Based loosely off the video 'He's Not the Man I Love' at my YouTube.
Kahlan didn't know how long she had been running. It seemed like an eternity, the days and nights blurring into each other. She hadn't slept in days and her body was weak from lack of eating. She didn't have time to stop and rest, to nourish herself. Kahlan's mind was focused on one thing and one thing only: run. Her legs were sore and her body was close to giving out, but each time she heard a rustle in the woods, she forced her limbs to continue forward. The bursts of adrenaline were weakening, her body too exhausted to provide the much needed energy.
If she didn't continue running, Richard would find her.
The day Denna had broken him was the most devastating day in Kahlan's life. The man she loved was now subjected to the will of a monster, a woman who takes joy in giving him pain. Upon breaking him, her first command had been to kill Kahlan. Before being broken, Richard had warned Kahlan that such a thing could happen, that he would rather be her slave than to Denna, begging Kahlan and tightly grabbing her hand and holding it to his throat. She had refused to confess him, now she was reconsidering her decision. Ever since then, she had been running from him.
Richard had become relentless. It seemed as though Denna's command alone fueled him, and his furiously fast pace wore Kahlan down quickly. He wouldn't stop for more than a mere hour, and despite the slight rest, Kahlan was never more than a few steps ahead of him at a time. Occasionally, she was able to hide out in wayward pines - the very trees that Richard had introduced her to so long ago. They provided shelter and safety, but were a sad reminder of the man she had once loved - the man she would never have again.
Kahlan sat in the wayward pine, her body collapsing once she found the shelter. She knew that Richard wouldn't be far behind, sword in hand. She was tired of running from him. Kahlan had never thought that she would be running from the very man she loved, scared that he would run her through with a blade she had helped bestow upon him. She breathed in the scent of the forest as her mind raced, her body falling to the damp floor. Despite her exhaustion, her eyelids wouldn't slide closed.
She had been running for three days. It seemed much longer. Kahlan's breathing was shallow, her body exerting all it's effort to take in air. If she stayed long, she knew she would die at the hands of her beloved.
However, Kahlan wasn't exactly sure she cared anymore. If she were to die by the hands of anyone, she'd prefer it to be Richard. Even though he was under the control of a Mord'Sith, somewhere deep inside he was still the kind and compassionate man who had captured her heart. He had tried to convince her of his love and she had pushed him away, claiming what they felt could never come to be. Kahlan still felt the kiss linger on her lips. Tears began streaming down her face, her body curling into a ball as she sobbed herself into slumber.
Soon, sweet release would be delivered.
Richard stood in the clearing, scanning his eyes around the landscape. He had to find Kahlan. His mistress made certain that he knew his instructions: kill her, at any costs. He was surprised at her endurance, expecting her to fall under his steel long before tonight. At the same time, it was expected. Even though he now belonged to his mistress, he still knew Kahlan like the back of his hand. This knowledge allowed him to seep inside her head, determine her next moves.
Still, Kahlan had managed to evade him time and time again.
He had heard her trampling through the brush, her movements less thought out and more urgent than when the chase had first started. It was as if she knew that he was going to find her. The silence in the woods was unnerving and beginning to fool Richard to believe that she was there no longer.
Yet, he could still feel her presence.
Richard treaded lightly on the forest floor, tracking her steps in the soil. This was the closest in the past three days that he had gotten to her, and he was not about to waste the opportunity to please his mistress. If he failed his mistress, his life was worthless. His eyes surveyed the wayward pines that were scattered along the forest, looking for familiar signs of entrance. He knew Kahlan was in one of them.
His head jerked to the right when he heard a cough, his footsteps light and speedy as they made their way to the sound of the source. As Richard had expected, it was a wayward pine. He removed his scabbard from his belt, holding it in a tight grip as he climbed into the shelter. Richard almost tripped right over his target.
At his feet was Kahlan, curled up in the fetal position, her breathing slow and steady. Richard stepped over her, turning to crouch in front of her form. Her face was tear streaked, dirt matted onto her skin. Her dark hair was messy and tangled. Richard leaned in closer, adjusting his sight to the darkness in the wayward. She had large bags under her eyes, causing a stark contrast with her abnormally pale skin. Her body was slightly shaking, her brow furrowed.
Richard tightened his grip on the sword, slowing pulling it out of it's sheath and cringing when the distinctive sound rang through the air. He warily cast his glance at Kahlan, only to see her stir slightly but resume sleeping. He cursed himself as he placed his sword back in it's containment and let it fall to the ground beside him.
His mistress had given him very strict instructions, and now Richard couldn't muster up the strength to pull his sword from it's sheath. Now that he was in front of her, all his previous feelings were engulfing him, pulling him down into a sea of sorrow. He needed to kill her - letting her live wasn't an option. Letting her live would displease his mistress.
Richard pinched the bridge of his nose as he tried to come up with a solution. Killing Kahlan would put her out of her misery and would please his mistress. The rationalization made sense to him, and now Richard was fully invested in spilling her blood all over the soil she was resting on. He reached for his sword, pulling it out swiftly and letting the sound resonate through the area. Richard gripped his weapon tightly, shifting his weight.
Kahlan let out a breath, "Richard?" Her voice was small but hope was present. Richard's eyes grew in shock as he felt his heart tug at him, urging him to lower his sword. If he was truly broken, why did he feel for this woman still? Why would he be willing to risk it all just to disobey his mistress and let her live? Richard's face distorted as he watched the sleeping form of the woman he had once loved. Then the memories of the night he had tried to confess his feelings for her all came slamming back into him.
She didn't want him.
Richard felt his emotions start running rampant and tried desperately to gain control of them once again. He clenched his teeth as his knuckles became white, his grip on the handle of his sword cutting his circulation. He let out a loud breath as he lifted the steel, preparing to plunge it into her exposed chest. Richard watched the rise and fall of her breaths.
The sword began barreling downward as Kahlan's eyes fluttered open.