Write a review @ Amanda
Title: Kings and Queens (18?)
Author: Amanda (aka seven_3_oh)
Fandom: legend of the seeker
Rating: NC-17, T, M, ADULT
Word Count: 9,289
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.
Summary: set a decade after the end of Season Two. Where in a WHOLE lotta change has befallen our merry band of heros.
A/N: WARNING!!! (yeah that's all you are going to get - you know i hate to spoil)
A/N#2: with humble devotion and adoration i thank and adore fosforito4 for being a wonderful beta reader, for being a long-suffering sounding board, and most of all for being the most attentive, tolerant gf in the history of ever.
Slowly they walked, and Zedd shuffled along. He needed no potions, and no canvas bag full of objects or books. Berdine was fairly certain that everything that he would need to complete the spell was already down in the small room, locked away from any eyes save his own. While she understood in concept what was going to take place, it prompted her for a while to hold her tongue, to not make light of what was going to happen. She felt as though suddenly this was all wrong, that it should be another face that was the last the he saw.
"I am sorry, Zeddicus, that it is my face that you are last to see."
"Well I am not." He gruffed.
"Who better to trust and rely on than a Mord-Sith?"
Her eyes narrowed at him. "A hundred examples are on the tip of my tongue."
"Ah, the Fifth Rule Berdine. The Fifth Rule."
“You are going to tell me, a Mord-Sith, your precious Wizards’ Rule? That is idiotic.”
"I have been a foolish man in my day."
"Those two words are synonymous, Wizard." Berdine said with sharp sarcasm.
Gently he laughed. "Yes, Berdine. Your... feelings on that subject are widely known.” He paused for a moment and tapped his cane to the ground with the first three words, “The Fifth Rule. ‘Mind what people do, not only what they say, for deeds will betray a lie.’ And that, Berdine, applies very much to you.”
Her eyes did roll as she crossed her arms. “I am an expert when it comes to lying.”
“You are that. But your actions? The shallowness of your cheeks, the big round and wet eyes you are looking at me with even though you are trying to be emotionless?” He tisked. “And what is more? You are far too intelligent to believe words told to you by the Seer.”
“There you are wrong. So far all she has told me? Has come to pass.”
“Oh? Well then. If someone tells you of eight events and seven of them come into being, then you are well within your logical thinking to assume the either will as well.” His cane connected with her shin. Berdine glared, while the strike did not hurt, it was brash of him. “No. First Rule.”
She leaned closer to him growling. “I know. People are stupid.”
“Indeed.” Zedd said with a smirk, and energetically turned around and began walking away. Berdine took three large strides to catch up to him, and his hand settled back down on her arm for support. “You tell them something, and it does not matter if there is truth in it. If they believe it, well then.”
"Which is why you told them all that you would perform the spell on the solstice, knowing full well that you would and could do it whenever you wished?” Berdine clarified.
“Why am I here?" Berdine wondered aloud.
"Didn't the Seer tell you?” Zedd asked with a lilting tone.
"No. It seems that what she did see involving the Wizard’s Keep was spotty at best. I doubt the Seer understood half of what she told me. In fact I was only able to piece it together over the time I have spent here with you. Apparently Jebra believes that there is something within the Keep that makes seeing things difficult."
"Ah, then those ancient warding spells still work.” He nodded, “Well. I need for you, Berdine, to ensue I am in the small chamber, and to lock it for me in a special way. With a special key. Which then you will destroy."
"And Nicci could not be trusted."
“And why not Hesselius?” Berdine asked, a smile curling at her lips. “You have been training him.”
“He... is with the Mother Confessor.” Zedd looked at her with a nervous apprehension. “Or should be. Why are you smiling?"
“He is not trustworthy either.” Her smile grew. “Say it. You trust me."
"I..." Zedd crossed his arms and looked away.
"Go on Wizard. Say it." She bumped his shoulder as they walked through the first of the many barriers within the deep corridors of the Keep.
"I'd rather not.” Zedd pouted.
Berdine chuckled for a moment, and then as Zedd seemed to falter in his footsteps she wrapped her arm around his boney hips. Her laughter died. “Why me?” She asked. “Would you rather not see the Mother Confessor? Or even Cara?”
“Jebra is not the only one who has had visions. They are needed elsewhere. Besides, Berdine, they are connected to this spell. More so than anyone else living in this reality. They will…be affected in ways I cannot guess.”
She stiffened slightly. “They will be alright?”
“Yes. I am sure that if I succeed they will be fine. It is merely that they were both standing near me at the time of the initial Spell of Undoing. They will be fine.” He patted her arm. “And do not think so little of yourself Berdine. You have been invaluable to me these months. You are a good person. Though you are loath to admit it.”
“Good? Person? Your mind is too far gone.” She joked, and then hissed as they moved through a thicker magical barrier, one that gave her mind the false impression of burning her flesh.
“Mm. Sorry about that. The barriers will get worse as we go. Another reason I chose you. A Mord-Sith can survive the Keep’s defenses.”
“To a point. Do not forget to give me the way out.”
He chuckled, and then coughed repeatedly. He bent at the waist, and the small piece of cloth he pressed to his lips as he was rattled with the coughing fit came away from his lips dripping with blood.
“You waited almost too long.” Berdine offered softly.
“Just long enough. I have been beside myself trying to find answers for Kahlan.” He said panting, unable it seemed to catch his breath.
“So it is not you just turning your attentions from her?” She asked. “I admit it seemed as though you did not care.”
“Trust me, if you can, Berdine, when I tell you that I care very much what happens to Kahlan. I… I read a prophecy a few days ago, that calmed me somewhat. She will find the answers she seeks, directly from those who inflicted this upon her.” He said.
“What more did it say?” Berdine stressed, part of her anger growing, that he had not spoken of this find before.
“It didn’t. It was one fork of another prophesy. It ended just then. But I can only do so much I am afraid. It will take all I have to do this last spell.” He said looking earnestly at her.
“Fine. I will attempt to ignore Jebra’s prophecy, and believe in yours. I can play with hierocracy just as well as you Wizard.”
He tired to smile at her, and she shook her head.
“Come, I will help you conserve your energy.” She offered, before reaching her arm under his legs, and lifting him easily into her arms. “Don’t fight me this time.”
“This time… I will thank you Berdine.” He said softly, with deep resignation.
She nodded, and continued walking, carrying the dying man in her arms.
Cara sat further up on the saddle of the black war horse, looking through the morning dawn, down the hillside into the valley. Before her was an encampment, tents and smoke from cooking fires. A sizable force, sitting on what was typically a resting barley field. From this distance and with that many soldiers they were a solid two days journey from Aydindril.
"I was not over reacting." Benjamin said from his mount beside her.
"No. You were not." She sighed, her eyes peering through the faint light. The colored flags which whipped in the winter winds below were unsettling. The colors she knew, proclaiming the tents of those of Westland, Mardovia, and the red of Tamarang. "This is."
Benjamin patted his horses neck, "Unprecedented."
"Agreed." She exhaled and turned her horse away from the scene. They had rode hard and in silence through the dark of early morning, and as they grew close to the edge of the forests they had met up with the scouts of the Midland Army. They wore their black and silver uniforms, and were stone faced and unsurprised it seemed to see Benjamin and her. They had been escorted closer by a younger Sergeant. He was sitting on his grey mare, waiting patiently as she approached and asked now for the details he had tried to offer earlier, that she had told him to hold his tongue, while she digested the vision of betrayal sitting before her. "And to the northwest?"
"Small group of what appears to be Pendisan Reach’s Army."
"That will be where the D'Harans, those that have not frozen as they come from the east with group." Cara said with certainty.
"How can you be sure?" The Sergeant of the Midland Army, in his black chainmail asked.
"Those who settled in the Midlands after the war? Have been called to arms."
"But they swore their allegiance to the Mother Confessor."
"That is true Sergeant. What is also true? The bond that ties them to their Lord Rahl is strong. Some will heed the call. Others? Will fight with the Mother Confessor if she demands it of them. That is not what we need to worry about. This is. Kingdoms inside the Midlands believing in the notion that they should take majority rule. And that if they march on Aydindril that they can take it by force."
"Not impossible but it will be difficult to succeed." Cara said. “Why have you not sent reports of this to the Mother Confessor? Do you not bow only to her?”
The Sergeant went pale with shock. “Of course, Mistress Cara. We have sent word. Through the Generals, and to Ch.”
“Wyck.” She cut him off.
“That. Son of a.”
“Cara?” Benjamin asked.
“We need to go back. Now.” She turned her horse completely around. "Keep your men back, out of sight Sergeant, but send word immediately to me if they seem to move. We can hope that the winter storms will lock them down in the valley."
"Yes, Mistress Cara."
Her rage was at the point of boiling, and her mind flashed with images of exactly what she wanted to do to Chief Steward Wyck the moment she saw him. Impalement was one of the first things that came to mind.
“Cara, I doubt they will truly attempt a coup.” Benjamin said, trying to calm her down. It would not work. She turned to glare at him, but a rush of pain coursed through her bones, and sent her eyes to black, as her balanced shifted.
Zedd moved through the narrow room, releasing white sand from a small decanter of black glass that had been waiting for them. Methodically he was creating a massive Grace on the floor of the small room. Already Berdine could feel the pulsing of the magic. As he connected the outer lines of sand, there was a pressure in the room that seemed to audibly pop, and the loose hairs from her braid seemed to move as if there was a strong wind suddenly.
The air calmed quickly and she watched as he nodded, and set the black glass decanter down on the narrow table. His eyes moved over her suddenly, as if he had a thought that had not occurred to him before. "I would like you to." He stopped.
"It is foolish."
Her brows furrowed. "I am sure it is."
"I would like you to tell Kahlan that I am sorry. And I would like you to tell Cara that she can feel. And I would like you to tell Richard... that he has always been in my heart, even after the errors he made." Zedd said in a rush.
"Would you rather write this down? Need I remind you that I am to die tomorrow?" Berdine quipped.
Zedd walked carefully over to her, and with some Wizard sleight of hand he held out for her two items. One was a white key, looking as if it was carved of bone, with a Grace at the end. The other was a small orb the size of a ripened plum, but it was the color of her eyes; frigid blue.
"One’s destiny is not always so clear cut. What is seen is not always the only way. Wizard's Eighth Rule.” As she extended her hands to him, he placed the objects down, as he said firmly. “Talga Vassternich. Deserve Victory."
She blinked looking down at her hands.
“You deserve to succeed in this life, just as you deserve to be happy. Tut-tut.” He snapped. “Yes, Berdine you are a killer. Amorally twisted because of what you are. Well? So am I. I have killed. I manipulate people to my own gains. And still? I am a good person.” His fist hit his chest. “I do this now? Knowing it is for them. For you. For everyone. The key? You will place it in the lock outside this door. You will turn it counterclockwise and then you will snap the handle off but in the clockwise fashion. Do you understand Berdine?”
“Of course I do.” She growled.
“The orb. Do not let it go. Do not set it down. It will protect you for one rotation of the sun. That is all. So don’t go exploring.”
“As if I would.”
“And lastly.” His large and bony hand slapped on her shoulder. “Wish me a safe journey.”
She felt herself swallow. “I…” Berdine blinked before looking the scruffy old wizard in the eyes. “Thank you for the life you have lived, and the way you touched the world around you. May the Spirits be with you."
Zedd smirked. “Close enough.” He took a step back. “Well then. No sense drawing this out further.”
His arms stretched out as he stood in the center of the Grace, and Berdine took three quick steps back, to feel the iron ring of the door pressing into her back. The Grace had been white, but began taking on a faint yellow hue.
“I. Zorander Zu'l Zeddicus invocate potentia Creatoris, determinatio custos, semperque coram tempore, absolve mihi iniquitatem meam, et virtutem tuam fluunt per me. “
Lightning, hued in blues, greens, reds, yellows, and the shocking black erupted from his palms as well as his eyes. The brilliance of it, as well as the consuming anguish of feeling so much magic forced Berdine to turn away.
“Do vitam hanc annchoram rrie immolo omnium quae possideo et honor est curare ut omnia, quae sunt. Aufer a me in venis sanguis, aer in pulmones lacrimas ab oculis meis. Tuliti quod et solidat nunc. Nihil aliud. Reddite hac vita et Kahlan Cara. Tulit SCELERO Dahlia acta.”
Even with her head turned to the side it was too much brilliance, too much power to bear and she closed her eyes. There was nothing. She knew nothing, and felt nothing but agony.
“Tulitidi do ipsa terra, petram et veneficus. Sanguis draconis lacrymas innocentium sacra arena maris extremo fragilis ossa magi et dolore tentoroecho non.”
Berdine. It is time.
She nodded to the voice in her mind, to Zedd’s voice, before she stumbled through the iron door. It seemed to slam shut behind her, and she turned, to press the small key Zedd had given her into the small hole. The iron before her seemed to suddenly glow a deep red, the hinges turning white, and the sound of warping metal screamed in her ears. With a growl she turned the key counterclockwise, and as she snapped the end of it off, easily as it was in fact as brittle as bone, a wall of air slammed into her, sending her across the narrow corridor. It held her to the wall, pounding into her over and over again. She could feel it cracking her ribs, until it all stilled and Berdine slipped down the wall. She had a moment to try to catch her breath, as her fingers tightened on the orb in her palm, holding it desperately, as the heat of Zedd’s Wizard's Life Fire burned against her skin, and seemed to shake her very bones. The pain was unlike anything she had ever experienced before, and it dropped her, down to her knees.
“Mother Confessor? Are you alright?” Chief Steward Wyck asked, and Kahlan blinked, shocked to find she had stumbled slightly, and he was holding her arm to steady her. She looked around, to see she was still in the anteroom beside the Council Chamber. Raina was standing very close to her, her eyes narrowed with concern.
“Yes… I.” She stood and pulled away from Wyck, and touched her hands to her cheeks. They were cold, but her hands were warm. Her skin almost seemed to tingle. She spun around sharply and walked to the narrow window in the hall, to look towards the Wizard’s Keep. It seemed clear, visible through the clouds, its black spires glistening in the sunlight. “Zedd.” She whispered.
“You are correct, Mother Confessor.” Hesselius said from behind her.
“Oh Zedd.” She cried, her eyes closing, as she felt the loss, not only in the world, but in her heart as well.
Blinking she looked up into the worried eyes of Benjamin, and the men around him who stood in a semi circle. All were looking down at her with rather terrified expressions. Benjamin’s gloved hand moved over her brow.
Cara slapped his hand away. “Do you mind?”
“It was. So sudden. You just fell.”
“Well that does not explain the liberties you think you can take.” Cara’s voice was silenced as he pulled her into a tight bear hug.
“You worried me.” He mumbled into her hair.
“Creator help you. I am still very much Mord-Sith and able bodied.” Cara growled pushing away from him.
“Then what happened.” He asked, releasing her, and she immediately jumped to her feet.
“Zedd. Zedd is what just happened.” She whispered, knowing it to be true. “I… I need to get back to Aydindril. Immediately.”
"ENOUGH!" The Mother Confessor’s voice erupted over what had been the increasing swell of multiple voices, and was felt with such a force, moving across the walls that even the hundred or so citizens gathered and sitting below them observing seemed to shrink back in their silence.
Her nerves were frayed, her patience shot, and her body humming with emotion that she could scarcely contain. Hunger, rage, sadness. It all brought her long lasting empathy to a firm close.
"Each and every one of you here is guilty." Kahlan declared. "Guilty of insuring instability, and reducing any power this great Council once possessed. Now you are merely a gathering of hens in the yard. Picking at husks and scraps on the ground, while clucking loudly, and flapping your wings to gain attention. Over a month has passed and not one line of verse has been agreed to for the declaration to be presented to the King of Strel'na. Oh, there have been treaties written and signed between you all, so I know that you are capable of such things. But here you would rather waste the time of the people, and of the First Chair with your bickering and chatter. I sit and I see. I am the First Chair of the Council; I am the Mother Confessor and the voice of justice in the Midlands. My voice is the one that declares what is truth, and what is hearsay. In your rudimentary attempts at stirring unrest, in gaining favor with Magistrate Gotthardt of Westland, or Darken Rahl of D'Hara you have done nothing but splinter yourselves. You will gain only the phantom idea, the incorporeal delusion of what you think. You have not bested me, nor are you, any one of you, remotely close to possessing what it would take to rule the whole of the Midlands." She clasped her hands together, while through her impassioned words she had barely kept her tone soft and even. She could feel the anger bubbling under her skin as she held her own hands tighter together.
“Mother Confessor you do not mean what you say.” Councilor Grey of Tamarang was immediate to speak.
Her eyes narrowed at him. “Oh but I do. This Council is adjourned. When we reconvene you will present to me the completed document of treaty."
"And if not?" Councilor Villarongas added his disagreement expectedly.
She turned her eyes on him, slowly watching the hard set eyes that glared back. Kahlan knew that her own look was far more poisonous. "Then you will have proven to me and to the people of the Midlands that you are unfit to sit as Councilor."
"So you think you could merely replace us each then? With someone you pick, who will give in to you?"
"Oh no. Not at all. I will disband the Central Council. For it will be blazingly apparent that it is no longer a functioning way to govern. The days where men ruled from this chamber will be over."
It was Ambassador Wexler of Pendisan Reach who jumped to his feet, his long brown braid falling over his shoulder. “I protest, Mother Confessor. You cannot say such things.”
“I have. You have lost one of your most valued assets. My patience!" She said, rising, and her white dress seemed to glow in the thick candlelight of the Central Council Chamber. "You fine men and women were selected by your sovereigns because of your intellect, your tenacity, and your understanding. All of which seems to have been left elsewhere. Your sovereigns as well as you should all know that you are to be the voice of each and every person who dwells within your individual kingdoms. You are to come here to be their voice, to be open-minded and fair, but always focus on what is best for all, not on what is good for some. I have always respected this Council for your civility, and your grace. We have been at this for far too long. And in the course of those days all I hear is infighting, slander, and discord. There is no time for your petty games. The Central Council is adjourned for today. When you return tomorrow I hope that you come bearing your intelligence and above all your civility. Do not make me do what it is not in my heart to want, but what I will do if you force me."
Kahlan noticed eyes going wide, some bashful expressions and others looking away under the weight of her words; she had just threatened them all, and each and everyone knew it. The tension was heavy and the glowers on some faces did not bode well. But she was beyond caring. The time for action was now.
They stood in a hard blockade of eight, seemingly impervious to the terrible cold that caused Berdine to pull the thick wool shroud tighter around her shoulders. The weak evening light seemed to darken the red of their leather to the color of drying blood, which caused the brightness of the golden yellow emblem painted on their bellies more imposing. Her eyes traced the crescent moon and the star, before she looked up into the deep grey eyes of her Mistress.
Her eyes fell away, and she bowed her head. “Mistress Mela.”
“Berdine.” She cooed, stepping closer. “Why such a long face?”
She knew better than to respond. The purr in Mela Rahl’s voice was too reminiscent of her father, and made Berdine think of torture rooms, of rusting chains, of the smell and taste of molding leather gags in her mouth to stop her shrieks.
With her eyes downcast she easily saw the gloved hand, palm up before her, waiting expectantly.
Berdine pulled the small object from her corset and set it gently in Mela Rahl’s gloved hand.
The backhand was not strong enough to knock her to her knees. Berdine dropped to them on instinct instead, providing the false illusion of control to her new mistress.
“Very good, Berdine. While your hesitations have had me concerned, Nicci has been kind enough to speak with me on your behalf.”
Berdine’s chin went to her chest.
“The Wizard is dead?”
“Yes, Mistress Mela.”
“The spell secure?”
“One would have to bring the Wizard’s Keep to a pile of rubble for the spell to be undone.”
“Then, my first order as sovereign of D’Hara is that we will never allow for that to happen. Rise, Mistress Berdine.”
She knew it was a trick, and still she rose to her feet.
This time the backhand had the added bite of magic to it, and Berdine’s feet left the ground, before her back was on the small black pebbles of the bridge, and she was looking up at the sky. Her jaw was assuredly broken, but that did not matter to her. Berdine could endure the most sadistic of tortures. It was almost common. Boots were on either side of her head, and for just one moment Berdine wondered if she should fear death suddenly, that while this was not the end that Jebra had told her of it certainly sent warnings tingling up her spine. Her eyes looked up, and she heard Zedd’s voice telling her to deserve victory. Her resolve firmed, and as one of the boots connected with the side of her skull, she did not feel fear. This was not her time to die.
“That was for delaying me.” Mela offered. Another kick and Berdine’s vision sharpened and then tunneled, “that is for merely being overconfident.” She heard as her vision and then consciousness went black.
Councilor Erlewine of Kelton was one of the last of the Councilor’s to leave the deeply hushed Council Chambers. His thick lips seemed to hold a vague smile, as if the stern and clear reprimand by the Mother Confessor had been expected. Nicci was quite sure that it had been for many of the Councilors.
He came to stand beside her. "The Mother Confessor seems confident."
"Would you not seem the same, were you in her position?" Nicci asked.
"I may be confident, but I would not be so secure. She sees what they want her to see.” He looked at her and his smile deepened.
"Councilor Erlewine, there is no need to remind you on which side of this you must stand?"
"None at all." He nodded and added, “Be sure to give my regards to your Mistress.” Slowly he continued walking away.
Nicci turned back to look into the nearly empty Council Chamber. The line had been drawn, though Nicci felt a pang of guilt, knowing that the Mother Confessor did not yet realize exactly what it was that she had just done.
The quad was tight around her, even without a direct command they seemed to feel her anger as well as the thick tension that filled the passageways of the Palace once Kahlan shoved through the doors of the Council Chamber. The noise from their swords bouncing on their hips as well as the distinct tinkling of their chainmail was almost soothing to her. But what she truly wanted was to scream, and to hear the replying scream of an Agiel. Not to know that particular pain, but to know Cara was beside her. Her heart, while beating wildly with anger and frustration also seemed to ache with missing Cara.
They turned down the private hall leading away from the noise as the main floor doors to the Council opened and people poured out, talking loudly and excitedly. She wanted none of it, none of any of this. She wanted to order each and every one of them out of the Confessor’s Palace. She wanted to close the gates and ban all of them from the once calm and respected corridors and halls.
Hands reached for her, and she felt her body yanked off her feet backwards, and a startled noise escaped her. When her back collided with the forgiving firmness of a familiar body, her entire frame seemed to relax.
Swords were pulled immediately, until the guards saw the red leather arms around Kahlan, and the four men lowered their eyes.
"Can you get away?" Cara asked, her words caressing Kahlan's neck.
"Are you sure?"
Kahlan turned her head, but kept her back pressed to Cara in the shadows. "I need to leave this place. I need to get away. And I need to do that with you."
Cara nodded, her eyes fixed firmly on Kahlan's mouth as she spoke.
“I know… he did the spell early. That sneaky Wizard.” Kahlan said, trying to keep levity in her tone.
“Kahlan.” Cara said gently, letting her know that there was no need to pretend, not with her.
She sighed into Cara, “I know.”
Berdine was looking down from the staircase; her shoulders pulled back proudly, her chin raised. She looked like a statue, carved to express deep conviction and power. Raina slipped beside her and nonchalantly slipped her hand into Berdine’s larger one.
“It is my preference that you wake me before you leave.” Raina whispered.
Berdine pulled her hand away.
Raina looked up at her sharply. There was the faintest growing bruise on her cheek, and her icy blue eyes were as cold as their coloring.
“What happened?” Raina asked.
“The Wizard is dead.” Berdine said thickly, before adding. “Our Mistress is in the process of taking the Keep.”
“She.” Raina blinked.
“That will never stand. Kahlan will not.”
“The Mother Confessor has more important things to concern herself with at the moment.”
“Such as?” Raina asked suspiciously.
“The Council has just been threatened. She stood before them and demanded their obedience.” Berdine’s eyes narrowed. “She is easily distracted by the antiquated rules of law. She will not know that we are in possession of the Keep until it is too late.”
Raina’s jaws tightened.
“Should I even wager a guess as to why we are heading out of the city walls?” Kahlan asked Cara as they rode slowly, calmly beneath the raised spikes of the western gate.
“If I told you I wanted to take a midnight ride with you? To see you eyes shine under the light of the moon?”
“I would say that you have been sneaking peeks at books of poetry again.” Kahlan chuckled. “And I would also wait patiently for you to tell me the truth.”
“Ah, but Mother Confessor. It is the truth.” Cara purred from where she sat on the back of the massive black horse.
“Cara.” She sighed.
The Mord-Sith admitted, “There is of course more.”
“The walls of your palace listen too closely. And without… a wizard we can trust.” Cara sighed.
“I will miss him too.”
“Did you think he would do this? That he would leave without saying goodbye?” Cara asked.
“He seemed to have been saying his goodbyes for some time now. In little actions, in slight pieces of advice he would give. He had become resigned to destiny.” Kahlan offered, shaking her head. “Which was so unlike the Zedd I first knew. He fought against those prophesies and the path of destiny. The first time I met Zedd, he was naked, holding a chicken.”
“Guh, Spirits!” Cara barked. “You chose that image to be the one you remember him by?”
“Just think about it. Does that not sum him up?” Kahlan laughed sadly.
“Perversity? Love of food? Yes. It does.” Cara nodded.
“Free. He seemed adapt at projecting to all those around him that he was free from the restraints that life tosses around the rest of us.” Kahlan said recalling her frustration with Zedd when they had first met, how he seemed to deem himself beyond the rules of destiny and even her. In time she learned that internally he was quite different than the image he gave to those who perceived him. “While his ego was one of the largest I have known, he did his best to live his life in the service of the greater good.”
“True.” Kahlan agreed. “As we well know, Wizard’s have their own set of rules and ideology. Ah, Zedd made mistakes, but so have I. So have you.”
“Some of us more than others.” Cara smiled shaking her head. “He was very much who we expected him to be. A Wizard. And that one word signified who he was, and what he offered the world.”
Kahlan was quiet for a moment as they rode along, the thick iron shoes of their horses cutting through layers of snow with a comforting rhythm. She was no stranger to death, nor having those she cared for die, and while part of her could hardly embrace the reality that she would never again hear the jovial laughter Zedd possessed, she could also not wallow in sadness. Death was fickle in that way, when it claimed one so close, it did not stop time from moving on, it merely created a void where that person had once stood. Kahlan felt that emptiness, but knew that the memories and the knowledge Zedd had shared with her over the years were a part of her, and death could not take that from her. It may take his physical presence, but he would always remain. In her heart, and in those around her who he had touched with his wisdom and compassion. They were all different having known him. Just as the world would be viewed differently without his commentary.
“May the Spirits protect you Zeddicus. Where ever you are.”
For a moment after Kahlan spoke she held her breath, waiting for the Spirits to reply, waiting for some sort of sign; be it in the emerging stars, or the sound of the soft wind along the tops of the trees. To her it seemed as though there should be a larger tribute for what was lost. Shifting on the back of her large white horse, hearing the mundane creak of the saddle’s leather she realized that life was simple most of the time, and while it could be punctuated by magical gestures, or grandiose symbols, most of the time life’s most beautiful expressions of human emotions were the simple ones. When a thick melancholy overwhelmed a heart; torrential rain was cried from the clouds. When a great wizard passed into the Underworld, the winter night was clear and stars glimmered. And when one felt a deep need for understanding, life responded with the calm gentleness of a faint wind brushing through golden hair. Kahlan took a soft breath in, and watched Cara’s hair moving, lifting and almost caressing her chin, and under the cloak of night, the stars highlighted her eyes, adding pinpoints of white. Kahlan’s hands tightened as they held the leather reigns, as her heart seemed to beat harder, as her lips wanted to whisper one word, ‘beautiful’ as she appreciated Cara.
“What?” Cara asked.
“You…” Kahlan half smiled. “We are far enough away from the city. Tell me. What was so urgent that we had to come here, versus the privacy of my chambers?”
“You know you love it out here.” Cara snickered.
“I do.” Kahlan’s lips pulled into a smile, mirroring Cara’s.
Cara nodded, and took a deep breath. “What I saw to the south is troubling. An encampment of troops.”
“Perhaps they are merely.”
Cara shook her head, and Kahlan exhaled deeply, her shoulders drooping, as she knew too well that there was no excuse that could be made
“What is worse? The Midland Army? They are aware of this. They have been sending correspondence and reports through the ranks for weeks. Weeks!” Cara said vehemently.
“All of which had been intercepted.” Kahlan huffed.
“Oh, but no. You see, Mother Confessor, your Chief Steward is handed them in all acceptable protocol. That they do not make it to your hands? That is the deceit. I think I will kill him.” Cara growled.
If that was the truth, Kahlan had half the mind to allow her to. She did not want to believe that Chief Steward Wyck would be so bold, and yet, he was always clear as to where his loyalties lay. He served the First Chair. The Mother Confessor, regardless of who held the title, and he was transparent in his dissatisfaction with how Kahlan ruled. “The Midlands Army I am sure is following orders.”
“Which you established. Which is beholden to you.”
“To the Mother Confessor. To the Chair, and to the responsibility of she who rules the realm…. And it is rather brilliant of Wyck. He can never hold the power, nor sit in the First Chair, but he can certainly find himself a more malleable Mother Confessor than I.”
Cara nodded, “Priella.”
“Would be perfect.” Kahaln’s brow rose. “If he wanted a Mother Confessor to control.”
“If this had been my plan? Yes. She would be the one I would choose. Hot headed, hungry for revenge. It would make sense that Wyck would rally troops from the other Kingdoms, to rise up and remove you from power. Yet, as is always the case with men who crave power, they do not see the entire picture, or if they do they think that alliances made will hold.” Cara said.
“And as we well know, that is not the case.”
“When it comes to power the only truth you can rely on is that someone will want it more than you.” Cara shook her head. “I did not make the journey, but now I tend to believe the news that D’Hara has troops coming in via the northern routes.”
“Do you think that is Darken Rahl’s doing?” Kahlan asked, watching carefully Cara’s face. Watching her lips working, as well as the way her eyes moved back and forth over the wide road before them.
The horse beneath her moved at a slow pace, and her body seemed to relax into its strides. Kahlan was thankful for the warhorse, and its lack of fear when it came to everything. Be it charging into a mass of enemy soldiers with their spear raised, or walking along the well worn path in the depth of the night.
Behind them the crunch of the frozen ice of the road under the hooves of her guards horses could be heard. It was just the six of them, as far as any eye could see, and still Cara was prickling with agitation, as if she expected someone to appear as they traveled slowly.
“Yes. It is something he would do. Woo those of Pendisan Reach. Gain their favor. Use them. But he and his army do not worry me. Not if this Mela Rahl is truly making her way to power? She will not follow through on any of her father’s plans. There is only cause to worry if she wants the same end that he is after.” Cara suggested. “We are apparently blind to what she wants.”
“Well… Berdine does not know. When I questioned her.”
“Mela would be a fool to tell Berdine what her plans are.”
Kahlan brought her horse closer to Cara’s black stallion. “Oh?”
“Berdine is, as we know, loyal to one. And that one is not Mela Rahl.”
“What is left then?” Kahlan wondered.
“To prepare. Wyck will strike against you soon. And I am afraid they may have more backing that we alone can turn away. Sadly it seems we can only hope that he strikes before the D’Harans. Or before these mysterious Northerners. We will be hard pressed to fight against Wyck’s uprising. To face enemies from three sides? I do not think even we could prevail.” Cara turned to her. “Perhaps you should just.” She did not finish the sentence, nor did she need to. The look in Cara’s eyes spoke plainly enough.
“I cannot just step aside, Cara.” Kahlan answered. “It is not the way of the Mother Confessor, and certainly not my way. I won’t just abandon my people because there is a threat. Because I worry that I will not prevail.”
“What ever you decide Kahlan? I will stand with you.” Cara smiled softly, “You made your position very clearly this evening."
Cara nodded. "And saw. I was there."
"Spirits, if I would have seen you maybe I would have been calmer. More inclined to let them continue their bickering." Kahlan grumbled.
"Then I am glad you did not. They need to hear the truth and be reminded that the Mother Confessor can remove crowns from kings."
"I suppose." Kahlan sighed.
"No. You KNOW Kahlan. Do not doubt what you know." Cara’s aquamarine eyes seemed to burn in the darkness, and Kahlan felt complete devotion and strength coming off of the Mord-Sith. She would stand beside her, and she would believe in her. Completely. “Let’s go.”
“While I may not be able to provide us with all the answers, at least there is a part of this riddle that we can resolve.”
“Oh?” Kahlan asked curious.
“We have a clandestine meeting. When the moon is at its zenith we will be in the forbidden grove.”
“We will?” Kahlan asked, wondering what the Mord-Sith had been up to.
“We will. And I hope for all our sakes that this time they are there.” Cara looked to the sky. “I also hope that they are a little late. So let us ride. Let us put leagues between us and the sadness of this day. Faster, Mother Confessor.” Cara teased, before pressing her heels into her horse, causing him to rear slightly before taking off into the night.
The night seemed to glow, from the moons reflection on the newly fallen snow as well as the dancing blue and green lights amid the field. Slowly Cara walked, part of her feeling sad as her boot steps left tracks along the meadow’s pristine blanket of snow. Losing someone she was sometimes fond of was not a new experience for Cara. But the loss of Zedd was making her feel more than usual. It made her smile heavy, and the back of her neck tight. Expected, yes. Welcome, no. He would be missed. Cara stopped to look back over the pristine field of snow, seeing her tracks, as well as Kahlan’s. Their mark was left on the land. Vibrant now, but in hours the wind would lessen it, and given more time, another dusting of snow would fall and erase them all together. The foolish old Wizard’s footsteps on this life would not be so easily removed. Blinking Cara’s eyes moved up to the sky, at the massive clear expanse of it, all of the stars above, and felt suddenly very small. Not insignificant, merely small, as though she were just one flake of snow, or one of the little glowing creatures floating in front of her eyes.
"Why are you all so silent?" She asked, and heard a soft chuckle as Kahlan came to stand beside her.
"What?" Cara asked, scowling as she turned.
"They are not night wisps, Cara. They are merely fireflies."
"Oh." Cara said softly.
Kahlan's hand pressed against her arm. "There are times when you are so very..." Her voice trailed off, and Cara watched her eyes seem to soften; in fact her entire face seemed to soften under the crystal blue of the moon. Kahlan’s eyes, all of her face really, took on an expression that was beautiful and open.
"Very?" Cara pressed, watching as a certain look seemed to overcome Kahlan’s features, as her eyes suddenly burned a brilliant blue, before they settled into the warm and comforting color Cara knew and adored. She wanted to purr under her breath as Kahlan’s finger tips reached for her, touching her arm, in the familiar way, ever so slightly.
"You turn me inside out. You look at me and I find I do not miss the sun, because your eyes are so bright and beautiful."
Cara suppressed saying more than, "Kahlan? This is not the time."
The fingers became firmer on her arm, as they moved up and over her shoulder. Cara closed her eyes. She felt Kahlan step closer, and her body moved in such a way she seemed completely fluid, almost as if she were the light of the moon come to life, as her hands moved over Cara’s back, as their chests seemed to connect, and then the air from her mouth brushed across Cara's lips. "If I asked you, would you dance with me?" Kahlan asked, ignoring Cara’s previous protest.
Cara swallowed, wondering which dance she wanted, and what steps Kahlan was thinking of. "You don't need to ask." She replied.
"I believed for so long... in love, and what it could do... and then what it could not. I wanted. I actually allowed myself to want things that I knew were not... reasonable. But I still wanted them."
"I remember." Cara said softly, opening her eyes.
"I watched every moment you fell deeper in love with him. And it"
Kahlan whispered, "Cara."
"You want to say that it meant nothing." Kahlan interrupted her.
"I want to say that, yes.”
"But it did mean something. You felt something."
"I did. I... do. It was...painful but I understood.” Cara said her eyes slipping down to Kahlan’s lips before she felt the surge of something immensely powerful inside of her. She lifted her eyes and gazed deeply into Kahlan. “I watched you fall in love with him. I saw how you seemed to be happy."
“And for me that was enough. That you were happy.” Cara confessed, and watched as Kahlan’s forehead furrowed.
“When Richard left, after he...I looked to you for strength. And you were there for me, Cara. And...as time passed, I ... felt... pain.” Kahlan’s fingers on her back seemed to tighten against her, as if Kahlan knew that Cara was fighting the urge to step back. But she was kept close; close enough that she could feel the pounding of Kahlan’s heart. As it beat as strong as, if not stronger than, her own. “Because I loved Richard, I did. I loved and believed in all the promise of a future. For three years. I loved him; I have loved you for much longer."
Heat exploded under her skin and consumed all of the air in Cara’s lungs. Her eyes widened as she was only able to mange syllables, as her mind was thundering and her heart’s beat tripled. "You...said."
Fingers caressed the back of her neck. "I love you. I have loved you, Cara, for quite some time," Kahlan said softly. “And I know that you love me.”
Cara felt the sudden vertigo, and was sure that this time her knees did buckle, but she was held up by the power in Kahlan’s lips, as they crushed desperately against her own.
Kahlan's open hands were pressing against her shoulders, through the thickness of the fur lined cloak and the leather underneath, and she could feel the tension in Car's muscles as they backed across the frozen field, until Cara's back met the massive fir tree. Their lips separated with hot explosions of air, before hands were pulling up her dress, moving it aside, as a low growl came from the back of Cara's throat as their mouths met again in a deeper and forceful kiss. Kahlan forgot her hands and just felt the heat of Cara's tongue as it moved over her own, and they seemed to on their own slide into her hair, to grip her skull firmly as her knees trembled when in the same instant Cara's gloved hand was pressing up into her center and the tip of her tongue was caressing the firm length of her elongated tooth. They seemed to melt into one another as Kahlan almost became a part of Cara leaning so heavily into her, as the palm pressed against her began moving back and forth with the urgency matched by the clenching of Kahlan's insides, as her teeth took ownership of Cara's bottom lip and bit down.
Cara's cry shattered the cold silence of the night around them, and the feel of flesh between her teeth made Kahlan want to bite harder to taste the sweetness of her blood, but she swallowed back on that desire, and thrust her hips into Cara's diligent hand.
"Is there time?" She panted, her forehead resting on Cara's shoulder. The reply was eloquent and perfect to Kahlan, as she felt the warm leather clad fingers pressing with urgency against her clit. Even with leather and cloth separating their flesh she could feel the heat, and her own body responding.
“There is only time. There is only us.” Cara panted.
Kahlan pressed their forehead’s together, her eyes looking deeply into Cara’s. She spoke the truth, for in this moment nothing else mattered. The stars above them could fall, to add to the pressures of power struggles, and shadowed plots, and none of it mattered in this moment. This was for her. This was for Cara. This was the moment her heart demanded, where they lost one another in the connection of touch, and the depth of closeness. Her heart seemed to find calm in those eyes, even as her hips thrust wildly against Cara. “I love you.” Kahlan whispered, and watched in awe as Cara’s eyes rounded with emotion. Internally she felt the strong heat of her true emotions devouring the fear and the doubts she had felt all these years. There had been so many moments where she had felt herself falling more in love with Cara, only to lock those feelings away, thinking they would only cause her pain. Somehow Cara had known, and had stayed at her side, patiently loving Kahlan. Cara’s full lips did not need to reply, for her feelings were glistening in her eyes, and had been declared over and over again for years.
Her arms wrapped around Cara holding on to her as her hips matched the insistent and focused friction against her dripping center. As cloaks surrounded their bodies in heat and shadow, Cara's mouth was against her ear, and the way she was breathing heavily made Kahlan all the more aroused and pulled the climax faster and harder with each sound. Her own breathing was labored, and her moans were barely there.
“Kahlan.” Cara cried out, as Kahlan felt the tightness in her body, just before the walls dropped, and her power surged into Cara, to wrap around her heart and soul, while her thighs trembled at the intensity of her climax.
The moment she felt her power recede, her ears ringing with the thunder of the blood in her veins, her mouth salivated with another desire altogether. Kahlan wanted to know Cara, wanted to feel her. There was a desperation she felt suddenly, to be deep inside of Cara, as she drank heavily from her.
The thick leather around Cara’s neck fell away, and Kahlan’s tongue was lapped hungrily against the length of her neck, feeling the tautness of her muscles, tasting the salt on her flesh. The tip of her tongue teased against the healing edges of where her teeth had punctured Cara’s flesh before.
“Yes.” Cara moaned understanding the desire that pulsed inside of Kahlan. Knowing that Cara understood and accepted whatever change was coming over her made Kahlan whisper again of her love, against her supple skin.
Kahlan brushed her sharp teeth against her skin, and felt Cara shudder in her arms, almost writhing with anticipation. Salivating her open mouth pressed over the damaged skin, and she bit down.
“Kahlan. Spirits. Kahlan I love you.” Cara nearly screamed into the night.
“I highly recommend that you not do that.”
Kahlan ripped her mouth from Cara, full of scalding blood and hissed at the man who stood not two feet away. His long grey cloak seemed to ripple in the night’s wind, and as Kahlan bared her teeth and untangled herself from Cara, he bared his own teeth back at her, releasing a low and vibrating growl. Her eyes hardened and narrowed, as her skin tingled with an odd sensation.
The screaming of Agiels added to the symphony of rage that filled the forbidden grove.
Kahlan instinctively hissed, feeling her power, the blood rage just below the surface of her control. He was the same as she was. The long teeth sparkled like stars, and his body seemed massive underneath the simple grey cloak.
The man, his own elongated teeth exposed spoke thickly. “You are.” He sniffed the air. “Not complete.”
“So.” Cara growled.
“The more living blood you consume? The faster you age.” He seemed to relax, if only slightly, and closed his lips. “You are dying. Quite rapidly in fact.”
“Which is your fault!” Cara yelled moving to lunge at him, but Kahlan caught her arm. Cara did not bother to look back at Kahlan, but her forward momentum was halted, for the time being.
“No. Not mine. This was never my intention.” He said, crossing his arms. His posture now relaxed seemed to speak to Kahlan, and she felt herself rolling her shoulders back, as she felt Cara against her arm. Her eyes looked over this man. He was tall, his hair seemed to be a dirty blonde in the moonlight, and it reflected off of pale red highlights in his short beard. His grey cloak was lined with a matching grey fur. He looked unremarkable, and plain. Which told her that he was nothing of the sort.
“What was your intention?” She asked.
“Something more… eloquent. But things sometimes are outside of our control. Is that not true, Kahlan?”
“Mother Confessor.” Cara corrected.
“I prefer to call her Kahlan. Do you mind?”
Kahlan narrowed her eyes, “I don’t know. What should I call you?”
“I have many names. Some I prefer not to hear.” He offered a slight smile. “But, for what it is worth? I am Alderamin Aulavik. King of Strel’na.”
“You’re.” Kahlan blinked.
“Yes.” He said with a slight bow. “I believe you know Viceroy Haareld, and this would be Conor, my personal guard.” He said motioning to the two men who stepped around him, to stand on either side. They wore matching grey cloaks. They seemed to just appear. Kahlan felt that warning from deep inside of her again, something instinctual and powerful. She did recognize the dark auburn hair and beard of the Viceroy, as well as his handsome appearance. The man on the other side of the King was a head taller than them both, his head shaved smooth, and his beard was thicker, with twin braids from the corners of his lips hanging down slightly. A faint scar lay on one cheek. While he looked the part of a dangerous man, something told Kahlan that it was the Viceroy who she should watch more closely.
“Your timing is… inappropriate.” Cara grumbled.
“Yes.” He laughed. “I can see that. We had considered… waiting?” He shrugged, again addressing Kahlan, not Cara. “But I could not let you feed, and hasten your own death. Perhaps one day you will forgive me?”
Kahlan shifted her hips slightly under the cover of her cloak, her body screaming in certain places and in certain ways at the injustice of the interruption. "Doubtful.”
|< Précédent||Suivant >|