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I didn't catch Monpress, true, but while he's a scoundrel and a black mark on the name of wizards everywhere, he's not evil. Greedy and irresponsible, maybe, and certainly someone who needs to be brought to justice, but he's nothing on an Enslaver.

– Miranda Lyonette, The Spirit Rebellion

Eli Monpress is one of the main protagonists of the Legend of Eli Monpress series. He is described as a handsome man, with dark hair and a boyish smile. He is cocky and arrogant, his seemingly only goal in life to achieve a bounty of one million Council gold standards.

Biography

Early Life

Do you think you can handle power like this alone? Without discipline? If you don't come back this instant you'll be throwing away everything that we've worked for!

– Etmon Banage to Eli Monpress, The Spirit Rebellion

Born Eliton Banage, Eli was taken away from Zarin and his mother, Sara Banage, at an early age by his father, Etmon Banage. Raised in his father's tower and taught the ways of wizardry, Eli ran away from his father after an argument. Etmon decided to let Eli sleep outside for the night, convinced he would return home. Instead, the Shepherdess found him.

Life with the Shepherdess

We will always be together, darling. I will always love you, and you will always love me. Now, tell me you love me.

– The Shepherdess to Eli Monpress, Spirit's End

The Shepherdess found Eli asleep in the woods and, after marking him as her favorite star, took him to live with her on the other side of the Veil. He lived with the Shepherdess for four years, peaceful and happy in the adoration of the Shepherdess and the spirits. It was during this time that Eli perfected his skills at pick-pocketing, snatching little gifts for the Shepherdess as they strolled through crowds on the other side of the Veil.

On the eve of his fourteenth birthday, Eli followed the Shepherdess without her permission and watched her kill an old Spiritualist and all his bonded spirits for questioning the rules she placed on every spirit at the beginning. After witnessing the Shepherdess's cruelty, Eli began to plan his escape.

Two months shy of his fifteenth birthday, Eli put his plan into action. He struck a deal with the Shepherdess that if he could earn a bounty of one million gold without her help, he would no longer be her favorite. If he failed, he would return to the Shepherdess and stay with her forever. She agreed, and Eli was free.

Apprenticeship

First rule of thievery: always hide where it costs money to find you.

– Giuseppe Monpress, The Spirit Rebellion

Only a few months after leaving the Shepherdess, Eli found his way to Giuseppe Monpress, the greatest thief in the world, retired to the Sleeping Mountains. He badgered Giuseppe into taking him on as an apprentice, his first training assignment to bring Giuseppe a cask of whiskey. At some point in his training, Eli took the surname Monpress.

The Spirit Thief

His bounty at 20,000 Council gold standards, Eli made the decision to kidnap the king of Mellinor, a country known for its anti-wizard sentiment. The first phase in his plan was to get caught stealing a horse from the king's stables - a phase that went off perfectly. Once the king discovered that they had Eli Monpress in custody, he had the thief locked in their best cell. It didn't last long.

Eli charmed the door into no longer being a door and walked out of the jail. Once he had rendezvoused with his partner and bodyguard, Josef Lichten, the two disguised themselves as guards. They approached the king in the throne room, surrounded by his advisers, and convinced him they were taking him to somewhere safe. Eli and Josef bundled the king out through a secret passage and, with the help of a few adoring trees, out of the castle.

The Spirit Rebellion

The Spirit Eater

The Spirit War

Spirit's End

First Rule of Thievery