Mistborn the final empi.., p.105
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       Mistborn: The Final Empire, p.105
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         Part #1 of Mistborn series by Brandon Sanderson
Page 105

  One of the guards lowered a spear at her, and Vin stopped right in front of him.

  “I know you,” she said quietly. “You endured the mills, the mines, and the forges. You knew that someday they would kill you, and leave your families to starve. So, you went to the Lord Ruler—guilty but determined—and joined his guards. ”

  The four men glanced at each other, confused.

  “The light behind me comes from a massive skaa rebellion,” she said. “The entire city is rising up against the Lord Ruler. I don’t blame you men for your choices, but a time of change is coming. Those rebels could use your training and your knowledge. Go to them—they gather in the Square of the Survivor. ”

  “The…Square of the Survivor?” a soldier asked.

  “The place where the Survivor of Hathsin was killed earlier today. ”

  The four men exchanged looks, uncertain.

  Vin Rioted their emotions slightly. “You don’t have to live with the guilt anymore. ”

  Finally, one of the men stepped forward and ripped the symbol off his uniform, then strode determinedly into the night. The other three paused, then followed—leaving Vin with an open entrance to the palace.

  Vin walked down the corridor, eventually passing the same guard chamber as before. She strode inside—stepping past a group of chatting guards without hurting any of them—and entered the hallway beyond. Behind her, the guards shook off their surprise and called out in alarm. They burst into the corridor, but Vin jumped and Pushed against the lantern brackets, hurling herself down the hallway.

  The men’s voices grew distant; even running, they wouldn’t be able to keep up with her. She reached the end of the corridor, then let herself drop lightly to the ground, enveloping cloak falling around her body. She continued her resolute, unhurried pace. There was no reason to run. They’d be waiting for her anyway.

  She passed through the archway, stepping into the dome-roofed central chamber. Silver murals lined the walls, braziers burned in the corners, the ?oor was an ebony marble.

  And two Inquisitors stood blocking her path.

  Vin strode quietly through the room, approaching the building-within-a-building that was her goal.

  “We search all this time,” said an Inquisitor in his grinding voice. “And you come to us. A second time. ”

  Vin stopped, standing about twenty feet in front of the pair. They loomed, each of them nearly two feet taller than she, smiling and con?dent.

  Vin burned atium, then whipped her hands from beneath her cloak, tossing a double handful of arrowheads into the air. She ?ared steel, Pushing powerfully against the rings of metal wrapped loosely around the arrowheads’ broken hafts. The missiles shot forward, ripping across the room. The lead Inquisitor chuckled, raising a hand and Pushing disdainfully against the missiles.

  His Push ripped the unattached rings free from the hafts, shooting the bits of metal backward. The arrowheads themselves, however, continued forward—no longer Pushed from behind, but still carried by a deadly momentum.

  The Inquisitor opened his mouth in surprise as two dozen arrowheads struck him. Several punched completely through his ?esh, continuing on to snap against the stone wall behind him. Several others struck his companion in the legs.

  The lead Inquisitor jerked, spasming as he collapsed. The other growled, staying on his feet, but wobbling a bit on the weakened leg. Vin dashed forward, ?aring her pewter. The remaining Inquisitor moved to block her, but she reached inside her cloak and threw out a large handful of pewter dust.

  The Inquisitor stopped, confused. To his “eyes” he would see nothing but a mess of blue lines—each one leading to a speck of metal. With so many sources of metal concentrated in one place, the lines would be virtually blinding.

  The Inquisitor spun, angry, as Vin dashed past him. He Pushed against the dust, blowing it away, but as he did so, Vin whipped out a glass dagger and ?ipped it toward him. In the confusing mess of blue lines and atium shadows, he missed noticing the dagger, and it took him square in the thigh. He fell, cursing in a crackly voice.

  Good thing that worked, Vin thought, leaping over the groaning body of the ?rst Inquisitor. Wasn’t sure about those eyes of theirs.

  She threw her weight against the door, ?aring pewter and tossing up another handful of dust to keep the remaining Inquisitor from targeting any metals on her body. She didn’t turn back to ?ght the two further—not with the trouble one of the creatures had given Kelsier. Her goal this in?ltration wasn’t to kill, but to gather information, then run.

  Vin burst into the building-within-a-building, nearly tripping on a rug made from some exotic fur. She frowned, scanning the chamber urgently, searching for whatever the Lord Ruler hid inside of it.

  It has to be here, she thought desperately. The clue to defeating him—the way to win this battle. She was counting on the Inquisitors being distracted by their wounds long enough for her to search out the Lord Ruler’s secret and escape.

  The room had only one exit—the entrance she’d come through—and a hearth burned in the center of the chamber. The walls were decorated with odd trappings; furs hung from most places, the pelts dyed in strange patterns. There were a few old paintings, their colors faded, their canvases yellowed.

  Vin searched quickly, urgently, looking for anything that could prove to be a weapon against the Lord Ruler. Unfortunately, she saw nothing useful; the room felt foreign, but unremarkable. In fact, it had a comfortable hominess, like a study or den. It was packed full of strange objects and decorations—like the horns of some foreign beast and a strange pair of shoes with very wide, ?at bottoms. It was the room of a pack rat, a place to keep memories of the past.

  She jumped as something moved near the center of the room. A pivoting chair stood by the hearth, and it spun slowly, revealing the wizened old man who sat in it. Bald, with liver-spotted skin, he appeared to be in his seventies. He wore rich, dark clothing, and he frowned angrily at Vin.

  That’s it, Vin thought. I’ve failed—there’s nothing here. Time to get out.

  Just as she was spinning to dash away, however, rough hands grabbed her from behind. She cursed, struggling as she glanced down at the Inquisitor’s bloodied leg. Even with pewter, he shouldn’t have been able to walk on it. She tried to twist away, but the Inquisitor had her in a powerful grasp.

  “What is this?” the old man demanded, standing.

  “I’m sorry, Lord Ruler,” the Inquisitor said deferentially.

  Lord Ruler! But…I saw him. He was a young man.

  “Kill her,” the old man said, waving his hand.

  “My lord,” the Inquisitor said. “This child is…of special interest. Might I keep her for a time?”

  “What special interest?” the Lord Ruler said, sighing as he sat again.

  “We wish to petition you, Lord Ruler,” said the Inquisitor. “Regarding the Canton of Orthodoxy. ”

  “This again?” the Lord Ruler said wearily.

  “Please, my lord,” said the Inquisitor. Vin continued to struggle, ?aring her pewter. The Inquisitor pinned her arms to her sides, however, and her backward kicking did very little good. He’s so strong! she thought with frustration.

  And then, she remembered it. The Eleventh Metal, its power sitting within her, forming an unfamiliar reserve. She looked up, glaring at the old man. This had better work. She burned the Eleventh Metal.

  Nothing happened.

  Vin struggled in frustration, her heart sinking. And then she saw him. Another man, standing right beside the Lord Ruler. Where had he come from? She hadn’t seen him enter.

  He had a full beard and wore a thick, woolen out?t with a fur-lined cloak. It wasn’t rich clothing, but it was well constructed. He stood quietly, seeming… content. He smiled happily.

  Vin cocked her head. There was something familiar about the man. His features looked very similar to those of the man who had killed Kelsier. However, this man was older and… more alive.
>
  Vin turned to the side. There was another unfamiliar man beside her, a young nobleman. He was a merchant, from the looks of his suit—and a very wealthy one at that.

  What is going on?

  The Eleventh Metal burned out. Both newcomers vanished like ghosts.

  “Very well,” said the elderly Lord Ruler, sighing. “I agree to your request. We will meet in several hours’ time— Tevidian has already requested a gathering to discuss matters outside the palace. ”

  “Ah,” said the second Inquisitor. “Yes…it will be good for him to be there. Good indeed. ”

  Vin continued to squirm as the Inquisitor pushed her to the ground, then lifted his hand, gripping something she couldn’t see. He swung, and pain ?ashed through her head.

  Despite her pewter, all went black.

  Elend found his father in the north entryway—a smaller, less daunting entrance to Keep Venture, though only when compared with the majestic grand hall.

  “What’s going on?” Elend demanded, pulling on his suit coat, his hair disheveled from sleep. Lord Venture stood with his guard captains and canalmasters. Soldiers and servants scattered through the white-and-brown hallway, rushing about with an air of apprehensive fright.

  Lord Venture ignored Elend’s question, calling for a messenger to ride for the east river docks.

  “Father, what’s happening?” Elend repeated.

  “Skaa rebellion,” Lord Venture snapped.

  What? Elend thought as Lord Venture waved for another group of soldiers to approach. Impossible. A skaa rebellion in Luthadel itself…it was unthinkable. They didn’t have the disposition to try such a bold move, they were just. .

  Valette is skaa, he thought. You have to stop thinking like other noblemen, Elend. You have to open your eyes.

  The Garrison was gone, off to slaughter a different group of rebels. The skaa had been forced to watch those gruesome executions weeks ago, not to mention the slaughter that had come this day. They had been stressed to the point of breaking.

  Temadre predicted this, Elend realized. So did half a dozen other political theorists. They said that the Final Empire couldn’t last forever. God at its head or not, the people would someday rise up…. It’s ?nally happening. I’m living through it!

  And… I’m on the wrong side.

  “Why the canalmasters?” Elend asked.

  “We’re leaving the city,” Lord Venture said tersely.

  “Abandon the keep?” Elend asked. “Where’s the honor in that?”

  Lord Venture snorted. “This isn’t about bravery, boy. It’s about survival. Those skaa are attacking the main gates, slaughtering the remnants of the Garrison. I have no intention of waiting until they come for noble heads. ”

  “But…”

  Lord Venture shook his head. “We were leaving anyway. Something… happened at the Pits a few days ago. The Lord Ruler isn’t going to be happy when he discovers it. ” He stepped back, waving over his lead narrowboat captain.

  Skaa rebellion, Elend thought, still a little numb. What was it that Temadre warned in his writings? That, when a real rebellion ?nally came, the skaa would slaughter wantonly… that every nobleman’s life would be forfeit.

 
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