Guerrillas In The Mist
The Treatise Metallurgic
Much has been lost of the knowledge that we once had about our Metallic Arts, and new, strange abilities have risen in the south. Inexplicable, formless creatures walk in the nights, and it has been said those without faces walk among us. The Deepness is gone, defeated they say by the Lord Ruler, the Hero of Ages; whose armies seem bent upon conquering all that he lays eyes upon. While those eyes have not turned to Terris yet, the wisest of our leaders prepare for the day we all know will come. Immortal, they say, he has shown no signs of slowing down his conquest as his fledgling empire reaches its first century.
There are powers in this world that I do not understand. They come in different forms and originate in different parts of Scadrial, but the common theme that seems to connect them all is the use of metal. This hints at something deeper, but beyond my comprehension. Maybe one day another will be able to put this work to a better use than I have achieved. Many I have worked with have died obtaining this knowledge; and I have no doubt that I too will find that fate. The Lord Ruler suppresses everything he can get his hands upon. Cultures and lands that were once so strong have been crushed beneath his heals, and are all but forgotten already.
I have committed here what knowledge my father passed to me, that his father had passed to him. Once Feruchemists were common across our lands, but I have not their skills with metal to make these words indelible. The Worldbringers are scattered, our guides lost, and the future uncertain. I have also traveled in secret to the lands of the Lord Ruler, and gathered what knowledge I can about those who serve him: the giant blue skinned warriors, and their leaders who soar through the air and twist the minds of those around them.
The ancients spoke of three categories of our essential essence: the physical, the mental, and the spiritual. The fundamental quality of Feruchemy is that it allows for the storage of the essences of life. We do not know where Feruchemy came from, but it has always been ours; no other nation of Scadrial has wielded such abilities.
The thing you must understand about Feruchemy, is that it is about balance. You breathe in, and your lungs expand to accommodate. You breathe out, and they contract again. Your power flows to your metalminds and you are diminished; you draw it forth and you are empowered. You cannot draw out more than you have put in; you must prepare ahead of time. A quality, you will agree, has defined our people for generations past.
All of Feruchemy operates through metalminds; objects of pure metals that absorb and store the essences. The metals and their uses are well known to the Terris, but to outsiders it has often appeared as though we wear strange, gaudy jewelry; but any object of the correct metal will work. Once we stored our strength, our wits, our weight, or even our warmth; how better to work in your fields during the baking summer sun, knowing that the warmth you store to remain cool will keep you going through the long winter nights?
The Lord Ruler sweeps all opposition before him, and part of his strength is in the noble families from across the nations that flock to his banner. Some, those who supported him first, he has gifted with powers that I have heard called “Allomancy”.
I have seen these allomancers soar through the sky, and pull the gates of a city from their hinges. They command their troops with fierce loyalty and fear is struck into the hearts of their enemies. I have felt that fear myself, radiating from the allomancer who stalked the streets of Tremredare. No blade could touch her, and she dodged every arrow. With powers like this at his command, is it any wonder that the so-called Final Empire has spread so quickly?
The mystery of their powers has been speculated on amongst the scholars I have met, and the growing consensus is that Allomancy is also fueled by metals; rather than storing power, however, to later draw upon, Allomancy consumes the metals used and provides the wielder with immediate effects. A brutally effective battle tactic, but perhaps an ultimately self-destructive cultural trend? We can but hope…
The same metals that power Feruchemy appear to be in use for Allomancy, and in some cases to have similar effects. However, most of its effects are vastly different – although they classify the metals in a similar fashion to Feruchemy. For Allomancers, the important groupings of their essence are apparently the Physical, the Mental, and the Temporal.
My travels into the Lord Ruler’s Empire have unearthed scattered stories of even stranger powers. Tales that I have sifted to try and find the kernel of truth, and which I would hesitate to include if I had not seen the effects with my own eyes. We have all heard the stories: hordes of blue-skinned warriors, led into battle by men and women whose eyes have been destroyed by iron spikes driven out the back of their skulls. Many have dismissed these tales as propaganda from the Lord Ruler, or the ravings of madmen, but I have witnessed these troops in action.
Tremredare fell to their blades, each as tall as a man, wielded by a ten-foot monsters whose blue skin was stretched taught across their bodies, and tearing in several places to show the bunched muscles beneath. These creatures, or Koloss as I have heard them referred to, seemed mindless, simply hewing destruction to anything around them – including other Koloss! Yet, an Allomancer in their midsts seemed to be able to direct their attention; more akin to redirecting a raging river, than actually controlling the power at his disposal. Which of their many powers let them control such beasts?
And yet, for all that these Koloss are mindless destruction embodied, there is something I still fear more. I have never been so unfortunate as to encounter one, but I have witnessed their prowess. I do not know what name they are called by the Lord Ruler, but Ironeyes is the name I have heard whispered by the people of the empire. Unfortunately, I have been unable to interview any survivors of their wrath, as there simply are none – so total is the destruction they employ.
Metal spikes seem to be the key, here, but how they work I do not know. But it is the very same metals
Physical – The four metals of this category seem to be common between Feruchemy and Allomancy: Tin, Pewter, Iron, and Steel.
Cognitive – The four Feruchemical metals of this category also seem to be shared with the mental group of Allomancy: Brass, Zinc, Bronze, and Copper.
Spiritual – All I could find was names for these metals, knowledge of what they stored has been lost: Aluminium, Duralumin, Chromium, and Nicrosil.
Temporal – These Allomantic metals are as much a mystery to me as Spiritual Feruchemy, but these are names I hear most often: Gold, Electrum, and Atium.
You will have noticed, of course, that only three temporal metals exist. Does that seem odd? I believe so – everything else comes in pairs – but what that fourth metal is, I could find no records. Only rumours. Likewise, it would seem strange to me that our Spiritual metals did nothing for an Allomancer or that their Temporal metals would be useless for a Feruchemist. But I do not believe any Feruchemists still walk among the stark mountains of Terris, nor would I know where to find such metals. Perhaps that knowledge survives among the libraries of the Worldbringers, but I fear that I will never see the slopes of Mount Derytatith again or walk the streets of Tathingdwen. Already I can hear the distant cries of Ironeyes heading in my direction. I only hope that these few papers will prove useful.
Others have spoken elsewhere of the perils of spikes, but recently I have found reference to several ancient religions who used specially prepared piercings to enhance their personal connection to the gods.
While much of the reported effects must be classified as hyperbole or wish-fulfilment, there is a clear theme running through many religions that means I cannot just dismiss these claims. How one creates the correct ‘piercings’ is as much a mystery to me as to the creation of any Hemalurgic spike – something that I assume these actually are.
Correct placement of the spike is involved – the diagram stolen from the Steel Ministry/Canton of Inquisition shows that much. But there are many locations on the body that could be considered significant enough to count: the eye, the heart, the chest, the sternum, the arm, the leg. Is the shoulder important or the knee? How about individual fingers or the ear? I have found no proof either way.
I can speculate wildly on the benefits and drawbacks of a greater connection to the gods but the scholar in my balks at such a thing.
I have, however, known that during certain parts of my life I have felt a closeness to a greater plan, a guiding presence that reminds me that I am part of something greater than myself. I believe that there is a future beyond the touch of the Lord Ruler, that the Synod can prepare for a world where all men will be free.
I can only hope that the gods themselves support such a future – and I wish to again feel that greater connection, to know my place in the plan, and understand the future.