For a thousand years the ash fell and no flowers bloomed. For a thousand years the Skaa slaved in misery and lived in fear. For a thousand years the Lord Ruler, the "Sliver of Infinity," reigned with absolute power and ultimate terror, divinely invincible.
"I am the one thing you can never kill. I am Hope."
"I bring a message from a friend. He is the one thing you can never kill. He is Hope."
— Vin, to the Lord Ruler.
"There are two things I'll never forgive him for. The first is for stealing my dream of overthrowing the Final Empire, then actually succeeding at it. The second, getting himself killed to do it."
— Marsh, about his brother Kelsier.
"Next to Vin, politics seemed simplistic."
— Elend Venture.
"I must say, however," Elend said idly, "that I find it a bit disappointing that you're not wearing dog-scented perfume. With your social station, I could see some of the local noblewomen trying to imitate you. That could be amusing indeed."
— Elend Venture to Vin.
Ham chuckled, "We really have to do something about your ambivalence toward civic duty, kid."
"I already overthrew one government," Vin said. "I figure that takes care of my 'civic duty' for a while."
"You will find nothing," Tindwyl said.
"Then I will be proven wrong," Sazed said. He turned, looking into her eyes. "But kindly remember that the last time I disobeyed the Synod, the result was the collapse of the Final Empire and the freedom of our people."
He forced himself to smile-not out of pleasure, and not out of satisfaction. He smiled despite the grief he felt at the deaths of his own men; he smiled because that was what he did. That was how he proved to the Lord Ruler-and to himself-that he wasn't beaten. No, he wasn't going to walk away. He wasn't finished yet. Not by far.
—Kelsier, after the army plan falls through.
It wasn't the grand doctrines or the sweeping ideals that made believers out of men. It was the simple wonder in the world around them.
—Sazed's thoughts on religion near the end of The Hero of Ages
"You want to be like Kelsier? Really like Kelsier? Then fight when you are beaten! Survive!"
—Words Kelsier himself gives to Spook in The Hero of Ages.
"There's always another secret."
—Kelsier, summing up Brandon Sanderson's approach to all his plots.
"He's a nobleman!"
"So are you!"...What do you think this is, Kelsier? The life of a skaa? What do any of you know about skaa? Aristocratic suits, stalking your enemies in the night, full meals and nightcaps around the table with your friends? That's not the the life of a skaa!...What do you know about them, Kelsier? [Vin] asked. "When's the last time you slept in an alley, shivering in the cold rain, listening to the beggar next to you cough with a sickness you knew would kill him? When's the last time you had to lay awake at night, terrified that one of the men in your crew would try to rape you? Have you ever knelt, starving, wishing you had the courage to knife the crewmember beside you just so you could take his crust of bread? Have you ever cowered before your brother as he beat you all the time feeling thankful because at least you had someone who paid attention to you?...Don't talk to me about noblemen...And don't say things about about people you don't know. You're no skaa- you're just noblemen without titles."
Vin giving an epic "The Reason You Suck" Speech to her own crew