Characters: Cara, Richard - mentions of Kahlan and Nicci
The rain got harder as Cara walked alone in tears.
Wet sand lumped and crunched beneath her heavy step as she maneuvered around the dead and the broken.
She ignored the muffled cries of the injured, those who roared in tandem with the ocean waves as water crashed into the shoreline. Everything was stained crimson in colour, the sea foam pink and the tides a deep, dark red. A testament to the battle that had been fought, to their victory and to their loss.
Cara swallowed roughly the heartache beginning to swell from within, the anger beginning to outweigh her sorrow. Leather clad digits clenched into tight fists, her purpose cutting into her palm through the gloves on her hands.
As the shore collected itself, so did she.
They would suffer. More than those she had destroyed on this beach this day, the others beyond the horizon would rue the day they were brought into this world. And she would take the utmost pleasure in it. She had never felt so driven by the lust for blood, but murder was written on the tip of her tongue.
Her heart beat painfully within her chest cavity, there was nothing else that could soothe the intensity.
Not even the man she’d sworn lifelong fealty to. She knew, however, that he would condone it. This was no ordinary matter - there was a life at stake, one that made all the difference in the world.
One that she had never expected to care so immensely for.
One she would give her very life to see returned home.
Further down the shoreline, standing among shipwreck and rubble, the bloodied sands thicker and the stench of death far stronger, Richard stood impossibly still. His tall form renewed her spirits, the squaring of his shoulders, the setting of his jaw - and the intensity of those eyes.
Cara had never seen them so deadly calm. She’d known Richard long enough to know what such a look meant. His fury had buried thousands. The look he held now, she was sure he could lay waste to millions.
A flutter of white caught her attention, and her gaze flitted towards the distraction momentarily. The dress was dirtier than she’d ever remembered it being, the fabric was torn in various places and the woman wearing it bruised and unconscious, but alive. The tear stains on her cheeks, and those that burned and threatened to fall, should have been that of joy. Of relief. Instead, they were bitter with agony.
Kahlan had been returned to them, but at what cost?
Returning to Richard, she cleared her throat - much the same as she had done the night prior, when they had leant in a little too close. Perhaps she shouldn’t have interrupted them. Perhaps she should have allowed it.
She wished she had.
“I found this,” Cara mustered, trying desperately to keep her voice from cracking.
However, it was that very effort which prompted him to move at all. Slowly, his eyes shifted from the setting sun to the closed hand she raised. As her grasp unfurled, his expressive eyes darkened.
Carefully, he reached out to take the pendant she held. He cradled it as if it were made of glass before fisting it and bringing his shaking hand to his forehead.
Though he said nothing, Cara knew what his silence meant. Richard was lamenting. This was nothing more than a calm before a ferocious storm that the War Wizard would unleash in due time.
She was suddenly glad she would never know what that would be like.
He was quiet for a while longer, and she stood by him as he rediscovered his resolve, and put his spiraling emotions back in check.
“I made her promise she wouldn’t do this. She said I wouldn’t lose her.” he knew he couldn’t blame her for making the trade. He’d known the moment he’d seen Kahlan’s body thrown over the side of the commanding ship that Nicci had been the reason. He had tried in vain to stop it, but he couldn’t have saved them both.
It was his failure, yet despite the impossibility, the shared magic between them should have done something. It had to mean something. They had spent so much time trying to ignore the tether, that they had never properly studied it. Never allowed themselves their curiosity.
If only he’d learned what it meant, what this connection was for and how it worked - he might’ve been able to rescue, her, too.
His mind swirled with what this meant. Nicci was powerful in her own right. She was the strongest person he knew, and the most powerful Sorceress to have ever drawn a breath. If she had needed to use herself as a bargaining chip, then that meant the enemy had nullified her magic.
“We’ll get her back, Richard. If I know you at all, you won’t rest until you do.” Cara offered, her hand squeezing his forearm.
Inhaling deeply, Richard nodded. He put the pendant he’d once given Nicci as a token around his neck, and sought the link he shared with her. It was worryingly faint, but reassuringly there. He grasped at it mentally, his magic leaping and latching. He hoped his presence reached her.
Hold on, I’m coming for you. I promise.
There was a sudden warm breeze, and Richard thought he heard her voice. It was small, but the tingling that settled in his bones resonated. I know.
Turning to his dearest friend, Richard reached out and wiped a stray tear from Cara’s cheek. He smiled a smile that brought out one of her own, “Thank you, Cara.”
She watched as his attention fell toward Kahlan and the Mord’Sith tending to her. He approached and knelt and lifted the brunette tenderly into his arms, before turning back to the rest of them. “We will assist the injured back to camp, and see to burning the dead. They will not be buried here on these sullied sands. We will gather the enemy’s dead and load them onto one of the ships, or two if we must, and sail it back with us as a message. We are D’Haran’s, and we do not give quarter to mindless beasts.”
With a proud smirk, Cara gazed on as Richard met her eyes one last time before making his way back to their main camp. Looking back to the soldiers who remained, she motioned towards the beach. “You heard the Lord Rahl, spread the word.” And as they shuffled to do just that, her eyes moved to the sun as it disappeared and dusk was set. Richard will find Nicci, she would make sure of it.