Mistborn the final empi.., p.66
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       Mistborn: The Final Empire, p.66

         Part #1 of Mistborn series by Brandon Sanderson
Page 66

  Vin shrugged. “Fine. Hopefully, none of the secrets Kelsier wants us to discover in this text are related to the Terrisman powers—if they are, I’ll miss them completely. ”

  Sazed paused.

  “Ah, well,” Vin said nonchalantly, ?ipping through the pages she hadn’t read. “Looks like he spends a lot of time talking about the Terrismen. Guess I won’t be able to give much input when Kelsier gets back. ”

  “You make a good point,” Sazed said slowly. “Even if you make it a bit melodramatically. ”

  Vin smiled pertly.

  “Very well,” Sazed said with a sigh. “We should not have let you spend so much time with Master Breeze, I think. ”

  “The men in the logbook,” Vin said. “They’re Keepers?”

  Sazed nodded. “What we now call Keepers were far more common back then—perhaps even more common than Mistings are among modern nobility. Our art is called ‘Feruchemy,’ and it grants the ability to store certain physical attributes inside bits of metal. ”

  Vin frowned. “You burn metals too?”

  “No, Mistress,” Sazed said with a shake of his head. “Feruchemists aren’t like Allomancers—we don’t ‘burn’ away our metals. We use them as storage. Each piece of metal, dependent upon size and alloy, can store a certain physical quality. The Feruchemist saves up an attribute, then draws upon that reserve at a later time. ”

  “Attribute?” Vin asked. “Like strength?”

  Sazed nodded. “In the text, the Terris packmen make themselves weaker during the evening, storing up strength in their bracelets for use on the next day. ”

  Vin studied Sazed’s face. “That’s why you wear so many earrings!”

  “Yes, Mistress,” he said, reaching over to pull up his sleeves. Underneath his robe, he wore thick iron bracers around his upper arms. “I keep some of my reserves hidden—but wearing many rings, earrings, and other items of jewelry has always been a part of Terris culture. The Lord Ruler once tried to enforce a ban upon Terrismen touching or owning any metal—in fact, he tried to make wearing metal a noble privilege, rather than a skaa one. ”

  Vin frowned. “That’s odd,” she said. “One would think that the nobility wouldn’t want to wear metal, because that would make them vulnerable to Allomancy. ”

  “Indeed,” Sazed said. “However, it has long been imperial fashion to accent one’s wardrobe with metal. It began, I suspect, with the Lord Ruler’s desire to deny the Terrismen the right to touch metal. He himself began wearing metal rings and bracelets, and the nobility always follows him in fashion. Nowadays, the most wealthy often wear metal as a symbol of power and pride. ”

  “Sounds foolish,” Vin said.

  “Fashion often is, Mistress,” Sazed said. “Regardless, the ploy failed—many of the nobility only wear wood painted to look like metal, and the Terris managed to weather the Lord Ruler’s discontent in this area. It was simply too impractical to never let stewards handle metal. That hasn’t stopped the Lord Ruler from trying to exterminate the Keepers, however. ”

  “He fears you. ”

  “And hates us. Not just Feruchemists, but all Terrismen. ” Sazed laid a hand on the still untranslated portion of the text. “I hope to ?nd that secret in here as well. No one remembers why the Lord Ruler persecutes the Terris people, but I suspect that it has something to do with those packmen—their leader, Rashek, appears to be a very contrary man. The Lord Ruler often speaks of him in the narrative. ”

  “He mentioned religion,” Vin said. “The Terris religion. Something about prophecies?”

  Sazed shook his head. “I cannot answer that question, Mistress, for I don’t know any more of the Terris religion than you do. ”

  “But, you collect religions,” Vin said. “You don’t know about your own?”

  “I do not,” Sazed said solemnly. “You see, Mistress, this was why the Keepers were formed. Centuries ago, my people hid away the last few Terris Feruchemists. The Lord Ruler’s purges of the Terris people were growing quite violent—this was before he began the breeding program. Back then, we weren’t stewards or servants—we weren’t even skaa. We were something to be destroyed.

  “Yet, something kept the Lord Ruler from wiping us out completely. I don’t know why—perhaps he thought genocide too kind a punishment. Anyway, he successfully destroyed our religion during the ?rst two centuries of his rule. The organization of Keepers was formed during the next century, its members intent upon discovering that which had been lost, then remembering for the future. ”

  “With Feruchemy?”

  Sazed nodded, rubbing his ?ngers across the bracer on his right arm. “This one is made of copper; it allows for the storage of memories and thoughts. Each Keeper carries several bracers like this, ?lled with knowledge—songs, stories, prayers, histories, and languages. Many Keepers have a particular area of interest—mine is religion—but we all remember the entire collection. If just one of us survives until the death of the Lord Ruler, then the world’s people will be able to recover all that they have lost. ”

  He paused, then pulled down his sleeve. “Well, not all that was lost. There are still things we are missing. ”

  “Your own religion,” Vin said quietly. “You never found it, did you?”

  Sazed shook his head. “The Lord Ruler implies in this logbook that it was our prophets that led him to the Well of Ascension, but even this is new information for us. What did we believe? What, or whom, did we worship? Where did these Terris prophets come from, and how did they predict the future?”

  “I’m… sorry. ”

  “We continue to look, Mistress. We will ?nd our answers eventually, I think. Even if we do not, we will still have provided an invaluable service for mankind. Other people call us docile and servile, but we have fought him, in our own way. ”

  Vin nodded. “So, what other things can you store? Strength and memories. Anything else?”

  Sazed eyed her. “I have said too much already, I think. You understand the mechanics of what we do—if the Lord Ruler mentions these things in his text, you will not be confused. ”

  “Sight,” Vin said, perking up. “That’s why you wore glasses for a few weeks after you rescued me. You needed to be able to see better that night when you saved me, so you used up your storage. Then you spent a few weeks with weak vision so that you could re?ll it. ”

  Sazed didn’t respond to the comment. He picked up his pen, obviously intending to turn back to his translation. “Was there anything else, Mistress?”

  “Yes, as a matter of fact,” Vin said, pulling the handkerchief from her sleeve. “Do you have any idea what this is?”

  “It appears to be a handkerchief, Mistress. ”

  Vin raised a droll eyebrow. “Very funny. You’ve spent far too long around Kelsier, Sazed. ”

  “I know,” he said with a quiet sigh. “He has corrupted me, I think. Regardless, I do not understand your question. What is distinctive about that particular handkerchief?”

  “That’s what I want to know,” Vin said. “Spook gave it to me just a little bit ago. ”

  “Ah. That makes sense, then. ”

  “What?” Vin demanded.

  “In noble society, Mistress, a handkerchief is the traditional gift a young man gives a lady that he wishes to seriously court. ”

  Vin paused, regarding the handkerchief with shock. “What? Is that boy crazy?”

  “Most young men his age are somewhat crazy, I think,” Sazed said with a smile. “However, this is hardly unexpected. Haven’t you noticed how he stares at you when you enter the room?”

  “I just thought he was creepy. What is he thinking? He’s so much younger than me. ”

  “The boy is ?fteen, Mistress. That only makes him one year your junior. ”

  “Two,” Vin said. “I turned seventeen last week. ”

  “Still, he isn’t really that much younger than you. ”

  Vin rolled her eyes. “I don’t have time for his attentions. ”
  “One would think, Mistress, that you would appreciate the opportunities you have. Not everyone is so fortunate. ”

  Vin paused. He’s a eunuch, you fool. “Sazed, I’m sorry. I…”

  Sazed waved a hand. “It is something I have never known enough of to miss, Mistress. Perhaps I am fortunate—a life in the underground does not make it easy to raise a family. Why, poor Master Hammond has been away from his wife for months. ”

  “Ham’s married?”

  “Of course,” Sazed said. “So is Master Yeden, I believe. They protect their families by separating them from underground activities, but this necessitates spending large periods of time apart. ”

  “Who else?” Vin asked. “Breeze? Dockson?”

  “Master Breeze is a bit too… self-motivated for a family, I think. Master Dockson hasn’t spoken of his romantic life, but I suspect that there is something painful in his past. That is not uncommon for plantation skaa, as you might expect. ”

  “Dockson is from a plantation?” Vin asked with surprise.

  “Of course. Don’t you ever spend time talking with your friends, Mistress?”

  Friends. I have friends. It was an odd realization.

  “Anyway,” Sazed said, “I should continue my work. I am sorry to be so dismissive, but I am nearly ?nished with the translation…. ”

  “Of course,” Vin said, standing and smoothing her dress. “Thank you. ”

  She found Dockson sitting in the guest study, writing quietly on a piece of paper, a pile of documents organized neatly on the desktop. He wore a standard nobleman’s suit, and always looked more comfortable in the clothing than the others did. Kelsier was dashing, Breeze immaculate and lavish, but Dockson…he simply looked natural in the out?t.

  He looked up as she entered. “Vin? I’m sorry—I should have sent for you. For some reason I assumed you were out. ”

  “I often am, these days,” she said, closing the door behind her. “I stayed home today; listening to noblewomen prattle over their lunches can get a bit annoying. ”

  “I can imagine,” Dockson said, smiling. “Have a seat. ”

  Vin nodded, strolling into the room. It was a quiet place, decorated in warm colors and deep woods. It was still somewhat light outside, but Dockson already had the evening drapes drawn and was working by candlelight.

  “Any news from Kelsier?” Vin asked as she sat.

  “No,” Dockson said, setting aside his document. “But that’s not unexpected. He wasn’t going to stay at the caves for long, so sending a messenger back would have been a bit silly—as an Allomancer, he might even be able to get back before a man on horseback. Either way, I suspect he’ll be a few days late. This is Kell we’re talking about, after all. ”

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