Mistborn the final empi.., p.22
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       Mistborn: The Final Empire, p.22

         Part #1 of Mistborn series by Brandon Sanderson
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Page 22

  Breeze sipped his wine. “Kelsier, my good man. I wish you wouldn’t use words like ‘force’ in reference to my talents. I simply encourage people. ”

  “Well, can you encourage us up an army?” Dockson asked.

  “How much time do I have?” Breeze asked.

  “A year,” Kelsier said. “We’ll plan this to go off next fall. Assuming the Lord Ruler does gather his forces to attack Yeden once we take the city, we might as well make him do it in the winter. ”

  “Ten thousand men,” Breeze said with a smile, “gathered from a resistant population in less than a year. It would certainly be a challenge. ”

  Kelsier chuckled. “From you, that’s as good as a yes. Start in Luthadel, then move to the surrounding cities. We need people who are close enough to gather at the caves. ”

  Breeze nodded.

  “We’ll also need weapons and supplies,” Ham said. “And we’ll need to train the men. ”

  “I’ve already got a plan to get weapons,” Kelsier said. “Can you ?nd some men to do the training?”

  Ham paused thoughtfully. “Probably. I know some skaa soldiers who fought in one of the Lord Ruler’s Suppression Campaigns. ”

  Yeden paled. “Traitors!”

  Ham shrugged. “Most of them aren’t proud of what they did,” he said. “But most of them also like to eat. It’s a hard world, Yeden. ”

  “My people will never work with such men,” Yeden said.

  “They’ll have to,” Kelsier said sternly. “A large number of skaa rebellions fail because their men are poorly trained. We’re going to give you an army of well-equipped, well-fed men—and I’ll be damned if I’m going to let you get them slaughtered because they were never taught which end of the sword to hold. ”

  Kelsier paused, then eyed Ham. “However, I do suggest that you ?nd men who are bitter against the Final Empire for what it forced them to do. I don’t trust men whose loyalty only goes as far as the boxings in their pockets. ”

  Ham nodded, and Yeden quieted. Kelsier turned, writing Ham: Training and Breeze: Recruitment beneath Troops on the board.

  “I’m interested in your plan to get weapons,” Breeze said. “How, exactly, do you intend to arm ten thousand men without making the Lord Ruler suspicious? He keeps a very careful eye on the armament ?ows. ”

  “We could make the weapons,” Clubs said. “I have enough extra wood that we could churn out a war staff or two every day. Could probably get you some arrows too. ”

  “I appreciate the offer, Clubs,” Kelsier said. “And I think that’s a good idea. However, we’re going to need more than staves. We’ll need swords, shields, and armor—and we need them quickly enough to begin training. ”

  “How, then, are you going to do it?” Breeze asked.

  “The Great Houses can get weapons,” Kelsier said. “They don’t have any problems arming their personal retinues. ”

  “You want us to steal from them?”

  Kelsier shook his head. “No, for once we’re going to do things somewhat legally—we’re going to buy our weapons. Or, rather, we’re going to have a sympathetic nobleman buy them for us. ”

  Clubs laughed bluntly. “A nobleman sympathetic to the skaa? It will never happen. ”

  “Well, ‘never’ happened a short time ago, then,” Kelsier said lightly. “Because I’ve already found someone to help us. ”

  The room fell silent save for the crackling of the ?replace. Vin squirmed slightly in her chair, glancing at the others. They seemed shocked.

  “Who?” Ham asked.

  “His name is Lord Renoux,” Kelsier said. “He arrived in the area a few days back. He’s staying in Fellise—he doesn’t quite have enough in?uence to establish himself in Luthadel. Besides, I think it’s prudent to keep Renoux’s activities a bit removed from the Lord Ruler. ”

  Vin cocked her head. Fellise was a small, suburb-style city an hour outside of Luthadel; she and Reen had worked there before moving into the capital city. How had Kelsier recruited this Lord Renoux? Had he bribed the man, or was it some sort of scam?

  “I know of Renoux,” Breeze said slowly. “He’s a Western lord; he has a great deal of power in the Farmost Dominance. ”

  Kelsier nodded. “Lord Renoux recently decided to try and elevate his family to high noble status. His of?cial story is that he came south in order to expand his mercantile efforts. He hopes that by shipping ?ne Southern weaponry to the North, he can earn enough money—and make enough connections—to build himself a keep in Luthadel by the end of the decade. ”

  The room was quiet.

  “But,” Ham said slowly, “those weapons will be coming to us instead. ”

  Kelsier nodded. “We’ll have to fake the shipping records, just in case. ”

  “That’s. . quite an ambitious front, Kell,” Ham said. “A lord’s family working on our side. ”

  “But,” Breeze said, looking confused. “Kelsier, you hate noblemen. ”

  “This one’s different,” Kelsier said with a sly smile.

  The crew studied Kelsier. They didn’t like working with a nobleman; Vin could tell that much easily. It probably didn’t help that Renoux was so powerful.

  Suddenly, Breeze laughed. He leaned back in his chair, downing the last of his wine. “You blessed madman! You killed him, didn’t you? Renoux—you killed him and replaced him with an impostor. ”

  Kelsier’s smile broadened.

  Yeden cursed, but Ham simply smiled. “Ah. Now that makes sense. Or, at least, it makes sense if you’re Kelsier the Foolhardy. ”

  “Renoux is going to take up permanent residence in Fellise,” Kelsier said. “He’ll be our front if we need to do anything of?cial. I’ll use him to purchase armaments and supplies, for instance. ”

  Breeze nodded thoughtfully. “Ef?cient. ”

  “Ef?cient?” Yeden asked. “You’ve killed a nobleman! A very important one. ”

  “You’re planning to overthrow the entire empire, Yeden,” Kelsier noted. “Renoux isn’t going to be the last aristocratic casualty in this little endeavor. ”

  “Yes, but impersonating him?” Yeden asked. “That sounds a little risky to me. ”

  “You hired us because you wanted extraordinary results, my dear man,” Breeze said, sipping his wine. “In our line of work, extraordinary results usually require extraordinary risks. ”

  “We minimize them as best we can, Yeden,” Kelsier said. “My actor is very good. However, these are the sorts of things we’re going to be doing in this job. ”

  “And if I order you to stop a few of them?” Yeden asked.

  “You can shut down the job at any time,” Dockson said, not looking up from his ledgers. “But as long as it is in motion, Kelsier has ?nal say on plans, objectives, and procedures.

  That is how we work; you knew that when you hired us. ”

  Yeden shook his head ruefully.

  “Well?” Kelsier asked. “Do we continue or not? The call is yours, Yeden. ”

  “Feel free to call an end to it, friend,” Breeze said with a helpful voice. “Don’t be afraid of offending us. I, for one, look favorably upon free money. ”

  Vin saw Yeden pale slightly. In Vin’s estimation, he was fortunate that Kelsier hadn’t simply taken his money and stabbed him in the chest. But, she was becoming increasingly convinced that wasn’t the way things worked around here.

  “This is insane,” Yeden said.

  “Trying to overthrow the Lord Ruler?” Breeze asked. “Why, yes, as a matter of fact, it is. ”

  “All right,” Yeden said, sighing. “We continue. ”

  “Good,” Kelsier said, writing Kelsier: Equipment under Troops. “The Renoux front will also give us an ‘in’ with Luthadel high society. This will be a very important advantage—we’ll need to keep careful track of Great House politics if we’re going to start a war. ”

  “This house war might not be as easy to pull off as you think, Kelsier,” Breeze warned. “The current l
ot of high noblemen is a careful, discriminating group. ”

  Kelsier smiled. “Then it’s good that you’re here to help, Breeze. You’re an expert at making people do what you want— together, you and I will plan how to make the high nobility turn on each other. Major house wars seem to happen every couple of centuries or so. The current group’s competence will only make them more dangerous, so getting them riled up shouldn’t be that hard. In fact, I’ve already started the process…. ”

  Breeze raised an eyebrow, then glanced at Ham. The Thug grumbled a bit, pulling out a golden ten-boxing coin and ?ipping it across the room to the self-satis?ed Breeze.

  “What was that about?” Dockson asked.

  “We had a bet,” Breeze said, “regarding whether or not Kelsier was involved in last night’s disturbance. ”

  “Disturbance?” Yeden asked. “What disturbance?”

  “Someone attacked House Venture,” Ham said. “The rumors claim that three full Mistborn were sent to assassinate Straff Venture himself. ”

  Kelsier snorted. “Three? Straff certainly has an elevated opinion of himself. I didn’t go anywhere near His Lordship. I was there for the atium—and to make certain that I was seen. ”

  “Venture isn’t sure who to blame,” Breeze said. “But because Mistborn were involved, everyone assumes that it was one of the Great Houses. ”

  “That was the idea,” Kelsier said happily. “The high nobility take Mistborn attacks very seriously—they have an unspoken agreement that they won’t use Mistborn to assassinate each other. A few more strikes like this, and I’ll have them snapping at each other like frightened animals. ”

  He turned, adding Breeze: Planning and Kelsier: General Mayhem beneath Great Houses on the board.

  “Anyway,” Kelsier continued, “we’ll need to keep an eye on local politics to ?nd out which Houses are making alliances. That means sending a spy to some of their functions. ”

  “Is that really necessary?” Yeden asked uncomfortably.

  Ham nodded. “It’s standard procedure for any Luthadel job, actually. If there is information to be had, it will pass through the lips of the court’s powerful. It always pays to keep an open set of ears moving through their circles. ”

  “Well, that should be easy,” Breeze said. “We just bring up your impostor and send him into the parties. ”

  Kelsier shook his head. “Unfortunately, Lord Renoux himself won’t be able to come to Luthadel. ”

  Yeden frowned. “Why not? Won’t your impostor hold up to close scrutiny?”

  “Oh, he looks just like Lord Renoux,” Kelsier said. “Exactly like Lord Renoux, actually. We just can’t let him get near an Inquisitor…. ”

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