Chapter 13

They had hardly eaten at supper; their conversation minimal with Richard's departure looming. He felt more at ease about it knowing Kahlan would be waiting for him, but it was still difficult. He had hoped to convince her they could be together before he left. But Zedd's warning had been stern; she had to come to it on her own. Searching for the Stone would be a dangerous journey, but once it was over - if he survived - they would be together again.

Kahlan returned to her room. Richard had said he wanted to check on his horse and gather his things, then he would come to say goodbye. Before he headed to the stables, he once more told her to trust in him as the Seeker. He'd held her chin in his hand, tilting her head to look up into his eyes, "we will be together Kahlan. I promise you, it'll be okay."

She felt herself believing him. He was the Seeker. He had been right about so many things before, why should she doubt him now? She didn't know what to think anymore. She only knew that she could never be with another.

Her stomach in knots, she did little more than stare at the fire until she heard Agatha show Richard in.

Kahlan smoothed her dress. She felt guilty for once more wearing the two piece dress with the pearl buttons, but Agatha had told her she looked exquisite the last time she had worn it. She had seen in Richard's eyes tonight that he thought so too.

Kahlan found she couldn't meet his intense gaze and looked directly to her hand maid. "Thank you Agatha. That will be all for today." She didn't look pleased with the instruction, but quietly closed the door behind her as she left.

Richard walked over and pulled her into his arms. She didn't resist. He felt so strong and warm. Her vivid dream of being with him sprang back into her mind. She blushed in his arms and was glad he couldn't see her face. She nuzzled deeper into his neck.

Richard held her close, just breathing her in. He took her face in hands and looked deep into her eyes. "I love you, Kahlan Amnell." She found him impossible to resist. Leaning in with parted lips, she tasted him, tentative at first, more fully as he returned her kiss. She pulled herself closer to him needing to feel him against her. She was afraid of something happening to him, of never knowing his touch again. She allowed her mouth to explore him, kissing down his neck, her fingers gliding down his front, pulling at his open shirt. She could feel Richard's ragged breathing as she kissed his chest. She realized now that she feared him being hurt out in the world more than she feared taking him with her power. She trusted his love and judgment. He said it would be okay. If her power did hurt him, a dagger to her heart would set him free. She loved him that much. She would do anything to share herself with him.

Richard fought the firestorm within him, his restrained passion begging for release as she gently kissed the mark on his chest. Fear for his safety pulled at her. If anything happened to him while they were apart…her fingers twisted tightly into his hair. Barely able to breathe with her want she whispered between kisses, "Don't go, Richard. Stay with me…just for tonight."

Her words unleashed his passion. He thought his heart would burst with its pounding. His kiss was fire on her neck. His fingers easily slipped free the pearl buttons of her bodice, his lips tracing over the smooth creamy skin of her breasts as he tasted her at last.

##

How they got to her big bed, she could barely recall, she only knew that they were laying on it now, their clothes discarded, exploring each other fully.

Richard rolled Kahlan onto her belly, his fingers gently stroking down her back. He held himself over the length of her and pulled her thick hair aside, kissing her neck as he whispered his love for her. Kahlan trembled at the feel of him against her. He slid his arms under her taking her breasts in his hands as he left a slow trail of kisses down her spine. He brushed his lips over the wound from the arrow at the small of her back. He hated the thought of her being wounded and wished the gentle kiss he left there now would take it away. Still holding her firmly in his hands, he pulled his bare chest up the length of her back, her supple body fanning the fire within him.

As he rolled her to face him again, Kahlan was beyond desire and urgently seeking his kiss. Their lips met hungrily, devouring each other before Richard buried his face in her hair. He kissed behind her ear, "Don't be afraid, Kahlan," he whispered.

She found she wasn't afraid at all. Rather, she was bursting with need. His touch, his kiss, his words had unleashed everything within her. She wanted him to take everything she had and more. She wanted to give everything of herself to him. If she needed to die after to free his soul, she would willingly plunge the dagger into her own heart. There could never be another; she was for him alone and no one else. More than the very air she breathed she needed him. She clutched his face in her hands, her fingers reaching into his hair. She couldn't wait another moment. She was breathless as she hungrily tasted his jaw, "Please, Richard, take me now."

They kissed with urgency; eager for what they had both been longing for as he gently slipped inside her. She gasped against his lips at the sudden pleasure of having him within her. Richard stopped. Neither moved nor breathed. Their eyes locked on each other taking in the moment of at last being one.

Slowly, Richard began to move, drawing quiet moans from his love. Waves of ecstasy rolled through her with his long, measured strokes. Kahlan gently raised her hips, urging him deeper. Richard complied with powerful thrusts, her tight grip in his hair fueling his desire. He twisted his fingers tightly into her silken mass of hair as he made love to her. His intense need, his unbridled passion, made her wild with desire. Kahlan slid her hands along his sides, up his back, feeling his muscles flex as he moved in her. Richard's breathing was ragged as the blood rushed through his veins, burning with fire, his heart pounding out of control.

Panting heavily, Kahlan laid her arms over her head, arching back, opening herself up to him completely. Richard saw the look of love in her eyes, the look of desire and need. She was offering herself to him fully, without fear.

He felt her tremor underneath him and a sudden force echoed through the air. A warm wall of wind rushed through him, threatening to pull him away. His strong arms wrapped tighter around her and he felt an exquisite ache with the force of her power as he met it head on, welcoming the pain, the ecstasy.

He held himself as close to her as he possibly could and whispered her name. Kahlan wrapped her long limbs around him, engulfing his form to hers, consuming him body and soul. In a complete state of rapture, Richard released himself fully in her softness.

##

Richard held the reigns to his horse loosely as he rode through the quiet valley leading away from Aydindril. He was tired. But it was a good tired. He and Kahlan had made love long into the night and into the early morning hours. Whenever they fell asleep, one would soon be nibbling the other awake.

It had been hard to say good-bye, but having shared themselves with each other, and knowing they could be together, changed everything. Tugging at Kahlan's hand he had pulled her behind a stone pillar, away from prying eyes of the stable hands and Greer who had come to see him off. He slipped his hands around her waist, bending to kiss her. She wrapped her arms around his neck. She didn't want to ever let him go. "I can't stand the thought of being away from you" she whispered.

"I'm always with you." He touched his fingers to her middle. "I'm inside you now Kahlan." He gave a soft kiss to her lips and his fingers moved to his heart "and you're inside me."

"Forever." She said and smiled, stretching up to meet his kiss.

He could face anything now. Knowing they could be together and that she was waiting for him made all the difference. Nothing would keep him from finding the Stone, stopping the Keeper and making his way back to her. Nothing.

##

In the dark fog of green, surrounded by wails of the countless dead, Darken Rahl kneeled low, trembling before his Master, his face pressed into the dirt. "Yes, Master. How may I serve you?"

He heard the deep tenor of the Keeper's voice. "I have a task for you, my son. As I knew he would, the Seeker has proved to be hard to stop. I am sending you on a mission for I have found another way to destroy his heart…"

The End

(Hope you'll read my follow-on story, Call of the Underworld. Short Summary: Kahlan falls victim to the Keeper's plan when she willingly takes the Mark from Richard.)