Mistborn the final empi.., p.108
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       Mistborn: The Final Empire, p.108

         Part #1 of Mistborn series by Brandon Sanderson
Page 108

  In short, he did what he always did: He made Kelsier’s dreams become reality.

  A disturbance came from the front of the room, and Dockson looked up as a messenger rushed in. The man immediately sought out Dockson at the center of the warehouse.

  “What news?” Dockson asked as the man approached.

  The messenger shook his head. He was a young man, in an imperial uniform, though he had removed the jacket to make himself look less obtrusive. “I’m sorry, sir,” the man said quietly. “None of the guards have seen her come out, and… well, one claimed he saw her being carried toward the palace dungeons. ”

  “Can you get her out?” Dockson asked.

  The soldier—Goradel—paled. Until just a short time before, Goradel had been one of the Lord Ruler’s own men. In truth, Dockson wasn’t even certain how much he trusted the man. Yet, the soldier—as a former palace guardsman—could get into places that other skaa could not. His former allies didn’t know he’d switched sides.

  Assuming he really has switched sides, Dockson thought. But…well, things were moving too quickly now for self-doubt. Dockson had decided to use this man. He’d have to trust his initial instincts.

  “Well?” Dockson repeated.

  Goradel shook his head. “There was an Inquisitor holding her captive, sir. I couldn’t free her—I wouldn’t have the authority. I don’t…I…”

  Dockson sighed. Damn fool girl! he thought. She should have had better sense than this. Kelsier must have rubbed off on her.

  He waved the soldier away, then looked up as Hammond walked in, a large sword with a broken hilt resting on his shoulder.

  “It’s done,” Ham said. “Keep Elariel just fell. Looks like Lekal is still holding, however. ”

  Dockson nodded. “We’ll need your men at the palace soon. ” The sooner we break in there, the better chance we have of saving Vin. However, his instincts told him that they’d be too late to help her. The main forces would take hours to gather and organize; he wanted to attack the palace with all of their armies in tandem. The truth was he just couldn’t afford to spare men on a rescue operation at the moment. Kelsier would probably have gone after her, but Dockson wouldn’t let himself do something that brash.

  As he always said—someone on the crew needed to be realistic. The palace was not a place to attack without substantial preparation; Vin’s failure proved that much. She’d just have to look after herself for the moment.

  “I’ll get my men ready,” Ham said, nodding as he tossed his sword aside. “I’m going to need a new sword, though. ”

  Dockson sighed. “You Thugs. Always breaking things. Go see what you can ?nd, then. ”

  Ham moved off.

  “If you see Sazed,” Dockson called, “tell him that…”

  Dockson paused, his attention drawn by a group of skaa rebels who marched into the room, pulling a bound prisoner with a cloth sack on his head.

  “What is this?” Dockson demanded.

  One of the rebels elbowed his captive. “I think he’s someone important, m’lord. Came to us unarmed, asked to be brought to you. Promised us gold if we did it. ”

  Dockson raised an eyebrow. The grunt pulled off the hood, revealing Elend Venture.

  Dockson blinked in surprise. “You?”

  Elend looked around. He was apprehensive, obviously, but held himself well, all things considered. “Have we met?”

  “Not exactly,” Dockson said. Blast. I don’t have time for captives right now. Still, the son of the Ventures…Dockson was going to need leverage with the powerful nobility when the ?ghting was over.

  “I’ve come to offer you a truce,” Elend Venture said.

  “…excuse me?” Dockson asked.

  “House Venture will not resist you,” Elend said. “And I can probably talk the rest of the nobility into listening as well. They’re frightened—there’s no need to slaughter them. ”

  Dockson snorted. “I can’t exactly leave hostile armed forces in the city. ”

  “If you destroy the nobility, you won’t be able to hold on for very long,” Elend said. “We control the economy—the empire will collapse without us. ”

  “That is kind of the point of this all,” Dockson said. “Look, I don’t have time—”

  “You must hear me out,” Elend Venture said desperately. “If you start your rebellion with chaos and bloodshed, you’ll lose it. I’ve studied these things; I know what I’m talking about! When the momentum of your initial con?ict runs out, the people will start looking for other things to destroy. They’ll turn on themselves. You must keep control of your armies. ”

  Dockson paused. Elend Venture was supposed to be a fool and a fop, but now he just seemed…earnest.

  “I’ll help you,” Elend said. “Leave the noblemen’s keeps alone and focus your efforts on the Ministry and the Lord Ruler—they’re your real enemies. ”

  “Look,” Dockson said, “I’ll pull our armies away from Keep Venture. There’s probably no need to ?ght them now that—”

  “I sent my soldiers to Keep Lekal,” Elend said. “Pull your men away from all the nobility. They’re not going to attack your ?anks—they’ll just hole up in their mansions and worry. ”

  He’s probably right about that. “We’ll consider. . ” Dockson trailed off, noticing that Elend wasn’t paying attention to him anymore. Blasted hard man to have a conversation with.

  Elend was staring at Hammond, who had returned with a new sword. Elend frowned, then his eyes opened wide. “I know you! You were the one who rescued Lord Renoux’s servants from the executions!”

  Elend turned back to Dockson, suddenly eager. “Do you know Valette, then? She’ll tell you to listen to me. ”

  Dockson shared a look with Ham.

  “What?” Elend asked.

  “Vin…” Dockson said. “Valette… she went into the palace a few hours back. I’m sorry, lad. She’s probably in the Lord Ruler’s dungeons right now—assuming she’s even still alive. ”

  Kar tossed Vin back into her cell. She hit the ground hard and rolled, her loose undershirt twisting around her, her head knocking against the cell’s back wall.

  The Inquisitor smiled, slamming the door. “Thank you very much,” he said through the bars. “You just helped us achieve something that has been a long time in coming. ”

  Vin glared up at him, the effects of the Lord Ruler’s Soothing weaker now.

  “It is unfortunate that Bendal isn’t here,” Kar said. “He chased your brother for years, swearing that Tevidian had fathered a skaa half-breed. Poor Bendal…If only the Lord Ruler had left the Survivor to us, so that we could have had revenge. ”

  He looked over at her, shaking his spike-eyed head. “Ah, well. He was vindicated in the end. The rest of us believed your brother, but Bendal…even then he wasn’t convinced— and he found you in the end. ”

  “My brother?” Vin said, scrambling to her feet. “He sold me out?”

  “Sold you out?” Kar said. “He died promising us that you had starved to death years ago! He screamed it night and day beneath the hands of Ministry torturers. It is very hard to hold out against the pains of an Inquisitor’s torture… something you shall soon discover. ” He smiled. “But, ?rst, let me show you something. ”

  A group of guards dragged a naked, bound ?gure into the room. Bruised and bleeding, the man stumbled to the stone ?oor as they pushed him into the cell beside Vin’s.

  “Sazed?” Vin cried, rushing to the bars.

  The Terrisman lay groggily as the soldiers tied his hands and feet to a small metal ring set into the stone ?oor. He had been beaten so severely that he barely seemed conscious, and he was completely naked. Vin turned away from his nudity, but not before she saw the place between his legs—a simple, empty scar where his manhood should have been.

  All Terrisman stewards are eunuchs, he had told her. That wound wasn’t new—but the bruises, cuts, and scrapes were fresh.

  “We found
him sneaking into the palace after you,” Kar said. “Apparently, he feared for your safety. ”

  “What have you done to him?” she asked quietly.

  “Oh, very little…so far,” Kar said. “Now, you may wonder why I spoke to you of your brother. Perhaps you think me a fool for admitting that your brother’s mind snapped before we drew out his secret. But, you see, I am not so much a fool that I will not admit a mistake. We should have drawn out your brother’s torture… made him suffer longer. That was an error indeed. ”

  He smiled wickedly, nodding to Sazed. “We won’t make that mistake again, child. No—this time, we’re going to try a different tactic. We’re going to let you watch us torture the Terrisman. We’re going to be very careful, making certain his pain is lasting, and quite vibrant. When you tell us what we want to know, we’ll stop. ”

  Vin shivered in horror. “No… please…”

  “Oh, yes,” Kar said. “Why don’t you take some time to think about what we’re going to do to him? The Lord Ruler has commanded my presence—I need to go and receive formal leadership of the Ministry. We’ll begin when I return. ”

  He turned, black robe sweeping the ground. The guards followed, likely taking positions in the guard chamber just outside the room.

  “Oh, Sazed,” Vin said, sinking to her knees beside the bars of her cage.

  “Now, Mistress,” Sazed said in a surprisingly lucid voice. “What did we tell you about running around in your undergarments? Why, if Master Dockson were here, he would scold you for certain. ”

  Vin looked up, shocked. Sazed was smiling at her.

  “Sazed!” she said quietly, glancing in the direction the guards had gone. “You’re awake?”

  “Very awake,” he said. His calm, strong voice was a stark contrast to his bruised body.

  “I’m sorry, Sazed,” she said. “Why did you follow me? You should have stayed back and let me be stupid on my own!”

  He turned a bruised head toward her, one eye swollen, but the other looking into her eyes. “Mistress,” he said solemnly, “I vowed to Master Kelsier that I would see to your safety. The oath of a Terrisman is not something given lightly. ”

  “But…you should have known you’d be captured,” she said, looking down in shame.

  “Of course I knew, Mistress,” he said. “Why, how else was I going to get them to bring me to you?”

  Vin looked up. “Bring you…to me?”

  “Yes, Mistress. There is one thing that the Ministry and my own people have in common, I think. They both underestimate the things that we can accomplish. ”

  He closed his eyes. And then, his body changed. It seemed to…de?ate, the muscles growing weak and scrawny, the ?esh hanging loosely on his bones.

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