"You are now joined as husband and wife."
Kahlan shut her eyes.
Darken Rahl caressed her cheek and pressed his lips to hers.
The kiss was gentle. Almost sweet. Over quickly.
Yet it promised more.
A cheer went up from the crowd as Lord Rahl led his new bride to the edge of the balcony. The people were blurred and tiny from this high up. Sunlight sparkled off of the golden embroidery on Lord Rahl's robes and the ruby set in Lady Rahl's Rada'Han.
The balcony had no railing.
Kahlan eyed the edge with a dangerously intent look of speculation.
Darken tightened his grip on her fingers.
The expression in his dark blue eyes was one of possession and triumph and curiosity and unease and grief and passion.
All Kahlan saw was the triumph.
All that the people saw was the royal couple, as starkly beautiful as a painting in their blood red finery and matching dark hair.
At the wedding feast, General Egremont made a speech. It contained heartfelt, if secretly doubtful, wishes for the couple's happiness, and was nicely brief.
Other members of the court were less considerate.
Under cover of a rather drunk young lord's ramblings, Lady Selachii complimented Lady Rahl upon the sunlit beauty of the ceremony. She was the sort of woman who would think of using a dagger merely to cut flowers, and even then she would probably summon a servant.
Kahlan thanked her politely.
Lord Naft had traveled all the way from the barbarous North, where it was said that even a Mord'Sith would hesitate to walk the night alone for fear of what strange and deadly creatures she might meet.
Lord Rahl and Lord Naft had an enmity of such long standing that it nearly qualified as a friendship.
Lord Naft offered genuine condolences upon the recent death of General Nass.
Darken glanced at Kahlan.
She sipped her champagne.
Lord Fitzgerald rose to speak. He hoped that Lord Rahl and his lovely bride would soon be blessed with a child.
Husband and wife looked at each other.
Each of them hoped so, too.
If for rather disparate reasons.