|“||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
|“||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
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
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.
|“||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.