Creative Solutions (A Secrets in Stained Glass Story)

We have yet more Secrets in Stained Glass content before Episode 4 premieres on August 6th! First up, for our Patreon backers, we have a new round of GM notes for session 2 and 3 as well as some NPC bios! But for our main event, we have another story. This second one covers a moment where everything changes in the backstory of Eliane Venture. It follows the story that came out last Wednesday about Dier. You can see all Secrets in Stained Glass content in our tagSpoilers for Secrets in Stained Glass Episode 3 are below. For a PDF version of the story, click here!


Creative Solutions

By Verónica P.H.

Content Warnings: abusive treatment, character death 

1010 FE: Three weeks before the Elariel Lakeside Solstice Party

Eliane could hear the shouting coming from her father’s study. Dier’s and Renholm’s words were clear, even though she was several rooms away. It was their age-old argument: Renholm berating Dier for not trying hard enough, and Dier deliberately provoking their father by not caring. Dier wasn’t actually shouting loud enough for her to make out his words, but by now Eliane knew his part by memory.

At first, she just kept on reading. 

Even though it wasn’t directed at her, Eliane felt the expected pull of zinc on her emotions. Though her father’s Allomancy could be subtle, that subtlety faded when he lost his temper, so it wasn’t hard to recognize. Fear that made her not want to go anywhere near the study. Shame of not living up to the standards of strength Father always brought up when he talked about Mom. Guilt. Impotence. And, unexpectedly, powerful grief.  Father’s latest Rioting was stronger than the previous ones, strong enough that she couldn’t push through it and continue reading. Many of these were emotions he mostly Rioted against Dier, and Eliane hadn’t been particularly good at dealing with them when they’d been used against her in the past. Then again, it was hard enough to deal with the safety and affection Father’s Allomancy often created in her, while she was well aware the emotions were completely fabricated. 

And then, a loud thud. That wasn’t normal.

She put down her book and went to the door of the study. The door was cracked open, but not enough to allow her father and brother to see her standing behind, or enough to allow her to properly see what was actually happening inside the room. What she could hear almost caused her to scream out, but she controlled herself, breathing deep, and made no noise. Dier was Pushing something against Father, barely letting him breathe. His voice was confident and threatening, as he kept walking forward, presumably Pushing harder with each step, as with every footfall she heard, Renholm gasped for breath more and more. Even still, the Rioting continued, making it hard to focus on the words.

It let up for a second, and then came the strongest of all the roiling waves of emotion. Love. It enveloped her like a mist on a dark night, and she fought not to stand up from her crouch and go stand at her father’s side, embrace him, no matter what was going on in there, no matter what Dier would think of her, how much more strained their relationship would become if she sided with Father against him. It wasn’t easy, and Renholm hadn’t often used this much power at once, but if there was one emotion she’d learned how to fight, it was this one. Dier was probably much less prepared for it, but Eliane had felt it more times than she could count. Any time Renholm worried he’d done something to make his little girl upset or afraid of him, that unnatural sense of affection and trust had come for her. She couldn’t worry about Dier right now. She turned her mind to Elend, to Charisse, the people she really loved. 

A tear landed on her skirt, darkening the periwinkle fabric of the dress. She had people to love, and there wasn’t much to do about the fact her father had lost the ones he did so many years ago. That knowledge pulled her through, allowing her to resist standing up to interrupt.

Then Dier said something she hadn’t considered, but realized she’d been dreading their whole lives. It was the only thing she’d been able to discern clearly from everything Dier had said.

“I’m done with this conversation. In fact, I think I’m just… done. With all of it.” 

A couple more indistinct statements followed, but Eliane was still trying to process that first one, and suddenly the Rioting disappeared. Everything had gone quiet, and she didn’t think it would be a good idea to stay much longer. She rose slowly from her crouch, holding her skirts close, trying to squish the crinoline against her so its weight wouldn’t push the door open when she moved. But she was paying too much attention to that, and a floorboard creaked, making her wince. 

Not a second later, the door swung open and hit the wall behind it with a bang, making her jump back so it wouldn’t hit her. 

Dier glared at her from the back of the room, the door opened with his Allomancy from afar, and she tried to back away. This was none of her business, she hadn’t really seen anything, and she didn’t really want to know what had happened anyways. 

“Eliane, why don’t you step in here and join us? Shut the door behind you.”

She knew without a doubt that he wasn’t asking. Eliane followed the “invitation” and approached him slowly. With a cold sort of fury, nearly reminiscent of their cousin, he pointed insistently at a spot in the floor, eyes tracking her all the while. 

As she neared the designated spot, rounding the long chaise, she finally caught sight of her father, lying lifeless on the floor, a hole in his head. 

Her hand came up to her mouth in shock as she stood there, glancing up at Dier, then back down. Both her parents were gone now. She had no words to express the feeling attached to the realization. At Dier’s snapped order, she dropped onto the chaise, still with the propriety that she’d been trained to have, but hardly thinking about it. Dier told her to not even think of screaming, but she didn’t think she could have, even if she’d wanted to. 

“Dier, what have you done?”

“Oh, don't start,” he said witheringly. “You know that old bastard more than had it coming. Now, shut up so I can think.”

Though it wasn’t the smartest move at the moment, Eliane tried to protest, but Dier shut her up with a glare. She couldn’t resist looking over at the body occasionally, but every time she did, she couldn’t keep staring at it, trying to process what had just happened. 

Eliane did not miss how his eyes kept sliding to her as he began to pace back and forth, an almost predatory demeanor in the way he moved. Dier didn’t look like he was seeing his only sister when his eyes fell upon her, he looked like he was seeing a complication. She’d known Dier could be dangerous, that the missions he ran for the house often involved bloodshed. It had been clear that many times the blood on his clothes when she’d helped him wasn’t his. She’d simply never expected she’d face that danger herself. She’d never have believed he was capable of turning on her like this. 

But she wouldn’t have thought him capable of murdering their father either, and clearly she’d been wrong about that. 

She didn’t think she was wrong about how Dier looked at her now, the horrifying realization that not only was he capable of harming her, even killing her, but that he seemed to be actively considering it. At least he wasn’t talking right now, just pacing, which gave her time to think. Her brother being quiet and introspective didn’t mean he was stable, as much as she wished that were the case. Firsthand experience told her how strange your emotions would be for a while after the end of one of Renholm’s powerful Riotings, and though she was feeling some of those side effects from the sudden disappearance of the emotional Allomancy, they hadn’t been directed at her and were less than she normally felt. But beyond that, what Dier had just done was a crime of passion, and he was probably still on that adrenaline high and coupled with the anger that had pushed him to kill their father in the first place. 

She’d have to sort through all this information later, but right now she needed to figure out a way to get out of this situation without Dier deciding to kill her too, and figure out what to do from there. She played with the charms on her bracelet, the one that had been her mother’s, and had all the good memories tied with each charm she’d collected, mostly thanks to Charisse. The physical motion helped her think, concentrate. Not that it was working particularly well. She’d tried taking deep breaths, squeezing one of the charms—a little book that had been the last one Charisse had given her before she died—but her traitorous hands kept shaking. Thank the Lord Ruler Dier wasn’t actually paying attention to her at the moment, because if she was going to survive, she couldn’t come off as too weak, or have Dier see her as a threat. That meant being in absolute control of every one of her interactions with him.

The problem was that that thread of thinking only reminded her of the time she’d probably been in the least control of her reactions before this. With the constant Rioting and manipulating of emotion she’d endured her whole life, she’d at least had an idea of what was happening, with the exception of when her father had tried to Snap her. 

Until now.

On one hand she had all the information she was gathering from Dier’s actions, and all of that would be incredibly useful. But how could she survive, if every strategy that came into her mind was shot down by the questions of how was she really going to follow through? Not logistically, but how could she sever her tie to her brother—essentially her last connection to her family, aside from the ten year old boy she’d sworn to protect from his family’s toxicity. Dier had all but severed that himself, between the murder and the likelihood of her own, but Eliane couldn’t fathom turning on him like that. The contradiction was more confusing than the clash between the terror of death but security that she’d be fine she’d only experienced that time when she was eight. She felt like she was the coin in a tug of war between two Coinshots or Lurchers battling it out for control, desperately hoping logic would win out long enough, and she could think of a way out. 

She tried breathing deeply again, lower her heart rate. But of course, the fingers clutching the charm were as tense as they’d been before. Two fingers found the perfect place to count her heartbeat as she went through the motions to count the beats per minute. She counted. She counted again. Of course it wouldn’t change. Of course she had to be trapped here, in a room with the person she thought wouldn’t truly turn on her, no matter how rude and abrasive he got. No, don’t think about that. What are you going to do about it? Thinking about the times before wasn’t something she could afford. Dier had never been very good at reading other people, particularly not in an emotional situation like this. How could she use that to her advantage? 

Eventually, she couldn’t stand the silence anymore. She needed to know what Dier’s plan was. If he even had one. He’d dragged her into all this, and though she knew his legendary temper, she knew there was no way of really predicting how furious Straff would be when he found out. And that wasn’t even taking the Ministry into account. 

“Dier… What’s going to happen to us?”

He started to turn on her again, but paused, a truly terrifying grin overtaking his expression instead. “What’s going to happen? Nothing.” He laughed unexpectedly, a manic sort of delight. “Nothing at all, little Ellie.”

“Have you lost your mind?” It wasn’t what she’d intended to say, but the accusation slipped free. 

Dier’s lip twitched, his momentary good humor evaporating in an instant as the sense of threat radiating from him returned. “Watch your tone. You ought to be thanking me. Don’t try to act like you’ve got any kind of moral high ground here. You’d have done the same thing if you’d been capable of it. You just weren’t strong enough.” 

“I’m not…!” She cut off the protest before it could fully escape, knowing it would do her no good. She’d already slipped up once, and she couldn’t afford to again. Dier clearly wasn’t rational right now and arguing would get her nowhere but in further trouble. But she couldn’t afford to let her guard down, and she wasn’t going to let him get out of this without at least a plan to deal with it. “Tell yourself whatever you need to if it helps you feel better about what you’ve done, I don’t care. But we need a plan, because now you’ve dragged me into this. What are we going to do?”

“If you’d just listened rather than immediately mouthing off, you could have let me finish telling you the plan.” He got uncomfortably close, and all she could do was flinch back, even if on some level she wanted to stand her ground. “I am going to stay right here and ensure no one else in this household… interrupts this very important conversation Father and I are having. And you, little Ellie, are going to go find SaeNinn and let him know his presence is required in the study.”

By the Lord Ruler, she thought. Is this really what he’s thinking? She’d understood the plan when he said it, but was having trouble believing his reasoning. 

“Y-you can’t be serious. He’s . . . he’s our father.”

“No. He was our father. Now, he’s an inconvenient corpse. One that needs to be dealt with expeditiously. Unless you’d prefer we just sit here until someone else stumbles upon him in such a state?” He stepped back, pointing at the door. “SaeNinn. Study. Now. Tell him his Contract holder wishes to discuss an amendment.” 

She stood up, holding his gaze for a moment, mostly to hide the real turmoil she felt inside. With every word, it was starting to become clearer that she was even more alone than she’d been before, and that, whatever she did, she would have to choose her words and actions very carefully if she wanted to survive.

“As you wish, my lord.” She said, giving him the smallest curtsy she could.

He’d given her a timeframe, but that had been expected, and she maintained her composure as she left the room, knowing, certain, that she’d been given a very likely death sentence the moment she stepped out of line.


Over the next week, Eliane went about her day, avoiding Dier and Straff and the parts of the keep they frequented with particular care. She kept her promise to Charisse, and made a particular point to spend time with Elend a couple of days a week, though she did her best to take him out of the house, accompanied by his governess of course, to escape the dangerous intrigues of their family. She’d read books to him at the library, or a gazebo in a garden. Even with all the brown plants covered in ash, Eliane found the outside world far more joyful than the bright colors of the keeps and manors. But while she enjoyed those moments outside of the house, she was constantly looking around, wondering if, in spite of all of her precautions, someone could figure out what had happened to her father, and somehow Dier would blame her. None of those doubts helped the oppressive feeling she constantly had now, even when she was in familiar territory. Only the privacy of her own room felt remotely safe, but Dier had burst in several times during their lives, so it’s not like he wouldn’t just come knocking at any moment if he wanted to. She kept her appointments as they’d been scheduled, but otherwise didn’t spend much time elsewhere in the Venture household.

One day, Eliane was going about her business, writing letters and doing research in the solar, after coming home from a regular tea with Addison, when Dier felt the need to remind her not to say anything in all the communications and meetings she’d been having lately. He hadn’t considered telling her so. No. He had to push into the room, not just barge in, but literally Push on the metal bits of her pen, making it fly out of her hand. It nearly hit her in the chest, and crashed against the backrest of her seat. He walked up to her, completely ignoring the desk and stood right next to where she was sitting, staring intently.

“Where were you this afternoon?” he demanded. Dier often used a bitingly sardonic tone, but there was no humor in his words now. Only venom. “Who were you speaking to? Were you not aware there would be consequences for any kind of indiscretion? Or perhaps I just didn't make myself clear enough on that front.”

Eliane calmly picked up the pen from the floor, deciding that it really wasn’t the time to try and explain anything beyond the simple truth.

“I wasn’t talking to anybody about that night.”

“Are you lying to me?" he snarled, leaning in close. If anything, her calm response seemed to have only made him more suspicious. “I’m supposed to believe that you just go off to random places to talk to who knows what person that you have no reason to talk to about our house, and our business?”

“Why would I talk to someone about it?” She was admittedly not only getting frustrated at all the insinuating, but the more he said, the more fear grew in her about what actions Dier could take, particularly when she’d done nothing to earn the distrust and ire. 

The predatory look from several nights ago returned, as he searched her face for any sign of deception. “Who was it, Eliane? And don’t you dare lie.” For all she’d always hated him calling her “Ellie,” there was something so much worse about the way he said her name like that. With those words, she felt her bracelet digging into her wrist. It was the only metal she’d continued wearing after that night, mostly because it had reminded her of her mother and Charisse. Eliane did her best to ignore the sting, and answered.

“I went to have tea with Addison. We met at Kenton Street, in the pastry shop at the corner. She’s been busy helping Maevis prepare for the solstice party at the Elariel Lakeside manor, and this was the only time we could find for a chat. It would have been suspicious if I canceled for no reason. All I’ve been doing, brother, is acting exactly as I would have before. As if nothing had happened. That’s what you wanted, isn’t it?”

At the mention of Addison’s name, Dier’s expression went cold, but as soon as she said Maevis, his fury returned in full force. He seemed to struggle with how best to respond, but eventually, with a disgusted scoff, he loosened his Push. She rubbed at her wrist where the bracelet had made a red welt that stung and would likely be quite swollen the next day if she didn’t put something on to help.

“I hope, for your sake, Ellie, that you’ve decided to tell me the truth. Because if you haven’t…” He didn’t bother to finish the threat. “I think it best you reconsider who you’re spending your time with in the future, dear sister. Just because someone like Maevis—” the name was nearly a snarl, “—decides to embarrass herself by associating with a house as low as Tenebriene doesn’t mean I'll let you sully Venture’s reputation the same way.”

He stepped back finally, looking like he was sick enough of this conversation to leave her alone, even if he still wasn’t convinced. “Keep your mouth shut, Eliane. I’m not asking. Understand?”

Eliane simply nodded, not wanting to talk at all. On one hand, Dier’s threat had definitely worked for one purpose, though probably not what he was thinking. If this was how he treated her when she hadn’t done anything wrong… It had solidified beyond any doubt that there was no way she could trust him, and that he was an active threat against her life. But the more she sat with it, even after Dier had left the room, the more one emotion took over. 


She wasn’t going to try and kill her brother, that would be suicide, but if he was going to threaten her when she hadn’t done anything, and had followed instructions to the letter, then it wasn’t worth trying. If the past days had taught her anything, it was that it was hard enough to try and make plans for how in the world they were going to keep their branch of the family from falling apart, let alone think about her own survival, without allies. And if she was being honest with herself, she didn’t want to have to do this without support. It was dangerous, very dangerous, to even consider defying Dier, but she didn’t have to reveal anything if whoever she went to didn’t understand the danger before she told them. The question was, who could she run the risk of telling?


Early the next morning, she got ready, lacing her corset on her own, which she preferred over someone else determining how tight it should be, and put on a simple, but still formal, day dress over it with a lighter petticoat, and a darker overskirt that left the petticoat visible at the front. She took her hat, and called for a carriage when she was sure Dier wasn’t around, and wouldn’t be for most of the day. She could have taken the family carriage, but she couldn’t afford to alert Dier to the fact she was leaving the house. 

Was she doing the right thing? Had she made the right choice about who to trust? Most of her afternoon after Dier had questioned her yesterday had been spent debating these exact questions, deciding who she could tell. Addison seemed like too much of a risk, since Dier was already suspicious of her, she was close to Maevis, and her house was low enough that the help she could offer wasn’t worth the risk. Addison generally laid low, but seemed smarter than she let on, but if Eliane chose to tell Addison, that could be both an advantage because of how Addison approached things and a disadvantage because of the position she occupied. There were a couple of other people she knew, but none of them that she’d trust enough to tell them about Dier. So that left Sylvain. While he wouldn’t be as big of a help strategically, he was someone she trusted to listen, which was just as important. So, she’d written a letter, letting him know she was coming, but not saying much more, and sent it off with a trusted courier.

In the carriage, these questions still continued, and she rehearsed different versions of how she would explain everything if Sylvain understood the inherent risk with knowing, but she wasn’t happy with any of them. The implications of what she was doing hit her once Lakeside appeared through her window. It was one thing to stay out of Straff and her father’s way as best as she could, another entirely to actively protect herself from her brother, of all people, who she thought could have at least understood. Perhaps she shouldn’t have been surprised. Since the fire, it seemed like he’d only become worse and worse. That was really the sticking point. Whatever the reason, Dier was becoming exactly what he’d resented so much over the years, and thought she was an obstacle to get rid of. She’d heard many times from Charisse that a problem told to someone became half a problem, and desperately hoped that even if Sylvain couldn’t do much in the way of actually protecting her—as she couldn’t disappear from Venture manor all of a sudden—telling him would let her sort through exactly what the problem was. He’d been a great friend, and a far better brother figure in a year to her than Dier had ever been in the entire twenty years of her life. 

Knocking on Sylvain’s door, all Eliane could think about was that she’d made her choice, and she couldn’t really handle this on her own. It was Cecily, not Sylvain, who opened the door, and Eliane greeted her politely, though she really hoped she would be able to talk to Sylvain in private. 

“I wrote a letter to your nephew, setting up a meeting for this morning. Is he around?” 

“Yes, come in. He’s in the drawing room,” the stately woman said. She was dressed impeccably, holding her usual cigar between her fingers, puffing out smoke occasionally.

She was familiar with the townhouse, and easily located the drawing room, where she found Sylvain standing in his suit, fashionable as always. Eliane gave him a quick hug, and stepped back, biting her lip and looking down. She wasn’t sure how to start.

“Eliane, are you alright?” he said, concern crossing his face. 

She plopped down on one of the sofas in silence, and took a deep breath. She had come here to talk about it with someone, so saying nothing would defeat the purpose of the visit. “Something happened a couple of days ago. But, it’s dangerous, and I don’t want you to be affected by this because of me if you don’t want to. I don’t have to say anything and we can just have a normal conversation.”

Sylvain cocked his head, his brow scrunched in an expression of concerned confusion on his face, before joining her on the sofa. Seph, Sylvain’s constant companion, a handsome Terris collie, came and sat by his feet, head and snout on Sylvain’s lap. Sylvain began to scratch Seph behind the ears absent-mindedly, as his focus settled on Eliane. “If something has happened, what sort of friend would I be if I left you to go through it alone? Of course I will listen,” he paused, turning to the door, “though perhaps I should make sure we will not be interrupted? I can order some tea, that should keep the servants busy for a time.”

Eliane nodded, and Sylvain stood heading towards the hall door before she said, “Could you check that Lady Cecily will not join us? I’m not sure I am prepared for her to know…” Sylvain slowed, turning back with a confused look, before bowing his head in acquiescence and heading out into the hall, Seph close behind. He had not been gone long before he returned, closing the hall door behind and rejoining her on the sofa, but it was long enough to give Eliane some time to think about how she wanted to phrase everything. She’d rehearsed it a couple of times mentally already, but still found it hard to get started.

“Dier…. he killed our father a few days ago,” as she said it out loud, even if it was all she’d been thinking about the past days, Eliane fought to control brimming tears. She didn’t really know why. She’d never gotten along with her father or Dier—though there were times she’d been closer to her brother. 

“He’s hiding it, Sylvain. Dier never wanted to be head of the branch, but he did want to get rid of Father. So he’s ordered our father’s kandra to take up the body and pretend to be him, so Dier doesn’t have to take care of any of the day to day decisions. Our house has had its fair share of changes with my cousin-in-law dying, and Straff possibly being more ruthless than ever in an effort to overtake Tekiel and regain Venture’s position at the top of the Great House ranking. The last thing we need is Dier jeopardizing everything by refusing to take any responsibility for anything,” she took a deep breath, having let out that whole spiel quickly, as saying it out loud had really solidified the implications of what all this had meant. 

“Ellie, I am here for you, but I am afraid you will have to lay things out with a bit more detail for me to understand.” He gave her his characteristic smile, sheepish, with the undercurrent of sadness he worked so hard to conceal, and reached out a hand to her shoulder. “First, are you in danger? If he has already killed your father, has Dier threatened you?” Seph, noticing the changing tenor of emotions shifted his attention to Eliane, moving to her side and placing his head on her lap. She reached over and patted Seph on the head, which gave her the comfort to explain. Dier had called her Ellie yesterday—and the day he’d killed Renholm—and from him she hated the nickname, but from Sylvain it actually felt genuine, and he was the few people she’d let call her that in recent years. 

She explained how she’d heard the argument when she was in the solar, and had stood up after the thud, and everything that had happened when Dier had discovered her there. Eliane had to stop after a moment, but she did feel lighter again. She felt pressure at her temples, probably from the contained tears, but she ignored it for now. She wasn’t really surprised that her cousin-in-law’s advice about how telling someone helped work through a problem had proven true. Eliane wished Charisse was still around. She would probably understand all this far better than Sylvain could, being part of the family herself, and could understand what it was like for a Venture in power to coerce them to do what they wanted by pulling on the things they cared about most—for Charisse it was Elend, for Eliane it was the opportunity to leave home and spend time with the people she chose as friends. They were some of the only people who they’d let her see, so those moments were precious to her.

She resumed her story, filling it in with the details she’d only learned later, like how the signet ring had been Dier’s choice for a murder weapon. She elaborated on the statement she’d opened with about him using SaeNinn to “replace” Renholm, and closed with how she’d realized how much danger she was truly in. “I’ll admit, I’m glad not to have to be subject to emotional Allomancy anymore, but Dier is just as dangerous as Father was. He’s not above threatening me, even when I’ve done nothing wrong. But I couldn’t do it alone anymore. Sylvain, I’ve never been so scared for my life, not even when they needed to try to Snap me.”

Sylvain took a moment to process everything Eliane said, and she stayed silent, waiting to hear his response. Although he’d checked that his aunt wasn’t around, Eliane still worried that this information, which was an enormous bargaining clip for any person that knew about it, would get out of hand. She wanted to undermine her brother, but she wanted to do it her own way, keeping control about how that would come about. As the silence stretched on, feeling like hours though it was probably only a few moments, she felt an nauseating heat in the pit of her stomach and a thrumming in the back of her head. An awful manifestation of the anxiety she hadn’t been able to shake since that night. 

Eventually Sylvain answered, having gathered his thoughts for a hesitant response. “I knew the situation between you and your family was bad, but this… I am so sorry, Eliane, that you have to go through this. Your family should be a source of strength, your closest support, not the greatest threat to your safety and happiness. I have been here a year and I still feel so overwhelmed by everything here in Luthadel. I do not know what help I can bring to bear against your brother. House Hadrial might have some small amount of sway out west, but that is nothing here, not against a member of a Great House.” For the first time since she had begun her story, Sylvain’s expression shifted from confusion and concern to one of frustration and anger. A common reaction for when he heard stories of Dier. “I may not know how, but I do want to help. Just tell me what to do.”   

She nodded in agreement. “To be honest, I’m not sure how to start, but I do know that I need more friends. The problem is who can I even trust?” she grimaced, as suddenly the mild annoyance at her temples that had been bothering her before increased. 

“Ellie, did something happen, are you well?” he shook his head in self-directed frustration, “beyond everything you have already shared, I mean…” 

“I don’t know. I was fine earlier, but now my head is throbbing, and it’s like I can feel a couple of specific points, almost give them a location. It’s strange, something like this has never happened before.”

“You’re not an Allomancer, are you? That almost sounds like descriptions I have heard from my– that I have heard from some Allomancers I’ve met...”

Eliane was taken aback. “No, never, they tested me, I’m not!”

“Are you sure? It’s rare, but there are still plenty of stories about people Snapping later in life. And what you have gone through the last few days… well, it is certainly traumatic enough.”

Eliane hesitated. She knew it could happen. Her father had been a case of that exact phenomenon. And they’d never tried to Snap her as hard as they’d tried to Snap Dier. Everyone always said with her mother’s experience as a Mistborn, it would have been efficient, but in her absence the task had fallen to Renholm instead. There was so little she remembered from back then, but she had glimmers. “I thought so. But I do know it’s a possibility to Snap later in life, even if you’ve been tested.”

Sylvain nodded. “Do you want to test it?”

She was nervous, but she’d rather know for sure. Maybe there was still a chance that this was a medical thing, however strange, and she didn’t have to be an Allomancer. 

Sylvain stood up, presumably to find some metals—though she wasn’t sure how he would—leaving Eliane alone to her own thoughts and insecurities.

Eventually he made it back, carrying several vials, though it was less than the eight metals. He must have discarded some with her description, which made sense. It definitely wasn’t steel or iron, and she doubted it was pewter or tin. That left emotional Allomancy, copper, and bronze. If it were either zinc or brass, she didn’t know what she’d do with herself. And if she was being perfectly honest with herself, she probably wouldn’t use it anyway regardless, except maybe if it was copper, since that would protect her from ever having to doubt her own emotions again. But why couldn’t she have discovered it while her father was still around so she could protect herself? 

“Sylvain, could we leave zinc and brass for the end?” She knew she could have just gotten it out of the way, but she didn’t want to know. 

“Your father?” 

She nodded. 

He handed her a small vial that read bronze on it. It was only a tiny sip, one much smaller than a vial an Allomancer would take if they wanted to replenish their metals, or at least the ones she’d seen her brother and father take. She bit her lip, but popped the cork with her fingernail and downed the vial, surprised that it was suspended in wine, instead of the strange liquid some Allomancers used, and what she would have expected for a test vial. 

“Do you sense anything? From what I understand you need to have intent, you need focused desire, no matter what type of Allomancy you have, particularly when just starting out.”

Eliane followed those instructions, focusing on her breathing and trying to see if she could sense something. And there it was. An awareness of a reserve, and knowing it existed, where it was, she felt different pulses from a distance, probably from the street. She opened her eyes, and nodded to Sylvain, trying to keep in the tears. She realized, as somewhat of an afterthought, that she’d probably gotten that tiny bit of bronze in her system in the first place from the pen Charisse had given her as a present years ago. She’d used it last night, and as was habit in stressful moments, she’d tapped it against her mouth when she was thinking.

“It is unlikely, but… Well, you are part of a Great House. There is a chance of more…” He trailed off the implication of “Mistborn” hanging between them.

“I guess we’d better make sure,” she answered absentmindedly. Straff would already be mad enough if he found out she’d had untapped Allomancy all this time that he could have used, and she knew it would be a million times worse if she ended up being a Mistborn. He’d take it out not only on ‘Renholm’, but certainly on her for simply failing to Snap. He’d send her out, and the danger in her life could jump the equivalent of the distance from the ground to the top of the tallest keeps in Luthadel.

He handed over the vial of copper, and Eliane downed it, hoping to get this over with. Thankfully, when she checked to see if she could feel any reserve, there was still only the one from the bronze. 

She shook her head, thankful that at least it wasn’t that bad. But everything was still wrong. 

After holding out for most of the conversation, she broke, crying, still trying to process everything that had happened. The night Dier had killed Renholm she’d been so in shock that she went the logical route, hoping she had enough time before Dier turned on her, and even yesterday she’d managed to keep her cool as he threatened her, but now, coupled with the discovery of Allomancy, it was too much for her to take. 

A realization dawned on her. Talking about the events, remembering that last push of love Renholm had used as a last resort… she knew that feeling from the time her father had tried Snapping her. It wasn’t a memory she thought about very often, but now things had fallen into place. He’d been scared. Scared of making her hate him, wanting her to understand he didn't want to hurt her, that stifling protective instinct she'd lived under her whole life that made him hold back. His fear of accidentally killing the living memory of her Mother. He’d tried to reassure her with Allomancy, suffusing her with feelings of love, trust, and safety even as he'd tried to do the deed. And it had been powerful enough that, while the trauma remained, the constant waiting to see when she’d be hit with another blast of zinc, it must have kept her from Snapping. 

Eliane still tried to wipe away the tears, tell herself that she had to be strong. This was not the way a Venture should be acting, even if she wasn’t the heir. 

She couldn’t help but be reminded of Charisse, who’d been in a similar situation in her marriage, and how, if her father hadn’t died, Eliane was certainly heading to that same situation herself. She would have been trapped in a loveless marriage where, despite the likelihood of a high position in society through marriage, on top of being a Venture, she’d feel as powerless as Charisse had felt to use her position for good. 

“Thank you for letting me get all of this out.”

“It is the least I could do, truly. But…” Sylvain met her eyes once more, the excitement of discovering her Allomancy fading back to concern. “Have you decided on a path forward?”

“Not in the slightest. I can’t risk my family finding out, Sylvain. I’m already enough of a target internally for Dier because I know what he did. If Straff or the rest of the family found out, then they could very well send me out on missions. What I know of how they send Dier out, and the vague memories I have of when our mother was alive, are ample evidence of that. 

“I’ve seen the way my brother has come home sometimes after he was given a job he could barely handle, and I’d have to stitch him up before he had to show up in front of Father or Straff and be berated for failing an impossible task. If they knew I was a Seeker, they’d find ways to send me out too, and unlike Dier, I would have no way of getting home quickly and defending myself if I’m injured.”

“This is your gift, it is up to you to decide how to use it. I confess, I would gladly serve my family but… from everything I’ve heard, yours is very different from mine. Whatever direction you decide, I believe it will be the right one. And I will do whatever I can to help, in my own way.”

“But…” she sighed, trying to put her thoughts into words. “I don’t know what to do. My only real ally in the house is gone, Father isn’t even telling me what to do anymore. I don’t think I’ve ever had such freedom in choice, but what if I just make the wrong one and end up dead like—Lord Ruler knows, Dier would have done it several times already if I hadn’t talked quickly enough to calm him down.”

“Don’t rush into anything. Your Allomancy is a surprise on top of a difficult situation. It is alright to be confused and uncertain, even angry. But I believe in you. You will find your way in time.” 

She smiled, thankful that unlike everyone else in her life he didn’t expect her to do anything or make a decision. 

The rest of her time at the Hadrials’ home was somewhat better, but she had to struggle to stop her hands from shaking most of the time, at the very least so she wouldn’t spill tea all over the carpet. When the pulses finally disappeared, and she couldn’t sense the bronze reserve anymore, she relaxed. With the onset of twilight she knew she needed to get home soon, because he was already suspicious enough, and that’s the last thing she wanted him to be, other than outright murderous. She said goodbye to Sylvain and Cecily, and was left to reflect on the events of the day on her carriage ride back home. 

There was a sense of the unknown, both socially and in terms of Allomancy, the possibility there were others around her. Now she’d be able to know who they were, but that didn’t mean she was ever truly ready to have to deal with Allomancy being used. Sometimes, she couldn’t even know, and that scared her even more. What if a random emotional Allomancer wanted to get something out of her, and because she was so used to her father’s very obvious uses she didn’t realize she was being manipulated? What if that became a reason for Dier to decide to get rid of her? You could find out, a piece of her whispered. You could know for certain who’s safe and who’s not, in an instant.

Eventually, she couldn’t take not knowing. Feeling apprehensive, like she’d just lost some important moral battle against needing to maintain as much secrecy as possible, she reluctantly sought out a metallurgist and purchased a handful of bronze dust and vials. She couldn't shake the feeling that this Allomancy was a curse , but choosing not to burn metals didn’t make her not a Seeker. It just made her a blind Seeker. Or so she told herself. It felt like an empty justification. If she was going to use Allomancy, then she was going to take full advantage of what she had. 



(Portrait Sketch by Elisgardor)

Edited by Cheyenne Sedai


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