At the Well of Ascension, after the mist spirit (Preservation) stabs Elend, he saves himself by ingesting the last bead of metal at the Well which transforms him into a full Mistborn. As revealed later on, this bead is really a bit of the metal Lerasium which grants the person a direct connection to Preservation. The uniqueness of Lerasium is that anyone can ingest it and then become a full Mistborn.

Lerasium, along with Atium are two of the "god metals" that exist in Scadrial, yet unlike Lerasium, only Atium Mistings(which draws on Ruin's power), can burn that metal. One would think that just like anyone can burn Lerasium, they should also have the ability to burn Atium?

  • It appears that Brandon himself has had the same issue, that Mistborn 1 was written before the cosmere details were 100% nailed down. Atium and other god metals really should be burnable by anyone (or at least any Allomancer or anyone with the right Connection to Preservation - not totally clear) Jan 19 at 3:29
  • From last month's 17th Shard Spoiler stream Q&A, it seems that "natural" Atium from the Pits was slightly alloyed with electrum, thus not truly pure Atium. (Thus why the Hemalurgy Table says Atium "must be refined" to steal "any power".) Jan 19 at 3:31

Allomancy, the ability to burn ingested metals for magic power, is an ability tied directly to Preservation, as you noted yourself.

Why would any metal be burnable without some connection to Preservation? It's Ruin's god-metal, literally the opposite of Preservation. Just the fact that it's burnable at all via Preservations blessings raises a lot of questions about how the various magics interact. Lerasium can "burn", or so we view what happened, because it's the source of being able to burn metal. Atium is not.

Hemalurgy is the manifestation of Ruin's power within Scadrial, and that is already an art available to anyone who is willing to kill. The better question would be, what would a spike of atium do when used in Hemalurgy. I think it's a good thing very few people ever had enough atium to try and use it that way.

  • 2
    FYI, there is information about what can be done with Atium spikes. It can steal any of the allomantic abilities, better than other metals apparently (which makes pretty good sense).
    – JMac
    Jan 3 '19 at 14:11

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