He walked closely behind her, almost afraid that everything that was happening was a dream. They had stared out, watching the last of the rifts seal in victory for almost an hour. He was pleasantly surprised when she had gently taken his hand in hers and gave it a light pull, encouraging him to come with her. He followed without question. The thought of her leading him anywhere was one he welcomed with open arms.

He looked around; trying to keep his eyes off of her long enough for him to think of something to say. The sight of her, her beauty always made his mind go blank and his heart race beyond his control. He watched the wind push her hair back, making it flow freely around her face as she walked. His eyes moved lower, watching the way her hips would sway when she walked. She had a graceful walk, one that made his mouth run dry.

She could feel his eyes on her and it made her heart race. Biting her lower lip, she glanced back to him quickly, looking away before he noticed. The way he would look at her always made her body weak with need, the need to be wrapped tightly in his arms and kissed until she couldn't breathe. His lips took the breath from her lungs. Each time she held a conversation with him, her eyes would slowly move to his lips, her tongue unconsciously tracing over hers as she did so. It made him laugh, he loved to see that side of her; the woman with the wants and needs. He would then pull her to him, gently pressing his lips against hers for a brief moment, before she would wrap her arms around him and give into her desire for a short while.

She shook the thought from her mind, forcing herself to focus on her plan. Whatever it turned out to be. Her hand had taken hold of his and pulled him along before her mind had a single moment to catch up. Her body shook with fear and excitement. She wanted him away from the others, that, she knew for sure and the thoughts that were running through her mind made her heart start to race.

"Kahlan." He said softly.

The way her name left his lips made her body freeze. Slowly, she turned towards him, taking in a deep breath as her eyes met his. Without a thought, she stepped closer, threw her arms around his neck and kissed him. Instantly, his arms wrapped around her waist, pulling her body closer to his. A soft growl escaped his lips as she grabbed his shirt, pulling it from his pants.

He broke their kiss, pulling his shirt over his head and tossing it to an unknown location on the ground. Biting her lower lip, she looked over his bare chest, the sight making her body tremble as she reached up, lightly running her hand over his skin. She could feel his heart pounding beneath her hand and it suddenly made her brave.

"I love you." She spoke the words as though they were a secret, but she had said them in a voice that made his hunger for her rise. Only once before had those words left her lips and she had thought they would be her last. Hearing them now, spoken freely, without the fear of death or the destruction of his soul made his heart leap.

He reached up, gently cupping her face in his hands. "I love you." He said almost as softly as she had.

She closed her eyes to the words, taking in the comfort they brought to her. She felt the tears threatening to break free, but she didn't care. Opening her eyes, she smiled briefly, pulled him closer and connected their lips. His hands moved to her waist, holding her in place as his mouth began to kiss over her jaw, to her neck. When he reached her chest, her fingers had wound themselves in his hair, holding his head against her body. A soft moan of frustration left her lips, when his met the fabric of her jacket. He didn't waste a moment. Reaching up, he pulled her jacket from her body, neither caring about the ripping sound that face before he tossed it to the ground.

He didn't pause. Quickly, he grabbed her corset, doing his best to remove it quickly without pulling his lips from her skin. His fingers fumbled against the fabric, unable to remove it. A light laugh flowed as she grabbed his hands, using hers to guide his through it. He pulled back, his heart pounding as she released his hands, allowing them to pull her corset from her body. He stared at her, her eyes were dark as she stared back. He pulled the fabric from her body, his eyes locked on hers as it fell to the ground. The moment he heard it hit the dirt below them, he lowered his eyes slowly, pausing at her lips for a moment before coming to rest at her breasts.

His heart stopped for a moment, as his eyes moved from one to the other. Looking up, he met her eyes and moved quickly. Reaching around her, he pulled her against him kissing her passionately. She didn't waste a moment, she grabbed his pants, pulling quickly at the strings as he lowered her to the ground. Her hands moved over his back, feeling his muscles flex under her fingers as he pulled at her skirt.

Wrapping her legs around him, she pushed at his pants, trying to move them down and over his hips as he moved his lips over her chest and back to her neck.

Richard held her tightly against him as she slept peacefully against him. Looking down, he smiled as he watched the wind blow stands of her hair around her face, making her nose twitch as they moved past it. Holding in a laugh, he reached to her face, gently tucking the stray strands behind her ear.

A smile crossed her lips, letting him know that she had awaken. "Thank you." she whispered softly, "It tickled." Slowly,her hand ran over his chest, pausing briefly when he pulled her closer to him.

"I didn't want to wake you."

"You didn't. I've been awake for a while." she smiled, tilting her head down and pressing her forehead against his side. "I didn't want the feeling to end."

"What feeling?"

"That this is actually happening." she said softly, looking up to him. "I- I never thought this was possible. I didn't want it to be a dream."

He smiled widely, "It's not a dream. I've had this dream. This is better."

Her own smile widened as she watched his eyes light up with joy. "It is." She felt almost childish for the thoughts that were running through her head.

"This was better." he said softly, as though sensing one of her thoughts. "It was better than when you and I first- When you weren't you." he struggled with the right words on what to say, but he knew she would understand. After staring at him for a second, she nodded, a small smile coming to her lips as she laid her head back down on his chest. "I- Kahlan," he paused, waiting for her to look back to him. "It was better because it's you. Really you." he grabbed her shoulders and gently pulled her up to him.

He opened his mouth to continue, but she pressed her lips against his, silencing him. "I love you." Pulling back, she smiled as she moved over him. Moving her hair over her right shoulder, she leaned down to him, kissing him once again. He held her close against him, thriving off the feel of her flesh against his, her lips pressed firmly against his and the pounding of his heart in his chest as his hands explored her body.

A soft moan escaped her lips as his fingers moved over her, touching her in ways she had allowed no other. Wrapping his arms around her, he held her against him as he flipped them over. His lips moved smoothly down her neck, causing her back to arch forward trying to get more contact.

It didn't take long for her body to whither beneath his body and her magic to flow freely through him. Tucking his head in her shoulder, he held himself closer to her, thriving in the feel of the rumble of her power pushing through him.

He rolled them quickly to their sides, not wanting to lose their contact, nor crush her with his weight, though he knew she wouldn't care.

"I don't think we're going to make it to Aydindril any time soon."

She smiled, running her fingers across his side. "I don't mind."

"Good." he said as he pushed her to her back gently and looked down at her. "Because it may be a while before I let you leave this spot."

"I don't mind that either." she whispered, grabbing his neck and pulling his lips down to hers.

He held her hand as they walked through the trees, slowly making their way back to their friends. "I'm surprised they didn't come after us."

"I'm not." Kahlan said with a smile, looking up at him, waiting for him to understand. "They wouldn't have come if we were gone for days."

He looked at her quickly, "I guess that this means that we don't have to worry about Zedd appearing everytime I want to..." his words trailed off as his lips pressed against hers, bringing them to a stop.

She pulled back, looking into his eyes. "That was never something I worried about." He knew exactly what it was that she had always been worried about, but he said nothing. Instead, he grabbed her hands, holding them tightly in his as he smiled widely, making her forget the thoughts that were previously racing through her mind.

She pushed him back, keeping her arms wrapped tightly around him as she struggled to find her breath. His hold on her suddenly tightened protectively. She could hear his heart pounding against his chest, he held her against him, keeping her from moving.

"What's wrong?"

"Someone's watching us." he whispered softly, slightly loosening his hold on her. "Walk with me." he added, as he turned, wrapping his arm around her waist.

"Maybe it's nothing."

"I don't think so." he replied, looking over to her. "They've been watching us for a while."

"A while? Were they watching when we-"

He shook his head, "No. I don't think so. I didn't notice anything strange until we started back."

She froze as she started to push her hair out of her face. "Richard."

He followed her gaze, tightening his hold on her, he reached for the sword that wasn't there. "Do you still have your daggers?"

"Always." she whispered, keeping her eyes on the moving figures before them.

He leaned down, taking a dagger from her boots and gripping it tightly in his hand. "When they get closer, run back to-"

"I'm not going to leave you."

"Kahlan, I can't let anything happen to you."

"I'm not leaving you." she replied, hardening her voice to make her point.

He looked over to her, meeting her eyes with a sigh. "If anything happens to you, I-"

"You'll protect me." she smiled a small smile and grabbed his hand, giving it a quick squeeze before going for her other dagger.

The next half hour seemed to disappear in time as they fought the men coming at them. Richard's eyes were constantly scanning past the enemy, looking for her. Blood, splashed across her face as her dagger made a quick slice through the throat of the man before her, sending him to the ground with a thud, only to reveal another man behind that one.

He rushed through the men around him, wanting to get back beside her. He hadn't realized how much space had been put between them since the fighting had begun. He had hope that the figures that were moving before them were farmers, or anyone that would be of no threat to them, but the moment their clothing was visible, he knew there was no chance of that.

Each moment that passed send him deeper into fury at the way they surrounded Kahlan. She moved smoothly, with a grace he had come to know as something only she could create. Slowly, he made his way towards her, doing everything he could to keep moving.

His heart stopped at the rumble of her magic flowing from her body. He turned, quickly towards her, forgetting the man he had been fighting. A thick man had his arms wrapped tightly around her, with another attempting to bind her hands. A cry of pain escaped his lips as a sword pushed through his side.

He heard her shout his name as he fell to the ground, fighting to remain conscious. Saw her and the two men running towards him, fighting off the others. He forced himself to move, struggling to his knees he pushed her dagger up, through the man's chin, closing his eyes as blood was spit onto his face.

They fell to the ground as more came through the trees, determined to get what they were after. Grabbing her shoulders, they jerked her backwards, away from the man she loved. The dagger was instantly pulled from her hand before her body was pushed roughly to the ground.

Staggering a few feet, Richard fell to the ground, reaching out to her as his eyes fell shut.

The wind was blowing roughly around her as she walked into the clearing, her eyes quickly scanning the ground around her, taking in the sight of the blood and bodies. She ran quickly to him, kneeling down beside him and turning him over. Slowly, she lifted his shirt, taking a look at his wound.

She looked up, scanning the area around him for her her friend. After a few moments, she returned her attention to Richard and lifted him up into her arms, carrying him back for help.

"Spirits, what happened?" Zedd shouted as he jumped up from his bedroll and ran towards the Mord-Sith.

"I don't know. I found him like this. There were others. D'Harans. All dead."


"I didn't see her."

Laying Richard on the ground, Zedd pulled his shirt from his body and laid his hands gently over the stab wound. "Go back and see if you can find her. He will want her when he wakes up."

Nodding, Cara stood and ran back through the trees, hoping to find her friend alive.

She looked around, taking in the sight of the bodies on the ground as she imagined what had happened. She could tell by the way the bodies were laying, that Richard and Kahlan had separated to meet their attackers.

Stepping into the spot she had found Richard, she remembered seeing his arm stretching out away from him and followed the line of disturbed grass. The small amount of blood a few feet away made her slightly hopeful that they had not killed the Confessor.

"Kahlan?" Richard's breathed out before a cough.

"She's not here."

He jumped forward, ignoring the stinging pain in his side. "Where is she? Kahlan!" he shouted as he struggled to his feet, looking around for her.

"Lay down." Zedd said, attempting to push him back to the bedroll. "Cara's out looking for her."

"She's not going to find her." he whispered, squeezing his eyes shut as he crossed his legs in front of him.


"They didn't hurt her. They could have, but they didn't. She confessed two of them, but that didn't stop them. They knew what they wanted and what they had to do to get it. They were after her and I didn't see it until I- I have to find her."

"She's not there." They turned towards her voice, seeing Cara step into view, dragging a D'Haran soldier's body behind her. "This one, I knew. He would only serve Lord Rahl. Darken Rahl." she added, being sure to make it clear. "He was killed by his own men. Kahlan must have confessed him."

"Why didn't you come when she released her power?" Richard asked, looking quickly from Cara to Zedd. "You must have felt it."

"We did." Cara said as she dropped the body and knelt down beside it, looking through his uniform for anything that could tell them where they had taken Kahlan. "Her magic was released several times. How were we supposed to know that you two were no longer enjoying each other's body again?"

"You should have known!" he shouted, tightening his hands into fists. "We shouldn't have let them take her!"

"By the look of your wounds, you didn't let her go easily." Zedd said softly, laying his thin hand upon his grandson's shoulder. "We'll find her."

"I have to." he looked over to Cara, who stared down at the paper in her hands. "What is that?"

"Their orders. They aren't going to hurt her."

"What? Why?"

"Darken Rahl wants her alive."

His voice strained through the cry that he pushed from his chest. "How many times must I kill him?" Zedd staggered back, almost shocked by the force behind his anger. "Where did they take her?"

"Where you're supposed to be."

"He's at The People's Palace?" Zedd asked softly.

Nodding, Cara stood, bringing the paper to Richard. He snapped it from her hands, keeping his eyes down, away from her. He read over it several times, almost like the thought he would find Kahlan written somewhere in the words.

"How long was I here?"

"Almost two days."

"Two days?" He moved to his feet, grabbing the pack that was laying beside him and began stuffing his bedroll into it. "Why didn't you leave me here and go after her?"

"We couldn't just leave you here, Richard. You wouldn't have know what had happened."

Shaking his head, he continued to pack his things as he mumbled to himself and then he froze. His eyes fell upon the metal and his heart began to pound.

"It was in one of your hands when I found you. I thought you should hold on to it."

He didn't look up, as he reached out for it. Pushing past the pain in his side, he wrapped his hand around the handle of the dagger and pulled it back to him, his eyes focused on it and it alone. A small smile crossed his lips as he remembered taking it from her boot, being sure to let his fingers linger on her skin for a moment.

He wanted so badly to touch her. To pull her into his arms and hold her. Looking up, he placed her dagger into his own boot and stood up, taking his pack with him.

"I'm going after her."

"Of course you are." Cara said as she stepped beside him, her own pack already thrown over her shoulder, ready to go.

He looked up, fury burning behind his eyes, turning them darker than she had ever seen. "If anything happens to me, get her out. Get her safe. Leave me." his voice was hard and stern, forcing her to nod in understanding.

Without a moments notice, he started running through through the trees, leaving his friends to rush to keep up with him.

"Ah." the sound of his voice sent chills through her body, making her heart pound in anger. "You are unharmed I trust. You were to be treated with excellent care."

"What is it you want with me? Richard will come for me."

"I have no doubt that he will." he laughed, turning away from her for a moment as he took in a deep breath. "Tell me, how is it you were able to consummate your love without harming him?" He turned back at her silence, "Did you really think I wouldn't have my men watching you before they were to bring you back?"

He smiled as she straightened her back, her Confessor's face failing her as the anger filled up within her. "What do you want?"

"I want you to answer my questions. How were you able to do it? You would never have risked his soul for your own pleasure and I am told you were pleased multiple times." He stared at her, waiting for her to speak. "You will answer me!" he shouted, coming to stand before her.

Grabbing her shoulders, he gave her a jerk, making her lose her footing. "Answer me!"

"He has a powerful magic that you will never have." she said coldly, a small smile threatening to cross her lips. She liked the anger growing within the man before her.

"He found an elixir then?" he asked, trying to keep from smacking her.

"He didn't need one."

He shook her again, putting all of his strength into it, enjoying the look of helplessness on the face of The Mother Confessor. "How were you able to-"

His words were cut off by the slam of her forehand against his, knocking him back a few steps, dropping her to the ground. With her hands bound behind her back, she couldn't keep her face from hitting the cold hard stone of the floor. She felt her blood drip down her cheek as she lifted herself up, keeping her eyes on Darken Rahl before her.

She saw it coming, but she couldn't get out of the way fast enough. His foot, thrusting upwards, smacked into her chin, lifting her body to the air and sending her backwards as he shouted out in fury.

"Take her! Get her away from me before I remove her head!" he shouted as his guards ran towards her. "You have only made this worse for yourself, Confessor!" They jerked her body up from the ground and dragged her from the room, not caring that her head was rammed into the door frame.

Her eyes opened slowly, adjusting to the darkness around her. The room was small, a lot smaller than any other dungeon she had ever seen. This was used for something else. Something meant for only a few people to stay in. To be tortured in. The cold of the stone beneath her caused her to look down. A soft cry escaped her lips at the blood covering her legs. What was left of her skirt was soaked as she ran her fingers across it, trying to find a wound on herself.

She ran her hands over her legs, desperately trying to find where the blood had come from. Her eyes closed as she reached her thighs. Biting her tongue, she pressed against the long gash, trying to stop the bleeding. She knew now what had happened and she hated him for it. It may not have been Darken Rahl personally, but he had allowed it to happen and she would make him pay for it.

How? She thought, reaching up to her neck. She did not wear a rada'han. No one would dare rape a Confessor. The fear of being confessed has always protected them, but now, she thought laying her head back against the wall and closing her eyes, now everything had changed.

Ripping part of the rest of her skirt, she wrapped it tightly against her thigh, stopping the bleeding as she looked around once more. Her eyes fell still upon the man standing on the other side of the dungeon door. He was bending, looking at her through the bars in the center of the door. He stepped closer, almost pressing his face against the metal bars, before opening the door.

"Stand up." his voice was deep and husky, not what she expected out of the small, blond man. "Walk slowly to the wall across from you." He watched her closely, taking a step inside the dungeon.

"Where's Richard?" she asked, grasping at the small hope that he was still alive.

"Put your back against the wall."

"Where is he? Is he-"

He lifted his hand, silencing her. "I do not have any information for you. It would serve you well to remove him from your thoughts."

"What are you going to do?" The fear in her voice well known.

"I'm not going to rape you." he said softly, looking away from her from the first time. "You're not my type. I am to prepare you for Lord Rahl." Stepping in front of her, she reached forward, trying to grab his neck. Smoothly, as though expecting her move, he pulled a knife from his belt and held it against her throat. "You move one way other than I tell you to, I will make you unrecognizable to everyone you've ever known and then I will kill them, making you watch."

She stared at him, trying to keep her eyes focused on his. "Alright."

"You are smarter than you look." he said as he slowly began to pull his knife away from her. "Put your hands in front of you, holding them together." Her eyes widened in fear as he pulled out the rope. "What? You don't like being tied up?"

"No, I do not." she replied, her voice shaking.

"Then you are really going to hate what I am about to do." Grabbing her hands, he wrapped the rope around each wrist, pulling them tightly together, with only a small space between her hands. "Lift them up, eye level." She followed his gaze, seeing, for the first time, the chain hanging above her.

Her heart pounded as he hooked the rope over the chain, lifting her off the ground, a smile on his face as she looked down upon him. "That must have hurt." He said, pointing to her thigh, blood seeping through the cloth of her skirt. "Cheer up. He won't be in here right away. You'll have plenty of visitors while you wait, but I can't say it will be pleasant. Not for you anyway." he laughed as he stepped back, pushing some of his hair back and out of his face, before leaving her in tears.