The Abiogenesis Spell
Summary: It has been a few years since they saved the world and it is time to move on. Powerful magic gone wrong helps. This is mostly fluff.
Disclaimers: Guys, this is fiction and, obviously, not real. I am not the owner of the rights to most of the characters in this work. Also, I am poor.
The sun is almost completely hidden behind the mountains that overlook the People's Palace when Cara makes it back to her chambers. She has been feeling dizzy all day long, but she does not let that keep her from her duties.
Discomforts of the body are easily dealt with.
She is, after all, Mord'Sith.
But now that she is alone in Lord Rahl's rooms, she allows herself the small indignity of slowing down slightly. She feels her body curl inwards into itself, around her middle, affording a modicum of relief to her aching muscles. It is but a minute shift in her stance, something that would be impossible to detect by anyone but herself. It is precisely why she does not do it in the presence of others. She would know. Her pride simply does not allow it.
She moves towards the open balcony. There is a cool breeze coming from the North.
She turns her face into it, letting it ruffle and tangle her blonde tresses. Many years have passed since her sisters betrayed her, but she has never grown it back. It is a useful reminder of who she was. Of who she is.
She has been feeling overheated recently; too warm maybe, given the actual temperature. The breeze on her skin feels refreshing and she accepts it as a tiny reprieve after a long day of sweating under her leathers.
She looks around. It is a magnificent view from the balcony. She is not one to admire a view, but even she can acknowledge it. Darken Rahl used to address the crowds from up here. Looming over his people like the black-hearted tyrant that he was.
She looks around the Palace and into the distance. D'Hara has really flourished under Richard's rule. She lets a small smirk touch the corners of her mouth at the thought.
Under my rule.
She is the one doing most of the hard work; as usual, really, when it comes to Richard.
But hard work is something that Cara takes pride in. She is not afraid of it; quite the contrary.
There are healthy crops and cattle visible as far as the eye can see. The people of D'Hara have never known such an extended period of peace and prosperity, such benevolence from a ruler. Or such an agreeable span of good weather and rains. They can now afford to live their lives almost with their backs turned to the Palace, something that would have never happened a few winters ago.
Cara lets out a breath, moving her neck a bit to the side, and letting the breeze move her shoulder-length hair out of her face. It has been almost five winters now since they defeated the Keeper and Richard accepted his position as ruler of all of D'Hara.
The D'Harans have grown happy and fat in that time, she thinks.
Like well-fed kittens.
It is an image that brings a scowl to her face. Her own leathers have been growing tighter recently. It is not because she has been indulging herself, but still. It is annoying.
She notices that the days have started to shorten significantly. Soon it will be autumn and Richard will be back. He comes back twice a year, for five, maybe six weeks at a time; sometimes, longer, if his presence is required.
Cara makes sure it is not.
There is a knock on the door. She does not move. It is just some of the Palace paid staff, carrying warm water into the room for her nightly bath. It is pretty much the only time she allows anyone inside these chambers whilst she is occupying them. She tries to spend as little time as possible in here.
In fact, she hates it in here.
It is where the previous Lord Rahl used to sleep.
Where Cara, herself, served him.
And that is precisely why she sleeps here. Why she has not changed the bed, or rearranged the furniture, or moved to another part of the Palace. She wants to keep it as it was; to help her remember. To help her keep her place: under the Lord Rahl.
She nods to Gretchen when she informs her that her bath and dinner are ready.
Gretchen is a good aide. She is not Mord'Sith, but Richard decided Cara would be the only Mord'Sith in the Palace, so she has no sisters of the agiel with her here. Gretchen is the next best thing, though. She is loyal and quiet; and never speaks out of turn. It is something Cara appreciates in those around her, when she can bother to think about them at all.
She stretches her shoulders, relaxing them. The morning judgements have been particularly trying on her patience this morning. They are held once a month, on the seventh day after the full moon. She rolls her eyes in annoyance. She wishes she did not have to listen to people babble and stutter and outright lie before she sentenced them. But it is what Richard does when he is here. So she listens. And then, she makes decisions and passes judgements that would turn his stomach.
It is what she does.
She keeps D'Hara loyal to Richard whilst he stays in Aydindril.
She turns around and moves away from the balcony and into the main chamber, walking briskly towards the bath basin and starting to remove her leathers. Perhaps she tugs at the laces with more force than is strictly necessary, but it helps her focus on the task at hand.
She rarely allows herself to think about things that do not concern her.
What the Lord Rahl does when he is away from the Palace is none of her concern.
What happens in Aydindril is none of her concern.
She has only visited four times in all this time.
Not that she is counting.
And only because duty called. The last time she was there was last spring. Kahlan had looked tired and withdrawn. They had hardly spoken to each other. She has no plans of visiting any time soon.
There is nothing there for her.
There never was. Says a voice inside her head. It sounds like a shout breaking years of silence. The echo of that thought bounces against all the walls she has erected inside her head. Inside her heart.
She moves around quietly, tugging at her leathers and removing them completely.
As she slides into the warm water of the bath, she reflects on how time has passed by faster than she would like, but also, how sometimes, it seems to slow down to a crawl.
These last couple of months have been amongst the longest she can remember.
Because she knows.
She just does not want to know.
It is something that she does. Not often, because she is brutally honest with everyone, and specially, with herself. But she knows that she keeps a couple of dark corners in her mind. Spaces where she has pushed thoughts she refuses to deal with. Emotions that are better not addressed.
But she has been here before. She has felt these… these feelings. These changes.
Even thinking the words is hard, when she forms them up in her mind.
She will most certainly not speak them out loud for now.
She will not address this until it needs addressing.
But it does not change the reality.
She is pregnant.
"It has been over four months, Zedd. I don't know why you insist that it worked."
Kahlan runs her hands through her long dark tresses in frustration, pushing the hair out of her face and lifting it off her neck. Some days she thinks she should just hack the whole thing off and be done with it. It is the last days of the summer and it is still very hot in Aydindril.
She stops her pacing and looks down at herself, and then, at the wizard. "It is obvious that it has not worked." She can hear her own voice rising as she speaks. She is short-tempered and moody lately. She knows it. Her failure to produce a heir; a new generation of confessors for the Midlands has been dragging on her for many seasons now, changing her character in small ways that are becoming more and more noticeable.
Gone is the happy, carefree Kahlan of old.
"Kahlan, I don't know how to explain this," he murmurs the words softly.
They have had this conversation too many times already. He tries to be kind, to lower his voice, to catch her eye as he speaks. To let her hear the truth in his voice, "it has worked. There is powerful magic at work here. I know it."
He moves his long body in the chair, nodding and leaning slightly closer to her as he explains. "You know that I consulted with Shota, and she agrees. The magic worked. She has seen the future. The prophecies have changed. They foresee the birth of a new confessor in the winter. Your daughter."
He reaches for another leg of lamb and sniffs it delicately, humming happily to himself.
"This is tasty. Although maybe it needs a bit of salt," he mumbles the last words around a large bite, juices from the tender meat escaping from his mouth and sliding grossly down his chin.
To be entirely truthful, he had been worried at first, but now, he is unconcerned.
He knows the magic worked. It will reveal itself to them in due time.
He just wishes Kahlan could see it with the same clarity that he sees it.
He looks at Kahlan as she starts pacing again around the room just as he takes another large bite. He smiles slightly and nods approvingly. The part closer to the bone is always juicier.
Maybe it does not need any additional salt after all.
"But how can it be, Zedd? I feel no different. I am still..." she flushes slightly and looks away. She will not discuss the regularity of her bleedings with Zedd, no matter how long she has known him.
No matter how much she has worked herself over this. How much she wants this.
She stops again in front of the wizard and glares at him.
"Can you at least stop eating for a minute?" she is annoyed with him, because he raised her hopes. But it is her fault. She let him convince her and try that ridiculous, unpronounceable spell that has obviously not worked.
She would stomp her foot in frustration if she was not the Mother Confessor of all the Midlands.
She is annoyed because he keeps insisting that it has worked when her stomach is as flat as it has always been; when it is obvious that there is no life growing in her.
But, somewhere in her mind, where she is only and always the Mother Confessor, where she knows truth with a clarity and sharpness that leaves no possible room for hesitation or doubt, she knows two things.
One, that he is telling the truth.
And two, that she had convinced herself the spell would not work anyway. Zedd had insisted that true, passionate love was a requirement on both sides for it to work. He made it sound epic and silly as only the old wizard can.
And when Kahlan allows the Mother Confessor to rule over her thoughts completely, she knows things have changed too much between her and Richard. She knows that kind of love is no longer part of what they have.
When she is being brutally honest, she hears the voice that questions whether she ever felt that way.
She is upset because now that she has opened herself up to the idea that she might be pregnant, she feels the pain of her failure more acutely.
The weight of Aydindril.
Of unfulfilled duty.