The We Hate Kahlan Club

It was a cool, moonlit night not long after the tear in the Veil to the Underworld had been sealed, and Cara Mason was making her way to a clearing in the woods near Aydindril. Ordinarily, she wouldn't leave Richard's side, due to his propensity for getting himself in trouble, but this was important.

She moved silently through the trees, keeping her every sense upon alert. The forest seemed deserted.

"There you are," said a cross voice, and Cara jumped and bit back several swear words. She had expected to arrive first. Sorceresses were such a nuisance.

"Nicci," she greeted the other woman coolly, assessing her. Cara wasn't afraid of Nicci, but it wouldn't do to let her think Richard was vulnerable.

Nicci yawned ostentatiously. "Do you know who's coming tonight?"

"Usual crowd," Cara said casually, not mentioning that tonight was rather special, actually. She wasn't entirely certain how Nicci was going to react to their special guests, but she figured that was their problem.

"I hope you're all ready to whine and complain, because I brought the alcohol!" called a new voice, and Richard's first girlfriend, Anna, skipped into the clearing.

She was quickly followed by Denna, who was dragging a reluctant Jennsen, and then by several women Cara vaguely remembered from the search for the Stone of Tears. She couldn't be bothered with all their names, but one thing was certain: they were all there for one reason, and one reason only.

"I hereby call this meeting of the We Hate Kahlan Club to order," Cara said loudly, and everyone shut up except Denna, who was whispering in Jennsen's ear.

Cara strode over to her Sister, casually backhanded her across the face, and waited politely for Denna to get herself together.

"I've always hated you," Denna said.

Jennsen patted Denna's cheek, and Cara turned away in disgust. "The feeling's mutual."

"So…" Anna said, to break the tension. "I hear Richard and Kahlan can make little Confessor babies now, without him losing his mind, or whatever. Can I just say how incredibly happy for them I'm sure we all are?"

"And isn't it just too lovely to know that each of us did our part to make that possible?" Nicci said bitterly. Everyone present knew she was upset that her Confession of Kahlan had led to the attack of the Blood Rage, which had led to Kahlan Confessing Richard, only to have it not work, which had led them to the realization that they could be together forever.

"Before this descends into a complete sobfest," said Cara. "I have an announcement." And she waited, in case anyone was going to point out that if anyone had helped Richard and Kahlan come to their new ecstatic state it was she, Cara. But they must've been too cowed, for the moment anyway—it would be a different story after they'd all had a few drinks, Cara was well aware. "Tonight, we are going to be joined by some people who have a similar problem to ours. May I present…the We Hate Richard Club!"

Darken Rahl swept into the clearing. Immediately, he dominated the entire immediate area. Cara noticed Denna scooting back nervously, and Jennsen placing a calming hand on her arm.

Anna glared indiscriminately, and Nicci leaned back against a tree and raised her eyebrows.

"Why would anyone hate Richard?" demanded a woman Cara vaguely remembered from somewhere.

"What do you mean, why would anyone hate Richard?" a man asked. Cara thought she recognized him as a D'Haran soldier Kahlan had Confessed. "Have you seen Kahlan Amnell?"

"Not to mention all the gorgeous women who just fall at his feet when he so much as walks into a room," complained the ghost of Leo rather pointedly.

Cara flushed, especially when Dahlia agreed, "I know, right?" and licked her lips.

Were Dahlia and Leo realizing they had a few things in common? This couldn't end well.

"Are these people just all your exes?" Nicci demanded. "You Mord'Sith really get around."

Cara glared at her, feeling distinctly off-balance.

Anna shrugged. "Well, we might as well get drunk," she said philosophically. "They're getting married, after all—completely heedless of all the dreams they're destroying."

"Cheers would be inappropriate here, I take it," said Darken, sitting down on a tree stump. "Richard, Richard, Richard. Why is it always about Richard?"

"I hate him," Denna said fiercely.

"But you're in the We Hate Kahlan Club," protested Jennsen, sounding confused.

"I hate them both," Denna said bitterly.

"SO DO I," said a pensive, booming voice that sent shivers up the spine of everyone present. Cara was a little unnerved herself, but she distinctly saw Nicci and Darken each jump about a foot.

"Well, I don't," said Jennsen firmly and loudly. "I think it's lovely that they're getting married. Richard is my dear brother, and Kahlan's always been nice to me. I don't know why I let you drag me here, Denna."

"'Cause you love me," smirked Denna, and Jennsen grinned back.

Cara's eyes narrowed. When Richard found out about this, he wasn't going to be happy.

Don't worry, dear, said a crisp, no-nonsense female voice. I don't hate them either.

Now Darken and Nicci looked even more uncomfortable.

"OF COURSE NOT," said the hollow, booming voice. "THEY'RE YOUR FAVORITES, AREN'T THEY? PATHETIC, DO-GOODER, RESCUERS OF INNOCENT SHEEP—I SUPPOSE NOW YOU'RE GOING TO GIVE THEM LOTS OF CHILDREN. I'LL HAVE YOU REMEMBER THAT EVERY BIRTH BRINGS ANOTHER DEATH INTO THE WORLD."

Cara was surprised to find that the Keeper's (for it must be He) description of Richard was so accurate. She still remembered the incident of the sheep.

That wouldn't be true if you hadn't killed my first children out of petty, narrow-minded jealousy and spite, said the crisp female voice acerbically. You brought the whole thing upon yourself, so don't try to deny it.

"AND I SUPPOSE HUNDREDS OF GENERATIONS OF PEOPLE NEVER DYING WOULD NEVER CAUSE OVERPOPULATION, FOOD SHORTAGES, UNIVERSAL POVERTY…"

The Keeper, being sarcastic. Cara decided this was officially too weird for her. Unobtrusively, she melted back into the trees after Darken and Nicci, who'd both fled long since, and found herself keeping pace with an old school friend of Kahlan's, staying in Aydrindril for the wedding.

"I can't bear the thought of that ridiculous sissy touching my Kahlan," the man was muttering.

Cara gripped her agiels. "I can make you change your mind," she said threateningly. "Lay a finger on Lord Rahl or the Mother Confessor, and you'll wish you were never born."

The man glared at her, but seemed to decide her agiels were something to worry about, for the moment at least.

Cara sighed inwardly. Maybe unifying the We Hate Kahlan Club with the We Hate Richard Club hadn't been one of her better ideas, but at least she'd uncovered yet another potential threat to Richard and Kahlan. What would they do without her?