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Kwaan's inscription

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This article contains the full text of Kwaan's inscription in the Conventical of Seran and a comparison with Sazed's copy, that was corrupted. The inscription was first discovered by Sazed on his visit with Marsh. He transcribed it for later study.[1] Unfortunately Ruin modified it, leading to his unleashing when Vin was at the Well of Ascension.[2] Sazed then returned after Ruin's release, and read the unmodified version.[3]

Full Text[edit]

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The full text of Kwaan's inscription was found by Sazed in the Conventical of Seran. The full, uncorrected inscription is revealed in The Well of Ascension epigraphs. Expand on the right to display the full text of Kwaan's inscription:

I write these words in steel, for anything not set in metal cannot be trusted. I have begun to wonder if I am the only sane man remaining. Can the others not see? They have been waiting so long for their hero to come— the one spoken of in Terris prophecies— that they quickly jump between conclusions, presuming that each story and legend applies to this one man. My brethren ignore the other facts. They cannot connect the other strange things that are happening. They are deaf to my objections and blind to my discoveries. Perhaps they are right. Perhaps I am mad, or jealous, or simply daft. My name is Kwaan. Philosopher, scholar, traitor. I am the one who discovered Alendi, and I am the one who first proclaimed him to be the Hero of Ages. I am the one who started this all. And I am the one who betrayed him, for I now know that he must never be allowed to complete his quest.
I write this record now, pounding it into a metal slab, because I am afraid. Afraid for myself, yes—I admit to being human. If Alendi does return from the Well of Ascension, I am certain that my death will be one of his first objectives. He is not an evil man, but he is a ruthless one. That is, I think, a product of what he has been through.
I am also afraid, however, that all I have known—that my story—will be forgotten. I am afraid for the world that is to come. Afraid that my plans will fail.
Afraid of a doom worse, even, than the Deepness.
It all comes back to poor Alendi. I feel bad for him, and for all the things he has been forced to endure. For what he has been forced to become.
But, let me begin at the beginning. I met Alendi first in Khlennium; he was a young lad then, and had not yet been warped by a decade spent leading armies. Alendi's height struck me the first time I saw him. Here was a man who towered over others, a man who—despite his youth and his humble clothing—demanded respect. Oddly, it was Alendi's simple ingenuousness that first led me to befriend him. I employed him as an assistant during his first months in the grand city. It wasn't until years later that I became convinced that Alendi was the Hero of Ages. Hero of Ages: the one called Rabzeen in Khlennium, the Anamnesor.
Savior.
When I finally had the realization—finally connected all of the signs of the Anticipation to Alendi—I was so excited. Yet, when I announced my discovery to the other Worldbringers, I was met with scorn.
Oh, how I wish that I had listened to them.
And yet, any who know me will realize that there was no chance I would give up so easily. Once I find something to investigate, I become dogged in my pursuit. I had determined that Alendi was the Hero of Ages, and I intended to prove it. I should have bowed before the will of the others; I shouldn't have insisted on traveling with Alendi to witness his journeys.
It was inevitable that Alendi himself would find out what I believed him to be.
Yes, he was the one who fueled the rumors after that. I could never have done what he himself did, convincing and persuading the world that he was indeed the Hero. I don't know if he himself believed it, but he made others think that he must be the one.
If only the Terris religion, and belief in the Anticipation, hadn't spread beyond our people. If only the Deepness hadn't come when it did, providing a threat that drove men to desperation both in action and belief. If only I had passed over Alendi when looking for an assistant, all those years ago.
It wasn't until a few years later that I began to notice the signs. I knew the prophecies—I am a Terris Worldbringer, after all. And yet, not all of us are religious men; some, such as myself, are more interested in other topics. However, during my time with Alendi, I could not help but become more interested in the Anticipation. He seemed to fit the signs so well.
He was born of a humble family, yet married the daughter of a king. He could trade words with the finest of philosophers, and had an impressive memory. Nearly as good, even, as my own. Yet, he was not argumentative. The Terris rejected him, but he came to lead them. He commanded kings, and though he sought no empire, he became greater than all who had come before. He fathered no children, yet all of the land became his progeny. He was forced into war by a misunderstanding—and always claimed he was no warrior—yet he came to fight as well as any man. He was no simple soldier. He was a force of leadership—a man that fate itself seemed to support. He left ruin in his wake, but it was forgotten. He created kingdoms, and then destroyed them as he made the world anew.
There were other proofs to connect Alendi to the Hero of Ages. Smaller things, things that only one trained in the lore of the Anticipation would have noticed. The birthmark on his arm. The way his hair turned gray when he was barely twenty and five years of age. The way he spoke, the way he treated people, the way he ruled.
He simply seemed to fit.
But, I must continue with the sparsest of detail. Space is limited. The other Worldbringers must have thought themselves humble when they came to me, admitting that they had been wrong. Even then, I was beginning to doubt my original declaration.
But, I was prideful. In the end, my pride may have doomed us all.
I had never received much attention from my brethren; they thought that my work and my interests were unsuitable to a Worldbringer. The couldn't see how my work, studying nature instead of religion, benefited the people of the fourteen lands. As the one who found Alendi, however, I became someone important. Foremost among the Worldbringers. There was a place for me, in the lore of the Anticipation—I thought myself the Announcer, the prophet foretold to discover the Hero of Ages. Renouncing Alendi then would have been to renounce my new position, my acceptance, by the others.
And so I did not.
But I do so now. Let it be known that I, Kwaan, Worldbringer of Terris, am a fraud. Alendi was never the Hero of Ages. At best, I have amplified his virtues, creating a Hero where there was none. At worst, I fear that all we believe may have been corrupted.
And so I come to the focus of my argument. I apologize. Even forcing my words into steel, sitting and scratching in this frozen cave, I am prone to ramble.
This is the problem. Though I believed in Alendi at first, I later became suspicious. It seemed that he fit the signs, true. But, well, how can I explain this?
Could it be that he fit them too well?
I know your argument. We speak of the Anticipation, of things foretold, of promises made by our greatest prophets of old. Of course the Hero of Ages will fit the prophecies. He will fit them perfectly. That's the idea.
And yet…something about all this seems so convenient. It feels almost as if we constructed a hero to fit our prophecies, rather than allowing one to arise naturally. This was the worry I had, the thing that should have given me pause when my brethren came to me, finally willing to believe.
After that, I began to see other problems. Some of you may know of my fabled memory. It is true; I need not a Feruchemist's metalmind to memorize a sheet of words in an instant. And I tell you, call me daft, but the words of the prophecies are changing.
The alterations are slight. Clever, even. A word here, a slight twist there. But the words on the pages are different from the ones in my memory. The other Worldbringers scoff at me, for they have their metalminds to prove to them that the books and prophecies have not changed.
And so, this is the great declaration I must make. There is something—some force—that wants us to believe that the Hero of Ages has come, and that he must travel to the Well of Ascension. Something is making the prophecies change so that they refer to Alendi more perfectly.
And whatever this power is, it can change words within a Feruchemist's metalmind.
The others call me mad. As I have said, that may be true. But must not even a madman rely on his own mind, his own experience, rather than that of others? I know what I have memorized. I know what is now repeated by the other Worldbringers. The two are not the same.
I sense a craftiness behind these changes, a manipulation subtle and brilliant. I have spent the last two years in exile, trying to decipher what the alterations could mean. I have come to only one conclusion. Something has taken control of our religion, something nefarious, something that cannot be trusted. It misleads, and it shadows. It uses Alendi to destroy, leading him along a path of death and sorrow. It is pulling him toward the Well of Ascension, where the millennial power has gathered. I can only guess that it sent the Deepness as a method of making mankind more desperate, of pushing us to do as it wills.
The prophecies have changed. They now tell Alendi that he must give up the power once he takes it. This is not what was once implied by the texts—they were more vague. And yet, the new version seems to make it a moral imperative. The texts now outline a terrible consequence if the Hero of Ages takes the power for himself.
Alendi believes as they do. He is a good man—despite it all, he is a good man. A sacrificing man. In truth, all of his actions—all of the deaths, destructions, and pains that he has caused—have hurt him deeply. All of these things were, in truth, a kind of sacrifice for him. He is accustomed to giving up his own will for the common good, as he sees it.
I have no doubt that if Alendi reaches the Well of Ascension, he will take the power and then—in the name of the presumed greater good—will give it up. Give it away to this same force that has changed the texts. Give it up to this force of destruction that has brought him to war, that has tempted him to kill, that has craftily led him to the north.
This thing wants the power held in the Well, and it has raped our religion's holiest tenets in order to get it.
And so, I have made one final gamble. My pleas, my teachings, my objections, and even my treasons were all ineffectual. Alendi has other counselors now, ones who tell him what he wants to hear.
I have a young nephew, one Rashek. He hates all of Khlennium with the passion of envious youth. He hates Alendi even more acutely—though the two have never met—for Rashek feels betrayed that one of our oppressors should have been chosen as the Hero of Ages.
Alendi will need guides through the Terris Mountains. I have charged Rashek with making certain that he and his trusted friends are chosen as those guides. Rashek is to try and lead Alendi in the wrong direction, to dissuade him, discourage him, or otherwise foil his quest. Alendi doesn't know that he has been deceived, that we've all been deceived, and he will not listen to me now.
If Rashek fails to lead the trek astray, then I have instructed the lad to kill Alendi. It is a distant hope. Alendi has survived assassins, wars, and catastrophes. And yet, I hope that in the frozen mountains of Terris, he may finally be exposed. I hope for a miracle.
Alendi must not reach the Well of Ascension, for he must not be allowed to release the thing that is imprisoned there.

—Kwaan's inscription in the Conventical of Saran

Ruin's Corruption[edit]

Ruin altered specific portions of Sazed's copies of Kwaan's inscription in order to misdirect Vin into releasing him from his prison.

Version Text
Original Text "I am afraid, however, that all I have known - that my story - will be forgotten. I am afraid for the world that is to come. Afraid that my plans will fail. Afraid of a doom worse than the Deepness." [4]
Corrupted Text "I am afraid, however, that all I have known - that my story - will be forgotten. I am afraid for the world that is to come. Afraid that Alendi will fail. Afraid of a doom brought by the Deepness." [5]

Here Ruin obscures the revelation that Kwaan is concerned about a threat greater than the Deepness--Ruin himself.

Version Text
Original Text "Alendi's height struck me the first time I saw him. Here was a man who towered over others, a man who - despite his youth and clothing - demanded respect." [6]
Corrupted Text "Alendi's height struck me the first time I saw him. Here was a man who was small of stature, but who seemed to tower over others, a man who demanded respect." [5]

Here Kwaan describes Alendi's physical appearance as it pertains to the prophecies of the Hero of Ages. Ruin's changes allow for the misinterpretation that Kwaan was mistaken and Vin is the prophesied hero.

Version Text
Original Text "When I finally had the realization - finally connected all of the signs of the Anticipation to Alendi - I was so excited." [7]
Corrupted Text "When I finally had the realization - finally connected all of the signs of the Anticipation to him - I was so excited." [5]

Ruin replaces "Alendi" with a gender neutral pronoun (translated here to "him") in order to encourage the idea that the prophesied hero isn't necessarily male.

Version Text
Original Text "There was a place for me, in the lore of the Anticipation—I thought myself the Announcer, the prophet foretold to discover the Hero of Ages." [8]
Corrupted Text "There was a place for me, in the lore of the Anticipation—I thought myself the Holy First Witness, the prophet foretold to discover the Hero of Ages." [9]

Here, Ruin replaces the title Kwaan earned among the Worldbringers with the title that the Church of the Survivor chose for Sazed himself, to encourage Sazed to believe the prophecies, and to think himself and Vin part of them.

Version Text
Original Text "Alendi was never the Hero of Ages. At best, I have amplified his virtues, creating a Hero where there was none. At worst, I fear that all we believe may have been corrupted." [10]
Corrupted Text "Alendi was never the Hero of Ages. At best, I have amplified his virtues, creating a Hero where there was none. At worst, I fear that I have corrupted all we believe." [9]

Here, Ruin erases a reference to Kwaan's realization that the prophecies have been edited, rewording the phrase to suggest that Kwaan blames himself entirely for Alendi's rise to power.

Version Text
Original Text "Rashek is to try and lead Alendi in the wrong direction, to discourage him or otherwise foil his quest. Alendi won't know that he has been deceived, that we've all been deceived, and he won't listen to me." [11]
Corrupted Text "Rashek is to try and lead Alendi in the wrong direction, to discourage him or otherwise foil his quest. Alendi won't know that he has been deceived." [12]

Here Ruin directly removes a portion of the text to hide the realization of some greater deception that is occuring.

Version Text
Original Text "If Rashek fails to lead Alendi astray, then I have instructed the lad to kill Alendi." [13]
Corrupted Text "If Rashek fails to lead Alendi astray, then I have instructed the lad to kill my former friend." [12]

This changes leads Sazed and Tindwyl to be confused about Kwaan's insistence that Alendi cannot be trusted. Sazed assumes that it emphasizes the greatness of the threat posed by the Deepness.

Version Text
Original Text "Alendi must not reach the Well of Ascension, for he must not release the thing that is imprisoned there." [14]
Corrupted Text "Alendi must not reach the Well of Ascension. He must not take the power for himself." [12]

With this change, Ruin both hides Kwaan's limited knowledge of his existence and tricks Sazed and Vin into believing that the power at the Well of Ascension must be released.

Notes[edit]

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