Chapter One to You Appear Just Like A Dream
Author's Note: Hello and Welcome. This is my first attempt at a Legend of the Seeker/Sword of Truth story and I'll let you all know now that it is going to be based around Darken Rahl. I have come to the conclusion that there are not enough stories for our dark and sexy villain and so I took it upon myself to at least add one to the list.
So a little about the story, I wanted to offer a different look at Darken in the manner that he's not just some evil tyrant but will have a softer side which will come to light when he meets my OC. I want her to basically transform Darken and make him into the person that he was always supposed to be if things had been handled differently in his childhood.
Alright, I don't want to give too much away in the beginning so I'll let you go ahead and get into the story.
Disclaimer: The wonderful world and characters of Terry Goodkind belong to him alone, I make no profit off this. The only thing I own is my OC and the random crazy idea for this story. I do this simply for fun and because I'm a hopeless fangirl dreaming of impossibilities.
Chapter 1: When the Nights are Long
It was a late midsummer evening, well past the high peak of twilight and yet the heat was still as blisteringly unbearable as it had been at midday. Covering your skin with a thin sheen of sweat, matting your hair and clothes to wherever and anywhere on your body it chose.
So it was no surprise when Darken Rahl awoke once more from restless slumber. His bared chest, glistening with sweat in the dark, heaved with the deep breath he draws in. His hair clings to his face and neck in soaking strands that he pushes back as he runs his gaze across the familiarity of his bed chamber. There's something in the air, catching his breath, something heavy and primordial. Magic; very powerful and quite ancient. It makes his skin prickle and nerves tense as it dances over him, growing accustomed to his presence. It's invigorating, thrilling, he's never felt anything like it before, and he's explored every source of magic that has ever been present in the world.
He tenses suddenly and draws himself a few inches from the soaked linens as his sight fell upon the figure seated on the edge of his bed.
"Who are you, how did you get in here!?"
"You needn't fear me, Lord Rahl. I am not your enemy."
"Guards!" His eyes flick momentarily toward the door across the way, praying for helps arrival, waiting to see that blazing red rise from the darkness in defense of his name. Without knowing the sort of magic hanging thick in the air, he couldn't risk lashing out with his own. Or else he would've already captured his uninvited guest swiftly and promptly. Thus he was left with more basic and obviously inadequate tactics.
"It'll do you no good my Lord, no one will hear you."
"Guards!" He shouts once more, listening silently to the sound of his own ragged breath.
"No one will come."
His muscles curl in apprehension, his breath snakes loose as he lets his gaze resettle on the intruder.
"You killed them . . ."
He watches the hood hiding any qualities of this person's identity sway as they shake their head.
"No. I had no need to."
Then why . . .
"How did you get in here . . . I have guards posted throughout the palace . . . and there are hundreds of barriers and wards setup in just this room alone so how—"
"I came by—a different route."
His jaw twitches with tension. "There is no other route!"
The figure remains silent and Rahl can feel his anxiety escalading.
"I'll ask again, how did you get in here!?"
"You cannot handle the truth . . . you are not ready to know."
"Let me be the judge of that, now tell me!"
"I mean you no harm."
His lip curls and he lets an airy chuckle free. "I see . . . and so you braved all the dangers which would come from sneaking into the People's Palace, into my very bed chamber, because you simply wanted the pleasure of what—my company?"
The hood stirs slightly, whether it be a nod or simple bow, he couldn't say. "I came to warn you."
"Did you . . . you'll have to forgive me but I find that very unlikely."
"You are in danger."
Another chuckle breezes through him. "Is that all? It couldn't perhaps have anything to do with the strange person in my chambers?"
"I am here to help you."
"And why should I believe a word you say? There is not a person alive that would not wish to see me dead . . . and I find it rather difficult to trust someone that will not even trust to show their face."
"If I were simply an assassin sent to kill you, do you not think I would have already dispatched you? Murdering you while you slept would not only be the most effective means, but it would also be the safest and most cowardly method of facing the great Lord Rahl."
"When I cannot defend myself properly."
"Thankfully none of your enemies have seemed to come upon this realization and if any have perhaps those wards and barriers of yours have been doing their jobs."
"Until you." Rahl exhales, intrigue creeping through his head. He had not missed that the term used in reference to his death had been 'murder.'
"I'm anything if not determined."
"Yes, that is obvious," he leans back against the dozens of pillows behind him, his anxiety fading from thought as curiosity settles in. "Though I cannot understand the reason why . . ."
"I told you. I am here to help you. You are in danger."
He lifts his hand, runs his fingers across his lip. "Interesting . . . so I am not mistaken when understanding you are not here to kill me?"
"As I have been trying to tell you . . . I mean you no harm. I would never harm you."
"You must forgive my skepticism . . . as I have said; there is not a person alive who would not wish me harm."
"There is one."
He lets his breath go slowly; growing more and more intrigued as each minute ticks slowly down to the next. From the unknown magic spiraling throughout the air around him and dancing tauntingly across his skin to this being finding its way through all the dangers and traps he ensured to erect throughout the palace not including his personal bed chamber, but then to not seize such an opportunity and kill him . . . he was incredibly eager to find the answers to all these impossibilities.
"So. What do I owe such privileged meeting?"
"An offer of my help. You are in danger."
"Yes, you keep saying that, but perhaps you can be a bit specific. You should know I am always in danger in one way or another."
"Yes, but only one person poses actual threat."
His smile fades. "The Seeker . . ."
There's a nod. "Your brother, Richard."
His entire body suddenly goes tense, eyes glaring sharply. "How do you know that, who told you such?"
"Who are you!? How do you know he is my brother!?"
"My Lord, you must listen to me I—"
"Who are you! Who sent you!?"
He moves forward suddenly, grasping this intrusive conniving person firmly by the arms and throws them down upon the bed.
"You will tell me—" he freezes, stares into the hood fallen back revealing the long strawberry blonde curls and intense lavender eyes staring back at him. His gapping mouth closes and opens for several speechless moments. "You—"
"Sorry, Lord Rahl," she smiles weakly, "but times up."
He shoots upright with a start, deep breath gushing through him as he stares blindly through his bed chamber. There were candles burning softly, shuffling movements beyond the lazy sway of the canopy and someone's drowned out voice calling out to him repeatedly. But he couldn't see any of it, he couldn't hear anything. Not even the racing drum beat of his heart.
What was that, what . . .
He lifts his gaze, focus returning as present rushed to catch up. He peers slowly past the few guards standing uncomfortably nearby before resting on his commander.
"Egremont . . ."
General Egremont eases forward a pace, keeping his distance as he watched his lord drag himself from the illusion of whatever he'd been dreaming and he could not be entirely sure of his mental stability.
"My Lord Rahl."
"Where is she?" His eyes move to the bed where she had lain beneath him, then lift to the scarcely lit chamber.
"The girl!" Rahl growls. "Where is the girl? She was just here—" his eyes move to Egremont, seeing the confusion in his eyes when a soft snicker made his gaze whip toward the other guards. "Who was that? Who dares?"
Egremont's gaze moves to his nervously shifting men. "Search the palace; every room, every rafter, leave not a single corner unturned. Now!"
Darken watches them scramble away quickly, eyes blazing with rage and confusion. Egremont moves beyond the sheer drapes between them, though remains silent; for a moment at least.
"My Lord, are you well?"
Rahl slips his hand down his face with a heavy breath, attempting to gather his wits about him. How did she just vanish . . . was it the magic . . . how could she slip by unnoticed? There is a tether to all magic, a trace that usually lingers, especially for something of this magnitude. Was it relocation? He should be able to sense that, to find the trace. But there was nothing.
After a few more tense moments, he settles his gaze again on his commander. "No girl left this room? You saw no one upon entering?"
"Not a soul, Lord Rahl."
He blinks, mind pondering. "And there have been no intruders? Anywhere?"
"I have received no such word my Lord."
His gaze returns to the tussled sweat-soaked linens where she had been.
"Lord Rahl . . . what did you see?"
He inhales slowly, shifts his head side to side. "I have no idea . . ." his jaw tenses, "but I will find out."
For the days that followed no sign of intrusion could be found, no disturbance within the palace or anywhere across its grounds beyond its norm activity. It put everyone on edge as it built up Darken's frustration to a rather dangerous point that there was fear of retaliation to be caught in his presence. General Egremont seemed to be the only one able to survive their master's rage and quell it, and so any message in need of delivery was passed on to him. The third day found Egremont entering the chamber his lord had spent every waking moment, conjuring up every magic at his disposal for the thousandth time and having no further success. He stood in silence, knowing it would be disastrous and dangerous to interrupt.
With a growl and intense scream, Rahl releases his hold on the magic, breaths heaving. It was clearly another failure. He pants softly as his frustration settles.
"What is it, what word do you bring?"
"No more than the usual . . . rebel uprisings, the Seeker liberating another town of your guard . . . but no word on the girl you described."
He whirls to glare at Egremont. "How can finding one girl prove so difficult a task?"
"My Lord, the Midlands is vast, as is D'Hara. We are doing all we can, every town has been searched and continues to be watched but the description is not best or enough. If we could limit the search even by a little it would prove beneficial."
"Do you not think I do not know this?" He snarls. "I have tried to conjure her image, her likeness, to remember everything I can . . . but she has not returned . . ."
Egremont exhales a long breath. "My Lord . . . perhaps it was just simply a dream."
"No . . ." he shakes his head, "that was no simple dream . . . she is real. And I will find her."
It would be several nights later that Darken awoke in the rise of twilight and felt his breath stutter in as he felt the magic lick over him like a loving caress. His excitement burst forth without restraint as his eyes moved quickly across his bed before journeying on to the wide chamber, coming up empty. His breath draws in fast to pause as he finds her, standing near the post at the bottom of the bed, veiled by the sheer draperies of the canopy.
"You have returned . . ." he rasps out, nearly breathless.
"I did." She stands still in shadow, hesitant to approach. He could not express how desperately he wanted her nearer; or understand why.
He buries his elbows into the mattress, lifting himself back against the pillows lining the headboard. "I began to doubt . . . thought perhaps it had been a dream." He could swear her lips curled slightly in a grin but it was gone too suddenly to be sure. "Is this really happening?"
He was beyond intrigued by this woman.
"How . . ."
"The how is not important, Lord Rahl, it is the why."
"It is all important," he argues, his voice somehow managing to remain calm. "I want to know everything, I want to know it all. How you keep finding your way into my private quarters. This magic that follows you. Why you are so adamant about the danger toward my life . . . why is that so important to you?"
"It is too soon," she turns her gaze aside, "and it is all too much. I haven't time."
"Time . . ." he frowns, shakes his head, "there is plenty of time. If you just—"
She moves suddenly out from behind the post, sliding around along the outskirts of the enormous bed. The sheer draperies rose suddenly, blowing out wildly on her approach. A hand rose to her throat, pulling at something which in a moment later allowed the cloak covering her to cascade to the ground.
Darken felt his breath run dry as his eyes freely journeyed her slender yet strong build, suggesting hard labor only confirmed by the honey-toned bronze of her complexion from days spent beneath the sun. Her figure was ravishing with ample swell in her hips and chest, which only intensified his rising arousal as she settled her hands onto the mattress and began to crawl across its wide expanse toward him. He watches her hips sway with each settle of her knees, attempts to not stare at the impressive cleavage, bouncing lightly with each press of her palms. He shifts a moment before she reaches him, exhales quick, trying to find steady ground before she begins to crawl over him. Her hands journey up his legs, her knees slide along his thighs, carrying her higher, drawing her nearer until she pauses, face to face with the great though several out of depths, Lord Rahl. She settles slowly upon his lap, her skirts pulling tight over her thighs and Darken felt his breath give in a loud gasp and eyes flutter despite if he even had the presence of mind to will himself not to.
"You must listen carefully, it is all I can give, I have nothing more . . . ancient powerful magic is awakening and it puts your life in great peril . . . your brother will soon grow aware of its presence and have the means to find its identity . . . you can't let him . . . he will twist it into a weapon against you, and it will be your end."
His hands lift to run against her hips, rising up her sides. "Who are you?"
"Look for the signs I give you, find it first Darken."
"Tell me your name!"
Her expression softens and she leans down, fingers sliding over his chin. "You are not ready."
His eyes flutter. "I am—what? Why—"
He gasps out, eyes flying open. He lay, muscles tense, nerves firing, breath burning where it remained frozen in his chest. Tears gradually begin to form in his dry eyes as he fails to blink for a time. Breaths begin to slip leisurely free, crawling down his aching chest. The muscles throughout his abdomen curl and pain laces free as he begins to rise. His shoulders ripple with the effort, tremble a degree as he bows over.
Again . . . she comes to me again to slip away too soon . . .
He lifts his gaze, throws the soaked sheets aside before rising, crossing the dark chamber to tear open a pair of doors. The horizon was beginning to burn with the sun's rising light. It seemed symbolic, inspiring in some manner he could not yet name. But he would. He ran his fingertips together, drew them to his lips. They felt so soft and warm, a strange alternative to the sweaty blistering heat which usually clung to him.
"Find it first . . ." his gaze bows as thoughts begin to form. "I will. I will find you first." He turns, sweeps through his chamber once again to throw open the doors leading out, startling the few guards outside. "Egremont!"
"My Lord," a guard steps forward, bows, "General Egremont departed for the Midlands, leading your search. He is not due back for several days."
Darken exhales slowly, eyes moving to the man bold enough to speak. "Bring my journey book."
The atmosphere of the People's Palace was tense clear to the portcullis that Egremont rode beneath now, a trail of honorary D'Haran soldiers at his back. He rode to the steepled stair leading into the main corridor and pulled his dusty charger to a sharp though smooth stop. He dismounted as the stablehand came to assume control and responsibility of the beast while he focused his attention to the matter that drew him to return with all speed. He carried out the familiar march, turning each proper corner, traveling all the long hallways until he pushed the heavy door wide, stepping into the statically charged chamber. The magic in the air was so thick he could taste it with every breath, could see it shimmer and spark in moments it would otherwise be invisible.
It was worse than he thought—the situation.
He stands in the epicenter of the maelstrom, his dark hair blowing uncontrolled, blue eyes shining with excitement as they breeze over the ancient dialect of the tome in his hands. For a moment more he surveys it before turning to acknowledge Egremont's presence.
"My Lord, what is going on!?"
"I think I finally understand . . . it all makes sense . . . she's projecting from somewhere outside the palace, a rather reasonable distance . . . it's the only way to explain the lack of tether despite the magnitude of her magic . . ." his gaze falls to the tome, leafing through a few more pages. "Unbelievable . . ."
"My Lord, this is not rational. I have heard it has been days since you have rested, since you've eaten or drank something . . . this must cease my Lord, before you collapse. You leave yourself vulnerable to your enemies!"
Darken blinks and moves suddenly toward the table littered with tomes and books of immense proportion and various age.
"Lord Rahl." Egremont flusters, "did you hear a word I said!?"
"Loudly," he breaths while pulling out a parchment. His eyes move sharply across the script, muttering it quick and precise under his breath. Not a second later, as he utters the final syllable and lets the parchment slip from his numb fingers does the spell react. A blaze of blue flames ignite around him, crackling and hissing whimsically.
"Lord Rahl! What are you doing!?"
"My mind must be in a subconscious state, Egremont," his eyes move to his commander, "I need to be asleep."
The moment he caught on it was already far too late. "My Lord!" He was forced to step back as the flames expanded, brought his arm to shield his eyes, his face, from the heat and burning intensity. "Lord Rahl!"
A breath falls through him, his eyes cascade and the weight of his heavy and now entirely numb body pulls him to the floor.
The world he rises up into—literally breaking through the surface—is a liquid darkness, swirling and churning unstably. There is a bubbling sizzling hiss echoing through the rippling expanse. He sinks to his knees when he takes a step forward, stares into the pools of darkness swarming across his hands, wrapping around his fingers disturbingly. He cannot let his breath free, neither gather to him a new one. A rasp breaks past his lips and he hoists his gaze to search the zone around him. It continues to burn, to churn almost hungrily; hissing and wailing unnaturally. He searches, continues turning his eyes about endlessly until he catches a glimmer that hadn't been there a moment before. He focuses, watches it ripple gradually. With a grunt, an exhale he doesn't have to release, he pushes somehow onto unsteady feet, staggers forward.
As he draws leisurely nearer he can just make out the curvy outline of her figure. He feels relief wash through him, and then what he would honestly mistake as joy. His lashes flutter across his cheeks and he cannot help chuckle bemused; that is a foreign concept indeed. He moves a few dragging steps more forward, willing his almost unresponsive body on. She stands with her back facing, her head moving frantically back and forth as if searching. She turns, eyes settling on him just as he feels the last bit of strength slip through him. She screams out and rushes toward him as he collapses, the liquefied darkness splashing up to cascade over him, wrapping around him.
He faintly sees her arm swing forward as the waves dance against him and then suddenly everything is still and silent. He glances about as if to assure it and hangs his head with a sigh, breath escaping him.
"Finally, I was afraid I would grow nauseous . . ."
"You are going to be. In reality." She growls, standing over him yet away some paces. "What on earth are you doing, Rahl, what are you thinking!? Scratch that, it's so obvious you aren't! What have you done!?"
He redistributes his weight to his hip and gazes up at her. "I needed to see you . . . I am beginning to put the pieces together."
"That is great; and so you thought you would just summon me at your will?" She huffs. "These are elements you do not understand, Rahl, they are primal and temperamental, vindictive. They will lash out without cause or warning. You cannot just do with them as you will, there are steps, there are methods . . . there are rules, Rahl!"
"Show me . . ."
"Please," he reaches out, "I feel like I cannot breathe when you are away from me. I draw closer to finding you but it is not enough!"
"I haven't time," she steps forward, smoothes her fingers down his face, drawing a breathy gasp from him. "Do not come after me like this again."
"Your mind will now need time to mend. I cannot return for a while until it strengthens."
"If you are thus desperate, find the means to strengthen yourself. Build up your tolerance for another to be within you, Rahl. Only then will I return."
When next he opened his eyes, coming from the subconscious realm to the familiarity of his bed chamber yet again, his breath shook loose in a rasp of pain and discomfort. He shifts his legs, or at least attempted to, when the thought formed in his mind and then command sent forth he could not find the strength to follow through. His chest heaves with the desperation to sate the burn within his lungs, the numbing ache in his chest. He's able to roll his head languidly to the side, pulling his gaze along regardless of his current inability to make out anything before him. There were shapes, blurs. His head feels as if its been crushed and then inflated several times its actual size.
"My Lord Rahl."
Egremont . . .
"You are probably experiencing a great deal of discomfort right now, my Lord . . ."
Giller . . .
"Some mild pain," the other wizard continues, "it'd be best if you do not try to move . . . perhaps even speak. Just let your thoughts go, let your mind sleep. You need your rest, you are rather weak."
For once in his life, Darken Rahl could not argue; and if he had wanted to it would fail with his current lack of strength. He let his blind eyes seal, hoping to conjure images of her from the depths of his mind. But the splitting headache stabbing the expanse of his now damaged mind would not seem to allow it.
General Egremont waited for the heavy almost wheezing breaths to return to the young lord before grasping the wizard's arm and drew him several paces backwards. "You must find this girl, Giller, you must find her now!"
"Commander," the wizard sighs, "there is no guarantee there even is a girl. This could just be a spell, a mind-wraith someone has conjured to destroy our Lord from the inside out."
"There is a girl," Egremont sighs, "there must be . . . Lord Rahl would never be so easily corrupted . . . I will find this girl and you are going to use everything at your disposal to help me."
He cannot say with definite guarantee how much time has passed. All he knows is agony; an agony beyond the physical ailments Giller has been carefully and tediously relieving as weeks slowly trickled by. He felt a piece of himself missing, a portion unfulfilled, slowly growing more hollow with the depth of his psychological torment.
'I am here to help you'
The sun is a warm caress on his face as he sits on the balcony of his bed chamber, staring thoughtfully across the valleys and forests and distant mountains. A stir of wind has him shiver and draw into the blanket draped over his shoulders.
She had been quite adamant, rather insistent . . .
He draws his fingers up to run across his lips, eyes fluttering closed. If only he could make sense of everything. If only he understood.
The rosy glow of light on the other side of his eyes suddenly dimmed, as if a cloud blotted out the sun; or someone shaded him. He felt a hand rest upon his shoulder and then a soft settle of weight upon his lap.
"Don't open your eyes."
He could feel her draw closer, could feel the luscious sensations being sparked through his nerves as her hands moved to hold his shoulders as she eased her bum further up his thighs. She drew so close he could feel the chill that settled in when she blocked the sun drift away with the rise of her body temperature.
"I am surely dreaming . . ."
He felt fingers trace his jaw, trembled somewhat at the caress.
"This cannot be . . ."
"It is my dominion, Darken, it has always been in your dreams . . ." her caresses pause a moment, "but I can bring truth to such if that is your wish."
He bows his head forward slowly, resting it upon her softly rising breast while lifting his hands up her arms. He was surely unraveling at the seams, coming completely undone by this girl, being remade. To what he had no way and no care toward knowing.
"I wish it . . . I have never desired something as I desire for you."
Her hands sweep along his face, draw back his hair. His head tips back in response, breath pressing free. His lips drift apart upon feeling her hands rest on either side of his jaw.
"Open your eyes my Lord."
He does as commanded, draws his lids back slowly, gaze wandering up her slender throat and almost heart shaped jawline. Her cheekbones were of perfect angle, just the right height so when he looked into her entrancing overwhelming depths he was spellbound.
"Brown . . ."
She smiles while leaning the remaining distance. "Now you see me . . ."
He lifts his hand, smoothes over the soft honey chocolate puff of hair ontop her head, slips his fingers down the silky curls transfixed before focusing entirely on her face. He moves across the separated distance, presses his lips to hers, lifts to close upon her once more. His head angles, hand rises to cradle her jaw. He feels her hands similarly press against his jaw, tipping his head back. Her abdomen pushes against his stomach, her breasts smash into his chest.
"We haven't time . . ."
He wraps his arm about her waist, pulling closer. "I am going to find you . . . and then I will never let go."
Her lips curl in a smile against his and a soft sound, like a sob cuts off in her throat before she fades into the sunlight.
He lets his eyes drift open slowly, staring upon the horizon. An unsteady breath shakes loose as he sinks heavily back into the chair. He lifts a hand to hover above his eyes, blinks rapidly while bowing his head back.
I cannot stand this a moment more . . . my world is falling apart and I know without her—it will continue so . . .
He pushs onto shaky legs, shivers running across his bare chest as he left the blanket behind. "Egremont!" He brushes past Giller, ignoring him entirely to throw open the doors and step into the halls.
He was turning likely the fifth corner, he wasn't keeping track of where he actually was, guards and maids and Giller chasing after him when he stopped suddenly. General Egremont moves his gaze from his Lord back to the long progression of people before returning his eyes to Darken. He passed off the materials in his hands and folded them calmly before him.
"Lord Rahl, what may I do for you? Are you well enough to be moving about?"
His eyes shift to Giller and the wizard was shaking his head in frustration, clearly not wanting to get into it.
"Ready my horse."
He peered back to his Lord in confusion, shifted positions. "My Lord?"
"I was quite clear, Egremont, you know I don't like to repeat something twice." Rahl turns to one of the girls standing behind him, waiting for her to rush forward and slip his leather vest up his arms. "I want to be in the outlying towns before midday."
"Lord Rahl, you must understand reason, in your state you could be vulnerable to attack. I know finding this girl may seem important, but not at the risk of your life . . ." he took a deep breath, daring to be so bold. "We cannot even be sure if she is an actual person."
Breaths gasped out and eyes moved toward General Egremont and then hesitantly to Rahl as he shifted. His dark blue eyes settled on his commander.
"No. You are right, we aren't sure of anything. I know she is out there, I am going to find her, I've been patient long enough. You have had weeks to locate her and you have failed."
"We have had nothing clear to go on." Egremont responds, bows his head, "my Lord."
"I will know her when I see her, I cannot mistake her . . . not now." He stands before the commander, "ready my horse."
With a sigh, Egremont bows, "Lord Rahl."
He turns to the remaining maid, steps forward to slip his arms down into the sleeves of his coat as she held it out for him. He pulls it up over his shoulders, slips his fingers through his hair to draw them free.
It will not be long now . . .
He starts down the hall, guards and Giller following closely.
Soon there will be nowhere for you but within my arms . . .
To Be Continued . . .