Disclaimer: I do not on anything. Only my OC. Thank psychokittymiss at live journal for the episode transcript. Made it a lot easier than watching the episode bit by bit so that I know the lines.
Chapter One: Marked
A statue of Darken Rahl stands in a town square; there is a rope around his neck. The crowd is loud and cheering.
"Bring him down!" A woman shouts.
Another rope is thrown around the neck of the statue as people around cheer. The ropes tighten as the men pull on the statue. Women with a child in her arms smile as they watch the statue of the tyrant topple and break on the ground, the crowd cheers in celebration around them.
"Never forget this day Rachel. Tell your grandchildren that you were there when the word came that the great Darken Rahl was gone forever." The woman tells her daughter.
"Where did he go?" The child asked.
"Thanks to the Seeker that monster is dead and rotting for all eternity in the Underworld." The woman smile at her daughter.
Darken Rahl wakes up on the ground. There is green light all about him as he takes in his surroundings. People lay naked writhing and moaning in pain.
"Kneel before the Keeper." A deep voice says.
Rahl quickly flips onto his belly pressing his face into the dirt.
"Forgive me Master. I have failed you." He mutters into the ground.
"No, you have succeeded. Exactly as I intended."
Darken Rahl lift his head up. "My lord?"
"And now you will help me expand my dominion to the world above."
"Yes Keeper." Rahl smiles. "But I must warn you, there is one who will stand in your way; as he stood in mine."
"There is no escape from death. Even the Seeker will belong to me."
"To the seeker!" A man says raising his goblet.
"To the seeker!" Everyone says, raising their goblets as well.
Richard, Kahlan and Zedd all watch on with smiles as they raise their goblets. The crowd quiets as the children sing.
"When shadows long o'er take the day and evil doth enslave us."
Richard leans over to Zedd keeping his voice low. "This is flattering, but we should get on the road soon. If we leave now we can put six leagues before the moon goes down."
Zedd takes his gaze from Richard and looks out over the crowd. "And offend our hosts?"
"Kingdoms fall The Seeker then shall."
"The tyrant's only been dead a week. Savor each victor Richard, as though it were a juicy leg of mutton." Zedd picks up a piece of mutton with the tip of a knife. "You never know when it'll be your last."
"Well that's encouraging." Richard says as Kahlan smiles at him.
The children finish their song and the crowd applauds them. Richard and Kahlan also clap and smile. A young girl walks over to them, Kahlan gives her a hug.
"That was lovely." Kahlan says.
"Rachel. Come." Zedd hold his hand out to her. He laughs as he sets Rachel on his lap. "Sit child."
"Are you going to stay here with us?" she asked. "It's nice here."
Her mother; Mather watches with a smile on her face.
"I wish we could." Zedd says. "But Richard and I need to see Kahlan safely to Aydindril."
"Why are you going there?"
"That's where the Mother Confessor presides." Richard answers as he smiles at Kahlan.
Martha smile at them. "The Midlands under the rule of law and justice." She reaches her hand out to Kahlan who takes it. "I never thought I'd live to see the day."
"Are you going to marry Richard?" Rachel asks Kahlan.
At this question, Richard and Kahlan look at each other with awkward smiles. Even Zedd has an uncomfortable look upon his face.
"Rachel!" Martha says, noticing the awkwardness.
"It's alright. Um…" Kahlan trails off before sharing a look with Richard. "No we're not getting married."
"Don't you love each other?" Rachel asks, confused.
"Yes. But my duties as a Confessor, my powers, keep me from being able to be a wife to Richard."
"That's not fair." Rachel frowns.
Richard and Kahlan share another awkward smile as Zedd tries to steer the conversation another way.
"It's awfully warm in here isn't it?" He said. "How about a special treat to cool you off?"
"Yes please." Rachel nods eagerly.
"Do you like apple cider?" He says, as he places a spoon into a goblet of cider holding it upright. He waves his fingers above the goblet as he speaks in the language of magic. He waves his hand above the cup and it freezes in an instant. "There you go my dear." Zedd laughs as Rachel takes the spoon out of the cup and smiles at the popsicle.
Zedd laughs as Rachel takes the spoon out of the cup and smiles at the popsicle. Just as she is about to lick on it something crashes through a window startling everyone. People look around trying to see what has broken the window, it moves too quickly to see as people scream and scramble away. Richard reaches down and takes out the Sword of Truth. He jumps over the table they were sitting at lands on top of it. People scream as a head goes skittering over the top of another table but they still cannot see what the cause of the chaos is. Richard holds the sword tighter and prepares himself. Hands appear at the top of the table, then a head. The creature looks thin and mummified. As it roars at Richard he leaps up off the table as the creature does the same. Richard strikes the thing in the head but it does no damage to it. He tries hacking at the creature, but once again the sword does nothing.
The people in the room are using the few moments of the creature being distracted to move away from Richard and it. Rachel sits under a table holding her trouble doll Sara close to her chest. Richard continues to try to hack and slice at the creature but he does no damage to it. The creature leaps up and lands on top of Richard bringing him down onto his back on the table with the creature on top of him. Its face is close to Richard as it roars in it. Kahlan uses this moment to let one of her daggers fly in the direction of the creature. The blade embeds itself into one of the creature's empty eye sockets. The creature growls and bats the blade out of its face. While it is a step away from Richard Zedd throws some wizard's fire at it.
The creature shrieks then runs toward a wall and up to the ceiling. The crowd continues to move away from the creature, but they appear to be trapped in the room with it. Zedd throws out his arms and speaks loudly and clearly.
The people in the room freeze and close their mouths.
"The creature can only see you if you move."
They all hold still and steady as they look at the creature to see what it will do. The creature is directly over Martha who rolls her eyes up to the ceiling to see where it is. It opens its mouth and lets out an angry sigh. Black sludge falls out of the mouth of the creature and lands on Martha's cheek and into her eye. Rachel sees this from where she is hiding under the table.
"Martha!" she calls.
The creature's head spins to the direction where Rachel's voice came from. Rachel is trying to get to Martha but Kahlan ducks down quickly to stop her.
Kahlan has joined Rachel under the table to offer her some protection. Richard has moved to the opposite side of the table to keep the creature's attention off Kahlan and Rachel.
"Hey you!" he yells. "Over here!"
The creature roars at Richard as he runs out the door and jumps onto a horse. It then follows him out the door and chases after him and the horse. Richard runs them down a trail for a little bit then looks off to the side and leads his horse that way. The horse stops in front of a drop off as Richard waits.
"Right here you bastard!"
The creature enters the clearing and pauses for a moment then launches itself at Richard. Richard ducks low onto the back of the horse sending the creature flying over his head. It lets out a screech as it plunges to the rocks below. Richard watches with a sigh as it hits the ground. He hears another screech when he looks away and looks down quickly. He sees the creature get up off the ground and run away as if nothing happened.
Women stand around the large bathing pool, as a head breaks the surface of the water. The head, along with the rest of the body, belongs to Cara. She rubs the water out of her eyes then swims over to two women waiting at the far end of the pool as other Mord-Sith are outside the pool looking in. Cara relaxes at the edge of the pool as the two waiting in the water begin to brush her hair and wash her back. Another Mord-Sith has shown up at the edge of the pool and looks down with disdain at Cara. Cara turns just a bit as the women continue to bathe her.
"We're wasting time Cara." She said.
"You're disturbing my bath Triana." Cara replied.
"While you're washing your hair, D'Hara is going to pieces. We should go to the People's Palace now." She urges.
"And what do we do when we get there? Loot the wine cellar?" Cara smiles at one of the woman bathing her while Triana shoots her a frustrated look.
"We swear allegiance to Lord Rahl."
"Lord Rahl is dead." Cara turns her back to her.
"If he were the last of his bloodline, then our Agiels would have lost their power."
Triana has taken her Agiel out and thrusts it down into the water releasing the power. None of the women in the water show any reaction besides Cara getting mad. Triana takes the Agiel out of the water as Cara removes herself from the women. She turns around and levels a murderous stare at Triana, who doesn't back down. Cara rises out of the water and stalks toward Triana.
"If and when the new Lord Rahl should claim the throne, we'll decide if he's worthy of our services. Until then, who better to bring order to the territories than the Mord-Sith?" She says as she comes to stand in front of her. "I've called for a meeting of all our sisters at the Temple of Jandralyn. We leave today."
"When did you become queen? I must have missed the coronation." Triana sneers.
Cara strikes Triana across the face which causes Triana to spin with the strike. Cara takes her by the back of her shoulders then throws her into the water. Cara walks back into the water and grabs Triana by the back of her head forcing her face back down into the water. Cara holds her under the water for a few moments as she thrashes about trying to be free. Cara has her by a fist full of hair and brings her head above the water.
"I demand an honorable death. It's my right as a Mord-Sith!" she pleads.
"You deserve no honor." Cara says. "You will stay alive and you will serve me."
Triana lets out a watery cough as Cara violently releases her head sending her back into the water face first. Cara looks around at the other women there.
"Does anyone else have a problem?"
Richard is leading Kahlan and Zedd down a path in the woods.
"Tracks came from down here." He told them.
They all halt and look on with wonder at what is in front of them. The ground is covered with deep cracks that have green light spilling out of it. The green light wavers as if you are looking at flames.
"What in the name of the spirits?" Kahlan breathes.
"Our problems are far greater than one nasty monster." Zedd says. "This is a crack in the earth; it's a tear in the veil that separates the Underworld from the World of the Living. As long as it's open there's no way to prevent the Keeper of the Underworld, the great enemy of all that walks, breathes and grows in the light, from sending his minions to bring death to every living thing. I fear the screeling is but the vanguard."
"How could this have happened?" she asks.
"In all my years as a Wizard, I have only known of one form of magic strong enough to tear the veil. The Power of Orden."
Richard looks quickly to Zedd then back to the crack in the ground.
"This happened when I killed Rahl. When the Boxes of Orden exploded." He realizes.
Zedd puts his hand on Richard's shoulder. "Wizard's Second Rule: The greatest harm can come from the best intentions."
"Well if I did this I'll find a way to undo it."
"The only way I know of to close the rift is the way the Creator sealed the Underworld at the beginning of time." Zedd says.
"The Stone of Tears." Kahlan answered.
"He who possesses the Stone would be able to repair the veil."
"Then we'll find it." Richard starts off but Zedd's voice brings him to a halt.
"The Stone of Tears has been lost for centuries beyond count. Many have given their lives searching for it."
Kahlan walks around Zedd to stand close to Richard. "If anyone can find it, the Seeker can."
"Kahlan I share your faith in Richard, but the veil is delicate. In the time it takes to find one tiny stone amid all the rocks and mountains in creation cracks like this could appear anywhere, spreading and splintering in all directions." He gestures to the field in front of them. "And then there would be nothing to prevent the Keeper from waging war on the World of the Living."
A man rides up on a horse behind them; they turn to look at him when he calls out to Richard. "Seeker! D'Haran soldiers are in the town. They're demanding to see you."
Richard throws a questioning look to Kahlan then starts off after the man on the horse.
In the middle of the town, there is a large group of soldiers there waiting. A man in a very fancy helmet waits in the center of the men. Richard, Kahlan and Zedd head into the square where the men are waiting.
"Darken Rahl is dead. The war is over. Lay down your arms or you will feel my Sword." Richard states.
"We have not come to fight, My Lord." The man in the helmet said before he removes it and bends to one knee; the soldiers behind him kneel as well.
"Master Rahl guide us. Master Rahl protect us. In your light we thrive. In your wisdom we are humbled. We live only to serve. Our lives are yours."
Richard throws a confused look over his shoulder to Kahlan who is wearing one of her own.
Inside a building, Richard, Kahlan and Zedd are listening to the tale the general tells them.
A man with white-blonde hair holds a little boy in his lap with a book between them.
"He took pride in his first born son. But as the boy grew older, the father came to see the darkness in his son's heart. And his love for the dark ways of sorcerery."
Show the white haired man walking into a room. We can hear a woman grunt and a wet, squishy sound. There is a young man with black hair who has a satisfied look on his face. He turns his head ever so to acknowledge the white haired man standing in the doorway.
"The father began to fear for the future of his kingdom."
"When he learned of a prophecy that said he would sire another son, one who would kill his black-hearted older brother, Panis set out to ensure the truth of that prophecy."
Everyone is listening intently; Zedd even has taken a few steps forward.
"He fathered a child with a young woman whose bloodline was as powerful as his own. Tarralyn Zorander."
Everyone's breathe hitches as they recognize the name.
"That's a lie." Zedd says. "My daughter would never have lain with Panis Rahl."
The white haired man stands in front of a mirror. He waves his hand down his face changing his appearance to that of an attractive younger man.
"Which is why he wooed Tarralyn in the guise of a young shepherd."
Panis in his disguise walking with Tarralyn, he's holding her hand then pulls her to him to kiss her.
"In this form, he won her heart and conceived a child with her."
"But in his pride, my master made a foolish mistake. He boasted to Darken Rahl that the son prophesized to kill him would soon be born."
Panis grunts out in pain as blood runs from the corner of his mouth, he falls to his knees with a gasp. When he falls out of a frame a young Darken Rahl is standing behind him holding a dagger.
"In a rage Darken Rahl slew his own father and commanded me to dispose of the body. But I convinced Panis Rahl's most faithful Mord-Sith to revive him with the Breath of Life."
Panis gasp with new breath as the Mord-Sith is run through with a sword from behind by the Man in the Fancy Helmet.
"Then killed her to protect the secret."
"While Panis went into hiding I dispatched a rider to Tarralyn's father to warn him that Darken Rahl had ordered the death of all first born sons of Brennidon, where the prophecy said the child would be born."
Men on horses with torches entering a village and pushing people down and away from them. Men and children are murdered.
"I never knew who sent me that message." Zedd says with realization in his eyes.
"And we never knew if you received it."
"This is some sort of trap." Richard says, trying to deny it.
"It's no trap My Lord. I have carried this secret for twenty-four years, waiting for the day that the prophecy might be fulfilled, so that I could pledge my loyalty to you and to escort you back to the People's Palace to assume your rightful place on the throne. If you do not believe me order your Confessor to do as she must to verify my words."
"There's no need." Kahlan says as Richard turns to look at her. "He's telling the truth.
Richard turns back to look at the man.
No one notices the eyes peeping through a hole in the wall of the room.
Cara and Triana are still in the bathing room. Triana is helping Cara into her Mord-Sith leather.
"Tighter." Cara orders.
"Yes Mistress." Triana says, looking to the ground. "Is there anything else I can do to please you?"
Cara turns to her. "I'm sure there is." She runs her hand over Triana's head pushing back her hair. "When we have more time." Cara pulls Triana to her and kisses her lips. She releases Triana and walks out of the room.
Triana picks a wash brush up off the floor and dips it into a bucket. She begins to scrub the floor with the brush. There is a thick mist above the bathing pool that begins to move and become solid. Triana looks up to watch in awe as the mist becomes the form of Darken Rahl.
"Lord Rahl?" she asks, shocked.
"Scrubbing the floors Triana? I would've thought that were beneath your station." Darken Rahl says as he walks above the water over to her.
"You're alive." she holds her hand out to him; he passes his hand through hers, his own turning to a mist as it passes through her.
"No, not alive. But still your master."
Triana looks at her hand in wonder then sits on the floor waiting.
"And I need you to perform a special task for me, and for the one I serve."
Triana looks up from the floor to Rahl. "Lord Rahl serves no man."
"Not a man Triana. But we all have our masters. Mine is the Keeper of the Underworld. And when he conquers all life those who stood by him will be rewarded."
"If my Lord follows the Keeper then so do I." Triana looks back down to the ground.
"Cara helped the Seeker to kill me."
Triana looked up in surprise.
"She cannot be trusted. Which is why before you begin this special task I have for you, you and your sisters must destroy her." He tells her.
Back in the village where Richard and the others are still talking to the general as men stand guard outside their building.
"How could I have been so consumed by the acquisition of magic and power that I neglected to protect my own daughter." Zedd said, looking down.
Richard walks to him and places a hand on his shoulder. "Zedd, I'm sorry."
Zedd lets out a sigh and stands up with a smile putting his own hand on Richard's shoulder. "Listen to me, thinking of myself when you've just learned the great tyrant you fought so hard to kill was your own brother."
"No. He wasn't." Richard walks away from Zedd toward Kahlan and the general.
"Richard I know this is hard to accept but-" Kahlan starts but Richard interrupts her.
"Kahlan I'm not challenging the words of the Mother Confessor here, but blood isn't what makes somebody family. I didn't share blood with George and Mary Cypher, but they'll always be my parents. Now Zedd, do you have any idea where we can pick up the trail of the Stone of Tears?"
"If there is a clue it's to be found in the ancient volumes at the Wizard's Keep in Aydindril."
Richard nods to him. "Go, find what you can." He looks over to Kahlan. "Kahlan stay here. Call the people of the town inside, board up every window and doorway.
"What about you?" she asks.
"The screeling is still out there. I'm going to hunt it down and kill it." He turns and looks at the general. "You say you and your men will follow me?"
The man puts a fist over his heart in salute. "To the death, My Lord."
"Maybe with a few more swords, we can hack this thing to pieces. And then we're going to the People's Palace."
Zedd and Kahlan look to Richard with shock.
"You're going to proclaim yourself the new Lord Rahl?" Zedd says.
"You said it yourself; our problems are a lot bigger than one monster. With the veil torn the Keeper will wage war on the World of the Living. And if we have to fight that war, we could use an army behind us."
"I must warn you to expect violent opposition, My Lord." The general says.
"What are you talking about?" Richard asks.
"My men and I alone bear the secret to your parentage. Many D'Harans will not easily accept your claim to the throne. In order to win the allegiance of the greatest number I recommend you immediately execute every member of the Third Battalion."
Kahlan shoots a look to Richard.
"I'm not going to kill my own men."
"They are D'Harans My Lord. If they are to follow you they must fear you."
"I'll find a way to deal with them. Right now we are going to kill a screeling."
He once again places a fist over his heart in salute as Richard turns to look at Zedd and Kahlan. Richard walks out of the room and the general walks after him.
"Seeker!" A voice calls after Richard as he and the soldiers begin to make their way out of the town square. "Seeker!"
Richard and the men stop and turn to see who the voice belongs to. They are greeted to the sight of a young woman with olive toned skin in trousers, a shirt and vest. Her chocolate eyes seek his eagerly as she brushes her shoulder length black hair out of her face.
"Yes?" Richard asks, confused as to why the woman needed him.
"I've come to help with the screeling." She says.
A soldier snort before look at Richard. "My lord, let's not waste time with this misguided child who only carries a stick as a weapon." He says, seeing a short black stick strapped to her back.
"I'm sorry." Richard says to her. "But this is no place for a child."
"I'm not a child." She says. "I'm 19 years old and this is a weapon." She grabs the stick off her back and holds it in front of her.
The soldiers around her laugh.
"I'm sorry-" Richard goes to say again but is interrupted.
"Just watch." She says. "And tell them to stand back."
Richard nods to the soldiers.
She holds the stick sideways and twists it. Two long blades pop out on either side. The soldiers begin to unsheathe their swords, prepared to protect their lord.
"No." Richard lifts his hands to the soldiers. "Put your weapons down." He says before looking back at the girl. "Where did you get that?"
"I made it." She says.
"She must be lying lord Rahl." A soldier says.
"I'm not." The girl urges before looking back at Richard. "I made it and I know how to use it. Like you said; with a few more swords maybe you can kill this thing. Well here's two more."
Richard looks at the girl in confusion. "How did you know that?"
The girl sheepishly looks down before meeting his eyes. "I may have been listening to you talk with the general while you were inside the building."
"Lies." The soldier speaks. "We were guarding the building."
"You were guarding the door." The girl turns to look at him. "Walls can leave many opportunities for eyes and ears." She looks back to Richard. "You can use me. You know you can."
Richard looks at her in thought. "What's your name?"
"Trinity sir." She gives a small bow.
"You say you can fight?"
"Very well sir." Trinity nods.
"Alright." Richard nods. "I want you to stay here and help Kahlan. Protect the others just in case the screeling returns her before we can track it down."
Trinity smiles. "Yes seeker." She twists the stick again, returning the blades to their place and runs off to find the Mother Confessor.
"Let's move out." Richard says to the soldiers.
A group of Mord-Sith, led by Cara, are walking and they hear the screeling growling. This makes the group stop to listen.
"Wolves?" Triana guesses.
Cara shakes her head. "That's no wolf."
Triana looks to another Mord-Sith behind Cara's back and nods her head. The other Mord-Sith takes out her Agiel, kicks Cara's leg out from under her and puts her Agiel to Cara's back. Cara grunts in pain as other Agiel's are added to her back. Two sisters take turns beating and thrusting their Agiel's against Cara. A third steps up to assist in the attack as Triana watches. Cara gets kneed in the face and lies with her face down to the ground. Triana steps up behind her.
"Since the custom has been broken, we won't give her an honorable death." Triana puts her foot against Cara's shoulder to push her back down to the ground. Cara grunts out in pain as Triana leans over her and takes her Agiel out of its holster. "We will leave her to that shrieking creature or the townspeople." She puts Cara's Agiel in a holster on her leg then takes out a small dagger. She grabs Cara's long braid and cuts it off near the base of her head. "Whoever gets her first." She tosses away the long braid and walks away as Cara passes out.
Richard's leading a large group of D'Haran's through a misty forest. They come upon an overturned cart with dead horses and people on the ground. Richard rides closer to get a look.
"The work of the screeling My Lord." The general says.
"We'll find him before he kills again." Richard leads the men past the carnage.
Trinity spots Kahlan gathering wood to board the windows and doors with. "Mother Confessor?"
Kahlan turns to her. "Yes?"
"The Seeker has told me to help you protect the town from the screeling."
Kahlan looks at her confused. "He did?"
"He did." Trinity nods eagerly.
Kahlan, seeing that she is telling the truth nods. "Your help is very welcomed."
Kahlan and Trinity are inside the location where the feast was held. Now all the townspeople are inside sitting close together as they boards up the large window. A bunch of women and children are holding each other close looking around worriedly. Rachel is close to Martha hugging her.
Outside two D'Haran guards are taken down my arrows. Kahlan hears this and goes on alert.
"What is that?" Rachel asks.
Two flaming arrows come inside the room through the gap in the boards and hit a banner setting it ablaze. Everyone beings to get up, some are screaming, and head for the exit. People are exiting the building coughing from the smoke. In front of the doors a short distance is a group of Mord-Sith. They begin to attack some of the people as they exit. Rachel runs into one and she puts her hand on Rachel's shoulder to stop her.
"Rachel!" Martha calls.
Kahlan and Trinity come out of the building and immediately goes on the defensive running toward the Mord-Sith.
"Protect your daughters!" Kahlan yells.
The other Mord-Sith begin to take the girls by the hand and lead them away, some call out.
Kahlan is too busy taking on two Mord-Sith to help.
Trinity ducks under a strike of an agiel. She backs up snatching her small staff off of her back. With a quick twist her blades reveal themselves. She twirls it before charging at the Mord-Sith.
Richard and the D'Harans are still traveling through the woods. He hears some screams in the distance and holds up his hand for the group to stop. He dismounts and takes the Sword of Truth from its scabbard. He is tense and on guard looking around for the threat. The general takes two arrows in the chest. Richard turns to see him fall from his horse as all the other soldiers take out their swords. Suddenly a group of men run down a hill toward them.
"No mercy!" A man yells.
They begin to take on the group of D'Haran soldiers. Richard runs to the general. "Trimack."
"Forgive me Lord Rahl. I have failed to protect you."
He closes his eyes and dies. A man runs at Richard and strikes down at him, Richard brings up the Sword and stops his strike. He pushes him back; the man regains his balance and points his sword at Richard. His eyes go big as he takes in Richard.
"Seeker? What are you doing marching with these dogs?"
"Call off your men and I'll call off mine."
There is a tense second as the man considers what Richard says. "Put down your weapons!"
"Stand down!" Richard yells.
Everyone stops fighting as they listen to their leaders.
"I'm Morwyn Bryer, leader of the resistance in this valley."
Another solider with a scar on his face comes up to stand beside Richard.
"We got word the Dragon Corps were marching on Ehrengard and we gathered as fast as we could. But they've already left a trail of slaughtered men, women and children." Morwyn says.
"These people were killed by a screeling, escaped from the Underworld."
"A screeling?" He says surprised.
"These men are helping me track it."
"They say the Seeker is wise, but only a fool would trust D'Harans." Morwyn says with a look of disgust on his face.
"You will address Lord Rahl with respect." The scarred soldier spits.
Morwyn it taken aback. "Lord Rahl?"
"It's not what you think." Richard says.
"The Seeker has taken on the title of his greatest enemy?"
"A title he was born to." The soldier speaks again.
"We fought to trade Rahl's?"
"You fought for your freedom and you won it." Richard urges. "The war against the D'Harans is over. But we are fighting a new war now, against an even more powerful enemy. And if we stand together-"
"You expect us to fight shoulder to shoulder with the butchers who massacred our friends and defiled our daughters?" Morwyn interrupts.
"Rebel coward!" The soldier growls.
They thrust their swords at each other only to find Richard's in the center of the two stopping them.
"Any man who raises a weapon against another will die by my sword." He raises his voice so that all can hear him! There is another tense moment as both sides size each other up. This is broken by the sound of a bell tolling in the distance.
"The screeling must have gone back to the town." Richard drops his sword and the other two do as well. "Go. Protect your families." He turns from Morwyn and addresses the soldiers. "Let's move."
At the center of the town, Richard is back as Kahlan and Trinity lead him through the devastation the Mord-Sith left behind.
"We saved as many as we could but they got away with seven girls. Including Rachel." Kahlan said.
"I did my best Seeker." Trinity said head down.
"She fought well." Kahlan defended her. "More would've been taken if she were not here."
Richard looks over his shoulder to see Martha holding the puppet Zedd gave to Rachel crying softly. He turns back to Kahlan. "We'll get them back." He turns to address the soldiers as you can hear women crying. "We're going after the Mord-Sith." Richard walks past the Scarred Solider who stops him.
"My Lord, we came here to escort the new Lord Rahl to the People's Palace, not to save a few little girls."
Richard looks at him with disgust. "You know what will happen to those girls. Torture. Death to those who won't break."
The Scarred Solider is not getting his point. "That is how they become Mord-Sith. How it has always been. So they can serve the Lord Rahl. And if you truly were him, you would not pity them. You would know that someday you will need to use them."
Richard shakes his head at the man. "That's not how things are going to be anymore."
Scarred Solider takes a step away from Richard with a smirk on his face and addresses the rest of the soldiers. "Maybe old Trimack was wrong. Maybe this man is too soft-hearted to lead D'Hara."
In the blink of an eye Richard has pulled out the Sword of Truth and strikes him across the face with it. Trinity's eyebrows go up in surprise as Kahlan is watching on with pride as Richard addresses the soldiers.
"Anyone else want to question my orders?"
The rest of the solider all snap to attention – showing they don't.
A group of soldiers are carrying/dragging Cara toward Richard. They drop her hard against the ground near him. Richard does not see her face just her back.
"The Mord-Sith temple was abandoned Lord Rahl." A soldier says. He gives a rough kick to Cara's middle to turn her over to face him. She is beat up pretty badly, with cuts across her lip, cheek and forehead. A look of recognition crosses Richard's face. "We found this one in a gully."
Cara raises her head in surprise and confusion looking at Richard.
"Lord Rahl?" She says with a mix of shock and confusion. "You've certainly come up in the world."
Kahlan walks closer toward them and is unhappy to see Cara. Cara is trying to sit up but keeps a wary eye on the soldiers.
"Where are the children?" Richard asks.
"What children?" Cara's face clouds in confusion.
Richard reaches down and grabs on of the straps across her abdomen pulling her to her feet. "The girls your sisters took from Ehrengard."
"If any girls were taken my sisters must have done it after they beat me and left me to die."
Richard looks over the wounds on her face as Kahlan steps up and rises up her hand. "I'll get the truth out of her."
"You can't tell if she's lying?
Kahlan shakes her head. "Their training makes the Mord-Sith hard to read. But I'll found out." She once again raises her hand to Confess Cara; Richard takes a hold of her wrist and lowers her hand. They take a step away from Cara to talk.
"She's the one who helped me kill Darken Rahl."
"So she's good." Trinity states.
"No." Kahlan says. "Whatever she did she did it to save her own skin. Richard, we can't trust her."
"I'm not telling you to trust her. I'm telling you to trust me."
Cara was listening in and stands a bit straighter as Richard walks back to her.
"You're going to help us find your sisters."
"If you help me kill them." Her face becomes hard as Richard gives her the slightest nod of his head and walks away.
Inside a cave, the girls from the village are all inside, some crying softly, as Mord-Sith guard them. Rachel has her arms around another girl comforting her. "Don't be scared. The Seeker and the Confessor will save us."
Triana comes up from the side of the cave. "I said no talking." She takes the girl Rachel was hugging out of Rachel's arms.
"No!" Rachel calls.
Triana looks at Rachel with surprise as Rachel clutches the girl. "It's my fault, punish me."
Triana lets the girl go and holds out her Agiel to Rachel. "Since you're so eager, I don't see why we couldn't begin with your training right now." She slowly moves her Agiel closer to Rachel – Rachel slowly backs away from it until her back is against the cave wall. The Agiel is only an inch away when someone calls to Triana. A Mord-Sith is leading in a soldier.
"Triana, I got your message. What's so important?"
Triana looks at Rachel for a second then pulls her Agiel back and stands to address the soldier. "How about a treasonous Dragon Corps squadron escorting none other than the Seeker to the People's Palace to proclaim him the new Lord Rahl?"
The soldier's eyes widen at the news.
"I thought that might interest you." She purrs.
Richard is standing in the woods with Cara, Kahlan, Trinity and the squad of soldiers behind him.
"That way." He points.
Cara looks in the direction. "Wait. If they went that way, they took the girls to the Drowning Cave."
"Drowning Cave?" Kahlan asks.
"During the rains the river floods it. Uncooperative trainees are left there just before a storm."
Trinity's brows furrow.
"Charming." Kahlan sneers.
"In the dry season you can get in but only through a high narrow canyon. But once you're in there's no other way out."
"It's a trap." Richard reasons.
"And I'm sure it's just a coincidence that a squadron of the Third Battalion has been camped in the meadow just south of the cave." Cara adds.
Kahlan turns to Richard. "Richard, maybe this was their plan all along. Lure you into an ambush because they knew you would do anything to save the children."
"If I wanted to kill you, I would make sure to do something that you can't ignore. Seven young innocent lives would do the trick." Trinity nods.
Cara watches them like a cat watches a couple of mice – with a look of bored interest but amusement. "Yes, the Seeker's kind-heartedness is legendary."
Kahlan looks from Richard to Cara as Richard thinks.
"If water flows into the cave it has to flow out somewhere." Richard says.
"There's an aquifer that empties into the marsh. But it's barely big enough to crawl through and anyone who tried would be greeted by Mord-Sith as soon as they came through the other side."
"We can draw most of the Mord-Sith out of the cave if we stage an attack through the canyon."
"Richard that's exactly what they want." Kahlan says.
"It a useless bloody battle. The down side? It will be our blood." Trinity says.
"That's what we'll give them while you two go through the aquifer and rescue the girls." He glances from them to Cara. "You'll show her the way."
"Anybody that marches into that canyon will be outnumbered and pinned down. They'll be slaughtered." Cara said.
"She agrees with me." Trinity points to her.
The scarred solider; now with a bloody wound on his forehead has been listening quietly behind them. "Death means nothing to us Lord Rahl. We will do whatever you command."
Everyone, except Cara, walks away – she stands there looking bewildered.
Zedd is riding a horse quickly. He comes upon a river and is stopped and leaning down into it getting a drink. A woman walks up behind him wearing a long white dress and a white fur pelt around her shoulders. He looks up as she speaks to him.
"Hello Zeddicus." She speaks.
He only looks up for a moment then back down to the river. "What brings the great Shota so far from Agaden Reach?"
"The great Zeddicus, what else?" she smirks.
He returns her small smile as he stands. "A personal visit to an old friend?" He gives a humorless laugh and turns away from her. "If you're looking for answers I don't have any yet. I'm on my way to Aydindril in search of them."
"I've already had a vision of exactly what you will discover in Aydindril." Shota says.
This gets Zedd's attention.
"A passage in the Seventh Codex of Sandragon will direct you to the hiding place of the Stone of Tears."
Zedd looks at her with a surprised smile. "I couldn't have hoped for better news. Tell me what the passage says so that I can relay it to the Seeker."
"Yes we're all relying on the Seeker. But not Richard Rahl."
The smile on Zedd's face melts off as he takes in the seriousness in Shota's.
"It is written in the Halls of Prophecy that Richard Rahl will fail in his quest to defeat the Keeper." she explains.
They are both silent for a moment as what she says sinks in.
"Richard puts no faith in Prophecy. He will defeat the Keeper just as he defeated Darken Rahl." Zedd defend his grandson.
"Yes he did defeat Darken Rahl exactly as the Prophecies predicted. But now the Prophecy says he will fail. You cannot pick or choose which prophecies you want to believe in Zeddicus."
An angry look passes over Zedd's face as he turns away from Shota, he is still angry when he turns back. "So should I throw up my hands, give up?"
"No, the Prophecy is forked. It can be avoided. But if the World of the Living is to be saved, you must name a new Seeker."
"What kind of trick is this? Richard is the one true Seeker."
"Are you speaking now as a Wizard of the First Order? Or as his grandfather?" Shota asks. "Three signs will come before you. First, Richard will deny that which gives him power. Second, he will embrace the one in red and the one with the bladed staff. And finally, he will bear the mark of the one who will destroy all life. When you've seen these three signs you will know that I have spoken the truth. And if you do not then do what must be done, the Keeper will win and the World of the Living will be devoured by the Realm of Death.
The Dragon Corps enter the canyon. It's a tight space with high walls on either side of them; Scarred Solider is leading the troops. The group of Mord-Sith walk in from the opposite direction blocking their path. The men all draw their swords as the Mord-Sith stop looking unimpressed. They part as Triana walks between them to stand in front. She has a smirk on her face as she addresses the soldiers.
"Where is the Seeker? Has your new Lord Rahl abandoned you already?" She asks.
"Give us the girls and we'll let you live." The scarred soldier speaks.
"It is you and your men who will die here today." Triana replies.
The group of soldiers that are allied to the Mord-Sith's walk up behind the Dragon Corp; blocking them in.
"Halt! Traitors! Slaughter them all!" He points at the Dragon Corp group and the soldiers behind him run out to engage.
The scarred soldier addresses them with his blade held high. "For D'Hara and Lord Rahl!"
The Mord-Sith group advance shouting as the approach. The Dragon Corp stand their ground with blades leveled at the group as they charge. The Mord-Sith launch arrows at the Dragon Corp group.
Inside the cave Cara, Kahlan, and Trinity are making their way inside. Cara is leading and looks around.
"This way." She says.
Cara has climbed up onto a ledge and looks down to Kahlan. She bends and extends her hand down to help Trinity climb up. Trinity accepts her hand, joining Cara on the ledge. Cara extends her hand to Kahlan. Kahlan looks at her had as if it's a live snake then looks to Cara, obviously not wanting her help.
"Give me your hand."
Kahlan reluctantly takes it and helps Cara pull her up onto the cliff. Cara turns to continue on but Kahlan has not released her hand. Kahlan pulls on the hand forcing Cara to turn and look back.
"I don't know exactly what you did to make Richard trust you." Kahlan releases Cara's hand and places her own hand against Cara's throat. "But if this is some sort of trick, I will kill you."
"Let's calm down." Trinity says.
Cara's eyes are slightly large as she takes in the situation but makes no moves against Kahlan. After a tense moment Kahlan drops her hand away from Cara's neck. Cara appears to give her a small smile, but with a Mord-Sith it's difficult to tell. Cara begins on her way again with Kahlan and Trinity following.
The Dragon Corp is still fighting against the Mord-Sith and their soldiers. The scarred soldier is fighting against a Mord-Sith. She puts her Agiel against his throat and he is brought to his knees. He grabs her wrist and thrusts his sword up into her gut. He takes a moment to catch his breath as he looks over his shoulder.
At that moment Richard comes charging in with the Sword of Truth held high and the group of rebels with him. The scarred soldier and Triana both take notice of this. The rebels launch arrows into the Mord-Sith's soldiers taking down a few of them.
Richard rides in and engages a few soldiers still atop his horse. He dismounts and fully engages the soldiers on the ground. He takes out one of the soldiers and stops to assess the situation. He mows down four soldiers as more keep coming.
Inside the cave, the girls have chains on their wrists as a few Mord-Sith watch over them. They turn as they hear a commotion.
"Hello sisters." Cara greets.
Kahlan is standing behind her holding her knife ready to engage. Trinity is hidden behind a rock, her staff in her hands.
"I've brought you a prize." She turns to look at Kahlan behind her. "The Mother Confessor."
Kahlan looks surprised but Cara looks her in the eyes, silently telling her that this is part of the plan.
One of the Mord-Sith walks closer and Cara twists around and strikes her in the face. Kahlan throws one of her knives and it takes out another Mord-Sith. The one that Cara struck is on her knees in front of her. Cara strikes her again then snaps her neck.
Trinity runs to the girls and begins to undo their bonds. Kahlan comes to help her.
"Kahlan, I knew you'd come." Rachel smiles.
"We have to go, fast." Kahlan tells her.
Cara reaches down to the ground and picks up an Agiel that one of the Mord-Sith has dropped."
"Help us get them out of here." Kahlan tells her.
"I didn't come for the children." She says.
Kahlan and Trinity look back at her as she takes the Agiel and walks out of the cave.
Richard is still engaging soldiers. Triana has just finished someone off and stands up to evaluate the situation. She watches as two of her sisters are taken out as well as a soldier Richard kills. He looks over to where she is standing and she looks back to him. She turns to walk away from the fight only to be confronted by Cara.
Cara gives Triana a hard smack to the face and the fight is on. Cara has her in a pin and is trying to force the Agiel in Triana's hand against Triana's shoulder, but Triana using all of her strength to hold back Cara's attack preventing her from touching her with the Agiel. Cara has a hold of Triana's Agiel at the same time.
"This belongs to me." Cara says.
Cara finally wins and pushes the Agiel against Triana's shoulder. The Agiel makes a whining noise as Cara presses it to Triana and Triana falls to the ground dead. Cara pants a little as she looks at Triana's dead body then up to lock eyes with Richard. He is panting as well and gives her a small nod of his head.
At the village, it is night now and all of the girls are returning to their mothers in the square. Martha has a big smile as she sees Rachel and envelops her in a big hug.
Kahlan and Richard both have smiles as they take in all the reunions.
"Thank you Seeker. I shudder to think what would have happened if you weren't there." Martha tells him
Richard looks behind himself to where scarred solider is standing, as he is in frame Morwyn walks up and past him, still looking at him with hate.
"You should thank these men too. They fought together to help save Rachel and the girls." Richard says.
"It would have been an honor to die for Lord Rahl." The soldier speaks.
"My men and I fight for the Seeker. Not Lord Rahl." Morwyn says.
He looks at the scarred soldier with contempt then walks off. A hand appears on Richard's shoulder – it's Zedd. Richard turns to look at him in shock.
"War is easy. It's peace that will break your heart." Zedd says.
"Zedd, why are you back so soon?"
"I ran into our old friend Shota."
The smile melts off Richard's face at this news. "What does she want?"
Zedd is silent for a moment deciding what to tell Richard.
"Zedd is something wrong?" Kahlan asks.
The sound of the screeling stops Zedd from answering. The Dragon Corp unsheathes their swords as we see the screeling jump from one roof to another. Richard now has the Sword of Truth out and is looking at the beast.
In the village square, people are running and screaming trying to get away from the screeling. Except for Richard, Zedd and Kahlan, they are watching the screeling with calm expressions as Richard holds the Sword of Truth in both hands.
The screeling growls and jumps down onto the ground in front of a fountain and in the middle of some soldiers. The men are grunting as they stab and slash at the creature.
Richard appears on the roof of one of the buildings, the full moon over head illuminating him. "Hey!"
The screeling stops attacking the men to turn and look up at Richard.
"You want to rip somebody's head off? Take mine."
The screeling moves to the edge of the fountain and growls up at Richard. Richard lets out a battle cry and jumps from the roof down to the screeling with the Sword held high in both hands above his head. The screeling meets him half way and crashes into him. The momentum of the hit causes them both to hit the wall of the fountain and splash down into the water.
Kahlan watches on worried as Richard climbs out of the water with the screeling right behind him. He lands on the ground with a thud.
"Zedd, now!" Richard yells.
Zedd makes a circular motion with both of his hands. A white mist appears from his fingertips and his face itself appears to freeze. He sends the magic away from his hands where it hits the screeching screeling in mid jump just as it's about to land on Richard. It freezes stiff right where it is in the air.
Richard pants a few times then moves himself out from under the creature. He brings the Sword up over his head in both of his hands and with a big heave he lowers the blade down onto the head of the screeling. It shatters into a bunch of frozen pieces; one of its hands hits the ground at the base of the fountain. Zedd gives a small smile as the crowd cheers. Richard and Kahlan share a long look.
""Seek out the abbot of the Cloister of Ulrich, for he keeps the secret of the Stone close to his heart." These are the words written Codex." Zedd tells Richard and Kahlan.
"Ulrich is in the opposite direction of the People's Palace." Kahlan says.
"I'm not going to the People's Palace." Richard says.
"But I thought–" Kahlan starts.
"I'm not claiming the throne."
Zedd takes note of his decision as Richard walks to a horse. "You're denying that which would give you power."
"What's important now is finding the Stone of Tears and closing the rift." Richard tells him.
"Richard, the Stone is a very small object in a very large world."
Richard stops messing with the horse and turns to give Zedd his attention.
"Think of how much more ground you could cover with the armies of D'Hara under your command."
"Even if any army could help us, how many would I have to kill to unite the D'Harans? How long would it take while the Keeper grows stronger? And think of the thousands who saw their brothers and sons die fighting for the House of Rahl. Would they follow me if I claim the title of the tyrant they despised? Or would I become the same enemy I'd just defeated?" Richard questioned.
"You could do things differently. Today you convinced enemies to fight side-by-side." Kahlan said.
"A few men. Against other followers of Rahl who still wanted to kill me. If people want to follow me because they believe what I'm fighting for, I'll lead them. But I'm not crowing myself king. I'm not Lord Rahl. I'm Richard Cypher. I'm the Seeker." He and Kahlan share a small smile as she shakes her head at him; he takes a step closer to her and takes her hand. "And you are the Mother Confessor. Zedd and I will see you safely to Aydindril, and then we'll hunt for the Stone. And when it's over I'll come back for you."
Kahlan is surprised by his decision. "Richard I don't like it. The two of you alone?"
"Three." They all turn to look as a voice sounds out to them, it's Cara.
Richard lets go of Kahlan's hand and takes a step closer to Cara.
"A Mord-Sith serves Lord Rahl." She says.
"You don't strike me as a type of person who likes to serve anybody. And I'm not accepting the title of Lord Rahl."
"If you're foolish enough to turn down the throne of D'Hara, then you need me all the more." She replies.
Richard and Cara size each other up for a moment, and then he makes his decision. "All right."
Kahlan is shocked once again by his decision. "Richard."
"Twice now she's proven herself to me. I can use her. We best say our goodbyes; I've got a long journey."
"Don't forget about me!" Trinity says as she walks up behind them.
"Trinity." Richard turns to look at her. "It's too dangerous, and you can't just leave your family." He tries to reason with her.
"I don't have any family. I'm an orphan." She reveals. "My parents were killed during the war when I was two. I have no other family. A friend of theirs; a blacksmith took me in. He died three years ago after refusing to make weapons for the D'Haran soldiers. I've been on my own ever since then. I know how to make weapons and how to fight with them."
Richard, Zedd, and Kahlan look at her with sad eyes.
"Plus if you try two leave without me I'll just follow you anyways and what's more dangerous, a girl traveling the midlands by herself or a girl traveling with the Seeker, the Mother Confessor, a Wizard of the First Order, and a Mord-Sith?" She adds.
Richard chuckles and shakes his head. "Alright I'm convinced. You know how to protect yourself and you can be helpful on this quest."
Trinity smiles, taking the staff off of her back and releasing the blades. She twirls the staff before sheathing the blades and returning it to the small bag that holds it. "Damn right I'll be helpful."
Richard walks off as Cara, Trinity, Zedd, and Kahlan stand their awkwardly.
"Embracing the one in red and the one with the bladed staff." Zedd mutters to himself.
Kahlan looks to him. "What?"
He gives a small shake of his head. "Nothing."
Zedd walks off as Cara and Kahlan stare at each other. They cock their heads as they regard one another. Trinity looks between them before rolling her eyes.
"Are you guys gonna just stand here staring at each other or are we gonna get going?" She asks, before walking off herself.
The five of them are riding toward a snow covered mountain. It's obvious that they have been riding for a while. They have slowed and are now riding their horses near a river. It looks like the same river where Zedd and Shota talked. Kahlan has stopped and Richard stops his horse next to her, Zedd, Cara, and Trinity are a little ways behind them. They are staring at the snow covered mountain.
"Aydindril. Seventy leagues over that ridge." Richard nods.
Kahlan looks back over her shoulder and stares at Cara. She then looks at Richard. "I've been thinking. You said yourself the most important thing right now is finding the Stone of Tears. I should be helping you do that."
"What about Aydindril?"
Kahlan looks back at the mountain. "I'll get there. When all this is over. But as long as you're still the Seeker, you need a Confessor by your side." She gives him a small smile as she nods his head accepting her offer.
The moon is full as Richard tends to a fire. He is the only one up; all the others are asleep around him and the fire. He pokes a stick into the fire as if bored. Suddenly the fire flares up and grows very high.
Richard removes the Sword from its scabbard as he stands; the fire has grown to the height of a man as Darken Rahl emerges from the flames.
"What do you want?" He asks.
"To give you fair warning. We are brothers after all."
Richard levels the Sword to neck height on Rahl and steps forward.
"You are no brother to me."
The Sword passes harmlessly through Rahl and Richard steps back.
"You've already killed me once. You can't kill me again. You believe you are fighting for peace, for freedom. But how many have you killed in this fruitless quest already? How many will you kill tomorrow? Everything you do trying to defeat my master only makes him stronger. You believe you are serving life brother. But the truth is, you are for the Keeper."
Rahl thrusts out his hand and makes contact with Richard's chest on his left side just under his shoulder – on his peck muscle. Rahl's hand is enveloped by fire burning Richard's chest. Richard lets out a scream.
He sits bolt upright as Zedd is at his side, it was a dream. Kahlan, Cara, and Trinity are still sleeping. Richard is panting from the pain and fright.
"Richard? You all right?" Zedd asks.
The noise has woken Kahlan up and he looks over to her worried face.
"I'm fine, just a bad dream." Richard explains.
Cara and Trinity are awake now and rising.
"Well it's over now." Zedd tells him.
Richard lets out a grunt of pain as he puts his hand under his shirt where Rahl touched him. He pulls his shirt aside and we can see a hand-print scarred into his flesh. Zedd's eyes go big for a second as he takes in the sight. Kahlan and Cara both move closer to have a look.
"What is it?" Kahlan asks.
"It's the mark of the Keeper. The mark of the one who would destroy all life." Zedd answers.
They all look between Zedd and the mark with shock.