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Vessel Sazed
Slivers Ati
Splinters None[1]
Status Whole, conjoined with Preservation
Perpendicularity Ruin's Perpendicularity, Pits of Hathsin
Magics Hemalurgy, Feruchemy
Residence Scadrial
Universe Cosmere
Featured In Mistborn Era 1

This force was time infinite. It was the winds that weathered, the storms that broke, the timeless waves running slowly, slowly, slowly, to a stop as the sun and the planet cooled to nothing.

It was the ultimate end and destiny of all things. And it was angry.

—Kelsier on Ruin.[2]

Ruin is a Shard of Adonalsium. Its original Vessel was Ati, but is currently held by Sazed. Ruin's power has "intermingled" with Preservation's to form the shard Harmony.[3] Ruin is known as Frue to the Southern Scadrians.[4] Ruin’s Investiture is typically associated with the color black.[5]


Ruin seeks change, that everything shall age and pass; an embodiment of entropy and decay.[6] It is not inherently evil,[7] because without change there is no life, but its destructive actions are often contrary to life existing peacefully.[8] Since the Final Ascension, this intent has been tempered by Preservation, which also makes it difficult for anyone holding Harmony to take action.[9]

Associated magic[edit]

Ruin fuels Hemalurgy, one of the three Metallic Arts on Scadrial. Hemalurgy is a unique magic in that unlike most it is not limited to Scadrial and can be used by anyone anywhere. Hemalurgy is a method of removing a portion of a person's spirit web and grafting it onto someone else. While Hemalurgy's potential is largely unexplored and remains a great mystery, it is mainly used to grant access to various Investiture systems for the recipient. Individuals who are pierced by Hemalurgic spikes can hear Ruin's voice in their head. In addition to this, Ruin can also subtly manipulate the emotions of spiked individuals, and slightly alter their perception of certain things without them being aware of it. The more spikes piercing a person, the more holes in their spirit web, which in turn allows for easier control by the Vessel of Ruin as well as susceptibility to emotional Allomancy. For example, humans with one spike are only subtly affected by Ruin, whereas Koloss, which are human with four spikes, are under direct and absolute control of Ruin. Three spikes or less do not enable Ruin or emotional Allomancy to completely control a human.[10]

Physical Manifestations of Power[edit]


A black mist is a manifestation of Ruin's power. How this affects Hemalurgy is unknown if at all. This mist was present at the Well of Ascension upon Vin's discovery of the well. A similar manifestation appears after Ati's death before Sazed takes up both shards. After the Final Ascension, black mists are sent forth by Harmony, as well as the usual mists, which are of Preservation.


Pools of metallic liquid are said to exist below the Pits of Hathsin and this is the liquid form of Ruin's power. Before the days of the Final Empire, these pools were a black lake with a metallic sheen, located high in the Terris mountains, close to the Well of Ascension.[11][12]


The solid form of Ruin's power, a metal known as atium, allows the user to see a few seconds into the future when Allomantically burned. Atium can also be used to store youth with Feruchemy, that youth can be compounded to create a semblance of agelessness. Atium when used as a Hemalurgic spike is able to steal any attribute, whether it be Allomantic, Feruchemic, or human.


The deal and betrayal[edit]

Ruin and Preservation, the two Shards on Scadrial, struck a deal to create life on the planet. Neither Shard could create by themselves but working together they created life. Preservation gave an extra piece of his power to create sentient life. In doing so, he left himself weaker than Ruin, which formed the basis of their agreement that Ruin would be allowed to destroy the world some day.

Preservation broke the terms of the agreement by sacrificing his mind to create a prison for Ruin's mind, preventing him from destroying the world. Furthermore, in an attempt to balance the power (since some of Preservation was now stored in humanity), he sequestered away a portion of Ruin's power by condensing it into the metal atium.

Touch on the world[edit]

Ruin's entrapped mind could still influence the world. In particular, he changed the prophecies left behind by Preservation in an attempt to get the Hero of Ages to release him from his prison. This led to Rashek becoming the Lord Ruler. Ruin also encouraged the mists, left behind by Preservation, to choke off sunlight to the planet. This is what became known as the Deepness from Pre-Ascension times.

As a result of his manipulation of the Terris prophecies, Vin unwittingly released Ruin from his prison 1024 years later, believing that the power of the Well of Ascension had to be released in order to right the changes Rashek had made to the world. Once he was freed, Ruin immediately went on a rampage to destroy Scadrial; central to this plan was his need to overcome Preservation, which meant that he needed to find the stash of atium left behind by the Lord Ruler.

The death of Ati[edit]

Ruin's rampage was ended when he had Marsh kill Elend. Vin, now the Vessel of Preservation, threw the full force of Preservation at Ruin, telling him that Elend was the last thing she had to live for. Due the opposite nature of these Shards, the conflict killed both her and Ati.

The end of Ruin was Preservation's plan all along. Leras had held Preservation for so long that he was bound by its intent, and could not kill or destroy anything, not even Ruin. He arranged to have the Shard pass on to a new Vessel, who would not be so strongly bound by the Shard's intent and thus would have more freedom to use its power.

Sazed picked up both Ruin and Preservation following Vin's sacrifice, and is the current Vessel of both Shards. Ruin's power mixed with Preservation's, forming the Shard Harmony.[3]


Kill him.

—Ruin to Zane[13]

I am FREE!

—Upon Ruin's release.[14]

"Ah, Vin," Ruin said, its voice almost fatherly in tone. "You act as if I were your enemy."

"You are my enemy. You seek to end the things I love."
"And is an ending always bad?" it asked. "Must not all things, even worlds, someday end?"

—Ruin to Vin.[15]

Do not mourn because the day of this world's end has arrived. That end was ordained the very day of the world's conception. There is a beauty in death--the beauty of finality, the beauty of completion.

For nothing is truly complete until the day it is finally destroyed.

—Ruin to Vin.[15]

There was one good thing about Ruin's voice--it tended to warn her when people were nearby, even if it did always tell her to kill them.

—Vin's thoughts about Ruin.[16]

You still don't understand, I see. You're all on my side, Vin. I created you. You're my tools--each and every one of you. Zane, Yomen, you, your dear Emperor Venture...

—Ruin taunting Vin.[16]

This process we are engaged in, the end of all things—-it's not a fight, but a simple culmination of inevitability. Can any man make a pocket watch that won't eventually wind down? Can you imagine a lantern that won't eventually burn out? All things end. Think of me as a caretaker—-the one who watches the shop and makes certain that the lights are turned out, that everything is cleaned up, once closing time arrives.

—Ruin taunting Vin.[16]

You are a piece of me, you know. Beautiful destroyer. Blunt and effective. Of all those I've claimed over this brief thousand years, you are the only one I think just might be able to understand me.

—Ruin to Vin.[16]

The only point in creating something is to watch it die.

—Ruin to Vin.[16]

Those quakes are the earth's final sighs," Ruin said. "Like an old man, moaning as he dies, calling for his children so that he can pass on his last bits of wisdom.

—Ruin to Vin[17]

That's the way it must always be, as I told you. When men think they are helping the world, they actually do more harm than good. Just like you. You tried to help, but you just ended up freeing me.

—Ruin to Vin[17]

You can't fool me, Vin, I am God.

—Ruin to Vin[18]

For Ruin, there is Preservation. Time immemorial! Eternity! And each time I push, YOU push back. Even when dead, you stopped me, for we are forces. I can do nothing! And you can do nothing! Balance! The curse of our existence.

—Ruin to Vin after her ascension.[19]

Balance, Ruin spat. Balance imprisoned me. Preservation's sacrifice--that was to siphon off the part of me that was stronger, to lock it away, to leave me equal with him again. For a time.

Only for a time. And what is time to us, Vin?

—Ruin to Vin as she tries to get a message to Elend.[20]

Opposition. Balance. You'll learn to hate it, I suspect, though Preservation never could.

—Ruin to Vin as she first attacks Ruin directly and withdraws.[21]

I can't decide if you're a fool, or if you simply exist in a way that makes you incapable of considering some things.

—Vin to Ruin as Elend fights the koloss.[21]

How do you like that! I killed him! I Ruined everything you love! I took it from you!

—Ruin to Vin as he kills Elend[21]

He gave up his power at the Well, and into the mists, giving it to us so that we could take it. He always intended this to happen. You think this was your plan? It was his. His all along.

You created the thing that can kill you, Ruin. And you just made one huge final mistake. You shouldn't have killed Elend.
You see, he was the only reason I had left to live.

—Vin's last words.[21]

You realize the forces I can bring to bear against you, child? You realize the power I have, the destruction I represent? I am mountains that crush. I am waves that crash. I am storms that shatter. I am the end.

—Ruin to Vin.[22]


  1. Steelheart Chicago signing
    Arcanum - 2013-10-05#
  2. Mistborn: Secret History part 2 chapter 1 #
  3. a b /r/fantasy AMA 2013
    Arcanum - 2013-04-23#
  4. The Bands of Mourning chapter 22 #
  5. Steelheart Chicago signing
    Arcanum - 2013-10-01#
  6. /r/Stormlight_Archive
    Arcanum - 2013-03-14#
  7. Pat's Fantasy Hotlist Interview
    Arcanum - 2010-09-13#
  8. The Hero of Ages Annotations
    Arcanum - 2010-01-07#
  9. Shadows of Self chapter 7 #
  10. The Bands of Mourning chapter 27 #
  11. The Final Empire chapter 33 #
  12. Hero of Ages Q&A - Time Waster's Guide
    Arcanum - 2008-10-15#
  13. The Well of Ascension chapter 18 #
  14. The Well of Ascension chapter 58 #
  15. a b The Hero of Ages chapter 45 #
  16. a b c d e The Hero of Ages chapter 57 #
  17. a b The Hero of Ages chapter 63 #
  18. The Hero of Ages chapter 65 #
  19. The Hero of Ages chapter 76 #
  20. The Hero of Ages chapter 77 #
  21. a b c d The Hero of Ages chapter 81 #
  22. The Hero of Ages chapter 72 #
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