Darken sat staring into a mirror, candles flickering against the glass.

A line of blood marred his cheek, a sting more painful than it should be.

It had all been in the palm of his hand. The means to end the war. The way to save his life.

Sweat glistened on his face, sand from his fight with the Seeker like small diamonds on his skin.

The Seeker.

His brother.

So young and passionate. So willing to believe in prophecy. So willing to believe the worst of Darken Rahl.

So disappointing.

Would it matter, he wondered, if Richard Cypher knew of their relation?

He had their father's chin.

The blood on Darken's cheek began to congeal and Darken remembered the feel of blood drying on his hands.

He did not want to kill his brother.

He had not wanted to kill his father.

He just wanted to survive.

How impressive the Confessor had been, her eyes red with rage. How safe she must feel to know that she need only to release her power and those who wished her dead would fall, fawning, to her feet.

Loving her.

He traced the break in his skin with a fingernail, focusing on it in the mirror until all he could see was red.

The Seeker fought him, spitting hatred, the Confessor stole his soldiers, the gateway would not open fast enough.

The Sword of Truth sought his life and in that instant, for the first time, he accepted that the prophecy was true.

Real, in a way it had never been before.

As real as the blood dripping from his cheek.

He knew fear. And anger.

Self loathing.

He had not been prepared to see the Seeker. Had not been prepared for the Blood Rage.

Had not been prepared for the way they clung to one another, even when shackled to opposite walls.

Had not been prepared to find hope and lose it.

"I have news, my lord," Egremont appeared in the background of the mirror.

Darken waited, eyes meeting Egremont's reflection.

"Our sorcerers have discovered the wizard, Zeddicus, is using an obscuring spell to mask our tracer cloud."

Darken tightened his jaw, gaze firmly on his own reflection as he said, "No more excuses, Egremont."

Blue eyes stared back at him.

What do you know about love, other than you will never feel it… from anyone.

The cut was deep.