Kahlan knows that she and Richard could never be together.
She wished with all her heart they could.
But it would never happen.
Now she just had to tell him.
Thunder boomed overhead. Zeddicus Zu'l Zorander otherwise known as Zedd, Richard Cypher, and Kahlan Amnell all rushed to set up camp before rain fell from the sky. The light of day was fading into the darkness of night as Zedd started on getting a fire going, his silvery gray hair shining in the moonlight. Richard's task was to make a sort-of shelter from the ominous rain threatening to fall. Kahlan had to find dry firewood to keep the fire going all night to keep them warm. But first she had to settle the horses for the night. Once she was done with her first task, she set off into the night and on to her second.
Kahlan's wavy brown hair glowed in the moonlight as she searched the woods for good firewood. She had to hurry if she was to get dry logs before the skies opened up and soaked the trees. As she was searching with her piercing green eyes, she started thinking. She thought about her growing feelings for the man she had made an oath to protect. She knew that from the first time he had saved her from death, she had felt something deep down inside herself. At the time she had pushed it away as annoyance with him, not knowing who he really was.
The next time she saw him was when she found out who he was. At first she didn't believe Zedd when he said that Richard was to be the Seeker. He was just twenty three for God's sake! He didn't have any training at all, thanks to Zedd who was supposed to have been training him. The surprise of finding this out and realizing she was supposed to protect him during his mission put the foreign feeling in her out of her mind for the time being. But the second time he saved her, the feeling sprang back up again and this time with more fire. By the third time he had saved her, she had an inkling of what the feeling could be. And when she started noticing Richard looking at her when he thought she didn't see, she had a feeling he felt the same way.
But she knew it could never be. She was a Confessor. And Confessors could never fall in love with someone lest their powers be unleashed. If that happened, they would Confess the person, willingly or no. Then that person would be in love with her against their will, whether they loved her in the first place. All their own free will would be gone and their only purpose in life would be to do Kahlan's or any Confessor's bidding until death separated them.
No. Kahlan couldn't let that happen to Richard. No matter what, she couldn't allow that to happen to him. She cared about him too much. Then the mission would be pointless and he would never fulfill his destiny and defeat Darken Rahl. Darken Rahl would take over the world, and everyone and everything she knew would die.
That last thought brought her out of her thoughts. She was back in the forest looking for dry firewood to keep them warm. Thunder cracked overhead, followed shortly by lightning. She had found enough wood, and went back to the camp, determined to tell Richard everything tonight. Nothing would stop her.
Kahlan reached the campsite just as Zedd was about to start cooking dinner. Now that they had more dry firewood, they were set for the night. Kahlan went looking in their traveling bags for plates and utensils. As she was doing this, Richard came up behind her and started helping her look, since he was done making a cover to shelter them from the rain. When he reached for a bag to search through, she jumped in0 surprise. That made Richard chuckle. "Since when are you so jumpy?" he asked her as she regained the slow rhythmic pounding of her heart.
"Since you decided to sneak up behind me like one of Darken Rahl's soldiers ready to attack," she replied grimly. Richard stopped what he was doing and gaped at her. Kahlan saw the hurt and surprise in his eyes and apologized. "I'm just tired, that's all. Let me get a good nights rest, and I'll be back to myself again. Okay?"
Richard thought for a moment, and then he nodded his head, accepting the apology. "Okay. Let me finish looking for plates, you go warm yourself by the fire. You look cold."
Kahlan couldn't argue with that. She was cold, and didn't have sufficient forest clothing for traveling. All she had was her white dress that was the mark of the Confessor, and the green dress with black pants underneath for riding that was a gift from Richard's friend Chase's daughter Laura. Neither was very warm, and the nights were getting colder. So she left the Seeker to hunt plates in a sea of traveling bags and went to sit by the fire.
Pulling her cloak closer to her, she watched the flames dance around the logs and thought of how to approach the subject she had to discuss with Richard. She didn't want to tell him, but he hated lies, and this was most definitely a lie. One that could destroy them both. He knew she was a Confessor, but didn't know the extent of her powers. She had to tell him. After they ate, and were alone. She turned to Zedd. "Zedd, when we are done eating, I need you to—to disappear for a while. I need to talk to Richard alone. Could you do that for me?" she asked.
"I needed to go watch the clouds anyway. It will give me an excuse to do so," his eyes twinkled as he answered her. "Are you going to tell him?"
Kahlan looked back into the fire. "I have to. If I don't, it might kill us both. And then what good would that do? I have to tell him. I have to tell him—"
She cut off as Richard walked back to the fire. "Tell me what?" he asked as he placed the plates on a log. "Kahlan, what do you need to tell me?"
"That—that you forgot the forks and spoons. How are we supposed to eat without them? With our hands and burn our fingers?" She covered herself from almost slipping and telling him before she meant to. She got up and went to the pack that held the plates and rummaged around until she found the forks and spoons. Returning with them, she separated the plates and dished out some food for each of them. Handing a plate to Zedd, she sat down and started eating.
Richard looked at Zedd as if to find an answer in the old wizard's eyes. Zedd just looked away and ate his food. Richard gave up and ate his food, though not forgetting how Kahlan acted when he came back with the plates. The three ate in silence, wrapped in each of their own thoughts.
Kahlan was the first to finish her food. She wasn't very hungry to begin with, so she just picked at it. When she finished she took a short walk to clear her head for what was to come when she went back to the camp. She didn't go far, and when she heard Zedd say he was going to take a short walk to look at the clouds she headed back. When she reached the fire pit, she sat down on a log by the fire and put her hands out in front of her to warm them. She closed her eyes, and took a deep breath. You can do this, Kahlan. Just tell him what you can do, and then it will be over with, she thought as she prepared herself for what was to come. When she was ready, she called Richard over to the fire.
Richard came over warily, not sure what to expect. When he reached the fire pit, he took a seat opposite Kahlan. Kahlan opened her eyes and looked Richard straight into his. He felt as though she could read his thoughts and see into his soul, just like every other time she looked at him that way. Only this time it was different. This time, there was something in the way she held his gaze that made him want to run, but he didn't know why. Then Kahlan started to speak.
"Richard, I haven't been completely honest with you about who I am. Yes, I am a Confessor, but that isn't all. I know you have seen and noticed the way people look at me when we arrive at a different place in our travels. Everyone always tends to give me a wide berth. As though I would do something awful to them. Well, they are right to keep away from me. They know what I am capable of. What all Confessors' are capable of."
Richard looked at her strangely. "What are you trying to say Kahlan?"
Kahlan took a deep breath. For a moment she didn't say anything and just looked at the fire and watched it dance. Richard waited patiently for her to continue, not wanting to interrupt her. When she started to speak again, she had his full attention. "Confessors have a power greater than any other. Greater than a wizards. That is why so many people fear us. They fear what we would do to them if they upset us. The only reason they allow us into their homes is because of the status we hold. We are higher ranking than Kings and Queens. They bow down to us, not the other way around." Kahlan stopped, thinking of what to say next.
"What happens if you are angered or threatened by someone?" Richard prompted.
Kahlan looked straight into his eyes as an owl hooted somewhere in the woods. "We touch them. Touch them, and Confess them," she stated in one simple sentence like it should make total sense to a stranger to the Midlands. Richard looked at her with a confused look on his already fairly lost face. Kahlan could see he didn't know what that meant, so she elaborated. "If I were to touch you right now, you would be lost forever. You would no longer be Richard Cypher. You would belong to me. Your mind, your thoughts, your soul, everything. You would no longer think for yourself. The only thing you would care about is me. Protecting me and keeping me happy. You would do anything I asked you to do. Anything." She put great emphasis on the last word.
Richard just looked at her, trying to hide his emotions, which were reeling out of control at the moment. He felt as though he didn't know Kahlan anymore. "Why didn't you tell me in the first place?"
Kahlan looked at the ground. This was one of the questions she was afraid of. "I didn't tell you because I was afraid you would hate me and leave me. I have never had a friend like what you have become. Confessor's aren't supposed to have friends except each other. Especially of the opposite sex." Kahlan sucked in her breath as she said the last sentence, wishing with all her heart she could take it back.
"What do you mean, 'especially of the opposite sex'?" he asked curiously.
"It means, Confessors aren't supposed to get close to anyone unless they intend to take a mate. It's too dangerous. If a Confessor got to close to someone, she wouldn't be able to control her powers, and would make them hers. You see, Confessors are born with their magic. It is permanent. It never goes away. And that power needs to be held back, not forced out. It takes all of a Confessor's will to keep it in check all the time. So if she got close to someone, it would be disastrous. With the closeness that comes with falling for someone also comes relaxation. And relaxation is not what a Confessor needs to keep her power inside and controlled. Her power would be released, and that is the end of it. You know what would happen next." Kahlan sighed as she finished. There, it was out. He knew.
Richard couldn't grasp the whole context though. "What does that have to do with anything between us? Are you trying to say something?"
As soon as the words were out of his mouth, she felt the tears coming. This is what she feared the most. She did not want to have to go into this subject at all. But he asked, and she had to answer.
"It means that you and I could never be together. I'm so sorry Richard, but it would never work out. I don't think I could hold in my powers. And then I would slip and I would loose you. I don't want that to happen. I could never do that to you," she said as tears started to fall from her green eyes and down her cheeks.
Richard couldn't believe what he was hearing. Had she just admitted to having feelings for him? Yes, yes she had. And she also said they could never be together. So what was the point of her telling him this if it could never be?
As if she had read his thoughts, she answered them. "I have feelings for you Richard. I think I always have. And I know you feel the same for me. Don't try to deny it. I am telling you this so I don't get your hopes up. I wish it could be, but it can't. You have no id—"
She was cut off suddenly by Richard. Or rather, by Richard's lips. While she had been talking and giving excuses he didn't want to hear about how they couldn't be together, he had crossed the distance between them. And he kissed her. It was something he had wanted to do for a very long time. And it was even better than he could have ever hoped.
At first, her mouth was rigid, not knowing what to do with the invasion. But as soon as she realized what had happened, she surrendered. His mouth was so warm and soft. The taste of it was better than anything she had ever tasted before. She closed her eyes and deepened the kiss. He obliged willingly. He opened his mouth to invite her in. She took the opportunity to explore the new territory and found it most pleasing. One of Richard's hands went to support the back of her head as the other wandered down to the ties that kept her white dress on her body. When he reached them, he started to undo them. As he was busy with that, she started to wander around his back and explore more. She couldn't get enough of this wonderful man who was destined for greatness. Invisible sparks flew around them as they sat on the log for what seemed like eternity.
And then Kahlan came to her senses as she felt her power slipping from her grasp.
She unwillingly broke the kiss, wishing more than anything not to have to. But she had to. Otherwise, she could loose him. As she broke the kiss, her lips trembled for more, but her head shouted no. She turned quickly away, not wanting to have to look at Richard and see his hurt face. She got up and started walking away, apologizing as she went. Richard stood up and started to go after her, but knew it would do no good. So he watched her walk away into the night as the rain started to come down around her silhouette. He called after her, but she ignored him.
She knew nothing would be the same again. She felt as though the world started to crumble around her as her heart broke in two.