Atium

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Atium
Atium.svg
Atium (Feruchemy).svg
Allomancy
Power See the near-future of others
Misting Seer
Feruchemy
Power Store youth[1]
Hemalurgy
Power Steal any power
Metal type God Metal (Ruin)
World Scadrial
Universe Cosmere
Featured in Mistborn (series)
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Be aware that in its current state, it may not include all additional content yet.

Atium is a God Metal. An Allomancer burning atium is able to see into the future by a few seconds. Feruchemists can use atium to store youth, and when used as a Hemalurgic spike, atium steals any property or power.[1] The metal is a reflective, silvery color, so much so that beads of atium almost appear to be drops of liquid.[2]

Atium is notable as it is the condensed power of the Shard Ruin. As a result, an Allomancer burning atium does not draw on Preservation's power; instead, the Investiture of the metal provides the power.[3] It was sequestered away at the Pits of Hathsin by Preservation when the latter gave up his mind to trap Ruin; to regain the power contained in the atium, Ruin would have needed to manifest in some way.[4]

Presumably, the name "atium" is inherited from Ati, the name of the original holder of the Shard Ruin, just as the name "lerasium" is inherited from Leras, the original holder of the Shard Preservation. Atium cannot be alloyed with lerasium to make ettmetal, nor can ettmetal be broken down into atium and lerasium through distillation or other mundane methods; however, it is possible to do so with techniques utilizing Investiture, such as splitting ettmetal with trellium.[5][6]

Allomantic Use

Vin burning atium

An atium Misting is known as a Seer. Burning atium allows the user to see a few seconds into the future, by producing atium shadows of everything in sight. These shadows perform future actions. Burning atium expands the user's mind to be able to accept and process all of the information, even allowing the Allomancer to dodge incoming attacks from behind. Harmony speculates that atium makes the Allomancer burning it a more efficient killer because it draws upon Ruin's power.[7]

Atium shadows, while hard to beat, are not impossible. The most common way to fight effectively against a Seer is by using another atium Allomancer, as when two Allomancers burn atium at the same time, the shadows they see will split into a multitude of possibilities, as a positive feedback loop is created by each person trying to predict a future the other has just changed. This effect will also occur when fighting against an electrum Allomancer, due to the nature of that metal's ability. It would also be possible to best a Seer by Compounding steel. While a steel Compounder would not be able to move faster than an atium Allomancer can predict, they could potentially move faster than the Seer is able to process the information they are gaining through their abilities.[8] It is possible to defeat an atium Allomancer by using their reactions to the future against them, but is only known to have happened once.[9]

Burning duralumin with atium will allow Allomancers to see farther into the future, by allowing them to peer into the Spiritual Realm.[10][11][12] The same effect can occur if a Hemalurgist has enough spikes enhancing their atium.[12] Aluminum objects do not generate atium shadows.[13] Atium does not enable a person to anticipate emotional Allomancy.[14] A Seer can perceive atium shadows even if they are otherwise blind.[15]

Feruchemical Use

Atium, when used by a Feruchemist, stores youth.[1] When storing youth, the Feruchemist spends time older. When tapping youth, the Feruchemist then spends time younger.

Compounding

An atium Compounder would be able to use atium to have a nearly infinite supply of youth, allowing for practical immortality.[16][17]

Hemalurgic Use

When used as a Hemalurgic spike, atium is like a wild card.[18] Depending on where it is placed, it can steal any power (i.e., the ability to use an Invested Art, such as Allomancy or sand mastery)[19] and it does so better than other spikes.[18] Atium must be refined to be used in Hemalurgy.[20]

Alloys

Atium may also be alloyed with any of the other Allomatic metals. However the only currently known atium alloy is malatium, an atium-gold alloy. These alloys grant various expanded mental and temporal effects when burned.[21]

History

An atium geode

As atium is a God Metal, it does not form naturally. The metal only came to exist when Preservation stole a chunk of Ruin's power and created the Pits of Hathsin, where atium grows in crystals, to deny Ruin access to part of his power.[7] Preservation also altered the mechanics of Allomancy to allow for atium Mistings,[18][22] ultimately resulting in an army that would be able to temporarily burn away Ruin's power.[10]

During the Final Empire, atium was classified as one of the two high metals along with gold and was thought to be only usable by Mistborn. Though atium Mistings—known as Seers—did exist, due to the scarcity of atium and the Lord Ruler's obfuscation, their existence was simply unknown to anyone other than a few select members of the Steel Ministry.[23] The Ministry worked diligently to find atium Mistings among the nobility, including by occasionally spiking drinks at balls and causing a disturbance to see if anyone's body reacted by instinctively burning the trace amounts of metal and by slipping any non-Allomancers who join the Ministry a bit of atium and then forcing them through a series of physically-draining rituals that will induce their body to burn the metal, if it can.[24] Those found to be Seers were told of their power and often rose through the ranks of the Ministry quickly and given important positions where their power could be used for wondrous feats that would help keep people in line and enhance the Ministry's mystique and perceived power.[25]

During the time of the Final Empire, atium was mined at the Pits of Hathsin, overseen by the nobles of House Venture.[26] Most of the atium geodes, however, were secretly opened by obligators on staff at the Pits and the atium given to the kandra to hold in secret, to prevent it from falling into Ruin's hands.[27] Several days before the fall of the Final Empire, Kelsier returned to the Pits and used his Allomancy to shatter the crystals that produced atium geodes, stopping atium production for roughly the next three hundred years.[28]

Shortly after the fall of the Final Empire, as the Well of Ascension grew close to refilling, the mists began their efforts to Snap people into Allomancers, though the trauma of this process was initially perceived as a form of attack or sickness. Sixteen percent of those exposed to the mists became Allomancers; most either died or recovered quickly, but one one-sixteenth of those who became Allomancers remained sick for a full sixteen days and became known as mistfallen,[29] a consequence of the fact that they had become Seers rather than some other form of Misting. These Mistings ultimately proved crucial in Ruin's defeat, burning away the kandra atium cache before Ruin's forces gained access to the Trustwarren where it had been kept.[10]

Post-Catacendre

After the Catacendre, atium Mistings no longer existed in the same way that they did before.[30]

Wax was later able to split harmonium using trellium to create more atium, the effect of this separation is highly explosive, and only produces a small amount of atium.[6][31] Following his discovery, kandra began repeating the process in order to produce more, under Harmony's orders.[32]

Refined Atium

This section deals with a change in continuity that has only been discussed in Words of Brandon.
This information has not yet appeared in the books and so is not fully canonical.

Despite its name, the metal known as atium is not actually the pure form of Ruin's God Metal. Instead, atium is an alloy of electrum and that pure God Metal.[33][34] Atium can be refined to extract Ruin's pure God Metal, which can be used in Hemalurgy to steal any power and when burned Allomantically grants a more expansive vision of the future than atium does (possibly similar to the vision Elend Venture has when burning atium with duralumin during the Battle of Hathsin);[20][35][36] the Feruchemical powers of refined atium are unknown. This refined atium is also produced in the reaction between harmonium and trellium.[34]

Trivia

  • Atium was modeled after platinum, and would be considered a platinum group metal.[37]
  • Brandon has stated that, since writing Mistborn Era 1, he has wished he made atium usable by all Allomancers as it "feels off" that a God Metal is only usable by Mistborn (and Seers). If a Mistborn film is ever made, he would likely want to make this change in the movie.[38] On other occasions, he has also indicated interest in some day exploring why atium is limited in this way[39][40][41] and that the atium present in Era 1 is an atium-electrum alloy.[33][34]

Notes

  1. a b c The Lost Metal Ars Arcanum#
  2. The Final Empire chapter 13#
  3. The Hero of Ages Annotations
    Arcanum - 2010-04-01#
  4. Phoenix Comicon 2013
    Arcanum - 2013-05-24#
  5. Skyward Houston signing
    Arcanum - 2018-11-19#
  6. a b The Lost Metal chapter 71#
  7. a b The Hero of Ages chapter 78 epigraph#
  8. Bands of Mourning release party
    Arcanum - 2016-01-25#
  9. The Well of Ascension chapter 47#
  10. a b c The Hero of Ages chapter 81#
  11. Mistborn: Secret History part 6 chapter 9#
  12. a b /r/books AMA 2015
    Arcanum - 2015-08-01#
  13. Words of Radiance San Francisco signing
    Arcanum - 2014-03-06#
  14. /r/books AMA 2015
    Arcanum - 2015-03-16#
  15. /r/fantasy AMA 2013
    Arcanum - 2013-04-15#
  16. The Final Empire epilogue#
  17. Hero of Ages Q&A - Time Waster's Guide
    Arcanum - 2008-10-15#
  18. a b c Barnes and Noble Book Club Q&A
    Arcanum - 2009-07-08#
  19. JordanCon 2021
    Arcanum - 2021-07-16#
  20. a b Hemalurgy Table
  21. Tor.com Q&A with Brandon Sanderson
    Arcanum - 2011-01-10#
  22. Waygate Foundation Write-a-thon
    Arcanum - 2014-01-17#
  23. The Hero of Ages Annotations
    Arcanum - 2010-04-15#
  24. Hero of Ages Q&A - Time Waster's Guide
    Arcanum - 2008-10-15#
  25. The Hero of Ages Annotations
    Arcanum - 2010-04-15#
  26. The Final Empire chapter 28#
  27. The Hero of Ages chapter 71#
  28. The Final Empire chapter 33#
  29. The Hero of Ages chapter 36#
  30. Steelheart San Francisco signing
    Arcanum - 2013-10-11#
  31. The Lost Metal chapter 15#
  32. The Lost Metal epilogue 4#
  33. a b YouTube Spoiler Stream 3
    Arcanum - 2021-12-16#
  34. a b c YouTube Spoiler Stream 5
    Arcanum - 2022-12-02#
  35. Allomancy Table
  36. General Reddit 2022
    Arcanum - 2022-04-01#
  37. General Reddit 2017
    Arcanum - 2017-01-02#
  38. General Reddit 2020
    Arcanum - 2020-06-22#
  39. #SandersonChat Twitter Q&A with Audible.com
    Arcanum - 2016-02-04#
  40. Shadows of Self Chicago signing
    Arcanum - 2015-10-12#
  41. Prague Signing
    Arcanum - 2019-10-26#
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