In The Alloy of Law, Miles Hundred-Lives is a double gold twinborn.

This means he can burn gold to see visions of his possible alternative past, (Allomancy) and tap/fill gold to retrieve/store health (Feruchemy).

Since he can burn the same metal he can tap/fill, he can use "Compounding" to gain massive amounts of health (thus making him heal almost instantly from anything)

How do the mechnics for doing this work?

My understanding is:

  1. He wears gold (his gold-mind piecings etc),
    and fills them with X minutes of healing
    (ie the amound of healing as a he would normally do in X minutes - he could Tap it as fast as he wanted, and take as much time as he wanted to fill it (for a normal Feruchemist this would be >X minutes))
  2. He removes his gold minds and aranges them into consumable form (cutting them down to size). He consumes them, and by Allomantically Burning them, gains additional healing equal to roughly 10*X. He does not see visions of his possible alternitive past. (Which means a filled gold mind can no longer be burnt normally by the person who did the filling, right?)
  3. He can use (some of) this extra health to repeat from step 1, and can easily fill the new minds with much more than X minutes of health, easily.

Have I got this right?


2 Answers 2


I think you are mostly correct, except with one caveat in step 2: filled minds are burnt normally by the person who did the filling, and there's no reason to think otherwise. I'll look up the quote when I get home, but when Miles burns gold explicitly in order to see his past selves, he doesn't do anything special - the gold is just there, which implies that it's the gold he's using for compounding.

It's a subtle point, but Sanderson loves putting those in his books.

So why doesn't Miles always see his potential past selves? Well, for the same reason why you can burn pewter and get slightly stronger, or flare it and become significantly stronger; Miles has probably perfected the art of keeping his gold at a sufficiently low burn that he's not consciously aware of the gold ghosts, but that it still provides a net gain in compounding.

Further, keeping his gold at a low burn might be less efficient for compounding than continually burning it at normal levels - later in the book Wax accuses Miles of turning to robbery in order to, essentially, feed his gold habit. And of course, the continual subconscious ire of his gold ghosts probably has some mentally scarring implications; Vin was shocked after burning it for just a few moments, but Miles exposes himself to it continuously.

  • 2
    It seems as though the author intends to have burning allomantic metals to be different than burning feruchemical stores, so it seems as though you would not see the gold shadows normally. To quote Sanderson: "What’s going on there is you’re actually charging a piece of metal, and then you are burning that metal as a feruchemical charge. What is happening is that the feruchemical charge overwrites the allomantic charge, and so you actually fuel feruchemy with allomancy, is what you are doing." source
    – JMac
    Commented Jan 10, 2019 at 17:30

he probably stores the health he gains from burning in the metalminds abd increases the stored amount that way, thus is not constantly burning gold.

  • 4
    'He probably' sounds like an opinion or guess. Can you provide any reference material to back this up ?
    – Stan
    Commented Jan 9, 2014 at 13:48

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