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Brandon Sanderson is an award-winning author, creative writing teacher, and leader in the epic fantasy genre. But he wasn’t always this way. In junior high, Sanderson had given up on books because, though he loved to read as a kid, the titles suggested to him were almost never to his liking. In junior high, his love for reading was reborn when he discovered genre fiction (especially fantasy and science fiction).

Though Sanderson started college as a biochemistry major, during a two-year sabbatical (which he spent as a missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Seoul, Korea) he discovered he loved writing much more than science. He came back, changing his major to English, and plunged deep into the world of a fantasy writer. He even worked with, and was eventually Editor in Chief of, “The Leading Edge”, his university’s science fiction/fantasy magazine.

After his first book, Elantris, was published with Tor, Sanderson later published his Mistborn trilogy, The Alloy of Law, Warbreaker, and The Way of Kings. The Way of Kings is the first of a proposed ten-volume series of epic fantasy fiction.

Aside from his original works, the list of which keeps on growing from year to year, Sanderson was also entrusted by Robert Jordan’s estate to finish the Wheel of Time series with three final books. In 2009, he released The Gathering Storm; in 2010 he put out Towers of Midnight; and in 2012, we look forward to reading A Memory of Light.

Sanderson has also branched into middle-grade fiction with his Alcatraz series of books. Aside from all his writing work and his teaching position at Brigham Young University, Brandon also co-hosts the award-winning podcast for fiction writers, Writing Excuses.

In the opening scenes of Mistborn, we see Kelsier travelling to rural areas, causing trouble for the local noble lords. He even assassinates a lord and all his guards, leaving the skaa that work his fields free to escape. When Kelsier returns to Luthadel, the capital of the Final Empire, he learns that there is one young girl on a thieving crew that may be a misting.

Meanwhile, Vin, the girl in question, struggles to survive with the crew she is with. Her boss uses her for good luck, since she seems to have the ability to sooth people’s emotions on command, as long as she does it a little at a time. Vin’s crew even tries to scam an Obligator, which causes trouble for her later. Kelsier and his men find Vin and include her in their mysterious plans, plans they don’t explain until they get their entire crew together for a meeting. There, Kelsier explains that he has been hired by the skaa resistance to overthrow the Final Empire and capture Luthadel.

During subsequent meetings, the crew outlines a plan to accomplish their goal. They must recruit a rebel army from among the skaa and train that army to capture and then defend Luthadel. They also plan a way to get the city’s garrison out of Luthadel and weaken the noble houses by starting a house war. The last part of the plan involves getting the Lord Ruler out of Luthadel–or killing him, as Kelsier promises to do–and stealing the Lord Ruler’s massive supply of atium, which they will need to help defend the city. The atium is supposed to be somewhere in the Lord Ruler’s palace, in the middle of Luthadel itself.

Vin is recruited into this crew and accepted, especially after it is determined that she is a Mistborn just like Kelsier, and not just a Misting, meaning she can burn all the metals and not just one. Kelsier promises to teach her everything he knows about being a Mistborn is she helps them by impersonating a young noble lady to spy on the nobles at parties.

Vin learns how to act more like a lady, something foreign to her since she grew up on the streets as a common thief, and Kelsier teaches her how to burn metals in her stomach and use the powers they unlock. She grows in strength quickly, showing that she has great natural skill in Allomancy. Sazed, the Keeper, also instructs her and accompanies her to the parties as her servant, a servant that can also spy by mingling with the other servants in the back rooms.

Vin meets Elend at her first party, and they become friends, much to Kelsier’s disapproval. She is majorly useless as a spy at first, but with time she starts to pull her own weight. While she listens carefully for useful information, Kelsier works in the night, assassinating noblemen and breaking into manors, causing the noble houses to distrust one another.

As the various parts of the plan start to work, the entire crew biding time until they’re ready to make a move, using that time to train their steadily growing army in the caves, Kelsier investigates a brick of strange metal, which he calls the eleventh metal–a mysterious substance that supposedly has the ability to defeat the Lord Ruler. Unfortunately, he can’t figure out how to use it.

Kelsier plans to break into the Lord Ruler’s palace and hopefully learn something that might help them defeat the “God” when the time comes. Vin insists on going with him. They are caught by Inquisitors and have to fight their way out. Vin nearly dies, and she is saved by Sazed in the end. After weeks of coma-like sleep, she wakes in her bed, weak but alive. The mission was a failure, for the most part. Vin did manage to find a large leather book, which Sazed is currently translating. They hope to find the Lord Ruler’s secrets there.

Time passes, and the army grows, as does Kelsier’s reputation as the “Survivor of the Pits of Hathsin.” He is becoming something of a legend to the city skaa, like a messiah. Vin recovers enough to go to parties and even use allomancy again. She grows closer to Elend, who seems very different from the other nobles.

Everything come crashing down when they crew learns that Yeden has taken most of the rebel army, which has been perfectly hidden until now, and engaged a nearby fort in battle. Kelsier and Vin burn Pewter and run all through the night to find the army, but they are still too late. Yeden and his men have been killed. Only a few thousand men stayed behind in the caves. Kelsier and Vin march these men into Luthadel to hide them among the populous there. The crew considers quitting the job, but Kelsier convinces them not to, since most of the city’s garrison has left to deal with the problems the rebel army caused. They has a small window to act.

They step up to incite a house war. Vin struggles about whether she should trust Elend or not, and she ends up saving his life from some noble assassins. Kelsier destroys the Pits of Hathsin, crippling the Lord Ruler’s entire economy.

In a series of climaxing scenes, Kelsier battles and kills a single Inquisitor in broad daylight, only to be killed by the Lord Ruler. The very night of Kelsier’s death, the skaa rebel, in the name of their new savior, Kelsier the Martyr. The crew finds that Kelsier had been planning his death for some time. He even stockpiled weapons and supplies, hidden throughout the city, to help the revolt succeed. The crew members begin to organize the rebellion, and they even work with some of the nobles that remain in the city to focus their power on the walls of the city and on the Lord Ruler’s palace.

Meanwhile, Vin infiltrates the Lord Ruler’s palace for a second time. Once again, she is captured, only to be rescued by Sazed and Elend. When Vin gets her shot at killing the Lord Ruler, she nearly dies. She finds out the tyrant’s secret, though, and manages to kill him.

The Final Empire topples, and Elend stands up to be king of Luthadel. The triumphant victory leads only to uncertainty about what the future may hold, especially since the Lord Ruler’s atium is nowhere to be found.

Kelsier

Kelsier is half skaa and half noble, which is why he has the abilities of a Mistborn. In his younger years, he was a skilled thief, the leader of a successful thieving crew. He worked along with his wife, Mare. When they tried to pull of an impossible heist–stealing something from within the Lord Ruler’s palace–they were caught and sent straight to the Pits of Hathsin. When Mare died there, Kelsier snapped, discovering his allomantic powers. Now is plans to overthrow the Final Empire and kill the Lord Ruler. In order to do this, he knows he must die. That is why he sets himself up as a god to the skaa. When he dies, the skaa rebel, toppling the Final Empire.

 

Vin

In the beginning of this book, Vin is a simple thief, a weak girl that trusts no one. She learns that she is a Mistborn and joins Kelsier’s crew. There, she learns how to use Allomancy and how to be a lady, so she can impersonate a noblewoman. She also learns to trust and befriend others, including Kelsier, Sazed, and Elend, a young noble she meets at the parties she goes to as a spy. When Kelsier dies, she feels betrayed yet again. But in the end, she learns Kelsier’s full plan. She goes to the Lord Ruler’s palace and discovers–just in time–how to kill the one that is supposed to be immortal.

 

Sazed

Sazed is a Terrisman, from a tall and humble race, and a servant of Kelsier. He is also a Keeper, meaning he can use Feruchemy  to store libraries of knowledge as well as strength, speed, and other physical attributes. All Keepers carry the same massive amount of information, stored in their jewelry, but each also often has a specialty that they focus more on. Sazed’s is religion. He knows about millions of long dead religions from before the rise of the Lord Ruler. He helps Vin to act like a lady so she can infiltrate the nobility and spy on them in parties and other social events. He also saves Vin on two occasions. Sazed (or Saze for short) takes a special interest in the translation of the log book Vin finds in the Lord Ruler’s palace. He does this to find any knowledge that can help them kill the tyrant, but her also has a personal interest in the book: it contain much information about the ways of the people of Terris before the Lord Ruler killed or enslaved nearly all of them. The purpose of the Keepers was originally to learn and preserve Terris history, although for nearly a thousand years very little information has been found.

 

Elend

When Vin is sent to mingle among the nobility in their many balls and parties, she finds and befriends Elend Venture, a young nobleman that is very different from the others. He’s a scholar, constantly reading and thinking, and he looks the part with his messy hair and sloppy way of dressing. He is also seen as eccentric and rude, since he doesn’t dance or socialize in the parties; he spends most of his time reading in a corner somewhere. Throughout the book Elend and Vin start to fall in love. Vin is relieved to learn that Elend does not treat skaa the way most nobles do; he even reads banned books that criticize the Lord Ruler. When the Final Empire falls, Elend steps up to set up a new government, one free of tyranny and injustice.

 

The Lord Ruler

Even though the Lord Ruler appears little in the book, he is a major character affects others. He is talked about often, since Kelsier and his crew plan to overthrow (if not kill) him, a plan that succeeds by the end of the book. The Lord Ruler is more than just a king. He is a God that is seen as immortal, having lived and ruled for a thousand years now. He is a powerful allomancer who has defeated entire armies by himself. He’s also been beheaded, burned, and stabbed, always walking away from such experiences with not a single complaint. In the end of the book, Vin discovers that he is also a feruchemist, a fact that helps her finally defeat him.

 

The Writer (Alendi)

For nearly all the book, it is believed that the writer of the quotes at the beginning of each chapter is the Lord Ruler himself, or at least the young man that would become the Lord Ruler. He has apparently been chosen to be the Hero of Ages. He travels a long distance to the Well of Ascension to become that hero, therefore gaining the power to defeat the Deepness.

 

Rashek

Rashek is the packman that accompanies the writer of the journal entries (who is named Alendi in the second             mistborn book). Throughout the entries, the writer become more and more afraid of Rashek. In the end, Vin realizes that Rashek actually killed the chosen one, taking the power for himself and becoming the Lord Ruler.

 

Inquisitors

Though no single Inquisitor plays a major role in the book, the Inquisitors as a group become a constant threat for the other characters. They are members of the Steel Ministry, the religious organization of the Lord Ruler. While obligators are like normal bureaucrats and priests, teaching and watching over the nobles, the Inquisitors are more like the executioners of those that don’t follow the ways of the Lord Ruler’s religion. They especially focus on finding skaa Mistings and Mistborns and killing them by hanging them on hooks through their jaw. Obligators have recognizable tattoos around their eyes, bigger tattoos meaning a higher rank in the Ministry, while Inquisitors have large metal spikes drilled into their skulls where their eyes should be. The points of these spikes stick out of the back of their shaved heads. Inquisitors are very powerful allomancers, but they also have abilities that even mistborns do not. For example, they heal very fast, making them even more invincible. Marsh, Kelsier’s brother, discovers how to kill the Inquisitors after he becomes one himself; they die when of the of the spikes in their body is separated from any of the others, including the spikes in their eyes.

 

Dockson

Dockson in a long-time friend and fellow thief of Kelsier. Even though he doesn’t have any allomantic powers himself, he is a brilliant tactician and organizer he is often responsible for making Kelsier’s outrageous plans happen. In the plan to overthrow the Final Empire, Dockson works hard managing the crew’s funds.

 

Breeze

A self-centered imitation nobleman on the surface, Breeze is actually a loyal member of the crew and skilled Soother. He can sooth the emotions of others, manipulating them into doing as he wants. Though he often uses his soothing skills to satisfy his own needs (he often manipulates others into pouring him a glass of wine, for example), he also proves valuable to the crew in recruiting skaa worker for their rebel army.

 

Ham

Ham is a Thug, meaning he can burn pewter and make himself very strong. He has many contacts among the military, and he loves taking on new challenges, but he also has a problem with conformity and authority. On the other hand, Ham is also a deep thinker and self-proclaimed philosopher. He often brings up strange questions with others, much to their annoyance.

 

Club

Club is a quiet and grumpy man who gets his nickname from his limp. He owns a carpentry shop, housing many apprentices and a kitchen crew to feed them all. While, in the front, the shop functions like normal, the back rooms are also used as a haven for the thieving crew. Club is a Smoker, meaning he can mask all evidence that others around him are using allomancy. Several of his apprentices are Smokers also, meaning the shop is at all times protected in a copper cloud. Smokers are the only way Misthings and Mistborn can hide from the Steel Ministry.

 

Spook/Lestibournes

Club’s young nephew, Lestibournes changes his name to Spook halfway through the book. Spook is a tineye, which means he can enhance his senses, making him a great lookout and spy for the crew. A year younger that Vin, the boy develops a crush on her, even though she tells him that she is in love with Elend. Spook has a strange way of speaking, using a street slang dialect that others can barely understand.

 

Marsh

Marsh is Kelsier’s brother. For many years, he was the leader of the skaa resistance. He has no allomantic abilities. His obvious lack of personality earned him the nickname “iron eyes” for a while, but most stopped calling him that because it reminded them too much of the Inquisitors. Ironically, Marsh ends up infiltrating the Ministry, as a spy for Kelsier’s team, and is made into an Inquisitor himself. Only then, he learns the way to kill Inquisitors easily.

 

Yeden

Apparently, after Marsh stopped being leader of the skaa resistance, Yeden stepped in for the job. He appears little in the book, only as the person that pays for the overthrowing of the Lord Ruler in the first place. Yeden is killed when he leads a good portion of his newly formed army on a foolhardy mission.

 

Lord Renoux

Lord Renoux is a Lord from a region far away from Luthadel. He has moved close to the city to start making a better name for himself. That is the official story, anyway. In truth, Lord Renoux is an imposter that works for Kelsier. At the end of the book, it is revealed that Renoux is actually a kandra, a shape-shifting creature, that was hired by Kelsier to act as Renoux and then impersonate Kelsier himself after his death.

The world of Mistborn is an interesting one, but it’s much simpler compared to Sanderson’s later novels. Nearly all of the story takes place in Luthadel, the capital city of the Final Empire. The architecture and dress of the world feels like early Victorian. The only other places of interest in the book are the cave in which the rebel army is housed and the Pits of Hathsin, the only place in the known world where atium can be mined. Because mining atium is dangerous for the miner, the Lord Ruler sends criminals there as punishment, a punishment they never return from. Only Kelsier has been able to escape from those pits.

The world of Mistborn is dark and dirty. Ash falls from the sky constantly, ash that originates from the distant ashmounts. The sun is deep red and all the plants are small and brown. Kelsier and Sazed talk about a time before the rise of the Lord Rule when the plants were green, but other (such as Vin) can’t imagine plants being such a bright color. For them it is natural that everything is brown and dirty.

Every night, the air becomes thick with some kind of mists. These mists are different from fog or smoke. They are almost living, energetic anomaly, constantly swirling and moving. The mist cannot enter any building, evaporating as soon as it drifts into an open door or window. Most skaa (and some noblemen) are afraid to go out into the mists, thinking their souls will be lost forever.

The Final Empire is divided into several regions, called Dominances. For example, Luthadel is in the Central Dominance, while the land of Terris is far into the North Dominance. There is some talk of islands off the coast of the continent, perhaps leading to more lands untouched by the Final Empire, though there is no mention of anything beyond whatever ocean the world ends at.

Magic System

The magic system of Mistborn is technical and complex, but at the same time, it quickly becomes familiar enough to the reader to not slow down any enjoyment of the story. Each power or ability a character might have is just as defined by its limitations as by what it can do. Tin, for example, allows an allomancer to see through the mists at dark and hear with keen skill, but it also causes the one burning it to feel pain more acutely.

There are two major magic systems in this book: allomancy and feruchemy. Let’s look at each of these a little more closely and see how they can be combined. Also, we’ll see evidence that there must be other systems of powers in the world of Mistborn that are not explicitly discussed in this first book.

Allomancy

Allomancy is the ability to burn metals within one’s stomach, giving that person some kind of power however long the metal is burning. Some skaa halfbreeds and nobles can only burn one or the eight basic metals, making them a Misting. If someone can burn more than one metal, that person can burn all of them, making them a Mistborn. The metals come in pairs, one metal in each pair being an alloy of the other. One metal in each pair can “pushes” while the other “pulls”

Steel and Iron, for example, make a pair. With steel, an allomancer can push metals away from his/her body. Iron allows the allomancer to pull metals to him/her. When either steel or iron (or both) is burning, the allomancer sees blue lines coming from their chest, connecting them to whatever source of metal there happens to be nearby. The more intense the line, the larger the source of metal. This, of course, means that allomancers that push or pull metal have a disadvantage. If you’ve ever read an X-men comic, you may expect an allomancer to manipulate metal like Magneto, Master of Magnetism. Unfortunately, Mistborn have a very limited control over metals around them, being only able to push or pull them in relation to their own bodies.

With this pushing and pulling, weight is an important factor. If an allomancer pushes on something heavier than them, their own body is likely to move. Also, pulling on something lighter than them, like a coin or nail, can result in death if that metal object comes shooting into the allomancer’s chest. Precision and a working understanding or physics is necessary to jump and fight like a mistborn does. Kelsier turns out to be quite the master of the pushing and pulling powers of allomancy.

Tin and Pewter also push and pull, but on the allomancer’s own body. Tin, for example, causes one’s senses to become incredibly acute. They can hear far away or see even in a mist-covered street at night. Pewter, on the other hand, makes the body stronger, quicker, and more graceful. An allomncer can survive a high fall or sever beating while burning pewter, or could even run for many hours at a time without tiring. Of course, these abilities, too, have their limitations and weaknesses. As was said before, someone burning tin can easily be overwhelmed by bright lights or loud sounds. Tin also makes pain sharper. Pewter may make someone strong, but if you run while seriously injured, you can die, since the pewter was the only thing keeping you alive.

Zinc and Brass push and pull the emotions of others, allowing the allomancer to manipulate people. With Zinc, the allomancer can riot emotions in others, causing them to suddenly feel more angry or hesitant. Brass sooths choice feelings. A skilled Soother or Rioter can manipulate others by picking and choosing which emotions to push or pull. If this is done subtly and expertly, the person being manipulated may never even know allomancy is being used. Breeze, being a powerful soother, often gets people to do or feel what he wants, and his victims often have no idea their emotions are being played with.

Finally Copper and Bronze, the last two of the eight primary metals, have to do with seeking or hiding allomantic activity. Someone who burns bronze, a Seeker, can detect when others are using allomancy around them. Marsh, Kelsier’s brother is a Seeker, and he give Vin some tips on how to distinguish between what metals are being burned and by whom. Whoever burns copper, however, can counteract this, hiding his/her allomancy from seekers. Copper also prevents someone from being able to push or pull their emotions. Smokers can burn copper and create a copper cloud, which covers others around them. Misting thieving crew could never survive without having at least one smoker on the team. Vin discovers later in the book that a very skilled allomancer can even discover someone is using allomancy from under a copper cloud.

Other metals are found in this book. Atium, for example, allows the allomancer to see the future actions of his/her opponent. The only way to counteract atium is to burn atium yourself, which will cause the two atium-burners to counterbalance each other, giving no one an advantage. Gold, on the other hand, causes one to see an alternate version of him or herself, what they could have been if they’d made different decisions. Kelsier finds what he calls the “eleventh metal” which allows one to see alternate or past versions of others. Also, when Vin is imprisoned by the Lord Ruler, she is forced to swallow and burn a metal that causes all her other metal supplies to disappear, though she has no idea what metal that is.

Feruchemy

A very different set of abilities from Allomancy, Feruchemy is an art practiced by  some Terrismen called Keepers. Although bother feruchemy and allomancy involve metal, the two differ greatly in how those metals are used and what abilities such give the user.

Feruchemits, like Sazed, can store knowledge or certain physical traits in metals that they wear on their bodies. Each keeper has entire libraries worth of information in the earrings or bracelets they wear, allowing them to recall details with stunning accuracy. While ever Keeper holds the same information, each individual will often specialize in one area of knowledge. Sazed, for example, loves religions and beliefs. He takes pride in the thousands of long-dead religions he can speak about at will.

At other times in the book, we see Sazed able to use strength or speed that he’s stored up in his jewelry. Tapping into strength, Sazed can make his physical muscles grow to incredible size, making him stronger than ten men. But this, like everything, has a limitation.

Feruchemy is all about balance. For someone to become very strong, they must first spend a lot of time feeling very weak. That way they store the strength in a metal that they wear. They can do the same with age, being very old for a day to look young the next, or speed or eyesight or hearing. They must take much time to prepare in order to have a few minutes of great power.

When Combined

The Lord Ruler shows us an example of what can happen is an allomancer is also a feruchemist. He can be old for a time, building up youth in a bracelet, then swallow and burn parts of that bracelet to multiply the amount of youth he’d saved up. By this trick, the Lord Ruler is able to live for a thousand years and show extreme strength and power for limited periods of time.

Other

There are some parts of the book that aren’t exactly explained by either allomancy or feruchemy, or even by a combination of the two. How can the Lord Ruler, for example, survive a beheading? How can the Inquisitor’s survive having metal stakes pounded through their heads, and how do they heal so fast? How can the process turn a Misting, like Marsh, into a super powerful Mistborn, as all Inquisitors are?

In her final battle against the Lord Ruler, Vin also does something unexplained: she draws on the mists for power while using allomancy. She had already noticed that the mists dance differently around someone who is burning a metal, like they react to the invisible forces involved with allomancy, but Vin later seems to use the mists to become stronger and beat the Lord Ruler.

These examples, among others things won’t be explained until later books in the Mistborn saga, showing us a glimpse of the mysteries that await us in the future.

God/Religion

Religion is a central theme of Mistborn, since the main objective of Kelsier’s crew is to overthrow a dictator that has set himself up as a god for a thousand years now. The Lord Ruler is seen as God, and his Obligators are as much priests as they are government officials. Sazed has a fascination with religions, and he is often trying to convert others around him to a long-lost religion that only he knows about. Kelsier shows interest in ancient religions in which the believers showed undying zeal, even when the leaders of the faith were killed. In the end, Kelsier set himself up as the messiah of the skaa, the Lord of the Mist. After he dies, a religion about him is formed, giving the people more strength to rise up and overthrow the Final Empire.

 

Sacrifice

In order to form a new religion, allowing the skaa to have the conviction and strength to rise up and fight the Lord Ruler, Kelsier has to give up his life as a martyr. Kelsier plans his own death, leaving instructions with the kandra that pretends to be Lord Renoux to make people believe that he has somehow come back from the dead and inspire hope in others. In the end, Kelsier gives up everything to ensure that the Lord Ruler is beaten. Even Mare, Kelsier’s wife, sacrificed to keep her own husband alive. She gave him her atium geode so he could live, only to be beaten to death for not fulfilling her weekly quota.

 

Knowledge/The Forgotten Past

The quest for knowledge is an important part of the book. Sazed, as a Keeper, is always looking for new knowledge to add to his collection. Kelsier searches desperately for some secret to destroying the Lord Ruler. Elend is always reading and studying, acquiring knowledge about politics and economics. When Vin finds a log book in the Lord Ruler’s palace. Sazed eagerly translates it, and everyone hopes it will hope some secret knowledge that can help them meet their goals. There is also a forgotten past in the world of Mistborn, since many things from before the Lord Ruler’s rule has been forgotten by everyone but the Keepers. Languages, religions, nations, and other secrets are lost in the past. Rumors say that plants were once green, the sky blue, and the son yellow, but many don’t believe that such things could be possible. Probably most tragic is that Sazed and his fellow Keepers know so many things except for their own past. They know very little about the history of the Terris people. This is partially why Sazed is so excited by the log book Vin finds; the book has some details about early feruchemists and Terris philosophers.

 

Trust/Betrayal

Vin starts the book unable to trust anyone. Her dead brother, Reen, raised her to not trust anyone, a lesson she had little problem learning, between the beatings Reen gave her and the fact that he own mother tried to kill her when she was young. Even when Vin starts working with Kelsier and his crew, she can’t completely trust them. Over time, she starts to see that trusting others isn’t always a mistake. On the flip side of trust, Vin also experiences betrayal several times in the story. She was betrayed by Reen, him abandoning her, leaving her alone. When Kelsier dies, she views this as betrayal, since he never told anyone what he was planning. The writer of the journal entries at the beginning of each chapter was also betrayed by the packman, Rashek, who then became the tyrannical Lord Ruler. Even Kelsier was betrayed, or so everyone believed, by his own wife, Mare. In the end, however, Vin discovers that Mare never turned on anyone.

 

Friendship/Love

Vin learns a great deal about friendship in this book. Kelsier and his crew are more than just workmates–they are close friends. They help each other, care for each other, and sacrifice for them. Kelsier often tells Vin that there is much that she has to learn about love and friendship. Finally, Vin discovers that she has fiends, people who risk their lives to help and save her. She also falls in love, learning to accept and trust another completely.

 

Prejudice

There is a great deal of prejudice in the world of Mistborn. The skaa are thought to be some kind of lower person, not able to think and feel the same way nobles do. Elend discovers that this is not true, a discovery that moves him to join in the rebellion, as well as accept Vin even when he learns that she is skaa. The Terris people are also greatly oppressed in the Final Empire. They are bred carefully, the males often castrated to prevent unexpected breeding. All Terris people are expected to live as servants.

 

Philosophy

Ham, the thug, also fancies himself a philosopher, always bringing up deep and strange questions with whoever will listen. Elend, also, is quite the scholar, always reading. He also holds regular meetings with some like-minded friends. Vin thinks this is great news, showing that Elend is thinking about how to overthrow the empire. But Kelsier sees this as something many young noblemen do, thinking themselves philosophers, chatting with friends over drinks, only to grow up to do exactly as their fathers have done before them. Elend, of course, turns out to do much more, helping the rebellion and standing up as king of Luthadel after the Lord Ruler is killed.

 

Government/Politics

The main objective of Kelsier and his crew is to overthrow a government that has continued for a thousand years. The Lord Ruler is a tyrant that controls everything in his Empire. Elend, on the other hand, has been reading books that are banned by the Lord Ruler, books that criticize the supposed God’s actions. Elend has ideas about making a fair and just society, a government that really helps people. When the Lord Ruler is dead, Elend steps up and becomes king. Aside from the monstrous government that is the Final Empire, there is a great deal of politics in the regular balls and social events help by the nobles. The various noble houses are always at odds, forming alliances and competing for prominence. Little wonder Kelsier is able to start a house war in Luthadel with just a few choice assassinations.

 

Power and Limitations

The magic systems of Mistborn allow for various people to have different kinds of powers. Mistings and Mistborn get their abilities from their family line. The most pure and prominent nobles often produce strong allomancers as children. The only known way for a skaa to be born an allomancer is to be half noble. The writer of the journal entries at the beginning of each chapter is also moving towards a source of great power, a power that others tell him to accept because it will corrupt him. The greatest powers and abilities in the book also have strong limitations. For example, an allomancer can only show do amazing things while they are burning the right metals; some metals, like pewter and atium, burn out very quickly.

 

Heroes/Tyrants

The writer of the journal entries was supposed to become the “hero of ages,” the one that would save the world from a great evil. It is originally thought that that same hero also became the Lord Ruler. But another man, the Terrisman named Rashek actually became the tyrant. It is also feared that whatever man takes the throne after the Lord Ruler will become a tyrant as well.

Lord Tresting watches over his skaa slaves as they work in his fields. An Obligator stands with him, an important man in his order, judging from the extensive tattoos around his eyes, a visitor there on business. The Obligator speaks of some business arrangements that have come through in Tresting’s favor, and he mentions that Tresting has promise for the future. To celebrate, Tresting plans to take a pretty young girl from among his skaa slaves for his personal pleasure tonight.

Kelsier has traveled to be among Tresting’s skaa workers. He joins them for an evening meal and tells them news from other plantations to the north. When he hears screams in the distance, from the young skaa girl being dragged from her hovel and out into the mists, he storms out. The next morning, the skaa workers come out to see that Tresting is dead and his mansion has been burned to the ground. The skaa girl is alive, recued by Kelsier, who has now moved on.

Part One: The Survivor of Hathsin

Vin watches the street from a hideaway lookout, part of the thieves hideout she lives in. She is called to see her crewleader, Camon. They are about pull a swindling job, one that’s worth a lot of money. Camon is dressed as a member of the nobility, someone from a poor and nearly bankrupt house, desperate for new business from the Canoton of Finance. The representative of the Canton that arrives is  Obligator Laird. At first, Laird doesn’t like the idea of working with Camon’s “house.” But Vin uses what she calls her “luck” to calm the Obligator’s suspicions. He agrees to take the offer back to his people and leaves.

Kelsier stands on the wall of Luthadel, observing the gray and dreary city, covered in Ash. He is joined by Dockson, an old friend. They talk about what Kelsier did to Tresting and the effect that will have. They also have plans to gather a group together for a meeting, and they speak about who is supposed to be there. They have been planning a job of some kind, something “bigger than ever.”

Vin is again taken with Camon to use her “luck” to help a job go down. Camon goes directly to the Ministry’s Canton of Finance, where Camon has an appointment to see about the deal they offered before. Vin is incredibly nervous to be in the Canton, but there isn’t anything she can do about it. They talk, not to the same Obligator as before, but to High Prelan Arriev, someone very high in the ranks of the ministry, based on his extensive tattoos. Arriev at first doesn’t like the offer Camon is making, which includes a massive down payment. Camon’s plan, of course, is to disappear after that down payment, since the failing house he supposedly represents doesn’t exist. But when Vin reashes out with  her luck, Arrieve immediately agrees and hands over the money.

Kelsier and Dockson are in the waiting room for the Canton of Finance when Caomon and Vin leave. They see that the High Prelan knows what Vin did. He sends some men to follow them, as well as a Steel Inquisitor. Kelsier sends Dockson to take care of the two men, while Kelsier burns a metal to distract the Steel Inquisitor and lead him away from Vin.

Vin is incredibly nervous about the deal they’ve just made. She can’t believe that a High Prelan would just give over so much money so easily. She plans to leave the hideout, to escape what she knows is going to be a disaster for her crew. But Camon discovers she is trying to escape and starts to beat her. She uses what’s left of her luck, but to no avail. Only Kelsier and Dockson’s arrival stops the beating, which Vin is sure would end in her death. Through some unknown power, Kelsier pushes Camon back against the floor. They see the extensive scars on his arms and know he is the only known survivor of the Pits of Hathsin. Kelsier orders the crew to beat and punish Camon for beating Vin and names another thieve the new leader of the crew. He then tells them to leave so he and Dockson can speak to Vin in private.

Alone with these two strangers, Vin refuses to trust anything they say. But they eventually convince her that their motives are pure. They have her swallow a vial with two metals in it, as a test. When they discover that she can both push and pull emotions, depending on the metal she burns inside her, they say she is a Mistborn, just like Kelsier. That means she is only half skaa. Vin already knew her father was someone important from the Ministry. The men want to help Vin. They say that, as a skaa Mistborn, she is very powerful indeed.

Vin waits in the hideout for others of an important meeting to come. Kelsier is planning a major job, and he’ll need help from Vin’s crew. Vin has been chosen to be the go-between for the two crews. The first to arrive to the meeting is Breeze, followed by Ham. They talk, and Breeze pushes Vin’s emotions, tricking her to get him some wine. Vin asks about how each man can do what he can do. When Club’s arrives, she finds out his is called a smoker, because he can hide the activities of the others. Finally, Kelsier, Dockson, and Yeden arrive. The meeting begins. Kelsier describes to the group a major job he wants them to pull off. They are going to help Yeden and his rebellion overthrow the Final Empire, kill the Lord Ruler and steal the treasury and split it as payment. The men don’t accept such a crazy idea at first, but Kelsier talks them into it. Only Clubs leaves, saying he wants nothing to do with this job. He also introduces them to Vin, explaining that she is a Mistborn. Vin herself doesn’t like the crazy plan of Kelsier, but she agrees to follow along, just so she can learn more about Allomancy and being a Mistborn.

The meeting is over, and only Vin, Kelsier and Dockson remain in Camon’s cavern. Kelsier manages to find a bottle of decent wine hidden in one of the drawers. They talk about how the men took the plan. Kelsier is convinced that the men will not back out now, that they can’t turn down a challenge like this one. Even Clubs comes back and says he’ll do the job. He just didn’t feel safe about making a decision while a Soother, Breeze, was in the room, possible playing with everyone’s emotions. Kelsier takes Dockson and Vin to the roof, where he prepares to do some nightly “mistborn” activities. He puts on his mistborn cloak, asking Dockson which of the great houses is strongest right now. He answers that House Venture is, so Kelsier decides he’s going to steal some Atium from that house. Kelsier then steps off the roof, using a coin he dropped to catch his fall. Using steelpuches and ironpulls, Kelsier makes his way to Keep Venture. He gets into the building, killing a guard along the way. He quickly fins the safe he wants, ironpulling it out of the wall, using pewter to help him carry it out. That’s when more guards flood into the room. Because the guards are wearing metal armor, though, Kelsier is about to take care of them easily. As he gets to the next room, though, closer to escape, a group of hazekillers attack him. Kelsier takes time to fend them off, eventually escaping with the contents of the safe.

Vin wakes up in her room at Club’s shop. The bottom floor is a carpentry shop, with many skaa apprentices, but the second floor looks more like an inn, with several living quarters. Vin is given a bath and a new change of clothes, and then she goes downstairs to the kitchen, where working women are making breakfast for the workers and guests. Vin takes some food back to her room, but is then summoned up stairs to a meeting. The group starts planning how they will accomplish their goals of overthrowing the Final Empire, gathering a skaa army, throwing the Great Houses into Chaos, and so forth. Each problem eventually finds a solution. Kelsier still plans to kill the Lord Ruler if possible. Vin is selected to play as spy within the nobility, which means she must pretend to be the niece of a noble Lord. Plans are going well until Marsh comes in and says none of it will work. The group leaves March and Kelsier alone to talk, though Vin stays behind and listens through the door.

Marsh and Kelsier argue. Marsh accuses Kelsier of being insane and insincere, saying that he doesn’t have any plans whatsoever to overthrow the Final Empire. He just wants the giant store of atium the Lord Ruler has hidden away somewhere. Kelsier makes it clear that, since he’s been thrown into the pits of hathsin, he thinks about nothing more than destroying the Lord Ruler. Marsh agrees to come back tomorrow and hear the rest of Kelsier’s plan. Meanwhile, Kelsier catches Vin listening in, though Vin denies it, and he takes her to start her training as a Mistborn. He gives her a Mistborn cloak, just like his, and they go out into the mists. Vin learns the basics of some of the metals, like Pewter, Tin, and Copper. She also learns of the dangers of ironpulling small objects too hard–they can actually pierce your chest! They get to the wall of the city, Kelsier pushes against a metal ingot on the ground and launches up and out of sight. Vin takes a deep breath, and does the same.

Vin launches into the air and ends up close to the top. There, Kelsier stands, watching. They get onto the wall, and Kelsier jumps off the other side, leaving the city. Vin follows, but because she can’t control her trajectory, Kelsier has to catch her on the ground. They walk through the mist-covered countryside. Vin sees a mistwraith for the first time–a shapeless creature that takes the shape of the animals it eats. They make it to a highway, where a carriage waits for them. Vin meets Sazed, the driver of the carriage and a servant to Kelsier. He is a terrisman. They go to Fellise, a small town outside of Luthadel, where the fake lord, Renoux, lives. Inside Renoux’ Manor, Kelsier and Renoux talk about what kind of family member Vin could pretend to be in order to go to parties in Renoux’ name and spy on the nobility. They decide she should be a distant niece. Sazed then escorts Vin to her guest room.

Part Two: Rebels beneath a Sky of Ash

Vin explores using her new abilities, dancing in the air by pushing and pulling on metal and coins. Someone attacks her, shooting coins at her. In a game of cat and mouse, she confronts this attacker, another Mistborn. They end up in a pushing match, pushing on the same coin, which trembles in the air, flattened and distorted by the conflicting forces. The attacker is then revealed to be Kelsier, who has been training her. Kelsier sends Vin back to Manor Renoux, while he goes out on one of his regular Mistborn trouble-making missions. Vin finds Sazed, who forces her to get a haircut. While a servant lady cuts, Sazed and Vin go over some of the information Vin must memorize to be able to spy on the nobility. When Kelsier comes back, he is amazed at the way she looks. He and Sazed talk about Vin’s progress. She must be ready for her first public appearance soon.

Vin walks along the streets of Luthadel to a small kitchen where skaa workers eat. There, a hidden room holds Breeze and his team of Soothers and Rioters. They wait for Kelsier to make his big arrival. Meanwhile, Breeze tries to teach Vin more about Soothing and Rioting the emotions of others. It is a tedious job, but very effective. When Kelsier comes in, he gives a speech to the workers about how they can fight the Final Empire and join the rebellion. Breeze and his men help people feel the right emotions throughout the speech, to magnify the effect of Kelsier’s words. Later, the group meets together to talk about progress. They are not recruiting people to the rebel army fast enough. They work on some ways they can do better. Ham then comes in with news. Camon’s lair, where Vin used to live, has been attacked by the Ministry.

Kelsier, Vin, and some more of the crew visit Camon’s old lair, just to confirm what they already knew. The place is littered with bodies. Kelsier says this is the work of a single Inquisitor, which Vin can’t imagine is possible. The floor is covered in drying blood, and the bodies are twisted and broken, ripped apart as if a giant wild animal has attacked. In the next room, they find one member, the one Kelsier left in charge after demoting Camon, tied to a chair. Signs of torture show that he died slowly. Suspicious, Kelsier leaves the group to find the place where Camon is supposed to be begging. Per Kelsier’s instructions, Camon was made a beggar but kept alive. Kelsier finds Camon, hanging in an alleyway by a hook in his mouth, also dead. The inquisitor had done it in plain sight, so all could see and hear. Kelsier is surprised by Vin, who followed him there. They are both upset about this, since it means that the inquisitor is after them, and perhaps Vin in particular.

It is time for Vin to go to her first party with the nobles. Wearing a fancy gown in jewelry, she is driven by Sazed in a carriage. He will be accompanying her, since it is normal for a servant to go with a single young guessed to these functions. Along the way, Kelsier jumps onto the carriage, and goes in to talk to her and encourage her. She enters, nervous at first, but when she realizes that everyone that looks at her isn’t really seeing the real Vin, she relaxes. All the nobles see is the dress and name; they are mildly curious but not suspicious. Vin gets a table in a corner by herself, and she takes her time eating while Sazed stands behind her. When she finishes, Sazed leaved to the servant’s dinner, where he’ll try and pick up any gossip he can. Vin’s job for the rest of the evening is to sit there and turn down any young men that offer to dance with her. When she gets bored, though, she wanders up to the balcony, overlooking the dance floor. There, she meets a young man that only says his name is Elend. They speak for a little, and then Sazed comes looking for her and they leave the party.

Sazed and Kelsier are concerned that Vin was talking to Elend, since he is Lord Elend Venture, the heir to House Venture, the strongest noble family in Luthadel. They think this will make her more conspicuous than necessary, which means she won’t be able to spy on the others as well. Vin agrees to keep her distance from Elend, though she secretly doesn’t understand why. Kelsier gets the list of all the nobles that asked her to dance, as well as some good information from Sazed. He leaves to do some Mistborn work. Vin goes to her room, but she then sneaks out the window and follows Kelsier. She discovers he can travel back and forth to Luthadel by means of an “allomatic highway, a line of metal bars in the ground, so a Mistborn can push their way back and forth in half the time it would take a horse to travel the roads. She manages to follow Kelsier all the way through the city to the Lord Ruler’s fortress. When Kelsier discovers her, he is angry, since he was planning to sneak into the fortress and see what’s in one of the rooms of the tunnels underneath. Vin insists that she should come along, since two Mistborns can fight better than one. Kelsier finally agrees.

Kelsier and Vin enter the tunnels under the Lord Ruler’s fortress, killing any guards that see them quickly and silently. They even happen upon an entire room of them, But Kelsier handles them fast. Vin even spray coins into some of them, amazed that she has killed for the first time. They finally make it to the room Kelsier wants to see. It is a giant dome with a smaller building inside it. This is the place Kelsier tried to break into before, when he was caught and sent to the pits of Hathsin. Kelsier opens the door and finds an Inquisitor on the other side. Two more come around the building. Kelsier yells for Vin to run and the Inquisitor, smiling, attacks him. Vin is cut bad in the abdomen, but she runs and is cornered in another room with an altar in the middle of it. There, she finds a large leather book, which she uses to protect herself from the metal objects the Inquisitor fires at her. She manages to get outside, pushing and pulling to fly around and in between the many spires of the fortress. The inquisitor is always one step behind her. Bleeding, dying, unable to get away, she hides atop one of the spires. That’s when Sazed grabs her and takes her away, while she is barely conscious of anything.

Kelsier has made it back to Clubs’ hideout, badly injured but now safe. The others can’t believe he took Vin with him on such a dangerous mission, and Kelsier explains that she wouldn’t have listened otherwise. But Vin hasn’t come back yet. Then, someone arrives at the front door. Kelsier thinks it’s one of the Inquisitors, having followed him, ready to kill the entire crew. But it turns out to be Sazed, carrying the near-dead Vin. Sazed immediately starts performing surgery on Vin, stitching up her insides and skin. He also returned with the book Vin had found, which is written in the language of the people the Lord Ruler supposedly came from. Kelsier hopes that a way to kill him is in that book. Sazed won’t be able to translate it for them now, since he’ll need a lot of rest after all the strength he used following and rescuing Vin.

Part Three: Children of a Bleeding Sun

Vin wakes up and finds out she’s been asleep for two weeks. She’s still hurt and bandaged up, but Kelsier is already up and walking around, since he was hurt far less by the Inquisitors. She is soon sent on carriage rides through town, just to quiet any rumors about her mysterious disappearance. But really she is eager to get back to Allomancy. She confronts Sazed about how he could save her that way, and she learns that Keepers have certain unique abilities different from Allomancy.

Vin is having lunch with her “uncle,” Lord Renoux. He spends most of the time looking over books and taking care of other “lordly” activities while Vin admires the colorful plants that are planted around the estate. The crew arrives and they have a meeting together. Kelsier relates the progress they’re having, and Vin is excited to get any kind of information. Sazed also talks about the large book he’s been translating. He says it seems to be the personal journal of the man that eventually became the Lord Ruler. Vin imagine Sazed must be very excited about this, learning something new from the past. Sazed says the information could be useful in finding a way to defeat the Lord Ruler. Vin is supposed to start going back to parties and learn what she can. Later, Vin and Kelsier talk, and he shows her a picture of a flower, something that doesn’t exist anymore. He says the plant used to be green; the Keepers know about a time before the ash started to fall. Kelsier also admits that he doesn’t know if Mare, his wife, betrayed him or not, before they were sent to the pits.

Vin goes to another ball, this time expecting to dance with some of the young men. This, Sazed explains, will lead to open trust–and loose tongues–around her in the future. They are both surprised when Elend Venture rudely seats himself at Vin’s table with a stack of books. With his presence, Vin won’t get anyone to ask her to dance. When she finally gets a boy to approach her, she tells him that Elend was asked by her “uncle” to look out for her at these parties. Word gets around, and suddenly Vin is dancing with young man after young man, while Sazed goes and eats with the servants. Later, Shan Elariel, the supposed fiancé of Elend, summons Vin to her table, where she wants Vin to spy on Elend. Vin makes an excuse to leave, only to prevent Lady Shan’s terrisman servant from picking through Elend’s books in Vin’s table. That when Vin notices Elend has one book that criticizes the Lord Ruler. Elend then leaves the party with some friends, boys that are from houses that rival House Venture. When Vin leaves the party, she sees a skaa servant boy murdered for begging. She is reminded of what would happen to her if she were discovered as a skaa.

Kelsier plants the dead body of a noblemen outside one of the great houses, part of an effort to cause rivalry between the nobles. He then goes to an informant, a skaa that sells information. Kelsier dresses as a nobleman and asks the informant about some of the house, including House Renoux, just to make sure there is no suspicion about his crew’s activities. He does learn something surprising. The rumors say that House Venture and House Renoux are having secret dealings, that Elend Venture has been asked by Lord Renoux to watch over his favorite niece at the balls. Kelsier then switches costumes and dresses like a skaa informant himself. He is approached by a noblemen, Lord Venture, and gives some false or twisted information. Venture seems only interested in the “survivor of hathsin” and the talk of a rebellion army. Kelsier tries to say they are only rumors. He goes back to Renoux’ manor and gets information from Vin and Sazed about the party. Vin reveals what she learned about the book Elend had. Kelsier sees that Vin is falling for him, although he knows the boy will probably have to die.

Vin rides back to the Renoux mansion in her carriage, thoroughly bored of the monotonous scenery. When she arrives, she’s surprised to see so many skaa workers hauling boxes along the front of the manor. Kelsier is there with Renoux. Officially, Renoux is shipping weapons and supplies to his other estate, but they are really transferring personnel and weapons and supplies to the caves, where the army grows. Marsh will also be transferred to a place where he can join the Ministry and spy on the obligators. Marsh being a seeker, Vin takes advantage of some special training from him. He shows her how to distinguish between what metals are being used in others. That way she knows if something is Mistborn or a Misting, and she can even know what kind of Misting they are.  Kelsier is going with the caravan, since rumors about his are too hot right now.

Kelsier sits in his cabin in the boat caravan, making his way to the caves where the rebel army has been training. He reads the sections of the log book that Sazed has already translated. When they arrive to a fork in the canals, Kelsier gets out and signals those that are waiting in the woods. He uses every opportunity to use his Allomancy in front of the others to give them strength and a sense of awe. The new recruits with the supplies, Yeden and Kelsier, and the men that can out to meet them all make their way back to the caves. There, they meet Ham, who has been training the men for a while now. Kelsier inspects the guards and men and supplies, taking opportunities to comment the men and strengthen them. He notices that they call him “Lord” Kelsier. Later, Kelsier uses a bit of Allomancy to rally the men and show them they have nothing to fear.

Vin is also ready her copies of the translated book, even though some of the words are a little hard for her to understand. Spook comes up to her and says that Dockson has arrived. He also gives her a handkerchief before running away. When Vin gets down stairs, he discovers that Dockson and Renoux are already in a closed-door meeting, and it would appear strange for her to want to interrupt. So, to pass the time, Vin goes to see Sazed, who is still at work translating. She forces Sazed to explain a little of the powers some Terrismen have, something called Feruchemy. Feruchemists can store up memories in certain metals that they wear on their body. They can also story physical abilities, such as strength, speed, or sight. Sazed also explains that Spook gave Vin the handkerchief as a sign of his intention to court her. Later, when Vin gets to talk to Dockson, he explains that all noblemen are monsters, that all of the boys she dances with probably regularly have sex with skaa women, only to kill them later. Vin can’t believe that even Elend would do such a thing.

Vin is at a party, in a group, listening to everything they say. She observes how the nobles use the Obligators to witness every promise or agreement. That is smart on the Lord Rulers part, she thinks, because he can keep tabs on every relationship and business dealing in his dominion. Lady Shan comes and demands to talk to her privately. She wants Vin to spy on Elend and find out what books he’s been reading. She leaves Shan’s company and goes to her table to wait for Sazed, she sees Elend while she’s waiting. She decides to talk to him. When she does, taking him out to the balcony, she finds herself starting to cry, demanding to know if he uses skaa women like others. He says he doesn’t, that he doesn’t even like to talk to men that do. Elend seems sincere, and he even gives her a handkerchief, just like Spook. Vin overhears Elend talking with his friends about how skaa should be treated better and how the Lord Ruler has made many mistakes. They want to change things.

Vin and Sazed meet Kelsier and that others at Club’s shop, where they can all catch up. Everyone is having a good time, and Vin realizes just how comfortable she’s become with this group. She tells Kelsier what she’s been learning about house strengths and alliances. The next day, Vin goes with Ham to see some of his contacts in the Garrison, now dressed as a skaa and not a lady. Along the way, Ham explains a little about being a thug, or pewterarm. The strength Pewter gives, he says, is not just for blunt force. A little flare here and there can help balance and speed up a person, which is far more valuable than raw strength all the time. When they get to some of Ham’s contacts, they learn that the rebel army has attacked a small fort. The garrison is being send out to kill them all!

Kelsier, having received the information about the rebel army from Ham, prepares to run out to the caves. Vin insists on going with him. In order to arrive fast, they don’t take the canals or a carriage. They swallow large amounts of pewter and run the whole way. They run for several hours without stopping. Kelsier tells her to keep burning pewter or she may die. After running throughout the night, they find a battlefield. Almost all of the rebels are already dead, and the last few are dying in the distant fighting. Kelsier wants to run in and fight with them, but Vin stops him. They make their way to the caves, where about two thousand men are still hiding. They did not listen to Yeden, who is doubtlessly dead by now, and follow him out into battle. Kelsier leads these men back to Luthadel–a two week trek. The plan is to sneak them into the city.

Part Four: Dancers in a Sea of Mist

After fifteen days of trekking in the wilderness, Vin gets back to an actual bed. Her head never stopped pounding in all that time, an effect of pewter drag. She gets up the next morning and takes a bath, then dresses and goes down stairs. Other members of the crew are there, eating breakfast. They are concerned about the future of this job, since most of the army is dead and Yeden, their employer, died with them. Kelsier walks in, still seeming cheerful. He says that the job is not over. They can still overthrow the Final Empire. Yes, the rebel army is small now, but the city’s garrison is gone, meaning the city is weak. Kelsier asks the group to trust him. Bells ring in the distance, and the group goes out to see the public executions. The Lord Ruler has dozens of skaa killed, men, women, and children. Everyone in the city is forced to watch. This is the enemy, Vin realizes. The Lord Ruler, and all who support him, must fall.

The group returns back to the shop after the hours-long string of executions. They start reevaluating their plan: what to do with what’s left of the army, how to topple the Great Houses even faster, etc. While they hammer out the details of the plan, Kelsier and Vin need to go meet Marsh in the slums. While waiting for Marsh to arrive, Vin and Kelsier talk about the power of the Lord Ruler and the eleventh metal, which supposedly is powerful enough to kill him. Unfortunately, Kelsier doesn’t know how to use it. Vin also experiments with the tenth metal–gold. It allows her to see alternate versions of herself. Finally, they talk to Marsh. He’s in with the Obligators now. In fact, he’s standing out from the crowd and getting noticed by his superiors. He says that the Ministry has many soothing stations around the city. He’ll try to get them information on where they are.

Vin goes to another ball, this time with a particular mission in mind. She finds her target, a lady named Kliss, who is known as a gossip. Vin leaks false information to Kliss, hoping to stir up a little more trouble among the noble houses. Vin then meets with Elend, and they talk a little. Elend tells her that he wants her to leave Luthadel, so she can be safe. There is a house war coming; everyone knows it. He also reveals the source of his family’s wealth: they oversee the mining of atium. They are in charge of the pits of Hathsin. When Elend returns home, one of his friends tells him that Vin is not who she says she is. They’ve had her followed, and she must be a spy from another house. Elend asks his father for some of his spies…

Vin reads the final part of the log book’s translation, and she’s disappointed when it ends in a cliffhanger. She searches out Sazed, expecting there to be at least one more entry, but there isn’t. The writer, the man that became the Lord Ruler, stopped writing the day before the Ascension. That means no one knows what happened, and Kelsier never found information about the eleventh metal. Vin is also sad because her life is changing, and she knows even more things will change in the future. Sazed tells her to have hope, since she may be surprised to see that things may change for the better. Kelsier arrives, and the group talks about how plans are going. Marsh has sent a map of Luthadel with all the current soothing stations. Kelsier wants to make a plan to strike at them all on the same night, killing dozens of Ministry mistings at the same time. But that will need to be at the perfect time to take advantage. They also work to train the army, the two thousand hidden in the city, divided into smaller groups. Later, Kelsier talks to Sazed about how people can keep fighting even after they’ve lost their own leaders.

Vin goes to a ball at House Venture. But everything is strange. She send Sazed to the servants’ room to pick up rumors. Every group Vin tries to join rejects her. Even Elend is sitting with his father and not reading. Sazed comes back with news: all the future parties have been canceled. Some houses are in trouble, and a war will be underway by the end of the month. That’s why no one is friendly; everyone is only talking to their allies, reaffirming who is with who, drawing lines in the sand. Kliss comes up to Vin and tells her that someone will assassinate Elend by the end of the night. Since Elend has already retired to his room, he may already be dead. Kliss says that even Elend’s father is in on the deal. Vin runs to save Elend, taking off her overclothes and revealing herself to be a Mistborn. She finds the would-be assassins and fights them, one of whom being Lady Shan herself. Vin saves Elend and kills Shan.

Vin arrives at the shop, to everyone’s surprise, wearing only her undergarments and covered in blood. She tells the group what happened, how she killed Lady Shan. She also admits that it was only to protect Elend. When the crew gets upset about this, she blows up at them, saying that they have no right to be against the nobles when they live like nobles themselves. They don’t know what it’s like to live like a skaa, not like Vin does. She goes to the roof. Kelsier comes up after her. Vin admits that she knows how to topple House Venture. She tells Kelsier that Venture is rich because they are in charge of the atium supplies to the Lord Ruler. She also shares that a powerful allomancer can sense allomancy through a copper cloud. That is how the Lord Ruler caught Kelsier and Mare in the first place. Later, Elend discovers the Vin is a Skaa spy. Instead of being angry, he is fascinated that a skaa can be just as smart as anyone else. That means that the way nobles treat skaa must be very wrong.

Vin talks to Spook about the kerchief he gave her. She explains that she is in love with Elend. When Kelsier comes by to pick her up, they go together to one of the large buildings where skaa live. The people are happy to see Kelsier, the Survivor, Lord of the Mists. They even bring their children to him so he can touch them. Kelsier brings food for them and promises to return soon. Vin finds out that Kelsier does the same almost every night, each time to a different slum building, all to encourage the skaa in Luthadel. They then go to the place they are supposed to meet Marsh. When they arrive, they find a body, bloodied and beaten beyond all recognition, on the floor. Marsh appears to be dead. They find a note hidden nearby, in which Marsh says that he thinks the Inquisitors are on to him. Kelsier sends word for Renoux to withdraw, as if the fighting among the nobles in the city is scaring his away. Meanwhile, Kelsier goes to the pits of Hathsin and destroys them with allomancy.

Vin and the group have relocated to an emergency safe house, a place Marsh didn’t know about. If Marsh were forced to tell about the crew and the shop, they would not be safe. Kelsier arrives and announced that he’s destroyed the pits. The crystals that produce atium geodes will take centuries to grow back. The economy of the Final Empire has been fatally struck. While Kelsier takes some time to rest (since he pewter-ran the whole way to the pits and back), Vin asks Sazed if he’s ever heard of this legend of the “eleventh metal.” Sazed says he hasn’t. They hear that the Inquisitors are going to start some more executions. The group goes to watch, but when they see the among those that are to be executed are Renoux, Spook, and others of House Renoux, Kelsier jumps in and starts fighting one of the inquisitors.

Kelsier fights the Inquisitor, using atium and all the other metals. He uses the soldiers (with their metal armor and weapons) to push himself around, striking with his glass daggers. Elend enters the battle area, asking after Vin. Kelsier tells him the Vin is fine, and the boy leaves. Renoux is attacked by the Inquisitor, and he must pretend to be killed by the axe in his back. (Since Renoux is not human, but a Kandra, he can’t be killed by a simple axe.) Kelsier finally gains the upper hand, defeating the Inquisitor. He kills it by using the an axe to decapitate the Inquisitor. The Lord Ruler then arrives and kills Kelsier with ease. Vin weeps over Kelsier’s body.

Part Five: Believers in a Forgotten World

Vin hangs over the building that holds the new safe house, lost in the mists, completely distraught over Kelsier’s death. Sazed come to looks for her, and they talk about what has happened today. Sazed says he’ll have to record the new religion Kelsier started, since he died a martyr and made himself a religious figure. They see skaa meeting in the streets, with torches, talking of the religion. People even say that they’ve seen Kelsier, the Lord of the Mists, alive and well. Vin begins to understand what Kelsier has been planning from the start. They go to one of the warehouses Kelsier had Dockson buy and find it full of weapons and armor. They also find Renoux, or the kandra that was impersonating Renoux, now in the form of Kelsier. He’s been appearing to people, starting an uprising. They find a note from Kelsier, saying that the Ministry soothing stations have been destroyed tonight and that they must act quickly to lead the rebellion that will overthrow the Lord Ruler. Vin knows what she must do in all of this. She prepares some special, tricky weapons from the supplies–stone arrow heads with metal rings loosely attached from behind and backs of pewter dust–andshe heads to the Lord Ruler’s fortress, to see what’s inside.

Vin walks up to Kredik Shaw, the Lord Ruler’s palace, and faces the guards standing outside. Instead of killing them, she talks them into joining the rebellion and helping the skaa. They run off, having ripped their imperial badges, and Vin enters the same tunnels she and Kelsier fought their way into before. She makes her way to the giant dome-shaped room with a building inside it, just like before, not rushing, knowing that Inquisitors will be waiting for her like before. When she gets to the room, two Inquisitors stand in her way. She fires her arrowheads at the first Inquisitor, who pushes back on them with a nod. But the arrowheads don’t stop; only the metal rings that were propelling them do. The arrowheads continue through the Inquisitor’s body, immobilizing him. The second starts to attack, but Vin confuses him by flinging a cloud of pewter dust at him. She manages to get into the room, where she finds out the only person in the room is a weak old man, who the Inquisitors call the Lord Ruler. She is captured and blacks out from a hit to the head, thinking she has failed to see the secret to defeating the Final Empire. She wakes up in a cell, after being forced to swallow and burn some strange metal that eats away all the other metal she has in her stomach. She is brought to the throne room where the younger Lord Ruler sits. After the Inquisitors find out who her father is–the High Prelan, a powerful Obligator–she is returned to her cell. Meanwhile, Elend refuses to leave the city with his father. Instead, he takes the servants of his house to a neighboring noble house. He then makes plans to meet with the leader of the skaa rebellion.

Dockson is hard at work organizing the plan the Kelsier set in motion before he died. He gets word that Vin has been captured by Inquisitors. Elend is then brought to him, captured by rebels. He wants to know where Vin is. Elend says that the rebellion is fighting the wrong people, that the nobility that’s left in the city won’t be any trouble for the skaa now. They must instead focus on the Lord Ruler, the true enemy. Meanwhile, Vin is thrown back into her cell. She finds out that her brother, Reen, never abandoned her at all, but was captured by Inquisitors and tortured to death. But he never gave Vin away. Sazed has also been captured and is brought to where Vin is. Fortunately, Sazed has swallowed some of his metal, with enouth strength saved on it to bust Vin out of her cell. As Sazed and Vin are fighting their way out, Elend shows up with a handful of soldiers. They fight together, and the tides really turn when Vin finds her cloak and metal vial. When the fighting is done, Vin heads off to kill the Lord Ruler, since she thinks she knows how to do it.

Vin attacks the throne room of the Lord Ruler, now with only one Inquisitor in it. She thinks she knows how to kill the Lord Ruler; burning the eleventh metal, she sees a past vision of the man. She attacks that vision, only to find out the nothing happens when she does. This gives the Inquisitor in the room enough time to attack and call the other Inquisitors for backup. Vin desperately fights the Inquisitor, but it is no use. Just when he is about to kill her, another Inquisitor comes from behind and kills him, saving Vin. Surprised, Vin discovers that this other Inquisitor is really Marsh. Marsh pulls a spike from the other Inquisitor’s back, killing him. At the doorway, a pile of spikes reveals why no other Inquisitor has arrived. Marsh attacks the Lord Ruler, but he fails. Angry, the Lord Ruler comes after Vin. He pushes with a strong burst of allomancy, pushing even the metals in her body. Vin holds on through iron and pulls on the rings around the Lord Ruler’s arms. Some even piece he skin. As she desperately pulls, the Lord Ruler tries to push her even more strongly. Soon, Vin’s strength wins out, and she rips the Lord Ruler’s rings away from him. He immediately shrinks and ages, turning into an old and weak man. Vin stabs him through the heart, killing him.

Vin, Sazed, and Marsh are talking about how the Lord Ruler was so powerful. They decide that he must have been a feruchemist and an allomancer. They also think about how the new kingdom, with Elend as king, will survive. The Lord Ruler still has many forces out there, including an unknown number of Inquisitors. Later, Vin visits Elend, happy they are both okay.

Sazed and Tindwyl continue to talk about the things they are learning. Something doesn’t make sense about the rubbings, written by Kwaan. It seems that Kwaan did not trust Alendi, but he also knew Alendi was a good man. But if Kwaan knew Alendi was good, why did he have his nephew, Rashek, to mislead or even kill Alendi? Elend comes in and asks for advice. After a discussion, he decides that being king isn’t about a title, but about doing something to help others. He returns to his closet and retrieves the white suite, the one made for a king.

Elend is hard at work, helping the people. He’s sending men out to dismantle the wooden parts of keeps and houses to use as firewood. The many refugees are cold and hungry, and he wants to help them. Someone comes with news that one of the gates under the river has been broken. That is how someone has been getting into the city and poisoning the wells. Also, other reports say that an Inquisitor is lurking about the city. Elend decides to go out and talk to Jastes, with the koloss army, himself. He rides out and meets Jastes, unable to make any kind of deal. On the way out, Elend manages to fight and kill one smaller koloss, earning the sword and pouch as his own. He looks into the pouch and discovers how Jastes is controlling the koloss. He’s paying them.

Vin sees Elend, now returned from his meet with the koloss army, inured and resting. Zanes comes and says that Cett was the one that planed the attack at the voting ceremony. Vin gets angry and decides to attack Cett. Zane and Vin attack the keep that Cett has been staying at in Luthadel. Together, they kill guards and hazekillers. Fueled by rage, Vin kills quickly, working her way to Cett’s room. She realizes that Zane is using atium, while she has none, and yet she’s killing just as easily as he is. They finally get to Cett’s room, where he is with his son. Vin fights them at first, but when she discovers that neither of them is an allomancer and that Cett doesn’t have a single allomancer with him, she leaves them behind, injured and scared.

The crew sees that Cett’s army is now leaving, a result of Vin’s attack on his keep the night before. Elend does not know why Vin attacked Cett like that. Some in the crew think she’s crazy, but Elend just sees her as determined. They also discover that the “coins” Jastes has been using to control   the koloss are fake, wooden coins painted gold. Elend goes to find Vin, who is hiding in the city. He finds her with OreSeur’s help. She says she must leave Luthadel and go north, to Terris. Elend says he trust her to do the right thing. They have one large bead of atium, and Vin gives it to OreSeur to hold for her.

Sazed and Tindwyl compare notes, studying the rubbing and other references they’ve managed to find. Tindwyl admits that she doesn’t believe in these prophecies, her interest in them being purely academic. Sazed, on the other hand, thinks Vin might actually be the next Hero of the Ages. While they talk, they discover that someone–or something–has torn a piece from one of the transcription pages. Vin comes in, while they try to figure out at what point were they both gone or occupied to not have seen an intruder going through their things. Vin asks Sazed how she can know if she’s in love. They talk about trust. After Vin leaves, Elend comes in and starts asking similar questions. Elend thinks he and Vin are too different to make a couple, but Sazed says that, to him, they are more alike than they think. After Elend leaves, Sazed realizes that Luthadel is going to fall soon; he needs to get both Elend and Vin out of the city before that happens.

Sazed calls a meeting with the members of the crew: Dockson, Breeze, Ham, and Clubs. He doesn’t invite Elend, Vin, or Spook. They talk about how the city is sure to fall. Straff apparently is in no hurry to take Luthadel. Instead, he’ll back off and let the koloss attack the city first. The koloss will win and enter the city, pillaging as they go. Then, with the koloss weakened and tired from the fight, Venture will ride in like a hero and save the city, defeating the koloss and taking Luthadel for himself. Sazed says that Elend and Vin need to get out of the city before these things happen. He wants Spook and Tindwyl to go with them. The rest of the group will have to stay and fight and die. Meanwhile, Vin feels she must follow the drumming she hears all the time. In Straff’s camp, Zane is attacked by his father’s men. He defeats them, but spares his father. He leaves, saying that tonight he will take Vin with him and leave Luthadel. He tells Straff that he should wait for the koloss to attack and then take the city.

Vin is in her room with OreSeur when Zane visits. He wants her to come with him, but she says she can’t because she doesn’t want to leave Elend. When Zane sees that she won’t go, he attacks her. They fight. When Zane starts to burn atium, Vin asks OreSeur for the large bead, a bead Zan had given her before. OreSeur doesn’t respond to her command. Vin discovers that OreSeur is not OreSeur. He is TenSoon, Zane’s kandra. Of course! There was no other spy. The bones they found were TenSoon’s and he had killed OreSeur! Zane corners Vin, but Vin uses a massive soothing to take control of OreSeur/TenSoon and attack Zane from behind. She then cuts the bead of atium fro TenSoon. But this is another trick. The bead is lead, with only a thin layer of atium. Soon, Vin is left helpless against a Mistborn killer with atium. Vin decides that Zane can see what she’s about to do, or, rather, what she plans on doing. If she attacks without thinking, though, she can, see in Zane’s reaction what she is going to do, only to change it at the last possible second. The trick works, and Vin defeats Zane. After Zane dies, she thanks OreSeur/TenSoon for helping her win. His contract is void, and he must return to his people. Vin goes to find Elend.

Elend is in his study when Vin comes in, bloody from her fight with Zane. She tells him that she killed him. He calls for Sazed, who comes to help with the wounds. While she is there, on the ground, she asks Sazed if he knows any wedding ceremonies. Of course, he knows hundreds. Vin asks which one is the shortest, and Sazed recalls one that only requires a declaration of love between the bride and groom before an ordained witness. Vin and Elend both say that they love each other, and Sazed declares them married. The wounds are clean, and Sazed sends Vin to get some rest. He also gives them a fake map to find the Well of Ascension. If the couple follows the map, they’ll be gone from Luthadel for a long time.

Part Five: Snow and Ash

Elend and Vin prepare to ride out of the city. Tindwyl decides to stay in Luthadel. Spooks gets ready to go, and Allrianne will ride out, at Breeze’s insistence. So the four of them ride out, Vin quickly having to fight pursuers from Straff’s army. Once they are free, Allrianne breaks off to find her father’s army. Meanwhile, some of the crew watch as the escape, now sure of their own coming doom. Straff Venture hears of the escapes, but he has problems of his own now. He’s getting sick, which he knows is the result of poisoning from his son, Zane. He sends for his mistress, Amaranta, to fix him an antidote, but he discovers that she isn’t preparing what she normally does. She is actually killing, as she has for a long time. There never was any poison. Zane never tried to kill his father. But Amaranta, in her constant fixing of teas for Straff, has been causing him to become addicted to a rare drug. Without that drug, Straff will die. Straff, in a rage, kills Amaranta and then swallows as much powder from her medicine cabnet as he can, hoping to accidentally swallow some of the drug he needs before he loses consciousness.

Allrianne has made her way to her father’s camp, with the help of some bandits she’s tamed with her rioting. Her father, Cett, is not happy to see her. She convinces him to go back and join the winning party in the battle that is to come, although Cett promises that will likely be Straff. Meanwhile, Elend wakes up on the third morning out of Luthadel. He and Vin share a tent now, and he finds himself surprisingly comfortable on the hard ground, with Vin next to him. They get up and prepare the fire. It’s just the three of them: Elend, Vin, and Spook. Meanwhile Straff wakes up in bed. His men have taken care of him, and they’ve isolated the plant he needs to stay alive. When he hears that Vin and Elend have left the city, the men ask if they should attack now. Straff says no; they should pull back and wait for the koloss. Sazed meets with the others to plan a strategy for when the koloss attack. They plan to have a group of men at each gate. Saze and Tindwyl get a little time together, but then the warning drums begin to beat.

Vin is thinking about how the mist is staying later and later every day, instead of just disappearing with dawn, when she feels the pulsing of the mist spirit coming from Elend’s tent. She runs in, just in time to see the outline of that spirit lift some kind of knife to attack Elend, who is sleeping on the ground. She attacks the spirit and it disappears. Elend wakes up and never knows what was happening. She leaves Elend to sleep a little more and goes out to speak with Spook. He thinks someone is following them. Meanwhile, Sazed and the crew get ready, since it looks like the Koloss are about to attack. Men are at each gate, with one crewmember there to help. Straff sees that the koloss are attacking, but he tells his men to wait. Vin and Elend attack the camp of people that have been following them. It turns out to be Jastes. He’s lost control of the koloss, so he just left them. Elend kills Jastes because of his crimes against Luthadel. Vin discovers that the drumming sounds are getting softer, meaning the well is to the south, in Luthadel, and not in the Terris mountains.

Breeze works at his assigned gate, soothing soldiers by the dozen, helping them to be brave and fight well. The koloss pound at the door, while men atop the wall rain arrows down on the attackers. The koloss throw rocks up in return, smashing archers. Meanwhile, Vin runs towards Luthadel, burning pewter. She knows she will run out of pewter long before reaching Luthadel, and she wonders if the effect will kill her. But still she keeps running. Breeze and Clubs talk while the koloss continue to beat the gate. They blame themselves for being stupid enough to be in this mess, and they blame Kelsier for getting them into such responsibilities. Just then, the gates burst open. Meanwhile, Sazed gets word that Breeze’s gate had fallen. He doesn’t think he can really help. He notices that there is a crowd of skaa standing behind the defense force. When Sazed confronts them, telling them that they should flee to safety inside the city, the skaa answer that they are there to witness the fall of the koloss at the hands of Vin, who they are sure will return and make her appearance at Sazed’s gate. Then the gate breaks. Sazed musters his stored strength, growing in size, and faces the lead koloss, shouting for the men to fight. Vin, half collapsing and out of pewter, reaching a small village. At first she thinks to ask for pewter, but then she remembers how she used to travel with Kelsier on a path of metal bars in the ground. She asks for horseshoes, using them to “walk” by leaping, placing horseshoes ahead of her and pulling the ones behind to place further. In this way, she uses the horseshoes like stilts to help her travel in the air.

Outside Luthadel, Straff Venture sees that the koloss have now broken into the city gates. His men are ready to attack the koloss from the rear, but Straff decides to wait longer. Sazed, fighting the koloss, realizes that they need to get the gate closed again in order to survive. Using strength and weight, he manages to fight off the koloss and get the gate closed again. While getting a little break, a messenger comes and says that Tindwyl’s gate fell over an hour ago. Meanwhile, Clubs and Breeze are attacked and forced to run. Clubs is killed, while Breeze hides in a building. Dockson contemplates the root of their failure. He attacks a koloss, only to be cut down. Straff decides not to swoop in a save the city while the koloss are weak. Instead, he’d rather wait for the koloss to kill everyone and burn the city. Then Straff will move in. Meanwhile, Sazed fights on, wondering what happened to Tindwyl. He feels he is going to die, but then Vin arrives and starts killing koloss. Breeze is found by Ham and some others. They want to try to escape.

Vin continues killing koloss, several at a time. Sazed, outside Lord Penrod’s keep, begs the newly appointed king to go with them as they try to escape. Penrod insists on staying inside his keep. Vin continues to fight the koloss, but now she is almost completely out of pewter, steel, and almost every other metal. In desperation, to save some skaa from certain death, she super-soothes them, like she’d done to TenSoon, controlling the koloss with her mind. Sazed is standing outside Penrod’s keep when Vin walks up with koloss in tow. She orders Penrod to gather his men and put out the fires in Luthadel. Vin will take care of the koloss throughout the city. Later, Sazed finds Tindwyl’s dead body among the slain soldiers. He feels that all the faith, all the religions, he has always treasured is now useless. His life, he believes, has been a sham.

Straff wakes up and takes a sample of the drug he needs to stay alive. He gathers his men, expecting to be able to take the city now. But the koloss come out with the remaining soldiers of Luthadel. Vin jumps from among the koloss, sailing through the sky with a giant sword, cleaving Straff and his horse in half on impact. Allrianne watches these events from her father’s camp. She charges after them to help Luthadel’s army, forcing her father and his men to ride after her. Straff’s army surrenders, and Janarle, Straff’s general, is named the new Lord of the Venture army. Janarle, Penrod, and Cett all swear loyalty to Elend as their Emperor. Vin, needing rest, leaves Sazed in charge of the Empire until Elend can return to Luthadel.

Part Six: Words In Steel

Elend and Spook are making their way back to Luthadel, traveling by night, like Vin told them to. They happen upon a mistwraith and continue. Spook sees watchfires of an army ahead. He leaves Elend behind to check it out. Alone in the dark mist, Elend sees a ghostly figure–the mist spirit–standing before him. The spirit points north, insisting that he turn around. Spook comes back and tells Elend to come and talk to the refugees. They are from Terris, and they’re going the Luthade too, since a small army of Inquisitors attacked Terris and killed all the keepers. The refugees are looking for Tindwyl or Sazed, since they are the leaders of the Terris people now.

Cett, Penrod, and Jenarle argue about what they should do next with their collected armies. Sazed presides over the meeting, but he won’t allow them to do much of anything without Elend or Vin’s order. Elend is still not found and Vin is in a long sleep, recovering from her pewter drag and battle with the koloss. Sazed still feels like he doesn’t care or believe in anything. As Elend approaches Luthadel outside, Sazed is inside, studying the notes he and Tindwyl compiled. Vin comes in, finally awake. She says she must find the Well of Ascension. She knows it is here, in Luthadel.  Later, Vin and Elend meet outside. She takes him to the Lord Ruler’s palace. She knows the well is here. Sazed, back inside, ponders over the notes he has. They don’t seem consistent at all. The mist spirit shows up and keeps pointing to passages in Sazed’s notes. Sazed realizes that Vin is going to make a big mistake. He runs to the Lord Ruler’s palace to find her. Meanwhile, Vin has found a secret stairwell in Kredik Shaw, She and Elend go down to see what’s below. Sazed runs into Kredik Shaw to stop them, but Marsh is waiting for him. He apologizes, even though he doesn’t know why he must kill Sazed now.

Vin and Elend walk deeper into the underground passage, passing racks of supplies. Vin knows she is getting closer to the well. Outside, Sazed and Marsh fight. Sazed doesn’t have near enough strength to defeat Marsh, a powerful Steel Inquisitor. Marsh pushes Sazed’s pouch of rings into him, the metal pieces cutting into his gut. Sazed feels the power in those metals and draws of some health that was stored in a gold ring. Vin and Elend find a final chamber, where the well is. They also find broken pots. A small bead has been left behind, similar to atium but different in color. As Vin approaches the well, the mist spirit comes and slashes Elend’s gut with a blade. Vin screams, but she’s too late. Outside, Ham attacks Marsh from behind, knocking him out. Sazed races to find Vin. Vin, inside, steps into the well and feels the power all around her. She want to take it for herself and heal Elend, but she feels like the right thing it to let it go. She does, only to discover that she has really let something horrible free.

Vin is weeping on the floor by the now empty well. The mist spirit signals for her to go to the broken pot and retrieve the strange metal bead from before, and then it signals for her to give it to Elend. The only thing Vin has to help Elend swallow the bead is a metal vial. She gives it to him and, to her surprise, he begins burning pewter while unconscious.

Sazed goes back to the Conventical of Seran, where the original meal etching is. He reads it and discovers that his own rubbing, notes, and metalmind memories had been changed by someone, presumably the creature that wanted to be freed. Thus, the etching starts by saying that only something written in steel can be trusted. The prophecy, Kwaan had learned, was all a trick. The Hero of Ages was supposed to release the power and set something evil free. Everything Sazed had ever believed or searched for had been a lie. Meanwhile, Vin and Elend are in Luthadel. Something is free, and the mist continues to kill people. But now Elend is a mistborn, having healed from his gut wound with the help of pewter. Vin doesn’t know what to do, feeling guilty about releasing that evil upon the world. Elend says that they will do as Kelsier taught them to do: survive.

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