Marsh

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Marsh
Marsh by eyeronis.png
Family
Parents Mother
Siblings Kelsier
Born c. 980 FE[1][2]
Abilities Seeker[3], Hemalurgist
Aliases Ironeyes[4], Death[5]
Groups Kelsier's crew
Species Steel Inquisitor
Residence Luthadel
Ethnicity Skaa
World Scadrial
Universe Cosmere
Featured In Mistborn
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Death is not a religion. It is a fact.

—Marsh[6]

Marsh is a half-skaa Seeker from the Final Empire on Scadrial, and an Inquisitor that carries out the will of Harmony. He is seen as the personification of death throughout Elendel Basin.

Appearance and Personality[edit]

Before becoming an Inquisitor, Marsh is stern and determined, earning him the name "Ironeyes" as a result of his piercing gaze.[4] Marsh looks very similar to his brother Kelsier, even after becoming an Inquisitor. He is over six feet tall.[7] Steel Ministry tattoos and spikes through his eyes are a prominent feature of his face after being made an Inquisitor, scars are said to intermingle with his faded tattoos.[6] One of his eye sockets is deformed from being crushed by Sazed, and has scars and bony ridges under the skin.[7]

At least during his dying state in 348 PC, he is said to look thin and skeletal, with ghostly skin and an ill complexion. He ages and grows younger by decades with every breath, fluctuating between the two. His older form has deep wrinkles and sagging jowls.[6] He wears voluminous black robes.[6][expand]

He appears to retain his old accent from before the Catecendre, with Wayne noting that his accent is very old.[6] During his mortality, he did not think fondly of most members of House Entrone.[6]

Over time, after being spiked, he began to become less in touch with his emotions, and acted strangely.[8] While being controlled by Ruin, he is filled with malice and sadism, able to kill and torture with glee. He sees Ruin as his master, and wants to free him from his prison. During his few moments of lucidity, he repeatedly attempted to kill himself so that Ruin could no longer control him. Despite his attempts, he could never do so.[9]

After the Catacendre, Marsh is happier and in a better state mentally than he was previously. Although he won't admit it, there's a part of him—a part that's similar to Kelsier—that enjoys being seen as a god of death.[10]

He has no desire to keep living for his own sake, but continues to do so as penance for his role in the destruction of the world, in order to try and do good, in order to make up for it. He understands that he did not willingly contribute to all the deaths at his hands, due to Ruin's control, but he still feels a need to make up for it by doing more good for the world.[6] He enjoys hearing his name, as it reminds him of what he used to be.[6]

He believes that the three surviving members of the original crew are necessary to the stability of the others, balancing one another, like the feet of a tripod. He fears what would happen if one of the legs were to be lost.[6]

He appears to feel a kinship with other spiked individuals, referring to Wax as his brother.[11]

Attributes and Abilities[edit]

Marsh was a Seeker, a Misting who could burn bronze. This allowed him to hear Allomantic pulses and find Allomancers. He was highly skilled and taught Vin how to use bronze effectively.

Upon becoming an Inquisitor, he gained further abilities in Allomancy and Feruchemy through the use of Hemalurgic spikes. He initially had eleven spikes.[12] Some of the spikes granted Marsh the abilities of Allomantic steel,[13] iron,[14] pewter,[15] tin,[16] brass,[17] zinc,[7], copper, bronze and atium,[18] as well as granting him the abilities of Feruchemical gold.[19] His spike for Allomantic bronze, coupled with his natural ability as a Seeker, lets him pierce standard copperclouds.[20] After Ruin took control of the Inquisitors he gained ten more spikes, giving him twenty-one in total.[12][21] His new powers included Allomantic duralumin,[22][6] and Feruchemical pewter,[17] steel,[16] and atium.[23][6]

This amount of spikes takes a great toll on his body.[24]

His multiple atium abilities allow him to extend his life as Rashek had.[25] In addition to this, he kept the bag of atium that KanPaar attempted to sell, meaning that he has enough to stay alive for a very long time.[26][27][28] As of 348 PC, he was running low on atium and growing weak, standing at the cusp of death. His mind was also dull in this state.[6] At some point, he began an unknown treatment in order to improve his state.[11]

Occasionally, Harmony Invests him with His power, so he could help guide souls off into the Beyond. It is unknown if he was ever Invested enough to become a Sliver.[11]

Marsh has some way to walk around without being noticed by people, he claims it is through emotional Allomancy, but Wax believes there is something else going on.[11]

History[edit]

Pre Catacendre[edit]

Like his brother, Kelsier, Marsh hated injustice. As a result, he led the skaa rebellion for many years. However, the two brothers did not get along. While Marsh was busy trying to overthrow the Lord Ruler, Kelsier led a band of thieves - and was wildly successful at it.[3] Though she would come to marry Kelsier, Marsh had also loved Mare, which only further increased the division between the brothers.[29] When Mare and Kelsier failed during a heist of Kredik Shaw, they were sent to the Pits of Hathsin, ultimately costing Mare her life.[30] It was the final nail in the coffin for Marsh. He gave up the rebellion, unable to deal with the deaths of those he cared about, considering the whole endeavor dangerous and futile.[29]

Marsh with Kelsier

When Kelsier Snapped, becoming Mistborn, and escaped the Pits, he returned to his old thieving crew with plans to help the current Rebellion, under the leadership of Yeden.[31] His new plot to overthrow the Lord Ruler only served to get under Marsh's skin yet again, and he doubted the veracity of Kelsier's intentions, thinking it was still all just a game to him. But despite it all, the brothers still loved one another and Marsh eventually agreed to help infiltrate the Steel Ministry, hoping his abilities as a Seeker would smooth his way in. Marsh continued to feel like he had been a failure compared to his brother and was determined to finally make a difference.[32]

Placing himself within a batch of new Ministry recruits flowing into Luthadel, he was accepted into their ranks. He quickly began to reveal important Ministry secrets to the rebellion using secret messages and drop sites. One such secret was the soothing stations, positioned by the Lord Ruler across Luthadel to inspire depression and docility in the skaa population.[33]

However, not everything went as planned. Marsh set up a meeting at a site he was supposed to inspect for suitability as a soothing station. However, when the crew arrived, they discovered only a headless corpse, butchered by Inquisitors, and assumed Marsh dead.[34] They found a chair leg with a hidden message inside from Marsh, indicating that his questions about the Inquisitors had potentially exposed him, as they had been watching him, following him, and asking about him.

It was later revealed that he had been watched by the Canton of Inquisition, as Seekers were particularly desired, and they had 'recruited' him, turning him into an Inquisitor using Hemalurgy. This caused his innate Seeker abilities to be heightened even further, an ability which was of great use to the Inquisitors. It's quite likely that this allowed Marsh to pierce copperclouds, similar to Vin's earring. Despite it all, he continued to aid the rebellion behind the scenes, and when Vin confronted the Lord Ruler following Kelsier's death, he quietly removed the linchpin spikes from all of the other Inquisitors in Luthadel, most of which had gone to recuperate and refill their goldminds. Without the support of his Inquisitors, Vin was able to focus and finally succeed in killing the Lord Ruler.[35]

Following the downfall of the Final Empire and the beginning of Elend's rule in Luthadel, Marsh would lead Sazed to the Conventical of Seran, though he exhibited strange behavior, unlike the Marsh of old.[8] Doing so allowed Sazed to discover Kwaan's inscription, but Marsh prevented him from translating it on the spot and instead forced him to make a rubbing, fleeing the Conventical, after which he promptly disappeared.[36] Left to his own devices, Sazed was motivated to bring his discovery back to Luthadel for research.[37] However, it is likely that Marsh was already under Ruin's influence, forcing Sazed to make a copy of the metal inscription so that Ruin could alter its message without anyone realizing it had been changed.

Following the Siege of Luthadel, when Sazed finally realized there was a problem, Ruin again brought Marsh, who was more and more aware that his actions were not his own, to distract Sazed and prevent him from warning Vin about giving up the power at the Well of Ascension. It's implied that Ruin had been causing Marsh to commit atrocities across the Final Empire.[13]

Marsh fully under Ruin’s control

After Ruin was freed from the Well, it took total control of Marsh. During this time he had no physical control over his body. In the horrifying prison of his mind, he held out hope that he could remove a crucial spike and end his life when Ruin's attention was diverted.[38] However, he was never able to accomplish much more than twitching a finger before Ruin asserted total control and brought him back in line. As Ruin was undoubtedly aware of Marsh's continuing resistance, though it could not read his thoughts, Marsh was implanted with many additional Hermalurgic spikes, further increasing Ruin's hold over him. As a result, of all the Inquisitors, he had the most Allomantic and Feruchemical abilities.[39]

For most of his existence under Ruin, he was unable to aid Vin and Elend in any way, allowing his mind to drift into the insanity of Ruin, where destruction turned to bliss, giving his last vestige of rebellion the relief it needed to stay alive in the dark corners of his mind.[15][16] This last burst of Marsh's incredible willpower finally emerged during Vin's battle against the Inquisitors at Kredik Shaw. With the support of Kelsier, directing Preservation's power to distract Ruin and bolstering Marsh's ability to resist, he ripped out Vin's earring.[40][39] This allowed the mists, and the full power of Preservation, to flow into her, saving her life, allowing her to destroy all of the remaining Inquisitors, and Ascending to become the Vessel of Preservation. Only Marsh survived the onslaught by a stroke of luck: as the empowered Vin was about to remove his second head spike, she Ascended beyond her physical form.[41]

Ruin reasserted his control, eventually sending Marsh to the Battle of Hathsin, where he would behead an exhausted Elend in Ruin's rage - who had burned through all of his metals, including the secret atium stash within the Trustwarren. However, this act took the only thing Vin had to live for, so she then sacrificed her life in order to destroy Ruin's Vessel and prompt the Catacendre.[18]

Post-Catacendre[edit]

Marsh and his nickname, "Ironeyes", survived the events of the Catacendre. He has become a mythical figure in Elendel's popular culture, being the personification of Death.[7] He is also the focus of Sliverism.[42] Though likely given far more freedom under the direction of Harmony, he continues to serve as one of his agents.

At some point he began to run low on his stores of Atium, and age began to catch on on him.[6]

He delivered a book to Wax through Marasi that contained information about Hemalurgy, using emotional Allomancy to make her curious enough to follow him.[7]

He had been investigating the Southern Continent of Scadrial.[43]

In 348 PC, he, desperate to find atium to extend his life, began looking through Bilming to try and find stores due to the Set's attempts to recreate the metal. This desperation was not due to a desire to live, but rather penance for his role in the destruction of the world, and desire to keep living to help the world in an attempt to make up for it.[6]

At some point after Wayne's death and Autonomy's retreat, he began an unknown treatment which began to improve his health.[11] Two years after the Shard's retreat, Marsh met with Wax, Steris, and Marasi in the Field of Rebirth, in order to give Wax a letter from Harmony, since Wax forbid mental communication.[11]

At some point, he had a meeting with Khriss, where he explained Hemalurgy, Compounding, and Inquisitors.[24] News of Marsh's nature started spreading to other worlds. Khriss believed it might be spreading via supernatural means, though also suggested it could be mere rumourmongering.[24]

Relationships[edit]

Kelsier[edit]

Kelsier is Marsh's younger brother. Their relationship was difficult because growing up, both knew any mistake could lead to both of them being revealed as half-skaa and killed. Another source of tension was Marsh's love for Mare, who came to marry Kelsier.

Marsh is also uncomfortable with Kelsier's eagerness to kill the nobility and those who serve them and his flippant attitude about this. Marsh considers Kelsier frivolous and self-important, but is still loyal to his brother.[32][3]

Marsh is aware that Kelsier became a Cognitive Shadow after death.[6] He believes that Kelsier's legacy is helping the common people.[44]

Vin[edit]

Marsh originally pointed out Vin to Kelsier and suggested that she was a Mistborn,[45] leading to Kelsier recruiting her for the crew. Marsh noticed her instinctive use of Allomancy.[3]

Marsh later taught Vin about bronze Allomancy.[3]

Mare[edit]

Marsh loved Mare, who came to marry Kelsier. His feelings for her remained, and he was deeply hurt by her death.[3]

Harmony[edit]

He acts as an agent of Harmony, following his orders and greatly respecting him.[6][11]

Trivia[edit]

  • Marsh is capable of worldhopping.[46]
  • Marsh is a dog person, but neutral towards cats.[47]
  • Marsh was originally going to be the team's Smoker, with Clubs being the team's Seeker. They were swapped before Brandon starting writing The Final Empire.[48][49]

Notes[edit]

  1. Tel Aviv Signing
    Arcanum - 2019-10-18#
  2. The Well of Ascension chapter 5#
  3. a b c d e f The Final Empire chapter 20#
  4. a b The Final Empire chapter 10#
  5. The Lost Metal chapter 27#
  6. a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p The Lost Metal chapter 28#
  7. a b c d e The Alloy of Law epilogue#
  8. a b The Well of Ascension chapter 7#
  9. The Hero of Ages prologue#
  10. Salt Lake City ComicCon 2017
    Arcanum - 2017-09-21#
  11. a b c d e f g The Lost Metal epilogue 7#
  12. a b The Final Empire epilogue#
  13. a b The Well of Ascension chapter 57#
  14. The Well of Ascension chapter 58#
  15. a b The Hero of Ages chapter 34#
  16. a b c The Hero of Ages chapter 42#
  17. a b The Hero of Ages chapter 65#
  18. a b The Hero of Ages chapter 81#
  19. The Hero of Ages chapter 69#
  20. The Hero of Ages chapter 37 epigraph#
  21. The Hero of Ages chapter 13#
  22. The Hero of Ages chapter 72 epigraph#
  23. /r/Fantasy_Bookclub Alloy of Law Q&A
    Arcanum - 2012-01-17#
  24. a b c The Lost Metal Ars Arcanum#
  25. The Hero of Ages Annotations
    Arcanum - 2010-06-22#
  26. Hero of Ages Q&A - Time Waster's Guide
    Arcanum - 2008-10-15#
  27. Ancient 17S Q&A
    Arcanum - 2010-05-01#
  28. Barnes and Noble Book Club Q&A
    Arcanum - 2009-07-08#
  29. a b Mistborn: The Final Empire Annotations
    Arcanum - 2006-10-09#
  30. The Final Empire chapter 17#
  31. The Final Empire chapter 4#
  32. a b The Final Empire chapter 7#
  33. The Final Empire chapter 27#
  34. The Final Empire chapter 32#
  35. The Final Empire chapter 38#
  36. The Well of Ascension chapter 12#
  37. The Well of Ascension chapter 15#
  38. The Hero of Ages chapter 6#
  39. a b The Hero of Ages chapter 72#
  40. Mistborn: Secret History part 6 chapter 7#
  41. The Hero of Ages chapter 73#
  42. The Alloy of Law chapter 4#
  43. Idaho Falls signing 2014
    Arcanum - 2014-11-29#
  44. Calamity Austin signing
    Arcanum - 2016-02-25#
  45. The Final Empire chapter 2#
  46. Salt Lake City ComicCon 2017
    Arcanum - 2017-09-23#
  47. Phoenix Comic-Con 2016
    Arcanum - 2016-06-02#
  48. The Well of Ascension Annotations
    Arcanum - 2008-06-07#
  49. TWG Posts
    Arcanum - 2007-10-08#
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