The Book of Haplo – The Death of Debinani Rahl – Debinani Rahl
22
July, 1999
The Book of Haplo – The Death of Debinani Rahl – Debinani Rahl

–==Official Submission==–
FROM: General Debinani Rahl
RE: The Death of Debinani Rahl

-A Statement by Xaviera Alexis on the death of Debinani Rahl

I hadn’t seen the father of my son in quite some time,
which is why I was so surprised to see him at the door to
my school in Papua last eve. There he was, after twenty
years, dressed out in his uniform with a look on his face
that could only be described as contemplative. I set my few
students to their reading exercises and excused myself.

Outside on the patio I found a small meal laid out on the
table, wine already poured. Without saying a word, Deb
pulled out a chair for me and then seated himself across
the table.

“What’s this about?” I asked him, not entirely certain what
the special occasion was.

“Let’s just say some things have happened recently that
have opened my eyes to some other things,” he replied,
offering me a plate of fresh bread and cheese.

“So you’re going to quit the military and come teach
classical languages to my kids?”

He smiled warmly, but I saw the pain in his eyes. Something
was definitely wrong.

“Is everything okay?” I asked, suddenly
worried, “Alexander’s okay?”

“He’s fine,” he said, nodding, “He’s turned into quite a
resourceful young man. I’m very proud of him.”

With that we both lapsed into an uncomfortable silence. I
finally noticed the lines on his face, the intensity of his
eyes. At some point, without my noticing, we had both
become quite old. I found the concept of it so amusing I
let out a chuckle.

Deb looked up at me and smiled, apparently sharing my
assessment of the situation. It wasn’t until he reached for
his wine that I noticed that he must have been suffering
from an injury. He couldn’t hide the wince that spread
across his face.

“You’re hurt,” I said, rising from my seat to fetch my
supplies.

“No, sit…” he said, motioning for me back into my
chair. “There’s nothing you can do. It’s incurable.”

The weight of his words dropped me back into my chair more
than a thousand chains could ever hope to do. The taste of
wine in my mouth soured. Here before me was the man I had
loved all my life, much older and grayer than when we had
last spoken. The man who had taken my son…our son…and had
turned the young rogue into a warrior and a gentleman. He
and his army had become a commonplace name across all the
lands. And as I looked at him, part of me still believing
that the brash young man I fell in love with was as
invincible as he had claimed, I knew he was dying. I knew
why he was here. It was the reason we separated all those
years ago. We were both living in Vesper and had a picnic
planned for one particular evening. A contract in Yew had
come up that morning and I told him…I told him that if he
missed our picnic, not to return. The Society marched from
Vesper that afternoon. He had tried to say goodbye, tried
to make me understand but I wouldn’t hear of it. I nearly
broke into tears when I realized that he had considered our
picnic a debt for nearly twenty years.

We ate our meal quietly talking about old time and even
older feelings. At times the tension was enough to light a
flame.

About the time we had run out of things to talk about
except for the inevitable subject of his affliction, I
heard the sound of magic behind the house, and lo and
behold, Alexander came rushing around the corner, and
hopped over the fence. He was flushed, a little tattered,
but giddy as a schoolboy. Deb and I shared a brief smile
before our son interjected.

“I got it!” he exclaimed.

“Got what, son?” the other asked.

Alexander produced from within his tunic a very plain, but
obviously antiquated dagger and beamed at his
accomplishment. Deb’s eyes widened as he examined the
blade, and a smile crept slowly across his face. He looked
at me, and I could tell he was about to apologize for
cutting our long-delayed picnic short. As I raised a hand
to forestall an apology, both men winced in pain and
grasped at their ears, removing small crystals that were
making the most hideous of noises. Both looked at their
devices and at each other as if bitten.

A moment later, Alexander’s head snapped up as if sniffing
the air, I noticed his hand resting on the dueling weapon
at his side like a practiced warrior. I suppressed my
motherly instinct to berate his father into the dirt for
turning my baby into a killer, but something much more
important seemed to be happening.

Deb looked at his son curiously for a moment and then he
seemed to notice whatever it was that the boy had sensed.
They both looked into the swamps to the east for a long
moment, both fingering weapons idly. Finally Deb turned to
Alexander and examined him for a time, the most curious of
looks on his face. Alexander eventually tore his eyes from
the invisible menace in the woods and met his father’s gaze.

“You’re the one, aren’t you?” Deb whispered, almost too
quietly to hear. Alexander kept his gaze for what seemed an
eternity, and then looked down. He nodded slightly.

A change came across my love then. He straightened as if a
huge weight had been lifted from his shoulders, but at the
same time, his face tightened. He became…older somehow. He
looked at our son with a father’s unrivalled pride, but
there was pity there too. I wanted desperately to ask what
was going on, but I felt it was a moment not to be
interrupted. At that single moment, I felt we were truly a
family.

And then everything went straight to hell.

————————————————————
——————–

-An Official Report to the Captain Concerning the death of
General Rahl

–Addendum to the statement taken from Xavierra Alexis by
Stf. Sgt. Rahl

I understand full well that the officers and I had agreed
not to tell my father that I was the subject of so much
prophesy, but in the end I know that he knew. There was a
moment of silence while he completely changed his world-
view around, and then he rose. He pulled a scroll and a
rune out of his pouch and pressed them into my hands.

“Get your mother and the children out of here, now,” he
said quietly.

I tried to argue, to say that since we have the dagger we
can figure out how to cure his wound, but he continued
preparing for a fight. I finally told him that he couldn’t
do it, that the Ringwielders were my fight, not his. And he
looked at me with an odd look in his eyes and he smiled.

“No,” he said, “Your fight is tomorrow. Mine is today.” He
sighed deeply and looked at my mother sadly. “The magics
keeping me on my feet won’t last much longer, maybe not
even the night. And I refuse to be an invalid.” He looked
back at me and smiled in that funny way again. “Get these
people to safety, son.”

He painfully mounted his old warhorse and went through the
routine of tightening his armor. I had almost gotten the
children together when the small force of undead beasts,
led by two Ringwielders marched from the swamp and formed a
semi-circle around the house.

“What the hell?” exclaimed my mother upon seeing Lord
Sprirt, looking exactly as my father had in his youth,
standing amongst the undead with a wicked grin on his face.

I fumbled around getting the gate cast and ushering my
mother and the dozen or so frightened children through into
the Lycaeum in Moonglow. I let it close behind them. I
walked out to stand beside my father’s mount to face down
the horde.

He looked at me and smiled warmly. I don’t think I’ll ever
know what that look was meant to convey.

And then he paralyzed me and rode several yards towards the
throng.

“Greetings old man,” started Spirit, “I’ve come to finish
what I started.”

My father grinned at him, shifting to hide the line of
blood from his wound that had started to seep through his
tunic.

“Have you now?” responded the other cheerfully. He pulled
the dagger from his tunic and looked it over, presenting so
the Ringwielders could see it from the distance. “I think
that’s the most interesting offer I’ve heard in years.”

The smile faded from Spirit’s face, and the Ringwielder of
Water, whose face I did not know, backed away a step.

The paralyzation spell faded and I started forward, just to
be caught in another one, deftly cast by my father as soon
as the first failed.

“Well then,” he said, “Let’s get to it.”

My father pulled his sword and a handful of reagants, took
one final look back at me struggling against my invisible
bonds, and he smile and winked.

Spirit snapped his fingers and the horde of undead
creatures charged forward and were met by my father’s
magical fire. He spurred his horse forward and charged into
the throng, hollering “FOR THE ROSE!” as he cut a path to
the Ringwielders. He was pulled off his horse and I lost
sight of him, but I still heard the sounds of battle.

Then the explosion came. I’m not sure what happened, and I
probably never will be, but a huge explosion rocked the
center of the fray, decimating the undead force. When the
dust cleared, the only one left standing was Spirit, and he
was grinning from ear to ear.

A rage filled me, I couldn’t control myself. I pulled my
blade and charged forward and met him steel to steel. He
never once stopped grinning. Something filled me, something
I had never felt before…a strength of sorts, and I met
his skill blow for blow.

I can’t remember much of our battle, I was in a warrior’s
haze I suppose. But finally, he got a particularly good
shot in and everything went red. When my vision cleared all
that was left of Spirit was a skeleton.

I searched the crater where the explosion occurred but
there wasn’t much left. There were bits of bodies strewn
everywhere. Spirit’s corpse still had his ring, as well as
the hideously mangled corpse of Water, and I collected
both. I found the remains of my father’s trusty steed
Artix, literally torn to bits. And I found some bloody
scraps of uniform and flesh that could only have been the
remains of my father.

I sat for a few moments among the carnage in shock before I
buried what few remains of my father I could find. Then I
returned to Northwood and broke the bad news.

Respectfully-

Staff Sgt. Alexander Rahl

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