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How Long Must We Two Wait Before We're One?

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It was a warm summer night in D’Hara when the pained screams of the final stages of labour echoed through the Lady Rahl’s chambers in the People’s Palace.

“My Lady, it’s a little girl!” exclaimed the midwife.

“Is she breathing?” asked the Lady Rahl, struggling to pull herself up in the bed.

“Yes my lady she is,” replied the midwife, quickly cleaning the silent little newborn and swaddling her into a blanket. “She’s very quiet, it’s like she knew our plan all along.”

“Do you remember what we discussed, Irma?” The Lady Rahl questioned, finally pulling herself up into a sitting position.

“Yes of course My Lady. I will tell Lord Panis Rahl the baby died in childbirth and then get the baby out of the palace and take her as far away as possible, to the place we agreed upon before,” The midwife responded and then paused.
“My Lady,” the midwife asked hesitantly holding the baby out the her, “would you like to hold her for a moment while I inform your husband of the child’s death?”

“I…” Lady Rahl paused, she didn’t know if she would be able to handle it, holding her little girl and the having to give her up, but she supposed it was better than never having touched her at all. “Yes, I’ll hold her”

The midwife placed the baby in her arms. Lady Rahl’s eyes welled up as she gazed at the child, her little girl was beautiful. The baby's head was covered in a fine layer of golden hair, much that which covered the outside of a peach, and her nose was as tiny as a little button. A silent tear slowly made its way down Lady Rahl’s cheek just as the newborn started to squirm and blink. Tiny eyes opened to reveal beautiful sea green irises, much unlike the brown and blue of her two other sons. That was why she had to send her daughter away -- she could not let Panis turn another one of her children into monsters, she could not let these beautiful green eyes fill with pain and anger. She had made her first mistake by letting him mould Darken into someone, something unrecognizable from the little boy she used to sing to sleep at night. Panis had filled him with hatred and anger and had almost achieved the same with Richard before she had stepped in and asked Zedd to care for the boy, telling Panis that it would benefit the Rahl line to have a wizard of the first order in the family. She knew, however, that if Panis learned she had birthed a daughter, he would send the girl off to become a Mord-Sith the second she could stand on two feet. She had to send her daughter away from the cruel fate that would await her, she would not let Panis touch her daughter.

She was startled out of her thoughts when the midwife opened the heavy door, hurrying to close it.

“I’ve told him my lady, he seemed displeased. He threw his brandy glass into the fire and started shouting about how you had lost another one of his children. I fear he might come to see you soon. May I suggest that I take the child now so that there is no danger of my crossing paths with his Lord upon leaving?” The midwife asked wringing her hands.

“Yes, yes of course. You must leave now. I will not have any chance of you being caught.” said Lady Rahl taking one last glance at her daughter and placing a soft kiss to forehead, “I love you little one, I will not be there when you grow, but know you are always in my heart.”

Another single tear made its way down her face as she placed the baby into the midwife’s waiting arms, but the second she was no longer held in the warmth of her mother’s embrace the baby began to emit whimpering sounds as if she was about to cry.

“Irma, you mustn’t let her cry, she’ll be discovered! Place her in your midwife’s bag if need be but get the child out of here before she starts screaming.” said Lady Rahl pushing the midwife away from the bed and towards the door.

“Of course my Lady!” Irma said hefting her midwife’s bag onto her shoulder. She then covered the baby’s face with the blanket so no one would see the baby breathing, it would also muffle any cries and make it seem as if she were merely removing the “stillborn” baby from Lady Rahl’s chambers.

“Oh Irma! Wait! I must tell you, I can’t express my gratitude to you, doing this puts your life at risk and I hope you know how much this means to me.” Lady Rahl said, her voice rushed but sincere.

Irma nodded in thanks and started towards the door but paused as a thought struck.

“My Lady, her name. You never told me the child’s name.”

“Oh… yes. I… Cara. I would like to call her Cara.” Lady Rahl said her gaze returning to her hands -- she had given the baby a name, made her real, and could not longer face the child she was giving away. “Please… Go. Take the her and go.”

“Yes, my lady,” and with a final glance down at the covered newborn, Irma opened the door and stepped out of Lady Rahl’s chambers, closing the door behind her. She only made it five paces before a voice stopped her from behind.

“Hey you!” It was a guard.

“What’s that you got there?” He asked sauntering up to Irma as she turned around. Irma took a deep breath before responding, and hoped that her voice didn’t waver with the fear she felt when she answered.

“This is Lady Rahl’s dead child, she can’t bear to look at it any more and asked me to take it away” Irma said plainly. The guard recoiled.

“Well get it out of here then! I don’t want any dead Rahl babies haunting my post!” The guard backed away quickly and turned around and Irma quickly scurried away -- one close call was more than enough.
She quickly made her way down marble staircase, but not too quickly for fear of pulling too many servants gazes, and made her way to the lower levels of the palace without any more incidents, hurriedly making her way to the stables and saddling her horse, placing the baby in her midwife’s bag which was slung across her back before mounting. Irma threw her riding cape across her shoulders and over the bag holding the baby, the lump that it made less obvious under the cover of darkness and rode through the servants gates of the People’s Palace, nodding to a guard on the way out.

Now she would ride hard all the way to the one place that where the baby would be safe, Aydindril, where her sister and brother in law were waiting to take the child in and raise her as their daughter, a gardener at the Confessor’s Palace. Lord Rahl would never find the girl there.

Chapter Text

“Cara, where are you?” Grace huffed. Cara really needed to stop running off when their father was working. The Mason family wasn't known for it's unruly children and her parents wanted to keep it that way so Grace was curently on Cara patrol while her father trimmed hedges in the West garden -- Grace was also tired of chasing after her not to mention that the Confessor’s garden was no place for a little girl to get lost.

As Grace called out for Cara again a giggle rang from one of the perfectly manicured hedges to her left. Grace rolled her eyes, Cara’s hiding skills needed improvement but she was willing to play into the little girl’s game.

“Hmm I wonder where Cara could be?” Grace stage whispered, purposely brushing past the hedge Cara was hidden behind. Another giggle came from the bush.

After making another lap around the hedge clearing Grace smiled.

“Oh I don’t know anymore! Cara is simply too good I hiding, I’ll never find her!” Grace exclaimed, putting on a show by splaying herself across one of the stone benches close to the bush, “I think I shall lie here and give up!”

Grace waited a moment.

The bush fidgeted and let out a whine “Noooooo, Grace come and find me!”

Grace chuckled.

The bush shook again and a head of blonde hair popped out of the bushes. “Grace you’re supposed to find me! You told me that’s how you do hide and seek!”

“That’s why you’ve been running away all these times! Cara hide and seek does not work unless you tell the other players that you’re actually playing hide and seek. You ran away from Mama and Papa without telling anyone.”

“Hmmm” Cara said, her little features scrunching into a “thinking” face. “So if I said we were playing hide and seek right now, then would we be playing hide and seek?”

“Yes Cara, that’s how it works,” Grace said.

“Then we are now playing hide and seek!” Cara proclaimed turning from her older sister and racing off through the maze of hedges as fast as her six year old legs could carry her.

“Cara! Wait! You’ll get lost!” The calls of her sister faded as Cara dashed away. Taking a random series of rights and lefts through the tall hedges to throw her sister off her trail, Cara sprinted around another corner slamming into something and landing hard on her back.

Cara blinked. What had she run into?

Dazed, Cara pulled herself up from the ground where she had been knocked down and glanced at what she had collided into. It was a girl around her size with raven hair and a pretty white dress, or maybe a boy wearing a dress - but that was unlikely. She hoped they weren't hurt.

“I’m sorry!” She said approaching them. They were still splain on the ground where, like Cara, they had been thrown after the collision. The other person, a girl as it turned out, struggled to get up.

“Here, I can help!” Cara said, grasping the girls hands and trying to pull her up.

“No! You can’t touch my hands!” The girl exclaimed, scooting back from Cara as fast as the gravel she was sitting on would let her.

“Why? Are they dirty?”

“No ,they aren’t dirty but-”

“Are they scratched?”

“No, it’s-”

“Then they’re fine” Cara said grabbing the other girl’s hands in hers. “I can help you up.”

Once again the other girl yanked her hands out of Cara’s.

“No you can’t!” The girl finally shouted, startling Cara into stopping her effort to help the girl up. “My mother said I can’t touch anyone who isn’t a confessor until I can control my powers” said the girl frowning. Cara took a step back and the girl hung her head.

“Are you going to confess me?” Cara asked, her tone serious.

“No!” The girl yelped “I won’t confess you! That would be really mean.”

Cara nodded her head as if her she had confirmed a suspicion and again grasped for the girls hands.

“No, I might confess you!” The girl said again scooting farther away from Cara.

“You just said you wouldn’t,” Cara said, her tone exasperated as a six year olds could be, and made a final grab for the girls hands, catching them and digging her heels into the gravel to allow her small frame to hoist the other girl off the ground. When the girl was off the ground Cara didn’t let go of her hands, instead giving them a tug “I’m sorry for knocking you over, but you can play hide and see with me if you want. It might make you feel better.”

The raven haired girl stopped to think. She could go back to her mother, whom she had been evading in the first place, and finish her lessons or she could go with this blonde girl and play a game. The game sounded far more exciting.

“Okay, I’ll go with you.”

“Yay let’s go!” Cara said, pulling on their still entwined hands as she started to race off in the direction she was previously headed before the collision Kahlan in tow. After two more turns they reached what Cara deemed to be a good hiding spot. It was a small open area created by a square of thick hedges which had the tiniest openings under of the corners and few other people knew it’s location other than the gardeners and those who had access to the garden plans making it perfect for hiding.

Stopping in front of the hedge that would lead them to the clearing.

“Okay now we just go under and then we will be hidden,” Cara explained but the raven haired girl looked confused. “Here I’ll show you.”
Cara crouched down and disappeared through the bottom of the bush. The other girl stepped back.

“Where are you?”

“Right on the other side,” Cara called, her voiced muffled by the hedge. Shrugging the raven hired girl crouched down like Cara had and saw the opening crawling through to the other side. Once there she popped up and took in the sight of their hiding place. It wasn’t very big, about the size of one of the bathing pools in the Confessor’s Palace.

“So what do we do now?” The girl asked Cara. Cara plopped down on the ground and responded.

“We get to wait”

After a couple seconds of silence the raven haired girl sat down as well, feeling awkward being the only one standing up though the other girl didn’t seem to care. Picking at the grass Cara startled as she realized she didn’t know the name of her playmate.

“Wait what’s your name?”

Looking up the raven hair girl responded, “My name is Kahlan, what’s yours?”

“My name is Cara” Cara said and then suddenly remembering her manners she stuck out her hand. “It’s nice to meet you Kahlan.”

Kahlan smiled and shook Cara’s hand. “You too”

The girls returned to silently waiting before another question popped into Cara’s head.
“Can we be friends?”

Kahlan frowned. “I think so I don’t have friends, how does it work?” Kahlan had never really spent time with anyone who wasn't a confessor and the only one who was close enough for her to really be friends with was her little sister.

Cara’s mouth hung open. Kahlan didn’t have any friends! How could she not have any friends! Cara had lots of friends, all the children from the market and around her house and the children of the other gardeners. Then a really terrible thought struck, if Kahlan didn’t have any friends that meant she didn’t have a best friend either! Cara needed to fix that.

“If you don’t have any friends, then I get to be your best friend!” Cara exclaimed. “We can play together everyday and be almost like sisters! But not really because sisters fight and I don’t want to fight.” Kahlan smiled the idea of having a best friend didn’t seem to bad.

“We have to pinky shake on it!” Cara proclaimed, remembering how children from the village sealed their friendship pacts. Kahlan looked confused again but Cara was ready with an explanation. “All you have to do is put your pinky finger with mine and shake.”

Kahlan shrugged and reached over interlocking her pinky with Cara’s and they shook on them.

“We are now officially best friends!” Cara declared just as a voice sounded outside the hedge.

“Kahlan! Kahlan where are you? You missed your lesson!”

“Uh oh,” Kahlan whispered, her tone fearful. It was her mother. She was going to be in trouble.

“Kahlan come out this minute! I know you’re here somewhere! Your ribbon is on this hedge!”

Kahlan’s hand flew to her hair, her ribbon was indeed missing.

“I have to go Cara! I’m sorry we didn’t get to finish the game, I hope we can play again tomorrow!” Kahlan said as Cara nodded and suddenly pulled Kahlan in for a quick hug, surprising Kahlan who stiffly returned the hug.

“Bye Kahlan!” Cara said stepping back and letting her out of the hug.

“Bye Cara!” Kahlan called as she dashed out of the hedge opening, and turned the corner. Her mother spotted her almost immediately.

“Kahlan there you are! Where have you been?” Her mother said, her hurried tone betraying her agitation and concern. “You missed your lesson and I was getting worried! Please do not run off like that again. If you want to be a good confessor you can not skip lessons.”

Kahlan nodded and bowed her head “I’m sorry mother it won’t happen again.”

“Good.” Her mother replied before pausing.

“By the way I heard voices, were you talking to anyone?” Her mother asked.

“No, mother.” Kahlan said shaking her head. She didn’t want to get in more trouble for playing with Cara.

“Well alright then, I suppose I must have heard something else.” her mother said taking Kahlan’s hand in hers and setting off at a brisk walk through the hedge maze back to the palace.

Kahlan smiled. She now had a best friend.