FROM: General Debinani Rahl
RE: The Boy and The Lady
“I hate the sea,” muttered Delayne Muerdetta from the
corner of the cramped cargo hold aboard the Sea Strider.
“Oh, I don’t know,” replied Tilamoon from behind the huge
ethereal tome he was poring over, “I’ve always been kind of
fond of it.”
“The sea’s always been my worst enemy, “ chimed in Adulphus
Turon, who had taken to pacing quite a bit lately, “getting
troops transported over water is a nightmare. You know one
“I am trying to get some sleep people,” interrupted a
shifting pile of bedding in the corner, “ do you mind?”
Silence ensued in the tiny room, leaving Alexander Rahl
alone with his thoughts once more. His ghostly grandfather
had every reason to pace; it was everything Alexander could
do to rest while he could. Someone was exterminating his
family; slowly, methodically, and until the failed attempt
on Alexander’s own life just days previously,
successfully. His mother, then Holle, and finally faithful
Nicolai were all dead by the hand of his unseen nemesis.
The tactics appeared to be working. Alexander was more
paranoid than he ever was during the War of the Rings, and
his father was falling deeper and deeper into despair.
The House of Turon had made plenty of enemies on its own
even before it became known that his family had descended
from Mengst, but most of those enemies were either dead, or
at the very least contained and visible. Except for this
He shifted again uncomfortably under the blankets, trying
to sort and catalogue everyone he knew that had the motive
to do this, but he always came up empty-handed after such
Alexander’s thoughts were interrupted by a whisper from
Turon. “Get up lad…something’s happening.”
There was muffled thud against the starboard hull of the
ship and shouting and sounds of conflict began echoing from
the hatch to the deck. Alexander sprung from his blankets,
gathered his things and sprung up the ladder. He emerged
from the hold into a slaughterhouse. All of the skeleton
crew of the Sea Strider was either dead or dying, slain by
the dozen or so men who stood before him on the deck of the
ship. Men with rumels attached to their belts. Stranglers.
Aluvial’s holy assassin allowed himself a wry smile.
“Arwyn,” he whispered and the Ring of Fire on his finger
sprang to life. The Strangers’ clothing combusted, and in
the moment of confusion, Alexander plunged into the fray.
Wind Through The Rushes. One down.
Parting the Waves. Two.
The Dervish followed by The Rushing River. Three and four.
Three more men went down and two jumped overboard before
the remaining three had extinguished their garments and
composed themselves for battle. They seemed content with
surrounding Alexander, preventing him from diving off the
side of the ship. None of these men wished to die today.
Alexander realized the error of his pride a moment too late.
A wall of mists had reached out from the sea and was
barreling down on the small ship. Alexander looked around
frantically for an escape but there was none. The mists
surrounded the ship and all became darkness.
Alexander woke slowly, first becoming aware that he
was lying on cold, hard shale, probably on a beach from the
sound of the water. He slowly rose, making sure to check
each bone and joint for fractures. He found himself
surprisingly unharmed. The beach was deserted and the air
had a cold, wet feeling, much like fall in the northlands,
but the wind carried on it an unidentifiably unpleasant
It was then that he noticed the woman walking
towards him. She was the most remarkable, sensual thing he
had ever even dreamed of, with waist-length flowing black
hair and garbed in a gossamer robe that left nothing to the
imagination. She stopped several yards away from him and
offered a coy, yet infinitely comforting smile.
A not so comforting thought reached through the
lust in the boy’s mind. He was alone. Mengst, Turon,
Muerdetta, none of them were near, and the whispers from
the rings that always filled his mind were silent. For the
first time in his life, Alexander was truly alone.
His smile faded abruptly when he looked past the
woman and noticed the spire of black stone in the distance,
reaching like an outstretched finger into the clouds.
“Hello Alexander,” said the Lady, her voice of milk
and honey flowing around him and through him, “I’ve been
waiting a very long time to meet you.”