Mistborn the final empi.., p.113
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       Mistborn: The Final Empire, p.113

         Part #1 of Mistborn series by Brandon Sanderson
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Page 113

  “So,” Marsh said, “just burning those storages would make him even younger than when he started?”

  “He would have had to place that excess youth inside of another Feruchemical storage, I think,” Sazed explained. “You see, Allomancy is quite spectacular—its powers generally come in bursts and ?ares. The Lord Ruler wouldn’t have wanted all of that youth at once, so he’d have stored it inside of a piece of metal which he could slowly drain, keeping himself young. ”

  “The bracelets?”

  “Yes, Master Marsh. However, Feruchemy gives decreasing returns—it takes more than the proportionate amount of strength, for instance, to make yourself four times as strong as a regular man, as opposed to simply twice as strong. In the Lord Ruler’s case, this meant that he had to spend more and more youth to keep from aging. When Mistress Vin stole the bracelets, he aged incredibly quickly because his body was trying to stretch back to where it should have been. ”

  Vin sat in the cool evening wind, staring out toward Keep Venture. It was bright with light; not even a single day had passed, and Elend was already meeting with skaa and noblemen leaders, drafting a code of laws for his new nation.

  Vin sat quietly, ?ngering her earring. She’d found it in the throne room, had put it back in her torn ear as it began to heal. She wasn’t certain why she kept it. Perhaps because it was a link to Reen, and the mother who had tried to kill her. Or, perhaps, simply because it was a reminder of things she shouldn’t have been able to do.

  There was much to learn, still, about Allomancy. For a thousand years, the nobility had simply trusted what the Inquisitors and Lord Ruler told them. What secrets had they shadowed, what metals had they hidden?

  “The Lord Ruler,” she ?nally said. “He…just used a trick to be immortal, then. That means he wasn’t ever really a god, right? He was just lucky. Anyone who was both a Feruchemist and an Allomancer could have done what he did. ”

  “It appears that way, Mistress,” Sazed said. “Perhaps that was why he feared Keepers so much. He hunted and killed Feruchemists, for he knew that the skill was hereditary—just as Allomancy is. If the Terris lines ever mixed with those of the imperial nobility, the result could very well have been a child who could challenge him. ”

  “Hence the breeding programs,” Marsh said.

  Sazed nodded. “He needed to make absolutely sure that the Terrismen weren’t allowed to mix with the regular populace, lest they pass on latent Feruchemical abilities. ”

  Marsh shook his head. “His own people. He did such horrible things to them just to keep hold of his power. ”

  “But,” Vin said, frowning, “if the Lord Ruler’s powers came from a mixture of Feruchemy and Allomancy, what happened at the Well of Ascension? What was the power that the man who wrote the logbook—whoever he was—was supposed to ?nd?”

  “I don’t know, Mistress,” Sazed said quietly.

  “Your explanation doesn’t answer everything,” Vin said, shaking her head. She hadn’t spoken of her own strange abilities, but she had spoken of what the Lord Ruler had done in the throne room. “He was so powerful, Sazed. I could feel his Allomancy. He was able to Push on metals inside my body! Perhaps he could enhance his Feruchemy by burning the storages, but how did he get so strong at Allomancy?”

  Sazed sighed. “I fear that the only person who could have answered these questions died this morning. ”

  Vin paused. The Lord Ruler had held secrets about the Terris religion that Sazed’s people had been searching for centuries to ?nd. “I’m sorry. Maybe I shouldn’t have killed him. ”

  Sazed shook his head. “His own aging would have killed him soon anyway, Mistress. What you did was right. This way, I can record that the Lord Ruler was struck down by one of the skaa he had oppressed. ”

  Vin ?ushed. “Record?”

  “Of course. I am still a Keeper, Mistress. I must pass these things on—history, events, and truths. ”

  “You won’t. . say too much about me, will you?” For some reason the idea of other people telling stories about her made her uncomfortable.

  “I wouldn’t worry too much, Mistress,” Sazed said with a smile. “My brethren and I will be very busy, I think. We have so much to restore, so much to tell the world…. I doubt details about you need to be passed on with any urgent timing. I will record what happened, but I will keep it to myself for a while, if you wish. ”

  “Thank you,” Vin said, nodding.

  “That power that the Lord Ruler found in the cave,” Marsh saidspeculatively, “perhaps it was just Allomancy. You said that there is no record of any Allomancers before the Ascension. ”

  “It is indeed a possibility, Master Marsh,” Sazed said. “There are very few legends about the origins of Allomancy, and nearly all of them agree that Allomancers ?rst ‘appeared with the mists. ’ ”

  Vin frowned. She’d always assumed that the title “Mistborn” had come about because Allomancers tended to do their work at night. She’d never considered that there might be a stronger connection.

  Mist reacts to Allomancy. It swirls when an Allomancer uses his abilities nearby. And…what did I feel at the end? It was like I drew something from the mists.

  Whatever she’d done, she hadn’t been able to replicate it.

  Marsh sighed and stood. He had been awake only a few hours, but he already seemed tired. His head hung slightly, as if the weight of the spikes were pulling it down.

  “Does that…hurt, Marsh?” she asked. “The spikes, I mean?”

  He paused. “Yes. All eleven of them… throb. The pain reacts to my emotions somehow. ”

  “Eleven?” Vin asked with shock.

  Marsh nodded. “Two in the head, eight in the chest, one in the back to seal them together. That’s the only way to kill an Inquisitor—you have to separate the top spikes from the bottom ones. Kell did it through a beheading, but it’s easier to just pull out the middle spike. ”

  “We thought you were dead,” Vin said. “When we found the body and the blood at the Soothing station…”

  Marsh nodded. “I was going to send word of my survival, but they watched me fairly closely that ?rst day. I didn’t expect Kell to make his move so quickly. ”

  “None of us did, Master Marsh,” Sazed said. “None of us expected it at all. ”

  “He actually did it, didn’t he?” Marsh said, shaking his head in wonder. “That bastard. There are two things I’ll never forgive him for. The ?rst is for stealing my dream of overthrowing the Final Empire, then actually succeeding at it. ”

  Vin paused. “And the second?”

  Marsh turned spike-heads toward her. “Getting himself killed to do it. ”

  “If I may ask, Master Marsh,” Sazed said. “Who was that corpse that Mistress Vin and Master Kelsier discovered at the Soothing station?”

  Marsh looked back over the city. “There were several corpses, actually. The process to create a new Inquisitor is… messy. I’d rather not speak about it. ”

  “Of course,” Sazed said, bowing his head.

  “You, however,” Marsh said, “could tell me about this creature that Kelsier used to imitate Lord Renoux. ”

  “The kandra?” Sazed said. “I fear even the Keepers know little of them. They are related to mistwraiths—perhaps even the same creatures, just older. Because of their reputation, they generally prefer to remain unseen—though some of the noble houses hire them on occasion. ”

  Vin frowned. “So…why didn’t Kell just have this kandra impersonate him and die in his stead?”

  “Ah,” Sazed said. “You see, Mistress, for a kandra to impersonate someone, they ?rst must devour that person’s ?esh and absorb their bones. Kandra are like mistwraiths—they have no skeletons of their own. ”

  Vin shivered. “Oh. ”

  “He is back, you know,” Marsh said. “The creature is no longer using my brother’s body—he has another one—but he came looking for you, Vin. ”

  “Me?” Vin asked.

  Marsh nodded. “He said something about Kelsier transferring his contract to you before he died. I believe the beast sees you as its master, now. ”

  Vin shivered. That… thing ate Kelsier’s body. “I don’t want it around,” she said. “I’ll send it away. ”

  “Do not be quite so hasty, Mistress,” Sazed said. “Kandra are expensive servants—you must pay them in atium. If Kelsier bought an extended contract for one, it would be foolish to waste its services. A kandra might prove a very useful ally in the months to come. ”

  Vin shook her head. “I don’t care. I don’t want that thing around. Not after what it did. ”

  The trio fell silent. Finally, Marsh stood, sighing. “Anyway, if you will excuse me, I should go make an appearance at the keep—the new king wants me to represent the Ministry in his negotiations. ”

  Vin frowned. “I don’t see why the Ministry deserves any say in things. ”

  “The obligators are still quite powerful, Mistress,” Sazed said. “And, they are the most ef?cient and well-trained bureaucratic force in the Final Empire. His majesty would be wise to try and bring them to his side, and recognizing Master Marsh may help achieve this. ”

  Marsh shrugged. “Of course, assuming I can establish control over the Canton of Orthodoxy, the Ministry should… change during the next few years. I’ll move slowly and carefully, but by the time I’m done, the obligators won’t even realize what they’ve lost. Those other Inquisitors could present a problem, though. ”

  Vin nodded. “How many are there outside of Luthadel?”

  “I don’t know,” Marsh said. “I wasn’t a member of the order for very long before I destroyed it. However, the Final Empire was a big place. Many speak of there being around twenty Inquisitors in the empire, but I never was able to pin anyone down on a hard number. ”

  Vin nodded as Marsh left. However, the Inquisitors—while dangerous—worried her far less now that she knew their secret. She was more concerned about something else.

  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….

  The Lord Ruler’s ?nal words. At the time, she thought he’d been referring to the Final Empire as the thing he did “for mankind. ” However, she wasn’t so certain anymore. There had been…fear in his eyes when he’d spoken those words, not pride.

  “Saze?” she said. “What was the Deepness? The thing that the Hero from the logbook was supposed to defeat?”

  “I wish that we knew, Mistress,” Sazed said.

  “But, it didn’t come, right?”

  “Apparently not,” Sazed said. “The legends agree that had the Deepness not been stopped, the very world would have been destroyed. Of course, perhaps these stories have been exaggerated. Maybe the danger of the ‘Deepness’ was really just the Lord Ruler himself—perhaps the Hero’s ?ght was simply one of conscience. He had to choose to dominate the world or to let it be free. ”

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