A/n: it's been a while, but recently I've been inspired to write a new story about Estel. This one won't be a compilation of one-shots like my usual stories, but hopefully a complete novel.
Upd: As I finally removed the original Virga story (which embarrassed me with its existence for quite some time), I can rename this story the way it's meant to be named. So, if the change of name confused anyone, I apologize and elaborate: this fanfiction was formerly known as "Estel" and it is a retelling of the first game in Baldur's Gate series with some plot twists thrown in here and there. The story mainly focuses on character development and the main plot, but also contains Kivan romance.
Disclamer: you know the drill. Baldur's Gate belongs to Bioware. Kivan and Deheriana mod belongs to Domi Sotto. Will probably adapt some dialogue from BG1 NPC Project.
An elven girl balanced at the top of a creaky ladder with the easy grace of elvenkind. Nimble fingers traced the row of dusty tomes, the elf muttered to herself thoughtfully before stopping at the empty book-sized spot. With a triumphant "ah-ha!" she pulled up the heavy tome and slid it in place. One would think a librarian's job to be easy, just making sure that reading rooms were quiet and the books were checked in and out properly. But one never seemed to take into account the fact that said books were big and heavy in their leather bindings, the bookcases high and long, and attending to them trained both strength and agility.
The great library was the elf's entire world. Ancient books told her stories of faraway lands, bookcases and ladders were the forests and mountains she climbed with the famous heroes of old… And yet often she longed for the dark waters of the Sea of Swords and green forests she could see beyond the mists when she climbed the keep's walls. She would sit there for hours, looking out into the stormy sea. The wind brought air from the lands she'd never see, and the elf would wish she could fly away.
Other times the stories her foster father told of the world beyond the walls of Candlekeep terrified her and made her glad for the safety of the library fortress. Bandits, monsters, villains and fretful gods could not hurt her in the books. The library was safe, familiar, she knew every turn and could find any book… and still, sometimes, she longed for the life beyond the walls, for her kin and the family that could've been hers if not for a badly-gone adventure that took her mother's life long time ago.
Her foster father, Gorion, was once an adventurer of some renown, himself. In his youth he traveled with her mother, he said, but beyond that the mage would not tell much on the topic.
A polite cough interrupted her daydreaming and the girl nimbly climbed down. When she was about her height above the ground, she jumped. The old monk shook his head disapprovingly and the elf grinned. She remembered him when he wasn't so grumpy and slow… and had more hair, for that matter. The first time she saw him, brother Marren was a bumbling acolyte whose ears tended to turn brilliant scarlet at any given opportunity. These days, it seemed, he was constantly in bad mood.
It was a sad thing. Humans were such brief creatures, often expiring long before an elf would even reach adulthood. Except for her father, of course, and the Keeper of the Tomes. The latter hadn't changed since the day Gorion brought her to the fortress: ever deceptively frail and slow, dry and dusty like the tomes that were his life, with those icy blue eyes boring into her ever suspiciously.
"Your father has returned," Marren announced to her and the girl's face lit up with joy. The monk harrumphed, disgruntled to act as a messenger. "He asked to see you before your lessons. Run along now, child."
She squealed in delight and ran for the exit, light on her feet. It was a rare sight in these solemn halls where only a chosen few were allowed to wander, and even for them the entry fee was high. There were no children in the keep, only monks in their gray robes who dedicated their lives to accumulate knowledge from all over the Realms. But many of them now could not imagine Candlekeep without the fleet-footed elven girl running errands, for she was here longer than them. And she knew the keep perhaps better than all of them. Her way now led out of the great library and up the many stairs to the tower where Gorion lived.
"Father!" she called out bursting into his chambers.
The old mage brought a finger to his lips, silencing her. That was when she noticed a small bundle that he held gingerly to his chest. The bundle squirmed and mumbled something incoherent. The elf looked up at her father with question, bursting from curiosity, and the old mage smiled into his beard. He held out the bundle for her, revealing a small baby sleeping in his arms. "Estel," he said quietly, careful not to disturb the baby. "Meet Imoen."
Estel frowned, still looking at the baby. It was human, most likely, but there was just something that didn't add up to her previous observations of the species. "She has pink hair," the elf blurted out.
"That she does," Gorion answered, clearly amused.
"Is she... going to stay here?" the girl looked up into her father's eyes, suddenly jealous. The Keeper of the Tomes never held back with expressing just how displeased he was with a child running amok in his library. And now her father just brought another? And she was human, like him... even if she had pink hair.
"No. I was thinking of asking Winthrop to take care of her. The poor man recently lost his wife and child in childbirth, I hear. What do you think?" his adopted daughter's reproach didn't escape the mage's eyes.
"I... yes, that would be nice," Estel said, trying to sound confident. It wasn't often that adults would ask for her opinion. Winthrop was the innkeeper for the local inn. Candlekeep was closed to visitors who couldn't prove their worth, but it required servants and food, it required guards and people to look after the animals. And such people had families. Of course, they weren't living in the keep itself, but in the small village beyond its walls, and Estel was cooped up in the fortress aside from short and rare errands into the village.
"I spoke to the captain of the guard on my way in," the mage said matter-of-factly. "I think it's time you learned some swordplay."
"Really?" the elf's blue eyes opened wide in disbelieving delight. She would surely become a swordsman to rival the heroes of her books by next week.
"Really. And perhaps you could visit this little creature in the village, after she grows up a bit," Gorion continued. "She'll need a friend."
Estel nodded enthusiastically, still enthralled by the visions of glorious adventures.