Mistborn the final empi.., p.17
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       Mistborn: The Final Empire, p.17
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         Part #1 of Mistborn series by Brandon Sanderson
Page 17

  Kelsier landed on another peaked wooden rooftop. Steel-pushing and Ironpulling were the ?rst things that Gemmel had taught him. When you Push on something, it’s like you’re throwing your weight against it, the old lunatic had said. And you can’t change how much you weigh—you’re an Allomancer, not some northern mystic. Don’t Pull on something that weighs less than you unless you want it to come ?ying at you, and don’t Push on something heavier than you unless you want to get tossed in the other direction.

  Kelsier scratched his scars, then pulled his mistcloak tight as he crouched on the roof, the wooden grain biting his unshod toes. He often wished that burning tin didn’t enhance all of the senses—or, at least, not all of them at once. He needed the improved eyesight to see in the darkness, and he made good use of the improved hearing as well. However, burning tin made the night seem even more chilly to his overly sensitive skin, and his feet registered every pebble and wooden ripple they touched.

  Keep Venture rose before him. Compared with the murky city, the keep seemed to blaze with light. High nobles kept different schedules from regular people; the ability to afford, even squander, lamp oil and candles meant that the wealthy didn’t have to bow before the whims of season or sun.

  The keep was majestic—that much was visible simply from the architecture. While it maintained a defensive wall around the grounds, the keep itself was more an artistic construction than a forti?cation. Sturdy buttressings arched out from the sides, allowing for intricate windows and delicate spires. Brilliant stained-glass windows stretched high along the sides of the rectangular building, and they shone with light from within, giving the surrounding mists a variegated glow.

  Kelsier burned iron, ?aring it strong and searching the night for large sources of metal. He was too far away from the keep to use small items like coins or hinges. He’d need a larger anchor to cover this distance.

  Most of the blue lines were faint. Kelsier marked a couple of them moving in a slow pattern up ahead—probably a pair of guards standing on the rooftop. Kelsier would be sensing their breastplates and weapons. Despite Allomantic considerations, most noblemen still armed their soldiers with metal. Mistings who could Push or Pull metals were uncommon, and full Mistborn were even more so. Many lords thought it impractical to leave one’s soldiers and guards relatively defenseless in order to counter such a small segment of the population.

  No, most high noblemen relied on other means to deal with Allomancers. Kelsier smiled. Dockson had said that Lord Venture kept a squad of hazekillers; if that was true, Kelsier would probably meet them before the night was through. He ignored the soldiers for the moment, instead focusing on a solid line of blue pointing toward the keep’s lofty top. It likely had bronze or copper sheeting on the roof. Kelsier ?ared his iron, took a deep breath, and Pulled on the line.

  With a sudden jerk, he was yanked into the air.

  Kelsier continued to burn iron, pulling himself toward the keep at a tremendous speed. Some rumors claimed that Mist-born could ?y, but that was a wistful exaggeration. Pulling and Pushing against metals usually felt less like ?ying than it did like falling—only in the wrong direction. An Allomancer had to Pull hard in order to get the proper momentum, and this sent him hurtling toward his anchor at daunting speeds.

  Kelsier shot toward the keep, mists curling around him. He easily cleared the protective wall surrounding the keep’s grounds, but his body dropped slightly toward the ground as he moved. It was his pesky weight again; it tugged him down. Even the swiftest of arrows angled slightly toward the ground as it ?ew.

  The drag of his weight meant that instead of shooting right up to the roof, he swung in an arc. He approached the keep wall several dozen feet below the rooftop, still traveling at a terrible speed.

  Taking a deep breath, Kelsier burned pewter, using it to enhance his physical strength much in the same way that tin enhanced his senses. He turned himself in the air, hitting the stone wall feet-?rst. Even his strengthened muscles protested at the treatment, but he stopped without breaking any bones. He immediately released his hold on the roof, dropping a coin and Pushing against it even as he began to fall. He reached out, selecting a source of metal above him—one of the wire housings of a stained-glass window—and Pulled on it.

  The coin hit the ground below and was suddenly able to support his weight. Kelsier launched himself upward, Pushing on the coin and Pulling on the window at the same time. Then, extinguishing both metals, he let momentum carry him the last few feet up through the dark mists. Cloak ?apping quietly, he crested the lip of the keep’s upper service walkway, ?ipped himself up over the stone railing, and landed quietly on the ledge.

  A startled guard stood not three paces away. Kelsier was upon the man in a second, jumping into the air, Pulling slightly on the guard’s steel breastplate and throwing the man off balance. Kelsier whipped out one of his glass daggers, allowing the strength of his Ironpull to bring him toward the guard. He landed with both feet against the man’s chest, then crouched and sliced with a pewter-enhanced swing.

  The guard collapsed with a slit throat. Kelsier landed lithely beside him, ears straining in the night, listening for sounds of alarm. There were none.

  Kelsier left the guard to his gurgling demise. The man was likely a lesser nobleman. The enemy. If he were, instead, a skaa soldier—enticed into betraying his people in exchange for a few coins…Well, then, Kelsier was even happier to send such men into their eternity.

  He Pushed off the dying man’s breastplate, hopping up off the stone service walkway and onto the rooftop itself. The bronze roof was chill and slick beneath his feet. He scurried along it, heading toward the southern side of the building, looking for the balcony Dockson had mentioned. He wasn’t too worried about being spotted; one purpose of this evening was to steal some atium, the tenth and most powerful of the generally known Allomantic metals. His other purpose, however, was to cause a commotion.

  He found the balcony with ease. Wide and broad, it was probably a sitting balcony, used to entertain small groups. It was quiet at the moment, however—empty save for two guards. Kelsier crouched silently in the night mists above the balcony, furled gray cloak obscuring him, toes curling out over the side of the roof’s metallic lip. The two guards chatted unwittingly below.

  Time to make a bit of noise.

  Kelsier dropped to the ledge directly between the guards. Burning pewter to strengthen his body, he reached out and ?ercely Steelpushed against both men at the same time. Braced as he was at the center, his Push threw the guards away in opposite directions. The men cried out in surprise as the sudden force threw them backward, hurling them over the balcony railing into the darkness beyond.

  The guards screamed as they fell. Kelsier threw open the balcony doors, letting a wall of mist fall inward around him, its tendrils creeping forward to claim the darkened room beyond.

  Third room in, Kelsier thought, moving forward in a crouching run. The second room was a quiet, greenhouse-like conservatory. Low beds containing cultivated bushes and small trees ran through the room, and one wall was made up of enormous ?oor-to-ceiling windows to provide sunlight for the plants. Though it was dark, Kelsier knew that the plants would all be of slightly different colors than the typical brown—some would be white, others ruddy, and perhaps even a few light yellow. Plants that weren’t brown were a rarity cultivated and kept by the nobility.

  Kelsier moved quickly through the conservatory. He paused at the next doorway, noting its lighted outline. He extinguished his tin lest his enhanced eyes be blinded when he entered the lit room, and threw open the door.

  He ducked inside, blinking against the light, a glass dagger in each hand. The room, however, was empty. It was obviously a study; a lantern burned on each wall beside bookcases, and it had a desk in the corner.

  Kelsier replaced his knives, burning steel and searching for sources of metal. There was a large safe in the corner of the room, but it was too obvious. Sure enough,
another strong source of metal shone from inside the eastern wall. Kelsier approached, running his ?ngers along the plaster. Like many walls in noble keeps, this one was painted with a soft mural. Foreign creatures lounged beneath a red sun. The false section of wall was under two feet square, and it had been placed so that its cracks were obscured by the mural.

  There’s always another secret, Kelsier thought. He didn’t bother trying to ?gure out how to open the contraption. He simply burned steel, reaching in and tugging against the weak source of metal that he assumed was the trapdoor’s locking mechanism. It resisted at ?rst, pulling him against the wall, but he burned pewter and yanked harder. The lock snapped, and the panel swung open, revealing a small safe embedded in the wall.

  Kelsier smiled. It looked small enough for a pewter-enhanced man to carry, assuming he could get it out of the wall.

  He jumped up, Ironpulling against the safe, and landed with his feet against the wall, one foot on either side of the open panel. He continued to Pull, holding himself in place, and ?ared his pewter. Strength ?ooded his legs, and he ?ared his steel as well, Pulling against the safe.

  He strained, grunting slightly at the exertion. It was a test to see which would give out ?rst—the safe, or his legs.

  The safe shifted in its mountings. Kelsier Pulled harder, muscles protesting. For an extended moment, nothing happened. Then the safe shook and ripped free of the wall. Kelsier fell backward, burning steel and Pushing against the safe to get out of the way. He landed maladroitly, sweat dripping from his brow as the safe crashed to the wooden ?oor, throwing up splinters.

  A pair of startled guards burst into the room.

  “About time,” Kelsier noted, raising a hand and Pulling on one of the soldier’s swords. It whipped out of the sheath, spinning in the air and streaking toward Kelsier point-?rst. He extinguished his iron, stepping to the side and catching the sword by its hilt as momentum carried it past.

  “Mistborn!” the guard screamed.

  Kelsier smiled and jumped forward.

  The guard pulled out a dagger. Kelsier Pushed it, tearing the weapon out of the man’s hand, then swung, shearing the guard’s head from his body. The second guard cursed, tugging free the release tie on his breastplate.

  Kelsier Pushed on his own sword even as he completed his swing. The sword ripped from his ?ngers and hissed directly toward the second guard. The man’s armor dropped free— preventing Kelsier from Pushing against it—just as the ?rst guard’s corpse fell to the ground. A moment later, Kelsier’s sword planted itself in the second guard’s now unarmored chest. The man stumbled quietly, then collapsed.

  Kelsier turned from the bodies, cloak rustling. His anger was quiet, not as ?erce as it had been the night he’d killed Lord Tresting. But he felt it still, felt it in the itching of his scars and in the remembered screams of the woman he loved. As far as Kelsier was concerned, any man who upheld the Final Empire also forfeited his right to live.

  He ?ared his pewter, strengthening his body, then squatted down and lifted the safe. He teetered for a second beneath its weight, then got his balance and began to shuf?e back toward the balcony. Perhaps the safe held atium; perhaps it didn’t. However, he didn’t have time to search out other options.

 
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