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Devotion

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Devotion
Devotion by Kyle Pearson.jpg
Vessel Aona
Slivers None
Splinters Aons at center of seons
Status Splintered
Perpendicularity The Lake
Magics AonDor, Dakhor, ChayShan, Forgery, Bloodsealing[1][2]
Residence Sel
Universe Cosmere
Featured In Elantris

Come. I give you release. Come. You can finally give up.

—The voice in the Lake[3]

Devotion is a Shard of Adonalsium, originally held by Aona.[4][5] After the Shattering, she traveled to Sel with Dominion, where the two were Splintered by Odium.[6][7]

Intent[edit]

As Devotion was Splintered far in Sel's prehistory, it's unknown how precisely her intent would manifest.[8] She appears to wish to care for people and provide them safety from pain and harm.[3] Though not as directly hostile to each other as Preservation and Ruin, Devotion and Dominion are at some level opposite to each other, yet their powers work together as the Dor.[7] Devotion and Odium can also be argued to be opposite to each other.[9]

Associated Magics[edit]

An Elantrian using Aon Rao

The Dor[edit]

When Odium Splintered Devotion and Dominion, he trapped their power in the Cognitive Realm to prevent them from gaining another Vessel. Since, unlike in the Spiritual Realm, location exists in the Cognitive Realm, the power of the two Shards is trapped together as a giant, polarized storm of Investiture known as the Dor, which makes worldhopping to Sel very dangerous.[10][7]

The existence of Dor has a profound effect on Sel, as rather than a single, planet-wide magic system, the planet has numerous ones, each making its home in a particular region, all influenced in some way by both Shards.[1] An underlying similarity between all of them seems to be reliance on shape -- all forms of accessing the Dor are dependent on the user creating a specific shape, often based on the features of the land associated with a particular magic.[11][12]

This tie between the location and magic also means that the user's physical position in relation to the system's home region influences the strength of the magic, and moving further away from its origin point will diminish its effects.[13][7][14] Furthermore, in order to access a magic system, it appears one must be from the land associated with it.[15]

Magic systems using the Dor include:

  • AonDor - the magic of Arelon and surrounding area; the ability to draw symbols called Aons in the air to produce a variety of magical effects. Aons can only be drawn by Elantrians, people raised to power and immortality through the city of Elantris.
  • ChayShan - the magic of JinDo; through taking specific stances and forming specific motions with one's own body, the user can access Dor for increased strength, awareness, and possibly other effects.
  • Dakhor - the magic of Fjordell; through chants, the bones of a Dakhor monk are induced to change shape, which grants them abilities such as increased strength, bodily transformation, and even teleportation.
  • Forgery - magic usable in the Rose Empire, originating from MaiPon; accesses Dor through creation of soulstamps, which contain a specific shape that is then imparted onto an object, rewriting its Spiritual aspect to change its history and, through this, present behavior and appearance.
  • Bloodsealing - another Rose Empire magic, originating in Dzhamar; using human blood, Bloodsealers can create wards and animate skeletons of the dead.

Seons[edit]

A seon with its bonded human

Seons are magical entities somewhat common in the Arelish region of Sel. They appear as bright spheres of light about the size of a melon, with a shining Aon inside of them; each Seon has its own Aon, and is named after it.[16][17] Those Aons are Splinters of Devotion,[4] and have at least some sense that they came from something larger and how they were created, which causes them to consider Devotion as something of a god or parent.[18]

They are extremely similar to the spren of Roshar, and much like spren, they bond with humans.[19] They offer their masters unconditional love, and will be negatively affected by something happening to their humans, such as the transformation into a Reod Elantrian.[20][21] Unlike spren, seons do not grant their bonded humans any particular abilities, but they do have magical talents of their own. Most notably, two seons can link together to allow for instant communication between their masters, with each seon taking on the appearance of the person on the other side of the link.[16]

Their equivalents formed from Dominion's investiture are the skaze.[7]

Direct intervention[edit]

As a dead Shard, Devotion can no longer directly intervene into the affairs of Sel; however, something still speaks to the Elantrians who go into Devotion's Perpendicularity. It presents Elantrians with a choice to either be dissolved, effectively dying, or carry on living.[3]

History[edit]

In case you have turned a blind eye to that disaster, know that Aona and Skai are both dead, and that which they held has been Splintered.

Very little is known about Devotion, as it was splintered a long time ago. The Shard was created at the Shattering of Adonalsium, along with fifteen others, and picked by Aona.[23] She and Dominion, for an unknown reason, decided to strike out together to Sel, where they passively influenced a number of local cultures.[7] At some point early on, Odium came along and, possibly with some assistence from Autonomy, killed both Shards and Splintered them.[24][7]

Once the Vessels were dead, the remnants of the two Shards were pushed together into Sel's Cognitive Realm to prevent anyone from taking up the power or the powers themselves from achieving sentience; this created the Dor.[10][25] This plan was not entirely successful, as over time, the Dor has begun to attain self-awareness of its own.[7]

Influence[edit]

Merciful Domi!

Arelish exclamation[20]

Historically, Devotion and Dominion were not directly involved in human civillization on Sel; however, the discovery of their powers drove its development nonetheless. Both were fundamental in early Selish cultures, and many traditions and religions on the planet are derived from the two of them. Among others, multiple languages and writing systems on Sel are based on Devotion and Dominion's power, with the prime example being the Aons.[7] To this day, worship of Devotion is the primary religion of Arelon, where she is known as Domi; some aspects of Jaddeth are likewise inspired by her.[5] The Ire, or at least some of its members, also seem to revere her, directly under her Shardic name.[26]

Due to her early death, Devotion is not particularly influential in modern-day cosmere, but her corpse, in form of the Dor, has made travel to and from Sel through the Cognitive Realm highly difficult.[7] It's possible some remnant of her is still present within it, or at least within her perpendicularity, the Lake, as it speaks to Elantrians thrown into it.[3]

Trivia[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. a b SpoCon 2013
    Arcanum - 2013-07-10#
  2. /r/fantasy AMA 2013
    Arcanum - 2013-04-15#
  3. a b c d Elantris chapter 61 #
  4. a b A Memory of Light Signing Milford
    Arcanum - 2013-02-16#
  5. a b General Twitter 2015
    Arcanum - 2015-02-19#
  6. The Way of Kings chapter 22 epigraph#
  7. a b c d e f g h i j Arcanum Unbounded - The Selish System #
  8. Calamity Austin signing
    Arcanum - 2016-02-25#
  9. General Twitter 2016
    Arcanum - 2016-02-01#
  10. a b Arcanum Unbounded Hoboken signing
    Arcanum - 2016-12-03#
  11. Elantris chapter 49 #
  12. The Emperor's Soul - Day 30 #
  13. Boskone 54
    Arcanum - 2017-02-18#
  14. Elantris chapter 62 #
  15. Elantris Annotations
    Arcanum - 2006-02-14#
  16. a b Elantris chapter 2 #
  17. Elantris Ars Arcanum #
  18. Steelheart Chicago signing
    Arcanum - 2013-10-05#
  19. Skyward Houston signing
    Arcanum - 2018-11-19#
  20. a b Elantris chapter 1 #
  21. Elantris chapter 16 #
  22. The Way of Kings chapter 22 #
  23. Mistborn: Secret History part 3 chapter 2 #
  24. Lisbon signing
    Arcanum - 2016-11-07#
  25. Arcanum Unbounded signing Chicago
    Arcanum - 2016-12-06#
  26. Mistborn: Secret History part 5 chapter 2 #
  27. Skyward Pre-Release AMA
    Arcanum - 2018-10-05#
  28. Oathbringer San Francisco signing
    Arcanum - 2017-11-15#
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