Four Years Later

Nikolas woke with a start. His entire body was sweating and he shivered as his blankets fell off him, revealing his naked skin. He looked around. He was alone in his bed. He took a breath, trying to calm himself. He hadn't had a dream like that in a long time. He lay back down, trying to forget the future.

"Lord Rahl!" Someone yelled as his door was swung open, it crashed into the wall, and he almost jumped out of bed.

"Yes, what is it?" He asked, he couldn't tell who it was; all he could see was a silhouette.

"We've captured her."

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Cara stormed down the street. It was the middle of the night, and only the criminals and street urchins were out, but none thought to get in her way. She was too terrifying when angry.

She knew the road to their house well, and her feet stomped along faster than they'd ever traveled there before. But she knew she wouldn't be happy with what she found when she arrived.

She slipped quietly into the house, however, and then marched straight back to the bedroom. She slammed the door open, a squeal of surprise greeting her. Moonlight flooded through the open door, revealing the lovers.

"Get dressed, Dahlia. We have work to do."

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Richard stared into the distance, trying to tell if his plan had been set in motion yet. He was worried for her safety, even if he didn't want to admit it. He sighed.

"She'll be fine." The cowl of her cloak hid her face, but Richard would know her voice anywhere.

"I thought I told you to wait with the others?" He reprimanded, though only half-heartedly. He was glad she was there.

The black cloak said nothing for a moment. "I knew you would need a friend." He turned to look at her, and found himself wishing she wouldn't hide her face.

"Do you think it will work?" He asked. When he had been convincing the others he had felt so sure of himself, but now – how could he not worry?

"It's a good plan." Her voice was comforting. It reminded him of another world, "Rahl won't know what hit him." Richard sighed again.

"I only wish I hadn't let four years go by."