Complete

They were married within a fortnight, as soon as it could be arranged.

It was Darken, not Cara, who insisted on the rushed nuptials. He would wait no longer than necessary to make Cara his.

The ceremony was held on the devotional balcony of the People's Palace, before the people. Messengers had been sent out to hang proclamations inviting all who wished to attend.

The Mother Confessor presided, a show of faith that reassured those who would see Darken Rahl dethroned once more. The sight of Kahlan Amnell performing the marriage ceremony did much to mend the rifts that divided the Midlands.

Richard Rahl, called by some the Seeker, wore the colors and symbol of his house and stood proudly at his brother's side. Zeddicus Zu'l Zorander was the ring bearer, though he beamed so hard throughout the ceremony one would think he was the mother of the bride.

Jennsen Rahl served as the maid of honor, reluctantly accompanied by Mistress Haden. Jennsen was sweet in a powder pink gown of silk, flowers in her hands. Haden was fierce in red leather, a hawk on her shoulder.

Darken wore his most luxurious royal robes, but they could not hold a candle to his Cara. She wore the white leathers of the Mord'Sith, a symbol to all that she had taken a mate.

And a statement. She was Queen Cara, but she was still Mord'Sith.

The very first to be both.

She would wear the white leather for the entirety of her reign, her collar open to reveal the amulet of bones at her throat. Darken had insisted she leave off the corset so that all may see the swell of their child growing within her.

He announced the imminent birth of his heir at the end of the ceremony, determined that this time things would be different.

Better.

The ring on his finger was strangely comforting. The crowd cheered, rose petals flowing all around them as Darken placed his hand on Cara's abdomen.

He was whole. Complete.

He was not his father.

-l-

In several quiet villages, far from the People's Palace where Lord Rahl's marriage was celebrated, unicorns walked.

The people watched them, slack jawed, enamored of the creatures of legend.

They chose girls, most of them young, all of them well respected for their purity.

The girls became their voice.

Freya Kate looked up from her scrying pool to meet Brother Gudrun's eyes.

"Good," he said, bowing his head to her in respect. "We must be more careful, better prepared. Jarl was a fool. I will lead our Order with wisdom."

"Yes, Brother Gudrun," Kate said, turning back to the images held in the depths of her pool.


-l-

Don't miss the exciting conclusion of The Blood Trilogy! Dragon Blood is slated to be released in the Spring of 2011. See the teaser at http : / pristineungift . livejournal . com / 33112 . html (remove the spaces).

And thank you guys! We have over 100 reviews and 10 thousand hits! The winners of the review contest are: adamsfamily, tinylexie, and Team Mord'Sith 3. Contact me via the email listed on my profile to claim your prizes!

End notes:

Jarl: means "Chief" and "Nobleman" in Old Norse.

Gudrun: means "God's secret" in Old Norse.

Freya Kate: Freya means "lady" in Old Norse, and is also one of the names of the goddess of love, beauty, and fertility.

Tyrn: Is a reference to the Norse god "Tyr."

Fenrisulfr: A reference to the norse mythological creature Fenrir and his children. It literally means "Fenris Wolf."

Skull: The name of one of Fenrir's children.

Helhati: A combination of Hel, Fenrir's sister, and Hati, Fenrir's daughter in Norse mythology.

Darken's rebirth: and emergence from the sea is a reference to the birth story of Aphrodite in Greek mythology and the rebirth of Dionysus, also of Greek mythology.

The rain: constantly caused by Darken's emotions is a reference to Thor, of Norse mythology. It is also a reference to "There Will Come Soft Rains" by Ray Bradbury.

The birds and wolves: Are an oblique reference to Odin, of Norse mythology.

Look these things up on wikipedia, and you'll see some symbolism and may even be able to guess at some of the events of the sequel.

Also, a big thank you one more time to the Betas Three. This story wouldn't be what it is without them.