Authors: Brandon Sanderson
Tags: #Fantasy, #Science Fiction, #bought-and-paid-for
Elend gritted his teeth.
Yet, what Sazed said made sense.
For so long, we’ve been worrying about the small-scale.
He glanced at Vin, feeling a surge of warmth and love.
Maybe it’s time I started listening to the things she’s been trying to tell me.
“Sazed,” Elend said, a sudden thought occurring to him, “do you think that I could convince the Terris people to help us?”
“Perhaps, Your Majesty,” Sazed said. “My prohibition against interfering—the one I have been ignoring—comes because I was given a different assignment by the Synod, not because we believe in avoiding all action. If you could convince the Synod that the future of the Terris people will be benefited by having a strong ally in Luthadel, you may just be able to get yourself military aid from Terris.”
Elend nodded, thoughtful.
“Remember the lock and the key, Your Majesty,” Sazed said, finishing off Vin’s second wound. “In this case, leaving seems like the opposite of what you should do. However, if you look at the larger picture, you will see that it’s precisely what you
Vin opened her eyes, looking up at him, smiling. “We can do this, Elend. Come with me.”
Elend stood for a moment.
Lock and key….
“All right,” he said. “We’ll leave as soon as Vin is able.”
“She should be able to ride tomorrow,” Sazed said. “You know what pewter can do for a body.”
Elend nodded. “All right. I should have listened to you earlier, Vin. Besides, I’ve always wanted to see your homeland, Sazed. You can show it to us.”
“I will need to stay here, I fear,” Sazed said. “I should soon leave for the South to continue my work there. Tindwyl, however, can go with you—she has important information that needs to be passed on to my brethren the Keepers.”
“It will need to be a small group,” Vin said. “We’ll have to outrun—or perhaps sneak past—Straff’s men.”
“Just you three, I think,” Sazed said. “Or, perhaps one other person to help with watches while you sleep, someone skilled in hunting and scouting. Lord Lestibournes, perhaps?”
“Spook would be perfect,” Elend said, nodding. “You’re sure the other crewmembers will be safe in the city?”
“Of course they won’t,” Vin said, smiling. “But they’re experts. They hid from the Lord Ruler—they’ll be able to hide from Straff. Particularly if they don’t have to worry about keeping you safe.”
“Then it is decided,” Sazed said, standing. “You two should try to rest well tonight, despite the recent change in your relationship. Can you walk, Lady Vin?”
“No need,” Elend said, leaning down and picking her up. She wrapped her arms around him, though her grip was not tight, and he could see that her eyes were already drooping again.
He smiled. Suddenly, the world seemed a much simpler place. He would take some time and spend it on what was really important; then, once he and Vin had sought help from the North, they could return. He actually looked forward to coming back and tackling their problems with renewed vigor.
He held Vin tight, nodding good night to Sazed, then walking out toward his rooms. It seemed that everything had worked out fine in the end.
Sazed stood slowly, watching the two leave. He wondered what they would think of him, when they heard of Luthadel’s fall. At least they would have each other for support.
His wedding blessing was the last gift he could give them—that, and their lives.
How will history judge me for my lies?
What will it think of the Terrisman who took such a hand in politics, the Terrisman who would fabricate mythology to save the lives of his friends?
The things he’d said about the Well were, of course, falsehoods. If there was such a power, he had no idea where it was, nor what it would do.
How history judged him would probably depend on what Elend and Vin did with their lives. Sazed could only hope that he had done the right thing. Watching them go, knowing that their youthful love would be spared, he couldn’t help but smile at his decision.
With a sigh, he stooped down and gathered up his medical items; then he retreated to his rooms to fabricate the map he had promised Vin and Elend.
THE END OF PART FOUR
He is accustomed to giving up his own will before the greater good, as he sees it.
“You are a fool, Elend Venture,” Tindwyl snapped, arms folded, eyes wide with displeasure.
Elend pulled a strap tight on his saddle. Part of the wardrobe Tindwyl had made for him included a black and silver riding uniform, and he wore this now, fingers snug within the leather gloves, and a dark cloak to keep off the ash.
“Are you listening to me?” Tindwyl demanded. “You can’t leave. Not now! Not when your people are in such danger!”
“I’ll protect them in another way,” he said, checking on the packhorses.
They were in the keep’s covered way, used for arrivals and departures. Vin sat on her own horse, enveloped almost completely in her cloak, hands holding her reins tensely. She had very little experience riding, but Elend refused to let her run. Pewter or no pewter, the wounds from her fight at the Assembly still hadn’t healed completely, not to mention the damage she’d taken the night before.
“Another way?” Tindwyl asked. “You should be with them. You’re their king!”
” Elend snapped, turning toward the Terriswoman. “They rejected me, Tindwyl. Now I have to worry about more important events on a larger stage. They wanted a traditional king? Well, let them have my father. When I return from Terris, perhaps they will have realized what they lost.”
Tindwyl shook her head and stepped forward, speaking in a quiet voice. “Terris, Elend? You go north. For her. You know why she wants to go there, don’t you?”
“Ah, so you do know,” Tindwyl said. “What do you think of it, Elend? Don’t tell me you believe these delusions. She thinks she’s the Hero of Ages. She supposes that she’ll find something in the mountains up there—some power, or perhaps some revelation, that will transform her into a divinity.”
Elend glanced at Vin. She looked down at the ground, hood down, still sitting quietly on her horse.
“She’s trying to follow her master, Elend,” Tindwyl whispered. “The Survivor became a god to these people, so she thinks she has to do the same.”
Elend turned to Tindwyl. “If that is what she truly believes, then I support her.”
“You support her madness?” Tindwyl demanded.
“Do not speak of my wife in that manner,” Elend said, his commanding tone causing Tindwyl to flinch. He swung up into his saddle. “I trust her, Tindwyl. Part of trust is belief.”
Tindwyl snorted. “You can’t possibly believe that she is some prophesied messiah, Elend. I know you—you’re a scholar. You may have professed allegiance to the Church of the Survivor, but you don’t believe in the supernatural any more than I do.”
“I believe,” he said firmly, “that Vin is my wife, and that I love her. Anything important to her is important to me—and anything she believes has at least that much weight of truth to me. We are going north. We will return once we’ve released the power there.”
“Fine,” Tindwyl said. “Then you will be remembered as a coward who abandoned his people.”
“Leave us!” Elend ordered, raising his finger and pointing toward the keep.
Tindwyl spun, stalking toward the doorway. As she passed it, she pointed at the supply table, where she had previously placed a book-sized package, wrapped in brown paper, tied with a thick string. “Sazed wishes you to deliver this to the Keeper Synod. You’ll find them in the city of Tathingdwen. Enjoy your exile, Elend Venture.” Then, she left.
Elend sighed, moving his horse over beside Vin’s.
“Thank you,” she said quietly.
“For what you said.”
“I meant it, Vin,” Elend said, reaching over to lay a hand on her shoulder.
“Tindwyl might be right, you know,” she said. “Despite what Sazed said, I could be mad. Do you remember when I told you that I’d seen a spirit in the mists?”
Elend nodded slowly.
“Well, I’ve seen it again,” Vin said. “It’s like a ghost, formed from the patterns in mist. I see it all the time, watching me, following me. And I hear those rhythms in my head—majestic, powerful thumpings, like Allomantic pulses. Only, I don’t need bronze anymore to hear them.”
Elend squeezed her shoulder. “I believe you, Vin.”
She looked up, reserved. “Do you, Elend? Do you really?”
“I’m not sure,” he admitted. “But I’m trying very hard to. Either way, I think going north is the right thing to do.”
She nodded slowly. “That’s enough, I think.”
He smiled, turning back to the doorway. “Where is Spook?”
Vin shrugged beneath her cloak. “I assume Tindwyl won’t be coming with us, then.”
“Probably not,” Elend said, smiling.
“How will we find our way to Terris?”
“It won’t be hard,” Elend said. “We’ll just follow the imperial canal to Tathingdwen.” He paused, thinking of the map Sazed had given them. It led straight into the Terris Mountains. They’d have to get supplies in Tathingdwen, and the snows would be high, but…well, that was a problem for another time.
Vin smiled, and Elend walked over to pick up the package Tindwyl had left. It appeared to be a book of some sort. A few moments later, Spook arrived. He wore his soldier’s uniform, and had saddlebags slung over his shoulder. He nodded to Elend, handed Vin a large bag, then moved to his own horse.
He looks nervous,
Elend thought as the boy slung his bags over his horse. “What’s in the bag?” he asked, turning to Vin.
“Pewter dust,” she said. “I think we might need it.”
“Are we ready?” Spook asked, looking over at them.
Elend glanced at Vin, who nodded. “I guess we—”
“Not quite yet,” a new voice said. “I’m not ready at
Elend turned as Allrianne swept into the passage. She wore a rich brown and red riding skirt, and had her hair tied up beneath a scarf.
Where’d she get that outfit?
Elend wondered. Two servants followed her, bearing bundles.
Allrianne paused, tapping her lip with a thoughtful expression. “I think I’m going to need a packhorse.”
“What are you doing?” Vin demanded.
“Going with you,” Allrianne said. “Breezy says I have to leave the city. He’s a very silly man, sometimes, but he can be quite stubborn. He spent the entire conversation Soothing me—as if I couldn’t recognize his touch by now!”
Allrianne waved to one of the servants, who ran to get a stablehand.
“We’re going to be riding very hard,” Elend said. “I’m not sure if you’ll be able to keep up.”
Allrianne rolled her eyes. “I rode all the way out here from the Western Dominance! I think I can manage. Besides, Vin is hurt, so you probably won’t be going
“We don’t want you along,” Vin said. “We don’t trust you—and we don’t like you.”
Elend closed his eyes.
Dear, blunt Vin.
Allrianne just twittered a laugh as the servant returned with two horses, then began to load one. “Silly Vin,” she said. “How can you say that after all we’ve shared?”
“Shared?” Vin asked. “Allrianne, we went shopping together
“And I felt we bonded quite well,” Allrianne said. “Why, we’re practically sisters!”
Vin gave the girl a flat stare.
“Yes,” Allrianne said, “and you’re
the older, boring sister.” She smiled sweetly, then swung easily up into her saddle, suggesting considerable horse manship. One of the servants led her packhorse over, then tied the reins into place behind Allrianne’s saddle.
“All right, Elend dear,” she said. “I’m ready. Let’s go.”
Elend glanced at Vin, who shook her head with a dark look.
“You can leave me behind if you wish,” Allrianne said, “but I’ll just follow and get into trouble, and then you’ll have to come save me. And don’t even try and pretend that you wouldn’t!”
Elend sighed. “Very well,” he said. “Let’s go.”
They made their way slowly through the city, Elend and Vin at the lead, Spook bringing their packhorses, Allrianne riding to the side. Elend kept his head up, but that only let him see the faces that poked out of windows and doorways as he passed. Soon, a small crowd was trailing them—and while he couldn’t hear their whispers, he could imagine what they were saying.
The king. The king is abandoning us….
He knew that many of them still couldn’t understand that Lord Penrod held the throne. Elend glanced away from an alleyway, where he saw many eyes watching him. There was a haunted fear in those eyes. He had expected to see accusations, but somehow their despondent acceptance was even more disheartening. They expected him to flee. They expected to be abandoned. He was one of the few rich enough, and powerful enough, to get away. Of course he’d run.
He squeezed his own eyes shut, trying to force down his guilt. He wished that they could have left at night, sneaking out the passwall as Ham’s family had. However, it was important that Straff saw Elend and Vin leaving, so that he understood he could take the city without attacking.
I’ll be back,
Elend promised the people.
I’ll save you. For now, it’s better if I leave.
The broad doors of Tin Gate appeared ahead of them. Elend kicked his horse forward, speeding ahead of his silent wave of followers. The guards at the gate already had their orders. Elend gave them a nod, reining in his horse, and the men swung the doors open. Vin and the others joined him before the opening portal.
“Lady Heir,” one of the guards asked quietly. “Are you leaving, too?”
Vin looked to the side. “Peace,” she said. “We’re not abandoning you. We’re going for help.”
The soldier smiled.
How can he trust her so easily?
Or, is hope all he has left?
Vin turned her horse around, facing the crowd of people, and she lowered her hood. “We will return,” she promised. She didn’t seem as nervous as she had before when dealing with people who revered her.
Ever since last night, something has changed in her,
As a group, the soldiers saluted them. Elend saluted back; then he nodded to Vin. He led the way as they galloped out the gates, angling toward the northern highway—a path that would allow them to skirt just west of Straff’s army.
They hadn’t gone far before a group of horse men moved to intercept them. Elend rode low on his horse, sparing a glance for Spook and the packhorses. What caught Elend’s attention, however, was Allrianne: she rode with amazing proficiency, a look of determination on her face. She didn’t seem the least bit nervous.
To the side, Vin whipped her cloak back, bringing out a handful of coins. She flung them into the air, and they shot forward with a speed Elend had never seen, even from other Allomancers.
he thought with shock as the coins zipped away, disappearing faster than he could track.
Soldiers fell, and Elend barely heard the
ing of metal against metal over the sound of wind and hoofbeats. He rode directly through the center of the chaotic group of men, many of them down and dying.
Arrows began to fall, but Vin scattered these without even waving a hand. She had opened the bag of pewter, he noticed, and was releasing the dust in a shower behind her as she rode, Pushing some of it to the sides.
The next arrows won’t have metal heads,
Elend thought nervously. Soldiers were forming up behind, shouting.
“I’ll catch up,” Vin said, then jumped off her horse.
“Vin!” Elend yelled, turning his beast. Allrianne and Spook shot past him, riding hard. Vin landed and, amazingly, didn’t even stumble as she began to run. She downed a vial of metal, then looked toward the archers.
Arrows flew. Elend cursed, but kicked his horse into motion. There was little he could do now. He rode low, galloping as the arrows fell around him. One passed within inches of his head, falling to stick into the road.
And then they stopped falling. He glanced backward, teeth gritted. Vin stood before a rising cloud of dust.
The pewter dust,
She’s Pushing on it—Pushing the flakes along the ground, stirring up the dust and ash.
A massive wave of dust, metal, and ash slammed into the archers, washing over them. It blew around the soldiers, making them curse and shield their eyes, and some fell to the ground, holding their faces.
Vin swung back onto her horse, then galloped away from the billowing mass of wind-borne particles. Elend slowed his horse, letting her catch up. The army was in chaos behind them, men giving orders, people scattering.
“Speed up!” Vin said as she approached. “We’re almost out of bowshot!”
Soon they joined Allrianne and Spook.
We aren’t out of danger—my father could still decide to send pursuit.
But, the soldiers couldn’t have mistaken Vin. If Elend’s instincts were right, Straff would let them run. His prime target was Luthadel. He could go after Elend later; for now, he would simply be happy to see Vin leaving.
“Thank you kindly for the help getting out,” Allrianne suddenly said, watching the army. “I’ll be going now.”
With that, she veered her two horses away, angling toward a group of low hills to the west.
“What?” Elend asked with surprise, pulling up next to Spook.
“Leave her,” Vin said. “We don’t have time.”
Well, that solves one problem,
Elend thought, turning his horse to the northern highway.
Farewell, Luthadel. I’ll be back for you later.
“Well, that solves one problem,” Breeze noted, standing atop the city wall and watching Elend’s group disappear around a hillside. To the east, a large—and still unexplained—pillar of smoke rose from the koloss camp. To the west, Straff’s army was buzzing about, stirred by the escape.