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BGMusgrave

Are there mistings/ferrings that can burn/store useless metals?

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In the original Mistborn trilogy, Kelsier wars Vin not to burn unknown metals because bad metals can make you sick and bad alloys can make you sick. This means that Mistborn can burn all metals even ones that don't grant any power. Does that mean that there are mistings that can burn metals like lead? Also, does this mean that there are way more feruchemy abilities or is it just storing nothing at which point would you be able to push/pull on the metal if it was full?

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Welcome BGMusgrave! I see that this is your first post. Just so you know, the theorizing and debating gets really deep here at 17th Shard, and seen that even though I haven't been here very long compared to most. Depending on how deep you want to get into Brandon Sanderson's works, I'd recommend going to this post that gives an overview of the books that fit into the same universe. If you're already familiar with the Cosmere and have read most of Brandon's books, this is where you get some information that hasn't ever appeared in the books but have been confirmed (or at least referred to) by Brandon.

The question you have here delves into some concepts that are seen in other books but not as much in the original Mistborn trilogy. I'm not sure if there's an answer to this, but here's my best take on it.

Here's something that Brandon put out that seems related. I got this from https://wob.coppermind.net/:

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Brandon Sanderson

The Hero of Ages Annotations

Chapter Thirty-Eight

Preservation's Power

All right, so maybe I lied about there only being three magic systems in this book. It comes down to how you term the powers of Preservation and Ruin, who kind of blanket the entire system. There are a lot of things going on here, and—well, the truth is I don't want to mention all of them, for fear of spoiling future books. However, I'll give you a few rules to apply.

First, to these forces, energy and mass are the same thing. So, their power can take physical shape—as Preservation's did in the bead of metal Elend ate. Second, there is a bit of Preservation inside of all the people—and it's this that allows the people to perform Allomancy. It needs to be awakened and stirred to be of use, but when it is, a proper metal can draw forth more of Preservation's power. It's like the metal attunes the bit within the person, allowing it to act as a catalyst to grab more power.

Allomancy is not fueled by metal; it is fueled by Preservation. The metal is the means by which a person can access that fuel, however. If there were another way to access it, then the metal wouldn't be needed.

Preservation's touch on people differs. Some have more, some have less. This doesn't make them better or worse people—indeed, some most touched by Preservation have been among the worst people in the world. As Ruin later points out, there is a difference between being evil and being destructive.

Regardless, if a person can get more Preservation into them, they become better Allomancers. Hence Elend becoming a Mistborn. Like all people, he had the potential within him—it was just too small of a potential to be awakened through normal means. That little jolt of Preservation's body, however, expanded and awakened his Allomancy.

As a tidbit, that was a side effect of what that bead of metal did. It wasn't the main purpose of the bead, and if another Allomancer were to burn it, it would do something else.

The Hero of Ages Annotations (Nov. 12, 2009)

and this one

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Brandon Sanderson

Chapter Sixty - Part One

Silver, the Useless Metal

I've annotated about this before, but I figured I'd mention it again. As you probably know, in book one, tin was originally silver. I swapped it out for various reasons.

However, that left silver having no Allomantic powers. That feels strange to a lot of people because of how common and useful it is in our modern culture. Such an obvious metal doing nothing seems wrong to readers.

I toyed with using it in place of aluminum at the end of book one, but I realized that wouldn't work. It was too common, so if it had any Allomantic powers, people would know about them for certain. Only a metal that was very hard to find—like aluminum—would be believable as a new metal that most people hadn't heard of.

So silver is Allomantically inert. Just one of the quirks of the magic system.

The Hero of Ages Annotations (Feb. 11, 2010)

From these, you can have metals that simply do nothing. In this case, silver can't be Pushed or Pulled by someone burning Steel or Iron, but it also does nothing if an Allomancer attempts to burn it. In the case of an Allomancer getting sick from burning a metal that isn't quite the right alloy, it may be a case of it only working because it was close to the right "catalytic key" that allows Allomancers to gain access to the powers of Preservation, but different enough to cause issues with the soul. As for why specific metals give people access to the magic, that's probably just how the system works. A bit of information from Mistborn: Secret History, but there was a pretty definitive source that said that there were 16 Allomantic metals at the time of the first Mistborn trilogy. Even that number is a bit screwy when you start looking further into it, but it's a far cry from the 60 odd metals on the periodic table which doesn't even take into account alloys like brass.

I'd guess that non-Allomantic metals just don't burn, and if you eat lead, Allomancer or not, you're gonna get sick. What I don't know is if the metals show up to an Allomancer's "internal reserves", but I imagine that if a Pewterarm ate some tin, they wouldn't be able to sense it.

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There seems to be a misunderstanding here.

A bad metal or alloy is an impure metal. There are a set of specific metals and alloys that the Metallic Arts can use. If you are, for instance, a iron Misting, you need pure iron to burn. Any impurities present in the metal will make it ineffective, and if it's very impure it can make you sick.

With an alloy, there is a very specific alloy that an Allomancer can burn. Allomantic duralumin, for example, is 96% aluminum and 4% copper. If you were Mistborn and tried to burn an alloy of 80% aluminum and 20% copper, it would make you sick, and may actually kill you.

Metals which do not have an allomantic power cannot be burned, not even by Mistborn.

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1 hour ago, Duxredux said:

an have metals that simply do nothing. In this case, silver can't be Pushed or Pulled by someone burning Steel or Iron, but it also does nothing if an Allomancer attempts to burn it. In the case of an Allomancer getting sick from burning a metal that isn't quite the right alloy, it may be a case of it only working because it was close to the right "catalytic key" that allows Allomancers to gain access to the powers of Preservation, but different enough to cause issues with the soul. As for why specific metals give people access to the magic, that's probably just how the system works. A bit of information from Mistborn: Secret History, but there was a pretty definitive source that said that there were 16 Allomantic metals at the time of the first Mistborn trilogy. Even that number is a bit screwy when you start looking further into it, but it's a far cry from the 60 odd metals on the periodic table which doesn't even take into account alloys like brass.

I may be mistaken but I believe the Push/Pull effect works natively on any mundane metal (other than aluminum), and has been shown to work on non-metals when boosted to high enough power levels.  That's entirely separate from what can and cannot be burned, which is a topic that has seen some retcon recently.  Best I can tell: Only the 16 mundane metals can be burned, and without shardic intervention only those 16 will have Mistings or Ferrings appearing in the S-Genome. Silver is not active in any of the Metallic arts, despite having some magical use in the cosmere overall.  

Godmetals are special; anyone can theoretically burn both scadrian ones, but Atium alloys require Mistborn or (unnatural) Mistings and all the Atium we've seen was actually an atium-electrum alloy which is why it couldn't be burned by anyone.  In both (all?) cases their power seems to be accessed and/or manipulated via Alloying the metal with other things (mundane metals, other godmetals, etc) so mathematically there are a lot of possibilities that could be worthwhile.

1 hour ago, Duxredux said:

I'd guess that non-Allomantic metals just don't burn, and if you eat lead, Allomancer or not, you're gonna get sick. What I don't know is if the metals show up to an Allomancer's "internal reserves", but I imagine that if a Pewterarm ate some tin, they wouldn't be able to sense it.

Agreed, to a Misting, the Alloy, etc is just a impure version of their main metal.  There's been some retcon on metal poisoning: originally it was a thing in the books and in WOB but since about 2020 he's been saying they have an evolutionary resistance to it.  

 

 

Quote

 

rederel

Now i'm morbidly curious whether u/mistborn has considered it [cadmium poisoning] while writing his books.

Brandon Sanderson

I have, actually. Though I had to consider it for other metals first. I decided that allomancers are immune to these kinds of effects--they're just physiologically different in that regard.

General Reddit 2021 (June 11, 2021)

 

 

 

Quote

 

Questioner 1

Does aluminum actually make the metals disappear, like, be metabolized? Or does it just cut the Spiritual connection?

Brandon Sanderson

So... I haven't actually canonized that... I've gone back and forth. For a while, I said it got rid of them. And there may even be... But the more I thought about that, the more it doesn't make much sense.

Questioner 1

It doesn't. Especially the way that duralumin works, it doesn't really make sense.

Brandon Sanderson

And so, I've been kind of pushing the other way. Since I haven't said it in-world, it's not truly canon, but I believe I've answered other fans saying that it burns them all away in a flash, and we might need it to do that, for future things. So, I'm undecided.

Questioner 2

It needs to get rid of them, but a path to sever the connection at the same time.

Brandon Sanderson

One of the big problems is, if it only severs the connection and leaves the metals, than you have heavy metal poisoning from some of the metals.

Questioner 1

But if it makes them burn away, that doesn't work the same way as duralumin. Duralumin only burns the ones you're burning.

Brandon Sanderson

Yeah. I kinda have to err back on the side of "it gets rid of them," just we don't have to deal with metal poisoning, but I've kind of been wavering a little bit, thinking, "Is there a better way to explain this."

LTUE 2020 (Feb. 15, 2020)

 

 

 

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