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From the very beginning of the first Mistborn book Vin is able to use 'Luck' on people, a power she derives from burning metals she has ingested. The question is, before she is aware of the nature of her power, and therefore before she purposefully ingests the metals she is able to use her powers.

Where does her metal come from? I'm well aware that Kelsier and Dockson speculate she is able to use the trace minerals in the water, but I would like to see some evidence to the case. The clue here is the word 'trace', it seems like there couldn't be enough in the water. Do average mineral levels in a mining town support the fact she has access to enough of the metals or is her use of trace minerals supported elsewhere?

2 Answers 2

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Adding on to TZHX's answer, the first book explicitly mentions that Vin came to Marsh's attention because she was instinctively burning pewter and tin. Marsh tells Vin:

You knew the other metals instinctively. You were burning pewter and tin that day - just a tiny bit, barely noticeable. You probably got the metals from water and dining utensils.

Since Luthadel was a mining town, it's very likely that minerals entered the water supply, which allowed Vin (and other Allomancers) to build up a small working supply of metals.

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    Vin also remembers that the utensils in Camon's lair were made of pewter. It can safely be assumed that this pewter not being of the perfect allomantic proportions and only getting in her system in trace amounts only gives her a small amount of power, enough to endure Camon's (and her brother's) beatings, yet not enough to use superhuman strength.
    – Dungarth
    Jul 18, 2012 at 1:16
  • marsh's attention??? Dec 1, 2013 at 13:40
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    @tryingToGetProgrammingStraight - yes, Marsh noticed that Vin was a potential Mistborn when Camon took her to scam him. Marsh passes this info along to Dockson, which sets up Kelsier's first meeting with Vin...
    – JW8
    Dec 2, 2013 at 18:45
  • @JW8 oh yes i remember, i thought u were confusing him with the inquisitors. Dec 3, 2013 at 11:36
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It's hinted that the level of minerals in the water are enough that she can use that

It's explicitly stated that this is the case.

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    I'm well aware that Kelseer and Doxen speculate this but I would like to see some evidence to the case. Like average mineral levels in a mining town or the like.
    – AncientSwordRage
    Apr 28, 2012 at 21:41
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    It's... fiction. And magic. Suspend your disbelief.
    – TZHX
    Apr 28, 2012 at 21:44
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    Yup. Your point? I'm just curious, I guess the underlying question is, how much mineral do you need to use your powers? How does that limit the powers?
    – AncientSwordRage
    Apr 28, 2012 at 21:45
  • The average mineral levels in water in a mining town or otherwise wouldn't be relevant if the information is taken from our world (real world) as this is fiction
    – RuthP27
    Oct 7, 2013 at 14:23
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    Sorry I meant to say this (didn't know about 5 minute editing rule): ... The data you mention would be irrelevant as this is occurring in a fictional universe where everything works differently. Yes, we can infer some things, but I don't think you're going to get a real hard answer for this by looking at mineral content in mining town water on our world. Also, although Kelsier and Dox only mentioned pewter and tin and I'm fairly sure those metals (or their components) don't naturally occur in food, some of the other metals do, such as zinc and iron. So food could also be a source.
    – RuthP27
    Oct 7, 2013 at 14:36

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