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    Brandon Sanderson

    Chapter Eighty - Part Two

    Sazed Sees Mistwraiths

    I worry that I didn't get to show mistwraiths very much in this book. It's not that big of an issue—they're only a minor world feature, and are only tangentially important. Still, they're a part of the kandra past and culture, and I want readers to understand what they are and what they have to do with the kandra life cycle.

    Remember, all of the kandra save for the First Generation were born first as mistwraiths. That race of creatures breeds true, and has only a fifty-year lifespan. They die off, but birth new members. Taking one of those new members and adding spikes to them, however, awakens them and brings them sentience. They're part human, just like the koloss who remember having once been human.

    The Hero of Ages Annotations ()
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    Brandon Sanderson

    Testing the Mistfallen

    Originally, I didn't have Elend have Demoux and his soldiers take a look at their metals until a little later on. Alpha readers correctly noted this, however, pointing out that it was one of the very first connections they made. I had to put it off mostly for dramatic reasons, which you'll see in the next chapter, but I decided I could insert these few lines of Elend telling the men to go test themselves to see if they were Allomancers.

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    Brandon Sanderson

    Chapter Eighty - Part One

    Her Eyes Lingered Fondly

    If you've been keeping track, this Terriswoman is, indeed, the romantic interest I promised Micah DeMoux by the end of the book. He said he didn't care if he ended up with an important character—that didn't matter to him. He just wanted Captain Demoux to find romance. It took some working, but I managed to work it in. The story behind this is, of course, Captain Demoux and his troops showing up to lend organization and authority to the Terris people, who had been flooded with refugees.

    Demoux and his men created law and order, stopping the petty theft and the like that had been a problem with the refugee bands. He essentially took command of the entire place, though he was very respectful to the Terris leaders. This woman, daughter of one of the Terris elders, fell in love with Demoux for his honor and his respectability, and he began to reciprocate.

    Even as the world neared its end, she and Demoux were able to find love.

    The Hero of Ages Annotations ()
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    Brandon Sanderson

    The Resolution

    TenSoon and the other kandra resist Ruin and are able to pull the spikes from their shoulders. There are a couple of reasons why they can do this.

    The power that Allomancers have to take control of them is the same power Ruin has. That control is exerted in the form of mental pressure through emotional Allomancy. As can be seen from Marsh's viewpoint, it is more than simply forcing the body to act as Ruin wishes. The extreme pressure on emotions changes the very way the mind thinks, tricking it into doing exactly what Ruin wants. The flaw in Hemalurgists leaves them open to this kind of manipulation.

    Kandra, who only have two spikes, are far more difficult to control than koloss or Inquisitors. Vin is able to control TenSoon with ease in book two, but that's partially because he wanted her to do so. He would have been able to resist her. If she'd continued to push, she could have broken him, but it would have taken time.

    Even Ruin's pressure wasn't enough to take control immediately. The kandra had a few moments during which they could overcome him and maintain their free will. Beyond that, they were in a cavern surrounded by metal ore in the walls, making it very difficult for Ruin to see what was going on and interfering with his ability to control them.

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    Brandon Sanderson

    Chapter Seventy-Nine

    The Mists Chose Someone

    There's a lot more going on behind the scenes than even the author of these epigraphs knows. Reasons why Vin was chosen, and why the power of Preservation needed a new mind to control it.

    The author is right in that Preservation did need someone to control its power, and it did seek for a host in which to invest itself. It began this search with what mind it had left about sixteen years before the return of the power to the Well of Ascension, just as it began a search for a new host before the return of the power the previous time.

    Unfortunately, just as Ruin took control and manipulated Alendi, he took control and manipulated Vin.

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    Brandon Sanderson

    TenSoon to the Rescue

    This chapter is also for all you TenSoon lovers out there. He finally gets to show up and lay some smack down. This short action sequence lets TenSoon be a hero, which he deserves, and Sazed once again shows that he's a far better soldier than he thinks. After reading his part in the siege of Luthadel, the reader should have no problem accepting that Sazed—with two metalminds—can take down four surprised kandra. He is a much better warrior than he lets on.

    However, he should never have thought that last line of the chapter. The one that reads, "What harm could they possibly do?" I probably should have cut the line, as it feels like a cliché, but it really was what Sazed was thinking.

    Foolish, foolish Sazed.

    The Hero of Ages Annotations ()
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    Brandon Sanderson

    Fantasy Stereotypes

    Sazed makes an interesting note. "There is a kandra who fits in with his people as poorly as I do with my own," he thinks. Why is it that I tend to create a culture, then build characters who are in direct opposition to the way that the rest of their people act? I think there are a couple of reasons.

    First off, as I've said, I feel that characters are driven by conflict. The person who is a perfect example of what his people revere just doesn't have as much conflict as the person who is in opposition to his own social mores. A Terrisman rebel, a kandra with wanderlust, a Dula who is depressed—these types of people just seem more interesting to me.

    In addition, fantasy has a reputation for defining an entire culture based on a single individual. If you meet a dwarf, then you know how all dwarves act because each and every dwarf is just like this dwarf. It's common in fantasy books to let race or nationality be the same as personality. I react against this, and so intentionally create characters who don't fit in with their own people as a means of showing that any culture can create a multitude of different types of people.

    I have to be careful not to let this be a crutch, of course.

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    Brandon Sanderson

    Chapter Seventy-Eight

    Sazed's Second Time in Prison

    The other time Sazed was imprisoned was, of course, when he was thrown in jail in an attempt to get close to Vin and rescue her. That was way back at the end of book one. It strikes me as very amusing that the kandra have trouble adapting to what to do with a prisoner like Sazed. They eventually just lock him in one of their standard kandra prison cells and come by pouring water on him like they would one of their own.

    The Hero of Ages Annotations ()
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    Brandon Sanderson

    Penrod's Dying Message

    Here we get to see the aftermath of Marsh spiking Penrod. This is what could have happened with Spook, had he not made the decision he did at the end of his sequence of chapters. I figured that after watching Spook's narrative, we didn't need to explicitly see what Penrod did to cause so much destruction and damage, ending with his own death. Knowing that he was spiked, then seeing TenSoon's reaction to the terrible things happening in the city, should be enough to let your imagination flow.

    In truth, it was a house war—which I believe was mentioned earlier in the text—that did much of this damage. The dangers that Kelsier rioted up and nearly loosed on the city four years before finally snapped and were allowed to run free. (Previously, Elend held off the skaa and the nobility from tearing the city to pieces.)

    Poor Luthadel. It has taken a real beating. First the rebellion, then the siege, and now this. This is our last scene in the city for the series; we leave it behind as a corpse.

    Note, however, that are indeed people hiding underneath Kredik Shaw, as Elend feared. A lot of them, in fact. As many as fled to the pits. But I didn't want to deal with this in the book, as it would be distracting.

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    Brandon Sanderson

    "Something in the form of that which we'd seen before."

    There's one other cool item to note in this chapter. If you read Ruin's words carefully, he admits that he has indeed seen human life somewhere before. This means that there is life on other planets in this cosmology, and that Ruin and (presumably) Preservation have experience with those other planets.

    Another building block for the larger story.

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    Brandon Sanderson

    Chapter Seventy-Six

    The North Pole

    One of my big challenges in the geography of this world was figuring out how we could have a kingdom set at the pole of the world while at the same time maintaining a normal day/night cycle. My original plan was for the Well of Ascension to be located a distance to the north of Luthadel, up at the geographic north pole of the planet. When I was revising the second book, I realized that wouldn't work for various reasons. (More on this on the MISTBORN 2 Alternate Ending deleted scene page.) I changed things so that when the Lord Ruler held the power in the Well, he decoupled the geographic north pole and the magnetic north pole.

    In our world, the magnetic north pole is located about eleven degrees of latitude south of the geographic north pole. On Scadrial, the two poles were originally in the same location. When the Lord Ruler moved the planet too close to its sun and realized he didn't have the control to place the planet in the proper orbit, he created the ashmounts to cool the atmosphere. He also wanted to keep access to the Well under his control, so he decided to build his capital city right above it. However, he realized that on a planet with a tilted axis, a city at the north pole would have seasonal daylight variation so extreme that at the height of summer the sun would never set and during the dead of winter the sun would never rise. He could remove the axis's tilt, but that would just make the sun perpetually skirt the horizon all year round.

    What Rashek decided to do (and he had to make split-second decisions in the brief time he held the power) was to shift the crust of the whole planet so that the Well was at a latitude that would have more standard seasonal variation, and to re-create the Terris mountains in the new North (to maintain the rumors that the Well was located there). He worried that the new location of Luthadel would be too hot due to the latitude, but it turned out that moving the Well created an unexpected effect. The planet's magnetic pole followed the Well as he relocated it—and the ash from the ashmounts was slightly ferromagnetic. (Ferromagnetic volcanic ash has some precedent in our world.) So the interaction of the ash with the planet's magnetic field's new alignment meant that its protective cloak over the area of the Final Empire caused it to be cooler than the now unprotected geographic north pole.

    One side effect of this is that all compasses point toward Luthadel. Since it's been that way for a thousand years, no one finds it odd–in fact, it's used as evidence of the Lord Ruler's divinity. It also makes it mathematically very easy to pinpoint one's exact location in the Final Empire using a combination of the compass reading and noon observations. Not that it's easy to get lost in the Final Empire in the first place—the geographical area of the planet's surface that the Final Empire covers is actually quite small.

    Ultimately, when it comes down to sophisticated geography and astrophysics, I'm out of my element. If there are mistakes in my reasoning above, that is why I write fantasy and not hard sf.

    And I still haven't said anything about what happened at the south pole.

    The Hero of Ages Annotations ()
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    Brandon Sanderson

    The First Contract

    I was originally tempted to include the full text of the First Contract. In the end, however, I didn't write it. There wasn't a good place for it, and I felt that we already knew the important information from it without reading it. It would simply have slowed down the plot at this point.

    Plus, the questions and problems it could have raised weren't worth the trouble. By including it, I would have taken the chance of contradicting myself or setting up other problems that—at this point in the book—I just didn't want to have to work out.

    So we don't get to read it. Sorry. There aren't any hidden secrets in it, though.

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    Brandon Sanderson

    Sazed Decides

    However, we should back up and talk a little about Sazed's decision in the first part of the chapter.

    I'm not certain that I'm trying to say anything specific with these sections. As I've mentioned, I don't look to insert themes in most of my books. I write the themes that are important to the characters, and what I say varies based on whose viewpoint we are in.

    Sazed has been struggling between his logical side and the side that desires some kind of faith to form a groundwork for his life. The problem has been in his attempts to analyze religions like one would a machine—input and output. The difference for him comes when he looks at the lives and writings of those who believe. That is what changes his heart.

    In the end, he decides to elevate his faithful side over his rational side in this one instance. You can always question. Skepticism is as dangerous as faith, in my opinion, because it is difficult to know when to stop. You can become such a skeptic that you refuse to take anything at all as true. At some point, you need to decide when to stop questioning.

    This is where Sazed decides he will stop. You may decide somewhere else.

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    Brandon Sanderson

    Chapter Seventy-Five

    The Second Generation Seizes Control

    This chapter is another indication of my attempt to space out the climaxes in my books. We've had the big Vin fight with the Inquisitors; now I'm going to back off from things just a tad so that the reader has time to catch his or her breath. That isn't to say that the next few chapters aren't going to be more quickly paced than ones from the middle of the book; I just hope that they're not quite as breakneck as similar chapters from Elantris or some of my other books with overwhelming endings.

    I had fun with these sections because I was able to make good on some tensions and interactions that were going on since the first TenSoon chapters. TenSoon himself isn't here, but we are paid off for the time we spent with him getting to know the kandra in the Homeland, as now their interactions with Sazed directly affect the major conflicts in the series.

    Some readers worried that the revolt of the Seconds here was a little out of nowhere. I read through again, just in case, and this is one of those situations where I disagreed with the alpha readers. I believe I've fully established that the Seconds enjoy being in charge, and have somewhat let their power go to their heads. We've rarely seen them offer to the Firsts the same reverence they demand from everyone else. Beyond that, they were just embarrassed in front of the kandra people, and the Firsts began to speak of requiring the mass suicide of the entire race.

    If that wouldn't encourage a group of aristocrats to revolt, I don't know what would. The Seconds control the police force in the tunnels, and are the ones who truly rule the kandra. It makes sense to me that they'd do what they just did. You know, if I were in their place, I'd probably do the exact same thing. What the Firsts are talking about is very discomforting, and something that should make anyone—whatever their level of faith—sit down and question whether their beliefs really should require such a sacrifice.

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    Brandon Sanderson

    Yomen Is a Seer

    That raises the question of how Yomen discovered that he was a Seer. He mentions that atium was too valuable to waste on testing for atium Mistings. That's true, but incomplete. The Lord Ruler did test his obligators for the power, particularly the high-ranking ones. Those he found were told of their power and used as an extra level of security. There weren't many, but there were some—and they tended to rise very quickly in the ranks (like Yomen) and be given important positions. Yomen's power with atium made him a valuable secret weapon, and when in a position of power, he could use his ability to quell rebels or perform feats of wonder to keep the people in line.

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    Brandon Sanderson

    Chapter Seventy-Four

    Allomantic Secrets

    Some people have asked me why the Lord Ruler was so careful to keep secrets about Allomancy. What would it have mattered if he let out that there were atium Mistings?

    Some of the secrets offered a sizable tactical advantage. Keeping back duralumin and aluminum gave him and his Inquisitors (the only ones told about those metals, other than a few select obligators) tools that nobody knew about. Very few Inquisitors could burn duralumin (and most who did it gained the ability through the use of spikes reused from previous, dead Inquisitors—and those spikes were therefore much weaker.). However, those who did have the power could appear inordinately skilled in Allomancy, enhancing the Lord Ruler's divine reputation.

    Beyond that, knowledge is power. I believe that. And I think that if you're the Lord Ruler, you want to keep a few secrets about your magic system. Mistborn are very rare. Mistings among the nobility—particularly in the early centuries—were not rare. If they'd known about atium Mistings, it could have upset the balance by creating too many superwarriors.

    Plus, if there are unknown superwarriors to be had, then you want to keep them for yourself.

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    Brandon Sanderson

    Vin Draws In All the Mist

    Here we finally have Vin suck in the mists and use them to fuel her Allomancy completely. I began building this plot arc way back in book one, which ends with Vin drawing upon the mists to fight the Lord Ruler. It took me all the way until here to make good on that, though I still don't even explain how or why she was able to do it. Eventually I'd like to be able to do that, but we'll see. It's bigger than this trilogy. I have to leave some secrets for later.

    I do want to mention that this scene of Vin blasting Kredik Shaw to pieces was quite fulfilling to write for some reason. It feels like the end of a series to me, with familiar places being torn down and old expectations being dismantled.

    The Hero of Ages Annotations ()
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    Brandon Sanderson

    "Government is far too inefficient to provide a suitable income."

    In Breeze's scene, we have another reference back to book one as he mentions telling Kelsier that he didn't want to rule. That's not 100% accurate—Breeze was actually talking to Yeden or Vin, I think. However, he did go on a diatribe about not wanting to rule or be in charge, since leading countries seemed like a bad way to make money. However, I can't find this scene now, so I can't point out exactly where it is.

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    Brandon Sanderson

    Chapter Seventy-Three

    Cinematic Writing

    I sometimes wonder just how much writers from my era have been influenced by the visual media of entertainment we've experienced. How do I imagine things differently because of my childhood watching television and movies? What have the improvements in special affects done for my ability to visualize things I have not seen? How does my pacing, plotting, and description reflect my background and my exposure to media?

    I look at a chapter like this one, and it feels extremely cinematic to me. Not that I'm some great master of the cinematic form, but rather that I'm so familiar with that media—as are many of us—that I am drawn to it instinctively.

    The quick flashes from viewpoint to viewpoint—TenSoon, Breeze, Elend—showing what was going on, followed by a quick cut of Vin mid-action . . . it just feels right to me to do it this way.

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    Brandon Sanderson

    Giving you power!

    That voice at the end of the chapter is Kelsier, who can finally speak to Vin, now that her earring is gone. She's close enough to the mists and Preservation's power that he can touch Vin's mind or a brief moment and send a few words toward her.

    The last words echo his famous line about the mists, the first thing he taught Vin about them on a mist-wetted street in Luthadel her first night of training.

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    Brandon Sanderson

    Chapter Seventy-Two - Part Two

    Marsh and the Earring

    Also, here we get a Marsh viewpoint. It's almost our last one. (I think there is one more in the next chapter.)

    He didn't get much screen time, but I hope that what he did get led you to this climax for him. Spook's letter wasn't in vain, though I take delight in knowing that some of my alpha readers were convinced it had been.

    I've been told my endings are a little too neat sometimes. Well, that might be valid criticism. However, I prefer it for this particular book. After three novels of building and foreshadowing, I can finally make good on promises and threads I began way back in book one. There's a reason I included that scene with Marsh and Vin on the balcony of Mansion Renoux. Marsh had to know how she'd gotten her earring.

    You can probably see it now. Vin's mother, who was schizophrenic, was corrupted by Ruin, who spoke in her mind. He got her to love her first daughter, but hate her second—to see the second as a repulsive monster. In her insanity, she killed the second daughter by cutting open her chest and ramming a pin through her heart. Then, she stuck that same pin into Vin's ear, turning it into an earring.

    Reen, the older brother—not even a teenager at that point—stumbled in upon this scene, and it nearly snapped his mind. That night he took Vin and ran.

    Vin's mother was tracked down by the Inquisitors a short time after that. Fortunately for Vin, her father had realized he was in trouble and ordered his own lover executed. His assassins got to her just before the Inquisitors, and all they found was a corpse.

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    Brandon Sanderson

    Vin Versus the Inquisitors

    Vin fights the Inquisitors, hoping to put herself in a situation where she can draw upon the mists. It's a reckless plan, but I hope it feels exactly like something Vin would do. She's tired of being manipulated; she knows the end is very near (less than a day away) and knows that she needs to do something. This is all she could come up with, and I think it's a good plan. (At least if you're Vin.) It's a final attempt to save the world or go out in a blaze, fighting down thirteen Inquisitors at once.

    This is my favorite fight in the book. The previous ones are all too warlike. I prefer the beauty of a couple of Mistborn fighting in the rain and the mist, as opposed to the characters taking out hundreds of koloss. This fight between Vin and the Inquisitors is the kind of thing I developed Allomancy to do in the first place.

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    Brandon Sanderson

    Chapter Seventy-Two - Part One

    Vin's Climax Begins

    I set a high bar for myself with the previous books in this series. I knew I would need a climax to this one which would match the fight between Kelsier and the Lord Ruler in book one, which is undoubtedly the best action sequence I've ever written.

    So, these next eight chapters are an attempt to match all of that. I'm not sure if I pull it off, to be honest, but I'm much more pleased with these than I am with the ending of book two. It was good, but it was just faintly lacking. Vin's arrival at the walls was too expected, and the fighting too chaotic and brutal to be poetic.

    This chapter and the next are filled with references tying the entire series together. We're back in Luthadel, back to the Lord Ruler's palace itself. In each of the previous books, the final climactic scenes happened in this building. It feels good to get us back there again.

    And, of course, this fight between Vin and the Inquisitors is analogous to the first book, where she nearly died doing the same thing at Kredik Shaw. The line "She fell with the rain" is a direct quote from book one where Vin loses her strength after fleeing the Inquisitors and falls down to the ground. Sazed saved her that night. He's not around this time, as she points out.

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    Brandon Sanderson

    Atium's Mechanism

    Atium is, indeed, different from the other metals. When you burn most Allomantic metals, it opens a conduit through which you can draw upon Preservation's power and use it in very specific ways.

    Atium doesn't do that. Atium is, itself, a fuel. When you burn it, the metal itself provides the power. A subtle distinction, I know, but it has to do with where the power is coming from. Most Allomancy is fueled by Preservation, but atium and malatium are fueled by Ruin.

    This metal doesn't quite belong on the table where it has been placed.

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    Brandon Sanderson

    Atium Convoys

    The First Generation mention the Ministry convoys that carried the hidden atium to Luthadel from the Pits, or carried atium to the pits and other locations, where the Ministry had purchased beads of it back from the nobility. If you'll recall book one, Vin and Camon right at the beginning were planning to rob a convoy just like this. Instead, Camon decides to double-cross his associate and take a payoff.

    However, assuming they'd ever managed to pull that off, they'd have broken the system and discovered the atium. And, in doing so, would have exposed the Lord Ruler's ruse to Ruin, probably leading to the end of the world.

    Good thing they didn't pull it off, eh?

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    Brandon Sanderson

    Chapter Seventy-One

    Sazed Finds No Easy Answer

    Now we get to dig deeply into some concepts of theology. Sazed came to the Homeland expecting deus ex religion. (Hee hee.) Instead, he discovers that his lost Terris religion is quite a lot like other religions.

    There are no easy answers to this question. Why do we believe? Why have faith? The Bible teaches to follow the Bible—the logic is circular, and faith is required.

    I'm a believer, but I'm also a man of logic. I see these inconsistencies and have to admit that there are holes, things we haven't been told yet.

    Religion can be a force for great good, if we let it. The problem—the clash—between religion and science comes down to fundamentals. The basic tenet of a lot of religions, including my own faith, is that some things require belief before signs or proofs are given. Science teaches that you get proof and then believe.

    I believe in rendering to science the things that belong to science. I have no problem with evolution or discussions of the age of the Earth, for I don't believe that we come anywhere near comprehending the mind of God or the workings of the universe. Science can explain a lot, but it cannot give us faith, and I think we need both.

    Sazed, however, has some soul-searching to do. He's looking for an easy answer, and there isn't one. If he's going to believe in religion, then he'll have to accept that his true religion shares a lot in common with other religions. He'll have to accept faith. If he doesn't, then that's all right too. No man is an idiot for questioning these things.

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    Chapter Seventy

    The Reason for the Mistsickness

    So, it finally comes out. I wonder at this numbers plot, as I think many readers will glaze over it and ignore it. I think others will read into it and figure out what it means very quickly, then feel that the reveal here isn't much of a revelation. Hopefully I'll get a majority in the middle who read the clues, don't know what they mean, but are happily surprised when it comes together. That's a difficult line to walk sometimes.

    What is going on here is that the mists are awakening the Allomantic potential inside of people. It's very rough on a person for that to come out, and can cause death. Preservation set this all up before he gave his consciousness to imprison Ruin, so it's not a perfect system. It's like a machine left behind by its creator. The catalyst is the return of the power to the Well of Ascension. As soon as that power becomes full, it sets the mists to begin Snapping those who have the potential for Allomancy buried within them.

    Many of these people won't be very strong Allomancers. Their abilities were buried too deeply to have come out without the mists' intervention. Others will have a more typical level of power; they might have Snapped earlier, had they gone through enough anguish to bring the power out.

    My idea on this is that Allomantic potential is a little like a supersaturated solution. You can suspend a great deal of something like sugar in a liquid when it is hot, then cool it down and the sugar remains suspended. Drop one bit of sugar in there as a catalyst, however, and the rest will fall out as a precipitate.

    Allomancy is the same. It's in there, but it takes a reaction—in this case, physical anguish—to trigger it and bring it out. That's because the Allomantic power comes from the extra bit of Preservation inside of humans, that same extra bit that gives us free will. This bit is trapped between the opposing forces of Preservation and Ruin, and to come out and allow it the power to access metals and draw forth energy, it needs to fight its way through the piece of Ruin that is also there inside.

    As has been established, Ruin's control over creatures—and, indeed, an Allomancer's control over them—grows weaker when that creature is going through some extreme emotions. (Like the koloss blood frenzy.) This has to do with the relationship between the Cognitive Realm, the Physical Realm, and the Spiritual Realm—of which I don't have time to speak right now.

    Suffice it to say that there are people who have Snapped because of intense joy or other emotions. It just doesn't happen as frequently and is more difficult to control.

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    Chapter Sixty-Nine

    Marsh Finds Goradel

    And, Goradel dies. I hope Rich appreciates the time and effort I put into this death scene. I mean, if you've gotta go, then facing down an Inquisitor in the night, surrounded by ash, and actually giving him some trouble is a pretty good way.

    Spook's message is now gone, destroyed. Sorry about that. Not sure what else to say about this short chapter. I like the poetry of the discarded tools imagery, and it reminds me of things Zane said in book two—that he felt like he was always someone else's knife. Spiked through the chest, he was one of Ruin's more useful pawns.

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    Brandon Sanderson

    The First Generation Arrive

    The First Generation are different from the other generations. Other kandra were born from mistwraiths that had bred true, becoming their own species. The Firsts, however, were humans who were changed directly into kandra. They aren't as good at holding their bodies together as creatures who were born first as mistwraiths. Someone like TenSoon carries with him a heritage of intuition and instinct gained by his previous life as a mistwraith.

    The Firsts don't have that. They haven't practiced taking new bodies—in fact, only a couple of them have ever even done such a thing. They've spent their lives in the Homeland and don't know how to use their powers. The skin droops from their bones, and they look—and feel—old, something that doesn't happen to other kandra.

    Here, oddly, is the first climax of the TenSoon chapters. He's not there to see it, but his words are what finally convinced the Firsts to come down from their alcoves and face the truth that the end has come.

    Also, Moshe, I still think those should be podiums rather than lecterns.

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    Brandon Sanderson

    Chapter Sixty-Eight

    Sazed Takes Action

    Ladies and gentlemen, Sazed is back.

    This is the confident Sazed, the person who—without raising his voice, without seeming to make demands—can control a group and get the information he desires. He's always claimed that he's no leader, but he's actually a fantastic one when he puts his mind to it. His calm sense of purpose puts people at ease, and makes them do as he requests.

    He's not a king—he's right on that count. He is, however, a man to be respected and obeyed. He doesn't have much time left; the book is almost finished. However, he will make good use of his time.

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    "Let's have a chase."

    At the end here we have Vin think, "Let's have a chase now, you and I." This is a direct quote from book one near the beginning, where Kelsier thinks the same thing to himself. He's intending to lead an Inquisitor away to keep it from finding and killing Vin, even before Kelsier meets her. I put the same quote here as a throwback, but also because I liked the parallelism. Vin is leading Ruin on a false chase the same way that Kelsier led that Inquisitor back in book one.

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    Vin's Plan

    I had to make sure to expand Vin's explanation for why she was doing what she was doing. A lot of alpha readers were confused at what Vin was planning and why she left, so I added a few paragraphs talking about putting herself in danger. It's not a fantastic plan, but it's all she can think of.

    It so happens that she's wrong about why the mists are helping her. It isn't based on need or desire at all—she's fallen to a logical fallacy known as false cause. She's seen two analogous sets of information and incorrectly deduced that they are related. But, well, she's can't do everything right. This is as good a decision as any, considering the fight that Fadrex is facing.

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    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.

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    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.

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    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. ;)

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    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.

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    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.

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    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.

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    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.

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    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.

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    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.

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    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.

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    "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.

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    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.

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    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.

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    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.