In the first Mistborn book, The Final Empire, one part of the crew's mission to overthrow the Lord Ruler and the Final Empire involves infiltrating the nobility. The crewmember chosen to do this is Vin, the newest recruit, who takes on the persona of Lady Valette Renoux.

But why her? She's been living on the streets all her life, and initially has absolutely no idea how the nobility behave. It takes a long period of training to give her the knowledge and skills she needs for the task. Why not one of the more experienced crewmembers? Specifically, I'm thinking of Breeze: he can play the part of a nobleman to perfection, and he's skilled at manipulating and dealing with people even if he wouldn't want to risk using his Allomantic skills.

Why choose Vin to infiltrate the nobility, rather than someone more experienced?


Kelsier's crew had no one else available that could do the job. As @Adamant has already noted, both Breeze and Dockson couldn't be used because of their previous activities. Neither Spook nor Yeden were suitable, for various reasons - wrong background and personal qualities. The other members of the crew were slotted for other roles:

  • Sazed was the wrong race and would serve as the Terrisman Steward
  • Ham managed security and didn't have the right temperament
  • Clubs was needed to be the Smoker and was already a well-known skaa craftsman

Once the crew scaled down the role so that Vin was a relative from a minor branch of the house rather than the heir, she turned out to be perfect:

  • She had previous thief training from her brother on how to be fake being a noblewoman
  • Her cover as a young rural noblewoman would explain many behaviorial oddities whereas an heir would be expected to have more polish

Her Mistborn skills were more of a bonus for the spy role, it didn't seem that Kelsier had actually planned to use her Allomantic skills until Vin pushed him to actively utilize her as a Mistborn.

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Breeze was too conspicuous

Kelsier specifically needed someone to pose as Renoux's heir. His original plan was Dockson, but he was too dangerous, having drawn attention to himself previously.

“Can’t be me,” Dockson said. “I got marked during the Eiser job just a couple months back.”

Kelsier frowned.

“What?” Yeden asked. “Do I want to know what they’re talking about this time?”

“He means that the Ministry is watching for him,” Breeze said. “He pretended to be a nobleman, and they found out.”

The Final Empire

He couldn't have someone assume the role of a random noble: it had to be someone with a plausible reason to be associated with Renoux. Basically, an heir: a niece or nephew.

Breeze was indeed an excellent candidate. However, he was so good that he had already done exactly the same thing several times before.

“I’m out as well,” Breeze said. “I already have several aliases among the nobility. I suppose I could use one of them, but I couldn’t go to any major balls or parties—it would be rather embarrassing if I met someone who knew me by a different alias.”

The Final Empire

Had Breeze attempted to pass himself off as Renoux's nephew, his ability to spy would have been severely limited. Kelsier considers the other crew members, but discards them as possibilities for various reasons.

Using Vin, on the other hand, had a number of benefits.

  1. She was around the right age.

  2. While she lacked Breeze's social skills, she could attend a wide range of events without risking capture.

  3. Perhaps most important, she was a Mistborn. She thus possessed Breeze's Allomantic talent, plus more than a few others. This would be a tremendous advantage if things ever came to a fight. Indeed, the first thing Kelsier did after their meeting was over was to instruct Vin in the use of the various metals.

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