Mistborn the final empi.., p.103
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       Mistborn: The Final Empire, p.103
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         Part #1 of Mistborn series by Brandon Sanderson
Page 103

  It was the same as before, when Reen had abandoned her. What was the difference? At least Reen had been honest. He’d always promised that he would leave. Kelsier had led her along, telling her to trust and to love, but Reen had always been the truthful one.

  “I don’t want to do this anymore,” she whispered to the mists. “Can’t you just take me?”

  The mists gave no answer. They continued to spin playfully, uncaring. Always changing—yet somehow, always the same.

  “Mistress?” called an uncertain voice from below. “Mistress, is that you up there?”

  Vin sighed, burning tin, then extinguishing steel and letting herself drop. Her mistcloak ?uttered as she fell through the mists; she landed quietly on the rooftop above their safe house. Sazed stood a short distance away, beside the steel ladder that the lookouts had been using to get atop the building.

  “Yes, Saze?” she asked tiredly, reaching out to Pull up the three coins she’d been using as anchors to stabilize her like the legs of a tripod. One of them was twisted and bent—the same coin she and Kelsier had gotten into a Pushing match over so many months ago.

  “I’m sorry, Mistress,” Sazed said. “I simply wondered where you had gone. ”

  She shrugged.

  “It is a strangely quiet night, I think,” Sazed said.

  “A mournful night. ” Hundreds of skaa had been massacred following Kelsier’s death, and hundreds more had been trampled during the rush to escape.

  “I wonder if his death even meant anything,” she said quietly. “We probably saved a lot fewer than were killed. ”

  “Slain by evil men, Mistress. ”

  “Ham often asks if there even is such a thing as ‘evil. ’ ”

  “Master Hammond likes to ask questions,” Sazed said, “but even he doesn’t question the answers. There are evil men…just as there are good men. ”

  Vin shook her head. “I was wrong about Kelsier. He wasn’t a good man—he was just a liar. He never had a plan for defeating the Lord Ruler. ”

  “Perhaps,” Sazed said. “Or, perhaps he never had an opportunity to ful?ll that plan. Perhaps we just don’t understand the plan. ”

  “You sound like you still believe in him. ” Vin turned and walked to the edge of the ?at-topped roof, staring out over the quiet, shadowy city.

  “I do, Mistress,” Sazed said.

  “How? How can you?”

  Sazed shook his head, walking over to stand beside her. “Belief isn’t simply a thing for fair times and bright days, I think. What is belief—what is faith—if you don’t continue in it after failure?”

  Vin frowned.

  “Anyone can believe in someone, or something, that always succeeds, Mistress. But failure… ah, now, that is hard to believe in, certainly and truly. Dif?cult enough to have value, I think. ”

  Vin shook her head. “Kelsier doesn’t deserve it. ”

  “You don’t mean that, Mistress,” Sazed said calmly. “You’re angry because of what happened. You hurt. ”

  “Oh, I mean it,” Vin said, feeling a tear on her cheek. “He doesn’t deserve our belief. He never did. ”

  “The skaa think differently—their legends about him are growing quickly. I shall have to return here soon and collect them. ”

  Vin frowned. “You would gather stories about Kelsier?”

  “Of course,” Sazed said. “I collect all religions. ”

  Vin snorted. “This is no religion we’re talking about, Sazed. This is Kelsier. ”

  “I disagree. He is certainly a religious ?gure to the skaa. ”

  “But, we knew him,” Vin said. “He was no prophet or god. He was just a man. ”

  “So many of them are, I think,” Sazed said quietly.

  Vin just shook her head. They stood there for a moment, watching the night. “What of the others?” she ?nally asked.

  “They are discussing what to do next,” Sazed said. “I believe it has been decided that they will leave Luthadel separately and seek refuge in other towns. ”

  “And…you?”

  “I must travel north—to my homeland, to the place of the Keepers—so that I can share the knowledge that I possess. I must tell my brethren and sisters of the logbook—especially the words regarding our ancestor, the man named Rashek. There is much to learn in this story, I think. ”

  He paused, then glanced at her. “This is not a journey I can take with another, Mistress. The places of the Keepers must remain secret, even from you. ”

  Of course, Vin thought. Of course he’d go too.

  “I will return,” he promised.

  Sure you will. Just like all of the others have.

  The crew had made her feel needed for a time, but she’d always known it would end. It was time to go back to the streets. Time to be alone again.

  “Mistress…” Sazed said slowly. “Do you hear that?”

  She shrugged. But. . there was something. Voices. Vin frowned, walking to the other side of the building. They grew louder, becoming easily distinct even without tin. She peered over the side of the rooftop.

  A group of skaa men, perhaps ten in number, stood in the street below. A thieving crew? Vin wondered as Sazed joined her. The group’s numbers were swelling as more skaa timidly left their dwellings.

  “Come,” said a skaa man who stood at the front of the group. “Fear not the mist! Didn’t the Survivor name himself Lord of the Mists? Did he not say that we have nothing to fear from them? Indeed, they will protect us, give us safety. Give us power, even!”

  As more and more skaa left their homes without obvious repercussion, the group began to swell even further.

  “Go get the others,” Vin said.

  “Good idea,” Sazed said, moving quickly to the ladder.

  “Your friends, your children, your fathers, your mothers, wives, and lovers,” the skaa man said, lighting a lantern and holding it up. “They lie dead in the street not a half hour from here. The Lord Ruler doesn’t even have the decency to clean up his slaughter!”

  The crowd began to mutter in agreement.

  “Even when the cleaning occurs,” the man said, “will it be the Lord Ruler’s hands that dig the graves? No! It will be our hands. Lord Kelsier spoke of this. ”

  “Lord Kelsier!” several men agreed. The group was getting large now, being joined by women and youths.

  Clanking on the ladder announced Ham’s arrival. He was joined shortly by Sazed, then Breeze, Dockson, Spook, and even Clubs.

  “Lord Kelsier!” proclaimed the man below. Others lit torches, brightening the mists. “Lord Kelsier fought for us today! He slew an immortal Inquisitor!”

  The crowd grumbled in assent.

  “But then he died!” someone yelled.

  Silence.

  “And what did we do to help him?” the leader asked. “Many of us were there—thousands of us. Did we help? No! We waited and watched, even as he fought for us. We stood dumbly and let him fall. We watched him die!

  “Or did we? What did the Survivor say—that the Lord Ruler could never really kill him? Kelsier is the Lord of the Mists! Is he not with us now?”

  Vin turned to the others. Ham was watching carefully, but Breeze just shrugged. “The man’s obviously insane. A religious nut. ”

  “I tell you, friends!” screamed the man below. The crowd was still growing, more and more torches being lit. “I tell you the truth! Lord Kelsier appeared to me this very night! He said that he would always be with us. Will we let him down again?”

  “No!” came the reply.

  Breeze shook his head. “I didn’t think they had it in them. Too bad it’s such a small—”

  “What’s that?” Dox asked.

  Vin turned, frowning. There was a pocket of light in the distance. Like. . torches, lit in the mists. Another one appeared to the east, near a skaa slum. A third appeared. Then a fourth. In a matter of moments, it seemed like the entire city was glowing.

  “You insane gen
ius…” Dockson whispered.

  “What?” Clubs asked, frowning.

  “We missed it,” Dox said. “The atium, the army, the nobility… that wasn’t the job Kelsier was planning. This was his job! Our crew was never supposed to topple the Final Empire—we were too small. An entire city’s population, however. . ”

  “You’re saying he did this on purpose?” Breeze asked.

  “He always asked me the same question,” Sazed said from behind. “He always asked what gave religions so much power. Each time, I answered him the same…. ” Sazed looked at them, cocking his head. “I told him that it was because their believers had something they felt passionate about. Something…or someone. ”

  “But, why not tell us?” Breeze asked.

  “Because he knew,” Dox said quietly. “He knew something we would never agree to. He knew that he would have to die. ”

  Breeze shook his head. “I don’t buy it. Why even bother with us, then? He could have done this on his own. ”

  Why even bother. . “Dox,” Vin said, turning. “Where’s that warehouse Kelsier rented, the one where he held his informant meetings?”

  Dockson paused. “Not far away, actually. Two streets down. He said he wanted it to be near the bolt-lair…. ”

  “Show me!” Vin said, scrambling over the side of the building. The gathered skaa continued to yell, each cry louder than the one before. The entire street blazed with light, ?ickering torches turning the mist into a brilliant haze.

  Dockson led her down the street, the rest of the crew trailing behind. The warehouse was a large, run-down structure squatting disconsolately in the slum’s industrial section. Vin walked up to it, then ?ared pewter and smashed off the lock.

  The door slowly swung open. Dockson held up a lantern, and its light revealed sparkling piles of metal. Weapons. Swords, axes, staves, and helmets glittered in the light—an incredible silvery hoard.

  The crew stared at the room in wonder.

  “This is the reason,” Vin said quietly. “He needed the Renoux front to buy weapons in such numbers. He knew his rebellion would need these if they were going to succeed in taking the city. ”

  “Why gather an army, then?” Ham said. “Was it just a front too?”

  “I guess,” Vin said.

  “Wrong,” a voice said, echoing through the cavernous warehouse. “There was so much more to it than that. ”

  The crew jumped, and Vin ?ared her metals… until she recognized the voice. “Renoux?”

  Dockson held his lantern higher. “Show yourself, creature. ”

  A ?gure moved in the far back of the warehouse, staying to shadow. However, when it spoke, its voice was unmistakable. “He needed the army to provide a core of trained men for the rebellion. That part of his plan was… hampered by events. That was only one bit of why he needed you, however. The noble houses needed to fall to leave a void in the political structure. The Garrison needed to leave the town so that the skaa wouldn’t be slaughtered. ”

 
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