|Alias||Survivor of Hathsin|
Lord of the Mists
Lord of Scars
|Family||Marsh - (older brother)|
Mare - (Wife) (Deceased)
Vin - (Adopted Daughter) (Asended/Deceased)
|Appearances||"The Final Empire"|
"Hero of Ages" (imitated by OreSeur, Ruin and TenSoon)
"Mistborn: Secret History"
|“||There's always another secret.||”|
Kelsier is described to be a middle-aged man with hawkish features and light blonde hair. His most prominent trademark is the multitude of long scars running down his arms, a memento of time spent in the Pits of Hathsin.
Kelsier and his brother Marsh were the sons of a nobleman father and a skaa mother. When Kelsier's father discovered the truth of their parentage, he had their mother executed and attempted to do the same to the brothers, who fled. Thus was born a sense of resentment for the nobility in both children, which resulted in Marsh becoming the leader of the Skaa Rebellion and Kelsier became a crewleader for a gang of Misting thieves, stealing from the noble families.
Kelsier fell in love with a Tineye crewmember of Dockson's retinue named Mare, whom he later married. Marsh, who was also in love with Mare, came to resent Kelsier for winning her love and for constantly outshadowing him with his frivolty. It was Mare who gave Kelsier a drawing of a flower, a remnant of a time before ash clouded the sky and plants grew withered and brown. Kelsier later gave this drawing to Vin.
Despite having amassed enough wealth to live comfortably, Kelsier continued planning more heists, looking for bigger challenges in each. For one of them, Kelsier's crew planned to steal the Lord Ruler's atium cache, which they believed lay hidden in Kredik Shaw. However, Mare's use of Allomancy was sensed by the Steel Inquisitors (since they could pierce copperclouds), and Kelsier and Mare were captured by the Lord Ruler. The Lord Ruler openly thanked Mare for helping his forces find the thieves, and from this, Kelsier was led to the false conclusion that Mare had purposefully betrayed him.
As punishment, Kelsier was sent to the the Pits of Hathsin to mine atium for the Lord Ruler. Mare joined him there a few months later. Despite her supposed betrayal, Kelsier never stopped loving her. Sixteen months later, when Kelsier was unable to get his weekly atium geode, Mare gave Kelsier hers, claiming that she had found two that week. Kelsier discovered that Mare had given him her only geode, and was forced to watch Mare being beaten to death by the guards. Kelsier protested, earning himself a violent beating, whereupon he Snapped.
With his newly awakened Mistborn powers, Kelsier killed the guards and escaped the Pits of Hathsin, murdering all the nobility and skaa who had chosen to become guards he encountered in his vicinity. He is credited as the first to ever escape the death camp, and from henceforth he was titled the Survivor of Hathsin.
In the following years, Kelsier traveled the empire and learned the art of Allomancy from an old skaa Mistborn named Gemmel. He also searched far and wide for possible ways to defeat the Lord Ruler, and managed to find an ingot of the fabled Eleventh Metal (he claimed he had found it in the west, which is considered to be a lie. It is assumed that, based on his experience as a Misting crew leader that staged increasingly daring heists, he had broken into the Ministry building of Urteau and discovered the secret in the storage cache). Despite his suspicion that Mare betrayed him, he decides to fulfill Mare's dream of overthrowing the Final Empire. When Kelsier is offered a deal by the rebel skaa Yeden to overthrow the Lord Ruler, he quickly accepts.
Travelling back to Luthadel, he begins to assemble a thieving crew to put his plan into motion. His best friend, Dockson, helps him follow up on Marsh's reports of a skaa with known Allomantic powers. Kelsier locates this skaa, whose name was Vin. After testing her ability to burn multiple metals, Kelsier concludes that Vin was in fact a Mistborn. She agrees to join the crew in exchange for Kelsier's training.
Kelsier also convinces Breeze, Ham and Clubs to join the conspiracy by offering a share of the Lord Ruler's stash of valuable atium as loot. Kelsier's estranged brother Marsh also joins, hoping to realize his own dream of a successful Skaa Rebellion despite his disapproval of Kelsier's methods and leaving the rebellion when he had learned Kelsier and Mare had been captured.
Kelsier draws up a master plan for the job, in which he designates each member of his crew to a role. Their combined effort would, in the end, result in the collapse of the Final Empire. Kelsier's own role takes advantage of his Mistborn training, allowing him to assassinate nobles, cause disruptions in the Great Houses and eventually ignite a house war that would tear Luthadel apart from within. His other role involved using his reputation as the Survivor of Hathsin to inspire the newly-trained skaa soldiers.
He congregated a mass of approximately six thousand skaa men to become soldiers in roughly four months and sent them all to Yeden. During this time, he attempted a second breakin of Kredik Shaw, and was unsuccessful; nearly getting Vin killed in the process. After Vin had recovered from her extensive injuries, Ham took her with him to allow her to watch him burn pewter effectively, but they quickly returned to Kelsier with news that Yeden had had his troops attack a garrison outpost against their main objective. Kelsier went on a pewter flare run to save the army, but was too late to stop the battle. This severely angered Kelsier and crushed morale within his crew, making them feel that they wouldn't be needed now that the army had been slaughtered.
After Marsh was seemingly killed by Inquisitors, Kelsier traveled to the Pits of Hathsin, and in his anger, destroyed all the atium-producing crystals there, forever halting the production of atium.
In retaliation, the Lord Ruler executes numerous skaa in public demonstrations. Prior to one of the executions, Kelsier attacks the carriages transporting the victims and frees them, killing a Steel Inquisitor in the process. However, he is then confronted by the Lord Ruler himself. Even with the Eleventh Metal, Kelsier proved no match for the emperor and was quickly killed by a spear through the heart.
In the event of his death, Kelsier ordered his kandra, OreSeur, to ingest his remains, masquerading as a resurrected holy figure. OreSeur incites the skaa to rebel, beginning the revolution and the overthrow of the Final Empire. After his apprentice Vin kills the Lord Ruler, OreSeur lays Kelsier's bones to rest. Kelsier's martyrdom and seeming resurrection spawns a new religion, the Church of the Survivor, which venerates Kelsier's teachings.
Kelsier is deified and continues to be venerated more and more by the skaa as the Church of the Survivor gains popularity. Those who had been close to Kelsier, particularly his thieving crew, are notably discomforted by his religious image.
The newly installed king of Luthadel, Elend Venture, often inquires about Kelsier's traits and skills, hoping that he can learn to lead as effectively as the Survivor once did.
"Hero of Ages"
Kelsier's legacy continues to influence people all across the five dominances. The most notable of these is the rebel group governing Urteau,led by a man known as the Citizen. Under the Citizen's rule, all noblemen and even skaa of noble ancestry were to be executed, and any sort of luxury is declared illegal. He justifies his behavior as faithfulness to the Survivor of Hathsin, since Kelsier himself had been known to express outright hatred for the nobility.
The spirit of Kelsier often appears in Spook's hallucinations, granting him the power to burn pewter and guiding him through difficult situations. However, this apparition of Kelsier is eventually revealed to be Ruin in disguise.
TenSoon wears Kelsier's bones to glean information about Vin from Luthadel guards. In the process, he tells the skaa to flee to the Terris settlement at the Pits of Hathsin should troubles arise.
Sazed, after becoming God, grants Spook the power of a Mistborn and heals him of his ultra-enhanced sense (an effect of continuously flaring tin for extended periods of time). He tells Spook that this healing was Kelsier's parting gift.
"Mistborn: Secret History"
In this novella covering the events of the first Mistborn trilogy, Kelsier is trapped in the Well of Ascension following his death. While there he meets Ati and Hoid, as well as regularly talking with Leras, whom he believes to be God. It is there revealed that it was Kelsier's ghost who stabbed Elend at the end of Well of Ascension, not Preservation.
He escapes the Well following its destruction and travels west, meeting Khriss, Nazh, and a group of Elantrians along the way. At Fadrex he convinces Vin to flee when he sees Hoid. He takes up the Shard of Preservation following Leras' death and sends a round-about message to Marsh in the hope that his brother will remove Vin's earring.
After speaking with Vin and Elend briefly upon their deaths, he discovers from Sazed that there is a way for him to go back to life.
"Mistborn Era 2: The Bands of Mourning"
The protagonists find a temple to a man they assume is the Lord Ruler, in which is stored the allomantic and feruchemic Bands. At the end of the book, Waxillium Ladrian is given a feruchemic coin by Hoid which stores the memory of a man with one eye and one hemalurgic spike, with arms covered in scars. Taken in congruence with the events of Secret History, this man appears to be Kelsier. The man tells a villager to "survive."
It is presumed that this is the Sovereign of the Southerners, who saved their people, declared himself ruler, and reorganized the social hierarchy.
A natural leader, Kelsier used his charismatic personality to draw skilled and loyal Mistings to his own crew and eventually to lead a rebel army.
One of Kelsier's defining characteristics is his infallible optimism, even in the face of disastrous situations. He claims that he smiles solely because laughter is the only thing that the Lord Ruler cannot take from him. His cheerful exterior hides his doubts over Mare's loyalty, whom he continues to believe to have betrayed him until Vin demonstrates that it is possible to pierce copperclouds.
Kelsier is also highly impulsive, on one occasion attempting to attack an entire army single-handed. His near invincibility as a Mistborn warrior fuels his reckless nature.
Some of the Survivor's less pleasant traits include his ruthlessness and prejudice. Kelsier often kills nobility and the skaa who serve them with absolutely no qualms. He overcomes this character flaw eventually (demonstrated by saving the noblemen Elend Venture from certain death) when Vin convinces him that there are good people among the nobility.
He has been described by Brandon Sanderson as a psychopath.
Kelsier is a fully trained Mistborn, despite his half-noble half-skaa ancestry. Although he had only come into his powers three years before the beginning of Mistborn: The Final Empire, Kelsier repeatedly demonstrates a level of skill and finesse greater than that of most other Mistborn. In addition, Kelsier is a competent warrior, defeating multiple Hazekillers and Mistings while outnumbered and disarmed.
Although Vin assumes him to have only trained partially using each metal, Kelsier is extremely skilled at Steelpushing and Ironpulling, a skill he demonstrates when he defeats and kills the Steel Inquisitor Bendal.
Kelsier also is quite adept at pewter-dragging, as he is capable of running long distances and experiencing only minor fatigue afterwards.
As of Mistborn Era 2, he may be a feruchemist.
|“||I represent that one thing you've never been able to kill, no matter how hard you try. I am hope.||”|
–Kelsier, to the Lord Ruler
"Everything I learn is just another tool for the tool box"
-Kelsier, the Tool's Bible (citation needed)
|“||I decided that I’d see [Mare's] dream fulﬁlled. I’d make a world where ﬂowers returned, a world with green plants, a world where no soot fell from the sky....||”|
–Kelsier, to Vin
|“||Kelsier was central to it all. He was the one who organized, the one who took all of the wild brainstorming and turned it into a viable operation. He was the leader. The genius.||”|
–Elend, thoughts on Kelsier
" There is always another secret."
-Kelsier, Several times.