Elend Venture is a character who appears in Brandon Sanderson's Mistborn trilogy. Born a nobleman to House Venture by Straff Venture, Elend is considered an inept socialite at noble functions, as he contains a habit for reading during balls to upset his father and an unusual fixation on the lower class people of The Final Empire known as skaa. He considers himself to be a knowledgeable scholar
Before the events of the book, Elend was born to Straff Venture, a greedy and politicking menace who used people to further his own needs. As a child, Elend was beaten in front of his father to see if any latent Allomantic powers would be drawn out. The endeavor proves futile, which makes Elend resent the brutal system of searching for Allomancers.
When Elend was thirteen years of age, Straff decided that it was time for Elend to "become a man". He took his son to a skaa brothel and picked out a woman for Elend to bed for night. As was ordered by his father, Elend slept with the skaa woman, but was not told that she was to be killed the next morning to prevent her from siring any half-breed children. Elend hated his father from then on and began performing defiant acts against him, such as ignoring social functions and reading during balls.
At some point, Straff took his son and family out of their seat, Urteau, and moved to the Central Dominance to become a Great House in Luthadel. In order to rise to power, Straff dealt with the Lord Ruler directly to service the mining of the Pits of Hathsin. He kept his source of wealth a secret from the rest of noble society, making his rise to power quite a mystery. Elend thought his father was being foolish in basing his financial income on directly pleasing the Lord Ruler.
At age twenty-one, Elend formed a group of young heirs to noble houses to form future alliances whenever they inherited. They read books that he picked out to study political theory, though most of them found their meetings to be not worth the time, as Elend was the only heir to an influential house in Luthadel.
Elend's first appearance in the novel is at Vin's first noble ball. She attends Keep Venture under the pseudonym "Valette Renoux", a daughter of distant but favored cousins of Lord Renoux. After her meal and subsequent rejections of four suitors who had asked for a dance, Vin goes to look for a way up to see the whole ballroom. She goes up to a balcony in a secluded section and settles in. Suddenly, Elend approaches her from behind, complaining about the consequences of leaving his spot to refill his wine. Vin feels somewhat comfortable around him and allows him to stay on the balcony with her. He pulls out his book, which irks Vin greatly. He explains that he is reading Trials of Monument because he is studying political theory and trying to understand why skaa are thought of as beneath noblemen. He explains that he primarily reads because he knows that it annoys his father that he publicly defies social activities. Elend jokingly asks her to a dance because she insults him for being too cowardly to ask women for dances, though Vin is terrified because she wonders if his offer was real. She asks him what he thinks of the Venture family because she was secretly looking for noble houses who hated the Venture house. Elend says that they are a stuffy and annoying lot, but they do have good wine. Elend notes that her Terrisman steward is looking for her and Vin hastily excuses herself. When she meets with Sazed and prepares to leave, she tells him of a strange encounter with some nobleman named Elend. Sazed his shocked and concerned that she had attracted the attention of Elend Venture without knowing that he was heir to the most powerful house in Luthadel.
Vin's extended absence from noble society after he first ball due a major injury caused by a Steel Inquisitor sparked many rumors at the cause of her disappearance, something that greatly worried Elend. When she attended her next ball months after her first encounter with Elend, she did not expect to see him there, much less still interested in her. However, despite Sazed's presence and disapproval towards Elend, he sat down with Vin and a large number of his books. He comments on her letting months lapse between her ball attendance, and she uses her practiced lie of falling ill with a life-threatening sickness and needing a long time to recover. When he refuses to put his books down and actually let her eat, she pointedly ignores him until he finally puts his book down. Elend surprises her by asking why she is there in Luthadel instead of with her family. He observes that she is a young scion in a court that is rapidly changing and becoming more unstable (primarily because of several Mistborn attacks instigated by Kelsier to spark a house war). He asks her about skaa from where she is from, and she brushes off his questions, telling him that they are just skaa and should not receive his attention. Elend is disappointed by her courtly response, and picks up his book to read again. He watches her leave to dance with another suitor. The man she dances with is afraid of her as he believes that Elend was courting her, but Vin lies and tells him that Straff Venture is an old friend of Lord Renoux, and that Elend was asked to protect her in the court.
Vin returns to her empty table after hours of dancing, and, in an effort to avoid more people coming up to her and asking for a dance, picks up Elend's book and pretends to read. After finding some questionable books in Elend's possession, she picks up one of his smaller, annotated books and finds quite blasphemous words denouncing the Lord Ruler's government. She realizes that Elend could get his whole house into trouble with the Ministry should the obligatory find these books, and resolves that she must keep it secret from Kelsier. Suddenly, she is approached by a Terrisman steward that is not Sazed. He informs her that Lady Shan Elariel requires her presence, and leaves Elend's forbidden books unattended. Elariel demeans her several times and punctuates it with Allomancy, but tells her that she could be useful. She tells her to spy on Elend and report on anything she could use as leverage against him. Meanwhile, her Terrisman steward is searching through Elend's books for any such material. Vin rushes back to the table and waves him off. She pretends to read again.
Soon after, Elend returns to the table. He quickly notices her reading his books and asks why. She explains that he was trying to avoid dancing offers. She subtly tries to gain pretext on House Elariel, and is quite surprised when he reveals that Shan was his former fiancée. Sazed returns and asks her if she wishes to retire. She excuses herself and leaves, but notices that Elend is joining with a group of young lords. Sazed identifies them as sons of Straff Venture's political enemies, and reports this to Kelsier.
Over the next several months, Elend noticeably avoids being seen with "Valette" out of a belief that she was becoming just another courtly puff. At Mansion Renoux in Fellise, Vin has a conversation with Dockson about his past and why he works with Kelsier. Dockson shares a story about he ran away from his plantation after the plantation lord raped and murdered his love. He knows his story isn't very original, relating how every nobleman does the same to any skaa girl he wishes. Vin does not believe him, but Dockson continues, saying that most noblewomen do not consider it cheating when their lord sleeps with a skaa woman. Vin desperately hopes that Elend was different.
At the next Hasting ball, Shan Elariel belittles Vin for not clinging to Elend as any noblewoman of such low rank would. Vin manages to contain her anger, and leaves Elariel. She notices Elend chatting with his reading friends, and she approaches him. Vin finally confronts Elend about him avoiding her. He admits that he was indeed negligent, but stops short when she begins crying. He pulls her out of the ballroom and to an outside balcony for privacy. He hands Vin his handkerchief to wipe away the tears. He confesses the real reason why he had been avoiding her all the time, and pleads for her to understand that he was trying to act in her best interest. She angrily demands to know if he was a monster for sleeping with skaa whores to kill them the next morning. Elend claims that he had never intended for anyone to die, and that he believed only a third of noble society behaved like that. He admits that although his father is one of those who participate in skaa brothels, Elend hated him for doing so. He relates to Vin the story of where he had been forced to bed a skaa woman without being told that she would die because of it. He expresses his determination to change this brutal system that the careless nobles frequented. Vin forgives him and apologizes for accusing him of barbarianism. She then says that she had lied when he had asked her about her relationship with the skaa. She tells him of Dockson's story, and outbursts when he asks her if the skaa seemed diminished in mental capacity. He draws that skaa perhaps had no reason to be socially dominated as they are if there were few differences between them and nobles. When she tries to give him his handkerchief back, he tells her to keep it; a sign that he intended to openly court her.
When Elend leaves, she notices him head up into one of the towers with his friends and believes that she should spy on their meeting. Sazed clears her for active Allomanctic powers, and allows her to Push herself up to the tower to listen in. She discovers that Elend was having his friends read his theory books in order to be prepared to begin dealing with the Lord Ruler about how to stop societal beliefs. Kelsier shocks her when he reveals himself to be listening above her. She calls this meeting proof that Elend was a good man, but Kelsier just says that his attempts at lowering his own benefits for the skaa does not make him a revolutionary. Kelsier promises her that he wouldn't kill Elend or his friends if he could help it, which was good enough for Vin considering Kelsier's deep hatred of the nobility.
Vin leaves the keep with the handkerchief and speaks to Kelsier regarding Elariel's plot against House Venture. Kelsier asks her to try and find out where Venture had gotten its vast wealth from Elend if she could. Vin decides that even if Elend were to trust her with that information, she would not tell Kelsier.
At the next ball that both Vin and Elend attended, she found him on a balcony where he had said he would meet her. Elend tells her that he wants to kiss her, but Vin tells him that that would be a bad idea. She convinces him to go for a walk outside with her, and the two head outside the ballroom. On their walk, Elend asks Vin to leave the city. He says that though her uncle was brave to move to Luthadel and try to establish himself, he had chosen the wrong time to do it. Foreseeing a house war in the imminent future, he begs her to leave and go back to where she had come from for her own safety. Vin points out that his life was in danger from Shan Elariel, relaying how Shan had held a grudge against him. Neither one is convinced of their doom, which Elend laughs about. He assures her that House Venture would be safe, as they directly mined the Pits of Hathsin, making them extremely wealthy. He warns her not to let herself fall into the politics of the city, or she would not get free until it was too late. Elend leaves to go with his reading friends again. When Vin finds Shan to try and get information from her, Shan says that she no longer requires her services and tells her to leave. Vin realizes that Shan had found out that she actually wanted Elend, and would not risk her telling him of her plans.
Elend, after two of his friends leave, begins drinking with Telden and Jastes Lekal. His friends repeatedly warn him that Valette had to have been a spy for another house considering the circumstances that had caused the two of them to meet. Telden abruptly leaves to return to his own keep, which makes Elend anxious to leave in order to avoid getting too drunk. He excuses himself and arranges for a carriage to take him home. When he arrives, he tries to sneak past his father so he could go to bed, but Straff catches him and berates him for seeing "the Renoux girl" despite him being told not to. Elend says that he had intended to defy him, but that he would spend time with her if he wanted to. Straff rebukes these claims as just another foolish attempt to spite his father, as marrying Elend off to House Renoux would not be ambitious enough. Straff, in preparation for a Great House war, speaks of plans to immediately crush Lekal, as they were the second-strongest in the city. Elend does not point out that by unifying Venture and Lekal, they could prevent a house war. Straff then orders his son to accompany him to a luncheon with another candidate for Elend to marry, though Elend says that he does not want to go. When Elend is dismissed to bed, a messenger arrives and informs him that Jastes was in the waiting room. Uncertain of his friend's motives, he goes down to see him. Jastes reveals that he had had Valette's carriage followed, and that she was not in the carriage when it returned to Mansion Renoux. Jastes leaves, and Elend realizes that he had told her about the atium deal. Suspicious of Valette, he makes a deal with his father: he would go to the luncheon if he could borrow some of Straff's spies.
After the skaa army led by Yeden was crushed outside of Holstep, several hundred skaa were executed in front of a fountain square in Luthadel. Elend was in attendance for the executions, as was required of him. He did not enjoy the needless deaths.
Kelsier stepped up pressure on the nobility with more attacks and more fraudulent documents regarding Great Houses to get them to snap. Such actions caused several houses to cancel their balls, with Venture being the final host for a ball. At this ball, Elend sat to dine with his father, something he never did. Vin notes that several more soldiers were on display at this ball, and that there would be no fraternizing amongst nobles; only final alliances made before the snap. Sazed leaves her alone to go warn Kelsier that this was the last ball, and without his direction, Vin approaches the Venture table. Elend sees her and goes to her. He says that it was past time that he stop being a liability to his house and that he needed to remove all such liabilities from himself. He calls her a liability, believing her to be a spy from another house. She begins to cry again; this time, he does not comfort her. He simply leaves to go back to his room.
As Vin is struck by sobs, a woman named Kliss, whom Vin had shared rumors with in the past, revealed that she was an informant and that she would require payment to keep her secret as a thief. Vin demands to know what she knew of the plot on Elend, and blatantly uses her Allomancy on her when she does not say anything useful. Kliss says that Elend would be the first casualty of the house war, as he was set to be assassinated by Shan's Allomancers. when Straff (who was in on the plot) pulled a few guards on the roof inside to let them in. Kliss tells her that she would require extra payment to keep her Allomancy a secret as well, and when Vin leaves to save Elend, Kliss asks why she should bother after Elend had spurned her. Her answer was simple: she loved him.
Elend was oblivious of assassins spying on him from above until Vin sent one of them crashing through his skylight. He immediately thought that they were spies who had gotten caught, and grabbed his books first. He ran from the premises with Jastes to keep the books hidden. Elend met with Felt, one of his father's spies, and pressed him for information regarding the place that Valette had been seen in Luthadel. Felt says that the building was a well-known skaa craftsman shop, but was also a thieving crew lair with several watch nests. He suggested that they storm the place with their soldiers, but Elend said that they weren't worth the trouble. Jastes asks Elend if he was satisfied now that he knew that Valette was a spy. Elend surprised him when he said he was relieved that Valette was simply a skaa thief who had been scamming him instead of a noble spy. He used her imitation of a noblewoman as evidence that skaa were no different from noblemen. Elend told Felt to pull his men back to House Venture and not speak of what he had discovered. The carriage dropped Elend off back at his keep, and he asked Jastes to take the books for a few days, as Elend himself would fall under too much scrutiny to keep them hidden.
Straff calls him an idiot for leaving the premises with an enemy, and tells him that the men on Elend's roof were Allomancers who had been sent to kill him. One of the Mistborn assassins was identified as Shan Elariel, dead to Venture archers. Elend was skeptical that the archers had been able to kill her, but realized that it didn't matter to Straff, as a powerful rival was dead on his grounds after allegedly beginning the house war. Elend silently wishes that Valette would not be hurt for long by his rejection of her, as he had only wanted her out of the city for her own protection. He admitted to himself that he had actually cared for her, and hoped that they would both still be alive after the house war so that they could start again.
When Vin tells Kelsier that Venture relied on the Pits of Hathsin for his wealth, she made him swear that he would not hurt Elend, even if House Venture had to fall.
After Kelsier's brother, Marsh, was believed to have been found dead at the hands of the Inquisitors, Kelsier sent Spook to tell Renoux to pull out in case Marsh had broken and told the Inquisitors about their plans. Kelsier himself went on a pewter-flare rampage at the Pits of Hathsin and destroyed their ability to produce atium. Vin was concerned for Elend's well-being after such total destruction of Venture's income.
Elend arrived at the next executions when he heard that Renoux had been arrested by the Ministry and sentenced to execution when it was discovered he was a traitor to the nobility. He grabbed Lord Renoux during Kelsier's battle with an Inquisitor and demanded to know where Valette was. Renoux was "killed" by the Inquisitor before he could answer, and the Inquisitor prepared to kill Elend. Kelsier saved him and told Elend that Valette was safe, as she was not with the caravan that had held the prisoners. Elend fled from the battle.
The night of Kelsier's death, the skaa in Luthadel revolted against the Ministry and nobility for the first time. Elend did not believe that it was possible that they could rise up during his lifetime. He was shocked to realize that the time of revolution many scholars had spoken about was happening, and he resolved to stay in Luthadel so that he could prevent the bloodshed that he had read would come. He finally disobeyed his father for a purpose when Straff was leaving the city for Urteau. Straff, however, saw that he could finally be rid of Elend if he left him behind. He allowed Elend to keep most of the soldiers in the keep, who were all disheartened and horrified that they had been abandoned. He ordered his soldiers to march for Keep Lekal and help defend it against the skaa revolution while he and a few of his soldiers turned themselves into the skaa.
Elend was unveiled before Dockson, who thought about taking Elend hostage. He told Dockson that he should only attack the Ministry, as the nobility would just hide in their keeps. Dockson said that he could keep his men away from Keep Venture, but Elend demanded that he remove his troops from all noble homes. Elend recognized Hammond from the battle between Kelsier and the Inquisitor, and demanded to know where Valette was. Dockson told him that Vin had gone into Kredik Shaw a short while before and had not come out. He allowed Elend to leave.
Elend entered Kredik Shaw with his small honor guard in an attempt to free Vin from the Lord Ruler. Although he did not know how to fight and he was outnumbered, Elend stood his ground with a weapon drawn when he asked Vin to run. When Vin retrieved her metals, she killed the men that were guarding her to save Elend and Sazed. She hugged him without putting her clothes on, something that made Elend very uncomfortable. She thanks him for coming back for her, as she notes that this was the first time anyone who had left her had come back for her. She announced that she had to go deal with the Lord Ruler, something Elend was frightful about. He begged her not to go, but she kissed him and said that she had to.
Hundreds of thousands attended Elend's speech to the skaa that had revolted, asking them to not seek further bloodshed or they would destroy themselves. Marsh, who was revealed to be alive and made an Inquisitor, took control of the Ministry during the crisis and had them support Elend or leave the city. While Elend was setting up a new government with his knowledge of political theory, Vin came to the initial belief that she did not belong with him, but soon figured out that she could allow herself to love and be loved. She went back to him and held him in an embrace.
Following the Collapse of the Final Empire, Elend had set himself up as king of Luthadel and sponsored a parliamentary council that had grown more and more powerful as time had gone on. One year after the death of the Lord Ruler, Elend was anticipating his father, Straff Venture, to return to Luthadel with an invading force of fifty-thousand soldiers from the Northern Dominance.
His first appearance in the novel is when Vin went to check on him during her nightly patrol. He was busy writing at his desk and did not notice her.
The letter he was writing was a speech intended to persuade the Assembly to not just surrender the city to Straff and simply give Elend more time to deal with the matter diplomatically. He had rewritten it several times and was forcing himself to stay awake until he finished the proposal. When Vin entered the room via the skylight instead of the balcony, he comments on how he leaves the door open for her every night so she doesn't have to drop in. Vin, distrustful as always, looks under Elend's bed and in his closet to search for any intruders (mainly because she had seen a ghost earlier in the night). Vin does not understand why Elend has to write a proposal to the Assembly with a request instead of just asserting his authority and forcing the Assembly to give him more time. Ham walks in and reports that they had identified the bodies of the Allomancers who had attacked Vin before, where she had been forced to burn her last bit of atium. Elend was surprised to learn that Straff had not sent them, as they were westerners. Elend postulates that someone had sent them to kill him so they could seize the city before Straff.
When Straff and his army arrived outside the gates of Luthadel, Elend called an emergency meeting of the Assembly and delivered his proposal, but none of the Assemblymen were open to the idea. Elend pointed out that as king, the Assembly could not make any official decisions with foreign powers until he had met with them in official parlay. When Elend finished his speech, he sat down and let the discussion turn to more mundane matters.
Elend attended a sparring match between Ham and Vin to relax over the matters of the city. Clubs walks over and bets that Vin would win the match. Afraid to oppose the gnarled man in his payment, Elend reluctantly bets against her. Spook joins the bet alongside his uncle and forces Elend to pay up when Vin won the sparring match. Suddenly, a messenger comes in and reports that a second army had arrived.
Atop the walls of the city, Elend initially hoped that the second army had come to their aid, but the other shot down the notion immediately. Vin spots Breeze riding out in front of the second army and rushes out to help him escape. When Breeze is safely back within the gates, he reports that he had started up rumors in the west to get Lord Ashweather Cett to march his armies to Luthadel and arrive at around the same time as Straff. Elend asks why, and Breeze states that as the weakest party in a three-way stalemate, they held the most power, as whatever side they threw their support behind would win.
Elend and Vin were called back to the palace (Keep Venture) when Captain Demoux discovered a skeleton in one of Vin's rooms. Vin looked at her kandra for an explanation, and said that he had vacated the body when he had taken the wolfhound's body at her order. Demoux then asked if Vin knew about the other body, and her kandra said that he had not left skeleton there. Vin and Elend deduce that someone in the palace had been killed and was now a spy. Vin removes Elend and Breeze from her list of suspects, even though there was a three hour period where she had not been able to account for him. She believed that she would rather trust him and be wrong than go back to being the girl who was afraid to let anyone touch her.
With two armies camped outside the city, a period known as the Siege of Luthadel began, where food came at a premium due to few supplies made available. Elend himself never experienced any food shortages, but he had repeatedly spoken to the merchants of the Assembly about lowering the price of food. Having no luck, Elend began giving some of his food to the skaa that he could, though his efforts fell far short.
Knowing that the other leaders of the army would never care about the skaa so much as he had and would probably undo everything he had create in the past year, Elend reads more about war strategy and devises a plan to turn the armies outside against each other. Dockson notes that it would be a dangerous job for him, since Elend would have to do most of the work. Kelsier's crew discussed how they could make it seem to each side that they were with them while not truly giving them any support. At that moment, Captain Demoux walked in and reported that a Terriswoman had been spying on their conversation. He apologizes for the breach of security and, at Elend's request, brings her into the room. She demands to have a private audience with Elend, and the others reluctantly leave her with him, believing that she could not do any harm if she were tied up. The Terriswoman, however, snaps her bonds and tells lend to be still as she walks around him. She corrects his posture and tells him to stop hedging. She also says that it is a bad sign that his friends who had helped him become king did not refer to him as king. Elend asks if Sazed had sent her, and she ambiguously replies that Sazed was the reason she had come, but not the person who had sent her. She remarks that Elend wasn't the worst case of a leader she had come across, and that she believed he could be saved. Vin comes in through the window and forces her to leave.