Just finished reading Shadows of Self. Will try to hide spoilers, but the revelations at the end of the book are key to the question.

So at the end of the novel, the kandra Paalm was shown to be using a Hemalurgy spike of a new kind of metal unknown to any of the other characters. In fact, it's unknown to the kandra and Harmony as well, and it's called out as a new type of god-metal, one that definitely didn't come from Harmony. Properties unknown, but the initial theory that Paalm was using multiple spikes to switch Allomantic and Ferchemical powers is kinda put off by the fact that they only find the one.

This points to another Shard holder from elsewhere in the Cosmere either present or trying to interfere on Scadrial, the Mistborn world. The problem is, Shards don't hide very well. Harmony should know if there was another god about, and he's got nothing.

We've only seen this type of physical manifestation of Shard-power on Mistborn's Scadrial though. Every other power that we've seen in the Cosmere manifests in a completely different way - spren and stormlight on Roshar, aons and the Dor energy on Sel. The only point in common to any world is some kind of pool of power. We know there are people that can hop from world to world (hello again Hoid! cheeky bastard), and the way abilities interact can reveal new secrets, but the abilities themselves never seem to change their base nature (Hoid alludes to the fact that he has Breath from one world in him, but it doesn't suddenly transmute into Stormlight just because he's now on Roshar).

So how does this new metal suddenly appear? Curious if Sanderson has said anything, or if there are other hints in other novels I'm missing.

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    this is probably a question that will be answered in future novels, and as far as i know he hasnt said anything about it, but i think its meant for us to believe that someone world hopped to scadrial
    – Himarm
    Nov 19, 2015 at 16:57
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    indeed this is definite RAFO-bait, and there have been questions asked about and around it, but I wouldn't know where to point you at.
    – fbstj
    Dec 21, 2015 at 9:33
  • Sure, if asked of the author, the standard answer would be RAFO. That's why I asked here; I'm not as completely versed in his Cosmere as others and was curious (and it's not often I think of a question that hasn't been covered already to the smallest atom). "No, there's no information and no hints" is a perfectly valid answer.
    – Radhil
    Dec 21, 2015 at 13:36
  • There's quite some speculation about it coppermind.net/wiki/Trellium
    – Mithoron
    Feb 27, 2019 at 21:46

2 Answers 2


The manifestation of the Shard's power, at least on the Physical realm, is tied directly to that local world's version of Investiture. This form was driven by the Shard(s) that were present on the world when the magic manifested, and how they interacted with the world, each other, the other realms, etc. So, on Scadriel, Investiture manifests in the form of the metallic arts, on Roshar, it manifests as Stormlight and Spren, etc. It can get complicated -- on Sel, it manifests differently depending on where you are, and Odium was apparently able to manifest a brand new form of Investiture on Roshar, but the basic idea is there: different worlds manifest Shard's power differently.

In particular, it's not true that Investiture-granted abilities never "change" between worlds: we have seen at least one instance where an individual with one native form of Investiture was able to "substitute" the Investiture from a different world:

Vasher from Warbreaker is Zahel in Stormlight Archive. He requires Breath to survive, but Breath only exists on Nalthis; however, he can use Stormlight instead.

This means that bringing a new form of Investiture from one Shardworld to another would cause it to manifest in the form that's local to that world. Even if a new Shardholder themselves showed up (which is basically what the Kandra are saying has happened on Scadriel), the way their power manifested itself would be different there than it would on another world. It might be different than anything that already existed, as with Odium's late intrusion on Rosar, but it would still be influenced by all the local aspects of that world.

With Scadriel in particular, though, both of the existing Shardholders' power manifested as metal and metallic arts -- atium and lerasium, and Allomancy, Feruchemy, and Hemalurgy -- meaning that any new Shardholder would almost certainly manifest their power in the same way.

If this is a new Shardholder, the only thing that I think is still largely unexplained is whether they also brought a new form of metallic art Investiture with them. In other words: Preservation's power manifests as Allomancy, which is activated by "digesting" a metal; Ruin's power manifests as Hemalurgy, which is activated by "inserting" metals permanently into the body at various points. We know that you can ingest atium (the power of Ruin) and use it Allomantically, so it's reasonable to assume you could use a new "god metal" Hemalurgically. But it's also reasonable to assume that a new type of metallic art might also have come along with it.

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    I don't consider Vasher to have transformed anything, just ... on a different diet, is the simplest way to say it. The logic behind your explanation seems sound though.
    – Radhil
    Feb 19, 2016 at 14:27
  • You missed out Feruchemy in your answer, which brings a certain balance to the trinity of Metallic arts. It's the only one which is end-neutral in terms of energy. What you give is what you get! Unlike Allomancy (end-positive) and Hemalurgy (end-negative).
    – Stormie
    Feb 19, 2016 at 15:40
  • @Radhil Transformed in the sense that his ability to use Breath on Nalthis gives him the ability to use Stormlight on Roshar; the fact that he possess Investiture on one planet allows him to use it on other planets, but it takes a different form. We know it's the same, because he needs Breath to live and he can't be getting it on Roshar.
    – KutuluMike
    Feb 19, 2016 at 16:50
  • @Mike - allright, that fits better (IMO) with the rest of your explanation.
    – Radhil
    Feb 19, 2016 at 16:58
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    while its true that you can substitute different forms of invesiture (nightblood using stormlight is a good example) but we see forms of investiture work on different worlds as we see wit Awakens a doll
    – Antheloth
    Dec 25, 2018 at 22:20

Harmony or the Kandra (will check later on after work) actually said that this is due to interference from another "God".

My interpretation of this new "metal" was in fact another God Metal (because Trell is quoted somewhere in the book as a likely candidate for interfering) as opposed to a mundane element, though either could be correct.. It all comes down to what we know about the Cosmere so far (woefully little!), for instance what is a Shardblade made out of? A "God Metal" or some kind of invested ore, or something we've never heard of?

I'll check my sources when home and update my answer accordingly.

  • I should note that we don't know that Trell is a Shardholder -- Trell worship was a very old religion on Scadriel. But the most obvious and likely answer is that some other Shardholder is using the name.
    – KutuluMike
    Feb 19, 2016 at 12:44
  • Sorry, I based that on what I've read of Sanderson's yet-unpublished works. Specifically: Aether of Night. A very good book in my opinion, well worth the read. Delves into Trelagism his twin, Nalt (Naltism may be a thing?). :)
    – Stormie
    Feb 19, 2016 at 15:37
  • True, but Sanderson has already taken other elements of that novel and incorporated them differently into the published books, so we should be careful to make too many direct inferences. (You're probably right, though.)
    – KutuluMike
    Feb 19, 2016 at 16:53

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