Mistborn the final empi.., p.80
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       Mistborn: The Final Empire, p.80

         Part #1 of Mistborn series by Brandon Sanderson
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Page 80

  “Feruchemy is completely internal,” Kelsier said in an offhand voice. “It can provide some of the same things we get from pewter and tin—strength, endurance, eyesight—but each attribute has to be stored separately. It can enhance a lot of other things too—things that Allomancy can’t do. Memory, physical speed, clarity of thought…even some strange things, like physical weight or physical age, can be altered by Feruchemy. ”

  “So, it’s more powerful than Allomancy?” Vin said.

  Kelsier shrugged. “Feruchemy doesn’t have any external powers—it can’t Push and Pull emotions, nor can it Steelpush or Ironpull. And, the biggest limitation to Feruchemy is that you have to store up all of its abilities by drawing them from your own body.

  “Want to be twice as strong for a time? Well, you have to spend several hours being weak to store up the strength. If you want to store up the ability to heal quickly, you have to spend a great deal of time feeling sick. In Allomancy, the metals themselves are our fuel—we can generally keep going as long as we have enough metal to burn. In Feruchemy, the metals are just storage devices—your own body is the real fuel. ”

  “So, you just steal someone else’s storage metals, right?” Vin said.

  Kelsier shook his head. “Doesn’t work—Feruchemists can only access metal stores they themselves created. ”

  “Oh. ”

  Kelsier nodded. “So, no. I wouldn’t say that Feruchemy is more powerful than Allomancy. They both have advantages and limitations. For instance, an Allomancer can only ?are a metal so high, and so his maximum strength is bounded. Feruchemists don’t have that kind of limitation; if a Feruchemist had enough strength stored up to be twice as strong as normal for an hour, he could choose instead to be three times as strong for a shorter period of time—or even four, ?ve, or six times as strong for even shorter periods. ”

  Vin frowned. “That sounds like a pretty big advantage. ”

  “True,” Kelsier said, reaching inside of his cloak and pulling out a vial containing several beads of atium. “But we have this. It doesn’t matter if a Feruchemist is as strong as ?ve men or as strong as ?fty men—if I know what he’s going to do next, I’ll beat him. ”

  Vin nodded.

  “Here,” Kelsier said, unstoppering the vial and pulling out one of the beads. He took out another vial, this one ?lled with the normal alcohol solution, and dropped the bead in it. “Take one of these. You might need it. ”

  “Tonight?” Vin asked, accepting the vial.

  Kelsier nodded.

  “But, it’s just Marsh. ”

  “It might be,” he said. “Then again, maybe the obligators caught him and forced him to write that letter. Maybe they’re following him, or maybe they’ve since captured him and have tortured him to ?nd out about the meeting. Marsh is in a very dangerous place—think about trying to do the same thing you’re doing at those balls, except exchange all the noblemen for obligators and Inquisitors. ”

  Vin shivered. “I guess you have a point,” she said, tucking away the bead of atium. “You know, something must be wrong with me—I barely even stop to think how much this stuff is worth anymore. ”

  Kelsier didn’t respond immediately. “I have trouble forgetting how much it’s worth,” he said quietly.

  “I…” Vin trailed off, glancing down at his hands. He usually wore long-sleeved shirts and gloves now; his reputation was making it dangerous for his identifying scars to be visible in public. Vin knew they were there, however. Like thousands of tiny white scratches, layered one over the other.

  “Anyway,” Kelsier said, “you’re right about the logbook— I had hoped that it would mention the Eleventh Metal. But, Allomancy isn’t even mentioned in reference to Feruchemy. The two powers are similar in many respects; you’d think that he would compare them. ”

  “Maybe he worried that someone would read the book, and didn’t want to give away that he was an Allomancer. ”

  Kelsier nodded. “Maybe. It’s also possible that he hadn’t Snapped yet. Whatever happened in those Terris Mountains changed him from hero to tyrant; maybe it also awakened his powers. We won’t know, I guess, until Saze ?nishes his translation. ”

  “Is he close?”

  Kelsier nodded. “Just a bit left—the important bit, hopefully. I feel a little frustrated with the text so far. The Lord Ruler hasn’t even told us what he is supposed to accomplish in those mountains! He claims that he’s doing something to protect the entire world, but that might just be his ego coming through. ”

  He didn’t seem very egotistical in the text to me, Vin thought. Kind of the opposite, actually.

  “Regardless,” Kelsier said, “we’ll know more once the last few sections are translated. ”

  It was growing dark outside, and Vin had to turn up her tin to see properly. The street outside her window grew visible, adopting the strange mixture of shadow and luminance that was the result of tin-enhanced vision. She knew it was dark, logically. Yet, she could still see. Not as she did in regular light—everything was muted—but it was sight nonetheless.

  Kelsier checked his pocket watch.

  “How long?” Vin asked.

  “Another half hour,” Kelsier said. “Assuming he’s on time—and I doubt he will be. He is my brother, after all. ”

  Vin nodded, shifting so that she leaned with arms crossed across the broken windowsill. Though it was a very small thing, she felt a comfort in having the atium Kelsier had given her.

  She paused. Thinking of atium reminded her of something important. Something she’d been bothered by on several occasions. “You never taught me the ninth metal!” she accused, turning.

  Kelsier shrugged. “I told you that it wasn’t very important. ”

  “Still. What is it? Some alloy of atium, I assume?”

  Kelsier shook his head. “No, the last two metals don’t follow the same pattern as the basic eight. The ninth metal is gold. ”

  “Gold?” Vin asked. “That’s it? I could have tried it a long time ago on my own!”

  Kelsier chuckled. “Assuming you wanted to. Burning gold is a somewhat…. uncomfortable experience. ”

  Vin narrowed her eyes, then turned to look back out the window. We’ll see, she thought.

  “You’re going to try it anyway, aren’t you?” Kelsier said, smiling.

  Vin didn’t respond.

  Kelsier sighed, reaching into his sash and pulling out a golden boxing and a ?le. “You should probably get one of these,” he said, holding up the ?le. “However, if you collect a metal yourself, burn just a tiny bit ?rst to make certain that it’s pure or alloyed correctly. ”

  “If it isn’t?” Vin asked.

  “You’ll know,” Kelsier promised, beginning to ?le away at the coin. “Remember that headache you had from pewter dragging?”


  “Bad metal is worse,” Kelsier said. “Far worse. Buy your metals when you can—in every city, you’ll ?nd a small group of merchants who provide powdered metals to Allomancers. Those merchants have a vested interest in making certain that all of their metals are pure—a grumpy Mistborn with a headache isn’t exactly the kind of slighted customer one wants to deal with. ” Kelsier ?nished ?ling, then collected a few ?akes of gold on a small square of cloth. He stuck one on his ?nger, then swallowed it.

  “This is good,” he said, handing her the cloth. “Go ahead—just remember, burning the ninth metal is a strange experience. ”

  Vin nodded, suddenly feeling a bit apprehensive. You’ll never know if you don’t try it for yourself, she thought, then dumped the dustlike ?akes into her mouth. She washed them down with a bit of water from her ?ask.

  A new metal reserve appeared within her—unfamiliar and different from the nine she knew. She looked up at Kelsier, took a breath, and burned gold.

  She was in two places at once. She could see herself, and she could see herself.

  One of her was a strange woman, changed and transformed from the gir
l she had always been. That girl had been careful and cautious—a girl who would never burn an unfamiliar metal based solely on the word of one man. This woman was foolish; she had forgotten many of the things that had let her survive so long. She drank from cups prepared by others. She fraternized with strangers. She didn’t keep track of the people around her. She was still far more careful than most people, but she had lost so much.

  The other her was something she had always secretly loathed. A child, really. Thin to the point of scrawniness, she was lonely, hateful, and untrusting. She loved no one, and no one loved her. She always told herself, quietly, that she didn’t care. Was there something worth living for? There had to be. Life couldn’t be as pathetic as it seemed. Yet, it had to be. There wasn’t anything else.

  Vin was both. She stood in two places, moving both bodies, being both girl and woman. She reached out with hesitant, uncertain hands—one each—and touched herself on the faces, one each.

  Vin gasped, and it was gone. She felt a sudden rush of emotions, a sense of worthlessness and confusion. There were no chairs in the room, so she simply squatted to the ground, sitting with her back to the wall, knees pulled up, arms wrapped around them.

  Kelsier walked over, squatting down to lay a hand on her shoulder. “It’s all right. ”

  “What was that?” she whispered.

  “Gold and atium are complements, like the other metal pairs,” Kelsier said. “Atium lets you see, marginally, into the future. Gold works in a similar way, but it lets you see into the past. Or, at least, it gives you a glimpse of another version of yourself, had things been different in the past. ”

  Vin shivered. The experience of being both people at once, of seeing herself twice over, had been disturbingly eerie. Her body still shook, and her mind didn’t feel…right anymore.

  Fortunately, the sensation seemed to be fading. “Remind me to listen to you in the future,” she said. “Or, at least, when you talk about Allomancy. ”

  Kelsier chuckled. “I tried to put it out of your mind for as long as possible. But, you had to try it sometime. You’ll get over it. ”

  Vin nodded. “It’s… almost gone already. But, it wasn’t just a vision, Kelsier. It was real. I could touch her, the other me. ”

  “It may feel that way,” Kelsier said. “But she wasn’t here— I couldn’t see her, at least. It’s an hallucination. ”

  “Atium visions aren’t just hallucinations,” Vin said. “The shadows really do show what people will do. ”

  “True,” Kelsier said. “I don’t know. Gold is strange, Vin. I don’t think anybody understands it. My trainer, Gemmel, said that a gold shadow was a person who didn’t exist—but could have. A person you might have become, had you not made certain choices. Of course, Gemmel was a bit screwy, so I’m not sure how much I’d believe of what he said. ”

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