The sky was dark and filled with gray rain clouds as they ran, laughing, skirts flying in the wind as they raced each other to the creek. Their laughter grew louder as they were suddenly caught in the sudden downpour.
"Help!" The small, brown haired figure rolled down the hill, "DeeDee!"
"Hold on Flora!" The golden haired girl raced after her, feet swift and sure on the muddy embankment. "Gotcha!" In one swift movement she scooped up the younger girl and began dragging her back up the hill to safety.
"Wake up." Flora rolled over on the bedroll, sighing as she felt Kahlan's eyes on her. "It's morning silly. Get up. We have a lot of ground to cover. Come with me to get firewood?" Kahlan playfully shook her shoulder, pulling the blanket off of her, laughing as Flora swatted back.
"Okay, Okay, alright already, Geez. Im up" Flora smiled, playfully rolling her eyes at the Mother Confessor, standing up and stretching, still remembering the events of her dream. It had been years. Ten whole years. Ten years since that fateful day, and yet she still had the same dream every single bloody night. The guilt was sill weighing on her heart like a full grown Ox, even after all these long years and the journeys shed travelled in that time.
She didn't race ahead as she normally did each morning, didnt playfully pull at Kahlan's long brown hair or push her into a bush or a puddle. She ran her hand thoughtfully along the tree trunks that she passed, the guilt overwhelming her. It had been such a long time. She'd trained, running miles every day, racing through the forests at break neck speed, her skilled feet not ever tripping her up over the miles and miles of root laden grounds. She blamed herself. If she'd been stronger, her friend would still be beside her.
"Youre miles away." Kahlan said softly, her dark eyes compassionate and kind. "You've been very quiet since you started travelling with us. I can tell something is wrong." Flora felt a hand on her shoulder. "You were talking in your sleep. Calling for someone named DeeDee." Kahlan's eyes seemed to see into her soul.
Flora stiffened. "I'm fine. " She quickened her steps, not surprised when Kahlan sped up as well. "Kahlan. Please. I dont want to talk about Her." Her voice cracked, and she turned her head away. Kahlan always knew when she needed to talk, especially when she didnt want to.
"When youre ready, I am here." Kahlan promised. Flora shook her head, sighing as she picked up another handful of firewood. She'd told no one about DeeDee, and she probably never could. Especially not Kahlan. She would never understand.
"Im sorry. I didnt mean to upset you." Kahlan said softly, seeing the tear tracks making their way down Flora's face. Flora melted into the hug, closing her eyes , even now after all this time amazed at the peace she felt when near the Mother Confessor. She was crying. Years of pent up tears letting themselves loose because she had someone who cared enough to listen.
"It isnt. It isnt you. DeeDee was my best friend growing up. She was two years older than me, and the absolute kindest person I ever knew. She wasn't like the other girls in the village who turned me away once they started wanting to hang out with boys. It was just me and DeeDee. We were inseparable. My brothers used to tease me, they thought I had a crush on her, and they were right." Flora paused to sniff, surprised when Kahlan led her to a nearby rock. They sat down, Flora still resting her head on the Confessor's shoulder. "Every summer, right before harvest, we ran to the forest near our homes and hid in the cave we played in. There we stayed from Sunup to Sundown. That was when the Mordsith came." Flora closed her eyes. "The summer I turned twelve, we thought DeeDee would be safe. They usually dont take anyone past the age of thirteen, but this year, they must have been short-" Flora felt her shoulder shake with sobs. "I ran. Like Papa told me, expecting DeeDee to already be there. I waited for hours. I waited until the moon was high in the sky. I waited until the next day. They took her."