Disclaimer: Legend of the Seeker is property of its respective owners. The only thing I can lay claim to is the insanity that is my mind.
The Brothers Rahl
Darken Rahl stared out the open window, opulent gardens shone in starlight unhindered by the lights of the People's Palace, but he paid no heed to the beauty of it lost in thought as he was. Only a few short months ago he had killed his father in this very room, large and luxurious, part of his father's own suite. He thought he should feel some lingering anger at the man or guilt at what he had done, but he felt neither. Instead he had felt strangely empty; devoid of any emotion for the act. The man had betrayed him and that was all there was to it.
Besides, what kind of fool turns his back on a man after boasting that he insured a prophecy leading to that man's death? It shouldn't have mattered that that man was his son, and, still in his teens, barely a man at that. It was a foolish mistake and one Panis Rahl would never be able to repeat, but in that last act he given him the tools, the knowledge, he would need to change his fate laid out by prophecy.
Darken's first instinct had been to send his troops to Brennidon where this Seeker, this half brother, was to be born. He may not have known the identity of the mother or child, but if all the children were killed then the Seeker would surely be among them and the prophecy adverted.
He chuckled softly to himself at the thought of what he had planned as he turned from the window and crossed the room peering into the cradle set there. He was surprised to find curious eyes peering back up at him. Darken hadn't even realized the boy was awake, he hadn't cried or even made a noise. But then again, Richard never cried, not like other children Darken had seen, and for that he was grateful. It annoyed him greatly.
It was fortunate for his brother that he hadn't gone with his first instinct. He still sent his soldiers to Brennidon, but this time Darken accompanied them himself. There was no time wasted on bargaining with the town elders as he went to work tearing the village apart in his search. Then he saw her. It was no coincidence that the daughter of his father's oldest friend, that fool of a wizard, was heavily pregnant and in the same village the Seeker was prophesied to be born. No, his father's plan was painfully clear the moment he caught sight of her.
He was impressed that she managed to kill six of his men before she was restrained, but gave it no real mind; a mother bear protecting her young. Any fragment of respect he may have gained for her was lost as she cried and begged pathetically for her child as she was dragged out of Brennidon and kept at it straight through until they were forced to stop the caravan as she went into labour halfway back to the People's Palace. His brother was born deep in a thick wood bordering the territories surrounded by a protective ring of D'Haran soldiers. He slit her throat himself moments later, his newborn brother cradled in one arm as he lashed out with an ornate curved blade with the other, glad to be free of her incessant whining.
Darken reached down and picked up his brother, cradling him in his arm much as he had done that first day. In response Richard let out a sleepy yawn and snuggled into the warmth of his body, asleep in moments. He studied the features of his brother's tiny face intently.
This was the child that was prophesied to kill him should he grow to manhood. His own flesh and blood, his own brother. But prophecies were tricky things. Only on rare occasions were they ever straightforward, most open to interpretation that could be as varied as the people reading it. Many more were even self fulfilling and never would have come to pass had the one spoken of never heard it. No, in Darken's experience prophecies were best taken as a warning, not doctrine.
The Seeker was a figure known throughout the Midlands and beyond. A hero; a symbol of hope. He would take that hope from them.
Richard Rahl, destined to become the Seeker of Truth, wielder of the Sword of Truth, would instead become a weapon. His weapon. The Sword of D'Hara. Let them weep as their saviour slaughters them by the hundreds in the name of their enemy. A people without hope are easily conquered.
A door creaking pulled Darken from his thoughts and he made a note in his mind to have a word with the staff. No door in his palace, let alone his brother's chambers, should make such a sound. The sound that followed was much worse to his ears. Giggling.
The annoying racket stopped abruptly as the woman, her body still practically wrapped around the guard next to her, caught sight of him holding their charge in her arms. As suddenly as the giggling had stopped the two figures cried out in pain as a pair of Mord Sith pressed their agiels into the small of their backs and dropped them to the polished marble floor.
“The reason for multiple nannies,” Darken started, his voice calm and almost pleasant as he stared down at them. “Was so my brother would always be cared for, not so that they could slip away with his guards for a rendezvous.”
“Please Lord Rahl,” the nanny pleaded pathetically from the floor as tears streamed down her face already from the barest touch of an agiel. “The baby was fed and resting peacefully. We saw no harm in leaving him alone for a short time! I beg you, have mercy!”
Darken ignored her and moved to sit in a chair set by the fireplace. With a sharp nod to the Mord Sith he ordered, “Begin,” in a dismissive, almost bored tone, even as his eyes watched with rapt attention. As the cries of agony filled the night Darken smiled. Richard never once stirred.