Kurkistan

Inquisitorial Scars

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I was rereading Mistborn: FE recently, and noticed something odd about Inquistors' healing: It leaves scars.
 
Their healing does seem to be due to gold Feruchemy: in the annotations, Brandon says "The Inquisitors can actually heal far more quickly than I've had them do in this book," and later says "Two attributes that can be stored up by Feruchemists, by the way, are healing and the ability to move very quickly," rather heavily implying that gold Feruchemy is how the Inquisitors heal.
 
But, in the scene after Vin is captured (pg 600 of my paperback, chapter 36), she notices that one of the Inquisitors' face is pocked with arrow-head scars, mere hours after her "iron ring behind a stone arrowhead" trick punched a few holes into him.
 
That's right, scars. Scars. After a few hours and using gold Feruchemy. This is bad, and does not at all align with how Gold works in any other context we've seen. I see a few options to explain this.
 
1) Continuity error. Brandon changed his mind about how gold Feruchemy works. I doubt this, though, because TLR is perfectly fine with being speared and flayed and (mostly) beheaded and burned alive and. . . with nary a scar to be seen. That suggests that "normal" gold Feruchemy works in the scar-less way we know and love, even in this first book. Brandon also wrote all three Mistborn books together, so it seems like he'd catch this.

-Still, it's a possibility. It's a rather small reference, and easy to miss. On the flip side, it is rather important to Vin/the reader's realization that the Inquisitors can Heal themselves quickly like TLR can, and one of several routes by which to follow the rabbit trail down to Feruchemy, so Brandon might have left such a relatively minor magic system error in on purpose.
 
2) The Inquisitor wasn't using gold Feruchemy, but instead some other method. Perhaps an as-yet-unknown Hemalurgic spike, or super-flared double pewter. I seriously doubt this, though. We know from the Brandonothology that "The [inquisitors] alive now pretty much all have healing spikes", so why would our Inquisitor use an inferior methid, especially since he was hurt enough by the arrows to literally had holes blown through him. Add this to Brandon's hints in the annotations about Inquisitors using gold Feruchemy, and it's almost certain that our scarred Inquisitor healed himself with it.

 

3) Any gold Feruchemy not applied near-instantaneously leaves some scars behind. I doubt this as well: it seems from TES that Cognitive aspects (on which Healing is based) are rather robust and long-lasting, so I can't imagine that a few hours would make "holes punched through my face" the new normal, even putting aside how the Inquisitor would stay alive long enough to have his Cognitive aspect change without using gold Feruchemy.

 

4) The scarred Inquisitor applied gold Feruchemy in the same way that we usually see--as we see with Wayne, Miles, Sazed, and TLR--and yet was still left with scars.

 

4.1) This scarring was a result of the Inquisitor being an Inquisitor. Inquisitors are unnatural creatures, not truly human anymore. They seem to grow in height, they become fatigued easily (beyond just resting a lot to store up Feruchemy), and they're unnaturally creepy ( ;)). Maybe gold Feruchemy just works differently on them.

 

4.1.1) The otherwise normal gold Feruchemy that Inquisitors use is twisted by their otherwise "Ruinous" dispositions. Whereas a normal person with a single spike for gold Feruchemy might well be able to Heal himself normally, Inquisitors who have been twisted to the point where they need "linchpin" spikes just to stay alive are beyond the pale. This is slightly different from 4.1 in that perhaps a Kandra or othersuch "unnatural" creature could still get "pure" gold Feruchemy.

 

4.2) Hemalurgic Feruchemical gold is scar-inducing. I'm not sure about this one. It's in line with the above and with how "Ruin likes to Ruin things", with Ruin allowing Healing, but in an "end negative" way that still leaves the user worse off than they were before they were wounded. Perhaps. But it's a rather extreme effect, especially since we've already identified "it's harder to store Health" as our consequence for Hemalurgic decay. I suppose Ruin could take a special interest in deforming the effects of perhaps the most "Preservationy" of the Feruchemical effects.

 

Myself, I'm leaning towards some variant of 4, if you couldn't guess from the detail I went into for that option. 4.1 or 4.1.1, ideally. Your thoughts?

Edited by Kurkistan
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I'm guessing it just takes more healing to get rid of scars.  IRL, scar tissue is formed as part of a process to get you back up on your feet and functional as soon as possible (with some loss of functionality, but it's quick).  In mutant mammals that regenerate (like MRL mice, for example), you don't get scarring when they heal, but the healing process also takes a lot longer.

 

With an inquisitor, who has to ration his healing (and, due to hemalurgic decay, isn't as good as normal with gold), it's probably more efficient to only burn enough gold to heal things up to 'functional'.  With someone like The Lord Ruler or Miles, they can just heal away any scar tissue.

 

Remember this section with Wayne?

He nodded to her, pulling out his handkerchief and handing it over, then knelt by Wayne. The man’s back was crusted with blood and burned skin, but it had been lifted and raised as scabs, new skin forming underneath.

 

You don’t ever get accustomed to it,” Wayne said. “Trust me.” He took a deep breath, then pulled off the remnants of his duster and shirt. Then he turned his burned back to Waxillium. “You mind?”

“You may want to turn away, Marasi,” Waxillium said.

She frowned, but didn’t look away. So he grabbed the burned layer at Wayne’s shoulder and—with a jerk—ripped the skin off his back. It came free in almost a single complete sheet. Wayne grunted.

New skin had formed underneath, pink and fresh, but it couldn’t finish healing properly until the old, stiff, burned layer had been removed. Waxillium tossed it aside.

“Oh, Lord of Harmony,” Marasi said, raising a hand to her mouth. “I think I might be sick.”

“I warned you,” Waxillium said.

“I thought you were referring to his burns. I didn’t realize you were going to tear off his entire back.”

Imagine if Wayne had less gold to use?  He'd end up with a horribly scarred up back.

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Perhaps. But still, it seems that we're a tad constrained by how Feruchemical gold works. It's very set on getting you back to "the form of yourself," so I'm unsure as to whether Wayne ever really has a choice but to, in another example, regrow his fingers rather than just forming scar tissue over the stumps.

 

If you're right, though, it would solve my little crisis neatly.

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Well, that's what sets the ideal form, but obivously if you have less juice in your goldminds they aren't going to get all the way there.

 

Marsh still has bone damage from where Vin hit him, but he might be keeping that as a memento

Driven into those eyes, point-first, were what looked like a pair of thick railroad spikes. One of the eye sockets was deformed, as if it had been crushed, long-healed scars and bony ridges under the skin marring the tattoos.

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I'd really like to buy your alternate explanation, but there you go giving me reason to doubt you with that quote. Super-Marsh didn't have the juice to spare to heal his broken face before battling for the fate of the planet? I feel like you might want your Champion in peak condition at that point, no half-measures. Unless he couldn't be healed without scars. . .

 

It may be the case that a Wayne without enough juice would just grow back only a small length of his fingers that would then eventually scar over naturally, though slightly longer than they would have been without Feruchemical gold intervention.

Edited by Kurkistan
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I'd really like to buy your alternate explanation, but there you go giving me reason to doubt you with that quote. Super-Marsh didn't have the juice to spare to heal his broken face before battling for the fate of the planet? I feel like you might want your Champion in peak condition at that point, no half-measures. Unless he couldn't be healed without scars. . .

 

You're Ruin.  You have a choice

 

A) Stop the bleeding, stick the bones back together.  You've spent 20/100 units of feruchemical gold, and Marsh is back to 100% fighting capacity.  He looks terrible

B) Heal up all the injuries to 100%, restoring the flesh, moving the bones back into place, and getting rid of those nasty scars.  You've spent 50/100 units of feruchemical gold.  Marsh is back to 100% fighting capacity.  He looks beautiful.

 

Which do you pick?

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The one that's faster and doesn't have any chance of messing with my fighters balance or senses: Spend whatever amount of my (near infinite, because of multiple Pewter spikes and ability to cheaply directly fuel Hemalurgy-enabled magic) Feruchemical gold I have to to get Marsh up and running as soon as Inquisitorially possible and headed for the Pits. You yourself said that "scar healing" takes more time, so it's wasteful in the one commodity that was sorely lacking at that point in the story.

Edited by Kurkistan
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Uh, no, I was saying that scar healing takes less time, and regeneration takes more.

 

And Marsh didn't take all the spikes from all the dead inquisitors, so...

Edited by Phantom Monstrosity
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Oh, wow, I managed to misread you there. Sorry, I guess I was going too fast, what with jumping around half a dozen threads at the same time. :(

 

Looking at your post again, I don't think that's quite how we see Feruchemical gold working. I think it's always like with the regenerating mice: no scar tissue ever. I had entertained the idea that a particularly slow Healing could give you scar tissue instead, but I do think it's mostly a case of one or the other. Wax isn't stripping off scar tissue, he's stripping off dead skin. The skin underneath is perfectly healthy, if a bit new. Not scarred at all.

 

I think it really has to be a wholly regenerative process because fingers don't grow back. They just don't. It doesn't matter what's fastest, or most efficient, you're not gong to get those digits back. But Wayne can.

 

Now if you want to suggest that Wayne could scar-up his stumps one day and then heal the fingers back another: maybe. I can see such a system working. But Feruchemists can only control rate of storage or tapping, nothing more. So the only thing to differentiate between "form scar tissue" and "form new fingers" is the amount you tap. Miles at super-tapping regrows things and Inquisitors are always low on Health, so it seems that especially low levels of tapping are what result in scar tissue. Thus, slow healing and Marsh would be better off fixing his face completely.

 

How else would you have the Feruchemist "choose" scars, seeing as we neither see a two-tier "scar tissue, then unnatural regrowth" process nor have much reason to posit one, in the face this Marsh evidence?

Edited by Kurkistan
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But Feruchemists can only control rate of storage or tapping, nothing more.

 

If you're using copper, tin, nicrosil or bendalloy, all of those allow for more control than just rate.

 

And let's say you lose all the skin off your back.  You need to, say, tap 300 units of health to regrow it instantly.  You tap 150 units.  What happens?  Do you partially regrow all the skin across your back (turning it into a mass of partially healed scar tissue), or do you fully regrow only half the skin, leaving you with a gaping wound across half your back?

Edited by Phantom Monstrosity
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Copper: yes. It's an odd-un, I'll give you that.
 
Tin: no. The different senses are stored in different tinminds.
 
Bendalloy: So far as I know, Subsumer's simply store calories and "fluid", not specific foods or nutrients, making everything generic.
-AoLAAA: "Subsumer Ferrings can store nutrition and calories in a bendalloy metalmind; they can eat large amounts of food during active storage without feeling full or gaining weight, and then can go without the need to eat while tapping the metalmind. A separate bendalloy metalmindcan be used to similarly regulate fluids intake."
 
Nicrosil: So far as I know (again), Nicrosil "genericizes" the Investiture it stores.
 
Both nicrosil and bendalloy haven't been seen in the books yet, and we only have the MAG to go on for them. I think the way the MAG presents them (especially bendalloy, nicrosil could just be another odd duck) is quite reasonable though. Even if both are in Copper's weird little camp, that's still a vast majority of "on/off" metals.

 

For Feruchemical gold in particular, we also have from just how it's discussed (with no less than three sometimes-viewpoint characters to look at) that it's all about speed of tapping. Even if not, I'm not sure how Feruchemical gold would allow "control" in any way similar to Feruchemical copper. Feruchemical copper allows you to store things of different types (differentiated memories) and draw them back discretely. Feruchemical gold allows you to store Health and draw it back. It doesn't allow you to store "scar-forming Health" and then draw it back all on its lonesome.

 

If Feruchemical bendalloy allows different kinds of food to be stored as separate kinds, or Feruchemical nicrosil allows diversity, both would be acting just like Feruchemical copper: you put a variety of fundamentally different things in and get those different things out. No Feruchemical power allows you to extract diversity from uniformity, as you ask that we do with Feruchemical gold: the few unique ones simply allow you to keep the diverse diverse.

 

---

 

For skin-loss, you yourself (yes, I double-checked this time ;)) give us the answer; look only to how your special, regenerating but not scarring mice heal: "you don't get scarring when they heal, but the healing process also takes a lot longer." So imagine that Wayne is one of those mice and what will his back look like after X days of normal (for freaky mutant mice) healing?

Edited by Kurkistan
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So let's say I have exactly one unit of feruchemical healing.  I need three hundred to regenerate a full arm.

 

If I'm understanding you right, if I tap one unit, it'll regrow the whole arm, but take a very long time to do it?

Edited by Phantom Monstrosity
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That is the rub. If I had to guess, I'd say that you'd grow back 1 mm of arm from the stump, and then, bereft of magical healing, it would scar over at this new normal.

 

That does leave open the possibility of careening between "Health states" to boost the arm along, but I think we can wave that away as the average "gain" from this "sick health" leveling out at zero as it is squandered re-fixing complications induced by going all sub-optimal while nursing a wound.

 

Like how you shouldn't be able to heal yourself from the flu without reserves because you materially and "permanently" become more sick (not just temporarily less Healthy, as is the case when a normal person stores Health) during your time of low Health, and need to spend all your gained energy just getting back to where you started, if not even settling for less. So an open stump would grow infected, new tissue wouldn't grow, etc. when you tried to store Health.

 

EDIT: Though I leave open the possibility that a particularly stubborn Bloodmaker could last long enough to get back up to "full Health" with a scarred over stump, then store and tap Health to grow his arm back, if his Cognitive aspect still gives him two arms.

 

EDIT 2: I might even be a bit too doomsay-y; perhaps someone with a wound who cared for it very well could get away with storing while they're still recuperating. Still not a good idea in general, though.

Edited by Kurkistan
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HoA Chapter 4

Sazed reached down, touching his stomach. Breeze's comments pained him. They brought his mind back to that terrible time a year before, when Tindwyl had been killed. When Sazed had fought Marsh at the Well of Ascension, and had nearly been killed himself. Even through his clothing, he could feel the scars on his abdomen, where Marsh had hit him with a collection of metal rings, piercing Sazed's skin and nearly killing him.

He'd drawn upon the Feruchemical power of those very rings to save his life, healing his body, engulfing them within him. Soon after, however, he'd stored up some health and then had a surgeon remove the rings from his body. Despite Vin's protests that having them inside him would be an advantage, Sazed was worried that it was unhealthy to keep them embedded in his own flesh. Besides, he had just wanted them gone.

 

Sazed gets scars when using feruchemical healing.

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Huh. I guess that settles it. Thank you for remembering/quoting that.

 

I guess that particularly slow healing == scars. Or do  want to argue over Feruchemical gold's ability to distinguish at high power-levels?

Edited by Kurkistan
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Well, using less Health at once is more efficient.  I figure the easiest explanation is 'you get scarring if you stop the healing process partway'.  It's probably like how it takes time for the muscles to deflate when you use feruchemical strength - the dregs of your gold reserve just do a quick patchup on whatever they're working on, so you don't regenerate half an arm and then bleed to death.

 

 

 

Anxious, he felt at Wayne’s neck. There was a faint pulse. Waxillium closed his eyes and let out a deep breath. As he watched, the wounds on Wayne’s back began to draw closed. It was a slow process. A Bloodmaker using Feruchemical healing was limited by how fast he wanted the power to work—recovering quickly required a much greater expenditure of health. If Wayne didn’t have much left, he’d need to work at a slow pace.

 

And yeah you should be able to eventually regrow an arm by storing health and then tapping it - though phantom limb syndrome would probably help in that regard. 

 

 

 

The point about tinminds/benadlloyminds is, let's say you have a piece of metal with no feruchemical charge.  Clearly you have the ability to say 'I want to store water' or 'I want to store sight' or 'I want to store touch' - which is more than just 'Store amount 0 to 100?'

Edited by Phantom Monstrosity
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I can see "patch scars" working. It sounds "natural", with the normal healing process starting to reassert itself as magic fails, and gives the Feruchemist control over whether they scar without giving Feruchemical gold weird properties in terms of what you can tap/store. I still think that slow-healing is equally viable, though, if not more so. Presumably the job "the dregs of your gold reserve" can do is somewhat equivalent to the job "a very small trickle of your gold reserve" can do. The two could theoretically work in parallel, with either "high-power" healing naturally tapering off to scar-healing or the Feruchemist with low reserves deliberately making using that last bit slowly in order to make scar tissue.

 

I'd like to note, though, that even "slow" Wayne is still healing at a truly absurd rate. The "scar threshold" is probably somewhere below the "wounds closing before your eyes" threshhold.

 

The reason I'm a bit anxious to stop you from regrowing a limb without reserves is because we get told, flat out, in AoL that Wayne's Feruchemical gold will only help him if he has reserves, since trying to store while injured to heal that injury will just even out. That might well be a generalization, and limb-regrowth a special case, but it makes me wary.

 

---

 

As an aside, I would like to make clear that I do value your posts, on this thread and others where we have clashed. We often end up being adversaries, but I do hope that I manage to remain respectful (and attentive, sorry again about not reading your post closely enough) during our discourses. 

 

No theory has value until tested, and while I do think that you have a tendency to pick nits and then hang onto them with frightening strength ( :P), arguing against entrenched positions can only strengthen our understanding and articulation of all facets of the issue at hand. Now stop arguing with me so I can go to bed!  :blink:

Edited by Kurkistan
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Note that "more efficient" is a misnomer - as per quote above. The less the level of your tap, the more damage you can heal over the same health charge. You can tap 1 unit over one second, and only cover the stump with new skin, or tap it over a few hours and regrow part of limb. There are limits, of course, and you would probably need more Health to re-heal something healed naturally (a stump).

As for Inquisitors, maybe he was just on the way, or didn't want to bother and only healed to the point of "not bleeding all over place". Also, I was always sure that it was Sazed's fist scars, not Vin's (she pulled the spike out)

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Ah, you're most likely right about the scar's origin. Sorry, I'm in the middle of my first re-read in a while, and had forgotten that Sazed got in a good punch during WoA. That answers my concerns about skimping on healing just before the last battle of the Apocalypse, I suppose.

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The reason I'm a bit anxious to stop you from regrowing a limb without reserves is because we get told, flat out, in AoL that Wayne's Feruchemical gold will only help him if he has reserves, since trying to store while injured to heal that injury will just even out. That might well be a generalization, and limb-regrowth a special case, but it makes me wary.

 

Well, if you're storing health and have a scarred over stump, the arm doesn't become any more or less missing naturally.  You're not losing out on any natural healing.

 

On the other hand, let's say you've got a cut that would normally take a week to heal.  If you store health, your normal rate of healing is impaired, and your cut doesn't heal up at all.  Best case scenario is that you store health for 3.5 days and tap health for 3.5 days, and end up where you started.  Worst case is the extra cost for compounding means you don't have it fully healed up at the end of the week, since you lost some efficiency on the extra healing.

Edited by Phantom Monstrosity
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ell, if you're storing health and have a scarred over stump, the arm doesn't become any more or less missing naturally.  You're not losing out on any natural healing.

 

On the other hand, let's say you've got a cut that would normally take a week to heal.  If you store health, your normal rate of healing is impaired, and your cut doesn't heal up at all.  Best case scenario is that you store health for 3.5 days and tap health for 3.5 days, and end up where you started.  Worst case is the extra cost for compounding means you don't have it fully healed up at the end of the week, since you lost some efficiency on the extra healing.

 

Okay, that works. Though this is yet another sign that I've stayed up too late arguing, as I feel that I should have figured that one out myself. . .

Edited by Kurkistan
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As for the Feruchemical bendalloy/Feruchemical copper/Feruchemical tin argument, consider posts 18-19 here.

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