Home > The Bands of Mourning (Mistborn #6)

The Bands of Mourning (Mistborn #6)
Brandon Sanderson

PROLOGUE

“Telsin!” Waxillium hissed as he crept out of the training hut.

Glancing back, Telsin winced and crouched lower. At sixteen, Waxillium’s sister was one year older than he was. Her long dark hair framed a button nose and prim lips, and colorful V shapes ran up the front of her traditional Terris robes. Those always seemed to fit her in a way his never did. On Telsin, they were elegant. Waxillium felt like he was wearing a sack.

“Go away, Asinthew,” she said, inching around the side of the hut.

“You’re going to miss evening recitation.”

“They won’t notice I’m gone. They never check.”

Inside the hut, Master Tellingdwar droned on about proper Terris attitudes. Submission, meekness, and what they called “respectful dignity.” He was speaking to the younger students; the older ones, like Waxillium and his sister, were supposed to be meditating.

Telsin scrambled away, moving through the forested area of Elendel referred to simply as the Village. Waxillium fretted, then hurried after his sister.

“You’re going to get into trouble,” he said once he caught up. He followed her around the trunk of an enormous oak tree. “You’re going to get me into trouble.”

“So?” she said. “What is it with you and rules anyway?”

“Nothing,” he said. “I just—”

She stalked off into the forest. He sighed and trailed after her, and eventually they met up with three other Terris youths: two girls and a tall boy. Kwashim, one of the girls, looked Waxillium up and down. She was dark-skinned and slender. “You brought him?”

“He followed me,” Telsin said.

Waxillium smiled at Kwashim hopefully, then at Idashwy, the other girl. She had wide-set eyes and was his own age. And Harmony … she was gorgeous. She noticed his attention on her and blinked a few times, then glanced away, a demure smile on her lips.

“He’ll tell on us,” Kwashim said, drawing his attention away from the other girl. “You know he will.”

“I won’t,” Waxillium snapped.

Kwashim gave Waxillium a glare. “You might miss evening class. Who’ll answer all the questions? It will be rusting quiet in the classroom with nobody to fawn over the teacher.”

Forch, the tall boy, stood just inside the shadows. Waxillium didn’t look at Forch, didn’t meet his eyes. He doesn’t know, right? He can’t know. Forch was the oldest of them, but rarely said much.

He was Twinborn, like Waxillium. Not that either of them used their Allomancy much these days. In the Village, it was their Terris side—their Feruchemy—that was lauded. The fact that both he and Forch were Coinshots didn’t matter to the Terris.

“Let’s go,” Telsin said. “No more arguing. We probably don’t have much time. If my brother wants to tag along, then fine.”

They followed her beneath the canopy, feet crackling on leaves. With this much foliage, you could easily forget you were in the middle of an enormous city. The sounds of shouting men and iron-shod hooves on cobbles were distant, and you couldn’t see or smell the smoke in here. The Terris worked hard to keep their section of the city tranquil, quiet, peaceful.

Waxillium should have loved it here.

The group of five youths soon approached the Synod’s Lodge, where the ranking Terris elders had their offices. Telsin waved for the group of them to wait while she hurried up to a particular window to listen. Waxillium found himself looking about, anxious. Evening was approaching, the forest growing dim, but anyone could walk along and find them.

Don’t worry so much, he told himself. He needed to join in their antics like his sister did. Then they’d see him as one of them. Right?

Sweat trickled down the sides of his face. Nearby, Kwashim leaned against a tree, completely unconcerned, a smirk growing on her lips as she noticed how nervous he was. Forch stood in the shadows, not crouching, but rusts—he could have been one of the trees, for all the emotion he showed. Waxillium glanced at Idashwy, with her large eyes, and she blushed, looking away.

Telsin snuck back to them. “She’s in there.”

“That’s our grandmother’s office,” Waxillium said.

“Of course it is,” Telsin said. “And she got called into her office for an emergency. Right, Idashwy?”

The quiet girl nodded. “I saw Elder Vwafendal running past my meditation room.”

Kwashim grinned. “So she won’t be watching.”

“Watching what?” Waxillium asked.

“The Tin Gate,” Kwashim said. “We can get out into the city. This is going to be even easier than usual!”

“Usual?” Waxillium said, looking in horror from Kwashim to his sister. “You’ve done this before?”

“Sure,” Telsin said. “Hard to get a good drink in the Village. Great pubs two streets over though.”

“You’re an outsider,” Forch said to him as he stepped up. He spoke slowly, deliberately, as if each word required separate consideration. “Why should you care if we leave? Look, you’re shaking. What are you afraid of? You lived most of your life out there.”

You’re an outsider, they said. Why was his sister always able to worm her way into any group? Why did he always have to stand on the outside?

“I’m not shaking,” Waxillium said to Forch. “I just don’t want to get into trouble.”

“He’s going to turn us in,” Kwashim said.

“I’m not.” Not for this anyway, Waxillium thought.

“Let’s go,” Telsin said, leading the pack through the forest to the Tin Gate, which was a fancy name for something that was really just another street—though granted, it had a stone archway etched with ancient Terris symbols for the sixteen metals.

Beyond it lay a different world. Glowing gas lamps marching along streets, newsboys trudging home for the night with unsold broadsheets tucked under their arms. Workers heading to the rowdy pubs for a drink. He’d never really known that world; he’d grown up in a lavish mansion stuffed with fine clothes, caviar, and wine.

Something about that simple life called to him. Perhaps he’d find it there. The thing he’d never found. The thing everyone else seemed to have, but he couldn’t even put a name to.

The other four youths scuttled out, passing the building with shadowed windows where Waxillium and Telsin’s grandmother would usually be sitting and reading this time of night. The Terris didn’t employ guards at the entrances to their domain, but they did watch.

Waxillium didn’t leave, not yet. He looked down, pulling back the sleeves of his robe to expose the metalmind bracers he wore there.

“You coming?” Telsin called to him.

He didn’t respond.

“Of course you’re not. You never want to risk trouble.”

She led Forch and Kwashim away. Surprisingly though, Idashwy lingered. The quiet girl looked back at him questioningly.

I can do this, Waxillium thought. It’s nothing big. His sister’s taunt ringing in his ears, he forced himself forward and joined Idashwy. He felt sick, but he fell in beside her, enjoying her shy smile.

“So, what was the emergency?” he asked Idashwy.

“Huh?”

“The emergency that called Grandmother away?”

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