Richard couldn't stop smiling as the midwife handed him a bawling baby swaddled in a light pink cloth. He cradled the infant in his arms, looking up towards Kahlan.
Although drenched in sweat and red, she was still the most beautiful sight he had ever seen. Her dark hair was matted to her head and she was still panting from the labors of childbirth. Her legs were spread and the midwife leaned up and pushed down on Kahlan's stomach, causing the afterbirth to quickly fall from her body. Kahlan sighed in relief as she let her head fall back against the headboard.
"She's beautiful, Kahlan," Richard spoke softly, the baby already responding to his voice and calming down. "Just like you." He slowly lowered himself on the bed beside her, wrapping an around around her shoulder as she slumped against him, a dirty and sweaty mess. She opened her eyes and looked towards their daughter, a small smile playing on her exhausted features.
"She is." She sighed and lifted a weak hand, touching the thick mass of hair on their daughter's head with her fingertips. "What shall we name her?" She looked up, her bright blue eyes shining. Spirits, he loved this woman. He smiled, looking down at the child.
"Mmm," Kahlan hummed, shifting when the midwife began to clean her. "Gift of love," she whispered, and Richard knew that she would soon be asleep. He smiled. He knew confessors were supposed to have extensive knowledge of languages, but Kahlan had been deprived of that early on. How she had known what the name meant, he did not know. Yet, he was glad she did.
"You are all cleaned, dearie," the old midwife said, looking up to see that Kahlan had already fallen asleep against Richard. He smiled at her and she smiled back, nodding and taking her things out of the room. Kahlan's legs instinctively closed and curled up next to him as she shifted, burying her head into the crook of his neck.
He looked over at Amadora, who looked up at him with startling blue eyes. They were wide and she was looking around the room, her hands trying to escape the cloth that restrained her. When the girl managed to free one of her arms, she stuck it in her mouth, her blue eyes looking so much like her mother's.
Richard shifted, sinking down into the mattress and guiding Kahlan along with him. She stirred and draped a leg over his, her head still buried in the crook of his neck. Amadora took her hand out of her mouth and began hitting Richard's chest, causing him to laugh. The sound no doubt rumbled through his body and he looked towards Kahlan, seeing if she had awoken. She hadn't.
Soon enough, Amadora was fast asleep, her little hand curling back up into the swaddling cloth. Richard smiled, looking between the two most important women in his life before falling asleep.
"It's not possible." Zedd spoke gravely, glaring at Kahlan as if she had given Richard false hope. "The child is dead, it is as simple as that. I hate to be so crude about it, but it is reality."
"No, Richard. This woman has been ignoring you for the past two months and now you wish to blindly believe what she has told you? It is impossible. You said you felt the death, Richard. You said you felt it, that it was icy cold. Now you want to believe that that never happened?" Zedd stood up from the table, slamming his fists into it.
Kahlan looked down, squeezing Richard's hand. "She isn't lying, Zedd. Isn't there a way you could... I don't know, check?" He glared at Zedd as he shook his head and sighed, his gray hair swaying.
"Wizard, check." Cara nearly barked, her hands on her hips. Her gaze was deadly.
Zedd walked around the table, reluctantly placing a hand over Kahlan's stomach. She squeezed Richard's hand tighter and Zedd's brows shot up, his hand lingering over her womb.
"Spirits," Zedd gasped.
"Then it is true?" Richard spoke, hopeful.
"Yes, my boy, but... how?" Zedd looked at him with questioning eyes. "How is that possible? You said the child was dead, you knew it was dead."
"Perhaps in saving me, he saved her." Kahlan spoke meekly, her eyes not meeting Zedd's.
Cara walked over to the old man and punched him in the arm. "You are quite stupid for a man who claims to be a Wizard of the First Order."
"Bags, woman!" Zedd exclaimed, grabbing his arm. "What was that for?"
Cara rolled her eyes and dropped her head back, staring at the ceiling before talking again to him. "Have we not been over this? Need."
Zedd's brows furrowed. Cara scowled.
"Need, dammit! The whole time he was trying to heal Kahlan, I have no doubt in my mind that he needed to heal that child as well. Either the magic healed the child first, or last. The point is, he healed the child."
"Bringing back from death isn't healing, Cara." Zedd spoke, his hand still rubbing the area where she had hit him. Cara clenched her jaw and hit him again, her aim slightly lower than her original target.
"Do not patronize me, wizard. He 'resurrected' her then, does that satisfy you?" She barked and Kahlan chuckled, soliciting a glare from Zedd.
"What exactly did you do, my boy, to heal her?"
"I... I don't know," Richard stammered, trying to recall the events. He knew he should no longer be depressed, but the thought of losing the child was almost too much for him to even dwell on. "I couldn't heal her, so I pressed the nex stone to her stomach, hoping it would do something."
Zedd lifted a finger only to cringe as pain shot up his arm from Cara's hit. "That is it, my boy! The nex stone acts as a death repellent! The child must have had a small amount of life in it for the nex stone to latch on and bring the child from the Underworld." He looked towards Cara, shaking his head and harrumphing.
She punched him in the arm again. Hard.
"Wizard, you are not the only one with magic in this room, do not think you are not expendable." Cara stood next to him, crossing her arms. She was fully prepared to punch him once again.
"The nex stone saved me?" Kahlan asked incredulously, looking up towards Richard. He felt as though she was disappointed that it wasn't him.
"Yes, my dear." Zedd smiled.
"Wrong again, wizard." Cara said, lifting her hand. Zedd flinched and Cara chuckled. "The nex stone only works if it has a life to feed off of: Richard's. The nex stone itself wouldn't have been able to heal her, it was Richard's life and his need," she emphasized 'need,' "to heal the Mother Confessor and their child."
Cara turned, glaring. "But what, wizard?"
Zedd furrowed his brow and crossed his arms as he huffed. "Nothing."
Kahlan and Richard couldn't breathe, they were laughing so hard.
Kahlan awoke in the middle of the night, subconsciously pressing herself into Richard. When she opened her eyes, she saw Amadora's open as well. She smiled. The little girl was the perfect combination of her and Richard.
She had Richard's dark brown hair, which matted the top of her head. However, it held signs of curling, which was an attribute that was hers. Obviously, Amadora's eyes were Kahlan's, but her strong brow was Richard's. She had a small mouth like Kahlan's, but her nose looked more like Richard's.
Kahlan shifted, reaching out a hand to ruffle Amadora's soft hair. The infant mewled softly, popping a hand out of her swaddling cloth and waving it in the air. Kahlan lifted her hand in front of the newborn's face, smiling when Amadora wrapped her small hand around Kahlan's index finger. The little girl smiled a toothless grin.
She eventually rested her hand on Richard's chest, but Amadora's little limb was still wrapped tightly around her finger. It seemed like hours before the restless girl fell back asleep, and the moment Amadora's eyes closed, Kahlan's did as well.
Rachel pressed a hand against Kahlan's stomach, which was growing much more rapidly now.
"My sister is in there!" Rachel squealed, looking up at Kahlan.
Kahlan nodded and smiled. "Yes she is." She reached down and mussed Rachel's hair, causing the girl to giggle and run from her, straight into Richard's arms. He grabbed her and tickled her, wrestling with her on the ground.
"Ahhh! Stop it!" Rachel screeched, futilely trying to get him to stop.
"Never!" Richard smiled, his hands tickling her stomach.
"Richard, you are going to get her all riled up before the ceremony." Kahlan chided with a smile on her face. She turned back towards the mirror, adjusting her hair. She was wearing a blue circlet, which popped against her dark hair. She smoothed the silk gown she was wearing, which was a dark blue. Her pregnancy was quite obvious, but she didn't care. They had waited far too long for this moment.
"Daddy! Listen to mommy!" Kahlan and Richard smiled, happy that the little girl openly referred to them as her parents. "I don't want to look bad for your wedding!" Rachel smiled when Richard dropped his hands, pressing a kiss to her forehead before telling her to run off and get ready.
"Yes, daddy, listen to mommy." Kahlan mimicked with a smile, sliding on the bracelet that Richard had gotten for her so long ago.
Richard chuckled as he came up behind her, wrapping his arms around her stomach. "I always do," he said with a laugh as he kissed her neck. "This day has been long overdue," he said, smiling at her in the mirror. She looked up at the mirror, smiling at him.
"I agree," her fingers ran along the wood. The dress she was wearing had a low neckline, and she felt like her skin was too bare. She sighed, looking at the reflection of Richard wrapped around her. He smiled and kissed her hair before turning and walking off.
Kahlan pulled at the dress, making sure it fit her form comfortably. She wasn't incredibly far in her pregnancy, but her stomach was noticeable. She was slightly distressed when her condition started showing only a few weeks before the wedding. Up until then, she had remained rather small. She had been heartbroken that she would no longer fit in the dress she had so desperately wanted to wear, but Richard reassured her and told her that he found her just as beautiful with a child growing inside her. Then, without her knowledge, he had the dress altered so that it would fit her pregnant state.
She looked up to see him walk back into the room, a brilliant smile on his face.
"And what makes you so happy, Seeker?" She asked, smiling in return.
He walked up behind her. "Lift your hair." Kahlan's brows furrowed but she obliged.
Richard's arms came up around her and a blue necklace was in his hands. Her jaw dropped as he placed it around her neck, clasping it in place. She held her hair up and leaned towards the mirror, her other hand lightly grazing across the jewels. It matched everything else he had gotten her, almost like they had come in a set.
Kahlan turned, dropping her hair. "Richard, you didn't have to," she felt her face blush.
"But I wanted to," he said, kissing her nose. "A beautiful woman deserves beautiful things," he said with a smile, taking her hand in his, lifting it to look at the ring. "Everything seems to go together," his eyes looked towards the bracelet.
"How did you find all these things that match each other?" She asked, smiling.
"Simple," Richard said, straightening his back and smiling. "I just find things that match the color of your eyes."
Kahlan kissed him. She pulled away, her forehead resting against his as her hand rested on the back of his neck, combing through the hairs at the nape.
"Are you ready to get married, Mother Confessor?" Richard asked, the two breathing the same breath.
"Incredibly." She breathed out, letting Richard lead her out of the room by the hand.
The sunlight bathed the bedroom, causing Richard to awaken. He looked down, seeing Amadora's little hand wrapped around Kahlan's finger. The sight caused his heart to warm. This was his family. He frowned, they were missing a very vital part.
As if on cue, he heard a small knock on the door followed by soft footsteps. Rachel was walking cautiously around the bed and stood awkwardly at the end, her eyes darting between the three of them.
"Rachel, come meet your little sister," Richard whispered, not wanting to wake either of the women he had in his arms.
Rachel walked slowly up beside Richard, leaning over to look at the sleeping baby.
"She's pretty." The girl stated, looking up at Richard. He nodded.
"Yes, very pretty, just like you." He smiled and she started giggling. Kahlan began to stir in his arms and Rachel froze, a horrified expression on her face. She stared as Kahlan opened her eyes, groaning softly.
"Hello Rachel," she yawned, squinting at the sunlight pouring into the room. "I see you've met your little sister." Kahlan began to sit up, grimacing slightly. Richard figured she still felt pain from the previous nights childbirth. He pushed himself up, leaning his back against the headboard. Kahlan sat next to him and he draped an arm around her.
Rachel nodded. "She's pretty."
Kahlan smiled. Rachel moved to get on the bed but Kahlan held out her hands, looking at the sheets underneath her. "Spirits, this bed is filthy! You let me sleep on this, Richard?" She gaped, smacking him lightly with the back of her hand. "This is disgusting," she moaned, clenching her eyes shut.
"You had already fallen asleep, I didn't wish to wake you." He smiled at her but she shook her head, looking absolutely horrified.
"I gave birth on these sheets, Richard. That is beyond... spirits! I'm filthy!" She pulled away from him, hurriedly getting off the bed. Richard laughed. Kahlan scolded. "Disgusting! Richard, get off the bed!" He laughed even more as he stood up, rocking Amadora in his arms.
Kahlan was already out the door calling for a maidservant. Within moments, the women was back with a bundle of sheets, scurrying to make the bed.
Kahlan stood in the middle of the room, tapping her foot.
"Kahlan," Richard began through his laughter. Kahlan shot him a glare.
"I need a bath," she stated, lifting up her arms and looking down.
"Rachel, why don't you take your baby sister and show Zedd?" Richard kneeled down, holding the sleeping babe in his arms. Rachel nodded and extended her arms, smiling. Richard grinned and placed the young girl in her arms. Rachel beamed at him and began to run out of the room.
"Rachel, walk!" He shouted, leaning to the side to watch her skid to a stop and begin walking very slowly throughout the hallways. He smiled. "She is going to be a great big sister."
Kahlan smiled and nodded. Richard stood up, walking over to Kahlan. The maidservant hurried out of the room.
"You do need a bath," Richard teased, walking up slowly.
"Cypher, you stop it right now." Kahlan said, taking a step back and lifting her hand.
"Stop what?" Richard said, grinning.
"Tssk, tssk," she scolded mockingly. "I just gave birth, we can not do that of which you are thinking."
"I have no idea what you are talking about," he smiled, taking a step forward.
"Richard..." Kahlan cursed when her back hit a wall. Richard began to close in on her and she made a dash for it, attempting to run to the door. However, Richard was quicker and snaked an arm around her waist, spinning her around to face him.
"Oh no you don't, Seeker." She tried to pry his hands off of her to no avail. Kahlan sighed and relented, letting her arms fall to her side as Richard pulled her closer until their noses bumped. "Before long, we will have another one to take care of." She said, looking up through her lashes.
"That is what I'm betting on," Richard smiled, leaning down to kiss her.
"Wizard, leave her alone!" Cara chided from the opposing end of the room.
"Cara, stay out of this!" Zedd shouted back, returning his attentions to Kahlan.
Kahlan rolled her eyes. "Can I go?" Her hands rested on her swollen belly and she felt as though she would explode at any minute.
Zedd laughed and shook his head. "No, my dear. This is fascinating, you should know about it." Kahlan sighed and let her head fall back. "You and Richard's child could be very, very different."
Kahlan raised and eyebrow and Cara shot him a glare. "Is this news, wizard? He isn't confessed, that in itself should make the child 'very, very different.'" Kahlan laughed and Cara walked forward, leaning against the table and staring at him.
"I told you to stay out of this, pest!" Zedd teased. Cara rolled her eyes, lifting her hand and waving it as though she were about to hit him. Zedd looked at Kahlan. "Your magic didn't claim him, hence, your child could be very different."
"Is that not what I just said?" Cara gawked. Kahlan chuckled.
Zedd ignored her. "Confessors generally only have girls. The magic is said to corrupt males, and males, when born, are ordered to death. However, that was always when the mate was confessed. Perhaps, without your magic coursing through Richard's veins, the effect would be different on a boy."
Kahlan stared openly. "Zedd, I am very irritable right now. If you have a relevant point, will you please make it?"
"Maybe, just maybe, your power wouldn't corrupt the boy. I read somewhere," he gestured towards the books that surrounded him, "that the mate's confession has a vital role in what will happen if a boy is born. Confession overtakes everything in the man's body, including his seed. Somewhere..." Zedd trailed off, thumbing through books.
Kahlan sat impatiently.
"Wizard!" Cara snapped.
"Oh, sorry, anyways, it says that since the seed is corrupted by the magic of the confessor, it adds an extra element to the... let's say, recipe of the child. An extra element to the magic. Richard doesn't have that element, he has one of his own in regards to his own magic. I'm not sure how that would work..."
"Confessors bearing male children is very rare, Zedd." Kahlan patronized, pushing herself off the table and gaining her balance. "I will enlist in your help if Richard and I ever produce a boy, alright?" Zedd nodded and Kahlan walked off.
"What was that all about?" Cara asked, spinning a seat around and sitting in front of him.
Zedd mumbled, burying his head in his books.
Rachel ran up to Zedd, the small bundle in her arms. The old man rushed over to her.
"Is this the little miracle?" Zedd let his withered fingers graze across the babe's cheek. "What did they name her?"
"Amadora." Rachel stated, rocking the girl in her arms.
"Gift of love," Zedd smiled, shaking his head. Oh, those two. He reached out his arms, asking permission from Rachel to hold the child. She obliged, handing him the small girl, who started crying once she was in the old man's arms. He laughed and began making incoherent noises, causing the little confessor to laugh and babble.
He sat down with Amadora cradled in his arm as he began rummaging through yet another book. His eyes settled on a page, a page he read all too often. He looked up at Rachel, smiling at her.
"Are you ready to be a big sister?" He asked and she nodded furiously. Zedd smiled and reached out a hand, ruffling her hair. He looked up as he saw Richard and Kahlan come into the room, both freshly cleaned. Kahlan's cheeks were a bit flushed and Zedd narrowed his eyes, shaking his head.
"What!" Richard exclaimed, lifting his hands. "We didn't do anything, I swear!" Kahlan giggled and Richard made a face at her before assaulting her with quick kisses. He walked over to Zedd and he lifted up Amadora, letting Richard take the child into his arms and walk back towards Kahlan.
There were two chairs on the other side of the room, along with a small table. Richard and Kahlan sat in the chairs, Richard cradling the baby as Kahlan leaned over, letting the babe grab ahold of her hand. Rachel scurried over and sat on top of the table. It was the perfect picture of a family.
Zedd looked towards the page that he had memorized.
"Two paths meant to meet accompanied by two hearts that were never supposed to intertwine; the union of the one in white and the bringer of death will cause the rivers to run red and the sky to turn black. An unlikely occurrence will cause a war that will tear the world apart."
His finger moved along the words.
"If the one in white and the bringer of death do what is necessary, the world will be saved but they will be doomed."
He looked down, towards the lengthier and more devastating paragraph.
"If the one in white and the bringer of death refuse to do what needs to be done, the world will be doomed to perish. A life will be taken that will shatter the opposing, nature will fight itself, death will run rampant. As a defense, the magic will turn vile, eliminating all around it. When the union shatters, the Keeper will rule all."
Zedd hated prophecies. Especially forked ones.
- THE END.