Important Author's Note: This is the third (and I swear to god last) installment of The Blood Trilogy. You will be confused if you do not read Blood from a Stone and Son of Blood first.
Full Summary: The war is over. The House of Rahl is complete. An heir is born. But Zedd dreams of the Creator, and Darken is haunted by burning eyes. Jennsen finds herself surrounded by wolves, Kahlan renounces her order, and the beasts created by the Brotherhood of the Gods still roam the land, compelled by lingering spells of control. Unaware, unprepared, they must face an ancient enemy of the light. An older threat than even the Keeper, it will not stop until it has devoured the world. Darken Rahl/Cara, Jennsen/Mord'Sith, Richard/Kahlan, Zedd/OC
Special thanks go to The Betas Three - Ace, Bex, and Melty, who have become part of this world and helped to shape it more than they know. This is the last epic I plan to write for Legend of the Seeker, and with that thought in mind, I dedicate this story to the Darklings at the People's Palace. Without your enthusiasm, interest, and encouragement, I may have never found out what exactly happened to Darken Rahl after he left the Pillars of Creation. I want to specifically acknowledge dorothydeath, evilgmbethy, hrhrionastar, madmguillotine, meridian_rose, serendipity513, and vorquellyn. You guys have shaped the way I see this world through insightful comment, fanart, fanfic, and discussion.
Blood from a Stone and Son of Blood both did very well in the LotSeekerFic Awards, taking Best Original Character for Hali, and 1st and 2nd Place for Best Portrayal of Darken Rahl, among other things. Thank you to everyone who took the time to go out and vote.
The coverart and trailer for this story are available on my profile page.
The characters of Adam, Ivy, and Lexi are cameo spots for adamsfamily, TeamMordSith3, and TinyLexie, who won the Son of Blood review contest.
Warnings: Fantasy violence; sensuality; torture; femslash; brutality. These warnings apply to the entire fic. Specific events are not warned for so as not to give away the plot.
Standard disclaimer applies to this and all chapters. For specific disclaimer, see my profile page.
Cara sat in the window seat of the council chamber, gazing out over the palace grounds. She had finally gotten so large with child that she could no longer wear her leathers. Instead, she wore a simple dress of severe cut in the colors of the House of Rahl. The fabric was very fine, even opulent.
It made Cara feel ever so slightly ridiculous, as if she were once more impersonating royalty.
At least she had convinced the palace tailor to keep the gowns as simple as possible. He had seemed loathe to disobey a pregnant Mord'Sith.
Jennsen hadn't helped. She kept giggling.
Footsteps sounded on the carpet that covered the flagstones. Cara recognized the weight and rhythm as belonging to her husband.
Darken Rahl knelt, placing his hands possessively on Cara's protruding belly.
"You're up early," he murmured.
"Your son woke me," Cara replied, placing her hands over Darken's. She leaned forward, her long blond hair tickling his hands.
"I'll send my sister to help you bind your hair," he said as he lightly traced patterns on her stomach with a finger.
"I really don't need a lady in waiting," Cara pouted.
"Never the less, Queen Cara, you have one," Darken replied, looking up to meet her eyes. He smiled a small, genuine smile, and continued, "You have made me happier than I ever thought it was possible for me to be."
Cara felt tears well in her eyes. She blushed, looking out the window once more as she cursed her uncontrollable sentimentality.
Darken's grin got a little wider. He pretended not to notice her tears.
"Come love, I'll escort you down to breakfast."
Cara shook her head, "I would rather eat here where it's quiet."
Darken stood, inclining his head to her as he turned to leave, "Of course. I'll have a tray sent to you."
He pressed a kiss to her hairline and then was gone.
Jennsen arrived with a tray not long after.
"You're going to get Haden in trouble if you keep giving her the slip like that," Jennsen rebuked. "How is she supposed to guard us if she never knows where you are?"
"I never needed a guard before. I was a guard before," Cara growled.
"Well, before you weren't Queen Cara, and you weren't so close to dropping the heir of D'Hara that everyone panics every time you so much as sneeze!" Jennsen reminded her, not in the least intimidated.
More seriously, she continued, "And we hadn't come so close to losing you and my nephew." Jennsen started to reach for Cara's stomach, and then stopped herself, knowing that Cara disliked for anyone but Darken to touch her in such a way.
Cara huffed, but stopped complaining.
"Do you want me to fix your hair?" Jennsen asked as she set a place for the two of them to eat at one of the large tables in the room.
Sullenly, Cara asked, "Would it matter if I said 'no'?"
"Of course it would," Jennsen chirped. "But you know you'll feel better if I get it off of your neck," Jennsen said reasonably. She realized how frustrated Cara had become with needing help to do things and having others insist on performing the simplest of tasks for her.
Cara sighed again.
Darken strode down the hall, sword at his waist. He was to meet Richard on the training grounds to inspect the troops and discuss plans for encouraging former members of the resistance to join the army.
He was brought up short when Kahlan stepped into the hall coming in the opposite direction.
"Mother Confessor," Darken greeted her.
Her face went tight, but she inclined her head. "Lord Rahl," she said stiffly.
There was a tense silence, both unsure how to relate to the other.
"How long before you return to Aydindril?" Darken asked.
"I had considered staying here for a time… if I would be welcome," Kahlan answered guardedly.
Kahlan nodded to him, then began walking once more.
"Kahlan," Darken's voice stopped her. "I never truly expressed my gratitude."
Once more he was in that forest, waiting for Cara to turn from him forever. Once more his heart pounded with despair as the Mother Confessor looked into his eyes.
Once more her voice rang out, saving Darken from his own past deeds.
A second chance.
Kahlan turned to look at him, her face more open than it had ever been in his presence.
"If you had betrayed me… it is not to be contemplated," Darken said tightly, a muscle in his jaw standing out against his skin. "Name your reward."
A look of shock passed over Kahlan's features before settling into melancholy. She clasped her hands, unconsciously flexing her fingers as she studied her broken nails.
"Come Kahlan, surely there is something you want more than any other."
There was dirt under one of her nails. A black crescent.
"What I want most is not something you can give," she replied quietly.
"Then surely something –" Darken pressed. Kahlan interrupted.
"Just… be good to Cara. Make her happy."
Eyes that could read the soul of a man stared into his heart.
"Be the man that Richard thinks you are."
With that, they went their separate ways.