I told you that I couldn’t just let Straff die to a random poisoning. He’s been an antagonist for far too long–surviving through two whole books. He deserved a sword in the head.
Oddly, there was a great deal of conversation in my writing groups about how to describe Straff dying. The thing is, Vi pretty much chopped him in half–but I don’t imagine the koloss sword being that sharp, so I think it would smash and crush as much as cut, particularly considering how hard Vin hit. Some disagreed, and thought the cut should be clean.
Eventually, after trying several things, I just went with this. It’s abstract enough that you can imagine what you want. I didn’t want to be TOO graphic, nor did I want to cause arguments about something that silly.
Cett Joins on Vin’s Side
Cett is a good man. He’s also a bad man.
He’s a good man who thinks he has to be bad. He thinks that being harsh is the only way to secure his kingdom, and figures–since someone’s going to do it–he might as well be the one. (I plan to deal with this entire concept of leadership more in a future book, by the way.)
But a piece of him hoped that he’d be able to find what he did in Luthadel. Someone he could follow. Someone he respected.
Sazed Watches Vin Defeat Straff’s Army
Sazed’s scene here was one that I rewrote a couple of times. He watches the battle and doesn’t participate. He was particularly hard to write here. He’s got so much going on inside of him–he just lost Tindwyl, and with her went his faith. But, at the same time, he is expected to be a part of things–and his natural curiosity still makes him wonder if Vin is the Hero of Ages.
The thing is, Sazed doesn’t really believe in the Hero of Ages any more. So, the trick I had was how to make him perceive the scene here? Lacking faith, yet still curious? It was a difficult line to walk.
Elend becomes emperor despite all of his attempts to set up a democracy. He has the throne given to him by force. In a way, this isn’t exactly betraying his wishes to let the people do what they want. Elend deserves this throne. Cett came looking for someone to follow, Elend is actually the rightful Venture heir to Straff’s army, and Penrod. . .well, he was made a subject king beneath Elend, so he didn’t really lose his throne.
It’s a stretch, I know, and the Elend at the beginning of this book never would have accepted it. The Elend at the end, however, will take it and do his best for the people as emperor. Even if it hurts him to do so.