Summary:The Hero of Ages
This page contains a chapter by chapter summary of The Hero of Ages. We hope this summary will make it easier to find specific areas of the book, as well as providing a quick plot refresher for anyone who doesn't want to take the time to reread the entire book.
- 1 Prologue
- 2 Part One: Legacy of the Survivor
- 3 Part Two: Cloth and Glass
- 3.1 Chapter 14
- 3.2 Chapter 15
- 3.3 Chapter 16
- 3.4 Chapter 17
- 3.5 Chapter 18
- 3.6 Chapter 19
- 3.7 Chapter 20
- 3.8 Chapter 21
- 3.9 Chapter 22
- 3.10 Chapter 23
- 3.11 Chapter 24
- 3.12 Chapter 25
- 3.13 Chapter 26
- 3.14 Chapter 27
- 3.15 Chapter 28
- 3.16 Chapter 29
- 3.17 Chapter 30
- 3.18 Chapter 31
- 3.19 Chapter 32
- 3.20 Chapter 33
- 4 Part 3: The Broken Skies
- 5 Part Four: Beautiful Destroyer
- 6 Part Five: Trust
- 6.1 Chapter 59
- 6.2 Chapter 60
- 6.3 Chapter 61
- 6.4 Chapter 62
- 6.5 Chapter 63
- 6.6 Chapter 64
- 6.7 Chapter 65
- 6.8 Chapter 66
- 6.9 Chapter 67
- 6.10 Chapter 68
- 6.11 Chapter 69
- 6.12 Chapter 70
- 6.13 Chapter 71
- 6.14 Chapter 72
- 6.15 Chapter 73
- 6.16 Chapter 74
- 6.17 Chapter 75
- 6.18 Chapter 76
- 6.19 Chapter 77
- 6.20 Chapter 78
- 6.21 Chapter 79
- 6.22 Chapter 80
- 6.23 Chapter 81
- 6.24 Chapter 82
- 7 Epilogue
- 8 Ars Arcanum
- 9 Notes
From the very start the process of Hemalurgy is revealed. Marsh basks in the pleasure of the fear of the Terrisman steward tied to the table. Below him is the Inquisitor they are about to create. For a moment, Marsh is able to regain control of his own mind, seeing the horror in what he is about to do, before Ruin completely subjugates him into continuing the task. He drives a brass spike through the heart of the Terrisman.
Part One: Legacy of the Survivor
I am, unfortunately, the Hero of Ages.
The book opens several months since Vin released Ruin from his prison within the Well. Fatren and his town are one of many that have been devastated by Ruin's malevolent horde of koloss and the killer mists. As they prepare for death having reports of an approaching koloss army they are greeted by a lone rider. This rider proves to be an Allomancer identifying himself as their emperor: Elend Venture.
At first Fatren considers Elend to be lying about who he is. Elend doesn't try to assume control of the town, but instead allows the people to assume that Fatren had called for his aid. Two armies are approaching the town but they will not arrive in time before the koloss so Elend offers to train the men in fighting koloss while he can.
The koloss army comes within sight, setting up camp a little distance from the bulwark of the town. Instead of mounting it for a defensive gambit, however, Elend convinces the town to charge the koloss camp with him while they're tired from marching. At first Elend leads the assault alone, but is shortly joined by Fatren and then the towns-people.
Holding the power did strange things to my mind. In just a few moments, I became familiar with the power itself, with its history, and with the ways it might be used. Yet, this knowledge was different from experience, or even ability to use that power. For instance, I knew how to move a planet in the sky. Yet, I didn't know where to place it so that it wouldn't be too close, or too far, from the sun.
TenSoon moves about his prison cell in the kandra Homeland, awaiting his sentence. His form lacks bones and sensory organs but he can feel the vibrations of his cell being opened, the pain of being lifted out by hooks. By the First Contract he should have a chance to state his defense: the guards give him a skull but begin to dissolve him with acid, twisting the words of the law.
However, TenSoon has enough practice to form the necessary components for speech and asks for judgment. By law, the guards have to grant him his request, though they urge him to accept death than speaking in a public forum and condemning himself to an eternity of suffering. Still, he persists, desiring something more than his own defense.
In some ways, having such power was too overwhelming, I think. This was a power that would take millennia to understand. Remaking the world would have been easy, had one been familiar with the power. Yet, I realized the danger inherent in my ignorance. Like a child suddenly given awesome strength, I could have pushed too hard, and left the world a broken toy I could never repair.
Leading the charge, Elend muses how Allomancy has given him the abilities to be in this position. His assumption about the koloss proves true as they're startled about the initial attack. This gives the assailants enough time to take down several hundred koloss before the blood frenzy kicks in. As the sounds of it alert Elend to its start he calls for the men to form up, simultaneously Soothing away their fear and Pushing on their emotions as he emboldens them. The battle drags on and Fatren loses his confidence, screaming about Elend leading them to die before Elend points at a speck in the sky.
Vin drops into the middle of the koloss, a storm of death and effortless acrobatics. Seeking out a thirteen foot koloss is all she needs to envigorate the fear in the surrounding koloss, killing it with a single boot to the head. Sparing a glance for Elend's force there are now several koloss fighting alongside the humans. Their plan was to instill fear in the koloss army and take control of them by the secret TenSoon had betrayed to her in Well of Ascension.
The combination of Elend and Vin taking control of the koloss one by one pulls a Steel Inquisitor into the battle as she'd intended. Trying Marsh's trick of wrenching out the spike in its back Vin finds a metal plate protecting that particular weakness of the Inquisitor's. Soon, Elend joins Vin's struggle as they move the fight to the top of a hill, away from the koloss. They struggle against the Inquisitor's experience but Vin manages to take control of a nearby koloss to kill the Inquisitor moments before it had a chance to kill Elend.
This is actually what happened to Rashek, I believe. He pushed too hard. He tried to burn away the mists by moving the planet closer to the sun, but he moved it too far, making the world far too hot for the people who inhabited it. The ashmounts were his solution to this. He had learned that shoving a planet around required too much precision, so instead he caused the mountains to erupt, spewing ash and smoke into the air. The thicker atmosphere made the world cooler, and turned the sun red.
Sazed reviews the tenets of the Canzi religion, but rejects them as self-contradictory. As Breeze and Sazed await the signing of a treaty by King Audil Lekal to submit to Elend's rule, Breeze asks Sazed to preach of one of the religions in the Keeper's copperminds, but Sazed declines, stating his faith is shaken by the recent world events. An aide to the king delivers the signed treaty to Sazed and Breeze.
Each time Rashek tried to fix things, he made them worse. He had to change the world's plants to make them able to survive in the new, harsh environment. Yet, that change left the plants less nutritious to mankind. Indeed, the falling ash would make men sick, causing them to cough like those who spent too long mining beneath the earth. And so Rashek changed mankind itself as well, altering them so that they could survive.
Elend has mental control of the koloss army, with the steel inquisitor now deceased. Vin realizes this inquisitor had a non-allomantic speed enhancement, and after investigation, finds and removes a pewter spike from its heart. Elend ponders if there is a third power besides allomancy and feruchemy. Elend and Vin discuss their losing battle against their nebulous foe.
Fatren guides Elend and Vin to the Ministry building in Vetitan, and they locate a hidden storage cache, which Elend claims for the empire. Elend and Vin debate about the emperor's leadership ability and the changes in the ashfalls and weather. They find a metal plate inscribed by the Lord Ruler with information on Malatium, using emotional allomancy to control kandra and koloss, and the location of another undiscovered storage depot in Fadrex City. Vin finds a postscript note on the plate that states that their foe can learn anything they speak or write, and that only thoughts are safe.
Rashek soon found a balance in the changes he made to the world—which was fortunate, for his power burned away quite quickly. Though the power he held seemed immense to him, it was truly only a tiny fraction of something much greater.
Of course, he did end up naming himself the "Sliver of Infinity" in his religion. Perhaps he understood more than I give him credit for.
Either way, we had him to thank for a world without flowers, where plants grew brown rather than green, and where people could survive in an environment where ash fell from the sky on a regular basis.
Marsh regains lucidity as Ruin lessens his control over the inquisitor. He is in a large koloss camp, and is accompanied by several inquisitors, many of whom have new hemalurgic spikes charged by Terris keepers. He ponders that he will never get enough control to kill himself, and that he wishes Ruin would keep control over him permanently to let him see the beauty in the destruction of the world.
I speak of us as "we." The group. Those of us who were trying to discover and defeat Ruin. Perhaps my thoughts are now tainted, but I like to look back and see the sum of what we were doing as a single, united assault, though we were all involved in different processes and plans. We were one. That didn't stop the world from ending, but that's not necessarily a bad thing.
It is too easy for people to characterize Ruin as simply a force of destruction. Think rather of Ruin as intelligent decay. Not simply chaos, but a force that sought in a rational—and dangerous—way to break everything down to its most basic forms. Ruin could plan and carefully plot, knowing if he built one thing up, he could use it to knock down two others. The nature of the world is that when we create something, we often destroy something else in the process.
Vin watches as the mists attack the refugees from Vetitan, causing sickness and killing a nearly predictable number of them. Fatren is disbelieving about exposing his townsfolk to the mists, but Elend counters that it is necessary and that the survivors are now inoculated and will suffer no further.
Vin interrogates her tamed koloss about him and the koloss in general, trying to learn how they reproduce especially since she has never seen any females, but Human isn't very forthcoming.
Elend and Vin lead the refugees to a canal, where a large portion of Elend's soldiers, led by General Demoux, are bivouacked. Elend orders the refugees escorted to Luthadel, and two task forces of soldiers back to Vetitan to retrieve the supplies.
First appearance of Human.
Allomancy was, indeed, born with the mists. Or, at least, Allomancy began at the same time as the mists' first appearances. When Rashek took the power at the Well of Ascension, he became aware of certain things. Some were whispered to him by Ruin; others were granted to him as an instinctive part of the power. One of these was an understanding of the Three Metallic Arts. He knew, for instance, that the nuggets of metal in the Chamber of Ascension would make those who ingested them into Mistborn. These were, after all, fractions of the very power in the Well itself.
KanPaar of the Second Generation asks if TenSoon insists upon being tried, and TenSoon replies in the affirmative. Hundreds of kandra arrive at the Trustwarren to watch the proceedings, including MeLaan, a close friend of TenSoon's. TenSoon believes that he is a proxy for a contest between KanPaar's and TenSoon's entire Generations.
Nuggets of pure Allomancy, the power of Preservation itself. Why Rashek left one of those nuggets at the Well of Ascension, I do not know. Perhaps he didn't see it, or perhaps he intended to save it to bestow upon a fortunate servant. Perhaps he feared that someday, he would lose his powers, and would need that nugget to grant him Allomancy. Either way, I bless Rashek for his oversight, for without that nugget, Elend would have died that day at the Well.
Sazed pontificates on the religion of Larstaism, which revolved around financial donations to create art that increased mankind's understanding of divinity. Sazed and Breeze debate on the existance of a supernatural force and whether said force is the cause of the increased volcanic activity and killer mists. Sazed rejects Larstaism as not viable due to the ongoing massive natural disasters affecting the lands.
They reach the army and Allrianne greets them.
Sazed tells Vin that he feels very depressed due to losing Tindwyl and feeling self-pity, though Vin tries to encourage him and says how much he is needed. Vin leaves him the picture of the flower that had belonged to Mare, who was a follower of the Larsta religion.
The First Contract, oft spoken of by the kandra, was originally just a series of promises made by the First Generation to the Lord Ruler. They wrote these promises down, and in doing so codified the first kandra laws. They were worried about governing themselves, independently of the Lord Ruler and his empire. So, they took what they had written to him, asking for his approval.
He commanded it cast into steel, then personally scratched a signature into the bottom. This code was the first thing that a kandra learned upon awakening from his or her life as a mistwraith. It contained commands to revere earlier generations, simple legal rights granted to each kandra, provisions for creating new kandra, and a demand for ultimate dedication to the Lord Ruler.
Most disturbingly, the First Contract contained a provision which, if invoked, would require the mass suicide of the entire kandra people.
KanPaar interrogates TenSoon on why he killed a fellow kandra, and TenSoon replies that he was compelled by his Contract to obey. The issue of kandra killing kandra leading to their extermination is raised to weaken TenSoon's trustworthiness as a witness, but he counters with an argument that Kelsier, the man who planned to kill their Father was allowed a Contract, a treacherous act in itself. KanPaar then asks why TenSoon broke Contract with Zane, to which TenSoon replies that he upheld a greater Contract, the First Contract with the Lord Ruler, by upholding Vin, who he labels as Mother, since she killed Father and replaced him in the sense of being the prime oppostion to Ruin. TenSoon states that he revealed their secret weakness to emotional allomancy to Vin and that they should pledge service to Vin in the same way they served the Lord Ruler, but KanPaar shouts down his arguments, and informs him that he will receive his punishment in one month's time.
Rashek moved the Well of Ascension, obviously.
It was very clever of him—perhaps the cleverest thing he did. He knew that the power would one day return to the Well, for power such as this—the fundamental power by which the world itself was formed—does not simply run out. It can be used, and therefore diffused, but it will always be renewed. So, knowing that rumors and tales would persist, Rashek changed the very landscape of the world. He put mountains in what became the North, and named that location Terris. Then he flattened his true homeland, and built his capital there.
He constructed his palace around that room at its heart, the room where he would meditate, the room that was a replica of his old hovel in Terris. A refuge created during the last moments before his power ran out.
Elend and Vin discuss how the members of Kelsier's crew are losing hope and what they can do about it.
Elend convenes a council meeting with Vin, Lord Cett, Breeze, Allrianne, Hammond, Demoux, Gneorndin and Sazed. They discuss the encroaching mists and options for growing food, and plans to capture the caches in Urteau and Fadrex City. Elend states that he may expose his army to the mists when marching on Fadrex City, despite the risks. Elend asks the crew "What would Kelsier do?" as a means to motivate them.
Hemalurgy, it is called, because of the connection to blood. It is not a coincidence, I believe, that death is always involved in the transfer of powers via Hemalurgy. Marsh once described it as a "messy" process. Not the adjective I would have chosen. It's not disturbing enough.
Marsh sits unmoving in the koloss camp, deliberating about Kelsier, Mare, his leadership role in the skaa rebellion, and his role in Ruin's plans. He decides that he will cease his futile struggles against Ruin and feign compliance so that he can lull his master into a false sense of security and foil his plans at a critical moment when Ruin is least expecting it.
Part Two: Cloth and Glass
Ruin's consciousness was trapped by the Well of Ascension, kept mostly impotent. That night, when we discovered the Well for the first time, we found something we didn't understand. A black smoke, clogging one of the rooms.
Though we discussed it after the fact, we couldn't decide what that was. How could we possibly have known?
The body of a god—or, rather, the power of a god, since the two are really the same thing. Ruin and Preservation inhabited power and energy in the same way a person inhabits flesh and blood.
Spook flares tin constantly despite the dangers, having done so for over a year, first over guilt at Clubs' death, and then to follow Vin's example and to try to maintain every advantage that he could get. As he skulks through Urteau at night, his enhanced senses allow him to see by the stars as if in daylight, make his skin feel extremely sensitive to pebbles and wind, and hear ambient noises through walls. He wishes to prove himself valuable to the crew and takes the initiative to spy on Quellion's, aka the Citizen's meetings, and to secretly watch Beldre, the Citizen's sister. Spook observes as Quellion and his council discuss Elend's conquests, the ambassador Elend is sending to Urteau to negotiate with them, and various laws to deal with the nobility.
I don't think the people really understood how fortunate they were. During the thousand years before the Collapse, they pushed the ash into rivers, piled it up outside of cities, and generally just let it be. They never understood that without the microbes and plants Rashek had developed to break down the ash particles, the land would quickly have been buried.
Though, of course, that did eventually happen anyway.
Vin wonders why the mists seem different and why she doesn't feel sheltered by them anymore. She watches as the mists retreat for the day and the soldiers leave their tents to prepare to march for the day. Elend and Hammond discuss the pros and cons of not exposing the soldiers to the mists.
Elend tells Vin that Human is causing a disturbance and Vin goes to talk with the koloss. Human says that the mists hate him, and that they hate Vin as well, and she is surprised to agree with that assessment. Vin concludes that the mists are her enemy.
They are called Allomantic savants. Men or women who flare their metals so long, and so hard, that the constant influx of Allomantic power transforms their very physiology.
In most cases, with most metals, the effects of this are very slight. Bronze burners, for instance, often become bronze savants without knowing it. Their range is expanded from burning the metal so long. Becoming a pewter savant is dangerous, as it requires pushing the body so hard in a state where one cannot feel exhaustion or pain. Most accidentally kill themselves before the process is complete, and in my opinion, the benefit isn't worth the effort. Tin savants, however . . . now, they are something special. Endowed with senses beyond what any normal Allomancer would need—or even want—they become slaves to what they touch, hear, see, smell, and taste. Yet, the abnormal power of these senses gives them a distinct, and interesting, advantage.
One could argue that, like an Inquisitor who has been transformed by a Hemalurgic spike, the Allomantic savant is no longer even human.
Spook has to wear a cloth over his eyes to be able to tolerate sunlight, but he needs to go out during the day to gather intelligence. He loiters by a streetslot in a busy market area that was formerly a canal, posing as a blind beggar, and seeing a procession of guards and prisoners that he was awaiting, goes to follow them, along with Durn, an informant, who tells Spook to keep a close watch. The prisoners, all nobles who didn't leave Urteau as ordered, are locked into a building which is then set aflame.
Spook asks Durn why he is there, and Durn replies to count the skulls, then leaves.
Spook follows the Citizen as he leaves to speak with the town residents, and maneuvers his way through the crowd to get to Quellion's and Beldre's side. He manages to communicate with Beldre without being observed, speaking out against Quellion's murders and promising that the Citizen would die. Eventually, however, Spook is noticed and the guards go after Spook. He manages to hold off three soldiers for a time, but they turn out to be allomancers, including a thug and a coinshot, and eventually is stabbed by a sword that also goes through a thug who gets slain by it, and he loses consciousness.
The subtlety displayed in the ash-eating microbes and enhanced plants shows that Rashek got better and better at using the power. It burned out in a matter of minutes—but to a god, minutes can pass like hours. During that time, Rashek began as an ignorant child who shoved a planet too close to the sun, grew into an adult who could create ashmounts to cool the air, then finally became a mature artisan who could develop plants and creatures for specific purposes. It also shows his mind-set during his time with Preservation's power. Under its influence he was obviously in a protective mode. Instead of leveling the ashmounts and trying to push the planet back into place, he was reactive, working furiously to fix problems that he himself had caused.
- Elend Venture
Elend orders his soldiers be exposed to the mists under relatively controlled conditions so that they are immunized for the future, where it wouldn't be so easy in possible combat situations to avoid them. Demoux asks Elend not to speak in the Survivor's name if he isn't a true believer, and says that Kelsier not only snapped to become a mistborn, but was granted power by a divine force.
Elend observes as soldiers begin to get sick, including Demoux.
Rashek didn't solve all the world's problems. In fact, with each thing he did fix, he created new issues. However, he was clever enough that each subsequent problem was smaller than the ones before it. So, instead of plants that died from the distorted sun and ashy ground, we got plants that didn't provide quite enough nutrition. He did save the world. True, the near-destruction was his fault in the first place—but he did an admirable job, all things considered. At least he didn't release Ruin to the world as we did.
Sazed, Breeze, Allrianne, Captain Goradel, and two hundred soldiers travel toward Urteau, and Sazed decides to continue searching for a religion to believe in. They pass some farms and Goradel tells Sazed of his life and family. Goradel leads the soldiers to Luthadel to resupply while Sazed temporarily takes his leave of them.
Sazed arrives at the Pits of Hathsin, where the Terris people have relocated to, and is greeted warmly by his people.
Yes, the ash was black. No, it should not have been. Most common ash has a dark component, but is just as much gray or white as it is black. Ash from the ashmounts . . . it was different. Like the mists themselves, the ash covering our land was not truly a natural thing. Perhaps it was the influence of Ruin's power—as black as Preservation was white. Or, perhaps it was simply the nature of the ashmounts, which were designed and created specifically to blast ash and smoke into the sky.
Spook regains consciousness, and feels numbed due to a lack of tin to burn. He hears a voice that tells him he has lost a lot of blood and that he will soon die from flames, and realizes he is in a burning building. The voice guides him to a room that has a desk containing allomantic vials, and he drinks the contents of one. He sees a figure that talks to him, telling him that the vials didn't belong to a Tineye so they wouldn't have tin, but Spook discovers that he can now burn pewter, thanks to the mysterious figure who resembles Kelsier. Spook is told to escape so that he can exact revenge.
More than one person reported feeling a sentient hatred in the mists. This is not necessarily related to the mists killing people, however. For most—even those it struck down—the mists seemed merely a weather phenomenon, no more sentient or vengeful than a terrible disease. For some few, however, there was more. Those it favored, it swirled around. Those it was hostile to, it pulled away from. Some felt peace within it, others felt hatred. It all came down to Ruin's subtle touch, and how much one responded to his promptings.
TenSoon sits in his prison cell, feeling insulted that anyone would think he would try to escape, as various kandra visit to condemn him or commisserate with him. He looks forward to his solitary confinement. MeLaan approaches him and tells him he can challenge the second generation, and that Ruin is conquering the lands. TenSoon is hesitant to rebel, but MeLaan's pleadings make him reconsider, and he decides to escape if given the opportunity, though he tells the opposite to MeLaan in case of eavesdroppers, and she leaves him feeling angry.
It should be no surprise that Elend became such a powerful Allomancer. It is a well-documented fact—though that documentation wasn't available to most—that Allomancers were much stronger during the early days of the Final Empire. In those days, an Allomancer didn't need duralumin to take control of a kandra or koloss. A simple Push or Pull on the emotions was enough. In fact, this ability was one of the main reasons that the kandra devised their Contracts with the humans—for, at that time, not only Mistborn, but Soothers and Rioters could take control of them at the merest of whims.
Demoux survives his sickness.
Vin reads a passage in Alendi's logbook about the Deepness, and how it is sentient. She puzzles on how to fight Ruin, on her own, since Ruin can't read thoughts, ascertaining the facts before deciding on a strategy. She realizes from when she held the power and touched Ruin that it is a powerful but not omnipotent force that is subject to consequences and laws of nature, and that she has to figure out what can constrain it.
Elend thinks he is becoming ruthless like the Lord Ruler, because of his exposing his soldiers to the mists, but Vin disagrees. Elend and Vin speak of how nobles used to beat their children to try to awaken their allomantic potential, though this has been outlawed by Elend for humane purposes, a decision that Elend now second-guesses.
Noorden presents his reports on mist sickness casualties. Vin questions him on the methodology he uses, and prompts him to recalculate using the number of soldiers that were not previously exposed to the mists as opposed to the total number of soldiers, and Noorden calculates an exact sixteen percent sickness rate. Elend passes this off as a coincidence, but it exactly matches a separate sample ratio from a previous outbreak, and matches a third sample to the nearest whole person. A fourth smaller sample also matches the ratio with no margin of error. Elend thinks there is enough of a pattern to look for further correlation.
The beads of metal found at the Well—beads that made men into Mistborn—were the reason why Allomancers used to be more powerful. Those first Mistborn were as Elend Venture became—possessing a primal power, which was then passed down through the lines of the nobility, weakening a bit with each generation. The Lord Ruler was one of these ancient Allomancers, his power pure and unadulterated by time and breeding. That is part of why he was so mighty compared to other Mistborn—though, admittedly, his ability to mix Feruchemy and Allomancy was what produced many of his most spectacular abilities. Still, it is interesting to me that one of his "divine" powers—his essential Allomantic strength—was something every one of the original nine Allomancers possessed.
Sazed meets with the Terris elders, giving them advice, telling them he cannot stay to be their leader since he isn't worthy, and that he will be leaving the following morning. He inquires about mist deaths, and is informed that none of the Terris people have been stricken with this illness, a fact that he dwells upon.
During the early days of Kelsier's original plan, I remember how much he confused us all with his mysterious "Eleventh Metal." He claimed that there were legends of a mystical metal that would let one slay the Lord Ruler—and that Kelsier himself had located that metal through intense research. Nobody really knew what Kelsier did in the years between his escape from the Pits of Hathsin and his return to Luthadel. When pressed, he simply said that he had been in "the West." Somehow in his wanderings he discovered stories that no Keeper had ever heard. Most of the crew didn't know what to make of the legends he spoke of. This might have been the first seed that made even his oldest friends begin to question his leadership.
Spook explores his past in a fever-dream, reliving the day he was taken in by Clubs.
I now believe that Kelsier's stories, legends, and prophecies about the "Eleventh Metal" were fabricated by Ruin. Kelsier was looking for a way to kill the Lord Ruler, and Ruin—ever subtle—provided a way. That secret was indeed crucial. Kelsier's Eleventh Metal provided the very clue we needed to defeat the Lord Ruler. However, even in this, we were manipulated. The Lord Ruler knew Ruin's goals, and would never have released him from the Well of Ascension. So, Ruin needed other pawns—and for that to happen, the Lord Ruler needed to die. Even our greatest victory was shaped by Ruin's subtle fingers.
TenSoon deliberates whether he should accept his punishment or try to escape to help Vin. VarSell and other kandra appear, ordering TenSoon to consume his wolfhound body to wear as punishment for his sentencing, since they believe that TenSoon despises the dog's body because that is what he said to MeLaan while they were eavesdropping, not realizing that this was actually TenSoon's desired result.
The Balance. Is it real?
We've almost forgotten this little bit of lore. Skaa used to talk about it, before the Collapse. Philosophers discussed it a great deal in the third and fourth centuries, but by Kelsier's time, it was mostly a forgotten topic. But it was real. There was a physiological difference between skaa and nobility. When the Lord Ruler altered mankind to make them more capable of dealing with ash, he changed other things as well. Some groups of people—the noblemen—were created to be less fertile, but taller, stronger, and more intelligent. Others—the skaa—were made to be shorter, hardier, and to have many children.
The changes were slight, however, and after a thousand years of interbreeding, the differences had largely been erased.
- Elend Venture
Elend's army reaches Fadrex City. Elend and Hammond note the natural rock formations around the city, the lack of trees to conceal invaders, and the canyon like entrance to the city will make it difficult to conquer.
Elend discusses their plans to take the city with Hammond, Lord Cett and Vin. They plan to be vigilant for raids, to have spies scout the city, and to sabotage their enemy's food supplies, but don't plan to assassinate King Yomen.
Elend asks Vin to scout, and offers to go along, but Vin says he isn't good enough. Cett provides a list of informants in the city and Vin leaves for her infiltration mission.
I am only just beginning to understand the brilliance of the Lord Ruler's cultural synthesis. One of the benefits afforded him by being both immortal and—for all relevant purposes—omnipotent was a direct and effective influence on the evolution of the Final Empire.
He was able to take elements from a dozen different cultures and apply them to his new, "perfect" society. For instance, the architectural brilliance of the Khlenni builders is manifest in the keeps that the high nobility construct. Khlenni fashion sense—suits for gentlemen, gowns for ladies—is another thing the Lord Ruler decided to appropriate.
I suspect that despite his hatred of the Khlenni people—of whom Alendi was one—Rashek had a deep-seated envy of them as well. The Terris of the time were pastoral herdsmen, the Khlenni cultured cosmopolitans. However ironic, it is logical that Rashek's new empire would mimic the high culture of the people he hated.
Spook marvels at his survival and newfound Thug ability. He notices a metal sliver in his skin from the sword he was stabbed with and prepares to remove it, but Kelsier's voice tells him to leave it as a sign of his survival. He leaves his lair late at night and goes to a tavern to drink and get the pulse of the population. Spook daydreams about his past but notices several people talking about him being a member of Kelsier's crew, and wishing to avoid attention, leaves the bar.
Yes, Rashek made good use of his enemy's culture in developing the Final Empire. Yet, other elements of imperial culture were a complete contrast to Khlennium and its society. The lives of the skaa were modeled after the slave peoples of the Canzi. The Terris stewards resembled the servant class of Urtan, which Rashek conquered relatively late in his first century of life. The imperial religion, with its obligators, actually appears to have arisen from the bureaucratic mercantile system of the Hallant, a people who were very focused on weights, measures, and permissions. The fact that the Lord Ruler would base his Church on a financial institution shows—in my opinion—that he worried less about true faith in his followers, and more about stability, loyalty, and quantifiable measures of devotion.
Vin sneaks into Fadrex City. She scouts the city then visits an informant that Cett recommended named Slowswift, who is a longtime associate of his. Slowswift says that Yomen is ruling well, providing stability and familiarity. Slowswift also mentions that a ball is being held that evening despite the pending siege, and says that he won't provide information to help the invasion of the city at the cost of his soul. Vin counters that the stability won't last due to the increasing ash and killer mists. Slowswift relents at this and speaks of Yomen's weaknesses and Vin departs after paying the informant.
Vin then goes to seek a second informant, a beggar known to hum to himself, but when Vin finds him, she feels uncomfortable and decides to not meet him. She scouts Yomen's palace, for former Canton of Resources building, and sees that is where the evening's ball is being held. She senses allomantic pulses indicating a possible mistborn but they vanish suddenly when she tries to locate their source. Vin returns to the army.
Hoid appears in this chapter
One final aspect of the Lord Ruler's cultural manipulation is quite interesting: that of technology.
I have already mentioned that Rashek chose to use Khlenni architecture, which allowed him to construct large structures and gave him the civil engineering necessary to build a city as large as Luthadel. In other areas, however, he suppressed technological advancements. Gunpowder, for instance, was so frowned upon by Rashek that knowledge of its use disappeared almost as quickly as knowledge of the Terris religion.
Apparently, Rashek found it alarming that armed with gunpowder weapons, even the most common of men could be nearly as effective as archers with years of training. And so, he favored archers. The more training-dependent military technology was, the less likely it was that the peasant population would be able to rise up and resist him. Indeed, skaa revolts always failed in part for this very reason.
- Elend Venture
Vin tells Elend that she thinks she saw or felt the Mist Spirit in Fadrex, and they discuss its intention to oppose Ruin. Vin states that it is much weaker than Ruin, and that she doesn't think it is related to the mist sickness. Vin talks about her destiny as the Hero of Ages but Elend says they have other priorities and that the prophecy proclaiming the Hero could have been corrupted by Ruin.
Elend says he will do what he can to help stop the ash and save the world according to prophecy, but Vin says she can't share her plans aloud for fear of Ruin discovering them. They discuss their trust for each other despite trying circumstances, and Vin tells Elend to investigate the statistical anomalies with the mist sickness but to be circumspect in revealing his findings.
Elend says he wants to use his army to invade Fadrex only as a last resort, and Vin suggests they crash one of the balls to talk with Yomen directly.
The Lord Ruler didn't just forbid certain technologies, he suppressed technological advancement completely. It seems odd now that during the entirety of his thousand-year reign, very little progress was made. Farming techniques, architectural methods—even fashion remained remarkably stable during the Lord Ruler's reign.
He constructed his perfect empire, then tried to make it stay that way. For the most part, he was successful. Pocket watches—another Khlenni appropriation—that were made in the tenth century of the empire were nearly identical to those made during the first. Everything stayed the same.
Until it all collapsed, of course.
Sazed arrives at Urteau, accompanied by Goradel, Breeze, Allrianne and an honor guard of soldiers, and they are immediately summoned to see Quellion.
Quellion is antagonistic towards Sazed and his companions due to their being ambassadors from a noble. Sazed speaks of the dangers of the killer mists and offers alliance, but Quellion emphatically declines, stating that they follow the Survivor and don't need other allies. Quellion grudgingly allows them to stay in Urteau as long as they obey the law.
As their carraige traverses the streets, Spook meets them, dressed as a soldier. He leads them to the unused Canton of Inquisition building to use as a base. He also leads them to the cache of supplies which is hidden under the building. They discover why the canals are all empty, due to the fact that the water source has been diverted to an hidden underground lake located with the supplies.
Originally, men assumed that Rashek's persecution of the Terris religion came from hatred. Yet, now that we know that Rashek was himself a Terrisman, his destruction of that religion seems odd. I suspect it had something to do with the prophecies about the Hero of Ages. Rashek knew that Preservation's power would eventually return to the Well of Ascension. If the Terris religion had been allowed to survive, then perhaps—someday—a person would find their way to the Well and take up the power, then use it to defeat Rashek and overthrow his empire. So, he obscured knowledge of the Hero and what he was supposed to do, hoping to keep the secret of the Well to himself.
Elend is surprised that no one objects to him and Vin placing themselves in danger by attending a ball in Fadrex City. Elend delineates the line of succession to Lord Cett.
Elend and Vin travel to the ball at Keep Orielle, and Elend gives a card to a servant with their names and titles, and they are announced to the attendees. They split up to mingle before speaking directly with Aradan Yomen. Vin challenges one of the nobles, Lady Patresen, by playing on the fears of her followers, then by warning that things won't go well for anyone who opposes them once they have taken the city.
After Vin leaves the table, Lady Patresen's sycophants follow her, and offer to introduce her to the other party goers.
Rashek wore both black and white. I think he wanted to show that he was a duality, Preservation and Ruin. This, of course, was a lie. After all, he had only touched one of the powers—and only in a very small way at that.
Sazed, Spook, Breeze and Allrianne discuss the rationale for diverting the Urteau water supply to the underground lake. They also discuss methods to depose or remove the Citizen without allowing him to be replaced with someone who is just as bad. Sazed plays devil's advocate in taking Quellion's position as a true follower of Kelsier's policies regarding the nobility, though Breeze and the others point out the flaws in his logic. Breeze offers to gather intelligence on the political climate so they can determine their course of action.
Sazed seeks out the metal plate included with this supply cache which has information on electrum. Spook tells Sazed that he thinks Kelsier is watching over them and asks if there is a religious basis for that, to which Sazed replies yes, but he doesn't preach any of his memorized religions. Sazed says he won't preach until he finds a religion that is valid, and Spook concurs, saying that Kelsier's is the true one, and that he thinks Sazed stopped preaching because it is what Tindwyl would have wanted.
Sazed thinks about Tindwyl and her influence on him, and resumes his religious research.
Allomancy, obviously, is of Preservation. The rational mind will see this. For, in the case of Allomancy, net power is gained. It is provided by an external source—Preservation's own body.
Elend encounters Telden at the ball and they reminisce. Telden states that Elend is becoming a new Lord Ruler, but Elend counters he is only concerned with providing strong leadership, without the element of tyranny. Telden changes the topic to Elend and Vin's marriage, which makes Elend smile, then Elend leaves to confront Yomen, sitting to eat at Yomen's high table. Yomen wears a bead of atium tied to his forehead. Yomen ignores Elend's overtures of parlay, calling Elend flagrant and garish. Elend delivers an ultimatum to Yomen to cooperate or be deposed forcefully. Yomen debates Elend's legal basis for conquering Fadrex and calls him a hypocrite for not following his own laws in Luthadel, while Yomen claims the Lord Ruler's mandate in ruling this city. Yomen and Elend debate philosophical theory about the Lord Ruler, Vin, and divinity. Yomen asks why Elend needs to rule in his dominance and Elend states that he doesn't but he does need access to the storage cache for the greater good. Yomen refuses to give in, and Elend takes his leave of him.
Vin enjoys being looked up to by the female nobles in attendance at the party.
Elend invites Vin to dance, though he spoils the moment briefly by reading a book as the music begins to play. They reminisce about the first time they met in Keep Venture, and speak of accepting their responsibilities while being true to their younger selves.
They plan to attend the next ball which they think could give them an opportunity to infiltrate the storage cavern, and when the song ends, they both use steelpushes to make a dramatic exit as Elend offers safe passage to his army to any who desire it.
Hemalurgy is of Ruin. It destroys. By taking abilities from one person and giving them to another—in reduced amounts—power is actually lost. In line with Ruin's own appointed purpose—breaking down the universe into smaller and smaller pieces—Hemalurgy gives great gifts, but at a high cost.
TenSoon is led to his judgment in the Trustwarren, now wearing his wolfhound bones. He interrupts KanPaar's pronouncement of judgment to address the First Generation on the state of affairs in the world outside and to advise that they may need to command acceptance of the Resolution. KanPaar is ordered to continue judgment, and he sentences TenSoon to imprisonment for Ten Generations, then death by starvation, for the crimes of rebellion and endangerment. TenSoon escapes, using the superior dexterity of his familiar wolfhound body to easily evade the aesthetically styled but impractical kandra guards, who are not able to restrain a kandra that is able to keep pace with a mistborn.
Part 3: The Broken Skies
Feruchemy, it should be noted, is the power of balance. Of the three powers, only it was known to men before the conflict between Preservation and Ruin came to a head. In Feruchemy, power is stored up, then later drawn upon. There is no loss of energy—just a changing of the time and rate of its use.
Marsh walks through a small town in the Central Dominance, near Mount Tyrian, full of starving people despite the fact that the area is in Elend's protected zone. Marsh revels in the despair, holding back his sliver of resistance. He creates a bronze hemalurgic spike by stabbing a Smoker through the heart with it, then leaves and watches as the volcano erupts in a flow of magma.
Hemalurgy is a power about which I wish I knew far less. To Ruin, power must have an inordinately high cost—using it must be attractive, yet must sow chaos and destruction in its very implementation. In concept, it is a very simple art. A parasitic one. Without other people to steal from, Hemalurgy would be useless.
Breeze mingles at a tavern as Spook seeks out Durn in the Harrows, breaking into his lair, and confronting him about rumors that Durn was spreading about Spook. Durn says that he is trying to undermine the Citizen, who has caused problems for the underground economy, by showing that Quellion tried to kill a member of Kelsier's crew which would not go over well with the townspeople.
Kelsier tells Spook to go after Quellion before he harms Sazed and Breeze, but Spook dismisses this threat. One of Durn's henchmen approaches Spook, asking for help rescuing his sister from being executed by the Citizen, and Spook agrees to help for a price.
In Hemalurgy, the type of metal used in a spike is important, as is the positioning of that spike on the body. For instance, steel spikes take physical Allomantic powers—the ability to burn pewter, tin, steel, or iron—and bestow them upon the person receiving the spike. Which of these four is granted, however, depends on where the spike is placed. Spikes made from other metals steal Feruchemical abilities. For example, all of the original Inquisitors were given a pewter spike, which—after first being pounded through the body of a Feruchemist—gave the Inquisitor the ability to store up healing power. (Though they couldn't do so as quickly as a real Feruchemist, as per the law of Hemalurgic decay.) This, obviously, is where the Inquisitors got their infamous ability to recover from wounds quickly, and was also why they needed to rest so much.
- Elend Venture
Elend and Lord Cett discuss the siege, and Elend accepts Cett's suggestion to poison the water wells, though he doesn't want people to die because of this. Elend also orders residents of the outlying villages to be intimidated but not killed. An earthquake hits, providing a reminder that they can't spend too long trying to siege Fadrex.
Demoux recovers sufficiently from his illness to leave bed and return to his duties.
Elend deliberates whether the means justify the end if he invades Fadrex or has Yomen assassinated in the name of helping the empire survive.
Demoux asks to be relieved of his position as General as he feels that Kelsier has judged him and found him unworthy. Demoux mentions another statistical oddity that Elend was not aware of, that sixteen percent of the sick either remained sick for sixteen days or perished. Demoux mentions other ways that the number sixteen seems to be relevant, stating there is a pattern that Kelsier is behind. Elend states that Demoux wasn't killed and that means that he isn't being punished for lack of faith as he thinks. Elend tells Demoux to stop pitying himself and apply scientific reasoning to investigate the mists and the numerological phenomena. They are interrupted by shouting.
Hemalurgic decay was less obvious in Inquisitors that had been created from Mistborn. Since they already had Allomantic powers, the addition of other abilities made them awesomely strong. In most cases, however, Inquisitors were created from Mistings. It appears that Seekers, like Marsh, were the favored recruits. For, when a Mistborn wasn't available, an Inquisitor with enhanced bronze abilities was a powerful tool for searching out skaa Mistings.
Vin investigates as raiders on horses sent by King Yomen attack their camp trying to destroy their supplies. Vin uses allomantic pushes and pulls on the tent spikes to turn them into deadly missiles against the attackers. She detects another mistborn and chases that person into the city, but loses him again somehow, then returns to the camp. Elend reveals the attack on the camp was a distraction, allowing Yomen to use heavy siege equipment to wipe out half of their twenty thousand koloss army. Elend transfers control of one thousand of the remaining koloss to Vin.
Vin goes to the koloss camp and is met by Human, who says they need more koloss. She doesn't understand when Human asks for help to create more koloss so she gives him an allomantic push and follows Human to see what he does. Human takes a dead koloss to the triage area of the human camp and removes the skin from the koloss corpse and removes 4 spikes from it. Human goes into a sick tent and reaches for an unconscious solder but is stopped by Vin, who finally realizes how koloss are created.
Hemalurgy can be used to steal Allomantic or Feruchemical powers and give them to another person. However, a Hemalurgic spike can also be created by killing a normal person, one who is neither an Allomancer nor a Feruchemist. In that case, the spike instead steals the very power of Preservation existing within the soul of the people. (The power that, in fact, gives all people sentience.)
A Hemalurgic spike can extract this power, then transfer it to another, granting them residual abilities similar to those of Allomancy. After all, Preservation's body—a tiny trace of which is carried by every human being—is the very same essence that fuels Allomancy.
And so, a kandra granted the Blessing of Potency is actually acquiring a bit of innate strength similar to that of burning pewter. The Blessing of Presence grants mental capacity in a similar way, while the Blessing of Awareness is the ability to sense with greater acuity and the rarely used Blessing of Stability grants emotional fortitude.
Spook watches as Franson and some other skaa excavate one of the burned out buildings, finding nine skulls among the debris, which he thinks is significant since he watched ten people get locked in the building. Spook realizes there are secret exits from the buildings. He tells Franson that this means they can help save his sister.
Sazed and Breeze sit in a tavern and discuss how the skaa go out into the mists at night, something once unheard of. They then join some skaa at another table to explain their presence in Urteau and to plead Elend's case as a good replacement for the Citizen as ruler of the city. The skaa state they don't need outside interference since The Survivor of the Flames is there to deal with Quellion. Sazed asks to meet this new Survivor and is told to attend an execution that is taking place the following day.
Even now, I can barely grasp the scope of all this. The events surrounding the end of the world seem even larger than the Final Empire and the people within it. I sense shards of something from long ago, a fractured presence, something spanning the void. I have delved and searched, and have only been able to come up with a single name: Adonalsium. Who, or what, it was, I do not yet know.
TenSoon retrieves two iron hemalurgic spikes that he hid before returning to his homeland for trial, and absorbs them into his mass. The two spikes which TenSoon had stolen from OreSeur now grant him the Blessing of Potency, giving him greater strength, to go along with his Blessing of Presence, and giving him great power for a kandra. He then seeks out Vin as a replacement for the Lord Ruler to serve her under the terms of the First Contract.
Originally, we assumed that a koloss was a combination of two people into one. That was wrong. Koloss are not the melding of two people, but five, as evidenced by the four spikes needed to make them. Not five bodies, of course, but five souls. Each pair of spikes grants what the kandra would call the Blessing of Potency. However, each spike also distorts the koloss body a little more, making it increasingly inhuman. Such is the cost of Hemalurgy.
Elend, Hammond, Lord Cett, Noorden and Demoux discuss how inquisitors are made, as Vin watches. Cett questions the significance of this topic, and Elend states they are facing a greater force than Yomen's soldiers. Noorden explains that the patterns in the sickness indicate an intelligent force was causing it, and tells of rumors that inquisitors are made by combining the powers of several allomancers. Hammond concludes that is why skaa mistings were hunted, to replenish the inquisitor population. Elend connects the spikes Human was using and the description that Marsh gave about the process of his being turned into an inquisitor being messy to the creation of inquisitors, and explains that koloss are made from humans. Vin says this Art is called Hemalurgy, according to Marsh. They theorize that since the same process creates koloss, kandra and inquisitors, that they must have the same weaknesses to emotional allomancy, and that their enemy is controlling the inquisitors and koloss using the weakness. Elend declares that they must look for patterns in the enemy's actions to try to determine how to defeat it.
Demoux tells Vin and Elend about how the soldiers who were sick for a long time are being ostracized by their fellow soldiers. Elend tells Demoux to form a new division of the mistfallen soldiers.
Conrad arrives from Luthadel, bringing news of riots and pillaging of food stores, and a request for aid from King Penrod. Elend sees knowledge in the pattern of the enemy's attacks and deduces the reasoning behind it.
Vin realizes that they have to succeed in taking Fadrex since they are running out of options. She pleads to the mists to help her as they did against the Lord Ruler, but is ignored.
Hemalurgic spikes change people physically, depending on which powers are granted, where the spike is placed, and how many spikes someone has. Inquisitors, for instance, are changed drastically from the humans they used to be. Their hearts are in different places from those of humans, and their brains rearrange to accommodate the lengths of metal jabbed through their eyes. Koloss are changed in even more drastic ways. One might think that kandra are changed most of all. However, one must remember that new kandra are made from mistwraiths, and not humans. The spikes worn by the kandra cause only a small transformation in their hosts—leaving their bodies mostly like that of a mistwraith, but allowing their minds to begin working. Ironically, while the spikes dehumanize the koloss, they give a measure of humanity to the kandra.
Sazed hypothesizes and evolution of the Church of the Survivor, and about whether the new Survivor will play a role in toppling the Citizen. He accompanies Breeze and Allrianne to an execution.
Kelsier tells Spook that he has to kill the guards to save the prisoners from being executed. Spook finds a secret bolt-hole where some of the Citizen's soldiers were liberating one of the prisoners, and attacks, killing all the soldiers, though he ends up locked in the burning building with one of the prisoners, a young girl.
Sazed, Breeze and Allrianne watch the building burn, and witness Spook escape from the building with the girl. Allrianne Riots the crowd to rush the remaining twenty guards, allowing Spook to escape in the confusion.
I think that the koloss were more intelligent than we wanted to give them credit for being. For instance, originally, they used only spikes the Lord Ruler gave them to make new members. He would provide the metal and the unfortunate skaa captives, and the koloss would create new "recruits."
At the Lord Ruler's death, then, the koloss should quickly have died out. This was how he had designed them. If they got free from his control, he expected them to kill themselves off and end their own rampage. However, they somehow made the deduction that spikes in the bodies of fallen koloss could be harvested, then reused.
They then no longer required a fresh supply of spikes. I often wonder what effect the constant reuse of spikes had on their population. A spike can only hold so much of a Hemalurgic charge, so they could not create spikes that granted infinite strength, no matter how many people those spikes killed and drew power from. However, did the repeated reuse of spikes perhaps bring more humanity to the koloss they made?
Marsh enters Luthadel stealthily, traveling through the city to Keep Venture. He thinks of how he was turned into an inquisitor as he prepares to use his newly made spike on King Penrod. Ruin takes control of Marsh's body and he attacks Penrod, holding off guards for a time before stabbing Penrod in the heart with the spike and leaving it there, then departing.
Marsh observes in secret as surgeons confer about Penrod, deciding to leave the spike in place since they aren't able to safely remove it and since he seems to be in good health even with the spike, all according to Ruin's plan.
For all that it disgusts me, I cannot help but be impressed by Hemalurgy as an art.
In Allomancy and Feruchemy, skill and subtlety come through the application of one's powers. The best Allomancer might not be the most powerful, but instead the one who can best manipulate the Pushes and Pulls of metals. The best Feruchemist is the one who is most capable of sorting the information in his copperminds, or best able to manipulate his weight with iron.
The art that is unique to Hemalurgy, however, is the knowledge of where to place the spikes.
Elend and Vin are followed by the mysterious mistborn, but ignore it as they travel to a ball at the Canton of Resource. At the ball, they split up, and Vin mingles at the party before setting off for her mission to locate the storage cache. She detects a couple of mistings, a Smoker and a Tineye, tailing her at the party. She sees Slowswift at the party, and asks him for two men to help her, and he agrees to have someone meet her on the patio. She stands on the patio waiting for Elend to create a pre-arranged distraction, and when it happens, she attacks the women, using a duralumin brass push on them, then knocking them out and having the two friends of Slowswift conceal their unconscious forms, so that she can move about undetected. She changes into more appropriate garb for subterfuge, and sneaks into a building to find the cache.
Elend challenges Yomen to a duel to settle their dispute over the city. Yomen declines, stating he would be at a great disadvantage against a Mistborn. Yomen claims he earned the right to rule, and Elend counters that since he can control the koloss like the Lord Ruler, that he inherited the Lord Ruler's right. He continues the arguments to keep Yomen distracted as long as possible.
Each spike, positioned very carefully, can determine how the recipient's body is changed by Hemalurgy. A spike in one place creates a monstrous, near-mindless beast. In another place, a spike will create a crafty—yet homicidal—Inquisitor.
Without the instinctive knowledge granted by taking the power at the Well of Ascension, Rashek would never have been able to use Hemalurgy. With his mind expanded, and with a little practice, he was able to intuit where to place spikes that would create the servants he wanted.
It is a little-known fact that the Inquisitors' torture chambers were actually Hemalurgic laboratories. The Lord Ruler was constantly trying to develop new breeds of servant. It is a testament to Hemalurgy's complexity that, despite a thousand years of trying, he never managed to create anything with it beyond the three kinds of creatures he developed during those few brief moments holding the power.
Vin descends below ground, finding several corridors, one of which is guarded. She uses emotional allomancy to distract these and other guards, and finds her way after a while into the storage cache. However, after she gains access, she gets locked in.
Elend and Yomen debate about the Terris Stewardship program and whether the Terris were treated well or poorly. Their debate is interrupted by the appearance of one of the two spies that Vin incapacitated. Elend decides to pretend to try to kill Yomen to see if he is a mistborn, attacking and choking him but letting go when Yomen doesn't fight back effectively. Yomen stabs Elend, and seems unnaturally fast, leading Elend to burn electrum, which confuses Yomen who was burning atium. Elend thinks Yomen is a mistborn and withdraws, surprised that Yomen doesn't follow, going back to his camp. He waits for Vin, for hours, before getting a note from Yomen stating that he captured her.
Vin realizes the stone door she is trapped behind was sabotaged by having all the metal removed from it so that it couldn't be pushed allomantically. She hears footsteps and senses an allomancer inside the cavern with her, and finds him, and it turns out to be Reen.
Part Four: Beautiful Destroyer
A man with a given power—such as an Allomantic ability—who then gained a Hemalurgic spike granting that same power would be nearly twice as strong as a natural unenhanced Allomancer. An Inquisitor who was a Seeker before his transformation would therefore have an enhanced ability to use bronze. This simple fact explains how many Inquisitors were able to pierce copperclouds.
Vin confronts Reen, demanding who or what he really is. She tries a duralumin zinc blast but nothing happens, proving the creature is not a kandra. She goes on the offensive, though Reen only backs away defensively, not attacking, and asks her to stop to talk. The lights go out, but Vin is still not able to hit the impostor. In the dark, she focuses on the allomantic pulses and realizes they match the ones from the Well of Ascension, and that the creature is Ruin. Ruin tells her that all things must end and that he is not her enemy. It also says that it has always been with her, even when she couldn't see it, since she was a child.
Ruin's escape deserves some explanation. This is a thing that even I had a problem understanding.
Ruin could not have used the power at the Well of Ascension. It was of Preservation, Ruin's fundamental opposite. Indeed, a direct confrontation of these two forces would have caused the destruction of both.
Ruin's prison, however, was fabricated of that power. Therefore, it was attuned to the power of Preservation—the very power of the Well. When that power was released and dispersed, rather than utilized, it acted as a key. The subsequent "unlocking" is what finally freed Ruin.
Sazed, Breeze and Allrianne await Spook's return to the storage cavern, and speculate on his actions and his ability to jump two stories without being severely injured. Sazed thinks that are no known examples of an allomancer gaining new powers after snapping.
Sazed picks up his theological portfolio and reviews a sheet about Trellism, a religion that he has been always partial to. He finds vagueness in its doctrine, but delays judgment for now.
Spook visits Beldre in her garden, telling her why he thinks she always appears sad. He tells her to leave with him and that he is a member of Kelsier's crew and that he will depose the Citizen. Beldre starts screaming to summon guards and Spook leaves since he doesn't want their blood on his hands, ignoring Kelsier's orders to kill Quellion.
Sazed studies his collection of metalminds, recalling how Marsh had used a steelpush on the rings as weapons against Sazed at the Well of Ascension. He feels disinterested in continuing his search for a religion that isn't flawed. Breeze says he doesn't understand why Sazed takes such care of his metalminds but doesn't wear them. Sazed replies that he doesn't think it would do any good for him to wear them, and that all the knowledge stored within won't do any good since it may be too late to save the world.
An earthquake hits, causing little damage, and Spook returns. He tells Sazed and Breeze that they should spread rumors about the allomancers that Quellion is gathering, to undermine his rule. Spook asks Sazed to try to get the water flowing to the canals again and Saze accedes to this request, though it would require him to do research using his metalminds. Spook declines for now to explain how he survived a two story drop unscathed, asking that Sazed just trust him for the time being without questioning that.
Ruin's prison was not like those that hold men. He wasn't bound by bars. In fact, he could move about freely.
His prison, rather, was one of impotence. In the terms of forces and gods, this meant balance. If Ruin were to push, the prison would push back, essentially rendering Ruin powerless. And because much of his power was stripped away and hidden, he was unable to affect the world in any but the most subtle of ways. I should stop here and clarify something. We speak of Ruin being "freed" from his prison. But that is misleading. Releasing the power at the Well tipped the aforementioned balance back toward Ruin, but he was still too weak to destroy the world in the blink of an eye as he yearned to do. This weakness was caused by part of Ruin's power—his very body—having been taken and hidden from him.
Which was why Ruin became so obsessed with finding the hidden part of his self.
- Elend Venture
Elend stands in the mists, worrying about Vin, but also having faith in her ability to take care of herself. Lord Cett tells Elend that the siege isn't working, and that they should attack Fadrex then return to Luthadel. They are interrupted by a disturbance and Elend leaves to investigate and it turns out to be a brawl between mistfallen and other soldiers which Elend helps break up. Elend orders Demoux to march with the mistfallen back to Luthadel to assist Penrod. Elend goes to Noorden's tent to change his battle tactics against Yomen.
Once "freed," Ruin was able to affect the world more directly. The most obvious way he did this was by making the ashmounts emit more ash and the earth begin to break apart. As a matter of fact, I believe that much of Ruin's energy during those last days was dedicated to these tasks. He was also able to affect and control far more people than before. Where he had once influenced only a few select individuals, he could now direct entire koloss armies.
Vin ruminates on all the knowledge she has about Ruin to try to figure out how to defeat it. Having no light, it takes her some time to explore the cavern. She finds the metal plate and reads it by touch. The Lord Ruler wrote that Ruin had spoken in his mind, that he tried to be a good ruler, and that he cared despite the fact that if anyone read these words that meant he was dead, and that he hid Ruin's body well and that Ruin is not omnipotent.
Vin is startled as the cave door opens.
One might ask why Ruin couldn't have used Inquisitors to release him from his prison. The answer to this is simple enough, if one understands the workings of power.
Before the Lord Ruler's death, he maintained too tight a grip on them to let Ruin control them directly. Even after the Lord Ruler's death, however, such a servant of Ruin could never have rescued him. The power in the Well was of Preservation, and an Inquisitor could only have taken it by first removing his Hemalurgic spikes. That, of course, would have killed him.
Thus, Ruin needed a much more indirect way to achieve his purpose. He needed someone he hadn't tainted too much, but someone he could lead by the nose, carefully manipulating.
Sazed researches how to refill the canals with water, withdrawing a book on engineering from his copperminds. Sazed speaks in detail to Breeze about how canals work, which pleases Breeze since Sazed is showing interest in his scholarship again. Breeze tells Sazed to be himself and do what makes him happy. Breeze also expresses confidence in Spook's leadership though Sazed has reservations about him. Spook joins them and states that it feels wrong that Quellion hasn't attacked them. He says that Quellion came to power by getting people to go into the mists and declaring all who lived were pure, and by killing nobles in the name of the Survivor, though Quellion concealed the facts that no nobles died in the mists. Sazed says he is ready to start construction of the structures to redirect water to the canals. Goradel shows up to say Beldre has appeared asking to speak with Spook.
Beldre meets with Sazed, Breeze, Allrianne and Spook in the Canton building, and pleads for them to not kill Quellion. Spook has a conference away from Beldre, then return and decide to hold her hostage, while spreading rumors that she defected from her brother.
One can see Ruin's craftiness in the meticulousness of his planning. He managed to orchestrate the downfall of the Lord Ruler only a short time before Preservation's power returned to the Well of Ascension. And then, within a few years of that event, he had freed himself. On the time scale of gods and their power, this very tricky timing was as precise as an expert cut performed by the most talented of surgeons.
Vin uses her last allomantic vial and exits through the cave door past several men, using a steel push to try to escape using the ceiling trapdoor but she fails because the trapdoor has weights on top to keep it from opening. The first man who entered, dressed as a noble, is Telden Hasting, and he tells her that she will be freed from the cavern if she agrees to drink drugged wine. Vin tries to bluff Telden but he doesn't fall for it, so she takes the wine and falls unconscious.
Once Ruin was free from his prison, he was able to influence people more strongly—but impaling someone with a Hemalurgic spike was difficult no matter what the circumstances. To achieve such things, he apparently began with people who already had a tenuous grip on reality. Their insanity made them more open to his touch, and he could use them to spike more stable people. Either way, it's impressive how many important people Ruin managed to spike. King Penrod, ruling Luthadel at the time, is a very good example of this.
- Elend Venture
Elend uses steelpushes to travel toward an area where a koloss army was sighted. He locates the army attacking a village and starts fighting and killing koloss. After a while, he uses a duralumin pull to successfully control the army. Then he returns to his camp.
Near the end, the ash began to pile up in frightening amounts. I've spoken of the special microbes that the Lord Ruler devised to help the world deal with the ashfalls. They did not "feed" on ash, really. Rather, they broke it down as an aspect of their metabolic functions. Volcanic ash itself is, actually, good for soil, depending on what one wishes to grow.
Too much of anything, however, is deadly. Water is necessary for survival, yet too much will drown. During the history of the Final Empire, the land balanced on the very knife-edge of disaster via the ash. The microbes broke it down about as rapidly as it fell, but when there was so much of it that it oversaturated the soil, it became more difficult for plants to survive.
In the end, the entire system fell apart. Ash fell so steadily that it smothered and killed, and the world's plant life died off. The microbes had no chance of keeping up, for they needed time and nutrients to reproduce.
TenSoon goes to Luthadel to find Vin, but finds instead an overcrowded ash-filled city. He proceeds to Keep Venture to eavesdrop on a couple of guards but doesn't learn anything about Vin's whereabouts. He thinks of a new plan however, going to where OreSeur buried Kelsier's bones and absorbing them as a new disguise.
TenSoon returns to the Keep in Kelsier's form, and interrogates the guards who are members of the Church of the Survivor about the condition of the city, about King Penrod, and about Elend's and Vin's whereabouts. They tell him that Penrod is mad and that they think Elend is in Urteau. TenSoon tells the men to seek shelter when the mists vanish, then leaves. Back at the Church, he tells more followers to seek shelter underground, then he switches back to the wolfhound form and heads for Urteau, though he takes Kelsier's bones along.
The pact between Preservation and Ruin is a thing of gods, and difficult to explain in human terms. Indeed, initially, there was a stalemate between them. On one hand, each knew that only by working together could they create. On the other hand, both knew that they would never have complete satisfaction in what they created. Preservation would not be able to keep things perfect and unchanging, and Ruin would not be able to destroy completely. Ruin, of course, eventually acquired the ability to end the world and gain the satisfaction he wanted. But, then, that wasn't originally part of the bargain.
Spook talks with Beldre, who tells him that she is half-skaa and that she was going to be executed but was saved when the Final Empire was overthrown. Beldre says that Spook is like Quellion but he denies this. Spook speaks of his life in Kelsier's crew and of Sazed and Breeze allowing him to give orders even though he feels like he isn't really in charge. He speaks of Vin and Elend, and promises to try to save the city and not harm Quellion, then leaves to go out to the city.
Spook promises trade contracts and a title to Durn in exchange for his help in clearing out the canals so people aren't drowned when they are refilled. Spook and Durn go to various taverns to meet with townsfolk and burnish Spook's reputation.
Preservation's desire to create sentient life was what eventually broke the stalemate. In order to give mankind awareness and independent thought, Preservation knew that he would have to give up part of himself—his own soul—to dwell within mankind. This would leave him just a tiny bit weaker than his opposite, Ruin.
That tiny bit seemed inconsequential, compared with their total vast sums of power. However, over aeons, this tiny flaw would allow Ruin to overcome Preservation, thereby bringing an end to the world. This, then, was their bargain. Preservation got mankind, the only creations that had more Preservation than Ruin in them, rather than a balance. Independent life that could think and feel. In exchange, Ruin was given a promise—and proof—that he could bring an end to all they had created together. It was the pact.
And Preservation eventually broke it.
Vin awakes in chains, and with no metals in her stomach to burn. Yomen describes all the precautions that are in effect to keep Vin from escaping. Yomen took Vin's earring to examine it, and it confuses him, since it is made of silver and bronze, a combination of little use to an allomancer. He allows her to take the earring and she does, putting it back in place. One of Elend's soldiers is escorted in to ask Vin a question to verify that she is still alive and not a kandra impostor. Yomen says that she was captured to be executed for the murder of the Lord Ruler, though he will allow her to speak in her own defense. Ruin whispers to her to kill Yomen.
By sacrificing most of his consciousness, Preservation created Ruin's prison, breaking their deal and trying to keep Ruin from destroying what they had created. This event left their powers again nearly balanced—Ruin imprisoned, only a trace of himself capable of leaking out. Preservation reduced to a mere wisp of what he once was, barely capable of thought and action. These two minds were, of course, independent of the raw force of their powers. Actually, I am uncertain of how thoughts and personalities came to be attached to the powers in the first place—but I believe they were not there originally. For both powers could be detached from the minds that ruled them.
- Elend Venture
Elend walks back to the camp at Fadrex accompanied by his new army of thirty thousand koloss. He feels heavily burdened by the hardships of his job and kneels down in the ash, ready to give up. The mist figure appears, kneeling next to him. It points to the northeast when Elend asks what it wants him to do, but Elend says he is confused. Elend manages to communicate with it using yes or no questions, with the figure waving its arms for yes, so that Ruin can't change its message, and Elend asks questions about the figure, the mists, the ashfalls and Ruin. The figure indicates that it doesn't want him to attack Fadrex, and that the mists are not killing people, and points at Elend's metal vial, then vanishes after saying that they maybe can survive. The encounter revigorates Elend though he isn't sure why.
I don't know why Preservation decided to use his last bit of life appearing to Elend during his trek back to Fadrex. From what I understand, Elend didn't really learn that much from the meeting. By then, of course, Preservation was but a shadow of himself—and that shadow was under immense destructive pressure from Ruin.
Perhaps Preservation—or, the remnants of what he had been—wanted to get Elend alone. Or, perhaps he saw Elend kneeling in that field, and knew that the emperor of men was very close to just lying down in the ash, never to rise again. Either way, Preservation did appear, and in doing so exposed himself to Ruin's attacks. Gone were the days when Preservation could turn away an Inquisitor with a bare gesture, gone—even—were the days when he could strike a man down to bleed and die. By the time Elend saw the "mist spirit," Preservation must have been barely coherent. I wonder what Elend would have done, had he known that he was in the presence of a dying god—that on that night, he had been the last witness of Preservation's passing. If Elend had waited just a few more minutes on that ashen field, he would have seen a body—short of stature, black hair, prominent nose—fall from the mists and slump dead into the ash.
As it was, the corpse was left alone to be buried in ash. The world was dying. Its gods had to die with it.
Spook works on a plan for Quellion to reveal his allomantic ability. He discusses the plan with Beldre, who asks to be allowed to write a letter to Quellion to convince him to not oppose Spook, and he gives permission. Goradel summons Spook to alert him that the Citizen's soldiers left the Canton building. Spook sends scouts to investigate where the soldiers went to.
Sazed watches as his water flow control system is built, and thinks the workers are working effectively. Spook tells Sazed there are riots in Urteau, and he senses Sazed's doubts in his ability, but professes that he still has faith that even if he fails, there is someone watching over events that will make them work out ok. Sazed realizes that he needs faith as well.
I have come to see that each power has three aspects: a physical one, which can be seen in the creations made by Ruin and Preservation; a spiritual one in the unseen energy that permeates all of the world; and a cognitive one in the minds which controlled that energy. There is more to this. Much more that even I do not yet comprehend.
Ruin's voice gives Vin insights about the creature. She thinks that it acts similar to emotional allomancy. She realizes that she can still communicate with the thousand koloss but can't communicate intelligent thoughts to them and can't think of any other valuable way to use them.
Ruin manifests in Vin's cell to teach her about entropy and that all things end and to gloat over its eventual victory. Vin senses human emotion from Ruin, and thus weakness, which she thinks may be exploited somehow. Ruin says that Vin and Elend are valuable because they are good at destroying things due to their passion and dynamism. Vin asks what Ruin did to the other force that was opposing him, and Ruin replied that while Preservation was once a cage, it is dead now and the bargain was completed. Ruin tells of how he and Preservation together could create, with the promise that Ruin could destroy their creations. Ruin says that Vin can't use Preservation's power now that he is dead, and that he wants Vin to know the end is near, days away. Vin thinks that Ruin won due to Vin's imprisonment, making her realize that she must escape soon to foil Ruin.
Once you begin to understand these things, you can see how Ruin was trapped even though Preservation's mind was gone, expended to create the prison. Though Preservation's consciousness was mostly destroyed, his spirit and body were still in force. And, as an opposite force of Ruin, these could still prevent Ruin from destroying. Or, at least, keep him from destroying things too quickly. Once his mind was "freed" from its prison the destruction accelerated quickly.
Sazed instructs Spook on how to activate the water flow mechanism to divert the water back to the canals and verifies that they will be clear of people. Beldre pleas for more time for Quellion, but Spook declines, as Beldre's letter to Quellion was met with a cold response.
Spook and the rest of the crew travel to listen to a speech by Quellion that evening. Durn tells Spook that the Citizen plans to denounce him and attack his soldiers at the Canton building. During the speech, Spook hears signs of unplanned riots, and at this point, Durn's men start a disturbance and Goradel's soldiers rush the stage to engage Quellion's guards, and Spook himself goes to confront Quellion. He is urged by Kelsier to kill Quellion, though he sees Beldre in the crowd and hears her say for him not to hurt her brother. Then he is struck by a coin, and realizes that Beldre is a coinshot, and the crowd notices this as well. The crowd pushes Beldre to the stage after roughing her up, and Kelsier urges Spook to kill her and take her power. Spook is shaken by this, and realizes that everything is going wrong. Kelsier tells Spook to kill Beldre with a metal spike from the stage, and Spook realizes that Quellion can also see Kelsier. Spook realizes what is happening and finds and removes a bronze spike from Quellion's arm, causing both he and Kelsier to scream. He then removes his own metal splinter, and his thug ability and Kelsier both vanish.
Spook then arranges for the canals to flood despite interference from Beldre, so that the spreading fires can be extinguished. However, the Canton building is aflame and they are unable to enter it to reach the water mechanism. Spook overcomes his fear and rushes through the flames into the building, activating the machine and collapsing.
Part Five: Trust
I do not know what went on in the minds of the koloss—what memories they retained, what human emotions they truly still knew. I do know that our discovery of the one creature, who named himself Human, was tremendously fortunate. Without his struggle to become human again, we might never have understood the link between the koloss, Hemalurgy, and the Inquisitors. Of course, there was another part for him to play. Granted, not large, but still important, all things considered.
TenSoon reaches Urteau, and finds that the city has a great number of burned buildings, though the canals are again flowing. He finds Elend's soldiers guarding a ministry building and wanting to save time, tells them he is a messenger from Elend and wants to speak to the city leaders. He finds Breeze in charge, who thinks he is OreSeur, but TenSoon corrects him. They both go to Sazed to discuss the situation. Sazed explains that Vin is at Fadrex City, and TenSoon is upset since that is a great distance from Urteau. Sazed asks why TenSoon wants to see Vin, and he replies that it has to do with the Hero of Ages and the end of the world. TenSoon is puzzled by the lack of reaction on Sazed's part.
The prison Preservation created for Ruin was not created out of Preservation's power, though it was of Preservation. Rather, Preservation sacrificed his consciousness—one could say his mind—to fabricate that prison. He left a shadow of himself, but Ruin, once escaped, began to suffocate and isolate this small remnant vestige of his rival. I wonder if Ruin ever thought it strange that Preservation had cut himself off from his own power, relinquishing it and leaving it in the world, to be gathered and used by men.
In Preservation's gambit, I see nobility, cleverness, and desperation. He knew that he could not defeat Ruin. He had given too much of himself and, beyond that, he was the embodiment of stasis and stability. He could not destroy, not even to protect. It was against his nature. Hence the prison. Mankind, however, had been created by both Ruin and Preservation—with a hint of Preservation's own soul to give them sentience and honor. In order for the world to survive, Preservation knew he had to depend upon his creations. To give them his trust.
I wonder what he thought when those creations repeatedly failed him.
Vin mock attempts to escape from her confinement, attacking guards as they retrieve her to bring her to Yomen. She downs four of them, but there are twenty at least, and they easily foil her. She is brought to Yomen, and after being shackled to a bench, secretly rubs some grease from her food on her hands and wrists. She is able to escape her shackles and throws silver screws at the guards to distract them but she is unable to grab Yomen since he is burning atium. He has her sit back down, unshackled. She says he is a mistborn but he denies this and tells her it is time to make a decision about her execution. Some other obligators join Yomen and Yomen questions why Vin's army is there, and she tells of needing the supplies and of Cett wanting to reclaim his kingdom. Ruin walks around Yomen proclaiming him a disappointment. Yomen asks Vin about her role in the Church of the Survivor. Yomen questions faith in an unseen god and Vin replies that is what Yomen is doing, but he denies the Lord Ruler is gone. Yomen asks her to tell about her slaying the Lord Ruler and she gives all the details save about her drawing from the mists. Yomen states that this is all a ploy by the Lord Ruler. Vin replies that she isn't the Survivor's Heir, but rather the Lord Ruler's, and that he isn't returning.
She turns his statement against him though, saying that she can't be tried for murder since Yomen thinks the Lord Ruler is still alive and using Vin as a catspaw. Vin reveals that the army is really there for the atium which Yomen calls worthless, and then he ends the discussion, saying that he is trying to determine what the Lord Ruler wants him to do next.
I don't wonder that we focused far too much on the mists during those days. But from what I now know of sunlight and plant development, I realize that our crops weren't in as much danger from misty days as we feared. We might very well have been able to find plants to eat that did not need as much light to survive. True, the mists did also cause some deaths in those who went out in them, but the number killed was not a large enough percentage of the population to be a threat to our survival as a species. The ash, that was our real problem. The smoke filling the atmosphere, the black flakes covering up everything beneath, the eruptions of the volcanic ashmounts . . . Those were what would kill the world.
- Elend Venture
Elend arrives at his camp with his group of koloss. Elend tells Hammond that Vin is still alive, since her bonded koloss haven't lost control. Hammond says that scouts from the Central Dominance say that Luthadel and many villages are in very bad shape, and that some cities have been destroyed by earthquakes and lava. Elend orders Hammond to plan a surprise attack for the morning with the koloss leading the way.
I suspect that Alendi, the man Rashek killed, was himself a Misting—a Seeker. Allomancy, however, was a different thing in those days, and much more rare. The Allomancers alive in our day are the descendants of the men who ate those few beads of Preservation's power. They formed the foundation of the nobility, and were the first to name him emperor. The power in these few beads was so concentrated that it could last through ten centuries of breeding and inheritance.
Spook is alive but unconscious, badly burned and slowly recovering in a hospital, as Sazed watches on. He gave pewter to Spook but this does not speed up his healing. Beldre is there also and she speaks of how Spook got her brother to act as he did in the past, and that he will survive and that he is a hero to the city.
Sazed leaves them to review the last ten religions in his portfolio, and ends up spending a day reviewing and rejecting them all. Sazed ponders on all the commonalities of the religions, and how they all shared inconsistencies and logical fallacies. He opens the journal that he and Tindwyl compiled their notes about all they could find on the Hero of Ages, and finds Mare's drawing of a flower tucked within. Sazed feels betrayed because his rational belief in the absence of god blocks him from having faith. He listens to TenSoon and Breeze converse and prays silently for something to have faith in. TenSoon says goodbye to Breeze and says for him to give his regards to the Announcer, and this terminology sparks something in Sazed. Sazed rushes out to ask TenSoon to repeat his phrase and he complies. Sazed checks his notes which were changed by Ruin to call Sazed the Holy First Witness. Sazed asks how TenSoon knows the correct title. TenSoon counters by saying why no one wonders what happened to Rashek's fellow packmen. Breeze says that the Lord Ruler turned them into nobles but Sazed disputes this since they would have been both allomancers and feruchemists, something that the Lord Ruler was working to avoid happen. TenSoon reveals that the packmen were changed into mistwraiths, then kandra, and that they form the First Generation. Sazed realizes that his religion lives on, and gets ready to set out to find the kandra. TenSoon offers to lead him there, so that Sazed can convince the kandra that the end is here.
Ruin tried many times to get spikes into other members of the crew. Though some of what happened makes it seem like it was easy for him to gain control of people, it really was not.
Sticking the metal in just the right place—at the right time—was incredibly difficult, even for a subtle creature like Ruin. For instance, he tried very hard to spike both Elend and Yomen. Elend managed to avoid it each time, as he did on the field outside of the small village that contained the next-to-last storage cache.
Ruin did actually manage to get a spike into Yomen, once. Yomen, however, removed the spike before Ruin got a firm grip on him. It was much easier for Ruin to get a hold on people who were passionate and impulsive than it was for him to hold on to people who were logical and prone to working through their actions in their minds.
Ruin gloats to Vin about his pending victory. Vin listens to his ramblings, looking for clues to defeat him.
Vin calls her guards to tell them she wants to make a deal with Yomen and that she has information for the obligator. Yomen seems tired, and Vin realizes that he is not a mistborn, but rather an atium misting. She tells Yomen to ask her any question and he asks about Elend's control of the koloss. She speaks of emotional allomancy combined with duralumin being strong enough to perform this task. Yomen says that Vin is part of the Lord Ruler's plans, and she plays along, stating that the Lord Ruler wanted Vin to meet Yomen through the hunt for the storage caches. Yomen has maps brought in, and Vin marks the location of the other caches on it. Vin notices the caches seem to be near mines, and another map with mineral deposits listed reveals a pattern for the caches all being near sources of metal. Vin then realizes that Ruin was using her and Elend to find the storage caches. Vin also realizes that Ruin was manipulating her to find the atium cache for some reason.
Marsh shows up, smiles at Vin, bows to Ruin, and tells Yomen that an attack is imminent. Marsh says he isn't there to protect the city, but rather to take the atium cache, but Yomen replies there was no great cache, just seven beads, and that he was bluffing Vin about having more. Ruin screams in frustration at learning this. Yomen pleads for help from Marsh but is rejected, saying the Lord Ruler is dead and that he was an unprofitable servant. Vin interjects that Elend won't attack and offers an alliance to Yomen now that Marsh refuses him. Marsh scoffs that Elend wouldn't attack the city to save Vin, but she says that Elend is a better man than that.
One might notice that Ruin did not send his Inquisitors to Fadrex until after Yomen had—apparently—confirmed that the atium was there in the city. Why not send them as soon as the final cache was located? Where were his minions in all of this?
One must realize that, in Ruin's mind, all men were his minions, particularly those whom he could manipulate directly. He didn't send an Inquisitor because they were busy doing other tasks. Instead, he sent someone who—in his mind—was exactly the same thing as an Inquisitor.
He tried to spike Yomen, failed, and by that time, Elend's army had arrived. So, he used a different pawn to investigate the cache for him and discover if the atium really was there or not. He didn't commit too many resources to the city at first, fearing a deception on the Lord Ruler's part. Like him, I still wonder if the caches were, in part, intended for just that purpose—to distract Ruin and keep him occupied.
In those moments when the Lord Ruler both held the power at the Well and was feeling it drain away from him, he understood a great many things. He saw the power of Feruchemy, and rightly feared it. Many of the Terris people, he knew, would reject him as the Hero, for he didn't fulfill their prophecies well. They'd see him as a usurper who killed the Hero they sent. Which, in truth, he was.
I think, over the years, Ruin would subtly twist him and make him do terrible things to his own people. But at the beginning, I suspect his decision against them was motivated more by logic than emotion. He was about to unveil a grand power in the Mistborn.
He could have, I suppose, kept Allomancy secret and used Feruchemists as his primary warriors and assassins. However, I think he was wise to choose as he did. Feruchemists, by the nature of their powers, have a tendency toward scholarship. With their incredible memories, they would have been very difficult to control over the centuries. Indeed, they were difficult to control, even when he suppressed them. Allomancy not only provided a spectacular new ability without that drawback, it offered a mystical power he could use to bribe kings to his side.
Elend asks Hammond if attacking the city with his koloss is the right thing to do, and Hammond replies that it isn't. Elend orders the camp packed up, and for them to return to Luthadel.
Yomen watches as a soldier states that Elend's army is leaving Fadrex. Ruin says this is very odd, and Vin decides to bluff him, saying they knew his plan all along, and that he can't find the atium cache on his own since it blinds him, and that they already located and hid the cache right under his nose. Marsh grabs Vin and yells at her to reveal the atium's location but Vin refuses. Marsh then orders Yomen to attack Elend's army and Yomen complies.
Elend and Hammond observe Yomen's inferior force charge out to attack their army, but is suspicious of this and orders the koloss to retreat, since it is similar to his own strategy when he took control of the koloss.
Ruin taunts Vin that she was the one who was played, and that he was only letting her control the koloss while it served his ends.
Elend feels control of the koloss ripped away from him. The koloss start attacking his army.
Marsh tells Vin that the Lord Ruler made an army of Inquisitors and koloss that would be taken over by Ruin eventually as Ruin patiently waited. Marsh shakes Vin again, but she manages to steal a metal vial from his sash and ingest it. She then removes her earring and duralumin pushes it into Marsh's forehead. Marsh drops. Vin yells at Yomen to withdraw his forces but he refuses. Vin orders her koloss to attack Yomen's soldiers. She loses control of them to an external force, but is able to convince Yomen to change his mind, and he orders a retreat as well as safe passage for Elend's army. Marsh recovers from his wound, and Vin hits him with a duralumin soothing but Marsh resists, and grows in size like a feruchemist, choking her. Vin draws upon the mists, and Pushes on Marsh's emotions, breaking through the resistance successfully, and seeing through his eyes briefly. She loses control and Marsh flees.
Elend and his army fight desperately against the koloss. Vin arrives, ordering a retreat into Fadrex.
Inquisitors had little chance of resisting Ruin. They had more spikes than any of his other Hemalurgic creations, and that put them completely under his domination. Yes, it would have taken a man of supreme will to resist Ruin even slightly while bearing the spikes of an Inquisitor.
Sazed rides TenSoon, who has taken the form of a very muscular horse, to the kandra homeland. TenSoon tells about the creation and abilities of kandra, and about other creatures of Ruin. TenSoon tells Sazed that Vin will lead an army of allomancers to the homeland, and that Sazed is to convince the First Generation how dire the situation is, since they have a task to do. They arrive at their destination, which turns out to be a cave complex at the Pits of Hathsin, where the homeland is located. TenSoon leaves and Sazed enters the kandra tunnel complex, and encounters a couple of kandra guards, who escort him forward.
Koloss also had little chance of breaking free. Four spikes, and their diminished mental capacity, left them fairly easy to dominate. Only in the throes of a blood frenzy did they have any form of autonomy. Four spikes also made them easier for Allomancers to control. In our time, it required a duralumin Push to take control of a kandra. Koloss, however, could be taken by a determined regular Push, particularly when they were afraid.
Elend and Vin and Yomen watch from inside Fadrex as an enormous army of koloss gathers outside. An gigantic earthquake hits, doing great damage to the city. Vin is again unable to use the mists, and she is wearing her earring. She ponders trying to bluff Ruin, and how to make the mists help her again. She tells Elend that she has to get the atium cache and bring it there, and leaves for Luthadel, hoping to make Ruin tip his hand.
When the Lord Ruler offered his plan to his Feruchemist friends—the plan to change them into mistwraiths—he was making them speak on behalf of all the land's Feruchemists. Though he changed his friends into kandra to restore their minds and memories, the rest he left as nonsentient mistwraiths. These bred more of their kind, living and dying, becoming a race unto themselves. From these children of the original mistwraiths, he made the next generations of kandra.
However, even gods can make mistakes, I have learned. Rashek, the Lord Ruler, thought to transform all of the living Feruchemists into mistwraiths. However, he did not think of the genetic heritage left in the other Terris people, whom he left alive. So it was that Feruchemists continued being born, if only rarely.
This oversight cost him much, but gained the world so much more.
Sazed is escorted through the kandra tunnels, and notices the kandra displaying fear toward him. He inquires about the status of the First Contract, now that the Lord Ruler is dead, but the kandra who answers doesn't know. He is led to the Trustwarren, and proclaims himself the Announcer, and that he is Terris as are the kandra, and that he discovered the Hero and has watched her and tells them the end is here. He is given a table to write at, and a crowd of kandra gathers, but they are only the Second Generation.
He asks to speak with their superiors but they scoff at his request. KanPaar asks if TenSoon sent Sazed and Sazed replies that he did, and KanPaar asks what Sazed thinks he can say to make them change their minds. Sazed speaks of his specialty of studying religions and that it is ominous that only one religion still exists, that of the Terris, and that religion has prophecies of what is happening at that moment, and that they should listen to someone of their own faith who brings tidings. Sazed also says they should read his corrupted notes about the Hero and compare them with the original knowledge compiled by those who have lived through it to see what Ruin is trying to conceal. The First Generation appears, telling all the other kandra to leave, so that they can speak with Sazed who they call a Worldbringer, alone.
The question remains, where did the original prophecies about the Hero of Ages come from? I now know that Ruin changed them, but did not fabricate them. Who first taught that a Hero would come, one who would be an emperor of all mankind, yet would be rejected by his own people? Who first stated he would carry the future of the world on his arms, or that he would repair that which had been sundered? And who decided to use the neutral pronoun, so that we wouldn't know if the Hero was a woman or a man?
Quellion actually placed his spike himself, as I understand it. The man was never entirely stable. His fervor for following Kelsier and killing the nobility was enhanced by Ruin, but Quellion had already had the impulses. His passionate paranoia bordered on insanity at times, and Ruin was able to prod him into placing that crucial spike.
Quellion's spike was bronze, and he made it from one of the first Allomancers he captured. That spike made him a Seeker, which was one of the ways he was able to find and blackmail so many Allomancers during his time as king of Urteau.
The point, however, is that people with unstable personalities were more susceptible to Ruin's influence, even if they didn't have a spike in them. That, indeed, is likely how Zane got his spike.
- Elend Venture
Elend and Yomen tour the city of Fadrex. Elend lectures Yomen on the fact that leading soldiers is about more than tactical knowledge and that emotion and courage are important. They travel to the infirmary in the Canton building. A boy with a case of mistsickness is brought in. Elend asks Yomen if he knew anything about the mistsickness and mentions the statistical anomaly, which Yomen didn't know about but which he doesn't seem excited about, since he says that sixteen is a sacred number in the Lord Ruler's religious doctrine. Yomen states there must be sixteen allomantic metals, including two undiscovered ones, to fit in with the pattern of sixteen. Elend watches the boy in pain and realizes that his experience is similar to the beatings used to snap allomancers. He goes to the infirmary to find someone who is mistfallen and has him drink an allomantic vial. After a few moments, the soldier feels odd, and Elend tells him to burn his metal, and Elend senses an allomantic pulse. He explains the mists were snapping allomancers, not harming them. Ruin sends his koloss to attack. Elend has Yomen gather every bit of physical allomancy powder he can find and have the mistfallen inbibe it since they will be able to burn it allomantically to fight the koloss.
There is something special about the number sixteen. For one thing, it was Preservation's sign to mankind.
Preservation knew, even before he imprisoned Ruin, that he wouldn't be able to communicate with humankind once he diminished himself. And so, he left clues—clues that couldn't be altered by Ruin. Clues that related back to the fundamental laws of the universe. The number was meant to be proof that something unnatural was happening, and that there was help to be found. It may have taken us long to figure this out, but when we eventually did understand the clue—late though it was—it provided a much-needed boost.
As for the other aspects of the number . . . well, even I am still investigating that. Suffice it to say that it has great ramifications regarding how the world, and the universe itself, works.
Sazed and the First Generation peruse Sazed's notes to try to find Ruin's alterations. Haddek speaks of how Ruin and Preservation created the world and the people, and their bargain that was broken by Preservation. Sazed wonders at how his religion has so much in common with many of the others that he rejected. He explains his doubts and Haddek says that Sazed's quest to find a religion that requires no faith is fruitless since no such religion exists. Haddek explains that their God is Preservation, not the Lord Ruler, and he tells of the gods being forces spread throughout the world, and that Preservation gave of himself to men more than Ruin did, and that Ruin would be coming for his body, which was gathered by the kandra. Sazed uses pewter to uncover a pit with a large amount of atium, referred to as the Trust. The kandra describe how the atium was moved around the empire in secret even from the inquisitors, to keep this knowledge secret from Ruin.
TenSoon finds a large river of lava blocking his path to Fadrex, and feels despair that he won't be able to reach his destination in time due to the required detour.
Yes, there are sixteen metals. I find it highly unlikely that the Lord Ruler did not know of them all. Indeed, the fact that he spoke of several on the plates in the storage caches meant that he knew at least of those.
I must assume that he did not tell mankind of them earlier for a reason. Perhaps he held them back to give him a secret edge, much as he kept back the single nugget of Preservation's body that made men into Mistborn. Or, perhaps he simply decided that mankind had enough power in the ten metals they already understood. Some things we shall never know. Part of me still finds what he did regrettable. During the thousand-year reign of the Lord Ruler, how many people were born, Snapped, lived, and died never knowing that they were Mistings, simply because their metals were unknown?
Of course, this did give us a slight advantage, at the end. Ruin had a lot of trouble giving duralumin to his Inquisitors, since they'd need an Allomancer who could burn it to kill before they could use it. And, since none of the duralumin Mistings in the world knew about their power, they didn't burn it and reveal themselves to Ruin. That left most Inquisitors without the power of duralumin, save in a few important cases—such as Marsh—where they got it from a Mistborn. This was usually considered a waste, for if one killed a Mistborn with Hemalurgy, one could draw out only one of their sixteen powers and lost the rest. Ruin considered it much better to try to subvert them and gain access to all of their power.
Vin reaches Luthadel, sensing that a dozen mistborn are chasing her. She goes to Kredik Shaw, and Ruin questions her, saying his minions already search the Lord Ruler's palace for the atium. Vin says she will never reveal the location of the atium cache, and Ruin orders his Inquisitors, thirteen in all, to attack her as Marsh watches. She sees one of them use feruchemical speed from extra spikes that it has. She fights well but is eventually overpowered, and pleads for the mists to aid her in her moment of desperation but nothing happens. Marsh tortures her, breaking her arms and one of her legs, telling her to reveal the location of the atium.
Marsh, under Ruin's almost total control, breaks Vin's other leg and starts breaking her fingers while a small part of his brain tries to resist. He thinks of how Kelsier treated her as the daughter he and Mare never had and how he had given up shortly before the rebellion that he worked so hard to bring about succeeded. He notices Vin's earring and remembers her story about it, and thinks of the note from Spook about the dangers of any metal piercing the body. Without thought, Marsh rips the earring out of Vin's ear.
Ruin's voice cuts off suddenly, and the mists return to Vin. She uses their power to heal her injuries and grapple with Marsh.
I have spoken of Inquisitors, and their ability to pierce copperclouds. As I said, this power is easily understood when one realizes that many Inquisitors were Seekers before their transformation, and that meant their bronze became twice as strong. There is at least one other case of a person who could pierce copperclouds. In her case, however, the situation was slightly different. She was a Mistborn from birth, and her sister was the Seeker. The death of that sister–and subsequent inheritance of power via the Hemalurgic spike used to kill that sister–left her twice as good at burning bronze as a typical Mistborn. And that let her see through the copperclouds of lesser Allomancers.
TenSoon senses a change in the mists, and notices that instead of swirling chaotically, they seem to be all flowing toward Luthadel. He feels invigorated by this and heads toward the capital.
Allrianne alerts Breeze to the odd behavior by the mists. Spook tells Breeze to have everyone in Urteau gather immediately in the caverns.
Elend and Hammond notice the change in the mists, but are busy with the battle against the koloss army. Suddenly they notice the koloss withdraw, heading toward Luthadel.
With the power of the mists fueling her Allomancy like an endless metal reserve, Vin fights the twelve Inquisitors. Her normal steelpushes act as if she was burning duralumin. She kills them all with ease, even demolishing the palace with one of her steelpushes. Marsh is the only Inquisitor remaining.
Marsh revels in the knowledge that whatever he did worked, as Ruin rages in the back of his mind, and that in the end he was able to not surrender. Vin pulls out one of his eye spikes while the mists finally finish flowing into her. She coughs, then vanishes before she can kill him.
She once asked Ruin why he had chosen her. The primary answer is simple. It had little to do with her personality, attitudes, or even skill with Allomancy.
She was simply the only child Ruin could find who was in a position to gain the right Hemalurgic spike—one that would grant her heightened power with bronze, which would then let her sense the location of the Well of Ascension. She had an insane mother, a sister who was a Seeker, and was—herself—Mistborn. That was precisely the combination Ruin needed.
There were other reasons, of course. But even Ruin didn't know them.
- Elend Venture
Elend and Yomen discuss the disappearance of the mists and the unusual heat. Elend orders everyone gather inside the caverns. Yomen gives his bead of atium to Elend, and reveals that he is a Seer, an atium misting. Elend leaves to find Vin.
Each Hemalurgic spike driven through a person's body gave Ruin some small ability to influence them. This was mitigated, however, by the mental fortitude of the one being controlled. In most cases—depending on the size of the spike and the length of time it had been worn—a single spike gave Ruin only minimal powers over a person. He could appear to them, and could warp their thoughts slightly, making them overlook certain oddities—for instance, their compulsion for keeping and wearing a simple earring.
Sazed learns a great deal about the kandra, their god Terr which translates into "to preserve" and the Terris prophecies which speak of the Hero of Ages being Preservation's successor. Other tenets of the religion focus on scholarship and building over destroying, aspects that seem mundane to Sazed. He then reviews his metalminds for information about the followers of the religions that he studied, and finds that their religious beliefs had more to do with their perception of the world than with the tenets and rules of the religions themselves. Sazed realizes that he has to decide whether or not to accept that the sign he witnessed was divine or simple chance. He realizes that as Breeze said that he is not meant to be an atheist. Having come to a decision, he goes to seek out the First Generation to learn about the First Contract.
Sazed reaches the Trustwarren, which is crowded with kandra who are discussing the sudden disappearance of the mists. KanPaar orders the kandra to disperse, but Haddek states the day of the Resolution may be at hand and orders all the kandra to leave. Haddek asks Sazed to advise them, and tells Sazed about the Resolution, which states that all kandra are to remove their Blessings if ordered by the First Generation, and that the First Generation would know when this would need to be done. Haddek speaks of the mists being Preservation's body, and someone says that a sliver remains, a shadow of self. Sazed hypothesizes that someone has taken up Preservation's power.
At that moment, a number of kandra show up, led by KanPaar, to depose the First Generation. Sazed argues, but is bound and locked up.
I've always wondered about the strange ability Allomancers have to pierce the mists. When one burned tin, he or she could see farther at night, looking through the mists. To the layman, this might seem like a logical connection—tin, after all, enhances the senses.
The logical mind, however, may find a puzzle in this ability. How, exactly, would tin let one see through the mists? As an obstruction, they are unconnected with the quality of one's eyesight. Both the nearsighted scholar and the long-sighted scout would have the same trouble seeing into the distance if there were a wall in the way.
This, then, should have been our first clue. Allomancers could see through the mists because the mists were, indeed, composed of the very same power as Allomancy. Once attuned by burning tin, the Allomancer was almost part of the mists. And therefore, they became more translucent to him.
Vin is floating above Luthadel, full of power, and encounters Ruin in the form of a cloud of shifting smoke. He says welcome to godhood. Vin's awareness and understanding expand greatly and she sees that the planet is rapidly dying, though many people have sought shelter in the storage caverns. She intervenes to block up the Ashmounts and clean the air, and instantly the world heats up from the release of the obstructions to the sunlight. She starts making changes which cause other macro problems as Ruin laughs at her futile efforts and blocks her from keeping a tidal wave from hitting some cities. Ruin speaks of his frustration at the balance between their two forces, like allomancy pushes and pulls having consequences. Ruin speaks of Preservation's desire to create humanity which was intentionally imbalanced. Vin realizes that she and Ruin are currently balanced but won't be if Ruin finds the hidden part of his self. Vin sees Elend heading to Luthadel.
Looking back, we should have been able to see the connection between the mists, Allomancy, and the power at the Well of Ascension. Not only could Allomancers' vision pierce the mists, but there was the fact that the mists swirled slightly around the body of a person using any kind of Allomancy. More telling, perhaps, was the fact that when a Hemalurgist used his abilities, it drove the mists away. The closer one came to Ruin, the more under his influence, and the longer one bore his spikes, the more the mists were repelled.
Elend finds the ruins of Kredik Shaw, and searches throughout Luthadel for Vin. He finds Penrod's corpse at Keep Venture, and tries to figure out where the people of Luthadel went. He hears the wind whisper to him west, pits and heads that way.
Vin expends a great amount of effort to speak to Elend because of Ruin's interference. Ruin says that time is nothing to gods.
It may seem odd to those reading this that atium was part of the body of a god. However, it is necessary to understand that when we said "body" we generally meant "power." As my mind has expanded, I've come to realize that objects and energy are actually composed of the very same things, and can change state from one to another. It makes perfect sense to me that the power of godhood would be manifest within the world in physical form. Ruin and Preservation were not nebulous abstractions. They were integral parts of existence. In a way, every object that existed in the world was composed of their power.
Atium, then, was an object that was one-sided. Instead of being composed of half Ruin and half Preservation—as, say, a rock would be—atium was completely of Ruin. The Pits of Hathsin were crafted by Preservation as a place to hide the chunk of Ruin's body that he had stolen away during the betrayal and imprisonment. Kelsier didn't truly destroy this place by shattering those crystals, for they would have regrown eventually—in a few hundred years—and continued to deposit atium, as the place was a natural outlet for Ruin's trapped power.
When people burned atium, then, they were drawing upon the power of Ruin—which is, perhaps, why atium turned people into such efficient killing machines. They didn't use up this power, however, but simply made use of it. Once a nugget of atium was expended, the power would return to the Pits and begin to coalesce again—just as the power at the Well of Ascension would return there again after it had been used.
I believe that the mists were searching for someone to become a new host for them. The power needed a consciousness to direct it. In this matter, I am still rather confused. Why would power used to create and destroy need a mind to oversee it? And yet, it seems to have only a vague will of its own, tied in to the mandate of its abilities. Without a consciousness to direct it, nothing could actually be created or destroyed. It's as if the power of Preservation understands that its tendency to reinforce stability is not enough. If nothing changed, nothing would ever come to exist.
That makes me wonder who or what the minds of Preservation and Ruin were. Regardless, the mists—the power of Preservation—chose someone to become their host long before all of this happened. That someone, however, was immediately seized by Ruin and used as a pawn. He must have known that by giving her a disguised Hemalurgic spike, he would keep the mists from investing themselves in her as they wished.
The three times she drew upon their power, then, were the three times when her earring had been removed from her body. When she had fought the Lord Ruler, his Allomancy had ripped it free. When fighting Marsh in Fadrex, she had used the earring as a weapon. And, at the end, Marsh ripped it out, freeing her and allowing the mists—which were now desperate for a host, since Preservation's last wisp was gone—to finally pour themselves into her.
Vin senses a change, and follows Ruin to the Pits of Hathsin, where she sees a refugee camp where Terris people are helping out. She sees something shining brightly, and hears KanPaar order some atium to be sold so that they could become rich and rule instead of serve. Vin feels a new appreciation for the lengths the Lord Ruler went to in concealing the atium. Ruin seizes control of KanPaar and demands to know where the atium is.
Elend arrives at the Pits of Hathsin, and sees some of his soldiers there, the mistfallen he had sent away with Demoux.
The First Generation is finished regenerating. TenSoon shows up, and attacks Sazed, though he tries to warn of the danger. Other kandra begin to shake and Haddek yells out that the Resolution has come. TenSoon reaches for his shoulder with one hand, but keeps choking Sazed to unconsciousness with the other.
The kandra people always said they were of Preservation, while the koloss and Inquisitors were of Ruin. Yet, the kandra bore Hemalurgic spikes, just like the others. Was their claim, then, simple delusion?
No, I think not. They were created by the Lord Ruler to be spies. When they said such things, most of us interpreted that as meaning he planned to use them as spies in his new government, because of their ability to imitate other people. Indeed, they were used for this purpose. But I see something much more grand in their existence. They were the Lord Ruler's double agents, planted with Hemalurgic spikes, yet trusted—taught, bound—to pull them free when Ruin tried to seize them. In Ruin's moment of triumph, when he'd always assumed the kandra would be his on a whim, the vast majority of them immediately switched sides and left him unable to seize his prize.
They were of Preservation all along.
Demoux tells Elend that there are several hundred thousand refugees at the Pits. Elend is concerned since an army of koloss is heading toward them, with no city walls or defenses for protection. Demoux tells Elend that the refugees came to the Pits because Kelsier told them to. Elend asks to speak to the men who saw Kelsier, and to have the mistfallen consume allomantic metals.
Sazed wakes up among a large group of mistwraiths, and goes to protect the atium, discovering that some kandra didn't remove their spikes. Led by KanPaar, they were trying to remove the atium to deliver it to Ruin. Sazed is discovered, and taps his steelmind for speed to reach his sack of metalminds and grab his charged pewtermind and iron mind. He closes and blocks the doorway to the Trustwarren using the extra weight and strength, and pleads for help.
Elend questions the eyewitnesses but isn't sure whether to believe them or not about Kelsier. Elend hears his name whispered on the wind and thinks of Vin. The voice guides him, accompanied by Demoux and several soldiers, to the Homeland. He finds Sazed, who is startled by his appearance. Sazed tells Elend to stop a group of kandra that appear from behind a door that Sazed was keeping closed, and the kandra are easily subdued. Sazed says the atium hoard is here, but Elend is more concerned about the people and orders them to take refuge in the caverns before the koloss and sunrise arrive.
Snapping has always been the dark side of Allomancy. A person's genetic endowment may make them a potential Allomancer, but in order for the power to manifest, the body must be put through extraordinary trauma. Though Elend spoke of how terrible his beating was, during our day, unlocking Allomancy in a person was easier than it had once been, for we had the infusion of Preservation's power into the human bloodlines via the nuggets granted to nobility by the Lord Ruler.
When Preservation set up the mists, he was afraid of Ruin escaping his prison. In those early days, before the Ascension, the mists began to Snap people as they did during our time—but this action of the mists was one of the only ways to awaken Allomancy in a person, for the genetic attributes were buried too deeply to be brought out by a simple beating. The mists of that day created Mistings only, of course—there were no Mistborn until the Lord Ruler made use of the nuggets. The people misinterpreted the mists' intent, as the process of Snapping Allomancers caused some—particularly the young and the old—to die. This hadn't been Preservation's desire, but he'd given up most of his consciousness to form Ruin's prison, and the mists had to be left to work as best they could without specific direction.
Ruin, subtle as ever, knew that he couldn't stop the mists from doing their work. However, he could do the unexpected and encourage them. And so, he helped make them stronger. That brought death to the plants of the world, and created the threat that became known as the Deepness.
Vin watches as the refugees flee to the kandra caverns. Ruin continues to taunt her. She sees the approaching doom, and grows angry and attacks Ruin. This surprises Ruin as he did not think attacking was possible due to Preservation's intent. She is not able to defeat Ruin since they are too evenly matched.
Sazed tells Elend that the atium is Ruin's body and advises him not to surrender it to their foe since the world would probably be immediately doomed. Sazed calmly tells Elend not to worry since Vin will save everyone. Demoux arrives and gives a status report on their forces. He says that all of his soldiers took metals but none of them showed allomantic abilities. Elend has Demoux eat an atium bead and Demoux is able to burn it, and Elend deduces that his group are likely all Seers.
Vin watches as Elend gives a speech to motivate his small group of soldiers as they prepare to fight the koloss. She tells him not to fight, but he and his men rush out and attack. Elend and his group glow brightly and she realizes they are all burning atium.
Elend fights and burns through a massive quantity of atium, unconcerned due to the vast supply of it on hand. Sazed stands by the cave exit to resupply any soldiers who need more.
Ruin is frustrated and tries to attack Vin but is rebuffed.
Sazed watches the battle, telling those nearby that Vin would appear.
Elend has been fighting for hours, but the koloss army still numbers in the thousands, while the atium mistings are being overwhelmed. Marsh suddenly appears, and he is also burning atium.
Human roams the kandra tunnels under Ruin's control, leading other koloss, and killing everyone they encounter. They believe that they find the atium cache and Ruin yells in pleasure.
Marsh attacks Elend burning the atium he got from a kandra. Elend's pewter runs out, but he is still able to burn pewter somehow. He looks up and sees Vin, and sees a dark force guiding Marsh. Elend then burns duralumin and atium, and has a flash of insight and knowledge. Elend buries his sword in Marsh's neck as Marsh's axe takes him in the chest. However Marsh is able to heal his wound while Elend isn't. Marsh claims victory but Elend says that he is wrong and that Elend won.
Human searches the storage location where the atium was stored and finds it empty.
Elend tells Marsh that all the atium has been burned up and none is left for Ruin.
Vin watches as Marsh decapitates Elend, and Ruin gloats over this. Inspired by Elend's sacrifice, she attacks Ruin, ignoring the pain that comes with using Preservation's power to attack. Due to the opposite nature of their Shards, the attack kills both Ati and Vin.
Once Vin died, the end came quickly. We were not prepared for it—but even all of the Lord Ruler's planning could not have prepared us for this. How did one prepare for the end of the world itself?
Sazed remains at the cave entrance, accompanied only by Demoux who is badly injured and missing a hand. The heat from the sun is oven-like and koloss continue to rampage, but Sazed believes in Vin. He sees the bodies of Vin and a stranger appear beside Elend's corpse, and wearing all his copperminds, he taps steel to reach them safely. He cries out in anguish and despair. Then he notices white mist and black smoke leaking from Vin and the stranger and he reaches out to take the powers but hesitates, insecure in his ability to use the powers intelligently. He sees his copperminds, on his arms, and remembers the prophecies. Sazed draws both powers in, and withdraws the knowledge from all his copperminds. Using the wisdom passed down by the religions he studied, he is able to restore the world and people to their pre-ascension state. Sazed realizes that he would retain and combine the powers as they were intended, and watch over Scadrial using both powers of Preservation and Ruin, in Harmony.
Vin was special.
Preservation chose her from a very young age, as I have mentioned. I believe that he was grooming her to take his power. Yet, the mind of Preservation was very weak at that point, reduced only to the fragment that we knew as the mist spirit. What made him choose this girl? Was it because she was a Mistborn? Was it because she had Snapped so early in life, coming to her powers even as she went through the pains of the unusually difficult labor her mother went through to bear her? Vin was unusually talented and strong with Allomancy, even from the beginning. I believe that she must have drawn some of the mist into her when she was still a child, in those brief times when she wasn't wearing the earring. Preservation had mostly gotten her to stop wearing it by the time Kelsier recruited her, though she put it back in for a moment before joining the crew. Then, she'd left it there at his suggestion. Nobody else could draw upon the mists. I have determined this. Why were they open to Vin and not others? I suspect that she couldn't have taken them all in until after she'd touched the power at the Well of Ascension. It was always meant, I believe, to be something of an attuning force. Something that, once touched, would adjust a person's body to be able to accept the mists. Yet, she did make use of a small crumb of Preservation's power when she defeated the Lord Ruler, a year before she even began hearing the thumping of the power's return to the Well. There is much more to this mystery. Perhaps I will tease it out eventually, as my mind grows more and more accustomed to its expanded nature. Perhaps I will determine why I was able to take the powers myself. For now, I only wish to make a simple acknowledgment of the woman who held the power just before me.
Of all of us who touched it, I feel she was the most worthy.
Spook wakes up, and accompanies Beldre and Breeze to the exit trapdoor of their cavern. They exit to find a green field of grass under a blue ashless sky. Urteau is gone without a trace. They encounter Hammond and other people who had been in Fadrex. Other caverns have Hammond's family and Demoux. They find a field of flowers, and the bodies of Vin and Elend. Spook finds a book written by Sazed describing the events leading up to the rebirth of Scadrial, and other tomes that had the information in Sazed's metalminds. The book also mentions that Sazed turned Spook into a mistborn and reversed his tin savant ability at Kelsier's request, and that there are two more undiscovered allomantic alloys.
Spook finds the picture of a flower and keeps it, and assures Beldre that everything will be ok.
- 1. Metals Reference Quick Chart
- 2. Names and Terms
- 3. Summaries of Previous Books
|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 · (Mistborn: Secret History · The Eleventh Metal)|
|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|