Mistborn: Secret History

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Mistborn: Secret History
Secret History Cover Art.jpg
Mistborn Era 1
Setting Scadrial, Cosmere
Released January 26, 2016
Word Count 44,981
Your questions are dangerous.
This page contains extensive spoilers for the entirety of Misborn Era 1, as well as a part of The Bands of Mourning and the cosmere at large.

Mistborn: Secret History is a novella telling the story of Kelsier from the time of his death at the hands of the Lord Ruler until Scadrial is re-made by Harmony. It was originally published as an e-book only, then later in print in Arcanum Unbounded. This story is often recommended to be read after The Bands of Mourning, but can be read anytime after The Hero of Ages. It must be read before The Lost Metal.


Following his death at the hands of the Lord Ruler, Kelsier meets Preservation before he "passes on" to the Beyond. Kelsier refuses, and he remains on Scadrial as a cognitive aspect. Despite refusing to pass on, as Preservation wishes, Kelsier befriends Preservation, giving him the nickname of Fuzz (a crewmember name).

Desperate to prevent himself passing on, Kelsier tricks Preservation into revealing that the Well of Ascension is nearby, and is capable of anchoring him as a Cognitive Shadow. Kelsier finds, but becomes trapped in, the Well of Ascension. During his time there, he unknowingly discovers Ruin trapped beneath the Well. Though trapped, he is able to glimpse snapshots of the Physical Realm by riding the Well's pulses. Through these, he learns of Marsh's survival as a Steel Inquisitor and that Elend has become the new ruler of the Final Empire. Since Preservation is unable to help him in his investigations, Kelsier sets out to discover Ruin's motives for himself. When he uncovers Ruin's plans to destroy the world, Kelsier does everything he can to stop him and finds that the only way that he can prevent Ruin's escape is to ensure that Vin takes the power at the Well. He also discovers that Preservation is dying as a result of Ruin's efforts.

During this time, Hoid arrives at the Well through the Cognitive Realm. Kelsier does not recognise Hoid from their prior meeting without his disguise, but is instantly distrustful towards Hoid. Although he engages him in a fistfight, Kelsier is unable to prevent Hoid from transitioning to the Physical Realm and helplessly watches Hoid consume a bead of Lerasium and exit the Well's chamber.

Vin and Elend's arrival at the Well gives Kelsier hope that he will be able to get through to her, but as a cognitive aspect with no connection to the Physical Realm, he can't, so Kelsier takes Leras's knife and stabs Elend as the mist spirit to motivate Vin to use the power to save Elend. Despite this, Vin releases the power and thus releases Ruin and Kelsier from the Well. When he asks Preservation to help him stop Ruin, Preservation tells him to head across the ocean for help. Although he doesn't know this at the time, Kelsier has been sent to the southern side of Scadrial, where the people have advanced without much interference from either Shard.

During his journey, Kelsier meets Khriss from Taldain, and Nazh from Threnody. The pair enlighten Kelsier a little bit on how the events on Scadrial affect the cosmere but remain quite vague as to why they are there, or about events in the cosmere that are unrelated to the current conflict. Before parting, Nazh gives Kelsier his knife and wishes him well in his quest to save his planet. Along the way, Kelsier discovers many odd things about not being "alive" anymore. He finds that his Allomancy is useless and that he can create fire out of a log long since burned out simply by willing it to ignite.

Ruin visits Kelsier and tries to persuade the Survivor to give up on his quest. Kelsier doesn't give in and journeys on, leaving the Scadrial subastral, to find the Ire. He infiltrates their fortress and discovers that they are waiting for Preservation's death; hoping to steal the Shard afterwards using a device they have invented which renders the holder capable of Connecting to a Shard in order to become its Vessel. Kelsier follows them on their expedition back to Scadrial, and uses his abilities as a Cognitive Shadow to trick the group into believing they have caught Ruin's attention. When the Ire are scared enough to abandon the effort and flee in terror back to their fortress, Kelsier is able to steal the device.

Kelsier returns to Luthadel to find it in chaos. Upon arrival, however, he is told to go to Fadrex by Preservation. Here, Kelsier finds Vin, but he is unable to get close enough to tell her anything about Ruin's plan, as Ruin is using his power to keep Kelsier away. While trying to get to Vin, Kelsier learns a little about Hemalurgy and how the spikes give Ruin power over those with spikes.

Soon after, Kelsier finds out that Leras (Preservation) is about to die, so he smashes the device and takes up the power of Preservation. Before he dies, Leras gives Kelsier one final instruction, as he gave him so long ago in the Pits of Hathsin: survive. Kelsier then tries to fight Ruin, but is unsuccessful, as his status as Cognitive Shadow is not enough to overcome the Intent of the shard to preserve. Instead, he tries to find a place where Ruin's influence is weaker. He finds it in Urteau, where Spook is spiked and is being induced to murder by Ruin. Kelsier intervenes, and Spook is freed from Ruin's influence. He appears to Spook in a dream, affirming his pride of the young man, and instructs him to warn Vin not to trust anyone pierced by metal.

Goradel, a messenger with Kelsier's warning about spikes, travels from Urteau to Fadrex, while Kelsier watches, but Ruin sends for Marsh, who kills Goradel and reads the message aloud to Ruin. Kelsier appears to give up hope until he realizes that Ruin is incomplete without atium, and therefore hasn't won yet.

Kelsier follows Ruin to Vin, where she is being tortured by Marsh to get the location of the atium. Ruin thinks he has won, until Marsh rips out Vin's earring, allowing her to be free of Ruin, and take the power of Preservation from Kelsier. The message had been intended by Kelsier to be intercepted by Marsh; Kelsier bet on his brother being able to break free for a critical moment. The transfer of power almost kills him, but Kelsier again refuses to die, and watches as Vin sacrifices herself to stop Ruin. Upon Vin's and Elend's deaths, the pair meet Kelsier in the Cognitive Realm, where they all watch as Sazed takes up the powers of both shards to form Harmony. After a brief conversation with Kelsier, Vin and Elend pass on. Kelsier asks the newly formed Harmony if there is any way for him to return to the Physical Realm. Harmony tells him there is not, but Kelsier concludes that his old friend is a terrible liar.

Following the reorganization of the world, Kelsier recruits Spook, who, by virtue of Sazed's new power, is now able to see him, to help him regain a Connection to the Physical Realm by playing with Hemalurgy.


Note: the Postscript is found in Arcanum Unbounded, a collection of Cosmere stories.

This story was planned while writing the original trilogy and was worked on here and there for years. Once The Bands of Mourning was written, Brandon realized that readers needed more information on what Kelsier was doing behind the scenes, so he finished it up.

Resurrecting characters is a "dangerous trope" because Brandon wants death to be a real danger for his characters. So he made sure that Kelsier's survival was hinted at and foreshadowed sufficiently.

There may be more installments to the Secret History story, showing more of what Kelsier is up to behind the scenes with Spook and during the Wax and Wayne books.

Cover Gallery[edit]


  • With no connection to the Physical Realm, the Metallic Arts on Scadrial are useless.
  • At least some of the Ire are Worldhoppers from Sel, as they use the exclamation of "Merciful Domi!" and have names associated with Aons (Ire, Elrao, etc.)
  • While at the Well, Kelsier meets Hoid (who he calls Drifter) when he arrives to take a lerasium bead.
  • Kelsier has an appearance in The Bands of Mourning in a memory Wax taps from a coppermind medallion, given to him by Hoid.
  • When referring to "Drifter", Preservation calls him Cephandrius.

Statistical Analysis[edit]

Mistborn: Secret History consists of twenty-five chapters, and one epilogue, reaching a total 44,981 word count. There are two different unique point-of-view characters in a total of 26 POVs.

Word Count 44,981
Chapter Count 26 Including epilogue.
PoV Characters 2
PoV Count 26


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