Name: Drak Charn Meilan

Age: 19 (25+ mainplotline)

Drak carefully made his way through the mansion, watchful to be sure no one spied him making his exit. He had meticulously planned his departure for months, and now that his plan was underway, he wasn’t nervous at all. That was always the way of things with him. The nerves always disappeared when the action began.

He had painstakingly gathered the necessary supplies over the last several weeks, and his hiding place for them in the stables had never been discovered. He routinely checked to be sure under the guise of overseeing his father’s stablemen. Today, there shouldn’t be anyone around to observe his “borrowing” of a couple of the famous Tairen horses, because his father had commanded his servants to attend some announcement to rid Tear of the bloody so-called Dragon Reborn who had appeared outside the City itself. Drak figured the guy was a false Dragon like all the rest lately, but the disturbance left these outlying estates were all but deserted.

In a very real sense, the false Dragon was the reason he had finally made his decision to leave. Sure, he had grown tired of forever living in the shadows of his two bumbling idiotic older brothers, but he had grown used to that. Somewhat, he had. They were both fools, but his father, the High Lord Meilan, doted on them like they were the Creator’s most blessed offerings to the world. Drak never even called them by their names anymore, though, simply referring to them as “Eldest” and “Number Two.” They hated being called that, but he even thought of them in his head that way.

Eldest, the heir apparent, loved to gamble on the horses, even though he could barely tell the front end from the back of one. He was possibly the dumbest man alive. But he was rich, so everyone hid their true feelings and did his bidding. In his presence they did.

Number Two couldn’t keep his hands off the girls, and at the rate he was going would have fathered more offspring than his father’s favorite herd stallion. Light-cursed fool!

Drak could have lived with them, however, because his own abilities were more than sufficient to make his own place, despite having absolutely no inheritance from his father. No, in all reality, at just 19 years of age Drak was among the richest nobles in Tear, although few other than the bankers would suspect it. He had no need to draw attention to his deeds, because knowing himself was enough.

Passing a mirror in the hallway, Drak paused to coldly and analytically assess himself. He knew he was very good looking, the dark-haired, rakish kind of attractive that women swooned over. He had no need to be arrogant, those were just the facts. He was also tall for a Tairen, both gifts owed to his father who possessed them, as well. Drak always stood tall and proud. He was not overly proud, but he was very sure of himself and knew exactly how good he was. He was also intelligent, which few suspected after spending time with his brothers. This fact he didn’t flaunt, but rather subtly used to gain influence and power. That was always his way: refined subtlety. Let others draw attention to themselves and earn resentment and enmity. Drak moved precisely and cleverly, never taking too much from anyone lest they be guarded in his next interaction.

Striding confidently out of the mansion and across the grounds to the stable, Drak saw no one around. The estate was eerily silent compared to the normal hustle and bustle of the workers. But as his father was doing yet another fawning act in hopes of gathering a few more scraps of power, Drak had his own ideas of where to gain power. Or rather, the Power.

Since his childhood the One Power had enticed him. He wasn’t sure what had gotten him started pursuing the knowledge of it, forbidden as it was here in Tear, but he suspected it was the Tairen fear of it that drew him. Throughout his life, he had always purposefully confronted his own fears in order to not let them make him a slave to them. The Power, though, was nothing to be feared. Rather, it should be understood and harnessed. It was the Power that drove the universe, and the corruption of it that nearly destroyed the world. He had learned that, and much, much more in the years since his boyhood.

In the spare time afforded him after his normal lessons with book study, horsemanship, courtly behavior, or swordsmanship, he could remember dreaming dreams of wielding the Power, calling fire from the Heavens and causing the ground to erupt under his enemies’ feet. He had even tried to touch it…

He remembered it like it was yesterday when he had caused a hay barn to burn down when he had become so angry with his father a few months ago. Of course, he had gotten sick after that, like the old books said, but he had survived, and now was the time he would seek out those that could help him learn more. From barely spoken whispers, told only with extreme reservation, he knew the power the Dark provided to a select few. He intended to be such a one.

Entering the stables, he was surprised to see one stableman mucking out a stall. No matter, this could work even better. As the servant paid him a respectful, “My lord,” Drak ordered him to saddle his horse and to put a pack saddle on a second. As the stableman did so, Drak entered the dimly lit recesses of the grain bins and retrieved his supplies, then loaded them atop the second horse.

Looking around to insure that the two of them were alone, Drak bent over and looked critically at his horse’s left front foot, as if something was wrong with the shoe.

Setting it back down, he addressed the fellow, “My good man, would you mind taking a look at that shoe? It appears to be ready to fall off, and I’d appreciate your expert opinion on whether I should choose another mount.”

Eager to please, the stableman bent over and lifted the hoof. He never even felt the foot-long blade that pierced the base of his skull…

Riding un-observed out of his father’s estates, Drak Charn Meilan smiled at how the day had turned out. The dead body in the stables would be found upon the servants’ return, and it should fit in nicely with his bedroom’s disarray. After all, a high lord son’s abduction couldn’t come without a struggle, could it? And no one must be left alive who might’ve sees the abductors.

In time, Drak could see the wonderful possibilities this could provide. Until then, he needed to find those who wielded the real power. The Dark beckoned.

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