*I've put these two through so much hell in this story. Now it is time to reward them! That being said, this chapter is rated M. Thank you all for coming with me on this journey. It has been memorable, to say the least. However, it might not necessarily be over. There is a high probability of a sequel in the near future.

Chapter 64 – A Promise Kept

Kahlan woke with a start. She had not been having a nightmare, but she had been asleep, and she had been sleeping peacefully, so she was a little annoyed about being wakened. She blinked, waiting for her eyes to adjust to the darkness, when suddenly she caught sight of a shadow looming over her. Shuddering in fear, remembering how the last time someone was looming over her it had been Dragen, Kahlan cried out and raised her hands to pound her fists against the intruder above her.

As her fist went flying out, a strong hand gripped her wrist and held her still. She squirmed and thrashed under the shadow's hold, crying, ready to scream for the guards, when suddenly she paused, recognizing the scent that had slowly been filling the air around her. Breathing in deeply, taking in the scent, Kahlan sighed and relaxed, letting the tension out of her body. The fear and terror evaporated as he released her wrist, letting her arm fall down to the mattress.

Kahlan silently watched as the shadow moved away, closing her eyes and flaring her nostrils, smelling him as his movements stirred the air. It had been too long since she had smelled this scent and she wanted to do nothing but bask in the brilliance of having it surround her. She heard the click of flint against stone and sparks lit up the room as he ignited a fire within the hearth. As the orange glow drifted across the room, Kahlan's eyes wandered around, coming to rest on two glorious brown orbs that gazed down at her.

"Richard…," she murmured his name, as he climbed up on the bed, and loomed over her.

Her breath caught in her throat when she noticed his chiseled bare chest. As he continued climbing up on the bed, Kahlan let her eyes slink further south, and a small smile formed on her lips when she saw the rest of him, immediately knowing why he had come to her. And… and he still desired her, even after what had happened, after she had been soiled and ruined.

"I… Richard… I'm so sorry—"

"Shh," he placed a finger on her lips and silenced her. His voice was like a calming wave that brought her peace. "You have nothing to apologize for, Kahlan. Nothing. Tonight is about us. We've waited so long… long enough. It is time for this union to truly be consummated in the way it was meant to be. And besides… I have a promise to keep, don't I?"

Kahlan's eyes fluttered with anticipation as she nodded, remembering the promise he had made to her in Ten Oaks; that he would do much more than hold and kiss her upon their return to Aydindril. Just his smooth voice was enough to cause her heart to beat more rapidly under her breast and her cheeks to flush with arousal. She looked up at her Richard, relishing the look of utter love and devotion that reflected back from his eyes. Spirits, she did not know why she had been keeping him at such a distance for so long. She needed him. She needed to feel him beside her, in her, with her. Richard was everything that she ever needed and she had been keeping him away, prolonging her suffering.

Her lower lip quivered and she bit it, chewing on it as she decided it was time to end her suffering and sacrifice herself to the blissful nirvana that would come from Richard's touch. Her brave and noble champion loomed over her, waiting for her permission to continue, his chest slowly rising up and down as he breathed, his finger remaining on her lips. Tentatively, Kahlan pushed her tongue out between her lips and licked his finger suggestively, pulling it into her mouth to suck on it. Richard watched as she wrapped her lips around his finger as she closed her eyes and tantalized him with her tongue.

As Richard pulled his finger away, Kahlan opened her eyes and looked up at him with big blue eyes, nodding her willingness for him to continue, for this to happen. Kahlan had not known how much she had needed this until the moment his finger had touched her lips. Spirits, she needed Richard to claim her again. She needed to feel his body against hers, feel him inside her, as he made her his, and wash away the vile taint of the other who had tried to claim her as his. Richard was the only man she had ever wanted to touch her and be in her, and now the time had come for their marriage to truly be consummated.

Richard pulled back and gazed down at her with his warm brown eyes. Kahlan shivered, feeling completely exposed and vulnerable under his gaze, almost paralyzed. But it was not a terrifying feeling. It was something she relished and enjoyed, watching as his eyes stared deeply into her as they shared a million conversations in the blink of an eye, each making up for lost time, apologizing, ready and willing to reconcile and simply be with one another.

Slowly, at first, his hands reached out and tangled in her hair, brushing it back to expose more of her delicate features. His fingertips traced her jaw, skimming over her pale skin, leaving a tingling sensation in their wake. It was almost as if he was touching her with magic, magic that made her whole body tingle with need and desire to become one with him.

Her breath started to come in ragged pants as his hands dropped from her face and slowly began to undo the strings lacing up the front of her nightgown. Chest heaving, cheeks flushing with arousal, Kahlan panted softly as he freed her breasts from the constraints of her nightgown. Chewing on her lower lip, she watched in rapt attention as his hands descended upon her soft creamy flesh, his touch eliciting a moan from her lips. Kahlan arched her back, pushing up into him as he lowered his head into her chest, running kisses down the crease between her breasts, his hands continuing to massage and tease her skin. Spirits, she loved the feel of his hands on her. Only he could call up such sensations in her body.

Kahlan had trouble concentrating as his mouth moved over her soft creamy flesh, blazing a trail of wet kisses across her breasts. Her lips trembled and she moaned his name, wondering why she had locked herself away when she could have been with him all this time, experiencing the peace and bliss he always brought her. Blinking, she watched as one of his hands drifted away from her breast to continue unfastening the rest of the laces that held her gown closed.

He raised his eyes and looked up at her, resting his chin between her breasts. His eyes sparkled with desire and love and Kahlan was again left breathless by the complete and utter devotion she saw in his eyes. It was true, even if she had wanted to confess him, she couldn't, because he was already completely hers, just as she was already completely his.

"You're absolutely correct, Kahlan," he smiled up at her, his eyes twinkling, as if he had read her mind.

"What?" she gasped, startled that she could find the air to speak.

Without answering her, Richard winked, and backed away, focusing on finishing unlacing her nightgown. Kahlan sucked in deep breaths, her eyes following him, as he undid the last string holding her nightgown together. Shifting over her, Richard's hand came down and ran across her collarbone, then drifted down to run between the crease of her breasts, as he slowly eased the front of her nightgown open, revealing ever inch of her creamy white flesh to him.

Chewing on her lower lip, Kahlan tried to control her panting breaths as she felt her skin burn at his touch, his fingertips dancing down her body to rub her legs and thighs. Before she could gain control, Richard was leaning over her, capturing her lips with his, and kissing her with such a longing and passion that she was left breathless. She squirmed beneath him, smiling into his mouth, as she felt his hand drift down towards her waist. He stopped just above her pelvis and tickled her bellybutton, making her giggle.

"There's my girl," he chuckled, backing away momentarily, only to descend back down on her, kissing her so deeply that Kahlan nearly fainted with glee.

He stopped tickling her and his fingers continued their journey, stopping when he reached smoothed skin where normally he would be met by a small forest of dark curly hair. Backing away slightly, Richard glanced down, his eyes needing to see what his fingers felt. Looking back at her, his brow furrowed.

"What… what happened down there, Kahlan?" he asked, his voice sounding a mix between confusion and amusement, as he took in her smooth skin and lack of any hair between her legs.

Kahlan averted her eyes from his gaze, not wanting to tell him what she had been subjecting herself to. She was slightly ashamed of the ritual punishment she had been putting herself through, but she had felt that she had to cleanse and purify herself of the taint and stain left by her defiler. Richard's other hand broke away from her breast and came up to lift her chin so that she was forced to look into his eyes.


She shuddered and closed her eyes, a single teardrop escaping. His fingers wiped it away; his lips kissed away the heartache. "Oh, Richard…," she whimpered, ashamed.

"It's all right, Kahlan," Richard murmured softly, his moist breath tingling the small hairs on her skin. "I'm here for you… and I'm not going anywhere. I promise."

Opening her eyes and looking up at him, seeing that he was still there, she gave a hesitant nod. He caressed the side of her face with a tender and kind touch that only he seemed to have, and then he leaned down, taking her mouth in his as he kissed her, his lips slowly moving over hers as he continued to move his fingers down between her legs. Kahlan opened her mouth for him, allowing his tongue in. She savored the taste of him and brought her hands up to run her fingers through his unruly brown hair, loving how he only deepened the kiss when she touched him.

Finding her special place, Richard's fingers began to tease her and touch her in all the ways that only he seemed capable of. Kahlan gasped and rolled her eyes back in her head as the pleasure began to ripple through her body. His fingers played with her quivering flesh, stretching her folds and teasing her even more. Kahlan groaned and rolled her hips as she bit down on his lower lip as he continued to kiss her.

"Oh, Richard," she moaned, feeling her insides tingle and grow wet with the anticipation of feeling the man she loved inside her. "I want you, Richard… I want you!"

Backing away and resting his forehead against hers, he removed his hand from between her legs and skimmed his fingertips along her trembling flesh until he reached her breast. He did not squeeze her flesh or tease her, just flattened out his palm over her chest, smiling as he felt her heart quicken with pace at his touch.

"Richard?" she pleaded.

"Yes, my Kahlan," he purred, grabbing her mouth with his before she could respond. Kahlan closed her eyes and moaned into his mouth, feeling her heart flutter with all the feelings she had been missing out on for the past two weeks. His hand drifted down to cup her breast, his thumb teasing her nipple as he parted his lips, allowing her to explore the warmth of his mouth as he had explored hers.

As the kiss grew hotter and warmer, Kahlan trembled slightly, when his knee came between her legs and gently guided them apart. However, it was the tenderness and love of his hand on her chest that stilled her. Opening her eyes, she gazed up into his gaze, as he shifted over her, moving his hands, one holding her face to keep their eyes locked, as the other glided down her side to grip her hip, steadying her still slightly trembling body.

"I love you," he whispered into her mouth as he kissed her. Kahlan's mouth dropped as she felt him move forward, moving past the threshold and pushing up into her.

Her eyes rolled back into her head from the waves of pleasure that washed over her body as Richard moved over her, his mouth constantly sucking or kissing her mouth, neck, or shoulder. The euphoria that overcame her, made her feel useless, but Richard made no complaints as he moved back and forth over her. She managed to roll her hips with his and occasionally was able to buck up into him when he came down, bringing more trickles of ecstasy to ripple through her body, causing her to shudder as she let out gasps of euphoria.

Richard hovered over her, his hands tantalizing her body, as his lips danced across her skin, igniting all the burning passion and desire she had for him. When she reached orgasmic release, Kahlan would have sworn afterwards that the whole world had quaked from the magnitude of it. Richard was so deep within her at the time that her inner muscles squeezed him so tightly that he could do nothing but hold still while her body quivered and tingled with ecstasy.

Coming down from the bliss of her sexual climax, Kahlan was breathless, but not too exhausted that she could not enjoy the moments before Richard's whole body tensed, preparing for his own release. She ran her hands down his back and gripped his backside, digging her fingernails into his skin as she urged him to plunge as deep as possible. She shivered and her chest tightened as she felt him impact her core, causing her to gasp in instant pleasure as Richard released deep within her very depths. His hands grabbed her face and brushed away her tangled matted dark hair, the intensity of their lovemaking having made them both soaked in their own sweat, as he seized her lips with his and kissed her deeply, continuing to spill his seed within her.

Kahlan wiggled with delight and hugged on to him, kissing him back with all she had. Pulling out of their kiss, Richard looked down at her, his smile widening as he leaned back to take in all of her. Catching her breath, she gazed back at him, unblinkingly.

"You're the most beautiful woman I have ever seen, Kahlan," he told her, his voice husky and filled with animalistic desire to simply have her all over again.

Beaming, Kahlan relished the hungry look in his eyes. "Really?" she inquired, arching an eyebrow.

"Oh, yes, really and truly, my Kahlan," he purred, softly tickling the soft flesh between her neck and shoulder as he devoured it with light nibbles from his lips.

Kahlan squirmed and shivered in delight, feeling him stay hard within her. "Are… are you going to make love to me again?" she questioned through panting breaths. His mere touch had stimulated her so much that she was still very much wet and ready for more. Kahlan felt for sure that she would not be sated until they spent the rest of the night and most of the following morning simply making love.

Richard grinned against her neck and backed away, looking into her eyes. "Kahlan, I'd gladly spend my entire life making love to you if you commanded it," he murmured, then grabbed her lips with his, as he kissed her so passionately and fiercely that Kahlan almost forgot how to breathe.

"I love you, Richard," she gasped, backing away to suck in some air.

"And I love you, Kahlan," Richard replied, gripping her jaw in his hand and pulling her back to him. "Always."

Richard had kept his promise, the promise he had made in Ten Oaks, that he would do much more to her than simply hold and kiss her when they got back to Aydindril. He had saved her from the abyss of despair and misery, brought her back from the darkness and into the light. Kahlan could not help but smile with joy as her surprise visitor began to make love to her all over again, leaving her breathless and screaming for more.