We were sitting in a line, glaring with stony faces out at the gathering Durman's. A united front, no weakness, no differentials. Kathite soldiers lined the walls, knowing full well that if we found nothing today, their class would be next under suspicion. We had not announced it, but everyone knew.
The door closed and I realised that must mean all the Durman families had entered and were accounted for. A list of those who had decided not to arrive would be given to the council once we had finished, and they would be found and forced to open their minds.
"Members of the Durman class!" Councillor Lamira spoke, loud and clear across the great hall. "You have been called here to quiet some of the disturbing rumours and occurances we have come across lately. If each of you agree to have your minds checked, it will be quick and you will be free to go. Those who resist will make it harder for themselves. We shall check you, we shall learn if you have taken part in any of these affronts. Do not be concerned, any memories which we have no use for will not be pried in to. We do not wish to know any personal details you may be thinking of. Just anything relating to this so called rebellion. Please make your way forward one by one to a member of the council and hold out one of your hands."
The Durman's shuffled to obey. They were not happy, anyone could see that, but it had to be done and although I felt sorry for them, I had to do my duty. My first Durman approached and held out her hand. She was scowling.
"It will not hurt." I assured her. She blinked in surprise, then scowled again and shoved her hand further forward. I lay my cool fingers lightly on hers and at once my consciousness leapt in to hers. The Resistance. I sent the thought forward in to her mind and watched as Lamira's speech replayed. Then whispers appeared, other Durman's whispering behind market stalls about rumours they had heard. There was nothing I had not heard already, just that there had been a robbery, food poisoning... of course Kashi had mentioned that only this morning... "Thank you." I said to her and released her hand. She nodded and left. The following Durman's were very much the same, they had only heard whispers. I sighed, knowing this would be a tedious day. What if none of these Durman's knew anything?
"Guards!" I opened my eyes and released the Durman I was now interrogating, snapping my head to my left, where the noise had come from. One of the council members, an arrogant and sometimes angry man named Basniv had imprisoned a Durman within a binding spell. The Durman was struggling and squealing. "This one must be taken back to the Citidel for further interrogation." Two guards stepped forward and placed their own binding spell upon the Durman before leading him off. One small victory perhaps. I turned back to the Durman i had been interrogating and told him he was free to go. He hurried off. I looked down at my desk and my notes. Names of each Durman I had listened to and reports of what they remembered. It was pitiful and unimportant. A hand appeared in front of me and I glanced up, then stopped. This girl was familiar.
Lantern like green eyes, staring from the dark. Her eyes were wide with recognition now. This was Celeste's sister.
"This will not hurt." I repeated the same thing I had said to everyone and touched her fingers with mine. She shifted slightly and I gave her a light smile to let her know everything was ok. Then I closed my eyes and drifted in to her subconsciousness.
Where to start? I should only be looking for the resistance, but I was curious about Celeste and her sister. How had they become so distant? Unwittingly I sent Celeste in to her brain. Images of her sister came to mind, of her with narrowed eyes as she flounced from a small house never to return again, her coldness when she came to the shop. Her parent's sadness that their daughter no longer showed any sign of loving them. Then earlier memories seeped through, blurry but warm. Celeste laughing, dancing around, creating magic that amazed everyone... a little sister watching lovingly and in awe as her big sister became better and better at magic.
I felt the girl move her figners as if to draw them away and tightened my hand on hers to stop her. I had done wrong and must finish my task before she went. The Resistance.
Her friend telling her what she had heard. Her meal being interrupted by a man I knew all to well, to tell her she must go to the city hall. I smiled slightly when I saw her defiance as he expected her answer. She knew little more. Rumours, like the rest. But her friend might know something...
I withdrew from her mind.
"Thank you. You may go."
"I thought you weren't supposed to look at personal things." She was defiant here too. A smile tugged the corner of my lips.
"I apologise. You must have good senses if you knew what I was seeing. I was curious about your sister."
"Why?" She really did not care that her attitude would have gotten her in to trouble with anyone but me. But then anyone else would not have pried in to her relationship with her sister.
"Your sister and I... we are expected to be married. It would please a great many people if we were." She pursed her lips, nodded her head, and turned to leave. "Thank you." I muttered after her before jotting down every note that I had learned from her about the resistance. Her friend, Sahara, was next in my queue. Perhaps she would know a little more, since she seemed so well informed.