I have finished the book. The mystery has been solved. Holy hamburgers. I am totally speechless.
The chapter starts off showing Sazed. It's been a week since Vin single-handedly spared Luthadel from a brutal Death by Koloss, and she's been sleeping the entire time, so it falls upon him to serve as acting Emperor until Elend gets back.
He's currently sitting in on a meeting between the three kings. Things are going about as smoothly as one could expect, considering that these men were enemies barely a week ago.
Cett wants to get straight to business and reclaim his lost country, but Penrod and Janarle disagree. They say they they should wait until the empress or emperor returns. and that they should be concerning themselves with securing Luthadel before expanding their reach. It's common sense, but it seems that Cett lacks the mental capacity to comprehend even the simplest of principles. How he's managed to survive as long as he has is a complete mystery to me.
Anyway, Sazed permits Cett to send scouts back to his homeland, but all they're allowed to do is look. Cett isn't happy with the verdict, but Sazed shuts him up with mentions of Vin's power, which is something he apparently does quite often these days.
Sazed thinks himself inadequate for the task Vin has placed upon him, but he's been finding it difficult to care. Tindwyl is dead, so what's the point? With that attitude, I dread to think of what will happen to his people if they come to him for leadership.
As it turns out, Janarle's city has also fallen into unfriendly hands, but, as Penrod the mediator so kindly points out, they still can't make any moves without leadership. Honestly, I don't see why they're all in such a rush to move. They wasted months just sitting outside Luthadel's walls; They can wait a few more hours.
Ashfalls have been occurring more and more often recently. I wonder. Does the frequency of the ashfalls have any in-world significance, or is it just a literary device used to signify the world's steady deterioration?
Elend and Lestibournes have finally arrived at Luthadel. Though the koloss are still camped outside the gates, there are bodies being buried, and Elend's flag is being flown. All seems relatively safe, so they enter, blending in with the normal civilians returning to their homes in Luthadel.
Sazed returned to his room after that dreadful meeting was ended. He, in his anguished state, returns to his and Tindwyl's manuscript, crying once more as he remembers their time together, wondering what the point of it all was. He must know, though.
He starts reading a random paragraph, which just so happens to be the section where Tindwyl pointed out several of the biggest contradictions they uncovered during their research.
One thing I find particularly interesting is that one passage says that the that the Hero would be a short man, but another passage states that he would be tall. Apparently Kwaan actually wrote that Alendi was short. I thought that he was supposed to have physically "towered over others", but it seems that he was just referring to his "presence," so to speak. How did I manage to misread that? I guess it's kinda like how I read Kwaan's name as "Kwaam" at first, and thought that Tindwyl's name was spelled Tyndwyl. Eh.
Kwaan also wrote that he thought himself to be the Holy First Witness. Is it a coincidence that that's what the Survivorists call Sazed in the present? Sazed feels that something's not quite right about this. Indeed. I couldn't agree more. There's something fishy going on here, but I can't quite place my finger on it. All I know is that the title "Holy First Witness" did not ring a bell when I first heard it.
Vin shows up, interrupting Sazed when he's on the brink of a what may be a world bending revelation. She tells him that she should not have been allowed to sleep for so long. When he informs her that she's been in a coma all this time, she's actually shocked. What? Does she think ordinary people just sleep for 168 hours straight? Besides, with the way she's been abusing her body, she should be thankful that she woke up at all.
Sazed tells her that its alright for her to rest now that this is all over, but she disagrees. She still feels the Well calling her. Beckoning to her. She says that it's in the city. :In the city...: What if it is the city. Yup, that's my crackpot theory for today. The Well is Luthadel.
Vin asks Sazed if he believes that she is the Hero of Ages. A week ago he would have said "yes" without hesitation, but he's beginning to have doubts once more, as the prophecies are so contradictory and confusing. Vin is unperturbed. She just tells him that it isn't about prophecies; its about "what needs to be done." If that's how she thinks, why did she bother asking him the damnation question in the first place?
Vin goes on to tell Sazed about how she drew on the mists against Lord Ruler. She says that the Well is in Luthadel, explaining that if Rashek was able to create the Ashmounts, he could very well have placed and Well wherever he want. Indeed. He could even, perhaps, have transformed the Well into a city. Actually, if Rashek truly had a hand in influencing the legends, then who's to say that the Well was ever in the mountains of Terris do begin with?
Anyway, Sazed detects voices. Upon tapping his hearing reserves, he hears that Elend has returned, and Vin leaps out of the window without saying another word. How rude.
Ham is filling Elend in on the events of the past week when Vin arrives. She and Elend embrace, and she tells him what she did. He isn't at all displeased with her, though. He chooses to accept the role of emperor, because, as he puts it, his views were too simplistic anyway. What's this? Compromise? Why, I never thought I'd see the day.
Elend, noticing how exhausted Vin looks, asks if she's still pewter dragging. Of course she isn't. Is it even possible to pewter drag for an entire week? She tells him that there's something else, and asks him to come someplace with her. He doesn't even stop to greet Sazed before waltzing off with her. How rude.
Sazed watches them from his window. At first he feels a great weight off his chest, but then he notices a piece of paper. On it is the rewriting of that passage containing the line that was torn out of the rubbing all those chapters ago. The line has been torn here as well, and the tear is―Surprise!―completely identical to all of the others.
Alendi must not take the power for himself. Is it some sort of code? Something was definitely wrong with Alendi specifically grasping the power for even an instant. Whatever it is, Sazed should probably keep Vin away from the Well until he can get to the bottom of this. What was it that he told Cett? Ah, yes. Not to be hasty.
Vin leads Elend, Ham, and Spook to Kredik Shaw. The thumping has grown so intense that she is now able to discern exactly where in the city it's coming from.
Elend tells Vin that the mists are behaving in an unnatural manner. Vin says that they are guiding her, but he says that the mist actually seem to be pulling away from her. Almost as if it fears her, which is odd, because it allowed her to draw upon it's power to defeat the Lord Ruler. Vin doesn't care, though. She feels right about what she's doing, and her feelings usually lead her to the right decision. Excluding the whole Cett debacle, of course. She "felt" that he was a Mistborn, and we all know how that turned out.
Anyway, the group enters Kredik Shaw. Vin leads them through it's halls, searching with steel as she walks to the Lord Ruler's secret chamber, eventually finding something. Using Duralumin, she uncovers a hidden stairwell, and after replenishing her metals, Vin and the others make their way down..
Sazed once again returns to read Kwaan's writing. This has all been stated before earlier in the book, but it somehow feels more eery this time around. Sazed is bothered by the whole "Holy First Witness" thing, but he doesn't know why. Perhaps it's the striking parallels between Kwaan, Sazed, Alendi, and Vin. Their roles seem to all but completely identical. If Alendi wasn't the Hero, and he circumstances were the same as Vin's, what are the chances that she is?
As Sazed tries to make sense of all this, he notices someone standing next to his chair. He turns to see the mist spirit staring at the torn sheet of paper on his desk. He falls over in horror, asking what it wants. The spirit points incessantly towards the center of the city, Where Vin is currently breaking into the Lord Ruler's hidden, hidden chamber.
It then occurs to Sazed that, if the mist spirit was the one who tore out that line from the manuscript, then it must have been trying to get something across to him. Perhaps, the power of the Well corrupts even the best of people. Perhaps, regardless of a person's heart, they have no choice but to use the power to destroy.
Or maybe it corrupts only the pure hearted. That would almost explain why Kwaan did not want Alendi to reach the Well, but was perfectly fine with Rashek doing so. The only problem is that Rashek was already no good, so, although he stopped the deepness, he still caused a great deal of harm to the world. Am I to believe that Alendi would have caused even more harm had he lived to take the power, regardless of whether or not he released it?
There's no more time for thinking. Vin is just moments away from finding the Well. Suddenly, Sazed hears an agonised scream, and the entire city joins in cacophony shortly thereafter. Sazed rushes out of his room, but it's already too late.
Vin and the rest of the group walk down the stairwell into a vast chamber, where they find vast stores of canned goods. They also find a map of the Final Empire engraved into a metal slab. Luthadel is at the very center of it, but another city is circled as well. Statlin City. If they don't find the Atium down here, it would probably be in their best interest to search there.
Vin is uninterested in any of their minor discoveries. She is committed to her purpose and will not be so easily dissuaded. Pointing down a pathway, she urges Elend to come along.
Sazed dashes down the streets amidst the screams, following the Mist spirit's lead. He feels an inexplicable trust for the entity. It would seem that it's soothing him as well. Can it use other forms of Allomancy as well, or is it only capable of soothing? Perhaps this creature could hold the answer to the question of Allomancy's origins.
On his way to Kredik Shaw, Sazed comes across a corpse. The man did not die easy, but appears to have been "shaken" like poor Jed, the farmer. The mists have once again begun to kill in force. He asks the mist spirit if it is the cause of this, but it denies the accusation vehemently, and once again points towards Kredik Shaw. So I am to believe that the Mist spirit is not related to the deepness in any way?
Sazed finally decides that Vin must be stopped, so he runs into Kredik Shaw. The mist spirit does not follow. He rushes through the building and finds the opening that Vin uncovered. He also finds Marsh standing in the doorway. Marsh tells him that he should not have come here. When Sazed asks for a explanation, Marsh says that he doesn't understand why, but he has to kill him. He then apologises, and promptly throws Sazed into a wall. Hah? What in the world is going on?
End of Chapter 57
Alendi must not reach the Well of Ascension. Yet, it seems that whatever commands the Inquisitors―whatever it was that spoke to Zane― desperately wants her to find it.
Everything seems to have been flipped on it's head. The "Misty Death", which seemed like such a terrible menace for the entire book, suddenly doesn't seem all that bad. This "third party" seems to be a much bigger threat. This creature, "Zod", also wants the Keepers out of the way for some reason. Why could that be?
Elend and Vin walk down the passage until they run into another, smaller, cavern clouded with some sort of dark smoke... or mist, perhaps? This stuff, whatever it is, bears a close resemblance to the depictions of the deepness in the illustrations. It also seems to be contained inside the cavern by an invisible barrier of some kind. Curious, that.
Vin steps into the dark cavern, urging Elend to follow. It's pitch black, but Vin can see a light ahead.
As Sazed slides to the ground, Marsh once again asks him why he came. He says that everything was going well before Sazed showed up. What was going well? What has he been doing here all this time? Has he been into the hidden chamber? Has he been to the Well?
Marsh apologises once again, and, assuming that there are coins inside, he shoots Sazed with his bag of metalminds. The metals tear into Sazed's flesh. It almost looks like the time has come for Sazed to say goodbye to this cruel world, but before his wounds kill him, he's is able to draw health from his gold ring inside the bag, closing his wounds and sealing the metals inside his gut. Hot damnation! With feruchemy being capable of feats like this, it's no wonder that Rashek was able to make himself seem invincible.
Elend and Vin walk through the dark cavern. Vin exudes a firm sense of determination, but Elend finds his present circumstances to be rather...daunting. The thought of the Well's immense, impossible power terrifies him, as it should; The thing is supposed to hold enough power to crush very world he lives in like a soft, mushy grape... gross. At any rate, it isn't the kind of thing that one takes lightly.
Vin and Elend reach the end of the tunnel, and find another chamber, this one seemingly man-made. There is light here coming from a pool of some sort. Upon seeing what can only be the Well of Ascension, Vin's confidence seems to evaporate. She fears that she won't know what to do when the time comes, but Elend reassures her, which just so happens to be what he's best at.
Vin, having recovered some of her earlier confidence, notices some broken pottery in a ledge at the back of the room. Upon closer inspection, Elend finds a plate that has not yet been shattered. At its center is a bead of some new metal. Neither of them have ever seen it's like before, but, as Elend says, the answer may lie closer to the Well. I don't see how he figures that, but it doesn't really matter now. They abandon the shattered pottery and approach their destination.
Meanwhile, Sazed battles against Marsh. The ultimate showdown between allomancy and feruchemy! Thanks to Marsh's earlier attack, Sazed's metals are trapped firmly inside his own flesh, safe from Marsh's foul allomantic touch. With iron on his side, Sazed also has the oh-so essential weight advantage, and with Zinc enhancing his mind, he has an advantage similar to that which Atium affords.
Which brings to mind the question: Why isn't Marsh in possession of Atium? The Inquisitors must have had some with them in the Conventical of Seran. Then again, they probably wouldn't have left any behind for him, or anyone else to take. Could Atium have been what he was looking for in the Inquisitors' chambers?
Anyway, the two of get into a "pushing match" of sorts, and Sazed once again asks Marsh why? Marsh apparently doesn't know, but that doesn't make any sense. Has he lost control of his own limbs? Zod was never able to physically take control of Zane's body, so why should Marsh be any different?
The battle runs it's course, and Sazed finds an opening. He moves in for the kill, but just before he's able to strike the killing blow, his metalminds run dry. Is it bad that I'm just a little bit relieved by this? I have so many questions. It would suck if Marsh were to get himself wasted before any of them could be answered.
Marsh, having lucked out, disarms Sazed, but just before he can finish Sazed off, he takes a dueling cane to the head. Ham has come to the rescue―just in the nick of time, too. His blow knocks Marsh out cold. Sazed still needs to stop Vin, though, so he doesn't have time to chat. He takes off down the stairway without saying a word.
Elend and Vin approach the Well of Ascension. It's a pool filled with some sort of mesmerizingly beautiful Liquid Metal. If it is metal, then I'm guessing that only Mistborn are able to tap into it's power. Does that mean that Alendi and Rashek were both Allomancers?
Vin notices the mist spirit standing directly in front of them. She reaches for her daggers, but before she can draw them, Elend stops her. He says that he doesn't think it's dangerous, telling her about his previous encounter with it. He then approaches the spirit, and inquires as to it's purpose here. It responds by slashing his gut open. Ah.
Elend falls over, bleeding profusely. When Vin sees that his would is most definitely fatal, she begins to panic. I knew it! I knew it!
As Elend dies in her arms, he looks at her and smiles. Or at least he tries to. I imagine it's kinda difficult to do anything when you're as close to the Other Side as he is now. Vin sees she can still save him. She need only take the power of the Well for herself.
Vin walks into the pool, absorbing the awesome power of the Well. She turns to Elend, somehow knowing exactly what she must do to fix him, but a voice stops her. Vin, with the power surging through her, is able to see exactly what happened when Rashek took the power for herself, and she sees that the deepness has returned in full force. The voice tells her that if she tries to stop it on her own, she will destroy the world, just as Rashek did.
Vin looks to Elend. He's weeping now from a pain that Vin believes to be completely unrelated to the gaping wound in his gut. Knowing that he wouldn't want her to save him at the expense of the entire world, she releases the power go. At that very moment she hears an exultant voice scream "I'm free!"
Ah. What just happened?
End of Chapter 58
Kwaan's last written words were "For he must not be allowed to release the thing that is imprisoned there." Woah! I'm a little confused here. That is not what I recall being written there before. What's up with that?
Regardless, Could that thing that she just released have been Zod. That would mean that, from the very beginning, Vin, Sazed... everyone has just been a pawn in his bid to gain freedom. What is Zod, really? Who imprisoned him? How did they accomplish such a feat? Also, where the hell do they go from here? Agh! So many questions.
Not only is she about to lose her husband, but she may also have just ushered in the apocalypse. I was about to ask what Vin has done to deserve this, but then it hit me. It's so obvious! How could I not have seen it before? Vin killed Straff. It was after her marriage to Elend, so he was her father; which made him kin. This is yet another tragic example of the kinslayer being cursed by gods and men!
Anyway, untimely jokes aside, Vin is going through hell right now. She weeps with Elend in her arms, knowing that she's made a catastrophic mistake. She cries out for help, but no one can save him now. I feel like I've read, or perhaps written, this very scenario before. It looks like I was right. Elend really is a dead man.
The mist spirit stands above her, once again pointing at something. Vin, somehow able to think clearly with her husband dying in right before her eyes, realises that the creature only stabbed Elend to get her to use the Well's power to save him. Ah, of course. It should have worked, but Vin was just too selfless, in the end.
The spirit points at the broken pottery that they stumbled upon earlier. Specifically at the piece of metal embedded into the plate that Elend found. The creature instructs her to feed the metal to Elend. Could it be?
Vin washes the bead down Elends throat with her remaining vial, and as he fades into unconsciousness, something totally awesome happens. He begins burning pewter. Elend, who always wished for allomantic abilities, has become a bonafide Mistborn.
I guess I was wrong. It looks like Elend is going to survive after all.
Sazed left Luthadel after the events of the past weeks. I wonder if he managed to get those metals out of his gut. I can't even imagine the hellish suffering he must have gone through to pull that off. He would've had to spend weeks storing health to prepare himself for what would otherwise have been a fatal operation. Even then, the removal of those metals must have laid him at the very doorstep of death itself.
Anyway, the deepness has returned to blight the land. It kills seemingly at random. It's as if the whole world has transformed into that village that Sazed came across way back in chapter fifteen.
Tyndwyl's death, and the events that followed have transformed the once optimistic Terrisman into a bit of a cynic. Vin told him about the Thing she released, but instead of staying to record her testimony, he just walked away.
Sazed has returned to Kwaan's steel plate in Conventical of Sarand. When he places his rubbing up against the original texts, he finds that they do not match. The text was modified by the very entity that Vin released from the Well. The Terris prophecies, the Hero of Ages, even the deepness, has all been a cunning deception.
This must be why Marsh did not allow Sazed to read the text on the slab when they first came here. He must have known that Sazed would find something that he shouldn't have. Well, he reads it now. All questions are answered, and Sazed's already shaky beliefs are shattered and ground to dust
The being that I called "Zod" has the power to alter anything not written in steel. Even the memories in a Feruchemist's metalmind. He modified the prophecies to get a selfless "Hero" to free him of his bonds. This explains why Kwaan chose Rashek, whom he knew would, without a doubt, take the power for himself.
Elend has finally awoken from his slumber. He, as I had assumed, is a full blown Mistborn. As Vin says, this answers the question of where the first Allomancers came from. It also reveals why only someone with noble blood can be born an allomancer, and, more importantly, how Rashek must have defeated Alendi.
Anyway, Vin explains to Elend what happened at the Well. Elend, though he appears hardened, is just as supportive as before. When Vin asks him what they're to do now, his reply is just about the only thing they can do at this point. "Survive."
End of Part Six
There it is, folks. I must say, it never once occurred to me that the text in Sazed's rubbing might have actually been changing, so I chalked all of the discrepancies in the text up to my own crappy observational skills. Well, I'm glad to be able to say that I don't totally suck after all.
I'm still kind of in shock after that ending. Never before have I read a book where the author mislead the reader in such a way. I originally came to this series looking for some light reading, but what I've gotten has been two of the most enjoyable and fascinating fantasy books I've read in years.
This book easily topped The Final Empire in practically every way. I actually find it hard to imagine how the third book can possibly be better than this one. I guess I'll find out next year in "First Time Reading the Well of Ascension: Season 2 - First Time Reading the Hero of Ages!"