Important Author's Note: Part one of a Rahl-centric drabble/oneshot series. It begins as Rahl/OC, but there are plans for it to be an eventual Rahl/Cara. However, Lord Rahl has some lessons to learn before we get there.

This is AU after season two episode "Extinction." Here, at the end of the episode, Darken Rahl escapes before Zedd was able to heal him.

This fanwork is intended as a tribute to the series; no profit is being made, and no infringement of rights is intended. All familiar characters, names, and places belong to the appropriate owners. The original characters and plot belong to this author. This disclaimer applies to this and all chapters following.

Poisoned

Flashes of thought staggered through his mind as he himself staggered through the woods. He would die here, for the fourth and final time. How many beings can claim such? Truly, he was magnificent even in death.

It never hurt any less. He could feel the Keeper pumping in his veins… Ah, the illusions the mind conjures when faced with mortality.

One foot in front of the other, trying not to grimace at his ill-fitting boots. Why had he not demanded more comfortable clothing from the Mord'Sith before his departure? Or even a uniform from the soldiers… There had been a reason. A good one. He never did anything without a good reason. But he could not remember now.

He slipped as he pushed his way between the trees, and released a growling hiss as his world narrowed to a sharp white point. He had fallen against a tree, pressing into his poisoned wound. Black spots danced at the edge of his vision.

It was not as painful as holding an Agiel, and so all the more humiliating when he could not make himself rise.

He would die here. For the fourth and final time.

So this would be the final end of the great and terrible Darken Rahl, born beneath a staggering prophecy of treacherous deeds. A hoarse laugh, a vague whimper, and he would be no more. A plaything of the Keeper.

How utterly pathetic.

As his eyes slid shut, he thought of his brother.