This is the companion piece to Wedding Eve - The Bridge of Time

Title: Wedding Eve - Love's Fool
Inspired by: Love changes Everything
by Andrew Lloyd Webber
Up through the beginning of Reckoning
Before his wedding to Kahlan, Darken reflects on how his victory has rung hollow, and how he has changed.

Love changes Everything.
Love changes everything:
Hands and faces,
Earth and sky,
Love changes everything:
How you live and
How you die

Can make the summer fly,
Or a night
Seem like a lifetime.

Yes, Love,
Love changes everything:
Now I tremble
At your name.
Nothing in the
World will ever
Be the same.

Love changes everything:
Days are longer,
Words mean more.

Love changes everything:
Pain is deeper
Than before.

Will turn your world around,
And that world
Will last forever.

Yes, Love,
Love changes everything,
Brings you glory,
Brings you shame.
Nothing in the world
Will ever be the same.

Into the world we go,
Planning futures,
Shaping years.
Bursts in, and suddenly
All our wisdom

Makes fools of everyone:
All the rules
We make are broken.

Yes, Love,
Love changes everyone.
Live or perish in its flame.
Love will never,
Never let you
Be the same.

-Andrew Lloyd Webber

Wedding Eve – Love's Fool

Darken Rahl had no memory of being loved or of giving it. He must have had a mother once who might have loved him, but he had always held the uneasy suspicion that his vague memories of her were built more on wishful fantasy than reality.

From the days of his earliest infancy Darken's father had viewed him with hatred and fear, already influenced by the prophecy of his inevitable evil.

The only reliable source of affection in Darken's life had been General Egremont, who, in his gruff, understated way, had tried to act as a buffer between Darken and his father, and later, after Panis Rahl's death, had continued to serve as a loyal and unflappable sounding board for Darken's ideas, strategies and occasional tantrums.

Mistress Cara might have cared for Darken, he wasn't really sure. After all, as a Mord'Sith, serving him was her sworn duty. He did know that she had loved Dahlia, probably more than she had ever cared for him. And now, she was dead and gone, just as was Darken's brother, the Seeker of Truth.

No. Love was a weakness Darken could not afford. From everything he had seen, it brought only pain and humiliation in its wake.

At West Granthia, Darken had been exultant, claiming the Mother Confessor as his own. She was his prize, his well-earned reward for all the years spent fearing the brother who had been conceived for the sole purpose of killing him.

Ever since Darken had seen Kahlan in the Con Dar, Darken had been enthralled by Kahlan Amnell's beauty and fire. The fact that she had been doing her utmost to kill him over the past year made her only more irresistible.

He liked spirit in a woman.

When Kahlan had first spurned Darken's proposal of marriage, he had been unfazed. Now that he held all the cards, as well as the Sword of Truth, he could afford to be patient.

Once she had been brought before him a few days later, worn and bedraggled, her hair a tangled mess, her beauty still undimmed, Darken had readily agreed to all of her terms – most of which he had already offered during his initial proposal.

Her only obligation was to be his wife in every way.

When Kahlan had coldly informed him that she would always despise him, Darken had only shrugged. Perhaps she would, perhaps she wouldn't. It really didn't matter. She belonged to him now.

She would stand at his side, bear his heir, and reflect his glory.

But things were not turning out as he had planned.

As the wedding day approached, Darken was coming to understand that he did not just want to possess Kahlan's cold unresponsive body in their marriage bed. He wanted her heart and soul as well.

Darken wanted Kahlan to give freely to him what she had once given to his accursed brother.

Darken wanted her to love him, even though he wasn't even sure of the meaning of the word. He knew that there was a part of him that was starved for lack of warmth, tenderness, gentleness – qualities he had never experienced and once had scorned.

But how could Kahlan, his reluctant bride, the prisoner shackled by the Raha'han around her throat, ever feel any of these things for him? How could she feel anything for Darken but hatred?

Darken found himself wanting to unburden himself to her, to pour out all of his transgressions and regrets that had dogged him over the years. But what would have been the use?

Kahlan already knew his transgressions all too well, and he was certain that she would never be interested in the secrets of his heart.

Any time Darken did attempt to speak with his bride-to-be, her eyes would go dead, her features hardening into an expression of disgust.

One week before the wedding, Darken had swallowed his pride and ventured into her sitting room, determined to actually try to converse with her – to ask about her childhood, to share his own; to try to find some common ground between them. Before the first words had left his lips, he knew it was hopeless. Kahlan had only looked past him blankly, assuring him that she had no interest in how he had become a monster, and informing him that she would fulfill all her duties as his queen – nothing more and nothing less.

He had left feeling like a fool.

Darken hated this feeling of being at the mercy of another person's regard.

He hated the fact that despite being a king, this woman could make him feel so worthless.

Every effort to please was wasted on her.

Darken knew now that Kahlan would always love only Richard, and that if, and when, she ever called out a name in the night, it would not be Darken's name.

It pierced him to the heart he had always believed to be impervious to emotion.

But what surprised Darken the most, as the wedding approached, was that none of this mattered as to his feelings for her. He would accept the pain, would not give up trying to win her, would acknowledge her grounds for disdain despite the humiliation.

His growing feelings for Kahlan had destroyed all the certainties Darken had once held true, the rules that had always governed his life.

She had changed his world completely.

Tomorrw was the wedding day that Darken had once hoped would bring him everything he had ever wanted. He knew now that it would only be a beginning, and that there would probably not be a happy ending.

He only knew that whatever happened between them during their marriage, even if Kahlan hated him for the rest of his life, Darken had, against his will, been changed forever.