They should have known peace, known freedom, once the Question had been Answered. And they had… at first. Now they didn’t. Now they knew they had done nothing more than exchange one prison for another. And the only difference between the two was the first was cold and dark and so very empty and this one was not.
This one was warm and loud and so full it was nearly crowded. But somehow there was still room. Somehow, despite feeling like if even one of them shifted too much in either direction they’d run out of air to breathe, there was not the desperate need to escape, to be free, as there had been with where they’d been Before.
Now they knew that what they had been promised had been a lie. Now they knew that the Grey One was not the enemy they had been convinced he was. Now they knew that he had had no hand in their demise, their torture, their capture, their enslavement. He had been as much a victim as they were. But for all that they knew that, they were just as caged as he was. They were just as powerless to correct their mistakes, to fix their situation, to regain their true freedom.
But they knew from experience that what was done could be undone. Knew that even the weakest of Imènians could unravel the strongest of magicks without any knowledge of magickal theory.
It was just a matter of figuring out how to break through the walls of this prison, to escape the warmth and loudness and the crowdedness that had replaced the cold emptiness of the other place. And they would find that way, would find that Answer just as the Grey One had found the Answer to the Question they had needed to escape in the first place.
Could that be it?
It cannot be so simple.
But what if it is?
A stillness fell over them all before slowly, in a rippling wave until it had touched them all, the Lost and the Broken and the Forgotten smiled.