Mistborn the final empi.., p.79
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       Mistborn: The Final Empire, p.79

         Part #1 of Mistborn series by Brandon Sanderson
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Page 79

  Breeze sighed. “Very well. We’ll just have to be very careful to make certain no one accidentally recognizes me as someone I shouldn’t be. I can’t go to parties or functions— but I can probably do solitary house visits. ”

  “Same for you, Dox,” Kelsier said.

  “I ?gured as much,” Dockson said.

  “It will be dangerous for both of you,” Kelsier said. “But speed will be essential. Vin will remain our main spy—and we’ll probably want her to start spreading some bad information. Anything to make the nobility uncertain. ”

  Ham nodded. “We should probably focus our attentions on the top, then. ”

  “Indeed,” Breeze said. “If we can make the most powerful houses look vulnerable, then their enemies will be quick to strike. Only after the powerful houses are gone will people realize that they were the ones really supporting the economy. ”

  The room fell quiet for a second, then several heads turned toward Vin.

  “What?” she asked.

  “They’re talking about House Venture, Vin,” Dockson said. “It’s the most powerful of the Great Houses. ”

  Breeze nodded. “If Venture falls, the entire Final Empire would feel the tremors. ”

  Vin sat quietly for a moment. “They’re not all bad people,” she ?nally said.

  “Perhaps,” Kelsier said. “But Lord Straff Venture certainly is, and his family sits at the very head of the Final Empire. House Venture needs to go—and you already have an in with one of its most important members. ”

  I thought you wanted me to stay away from Elend, she thought with annoyance.

  “Just keep your ears open, child,” Breeze said. “See if you can get the lad to talk about his house’s ?nances. Find us a bit of leverage, and we’ll do the rest. ”

  Just like the games Elend hates so much. However, the executions were still fresh in her mind. That sort of thing had to be stopped. Besides—even Elend said he didn’t like his father, or his house, very much. Maybe… maybe she could ?nd something. “I’ll see what I can do,” she said.

  A knock came at the front door, answered by one of the apprentices. A few moments later, Sazed—clad in a skaa cloak to hide his features—entered the kitchen.

  Kelsier checked the clock. “You’re early, Saze. ”

  “I try to make it a habit, Master Kelsier,” the Terrisman replied.

  Dockson raised an eyebrow. “That’s a habit someone else could afford to pick up. ”

  Kelsier snorted. “If you’re always on time, it implies that you never have anything better you should be doing. Saze, how are the men?”

  “As good as can be expected, Master Kelsier,” Sazed replied. “But they can’t hide in the Renoux warehouses forever. ”

  “I know,” Kelsier said. “Dox, Ham, I’ll need you to work on this problem. There are two thousand men left from our army; I want you to get them into Luthadel. ”

  Dockson nodded thoughtfully. “We’ll ?nd a way. ”

  “You want us to keep training them?” Ham asked.

  Kelsier nodded.

  “Then we’ll have to hide them in squads,” he said. “We don’t have the resources to train men individually. Say…a couple hundred men per team? Hidden in slums near one another?”

  “Make sure none of the teams know about the others,” Dockson said. “Or even that we still intend to strike at the palace. With that many men in town, there’s a chance some of them will eventually get taken by the obligators for one reason or another. ”

  Kelsier nodded. “Tell each group that it’s the only one that didn’t get disbanded, and that it’s being retained just in case it’s needed at some point in the future. ”

  “You also said that recruitment needed to be continued,” Ham said.

  Kelsier nodded. “I’d like at least twice as many troops before we try and pull this off. ”

  “That’s going to be tough,” Ham said, “considering our army’s failure. ”

  “What failure?” Kelsier asked. “Tell them the truth—that our army successfully neutralized the Garrison. ”

  “Though most of them died doing it,” Ham said.

  “We can gloss over that part,” Breeze said. “The people will be angry at the executions—that should make them more willing to listen to us. ”

  “Gathering more troops is going to be your main task over the next few months, Ham,” Kelsier said.

  “That’s not much time,” Ham said. “But, I’ll see what I can do. ”

  “Good,” Kelsier said. “Saze, did the note come?”

  “It did, Master Kelsier,” Sazed said, pulling a letter from beneath his cloak and handing it to Kelsier.

  “And what would that be?” Breeze asked curiously.

  “A message from Marsh,” Kelsier said, opening the letter and scanning its contents. “He’s in the city, and he has news. ”

  “What news?” Ham asked.

  “He doesn’t say,” Kelsier said, grabbing a baywrap. “But he gave instructions on where to meet him tonight. ” He walked over, picking up a regular skaa cloak. “I’m going to go scout the location before it gets dark. Coming, Vin?”

  She nodded, standing.

  “The rest of you keep working on the plan,” Kelsier said. “In two months’ time, I want this city to be so tense that when it ?nally breaks, even the Lord Ruler won’t be able to hold it together. ”

  “There’s something you’re not telling us, isn’t there?” Vin said, looking away from the window, turning toward Kelsier. “A part of the plan. ”

  Kelsier glanced over at her in the darkness. Marsh’s chosen meeting place was an abandoned building within the Twists, one of the most impoverished skaa slums. Kelsier had located a second abandoned building across from the one they would meet in, and he and Vin waited on the top ?oor, watching the street for signs of Marsh.

  “Why do you ask me that?” Kelsier ?nally said.

  “Because of the Lord Ruler,” Vin said, picking at the rotting wood of her windowsill. “I felt his power today. I don’t think the others could sense it, not like a Mistborn can. But I know you must have. ” She looked up again, meeting Kelsier’s eyes. “You’re still planning to get him out of the city before we try to take the palace, right?”

  “Don’t worry about the Lord Ruler,” Kelsier said. “The Eleventh Metal will take care of him. ”

  Vin frowned. Outside, the sun was setting in a ?ery blaze of frustration. The mists would come soon, and supposedly Marsh would arrive a short time later.

  The Eleventh Metal, she thought, remembering the skepticism with which the other crewmembers regarded it. “Is it real?” Vin asked.

  “The Eleventh Metal? Of course it is—I showed it to you, remember?”

  “That’s not what I mean,” she said. “Are the legends real? Are you lying?”

  Kelsier turned toward her, frowning slightly. Then he smirked. “You’re a very blunt girl, Vin. ”

  “I know. ”

  Kelsier’s smile deepened. “The answer is no. I’m not lying. The legends are real, though it took some time for me to ?nd them. ”

  “And that bit of metal you showed us really is the Eleventh Metal?”

  “I think so,” Kelsier said.

  “But you don’t know how to use it. ”

  Kelsier paused, then shook his head. “No. I don’t. ”

  “That’s not very comforting. ”

  Kelsier shrugged, turning to look out the window. “Even if I don’t discover the secret in time, I doubt the Lord Ruler will be as big a problem as you think. He’s a powerful Allomancer, but he doesn’t know everything—if he did, we’d be dead right now. He’s not omnipotent, either—if he were, he wouldn’t have needed to execute all of those skaa to try and frighten the city into submission.

  “I don’t know what he is—but I think he’s more like a man than he is a god. The words in that logbook…they’re the words of a regular person. His real power comes from his armies and
his wealth. If we remove them, he won’t be able to do anything to stop his empire from collapsing. ”

  Vin frowned. “He might not be a god, but. . he’s something, Kelsier. Something different. Today, when he was in the square, I could feel his touch on my emotions even when I was burning copper. ”

  “That’s not possible, Vin,” Kelsier said with a shake of his head. “If it were, Inquisitors would be able to sense Allomancy even when there was a Smoker nearby. If that were the case, don’t you think they’d hunt down all of the skaa Mistings and kill them?”

  Vin shrugged.

  “You know the Lord Ruler is strong,” Kelsier said, “and you feel like you should still be able to sense him. So you do. ”

  Maybe he’s right, she thought, picking off another bit of the windowsill. He’s been an Allomancer for far longer than I have, after all.

  But…I felt something, didn’t I? And the Inquisitor that nearly killed me—somehow, he found me in the darkness and rain. He must have sensed something.

  She let the matter drop, however. “The Eleventh Metal. Couldn’t we just try it and see what it does?”

  “It’s not that simple,” Kelsier said. “You remember how I told you never to burn a metal that wasn’t one of the ten?”

  Vin nodded.

  “Burning another metal can be deadly,” Kelsier said. “Even getting the wrong mixture in an alloy metal can make you sick. If I’m wrong about the Eleventh Metal…”

  “It will kill you,” Vin said quietly.

  Kelsier nodded.

  So, you’re not quite as certain as you pretend, she decided. Otherwise, you’d have tried it by now.

  “That’s what you want to ?nd in the logbook,” Vin said. “A clue about how to use the Eleventh Metal. ”

  Kelsier nodded. “I’m afraid we weren’t very lucky in that respect. So far, the logbook hasn’t even mentioned Allomancy. ”

  “Though it does talk about Feruchemy,” Vin said.

  Kelsier eyed her as he stood by his window, one shoulder leaning against the wall. “So Sazed told you about that?”

  Vin glanced down. “I…kind of forced him to. ”

  Kelsier chuckled. “I wonder what I’ve unleashed upon the world by teaching you Allomancy. Of course, my trainer said the same thing about me. ”

  “He was right to worry. ”

  “Of course he was. ”

  Vin smiled. Outside, the sunlight was nearly gone, and diaphanous patches of mist were beginning to form in the air. They hung like ghosts, slowly growing larger, extending their in?uence as night approached.

  “Sazed didn’t have time to tell me much about Feruchemy,” Vin said carefully. “What kind of things can it do?” She waited in trepidation, assuming that Kelsier would see through her lie.

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