Gathering his bearings, Alan made sure he was alone in the room. He was positive someone had used some Skill on him just now trying to read his memories or dreams. The Guardhouse no longer felt safe. He went immediately to the door only to find it locked. Frowning, he banged his fist against the solid oak from the inside, supposedly there was a keeper standing guard outside the door.
"Hello?" he shouted.
No response. Alan tried hitting the door a few more times, but after waiting a minute gave up and sat back down on the bed. He considered his situation once more.
His refusal to give more details about the attack suddenly seemed less paranoid. People were dead, his family was dead... someone had tried to read his dream or force him to remember the events of the attack. He had to believe that. That had been no ordinary dream. Better to be paranoid and wrong than the other way around. The question was who and why?
Time passed and the light coming in through the windows brightened as sounds of people going about their day grew louder. Alan was lying down in the bed thinking and going over his story in his mind, when a knock came.
"Come in!" he said, sitting up abruptly.
The door opened slowly as a small woman with short brown hair stepped through. She was thin, wore glasses and had an unassuming presence, which Alan suspected was on purpose. "Alan?" she asked gently?
"Hello," Alan said, unsure where this was going. Nervousness clutched at him as he suspected she might be the inquisitor.
"Hi Alan, I'm Gene," she said softly. "I'm the resident psychiatrist for the guards here in Stonewall. I've heard about your situation and come to talk to you if you're feeling up to it?"
Alan considered her for a moment. She posed the last bit like a question, and Alan got the feeling that if he said no she would actually go away. He thought about it for a second. He was still wary of his situation, especially after last night. He had been on the verge of telling them everything, but no longer. Still, he had no reason to pass up a chance to possibly get more information. Also, it wasn't like he had anything better to do at the moment.
"Sure that's fine, what can I help you with?" he asked politely.
She looked taken aback for a quick second, but the look passed so quickly Alan might have imagined it. "It's not so much what you can help me with" she replied settling down into a chair across the room, "as what I can do for you. I'm here to listen and talk through anything you want, as well as get some more information so we might contact any relatives of yours."
She settled down into the chair looking compassionately at Alan. "How are you doing?"
Alan tried to look uncertain while he considered his words. "I'm doing alright as can be I suppose" he ventured, "I'm just worried about what happened and what's going to happen to me now. Anything you can tell about what's going on would be nice."
"Of course," she replied "I'll tell you what I can, but I'm afraid its likely not much more than you already know. The Road was closed off a while back when a cohort from the army passed through. There was a serious bandit threat gathering in several villages and each had a cohort sent to it for protection. The road closing was inconvenient, but there's a lesser road people could use for detours and no one was too worried at the time. It lasted longer than people had imagined but that's actually the last we know until you showed up. The full Sanctioning should end soon at which point we will send out a unit of guards to investigate your claims."
She paused but continued on. "We are really sorry for what you are going through, but anything more you can tell us will really help. Also I want to get your family information so we can start getting in touch with any relatives you have."
"Sure..." he trailed off. Alan knew he had an uncle somewhere, but he had only met the man once and his family had not been close. "I'm Alan Trevin, I do have an uncle somewhere but he was not close with my family so I can't help too much there. As for what I can remember of the attack" he paused, "not much to be honest. I had run away from home, I'm not proud of that... It was over a stupid argument with my mom and I was being petty. The last conversation we had was..." he stopped unable to go on, breathed deeply and continued as if he hadn't spoken of the argument. "When I got back the town was empty. There were signs of struggle everywhere."
From there he described the experience as truthfully as possible. He talked about the blood on the ground, caring for the horses, even taking the armor and items he had acquired. He figured as much truth as possible could only help, and it wasn't a hard stretch of the imagination to think about where a boy his age had gotten such items, claiming them as his own would be foolish.
Throughout his story, Gene peppered in questions and asked for clarifications on several subjects most of which he answered as honestly as possible. He left the exact timing of the attack unclear, and to be honest the days after the attack were a bit blurred together for him. From what he could gather it had only been about 5 days since the attack. It seemed like more.
He knew the fact that it had been Goblins was important information. He did want to help, but he had just arrived and was not ready to trust anyone with that piece of knowledge just yet. Perhaps if his dreams had been a normal nightmare, but whatever had happened to his dreams last night had put him on edge.
Throughout their conversation Gene made attempts to steer it towards Alan's state of wellbeing several times, but Alan just kept assuring her he was doing as well as can be expected.
Eventually, Gene got up to leave. Saying goodbye she turned to Alan at the door. "We will look for your uncle and see if he can come here to pick you up. We have records of most families in Willowbrook, so we should be able to work with the information you gave us. Again, thank you so much Alan, you're being very brave and you're in good hands." She smiled closing the door, Alan heard a faint locking sound in the process.
Throughout the rest of the day several other visitors to his room showed up. Food came, a doctor stopped by to check his health, a small skinny man who was a clerk came down to take his official statements along with his fingerprints and a drop of blood. He even got a tour of the guardhouse from a lanky guard who it turned out was apprenticing there for the summer.
His guide had seemed less than interested in the tour, but still it gave Alan a chance to stretch his legs. He saw Blake, the guard who had found him, in the distance at one point and tried for an uncertain wave. The burly man started to pull up a hand and then seemed to think better of it spitting on the ground behind him.
Thus the day passed and Alan ended up back in his room cell for the night.
The next morning started out much the same, Alan sitting in his room thinking unable to open the door. Food came at some point and the day continued on when suddenly a knock came at the door. "Come in" Alan yelled towards the closed door. He had been waiting for hours and he welcomed any development at this point.
The door opened bringing in Gene once more, along with a tall man he did not recognize. Gene settled herself down in a chair opposite of Alan, while the man settled for standing quietly in the back of the room.
Gene started with a sigh. "Hello, Alan. I'm going to be blunt here, we know you are lying or at the very least not giving us the whole truth about the fight with your mom and where you were during the attack. We don't know your reasons and don't want to pry too much, but for our peace of mind are going to ask you some very straightforward questions. Is that ok?"
"Sure" Alan's heart was racing but didn't see as he had a choice. He had to assume either Gene or the tall man had some Talent to read him, so he could not lie outright. His mind raced, this was not how he had hoped things would go. This was why he had wanted to avoid the guards initially. No way but forward.
"Go ahead," he said, nodding his head in the process.
"Ok we'll start easy" she smiled sitting down in a chair across from him, "What is your name?"
"Where are you from?"
"How old are you?"
Gene paused at this and raised an eyebrow, but otherwise did not make a comment. He was only thirteen, but had decided to try out a inconsequential lie. Could she tell when he lied?
She continued. "Did you see the attack on your village?"
"No. Well, not well and mostly the aftermath." He hadn't seen it for the most part, not truly. He had heard it. The sounds haunted him every night.
"Did you find any other survivors?"
"Did you find any bodies?"
"No." An odd question perhaps, but nothing he hadn't already told them.
"We're you involved in the attack in any way?" Gene's questions were coming faster.
"Did you know of the attack before it happened?"
"Are you withholding any information that is relevant to the investigation of the attack?"
The questions had been coming faster and faster and this one caught him off guard. Alan's mind raced. It was a good question, one that he couldn't figure out how to answer honestly and not give himself away. He had already paused longer than normal, he decided to pretend to be pondering the question.
"I guess that depends on what you mean by relevant?" He tried to sound confused as if he was just trying to help.
Gene's expression did not change. "Where were you during the attack?"
Alan's heart sank, he couldn't get out of this one, but he could stick to his story as much as possible.
"Like I said before, I ran away from home, I was hiding out in an old hideout I used to play in growing up. I really don't want to say more than that please." Technically he had run away when he slipped out at night through his window, they could draw there own conclusions from that.
"Were you there when it happened?" Gene continued relentlessly.
"Where?" Alan replied.
"Were you in town when the attack occurred?" Gene rephrased showing no signs of stopping.
"I had run away from home."
"Did you see who attacked your town?"
"I saw traces of violence. When I went into the village I noticed blood stains and signs-"
"For the Seven's sake!" A loud voice interrupted from the tall man standing in the corner of the room. "This is ridiculous he obviously isn't saying everything he knows. We need to just take him to the Inquisitors in the capital. Let them scrape it from his mind and have done with it!"
Gene turned to look at the man slowly. "David we can talk of this later, you are distracting me right now." She said sternly. "He is answering truthfully so far and these things take time, please if you can't control yourself, leave now."
The man, apparently named David, opened his mouth as if to respond then seemed to decide against it. He glared at Alan as he turned to leave the room.
"We will be going back to the main office shortly," he said matter of factly, "get him ready for travel, we leave tomorrow." He closed the door shut leaving the room silent.
Gene started at the door for a second before slumping down in her chair. She turned back to Alan.
"It really would be better if you cooperate," she said defeatedly. "We're on the same side."
With that she asked a few more questions and eventually got up and left the room, leaving Alan to his thoughts. As the door closed Alan heard a faint locking sound in the process.