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Cheyenne Sedai

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Cheyenne Sedai last won the day on March 8

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About Cheyenne Sedai

  • Birthday October 29

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    host of the Worldhoppers Podcast
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    Reading, writing, sewing, horseback riding

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  1. Imagine my surprise to see a new part of this story! Hopefully more is coming because I'm curious where it goes.
  2. Let me say thank you to all the people here who enjoyed the article, for some reason I didn't get the notifications for these. As for @Duxredux's question, sometimes with indie authors you can't avoid Amazon because a lot of them will have books be exclusive to them, but just go see on their website. Depending on the scale, some of them might even have signed editions available. (Elise Kova for example does drops on her Etsy for each series every month and rotates them, I've seen photos of the physicals and they are incredible) You can also get your local bookstore to order a copy a lot of the times. Your best bet is to check the authors websites to see what they have linked.
  3. Two years ago, when Brandon first announced the secret projects, people were surprised to hear the audiobooks wouldn't be available on Audible. Brandon had spoken out before about how he was worried about their business practices and what that would mean for authors with a lot less success than him, and for the secret projects––where the rights would initially be in his hands rather than going through Tor first, as Dragonsteel would be publishing the books themselves––he took a big risk, knowing most of his readership was through audio, and decided to promote other alternatives for audiobooks besides the Amazon-owned company. Now, after many conversations with the company, he's reached a historic deal, not aimed at himself, but to benefit indie authors in particular, who are the most affected by Audible's policies regarding royalties and exclusivity. Many people have heard about this basic context. You remember Brandon explaining the new other options that weren't Audible. But today, I want to do more than just paraphrase this newest blogpost. So I want to explain the entire context behind the relationship between Amazon, and by extension Audible, and the publishing industry. I'm going to give a big shoutout to the Print Run podcast for a lot of this extra information that isn't pulled from Brandon's blog. If you're interested in the industry, go listen to them! Part 1: Amazon's Origins For those of you who don't know, Amazon started its online retail empire through books. The reason wasn't because of some artistic sensibility, but because books are "easy to ship and hard to break." In particular because with the amount of books and editions of each of those that exist, it is impossible to find them all at a physical bookstore. But it is possible with the internet. Which was the perfect opportunity for the business. The other thing about books is that they say something about us. The kinds of books you buy tells you a lot about a person, which for a business like this, is consumer data. Which helped them expand beyond the book realm. Part 2: The ebook revolution In these early days, Amazon started innovating a lot on distribution. The traditional process is pretty messed up, and Amazon made this a lot easier both for print books, but most importantly for ebooks. The Kindle changed the game. Dan likes to cite a statistic about how in sometime like 2012, the sales of books if I'm not mistaken, in that year alone, were higher than in the rest of history. And Amazon decided to price ebooks at 9.99 USD, and everyone agreed to it. But publishers eventually realized that their books couldn't cost that little. So they suggested switching to a model where they chose whatever price they thought was appropriate, and give Amazon a cut of that. Part 3: The lawsuits In 2010, we get the first large lawsuit with one of the Big 6 at the time, Macmillan. You all probably know that Tor is Brandon's publisher, but Tor is just an imprint of Macmillan. And Brandon has mentioned this incident before. To put leverage on Amazon, Macmillan said they'd window their ebooks. One thing you should know about the publishing industry is that most sales for a book come in the first few months of it being out, or even before. The bestseller list is built on preorders and hype, because you can rack up those numbers with months of marketing and word of mouth which will all count for week 1, rather than doing all that work in a single week. What Macmillan was going to do was not release the ebooks until about 6 months later, where a good chunk of those people would have already read the book in hardcover, which costs significantly more. But Amazon wasn't threatened by this. They pulled the buy buttons on Macmillan books, which means you literally couldn't buy anything from any of Macmillan's imprints on Amazon. I am not kidding, this is literally the nuke of book sales. So Macmillan panicked. Eventually, Amazon got enough backlash from the general public that they put it back, but they'd successfully scared the publishers. So in 2012, the Big 6 at the time––HarperCollins, Penguin, Simon & Schuster, Macmillan, Hachette and Random House––came together to try to put pressure on Amazon to adopt the model Macmillan had suggested in 2010. Amazon filed a collusion suit against them, which prompted the Big 6 to settle. The compromise was that Amazon could discount books as much as they wanted, but they wouldn't get back their 9.99 ceiling. However, since Amazon has so much business elsewhere, this allowed them to use books as loss leaders. 7% of Amazon's sales were books in 2016, but 43% of all online retail went through them. Books were extremely insignificant for them, unlike the situation publishers were in. And of course, this accustoms people to go to Amazon first when they want to buy a book because they're more convenient and cheaper. During this time, Amazon also started using this rhetoric of publishers as elitist and gatekeeping, that didn't want the good of the customers and authors, who if they self published on Kindle Direct Publishing would receive a higher royalty rate, particularly on ebooks, even if their books wouldn't be in physical stores as often, because physical stores don't like stocking Amazon published books. In 2014, we get a second lawsuit, this time with Hachette. At the time, this was the biggest of the Big 6, with authors that are both incredibly prolific and popular, such as James Patterson. Who, I am not kidding, had books coming out about every week. Hachette wanted better pricing now that their contract was up and it was time for renegotiation, but Amazon wouldn't budge, and Hachette wouldn't either. Even being the fourth largest trade publisher in the world, it was 12 times smaller than Amazon at the time. Just like last time, Amazon pulled the buy buttons, but they went further than that. They delayed shipping, pulled the preorder buttons, ceased their discounts, letting consumers feel the weight of the full price they weren't accustomed to, and filled Hachette recommendation pages with similar, cheaper books. This caused a huge culture war. Amazon brought back their gatekeeper argument, saying the reason paperbacks took about a year to come out is because publishers wanted to get you with the bigger hardcover purchase, and that if Hachette gave all their online retail share and gave it to authors, they would stand down. Of course, Hachette couldn’t do this. In a way, Amazon lost this fight, but this is when everyone started getting involved. Particularly authors and agents. One of the most famous agents to get involved was Andrew Wiley. He is probably the most well known literary agent, the one people will think of when they think of the classic agent. He is also very notorious for being extremely anti-publisher, saying that "if a book has sold out its advance, he failed as an agent because he didn’t get enough money for his authors." One would think he’d jump on the Amazon bandwagon of criticizing the publishers. But he didn’t. He spoke out on behalf of them. He went pro-publisher. This is because Amazon’s model dries up the money authors would be getting very fast. Publishers have less money to spend on advances or new deals, and become even more risk-averse, which is bad for authors. The fact that someone so notoriously anti-publisher would side with them against Amazon says a lot in my opinion. Part 4: The Penguin Random House merger. This brings us to the Penguin and Random House merger in 2013. Companies didn’t want to wait to have to fight the same fight Macmillan and Hachette had to deal with, and since they’d gotten caught colluding before, the solution was to make that collusion legal with a merger. This made Penguin Random House the biggest publisher in the world, and let me tell you it’s staggering how many imprints they own. You forget half of them until you start looking at their company timeline on their website. What happens here is that because publishing’s response to Amazon is to band together, you get these two giants punching at each other with everyone else crushed in the middle because competition has been driven down, there are less places to submit a book to, less houses to drive up prices in auctions, and a lot of other side effects. You probably heard about the recent merger attempt between PRH and Simon & Schuster. Authors like Stephen King spoke out against that one because of these exact reasons, and Brandon’s Kickstarter that prompted this article also got caught in it because PRH and S&S were trying to use it as an example of how authors could go independent, making it even more necessary for a merger like this to keep business going. This original merger was just the first iteration of what happened in 2022 and early 2023. In 2017, Amazon made a change to their buying page, where instead of automatically buying a new copy from Amazon’s warehouses, you could be buying from third party vendors who would usually be reselling. This means that you can’t trace that money back and that it won’t go to the authors. It also increased the chance of fake books or fraudulent copies. Part 5: Audible in 2022 We’ve been talking about a lot of these policies in terms of ebooks, but they apply for audio too. In the old days, audiobooks were incredibly expensive, because they came in cassettes or CDs, and the process of getting them made was much more complicated. Just listen to any Wheel of Time fan who listened in audio from when the books first came out talk about it, or to Michael Kramer and Kate Reading in their many interviews. With Audible, Amazon made audiobooks viable again, and much cheaper, just like they did for ebooks. In his 2022 State of the Sanderson post, Brandon explained why he wasn't putting the Secret Projects on Audible. He focused specifically on its impact on indie creators. And worse, these are the rates for Amazon exclusive authors. That means they can't have their book available on any other platform, like Libro.fm for example, which is also very popular. The rates for non-exclusive authors drops to 25%. The other problem is that most audio companies turn around and put their books on Audible as well. Brandon cites Apple, Recorded Books, his own publisher Macmillan (who owns Tor), etc. And because of that, most of everyone else pays the same rates Audible does. To even try to compete with them. He urged readers to go to those other providers and try to change the tide. Part 6: The new deal On the 5th of March 2024, on the heels of another secret project announcement in conjunction with the Words of Radiance leatherbound, Brandon announced he'd had conversations with Audible about changing their practices. Like I hope you've been able to realize by now, getting Amazon to budge on anything is HUGE. Even authors with more clout than Brandon gave up pretty quickly. With that in mind, this is what Brandon says constitutes the new deal. Higher royalty rates for both exclusive and non exclusive authors The system will pay more predictably on credit spent, paid monthly rather than quarterly. They will provide a spreadsheet explaining how the money received will be split. Brandon does clarify this is far from perfect. The percentage gap between exclusive and non exclusive authors is still about the same. This change doesn't bring royalties up to the 70% he wanted in the first place yet, authors still won't have control over pricing, and they will always sell for the price of a credit, which won't be raised with inflation. He talks about how his agent, Joshua, spent months arguing for a 2% increase when Brandon was a new publisher to illustrate how important a small increase can be, even if this is bigger than 2%. And I hope this article has illustrated that as well. How difficult even getting them to move this much has been. Brandon explains that the Secret Projects will now be on Audible, and closes, thanking everyone for their support and the pressure they put on these issues. Part 7: Reflecting about how all this affects the publishing industry The publishing industry has always had this dilemma of art vs. business and where to fall on that scale. Treat it too much like a pure art and you get mentalities like the starving writer who does it despite not being able to sustain themselves. Treat it too much like a business and you lose out on the artistic value of works that won't sell as much in the moment. Works that sometimes become classics or will be praised critically but not be incredibly popular. My personal favorite example is Book of the New Sun by Gene Wolfe. It's not accessible to a lot of people because of the layers and the prose, and how much mental energy it takes. But it is an absolute masterpiece, and I don't know if in today's market it would be published because of those commercial considerations. Sad as it is to say, the publishers left the door open for Amazon to fill the space because they failed to think for more than a second about the initial pricing of ebooks. And the way it's going, it only leads to more and more of a blockbuster model with publishers being risk-averse to new things because they are getting squeezed, it just makes the market harder for debut authors with new ideas and innovations, with more diverse voices. This year's Lee and Low Diversity Survey found that publishing is still 72% white, 71% cis women, 68% heterosexual, 83% able-bodied, and 58% living in the northeastern United States. And none of these numbers will change, like they barely did from the last time this survey was conducted, if we don't make an active effort to change them. That's why it is so important that Brandon stands up for these small authors, particularly those who publish independently. Traditional publishing isn't without its problems, but indie authors get affected the most by Amazon's policies that force them to be exclusive or take a huge loss to run ads as the only way to be discovered. Amazon says it's good for consumers by having low prices, but in the long run it isn't good because it will be creating this white noise where nobody stands out and removing quality and variety from people's options because publishing becomes more risk-averse. Not only will those potential classics, or books that are very niche, or that are being revolutionary, ahead of their time, be lost, but the quality on more commercial books will go down. We're already seeing this with controversies like the Iron Flame printing controversy. I hope that all these reflections about how it can affect our culture from multiple people will make an impact, and we'll start to see change. But we can't stay and do nothing. Even if you're not personally involved in the industry, there are still ways to affect it. Stay informed, use your local library and buy books in indie stores, preorder books, read more diversely, talk about the issues online, support indie authors. The list goes on and on. There is hope with a deal like the one Brandon has made. But we have to keep working for a better place, and better conditions for the artists we admire so much so they can keep bringing us amazing art. Part 8: Conclusion This article was originally just meant to go over the generalities of this deal and add information from the stream. But when I got my hands on it after a couple of days of discussion, I realized that it was a chance to talk about something I care about very deeply as a literature student and aspiring author, which lots of people may not know about. One thing I appreciate about the original stand Brandon took is that it showed people how bad the situation is, in a way that they wouldn't have even been aware of before. I hope that this article was a chance for you all to learn more about this beyond the endless paraphrasing of the same original article. And as pessimistic as I feel this sounded for a lot of it, what we need to take out of this is to make it known. Keep putting pressure on Audible to be better. Congratulate them for moving forward, but don't just let it rest here. Feel free to ask any questions and to start more of a discussion in the comments, I would love to know what you think.
  4. Hello! I'm Verónica, I'm currently a literature student and was born and raised in Bogotá, Colombia. I'm an aspiring author and other than Shardcast, I'm part of another podcast, the Worldhoppers Podcast. On the server you'll know me for being a big fan of Glen Cook’s Black Company series, the Percy Jackson universe and being active in the WoT channels. I also enjoy sewing, playing basketball, horseback riding, and watching figure skating competitions in my spare time, and I always have too many projects going on concurrently.
  5. As the Staff team, we'd like to introduce ourselves to all of you so you get to know us better.
  6. It's our fourth year doing WoTaHoliday, and it's going to be bigger than ever. This year we're supporting both the Lightweaver Foundation like always, and the Entertainment Community Fund, in the wake of all the fallout for creatives because of the strikes. We want them to be able to have a good life while the industry boots back up and recovers. We'll be splitting the funds exactly down the middle. The Lightweaver Foundation contributes to food pantries & homeless shelters, but also makes sure books are readily available to those in need. If you want to donate, you can do so here. Because of the logistics involved, our goal will be £10k. Speaking of donations, Dragonsteel has been incredibly generous and given us some items to give away, in addition to our regular mug giveaway. We'll have details on the stream on how you can enter the drawings for those, so don't miss it. We'll start at 7:30 EST on Saturday 2nd, and run through Sunday at the same time. Personally, I'll be back for a Westlands Fashion 2.0 at 11 EST talking about the costuming in Season 2. You can watch the stream at the following links, depending on the time you join: https://www.youtube.com/live/NdHmzhyLgZA?si=Lfxv_yqvdI-g8PhN (Stream 1) https://www.youtube.com/live/nCwy719dPEY?si=4REBWg0heLhKzRxD (Stream 2) https://www.youtube.com/live/Tl5NbmLPa5I?si=02L8nhXpd-F3XlHd (Stream 3)
  7. Happy birthday! Thanks for being awesome in shardcast and in Secrets in Stained Glass!

    1. Aeoryi


      Happy birthday!

  8. I had an inner panic attack because I didn't see the moderator sign and I was like "Wait, I thought this person was a mod- what-" and started questioning my sanity, then I pressed the banner and went 'oh-"

    Anyways, happy birthday!!!!!

  9. Happy birthday my fellow Aes Sedai! :D

  10. One of the key aspects of Secrets in Stained Glass that really made the series shine is the art. Our resident art guru, Argent, recommended several excellent artists we could hire for this project. We reached out to each of them, and in the end landed on the wonderful Eli, who you can find on instagram as @elisgardor, for the character art, and Connor Chamberlain (@conjchamberlain), who you’ll recognize from the backgrounds for the original Diceborn series, for the background art once again. Finally, Matt and Alyx commissioned Diego López (@digeolopez_artist) to bring to life a scene from episode 3, which was initially meant to be private, but ended up in the final version of the episode, and really gave it a special touch. They all went above and beyond, and we’re thrilled with how everything turned out. You can also read the pdf version here for a version with the images inline with their respective paragraphs. One thing that is important to note for this article is that it will contain FULL SPOILERS for Secrets in Stained Glass, so if you haven’t finished episode 5, watch that, and then come back. You have been warned. General notes from Eli about character art For the background of the key art, there’s a stained glass window with spiral patterns reminiscent of mists, as well as the eight basic Allomantic symbols. I decided to give it warmer tones (reds, purples, yellows) for two reasons: the first is the huge role the Elariel’s fire plays within the story; the second is that since Scadrial is wrapped in that reddish environment by the sun and ash, this color palette seemed more appropriate. Secrets in Stained Glass mostly takes place during a nobleman’s party, so the characters are dressed for an evening gala event. Knowing that in Era 2 there are also such balls, it was especially important to establish a difference in the style of Era 1, so the designs have that older feel. Personally, one of my biggest goals was that the viewer, just knowing that the characters are part of the universe of Mistborn, would know immediately that they belong to Era 1, and not Era 2. As a main reference for the style of dress I took the fashion of the French nobility in the late 18th century to further accent that older and distinctive Era 1 look. This historical period and place seems suitable, as the plot of the first trilogy has certain parallels with the historical events of the French Revolution (overthrow of the established power and the decline of the nobility > power vacuum, political plots and discussion before the next seizure of power > the emergence of an emperor who lead the people as representative of the new era). The social hierarchy was also similar, with an absolute monarch (the Lord Ruler), decadent nobility (the Houses), a corrupt clergy (The Steel Ministry) and the mistreated peasantry (the skaa). I find it interesting how Era 1 reflects those historical elements while mixing them with the post-apocalyptic setting of Scadrial and its magic system. Even so, the fashion of the nobles from this historical period can be very extravagant, so we decided to avoid some flamboyant elements, such as exaggerated hairstyles, white wigs, or impossible dresses; and center around some details that could give that antique flavor to the outfits, such as the lace sleeves tightened below the elbows, the draping of the gowns, the bright fabric, and the trousers cut below the knee. Although a Mistborn story that embraced the whole aesthetic would also be different from what we usually see. It would be exciting to try it in the future! Eliane Historical inspirations and book references For Eliane, Verónica came with lots of different examples of what her dress could look like, but there was a historical throughline to all the examples. She’d previously determined that fashion in Era 1 would roughly correspond to the 1850s and 60s in the real world, since Vin’s dresses are described with wide skirts and several layers of petticoats: “Vin accepted his hand, trying with as much grace as possible to pull the frilled, bulky bottom of her dress out of the carriage.” (Sanderson, 2006, ch 12) “It pulled tightly at her waist and chest, then fell to the floor with several layers of ruffled fabric, making it difficult to walk. She kept feeling as if she were going to trip—and, despite the gown’s bulk, she felt as if she were somehow exposed by how tight it was through the chest, not to mention the neckline’s low curve.” (Sanderson, 2006, ch 12) “She liked how it was designed to make her look full through the chest, yet accentuated her thin upper torso. She liked how it flared at the waist, slowly fanning out into a wide bell that rustled as she walked.” (Sanderson, 2006, ch 30) Ballgowns in this area deal with a lot of illusion in their use of the wide skirts and wide collars serving to make the waist seem smaller, without any need to tightlace, and the woman being perfectly comfortable. This was a silhouette Eli kept with both Eliane and Jenna, even though other details of Maevis or Addison’s outfits could place them in different eras, a relatively consistent silhouette gives unity to the variety of personalities in the show. However, with the first sketches, Eli gave two options for the sleeves, and this is where fantasy shows it’s advantages. One was pulled directly from the references, but the other was inspired by the 18th century, and the fashion circa the French Revolution, thanks to the echoes in the plot of The Well of Ascension. It was an era well known for it’s extravagance, with its wide panniers and robes a la francaise, so when Eli gave the idea, Verónica went to look for more examples of this style, and different lace configurations, settling on something less extravagant and with less bows for the sleeves, but keeping the box pleats and overskirt to tie in both eras used as a reference for this gown. Special details Some of the details that stand out the most with Eliane, and make her design unique are the sheer amount of box pleats on her gown. Other characters have different types of trims, and for Eliane it’s pleated ones. They help give a lot of volume to each layer. Another one is of course, the sleeves. They are fitted at the top, and flare out at the elbow, and a bobbin lace trimming inspired by some gown recreations of 18th century gowns. (Maja, n.d.) If you’d like to know more about the way of making the sleeves that inspired Eliane’s, the blog post that this image accompanies is excellent, and talks about the lace in a lot of detail. Finally, there’s the vial for her bronze, and the pen she’s holding. It’s mentioned in Problem Solving (though it was clearer in the first draft) that Eliane has a pen with a bronze top on the cap inlaid with the Venture crest given to her by Charisse a couple of years ago, which is also where she first gets her bronze from, and Eli decided to add that to her art after reading the backstory. Sylvain Historical inspirations and book references Eli mentioned that one of the things that was hard to get right for Sylvain was the actual style of his suit. The styles that were popular historically around the time period that were used as inspiration for some of the other characters—and interestingly, Eli leaned far more 18th century than the initial mid 19th century references others, notably Verónica, had brought to the table—weren’t working for Sylvain, so Eli went to media that, while not accurate, was roughly there and fit the character better. Eventually, she landed on Prince Adam from the 1991 animated Beauty and the Beast. But not only was the vague timeline part of the design right, but the cast had decided, particularly after initial sketches, that Sylvain really does fit the Disney Prince stereotype, so the idea was taken further, and Eli added those iconic tall boots with the fold that so many of the Disney princes use. The cuffs and wider, but still tailored cut of his suit jacket are also somewhat reminiscent of 18th century military, particularly naval, uniforms. They share some characteristics with the general fashionable silhouette at the time, but are far more practical. This could be likened to the differences between French and English fashions, where the latter specifically set itself apart by the simpler, more practical styles and fabrics. (Nicole Rudolph, 2021) However, it’s not just that similarities can be traced because Sylvain is a more practical person than many of the other nobles, so his style would be more similar to the uniforms. A detail that never comes up in the game, but is in the character brief, is that Hadrial has nautical connections, and their heraldry is a golden ship wheel. That fact ties everything together perfectly. Sylvain’s character, and the historical inspiration. Special details The shining aspect of Sylvain’s portrait is, as many people have noted, his dog, Seph. It turns out that pets are considered props in MAG, so Ian decided that Sylvain has a dog. When it came time for the art brief, nobody was really sure if he’d make an appearance, but he did! Eli’s own dog served as inspiration for Seph, since she kept looking up at her just like Seph is looking up at Sylvain in the art. Seph is a Terris Collie, basically the Scadrian equivalent of a Border Collie. Seph also has the same general color scheme as Sylvain, with the darker patches of his fur almost matching Sylvain’s coat, and his collar matching the red details in Sylvain’s outfit. Another aspect that Ian considered quite important for Sylvain was the classic himbo pose with the arm raised and his hand behind the neck. Just the way he’s standing, in comparison to the rest of the characters lets the audience know that Sylvain isn’t the typical confident noble, but rather someone who’s been thrust into a situation where he isn’t very comfortable, and doesn’t have much support, since his aunt, Cecily, has fallen ill and given him the responsibility to meet with Solis, and carry out the task Solis had for Cecily. Lucius Historical inspirations and book references Lucius’s style is very reminiscent of 18th century fashion as well, but leans far more towards the side of noble court fashion—particularly in France—unlike Sylvain’s. He wears high waisted and snugly fit white breeches, with a waistcoat and overcoat with lots of decorative embroidery. Unlike the image on the right, Lucius wears tall boots, like you would for riding, except they aren’t practical at all with their color and all the decorations. This description is also mostly consistent with the books, when Vin describes the uniform Elend starts wearing as king. “The white trousers fit snugly and fell straight around the calves. While there was a shirt, it was completely obscured by the large, stiff jacket—which had military shoulder fittings. It had an array of buttons—all of which, he noticed, were wood instead of metal” (Sanderson, 2007, ch 16). Eli mentioned how this silhouette worked particularly well on Lucius, which makes him look slimmer—something that was tried, but didn’t work for Dier’s portrait. Special details Like his best friend Maevis, Lucius is very fashion forward. He wears eye catching outfits in stunning white, a color only a high noble could flaunt thanks to the ash, and notably has actual metal buttons and other metal details in his attire. He doesn’t keep his Seeking a secret, and uses the symbol for bronze on one of his shoulders, seemingly cast in that same metal. Dier actually pushes on his buttons, literally, during episode 1, and they just fly off without any incident. Lucius’s outfits also have quite a bit of embroidery, even on his boots, where decorative embroidery would be harder to put in complicated designs. His waistcoat also has metallic threads woven into it, which, with the technology of the Final Empire, would have been very expensive to make, even if metallurgy is a key part of the empire’s economy. His cape adds a unique flair, and of course, as is his Feature, he is always wearing gloves. Along with the white of his outfit, the gloves can also represent the necessity to remain clean at all times, and removed from parts of the world because of it. Gloves have been a part of fashion for centuries, though not nearly as ubiquitous for men as they are for women. Dier Historical inspirations and book references Unlike Sylvain and Lucius’s styles, Dier’s trend towards specific moments from the 19th century. The print on his waistcoat is like the ones that would have been expected during much of this era, and is also consistent with the first description of Elend in The Final Empire. “His suit wasn’t the finest she had seen, nor was his vest as bright as most” (Sanderson, 2006, ch 12). Notably, Elend dresses down, but this does tell the reader that usually waistcoats were bright. Vin also talks about the general style of suit worn by the men at court. “He was the perfect imperial nobleman—tall, firm-shouldered, always dressed in a tailored vest and suit.” (Sanderson, 2006, ch 28) This tells us about the importance of tailoring, and the clean lines around the shoulders. She also remarks on the cut, and how it is well fit, presumably close to the body, thanks to the comparison with Elend’s usual slightly wrinkled suits. “His usual, slightly worn and wrinkled suit had been replaced by a sharp, well-fitted one” (Sanderson, 2006, ch 30). Wrinkles, especially in tailored garments, are indicative of the fit being too big, and it is possible to tell in what section of the pattern they are thanks to the way the wrinkles themselves form. While Dier does present these sharp lines and well cut and tailored garments, knowing his propensity for flying around with steel, and also that he generally doesn’t care all that much about anything really, it makes sense he’d favor a simpler style of trousers than Lucius’s tight breeches for example. They’re well made, but are simple and cut straight, without much else to them. Special details One of the first details visible in Dier’s portrait is the coin he flips in his left hand, a symbol of his status as an overt Coinshot. Dier enjoys both the rudeness and the power display of his open Allomancy at court, taking every opportunity to flaunt his use of steel. Though, when he was young, House Venture ordered him to keep it secret, Dier had seen how keeping an Allomantic status secret could backfire, having heard how being outed as a Mistborn had played a role in his mother’s death. Feeling like he would be safer letting the secret out on his own terms, he enlisted Lucius’ help to leak his Allomancy to the court many years ago, a favor from his Lekal friend that he’s never forgotten. Since then, with the coin out of the pouch so to speak, he’s enjoyed being a known Allomancer among Luthadel society. Dier’s and Eliane’s color schemes are coordinated, both in the purple range. Purple has always been associated with wealth and royalty, because of how expensive the dye was, since it came from the shells of a particular sea snail. (Ancient Color | Creating Purple, n.d.) Because of this, only royalty was able to afford the dye. Venture is not only one of the Great Houses, but has historically been at the top of the rankings, so even the color itself shows the power of their family in the Final Empire. However, they each have different shades of purple in their outfits, which say quite a bit about their characters. Dier’s is a darker violet, while Eliane tends to use lighter colors. Eliane’s lighter preference can show her optimism and innocence, despite the trauma she’s faced, while Dier’s violet contrasts that, and shows that he’s lost that hope. The color characterizes each of them, but remains a link between the siblings. One of the objects that are characteristic of Dier is his dueling cane. It was made for him, and is used to great effect in both the main series and the backstories that have been published with it. It is a dark wood with a metal core and head, which can separate into two pieces that screw together. As a coinshot, Dier often uses the cane to great effect in a fight, and in fact, its use in Problem Solving, was what inspired Eli to add it to the portrait, even if it wasn’t mentioned in the original art brief. Dier also uses the family signet ring to great effect in that same story, as an ironic murder weapon when he impulsively decides to kill his father, who married into the family, taking his wife’s name, and as such was never a true Venture, and always resented it. Finally, a little story behind his iconic braid. An idea from Matt became the new canon, of Maevis absently braiding Dier’s hair one night when they were young, waiting for Vasha to show up for training. Though Dier thinks she’s trying to make him look silly, she tells him she likes the look, and since then he’s kept the style. Though he was thoroughly embarrassed to show up to their next training session with a sloppy braid he clearly had to practice doing himself, it was worth it to watch how widely Maevis smiled when she saw it. During the game, Dier’s worries for Maevis end up expressed in how he styles his hair. When he goes upstairs to change from his wet clothes, fearful that Maevis might not wake up and they might never have a chance to speak, he can’t bring himself to braid it and ties it back in a bun instead; the act of braiding itself too strong a reminder of his conflicted thoughts and their strained friendship. After they speak again in Episode 5 and reconcile just a little bit, he chooses to swap the bun for a braid once more, thinking of her before he heads to the roof to their old race spot, just like she asked him to, to keep vigil all night instead of meeting with her there. Jenna Historical inspirations and book references Like Eliane, Jenna wears a gown with wide skirts and a wide collar in a Bertha style. However, unlike Eliane, Jenna’s gown has a lot of lace, in patterns that show the allomantic symbols and mimic the spires of Kredik Shaw. Lace this custom would be incredibly expensive and noticeable, which matches with several aspects we know about Jenna. But before we talk about what it says about her character in the details section, let's talk about historical lace. Developed in Europe in the XVI century, “lace was always an expensive luxury item because of its painstaking, time-consuming production” (Lace: A Sumptuous History | SFO Museum, n.d.) The lace in Jenna’s outfit is most likely bobbin lace, which is made by tying knots in a certain pattern and holding it in place with pins based on that pattern. There are countless patterns and ways of making different shapes, which is prime for some of these gorgeous, very specific designs. Special details Jenna’s appearance had a very strong starting point with Vin, since Jenna is Vin’s aunt. Eli commented that she focused on the things that differentiated Jenna from Vin. She made her taller, more muscular, darker, twisted, and older. That was added to a dash of Eva Green to end up with the art of Jenna we know and love. Jenna, unlike the other female characters, wears elbow length gloves. While they would have been practically a necessity in formal situations historically, within the world of Secrets in Stained Glass, they serve to show how closed off and reserved Jenna is, particularly in comparison to Maevis, who has no sleeves and no gloves either. The lace designs Jenna wears also serve to show how much the empire and her faith matter to her. She shows off a variety of allomantic symbols, but more importantly, the peaks of the lace in her skirt resemble the spires of Kredik Shaw and the mists swirling around them. While most nobles don’t care much about the religious aspect of the Final Empire, and mostly just obey the rules and stay out of the Obligators’ way, to Jenna, faith is incredibly important, so it shows up in different ways, not only in her actions, but also in her clothing. This is also evident with her spike themed earrings and headpiece, which are painted wood, instead of metal, as she has been the target of various assassination attempts, and would not like to give any potential coinshots anchors to use against her. Maevis Historical inspirations and book references Maevis’s outfit is by far the most fashion forward in terms of actual historical eras. The silhouette resembles that of the early years of the first bustle era which went from 1869 to 1876. Unlike the very clear shelf formed by later bustles, this one has smoother lines, a bit more reminiscent of the elliptical hoop skirt. Her bodice however, and the pose, are very much the s-bend or pigeon breasted silhouette from the early Edwardian era, though liberties are taken on the neckline style because this is fantasy. That lack of sleeves is important, not just because it isn’t strictly historical, but because Maevis’s boldness in general is mirrored in her fashion, and reflects her relationship with rules and tradition. She doesn’t really care about them, relying on her magnetic personality. It is that recklessness that gets her into trouble in the first place, providing the setup for the series. Special details In the art depicting her, Maevis is wearing a dress and mantle originally made for her grandmother, Dianette, which are bedecked in heavy embroidery, metals and gems. While she has her share of pleats on the trim of each of the layers, her defining feature is the embroidery and goldwork detail. “Goldwork is a style of embroidery done using metal threads. Traditionally, gold ‘threads’ were created by beating gold into flat ribbon like threads which were stitched into place.” (Textiles, 2022) All of the layers of Maevis’s skirt have intricate goldwork making patterns, as well as ribbon, pleats, and different trimmings at the edge, as well as on the bodice. The top layer also has crystals at each intersection, adding to the glamour of the gown. The mantle, of course, only adds to the effect with more layers of goldwork and chains. It is much longer than many of the historical ones, which is not surprising, considering it wasn’t meant for actual protection against the weather, as it was worn in the Victorian era. (Sangrye & Hyejeong, 2010) This mantle is meant to be decorative, and with the exception of Dianette’s display, a garment that isn’t worn for any reason other than exhibition. Maevis also wears a headpiece inspired by Blake Liveley’s 2018 MetGala outfit, which, because of the theme, was meant to imitate a halo. Finally, the greenish teal details at the hems of each layer of her dress are meant to match Lucius’s outfit, as they are best friends, and similarly fashion forward in their mentalities. Addison Historical inspirations and book references Addison’s gown contrasts all the others by being much simpler and having skirts that aren’t as wide. In terms of actual historical progression, Addison’s gown is inspired by periods further back than the rest of the cast, mostly the end of the 18th century, around the time of the French Revolution, but matching more with English fashions, which tended to be simpler (Majer, 1997). Eli cited the tv series Poldark as a starting point, which is historically inspired, but not meant to be ‘accurate’, or a recreation of what things could have been. The important thing with Addison was to convey in a look that she is lower ranked than everyone else. As such, when it came to thinking about silhouettes, a key aspect was differentiating her from the other women, and making sure that even if you don’t know much about historical fashion and it’s development, her gown looked like it could be “my favorite design from last season” as Lucius says in episode 1. Since one of the things that characterizes the others is wide skirts and many embellishments of different types, for Addison the choice was the exact opposite. Very conservative skirt size—without any need for hoop skirts, and just one or two petticoats—and few simpler embroidery bits and ribbon decorations. Special details In comparison to the brief for several characters, but particularly Maevis’s, Addison’s was more focused on capturing her vibe, the contrast with everyone else, and the fact that it had to coincide with the little information we know about Mare, and the previous art. Those key features are the warm bronze skin, dark, curly hair, and the faint resemblance to Vin. However, it also had to be subtle enough so that it wouldn’t be obvious with just looking at it, and the reveal could be preserved. So Eli, who knew from the beginning, incorporated designs that resemble the Ghostbloods symbol into her skirt, since they were both inspired by the Marewill flower. They resemble the Ghostbloods symbol more, except they don’t have the small triangle at the center that makes the symbol in the books really distinctive. The color was also inspired by the light blue of a Marewill flower, as another easter egg. One of Addison’s key Features is her unreadable expression. When one thinks about that phrase, the piece that comes to mind is probably DaVinci’s Mona Lisa. She’s the classic example of the mysterious, unreadable expression. While Eli said that wasn’t a conscious influence, the reference is absolutely there! Background art Connor Chamberlain did the excellent background art for this. As a team we initially proposed two backgrounds, a stained glass one and one from the window that’s just transparent. However, Connor went above and beyond for us, and made not only day and night backgrounds for the other window, but ones outside, as well as animated backgrounds for the snow/ash for daytime, and mist for nighttime. You can view all the art backgrounds here! The stained glass features designs of Kredik Shaw, surrounded by ashmounts, with Ati at one side, and Leras, enveloped in mist, at the other. Ati’s figure holds two spikes, which is a nod to Hemalurgy, the magic system that’s related to Ruin. Episode 3 commission: 'Race to the Bottom' The composition of this piece was initially going to be very different. The characters’ faces were clearer, and even still, Diego wanted to give more importance to the scenery, and the integration of all the elements. Characters and wardrobe The character designs are principally based on the designs of the wonderful Elisa (@elisgardor) for both characters, with more improvisation for Maevis to add different elements that will be more iconic for a scene like the one from a comic, like the "Allomantic symbols" at the hem of her dress or the coins around Dier. For Maevis’s wardrobe Diego wanted to get close to the shifts of the XIXth and XXth centuries, which are flared out in certain areas, something that would be more evident in these scenes under the water. However, it was decided with Matt and Alyx that they’d do something different, and that it would stay the same type of lightweight fabric. He tried to use colors that in principle wouldn’t be too loud, and would complement the background and other elements. For the pattern of the symbols on her dress, Diego based himself mostly in the symbol for copper (left), which he adapted a bit and simplified so it would work as a band of symbols that interlocked with each other with some lines. (right) Thanks to the color of the dress, and the general color scheme, this element doesn’t stand out too much. Her sleeves have a transparency effect, to mimic chiffon or light silks that let light through, which is why we can see some of her arm. The type of fabric, combined with the water give similar effects to the rest of her dress. For Dier, Diego followed Eli’s fantastic design, but in his own style, making some variations to the lighting, like the gem at his cravat, and generate that diluted and blurred effect so it mixes well with the lake background, going from the violet to that dim blue. Behind his figure, you can see he’s left his coat, and has dived in with only his waistcoat. Composition and structure For the composition of this page, Diego wanted it to be something original, not simply vignettes superimposed on each other, or a narrative with a classic structure. Because of that, he used the unifying elements with the water and where the characters were, so that everything would mesh together. This is why the bottom vignette has a water effect, moving, with ‘waves’ that react to the elements around it, like the addition of Maevis’s shadow in a section of the frame, or using the bubbles for the composition as more than just bubbles. Diego wanted to be able to tell the story that he’d been given with the possibility of mixing the characters without having to separate them, which is why he decided to use the water as an element to unite them, to have Dier’s face in the top left, and Maevis at the bottom of the lake. The allomantic lines also give visual aid, as well as the light from the moon. In the top vignette, there’s a focus on the left, because of the characters and the use of darker colors. The viewer’s eyes follow the light from where Dier is diving in, to Maevis’s back at the bottom, and finally to the bottom vignette where the lines and the shape of the characters have an upwards motion to generate, as if it were a full comic, the need to turn the page and keep reading. Color The use of color helps in moving the viewer’s eyes and create contrast. Since everything is so blue in the lake, one of Diego’s principal objectives was to help people not be bored by just the bottom of the lake without any other interesting elements. The coins have a much more brilliant orange to have them stand out, as does the lighting on Dier’s face or Maevis’s hands. The same happens for the page in general. It is much lighter at the top, and gets darker the further it goes. In the final vignette there aren’t such clear contrasts anymore. The colors are more blended in to give that feeling of sinking and unity. The only elements that do have that are the steel lines and the light of the moon, which is symbolic of their only hope. Scadrian context-headcanon When Diego started to illustrate scenes and characters from the cosmere, mainly Mistborn, he always imagined how it would be to illustrate steel lines, and he has always liked to represent them with a halo, which isn’t accurate to book descriptions, but it looks good on ‘camera’ for our point of view. That’s why he’s illustrated it as if between the halo and the lines there were tension, and more light. Another factor he tends to relate to when Mistings and Mistborn burns a metal—though it’s only something for tin specifically—is that their face and body gets more illuminated, since they’re literally burning metals. He wanted that to bee seen from the outside, so the colors in those sections are more brilliant and intense, and it shows in Dier’s eyes as he burns steel. Conclusion With this article, the cast of Secrets in Stained Glass wanted to give a special shout out and thank you to all the wonderful people who helped this show come to life through their amazing art. The character portraits achieved their own unique balance of historical inspiration and fantasy, while being consistent with the books, the background art added marvelously to the atmosphere of every scene, and the additional art for episode 3 truly heightened the turning point in the series. References Ancient Color | Creating Purple. (n.d.). https://exhibitions.kelsey.lsa.umich.edu/ancient-color/purple.php Artist Shop. (2022, February 25). Liturgical metallic jacquard fabric with flowers (IERO 7) - Artist Shop | Emmanouil. Artist Shop | Emmanouil. https://www.artist-shop.gr/en/product/liturgical-metallic-jacquard-fabric-with-flowers-iero-7/?v=50725d49d336 Edwardian – 1900-1917 – Truly Victorian. (n.d.). https://trulyvictorian.info/index.php/extras/timeline-of-victorian-clothing/edwardian-1900-1917/ Elisgardor. (2023). Addison Tenebriene [Digital]. Tenerife, Spain. https://www.instagram.com/p/CvDFdVDKtW2 Elisgardor. (2023b). Jenna Tekiel [Digital]. Tenerife, Spain. https://www.instagram.com/p/Ct360VEq_cQ Elisgardor. (2023c). Lucius Lekal [Digital]. Tenerife, Spain. https://www.instagram.com/p/CtxAwearOtS/ Lace: A Sumptuous History | SFO Museum. (n.d.). https://www.sfomuseum.org/exhibitions/lace-sumptuous-history#:~:text=Lace%2C%20a%20decorative%20openwork%20web,the%20plaiting%20of%20many%20threads LACMA. (1785). Extant 1785 suit [Fashion]. MediaKron, the BostonCollege. https://mediakron.bc.edu/fashiondecor/extant-suit-1785 López, D. (2023). Race to the bottom [Digital]. Spain. https://www.instagram.com/p/CvFFdSYMbHt Lyon, H. (2022). Cover for Mistborn: Secret History. Maja, [Coture Mayah]. (n.d.). Set of lace for Robe a la Francaise, 2016-2017.http://www.couturemayah.info/eng%20francaiselace.html Majer, M. (1997). [Review of The Art of Dress: Fashion in England and France 1750 to 1820, by A. Ribeiro]. Studies in the Decorative Arts, 4(2), 116–120. http://www.jstor.org/stable/40662587 Man’s Tailcoat | LACMA Collections. (n.d.). https://collections.lacma.org/node/174972 Nicole Rudolph. (2021, November 14). Why is Mens Fashion Boring? Not Beau Brummell : Next Historically Accurate Cosplay! [Video]. YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MKKiMNnD3iM Prince Adam. (n.d.). Pinterest. https://www.pinterest.com/bluenimbus1988/prince adam/ Royal Naval uniform: pattern 1795-1812 | Royal Museums Greenwich. (n.d.). https://www.rmg.co.uk/collections/objects/rmgc-object-71241 Sanderson, B. (2006). Mistborn: The Final Empire. Macmillan. Sanderson, B. (2007). The Well of Ascension: Book Two of Mistborn. Macmillan. Sangrye, L., & Hyejeong, K. (2010). A Study on the Design and Composition of Victorian Women’s Mantle. Journal of Fashion Business, 14(6). Searls-Punter, N. (2023). Goldwork Materials Explained. London Embroidery School | Embroidery Classes & Materials. https://londonembroideryschool.com/2022/04/29/goldwork-materials-explain Textiles, S. O. S. (2022). Goldwork Embroidery: A Beginner’s Guide. School of Stitched Textiles. https://www.sofst.org/goldwork-embroidery-a-beginners-guide/
  11. It's time for another Secrets in Stained Glass story! This is an Eliane and Dier story, set before the main series. We hope you enjoy! You can see all Secrets in Stained Glass content in our tag, and our last bit of main content will be an over three hour long video of some of the cast discussing Secrets in Stained Glass on Sunday, September 3rd, and on September 9th, we will have a Q&A stream! For a PDF version of this story, click here! Stitching Up By Verónica P.H. & FeatherWriter 1007 FE - One Year Before the Elariel Fire It was past midnight, but Eliane couldn’t sleep. Her brother had been sent out on a mission, and ever since she could remember, Eliane hadn’t gone to sleep without him getting home safe and sound. They weren’t particularly close, as far as sibling relationships went, but she couldn’t really imagine life without him around. And, if she was being perfectly honest, she dreaded what her father would do if Dier got himself killed. Eliane stood up from her bed, setting her book on the night table with a ribbon as a bookmark showing where she’d left off. Dier normally didn’t take this long on a mission. Where was he? Was he even going to come back at all? She tried not to think like that, to take a deep breath and calm herself, going over to the window and cracking it open a tiny bit, letting the cold night air and some of the swirling mists come in. Though she was only in her nightgown, she didn’t mind the cold. It helped her focus. Eliane kept breathing slowly, and walked towards the other side of the room, when she heard a hard thud of someone landing against the wall followed by the rattle of unsteady hands against the window. She hurried to unlatch it, opening it wide enough to admit a haggard Dier, messy strands of his hair plastered against his face by a sheen of sweat. He looked absolutely terrible. The dark fabric of his shirt was soaked with blood in three patches, around what were clearly arrow wounds in his upper chest and right arm. He’d snapped off the shafts of the arrows, though the heads were still in there, which was smart. He’d have probably bled out if he’d tried to take them out without anyone to clean and stitch the wounds back together. This was the worst she’d seen him in quite a bit. “Dier, what happened? Come, sit here,” she said, motioning to the edge of her bed, which she’d covered with a towel so he wouldn’t get the sheets all bloody, and pulling out her medical bag from next to the night table, where she’d put it earlier, as was her ritual whenever Dier went out on a mission. With an unsteady hand, he scattered a handful of coins across her floor, using his steel like a crutch to limp his way into the room to her bed. “What does it look like?” he said, stifling a groan with every step. “Our dearest cousin seemed to think this break in was supposed to be completely unguarded, but I end up squaring off against half a dozen hazekillers when I get there! ‘A perfectly simple job, cousin.’ I barely got out of there alive, damn him.” His mocking approximation of Straff’s voice wasn’t a terribly convincing impression. He continued with a pathetic whine, shaking his head. “Lord Ruler, Eliane, do you have anything for the pain? I… I thought I was going to pass out before I even made it back to the keep. These damn things hurt like the depths of the Pits.” “Well, I am glad you made it.” She uncorked the small bottle of alcohol so she could clean and get a good look at his wounds. “If you hadn’t, there’s nothing I could have done, but since you did… it’s not too hard to deal with, but it’s going to hurt, so please try to not make a lot of noise. We don’t exactly need Father or Straff to wake up. They can wait until tomorrow.” Dier held his hand out, a silent plea for the bottle of alcohol, making a little whine for some to help dull the pain. “Not this one, this is too bad to really drink, but I think I still have some to give.” She finished cleaning the outside of one of the wounds, and rinsed the handkerchief she’d been using in a bowl of water set on her night table, before rummaging through her kit to pull out the little bottle and hand it to Dier. It was one of those that some people liked to collect, and she’d repurposed for this, since it was a lot more convenient, and she could refill without it being too suspicious. He took it gratefully, kicking it back with a hissed breath. “Straff… He’s going to kill me if he finds out I didn’t even get the records he sent me for. Should have stayed with the hazekillers, if I was being strategic about it. They’d have made it quicker.” At her nudging, he lowered his good hand from the wound in his arm to let her start to treat it. He looked away from her as she carefully started to prepare the wound around the arrow for as clean of a removal as possible. She did her best to steady him with a hand against his shoulder, then set her nerves and pulled the snapped-off shaft free with a firm motion. Dier bit off another pained cry, curling forward on instinct to try to get away as she quickly pressed clean cloth to the open wound. She directed him to try to hold pressure on it, turning to take up her implements to start to dress it. As she was moving on to the next task, Eliane registered what Dier had actually been saying, underneath that resigned, miserable tone. “Why are you even saying that, you can’t just…” Eliane stopped herself, took a couple of deep breaths and stayed silent for a moment while she applied a salve around the first of the arrow wounds to help counteract infection. “I know they push you, that your experience with Father and Straff is somewhat different than mine, and you hate that, but please, don’t leave me here.” The plea in her voice seemed to catch him off-guard, shaking him out of some of that fatalistic stupor. “El, I wasn’t…” He grimaced, wincing as her ministrations hit a sensitive spot. “Look, it’s not like I’m out there trying to get myself killed. I couldn’t have—I mean there wasn’t anything I could have done! I was lucky to make it out with just three of these damn things in me. Not that they’re going to care about that. No, just another task Dier didn’t manage to do right, even though it might as well have been impossible. I can’t imagine anyone, even you, would be terribly heartbroken if I just didn’t come back one night. Sure, House Venture would lament the loss of their valuable Coinshot of course, but no one would actually miss me.” “I never said I thought you’re trying to get yourself killed, I’ve seen enough of the aftermath of these assignments to know they aren’t simple get in and out quickly missions. Why Straff decides to go for such complex targets instead of protecting the house, I don’t know.” She tied off the knot on the thread she’d used to stitch the first wound closed, and cut it, and turned her attention to the second arrow wound. “Look, we may have had our ups and downs, not always getting along the best, but as much as I love Charisse and Elend, their experience is different. You’re still my brother and I would miss you. Who else am I supposed to talk to who knows what it feels like to have your emotions tugged at so hard you don’t know what’s real anymore?” “C-can we not talk about him right now?” Dier begged, clearly trying to summon up his nerve for the next extraction. “It’s just… Vasha doesn’t get it. He tries to say things about h-how I could be more than this, if I wanted, that I’m not living up to my potential or whatever. Like I should think about how fun it could be to make something of myself and prove Dad and Straff wrong. But it… It wouldn’t be enough. Even if I did try, they’d just find something else to get onto me about instead. If I woke up tomorrow and was magically as good at Allomancy as Mom was and as well-behaved as boring, stuck-up Jenna Tekiel and I’d still get screamed at for not becoming perfect sooner.” There was something raw about Dier when he got like this, with his proud, defiant confidence stripped away, a side of himself he never showed the rest of the world. A side Eliane only managed to glimpse in moments like this, when he needed help. She could see how much the expectations were weighing on him, and in some corner of herself she was glad that she wasn’t the only one who felt caged by what Renholm wanted. By the tug of wanting to avoid a confrontation, the zinc, but the need of being her own person, make her own decisions. “You… you probably don’t think I know what that’s like, since I’m not an Allomancer like you, but I do. And I’m here for you when you feel like this. We should be able to support each other. Lord Ruler knows, Dad certainly won’t, and Straff even less so.” Dier went quiet for a few minutes, though whether to stew in his own thoughts or to not distract her while she prepared to remove the second arrow, it was hard to say. He grit his teeth around another awful groan as she slid this one out too, slumping heavily in the aftermath once it was free. As though she’d pulled the last of his strength from him with it. “You’re lucky,” he rasped as she started to apply the salve, “that it didn’t get you too. Allomancy. In this family, it’s a curse.” Eliane started her stitches as she spoke, the motions having become muscle memory after so many years of practice. “I’m tempted to agree, except for the fact that Father seems to be as disappointed in me for not having Allomancy as he is with you for ‘not using it to its full potential’.” Dier winced again as one of her stitches pulled at the wound, staring into his empty bottle forlornly. “You really should keep something stronger around than spirits, Ellie. A splash of alcohol isn’t nearly enough to endure something like this. Are you… nearly done, at least?” “It’s not exactly easy to just fill it with something stronger without someone else noticing. And don’t call me Ellie, or I won’t be as careful,” she said, giving him a stern look. “Fine, oh magnanimous Lady Eliane Venture,” he said, sticking his tongue out at her. She shook her head, and pulled out the final arrow without warning him. She was still careful so that it wouldn't injure him more, but if her brother was being stubborn and annoying, then she was going to pay him back. He barely managed to choke off the yell that threatened to rise when she did, turning it into an entirely undignified whimper through an awful grimace instead. “Okay, okay,” he said, when he’d managed to unclench his teeth once more. “I might… have deserved that one. That’s it though, right? No more? Please?” A little smile tugged on her lips. Even if she genuinely wasn’t a big fan of the nickname, the mutual teasing was one of those moments where she felt the two of them were closer than had been the norm. “Yes, that’s the last one. I still have to close it though.” Dier closed his eyes, nodding in a bit of a daze. Now that the danger had passed, it was clear that between his blood loss and coming down off the adrenaline of his fight had taken its toll. His breathing was deliberate as she pulled her needle through again and again, steady and slow as he tried to stay still to get it over with quicker. “Sorry about… the mess,” he mumbled after a few minutes of silence between them. “Though I guess it’s not the first time you’ve had me stumbling in here to bleed all over your bed at this point.” “I’d rather have this than the other options. And I don’t mind. It’s not too hard to clean up, since I was prepared.” He cracked an eye and glanced down, perhaps noticing for the first time how she’d covered the bed before his arrival. “Right,” he said, sullen. “Suppose it’s not exactly a vote of confidence that you were ready and waiting for me to fail miserably and stumble in here like this, is it?” “That doesn’t mean I don’t have confidence in you, it’s just for my own sanity. It’s what I can control in this whole situation.” “El… How often do you have things like this ready, just in case?” “It’s not as often as you may think, if I’m reading that tone right. But I do keep track of the missions, I do my absolute best to find out what they are without Dad and Straff finding out. And experience has given me a meter for how possibly dangerous an assignment may be,” she explained, without taking her attention off the bandaging process, so it would have enough tension, but leave enough space for Dier to move relatively comfortably. He gingerly tested the binding, wincing as even the slightest bit of motion jostled the wound. “You really should be careful about that sort of thing. Can’t imagine Straff would be terribly pleased if he caught you snooping about. And you know how good his hearing is. Just… I’m not worth you getting caught doing something like that, really.” “Thank you for the concern, seriously. I am well aware of both the consequences and Straff’s hearing. I’ve figured out how to do it. It’s not like our cousin even thinks I’m capable of doing something like that. And the risk that I do run, it’s worth it in my mind.” She started putting everything away, now that she was done. “Anyway, you’re free to go, but please try to be careful while they heal. I wouldn’t want the stitches to rip out.” With a bit of help from both her and his steel, he shakily found his feet. “No promises.” He managed a little laugh at the look she shot him for that. “Fine, fine. I'm probably going to pass out as soon as I make it back to my room. I won't get up to any trouble, okay? I'm too perforated to misbehave, anyway.” “Rest is a good thing. Do you want me to help you get there?” He shook his head, leaning with his good arm against the doorframe. “I’ll be fine, the hard part’s over. But you know, if you hear any mysterious thumps of a body hitting something hard… maybe I wouldn’t mind if you came to check it out just in case?” “I will.” And then she closed the door behind him and then settled in for what was hopefully a good night's sleep. 1009 FE - One Year After the Elariel Fire This time, Eliane wasn’t awake and waiting when Dier nearly crashed through her window. A strong rattling woke her up—something that wasn’t hard after the fire, because she hadn’t been able to sleep very well ever since. She looked around, wondering where the sound was coming as she came to her senses, and quickly realized it was the window. She hurried to open the latch, figuring out from the shadow outside it was Dier, and let him in. It had been over a year at least since the last time he’d come for healing, and even other than that, their relationship had turned sour. But Eliane still kept track of when he was sent out on missions and this was certainly not one of those nights. He stumbled in, cradling his right arm as it hung oddly from his shoulder. He’d clearly been on the wrong side of some kind of beating tonight, with a split lip and blood from his nose having made a grisly mess of his face being the most notable of the injuries, but she was sure there were more. He climbed through the window with a pained grimace, cursing at himself under his breath. “Dier? Why? How did this happen?” She rushed to get out her medical kit from her closet, and brought some towels in from the bathroom so he could sit. “Here. Now, can you please explain what’s going on? Who hurt you like this? Is there any risk of internal bleeding?” Though she hadn’t gotten along with him lately, that didn’t prevent her instincts from kicking in to see what she could to do help. “Why would it matter who did it?” he growled, temper as short as it ever was these days. “Just fix it. And get me something for this… pain, damn it.” She sighed, but she wasn’t in the mood for arguing with her brother too much, seeing as she’d been woken up in the middle of the night. “What can you tell me? I need to know so I can actually fix the injuries properly, and not miss anything.” “Got caught in a scrap much too close at hand, managed to take down two, but the third caught my wrist when I went to Push away, threw me back down by the arm. Dead now too, but not before he got a few good hits in, which is obvious, I’d think. That's enough detail for you, Ellie, or do I need to make a whole bedtime story out of it?” Eliane schooled her reaction, biting her lip and throwing on a robe before saying “It’s enough, are there any other areas that hurt more than a normal bruise, other than the obvious?” She avoided meeting Dier’s eyes, looking for the small bottle of liquor she kept for pain management. She’d optimistically taken Dier’s advice a over year ago to find something a bit stronger, and then it had gone unused for that entire time. Under normal circumstances, she’d be glad because it meant he wasn’t getting hurt, but she’d seen enough evidence to tell her that wasn’t true, and that he was just avoiding her until now. Well, he’d better appreciate the effort she’d made, because he didn’t really deserve it with his attitude lately. He snatched it without so much as a thank you, kicking the whole thing back. “Why don’t you start with whatever you can see and then if anything else happens to come to mind, I’ll tell you then. Can you do that much at least?” “Internal bleeding is serious, you know that! There wouldn’t be too much I could do about that here and quickly, but it should be the first priority. I’d appreciate it if I could know for sure. Otherwise I could just start poking, look for a reaction, and none of us wants that to happen.” “I don’t know!” Dier yelled, then winced, cringing down as he glanced at the door, realizing the last thing he wanted was for anyone else to overhear. He repeated himself more softly: “I don’t know. Just... Just do what you can. It’ll be better than nothing. If I die, I die, and then everyone in this damn house can just be glad to be rid of me, right?” “Alright, it’s going to hurt, but that doesn’t mean I won’t do what I can.” She wasn’t going to try to dissuade Dier from the thoughts of the family being glad if he died, she knew how pointless that would be already, and their relationship was in a very different place from the last time he’d brought it up anyway. As she started to clean away some of the blood on his face, trying to get a sense of what she was working with, Dier settled into a sullen mostly silence, glaring at a spot beside her like acknowledging who was assisting him was a step too far for his liking. His ever-foul temper these days made him disinclined to speak it seemed, aside from cursing at her whenever she tried to address a tender spot. “Look, I know you’re not going to talk about tonight, so I won’t even try, but please answer this one question Dier. Why? Why do you antagonize Father? I know the general reasons, those are the same they’ve always been, but why now, when things are worse than ever before? Shouldn’t the losses we experienced a year ago bring us closer together as a family, not drive us apart?” She didn’t cover up the anguish, the solitude she’d felt since the fire. Eliane needed to know. Because, if whatever he answered gave her nothing else, at least she could use the information to figure out a path forward. A way to protect herself from her father’s anger, and help Elend as much as she could. Dier’s expression twisted, and despite the softness in her words, he seemed to take them as an accusation. “I’m not the one who’s driving us apart! I’m not the one wielding zinc like a bludgeon whenever he’s so much as slightly inconvenienced! What, you think I should just give him what he wants? Duck my head and say, ‘Yes, Father, of course, Father,’ like a good little well-trained Venture? Cower and cringe whenever he starts working himself up again? I’m sure that’s what you’d do, but that’s what’s always made us different, Ellie. I’m wise enough to know that doing what he asks won’t stop him from finding something else to take out on me, and I refuse to give him the satisfaction of seeing me bend. Why don’t you go ask him why he antagonizes me? Why don’t you tell dear old dad that he ought to be better behaved because we’re family, huh?” Eliane recoiled, even if she tried not to. She hadn’t been expecting that response, though looking back on it she should have. She barely even thought before speaking, lashing out verbally in a way she couldn’t remember responding to anyone in her life. “I’m a little well trained Venture? I know Father doesn’t care how he affects other people with his zinc, of course I know. What do you know about how I have to deal with it? You’ve been so busy thinking of ways to antagonize him that you haven’t even stopped to think about the side effects of doing that, and how you’ve made things worse for everybody by extension, not only yourself. And you know he won’t care if someone tells him to stop. He’ll only double down, so it’s useless anyway.” Dier’s lip curled, no vulnerability or gratitude in him now. “Well if he’s not going to change, I don’t see why I should either. Let him be the one to break first this time. I can hold out as long as he can. Just watch me.” Seeming to realize it was unwise to antagonize her while she was still treating him, he dropped his voice to a mumble and looked away. “And maybe it’s high time you got your share of the misery in this house anyway.” Her tone of voice dropped to match his whisper, but lost none of its solemnity. “Didn’t. I. Just. Tell you about the misery I’ve had to deal with? Just because Father isn’t screaming at me all the time, doesn’t mean I don’t get my fair share of it.” Eliane took a deep breath, placed her hands on his dislocated shoulder, and gave him a quick signal before moving the shoulder back to its proper place. If Dier didn’t breathe properly to help control the sudden pain, then it wasn’t her fault, she’d given the warning. Dier let out a strangled yell as the sudden resetting jolted him, eyes watering from the pain. He breathed shakily in the aftermath, just staring at the floor with a hard glower. “If you’re expecting me to feel bad for you and how hard your life has been, Ellie, I wouldn’t hold your breath.” He looked up at her slowly. “Are we done here?” “I doubt you will even try to understand. If you wanted to tell me about how things have been since the fire, how you’ve been dealing without Vasha, I’ll be around. I lost people too, but I’m not going to hold my breath on you ever wanting to be forthcoming or empathetic about your feelings. Now, let me look at the rest of those injuries. They don’t look too complicated, they’re more superficial, but I’d like to double check, so you’re going to have to stand me somewhat longer.” Dier hissed a breath in through his teeth at the mention of Vasha, like Eliane had unexpectedly pressed upon a wound. And maybe she had. A wound of a different sort. “Oh, is that it? You think you've got me all figured out, do you? You think I’m out here crying at night over Vasha the way you cry about your nice little friend Charisse? You know why Vasha’s dead, Eliane? Because he listened to his damn family. Because he tried for them. And you know what? They never appreciated him either. All he ever got for all his efforts to prove them wrong was killed. Because he showed up that night when they told him to. Elariel didn't deserve his effort and Venture sure as hell doesn’t deserve mine! Vasha. How dare you even try that with me. I don't need Vasha. I don't need any of them. What I need is for you to shut up about things you know nothing about and finish so that I can leave.” Eliane sighed, of course he wasn’t going to open up and he was just going to deny everything. “You still remember Mom before she died. I never had that. Charisse isn’t just a friend, Dier. She was practically my mother, of course I’d be mourning her. And I may not know Vasha personally, but I know enough about you to know he’s been a mentor figure to you. It’s not wrong to mourn, it's a normal part of the human experience.” Like she suspected, his bruises weren’t that bad individually, and just were very extensive because of the beating he’d taken. “That’s enough. We’re done here.” He yanked himself out of her reach, fixing her with such a look of naked disdain as he cradled his injured arm and stood. “You know, he always tries to play Mom against me when I’m not giving him what he wants too. You really are our father’s daughter, aren't you, Ellie?” “I’m not done yet. And, you aren’t listening. I’m not saying you have to be Mom, that you need to somehow do everything a Mistborn can, or even be what she was as a person. What I’m saying is that you had her for support, to teach you, to raise you, at least for a while. You had an actual mother. Charisse was that for me. I think I don’t have to ask you to imagine how a loss like that affects someone, because you’ve lived it. I understand. You don’t have to hide it.” Even though she was saying all of these things, she didn’t think Dier would care, but she wanted to at least leave the option, and the offer of understanding on the table. Dier's mouth thinned to a hard line, his breathing tense as he stared her down. “What do you want from me, Eliane?” He asked with a reluctance so thick, one could think she’d dragged the question from him by torture. “For you to be my brother again, not just a half stranger in the same house.” She handed him a small glass container with a balm that would help both the pain and the visibility of the bruises and gave him one last look, surveying her work. “We’re technically done, but I don’t know what to do about your arm healing properly. It’s not like I can give you a sling, because that would be too suspicious, but it needs to be relatively immobilized as much as you can make it until it heals properly. So the best I can think of is having you wear one in private, when there’s no risk of Straff or Father finding you. So you can go if you want.” He took it, tucking the salve away so that he could keep the arm she’d re-set supported. He hesitated, caught in the door between her offer of kindness and his pride. For a moment, it looked like the former might stand a chance, as his mouth worked around some kind of response. But before anything resembling gratitude could escape, his expression hardened again, and he turned away without another word, Pushing the hardware of her door to close it behind him as he walked out. Eliane went about the task of organizing her room, as she reflected on what had just happened. Dier’s barbs had hurt her more than she let on, and having had a little time to sit on it, the anger and indignation she’d initially felt had faded, leaving flakes of resentment suspended in the resignation of knowing that she’d tried her best but her brother was too caught up in his own pain to realize that she was also hurting. But what had really stayed in her mind was the accusation of being just like Renholm. That hadn’t been her intention in bringing Mom up, but what if she’d internalized the way Father approached it, the ways he’d tried to make her be the perfect young noble lady, so much that Dier’s accusation was true, even if she’d actively worked against it? Had she actually hurt Dier’s feelings, or was he just retaliating without thinking much like he tended to do? Had she definitively broken the sliver of the relationship that was left, leaving her all alone with nobody to trust, with Elend being too young? She took off her robe and got into bed, curling up underneath the covers and putting her arms around her knees. In the end, Eliane just turned the light off and tried to reclaim that elusive sleep. (Portrait Sketch by Elisgardor)
  12. 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 tag! Spoilers 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. Betrayal. 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)
  13. Congratulations, and I'm so happy this community has helped you in your research. I know that first hand from half of my extended essay for IB being on Stormlight, and how useful Shardcast episodes were to the early stages, even before I joined the team.
  14. He's still around the forums and server, just as Retired Staff
  15. He retired from the team a couple of months ago.
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