The seething tempest that is KOLOSS batters at the Luthadel gates as Breeze, becoming more and more resigned to his fate, works on soothing the ill-trained Luthadel warriors' emotions. He comforts himself with the knowledge that Allrianne and Vin have escaped this carnage. I guess he'll be a bit disappointed when he finds that they're coming back, then. That is, if he lives that long.
Clubs comes along, and, completely contradicting the thoughts in Breeze's mind--and mine as well-- says that the troops are actually doing well. He's been in several battles back in the day, and he's lost not a one of them, so his word is pretty reliable. Of course, he was always on the side of the koloss back then, so they're still totally screwed. Unless Vin can find a way to stop the Koloss, that is.
Speaking of Vin, she's currently running desperately towards Luthadel, feeling hurt and betrayed by her friends' sacrifice. She pushes herself to absurd lengths, but still has no plan in mind for when she gets there. What does she hope to achieve if she does make it in time? There's no way she can possibly fight off so many Koloss with just her abilities alone. The way I see it, the best she can hope for is to rescue as many people as she can. This being a book, she'll most likely make it in time to save her friends. Most of them, anyway.
Breeze and clubs share a few moving last words, in the end blaming Kelsier for their current predicament. Ah, yeah, there's always someone to blame for everything, isn't there? Shortly after this, heralded by masculine screams, the gates burst open.
A messenger arrives and informs Sazed that the Zinc gate has been breached. Before the messenger leaves, Sazed tells him to relay to Dockson, basically, that he has no faith in himself, and that he wishes to be replaced. I don't see why he bothers. It's not like anyone else is any better off.
The Penrod-appointed leader of this unit comes to Sazed shortly after, inquiring as to what the messenger had to say. What? Why didn't he listen in while the messenger was talking to Sazed? He is supposed to be in charge, after all.
Anyway, Sazed tells him, and he doesn't take it too well. The poor guy is in distress-- absolutely petrified. Sazed, seeing that the young man is in way over his head--even more so than himself--gives the best advice he has to offer. He tells the man to give orders--any orders--just to let the men know he's in charge, give them someone to look to.
The advice seems to help the young commander somewhat, but then they notice a group of skaa gathering behind them, watching. Waiting. Seizing the opportunity to distance himself from his responsibility, Sazed goes to convince them to return to hiding.
When he speaks to the skaa, though, they refuse to leave their places, despite the fact that their "Holy First Witness" urges them to do so. That's right. These are Survivorists, and because he was the witness to Vins greatest triumph, in other words her, "coming of sanctity", they revere him as well. These people still cling to the hope that Vin will return to save them, and if she does come, they believe that she will first manifest herself to the holy witness. Heh, fair enough.
Sazed tries to deny his sanctity, but disaster strikes first. The tempest crashes over the walls. The poor young inexperienced commander is the first to be dragged screaming into the depths of the afterlife by the bestial tsunami. Giant blue waves, each nearly ten feet in height, descend on the defenders, and the men scatter beneath their ferocious might.
It looks as if the battle might already be lost, but Sazed steps up to the occasion and takes control of the rapidly deteriorating situation. Tapping enormous amounts of strength, he unleashes the beast within, super sizing feeble muscles, and transforming once bony fists into weapons of mass destruction. Not even the largest of the koloss is a match for his fearsome prowess.
He gives his men words of encouragement, giving them the courage to face their monstrous adversaries with some degree of stability, but the koloss are relentless, and seemingly without number. The Luthadel defenders are still fighting a losing battle.
Vin finally collapses from exhaustion. She's out of pewter dust, and just about out of hope as well. In order to keep on going, she has no choice but to begin using her vials of combined metals. Even then, she doesn't have enough pewter to take her all the way to Luthadel.
She rises, and sees smoke in the distance. A city? No, a small skaa village. Upon making her way to the abode, Vin hears joyous sounds emanating from the occupied hovels. How can they be feeling any degree of happiness when there is a koloss army not five days from them?
The sounds of happiness revitalise Vin's failing hopes. She then approaches one of the hovels and pounds on the door, asking for pewter. A woman and her husband open the door, and they, thinking that she's just a small child, ask her what happened to her parents. This might have been amusing at any other time, but Vin doesn't have time for their crap right now, so she soothes the couple into compliance.
They tell her that they have silverware, but Vin doesn't have time to mix metals, so their forks and spoons won't do her much good. That's when it hits her. What she needs it's a spike way, which she doesn't have, but she could make her own. She asks the married couple for horse shoes, and the husband takes her to the stable, where they have a barrel-ful of the rusty things, which is apparently exactly what she needed.
By this time, more of the village folk have come out to see whats going on. She takes a few of the horseshoes, and before she goes, the villagers ask her if she's...her. She replies with a simple "yes", and flies off. Great, now these people will have a nice tale to tell their children. That is, if they live that long.
Using horse shoes like coins, Vin... Well, its hard to describe what Vin does. She sort of juggles herself, using the horseshoes as hands. I picture it as looking some sort of weird science fiction Rayman anomaly.
Anyway, Juggling herself through the air, Vin continues her trek to Luthadel. Unlike with the Cett incident, this time her goal is strictly to save. although she will have to slaughter many to do so. It sort of helps that her victims won't be actual people, though.
Then again, who's to say that Koloss aren't people? They're sentient, and have displayed rudimentary levels of intelligence on multiple occasions. Perhaps the wanton massacre of the beasts isn't quite so justifiable as I thought...
Heh, what am I saying? They're just savages. It's an "us or them" situation, right?
End of Chapter 52
Straff crests the hilltop overlooking Luthadel. He's on top of the world right now; He's managed to sniff out the drug that holds him, and he feels absolutely fantastic. He's starting to get on my nerves, now. I await justice.
Gazing down at Luthadel, he sees that the koloss have broken through four of the gates. The gates were only breached one hour ago, though, which apparently isn't long enough for his plans, so he instructs his generals to wait a few hours before attacking. I see where this is going, now. I should never have believed that anything was too evil for this guy. If only he'd gone ahead and kicked the bucket earlier.
Meanwhile, in Luthadel, the sea rages. Sazed, tapping daunting amounts of strength, weathers the storm with fierce perseverance, but he's consuming strength at an alarming rate, and his men are beginning to falter under the weight of the koloss' unfaltering rage. Still, the beasts have suffered severe losses. If the defenders are able to hold out until Vin arrives, there may yet be hope for them.
As I said, the koloss have suffered some seriously hefty losses. Their sense of self preservation starts to kick in, and they begin to gather outside of the gate, creating an opening for Sazed. He seizes the opportunity, and, drawing even more strength and iron, is able to force the gates shut and singlehandedly hold them shut thanks to his outrageous weight.
Unfortunately, he hasn't stored nearly as much weight as he has other attributes, so he's unable to hold the gates closed for long. The surviving human soldiers manage to slay the koloss inside the walls and, just before Sazed's weight runs out, bar the gate, granting themselves a moments respite.
One of Docksons messengers shows up shortly after, bearing news of the Tin gate's--Tindwyl's gate's--fall more than an hour ago. Sazed is a bit preoccupied, though. Those gates won't hold for long, so all he can do now is stay put and hope for her safety.
The koloss pound against the gates, Sazed taps strength in anticipation, the gates splinter, and their respite is ended.
Breeze and Clubs fall back from the Zinc gate with their surviving men. The sea of red, blue, and steel is at their heels, its tide washing away all who are too weak to escape it's wrath. Basically, they're all knee deep in...dirt... at this point. I'm beginning to have doubts as to how many of them will survive this ordeal.
Their plan was to fall back to keep Lekal, but on their way there they are sandwiched between two koloss forces. Clubs is the first to die in the ensuing skirmish. Faced with the towering koloss, his own feeble mortality, and the sight of his friend's lifeless body, Breeze's courage falters, and he flees into a building to hide. I guess as he's not quite as ready to die as he supposed.
We get to see from Dockson's perspective for once. Correct me if I'm wrong, but this is the first time, right? Anyway, he talks to himself, trying to see what they could have done differently. Like everyone else, He blames Kelsier for the mess he's in, but unlike many, he actually seems more angry than frightened.
There is a bit of happy news to be had here. Apparently Ham managed to survive the breach of his gate, and he's made it to Keep Lekal. Dockson isn't quite so lucky, though.
The koloss finally break into Venture keep, bringing with them death and chaos in great abundance. Dockson meets his end with sword in hand. damnation. First clubs, and now Dox. Who's next?
I've always found it kind of weird reading a characters death from their own point of view. I kind of liked Dockson. It sucks that he had to die, but I guess, in order to give some sort of significant meaning, or impact, to the event, some protagonist, or someone the protagonist deeply care about, had to go. Otherwise we might have something akin to that dreadful Amayar incident on our hands.
Anyway, King Venture of the rotten heart watches from his hilltop as the koloss spread their chaos through Luthadel like a ravenous plague. The way he sees it. They actually deserve this, so when Janarle insists that he strike now before there's nothing left to save, Straff tells him to Let it burn. Let it all go up in flames.
Janarle is taken aback by the statement, but that's no matter to Straff. Once all of this is over, he plans take care of Janarle, and all those who even slightly oppose him. He'll build a new, Straff centered city. No. Not city--universe!
Allrianne begs her father to give aide to Breezy's city, but, as far as he can see, it's too late. He has no choice but to assist Straff, and pray to God that the evil bastard doesn't screw him over in the end. Which is great, because when he does betray him, Staff will be able to use that oh-so-popular evil line. That's right, you know the one.
Allrianne doesn't take her fathers rejection all too well. She tells Cett that she misjudged him. That she thought he was a good man deep, deep, deep down on the inside. Ha, I wonder how she figured that. She need only look to Luthadel to see what happens to good men in a world without empathy. As her father so kindly points out. The good men are all dead. Oh, I don't know about that. Elend is still very much alive, and he's the goodliest of goodly men. Even if he did kill Jastes bloody Lekal.
Anyway, I don't even see how this is an argument. Cett isn't exactly my definition of smart, wise, or even competent, but even he can see that they if his army were to attack now, they'd end up having to face down both Straff and the koloss. With the odds stacked so heavily against him, it's no wonder he's not willing to make a move.
Sazed fights on, one beacon of defiance in a sea of rage, but his luck finally seems to run out. He runs out of strength. Decades worth, gone in a day.
Sazed collapses, finally resigned to his fate. It almost looks like Sazed is going to go the way of Dickson and Clubs, but of course Vin arrives in the very knick of time to save him. Had she been even five seconds slower, he would just be another red stain on the already soot-stained snow.
Vin sets to clearing the square with impressive displays of allomantic might, buying precious time for Sazed and his fellow surviving defenders. Sazed makes use of that time to get the now chanting Survivorist's organised and prepared to get out of this place. Things are starting too look slightly more positive.
Breeze hides in a building, paralysed with fear as he listens to the sounds of the battle raging just outside his walls. Breeze thinks himself a coward, but a true coward would have fled this city months ago. He broke only when faced with absolutely certain death. Had he stood and faced that koloss, he would have died. As it is, he's just lucky that he somehow managed to get away.
As Breeze wallows in abject guilt, reaching his absolute lowest point in the entire series, Ham, of all people, shows up. He's been injured, but he has Sazed and few soldiers with him. One of which says that it was Breeze's touch on their emotions that gave them strength to persevere. Really? I never would've guessed it from the way Breeze was thinking.
Ham asks for Breeze's help, Why look to him? Can they not see that he is no longer himself? Clubs's death, and his own supposed cowardice, have left him a broken man.
Sazed says that the soldiers can carry the wounded, but they can't keep staying here. Hopefully he counts the mentally damaged among the injured, because Breeze isn't going anywhere otherwise.
End of Chapter 54
Kwaan had his spiteful nephew ensure to get himself chosen as Alendi's escort. As we already know. Wasn't this all mentioned before? I wonder why Sanderson chose to write this twice...