A/N This fic was written for a "What If" discussion at Peoples Palace in response to the question: What if Darken Rahl had obtained the power of Confession in "Conversion"?
It's just a fun little bit of speculation about what might have happened if Darken finally got everything he thought he wanted.
"It will take more than Prophecy to defeat me – Richard Cypher."
Darken Rahl's worst nightmare lay sprawled at his feet.
So this was the great Seeker of Truth.
The man sired by Panis Rahl to destroy his oldest son.
Darken had expected his brother to be more substantial.
Instead, Richard had proven to be rather gullible.
Easily fooled by the most basic of spells.
Disappointing, really. Darken would have preferred a greater challenge, but he was not complaining.
The ruler of D'Hara picked up the Sword of Truth, caressing it fondly. The glittering weapon only one of the trophies he would gain tonight. Besting the Seeker at swordplay and magic was gratifying, but paled in significance to what he would obtain before the night was over.
The great and powerful Zeddicus might possess the Third Box of Orden, but soon the cursed Boxes would cease to matter. Although, if events turned out as planned, even Orden would be his.
The icing on the cake.
A fitting metaphor, if a rather irritating one.
The Wizard Giller had been experimenting for months at the Keep of Edron, attempting to harness the power of confession for his master. Although he had perfected an elixir that protected against confession – a significant achievement - the ultimate prize had eluded him.
Because if Richard Cypher lay at Darken's feet, then the Confessor that Giller had strapped down inside the Keep must be the legendary Kahlan Amnell.
Considering the implications of this happy circumstance, Darken spoke to the Mord'Sith who still held the agiel against Richard's throat, "I'm going inside. Bring him."
Striding into the Keep, where Giller, Kahlan and universal adoration awaited, Darken paused. If there was one thing he had learned during the Seeker's pursuit, it was never to declare victory until he could be sure it would not be snatched away.
In a birthday cake.
The puppet show fiasco in Tamarang still festered in his mind.
As much as Darken desired Richard to witness his lover's fate, something might still go wrong if they were in the same room together. Richard and Kahlan's unconsummated love was already the stuff of epic poetry, even though they had been wandering around the countryside for only a few months.
Prudence was called for, and perhaps some artifice. Darken turned back to the Mord'Sith and the guards who attended him, "I've changed my mind. Take the Seeker to the transportation room and guard him well. Take the Sword with you. I will summon you when needed."
Darken stalked angrily into the central chamber of the great Keep. "Giller, I have no time to waste. The Seeker has escaped – again. If he manages to rejoin Zeddicus, it will make things much more difficult for us."
"That's impossible!" Kahlan's voice broke somewhere between relief and betrayal, "Richard would never – just leave." She fought against the leather bindings that imprisoned her.
"Oh, Kahlan, surely you agree that it is wiser for the Seeker to live to fight another day than to stay here and be defeated by the better man," Darken approached her, shaking his head in woe, "Believe me, I'm as disappointed as you are."
He cocked his head as he studied her distress, "Are you upset at being left behind? You more than anyone must understand that a man with a destiny has to look at the big picture."
"Richard is the better man. Have no doubt, he will hunt you down and kill you," Kahlan hissed, although her face was strained by fear and hurt. Richard had never hesitated to put her life first before.
"I think not," Darken's voice was soft, regretful, "by the time you see Richard again, I'm afraid your relationship will be quite changed. You have carried the burden of your powers for so long, Kahlan. After tonight, I will bear it for you."
Her eyes widened in horror as Giller approached with the Shakai'ah.
"Begin, Giller," Darken ordered. The Wizard proceeded with the ritual. It looked quite painful. Darken found the woman's agonized screams disturbing, but comforted himself with the knowledge that, once confessed, she would forget everything at his command.
Kahlan's cries subsided to quiet moans as Giller began the incantation. Closing his eyes in ecstasy, Darken could feel, could almost see, the current of magic as it passed from the bound woman into his body. It pulsed through his veins, her magic mingled with his. Laughing in triumph, he opened his eyes to a world which looked the same, but had changed forever.
Needing to assure himself of his new power, Darken turned to the Mord'Sith guarding the doorway and clasped his hands around her neck. His eyes swirled black as the D'Harans were knocked back against the wall by the force of confession. The young woman sank to her knees, gazing up at him with adoration and pain. "Command me, Confessor!" She would die in a few minutes, but could still perform one more service
Darken prepared for his decisive triumph. The greatest test awaited. "Bring me the Seeker."
"Yes, Master," the woman gasped, lurching out of the room to perform her final task.
Kahlan slumped against her bonds, tears running down her cheeks. "You told me Richard escaped! "she sobbed, " You can't do this. You have no right to do this."
"Is that what your victims said to you before they were confessed, Kahlan?" Darken asked, "Did they beg for mercy? Plead for their families? And, when they did, were you merciful?"
"How dare you compare what I am with what you are!" she said, refusing to answer his question. "I acted out of love, not a twisted thirst for power."
"As do I, Kahlan. I only want to stop this needless, cruel war and bring peace and harmony to my people," he explained calmly. "What better way to convince them than to have the Seeker himself call for the Resistance to lay down their arms?"
Darken began unbuckling the straps that imprisoned the previous Confessor - now merely a beautiful woman.
Her touch no longer a threat to anyone.
Once freed, Kahlan sagged in his arms. A puppet whose strings he longed to yank.
Dropping her unceremoniously onto the nearest bench, Darken chided her," Now keep your eyes open, Kahlan, and try to sit up straight. You don't want Richard to see you in this condition, do you?"
Smiling benignly, he stepped back from her, turning toward the doorway as two D'Haran soldiers dragged an unconscious Richard Cypher into the chamber. Darken gestured impatiently to the remaining Mord'Sith, who stepped over the body of her dying Sister and back-handed Richard across the face. Jerked into awareness, the Seeker looked around frantically, "Where's Kahlan? What have you done with her, Rahl? I swear, if you've touched her, I'll…"Richard's voice trailed off as Darken stepped aside so the lovers could see each other.
"Richard! Richard – what have these monsters done to you?" Kahlan stumbled to Richard's side, throwing her arms around him.
"Kahlan, are you all right – What have these monsters done to you?" Richard struggled feebly against the iron grip of his captors.
Darken watched the tableau with mild interest for a moment before intervening. Things were becoming very maudlin, and he hated sentimentality. Pulling Kahlan away, Darken took her place in front of the Seeker and queried, "Tell me, Richard Cyper, who am I?"
"You are the spawn of the Keeper, the enemy of everything good, the worst tyrant the world has ever known, and I-am-going-to-kill-you!" Richard spat back, once again trying to break free to carry out his destiny.
Darken smiled slightly, but never moved. Without another word, he reached out and, gently, grasped his brother's neck. Once again a silent clap of thunder pulsed through the room and Richard, released from the arms of his captors, went to his knees.
"Command me, Confessor," he gazed adoringly at his Lord.
"Now, tell me again, Richard Rahl, who am I?"
A look of pure worship crossing his face, Richard responded," You are the Lord Rahl, the source of all good, the giver of life, the greatest ruler in history, and the most beloved leader the world has even known. I love you, Master. My life is yours."
Both men ignored Kahlan's quiet sobs. She was no longer important enough to worry about.
Darken's eyes closed in pure bliss. The words were almost as powerful as confession itself.
Moving his hand around to stroke Richard's cheek, Darken assured him, "Brother, from this moment you will serve at my side as a trusted advisor, my closest friend and as a true Rahl. Will you help me quell this pesky Resistance?"
"Yes, Master. Chase Bradstone and others are not far from here, and I will tell you everything about the others. I will kill them all for you."
Darken frowned, "If you convince my people I long only for their welfare, there will be little necessity for more killing. There may be some exceptions, of course," he added, "When do you expect to see Zeddicus again? I understand that he was going to hide something for you."
"Yes, Master," Richard was eager to provide all the details, "Zedd plans to contact us by jouneybook as soon as he hides the Third Box of Orden. "
"Good, "Darken replied shortly. The 'Yes, Master' nonsense was already becoming very annoying. He would order his brother to stop yapping it every time he opened his mouth.
It was beginning to dawn on Lord Rahl that a lifetime of universal peace and adoration might also mean endless hours of boredom spent in the company of brainless idiots.
At least he possessed a rada'han, and could still enjoy the attentions of his Mord'Sith . Mistress Cara would not be intimidated by Darken's new status. He would have to be prepared for sudden amorous assaults. Killing her by accidental confession would be such a waste.
Still, he needed something more.
What was a life of ultimate power worth without a challenge?
Darken's attention pivoted to the woman who had been tiresomely calling Richard's name for the last ten minutes.
The woman who loathed the very air he breathed.
Darken had originally intended to confess Kahlan immediately after Richard. But now the last thing he wanted was to see her glorious hatred transformed into mindless worship.
"Kahlan," he taunted, "You have been so quickly replaced in the Seeker's affections. How can you still love such a man?"
"That's not my Richard," she said mournfully," you've killed my Richard." The sadness in her voice contrasted appealingly with her venomous glare.
It was delicious.
Defeated but still fighting.
For her the battle would never end.
It would be entertaining to see how far he could push her.
As long as he could be certain any child she bore was his, Darken had no problem with sharing Kahlan with his little brother. He rather enjoyed the thought of the three of them together.
She might even learn to appreciate their combined attentions.
But that would take away all the fun.
Darken sighed in contentment.
It was good to be the King.