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Lexa
08 April 2018 @ 08:30 pm
When it ended, I held onto it with the poise of a ballerina, the subtleties of narrow pain awash in the grief that was on a road I did not know. She's gone. I say it to remind myself of broken windows and abandoned fireplaces. The chipping yellow paint that colored our dreams. I recognize so much less. Her smirk underneath the tv light. The tired creation of moments. She is a ghost story. She is a weapon. She is all these things and more. She was.
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Current Mood: sadsad
Current Music: White Mustang - Lana Del Rey
 
 
Lexa
07 April 2011 @ 01:08 am
For Her Favor, Pt. 13
Rating: NC-17
Pairings: Cara/Dahlia, Denna/Snake, Denna/Leo. With Lorel and Kahlan.
Warnings: Extreme non-con, torture, Agiel violence, hurt/comfort, bdsm, gore, angst, Mord’Sith temper, domestic violence, evil!cara, language,
Author’s Note: AU. Snake trained Denna to be Mord'Sith.
Summary: Mistress Cara wants to own a Confessor. Dahlia wants to give her one.
Disclaimer: I only own my sickness. Not for profit, only for demented fun. Legend of the Seeker characters and depictions belong to Terry Goodkind, Disney and ABC Studios.
For Gizmo :D





A paled orange shadow of a fading daylight spread neatly across the sweat, blood, grime, skin and hair that had come to rest and settle on a training room floor. The two broken bodies that had once possessed these things and more laid off in one corner, piled on top of one another.

They were long past any salvation, their burdens decidedly over and their cries, however unique from one another had they been in life, were now forgotten and each of their purposes disregarded.

One had resisted worse than the other, the one that resembled Dahlia in the lips and shared the characteristic sadder edges of her eyes, but nonetheless, the same fate was handed to them with equal intent and finality.

Denna looked at the sponge in disgust and the bucket of water with even more disdain and repulsion. She had not scrubbed a floor in many years, though she had enjoyed watching the act itself, carried out by her numerous slaves and pets on steady hands and knees for their Mistress. Cleanliness was vital to Mord'Sith, and she was unsure how to begin.

She was beginning to realize that she needed to prove herself in another way, one that would involve yet more sacrifice, more blood, and greater risk. A Mord'Sith would understand that the means always justified the end. She couldn't lose that. Not now. Not ever.

She smoothed down the wrinkles at the front of her dress and jabbed the bucket lightly with the tips of her healing toes. The jolt of pain traveled up her leg but she moaned when it was lost somewhere at her empty stomach, unable to successfully reach her heart.

The sound of Lorel humming, carrying a measure of radiance and glee, spun Denna around and she sucked her teeth, raising one careful eyebrow, taking in her options with the refined scope of coarse malice and amused intrigue that usually influenced all of her actions and desires. She hurried to the door and into the shaded, bland and now darkening corridor.

"You. Come here."

Still accustomed to her former Mistress' commanding tone, Lorel stopped immediately, her voice caved into something dry and abandoned. "Yes, Mistr-," she caught herself before she turned around and artfully regrouped. "What is it, Denna?"

"I have something to show you," Denna said, flashing her sweetest smile, curling one finger and beckoning her.

Lorel looked around nervously, took a tentative step forward but paused. Denna's eyes looked thoughtless. "I can't."

"It concerns our Mistress Nathair. You wish to please her, do you not?"

Lorel burst forward, a lamb that had strayed from the pack, and shuddering as Denna slammed the door shut behind them. Escape, it seemed, meant little to Lorel. She didn't think in those terms.

"Kneel," Denna ordered, her eyes motioning the action in the empty space below her. The floor was littered with the mess the other Mistress' had so easily made.

"No," Lorel said, recoiling viciously at the very idea of it. It wasn't the scores of blood. It wasn't the pieces of flesh or all the liquids a body created while in the throws of certain death, it was the sole fact that she only dropped her eyes, knees, guard and heart for those above her, and never for a slave. That's what Denna was now.

Lorel had spent her entire life in the service of Lord Rahl and his Mord'Sith, and never once had a common hand touched her, and she had long vowed to herself that it never would.

Denna seized the back of Lorel's hair, instinctually inclined to enforce her command, but she stopped sharply, realizing something that nearly knocked her to her own knees. "You've gained weight," Denna sneered, ripping back her hand and circling Lorel, physically and mentally.

Lorel quickly folded both arms over her lower stomach and looked down with a quickness that she regretted halfway through. Denna halted immediately, following Lorel's own point of interest and with two of her fingers, she crept them along Lorel's forearm like an insect looking for the best way to feed but unable to find a suitable place to begin.

"Who did this to you?" Denna asked softly, forcing Lorel's arms from their protective shield and taking one of her of hands and kissing it's smooth top, licking a knuckle.

"I've been overindulging, Denna."

Denna smirked, "That's a clever word for what you've been doing."

Sheltered water stood still, but pliant, in Lorel's quaint expression as fear began it's tendency to flood and carry over into her movements as she nuzzled up to Denna's neck, drawing their bodies together like tools that could fix something broken. Lorel would bend the rules just this once, for Denna.

Suddenly uninterested, Denna turned her cheek and crossed her arms, and Lorel was left with little alternative other than to stand there silently, many degrees colder, bowing her head in familiar service.

"What do you ask of me?" Lorel whispered, as a worm edging itself into something soft and perishable.

"Kneel."

"Please, Denna...Mistress is waiting for me..."

With a clenched mouth and impatient hands, Denna wound her grip into Lorel's perfectly shined, combed and parted hair and allowed herself to enjoy the whimper that Lorel made as she was bended to her knees, and held there, her face too close to the bucket not to worry about Denna's potential plans for it.

"Lorel," Denna smiled, "I know we have had our share of…disagreements."

Lorel scoffed and it rippled the cold water. Denna rounded a softer fist into Lorel's face, silencing any breath.

The bodies seemed to need an audience. "Do you see them?" Denna asked, patting Lorel's head, crossing her arms as she made another circle.

Lorel nodded, her stomach reeling. Her happiness and faith hung somewhere partially in sight and she could almost see them as a rainbow, about to depart from the brightening sky and instead of seeing the disappearance, Denna made Lorel face the bodies again.

"They were simple...born from whores, raised in dirt, brought here to service a greater purpose...they were needed," Denna blinked over at them, "and they failed."

Lorel began to pull at the hem of her dress, pulling it up, ready to take it off, graciously prepared to give Denna whatever she required, requested or demanded. But Denna's stern smirk, her tone, and the firmness of her stance, stopped Lorel's hands, and almost her heart.

"The best things in life often come in threes. First there was Lord Rahl, Mistress Nathair, and me. Then... there was Mistress Cara, Mistress Dahlia and me. And now...it will be Mistress Nathair, me, and our child."

"What?!" Lorel cried, gasping on a strangled pool of tears and denial. Losing all sense of poise and concern, she grasped at Denna's ankle, "Please, Mistress! This child, Mistress Denna, please don't..." She couldn't even contemplate ending that sentence with any form of the word murder.

Denna snickered though her nose and exhaled. "You will go with my wizard through Balter Mountains, find Cara and Dahlia and warn them of the danger that approaches them. Understood?"

Lorel whimpered with one gargled question. "If I don't?"

"I will smother that thing the second you deliver her and other child you may dream of."

The horror rattled even through her eyelids. "But they are dead! Cara is dead, Dahlia is dead."

"They are alive," she promised, clenching one fist, contemplating a strike. "I know, you groveling whore. They are my Sisters..." Denna continued, icing over, "if their bodies grew cold, something inside me would've broken." She made one more angular circle. "But...I can easily break something inside you, now can't I?"

With shaky hands, Lorel steadied herself to keep upright. The decision was one that was stormed over them with a threatening silence, one that Denna had limited patience for as she crouched down next to Lorel, arrogantly tickling where her flesh was so delicately protruding. "I could end this life before it's even begun," Denna reminded her, invoking a sense of gratitude and adoration from Lorel's sobs and despair.

Denna had learned from her own Mistress. To own a slave like Lorel, to crumble them, strip them of their pride and induce their absolute dependency was easy as Mord'Sith. But for Lorel to see her as a Mistress again, to gaze up at her as if she were in full leather and wielding her Agiel with that damaging glow of fortitude, was one of the most intense rushes of her life, not solely because she missed it but because, above all else, it gave her hope.

"Yes...of course I will, Mistress..." Lorel wailed, gagging, throwing her arms around Denna, "I'll go. I'll do this for you."

"I know you will," Denna soothed her, moving the strap of Lorel's dress and kissing her pale shoulder. "Soon you will be free, save your tears. The world out there needs them more."

Lorel sniffled roughly, melting into Denna's graceful palms as they cleared away the liquid and doubt from her cheeks. The kiss Denna so briefly offered was meant to be a one of hurried comfort and reassurance but the relief was overpowering, and the reality had yet to close in on either of them. Denna stood up, keeping her hand firm on Lorel's trembling skull.

"First," Denna explained, "you are going to clean this floor and I will tend to Mistress Nathair."

***

Dahlia hesitated, pursing her lips for just a moment before she unlocked the cuffs, releasing Cara, and briskly deciding against her initial decision to let her crash and caught her unevenly, lowering them both to the floor.

The floor offered many things: coldness, firmness, steadiness, rest. But it could not offer anything that Cara wanted.

"Just because I love you, doesn't mean I need you," Cara snapped, wincing at Dahlia's tentative touch against her forehead but not deliberately struggling against it.

Although it ached to see herself in Cara's both battered and twisted expressions of doubt and uncertainty, Dahlia considered throwing her down, stomping on her, breaking each bone until Cara realized how wrong she had been, until the skies parted and turned back into day and Dahlia could see the sun again, and Cara would be young again.

"I know it hurts, Cara," Dahlia said, letting Cara squirm until the last of Dahlia's grip was relinquished and Cara was on the floor, on her back, as she liked. It was a small comfort, and a precise one.

Cara let her head rest firmly on the ground, closing her eyes as she felt Dahlia rising above her, towering to her feet. Words lacked all sense of existence. She hated Dahlia for this, loathed her from an angle that she had never quite expected, and realized that expectation could be just as much a gift as it was often a curse.

"Don't you wish to face me?" Dahlia asked, a sincere question posed respectfully.

Cara wished many things. She wished the throbbing in her head could subside long enough for any coherence, for the tears to retract backwards on the path which they had so rigorously spilled, for the floor not to feel more wonderful and embracing than Dahlia's arms had been and, above all, for the wisdom that could've prevented grossly miscalculating Dahlia's abilities and talents and perspective of love.

"Why are you doing this?" Cara asked. The voice was shaky, weak, more of a whimper than a line of thoughtful words. It hit Dahlia's ears like a blast of hot air and sizzled into her, twisting into her veins and softening her movements. Her eyes were still more black than blue, more hungry than bitter or rejecting.

"There is a time for everything. There is a time for consequence, for remembering things that once mattered to you. Honor, strength...and me. "

Cara gulped, Dahlia's still body in the darkened bed widened around her tears. "I know pain."

"Tell me you regret all you've done."

Cara blinked, and when her vision was renewed, she felt as honest and as pure as she had known in many years. "I regret nothing." Dahlia looked away, far past Cara's infuriating mouth as her voice continued. "While you wait for your apology, ask all the stars in the D'Haran sky not to shine."

"Even if it means me taking your life?"

"Especially if it means that."

Dahlia considered it. "You should've stayed at the Temple." The sweetness drained from her vocal chords. "You should've taken care of Kahlan. She would've fulfilled you had you given her a chance."

Cara huffed, turning away as far as her neck would endure. "We are Mord'Sith, Dahlia. We aren't like Kahlan. We aren't slaves."

"That is what we are. Nothing more. That's why our love depends on us. I wouldn't let it down, Cara, and neither can you."

Cara grumbled awkwardly, trying to pull herself up, but faltering horribly at the wrists and tumbling back down onto her cheek.

"All you're thinking about is punishment...to tie me up for saying a such a thing, aren't you?" Dahlia asked roughly, circling as she would any victim, any prisoner.

Cara snickered, her lips grazing the top of Dahlia's boot, more regal and intentionally than not. Dahlia crossed her arms with a dull grunt of frustration, preparing her Agiel for another round of what Cara so certainly deserved. She began to lower it, aiming for the soft bridge of Cara's nose. It only stopped within an inch.

She wasn't thinking about punishment, she was thinking about the way she felt safest when Dahlia's head was sleeping on her chest, when the noises of the Temple, even at their loudest, could be so easily ignored when the rhythm of Dahlia's breathing and heartbeats were so strong and so beautiful. Some things always seemed more eternal than they actually were.

"You dare compare yourself to a common pet?" Cara asked, finally looking up into the face she had loved all her life, on her own terms, by her own standards and with her entire heart.

The statement took something hard that was traveling and buoyant within Dahlia and slowly illuminated it.

"I haven't changed at all," Cara said, the honesty rippling the silence, "you only see me from a different point of view now. That's your problem." Cara shook a troubled tear that clung to the green of her sincerity and let her voice fall as low as the thought made her feel. "I love you just the same."

"Your cruelty has hardened any love within you...it's-"

"When I was twelve years old," she interrupted, "I overheard two guards making plans to have you that night..." Cara wiped her mouth, focused. "One of them said you had a beautiful face. I went to Denna and we snuck up behind each of them, slicing their throats with knives so dull they couldn't cut a piece of bread. The one I got...the one who wanted your face...his head rolled off. Lord Rahl's voice was approaching, Snake was calling on us and the blood of these men followed us down the hallway... but...we never looked back. If there had been ten guards, there would have been ten bodies. I would do whatever it takes to keep you in this world, Dahlia. I would even let you do all of this. Can you understand that?"

Dahlia kneeled down, puzzled by the blatant admission, numbed to her toes by it. She ran three fingers through Cara's dirtied heap of short hair. She believed her.

"If you love Denna," Cara said, pushing the rest of the painful sound through her injured and rotting lips, "go to her. Now."

Dahlia fluttered, unable to process the suggestion, unable to see anything but a fog that had filled within the most gentle corners of her vision.

"But," Cara added, connecting with the paleness of Dahlia's torment, "kill me first and run as fast as you can."


***

Mistress Nathair stood with her arms crossed in the harsh yellow light of the earliest morning hour. Sweat glistened her brow, and her mouth watered, spilling the sweeter parts of what she imagined she was tasting onto her lips. The day promised many things and held many pleasures, but keeping Denna on her back was the most pressing venture of them all.

The disappearances of Lorel and the wizard was little mystery to Snake. She liked to think she had even predicted this in full. She took an unimaginable dose of solace in knowing how well she had trained her Mord'Sith, and that, even when they fell, they could always find footing even when there was no bottom in sight.

Denna laid unevenly, her shoulder blades crashing back and forth hard into the floor as the slave, relying on only nods of approval from his towering Mistress, sped up or down according to her pointed desires. Denna was fighting him, more guttural with every thrust into her, and no matter how firmly he grabbed her sides, pressed at her hips or pulled her hair, she resisted as if escape was all there was for her. They both avoided one another's eyes.

"Leo..." Snake nodded, "don't you ever let a bitch squirm around on you." She indignantly shuffled her boot and only felt some level of satisfaction after it had kicked Denna's cheek for the third time.

Leo flipped Denna over, taking his Mistress' advice as fact, crushing Denna's bruising face into the floor and rocking her back into him with a newfound sense of confidence and strength. His goal hadn't been to hurt Denna, only to focus on his task, and if she suffered in the process, then it was just as well. He was ripping into her, his muscles unnecessarily flexed boyishly and convulsed with every exerted slam and grunt.

"Now doesn't that feel better than Dahlia?" Snake offered. "When you're a mother, you'll understand the finer points of consequence."

Denna bit her tongue with more reverence than she usually did, relishing the sensation of restraint as her body was pierced again by Leo, deeper and deeper as Snake's eyes grew impatient and expectant.

Leo took one look at his Mistress' narrowed eyelids and repositioned Denna against himself, twisting her with no regard for the ground, gripping her lower back with a agile pinch and renewed his resolve and his need. Denna exhaled, involuntarily whining as he pounded, and finally, with one frantic burst, he came into her and gasped a frenzied sigh of relief as she took it awkwardly and seamlessly, looking only at her own hands.

Leo softly ran his sturdy fingers along Denna's curves, inexplicably craving an intimacy that he was unsure of, and sorely embarrassed by. He laid her back down, careful not to drop her down on her belly, and looked to Snake for the delicate approval to pull out.

"Stay for just a moment longer," Snake smirked, kneeling down. "It should please me to remember the day that my child was conceived."

Leo's touch was gentle as it stroked though the cold, moistened mop that had become Denna's hair, attempting plainly to comfort her, and himself. She shook his hand away and wiped her face, the mucus from her nose and the thought from her mind. She told herself there would be no child today nor ever, and that it was merely a show, a demonstration of power and threat, and that her body would be smart enough to handle this swiftly and destroy the possibility.

Snake crouched down as low as she could go until she was eye to eye with Denna, and let her lips slide sensually over Denna's wet forehead, a gesture Cara had long mimicked on Dahlia, before she was ready to connect their mouths, reminding Denna how she kept her word, and with her tongue, owned every piece of Denna's dignity and regret, not shocked in the very least how anxiously Denna kissed her back.

If Denna could respect and love anything, Snake always realized, it was when a Mistress knew true punishment.

When she was satisfied, and not a second before, Snake knocked Leo off her pet with one single blow to the head and he toppled soundlessly backwards. Snake paid no mind to where he landed and instead focused on pulling Denna up into her lofty arms and hushing her.

"You will love my child," Snake said, smoothing out the frizz that had formed on the top of Denna's hairline and tapping on the purpled spot below Denna's eye. "Your love for it will even rival your love for me."

"I don't love you as much as you think," Denna spit, melting shyly against Snake's breast. It sounded like a lie, and it felt like a lie too.

Snake smiled, sucking mindfully on Denna's ear, caressing her palm into Denna's stomach. "Love needs no thought."

Denna blinked viciously, processing the concept with a steady hand of confusion, acceptance and contempt. She hated Snake for this threat of forced motherhood, hated the idea of any child, and hated herself for allowing Snake to have just cause to carry out such a possible punishment. The uncertainty of conception was the most torturous aspect of her sentence, and Snake surely knew that. Denna kept that knowledge close, and made her fold her into Snake's arms a little tighter because, had her Mistress truly wished it, a wizard could have been persuaded at any time to ensure the arrival of a new life on Snake's terms alone.

"Would you rather rest against me tonight..." Snake asked, then glaring dismissively at Leo, "or him?"

She was tormented by the reality of her own preference. "With you, Mistress."

Though she was no stranger to it, the pain of vocalizing the truth was even worse than how it felt. Snake was the worst kind of Mistress, for even in Denna's lowest moments of desperation and shame, there always seemed to be a level even below that, one that was ripe with all her shortcomings and all her childish sentiments. Her Mistress knew how to make her yearn for her mother like no one else that had ever lived.

"When you were a child," Snake said, soothing her down, stroking her back with most delicate of touch, "there was such little fear in your eyes. I miss that."

Denna considered the image, a speck of pride in knowing that her Mistress longed for something she once had. Then she darkened her vision, weakened it, hoping to escape the joy of the memory. "I don't want to be a mother."

"Comparative to how I didn't want your disobedience," Snake scoffed, and added as a snide afterthought, "I feel nothing like Dahlia."

"I thought all Mistresses knew a compliment when they heard one."

"Dahlia is the worst kind of lover," Snake replied, "she thinks about herself far too little."

A few silent moments fell upon them. Snake wondered about her child, it's quickening possibility. "Do you feel anything?" she asked, the curiosity blossoming the longer Denna laid upon her.

"No, Mistress," Denna replied honestly. She looked at a speck of blood on her forearm. "Other than I'd rather be anything than a mother."

"Quiet now, Denna," Snake replied, her voice gentle, primed with patience. "You can give birth a hundred times and still never be that."

Somehow, that was comfort. "Thank you," Denna murmured, only a glint of sarcasm, focusing more on the sensation of Snake's fingers along her backbone, how it scratched, tried to demean and cherish in the same unfettered instant.

Denna cleared her throat, hoping any more words would fade out before they grew. She wanted to tell Snake how she loathed her, resented being anything but Mord'Sith, despised children almost as much she despised this comfort for all it was, and for what it could never be. She hadn't dreamed in many nights.

"Do you still miss your Sisters?" Snake asked, a faint hum of a maternal exhale curled along with a lock of Denna's hair into Snake's hardened pinky.

Denna closed her eyes, a sleepiness washed into her spent skin. "All things end, Mistress. Even love." She clung to this thought, and no amount of longing for it to be any other way would change that truth.

"It's such a tragedy, isn't it, my sweet girl?"

"Only for those who are left behind."

***

Kahlan brought a bowl of soup to where Cara laid, alive but motionless, and watched as Dahlia continued to make steady, loud rounds about her. Her Agiel was reholstered, her nose reddened, her arms crossed like they could not be positioned in any other manner. She didn't look up, acknowledging Kahlan would've meant she had to take one eye off Cara, and Dahlia was supremely focused: she didn't even notice that the fire was about to be lost to the scratching darkness that had begun it's reign of empowerment.

"Where do you want this, Mistress?" Kahlan asked, dizzied by the sight of Mistress Cara, unsure if the food was meant for Cara or Dahlia, or if it was to be shared.

"Sit up, Cara," Dahlia said, itching her own forehead in frustration, "look what Kahlan has brought you."

Cara's eyes strained and squinted to see the offering. Food usually meant nothing to her, Dahlia knew this, but even a body as strong as Cara's needed it to keep itself sustained. Cara had to know this too. She was human. She was a woman. Dahlia needed to be reminded of this too. She needed to see Cara eat.

Dahlia took the bowl with one hand and with the other, stroked Kahlan's cheek with an affectionate pinch and nudged her away, directing her towards the room, far away from them. These times were not meant for her.

Only when the last of Kahlan's shadow whipped across the floor did Cara finally will herself to sit up, involuntarily shaking as she shifted all her weight onto one calloused forearm at first, realizing she'd need to devise a better plan. She realized, to do this, she needed Dahlia. To do anything in life properly, she needed her. For a potent moment, Dahlia saw this in the failing weakness of Cara's upward glance, in the subtle way her fingernails could not find anywhere to claw, and how each breath she expelled, seemed to wander in a hopeless drift.

Dahlia edged herself down onto her own knees and took Cara into her chest, putting the bowl at Cara's lips, gently tilting the bowl up and hoping it would empty fast.

They each anticipated a struggle, one of different sorts to define the strength of the other, but Cara calmly drank, and Dahlia finally discarded the bowl to the side and kissed softly at Cara's swelled temple, hoping each word could enter Cara's ear with all the loyalty, reverence and truth the closer her mouth lingered there.

"Cara..." Dahlia said, "if I loved Denna, you would be ten years in the Underworld now, your body rotting in the sea, my memories of you nothing more than a flash of a blonde child's smile."

Cara coughed, humbled by the intensity of her own inescapable tears, her own relief and her own blinding doubt. She wanted to believe Dahlia, to know her as seamlessly as she always felt she had...but sometimes, it occurred to her, that maybe to know Dahlia, was to know she couldn't know everything about her.

Cara only knew that, in the bitter darkness of this moment, that, even though her body was cracked, she loved Dahlia as solid as ever and that she was loved in return and that, no matter the odds, this was one thing that could not be broken, sold, or murdered. There was no cost involved. There was no profit to be had.

"Our love is like nature," Dahlia said, looking over the twists of knotted hair, "beautiful, mostly, but unable to ever recognize good or evil, only balance and imbalance. I need to restore balance, Cara. And I need to restore it now...whatever the price."

Dahlia's mind went somewhere high above them as she continued wearily, "I can't watch the life drain from your eyes," she whispered, "I can't bury you. But you...maybe should bury me."

Cara relaxed back into Dahlia's embrace, let the softness envelop her in a manner that she had not anticipated, allowing her body to know, despite all it's leaked blood and injuries, it was protected, and there was still life within her, even if was underneath all these things... and that could it be healed.

The thought of digging a wretched hole into the earth under the moonlight, throwing in Dahlia's limp body, hearing it's thud, and staring down at her blue lips before covering her with dirt, and knowing she would stay there forever, sickened her, killed something unspeakably fragile within her...and she knew, for the very first time, that redemption was something that she could believe in, on the one condition that she would be able to experience it with Dahlia, that she could make Dahlia proud again, whole again.

Cara breathed in, the scent of Dahlia's promises were better than the air itself, and it was the leather against Cara's bare skin that poured something hot and clear into her awkwardly beating heart. It was the knowledge that Dahlia had always been Mord'Sith that physically winded Cara, that Dahlia had learned from lessons that even Snake could never attempt because some of the bravest and cruelest lessons were taught and mastered out of love, and nothing else, and nothing less.

Dahlia laid them down together, thoughts of childhood filled each of them, they could almost hear Snake's breathing above them. "Dahlia," Cara started gently, "we never broke each other. You were never one that needed something to fix anyway. But...you bring out what I lack, nurture what I would destroy..."

"Cara...tell me that the worst is over, that you love me..."

"I wanted us to belong...Mord'Sith or not, the truth is rarely simple and almost never pure. But this is...the day I bury you is the day I would finally be broken."

***
 
 
Current Mood: sadsad
 
 
Lexa
20 January 2011 @ 12:32 am
For Her Favor, Pt. 12.5
Rating: NC-17
Pairings: Cara/Kahlan/Dahlia
Warnings: Extreme non-con, torture, Agiel violence, hurt/comfort, bdsm, gore, angst, Mord’Sith temper, domestic violence, evil!cara, language
Author’s Note: AU. Snake trained Denna to be Mord'Sith.
Summary: Mistress Cara wants to own a Confessor. Dahlia wants to give her one.
Disclaimer: I only own my sickness. Not for profit, only for demented fun. Legend of the Seeker characters and depictions belong to Terry Goodkind, Disney and ABC Studios.
For Gizmo :D





Just when Cara thought it would be safe to close her eyes, there was an Agiel lodged into her stomach, followed by a winded blow or a hardened slap. There was no sleep, no respite, no end in sight. One day easily felt like twelve. The sun crawled agonizingly across the room and finally, it thought to set calmly itself, unaware that everything could be much worse, and more pained, when it was gone.

"When she falls asleep, you hit her," Dahlia said, raising the kneeled Kahlan to her feet, "like this." She smacked Cara in the side of her blood-soaked mouth and turned to Kahlan. "Do you understand?"

Kahlan nodded, mouthing "yes, Mistress" and Cara's eyes had nothing in them, nothing lost, nothing valued. They were just two green slabs of jade, un-mined and forgotten.

"Do a practice hit, Kahlan," Dahlia ordered, quickly stopping Kahlan's raised fist before it came close to even graze the air. "No," she scolded, "do it to me."

Kahlan gasped, lowering her hand immediately and clasping it with her other together in front of her. Dahlia tore through it, untangling Kahlan's fingers and holding her right hand tightly in her own. "You obey me, or you'll be hanging next to her."

"It'll hurt you, Mistress!" Kahlan protested, melting at the warmth within Dahlia's palm.

"To love a Mistress is to hurt them. Now do it."

Kahlan tried to keep her strength minimal as the unbearable motion of the smack swung through her shoulders, across the distance between them and struck the side of Dahlia's cheek. It knocked out the pocket of air that Dahlia had contained within her mouth. It wasn't nearly good enough. It was an empty burden, a tap one dealt while in a simple lovers quarrel, and not a hit that a Mord'Sith could ever be worthy of.

Dahlia tossed the Confessor to her back, trapping her down with a casual boot on her chest, taking offense to this particular defiance. Either something should be done right or not done at all.

"Do you see this, Cara?" Dahlia said, looking over her shoulder. "Do you see how innocent her love is? That was me once. I had to keep that alive in her. Can't you see that?"

Cara did see it. Cara blinked sourly, letting her tongue stick against her dried mouth, her own words left uncollected and entombed deep somewhere even she wouldn't know. Nevermind what her vision offered her, she was hating what she was hearing, hating how she was blatantly outnumbered, only by two, but the value she had placed on them made the entire world feel unpopulated and hopelessly desolate. If nothing else, she had to acknowledge that.

The loneliness, the sense of betrayal and disbelief, all pooled together to combine their strength and knocked up and down as one, tossed around in each and every heartbeat. It was arresting and it was bitter.

Kahlan's love was fresh, though stained with blood and sweat of a pet's training, it was nothing to what Cara had deposited and spilled for Dahlia. It was innocent because it was imperfect and new, it hadn't been tested or cultivated as long or sewn as jagged or as shockingly deep. Then, a horrifying thought billowed in through Cara's nostrils and played in the most average and elemental part of Cara's understanding. Dahlia had been like Kahlan.

And there were many times when Cara stood above Dahlia just as now Dahlia stood above Kahlan, pinning her down, forcing her to believe there was no other role for her, no other place she would fit or occupy except in the spot closest to her. Cara loved Dahlia effortlessly; she just she hadn't known how to ever trust it or commend it.

She had believed that their truth, their bond and their dreams could never change, never mature, and never end.

Dahlia turned back to look down at Kahlan, "This is all Cara's doing," she said darkly. "Had she not wanted to bring a Confessor to her knees, then none of this would've happened. You would be with Richard, the man you once loved, and he would still be alive. You would still have your power, over him and over others."

"Please, Mistress...please let me try again. I can do it harder," Kahlan said, fighting against the image of his slain body, Dahlia's wild smile, her sickened cries in the rain and the sudden finality of those beautiful years.

"I helped kill him," Dahlia said, disguising nothing, "and I loved it. I wanted to give you to Cara, she was my Mistress, as I am yours."

"Don't..." Kahlan begged, exhaling a single sob. Richard was dead, a legend cut down on an ordinary day, a love divided and ended before her eyes.

"I want you to remember, Kahlan..." Dahlia pressed, "remember his face. Remember what you would've done to save him."

She brought her hands to her mouth, then buried her eyes within them, shutting out her Mistress' horrible commands, her insidious voice and her dreadful determination.

"It should've been me," she whispered, admitting it to herself. She thought about their collective failure and it rotted in her stomach. "I would've given my life to save him."

"Now you would die for me," Dahlia replied, looking once again at Cara, "and her."

"I'd rather live for you." A perfect smile dashed through the strongest parts of her face. "Both of you," she added.

Dahlia, satisfied, though only meagerly, reached her hand down and offered it to Kahlan, grinning genuinely as their fingers intertwined. "Loving again is very courageous, Kahlan, knowing so well that one day, you may lose again. You should learn from her, Cara."

There was the beginning of some muted shift in Cara's eyes. Grief. A sign that she was truly alive. She wanted Dahlia to know how she knew loss, how accurately she measured what they shared, and how concealing she had been. She had to speak. It was all she had.

"When I brought you back from the Underworld," Cara whispered, gulping on her fond sincerity, "it was the happiest day of my life."

"Because I was useful to you." Dahlia crossed her arms, and nodded Kahlan away with her eyes, dismissing her back to the room.

"No," Cara replied, her chin dropping, "because I was useful to you."

"Maybe it was my time."

"The Keeper would've let me switch places. I would've persuaded Him." She took a breath and it came out as a baited and torn cry. "Or I would've laid right beside you until I died."

"Lift your head, Cara," she finally said.

Slowly, and agonizingly, she did as Dahlia drew closer. Each step filled with more caution than the one that preceded it. She smoothed her gloves down Cara's back, each of them surprised by the sensation. Dahlia wrapped one around her and then the other, until she could hug her.

"Cara..." she whispered, "do you know why I'm holding you now and not Denna?"

There were some things Mord'Sith should not know. The idea that Dahlia's hands or heart had ever touched Denna now tangled itself around Cara's neck, and she could breathe no more. She could only see Denna's ill eyes on the morning she found her bed had become a dark empty space, Dahlia's chains discarded. It was death.

"Because..." Dahlia said, listening to the strong thuds from Cara's heart, "loving you was a choice that I made, moment by moment and the wounds of love should only be healed by the woman who made them.”

Dahlia stepped back, turning away. "This will end when I know what our love is again...when I see you again."

She called Kahlan's name and began to walk towards the quieted, sullen bedroom.

"Dahlia," Cara said as she willingly watched her leave.

Dahlia stopped, letting Cara speak behind her. "You were never my prey. You were my world."

***
 
 
Lexa
17 January 2011 @ 11:54 pm
For Her Favor, Pt. 12
Rating: NC-17
Pairings: Cara/Kahlan/Dahlia, Denna/Snake
Warnings: Extreme non-con, torture, Agiel violence, hurt/comfort, bdsm, gore, angst, Mord’Sith temper, domestic violence, evil!cara, language
Author’s Note: AU. Snake trained Denna to be Mord'Sith.
Summary: Mistress Cara wants to own a Confessor. Dahlia wants to give her one.
Disclaimer: I only own my sickness. Not for profit, only for demented fun. Legend of the Seeker characters and depictions belong to Terry Goodkind, Disney and ABC Studios.
For Gizmo :D






Dahlia thought about change as she cupped the side of Cara's hung head with a depraved scoff. She looked so ugly, so opposite and heartlessly bare. All change was not growth, just as all movement was not forward.

Kahlan watched as Mistress Dahlia circled Cara in an uneven and unpredictable shape. Sometimes, her exploratory fingertips would pass over Cara's body but often times it only clutched the other Mord'Sith's Agiel as if she had always been it's rightful owner. It didn't feel so different from own Agiel. But Dahlia felt different, and her eyes lost more and more subtle flecks of green within them each time they passed over Cara.

Her steps were calculating, and sounded more like two people walking side by side than anything else.

Close enough to the fireplace to keep Cara from freezing, but just barely, Dahlia had secured a line of ropes over the rafter and, as Cara slipped into bitter unconsciousness, together with Kahlan, they lifted her and let her hang by her bound wrists.

She was little more than battered limbs, and she, as a whole, made a horrendous sound as the air caught her and dangled her boundlessly. Dahlia curled her lip and nodded, noting just how much Cara’s feet desired to touch the cold ground by the futile way her legs tried to stretch themselves, even as she was blacking out.

It was a sight Dahlia should've known well, and she had seen it many times before, but she had never been the cause of such a thing and never believed nor reasoned she ever would be.

Kahlan stumbled back immediately, sickened to her core and turned to Mistress Dahlia for comfort, for acknowledgement, or for anything familiar that she had to offer. There was nothing.

Instantly resenting that she was wearing anything but her leather, Dahlia had only to pinch disgustedly at the top of her dress for Kahlan’s mouth to go dry as she ran and fetched her proper attire.

Dahlia’s bones and moistened skin ached as she was buckled in, the strings tied taut and more than once, she coughed lowly into her bare hand, running her finger along her own neckpiece, more proud of it than she had been in many years, spanning many memories and many depths.

Her boots felt good, and they were missed, hugging her soles as she welcomed them back, curling her toes within them. They were her boots, she had earned them. She was Mord'Sith, and she had earned that too.

Kahlan held her breath as she buckled Mistress Dahlia's belt and lingered her hand for an envious moment there. She bit her lip and dryly lifted her eyes, discovering Dahlia was staring right into her, so sure of what she saw.

"Kahlan," Dahlia said decisively, pulling her in by the waist and resting her palms in the dip of her soft back, "do you see Cara?"

"Mistress Cara," Kahlan insisted, gulping and timidly raising her head, "is hurt."

Incensed, Dahlia roared, "That looks like pain to you?!"

Kahlan lowered her head, dumping it into Dahlia's chest like a frightened and impossible child into it's livid mother. Just as she had done as she was training the Confessor, Dahlia firmly clutched each side of Kahlan’s floppy skull and twisted it towards Cara, angered multitudes more than she had ever been during her breaking.

"Do you see her?" Dahlia demanded, the fierce clearness of her voice shooting from the depths of her throat. Kahlan fought her faulty eyelids to obey the command.

Being caught between Mistresses was a newer kind of sting, and dotted her skin with a fresh set of bumps and discomfort.

"I see her, Mistress." She only wished she didn’t.

"She is weak, Kahlan. She is lost. That is not pain."

"Pain was when you fell from a tree," Kahlan whimpered despairingly, refusing to believe it, flatly denying the idea that her Mistress was either of those things.

Kahlan sniffled, and Dahlia crinkled her nose as she shook her dismissively by both shoulders, not understanding the sentence and making no attempts to do anything but loosen both the Confessor's body and her thoughts as they looked onto Cara together.

"You are going to help me," Dahlia explained, ignoring the cold tears that floated over Kahlan's pupils, and traveled oddly down her cheek.

"Why?!" Kahlan moaned, fixated on Cara's torn wrists, the fragility of her bruised torso and the thinness of her helpless legs.

"Because," Dahlia smiled, "I am your Mistress and I command it."

Kahlan wailed again, stomaching the vile reality of this rationale, and was vaguely consoled by it as she was huddled into a callous embrace. Dahlia’s expression was marked by many things: intrigue, dependence, influence, constraint. Most noted, however, there was profound strength and brisk resolve there. There was a fitted sense of knowing that loss was something Mord'Sith did not indulge in freely and was something they relished as much as they controlled.

"Don't cry for her," Dahlia whispered, stroking the knots from her hair, "she is a stranger," she said, wincing, "and so she deserves nothing."

"But...she's not that to me, Mistress."

"She is," Dahlia promised, placing Kahlan's head at her collarbone, "and you should never love a stranger."

"I don't want her to die!" she cried wildly, her lower lip trapped under her teeth.

"You have no power, Kahlan. You're mine and you'll do as I say." It was simple, clear, uncomplicated and final.

Dahlia eased the Confessor down her knees, resting the bowed head against her thigh. It was how a respectful pet should always be when in rest. It was right. This was finally right.

Mistress Dahlia crossed her arms, nodding approvingly as Cara began twitching rashly, and watched as her body pull for an undaunted return to consciousness, to face this and, ultimately ready, to beat this.

"I always knew it would come to this," Dahlia said. "Things do not change. We change."


***

Denna sat in the tub and dunked her head under the water and bobbed back up, laying back, making bubbles with her mouth at it's surface. Though the water was hot, it was a slave's tub, and therefore a small one. Lorel sat across from her at the opposite end with her knees drawn together, and still, they barely fit.

"Don't just sit there!" Denna reprimanded, annoyed with Lorel's downcast eyes and stiffened body. "I'm lonely here."

Lorel looked around anxiously, unable to accept Denna's face, hair or status. "Mistress Nathair forbids me to touch you."

"For fuck's sake, Lorel!" Denna exclaimed, reaching over and pulling the slippery pet onto her. Lorel twisted and resisted, turning her head as Denna's mouth sucked at her throat and licked at her.

"Stop it! I'm cold!"

"I stop for no slave. Give it up, precious," Denna teased, letting Lorel's floppy wrists go only when she had secured a good chunk of her beautiful hair between every finger.

"Did you really kill Mistress Cara and Mistress Dahlia?"

Denna stopped all at once, searing her contempt right into Lorel, and had it been a torch, it would've scarred her for life, and threw her back, letting her head smack against the iron tub and splashing half the water out.

"That's what they're saying," Lorel squeaked, ignoring the impact, "is it true?" She held her breath, saddened to her bones.

"Are you questioning me, Lorel?" Denna asked, calmly, but her eyes handled the worst of her rage.

"I'm asking you, Denna. They are my Mistresses."

"And what am I?"

Lorel bit her lip, lowering her voice, and lost in a shadow across Denna's whitened face. "You're one of us now."

Denna lunged through the water, poised to strike, to suffocate her words and make them untrue. As Lorel squirmed and flinched and Denna pounced onto her, Snake, like a ring of angry smoke appeared firm in the doorway, her hands on her hips. The air grew cooler, and more resilient.

"Down, Denna," Snake said, halting the action immediately.

Lorel's expression and poise lit up upon seeing Mistress Nathair, wholly mesmerized by her, and so much so that she barely noticed that Denna had indignantly released her and she was sinking down fast.

"Pull her up," Snake laughed to Denna, and took unimaginable pleasure in seeing Denna's hand disappear beneath the water and emerge with Lorel's upper arm.

"My apologies, Mistress," Lorel said, ashamed to be caught in such an unflattering moment.

"My girl..." Snake smiled, "has Denna been indecent towards you?"

Under Denna's flaring nostrils and dead set glare, Lorel nodded softly. "She's murdered my Mistresses."

"She's done much worse than that," Snake affirmed, drawing close to the bath, bending down behind Lorel and running her fingers through Lorel's dripping, light hair. "She's a disgrace to all women. Tell her that."

Lorel gulped meekly, her eyes setting into Denna's, and Denna cocking her head, just daring her.

"Denna doesn't have your beauty or your youth, Lorel. So what does she have? You are above her now," she promised, kissing the top of her head, "because I favor you above her."

Lorel straightened up, her backbone felt tighter, and her skin had lost it's weary ominous chill from where Denna had touched.

"Mistress-" Denna protested, her eyes falling away from Lorel, and she momentarily felt a very base need to always be first in Snake's favor. She rose up, drops of liquid shedding to escape her, and she shone with all the skill and confidence of a Mord'Sith's body, and a female's submissive mystique.

"Yes, Denna?"

"Her love is so shallow," Denna attempted, unsure of what she was trying to say, "even for a pet." She was awkward and clumsy with her words as they fell between her and Lorel, challenging her.

"She's almost a woman now," Snake replied with an entertained laugh, indulging it in all it's dismissive glory, and allowing it to travel right into Lorel's ear as she massaged on the girl's shoulders, ignoring Denna's form, burning her. "Either a woman loves or hates, there is no in between."

"I love you, Mistress," Lorel giggled, holding onto every word her Mistress said like it was a prize that could be won and re-won at will.

"Of course you do," Snake said, blinking with an air of condescending arrogance. "Do you love my Denna?"

"No!"

Denna scoffed out of the side of her mouth, and curled her palm, and before Snake could react, she roared down and slapped Lorel across the face.

"If her love is so shallow, Denna..." Snake said, cradling Lorel's reddening cheek, "why would it matter not to own it?"

Denna took a breath and tried to regain herself, to process Snake's logic, to answer her. Before she could do any of those things, she got an Agiel in her stomach and dragged out of the bath, onto her back. She stayed down for a moment, peering up at Snake, wrestling with it. She drew herself onto all fours.

"Because you crave love more than any Mord'Sith ever should," Snake howled, ruthlessly kicking at her, collapsing her back down, "and I hate that about you. Cara hated that about you too."

"Oh, she told you that, did she? Mistress?"

Snake kicked her again, smiling brightly. "I made her better than you for a reason. I know you want my love," Snake spit on her, "and you know you will never have anything worth having. Love, included."

***

Kahlan laid self-consciously alone in the bed, curled up snugly and tried not to match the sounds of the punches, the Agiel wails, and the grunts to any visual image. She knew Mistress Cara was being assaulted from all angles, beaten, and surely ravaged. She tried to comfort herself with how certain Cara's words had been about training, that there was nothing bad about it, and yearned to believe that if anyone could survive Mistress Dahlia, it was Cara.

Cara had survived Dahlia's love all these years, she just had to survive this.

The room had not ever seen such violence before, and seemed to shrink itself to accommodate the new horrors. In the embers from the wilting fire, Dahlia received her only lighting, and it was enough to see all the revulsion and animosity that lived in Cara’s detached stare.

Dahlia picked a knife from the mantle, touching it to her teeth and twirling it as Cara's exhausted eyes followed it, predicted it and despised it.

"You've made me regret you," Dahlia said, returning the scorn, "and a Mord'Sith should regret nothing."

"Regret is only insight that comes a moment too late," she replied smugly, watching as Dahlia
moved to her neck, breaking the smoothest patch of skin as Cara carelessly gulped into it, eerily daring her, constantly above her.

Dahlia smirked as she moved the weapon to Cara's face, outlining her cheekbone, and tightly coiling the blade into her hair, looping it around. It was more than her braid, it was years spent budding, memories painstakingly built inch by inch, service accounted, and a Mord’Sith’s vital identity molded. It was a link to uniform Sisterhood and trusted endurance.

And with a single hushed slice, it was severed. It had grown with her, and now it was gone.

Cara gasped, refusing to look as the gold stands tumbled to the darkened ground, laying slain alongside her fallen sweat, blood and coldness. It was time subtracted from her, erased from her, stolen from her. Dahlia was suppose to only give, never take, and for a hideous and mere moment, Cara was a child again. The sorrow made her young again.

Dahlia ran her fingertips through the sudden and choppy shortness of the strands, messing it up, playing with it as Cara's stare never faltered, never broke. Cara looked innocently juvenile and fully victimized in the same hopeless instant. And Dahlia liked it. She loved it.

"It suits you," Dahlia said, pulling it hard and tucking it behind her throbbing ears. She brushed her face, snickering at the stubbornness in Cara's firm jaw.

It was after many moments, only when Cara was sure her voice would be strong, she softly said, "It's only hair."

"You're only a woman now."

"You love me and you will die loving me."

"Cara..." Dahlia said, feeling no need to raise her voice above a crated whisper, "do you know that when were eighteen years old, I thought about killing you?" she smiled, rounding her thought honestly, "and letting you stay dead."

Cara cringed inwardly, repulsed with doubt but looked straight ahead, and by all accounts, her breathing continued to rise normally. Dahlia had nothing on her.

Dahlia studied Cara's ribcage, analyzed how it maintained it steady habits even as she drew closer and closer. She placed her hand squarely at Cara's heart, knowing it had sped, and knowing a lot more about it than that. Her eyes bathed only in contempt as they rolled over Cara's lips, stopping at the mess she'd made of her throat.

"I knew you were bad for me," Dahlia continued, edging in close enough to breathe into her, "but I loved you." She sighed half heartedly, taking Cara's chilled face between her hands. "I knew the more time you lived, those feelings would become a greater weakness than they already were." She released her with a spiteful harshness. "Did you know this?"

Cara's eyes fell in refusal.

"No one would've blamed me. No one. The day I was going to do it, I found you on the floor. You'd been drinking. You looked so...helpless. Small, even. I saw you for what you were…and my love for you moved me across that room. I jumped onto you," Dahlia raised her eyebrow, "Cara, tell me you remember."

"You were an animal," Cara sneered.

"I was your prey," Dahlia corrected her, shoving her Agiel into Cara's side. It did nothing but vibrate her into subtle, less obvious waves of flesh. "Before I kissed you, I told you to enjoy it." She stopped, looking hard into Cara, hating it. "What was your reply?"

"All I remember is your desperation."

A venomous smack echoed across her face. "Does that feel desperate?"

"I said 'take what you want'" she grinned.

Dahlia threw a balled fist into her lip. "You said 'Give it to me.' It's very different, Cara. Give and take."

"Maybe to you," she grimaced, craning her head back upright, licking her salty front teeth.

"What did I give you?" Dahlia asked, choosing to pull away and begin another lazy circle around her. "Cara, go back to that day. Help yourself."

Cara's eyes found that they could manipulate the blots of swirling colors, remnants of pain, to recreate the scene just beyond the Dahlia that now stood before her. Cara had been on her back, as spent and intoxicated as Dahlia had said, when Dahlia came to her and fell into her with a full body punch. She had grinded down with such frantic lips, starting meaningfully at her red wine stained mouth, sucking at her ear as her neckpiece was invaded, tossed aside to get at her neck, her chest.

It was as if they only had one minute to live and then oblivion, or something worse, would be coming for them.

As Cara's belt was gone, and the leather ripped from her, Dahlia had capably disappeared down, making Cara come so fast and so savagely, she screamed, knocking her off. It was Cara who rolled over, on top, and slowed them down, easing them into softer kisses, tilting her head back every so often to see what Dahlia had cooking in her eyes. They were full of tears, of remote and stuffed sadness, and Cara couldn’t bear to say a word about it. She just took what she had to offer and left the rest to consequence.

She couldn't know, at that time, that Dahlia had yearned to bury her and had planned to leave her body to rot where they laid in such a tender exchange. Memory was a way of holding close to what to they once were, how they loved, and what she never wanted to lose. The more Cara loved a memory, the stronger it was and the more prone it was to disabling her, and helping to murder her.

Dahlia crammed her Agiel into the suppleness of Cara's back, marking a straight and precise line down her spine, rattling it. "What did I give you?" she repeated, yanking Cara's butchered hair with insulting urgency, forcing her head up, exposing her delicate throat again. It would be easy to bite and end her.

"You gave me your body," Cara said, exhaling as low as she felt, twitching uncomfortably on the words. Dahlia's body had never been so out of reach before. She didn’t know this grasp.

Dahlia scoffed, shoving Cara's head forward with a demeaning tap, letting the hair fall and cover her face. "I love the way you lie."

Cara swallowed the mouthful of blood that she had been accumulating and rolled her eyes, blinking back a world of vacancy and downing a swig of denial.

"I let you live," Dahlia said, grazing two fingers over Cara's swollen mouth, "and you never even knew it."

Cara heard the words in the pit of her stomach long before she knew their exiting power. "I don't believe you."

"Yes. You do. I've been many things to you, but a liar is not one of them."

Cara closed her eyes, unsure if she could separate fact from fiction, unconditional love from perpetual hate, loss from gain. Everything was black. Dirty. She had to keep them open, she had to see. All she had was her expression, her selection of words and movements, and her truth.

She loosened herself as Dahlia directed another frenzy of aimless punches into her stomach, her face, her chest. All the places that Dahlia once kissed and adored. She never knew where the next one would hit, fall, nor what Dahlia was trying to accomplish or conquer. She had been weaker, and now she was strong, and how could Dahlia ever prefer her weak?

"Tell me to stop," Dahlia said, exhaling with pleasure, "say you don’t deserve this."

Cara said nothing.

Dahlia licked at Cara's lip, mocking the blood there, "You taste so good," she swore, "like a real person."

"I'm the only real thing you've ever known."

Dahlia slowly removed her gloves, and Cara's eyes followed as she brushed along Cara's brow, lining her finger with sweat and frustration, and brought it down around Cara's eye, dabbing a tear there and smiling at the tremble she felt.

"You are...pathetic," Dahlia said, showing her hand, "whimpering like a man for my touch."

"You hate men," Cara spit faintly, preparing for another strike.

"Not as deeply as I hate you," she replied, moving her fingers to tickle at Cara's hips, grabbing her by them. "I trust you don’t need a lesson in how it feels to fuck someone you hate."

The idea of Dahlia hating her was worse than any force, any tool or any manner of death. She sniffled a single time, and it showed.

Their faces were now only separated by a thin slice of air, and as Cara blinked, her eyelashes brushed against Dahlia’s cheek.

Dahlia looked right into her, and they each saw nothing else. "You're selfish and cold and if I had killed you as I had desired that day, I would be happy now. I would have Denna... and I would be safe."

Every muscle within Cara tightened and despaired, and her eyes fell away. She was left to exhale a sweetened puff of pain as if she'd been nailed in her heart and her nose simultaneously by two different people of different strengths. It was a hard poison, a simple fact, and nothing Dahlia had ever said had ever hit quite as destructively deep or as swelteringly fast.

Cara's head flew back, wishing it could escape her neck, wishing it could be anywhere else in the world instead of being battered and tormented by the only woman she had ever wished would love her. She choked, as if the in dire and hardened grips of strangulation.

Dahlia giggled with a crackle, forcing Cara back to her, as roughly and confidently as she pleased.

"You are," Dahlia said, drawing a breath, "the very last person I would've chosen for myself. Denna has everything you lack," she said, rounding Cara angrily, stomping down each embittered step, "she has character and honor and I know she loved me because she helped me escape you. We would've had a beautiful life together. You robbed me of that."

Cara closed her eyes, shaking from the devastation of this confession, wishing only for Denna's head on a plate, served to her by Dahlia.

"Open your eyes, Cara, look at me."

Cara thrashed around blindly, unconcerned with how sadly the chains howled, and how eagerly the ropes burned and resisted holding her weight.

"I want you to pay for your crimes. I want you back the way that you were. But most of all, I want you to suffer for what you've become..." Dahlia choked on her vengeance, "and for having me believe that no one could ever love me but you. Now... open your eyes!"

Cara obeyed, scrunching them tightly, wringing the brighter hue of green from them and burning them into Dahlia. This was war. The fight for D'Hara was suddenly nothing.

"Would you like a kiss, Cara?" Dahlia asked, eyes twinkling under her lashes.

Finally, Cara had to submit, she had to look away. A tear was falling, a large one, and Dahlia could almost see herself in it. Dahlia crossed her arms and with her head slightly tilted and somber, she nodded.

"Kahlan," Dahlia called, not loudly, and certainly not harshly. Kahlan jumped, hurried skillfully towards her name. She had to take it in piece by piece. First, Mistress Cara's clipped hair, then her repellent wounds, her strained vulnerability, and lastly, her defeat. It was smothering. It was everything she could do not to fling herself into Dahlia's chest and burst into tears.

"Yes, Mistress?"

Though the voice unhinged her, Cara would not raise her head. It was not bowed, only hung. Cara’s jealousy over the Confessor may have been born out of love, but it was not dying with it.

Dahlia grabbed Kahlan unsteadily, pulled her in so fast and opened her lips so assumingly that she unintentionally squealed, melting into her Mistress' mouth, and had to be held in place to keep from simply dropping to her knees. After a few mindful rounds with Dahlia's tongue and Dahlia's fingers in her hair, she was exquisitely released and rocked back numbly on her heels.

She wanted more, but Dahlia's palm in her face told her to desire otherwise.

"Kiss Cara," Dahlia ordered, shoving her forward. "Let her taste me."

Kahlan's eyes darted fitfully between both Mord'Sith, but it was solely Dahlia who was looking back. Dahlia pushed her again, tumbling her into Cara's torso and Kahlan softly touched her stomach, a clean spot, and a sense of wonder now grazed between her terror. She had never been allowed any access to Cara like this.

Dahlia moved Kahlan's hand to Cara's lips, guiding her fingers across them. "There are very few monsters in this world who are worthy of the fear we have of them. She is not one of them."

Cara's head jerked suddenly and she fiendishly bit at the hands who touched her, clamping down at Kahlan, though Dahlia had been quicker and escaped unscathed altogether.

Kahlan recoiled, nursed her injury and looked woefully at Dahlia. But Dahlia saw none of this, she was glaring at Cara, daring her to speak, to move, to show any signs of further defiance.

"She doesn't want your love," Dahlia observed, putting her hand on Kahlan’s shoulder. Dahlia looked both of them up and down. "Smack her," she said. "Make her feel something."

Kahlan looked down at the blood gushing from her fingertip and swallowed. It wasn't the bite itself that hurt. Inexplicably, Kahlan thought about Dahlia on her knees, forced to watch Cara bend her over that awful table and slam into her, owning her and changing her. It wasn't love then, how did it feel like love now. Her muscles hungered to react, to please her Mistress, to do the right thing, but it was undeniably more than that. Cara should be punished, humiliated, denied. She was a Mord'Sith, though an overpowered one.

She reached her arm back, and slapped it crudely across Cara's face, just as she was told.

"Again. Harder. She's not a child anymore."

Kahlan did it again; harder, faster, more accurately, and bludgeoning a new line of pink skin along Cara's cheek. She took it without even an exhale.

Dahlia picked the knife back up, placing it gently into Kahlan's wounded hand before grabbing Cara's head, yanking it grossly to one side. She dug a finger into a specific spot where her pummeled neck met her ear. "Either Kahlan slices it or kisses it. It's her decision."

Cara looked worn, unsure, and unfamiliar. Even her sweat was wrong, her stare distantly engaged. She was looking far off, below the floor, somewhere wrought dark and unfounded. Kahlan brought the blade to Cara's ear and, without another breath, cut through it quickly. The second she was done, she dropped the weapon, horrified by what she had guided it to do, confused by her own choice and stumbled back into the warmth of Dahlia. She was safe again. Everything would be right again soon.

"Embrace the pain, Cara," Dahlia said, clutching the Confessor boldly in her arms, her voice riddled with sarcasm as the blood poured down Cara's shoulders, "let it carry you on your journey back to me."

***
 
 
Lexa
19 December 2010 @ 06:37 pm
For Her Favor, Pt. 11
Rating: NC-17
Pairings: Cara/Kahlan/Dahlia, Denna/Snake
Warnings: Extreme non-con, torture, Agiel violence, hurt/comfort, bdsm, gore, angst, Mord’Sith temper, domestic violence, evil!cara, language
Author’s Note: AU. Snake trained Denna to be Mord'Sith.
Summary: Mistress Cara wants to own a Confessor. Dahlia wants to give her one.
Disclaimer: I only own my sickness. Not for profit, only for demented fun. Legend of the Seeker characters and depictions belong to Terry Goodkind, Disney and ABC Studios.
For Gizmo :D





Sleet was pouring just outside the high window of Cara’s room but, to Denna, it was falling all around them as she sat on her Mistress' lap, facing her, licked the sweat off her cheek and continued roughly fucking her, rocking them back and forth in Cara's chair.

Snake moaned her name, digging both hands into each of Denna's sides, controlling the thrusts, the speed, the hate of it all. She hadn’t even bothered to take her pet's dirty dress off again. Snake felt Denna had responded best to her phallus and she was eager for this streak to continue.

"You’re taking me just like Dahlia does," Snake panted, taking some of Denna’s drenched hair between her teeth, enjoying the ride, "only she’s better."

Denna tried to slow herself, to pace herself against Snake’s maddened need to damage her, to absorb all she was and could’ve been and give it back somehow. She opened herself more, allowed Snake to go deeper, to fill her and rob her in the same motion.

"Good, Denna," Snake praised, running her fingernails into Denna’s back, bunching up the material and shifting her to receive heavier hits, "you’re still my good girl, aren’t you?"

Denna nodded, keeping her eyes somewhere dark, somewhere she hoped would be invisible.

"Tell me what you are," Snake drove her, softening her clutch.

"I'm…" Denna choked, wrapping her arms around Snake's neck, "coming."

"Stop," Snake said, purposely finding her best rhythm, "Denna, stop. Control yourself. That's not what you are."

"Mistress," Denna whispered, pounding hard, tearfully, "stop me."

A single bead of sweat from Denna’s forehead dripped onto Snake’s nose and just as suddenly as it dropped, Denna was thrown to the ground, landing raggedly onto her back, knocking the wind out of her, leaving her gasping for more than she knew.

"Have you forgotten…" Snake growled, lifting one finger and motioning her to come to back to the place she had just been tossed from, "that the closest thing to being control you will ever be with me is the final moment when you come to understand that you never will be."

Denna refused to crawl forward, and instead, defiantly edged herself up on her toes, three of which were broken and stood up. With her eyes strict and locked with her Mistress, she wiped the blood, the juices, the sweat from between her thighs and smeared it on the back of her dress. It was precisely the part Snake had just handled.

She climbed back on Snake’s lap, each of her own legs over each of Snake’s thighs, facing each other again. Denna had another chance.

Snake smoothed the wooden sides of her seat with her palms before she brought her hands back tauntingly to Denna‘s hips. "Is it the chair? Does it distract you?"

"Yes." Denna kept her head lowered, and Snake gently brought it to rest in the dip of her shoulder blade. It was the safest place.

"I expect you to enhance, not ruin, my memories of Cara here," Snake reprimanded, replaced the phallus once again inside Denna, jolting her, and tightening her down. "Does it hurt?" she asked, cupping the back of Denna’s head further into her.

"You always hurt," Denna replied, aware that the honesty would most likely soothe Snake’s ears. The gamble was worth it.

"Be grateful for that," Snake urged her, kissing her ear and letting her words flow into it, "for your ability to always feel pain over feeling nothing. I gave you that."

Denna moved more understated, more needy as she tried again. It was more like Cara did when they were far away from the Temple and she was hungry for Dahlia.

"Good..." Snake smiled, tangling her fingers along her scalp, "let your body love me like it used to. I care for you."

Denna exhaled, finding her lips felt a singe of dominance as they touched the leather of Snake's neckpiece. She wished she could rip into it with the best of her teeth and tear it apart like it was something that needed to die.

"I'm sure it’s hard, Denna," she said, allowing Denna to emphasizing her more tame and even strokes, "to have such insight into so much and the power to do nothing about it."

Denna's groans where more like cries disguised as bursts of pleasurable release. But Snake felt she could never be fooled, in any capacity, by Denna's mouth as long as she lived to hear it. She knew that Denna was torn apart inside, literally and figuratively, and still Denna took it all, she wanted to serve. She wanted to endure. She yearned to survive this brokenness, this battered demotion, and this reversal of self.

Denna was bleeding, conscious that it was seeping into her Mistress' lap, and every muscle was battling the frenzy of over-exertion and exhaustion. But still, Denna kept her face pressed into Snake and took what she had to offer.

Snake had found a more gentle and more doting way to penetrate Denna and dealt her a few more thrusts of that endearing variety before she stopped altogether, smoothing down Denna's hair.

"Would you like to sleep in their bed? Are you tired, my precious thing?"

Denna raised her head, looked into her Mistress' eyes. Denna saw right through the sense of entitlement that lived there as she nodded sheepishly, considering the weight of what the price would be for any rest, any rare exchange of respite.

"First, tell me what I taught you about pain. Indulge me with your favorite words of mine."

Denna choked on something she sensed was fright within her throat, and caution in retrieving her memories.

"Pain is only valuable once you know you've learned from it."

"Why do you continue to love it?"

"Value and love are two different things."

"That's my girl. Why do you value pain, Denna?"

She bit her lip, stifling the urge to mirror her Mistress and smile. "Because sometimes I learn from it."

"And why do you love pain?"

"Because sometimes I don't learn from it."

Snake touched the side of Denna's face, briefly proud of it, and tucked the wettest, dirtiest parts of her hair behind her ears.

"The tragedy is..." Snake began, kissing her only to savagely break it, "is that you were never suppose to disappoint me."

Denna lowered her eyes but kept her head high.

"And if I told you I want you to suffer until the end of your days for what you have done, what would you want?" Snake inquired, interested.

"I want to live forever."

Snake scoffed, twisting Denna's neck to the side and moaning as her tongue kneaded sloppily against it. She had been careful not to bruise it too horribly for herself.

She raised Denna's dress, giggling in between slurps how excruciating it had to be for Denna to raise her arms straight in the air she did. It wasn't so much amusement as it was sheer satisfaction.

"When I fuck Cara," Snake whispered, digging into her back, glad for the material to be gone, "she begs me to do it in her bed. She pleads. Do you know why?"

It hurt to say, and she took a single ride up and down onto her Mistress, guessing she could get away with it as she felt the name in her weary mouth. "Dahlia."

"She needs to be close to her. It keeps her alive, passionate, predictable. It keeps her in service. But you..."

Denna gulped and shuddered, wishing she could find the courage to repeat the exquisite action.

"You are my most unfortunate mistake."

***

For the first time, Cara was able to look in Kahlan's eyes and not see everything she wasn't.

Kahlan massaged Cara's back and shoulders with the most care and attention that she had ever used on anyone, including Dahlia. The warm water felt busy and delightful on each set of their separate injuries. They were numerous, for each of them.

When she was sated, Cara touched Kahlan's hand and pulled her back around, splashing and disturbing the peace of the liquid, and cradling the Confessor in her arms though not bringing her anywhere near enough to her chest to connect them.

"What's so good about holding you?" Cara asked, genuinely wondering.

"I don't know," Kahlan admitted. "You can hold me closer."

"I know what I can do," she scoffed, mildly amused by Kahlan's permission.

"Mistress?"

Cara looked at her, sharpness returning gradually to her eyes. They told her to speak.

"Are we safe here? Is Mistress Dahlia safe?"

"Yes," Cara lied, "Dahlia never has to worry."

Kahlan looked down, pouted visibly though unaware it showed half as deep as it did.

Cara brought her arms in a few inches, hugging Kahlan closer, but still at a considerable distance. "I will protect you too," she added casually. "I wouldn't have brought you if I couldn't."

"From the other Mord'Sith? Darken Rahl?"

Cara squinted, trying to see the kind of woman that Dahlia consistently saw. "From everything."

Kahlan smiled, and as she fixated on the bruise she left on Cara's mouth and cheek, the smile faded, and she wished the wound would fade along with it.

"What will happen to us?" Kahlan asked.

"We will stay here until Dahlia recovers. You will serve her," Cara said, clutching her tighter, "and me."

"For how long...?"

Cara blinked, uncertain if she heard correctly. She parted her lips, resisting the urge to push the Confessor's head under.

Kahlan realized her poor choice of words and quickly reworked her thought. "How long until she recovers, Mistress?"

"I don't know," Cara replied firmly, matter-of-factly, "I always ensured a wizard cured her immediately."

Kahlan thought back to when Dahlia used a wizard to mend her spine. The forbidden darkness and danger of it, the accompanying notion that even the most sacred rules could be tossed aside by Mord'Sith when love and therefore the potential for loss entered into their lives.

"It takes most people-

"Dahlia is not like most people," Cara snapped, personally insulted. "She's stronger in ways you could never comprehend."

She longed to know as much as Cara did. "She's always been that way?"

"She's always been a lot of things."

"Was it very bad for you?" Kahlan asked softly, pausing, "the training, I mean?"

"There is nothing "bad" about training, Kahlan."

Kahlan nodded, looking away. It had been bad for her. "Mistress Dahlia will like it here."

"That's why I found it," Cara said, releasing Kahlan from her arms and swinging back her head, letting the steamed water untangle and saturate her hair. She glared as Kahlan who had grown increasingly unattached to the idea of separation and was edging back, wanting to be embraced again.

"Can you tell me a story about her?" Kahlan asked, trembling at her fleeting courage. "From when she was little?"

Cara brought her palms through the water and splashed it up at her own face. She felt ridiculous. "When we were seven years old, Dahlia liked the watch the sun go down from the top branches of this tree," Cara recalled, imagining how the greenest leaves blew through it in the summer wind and could almost convince them that they were in flight.

"What kind of tree?" Kahlan asked, her eyes wide and overly expectant.

"It was an orange tree. A very orange one."

"You just sat there? Together? Was it very beautiful?"

Cara thought about it, looking off for a moment as if she could will that same orange tree to grow for them right there on that bank in the middle of this winter. "We would play a game," Cara finally admitted. "She would compare the colors of the fruit we ate to the color of the sun as it set. She was awful at it."

"She was a sweet child, wasn't she?"

Cara nodded uncomfortably, recalling the red bows in Dahlia's hair and her little hands picking at them. "She could pretend the oranges were small suns too. One time she gave me her sun to hold, and I threw it. She went after it and I lost my grip on her and she fell."

Kahlan gasped, horrified by the image. "What happened, Mistress?!"

Cara cleared her throat. "She got up and we walked home. She hid her arm from me and I couldn't see how broken it was," she said, touching her own lip, thinking of Dahlia, "and that was innocence...when I thought pain was when she fell from a tree."

"Oh Mistress..." Kahlan squeaked, choking up, "please tell me another one."

"No," Cara said, nudging her away, gentle by her standards. "The past has no power."


***

Snake slept on Cara's side of the bed and allowed Denna the privilege of sleeping next to her on Dahlia's side. The pillows still smelled of them. Their room remained untouched, unclean, and unforgotten.

"Are you looking out that window, Denna?" Snake asked, watching Denna's back, stroking it, gnawing the majority of her nails over the lines of indecent scratch marks and lash burns.

"The moon just passed over us."

"Everything passes over you, doesn't it?"

Denna swallowed her sadness and nodded, knowing her Mistress expected some sort of response, even if it was a cowardly one.

Snake pulled Denna securely into her, kissed once at her neck as she spooned her, and considered the night around them.

"They are out there," Snake said, squeezing Denna's waist comfortingly, "and they will be home soon."

"This is no home," Denna replied, cringing at Snake's voice and suffocating on the implication that she could've ever believed it was.

"Easy now, Denna," Snake warned, kissing again at her, moving her fingers between Denna's legs, forcing them apart. "I love you more than your pathetic mother ever could. Though..." Snake edged inside, circling Denna's walls, "you feel like her."

Denna crashed her own tongue between her own teeth and concentrated on the window as she attempted to ban any images of her mother from her aching head. But all she saw was that woman who bore her, outside the window, and waiting desperately for her little girl.

"Denna..." Snake said, "I want you to beg for your mother like you used to."

"She's dead," she replied with a meager groan, her body coming alive with Snake's delicate strokes inside her. "You killed her."

"All for you."

"And for nothing," she purred, pushing against Snake's toughening motion.

"Beg for someone else you love."

"There is no one else, Mistress."

"Oh Denna, my poor child," Snake felt her wetness, the heated contracting within her pet. "Deception only brings misery. Beg for me. Beg for Cara. For Lord Rahl."

Denna tried. She tried to plead for her Mistress, or to say Cara's name, even attempting to beg for reinstating into Lord Rahl's favor. She tried to convince her voice that servitude was sometimes the only option, and more often, could be the only lasting cure for this pain.

But Denna was above that. She said nothing. Denna felt like nothing. She was like the window, caught shiftless between two separated worlds, one protected and one forever uncertain.

In her heart, she knew she was breaking even more. Part of her welcomed it, while another part, the one that held the more thankless pieces of her, never wanted to surrender and whether she lived one more minute or another hundred years, this part of her always knew more.

"Dahlia..." Denna said, feeling herself start to come, reaching down and covering Snake's hand, keeping her moving.

"You want Dahlia?" she asked, angrily changing her speed to match her emotion.

"No…" Denna bucked back, her hair tingling the pores on Snake's cheeks. "You feel like Dahlia," she sneered, "only softer."

***

The next few days passed slowly and quietly in he cabin. Cara burned the bodies of Aven and Thomas under each respective tree and walked away from their ashes. She barely said a word, leaving the bed early to chop wood, hunt for game, walk circles around their perimeter, brush down the horses, and sit alone.

To Cara, it was all a slave's work, a pet's work, Kahlan's rightful work. The alternative, keeping vigil over Dahlia, was the greater of the two feelings of smallness and helplessness.

Though she tried to remain skillfully out of sight, Cara didn't travel too far off and kept her watchful eye on the cabin for any attempts to escape or any potential need for her Breath of Life. But the cabin stayed peaceful, and warm.

When she returned in the night, Dahlia and Kahlan would often each be asleep, and there would be a distinct spot in the middle for her. She would cuddle the best she could with Dahlia but her body was more stiff and cold than she ever knew, and she would only occasionally return any affection, usually in her sleep.

On the fifth night, when the moon was high and the room was at it's darkest, Cara turned to Kahlan and covered her mouth, jolting her from a soundless dream. Cara quickly replaced her hand with her mouth and kissed her, climbing onto her, eager for her hair to cascade down over them, secluding them, until she could no longer see Dahlia's head out of the corner of her eye.

"Cara..." came the voice, hazily turning over.

Cara whipped her head up, licked her lips, resentful of the taste. "Go back to sleep," she said, reaching over and touching the side of Dahlia's cheek.

"She's finally healing..."

"She's still mine too," Cara replied, turning back to look down at Kahlan. "Behave and I'll be fast."

"Wait," Dahlia said, sounding like more of a plea than she ever intended.

Cara exhaled, and it turned into a condensed and surprised laugh all at once. Dahlia knew better than that. Cara didn't know the meaning of such a word.

Slowly, Cara swung her leg around, off Kahlan and moved to Dahlia. Although Dahlia's eyes were hopelessly locked on Cara, her voice spoke to the Confessor. "Go sleep by the fireplace where it's warmer," she said carefully. "Take a blanket."

Kahlan scrambled, taking the thinnest sheet with her, and disappeared as quickly as she always did when ordered to relocate by one of her Mistresses.

Cara looked down at the empty spot that once contained Kahlan and shook her head. She moved next to Dahlia, slithering close enough to share the same pillow, relaxing her body close to hers and looking into her.

Cara opened her mouth but swallowed the sentence once before she formed another one. "I know what you have to do. And you know it too, don't you?"

Dahlia took a breath, distantly lowering her head. "I can't."

"Dahlia," Cara started, bringing it back up, "don't you want to go back in time?"

She followed the thought painfully. "We cannot permanently live in the past."

"We can do anything," she replied, stroking Dahlia's face with the back of her soft knuckles, letting her melt into it. "Look at you," Cara continued adoringly, "I've made you stronger than this."

"You didn't..." Dahlia pressed, wrapping her fingers around each of Cara's hips. She nearly kissed her, but at the last moment, looked into her eyes, saw the unfamiliar woman that was there and refrained.

A darkness crept into Cara's gaze as she moved Dahlia's hands off of her. "I'm aware of the consequences."

Cara climbed out of bed and thundered to the floor, rocking the floorboards, and her bare flesh suddenly lighting the room.

Dahlia sat up quickly on one elbow, weakened. "What are you-

"Kahlan," Cara seethed, grabbing her Agiel and licking it's tip. "We have some unfinished business."

Dahlia gasped, caught between saying Cara's name and calling to warn Kahlan as the Mord'Sith stormed out, running full speed down the hall and throwing her free hand into the Confessor's hair, satisfied only when Kahlan was forced to her hardened knees, begging for Dahlia.

"Cara, stop!" Dahlia commanded, hearing the feeding whine of the Agiel, hurrying as fast as her sore balance would allow. "Cara!"

In the softened glow of the dying fire, Kahlan's mouth was already being pressed between Cara's legs, her whimpering muffled by the force of both Cara's grinding and her unrelenting, frenzied grip. She inched towards them, and Cara didn't even look up.

Realizing she had forgotten her Agiel, Dahlia looked down at her hands. They were shaking. She turned them over, inspected her palms, the tops. She took a deep breath and curled them into fists.

The first hit smashed monstrously across Cara's cheek, the same one Kahlan had damaged, and the second one came from the other direction, stunning Cara enough for her momentarily release her hold, giving Dahlia the time to pull the Confessor tactfully back by her arm.

With a spiteful gleam bouncing off her pupil, she rushed forward as Cara was straightening herself and snatched the Agiel viciously from her hand, diving it into Cara’s shoulder with equal contempt, finally allowing it to rattle it’s way to Cara’s neck and frost the blood under her chin.

Cara blindly, though passionately, tried to return the hits, but Dahlia had positioned the weapon well and it immobilized her. She was upright, though only in the physical sense.

"Stay on your knees, Cara!" Dahlia cried, kicking her legs out from under her as the magic ate through Cara's most vital veins, crippling her, forcing her bodily submission below Dahlia.

Kahlan watched a timeless short distance across as Cara tried to get up, grabbing violently at Dahlia's knee, but was only knocked again across her hardened face, and this time, so jaggedly that a pointed splatter of blood gushed from Cara's mouth and nose simultaneously and landed across the stark whiteness of Dahlia's dress.

It reminded Kahlan of Richard's blood, only Cara's squirted more forcefully and stained more demeaningly.

Dahlia kicked her stomach once, mercilessly, and when she didn't immediately fall onto her back, she focused all her pain into her lower body and kicked her again, slamming her back into the floor.

Only when Dahlia stomped on her, cracking bone, did Cara finally release a single stifled cry and squirmed under the bare foot that pierced down hard into her abdomen.

When she looked up, all she could see was her Agiel and her love had both turned against her.

"You're weak," Dahlia spit, biting back on her emotion, "and you deserve neither of us."

"I deserve a hundred bitches better than you," Cara swore, gurgling on her own blood, and smirking.

Kahlan crawled over and huddled next to Dahlia's feet, burying her face into her Mistress' shin. "It's ok, Kahlan," Dahlia soothed her, "it'll all be over soon."

"She will only be your death," Cara snarled to the Confessor, showing all her teeth. "She loves no one but me."

Dahlia gently kneeled down, brushing some hair away from her eyes and pressed Cara's own Agiel a centimeter from her heart, convulsing her up, watching each line of undiscriminating magic crawl up Cara's face and become a part of her twisted expression.

When she was ready, and not before, Dahlia reclaimed the Agiel and heedfully brought it back to smack it wildly across Cara's face. "Don't you dare speak about love."

The stale and horrific sounds of her struggling to breathe severed both Dahlia and Kahlan's thoughts as Cara bitterly hung onto the consciousness as best she could. But a considerable amount of time had passed since she'd been overpowered by an Agiel, and never like this from Dahlia.

"She needs her chain," Dahlia said, stroking Kahlan's head, nodding her away.

"I will kill you," Cara promised, staring coldly, choking on the sourness of how she bled.

"You already did that." Dahlia slammed the Agiel back into Cara's ribs, feeling it connect to her cage and digging it down.

Cara gasped and writhed but wouldn't scream. She wouldn't look anywhere but into the center of Dahlia's eyes, hating and overtly punishing her with them.

Dahlia would never go through with any of this, Cara thought. She was incapable of doing anything but loving her and spoiling her and bending to any position Cara desired. Dahlia only valiantly fought this war, tortured others and took pets because it was a necessary component to both please and serve alongside her Mistress. Or so Cara had almost come to believe.

Mistress Dahlia rose proudly to her feet.

Kahlan returned, sniffling back on her shock and fear and turmoil and produced the chain to Dahlia. The metal clashed against Dahlia's fingernails and stung the warmness of her hand with it's coarse frigidness and power. It could restrain Cara, bind her, and subdue her. It could do all the things she never could. And it was just a piece of metal.

"Stand up, Cara," Dahlia ordered, nudging Kahlan behind herself, shielding her.

"I will never..." Cara panted, winded and fractured, "obey you." She swallowed and took an angry baited breath and it was fire. "Do your worst, Dahlia."

"Stand up, or Kahlan will hold you down."

Cara's head whirled towards Kahlan, smugly demanding her attention. "Just try, you disgusting bitch."

"Kahlan?" Dahlia said, sternly over her shoulder, "you want to help your Mistress, don't you?"

"Mistress, I can't."

Dahlia reached behind her back, felt for the softness of Kahlan's hair and pulled her around by it, throwing her to her knees. "Hold her down."

Dahlia kneeled back down and shoved her Agiel into the heel of Cara's foot as Kahlan moved in back of Cara, and took hold of both her shoulders, and pressed them down. She was holding her down.

Finally, as Dahlia relented with the Agiel, she quickly took hold of Cara's big toe and in one enraged action, destructively ripped her toenail clean off.

The raw nerve endings immediately buckled at the excruciating loss and white hot searing pain shot up Cara's leg and jolted her in six different directions, toyed with her vision and senses, and any other woman would've cried out, if only to release small portion of the unbelievable agony and emotional betrayal.

"Stay still or I'll do each toe and all your fingers," Dahlia ordered firmly. She looked up at Kahlan, reading the paralyzed pulses of shock in her eyes. "Turn her over."

Cara closed her eyes, working through the varying multitudes of pain that began to collide into each other, as she was flipped over and Dahlia grabbed her wrists, locked each cuff in place and rolled her again onto her back.

With her knuckles swelling, Dahlia released another punch into Cara's face, and then clawed the remaining force to shove one more hit into her stomach.

"You deserve to die," Dahlia said, climbing on top of her, "and you deserve to suffer."

Cara spit in her face. "So do you."

"It's Mistress Cara..." Kahlan whimpered, gently touching the top of the Mord'Sith's head. "She's sorry."

Dahlia leaned down, enjoying the feel of Cara's subtle trembling the closer she got into her face. She touched her lips and whispered poignantly into her ear. "You're not Cara," she said, grabbing into her neck, "but you will be."


***
 
 
 
Lexa
11 December 2010 @ 11:17 pm
For Her Favor, Pt. 10
Rating: NC-17
Pairings: Cara/Kahlan/Dahlia, Denna/Snake
Warnings: Extreme non-con, torture, Agiel violence, hurt/comfort, bdsm, gore, angst, Mord’Sith temper, domestic violence, evil!cara, language
Author’s Note: AU. Snake trained Denna to be Mord'Sith.
Summary: Mistress Cara wants to own a Confessor. Dahlia wants to give her one.
Disclaimer: I only own my sickness. Not for profit, only for demented fun. Legend of the Seeker characters and depictions belong to Terry Goodkind, Disney and ABC Studios.
For Gizmo :D








When Dahlia awoke, Kahlan's head was resting on her chest, at her heart, trying to make sense of it. Dahlia found herself in a simple white dress, with sleeves that were long and material that was warm. Cara had packed it with the knowledge that she would need it one way or another for when she finally found Dahlia.

The carelessness of the sun through the window burned at Dahlia. She was Mord’Sith, capable of ending a string of lives with a single touch, and the only recourse she had on this morning against her own discomfort was to turn her face and look somewhere else.

"Mistress, did I wake you?"

Dahlia shook her head, rattling the raw soreness of her neck and quickly finding solace in petting Kahlan, taking long clean strokes through her hair.

"Mistress..." Kahlan purred delightfully, looking around anxiously, knowing how forbidden this was. Dahlia's other hand remained strictly imprisoned by the chain to the bed. She expected nothing less from Cara.

Dahlia's voice was slightly stronger than it had been in the darkness, but far more tearful. "Do you think one day I’ll escape her?"

"One day." Kahlan sniffled, trying not to reveal the doubt in her eyes even though her Mistress couldn't see them.

"She went to get water for you. And the horses." Kahlan moved up to kiss her, wishing she could somehow understand that Cara hadn't replaced her. "But I could've done it."

Dahlia stopped her indecently, turning her cheek. "You'll get sick."

"I don't care," Kahlan whined, "You can't know how much I missed you."

"I do know," she replied tenderly, bringing the Confessor's head back down into her shoulder. "Have you behaved, Kahlan?"

She shook her head shamefully, remembering all her mistakes. "No, Mistress."

"It shows." She tried to smile, straining her eyes against the newfound brightness of the room. It just felt better to close them altogether.

"Mistress?"

Dahlia coughed. "Yes, Kahlan?"

"I'm sorry I hurt Mistress Cara."

"I know."

"She hates me." It pained her to vocalize such a thing.

"No," Dahlia said, touching her earlobe, pinching it, "she doesn't. You would be a skeleton if she did."

"I felt like one without you." Although Kahlan knew it was wrong to question her Mistress on this, she felt helpless in her certainty about Cara. She gulped, exhaled. "Will I always love you this much?"

There was no hesitation, no question. "Yes."

The idea of it overwhelmed Kahlan, froze her and thawed her in one harrowing instant. If she wasn't so overjoyed to be with her Mistress, the despair would've choked every ounce of precious air from her body and expelled it above them.

"I dreamt about you," Dahlia said, smirking just so.

"You did?" Kahlan squeaked, suddenly embarrassed by herself.

"Mistress Cara. She was lowering us into a fire pit, tied together, back to back. You were so scared and struggling so hard, Kahlan. I told you to stop, how much she likes that."

"What did I do?" Kahlan nuzzled into her, so impossibly comforted.

"You stopped," Dahlia's eyes inexplicably watered as they opened and her voice cracked, "and it saved us."

Kahlan smiled, imagining it, and astonishingly proud of herself. Then her eyes grew sadder. "You struggled last night, Mistress."

"Yes," Dahlia admitted, exhaustion beginning to set in once again. "I'm Mord'Sith. It is always my choice to struggle."

"She is your Mistress." It came out more as a question than Kahlan had intended as she tried to understand this concept, and more than anything, needed Dahlia to explain it, needed her voice to make sense of this new life that they now found themselves in.

"Not anymore."


***

Mistress Nathair, or Snake as she was called by Cara and Dahlia, circled her own bed and watched as Denna slept on her stomach, exactly in the middle of it. Her sleep was more sound than it had been in her youth, and Snake found it more interesting than she did disturbing or telling. Denna's face was perfect as it laid squished on the pillow and it was only when peeking underneath the covers at her unclothed body were the workings of Lord Rahl and his devices apparent from every horrifying dimension that ranged from Denna's collarbone all the way to her toes.

She had not broken, not given a single shred of information to Lord Rahl or any of her Sisters about the location or intentions of the missing Mord'Sith. After many unsuccessful sessions, he had cut Denna down and towered over her unconscious body, fruitfully deciding to send his finest quad to call upon Mistress Nathair. For Snake.

She crawled into bed, taking Denna into her arms like an coddled child, waking her instantly.

Denna had not seen her Mistress, or at least her like this in her leather, in far too long.

"Mistress Denna..." Snake said, shifting all of Denna's freshly washed blonde hair to one side of her shoulder, exposing her neck. It was and always had been her favorite part of Denna. It was so vulnerable, not like the guarded rest of her. It was the only place where her skin had no remarkable defense.

"Yes, Mistress?" Denna shivered, enjoying this contact, and some parts of her reverting aimlessly to her childhood despite her best efforts not to retreat there.

"Do you remember," she mused softly, running her fingers along Denna's unmarred throat, "when you were twelve years old and I caught you with Dahlia? You were placed in that small closet across the hall while I was instructing Cara. There was barely any air, no light, nor promise of anything. When I finally returned to you, you had Dahlia on her knees between your little legs, and she was so beaten that I immediately strung you up and soothed her."

"I remember, Mistress."

"Do you remember what I told you?"

Denna nodded, recalling it fondly. "Sisterhood was sometimes about sacrifice. We should've been fighting about who died first to give the other the remaining time."

"Do you remember what you thought was fair to trade?"

"I didn't want Cara to see her like that." Denna's eyes shined at the memory of young Cara. So courageous.

"That's right, Denna. That's good..."

"If Dahlia would be allowed to heal before Cara saw her again, Dahlia could do the same thing to me that I had done to her."

"You were afraid of Cara?"

"No," Denna said, watching Snake's lips, oddly missing them. "I feared nothing."

"You respected Cara."

"Yes."

"You loved Cara," she pressed.

"Yes."

"You wanted her to be loved by Dahlia."

"She deserved something."

"She deserved Dahlia's love and not yours?" Snake asked quietly, squeezing Denna's body at it's most feeble points, smashing her raw skin into her throbbing bone.

Denna considered it, and no immediate answer came to mind. Snake's lips pouted before they touched deliciously at the base of her neck. Denna loved it, loved that she had something her Mistress could still desire.

"And if I put you and Dahlia back into the closet right now, you would die so that she may live five minutes longer?"

Denna moaned lowly and timidly. "Yes."

"Their freedom is that closet, Denna. Can't you see that?"

Denna put her hands on her Mistress, smiling when she was awarded her tighter embrace in return, knowing the comfort she had to offer. Although Denna was strong, her Mistress was stronger.

"Denna...my child," Snake cooed, keeping their hug just intense enough so Denna couldn't feel the pain of her injuries, "where are Mistress Cara and Mistress Dahlia?"

Denna whimpered for the first time in her adult life.

Snake hushed her, moved so that Denna may fully rest her head on her shoulder and spoke gently into her ear. "Because you are my family, and I cherish you, I have influenced Lord Rahl in your favor. Cara has a young niece. I want her brought into this Temple and trained as Mord'Sith by Cara's hand."

"I don't understand, Mistress."

"Lord Rahl will welcome both of them back into our family on this condition. Isn't that wonderful?"

Denna thought about the offer with a clear mind. "Children mean as much as dogs to Cara."

"I have always been generous with you, Denna. Spoiled you even. I granted your request that day and let her face heal. Cara never found out. And when Dahlia's softness prevented her from carrying out your punishment, I let it go. Now I'm counting on you alone. You must save them. They will die out there."

"Dahlia. She..." Denna swallowed, gritted pain emerged, "trained Cara's Confessor for her own selfish purposes. Love purposes. Naturally I thought Dahlia had better taste, of course. Cara discovered this and she was...was..." She thought of Cara falling to her knees in devastation.

"Heartbroken," Snake firmly guessed.

Denna nodded. "Yes, that. I tied Dahlia down while Cara left to punish the Confessor. I was so...proud of Dahlia. Finally. I made a gift of that worthless brat Aven and helped them leave the Temple."

"Where was she headed?"

Denna closed her eyes, felt the words ache on her tongue. "Balter Mountains."

"Are you certain?"

"I told her to go through them. That I would protect her."

"She was right to trust you."

"They..." Denna hesitated, feeling Snake's hand come between her legs, "were right to escape."

"Escape is only an illusion, Denna. And it always will be. You will be my pet for now. You may never be Mord'Sith again."

Denna took Snake's fingers, ignored how they burned, fractured by this. "I will always be Mord'Sith."

"I will cut your hair in the morning. It would please me to enjoy it tonight."

***

Dahlia's eyes locked on Cara, seeing her differently in the daylight, as she stood in the doorway for a moment and then proceeded to her bedside.

"You look better." Cara produced the key to the chain and unlocked it, and Dahlia immediately crossed her arms protectively and looked down at them. Cara leaned down and brushed her lips against Dahlia's cheek, trying to raise it.

"Don't touch me, Cara." She wiped with her freed palm where she had kissed.

Cara did it again, rougher. Then to the other side of her face, grazing her teeth against Dahlia's skin until she was pushed harshly away by her ear.

Cara pulled back and inhaled through her nostrils, bowing her head briefly, gathering her pointed rage before grabbing Dahlia by both her wrists and dragging her rapidly to the ground as if pushing her from a great height. She hit loud enough for Kahlan to come running.

"Stay back, Kahlan," Dahlia warned, halting her at the doorway.

"You ungrateful bitch!" Cara roared, pulling her up and shaking her vigorously by her captured wrists. "I saved your life!"

"After you destroyed it!" Dahlia shouted back, with equal accusation, looking right into her and all the way past her.

Cara dropped her hold, sinking Dahlia down into the floor and stood straight up, removing her Agiel from it's firm holster. "You want to scream?!"

"Mistress-" Kahlan pleaded, watching the weapon come from Cara's thigh at half the speed it actually did.

"Shut up!" Cara screeched with shattered irreverence. "You’re next!"

"Do it, Cara! Kill us both. Spare us from the eternal torment of any life with you!"

Cara's blood heated at her words and all she could to expel the mounting and gut wrenching rage was to drive her Agiel down hard and fast into Dahlia's chest, allowing it to cry into Dahlia's fragile body, and realizing that halfway through it, as Dahlia shook and squirmed, that part of her wished to just stop. She thought, if Dahlia screamed, she would stop.

But she never screamed.

The only sound that arose, other than the wail of the Agiel, was a piercing cry from Kahlan as she ran forward. By the time she reached Dahlia's side and threw herself down next to her, Cara had ceased her assault and was already choked up, horrified and resigned.

She dropped her Agiel to the floor. She had finally done it. Dahlia was dead again. Her soul was on it's way to the Underworld. She had just acted out her most intense and most persisting nightmare and it was even worse than her mind had ever been able to threaten.

Kahlan looked up at the Mord‘Sith, primed and brimming with more disgust and sadness than she had ever been capable of feeling for anyone, even in the darkest hours of her earliest training and earliest desperations.

Cara immediately collapsed down, taking Dahlia's cooling lips in between her own, summoning the Breath of Life with so much resolve and anger, that, it would not come at all. There was no focus to be had. She had never killed Dahlia before.

Cara looked up numbly, frantically clutching Dahlia's face. "It's not working!" The rage was suffocating her.

"Think of your love for her, Mistress, please!" Kahlan's eyes widened, blackening against the unnatural pull of the Rada'han as it danced violently with the sadistic strength of the Con Dar. The thought of losing Mistress all over again was somewhere her mind shut her away from, refusing her any access to the idea.

"What have I done?" Cara whispered, closing her eyes, concentrating on the magic within her as the years turned back in her mind, churning through the randomness of her memories...

Dahlia thrashing awake from a nightmare and calling only for her.

The first time Dahlia kissed her, she trembled and knew it was possible to tremble that way forever.

Dahlia's infectious giggle during the thunderstorm that marked the first night they slept in their own bed together.

Finding a lonely flower in the middle of the corridor and running it to Dahlia, placing it in her hair and finding it so beautiful that she hurried away and cried.

Dahlia, with her finger, marking the symbol for love into her bare back as she was being dressed by her.

Dahlia pushing her back, throwing herself in the path of a lightning bolt that targeted them.

Dahlia's hysterical attempts to teach her how to slow dance.

The adoring pride in Dahlia's eyes the day they became Mistresses. The feeling of completeness and accomplishment, believing the Breath of Life would now make Dahlia eternal to her. The price and weight had been worth it.


Finally, it stirred inside her, needing to be released into Dahlia for the love that it was, remembering that she was precious, unique, and mortal. She had been the only thing worth protecting and treasuring amid all the darkness, death and misery. Where many girls had relented and perished, they thrived on their belief and ever-present loyalty to one another, and when one was weak, the other had strength to lend, and even in the hardest of times when it seemed like nothing positive could ever come from their lives or their dreams, they had each other. And it was everything.

The magic entered Dahlia and loomed first around her heart, warming it, encouraging it to beat once again. She had so much to live for. Dahlia jolted awake with the distinct and lasting knowledge of this.

As the first breath expelled from her aching lungs, Cara lifted her and hugged her wildly without even letting her properly regain herself. "I'm sorry," she exhaled fully into Dahlia's ear. "Leave us," she ordered Kahlan awkwardly.

Kahlan sniffled back her relief and reluctantly obeyed, trusting Cara's intentions but keeping her eyes on them just the same until she reached the door and hurried outside, thanking the Spirits all over again.

"You're okay," Cara insisted, trying to convince herself just as readily, "you're okay."

"Cara..." Dahlia cried, working through her disbelief, "you truly wish me dead?"

"No!" Cara exclaimed, sounding like little girl caught in a vicious lie. "I just want to take you home."

Although her voice failed to find itself, Dahlia's eyes said there was no going back.

"Dahlia, we can't stay here." She wasn't only speaking about the cabin.

"Just leave me here. Take Kahlan with you." She was out of breath, winded by the empowering experience of revival.

"I would die first," Cara promised, "it's not happening. Where you go, I go."

"Why?" Dahlia asked, pausing in her regrouping. "Everything's changed."

"Not everything."

The sadness crippled Dahlia's face, and her eyes held the majority of it. "Enough of it has."

"All I've ever done, Dahlia," she replied, dabbing at a tear that dotted her eyelash, "was so you could live. So that we could be happy."

The word "happy" made Dahlia sniffle, and made her look one shade brighter. She felt a certain level of shame and longing pinch at her cheeks, traveling through her jaw and into her reddening lips. She wished Cara could feel it, even for a moment. "We had everything once."

"We still do. We're going to get through this... look at all I've pulled us through. I can do this."

Softly, she reminded her. "You can’t do everything."

"I used to think that pain was mostly weakness leaving the body," Cara said, looking away, focused on a crack in the floor. "But there is nothing," she continued, swiping once more at her eyelid, "like the pain of your hatred."

Dahlia found one more tear that could be brushed from Cara‘s cheek. "Never think that. Do you hear me, Cara?"

"I never wanted to live to see these days. I can’t believe I have."

"As I wanted you more, you needed me less."

"But I own so much of you-" Cara began, unsure of how to piece any of it together.

"You’ve given me a heart of my own," Dahlia finished for her, "which has always loved you."

Cara’s eyes lifted back up, and she was able to find some small way to smile.

Dahlia looked at her, blinked carelessly a few times before she really saw anything concrete within Cara. There was truth there, and contended turmoil. There was a sense of not knowing how far she had drifted, or how long. There was so much missing and deceived, conquered and abundant. Either way, her eyes were clearer. They were no longer tinted as deep with the olive darkness and insanity of the night or even years before.

Dahlia wanted to believe her, wanted to smooth the past down as if it were leather against her body and wear it forever.

"Kahlan!" Cara called, sluggishly kissing Dahlia's forehead. For Dahlia and Kahlan both, it was the first time they ever heard Cara's voice speak her name without hate and malice congealed on each syllable.

"Yes, Mistress?" Kahlan materialized at the door almost instantly, a cold sweat lining her brow.

"Come to your Mistress Dahlia. She wants to be held by you."

Kahlan lit up as she dashed forward, first helping to move Dahlia back up to the relative warmth of bed before Cara let go and allowed Kahlan to take her into her arms. Cara covered them up and turned to go. Dahlia could never know how hard it was.

But she did know. "Cara-" Dahlia called, reaching out and pulling at Cara's wrist, the one that had been scratched by the cuff, preventing her exit.

She turned the upper half of her body, looking at the wall above their heads and not at them directly. She had her limits.

"Stay," Dahlia asked.

It wasn't so much an order as it was a gentle request. Cara narrowed her eyes, almost feeling the depth of color adjust within them. She nodded once and stood there on strong feet, allowing Dahlia to move her touch up gradually into her hand, joining their fingers, bare hand into glove, drawing her forward a few simple steps until she could not move any closer to the bed.

There was no way of knowing if Cara had meant only to leave the room or to leave them altogether.

Kahlan watched Cara closely, trying to figure her out for what she was, trying to both welcome her and forgive her for the danger she consistently and heinously posed to Dahlia and undoubtedly always would. As much as she craved this time with Mistress Dahlia, she inexplicably wanted Mistress Cara to be there as well. They were each half of something that balanced her, constructed her and bound her.

Kahlan squirmed over, keeping Dahlia firmly in tow, and made room for Cara.

"Cara, please," Dahlia said, "I’m cold." She knew Cara would never let her stay that way for very long.

***

Snake’s mirror was big. It was meant for someone who enjoyed their appearance.

Denna sat crossed legged in front of it and looked at her new hair, picked at the shoulders of her beige dress and touched the gash on her lip. It stung, and it pleaded not to be bothered again as it healed. She touched it again and smiled. It hurt to smile too.

"Denna," Snake said, and Denna’s eyes followed Snake’s legs as they approached in the mirror from behind.

They were bruised and scraped and littered with scars and torn muscles. She pulled Denna back by the jagged tips of her hair and kneeled down next to her.

"You say ‘yes, Mistress?’ when I call you," she reminded her, twisting her grip.

Though Denna couldn’t move her neck, her eyes moved back to the reflection in the mirror. She looked again at her shoulder length hair and licked her lips. "Are you sure I can’t persuade you to go shorter?"

Snake’s Agiel was deep in her throat before she was even finished posing the question in full.

"Your mouth," Snake said, gagging her on the length of it as it moved, "is not as precious as it used to be."

She removed the Agiel and brought it along Denna’s cheek, grinding it at her forehead.

Denna giggled sourly as she lost her bearings and slumped onto her stomach, disappointed when the weapon didn’t follow her lead. She heard it being re-holstered and grimaced as Snake rose and flipped her over, simply shoving her boot under Denna‘s belly and kicking it over like a stone in her path.

As Denna’s increasing laughter robbed her of air, she swore in between her gasps, "you will never find them."

Snake smiled. "How would you like to bear a child for me, Denna?"

Denna choked on the last of her humor and stared straight up at her, feeling something heavy swirl within her chest, and it stole all sense of amusement and orientation.

"A little girl," Snake nodded, crossing her arms, "I would prefer."

"Mistress," Denna quickly corrected herself, coming to her knees, bowing her head. "Forgive me."

"A little girl with your brilliant blonde hair, those hungry eyes, that smile. I could have you all over again, couldn’t I?"

Denna crawled the couple inches and grabbed at Snake’s thigh, rested her head into it. "You have me."

"Good girl, Denna," Snake said, patting her head once. Denna exhaled, though far from relieved.

Snake moved thoughtfully, guiding Denna up by her chin until they were standing face to face, and her pet finally looked into her eyes. Denna saw what she often knew her pets found visible within her. The ownership, the lust, the knowledge that a Mistress never threatened anything that she wasn‘t immediately prepared to see through until the end. The unsteadiness swayed Denna ridiculously into her Mistress’ direction.

Snake circled her index finger around deep into Denna’s stomach, almost severing the fabric with the sharpness of her fingernails. "If I desire it," she said, "I would rip a child from your womb and never let it leave my side."

"I would kill it first," Denna replied, not even remotely convinced at the cheapness of the lie itself or her delivery of it.

Snake smacked her rigidly across her face. It was how Cara slapped. "You would do no such thing," she reprimanded coldly. "She would be a part of you. The most innocent part of you. The best part of you. And she would be mine."

Denna clasped Snake's hand, the one that began to touch at her hip, and brought it to her mouth, sucking two fingers down from it, kissing them breathlessly as Snake removed them, fighting to keep them.

"That’s better," Snake whispered in approval, pulling Denna into her. "I love you most when you’re like this. Now open your mouth and give it to me. And don’t you say a word."

Denna kept it closed, swallowing all of her saliva and licked the back row of her teeth, half stalling and half in rebellion.

Snake bit and nibbled on Denna’s sore lower lip before she took control of her tongue, thrashing inside, and quieting her and bending her where so many others, including their Lord, had failed.

As Snake lowered her to the ground, Denna thought about Cara. Wondered about her. Imagined her. Her movements could be so similar to their Mistress sometimes. The casual disregard for her comfort had been passed down almost as an art form as now Denna’s legs were caught shamelessly behind her back as Snake folded her in half.

Snake’s hands never lost their way up a pet’s dress. It was nowhere near as complicated as the respectable leather of a Mord’Sith and there were no buckles to unlatch, no strings to untie, nothing to wait for, and nothing dangerous about it.

"Do you like being on your back for me, Denna?"

"Yes, Mistress," she replied flatly, "I love this."

"Liar," Snake said, punching her face playfully, retracting her other hand at the same time.

Snake gracefully slid off of her, to her feet, and disappeared across the room out of Denna's sight. She didn't dare move, and let the pain of the blood pooling in her limbs soothe and distract her. She instinctively brought her arms around her stomach and touched it lightly with the tip of her thumb. When she heard Snake returning, she quickly returned her hands to her side and blinked.

Snake was wearing a phallus, over her leather, and returned to top Denna. She simply inched up Denna's dress and shoved it inside her, ripping into her, grinning as Denna tensed and momentarily resisted.

"You should always be wet for me," Snake suggested, pulling out, then crashing in. "This is a glimpse of what it will feel like," she swore, pushing her down by her pelvic bone, riding her harder than any man other than Lord Rahl had ever dared to do, "when I have a line of a sweaty slaves fucking you every day and every night until you conceive."

Denna stared into her, pleading with both eyes of her own as the thrusts came quicker and she was truly overpowered.

"You will obey me, you whore," Snake grunted, "Cara was mine," she pushed deeper, "and Dahlia was mine. They only believe they love each other because I made it so."

"No..." Denna heard herself whine.

"Yes," Snake pumped her, grabbing at her throat, "for their own survival. They were each so weak in their own way."

"Cara," Denna dared, "was never weak a day in her life."

Snake kissed her forehead and rolled over, placing Denna on top. Everything about it looked like Cara and Dahlia.

"Who knows what you would've been had I willed things differently," Snake wondered, taking Denna's waist, slamming into her.

The thought crumbled Denna's heart and she placed her hands submissively on Snake's chest to balance herself and hung her head. It was something Snake could not recall ever seeing from her. Denna rode her softly, hoping to lose herself in the pleasure, the pain, the servitude.

"Come for me, Denna," Snake demanded, "you'll feel better."

Denna knew she was right about that, and she sped up, allowing her body to respond, to forget. She thought of Cara, missing her more than she could ever admit, and hopelessly longing for a life she had not lived, a love she had not known. This was all she had. It had to be enough.

"Mistress," Denna whispered, "harder."

Snake complied and Denna leaned down viciously, took in her mouth with one swoop, and kissed it like she never meant to be anywhere else. She didn't want any more words to come from it.

As Denna finally began to come, she cried out into Snake's ear, shivering at the bitter shame of the rush and neediness as it started to claim her.

Snake jumped on this, using the reserves of her strength to impale herself into Denna, knowing how vital it was to addict Denna to these moments, to reward her for the obedience, and to remind her that no matter what kind of Mord'Sith she may have been, she was now her pet and wouldn't always be fucked so graciously.

Denna came so hard that as she fell forward, spent, she crushed Snake's face and could've easily broken her nose had Snake not predicted the move and turned her head accordingly.

Tears lined Denna's eyes and they were eager to escape her but she forced them all back. Snake rocked herself until she was sitting up, taking Denna with her and hugged her. She ran her fingers through Denna's hair, not missing it's length and fullness.

Snake raised her eyebrow. "Never forget that I would name that child Cara."

***

Cara, Dahlia and Kahlan laid in bed, in silence, until Dahlia fell asleep. Her breathing was getting better. With every moment that edged on and passed, her resilience was mending itself.

They looked at each other quietly, and Kahlan smiled. She reached over Dahlia's body and touched Cara's face, smiling even more when she didn't recoil from it.

Cara motioned for her to get up. As carefully as they could, they each lifted themselves away from Dahlia, and as Cara rounded the bed, Kahlan waited for her and took her hand. Neither of them looked back at Dahlia. They knew she could handle herself in this.

Silently, Cara led the way and they headed outside, into the strange combination of sun and instant coldness and down along a path, until Cara stopped them. She stood proudly, presenting her discovery with only a twinkle in her eye. A hot spring. Kahlan was so excited that she squeezed the Mord'Sith into a giddy hug and began undressing her without asking or receiving the proper permission.

Instead of jumping instantly into the comfort of the hot water, Cara waited until Kahlan had removed her Confessor's dress before she considered moving forward. Cara tested the temperature first with her foot, then eased herself down into it and reached up slowly for Kahlan's hand.

The gesture was so thoughtful that Kahlan had to rub her eyes before she reached back out and accepted it.

As soon as her body was fully submerged, Cara embraced her, as if in a panic, pressing against every inch of her and settling herself in Kahlan's fumbling arms. Kahlan carried them into the middle of the spring and looked around at their surroundings. The beauty of nature was all around them, coating these breathtaking mountains and grandly sparkled within every cloud, every drop of this water, and in each and every breath they drew and took.

But they could see none of this. They each only saw the frailty of the other.

"If you hurt her," Cara vowed, "I will bring you back here, drown you right in this spot and swear to her that you ran off in the night."

"I know, Mistress," she replied shyly, kissing at Cara's plumped top lip. Her voice grew more confident, "I know."


***
 
 
Lexa
04 December 2010 @ 11:26 pm
For Her Favor, Pt. 9
Rating: NC-17
Pairings: Cara/Kahlan/Dahlia
Warnings: Extreme non-con, torture, Agiel violence, hurt/comfort, bdsm, gore, angst, Mord’Sith temper, domestic violence, evil!cara, language
Author’s Note: AU. And I’m sorry for that, Kahlan. I really love you.
Summary: Mistress Cara wants to own a Confessor. Dahlia wants to give her one.
Disclaimer: I only own my sickness. Not for profit, only for demented fun. Legend of the Seeker characters and depictions belong to Terry Goodkind, Disney and ABC Studios.
For Gizmo :D





Cara was unsure what would happen if she just laid Dahlia down on the ground and walked away.

The idea that she may crawl away out into that darkness led to her gripping Dahlia’s dirty hair tighter, pushing her face harder into her neckpiece. It was enough to leave imprints of laces which stalked and temporarily branded Dahlia’s pale jaw as hers.

Cara repeated it in her head. "I don't believe you."

Dahlia's words, both and fragile and cutting, echoed within Cara's ears, boiling them. She could've bashed her head in for them. She could've hated her for them and held onto that hate for the rest of her life.

But instead, she smirked endearingly. The longer she held Dahlia, the more she convinced herself that the worst was over. Dahlia felt so warm, hot even, teeming with the menagerie of life and possibility that had come so close to ending only moments before. It was hard to believe that it was only the beginning. The predictable sun would be rising soon and she had an idea that this was the beginning of their happiness again.

Dahlia sniffled, twisting herself awkwardly in Cara’s arms, unable to relax against the vulnerability of her grip. Cara refused to loosen the fortitude and thickness of it and paid little attention to the fire that began to snuff itself out.

Loving Dahlia had been the most creative force she had ever known. The reality that it came close to only surviving in memory was now the most destructive one.

"Stay awake with me, Dahlia," Cara whispered, tilting her head back so she could better see the unbalanced blueness of her eyes.

Dahlia obeyed, gulping sorely, fighting the daunting pull of her fever.

"You've grown such a need within me..." Cara said, rocking her, "one you will always have to fill alone." Dahlia exhaled somberly as she continued even softer, "That is our truth. Kahlan will never be you."

Having Cara close again provided almost the same sensation as dying, though in reverse. Even with the added physical pain of Cara's muscles crushing her, it was everything to Dahlia to be held like this. It was all she had ever wanted. In this one moment, to her, Cara was everything she had ever dreamed she could be.

There was such biting and frugal agony in knowing that it was a just moment and like all moments, it could not last. She had to end it.

"Kahlan. Is she alive?"

Cara nodded slowly and Dahlia's voice barely went anywhere at all. "Thank you, Mistress."

The sound of her appreciation crept into Cara, forming strange, affectionate tears that turned the rest of her cold. For a brief moment, she was unsure if she deserved to be called Mistress.

"Cara?"

"Yes?"

"I can't breathe."

"Of course you can," Cara slid her palm up Dahlia's chest, "I'm here now and... I own your every heartbeat," she said, moving to her lips, "every breath," stopping to pinch at her shoulder, "and every bone."

Dahlia blinked over the piercing layers of water that began to blur her ability to see Cara. "You once owned my love too."

Cara yanked all of Dahlia’s short hair up in one hardened action and tugged her head back, seething down into her. "When you cry…" she whispered, "you look just like your mother. One more lie and you'll be just as dead as she is, Dahlia." She kissed her head, released it.

As Kahlan heard Mistress Cara's muffled voice, she jumped and carefully tiptoed down the hallway, slowing until she was creeping forward. She peeked around the corner, frightened by the silence and the lighting.

It fascinated Kahlan to see Mistress Cara being so tender with something and she couldn't help but stare the entire time Cara's fingers were brushing upon Dahlia's soft white face. The way Dahlia's eyes followed tore at her and enlivened her simultaneously.

The longer she watched their movements, the more she learned, and the more inescapable Cara became.

The soft patter of approaching footsteps distracted Dahlia's heart but not her gaze.

"Mistress," Kahlan whispered, in awe, kneeling down before her. She bowed her head faithfully, all her hair falling forward, stunned by the touching combination of their varying strengths.

Dahlia bit her lip, she couldn't move her eyes away from Cara, even as she spoke Kahlan's name in relief.

In one of the most excruciating movements of her life, Cara shifted Dahlia around, towards Kahlan. The Confessor suddenly outstretched both arms as far as they would go and tried not to look at Cara, afraid that any contact would somehow void this generous action or that Dahlia would vanish down into the floor and be lost again forever.

"Be careful with her," Cara warned, glaring untrustingly.

Dahlia was overwhelmed, confused by the softness of the pairing, and ultimately wary of it. The second that Cara's touch left her, she felt both abandoned and reassured, victimized and valued.

"We'll take care of you, Mistress," Kahlan blurted out. Refraining from leaning down and kissing her took such effort that it thoroughly rattled underneath her skin, shaking her.

"You're hurt?" Dahlia asked faintly, cringing at the sight of her damaged face, searching for the fear she was certain would be there too, keeping all the bruises at bay. She felt a surge of sickened panic when it wasn't.

Kahlan finally looked across, remembering the watery abyss she had been returned from anew. "Mistress Cara saved my life." There was pride in both her voice and wild smile.

Cara crossed her arms and watched them suspiciously, analyzing the painstaking interaction more than she would've believed herself possible of enduring. Of course, Dahlia took pets and slaves like any other respectable Mord'Sith, but always as a substitute for her Mistress or as ordered by her. In all their years, Cara had never seen any true feeling behind a single action that she ever had to pause to question or consider.

Even in a bed with every pet in the Temple, Dahlia only desired her Mistress. It was always suppose to be that way.

The Confessor's time had apparently expired and Cara moved over hastily. "Lay her down."

As Kahlan moved to comply, Dahlia put her hand over Kahlan's, lingering it, savoring the contact more than Cara ever wished to see.

As Dahlia's mind diluted itself with hot pulses of confusion, she felt her leather being scraped off her, making the most insulting sound as it left it her skin. Kahlan had been ordered down at her feet, removing her boots. Dahlia knew it was Kahlan solely by the way she grabbed at her ankles so tightly and beautifully.

As she laid on her back and they worked on removing her pants, Dahlia reached down and touched Kahlan's head, looping some hair around her finger. "Hold me," she said to her.

With an eyebrow raised, Cara knocked Dahlia's hand away and shoved Kahlan back by her forehead. She finished the task herself and Kahlan could only watch with widened, listless eyes as Cara climbed on top of Dahlia and her lips started around Dahlia's cheek, then moved slowly to her neck, tasting it roughly before inhaling it and nibbling it, both craving it and missing it with equal eloquence.

Dahlia shifted into it all, gasping from the pain of consciousness as it began to war with the absent rings of pleasure that circled her. Cara went lower, sucking at each breast, biting the places that often teased Dahlia into squealing. But now, she just laid there. For a few parallel moments, it took each of them back to Snake's floor, the quick and frenzied glistening world of comfort that Cara would create and maintain in the uncertain lulls that was born in Snake's absence. It wasn't enough to just survive.

"Cara, stop," Dahlia was saying, halfway between resisting her and encouraging her.

"I can’t," she replied, moving her around anxiously, returning to the place it missed the most, Dahlia's mouth and every promise it ever held. She wasn't suppose to want Kahlan to hold her.

Bitterly, Cara stopped and motioned for the Confessor to come closer. Using the tried and true combination of Kahlan's teeth and mouth to quickly remove her glove, she forced her fingers inside, scratching and kneading against Kahlan's tongue. As she removed them, dripping, they didn't care about anything other than the immediate need to be inside Dahlia, filling her, taking her in, reminding her.

Cara entered her with an unapologetic grunt, moving her hand back and forth dotingly at first, sliding with the delicate precision that only Dahlia had ever been worthy of. She wanted her to feel the enormity of her power and relief and love in ways she had fallen short of expressing any other way. Dahlia was hers, no matter how much she was being tested or slighted, and the Dahlia that she knew would always want this from her Mistress, even as she lay dying.

She also knew that Dahlia would try and turn away from this if given the chance now, so she held her chin tightly and determined that it face her.

"You’re so wet, Dahlia, look how your body misses me." She had to convince her. She wouldn't stand for it to be any other way.

For the first time in a long time, Dahlia recoiled from her intimacy, unable to keep still, imprisoned in her frame and thrashing against the floorboards, creaking them violently underneath her. Kahlan looked down helplessly, tortured by the sound mixing with the absence of Dahlia's pleas to stop.

Cara didn't even pretend to exert any meaningful control over herself. Dahlia whimpered at the force of it, the undaunted hatred that seemed to propel it and the aching honesty that sustained it.

Dahlia panted through the incoming sensations, processing them only partially. She was so tired, so worn down, a shell that had forgotten it was once more. But she continued to struggle in the deeply understated way her limbs would allow. Although, with every pump into her, she grew more devastated that Cara was behind them at such a complicated and weakened moment but even through her dulled consciousness, she was not entirely shocked by it.

The minute Kahlan's eyes finally locked with Dahlia's, she could take no more. "Mistress Cara," she pleaded forcefully, "she's weak, she's hurt."

"Get over here," Cara ordered under her breath, pulling Kahlan over by a large chunk of her hanging, messy hair. "Undress me, then hold her down."

"What?!" she cried, panicked, "I can't!"

"Now, Kahlan, or you'll never touch her again."

Kahlan shook her head wearily. "Take me. I won't fight you like before. I'm so sorry." And she was.

Using only the defeat in her heavy eyes, Dahlia urged Kahlan to give it up and relent. Cara knew all these tricks, these games, these sacrifices.

Before she stood for Kahlan, she looked down at Dahlia with superiority and reverence and touched her eyelids, kissed them even as they filled again with numbed tears, and each of them, for a second and for different reasons, were enslaved to the pain of anticipation.

Dahlia resented her own brazen goosebumps and her body's overly toned understanding that it needed to always fulfill Cara, even before herself, even if it killed her.

As Cara's leather came off and she came back down, Dahlia tried to look away but again, Cara roughly corrected it. There was nothing else to see.

"Give me your fingers, I need this."

With her head hung, Kahlan moved in behind Dahlia, clutching her possessively as Dahlia had once done to her back when they had to pay Mistress Denna. This was different. Dahlia was a Mistress, she was above this. Cara was above this.

"You've become just like her, Cara," Dahlia managed, lifting her hand and placing it loosely on her thigh but refusing to go any lower.

Cara forced Dahlia's best fingers inside her all at once, moaning quietly, relishing it more than for what it was and could've come instantly had she not been looking directly at Kahlan's horrified face. She tensed, riding the cool air and coming down harder into her, more evil than she knew, but feeling complete once again.

Kahlan felt each jolt of Dahlia's body push into her, and it was angry to be dragged to these edges, fearful of so much below.

"I've become like who?" Cara asked as an afterthought, repeating her motions eagerly and smashing down more evenly, taking Dahlia by her hips. These hands were made for her.

"Snake."

"Of course," Cara snapped coldly, reactively barreling down an open fist into Dahlia's lip. "My Mistress did her job."

A gurgling pocket of blood dizzily trapped itself all inside Cara's mouth before she even knew she'd been struck. Kahlan had punched her back in the same location immediately, knocking her backwards. She hadn't been punched in the face in a long time, and it showed.

Savagely lunging back at Kahlan was more instinct and reflex than anything else, and Cara didn't consider how Kahlan would be dropping Dahlia's head as she was pulled back, dragged across the room and mounted insidiously.

Though Cara was used to being challenged by her jealous Sisters and disobedient pets, defending Dahlia had solely been her lifelong responsibility and, one that in a heartbeat, was undeniably no longer hers alone. And she hated it. She wanted to strangle it, kill it, banish all remnants of it's existence to a place where it could never return from.

It was something her Agiel could not tame and she didn't even reach for it.

Kahlan covered herself the best she could, shielding her head from Cara's rage as it blasted itself through throughout the Mord'Sith's skilled arms, guiding her hands to where they knew to destroy. As each blow knocked more of Kahlan's face against the floor, Cara thought of something she had strictly forbidden herself to recall. The night she'd pressed herself against the wall and delicate shadows in their room and saw Kahlan fucking Dahlia in the bed they shared.

The trust she'd built around Dahlia and the love that kept it from falling were being seduced and fucked by Kahlan. She secured both hands around the Confessor's neck, and squeezed it tight.

"Cara, please," Dahlia cried, turning over onto her stomach, coughing into the ground. She crawled the few feet that divided them and placed her hand on Cara's sweaty lower back and clawed into it. "Let me do it."

Cara released her handle and Kahlan convulsed all at once, gasping rigidly, and whining out in gratitude. She touched Dahlia's busted lip, leaned down and licked it, thinking of how Snake used to cheaply Agiel the same spot.

"You trained her to love you too much," Cara scoffed. "It's going to get her killed."

She was willing to spare Kahlan. Death would've been far too good for her she pathetically reasoned as she rose to her bare feet, finding the floor had grown inhumanly cold, and gave Kahlan a single kick in her side. "See how much Mistress Dahlia hates you? She'd finish you off right now if I asked it of her."

Cara bent down and carefully helped Dahlia to her feet as Kahlan tried to even out her terrified breaths, confused as to why she was still alive, watching Dahlia's gorgeous legs as they lifted and she tried to find her footing.

Cara swallowed. "You're Mord'Sith. Even if you were dead, you would walk."

Dahlia fumbled with her steps, falling blindly into Cara, but together, they kept upright and moved forward.

Finally, she laid Dahlia on the left side of the bed and pulled the blankets over her, sitting beside her, enamored with her face. She pressed her finger to the tip of Dahlia's red nose, melting in her eyes, pretending she didn't see her flinch. "I don't know what I would've been without you."

Nothing, Kahlan thought as she crept closer, timidly watching for any instruction to turn away.

"It's going to be better in the morning, Dahlia. Close your eyes now." As she did so, Kahlan moved in to undo Cara's braid with tingling fingers. She wiped the blood from her lips, kissing the back of her neck until the freed hair fell all around it.

"Forgive me, Mistress," she begged, drawing closer to Cara's ear. "I would've done the same for you."

"Look at her."

"She's so beautiful."

"You found the chain wrapped in velvet in my bag?" Cara asked dolefully.

"Yes, but...?"

"Bring it to me."

She hurried to the dresser where she had placed the bounty of Cara's things. Cara's brush, her knives, soaps, her strap on.

"I know what you have to do," Kahlan said, handing the chain over. "But if you bind her hands behind her back, it'll hurt her."

"I know what it feels like," Cara snapped, incensed at the idea that Kahlan could know anything about pain.

It was a simple though heavy chain, usually meant for securing two wrists or two ankles together. They both knew she could chain Dahlia to this bed with infinite ease but Cara wouldn't trust anything or anyone but herself.

She locked the first cuff painfully tight around her own wrist and moved purposefully up Dahlia's resting body. Though Cara's mouth remained firmly closed and silent, her eyes asked for nothing as she bent down and closed the other one around Dahlia's tiny wrist.

Dahlia wasn't conscious enough to react, though even if she were, Cara doubted she would've made any type of noise.

They both knew that Kahlan deserved to sleep on the ground, below them, but after she frantically undressed herself, she somehow knew to take her place on the right side next to Mistress Cara. There was just enough room for her. She wanted to kiss where she had punched at her Mistress but instead she closed her eyes and listened to them each breathing so distinctly and dependently.

Their imperfections only brought Kahlan closer to them, reminding her that they were people, more than guarded weapons of D'Hara, and that they had been in love with one another against all odds and all reason.

Cara snuggled against Dahlia's back, wrapping her arms around her, clanging their chains. It would all be better. She had Dahlia now and with her, it always was. Though she didn't know it, Dahlia was the bridge to a life she had long evolved past and one that still yearned for her, expecting her to somehow return home to it. Cara had protected Dahlia, cherished her beyond all the other girls, women and Mistresses.

There was, like everything in Mord'Sith and human existence, a price to pay for that security and survival. Once Dahlia grew stronger, she would need to be reminded of this. But, for tonight, this was happiness.

***
 
 
Lexa
18 November 2010 @ 11:57 pm
For Her Favor, Pt. 8
Rating: NC-17
Pairings: Cara/Kahlan, Cara/Dahlia, Denna/Darken Rahl, memories of Cara/Kahlan/Dahlia
Warnings: Extreme non-con, torture, Agiel violence, hurt/comfort, bdsm, gore, angst, Mord’Sith temper, domestic violence, evil!cara, language, multiple character deaths
Author’s Note: AU. And I’m sorry for that, Kahlan. I really love you.
Summary: Mistress Cara wants to own a Confessor. Dahlia wants to give her one.
Disclaimer: I only own my sickness. Not for profit, only for demented fun. Legend of the Seeker characters and depictions belong to Terry Goodkind, Disney and ABC Studios.
For Gizmo :D





Cara was finding it hard to make a fire without thinking about all the times Dahlia would gladly make them for her.

She never had to chop wood or understand the mechanics of how to keep it burning. Dahlia would do it all effortlessly, and in between, sit contentedly in her lap or massage her burdened shoulders. Those were the earlier days, the better ones. They were the kind that whispered to her as she traveled this increasingly haunting road to Dahlia.

The last time they were out like this alone, Cara bent her over the pile she was quietly making and took what she wanted from Dahlia's body, reminding her of all the ways that she owned it and always would.

Now Kahlan looked to her, sideways. It was disheartening to see Mistress Cara struggle with such a basic task. After a few miserable tries, Cara got it going at last and walked a couple circles around it, trying to figure it out. Most things burned slowly. Not her fires.

"We’re only going to rest until this thing dies," Cara explained, motioning to the rising smoke before kneeling down in front of the Confessor and pouring a few drops from the waterskin into a clean rag.

When it got close to her aching face, Kahlan flinched awkwardly, and Cara stopped all at once.

"You do it then," Cara said, throwing it roughly into her chest, finding there was a better spot where she could sit a few feet away with her back turned.

She hated this. She was tired. Frustrated. Hungry. Now, on top of all the weight she carried, she had to look at the Confessor's dirty, beaten down face.

Kahlan crawled the small distance timidly, more like on paws than hands, until she was next to Cara, studying the side of her face. She was glowing again, though not as brightly. Her toughness was wearing itself down the longer she grieved.

"Would it please you to do it?"

Cara tilted her head and stared, parting her lips. The Confessor seemed to know that it would please her, even though she wasn't entirely sure herself.

"Please?" she added slowly, offering the rag back, "Mistress?" Though it was necessary, it felt far from natural to call her that.

Cara rolled her eyes and snatched it, moving in, focusing on the crusted blood that lined Kahlan’s fragile earlobe first. Kahlan watched the moistest part of Cara's eyes, imagining what she must've looked like when her words had edged tears to such a flawless and deepened surface.

Within seconds, when it became too much, Kahlan moved onto admiring her hair as a swirl of stolen wind tangled through her braid and whipped it around like a weapon. She wished, only for minute, that she had a reason to touch it.

Cara's expression turned more stern as the rag moved closer to Kahlan‘s lip but the care she was using did not falter one way or the other. Her gentleness was unbelievable to Kahlan. She almost believed that this version of Cara could be nothing more than a figment of her weary dreams.

"It'll hurt for awhile," Cara said, somewhere between proud and remorseful. "I don't want to hear any whimpering about the pain. You deserved it."

Kahlan nodded, looking away, knowing that thinking about Dahlia with Cara being this close was a mistake that she couldn’t bear to make in this unreasonably tender moment.

Cara finished and unslung the backpack from Kahlan's shoulder, rummaged through it and tossed her the best apple she could find. "Eat that."

She then brought a small knife out from her own pack that laid loyally beside her and considered what to cut. She put it down and looked all around. Something needed to be cut.

Instead, Kahlan retrieved it, sliced thoughtlessly at the apple and handed the first piece to Cara. When she wouldn’t take it, she brought it Cara’s mouth and fed it to her. Kahlan’s hands were shivering, turning all kinds of colors, and nearly redder than the fruit. Cara swallowed it without actually chewing and laid back, taking the Confessor with her and, pressing her head doggedly onto her chest.

Kahlan could appreciate the way the throbbing in her cheekbone felt against the leather there. She gripped the apple tightly, trying desperately not to drop the rest of it as she began to smile, so shyly, when she knew it would not be seen.

It was nice to be like this with Mistress Cara. She was finally beginning to feel safe again. Cara's hate wasn't so jagged against her. She could almost pretend it was suppose to be this way.

"Look," Kahlan said, pointing cautiously, "it’s a snake."

It was a snake, an awful one, slithering carelessly by them.

Cara jumped up, impulsively bumping Kahlan off her and chased after it, her Agiel fuming in hand. The snake started out clever in it's attempts to escape but was tragically mistaken. It thought it could outsmart her. Kahlan proceeded to watch, utterly confused, as Cara’s boot pierced it, trapping it frantically. And she came down merciless on the creature, blasting it with her Agiel and eventually stomping it as if there were no end to it.

As it died, Cara replaced her Agiel and, with her bare hands, ripped it into two distinct pieces down it's middle, tossing each end in opposite directions.

She was out of breath as she moved angrily and sat back down. The wind began to move in Kahlan's hair, chilling her.

"Was it dangerous?" Kahlan asked innocently, mesmerized by the reptile blood that now covered both of Cara's gloves.

"You have no idea."

Cara stretched out again, lower and lower until she was once again on her back, trying not to close her eyes. Kahlan settled in again on top of her, more confident this time in how she positioned her head into Cara's chest. Just when she felt it would be alright to close her eyes, she heard Cara’s belt buckle unlatch.

Before Kahlan could take a second breath into this peace, she felt her hand being forced into the small space Cara had created. She had barely even lowered her pants.

"Be a good girl," Cara said, "and do it quick."

Kahlan tried to keep her meager whines of resistance to a minimum as she moved to position herself better, tensing up at the first flushed contact. Cara begrudgingly turned her head away. She didn’t want to see her. She didn’t prefer Kahlan’s dark hair in her face either, with all the strands being sucked up into her nostrils as she panted and all across her lips, but she allowed it for the sensation that it promised.

Thoughts of Dahlia seemed to make Cara’s eyelids even heavier. She lusted, not for Kahlan necessarily, but for the distraction she could provide in this maddened exhaustion. Cara hungered for the temporary oblivion of sleep even as Kahlan’s snug motions loosened her, pleased her, and attempted to lull her into forgetting.

She wished she could just let go...

They were thirteen and not yet Mistresses though Cara was eager.

Dahlia was still small for her age and Cara wondered if that would ever change. She didn’t really want or expect Dahlia to be any other way. She almost convinced herself that she never would be.

Their Mistress, Snake, had fallen asleep with Cara and Dahlia clinging to her, one girl on each side. Cara was spent, though she remained consummately intent on staying awake until Dahlia closed her eyes and drifted off. It was her rule and she made no exceptions.

They were looking at each other through the darkness. Or, more accurately, Cara was looking at Dahlia. Dahlia was looking through her. Her mind was breaking.

Knowing what a risk it was to move when Snake was holding them both so tightly, Cara reached out and covered the top of Dahlia’s hand. It laid stiff in the middle of Snake's stomach.

Nothing. She gently caressed it and it was so helplessly soft. Nothing.

She brought two of her own fingers back to her lips and kissed them while Dahlia stared both lost and blankly at her. Reaching it over Snake’s torso, she lightly touched it to Dahlia’s cold forehead.

Finally, Dahlia blinked a few times and appeared to come back a little. But not entirely. Cara let her hand fall and touch all around her face, taking special care of Dahlia's exposed cheek. It was warming up the longer she held contact with it and nothing was ever more necessary to feel.

Cara knew Dahlia wanted nothing more than to be on the floor, under the tattered blanket that they had so proudly earned, and far enough away from Snake to relax herself and rest. She would never sleep tonight otherwise.

Snake had not been so patient with Dahlia's tolerance for pain that day. Each time she blacked out, Snake either tortured Cara or made her take another turn on her knees below her and alongside Cara. She wasn't given a choice. That appeared to hurt her the most.

Cara brought her hands back and moved them to Snake’s neck, cupping it fully, tilting it slightly, enough so that her lips had enough room to work. Snake moaned awake, leaning into Cara’s mouth and groggily allowed her to continue, running her long fingers all through Cara's wet, wild hair, and pulling it as she saw fit.

Snake’s other arm began to move forcefully up Dahlia’s back, fingernails clawing into it as Cara’s kisses became more aggressive and fire-like. Snake always favored the power she held over Dahlia and her fear at night.

"Mistress, you're so beautiful like this," Cara whispered, moving her hand between Snake’s open legs, hesitating, then grinding her body against her with a frustrated whine. "I want to show you what I can do by myself. May I put Dahlia on the floor?"

Snake glared at Dahlia. She would’ve loved to see her cry.

Cara slid up Snake’s body, mounting her both quietly and carefully, sliding her fingers in just enough to make Snake push into her. "Please? I can do it all."

Their Mistress violently released Dahlia, shoving her spitefully away as if forever regretting having her there in the first place, and Cara motioned for her to go. She arched Snake deeper into her hand. Cara pleaded so eloquently with her eyes, arguing back and forth with Dahlia's.

Only when Cara returned into Snake’s face, her back muscles flexing, and shared all of her tongue with a giggle did Dahlia finally find her way to the floor and kept herself hidden and motionless under her blanket.

She covered her ears hard with both hands but it was little shield against all the horrible sounds of Snake fucking Cara, so bitterly and resentfully, while Cara moaned again and again for her Mistress.

"Cara, not so rough. Be a good girl," Snake was demanding, pounding her deeper into the softness of the bed, extinguishing her cries. "Never a child, always a child."

Even though most of Dahlia’s heart knew it was a lie and a disgusting ploy, it still hurt endlessly.

After what seemed like an eternity of Snake tossing Cara around, twisting her legs, slamming her down and ultimately instructing her, she let out a final smack across her face, called her a filthy whore and discarded her down to the floor.

She landed on her hands and knees and crawled quickly around the bed like a small insect afraid of being trampled on by an oblivious foot.

She settled next to Dahlia, slightly bloody and damp, and waited for her to curl up next to her as she always did.

Instead, Dahlia closed her eyes tighter and ignored her.

When Snake’s breathing returned to the callous patterns it took while she dreamed, Cara edged herself up on one elbow and tenderly turned the corner of the blanket over and peeked at Dahlia. She always knew when she was awake.

"Dahlia…" she whispered, licking at her ear, biting it sweetly. "Let me hold you, you'll feel better."

Dahlia made her body nothing but dead weight as Cara tried to pull her into a snuggle.

"Don’t hate me," Cara said softly. "Please don’t ever grow up."

***

Lord Rahl stood in the doorway of the training room and shook his head.

"Mistress Denna," he said, taking a few hallow steps, "when I‘m away, how girls do play…"

"Lord Rahl," Denna bowed her head even as the pain was sending her in and out of consciousness. "Most Mistresses do not tolerate boredom very well. My apologies, my Lord."

He closed in on Denna within seconds, regarding Cara’s work with reverence and pride.

"Where is," he gently touched her bruised torso, feeling for the most broken rib, "Mistress Cara?"

Denna tried not to think, to focus on his eyes, and not what his hands had planned for her.

"She said she would be picking daisies in the garden, my Lord," Denna snickered, finding the image hilarious enough to hold onto even as Lord Rahl subsequently produced her own Agiel and dug into the afflicted cracks in bone he had so sheepishly discovered.

"My beautiful Denna," he said, touching her lips, "the only flowers here are those your Sisters will soon be placing upon your grave."

Denna smiled as the magic subsided deep within her. She believed him.

"And where is my Mistress Dahlia?" He kissed at her stomach, leaving his lips right above her navel, her most sensitive spot.

"No doubt crawling around Cara like a spoiled infant," Denna snorted, trying to keep the pleasure at bay.

"The thing is," Lord Rahl continued, drawing his licks lower and lower, "my Mord'Sith and my Confessors don't just vanish into these walls of mine unless I put them inside them."

"My Lord..." Denna purred, "do you require the touch of three Mord'Sith and a Confessor in this moment?"

Lord Rahl connected his strongest fist into Denna's open mouth.

"Where are those fucking bitches?!?" he screamed, spewing spit and insanity everywhere. It echoed seemingly a hundred times between them.

A line of thick blood burst from Denna's smile as she brought her head back to meet Lord Rahl's unhinged eyes. "I don't know."

"I will tear your skin off flake by flake until you're nothing but a pile of guts and bones..."

"And it‘s not even my birthday," she cooed, keeping her head defiantly high.

Lord Rahl reached up and unlocked the chains that bound Denna's wrists. She tumbled to the floor, unable to coordinate her landing in the time allotted. She was overly impressed with his skill and it showed as she tried to catch her breath. It had done more than merely knock the wind out of her, it jolted her with energy and clarity, waking her up without all decadence that a single splash of water would‘ve brought.

Denna knew she had saved Cara's life many times over the years, both in battle and from herself. Cara's power made her worthy in ways Denna believed needed no deep explanation. Why Cara had chosen a mate as weak as Dahlia sometimes made sense to her. Often times, however, it didn't and never would.

Either way, Denna had guessed long ago that Dahlia and all the sentimentality she imposed would somehow be Cara’s swift and only downfall. In attempts to spare her, she had offered her body countless times, and Cara took it as needed, but always remained eager to return to any bed Dahlia laid in.

Dahlia's infatuation and ultimate betrayal with Cara's property, the Mother Confessor, had genuinely surprised and intrigued Denna. She had almost come to believe that Dahlia could do no wrong to Cara. But now Dahlia was finally one of them. And it was almost a shame that she couldn't stay.

At last, as she had walked that corridor on the day of Dahlia’s decision, she had respected her. Now she found herself wanting to protect them, both of them, together, even if it meant going against Lord Rahl himself.

She felt more alive than she had in all her life. She knew there would be a price to pay for that.

Lord Rahl stomped on the largest bruise on her back, going right through to her battered bones, and she gasped adoringly at the pain.

"Oh Denna, your Sisters are little more than insolent whores who rather fuck each other senseless when I entrust them to protect us from all the infinite evils that threaten to befall our world!"

"Cara is very loyal, My Lord. She thinks of nothing but servitude." Denna smiled wide into the ground, her teeth and tongue tasting it's surface. "She’ll return."

"And Mistress Dahlia?"

Denna chuckled, licking her lips enthusiastically, hating herself for this. "Sometimes even us Mord'Sith protect weak things."

"Enlighten me..." he kneeled down, flipping Denna crudely onto her back and splaying her legs open like she was common slave-whore. With a raised eyebrow, it even surprised her a little.

"For the good of our Sisterhood," she replied, leaning back meeting his eyes again, "and, of course, for you, My Lord."

"Or do you actually mean for the good of Mistress Cara?"

An eerie seriousness fell upon her. "She is my Sister."

Lord Rahl finally smiled again, disrobing, handling himself. "I've grown very weary of that answer," he said, bringing himself slowly into Denna's face, taking the blondest hair closest to her scalp and forcing her mouth to accept him.

He moved her back and forth, at his desired speed, no more and no less.

"Here you are, Denna, getting fucked and beaten in this darkness while they're stargazing and blowing kisses."

She brought her hands up and tucked all the hair that Lord Rahl wasn't yanking on and brought it back behind her ears to reveal her clear, vacant eyes. It was the single most defiant gesture he had ever seen from her. She wasn't even paying attention to him.

He slammed her back even before he came, nearly cracking her skull. "You had honor once, Denna. Now you're just a bitch I'm going to have to fuck the truth out of."

"The honor is all mine," she replied, a wicked smile starting in the middle of her lips and working it's way to the corners.

***

Kahlan stopped at the edge of the ground and looked down. Since Cara had fallen asleep, she made them move even faster against the night as if it were midday. From the way the stars were aligned above them in the totality of blackness, morning was still far and merely a taunt.

Cara was studying their surroundings unevenly, thoughtfully plotting their next direction. Kahlan had anxiously watched her kneel down and feel for the disturbances in the soft ground, but now something was drawing Kahlan closer and closer to the side of a steep embankment.

Suddenly, her left footing was gone, rocks tumbled down. The ground wished for her.

Cara gasped, pulling her back by both shoulders. "You’re too close."

"But I see something." She pointed. A small square brown shape loomed in the distance. A unlit shack, possibly a cabin, but their vantage point was all wrong.

Cara put her hands firm at her waist and squinted. Dahlia would never keep a place that dark.

Kahlan looked at her face in the moonlight, so much softer and smoother, and the palm of her hand found itself inching closer and closer until it was in the middle of the Mord'Sith’s strong back.

Cara jumped instantly, curiously, but said nothing and kept her questioning eyes on the decision up ahead.

They both stood there uneasily as Kahlan continued, applying more pressure until she was rubbing deep into the leather, even using her clumsy fingernails, and forgetting that it wasn‘t skin.

Kahlan had a nagging feeling that Cara, for whatever reason, was stalling.

"I’ll go," Cara finally said, shooing the Confessor’s hands away. "You better watch my horse."

"Please," Kahlan protested, daring to take Cara‘s hand and squeezing it, "don’t leave me here."

It wasn’t so much that the sounds of night frightened or intimidated her, but solitude itself had become unfamiliar to her. Without a Mistress at her side, she was certain she would sink down into the nearest patch of snow and melt inevitably down into the ground with it. It was a lost, menacing prospect.

She would’ve done anything not to be left behind in that moment, and she counted herself fortunate that Mistress Cara was extremely versed and knowledgeable about the depths of dependency.

Cara tied up the horses tightly, pet Brock’s silky mane and pulled Kahlan along by the tips of her fingers as they descended through the quietness and cold. The clouds moved mockingly above them, blocking out the north star, the half moon and forcing them closer together.

Once the tree line ended, they faced the long, open clearing, and it would be a straight walk to the front door of the cabin.

Cara knew she should stop to scout it, to be aware of what potential occupants she could encounter but something was only pressing her to move faster. It tickled her hamstrings and the bulk of her leg muscles, nipping at her sore feet and begging her to take it.

She tugged Kahlan behind her loosely, more like a child’s toy, setting the speed faster than she was physically capable of moving.

She had to know. Her mind grew wild and dark with ideas. Maybe Dahlia had been captured by whoever slept in that lonely place, or she had gone in an entirely different direction altogether and this would cost her valuable time. She didn’t feel like Dahlia was close. So she ran even harder.

As they approached the steps, Cara released Kahlan and in one terrifying kick, Cara had the door pounded down and her Agiel in hand.

It was somehow even darker than the blackness they had just hurried through and the stillness gave them both an unexpected pause. Cara looked around frantically, one eye was evil, the other was frightened as they scanned in unison. They had to work together.

Then she saw it. An overturned chair, laced with ropes, one of the binds severed and an upside-down bowl. A slight circular pool of dried blood.

Her eyes widened, all the focus escaped them. It was Mord’Sith technique. Dahlia’s technique.

She pushed Kahlan back, glaring at her to obey. Kahlan steadied herself against the doorframe, unable to see anything past Cara‘s alarming expression. The more she saw, the less she knew.

Cara stepped forward and the floorboard creaked, angry to be disturbed. It sent a chill through her boots and she bolted forward down the lone hallway, so fast and agile that it felt and looked more like floating than anything else.

The scent of murder flooded Cara all at once. She knew it well. Bodies everywhere.

She saw a tiny ponytail, Dahlia’s perfect color, on a pillow, attached to a motionless head turned away from her, towards a window. Blood soaked the bed in which she laid in and the thin blankets that inadequately covered her. She could see Mord’Sith leather.

Cara slammed her eyes shut, convinced it was a dream, pleading for some evidence that this could all be a lie. Maybe if she only stood in the doorway, this room would disappear and replace itself with a room in which Dahlia was alive and smiling and running towards her, elated arms outstretched.

She dropped to her knees, sensing only Kahlan softly approaching from behind, seeing some of the white of her dress in her darkening peripheral vision. All sense of breath and awareness left her.

"Save her!" Kahlan screamed, pulling Cara up, only to find her shockingly limp and impossible to keep upright. She dropped her in a heartless panic. She had to try again.

Cara was small, she thought, she acted bigger than she was, and she could do this. She kneeled and gathered Mistress Cara in her arms, and lifted her easily, crossing the threshold and toward her Mistress’ shadowed bedside.

She dumped Cara recklessly onto Dahlia. "Save her now!"

Cara clutched Dahlia with white knuckles, and buried her head into her, letting out the single most violent, guttural and despairing cry of her life. All the sounds that she had produced over the years while in the grips of incensed torture were nothing but mild whispers compared to this scream and this pain.

For the first time, she knew what real pain was. It was all over.

Kahlan climbed raggedly onto the empty side of the bed and flipped Dahlia over, struggling with the coldness of her skin and wrestled with Cara’s floppy head, forcing the Mord’Sith's stunned mouth to touch Dahlia’s lips.

Cara was slipping away to somewhere she had never been. It was a place beyond every lake, every moon, every breath she ever took. Everything was gone. She had taken everything, and infinitely more, and ended them all as if they had always been nothing.

The horror went beyond her body’s ability to interpret it.

"Mistress…" Kahlan wailed, shaking Cara with both hands. "Please don’t leave her in the Underworld."

She could do nothing except lay where Kahlan had placed her and wait for the same fate to claim her. Cara closed her eyes, as her eyelids grew unsure of how to continue functioning, and, with her lips still pressed to Dahlia, she felt something in the palm of her hand.

It was a heartbeat. Dahlia’s beautiful heartbeat. A soft, barely noticeable exhale rose up and danced across Cara’s nose. Then another.

She needed a witness. Cara looked up at Kahlan with all the wonder of a three year old child, both eyes glittering anew like precious young worlds. "She’s alive."

Kahlan covered her mouth and muffled her words. "No, she's not…"

Cara took one of Kahlan’s hands and pressed it reverently to Dahlia’s chest. It was pumping. It was fighting. It only lasted a moment, and by the time Kahlan found her way to exuberance, Cara was already blasting her away, bending back her fingers, refusing her any further access.

Kahlan recoiled, welling up, a delicate flood of relief mixed with the burn of Cara denying her what she rightfully felt entitled to. It wasn’t fair. She should be able to touch Dahlia too. She was so pale, so incomplete.

"Dahlia," Cara insisted, pulling at her until she was in the sheltered embrace that she deserved, "open your eyes."

Nothing.

"Run," Cara flicked Kahlan’s shoulder as she was inching closer. "She needs water."

The Confessor didn’t budge.

"Your Mistress needs water! Go!" Cara swung impatiently at her but missed altogether, as Kahlan was already long scrambling to obey.

Cara used two fingers to ease open Dahlia’s right eye, her favorite one. She just needed to see it. It’s serene color. It’s familiar promises.

"Wake up," Cara begged. All the thorns of the past now touched her like one brilliant sun. In these moments, at least, all was forgiven.

There was no water anywhere in the cabin. As Kahlan ran through the night, towards their horses and their supplies, she laughed. It was such a giddy and childlike laugh that it made her feel less alone. This felt like the single most important task ever asked of her.

Everything would be better now, safer now. Her Mistress was alive. She should've known.

As she climbed back up the ridge with her legs on fire and her lungs even worse, it occurred to her that she could escape the Mord'Sith.

She could take Berry and just ride off with the comfort of knowing how Mistress Cara would never leave Dahlia in such a condition to come thundering after her.

She slowed herself, crawling up the embankment, and it felt like she was back at the Temple in the first days with Mistress Dahlia. It disturbed her to recall how she had wanted nothing more than to flee from Dahlia's awful hands, her invasive Agiel, her gentle tongue on the side of her face.

But that was before she knew her Mistress was different, she reminded herself. She was so lucky. Dahlia constantly broke so many rules for her. She had sacrificed and risked greatly for her.

Mistress Cara had saved her life too, seemingly without any reason. She had brought her along, steered her toward Mistress Dahlia when she could've easily buried her many times over.

She tried to imagine what she would do without her Mistresses. The thought paralyzed her mouth, so much so that she had to stop and gulp down a fresh breath before she could continue. There would be nothing. She would be no one. She loved them, belonged to them.

She tore their largest waterskins and wrapped them around her neck, refusing to drink anything that her Mistress may need. She grabbed both heavy saddlebags and threw one over each shoulder, and whirled around in a blissful daze, desperate to return.

Re-entering the cabin brought her such happiness and, even drenched in sweat and breathless from the run, she felt completely in tact and beautiful. She raced towards the room, discovering her Mistresses almost exactly as she had left them, only now Cara's cheek dipped firmly into Dahlia’s.

They looked like one Mord’Sith instead of two.

Kahlan rushed to them, and inexplicably threw her arms around Cara’s back, and for a few precious seconds, she was able to hug them both at once.

Cara snatched the waterskin, nearly strangling Kahlan to remove it.

"Hold her head up," Cara ordered, looking the Confessor in the eye and promising that if she ruined this, she would have her head.

Kahlan took the job very seriously and eagerly put her careful hands on Dahlia, thrilled to be entrusted with her.

Cara poured agonizingly slow, first wetting her lips and then opening her mouth, unsure it would go down as gently as she intended.

At the first sign of Dahlia swallowing it, Cara's eyes filled with water of her own. She drank so much, and when Cara was content with the amount, she pulled Dahlia away from Kahlan and cradled her.

"That was good, Dahlia."

"Mistress," Kahlan dared, "what happened to her?"

"It's her lungs. Our Mistress damaged them when she was a child. She was not expected to live."

"Your Mistress?" The idea of Cara calling anybody Mistress was utterly incomprehensible.

Cara said nothing, and untied Dahlia's hair, marveling at it's shortness. It reminded her of childhood.

Kahlan looked around, down at all the blood. "Do you think she's too cold? And these bodies..."

Realizing just how unfit these surroundings were for Dahlia, she began to lift her and Kahlan scurried to help. They carried her and settled her directly in front of the dead fireplace. Neither wanted to lie her on the ground like that underneath a pile of all their traveling blankets but the bodies needed to go and the fire had to be started.

Knowing that it needed to warm Dahlia, she threw more wood than she knew was necessary and ignited it into a glorious blaze, sat back on the floor, stroked Dahlia's hair and smiled.

"I found you," she whispered, leaning down to kiss her nose before rising and walking back to the bedroom where Kahlan had already begun cleaning and crossed her arms.

"It's Aven," she said sadly, kneeling by the covered body, her hand resting at the top of the head.

Cara nodded, looking away, a surge of guilt twinkled in her eyes. She felt some semblance of respect and appreciation for this pet in whatever role she had undoubtedly played in keeping Dahlia alive.

They carried her wordlessly away, outside into the night, and laid her under a gorgeous, though leafless, tree. They carried the male with less concern and placed him far away from her. It would have to do for now. They didn’t wonder too much about that story.

As Kahlan cleaned, discarding and concealing all evidence of what had transpired, she made frequent trips back to Dahlia, reluctantly peeling the blankets off her one by one and carried them back into the room to remake the bed. It was a loving gesture, and Cara noticed it.

Cara worked on keeping Dahlia comfortable, wiping her face, holding her close, and watching the flames she'd created. She wished she had enough water to at least wash her hair. As she considered undressing her, Cara finally felt some motion within Dahlia. It was a twitch, a jolt of confusion.

She didn't know she was safe.

"Dahlia..." Cara calmed her, both terrified and excited that she was waking.

Her eyelids fluttered painfully at first, resisting the torment consciousness afforded one in such bad shape. But Dahlia fought against it, embraced it, moving towards the voice she would know anywhere. Without the nightmares, there would be no dreams.

When Dahlia opened her eyes, she was sure Cara wasn't real. She was some extraordinary parting gift sent from her frantic mind as it died. She didn't care.

Dahlia gathered all the destruction within her body and centered it, using it constructively to force her hand to rise and touch Cara's face, knowing it would just dissolve right through that beautiful expression and Cara would be gone forever.

But everything stayed as perfect as it was. Everything remained as still as a painting except for the one action that betrayed the illusion; a single tear that left Cara's eye skated down her cheek and trapped itself inside Dahlia's palm.

Without the dangers of believing it was all a farce, she would've never known the wonders of coming to understand that she was still very much alive, and her Mistress Cara, very much wanted her that way.

She couldn't even bear to say Cara's name.

Their kiss was brief, and almost as urgently as it began, it was ending and Dahlia was pulling away, coughing. Reality started to fill itself in around her.

"Easy now, Dahlia," Cara smiled, feeling her forehead for any changes.

Dahlia struggled against her, shocking Cara, thrashing around so passionately that Cara had to quickly pin her down by both shoulders with widened eyes.

"Stop this," Cara ordered, tearful in her command, confused by it.

"I'm sorry..." Dahlia exhaled. The sound of her voice melted Cara, tortured her, and healed her.

Her words weren't an apology for her violence, and it was more than that, though Cara refused to demand an explanation.

She wanted only to dotingly kiss at her, and Dahlia only turned her head and closed her eyes.

It was with immense sadness and sheer sorrow that Cara suddenly realized that Dahlia had wanted to die. Cara brought her up and back into her arms, uncaring if she had to fight her for this.

"We had good days, Dahlia," Cara said. "Can’t you remember?"

Dahlia nodded, looking out once more into her Mistress.

"I can give you good days again..."

"I don’t believe you."

***
 
 
Lexa
10 November 2010 @ 09:22 pm
For Her Favor, Pt. 7
Rating: NC-17
Pairings: Cara/Kahlan, Cara/Dahlia, Dahlia/Darken Rahl, memories of Cara/Kahlan/Dahlia
Warnings: Extreme non-con, torture, Agiel violence, hurt/comfort, bdsm, gore, angst, Mord’Sith temper, domestic violence, evil!cara, language, multiple character deaths
Author’s Note: AU. And I’m sorry for that, Kahlan. I really love you.
Summary: Mistress Cara wants to own a Confessor. Dahlia wants to give her one.
Disclaimer: I only own my sickness. Not for profit, only for demented fun. Legend of the Seeker characters and depictions belong to Terry Goodkind, Disney and ABC Studios.
For Gizmo :D





The cabin was getting colder and with each breath she took, she saw. Mistress Dahlia was alone now. She had managed to lie Aven’s body on the floor below her, on the opposite side from where Thomas had fallen, and respectfully covered her up.

As she laid back and pain danced along every nerve in her forehead, Dahlia thought maybe if she could just keep her eyes open, the end wouldn’t come nearly as fast. Instead, sleep overtook her and her mind was eager to engage her...

They were fifteen years old and her life as a Mistress was just beginning.

"Dahlia, are you joking?!" Denna laughed, kneeling down next to her. "Not that I expect you to know that much about this, but if you don't tie her ankles, she'll just close her legs."

Denna grabbed for the chains, greatly amused by such incompetence.

"Let her do it," Cara said, standing straight above them, one hand on her hip.

Dahlia smiled faintly and lovingly up at her before she went back to securing the pet to Lord Rahl's bed.

"Please please please let me go," the pet was whimpering. "I want my mother, please!"

"She's pretty, isn't she?" Denna observed, scooping a finger down the tear-ridden cheek.

"She looks like Cara would without her braid," Dahlia agreed, pulling the chain taut around the ankle, careful not to draw blood.

"Don't get any ideas," Cara replied, smirking down. It incited a rare blush.

Denna pretended not to notice as she cupped the pet's face. She had an idea and her eyes came delightfully alive with it. "Kiss her, Dahlia. Soften her up."

Her eyes widened. "Lord Rahl would burn my lips off."

"Oh, but she wants you," Denna eagerly insisted. "Do it."

She lowered her eyes and shook her head. She couldn't.

Denna squeezed the pet's throat. "Beg for Mistress Dahlia. She doesn't know what to do with such sweet things."

"Please, Mistress Dahlia," the pet cried, desperate for more air. "I’ll do whatever you ask of me."

Still, Dahlia wouldn't look anywhere but down.

The next thing she both anticipated and felt was Denna easily grabbing the back of her neck and forcing her face downward. She didn't get far. Cara knocked her grip away, and pulled Dahlia up by her arm, hugging her protectively into her chest.

She instantly felt so soothed and relieved that she had melted into her as if she were part of Cara’s neckpiece and had never belonged anywhere else.

"Enough," Cara said, startling Denna. "I want her more." And with that, she pressed her lips into Dahlia's, edging her mouth open and enjoying every inch of it.

***

Cara pulled up on the reins and motioned for Kahlan to do the same. Once Kahlan had dismounted Berry the way she had been taught, she looked to the Mord'Sith who had walked intently to the edge of a cliff and stared at something at the bottom of a ridge. She had obviously spotted it awhile back as they descended. Kahlan's heart clamped at the thought of it being Dahlia. No, if it was, she thought, Cara would've probably jumped and disappeared over the side of it.

"What is it?" Kahlan called, too fearful to see for herself.

"It's her horse. He's dead."

"No..." Kahlan whimpered, feeling herself coming undone again, trying to catch it, trying to breathe. "Please, no..."

"It means she's probably on foot now," Cara quickly added.

"Should we go down and -

"No!" Cara snapped, walking back toward Kahlan. "She's not there."

"What if she fell? What if she's hurt?!" She began to storm past Cara only to be roughly captured and halted by her weak upper arm. She glared into Cara. "You didn't even really look!"

"I don't need to look! I know!" She balled her fist, feeling she needed to deliver it with the full force of her body weight into Kahlan's unprepared cheek.

As Cara fought to keep her standing, The Confessor burst into tears, shocked by the crude impact, hating how she was being prevented from both falling or running to the edge and seeing for herself.

"You don't even care!" Kahlan bawled, resisting it all. "You don't!"

"I what?!"

Cara slammed her face first into the ground, directly knocking the wind out of her, digging her kneecap in her back. "Say it again! Tell me how I wouldn't slaughter ten thousand people right now just to see her for one minute!"

She squirmed defiantly, grunting, as Cara pressed her fresh wound into the gritty freezing dirt.

"Remind me what it meant to have her in my arms every night for fifteen years, Kahlan!" she continued to rage, smacking the unharmed side of her face even harder than she had pounded the other.

Something about hearing that voice say her real name was enough to startle and begin to calm her. She began to express this but Cara was already wild on top of her, her Agiel digging at the side of her throat. "You think you know Dahlia so well, don't you?! Why don't you lie here and take it like her then?!"

"I'm sorry!" Kahlan screamed, trying to regain herself between the searing throbs of Agiel strikes, horrified of her dress being torn like this. "I'm sorry...it hurts. Stop!"

"All wrong!" Cara seethed, moving the Agiel angrily to the side of Kahlan's head, pressing at her ear. She would never say those things. She was never sorry for anything. "Stop moving or I will destroy the rest of your face so no would Mistress would ever let you touch so much as a pillow on her bed."

Kahlan stilled herself immediately even though she knew Dahlia would love her regardless of her looks. Defeated, on her stomach, she kept her head down and waited for Cara to do her worst. She deserved it. She had forgotten her place, she had doubted Mistress Cara, and she had lost her faith in Mistress Dahlia's ability to survive.

But nothing was happening.

Cara was panting, not with desire but with fatigue and exertion. Then a horrifying sound arose from her uneven breathing. It sounded like tears, then something almost like a sniffle, but not quite.

"Don't you move, I'll snap your neck," she warned, digging her knee deeper.

Kahlan closed her eyes in disbelief.

It would be so easy, Cara thought, to force the Confessor's defiant mouth between her legs and keep it there until it could speak to her with the full and unending respect she was entitled to. She could always think of Dahlia's perfect tongue and flawless hands while another messily attempted to satisfy her. But as rare as it was for her, she didn't care to receive pleasure in this moment and she didn't want to produce pain either. She couldn’t say why. Kahlan’s punishment for her backtalk and accusations was over.

Cara’s emotions were racing as she yearned for Dahlia, knowing she was heading in the right direction. She couldn’t be far. She had no doubt that Dahlia would somehow return them to normalcy and that, above all, Dahlia would want it just as much herself.

Cara wanted for this burden to be over, for her to explain why the Confessor was anything more than a stupid, pathetic woman who, even in her glory, was only a magical counterpart to their fallen rival and solely meant them destruction.

Kahlan was still the enemy. And, like any enemy, Cara reasoned that maybe if she could understand these things, she could destroy them. But now, something had changed. Maybe she didn’t want to understand all of it.

Cara gently rolled Kahlan onto her back. The image of that frozen dead body rocketed into her mindscape. Two red-blue bruises were beginning to form. Her nose was scraped, her ear was horrendously bloody. Agiel marks pattered her throat and swelling lower lip.

For some reason, Cara felt regret. "Sit up," she ordered, reholstering her Agiel but staying knelt.

Kahlan complied. She drew her knees together. She looked like such a devastated child. She almost resembled how Dahlia used to look to her in the dark shadows of the training dungeons of their youth.

"I'm sorry," Kahlan whimpered, flinching at Cara's tentative touch in her hair. "I just want to look."

"I know," Cara agreed softly. "You may look."

"...Really?" Kahlan covered her damaged ear. It hurt so bad. She could barely hear anything else other than Cara's quieted breathing. It was better than music.

Cara nodded and patted her head.

"Oh," she squeaked, "thank you, Mistress!" She threw both arms around the Mord'Sith, so grateful for so much.

***

When Dahlia awoke, it was night again and she needed water. She doubted she could last another day but she had wrongly doubted a lot of things in her life. The scent of death and decay was rising now.

She was trying to hold onto better thoughts. They existed, she knew.

There was a time when Cara loved her, she remembered. It was before the Seeker and the war had turned her blood colder, her heart fainter. Lord Rahl had demanded so much of Mistress Cara over the years. He had taken her away slowly, a torture of sorts, and made her crave all the things he did. Power. It had robbed her of irreplaceable things. But there was a time when Dahlia recalled that Cara was more like Kahlan than she knew. It was no wonder she needed her.

She wanted to go back there. It called to her…

Lord Darken Rahl stood outside the Temple and scanned the perimeter for his missing Mord'Sith. It was mid-summer and strange scents were filling the air all around them.

He spotted Cara first. It was her smile. She never smiled like that. When he saw the Mord'Sith who was on the delicate receiving end of his gesture, he zeroed in on her. He hated it. It burned him like no wizard's fire ever could.

Dahlia. He even hated the shy, reddened-cheeked smirk she was dealing back in Cara's direction infinitely more.

He moved quickly but strategically, knowing he would approach Dahlia at the same time as Cara.

"My Lord," she greeted him, coming to attention and suddenly serious, her eyes dropping away with her affection.

"My Lord," Cara followed, standing next to her. He noticed the tip of Cara's glove touched Dahlia's thigh.

Lord Rahl was staring into Dahlia as she opened her mouth but Cara's voice interrupted her, "How may I serve you?"

"Mistress Dahlia," he said calmly, fixated on her lips, "is the one who may serve me."

"Lord Rahl," Cara dared, grinning deliciously at him, though worlds differently, "if it would please you, may I join you?"

"You are fond of Dahlia?" He touched his large knife to where he knew Dahlia's heart to be.

"I am fond of you, My Lord. Dahlia is my Sister."

Dahlia blinked.

"Tie her to my board and leave her," he ordered, running the back of his bumpy knuckles along Cara's flawless cheek. "She needs a lesson only I can give."

They both nodded mutely and turned in the direction of his bedchamber. They entered the Temple in even deeper silence and walked the corridor fast, in matching paces, down the staggering, winding and chilling stairs. Halfway down, as it got darker, Cara found she couldn't hold out any longer and pushed Dahlia against the wall, accidentally tripping her instantly and catching her hard before she tumbled down the rest of the steps and further down into the abyss that it was.

They embraced one another with no regard for the comfort of the other. Cara squeezed Dahlia’s head into her shoulder. Dahlia clutched at Cara’s body with every nail digging into her back, almost piercing her leather.

"Just do as he says," Cara finally whispered, ungloving her hand and touching her sweet face when they parted.

To anyone else, Dahlia wouldn’t have looked scared. But Cara knew her subtle expressions, knew her fears.

"Let me give you something you can think of," Cara offered hurriedly, going to her knees but keeping her arms tight around Dahlia's waist for few moments. She was finding it hard to stop hugging her.

"Use your fingers," Dahlia pleaded softly, cradling the top of Cara's head into her. "He'll know if he tastes your tongue. I don't want him to hurt you. Please."

"I hate when you worry about me." She unbuckled Dahlia's belt quickly, unbottoned her pants and lowered them to her liking, kissed soundlessly at her stomach.

Dahlia considered striking her across the face to make her stop. But instead, she took the sensations greedily, delicately stroking the cheek she had just been prepared to pummel.

"Please, Cara...I think he saw us smiling. It's my fault, I should've been practicing my shot like you told me to."

"You're getting very good at archery. Hold onto me."

She did so, but fearfully. "Cara...don't, I'm begging you."

She was aching for Cara, shaking for her and her mouth and everything she was. She wanted to reach down and pull all her hair and imagine Cara would be there like that forever.

"Dahlia," she explained firmly, finally looking up and demanding all of her eyes, "I'm your Mistress. I know what you need. I always will."

"I know," Dahlia kissed her own two fingers and touched it Cara's forehead, "Mistress."

Dahlia relaxed against the roughness of the wall as Cara pressed her lips forward so perfectly, so adoringly that it almost felt like a pet was down there instead. Her tongue, which usually ravished when time was a factor like this, started slow and patiently as it traveled around.

Dahlia tried not to breathe, afraid if she moved in any way, Cara could stop this. She believed that if she moaned, Cara would somehow realize the risk being taken to pleasure and comfort her like this was not worth the punishment Lord Rahl would be eager to supply to her for many, many months, if not eternally.

Cara was right. She could hold onto this, she needed this. It was dripping fast down her legs.

It sometimes felt painful to come so quick in Cara's face but she had little to no control over it. Cara was licking up all the wetness that had spilled. It's not something she did all the time so Dahlia could appreciate the special feel of it as she watched her finish and gradually smile as she climbed back to her feet.

Dahlia started to reach down for her pants but Cara's fingers were insistent on preventing any such thing. She quivered, whimpered agonizingly against them and all their power as they entered her. She wasn’t expecting all of this and she was unsure why she deserved it. Her fears shouldn’t be rewarded, she distantly thought, but she was thankful they were. Mistress Cara was so good to her.

"I‘ll be waiting for you," Cara said, stroking her tightly, forcing her to ride.

Dahlia panted longingly as the motion became more precise and meaningful, tilting her head back but struggling to keep Cara’s gaze strong within her.

"Come for me again, Mistress Dahlia. I‘m the only one who will ever have you like this." She was certain and her thrusts were even more so.

Dahlia bit her lip as Cara's mouth wandered up towards it. She loved her. And she wanted to scream it as the hand quickened to an unfathomable speed. But they didn't speak like that no matter how much she wished they would or could.

She was right to withhold her kiss until now. It was too much.

Finally, Dahlia cried out, sensing Cara was hungry for the honesty of the sound. She was. She had to cover Dahlia's mouth as she finished her off, both of them very aware any guard or Sister or even Lord Rahl himself could venture down these stairs towards these hushed, suspicious noises.

As she caught her breath, Dahlia quickly kissed Cara‘s nose. It was something that had carried over from childhood and she couldn’t resist doing it a second time as she pretended not to notice Cara’s severe reluctance to remove her fingers.

A beautiful moment passed between their eyes. There was completeness. They were able to share something fulfilling and lasting in spite of the terror they knew awaited Dahlia.

Cara couldn't look anywhere else so it was only by feel alone that she returned Dahlia to her pants with unstable hands. She separated their bodies but she kept her arm around Dahlia's hips as they walked the rest of the way down.

As they entered Lord Rahl's bedchamber, the sensuous and highly favored pet Lorel, had just finished cleaning a rather extensive array of shiny instruments and dark tools and coincidentally remained lingering by the board Dahlia was to be strapped to. It was better defined as a table that could be adjusted in many directions.

Lorel smoothed out her beige dress and smiled dotingly as she moved forward.

"Mistresses," she bowed her curly blonde head. "Were you calling on me?" She went to touch Dahlia's shoulder, Cara smacked her back before she even got close.

"Get on your knees and bow to your Mistress Dahlia," Cara ordered bluntly, kicking her down.

"Hit her, Dahlia."

Dahlia knew what Cara was doing. She wanted her to release all her aggression, all her frustration and fear onto this helplessly loyal pet to lessen the ever-present high chance of displeasing Lord Rahl.

Halfway apologizing with her eyes, Dahlia brought back her fists and released three separate punches into Lorel's willing face, knocking it back and forth, mists of blood squirting down feverishly onto the floor. She knew better than to drench a Mistress with it.

"She needs your Agiel," Cara observed, rounding her to stand behind Dahlia, wrapping her arms once again around her, resting her chin on Dahlia's shoulder. "We know she takes it best in the mouth."

The pet crawled forward and offered her tongue to Dahlia's waiting Agiel. They both watched her writhe, squeal and shake with the horror and beauty of it. Once Dahlia was sated, she took it back and crossed her arms. They were bare.

She didn't realize Cara had been undressing her the entire time.

"Do you need anything else from her?" Cara asked, folding Dahlia's leather neatly over a chair, unconcerned with the pet's dire condition below them.

Dahlia shook her head as Cara gently edged her toward the wooden board. Lorel stayed in a miserable lump on the floor, slipping in and out of consciousness. Dahlia handed her Agiel to Cara who laid it on Lord Rahl’s table of instruments, next to a device that crushed fingers.

"I wanted to ride up to Sora Lake since the moon is full," Dahlia said, laying her head first against the rough surface and letting the rest of her body follow.

"We can," Cara said, flipping Dahlia's braid over her shoulder, letting it fall in tact down her front. She tied her left wrist. "We'll just ride Brock together. You like that."

"What about Triana? And Denna?"

"They're not invited, Dahlia," Cara attempted lightly. "Are you sure the moon will be full?" She secured the right wrist.

Dahlia smiled. "It will be, you'll see. You always doubt me on this."

"I still can't believe it interests you." She bent down to tend to her ankles.

Dahlia thought about that massive silver circle. It seemed alone out there, so unreachable, but still, it hung. "It's beautiful."

"No, you're beautiful. It's just a stupid, useless ball in the sky."

"I don't think it's so useless, Cara, it probably affects alot of things we don't know."

"Well, you affect me, I know that," Cara replied quickly with a raised eyebrow, staying down for a moment even though she had finished there. Dahlia flushed with warmness, considering the intensity of such words.

Finally, Cara brought her head up and kissed Dahlia's mouth once, then tenderly to her neck, twice. "Do whatever he wishes. For me."

"I will."

With that, Cara turned, avoiding her eyes regardless of how desperately Dahlia wanted them and violently dragged Lorel out the door by one arm.

Dahlia waited for Lord Rahl. She busied herself with thoughts of how that lake looked at night. If she timed it just right, they could see sparkles as the light danced off it's ever-changing surface. Sometimes, though not often, she could convince Cara to swim with her. She would never go in alone so, most times, they would just stand by the edge until Cara found a good enough reason to sit down. Usually, she’d explain how some long past injury was causing her pain as she'd cuddle Dahlia into her.

They could never be gone for very long without being noticed so Dahlia knew to cherish these outings. Cara's kiss was always more gentle there, her eyes more open to exploration, and her heart beat differently there. They could almost be different people there.

But now, Lord Rahl was circling her. He had his knife grazing her stomach each time he passed around. "Mistress Cara has bound you?"

"Yes, my Lord." She had to forget about the lake for now. She had to forget about Cara.

"It's not too loose, is it?"

She shook her head. "No, my Lord."

"I'd like to confess to you that I just had Mistress Cara warm me up on the stairs," he said, stroking himself, certain he could still feel Cara's lips. "I trust it doesn't insult you."

Dahlia struggled with a ping of jealousy and rage but prayed it wouldn't show.

"Her mouth is just...so divine when it sucks me down." He tilted the board so it was completely horizontal and climbed on slowly and straddled her. "It's a shame you have to follow that."

The weight of a man was so different. He pushed himself in and strongly steadied himself by her shoulders as he made the few jarring thrusts. He was crushing her. There was comfort, though, knowing some of Cara's mouth was inside her too.

Dahlia wished she could look away. The last time he caught her doing such a thing without his approval, he had peeled four of her fingernails back, sparing only her thumb, and she couldn't touch Cara with that hand for months.

She loved him as her Lord and leader, and she believed she would follow him into the Underworld if he asked that of her, but physically, he was still a man and these acts repulsed her on a very base and constant level. It never got easier. It always felt like the first time.

Lord Rahl used one of his hands to twist Dahlia's braid twice around her neck, pulling it hard and choking her as he smashed down into her.

"Keep your eyes open!" he warned as she was blacking out, as he edged himself in harder. She had done this to Cara once by request and never did it again unless specifically ordered by her to do so.

When Cara did this to her, she felt incredible, timeless, and weightless. She trusted that, regardless of the pain she may inflict, Cara cherished her and wanted her alive. There was no telling when Lord Rahl would take away any life, especially those precious ones he had given to his Mord'Sith.

"Would you like to breathe?" he mocked, enjoying the swells of fear in her stare as he pierced her again and again. She nodded, gurgling false breaths as the oxygen bid her farewell.

Only when he came, spilling himself inside her, did he loosen his hold on her, though not nearly enough.

When she awoke, she was on the floor, being ravaged from behind. He hadn’t cared that she wasn’t conscious. Her hair was loose, covering her face as her cheek slid back and forth mercilessly against the stone. He gathered every strand of hair, pulled it all up in one hand, and only then noticing she was back. He couldn’t say just how long. She was always quiet.

"You‘ve always been weak at this, Dahlia," he said, resenting her silence.

"I tend to forgive it because your strength lies in the depravity of how well you can fuck women with me and your skills as a warrior," he released her hair and used both hands to slam her harder into him, ripping her open. "But Mistress Cara," he dug, hitting her deeper, "will never love you. She’s just like me. This is all we want from you."

The idea hurt more than his body.

As he started to come, he steadied her up by her left arm to position her more to his need, and in doing so, tore it from it’s socket, and then smiled as he cracked the bone, letting it fall back. She screamed faintly, only once.

It was enough for him. He collapsed, momentarily spent, onto her back and squished her down. She knew it was far from over. His gluttonous breathing in her ear was torture onto itself.

Finally, he got up. She kept still, ignoring her body’s furious pain, but focused on his feet as they moved across the room, where she lost sight of them. She heard some clanging as he opened one of his various metal closets that lined his grand walls.

"You may look up and admire what I have for you, Mistress Dahlia."

She raised her head to see a young woman, aged no more than seventeen, gagged, hands bound and nude, being thrust to her perfect knees inches in front of her. Lord Rahl combed his fingers through the pet’s shoulder length white-blonde hair.

"Thank you, my Lord," Dahlia managed. "What would please you?"

"Kiss her, then kill her."

Dahlia scooped herself up from her stomach and gently eased the pet down onto her back, only able to do so with her one working arm. She climbed onto her and looked once more to Lord Rahl as if he would ever reconsider his order.

"Her innocence…" Lord Rahl explained, "has no place here." He bent down next to them to acquire a better view. He began to touch himself.

Dahlia removed the pet’s gag and looked into her terrified eyes as she lowered her head, knowing it would please Lord Rahl. Her lips were soft, unfamiliar, and she kissed them genuinely delicately, giving her tongue with a supple ease that Lord Rahl would never know from her. They both knew this.

As dangerous as it was, she had to imagine Cara. The pain from her arm alone was threatening her with unconsciousness. She had to stay here. She may never come back otherwise.

Lord Rahl was enjoying it, and he threw Dahlia her leather belt, hitting her face and breaking their kiss.

The pet didn’t initially struggle as Dahlia rounded the belt around her neck. Without hesitation, she swallowed and pulled the belt as tight as her half strength would allow, forcing herself to keep the brutal eye contact. The pet fought both in her body and in her dying stare. There was so much there: fear, disbelief, disappointment, regret…but the most prominent, was innocence.

"Lay down on that dead bitch," Lord Rahl ordered once she was gone. Dahlia did so.

He grabbed the belt from her hand and carelessly unwrapped it from the pet. He smiled as he brought it through the air and down on her back, breaking her skin, forcing her to press herself into the pet’s corpse. He repeated it five times, each time more enraged and satisfied.

"Look how close your mouths are," he mused. "The Breath of Life would restore her." He gave her an extra large lash for looking at her lips.

Lord Rahl went to the floor, belt in hand, taking both sides of Dahlia’s hips again and forcing himself in. Dahlia clutched the pet’s shoulder, sinking down into her chest.

Double vision began to take over. He quickly tied Dahlia’s own belt around her throat as he rode her, squeezing it tight as he got harder.

The double vision began to fade into a uniform whiteness. Lord Rahl was laughing at her.

When she awoke, she was deep in the Underworld, surrounded by crippling green fires that burned deeper than Cara's eyes. The pain of it struck every pore on her skin, every last inch of her flesh and down to the bone. She was dead, she realized. And the sorrow of it could've killed her again.

Though she was there for some time, that was all her mind allowed her to remember.

The next thing she knew was Cara's voice and scent. Cara's magic. Her hands were shaking her so angrily and her tears were falling everywhere, drizzling down all over as she looked up. It was the first time she ever saw Cara cry like this. It was paralyzing.

They were on Lord Rahl's floor. Dahlia was being cradled so tightly against Cara's chest that she began to accidentally smother her for a few agonizing seconds before she realized it. She couldn't even speak. There were no words.

"It's ok, Cara..." Dahlia whispered, high on the new air in her lungs. "Don't cry. It's ok."

Cara nodded dumbly, looking as if she were not entirely sure she was believing what she was seeing. As the redness returned to Dahlia's lips, they were ravished, salty, wet, bloody and all.

Finally, when Cara's eyes found the will to begin to dry themselves, they looked over Dahlia's injuries. Her lip wound was, by far, the most minor of them. Dahlia's left arm hung awkwardly broken and purpled behind her back, a dozen lash marks laid across her, and her stomach had been sliced at length in three separate places. Her cheeks were red and rough from being scraped over and over on the stone ground.

Perhaps the worst part, to Cara, was Dahlia's neck and the horrible lavender ring of death that circled it. Her insides seared. He had been everywhere. Lord Rahl had also devastated her dead body.

Cara remained boundless in shock, wanting to touch her, to comfort her, but not knowing where to begin.

"Where is he?" Dahlia asked, stunned by the weakness of her own voice. It was hard to see Cara like this.

"Lord Rahl..." Cara choked in disbelief, "forgot about you."

"What?"

"Don't try to move so much, Dahlia! I got you."

"Cara…is this…real? How?"

"There was word of a new Seeker. He hurried to gather his quads. He told no one about you."

Dahlia's eyes began to water. The terrible weight of this truth was rivaling and mixing with all the other wounds.

"Dahlia," Cara shook her, sensing where her mind was going, "look at your Mistress."

She did, painfully. It brought her back.

"It’s over. I’m going to dress you like the Mord‘Sith you are and we’re going to walk out of here, go the baths, and then up to sleep like we do every other night."

Dahlia considered this, finding Cara was flicking away the last of the tears she had allowed to fall. "What about the lake?"

"They don‘t disappear overnight," Cara promised, "and neither will you."

"Cara?" Dahlia asked, as she sat up and her dirty hair was being quickly rebraided. "What if Lord Rahl intended for me to stay in the Underworld?"

"I don’t care, I would never leave you there," she said, "I love you."

***
 
 
Lexa
03 November 2010 @ 11:50 pm
For Her Favor, Pt. 6
Rating: NC-17
Pairings: Cara/Kahlan, Dahlia/Aven, OFC, OMC (memories of Cara/Kahlan/Dahlia)
Warnings: Extreme non-con, torture, Agiel violence, hurt/comfort, bdsm, gore, angst, Mord’Sith temper, domestic violence, evil!cara, language, multiple character deaths
Author’s Note: AU. And I’m sorry for that, Kahlan. I really love you.
Summary: Mistress Cara wants to own a Confessor. Dahlia wants to give her one.
Disclaimer: I only own my sickness. Not for profit, only for demented fun. Legend of the Seeker characters and depictions belong to Terry Goodkind, Disney and ABC Studios.
For Gizmo :D





Dahlia wished the cabin had a basement.

Thomas squirmed against his binds, certain his strength could rival Mistress Dahlia's carefully tied knots. Aven stood in front of him choppily, recalling being in Cara's chair, and therefore certain she knew only a fraction of his thoughts.

"Aven, don't look at her, help me," he was saying, darting his eyes back and from woman to woman and then back to his ropes and blistering wrists. "Spirits, help me! What's wrong with you?!"

Dahlia stood up from the crackling fireplace, indulging herself terribly by remaining close to it. "I want to wear my leather."

She would never say she was cold and sick or anything about the comfort and reassurance it brought.

"Of course, Mistress."

Thomas threw himself forward, believing with all his heart that if he could knock over the chair, he could somehow attack the Mord'Sith when she was turning him upright. He would be the hero in all of this. He smashed himself to the ground, landing on square on the side of his exasperated face and Dahlia didn't so much as flinch.

The shadows of the flames told frightening things about her face and the sordid intentions that lived behind it. She allowed him to stay like that, a fool, as Aven disappeared to fetch her things.

She placed her Agiel on the mantle, admiring it. "Do you see how she obeys?" Dahlia looked after her, though not nearly with the same reverence.

"She's not your dog!" Thomas roared, spitting at her.

"She certainly looks like one when she's on her hands and knees at my feet."

Thomas screamed out of guttural frustration, trying to free himself. Finally, his exerted roars formed into a desperate string of words. "What do you want from us?!"

Dahlia snickered against the mucus in her lungs. "Us? I hardly think you're in any position to concern yourself with anything that belongs to me."

Aven reappeared all at once hurrying toward Dahlia, balancing the pile of neatly folded leather topped with the belt in one palm and the other hand possessed Dahlia's boots clutched between delighted fingers. She seemed so excited about the prospect of dressing her Mistress that her face beamed a hundred separate shades of giddy and vibrant colors.

"You‘ve missed touching my leather, haven‘t you?"

"You look so beautiful in it."

"Proceed."

Dahlia never looked at men in other way but down upon them. The only exception, was of course, her Lord Darken Rahl. All males were so inferior to Him that Dahlia regarded even the seemingly best of them infinitely lower than her worst and most unattractive female pets and slaves.

Memories of killing her own father and watching his body grow cold as rats feasted on him meant nothing to her. She was always eager to strike them down whenever the opportunity presented itself, openly proclaiming that she would rather die than side with a man or allow one to please her in any way.

If there was any beauty to be had in people, she could only see glimpses of it in the women she possessed and the one woman she had allowed to possess her.

"Run, Aven!?! Get away from her!" Thomas howled as drool began to descend on the smooth sides of his crushed mouth.

Dahlia grinned through the pulsing batches of pain which began to grow heavy as she turned for Aven to untie the back of her wretched common dress. She couldn't wait to be free of it and all it imposed upon her. The idea of wearing such clothes for the rest of her life was unbearable, she thought, as the material fell down around her ankles and she kicked it harshly away.

She was no housewife. She would never tend a garden, wash a child's tiny cup or polish a man’s filthy shoes. She wanted to be a warrior fighting for a better world in the name of Lord Rahl and then sleep between the two women she loved at night. It was her dream. And it was gone.

Thomas didn't have the option of turning his head to avoid seeing the sensual power play but could've easily closed his eyes as Aven dutifully kneeled to help Dahlia into her cherished leather pants.

He stared bitterly as she purposely rubbed Dahlia's thighs too hard as she smoothed out the crinkles. The top part was easier as they both became more eager for the picture to be complete. The boots came next and Dahlia's smile grew almost as wide as Aven's once they lifted her to a more appropriate height.

Aven's hands were shaking, as they always did, when she belted a Mord'Sith.

Once Dahlia was dressed, she proudly holstered her Agiel just before the momentary fogginess of her ailments nearly robbed her of all her balance.

Aven groped at Dahlia‘s forehead, pressing both palms into it. "I think we should lie down. Your fever has gotten worse?!"

"It’s from the fire," Dahlia lied, sleeking down her stomach before airily presenting her hands to be gloved. Aven gawked down at them, all sense of her task forgotten.

Dahlia raised her eyebrow, stepping closer. "You want them?" She felt like herself again, and a certain pull of generosity was sorting itself within her for that.

Aven nodded greedily, distracted by the pristine condition in which Dahlia always kept her nails.

"You have a choice." The Mord’Sith sniffled groggily and turned briefly to Thomas, who had remained a silent voyeur to the entire scene. Dahlia wiggled her fingers as she turned back to Aven. "I’ll give you ten minutes with my hands or I’ll release him and allow you both leave together."

Thomas' eyes shimmered with hope. Freedom.

Aven looked at him as she took Dahlia's wrist so quickly that she almost interpreted it as an all-out attack. Aven kissed tenderly at those knuckles, her answer never more sure, as Dahlia tried to accept this gentle affection with as little spite as possible. Though she could handle the feel of it, she couldn’t watch it for very long. It was something Lord Rahl would do before shoving her down, chaining her up by any injury she may possess, and threatening to pour burning toxins down her throat if she didn’t satisfy him. When Cara couldn't find a way to be there, she almost always found a reason to be close enough so that when the door finally opened and Lord Rahl tossed her out, she could collapse wordlessly into her and be carried away to be mended.

Cara had made a similar offer of her hands once too, when they were much younger, and when the same choice was made, Dahlia found her face and upper body under siege by smacks and punches until she was so aroused and damaged that Cara's tongue barely needed to do anything at all to make her come. There were no tears, no cries to stop, no resentment over dominance. It had greatly impressed and amused Cara to no end, and Dahlia could never fully appreciate that ability within herself, until Kahlan.

Kahlan had, of course, adapted and recreated herself daily to bend to Dahlia's will as any good pet would. But true compatibility, or what many called love, involved so much more and remained a rare delicacy, even between Sisters. It was a mutual embrace of all things: desire, loyalty, weakness, power, beauty, joy, darkness, and meaning.

She had loved and still loved Cara completely, differently though, as different as one loves their spouse from their child.

The harder she tried to forget them, the more unforgettable they became. Though she told herself she had known it was inevitable, the idea of Cara possessing Kahlan had not gotten any easier the further she moved from them. Even as she jutted this gorgeous replica of Kahlan against the dirty wooden wall and enjoyed hearing her whine for her fingers and her Agiel, the totality of what she had left behind could currently only express itself in aggression.

She missed them, and it both saddened and angered her to think that they couldn't know the extent of just how much so.

"You would do anything for me, wouldn’t you?" Dahlia teased, her voice becoming more coarse and throaty as her illness began to progress. She avoided Aven’s mouth, not solely because she feared passing on her sickness, but because she wanted something greater. Her Agiel blushed the edges of Aven’s teeth as she panted and took it hard between her lips.

"You have to earn my Agiel, you know," Dahlia said, sweeping it damp down Aven’s front, a millimeter away from her skin. "Tell me again what Kahlan said. Say it like her."

Her tongue tormented Dahlia’s ear. "Only my Mistress touches me."

"Good, Kahlan," Dahlia soothed, bringing her Agiel under the dress, stopping it just sort of entering her, letting the magic collide softly with the air and vibrate more thoroughly. It was enough to make her drip and her skin whimper with sweat and frustration.

At the first rocky wave of pleasure, she dropped her head onto Dahlia’s shoulder, fearful of any expression that would betray the image of The Confessor as her body and mind surrendered in a unified bond.

Dahlia edged in the tip, careful not to mindlessly jab it into her regardless of how much it would please her. Her goal wasn’t to destroy her. This was Kahlan…

"I am yours. That will never change," she recounted wearily, groaning as Dahlia made the first thundering pound back and forth, testing her as it slid heavy in and even heavier out, soaked with juices and unashamed lust.

"I know," Dahlia breathed. "I know. It never has to." Her other hand deeply cradled the head in her shoulder before she had to move it down to grip the sultry thigh that pressed hard against her strong hip. She liked prying legs open. There was an definite art to it. A woman could be so weak when she wanted pleasure.

Thomas started to struggle again, a thousand times louder than before, so disturbed that all words and reason had left him and only physical survival instinct remained in tact for the moment.

Dahlia kept her firm handle, indulging herself in the way her Agiel sounded as it cried and she smacked it evenly and steadily into her Kahlan. She was taking it rougher and easier than ever before.

"I want you," she moaned, battering harder against the stiffness, overtaken by the sensuality of Dahlia’s hands pulling her hair and the magic stroking sorely and relentlessly at her clit as it came and went, each time sweetly pressing her closer to Dahlia, terrorizing her, and embracing her. It was fulfilling them.

"Where do you belong?" Dahlia asked, knowing her favorite part was coming fast, and so were they both.

The pain grew stronger as she anticipated the beauty of the response, the power of it and need for it. The Agiel slammed wildly, begging to be of service, and the grunts and exhales rose above them in a gratifying frenzy as they moved against one another and longingly, deeper into each other.

"Where do you belong?!" Dahlia screamed, consumed by the hateful truth of it.

"I," she panted, riding it faster, "I belong with my Mistress."

***

Cara crashed into the water, splashing through the stillness and calm, and the chill of it seeped through all her leather in one reckless wave. She grabbed Kahlan up by one slippery blue arm, losing it as instantly as she found it and watched helplessly as it disappeared back into the liquid darkness.

The Mord’Sith strained her muscles against the weight of the water and she, in a continued frenzy, at last managed to flip the Confessor onto her back, soaking her own hair and face in the process. It spilled across her a thousand times more eagerly than any blood ever could.

Kahlan's eyes were glued open, an expression of loaded sadness glazed each frosted pupil, and the left worse than the right. Her skin was whiter than the snow Cara had just trampled along and branches of reddened veins peeked subtly through Kahlan’s flesh, telling only of a slow, suffocating death.

Cara whined as she fought for a better handle on the larger body, both arms looping around Kahlan's shoulders, heavily dragging her backwards and towards the potential safety of the shore.

Once the tips of the Confessor's feet were on dry land, Cara bent down in unyielding panic, knowing very well she might be too late.

"No, no, no, no," she was saying as she gripped at her neck, furious at her carelessness, and positioned her mouth to dole out the Breath of Life.

It took willful concentration and an abject desire for success for it to properly work, if it could at all. As the bevy of magic gathered and swirled in her stomach and boiled up through her throat, she was thinking of Dahlia. Though she didn't pretend to understand exactly why, Kahlan had meant something to her. Regardless of how it displeased or ripped at her, the Confessor was currently her only remaining link to Dahlia's heart, to her teachings, and to the sentiment of their life that she was trying to preserve.

She wasn't going to lose her this way. She wasn't going to lose either of them. If for nothing more than it wasn't their time.

Cara felt the last of the magic drool off her plumped lower lip and dance undauntedly down Kahlan's tongue, dissolving inside of her. She kept their faces and bodies close, resting cheek to cheek, knowing Kahlan would at least need a portion of her fading body heat if she were to find her back to this world.

A very small and even more fleeting part of Cara wanted to apologize to Dahlia for this. She looked up, and told her.

A drowsy, passive movement coming from underneath her drew Cara's attention back to Kahlan‘s head. It was a breath. A hostile, uneven and unconvincing one, but it was a breath just the same and Cara would take it. She lifted herself onto all fours, peering down, and giving the Confessor's lungs room to expand and reanimate.

"That's it. Take it slow." She wiped some of the crystallized mud off Kahlan's chin, watching another quarter of the paleness recede. "Don't fight it, just nice and easy."

As Kahlan's eyes rolled forward, Cara gently eased her head to the side, allowing her to cough and spit up all the water that had been hungry for her finality and now remained cheated of it. Confusion was the prominent feature as Kahlan’s body tried shamelessly to fight for this second chance at existence.

She clutched Cara's waist, hugging her closely, pulling her back down onto her, worshipping her.

"You..." Kahlan whispered, swallowing down the coolness, "saved me?"

"I saved you," Cara affirmed, more gently than she had ever previously spoken to her. It startled them both. They both quickly looked away from each other. Cara watched a lone bird fly by, Kahlan caught a twinkle from the north star.

"You're so...warm," Kahlan finally exhaled, almost deliriously, as the bitter air flicked at her exposed skin, sucking down at her drenched white dress.

Cara curled the end of her mouth into a light smirk and, bringing Kahlan up with her, straightened herself to her feet. "Can you walk now?"

"Will you help me?"

"Yes."

The Confessor wrapped her arm around the Mord'Sith as they stalked forward as one overbearing entity. The noises of night had chimed up again, louder than ever, as they started back up to their camp. Kahlan focused more on not staring at Cara than she did on contemplating this stunning renewal of self or dodging the snowflakes that began to litter down upon them.

The Breath of Life had done something irreversible to them and it was felt first as tickles in their skin. They needed no conversation about it.

After what seemed like hours but spanned only minutes, Cara finally returned them to their horses and perched Kahlan softly against the sturdy tree that bore Brock's reins. Kahlan watched confoundedly as the bags were unpacked with the bedroll first, and Cara threw it into the air and let it uncurl itself and flutter down into a perfect shape. It suddenly reminded Cara of how her mother used to spread out picnic blankets in hot fields of orchids when she was a baby. It was a strange thing to overtake her so suddenly, for she had not consciously thought of that fair-haired woman’s gentle face in years nor had she ever planned to again.

Kahlan blinked a few times as an enchanting, deepening glow began to rise from the top of Cara's head, then from her blushed cheeks, her eyes, nose, mouth, hair, arms, until it radiated around her entire being. Upon seeing this, Kahlan looked around suspiciously, wondering if this was some trick, some beginning of an awful wizard's game as Cara finished up and obliviously moved toward her.

As the Confessor’s heart began to remember the sustaining rhythm of steady beats, it inexplicably began to burn for this Mord'Sith. She put her hand over it heavily as if this could somehow still it, and purge her of this irrationality. She couldn't help but half wonder if this was what Confession actually felt like, whatever that really was.

It was almost as if Cara had thrown ten blankets over her instead of just the lonely one on the ground. She no longer shivered from the pain of the air, nor flinched at the thought of the night ahead.

"Do you like being alive?" Cara asked, genuinely interested, as she began to unlace the front of Kahlan’s sopping dress. She quickly brought the fabric over her head and ruined any chance of an answer.

Kahlan nodded, astonished to realize the depth of just how much so, as her dress was tossed blindly aside. She backed hard into the tree, reaching her hands behind it and holding herself breathlessly to it's trunk. She braced herself for some horrifying punishment, knowing she'd be stretched into another unimaginably degrading position so Mistress Cara could relish and prove her ownership.

"You were trying to escape me?" Cara ventured softly, placing her knee between the Confessor's legs to spread them, steadying her by the hips, preferring to feel her black leather bodice.

Her gaze began penetrating worse than hands or a mouth could ever dare to.

"I wanted to be with my Mistress," Kahlan wailed apologetically, feeling an essential piece of herself disintegrating forever.

"Give me your hands."

She fearfully gave them.

Bringing them calmly to her own neckpiece, Cara reminded her, "Dahlia isn't in the Underworld."

Kahlan unstrung the first line of damp ties with tears fumbling around her eyelids. "She is," she squeaked lowly, "and if she isn't, she doesn't want us."

The statement had disarmed her, stripped her of all her venom until all that remained of Cara in this moment was scrunched eyes and a furrowed brow as she stared into the Confessor, not knowing what to make of her or her words. Part of her wanted to strap Kahlan into this very spot, hatefully fuck her until she was sated and leave her there for the worsening elements to finish her off. Another piece of her only wanted consolation, while another ached for discipline and revenge.

No one escaped her and no one other than herself should think of Dahlia.

Cara dropped her eyes, and when she brought them back up, they were different. They were grieved. "She thought I wanted her dead."

Kahlan had never heard Cara whisper before. She let the neckpiece fall to the ground, hypnotized by the sound. "No," she admitted, "she didn't."

Cara didn't viciously strike her for the act as she'd expected, only tilted her head in question, drawing closer to the reborn body and, needing desperately to know. She had never known anything like this consequence for leaving so many things unknown and unanswered. It was different from punishment in that it seemed so very eternal.

"She wanted something impossible," Kahlan explained.

"Say it!" Cara demanded impatiently, suddenly interested in clutching the Rada'Han in order to keep that wobbly head upright.

Something was too well hidden in the blue of Kahlan’s eyes. "I can't."

"Speak or I will drown you again where you stand. I don't need a river to do it."

Kahlan bit her lip, considering her options. Finally, she gulped, and the words stung like embers as they traveled. "She came to me before she left."

"She came…to you?"

Cara was waiting for more. She would never get away from that look unless she finished.

"She talked about love," Kahlan mumbled uncomfortably. "It’s what she wanted…for us."

"You know nothing!" Cara spat, taking a giant step back, cutting all contact between them.

Kahlan didn't know herself as she reached out at the loss, only to have her hands dismissed and slapped back down.

Cara wanted to call her a worthless slave, a lousy fuck, a cheap body that mildly entertained her at times…but something stopped her all at once in a manner that both troubled and puzzled her. Some shred of belief that perhaps the Confessor could be more than those things, even if just for minutes at a time, began to overcome her.

Cara turned around violently as if she sensed some ghastly predator was moving in behind her. She crossed her arms and stayed like that, even as a rogue breeze slivered through the barren tree and hit her in the back, knocking her slightly forward.

For the first time ever, she looked vulnerable to Kahlan. And so excruciatingly beautiful.

"Are..." Kahlan started, unsure, "...you still hungry?"

Cara shook her head, once. "You may finish undressing me."

Kahlan obeyed quickly, relieved that their longest wordplay seemed to be over. She couldn't trust what happening to them. Any attraction to Cara was born out of a longing and misplaced need for her Mistress, she pitifully told herself, as the leather came off and she found herself staring. She tugged at her own leather underthings, gambling that it'd be alright to strip it off and hang it next to Mistress Cara's.

She left her Confessor's dress on the soggy ground, deciding not to risk moving it from where Cara believed it should be.

Cara let down her hair and shook it all loose. Kahlan’s mouth went dry before she could turn away and take a shallow, reactionary breath. It probably just reminded her of Dahlia's.

They laid beside one another on their backs, and Cara brought the two thick fur blankets over them before she turned away on her side but wouldn't close her eyes just yet. Dahlia hated being cold, they both thought separately in unison. Cara recalled how it always made Dahlia sick with fever. Many wizards had been snuck into their bedchamber over the years just to cure her. She would take her hand and promise her relief was in sight. She could take so much pain.

After many long, tense moments, Cara heard a soft voice over her shoulder. "Should I sleep now?"

Cara reached around and found where Kahlan's arms and hands rested and brought them around her own body, twisting Kahlan to spoon her. Dahlia always preferred sleeping this way. It belonged to them. Even though she often pushed Dahlia away in the middle of her dreams, they always attempted to maintain that position nevertheless night after beautiful night. One day, they would get it right, they thought.

Cara sharpened her thumbnail with one of her bottom teeth. "I would never love someone like you. Never. Do you understand?"

"Yes...Mis...Mistress."

***

Dahlia sat on the edge of the bed, thinking, as she looked at the blood on her bare hands. She had coughed up so much of it. She wiped a layer of sweat from her clammy cheeks and burning head and called for Aven. It was hurting just to breathe now.

Aven appeared nearly instantly at the doorway, and for a brief moment, Dahlia had to restrain herself from screaming how she wanted Cara. She wanted to break windows, punch walls, and beg for her.

"The soup’s ready," Aven said, ignoring the severity of Dahlia’s appearance. She cupped the bowl devotedly with both hands.

"Forget all that and come here."

She set the food on the stand next to the bed and sat beside Dahlia, putting one hand on her back. "I was wrong to want to stop here."

Dahlia covered her own mouth, willing the pain to subside for a minute so she could speak. "You will have to keep moving," she said. "I’ve kept Thomas alive for you. Take him if you think he won‘t kill you. He probably knows these mountains. Or, just go."

Aven stared out the window. The white made everything seem brighter. "No. You’re going to be fine. No."

"This is no time for defiance!" Dahlia boomed, knocking Aven off the bed and down to her marred knees.

A strong, calculated blow to the face was fast to refresh her memory. “You do as I say. If it pleases me, I would watch with my dying breath as I have you fucked to death by your little boyfriend."

"Stop! What are you doing to her?!" Thomas yelled from the front room. He was breaking, crying, crumbled.

As Aven recovered herself on the floor, gasping and ashamed she had forgotten her place, Dahlia took a sip from the soup.

"It’s not hot enough." The remainder of it was thrown indignantly into Aven’s face, and Dahlia was satisfied at last, knowing some remnants of Cara were never far.

Trembling, Aven laid her throbbing and soaking head in her Mistress’ lap. "You would never make Kahlan leave you."


***

Cara didn’t like the way Kahlan braided her hair. It was too slow, too hesitant, too loose. As the faint orange sun began rising against the cold somewhere around them and out of view, Cara sat on a large rock with Kahlan kneeling behind her, redoing the braid for the third time in silence.

It wasn’t perfect, but it was better.

Kahlan stayed knelt, her eyes lowered. She thought maybe if she could avoid Cara’s face, everything would be okay. They would be riding again towards Dahlia soon, and not in opposite directions, and while every minute counted, they both remained still.

"Is that alright? Are you pleased?"

Cara didn't care her tone either. It wasn't as disrespectful as it was forced.

"Off your knees." She always reveled in giving that specific command, no matter her mood.

Kahlan took an imaginary deep breath and got up, rounded the rock to face Cara, clasping her hands in front of her. It was the opposite of how Dahlia would stand before her. The Mord’Sith’s eyes started at the Confessor’s feet, and climbed the length of her legs, up her stomach, chest, Rada‘Han. She stopped at the lips, refusing to go further. There was no need and absolutely nothing there she wanted.

Cara spread her legs, leaning back casually, keeping herself propped up by both her elbows.

"Do I know what I want?"

Kahlan shook her head, though she had an idea.

"A little gratitude. For the Breath of Life. It took work, you know."

A tiny, meek chuckle escaped Kahlan’s mouth. She immediately tried to stifle it, to take it back. Perhaps it was the way the Mord’Sith had chosen the words, or the subtle sarcasm that lurked somewhere beneath her greenest stare as she narrowed her eyes. Maybe there was something suddenly comical and forgivable about the fact that Kahlan wasn’t quite as disgusting as Cara had always insisted.

Either way, Kahlan had just spent the morning washing her, dressing her, braiding her, and fearing her. And it had all apparently been in vain.

"I hate the way you laugh," Cara said, reaching out and pulling Kahlan down on top. Though the words were cruel, they almost sounded like a compliment.

Kahlan was caught off guard by the sudden change in Cara's level of brutality. As the Mord'Sith held her once again on top by her waist, there was a softness in the pads of her fingers, and they didn't bruise her like they had the day before on that horrible ground. She was making a point, Kahlan realized, that gratefulness was rewarded.

"Show me you're worthy of what I gave you."

Not daring nor bold enough to approach Cara’s face, Kahlan kissed warmly at her neck, knowing that if it was wrong, she would be violently corrected soon enough. Her skin tasted different than it usually did, more like steel and wild fruit and Kahlan liked those things. Even Cara's hair smelt like a dozen exotic summer plants and it looked so brilliantly golden, and she found herself touching it again and taking it in, even though she wasn't directly ordered to do so.

Even as Cara felt confident enough to remove the grip she held on the back of her neck, Kahlan kept at it hungrily, her tongue sliding along Cara’s chilled cheek, across her parted lips, her earlobe. She waited until Cara was ready to open her mouth and share her mouth slowly. It was Dahlia‘s work. It was overwhelmingly beautiful.

"Thank you for bringing me here," Kahlan whispered strangely, once she found an dynamically sensitive area around Cara’s ear.

Cara nodded, sitting up, keeping Kahlan in her lap. "Don’t make me regret it. Now hug me."

***

It only took a couple days for things to get from bad to worse inside the cabin. Aven put a big bowl of water out for Thomas, which he insisted on knocking over every time after the first couple sips. She checked his ropes every now and then, but her mind was always on Dahlia.

When she wasn’t lying beside her, Aven stood primarily at the window near the bed, hoping to catch anything that resembled Mistress Cara coming down off the steep trail just as they had. The arduous twilight began to do things to her eyes. Helpless things. They were constantly filled with sorrow now.

"Kahlan?" Dahlia asked raggedly, barely moving her mouth. Aven turned from her post, coming to kneel at her side.

Aven's slow, involved tears energized into a full on assault as they poured disbelievingly from her. The hurt over being called another woman's name was the furthest thing from her mind. Mistress was dying.

"Yes, Mistress, can I hold you?" she sniffled, covering her face. Mistress Dahlia would never let her cry like this.

Dahlia nodded fragilely, breathlessly, as Aven climbed into bed and pulled Dahlia onto her chest like a thin coat of armor.

"Cara," Dahlia whispered, looking around darker into the delirium. "Where is she?" The voice was so hushed that Aven had to press her ear directly on Dahlia's lips to hear her.

"She's coming," Aven promised, squeezing her. "She still loves you. She can’t help it."

"I forgive her," she said, her eyes fluttering, her skin become duller. "I wish she was here."

"Just hold on for her, we need you."

"I will."

There were a million things she wanted to say to her Mistress. She yearned to tell how she was sorry she could not save her, that she had not fulfilled her promise to Mistress Denna, and above all, how she regretted beyond anything else in her entire life that she was neither Mord'Sith nor the Mother Confessor when it counted the most.

Now she would be totally alone, hunted by Mistress Cara, and blamed for this. She didn't care. She just wanted Dahlia to live. She kissed her forehead, all around her lovely and stubborn mouth. There would never be another quite like it.

Aven continuing weeping so hard into Dahlia that she didn't see anything else, including the shadow moving stoically and concisely across the walls. An unwelcome hand gripped her, tugged forcefully at her.

She looked up, more numb than horrified or shocked, to see Thomas' wild eyes darting between her and the small hunting knife he firmly clutched.

Aven threw away his touch like it was a mosquito sucking down her blood.

"Get away from me," she hissed softly, her attention drawn instantly back to Dahlia, and the concentration it took to properly caress her.

"You're coming with me," Thomas said with more than confidence he knew. Dahlia's labored breaths were feeding him more and more rage each and every time they passed through her.

Aven said nothing to him, and focused all her love completely on Dahlia's face. "My Mistress..."

She didn't see Thomas move around to the other side of bed until it was too late, until his knife was high above the Mord'Sith, and hungry to come down and end this once and for all.

Aven shrieked, sounding somewhere between a child and a wolf, and lunged to block it, calling upon even the strength she had in the very tips of her toes. Thomas didn't falter against the struggle and pierced the blade into Aven's shoulder as she valiantly covered Dahlia's body with every inch her own.

Digging it down to it's hilt and savagely pulling it back, Thomas couldn't stop with the knife. He just wouldn’t. He had to free the woman he thought he loved.

Dahlia opened her eyes halfway as the third gash tore through Aven's back muscles. What Thomas didn't know about Mistress Dahlia was that, if she couldn’t die in battle, she at least preferred to die with her Agiel honorably in hand. She would get to have one last dance with it.

She pounded it freely into Thomas' thigh, costing him to bend into her, where she dug the pulse of her rightful power directly into his heart. A sharp, weighted thud below assured her she had won. Aven gurgled warm blood all over her chest as they returned to their embrace.

Dahlia found the adrenaline had produced a single sobering moment of clarity. "Don't fear this, Aven, you've served me well. Close your eyes, I'll bring you back..."

She smiled peacefully, resting her head on her Mistress, never prouder.

Dahlia knew her body would never conjure the Breath of Life as she listened to Aven take her last.

She died right there with one single thought about her wounds: Most of it is not from my Mistress-- she loves me.

***