I don't know if I have free time this weekend. I am posting this up since I have a bit of free time today.
***July 8th, 965 A.F.***
***George Boneforge (Geordi Laforge)***
“Repeat it one more time.”
“Can’t we take a rest already? I have been doing this all day.”
The two young dwarves were in the back lot of Prancing Bear’s stable. The wooden barn was crudely constructed, providing meager amounts of sheltering for the animals staying inside. It provides the customers of the Prancing Bear a place to put their animals and wagons. Ajax was cleaning up after his pair of oxen, laying down fresh hay and refilling the trough with water. Geordi, on the other hand, was sitting in the driver seat of the wagon, waiting for Ajax to complete his tasks. Since he was blind, he couldn’t offer any assistance.
“We will repeat until you can recite everything by heart without error. You need to answer people with no doubt in your answers.”
Geordi clears his throat before repeating everything once again as if it was a mantra.
“My name is Geordi Laforge. My parents passed away when I was a baby. I was adopted by your family at a young age. You are my cousin, Ajax McGuire. Your mother is Aunt Catherine. Your father is Uncle Duncan. We are from Belhern Village. We were sent by Uncle Duncan to sell Belhern uh. Whiskeys in cooperation with.. Uh. from.. uh...”
Geordi stutters as he forgets the details of his background, fabricated by Ajax.
“In cooperation with Mayor Tom McCloud from the town Caedona. Again from the top.”
“Please cousin Ajax. Let’s go for lunch first.”
A smirk appeared on Ajax’s face, amused by the fact that Geordi said “cousin Ajax” instead of just “Ajax”. It showed that Geordi is learning, slowly but surely. He gave the floor one last sweep before he stopped and wiped the sweat off of his forehead.
“Alright, since I am done here as well, let’s get something to eat. But if you don’t memorize everything after lunch, then you will not get any dinner.”
“Awesome! What should we have for lunch?”
Geordi did not show a speck of sadness on his face. Although deep down inside, he is still grieving the loss of his family, it has been replaced mostly by the curiosity of the outside world. Being held and taken care for inside his house for all his life, he was eager to be guided by Ajax to experience the city.
“Want to walk down to the street to see what’s good to eat?”
“Sounds good to me!”
“HEY WATCH...out… never mind.”
Geordi jumped off the wagon with a powerful leap, landing on the ground with a roll. After experiencing his first fall escaping from his house, Geordi became hooked on to the adrenaline rush that follows after a free fall. Ever since then, he started to climb on top of things to jump off on purpose. After a few trial and error, he learned how to control his landing by rolling to lessen the impact. With each jump he makes, he becomes bolder and more confident.
“I really should have named him Matt Murdock.”
Ajax muttered under his breath.
“Why? Is that name special? Can I use that name instead?”
“Nothing special. Forget what I just said. Your name is still Geordi.”
Ajax placed the broom in the corner and cast a spell to clean his body. He walked towards Geordi, who was still lying on the floor after the jump and offered his hand to help him up. Geordi gladly took his hand and sprung back on his feet. The two friends walked towards the street.
“Say, cousin Ajax, I know I am supposed just to follow what you say without asking anything, but can you tell me why I have to recite that again and again?”
“I made you say it again and again so that you can answer everything naturally if someone asks.”
Ajax stopped in front of a stall selling griffin skewers. He reached into his pocket and took out a few coins to pay for two skewers. After handing one of the skewers to Geordie, Ajax took a big bite out of the piping hot skewer and started walking again before continuing his speech.
“Even though the chances are small, we still need to be careful of the people that killed your family. We can’t let them find you. That’s why I fabricated a new identity for you. And with that new identity, a new background. By some chance, if we meet them, we can’t let them know that you are lying.”
“They can tell that I am lying? How do they do that?”
“Oh, there are lots of ways to tell if someone is lying if you have enough experience. Small changes in the facial expression that conflict with the content, stuttering, glancing to the left. These are some of the signs that someone is lying. That’s why I made you repeat everything. At the very least you won’t stutter. It gives credibility to your words.”
“Oooo… I see.”
The two returned to silence while they enjoy the skewers that Ajax bought. After a while, Geordi spoke out again.
“How do you know all of these? You have a lot of experience in lying to others?”
Geordi immediately started to panic after realizing what he implicated and awkwardly trying to explain himself.
“I am not that I am saying I don’t trust you. I just want to … ah”
“No, I understand what you mean. It’s good that you are trying to protect yourself. I can’t be protecting you forever.”
Ajax finished his skewers with one last bite and threw it the remaining stick into a pile of trash. Not completely satisfied, they continued to prowl the street for more food stalls.
“If you practice hard enough, there is probably no one in this world that can lie to you.”
After hearing Ajax’s proclamation, Geordi’s eyes opened as wide as they could, glistening with joy. Due to the pupilless eyes, his expression was both cute and haunting at the same time.
“How do I practice? What do I need to do?”
“It’s simple, really. Since your hearing is great, just focus and listen to their heartbeat. Their pulse rate will change if they are lying. That or they are extremely nervous. To tell the difference between lying or nervousness, you will need a lot of practice. You want to guide the conversation so that your target is in a relaxed state. The moment their heart rate changes, you know that something is wrong. They may not be lying, but it should act as a warning bell to you.”
“Cousin Ajax, you are so smart.”
Geordi faces Ajax in complete admiration. Immediately trying to put Ajax’s theory to practice, Geordi focuses and listens to Ajax’s heartbeat with a serious face.
“Are you trying to practice it on me right now?”
“Why can’t you put the same amount of effort reciting your background.”
“But that’s boring!”
“Grrr. That’s it! No more food for you until you can recite it correctly.”
“That’s not fair! You said I can do that after lunch”