Mistborn the final empi.., p.60
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       Mistborn: The Final Empire, p.60

         Part #1 of Mistborn series by Brandon Sanderson
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Page 60

  “I see that you already think like one of them,” Marsh said. “Not everyone is Mistborn, girl—in fact, very, very few people are. And, despite what your kind likes to think, normal Mistings can kill people too. Knowing that the man attacking you is a Thug rather than a Coinshot could very easily save your life. ”

  “All right,” Vin said.

  “Bronze will also help you identify Mistborn,” Marsh said. “If you see someone using Allomancy when there is no Smoker nearby, and yet don’t sense them giving off Allomantic pulses, then you know that they are Mistborn—either that, or they’re an Inquisitor. In either case, you should run. ”

  Vin nodded silently, the wound in her side throbbing slightly.

  “There are great advantages to burning bronze, rather than just running around with your copper on. True, you Smoke yourself by using copper—but in a way you also blind yourself. Copper makes you immune to having your emotions Pushed or Pulled. ”

  “But that’s a good thing. ”

  Marsh cocked his head slightly. “Oh? And what would be the greater advantage? Being immune to—but ignorant of— some Soother’s attentions? Or instead knowing—from your bronze—exactly which emotions he is trying to suppress?”

  Vin paused. “You can see something that speci?c?”

  Marsh nodded. “With care and practice, you can recognize very minute changes in your opponents’ Allomantic burnings. You can identify precisely which parts of a person’s emotions a Soother or Rioter intends to in?uence. You’ll also be able to tell when someone is ?aring their metal. If you grow very skilled, you might even be able to tell when they’re running low on metals. ”

  Vin paused in thought.

  “You begin to see the advantage,” Marsh said. “Good. Now burn bronze. ”

  Vin did so. Immediately, she felt two rhythmic thumpings in the air. The soundless pulses washed over her, like the beating of drums or the washings of ocean waves. They were mixed and muddled.

  “What do you sense?” Marsh asked.

  “I… think there are two different metals being burned. One’s coming from Kelsier down below; the other is coming from you. ”

  “Good,” Marsh said appreciatively. “You’ve practiced. ”

  “Not much,” Vin admitted.

  He cocked an eyebrow. “Not much? You can already determine pulse origins. That takes practice. ”

  Vin shrugged. “It seems natural to me. ”

  Marsh was still for a moment. “Very well,” he eventually said. “Are the two pulses different?”

  Vin concentrated, frowning.

  “Close your eyes,” Marsh said. “Remove other distractions. Focus only on the Allomantic pulses. ”

  Vin did so. It wasn’t like hearing—not really. She had to concentrate to distinguish anything speci?c about the pulses. One felt…like it was beating against her. The other, in a strange sensation, felt like it was actually pulling her toward it with each beat.

  “One’s a Pulling metal, isn’t it?” Vin asked, opening her eyes. “That one’s Kelsier. You’re Pushing. ”

  “Very good,” Marsh said. “He is burning iron, as I asked him to so that you could practice. I—of course—am burning bronze. ”

  “Do they all do that?” Vin asked. “Feel distinct, I mean?”

  Marsh nodded. “You can tell a Pulling metal from a Pushing metal by the Allomantic signature. Actually, that’s how some of the metals were originally divided into their categories. It isn’t intuitive, for instance, that tin Pulls while pewter Pushes. I didn’t tell you to open your eyes. ”

  Vin shut them.

  “Focus on the pulses,” Marsh said. “Try and distinguish their lengths. Can you tell the difference between them?”

  Vin frowned. She focused as hard as she could, but her sense of the metals seemed…muddled. Fuzzy. After a few minutes, the lengths of the separate pulses still seemed the same to her.

  “I can’t sense anything,” she said, dejected.

  “Good,” Marsh said ?atly. “It took me six months of practice to distinguish pulse lengths—if you’d done it on the ?rst try, I’d have felt incompetent. ”

  Vin opened her eyes. “Why ask me to do it, then?”

  “Because you need to practice. If you can tell Pulling metals from Pushing metals already…well, you apparently have talent. Perhaps as much talent as Kelsier has been bragging about. ”

  “What was I supposed to see, then?” Vin asked.

  “Eventually, you’ll be able to sense two different pulse lengths. Internal metals, like bronze and copper, give off longer pulses than external metals, like iron and steel. Practice will also let you sense the three patterns within the pulses: one for the physical metals, one for the mental metals, and one for the two greater metals.

  “Pulse length, metal group, and Push-Pull variance—once you know these three things, you will be able to tell exactly which metals your opponent is burning. A long pulse that beats against you and has a quick pattern will be pewter—the internal Pushing physical metal. ”

  “Why the names?” Vin asked. “External and internal?”

  “Metals come in groups of four—or, at least, the lower eight do. Two external metals, two internal metals—one each that Pushes, one each that Pulls. With iron, you Pull on something outside of yourself, with steel you Push on something outside of yourself. With tin you Pull on something inside of yourself, with pewter you Push on something inside of yourself. ”

  “But, bronze and copper,” Vin said. “Kelsier called them internal metals, but it seems like they affect external things. Copper keeps people from sensing when you use Allomancy. ”

  Marsh shook his head. “Copper doesn’t change your opponents, it changes something within yourself that has an effect on your opponents. That’s why it is an internal metal. Brass, however, alters another person’s emotions directly—and is an external metal. ”

  Vin nodded thoughtfully. Then she turned, glancing toward Kelsier. “You know a lot about all the metals, but you’re just a Misting, right?”

  Marsh nodded. He didn’t look like he intended to respond, though.

  Let’s try something, then, Vin thought, extinguishing her bronze. She lightly began burning copper to mask her Allomancy. Marsh didn’t react, instead continuing to look down at Kelsier and the caravan.

  I should be invisible to his senses, she thought, carefully burning both zinc and brass. She reached, just as Breeze had been training her to do, and subtly touched Marsh’s emotions. She suppressed his suspicions and inhibitions, while at the same time bringing out his sense of wistfulness. Theoretically, that would make him more likely to talk.

  “You must have learned somewhere?” Vin asked carefully.

  He’ll see what I did for sure. He’s going to get angry and—

  “I Snapped when I was very young,” Marsh said. “I’ve had a long time to practice. ”

  “So have a lot of people,” Vin said.

  “I… had reasons. They’re hard to explain. ”

  “They always are,” Vin said, slightly increasing her Allomantic pressure.

  “You know how Kelsier feels about the nobility?” Marsh asked, turning toward her, his eyes like ice.

  Ironeyes, she thought. Like they said. She nodded to his question.

  “Well, I feel the same way about the obligators,” he said, turning away. “I’ll do anything to hurt them. They took our mother—that’s when I Snapped, and that’s when I vowed to destroy them. So, I joined the rebellion and started learning all I could about Allomancy. Inquisitors use it, so I had to understand it—understand everything I could, be as good as I could, and are you Soothing me?”

  Vin started, abruptly extinguishing her metals. Marsh turned back toward her again, his expression cold.

  Run! Vin thought. She almost did. It was nice to know that the old instincts were still there, if buried just a bit.

  “Yes,” she said meekly.

  “You are good,
” Marsh said. “I’d have never known if I hadn’t started rambling. Stop it. ”

  “I already have. ”

  “Good,” Marsh said. “That’s the second time you’ve altered my emotions. Never do it again. ”

  Vin nodded. “Second time?”

  “The ?rst was in my shop, eight months ago. ”

  That’s right. Why don’t I remember him? “I’m sorry. ”

  Marsh shook his head, ?nally turning away. “You’re Mistborn—that’s what you do. He does the same thing. ” He was looking down at Kelsier.

  They sat quietly for a few moments.

  “Marsh?” Vin asked. “How did you know I was Mistborn? I only knew how to Soothe back then. ”

  Marsh shook his head. “You knew the other metals instinctively. You were burning pewter and tin that day—just a tiny bit, barely noticeable. You probably got the metals from water and dining utensils. Did you ever wonder why you survived when so many others died?”

  Vin paused. I did live through a lot of beatings. A lot of days with no food, nights spent in alleys during rain or ashfalls…

  Marsh nodded. “Very few people, even Mistborn, are so attuned to Allomancy that they burn metals instinctively. That’s what interested me in you—that’s why I kept track of you and told Dockson where to ?nd you. And, are you Pushing my emotions again?”

  Vin shook her head. “I promise. ”

  Marsh frowned, studying her with one of his stony gazes.

  “So stern,” Vin said quietly. “Like my brother. ”

  “Were you close?”

  “I hated him,” Vin whispered.

  Marsh paused, then turned away. “I see. ”

  “Do you hate Kelsier?”

  Marsh shook his head. “No, I don’t hate him. He’s frivolous and self-important, but he’s my brother. ”

  “And that’s enough?” Vin asked.

  Marsh nodded.

  “I…have trouble understanding that,” Vin said honestly, looking out over the ?eld of skaa, boxes, and sacks.

  “Your brother didn’t treat you well, I presume?”

  Vin shook her head.

  “What about your parents?” Marsh said. “One was a nobleman. The other?”

  “Mad,” Vin said. “She heard voices. It got so bad that my brother was afraid to leave us alone with her. But, of course, he didn’t have a choice…. ”

  Marsh sat quietly, not speaking. How did this get turned back to me? Vin thought. He’s no Soother, yet he’s getting as much out of me as I’m getting out of him.

  Still, it was good to speak it ?nally. She reached up, idly ?ngering her earring. “I don’t remember it,” she said, “but Reen said that he came home one day and found my mother covered in blood. She’d killed my baby sister. Messily. Me, however, she hadn’t touched—except to give me an earring. Reen said…He said she was holding me on her lap, babbling and proclaiming me a queen, my sister’s corpse at our feet. He took me from my mother, and she ?ed. He saved my life, probably. That’s part of why I stayed with him, I guess. Even when it was bad. ”


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