Mistborn the final empi.., p.12
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       Mistborn: The Final Empire, p.12
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         Part #1 of Mistborn series by Brandon Sanderson
Page 12

  And Kelsier says I—like he himself—am one of them. How could she be what he said? Child of a prostitute, she was nobody. She was nothing.

  Never trust a man who tells you good news, Reen had always said. It’s the oldest, but easiest, way to con someone.

  Yet, she did have her Luck. Her Allomancy. She could still sense the reserves Kelsier’s vial had given her, and had tested her powers on the crewmembers. No longer limited to just a bit of Luck a day, she found she could produce far more striking effects.

  Vin was coming to realize that her old goal in life—simply staying alive—was uninspired. There was so much more she could be doing. She had been a slave to Reen; she had been a slave to Camon. She would be a slave to this Kelsier too, if it would lead her to eventual freedom.

  At his table, Milev looked at his pocket watch, then stood. “All right, everyone out. ”

  The room began to clear in preparation for Kelsier’s meeting. Vin remained where she was; Kelsier had made it quite clear to the others that she was invited. She sat quietly for a bit, the room feeling far more comfortable to her now that it was empty. Kelsier’s friends began to arrive a short time later.

  The ?rst man down the steps had the build of a soldier. He wore a loose, sleeveless shirt that exposed a pair of well-sculpted arms. He was impressively muscular, but not massive, and had close-cropped hair that stuck up slightly on his head.

  The soldier’s companion was a sharply dressed man in a nobleman’s suit—plum vest, gold buttons, black overcoat— complete with short-brimmed hat and dueling cane. He was older than the soldier, and was a bit portly. He removed his hat upon entering the room, revealing a head of well-styled black hair. The two men were chatting amiably as they walked, but they paused when they saw the empty room.

  “Ah, this must be our twixt,” said the man in the suit. “Has Kelsier arrived yet, my dear?” He spoke with a simple familiarity, as if they were longtime friends. Suddenly, despite herself, Vin found herself liking this well-dressed, articulate man.

  “No,” she said quietly. Though overalls and a work shirt had always suited her, she suddenly wished that she owned something nicer. This man’s very bearing seemed to demand a more formal atmosphere.

  “Should have known that Kell would be late to his own meeting,” the soldier said, sitting down at one of the tables near the center of the room.

  “Indeed,” said the suited man. “I suppose his tardiness leaves us with a chance for some refreshment. I could so use something to drink…. ”

  “Let me get you something,” Vin said quickly, jumping to her feet.

  “How gracious of you,” the suited man said, choosing a chair next to the soldier. He sat with one leg crossed over the other, his dueling cane held to the side, tip against the ?oor, one hand resting on the top.

  Vin walked to the bar and began rummaging for drinks.

  “Breeze…” the soldier said with a warning tone as Vin selected a bottle of Camon’s most expensive wine and began pouring a cup.

  “Hum…?” the suited man said, raising an eyebrow.

  The soldier nodded toward Vin.

  “Oh, very well,” the suited man said with a sigh.

  Vin paused, wine half poured, and frowned slightly. What am I doing?

  “I swear, Ham,” the suited man said, “you are dreadfully stiff sometimes. ”

  “Just because you can Push someone around doesn’t mean you should, Breeze. ”

  Vin stood, dumbfounded. He…used Luck on me. When Kelsier had tried to manipulate her, she’d felt his touch and had been able to resist. This time, however, she hadn’t even realized what she was doing.

  She looked up at the man, thinning her eyes. “Mistborn. ”

  The suited man, Breeze, chuckled. “Hardly. Kelsier’s the only skaa Mistborn you’re likely to ever meet, my dear—and pray you never are in a situation where you meet a noble one. No, I am just an ordinary, humble Misting. ”

  “Humble?” Ham asked.

  Breeze shrugged.

  Vin looked down at the half-full cup of wine. “You Pulled on my emotions. With… Allomancy, I mean. ”

  “I Pushed on them, actually,” Breeze said. “Pulling makes a person less trusting and more determined. Pushing on emotions—Soothing them—makes a person more trusting. ”

  “Regardless, you controlled me,” Vin said. “You made me fetch you a drink. ”

  “Oh, I wouldn’t say that I made you do it,” Breeze said. “I just altered your emotions slightly, putting you in a frame of mind where you’d be more likely to do as I wished. ”

  Ham rubbed his chin. “I don’t know, Breeze. It’s an interesting question. By in?uencing her emotions, did you take away her ability to choose? If, for instance, she were to kill or steal while under your control, would the crime be hers or yours?”

  Breeze rolled his eyes. “There’s really no question to it at all. You shouldn’t think about such things, Hammond—you’ll hurt your brain. I offered her encouragement, I simply did it through an irregular means. ”

  “But—”

  “I’m not going to argue it with you, Ham. ”

  The beefy man sighed, looking a little bit forlorn.

  “Are you going to bring me the drink…?” Breeze asked hopefully, looking at Vin. “I mean, you’re already up, and you’re going to have to come back this direction to reach your seat anyway…. ”

  Vin examined her emotions. Did she feel irregularly drawn to do as the man asked? Was he manipulating her again? Finally, she simply walked away from the bar, leaving the drink where it was.

  Breeze sighed. He didn’t stand to go get the drink himself, however.

  Vin walked tentatively toward the two men’s table. She was accustomed to shadows and corners—close enough to eavesdrop, but far enough away to escape. Yet, she couldn’t hide from these men—not while the room was so empty. So, she chose a chair at the table beside the one that the two men were using, then sat cautiously. She needed information—as long as she was ignorant, she was going to be at a severe disadvantage in this new world of Misting crews.

  Breeze chuckled. “Nervous little thing, aren’t you?”

  Vin ignored the comment. “You,” Vin said, nodding to Ham. “You’re a…a Misting too?”

  Ham nodded. “I’m a Thug. ”

  Vin frowned in confusion.

  “I burn pewter,” Ham said.

  Again, Vin looked at him questioningly.

  “He can make himself stronger, my dear,” Breeze said. “He hits things—particularly other people—who try to interfere with what the rest of us are doing. ”

  “There’s much more to it than that,” Ham said. “I run general security for jobs, providing my crewleader with manpower and warriors, assuming such are necessary. ”

  “And he’ll try and bore you with random philosophy when it isn’t,” Breeze added.

  Ham sighed. “Breeze, honestly, sometimes I don’t know why I…” Ham trailed off as the door opened again, admitting another man.

  The newcomer wore a dull tan overcoat, a pair of brown trousers, and a simple white shirt. However, his face was far more distinctive than his clothing. It was knotted and gnarled, like a twisted piece of wood, and his eyes shone with the level of disapproving dissatisfaction only the elderly can display. Vin couldn’t quite place his age—he was young enough that he wasn’t stooped over, yet he was old enough that he made even the middle-aged Breeze look youthful.

  The newcomer looked over Vin and the others, huffed disdainfully, then walked to a table on the other side of the room and sat down. His steps were marked by a distinct limp.

  Breeze sighed. “I’m going to miss Trap. ”

  “We all will,” Ham said quietly. “Clubs is very good, though. I’ve worked with him before. ”

  Breeze studied the newcomer. “I wonder if I could get him to bring my drink over…. ”

  Ham chuckled. “I’d pay money to see you try it. ”
>
  “I’m sure you would,” Breeze said.

  Vin eyed the newcomer, who seemed perfectly content to ignore her and the other two men. “What’s he?”

  “Clubs?” Breeze asked. “He, my dear, is a Smoker. He is what will keep the rest of us from being discovered by an Inquisitor. ”

  Vin chewed on her lip, digesting the new information as she studied Clubs. The man shot her a glare, and she looked away. As she turned, she noticed that Ham was looking at her.

  “I like you, kid,” he said. “The other twixts I’ve worked with have either been too intimidated to talk to us, or they’ve been jealous of us for moving into their territory. ”

  “Indeed,” Breeze said. “You’re not like most crumbs. Of course, I’d like you a great deal more if you’d go fetch me that glass of wine…. ”

  Vin ignored him, glancing at Ham. “Crumb?”

  “That’s what some of the more self-important members of our society call lesser thieves,” Ham said. “They call you crumbs, since you tend to be involved with… less inspired projects. ”

  “No offense intended, of course,” Breeze said.

  “Oh, I wouldn’t ever take offense at—” Vin paused, feeling an irregular desire to please the well-dressed man. She glared at Breeze. “Stop that!”

  “See, there,” Breeze said, glancing at Ham. “She still retains her ability to choose. ”

  “You’re hopeless. ”

  They assume I’m a twixt, Vin thought. So Kelsier hasn’t told them what I am. Why? Time constraints? Or, was the secret too valuable to share? How trustworthy were these men? And, if they thought her a simple “crumb,” why were they being so nice to her?

  “Who else are we waiting upon?” Breeze asked, glancing at the doorway. “Besides Kell and Dox, I mean. ”

  “Yeden,” Ham said.

  Breeze frowned with a sour expression. “Ah, yes. ”

  “I agree,” Ham said. “But, I’d be willing to bet that he feels the same way about us. ”

  “I don’t even see why he was invited,” Breeze said.

  Ham shrugged. “Something to do with Kell’s plan, obviously. ”

  “Ah, the infamous ‘plan,’ ” Breeze said musingly. “What job could it be, what indeed…?”

  Ham shook his head. “Kell and his cursed sense of drama. ”

  “Indeed. ”

  The door opened a few moments later, and the one they had spoken of, Yeden, entered. He turned out to be an unassuming man, and Vin had trouble understanding why the other two were so displeased about his attendance. Short with curly brown hair, Yeden was dressed in simple gray skaa clothing and a patched, soot-stained brown worker’s coat. He regarded the surroundings with a look of disapproval, but he was nowhere near as openly hostile as Clubs, who still sat on the other side of the room scowling at anyone who looked in his direction.

  Not a very big crew, Vin thought. With Kelsier and Dockson, that makes six of them. Of course, Ham had said that he led a group of “Thugs. ” Were the men at this meeting simply representatives? The leaders of smaller, more specialized groups? Some crews worked that way.

 
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