Darken Rahl's eyes lit up with anticipation as the Sisters of the Dark finished placing the souls of all the people that Cara had tortured and killed into the now black Agiel. It wasn't just anticipation for what Darken Rahl was about to do with Cara. It was also anticipation for the pain that he was about to feel. Like his Mord-Sith, Darken Rahl thrived on pain. Like his Mord-Sith, pain gave him pleasure.

"Be careful, my lord," Dahlia said in a concerned voice.

Darken Rahl pulled the black Agiel out its holster. It growled at his touch. Rahl immediately felt pain jolting through his entire body, but no one looking at him would have been able to see this.

Black was such an appropriate color. Black symbolized death, and Darken Rahl was the living embodiment of one who had embraced death for most of his life.

If anyone had looked at Darken Rahl's face, they would have found it unreadable. If anything, Rahl had a reflective look on his face. There was, however, no signs of visible pain.

"Don't worry, Dahlia," Darken Rahl spoke, "this Agiel can't hurt anyone but Cara."

In reality, though, Rahl was feeling the pain of the black Agiel. He just wasn't showing it on the outside. Like his Mord-Sith, Darken Rahl knew how to hide feelings of pain.

The black Agiel in Darken Rahl's hands was now an object of dark magic. The body that Rahl's spirit was currently residing in was a weak vessel, but the body that Rahl had been born into had been a creature of dark magic. Darken Rahl had been a creature of dark magic from the moment that he had first died as an infant. His soul, which had been given life by Zeddicus instead of by the Creator, had went to the Keeper. Rahl's infant soul had been touched by the underworld. Darken Rahl had been quickly revived by a Mord-Sith, but he had been dead long enough for the Keeper to place some of his dark magic into Rahl's soul.

Darken Rahl's earliest memories were that of nightmares sent by the Keeper. The intense nightmares had been terrifying to the young boy, but Rahl had also welcomed them. The nightmares had been the Keeper's way of saying that he cared about Darken Rahl. The Keeper only knew torment, so torment was the only comfort that he had been able to give to a young soul that belonged to him.

At a young age, Darken Rahl had learned of the prophecy saying that the Seeker would one day rise up and kill an evil tyrant. Darken Rahl's father, Panis, believed that the future evil tyrant was his own son, his own heir. Darken Rahl didn't agree with his father on many things, but he had agreed that he would one day become this tyrant mentioned by prophecy. It was inevitable. Darken Rahl was a creature of dark magic, a creature whose soul had been touched by the Keeper before it had a chance to truly live.

To be named an evil tyrant had given Darken Rahl a feeling of power, a feeling of awe. He would one day be someone important. But mostly the young boy had felt fear, fear of the coming Seeker. Darken Rahl's powers had been pathetic, definitely not enough to protect himself against his prophesized killer. Rahl had already been familiar with the Keeper since the Keeper had often haunted his dreams. Rahl had killed himself and had made a deal with the Keeper. Darken Rahl had become the first baneling, a creature whose soul belonged to the Keeper, a creature of extremely powerful dark magic. Rahl had been a creature of dark magic before that moment. Becoming a baneling had only intensified that darkness that had already been present inside him.

An Agiel was by itself an object of intense pain, but the dark magic now residing in this black Agiel only made holding it more thrilling to Darken Rahl. What would it be like to be touched by such a wondrous creation? Rahl was already familiar with the pain of an Agiel. He had been trained to be able to wield it against others, to be able to endure the pain that came from wielding it. Only someone who had been trained by an Agiel could hold it without being tempted to quickly drop it because of the agonizing pain that it caused. Like his Mord-Sith, Darken Rahl felt pain whenever he held an Agiel, but also like his Mord-Sith, he could endure the pain. Agiels were used to break the Mord-Sith into servitude to the Lord Rahl. The Agiel used on Darken Rahl had not broken him. Instead, it had made him stronger. It had given him the strength to endure all the pain that the Keeper had inflicted upon him throughout both his life and throughout the times that he had been dead.

This black Agiel, an object of dark magic, was far worse than an ordinary Agiel. An ordinary Agiel was painful enough, but it lacked the agonizing impact of dark magic.

Black Agiel in hand, Darken Rahl approached Cara. Like with Rahl, an ordinary Agiel was not enough to break Cara. Unlike most Mord-Sith, Cara had not been fully broken as a child. She had been made stronger, just like Darken Rahl had been made stronger under the touch of an Agiel. That made her admirable. That made her worth rebreaking. Cara had once been one of Darken Rahl's best Mord-Sith. Then she had betrayed him for the Seeker. Richard was not worthy of one such as her. Richard did not truly understand the pain of an Agiel. He may had been touched a few times by Denna's red Agiel, but he definitely had not been fully trained. Richard Rahl was not as strong as Darken Rahl. Richard had no idea what true pain really felt like. Darken Rahl's life had been all about pain. Despite all this, though, Cara had betrayed Darken Rahl to join Richard's side.

If Cara had not been so valuable to Darken Rahl in the past, he would have already slit her throat. But she was worth all this effort and all this time. She was worth the pain of an Agiel combined with intensely powerful dark magic. She was worth this intoxicating pain that was contained in the black Agiel. Cara was strong, and Darken Rahl secretly admired strength in women. There weren't enough strong women in the world.

But there was a big difference between Darken Rahl and Cara.

Darken Rahl touched Cara with the black Agiel. Her flesh reflected the pain that was shooting into her. Cara released an agonizing scream as she shook in the chains that held her to the ceiling.

The difference between Darken Rahl and Cara was that this was only her second experience with dark magic (her first time as a baneling had not lasted long enough for her to truly understand the pain of living such a life), while he knew nothing but the touch of dark magic. The difference between Darken Rahl and Cara was that she had been broken by the dark magic, while he had been made stronger.

The difference between Darken Rahl and Cara was that he had grown up with the Keeper in his dreams, while she had not.

The difference between Darken Rahl and Cara was that her infant soul had been pure, while his infant soul had been marked by the Keeper.