Chapter 1

Kahlan's lungs constricted so tightly, she could barely breathe. She stood before Rahl, having just told him she would be his queen. Her head was pounding with every beat of her heart, her legs straining to support her. She tried to focus inside herself. This is for Richard, she reminded herself. It's the only way he'll be able to come back to me. Rahl stood before her, his eyes taking in the length of her. He stroked her cheek with a finger. "Soon. We will be married soon." He slowly walked around her, eyeing his prize. He gripped her chin in his fingers, "Then, sweet Kahlan, I will have what Richard Cypher never could."

Her nostrils flared with hatred and defiance, "You will never have what only Richard ever will." There was no need to say it aloud. He knew very well she meant her heart, her soul, her love. Yes, he knew only Richard would ever have those. But he alone would possess her body. He knew, were the Seeker still alive, that would destroy him more than anything. Perhaps even in death. Should the Seeker be watching her from the underworld, he would know of Rahl's success. In that he would be victorious. He motioned to his guards to take her away. Kahlan didn't know where they were taking her. She didn't care. With Richard gone, nothing mattered.

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When Shota had told her that Rahl killed all that was left of the Confessors, Kahlan knew what she had to do. She had learned from Shota that in order for Richard to come back from the future, he would need a Confessor's power, along with the power of Orden and the magic of an Agiel. All the same elements that had thrust him more than 50 years into the future. Rahl would never let her live long enough to be that power for him. Her love for Richard drove her to accept Rahl's offer of marriage. She would bear the child that Richard would need to send him back from that cold and distant future. Back to before this began, before this hell that was to be her life.

Kahlan soaked in the warm waters of a bath, drawn for her from buckets by her chambermaid, Alice. Now that she was to be Rahl's queen, he had pulled her from the dungeons and given Kahlan her own chamber room. For now. No matter if she were in these marbled rooms or in a dirt cell, it was still a dungeon to her. They were to be married in less than a month. Now that Rahl had won the war and was Lord over all, he craved the pageantry of the elaborate ceremony his marriage would bring. Villagers from all the territories were to be at hand. He hoped the month long celebrations would help quell the people's anger over the Seeker's death. Since his great victory, Rahl had developed some twisted sense of morality and would wait until they were married before he took her. But once they were married, Kahlan was expected to join him in the Lord's chamber. From dungeon to death sentence she thought. Until then, she was to behave as his betrothed. She felt helpless. Her love, her life, Richard, was gone. Zedd had burned to death by his own wizard's fire. She was soon going to be Queen Rahl, wife of her and Richard's evil enemy. Least of all, she no longer had her power to protect her. Rahl had made sure a Rada' Han was locked around her neck.

Kahlan was losing all hope. She desperately needed strength to continue. She thought of Richard, of all they had been through together. Her mind drifted to that night in the forest, when he had so tenderly kissed her by the fire. The sob she had been holding in escaped her. She let herself cry. She couldn't think of Richard without crying, and until he was with her, she wanted nothing more than to think of him.

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Richard's head rested on the marble tomb, his hand gently stroking her likeness cut from stone. He wanted to waste no time in getting back to her, but he needed just a few more minutes here. He had felt so cold and alone since finding himself in this dark future. Sitting here by her tomb he somehow felt closer to her, he felt her warmth, her presence, like she was watching over him. His heart was broken with the words Shota had told him. His beloved Kahlan had condemned herself to a life of dread and horror, as the wife of the evil Darken Rahl, in order to save him. He wouldn't let her act of love be in vain. He would find a way back to her, back to before all this began so he could prevent it from ever happening.

Richard softly whispered to the stone image of his love, "I'm coming Kahlan. Don't lose hope". He kissed her brow and stood, ready to be on his way. On his way back to her.

Seeing he was pulling himself up from his sorrow, Shota again spoke to him. "Be warned Seeker. If you do not combine the power or Orden, the magic of the Agiel and the Confessors's power at precisely the right time, you will not go from where you came."

"Where will I go?" He asked, not wanting to think of the possibility of something going wrong.

The old woman's head tilted slightly "Forward, backward, only the moon knows." He found no comfort in her reply.

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