"Catch it, Cara!" Kahlan screamed, running down the forests steep hill, nearly toppling over her own feet. Cara, clad in her red-leather, ran ahead of Kahlan, sprinting over logs, dodging trees and brush as she sped herself up.
They were chasing a rabbit, trying to catch it for dinner that night- anything was better than the crushed berries they had been eating every single night for the past two weeks; there was barely anything in this forest anymore.
It was a tad cold, and Kahlan could see her breath in the air as she ran – it was Spring. Running was at least making her a bit warmer. Only slightly.
They had been traveling for some time now, covering as much ground as they could, in search of a lost city, said to have held the secrets of Umana. Umana was an ancient word for Wizardry and power.
While being in Aydindril for the time they were there after they had managed to seal the veil in the underworld, Richard had stumbled across the Wizard's Keep – a place full of treasures- treasures of knowledge that is. It was a library of sorts and Richard wanted in, wanted to explore it. Kahlan had grown up in Aydindril and had been in the Keep many times before, but only in the main corridors – only Wizards could break past the spells to get through to the vast innards of the Keep to reveal deep secrets of the past and prophecies of the future. Only Wizards - and Richard of course. He had somehow managed to break through a few of the spells and bypass the others. Zedd was a huge help in that endeavor. Still, there were other rooms Richard wanted to explore – their only way of getting to them was to find this lost city of Lothry somehow and look for these secrets, said to have been stored in the ancient ruins of their civilization. It would be like finding a needle in a haystack, but Richard still wanted to try nonetheless.
Richard and Zedd were setting up camp while Kahlan and Cara had gone searching for dinner. The women had gotten closer over the past few months, after sealing the underworld and fighting side by side. Now that Kahlan and Richard were together, Kahlan felt a lot less jealous and intimidated by the busty blonde, and instead opted for friendship instead of foe. Cara seemed more like another sister to Kahlan. It was especially nice to have another woman around the camp. Traveling with Zedd and Richard alone sometimes got onerous; men never quite understood certain times of the month.
The rabbit darted to the left and scooted under a hole in the earth, obviously burrowed by another animal. Cara stopped as she panted and put her hands on her knees to catch her breath. She cursed the stupid rabbit and turned as Kahlan joined her, "it got away?" she asked, also trying to catch her breath. Cara nodded. Kahlan groaned. "Great. Looks like another feast of berries and oats." Kahlan put her hands on her hips. Cara looked passed Kahlan when she something dart behind her.
"Oh don't give up yet, Mother Confessor," she smiled viciously and grabbed one of Kahlan's daggers. With a mighty arm, Cara swung the knife, right passed Kahlan's face. It was so close, Kahlan could feel the wind pass by. Behind her she heard a squeal. Turning around she squinted in the distance to see the rabbit lying dead, dagger in its side. Kahlan smiled at Cara.
"Nice throw," she stated, walking over to the carcass.
"Naturally," Cara smiled as they headed back to camp with their meal.
Richard had been cutting some firewood when the women had come back. Zedd was gutting the rabbit, preparing it to be cooked while Cara went to get some water for their water skins. Kahlan smiled at watching him work. He had taken his shirt off, obviously warm from the task at hand. She sat back and watched him, enjoying the view. If only Zedd wasn't there she sighed.
It had been too long since they had last been together… they had been traveling for about two weeks now. The last time they had lain together was back in Aydindril. They just didn't have any time to themselves and therefore had no opportunities to enjoy each other. Kahlan leaned her head on her knees as she watched, transfixed by his masculine form. She could feel her ears turn red as she thought of the last time they were together. A smile krept on her lips, thinking of him holding her in their passionate embrace, loving her. She fantasized about his hands on her, his lips on her, feeling her – needing her. She knew he was missing her, too. The way he looked at her, the desire in his eyes. She didn't know how much longer she could wait.
Richard dropped the last of the firewood in a small pile and wiped his brow clean, "there. We'll have enough for the night now," he stated to himself as he began building a small tee-pee out of the logs. Cracking some flint together, a flame shot up from underneath the wood pile he had just made and a warm fire began building. Kahlan scooted closer to the fire and held her hands out to warm them.
"Thank you," she smiled up at him. He smiled back and sat down, across from her.
Zedd came back with the meat of the rabbit and had stuck pieces of it on sticks for them. "Perfect timing!" he grinned and handed them each a stick. He plopped down beside Richard and stuck his meat in the flame right away. Richard placed his down, not hungry quite yet.
"So," Richard started, "well reach the town of Kounder tomorrow. We'll stay there the evening as it'll take most of the day to get there. We can also collect some more supplies while we are there, and maybe stay at an inn," he looked at Kahlan, "it'll be nice to sleep on a bed again," he winked at her. Kahlan's heart jumped and she looked down, blushing. Zedd grunted in his approval, getting impatient over his rabbit meat not cooking fast enough for him.
Richard smiled at seeing Kahlan blush. Her naiveté with flirting and intimacy was endearing to him. Not that he had much experience, other than a few girls he had courted back in the day. Still. Kahlan never even thought of another man in any such way. Her thoughts were always on the people, at bettering lives - bringing justice to the Midlands. He was glad he was able to experience these things with her. It was also fun for him, flirting with her. He didn't think she realized just how desirable she was. Some of the things she said, the little things she did sometimes just pushed him over the edge. He loved her all the more for it.
Cara came back moments later and sat down next to Kahlan. She handed her some berries that she had picked while on her way back. "What about us?" Zedd asked, staring at the berries.
Cara rolled her eyes, "I only have two hands," she stated. Kahlan smiled at Zedd's frustration and handed him some of her berries. Cara grabbed her slab of meat and dipped it into the fire.
"So, what's this city of Kounder like?" Richard asked Kahlan, "is there anything I need to be aware of?" Richard had gotten used to asking these things. He had been made to look like a fool on too many occasions, not knowing the customs of the different villages and towns they passed through. Zedd, Kahlan and Cara all got a good laugh out of it much to Richard's chagrin. Kahlan thought for a moment, putting her meat down, not interested in eating, suddenly.
"I don't think so," she ran a hand down her long brown hair, taking comfort in it. "Zedd, can you think of anything?" she asked. Zedd shook his head, no. "You'll be fine, Richard," she smiled at him. Richard nodded and put his meat in the fire.
Kahlan took her slab of meat and handed it to Zedd, "Here, you can have mine, I'm not hungry." Her appetite had decreased severely over the past month. She just wasn't interested in eating meat lately, or anything for that matter. Richard had mentioned he was becoming concerned with her eating habits, but Kahlan wasn't too worried. She just thought it was simply because it was getting closer to her time of the moon cycle; her appetite always changed around that time, that and traveling always lessened her hunger. Zedd took it willingly and immediately stuck it in the fire. Richard gave her a look; she looked away from the worry in his brown eyes and fidgeted with her boots.
"Kahlan," he said, "you've only eaten one piece of bread and some berries today and you're not hungry?" Richard asked, quizzically. Kahlan gave him a look.
"No, I'm not," she retorted. Cara bit a chunk off her meat.
"Leave the woman alone, Lord Rahl," she scolded him, "she's a grown woman and can decide if she's hungry or not," she chewed and spoke at the same time. Richard gave her an exasperated look.
"I'm worried she's going to get weak, Cara," he explained himself. Cara often called him Lord Rahl though he hadn't officially claimed the throne. He would one day, but for now he had other things to focus on. Kahlan let out a breath.
"Richard, I'm fine, really. I'm just not all that interested in eating meat right now," she looked him in the eye, "I've told you why already." He still didn't like it. He didn't believe it was because she was getting closer to her moon cycle. He thought women usually had more of an appetite at that time. He just didn't understand.
As they finished up their meals, they decided to get an early rest. Cara took first watch, Zedd took second, Kahlan took third and Richard took the last watch as he was always up early anyways.
As Cara sat off in the distance, Zedd snored loudly. Kahlan rolled her eyes and snuggled closer to Richard's warm body. He snaked his arm around her middle and pulled her close to him, heating her. He kissed the back of her head and lay back, shutting his eyes, "I love you," Kahlan whispered to him. He smiled and squeezed her tightly.
"Love you, too."
The city of Kounder was large compared to most other villages they had passed through. The town was still a buzz when they reached it around dinner time. The streets were still packed with merchants and traders; street children were still out and about, playing tag and kicking random items they found on the roads. They were basically ignored, except for the lingering eyes on Richard's sword and the gazes in Kahlan's direction. When they recognized who she was, people made sure to jump out of the way.
People always jumped out of Kahlan's way; they were scared of her. Kahlan was used to it. Richard was becoming increasingly aware of just how lonely her life must have been. He didn't think he could handle people trying to avoid him all the time. It made him feel sorry for her. He grabbed her hand, hoping to give her some form of comfort. She smiled a small smile at him.
They reached a small inn in the centre of the village – it was old and dingy, but it would do them well for the night. The inn had a pub below it and the smell of the food was making Zedd hungrier by the minute. Deciding it would be best to eat now rather then later, they devoured their food. Kahlan ate everything but the meat. Richard again gave her an odd look. She just smiled at him in response.
They rented three rooms, all next to one another. Cara had one room, Zedd had another and Kahlan and Richard shared one. Zedd had called it an early night as he was exhausted from the day of hard traveling. Cara decided she was going to join the men downstairs for a pint, much to Richard and Kahlan's distress. She assuaged their fears letting them know they had nothing to fear…she was, after all, a Mord'Sith.
Richard and Kahlan's room was small, dark, and only mildly maintained. The Innkeeper had given them their best room he had said. Richard didn't want to think of what their worst room was. He would have preferred sleeping outside but he knew Kahlan would love the comfort of the bed. Plus, they were able to be alone.
She was sitting in a nearby chair, brushing her hair when he came back from relieving himself. He took his boots off and sat on the bed, running a hand through his wild brown locks. "Kahlan," he called to her. She looked over to him, brush still in hand.
"What is going on with your eating habits?" he began. She opened her mouth to speak but he cut her off, "I know you say it's because it's close to your time of the moon, but I have a hard time believing that. Is something wrong? Are you ill?" he asked, concern in his big brown eyes. Kahlan stood up and walked towards him. She stood in front of him and lifted his chin up so she could look him in the eye.
"Richard, I'm fine. Honestly," she ran a hand through his hair, "I'm not sick. Traveling and eating different foods all the time makes my stomach churn. I try to avoid the meats of different lands," she lied, "they never settle right in me," she stated. He didn't look convinced, but nodded anyway. She smiled at him. Her mind started drifting and she started thinking of the night before, watching him chop wood for the fire…she remembered his muscles and how they flexed with each movement. She could feel her face heat as her thoughts became more lustful. She licked her bottom lip and lifted one knee on the bed beside him and placed her other knee on his other side, straddling him. She wrapped her arms around his neck as he placed his hands on her back, holding her to him. She hugged herself to his chest, listening to his heartbeat, "it's been so long," she said to him as she reached up and kissed his warm neck. Richard rubbed her back in agreement. She pulled away and eyed him, seductively as she undid her ties of her dress. Richard gave her a look of lust that drove her mad with desire. He helped her as she pulled the rest of the dress over her head and leaned back, sitting there in her black corset and black tights. Putting both hands to the side of his face, she leaned forward and kissed him passionately. His hands roamed to her bottom as she kissed him, feeling her. She moaned against his mouth and his hands. She could barely catch her breath as he kissed her back with equal passion. His one hand stayed on her bottom while the other held her by the back of her head, holding her hair in a tight fist. She let her head drop back as he began planting kisses on her neck and below her collar bone, just above her breasts. Kahlan's whole body ached for him. She never felt such desire as she did now. Her heart was pounding and she wasn't afraid. She wanted him to enjoy it. She wanted to make love – passionate love- to him. She pulled her head away and pushed him on his back on the bed. Slowly, deliberately, she undid the clasps on her corset. Seductively, she allowed it to drop to her side. Equally as slow, she took her tights off. Standing there, completely naked, he smiled at her with a boyish grin. Kahlan laughed inwardly – even if he was the ruler of D'Hara, she could still make him resort to being nothing but a boy. With ease, she crawled back on top of him, he still fully clothed. He placed his hands on her waist she sat up on him, still straddling him. She ran her hands up the inside of his shirt, feeling his tight abs and muscular chest. He pulled his shirt off quickly so she could have more free range. She stared him in the eye as she leaned down and kissed his soft flesh, her delicate hands running up and down his chiseled torso. She could feel him becoming more and more aroused by the minute. It just drove her on even more. She felt his hand run through her hair and grasp it in a fist as she kissed him. Her mouth trailed downward until she could not longer go any further. Her lips lingered just above his pant line. He was breathless as she slid her tongue across his smooth skin. She began pulling at his pants, wanting to see all of him, feel all of him. She was so caught up in the erotic nature of what she was doing, she felt like a different person. She knew she'd caught Richard off guard. Never had she been this…risqué. She didn't know what had come over her as he pulled his pants down. She moaned at seeing him so aroused, not even thinking she bent down and took him in her mouth.
Richard gasped at what Kahlan was doing to him. He held her head as she played with him, sucking, licking, tickling, "K..Kahlan," he said her name in shock. She lifted her head up when she was sure he was good and ready and smiled devilishly at him. He was sweating by the time she kissed her way up to his face, meeting his gaze. He brought his face up and kissed her, allowing his tongue to slide into her mouth, playing with hers. Panting with need, Kahlan pushed him away from her and positioned herself on top of him. Teasingly, she pushed herself down on him slowly. She arched her back as she moved, enjoying every minute of feeling him in her. He sat up, allowing her to move still and put both hands on her bottom, feeling her body against his. She was allowing herself complete release, not holding back in any way. She was moaning, scratching his back as pleasure inundated her. Richard loved every minute of it. Never had he seen Kahlan with such wild, erotic behaviour. To say he liked it was an understatement. He was so aroused he couldn't even think straight. He gripped her tightly as she came, her nails clutching him, almost painfully…he knew there'd be blood – not that he minded. She let out a moan and slammed herself down on him, her eyes turning black as she released her power. She collapsed into his arms as she finished, burying her head in his shoulder, exhausted. He kissed her bare shoulder and held her to him tightly. After a minute, she pulled away from him and smiled, "your turn," she began moving again. It didn't take long before he was clutching her, holding his breath as he para-mounted in ecstasy.
When finished, he held her to him, both breathing heavy from their exertion and at finally being able to enjoy each other once again. He lay back on the pillows with her still in his arms. She was spent. Whenever they lay together, Kahlan released her power. It didn't affect Richard because his love for her overruled the power she had within. Still, when she released it, she couldn't fully recover and be back to her normal self for about two hours after the fact. It took a lot out of her to use her power.
Richard stroked her head as she played with some of the hairs on his chest, "Kahlan," he whispered, "I've never seen you act in such a way," he mused. He could see her cheeks turning red as she looked down, embarrassed. He kissed the top of her head. "I enjoyed it…thoroughly," he smiled, bringing her face up to his. He kissed her softly, trying to make her feel better. She smiled lightly and hugged herself to him, cold. He lifted the blankets over them and tucked her in tightly around him. Kahlan could hear his heartbeat against his chest, felt it. She could feel every breath he took. She wanted to melt into him and just be with him forever. Never would she consider herself to be the love-struck girl she was acting like. Then again, she never thought she'd ever have a love. Kahlan shuddered at the thought and nuzzled her face tighter into him, allowing herself to fall asleep to the rhythm of his heartbeat.
Richard's left hand stretched out to the side of the bed and he made sure his sword was there. He was constantly checking it, almost unconsciously, to remind himself of who he was and what his purpose was. He needed to get into that keep. He needed to see the prophecies, read the books of Wizards and rulers before him before he could take up command as ruler of D'Hara. He needed to learn before he could lead.
Lead. He shook his head in wonderment. Leading an army was one thing, but a whole mass of people…he didn't know how Kahlan did it, and with such poise. He would never match her political abilities. Kahlan was born to lead. Richard was thrown into it. He felt uncomfortable a lot of the time, unsure of himself. He tried to make the right decisions when everyone looked to him, but he wasn't sure if they always were. He was only a woods guide after all. He hated himself for having these insecurities, but realized it was what kept him humble and stable. He needed to keep challenging himself, pushing his mind, body and soul. He liked the battles, loved the rush of it all. He would do it if it was demanded of him. With Kahlan at his side. He smiled down at her. Kahlan. Finally he was able to call her his. He brushed a loose strand of hair away from her face as she slept.
Richard sometimes couldn't fathom it. Couldn't believe the fact that someone of Kahlan's stature, the Mother Confessor herself, ruler of all the Midlands, had chosen to love him. It boggled his mind. Her intellect, her poise, her grace, her beauty…she could have chosen any man. He was glad she chose him and that they could be together in love, not in power. He felt her stir against him, her soft naked body pressed against his. He loved the feel of her. He pulled the blanket up farther, just below her chin to keep her warm. The cool night air came through the barely boarded up windows. The room was completely dark aside from the soft moonlight illuminating through the cracks in the boards. He could hear men downstairs still, drinking the night away. He had hoped Cara hadn't stayed down there too long with them. He was worried for her.
He realized his fears weren't necessary when he heard giggling coming from her room beside them. He could hear the man she was with giggling. Richard rolled his eyes. Great, he wiped a hand across his face as he heard things become more heated in the room beyond. He wanted to stick something in his ears to drown out the moans and screams of pleasure that was coming from Cara.
Kahlan moved in his arms, suddenly awakened by the noise and looked up at him, a look of disgust in her eyes, "is that…?" she left it unsaid. Richard nodded and let out a breath. Kahlan groaned and put both hands to sides of her head, covering her ears. Richard laughed and kissed her forehead.
"Just ignore it. Doesn't sound like it'll last too long," he grinned. Kahlan jabbed his stomach and gave him a look. He rolled on his side and pulled her into him, shielding her from the sound, pressing her against his chest. She snuggled up close as they both fell asleep.