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The Intent of a Shard of Adonalsium is the primary purpose or motivation of that Shard. The name of each Shard reflects that Shard's intent, for example the Shard Ruin's primary motivation is cause things to be destroyed.

The Effect of a Shard's Intent on the Vessel[edit]

Over a long period of time, a Vessel's mind begins to be molded to its intent.[1] [2] The best evidence we have of this is in the Mistborn series, with Ruin/Ati:

Ruin's consciousness—separate from his power—isn't a particularly nice being. But you can't much blame him, as there's very little that is left of the mind that once was. The force of Ruin has pretty well molded the mind to fit with the force's intent.
—THoA Annotations, Chapter 57[3]

We also see this mentioned again in the Letter:

Ati was once a kind and generous man, and you saw what became of him.
The Letter[4]

A Shard's intent can drastically change the personality of its holder.

This effect seems to be because of the interaction between the Shard and its holder:

Ruin knows how to play off the lusts of mankind. Lust makes sense to Ruin, as he has lusts himself. He needs to destroy. It's part of who he is and what makes him function. It's the driving force of the power upon which his consciousness feeds to remain alive.
—THoA Annotations, Chapter 58[5]

Future Sight[edit]

Each Shard has the ability to see the future but this ability is tempered by the Shard's intent. Seeing into the future is more difficult for some Shards than others. Preservation's intent lends itself well to seeing the future so that it can preserve things, where Ruin's future sight is clouded because it does not wish there to be anything but ruin. Honor stated that it was hard for him to see into the future.[2] Cultivation is mentioned as having amazing future sight, due to her intent to cultivate.


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