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Type Desert
Region Final Empire
World Scadrial
Universe Cosmere
Featured In Mistborn Era 1

The burnlands were an area of barren desert that covered the majority of Scadrial during the time of the Final Empire, with the notable exceptions of the magnetic north pole and part of the southern continent.[1]


Ascension of the Lord Ruler[edit]

When Rashek took the power at the Well of Ascension, he attempted to move Scadrial closer to its star to burn away the Deepness.[2] The planet became too hot, so he attempted to move it back. Unfortunately, he overcompensated, and the planet was now too cold for life;[2] Rashek did not know how to return it to its proper orbit.[3] He again moved Scadrial closer to the sun, giving up on fixing the orbit and instead devising other measures to protect humanity from the heat, such as the ashmounts.[4] Because the new orbit was still dangerously hot and the ash was magnetically attracted to the north pole,[1] the middle of Scadrial was left vulnerable and scorched clean of life.[4][5] Almost everything not at the poles was destroyed, with a few exceptions.[5][6] The planet's calendar changed, and cosmere scholars were later forced to show two different orbits for Scadrial on their star charts.[7][8]

Final Empire[edit]

During the time of the Final Empire, the burnlands completely encircled the empire.[9] The borders of the burnlands were somewhat habitable, growing less and less habitable at larger distances from the Final Empire, eventually resulting in temperatures so hot that survival was impossible.[10] The burnlands separated the people of the southern continent and the Final Empire, as it would take a small miracle to survive a crossing.[10]

Wasted Men[edit]

Some groups of skaa fled to the burnlands[11] because they were far from the reach of the Lord Ruler and the Final Empire, and were therefore mostly autonomous.[10] The border areas of the burnlands were sometimes referred to as the "wastes",[12] and human residents of the burnlands were known as "wasted men".[13] Bandit kings and robber-barons lived in semi-nomadic kingdoms and clans, striking inward at parts of the empire in order to steal food and supplies.[13] In order to survive, the inhabitants of the burnlands developed some technologies not found throughout the rest of the Final Empire.[9] They were capable of doing so because the Lord Ruler could not suppress new technology growth to the extent that he did in the Final Empire.[9][14] Despite having to deal with uncontrolled koloss who could survive surprisingly well in the burnlands,[9] the bandits were actually the cause of a few successful uprisings.[11] During Clubs's time as a soldier, he fought in skirmishes with rebels in the burnlands,[11] sometimes alongside koloss.[15] One successful bandit named Vershad pulled many scams on the Final Empire, but drew the attention of the Lord Ruler, resulting in his capture by an Inquisitor and a squad of koloss; Vershad was turned into the koloss known as Human.[13]


After the death of the Lord Ruler, the Synod sent Sazed to the Eastern Dominance to teach the people who were living near the burnlands.[16]

When Vin took up the power of Preservation, she was able to see why the Lord Ruler failed to fix the planet's orbit, but she quickly realized that she could not do any better than he did.[2] However, during the Final Ascension, Harmony was able to return Scadrial to its correct orbit and restore life to the burnlands. This was possible due to his study of the planet's many religions, including the astronomically-inclined Nelazan.[17]


  • Brandon has stated that the border of the burnlands would be a good setting for a game,[9] and they are mentioned in the Mistborn Adventure Game.
  • Characters in the post-Catacendre era on Scadrial refer to deserts beyond the Roughs,[18][19] but little is known about these deserts or any relationship they may have to the burnlands.


This page is complete!
This page contains all the knowledge we have on the subject at this time.
Big Smooth (talk) 16:42, 3 April 2019 (MST)