Chapter 8

Richard lay on the forest floor with Kahlan's lifeless body in his arms. His legs were wrapped around hers and his brow was pressed tight against her cheek as he whispered his love for her; certain she would hear him from the Underworld. He was wracked with pain and grief. "Please don't leave me, Kahlan. I need you. I can't go on without you."

Zedd slowly came to, his head pounding. Lying in the dirt he could hear Richard's mournful cries. He moved to where his grandson lay on the ground with Kahlan in his arms. As he came closer, he saw Richard was covered in blood; Kahlan's blood.

"Dear spirits, what happened?"

Richard's face immediately came up, pleading through tears, "Zedd, you have to help her. You have to heal Kahlan."

The old wizard could barely form words, staring at the scene in disbelief. "Healing won't help her now, my boy. It's too late for that." His eyes showed his deep sorrow, not only for his grandson's pain, but for his own pain at losing this dear friend.

Richard's agony ripped him in two. Still holding her in his arms, he got up to his knees, his jaw was set firm, his teeth gritted in anger, his eyes danced wildly; "No, it's not too late! You will heal her Zedd."

Zedd tried to temper him, "Richard, it won't—

"You will heal her." He said, trying to control his voice. "And then I want you to draw a grace, just as Kieran did in the tomb. Draw a grace, Zedd, and call her spirit back from the Underworld."

A sadness came over Zedd's face. "Richard, you know there's nothing in the world I wouldn't do for you, to ease your suffering, but I am not the Creator. It is not for me to use my magic in that way. Nature must be allowed to work as it will, without interference from wizards. I let my own Taralyn go for the same reason."

"There's nothing 'natural' about this Zedd! Why would the good spirits give me Kahlan and give us a child, only to take them both away from me before our child's even had a chance to live? What is more natural, Zedd; Kahlan and our baby dying here in the woods for nothing, or Kahlan and I raising our child together? Having a life together? I can't go on without her Zedd. I won't. So unless you want to lose me too, you'll do this." Richard released one of his arms from its hold on Kahlan and gripped his grandfather by the collar, pulling his face close to his. "You will do this Zedd."

Zedd knelt before them and closed his eyes. His hands gliding just above Kahlan's body, letting his magic flow into her, healing her. Her wounds disappeared and blood was restored, though without life, she still looked ashen.

"I've healed her, Richard. Let's get her to the temple so I can draw a proper grace.

Expectancy filled Richard's heart as he gently lifted Kahlan off the ground and carried her toward the temple.

After preparing the grace, and lighting the candles, Zedd turned to Richard. He didn't want him to pin too much hope on the chance of it working. "Richard, the power of a grace cannot always be counted on. It may not work."

"Or it may" he said unwaveringly. "You're a wizard of the first order, Zedd. I'm counting on it to work."

He held Kahlan's head in his lap as Zedd stood over them.

Zedd closed his eyes and began to chant; saying the words that would bring forth Kahlan's spirit form the Underworld. As his chant became louder, a bright light filled the center of the grace. Richard could see the faint image of Kahlan in the brightness. There was an intense flash as the light entered her body.

She took in a sudden gasp of air, gulping for more, trying to fill her lungs as her legs thrashed. Richard let out a cry of relief and pulled her up to sitting so he could look into her eyes, making sure she was really there and breathing steadily. His joy was so great he couldn't form words to speak. All he could do was smile broadly at her, his eyes wide.

Still somewhat dazed, Kahlan reached her hand out to his face. After a moment of taking in the sight of him, her smile equaled his. Awash with relief, Richard finally managed to form words, "Thank the spirits!" he pulled her to him and held her close, his hand stroking the length of her hair, tears of happiness filling his eyes.

Zedd knelt down next to them and joined in the embrace. "Thank you Zedd" was all Kahlan could manage, too choked to speak.

"We're glad to have you back dear one." He turned to Richard, "We should go as soon as she's able. We don't want to be here if that sorceress decides to return with more of her friends." Richard nodded his agreement and went back to hugging Kahlan tight. Zedd went to wait outside until they were ready.

Holding her by her shoulders, Richard looked intently in her eyes "I didn't know what I was going to do. I'd thought I'd lost you. I couldn't go on without you." A look of pain returned to his face, "I'm sorry about the baby, Kahlan but we can try for another."

Kahlan shook her head, "Richard, the baby is fine. She's connected to me. She went with me to the Underworld and was still linked to me when I came back." Kahlan couldn't quite place the look that came over his face as comprehension set in.

"She?" His smile spread wide.

"Yes. It's a girl Richard." She leaned in close with a smile and whispered before kissing him, "and she has her father's spirit." He pulled her close holding her tight as their kiss deepened. Neither held back, allowing their passion for each other to pour forth. Richard thought his heart would burst with joy. Joy at having his wife back and joy at knowing they would soon have a daughter, but mostly, joy with knowing they had a lifetime ahead of them to be together and love each other.

The End (Hope you'll watch for part 3 of the series, "Whispers in the Night".)