|“||"The field of battle is my temple. The swordpoint is my priest. The dance of death is my prayer. The killing blow is my release.”||”|
|This page may contain spoilers! Do not proceed unless you wish to be spoiled.|
Elias Veturius is the second POV protagonist in the An Ember in the Ashes series by Sabaa Tahir. He is a fugitive of the Empire and the son of the Commandant. In Torch, he becomes the Soul Catcher to escape death.
Elias Veturius is the 20-year-old rebellious son of the Commandant Keris Veturia and grandson of Quin Veturius who appointed him to the heir of Gens Veturia. He is also one of the four Aspirants along Helene Aquilla, Marcus and Zak Farrar.
Elias was given up at birth by his mother, the Commandant. The Commandant left him in Tribe Saif, where Mamie Rila, Elias' soon-to-be foster-mother, finds him and takes him into her care. There he's given the name, "Ilyaas An Saif." He spends his childhood playing with tribal children and growing up as a tribal boy himself, until he receives a letter from Blackcliff Academy, marking him as a selected student. He's taken to Blackcliff against his will, where he spends the remainder of his life up until he meets Laia.
Inside a tunnel, Elias plans his desertion from Blackcliff Military Academy meanwhile a Yearling deserter, Falconius Barrius is on the loose. He tries to distract his best friend, Helene but that is when the drums beat frantically, indicating that the young deserter has been caught, therefore he goes back to Blackcliff, wondering what would she do if he happened to desert. Although the students are ordered to watch the public punishment, Elias is reluctant because he loathes violence, the very reason he wants to leave Blackcliff and tries his best not to show any emotion.
After the whipping, he decides to stay there for a while, mourning the boy. He stares at his mother before she leaves then at the poodle of blood, reminding himself not to make a blunder by getting caught while deserting. He is distraught for the rest of the day, thinking about the dead boy. Despite the guilt, he manages to act like what he is supposed to - smug, brutish, violent in the course of training. During the graduation banquet, everything goes fine until he mentions the boy.
Elias is intimidated by Marcus to the mention of Barrius in the mess hall. He keeps himself together till Marcus utters an insult but his friends stop him before he could punch the Snake in the face. Elias flees to belltower courtyard where he meets an Augur named Cain. He learns that the Augurs know his every intention and wonders why has he not been penalized for it. Elias is told to choose his destiny; to run and become more evil or to stay and experience the freedom of body and soul. Perplexed, he begs for an explanation but the Augur disappears into thin air.
The next morning, Elias and his friends get into a fight with Marcus and his cronies, avenging Helene's sexual harassment. They are dismissed by the Commandant and head to the amphitheater minutes later. While he is in the middle of weighing his desertion, all the Augurs make a debut and then declare the selection of a new Warrior Emperor. Elias is chosen to be one of the four Aspirants along Marcus, Helene and Zak. Despite being the first in order, he is the last one to take his oath. He receives Teluman's scims from grandfather Quin at his graduation party.
After attending a briefing about the Trials, Elias comes across Laia outside the Commandant's office. He feels guilty for letting Marcus abuses her, for he should have done something to stop it. Later that night, he sleeps in discomfort and wakes up in a scorching desert the next day, realizing the Trials have begun. Elias survives the first Trial but races to get Helene healed up towards the end. The next day, he bumps into badly injured Laia nearby the Commandant's house and carries her to the slave quarters to be tended. He promises to bring her a bloodroot serum which is more effective for the wound.
After the second Trial, Elias considers giving Laia the bloodroot serum but he overhears a conversation between her and Izzi about a secret way out of Blackcliff to the Moon Festival. He minds to tell them that the risk is not worth it but Helene plans to turn the girls in. He tries to protect them by bringing up her magical power of healing to blackmail her into leaving them alone. Despite Helene's outrage, he decides to follow Laia and Izzi to the Moon festival. At the festival, when he sees that the girls are actually having a good time, he cannot bring himself to ruin it for them. He watches them from a distance instead.
Elias is then dragged to the dance floor by a coquettish Tribeswoman who introduces herself as Afya Ara-Nur. He is given a beautiful coin as a gift for honouring her a fine dance - this occasion is rare and the fact that her tribe takes his side surprises him even more. After she leaves, he takes the opportunity to dance and have a good time with Laia but moments later, he senses a Martial raid coming before anybody else does, hence he warns the others and leads the girls to an alley where he reveals himself.
Elias escorts the girls to their quarters but as Laia is about to thank him for the bloodroot serum, he senses his mother coming and for that reason, he advises her to put on act so that neither of them will be punished for incriminating themselves. He spends the next few days receiving Helene's silent treatment. On one particular day, Elias is challenged by Helene to a duel - he takes this opportunity to make it up to her. However, as he is about to kiss her, he hears a scream and therefore gets up quickly to find out where it comes from, leaving whatever it is between Helene and him.
He is described as being 6 feet 4 inches (1.9 meters) tall with black hair, pale gray eyes, high cheekbones and golden brown skin.
- He was given the name Ilyaas by the tribe who raised him but Quin Veturius changed his name to Elias once he arrived at Blackcliff.
- Elias uses willadonna to broaden his pupils, and also makes his eyes appear darker, in order to look more like a Tribesman at the Moon Festival