Ok, here's the last chapter of this story. I will be doing a sequel to this one as I had a great I idea (I hope!) with something I called the Shakrah. As a reward for all the angst I put you all through, this chapter is waaay longer than I usually like to post. It's also loaded it with lots of Richard/Kahlan moments!
Hope you enjoy! :)
The Amulet (Chapter 12)
Her name came drifting so sweetly, so lovingly through the air; she couldn't be certain she had really heard her name being called. Grief could play terrible tricks with the mind like that especially after losing someone you love so deeply. It can make you think that loved one is there, calling out your name just like in a distant memory.
Realization slowly began pushing past the anguish that consumed her, causing her to gaze in the direction she thought she had heard her name coming from. Devastated blue eyes were greeted by loving deep brown eyes, nearly taking the very breath from her lungs.
Through eyes brimming with tears, the Mother Confessor beheld her Seeker, standing a few feet away from her. Trembling, Kahlan slowly rose, uncertain if her legs would even hold her up.
"Richard?" she whispered, barely able to speak his name for fear it was just an illusion; that if she said his name out load, he would vanish again from her sight. Then she would relive the whole nightmare of losing him all over again.
"Yes, Kahlan, it's me," he lovingly reassured her, eyes shining with tears at the sight of the woman he loved, but thought he'd never see again.
Kahlan slowly walked over to him, unable to grasp what her eyes told her was there. Reaching out with shaking hands, she gently laid her palms against his chest, his eyes briefing closing as he savored her warm touch once more. He had never wanted someone's touch so badly in his entire life. He never wanted any of her touches, any moment with Kahlan to be taken for granted lest it all be stolen from him again.
Feeling his heart racing beneath her fingers, Kahlan could barely breathe. Her mind was swirling with thoughts and emotions she couldn't put into words. How could this be? How could he be here, standing before her when he had been taken from her?
The tempestuous whirlwind of emotions began to spin violently out of control, fueled by the exhaustion that was threatening to overtake her. No longer able to keep control any longer, her hands became fists as she pounded on his chest.
"You left me, Richard! You promised me you would never leave me! You promised!" Kahlan yelled as hurt and anger mingled in tears that streamed down her face.
Anguish over his loved one's pain gripped his heart as Richard grasped Kahlan's wrists and tenderly pulled her to him in a tight, comforting embrace. Kahlan didn't fight him for long as she broke down in uncontrollable sobs of relief that her Richard was truly alive. He had come back to her.
"Shhh, it's okay. I'm alright, Kahlan. I'm right here," Richard murmured comfortingly as he held her, stroking her hair. He placed a gentle kiss on the top of her head. The last two days had been more than her heart and mind could process.
Stunned, Zedd stood watching as the Seeker held his soul-mate, unsure if he believed that what he was seeing could be real. He didn't understand how it was possible that Richard could be alive, standing here with them after losing his soul to the Amulet, but he thanked the good spirits that his grandson was safely back.
Having escaped Emerson, the trio decided to head west, away from the Emerson Hills. As they made their way through the protection and cover of the woods, Richard relayed his experience with the Amulet.
Having held her for several minutes after he had first appeared, Kahlan had eventually settled down. She had returned his sword to him, grateful to be rid of it. She didn't like how it had fueled and heightened her rage; she felt so out of control when she held it. She didn't know how Richard managed to control it so well.
"Do you remember being pulled into the Amulet? What did it feel like? Were you aware you were in the Amulet?" Zedd hammered the Seeker, curiosity getting the better of him along with the excitement of having his grandson safely back.
"Whoa, one question at a time!" Richard chuckled at Zedd and his barrage of questions.
"Well, first of all, I remember a bright light washing over me. I heard Kahlan scream my name; I looked at her and told her that I loved her."
Richard cast a sideways glance at Kahlan who silently walked beside him, listening but not participating in the conversation. Richard was concerned about her, still feeling the anguish rolling off of her in waves.
"Kahlan was the last thing I saw. Next thing I knew it was like I was floating in air, surrounded by vibrant colors. It was like being enclosed by stained glass windows. It seemed like time had come to a standstill; I was frozen in time, like being in a dream. It was peaceful; I didn't want to leave.
Suddenly, there was a loud crash and the stained glass shattered. I felt myself being pulled into the Underworld. At the time, I felt like I wanted to be there more than any other place. Then I heard Kahlan again in my head."
Richard stopped as the memory played over in his mind. Turning, he looked intently at Kahlan. He was so worried about her. He felt a crushing ache that absorbed his soul. Kahlan was pulling away from him again, back behind the safety of her walls where no one could hurt her.
"I could hear you crying, calling out to me. You were pulling me away from the Underworld. All of the sudden, I didn't want to go there anymore. I so desperately wanted to find you so I followed your voice. That's when I found myself standing there, watching you cry as you held pieces of the Amulet in your hand."
"Like I said before, you and Kahlan are bound by your love – heart, soul, and mind," Zedd reminded him with a grin, finally understanding how Richard had been drawn back to them.
The evening sky was rapidly darkening with the setting sun as a cool breeze caused the forest leaves to rustle. They continued traveling late into the evening, making sure they had put enough distance between them and Emerson. Having set up camp and finished dinner, Zedd went off a little ways from their campsite to rest and rejuvenate his powers. He also knew that Richard and Kahlan needed some time together.
Richard sat alone, staring into the campfire, his thoughts and feelings reeling from the last few days' events. He was furious that Wilkes had interfered and caused them so much pain, creating another barrier between him and Kahlan. Another barrier that he would have to break through to get to her again.
Kahlan was the Mother Confessor, so strong and independent. And yet, beneath the formidable exterior, there was little girl inside, so innocent and vulnerable. A little girl with a very fragile heart.
Richard wanted nothing more than for her to trust him, to allow him to have her heart and be her source of strength. He wanted her to believe that he would always be there for her even though everyone else in her life had abandoned or hurt her. But then Wilkes had taken him from her, breaking that bond they had created.
She had finally trusted him, opened herself up to him. He had almost convinced her that they could be together without him being confessed.
And now, she had closed herself off to him again. Distant and withdrawn, Kahlan had barely made eye contact with him for more than a few seconds at a time since escaping Emerson. She had barely said a word, instead listening to Richard and Zedd discuss all that had transpired while he had been trapped in the Amulet.
As he listened to Zedd recount those events, Richard's heart swelled with love and pride at Kahlan's strength and how she had continued to fight to save the Midlands after he had been taken by the Amulet.
Richard was so relieved and ecstatic to be freed from the Amulet, to be back with Kahlan, with Zedd. Now, he felt so alone. He wanted so badly to take Kahlan into his arms, show her how much he loved and had missed her, and then never let her go.
Having been taken from her, Richard was more determined than ever to convince Kahlan that they could physically express their love without fear of her powers. Life was too short, could be taken at any time. They could no longer let these precious moments together pass them by because of fear.
Startled from his thoughts, Richard watched as Kahlan walked to the other side of the campsite, opposite of him, to put her things away. Kahlan's hair was still somewhat damp from the bath she had gone to take.
Sitting now on a log as she brushed her beautiful hair, Richard was once again mesmerized by her beauty. The fresh bruises on her cheeks colored her face in shades of blues and purples. It broke his heart how she had put herself through such pain even when there appeared to be no hope of saving him.
The firelight danced in her vivid blue eyes. They no longer held the anguish that they had held earlier in the day. They held something else…hurt, maybe. And yet, there was something more than that. Richard was determined to find out what, determined now more than ever to keep Kahlan from slipping away from him. If there was anything that he had learned from his experience with the Amulet of Eelum, it was that life was too precious to let it pass you by.
Lost in her own thoughts, Kahlan looked up to see Richard standing before her. She swallowed hard at the site of her love standing before her. She had missed him so much. His brown eyes consumed with love for her, the corners of his soft lips turned up into the small smile he gave her, his muscular frame bidding her to come and experience all that he had to offer her.
Kahlan wanted nothing more than to take him in her arms, kiss him with all the passion she had bottled up inside, to show him the love she was yearning to express with him.
Seeing the desire that smoldered in Kahlan's eyes only aided in further provoking the passion that simmered deep inside him. Richard gently pulled her up to stand before him. Placing a tender touch to her bruised cheek, he gently caressed her face.
The love he held in his eyes for her caused unwelcomed tears to form. She didn't deserve his love. She felt such overwhelming guilt for being so angry with him for leaving her, for giving up hope of getting him back. She knew that it had been beyond his control, but it hadn't seemed to quell her anger.
Noticing the sadness that consumed her, Richard tenderly pulled her to him as he feathered her lips with soft kisses. Kahlan was quickly melting into his embrace, his kisses until renewed guilt caused her to suddenly pull back.
"Richard, I…" Kahlan began, a tear escaping her blue eyes. How could she tell him how angry she had been at him for leaving her, the guilt she felt for giving up on him?
"Kahlan, what is it? What's wrong?" Richard asked, concern weighing heavy in his eyes.
Averting her eyes, Kahlan wanted so desperately to run, not wanting to face the one she loved. "Richard, I'm so sorry; I'm just so sorry."
"Kahlan, what are you talking about? You have nothing to be sorry about," Richard adamantly declared. "You saved the Midlands, destroyed the Amulet. Kahlan, you saved me."
"You don't understand! I was angry at you, Richard!" Kahlan exclaimed in frustration at herself as she pulled away from his grasp. She felt as though she had betrayed her love. "I was devastated when you were imprisoned in the Amulet. I thought I had lost you forever. Zedd tried to tell me to not lose hope, but I couldn't listen to him. I was too hurt. I became angry at you; I felt betrayed. I had given you my heart and you took it with you when you vanished. You promised me you wouldn't leave me and you did!" Kahlan yelled in desperate anger, trying to get him to understand her guilt.
"Kahlan, listen to me!" Richard cried out. Desperate to get through to her again, he grabbed hold of her forearms to keep her in front of him. "It's natural to be angry when you've lost someone you love. When I lost my father, I was heartbroken, but then I became angry at him for dying. Anger is part of the grieving process; it's how you cope when you lose someone you love. Kahlan, there is absolutely nothing you could ever do to make me stop loving you."
Kahlan's eyes began to soften as she began to feel the weight of her guilt beginning to lift. "I've just never felt such pain, such grief before in my entire life. I felt so alone without you; I wanted to die," Kahlan whispered. His warmth and love engulfed her soul, erasing the guilt, the pain and the anger that had once consumed her. Her heart swelled again with the love and passion she had always held for him, but had been temporarily surpassed by the pain of her loss.
Seeing that he was getting through her barriers, Richard once again pulled her to him but this time with a wanton desire that hungered to devour her. Capturing her lips in a passionate kiss that took her breath away, Kahlan readily allowed herself to give in to her desire that was begging to respond to his.
Placing a hand behind his neck, Kahlan pulled him closer to her, intensifying the kiss. Her broken heart was slowly mending, becoming even stronger as it intertwined itself with Richard's.
Richard began planting warm, wet kisses down her neck that sent shivers down her spine, sending her mind reeling with the flood of desire that was consuming her.
"Richard," she moaned with a gasp as his tongue and teeth tickled and teased her flesh. "I love you, Richard."
"I love you, Kahlan," Richard murmured into her hair before returning his lips to hers. The heat of their desire and need for one another was rapidly devouring them.
Kahlan suddenly pulled back, panic threatening the peace that settled over her heart as a lingering memory made itself known again. "Richard, you're still in danger!"
"What are you talking about?" Richard asked, confused, as he tried to catch his breath.
"I finally remembered what I learned from that D'Haran I had been struggling with before the mudslide. Richard, Darken Rahl has the Shakrah. We're being hunted as we speak…"
*Dun, dun, dun! Well, there you finally have it. I'm so mean leaving you hanging again! Not to fret, though, I'll be starting the sequel soon. Hope you all enjoyed! Thanks so much for following me along!