The Pits of Hathsin
Chapter 1: The Job
The one thing I want to see come true Kelsier. I want to see the flowers green and the sky clear like they were before. - Mare
The Lord Ruler's palace lay there before them, the spires of Kredick Shaw reached into the sky, its jagged spires acted as if they were piercing the ashen covered sky itself. The palace, home to the Lord Ruler himself was the most dangerous place to be. Far more dangerous than being surrounded by his inquisitors because, even surrounded by inquisitors you could escape. It was more dangerous than running in naked into the guards barrack with them expecting you, because at least you knew they could be killed. The Lord Ruler however, he couldn't be killed. He couldn't even be touched.
Kelsier's mind was focused on his plan, even as his mind still managed to bring up the terrible memories of the Lord Ruler. The countless deaths he had caused, the unimaginable pain he had brought upon them. Beside him stood his wife, Mare. Ever watchful, she stood at his side evaluating whether they could succeed. Always the object of his affection, however tonight was different. It wasn't on her, his mind was thinking about tonight. At least not completly. He may not show it but in his mind he had doubts, doubts that this plan could succeed. He couldn't go in with those doubts in mind, it would risk the mission, it could cause the deaths of every single one of them.
The images flashed through his head. Kelsier remembered each and every time he had seen the Lord Ruler survive what had seemed like certain death. Each time a trap had been sprung on the Lord Ruler, he somehow managed to survive. Kelsier remembered those terrible nights, he had seen a building the Lord Ruler had been staying at the time, lit on fire and burned and yet the Lord Ruler walked out, looking almost like a skeleton, his skin charred and burnt and yet his skin just healed and mended, and soon he looked as he had been before he walked into the building. He walked away without even sparing a glance at the building that had people declared his grave, as if nothing had happened. He remembered the time when the rebel skaa had rose up and hundreds of arrows had pierced the Lord Ruler's body and yet by some force of will he had just continued to keep walking. With a single wave of his hand he seemingly obliterated the rebellion and Kelsier would never forget the sight of all those bodies, all the skaa who had survived had been publicly executed. Their heads had been severed from their necks in front of the whole population of Luthadel.
"Kelsier." Mare called his name in her hushed voice, that voice that Kelsier had grown to love. "It's time."
They were thieves, the greatest thieves in all of the Final Empire, and here in Luthadel, they were going to make their mark. They're goal, the Lord Ruler's own treasury, and inside lay something that no one had ever before laid eyes on. It was a job no theif had ever attempted till this day, but it was dangerous. Far more dangerous then any other job the two of them could ever imagine.
Kelsier nodded once to her, his will and focus were set, and his mind was set on this job. He couldn't turn back now, if he did he would have to live with the cruel sensation of not knowing what was in that room. He shifted his head to signal Redd, their smoker. Now was the best time for it to be done, and after months of planning it was time to see what the Lord Ruler had hidden inside that room. He nodded once, his early fear and shyness had dissapeared, in place stood a man Kelsier felt he could trust. It was the first time the smoker had been needed before now and he wouldn't let them down.
They moved at once, moving quietly with years of practice. Kelsier moved from the rooftop from where he stood, Mare right behind him and Redd following after her. They climbed down the side of the building swiftly, not wanting to draw unwanted eyes to them. As soon as they reached the ground, Mare took the lead. She was their tineye, an allomancer who could burn tin which enhanced all of their internal senses allowing them to be more aware of their surroundings. Redd covered her with his coppercloud, he was the smoker, burning copper to hide the allomantic pulses that Mare gave off as she burned tin, making them invisible to seekers. It kept them hidden and as long as Redd had his copper on, the thieves were able to have Mare's senses enhanced and the Inquisitors wouldn't be able to detect it. The thieves kept to the shadows, the mists were out now, sweeping the streets but the thieves were used to working at night with the mists. It was common superstition to the Skaa that the mists stole your soul, but only fools believe those tales.
The entrance to Kredick Shaw was ahead, only two guards were posted on duty and Kelsier motioned for the rest of them to stay back while he moved to deal with them. Nobleman! That was the only word that came to Kelsier's mind as he walked towards them and then suddenly he commanded his legs to wobble, and he began to trip over his feet, stumbling towards the guards as if he was drunk.
The first guard was armed with a short spear, and his armour appeared to have been put on loosely and carelessly, cloth and skin showed through the exposed parts of his armour, and there were a lot of exposed areas. The guard moved to block Kelsier, his hand going towards him. Kelsier felt the guard grab his cloak with one hand, pulling him towards the guard; the man took one look at Kelsier before noticing what he was.
"Skaa!" the guard spat, as if the very word was distasteful.
Kelsier's only response was the same words that had been in his mind. "Nobleman." His voice was a whisper but the word ended as his right hand swiftly pulled one of his daggers out of its sheath from his belt and plunged it into the guard's abdomen, the guard let a short gasp as the blade sunk in and blood began to run from the wound.
The second guard saw the motion and cursed as he was lifting his own short spear, but Kelsier moved quicker, years on the streets taught him to be quick on his feet and never stay in the same place. Kelsier moved, one arm grabbed the wounded guard's neck and Kelsier pulled him towards him, using him as a shield, ripping his dagger out of the guard and than tossing it at the other guard.
The weapon hit the guards armour, bouncing off it uselessly, and Kelsier quickly cursed for not looking for this guard's weakness. It was too late to now, the guard moved forward and Kelsier could feel the wounded guard dying and dropping, soon it would take more energy than Kelsier could spare to keep the man up. So Kelsier did the next thing that came to his mind, he threw the guard.
A swift push, and the wounded guard stumbled towards his partner, but he was ready for this. The guard sidestepped and let his fallen companion move beside him, stumbling and falling dead to the ground. Then the guard took his spear and swiped at Kelsier, a quick strike that Kelsier was forced to dodge. The metal point swiped through empty air as Kelsier moved, his hands were drawing more of his knives but then the guard suddenly dropper his spear and reached out with both hands taking hold of Kelsier and throwing him against the walls of the Lord Ruler's palace. The impact made Kelsier drop his knives, the power it had taken for that man to throw him so swiftly and easily could only mean one thing. Pewterarm. Pewterarms or Thugs were allomancers who burned pewter and enhanced all their physical abilities, it was the alloy of tin and Kelsier knew that taking on a thug was far more dangerous. Something no normal man could ever accomplish alone. But Kelsier wasn't normal.
The guard moved to grab Kelsier again, and if he succeeded Kelsier wouldn't be able to win the fight. He moved, trying in vain to escape the grasping hands that locked onto his neck, and struggle as he might, Kelsier wasn't going to escape. A soft sound whispered through the air and Kelsier heard the thug gasp out a tiny bit, his grip relaxing the tiniest bit but it was the tiniest bit that mattered. Kelsier moved, breaking free of the thugs grasp only to see a knife in the guards back as he turned to face his new attacker. Mare. Kelsier's heart thudded as he saw the guard close on Mare, she was a good fighter but like Kelsier, she wasn't a pewterarm, and it would be worse for her. With her tin on, Mare would feel more pain then any normal person would, the negative effect of Tin. Still she tried and fought, her arms whipped around, each one hitting different areas on the guard's body, but only few of them made him grunt. Kelsier looked around and spotted his knives lying on the ground. He ran to them, grabbing one in each hand, and crept up behind the guard, who had just caught one of Mare's fists and was smiling.
Smile after this! Kelsier's knives rammed down into the guard's back, plunging deep in and the guard struggled to stay standing, but slowly he was falling. Mare pulled her hand free from his grasp and punched him once in his face, colliding with his nose and he fell. Kelsier removed his daggers from the guard's back and replaced them in their sheaths, and then he moved to pick up the last one lying where the second guard had been positioned. The fight had not lasted long but the adrenaline in Kelsier's body had made it seem so much longer.
Redd appeared at that moment, his voice silent. "Obligators." He said. Kelsier quickly forgot about catching his breath, ignoring the pain in his back and took hold of Mare and they all rushed inside, hoping that the Obligators were not coming here, and would not see the downed guards.
The inside corridor was clean, no soot or ash stained the marble floor. Kelsier looked around as they moved through the palace; he knew his way around by now since he had been here a few times before now, the prints that he had seen of the palace also allowed their group quick access through palace, occasionally allowing small groups of people to pass. They moved quietly, carefully, Mare always on the lookout to keep them out of sight. It wasn't long before they came to the door, the lone door at the end of a huge dome shaped circular room, columns surrounded the room, that Kelsier let out a sigh of relief. Ahead of them was the Lord Ruler's treasury, their goal. Mare smiled beside him, she was happy too, and she had a right to be. Redd was right behind them not believing that they would actually be able to get inside the Lord Ruler's treasury and if possible rob the Lord Ruler himself. It was a dream, a dream for Kelsier and for Mare. But also it was a dream for every skaa theif.
"Are you ready for this Kelsier?" Mare asked with a smile.
Kelsier almost laughed. "Ready? Shall we my beautiful thief?" He waved one hand towards the door.
Mare kissed him on the cheek, before taking his hand in hers and raising it towards the door. "Together." She whispered in his ear before turning to face the door.
Together the walked forward. Kelsier's hand approched the door handle. Mare stood to his right and Redd on his other side. This was their moment. Mare's smiled faded quickly, her eyes showed confusion and Kelsier only had a moment to wonder why as he pulled open the door. Inside stood two figures, waiting. One was an averaged sized nobleman, he had the tattoos of the Canton of Resource around his eyes. The second one however made Kelsier's blood freeze. The other one was a tall bald figure, where his eyes should have been were two metal spikes, driven point first through his eye sockets. Steel Inquisitor! The one thing no one hoped to ever meet, the unnatural creatures that served the Lord Ruler. They were so powerful that it was also said that there were only twelve of them in existence.
"Surprise." The inquisitor said, a smile beginning to form on the creature's face.
Kelsier felt himself back up from the the creature as it smiled, he spun his head away from the room, looking towards their escape route as figures began to move from behind the columns. Four more figures stepped forward, each one holding a pair of obsidian axes, blocking off their escape and surrounding them. Four more Steel Inquisitors which guaranteed Kelsier the fact that he was going to die.
The lead inquisitor pointed at Redd and spoke to the obligator, "Kill him Yomen. The Lord Ruler only wants them."
The man bowed his head as if he had been commanded by his god and moved forward approaching Redd. Redd quickly drew his own dagger. He was no fighter and his face filled with horror and despair as he confronted his fate. Redd slashed out at the obligator the dagger swiping towards the man, and yet the obligator, Yomen moved out of the way easily as if knowing the attack was coming, Again Redd slashed out and again Yomen avoided it and on the next strike, Yomen took hold of the dagger, catching it mid-swing and disarmed Redd, taking the blade and thrusting it to the right of Redd's neck. Redd had been anticipating the strike but not direction had shifted to his left right into the path of the dagger which embedded itself into his neck.
"Mistborn." Kelsier said, only a mistborn could have done that, predicted exactly where Redd would go. The obligator was burning atium, the most expensive and most powerful of all the allomantic metals, it allowed the user the ability to see into the future and their mind adjusted so that this new power would be used to the maximum effect.
"That's better, copper was always an annoyance." One of the Inquisitors said roughly.
Kelsier knew his turn was up but it didn't mean he wouldn't go down fighting. The inquisitor looked at him and Mare and uttered the words that would seal their fate.
Kelsier tried to move, his hands moved to his daggers but he was caught by rough hands first. He looked over to see Mare struggling to get away, and Kelsier desperatly hoped she would. This was his plan, she shouldn't be the one to pay as well. Mare continued to struggle, dodging the inquisitor's hands but there was no way to escape the circle of inquisitors. Still she struggled and then the inquisitor nearest to her yelled into her ear, no words at all just a sound. The sound would have stunned Kelsier, it did worse for Mare. She dropped to her knees her hands going to her ears as she gasped in pain as the inquisitors grabbed her. More rough hands grabbed Kelsier and Mare and they were carried through the palace up staircases and through corridors, until they finally came to a large room, a throne sat at the end of it on a small dias with stairs leading up to it and it was here Kelsier and Mare had their arms bound in chains. Kelsier knew this place well, he'd been here many times. This was the Lord Ruler's throne room. It was well lit, almost as if it was expected to have an audiance in it.
The doors at one end of the room opened shortly after, and a tall man stepped forward. He was dressed in dark pure black clothing, metal rings shone on his fingers and the metal bracelets around his arms seemed to feel alive. Metal was a sign of his power and he wore a it with pride. A soothing pressure hit Kelsier full on and everything he felt every emotion he felt faded away, only to be replaced by depression and hopelessness. This was the power of the Lord Ruler, and standing in front of Kelsier, was the Silver of Infinity himself, as young and healthy as he had looked for the past thousand years. Never aging, never changing. He looked like he had only been waiting, knowing that they would soon be in his grasp.
The Lord Ruler sat down on his throne, he looked at Kelsier, his eyes lay on the thief before they shifted to Mare and he smiled."Thank you Mare, your part helped a great deal in Kelsier's capture. Without you I would not have known exactly where Kelsier was. For that I must thank you, you have saved me quiet a bit of trouble." His voice hit Kelsier like a hammer hit an anvil; his voice was genuinely grateful and truthful.
Kelsier glanced over at Mare, his life had shattered. Mare had betrayed him. She looked back at him, an attempt at confusion in her eyes. "Kelsier, I didn't…." her voice trailed off as Kelsier turned away from her, his eyes shut trying to control his agony.
"It's taken much time Kelsier." The Lord Ruler continued. "Finally you are here, in front of me. You've caused me enough trouble, caused the nobility whom I granted their places too myself trouble, and you have been an annoyance for many years.
Kelsier looked up at the Lord Ruler trying to bring his courage back, anything to show defiance to the Lord Ruler. "Anything you do to me, will be nothing compared to what I feel. Do your worst, you can't cause me anymore pain then what I feel right now. Kill me, and end it."
"Kill you?" The Lord Ruler scoffed at the idea. "No my dear thief. You have stolen a great deal in your time. Death is simply not something I would grant someone who doesn't deserve it."
Kelsier stayed silent, he couldn't talk, respond to anything the Lord Ruler said.
"You Kelsier are about to experience agony, torment, death." The Lord Ruler said, each word he enforced with a hammer of despair upon Kelsier. "You will die, be sure of that. But first you will be broken, thorougly. You will beg, you will learn your place as a skaa. What you have stolen theif will be returned. What you have dreamed for will be shattered. Only when you have watched your dreams break, your will shatter, only when you're mind has broken so far that you see the deaths of every single person, every single thing you love. Only then will you die." The Lord Ruler paused for a moment allowing his words to sink in before he finished. "It is time you served you're God. It is time you serve in the Pits of Hathsin."
Kelsier hung his head, not able to bear the weight of it any longer. The Pits of Hathsin, the place where people were sent to die. It was a slave camp, prisoners were sent there for many different acts, acts that made them suffer. Acts that made them die. Kelsier knew he was defeated he would have resisted still but the fight was gone from him, everything he had once had, had been ripped from him. He only barely heard the Lord Ruler's final words addressed to him. "Take him, I wish to speak to Mare…alone." Those final words, the last thing he heard as he was grabbed and taken away, dragged away to serve his time in the pits.