It Takes a Village...

(( OOC )) This post is not only pretty long, it’s kinda mature. Not fortuitous by any measure of the word, but it deals with some pretty bleak stuff between Siobhan and Eli, and more specifically, a scheme to determine the future of Spite.

This was written collaboratively and impromptu between myself and the kindly Eglantine-Fox, so the way thing are spaced might be weird because I ripped them directly from the Skype chat and edited it down to size.

Also, I’m not sure how everyone feels about love stories, but this is one screwdriver of a love story. Again, far from mushy, but if you’re like Flesh-Stick the character, you might wanna give this one a miss.


Siobhan’s sitting with Eli, in his rooms, brushing and braiding her hair into some semblance of tidiness. Her mind’s elsewhere, though, and her expression is distracted, even troubled. Eli is in his own head too. Staring at the ceiling with that sort of wistful vacancy that comes with a job well performed. It might also be the laudanum, he got into a rough the other day and it really turned him on his side. He never used to touch the stuff. Never used to.

&quotEli…&quot Siobhan’s voice is very quiet. &quotCan we… talk about something?&quot

&quotHm. Hm? Yeah, what’s wrong?&quot He pulls himself up on to a shoulder and looks at her, paying attention now. The light is dim enough that he doesn’t need to wear his glasses.

&quotIs there something you’re not telling me?&quot She bites her lip. &quot/He/ seemed convinced you’re… not exactly going to be here long…&quot

Eli looks over to the beautiful woman who he’s fallen in love with. &quotHe also seems convinced he’s from the future.&quot

&quotThere is that, yes.&quot Siobhan laughs shakily. &quotI don’t know, he just seemed so sure. It caught in my head.&quot

Eli is quiet for a moment. &quotWhat wouldn’t you do for The Irish People, Siobhan?&quot

&quotI… don’t know. I expect I wouldn’t know until something too much was asked of me, whatever it happened to be.&quot She’s honest, at least, in her uncertainty.

&quotYou know that my name isn’t Eli, right? I was born on the surface, in a place where you have to say please everytime you want to take a ****.&quot His eyes are pointed and intense. Dogmatic. &quotI have an opportunity to put a hole in that culture, of just letting things be the way they are, with one person crouching atop the bones of another.&quot

&quotI’ve been groomed for this for fifteen years. I’m not turning my back on my destiny now.&quot

&quotGroomed for… what?&quot Her gaze searches his face anxiously.

&quotI’m Eli Lowe the Second. There was one before me.&quot He shakes his head. &quotAnd there were Seventy Five after me. The Seventy Seven. Poets, philosophers, killers, thieves, eunuchs, slaves, slave masters. All of us.&quot

&quotThey left me behind. Because that’s what I’m supposed to do. I’m supposed to step up and claim responsibility for everything and wear the crown of thorns upon my brow.&quot Eli sighs. &quotI cannot wait. This is what I want for myself, for you, for all of us. But it is my cross to bear.&quot Eli sounds different. Something is gravely wrong.

&quotWhat is it?&quot There’s a hint of fear in her voice. &quotJust tell me, please.&quot

&quotI am going to die. Soon. By the hand of an assassin. In public.&quot Eli states simply. &quotI don’t knew where. I don’t know when. It will happen and I will not resist it. And then my duty will be complete.&quot

&quot/No./&quot Her eyes flash with anger. &quotYou thought New Newgate would be your ending too, didn’t you? But it wasn’t. This needn’t be either.&quot

&quotNewgate would’ve been the worst way to go out. Shrinking away out of the public eye? No. That would have ruined everything.&quot Eli shakes his head. &quotThis one will be much more effective. Because I hired the assassin ten years ago.&quot

&quotIt’s Eli Lowe the First.&quot He confirms.

She blanches. &quotAnd… how long were you planning for me to not know? To dream of other futures?&quot Tears collect in her eyes, but she wipes them away in a swift, angry gesture. &quotHow long was I supposed to be ignorant of your dramatic suicide plot?&quot

&quotForever.&quot Tears are welling in his eyes but his face is blank. &quotIdeally, you would never have learned.&quot

&quotSo that’s it, then? You lost everything once, and you were going to let someone rip my heart open the same way?&quot The tears running down her face are too many to wipe away now. &quotI find this man, I’m killing him. Then we’ll see what becomes of your stupid plan.&quot

&quotFind him how? He’s a better tracker than I could have ever been and I taught these streets to you.&quot Eli shakes his head. &quotYou will never come close. If you make a production of this, if anyone else finds out what is going to happen to me, thirty years of effort will be undone. Flowerdene will fall. The death will have been for nothing.&quot He places a hand on his chest. His heart is palpitating. &quotI will have been for nothing.&quot

&quotYou’re not already?&quot She doesn’t mean it, that much is clear from the way she recoils from her own words, but she’s still furious. &quotThat you’d decide this was the only way… were the other ways /just too hard/?&quot

&quotDon’t speak to me of difficulty.&quot He says blankly. &quotI’ve made myself a saint among criminals. A political rallying figure. When I am publicly assassinated by an agent of the Masters, all of London will cry out.&quot

&quotAnd what if they don’t? What if they sigh, roll over, and forget?&quot she snaps. &quotThen it /will/ have been for nothing, and you won’t even be there to keep looking after anyone.&quot

&quotThen The Masters were right and these people don’t deserve to be saved.&quot Eli retorts bluntly. &quotI will give them the blade, but they must grip it with their own hands and fight with their own will. They must want to be free!&quot

A kind of grim misery has settled over her now. &quotAnd we’re talking the kind of death no-one comes back from, aren’t we?&quot She sounds almost resigned.

&quotIt’s not really death if you come back.&quot Eli says bitterly.

That may be so, but Siobhan looks practically dead herself, now, her face ashen, all the sparkle gone from her eyes. Her lips are pale and bloodless. &quotWhat happened to all that talk of choices?&quot Her voice sounds dull, numbed. &quotIf you were groomed for this, didn’t someone else choose it, plan it? Where’s your ideals of freedom in that?&quot

&quotThe road is paved with sacrifice. You don’t think there is a part of me that wants to run off with you and forget about all this bullshit?&quot Eli has cooled down, but his eyes are still somewhere else. &quotThis was always my choice and I am not going to give it up. Ideals? This was never ideals. This is real and yet somehow better than most people’s ‘ideals’&quot

&quotFunny.&quot There’s a terrible, grating, mirthless laugh. &quotThat you could call this better than anything.&quot

&quotBetter than anything that has ever been put into practice.&quot Eli confirms. &quotIt’s between me and Ireland. Which one dies? Because one will die.&quot

She looks as though she wants to slap him. &quotIreland’s survived this long, you think your one life could change that?&quot

&quotYes. I. Do.&quot Eli takes a step away from her and gazes out the window at two urchins practicing Systema.

&quotWell, then.&quot Her voice is barely more than a whisper. &quotMight be that you’ll never look on your own child’s face.&quot

Eli doesn’t move a muscle. Ezekiel might not be able to hear him, he stands so still. &quotHe deserves a better future than I could ever provide.&quot Siobhan can’t see it, but his eyes are two red puffs of salt and tears.

&quotWhat future’s that? The one where he’s called ‘the Irish whore’s bastard babe’?&quot She spits the words disgustedly.

&quotTHE ONE WHERE HE IS NOT SUBJECT TO SUCH WHIMS.&quot Eli turns to her, livid. He spits when he speaks and Emblem starts banging on the front door from the noise. &quotThis isn’t about any of us! This is about the fucking future of this country! Why can’t you see that?&quot

She lifts her chin, shakily defiant. &quotPerhaps because I just found out you were keeping your death-to-be a secret? Perhaps because as soon as you start looking past people to the group they ought to be, you’ve stopped caring about them as any more than pieces of the whole thing?&quot

&quotThis isn’t about people becoming different people! This is about giving them what they need to cut the noise that’s been put around their neck!&quot Eli has to catch his breath and when he speaks again, it’s at normal volume in a voice torn from yelling. &quotHave you forgotten what happened to your family so easily?&quot
&quotNo!&quot She snaps. &quotNor’ve I forgotten what happened to everyone who’s tried for more. You won’t be the first, or the last, to die thinking he’ll make himself the one last symbol it’ll take.&quot

&quotAnd what? That means we stop trying?! We give up? Let them win?&quot

No, it means we fight a better way. There’s new ways at things, if only a person looks for them hard enough.&quot The life’s come back into her, and the intensity. &quotNo more martyrs. People pray to those, maybe, or call on their names, but they don’t stop suffering. And there’s not a living hand reached out to help. You’ve helped people here, is that pointless? Do they mean nothing beyond how they might fight if you die? They’re important as they are, surviving, and so are you.&quot Her voice cracks a bit there.

&quotSiobhan, The Masters will not stop until someone makes them stop and I cannot do that. The people can do that, but I need to be more than a person.&quot Eli stands tall, refusing to break down like he so clearly wants to. Others will carry on in my stead. They’ll do as I did, maybe even better, and with the spirit of outcry at their side.&quot

&quotThe dead can only ask to be avenged. The living can ask to be fought beside, can share their strength.&quot A shaky sigh, before her voice is steady enough to continue. &quotIf you’ve the need to be more than a person, be what inspires people from among them. Not what lays the burden down on them of trying to replace you.&quot

&quotYou don’t know what you’re talking about. I want to bow to your logic, but, it’s wrong.&quot Eli closes his eyes. &quotEven if I didn’t want to do this, Eli won’t stop. He’s out there.&quot

&quotPlease,&quot she whispers. &quotDon’t just give up.&quot Ruthless practicality now. &quotIf you don’t resist, people will say you wanted it, might even suspect you planned it. Won’t that damage their outrage, if they think you wanted to die anyway?&quot

&quotEli won’t give me a chance to resist, he’s a savage.&quot Eli shudders. &quotThere is an end coming. Can’t you feel it? He isn’t going to stop one way or another. He could be watching us right now, we’d never know.&quot

&quotOne way or another. There’s two ways already.&quot A shaky laugh. &quotMight be that you live, and he dies. And then there you are to make speeches about the attempt on your life. Will you… at least consider that? That it might not end the way you planned?&quot

&quotI’ll fight him, sure. If he gives me the chance.&quot Eli lays down on the bed, staring back at the ceiling in an almost picture-perfect regression to how he was at the beginning of the conversation. &quotHe will kill me. He’s like a ghost. Nothing will stop him.&quot

&quotNothing is certain.&quot Siobhan is quiet again, and joins him on the bed, reaching out to wrap her arms around him. &quotExcept this. I love you. Whatever comes, I love you.&quot

&quotI’m going to be a father.&quot

&quotMost likely.&quot She smiles weakly.

&quotFeckin’ 'ell.&quot He says quietly.

&quotI wish I could’ve told you in a happier talk.&quot

&quotWhat’s important is you told me.&quot He looks at his wife and slips the ring on her finger. &quotWhatever happens, we live on.&quot

Siobhan blinks, looking down at the ring, startled. &quotI suppose you’ve never been one to care if it’s allowed officially,&quot she laughs.

&quotNo one is calling you a whore. Nor my son a bastard. No one without a hole in their head.&quot He kisses her on the forehead.

She hugs him tightly, and tucks her head beneath his chin. The things she’s heard today near-broke her, but this? This is something she can take comfort in still. The rest is the future, and that’s not set in stone. Not yet.

Eli Lowe - Record-Holder for the worst proposal of all time

So lucky Siobhan doesn’t mind. XD

Bravo. There’s not a dry eye in the house.

Thank you! I think we’re both pretty proud of this one.

Beautifully written! And congrats to Eli and Siobhan on both the marriage and the bundle of joy to be!

Also, I am exceedingly grateful that Siobhan was able to at least start down the road of convincing Eli he doesn’t need to martyr himself. Fleshy was convinced it was hopeless and had resigned himself to Eli dying. If he ever finds out about this, his opinion of Siobhan will rise even further than it already has, perhaps even breaking through the cavern roof.

If you need any help fighting the assassin, he will gladly offer his services.

Also, on a mostly unrelated note, I bought a couple of new fish for my aquarium yesterday and I named one of them Eli :P

I am way more flattered than I probably should be! <3

I liked this very much – that’s at the both of you two. I’m a sucker for tragic – no shocker. But I’m hoping Eli makes it because I’m also a sucker for a love-story with a happy ending. (and my character adores children)

So congrats! And condolences!

More importantly, will this turn into some sort of public RP at one point or another? The way Elias was speaking about the public and the rebellion against the Masters made me wonder whether we may expect something more… open.

I hope so. In fact, I may have to withdraw my character’s participation in the sorrow spider hunt, because I’d rather have him here for this. He’d want to be there for his beloved Eli when the man fights for his life.

I feel thoroughly punched in my heart. Bravo to you both, this is great writing!

This will be a public RP, with spots open for both sides of the fighting. However, I would want it to be the sort of thing that carries real consequence, almost an echo of what I said in the “RP help” thread.

It’s coming soon. Be prepared.

I suppose I shall proceed to debate whether to enter that in the future and risk Euphemia’s well-being, or ignore it and skip on a good RP.


Who will play Elias Lowe the first? Are you doing it or are you going to have someone else play the antagonist?

I’m definitely willing to risk Fleshy. His own life doesn’t really matter much to him anyway. He’s a bit of a death-seeker himself and would be glad to die for a good cause.

Well done!

Eli One is sort of an interesting character born from a blend of old prototype characters, but he is going to want to hire people to work with him. Characters driven by money and blood will likely be given plenty of incentive to stack up against Flowerdene.

When this goes down, it goes down. And there won’t be a happy ending.

I might want to join in depending on the curcumstabces. Dirae has pretty definite destiny but doesn’t mean they can’t suffer some harm.

I dislike risking Maria, but I think I will. She will be on the side of Lowe II, since, even if she loves money, she is rather loyal. Or I will her have return from royal bethlehem and skip on a good RP… risk Maria vs save her and, if things end badly, make her very sad…[li]

No chance for a happy ending at all?