My portrayal of Orden is based on Darken Rahl saying that he had been aware of all that was happening, and Dahlia saying that once DR used Orden on Zedd and Kahlan their strongest desire would be to serve their master. –Both lines in "Unbroken"

Sleeping Dragons

Darken thought of the day his master had given him his first command.

He thought of it often.

It gave him great joy to think of all the orders obeyed, the commands fulfilled.

The smile on his master's face.

Even as Darken thought these things, there was a silent voice inside him screaming to get out. He remembered who he used to be. He remembered Lord Rahl. He still had those desires, that mind.

But his lord mattered more.

Sometimes he quieted the unscreaming voice by telling himself that in another world things would have been exactly this way. Had Richard Rahl been the first born and Darken the young bastard brother…

Richard would have taken him in, and Darken's life would most likely be much the same as it was now.

A knock on the door to his quarters in the People's Palace. It was the same one he had occupied before Orden, his kind brother Richard disdaining to take his rooms, instead taking the ones that had been traditionally the queen's suite.

Darken had allowed no one to occupy those rooms since his mother's death, but Orden would not allow him to contradict his brother. Richard had asked if the rooms were free. He had not asked why.

And Darken had not told, a small disobedience, but the only kind he could live with.

When the unscreaming voice, the silent wail, the caged hawk was loudest he tried to resist, to see how long he could hold out.

So far he had made it to a count of three, before he found himself saying "Yes, my lord."

It was not exactly painful; he did not suffer in the traditional sense. Orden was a quiet wolf, a voracious deadly hunter. The longer he resisted the more it stealthily ate away at his desires, his will, until all he could see was Richard.

One day he awoke, and the voice, the part of himself he had come to think of as Lord Rahl, was quiescent.

It made him happy.

He loved his brother.

He loved his sister.

He wished Zeddicus would be more at ease with him.

It was not until Jennsen was taken that Lord Rahl awoke, a slumbering dragon cracking open a massive eye. They would have to fight to get Jennsen back.

Darken was swift to get his sword, filled with love and righteousness. Lord Rahl bared his dragon teeth, stretching long furled wings, gleefully rejoicing as Darken took them both to the palace quarters of the Mord'Sith.

The trail of Jennsen's attackers led them to a cave where they found her dead. Darken cupped her face, her cool skin telling him they were far too late, even if the breath of life would have worked on the pristinely ungifted.

Her blood was the color of her hair.

Her arm was cut, crossing slashes, and Lord Rahl whispered to him, their long remembered long forgotten knowledge of blood magic hidden from Darken by the power of Orden. It was still there, but it was hard to make himself think of anything before Brother Richard.

Unless of course Brother Richard wanted to know.

But he didn't ask, just demanded that a Mord'Sith try to revive their sister.

Darken watched sadly, knowing it would not work. No Mord'Sith had that much skill, not since the training mistress of Stowcroft. But she was dead, having tried to raise a resistance against Brother Richard, the Mother Confessor's hand at her throat.

Women in the robes of Sisterhood emerged from the shadows at Richard's command, and Darken felt cheated out of vengeance for their sister, knowing Richard would not allow it.

Lord Rahl smirked gleefully, darting out his lizard tongue.

Darken was confused, wondering what Lord Rahl had seen that he had missed, but then the Sisters stood, though Brother Richard had not given them permission.

They attacked and Darken drew his sword, his skills undiminished despite the fact that he fought for love.


Internal chains unlocked, unbound dragon soared, fire flaming through his mind. Overwhelming, painful images as a year's memories where revisited, perspective changed.

Lord Darken Rahl plunged a sword through the torso of a red robed woman, saving Brother Richard from the taste of steel.

It would be his talons and no other that would squeeze the life from that benevolent tyrant.

Darken Rahl brought his sword down, forcing his brother back into his newly restored Mord'Sith who waited to devour their enslaver.

They tore at Richard like a pack of wolves. Darken Rahl allowed them to have their fun, once again free to openly savor the splash of an enemy's blood on the ground.

"I want him alive," he said, knowing that the Mord'Sith rightfully wished to kill their false lord.

But Darken Rahl had a much greater punishment in mind. In the squeamish hands of Richard, the Power of Orden had been a consuming wolf that slowly ate at him from within, remaking him in Richard's image a little more each day.

Darken Rahl was not a wolf.

He was a dragon.