- “Haven't you ever had a dream where you were terrified and then your long-dead mother was there, alive, and she was going to help you? Don't you remember waking after such dreams and feeling sure that it had been real, that your mother was alive again, really alive, and that she was going to help you? Don't you remember how much you wanted to cling to that feeling? Don't you remember how desperately you wanted it to be real?”
- ―Cara, to Richard[src]
Richard Rahl's mother was the daughter of Zeddicus and Erilyn Zorander, and later, the wife of George Cypher and the stepmother of his son, Michael. In the Sword of Truth series her name has never been revealed or even hinted at in any book.
Born to the First Wizard, Zeddicus Zu'l Zorander, she grew up playing in the halls of the Wizard's Keep. She had a favorite leather ball that she liked to play with until one day that she lost it. Zedd replaced it, but not with one exactly like it, to teach her an important lesson.
She was kidnapped shortly after her mother, Erilyn, was murdered by a quad. Eventually, she was saved by a woman named Abby, who sacrificed her own daughter to do it. It turned out that Zedd had already saved Abby's daughter. To ensure his daughter's safety, Zedd cast a spell to make everyone believe his child was dead.
As she grew into adulthood, she was raped by a young Darken Rahl, who had no idea of her identity as the First Wizard's daughter, and became pregnant with Richard. Zedd then went on to cast a wizard's web over himself and his daughter and escaped to Westland, raising the boundaries to separate the Midlands, Westland, and D'Hara.
While in Westland, she married a man named George Cypher, a widower who already had a child of his own, Michael Cypher, and gave birth to Richard. She loved and valued Richard despite the fact that Darken Rahl was his father, a decision that would eventually save the New World several times over. She raised Michael with equal devotion.
Once when Richard was a young boy, he gave her a scar on her brow while playfighting recklessly with Michael. George was enraged, and punished Richard harshly. Later that night, she came to comfort her crying son, who asked her if the wound hurt. To which she replied, "Not as much as it hurts you."
She was killed in a house fire while Richard and Michael were still young. A man from Hartland had attacked George after an argument, and accidentally set the Cyphers' house on fire. She ran into the house to save Richard and Michael, and went back to save a Night Wisp named Ghazi, but was unsuccessful. George, Richard, and Michael were unable to catch the man responsible for the fire. Richard would live out his youth with a deep fear of anger, carefully controlling his temper until he first wielded the Sword of Truth.
Behind the scenes Edit
In the TV show Legend of the Seeker, her story is quite different. Lord Panis Rahl of D'Hara, once a good friend of Zeddicus Zu'l Zorander's, realized after years of cruel leadership that his ways were wrong and that his son, Darken Rahl, could not be allowed to rule. In accordance with a prophecy, Panis, an old man, disguised himself as a young shepherd and slept with Zedd's daughter, Taralyn. Taralyn fell pregnant with Richard and went to live in the town of Brennidon.
Darken Rahl, Lord Rahl by then, found out through a prophecy that his conqueror would soon be born in Brennidon. He ordered that every boy in Brennidon be murdered. Taralyn gave birth just before the massacre, and gave Richard to Zedd to take across the boundary to Westland, where it was agreed that one day a Confessor would come to give him the Book of Counted Shadows. Richard would be raised in Hartland by his adoptive parents, George and Mary Cypher, along with their biological son Michael. Three years later Taralyn had a daughter, the pristinely ungifted Jennsen, also by Panis Rahl, whom she raised lovingly and protectively.
One day, when Jennsen had grown into adulthood, she and Tarralyn were taken hostage by the Mord-Sith Denna. Jennsen was rescued by Richard, Kahlan, and Zedd, who tried and failed to rescue Tarralyn. Tarralyn was killed by Denna before even having the chance to speak with Richard.
- Debt of Bones (First appearance)