Since we had such a long outage last week, I figured I’d throw up another of these to make up for it. See how much I love you!
One of the pivotal places I changed the book during drafting, as has been discussed in the annotations, was during the scene where Kelsier first outlines the plan to his crew. The first draft of the book had much more of a “heist” feel, with Kelsier funding and organizing the plan himself.
This didn’t end up working. By midway through the book, I’d pretty much dropped this plot line, and I felt the original “give the plan” chapter was offering false promises. The book turned into a “Let’s raise an army and also rip of the Lord Ruler” not “Let’s scam the Lord Ruler.” So, I revised heavily.
Originally, Yeden had been brought in by Kelsier because Kelsier wanted to use the man’s connections to help with his rip-off. This was always a weak reason to have the rebel leader involved, so I decided that it would all work better if Yeden were the one who hired the crew. That would give them more direction and allow me a better way to explain things.
Anyway, the section below is the first draft of the “Here’s the plan” scene. Enjoy.
“All right,” said the dissatisfied, plain-looking Yeden. “I’ve come to your meeting, Kelsier, though against my better judgement. I’ve waited upon your pleasure of arriving. Now I want to know why I’m here.”
“I would have thought that would be obvious, Yeden,” Kelsier said lightly. “You’re here because of your connection to the Skaa Rebellion.”
“You know what I mean, Kelsier,” Yeden snapped. “I don’t like mingling with thieves and cut-throats, especially smart-mouthed ones. If you think I’m going to participate in one of your jobs. . . .”
Kelsier smiled. “Oh, you’re going to participate, Yeden. But, this isn’t going to just be a regular job. In fact, it’s going to be different from any job any crew has ever tried to pull.”
Kelsier paused, smiling dramatically.
Breeze rolled his eyes. “Kell, you’ve kept this ‘job’ secret from us for eight months now. We know it’s big, we know you’re excited, and we’re all properly annoyed at you for being so secretive. So, why don’t you just go ahead and tell us what it is?”
“All right, gentlemen,” Kelsier said. “It’s really rather simple. We’re going to overthrow the Final Empire.”
Silence. Vin frowned, and the others seemed equally confused.
“Excuse me?” Ham asked.
“You heard me right, Ham,” Kelsier said. “That’s the job I’ve been planning—the destruction of the Final Empire and the death of the Lord Ruler.”
Ham sat back, then shared a glance with Breeze. Both men turned toward Dockson, who nodded solemnly. The room remained quiet for a moment longer, then the silence was broken by the sound of Yeden’s scornful laughter.
“You are a fool and an idiot,” Yeden said. “Overthrow the Final Empire? What do you think my companions and I have been trying to do all our lives? What do you think the Skaa Rebellion as been struggling to achieve for the last thousand years. Now you stroll into the room and say you’re going to do it, just like that? Do you have any idea how foolish you sound?”
Kelsier didn’t flush at the rebuke—he just stood with his arms folded, smiling slightly. “Are you finished?”
Yeden shook his head. “I’ll admit that part of me is impressed that you’ve finally gotten over your selfishness and decided to help your fellow skaa. But this isn’t the way, Kelsier. Come with me, and I’ll show you how to get involved with the rebellion—we could use a man of your resourcefulness. You’ll soon see that resisting the Final Empire is no simple ‘job’ to be accomplished by a bunch of pickpocketing miscreants, but a lifelong struggle.”
Kelsier raised a finger. “You see. This is why the Skaa Rebellion has never succeeded. No vision.”
“No vision?” Yeden sputtered.
“No vision,” Kelsier replied with a nod. “You spurn the thieving crews because of their greed, but for all your high morals—which, by the way, I respect—you never get anything done. You never plan to defeat the Lord Ruler, you simply ‘resist’ him. You hide in woods and in hills, plotting how you’ll someday rise up and lead a glorious war against the Final Empire. . .you just never get there. You have no idea how to develop and execute a proper plan.”
Yeden’s expression grew dark. “And you have no idea what you are talking about.”
“Oh?” Kelsier said lightly. “Tell me, what has your rebellion accomplished lately? You’ve been working on this problem for a thousand years, as you mentioned. Where are your successes and your victories? The Massacre of Tougier three centuries ago, where seven hundred Skaa rebels were slaughtered? The occasional raid of a travelling caravan or kidnapping of a minor noble official? What has the Rebellion accomplished?”
Yeden flushed. “We’re skaa, man! What do you expect of us?”
Kelsier obviously didn’t find this comment very impressive. Vin sat in her corner, watching with a frown. What is your game, Kelsier? His words about overthrowing the Final Empire were obviously a front, but what was he really trying to do? Perhaps he intended to scam the Skaa Rebellion. Vin had heard of the organization—such that it was. Reen had spoken of it with scorn, describing its members as a group of “idealistic fools.” They didn’t sound like the type to have enough money to bother scamming.
Kelsier turned from Yeden, instead regarding the table with Breeze and Ham. “You have objections?”
The two men shared a look. Finally Breeze spoke. “Lord Ruler knows I don’t often find reason to agree with Yeden or his ilk, Kell, but I do question your reasoning. Why us? Why now?”
“Who better than us?” Kelsier said. “Previous attempts to overthrow the Lord Ruler have failed because they lacked proper organization and planning. We’re thieves, gentlemen—and we’re extraordinarily good ones. We know how to do the impossible; we can rob the unrobbable and fool the unfoolable. We know how to take an incredibly large task and break it down to manageable pieces, then deal with each of those pieces. We know how to get what we want, and these things make us perfect for this particular task.”
Kelsier stood up, stepping away from the bar and walking toward the group. “Think about it,” he said. “The Skaa Rebellion can’t hope to overthrow the government. The Lord Ruler is just too powerful; he has too many agents. He can keep a careful watch on even the extremities of his empire. The rebellion fails because it’s too big. Any time one of its many pieces begins to gain any momentum, the Steel Priesthood inevitably crushes it.
“That’s not the way to defeat the Final Empire, gentlemen. It’s too unwieldy, too easily countered. But, a small team—specialized and highly skilled—has a hope. We can work without great risk of exposure. We know how to avoid the Steel Priesthood’s tendrils. We understand how the High Nobility thinks, and how to exploit its members. We can do this!”
He paused beside Breeze and Ham’s table.
“I don’t know, Kell,” Ham said. “I’m not that I’m disagreeing with your motives. It’s just that. . .well, this seems a bit foolhardy.”
Kelsier smiled. “I know it does. But you’re going to go along with it anyway, aren’t you?”
Ham paused, then nod
ded. “You know I’ll join your crew no matter what the job. This sounds crazy, but so do most of your plans. Just. . .just tell me. Are you serious?”
Kelsier nodded. For some reason, Vin was almost tempted to believe him.
Ham sighed. “All right, then. I’m in.”
“Breeze?” Kelsier asked.
The well-dressed man shook his head. “I’m not sure, Kell. This is a bit extreme, even for you.”
“We need you, Breeze,” Kell said. “No one can Push a crowd like you can.”
“Well, that much is true,” Breeze said. “But, even still. . . . Overthrowing the Final Empire, Kell?”
Kelsier smiled, then he set something on the table. Vin had to move a little to the side to see the object—it was the cup of wine she had poured for Breeze. She hadn’t even noticed that Kelsier had grabbed it off of the bar.
“Think of the challenge, Breeze,” Kelsier said.
Breeze glanced at the cup, then looked up at Kelsier. Finally, he laughed, reaching for the wine. “Fine. I’m in.”
“It’s impossible,” a gruff voice said from the back of the room. Clubs sat with folded arms, regarding Kelsier with a scowl. “What are you really planning, Kelsier?”
“I’m being honest,” Kelsier replied. “I plan to overthrow the Final Empire.”
“Where’s the money in that?” Clubs demanded.
“This isn’t about money, Clubs,” Kelsier said. “But, I’m not simply depending on your altruism. Dockson and I will be funding this project—we’ll pay you a fair reward for your services.”
Clubs snorted loudly. Then he stood, his chair toppling backward onto the floor behind him. “No reward would be enough. The Lord Ruler tried to have you killed once—I see that you won’t be satisfied until he gets it right.” With that, the older man turned and stalked in a limping gait from the room, slamming the door behind him.