In the very first chapter of the Wax and Wayne series of Mistborn novels, Waxillium Ladrian, self-styled gentleman lawman of the Roughs, is hunting down Bloody Tan, a serial killer of some renown. Bloody Tan treats Wax's approach like a museum visitor, setting up a gallery of his kills, and for a finale work of art, takes Wax's wife Lessie hostage and pulls her into the path of Wax's bullet just as Wax tries to shoot him. Tan gets the second bullet, and Wax leaves the Roughs to escape Lessie's memory shortly after.

In later books we learn that this situation was manipulated by the god Harmony to get Wax to leave the Roughs.

Lessie was actually a kandra named Paalm, who had been assigned to watch over Wax by Harmony, and had fallen for him and was refusing to manipulate his life further. Harmony, at minimum, overrode Paalm by taking direct control of her and forcing the Tan scenario to end the way it did (bullets not being lethal to kandra).

The meat of the question is that if Harmony did this, how much of that entire setup was faked? Tan was the one that created his "perfect moment of art", was he also an agent of Harmony, or controlled? His dialogue certainly implies the latter, with his "something else moves us" comments. If it's the former that just raises more questions. There's no more information that I can find in the books though, and since most of Harmony's servants still hold by old oaths to not kill humans, my guesses as to what was real and what was setup feel pretty fuzzy.

So since the one agent we know of couldn't have done all of it, which parts were real, and which parts were controlled manipulation?

  • This is quite good question, I think. Unfortunately we don't know enough to fully answer it. Particularly Tan is enigmatic,
    – Mithoron
    Commented Feb 27, 2019 at 23:19

1 Answer 1


Let's break the situation down to its component parts

  1. The setup (Wax/Lessie)
  2. The tunnel
  3. The conversation
  4. The shot

And the agents involved

  1. Wax
  2. Lessie
  3. Bloody Tan
  4. Harmony

1 - The Setup (Wax/Lessie)

Wax gets the letter while he and Lessie were hunting Bloody Tan. There is no indication that there was any influence from Harmony in this decision. I imagine Harmony provided some influence in sending the Letter, though that is speculation based on knowledge from Shadows of Self.

2 - The Tunnel

The menagerie is certainly Tan's doing. It's far too complicated for Harmony to have prompted through the minimal influence he would have had.

3 - The Conversation

Just Wax and Tan here. Nothing of note. Also no indication that Harmony would have been involved.

4 - The Shot

We know that the Kandra have an obedience complex. I mean, they all "killed" themselves when the First Generation activated The Resolution. Since Harmony specifically says that he didn't take control of Lessie, and we have no reason to disbelieve him, I think what happened is that Lessie, knowing what her order was, couldn't help but follow it due to the ingrained nature of the Kandra. This was Harmony's influence, but second hand.


Wax and Lessie's lifestyle puts them in danger all the time. Orchestrating this sort of situation is not hard. Bloody Tan was obviously a few rounds sort. As detailed much more clearly in this answer by me, insane people are susceptible to Ruin's power (now held by Harmony). This explains the whole "someone else moves us" bit.

Harmony was able to influence the outlaw that Wax was chasing. But he knew Wax would never want to come back to Elendel while Lessie was in the picture. So he told Lessie to allow herself to "die". Lessie obviously didn't want to (as evidenced in Shadows of Self). But her Kandra nature couldn't allow to disobey, so she followed through at the last second.

So in short, how much was manipulated? A bit. Harmony nudged a few pieces together and then ordered Lessie to "die". One insane man and an adrenaline junkie later, you have the prologue to Allow of Law.

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