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    Brandon Sanderson

    Chapter Sixty-Seven

    The Pace Quickens

    Our chapters are shortening and speeding up. If you've read any of my previous books—and I certainly hope you have, if you're reading book three of this series—then you'll know that means we're getting close to the ending.

    All I can say is this: Hold on tightly. There's a lot coming your direction in the next little while.

    The Hero of Ages Annotations ()
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    Brandon Sanderson

    Kandra Have Spikes

    You should be worrying here about the kandra having spikes. After all, just one chapter back, Ruin took control of a pile of koloss and turned them against their allies. He's already done that with the Inquisitors. Only the kandra remain.

    Ruin has generally ignored the kandra. He doesn't see them as all that useful. They can't kill people, and they are too thoughtful and quiet to be destructive in the way he wants. He considers them a much inferior creation to the koloss and the Inquisitors.

    That doesn't mean he isn't aware of them, though. You are right to be worried.

    The Hero of Ages Annotations ()
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    Brandon Sanderson

    Chapter Sixty-Six

    Talking Horses that Talk about Their Feelings

    A fun story about this chapters beings by me admitting that I didn't come up with the "TenSoon digests a horse" trick at first. I tried writing this scene with Sazed clinging to TenSoon's wolfhound back as they ran to the south. It was awkward to describe, even more awkward to imagine, and it never worked that well.

    Eventually, while working on a solution to the problem of getting Sazed south to the Homeland, I realized that TenSoon could just digest another body and use that. Easy fix, and one that fit marvelously with the magic and setting.

    This intersects another story relating to my friend Nate Hatfield, one of the guys in my writing group. He's a big fan of Dinosaur Comics, a webcomic that often deals with philosophy or literary criticism. Years ago, he brought a comic to the group where one of the characters in the comic strip complains that fantasy books are all about talking horses that talk about their feelings.

    All through the writing of book two of Mistborn, Nate took delight in the Vin/TenSoon scenes as they were about a talking dog who talks about his feelings. He never let me live that connection down.

    And then, almost just for him, I had TenSoon take on the body of a horse for a few chapters. I doubt I'll ever hear that end of that one. At least he didn't end up saying much about his feelings. ;)

    The Hero of Ages Annotations ()
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    Brandon Sanderson

    Drawing upon the Mists

    Vin draws upon the mists here for the second time. I kind of wish I'd been able to make her do it in the second book somewhere, but I decided to back off on that plot in book two. The thing is, Vin drawing upon the mists is kind of deus ex machina, and I didn't want to make the entire series about that. It's a mystery to be explained, true, and was worked into the magic system from the beginning. But I can't deny that it feels like it comes out of nowhere.

    So, having her use her ability to draw upon the mists here was an attempt to have that happen sometime other than a major climax moment, reminding the reader of what happened back in book one so we can begin to delve into what was happening and why.

    The Hero of Ages Annotations ()
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    Brandon Sanderson

    The Koloss Attack Anyway

    That's not to say that there aren't some very daunting things happening in this chapter. Ruin controls the koloss, and always has. Every time that Vin and company took control of them, Ruin allowed it. He didn't always like losing Inquisitors to the fights, and sometimes would have preferred that the battles went differently. However, when it came down to either having the koloss under his direct control, or having them under Vin and Elend's control, he chose the latter. Because it set him up for a time like this, when he could turn their own army against them.

    The Hero of Ages Annotations ()
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    Brandon Sanderson

    Chapter Sixty-Five

    Ham Says Not to Attack

    And, what is this? A climax for Ham?

    Hammond lovers, your faith has paid off. This is the best I could give him, but it seems to me like it works. All through the series, I've had him question and debate, and he rarely comes to any conclusions on moral issues.

    But, here, he gives Elend advice at the exact right moment. And it's the right advice. Now, by saying that, I don't mean to say that attacking the city was the wrong thing to do. It was just the wrong thing for Elend to do.

    He's a protector, not a conqueror. Taking a city for its own good would have destroyed him, as it violates his basic life principles. He should have turned around as he did, and karma—or, well, the author—rewards him for it.

    The Hero of Ages Annotations ()
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    Brandon Sanderson

    Goradel Volunteers

    Good old Goradel—or Richard Gordon, a good friend of mine and a fantasy fiction fan. Since this became the series to work in cameos (I didn't put many at all in Elantris), I wanted a place for Rich. He's very similar to how Goradel looks and acts; a solid, good-natured guy. The type you want running your important message through a dying world in an attempt to save it.

    The Hero of Ages Annotations ()
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    Brandon Sanderson

    Spook's Message

    Here is the connection between the groups, and the reason I wrote the Spook sections.

    Well, that's not completely true. I wrote the Spook sections because I found him a compelling character, with a new way to use the magic and an interesting story to tell. I liked how his story played against Sazed's conflicts, and what the work in Urteau said about the overall message of the book.

    However, the piece that connects the storylines and brings them together is very important too. Spook knows about things that Vin does not, and so we begin to thread these different viewpoints together. We've already had Marsh and Vin's scenes ram together, as well as Sazed's and TenSoon's. Now we'll weave Spook in too.

    The Hero of Ages Annotations ()
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    Brandon Sanderson

    Chapter Sixty-Four

    "You did well, Spook."

    Yes, that's Kelsier's voice at the beginning. As I said in a previous annotation, he can't help but meddle.

    There is an afterlife in this cosmology I've built, and Kelsier's in it. He never has been able to leave well enough alone. He saw, here, that a piece of the puzzle needed to be put together, so he stepped in and tried to get through to Spook about it.

    Spook was the only one in the crew he could speak to. That's because Spook truly has faith in Kelsier as a deity—which, for these few weeks between Preservation's death and the coming of the Hero of Ages, Kelsier is.

    The Hero of Ages Annotations ()
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    Brandon Sanderson

    Ruin Wants the Atium

    And, it is about atium. Tada! The atium drove the plot in book one as Kelsier and team tried to find it. (Ruin didn't need to influence them very much on that one.) It drove the second book as the armies besieged Luthadel with the hope of claiming the fabled atium stash of the Lord Ruler.

    It would have been a disappointment for readers, I think, to have that mythical atium supply to end up useless. Yomen is right; it no longer matters monetarily. Cities aren't selling food to one another in the face of the destruction that is coming. Atium is meaningless economically.

    But there are other reasons, and—as you'll see—the atium is an important part of all of this.

    The Hero of Ages Annotations ()
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    Brandon Sanderson

    "Then you have doomed us all."

    We can finally explain the Lord Ruler's final quote, given at the end of book one and then quoted again in this chapter. "You don't know what you've done," he said. "You've doomed yourselves." (Or, at least, something like that. I hate it when I misquote myself, but it happens a lot.)

    He knew that the power would soon return to the Well, and he'd been planning how to resist Ruin. Yet he knew that Ruin would try something—something to stop him, to destroy him. The Lord Ruler wasn't expecting it to come in the form of a rebellion to overthrow his empire and kill him, but he was expecting something.

    And so, as he lay dying, he realized what had happened. He knew that Ruin must have orchestrated it—the timing was too perfect. He knew what was coming, and that it would probably mean the end of the world.

    Doomed indeed. Another nice connection back to previous books here with Vin's quoting of that.

    The Hero of Ages Annotations ()
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    Brandon Sanderson

    Chapter Sixty-Three - Part Two

    Vin the Politician

    Vin sells herself short sometimes on her ability to influence people and deal with political situations. She, perhaps, forgets that she began her career as an Allomancer by using the emotional metals, not the physical ones. Long before she was leaping through the mists, she was Pulling and Pushing on the emotions of people in the thieving underground, keeping herself safe, pushing deals to go her way, that sort of thing.

    She plays Yomen perfectly here, and really accomplishes some things by it. I'm not one who looks at manipulating a conversation, or even the people in that conversation, as an inherently bad thing. Breeze voices (but exaggerates) some of my opinions on this in book two. We all posture and influence one another. The ability to get people to do what you want isn't itself evil; it's what we call charisma, or even leadership ability. It's what you do with your ability that is either evil or good.

    The Hero of Ages Annotations ()
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    Brandon Sanderson

    Vin Figures It Out

    And, reading here, I realize that I eventually did have Vin figure out that Yomen was an atium misting. That wasn't in the first draft of the book, and it was added late enough in the process that I'd forgotten that I put it there. I'm glad I did, though. I just couldn't go on pretending that Vin and Elend wouldn't notice this, and it wasn't a big enough reveal to keep hiding it. So, Yomen's an atium misting. Not that big of a deal compared to the other revelations coming out in this book.

    The Hero of Ages Annotations ()
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    Brandon Sanderson

    Ruin Helps Destruction Along

    Ruin makes an interesting comment here. He says that he couldn't refuse to help the Lord Ruler, since the Lord Ruler was destroying so beautifully. Ruin will help an enemy if there is destruction in it.

    That's something to remember when thinking about this book. Some of the things Ruin does, he does to set up his plans. Others are just about destruction. He's convinced that he's won—even before Vin's capture, Ruin knows that there is nothing that can be done to stop him.

    In his mind, he's just playing with people, biding his time as most of his power is focused on bringing earthquakes, ash, and lava upon the world. Yes, he wants the atium to complete his power, but he doesn't need it. Or so he thinks.

    The Hero of Ages Annotations ()
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    Brandon Sanderson

    The First Noblemen Weren't Rashek's Friends

    I'm curious to know if anyone figured out the logical problem with the Terrismen becoming nobility. It's what everyone assumed, and it's been mentioned in the previous books. Everyone knows that the Lord Ruler made his friends into Allomancers.

    Only, he didn't. That's simply a fabrication he allowed to continue as rumor, then become fact, so that he could cover up the origins of the kandra. The men who became the first Allomancers were actually foreign kings. Rashek knew that he could conquer the world if he needed to—but he also knew that it would be a lot easier to rule that conquered world if he had allies and kingdoms who joined him out of desire, not out of fear. So, he offered Allomancy to the royal families who would give their allegiance to him. Once he showed off his own power as a Mistborn, he managed to get several important monarchs to throw their weight behind him. They got to be Allomancers.

    The Hero of Ages Annotations ()
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    Brandon Sanderson

    Chapter Sixty-Two - Part Two

    Betrayal and Trust

    Sazed's discussion on betrayal and trust here is very important. It harks back to Vin's conflicts in the first book, as well as one of the major interactions between her and Kelsier.

    Kelsier believed that it was better to trust people and be betrayed than to never trust at all. He loved his wife, but worried that she'd betrayed him. It was a major source of pain and conflict for him. Yet, in the end, he decided that even if she had betrayed him, he preferred having loved her and trusted her. He treated his crew the same, not letting a worry about traitors ruin the companionship of his team.

    I wanted to work this into Sazed's scenes here because, to me, this entire series uses trust as a theme. Whom do we trust and why? Do they deserve it?

    It's about being betrayed, but taking the time to understand why we were betrayed. Kelsier forgives Mare, Vin forgives TenSoon. Sazed has to forgive God.

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    Brandon Sanderson

    Sazed's Character Climax

    It's both fascinating and worrisome for me to write about religion. As a religious person, it's not my goal in these books to insult those who don't have a religious belief themselves. However, I find faith—my own included—to be a fascinating thing, worthy of study and introspection.

    And so I write in characters like Sazed, who think about these things and wrestle with them. He voices here some of my own frustrations and fears regarding religion. It is hard to believe, sometimes, in the face of some of the terrible things that religion has done in the world. The rationalization required for faith is sometimes difficult to justify.

    But, on the other hand, I have seen beauty, peace, and love brought by religion. I have seen and felt things that seemed miracles to me at the time. Do I discard that?

    I feel faith is important. Or, at least, it is to me. And so we have Sazed's struggle. There is a lot more to come; I didn't give him an easy answer in the form of the Terris religion. (Though I hope the reader is expecting one, as I always like to surprise you.)

    The Hero of Ages Annotations ()
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    Brandon Sanderson

    Chapter Sixty Two - Part One

    Some Notes

    Here we have another of my attempts to space out climaxes. Sazed's character climax—the first, and perhaps most important of his climactic chapters—comes here after Spook's climax, but before the book really begins to end. I hope I squeezed this into the right place.

    Before I talk about Sazed's revelation, however, let's do a few notes. First off, Spook is alive. Yes, I let him live. He earned it, for one, and for another, there is something very important he still needs to do. You'll see.

    Either way, I think—with the number of viewpoint characters I've killed in my books—that I've earned the right to have someone survive a very dangerous situation like Spook went through.

    The Hero of Ages Annotations ()
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    Brandon Sanderson

    Elend Decides to Attack

    Elend makes a decision here—an important one. The waiting is over, and the siege has ended. He's under the same stress as Janarle, but he's not going to run. He's going to fight.

    It's probably the wrong decision. But I've often heard that being a military leader isn't always about making the right decision. It's about being able to make a decision when a decision is needed.

    The Hero of Ages Annotations ()
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    Brandon Sanderson

    Chapter Sixty-One

    What Happened to Janarle

    We finally get a brief mention of Janarle in this chapter. He is a side character who became a side side character. It's important that he bowed to Vin at the end of the second book, but he quickly became someone I didn't have time to deal with in this book.

    His disappearance is not, in fact, due to one of Ruin's spikes. Janarle simply bolted. The stress of running a kingdom, even a subject one, was far more than he'd anticipated. He was a soldier, not a king, and was only a minor lord before his elevation.

    He'd lost Urteau—the best and most profitable city under his rule—to the rebels. He suffered through a couple of assassination attempts and dealt with koloss rampaging through his Dominance and slaughtering villages. Once the ashmounts started erupting and destroying cities, he decided it was time to just get out. He packed up a bunch of food, grabbed his family and loyal guard, and fled for the hills north of the dominance near Terris.

    All were eventually captured by koloss, then turned into koloss themselves. Janarle ended up back in the Central Dominance, as a koloss, for some of the upcoming events in the book. Even as a koloss, though, he didn't end up doing much that was important. He didn't even reach the front lines.

    The Hero of Ages Annotations ()
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    Brandon Sanderson

    Yomen Is an Atium Misting

    I think it's safe to say that this isn't much of a spoiler, but I'll hide it just in case. Readers have been predicting atium Mistings since book one, and I kept meaning to have Vin make the connection in this chapter. There was just too much going on, however, and I didn't want to slow things down with this revelation. You'll note that when I finally do confirm that he's an atium misting, Elend—the character there at the time—doesn't dwell on it for long. He realizes they should have figured it out, and they really should have. Narratively, it just never worked.

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    Brandon Sanderson

    Vin As the Lord Ruler's Heir

    In this chapter, Vin says the same thing that TenSoon did—that she's the heir of the Lord Ruler. To her, it's a bad thing.

    I worry that too many people in this series spend their time comparing themselves to either Kelsier or the Lord Ruler. However, I felt it was very natural for them to do so. This scene isn't a character climax for Vin—this explanation that she's the Lord Ruler's heir doesn't strike me as a deep and meaningful resolution of problems in her psyche. It's just an interesting tidbit that came out under some duress.

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    Leiyan

    So I had some things I figured out, I just wanted to know if they're maybe true or not. So I have that the orbits of the moons would precess so that the farthest point is always pointing towards the sun.

    Brandon Sanderson

    So, one more time.

    Leiyan

    [Holding out and point at diagram she brought] So they precess, so that the long point is always towards the sun?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Ok, so, we have figured all this out. It's in the wiki...so me just saying...it's not in the wiki that you can find. I would need to go compare this to what we have. 

    Leiyan

    Because I was wondering how accurate these were, but that's ok, so I can skip that bit. I had like...

    Brandon Sanderson

    All the calculations on things like this...this is stuff where I sat down with Peter, who knows much more astronomy than I did and said "here's what I want" and he's like "well it has to be this" and I'm like "ok".

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    Questioner

    <How do you develop/create names?>

    Brandon Sanderson

    It depends on the book. Usually I develop the language and sounds that are going to be used in the language and then I try to build names out of it, but sometimes there is trick like in Alethi with symmetrical names and I focus a little more on that.

    So it just depends on the book.

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    Leiyan

    Do you know, do the moons orbit the opposite direction of Roshar's rotation?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I believe they do but I'm not 100% sure.

    Leiyan

    There's no eclipses as far as I can tell, so the plane of the orbit must be inclined pretty strongly, because there'd be an eclipse every day if there were eclipses...

    Brandon Sanderson

    We had to fudge that because as you said, if there were any it'd be all the time.

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    Questioner

    I'm guessing it's a RAFO, but why do Honorblades work the way they do?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Honorblades were crafted before Shardblades existed...

    Questioner

    So they were crafted.

    Brandon Sanderson

    They were crafted before Shardblades existed, and all Shardblades that exist came about as certain individuals trying to find out how to copy Honorblades.

    Questioner

    So would it be fair to say that Honorblades are analagous to fabrials in some sense? Trap spren in a crystal yada yada Stormlight power?

    Brandon Sanderson

    There is an analogy there, that I think would pass the SAT's rigor for analogies.

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    Questioner

    What are we going to do when you retire?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Retire? RETIRE?! I would never! I will stop writing when they find me dead in my office and my face is on the keyboard and I type the word "k" seven thousand times.

    The Hero of Ages Annotations ()
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    Brandon Sanderson

    Chapter Sixty - Part Two

    Vin Defends Herself before Yomen

    I really like this conversation between Vin and Yomen—it's one of the pivotal scenes in the Vin/Elend chapters. Not only is Yomen a decent man, but he's got some sound reasons for doing what he does. He doesn't kill Vin because he's worried that doing so would upset the Lord Ruler's plan. He listens to her, however, and I think he's about as good a person as could have existed within the upper ranks of the obligators.

    The interjection of Ruin walking around in the room at the same time adds some dynamic to the conversation, bouncing Vin's—and the reader's—attention back and forth between the two discussions. I wish I could have done more of this, since it was so interesting to write two conversations at once.

    Regardless, Yomen isn't spiked. Ruin tried several times, but never managed to pull it off. (I think I have an epigraph on this in the book.) In a way, Yomen is doing just what the Lord Ruler would have had him do—and, in the things he does, he's helping frustrate Ruin. So he gets marks for being a faithful follower of his religion, if nothing else.

    The Hero of Ages Annotations ()
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    Brandon Sanderson

    Vin Attacks Anyway

    Vin without Allomancy is still quite a formidable threat. I established this back in book one, and thought I'd reinforce it here. She's scrappy, quick, and very skilled. Even a group of prepared guards was surprised by her, and she fought quite exquisitely, considering how outmatched she was.

    The other great thing about Vin is her resourcefulness. A childhood on the streets with Reen taught her to use everything she has, and to improvise what she doesn't have. Give her a cot and some gruel, and she'll come out of it with a weapon, a means of escaping her manacles, and a darn good way to distract a bunch of guards.

    The Hero of Ages Annotations ()
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    Brandon Sanderson

    Vin's Guards Are Hazekillers

    I've managed to work hazekillers into all three books. That amuses me, since I put them in the first Kelsier fight scene back in book one out of the blue, on a whim. I wanted something that would be harder for him to fight than regular soldiers, but weaker than Allomancers. I never ended up using them again in book one, since they weren't a very good foe for someone as powerful as a Mistborn.

    But people never forgot about them. My readers kept mentioning them, and how much they liked the word—even though I find it kind of awkward. Alpha readers kept asking, "Why doesn't Cett have any hazekillers?" and the like. So, I felt I needed to use them some more, and they made it into this book as well.

    The Hero of Ages Annotations ()
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    Brandon Sanderson

    Chapter Sixty - Part One

    Silver, the Useless Metal

    I've annotated about this before, but I figured I'd mention it again. As you probably know, in book one, tin was originally silver. I swapped it out for various reasons.

    However, that left silver having no Allomantic powers. That feels strange to a lot of people because of how common and useful it is in our modern culture. Such an obvious metal doing nothing seems wrong to readers.

    I toyed with using it in place of aluminum at the end of book one, but I realized that wouldn't work. It was too common, so if it had any Allomantic powers, people would know about them for certain. Only a metal that was very hard to find—like aluminum—would be believable as a new metal that most people hadn't heard of.

    So silver is Allomantically inert. Just one of the quirks of the magic system.

    The Hero of Ages Annotations ()
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    Brandon Sanderson

    Spook Survives, but Breeze Is in Charge

    Also, Spook lives! More on this later, and why I decided to let him survive. As another side note, I'm not sure if Breeze is a good person to put in charge or not. He certainly enjoys the position, and is a natural at ordering people about. However, he may enjoy it a little too much. He's not self-reflective like Elend, nor is he a man of action like Kelsier. He just loves sitting around and being adored while he tells everyone what to do.

    The Hero of Ages Annotations ()
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    Brandon Sanderson

    Kelsier's Bones

    I don't know if I mentioned it previously in the annotations, but I originally had TenSoon leave Kelsier's bones in Luthadel, burying them again following his appearance to Wellen and the other guard. My alpha readers, however, were very disappointed in this. They saw Kelsier's bones as a very important artifact, and they wanted to see more from them. So, I added the scene where the people in the warehouse saw TenSoon and he gave them advice, then I had him bring the bones with him.

    However, I wasn't sure what to do with them. I'd already written the book at this point, and was just revising. I realized there wouldn't be another chance to make use of the bones. But I figured the readers were right, and TenSoon should bring them just in case.

    Where the bones are at the end of the book is something of a mystery. They made it back to the kandra Homeland, I'll say that. However, what happened to them then . . . well, you will have to see.

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    Brandon Sanderson

    Chapter Fifty-Nine

    TenSoon Visits Urteau

    The fact that TenSoon is out of the homeland without a Contract is an important point, one I myself didn't consider up until now. Always before, anyone who wanted to hire a kandra left a message in a designated place in Luthadel. The kandra found you—a creature who was under direct Contract by the Lord Ruler to act as an intermediary.

    The kandra Contract was completely confidential, even from the Lord Ruler—though he probably could have demanded to know the details of who the kandra were working for at a given time. He didn't bother, as he never thought that one would be used in a plot against him.

    The kandra who arranged Contracts—a member of the Fifth Generation—would travel to the Homeland with the signed papers and the atium, and would send a new kandra out to serve the new master. Nobody left the homeland without a Contract, and if their Contract ended or their master died, then they returned immediately to the Homeland.

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    Brandon Sanderson

    Kelsier Speaks

    The final thing I'll note on this chapter is that the voice Spook hears after he's pulled out the spike is actually Kelsier. You'll see Kelsier's voice pop up a few more times in the narrative, now that Preservation is dead.

    Ever the meddler, Kelsier can't just sit around and let the world end. Preservation's death left a void, and Kelsier has managed to piggyback his spirit just slightly onto Preservation's power. He can't do much, but he can reach out and whisper a few choice words to people. At least until Vin takes the power and shoves him out.

    I know I said he wouldn't come back, but . . . well, he's Kelsier. He doesn't listen to what I say. He just does what he wants.

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    Brandon Sanderson

    Chapter Fifty-Eight - Part Three

    Spook Wrap-Up

    Overall, I'm very pleased with the Spook cycle of chapters in this novel—particularly once I revised the early ones to make him a little more sympathetic to the reader. I think there's real heart, tragedy, and triumph in these chapters. Their one flaw is that the Spook/Beldre romance isn't very strong, but I can accept that. Considering that both of them are teenagers, with powerful teenage passions, and considering what I managed to do with the space allotted, I'm pleased.

    What worked best, I think, was the subtle demonstration of Ruin's corrupting fingers—mixed with careful plotting to give Spook the power to overcome in the end. He doesn't win through use of his powers, ironically, but through use of his flaws. The numbness that was so shocking to him earlier now becomes the tool he can use for victory.

    The twist with Beldre being an Allomancer isn't too much of a twist; I suspect that some readers will guess it early on. However, this is the reason the Citizen started saving Allomancers. He recognized their usefulness because of his sister. Like most tyrants through history, it was very easy for him to make, for people he liked, excuses and exceptions to his hatred. It should be noted that Quellion himself had no noble blood. His sister was in fact a half sister.

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    Brandon Sanderson

    Quellion Pleads with "Kelsier"

    By the way, Quellion can in fact see Ruin here. When Ruin manifests himself in form, not just in voice, anyone who he's corrupted with a spike can see him with their natural eyes. (Or at least, in the case of Inquisitors, with their Allomancy.) I tried to get this across as best I could, but some readers still had trouble with it.

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    Brandon Sanderson

    Chapter Fifty-Eight - Part Two

    Spook in Ruin's Power

    In this chapter, we show Spook almost completely under Ruin's power. This is the ultimate culmination of everything that the force has been working toward with Spook.

    Ruin knows how to play off the lusts of mankind. Lust makes sense to Ruin, as he has lusts himself. He needs to destroy. It's part of who he is and what makes him function. It's the driving force of the power upon which his consciousness feeds to remain alive.

    Things that don't have to do with lust, yet are still human emotions, are more difficult for him to remember and empathize with.

    Most of my alpha readers thought by this point of the book that I would make Spook's storyline a tragedy—that he would snap here and become a villain. I won't rule out my doing something like that in a novel, as I think it would be very compelling. I don't know how many readers thought I would do that here. However, it wouldn't work in this story. The problem is, if I showed this entire plotline just to end with Spook destroying the city, I think the sections would ultimately feel unfulfilling because they wouldn't be connected to the rest of the book.

    If this were a middle novel, and not the end of a trilogy, I would have been much more inclined to show a tragedy like this. Then it could have effects on the next books, and the pages the reader had invested would mean something to the overall story. As it stands, I was always intending for Spook to be redeemed. Partially because I think that's who he is—he let Ruin urge him toward getting carried away, but he's still a solidly good person. Also, I have a fondness for him since the first book. I couldn't let him end that way.

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    Brandon Sanderson

    Spook's Delusions of Grandeur

    Spook thinks a line here that my editor, and several writing group members, tried to cut. It's the line where, just in narrative, it implies that Spook had been the one to overthrow the Lord Ruler. It says something like, "It was much like that night, the night when he had overthrown the Lord Ruler" with the narrative making it clear that the "he" was Spook.

    You have to remember that I use a limited narrator, not an omniscient one. When I'm writing a scene from a character's viewpoint, the text is colored by what they think and their view of the world. This line is deliberate, as by this point Ruin has his claws deep into Spook and is making him begin to think things that just aren't true. It's getting difficult for Spook to distinguish Ruin's fantasies from the reality, and for a moment he inflated his own part in the overthrow of the Lord Ruler.

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    Brandon Sanderson

    Beldre Shoots a Coin at Spook

    I imagine there being a lot of interaction between Spook and Beldre off screen in this novel. We start the book knowing he'd gone to spy on the Citizen numerous times, and had grown to look forward to seeing her there. We know that weeks passed while Sazed was building his machine, and Beldre was down with them for a good chunk of it.

    However, I tried to make it so that the plot didn't rely on there being a very strong relationship between them. In the end, she's willing to shoot Spook, but feels bad about it. Afterward, she's willing to forgive him for what he did, as he did not end up killing her brother—but instead, as you'll see, brought him back from being under Ruin's power.

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    EHyde

    I was curious about the dye in Hallandren, the Tears of Edgli. So, that can be used to make a whole bunch of different colors, right? Does the flower come in different colors? Or is that something in the dye process, or-?

    Brandon Sanderson

    The flower comes in different colors.

    EHyde

    And it dyes all fiber types the same?

    Brandon Sanderson

    It does not dye all fiber types the same.

    EHyde

    In theory, if they had synthetic fibers would it work on them?

    Brandon Sanderson

    I would say yes.

    EHyde

    Is it more fuel-efficient for Awakening?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Is what more-?

    EHyde

    Like, color used in Awakening-?

    Brandon Sanderson

    Yes. Those dyes are very effective for Awakening.

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    Brandon Sanderson

    Chapter Fifty-Eight - Part One

    Spacing Out the Climaxes

    I tried something new in this book. I've been criticized—rightly—in the past for cramming too much into my endings. A good, fast-paced ending is great, but when you layer climax on top of climax, a little of it gets lost. I've been trying, therefore, to plot things so that we end up with the important climaxes spaced more evenly. My hope is to not lose any of the tension or drama, but to have the climaxes be more focused by not letting them interfere as much with each other.

    We're seeing this here with Spook. This chapter is, essentially, the climax of his scenes. We'll have some smaller chapters involving him later in the book, but his storyline pretty much ends here (save for one loose end). Hopefully, by having this explosive chapter here, I can save the last third of the book to deal with the other characters, making the pacing a little more even.