So, this is it, last chapter. It's the biggest chapter I've written so far, but since I don't write the scenes in a linear way, I wanted to make sure I got to address everything I wanted, because I already knew this was going to be the last chapter of the story. I just didn't plan for the writing to get away from me, but that's hardly a surprise anymore, that's how this thing started in the first place. And since I had it all written already, it didn't made sense to me to cut it in two, so I'm just posting it all.
I wanted to thank everyone that read this fic and also thank you for the feedback you guys gave me as I wrote, it was really encouraging and helpful. I know there's people that fist read it many years ago, when I first started it, and are picking it up now again, to them I apologize for have taking so long to finish it when I promised I would. But, hey, I do keep my promises!
I hope everyone enjoys the end of the adventure! If you feel up to it, let me know what you thought about it in the comments, those always warm a writer's heart!
"What are you looking at, you perv?" Kahlan teasingly whispered in her wife's ear when she caught the blonde looking at their younger selves kissing in the far corner of the room.
"As if you weren't doing the exact same thing," Cara rolled her eyes good naturedly and whispered back with a grin. "It's just surreal to look at, you know?" Cara pondered as her wife nodded. "I mean look at me, I look like a love-struck puppy," she chuckled amusedly as she looked at the younger Cara.
"I've always told you I could melt you with my kisses," Kahlan kept teasing, placing a sweet kiss on her wife's cheek.
"I'm well aware of the effect your kisses have on me," Cara smiled back knowingly. "I just never thought it could be so obvious to everyone else," she pointedly looked back at the younger women, who were clearly too wrapped up in each other to notice anything else.
"Aww, my poor baby," Kahlan cooed and caressed her wife's thigh under the table. "Thinking she always looked so tough, when in reality she just looked so cute," she grinned in anticipation, knowing perfectly well how Cara would receive her words.
"I didn't say anything about cute," Cara turned sharply to face her wife with a warning look, suspecting by the widening of Kahlan's grin that this was just the reaction her wife was hoping to obtain. "But you have a point," she conceded reluctantly. "I guess I always thought myself to be quite stoic, it never crossed my mind that it was so clear on my face how much I love you," she said gently as her scowl turned into a sincere smile.
"Even when you're being stoic it's always clear to me how much you love me," Kahlan captured the blonde's hand and gave it a squeeze. "Your eyes tell me everything I need to know, always," she smiled and leaned in to share a kiss with her wife.
"So, what do you plan to do next?" Zedd questioned the older women, unknowingly interrupting them as his eyes were still on his plate. "About Farkas, I mean," he clarified lifting his head and noticing Kahlan and Cara finally joining the others at the table.
"Both Farkas and Eratos will have a trial," the Mother Confessor replied, the carefree smile she wore while talking to her wife fading into a small frown. "I don't have much to ponder, I've known for a while what their sentence was going to be and to be honest I want it over with as soon as possible," she assured and looked at Cara, who gave her a curt nod and squeezed her hand in support.
"I hope you're talking about killing him and not just confessing him," a younger Cara said with a tilt of her head. "Because I think if you don't do it, I will," she promised, a predatory smirk making itself known.
"You won't have to do it," the Mother Confessor shook her head, secretly amused at this Cara's display of impatience. "Farkas' sentence will, most certainly, be death," she confirmed, making Cara smile satisfyingly. "For him and his co-conspirator, Eratos. What they did was too serious for it to be anything else, but they will still be heard in a trial before that happens."
"Good," Cara nodded curtly. "They deserve nothing less," she said in a tone that let everyone know much she hated both men.
"But I would ask something of all you," the Mother Confessor continued, her eyes studying their young visitors closely. "I would like for you to be present at the trial. You will serve as proof of the time travelling and I can call on you to answer questions if needed be," she explained her plan, ending up looking at Kahlan for the answer.
"Of course we will be there," Kahlan was quick to confirm. "You can count on us," she continued with a reassuring smile.
"I was hopping as much," the Mother Confessor smiled back, her gratitude clear in her eyes. "But I still thank you."
"Let's not wait anymore then," Cara said as she got up and turned to face Raina, who was standing at attention a couple of steps behind them. "Please make the necessary arrangements for the trial, you know what to do. I also want to get this over with as soon as possible," she ordered and watched the Mord'Sith nod in acknowledgement and leave the room with Berdine.
"Mother," Sarah said, bringing everyone's attention to her. "Do you want me to change?" she asked, motioning to the black leathers she was till using. Normally she attended the hearings wearing one of her Confessor dresses, it was a lot more formal that way.
"No, sweetie," the Mother Confessor smiled, looking appraisingly at her daughter and nodding approvingly after a pause. "I know you prefer the leathers and it will actually help with sending a message. People need to accept my daughters as they are, once and for all," she stated with a slightly annoyed sigh; she was tired of the whispers about the girls' heritage, they were getting older and their roles in Aydindril would become more active, people needed to accept them without second thoughts.
"What about you, little thing?" Sarah asked her sister, a glint of mischief in her eyes. "Do you want to change?" she asked more to tease her sister than anything else, she was very aware of the girl's preference in wardrobe.
"But I look so pretty in a dress," Alys said as she got up from her chair and twirled around happily, the dress flowing around her with the movement. "Why change?" she grinned teasingly and made a show of looking her sister up and down.
"Don't look at me like that," Sarah shook her head unbothered as she also got up from her chair. "I look pretty in anything," she smirked at the blonde girl and dodged the swat Alys aimed at her with a laugh. "But we should still clean ourselves up a bit, so come on," she said and walked out the room, her little sister next to her.
"Do they ever get tired of teasing each other?" Kahlan shook her head fondly as she addressed the older women.
"No," Cara replied with a tired sigh, one that spoke of the countless times she had to hear her daughters bicker with each other. "They can even do it without uttering a single word," she added, her eyes glazing over as she recalled such times.
"Alys seems to be a fan of practical jokes," Cara commented, also remembering how Alys enjoyed teasing her in the short time they had spent together.
"That too," the Mother Confessor chuckled, making a mental note of asking her daughter later exactly what practical jokes she had pulled on her mom's younger self. "But I think Cara was thinking about the time Alys spent a whole day staring silently at Sarah," she clarified, making the others laugh in amusement. "We were all expecting her to cave and give it up, but I swear my youngest daughter sometimes seem to function on shear stubbornness alone," she sighed, knowing the extremes Alys could go to when she wanted to prove her point.
"I bet that rattled Sarah," Kahlan chuckled, imagining how annoying it might have been to have the little girl follow her around silently for so long.
"It takes a lot to bother Sarah," Cara said with a tilt of her head. "But that day she actually had to make an effort not to let her sister's insistence get to her," she chuckled at the memory. "She's no less stubborn than Alys."
"We have to go take care of some things before the trial," the Mother Confessor said after the laughter had dyed down, her wife nodding in understanding and getting up with her. "Meet us in the chair room within the hour," she instructed, addressing their younger selves before leaving the room.
"We'll be there," Kahlan confirmed to the departing women and turned to her companions. "Who wants to go stretch their legs for a while?" she asked, not wanting to be cooped up in the same room until the trial; she couldn't help but feel a little anxious about it.
"We spend our days doing precisely that, my dear," Zedd reminded Kahlan with raised eyebrows. "I think I'll take this opportunity to do the exact opposite," he stated, reclining on his chair and taking a bite of the persimmon in his hand, courtesy of the Mother Confessor who had asked for the fruit especially for him.
"I'll keep an eye on Zedd," Richard said with an amused grin as he watched his grandfather enjoy the fruit. "Prevent him from devouring the Palace's entire supply of food," he said teasingly, earning a reproachful look from the old man.
"What about you?" Kahlan asked Cara while getting up from her chair. "Are you tired too?" she said with a playful glint in her eyes.
"I'm never tired," Cara quickly replied and got up swiftly to join Kahlan. "You should know that better than anyone," she whispered to the brunette as she passed her by on her way to the door.
Kahlan just pursed her lips to contain her grin at the blonde's sly comment and followed her out the room. They had only walked a few paces down the corridor, when they were intercepted by a soldier from the Aydindril army, judging by his colors.
"Commander," he saluted, standing at attention in front of Cara. "Riders have been dispatched to inform the members of the Council of the impending trial," he informed, keeping his head slightly down in deference. "Mother Confessor," he acknowledged Kahlan with a respectful bow.
"Hmm," Cara cleared her throat and looked at Kahlan for help, only to be greeted with a very amused look as the brunette watched the scene, content with no interfering. With a sigh, Cara addressed the man. "I'm not the one you're supposed to report to," she informed a little awkwardly.
"Commander?" the man frowned in confusing and lifted his head to look at her. "I'm not sure I understand."
"I'm not your Commander," Cara stated flatly. "And she's also not who you think she is," she said, pointing at Kahlan, who just smiled at the man.
"You're imposters!" the man said in alarm, recognizing the differences between these women and the ones he was accustomed to, now that he looked closely at them. Without waiting a second more, he took out his sword menacingly, making both women take a cautious step back.
"Calm down," Kahlan said in a calm voice, not wanting to hurt this man but sure she could defend herself if he tried to attack her. "Let us explain."
"Stand down!" Raina barked, as she approached the soldier from behind. "That's your Commander and the Mother Confessor you're raising a sword to. Do you have a death wish?" she asked as she stared the man down.
"They said they weren't them," the man justified, to what Raina just rolled her eyes.
"They are their younger counterparts, who came here with Sarah and Alys," Raina clarified, to the soldier's surprise. "Now, put your weapon away, unless you want a go at them," she smiled a little too sweetly.
"No," the man quickly said as he sheathed his sword. "I'm terribly sorry for my mistake, please forgive me," he bowed in respect in front of an amused Kahlan and a slightly annoyed Cara.
"You were only doing your duty, you have nothing to apologize for," Kahlan was quick to reassure and sighed when she noticed that Cara was just giving the man a cold stare. The blonde smirked wolfishly when the soldier glanced at her, making the man wince and look at the floor again.
"Go and make sure the men know there are visitors from the past. Besides the Commander and the Mother Confessor, the wizard Zedd and the Lord Rahl are also here," Raina advised. "We wouldn't want the Commander to be informed of an attempt on her own life, right?" she asked and the soldier shook his head quickly. "Or even worse, an attempt on the life of the Mother Confessor," at that the soldier's eyes went even wider and he looked at Raina in horror.
"I'll go warn everyone right away," the man said and scurried away like he was being chased by a shadrin.
"Men," Raina sighed boringly as they watched the soldier leave. "It's all about the right motivation, am I right?" she grinned.
"That was one way to do it," Kahlan said with a slightly disapproving look, but couldn't help but chuckle at Raina's unapologetic attitude. "Do you always amuse yourself this much when you're addressing the soldiers?" she asked with a raised eyebrow, almost dreading the reply she would get.
"You'll eventually find out I amuse myself when I address anyone, Mother Confessor," Raina smirked before continuing down the corridor. "Feel free to roam the Palace," she said over her shoulder. "Or find a quiet room somewhere," she added before disappearing over the next corner, leaving two stunned faces in her wake.
"That was a fine example of her amusing herself, wasn't it?" Kahlan chuckled at the Mord'Sith's insinuating comment and looked at Cara questioningly.
"I guess not even the Mother Confessor escapes Raina's colorful observations," Cara said with a shake of her head. She wasn't really surprised at the Mord'Sith's words, ever since they had met, Raina had always been a proud owner of a very sharp tongue, apparently it had only gotten sharper with age.
"Let's go," Kahlan said and grabbed Cara's hand. "I need some fresh air," she said with a wishful smile, pulling the blonde along with her.
"We don't have much time to roam outside the Palace, if we want to make it in time for the trial," Cara pointed out, but followed Kahlan willingly.
"I know," Kahlan nodded and moved purposefully along the familiar corridors. "I was thinking of something else," she said and opened a door that lead to a balcony overlooking the city.
"This works too," Cara nodded approvingly, approaching the banister to look at the city below. "This is quiet the view," she commented in awe.
"You said the same thing back at the Keep," Kahlan smiled and hugged Cara from behind. She was really happy that Cara seemed to enjoy Aydindril. "I'm sure the People's Palace had similar views," she commented and brushed Cara's hair away so she could kiss her neck.
"Not quite as green though," Cara commented, cupping Kahlan's cheek and turning her head to kiss the brunette's lips.
"I like green," Kahlan said with a smile, allowing Cara to turn around and placing her arms loosely on the Mord'Sith's shoulders. "It has become my favorite color," she whispered sweetly while looking deeply into the blonde's eyes.
"I don't know," Cara disagreed, circling the brunette's waist. "I think I prefer blue," she grinned, making Kahlan hum contently before she kissed her lips again.
"So, what do you think of your older self?" Kahlan asked after pulling away from the kiss, combing through blonde hair distractedly.
"I'm not sure," Cara shrugged indifferently. "My eyes keep drifting to the Mother Confessor," she said slowly with a smirk and a raised eyebrow.
"You've been ogling her?" Kahlan asked in mock outrage as she slapped Cara's shoulder playfully. "Cara!"
"You can't be jealous of yourself," Cara pointed out with a smug grin. "Besides, I was just confirming what I've told you before, that you would be really hot when you got older," she recalled a conversation they had had previously about the time she had gone to the future with Richard and saw a statue of Kahlan.
"You didn't age badly yourself," Kahlan mused. "I like the long hair and she has this aura of authority around her, it's very attractive," she said with a dreamy look.
"Okay, enough of this," Cara said with a frown, not liking where this was going.
"Not as fun when it's me doing the ogling?" Kahlan teased as Cara just rolled her eyes.
"Not really, I guess," Cara conceded with a sigh, pulling Kahlan closer to her in an unconscious attempt to assert herself.
"No need to be jealous," Kahlan grinned at Cara's actions and annoyed expression, sure that the blonde wasn't even aware of what she was doing.
"I'm not jealous," Cara pouted and raised her eyebrows in slight annoyance, which she realized, did nothing to back up her claim.
"Of course you're not," Kahlan said sarcastically. "And there's no reason for you to be. I only have eyes for you," Kahlan whispered against Cara's lips before kissing the blonde slowly. "All versions of you," she added teasingly, moving to kiss Cara again but laughed when the blonde leaned away from her with an unamused frown.
"You're having a little too much fun with this," Cara tried to scold the brunette, but the grin playing at her lips took the bite out of it. "And what about you? Is this how you imagined yourself to be, after galivanting all around the Midlands helping the Seeker?" she asked in a playful tone, but she knew Kahlan would perceive the serious question under the teasing.
"Definitely not," Kahlan said pensively, taking a deep breath and exhaling slowly, feeling Cara's fingers tracing comforting circles on her lower back. "I always thought I would be alone," she started with a frown, her eyes fixating on the freckles of Cara's chest as she pondered what to say next. "Being a Confessor, let alone the Mother Confessor, deep down it's… lonely," she swallowed and glanced up into Cara's eyes, getting the strength to continue from the silent understanding in the blonde's eyes. "And when I discovered I was the only Confessor left alive; I knew my life would truly never be my own again. My duty of having to rule Aydindril and continue the line of Confessors had to come first," she sighed, remembering the toll this news had taken on her. "When I was with Richard, deep down I knew it was something that I would have to let go one day, but while we were trying to save the world I guess it felt okay to postpone my responsibilities and ignore reality," she shrugged meekly, leaning into Cara's hand gratefully when the blonde caressed her cheek. "But then you changed all that," she smiled, kissing the inside of Cara's wrist. "You just wouldn't give up on us. And not in a novelty way, with promises of everything being all right eventually, with no real regard for the obstacles we face. Granted you stumbled on them a few times, but you've always came around, acknowledged those obstacles and tried to go around them," she explained, knowing by the blonde's soft smile that her words were making an echo with her. "Or through them, most of the time," she added with an amused chuckle, making Cara grin and nod in agreement of her more direct approach of dealing with problems.
"It looks like it payed off," Cara said in a low voice. "She seems far from lonely," she smiled.
"It's more than that," Kahlan said in awe. "She has a family with the person she loves, without that person being confessed. Only in my wildest dreams have I ever dreamt something like that would ever be possible."
"I already knew I was good at many things," Cara started teasingly, wanting to bring some levity to their talk. "But I never imagined I was able to make dreams come true," she grinned proudly.
"You are a dream come true, Cara," Kahlan said meaningfully, smiling at the way Cara just shyly bit her lip. It always made her heart swell when she could see this side of Cara; the side that was solely ruled by emotion and it only made itself shown in these moments together, making it all the more perfect.
Cara chose to forego words and instead replied to Kahlan in a language that carried more meaning and emotion than she could ever put in words. She cupped Kahlan's neck and pulled the brunette into a tender kiss, the smile on Kahlan's lips as she kissed back letting her know her message had been received.
The chair room was filled to the brim with people who wanted to witness the Mother Confessor pass judgment on the men who had terrorized their city for so long. Raina and Berdine had done a good job at spreading the word, bringing to the palace not only the Council but as many citizens from Aydindril as the room could welcome. The ones that didn't fit in the room, were gathered in the courtyard, all waiting for justice to be made. An expectant energy could be felt in the air as everybody took their place. But this time, instead of the Mother Confessor being the one to attract the attention, the time travelers were the ones on the end of the curious looks.
"Bring in the prisoners," the Mother Confessor ordered in a steel voice from her sitting position on the high chair.
Raina and Berdine entered the room, each one of them leading one of the shackled prisoners. The Mord'Sith made them kneel before the Mother Confessor, before standing at attention behind them.
"Mother Confessor," Farkas looked up at the ruler of Aydindril, but the only sound leaving his mouth after that was a pained scream as something connected with his neck.
"The Mother Confessor didn't say you could talk," Raina said calmly from behind Farkas while she pressed her agiel more firmly to the man's neck for good measure. "You'll either stay silent or scream again, but there will be no talking, unless it's demanded of you," she warned, finally taking the agiel away while the wizard gasped in relief.
The Mother Confessor gave a curt nod to Raina, letting her know her gesture had been appreciated. She turned to her right and gave her daughters and encouraging look. Both girls were standing next to her chair, Sarah in her Mord'Sith leather couldn't look prouder and Alys seemed a little nervous, but one quick wink from her sister was all it took for the girl to stand taller. Their younger selves were standing to side, not at all bothered by the curious looks they were getting. The Mother Confessor turned to her left in search of the strength her wife's reassuring look always gave her and then cleared her throat to address the room.
"We are here to pass judgement on these two men," the Mother Confessor started, looking around the now completely silent room. "They stand accused of conspiring against Aydindril, laying siege to the city, attempting to murder me and murdering the Commander of Aydindril's army," she paused and looked down at the prisoners. "Do you deny these accusations?" she asked the men, her voice never wavering.
"I never attacked you, with dagger or magic," Farkas told the Mother Confessor, knowing what he was saying was true and she couldn't say otherwise.
"That's because you knew if you did, I would have stopped dagger and magic," Cara interjected calmly from her spot next to the high chair. "As would my daughters," she added with a smirk.
"You didn't stop the arrows I shot at you though," Farkas spat at Cara with smug smirk.
"That's one crime you're admitting to. Good," the Mother Confessor said quickly, effectively wiping the smug smirk from Farkas' face and not letting him try to diminish Cara in any way. "So on to the others," she continued without pause. "Since you couldn't get to me here, you decided to use a more cowardly method to achieve your goals. You traveled back in time and tried to kill her," she said, motioning to Kahlan.
"What the Mother Confessor is saying is true," Kahlan addressed the room after her older self had given her an imperceptible nod for her to speak. "Me and my companions are from twenty years in the past. Farkas arrived in our time and tried to kill me," she explained, raising awed whispers from the audience. "The only reason I'm alive, is because Alys stepped in front of the wizard's fire Farkas used against me and deflected it," she said with a smile at the young girl.
"So, you're saying that my daughter's Mord'Sith powers saved your life?" the Mother Confessor asked her younger self, clearly intending on making it very clear that her daughter's powers were an asset, not something to be feared or mistrusted.
"Not only my life," Kahlan said and turned to Richard next to her. "Alys stopped a dacra from killing the Seeker, without whom the tear of the veil would never have been mended and you would all be living very different lives, if you would even be alive at all," she reminded the room, satisfied with the murmurs of agreement she could hear.
"I saved the entire world," Alys whispered to her sister in awe.
"So not the time to be boasting, little thing," Sarah whispered back to her sister, holding her grin at bay. Leave it to Alys to make a comment like this in the middle of the most important hearing they have witnessed yet.
"And Sarah," Kahlan smiled at the teen. "She brought Cara back to life with the Breath of Life," she said, glancing at the blonde beside her. "Both of them are very strong and capable young women."
"And yet, these men claim the line of Confessors has been weakened with the birth of my daughters, precisely because they have Mord'Sith powers," the Mother Confessor addressed the room again. "But as you all heard, if anything, it has been strengthened, wouldn't you agree?" she turned to look directly at Farkas when she asked the question, her eyes daring the man to contradict her.
"But they're not true Confessors, they-" Farkas insisted weakly, before he was interrupted.
"Is that why you ran with your tail between your legs the moment Sarah entered the Con Dar?" Cara asked challengingly from next to Kahlan, remembering the moment when Farkas had kidnaped Alys. "I'm guessing you didn't want to end up confessed and you knew your magic was useless against her. So, the way I see it, the girls are not only true Confessors, but their powers make them even stronger than other Confessors. That's the part you really don't like," she said mockingly, receiving a venomous look from Farkas.
"You used this twisted notion that my daughters' powers tainted the line of Confessors to capitalize on the radical ideas of the Blood of the Fold and get them to use their military force against Aydindril," the Mother Confessor clarified. "Isn't that right, Eratos?" she addressed the silent man.
"Farkas' vison for Aydindril resonated with us," Eratos said with conviction. "We couldn't allow the Midlands to be controlled by a power we don't understand," he said, glancing at Sarah and Alys. "He promised a future were the ones leading could be trusted to lead us to greatness."
"I wonder what else he promised you," Cara wondered in suspicion from beside the Mother Confessor. "My guess is that it was something more substantial than idealistic visions of the future," she narrowed her eyes at the man as he lowered his head.
"You talk about my daughter's powers as if they are something to be feared," the Mother Confessor said to the man. "Those powers won't be what will make my daughters great leaders one day, it will be their wisdom, good judgment and commitment to serve their people," she stated with conviction. "All qualities you lack, so you had to resort to twisting people's minds into seeing a danger that doesn't exist and presenting yourselves as the saviors," she said. "It would have been a good plan if the people of Aydindril were that gullible or stupid," she said, provoking cheers of agreement throughout the room.
Farkas opened his mouth to interject, but the pain of the agiel against his neck prevented him once more.
"She did warn you to speak only when you're being addressed," Cara said from her standing place next to her wife and gave an approving nod to a smirking Raina.
"As I was saying, when turning the people against me didn't work out, you knew that the only way to seize the power in Aydindril would be to take out the line of Confessors," the Mother Confessor continued after Farkas lowered his head. "I'm too well protected in Aydindril," she said with a knowing look at her wife. "And as my daughters grow older, her powers are also growing, which would make killing them increasingly difficult for you. So, you decided to terminate the problem at its root. You figured that you would catch me by surprise in the past and by doing that, ensuring that Sarah and Alys would have never even be born," she explained. "Do you dare to defy my reasoning?"
"My goal was to bring order and prosperity to Aydindril," Farkas insisted. "Not leave it in the hands of freaks of nature that were made by magic," he spat.
"They weren't made, they were conceived, like any other child," The Mother Confessor quickly intervened, trying really hard to maintain her calm demeanor. "And yes, magic had a part in it, but the only reason that magic worked was because the love between their parents was strong enough to will it," she explained, refusing to let something so beautiful to be soiled by ignorance and prejudice. "My daughters are not a product of dark magic; they are a product of pure love. Confessors powers are based on love, in the eyes of that, my daughters couldn't be purer."
"No, that's-" Farkas tried to say but the Mother Confessor's voice overlapped his like thunder.
"Stop trying to use my daughters as a justification for your actions," the Mother Confessor raised her voice angrily. "Your real motives were greed for power, pure and simple."
"I'm telling you all I only had Aydindril's best interest in mind," Farkas claimed, looking around the room to try and gain any sympathy, but the closed faces around him didn't give him much hope of that happening.
"There is a way we can find that out for sure," Cara said and looked pointedly at her wife.
"What you did is unforgivable," The Mother Confessor said after an agreeing nod at Cara. "But we can certainly clarify your intentions once and for all," she got up from her chair and stood in front of both men looking between them, seeing the recognition and consequent fear in their eyes.
"You're going to confess us," Eratos said with a fearful tremble in his voice.
"I won't," Kahlan said calmly and turned to look at her daughters. "Girls," she motioned for both girls to come closer to her. "Do your duty and let these man know the Confessor power they so adamantly seem to refuse to acknowledge in you both," she said, taking care to look at both girls in the eyes and make sure they were comfortable with what she was asking of them.
This trial was just as much about justice as it was about breaking misconceived notions that still might be plaguing some people's minds. Her and Cara's instinct had always been to protect and shy the girls away from these prejudiced ideas, but they understood now that if they wanted their daughters to be truly safe, they had to do the opposite, they had to show them to the people.
"Yes, Mother Confessor," Sarah said solemnly and nodded encouragingly at her sister. The fact that she addressed her mother by the title letting Kahlan know that she wasn't doing this lightly and understood perfectly the solemnity of the moment.
Alys swallowed as she watched her sister waste no time in placing herself in front of a fearful Farkas. She looked at Eratos and saw the same fear in the man's eyes as he stared at her, the silence of the room seeming to only enhance the intensity of that look. She had never confessed anyone in a hearing before; this was not a reflexive gesture to save her life, this was a deliberate release of her power, knowing perfectly well what the consequences would be. Deserving or not, it was still a big step for her. Alys looked at her mother and the regal figure immediately reminded her that she was not just doing something her mother was asking her to do, she was doing her duty, doing what the Mother Confessor was trusting her to do. She had watched this woman countless times before pass judgment on people, and not once was she unfair or devoid of mercy, so she trusted the Mother Confessor's judgement; she trusted her mother unconditionally. Looking behind the Mother Confessor, Alys spotted her mom, who gave her an almost imperceptible wink along with a mouthed 'you got this', that gave her the last bit of confidence she needed. With a deep breath, she placed herself in front of Eratos and looked expectantly at her sister.
Sarah looked back at Alys and gave her a curt nod, letting the girl know she could start. They both reached for the men's necks at the same time, but if Eratos just clenched his jaw and didn't move, Farkas tried to move away from Sarah's reach, only to be met again with the excruciating pain the agiel pointed at the back of his neck brought.
"You don't learn," Raina said in a low voice, almost to herself.
The girls' hands made contact at the same time and the air in the room seemed to crackle with silent thunder when their power was released.
"Command me, Confessor," both men said at the same time, their fearful looks turning into ones of adoration.
"Tell me what your intentions were when you decided to kill the Mother Confessor," Sarah asked with much the same hard tone her mother had used.
"I wanted to be the ruler of Aydindril," Farkas answered with no pause. "I wanted the power that comes with it and to use it to expand my influence," he said, the adoring smile on his face making the words sound even worse than they already did. "I was planning to invade D'Hara as soon as I could and make myself the sole ruler of a big empire," he confessed to the shock of everyone in the room.
"As you all could hear, his intentions had nothing to do with my daughters or the line of Confessors," the Mother Confessor addressed the audience once they had quieted down. "He wanted to start a war, that would surely claim countless lives, all so he could gain even more power," she pointed out, watching has everybody nodded along with her words and turned to look at Alys, indicating to the girl she should be the one to address her confessed.
"What about you?" Alys said, looking at Eratos. "What were your goals when you allied yourself with Farkas?" the girl questioned, surprising herself with the unwavering tone her voice adopted.
"He promised to make me second in command of the empire he wanted to conquer," Eratos replied immediately. "I command the forces of the Blood of the Fold; imagine what it would be like to command the largest army our world has ever seen and march with it beyond the boundary and into Westland," he said with a glimmer in his eyes.
"As I suspected," Cara shook her head in disgust, stepping closer to her wife. "The offer included a lot more than foolish ideals."
"You were planning to invade D'Hara and Westland?" the Mother Confessor asked, not quiet managing to avoid the widening of her eyes. These men were even madder than she thought. They were willing to ravage three realms just to boost their own ego.
"After taking D'Hara, Westland was the obvious next step," Farkas replied nonchalantly, raising shocked and angry exclamations from the crowd.
"There you have it," the Mother Confessor addressed the audience, surer than ever of the sentence she would be carrying. "These men aimed to start something that went even beyond what we imagined," she said, disbelief and anger seeping from her tone. "And for that, their sentence is more than just," she said and took a moment to look around the room. "I, Kahlan Amnell, Mother Confessor of Aydindril, hereby sentence you to death, for crimes against me, my family and the people of Aydindril," she said confidently and with a sense of finality, to the sounds of approval around the room.
"Girls, please stand back," Cara told her daughters, motioning them to go back to the place they were before. "I'll take it from here," she said while she unsheathed both her agiels and looked at both men ominously.
As Sarah and Alys walked back to their previous spot, Cara looked questioningly at her wife, silently asking her for permission to carry on her sentence.
"The sentence will be carried out by the Commander of Aydindril's army. She should be the one to carry out the death sentence of the man that killed her, after all," the Mother Confessor announced to the room before turning to Cara once again. "Do it," Kahan told her wife with a nod.
"Gladly," Cara replied and moved to stand in between both men, agiels readied in her hands.
Before any of the men knew what was happening, Cara positioned her agiels to their temples and the weapons made contact with skin at the same time. The screams of the agiels merged with the ones of the men only for a couple of seconds, before they both fell lifelessly to the floor.
"It is done. I hereby declare this trial over," the Mother Confessor announced. "Hopefully this will serve as an example to those who still doubt my daughter's legitimate claim to rule Aydindril and decide to attempt against my family, this city or it's people in the future," she said warningly as she looked around the room, making sure her eyes stayed a little longer on the members of her Council. "Take them away," she ordered the soldiers as she motioned to the dead prisoners and turned to leave the room, sure that her family would be close behind her.
After the trial, they all went to the Wizard's Keep, so they could open the portal that would take the time travelers back home. Farkas and the Blood of the Fold had been dealt with and the girls were back safely with their family. It was time to say goodbye.
"That was satisfying to watch," Cara smirked and nodded at her older self. "I guess watching myself kill that bastard is the next best thing to doing it myself."
"I can assure you being the one to do it is a lot more satisfying," Cara replied to her younger self with a twin smirk. "I've been wanting to do that for a long time."
"It drove us crazy not knowing where Farkas was and where our girls were," the Mother Confessor sighed, hugging Alys close to her and kissing the top of the girl's head tenderly. "I can't even put into words how glad and grateful I am that they found you," she said emotionally, looking at her younger self and her company.
"Trust me," Kahlan replied with a kind smile. "We are also really glad to have met them," she nodded and looked at Cara for confirmation.
"It was definitely something else," Cara nodded with raised eyebrows, sharing a look with Alys. The little girl had managed to push her buttons in a way that unsettled her at first, but she had come to appreciate the closeness that the actions brought with it.
"Did you give your mom a hard time, baby girl?" the Mother Confessor asked Alys with a chuckle, noticing the look between both blondes.
"Oh yes, it was so much fun," Alys nodded eagerly, giggling when Cara rolled her eyes good naturedly and then turned to look at her mom, which just made her swallow nervously when she noticed that the older blonde was not sharing their amusement. "Please, be sure to take every drop of that forgetting potion," she comically begged Cara. "Now that you like me, you wouldn't want me to be grounded, would you?" she goaded, glancing meaningfully at her mom.
"Don't worry, I got your back, kid," Cara chuckled, shaking her head fondly at Alys' cheekiness and glanced at her older self, smiling when the woman winked conspiringly at her, clearly amused by her daughter despite the stoic front she was trying to put up.
"I wish we didn't have to forget you both," Kahlan said as she looked at the girls. "I'm going to miss you," she smiled with tears in her eyes.
"We're going to miss you too," Alys said as she left her mother's side and flew into Kahlan's open arms, embracing the woman tightly. "I know you're them, but… you're also different," she said with a wide smile.
"They don't scold you as much," Sarah quipped as she approached them too. "That's the big difference," she chuckled and also hugged Kahlan tightly.
"See, I knew the difference was a good thing," Alys grinned, making the others laugh. "Another good thing, is that now I can always hug you without having to resort to trickery," she giggled at Cara as the woman knelt in front of her readily and pulled her into a hug.
"If you weren't a kid, I would probably have used my agiel on you for a couple times back there," Cara said as she pulled out of the embrace and cupped the girl's chin. "You were very lucky."
"I was lucky when I got you as my mom," Alys said sincerely, making Cara pause a moment, taken aback by the intensity she could see in the girl's blue eyes.
"Are you trying to sweet talk me again?" Cara squinted playfully at Alys, an attempt at lighten the emotionally charged moment.
"She does that a lot," Sarah nodded as she approached Cara. "But now she's just telling the truth," she smiled and hugged Cara close. "We are very lucky to have you both as our mothers," she said looking between a slightly embarrassed Cara and a beaming Kahlan.
"So, we go through all the hardships of raising you and they get the compliments?" Cara asked with mock indignance, making her daughters turn immediately towards her and thus relieving her younger self from an emotional moment she was sure it was not yet an easy thing for the young blonde to deal with.
"No mom," Alys giggled as she ran back Cara and hugged the older blonde's waist. "I love you so much more!" she cooed while squeezing the amused woman. "Especially because I bet you're finally going to let me carry weapons around all the time," she grinned innocently and batted her eyelashes up at her mom.
"You really don't let an opportunity pass, do you?" Cara shook her head at her crafty daughter and brushed the blonde hair out of her expectant face.
"Is that a yes?" Alys asked hopefully, wiggling her eyebrows.
"Of course not, baby girl," Cara replied a little too sweetly, watching as her daughter's expectant expression fell while she caressed the little girl's cheek reassuringly.
"Nice try thought, sis," Sarah complimented. "But maybe stop asking her. I think your eagerness does nothing to assuage her worries about you wandering around with a weapon all the time," she smiled wickedly as her sister just glared at her.
"Well, I think it's time we go," Zedd cleared his throat and looked at his companions who nodded back at him. "This has certainly been an experience," he chuckled as he looked at their older selves. "I look forward to meeting you girls all over again," he smiled gently at the smiling sisters.
"It was really nice to meet you too, Zedd," Sarah replied and went to hug the wizard goodbye. "And don't mind what they say, you are a good cook," she said, making the others laugh.
"And a great storyteller," Alys added as she also went to hug Zedd.
"This has certainly been a different adventure," Richard said from beside his grandfather. "We're used to dealing with banelings and evil sorceresses, you girls were a nice change of pace," he chuckled and hugged them both.
"You're always fun to be around, uncle Richard," Alys grinned.
"Just make sure you get your powers back," Sarah added knowingly. "We will both be very grateful for that," she grinned as Richard laughed and nodded in agreement.
"Goodbye girls," Kahlan said tearfully as the sisters approached her once again.
"For now," Sarah winked and gently wiped the tear that had fallen down Kahlan's cheek. "When we meet again, I'll cry a little more, but bear with it, it won't be for long, I was a quiet baby in general. Unlike this one," she said with a grin as she looked down at her sister.
"What are you talking about?" Alys asked miffed. "I didn't cry that much," she protested indignantly.
"Yes, you did," Sarah nodded slowly. "You still do," she added teasingly and earned herself a pinch on her side, courtesy of her offended sister.
"A little crying is part of life," Kahlan said with a fond smile as she watched the girls bicker once more. "I'm sure I can deal with it if it gets me two beautiful daughters," she said as she hugged both girls tightly, not able to stop her tears from falling again. "I'm sorry, I guess I cry a lot too," she chuckled and sniffled.
"Don't worry, you're not the only one to get emotional, some people just hide it better," the Mother Confessor reassured, looking pointedly at Cara. The older brunette shook her head when the younger blonde gave her a questioning look. "Don't even try to deny it, I can see you biting the inside of your cheek from here," she pointed out and smiled when Cara rolled her eyes and turned to the girls.
"There's no need to be sad," Cara said while she schooled her features the best she could. "You're back with your mothers and we'll meet you again eventually," she said, not sure who she was trying to reassure, the girls, Kahlan or herself.
"It was really nice to get to know you," Alys said meaningfully to Cara.
"Know me?" Cara asked surprised and confused. "What do mean? You already knew me, I'm her," she motioned to her older self.
"Not exactly," Alys shook her head. "But you're a lot more like her than we thought," she chuckled at Cara's still confused face.
"What Alys means is that while growing up we heard a lot of things about our mom," she started carefully, glancing back at her mom to see the woman paying close attention to her, so she continued. "Mother grew up here. There's not a single person in Aydindril who doesn't know Kahlan Amnell and most of them have known her since she was a kid. But not you," she pointed out, starting to see some semblance of understanding in Cara's eyes. "As much as no one talks about it directly with us, we pick up things here and there, and some whispers painted you as someone very different from what you are now. Like you were this cruel enemy that was reformed," she explained, not getting into details but knowing that Cara knew what she meant.
"That's not far from the truth," Cara replied, a confused frown still on her face.
"You're wrong and that's why we are so glad we got to meet you," Sarah contradicted her, enjoying the puzzled look on the blonde's face. "You are the same, you just haven't realized it yet and so other people can't see it either," she explained further with a gentle smile.
"But we're smarter than most people," Alys pipped in with a nod.
"And how did my daughters get so wise?" the Mother Confessor asked amused.
"We did what you taught us to do," Sarah replied smartly. "We listened and observed."
"Yes, we listened all right," Alys repeated and looked at Cara with a mischievous glint in her eyes. "Like when you said hearings were extremely boring," she grinned wickedly and looked at her mom, who was staring daggers at her younger self.
"I don't know what you're talking about," Cara was quick to reply while she shrugged unconcernedly. "I've been to a couple of hearings; in one of them your mother was split in two different persons and I ended up fighting her and winning," she pointed out as she looked at Kahlan with a smirk. "In the other, two bastards were killed," she continued. "So, hearings are fun," she said smugly, watching Alys squint at her.
"Nice save," Alys nodded impressed. "See, you learned something from me too," she grinned when Cara winked playfully at her.
"Are you all ready?" Zedd asked and received confirming nods from the others. "Let's open the portal then," he said, raising the Triangle of Anuyr while he started chanting. After a few moments, a light appeared in midair and transformed into a portal, a mirror room could be seen on the other side.
"This time you go first," Cara told Zedd, nudging the wizard towards the portal. "Since 'magic is unpredictable'," she quoted what Zedd had told her when they had traveled to the future. "You'll be the one testing it," she said and motioned with her head for Zedd to step over the portal.
After Zedd had crossed to the other side and assured Cara that everything was as it was supposed to be, the others followed him and then turned to look at the other side of the portal once more.
Kahlan smiled widely as she looked one last time at the family that would be waiting her in the future. She held her older self's eyes and nodded gratefully at the woman, who nodded encouragingly back at her. Kahlan didn't need words to understand what the other woman was conveying with that look; she was letting her know that everything would be fine and that the struggles and hardships she went through ever since she had left in search of Richard to name him as Seeker, would pay off and she would get the happiness she always dreamed about. And all that, thanks to the blonde woman next to her.
Cara noticed Kahlan's look and smiled at the brunette. She knew this experience had touched Kahlan deeply and if she was honest with herself, it had touched her in the same way. She looked back towards the still open portal and saw her future, recognizing now, after all the ups and downs the girls had inadvertently made her and Kahlan go through, that this is what she desired the most. She didn't want to die gloriously on some nameless battle, she wanted to build a legacy next to the woman she loved. She exchanged a knowing look with her older self, the easy smile on the older blonde's lips letting her know that it was okay to be happy and that following her heart instead of other people's wishes or orders, was exactly what would bring her that happiness.
"See you soon," Sarah said with a wide smile as a last goodbye.
"And I'll see you a few years after that," Alys shouted and waved enthusiastically at them as they all watched the portal close. "That was fun! Do you think we could visit them again?" Alys asked and looked expectantly at Zedd, who just stared at her pensively for a moment.
"My dear, I think it might be best to guard the Triangle of Anuyr in a secluded location," he proposed to Kahlan, making the brunette chuckle and look at a grinning Alys.
"I'm sure such extreme measures won't be necessary," Kahlan smiled gently at Zedd, knowing fully well how sneaky her youngest daughter was, but also knowing the girl wouldn't go as far as to use the Triangle on her own.
"I'm not so sure," Zedd sighed and glanced sideways at a still grinning Alys, the wizard didn't like the mischievous glint he could see in the girl's eyes. "Watch your sister, will you my darling?" he told Sarah as he slowly passed her by on his way to the door, squeezing the teen's shoulder for good measure.
"What?" Sarah asked perplexed and looked between a departing Zedd and a smug Alys. "No way," she protested and turned to follow Zedd. "I don't want it to be my fault if she gets herself in trouble with that thing."
"Oh please," Alys rolled her eyes and followed her sister. "Like I would even do such a thing?" she said and stopped in her tracks when Sarah suddenly turned around and stared at her defiantly. "You may have a point," she nodded begrudgingly. "But I would ask you to go with me, so you'll always have a chance to stop me."
"You're impossible," Sarah shook her head and kept walking slowly next to Zedd. "Haven't you learnt anything from our little adventure?" she questioned.
"Of course I did," Alys said quickly. "Mother can't read us," she grinned mischievously.
"Me, Alys, she can't read me," Sarah reminded. "You on the other hand, she can read very well, and so can I," she pointed out.
"Time will fix that," Alys shrugged unpreoccupied.
"It will, but that's hardly the most important thing you should have gotten from all this," Sarah sighed and looked down at her sister for a moment. "But it's kinda awesome, isn't it?" she shared in her sister's mischievousness, making the girl nod and giggle.
"You girls know I can still hear you both, right?" Kahlan called to her daughters as she stood in amazement next to Cara.
"Facts, mommy," Alys replied as she glanced back at her mother. "We're just discussing facts."
"I'm with the little thing on this one," Sarah shouted, not even bothering to face her mother as both girls disappeared around the corner with Zedd.
"I don't think I like how this trip influenced their attitude," Kahlan shook her head, but couldn't help but smile at the girls' antics. "I bet this is all your fault," she accused as she turned to face her wife.
"Excuse me?" Cara raised her eyebrows in disbelief. "Your younger self was the one that told them she couldn't read them. How is that my fault?"
"I was not referring to that. That's something they would inevitably find out," Kahlan dismissed quickly. "I mean the cheekiness. I bet your younger self was such a good role model when it comes to talking back at people and expressing opinions without any filter," she said with a grin that took any real accusation off of her words.
"I seem to recall you finding that refreshing," Cara replied with a sly grin as she circled Kahlan's waist with her arms and pulled her wife to her.
"Aren't you so smooth?" Kahlan squinted her eyes playfully at Cara as she shook her head amusedly. "Actually, I seem to recall that I found that really annoying and frustrating, at first. You really drove me crazy," she huffed, remembering the first weeks of travelling with Cara.
"I know I did, but I couldn't stop myself," Cara shrugged. "And when I could stop myself, I didn't want to anyway. How could I pass up an opportunity to rile you up?" she smirked and pecked her wife's cheek.
"You're so lucky I saw through your act," Kahlan smiled and kissed Cara's lips. "If I hadn't, I would probably have killed you," she stated, twirling her wife's blonde locks in her fingers.
"You would have tried, you mean," Cara replied without pause, making Kahlan laugh good-naturedly.
"Have you ever thought about cutting your hair short again?" Kahlan mused after a moment, as she kept playing with Cara's hair.
"Not really," Cara shook her head and watched her wife's cheeks redden slightly as the brunette bit her lip. "But I think I'll consider it now," she said, making her wife grin and wink at her, before she pulled her into a kiss.
"Well," Richard started after a moment of silence where they all just stood staring at the spot where the portal had closed. "That was some trip," he chuckled as the others nodded in agreement.
"One we must now forget, I'm afraid," Zedd reminded them and looked at the four potion vials that were waiting for them on the nearby table.
"Am I the only one who wishes we didn't have to forget any of it?" Kahlan said with a sad sigh.
"No," Cara replied with a small smile. "But it's for the best. I, for one, don't want to hear the wizard say 'I told you so' if anything bad happens on the account of us knowing our futures," she said nonchalantly, but when Kahlan smiled gratefully at her she winked back, knowing her attempt of lifting the woman's spirits had the desired effect.
"We'll meet them again eventually," Richard added, smiling comfortingly at Kahlan. "And this time we'll know who they are from the start," he grinned as the others laughed.
"I know I'm being silly," Kahlan shrugged. "But I miss the girls already," she said as she looked longingly back at the spot were the portal had been.
"You're not being silly," Cara shook her head and squeezed Kahlan's hand comfortingly. "I miss them too," she confessed. "One more reason for us to take the potion, we won't be missing them for all the years it will take for us to meet again," she pointed out.
"And what fun is the journey if you already know how it ends?" Richard added with a shrug and a boyish smile.
"Speaking of which," Cara started as she looked at Richard. "I don't suppose Lord Rahl told you were to find the Stone of Tears, did he?" she questioned.
"Unfortunately not," Richard sighed defeatedly. "I tried to ask, but he was not forthcoming with answers," he said, pursing his lips in clear disappointment.
"All for the best, my boy," Zedd said, patting Richard's shoulder. "It would be too much of a risk. Many things could go wrong," he reminded them.
"Right," Richard conceded. "We know we'll be successful at least. That's something," he grinned confidently.
"I never doubted it," Zedd grinned and looked proudly at his grandson. "Now, please, each one of you take a vial and we'll drink the potion at the same time."
They all took one vial and stood in a circle looking expectantly at each other. Kahlan still wished she didn't have to forget their daughters, but she understood the need for it. She looked at Cara and smiled encouragingly, secure in the knowledge that, as Zedd had explained to her, the progress of their relationship and the memories they had made would not disappear, they would just be altered to erase any trace of the girls. Taking her cue from Zedd and the others, Kahlan drank the liquid and placed her vial back on the table.
"Let's get out of here," Zedd told them as he started walking towards the entrance of the Wizard's Keep. "It will take a few moments for it to take effect," he reassured the others as they followed him.
"How will we know it worked?" Richard asked curiously.
"How will we know what worked?" Kahlan asked with a frown.
"Zedd was talking about casting a spell to target Nicci's magic specifically," Richard said conversationally, the curious frown that had been on his face a moment ago transforming into his usually carefree expression. "So that if she tries to attack us again, Zedd could sense her coming from miles away," he explained to the women.
"Oh, right," Kahlan shook her head distractedly. "I think I got lost inside my head for a minute there," she chuckled.
"I think that spell is a bad idea," Cara said. "It will only give us a sense of false security and if it doesn't work, she will definitely catch us off guard," she explained. "I prefer to protect you all in a more reliable way. My way," she said, pointedly looking at Zedd.
"Alright, alright," Zedd raised his hands in surrender. "Message received, I won't try such a spell," he promised. "Now let's get back to the Palace. My stomach is complaining," he said with a grin.
"Coming here for a little respite was a good idea," Kahlan said, looking around her. "I missed being home and I missed my sister. And after that bonding spell with Nicci, my father and then almost dying on that tomb, it was good to catch a break here," she smiled thankfully at Cara and placed a light kiss on the blonde's cheek. "And I have you to thank for the suggestion," she grinned when the blonde smiled back at her.
"If we took too long out here it's your own fault, wizard," Cara said with a huff. "You're the one who got sidetracked with checking every book in this place," Cara said as she looked around the enormous bookshelves all around them.
"I'll have you know the Wizard's Keep of Aydindril is full to the brim with ancient knowledge," Zedd said indignantly. "But I wouldn't expect you to value such a treasure," he said flippantly.
"I can think of better ways to spend my time, wizard," Cara quipped and glanced at Kahlan with a smirk, making the brunette blush a little.
"Again, I wouldn't expect you to understand," Zedd replied with a dismissed wave of his hand.
The group continued towards the Palace, talking amicably between them, with breaks in the conversation for the now customary bickering between Cara and Zedd, which only made the interaction all the more familiar and normal. While she listened to her companions, Kahlan felt the sudden need to look back when this feeling of longing came over her suddenly. She paused and searched her immediate surrounding for what could have caused such a feeling but saw nothing out of the ordinary. With a deep breath and a shake of her head, she turned back to follow her companions, walking closer to Cara and bumping the blonde's shoulder playfully. As she looked into the green eyes she loved so much, the longing feeling disappeared, only to be replaced by the peace Cara always transmitted her.
"How is this girl not tired?" Cara huffed with her eyes closed while she rubbed her forehead tiredly. Alys was happily skipping around naked in the bathroom, singing to herself while picking the scented soap and bath salts she wanted to use on her bath.
"She runs on pure excitement," Sarah chuckled at her mother's frustration. "Spirits, I missed this bathroom," she sighed contently as she watched the steam rise from the hot water on the large marble bathtub in the middle of the room. Travelling through the Midlands was all very interesting, but this bathtub beat any cold stream out there.
Not wanting to wait a moment more to relax on the warm water, Sarah stripped her leathers off. As she did this, a loud clink sound was heard as something fell out of her leathers and onto the floor. Sarah bent down to pick up the object and frowned as she looked at it.
"What's that?" Cara asked absentmindedly, knowing her daughter liked to collect all kinds of weird things.
"It's just a shinny stone I found back at the Palace in the past," Sarah replied as her mother and sister approached her to have a closer look.
"Oooh, shinny," Alys commented while peeking at the stone.
"It was just lying on the floor. On the spot aunt Dennee killed you," Sarah revealed with a sad look at her mother. "Come to think of it, I don't want to keep something that reminds me of that particular moment," she said with a curl of her lip, not noticing her mother's eyes widen in recognition, and pulled her hand back, intending on throwing the rock out of the open window.
"Wait!" Cara yelled while she grabbed Sarah's hand with a fast movement, before the girl could throw the stone away. "It can't be," she whispered with a frown when she took the stone in her hand and looked at it more closely.
"What is it?" Sarah asked, raising her brow in curiosity as she looked from the stone to her mother's stunned face. "Do you know what that thing is?" she asked, watching as Cara just stared at the stone in silence.
"Do you?" Alys repeated impatiently, tugging on Cara's sleeve, since her mother just stood there looking at the stone. "Mom?"
"What are you three up to?" Kahlan asked as she entered the bathroom and saw her three favorite girls huddled together around something.
"Great timing, love," Cara said, turning the stone around while she kept analyzing it. "Please come look at this and talk to your daughter," she requested, lifting her eyes to her wife.
"My daughter?" Kahlan raised one eyebrow. "What did you do?" she asked, looking suspiciously at Sarah and moving towards her wife.
"She had this with her," Cara said as she presented the stone to Kahlan. "She's saying she found it in the past," she added, nodding at Kahlan when the brunette's eyes widened in shock and looked at her questioningly.
"That's the Stone of Tears!" Kahlan gasped and took the stone in her hands to look closer at it. "Where exactly did you find this?" she addressed an open-mouthed Sarah.
"It was on the spot I found you and mom at, after aunt Dennee had killed her," Sarah explained with a shrug, still not understanding how this could be the Stone of Tears. "When I entered the room, you were crying over mom's body. I was pretty upset with the scene, so I have no idea where that came from. I only noticed it when I was walking out," she said, watching both her mothers look at her in astonishment.
"Are you sure that's the Stone of Tears?" Alys asked skeptically, raising one eyebrow at her mothers.
"Yes, I'm sure," Kahlan replied with confidence, but still not sure how the stone could have gotten to the place Sarah had claimed to find it at. "I looked at it so many times before, that I'm sure I could recognize it anywhere," she reaffirmed.
"But wasn't it the Creator that gave the stone to you?" Alys wondered, recalling the many times she had heard this story before.
"That was not the Creator," Cara was quick to correct, as she always did whenever this subject was broached.
"Cara, you don't know that for sure," Kahlan contradicted, as she always had since it happened. "A woman materialized in front of us out of nowhere and gave us the Stone of Tears," she said, remembering what had happened so many years ago. "She never told us who she was, how she had the stone or how she found us," she recalled. "Stranger things have happened, there's a strong possibility that that woman was indeed the Creator herself helping our quest."
"I think now we can be pretty sure she was not the Creator," Cara said slowly and looked pointedly at Sarah, hinting at something her wife clearly was not getting.
"Why are you looking at me funny?" Sarah asked Cara with a suspicious frown. "I'm not the Creator either," she added with a chuckle, having no clue why her mom was looking at her like that.
"You're definitely not the Creator," Cara shook her head with a smirk and looked at her wife again, waiting for the brunette to come to the same conclusion she had.
"It's a good thing you're not, sis," Alys patted her sister's arm comfortingly. "If you have to study this much to be Mother Confessor, imagine what you would have to put up with to be Creator. That would be a pain in the…," she said but bit her tongue before she could finish when she noticed her mothers looking reproachfully at her. "…everywhere," she finished lamely.
"Who else, other than the Creator, could have access to the Stone of Tears and know exactly who we all were and how to find us," Kahlan pondered, still trying to wrap her head around all this.
"I don't know," Cara shrugged and tilted her head at her wife, looking pointedly at her before continuing. "It's not like Sarah could have travelled back in time and give it us, right?" she asked sarcastically.
"You are the Creator!" Alys gasped, covering her mouth with one hand and pointing at her sister in shock.
"Shut up, little thing," Sarah chuckled and slapped her sister's pointing finger away.
"It can't be," Kahlan shook her head slowly as she pondered this option while looking at her oldest daughter.
"It can't be what? That simple?" Cara asked with a teasing grin, making her wife glare at her. "Need I remind you," she started to say before the brunette cut her off.
"No, you don't have to remind me, yet again, how your simpler answers turn out to be correct most of the time," Kahlan conceded with an affectionate roll of her eyes. "But in this case, do you really think it possible?"
"Well, it's a lot more likely than the Creator coming down from the heavens just for us, I'll tell you that," Cara pointed out.
"We need to talk to Zedd about this," Kahlan said, recognizing her wife was probably right.
"You girls get on with your bath," Cara told her daughters. "Me and your mother will figure this out," she said, pushing Kahlan out of the bathroom while the brunette kept looking in wonderment at the stone in her hands.
"If you're going back to the past, I want to go with you," Alys told her sister as soon as the door closed behind their mothers.
"If I do go," Sarah started while finishing undressing herself. "I don't think they'll allow you to go with me," Sarah shook her head as she pointed in the direction their mothers had went.
"Why not?" Alys asked peeved. "I was there before," she justified, raising a challenging eyebrow at her sister.
"Because you're too short to be The Creator," Sarah teased with a laugh, sticking her tongue out at her sister when the blonde scowled up at her.
But before Alys could retort, she felt herself being pushed into the water by her laughing sister.
"Hey!" Alys protested after resurfacing and spluttering water all over. "Just because I'm smaller than you, you don't get to manhandle me!"
"Oh really?" Sarah mocked. "And what are you going to do about it?" she asked with a teasing smirk.
Alys' response was to grab the closest thing to her and throw it with all her force at her sister's head. Too bad Sarah had no problem with sidestepping the impromptu projectile and to make things worse, what Alys had thrown was a glass bottle with scented salts in it, making quite the noise when it shattered on the ground.
"Girls, what's going on in there?" Cara's cross voice was heard from the adjacent room.
"Nothing mom!" both girls yelled back in unison, their eyes widening and none of them daring to move a muscle for a moment.
"Don't make me come in there," Cara's voiced sounded again in warning, but since they didn't hear her footsteps, the woman was making no move to actually enter the bathroom, which made both girls sigh in relief.
"You made that mess," Sarah told her sister, pointing at the broken bottle while she entered the bath. "Go clean it up," she instructed, grabbing the soap and settling down to relax.
"Nope. You go if you're so bothered by it," Alys refused, paying no attention to her sister and instead kept laddering her arms with the scented soap.
"It's fine by me," Sarah shrugged unconcernedly and inhaled slowly after a moment. "I wonder if mom would be as fine with it if she came back here, though?" Sarah commented absentmindedly.
At this, Alys stopped her motions and blinked while she pondered her sister's words. With a glare at the smirking brunette, Alys slowly got out of the bath and stomped towards the nearest towel. She ripped the cloth off the shelve and used it to clean the mess away under Sarah's victorious look.
"It's a shame we have to go so soon," Cara said as they entered the Mother Confessor's bedroom that night. "This place is not as bad as I thought," she grinned playfully at Kahlan.
"Cara Mason," Kahlan said playfully as she closed the door to the room. "Are you saying you enjoy all this luxury?" she grinned as she approached the blonde and kissed her softly.
"I lived in Mord'Sith Temples and the People's Palace most of my life," Cara reminded the brunette. "Luxury was something that never lacked around me," she smirked and ran her hands lazily up and down Kahlan's sides.
"And here I thought you had just fallen in love with my private bathtub," Kahlan said insinuatingly as she remembered the night before and the amazing moments they had spent in there together, only to improve even more after, when they accidentally found out Kahlan couldn't confess Cara.
"You're forgetting that in the Temples we had pools of hot water, not mere bathtubs," Cara kept teasing, enjoying this banter between them.
"Yes," Kahlan nodded with a raised eyebrow, distractingly playing with the blonde's hair. "And a lot of company in those pools," she said in a playfully jealous tone.
"Well, sometimes less is more," Cara whispered in Kahlan's ear and bit down teasingly on her earlobe.
"So, you're saying that one Confessor is better than every Mord'Sith in D'Hara?" Kahlan asked smugly, playing with the fine hairs at the base of Cara's neck.
"What? No way. Confessors are not better than Mord'Sith," Cara replied with a frown as Kahlan just stared at her in mock indignation. "But, Kahlan Amnell is better than any woman that exists," she smirked as she watched Kahlan blush and smile.
"You know, for someone who doesn't talk much," Kahlan started, slowly running her fingers along the exposed skin of Cara's cleavage. "You sure are good with words," she said as she looked deeply into Cara's eyes.
"That's because I don't say anything I don't mean," Cara replied slowly, her tone losing its playfulness in favor of an honesty mixed with vulnerability, that was reserved for moments alone with Kahlan.
"I know," Kahlan replied with the same intense honesty, cupping the blonde's cheek and conveying with her eyes how much she appreciated these earnest moments with Cara.
Cara bit her lip and held Kahlan's intense gaze for a moment, before leaning in and capturing the brunette's lips in a tender kiss. Feeling Kahlan melt in her arms, she pushed the Confessor towards the large bed in the middle of the room, never interrupting the kiss that was becoming increasingly more heated.
Kahlan felt the bed hit the back of her legs and let herself be gently pushed to sit on it. She looked up at Cara with a sultry smirk and started to unbuckle the blonde's belt, letting it fall to the floor. She opened her legs to accommodate Cara, while she worked on the laces of the leather trousers, while the blonde got rid of the upper half of her leathers. When Cara stood in front of her in only her undergarments, Kahlan took a moment to just look at the perfect body and ran her hands slowly up the blonde's thighs, her heavy-lidded eyes never leaving Cara's. The brunette cupped Cara's behind and squeezed gently as she lowered her mouth to place open mouthed kisses all over Cara's stomach and hips, smirking when she felt the blonde shiver and move her hands to tangle them in her dark locks, pulling Kahlan even more to her. Kahlan hooked her fingers on the waistband of the blonde's undergarments and pulled it down slowly, her lips never leaving Cara's golden skin. When the small garment fell all the way down Cara's legs, Kahlan slide one hand back up the inside of the blonde's thigh and let her fingers ghostly caress Cara's center, making the blonde moan. She glanced up Cara's body and had to grin when she noticed the blonde had already taken off the last piece of clothing that was covering her breasts.
"I wanted to take off," Kahlan whispered hotly, one hand sliding up Cara's back to pull the blonde closer to her as her lips eagerly closed around an erect nipple.
"Do you want me to put it back on?" Cara asked teasingly and got her answer in the form of a bite on her nipple that made her gasp and moan. "Then do you want me to take this off?" she asked instead as she tugged on the laces of Kahlan's dress.
"That would be much more appreciated, yes," Kahlan grinned up at her, her hands never stopping caressing Cara's hips and backside, occasionally moving down her thighs only to come back up, lightly scraping her nails over the sensitive skin.
Cara wasted no time in unlacing the dress so Kahlan could take it off. Once the brunette had also taken care of her boots, Cara watched her scoot upwards on the bed and quickly hooked her fingers on Kahlan's undergarments, so that the piece of clothing was left behind as Kahlan moved away from her. Cara crawled her way up the bed, watching Kahlan take off her black corset, and lowered herself on top of the brunette.
Kahlan opened her legs to welcome Cara, squeezing the blonde's hips with her thighs while encircling her lover in her arms to pull her down for a languid kiss. She moaned when Cara ground herself down on the brunette's center and bit Cara's lip softly, only to gently sooth it with her tongue.
"I like it when you do that," Cara whispered hotly against Kahlan's lips, earning herself another teasing bite on her lower lip, and moved her hand to cup Kahlan's breast, pinching the nipple between her fingers.
"And I love it when you do that," Kahlan groaned and arched into Cara's touch, tangling her fingers in the blonde's hair to pull her back into a searing kiss.
Cara ended the kiss to trail hot kisses along Kahlan's jaw and sucked on her earlobe as she undulated her hips slowly, their centers rubbing together in an incredibly pleasing way.
"What else do you love?" Cara whispered huskily in Kahlan's ear and sucked on the sensitive skin just below the brunette's earlobe, making her lover shiver.
"I don't know," Kahlan whimpered and clutched Cara's shoulder, completely lost in the sensations her lover was causing on her. "I can't think right now," she added distractedly, making Cara chuckle throatily.
"It's a good thing I know then," Cara said in a low voice before biting Kahlan's shoulder and sliding one hand down the brunette's body to press her fingers against her lover's wet center.
"Fuck, Cara," Kahlan exclaimed suddenly, making Cara's eyebrows shot up in pleasant surprise at the unusual expletive. "You definitely do," she moaned and pressed herself more against the blonde's fingers.
Cara's desire only burnt hotter at Kahlan's words. The blonde returned to kiss Kahlan's lips passionately, while she circled the brunette's clit expertly with her fingers. Kahlan was trembling under her and Cara pulled away from the kiss only to trail her tongue down the brunette's neck, until she reached the heavy breasts she loved to worship, lavishing them with hot kisses and teasing nips. The sounds Kahlan was making fueled Cara's arousal and the blonde kissed down the brunette's porcelain skin until she reached her center.
Kahlan moaned almost obscenely when she felt Cara's lips and tongue on her clit, sucking and flicking it until Kahlan was left panting. She moved one hand to tangle in blonde locks and the other clutched at the arm Cara had draped over her lower stomach.
Cara hissed and moaned when she felt Kahlan's heel press on her lower back, the vibrations of her moan only served to make Kahlan press down even more. Sensing the brunette was close, Cara entered her lover slowly with one finger, making Kahlan arch off the bed and having to use the arm she kept over her abdomen to keep her down.
Kahlan panted and moaned as Cara's finger moved in and out of her, reaching and curving to rub every single spot that made Kahlan crazy. The blonde's mouth never left her clit, working furiously until Kahlan finally tumbled over the edge, her power exploding with the sweet release Cara brought her.
"Cara, come here," Kahlan said lazily, the aftershocks of her orgasm still running through her body, but her eyes quickly widened when she looked down and noticed Cara's eyes were still black. "Cara! Are you okay?" she pushed herself up on one elbow and cupped the blonde's cheek.
"I'm sure I'll be even better in a few," Cara smirked and slid up Kahlan's body. "Why? What's wrong?" she asked confused, noticing Kahlan's worried face fade as the brunette looked into her eyes.
"It's gone now," Kahlan said, watching the black swirl back away into the familiar green. "Your eyes were still black," she explained. "It frightened me a little, that's all," she chuckled. "I think I still have to get used to seeing that without a minor panic attack."
"What I'm feeling has nothing to do with panic," Cara said huskily and lowered herself to claim the brunette's lips.
"Let's see if I can make you feel some other things," Kahlan whispered suggestively against Cara's lips and rolled the blonde on her back.
Cara smirked and cupped Kahlan's face to pull her back into a kiss. She was so aroused just from watching Kahlan come undone under her, that the brunette's power surging through her was almost enough for her to follow her lover over the edge. So now, she moaned and arched up into Kahlan's body, craving her lover's touch and wanting nothing more than to feel Kahlan inside her.
Kahlan bit the blonde's plump lower lip, knowing it always drove Cara crazy, and wasted no time in reaching for her lover's center. The brunette gasped when she felt how wet and open Cara was already from thrusting one finger all too easily inside the blonde.
"More," Cara moaned, the raw need clear in her raspy voice, as she jerked her hips up to meet Kahlan's hands.
Kahlan thought briefly about teasing the blonde for a bit, not giving her what she craved right away, but the little whimpers coming from Cara whenever she flicked her clit with her fingers quickly changed her mind. She entered the blonde again, this time adding one more finger, and smirked into her lover's neck at the luscious moan the blonde let out.
"Don't stop," Cara moaned as she moved her hips in time with Kahlan's thrusts, rubbing her clit on the heel of the brunette's hand and clutching her lover's shoulders for support.
Kahlan kept thrusting inside Cara, curling her fingers and rubbing the sweet spot inside that made the blonde bite her earlobe while she was kissing down her neck. The brunette kept trailing hot kisses down Cara's chest and moved to suck one nipple in her mouth, making the blonde fist her hair and pull her closer against her breast.
Cara had her eyes tightly closed, concentrating solely on the brunette's touch. Kahlan's warm mouth lavished her breasts and sucked hard on the small space between the mounds, surely marking her. The brunette's fingers never stopped inside her, edging her higher and higher until her breathing came in gasps. Cara felt a tightness in a lower stomach and circled Kahlan's shoulders. The brunette buried her face on her neck, biting down on the juncture between her neck and shoulder, at the same time that she curled her fingers and pressed the heel of her hand hard against Cara's clit, making the blonde come undone and cry Kahlan's name in extasy.
They laid together for a while, both recovering from their lovemaking. Cara was on her back, still trying to catch her breath, while Kahlan curled into her side, one hand flat over the blonde's chest.
"Did I make you feel some other things?" Kahlan whispered cheekily after a while, making Cara laugh.
"You never fail to make me feel all kinds of things, my love," she turned her head to look at Kahlan and grinned.
"My love?" Kahlan raised one eyebrow and grinned at Cara when she noticed the faint redness on the blonde's cheeks.
"It just came out," Cara shrugged sheepishly, but her eyes never wavered from Kahlan's.
"Well, keep saying it," Kahlan said sweetly and shifted closer to kiss Cara's lips. "I really like hearing it," she smiled and caressed the blonde's cheek.
"I'll keep that in mind, from now on," Cara smiled back and kissed the brunette's palm, bringing the hand back to rest on her chest.
"Cara," Kahlan begin hesitantly after they had been silently basking on the moment. "Do you see yourself living here in Aydindril?" she asked, worrying her lip.
"Do you think I would be accepted here?" Cara asked instead of replying to the brunette's question, her eyes fixated on the ceiling.
"Why wouldn't you be?" Kahlan asked confused and a little apprehensive at Cara's reply.
"Well, for starters I'm supposed to be your mortal enemy," Cara said with a raised brow as she turned her head to look at Kahlan.
"Please, Cara," Kahlan dismissed. "We're so over that," she made a show of looking at their naked bodies tangled together.
"I know we are," Cara smiled. "I wasn't referring to us," she pointed out.
"You mean the people in Aydindril?" Kahlan ventured and Cara nodded. "Cara, you're sleeping in my room, on my bed. I think they can take a hint and see how much I welcome you here," she grinned and shifted closer to Cara to kiss the blonde, only to blink in confusion when Cara stopped her with a finger on her lips.
"Listen to me, you're not the problem. And you're wrong about them," Cara contradicted, tracing the brunette's lip gently as she collected her thoughts to explain to Kahlan what the brunette wasn't seeing or didn't want to see. "Judging by the way these people here treat Richard, especially those on the Council, they think you're still together," she said slowly as Kahlan's eyes widened progressively as she explained.
"No, they don't. They treat Richard like that because he's the Seeker and Zedd's grandson," Kahlan kept denying, raising herself on her elbow to look down at Cara. "And how could they think I'm with Richard if you're the one in my room?" she challenged Cara's statement with what she thought was solid logic.
"Because back when you were actually together you always slept in the same room?" Cara asked sarcastically, making Kahlan pause.
"My sister knows about us, I've told her," Kahlan countered, not ready to give up. "She will surely clarify to the others the exact status of our relationship," she argued, clearly pleased with her reasoning.
"And how well did that conversation go, again?" Cara asked, her tone not changing, as Kahlan sighed frustratingly at the reminder of her sister's bad reaction to the news. Dennee still held a grudge against Cara and she made sure to let Kahlan know just how big a mistake she thought the Mother Confessor was making. "Plus, your sister won't tell anyone a thing because she's hoping our relationship will be over by the next time she sees you," the blonde pointed out. "Either that or she's hoping I die sometime during this quest."
"I think Dennee will come around," Kahlan said after a pause. "She just needs some time to get used to the idea," Kahlan tried again, not liking the bleak turn the conversation was taking.
"If she ever does, it's not going to be soon. And your Council won't be too thrilled about it either," Cara said more gently, noticing Kahlan growing more upset. It was not her intention to make the brunette feel bad, but they had to face things has they were and not how they wished they were. "Aren't you the one who's supposed to be good at reading people?" Cara asked with a small nudge at Kahlan, hoping to coax a smile out of the woman. "How haven't you picked up on all this?"
"I guess I never really thought about it," Kahlan shrugged and took a deep breath. "Being with you feels so natural to me that I guess I forgot it's news here," she rubbed her forehead.
"Trust me, it's news," Cara confirmed with a curt nod, tucking the brunette's hair behind her ear. "And I'm pretty sure that, shy of you directly telling people we are together, they won't figure it out on their own. Mainly because they're all so in love of the idea of the Mother Confessor and the Seeker together," she drawled with a sigh.
"That's ridiculous," Kahlan was quick to reply. "And I don't want you to be upset because of people assuming I'm with Richard. Before we leave tomorrow morning, I'll tell them-"
"You'll do no such thing-" Cara tried to explain but Kahlan wasn't hearing any of it. The brunette's concern for her would be touching if it weren't blinding her to the point.
"What? Why not?" Kahlan frowned at her, clearly not happy with the situation. "I want you to feel welcomed here, I don't want people upsetting you because they're-"
"Kahlan!" Cara called suddenly to get the brunette to stop her rambling. "It takes a lot more than a bunch of bureaucrats and wizards for me to be upset, I think you know that by now. And anyway, that's not what I'm trying to tell you here," she paused to make sure Kahlan would listen in silence before continuing. "You're a better politician than this, I know you are. But right now, you're not seeing the big picture."
"What big picture?" Kahlan sighed, willing to let Cara clarify her point of view. "The people assuming I'm with Richard? I'll just clarify the misunderstanding and let them know I'm with you now."
"They'll assume far worse things if you drop a bomb like that in Aydindril and them leave without damage control," Cara pointed out. "Some idiot took over Aydindril and crowned himself High Lord Regent when you were absent doing your duty and helping the Seeker," Cara recalled, watching Kahlan nod along with her words. "Now imagine what will happen if you shake to the core the expectations they have of you and then just leave again. I guarantee you there will be a lot of people trying to pull the rug from under your feet again," she explained, finally perceiving a light of understanding on Kahlan's eyes. "You need to be smart about this. Just leave it be for now."
"You want me to hide our relationship and keep letting people think I'm with Richard?" Kahlan tried to clarify with a frown. Even if she was starting to get what Cara was getting at, it still didn't sit well with her.
"We were only here for a couple of days," Cara reasoned. "Tomorrow morning we'll leave again and Creator only knows how and when this interminable quest in going to end," she said. "I don't want you to hide our relationship. I want you to be aware of the waves our relationship is going to make here and that when that happens you should be right here to defend it, defend yourself and your place in Aydindril."
"When have you become such a strategist?" Kahlan brushed blonde hair away from Cara's face and smiled, now completely understanding and agreeing with Cara's assessment.
"I'm a Mord'Sith," Cara shrugged, running her hand lazily up and down Kahlan's back. "Schemes, politics and back stabbing are a language I spoke all my life," she pointed out as Kahlan playfully pretended to have just now remembered that information.
"Someone like you would help me a lot with ruling Aydindril," Kahlan said in a playful tone, but bit her lip nervously. "You still haven't answered my question," Kahlan pointed out. They had become sidetracked with talking about the repercussions of their relationship on Aydindril's politics and Cara had never told her if she wanted to even be in Aydindril in the first place.
"Is that your way to ask me to join the pompous members of the Council?" Cara chuckled, but then frowned when she noticed Kahlan's nervous expression.
"It's my way to ask you about your plans after we close the rift," Kahlan said carefully, worrying her lip as she watched Cara's reaction closely.
Cara frowned and sat up, a pensive expression on her face. She had no doubts about what she wanted to do and who she wanted to be with, that answer would always be Kahlan, she wanted to build a life with the brunette. She had also made a promise to Richard long ago; she pledged herself to serve and protect him. Even if he didn't want to acknowledge it, he was the Lord Rahl and she was still a Mord'Sith. A Mord'Sith that now found herself very much in love with a woman that was not only a Confessor, but the Mother Confessor at that, with undeniable duties and responsibilities to the people of the Midlands. She wasn't naïve. She knew that this quest would eventually end and their status quo would be shaken and some decisions would have to be made. She just preferred to ignore all that and enjoy the moments she had with Kahlan; after all, despite Richard's unwavering optimism, they didn't know how well this quest would end up.
"When all this is over, the Seeker won't need the help of his Confessor anymore," Kahlan started again, after a moment of leaving Cara to her own thoughts. "I'll have to come back here. My place is in Aydindril; I've been postponing my duties here long enough," she said gently, tracing a soothing pattern along Cara's back.
"I know that. You're right, your place is here," Cara replied calmly and then became pensive once more. She supported Kahlan in that decision, it made perfect sense to her. "You know I want to be with you," she said with a small smile that immediately put Kahlan more at ease. "I was just thinking about Richard. What kind of person does it make me if I break a promise to the man I'm supposed to be bound to?" Cara said after a moment, looking down at Kahlan with a guarded expression.
"Supposed to be bound to?" Kahlan asked curiously and sat up to face Cara. "What do you mean by that?" she asked, having easily picked up on Cara's wording.
"Probably nothing," Cara huffed and shrugged dismissively.
"If it wasn't nothing you wouldn't have said it," Kahlan pointed out, smiling when Cara glared at her. "I seem to recall that you don't say anything you don't mean," she prodded teasingly, knowing throwing Cara's words back at her would probably get a reaction.
"There's something weird going on with the bond," she started awkwardly, not really knowing how to explain what she was feeling. "I've actually been meaning to talk to you about it for a few days, but I was just trying to understand it myself first."
"Weird how?" Kahlan furrowed, tracing lazy circles over Cara's thigh.
"Weird like-" Cara huffed frustratingly and let herself fall back down on the bed, one hand rubbing her eyes. "It's weakening," she finally said, looking directly at Kahlan to assess her reaction.
"Could it be because Richard refuses to take the title of Lord Rahl?" Kahlan considered, placing a comforting hand on Cara's stomach.
"He refused it from the start and I always felt the bond," Cara shook her head, her eyes turning inward as she thought about what could be causing it.
"Maybe it's because of the lack of devotions?" Kahlan tried again reluctantly, this wasn't exactly something she knew much about.
"It could be," Cara paused. "But it shouldn't happen, the bond is not a fleeting thing," she said with a frown. "But the weirdest thing it's not even that it's weaker, it's that I don't feel the absence of it like I should," she added, gathering by Kahlan's confused expression that the brunette didn't quiet get what she meant. "When Richard died, the bond disappeared and I felt it's absence. Like suddenly I had this void inside me that nothing could fulfill," she explained, watching Kahlan nod in understanding.
"But now you don't feel any of that emptiness, even though you realize the bond is weaker somehow?" Kahlan clarified as she settled next to Cara again, propping herself up on her elbow and caressing the blonde's skin distractedly while she tried to piece together what the woman was telling her.
"Exactly," Cara nodded and sighed, interlacing her fingers with Kahlan's and resting their joined hands back on her stomach.
"I know you felt the bond all your life and I wouldn't presume to really understand what if feels like, but," Kahlan paused and looked into Cara's eyes. "Maybe this could be a good thing. I'm sorry, but being tied like that to a ruler still doesn't seem right to me," she said with a sigh.
"You don't have to apologize," Cara smiled, glad for Kahlan's consideration on this touchy subject. "I know what you mean and, theoretically, I'm inclined to agree with you, it's just-"
"It's just that it has always being there and it's part of you, liking it or not," Kahlan summarized, understanding that the bond was definitely more complicated than just a leash for Lord Rahl to control his people, it also gave the people a sense of comfort. "And I think your sense of loyalty to Richard is not because of the bond or your obligations as a Mord'Sith, not anymore," Kahlan caressed Cara's upper arm with the back of her fingers and smiled when the blonde looked at her with pursed lips, not a word of protest leaving her mouth. "It is because you made a promise to a friend; you promised him you would always be there to protect him, am I right?"
"Sometimes you know me better than I know myself," Cara brought her joined hands up and kissed Kahlan's hand gently. "Richard is an idiot sometimes, but-" she stated with a shake of her head.
"But he was the one that extended his hand to you and gave you a second chance," Kahlan finished for Cara, smiling when the blonde reluctantly nodded. "You should talk to him," she said and shook her head when Cara immediately curled her lip in distaste for the idea. "Don't be like that, just listen to me," she said gently as she cupped Cara's cheek to make the blonde look at her. "I think you need to hear him say that you don't own him anything. Being loyal to Richard doesn't have to mean being right next to him every day," she said and kissed Cara's temple. "And maybe ask Zedd what could be happening with the bond," she added, smiling when Cara nodded.
"I'll think about it," Cara compromised and turned on her side to pull Kahlan closer to her. "Although there's no need to have those talks anytime soon, since Richard is taking forever to find the Stone of Tears, so let's worry about the future another day," she chuckled and caressed Kahlan's lower back, making the brunette shiver in response.
"You're probably right," Kahlan laughed along with Cara. "And I don't think we have much to worry about when it comes to the future," she said pensively while she draped her arm over Cara's side and ran her fingers up and down Cara's back.
"Why do you say that?" Cara said with a raised eyebrow, noticing the serious tone of the brunette's voice.
"I just have this serene sensation when I think about us and about our future," Kahlan explained with a small shy shrug. "I know it doesn't make much sense and I'm not relying entirely on it, but I can't help but feel like everything will work itself out somehow."
"Optimistic, are we?" Cara grinned, running her hand up and down the arm Kahlan had draped over her.
"I guess I learnt that from Richard," Kahlan chuckled.
"That's about all you could have learnt from him, I guess," Cara drawled, but the glint in her eyes let Kahlan know she was teasing.
"Don't be mean," Kahlan mock scolded the blonde.
"If I wasn't mean I wouldn't be half as fun," Cara smirked smugly. "And you wouldn't love me as much," she wiggled her eyebrows playfully, making Kahlan laugh.
"Spirits, I can't believe I've fallen in love with someone so smug," Kahlan shook her head fondly.
"There's nothing wrong with being confident," Cara shrugged unapologetically.
"Confident?" Kahlan raised an eyebrow. "That's what you're going to call it?" she teased with a laugh.
"Extremely confident," Cara nodded and moved to straddle a laughing Kahlan. "I'm confident that I can turn that laugh into moans in under five seconds," she smirked and lowered her full body over Kahlan's, entangling their legs together and pinning Kahlan's arms over her head.
"You can try," Kahlan smirked alluringly up at Cara and yelped when the blonde lowered herself suddenly to her neck.
Once Cara's lips were on her earlobe, Kahlan didn't even last two seconds before moaning contently and turning her head to meet the blonde in a passionate kiss, her body already eagerly anticipating her lover's touch.
When they finally fell asleep, the sun was already starting to peek over the horizon.
"You wanted to see us, my dear?" Zedd asked as he entered the room with Richard beside him, after they had been summoned to Kahlan's presence, looking questioningly at her.
"Yes, I'm sorry for making you both come here so late but… here," Kahlan apologized and extended her hand towards them. "Do you recognize this?" she asked, as the men approached her curiously and peeked at what she was holding in her hand.
"That's the Stone of Tears!" Richard said in awe as his eyes widened in recognition.
"Creator be praised, it is," Zedd's eyes also widening in surprise as he took the stone from Kahlan to better look at it. "How is it here?" he frowned in confusion.
"Sarah had it," Cara replied. "She said she found it in the Confessor's Palace in the past," she clarified as both men kept looking dumbly from her to the stone.
"But when the girls met us, we still didn't have the stone," Richard recalled, his brown furrowing in thought. "Where exactly did she find it?"
"She said it was on the floor after Cara had been killed," Kahlan explained and they watched in silence as Zedd paced back and forth a couple times, clearly deep in thought.
"Did you cry when you died?" Zedd suddenly stopped and asked Cara.
"I don't remember that particular death," Cara said slowly, staring at Zedd. "But I highly doubt that I cried," she said flippantly, as if that was preposterous.
"You died by confession, Cara," Kahlan reminded the blonde. "That's far from a normal death."
"Still, I don't see it happening," Cara repeated with a shake of her head. "But Sarah mentioned that you were crying over my dead body," she pointed out.
"She did," Kahlan nodded with a frown. "But what does that have to do with anything?" she asked Zedd.
"You made a Stone of Tears," Zedd stated simply, looking directly at Kahlan.
"That's impossible, Zedd," Kahlan immediately denied. "The Stone of Tears was given to us by that mysterious woman," she recalled. "You said there was a strong possibility that she was the Creator, remember?" the brunette raised one eyebrow. "How could I have made a Stone of Tears?"
"The Stone of Tears was created from great sorrow, that came from a great love," Zedd started pensively as the others looked at him expectantly. "You're a Confessor, Kahlan. Your very power is based on love. What happens when you suffer? What happened when you discovered Farkas had killed Cara and the girls went through the portal?" he questioned, sure he was making his point across.
"I entered the Con Dar," Kahlan said, eyeing Zedd with new understanding.
"And you knew Raina had brought Cara back and there was a strong possibility that the girls were still alive in the past," Zedd continued with his reasoning. "Now, imagine yourself in your younger self shoes," he said with a sigh. "She found Cara dead. Confessed by her own sister. And the only Mord'Sith in sight was a kid that had never been able to give the Breath of Life. You see the difference?"
"She must have been completely devastated," Kahlan said with a shuddering breath and tears in her eyes.
"Exactly," Zedd nodded with a kind smile. "This is the Stone of Tears, of that I have absolutely no doubt," he reiterated with conviction, glancing at his grandson who nodded his agreement with the wizard's assessment. "I've known you and Cara for a long time now, Kahlan. I witness how strong your love is every day. It's that love that makes you both strive to be better. It's that love that rules this city, in the way you both trust each other and defend what you both believe in," he paused and looked almost humorously at them. "That love allowed you to conceive two children. How can you even doubt that it allowed you to create one small stone?" he grinned, happy with his conclusion.
"Well, when you put it like that," Richard chuckled. "I guess it's not so unbelievable that Kahlan's tears created that stone," he said, looking pointedly at Cara knowing she was the more skeptical among them.
"I have to relent on this one," Cara said after a brief pause, nodding at the men and looking at her wife. "You do love me a lot," she smirked playfully, making Kahlan chuckle amusedly.
"As I said, a great sorrow born of a great love," Zedd repeated with a nod.
"But if I created that stone all those years ago," Kahlan said pensively. "Who was that woman that we thought to be the Creator?" she pondered.
"I never thought she was the Creator," Cara was quick to rectify. "It was you who said that," she said pointing at Zedd. "And you and Richard went along with his crazy ideas," she turned her accusatory eyes to Kahlan.
"Coming to that conclusion was not as ludicrous as you always liked to make it sound," Zedd argued as Cara just rolled her eyes at him. "She did things no normal human could do, the white cloak she was wearing never let us see her face-"
Zedd was interrupted when the door opened and Sarah and Alys came in the room, discussing something quite animatedly.
"Oh, come on, Sarah, just try it," Alys pleaded with her sister and by the tired sigh of the older girl she had probably been bothering her for a while. "If you put this on, you'll look like a being sent form above," the blonde girl teased as she kicked the long cloak she had on, to prevent herself from tripping over it, and pushed the hood back so she could see.
"I rest my case," Cara threw her arms in the air exasperatingly as they all looked at the exact image they remembered from all those years ago… just shorter.
"Stop messing around with mother's cloak," Sarah reprimanded her sister when the small girl finally tripped over the cloth and fell. "It's too big on you, you'll ruin it," she said, taking it off of Alys and folding it carefully in her arms.
"Actually sweetie," Kahlan started, looking contemplatively at her oldest daughter. "Would you mind putting it on?" the brunette asked, making everyone look at Sarah expectantly.
"Sure," Sarah said slowly, looking suspiciously at the adults, but did as her mother asked. "What now? Do you want me to twirl?" she said, making Alys giggle.
"Let me just," Kahlan said mostly to herself as she approached Sarah, pulling the hood over the teen's head and appraising her from head to toe. "Well, that seems familiar," she cleared her throat and turned to look at the others, who just nodded back at her with resigned expressions.
"Looks like we were tricked back then," Zedd said with a little irritation. "Who would have thought?" he harrumphed.
"I would. And I did," Cara quickly replied. "But you fools kept insisting it was the Creator who handed the stone to us," she said with a frustrated huff.
"Come on, Cara," Richard said. "You didn't know it was Sarah either," he pointed out.
"Excuse me for not being able to figure out that the mysterious woman was my own daughter," Cara shot back. "But I certainly didn't think she was the Creator!"
"We said she could be," Richard corrected good naturedly, this being a subject of discussion for a long time now. "There was no way to be sure of who she really was back then," he shrugged.
"You have to admit her appearance was shrouded in mystery," Kahlan told her wife with a smile, earning herself a good-natured glare from the blonde.
"Well, there's your mystery!" Cara said, pointing at Sarah's cloaked figure. "Your own daughter fooled you," she stated with grin, making the others laugh.
"So, what are you saying?" Sarah questioned, lifting the hood off her eyes a bit. "I was the one who gave the stone to you, after all?" she asked in disbelief.
"Yes," Cara said simply.
"And to think we were fed some fairytale about the Creator gracing the Seeker on his quest," Alys mused, her arms crossed as she shook her head disapprovingly at Zedd. "And it was my sister all along?" she said in disbelief. "I am not impressed," she drawled and looked at an amused Sarah.
"You really want me to go back there and give the stone to uncle Richard?" Sarah asked, still doubtful about this whole thing.
"You brought the stone back with you, sweetie," Kahlan told her daughter. "We have to get it back where it's needed and if any of us goes there, they'll recognize us," she said, stating the obvious.
"I do keep telling you to stop picking up random things," Alys reminded her sister. "Maybe this will teach you," she grinned teasingly.
"Except that if I hadn't picked up the stone it would have been lost there," Sarah argued. "So, I guess my collecting habits aren't so bad," she said in her defense.
"Kahlan is right," Zedd said pensively, oblivious to the girls bickering. "We do have to take the stone back to them and it can't be any of us. Our presence alone, any of us, would already be giving them information about the future that they shouldn't have," he said, nodding along with his words. "It has to be you, my child," he told Sarah.
"I still don't like the idea of you going to the past again alone, though," Kahlan said worriedly, one look at Cara letting her know the blonde agreed with her. "It's not safe."
"Oh, I'll go with her!" Alys immediately volunteered with a raised hand and a huge grin.
"That hardly makes it safer, baby girl," Cara smiled in amusement. "I dare say it makes it even more dangerous," she added teasingly, watching the girl pout.
"I'll go with Sarah," Zedd announced and clasped the teen's shoulder. "With a little magical help from me, you'll get there safely and hand our past selves the Stone of Tears without revealing your identity."
"Are you up for it, kid?" Cara asked, wanting to make sure her daughter was okay with the plan.
"Of course," Sarah agreed readily. "It wasn't that hard to fool them the first time I was there, shouldn't be difficult this time either," she said nonchalantly and chuckled at the unamused looks she was getting from the adults. "Don't look so dejected, it's the simple truth," she said and looked at Alys for support. "Not to mention that you can't read me, so I can lie my heart out," she smirked at Kahlan who just raised a warning eyebrow at her.
"Sarah's right," Alys confirmed with a nod. "It was not that big of a challenge," the girl shrugged apologetically to the adults.
"Challenge or not, you need to be careful," Kahlan told her daughter with a frown. "You'll go there, hand them the stone and talk as little as possible," she said seriously, fixing her daughter with a warning stare. "And for the love of the Creator, do not show them your face."
"Why not?" Alys asked confused.
"Because one look at your sister's resemblance to your mom and we would all freak out," Richard explained as Alys nodded in understanding while looking between her sister and her mom.
"Fine, whatever," Sarah rolled her eyes. "You're making this seem like I'm going into battle, I just have to talk to them and hand them the stone," she huffed. "What could possibly go wrong?"
"Your mom attacking you for starters," Richard pointed out as he looked at Cara. "She was always suspicious about the woman who gave us the stone, so if you push your luck with her, it could end badly," he explained as the others nodded in agreement.
"What do mean, 'push my luck'?" Sarah raised one eyebrow at Richard who just looked at her with a knowing smile.
"We know you, sweetie," Kahlan tucked her daughter's hair behind her ear and smiled knowingly. "You will want to provoke them and have a little fun with this situation, or am I wrong?" she asked and pursed her lips when Sarah just smirked. "That's exactly the attitude you need to avoid."
"Why do we have to be so sneaky about this?" Sarah argued with a sigh. "Can't I just go there and give them the stone? Won't they know who I am already?"
"They were going to drink the forgetting potion as soon as they crossed the portal back to the past," Zedd reminded the teen. "So no, they won't know who you are anymore and it's best we keep it that way."
"So, again, do not show them that pretty face of yours, or they'll see the resemblance," Cara reminded her daughter as she pointed to herself. "Bite your tongue and do not, under any circumstances, provoke me," she warned. "Because I remember being very close to hitting that woman back then, so don't try anything funny. I don't want you hurt."
"You just need to behave like you do in the hearings," Alys said with a shrug. "You talk very calmly and to the point."
"Exactly," Kahlan said with a nod at her youngest daughter. "Just like at the hearings, listen more than talk," she nodded.
"Okay, then," Sarah tugged the hood of the cloak to hide her eyes and smirked. "I guess I'm going back to the past."
Early afternoon, on the next day, they all went to the Wizard's Keep to open the portal into the past. Zedd chose the huge library because it was the place in Aydindril that hadn't changed over the years and it was expected to be empty, so no one would spot them when they arrived.
"Be careful, sweetie," Kahlan said as she caressed her daughter's cheek and pulled the white hood tighter over the teen's eyes. "And remember, talk as little as possible," she repeated watching her daughter roll her eyes.
"Don't worry, mother," Sarah assured, smoothing out the white dress she had under the white cloak. "I'm pretty careful with my words when I want. They'll never guess who I really am," she smirked with confidence.
"I still don't get why I can't go too," Alys crossed her arms with a pout.
"Because this is risky as it is," Cara explained with smile at her peeved daughter. "Let's keep it as simple as we can."
"Can you at least keep the portal open so we can watch?" Alys asked Zedd, never one to give up easily.
"No, little one," the wizard chuckled when the small blonde sighed. "Your mom is right; we have to keep this as simple as possible. I'll hide while Sarah approaches them alone," he explained the plan one more time.
"Whatever," Alys shrugged. "I can't wait to grow up so I can have more fun," she mumbled to herself.
"Let's hope what you call fun changes before then," Cara said while she combed through the girl's blonde hair.
"You can hope," Sarah grinned. "But I don't see it happening," she said with a chuckle.
"Don't be in a rush to grow up, baby girl," Kahlan advised and pulled a disgruntled Alys to herself, kissing the top of her daughter's head gently. "Let's do this then. Zedd," she prompted to which the wizard nodded.
"Get back," Zedd warned and raised the Triangle of Anuyr while proffering the needed words. After only a small moment, a portal opened before their eyes and the same room could be seen on the other side. "Let's go, Sarah," the wizard said and walked through the portal, motioning with his hand for Sarah to follow him after he made sure he was alone.
"Wish me luck," Sarah grinned at her family and walked through the portal as well. With one last wave back, the portal closed and it was only her and Zedd in the silent room.
"Now all we have to do is use this and find Kahlan," Zedd said as he took Oloron's amulet from his long sleeve. "Give me your hand and think about your mother," he instructed.
Sarah watched as Zedd placed his hand on her own, Oloron's amulet between them and started to mumble some words she couldn't understand. Before she knew it, the shelves around her gave way to trees and bushes. They had done it, they managed to travel from the Wizard's Keep to somewhere in the middle of a forest.
"Where are we?" Sarah wondered as she looked around the clearing they stood in.
"Somewhere not far from Aydindril, judging by the type of the trees surrounding us," Zedd clarified, also looking around.
"And how are we supposed to find my mother now?" Sarah asked the wizard. "Does that thing glow the closer we get to her or something?" she motioned to the amulet in the wizard's hands.
"It does no such thing," Zedd frowned at the brunette. "She should be close by. Listen," he prompted while gesturing for the teen to be silent. "Someone is approaching," he whispered and they both turned to look at the path they could see a few feet away.
"It's them," Sarah said excitedly. "Quick, puff me in front of them," she secured her hood around her face and when the wizard opened his mouth to talk Sarah shushed him. "Enough with the warnings and advise, I got this. Do it already," she said confidently.
Zedd took a deep breath, mumbled the necessary words for the spell and watched Sarah disappear.
"The compass keeps pointing ahead," Richard informed the rest of them as he checked the compass once again. "We can follow it to the next town. We'll be there by sundown or earlier, if we keep a good pace," he smiled happily.
They had left Aydindril early that morning, the town had gathered to send them off with wishes of luck on their quest. Kahlan had amused herself with watching Cara avoid any interactions with the people. She had been grateful for that distraction; Cara's warning words the night before about the way her people would receive their relationship, coupled with the hostile looks Dennee kept sending Cara when they were saying their goodbyes, had still been troubling her.
"If the wizard doesn't slow us down, you mean," Cara drawled, throwing a quick glance at Zedd walking behind her.
"I sure would love to see how well you can keep up when you get to my age," Zedd replied to Cara. "Providing you even get there," he quipped.
"I'm as tough as I look, wizard," Cara smirked. "I'm sure I'll manage."
"Maybe if you two wouldn't bicker so much we would make better time," Kahlan teased with a grin.
"I'm perfectly capable of multitasking," Cara was quick to reply with a grin, but before she could continue the airs at the nape of her neck stood at attention, the grin disappeared from her face and she locked eyes with Zedd.
"You felt it too," Zedd guessed, understanding Cara's warning look right away and watching the blonde reach for her agiels.
"What's wrong?" Richard asked with a frown, looking around them and not seeing any danger.
"It's magic, isn't it?" Kahlan asked and Cara just nodded, her eyes scanning the forest around them for any hint of movement.
"Someone used very powerful magic nearby," Zedd clarified and was turning to the place where he could feel the pull of the magic, when he saw something materialize right behind his grandson. "Richard, watch out!" he shouted in warning and wasted no time in shooting his wizard's fire at the stranger.
Richard ducked just in time so the flames passed over him towards the white clad figure he glimpsed behind him. But instead of hitting the intended target, the flames were expertly redirected by the white clad figure to a nearby tree.
"I'm not here to harm you," a woman's voice was clearly heard, calm and collected, not sounding the least bit intimidated by the flames or the weapons the other three immediately pointed at her.
"Who are you and what do you want?" Cara demanded as she approached the woman, placing herself between the threat and her companions. If this woman could use magic, she was their best defense.
"I'm here to help you on your quest, Seeker," the woman ignored Cara and instead addressed Richard, her calm demeanor never wavering.
"Help me how?" Richard asked with a furrowed brow, making Cara roll her eyes at the ever-trusting nature of the Seeker.
"By giving you what you seek," the woman smiled and moved her hand to reach inside her robes, but a dagger pointed at her throat stopped her before she could make another move.
"Kahlan, what are you doing?" Richard asked as he approached the suspicious Confessor.
"I can't read her, Richard," Kahlan revealed, her eyes never leaving the hood covered face of the mysterious woman. "I can't be sure of her intentions," she said, keeping the dagger menacingly pointed at the woman.
"Just because you can't read me, doesn't mean I want to hurt you," the woman said gently and motioned with her head towards Cara. "You also can't read her and she couldn't be further from being your enemy," the woman smiled knowingly, always careful to keep her head down.
"And how exactly would you know that?" Kahlan asked with a worried frown, not liking that this woman seemed to know about the nature of her relationship with Cara.
"I know all of you very well," the woman replied calmly, even with the dagger still pointing at her. "That's how I know Kahlan Amnell would never condemn anyone rashly and would instead allow them to speak in their defense first," she said with a kind smile, making Kahlan lower her weapon, but not sheath it away.
"Kahlan can't read you and you deflected the wizard's fire," Cara mused, approaching the woman with slow and careful steps. "I think you're just a Mord'Sith playing costume," Cara said and raised her agiel to point it menacingly at the woman's neck.
"I am many things," the woman replied with a small smile and raised her hand very slowly towards Cara's agiel. "But being your enemy is not among them," she said and moved the agiel away slowly with the back of her hand.
Cara watched the woman's hand make contact with her agiel and waited for the expected scream of pain and for the angry black marks to bite into the woman's skin, but neither happened. To her surprise, the woman simply moved the weapon away as if it were a staff made of wood instead of the painful leather rod, making no move to attack either of them.
"If you're an ally, the least you could do is show us your face," Cara said, allowing her weapon to be lowered but still not trusting this woman one bit.
"It's not my face you need to see," the woman maintained her calm demeanor. "All you need to see is this," she said and reached inside her robes again, under the watchful eye of the others, and pulled out something to present to them.
"Is that what I think it is?" Richard asked stunned, looking at the stone sitting on the woman's palm.
"This is what you have been looking for, Seeker," the woman said. "The Stone of Tears," she announced to everyone's shock. "Take it, it's yours," she smiled gently, offering the stone to Richard.
"It can't be," Richard said in awe as he took the stone in his hand.
Richard gave the stone to his grandfather and turned his back on the wizard, then he opened the compass and watched as the indicating light that was previously pointing ahead of them, now pointed to his back. Understanding his grandson's intention, Zedd moved around with the stone and they all watched as the compass changed directions and followed Zedd's movements. There was no doubt, this was indeed the Stone of Tears.
"How do you have the Stone of Tears?" Richard asked the woman curiously.
"I found it after death touched someone very dear to me," the woman said cryptically, as the others looked over the stone.
"Someone dear to you?" Zedd repeated, her brown furrowing in deep thought as if the woman's words had reminded him of something. "You don't mean your children, by any chance?" the wizard questioned, getting strange looks from the others. It was well known that the Stone of Tears was made by the Creator after she cried when the Keeper tried to destroy her children.
"The death of our family is reason enough to succumb into unparalleled grief and despair," the woman smiled sadly. "Wouldn't you agree, Zedd?" she asked, smiling knowingly at the wizard.
"Yes, yes, it is," Zedd nodded and shared a knowing look with Kahlan, sure that the Confessor was also recalling what she knew about the Creator. "Maybe enough to create this?" he ventured, motioning to the stone.
"Exactly," the woman confirmed, to Zedd and Kahlan's shock. "I wish you luck on the rest of your quest. Take care of each other," she said kindly.
"Wait," Zedd said, wanting to confirm his suspicions.
"Don't trouble yourself, Zedd," the woman interrupted him kindly. "We will meet again and when we do, all your questions will be answered. Goodbye, for now," she said and disappeared the same way she appeared, in a flash of light.
"What was that all about?" Cara asked, looking from Zedd to Kahlan, who looked like they had seen a ghost.
"Don't you get it?" Zedd asked in astonishment, looking at the spot where the woman had vanished.
"Get what, Zedd?" Richard asked, also not following his grandfather's train of thought.
"That woman was the Creator!" Zedd revealed in awe.
"Your old age finally scrambled your brain for good," Cara sighed.
"Zedd may be right," Kahlan interjected, receiving a disbelieving look form Cara. "Think about it for a moment, she deflected magic, I couldn't read her-"
"I can do that!" Cara quickly pointed out.
"Yes, but can you magically vanish in a flash of light, though?" Richard countered, seeing what the others meant.
"No," Cara shook her head. "But a sorceress can," she pointed out, showing them there where other options for the woman's identity than her being the Creator. "So, don't you think jumping to the conclusion that she's the Creator is stretching it a bit?"
"I can read sorceresses," Kahlan reminded the blonde, effectively invalidating her theory. "And no sorceress can withstand the pain of an agiel," she added, reminding the blonde that the mysterious woman hadn't even flinched when she had touched the weapon.
"Then she's a Mord'Sith who was teleported in front of us by a sorceress," Cara tried again with a huff, still refusing to believe the Creator just appeared in front of them.
"Really, Cara?" Richard scrunched his nose doubtfully at the blonde's far-fetched theory. "And that's not stretching it?" he asked, pursing his lips. "What next? Are you going to suggest she came from the future or something?" he chuckled amusingly.
"Now that would be stretching it," Kahlan chuckled at Richard's mock suggestion, watching Cara sigh frustratingly.
"Cara, think about it for a second," Zedd tried.
"I don't need to think about anything," Cara protested. "You people are just too gullible. I don't believe, for even a second, that that woman was the Creator."
"And did you believe you could come back from being a baneling?" Kahlan countered, making Cara pause.
"That's different, that involved water with magical properties," she said after a beat. "This is the Creator you're talking about, not a magical stream in the middle of the forest," she pointed out.
"But if the Keeper is real, so is the Creator," Richard argued with a shrug.
"And pray tell, when have you ever seen the Keeper?" Cara challenged. "Never! Only his minions," she said with satisfaction.
"The Creator is a being of light," Kahlan said tentatively. "Maybe she dislikes the idea of having minions and instead takes care of things on her own," she said, knowing from Cara's less than impressed look that she was not convincing the blonde.
"Let's agree to disagree then," Richard sighed. "This discussion will take us nowhere."
"Speaking of which," Zedd said, giving the stone back to Richard. "Where to now, my boy?"
Richard opened the compass out of habit, but the ever-trusting blue light wasn't there anymore.
"Is it broken?" Richard said worriedly.
"I don't think so," Zedd shook his head. "The compass was meant to guide the Seeker to the Stone of Tears; since you already have it in your hand, the compass doesn't work anymore," he pointed out.
"Right," Richard nodded with a grin, but it quickly fell into a frown. "But now what do I do with the stone?"
"You mean you don't know how to use that?" Cara asked in surprise, pointing at the stone.
"No, I don't" Richard said lamely.
"I guess your new friend has a sense of humor, then," Cara quipped. "She gave you the stone, but not the instructions," she continue, the others sharing awkward looks and no one dared to open their mouths.
"Well, I'm sure-" Richard started before being interrupted by Cara again.
"You're sure of what?" Cara asked, frowning in annoyance. "You expect someone to come along and happen to have the exact instructions of how to use the Stone of Tears?" she asked in disbelief. "You know what? Judging by what happened to us until now, I wouldn't even be surprised if what happened next was exactly that," she huffed and turned to walk briskly down the path.
"She seems irritated," Richard grimaced and looked at Kahlan for help.
"She's not good at believing without proof," Kahlan sighed and watched as Cara walked away, not even bothering to check if they were following her. "I'm sure I can calm her down before we reach the next town," she tried to smile reassuringly at the men, but failed miserably. She looked worriedly towards Cara and wondered if this outburst had more to do with last night's conversation than it had to do with the encounter with the stranger and Richard's lack of a plan.
"Is everything alright between you two?" Richard asked carefully, having noticed Kahlan's concerned look in Cara's direction.
"Yes, everything is fine," Kahlan smiled reassuring, this time more convincingly at Richard's concern for them. "It's just that…there's something else on her mind, I think that's why she's lashing out a bit," Kahlan sighed and started to walk down the road, not bothering to catch up with the blonde because she knew Cara need a little alone time right now.
"I don't understand, she should be happy," Richard frowned, walking next to Kahlan. "She's the one who has being pushing us to hurry in the search for the stone this whole time and now that we have it, she's upset?"
"At first, completing the quest was just the end of one more mission to her," Kahlan started to explain, hoping that if she explained it to Richard first, she would be making the blonde's life a little easier. "But now it's not that simple and we thought we would have a lot more time to figure things out, but now…" she trailed off, looking pointedly at the stone in Richard's hand, conveying to him that the moment to make those decisions had come sooner than expected.
"I'm not sure I understand," Richard frowned, clearly not picking up on Kahlan's vague hints.
"Richard," Kahlan tried again patiently. "After we seal the rift, will you go to Aydindril?" she asked.
"I'll accompany you there, as I always said I would," Richard said without hesitation. "But I don't think I'll be staying, now that I don't have a reason for it," he smiled meekly at Kahlan, both knowing that he was talking about her. "I was thinking that I could be more useful if I kept travelling around, helping people where they need me," he smiled happily, but frowned slightly when he noticed Kahlan and Zedd raise their eyebrows at him expectantly, as if waiting for him to reach a foreseeable conclusion.
"That's a great and noble plan, my boy," Zedd shared a knowing look with Kahlan, both knowing Richard still wasn't grasping the problem. "But that would mean you being away from Kahlan and there's someone that pledged her allegiance to you, that would also be away from Kahlan if she followed you around," he said, looking pointedly at Cara's figure ahead of them.
"Oh," Richard said simply, now understanding what the others were trying to tell him. "But that doesn't make any sense. Cara doesn't have to come with me, she should be with you in Aydindril," he told Kahlan with a levity that showed his big heart, but also his difficulty to see things from another perspective at times.
"Knowing our Cara, she's understandably conflicted," Zedd mused with pursed lips.
"Why? Because I'm Lord Rahl?" Richard asked, throwing his arms in the air in frustration, they had covered this topic multiple times before. "I've told her, time and again, I'm never going to take on that title. Cara has no obligation towards me," he reiterated.
"I don't think it's that simple anymore," Kahlan said after a pause, continuing when she received a questioning look form Richard. "You're not just her Lord Rahl, Richard," she pointed out. "I don't think you've ever been just that. You are the person who gave her a chance to be someone she was already trying to be, but didn't know how," she explained. "Even if she doesn't say it, you've become her friend and she made you a promise to always be there for you, to protect you," she recalled. "And if you forgot, Cara takes promises and loyalty very seriously," she smiled, but it didn't reach her eyes.
"You're afraid Cara will choose duty over her own happiness, over you," Zedd guessed as he studied Kahlan's worried expression.
"I know Cara wants to be with me, I have no doubts about that and neither does she," Kahlan said with a sigh and looked at Zedd worriedly. "But part of me, the part that always had to choose between duty and happiness, can't help but be stupidly afraid she might do just that."
"You can't seriously be suggesting that she would want to go with me over staying with you?" Richard said in disbelief, looking between Kahlan and Zedd.
"That's the thing, Richard," Kahlan sighed, becoming a little frustrated at Richard's refusal to fully understand the problem at hand. "It's not about what she wants, it's about what she sees as her duty," she pointed out. "The same sense of duty that has me going back to Aydindril."
"Kahlan is right," Zedd nodded. "You can't disrespect Cara by downplaying this. To you it may be an easy answer, but to Cara it is to contradict her own code. It's not a decision she'll make lightly."
"I get all that," Richard huffed. "But she's wrong!"
"Maybe don't tell her that," Zedd cleared his throat. "Not the best way to approach this subject. Or any subject, when it comes to Cara."
"Richard, Cara is not used to getting what she wants, she's used to doing what she's told-"
"Could have fooled me," Zedd mumbled good naturedly as the others chuckled.
"You both know what I mean," Kahlan continued, sure that the men knew she was talking about Cara's training as a Mord'Sith, that had her just following orders all her life. "Cara has changed in all this time she has been travelling with us, and more so since we're together," she said and looked directly at Richard, begging him with her eyes for him to understand the importance of what she was saying. "Listen, my irrational fears aside, I know she'll be going to Aydindril with me. I just don't want her to do that feeling like she failed you somehow," she said, noticing Richard nod in understanding. "As much as she loves and listens to me, when it comes to this, she needs to get that validation from you."
"Just don't tell her she's wrong," Zedd reminded Richard with a grin.
"I have no desire to be punched in the face," Richard replied with a grin of his own. "And I understand now what you're saying," he said, looking at Kahlan with a soft smile. "Cara started as a convenient ally, but now she's a very dear friend to me. I understand that for her it's a little more complicated than that, if nothing else there's still the bond reminding her that I'm supposed to be her ruler," he chuckled nonchalantly, but turned to look back when she noticed Kahlan was no longer at his side and was just standing still in the middle of the road.
"Oh, Spirits," Zedd mumbled with a sigh. "What's wrong, my dear?" he asked, staring expectantly at a pensive Kahlan.
"The bond," Kahlan said but hesitated a bit before explaining. This was a sensible subject for Cara and it was something that had to be discussed with the blonde present. She looked ahead, watching as Cara still marched away with no signs of slowing down and looked back at the worried faces of the men. She might as well give them a heads up now, since it looked like the time they thought they had last night, had been abruptly cut short this morning. "There's something wrong with the bond," she clarified. "Cara told me last night that the bond has been weakening lately."
"I didn't think that was possible," Richard frowned, more in curiosity than worry. He definitely wouldn't mind if the bond didn't exist.
"It shouldn't be," Zedd said musingly, his narrowed eyes turning to Cara ahead of them.
"What do you think that means?" Kahlan prodded since Zedd didn't volunteer any information.
"Well, first we need to know if all D'Harans are feeling the weakening of the bond or just Cara," he reasoned. "And depending on that, there could be very different reasons for it," he ventured.
"What if it's just Cara?" Kahlan insisted, starting their march again. "What do you think could be the reason behind it?"
"My first guess?" Zedd raised one eyebrow at Kahlan. "It would be you, my dear," he said, getting surprised looks from both his younger companions.
"Me?" Kahlan frowned in astonishment. "How could I have anything to do with it? The bond's magic is in the blood, Confessor's magic are in their spirits-"
"It has nothing to do with magic," Zedd shook his head. "It has to do with the very essence of bonding in itself," he said, continuing when he saw their confused expressions. "The bond to the House of Rahl might be weakening in Cara, because she formed a new bond, one stronger than any magic," he paused to give Kahlan a knowing smile. "Love, my dear."
"Do you think that could be it?" Kahlan asked in astonishment. She knew Cara loved her deeply, for she loved the blonde in the same way, but for it to be so strong that it even broke such powerful blood magic, it surpassed anything she could have imagined.
"It's just an educated guess," Zedd shrugged. "I heard whispers that it was possible back when I frequented Panis' court, but of course, Panis made sure that information was never spread," he informed them. "Time will tell if that's the reason."
Kahlan just nodded back, aware they had little to go on to be making conjunctures that could very well be wrong. But she couldn't help but hope that Zedd's explanation would turn out to be the correct one. It would only help assuage Cara's worries about going back to Aydindril with her. Kahlan looked at Cara again and noticed the blonde had slowed down her pace, so she picked up her own pace to reach Cara, knowing it was the blonde's way to let her know that she was calmer now and would welcome some company. Smiling to herself, Kahlan was feeling more confident and looking forward to Cara talking with Richard and laying to rest the doubts that still lingered in the blonde's mind. With that thought in mind, Kahlan smiled to herself, that feeling of trust in the future she had been having lately only intensifying.
"So, how was I?" Sarah asked Zedd with a grin while taking the hood off.
"You played with fire there for a bit," Zedd couldn't help but reprimand the girl.
"You started it," Sarah replied indignantly, making Zedd roll his eyes. "What was that all about anyway? Younger you needs to chill," she huffed.
"That was what we warned you about all along, that they might attack you," Zedd hissed. "But I guess we can call it a success," the wizard sighed and patted the teen's shoulder.
"I don't think I fooled mom, though," Sarah scrunched her nose.
"That was never part of the plan," Zedd shook his head. "It would never have happened," he said with chuckle.
"I still wanted to have managed to do it, though," Sarah shrugged. "Plus, I bet Alys that I could do it. Now I'll have to clean up the training room on my own for a month," she huffed, her eyes widening at the prospect.
"Your sister will be over the moon for managing to win one over you," Zedd laughed.
"Yeah, it will definitely cheer her up," Sarah said with a smile. "She went through enough hardship lately, the little thing deserves a win," she said fondly. "Don't tell her I said that, though," she warned the wizard, watching the old man pretend to zip his lips.
"Ready to go back home?" Zedd asked and when Sarah nodded, he opened the portal, both walking through it one more time and then used the Oloron's amulet to immediately be transported to where the Mother Confessor was.
Kahlan was pacing back and forth while they waited for Sarah and Zedd to come back. She looked at her wife and shared an anxious look, not being able to know what was happening wasn't exactly something they liked when it came to their daughters. Unlike them, Alys didn't seem to be bothered at all. The girl was talking animatedly with Raina and Berdine, when a familiar light appeared in midair and morphed into a portal, Zedd and Sarah walking through a second later.
"That was fast," Kahlan smiled in relief and went to hug her daughter. "Everything went well?" she asked, taking the cloak off the teen and looking her up and down.
"You can stop checking for injuries, mother," Sarah chuckled in amusement. "Everything went perfectly fine," she said with a proud smile.
"If you don't count the wizard's fire and the dagger and agiel aimed at your throat," Zedd shared nonchalantly. "Yes, you could say everything went perfectly fine."
"What?" Kahlan exclaimed with wide eyes as Cara immediately approached them and brushed Sarah's hair away to check her neck.
"Will you two stop with the fussing?" Sarah shrugged her mothers hands off. "No one hurt me," she guaranteed. "Zedd could never have manage it," she said, throwing the old wizard a mocking grin. "And you two, I convinced to stand down with just words, like I said I would," she pointed out, daring her mothers to scold her.
"That's true," Zedd confirmed. "The girl was pretty crafty with her words," he said with an impressed nod.
"I'm glad you managed to pull that off," Cara said. "I couldn't help but be worried about how they would receive you."
"It was touch and go for a little bit there," Zedd said. "But, thank the Creator Sarah took after Kahlan on her problem-solving skills and resorted to diplomacy," the wizard continued, his tone growing increasingly mocking. "If she had taken after her other mother, we would have had a fight on our hands," he finished with an all too sweet grin at Cara, his words a clear jab at the blonde, who's only reply was to shot him a similar falsely sweet smile.
"And did they think you were the Creator?" Alys pipped in curiously.
"Yes, it was embarrassingly easy to convince them," Sarah replied, sharing a laugh with her sister, not caring that the adults didn't seem to join on their amusement.
"And did you convince everyone?" Alys questioned with a raised eyebrow, a certain bet not forgotten to her.
"No," Sarah admitted with a defeated groan after a pause. "I couldn't fool mom," she confirmed, watching a very pleased Cara cross her arms and look at the others with a smug smirk.
"I won the bet," Alys' eyes widened in glee as the girl seemed shocked with her own win. She only came out of it when Raina raised one hand in front of her and the little girl high-fived the Mord'Sith excitedly.
"There's such a thing as overconfidence, princess," Raina told Sarah while the teen hung her head in defeat. "As judge of this bet, I'll hold you to your cleaning duties for the next month."
"Judge of the bet?" Cara asked with an incredulous frown, looking dumbfounded at Raina.
"I'll have you know it's a very prestigious role," Raina replied without missing a bit, the way she managed to maintain a serious face only making Cara chuckle and shake her head. "And plus, it avoids a lot of arguing between our princesses."
"Well, now that our princesses already had a vacation," Berdine cleared her throat and spoke in an authoritarian tone. "I believe you both have lessons to attend to," she said to both girls' complete horror.
"You're kidding, right?" Alys asked with a charming smile, gulping when the Mord'Sith just shook her head. "Mommy? Mom?" the girl pleaded.
"Berdine and Zedd are your teachers," Kahlan shrugged, trying not to laugh at the girl's crestfallen look and noticing that Berdine was struggling with the same problem. "They're the ones who decide your schedule," she said, Cara nodding in accordance beside her.
"I just got back from time travelling," Sarah tried her luck. "Do you know how tiring that is?" she asked, putting her hands on her hips and pretending to be exhausted.
"It so happens that I just made the same trip as you," Zedd said to Sarah as he approached Berdine. "I'm more than five times your age, so if I'm not tired, you aren't either. So, let's go," he winked mockingly at Sarah, just to have the teen glare at him.
"Raina?" Alys chanced their last resort.
"You know I don't take your side against her when it comes to your lessons," Raina pointed at Berdine and shook her head apologetically. "That never ended well for me before."
"I guess we'll see you girls at dinner time," Cara mocked, smirking when both her daughters glared at her.
"I'll see you later," Alys dragged her feet to her mothers and gave them both a kiss on the cheek, yelping and giggling when Cara trapped her in her arms and tickled her, the scowl that was on her face quickly shifting into the usual carefree grin.
"See you later," Sarah followed her sister and went to kiss her mothers goodbye, although not as grouchily as the little blonde.
"We'll see you later, sweetie," Kahlan told her as she cupped her cheeks. "You did really good, today and throughout this whole thing. I'm really proud of you," Kahlan smiled and kissed Sarah's cheek one more time.
"Looks like you are growing up," Cara sighed and tucked Sarah's hair behind her ear.
"Are you going to cry, mom?" Sarah teased, noticing her mom's eyes shine tearfully, and laughed when the blonde mock glared at her. "Don't worry, you can keep calling me kid, I like that," she winked at her mom and grinned when Cara just pulled her into a hug and kissed her temple tenderly.
"What about me?" Alys asked, bouncing on the balls of her feet. "Aren't you proud of me too?" she giggled happily.
"We're proud of you too," Kahlan grinned and pinched the girl's cheek. "Now go," she said as she turned Alys around and playfully swatted the little girl's behind. "Don't make Berdine wait for you or she'll make you stay longer," she reminded her daughter and chuckled when the girl quickly scurried out after her teacher, Sarah following her sister with a slower stride.
"Not to brag, but we raised two pretty amazing girls," Cara said as she hugged Kahlan from behind while they watched their daughters walk out the room with the rest of the adults.
"We did," Kahlan agreed and turned her head to place a kiss on Cara's cheek. "I can only imagine what the future holds in store for them," she mused with a smile.
"You don't have to imagine. We can always take a peek," Cara said with a grin.
"There's no need," Kahlan shook her head, knowing her wife was just teasing her. "Whatever the future brings, I'm sure we'll deal with it together," she said, turning to look meaningfully at Cara. "This,"she started, purposely pulling her wife's arms more securely around her. "Will always give me all the strength I need to go through everything life throws at us," she finished, smiling when Cara leaned in to kiss her sweetly.
Kahlan was sitting at the window of their room at the inn, looking outside to distract herself while she waited for Cara to come back. They had arrived at the town by late afternoon, as Richard had predicted. After they had dinner, Cara asked Richard to speak with him and they had both had gone for a walk outside. She was tired from walking all day, so she had excused herself from Zedd, sure that the wizard would be well entertained whith telling tales to the townspeople, and went to relax in her and Cara's room. The sound of the door being opened brought her out of her reverie.
"How did it go?" Kahlan asked expectantly as she got up to approach Cara.
"Good," Cara said simply, placing a small bundled up cloth on the nearby table. "A little awkward at first, but I guess it could have been a lot worse if someone hadn't given him some pointers earlier today," she said slowly, looking pointedly at a suddenly nervous Kahlan.
"You don't mind that I talked to Richard and Zedd, do you?" Kahlan asked, biting her lip and circling Cara's shoulders with one arm while her other hand went to its familiar place on Cara's chest.
"Of course I don't mind," Cara replied with a small shake of her head, her hands resting on Kahlan's sides as she leaned in to capture the brunette's lips in a small kiss. "He ended up doing most of the talking actually, which is fine by me," she chuckled.
"And did you decide anything?" Kahlan continued her inquiring, studying Cara's face closely. "Not that you need to decide anything right away, we still have no idea what to do with the Stone of Tears and even if we did you still didn't need to rush into-"
Cara cut Kahlan's nervous ramble off with a kiss. She had meant for it to be quick, but the way the brunette readily kissed her back made her prolong the caress and just let her lips slide languidly against Kahlan's until they both needed some air.
"When this quest is finished," Cara started in a low voice, looking deeply into Kahlan's eyes. "I'll go with you to Aydindril," she confirmed, watching as Kahlan's smile grew into a happy grin.
"You're really coming with me?" Kahlan asked excitedly, hugging Cara tightly when the blonde nodded her confirmation one more time. This wasn't exactly a surprise to her, but felt good to have the stubbornly lingering doubts squashed away for good.
"If we don't die on this quest, then yes, I'm definitely going with you," Cara chuckled, holding the content brunette close to her.
"You already died once and baneling was not a good look on you," Kahlan pulled away from the hug and looked sternly at the blonde. "You're not allowed to die again, you hear me?"
"So, is this how this will work now?" Cara said teasingly. "You plan on bossing me around?"
"If you plan on doing stupid things like dying, then yes," Kahlan nodded with a mock serious expression. "But I was more interested in this being a partnership," she smiled. "I want to build a life with you."
"We both want the same thing, then," Cara replied meaningfully and then paused. "I hope you know coming with you was really not ever in question," she added while Kahlan cupped her cheek and smiled at her. "I was just having a little difficulty with reconciling that fact with the promise I made to Richard," she explained, albeit unnecessarily because she knew Kahlan understood her dilemma perfectly. "He told me he won't be taking the title of Lord Rahl, which I still think it's pretty stupid," she rolled her eyes as Kahlan chuckled. "And that I'm the one who decides what to do with my life."
"I know all that," Kahlan said softly, running a gentle finger down Cara's nose. "That's why I encouraged you to talk to him," she added with a glint in her eyes.
"I'm sensing an 'I told you so' in there somewhere," Cara squinted at the brunette.
"I wasn't planning on saying it," Kahlan bit her lip to stop herself from grinning. "But since you've noticed it," she trailed of teasingly, shrugging her shoulders as Cara just shook her head amusedly at her.
"Anyway, we also talked to Zedd about the bond," Cara said as Kahlan tilted her head in curiosity. "It turns out there's a few D'Haran travelers staying here at the inn. Zedd was talking to them and they told him they didn't feel any changes in the bond, none confirmed ever feeling it growing weaker. So, I guess that's only happening to me."
"And what does Zedd think about that?" Kahlan questioned, already having an idea.
"What he already told you earlier," Cara smiled. "That my love for you may be erasing the bond," she said to an equally smiling Kahlan.
"You think that might be it?" Kahlan asked, with a hopeful glint in her eyes.
"I have no idea," Cara shrugged her shoulders. "All I know is how I feel and I feel great, so it can't be a bad thing," she stated with confidence.
"You and your simple solutions," Kahlan shook her head fondly.
"That usually are correct," Cara readily pointed out, making Kahlan chuckle and nod her head reluctantly.
"What's that?" Kahlan motioned to the cloth the blonde had previously placed on top of the table.
"This?" Cara asked, picking the small bundle up as Kahlan nodded. "Nothing much, just something I picked out for you while I was out with Richard," she smiled and offered the small bundle to Kahlan.
"What is it?" Kahlan asked curiously as she took the offered cloth and opened it. "Blackberries!" she gasped in delight and smiled at Cara. "Do you remember the first time you got me these?" she questioned fondly, not wasting time in popping one in her mouth, moaning gently at the taste.
"I might," Cara said with a teasing smile, pulling Kahlan more securely to her. "If I remember correctly, I didn't even mean to pick them up. I was just roaming around in the woods and I was so consumed by thoughts of you that I didn't even notice what I was doing," she recalled.
"What kinds of thoughts?" Kahlan prodded, not wasting an opportunity to make Cara talk about what she had been feeling before they got together.
"Confusing ones," Cara replied. "You were driving me crazy with the way you had been making me feel," the blonde admitted with a sigh. "I wasn't really used to those kinds of feelings back then."
"It was that gesture, of you getting me the blackberries, that really made me start to look at you differently, you know?" Kahlan said fondly, playing with Cara's hair.
"How so?" Cara tilted her head in curiosity.
"It was sweet and considerate," Kahlan said with a smile. "Like many other things that you did only for me. I just started to consciously notice them a lot more after that moment," she recalled, trailing her fingers from Cara's hair, down her neck and running them on random patterns along the blonde's chest.
"I think by then I was already in love with you but didn't know it," Cara chuckled.
"I think I was already in love with you too, but that was a scary thought to have back then," she recalled. "So, I softened it by calling it a thriving friendship," she giggled amusedly, making Cara chuckle along with her. "So, do you want some?" Kahlan asked suggestively, mirth glinting in her eyes.
"This time, I know for sure you're not talking about the blackberries," Cara grinned impishly, lowering one hand from Kahlan's back to squeeze the brunette's behind provocatively.
"Suit yourself, they're delicious," Kahlan shrugged playfully, doing her best to refrain her body from reacting to Cara's touch, and popped another blackberry in her mouth.
"I know something else that's absolutely delicious," Cara smirked alluringly and pushed Kahlan on top of the table before capturing the brunette's lips in a passionate kiss.
Kahlan smiled into the kiss and made room for Cara in between her legs. She blindingly put the cloth with the blackberries on the table in favor of circling Cara's neck and pulling the blonde closer to her, returning the kiss with abandon. Cara was right, this was so much more delicious than the berries.
"I love you so much," Kahlan smiled tearfully, cupping both of Cara's cheeks tenderly and caressing the skin with her thumbs.
Cara smiled back at the brunette, her eyes also showing the strong emotions Kahlan evoked in her. This beautiful woman was everything to her. Kahlan had shown her that, unlike what she had been taught all her life, love doesn't make a person weaker, because it made her so much stronger. Cara watched as one lone tear travelled down Kahlan's cheek and she slowly leaned in to catch it with her lips, leaving a tender kiss on the brunette's soft skin.
"I love you too," Cara replied with a gentle smile, sharing a meaningful look with Kahlan that said more than simple words ever could, before leaning in and capturing her love's lips again in a kiss that was a promise for the future.
********** FIM **********