Vin sells herself short sometimes on her ability to influence people and deal with political situations. She, perhaps, forgets that she began her career as an Allomancer by using the emotional metals, not the physical ones. Long before she was leaping through the mists, she was Pulling and Pushing on the emotions of people in the thieving underground, keeping herself safe, pushing deals to go her way, that sort of thing.
She plays Yomen perfectly here, and really accomplishes some things by it. I’m not one who looks at manipulating a conversation, or even the people in that conversation, as an inherently bad thing. Breeze voices (but exaggerates) some of my opinions on this in book two. We all posture and influence one another. The ability to get people to do what you want isn’t itself evil; it’s what we call charisma, or even leadership ability. It’s what you do with your ability that is either evil or good.
“Then you have doomed us all.”
We can finally explain the Lord Ruler’s final quote, given at the end of book one and then quoted again in this chapter. “You don’t know what you’ve done,” he said. “You’ve doomed yourselves.” (Or, at least, something like that. I hate it when I misquote myself, but it happens a lot.)
He knew that the power would soon return to the Well, and he’d been planning how to resist Ruin. Yet he knew that Ruin would try something—something to stop him, to destroy him. The Lord Ruler wasn’t expecting it to come in the form of a rebellion to overthrow his empire and kill him, but he was expecting something.
And so, as he lay dying, he realized what had happened. He knew that Ruin must have orchestrated it—the timing was too perfect. He knew what was coming, and that it would probably mean the end of the world.
Doomed indeed. Another nice connection back to previous books here with Vin’s quoting of that.
Ruin Wants the Atium
And, it is about atium. Tada! The atium drove the plot in book one as Kelsier and team tried to find it. (Ruin didn’t need to influence them very much on that one.) It drove the second book as the armies besieged Luthadel with the hope of claiming the fabled atium stash of the Lord Ruler.
It would have been a disappointment for readers, I think, to have that mythical atium supply to end up useless. Yomen is right; it no longer matters monetarily. Cities aren’t selling food to one another in the face of the destruction that is coming. Atium is meaningless economically
But there are other reasons, and—as you’ll see—the atium is an important part of all of this.
One quick note on Marsh to end it out. If you’ll remember, the crushed eye socket with the spike that has been pounded in came courtesy of Sazed back in book two. And the red tattoo he wears is an indication of what kind of Allomancer he was before being made into an Inquisitor.