"I don't really expect to live until the end of the year anyway."
When someone tells you you're not ready to infiltrate the Lord Ruler's palace, you should listen. But clinging to a spire of Kredik Shaw, rain pattering through the mists, the gash in her side bleeding out, Vin didn't think she'd last long enough to learn from her mistake.
If the Inquisitors were after her, then they were already done with Kelsier. That thought was even more terrifying than the image of the Inquisitors themselves, with iron spikes nailed through their eye sockets. And if those creatures could defeat Kelsier so easily, what chance did she have?
Lord Ruler, Vin needed a miracle. But that was the problem with trying to overthrow God; it made miracles hard to come by.
No, what she needed was a place to hide and something to bandage her wound, or at least a lot more pewter than what she had flaring in her stomach. She felt something slam into the spire above her, and she launched herself into the darkness without checking what it was.
How did he find her? She was burning copper to hide her Allomancy and the only metal on her was in her ear or in her stomach–or in her hands. Of course! The book she had picked up earlier had bits of metal in the cover. Not much, but enough to show the Inquisitor where she was. She flared iron, pulling herself to the next spire and Steelpushed the book into the distance. And from that spire she jumped to a second one, a third.
With copper burning in her stomach, no metal on her, and the night so dark and pouring rain, the Inquisitor wouldn't be able to see, hear, or sense her.
But a moment later, he found her anyway, an obsidian ax missing her by inches. How? It should have been impossible, but there he was, a black figure sillouetted by the black night, metal spikes reflecting what light there was.
She Pushed off the spire, but not quickly enough. The Inquisitor grabbed her and slammed her against the roof with inhuman strength. The numbness in her body vanished, replaced by pain. She felt moments away from passing out–she should have already, she should have died already–so she flared tin to keep conscious.
She drew a dagger and stabbed the Inquisitor's arm. It had no more effect on him than when Kelsier had stabbed one in the neck, less even, but it broke his grip. She tumbled away and fell.
And then she saw a light. It seemed as bright as the sun to her tin-enhanced eyes, lime green and a perfect circle. And right beneath her.
She fell into it, her eyes clenched shut against the blinding light, and hit … something soft. And dry.
She squinted her eyes open and saw light so bright she had to douse her tin. It was … day time. How? Had she passed out? And the ground she had landed on, it was green, greener than anything she had ever seen, tiny plants covering the ground like a noble's rug. There was a crowd around her, people she didn't know wearing clothes she didn't recognize, and the sky was blue, like it was made out of a giant sapphire.
Where am I? She felt numb all over, her wound throbbing, bleeding, but not as much as before. That was a good sign, right? Or was she just running out of blood? But at least it didn't hurt as much. Like a dream. The impossible sky matched that.
"Founder, she's hurt!" Someone was hurt? That wasn't good, but Vin had enough problems of her own. "Someone, get a healer!" That sounded nice. Vin could use one of those.
She realized that her eyes were closed. Odd, she thought she was still staring at the sky. The blue sky. There was something about that, but she didn't want to think right now. She just wanted to ….
She was dying, wasn't she? An Inquisitor after her, a mortal wound, a bright light, and now she was in the afterlife from one of the five hundred different religions Sazed had tried to convert her to.
Well, it didn't seem so bad. She felt something brush against her lips, and that was all she knew.
Louise regretted kissing the girl she had summoned as soon as she had done the deed. She had asked for a familiar that was beautiful and powerful, and the Founder had blessed her with one that was dying.
She didn't want to perform the summoning ritual again. Each time she had tried before she hadn't even gotten that much as a result, so she finished the ritual and sealed the commoner as hers. That way, even if she did die, Louise could claim that she had already completed the ritual and she wouldn't be required to do so again.
But as the runes burnt themselves into the girl's hand, causing her to writhe unconscious in pain, Louise worried that the shock might finish her off. The commoner she had summoned didn't look any older than her, and the wound in her side looked deadly, assuming one needed kidneys to live, and blood soaked into her already drenched shirt and gray tasselled cloak.
She needn't have worried. As soon as Mr. Colbert reached them, he ignited his staff and burned the wound closed. Fire magic was not designed for healing. Water was better, but a water mage would need to gather ingredients, empower them with magic, mix them into a potion, and make the patient drink it, all while her familiar was bleeding to death. Fire might not be gentle, but it was quick.
The smell of burnt flesh and blood still made Louise gag, though, and her familiar spasmed and gasped without waking up. But she didn't stop breathing. She was still alive.
A healer arrived, examined the injuries, and prescribed an elixir to speed blood clotting and production and tissue mending. It would cost a fortune and if her familiar died Louise could summon another one, a familiar more suited to her needs than a peasant girl, but Louise didn't want another one. Maybe she was just being stubborn, but she didn't.
The day ended, and Louise had her familiar, still comatose, moved to her own bed as she healed. What had the girl been doing to win her such injuries? Louise would have to ask her when she woke up. As well as, like, her name.
But her familiar didn't wake up the next morning, though she was still alive. Louise had a servant wash and mend her bloodied, cut up clothes, though Louise changed the bandages herself. The girl's effects told a story, one that the familiar was too hurt to share. A pair of glass daggers that, while razor sharp, would be more brittle than metal. A charcoal gray cloak, not a noble's mantle but something deliberately cut up and layered with tassels on the outside and pockets filled with empty vials on the inside. What the story meant, well, Louise would have to wait.
And so she waited. She went to class just like before, and while she didn't have an exotic animal to show off like her classmates, at least those classmates were sufficiently courtesy-bound to refrain from mocking her for the injured commoner in her room. And at the end of the day, she returned to said injured commoner and changed her bandages.
She could have delegated the administrations to someone else, but she liked to be involved. This was her familiar lying on her bed, and she wasn't going to let her die.
A/n At this point in the book, Kelsier has mentioned that plants were supposed to be green, but he hasn't shown her his picture of a flower. Vin has been to her first ball only and has met Elend once, so she has adequate training at impersonating a noblewoman. It's been mentioned that she has a good memory and is a fast learner, so I'm assuming that she has memorized the right Allomantic ratios for the different metals.
Also, thank you to Magery and Stone Mason for editing this chapter and for encouraging to write it in the first place. I know the first chapter it kind of short, but you can expect the second one soon. The title is a reference to what Ruin called Vin in Hero of Ages. I don't know how well it fits for the story, but my first idea was Familiar of the Mists, which was pretty boring.