Mistborn the final empi.., p.10
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       Mistborn: The Final Empire, p.10

         Part #1 of Mistborn series by Brandon Sanderson
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Page 10

  “What do you think?” Dockson asked. “Even among thieves, Camon isn’t exactly known for his re?nement. I have socks worth more than this wine. ”

  Kelsier sighed. “Give me a cup anyway. ” Then he glanced back at Vin. “You want anything?”

  Vin didn’t respond.

  Kelsier smiled. “Don’t worry—we’re far less frightening than your friends think. ”

  “I don’t think they were her friends, Kell,” Dockson said from behind the bar.

  “Good point,” Kelsier said. “Regardless, child, you don’t have anything to fear from us. Other than Dox’s breath. ”

  Dockson rolled his eyes. “Or Kell’s jokes. ”

  Vin stood quietly. She could act weak, the way she had with Camon, but instincts told her that these men wouldn’t respond well to that tactic. So, she remained where she was, assessing the situation.

  The calmness fell upon her again. It encouraged her to be at ease, to be trusting, to simply do as the men were suggesting….

  No! She stayed where she was.

  Kelsier raised an eyebrow. “That’s unexpected. ”

  “What?” Dockson asked as he poured a cup of wine.

  “Nothing,” Kelsier said, studying Vin.

  “You want a drink or not, lass?” Dockson asked.

  Vin said nothing. All her life, as long as she could remember, she’d had her Luck. It made her strong, and it gave her an edge over other thieves. It was probably why she was still alive. Yet, all that time, she’d never really known what it was or why she could use it. Logic and instinct now told her the same thing—that she needed to ?nd out what this man knew.

  However he intended to use her, whatever his plans were, she needed to endure them. She had to ?nd out how he’d grown so powerful.

  “Ale,” she ?nally said.

  “Ale?” Kelsier asked. “That’s it?”

  Vin nodded, watching him carefully. “I like it. ”

  Kelsier rubbed his chin. “We’ll have to work on that,” he said. “Anyway, have a seat. ”

  Hesitant, Vin walked over and sat down opposite Kelsier at the small table. Her wounds throbbed, but she couldn’t afford to show weakness. Weakness killed. She had to pretend to ignore the pain. At least, sitting as she was, her head cleared.

  Dockson joined them a moment later, giving Kelsier a glass of wine and Vin her mug of ale. She didn’t take a drink.

  “Who are you?” she asked in a quiet voice.

  Kelsier raised an eyebrow. “You’re a blunt one, eh?”

  Vin didn’t reply.

  Kelsier sighed. “So much for my intriguing air of mystery. ”

  Dockson snorted quietly.

  Kelsier smiled. “My name is Kelsier. I’m what you might call a crewleader—but I run a crew that isn’t like any you’ve probably known. Men like Camon, along with his crew, like to think of themselves as predators, feeding off of the nobility and the various organizations of the Ministry. ”

  Vin shook her head. “Not predators. Scavengers. ” One would have thought, perhaps, that so close to the Lord Ruler, such things as thieving crews would not be able to exist. Yet, Reen had shown her that the opposite was true: Powerful, rich nobility congregated around the Lord Ruler. And, where power and riches existed, so did corruption—especially since the Lord Ruler tended to police his nobility far less than he did the skaa. It had to do, apparently, with his fondness for their ancestors.

  Either way, thieving crews like Camon’s were the rats who fed on the city’s corruption. And, like rats, they were impossible to entirely exterminate—especially in a city with the population of Luthadel.

  “Scavengers,” Kelsier said, smiling; apparently he did that a lot. “That’s an appropriate description, Vin. Well, Dox and I, we’re scavengers too…we’re just a higher quality of scavenger. We’re more well-bred, you might say—or perhaps just more ambitious. ”

  She frowned. “You’re noblemen?”

  “Lord, no,” Dockson said.

  “Or, at least,” Kelsier said, “not full-blooded ones. ”

  “Half-breeds aren’t supposed to exist,” Vin said carefully. “The Ministry hunts them. ”

  Kelsier raised an eyebrow. “Half-breeds like you?”

  Vin felt a shock. How…?

  “Even the Steel Ministry isn’t infallible, Vin,” Kelsier said. “If they can miss you, then they can miss others. ”

  Vin paused thoughtfully. “Milev. He called you Mistings. Those are some kind of Allomancer, right?”

  Dockson glanced at Kelsier. “She’s observant,” the shorter man said with an appreciative nod.

  “Indeed,” Kelsier agreed. “The man did call us Mistings, Vin—though the appellation was a bit hasty, since neither Dox nor I are technically Mistings. We do, however, associate with them quite a bit. ”

  Vin sat quietly for a moment, sitting beneath the scrutiny of the two men. Allomancy. The mystical power held by the nobility, granted to them by the Lord Ruler some thousand years before as a reward for their loyalty. It was basic Ministry doctrine; even a skaa like Vin knew that much. The nobility had Allomancy and privilege because of their ancestors; the skaa were punished for the same reason.

  The truth was, however, that she didn’t really know what Allomancy was. It had something to do with ?ghting, she’d always assumed. One “Misting,” as they were called, was said to be dangerous enough to kill an entire thieving team. Yet, the skaa she knew spoke of the power in whispered, uncertain tones. Before this moment, she’d never even paused to consider the possibility that it might simply be the same thing as her Luck.

  “Tell me, Vin,” Kelsier said, leaning forward with interest. “Do you realize what you did to that obligator in the Canton of Finance?”

  “I used my Luck,” Vin said quietly. “I use it to make people less angry. ”

  “Or less suspicious,” Kelsier said. “Easier to scam. ”

  Vin nodded.

  Kelsier held up a ?nger. “There are a lot of things you’re going to have to learn. Techniques, rules, and exercises. One lesson, however, cannot wait. Never use emotional Allomancy on an obligator. They’re all trained to recognize when their passions are being manipulated. Even the high nobility are forbidden from Pulling or Pushing the emotions of an obligator. You are what caused that obligator to send for an Inquisitor. ”

  “Pray the creature never catches your trail again, lass,” Dockson said quietly, sipping his wine.

  Vin paled. “You didn’t kill the Inquisitor?”

  Kelsier shook his head. “I just distracted him for a bit— which was quite dangerous enough, I might add. Don’t worry, many of the rumors about them aren’t true. Now that he’s lost your trail, he won’t be able to ?nd you again. ”

  “Most likely,” Dockson said.

  Vin glanced at the shorter man apprehensively.

  “Most likely,” Kelsier agreed. “There are a lot of things we don’t know about the Inquisitors—they don’t seem to follow the normal rules. Those spikes through their eyes, for instance, should kill them. Nothing I’ve learned about Allomancy has ever provided an explanation for how those creatures keep living. If it were only a regular Misting Seeker on your trail, we wouldn’t need to worry. An Inquistor… well, you’ll want to keep your eyes open. Of course, you already seem pretty good at that. ”

  Vin sat uncomfortably for a moment. Eventually, Kelsier nodded to her mug of ale. “You aren’t drinking. ”

  “You might have slipped something in it,” Vin said.

  “Oh, there was no need for me to sneak something into your drink,” Kelsier said with a smile, pulling an object out of his suit coat pocket. “After all, you’re going to drink this vial of mysterious liquid quite willingly. ”

  He set a small glass vial on the tabletop. Vin frowned, regarding the liquid within. There was a dark residue at its bottom. “What is it?” she asked.

  “If I told you, it wouldn’t be mysterious,” Kelsier said
with a smile.

  Dockson rolled his eyes. “The vial is ?lled with an alcohol solution and some ?akes of metal, Vin. ”

  “Metal?” she asked with a frown.

  “Two of the eight basic Allomantic metals,” Kelsier said. “We need to do some tests. ”

  Vin eyed the vial.

  Kelsier shrugged. “You’ll have to drink it if you want to know any more about this Luck of yours. ”

  “You drink half ?rst,” Vin said.

  Kelsier raised an eyebrow. “A bit on the paranoid side, I see. ”

  Vin didn’t respond.

  Finally, he sighed, picking up the vial and pulling off the plug.

  “Shake it up ?rst,” Vin said. “So you get some of the sediment. ”

  Kelsier rolled his eyes, but did as requested, shaking the vial, then downing half of its contents. He set it back on the table with a click.

  Vin frowned. Then she eyed Kelsier, who smiled. He knew that he had her. He had shown off his power, had tempted her with it. The only reason to be subservient to those with power is so that you can learn to someday take what they have.

  Reen’s words.

  Vin reached out and took the vial, then she downed its contents. She sat, waiting for some magical transformation or surge of power—or even signs of poison. She felt nothing.

  How… anticlimactic. She frowned, leaning back in her chair. Out of curiosity, she felt at her Luck.

  And felt her eyes widen in shock.

  It was there, like a massive golden hoard. A storage of power so incredible that it stretched her understanding. Always before, she had needed to be a scrimp with her Luck, holding it in reserve, using up morsels sparingly. Now she felt like a starving woman invited to a high nobleman’s feast. She sat, stunned, regarding the enormous wealth within her.

  “So,” Kelsier said with a prodding voice. “Try it. Soothe me. ”

  Vin reached out, tentatively touching her newfound mass of Luck. She took a bit, and directed it at Kelsier.

  “Good. ” Kelsier leaned forward eagerly. “But we already knew you could do that. Now the real test, Vin. Can you go the other way? You can dampen my emotions, but can you en?ame them too?”

  Vin frowned. She’d never used her Luck in such a way; she hadn’t even realized that she could. Why was he so eager?

  Suspicious, Vin reached for her source of Luck. As she did so, she noticed something interesting. What she had ?rst interpreted as one massive source of power was actually two different sources of power. There were different types of Luck.

  Eight. He’d said there were eight of them. But…what do the others do?

  Kelsier was still waiting. Vin reached to the second, unfamiliar source of Luck, doing as she’d done before and directing it at him.

  Kelsier’s smile deepened, and he sat back, glancing at Dockson. “That’s it then. She did it. ”

  Dockson shook his head. “To be honest, Kell, I’m not sure what to think. Having one of you around was unsettling enough. Two, though…”

 

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