Warnings: Torture; mentions of sex.
Summary:Takes place during Eternity and Unbroken, but I'm liberal with the timeline. Cara escapes inside herself while being tortured by Darken Rahl, and is surprised at what she finds. Zedd/Cara


She didn't know, couldn't remember, couldn't pinpoint the moment the wizard started to matter. It was elusive, ineffable, this fragile something between them.

"Cara," a deep, familiar voice called. Not Zedd's voice.

Cara opened her eyes.

She hung from chains, twisting slowly in the air. Darken Rahl's chains. He looked up at her, his blue eyes piercing. Zedd's eyes were not as blue, but they were kinder, and they crinkled at the corners when he laughed.

Was that what it was? Was it that his eyes crinkled? Or was it the aura of power he exuded? Was it the way the air felt heavier around him, as if it knew he was a great wizard, and trembled?

Cara admired power.

Darken Rahl struck her in the side with his Agiel, and she looked down at him. How appropriate it was, that he hung her above while he stood below. In that moment she loathed him as much as she had ever loved him.

"Pay attention," Darken Rahl snapped, and Cara was reminded of Zedd berating Richard for not listening, in his fond, ferocious way. "I know what you're doing," Rahl continued, his breath against her bloodied skin. "You're hiding away, inside your head."

He pressed the Agiel to her flesh again, and Cara's breath hitched, but she didn't cry out.

She sat by the fire, watching Zedd cook. He was a good cook and she had never told him. It was a game that she had never wanted to acknowledge, him trying to please her with his domestic skills.

She had asked him once why he did not simply make a feast appear with his magic. He gave her one of his playful looks, and told her that food always tasted better when made with tender care and even more tender beef. It was bland and tasteless when pulled from the air by his magic, he claimed. She had rolled her eyes at him.

And then he had been ensorcelled, his memory taken and age melted away by the Witch Shota, and Cara had seen the great power of Zeddicus Zu'l Zorander wielded carelessly, lavishly, and she had understood.

Zedd's greatest power lay in having the strength not to use it.

He was a wise man. He was a kind man. When they escaped, he would run his long fingers over her skin, just as Darken Rahl did with the Agiel, but Zedd's would be a touch of healing.

"Richard, Kahlan, and Zedd are my family!" Cara spat at Rahl, in answer to one of his taunts, pulled back into reality.

It was then that he summoned the Sisters of the Dark.

Cara screamed, and she burned, until even her thoughts turned to ash. She closed her eyes and saw only Darken Rahl, and thought perhaps she loved him.

But when they plotted and planned, and yes, had sex throughout the night, Mistress Cara was glad that Lord Rahl wanted the wizard alive. She would kill him, if Lord Rahl asked it.

And something inside her she could not name would die a final death.