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In the second Mistborn series, Marsh, aka Ironeyes, is still alive. But it explicitly states in the first series that Inquisitors do die of old age. So how is he still alive?

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Atium compounding. He uses Feruchemy to store youth in Atium and then Allomancy to burn it, so he gets more youth of it than he put in, granting immortality as long as his Atium supply lasts. Same method as the Lord Ruler, in fact.

The author actually stated this directly in response to a fan question...

And what happened to Marsh? The book doesn't mention him after he fights with Elend.

Marsh is alive. I changed this from when I talked to [Peter]. I realized some things about his use of Allomancy that would allow him to survive. Actually, he is immortal. He can pull off the same Allomancy/Feruchemy trick that the Lord Ruler did. (And he knows it too, since he was there when Sazed explained how it was done in Book One.) He's actually the only living person who actually knows this trick for certain. (Though there's a chance that Spook, Ham and Breeze heard about it from Vin and the others.) So yes, if there were another series, Marsh would make an appearance.

I thought that trick required atium and involved burning the atium. With all the atium gone and Sazed not making any more, it would therefore not be possible even for a full mistborn/feruchemist. Am I wrong, is Sazed providing atium specifically for Marsh to allow a friend and valuable servant to survive, or what?

Marsh has the bag of Atium that KanPaar sent to be sold, as well as several nuggets in his stomach. So, I guess 'immortal' is the wrong phrase. He's got the only remaining atium in the world and can keep himself around for a long, long while—but he WILL eventually run out. Unless Sazed does something.

Note that Marsh has more spikes than the usual Inquisitor, most of them do not have an Atium feruchemical and Atium allomatic spike.

  • The vast majority of the Atium was burned at the end of The Hero of Ages, and Sazed presumably took it back to his Ruin aspect, how would he have enough to live 400 years? – Antheloth Nov 25 '18 at 22:02
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    @Antheloth - ah, but one of the rebel kandra had grabbed a bag of the stuff (they were going to trade with it I think) and left just before the big battle went down... That's what tipped Ruin to where the atium stockpile was in the first place. Three guesses who ended up with it, first two don't count. – Radhil Nov 25 '18 at 23:23
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    @Antheloth I don't believe he really has the ability to take his own physical form away. The Atium he had was presumably going to last awhile. The first 400 years are probably fairly easy; AFAIK you need more Atium to maintain your age as you get older. The wording by Brandon also seems pretty important "unless Sazed does something". This leaves the possibility that his age is being maintained by Harmony (given that he seems to act as his agent and would be susceptible to his control, I could see Harmony investing in that). – JMac Nov 26 '18 at 19:30

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