Mistborn secret history, p.15
Mistborn: Secret History, p.15Part #3.50 of Mistborn series by Brandon Sanderson
Vin looked to Elend. To Kelsier’s horror, he had begun to stretch out. He turned toward something Kelsier couldn’t see, something Beyond, and smiled, then stepped in that direction.
“I don’t think it works that way, Saze,” Vin said, then kissed him on the cheek. “Thank you.” She turned, took Elend’s hand, and began to stretch toward that unseen, distant point.
“Vin!” Kelsier cried, grabbing her other hand, holding to it. “No, Vin. You held the power. You don’t have to go.”
“I know,” she said, looking back over her shoulder at him.
“Please,” Kelsier said. “Don’t go. Stay. With me.”
“Ah, Kelsier,” she said. “You have a lot to learn about love, don’t you?”
“I know love, Vin. Everything I’ve done—the fall of the empire, the power I’ve given up—that was all about love.”
She smiled. “Kelsier. You are a great man, and should be proud of what you’ve done. And you do love. I know you do. But at the same time, I don’t think you understand it.”
She turned her gaze toward Elend, who was vanishing, only his hand—in hers—still visible. “Thank you, Kelsier,” she whispered, looking back at him, “for all you have done. Your sacrifice was amazing. But to do the things you had to do, to defend the world, you had to become something. Something that worries me.
“Once, you taught me an important lesson about friendship. I need to return that lesson. A last gift. You need to know, you need to ask. How much of what you’ve done was about love, and how much was about proving something? That you hadn’t been betrayed, bested, beaten? Can you answer honestly, Kelsier?”
He met her eyes, and saw the implicit question.
How much was about us? it asked. And how much was about you?
“I don’t know,” he said to her.
She squeezed his hand and smiled—that smile she’d never have been able to give when he first found her.
That, more than anything, made him proud of her.
“Thank you,” she whispered again.
Then she let go of his hand and followed Elend into the Beyond.
The land shook and groaned as it died, and was reborn.
Kelsier walked it, hands shoved in his pockets. He strolled through the end of the world, power spraying in all directions, giving him visions of all three Realms.
Fires burned from the heavens. Stones crashed together, then ripped back apart. Oceans boiled, and their steam became a new mist in the air.
Still Kelsier walked. He walked as if his feet could carry him from one world to the next, from one life to the next. He didn’t feel abandoned, but he did feel alone. Like he was the only man left in all the world, and the last witness of eras.
Ash was consumed by a land of stones made liquid. Mountains crashed from the ground behind Kelsier, in rhythm to his footsteps. Rivers washed down from the heights and oceans filled. Life sprang up, trees sprouting and shooting toward the sky, making a forest around him. Then that passed, and he was in a desert, quickly drying, sand boiling from the depths of the land as Sazed created it.
A dozen different settings passed him in an eyeblink, the land growing in his wake, his shadow. Kelsier finally stopped on a lofty highland plateau overlooking a new world, winds from three Realms ruffling his clothing. Grass grew beneath his feet, then blossoms sprouted. Mare’s flowers.
He knelt and bowed his head, resting his fingers on one of them.
Sazed appeared beside him. Slowly, Kelsier’s vision of the real world faded, and he was trapped again in the Cognitive Realm. All became mist around him.
Sazed sat down next to him. “I will be honest, Kelsier. This is not the end I had in mind when I joined your crew.”
“The rebellious Terrisman,” Kelsier said. Though he was in the world of mist, he could see clouds—vaguely—in the real world. They passed beneath his feet, surging around the base of the mountain. “You were a living contradiction even then, Saze. I should have seen it.”
“I can’t bring them back,” Sazed said softly. “Not yet . . . perhaps not ever. The Beyond is a place I can’t reach.”
“It’s all right,” Kelsier said. “Do me a favor. Will you see what you can do for Spook? His body is in rough shape. He’s pushed it too hard. Fix him up a little? Maybe make him Mistborn while you’re at it. They’re going to need some Allomancers in the world that comes.”
“I’ll consider it,” Sazed said.
They sat there together. Two friends at the edge of the world, at the end and start of time. Eventually, Sazed stood and bowed to Kelsier. A reverent motion for one who was himself divine.
“What do you think, Saze?” Kelsier asked, staring out over the world. “Is there a way for me to get out of this, and live again in the Physical Realm?”
Sazed hesitated. “No. I do not think so.” He patted Kelsier on the shoulder, then vanished.
Huh, Kelsier thought. He holds the powers of creation in twain, a god among gods.
And he’s still a terrible liar.
Spook felt uncomfortable living in a mansion when everyone else had so little. But they had insisted—and besides, it wasn’t much of a mansion. Yes, it was a log house of two stories, when most lived in shanties. And yes, he had his own room. But that room was small, and it felt muggy at night. They didn’t have glass for windows, and if he left the shutters open, insects got in.
This perfect new world had a disappointing amount of normalcy to it.
He yawned, closing his door. The room held a cot and a desk. No candles or lamps; they didn’t yet have the resources to spare those. His head was full of Breeze’s instructions on how to be a king, and his arms hurt from training with Ham. Beldre would expect him for dinner shortly.
Downstairs a door thumped, and Spook jumped. He kept expecting loud noises to hurt his ears more than they did, and even after all these weeks he still wasn’t used to walking around with his eyes uncovered. On his desk one of his aides had left a little writing board—they didn’t have paper—scratched on with charcoal, listing a few of his appointments for the next day. And at the bottom was a quick note.
I finally got the smith to make this as you requested, though he was timid about handling Inquisitor spikes. Not sure why you want it so much, Your Majesty. But here you go.
At the base of the board was a tiny spike shaped like an earring. Hesitant, Spook picked it up and held it before him. Why did he want this, again? He remembered something, whispers in his dreams. Get a spike forged, an earring. An old Inquisitor spike will work. You can find one in the caverns that used to be beneath Kredik Shaw. . . .
A dream? He considered, then—perhaps against his better judgment—jabbed the thing through his ear.
Kelsier appeared in the room with him.
“Gah!” Spook said, leaping back. “You! You’re dead. Vin killed you. Saze’s book says—”
“It’s okay, kid,” Kelsier said. “I’m the real one.”
“I . . .” Spook stammered. “It . . . Gah!”
Kelsier walked over and put his arm around Spook’s shoulders. “See, I knew this would work. You’ve got them both now. Broken mind, Hemalurgic spike. You can see just enough into the Cognitive Realm. That means we can work together, you and I.”
“Oh hell,” Spook said.
“Now, don’t be like that,” Kelsier said. “Our work is important. Vital. We’re going to unravel the mysteries of the universe. The cosmere, as it is called.”
“What . . . what do you mean?”
“I think I’m going to be sick,” Spook said.
“It’s a big, big place out there, kid,” Kelsier said. “Bigger than I ever knew. Ignorance almost lost us everything. I’m not going to let that happen again.” He tapped at Spook’s ear. “While dead, I had an opportunity. My mind expanded, and I learned some things. My focus wasn’t on these spikes; I think I could have worked it all out, if it had been. I sti
Spook pulled back. He was his own man now! He didn’t need to just do whatever Kelsier said. Hell, he didn’t even know if this really was Kelsier. He’d been fooled once before.
“Why?” Spook demanded. “Why would I care?”
Kelsier shrugged. “The Lord Ruler was immortal, you know. By a combination of the powers, he managed to make himself unable to age—unable to die, under most circumstances. You’re Mistborn, Spook. Halfway there. Aren’t you curious about what else is possible? I mean, we have a little pile of Inquisitor spikes, and nothing to do with them. . . .”
“And you?” Spook asked. “What do you get from this?”
“Nothing big,” Kelsier said. “Just a little thing. Someone once explained my problem. My string has been cut, the thing holding me to the physical world.” His smile broadened. “Well, we’re just going to have to find me a new string.”
Kelsier’s journey was something that I started outlining soon after finishing the first Mistborn book, back in 2003 or 2004. It’s one of those things that, as a writer, is really hard not to talk about to fans when they ask questions. (And I’ll admit I broke down more than once and whispered to a heartbroken fan to keep their eyes open for signs of what Kelsier might be up to in the rest of the series.)
It’s always a dangerous thing for a writer to resurrect a character. It threatens to undermine the consequences in a story, and minimizes the risks characters take. At the same time, I knew Kelsier’s story—in specific—was not yet finished. Readers sensed this. There was more to be told.
It has been a pleasure to be able to bring it to you. For many years, I wasn’t certain if I’d actually write this story. What Kelsier was doing was canon to the Mistborn books (and the hints of what he was up to saturated the third book). However, I wasn’t convinced I could write the story in a way that felt cohesive, rather than as a series of footnotes.
In the end, I decided the greater problem would have been not writing the story—precisely because of the hole in the Mistborn books Kelsier left. There were too many questions that couldn’t be answered without this story.
Anyway, thanks as always for following along with me on this journey. And, for those who haven’t read them, I’d like to take a moment here to recommend the Wax and Wayne books (Era Two of Mistborn, beginning with The Alloy of Law). If you enjoyed this story, I think you’ll like what you find. The Wax and Wayne books take what was in the original trilogy and build upon it, expanding the lore of Scadrial in some very interesting directions.
Beyond that, if you watch closely during the Wax and Wayne books, you might figure out what Kelsier is up to during that time.
Because he’s not done yet. Not even close.
So, I dropped this one on my team like a strike from a stealth bomber. They were already busy with the art and proofreading for the books we’re doing this spring, and then I popped up with another surprise novella and asked if it could possibly be ready in time to be released alongside The Bands of Mourning.
Even though they’re used to me doing things like this by now, their turnaround on Mistborn: Secret History was incredible. More than for almost any other story, they deserve praise for their excellent work on this one.
The incredulous Peter Ahlstrom in particular acted both in his normal roles, as well as being the primary editor, copyeditor, and proofreader for the book. He only rolled his eyes at me once in a while as I talked about this latest crazy story I wanted to publish, and he gave some particularly excellent advice on how to improve the story. If you see him around, make sure to thank him. As I type this, he’s spending his entire Saturday pushing to get this book ready for publication next week.
Karen Ahlstrom did an excellent continuity edit for us, as well as building a timeline. She caught a lot of the big errors I’d made, which would have had many of you scratching your heads.
Isaać Stewart was art director for this book—he did the cover design, and as always is the creator of the awesome Allomantic symbols you see spread throughout the book. Miranda Meeks did our wonderful cover; I’m happy to finally get Kelsier on the cover of a Mistborn story.
Writing group for this book was Emily Sanderson, Karen & Peter Ahlstrom, Darci & Eric James Stone, Alan Layton, Ben “Seriously, Brandon?” Olsen, Kathleen Dorsey Sanderson, Kaylynn ZoBell, Isaac & Ethan Skarstedt, and Isaać Stewart.
Our alpha, beta, and gamma readers were Nikki Ramsay, Mark Lindberg, Lyndsey Luther, Alice Arneson, Kristina Kugler, Megan Kanne, Karen Ahlstrom, Josh Walker, Mi’chelle Walker, Ian McNatt, David Behrens, Matt Wiens, Eric Lake, Bob Kluttz, Kelly Neumann, Jakob Remick, and Gary Singer.
Without these people catching all my silly mistakes, this book would have been a travesty of continuity. Many thanks to you all.
Finally, thanks to Joel, Dallin, Oliver, and Emily. For putting up with me all these years.
ALSO BY BRANDON SANDERSON
The Emperor’s Soul
Shadows for Silence in the Forests of Hell
Sixth of the Dusk
The Stormlight Archive
The Way of Kings
Words of Radiance
Mitosis: A Reckoners Story
The Original Trilogy
Mistborn: The Final Empire
The Well of Ascension
The Hero of Ages
Mistborn: Secret History
The Wax & Wayne Series
The Alloy of Law
Shadows of Self
The Bands of Mourning
Legion: Skin Deep
Alcatraz vs. the Evil Librarians
Alcatraz vs. the Evil Librarians
The Scrivener’s Bones
The Knights of Crystallia
The Shattered Lens
The Dark Talent
Infinity Blade: Awakening
Infinity Blade: Redemption
The Wheel of Time, with Robert Jordan
The Gathering Storm
Towers of Midnight
A Memory of Light
This is a work of fiction. All of the characters, organizations, and events portrayed in this story are either products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously.
MISTBORN: SECRET HISTORY
Copyright © 2016 by Dragonsteel Entertainment, LLC
All rights reserved.
Cover art copyright © 2016 by Miranda Meeks
Cover design, symbols, and art direction by Isaac Stewart
Electronic book design by Peter Ahlstrom
A Dragonsteel Entertainment Book
Published by Dragonsteel Entertainment, LLC
American Fork, UT
Mistborn® is a registered trademark of Dragonsteel Entertainment, LLC
Brandon Sanderson® is a registered trademark of Dragonsteel Entertainment, LLC
First electronic edition: January 2016
Brandon Sanderson, Mistborn: Secret History
(Series: Mistborn # 3.50)
Mistborn: Secret History by Brandon Sanderson / Fantasy have rating 4 out of 5 / Based on32 votes