Darken Rahl watched the Sisters of the Dark circle the Agiel as they chanted, conjuring up all the souls that Cara had tortured and killed. All those suffering souls were going into the Agiel. The resulting pain would be worse than the fires of the underworld. The enchanted Agiel would give Cara unbearable pain, pain that words alone could never hope to express. All those suffering, tortured, dead souls in the Agiel would turn Darken Rahl's defiant, treacherous, spirited Cara back to his side.
Why had Cara betrayed him in the first place? Why had Cara betrayed him for the Seeker of all people? What was so special about Richard? Oh, yes, how could Darken Rahl forget? Richard was the great, noble, perfect hero. Who wouldn't want to follow the all mighty and the all powerful Richard like an eager puppy?
Darken Rahl looked at all his loyal Mord-Siths. Oh, yes, they were all loyal to him. Many of the Sisters of the Agiel were indeed like sisters. They had comforted each other during their training. They had become family not by blood but by the bond of shared and understood pain. Cara and Dahlia, Darken Rahl's manipulative Dahlia, were especially close. But still, all the Mord-Sith were closer to Darken Rahl than they were to any of their sisters. All the Mord-Sith were closer to Darken Rahl than they were to anyone else, including themselves. Except for Cara. And Denna.
Mord-Sith were expected to be hard and cold. They were expected to be emotionless. They were expected to torture without mercy. They were expected to serve Darken Rahl in whatever way he ordered them to. They weren't supposed to serve themselves or their own purposes. But Denna just had to be special.
Denna had helped the Pristinely Ungifted one to get into Darken Rahl's palace. Denna had, indirectly, played a role in Darken Rahl's death. Denna had betrayed Darken Rahl to give the Boxes of Orden to the Seeker. What was so special about Richard?
If Denna had not been a Mord-Sith, Darken Rahl would have respected her ambition and her cleverness. Darken Rahl, after all, liked his women with spirit, even if he would never admit it out loud. But Mord-Sith were supposed to serve Darken Rahl. Denna, however, had decided to serve herself.
Denna had been hard to break. She had been stubborn and resilient to the torture. She had broken eventually, but apparently she had not fully broken. She had, after all, managed to hold onto a part of herself that was not loyal to Darken Rahl. Mord-Sith were supposed to be loyal to Darken Rahl. Denna had been a Mord-Sith, but she had not been loyal to her master in the end.
Cara had often been imprudent to Darken Rahl's face. He had allowed that because he secretly admired spirit in women, and also because Cara had always obeyed him in the end. She had carried out his commands without mercy, just like Denna had once did as well. Denna had not been imprudent to Darken Rahl's face, but she was no less spirited than Cara.
Cara had no patience. She often acted before thinking. But not Denna. Denna had a calculative mind. And she could have all the patience in the world without losing her coldness for a moment. There was an intelligence in Denna that Darken Rahl did not see often in women. Cara wasn't stupid by any means, but Denna's heartless patience and her plotting mind gave her an edge.
Denna had not be imprudent to Darken Rahl's face. Oh, no, Denna had been much more sly and much more cunning than that. Denna had been imprudent behind Darken Rahl's back. He couldn't help but secretly admire that. He was used to being stabbed in the back. His own father had stabbed him in the back, after all. His father was family, just like his Mord-Sith were his family. Panis Rahl had been a backstabber. Why should the rest of Darken Rahl's family be any different? The only difference between Panis and the Mord-Sith was that Panis had been the Lord Rahl, while the Mord-Sith were expected to serve the Lord Rahl. But Denna just had to be special.
In Darken Rahl's face, Denna had always tried her best to please him, and she had freely allowed her tears to fall whenever Darken Rahl had punished her for failing him. Denna was as manipulative as Darken Rahl.
Darken Rahl sometimes had a quick temper, but he could also be surprisingly patient when the circumstances made patience necessary. Denna had been the same way. She had been unbelievably patience, which had helped her to maintain her mask of obedience whenever she had been in Darken Rahl's presence. Darken Rahl could relate to this. He was also extremely skilled at wearing masks. Like his Mord-Sith, Darken Rahl knew how to keep his true emotions hidden behind a cruel and expressionless face. He only unleashed his true emotions when it was too late for his prey to escape from his grasp. Denna had been the same way. Oh, his manipulative, ambitious, cunning Denna.
Darken Rahl's manipulative, ambitious, cunning Denna was dead now, though. Cara had killed her. There had always been tension between Denna and Cara. They had both wanted to be Darken Rahl's favorite. Denna and Cara. They both had such spirit, but as Mord-Sith, they needed to be completely loyal to Darken Rahl.
Denna would suffer an eternity in the underworld for her treachery and her betrayal. Perhaps Darken Rahl would bring her back one day. Nicci was out there somewhere, and she was in procession of the most powerful Han in the world. Nicci had disrespected Darken Rahl, and no worthless Sister of the Dark was going to get away with disrespecting him. The Sisters of the Dark could never hope to compete to the Mord-Sith, but Darken Rahl definitely did not tolerate disrespect from any of his Mord-Sith. Why should Nicci be any different? Nicci wasn't special. Without her Han, Richard's Han, Nicci was nothing. Without her Han, Richard's Han, there was nothing about Nicci to admire. She was much too arrogant for her own good. At least Denna had held her arrogance in an attractive manner.
Darken Rahl would find Nicci, take Richard's Han from her, and use his baby brother's power to resurrect Denna from the dead. Darken Rahl would have to put Denna back in her place, but he would keep her close by his side, like he once had. Denna was a Mord-Sith, but she was also to be admired, to a degree. Just like Cara was to be admired, to a degree.
Impatient, stubborn, sarcastic Cara. Denna had never been the sarcastic type. There had been times when Darken Rahl had wanted to have a battle of the wits with Cara; but he had been the Lord Rahl, and Cara had been his servant. It would not have been proper for Darken Rahl to trade sarcastic comments with his servant, even if she had been a spirited servant.
Denna had freely been vulnerable in front of Darken Rahl whenever she had displeased him. Cara had tried to hide her feelings more by acting tough. Denna had acted tough as well, but acting tough in front of those that she was torturing was much different than acting tough in front of her master.
Like Denna, though, Cara was not completely immune to Darken Rahl. Cara was not so hard, so cold, and so empty of emotion that Darken Rahl couldn't find something to latch on and to attack. Like Darken Rahl, Cara hid her vulnerabilities well; but Darken Rahl knew his Mord-Sith well, and he knew their vulnerabilities. His Mord-Sith did not have the same gift of knowing his vulnerabilities, which gave Darken Rahl an edge over them.
Cara had acted so tough when she had demanded Darken Rahl to make her a baneling. She, a Mord-Sith, had actually been demanding towards Darken Rahl, her Lord Rahl, her master. Darken Rahl had to admire Cara's spirit, even though a part of him had wanted to crush her at that moment for her imprudence. Cara had helped Richard to kill Darken Rahl. That had not been enough for Cara, though. She just had to insult Darken Rahl even more with her imprudence and her complete and total disrespect for him. Cara had had no problem with admitting to Darken Rahl's face that she served Richard now. She had chose to serve the Seeker over Darken Rahl. What was so special about Richard?
Perhaps Darken Rahl should have crushed Cara when she had been in his power in the underworld. But unlike Cara, Darken Rahl could be patient. He knew that Cara would eventually fail as a baneling. Richard, Kahlan, and Zeddicus had softened her, weakened her. Cara no longer had the heart to kill innocent people, even if she would never admit that out loud. Darken Rahl would never be that way. He didn't necessarily take pleasure in killing innocent people, but he didn't let it bother him either. To have a conscious was a sign of weakness, and Darken Rahl would never be weak. Like his Mord-Sith, he could bear the pain of an Agiel, but he was not some broken Mord-Sith. The torture inflicted on his Mord-Sith broke them into his service. The pain that Darken Rahl had endured in his life, on the other hand, had made him a stronger and better leader.
Cara's time had been running out. She had needed to kill again, but there had been no "nasty" D'harans nearby. And Cara definitely was not going to kill Richard, or Kahlan, or Zeddicus, or even Zeddicus's worthless brother for that matter. Darken Rahl had known this. That was why he had taken such pleasure in mocking Cara as she had been nearing death. Cara had thought herself to be so brilliant and so much better than Darken Rahl while she had been in the underworld, but she had been wrong, deadly wrong. Darken Rahl had been able to see in Cara's eyes that she was afraid, that she had wanted to cry. She had not cried, but that had not mattered to Darken Rahl. All that had mattered to him was that Cara was once again slowly learning her place, which was beneath Darken Rahl, which was he being the master and she being the servant.
Darken Rahl approached Cara with the enchanted Agiel. Cara had been allowed to be defiant, stubborn, and imprudent for too long, for way too long. She had shown great strength, resilience, and spirit, which was to be admired as Darken Rahl secretly liked to be challenged, but it was time for Cara to finally learn her place once again. Cara was Mord-Sith. She was Darken Rahl's Mord-Sith. Darken Rahl was her master, and she was his servant. Cara would once again both respect and fear him. Darken Rahl had seen her eyes when she had first awakened after Dahlia's betrayal. Cara had looked at him with fear. Of course, she had quickly hid her fear by putting on the "tough" act again. But Darken Rahl now had Cara right where he wanted her. She was going to learn the consequences of defying him. No one defied Darken Rahl, especially not one of his servants.
Cara spat in Darken Rahl's face. He wiped her spat away calmly. He then smiled at Cara. Let her have her one last moment of spirited defiance. It was a pointless last moment, but Cara had always been a stubborn one.
"I'm going to enjoy this," Darken Rahl said. His face twisted in anger as he pressed the enchanted Agiel against Cara's bare flesh. The scream that Cara unleashed was joyous to Darken Rahl's ears. This was how it was supposed to be with his Mord-Sith.
Darken Rahl admired the spirit in both Denna and Cara, but at the end of the day, there were both still Mord-Sith, which meant that they were both supposed to be obedient to him, in every way.
Darken Rahl looked up at the rebroken Cara. She was his once more. After she delivered to him the Stone of Tears and after he finally put the Keeper back in his place, there would be time for pleasure. Like his Mord-Sith, Darken Rahl was skilled in both pain and pleasure. The pain had been necessary for Cara to learn her place, but now that Cara was a proper Mord-Sith again, the pain could end. Darken Rahl had enjoyed giving Cara pain, but that was only because of her betrayal and her imprudence towards him, her lord and her master. Everything had all been fixed with Cara's scream, her wondrous scream.