Meagan stared at Lord Cypher Rahl. Even in his advanced age he was a handsome man. The Mother Confessor, Lady Kahlan Amnell, was also dignified and her beauty belied her true age.
"I'm just a seamstress," Meagan protested again. Even if she had, since childhood, secretly been using a tree branch to fight off imaginary enemies. Her mother had never approved of violence or weapons of any sort but Meagan's desire to at least play at being a great hero had never waned.
The wizard, son of Richard Cypher Rahl and Kahlan Amnell, scratched at his chin. "Um, yes."
He glanced over his shoulder to where Shota was seated on the steps beside the thrones. Shota, who hadn't aged a day since the Seeker first met her (or so the stories said) gave a small nod.
Emboldened by this encouragement, he drew himself up to his full height. He'd not reached the stature of his grandfather, Zeddicus, but Zander was an impressive man nonetheless.
"I, Zander, son of Rahl, son of Amnell, Wizard of the First Order, proclaim it so."
Lady Kahlan smiled. "Richard was once just a woodsguide," she said. "We have researched your family tree, Meagan. Far enough back, you share a common ancestor with Richard, and you also share a distant predecessor with Leo Dane, who was once a blacksmith and yet, too briefly, held the office of the One True Seeker."
Meagan's eyes widened. Related to Lord Rahl? She could never have imagined such a thing.
"Shota and Zander have used all the magic at their disposal to find the next Seeker, while I am still of sound enough mind and body to train them." Richard got to his feet, a little stiffly, and moved down the three steps to stand before her
"I had my grandfather to teach me, and the Sword of Truth, imbued with the wisdom of all the Seekers who have gone before, but it was a difficult journey at the start and I made mistakes." He smiled. "I wish I had been able to learn from someone who had wielded the Sword of Truth and I want that for my successor."
Meagan curtsied, flustered.
Richard laughed by not at her. "Do not be in awe of me, Meagan." He was more sombre when he said, "Do not be in awe of anyone. You must learn to see past appearances and to make decisions that affect all, from the lowest to highest born."
She nodded, squared her shoulders. He gave a brief nod, pleased. He drew the Sword of Truth from the scabbard at his side.
"Hold it," he said.
Meagan held out trembling hands and Richard placed the weapon reverently into her grasp.
"Feel the weight of it. Try it out."
She did as he bid, made a few slashes in the air. This was no tree branch. It was like an extension of her own body. It felt – right.
She glanced at Richard. He and Zander were beaming, sensing her connection to the sword. She blushed.
"There is one final thing," Richard said, "before we begin training. The life of the Seeker is a rewarding one, but it is not an easy one. No matter what people say of destiny, I believe in free will. I will not force you to shoulder a burden you do not wish to take."
Meagan's grip tightened on the hilt of the sword.
"Will you become the next True Seeker?" Richard asked. Zander was fidgeting, a bundle of nerves. Shota was watching with disinterest, Kahlan a little tense, her hands clenched in her lap.
Meagan let herself wonder for only a second. Already she wanted to sheath this sword at her side and to never relinquish it. It was hers, her destiny, and her choice.
"I will," she said and everyone smiled. Richard held out his hand and she shook it with her free one.
"Welcome to our family, Meagan," he said.