Deal

Denna held the wizard, Zeddicus Zu'l Zorander, at the point of her white Agiel atop the mountain path.

"Denna," the wizard said, his gruff voice reminding her strongly of the shadowy man she remembered giving her piggy back rides before she was chosen for the Sisterhood.

"You can be anyone now. A different person. A better person."

The first tears she had cried since the beating she took over the Boxes of Orden clouded her vision.

"You really think I could be a better person?" She was that little girl huddling in the dark again.

"Yes," said the wizard, treating her with kindness even after she had tortured him.

She was lowering her Agiel when tiny red spots blossomed across the wizard's robes.

Looking down, she was shocked to find a bloody arrow shaft protruding from her chest.

She tried to smile even as blood bubbled at the corners of her lips, to let the nice man know that it would be alright. Then she was falling and there was no more pain.

She awoke, suddenly and unpleasantly, naked in a sandy pit. Green fire danced on jagged cliffs. She could feel nothing.

"Denna."

She whirled. Before her stood Darken Rahl clad in his blood red robes, beautiful.

And deadly.

She knelt, "My lord."

He reached out to stroke a lock of her hair.

"So you have finally returned to me."

"My lord -"

"Ah-ah," Lord Rahl stopped her with two fingers on her lips, "the Keeper is most displeased with you, Denna."

A sudden final realization of where she was.

Lord Rahl turned and walked away, his robe trailing regally after him. So hypnotizing.

He spoke, "For your part in the resurrection plot, you will perform a task for the Keeper."

He looked over his shoulder at her, rubbing his bottom lip slowly with the second finger of his right hand, just as she remembered him doing in life. He was considering.

He stalked back towards her, his steps even and deliberate. Graceful.

"I will make you a baneling. You will live again, so long as you kill for the Keeper."

You can be anyone now. A different person. A better person.

"No, my lord," she said, her voice a harsh whisper.

"Your task will be - What did you say?" Narrowed eyes the color of lightning.

"No," stronger this time. Clear.

She rose to her feet, holding her eyes with his.

"Oh, Denna," he cupped her cheek with a firm hand, his fingertips imbedded in her hair, "why do you make me hurt you?"

He kissed her tenderly even as she exploded into flames.