Kahlan had brought up the idea for Richard's surprise party to Cara and Zedd weeks ago. It would be perfect. With the pace that they had set for themselves they were sure to arrive near a friendly town just in time for his birthday. Lately Kahlan had been feeling distant from Richard and she had hoped this would make it up to him. Now if only she could get those thoughts of Cara out of her head. If she was telling the truth they had started to creep into her conscious ever since she had looked into the eyes of a truly remorseful woman on the day Kahlan had spared Cara's life. The time alone with her while Richard was in the Old World didn't serve to aid in trying to banish the growing fondness in her heart for the snarky, sarcastic Mord'Sith, but she told herself over and over again that what she was feeling was merely the tenderness of friendship. She loved Richard and these feelings, whatever they were, shouldn't have any effect on that. So she trudged forward, pushing it all from her mind, and channelled her energy into planning his party.
Cara had been less than pleased about the idea of a celebration when they were supposed to be focusing on finding the Stone of Tears. These sorts of distractions seemed to get more numerous as time went on and she had hoped somehow that they would cease. But Richard Rahl was not a man who could be reasoned with on these matters and somehow he had seemed to instil that same stubbornness in the Mother Confessor. Or maybe she was just always like that… Cara didn't want to admit to herself that it was something she had become quite fond of over the months she'd known Kahlan and she especially didn't want to admit that her feelings for the woman were more than that of a mere travel companion. She was loath to say they were even friends let alone anything… more. But despite her constant efforts she could not get her out of her mind. There was nothing more frustrating than the control Kahlan seemed to have over her. So when she mentioned the party of course Cara had agreed to go along with it..
They had made camp for the night and Kahlan and Zedd were off to rendezvous with the Duke for the party while Cara and Richard prepared food for the night. Cara, still not overly thrilled about the whole thing, was just looking forward to eating some real food.
"It's a good thing Mord'Sith are used to torture…" Cara said dryly as she stirred the foul looking substance in the pot, "because that's exactly what eating this stew will be."
"Well maybe Kahlan and Zedd will find some mushrooms," Richard said unconvincingly.
"It's going to take more than mushrooms to save this."
After a short silence they heard rustling in the forest moving towards them and Richard drew his sword. Kahlan emerged from the brush, frantic.
"We went into town for provisions. Gars attacked."
"Where's Zedd?" Richard said in a rush.
"Trying to fight them off!"
The three of them went quickly to the town to assist Zedd and Kahlan led them into a dark structure.
"Zedd followed them in here" Kahlan said quietly as they crept through the building.
Suddenly there were lights and what looked like some form of magical confetti and a large group of people shouted "Happy Birthday!"
Kahlan smiled and leaned in close to Richard. "We couldn't celebrate with that awful meal, now could we?"
Richard turned to Cara. "Were you in on this too?"
"I suggested we celebrate your birthday the Mord'Sith way."
"I didn't think Mord'Sith celebrated birthdays."
As Richard was pulled away by Zedd to meet the host of the party Duke Anders and his son Erik, Cara surveyed the scene. People were joyously conversing with one another, all excited about the prospect of celebrating the Seeker's birthday with the great man himself. Pathetic.
"Would you honour us by leading the first dance, Seeker?"
"He'd love to." Kahlan said as she grabbed Richard and started to dance. Kahlan knew this was what should be making her happy and yet somehow she couldn't stop her eyes from drifting to the sullen Mord'Sith across the room.
Zedd approached Cara. "Care to join them?"
"I'd rather fight gars." Nothing could have been closer to the truth at that moment although her reasoning behind that statement was not what most would think. Watching Richard and Kahlan dance so happily together had given her an emotion she would rather not feel, but she could literally taste the jealously on her words as she watched them move closer together and kiss. This was going to be a long night.
Kahlan had not felt that spark she was hoping for. As soon as she realised that there was something missing from her kiss with Richard she had wanted to pull away, but she knew that this was what was right. Just because she had been slowly developing feelings for Cara did not mean that she didn't love Richard anymore. Right? It was getting more difficult to tell as time went on and the thought of ever breaking his heart pushed Cara from her mind and she continued dancing with the obliviously happy Seeker.
Zedd, Richard, Kahlan, and Cara sat in seats facing a stage as a local magician performed tricks for them. Both Cara and Kahlan were trying not to focus on the proximity of their bodies as they clapped along with the crowd. This whole thing was starting to bother Kahlan. She had just wanted to give Richard a wonderful birthday and she wanted everyone to have fun, but here Cara was, looking bored as ever, slapping her right hand against her thigh almost lethargically. Frustration boiled under Kahlan's skin, but she refused to let that wipe the smile off of her face. She was determined to make this fun despite being simultaneously angry and completely enamoured with the Mord'Sith.
When Kahlan cued back into the scene before her the magician, Cormac, was speaking. "I'll need a volunteer," he said while looking over at Cara. "You, my dear."
"I don't think so." There was no way Cara was going to participate in this drivel.
"Cara, it's a party," Kahlan said with a hint of a patronizing tone in her voice. "You're supposed to have fun."
Cara sighed and stood almost completely against her will. Another thing the Mother Confessor was able to cajole her into doing.
Kahlan beamed. Maybe having fun was not going to be as difficult as she thought. Messing with Cara by making her part Cormac's performance had brought her much needed satisfaction.
"I can only hope the Mord'Sith will not turn my magic against me," Cormac joked.
"Just get this over with."
"I'll need another volunteer. Perhaps the Mother Confessor."
"All right." Kahlan had not seen that coming, but acquiesced all the same. It was her that had insisted that this was supposed to be fun after all.
"Now, if you ladies could step into these boxes... Appreataro!" There was a flash and Cormac spoke once more. "Seeker, would you like to see your friends again?"
"Wherever we are, we aren't getting out this way," Kahlan said with a groan as she searched the walls of wherever they were for any signs of an exit.
After they had stepped into the boxes they had quickly arrived in some sort of dark tomb with only the flicker of the torches for light. In the centre of the tomb there was a small table with an hourglass, journeybook, parchment and concave stone set upon it. Cara walked toward the table.
"Kahlan," Cara called to get the Mother Confessor's attention. Kahlan walked over to where Cara was and picked up the parchment. "What does it say?"
"You have one day until the sands run out. And when they do, so does your air."
"You were right. This party is lots of fun," Cara said sarcastically.
The two women glared at each other as each though of the predicament they had gotten themselves into. Cara was not sure that she could be trapped in a small enclosed area with Kahlan and still not act on all the feelings she sure as hell was not supposed to be feeling. She was a Mord'Sith for fuck's sake. The only feelings she was allowed to have were anger, loyalty, and pride. Right now, she would be focusing on anger. She cursed the Mother Confessor for forcing her to partake in the little 'trick' that blasted Cormac had performed. Cara probed the walls of the tomb some more as Kahlan flipped though the jouneybook.
"There's a message. It's from Richard. He wants to know if we're all right."
Seeing Kahlan's smile as she said the word 'Richard' made Cara's blood boil.
"Then we'd better write him back."
Cara sauntered up to Kahlan and reached down to grab Kahlan's dagger from her thigh. The assertiveness of her movements made Kahlan's stomach clench as she felt herself get wet. Kahlan couldn't seem to control either her thoughts or her libido when Cara did things like that. She tried to keep a neutral face as Cara sliced the palm of her hand and blood dripped into the concave stone.
Cara held the quill in her hand for only a moment before quickly writing out a message to Richard. We're trapped in a tomb with only a day's worth of air. Get us out of here so I can strangle that old magician with his own entrails. 'That ought to do it,' Cara thought. She would truly love to do more than that to the man responsible for this.
They had gotten a response from Richard that asked to look for anything that might help identify the tomb, but their search had come up fruitless with nothing but rock (and more rock) to find. After sending a message back to him with the news that there was nothing to be found Kahlan suggested they at least try to dig their way out with her daggers. They set forth with the truly monotonous task and Kahlan let her mind wander. She desperately needed to get out of this tomb before she did anything she would regret. Kahlan couldn't help but think about her current circumstances. 'Maybe it wouldn't be such a bad thing to not be with Richard forever… I always thought he was the only person I would ever love, but if that ever changed would it be fair to either of us for me to stay with him? I don't want to think about this. I just want to get out of here.'
Kahlan's strong arms working on the wall so close to Cara provided a nice distraction from the sounds of the daggers tapping into the wall. Even if she couldn't have feelings for the Mother Confessor it didn't mean she couldn't admire her beauty. Cara had taken many men and women to her bed (and to other various places) and she couldn't help but to imagine what it would feel like to push Kahlan against the hard wall and have her way with her. Sucking on her soft flesh… burying her fingers deep into… "This is pointless. We've been at it for hours" she said before finishing her thought.
"We can't just sit here and do nothing."
"We'll have run out of air long before we dig our way out of here."
"It's not helping that these torches are burning air faster than we are."
"Then we'll have to find a way to snuff them out," Cara said and smirked as a thought came to her mind. "You can use your clothes. I would offer mine, but…," she raised one of her eyebrows with a mischievous grin, "I do not wear anything underneath my leathers."
Kahlan blushed at the thought of a very naked Cara and almost rose to the bait Cara seemed to be placing in front of her. Instead she slowly removed the outer layer of her clothing. 'Two can play this game,' she thought before realising that this may all be in her head. 'Who's to say she's even interested. I'm sure I'm just flattering myself.'
Cara's smirk slightly faltered as Kahlan removed her clothes and she felt a lump in her throat. 'Well.. this was my idea..'
Kahlan briskly walked over to one of the torches and looked up. "I'll have to stand on your shoulders to reach. I hope you don't have any trouble holding me up." Cara scoffed and rolled her eyes at that and walked over to boost the taller woman onto her shoulders.
"I am Mord'Sith. I can take a little bit of weight Mother Confessor."
Kahlan was just out of reach of the torch and continuously swiped the garment at the flame hoping to extinguish it. "I can almost reach it. Stand on your toes."
"I am," Cara managed to say bitterly between clenched teeth.
Kahlan attempted a few more swipes before losing her balance and falling backwards onto the dirt floor. She sat up slightly breathing heavily and coughed. Her arms were covered in a fine layer of sweat that didn't go unnoticed by the Mord'Sith.
Cara tore her eyes away from Kahlan's body and spoke. "The torches are using less air than we are trying to knock them out. The air is getting thinner."
There was a long pause as Kahlan thought hard about the situation. She couldn't let them both die in this wretched tomb. And then an idea crossed her mind. Maybe.. just maybe.. she could.. "There's one way to double how long it lasts." She gathered up the courage to do what she must and was more determined as she turned to Cara. "Kill me."
Cara was flabbergasted to say the least. She couldn't possibly be serious. "Has the lack of air drive you mad?"
"It could give Richard the time he needs to find us. And when he does, you can give me the Breath of Life."
Cara could simply not conceive of killing Kahlan. This idea was nonsense. She couldn't even look at her anymore. 'It's not that I care about her..' she thought. 'I have a duty to Lord Rahl and he wouldn't want this.' Worried that she wouldn't be able to control the emotions that crossed her face and afraid they would give her feelings away, Cara stood with her back facing Kahlan. "As tempting as the offer to kill you may be... Richard would never forgive me if I let you die."
"But I'd only be dead for a short time. And then you could bring me back."
'No. No. What if I can't bring her back…' "It's too big a risk. We don't know how long it's going to take Richard to find us." Cara couldn't bear the thought of the light in Kahlan's bright blue eyes snuffed from her by Cara's own hand. Before thinking too hard on why that might be she quickly came to the only conclusion that was logical to her. She parted her lips slightly in a small smile "But there is another way." She finally turned around to face Kahlan, her decision final. "I'll die instead."
"I can't bring you back." Kahlan panicked. This was not supposed to happen.
"But you can live." She smiled slightly. It was all very simple to her. For once she could do something worthy to help this woman who had once spared her life. This beautiful woman whose sister was slain by Cara herself.
"Cara, no. If you die your death would be final." Kahlan couldn't believe she was willing to give her life for hers. There would be no bringing her back. She decided right then that she would not let that happen. Cara's willingness to sacrifice herself made Kahlan just that much more fond of the Mord'Sith she had grown to care about deeply.
"Better one of us than both of us."
"Cara please, don't. You're being rash. It would be much wiser if I were the one to die. At least think this over," Kahlan said trying to buy time. She was relieved when Cara sat down and Kahlan joined her.
Cara now knew that she would be returning to the underworld for a final time. She had sat to compose her thoughts. She couldn't ignore what she was feeling anymore. She cared about the Mother Confessor, about Kahlan Amnell. All these times she had told herself it was weak to have these feelings just didn't matter anymore in this moment. Soon she would be gone and it wouldn't matter anyway. She had never felt this before, but she was 100% sure that she... that she… loved Kahlan. And yet how could she tell her this and then leave her. What would Richard, someone she felt was not only her Lord, but her friend, think of her confessing her love. She couldn't just say nothing. "You were right."
Cara couldn't bring herself to look Kahlan in the eye. It was taking all of her strength to say this. "You once told me that it's a hard world, and that we don't get many chances to tell people how much they mean to us." Cara paused and Kahlan looked over at her. "There's no one a Mord'Sith should hate more than a Confessor." Kahlan wasn't sure where Cara was going with this. "I was trained to hate you." There was another pause as Cara collected herself for the hardest part. "But I don't." Kahlan's heart soared. Could Cara really feel the way about her that she wished she would? "And I don't want to die without you knowing..." Kahlan leaned forward even more, worried about the Mord'Sith, "that I consider you to be.." the woman I love the woman I love thewomanIlove "my friend," Cara barely managed to get out. It would have to be enough. It was true that Cara felt friendship with Kahlan, but she was now acutely aware that it was so much more than that.
In that moment, Kahlan could not have hoped for anything more. The words that Cara spoke meant so much to her. She could not contain the smile that reached her face. She definitely had it bad for the Mord'Sith and she knew once they got free from this tomb she was going to have a lot of explaining to do whether or not Cara was interested in something more with her. But for now… "I think of you as a friend too," she said with all the caring in her voice that she could muster. She almost involuntarily quickly wrapped her arms around Cara and pulled her into a hug.
The feeling of Kahlan so near to her made Cara nervous, but slowly she began to sense the comfort the embrace brought. She slowly raised her hand and placed it on Kahlan's arm. The heat emanated from Kahlan's body and Cara finally felt like she could just let go. She finally relaxed into the hug and closed her eyes inhaling the sweet scent that was Kahlan.
Kahlan felt Cara's hand on her arm and she suppressed a shudder. Nothing had ever felt so good to her in her entire life. It was almost too much to handle, this proximity to Cara. She wasn't sure how much more she could take without placing her lips onto Cara's neck and trailing a line of kisses up to her supple lips. "We're going to get out of here," Kahlan said and let go of Cara. She didn't want to do something while she was still devoted to Richard. Right. Richard. "We both know Richard. He's coming for us. He just needs a little more time." Kahlan put her hand to her mouth in a nervous gesture dearly hoping that he would come soon before she acted on her feelings.
"I know," Cara stated resolutely and stood. "And I'm going to make sure he gets it."
Cara reached to grab the dagger from the ground and aimed it at herself ready to plunge it into her chest, but Kahlan shouted, "Cara, no!" and grabbed her arm to stop her. They struggled and then Kahlan managed to knock Cara away and the dagger fell to the floor. Both women stared intensely at each other, both determined to come out the victor in this fight.
"Get out of my way." Anger laced Cara's voice.
The sexual tension between them mixed with Kahlan's desperate need to save Cara from herself and Cara's struggle to save Kahlan by taking her own life sucked more of the oxygen from the already dwindling air supply. The sand in the hourglass continued to tick down the time they had before there would be no air left at all and it was dangerously close to running out.
Cara stepped forwards and made a move for the dagger, but not before Kahlan grabbed her arm, threw it back, and slapped her hard across the face. Cara flipped back her head and held her hand to her mouth before backhanding Kahlan. Both women were now fully taken in by the energy of the battle. Cara grabbed Kahlan by her front only to have her hands knocked away and several of her blows blocked. Kahlan would not give in so easily. She was aware that her opponent was formidable, but her desire to have Cara alive was so strong that she was able to ignore the ache in her chest to twist Cara's arms and push her back against the wall. The irony of Kahlan doing just what earlier Cara had imagined doing to her was not lost on her, and, despite the fact that she was trying to kill herself, she could not stop the wetness from pooling between her strong thighs. Cara momentarily ignored her sexual desire that was brought to the forefront from the passion of the fight and rushed Kahlan's middle and pushed her roughly against the wall. They each in turn attempted punches towards the other, but were unsuccessful. Kahlan spun around and smacked Cara in the face with both of her fists. The desire was building up inside both of them and Cara flipped her hair back, a crazy, lust-filled, thrill-of-the-fight look in her eyes. Cara's strength has been dwindling from a combination of exertion and not being able to breathe. She attempted two punches, but Kahlan dodged both and rushed her, wrapping her arm around Cara's neck from behind. Cara, now frustrated, grabbed the arms wrapped around her with both hands. She couldn't believe Kahlan would put up such a fight just so that she could stop Cara from saving her life.
"Stop pretending my life means as much as yours," Cara panted out before elbowing Kahlan in the stomach, causing her to gasp, and freeing Cara from her hold. In a last-ditch effort she then grabbed Kahlan's arms and flipped her over onto the ground.
Kahlan hit the ground hard with a thud. Cara breathed hard and backed up against the wall nearly completely out of breath. Kahlan gasped hard for air with wide eyes and Cara slid down the wall to fall on the ground. Both women were panting and gasping for air.
"There's...no air... left," Kahlan just got out. The only thoughts that ran through her mind were that of Cara. Now she would never get to tell her how she felt. She would never get to taste that mouth. She would never get to experience anything with her. Any small chance she ever had was diminishing just as the sand in the hourglass. She looked over to Cara's hand and grasped it with hers wishing to convey all the things she would never get to say. Cara squeezed back as tightly as she could with the hope that, in her last seconds of life, she could show Kahlan that she loved her. Their hands stayed together as the last torch flickered out completely.
"Kahlan! Cara!" Richard shouted as he entered the tomb. He ran over immediately to Kahlan when he saw her body sprawled out on the dirt floor. "Are you alright?"
Kahlan smiled at Richard. She had resigned herself to death and when the air returned to her lungs she couldn't have been happier. She would live another day, she still had a chance to be true to herself. But here was her saviour, Richard, worried about her. She couldn't face him with all of this yet. "We are now. I knew you'd find us in time." Kahlan had lied, but now was the time to boost Richard's ego, not to crush him. It was, after all, still his birthday.
Richard leaned in to kiss Kahlan and she acquiesced, but stopped as soon as she heard Cara's voice.
"I'm fine," she said with irritation. Even in this moment that irritation was half due to the man attempting to help her up and half because of Kahlan and Richard's kiss. She cursed herself for acting like some lovesick youth.
Kahlan looked around from Richard to Cara to the other man. "Where's Zedd?"
Richard and Zedd later explained to the women that Cormac had a grudge against the Duke for sending his sons to die in a war while the more privileged men's lives were spared. He had attempted to blackmail Richard into killing these men by threatening to let Cara and Kahlan die. When this had proved to be a failure he tricked Richard into releasing something called a Nygaxx. This Nygaxx eventually got hold of Zedd and Cara had to use her agiels to bring him to the brink of death in order to free him from the Nygaxx's hold. In the end, the Nygaxx wrapped itself around Duke Anders and they were able to trap it in a crypt.
Although these events seemed dramatic, Cara and Kahlan couldn't stop thinking about what had happened between them in the tomb. Cara had started to severely regret ever saying anything to Kahlan. If she had known that they would be rescued she wouldn't have so stupidly confessed her feelings. Kahlan on the other hand only thought of all the wonderful things Cara had said to her. She fell more deeply for the Mord'Sith every time she replayed the events of the tomb in her head.
As they walked along a path, with Kahlan and Cara side by side and Zedd and Richard trailing behind them, Kahlan couldn't keep her eyes off of the blonde. Cara noticed this and nervously stroked her neck.
"You were wrong before," Kahlan said, "Back in the tomb. Your life is just as important as mine is." She meant what she had said with every ounce of her being. Cara would not meet her eyes. "If it weren't for you, we wouldn't have been able to free Zedd from the Nygaax." Kahlan smiled at the bravery Cara had shown and was always showing to save the lives of the people she cared about.
"About what I said back in the tomb..." Cara said looking down.
Emotion welled up inside of Kahlan. "It- It really meant a lot to me."
"Forget I said it," Cara said quickly raising her eyebrows slightly, "I was delirious from the lack of air."
Cara walked on ahead hoping that would end the discussion about any feelings she might or might not have. She wished they could just move on from what happened that day.
Kahlan slowed down her pace, mouth slightly agape from the 180 Cara had done in comparison to how she had acted in the tomb. She realised this was just Cara's defence mechanism and chuckled as she put her hand on her forehead, shaking her head with an amused expression on her face. 'What am I going to do with that woman?' she thought to herself exasperatedly.
"Is she all right?" Richard said concerned as he caught up to Kahlan.
Kahlan smiled even bigger. "She's…" She shook her head slightly and, unable to keep the love out of her voice, simply said, "Cara."
Richard looked a bit worried and Kahlan tried to quell the feeling that she was somehow betraying him by changing the subject. "I'm sorry you didn't get a night of fun. Not even on your birthday." She truly was sorry that she had been unable to even provide him with that.
"Well, you sure know how to throw a party. Can't wait to see what you do next year." Sarcasm laced his voice.
Meanwhile Cara walked ahead lost in her own thoughts and she could hear Richard and Kahlan laughing together. Cara shook her head, trying to physically rid it of the jealously. She would just have to carry on as things had always been. Although that was looking like a harder and harder task as time went on…
Cara was avoiding her. Ever since the tomb it had been tense with the Mord'Sith and she was finding it difficult to focus on the task at hand. Not even her feelings for Richard had ever been strong enough to distract her fully from finding the Stone of Tears. There was something about Cara that pulled her in like a powerful magnet. She had always had strong feelings for her, but what had once been anger and hate had blossomed into a deep love that she could no longer ignore. Cara may be trying to do her best to ignore what had happened in the tomb, but she refused to. Whether or not the Mord'Sith would ultimately return her feelings she could not continue to lie to Richard when it had become clear to her that, although she loved him, it was not with the same aching passion she felt for Cara. She had always thought that she knew what true love felt like, but as time passed she'd realised Richard was a safe love. He was kind, reliable, steadfast, and a very good man. He was the first person to really look at her and to not be afraid to touch her. He was and always would be her first love because he opened her up to so many possibilities that she would have never even considered. She hoped with all of her heart that he would forgive her some day and that they could be friends. She never wanted to lose someone she cared so much about, but she knew it was the right thing to do. She had grown very much since she first met Richard Cypher and a lot of that had to do with him, but she had to admit that she had been falling for Cara for a long time now. Her blunt way of speaking and sarcastic wit never failed to bring a bright smile to Kahlan's face. The small ways she showed she cared when she insisted she wasn't tired and that she would take Kahlan's watch, or how she would watch Kahlan out of the corner of her eye whilst in battle. Of course she only knew this because she too found herself worrying for the Mord'Sith's safety. Which was probably ridiculous as Cara was one of the toughest people she knew. Kahlan loved that Cara did not see in only black and white. Her morals were cloudy just as was the world. Even Kahlan knew that there was not simply good and bad; things were complicated. Cara was complicated. And in such a beautiful way. A woman who suffered so much at such a young age, a woman who was bent to the will of an evil man, who was still so independent and just so… wonderful. These were only a few of the reasons Kahlan appreciated and loved her. And so, before the sun rose on the horizon, she sat up from her spot on a rock where she had been keeping watch (against Cara's insistence) and gently woke up the Seeker.
"Err.. mmmm.. what? Is it morning already?" Richard managed as her stared up into Kahlan's eyes.
"I'm sorry for waking you. I just.. I need to talk to you."
Kahlan looked worried and Richard quickly sat up. "What's wrong? Is everything okay?"
"Can we please just go somewhere to talk?"
"Of course." He stood up and led her to a small clearing far enough away from the camp that no one could overhear. "What did you want to talk about, Kahlan?" He sat down on a nearly fallen log and patted the empty space next to him gesturing for her to sit down.
She nervously sat and cleared her throat. This was somehow a lot harder that she'd imagined. And trust, she had gone over the situation a million times in her head, complete with the worst possible scenarios. "I.. I love you."
"I love you too," he said with a beaming smile.
Richard's smile faltered.
"I mean…" She verbally backtracked. "You're my best friend. You taught me what love felt like and I-"
"Felt? Kahlan what are you saying?"
"Please Richard. Please just let me get this out."
Richard couldn't believe what he was hearing. He wanted it all to go away. He wanted this not to be what he felt it in his heart that it was. And so he let her speak if only in the hopes that this wasn't actually happening. He nodded his head slightly and she continued.
"I need you to know that this isn't easy for me to do. That you mean so much to me. And that there will always be a place for you in my heart."
Tears started to stream down Richard's face. He looked over to her confusion and pain evident in his gaze. "But why? I thought we were going to be together forever. You.. you loved me across time.. I love you so much. Why are you doing this?"
Kahlan found herself crying as well. She never imagined it would come to this either and yet, even in such a painful moment, just the small thought of Cara's rare smile allowed her to steel herself and continue. "It wouldn't be fair to stay with you Richard. I'm so sorry. I can't… I'm not entirely sure I even know what happened, but we've grown.. and grown apart."
"I.. we can grow together Kahlan. Together our love can conquer anything."
That small spark of desperate hope in his eyes killed her and she knew, despite how hard this was, she needed to make it clear that it was over between them. "Richard.. you will always, always mean so much to me. You have to believe that. But this.. this relationship is over. I hope one day you will forgive me."
He still didn't understand why this was happening. Kahlan was being so cryptic. He knew that things had felt different recently. Even on his birthday her emotional distance was palpable, but he didn't know what he had done wrong. "Just tell me what I can change. I can fix it." He was the Seeker. He would seek the truth in why she was doing this.
"It's not anything you can change."
"I would never force you to stay with me Kahlan. I love you too much to force unhappiness on you. But I need to know what happened to cause this."
Kahlan paused for what felt like an eternity. "I'm in love with someone else."
Richard stood and drew his sword, crying out, angry tears still clouding his vision.
"I'm so sorry Richard. I didn't mean for any of this to happen."
He plunged the Sword of Truth into the hard ground only a foot in front of where Kahlan sat, but she did not flinch. Their eyes met and Richard's stare was intense. In the long moment his tears had dried and then realisation dawned on his face quickly followed by the defeated sag of his shoulders as one word left his mouth, his eyes never leaving Kahlan's tear-filled blue orbs.
Cara had woken up from the quiet yet forceful rustling of Richard packing his things. She sat up slowly and looked around, seeing only the Wizard quietly sat on a log nearby, his eyes boring into his grandson. Kahlan was nowhere to be seen and Cara stared pointedly at Richard.
"What in the name of the Creator is going on?"
Richard didn't meet her eyes and only spoke after a long moment.
"Zedd and I are continuing on the quest. You will escort the Mother Confessor to Aydindril."
"No. I will be joining you on the quest. It's my job to pro-"
"I command you as your Lord Rahl."
Cara snapped her mouth shut, but only for a brief second. She was and forever would be a Mord'Sith. Any command from her Lord Rahl she must obey.
"Yes. Of course Lord Rahl," she spit out, a hint of contempt laced her voice, "And what shall I do after escorting the Mother Confessor?"
"I don't care. Just do not find me."
Hurt crossed her face before she quickly adjusted her expression. Being with these people really had made her soft.
Richard couldn't help but ease for a minute. Cara was someone he used to trust with his life and she honestly didn't seem to know what was going on. He was hurt, but the least he could do for the confused Mord'Sith was be polite.
"Cara I-" Richard finally looked her in the eye. "You will understand soon enough. She will tell you in her own time. Maybe someday we will meet again." He strode over to her and embraced her gently.
Cara froze, not knowing how to react. Before she could decide what to do it was over and Richard was walking into the thick forest.
"Zedd I won't get too far ahead. I'll let you say your goodbyes."
Cara gazed after him, more confused than ever. Despite the way she acted these people were her friends and she couldn't understand what could have happened to cause this.
Zedd gently cleared his throat to get her attention.
"I'm sorry Cara. I will see you again and I'm sure then everyone will be in much better spirits."
"I don't see how that could be Wizard. The Seeker is acting like a child. Rarely does he get over that."
Zedd just sighed and shook his head a little. "Take care of Kahlan."
That's when it hit her. Kahlan. Not only was Richard leaving her behind, he was making Kahlan return home. Her mind fluttered through all the possibilities. Surely they haven't- She didn't let her mind go there.
"Yes of course. As if she were Lord Rahl."
"No. Even better than that."
And with that Zedd followed after where Richard had disappeared and she was alone.
Where in the world was the Mother Confessor anyway?
Kahlan removed the last of her clothing and carefully stepped into the hot spring. This was exactly what she needed after all the stress of today. Her muscles immediately untensed as soon as she was submerged and she breathed out a sigh of relief. It was unusual, she felt a lot of things, but the most unexpected one was relief. She did not now have to put up the pretence of wanting to be with Richard and maybe, just maybe, Cara would have feelings for her too. That was going to be the toughest subject to broach. Cara wasn't the most open about her feelings and her loyalty to Richard was steadfast. The most real she had ever seen Cara was in that tomb and she longed for her to be that honest once again just for the sake of her aching heart. Thinking about extremely attractive blonde Mord'Sith apparently made them appear as just then Cara emerged from the trees.
"Would you like to explain to me just exactly what is going on? Who has time for a bath when Richard and Zedd have just left us here and continued on with the quest?"
"Nice to see you too Cara." How in the world did she find her somehow cute when she was so stroppy like this?
"I want some kind of explanation Mother Confessor."
"Kahlan is fine Cara. We are at least friends now."
"Well Kahlan stop being evasive and explain." Cara tried to avert her eyes when she spoke to Kahlan. She was finding it very difficult to remain angry when she could see Kahlan's bare pale skin shimmering with drips of water and- Oh she was speaking.
"right now because-"
"Cara were you listening at all?"
"Of course I was. Continue."
"Right.. well.. I was just saying how there's no rush to get to Aydindril right now as they're not even expecting me back so soon so I thought that maybe-"
"This does not sound remotely like an explanation."
"I ended things with Richard." Kahlan had to stifle a laugh at the look on Cara's face. Such a mix of emotions was rarely ever seen on a Mord'Sith, let alone Cara.
"I can only assume this is some sort of self-sacrifice on your part. You and the Seeker's love being as utterly ridiculous as it is."
"I don't love him like that anymore." Kahlan tried to convey so much more to her with only her eyes, but it was difficult to get through to Cara on matters of the heart.
"I am sorry to hear that. I hope you will not be weeping over any more swords." Cara smirked despite herself. And for some reason she was finding it exceptionally challenging to not just undress herself and join the Mother Confessor in the water. She imagined her mouth and body firmly pressed against the other woman, she imagined-
"No I think it's safe to say that won't be happening. Would you like to join me?" Kahlan asked pointedly.
Cara was shocked, but did not allow her face to show it. Is the Mother Confessor suddenly able to read minds? That could be a dangerous skill.
"Someone has to keep watch. I cannot simply frolic in the water with you."
Kahlan beamed at her while Cara scowled. She refused to let her mind wander to the possibilities of being alone with Kahlan and she especially didn't think about how Kahlan was now unattached. All of these thoughts would lead nowhere good. Even if Kahlan did somehow want to be with her it could never happen. Everyone knew that Mord'Sith and Confessors were mortal enemies. And yet.. they were sort of friends… Still, it's not like they could even have sex, what with the fact that that would definitely kill her from the confession that would inevitably follow the most spectacular orgasm of Kahlan's life Cara was bound to give her. And now Cara had been sitting here in silence for ages thinking about ravishing Kahlan when her intention had been to focus on getting her home. And then what? Clearly Richard did not want her back. Although she still did not know what she had done to bring that on. She would get an explanation from Kahlan even if it killed her.
Kahlan could see Cara was lost in thought and she wondered what the Mord'Sith could possibly be thinking so hard about. The water still felt amazing and she wished Cara had taken her up on her offer to join. Then at least she might have relaxed enough for Kahlan to assess if and when she should tell Cara about her feelings. Kahlan sunk down further into the water and decided not to think about it anymore. For now.
Cara had always assumed it was Richard's fault they were never able to get anywhere nearly as quickly as they should have, but she was starting to wonder if Kahlan had any part in this. She had been patiently (as patiently as she could handle) trying to follow the river up to Aydindril to bring the Mother Confessor back to her homeland, but Kahlan seemed hell-bent on making that impossible. Any small distraction would ignite the woman's interest and there they would be, assisting some local townsfolk, tasting whatever cuisine was supposed to be 'the best you will try in all the Midlands', or simply sitting around listening to tales told to them by weathered old men. She supposed this was how they ended up where they were now: shacked up in some small room in an inn after a long day helping the people of the village fight off some raiders who were giving them trouble. She did not know why she went along with these things. What worried Cara most was that she was sort of enjoying doing these things with Kahlan. It almost took a little bit of effort to make sarcastic retorts about them returning to Aydindril in their old age and how Kahlan's people would not even recognise her by the time they actually got there.
At least today she had worked off some of the sexual energy she couldn't seem to get rid of. On top of everything else, Kahlan was looking particularly desirable with every passing sun. Cara wasn't the type of woman to not notice how sexy Kahlan was after a good battle and sharing quarters with her allowed her the privilege of sneaking glances as she undressed. Not that being able to appreciate a delectable woman means anything more, Cara thought. She was sure that the way her heartbeat sped up about the most inane things Kahlan would do and how she would literally do anything for the Mother Confessor even if it was painfully dull meant absolutely nothing. With Kahlan now no longer being involved with the Seeker it was getting more difficult for her to ignore what she may be feeling. She had to remind herself on several occasions that her loyalties were still to the Lord Rahl. Above anything else, she was a Mord'Sith and Mord'Sith simply do not love anyone. Not that I'm saying I love her. That's the opposite of what I'm saying. And yet, just hearing the sound of Kahlan's voice seemed to have an effect on her these days.
"You don't mind sharing a bed tonight, do you Cara?"
"Well seeing as saving these people did not get us any better than a single room I guess it will have to do. I could always sleep on the floor though."
"Don't be silly. We're friends. We can share."
Cara was about to protest further, but Kahlan gave her a look saying it would do no good to fight her on this. Cara had learned to pick her battles with the Mother Confessor. Well, mostly.
So she climbed into the bed, being sure that their bodies weren't touching in any way and was finally able to fall asleep after leaning over to briefly grasp one of her agiels. The pain that coursed through her body was comfortable, unlike the small gap between herself and Kahlan that had her thinking things she simply could not think, and allowed her to focus on the pain long enough to fall asleep.
Kahlan opened her eyes slowly and relaxed into the arms that held her until she realised just whose arms those were. Sometime in the night Cara must have unknowingly wound her arms around Kahlan's body. Kahlan stayed as still as she could, wanting to be revel in this moment for as long as possible before Cara could wake up and return to acting like she didn't have any feelings. She breathed in deeply, the feeling of Cara's strong arms was intoxicating. She felt at once relaxed and aroused. Today is the day, she thought, no longer able to hold back what she was feeling. For better or for worse she would be the one confessing truths today instead of the other way around. Her biggest hope was that Cara wouldn't shut down completely. She knew the Mord'Sith wasn't the best with feelings and that this would be difficult, but she just prayed that Cara would give her something to work with.
Cara awoke with a start and noticed the position of her body right away, pulling back almost immediately. Without a word she quickly stood up and started to put on her leathers.
Kahlan sat up slowly, admiring Cara's toned body before speaking.
"Cara, I need to speak to you about something."
"Are you going to finally explain why Richard and Zedd took off so abruptly?"
"No. Well, yes, actually, but it's more than that."
"Get on with it then." Cara relaxed her face into a somewhat bored and slightly annoyed expression even though she was worried about what 'more' could possibly be referring to.
"I- well, I… find you very attractive Cara."
Cara scoffed, "Well that's not surprising." Although maybe it was, just a little bit.
"Cara please try not to be so…"
"So what? My physical attractiveness is not a secret. Nor is yours Mother Confessor." It made her feel better to use Kahlan's title when admitting something like this even if it was only a minor concession.
Kahlan couldn't help but smile just a little bit at the acknowledgement that Cara was in fact attracted to her. It gave her the added confidence to continue.
"Richard left because he knew I had feelings for someone else. And that person is you."
Cara spoke quickly without thinking, "That's nonsense. Don't confuse your desire to be friends with me with something else."
"That's not what this is! Cara I have been feeling this way about you for a long time now and I just can't hide it from you any longer."
Cara roughly pulled Kahlan in a heated kiss. Kahlan, shocked at first, returned the kiss, sliding her lips against the Mord'Sith's and tangling her hands into Cara's hair. When a small moan escaped Kahlan's mouth Cara quickly pulled away.
What was I thinking?
"Kahlan," Cara breathed. "I am a Mord'Sith. Whatever this is, it cannot be. You know that. I don't have… feelings. I want you physically. But we cannot even have that. It would kill me."
"Please just… Admit there is more than that. What are you so afraid of?"
"I'm not afraid of anything."
"Then stop being such a coward and kiss me again."
Cara raised one eyebrow coyly at Kahlan. "You're playing with fire Mother Confessor."
Kahlan stared Cara down. "Surely a Mord'Sith such as yourself is not a coward."
There it was, that word again. And Cara rose to the bait as she pulled Kahlan into another fiery kiss. Cara felt like Kahlan's lips were charged with some sort of magical energy. Every touch was like lightening. Kahlan felt the kiss everywhere. All the way down to the tips of her toes, within her fast-beating heart, and the tingling sensation she felt deep in her gut grew stronger the longer the kiss went on. They were both lost in this one moment, their lips on each other's, their bodies flush, their arms wrapped around one another. For just this moment they were not the Mother Confessor and a Mord'Sith, but two women in a small room, consumed in each other.
Cara felt scorching heat rush low in her abdomen as Kahlan deepened the kiss. The Mother Confessor's hand weaved into her blonde hair while her other hand gripped hard onto Cara's hip. Cara moaned into the kiss, the feel of Kahlan's body flush against hers engulfing her in pleasure.
Cara had never felt this way before. She had taken many lovers, but none had caused such sensations. She felt as if every nerve in her body was sent into overdrive. Cara couldn't stop now even if she wanted to. Her best judgement said that this was dangerous, but as she took Kahlan's bottom lip between her teeth and bit down eliciting a moan from the Mother Confessor all of those thoughts were completely erased from her mind.
Cara quickly took control of the situation. As much as this side of Kahlan turned her on she would not let the Mother Confessor dominate. She was, after all, still Mord'Sith and she was determined to remind Kahlan of that.
She pushed Kahlan roughly against the door and started to kiss her way down her creamy pale neck. Cara sucked hard on her pulse point while moving her hand up the soft skin of Kahlan's toned stomach towards her breasts.
Kahlan felt wetness pool at her core as Cara's hand finally made it to her erect nipple, taking it between her fingers and rolling it firmly. Kahlan groaned as Cara detached herself from Kahlan long enough to remove the Mother Confessor's top.
Kahlan glimpsed the smirk on Cara's face as her eyes raked down her bare torso.
"See something you like?" Kahlan intoned in almost a whisper.
The low, almost raspy tone of her voice and the sight of Kahlan's naked flesh before her sent shivers down Cara's spine. She closed the small distance between them and pressed her leathered body up against the Mother Confessor. Cara took her earlobe into her mouth sucking gently before whispering into the other woman's ear.
"I am going to ravish every inch of you until you forget your own name."
Cara drew her finger gently down Kahlan's cheek and continued down her neck, in between her breasts and down just below her bellybutton. Kahlan's breath hitched as she got lower, but Cara's finger did not move to where she desperately needed it.
Kahlan did not know it was possible to feel so much pleasure from just the barest of touches. The feel of Cara's leather pressed tight against her aching nipples drove her almost as mad as the soft long fingers that ran gently over her skin. Cara's hot breath on her ear gave her chills and Kahlan could not get her brain to work long enough to come up with any sort of response to Cara's bold statement.
It felt as if time had stood still as neither of them moved. The sounds of their heavy breathing filled the room somehow locking out the chirping of the birds outside and the noisy chattering of the other patrons of the inn. It was as if they were at the precipice of a cliff, neither of them yet willing to grab the other and dive off. This was the moment. As soon as one of them made a move there was no turning back.
Surprisingly Cara was the first to move. She looked up into Kahlan's piercing blue eyes. Each woman saw how dilated the other's eyes were. Kahlan's desire grew rapidly as she felt the Mord'Sith's intense stare pierce into her very soul. She could wait no longer and she grasped the back of Cara's head and crashed their lips together.
Their soft lips slid against one another before the kiss deepened and Kahlan could feel Cara's probing tongue enter her mouth. Kahlan wanted that tongue all over her body.
As if Cara could read her mind she removed her mouth from Kahlan's only to trail her tongue down to Kahlan's supple breast. She circled her nipple with the tip of her tongue before encasing it completely in her mouth. Kahlan let out a long moan as her fingers dug into Cara's back.
The feel of Kahlan's nails raking almost painfully over her skin only egged the Mord'Sith on as she took Kahlan's nipple between her teeth and used her hand to palm her other breast.
The sounds coming from Kahlan's mouth were making Cara dizzy with pleasure. She turned the Mother Confessor around and led her to the bed they had shared only the night previous. She pushed Kahlan down onto the bed and her silky black hair tumbled out over the pillow. Kahlan was a vision.
Cara perched herself over the tantalising body of the Mother Confessor and started to kiss her way down her stomach, but she was stopped by the tugging of her head upward by Kahlan.
Cara gave her a confused look. Did she actually want to stop now that they had come so far?
"Remove your leathers. I want to feel all of you against me."
Cara made no attempt to argue, which actually shocked the Mother Confessor. Apparently the Mord'Sith could be more agreeable when it came to sexual matters.
Cara stood up and quickly removed her leathers not wanting to separate herself from Kahlan for too long. Kahlan was left breathless by the sight of Cara Mason in all of her glory. Kahlan was sure she had never seen someone so beautiful in all of the world. She raked her eyes up from her strong, lean legs to her toned abs to her perfectly formed, swelling breasts and then up to her magnificent, fierce green eyes.
Cara moved back to the bed and straddled Kahlan's leg. Kahlan could feel the slick wetness coat her thigh as Cara gently rocked her hips against her.
"I need to feel you. Now." Kahlan husked out as she flipped Cara onto her back, her need overcoming her.
"You dare top a Mord'Sith Mother Confessor?" Cara raised one perfectly arched eyebrow, surprised at Kahlan's sudden forcefulness.
Kahlan didn't supply answer, but brought her fingers down between Cara thighs and dragged them up until she met hot, wet folds.
Cara moaned at the feel of Kahlan's fingers coming up to circle her clit. She found she was not averse to being topped by this woman. Kahlan's strength and the daring glint in her eyes were already bringing her close to orgasm.
Without warning Kahlan pushed two fingers inside of her and started to pump them in and out while continuing to stroke Cara's clit with her thumb.
"I want you to come undone for me Cara."
"Harder." Cara commanded. She needed more of Kahlan inside of her. She could not get enough of her.
Kahlan added a third finger and picked up her pace almost coming herself just from the feel of Cara's walls clenching around her fingers.
"Fuck me Mother Confessor."
"Say my name Cara."
Cara said nothing and Kahlan slowed her movements. "Say. My. Name."
Cara gritted her teeth together. She was so close.
"Fuck me. Kahlan."
Kahlan curled her fingers inside her and rubbed her clit roughly.
Cara came hard with waves of pleasure surging through her and Kahlan almost fell apart as Cara moaned her name softly while riding out the aftershocks of her orgasm.
Kahlan removed her fingers from Cara and placed them in her mouth sucking with a low groan.
"You have the sweetest taste for such a bitter woman."
Cara smirked at that and flipped Kahlan back around so that she was once again topping the raven-haired beauty.
"My turn." Cara said before kissing her gently on the lips.
She once again kissed down her stomach until she finally reached Kahlan's glistening cunt. Cara kissed the insides of each of her thighs before running her tongue through her folds up to her sensitive clit.
Cara took her clit into her mouth and sucked moaning at the taste just as Kahlan moaned at the amazing feeling of Cara's mouth lavishing her.
"Cara.. I- You-"
Cara peeked up with an annoyed look on her face.
"Must we have a conversation now? I'm a bit.. busy if you hadn't noticed."
"Cara you'll have to stop before…"
She waited for Kahlan to finish her sentence.
"I will confess you and you will die if this goes too far. You know that."
Cara growled lowly.
"Kahlan Amnell I am not afraid to die. Lord Rahl has sent me away and soon I will lose you as well. If my life must end then dying between a beautiful woman's legs is not the worst way to go."
"But Cara I can't lose you. I love you."
Cara paused and looked deep into Kahlan's eyes.
"A Confessor and a Mord'Sith could never be. Even if I said that I felt the same what difference would it make?"
Kahlan's heart soared. Cara did love her back! There was hope after all for more than just an empty fuck.
"We could make it work. Cara listen to me please."
"Just let me have this one pleasure Kahlan. It will be alright."
"It will not be alright if you are gone!"
Cara mulled everything over in her head. She had to find a way to convince Kahlan to just let her do this. She knew what she needed to do. A painful truth. And a lie.
"Kahlan, I love you with all of my heart. I never thought it possible for a Mord'Sith such as myself to actually love, but you have made that capable for me." She said all this slowly. "I promise I'll stop before anything dangerous occurs."
Kahlan had wanted to hear those words from this woman for what felt like forever. She gently stroked Cara's hair with a small smile on her face, her eyes bright.
"I love you too."
Cara only took one more second before placing a kiss to Kahlan's centre.
Kahlan was even more wet than before at Cara's confession of love. She felt Cara's hot tongue work on her clit as dextrous fingers circle her entrance.
Cara pushed deep inside of her and all thoughts of danger completely left Kahlan's mind as she was filled by her lover.
Cara's expert tongue brought her closer and closer to orgasm as her fingers moved in and out roughly, curling as she entered her.
She was about to come. She was about to come and there was no stopping it. Kahlan's eyes grew completely dark and she could feel her confessor magic fill her up just as Cara's never ceasing fingers did. Pleasure ripped through her body as she experienced the most intense orgasm of her life and her power was released just as was her load moan.
Cara felt the magic rush over her and prepared for the inevitable pain to follow, but nothing really seemed to change.
Kahlan lie panting underneath her, sweat slicking her naked body before a panicked look finally overcame her and she sat up abruptly.
"No! Oh no! Cara why?" Tears started to stream down her face as she looked into the eyes of the woman she loved. She could not believe that she had actually lost her.
"Don't cry Kahlan. I'm fine. I am… I'm fine."
A mix of emotions crossed Kahlan's face as she took in that information.
"But… how? You should be halfway to the Keeper by now!"
"Don't sound too disappointed Mother Confessor."
"How can you possibly joke at a time like this?"
"I cannot think of a more proper time to joke. It seems the whole universe is in a joking mood today. The fact that I am here before you must be some practical joke. The Creator must have gotten bored and took pity on me. She must want to torture me further in this world."
"Cara this is a miracle!" She hugged the blonde tightly to her and breathed in. She had been so afraid that she had actually lost her. That Cara would no longer be among the living all because of her sated sexual desire.
She started crying again, but this time tears of joy.
"I don't know why this happened, but I cannot say how glad I am that it did." Kahlan said and she pulled away slightly to look Cara in the eyes.
"Here I thought I was going to die and I foolishly admitted to my feelings." Cara sighed. "I guess there's no going back now is there?" She huffed.
Kahlan chuckled lightly.
"Still the same old Cara. Just the way I love you."