Write a review @ Amanda
Author: seven_3_oh (amanda)
Fandom: legend of the seeker
Word Count: 4,869
Summary: Set in Season Two of the television series, ‘Legend of the Seeker’ with some splashing in of the book verse as well, set after HUNGER… Richard has a lot on his mind, ever since Kahlan was torn, and he thinks he has an idea!
Disclaimer: "Legend of the Seeker", its characters, and the situations depicted on the show are the property of ABC Studios, Disney, et all, as well as Terry Goodkind. This story cannot be sold or used for profit in any way. Copies of this story may be made for private use only and must include all disclaimers and copyright notices.
Author’s note: This is what we call in the biz, a bridge. It continues from the story ‘Honesty’ and leads us to the next story. You don’t have to read the first story, but it is recommended.
The campfire crackled, and two different sparks lifted up and got caught in the soft wind that moved through the camp. Surprisingly the wind forced them in different directions. There was a strange calm around the world, as if nature and all things were breathing a well deserved sigh of relief now that the veil was repaired and the Keeper was once again secure. Cara rolled her Agiel in her fingers, considering the fire again. The calm annoyed her. She preferred having a duty, a goal, and a task to accomplish. Her eyes moved to Richard has he slept. She knew he was the same way. Was it the D’Haran blood? It had to be. How else could one explain the lack of comfort in complacency?
A soft sigh came from behind her, but Cara didn’t bother looking. She could sense Kahlan coming awake. She could hear Kahlan rise from her bedroll, and narrowed her eyes in a glare as the woman sat beside her.
The rift between them was as wide as the Kern River; the divide had been born that one night, months ago. They were still civil, but there was a definite change in their interactions. Where once they had been comfortable and at ease; once Cara forced the Confessor to face her feelings, and therefore acknowledge Cara’s the calm cracked and the divide was made. It was now impossible to cross it.
It became an even larger obstacle between them after the events that caused the Mother Confessor to split into two. For a moment the idea of two Kahlan’s had been novel, then it had rapidly become apparent that neither one was a true replica of the other. The cleft between Cara and Kahlan became impassable then. As much as Cara had enjoyed verbally, and then physically sparing with the Mother Confessor, what she had to endure because of the emotionally feeble Kahlan made her urge the Wizard on when he recombined the two. That was when Kahlan reaffirmed her love for Richard. That night, hearing the two of them rutting like animals had been like listening to rats pressed to her ears. She had held both Agiels that night, trying to drown out every moan and whimper of pleasure that Kahlan was feeling at the hands of Richard. It had been a delicious torture.
After Cara had died, and returned as a baneling, there was still so much distance between them. When all Cara wanted to do was tell Kahlan that it was for her that she returned, almost as much as returning for Lord Rahl, she couldn’t find the words. She could only ask if the Confessor hated her.
At least she had said that she did not.
Still, Cara wished they could go back in time, to the night in the inn, and she would never have teased the Confessor so. Would never have forced her hand.
As much as she cherished the memory of Kahlan’s kiss, it also scalded her with the pain of knowing it would never happen again.
Feelings. Her eyes glared at the fire.
“How are you?” Kahlan asked softly.
“Mm.” Cara grunted in reply.
A hand was placed on her forearm, and she glared at it, as though it were a vicious thing, waiting to spring and attack.
“You don’t seem yourself.”
“That’s nonsense. I am Cara. Mord-Sith. Unchanged.” She replied, flicking her eyes to Kahlan, before looking back at the fire.
“Well… something is different.” Kahlan countered.
“Oh?” Cara asked sarcastically. Of course something was different. Everything seemed different. For all of them. The quest was complete. The journey at an end. And without having a goal in mind all of them, even Richard and the Wizard, were beginning to act obstinate and annoyed. At even the smallest infractions. It was as though in righting wrongs, battling the Keeper of the Underworld they had all been driven with purpose and with that came pride, happiness, comradery. Now there was just nothing, and endless nights where Cara stood watch and thought about things, and felt things. She would have preferred to be savagely injured and taking rest to heal. This status was like having nipping ants applied to her skin over a balm of honey.
“Please, Cara? Look at me?”
Instead of doing that, Cara tugged her arm away. “It is time for your watch.” She stood, refusing still to look at the Mother Confessor, and walked to the other side of the camp fire. Cara dropped in a huff, curled on her side and vowed to fall into deep sleep, and quickly. Her back muscles twitched, as though Kahlan’s stare were actually her fingers, touching her. Swallowing her groan of annoyance she rolled over onto her other side, and glared at the Mother Confessor through the flames of the fire.
Kahlan had no expression; which Cara knew was an expression in and of itself. When she wore the face of the Mother Confessor she was refusing to show any outward signs of emotion. This meant she was experiencing emotions. And therefore feelings.
Cara’s eyes narrowed and became tiny angry stones that she bore into the Mother Confessor. Part of Cara wondered what it would take, how many little steps she would be forced to make to create a bridge between them. Having been to the other side, to know the peace and calm that was to be found as Kahlan’s confidant, as well as the spark of passion Cara knew would be there if she were to be Kahlan’s lover propelled her slightly. That would be a goal she could set, and it would give her something to strive every day for.
Kahlan tilted her head, before her eyes flicked to Richard’s sleeping body.
It was a frigid reminder, and Cara was thankful for it. She nearly thanked Kahlan aloud for it. For reminding her that Kahlan’s feelings were stronger for the sleeping Lord Rahl than they would ever be for her. Rolling onto her back she stared up at the distant stars, her fingers on her left hand caressing the handle of her Agiel, and closing her eyes, relishing the pin pricks of pain.
The trail was difficult to follow, but she managed. With Richard and Zedd off at the local town to gather more supplies, and Kahlan was sure Richard was also looking for some new cause to battle, some damsel in distress, she had found herself bored. Cara had been gone for an hour, to hunt. Kahlan had decided that in light of how closed off from them all Cara was being it was time for the two of them to have a talk. A real talk. She had attempted it the night before, but Cara was being stubborn. Well, Kahlan thought, this is the perfect time to have a private chat.
She noticed red through the foliage, and had stood for a moment, appreciating the way the Mord-Sith stood, completely frozen and focused. Her bow was raised, and her arm was slowly pulling back the arrow. Smirking Kahlan looked through the trees, to see the massive buck in a clearing a little farther ahead. It was so regal with its crown of horns. Silently Kahlan moved closer.
“Cara?” Kahlan’s voice whispered into the blonde’s ear, as she leaned close to her. She could feel the pressure of her breasts against Cara’s muscled back. Her nose was tickled by wisps of her hair.
“You are going to scare it away.” Cara said through clenched teeth.
“Maybe it’s not meant to die this day.” Kahlan said a little louder.
The buck’s ear twitched and then the ear turned toward them, listening.
Cara huffed, dropped her stance and stepped away from the Confessor. “Was that necessary?”
The buck made a considerable racket as it rushed away through the underbrush.
“Maybe?” Kahlan smiled. But when she noticed the expression on Cara’s face, she put her hand on her arm. “Don’t be upset with me Cara. We don’t need that much meat anyway. It would have gone to waste.”
“That is not the point.”
“What is the point then?”
“You always get your way. You don’t want the deer killed. It is not. You decide you want to camp in this tick infested forest. We do. You.” Cara shook her head and turned away.
“Talk to me?” Kahlan pleaded.
“Why? So you can force me even farther from your confidence. No. I think not.” Cara’s eyes narrowed at her. “You made your thoughts for me abundantly clear. What a relief it must be to know that the quest is complete. And now you and”
Cara’s rant was silenced by a soft brush of lips against hers.
“What are you doing?” She barked pulling away.
“What we both want?”
“I do not want this.” Cara lied.
“We finally, for the first time in months have time alone. And this isn’t what you want?” Kahlan asked searching her face.
“We had time to be alone in Aydindril. And yet.”
Kahlan looked away. She had spent all of her time when not in the Council Chambers, with Richard. She had fixated on him, focused all of her adoration on him. It was like she had been falling in love with him all over again.
It wasn’t until a week later that the euphoria began to slide away, ever so slightly. And that was when she noticed Cara’s sad eyes on her. And that was when she remembered what had happened before. What had been confessed in the room above the inn. She was disgusted with herself for forgetting, for allowing herself to forget. And telling herself it had been due to Powerful Magic was no consolation.
“I know. I am so sorry Cara.”
“No need to apologize, Mother Confessor. I too would want to spend all of my time with the one I loved. If in fact I believed in such a ridiculous emotion.” She poked her finger into Kahlan’s shoulder, “Which I thankfully do not.”
“You cannot lie to me.”
Razor sharp eyes narrowed as if to say, oh yes I can.
“I know things have been awkward between us.” Kahlan ignored her glare and stepped closer, hearing the sound of leather creaking. Being this close she could smell Cara, that specific scent of skin, leather, and heat surrounding her. It made Kahlan feel lightheaded.
“What ever gave you that idea?”
“Well, you don’t sleep beside me anymore.” Kahlan began and then realized Cara was being sarcastic. She cleared her throat. “You know I have feelings for Richard.” Cara tried to turn away, but Kahlan grabbed her arm. “I have feelings for him. But I also feel something for you.”
“You have an odd way of showing it.”
I’m not the only one, Kahlan thought. Lifting her hand to Cara’s cheek she noticed the Mord-Sith actually flinch. It was slight, but Kahlan saw it. “I miss you. I miss how we used to be. Do you hate me so much, for what I did, before?”
“What specifically do you think you did?” Cara asked.
“When I kissed you…”
“Oh yes. I hate you for showing what is obvious. That you are attracted to me. You are so observant Mother Confessor!” Cara snapped.
Kahlan moved her thumb over Cara’s bottom lip, fixated on it, and trying to ignore the hurt in the cynical words coming from this mouth. If only she could change certain events, go back and change how things were done. Kahlan stared hard into Cara’s eyes. There was hurt there. If only she could make them both a little blind to the pain and the consequences.
“I am.” She whispered.
“Attracted to you.”
Cara shrugged as if to say that was obvious and inevitable.
“Cara? I never meant to disregard your feelings. I was not myself when…”
“I have no feelings. Remember?”
“Mm.” Kahlan didn’t bother to argue that lie; instead she leaned her head down and brushed her bottom lip to Cara’s fuller one. The softness of the touch sent sparks of want through her, from the top of her head to her toes. Eyes open she stared deep into Cara as she brushed lips with her again. Fingers gripped her hips seconds before Cara’s lips pressed harder, urgently to hers. Their kiss turned from tentative to impatient and angry. Kahlan felt her knees weaken again, just like before. She wrapped her arms around Cara, for both closeness and support. She could feel the need and passion percolating inside of her, and kissed the Mord-Sith with matching intensity.
“Kahlan? Cara?” Richard’s voice called out. He was nearby.
Kahlan irritably pulled herself away from Cara and her lips, and stepped back. Her breathing was already labored, and her lips tingled. She set her fingers on them, to feel them. Her eyes searched Cara’s face, but only saw resignation.
“There you two are.” Richard said as he stepped from the thicker patch of forest. He looked at the bow on the ground, and then his eyes moved over the two of them sternly. “Did I interrupt something?”
“Yes.” Cara growled, bending down to retrieve her bow.
“Cara is mad.” Kahlan offered. “I frightened away dinner.”
“Well, I am sure there will be others.” Richard smiled, clasping his hands. “I have news!” Kahlan noticed he seemed chipper. They all turned and began walking back to camp, Richard took her hand in his, and Cara followed behind. She looked down at his strong hand that held hers, and wondered why it didn’t make her skin tingle like it used to. Before when he would touch her she would feel a youthful excitement. But now? Now she just felt a quiet comfort.
“What news?” Kahlan asked.
“Well, there seems to be a problem a few days ride from here. A village being besieged by a lone sorceress.”
“A Sister of the Dark?” Kahlan asked.
“Maybe. The reports were unclear. But.” Richard grinned. “I have decided that Cara and I will go and investigate.”
“Why you and Cara?” Kahlan questioned.
“I would rather you and Zedd stay here. It could be nothing, really. But I promised that I would look into it.” He said, clearly excited at the prospect of having something heroic to do. Kahlan was a little annoyed.
“Why would you rather we stay? Wouldn’t it be better if we all traveled there?”
Richard looked over his shoulder, at Cara and then back at Kahlan. “My mind is set. We will immediately ride out. We shouldn’t be gone long.”
“But Richard, that makes no sense. There is no reason for me to stay behind.” Kahlan said sternly, but Richard just shrugged as they stepped into the camp’s clearing.
“Kahlan. I know you may not like this, but I have made the decision. It is done. You and Zedd will stay here.” Richard was clearly done discussing it. He would not listen to her pleas, or offer any further explanation.
Kahlan noticed Cara standing beside her, arms crossed as her glare followed Richard as he checked the tack on his horse. Her shoulders drooped before she took a step towards him.
“Cara, can’t you talk some sense into him?” Kahlan asked.
“He is Lord Rahl, and his mind is set.”
“I know you don’t like this. Nor do I.” Kahlan looked over her shoulder at Zedd who was cutting roots for a stew.
Cara’s eyes followed hers and then she snorted. “Oh. I see. You are more upset about being here with him, than the fact that we are going.”
“That’s not it.”
"I believe it is.” Cara leaned close to her, and whispered. “You prefer it when one of us is with you. When you are alone with Richard or I."
"Of course." It was true. It was not that she did not like Zedd, on the contrary, she did enjoy spending time with him. She was just discontent because she really had hoped to spend more time with Cara, and talk with her. Get her to open up and perhaps understand things that even Kahlan wasn’t clear on. What she was feeling.
"That is convenient." Cara snapped.
"What are you trying to say?" Kahlan asked, searching Cara’s face, looking for some meaning.
"I do not like being convenient." Cara groused. "Let the Wizard keep you warm." She snapped, and it felt like a slap across Kahlan’s face.
Cara refused to stop as Kahlan called to her, and she knew she had made a mistake, albeit unintentional.
And then they were gone, and she was left to seethe. Angry at Richard and his secrets, angry at herself for not being clear, and angry at Cara for misunderstanding.
"This is not the way to Southern Galea." Cara stated the obvious as she looked around from the back of her horse. They had been riding at a steady gallop since emerging from the woods an hour earlier.
“You know very well it is not.” She stopped the gait of her mount. "What is going on Lord Rahl?"
"We are going somewhere else."
"Clearly. Why did you not just say where we were going at the beginning?"
What is going on here, Cara thought to herself. She turned in her saddle looking back the way they came. The forests were hardly visible in the distance. Ahead of them were the stiff peaks of mountains. “We are headed towards the Rang’Shada Mountains.” She said definitively.
“We are.” Richard clicked his tongue urging his horse on again.
Cara nudged her horse to follow. “So you lied as to our purpose and destination because you did not want the Mother Confessor to know that we were going to see Shota.” She said plainly.
“Yes. Shota will meet us at the base of the mountains.”
“This seems highly suspicious and as if you have something further planned.” Cara huffed. “If I am not aware of the mission then I cannot properly protect you.”
Richard laughed. “I don’t think I need protecting.”
Cara rolled her eyes. Her Lord Rahl was reckless more often than not. At least this journey would afford her the quiet of a few days without being subjected to the stares and wiles of the Mother Confessor.
"So what was so urgent that Richard had to go without us?" Kahlan asked
"Oh nothing in particular." Zedd answered before taking another large bite of stew.
"When I am asked to stay behind I think it is particular."
He sighed, looking up at her from beneath his snow capped brows. "There were some rough necks and possibly a sorceress, but it could have all been parable told to ward off travelers. Richard did not think it merited all of us making the journey. As it is in the opposite direction of where we are headed."
“Where we are headed. So he has decided on a destination then?” She asked.
“And that would be where?”
“I am sworn to secrecy. Richard wanted to tell you himself.” Zedd grinned, but it faded as he saw the look of scorn Kahlan knew she wore.
"Zedd, are we friends?"
"I am glad for that. But as a friend you do not seem willing to be forthcoming with information. So I will remind you that as well as being your friend, I am also the Mother Confessor, and you as a Wizard of the First Order are under my command."
He chewed on his lip. "That is correct."
"Then perhaps you would like to tell me the truth?"
"As you wish. Apparently there is a small infantry, beholden to Richard, residing in a village, and they were being harassed by someone."
"This someone we are all familiar with, and in your still fragile state Richard thought it best."
Fragile! Kahlan’s mind screamed. "Did he?"
"And you went along with this idea?"
"Yes. Richard is The Seeker. There are times when he sees things that others do not."
Kahlan looked at her hands. She was no more fragile than a load of iron beams. She suffered no ailments, aside from her mood cycle, and had no cause of complaint. She turned over her hands, looking at her palms, and then her fingertips. They remembered the feeling of Cara’s skin under them. Kahlan took a short breath, to push away her mixed emotions. Instead she focused her anger toward Richard. Slowly she lifted her blue eyes to Zedd and held him with her stare. "Let me guess, this someone is Shota?"
"How did you know?"
"Someone we know, not wanting me to appear weak. There is only one person I know who would like nothing better than for me to be less than my best."
"Well I am sure that Richard can convince her to move on, back to Agaden Reach." As he said the name of the beautiful valley that Shota called home, Kahlan noticed a slight tremor in his cheek. He was not telling her the complete truth. She decided not to press him. She would find out, soon enough.
She looked back down at her hands. “You are probably right.”
“And I am sure he left you here to allow you a respite from Cara.”
“Excuse me?” Kahlan’s eyes shot up.
“We have all noticed the tension.”
Kahlan swallowed, not due to embarrassment, but due to anger. Yes there was tension, but had she been so obvious about it? “And Richard decided he knew best.” She said flatly.
“Well I happened to suggest that having a Mord-Sith along when dealing with a Witch Woman would be beneficial. Besides, I was in agreement that you are Cara are not getting along. Were we wrong?"
"That isn’t the point."
They had ridden for two days, pushing the horses and traveling from dusk to dawn. It was a nice change, to feel as though they were going somewhere, and doing something. When they reached the foot of the mountain range, Richard had ordered her to stay with the horses while be went deeper into the forests to meet with Shota.
Cara, of course told him that she would, then tethered the horses and followed him into the shadows. Knowing that he was an expert woodsman did not deter her from following, and she managed to catch up with him in no time. He may have sensed her there, but if so he gave no outward sign of it.
As he took something from Shota, Cara noticed the gleam of light reflecting off of its curved surface. Her eyes narrowed angrily. She knew exactly what it was. The previous Lord Rahl had a very special one he kept in his study, on a pillow of crushed red velvet. The one in Richard’s hand was not as dainty. Cara realized her temper was growing. Why would they come all this way so that he could obtain a Rada’Han from the Witch Woman, when he could have petitioned one of the Sisters of the Light to give him one when they were in Tanimura just a fortnight ago? Those crazy zealots have shelves full of the collars. It didn’t make sense to Cara. Richard had not let on that the headaches had returned. But if she were honest with herself she would have to admit that she had not been paying much attention to Richard as of late. Her focus had been on attempting to ignore the Mother Confessor. Which made her Cara’s central focus.
She stomped through the woods, not caring abut the noise she made. She made her hands into fists, ready to hit something, anything, and hard.
“I see you have your hands full.” Shota said as Cara got closer. “I will leave you then. Remember what I said.”
Shota winked at Cara before she was surrounded by a brilliant light and then gone.
“We came all this way so you could get that!” Cara snapped at him.
“Are you insane?”
“Cara.” He warned. “This Rada’Han is for Kahlan.”
Her mouth fell open, she knew it did. For a moment she was struck deaf dumb and mute. A Rada’Han would block Kahlan’s magic. This would clearly indicate that she would be able to be intimate with another and not be concerned with the consequences. Cara also knew that when wearing a Rada’Han Kahlan would be unable to use her Confessor’s power, even if she needed it to save herself or another. She would be defenseless.
Cara’s shock evolved into outright anger, and her hand clutched her Agiel. “You are insane. Does she know of this?”
“No. Not yet. But she will. And I know she will want this as much as I do.”
“And what if she doesn’t?” Cara asked, pulling her Agiel from its holster. She carefully watched Richard’s eyes, seeing how they narrowed, as if her question confused him.
“She will understand. We can talk to her.”
"You don't expect me to help you collar her.” Cara’s voice rose to a higher pitch, due to both shock and anger.
"I expect you to help me. Isn’t that what you do?" Richard snapped. He took a calming breath, looking down at the Rada’Han in his hand. “I thought out of everyone you, Cara, would understand. You are Mord-Sith, and do you not collar your pets?”
“Then I do not see why you are so upset with me.”
“Pets are collared to teach them a lesson, to define in them the feeling of the trainer’s ownership. I thought you felt love for the Mother Confessor.”
“You are misunderstanding me. I do love her. And it is only fair that we be able to share our love, without the consequences of confession.”
“If you have needs, you can utilize me, Lord Rahl.” Cara said seductively, but fearing he would agree.
“That’s not the point I am trying to make. I remember being with Kahlan.”
So do I, Cara thought. She remembered the timbre in Kahlan’s voice as she moaned Richard’s name, at the way the two of them seemed to breathe together, move together. Cara recalled how still the night became as she watched the moonlight glistened on Kahlan’s sweat covered back. She blinked the painful memory away.
“And she doesn’t. Which isn’t fair.” He ran his hand through his shaggy hair. “She deserves to know what I know, to feel what I felt. This is the only way she and I can be together, and it will make life easier for us, when we start our family.”
Cara used all of her Mord-Sith training to not outwardly grimace.
Richard slipped the collar into his pack. “She will want this as much as I do.”
“If you believe that then you don’t know Kahlan at all.”
“I know her better than you do Cara.” He said flatly.
Not rising to the bait she stepped closer and sneered at him. “You will not collar her. I won’t let you.”
“You have no choice. Aren’t I the Lord Rahl?”
“No! Because you certainly don’t act like it.”
“Would you prefer me to beat and torture you? Abuse you for my own pleasure? Would that make me a better Lord to you?”
“Yes. I would rather that than you binding Kahlan and making her powerless.”
“All I want is to have a simple life, with Kahlan as my bride. We will be married, and we will return to the peace and calm of the Hartland woods. The Rada’Han will allow us to live as husband and wife. Why can’t you understand that this is a good thing?”
Cara gritted her teeth.
“I will tell her, when we return to the camp. I will explain things to her.” He looked at her with the hard eyes of The Seeker. Cara raised her brow at him, and slammed her Agiel back into its sheath. “You will not discuss this with her Cara. It is not your place.”
He must have been able to read her thoughts, because that was exactly what she had planned to do. “You cannot command me as Lord Rahl and in the next breath denounce your place as Lord.”
“Then I am not commanding you, I am asking you, as a friend.”
“No. You are not. You are clearly telling me I cannot tell the Mother Confessor, that I cannot speak a word of this.” She stepped closer to him and glared. “Make up your mind.”
“Your loyalty is misplaced.” Richard hissed, his eyes looking over her face, searching. “You would rather betrayed me than allow Kahlan to have the smallest bit of happiness with me. Only because you are jealous.”
Cara glared, wondering how much Lord Rahl knew.
“I am sorry your lover died, Cara. He seemed nice enough. But just because you don’t have anyone in your life does not mean the rest of us have to suffer the same fate.” He crossed his arms. “Kahlan will see this for what it is; a gift.”
“And if she refuses?”
He hesitated; his arms dropping at his sides his face clearly spoke his thoughts. Kahlan would never refuse.
Cara silently vowed that she would never let the Mother Confessor be collared, or would die keeping it from happening.
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