DISCLAIMER: Legend of the Seeker and The Sword of Truth do not belong to me, unfortunately. Neither do Xena: Warrior Princess, Rizzoli and Isles, Star Trek: Voyager or Birds of Prey. I also do not own The Legend of Sleepy Hollow by George Washington Irving. No profit is made from this work, it's just for fun and no infringement is intended.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: This is the first time I've ever written a cross-over. This was written for Halloween 2010.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
FEEDBACK: To aerows[at]gmail.com
The Legend of Slashy Hollow
D'Harans as a rule were a superstitious lot. The Mother Confessor had exploited that weakness with great skill during the battle of Galea. She had led her men stripped to the skin, then coated in white powder to appear as ghosts. It had worked famously, and sealed the Mother Confessor as tactician of legend. The famed Dragon Corp of D'Hara had scattered and became confused; five thousand Galean soldiers, most barely able to shave, destroyed fifty thousand of the deadliest soldiers in the New World.
They picked them off, one by one.
Cara knew that mentally, and understood that the superstition was foolish, but viscerally she was concerned about the coming day. The last day of autumn was the Day of the Dead in D'Hara, and it was a day where it was said the dead walked. She was unrelentingly practical, and feared nothing. She had to acknowledge, though, that if there was ever a day for the banelings to rise, it was during that Day and Night. Especially this one; ominous clouds gathered in the sky to promise a thunderstorm of epic proportions.
Kahlan noticed her distraction, and her irritation. Her ire was greater than normal, which was saying something. She wondered if Cara was angry that they had to go to a party tomorrow evening at a wealthy land owners home to see if they could turn up the answer to a series of murders that had taken place in the town. It was what she and the Mord'Sith were there for, while Richard and Zedd had set off on a different errand.
"I don't expect you to wear a dress, Cara, and I don't expect you to mingle." Kahlan stated it evenly, hoping that it would prod Cara to give her a clue as to the reason for her surly demeanor.
"You shouldn't ever expect it, Mother Confessor." Cara said snappishly. "It's my duty to protect you, not giggle along with you like we are girls going to a ball."
"I don't expect it, Cara, I just wanted to make sure you were aware I didn't expect it." Kahlan kept her tone light, while the Mord'Sith just stalked along towards the inn they were spending the night in. That had created an argument, too, but Cara was adamant about Kahlan not staying in the place where two murders had already occurred. Kahlan had finally relented after an argument that had led to threats of hog-tying the Confessor and confession of the Mord'Sith. Cara wasn't about to budge on the issue.
It seemed to be a peace offering to the Mord'Sith, so she relented from her angry stride and steered them onto more neutral ground. "Have you detected anyone lying to you, Mother Confessor?" Kahlan was able to read everyone but Mord'Sith to ferret out lies; truth be told, Cara wasn't bad at picking up on them, either.
The sigh that issued forth from the brunette was enough of a sign that Cara knew what the answer would be before it came. "No, and it's the same answer I gave you ten minutes ago. There are plenty of suspects, but nothing concrete enough to make a judgment." That translated into "no one I am sure enough is guilty to Confess them and make them tell me the whole truth." Kahlan relied on asking the right questions. Cara would have Confessed all of them on the spot were it her power, and was willing to beat the truth out of them individually, but Kahlan just wasn't that sort of ruler. It was a pity, really.
Cara went down to the common room, determined to have enough drinks to either banish her discontent from her mind, or find a woman to temporarily do it for her. Either would work. She received cold stares from many of the patrons, and they got even colder stares in return as she sipped her wine. It was passable for the Midlands. There was a bard tonight, a young woman with blond hair and sparkling green eyes. A warrior with penetrating blue eyes was clearly watching the crowd like a hawk. Curiously enough, Cara sensed that it would be the bard that was more dangerous if confronted. The bard reminded Cara of Kahlan with her grace and wisdom; the warrior would just start swinging her sword. Cara was confident she could take her in a fair fight.
Cara could take anyone in a fair fight, and most of the time in an unfair one.
"Listen my friends, and you shall hear the tale of the Headless Horseman. He rides on the Night where the moon never sets, looking for the head he has lost."
That sounded interesting.
"His head was taking by a catapult stone, and his heart had been taken by a love not his own. He was trapped in the well between love and what is right, that is why he rides his horse headless at night."
Not bad, Cara thought.
"He rides through the world with a thundering heart, to find the head he has lost on her part; looking for vengeance or solace, either would please him this night."
Looking for solace? Cara looked around. She couldn't find either in this tavern. She started to hope for vengeance. A good fight was nearly as good as a good round of "solace". Both banished the Confessor from her mind. It galled her how it always came back to Kahlan. She ordered a pitcher of wine this time; she was content to stay and listen for this tale. If her throat was exceptionally dry, it was due to needing to stay in the common room to assess if shady characters entered that could potentially harm Kahlan on the second floor.
Something didn't add up for Kahlan as she reviewed the small journal of notes that she kept. Kahlan could remember most things, and then set them to paper at night, as she was doing right now. She played the conversation back in her mind, but couldn't see anything that was glaringly incongruous with what she had gathered as evidence. She wasn't given to a conspirators thinking, but something was wrong here.
Both of the victims were known to their murderer; that almost went without saying since both were of upper class clothing and office of the territory. It bothered her that she wouldn't have been called in had she not been local. Otherwise, she would have seen their deaths as a dull report, and she owed them more than that. She didn't like the idea of disparate justice, and that some received more attention than others. Still she stood against the tide of self-recriminations; she wasn't incapable of doing anything, she was just not able to do everything, in this life. Alfred had been buried like a king, as Lady Drake had been buried with full honor, too.
The female victim was the wife of Lord Drake. He had been beside himself, and barely able to speak to her. He gave all the appearance of a husband shocked by grief.
Kahlan could not see either of them committing this crime, but they were the ones that had been set up to commit it. Both Lord Drake and Lady Gordon were certainly capable of killing, she just didn't see them as dishonorable, especially Lady Gordon. She clung to the tall knight with flashing blue eyes, impressive musculature and even more impressive cleavage from the chair she was moved around in. Her ability to walk had been taken by a cruel crossbow bolt several years beforehand. A woman so given to love, and so given to life would not have done this, but Kahlan didn't doubt that Lady Gordon was fully capable of doing anything despite her disability.
"Lady Gordon, may I speak with you please?" She recalled their interview. "I would like additional information from you." Kahlan couldn't help that she towered over the women; she towered over most men, too, and the blue-eyed woman in front of her had seemed to bristle at it. She was Cara's height, and Cara always got touchy over Kahlan being so much taller than the Mord'Sith was. Lady Gordon shot out a hand to assure the woman beside her.
"Go watch the bard Helena, this is going to be a technical discussion." The blue-eyed woman gave Kahlan another hot, harsh stare and moved to the table with the Mord'Sith. She was clearly brave, and that heartened the Confessor a bit. Whatever circles they traveled in, the woman in the chair nor the woman who protected her clearly were intimidated by nothing, not even one with the power to revoke their will.
The Mord'Sith was on her third cup of wine when a mug thumped down on the table. It was the knight that had come along with Lady Gordon. "Mind if I join you? Lady Gordon wanted to talk to the Mother Confessor, and sent me down here to talk to you. Maybe between the two of us, we can figure out some other reason why Alfred was murdered. Lady Drake, too." The brunette had a sensuality that Cara could appreciate, and a deadly manner of moving. Cara decided to allow her; it was true that a conversation with Lady Gordon's knight might have some insight as to why the two were killed.
Cara nodded her head, and shoved the pitcher of wine toward the knight. "I'm Helena, First Knight and Huntress for Gotham Territory." The brunette introduced herself. The Mord'Sith wondered if she expected her to be impressed. She wasn't.
The knight smiled and poured herself a mug full. Helena drank it all in one pull, then poured another into it. Cara kept her features calm, but she wondered if this knight intended to drink herself into oblivion. The knight was certainly headed that way if her consumption of wine was any indication. Cara would be ordering by the tankard again. She certainly wouldn't be paying for the knight to get inebriated.
"I'll get the next round, Lady Cara." The blue eyed knight had seemed to read her. Cara was affronted. How dare she be addressed like some soft handed noble.
"That's Mistress Cara to you. If I've appeared as anything other than Mord'Sith to you, I'll disabuse you of that notion permanently no matter who you are." Cara slammed her tankard on the table with enough force to shake it, sloshing wine out of it. The knight moved inhumanly fast, but Cara countered her excellently delivered knife-handed strike even as she remained seated. Helena seemed shocked. The Mord'Sith sneered at her. "Use your Gift again, and I'll take it from you."
The knight smiled. Cara didn't bother interpreting that, she merely picked up her tankard and drank from it, warning clearly delivered. The bard's warrior had seen the commotion and while she didn't rise, she was clearly sizing up the knight. This Helena person certainly moved with grace and speed, augmented by a Gift, but had obviously never met a Mord'Sith. Surprisingly, Cara wasn't even mad about it. The shock on the knight's face when she deflected the blow had been enough.
"Fair enough, Mistress Cara." The knight's tone was sultry and her face took on a rueful smirk. She drank again from her mug, then sank down in the chair beside the Mord'Sith. "I've heard of your kind, and that you can counter the Gifted, I just didn't believe it. I get it now, and I can see we are going to get along just fine." Cara wanted to groan. It seemed she had acquired a friend. She didn't like it. She could have gone out to check the horses, but instead she just sipped her wine while shooting intimidating stares at everyone around her.
"Lady Gordon," Kahlan addressed the redhead, who was taking a sip of tea, "When did you notice Alfred was missing?" The Mother Confessor had asked the same question before, and it clearly exasperated the woman in front of her, but Kahlan's instinct told her that there was a piece missing to the puzzle.
"Helena and I came back from the garden where we had eaten lunch. Alfred wasn't in his room, but Helena smelled the blood coming from his room. She's Gifted that way." Kahlan's eyebrows rose and she perked up at the mention of "Gifted".
"I've made my share of enemies, Mother Confessor, as Justicar of Gotham." The redhead gestured with a glance down her body. "I've paid the price for bringing criminals to justice, and it wouldn't be a shock that they took Alfred out of revenge. He was a dear friend and loyal servant. I want justice for him." The redhead's voice broke on the first words, but steeled on the second sentence. Kahlan resolved that she would give her justice.
"Lady Gordon, I'm sorry for your loss." Kahlan stood and with a hand on her shoulder lent her strength. The red-haired woman didn't shirk, or shy away. She seemed to garner strength from the touch. Few people didn't shy away from the touch of a Confessor. It heartened the Mother Confessor to know that this woman took comfort from her hand, instead of fearing her touch. Kahlan couldn't help but admire the firm muscle beneath her hands. For a woman that lost her ability to walk to a crossbow bolt, Lady Gordon was surprisingly fit. Kahlan liked fit bodies.
Cara. The second she thought of a fit body, Cara's flashed in her mind. The Mord'Sith was able to do things that left her in awe. Chopping firewood, lifting a dead enemy to put on the pyre, sheltering her in an embrace were all things with which Cara showed her gentle, but deadly capability. The Mord'Sith could be so immune to emotion, but Cara, specifically, was not immune to showing them to Kahlan.
"How well do you know Lord Drake, Lady Gordon?" The red-head frowned.
"He certainly didn't love his wife, if that is what you are asking." That was delivered with a scowl that uncharacteristically marred the red-head's face. She didn't show much emotion, much like the Confessor herself. "He has been pursuing my Helena, the First Knight." Her face clearly showed that she didn't care for that turn of events.
Kahlan cocked an eyebrow at that. "Define pursuing." Lady Gordon certainly wasn't lying she thought she was telling the truth at least. The possessive way in which she referred to Helena, however, indicated that there was more than a little jealousy clouding her opinion.
Green eyes flashed at her. Kahlan got the idea that this woman's temper was a lot like her own. "Mother Confessor, just what are you implying?"
"I'm not implying anything. When jealousy gets involved in relationships, it can cloud our judgment. I am beginning to develop some ideas about who murdered these two innocent people, and want to make sure that I do it on facts not emotions. Clearly you love Helena very much, and it offends you that another would try to get between the two of you." Kahlan was matter of fact about it, but the Lady Gordon just looked at her.
"Mother Confessor," she began in a scandalized tone, "Helena and I aren't together in that way. She came to me as an orphan and I helped raise her, so of course I love her. I'm not in love with her, like you and your Mord'Sith."
Kahlan could have detected that lie in her sleep, but the Lady Gordon pointing out that she was in love with Cara sent all thoughts of the investigation out of her mind. She took another sip of tea. It took everything she had within her to keep her features the calm ones of the Mother Confessor. She opened her mouth to deny the Lady Gordon's assumptions.
"Lady Gordon," Kahlan cleared her throat. "I think it's time that we both stop lying to ourselves." Lady Gordon's eyes widened, but to her credit, resolve and something like relief crossed her features. The green eyed woman nodded at her in agreement.
"In that case, Mother Confessor, please, call me Barbara." Kahlan felt her face widen into a grin. It felt good to find a friend. "Only if you will call me Kahlan in return." She replied. The redhead smiled, too, and took the hand that she offered into a firm handclasp.
Seeds of a plan formed in the Mother Confessor's mind. At the ball tomorrow night, she would see for herself if her suspicions were correct. She didn't like this idea, but it was necessary. Lady Gordon wasn't going to like it, either. Cara was going to absolutely hate it. She trusted the woman before her, though, enough to take her into her confidence.
"Barbara, I have an idea. I want to keep the local authorities involved, though, so Captain Janeway will need to be here for this discussion." Intrigued, the green eyed woman nodded. Coordinating authorities was her specialty as a Justicar.
"In that case, Kahlan, I suggest we also involve the help of the scholar, Magistrate Isles. You will find her to be invaluable."
Kahlan had a difficult time keeping her face composed. She fluctuated between elation, and cursing herself for upsetting Cara. The Mord'Sith hadn't been thrilled to take part in this deception, but Kahlan had pointed out that it was the best way to resolve the situation. Cara, ever the protector, hated to be anywhere but beside her and with a murderer on the loose, she was even worse. The Mother Confessor had to forcefully remind her that she was also perfectly capable of defending herself.
As she shifted in her seat, the dagger strapped to her thigh under her Mother Confessor's ball gown dug a little into her hip. Had she not stopped the Mord'Sith at the fourth dagger, suspended behind her back on a chain that looked like a necklace, she was certain that she would have clanked when she walked. She would have been satisfied with the two in her boots.
Lady Gordon was clearly no happier than she was, but she also was composed. Her eyes rarely left the couple on the dance floor. They really were a striking combination; Helena was an excellent dancer and it didn't surprise Kahlan that Cara could hold her own. Anything physical was Cara's forte; Kahlan blushed when inevitably she imagined those sensual hips moving in a dance of another kind. Helena's face was flushed, and as she leaned to whisper in the Mord'Sith's ear, Kahlan felt a surge of jealousy spike inside of her.
Lady Gordon was gripping the arms of her chair a little too tightly when the Mord'Sith gently whispered something back to the woman she was dancing with. They looked so elegant together, and moved with enviable grace. It once again reminded the redheaded woman that she could never do such things with her First; it was why she had never acted on her feelings. Helena deserved so much more, in her opinion. She knew that the Mord'Sith was in love with the Confessor, who also returned that love, but it didn't help her insecurities to watch the two move so beautifully together.
Equally impressive was the couple that moved next to them. The honey-blond Magistrate Isles was on the arm of Lieutenant Rizzoli, Captain Janeway's second. Magistrate Isles was an alchemist of high repute, alert to any attempts at poisoning, and Rizzoli was there to provide physical protection. They really were a striking couple in Kahlan's opinion; they were new lovers according to Lady Hansen, Captain Janeway's wife. The statuesque blond sat at the table with the Mother Confessor and Lady Gordon. Lady Hansen was apparently as clumsy on the dance floor as she was beautiful.
Lord Drake was shooting daggers at the Mord'Sith with every glance, and all three women at the table noticed. With every moment, the Mother Confessor's certainty that he was the culprit grew. There was motive for his wife, if he wanted to get her out of the way, but motive for the murder of Alfred was not readily apparent to her. The only explanation she could come up with was that Lord Drake had done it to drive Helena into his arms in consolation. It occurred to her that she needed to be very vigilant to protect Barbara; Lady Gordon was certainly a target if Lord Drake discovered the depth of her love for her First Knight.
Thinking about love drew Kahlan's gaze back to the woman she herself loved with every fiber of her being. Cara was stunning in her skin-tight white leather. She consented to wearing it, the garb that a Mord'Sith used to denote that they were mated, only after Kahlan had pointed out that it would be more convincing. She had relented with gleaming green eyes, and a vow that had shaken the Confessor to the core.
"I will do it, but it is only for you, Kahlan, that I would." The Mord'Sith's voice had been soft and her eyes intent as she agreed. The intensity of her face, and the solemness of the declaration caused hope and desire to bloom in Kahlan's heart. Just remembering it thrilled Kahlan. At that moment, Kahlan had known that Lady Gordon was correct; she did love Cara, and the Mord'Sith loved her, as well. That Cara could be so brave where her own courage had failed touched the Confessor deep in her soul. Cara had turned away but Kahlan stopped her with a firm hand to her shoulder, and delivered a searing kiss to the blond's lips.
Cara had met the kiss hungrily, and they hadn't spoken the words. They weren't necessary. They were women of action, and Kahlan realized that the Mord'Sith had repeatedly shown her love. It was the small things she did for no other reason than to please Kahlan that illustrated it. The Confessor had known her own feelings, but it wasn't until Lady Gordon had pointed it out that she realized Cara felt the same way. The kiss was a promise that Kahlan intended to keep.
Cara knew that it looked like she and the First Knight were dancing, but the truth was that they were locked in a struggle for dominance. Cara was going to lead this dance, and the First needed to accept it. Cara hated dancing, but had agreed to this farce and was determined to see it through. That didn't mean she was going to like it or be particularly docile about it. It pleased her that Helena was struggling to keep up the pretense of this dance. The smile Helena pointed in her direction was so false that the Mord'Sith wondered how she could keep her face from shattering. For that matter, Cara didn't know how she maintained her own.
If she pinched Helena very hard when the knight stepped on her toe painfully, she was rewarded with a glint of discomfort in the woman's blue eyes. Her pupils elongated, and Cara felt the rage stiffen the woman she was "dancing" with. An equally hard pinch at the soft point of her waist caused Cara to twist her hips harder, and she retaliated by pressing her thumb hard right below Helena's jaw near her ear. That was a place that really hurt. The blue eyes turned to gold in a fascinating turn of events.
"Stop it." The brunette hissed in her ear, face flushed with anger. They faltered for a moment as Cara continued pressing on the place that she knew caused Helena pain, though it would look like a tender cradling of her dance partner's cheek to anyone else.
"Stop stepping on my toes, and let me lead." She hissed back with a broad smile pasted to her lips that wanted to show her teeth for another reason.
"Keep your mind on the mission." Helena retorted in a hot whisper.
"My mind is always on the mission, and if anyone needs to be reminded, it is you." Cara snarled back in a tight whisper, as she made to lay her head on the knight's shoulder, just close enough to the brunette's ear where she knew it would pain the Gifted's exceptional sense of hearing. She took the opportunity to punctuate the statement with a pinch at Helena's ribs. The knight crashed her hip into her stomach, forcefully enough to nearly wind Cara. They both remained smiling, shifting sinuously despite their respective discomfort.
"Your mind is always on the Mother Confessor." Helena smirked playfully having scored a direct hit. Cara's own plastered smile nearly faded and she missed a step. The fact that it was the truth made her even more irritated. She just showed more teeth, though, and wondered if she was going to have to kill the knight. She hoped Helena gave her a reason.
"Don't think I haven't noticed that you are completely focused on the Justicar." The golden eyes shone more brightly, and the knight's face reddened. It almost delighted Cara enough that she could ignore the thumb now pressing hard against the small of her back, digging into her kidney with a sharp slice of pain.
The music finally stopped, and both women burst apart. Cara just barely schooled her features to calm. She had almost breathed a sigh of relief like Helena. When Helena took her hand, slipping back into their roles as lovers, Cara didn't flinch when the hand squeezed her own. One of them might get broken fingers before the night was out, but it wouldn't be the Mord'Sith. Her own hand was white-knuckled and grabbing the hand as though she could strangle the life out of the woman beside her just by holding on to it. The knight tried to twist her fingers painfully; Cara just countered it and remembered why she had agree to this.
Kahlan had asked her to do so, and that was all it ever took for her. She nearly lost the grip that was preventing the First from breaking her fingers with the memory of Kahlan's lips meeting her own. Kahlan was very perceptive, and knowledgeable about many things, especially her enemies. Mord'Sith were included in the Mother Confessor's vast store of knowledge, and that Kahlan had immediately grasped the fact that there was no one she'd mate with except for the Mother Confessor, made her respect rise a notch. It also raised her dread. She knew now why they called in "falling" in love. She had tripped over into the stew pot in that regard.
They still had a killer to catch, though, and Cara wasn't about to let that go, especially since it was something the Mother Confessor cared about.
Moments after leaving the dance floor, Helena had claimed she was ill, which of course made Lord Drake turn instantly solicitous. Lady Gordon ostensibly retired to their room to care for the First Knight, while Kahlan departed to "escort" Lady Hansen to the Captain's home. It left Cara to return to the inn alone. She and the First had argued about it loudly, which was entirely false because at that point, both of them were pleased to be relieved of the other's company. Somewhere between the dance and the threatening of broken fingers, the First's friendly overtures had cooled considerably.
Cara strode away from the ball, alone as planned. It was the Night of the Dead, and the moon was only a thin wafer in the sky. She knew that Kahlan was somewhere out there, and it heartened her. The Mother Confessor could be relied upon. The Mord'Sith was to go slow to give Lord Drake plenty of time to make an attempt on her life; a dark road should be temptation enough for him to make a move if he was the killer.
If she was anyone but a Mord'Sith, it would have made her more than a little nervous. She couldn't help but think of the story the bard had told about the Headless Horseman riding on the Night of the Dead. She puffed her chest out further, and gripped an Agiel. Mord'Sith were not nervous about anything. She certainly wasn't concerned, even if the deepening darkness and the wind gusting through the trees reminded her that it was the Night that spirits walked the earth.
She replayed the kiss she had shared with Kahlan. Just the memory of the Confessor seizing her lips warmed her more effectively than any fire could. The Mother Confessor was breathtakingly beautiful that evening. In fact, Cara couldn't think of a single situation in which she didn't think Kahlan was beautiful; she had thought so from the first time she laid eyes upon her, even if they didn't get along at first. She was anxious to get this situation resolved so that she could show the Confessor just how a Mord'Sith could please the one she desired.
Those pleasant thoughts were interrupted by the faint sound of hoof beats in the distance. Cara braced herself, hoping that this was their killer, and that she could get back to Kahlan. She wasn't concerned at all that it might be a rider that lacked a head.
As with all great plans, something had to go wrong. The plan was for the Mother Confessor, Captain Janeway and her wife to meet up with the Lieutenant on the road, with Magistrate Isles to accompany the Lady Hansen back to their home while Kahlan, the Captain and her second trailed Cara. Precious minutes were lost when the Captain failed to appear, and Lady Hansen was beside herself. The fury in her eyes when they found the Captain with an arrow in her shoulder and the announcement that Lady Hansen had every intention of finding the killer altered their plans.
Magistrate Isles was to stay behind to help tend to the Captain, and Lieutenant Rizzoli refused to leave either of them. That left Kahlan and Lady Hansen, whom the Mother Confessor wasn't entirely certain would be helpful. She was better than nothing, however, and the statuesque blond assured her that she was adequately trained in self defense. Kahlan was skeptical until the blond produced a crossbow and repeatedly hit a target from a distance that left the Mother Confessor duly impressed. Her concern, however, was that Lady Hansen's emotions would cloud her judgment; Kahlan was concerned enough about the Mord'Sith for two people, despite the fact that she hid it well.
There was nothing to do but continue on with the circumstances they had. The Mother Confessor struck off at a pace that she was sure the Lady Hansen wouldn't be able to keep up with, but anger was clearly fueling her. Despite the shoes that she wore, which were completely inappropriate to be stalking through the woods, Lady Hansen remained at her side.
If there was anyone that could defend herself, the Mord'Sith was that person. Still, the unexpected disruption of their plans sent a chill through the Mother Confessor's spine. Losing Cara just when she discovered her feelings were reciprocated would be a cruel turn of events. She would never forgive herself for concocting this plan if something happened to the woman who had stolen her heart.
Cara leapt to the side at the last possible second, just missing the arrow flying toward her by a hair. She had been nearly paralyzed as the figure on the horse, with a buttoned, high necked coat gave all appearances of being headless. She cursed herself for her superstition, and allowed her training to take over. It didn't matter who this enemy was; he had nearly ruined her white leathers, and she had plans that involved Kahlan removing them personally. She certainly didn't want them to get ripped by an arrow. If they were going to get bloodied, it wasn't going to be her doing the bloodying.
The figure on the horse kept bearing down on her, drawing a wicked looking axe. An axe blow had been what killed Alfred, Lady Gordon's servant. She ducked a swipe that would have taken her head off, as the rider surged past her. She managed to shove an Agiel into his side that nearly unseated him, but her opponent was an accomplished rider. Her teeth gleamed in the night at having the first blow.
Before the rider could swerve around to make another pass at her, a bone chilling howl sounded in the night. A flying object struck the horseman's axe, causing him to drop it, as a wild, raven-haired woman burst from the trees and into the road. The blond bard, Cara recognized. While usually she would have been annoyed at the interruption, she found that she didn't mind it tonight. As long as they weren't her foes, she would allow it. She was extremely worried that Kahlan had not shown up yet. The raven-haired woman drew a sword and she looked fairly competent with it. The short bard had drawn a weapon in either hand, and Cara smirked at her in appreciation. She also preferred the advantage of a weapon in each hand.
The horseman pulled a second axe just as the round weapon flew back around to be caught by the warrior. Before any of them could make a move, however, the whoosh of a crossbow bolt being released caught the horseman in the side, and he fell over heavily into the road. Cara was on him before he even touched the ground. She pulled apart the high collar to see that rider was neither headless, nor an unexpected sight. It was Lord Drake, who had clearly used the legend to attempt to gain the upper hand. The Mord'Sith sneered at him, and thrust her Agiel into him painfully, causing him to howl in pain.
"You have made a grave error." Lady Hansen surged ahead, cocking the crossbow, preparing to send another bolt into the now incapacitated Lord Drake. The Mother Confessor was barely able to kick it up in time; she wanted a Confession, and she was going to get one. Kahlan was greatly relieved to see that Cara was unharmed, and had not even a spot of blood on her white leather. She had avoided standing in the side that was seeping blood, in deference to keeping her outfit pristine.
The bard intervened with Lady Hansen, taking the crossbow away from her and calming her down. Considering that she had walked as quickly as Kahlan in the inappropriate shoes, she was certainly adamant about getting revenge from the man lying in the road. It finally took the bard's warrior friend to keep the statuesque blond back. Kahlan eyed the Mord'Sith, and she stepped away from Lord Drake.
Thunder without sound echoed throughout the night, the concussive blast raising dust around them. That seemed to settle Lady Hansen some, since it didn't appear Lord Drake was going anywhere. "Command me, Confessor." He begged, adoration clear in his eyes.
"Did you kill your wife, and Alfred, Lady Gordon's servant?" The Mother Confessor's face was stern, and at his confirmation that he did so, her glare hardened. "Why did you kill them?"
He wheezed slightly, he wasn't going to last long with the arrow that was in his midsection regardless of how this ended. Kahlan wanted answers and she wanted them now. "My wife couldn't provide me an heir, Confessor, and the servant discovered that I was the one who poisoned her. I couldn't let him tell Lady Gordon what he knew. It was a good plan, to poison her with the estate crowded with attendees to the ball." He looked at her as if he thought such information would impress her.
"I assume you also were responsible for shooting Captain Janeway?" He nodded in confirmation. "As Mother Confessor of the Midlands, I pass judgment. Die for your crimes." At her command, his heart stopped, and he slumped over dead in the dust of the road.
Lady Hansen protested that the Mother Confessor should have given her another shot at him, and frankly, had it been Kahlan that had been shot with a crossbow, all three of them wouldn't have been able to prevent the Mord'Sith from killing him. As it stood, though, she still supported Kahlan's right as ruler to make that decision. If Lady Hansen wanted to protest, that was fine, but if she protested too loudly, or too disrespectfully, the Mord'Sith was fully prepared to explain it physically.
Cara almost regretted that she didn't have that chance, but a glance at the Mother Confessor, and she suddenly decided that whatever allowed them to be alone in a bed soonest was the option she preferred.
By the time they had arrived back at the manor, Magistrate Isles had moved Captain Janeway into a room where she was resting comfortably. The arrow had not penetrated anything vital, though she had lost a good deal of blood before they had found her. Lady Hansen had practically knocked the door down in her rush to see to her wife. Magistrate Isles was certainly one of the more competent healers in the area, so the Mother Confessor left them to attend to the Captain.
Lady Gordon and her First were sitting outside of the Captain's room, and Kahlan delivered the news that justice had been done for Alfred. Tears tracked down both her face, and surprisingly that of Helena, but they both thanked her profusely for her part in delivering it. If Kahlan didn't know better, despite the sadness that lingered around both of them, she would say that Lady Gordon and her First Knight had discussed the same things that she and Cara had, earlier. They had certainly been affectionate before, touching each other quite often, but now they wouldn't let go of each other.
Consoling each other would hopefully bring the two women closer, and Kahlan couldn't help but wish the best for both of them. Lady Gordon had, after all, helped her see what was right in front of her, and if she was able to do the same for the Justicar, it was a fair trade.
The Mother Confessor secured the estate, making certain that no one would interfere with any of those who had remained. The head manservant was quick to obey her, and to assure her that none of the servants would dare cause the Mother Confessor or her party any difficulty. Apparently, Lord Drake had no heirs since his wife had been unable to conceive, so he was certainly prepared to serve the Mother Confessor. Cara nearly sneered at that; he would have done that, regardless.
That settled, she had them prepare an additional room for the Mord'Sith and herself, and for the bard and the warrior. Xena and Gabrielle had accompanied them back to the estate, and Kahlan had been more than grateful for their assistance. She insisted they all stay the night since it was late enough as it was. The warrior had squirmed, clearly looking for a way to decline, but the blond had just interrupted her with a twinkling in her green eyes and graciously accepted. Cara smirked; she was right. The blond was the more formidable of the two. Xena just issued a resigned sigh, pouring Gabrielle and herself a cup of wine.
Kahlan looked a bit tired, since Confession tended to take a lot out of her, but she still offered Cara a hot stare when they had a moment alone. She took the white Mord'Sith glove in her hand, and pulled Cara along with her to their room. She barely got the door closed before Cara had pressed her against it, kissing her deeply with an ardor she couldn't help but return. She unlaced the neck piece even as she continued her own assault on the blond's mouth, throwing it aside while she felt gloved fingers working at the laces on her dress. The fire that was raging within her, forced her to halt things, though, because the last thing she wanted to do was end the life of the woman she loved.
"Cara, we have to be careful. If I Confess you, I'll kill you." The Mord'Sith appeared to consider this, and replied with yet another burning kiss that dizzied the Confessor. "Cara, I'm serious." She said it forcefully, with a palm to the Mord'Sith's chest.
"Kahlan," she said with a smirk, "I'm Mord'Sith. I assure you I have more than one trick up my sleeve, and certainly more than one treat, too." The wicked smile Cara delivered weakened her knees. There was no doubt in the Confessor's mind that Cara wasn't lying about that. Her lovely blond lover set about proving just that, for the rest of the night.
Lady Gordon awoke to a wonderful sensation. Helena's nude body was pressed to her own, dark hair spread around her. Her First Knight was an exceptional lover; though the crossbow bolt might have taken her ability to walk, Helena certainly had proved to her that it hadn't taken away her ability to thoroughly enjoy other things. She would have worried about the cries of pleasure she no doubt screamed into the night, but considering the noises that issued from the room next door, she decided it wasn't worth worrying about.
Apparently Kahlan was quite the good lover, because the Mord'Sith had shouted her name more than a few times. The Mother Confessor had an incredible set of lungs, herself. The thunderous sound of the release of her magic had been accompanied by the wailing of "Cara!" at least as often as she had made Helena scream "Oh Barbara!" Judging from the moan she could hear from next door, it wouldn't be long before she be hearing both yet again.
Helena shifted and slid a hand up her side to cup her breast, and Barbara felt the heat of need grow. Full lips captured her own as the knight rose up to straddle her waist, and it wasn't long before Lady Gordon was screaming again in rapture.
"Kahlan, what are we going to do about Lord Rahl?" Cara asked it quietly. They hadn't really discussed it, but with the situation here resolved, it wouldn't be long before they would all be back together again. The Mord'Sith was prepared to consent to whatever decision the Mother Confessor made, but she knew in her heart it would slowly kill her to watch her give her love to Richard. Love was what she felt for Kahlan; it bloomed in her heart so fully that she couldn't deny it to herself. She steeled herself for the answer.
Intense blue eyes pierced her soul, and soft lips kissed her own gently. "My heart belongs to you, Cara, not Richard, if that is what you are worried about. It took me some time to see that, but I don't doubt it now." Kahlan finally said the words the Mord'Sith had never thought would be directed at her, and especially not from one such as the Mother Confessor. "I love you, Cara."
Shy green eyes flashed down then settled to caress her face with a gaze. "I love you, Kahlan. Let me show you how much." This time, it was slow and languorous lovemaking. Cara kissed her way down the long, slim body of the Confessor, swirling her nipples with her tongue before sucking them into her mouth. Kahlan arched from the bed at the sensation, while Cara loved her. When Cara reached the aching spot of her need, Kahlan felt strong arms grip her thighs.
Kahlan felt it building abruptly inside of her. Cara was taking her with her tongue in such a way that was causing her control to slip. "Cara, I'm close, you have to stop." It came out as a breathy moan, not the forceful pronouncement she would have expected. Cara held on to her thighs, though, and continued the gently assault. Kahlan had always wanted to feel her release come at someone else's hand but her own, but she knew it would be the end of their will. She struggled with her hips, but when Cara slid two fingers inside of her, continuing to swirl with her tongue, Kahlan came in an explosive burst of pleasure and concussive magic.
It was equal parts pleasure and pain. Cara had completely given herself to her, and she feared what she would see. If she killed the blond because she couldn't help but orgasm at her touch, she would never forgive herself. She didn't hear the cries of pain, though that usually accompanied a Mord'Sith being Confessed. Instead, she felt the insistent tongue continue to give her pleasure as she came down from her climax. She buried her hands in blond hair, and dragged the blond up to her lips, kissing her just in case it would be the last time.
Green twinkling eyes greeted her, not those of the Confessed. A wide smirk crossed the Mord'Sith's face. "Command me, Confessor." It was said so insolently, that any panic she might have felt that she had Confessed the blond were gone. Kahlan kissed her again, then bit her lip a little harder than necessary. She flipped Cara onto her back and straddled her on all fours.
"I could have killed you, Cara!" She growled, but the relief that threaded her tone betrayed both her love, and her joy. She brushed golden strands out of the smirking face, and kissed her again passionately.
"I love you, Kahlan." Her voice was intent. "When I told you that you were the only one I would ever wear white for, I meant it. How can you cause me to love you any more than I already do?" The question was serious, but Kahlan felt a wide, predatory grin cross her features. The dilation of Cara's pupils said the Mord'Sith recognized that look.
"I think I'll try every day to cause it, starting with right now." Kahlan replied, then sat out to prove she meant it. It wasn't long before half the estate knew she had meant it, too.
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