Disclaimer: I own nothing related to Legend of the Seeker, except my unique imagination on the characters and landscape described herein.
There had been stillness last evening before the sunset; there was now a supreme stillness this morning. The last great Confessor of her age, the midnight-haired Kahlan Amnell stared out at the sun-streaked new day and reflected on the conversations and dreams of the evening before.
Her shoulders were straight and squared, but her heart felt bowed and lowered. She carefully rose from her sleeping area, her divided skirts the color of a raven's purple wing in the pale sunrise. Kahlan tried with some difficulty not to glance in the direction of Cara. The blonde Mord'Sith was all to perceptive of Kahlan's pain with those inscrutable eyes of pale flames.
She knew that the fellow warrior-woman would think her weak for her longing and sadness. Yet no one could deny that Richard's departure had struck them all, shattering the core of their quest. It seemed they would have to find a new focus, another path of truth. Adjust to the idea of another Seeker...
At the very least they had rescued what they sought for the moment: Zeddicus Zul Zorander. Great wizard and great friend. At least this wise grandfather of Richard Cypher Rahl would not reproach her for these deep wells of emotion in relation to his grandson.
She remembered last evening's sunset as they had walked along the treacherous cliff-face. Now she had wandered to the very edge of this grove beyond the dying embers of their campfire. She felt that she could not speak normally to Zedd and Cara in the voice of the day. She remembered yesterday, the night and her dreams. Now realizations of the future crashed around her, demanding her attention.
Kahlan sighed, rubbing her creased eyelids and feeling the breeze move to caress her hair as... no she would not... yet could not stop thinking of that exquisite moment when Richard had entwined his fingers in her hair and kissed her in farewell. The way their energy... their Han... had surged made her realize all that they had bottled up and contained in this last year. But as always duty came first... so they had walked away from one another heading in two completely different directions. The old world and the new world separated them.
She realized now in retrospect just how much she loved him, just as she had beheld that same thwarted tenderness deep in the orbs of his liquid brown eyes...
Someone cleared their throat loudly behind her. "So... we're leaving Kahlan... the wizard said that he needs a lot of umm... mutton pie and spice stew at the inn in Weserekeep. Says it'll cheer him up some. Please don't bother to ask me... why." Cara's eyes were sparks as Kahlan slowly turned to face her. The Mord'Sith had said this all in that dangerously low voice of hers.
Kahlan suppressed a grin at Cara's apparent irritation. "He needs to get back to health and fitness after his ordeal with Denna."
"He didn't seem so weak to me. Else he wouldn't have shown off all that magic last night... and what about the half of rabbit he ate that I... shot?"
"That's just Zedd."
"And I'm a Mord'Sith. Don't think he won't sorely tempt me some time to just block his stupid wizard's magic."
At Kahlan's look of concern, Cara laughed harshly. "Don't worry... I'm honor-bound to Richard's command. So you guys are stuck with me as your 'kind' protector..."
Kahlan stepped closer to Cara who to her surprise edged back, the grass flattening in her wake. Cara never gave ground to anyone who wasn't the Lord Rahl. "I thank-you for that, Cara," Kahlan murmured earnestly. "We couldn't have made it this far without you." Who would have thought only weeks previously she would have said such a thing to this woman?
Cara lifted her chin and stared at her with studied bravery... Kahlan realized it in a flash. Why... her Confessor powers obviously still unnerved the Mord'Sith! "Well I do have honor you know. Richard taught me that at least." And then with a flourish Cara had spun off on her red-heeled boots, leaving Kahlan gazing after her and towards Zedd, yet still immersed in her own complicated, flooding thoughts... for Cara's words struck a chord in her heart.
Kahlan knew that it was Richard's doing. Beyond all the shades of doubt she and Cara had been forged into unlikely allies. By Richard. He had helped both the Mord'Sith and Confessor with their innate prejudices.
She still remembered the feel of Cara's agiel as the Mord'Sith had cauterized the painful sword-wound upon Kahlan's thigh. It had strangely bonded them... but Kahlan still shivered at the memory. But then again she had almost released her lethal Confessor power upon Cara as she had stood trial all that time ago. Kahlan had thrummed with vengeance... and then reluctant understanding. The power had been the very edge of incinerating... fire... for both of them...
"Let's head out," called Zedd from across the clearing.
To a day without Richard... Kahlan shook her head at the unruly nature of their loves... Confessor to Seeker to Rahl... and then strode back to her unusual companions. The wizard and the Mord'Sith. Richards companions. His family...
"I don't have any wish to watch that again," complained Cara as they walked up the winding stairs of the inn.
Kahlan shot her a look. "The wizard was a complete glutton," Cara explained flatly.
"Yet you have to admit the pie and stew were wonderful."
"I've had much better at a Temple."
Kahlan ignored Cara's surly dig and pushed open the door to their chamber.
"Good enough." Cara wrinkled her nose at the small chamber. "Hope you're not worried by the prospect of a few fleas, Confessor." With her wispy blonde hair swinging about her taut shoulders, Cara bent to examine the mattress.
"It can't be any worse than the wilds..."
"We'll see." Cara smirked her full lips, her voice both mellow and bored. "Sorry to interrupt this chitchat, but I'm off to the bath. Who knows what this hell hole has to offer... and I need courage to face the fleas. Now you might relish the chance to clean up as well Kahlan... so why don't you put on some of that kohl for luck. Well... good luck on your own musings and courage..." And with that Cara sauntered out of the room.
So much for warmth between them... thought Kahlan. Cara could be incredibly goading and uppity.
"A Mord'Sith without a Lord Rahl is like a dog without a bone..." Kahlan spoke out-loud. She made herself laugh despite herself.
And what had she become... a woman bereft without her man? "I've succumbed to this..." Kahlan remembered tenderly how Richard had bought her the shadowy kohl blends from a hawker in Myanera... the town they stayed in after they had left her resurrected sister, Dennee...
He had known she was sad and he couldn't help but try to cheer her up, she knew... "The hawker told it me it is incredibly lucky and powerful for women in Myanera to wear these kohl blends. I knew how wonderful they would be with your beautiful blue eyes... and your new dress."
Kahlan had smiled at Richard so broadly... she couldn't help it. She and her sister had talked of the importance of wearing dark and light as a Confessor. "You need to show who you are..." So before she had left Dennee in her new life, they had dyed her old green gown as close to black as they could.
The eye shadows and kohls had pulled together her new fierce look. She enjoyed putting it on. Her leggings had been put aside in this warmer weather, and so her newly dyed dress became her everyday uniform. Her white had to be saved for special occasions. "Like the day we finally defeat the Keeper..."
But the new look also cemented her growing attractions to Richard. Her willingness to accept it from him. She had changed into a woman fully aware of love and lust. And when they tracked Denna... well when Denna saw her again she would look on the face of the Mother Confessor... not a Confessor in hiding. Denna was dead... but Kahlan still thought of Mord'Siths. Of Cara.
Cara had made jokes about Kahlan's new look from the beginning. And she continued it. "Lucky, huh?" she would say after hearing how Richard had described his cosmetic gifts for Kahlan.
Was it possible that Mistress Cara Mason was jealous? Mord'siths were known to serve the Lord Rahls in intimate ways. Yet Richard only waited for Kahlan. "Only for me... for a consummation that can never be..."
Kahlan thought back to her lucid dream the night before. She sat on the disheveled bed and rested her forehead in her hands. "Richard had been walking in the Old World... coming towards her. He came up to her, the breeze brushing back his brown hair as he took her hands warmly in his. 'Kahlan... I'll hold you in my heart... though failure, death and time stand between...'
'What ever do you mean, Richard?' she had asked. He quietly gave her back her dagger. And she handed him his sword. These actions had held great weight and importance it seemed...
'You know I always tell you the truth. But you must wait long for victory... and for this...' And after he had paused, Richard had taken her face and passionately kissed her... a heady thing where their tongues swirled and their breath mingled and Kahlan had ran her fingers up his spine to the back of his neck... And Confessed him...
The shock of it was so beautiful and terrifying that it had pulled her from her dream into the moon-lit night. "Only now I am alone..."
Even now Kahlan felt this dream reverberate in her spirit and body.
Cara submerged from the bath, taking an intake of air. Breaths... of life... so useless. I'm not the same kind of Mord'Sith anymore. Damn you Richard, I gave you the breath of life... you teach me a new way and then you leave me behind... to do what? She was still figuring that out. She shook out her hair and wrapped herself in the knotty, threadbare robe. Cheap bath but still refreshing.
Cara put on her leathers, and replaced her agiel and Trianna's. Her retribution payment.
Even the pain of the agiels made her think of Richard. "I miss him. But I know he's not mine to love. He is Kahlan's... rightly so. I even exchanged words with that wench Denna about it."
But she always teased Kahlan... I'm cruel... because I do need someone new and my loyalty and bond to Richard Rahl run deep... I'm a Mord'Sith, a true one forged by Richard... Richard Rahl."
Who would have ever thought? And she was now bound to serve a Confessor... His Confessor...
As Cara strode back to their shared room she steeled herself for the Kahlan's anger. She is imperious, deadly and awe-inspiring... She is surprisingly worthy of a Mord'Sith's respect... not my constant jibes...
As Cara swung open the door, Kahlan raised her head, long dark hair swinging. Tears stained her firm face. Her look almost prompted a snide comment from Cara but then she swallowed it. Because in this next instant... Kahlan Amnell was regal... even with the smudging of that dark kohl about those eyes... those eyes bluer than the sky and the sea.
Kahlan was dirty, worn and hurt... but she sparkled with... grace. She forgives me for what I am.
Cara bent down and looked up into Kahlan's face. "Are you alright?"
"Yes... I am." Kahlan paused and looked at Cara steadily. Her watery eyes were intense, but Cara was not frightened.
"I pledged to serve you... so please... forgive me for being rude."
"Rude?" Kahlan laughed self-consciously, embarrassed. "You are only being you Cara. I appreciate your honesty."
Cara quietly reached up and removed the bandage from Kahlan's leg. The wound was still there but healing.
She gazed at it and then pressed her red lips to the sensitive skin, perfect and imperfect. Kahlan shivered at the contact, but then her hand moved to rest against Cara's golden hair, still damp. She did not seem dismayed...
When Cara broke the contact she stared boldly up into the withheld tears of Kahlan's eyes. "Don't worry," she whispered reassuringly. Cara's voice broke to a husky whisper, tinged with unfamiliar feelings. "He will return to us someday."
"Oh yes... and Cara... somehow... I'm glad you are here with me... waiting until morning... someday I pray... he will come back to us."
"Richard always does." "I'm sure we'll meet again..."
Cara rose and felt a surprising surge of confidence. "I can still serve... maybe I can even have affection for a Confessor... you never really know..."
Kahlan was grinning at her regal stance, the Mord'Sith's hands on her agiels and that determined look in her eye. "You sound so knowing."
"Maybe I do know."
Kahlan stood up and brushed down her skirts. Her pale cheeks were filled with a wash of color. Her freckles standing out starkly. "So... tell me... what does a Mord'Sith's kiss do?"
"Heal," quipped Cara. "No... really... I was improvising." She turned away. "Go take a bath Kahlan... before you dirty up this room anymore. You have to give these fleas something good."
She heard Kahlan's footsteps hesitate on the threshold. "Thank-you, Cara," she said in her soft, sure tone. It was a rustling breeze to Cara's ears.
The footsteps were like wind... and then she was gone. Yet Cara smiled. For Kahlan would be back.
Richard woke in the strange forest during the midst of a pink-tinged dawn. Sister Verna still slept a few feet away huddled in her cloak. Soon they would reach the Palace of the Prophets... Where he would learn all he could so he could return to his old life... Richard sighed with deep, sorrowful hope, stirring in the faded leaves. The birds chattered restlessly in the trees above his head as he reached down and touched the contoured coolness of Kahlan's dagger. Her gift to him...
He vowed to return to her... return to his family... his loves...
Even if I am a wizard...
A dream came flooding back to his awareness... Ah yes... Kahlan and Cara had been fighting fiercely side by side, sword of truth and agiel together. Confessor and Mord'Sith... and then they had run across a great ridge... meeting Zedd. His grandfather! Freed from Denna. Straight and strong. He was safe...
And in that moment Richard knew that they were all waking to breathe in the shades and light of morning... this morning.
He allowed the warmth of the incoming day to fill his eyes.