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More than ten years after the Wax and Wayne books, Waxillium finds he is not impressed by Modern art. (Canon compliant up to the end of Bands of Mourning and Secret History. AU*). For @Kingsdaughter613; whom requested that I post it here. It is little changed from the original, so all...issues are still there, etc. A/N: With apologies to Duchamp... 000 Wax had agreed to go to the exhibition because he had nothing better to do, and well, Steris had insisted. Rotting at home like a piece of old-furniture under a white sheet was not the way he wanted to spend retirement. Admit it, he thought, examining the gallery of truly...strange...’art’, Steris’ arm wrapped around his; they shuffled throughout the exhibition, abut slowly and stiffly, you’re bored, Wax...and curious. It was like a new mystery, waiting for him to solve it. Rumors abounded at parties and other functions he still found himself attending, the nobility and wealthy whispered about the frightening, sometimes ‘horrifying’ art. They said painters had gone wild. That they used bright colors, strange shapes, and lines of all kinds. Creating ‘abstract’ art (whatever the hell that meant, exactly) of every kind: from ‘landscapes’ to ‘portraits’ to ‘sculptures’. Worse still, were the found objects, things taken from everyday life and then chosen by artists as art. The whole upper-crust of Elendel was in a panic about an art gallery...At first, however, Wax didn’t give a dam-n. He didn’t even like art. Then MeLaan had flung a newspaper in his face (more or less) that morning.(1) He muttered something about being ‘too old for whatever crap she had found,’ She’d responded with a candid reply about her age, which didn’t count, after all, she was an immortal, but Wax hadn’t gotten a word in edge-wise before she pointedly strutted out of the room to talk with Wayne. Wayne had never moved out of Ladrian manor, and when Wayne had married MeLaan...they’d just acquired a new house ‘guest’. Leaning back into his plush chair, Wax had taken a sip of whiskey from the glass the kandra had brought him behind Steris’ back; (his wife insisted that one of the causes of his...health issues...was whiskey, he doubted it, though, chasing after criminals had done hell to the knees and back). Wax glanced down at the newspaper...and stared, blankly at it. There was a photograph of a...urinal on the front-page? He fished for the reading glasses Wayne had given him(2) on the end-table. After sliding them on, Wax squinted. Indeed, an urinal. Wax’s eye twitched. It hadn’t done that in nearly a decade...but... ”Dam-n.” That episode had brought them here, to this gallery, surrounded by the strangest rust he had ever seen. Each piece had a plaque, some plaques described the art, others said nothing at all related, and Steris insisted that they stop at each, dam-n piece. To gawk, to stare, to admire it, he guessed, Wax didn’t know what nobles even did at art exhibitions. Except maybe wish they had stayed home instead. His feet hurt, his knees ached, and he rubbed the small of his back to alleviate its pain. He wasn’t even that old yet, but dam-n he sometimes felt like a man in his nineties, not fifties. ”And this,” his beautiful wife said, dragging him over to a sculpture that looked like a giant railroad spike hammered into a wooden stole, “Is a piece by Kay, he is a wonderful artist, renowned for his ‘readymades’...” ”Kay?” He frowned. That named sounded...strangely familiar. He couldn’t place it. Maybe he had read it in the newspaper...or heard it on the radio. Wax wasn’t sure what to make of this Spiking thin air, either, except that he doubted some random... Wax bowed his head then whispered in her ear, “It looks like hemalurgy...or a mockery of it...” Spikes in dead wood couldn’t bestow powers or attributes to that object. Even if it was charged, it was losing whatever Investiture it had, its powers slowly slithering back to Harmony. Still...he lifted a hand to his chin in thought. ”He’s an artist,” she rebuked; then tugged on his arm, trying to urge him to move on. Wax hadn’t expected her to be so...excited about this. Yet, Steris’ subtle smile hadn’t left her face since they had arrived, almost an hour ago. “That doesn’t mean he couldn’t also be a...” “Waxillium,” from her tone of voice he knew he was in trouble, “you will not...” Despite her warning, Wax burned steel (which MeLaan had slipped into his whiskey), checking the spike. It was...heavily Invested metal, he couldn’t Push it. Iron, probably. Too heavily Invested to be a spike, considering that the show had been going on for a few weeks. Probably a metalmind. Huh. Kay had an interesting sense of humor, it seemed. If I didn’t know better... “Is there any more work by him?” Her brow furled slightly as she considered his words. “Yes...” “It’s probably innocent...” Steris sighed. “I couldn’t Push it,” he whispered. This made her eyes widen, he noted a little fire in their blue depths. Excitement. Wax nodded. “Does Kay have any more sculptures at this exhibition?” “There are some others pieces of work, yes,” Steris said, leading him away, “if it gets too dangerous...” “I’m sure it will not,” he answered, “I’m retired.” She flattened her lips for a moment. “It’s not like...” “You brought your ironminds?” He nodded. Of course he had. He didn’t feel comfortable walking around at his actual weight. He hadn’t done so in years; even months into his retirement, Wax hadn’t let go of vital, old habits. “And?” “Two.” She glanced at the two holstered guns, their tips sticking out under his coat, then at the third one on his leg, and up at the fourth one, too, which was in a holster on his left arm. It was a small, experiment weapon Ranette had given him a few months back. Ranette, like both MeLaan and Wayne, insisted his retirement was fake. “Four.” “I couldn’t...” “Learn the meaning of retirement in only three months, therefore, I must act like it’s a clever jest pulled on me by my wife...,” she said, he smiled, “try not to make a scene here, it’s an art gallery.” “That’s art?” Wax pointed at a strange painting, two light blue gears on a green background. It looked more like a diagram for a weird machine than it did a any art he had ever seen. A cruel mockery of it, considering that the artist had labeled one gear ‘woman’ and the other ‘man’. “It’s a Spool.” “Is that what it’s called?” “Spool’s the artist,” she answered, taking his hand then slowly leading him away. Soon, they entered another room. From the plaques, he saw that all these pieces were works by Kay. Like the Spiking thin air, most were everyday objects, or slightly modified things. One sculpture was a chair laid on its side. Another was a tall, slender box of glass filled with random pieces of metal: nails, screws, and other things situated to make plain of metallic pieces. A few abstract paintings hung on the wall. In the center of all this ‘art’ stood the urinal, on a thick, wooden pole, like it was some kind of strange... Is it supposed to be a spear? He chewed his inner cheek. “If you burn steel,” said someone behind them, “you’ll see what’s actually there.” Wax glanced over his shoulder, then, turned around slowly. That had to be the artist. Wax had read in that earlier article that Kay was a tall, blond haired man whom often wore well-tailored suits. Kay did not dress the part of the typical, poor artist. He wore his hair long, bangs falling past his right eye, which, Wax noted, was covered by a thick, black patch. Kay’s one good eye was lined, hazel; all things considered, he looked like one of Wayne’s fictional pirates in a nice suit. Wax didn’t like him. The paper said he was twenty-nine, he looked more like fifty. Either time had lied to Kay, or he had lied to them. “Come again?” Kay grinned. “Burn steel.” Wax did as asked, curiosity pecking at the back of his brain. The grin on Kay’s face grew larger, a little wild, a little feral. That caused Wax to frown...he looked back at the glass box, not sure... Wax blinked, then stared. He hadn’t noticed it before, but now that he burned steel, he saw...that some of the pieces of metal in the glass box were noticeably more faint than others. They formed a picture, one that only a person who could burn iron or steel could see, and only if they were looking for it. It was supposed to look like any other piece of...chaotic anti-art in the gallery. Ironically meaningless, mocking the upper class that expected art to appeal to their aesthetic tastes... But, this...was beautiful. The portrait of a woman, her hair blowing in the wind. A portrait only people like him could see. It must have meant that Kay could burn iron or steel, too. And...Wax realized he knew that woman...it... He swiveled around, then glared at Kay. You’re getting slow in your old age, Wax, he told himself. In the old days, he would’ve known when he saw the blond hair and the ill-fitting, thick eye-patch. “You’re him.” “He doesn’t like this idea,” replied Kay, crossing his arms, “but as I have assured him, no one would think to look for it.” Wax heard something that may have amounted to a sigh... It did not sound like Steris, who had tensed beside him. Only a few others were in this part of the exhibition, and none were close enough for Wax to have heard the their conversation. He’d left his earring in. The others in the room looked blurry, they were in a speed-bubble. Wax reached for one of his guns. “Please,” Kay said, still wearing that obnoxious smile, “we’re in an art gallery.” His hand remained on its handle. Yes, he knew it was useless, but cosmere be damned, he wouldn’t... “You won’t kill me with that.” Kay-no, Kelsier-Pushed, gently, on the weapon. “It’s not worth shooting the whole gallery up for this, is it?” Wax nodded, hand dropping to his side. A part of Wax doubted he could draw and fire fast enough to do any damage anyway. “You inspired the whole countryside to near rebellion.”(3) “I gave them hope.” At these words, Steris squeezed Wax’s hand. “And the Set-” “Kid, why in hell would I want Scandrial’s destruction?” The grin melted off his face. His gaze hardened. “We want to protect this world, not destroy it.” Wax did not answer. He...Harmony had not given him all the facts, and Wax hadn’t asked, presuming god wouldn’t give him those kinds of answers. Wax had jumped to conclusions, ran with (the little) evidence he and Marasi had... “Then why?” “It’s a gift,” he said, not answering the question Wax wanted, but Wax was not completely sure what question to ask, either. Are you still friends? Wax asked. Harmony did not respond. That sent a chill up his spine. “Harmony and I do not always agree on how things should be done,” he said. Steris grew pale, her hand, cold. Wax studied his wife, she hadn’t spoken once in the whole exchange, but her eyes had grown wide and she trembled in both shock and fear. It wasn’t everyday that one meant their god in an art gallery. “He doesn’t always like the actions I take, and I can’t say I like his choices either, but neither of us wanted the Set to succeed.” “And you left it to us,” Wax said, “you let...” “I did help...” But how, Wax knew, Kelsier would not tell. No, Kelsier wasn’t the kind of person who would reveal such relevant secrets. Why would he tell them this? “Where I could...it’s not about my ability to survive, to overcome...” “But ours...” Kelsier smiled at Steris’ words, unlike before, it touched his eye. Wax hadn’t heard that the Survivor was known for being sincere. “But you’re going to buy this piece.” “What.” “Or appear to,” he said, gesturing to the slender, glass case filled with metal, “it’s a gift...an apology, in a way.” “That doesn’t make sense.” “Fullborn need not make sense,” he said. Wax felt a headache starting at his temples. “Bend-alloy’s running out, dropping in three...two...” “We’ll make sure to send one of our servants to retrieve it soon,” Steris said, “it is a wonderful piece, I am a great admirer of yours.” He was amazed she could say that with such a plain look on her face. “Thank you,” Kelsier replied, taking her hand, he placed something in the pocket of her coat as he kissed the tips of her fingers. A part of Wax wanted to punch that obnoxious bastard for that gesture. “My lady?” “Steris Ladrian.” After a few more pleasantries, they left the gallery in a rush, Steris nearly dragging him away. Her eyes never met his until they reached their car and slipped into the back seat. Wax still hated motored vehicles, but no one in their class traveled in horse-drawn carriages anymore. If I hate cars so much, Wax thought, distracted momentarily, what do four-hundred year old men think of these things? Even when they settled into their seats and Steris glared at him until he buckled his seat belt, his wife did not speak. Instead, she stared out the window, watching the city pass them by as their driver, Hoid, took them home. “Steris?” he asked, breaking the awkward silence that had filled the cab. The driver had shut the small plastic window between him and the cab to give them some privacy, though he could probably here their conversation despite that. “He was not what I expected,” she said at long last. “Harmony is not what I expected,” he answered, placing an arm around her shoulder and bringing her to rest her head against his chest, “not even now, but the first time we spoke I was being shot at.” She giggled, though he could hear the faint echo of tears in her voice, “He’s hard...cold why did he insist on us having it?” Minutes passed. Quiet, uncertain minutes in which he gathered his thoughts. “Wax?” “What did he place in your pocket?” She blinked, then checked the pocket of her coat. Steris took out a small coin attached to a ribbon, bearing the engraving of Sovereign's face; it was a metalmind like the Southerners used. Bastard. “It’s a portrait that can only be seen when one burns iron or steel,” he answered. “Fascinating,” she replied, “it’s a con, isn’t it?” This suggestion left Wax bewildered. Just...like the rest of the art. But Kelsier was a con man, the Historica said, of course it was just another con. “We can see the portrait,” she said, “but most of our guests will see it as just a strange and frivolous piece of modern art without meaning or importance. The elderly, eccentric couple who...” Wax touched her tear-stained cheek. Gently, she placed her hand over his, meeting his steady gaze at last. “It might be better that way...” She cocked an eyebrow. “It’s of Lessie.” His sweet wife squeezed his hand, she did not speak, and neither did he. He was not certain what to say, sometimes...words could do little to speak truths. Some days, Harmony said, I think, he may be my friend, Waxillium. Others, I am certain we are enemies. More and more often, however, I am simply unsure. But he cares for this world, its people...he does love it... Though he does not understand what that means. 000 Three days later, Kay the artist was declared dead by authorities. If Kelsier were to ask Marsh, it was a little too dramatic, but he liked the idea that most of Kay’s art had gone up in smoke. It seemed a fitting fate for art that was supposed to be anarchic by nature, and Kay had burned up with it, a victim of a terrible accident although the authorities never found the body. Kelsier had simply left the burning building joining the crowd, slipping past all the chaos in the streets. No one else had been there, he’d made sure of it. Sazed would probably give him an earful anyways; after all, he had destroyed the work of others as well as his own, and destroyed a building, too. He stored Connection in a metalmind, using it to give him some peace, though Sazed would speak to him about this happenstance eventually. Or, he thought, sitting on one of the highest ledges on top of one of Elendel’s newest skyscrapers, he may send Marsh. What a joy that would be. Another lecture... He loved his brother, but Marsh could be a serious pain in the as-s at times. Sazed had yet to do so. Instead, he perched alone, looking out over Elendel as night fell over the city. The stars above, the Red Ripe too, filling him with worry, and the mist below, covering street and building alike. It was a thick mist tonight, nearly as thick as the nights in Luthadel. A few strands reached the ledge, licking his feet, attracted by his Allomancy. He smiled. Tin and Steel burned warmly in his stomach, but even that could not fully chase away the late winter chill, even in a city that rarely ever received snow. Here though, he could wrap his mistcloak around his body tightly, and watch the night pass by in peace, tapping Wakefulness to keep sleep at bay...Soon, however, he spotted a dark figure bounding up through the mists. Even after more than three-and-a-half centuries, Marsh lacked the gracefulness of a Mistborn. His spikes had granted him immense power, but his Pushes and Pulls were always a tad too strong, a bit too powerful. Whereas a Mistborn’s leaps and bounds were like a dancer flying through the mists, Marsh had as much grace as Windrunner falling with style. (4) Marsh eventually reached the ledge, although he had to Push on it to slow down his fall, denting it slightly. He landed on the skyscraper with a thud, announcing his presence, but Kelsier continued to peer down at the streets, watching the electric lights form pools of white or yellow in the mists. “Kelsier.” “Good evening, Marsh.” He raised a hand at his brother, but did not turn his head as he heard him approach. Like a fellow gargoyle, Marsh sat on the roof beside him. “Burning down art galleries?” his brother asked in that soft, gravelly voice he had managed to acquire throughout the centuries. It really had helped Marsh to make a frightening Death, all things considered. It was a nice finishing to the doom and groom vibe that his black cloak and multiple spikes helped to create. Appearance wise, he was an excellent choice for the role, personality wise, though, he still had a lot to work on. Marsh was still too kind to be Death. “Everyone was fine.” Kelsier waved a hand, trying to push back Marsh’s accusation like he might push the mist into the earth. Neither worked very well. “They found a boy’s body in the debris.” He meant his brother’s spiked eyes. “I didn’t...” “Know?” “There wasn’t anyone there,” he argued, standing, anger powering his steps as he began to pace the ledge, “I swear, I checked...” “He went in to save you,” said Marsh. He ran a hand through his now-short blond hair. It still covered most of his right eye, though he had removed the patch and stuck it in his pocket. “It...who?” “They weren’t sure.” He stopped pacing, standing at the opposite end of the ledge, glaring down the city like his...accident was its fault. “And Harmony?” He lifted his head. Marsh lips bent upwards a tad. “You know how he feels about telling us the last moments of others before they pass onto the Beyond.” Harmony believed that each person deserved privacy when they died. He’d only gotten to speak with...a few when Harmony requested it and if he was in the Cognitive Realm at the time. Most of those had been Survivorists; or their friends, like Breeze and Ham. “How old was he?” “Eighteen,” came his brother’s answer, “twenty at most. They were not sure.” Vin’s age when...His mouth grew dry. Thinking of that made him feel old, tired, but not the kind of tiredness a Feruchemist could simply store in a metalmind and be done with. No, it was the strange kind of weariness which sometimes came to those who had lived for so long... Kelsier gathered his cloak around him as though to shield him from both cold and time itself. “Dam-n.” He sighed, staring out into the mists. He hadn’t...meant it to go so far. He often did not like it when it did. He had gone too far with Spook, even with the Southerners, but he couldn’t always tell what too far looked like, when he went to the extent that he toyed with the hearts’ of people he tried to help. Preservation’s command not to do so still whispered in his Soul. It left him feeling something close to guilt, but what Marsh said next did not. “And you destroyed all that art.” “Anti-art,” he corrected, holding up a finger, “it was almost a perfect con.” Marsh frowned. His brother probably thought he should have been more somber, but, he was Kelsier, somber was boring. “Kelsier,” he said, “you destroyed a whole building...” A part of him laughed at that. Of all the things Marsh could reprimand him for, a building seemed like the least thing on that list, considering that he'd nearly brought down a whole civilization, once. Still, that had been centuries ago. They had to step much more carefully now... “They have insurance,” he answered, shrugging. “Listen, do you know how many wealthy bastards were frightened or bewildered by that crap? They tried to give meaning to shi-t.” “You made shi-t, art.” “I made them think it was art,” he said, grinning, “they bought into it, literally, it’s nearly as good as that time I tricked all those Elantrians to believe I was Ruin.” If his brother had eyes, he might have rolled them. Instead, lips flattened informing Kelsier that he had properly annoyed him. “That...” “Was brilliant.” Marsh grunted. “Bridge Four?” he asked, “Rosharans grunt so much that grunts are now their common tongue. Considering how many languages they have, it's the only one that they all can completely comprehend.” This elicited a chuckle at least. They again sat together in companionable silence, the night quickly passing into early dawn. The first rays of sunshine covered the city, bathing the city in red light, turning the skyscrapers into dark silhouettes against the rising sun. He dimmed his tin, letting it simmer, sunrises up here were brilliant, but he only had one eye to see them with, the other couldn’t tell the difference between night or day. It had its uses, other than creating a Connection to his Physical form. With the old Inquisitor spike, he could see any trace metals in buildings, ground, or even people, and use those to Push or Pull as needed. By creating a puncture in the Spiritual then through the Cognitive and into the Physical Realm, it let his Investiture into his his old body, anew, providing a new string. Spikes pierced into the soul. There was more to it than that, but each day was a new one taken, stolen for-- “Brother,” he frowned, but looked up at Marsh as he spoke, “why did you give Waxillium that portrait?” Why does this feel like one of Saze’s inquiries? He did not ask that, Marsh should have been proud. Perhaps age had quelled his tongue a tad at long last. “It was a gift.” Marsh stared at him with those spiked eyes. Even Kelsier sometimes found them unnerving despite having one of his own. “Is it possible that I feel some guilt for all that occurred? Or...something akin to it?” “Is it that...or...?” “I just wanted to help.” He wasn’t sure if that was true, or if he had just wanted to present his ironic anti-art. Anarchy with a solution. He wasn’t a good man, after all, Vin had taught him that. He had too much ego to be truly good, no matter how hard he tried... In some ways, his Connection to others was frayed...broken. “Alright,” he said, throwing Marsh his infamous insufferable grin, “it was about style too.“ All he got in reply was yet another grunt which quickly transformed into a gravelly sigh. His brother just had to accept it was one of those days. 000 Original A/N: It’s hard writing cosmere fanfiction especially for something that hasn’t been written yet and also based on the Modern art period. I need to add more details on mechanist art, but probably later. Tumblr gets the rough draft, I’m so sorry...not really. While somethings aren’t said outright, partially because of predicting canon is hard, Marasi isn’t mentioned. Also, this supposes that Wax doesn’t meet Kelsier in the Last Metal, which makes this highly likely that it will end up as an AU. I don’t, personally, think that the Set is Kell’s organization [who knows what WoB might brew, though], I think his commented to protecting the world outweighs that likelihood. That being said, I think it might be his fault, partially, that things are the way that they are in the series. Kell is, obviously, messing around, partially because he can’t leave people alone. He’s right, he inspires people, but he plays with them too because he can’t see that other people also have feelings as well as most can [being a sociopath], though I think he’s gotten a little better at it after forming some healthier links with Preservation in Secret History. Kelsier still does not get that harassing nobles just to harass nobles isn’t nice, though. And thus...MISTBORN-STYLE DADA WAS BORN BECAUSE KELL IS ANARCHIST. 1) MeLaan has a passion for throwing news papers in people’s faces, apparently, she did this to TenSoon and now has done it to Wax too. She also will probably do it to Wayne too. 2) Imagine how that went. lol. 3) Since Alloy, lone persons have mentioned seeing Kelsier in the countryside encouraging them; in Bands of Mourning, some of the captured Set members mentioned stories of the Survivor stuffed into their head (to incite Civil War). Assuming Wax heard of the later stories from Marasi, he is drawing assumptions about Kelsier’s role/relationship with the Set (which will probably not be destroyed, I think, but will prove to be a much larger threat than we know). 4) Yes, this assumes that Kelsier has been to Roshar, and doesn’t think that Windrunning is as graceful as Allomancy. What an elitist.
Okay, we all already know the huge twists: the Sovereing of the Southeners is Kelsier who is a Fullborn. We know he appeared to Spook by Hemalurgy and they were doing experiments (as evidenced by existence of Spook's book). Now, what are Kelsier's intentions? What is his endgame? Back when he was first alive, he wanted to overthrow the Empire. He succeeded. Now what? From Secret History we learned he wanted to learn about Hemalurgy. We don't know whether that interest still holds as he's back corporeal with a spike through his eye. It could be, it could not be. We don't know what else he did put in motion with Spook. Although not much time could have passed between Katacendre and his apperance to Spook and his arrival to the South, otherwise all of Southeners would had frozen to death. From Bands of Mourning we know that he went and saved a whole hemisphere full of people - but most of the people would probably do that with power of a Fullborn on their hands. That's a noble goal, nontheless, but what are his goals after all this? After he saved them, shown them the medallions (curious... how did he figure it out?), made himself a god of a yet another group of people, built a temple in the North (to encourage Southeners to visit Northern hemisphere) and vanished. Why did he leave the Survivor's Spearhead there? Probably to kickstart a planet-wide production of Fullborn medallions. I am not buying that he left it for himself, as Southern legends imply. What would he need the Spearhead for anyway? Now that he set those things in motion, he had a lot of time to mind his own business. That is if he obtained some atium to Compound youth - but I guess Marsh would share. So... where is he, what is he doing and why? He could have even worldhopped, as he is cosmere-aware due to the events in Secret History. That is, if he learned how to step into Cognitive fully.
So assuming the one-eyed spike man is Kelsier, how exactly did he manage to get a physical body to anchor him to the Physical Realm? We know that Sazed refused him, and that he was plotting with Spook to find a way to get back. We also "know" that he's using Hemalurgy in some way. Some theories I've seen: He's using pure Hemalurgy to reform his body He got Spook to spike a dead or dying person (possibly Spook himself) with his "essense" somehow. He got Spook to spike a person enough that he could control them from the Cognitive Realm. He is using a kandra or mistwraith body. Kandra can't use Allomancy or Feruchemy. He eventually convinced Sazed to make him a body. He got a kandra to use his bones to generate enough flesh to spike and then he compounded Feruchemical gold. (Sorry if this is a duplicate, but the other threads I've seen dealt with the identity of the man, rather than how he came to be)