A short story set in this reality about Imoen in Spellhold.
A Foolish Dream
I still don’t know how long it has been since they brought me here…the days are all blended together. Weeks perhaps…months even, I really don’t know. All I know is that I’ve been here a long time. So long that I can only just remember the events that brought me here.
I remember leaving Candlekeep with Gorion, my foster father, after being attacked by assassins within the secure walls of my home. But after we left, he was cut down by a mysterious figure and I was left to wander alone; confused, scared and unsure of exactly whom to trust. Bandit attacks were happening frequently along the Sword Coast at that time and I still don’t know how I made it to Beregost alone without being attacked. But I did and there I remember meeting a young band of adventurers who were going to Athkatla. They needed a wizard and after seeing that I had training in magic, they agreed to take me with them, although we somehow became separated when we finally arrived there and I was left alone again, forced to look after myself in the middle of a city I had never been to before.
I tried to keep to the shadows and avoid any trouble, but when some street thugs attacked me, there was only one way I could defend myself against them. I was frightened and I didn’t know that using magic was illegal within the city. And that’s how I ended up in here. Spellhold, a prison for wizards, that no one ever leaves. If Gorion were still alive I know that he would try to get me out of here, but he’s dead now. And no one else out there cares about what happens to me.
There was someone else who cared about me once, my older brother who spent a few years at Candlekeep with me when I was younger. Gorion didn’t like us spending time together, he always said that my brother would be a bad influence on me because he was evil and he had been brought up by the Shadow Thieves, but sometimes I’d sneak out at night and go to see him anyway. He wasn’t so bad really, although he could be quite scary when he lost his temper or when Bhaal used to torment him. He used to go strange then, he would lock himself away and do things like talk to himself or become violent. I did love him though, even if he was scary sometimes. But he didn’t like being shut away, especially with Gorion and the other monks, and eventually he left to seek adventure. He promised me that when I was a little older he would come back and take me away with him, but I waited for years and he never did. To be honest, I’m not even sure if he’s still alive now.
I’m pulled from my thoughts of my family by a light tug on my arm. Looking down, I see that it is Dili, a young girl who can shapeshift into different people at will. She’s very young, only about eight or nine, but she’s been here longer than I have. We get on well; she’s not as strange as some of the others and it’s clear that she doesn’t belong here any more than I do. This place…is no place for a child.
“The masked mage was staring at me again, Imoen,” she whispers, looking around uneasily. “When I passed his cell. He scares me.”
I don’t blame her for feeling nervous; that mage, Irenicus, gives me the creeps too. He’s the newest of us and he just sits by the door of his cell staring as we go past him, never speaking. He really is strange and I’m glad that the Cowled Wizards keep him locked away and don’t let him roam the halls like they let the rest of us do sometimes.
“Don’t worry about him, Dili,” I tell her, kneeling down to her level. “He may be powerful, but we’re safe in here. The Cowled Wizards won’t let him hurt us.” I don’t know if this is true or not, Irenicus certainly seems to have a lot of power, but then the Cowled Wizards did manage to get him in here in the first place, so they must have their ways of dealing with powerful prisoners. True or not though, at least Dili looked a little happier.
“I hate it in here,” she tells me. “I wish that my family weren’t scared of me any more…then maybe they would come and rescue me. Do you still have any family?”
“No,” I shake my head slowly. “My mother is dead, she died when I was very young…”
“Younger than me?”
“Yes,” I nod. “I don’t even remember her. My father…well I’ve already told you how he was killed. Just before I came here.” I always tell her that Gorion was my real father, she wouldn’t understand about Bhaal. And in many ways, Gorion was my real father. At the memory of him I feel tears welling up in my eyes but I furiously push them back. “But,” I continue after a minute. “I do have a big brother out there somewhere too.”
“Is he an adventurer?” Dili asks, tilting her head to one side slightly as she looks up at me. “Will he come here and rescue us?”
“Maybe,” I smile down at her, hoping that she won’t notice that my eyes are bright with tears. “Who knows? Stranger things have happened. You can never give up hope, Dili.”
She smiles briefly at my words, slips off my knee and skips away. I think my words have given her a little comfort and that pleases me. She’s only a child, a child who has already been through so much, and she needs something to believe in. She doesn’t need to know that we will probably never get out. No one cares about us after all, that’s why we’re still here.
Sometimes I still think about my brother, wonder if he might one day find out that I’m here and come to rescue me, but I doubt that it’ll ever happen. It has been years since I last saw him, since he left Candlekeep when I was younger, and I have no idea where he is, even if he is dead or alive. And if he were alive, who would tell him that I was here? No one knows except the Cowled Wizards and they are hardly likely to go around telling people who their prisoners are. But I really wish that he would come back. I might hate him at times, hate him for hurting me and leaving me, but part of me misses him too. It’ll probably never happen, but there’s no harm in dreaming. Dreaming is all there is to do here, after all.
No, as much as I hate this place, the dark corridors and the strange people, I know that things aren’t going to change. I’m stuck here like the others are and there is no way out for any of us. And all I’ve got to keep me going are my memories and a foolish dream that one day my brother will come and get me out of here. But that’s all it is. A foolish dream.
There is no hope now. Not for me…not for any of us.
A Foolish Dream (Imoen in Spellhold)
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