Mistborn the final empi.., p.14
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       Mistborn: The Final Empire, p.14

         Part #1 of Mistborn series by Brandon Sanderson
Page 14

  “We’ve got a couple of options on how to do that,” Dockson said. “But we can talk about that later. ”

  Kelsier nodded. “Then, in that chaos, Yeden will march his army into Luthadel and seize the palace, taking the Lord Ruler prisoner. While Yeden secures the city, we’ll pilfer the atium. We’ll give half to him, then disappear with the other half. After that, it’s his job to hang on to what he’s grabbed. ”

  “Sounds a little dangerous for you, Yeden,” Ham noted, glancing at the rebel leader.

  He shrugged. “Perhaps. But, if we do, by some miracle, end up in control of the palace, then we’ll have at least done something no skaa rebellion has ever achieved before. For my men, this isn’t just about riches—it isn’t even about surviving. It’s about doing something grand, something wonderful, to give the skaa hope. But, I don’t expect you people to understand things like that. ”

  Kelsier shot a quieting glance at Yeden, and the man sniffed and sat back. Did he use Allomancy? Vin wondered. She’d seen employer-crew relationships before, and it seemed that Yeden was much more in Kelsier’s pocket than the other way around.

  Kelsier turned back to Ham and Breeze. “There’s more to all this than simply a show of daring. If we do manage to steal that atium, it will be a sound blow to the Lord Ruler’s ?nancial foundation. He depends on the money that atium provides—without it, he could very well be left without the means to pay his armies.

  “Even if he escapes our trap—or, if we decide to take the city when he’s gone to minimize having to deal with him— he’ll be ?nancially ruined. He won’t be able to march soldiers in to take the city away from Yeden. If this works right, we’ll have the city in chaos anyway, and the nobility will be too weak to react against the rebel forces. The Lord Ruler will be left confused, and unable to mount a sizable army. ”

  “And the koloss?” Ham asked quietly.

  Kelsier paused. “If he marches those creatures on his own capital city, the destruction it would cause could be even more dangerous than ?nancial instability. In the chaos, the provincial noblemen will rebel and set themselves up as kings, and the Lord Ruler won’t have the troops to bring them into line. Yeden’s rebels will be able to hold Luthadel, and we, my friends, will be very, very rich. Everyone gets what they want. ”

  “You’re forgetting the Steel Ministry,” Clubs snapped, sitting almost forgotten at the side of the room. “Those Inquisitors won’t just let us throw their pretty theocracy into chaos. ”

  Kelsier paused, turning toward the gnarled man. “We will have to ?nd a way to deal with the Ministry—I’ve got a few plans for that. Either way, problems like that are the things that we—as a crew—will have to work out. We have to get rid of the Luthadel Garrison—there’s no way we’ll be able to get anything done with them policing the streets. We’ll have to come up with an appropriate way to throw the city into chaos, and we’ll have to ?nd a way to keep the obligators off our trail.

  “But, if we play this right, we might be able to force the Lord Ruler to send the palace guard—maybe even the Inquisitors—into the city to restore order. That will leave the palace itself exposed, giving Yeden a perfect opportunity to strike. After that, it won’t matter what happens with the Ministry or the Garrison—the Lord Ruler won’t have the money to maintain control of his empire. ”

  “I don’t know, Kell,” Breeze said, shaking his head. His ?ippancy was subdued; he seemed to be honestly considering the plan. “The Lord Ruler got that atium somewhere. What if he just goes and mines some more?”

  Ham nodded. “No one even knows where the atium mine is. ”

  “I wouldn’t say no one,” Kelsier said with a smile.

  Breeze and Ham shared a look.

  “You know?” Ham asked.

  “Of course,” Kelsier said. “I spent a year of my life working there. ”

  “The Pits?” Ham asked with surprise.

  Kelsier nodded. “That’s why the Lord Ruler makes certain nobody survives working there—he can’t afford to let his secret out. It’s not just a penal colony, not just a hellhole where skaa are sent to die. It’s a mine. ”

  “Of course…” Breeze said.

  Kelsier stood up straight, stepping away from the bar and walking toward Ham and Breeze’s table. “We have a chance here, gentlemen. A chance to do something great— something no other thieving crew has ever done. We’ll rob from the Lord Ruler himself!

  “But, there’s more. The Pits nearly killed me, and I’ve seen things…differently since I escaped. I see the skaa, working without hope. I see the thieving crews, trying to survive on aristocratic leavings, often getting themselves—and other skaa—killed in the process. I see the skaa rebellion trying so hard to resist the Lord Ruler, and never making any progress.

  “The rebellion fails because it’s too unwieldy and spread out. Anytime one of its many pieces gains momentum, the Steel Ministry crushes it. That’s not the way to defeat the Final Empire, gentlemen. But, a small team—specialized and highly skilled—has a hope. We can work without great risk of exposure. We know how to avoid the Steel Ministry’s tendrils. We understand how the high nobility thinks, and how to exploit its members. We can do this!”

  He paused beside Breeze and Ham’s table.

  “I don’t know, Kell,” Ham said. “It’s not that I’m disagreeing with your motives. It’s just that…well, this seems a bit foolhardy. ”

  Kelsier smiled. “I know it does. But you’re going to go along with it anyway, aren’t you?”

  Ham paused, then nodded. “You know I’ll join your crew no matter what the job. This sounds crazy, but so do most of your plans. Just…just tell me. Are you serious about overthrowing the Lord Ruler?”

  Kelsier nodded. For some reason, Vin was almost tempted to believe him.

  Ham nodded ?rmly. “All right, then. I’m in. ”

  “Breeze?” Kelsier asked.

  The well-dressed man shook his head. “I’m not sure, Kell. This is a bit extreme, even for you. ”

  “We need you, Breeze,” Kell said. “No one can Soothe a crowd like you can. If we’re going to raise an army, we’ll need your Allomancers—and your powers. ”

  “Well, that much is true,” Breeze said. “But, even still…”

  Kelsier smiled, then he set something on the table—the cup of wine Vin had poured for Breeze. She hadn’t even noticed that Kelsier had grabbed it off of the bar.

  “Think of the challenge, Breeze,” Kelsier said.

  Breeze glanced at the cup, then looked up at Kelsier. Finally, he laughed, reaching for the wine. “Fine. I’m in. ”

  “It’s impossible,” a gruff voice said from the back of the room. Clubs sat with folded arms, regarding Kelsier with a scowl. “What are you really planning, Kelsier?”

  “I’m being honest,” Kelsier replied. “I plan to take the Lord Ruler’s atium and overthrow his empire. ”

  “You can’t,” the man said. “It’s idiocy. The Inquisitors will hang us all by hooks through our throats. ”

  “Perhaps,” Kelsier said. “But think of the reward if we succeed. Wealth, power, and a land where the skaa can live like men, rather than slaves. ”

  Clubs snorted loudly. Then he stood, his chair toppling backward onto the ?oor behind him. “No reward would be enough. The Lord Ruler tried to have you killed once—I see that you won’t be satis?ed until he gets it right. ” With that, the older man turned and stalked in a limping gait from the room, slamming the door behind him.

  The lair grew quiet.

  “Well, guess we’ll need a different Smoker,” Dockson said.

  “You’re just going to let him go?” Yeden demanded. “He knows everything!”

  Breeze chuckled. “Aren’t you supposed to be the moral one in this little group?”

  “Morals doesn’t have anything to do with it,” Yeden said. “Letting someone go like that is foolish! He could bring the obligators down on us in minutes. ”

  Vin n
odded in agreement, but Kelsier just shook his head. “I don’t work that way,Yeden. I invited Clubs to a meeting where I outlined a dangerous plan—one some people might even call stupid. I’m not going to have him assassinated because he decided it was too dangerous. If you do things like that, pretty soon nobody will come listen to your plans in the ?rst place. ”

  “Besides,” Dockson said. “We wouldn’t invite someone to one of these meetings unless we trusted him not to betray us. ”

  Impossible, Vin thought, frowning. He had to be bluf?ng to keep up crew morale; nobody was that trusting. After all, hadn’t the others said that Kelsier’s failure a few years before—the event that had sent him to the Pits of Hathsin— had come because of a betrayal? He probably had assassins following Clubs at that very moment, watching to make certain he didn’t go to the authorities.

  “All right, Yeden,” Kelsier said, getting back to business. “They accepted. The plan is on. Are you still in?”

  “Will you give the rebellion’s money back if I say no?” Yeden asked.

  The only response to that was a quiet chuckle from Ham. Yeden’s expression darkened, but he just shook his head. “If I had any other option…”

  “Oh, stop complaining,” Kelsier said. “You’re of?cially part of a thieving crew now, so you might as well come over here and sit with us. ”

  Yeden paused for a moment, then sighed and walked over to sit at Breeze, Ham, and Dockson’s table, beside which Kelsier was still standing. Vin still sat at the next table over.

  Kelsier turned, looking over toward Vin. “What about you, Vin?”

  She paused. Why is he asking me? He already knows he has a hold over me. The job doesn’t matter, as long as I learn what he knows.

  Kelsier waited expectantly.

  “I’m in,” Vin said, assuming that was what he wanted to hear.

  She must have guessed correctly, for Kelsier smiled, then nodded to the last chair at the table.

  Vin sighed, but did as he indicated, standing and walking over to take the last seat.

  “Who is the child?” Yeden asked.

  “Twixt,” Breeze said.

  Kelsier cocked an eyebrow. “Actually, Vin is something of a new recruit. My brother caught her Soothing his emotions a few months back. ”

  “Soother, eh?” Ham asked. “Guess we can always use another of those. ”

  “Actually,” Kelsier noted, “it seems she can Riot people’s emotions as well. ”

  Breeze started.

  “Really?” Ham asked.

  Kelsier nodded. “Dox and I tested her just a few hours ago. ”

  Breeze chuckled. “And here I was telling her that she’d probably never meet another Mistborn besides yourself. ”

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