Kahlan, the Mother Confessor, sovereign over the Midlands, and Aydindril, has been caught by her biggest enemy, Lord Rahl, a tyrant, who wants to gain reign over her lands and her people. He has tricked her, collared her with a magical ring that blocks her powers and thinks she is bound to the will of his sorceress “Nicci” by “confession” -Kahlan´s own magic that turns people into soulless slaves to their Mistress ( – but Nicci allied herself with Kahlan and only faked the confession, and the reader already knows that. ) Rahl has taken her home. Now they are riding through the streets of Aydindril to the Confessor´s Palace, and he enjoys to openly humiliate her when he demonstrates his triumph over her …
(Mord-Sith are Lord Rahl´s bodyguards)
She remembered many times in her life that had felt somewhat comparable to the helpless pain that this ride home stirred in her heart; but only twice things had hit her harder than this: there was the pain she had felt the day the white dragon had come for her. And, even worse than that, only the pain that Cara had left in her wake when she rode out of Aydindril without a word had felt even more unbearable.
But she knew, that she had to endure it. This was the only chance to get to the Palace without bloodshed; and she needed to get there. Where her sister was; where things would come to a conclusion.
This way… or another…
Rahl had padded her cheek in mock patience, patronizing the woman he still believed being confessed, chattily telling her, that things had long stopped being the same as she had been used to in former times. That her sister awaited them. And that soon, she would be his wife, carry his children and that with the help of her magic, no one would ever be able to defeat him. And the Confessor, catching Nicci´s icy glance from under her deeply furrowed brows, had nodded her agreement subserviantly…
So, when they rode into town, she found herself beside a snotnosed Rahl, who had claimed the honorable middle of their row. Nicci rode on Rahl´s left, showing as much arrogance as always; appearing as though the very thought of making their way through the streets to the Palace was the most boring thing she had ever experienced.
Kahlan was positioned to his right, a visible sign of his newly gained power over her.
She felt lonesome and forsaken on her ride along the walls of icy silence, which had built around her people, who stood as if frozen along the streets of Aydindril; some watching with bitterness on their faces, some with deepest disgust; others with nothing but blank despair. A few were openly crying. Which was what cut deepest into her heart.
Though, Kahlan held her head high and smiled, because Rahl had demanded Nicci to order her to smile; but inwardly her heart shattered into pieces, seeing their faces contorted in accusation and disdain;
They had almost reached the Palace when a man suddenly broke through the mass and thwarted them. He had no eyes for Rahl, seemed oblivious of the home guards who escorted them, nor did he seem to acknowledge the Mord Sith who immediately encircled him with their agiels in their hands, held back by a simple wave of their Master´s hand.
Instead his eyes were glued to the woman in white, beaming in a feverish glance, making her heart wrench in a way that threatened to break the feeble control she still owned.
“What have you done? How can you bring him here? Mother Confessor!” Tears streamed his face.
“Have you forgotten your honor? Have you forgotten that our sons, our brothers and fathers died during war? I´ve lost all of mine… They died in battle. For the Midlands… For you! Have you forgotten the blood spilling, the slaughter HE brought?…” Without shifting his eyes he pointed to the man at her side. He stood in the middle of the street, his entire body shaking with his grieve. His voice was near breaking when he continued and she knew she would never be able to forget the expression of despair that painted his features.
“You should be thankful! I can tell I am; that your Mother died too early; that she doesn´t have to see how her own daughter disgraces the Midlands, Aydindril…her every kind! She would turn over in her grave.
Kahlan Amnell, you are a shame for your kind… Shame on you!!”
The Mother Confessor stared at him, mesmerized; unable to avert her eyes from his pain-stricken face. She shook with suppressed emotion. But she didn´t dare to let the tears escape that burned in her eyes. Only her gaze shifted, silently pleading the man to move back, before Rahl would lose his patience.
But instead, the fool took one more step – and then he spat at her.
Like in trance, Kahlan watched his spittle missing its aim and sailing onto Rahl´s boot. It caught her breath, as she sensed the wave of rage that swept against her, when Rahl, who winked the closest Mord Sith, narrowed his eyes and nodded. In the next moment she saw the man falling to the ground and heard his scream while the weapon was pressed into his chest, until he didn´t give any reactions at all…
For a moment, Kahlan almost forgot her mission. She bit her lip, hard; her mind seemed to retreat as her powers roared in an irate revolt against that damned collar. Tthough, before her wrath washed her senses away, the strong eyes of Nicci, searing into hers behind Rahl´s back, admonishing her with her glare as if speaking aloud, offered an anchor she thankfully accepted. And though her violently clenched fists showed deep white knuckles, though she shut her eyes fiercely and swallowed against the lump in her throat…she managed somehow to not lose control.
Cursing him silently. Vowing to make him pay…
When she opened her eyes and her gaze washed over the slight chaos that had broken loose in the first few lines of their audience, she met the dark brown glance of a brawny man, who smiled at her. Warmly. And reassuring. Noticing her attention, he briefly lifted the hem of his west and his smile deepened.
Kahlan blanched as she saw the little strip on his chest, shining blue over deep red:
The color of Aydindril over the blood they were willing to shed for freedom…
The Mother Confessor stared incredulously. And when he shifted his gaze to his left her eyes followed… and met the gaze of another… and one more… and then some, all smiling at her with deep faith… Suddenly she felt warmth filling her heart, reaching her eyes as her stunned gaze swept over the crowd.
There, in the rows of her people she could watch the resistance coming back to life. Men and women, hidden in the mass, all wearing their secret signs; decided to fight…
Kahlan shot a side glance to Rahl and breathed relieved as he was busy to watch his Mord Sith dragging the corpse away. So she allowed her mouth forming a voiceless “For Aydindril!” and watched their fists flying slowly, unobtrusively, to their chests – before Rahl finally forced them to continue their way.
He didn´t notice that Kahlan sat a little straighter in her saddle when they finally reached the Palace.