Mistborn the final empi.., p.112
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       Mistborn: The Final Empire, p.112
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         Part #1 of Mistborn series by Brandon Sanderson
Page 112

  What does it matter? she thought. I know the Lord Ruler’s secret, but what does it tell me? That he was a packman? A servant? A Terrisman?

  A Feruchemist.

  She looked through dazed eyes, and again saw the pair of bracelets glittering on the Lord Ruler’s upper arms. Bracelets made of metal, bracelets that pierced his skin in places. So…so that they couldn’t be affected by Allomancy. Why do that? He supposedly wore metal as a sign of bravado. He wasn’t worried about people Pulling or Pushing against his metals.

  Or, that was what he claimed. But, what if all the other metals he wore—the rings, the bracelets, the fashion that had made its way to the nobility—were simply a distraction?

  A distraction to keep people from focusing on this one pair of bracers, twisting around the upper arms. Could it really be that easy? she thought as the Lord Ruler’s weight threatened to crush her.

  Her pewter was nearly gone. She could barely think. Yet, she burned iron. The Lord Ruler could pierce copperclouds. She could too. They were the same, somehow. If he could affect metals inside of a person’s body, then she could as well.

  She ?ared the iron. Blue lines appeared pointing to the Lord Ruler’s rings and bracelets—all of them but the ones on his upper arms, piercing his skin.

  Vin stoked her iron, concentrating, Pushing it as hard as she could. She kept her pewter ?ared, struggling to keep from being crushed, and she knew somehow that she was no longer breathing. The force pushing against her was too strong. She couldn’t get her chest to go up and down.

  Mist spun around her, dancing because of her Allomancy. She was dying. She knew it. She could barely even feel the pain anymore. She was being crushed. Suffocated.

  She drew upon the mists.

  Two new lines appeared. She screamed, Pulling with a strength she had never known before. She ?ared her iron higher and higher, the Lord Ruler’s own Push giving her the leverage she needed to Pull against his bracelets. Anger, desperation, and agony mixed within her, and the Pull became her only focus.

  Her pewter ran out.

  He killed Kelsier!

  The bracelets ripped free. The Lord Ruler cried out in pain, a faint, distant sound to Vin’s ears. The weight suddenly released her, and she dropped to the ?oor, gasping, her vision swimming. The bloody bracelets hit the ground, released from her grip, skidding across the marble to land before her. She looked up, using tin to clear her vision.

  The Lord Ruler stood where he had been before, his eyes widening with terror, his arms bloodied. He dropped Marsh to the ground, rushing toward her and the mangled bracelets. However, with her last bit of strength—pewter gone—Vin Pushed on the bracelets, shooting them past the Lord Ruler. He spun in horror, watching the bracelets ?y out the broken wall-window.

  In the distance, the sun broke the horizon. The bracelets dropped in front of its red light, sparkling for a moment before plunging down into the city.

  “No!” the Lord Ruler screamed, stepping toward the window.

  His muscles grew limp, de?ating as Sazed’s had. He turned back toward Vin, angry, but his face was no longer that of a young man. He was middle-aged, his youthful features matured.

  He stepped toward the window. His hair grayed, and wrinkles formed around his eyes like tiny webs.

  His next step was feeble. He began to shake with the burden of old age, his back stooping, his skin sagging, his hair growing limp.

  Then, he collapsed to the ?oor.

  Vin leaned back, her mind fuzzing from the pain. She lay there for…a time. She couldn’t think.

  “Mistress!” a voice said. And then, Sazed was at her side, his brow wet with sweat. He reached over and poured something down her throat, and she swallowed.

  Her body knew what to do. She re?exively ?ared pewter, strengthening her body. She ?ared tin, and the sudden increase of sensitivity shocked her awake. She gasped, looking up at Sazed’s concerned face.

  “Careful, Mistress,” he said, inspecting her leg. “The bone is fractured, though it appears only in one place. ”

  “Marsh,” she said, exhausted. “See to Marsh. ”

  “Marsh?” Sazed asked. Then he saw the Inquisitor stirring slightly on the ?oor a distance away.

  “By the Forgotten Gods!” Sazed said, moving to Marsh’s side.

  Marsh groaned, sitting up. He cradled his stomach with one arm. “What…is that…?”

  Vin glanced at the withered form on the ground a short distance away. “It’s him. The Lord Ruler. He’s dead. ”

  Sazed frowned curiously, standing. He wore a brown robe, and had brought a simple wooden spear with him. Vin shook her head at the thought of such a pitiful weapon facing the creature that had nearly killed her and Marsh.

  Of course. In a way, we were all just as useless. We should be dead, not the Lord Ruler.

  I pulled his bracelets off. Why? Why can I do things like he can?

  Why am I different?

  “Mistress…” Sazed said slowly. “He is not dead, I think. He’s…still alive. ”

  “What?” Vin asked, frowning. She could barely think at the moment. There would be time to sort out her questions later. Sazed was right—the aged ?gure wasn’t dead. Actually, it was moving pitifully on the ?oor, crawling toward the broken window. Toward where his bracelets had gone.

  Marsh stumbled to his feet, waving away Sazed’s ministrations. “I will heal quickly. See to the girl. ”

  “Help me up,” Vin said.

  “Mistress…” Sazed said disapprovingly.

  “Please, Sazed. ”

  He sighed, handing her the wooden spear. “Here, lean on this. ” She took it, and he helped her to her feet.

  Vin leaned on the shaft, hobbling with Marsh and Sazed toward the Lord Ruler. The crawling ?gure reached the edge of the room, overlooking the city through the shattered window.

  Vin’s footsteps crackled on broken glass. People cheered again below, though she couldn’t see them, nor see what they were cheering about.

  “Listen,” Sazed said. “Listen, he who would have been our god. Do you hear them cheering? Those cheers aren’t for you—this people never cheered for you. They have found a new leader this evening, a new pride. ”

  “My… obligators…” the Lord Ruler whispered.

  “Your obligators will forget you,” Marsh said. “I will see to that. The other Inquisitors are dead, slain by my own hand. Yet, the gathered prelans saw you transfer power to the Canton of Inquisition. I am the only Inquisitor left in Luthadel. I rule your church now. ”

  “No…” the Lord Ruler whispered.

  Marsh, Vin, and Sazed stopped in a ragged group, looking down at the old man. In the morning light below, Vin could see a massive collection of people standing before a large podium, holding up their weapons in a sign of respect.

  The Lord Ruler cast his eyes down at the crowd, and the ?nal realization of his failure seemed to hit him. He looked back up at the ring of people who had defeated him.

  “You don’t understand,” he wheezed. “You don’t know what I do for mankind. I was your god, even if you couldn’t see it. By killing me, you have doomed yourselves…. ”

  Vin glanced at Marsh and Sazed. Slowly, each of them nodded. The Lord Ruler had begun coughing, and he seemed to be aging even further.

  Vin leaned on Sazed, her teeth gritted against the pain of her broken leg. “I bring you a message from a friend of ours,” she said quietly. “He wanted you to know that he’s not dead. He can’t be killed.

  “He is hope. ”

  Then she raised the spear and rammed it directly into the Lord Ruler’s heart.

  Oddly, on occasion, I sense a peacefulness within. You would think that after all I have seen—after all I have suffered—my soul would be a twisted jumble of stress, confusion, and melancholy. Often, it’s just that.

  But then, there is the peace.

  I feel it sometimes, as I do now, staring out over the frozen cliffs and gl
ass mountains in the still of morning, watching a sunrise that is so majestic that I know that none shall ever be its match.

  If there are prophecies, if there is a Hero of Ages, then my mind whispers that there must be something directing my path. Something is watching; something cares. These peaceful whispers tell me a truth I wish very much to believe.

  If I fail, another shall come to ?nish my work.

  EPILOGUE

  “THE ONLY THING I CAN conclude, Master Marsh,” Sazed said, “is that the Lord Ruler was both a Feruchemist and an Allomancer. ”

  Vin frowned, sitting atop an empty building near the edge of a skaa slum. Her broken leg—carefully splinted by Sazed—hung over the edge of the rooftop, dangling in the air.

  She’d slept most of the day—as, apparently, had Marsh, who stood beside her. Sazed had carried a message to the rest of the crew, telling them of Vin’s survival. Apparently, there had been no major casualties among the others—for which Vin was glad. She hadn’t gone to them yet, however. Sazed had told them that she needed to rest, and they were busy setting up Elend’s new government.

  “A Feruchemist and an Allomancer,” Marsh said speculatively. He had recovered quickly indeed—though Vin still bore bruises, fractures, and cuts from the ?ght, he seemed to have already healed his broken ribs. He leaned down, resting one arm on his knee, staring out over the city with spikes instead of eyes.

  How does he even see? Vin wondered.

  “Yes, Master Marsh,” Sazed explained. “You see, youth is one of the things that a Feruchemist can store. It’s a fairly useless process—in order to store up the ability to feel and look a year younger, you would have to spend part of your life feeling and looking one year older. Often, Keepers use the ability as a disguise, changing ages to fool others and hide. Beyond this, however, no one has ever seen much use for the ability.

  “However, if the Feruchemist were also an Allomancer, he might be able to burn his own metal storages, releasing the energy within them tenfold. Mistress Vin tried to burn some of my metals earlier, but couldn’t access the power. However, if you were able to make up the Feruchemical storages yourself, then burn them for the extra power. . ”

  Marsh frowned. “I don’t follow you, Sazed. ”

  “I apologize,” Sazed said. “This is, perhaps, a thing that is dif?cult to understand without a background in both Allomantic and Feruchemical theory. Let me see if I can explain it better. What is the main difference between Allomancy and Feruchemy?”

  “Allomancy draws its power from metals,” Marsh said. “Feruchemy draws its powers from the person’s own body. ”

  “Exactly,” Sazed said. “So, what the Lord Ruler did—I presume—was combine these two abilities. He used one of the attributes only available to Feruchemy—that of changing his age—but fueled it with Allomancy instead. By burning a Feruchemical storage that he himself had made, he effectively made a new Allomantic metal for himself—one that made him younger when he burned it. If my guess is correct, he would have gained a limitless supply of youth, since he was drawing most of his power from the metal itself, rather than his own body. All he would have to do was spend the occasional bit of time aged to give himself Feruchemical storages to burn and stay young. ”

 
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