Jennsen got down on her hands and knees to peer under the furniture. The stone flags of the floor were cold.

She needed to find her kitten. Her brother would be so disappointed if she had to tell him she had lost his gift.

She frowned, and the scab at the corner of her mouth tore. Sweet salty copper.

She crawled through the room, certain that her little friend had to be hidden somewhere, lips pursed making a soft clucking clicking sound. It never failed to soothe the animals on the farm.


Brother would be so happy she remembered something!

Another few minutes of fruitless searching and Jennsen grew a little frantic, the scrapes on her hands irritated from holding her weight. She used the edge of a table to pull herself to her feet, still aching despite the attention of her big brother's healers.

How could one brother be so kind, and the other so cruel?

She hurried to the door, forgetting she wore only a white shift, opening it to rush through.

She slammed into the back of a tall leather clad woman.

The woman did not budge an inch, despite the force of Jennsen's impact. Jennsen stumbled backward, the very helpful table keeping her upright when she stepped on the back of her hemline.

The woman turned around, a long dark blonde braid swinging as she moved. Jennsen's heart beat with an inexplicable fear, the leather straps and predatory nature of the woman sending an instinctive warning down to her bones.

But this was brother's house. Nothing could harm her here.

She smiled, ignoring the crusty sting of the cut at the edge of her mouth.

"Hello. Will you help me find my kitten?"

When Darken returned to begin the next step in his manipulation of his dear beloved sister, he was rather bemused to see Cara's shapely posterior stuck up in the air as if offering him a ride.

"Here, kitty kitty," he heard her rather strangled voice from beneath the fainting couch by the window.

His lips quirked upward, the ghost of a smile.

There was a muffled mew, and Cara emerged triumphant, kitten gripped by scruff of the neck. She unceremoniously handed the overly fuzzy creature to Jennsen, who giggled in delight before hugging the Mord'Sith, crushing the cat between them.

Cara looked up, aware of his presence in the room.

"Lord Rahl," she said, arms held stiffly at her sides.

Jennsen turned her head, arms still wrapped around the statuesque warrior, "Big brother! Miss Cara helped me find Mordy."

He raised an eyebrow, "Mordy?"

"Miss Cara said she's a Mord'Sith and he likes her so much."

The kitten began to bathe Cara's chin with its rough tongue as if to prove Jennsen's point.


Cara's cheeks glowed red, but whether it was from embarrassment or suppressed fury, he could not say.