Bedtime Story

Darken opened his eyes slowly, his fingers curling around the dagger he kept under his pillow.

Someone had slipped past the guards. His sixth sense told him they were in his room.

He laid in wait, ready to stab them in the throat.

A small form lifted the covers at the end of his bed and wiggled in, crawling all the way up the massive four-poster.

Darken let go of his dagger and heaved an annoyed sigh.

The lump under the covers stopped moving and Darken poked it, perhaps a bit harder than necessary.

A small face peeked out.

"I wake you up?"

"What are you doing out of bed, Richard?"

Richard smiled, an expression of Rahl cunning creeping into his eyes, "I am in bed."

"What," Darken bit out, restraining his temper, "are you doing out of your bed?"

The Rahl smile faded, turning instead to a pathetic downward twitching of the lips.

"Rahls do not cry," Darken said to stave off a tantrum.

He relented when Richard began to sniffle, "Did you have the dream again?"

A nod.

"You will have to go back to your room."

A sudden shift and Richard was clinging, monkey-like, to his older brother.

Darken began to pry his fingers off, thinking evil thoughts about what he would do to Richard's caretakers in the morning.

"Tell me the story again, brother. About how you saved me."

A way to calm the child. Perhaps then he could get some rest.

"It all began with the evil wizard, Zeddicus Zu'l Zorander and his plan to steal you away…"

Richard's eyes grew heavy, but he stubbornly remained awake for the end, anxious to complete their ritual at the conclusion.

"And, despite my best efforts, the wizard escaped and continues to foment rebellion, the soul stealing Confessors giving him aid."

"But we'll defeat them!" Richard piped up. This was his favorite part.

"Why?" Darken asked, his blue eyes glittering.

Eager to please and excited by having his brother all to himself, Richard answered, "Because we're Rahls."

Darken rose to take Richard back to the nursery, considering having it moved further away from his quarters to discourage Richard's increasingly numerous nightly jaunts.

"Richard," he asked, "how did you get past the guards?"

"I pretended I was you," was the answer, innocent eyes turned adoringly upwards.

Did the child have magic?