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Atium

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Atium
Atium.svg
Atium (Feruchemy).svg
Allomancy
Power See the near-future of others
Misting Seer
Feruchemy
Power Store age
Hemalurgy
Power Steal any power
Metal type God Metal (Ruin)
World Scadrial
Universe Cosmere
Featured in Mistborn (series)

Atium is a God Metal. An Allomancer burning atium is able to see into the future by a few seconds. Feruchemists can use atium to store age, and when used as a Hemalurgic spike, atium steals any property or power. The metal is a reflective, silvery color, so much so that beads of atium almost appear to be drops of liquid.[1]

Atium is notable as it is the condensed power of the Shard Ruin. As a result, an Allomancer burning atium does not draw on Preservation's power; instead, the Investiture of the metal provides the power.[2] It was sequestered away at the Pits of Hathsin by Preservation when the latter gave up his mind to trap Ruin; to regain the power contained in the atium, Ruin would have needed to manifest in some way.[3]

Presumably, the name "atium" is inherited from Ati, the name of the original holder of the Shard Ruin, just as the name "lerasium" is inherited from Leras, the original holder of the Shard Preservation. Atium cannot be combined with lerasium to make ettmetal, nor can ettmetal be broken down into atium and lerasium. While it would not be possible to get atium and lerasium from ettmetal through distillation or other mundane methods, it may be possible through some other method.[4]

Allomantic Use[edit]

Vin burning atium

An atium Misting is known as a Seer. Burning atium allows the user to see a few seconds into the future, by producing atium shadows of everything in sight. These shadows perform future actions. Burning atium expands the user's mind to be able to accept and process all of the information, even allowing the Allomancer to dodge incoming attacks from behind. Harmony speculates that atium makes the Allomancer burning it a more efficient killer because it draws upon Ruin's power.[5]

Atium shadows, while hard to beat, are not impossible. The most common way to fight effectively against a Seer is by using another atium Allomancer, as when two Allomancers burn atium at the same time, the shadows they see will split into a multitude of possibilities, as a positive feedback loop is created by each person trying to predict a future the other has just changed. This effect will also occur when fighting against an electrum Allomancer, due to the nature of that metal's ability. It would also be possible to best a Seer by Compounding steel. While a steel Compounder would not be able to move faster than an atium Allomancer can predict, they could potentially move faster than the Seer is able to process the information they are gaining through their abilities.[6] It is possible to defeat an atium Allomancer by using their reactions to the future against them, but is only known to have happened once.[7]

Burning duralumin with atium will allow Allomancers to see farther into the future, by allowing them to peer into the Spiritual Realm.[8][9][10] The same effect can occur if a Hemalurgist has enough spikes enhancing their atium.[10] Aluminum objects do not generate atium shadows.[11] Atium does not enable a person to anticipate emotional Allomancy.[12]

Savantism[edit]

An Allomantic atium savant can sense atium shadows even if they are blind.[13]

Feruchemical Use[edit]

Atium, when used by a Feruchemist, stores age. When storing age, the Feruchemist spends time older. When tapping age, the Feruchemist then spends time younger.

Compounding[edit]

An atium Compounder would be able to use atium to have a nearly infinite supply of youth, allowing for practical immortality.[14][15]

Hemalurgic Use[edit]

When used as a Hemalurgic spike, atium is like a wild card.[16] Depending on where it is placed, it can steal any power (i.e., the ability to use an Invested Art, such as Allomancy or sand mastery)[17] and it does so better than other spikes.[16] Atium must be refined to be used in Hemalurgy.[18]

Alloys[edit]

Atium may also be alloyed with any of the other Allomatic metals. However the only currently known atium alloy is malatium, an atium-gold alloy. These alloys grant various expanded mental and temporal effects when burned.[19]

Around the Cosmere[edit]

Atium (and its alloys) can be made into weapons, which can be very useful for doing things like resisting Shardblades.[20]

History[edit]

An atium geode

As atium is a God Metal, it does not form naturally. The metal only came to exist when Preservation stole a chunk of Ruin's power and created the Pits of Hathsin, where atium grows in crystals, to deny Ruin access to part of his power.[5] Preservation also altered the mechanics of Allomancy to allow for atium Mistings,[16][21] ultimately resulting in an army that would be able to temporarily burn away Ruin's power.[8]

During the Final Empire, atium was classified as one of the two high metals along with gold and was thought to be only usable by Mistborn. Though atium Mistings—known as Seers—did exist, due to the scarcity of atium and the Lord Ruler's obfuscation, their existence was simply unknown to anyone other than a few select members of the Steel Ministry.[22] The Ministry worked diligently to find atium Mistings among the nobility, including by occasionally spiking drinks at balls and causing a disturbance to see if anyone's body reacted by instinctively burning the trace amounts of metal and by slipping any non-Allomancers who join the Ministry a bit of atium and then forcing them through a series of physically-draining rituals that will induce their body to burn the metal, if it can.[23] Those found to be Seers were told of their power and often rose through the ranks of the Ministry quickly and given important positions where their power could be used for wondrous feats that would help keep people in line and enhance the Ministry's mystique and perceived power.[24]

Shortly after the fall of the Final Empire, as the Well of Ascension grew close to refilling, the mists began their efforts to Snap people into Allomancers, though the trauma of this process was initially perceived as a form of attack or sickness. Sixteen percent of those exposed to the mists became Allomancers; most either died or recovered quickly, but one one-sixteenth of those who became Allomancers remained sick for a full sixteen days and became known as mistfallen,[25] a consequence of the fact that they had become Seers rather than some other form of Misting. These Mistings ultimately proved crucial in Ruin's defeat, burning away the kandra atium cache before Ruin's forces gained access to the Trustwarren where it had been kept.[8]

After the Catacendre, atium Mistings no longer existed in the same way that they did before.[26]

Atium Mining[edit]

During the time of the Final Empire, atium could only be mined at the Pits of Hathsin, run by the nobles of House Venture. Several days before the fall of the Final Empire, because of Kelsier's second visit to the Pits, the atium mine is destroyed.

Trivia[edit]

  • Atium was modeled after platinum, and would be considered a platinum group metal.[27]
  • Brandon has stated that, since writing Mistborn Era 1, he has wished he made atium usable by all Allomancers as it "feels off" that a God Metal is only usable by Mistborn (and Seers). If a Mistborn film is ever made, he would likely want to make this change in the movie.[28] On other occasions, he has also indicated interest in some day exploring why atium is limited in this way[29][30][31] and that the atium present in Era 1 is an atium-electrum alloy.[32]

Notes[edit]

  1. The Final Empire chapter 13#
  2. The Hero of Ages Annotations
    Arcanum - 2010-04-01#
  3. Phoenix Comicon 2013
    Arcanum - 2013-05-24#
  4. Skyward Houston signing
    Arcanum - 2018-11-19#
  5. a b The Hero of Ages chapter 78 epigraph#
  6. Bands of Mourning release party
    Arcanum - 2016-01-25#
  7. The Well of Ascension chapter 47#
  8. a b c The Hero of Ages chapter 81#
  9. Mistborn: Secret History part 6 chapter 9#
  10. a b /r/books AMA 2015
    Arcanum - 2015-08-01#
  11. Words of Radiance San Francisco signing
    Arcanum - 2014-03-06#
  12. /r/books AMA 2015
    Arcanum - 2015-03-16#
  13. /r/fantasy AMA 2013
    Arcanum - 2013-04-15#
  14. The Final Empire epilogue#
  15. Hero of Ages Q&A - Time Waster's Guide
    Arcanum - 2008-10-15#
  16. a b c Barnes and Noble Book Club Q&A
    Arcanum - 2009-07-08#
  17. JordanCon 2021
    Arcanum - 2021-07-16#
  18. Hemalurgy Table
  19. Tor.com Q&A with Brandon Sanderson
    Arcanum - 2011-01-10#
  20. General Reddit 2020
    Arcanum - 2020-06-23#
  21. Waygate Foundation Write-a-thon
    Arcanum - 2014-01-17#
  22. The Hero of Ages Annotations
    Arcanum - 2010-04-15#
  23. Hero of Ages Q&A - Time Waster's Guide
    Arcanum - 2008-10-15#
  24. The Hero of Ages Annotations
    Arcanum - 2010-04-15#
  25. The Hero of Ages chapter 36#
  26. Steelheart San Francisco signing
    Arcanum - 2013-10-11#
  27. General Reddit 2017
    Arcanum - 2017-01-02#
  28. General Reddit 2020
    Arcanum - 2020-06-22#
  29. #SandersonChat Twitter Q&A with Audible.com
    Arcanum - 2016-02-04#
  30. Shadows of Self Chicago signing
    Arcanum - 2015-10-12#
  31. Prague Signing
    Arcanum - 2019-10-26#
  32. YouTube Spoiler Stream 3
    Arcanum - 2021-12-16#
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