Chapter

"It all started when Darken Rahl and my sister were first introduced as children..."

(any and all flashbacks will be in italics)

"Darken! Where are you boy?" Pernal called from the throne room of the palace of D'Hara.

"Here father!" Darken said as he walked in and bowed to his father, his guard and Mord-Sith kneeling behind him.

"This is Commander Mormane of the northernmost reach of D'Hara. This is my son and heir, Darken Rahl," Pernal said with a dissmisive wave.

Turning toward the young heir the Commander bowed his head and said, "A pleasure to meet you young lord. As your father said, I am Commander Joryl Mormane of the Northern forces. And this-" here he pulled a young girl from behind him- "is my daughter, Willowyn Chrystyana Atlanti Mormane."

Upon seeing the girl Darken knew, even at the relatively young age of nine winters, that the young girl would one day grow up to be one of the most beautiful women in the three lands.

"Why were they introduced then they were so old?" Zedd asked as the story interrupted for a moment.

Lionel had a small smile on his face as he thought of how best to answer. "My father was in command of the forces that typically ended up never returning to their original homes and families, which was why he insisted that any family that wished to travel with them be allowed. It earned him the loyalty of all those under his command. At that particular time, my sister and I were the only children of high ranking officers and so father thought that the two of us should travel with him to the capital of D'Hara with him when he went to give the Northern forces in person report."

"Wouldn't that have been the time to change out soldiers?"

"This report only happened every seven years, unless the current general died and a new one was required."

"Oh..."

"The girl will be your responsibility while she is here and not with her father," Pernal said as he pinned his son with a harsh glare. "She will also be joining you in your lessons."

"Yes, father. I was just on my way to the training grounds..."

"Begone, the both of you," Pernal said with a dismissive wave. Willowyn hesitated only long enough to wave to her father before following the young Rahl heir out of the throne room.

"How old are you young one?" the Mord-sith asked. (Anyone know where to find a list of the names of the Mord-sith?)

"I am five summers, Mistress. my brother is ten, but he stayed behind. The soldiers were teaching him how to track a criminal who has gotten lost in the forests surrounding father's command post."

"Where are you on your studies?" Darken asked from the front of their small group. "I don't want to be held back any more than I have to."

She looked at him with wide eyes, the dark brown appearing almost amber in a flash of sunlight from a window, before she looked down.

"My teachers have had to increase my studies three times since the new year..."

The group stopped to stare at her for a moment as she looked a the ground in interest.

"What age group do you learn with now?" Mistress asked as she prodded her charges to continue on their journey.

"I started with the other five an six year olds, but now I learn with my brother and the other ten year olds. Father just had me start learning swordplay..."

"Well, well be able to see how far you are with that, now won't we?" Darken asked, with what would one day be his infamous smirk, as they had reached the training grounds where there were small groups of soldiers practicing, with an area cleared out by on of the walls, with a commander standing, waiting for them to arrive.

Wow, this is definitely one of my longer chappies...

Thank you for your patience, my schedules going to be changing twice, potentially, between now and the new year, so updates might be a little sporadic again, but I promise to try my best.

I just started to rewatch the series, so I should be able to keep certain events fresher...more than others, anyway.