Wan ShaiLu

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Wan ShaiLu
Shai by Shuravf.jpg
Abilities Forger, Worldhopper
Aliases Shaizan,[1] Moonlight, Kim,[2] Shay-I[3]
Groups Ghostbloods
Nationality MaiPon
Homeworld Sel
Universe Cosmere
First Appeared The Emperor's Soul
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Wan ShaiLu, known as Shai, is a MaiPon woman from Sel. She has a reputation throughout the Rose Empire as being one of the best Forgers alive.[4] She was imprisoned in her homeland, but escapes after restoring Ashravan's health.[1] She becomes a worldhopper and leaves Sel, and is unable to return.[5]

Appearance and Personality[edit]

Shai is small of stature like the rest of the MaiPon people. She has black hair that lays straight and long.[6][7] She wears spectacles because of her bad eyesight.[6] She is implied to have epicanthic folds, and has prominent cheekbones.[7] Her arms are layered with shallow cuts from the Bloodsealer Weedfingers, who needs her blood to keep her imprisoned.[8] Her voice is on the deeper end for a woman, and she uses the expression "Nights!" as an expletive.[7]

She loves the thrill, the accomplishment and the wonder of Forgery. However, at times, she is tempted by a simple life where she doesn't have to hide or lie.[9] She constantly quotes her Uncle Won and Aunt Sol although they don't really exist. They are figments of her imagination created for one of her Essence Marks.[9] She believes her Forgeries are works of art and she gets angry when contradicted on that.[10]

She worships the Unknown God.[6] She holds a deep hatred for Autonomy, and by extension Bavadin, due to her ideals and actions. This hatred is enough that it can sometimes cloud her judgement.[7]


As an Elantrian, she has a very high opinion of herself, seeing herself as a divinity worthy of praise and offerings. In this form, she has the glowing skin of an Elantrian and wears her hair up in a bun.[11]

Attributes and Abilities[edit]

Shai is a very talented artist,[4] but generally uses her ability to make forgeries of paintings. She reads people very well and is a master manipulator.[12] She has good control of her emotions. She is very knowledgeable in art history and has a very good understanding of Realmatic Theory.[13]

Shai is one of the best Forgers ever to live, especially in Soul Forgery. Flesh Forgery is one of the few branches of Forgery she hasn't studied in depth because getting a Flesh Forgery wrong usually means the subject dying.[6]

Essence Marks[edit]

During her imprisonment in the Imperial Seat, Shai had five Essence Marks, which took her over eight years to create.[9] As of her time on Scadrial, she has created at least one more.[11]

In the decades to centuries between her escape from the Rose Empire, and her work against the Set alongside Marasi, she gained a lot of skill in her use of Essence Marks. She is now able to create Essence Marks that last far longer than the mere day[14][1] that her old ones last for, enough so that she believes they could be potentially permanent, even without hemerine reapplication.[11][15][16] Therefore bypassing, through unknown means, the limitations posed by the shifting Identity of sentient beings.[14] These are not necessarily permanent, and might wear off some day.[16]

Shaizan, translated Shai of the Fist,[9] is an extremely skilled warrior who spent the last fifteen years among the Teullu people, who adopted and trained her in their martial arts. They also gave her the name Shaizan. Gaining access to Teullu training was very difficult. Shaizan was nearly killed a dozen times while training. She has a lean, hard body, short hair, and a scar that stretches from her nose down around her right cheek. Unlike Shai, she doesn't need spectacles. She doesn't know how to create soulstamps and doesn't have scholarly inclinations. She also doesn't have the patience for witticisms or gibes. She is a creature of instinct and thrives on a challenge. It took Shai two years to create this Essence Mark.[1]

The Scholar
Using this Essence Mark, she can speak a dozen languages, from Fen to Mulla'dil and a few from Opelon as well. She knows dozens of cultures and how to move in them. She knows science, mathematics, and many major political factions of the world.[9]

The Beggar
Using this Essence Mark, she knows the ways of the streets and how to survive in a city's underworld. She is an incomparable lockpick and has years of experience as a contortionist. She is emaciated, with lost hair and scarred skin.[9] Shai finds thinking like a beggar uncomfortable.[17]

The Survivalist
This Essence Mark gives her keen skills as a woodsman and a hunter as well as many others useful for surviving in the wilderness.[9]

The Way Out
She knows cooking, farmwork, and sewing. She visited a resealer and was given a remedy, which is actually the soulstamp for this Essence Mark, for an illness. She believes she will die unless she applies the soulstamp every morning. Her Aunt Sol and Uncle Won will send her letters, hundreds of which Shai already wrote and will give to a delivery service before using the soulstamp. She is afraid of traveling, thinking a trip to visit her relatives is too dangerous. Unlike Shai's other Essence Marks, this one doesn't know she is a Forger. She is Shai's way out to a simpler life. The Mark rewrites her years as a Forger and removes all knowledge of Forgery from her mind.[9] Later, Shai promises to add Gaotona as "a kindly grandfather... who I respected very much" to the Essence Mark.[1]

This Essence Mark changes her past so her parents moved to Arelon before she was born, making her an Elantrian. She refers to herself as Shai (pronounced as in Aonic), blessed of the Shaod. She regards this Essence Mark as dangerous, as it could become permanent.[11][3]

Universal Stamps[edit]

Shai carries two soulstamps that are designed to work on any object for a limited time. One creates a doorway, and the other repairs broken objects.[18] This is still limited by the feasibility of a Forgery, to a degree. If a Forgery with a Universal Stamp is completely infeasible, the stamp would not properly take.


Shai first started inquiring about being a Forger when she was eight years old.[9]

Han ShuXen, an old painter who had tutored Shai as a child, asked her to destroy his masterpiece Lily of the Spring Pond. ShuXen hated the Rose Empire and didn't want his painting, which he had painted for a woman he once loved, in their hands. He helped Shai create a counterfeit.[9]

Shai managed to destroy the original painting in the Arbiter Frava's office near the Imperial Gallery, replaced it with a fake and planted another lower-quality counterfeit in her room in order to hide the theft.[14] With the help of the Imperial Fool, she also broke into the Rose Palace's Imperial Gallery by impersonating a noblewoman to steal the Moon Scepter. However the Fool betrayed her. He stole Shai's copy of the Moon Scepter, swapped it for the original, then escaped after giving Shai up to the palace guards. Shai was captured and sentenced to public execution for theft.[6]

Gaotona and Shai

The Emperor's Soul[edit]

A day before her execution, she is asked by the council of five arbiters to Forge a soul in exchange for her freedom. Shai doesn't think it is possible to create a soulstamp for an entire person's soul in the hundred days they give her at first, but accepts their offer in the hope that it will give her time to escape. She is taken before the Emperor Ashravan and told that he took a crossbow bolt in the head from the assassins sent by the Glory Faction and despite surgeons resealing the wound, he is in a vegetative state. She is told to replace the emperor's soul with a Forgery.[6]

She is given a room barely better than a cell which, over time, she transforms into the finest room in the whole palace with Forgery.[9] She receives her Forgery tools except for her Essence Marks. Gaotona volunteers to being her test subject for the soulstamps she creates for Emperor Ashravan.[14] The arbiters hire a Bloodsealer to make sure of her cooperation.[10] As they work together, Gaotona and Shai grow fond of each other and eventually become friends. Shai starts to collect information on Ashravan's personality and memory to use for the soulstamp.[8]

Shai concluded that the arbiters were planning to kill her, even if she fulfills their agreement, a little while before the soulstamp is done and have another Forger finish her work. She started lacing her notes with subtext about the arduousness of the task to deter the other Forger.[19] All the arbiters except Gaotona proposed that she create a backdoor to the emperor's soul that would allow him to be controlled by the arbiters. Shai played along but eventually refrained from doing it, even for herself.[20]

As her hundred days pass, Shai was constantly tempted to escape but was driven by the challenge of the task.[9] On day ninety-seven, just before she finishes the soulstamp, she enacts her plan to get past the Bloodsealer. The next day, Captain Zu tries to kill her, a move she had expected from some of the guards and managed to evade by Forging traps into her room. She escaped and made her way to Ashravan's chambers, desperate to see if she had managed to Forge a soul from nothing. When it succeeds, Gaotona gave her back her Essence Marks and she used them to escape the palace.[1] It later turns out that she didn't reForge Ashravan's soul exactly the way it was and made small changes, nudging him on the path to being a better ruler.[17]

After she escapes, Shai plans to track down the Imperial Fool who betrayed her,[17] a task she eventually succeeds at.[7][21]

Resistance against Trell[edit]

Turning into an Elantrian

At some point after her release from the Rose Empire, she became a member of the Ghostbloods and worked on Scadrial in order to resist the oncoming threat of Trell, working under the codename of Moonlight.[22]

Six years after the first interaction between the Elendel Basin and the Southern Scadrians, she found Marasi Colms in a series of underground caverns, crashing a Set smuggling operation. She secretly gave her a letter, informing her that the Ghostbloods were watching her and were impressed by her accomplishments.[23]

Several days later, she met with Marasi, acting as her driver for a sting operation on the Set smuggling operation in Bilming. Introducing herself as a member of the Ghostbloods using the code name Moonlight, she explained to Marasi the nature of Trell and Autonomy.[7]

Shai assisted Marasi, Wax, and Wayne in their investigation and pursuit of the Set until being discovered by Telsin, then an avatar of Autonomy.[24][25] When the group separated, Shai was tricked by Marasi into bringing her back to the Ghostblood hideout in Bilming, which Marasi believed may have been her intention regardless.[22] Shai introduced Marasi to the small crew of Scadrian Ghostbloods—including to Kelsier, via Seon—who believed that Shai had taken on Marasi as her apprentice.[26][27]

With some research, Shai, the Ghostbloods, and Marasi discovered an entrance to the Set's underground caverns. She took TwinSoul with them to infiltrate the complex, and—at Kelsier's request—three large jars of purified Dor, which Shai looked upon with awe.[27]

She was forced to use a Stamp to change her past and turn herself into an Elantrian, also changing her personality and giving her the abilities of an Elantrian. She used AonDor in order to create an illusion of Marasi, letting her escape.[11] Following this, she vanished and the Ghostbloods sent out a mission to look for her.[15]



She holds a deep hatred for Bavadin, fundamentally disagreeing with her ideals and actions.[7] They have met before at an unknown point.[24]


Kelsier is her mentor, and she holds a deep respect for him.[expand]


She has a great interest in Marasi, and was the one who brought her into the Ghostblood's fold.[7]


She works with Prasanva in Bilming.[26] She is willing to try to help him get back to his homeworld, but he rejects her offer, stating that it is too dangerous.[18][expand]


Gaotona held a strong dislike for Shai, seeing her forgery as an abomination, and felt that she was wasting her immense talent.[14] But over time, she managed to change his view on art, and make him grow a fondness for her, making him wish to save her from execution, even if he didn't feel as if he was on her side.[expand]


She despises Hoid for deceiving her and running away with the Moon Scepter, replacing it with her forgery.[6] After escaping from the Rose Empire, she began to hunt after him to enact her revenge, an act that she eventually succeeded at.[7][21] Their current relationship is unclear, but she does wonder to herself if she was keeping watch over him, or he over her, but she knows that they are in reality just keeping watch over the same third parties.[7]


She works with Kaise in Bilming.[26][expand]



  1. a b c d e f The Emperor's Soul - Day 98#
  2. The Lost Metal chapter 26#
  3. a b The Lost Metal chapter 54#
  4. a b The Emperor's Soul Prologue#
  5. The Lost Metal chapter 47#
  6. a b c d e f g The Emperor's Soul - Day 2#
  7. a b c d e f g h i j The Lost Metal chapter 20#
  8. a b The Emperor's Soul - Day 5#
  9. a b c d e f g h i j k l The Emperor's Soul - Day 76#
  10. a b The Emperor's Soul - Day 3#
  11. a b c d e The Lost Metal chapter 53#
  12. The Emperor's Soul - Day 70#
  13. The Emperor's Soul - Day 12#
  14. a b c d e The Emperor's Soul - Day 30#
  15. a b The Lost Metal epilogue 1#
  16. a b YouTube Spoiler Stream 5
    Arcanum - 2022-12-02#
  17. a b c The Emperor's Soul Epilogue#
  18. a b The Lost Metal chapter 42#
  19. The Emperor's Soul - Day 58#
  20. The Emperor's Soul - Day 17#
  21. a b Arcanum Unbounded release party
    Arcanum - 2016-11-22#
  22. a b The Lost Metal chapter 36#
  23. The Lost Metal chapter 15#
  24. a b The Lost Metal chapter 29#
  25. The Lost Metal chapter 34#
  26. a b c The Lost Metal chapter 39#
  27. a b The Lost Metal chapter 40#
  28. Deleted prologue from The Emperor's Soul
    Brandon's website - 2014-03-31#
  29. Paris signing
    Arcanum - 2016-10-22#
  30. FanX 2018
    Arcanum - 2018-09-08#
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