It had been months since Darken Rahl had ordered Kahlan to be taken to his dungeons. He had told the guards to make sure that she had food and water. He had told the guards to make sure that her cell was regularly cleaned out. Rahl would not treat Kahlan like an animal. But he would keep her locked in her cell until she agreed to become his queen.

It had been months since Darken Rahl had ordered Kahlan to be taken to his dungeons, but she had yet to budge. She would be spirited and defiant to the end. Rahl admired that about her, but he wished that she would not insist on staying down there in her cell when she could instead be up here in the palace with him. Darken Rahl would make sure that Kahlan was always treated like a queen, but first she had to agree to be his queen. She had yet to agree to that.

Darken Rahl sighed to himself. He had silently promised himself that he would leave Kahlan alone, but in the end, he couldn't resist to urge to go down to visit her.

Kahlan's white Mother Confessor dress was dirty from her months of imprisonment, but she looked healthy-enough as Rahl had ordered that she be well-fed. You didn't starve your future queen. You treated your future queen with some dignity and respect.

Kahlan's face hardened at the sight of Darken Rahl approaching her cell door. The train of Rahl's blood red royal robe picked up some of the filth from the dungeon floor, but he didn't notice this. All he thought of was Kahlan, and the life that he wanted to have with her.

"What do you want?" Kahlan snarled.

Kahlan's face was like that of a feral animal, but that didn't damage her beauty. Both beautiful and deadly. Like Rahl's Mord-Sith, but at the same time, not like them. Rahl's Mord-Sith were not capable of love and compassion, but Kahlan was. Kahlan's love and compassion could make life better for her people. But first she had to agree to be Darken Rahl's queen. That was all she had to do, and Rahl would grant her almost any wish that she could ever have.

"What is your decision, Kahlan?" Darken Rahl asked. "Will you be my queen, or will you stay down here? I won't make the choice for you. The choice is yours and yours alone."

"I already told you that I would rather die than be your puppet," Kahlan answered in a heated voice, "and I also told you that you will be waiting for an eternity for me to invite you."

Darken Rahl turned his head away from Kahlan, so that she couldn't see the sadness in his eyes. Why did she have to make this so difficult? Why did she insist on making herself so miserable? Why did she insist on not helping her people? Didn't she care about them? Didn't she want peace for them?

But Darken Rahl did not ask Kahlan any of these questions. He wouldn't force her to become his queen. Kahlan was not one of his soldiers. Kahlan was not one of his servants. Kahlan was not one of his Mord-Sith. Kahlan was the woman who he wanted to be his queen in every sense of the word. Kahlan was the woman who he wanted to marry and have a family with.

Darken Rahl composed himself and looked straight into Kahlan's definant eyes. He didn't flinch in the slightest as he said in an emotionless voice, "Very well, Kahlan. Stay down here then. Like I said before, the choice is yours and yours alone."

Darken Rahl turned and left the dungeons. He didn't race away. He walked away at a normal pace. He didn't look back at Kahlan, not even once. She had made her decision, and she was going to have to live with the consequences of that decision.