He never recalled laying his eyes on such a woman before.

Her hood covered the majority of her face, which was looking down. The slits in her dress revealed her toned thighs. The dip at the neckline gave him pause. He had never seen such a lovely prisoner before. Since he became Lord Rahl, his days mostly consisted of paperwork of some kind, and hearing trials to those who supposedly have done wrong. He often overturned rulings, letting men go free when he felt the punishment was too harsh. However, the only women he saw were unsightly thieves who were stealing from the wrong man. No one like this ever came through. She was too composed to be a common criminal. He hoped she was charged ridiculously, just so he could let her go.

"What brings you here?" Richard said, leaning forward a bit over his desk.

She continued to lurk forward at a slow pace. Richard's eyes drifted, taking in her form once again. Too lovely to be a thief, too gorgeous to be a prostitute. This was puzzling. Zedd stood to the side, seeming to take her in as well - but not in the blatantly obvious way that Richard was. Zedd was sizing up her strength, not her beauty. When she was a few feet away from him, her chest was directly in his line of sight. Richard's mind became clouded, and he quickly stood. He was slightly taller than her, not by much. She held her hands in front of her, head still down.


When she looked up at him, her hood fell back, and he had to brace himself on the desk in order to stay upright. He took in the sight of her. Her shockingly blue eyes pierced through him. Above her eyes were the graceful arch of her eyebrows. She had freckles that curiously kissed her face. His gaze drifted lower. There was a scar on the left side of her upper lip, faint, but visible. Her lips proved to be dangerously tempting. His eyes drifted to her hair. It was long, full, with a slight curl. He imagined burying his hands deep in her tresses. His gaze resettled on her eyes.

"Mother Confessor!" Richard turned swiftly, only to see his grandfather rushing up to the woman and putting his arms around her. She welcomed it, quickly accepting the hug and embracing him further.

Richard stood there, dumbly. How could his grandfather know such a woman as this? He stood for what seemed like hours before they finally parted, the woman adorning a huge smile, mirroring Zedd's. They seemed to recollect themselves and both turned to Richard.

"Oh, my boy, how rude of us! This is Kahlan Amnell, the Mother Confessor." She dipped her head slightly, a tight smile on her lips.

Confessor. He was all too familiar with those. One of them came barreling through the boundary to gather him up and throw him into a fight against Darken Rahl. She died in battle. Zedd gave Richard all the information on Confessors that he could handle. Most were young, beautiful, and deadly - not just with their magic. The thought of a woman just touching someone, and having them fall in love with her in an instant scared Richard. He glanced at Kahlan. She certainly wouldn't need magic to make any man fall in love with her. Richard was fairly certain he was already falling for her, and she hadn't even said a word to him. She was different. Mother Confessor. In the midst of the Confessor conversation that took place years ago, Richard quickly stopped his grandfather from elaborating more than necessary. He wasn't aware that there was a hierarchy when it came to the women. Yet, he couldn't think of a more perfect leader for such a group.

Richard opened his mouth to greet her, but quickly retracted. How does one greet the Mother Confessor?

"Richard, my boy, you can call her Kahlan. She is quite humble with her title. Right, my dear?" He turned to look at Kahlan, gesturing for her to agree to put Richard more at ease.

She looked up at him. "Of course."

Dear Spirits. This woman was the perfect physical specimen. When her voice hit his ears, he could have sworn it was a melody. Her voice was soothing, calm, but authoritative. She could have just told him that all life was being swallowed up into the Underworld, and he would have been more amazed than shocked. He faintly heard voices, and was aware Zedd and Kahlan were talking to each other, but he was still mesmerized by her perfection.

"This is my grandson, Richard. Richard Cypher is his birth name, Richard Rahl is his title." Richard watched as his grandfather introduced them, and studied Kahlan as she slowly nodded her head, a small smile playing on her lips.

"So this is the Lord Rahl," her voice sounded like honey to his ears, "I have heard quite a bit about you. All better than your predecessor." Her gaze redirected from Zedd to him, her blue eyes seeming to take him in as he originally took her in. He only wished that she thought half of what he thought of her.

"Lord Rahl?"

Richard snapped back to reality, finally out of the fog that this woman had put him under. He quickly shuffled around the desk and stepped in front of Kahlan, now only inches apart. She studied each move he made.

"Richard, call me Richard." He couldn't stop the boyish smile that came to his face, he honestly just wanted her to say his name. They both stood there a moment, completely unaware of Zedd.

"Richard." She finally drawled out. The left side of her mouth quirked up in a smirk, he took note not to look down at her lips. This woman was smart. Either she was naturally this alluring, or she knew exactly what she was doing to him. Either way, he was not sure he cared, he just didn't want Zedd's scolding later. He would never hear the end of leering at the Mother Confessor herself.

"Bags! Kahlan, what are you doing here at the People's Palace?" When Kahlan broke eye contact with Richard, he felt himself let out a breath that he was unaware he was holding.

"I heard that a new Lord Rahl has taken his rightful place as the leader of D'hara, I wanted to come and meet him. I was all too acquainted with the previous Rahl, and hoped this one would prove to be kinder." Zedd was preparing to say something, but Richard quickly cut in.

"You knew Darken Rahl?"

Her eyes drifted back onto him, a dull pain residing in them. He regretted he asked.

"'Knew' is a relative term, I guess to make it more accurate, I'd have to say I was hunted by him, and only came face to face with him on a few occasions." She lifted her chin, making her eyelids drop slightly over her eyes. It only seemed to intensify her gaze.

Richard was speechless. He knew of Darken Rahl's displeasure of Confessors, his own had told him many times. Rahl sent out quads to exterminate them all, this information shouldn't shock him, but it did. Rahl wasn't just hunting Confessors, he was hunting this woman, the Mother Confessor. Why anyone would lay a harmful hand on her, he couldn't even fathom, especially just because of her birthright.

He finally managed to clear the lump from his throat, and choked out that he was sorry.

"Nothing to be sorry for, Cypher. Don't take on the guilt just because someone before you made mistakes, you are who you are, no more, no less."

Richard couldn't help but smile. He felt his heart hammering in his chest when she called him 'Cypher.' It was playful and coy, affectionate. He felt like she was recognizing him for who he was, not who he was meant to be.

"Kahlan, my dear, will you grace us with why you actually came here? This is a long way from Aydindryl." Zedd took a step closer to Kahlan, intently looking down at her. Her one sided smirk crept it's way back up.

"What ever do you mean, Wizard? I came to meet Richard." She tilted her head in Richard's direction, the smile still playing on her lips, mischief lingering in her voice.

"Dear one, you should know not to underestimate a wizard of the First Order's intelligence." Zedd retorted, lifting an eyebrow.

Kahlan sighed, her lips slightly parted. She turned away from them both, and started to walk towards the front of the room. She stopped halfway, and turned her body, giving Richard a profile view he previously had not seen. He took a second to let the image burn into his memory.

"Why, my dear Wizard and Lord, don't you know?" Richard noticed the shift in her eyes, they were now darker, more sinister. He hoped it was a change in lighting, not her.

"I'm afraid we do not." Zedd stood, back straight, seeming to tower over the entire room. Richard flickered his eyes between the two.

"Then I suppose I'll have to inform you," she breathed, repositioning herself to face directly towards them. Her eyes settled on Richard, his muscles tensed. "I'm looking for a mate."