Mistborn the final empi.., p.104
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       Mistborn: The Final Empire, p.104

         Part #1 of Mistborn series by Brandon Sanderson
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Page 104

  “He planned this all from the start,” Ham said with wonder. “Kelsier knew that the skaa wouldn’t rise up. They’d been beaten down for so long, trained to think that the Lord Ruler owned both their bodies and their souls. He understood that they would never rebel…not unless he gave them a new god. ”

  “Yes,” Renoux said, stepping forward. The light glittered off his face, and Vin gasped in surprise.

  “Kelsier!” she screamed.

  Ham grabbed her shoulder. “Careful, child. It’s not him. ”

  The creature looked at her. It wore Kelsier’s face, but the eyes…they were different. The face didn’t bear Kelsier’s characteristic smile. It seemed hollow. Dead.

  “I apologize,” it said. “This was to be my part in the plan, and is the reason Kelsier originally contracted with me. I was to take his bones once he was dead, then appear to his followers to give them faith and strength. ”

  “What are you?” Vin asked with horror.

  Renoux-Kelsier looked at her, and then his face shimmered, becoming transparent. She could see his bones through the gelatinous skin. It reminded her of…

  “A mistwraith. ”

  “A kandra,” the creature said, its skin losing its transparency. “A mistwraith that has…grown up, you might say. ”

  Vin turned away in revulsion, remembering the creatures she had seen in the mist. Scavengers, Kelsier had said… creatures that digested the bodies of the dead, stealing their skeletons and images. The legends are even more true than I thought.

  “You were part of this plan too,” the kandra said. “All of you. You ask why he needed a crew? He needed men of virtue, men who could learn to worry more for the people than for coin. He put you before armies and crowds, letting you practice leadership. He was using you…but he was also training you. ”

  The creature looked to Dockson, Breeze, then Ham. “Bureaucrat, politician, general. For a new nation to be born, it will need men of your individual talents. ” The kandra nodded to a large sheet of paper af?xed to a table a short distance away. “That is for you to follow. I have other business to be about. ”

  It turned as if to leave, then paused beside Vin, turning toward her with its disturbingly Kelsier-like face. Yet, the creature itself wasn’t like Renoux or Kelsier. It seemed passionless.

  The kandra held up a small pouch. “He asked me to give you this. ” It dropped the pouch into her hand, then continued on, the crew giving it a wide berth as it left the warehouse.

  Breeze started toward the table ?rst, but Ham and Dockson beat him to it. Vin looked down at the bag. She was…afraid to see what it contained. She hurried forward, joining the crew.

  The sheet was a map of the city, apparently copied from the one Marsh had sent. Written at the top were some words.

  My friends, you have a lot of work to do, and you must do it quickly. You must organize and distribute the weapons in this warehouse, then you must do the same in two others like it located in the other slums. There are horses in a side room for ease of travel.

  Once you distribute the weapons, you must secure the city gates and subdue the remaining members of the Garrison. Breeze, your team will do this—march on the Garrison ?rst, so that you can take the gates in peace.

  There are four Great Houses that retain a strong military presence in the city. I have marked them on the map. Ham, your team will deal with these. We don’t want an armed force other than our own inside the city.

  Dockson, remain behind while the initial strikes happen. More and more skaa will come to the warehouses once word gets out. Breeze and Ham’s armies will include the troops we have trained, as well as augmentations—I hope—from the skaa gathering in the streets. You will need to make certain that the regular skaa get their weapons, so that Clubs can lead the assault on the palace itself.

  The Soothing stations should already be gone—Renoux delivered the proper order to our assassin teams before he came to get you to bring you here. If you have time, send some of Ham’s Thugs to check out those stations. Breeze, your own Soothers will be needed amongst the skaa to encourage them to bravery.

  I think that’s everything. It was a fun job, wasn’t it? When you remember me, please remember that. Remember to smile. Now, move quickly.

  May you rule in wisdom.

  The map had the city divided, with the various divisions labeled with various crewmembers’ names. Vin noticed that she, along with Sazed, were left out. “I’ll go back to that group we left by our house,” Clubs said in a grumbling voice. “Bring them here to get weapons. ”

  He began to hobble away. “Clubs?” Ham said, turning. “No offense, but…why did he include you as an army leader? What do you know of warfare?”

  Clubs snorted, then lifted up his trouser leg, showing the long, twisting scar that ran up the side of his calf and thigh— obviously the source of his limp. “Where do you think I got this?” he said, then began to move away.

  Ham turned back with wonder. “I don’t believe this is happening. ”

  Breeze shook his head. “And I assumed that I knew something about manipulating people. This… this is amazing. The economy is on the verge of collapsing, and the nobility that survive will soon be at open warfare on the countryside. Kell showed us how to kill Inquisitors—we’ll just need to pull down the others and behead them. As for the Lord Ruler. . ”

  Eyes turned on Vin. She looked down at the pouch in her hand, and pulled it open. A smaller sack, obviously ?lled with atium beads, fell into her hand. It was followed by a small bar of metal wrapped in a sheet of paper. The Eleventh Metal.

  Vin unwrapped the paper.

  Vin, it read. Your original duty tonight was going to be to assassinate the high noblemen remaining in the city. But, well, you convinced me that maybe they should live.

  I could never ?gure out how this blasted metal was supposed to work. It’s safe to burn—it won’t kill you—but it doesn’t appear to do anything useful. If you’re reading this, then I failed to ?gure out how to use it when I faced the Lord Ruler. I don’t think it matters. The people needed something to believe in, and this was the only way to give it to them.

  Please don’t be angry at me for abandoning you. I was given an extension on life. I should have died in Mare’s place years ago. I was ready for this.

  The others will need you. You’re their Mistborn now—you’ll have to protect them in the months to come. The nobility will send assassins against our ?edgling kingdom’s rulers.

  Farewell. I’ll tell Mare about you. She always wanted a daughter.

  “What does it say, Vin?” Ham asked.

  “It…says that he doesn’t know how the Eleventh Metal works. He’s sorry—he wasn’t certain how to defeat the Lord Ruler. ”

  “We’ve got an entire city full of people to ?ght him,” Dox said. “I seriously doubt he can kill us all—if we can’t destroy him, we’ll just tie him up and toss him in a dungeon. ”

  The others nodded.

  “All right!” Dockson said. “Breeze and Ham, you need to get to those other warehouses and begin giving out weapons. Spook, go fetch the apprentices—we’ll need them to run messages. Let’s go!”

  Everyone scattered. Soon, the skaa they had seen earlier burst into the warehouse, holding their torches high, looking in awe at the wealth of weaponry. Dockson worked ef?ciently, ordering some of the newcomers to be distributors, sending others to go gather their friends and family. Men began to gear up, gathering weapons. Everyone was busy except for Vin.

  She looked up at Sazed, who smiled at her. “Sometimes we just have to wait long enough, Mistress,” he said. “Then we ?nd out why exactly it was that we kept believing. There is a saying that Master Kelsier was fond of. ”

  “There’s always another secret,” Vin whispered. “But Saze, everyone has something to do except me. I was originally supposed to go assassinate noblemen, but Kell doesn’t want me to do that anymore. ”

  “They have to be n
eutralized,” Sazed said, “but not necessarily murdered. Perhaps your place was simply to show Kelsier that fact?”

  Vin shook her head. “No. I have to do more, Saze. ” She gripped the empty pouch, frustrated. Something crinkled inside of it.

  She looked down, opening the pouch and noticing a piece of paper that she hadn’t seen before. She pulled it out and unfolded it delicately. It was the drawing that Kelsier had shown her—the picture of a ?ower. Mare had always kept it with her, dreaming of a future where the sun wasn’t red, where plants were green….

  Vin looked up.

  Bureaucrat, politician, soldier. . there’s something else that every kingdom needs.

  A good assassin.

  She turned, pulling out a vial of metal and drinking its contents, using the liquid to wash down a couple beads of atium.

  She walked over to the pile of weapons, picking up a small bundle of arrows. They had stone heads. She began breaking the heads off, leaving about a half inch of wood attached to them, discarding the ?etched shafts.

  “Mistress?” Sazed asked with concern.

  Vin walked past him, searching through the armaments. She found what she wanted in a shirtlike piece of armor, constructed from large rings of interlocking metal. She pried a handful of these free with a dagger and pewter-enhanced ?ngers.

  “Mistress, what are you doing?”

  Vin walked over to a trunk beside the table, within which she had seen a large collection of powdered metals. She ?lled her pouch with several handfuls of pewter dust.

  “I’m worried about the Lord Ruler,” she said, taking a ?le from the box and scraping off a few ?akes of the Eleventh Metal. She paused—eyeing the unfamiliar, silvery metal— then swallowed the ?akes with a gulp from her ?ask. She put a couple more ?akes in one of her backup metal vials.

  “Surely the rebellion can deal with him,” Sazed said. “He is not so strong without all of his servants, I think. ”

  “You’re wrong,” Vin said, rising and walking toward the door. “He’s strong, Saze. Kelsier couldn’t feel him, not like I can. He didn’t know. ”

  “Where are you going?” Sazed asked behind her.

  Vin paused in the doorway, turning, mist curling around her. “Inside the palace complex, there is a chamber protected by soldiers and Inquisitors. Kelsier tried to get into it twice. ” She turned back toward the dark mists. “Tonight, I’m going to ?nd out what’s inside of it. ”

  I have decided that I am thankful for Rashek’s hatred. It does me well to remember that there are those who abhor me. My place is not to seek popularity or love; my place is to ensure mankind’s survival.

  36

  VIN WALKED QUIETLY TOWARD KREDIK Shaw. The sky behind her burned, the mists re?ecting and diffusing the light of a thousand torches. It was like a radiant dome over the city.

  The light was yellow, the color Kelsier had always said the sun should be.

  Four nervous guards waited at the same palace doorway that she and Kelsier had attacked before. They watched her approach. Vin stepped slowly, quietly, on the mist-wetted stones, her mistcloak rustling solemnly.

 
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