TITLE: Meant To Be
CHARACTERS: Richard / Kahlan / Cara / Zedd / Characters I created
RATING: PG-16 / T
TIMELINE: Anything up through S2 season finale (Tears)
STORY TYPE: Angst / Romance / Adventure
SPOILERS: Anything from Seasons 1 & 2
DISCLAIMER: I love Legend of the Seeker and love to write about them even though I don't own them or make a dime.
SUMMARY: Sequel to my last fic "At Last", Kahlan and Brey disappeared in a blinding flash of magic. While everyone fears the worse, Richard refuses to believe that Kahlan is dead and is in a desperate search to find his love.
Meant To Be (Chapter 1)
Sunlight spilled through the numerous windows of the Confessor's Palace, illuminating the great hall in a wash of light as well as the spiraling central staircase. The Palace was humming with the noonday's activities as staff went about their daily duties, completely oblivious of the tragedy that had occurred just hours earlier.
Richard numbly made his way up the stairs, taking each step with the despair that permeated his entire countenance. With every step he took, the piercing pain in his heart continued to deepen, making it difficult to draw the next breath. His body ached with fatigue, his head pounded.
Zedd followed his grandson, allowing him some distance while still remaining close enough to be there for him if he allowed, but he knew no words could possibly begin to comfort him now. And the only person who could bring Richard that comfort was the one whom he had lost.
The Wizard's worry for Richard was matched only by his own sorrow over losing Kahlan. While Richard was not accepting the fact that Kahlan was likely dead, Zedd knew that it was the most likely explanation for what had occurred. Even if Kahlan was still alive, there was no possible way of knowing where Brey had taken her. She could be anywhere by now. It could literally take years to cover all three territories as well as the Old World…and that was if Brey held her in one place.
Wiping away a tear that tracked down his wrinkled cheek, Zedd watched the Seeker as he reached the top of the stairs and turned down the corridor that would lead to their rooms. Maids scrubbed the elegant marble floors, water sloshing and spilling out of buckets as they forcefully dunked their mops. A couple of young women busily dusted unseen cobwebs, chatting softly and breaking into fits of giggles about gossip heard earlier that morning. Guards dressed in full regalia with gloved hands firmly gripping the hilts of their unsheathed swords marched in perfect rhythm, patrolling the grounds for any signs of trouble. The pounding of their heavy boots thundered throughout the halls, creating an ominous threat before they were even visible.
Despite the activity going on around him, Richard was completely oblivious to it all. Without Kahlan, he was like a dead man walking. His shoulders were slumped under the weight of his grief, his head bent down, refusing to make eye contact with anyone.
Guards and staff alike cast fleeting glances at the despondent Seeker, sensing that something was definitely wrong but knowing better than to speak to him. Compared to yesterday afternoon when they had arrived, he was a stark contrast to the Seeker who couldn't contain his smile or break his lingering gaze from the Mother Confessor. After passing him, their heads immediately snapped close together, eyes wide and hands covering mouths as questioning whispers of concern floated through the air as Zedd passed by. It was apparent to all that something tragic had happened and that it involved the Mother Confessor.
The echoing of Richard's boots as they struck the marble floor mimicked the numb, hollow beating of his heart. He had refused to allow Zedd to tend to the head injury he'd received when Brey had attacked him with the Ta'all Ruk'tan, brushing it off as nothing. Leaving the Crypt of Secrets, his tears had ceased with his steadfast resolve to find Kahlan no matter how long it took. Deep down, Zedd knew that this was something that Richard would never recover from. Even though he believed her dead, he just prayed to the Spirits that Kahlan was still alive for Richard's sake.
Stopping by Cara's room, they found the door cracked opened. Entering the room, they discovered Edmond dozing in a chair in the corner of the dark room, his hands folded in his lap around his rotund belly. His chin rested against his chest, a soft snore filling the room. They turned to find Cara sleeping soundly in her bed. Richard quietly made his way to her side, taking in her peaceful form. Her face looked pale especially against her blond hair, but definitely better than when he had seen her last evening.
Sensing someone's presence in the room, Edmond awoke with a start. Seeing Richard and Zedd, he jumped to his feet. "Mr. Cypher, you've returned! The Mother Confessor is safe?"
Richard was unable to find his voice or make his mouth work. His bottom lip began to quiver as he attempted to find the words that refused to form. He racked his teeth over his bottom lip, biting down hard in an effort to restrain the panic that gripped his soul. He could only stare at the sleeping Mord'Sith, unable to look at the man now standing on the other side of her bed.
"No, Edmond…there was an accident. I'm afraid Kahlan is gon…" Zedd softly began, his eyes never leaving Richard.
"Kahlan is missing…I'm going to find her," Richard resolutely interjected, loath to hear Zedd voice the words that he feared most. Richard finally glanced briefly at Edmond, his eyes filled with venom.
"Dear me!" Edmond loudly gasped, fearful for the Mother Confessor and shaken by the emotional state of the Seeker. The pain that enveloped Richard told him that he dare not venture another question regarding the Mother Confessor's disappearance. "I know if anyone can find her, it is you, Mr. Cypher."
"Thank you, Edmond," Richard evenly replied. "How is Cara?"
"Doing much better, sir. Aggie tended to her wound after you left last evening. We gave her some tea with herbs to help her heal and rest. She's been sleeping comfortably since. I've not left her side."
"Thank you…I appreciate all that you and Aggie have done for her."
With that, Richard immediately turned to leave the room. Edmond stared at the Seeker in bewilderment as he watched him make his way to the door, wishing he knew what had happened but wise enough to know better than to ask.
The weak voice calling his name caused Richard to stop instantly in his steps. Returning to Cara's bed, Richard softly answered. "I'm right here."
"How is the Mother Confessor?"
"I don't…know…Cara," he replied, his voice faltering momentarily. "She's missing. Get some rest…I'll check in on you later."
Her eyelids still heavy from the herbal tea, Cara could only nod her head as her eyes slipped closed again. She mumbled something more, but her words were indiscernible. After a moment, Richard turned and headed for the door once more, unable to bear talking about Kahlan anymore.
"Richard, you need to get some rest as well. I'll come and check on you later," Zedd told him, not really expecting an answer. Richard had not said a word the entire time it took them to make their way out of the Keep.
As the door closed behind him, Zedd turned back to Edmond. "I'm afraid things have just grown far worse than we ever could have imagined, my friend," he informed him with a ragged sigh.
Standing outside of Kahlan's suite, Richard could only stare at the open door. Images of the scene that he had left in that room last night played over in his mind. He had told Cara yesterday that he would return with Kahlan. Now, she was just as missing as she had been last night and yet more so. Last night, he knew she was in the Wizard's Keep. Now, he had no clue where to even begin to look for the missing Confessor.
Richard had fully expected to rescue her and bring her safely back to her room…their room. He had told Kahlan yesterday that last night would be a night neither of them would ever forget, having the opportunity to at last consummate their love. Instead, it had turned into a living nightmare that would no doubt haunt him until he found her.
Swallowing hard, Richard steeled himself as he entered the room, dreading the scene that awaited him. Scenes of Kahlan's attack, the broken furniture…the blood. He knew that the emptiness and loneliness would only intensify in her room without her there with him. To his surprise, Richard was greeted by Aggie.
"Richard!" she cried with relief, her eyes lighting up at the site of him. Towel in hand, she was busy preparing the suite for his and Kahlan's return. As she took in Richard's appearance, her smile immediately fell away. "Richard…what happened? Where's Kahlan?"
"Kahlan is…she's… missing," he softly told her. "There was an accident."
"Dear Spirits!" Aggie murmured, her eyes instantly growing moist. "Richard, I know if anyone can find her, it's you," she reassured him as she quickly came to stand before him. She lovingly gathered him into her arms, pulling her closely to him as he stiffened.
He automatically wrapped his arms around the stout woman for a moment before quickly pulling back, fearing he would lose all control if he allowed her to comfort him any longer.
Richard's mind and heart was at war with the reality of what had happened to her. His heart told him that Kahlan was still alive, out there somewhere fighting at this very moment to escape from Brey and return to him. His mind on the other hand told him that there was no way that anyone could have survived a powerful explosion of magic like that, that he had lost her forever. He felt his throat constrict with the painful thought, tears once again rising to the surface, but he refused to let them fall. It wouldn't help Kahlan is he fell apart.
Seeing the anguish in his eyes, Aggie took him by the hand as she led him to the bathroom. "You look an absolute mess! We need to get you cleaned up. What will Kahlan say when you find her looking like this?"
Richard allowed Aggie to lead him, exhaustion tugging at his body despite the dire urgency of starting the search for Kahlan. But he didn't even know where to begin. She could be hundreds of leagues from here for all he knew. He knew he had to start somewhere though, but where?
As if reading his mind, Aggie interrupted his thoughts. "You need to rest before you can start searching for Kahlan. You won't be doing yourself or her any good if you drop from exhaustion. You need to stay strong for her. Now, you get cleaned up and get some rest. I'll send some food up for you."
Standing in the bathroom, Richard slowly turned to look at the affectionate woman. "Thank you, Aggie. I am going to find her…"
"I know you are, Richard. You're the Seeker. Besides, you two love each other too much to stay apart."
Giving her a faint smile, Richard sat down on a chair and began removing his boots. As the door closed behind her, an overwhelming sense of loneliness suddenly swept over him. With trembling fingers, he began unlacing his pants and removing his shirt. Kahlan was supposed to be doing this for him. They were supposed to be removing each other's clothes as they exchanged kisses filled with intense passion and long pent up desire, relishing in the excitement from each other's touch and the feel of their bodies pressed hotly against each other.
This was not at all how last night was supposed to have gone.
Reentering the bedroom, Richard found a tray of food sitting ready for him on a nearby table. Aggie had thankfully seen to it that the room had been cleaned and put back in order before Richard had returned from the Keep.
A large vase of flower freshly picked from the Confessor's garden sat on Kahlan's dressing table, her brush laid out and ready for use, her travelling pack leaning against the chair. Walking to the dressing table, Richard picked up her brush, slowly running his fingers along the stiff bristles. He loved her luscious hair, its length and beauty rivaled by no one. Memories of secretly watching Kahlan as she brushed the raven tresses, wishing it were him brushing her hair brought a small smile to his lips. He didn't think it was much of a secret, though. Kahlan had caught him staring at her more times than he could count, giving him her special smile as she continued brushing her hair.
Richard loved that special smile. That smile belonged to him, Richard Cypher, and none other. With a single upturn of those beautiful lips, her smile gave him strength, caused his heart to soar, and at the same time, brought an overwhelming sense of peace to his soul. It spoke of her undying love for him, told him that she was there for him no matter what, that she believed in him above all else.
Setting the brush down, Richard looked up. The image staring back at him in the mirror startled him. The eyes he saw there were so dead and yet filled with such intense pain. The resolve that had hardened his heart and stopped the tears while he was in the crypt had diminished considerably now that he stood alone in her room surrounded by her things.
Ignoring the tray of food, Richard made his way to Kahlan's bed…the bed that they were to lay claim to each other in, that they would hopefully one day make their daughters in.
Richard ran his fingers over the bedcover, lost in his tormented thoughts. He didn't know which was worse – the thought that Kahlan could be dead or that Kahlan was alive and at the mercy of Brey. Both possibilities caused a wave of nausea to wash over him, causing his stomach to twist into knots.
Lying cleaned and folded neatly at the foot of the bed was Kahlan's green blanket. The blanket that he had made love to Kahlan's torn half on, the blanket she had wrapped herself in many cool nights during the last several months.
Unable to bring himself to lie in their bed without her, Richard settled himself on the hard floor beside it. Pulling her blanket and a pillow down with him, he curled up on the floor and closed his eyes. With the pillow under his head, he tightly squeezed her blanket against his chest, wishing with all his heart that it was Kahlan in his arms. Inhaling deeply, Richard breathed in her scent, the scent that was uniquely Kahlan, the scent that made his pulse race and his head spin. He prayed to the spirits that when he woke Kahlan would somehow be here in his arms with him.
She sat there for several moments, attempting to gather her senses, to get her bearing and calm her erratic breathing. Her heart was hammering in her chest, her blood roaring in her ears; she felt faint. Holding her head in her hands, Kahlan immediately remembered that her wrist was still broken. Crying out in pain, her head fell back. Squeezing her eyes shut, she clutched her injured wrist against her, breathing through the fierce sharpness until it finally diminished to a throbbing ache once more.
A rush of horrifying memories suddenly came roaring back with a vengeance. Like a tidal wave, images of the last several hours flooded her mind. Images of Brey's delusions and brutality, the Sparrow's Eye, Richard and Zedd coming to stop him. Brey attacking Richard with the staff…
"Richard!" she breathed.
Just as her fingers had wrapped around Brey's arm, there had been a powerful blast of magic. Bright light flooded the crypt, enveloping her in a cocoon of magic, holding her suspended. And then…nothing. Absolute nothingness. No Brey, no Zedd…no Richard.
As her eyes began to adjust, the intense light slowly started to fade. Focusing her vision, Kahlan began to take in her surroundings that looked vaguely familiar. It was a room filled with artifacts and books…she was still in the Crypt of Secrets. There was debris all over, broken glass, books and artifacts scattered about. It appeared as though a violent storm had somehow erupted within the heart of the crypt.
She listened intently for several breathless moments, straining to hear something, anything that would tell her that Richard was alright or if Brey was near. She involuntarily shuddered at the thought of Brey. She couldn't let him gain any more power or try to hurt Richard again.
"Richard?" Kahlan cautiously called out, her voice coming out barely above a whisper.
Kahlan shakily stood to her feet, attempting once more to brush away the stubborn smudges of dirt and blood on her tattered dress that still refused to disappear, though she kept trying. She warily looked around, fearful that Brey would appear at any moment, but desperate to find Richard. She slowly made her way through the crypt, stepping over broken shards of glass and piles of books scattered about. The destruction she saw caused alarm to begin to well up within her. She had to find Richard and Zedd, make sure they were alright.
"Richard!" she called a little louder, panic she felt in her heart now rising in her voice as she turned in a close circle, searching for her Seeker.
Turning again, she noticed that the door to the Crypt of Secrets stood closed before her. Someone had left, closing the door behind them. Richard and Zedd never would have left without finding her first. Maybe it was Brey. What if Brey had done something to them?
Running for the door, Kahlan was startled when her hand passed through the door handle. Standing there for a moment, Kahlan attempted to wrap her mind around what was happening. Reaching for the handle once more, terror gripped her heart as she watched in shock as her hand once again passed right through the handle.
Trembling, Kahlan slowly and carefully placed her palm flatly against the impenetrable wooden door as she tried to calm her racing heart. Applying a little pressure, her hand swiftly passed through the door, causing her to stumble forward a step. Kahlan's eyes were wide with horror as she stared at the site of her arm now protruding through the door…and yet experiencing no pain.
Quickly pulling her arm back, Kahlan swallowed down the fear that threatened to overtake her. "This isn't possible…" she whispered.
Something was definitely wrong. It had to be something with the crypt, something related to the magical explosion. It must have created some sort of disturbance within the room or worse…within her. She had to find Zedd and Richard. Zedd might be able to figure out what had happened.
Closing her eyes and taking a deep breath, Kahlan stepped through the closed door, not sure of what to expect. Opening her eyes, she found herself standing in the dark, empty corridor outside of the Crypt of Secrets. Her breathing became ragged as she attempted to grasp the reality of what was happening to her. This shouldn't be happening. She shouldn't be able to pass through solid objects…and yet her feet seemed to be able to move along the stone floor without falling through.
This was insanity…what had Brey done to her? It had to be connected to him and the staff he had been holding. There had to be a logical explanation for all of this. She had to find Zedd right away; he would know what to do.