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{/{Magic |related=Shards |universe=Cosmere }}

I am a god. [...] A little piece of one. Very, very little.

—Syl to Kaladin[1]

A Splinter is a specific type of fragment of Investiture ultimately derived from Adonalsium. These Splinters exist comprised of a single Shard's power or the Investiture of multiple Shards. They are present in many worlds of the cosmere, sometimes in abundant qualities or as self-aware personalities while other times they are absent altogether or exist simply as a chunk of raw power guided by something else.


At its core, a Splinter is a significant measure of a Shard's power that has been separated from the main body of Investiture. A Splinter has never been a person,[2] although it may serve to create a Cognitive Shadow, most of which would be considered Splinters.[3] It is worth noting that there is some difference between a physical manifestation Investiture such as atium and lerasium or prpendicularities and a Splinter. While a Shard's power is never truly separated as it is all connected through the Spiritual Realm,[citation needed] Splinters represent power that has been released or removed by a Shard.[4] Splinters tend to not have much in the way of a Physical aspect, as a chunk of Investiture it tends to be more rooted in the Cognitive and Spiritual Realms.[5] One distinguishing factor of a Splinter is that it may often have an intent of its own, separate from that of the parent Shard.[6] While many Splinters are comprised of Investiture of a single Shard, in the case of some Splinters they may actually be comprised of the Investiture or two or more Shards.

It is certain that all Splinters do not contain the exact same quantity of Investiture, as a Splinter may be Splintered yet again into smaller fragments.[7] However, it is likely that there is some threshold below which a quantity of Investiture is not considered to be a Splinter. For instance a divine Breath is considered to be a Splinter,[citation needed] but there is no indication that the lesser Breath possessed by normal people is considered to be a Splinter. In fact, the small amount of Investiture present in sapient beings that is known as Innate Investiture is also distinct from Splinters.[8]


There are a few common ways for a Splinter to come into existence and most require the will of a Shard on some level. Perhaps the most common is that a Shard creates a Splinter by intentionally separating a bit of its power from itself.[9] This may be done for the purpose of creating some sort of synthetic race, such as the spren or seons. Another reason to create a Splinter is if a Shard wishes to prevent a soul from passing on to the Beyond by making it into a Cognitive Shadow, as is the case with the Fused and the Returned.[10] It is uncertain whether or not an avatar of a Shard could be considered to be a Splinter, or if there is some other qualitative difference. There are some planets that only have Splinters present on the world,[11] as in the past Shards have gone to planets within the cosmere and left behind a Splinter before leaving.[12] Adonalsium also once left behind Splinters on various worlds before its death.[citation needed]

A Shard may also Splinter another Shard, tearing off a chunk of its power, typically for the purpose of diminishing it. If a Shard is completely destroyed in this way it is said to be Splintered. A Splintered Shard cannot have a Vessel while it remains in such a state, although it may be reconstituted into a full Shard via an unknown process,[13] although it will not restore the original Vessel.[14] Whether or not a Shard can Splinter another Shard is dependent upon the amount of raw Investiture that Shard is able to make use of at the time[15] and its knowledge of the process.[16] There are more and less efficient ways to Splinter a Shard and it may grow easier with practice.[17][18] Even a successful Splintering is taxing on a Shard and may require some recovery by the Shard afterward.[19] In some cases whether or not a Shard is Splintered may be a somewhat vague term.[20] A Shard left on its own without a Vessel may also Splinter of its own accord, although that is not the only possibility.[21]

Killed Vessel and then Splintered or other way around? Remember and cite


The abilities of a Splinter depend heavily on the conditions of their formation and the the purpose or lack thereof that they were created with. Although Splinters may learn to behave in ways that were originally not intended.[22] Many Splinters may become self-aware or are self-aware from the point of their creation,[23] but but some do not and it is not considered to be a requirement to be a Splinter.[24] Splinters may have an inherent understanding of Realmatic Theory upon the point of their creation.[25] One notable ability associated with Splinters is the ability to get a sense of what the future may hold.[26] This is visible across a number of different Splinters, from the visions granted by the divine Breath to the Returned[27] to the brief flashes of the future associated with Odium's Unmade.[28] Splinters may form bonds with other sapient beings in many cases. Sometimes these bonds are capable of granting access to Invested Arts, such as is the case with the Nahel bond in spren, but they may be a much more simple connection, as is the case with seons.[29]

Ultimately the full extent of abilities a Splinter may have is still unknown. A Splinter may be able to replicate Preservation's imprisonment of Ruin on a much smaller scale.[30] Due to their connection to their parent Shard, Splinters often struggle to leave the location where they were created or the system that Shard inhabits.[3] Splinters may serve as a sort of release valve on the power of a Splintered Shard, making it potentially less dangerous.[31] It remains an open question whether or not a Splinter may take up a full Shard itself[32] or if it would just become subsumed within that Shard.[33]

Known Splinters[edit]

Rosharan System[edit]

Spren are . . . power . . . shattered power. Power given thought by the perceptions of men. Honor, Cultivation, and . . . and another. Fragments broken off.

—Syl on spren[34]

Splinters are perhaps most populous in the Rosharan system, residing in the form of spren and Cognitive Shadows on at least two of the planets there. On Roshar itself, Splinters most commonly take the form of spren comprised often of some mixture between the Investiture of both Honor and Cultivation. The Shard Honor itself has actually been Splintered,[35] resulting in a much higher population of spren than before its destruction.[citation needed] Notably powerful Splinters include the true spren capable of forming Nahel bonds and massive spren such as the Stormfather, and the Nightwatcher. Splinters of Odium are also present on that world, such as the Unmade.[36] Voidspren and the Fused, Cognitive Shadows of ancient singers are also considered to be Splinters and may be found on both Roshar and Braize.

Should add mention that spren are Cognitive Ideals come alive?[37]

Examples of Splinters are Honorspren (Splinters of Honor)[38],

Spren are Splinters of Honor.[39]

Honorblades may also be Splinters of Honor as well.[40]

Nalthian System[edit]

I just wish I knew if there is really something spiritual about the Returns, or if it’s all just cosmic happenstance.”

—Vasher on the Returned[41]

The only known Splinters present on Nalthis are the divine Breaths[42] granted to the Returned by the Shard Endowment.[10] These Splinters of Endowment are intentionally granted to the recently deceased by the Shard. They are given a vision of the future[43] and an opportunity to return as a Cognitive Shadow[44] to influence future events.[45] The Splinter grants them a whole host of other abilities as well, including unnaturally long life[46] and the ability to give away their divine Breath to perform an act of healing.[47]

It is worth noting that while he may appear as such, Nightblood himself is not actually a Splinter,[48] nor is he powerful enough to Splinter a Shard.[49] In fact, what he does to Investiture is a completely different process than Splintering.[50]

Selish System[edit]

Brief mention should be given to the entities known as the seons and the skaze, Splinters of self-aware Investiture who have developed humanlike mannerisms.

—Khriss's notes on Sel[51]

In the distant past, both Shards native Sel, Devotion and Dominion were Splintered by Odium. As a result

The seons of Sel are considered to be Splinters of Aona,[52] and more specifically it may be the Aons at the heart of the seons that are the actual Splinters.[53].

The skaze similarly are representative of Splinters of the Shard Dominion.{{

While there are some similarities to Rosharan spren, seons and skaze are far less numerous.

Scadrian System

So a slow death. Ati doesn’t know how to Splinter another Shard? Or he hasn’t the strength? Hmm . . .

—Khriss on Ruin killing Preservation

During the time of the Final Empire, both Ruin and Preservation had no Splinters of themselves on Scadrial.[2] This signifies that their god metals, lerasium and atium--despite existing as condensed Investiture of their respective Shards[citation needed]--are not Splinters.[2] In fact there are no Splinters of Ruin and Preservation in existence.[54] Three and a half centuries after the Catacendre Scadrial Harmony still does not have any Splinters but that does not preclude the possibility that one day he may have Splinters of his own.[55] Any potential Splinters present on Scadrial would have to be brought there from another world,[54] a notoriously tricky process.[3]

Elsewhere in the Cosmere

There are other places where Splinters must exist that we know less about as of yet. The Shard Ambition is known to have been Splintered by Odium so it stands to reason that Splinters of that Shard exist somewhere in the cosmere. Another open ended question is whether or not the shades known to manifest on Threnody which are Cognitive Shadows contain a Splinter or not.

[fn 1]


  1. Words of Radiance chapter 16 Summary: Words of Radiance/Chapter_16#
  2. a b c Vericon 2011
    Arcanum - 2011-03-19#
  3. a b c Arcanum entry 8757
    Error: missing reference description, click to import.
  4. Arcanum entry 986
    Error: missing reference description, click to import.
  5. /r/fantasy AMA 2013
    Arcanum - 2013-04-15#
  6. West Jordan signing
    Arcanum - 2011-08-04#
  7. Arcanum entry 11677
    Error: missing reference description, click to import.
  8. 17th Shard Forum Q&A
    Arcanum - 2012-09-25#
  9. Arcanum entry 9511
    Error: missing reference description, click to import.
  10. a b Arcanum Unbounded Seattle signing
    Arcanum - 2016-12-01#
  11. Alloy of Law York signing
    Arcanum - 2011-11-24#
  12. Arcanum entry 8763
    Error: missing reference description, click to import.
  13. Arcanum entry 1070
    Error: missing reference description, click to import.
  14. Arcanum Unbounded Seattle signing
    Arcanum - 2016-12-01#
  15. Arcanum entry 9540
    Error: missing reference description, click to import.
  16. Mistborn: Secret History part 3 chapter 2 Summary: Mistborn: Secret History/Part_3_Chapter_2#
  17. Arcanum entry 9563
    Error: missing reference description, click to import.
  18. JordanCon 2018
    Arcanum - 2018-04-20#
  19. Arcanum entry 9881
    Error: missing reference description, click to import.
  20. Arcanum entry 5072
    Error: missing reference description, click to import.
  21. FAQFriday 2017
    Arcanum - 2017-06-09#
  22. Words of Radiance chapter 87 Summary: Words of Radiance/Chapter_87#
  23. Calamity Chicago signing
    Arcanum - 2016-02-22#
  24. Arcanum entry 2904
    Error: missing reference description, click to import.
  25. Arcanum entry 9448
    Error: missing reference description, click to import.
  26. Q&A with Brandon Sanderson
    Arcanum - 2011-01-10#
  27. Goodreads Fantasy Book Discussion Warbreaker Q&A
    Arcanum - 2010-01-18#
  28. Oathbringer chapter 101 epigraph Summary: Oathbringer/Epigraphs/Chapter_101#
  29. /r/books AMA 2015
    Arcanum - 2015-06-19#
  30. Arcanum entry 1028
    Error: missing reference description, click to import.
  31. /r/Stormlight_Archive
    Arcanum - 2013-03-11#
  32. Arcanum entry 3507
    Error: missing reference description, click to import.
  33. Bands of Mourning release party
    Arcanum - 2016-01-25#
  34. Words of Radiance chapter 24 Summary: Words of Radiance/Chapter_24#
  35. Google+ Hangout
    Arcanum - 2012-04-17#
  36. /r/books AMA 2015
    Arcanum - 2015-03-12#
  37. Arcanum entry 3467
    Error: missing reference description, click to import.
  38. Steelheart Chicago signing
    Arcanum - 2013-10-05#
  39. Arcanum entry 7098
    Error: missing reference description, click to import.
  40. Arcanum entry 6539
    Error: missing reference description, click to import.
  41. Warbreaker epilogue Summary: Warbreaker/Epilogue#
  42. Goodreads Fantasy Book Discussion Warbreaker Q&A
    Arcanum - 2010-01-18#
  43. Warbreaker chapter 57 Summary: Warbreaker/Chapter_57#
  44. Stormlight Three Update #6
    Arcanum - 2017-01-20#
  45. Arcanum entry 7357
    Error: missing reference description, click to import.
  46. Warbreaker chapter 3 Summary: Warbreaker/Chapter_3#
  47. Warbreaker chapter 12 Summary: Warbreaker/Chapter_12#
  48. /r/books AMA 2015
    Arcanum - 2015-07-25#
  49. Holiday signing
    Arcanum - 2015-12-12#
  50. Stormlight Three Update #5
    Arcanum - 2016-11-20#
  51. a b Arcanum Unbounded - The Selish System Summary: Arcanum Unbounded/The_Selish_System#
  52. Arcanum Unbounded Seattle signing
    Arcanum - 2016-12-01#
  53. A Memory of Light Signing Milford
    Arcanum - 2013-02-16#
  54. a b Steelheart Chicago signing
    Arcanum - 2013-10-05#
  55. Minicon 2015
    Arcanum - 2015-04-02#
  56. Steelheart Seattle signing
    Arcanum - 2013-10-14#
  1. While Brandon has said on one occasion that Splinters must be self-aware,[56] elsewhere he has said differently and has explicitly referred to the divine Breath as a Splinter, despite its lack of self-awareness. That combine with the fact that Khriss feels the need to clarify that seons and skaze are self-aware Splinters[51] makes it clear that a Splinter need not necessarily be self-aware to be a Splinter.

{/partial}} {/{cosmere}} [/[category: Shards|*]] [/[category: Splinters| ]]