Mother Loves You
In her final moments, the power of Kahlan Amnell's confession working through her, turning her eyes as black as pitch, Mistress Nathair screams, "No! You don't understand! I must tell the truth!"
And she tells the crowd that condemned her that she chose the girls that were taken to the Mord'Sith. That she chose Cara Mason, all those years ago.
But she does not tell them why.
"You were so smart. So sweet. Pretty. Perfect," Nathair gasps, looking at Cara's face, remembering when those sharp cheekbones were obscured by a layer of childish fat. She starts to say more, to say what, or rather whom, exactly, Cara is perfect for, but she chokes, shuddering, her eyes rolling back in her head before she can utter a sound.
Lord Darken Rahl thinks he knows the name of his mother, but he does not.
He thinks that she was Panis Rahl's wife, a princess from Rothenberg given to D'Hara to seal an alliance.
But she was not.
Nathair was first among the Mord'Sith once, before age and her own preference saw her become Head Training Mistress. Panis Rahl's favored, his lover, his confidante… and the first woman he visited, six and thirty years ago, when the wizard Zeddicus Zu'l Zorander cast a spell to make the Lord Rahl able to conceive a child.
It was not intentional, the babe gotten on her. Neither of them had counted on the strength of the wizard's charm overpowering the herbs Nathair used to prevent such an outcome. But Panis was pleased. An heir begotten with a Mord'Sith – the strongest of the Mord'Sith – would be more powerful than any babe borne him by a weak willed queen.
So Nathair's little prince grew inside her, and it was decided that once the child came into the world he would be taken from Nathair's arms and put into Queen Idunna's, no one the wiser. Panis did not care that being born of Mord'Sith put Darken – ridiculous name, that, Nathair wanted to name him Drago, but it was not her place – outside of the line of succession. And he felt no need to have another child. Why would he need more than one heir?
Darken was born in the hour between night and dawn, small and dark haired, and very red faced, and Nathair had him for only one morning before her lord came and took him from her. In some ways, that was a relief, for Nathair had no earthly knowledge of what to do with a child.
And then came the prophecy, and all the madness that accompanied it. Panis, once a proud Lord Rahl, became a drunken coward, cringing away from his own child because of some imagined evil. He blamed Nathair, blamed her Mord'Sith nature for twisting the child's spirit. He blamed Zeddicus for helping to create a life where there should be none.
He regretted Darken's birth.
That was when Nathair ceded her position as First Mistress, and assigned herself to be the prince's guard.
When the prince was taken by a fever, it was Nathair who breathed life back into him.
When the prince reached his tenth summer, it was Nathair who taught her son how to wield an Agiel.
When Panis sent the prince away to a far tower, it was Nathair who arranged for tutors, and Nathair who searched for and found Egremont, the greatest swordsman in the Dragon Corps.
She broke the soldier down and built him up again until the only creature he loved in all the world was Darken Rahl.
And it was Nathair who found the perfect foil for her son, a woman who could be his First Mistress and mother to his heir: Cara Mason.
That was why Nathair became Training Mistress. Why she chose Cara. Left to his own devices, Darken was drawn to women too like himself. She'd watched him train Denna, and known that the blonde girl would someday betray him. She'd watched him grow ever more obsessed with the very same Confessor that had sealed Nathair's fate with one touch. Too like him by far, they were.
Nathair was just like Cara once, and she is determined that is what her boy needs. A woman like his mother, by his side for all time.
She wants to tell him. Them. Needs to tell them all, how proud she is of her son.
But the power of confession reaches the place in her heart where her Mord'Sith magics dwell, and Nathair dies before she has the chance. The largest truth untold, at least in the land of the living.
When Nathair opens her eyes in the Underworld, surrounded by green flames, she looks at the spectral form of Darken Rahl and says, "Mother loves you."