Ime, also known as Lindimi Sahelian and Sabra Niri is an Imperial Spymistress and a close confidant of Dread Empress Malicia. She’s been the main architect of the Eyes of the Empire along with Scribe and she has been advising Malicia for over forty years.
Though Catherine Foundling first meets Ime during her visit to the Tower, Ime has been helping Malicia since before the latter even became an empress. She introduces herself as Ime though this is obviously a fake name as it means “Patience” in Mthethwa.
In the early days, when Amadeus was still the Squire, she was an enemy to both Alaya and Amadeus. As a young noble she became one of Heir’s closest supporters and positioned herself with the Chancellor. She was the only one who was spared when Black rose to prominence. Afterwards, she was inserted at court under Dread Emperor Nefarious as a hidden ally for the then-concubine Alaya, and later served as the Empress’ most important informant in Ater during the civil war.
She was said to have “Old blood, the kind of lineage that would be accepted as a sitting member of the Imperial council without protest.” Her real name is unknown: Malicia thinks of her as Lindimi Sahelian whilst Catherine uses the name of Sabra Niri to purchase a foothold in her mind and enhance her fear.
Despite using Praesi magic rituals to preserve her youth, the signs of her age are starting to show. The lines on her face are deeper, and though her hair remains dark, Catherine speculates it’s because it's dyed. Her body is also losing its spryness and vitality.
Abilities and Influence
As an Imperial Spymistress and Malicia’s confidant, Ime has a substantial amount of power at her disposal. She controls a large number of Praesi spies, through the network known as the Eyes of the Empire. For example, it was Ime’s people who found a way around Augur’s abilities when the Empire was trying to cripple Procer.
She doesn’t have any personal power like magic or a Name, however she’s very skilled at espionage. She deceived a Chancellor and a panoply of Praesi nobles when she was serving as Malicia’s hidden ally.
When the Black Knight eventually broke away from the Empress, Ime and the Scribe started fighting for control of the Eyes. Ime overtook most of them closer to Praes, all the way to Whitecaps, essentially controlling the spy network in Callow and Praes both. She was unable to establish control further abroad.
Malicia is very close to her. They shared a bed several times, back when Malicia claimed the throne, though it’s unknown if they still do so. Regardless, Ime is the one who collates and reports much of the information coming to the Empress. The trust extended to her is significant: she’s allowed access to Malicia’s private quarters and is given permission to address the Empress frankly and express her opinions, even if they go against the grain. There are very few subjects where the spymistress does not have permission to speak her mind fully and openly.
At the beginning she had a fairly amicable relationship with Catherine, though this deteriorates over time. At the beginning she was poking fun of her but as Cat grew in power she became more weary, and eventually she openly admits to Malicia she’s scared of what Cat has become. Eventually she believed Malicia no longer grasps Catherine’s nature. She compared the Queen to Nefarious and said that “There’s a sickness in her, Malicia, and it has little kinship with reason.”
- It’s likely she named Malicia’s flesh puppet who was attending Callow's Ruling Council as a representative of the empress. The puppet introduced itself as “Lady Naibu”, meaning Ladu Deputy in Mtethwa.