For the crackfic prompt "The Midlands Dating Service", originally written Dec 2009 before I'd seen any season two.
There's a surprise in store when our heroes use the Midlands Dating Service to find their ideal mate.
Rahl tore open his scroll eagerly. The Midlands Dating Service (TM) had finally got back to him.
"Dear Lord Rahl, after an exhaustive search of our records, we can confirm that your ideal match is Kahlan Amnell. You both have great hair and will no doubt make very pretty babies."
Rahl stared at the scroll. "What?"
VILLAGE OF EARLDON
"I just need to collect some mail," Richard said and headed for the mail office, much to the annoyance of his companions.
"Maybe I have mail to collect," Cara sniped.
"Maybe I do, too," Zedd sniffed. "Maybe I'll just get something to eat first." Kahlan fixed him with a glare.
"We should take of the horses first," she said.
Behind the stables, Richard held the scroll in trembling hands. He'd dutifully filled in the Midlands Dating Service questionnaire and given the Earldon's Mail Drop (conveniently located in the local inn) as his return address. They hadn't been back here for a while and now they were, he was relieved to have the results of the "fully reliable matching process" in his hands. He and Kahlan could never be, and it was time he found out who would be a more suitable match.
"Dear Richard Cypher, after an exhaustive search of our records, we can confirm that your ideal match is Kahlan Amnell. With your strength and her brains your offspring will rule the Midlands with courage and compassion."
Richard stared at it, then let out a yell. "Woot!"
Cara had only had to use her agiel once in the inn to get through the crowds unmolested and reach the mail drop. This turned out to be a wooden box kept behind the counter, but beggars couldn't be choosers. She took the scroll addressed to her and elbowed her way back outside.
Finding a shady spot by the well, she used a dagger to split open the sealing wax.
"Dear Cara, after an exhaustive search of our records, we can confirm that your ideal match is Kahlan Amnell. You are both alike in your powerful expression of womanhood, and yet unalike in your fairer features compared to her dark flowing locks. You are like Yin and Yang and will be very happy together."
Cara crumpled the scroll up.
"I paid good money for that?"
Four pies and a flagon of ale later, Zedd retrieved his own scroll. If it suggested his ideal match was Shota, someone would be getting a dose of Wizard's Fire. Licking his lips for stray crumbs, Zedd read the scroll.
"Dear Zeddicus Zu'l Zorander, after an exhaustive search of our records, we can confirm that your ideal match is Kahlan Amnell. She is a compassionate young woman who will take care of you in your declining years, and her beauty will lift your spirits as you grow feeble."
Anger flashed in the wizard's eyes.
"Declining?" he bellowed. "Feeble! I'll show them feeble!"
Kahlan found herself cornered by four men of varying ages.
"Look, I don't know where you got such a ridiculous idea," she began, "but I really can't be a soulmate for each of you, now can I?" She was reluctant to Confess any of them, for they were not only seemingly under an enchantment of some kind, they were already displaying a fevered devotion to her.
"Hey," Richard said, pushing his way past the men to stand protectively in front of Kahlan. He drew the Sword of Truth and waved it menacingly.
"They seem to be under the impression I am their soulmate," Kahlan said, glad of Richard's presence. "They all say I am their ideal match."
"Well that's ridiculous," Richard huffed.
"Exactly," Kahlan said.
"You're my perfect match!"
There was a tremor of thunder, the ground split apart, green mist rose from the exposed depths, and a figure shimmered in the haze.
Darken Rahl bowed towards Kahlan.
"My Lady," he said.
"What are you doing here?" Richard demanded. "You're supposed to stay in the Underworld."
"Not even death can keep one from his soulmate," he purred. "Kahlan Amnell, you are my ideal match."
Kahlan's mouth fell open.
"Get in line you deceased ex-tyrant," Cara said, stepping in front of him. "She also happens to be my ideal match."
Kahlan stood, arms akimbo, glaring at everyone.
"This is not my idea of a joke," she said.
"It gets better," Zedd said as he elbowed his way through the adoring villagers. "You're also my perfect match. I think we need to have a word with the proprietor of the Midlands Dating Service."
"The what?" Kahlan shook her head. "Who would use such a thing?"
"You, since you're on their list," Cara said accusingly.
The Confessor shook her head again, sending her dark hair flying dangerously about her shoulders and almost taking Richard's eye out.
"I would never…are you saying you used it, Cara? Richard? Rahl? Zedd?"
Zedd refused to be embarrassed.
"Just because I'm a mature man, doesn't mean I don't still have urges," he said.
"Ugh," Richard commented. "You're my grandfather; that makes you old enough to be Kahlan's grandpa too!"
"It would be healthier than a relationship with Clara," Kahlan said thoughtfully, adding quickly, "not that it's going to happen!"
"Of course not," Zedd said. "Clearly the mastermind behind the dating service is an idiot. He called me feeble."
Richard opened his mouth, caught Zedd's eye, and closed it again.
"Where is the headquarters of this so-called dating service?" Kahlan asked.
"Riverside, just two villages to the south," Cara said.
"All right, then. We're off to Riverside." Kahlan glared at Rahl. "You, back to the Underworld!" To Cara, she said, "You, five feet away from me at all times from now on!"
Richard gave a snort of laughter and Kahlan turned her gaze on him, making him fall quickly silent.
"You can wipe that smirk off your face and put away the Sword of Truth! Zedd…just go and get the horses, will you?"
She turned now to the villagers; two more men, scrolls in hand, had shown up by now.
"The rest of you, disperse!"
There was some grumbling but Cara started swinging her agiel and whistling meaningfully and the men soon wandered away.
"We're looking for the Midlands Dating Service," Kahlan told the first man they met.
"Just over there, with the thatched roof," he said, "Um, are you Kahlan Amnell?"
"Yes she is," Richard said fiercely, "and no, she's not your ideal match!"
Kahlan led the way to the cottage and hammered on the door. A smiling man with round cheeks answered.
"Mistress!" he cried and prostrated himself on the floor.
"Get up," Kahlan urged. "Nayler?"
"Yes, Mistress," Nayler said, getting to his feet.
"Nayler, are you running the Midlands Dating Service?"
"Yes, Mistress." His head bobbed up and down. "You told me to relocate and make something of myself. I wanted to make people happy and so I started the Midlands Dating Service."
Kahlan sighed. Things were getting a lot clearer now.
"Nayler, you told every single applicant that I am their ideal match."
"Yes, Mistress." Nayler looked puzzled. "You are radiant, Mistress. You are kind, and intelligent, and –"
"Nayler," Kahlan interrupted. "I can't very well marry every single person on your list, can I?"
Nayler looked downcast at this flaw in his wonderful plan. Kahlan explained how he was supposed to have matched people up with the other applicants and finally he nodded.
"I understand, Mistress."
"Now you're to refund everyone who has used the service," Kahlan said.
"I just wanted to make people happy," Nayler said miserably.
"You'd be better to host a party," Richard said, taking pity on the Confessed man. "Let people meet the prospective dates."
"What if they don't like them?" Cara asked.
"Well, you could limit the time each person spends with anyone," Richard said. "Then, if they're bored, they can move on and find someone better."
"You'd need a signal," Zedd said. "Perhaps a bell."
And so ended the Midlands Dating Service and so began the Riverside Speed Dating Service, and no lasting harm was done, although almost everyone who had received a scroll from Nayler still secretly thought that Kahlan Amnell was indeed their ideal match.