Jul 13 2011 1:00pm

The Alloy of Law: Chapter Three

We are very excited to offer the next excerpt from Brandon Sanderson’s fourth and latest Mistborn novel, The Alloy of Law, out November 8th from Tor Books! will be releasing six excerpts in all from The Alloy of Law as the weeks go on, along with sweepstakes, news, and other fun stuff, so keep checking back!

Read through all of the excerpts in order in the Alloy of Law index.



Eight hours later, Waxillium stood at an upper window of his mansion. He watched the last broken fragments of a dying day. They dimmed, then grew black. He waited, hoping. But no mist came.

What does it matter? he thought to himself. You’re not going to go outside anyway. Still, he wished the mists were out; he felt more at peace when they were out there, watching. The world became a different place, one he felt he better understood.

He sighed and crossed his study to the wall. He turned the switch, and the electric lights came on. They were still a wonder to him. Even though he knew the Words of Founding had given hints regarding electricity, what men had achieved still seemed incredible.

He crossed the room to his uncle’s desk. His desk. Back in Weathering, Waxillium had used a rough, flimsy table. Now he had a sturdy, smoothly polished desk of stained oak. He sat down and began leafing through ledgers of house finances. It wasn’t long, however, before his eyes started flicking toward the stack of broadsheets lying on his easy chair. He’d asked Limmi to go gather a few of them for him.

He usually ignored the broadsheets these days. Reports of crimes had a way of setting his mind running in circles and keeping him from focusing on his business. Of course, now that thoughts of the Vanishers had been planted in his mind, he’d have trouble letting go and doing anything productive, at least until he had scratched a few itches about what they’d been doing.

Perhaps just a little reading, he told himself. To catch up on current events. It wouldn’t hurt to be informed; in fact, it might be important to his ability to entertain discussions with others.

Waxillium fetched the stack and returned to his desk. He easily found an account of the robberies in the day’s paper. Other broadsheets in the stack had even more information. He’d mentioned the Vanishers to Limmi, and so she’d gathered a few broadsheets that were intended for people who wanted a collection of all of the recent stories on them. These reprinted articles from weeks or even months ago, with the original dates of the stories’ publication. Those types of broadsheets were popular, he could tell, as he had three different ones from three different publishers. It seemed everyone wanted to stay up to date on items they’d missed.

By the dates listed on the reprinted articles, the first robbery had happened much earlier than he’d assumed. Seven months ago, just before he’d arrived back in Elendel. There had been a lapse of four months between the first railway cargo disappearance and the second. The name “Vanishers” hadn’t started being used until this second attack.

The robberies were all similar, save for the one at the playhouse. A train was stopped because of a distraction on the tracks—early on, a fallen tree. Later, a ghostly phantom railcar that appeared from the mists, traveling directly at the train. The engineers stopped in a panic, but the phantom ahead vanished.

The engineers would start their train again. When it reached its destination, one of their cars was found to have been emptied of all goods. People were ascribing all kinds of mystical powers to the robbers, who seemed to be able to pass through walls and locked cargo cars without trouble. But what goods were stolen? Waxillium thought, frowning. The reports of the first theft didn’t say, though it did mention the cargo had belonged to Augustin Tekiel.

Tekiel was one of the richest houses in the city, based over in the Second Octant, though it was building its new skyscraper in the financial district of the Fourth Octant. Waxillium read the articles over again, then searched through the broadsheets, scanning them for any further mention of the first robbery before the second occurred.

What’s this? he thought, holding up a broadsheet that included a reprint of a letter Augustin Tekiel had written for publication a few months back. The letter denounced the Elendel constables for failure to protect or recover Tekiel’s goods. The broadsheet had happily printed it, even made a headline of it: “Constables Incompetent, Tekiel Slams.”

Three months. It had taken three months for Tekiel to say anything. Waxillium put aside these compilation broadsheets, then searched through the more recent broadsheets for other mentions. There was no shortage of them; the robberies were dramatic and mysterious, two things that sold a lot of papers.

The second and third robberies had been of steel shipments. Odd, that. An impractically heavy substance to take, and not as valuable as simply robbing the passenger cars. The fourth robbery had been the one that caught Wayne’s attention: packaged foodstuffs from a train on its way to the northern Roughs. The fifth robbery had been the first to involve the passengers. The sixth and seventh had done so as well, the seventh being the only time the Vanishers had taken two hostages instead of one.

All three of the later robberies had involved stealing from a freight car as well as from passengers. Metals in two cases, foodstuffs in another case—at least, that was all the newspaper reported. With each case, the details had grown more interesting, as the cargo cars had been better secured. More sophisticated locks, guards riding along. The robberies happened incredibly quickly, considering the weight of goods taken.

Did they use a speed bubble, like Wayne makes? Waxillium thought. But no. You couldn’t move in or out of a speed bubble once one was up, and it would be impossible to make one large enough to facilitate this kind of robbery. So far as he knew, at least.

Waxillium continued reading. There were a great many articles with theories, quotes, and eyewitness reports. Many suggested a speed bubble, but editorials cut those to shreds. Too much manpower would be needed, more than could fit in a speed bubble. They thought it more likely that a Feruchemist who could increase his strength was lifting the heavy materials out of the cars and carrying them off.

But to where? And why? And how were they bypassing the locks and the guards? Waxillium cut out articles he found interesting. Few had any solid information.

A soft knock at the door interrupted him in the middle of spreading the articles out on his desk. He looked up to see Tillaume in the doorway holding a tray of tea and a basket, the handle over his arm. “Tea, my lord?”

“That would be wonderful.”

Tillaume strode forward and set up a small stand beside the desk, getting a cup and a sharp white napkin. “Do you have a preference?” Tillaume could manufacture dozens of varieties of tea from the simplest of starting points, blending and making what he considered ideal.


“My lord. There is great importance to tea. It should never merely be ‘whatever.’ Tell me. Are you planning to sleep soon?”

Waxillium looked over the array of cut-out reports. “Definitely not.”

“Very well. Would you prefer something to help clear your mind?”

“That might be nice.”

“Sweet or not?”


“Minty or spicy?”


“Strong or weak?”

“Er . . . strong.”

“Excellent,” Tillaume said, taking several jars and some silver spoons from his basket. He began mixing powders and bits of herbs into a cup. “My lord looks very intent.”

Waxillium tapped the table. “My lord is annoyed. Broadsheets make for terrible research opportunities. I need to know what was in the first shipment.”

“The first shipment, my lord?”

“The first railcar that the thieves stole from.”

“Miss Grimes would note that you seem to be slipping into old habits, my lord.”

“Miss Grimes isn’t here, fortunately. Besides, Lord Harms and his daughter seemed aghast that I didn’t know about the robberies. I must keep abreast of events in the city.”

“That’s a very excellent excuse, my lord.”

“Thank you,” Waxillium said, taking the cup of tea. “I almost have myself completely persuaded.” He took a sip. “Preservation’s Wings, man! This is good.”

“Thank you, my lord.” Tillaume took out the napkin and snapped it in his hands, then folded it down the middle and laid it across the arm of Waxillium’s chair. “And I believe that the first thing stolen was a shipment of wool. I heard it being discussed at the butcher’s earlier in the week.”

“Wool. That makes no sense.”

“None of these crimes make much sense, my lord.”

“Yes,” Waxillium said. “Unfortunately, those are the most interesting kind of crimes.” He took another sip of the tea. The strong, minty scent seemed to clear his nose and mind. “I need paper.”


“A large sheet,” Waxillium continued. “As big as you can find.”

“I will see what is available, my lord,” Tillaume said. Waxillium caught a faint sigh of exasperation from the man, though he left the room to do as asked.

How long had it been since Waxillium had started his research? He glanced at the clock, and was surprised at the time. Well into the night already.

Well, he was into it now. He’d never sleep until he’d worked it through. He rose and began to pace, holding his teacup and saucer before him. He stayed away from the windows. He was backlit, and would make an excellent target for a sniper outside. Not that he really thought there would be one, but . . . well, he felt more comfortable working this way.

Wool, he thought. He walked over and opened a ledger, looking up some figures. He grew so absorbed that he didn’t notice the passing of time until Tillaume returned.

“Will this do, my lord?” he asked, bringing in an artist’s easel with a large pad of paper clipped to it. “The old Lord Ladrian kept this for your sister. She did love to draw.”

Waxillium looked at it, and felt his heart clench. He hadn’t thought of Telsin in ages. They had been so distant most of their lives. Not by intent, like his distance from his uncle; Waxillium and the previous Lord Ladrian had often been at odds. No, his distance from Telsin had been one born more of laziness. Twenty years apart, only seeing his sister occasionally, had let him slide along without much contact.

And then she’d died, in the same accident as his uncle. He wished the news had been harder for him to hear. It should have been harder for him to hear. She’d been a stranger by then, though.

“My lord?” the butler asked.

“The paper is perfect,” Waxillium said, rising and fetching a pencil. “Thank you. I was worried we’d have to hang the paper on the wall.”

“Hang it?”

“Yes. I used to use some bits of tar.”

That idea seemed to make Tillaume very uncomfortable. Waxillium ignored him, walking over and beginning to write on the pad. “This is nice paper.”

“I’m pleased, my lord,” Tillaume said uncertainly.

Waxillium drew a little train in the top left corner, putting in a track ahead of it. He wrote a date beneath it. “First robbery. Fourteenth of Vinuarch. Target: wool. Supposedly.” In like manner, he added more trains, tracks, dates, and details down the paper.

Wayne had always mocked him when he’d sketched out crimes to help him think. But it worked, though he frequently had to put up with Wayne’s playful additions of little stick-figure bandits or mist-wraiths rampaging across the otherwise neat and orderly sketchwork and notes.

“Second robbery happened much later,” Waxillium continued. “Metals. For the first robbery, Lord Tekiel didn’t make any kind of fuss until months had passed.” He tapped the paper, then crossed out the word “wool.” “He didn’t lose a shipment of wool. It was early summer then, and wool prices would be too low to justify the freight charges. As I recall, the rates were unusually high in Vinuarch because the eighteenth railway line was out of service. It would take a man with breadcrumbs for brains to pay a premium to ship out-of-season wares to people who didn’t want them.”

“So . . .” Tillaume said.

“Just a moment,” Waxillium said. He walked over and pulled a few ledgers off the shelf beside his desk. His uncle had some shipping manifests here. . . .

Yes. The old Lord Ladrian had kept very good track of what his competitor houses had been shipping. Waxillium scanned the lists for oddities. It took him a little while, but he eventually came up with a theory.

“Aluminum,” Waxillium said. “Tekiel was probably shipping aluminum, but avoiding taxes by claiming it as something else. In here, his stated aluminum shipments for the last two years are much smaller than they were for previous years. His smelters are still producing, however. I’d bet my best gun that Augustin Tekiel—with the help of some railway workers—has been running a nice, profitable little smuggling operation. That’s why he didn’t make a big commotion about the theft at first; he didn’t want to draw attention.”

Waxillium walked over and wrote some notations on his paper. He lifted his cup of tea to his lips, nodding to himself. “That also explains the long wait between the first and second robberies. The bandits were making use of that aluminum. They probably sold some of it on the black market to fund their operation, then used the rest to make aluminum bullets. But why would they need aluminum bullets?”

“For killing Allomancers?” Tillaume asked. He had been tidying the room while Waxillium read the ledgers.

“Yes.” Waxillium drew in images of faces above four of the robberies, the ones where they’d taken hostages.

“My lord?” Tillaume asked, stepping up beside him. “You think the captives are Allomancers?”

“The names have all been released,” Waxillium said. “All four are women from wealthy families, but none of them openly have Allomantic powers.”

Tillaume remained quiet. That didn’t mean everything. Many Allomancers among the upper crust were discreet about their powers. There were plenty of situations where that could be useful. For instance, if you were a Rioter or Soother—capable of influencing people’s emotions—you wouldn’t want people to suspect.

In other cases, Allomancy was flaunted. A recent candidate for the orchard-growers seat on the Senate had run solely on the platform that he was a Coppercloud, and was therefore impossible to affect with zinc or brass. The candidate won by a landslide. People hated thinking that someone might secretly be pulling their leaders’ strings.

Waxillium started noting his speculations around the margins of the paper. Motives, possible ways they were emptying the freight cars so quickly, similarities and differences among the heists. As he wrote he hesitated, then added a couple of stick-figure bandits at the top, drawn in Wayne’s sloppy style. Crazy though it was, he felt better having them there.

“I’ll bet the captives were all Allomancers, secretly,” Waxillium said. “The thieves had aluminum bullets to deal with Coinshots, Lurchers, and Thugs. And if we were able to catch any of the thieves, I’ll bet good money that we’d find them wearing aluminum linings in their hats to shield their emotions from being Pushed or Pulled on.” That wasn’t uncommon among the city’s elite as well, though the common men couldn’t afford such luxury.

The robberies weren’t about money; they were about the captives. That was why no bounty had been demanded, and why the bodies of the captives hadn’t been discovered dumped somewhere. The robberies were meant to obscure the true motives for the kidnappings. The victims were not the spur-of-the-moment hostages they were meant to appear. The Vanishers were gathering Allomancers. And Allomantic metals—so far raw steel, pewter, iron, zinc, brass, tin, and even some bendalloy had been stolen.

“This is dangerous,” Waxillium whispered. “Very dangerous.”

“My lord . . .” Tillaume said. “Weren’t you going to go over the house account ledgers?”

“Yes,” Waxillium said distractedly.

“And the lease for the new offices in the Ironspine?”

“I can still get to that tonight too.”

“My lord. When?”

Waxillium paused, then checked his pocket watch. Again, he was surprised to see how much time had passed.

“My lord,” Tillaume said. “Did I ever tell you about your uncle’s horse-racing days?”

“Uncle Edwarn was a gambler?”

“Indeed he was. It was a great problem to the house, soon after his rise to high lord. He would spend most of his days at the tracks.”

“No wonder we’re destitute.”

“Actually, he was quite good at the gambling, my lord. He usually came out ahead. Far ahead.”


“He stopped anyway,” Tillaume said, collecting his tray and Waxillium’s empty teacup. “Unfortunately, my lord, while he was winning a small fortune at the races, the house lost a large fortune in mismanaged business and financial dealings.” He walked toward the door, but turned. His normally somber face softened. “It is not my place to lecture, my lord. Once one becomes a man, he can and must make his own decisions. But I do offer warning. Even a good thing can become destructive if taken to excess.

“Your house needs you. Thousands of families rely upon you. They need your leadership and your guidance. You did not ask for this, I understand. But the mark of a great man is one who knows when to set aside the important things in order to accomplish the vital ones.”

The butler left, closing the door behind him.

Waxillium stood alone beneath the uncannily steady glow of the electric lights, looking at his diagram. He tossed the pencil aside, suddenly feeling drained, and fished out his pocket watch. It was two fifteen. He should be getting some sleep. Normal people slept at these hours.

He dimmed the lights to not be backlit, then walked to the window. He was still depressed not to see any mists, even though he hadn’t expected them. I never said daily prayers, he realized. Things have been too chaotic today.

Well, it was better to arrive late than not at all. He reached into his pocket, fishing out his earring. It was a simple thing, stamped on the head with the ten interlocking rings of the Path. He slipped it into his ear, which was pierced for the purpose, and leaned against the window to stare out at the darkened city.

There was no specific prescribed posture for praying as a Pathian. Just fifteen minutes of meditation and pondering. Some liked to sit with legs crossed, eyes closed, but Waxillium had always found it harder to think in that posture. It made his back hurt and his spine tingle. What if someone sneaked around behind him and shot him in the back?

So, he just stood. And pondered. How are things up there in the mists? he thought. He was never sure how to talk to Harmony. Life’s good, I assume? What with you being God, and all?

In response, he felt a sense of . . . amusement. He could never tell if he created those sensations himself or not.

Well, since I’m not God myself, Waxillium thought, perhaps you could use that omniscience of yours to drum up some answers for me. It feels like I’m in a bind.

A discordant thought. This wasn’t like most of the binds he’d been in. He wasn’t tied up, about to be murdered. He wasn’t lost in the Roughs, without water or food, trying to find his way back to civilization. He was standing in a lavish mansion, and while his family was having financial troubles, it was nothing they couldn’t weather. He had a life of luxury and a seat on the city Senate.

Why, then, did he feel like these last six months had been among the hardest he’d ever lived? An endless series of reports, ledgers, dinner parties, and business deals.

The butler was right; many did rely on him. The Ladrian house had started as several thousand individuals following the Origin, and had grown large in three hundred years, adopting under its protection any who came to work on its properties or in its foundries. The deals Waxillium negotiated determined their wages, their privileges, their lifestyle. If his house collapsed, they’d find employment elsewhere, but would be considered lesser members of those houses for a generation or two until they obtained full rights.

I’ve done hard things before, he thought. I can do this one. If it’s right. Is it right?

Steris had called the Path a simple religion. Perhaps it was. There was only one basic tenet: Do more good than harm. There were other aspects—the belief that all truth was important, the requirement to give more than one took. There were over three hundred examples listed in the Words of Founding, religions that could have been. Might have been. In other times, in another world.

The Path was to study them, learn from their moral codes. A few rules were central. Do not seek lust without commitment. See the strengths in all flaws. Pray and meditate fifteen minutes a day. And don’t waste time worshipping Harmony. Doing good was the worship.

Waxillium had been converted to the Path soon after leaving Elendel. He was still convinced that the woman he’d met on that train ride must have been one of the Faceless Immortals, the hands of Harmony. She’d given him his earring; every Pathian wore one while praying.

The problem was, it was hard for Waxillium to feel like he was doing anything useful. Luncheons and ledgers, contracts and negotiations. He knew, logically, that all of it was important. But those, even his vote on the Senate, were all abstractions. No match for seeing a murderer jailed or a kidnapped child rescued. In his youth, he’d lived in the City—the world’s center of culture, science, and progress—for two decades, but he hadn’t found himself until he’d left it and wandered the dusty, infertile lands out beyond the mountains.

Use your talents, something seemed to whisper inside of him. You’ll figure it out.

That made him smile ruefully. He couldn’t help wondering why, if Harmony really was listening, he didn’t give more specific answers. Often, all Waxillium got from prayer was a sense of encouragement. Keep going. It’s not as difficult as you feel it is. Don’t give up.

He sighed, just closing his eyes, losing himself in thought. Other religions had their ceremonies and their meetings. Not the Pathians. In a way, its very simplicity made the Path much harder to follow. It left interpretation up to one’s own conscience.

After meditating for a time, he couldn’t help feeling that Harmony wanted him to study the Vanishers and to be a good house lord. Were the two mutually exclusive? Tillaume thought they were.

Waxillium glanced back at the stack of broadsheets and the easel with the drawing pad on it. He reached into his pocket, taking out the bullet Wayne had left.

And against his will, he saw in his mind’s eye Lessie, head jerking back, blood spraying into the air. Blood covering her beautiful tan hair. Blood on the floor, on the walls, on the murderer who had been standing behind her. But that murderer hadn’t been the one to shoot her.

Oh, Harmony, he thought, raising a hand to his head and slowly sitting down, back to the wall. It really is about her, isn’t it? I can’t do that again. Not again.

He dropped the round, pulled off his earring. He stood, walked over, cleaned up the broadsheets, and closed the drawing pad. Nobody had been hurt by the Vanishers yet. They were robbing people, but they weren’t harming them. There wasn’t even proof that the hostages were in danger. Likely they’d be returned after ransom demands were met.

Waxillium sat down to work on his house’s ledgers instead. He let them draw his attention well into the night.

Mistborn: The Alloy of Law © Brandon Sanderson 2011

Alexandre X. Duchateau Navarrete
1. Lexiel
I don't know if I want to praise or curse you for giving me this.
I haven't yet decided if it's kindness or slow agonizing torture.
Each chapter I read makes me more eager to get the full book, and November is so far away :(

Anyway, ebook updated and emailed to my kindle, I know what I'll be doing in the bus after work today :D
John Skotnik
2. ShooneSprings
It seems odd that Pathians would pierce their ears with metal, as that was what let Ruin speak/influence people. Perhaps Sazed is using this to be able to help "his" people?
Sean Calhoun
6. Musicspren
A chapter of Hemalurgy, I believe.
As ShooneSprings observed in post #2, the earring would appear to be a manner of Harmony (Sazed) communicating with people as Ruin (Ati) did. This brings up an interesting consideration: In the past, for metal piercing skin to be Hemalurgic and thus allow communication with Ruin, (not just an ordinary benign earring, for instance), it had to have previously passed through someone else, killing them. If the Pathians are doing that to make their earrings, their religion is about as friendly as Shu-Dereth. However, it is possible (probable, even) that the earring is merely symbolic, or that Sazed, possessing the power of two shards, has changed how Hemalurgy works (I don't know if that's possible, but as Preservation could change what metals were snapped in HoA, I think it's conceivable).

Also, I would theorize that the "Vanishers" have relatively little interest in what materials are stealing (that is primarily a facade), but very much interest in what powers they are stealing from those they kidnap. I believe they have somehow learned of hemalurgy and are using it to make themselves more powerful, possibly even equivalent to mistborns. One problem with this theory is that Sazed could, theoretically, control them as Ruin controlled inquisitors, and make them stop (leaving Wax with nothing to do). However, it was Sazed who wrote "I am, unfortunately, the Hero of Ages." He probably doesn't want to interfere any more than is absolutely necessary.
7. laurene135
@ 2. ShooneSprings
That's what I'm thinking. Since Sazed has both Ruin's and Preservation's powers, I'm guessing he's using Ruin's power to directly communicate with people if they're pierced with metal. It makes sense, because if I remember correctly, Preservation didn't have the ability to communicate directly with people (hense book 2 and 3).
8. Chipicus
so who is ruin? or did ruin die with Harmony? (the ones before Sazed)
9. laurene135
@ 6 MysticBells
I like your idea and it makes sense, but it feels a bit like a red harring to me. Besides, if Sazed thought it was important enough to rid this world of Mistborn, I can't see him throwing up his arms and going "Oh, you found the loop hole!" Yes, he probably wouldn't want to interfere with the world much, but I think something like Hemalurgy would cause him to.
10. laurene135
@ 8. Chipicus
Ruin and Preservation were the two "gods" during the Mistborn trilogy. Harmony is the current "god" who holds both Ruin's and Preservation's powers.
Cameron Tucker
11. Loialson
I wonder who gave Wax the earring. That seemed to stand out as being important, if in a subtle way.
12. Akerbos
Please consider to stop spoiling the Mistborn trilogy for people who have not read it yet. AoL can be read without the trilogy.
Sean Calhoun
13. Musicspren
@ 9 laurene135
Good points. My counterargument:
Did Sazed rid the world of Mistborn, or did he just not give any more Lerasium? Allomantic powers had been weakening over the millennium from the Lord Ruler's ascension to the time of the Mistborn Trilogy. When Elend had a bead of pure Lerasium in WoA, he became much more powerful than any current mistborn (including Vin). His level of power is what was probably the standard mistborn power right after TLR's ascension. But he and Vin had no children, so that power died with him. Without any laws keeping the nobles and skaa from mixing freely, Allomantic powers have probably also weakened more quickly than the did in the Final Empire. The lack of mistborn may not be due to Sazed actively eliminating mistborn powers, but rather to his not choosing to increase them with new beads of Lerasium.

Also, Sazed might have the most trouble interfering with Hemalurgy. The influence of Preservation's power would lead him to not change anything, while the influence of Ruin's power would lead him to control and destroy. Between the two, he should generally stay balanced, and not be drawn strongly into alignment with either one. However, Ruin's influence might make an exception for anything inhibiting Hemalurgy, as that power is more aligned with Ruin. The resistance of both could paralyze Sazed from controlling Hemalurgists (pardon me for inventing a word).
Brian Kaul
14. bkaul
A side note, but the aluminum foil hats to block mind-control are hilarious!
Mike None
15. b779a
@6. MysticBells
It seems that metal piercings were originally used to communicate with with ones diety before Ruin used it for his own ends.

@13. MysticBells
To be precise, according to Sanderson, while Mistborn no longer exist, Mistings are more common now. So, Allomancy isn't getting weaker, but it's more diluted.
Sean Calhoun
16. Musicspren
@15. b779a
Thanks for correcting me!
On the first, I had forgotten that. It's been a long time since I read that thread (I did read it, though). Good to know the Path doesn't need to be sinister.

On the second, that was basically what I meant. The amount of Allomantic powers in the world is similar to what it was before, but it is spread among more people, so without any Lerasium to start a new "line" of powerful Allomancers, individual powers will become weaker, without Sazed interfering to cause their decline.
17. Markus Ambrose

I like that you are a fan of the series and can remember so much. I think that one thing you forgot is that these powers can only do one thing Preserve or Ruin they have no wills of their own. When Sazed took over from the previous owners of these powers and had both he is able to impose his own will over what they can do and use one or the other of the powers whenever he wants.
Sean Calhoun
18. Musicspren
@17. Markus Ambrose
Very good point; I agree, they have no conscious wills. But, although the power is not conscious, it shapes its holder. In WoK (this is not a spoiler for anything in that book, but it pertains to Mistborn), in the epigraph of chapter 18, it says "Ati was once a kind and generous man, and you saw what became of him." The implication here, as I read it, is that holding Ruin's power aligned Ati's personality with its nature. It's a fine line between what constitutes consciousness and what is merely an innate effect; I may have gone to far in what I assumed the powers of Ruin and Preservation could do.
19. laurene135
@ 18. MysticBells
Yes, and in M:HOA it said besically that Preservation couldn't destroy Ruin because it was against his nature, but Vin could because as a human she was a mix of Ruin and Preservation. She could both protect and destroy. I'm trying to find exactly where though.
20. laurene135
But back to M:AOL, I wonder how much Sazed will be changed by the Shards. Sure, he has both so he will still be balanced, but will his personality be affected nonetheless? And if it is changed by the Shards, in what way and how will it affect the Mistborn world??
Andrew Blackburn
21. ajbcool
I just finished rereading the main trilogy, and I definitely think that's Sazed speaking to him, esp. since a lot of the Pathism doctrine comes from what Sazed learned, and it seems like he doesn't like being worshipped directly, seems totally like him.
22. Ryvius
In this paragraph "usually" is probably supposed to be "unusually".

“Second robbery happened much later,” Waxillium continued. “Metals. For the first robbery, Lord Tekiel didn’t make any kind of fuss until months had passed.” He tapped the paper, then crossed out the word “wool.” “He didn’t lose a shipment of wool. It was early summer then, and wool prices would be too low to justify the freight charges. As I recall, the rates were usually high in Vinuarch because the eighteenth railway line was out of service. It would take a man with breadcrumbs for brains to pay a premium to ship out-of-season wares to people who didn’t want them.”

Sean Calhoun
23. Musicspren
@19. laurene135
Found it! Hardcover, page 547:
Preservation could never destroy you! she thought, almost screaming it against the agony. He could only protect. That's why he needed to create humankind. All along, Ruin, this was part of his plan.
He didn't give up part of himself, making himself weaker, simply so that he could create intelligent life! He knew he needed something of both Preservation and of Ruin. Something that could both protect and destroy. Something that could destroy to protect.

It continues, but I think that's the part you meant.

@20. laurene135
Yes, it's hard to say. Ideally, he will stay balanced (although perhaps with issues such as I described in post 13). I suppose there is some chance it will drive him mad, although that seems improbable. He could be pulled (or is it pushed?) a little bit; Preservation and Ruin may not quite be opposites (Cultivation and Ruin would be more opposed, I would think), but he shouldn't be affected a lot.
24. FellKnight
@22, no, I think usually is correct there, because the railway line was implied to be a seasonal thing, ergo "usually".

25. DocStu
Love the discussion, folks! If you enjoy this kind of discussion about Brandon's books, I humbly suggest that you check out the message boards on his official fansite The forum there is always full of discussions like this.... I specifically point this out to MysticBells and laurene135, but everyone is welcome!
Sean Calhoun
26. Musicspren
@25. DocStu:
Thanks! I had already been reading the the 17th Shard forum topic on it. I'm considering joining 17th Shard so I can participate in the discussions there.
Lauren W
28. laurene135
@ 23 Mystic Bells
Yes, thank you (=
What you described in 13 about those who are spiked and their relationship (or lack there of) with Harmony would certianly be interesting.
Although, I'm leery of plots with Hemalurgy as the villian, considering we saw that for the trilogy already...
I am guessing (and hoping) that the villiany will not center around Hemarlurgy (whether the kidnappings are to make mistborn--which is very interesting mind you--or Sazed having trouble controling those who are spiked)
Sean Calhoun
29. Musicspren
@28. laurene135
That's a good point; Sanderson is careful to not repeat himself. It would be rather different than in the trilogy; in MB3, the only people who were Hemalurgic had been influenced that way by Ruin (or were Inquisitors), whereas in AoL, they would be doing it themselves. I don't know quite how they would figure out the details; we know Hemalurgy is too complicated to find intuitively (or even by experimentation). My best thought is that they found some sort of Inquisitor assembly instruction manual left over from the Final Empire and are using it, but that's a bit far-fetched.

One thing that puzzles me very much the "ghostly phantom railcar." No Allomantic metal we know of could make someone else see something that wasn't there. My only (admittedly crazy) theory is that it is a kandra that has "eaten" a railcar and can make itself into the car, then quickly leave that form so the car disappears. (Kandra could also be what "pass through walls and locked cargo cars without trouble", by turning into very small or liquid forms.) However, I don't believe kandra can change forms that quickly, and using kandra brings us back to a hemalurgy plot (albeit a very different sort of one).
Lauren W
30. laurene135
@ 29. Mystic Bells
Or an Inquisitor could have taught them directly, as we know they're still around:
“I have seen God, lawkeeper,” Tan whispered. Where was he? “I have seen
Death himself, with the nails in his eyes. I have seen the Survivor, who
is life.”
But like you said, Mr. Brandon doesn't repeat himself. If it does deal with Hemalurgy, it'll be in a very different way.
My guess is that he'll focus more on Feruchemy because we haven't seen much of it.
The phantom railcar is intriguing. I suppose it could be some sort of unknown technology, but I'm not so sure. I do like your Kandra theroy, if they're practiced enough they probably could. TenSoon could transform more quickly than average kandra because he was so practiced, plus every kandra has had 300 additional years to practice now...
*sigh* I suppose, in reality though, we'll have to wait for at least a few more chapters to get a better feel for the book and what type of direction its going (what part of the magic it will focus on, and whether or not it will feature kandra and/or Inquisitors).
31. Darte Fellshard
I'm fairly certain all the problems with the railcar robberies can be resolved by Allomancy alone (although Ferruchemy can certainly assist). Remember some of the basic rules of the Allomantic system, and apply it to some of the new things we've already seen. I don't want to spoil anything for anyone, so I'll just watch, smile, and anticipate like the rest of us.

Here's hoping Brandon will surprise us all again!
karl oswald
32. Toster
I think a good way of gauging how much, if any, Sazed's personality has changed is to look at the doctrine of Pathism. It's clear he favours Pathism, as it seems tailor made by him. from it's doctrine, described in this chapter, we can tell that Sazed retains many of the traits that he had in Mistborn.

Doing more harm than good? That's not harmony, but imbalance; an imbalance that Sazed the human would have ascribed to, I think. Consider also, if it is Sazed speaking to Wax here, how characteristically Sazed to give advice and encouragement. Use your talents, do your best. sounds like good ol' Sazed to me. Don't forget the fact that Sazed was originally a human, designed by the original shardholders to be two parts preservation and one part ruin. he may hold both shards, but his human nature is still, after only 300 years, strongly influencing his personality.

he's called harmony because his powers are perfectly balanced. but it seems clear to me that his personality is not, and i'm not surprised. 300 years would be an eye-blink to someone like him.
33. Gyger
I laughed so hard when I read about the hats lined with aluminium. The first thoght that poped into my head was that of an upthight aristocrat with a tin foil hat on his head.
Sean Calhoun
34. Musicspren
@ 30. laurene135
That's true. I can't imagine why Marsh would be teaching people Hemalurgy, now that he isn't under Ruin's influence, but it's no crazier than my Inquisitor assembly instruction manual idea.
I like your Feruchemy idea; with a filled Steelmind, a Feruchemist could move very quickly (practical during a heist). We have no idea what cadmium or bendalloy do Feruchemically; they are the external temporal metals, although metals' Feruchemical external effects aren't as external as their Allomantic effects. Gold, the only temporal metal whose Feruchemical properties we know, stores health, so electrum probably does something similar. It's possible someone has figured out what they store and is using them. For that matter, someone could have found the Feruchemical properties of aluminum and duralumin (maybe another reason why they might have been stealing them?) and we have no precedent for what the Enhancement metals do Feruchemically.
On the thought of Sanderson not repeating himself, this story, at least from what we know of it, is a sort of an inversion of M:FE. In that book, Kelsier's thieving crew were the protagonists. In AofL, the thieving crew at least appear to be the antagonists.

@ 32. Toster
That's a very good observation about Sazed's personality. He certainly appears to have stayed balanced and consistent with his original self in that respect.
Lauren W
35. laurene135
@ 34. MysticBells.
"On the thought of Sanderson not repeating himself, this story, at least
from what we know of it, is a sort of an inversion of M:FE. In that
book, Kelsier's thieving crew were the protagonists. In AofL, the
thieving crew at least appear to be the antagonists."
Interesting and good point. We do know BS likes his reversals.

(And @32 Toster)
About Sazed being changed by the Shards power, BS did say in a 17th Shard forum that because he has both Shards and they are opposites, their pulls cancel eachother out and therefore do not affect his personality. Chaos, I believe, put a huge file together of all of Brandon's answers to forum posts. Once I find it again I will quote and reference directly.
36. bea123
I think i'm remembering this right, but Ruin couldn't hear people's thoughts, so i'm assuming that Sazed can't either?
38. jimmyt9574
*Grrr I tried to read through the entire discussion but it was too long haha, so I don't know if these points have been made.

But I'd say with like strong confidence that The Vanishers know how to make duralumin, and that's why the first shipment they stole was aluminum, and that's why he made such a big deal out of it. Once you combine duralumin and a speed bubble, the mysteriously stolen shipments have been explained.

I don't know why they're kidnapping allomancers, but I'm also fairly certain I read somewhere (if not the conclusion of Mistborn 3 then an interview or blog post) that hemalurgy was a no go from now on, Sazed got rid of it.

Also, as the start of analyzing the hostage thing, he indicates here that rioters and soothers are the most likely ones to hide their powers, so it seems like the ones being taken are probably emotional control ones and not just an assortment of all sorts of allomancers.

And one other thing,

(Mistborn Spoiler Alert)

as I remember Vin's earring was never used to kill anyone (someone suggested Pathian earrings were hemalurgic) but did allow Ruin to communicate with her throughout, although he never did so overtly, and so I'd assume that Wax's earring works basically the same way.
39. Gagylpus

Vin's earring was hemalurgically charged. Ruin manipulated her mother to charge the earring with her sister's Seeker ability, doubling the strength of Vin's bronze and giving her the ability to pierce copperclouds and sense the Well of Ascension.
Sean Calhoun
40. Musicspren
@ 38. jimmyt9574
Interesting ideas. The one problem with the duralumin+bendalloy theory is that doing so would require a full mistborn, which we presume does not exist. We don't know if chromium and nicrosil are known metals at this point; if they are, the effect you're describing could be achieved with one Slider and one Nicroburst. It would be very brief though, because the nicrosil would make the bendalloy last a few seconds (inside the bubble) at best. But it would be a very large bubble. This, however, would not explain their need for aluminum.

I had an odd thought on aluminum: what if its Allomantic inertness prevents Sazed from seeing it? What if you could make a coat (or, if you will, a cloak) of it and become essentially invisible to him? I'll grant this is a bit far-fetched, as all other metals have just shown a blinding brightness to shardholders, not invisibility, but it occurred to me as a possibility. I doubt anyone would do this to consciously hide from Sazed, but it might be an unintended side effect.
41. jimmyt9574
@40.MysticBells damn good point. If they had hemalurgy it would be possible but I still doubt it's that. Back to the drawing boards for me
Jager Hein
42. darniil
@39. Gagylpus
Thanks for reminding me about that. I was thinking about this, and I couldn't remember if Vin's earring was really hemalurgic or not.

The reason I was thinking about this was because I thought I read somewhere that, while Ruin could control those using hemalurgy, the insane were also part of his domain. Additionally, IIRC, while he could control those using hemalurgy, only the insane could hear his thoughts. (So, while Ruin could control the Mistwraiths and the Steel Inquisitors , they couldn't hear his thoughts. Zane, who very much was insane, could.)

If this is the case, I can't help but wonder how Wax could be "hearing" Harmony's thoughts. Maybe Sazed, over the centuries, figured out how to modify Ruin's ability to control hemalurgists and turn it into a way to send emotional communication?

That, or Wax is nuts too. :P
Harry Burger
43. Lightbringer
@42 - As I recall, Vin killed Marsh, pulled out one of his spikes.

I recall Ruin could speak to anyone pierced with metal, and Preservation couldn't interact with them at all, I don't think it had to be Hamalurgical.

RE: the Words of Founding - I hope we get to see a Great Library of Harmony where they preserve the original books Sazed created from his Coppermind dump.
44. kodialthor
Theoretically, Harmony could influence emotions while someone is pierced with a certain metal. Hemallurgy was taking someone elses power and transferring it. Who's to say that a simple piercing could not be used to push or pull on someone's emotions easier.
Spook was made a full mistborn at the end of M:HoA, so wouldn't there still be a strong direct line of lerasium only 300 years later. Very interested to see if any full allomancers pop up, should be at a couple.
I think hemallurgy is out of the scenario, more likely to be something dealing with the last remaining mystery metals.
rebekah fletcher
45. rfresa
We know that Ruin could not hear thoughts, and could only communicate with those pierced with spikes, which we assume had to be hemallurgically charged (Sazed and the other Keepers wore earrings and never seemed to be influenced by Ruin).

What we don't really know is what Preservation could do, since he gave up most of his will to imprison Ruin, and Vin didn't get much chance to explore her full powers when she had them. Maybe Preservation in the height of his power could hear people's thoughts, and could communicate through ordinary earrings (or otherwise prepared earrings that the kandra pass out to Pathians), and that's how Sazed/Harmony can speak to Wax.
46. hacksand
Finally got around to reading Ch. 3. So far I'm loving the steampunk feel. I've already connected with Wax and my attention has been held splendidly. I can't wait to read more.
47. Thevalcrist
In one of Brandon's post he talked about doing a sequel to Mistborn but said all the old characters would just be kind of cameos and not be main characters in the book except Marsh, he said Marsh would probably be in the sequel. Maybe Marsh is directing the abductions to use the allomancers for Hemallurgy to make more inquisitors?

When I heard Faceless Immortals I thought inquisitor. Maybe they are manipulating the Pathians somehow. Although Sazed is Harmony and omnipotent with the powers of Ruin and Preservation, there has to be some kind of conflict and I think Marsh would be a good fit.
Anon ymous
49. Kurkistan
Possible error towards the middle of the chapter: "The thieves had aluminum bullets to deal with Coinshots, Lurchers, and Thugs."

Why would Thugs be includeed on this list? As far as I know, Thugs simply gain increased physical abilities across the board, none of which would make a Thug more or less resistant to certain types of metal.


P.S. Didn't realize I wasn't logged in. Double post unless the other one is removed due to the flag.
51. Euphemism
@47 Thevalcrist: Faceless Immortals are likely to be the Kandra.
52. GothicMetal
Marsh could easily be alive, the same way TLR stayed alive, if he found a bit of atium. That would explain the "spike eyes" comment.

It is implied (though i cant figure out how) that Vin's earring was used to kill her baby sister that was a seeker, then spike Vin, giving her the ability to pierce copper clouds by enhancing her bronze ability. That was common with Inquisitors.

Also, I agree with Kurkistan, I would want a really heavy bullet if I was shooting a Thug, not aluminum. I doubt it is a mistake, though, Just Wax's idle thoughts.

As far as the phantom train car. I dont doubt that their is some type of Twinborn, or group of them that couldnt take a gold, electrum, or malatium like image, and project it like a soother or rioter touches emotions. It could be as simple as that. Most allomantic metals are listed as unknown for Feruchemical use.
53. Thevalcrist
@51 Euphemism: right or something else. The book later mentioned "Iron Eyes" which is more likely to be an inquisitor, if not Marsh himself. Didn't Marsh have one of his eye spikes pulled out in HOA? Maybe "Iron Eye" would be more appropriate.
54. SlugLoader
Being as Thugs are more resistant to harm in general, it's possible that aluminum nuetralizes this ability and does "normal" damage for a bullet of it's size and weight. Which could feasibly be more damage than a normal bullet when a Thugs resiliance is taken into account.

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