The Hero of Ages (Page 117)

Nobody else could draw upon the mists. I have determined this. Why were they open to Vin and not others? I suspect that she couldn’t have taken them all in until after she’d touched the power at the Well of Ascension. It was always meant, I believe, to be something of an attuning force. Something that, once touched, would adjust a person’s body to be able to accept the mists.

Yet, she did make use of a small crumb of Preservation’s power when she defeated the Lord Ruler, a year before she even began hearing the thumping of the power’s return to the Well.

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There is much more to this mystery. Perhaps I will tease it out eventually, as my mind grows more and more accustomed to its expanded nature. Perhaps I will determine why I was able to take the powers myself. For now, I only wish to make a simple acknowledgment of the woman who held the power just before me.

Of all of us who touched it, I feel she was the most worthy.

EPILOGUE

SPOOK AWOKE FROM THE NIGHTMARE, then sat up. The cavern around him was dark, lit only by candles and lamps.

He stood, stretching. Around him, people gasped. He walked past them, seeking out his friends. The cavern was packed—holding everyone from Urteau who had been willing to come and hide. As such, it was difficult for Spook to pick his way through the shuffling, coughing, chatting bodies. As he walked, the whispers grew louder, and people stood, following.

Beldre came running up to him, wearing a white dress. “Spook?” she asked with wonder. “What . . . what happened?”

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He just smiled, putting his arm around her. They made their way to the front of the cavern. Breeze sat at a table—of course, he would have furniture, while pretty much everyone else sat on the rock floor. Spook smiled at him, and the Soother raised an eyebrow.

“You’re looking well, my boy,” Breeze said, taking a drink of his wine.

“You could say that,” Spook said.

“That’s all you’re going to say?” Beldre said to Breeze. “Look at him! He’s been healed!”

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Breeze shrugged, putting down his wine and standing. “My dear, with all the oddities that have been happening lately, young Spook’s appearance doesn’t measure up. A simple healing? Why, that’s rather mundane, if you ask me.”

Breeze smiled, catching Spook’s eye.

“Shall we then?” Spook asked.

Breeze shrugged. “Why not? What do you think that we’ll find?”

“I’m not sure,” Spook admitted, stepping into the antechamber beyond the cavern. He started to climb the ladder.

“Spook,” Beldre said warily. “You know what the scouts said. The entire city was burning from the heat of the sun. . . .”

Spook looked up, noting the light shining between the cracks of the trapdoor. He smiled, then pushed it open.

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There was no city outside. Just a field of grass. Green grass. Spook blinked at the strange sight, then crawled out onto the soft earth, making room for Breeze. The Soother’s head popped out, then cocked to the side. “Now, there’s a sight,” he said, crawling out beside Spook.

Spook stood up in the grass. It came up to his thighs. Green. Such a strange color for plants.

“And . . . the sky,” Breeze said, shading his eyes. “Blue. Not a hint of ash or smoke. Very odd. Very odd indeed. I’ll bet Vin had something to do with this mess. That girl never could do things the proper way.”

Spook heard a gasp from behind, and turned to see Beldre climbing out of the cavern. He helped her step up onto the ground, then they walked in silent wonder through the tall grass. The sun was so bright overhead, yet it wasn’t uncomfortably hot.

“What happened to the city?” Beldre whispered, holding Spook’s arm.

He shook his head. Then, however, he heard something. He turned, thinking he saw motion on the horizon. He walked forward, Beldre at his side, Breeze calling down for Allrianne to come up and see what had happened.

“Are those . . . people?” Beldre asked, finally seeing what Spook had. The people in the distance saw them, too, and as soon as they drew close, Spook smiled and waved at one.

“Spook?” Ham called. “Kid, is that you?”

Spook and Beldre hurried forward. Ham stood with others, and behind them Spook could see another trapdoor in the middle of the grassy meadow floor. People he didn’t recognize—some wearing uniforms from Elend’s army—were climbing out. Ham rushed over, wearing his usual vest and trousers, and grabbed Spook in an embrace.

“What are you doing here?” Ham asked, letting go.

“I don’t know,” Spook said. “Last I knew, I was in Urteau.”

Ham looked up at the sky. “I was in Fadrex! What happened?”

Spook shook his head. “I don’t know if the places we used to know have meaning anymore, Ham. . . .”

Ham nodded, turning as one of the soldiers pointed. Another batch of people was emerging from a hole a short distance away. Spook and Ham walked forward—at least, until Ham saw someone in the other batch of people. Spook vaguely recognized her as Ham’s wife, who had been back in Luthadel. The Thug let out a cry of excitement, then rushed forward to greet his family.

Spook made his way from hole to hole. There appeared to be six of them, some well populated, others not so much. One stood out. It wasn’t a trapdoor, like the others, but a slanted cave entrance. Here, he found General Demoux speaking with a small group of people, a pretty Terriswoman holding his arm.

“I was in and out of consciousness for it,” Demoux was saying, “but I saw him. The Survivor. It had to be him—hanging in the sky, glowing. Waves of color moved through the air, and the ground trembled, the land spinning and moving. He came. Just like Sazed said he would.”

“Sazed?” Spook spoke up, Demoux noticing him for the first time. “Where is he?”

Demoux shook his head. “I don’t know, Lord Spook.” Then he paused. “Where did you come from, anyway?”

Spook ignored the question. The openings and holes formed a pattern. Spook walked through the thick grass, leading Beldre, making his way to the very center of the pattern. The wind blew softly, bending the stalks of grass in wave-like undulations. Ham and Breeze rushed to catch up to him, already arguing about something trivial, Ham with a child on one arm, his other around his wife’s shoulders.

Spook froze as he caught sight of a bit of color in the grass. He held up a hand, warning the others, and they stepped forward more quietly. There, in the center of the grass, was a field of . . . somethings. Colorful somethings, growing from the ground, with tops like bright-colored leaves. They were shaped like upside-down bells, with long straight stalks, the petals at the top open toward the sun. As if reaching for its light and gaping to drink it in.

“Beautiful . . .” Beldre whispered.

Spook stepped forward, moving among the plants. Flowers, he thought, recognizing them from the picture Vin had carried. Kelsier’s dream finally came true.

At the center of the flowers, he found two people. Vin lay wearing her customary mistcloak, shirt, and trousers. Elend was in a brilliant white uniform, complete with cape. They were holding hands as they lay amid the flowers.

And they were both dead.

Spook knelt beside them, listening to Ham and Breeze cry out. They examined the bodies, checking for vital signs, but Spook focused on something else, almost hidden in the gras1s. He picked it up—a large leather tome.

He opened it, reading the first page.

I am, unfortunately, the Hero of Ages, read the delicate, careful letters. Spook thought he recognized the handwriting. As he flipped through the book, a slip of paper fell free. Spook picked it up—one side had a faded drawing of a flower, the very picture he’d been thinking about moments before. On the other side was a note scrawled in the same handwriting as the book.

Spook, it read. I tried to bring them back, but apparently fixing the bodies doesn’t return the souls. I will get better at this with time, I expect. However, be assured that I have spoken with our friends, and they are quite happy where they are. They deserve a rest, I think.

The book contains a short record of the events that led up to the world dying and being reborn, along with some musings I have made about the history, philosophy, and science of recent occurrences. If you look to your right, you will find a much larger group of books in the grass. These contain all of the knowledge—repeated verbatim—that was contained in my metalminds. Let the knowledge of the past not be forgotten.

Rebuilding will be difficult, I think—but likely far easier than living beneath the Lord Ruler or surviving Ruin’s attempt to destroy the world. I think you’ll be surprised at the number of people who fled to the storage caverns. Rashek planned very well for this day. He suffered much beneath Ruin’s hand, but he was a good man, who ultimately had honorable intentions.

You did well. Know that the message you sent via Captain Goradel saved us all, in the end. The people will need leadership in the years to come. Likely, they will look to you. I’m sorry that I cannot be there in person to help you, but know that I am . . . about.

I have made you Mistborn, and healed the damage you did to your body by flaring tin so much. I hope you don’t mind. It was Kelsier’s request, actually. Consider it a parting gift from him.

Watch over them for me.

P.S. There are still two metals that nobody knows about. You might want to poke about and see if you can figure out what they are. I think they’ll interest you.

Spook looked up, staring at the strangely empty, blue sky. Beldre came over and knelt beside him, looking over his paper, then giving him a quizzical look.

“You look troubled,” she said.

Spook shook his head. “No,” he said, folding up the little slip of paper and putting it in his pocket. “No, I’m not troubled. In fact, I actually think everything is going to be all right. Finally.”

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