Mistborn the final empi.., p.35
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       Mistborn: The Final Empire, p.35

         Part #1 of Mistborn series by Brandon Sanderson
Page 35

  “This doesn’t hold for extreme emotional states— complete emotionlessness or utter passion. However, in most cases, it doesn’t matter which power you use. People are not like solid bricks of metal—at any given time, they will have a dozen different emotions churning within them. An experienced Soother can dampen everything but the emotion he wants to remain dominant. ”

  Breeze turned slightly. “Rudd, send in the blue server, please. ”

  One of the guards nodded, cracking the door and whispering something to the man outside. A moment later, Vin saw a serving girl wearing a faded blue dress move through the crowd, ?lling drinks.

  “My Soothers are mixed with the crowd,” Breeze said, his voice growing distracted. “The serving girls are a sign, telling my men which emotions to Soothe away. They will work, just as I do…. ” He trailed off, concentrating as he looked into the crowd.

  “Fatigue…” he whispered. “That’s not a necessary emotion right now. Hunger. . distracting. Suspicion…de?nitely not helpful. Yes, and as the Soothers work, the Rioters en?ame the emotions we want the crowd to be feeling. Curiosity… that’s what they need now. Yes, listen to Kelsier. You’ve heard legends and stories. See the man for yourself, and be impressed. ”

  “I know why you came today,” Kelsier said quietly. He spoke without much of the ?amboyance Vin associated with the man, his tone quiet, but direct. “Twelve-hour days in a mill, mine, or forge. Beatings, lack of pay, poor food. And, for what? So that you can return to your tenements at the day’s end to ?nd another tragedy? A friend, slain by an uncaring taskmaster. A daughter, taken to be some nobleman’s plaything. A brother, dead at the hand of a passing lord who was having an unpleasant day. ”

  “Yes,” Breeze whispered. “Good. Red, Rudd. Send in the girl in light red. ”

  Another serving girl entered the room.

  “Passion and anger,” Breeze said, his voice almost a mumble. “But just a bit. Just a nudge—a reminder. ”

  Curious, Vin extinguished her copper for a moment, burning bronze instead, trying to sense Breeze’s use of Allomancy. No pulses came from him.

  Of course, she thought. I forgot about Clubs’s apprentice— he’d keep me from sensing any Allomantic pulses. She turned her copper back on.

  Kelsier continued to speak. “My friends, you’re not alone in your tragedy. There are millions, just like you. And they need you. I’ve not come to beg—we’ve had enough of that in our lives. I simply ask you to think. Where would you rather your energy be spent? On forging the Lord Ruler’s weapons? Or, on something more valuable?”

  He’s not mentioning our troops, Vin thought. Or even what those who join with him are going to do. He doesn’t want the workers to know details. Probably a good idea—those he recruits can be sent to the army, and the rest won’t be able to give away speci?c information.

  “You know why I am here,” Kelsier said. “You know my friend, Yeden, and what he represents. Every skaa in the city knows about the rebellion. Perhaps you’ve considered joining it. Most of you will not—most of you will go back to your soot-stained mills, to your burning forges, to your dying homes. You’ll go because this terrible life is familiar. But some of you… some of you will come with me. And those are the men who will be remembered in the years to come. Remembered for having done something grand. ”

  Many of the workers shared glances, though some just stared at their half-empty soup bowls. Finally, someone near the back of the room spoke. “You’re a fool,” the man said. “The Lord Ruler will kill you. You don’t rebel against God in his own city. ”

  The room fell silent. Tense. Vin sat up as Breeze whispered to himself.

  In the room, Kelsier stood quietly for a moment. Finally, he reached up and pulled back the sleeves on his jacket, revealing the crisscrossed scars on his arms. “The Lord Ruler is not our god,” he said quietly. “And he cannot kill me. He tried, but he failed. For I am the thing that he can never kill. ”

  With that, Kelsier turned, walking from the room the way he had come.

  “Hum,” Breeze said, “well, that was a little dramatic. Rudd, bring back the red and send out the brown. ”

  A serving woman in brown walked into the crowd.

  “Amazement,” Breeze said. “And, yes, pride. Soothe the anger, for now…. ”

  The crowd sat quietly for a moment, the dining room eerily motionless. Finally, Yeden stood up to speak and give some further encouragement, as well as an explanation of what the men should do, should they wish to hear more. As he talked, the men returned to their meals.

  “Green, Rudd,” Breeze said. “Hum, yes. Let’s make you all thoughtful, and give you a nudge of loyalty. We wouldn’t want anyone to run to the obligators, would we? Kell’s covered his tracks quite well, but the less the authorities hear, the better, eh? Oh, and what about you, Yeden? You’re a bit too nervous. Let’s Soothe that, take away your worries. Leave only that passion of yours—hopefully, it will be enough to cover up that stupid tone in your voice. ”

  Vin continued to watch. Now that Kelsier had gone, she found it easier to focus on the crowd’s reactions, and on Breeze’s work. As Yeden spoke, the workers outside seemed to react exactly according to Breeze’s mumbled instructions. Yeden, too, showed effects of the Soothing: He grew more comfortable, his voice more con?dent, as he spoke.

  Curious, Vin let her copper drop again. She concentrated, seeing if she could sense Breeze’s touch on her emotions; she would be included in his general Allomantic projections. He didn’t have time to pick and choose individuals, except maybe Yeden. It was very, very dif?cult to sense. Yet, as Breeze sat mumbling to himself, she began to feel the exact emotions he described.

  Vin couldn’t help but be impressed. The few times that Kelsier had used Allomancy on her emotions, his touch has been like a sudden, blunt punch to the face. He had strength, but very little subtlety.

  Breeze’s touch was incredibly delicate. He Soothed certain emotions, dampening them while leaving others unaffected. Vin thought she could sense his men Rioting on her emotions, too, but these touches weren’t nearly as subtle as Breeze’s. She left her copper off, watching for touches on her emotions as Yeden continued his speech. He explained that the men who joined with them would have to leave family and friends for a time—as long as a year—but would be fed well during that time.

  Vin felt her respect for Breeze continue to rise. Suddenly, she didn’t feel so annoyed with Kelsier for handing her off. Breeze could only do one thing, but he obviously had a great deal of practice at it. Kelsier, as a Mistborn, had to learn all of the Allomantic skills; it made sense that he wouldn’t be as focused in any one power.

  I need to make certain he sends me to learn from the others, Vin thought. They’ll be masters at their own powers.

  Vin turned her attention back to the dining room as Yeden wrapped up. “You heard Kelsier, the Survivor of Hathsin,” he said. “The rumors about him are true—he’s given up his thieving ways, and turned his considerable attention toward working for the skaa rebellion! Men, we are preparing for something grand. Something that may, indeed, end up being our last struggle against the Final Empire. Join with us. Join with your brothers. Join with the Survivor himself!”

  The dining room fell silent.

  “Bright red,” Breeze said. “I want those men to leave feeling passionate about what they’ve heard. ”

  “The emotions will fade, won’t they?” Vin said as a red-clothed serving girl entered the crowd.

  “Yes,” Breeze said, sitting back and sliding the panel closed. “But memories stay. If people associate strong emotion with an event, they’ll remember it better. ”

  A few moments later, Ham entered through the back door. “That went well. The men are leaving invigorated, and a number of them are staying behind. We’ll have a good set of volunteers to send off to the caves. ”

  Breeze shook his head. “It’s not enough. Dox takes a few days to organize each of these meetings,
and we only get about twenty men from each one. At this rate, we’ll never hit ten thousand in time. ”

  “You think we need more meetings?” Ham asked. “That’s going to be tough—we have to be very careful with these things, so only those who can be reasonably trusted are invited. ”

  Breeze sat for a moment. Finally, he downed the rest of his wine. “I don’t know—but we’ll have to think of something. For now, let’s return to the shop. I believe Kelsier wishes to hold a progress meeting this evening. ”

  Kelsier looked to the west. The afternoon sun was a poisonous red, shining angrily through a sky of smoke. Just below it, Kelsier could see the silhouetted tip of a dark peak. Tyrian, closest of the Ashmounts.

  He stood atop Clubs’s ?at-roofed shop, listening to workers returning home on the streets below. A ?at roof meant having to shovel off ash occasionally, which was why most skaa buildings were peaked, but in Kelsier’s opinion the view was often worth a bit of trouble.

  Below him, the skaa workers trudged in despondent ranks, their passing kicking up a small cloud of ash. Kelsier turned away from them, looking toward the northern horizon… toward the Pits of Hathsin.

  Where does it go? he thought. The atium reaches the city, but then disappears. It isn’t the Ministry—we’ve watched them—and no skaa hands touch the metal. We assume it goes into the treasury. We hope it does, at least.

  While burning atium, a Mistborn was virtually unstoppable, which was part of why it was so valuable. But, his plan was about more than just wealth. He knew how much atium was harvested at the pits, and Dockson had researched the amounts that the Lord Ruler doled out—at exorbitant prices—to the nobility. Barely a tenth of what was mined eventually found its way into noble hands.

  Ninety percent of the atium produced in the world had been stockpiled, year after year, for a thousand years. With that much of the metal, Kelsier’s team could intimidate even the most powerful of the noble houses. Yeden’s plan to hold the palace probably seemed futile to many—indeed, on its own, it was doomed to fail. However, Kelsier’s other plans…

  Kelsier glanced down at the small, whitish bar in his hand. The Eleventh Metal. He knew the rumors about it—he’d started them. Now, he just had to make good on them.

  He sighed, turning eyes east, toward Kredik Shaw, the Lord Ruler’s palace. The name was Terris; it meant “The Hill of a Thousand Spires. ” Appropriate, since the imperial palace resembled a patch of enormous black spears thrust into the ground. Some of the spires twisted, others were straight. Some were thick towers, others were thin and needlelike. They varied in height, but each one was tall. And each one ended in a point.

  Kredik Shaw. That’s where it had ended three years before. And he needed to go back.

  The trapdoor opened, and a ?gure climbed onto the roof. Kelsier turned with a raised eyebrow as Sazed brushed off his robe, then approached in his characteristically respectful posture. Even a rebellious Terrisman maintained the form of his training.

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