Michael lived in a mansion in Hartland. Michael's house was a massive structure of white stone, set back quite a distance from the road. Slate roofs in a variety of angles and rakes came together in complicated junctures topped with a lead-glass peak that let light into the central hall. The walkway to the house was shaded from the bright afternoon sun by towering white oaks as it passed through sweeping stretches of lawn before coming to formal gardens laid in symmetrical patterns to each side. Flowers in full bloom, raised in greenhouses, were occasionally brought in for special occasions (such as Michael's inauguration as First Councilor). The inside of the house was covered in white marble floors, walls and columns. Michael noted to Richard how he preferred marble since "anyone could make what they wanted from wood". Richard preferred the warmth of wood. Michael had two tapestries on the walls of his home. Richard rather favored them, and had always thought they were a grand extravagance. But Michael's tapestries were to those in Tamarang as a stick drawing in the dirt was to a fine oil painting.
One time, Michael's father came home from one of his adventures with an old vase that he hoped to sell for one gold piece. Michael said he could get more, and though they argued, his father let him take it to sell. Michael came back with four gold pieces, although his father knew it was not worth that much and that Michael had lied to the people he sold it to about its origins. Michael kept three of the gold coins for himself saying, "that is the value of my friends, George". From then on, Michael always referred to his father as "George". Michael used the money to pay off the family debts rather than buying anything for himself.
His defection to Darken Rahl is foreshadowed by his acceptance speech, in which he speaks of the need for peace and the dangers of fire (which is the same propaganda that Darken Rahl was spreading throughout the Midlands). Richard originally writes this off as being mere concern for the people, and understandable as their own mother died in a fire.
Richard discovers Michael's defection when, after having an enemy enchantment cast upon him (which makes one seem like an enemy to all those fighting on your side) Michael sees Richard as Richard, meaning, in short, that he and Richard are on opposite sides of the struggle. Richard manages to escape from Michael and his army.
After Darken Rahl's defeat, Richard orders Michael's execution, but sorrows over the necessity of his foster brother's death.
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