Kwaan had an eidetic memory ("photographic memory"), which allowed him to realize that all recorded copies of the Terris prophecies were being altered to enhance the view that Alendi was the Hero of Ages. His own people declared him mad when he revealed this to them, but Kwaan continued to look into the alterations. He concluded that a malevolent force was manipulating Alendi to cause conflict and death, pushing Alendi to release the power within the Well of Ascension. In order to prevent the release of power, Kwaan had his nephew Rashek chosen as one of Alendi's guides through the Terris Mountains, and instructed him to do everything within his power to stop Alendi, including murder.
At some point Kwaan discovered things inscribed in metal were immune to modification. With this knowledge, he inscribed his actions and finding into sheets of steel.