Welcome to My Nightmare
Something bad was about to happen. I could feel it in the wind. Zeddicus Zu'l Zorander and Kahlan Amnell had just named Richard Cypher the Seeker. To most of us, this was anything but bad; however, something told me that the emperor of D'Hara, Darken Rahl, would probably wake from a sound sleep at any moment. I shook my head, trying not to think of the living hell he'd put the four of us through. I needed to get some sleep. Yawning, I laid down between Zedd and Richard.
A few minutes later, I felt Zedd shaking my shoulder.
Maybe if I don't react, he'll leave me alone.
"Nice try," he scoffed. "Ember Sardonyx, I have a very important quest for you."
Damn. That never bodes well.
Reluctantly, I sat up and faced the wizard of the First Order. My slight anger toward him vanished instantly; all he had to do was give a slight smile and a comforting twinkle in his hazel eyes, and I could forgive the old man for anything. The comforting expression rapidly changed to apologetic, which took me greatly aback. He inhaled contemplatively, and spoke in a grave tone.
"I'm sorry I have to do this to you."
I groaned. "Something's up. What do you need me to do, Zedd?"
He didn't answer, and cast his eyes upon his lap. The firelight reflected playfully off his long white hair and his ageing face, accenting his expression of uneasiness.
"Darken Rahl knows that the Seeker has been named," he said at long last. "I can feel it."
I grasped his hand. "I can, too. What exactly is it that you need me to do?"
His eyes met mine in a serious stare. "We need someone on the inside, Ember…someone who can discover Darken Rahl's plans, possibly even convince him to change them."
"No one could possibly have that sort of influence over him. The man does whatever he wants, regardless of what others think. He's a ruthless tyrant, Zedd!"
He nodded. "I suppose that's true. Nevertheless, I want you to go to D'Hara."
My jaw dropped. "Me? Why? Darken Rahl has numerous wizards at his disposal. Why send him a sorceress out of the blue?"
He chuckled. "I figured you'd ask that, so I spent all day thinking up the perfect answer. Look at your lineage: your father, Edgar Sardonyx, and you mother, Airmid Foxglove. Both of them, though having their…unsavory characteristics, with the malevolent tendencies and all…they were remarkably powerful. Your father was one of the strongest and most feared wizards throughout the lands; your mother was a terribly strong sorceress, in the same league as him. Your mother also had an admirable knack for healing, but that's beside the point."
I rolled my eyes. "So now I can tell Darken Rahl my family history. That's going to be helpful."
Zedd pointed at me accusingly. "Don't get sarcastic; your ancestry may just save your life when he asks what you can offer him. Anyway…where was I? Oh, yes; look at your abilities. You may be a sorceress, but your Wizard's Fire is as strong as mine. In general, your capacity for magic is as great, if not greater, than that of both of your parents combined. Also, you dabble in potion-making, healing, and you even create your own spells—ones Darken Rahl most likely couldn't dream of, even with the aid of his 'numerous wizards'."
I looked at the grass. I hated it when Zedd was right.
"I'll leave in the morning," I muttered, laying back down and turning away from Zedd.
There's still something you should know before sending me to him….
"So," Richard began, flinging a waterskin over my horse's saddle, "Zedd tells me you're going to D'Hara?"
I made a slight noise of confirmation, concentrating on a spell to shrink my crystal-topped staff to a manageable size. Usually I could shrink it in less than a second, but my mind was wandering.
Richard ran a hand through his soft brown hair, then flashed his similarly-colored eyes at me. "Why?"
Kahlan's intense blue eyes darted between Richard and I. "We need her on the inside. Never hurts to have spy."
"Here you are, Ember," Zedd declared, handing me a small chest (in which I stored all my worldly possessions, shrunken down). "I've placed an enchantment of my own on all of your jewelry…the Creator knows you have enough. It will allow me to monitor what you are doing at any given moment."
I raised an eyebrow.
He winked. "Eavesdropping can be a useful occupation. And it is a unique spell; only I can detect it."
"Thank you, Zedd," I replied, putting on a few articles of jewelry. I tied the chest to my saddle, and waited for Kahlan and Richard to move out of earshot. Once they did, I whispered, "Zedd, I have to tell you something."
Concern flooding his features, he grasped my shoulders. "Anything, Ember."
I stammered. "I…I…I don't think I can do this."
He arched an ivory eyebrow. "Whyever not?"
I hesitated. I could've sworn my heart stopped. "I…I'm physically attracted to Darken Rahl."
Zedd fell dead silent. He started to speak, then stopped, then…grinned.
"Perfect!" he exclaimed. "If the feeling becomes mutual—which it will; I mean look at you: long burgundy hair, light hazel eyes, decent figure—he might even—that's a very slim chance—grow to love you, at which point, he'd be a fool not to trust you."
He was abnormally excited. Laughing, he hugged me.
"Wear your black and red robes when you arrive at the People's Palace," he advised. "Those could make a positive impression on any male. Now, get a move on! Even on horseback, it's at least a month's ride!"
I nodded, bade farewell to my comrades, mounted my horse, and rode off. Not too far away, I paused at the top of a tree-covered hill. My black stallion, Hemlock, seemed less than willing to stop, apparently ready for whatever was ahead. I looked back at Zedd, Kahlan, and Richard mournfully. I wished I could stay with them.
But they need me elsewhere.
"C'mon, boy," I urged, setting off on Hemlock once again, headed straight for D'Hara…and Darken Rahl.
Oh boy…this should be interesting. Just one long nightmare…I hope it's over soon.