The Darkness Rose from the Deep

"And one night, the Darkness rose from the deep. It hunted in the night, plagued by a hunger for human hearts. Rawr!" Richard jumped at Kahlan, falsely fierce.

Darken Rahl watched them play from his position outside the light of the fire, his hands and feet bound. Richard made a show of merriment, of being unbothered by his presence. The Confessor played along, jumping and gasping at the campfire tales told to scare children.

"And then the Darkness stalked through the village to gobble the hearts of the children!"

The wizard laughed. The Confessor shrieked playfully as Richard 'attacked' her.

Cara stood in shadow, eyes on Darken. Guarding him. He wondered if she guarded against his escape, or guarded him from harm. Perhaps she did both. Perhaps she didn't know.

He met her eyes.

"The Darkness has a hide as red as fire and a face like granite. It hunts girls and kills men. Villagers never know it's there until the moment before it strikes, when they can hear its whining growl!" The Confessor took up the narrative, now chasing Richard.

Cara did not blink, didn't move, but Darken knew she was closer to him nonetheless.

Richard turned on the Confessor, their skin aglow from the flickering flames, their playfulness a farce that added horror to their story. "And then the Darkness catches the girls and drags them to the deep!"

Darken interrupted, "Where it will devour their hearts, piece by piece."

All play ceased, the forced smiles fading.

His eyes never leaving Cara's, Darken continued in hypnotic cadence, "When their hearts are gone, they will be reborn anew. Where there was one Darkness, now are two."

Dead silence.

It was Cara who said, "It's a story told in D'Hara as well."

"Not just a story," Darken replied.

"Of course it's a myth," Richard scoffed. "We'd know if anything as horrible as the Darkness existed."

"Indeed you would," Darken answered, breaking eye contact with Cara to smile condescendingly at Richard.

Cara stepped into the light of the fire, her eyes like stone chips. Her red leathers shone as if made from bloody flames.

All myths began somewhere.

"I'll take first watch," Cara said.

Darken did not sleep, so intent was he in watching Cara watch him.

Finally he said, "They do not know."

"They think it legend. They tell the story often."

"And you don't tell them."

It wasn't a question.

"I am proud to be Mord'Sith."

Darken tilted his head, studying her from the corner of his eye.

She bared her teeth at him, a contempt he thought half forced. Her Agiel whined.

"I suppose you are," he said after some time.

They stared into the night together, two creatures of flesh captured in legend.

The tyrant and the darkness. The broken and the breaker.

The monsters in the night.

One or both, neither knew.

As the rising sun brought about the grey light of false dawn, Darken began,

"At the Master's command, the Darkness rose from the deep…"