Flora opened her eyes, wondering where she was. "Kahlan?" She whispered, wincing in pain as she sat up. The stones were hard on her back, and she almost screamed as she saw that she was surrounded by rats. "Kahlan? Kahlan?" Her voice was hoarse, and with a start she remembered everything. The fight, the mordsith, Richard. Where was Richard? Was he alright? Oh Creator! She had failed. She had failed to protect someone else that she loved. "I failed. again. Why do I keep failing?"

"because you are a coward." the sultry voice made her raise her head, bringing a whole new pain when she tried to look at the other woman who stood before her. "You could have killed me, had you grabbed my agiel."

"I know your tricks. I would have been incapacitated had I been senseless enough to touch that thing." Pain. white hot pain.

"YOU WILL SPEAK ONLY WHEN I SPEAK TO YOU AND YOU WILL ADDRESS ME AS MISTRESS CARA." The pain ceased, and Flora relaxed, looking up into the deep seafoam green eyes.

"Of course Mistress Cara." Flora said softly, eyes downcast. "Where is the one who took me?"

"Alive. If that is what you are asking." Flora watched the fierce woman make her way around her, eyes appraising her. She whimpered, crying out as she was struck time and time again with the agiel, pain filling her every sense.

"DeeDee" she whimpered. "DeeDee." She couldnt scream any longer, couldnt keep her head up. But for some reason, some sick twist of fate, she wasn't being allowed to slip into unconsciousness.

"Who is DeeDee?" Cara asked, placing the agiel under her chin. "Who is your precious DeeDee? She must be very important to you, for you to be screaming out for her in your training." Cara's voice was mocking, and Flora hated the glare that was in the Mordsith's eyes.

"The love of my life." Flora said, ignoring the use of the appellation.

"You will never see her again." Cara growled, beating her over and over. Blood ran from her sides, neck, and head. This was only to be the beginning.

"Tell me Seeker." Denna growled, pacing all around the once formidable warrior. "Tell me what I need to know." She was aware of Richard watching her, aware of the simple fact that she needed to get the information for Rahl, but for the first time, her mind wasnt fully on her assignment. "WHERE IS THE BOOK OF SHADOWS?"

"Where is Flora? Did you kill her?" Insolent boy. Stupid fool. Didnt he know what his disobedience cost him? She began to beat him with the agiel, her eyes boring into him, her teeth bared so hard that she felt one of them crack with the effort. She beat him within an inch of his life, then tossed him back into his cell, chaining him up in the same place he had been that morning.

Sighing, Denna left the room shutting the door with a loud bang, illogically thinking that the louder the noise she made the softer her thoughts would become. She felt something in her gut, a quiet whisper that seemed to call her down the hallway. This was different than the song of another Mordsith's agiel calling her to assist with a training when the pet needed a firmer hand. This felt like the music of a dream. Denna internally scoffed at that thought, Mordsith do not have romantic illusions. Even so, Denna marched down the hall, following the screams into the last training room.

"Tell me. Dammit!" Cara was bent over the girl, agiel directly under her ear. "I'm sure you know where that Book of Shadows is. " Denna watched, intrigued as the girl writhed under the weapon's touch. She stepped forward, her eyes never leaving Cara's work. "Mind if I play a bit?" Denna winked at Cara, her red gloved hand caressing Cara's braid for a brief moment. "I have expended my pet for today. I'd like a few moments working at your side, if I may have the honor?"

"Of course, Madame Denna." Cara lowers her head, and Denna moves to take her place. Flora struggles to rise, wincing as she pushes herself to her knees. Pain. searing pain.

"Not so tough now are you Bitch?" Denna snarls, slamming Flora back to the ground, internally groaning when a splash of blood hit her golden braid. She'd have to wash that later. It wouldn't do to have the girl's blood on her all night long. With a savage, wolf-like growl Denna wrapped her leather clad hand around Flora's throat. "Why do you wear a braid?" She growled, her deep blue eyes stormy, with a hint of grey.

"I lost someone, years ago. I wear this as a reminder of my failure to protect her, and as a symbol that her memory will protect me. I do not know if she is dead, or alive. I have never seen her ...on..on the ..raids" Flora winced as she realized she'd forgotten to use the appellation. she braced herself for the coming storm of pain.

"HAVE YOU FORGOTTEN YOUR PLACE ALREADY SLAVE?" Cara's eyes bulged in shock as Denna stepped between her and Flora. There was something in Denna's eyes she couldn't understand. "What are you doing?"

"It is my turn now Cara. If she needs to be punished. I shall do it. I need you to go and work Richard. No one can turn an agiel quite like you can. I want him to talk. A fresh face may do that." Flora winced at the evil gleam in Denna's eye, "I will punish her my way."

Cara stalked off in a huff. Denna watched as the door shut with clang and she dove for the water bucket.

"SPIRITS!" She cursed as the ladle fell from her hand, and she bent to pick it up. "Flora. Open your eyes. Come on now. Dammit. Open your eyes. That's an order!"

It hurt. Everything hurt. Her head most of all. What was going on? Why was the Mordsith yelling? What was pressed against her lips? Water. Cool water. " M..Mistress..." She coughed, and tasted blood in her mouth.

"Shhh..You're going to be alright. Trust me. I'm going to get you out of this. I have to. Creator willing, you're going to be alright. Tell me Flora, can you sit up? I'll help you, but I need to see the extent of your internal bleeding. Come on now Precious. DeeDee's here now." Denna's voice broke with emotion and for a moment, she allowed herself to be something other than Mordsith. "I'm here darling."

"DeeDee?" Flora fought off the almost drunken haze. Her heart almost dared to hope, then she fought it off. No. No. This was one of their tricks. She knew that. Why couldn't she let herself accept it? She knew they could read minds. So why was she falling so easily under the spell of this soft, deep voice.

"Yes Honey. Yes. It's me. You're alright Flora. Just drink the water alright?" Flora felt tired, so tired. She felt safe in the leather clad arms that held her tightly.

"Stop..what're you doing ?" Flora slurs, wincing in pain as the Mordsith began stripping her out of the bloody dress which she wore.

"Shh...relax." Flora cried out as she felt the cold water on her wounds, washing away the blood. "Flora...shhh...oh honey..honey..shhh.." She felt herself rocking on the stone floor, held in those warm, soft arms. "I am right here. "

"DeeDee.." It wasn't true. She knew it, but she figured if she played along, she wouldn't be hurt anymore. At least for a while, at least for a while she would be in those warm, safe arms. For a while, before Cara came back. "DeeDee.. DeeDee...I'm..it hurts..I'm sorry..DeeDee.."

Denna's heart broke at the sobbing girl in her arms. She never wanted to bring pain to the friend she had once known, and over the years, fallen in love with. "It will be ok. I promise Flora..I will make it ok." She helped the girl into the blanket that Cara had laid in the corner of the room her heart breaking once again when she felt a tug on her leg.

"Stay with me..please...I know you're not really her...I know that...but..I..I..I'd really like it if you'd pretend a bit longer, maybe just until I fall asleep..It would make me very happy." Flora looked so weak, so helpless, Denna felt like crying herself. "DeeDee...I love you."