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by Kyle Pearson
|Slivers||Leras, Rashek, Kelsier, Vin|
|Status||Whole, conjoined with Ruin|
|Perpendicularity||Well of Ascension|
|Featured In||Mistborn Era 1|
”The infinity of a note held perfectly, never wavering. The majesty of a painting, frozen and still, capturing a slice of life from a time gone by. It was the power of many, many moments compressed somehow into one.
Preservation is a Shard of Adonalsium, one of the two located on Scadrial. Its original Vessel was Leras, but has since been held by Kelsier and Vin before Sazed took it and mixed it with Ruin, becoming Harmony. In the Terris religions Preservation is known as Terr, or "to preserve"; in Southern Scadrial, it's known as Frue and believed to be feminine. Preservation’s Investiture is typically associated with the color white.
”If he had his way you'd all be frozen in time, unable to act lest you harm one another.
Preservation seeks to provide stability and preserve the world and its inhabitants in their current state. It values the status quo, regardless of whether or not the people living underneath it are happy, and supports those who seek to keep it. It has distinct difficulty acting in a destructive way; it causes the Vessel almost physical pain to wound or kill, even if doing so would likely preserve more than the act itself would destroy.
Preservation fuels Allomancy, one of the three Metallic Arts of Scadrial. Unlike most forms of magic in the cosmere, the power is inherited rather than gained; an Allomancer can be a Misting, able to use only one allomantic ability, or a Mistborn, capable of utilizing all of them. Power is gained by consuming and then "burning" a metal, but the metal itself is not the source of the power. Rather, it acts as a key, unlocking access to Preservation's power, which can be used differently depending on which metal has been burned.
There are sixteen "base" metals that can be used in Allomancy, divided into four categories: physical metals, which alter a person or their surroundings, mental metals, which interact with emotions and supernatural senses, temporal metals, which change the perception and passage of time, and enhancement metals, which change the behavior of other allomantic abilities. Additionally, there exists a number of metals that are derived directly from Shards, among them atium, lerasium and trellium. Though most are not of Preservation, they and their alloys can also be burned by some Allomancers.
Feruchemy is a Metallic Art created from both Preservation and Ruin. Much like Allomancy, it is inheritable, and a person can be either a Ferring, with access to only one power, or a Feruchemist, capable of using all of them. A Ferring or Feruchemist stores an aspect of themselves, such as their strength or speed, in a piece of metal dubbed a metalmind, with the metal used determining the atribute stored. When storing, this aspect is diminished in them -- for example, storing strength makes one physically weaker. Later, the same person can withdraw the power from a metalmind, or tap the metalmind, to increase that attribute in themselves.
Feruchemy utilizes the same base sixteen metals as Allomancy, albeit the effects produced are slightly different. The metals in Feruchemy are divided into physical metals, which store physical attributes of a person, cognitive metals, which store attributes of the mind, spiritual metals, which store attributes of the soul, and hybrid metals, which store attributes related to bodily processes, like health or energy. Shardic metals can also be used to store other attributes.
Lerasium is the God Metal of Preservation, or the metallic form of its body. Preservation's Vessel can create them deliberately; it's unknown whether it'll form on its own. Unlike most metals, Lerasium can be burned by any person who ingests it. Doing so transforms a person into a Mistborn of power exceeding that of a natural-born Allomancer; if a Mistborn burned it, it would enhance their pre-existing powers. It can also be alloyed with any of the base sixteen metals to make someone a Misting of the alloyed metal.
The mist of Scadrial is the gaseous form of Preservation's Investiture. Unlike Stormlight and similarly to Breath, the mist can be programmed to automatically perform specific tasks, albeit the only one capable of doing so is Preservation itself. Under Leras' command, the mists would go out at night and seek out potential Allomancers, then Snap them to awaken their power; this process continued even after Preservation has been killed, up until Sazed took on the power. Under Sazed, the Mists only come out at specific nights, and turned from a continent-wide pattern into localized phenomena. They are no longer used for Snapping, but some believe that Harmony can use them to observe the world.
The mists can be used by Preservation to manifest as a so-called mist spirit. The spirit has limited power to influence the world around it, curtailed further by Preservation's natural disinclination towards acting in general; however, under right circumstances it is able to interact with physical objects. Both Preservation and later Harmony can also use the mists to fuel the Allomancy of people they chose to empower, circumventing the need for metals.
”They say that You come to all people when they die.
Having directly created Scadrial along with Ruin, Preservation has vast amount of control over the planet. A person holding the Shard's power can rearrange continents, recreate extinct forms of life, and even move the planet within the solar system, permanently changing its orbit. Additionally, Preservation is Invested in every Scadrian, and can alter the way their bodies function. Direct killing is, however, directly against its Intent and thus extremely difficult bordering on impossible.
Preservation is able to hear the voice of any living Scadrian, but cannot speak to them; full two-way communication is only possible through the use of both it and Ruin. It can manifest a body in Scadrial's Cognitive Realm, which both Leras and Sazed use to speak with the recently-deceased before they pass on through to the Beyond.
The deal with Ruin
”I was able to trick Ruin before, lock him away, by fooling him with our agreement.
Following the death of Adonalsium, Leras and Ati picked up the Shards Preservation and Ruin. They departed Yolen together, before eventually finding their way to a star system empty of inhabitable planets. The two Shards found themselves at a stalemate; both knew they could only create something together, yet with one wishing to preserve, and the other to destroy, they could not easily cooperate. Eventually, Preservation offered a deal -- the two would create a world together, and Ruin would eventually be able to destroy it. Preservation Invested more of his power into humans, thus guaranteeing for Ruin that he would one day be able to overcome and destroy it. Thus, Scadrial was formed.
However, Preservation exploited a loophole in the pact and trapped Ruin's mind in Preservation's own perpendicularity, the Well of Ascension, and a portion of its power -- in the metal atium. This made the two powers all but equal, but at the cost of Preservation's mind. Leras was, for all intents and purposes, dead; it was only a matter of time before his consciousness would dissipate, leaving the Shard free to be taken or fall apart.
However, before his mind began to truly die, Preservation made a series of preparations to orchestrate Ruin's downfall. Over time, Ruin changed many of them, but the core of the plan did remain. The mists of Scadrial were part of this plan, designed to awaken Allomancy. Though they maintained this role, Ruin twisted the mists into the dangerous Deepness.
As the power in the Well of Ascension continued to build, it had to be taken up and used roughly once per millennium. However, to give the power up altogether would release Ruin; as such, Ati twisted the prophecies to suggest that that was what had to be done.
In one such cycle, Alendi travelled to the Well of Ascension, with the intent of releasing the power. Preservation attempted to stop him, and its mist spirit murdered one of Alendi's travelling companions. Afterward, Rashek took up the power in the Well to prevent the release of Ruin, and used it to reshape the world of Scadrial in an attempt to get rid of the mists. This was only partially successful, as he ended up moving the planet too close to the sun, and had to make further changes to compensate.
Eventually, Rashek used the power of the Well to make himself a Mistborn in addition to being a Feruchemist. He also empowered a cadre of allies and friends who would become the foundation of the nobility, leading to the creation of The Final Empire.
The release of Ruin
A thousand years later, after Kelsier was killed by Rashek -- now known as the Lord Ruler -- he found himself in the Cognitive Realm and face to face with an apparition of Leras. After promptly punching it in the face, Kelsier tricked Preservation into revealing how to become a Cognitive Shadow, and was subsequently trapped in the Well of Ascension as it began to fill once more.
Both Preservation and Ruin picked Vin as one of its unwitting agents many centuries prior, though Ruin attempted to stifle Preservation's influence by piercing child Vin with a Hemalurgic spike at birth. The first sign of Vin's connection to Preservation was when she attempted to fight the Lord Ruler and drew on the mist to fuel her Allomancy. A year later, she began to hear the beat of the Well as it called for someone to once more take up the power. At the time, Preservation's mist spirit began to appear to her on multiple occasions as Leras was looking for a way to stop her from releasing the power.
Ultimately, Vin and Elend found themselves at the Well of Ascension, where, unseen to them, Kelsier's spirit had just learned of the danger in releasing the power. In a last bid to stop Vin from freeing Ruin, Kelsier grabbed Leras by the arm and forced him to slash Elend, dealing him a deadly stomach wound. However, this was for naught, as Vin elected to release the power anyway out of a sense of duty. To prevent Elend's death, Leras led Vin to the last remaining bead of lerasium, making him a Mistborn.
The death of Leras
”Odd. After all these years appearing for others as they died, I never expected . . . that my own passing would be so cold and lonely. . . .
Following Ruin's release, Kelsier was once more able to move freely about Scadrial's Cognitive Realm. Resigned, Preservation led him to Khriss and Nazh, a pair of worldhoppers with knowledge of the greater cosmere mechanics. Though Khriss insisted that they could not help, Nazh pointed Kelsier towards the Ire, an Elantrian organization aiming to take the power of Preservation for themselves. In their fortress, Kelsier managed to acquire the Ire's orb, a sphere filled with a substance that could grant Connection to Preservation.
At the same time, Leras was rapidly dying. As the mist spirit, he appeared one last time to Elend as the latter was almost ready to give up when escorting a large group of captured koloss back to Fadrex City. By this time, Preservation was too weak to perform any significant actions and could only vaguely communicate with Elend, attempting to convince him not to besiege Fadrex. Shortly after Elend departed, Leras died, and his body fell back into the Physical Realm.
”Do you know why I always won at card tricks, Ruin? It's because I could always. Force. People to choose. The card I wanted them to.
Aware of Leras' death, Kelsier broke the orb and used its power to ascend to Preservation himself before the power could be Splintered by Ruin. However, the power did not obey him fully, as he was not one of the people intended to use it. Kelsier resigned himself to affecting the world around him in minor ways, and eventually formed a plan to get the power to Vin, who was held back by the Hemalurgic spike in her ear. He finally managed to contact Spook, who sent a message informing Vin about the spike.
The message was not, however, meant for Vin -- rather, it was meant for Marsh, who was hunting Vin. When Marsh saw the letter, Kelsier put the whole of his power against Ruin to distract Ati. This allowed Marsh the freedom to understand what the letter meant and rip the earring out of Vin. Kelsier then gave Preservation over to her.
”You created the thing that can kill you, Ruin.
Initially, Vin was using Preservation's power with little skill, much like Rashek had, and at every turn, her actions were countered by Ruin. At the same time, Elend realized that the people being snapped by the out-of-control mists were in one-sixteenth atium Mistings, who Leras planned on to burn atium, denying Ruin its own power.
At the Battle of Hathsin, as Marsh and Elend fought, Vin fuelled Elend's Allomancy to allow him to keep up. During the fight, he burned atium with duralumin, which allowed him to perceive all of Preservation's plan. Now aware of what had to be done, Elend let Marsh kill him. Vin, now with her last reason to live gone, likewise realized why she held the power. As someone new to it, she was able to use it in destructive ways, as it has not yet warped her mind to its intent. She rammed into Ruin with the whole of her power, killing them both.
”I am, unfortunately, the Hero of Ages .
As Sazed observed the battle drawing to a close, he ran out to find Vin, unaware that she was no longer alive. He eventually managed to find her and Ati's corpses. Distraught, he called out to Preservation, raging that despite Ruin's death, the world was still ending. It was then that the two bodies began leaking the powers of Preservation and Ruin. Though initially doubtful that he could hold them, Sazed eventually realized that he was, in fact, the prophesied Hero of Ages, bound to take up both powers and restore the world. Thus, he grabbed both powers and used them to restore Scadrial, merging the two Shards together into Harmony.
”When something grows, or dies, the Jaggenmire make that happen. There is Herr, and his sister Frue, who is also his wife. And she makes things stop, and he makes things go.
Preservation is worshipped as a god by many Scadrian cultures. The Terris have perhaps honored it the longest; they were worshipping it before The Lord Ruler as Terr, and have kept it up even centuries after the Final Ascension, when the Preservation was already merged into Harmony. In the Southern Scadrial, Preservation is worshipped as part of a pair of gods with Ruin; the two are known together as a single entity, the Jaggenmire, with Preservation's part of it being called Frue. Frue is considered to be female, and the Jaggenmire are believed to be both siblings and spouses.
The kandra have some knowledge of Preservation -- or, as they call it, the power of Ascension -- and its bearers. For an unknown reason, they're only aware of its last four Scadrian holders: Rashek, Kelsier, Vin and Sazed. They might be unaware of Leras, or see him as something different.
Preservation is the author of the Terris Prophecies, a set of legends that foretold the coming of the Hero of Ages. Leras created them as part of his plan to ultimately defeat Ruin, and although Ati twisted the prophecies over time to serve his ends instead, they were successful in this regard and have led to the creation of Harmony. On a smaller scale, Leras, with aid of Kelsier, was responsible for stabbing Elend at the Well of Ascension, leading to him becoming a Mistborn, and the mist spirit snapped Allomancers for many centuries.
- The Southern name for Preservation, Frue, is the Danish word meaning "lady" or "Mrs", and is close to German Frau ("Miss"), matching the name for Ruin, Herr (German for "Mister").
- In Magic:The Gathering colors, Preservation would be white.
- Steelheart Chicago signing
— Arcanum - 2013-10-05#
- Mistborn: Secret History part 2 chapter 1#
- /r/fantasy AMA 2013
— Arcanum - 2013-04-23#
- The Hero of Ages chapter 75#
- The Bands of Mourning chapter 22#
- Steelheart Chicago signing
— Arcanum - 2013-10-01#
- Mistborn: Secret History part 4 chapter 4#
- Mistborn: Secret History part 1 chapter 1#
- Mistborn: Secret History part 2 chapter 4#
- Ancient 17S Q&A
— Arcanum - 2010-05-01#
- The Final Empire chapter 4#
- Hero of Ages Q&A - Time Waster's Guide
— Arcanum - 2008-10-15#
- Table of Allomantic Metals
- The Hero of Ages chapter 74#
- Hero of Ages Q&A - Time Waster's Guide
— Arcanum - 2008-10-15#
- The Bands of Mourning chapter 3#
- The Alloy of Law Ars Arcanum#
- Table of Feruchemical Metals
- Words of Radiance Seattle signing
— Arcanum - 2014-03-08#
- 17th Shard Interview
— Arcanum - 2010-10-03#
- The Hero of Ages chapter 81 epigraph#
- Hero of Ages Q&A - Time Waster's Guide
— Arcanum - 2008-10-15#
- Tor Twitter Chat
— Arcanum - 2011-11-14#
- The Bands of Mourning chapter 14#
- The Hero of Ages chapter 73#
- The Bands of Mourning chapter 28#
- The Hero of Ages chapter 82#
- The Hero of Ages Annotations
— Arcanum - 2010-03-30#
- The Hero of Ages chapter 10#
- Mistborn: Secret History part 3 chapter 1#
- Arcanum Unbounded - The Scadrian System#
- The Hero of Ages chapter 53 epigraph#
- The Hero of Ages chapter 54 epigraph#
- The Hero of Ages chapter 46 epigraph#
- The Hero of Ages chapter 55 epigraph#
- Mistborn: Secret History part 1 chapter 2#
- The Hero of Ages chapter 63#
- Mistborn: Secret History part 2 chapter 3#
- The Hero of Ages chapter 4 epigraph#
- The Hero of Ages chapter 62 epigraph#
- The Final Empire chapter 38#
- The Well of Ascension chapter 47#
- Mistborn: Secret History part 6 chapter 4#
- Mistborn: Secret History part 3 chapter 2#
- Mistborn: Secret History part 5 chapter 2#
- The Hero of Ages chapter 55#
- The Hero of Ages chapter 56 epigraph#
- Mistborn: Secret History part 6 chapter 7#
- Mistborn: Secret History part 6 chapter 3#
- Mistborn: Secret History part 6 chapter 6#
- The Hero of Ages chapter 81#
- The Hero of Ages chapter 76#
- The Hero of Ages chapter 1#
- The Hero of Ages chapter 64#
- The Bands of Mourning prologue#
- General Reddit 2015
— Arcanum - 2015-12-23#
- The Hero of Ages Annotations
— Arcanum - 2010-06-01#
- The Hero of Ages chapter 72 epigraph#
- Skyward Pre-Release AMA
— Arcanum - 2018-10-05#
|Mistborn Era 1|
The Final Empire · The Well of Ascension · The Hero of Ages
|Characters||Vin · Kelsier · Sazed · Elend Venture · Marsh · Spook · Breeze · Ham · Clubs · Dockson · Straff Venture · Zane · Ashweather Cett · Tindwyl · Allrianne Cett · TenSoon · Yomen · Quellion · The Lord Ruler · Alendi · Kwaan|
|Places||Final Empire · The Dominances · Luthadel · Kredik Shaw · Pits of Hathsin · Kandra Homeland · Urteau · Fadrex City · Tathingdwen|
|Ethnicities and Species||Skaa · Nobles · Terrismen · Inquisitors · Koloss · Kandra · Mistwraiths · Southern Scadrians|
|Organizations||Skaa rebellion · Steel Ministry · Keepers (the Synod) · Worldbringers|
|Mythology||The Deepness · Terris Prophecies · Well of Ascension|
|Era 1 books||Mistborn: The Final Empire · The Well of Ascension · The Hero of Ages |
(The Eleventh Metal · Mistborn: Secret History)
|Era 2 books||The Alloy of Law · Shadows of Self · The Bands of Mourning · The Lost Metal |
(Allomancer Jak and the Pits of Eltania)
|Shards||Preservation · Ruin · Harmony|
|History||Classical Scadrial · Final Empire · Catacendre · Elendel · Southern Scadrian|
|Magic||Metallic Arts (Allomancy, Feruchemy, Hemalurgy) · Metalborn · Mistborn · Misting · Savant · Ferring · Twinborn · Compounding · Atium · Lerasium · Ettmetal|
|Other Media||Mistborn Adventure Game · Mistborn: Birthright · Mistborn film · Mistborn: House War|
|Shards||Ambition · Autonomy · Cultivation · Devotion · Dominion · Endowment · Harmony · Honor · Invention · Mercy · Odium · Preservation · Ruin · Valor · Whimsy · Survival Shard|
|Planets||Ashyn · Braize · First of the Sun · Nalthis · Obrodai · Roshar · Scadrial · Sel · Taldain · Threnody · Vax · Yolen|
|Terms||Adonalsium · Sliver · Splinter · Realmatic Theory · Investiture · Connection · Identity · Fortune · Intention · Initiation · Perpendicularity · Worldhopper · Spiritweb · Resonance · Axon|
|Other||Hoid · Khriss · Seventeenth Shard · Ire · Shattering · Letters · Silverlight|