Bloody Tan

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Bloody Tan
Bloody Tan BUST by VectorHTC.png
Died 341 PC[1]
Profession Mortician, criminal
Residence The Roughs
Homeworld Scadrial
Universe Cosmere
Introduced In The Alloy of Law

Each life is a performance. But we are not the performers. We are the puppets. I have seen God, lawkeeper. I have seen Death himself, with the nails in his eyes. I have seen the Survivor, who is life. Other men wonder, but I know. I know I’m a puppet. We all are.

—Bloody Tan, to Waxillium Ladrian[1]

"Bloody Tan" is a criminal living in the Roughs on Scadrial who was pursued by Waxillium Ladrian.[1]

Appearance and Personality[edit]

Bloody Tan is a slender man with thinning, greased-back black hair and long, thin fingers.[1] His face looks drawn and nearly skeletal.[2] A mortician by trade, he usually wears fine suits.[1]

Tan seems to be unhinged; Wax considers him to be a psychopath. He believes that people are all puppets being controlled by some outside force, which causes him to place no value on human lives, regarding each one as simply a "performance".[1] Despite his violent tendencies, he is not belligerent; he is soft-spoken and his voice has a morose quality.[3]

Attributes and Abilities[edit]

Tan is a proficient criminal. He is able to steal a valuable shipment of bendalloy from a gang led by Donal. He is also able to kill at least eight victims within a two month span and stay well-hidden, despite being pursued by lawmen and rival outlaws. He is an effective killer and prefers to murder people up close using a garrote or other means; he only uses a gun as a last resort, and even then he likes to shoot at close range in order to see the fear in his victim's eyes. He is able to shoot and capture Lessie when she invades his lair.[1]

Presumably due to his background as a mortician, he is able to mummify corpses if he has adequate time and resources; he is able to partially mummify people in a short period of time.[1]

Although Tan stole bendalloy, he did it for the money, as he is not an Allomancer.[4]

This page or section deals with theories or speculation.
Please read carefully and note that this is not necessarily canonical.

Tan displays some behaviors and abilities that are not fully explained. He is not an Allomancer, yet he seemingly moves Lessie into the path of a bullet fired by Wax with superhuman reflexes.[1][5] Although Harmony was responsible for some of the events that led up to Lessie's "death",[6][7] Tan was not under the direct control of either Harmony[8][9] or Kelsier.[10] However, he was affected by an unrevealed outside influence.[11] He claims to have seen Death, the Survivor, and God;[1] although it is unclear whether those claims are actually true, he genuinely believes them.[9]

Additionally, several of the bodies in Tan's hideout are stuck to the walls; the word "spiked" is used to describe the method of attachment,[1] invoking the language typically used to describe Hemalurgy.


In 341 PC, several people including Geormin and Annarel disappeared in the Roughs, attracting the attention of local law enforcement including Wax and Lessie. Tan was not particularly stealthy, as Wax had a lot of information about him and his methods, but he chose a hiding spot in the ghost town of Feltrel that proved very difficult to find. Tan killed at least eight people altogether while operating from his base in Feltrel; he committed at least one robbery to help fund his activities.[1]

Wax, Lessie, Wayne, and Barl eventually decided to search for Tan in Feltrel once they realized that the population had suddenly dwindled from a few people to almost none. An outlaw named Donal who had a vendetta against Bloody Tan came to the same conclusion, and both groups closed in on him at the same time.[1]

Tan's Hideout and Lessie's Death[edit]

While searching for Tan, Wax and Lessie had a brief conflict with Donal's men, and then split up. Wax discovered the entrance to Bloody Tan's hideout, an old cold cellar behind a store that connected to a long tunnel formerly used for smuggling. The tunnel served as a "gallery" of Tan's mummified victims, with each body lit by a lantern and placed in various poses using spikes and wires, some of them evoking the people's professions in life.[1]

I figure ... we're all just puppets ... you see... Someone else moves us. Someone else moves us, lawman.

—Bloody Tan, to Wax[1]

Wax was sickened by the display but continued through the tunnels until he reached a hole in the ceiling that led into a decrepit chapel of the Church of the Survivor, with benches and statues strewn about. Tan began speaking to Wax from behind some rubble in the back of the church. Wax quickly found Tan and realized that he had been able to shoot Lessie and then overpower her due to her blood loss; she was bound and gagged and had a garrote to her neck.[1]

Tan explained to Wax that people are all puppets, and that he had set up the morbid display of corpses as a performance of "true art" that could never be replicated. He emphasized the fact that "someone else" controlled people. Wax took aim with his Sterrion and fired, but Tan somehow pulled Lessie directly into the path of the bullet. After Lessie fell, Wax shot Tan in the forehead.[1][2]


Bloody Tan was the last criminal that Wax hunted in the Roughs before coming to Elendel.[5] When Paalm began terrorizing the city, she used Tan's face and words to unnerve Wax, who was still suffering psychological distress from Tan's display and Lessie's death.[2][5] Wax feared that Tan had somehow survived, but Harmony informed him of Paalm's true nature.[12] Although Paalm had been concerned that impersonating Tan would give Wax a clue to her identity,[13] she did it anyway knowing that it would provoke him into pursuing her.[14]


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