation of the Second Law of Investiture[4]
The First Law of Investiture
The First Law is unknown, and somehow relates to Adonalsium.[3]
The Second Law of Investiture
The Second Law is that Investiture cannot be created or destroyed, only changed in form.[5][1][6][7][8]
The Third Law of Investiture
The Third Law stands as is to the second Law of Thermodynamics.[3] This refers to the fact that, in simple terms, energy flows from an area of higher concentration to an area of lower concentration.

This law can be observed through how Investiture tends to leak out of bodies containing it (be it gem or sophont)[9], and how it tends to flow into vessels that aren't Invested. For example, when Stormlight is quickly removed from a gem, it would pull in Investiture and Spren from the surrounding area.[10][11] Further evidence is in how the more Stormlight a Surgebinder takes in, therefore, the more concentrated the Investiture within them, the faster it leaks out of their body. This could be a further display of the flow of Investiture from higher a system of higher concentration (the body of the Surgebinder) to one of lower concentration (the world surrounding said Surgebinder).[12]
The Fourth Law of Investiture
The Fourth Law is unknown, though it is likely a variation of the Third Law of Thermodynamics.[3]

Realmic Interactions[edit]

Investiture transcends the three realms: Physical, Cognitive, and Spiritual that compose most of the cosmere. However, it is more Spiritual than anything.[13][14] In the Physical Realm, Investiture is known to exist in solid, (i.e. atium and lerasium), liquid (many perpendicularities), and gaseous material forms (Preservation's Mists, Light, BioChromatic Breath). For some reason, all solid Investiture is metallic, the result of one of the laws governing the cosmere.[15][16] Some solid Investiture, like atium, breaks the general rules regarding how Invested objects interact with Investiture.[17]

Large amounts of Investiture concentrated in a specific location tend to pierce a hole in the three realms (Spiritual, Cognitive, and Physical) and create a perpendicularity. This effect is similar to the gravity generated by large amounts of matter.[18] Like matter, Investiture causes time dilation in any amount, with the degree of time dilation being proportional to the amount of Investiture in a given area, but this effect is usually relatively mild even near perpendicularities.[19][20][21][22] However, the amount of Investiture condensed into Shards is able to cause a degree of time dilation that would be virtually impossible in the real world.[22]


If Light is Investiture, and all Investiture is deity, and deity has Intent, then Light must have Intent.

— From Rhythm of War, final page[23]

All of the Investiture in the cosmere is associated with one of the sixteen Shards of Adonalsium.[24] This association is not an active choice made by the Shard, but is rather some fundamental property of Investiture itself. The Shardic associations predate the Shattering of Adonalsium, despite the Shards not being distinct entities held by multiple individuals at that time. Once the Shattering occurred, each of the new Shards gained a level of influence over the Investiture that shared their Intent. Once a Shard becomes aware of a pocket of Investiture with their Intent, they are able to tweak and influence in various ways. Creating an avatar is a particularly notable application of this process.[25]


Investiture, particularly raw Investiture, responds to the perception and thoughts of sapient beings. Raw Investiture can be reshaped to fit the thoughts and perceptions of people.[2] This can happen actively, as with the nightmares on Komashi,[2] or it can happen more passively as in the creation of spren.[26] If a being has some level of self-awareness about who and what they are, that prevents the most drastic changes from occurring only on perception. A Cognitive Shadow that was once living and has its own sense of self may experience slight changes over the course of hundreds of years, similar to the way a Vessel can be warped by their Shard's Intent.[27] Oversight from a Shard can also prevent beings made entirely of Investiture from being heavily changed by people's perceptions.[28] Highly Invested beings have a greater degree of influence over raw Investiture than less Invested beings.[29]

Over a long enough time frame, a large enough quantity of raw Investiture will become self-aware.[30] Additionally, Investiture without some form of bond is drawn to living creatures.[31] The relationship between this property of Investiture and the limitations on perception described above are unclear, though it does indicate that raw Investiture becomes harder to shape with perception the longer it's been left alone.


Physical matter is known to have a counterpart called antimatter - matter composed of antiparticles that share many properties with the particles of ordinary matter, but manifest some of them in an opposite way (e.g. a proton and an antiproton have the same mass, but opposite electric charges and magnetic moments). The Fused scholar Raboniel describes this in terms of axi with opposite polarities.[8] A similar relationship exists between Investiture and anti-Investiture in the cosmere. When Investiture combines with its corresponding anti-Investiture, they are both annihilated, resulting in the release of a large amount of energy.[8] The reaction seems to be more violent when the two are brought together under pressure.[8]

The only known forms of anti-Investiture are anti-Stormlight and anti-Voidlight. It is unknown whether hybrid Lights and Shards outside of the Rosharan system have anti-Investitures of their own. Khriss notes that the existence of anti-Investiture has been theorized for some time, but that the anti-Lights developed by Navani Kholin and Raboniel are her first evidence that it actually exists.[32]


The Spiritual Realm[edit]


Souls, as you’d call them, are parts of our beings that are pure Investiture.

Design to Yumi and Painter[2]

Everything in the cosmere has a Spiritual component made entirely out of Investiture and Connections, known as spiritweb.[33] That Spiritual component is the ideal version of the object or being. Humans can also have an element of innate Investiture inside them, which is part of their spiritweb. Innate Investiture is the extra Investiture beyond what is typical for a spiritweb that allows them to access the Spiritual Realm and perform Invested Arts.[34][35] However, humans can be born with different levels of innate Investiture. For example, all Scadrians are born with innate Investiture because of the influence of Preservation. Yet those capable of performing Allomancy have a greater degree of innate Investiture in them than non-powered Scadrians. Most humans in the cosmere have some level of innate Investiture, with Drabs, who have deliberately given away their Breaths, being a notable exception.[34]


Shards are beings of vast Investiture controlled by a Vessel's mind that exist primarily in the Spiritual Realm. As the Spiritual Realm is a place of Investiture beyond time and space, the effects from large quantities of Investiture existing in one location do not occur for Shards in the Spiritual Realm.[36] A Shard's power engulfs all of the Investiture with that Intent in the cosmere. However, the limitations of a Vessel's mind means much of that power is not under the direct control of a Shard at any given time.[24] Despite existing primarily in the Spiritual Realm, a Shard can Invest in a planet, making travel to other locations difficult, but not inhibiting their presence in the Spiritual Realm where all places exist as one. This can be either an passive process when the Shard resides on a planet and their Investiture begins to leak into the Physical Realm or an active choice the Shard makes.[37][38]

The Cognitive Realm[edit]

Similarly to the Spritual Realm, the Cognitive Realm is composed of Investiture.[39] Inhabitants of the Cognitive Realm, such as the native spren, are also made up of Investiture, but have developed sapience.[40] Physical beings fully entering and leaving the Cognitive Realm, the physical body transfers into and comes out of the Investiture.[41] One component of how the Cognitive Realm manifests on a planets is the form Investiture takes on it. For example, Scadrial appearing as mist and Roshar appearing as a sea of beads. Like all things related to the Cognitive Realm, however, perception plays the biggest role in the Cognitive Realm's appearance.[42]

The Physical Realm[edit]

While Investiture is the scientific term which encompass all variations, people in the cosmere generally do not use the term in day-to-day speech unless they come from a worldhopping background.[43] Most planets in the cosmere have unique terminology to refer to both that planet's variation of Investiture and the process of using it. For example, Feruchemists refer to the process of Investing a metalmind as 'filling' or 'storing' and Windrunners refer to the process by which they create Lashings as 'infusing'.[44] Investiture on different planets is also characterized by slightly different behaviors and properties that can make the distinction in terminology useful. Breaths, Mist, and Lights are all forms of gaseous Investiture on different planets that are associated with different Shards, and all have slightly different propertyies that make them useful in different applications.[45]


Invested Arts[edit]

An Invested Art, sometimes referred to as arcana, is a magic system in the cosmere.[46] Invested Arts can vary wildly in their appearance, mechanics, and effects, but they all involve practitioners being Initiated and using their abilities to manipulate Investiture.[47] Planets, Shards, and the fundamental forces that make up the cosmere all affect an arcana's function and powers.[48] What makes an Invested Art distinct from other moethods of accessing Investiture is the fact that practitioners must be Initiated. Initiation can involve genetics, a Shard's Decision, or other unknown methods.[49]

An Invested Art can either use Investiture from within a practitioner or from an external source. Invested Arts can be categorized as either end-positive, end-neutral, or end-negative depending on the net gain or loss of Investiture in its use.[50] Most magic systems neither gain or have no net change in the amount of Investiture being used in the process of using the Invested Art.[51] Hemalurgy is notable in being the only currently known Invested Art where Investiture is lost in its use.[52]

Mechanical Access[edit]

This is yet another mechanical imitation of something once available only to a select few within the bounds of an Invested Art.

Khriss on the creation of fabrials[53]

The effects of some Invested Arts can be imitated using technology. The most prominent example of this is fabrials.[54] Fabrials are created by trapping spren in gems and placing them in metal casings of different types.[55] The combination of the metal and the spren used in the creation of a fabrial creates different effects that anyone with a fabrial is capable of using.[56] The other mechanical imitation are the unsealed metalminds of Scadrial, which anyone can tap despite not having the relevant Feruchemical powers.[57]

Natural Manifestations[edit]

It is possible for a natural force to become Invested. On Roshar, the highstorms are Invested.[58] The Stormfather also states that during a highstorm, Honor's power is concentrated in the storm as it moves across the land, temporarily joining all three Realms.[59] Sunlight is also Invested on both Taldain and Canticle. The extent to which these phenomenon happened naturally versus being actively Invested by a shard or Adonalsium is currently unclear.

Plants and animals have evolved to make use of the Investiture that naturally exists on such planets. Investiture naturally enhances the growth and health of plants and animals. On Canticle, plants have an extremely limited window during which the conditions are met where they are able to grow before dying. The highly Invested sunlight allows the plants to reach maturity and produce seeds before the sunlight kills them, allowing the lifecycle to continue on future rotations of the planet.[60] The highstorm on Roshar produces a similar, if less extreme, effect on the flora and fauna, making them hardier and less susceptible to diseases.[61] Larkin, an animal from Roshar, feeds exclusively on Investiture in order to get the energy needed for life.[62] Larkins are not the only animals that have evolved to feed on Investiture, and these animals can be found on planets beyond just Roshar.[63] Sand on Taldain's Dayside is covered with a lichen that can absorb Investiture, becoming white when Invested and black when the Investiture is depleted.[64]

Some fauna have also naturally evolved to have a symbiotic relationship with Splinters. On Roshar, gemhearts facilitate these bonds which allow creatures to grow beyond sizes that would normally be possible with the planet's gravity and enables some animals to fly.[65][66] Notably, the Ryshadium, which are descended from horses brought to Roshar later in the planet's history, have evolved to bond with Splinters that give them a measure of sapience.[66] Aviar form a symbiotic relationship with Invested parasites.[67] Only the Aviar have developed the ability to gain powers via this parasite.[68]


Forming a bond with another entity is one of the more common ways to gain access to Investiture. Bonds are connections between entities in the cosmere that exist outside the Physical Realm. All bonds are basically the same, with the powers and functions depending on the holders of the bond.[69] The nature of the planet can also have an effect on what the bond does. Bonds are typically formed between entities with greater-than-normal Investiture (e.g. Spren) and other entities, allowing them to gain enhancements. It is unknown if a person with only innate Investiture is able to create a bond.[34] 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.[70] Currently, two types of bonds have been named: the Nahel bond and the Luhel bond. The Nahel bond trades consciousness in and an anchor to the Physical Realm in exchange for access to Investiture and an Invested Art. The Luhel bond exchanges physical matter for access to the use of Investiture. Water is the only form of physical matter known to be exchanged so far.[71]


Kinetic and Static Investiture[edit]

Kinetic Investiture[edit]

Kinetic Investiture is a term used for Investiture that is being used or expressed.[72][35][73][74] This is the form of Investiture that is able to be detected by Seekers or absorbed by white sand.[75][72][73] Investiture that is in active use is seemingly more difficult for humans to consume,[76] which is not the case for all organisms that consume Investiture.[74]

Static Investiture[edit]

Static Investiture, also referred to as potential Investiture, is a term used for Investiture that is held within a vessel such as a gemstone, therefore not being in use.[72][74] An object containing, or being made up of, static Investiture is referred to as being Invested.[77] Invested objects, such as metalminds or Shardplate, resist being affected by Invested Arts.[32] Static Investiture is often used as a battery as the stored Investiture can later be converted into energy to power devices, though some technologies are more efficient in doing so than others.[78] The gemstone component of a fabrial may be an early example of such use.

Invested Objects[edit]

Objects are not Invested in their original state. They can become Invested by a Shard or by a person 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.[79][80] Once an object has been Invested it is very hard to Invest it with a different kind of Investiture as well.[81] Sometimes when an object in one of the Realms has a large amount of Investiture it can gain sentience (see, for example, spren and Nightblood).

Measurement and Detection[edit]

The time light on Taldain takes to fully recharge Sand from Khrissalla's Journal


The Breath Equivalent Unit (BEU) is a unit of measurement for Investiture.[82] The unit is based on the quantity of Investiture in one typical BioChromatic Breath.[83][84][85] The innate Investiture of one person is approximately equivalent to one BEU.[86] Highly Invested individuals typically have no more than three BEUs of Investiture.[87]


The sand slowly turned white when exposed to Stormlight or Voidlight. However, if a fabrial was using the Light, the sand changed faster.

Navani's observations on Sand[74]

Many of the Invested Arts naturally have the ability to detect Kinetic Investiture built into them.[88] The methods currently known to do this are sand covered in microbes from Taldain and Allomantic bronze. Faded sand from Dayside turns white when kinetic Investiture is near, allowing the person holding it to see who is using Investiture.[75] Bronze Allomancy can theoretically detect all types of kinetic Investiture, but some are much harder to detect than others.[89] In the case of Feruchemy, the power is much more difficult to detect because the Feruchemist is only using internal Investiture while Allomancy draws from an external source.[90] Lightweaving is quieter and harder to detect than Lashings or fabrials. It is not known if the reason why is similar to Feruchemy. Different powers on and within different planets have different pulses or wavelengths.[91] An experienced Seeker can distinguish between those powers.[88] As a fabrial could potentially be created to detect emotional Allomancy, fabrials may be one of the ways to detect kinetic Investiture.[92]

Known Investiture[edit]

Investiture World Shard Books
Mist Scadrial Preservation Mistborn
Atium Scadrial Ruin Mistborn
Lerasium Scadrial Preservation Mistborn
Harmonium Scadrial Harmony Mistborn
BioChromatic Breath Nalthis Endowment Warbreaker
Dor Sel Devotion, Dominion Elantris
Stormlight Roshar Honor The Stormlight Archive
Voidlight Roshar Odium The Stormlight Archive
Lifelight Roshar Cultivation The Stormlight Archive


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  44. Ancient 17S Q&A
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  46. General Reddit 2020
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