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Mistborn: The Final Empire (Page 86)

I want to be forgotten. Obscurity. Yes, that would be nice.

If men read these words, let them know that power is a heavy burden. Seek not to be bound by its chains. The Terris prophecies say that I will have the power to save the world. They hint, however, that I will have the power to destroy it as well.

I will have the ability to fulfill any wish of my heart. “He will take upon himself authority that no mortal should hold.” Yet, the philosophers warned me that if I am self-serving with the power, my selfishness will taint it.

Is this a burden that any man should bear? Is this a temptation any man could resist? I feel strong now, but what will happen when I touch that power? I will save the world, certainly—but will I try to take it as well?

Such are my fears as I scribble with an ice-crusted pen on the eve before the world is reborn. Rashek watches. Hating me. The cavern lies above. Pulsing. My fingers quiver. Not from the cold.

Tomorrow, it will end.

Vin eagerly turned the page. The back page of the booklet, however, was empty. She turned it over, rereading the last few lines. Where was the next entry?

Sazed must not have finished the last part yet. She stood, sighing as she stretched. She’d finished the entire newest portion of the logbook in one sitting, a feat that surprised even her. The gardens of Mansion Renoux extended before her, the cultured pathways, broad-limbed trees, and quiet stream creating her favorite reading spot. The sun was low in the sky, and it was beginning to get chilly.

She wound her way up the path toward the mansion. Despite the chill evening, she could barely imagine a place like the one the Lord Ruler described. She had seen snow on some distant peaks, but she had rarely seen it fall—and even then it was usually just an icy slush. To experience that much snow day after day, to be in danger of having it fall upon you in great crushing avalanches…

A part of her wished that she could visit such places, no matter how dangerous. Though the logbook didn’t describe the Lord Ruler’s entire journey, some of the marvels it did include—the ice fields to the north, the great black lake, and the Terris waterfalls—sounded amazing.

If only he’d put in more detail about what things look like! she thought with annoyance. The Lord Ruler spent far too much time worrying. Though, admittedly, she was beginning to feel an odd sort of…familiarity with him through his words. She found it hard to associate the person in her mind with the dark creature that had caused so much death. What had occurred at the Well of Ascension? What could have changed him so drastically? She had to know.

She reached the mansion and went searching for Sazed. She was back to wearing dresses—it felt odd to be seen in trousers by anyone but the crewmembers. She smiled at Lord Renoux’s interior steward as she passed, eagerly climbing the main entryway stairs and seeking out the library.

Sazed wasn’t inside. His small desk sat empty, the lamp extinguished, the inkwell empty. Vin frowned in annoyance.

Wherever he is, he’d better be working on the translation!

She went back down the stairs, asking after Sazed, and a maid directed her to the main kitchen. Vin frowned, making her way down the back hallway. Getting himself a snack, perhaps?

She found Sazed standing amongst a small group of servants, pointing toward a list on the table and speaking in a low voice. He didn’t notice Vin as she entered.

“Sazed?” Vin asked, interrupting him.

He turned. “Yes, Mistress Valette?” he asked, bowing slightly.

“What are you doing?”

“I am seeing to Lord Renoux’s food stores, Mistress. Though I have been assigned to assist you, I am still his steward, and have duties to attend to when I am not otherwise occupied.”

“Are you going to get back to the translation soon?”

Sazed cocked his head. “Translation, Mistress? It is finished.”

“Where’s the last part, then?”

“I gave it to you,” Sazed said.

“No, you didn’t,” she said. “This part ends the night before they go into the cavern.”

“That is the end, Mistress. That is as far as the logbook went.”

“What?” she said. “But. .”

Sazed glanced at the other servants. “We should speak of these things in private, I think.” He gave them a few more instructions, pointing at the list, then nodded for Vin to join him as he made his way out the back kitchen exit and into the side gardens.

Vin stood dumbfounded for a moment, then hurried out to join him. “It can’t end like that, Saze. We don’t know what happened!”

“We can surmise, I think,” Sazed said, walking down the garden path. The eastern gardens weren’t as lavish as the ones Vin frequented, and were instead made up of smooth brown grass and the occasional shrub.

“Surmise what?” Vin asked.

“Well, the Lord Ruler must have done what was necessary to save the world, for we are still here.”

“I suppose,” Vin said. “But then he took the power for himself. That must have been what happened—he couldn’t resist the temptation to use the power selfishly. But, why isn’t there another entry? Why wouldn’t he speak further of his accomplishments?”

“Perhaps the power changed him too much,” Sazed said. “Or, maybe he simply didn’t feel a need to record any more. He had accomplished his goal, and had become immortal as a side benefit. Keeping a journal for one’s posterity becomes somewhat redundant when one is going to live forever, I think.”

“That’s just. .” Vin ground her teeth in frustration. “It’s a very unsatisfying end to a story, Sazed.”

He smiled in amusement. “Be careful, Mistress—become too fond of reading, and you may just turn into a scholar.”

Vin shook her head. “Not if all the books I read are going to end like this one!”

“If it is of any comfort,” Sazed said, “you are not the only one who is disappointed by the logbook’s contents. It didn’t contain much that Master Kelsier could use—certainly, there was nothing about the Eleventh Metal. I feel somewhat guilty, since I am the one who benefited most from the book.”

“But, there wasn’t very much about the Terris religion either.”

“Not much,” Sazed agreed. “But, truly and regretfully, ‘not much’ is far more than we knew previously. I am only worried that I will not have an opportunity to pass this information on. I have sent a translated copy of the logbook to a location where my brethren and sister Keepers will know to check—it would be a pity if this new knowledge were to die with me.”

“It won’t,” Vin said.

“Oh? Has my lady suddenly become an optimist?”

“Has my Terrisman suddenly become a smart-mouth?” Vin retorted.

“He always has been, I think,” Sazed said with a slight smile. “It is one of the things that made him a poor steward— at least, in the eyes of most of his masters.”

“Then they must have been fools,” Vin said honestly.

“So I was inclined to think, Mistress,” Sazed replied. “We should return to the mansion—we should not be seen out in the gardens when the mists arrive, I think.”

“I’m just going to go back out into them.”

“There are many of the grounds staff that do not know you are Mistborn, Mistress,” Sazed said. “It would be a good secret to keep, I think.”

“I know,” Vin said, turning. “Let’s go back then.”

“A wise plan.”

They walked for a few moments, enjoying the eastern garden’s subtle beauty. The grasses were kept carefully trimmed, and they had been arranged in pleasant tiers, the occasional shrubbery giving accent. The southern garden was far more spectacular, with its brook, trees, and exotic plants. But the eastern garden had its own peace—the serenity of simplicity.

“Sazed?” Vin said in a quiet voice.

“Yes, Mistress?”

“It’s all going to change, isn’t it?”

“What specifically do you mean?”

“Everything,” Vin said. “Even if we aren’t all dead in a year, the crewmembers will be off working on other projects. Ham will probably be back with his family, Dox and Kelsier will be planning some new escapade, Clubs will be renting his shop to another crew….Even these gardens that we’ve spent so much money on—they’ll belong to someone else.”

Sazed nodded. “What you say is likely. Though, if things go well, perhaps the skaa rebellion will be ruling Luthadel by this time next year.”

“Maybe,” Vin said. “But even still… things will change.”

“That is the nature of all life, Mistress,” Sazed said. “The world must change.”

“I know,” Vin said with a sigh. “I just wish…Well, I actually like my life now, Sazed. I like spending time with the crew, and I like training with Kelsier. I love going to balls with Elend on the weekends, love walking in these gardens with you. I don’t want these things to change. I don’t want my life to go back to the way it was a year ago.”

“It doesn’t have to, Mistress,” Sazed said. “It could change for the better.”

“It won’t,” Vin said quietly. “It’s starting already—Kelsier has hinted that my training is almost finished. When I practice in the future, I’ll have to do it alone.

“As for Elend, he doesn’t even know that I’m skaa—and it’s my job to try and destroy his family. Even if House Venture doesn’t fall by my hand, others will bring it down—I know Shan Elariel is planning something, and I haven’t been able to discover anything about her schemes.

“That’s only the beginning, though. We face the Final Empire. We’ll probably fail—to be honest, I don’t see how things could possibly turn out otherwise. We’ll fight, we’ll do some good, but we won’t change much—and those of us who survive will spend the rest of our lives running from the Inquisitors. Everything’s going to change, Sazed, and I can’t stop it.”

Sazed smiled fondly. “Then, Mistress,” he said quietly, “simply enjoy what you have. The future will surprise you, I think.”

“Maybe,” Vin said, unconvinced.

“Ah, you just need to have hope, Mistress. Perhaps you’ve earned a little bit of good fortune. There were a group of people before the Ascension known as the Astalsi. They claimed that each person was born with a certain finite amount of ill luck. And so, when an unfortunate event happened, they thought themselves blessed—thereafter, their lives could only get better.”

Vin raised an eyebrow. “Sounds a bit simpleminded to me.”

“I do not believe so,” Sazed said. “Why, the Astalsi were rather advanced—they mixed religion with science quite profoundly. They thought that different colors were indications of different kinds of fortune, and were quite detailed in their descriptions of light and color. Why, it’s from them that we get some of our best ideas as to what things might have looked like before the Ascension. They had a scale of colors, and used it to describe the sky of the deepest blue and various plants in their shades of green.

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