Summary: Darken Rahl -The First Advisor- meets Cara -The Young Widow- in the episode "Unbroken". Will the spark lit...again?

Chapter 1: Have we met before?

"Where are you going, Darken?", Richard asked his elder brother, smiling, when he saw him ready to leave the palace. Darken turned to face his brother, and then he smiled and said, "I will just go for a walk".

"And what about all those big tasks that you have as lord Rahl's first advisor? Have you forgotten that we have a meeting today?" Richard said, still smiling. He liked teasing his brother.

"What meeting? Did we...Oh, that's right. We have a meeting today. How did I forget such an important meeting?" Darken said, surprised that he did forget it. It was indeed a very important meeting where Richard -as Lord Rahl- would meet with the governors of the towns of his kingdom.

Richard looked seriously at Darken and said, "What's wrong, Darken? You don't look fine".

"I am fine, brother. I just forgot that we have a meeting today. That's all. It is no big deal." Darken said, trying to smile and look indifferent.

"It is not just about the meeting, Darken. I have noticed that you have been distracted in the past few days", Richard said worriedly.

"I told you, brother. I am perfectly fine. Maybe it is the load of work", Darken tried to assure him.

Richard looked at his brother, suspicious, but then he smiled and said, "Then I guess you deserve that walk. Let us finish that meeting, then you can go for your walk, and if you want, you can take a few days off and travel to another place, clear your head and restore your energy, then come back as fresh as new. You deserve some rest, Darken". Richard was sincere in his offer. Since he became "Lord Rahl", Darken has been helping him with everything concerning the ruling of the kingdom. He was really helpful, honest and supportive.

Darken laughed and said, "My condition is not that bad, brother. I guess the walk will be enough...for now". Darken liked calling Richard "brother". He rarely called him "Richard".

It was midday when the meeting began. It took a long time to listen to every governor describing the state of his town, and to discuss all the problems and find an appropriate solution. Richard was willing to end this meeting successfully, and he got what he wanted. The meeting was a success, with the help of Darken, of course. After the governors left the People's Palace, Richard turned to his brother and smiled, "Now, get out of here".

"Excuse me?", Darken asked, surprised.

"Get out of here. Leave. Go somewhere else where you can be less tense. Have that walk that you wish for. Get some fresh air and then you can come back. Don't worry, I will let you in". Richard laughed.

Darken was about to protest but he couldn't help it. He really needed to have some time away from all of that; from the palace, from the duties and the tasks. Eventually, he complied. He walked through the palace's door and headed towards the stable. He rode his favourite horse and headed towards the main gate of the palace.

"Finally", Darken said as he crossed the gate and decided to go to the forest. He felt free. He couldn't believe that he felt relieved for leaving the palace and everything behind. He couldn't believe that a day would come when he would wish to stay away from all his responsibilities and hope to have a normal day. He was a little surprised of himself; a year ago, he was lord Rahl, but now he wanted nothing more than leaving everything behind and walk away.

Once he reached the forest, he slowed down and got off his horse and started walking. He wanted to enjoy every second in that silence, in that green beauty. He kept walking until he reached a vast land; just a small house in the middle with a few small trees around it. At the small garden of the house, two children were playing together; they were playing "Hide and Seek". Darken approached the house until he could see the whole house clearly. He said nothing; he just kept watching the little boy searching for his sister. Darken could see where the girl was hiding, and it didn't take long till the boy found his sister. The children kept laughing and running while Darken kept watching them till he decided to approach the gate. The children saw him before he reached them. They kept watching him until he reached the gate, he looked at them and smiled, "Good afternoon, children". They kept looking at him, and then the girl said, "Good afternoon".

Her brother looked at her angrily and said, "What are you doing, Ashley? Mother told us not to talk to strangers". Darken looked at the boy and said, "But, I am not a stranger". The boy looked at him for a few moments then said, "If we don't know you, then you are a stranger". Darken looked at the boy with admiration. The boy wasn't afraid of him, but at the same time the boy was talking politely.

Then, the front door was open and a woman stepped out of the house. She was blonde, her hair was long, her eyes were grey; shiny grey. Once she saw her children standing with a stranger, she ran towards them, "You, what are you doing here? Why are...?" She stopped when she got closer to Darken. She looked at him narrowing her eyes and so did he, then she looked at her children and said, "Go to play". The two children looked at their mother for a moment then left to continue playing. When she looked back at him, she found him still looking at her. He kept doing that before he said, "I'm sorry for the inconvenience, I was just watching your children playing...they are your children, right?". She took a moment to answer, "Yes, they are".

He kept looking at her eyes in a way that made her feel confused, so she asked him, "Is there anything I can help you with?" He flinched momentarily and said, "No...yes, would you give me some water, please? I ran out of water", he was lying, but he for some unknown reason, he didn't want to leave. She said, "Yes, of course. Johnny, go and get me some water". Johnny appeared from behind the house and said,"Yes, mother", he said. Darken looked at the girl, then back at the mother and said, "Your children are lovely". She smiled and said, "Thank you". Johnny returned back with a jar of water and handed it to his mother. "Offer it to our guest, Johnny". Johnny stretched his hand to Darken who took the jar from him and said, "Thank you". Johnny went to play with his sister while Darken drank some water and then looked at her and said, "Your son is brave. He scolded his sister because she talked to me while she doesn't know me", then he gave the jar back to the woman and said, "Thank you... I shall leave now".

He turned to leave. He walked a few steps then he turned back and said, "May I ask you a question?". She silently nodded. "Do we know each other?", he asked. She smiled to him and said, "Of course I know you. You are Darken Rahl, former master of D'Hara, and first advisor of Lord Richard Rahl". He said, "No, I don't mean that. I mean, do we know each other personally? Have we met before?". She looked at him suspiciously and said, "No". He opened his mouth to ask another question but he stopped, his eyes were locked on the little girl, Ashley; she walked towards the axe that was lying on the ground and was about to hold it when Darken screamed, "DON'T".

The woman looked behind her back. She gazed at her daughter for a few moments then she screamed at her, "How many times did I tell you, both of you, not to touch that axe?" Ashley looked at the ground and said, "I am sorry, Mama".

"Go to your room, both of you, and don't leave without my permission". The children ran into the house while she turned to face Darken, "Thank you very much". Darken smiled at her and said, "I did nothing. Thanks the creator, she is fine. You shouldn't let your husband leave the axe at the children's reach". She looked at him, surprised, "My husband? I am not...I am a widow and as you see I have to do everything myself including taking care of my children". Darken felt sad for her; she was a single mother, she had a lot of responsibilities and she had no one to help her. "I am sorry. I didn't mean to... I shall leave now. Thanks again for the water, Miss...".

"Cara. My name is Cara", she said.

"Thank you, Miss Cara. Have a nice day", he said, smiling.

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