They stood on the edge of the cliff, watching as the rifts below were sealed shut and ended the Keeper's terror. Her hands rested on her stomach, just above his as he held her against him. His breath warmed her cheek, his head leaning against hers as he closed his eyes against the view. It was the first time since she had agreed to marry him that they were alone and he didn't want to waste it looking at something else. He could practically see the smile on her lips as their child moved within her, he couldn't stop his own as it pulled strongly at his lips.
"We should move somewhere warmer."
"They're not closed yet," she replied with a soft laugh.
"They'll close without us."
Turning her head, she grinned. "What did you have in mind?"
"We could lay by the fire."
Her forehead wrinkled in confusion. "With Cara and Zedd?"
Wrapping his left arm around her waist, he lead her away from the edge of the cliff. "We can make our own."
"I need to speak with Zedd, first."
"Are you all right?"
"Fine, I just- I'm worried about her." The concern of his face made her smile in an attempt to ease his mind. "She's moving around a lot and it's becoming harder to hold back the magic. I just want to make sure she's all right." Her words didn't comfort him at all. Instead, he hurried their pace down the light path, searching the area around them for his grandfather. She stopped suddenly and closed her eyes, sucking in a deep breath as she grabbed his arm. Giving him a quick smile, she swallowed the pain. "I know what's wrong now. She's coming."
Shaking his head, he moved before her and took hold of her hands. "No, Kahlan, you're not- No, it's too soon."
Nodding her head, she took a step forward, trying to get him to move backward toward their camp. "I don't think she knows that."
She was stronger than any woman he had ever seen. Walking back to camp, she only paused once, taking a moment to catch her breath before hurrying onward. The wizard knew instantly what was happening, the panicked look on his grandson's face instantly capturing his attention. Jumping to his feet, Zedd hurried over to them and helped ease her to the ground, ignoring the Mord'Sith's comment about how nice of the baby to wait until they were alone to decide to be born.
"How long has the pain been present?"
Avoiding the look on her fiancé's face, Kahlan sighed. "A few hours, but it only now started to feel this way. Zedd, I'm not sure I can hold it back much longer."
"Then don't," the Seeker offered at once, knowing that the release of the magic would ease her burden if only for a few moments. "Let it go and we'll- We'll find a way to help you until she's born."
Her darkened eyes met his, finding a piece of joy that melted her instantly into his suggestion. "I don't know how strong it will be."
The men stood quickly and moved back until she stopped staring at them intently. She wanted them as far away as possible, but knew that Richard wouldn't take his eyes off of her. Blood began to drip slowly from her nose, providing proof of the pressure within her. Her hands darted to the ground as the magic was released, her fingers digging into the ground the best they could to keep her from rising up as she had so many times before. Nothing could have prepared any of them for how the magic left her body.
The others watched, memorized as the air around them seemed to pull toward her, extinguishing the fire before blowing through her hair as she cried out in relief. A soft glow surrounded her form, suddenly drawing the Seeker forward, calling to him in an unspoken whisper. Before they could stop him, he was nearly at her side, ready to answer and give himself to her. When his knees hit the ground, she turned her head toward him, locking eyes as she looked down.
"Beautiful," he said breathlessly as he reached for her.
Taking her face in his hands, he pulled her closer, cursing all space that had ever come between them. They shared their breaths, their bodies lifting together as the wind continued to push by them. There had never been such a union of magic before and to bear witness to it was even more extraordinary. For a brief moment, almost unseen by the others, the soft glow surrounded him and grew brighter before fading completely. Their bodies were lowered to the ground, slowly and carefully, keeping them pressed together until they were safely onto the ground.
It was the second time a Confessor's magic had torn through him, but this was unlike the other. What had been cold and terrifying before was now warm and welcoming, though he could feel her fear throughout it all. In those short moments, they had shared something he had always wanted, something that neither could have from any other. He had never been so close to someone before. His jubilance flooded through her, erasing all of her fears and doubts; her mind only on what they could be.
Gasping for air, her hands grabbed her stomach in pain, bringing the Wizard and Mord'Sith to them at once. Zedd gave no sign of concern for his grandson as he lifted the bottom of the Mother Confessor's dress. Cara, on the other hand, was filled with it. Kneeling down at his side, she forced his head to turn and face her, the need to protect him always burning through her veins. The magic had gone through him, had claimed in every way, but no one else seemed to care.
"I'm not confessed," he said calmly, knowing and understanding what his friend was trying to do. Bringing his eyes back to Kahlan, he grinned. "She's coming."
"Neria," she responded out of breath, a smile matching his coming to her face. They hadn't spoken of it before, both finding it difficult to name their child something that was worthy, but in that moment of magic, they knew.
Grabbing one of Richard's hands, she cried out in pain, unable to focus on the old man's instructions as Cara rushed off into the woods. It was all happening so quickly and all she could think about was holding their daughter in her arms and gazing upon what their love had created. Minutes before, when he had come to her side, she had never been more afraid, but the instant he touched her, it all faded away. He had pulled her magic into him, taking some of the pain into himself without fear and without pause, his love for her bleeding through the boundary between them. He had come to her, knowing what could happen and yet, he came anyway. He always knew that they were made for each other and now, she understood completely.
His attention never wavered from her. With every cry of pain, gasp for air and tightening of the hands, he was there. She wouldn't have been able to continue without him.
Three hours and the world was greeted by the cry of their child. Richard had been leaning over her knees, trying to catch a glimpse of her for half an hour, desperately awaiting her arrival. With a smile spread across his face, he looked back to Kahlan.
"She's perfect." His words rushed through her, relaxing her body as she watched him take the small child into his arms and wrap her in the blanket his grandfather had been making. "Hi," he said softly to the child as he pulled her close, hugging her gently as the wizard made sure that her mother was all right. It was a sight she never thought she would see. A man holding a Confessor, his daughter, without hatred or absent thought for her. Meeting his eyes, she waited as he scooted back to her side, the anticipation of holding their daughter eating her. "She looks like you," he told her as she took her into her arms.
"I don't know," she laughed softly. "I think I see a little bit of Zedd."
"Me too, but hopefully she'll grow out of that."
His words made her laugh, forgetting the pain that still shot through her. "She's beautiful, Richard."
Nodding, he shifted his body so that he was able to pull her into his arms and hug her. "She is."
Neria snuggled closer to her mother's chest, breathing deeply as she curled the fingers of her left hand around her father's index. Her head was covered with a thin layer of dark hair, matching that of her father. It was beautiful with her pale skin, making the pinkness of her cheeks stand out. Her parents couldn't take their eyes off of her.
"We should leave in the morning," Cara said as she tossed three rabbits on the ground beside the wizard. He had restarted the fire to keep them warm, but his eyes didn't leave the family sitting across from him. "It will be snowing soon."
"The child is small, she may not be strong enough to travel through the snow."
"She'll be fine," Kahlan said as she lifted her eyes from her daughter. "I'm sure she can handle it."
Tightening his arms around her, Richard kept his eyes on their child. "If we leave just before dawn, it would save us some time in the snow." Nuzzling his head against hers, he moved his hands over her slightly. "Will you be all right?"
Pushing back against him, she grinned. "We'll manage."
"I have no doubt." His smile widened as he spoke. There was no doubt in his mind that she would be able to handle whatever was thrown their way. She did, after all, just give birth through their daughter.
"It's cold..." she whispered as she closed her eyes, pushing closer to him for warmth. Pressing his lips to her neck, he began leaving open mouthed kisses, leaving her skin warm as he took advantage of the moment. His hands moved over her slowly, keeping away from their child in her arms, but pleased that she moved her to give him better access to her body. Pushing into him, she let out a low moan. "If you keep doing that, we're going to have another child."
"I don't mind," he growled lightly.
Laughing softly, she turned her head to look at him. "We wouldn't be able to be alone."
His growl was louder than intended, the thought of he with her again driving him wild. "We're going to fill the halls with our children."
"How did you know?" she asked quietly. "How did you know, even before that my magic wouldn't take you?"
Smiling, he shook his head. "I don't know, I- I could feel it and then as I stood over there, it was like it called out for me. But when it went through me, I- there is nothing that can compare to that feeling. It was unlike everything I've experienced and I never wanted it to end."
"Which part?" he asked with a smile.
Closing her eyes, she turned her head forward and signed. "I could feel you, but it wasn't like any of the others. You didn't resist; you pulled it into you and for a moment, I thought that... I don't think that I have ever been so scared."
"I know, I felt it."
"And you pulled me to you." Neria wiggled, bring their eyes to her as she tried to get closer. "We should move closer to the fire."
Richard stood instantly, helping her to her feet as she clutched their child to her chest. Taking a few steps toward the fire, she couldn't help her widening smile as the Mord'Sith stared at the child. The Seeker had a blanket wrapped around them at once, warming them instantly. Sitting back to the ground, Kahlan grinned, lifting her daughter so that the wizard could get a better view. She had never seen the older man so happy before. His smile spread across his face.
"Do you want to hold her?" she asked as he moved closer.
Taking the small child into his arms, Zedd pulled her close and tightened the blanket around her. Cara inched closer slowly, trying to get a closer look without gaining the attention of the others who continued to keep their eyes on the baby. Neria opened her eyes for a moment, taking a look around before letting out a soft, short cry. The sound made her mother jump, instinctively looking around to make sure that she was safe. Richard's arm around her waist calmed her, bringing her eyes from the tree line to his.
"It's all right."
Nodding, Kahlan slouched back down, returning to a slightly comfortable position with a soft sigh. Before she could take in a breath, his lips were upon hers. Grabbing his face, she pulled him against her and pushed forward. For a moment she forgot their friends were so close to them. Breaking their kiss, Kahlan held him to her and licked her lips while she took a moment to catch her breath. It felt like it had been an eternity since they had kissed that way.
Looking back to Neria, she grinned as she began moving her hands slowly over Richard's chest. "We have a daughter." The words sounded so strange to her, almost unreal even with the reality being moved into the arms of the man she loved. "I never thought that I would-"
"I know," Richard said softly. "But you do now, you have all of us." He smiled, leaning toward her. "It's better than you imagined, isn't it?"
Taking their daughter into her arms, she nodded. "Much better."