We are fine, we have been in Westland for over two weeks and it appears we've found ourselves in an odd quandary. Our "Guide" is taking us the rest of the way to South Haven. Long white hair, swordsman, defeated six gars all by himself, he's unreal, and we're very skeptical. I'm writing to ask if there are any books that mention a magical sword other than the Sword of Truth that harms the wielder with magic that is similar to the Agiel?
Kahlan settled onto her bed roll feeling the warmth of the fur lined cloak Richard had given her and waited for the response to her message in the Journey book. The caves cool interior had begun to heat from the fire built in a circle of small stones in the center. She sighed feeling the heat reflecting off the stone walls and flicking the stylus in her hand tapping it to the timing of the crackling of the flames. Cara lay on her bed roll across from her nibbling the cooked venison off a small bone.
"So, Mother confessor," Cara started, "Shall we torture him, or do as Lord Rahl does and ask him questions until I'm bored and then we torture him?"
Kahlan chuckled to herself. "Slow down there, blondie." She said, slightly emphasizing the nickname that Chaylan had given her. "We need to get to South Haven without leaving a trail of bodies in our wake."
Cara huffed to herself rolling her Agiel along her fingers, "I see, but a sister of the Agiel would be more inclined-"
"To what Cara? To torture a man who seems to be more than he is for answers to questions that we have no business asking? There are creatures of magic in this world that keep their magic close, never revealing its purpose to outsiders, and it takes time to build trust. The Agiel is not the only way and if Richard were here he would say-"
"That all creatures have a right to their own. Yes, Mother Confessor, I know." Cara finished with the slightest smirk. "I have. I just have-"
Kahlan put the Journey book down next to her backpack looked back at the odd expression that Cara had on her face somewhat torn between confusion and contemplation, "What are you thinking, Cara?"
"I just have this feeling that Lord Rahls disappearance, this Rift, the Guardian, and this swordsman are all linked." She cast her eyes to the fire and stared into it feeling the heat from the flames warm her face.
"That is because they are." Chaylan said pushing himself away from the far wall where he had been leaning quietly. The surprise on Cara and Kahlans faces revealed that they had not heard him enter the cave, nor noted his presence until the moment he chose to reveal himself.
"You always sneak up on unsuspecting travelers in secluded caves?" Cara asked offhandedly attempting to hide the blush in her cheeks. She missed his entrance and for a Mord Sith that was tantamount to dereliction when protecting Lord Rahl. "Are you going to explain yourself, or must we torture it out of you?"
"You shouldn't sneak up on us like that, Chaylan," Kahlan said, slowly waving Cara off who stood at the ready, Agiel flicked up into her hand and a very determined expression upon her face. "You never know what she'll do." The corners of her mouth flicking up into a tentative smirk. "At what point had you planned on telling us that these events were connected? That you were connected?"
He smiled, and eyebrow cocked, "Right now."
"Right now," Cara echoed egregiously, "Right now is as good a time as any, right Mother Confessor?" Cara reclined against Kahlans lap, her head lolling back against Kahlans shoulder placing herself squarely between Chaylan and the Mother Confessor.
"Right Cara, a good a time as any." Kahlan echoed. The two women eyed Chaylan with determined, but deceptively impassive stares like two vultures waiting for their dinner to expire before descending upon it.
His expression remained impassive, but the fire in his eyes told another story. "I do not know about your Lord Rahls disappearance, but the Rift, the Guardian, and the-, well me are all indeed linked." He sat upon his bedroll warming his hands by the fire, laying his sword carefully at his side within arm's reach.
"How?" Kaylan replied, her tone increasingly demanding and authoritative.
"The Rift happened long ago," He said, his voice taking a very solemn tone, "It happened when two worlds became irreparably separated. There was a war between two rival factions and when it was over, the rift had been left as a marker to note its presence. The Guardians had been left behind, but those men have all died."
"Then how are you connected?" Kahlan asked again. Cara stood stock still, Agiel flicking between her fingers watching Chaylan sit next to the fire and stare into the flames.
"The Mother confessor asked you a question that requires an answer," The threat in Cara's tone was unguarded and evident in every syllable.
Chaylan didn't move. He simply stared at the fire and with a voice that seemed to have aged he stated simply, "You are children. All of you."
Cara's Agiel flicked back to her strong hand. She gripped it tightly reveling in the pain that ran up her arm, "Children are we? You hear that Mother Confessor? We're children."
At this point, something about Chaylans demeanor was making Kahlan very uneasy. It wasn't his body which appeared to be entirely relaxed, but it was something about his presence. It was different somehow. She grabbed Cara's elbow and squeezed it softly, "Cara, don't."
Cara was on him in a flash standing over the swordsman, the Agiel pressed firmly into Chaylans neck at the base of his skull. He simply stared up at her, with one eyebrow cocked slightly and that hawk like glare so much like Lord Rahls, but more defining, aged, dangerous. It was as if he didn't even notice the Agiel pressed to his skin. Her surprise was reflected in his eyes when suddenly Kahlan realized the tables had somehow turned. Cara's face screwed up in anguish as the sweat poured off her in rivulets. Cara could feel the pain of the Agiel like a furnace against her skin roaring through her body, the pain barely containable, but from him, Nothing. It was as if her magic was being sucked into a dark vortex, amplified and reflected through the Agiel.
"CARA!" Kahlan yelled, but Cara could not hear her through the absolute white hot painful rush that coursed through every nerve of her body. The pain intensified and seemed to multiply by a million in a split second and the blood curling scream wrested itself from her throat in a shrill shriek as she staggered back falling to her knees retching on the cave floor. Finally as her breathing slowed the pain had begun to subside.
Chaylan just stared at her impassively, then eyed Kahlan who was watching Cara's ordeal in shock. "Children." Chaylan whispered, as if that was the final word while he ripped a piece of cooked venison from the carcass and chewed the meat. "Who taught you to cook, blondie? This tastes pretty good."
Cara's vision blurred as the tears fell from her eyes onto the cave floor, the Agiel swinging by the chain from her right wrist while her left arm shook from the effort of holding her up. Kahlan had come to her side, but she shrugged her off. "I am alright, Mother Confessor." She wasn't but Cara finally composed herself and gave Chaylan a challenging glare, "Lord Rahl taught me to cook, but if you'll excuse me." She got up and staggered through the caves entrance into the night air.
Kahlan simply stared at Chaylan still gnawing at the meat. "What did you do to her?" she asked, more sure of herself than she felt.
"It is as I said. You are mere children, playing at a game you do not understand against an enemy you cannot fathom, with tools far beyond your comprehension that are so immense that you run about wielding a precision instrument like a club slashing and hacking away until you get the desired result not once thinking of the consequences of your mis-strikes." Chaylan now stood before Kahlan. His presence immensely formidable within so small a cave. She placed her bare hand on his forearm.
"Chaylan," Her tone taking on a more authoritative inflection. "I wouldn't-"
"Who are you Kahlan Amnell?" Chaylans voice rose to an inflection of authority not to be disobeyed, his feline grace evident in his posture as his face suddenly became mere millimeters from hers. "Who are you, but a child with no inkling of the power in your hands. A tool of fools who created you out of ignorance and necessity, yet you fail to see."
Cara stared up at the sky the residual tears leaving trails down her cheeks, "Lord Rahl, where are you?" then she felt it and her eyes went wide. Thunder without sound. She darted back through the cave. Kahlan lay on her back slowly pushing herself back up against the cave wall as she watched Chaylan place his hands on the pommel of the sword, the tip of the sheath resting on the stone floor.
Cara moved toward Kahlan, but two steps into the cave she couldn't move anymore. The air became like rock encasing her in a cocoon. Kahlan stared in disbelief as she kept backing up against the wall making her way to the Cave entrance. The fear mirrored on her face more resolute than it had been before.
"You-, You-" Kahlan repeated, the sound so small and childlike from her own lips.
"Now!" Chaylan spoke in a calm, yet fatherly manner. He could tell that at this moment, it was crucial to keep his calm lest dealing with these two women become like trying to bath saber wolves in a river. "Are we ready to listen?"
Cara could feel the Additive and Subtractive boiling off him. She could sense the immense power of this one man. Power unlike anything she'd ever felt. It was as if the Sun had literally taken up residence in him, but she also felt something else. Something unique. Something in all her years dealing with magic users she had never experienced. A different kind, no, more like an absence of additive and subtractive, but it was still magic. She felt an involuntary wash of panic coursing through her body. It was like being back in the wizards keep all those years ago with Drefan as he tortured her with rats. The panic coursed through her now.
"You should be." Kahlan whispered incredulously, "You should be-"
"Kahlan," Chaylan whispered with some warmth, "Relax, please. Come sit by the fire," He sat down and waved her over. Cara could not move still encased and immobile.
"Release her," Kahlan pleaded a little more unsure of herself than she sounded. "Release Cara,"
Chaylan glanced in Cara's direction and she felt her invisible prison gradually lessen until she could move more freely. She took a deep breath and reached for Kahlan helping her back to her bedroll. Kahlan had become visibly shaken, her energy drained and her body weakened using her Confessors power.
"I'm alright Cara," she whispered placing a light touch upon Cara's shoulder. Kahlan could feel Cara literally shaking like a leaf, her body trembling under her touch. She pulled Cara to her wrapping her arms around her and interlocking her fingers on Cara's chest. Cara didn't pull away, but settled into the Mother Confessor, her Agiel still held within her grip.
"I should have never stepped outside, Mother Confessor. I should have stayed. I swore to Lord Rahl, I failed…" Her voice was trembling just like her body. She couldn't control it. It sounded weak, uncertain. She could feel the fear and panic threatening to overwhelm her again.
"You didn't fail Cara." Chaylan whispered, "Can a man stand against a Tornado and not be swept up in its power? Can a bird resist a bolt of lightning if struck?" Chaylan poked the embers of the dying fire with a stick before tossing another log into the circle. The flames licking it hungrily before rapidly feeding its hunger and blazing into a roaring warmth.
Kahlan momentarily glanced at the Journey book and noted that Berdine still had not answered the inquiry. She turned her attention back to Chaylan feeling Cara's trembling panic slowly begin to subside. "Who are you?"
Chaylan took a deep breath. "We were refugees travelling through the gateway about eight thousand years ago," His voice took on that of a storyteller, "We were trying to escape from our world to this one. Our best astronomers had found it by chance and we set to work building a gateway to reach it." He cleared his throat, taking a drink of mead from a pouch. "There are many worlds that are focal points for Magic, but this world lies on a ley line that is on one of three main vertices of the Cosmic Grace." He stared at their blank expressions denoting a lack of comprehension.
Cara's wide eyes and curiosity belied her initial fear, "So, what does that mean?"
"Yea," Kahlan echoed, "What does that mean?"
Chaylan sighed, "Children." The women's faces changed from confusion to disapproval, but he continued speaking. "It means, that this world is literally a conduit for magic. For instance, the Creator uses magic to maintain the position of large areas of celestial objects in relation to one another and its purpose is to either attract, or oppose the forces in the cosmos so as to maintain balance among all celestial bodies."
"So what about the worlds that have no magic?" Kahlan was referring to the world that Richard had sent his half siblings to. Born without any trace of magic, a side effect of children of the Rahl line due to the price of the magic of the Bond that Lord Rahl had with his people.
Chaylan sat in silence for a moment collecting his thoughts, "Each world in our Universe is affected by the energies that exist, but magic is unique, because it governs the changes in those energies and in how celestial bodies relate to one another."
"You're saying It sort of manages the ebbs and flows of those energies" Kahlan said expounding on her thoughts, "and governs what enables life to exist. Richard spoke of the power of the Grace and how it's used to keep the balance of life and death in check."
"That is the gist of its purpose," Chaylan replied, "But it is much more than that. The universe to you and I is practically infinite. Many worlds exist and very few of them are aligned with the vertices of the cosmic Grace, but this world and the one I came from are two such worlds." He paused waiting for Cara to correct him, but she remained quiet, listening with rapt attention. "The worlds without magic are farthest from the ley lines and vertices of the cosmic Grace. There, magic exists, but in such infinitesimal amounts that it only governs the energies that maintain balance on that world."
Kahlan took a deep breath as she felt nothing more from Cara than the slow rise and fall of her chest, but she felt so much smaller than before. She had not forgotten that this man had been touched by her power and yet remained untouched by it. Nothing like that had ever happened before, and that created an uncertainty within her that she dared to face. "You were touched by my confessor power. I don't understand."
"Hold out your hand," Chaylan replied in a much more instructive tone. "It's ok, I will not harm you." He held up his hand and within his palm grew a red and blue orb of lightning crackling with magical energy. Kahlan stared at it in awe as she watched it grow in intensity and with some trepidation as Cara looked on in awe she held out her hand. Chaylan flipped his hand over hers and she felt the power coursing through her hand into her arm and into her chest till it reached the place where she had always felt it combining with her power. What was left of her strength rapidly returned as she stared wide eyed at his empty hand.
"Mother Confessor?" Cara asked with more worry in her voice than she would have liked to appear. "Are you-"
"What just happened?" Kahlan stammered, "What?"
"I have returned to you what you had given to me." Chaylan replied staring back into the firelight.
Cara just stared wide eyed at the exchange. "You had no magic. I would know, I would feel."
"You sense only what I allow," Chaylan said matter of factly looking directly at Cara. His gaze drifted to Kahlan, "Your power. It has been returned to you." he placed both hands before him as if to pray and bowed his head slightly.
"But how?" Kahlan whispered, "How did you?"
The silence seemed to permeate the stillness inside the cave, Cara finally spoke, "We're children Mother Confessor. We're blind and deaf bumbling around in the darkness leaving nothing but destruction in our wake. We stand in a room barely able to see beyond our own noses, but Master Chaylan is not. He hears and sees things we cannot. He is a Wijarda."
"What did you say?" Kahlan and Chaylan both said in perfect unison.
"Wijarda," Cara repeated, her eyes glassy. "When I was connected to Legate Rishi through his magic I had brief glimpses into the Temple of the Winds. Words sometimes come to mind," Her eyes became glassy and distant. "Wijarda were the first to come to this world. To hide, to rebuild, to rebel against the one, the War Wizard."
Fear started to rise from deep within Kahlan threatening to overtake her. "War Wizard." She gasped, "Richard."
"No," Cara whispered, her voice carrying the same tenor and inflection that she had used so long ago, "Brandus, War Wizard Brandus,"
Chaylan clamped a hand over her mouth, "Silence Cara." His voice carried a soothing power that belied the urgency mirrored on his face. Kahlans wide eyed fearful expression spoke volumes as she watched Chaylan's fear flicker across his visage for a mere instant, "She is caught in the grip of the magic. It's like sending out a beacon. He'll pick up on that across worlds, the tendrils of magic that will carry his name back to him will allow him to locate us. We are not ready."
Cara quieted and finally closed her eyes slumping back into Kahlans shoulder. Chaylan nodded and picked up her slumbering body, Kahlan cradling her head in her hands as she was placed on her bedroll.
"Who is this War Wizard?" Kahlan stared at Chaylan appraising him differently. No longer a youthful swordsman, but an ancient wizard capable of unimaginable power. She looked down at the Journey book where a reply began to form on the opposite page.
"Another story for another time in a safer place, My lady." Chaylan replied. Now we must prepare. I fear we will be hunted soon."
"By what?" Kahlan replied, the worry returning to her voice. "What will hunt us?"
Chaylan took a deep breath and sighed heavily. "So it begins," He whispered to no one in particular then he stared directly into Kahlans eyes. "Wergris, or their descendants at the very least."
"What are Wergris?" Kahlan asked as her own panic started to overtake her, "I've never heard of Wergris."
"They were once men, then they were combined with beasts, mostly wolves and bears. Most have died out, but their descendants still remain. They're spirits are tied to the underworld so they can hunt by the sound of their victims heartbeats."\
Kahlan Gasped and suddenly, she heard the blood curling howl of heart hounds somewhere in the distance.
"It begins. Stay here and don't make a sound." Chaylan said resigning himself as he stepped outside unsheathing his sword. Kahlan heard him mumble the word "Children." Under his breath when he had crossed the threshold.