Temple of the Winds: Book Four of 'The Sword of Truths'

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Macmillan, Sep 15, 1997 - Fiction - 528 pages
61 Reviews

On the red moon will come the firestorm...

Wielding the Sword of Truth, Richard Rahl has battled death itself and come to the defense of the D'Haran people. But now the power-mad Emperor Jagang confronts Richard with a swift and inexorable foe: a mystical plague cutting a deadly swath across the land and slaying thousands of innocent victims.

To quench the inferno, he must seek remedy in the wind...

To fight it Richard and his beloved Kahlan Amnell will risk everything to uncover the source of the terrible plague-the magic sealed away for three millennia in the Temple of the Winds.

Lightning will find him on that path...

But when prophecy throws the shadow of betrayal across their mission and threatens to destroy them, Richard must accept the Truth and find a way to pay the price the winds demand...or he and his world will perish.

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - Virago77 - LibraryThing

Okay, what to say without spoiling? This was a great story. I was never really sure what was going to happen next and whose side some characters were on, which is not easy to do. I can usually figure ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - Archmage - LibraryThing

Struggled through this one, and ended up skimming most of it. Having not really enjoyed the last two (after quite enjoying the first), this is where I gave up this series. Richard became more and more ... Read full review

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About the author (1997)

CHAPTER 1


Let me kill him," Cara said, her boot strikes sounding like rawhide mallets hammering the polished marble floor.
The supple leather boots Kahlan wore beneath her elegant, white Confessor''s dress whispered against the cold stone as she tried to keep pace without letting her legs break into a run.
"No."
Cara exhibited no response, keeping her blue eyes ahead to the wide corridor stretching into the distance. A dozen leather- and chain-mail-clad D''Haran soldiers, their unadorned swords sheathed, or crescent-bladed battle-axes hooked on belt hangers, crossed at an intersection just ahead. Though their weapons weren''t drawn, every wooden hilt was gripped in a ready fist as vigilant eyes scrutinized the shadows among the doorways and columns to each side. Their hasty bows toward Kahlan only briefly interrupted their attention to their task.
"We can''t just kill him," Kahlan explained. "We need answers."
An eyebrow lifted over one icy blue eye. "Oh, I didn''t say he wouldn''t give us answers before he dies. He will answer any question you have when I''m finished with him." A mirthless smile ghosted across her flawless face. "That is the job of a Mord-Sith: getting people to answer questions"--she paused as the smile returned to widen with professional satisfaction--"before they die."
Kahlan heaved a sigh. "Cara, that''s no longer your job--your life. Your job now is to protect Richard."
"That is why you should let me kill him. We should not take a risk by letting this man live."
"No. We first have to find out what''s going on, and we''re not going to start out doing it the way you want."
Cara''s smile, humorless as it was, had vanished again. "As you wish, Mother Confessor."
Kahlan wondered how the woman had managed to change into her skintight red leather outfit so fast. Whenever there was so much as a whiff of trouble, at least one of the three Mord-Sith seemed to materialize out of nowhere in her red leather. Red, as they often pointed out, didn''t show blood.
"Are you sure he said that, this man? Those were his words?"
"Yes, Mother Confessor, his exact words. You should let me kill him before he has a chance to try to bring them to pass."
Kahlan ignored the repeated request as they hurried on down the hall. "Where''s Richard?"
"You wish me to get Lord Rahl?"
"No! I just want to know where he is, in case there''s trouble."
"I would say that this qualifies as trouble."
"You said that there must be two hundred soldiers holding weapons on him. How much trouble can one man cause with all those swords, axes, and arrows pointed at him?"
"My former master, Darken Rahl, knew that steel alone could not always ward danger. That is why he had Mord-Sith nearby and at the ready."
"That evil man would kill people without even bothering to determine if they were really a danger to him. Richard isn''t like that, and neither am I. You know that if there is a true threat, I''m not shy about eliminating it; but if this man is more than he seems, then why is he so timidly cowering before all that steel? Besides, as a Confessor I am hardly defenseless against threats that steel won''t stop.
"We have to keep our heads. Let''s not start leaping to judgments that may be unwarranted."
"If you don''t think he could be trouble, then why am I nearly running to just keep up with you?"
Kahlan realized that she was a half a step ahead of the woman. She slowed her pace to a brisk walk. "Because it''s Richard we''re talking about," she said in a near whisper.
Cara smirked. "You''re as worried as I."
"Of course I am. But for all we know, killing this man, if he is more than he seems, could be springing a snare."
"You could be right, but that is the purpose for Mord-Sith."
"So, where is Richard?"
Cara gripped the red leather at her wrist and stretched her armor-backed glove tighter onto her hand as she flexed her fist. Her Agiel, an awesome weapon that appeared to be nothing more than a finger-width foot-long red leather rod, dangled from a fine gold chain at her right wrist, ever at the ready. One just like it, but no weapon in Kahlan''s hands, hung on a chain around Kahlan''s neck. It had been a gift from Richard, a gift that symbolized the pain and sacrifice they had both endured.
"He is out behind the palace, in one of the private parks." Cara gestured over her shoulder. "The one that way. Raina and Berdine are with him."
Kahlan was relieved to hear that the other two Mord-Sith were watching over him. "Something to do with his surprise for me?"
"What surprise?"
Kahlan smiled. "Surely he''s told you, Cara."
Cara snatched a glimpse out of the corner of her eye. "Of course he has told me."
"Then what is it?"
"He also told me not to tell you."
Kahlan shrugged. "I won''t tell him that you told me."
Cara''s laugh, like her smile before, bore no humor. "Lord Rahl has a peculiar way of finding out things, especially those things you wish him not to know."
Kahlan knew the truth of that. "So what''s he doing out there?"
The muscles in Cara''s jaw flexed. "Outdoor things. You know Lord Rahl; he likes to do outdoor things."
Kahlan glanced over to see that Cara''s face had turned nearly as red as her leather outfit. "What sort of outdoor things?"
Cara cleared her throat into her armored fist. "He is taming chipmunks."
"He''s what? I can''t hear you."
Cara waved an impatient hand. "He said that the chipmunks have come out to test the warming weather. He is taming them." Her cheeks rounded as she huffed. "With seeds."
Kahlan smiled at the thought of Richard, the man she loved, the man who had seized command of D''Hara, and had much of the Midlands now eating out of his hand, having a fine afternoon teaching chipmunks to eat seeds out of his hand.
"Well, that sounds innocent enough--feeding seeds to chipmunks."
Cara flexed her armored fist again as they swept between two D''Haran guards. "He is teaching them to eat those seeds," she said through clenched teeth, "out of Raina and Berdine''s hands. The two of them were giggling!" She aimed a mortified expression toward the ceiling as she threw her hands up. Her Agiel swung on the gold chain at her wrist. "Mord-Sith--giggling!"
Kahlan pressed her lips tight, trying to keep from breaking into laughter. Cara pulled her long blond braid forward, over her shoulder, stroking it in a way that provoked in Kahlan an unsettling memory of the way Shota, the witch woman, stroked her snakes.
"Well," Kahlan said, trying to cool the other woman''s indignation, "maybe it''s not by their choice. They are bonded to him. Perhaps Richard ordered it, and they''re simply obeying him."
Cara shot her an incredulous look. Kahlan knew that any of the three Mord-Sith would defend Richard to the death--they had shown themselves prepared to sacrifice their lives without hesitation--but though they were bonded to him through magic, they disregarded his orders wantonly if they judged them trivial, unimportant, or unwise. Kahlan imagined that it was because Richard had given them their freedom from the rigid principles of their profession, and they enjoyed exercising that freedom. Darken Rahl, their former master, Richard''s father, would have killed them in a heartbeat had he even suspected that they were considering disobeying his orders, no matter how trivial they were.
"The sooner you wed Lord Rahl the better. Then, instead of teaching chipmunks to eat out of Mord-Sith hands, he will be eating out of yours."
Kahlan exhaled in a soft, lilting laugh, thinking about being his wife. It wouldn''t be long, now. "Richard will have my hand, but you should know as well as anyone that he will not be eating out of it--and I wouldn''t want him to."
"If you regain your senses, come see me, and I will teach you how." Cara turned her attention to the alert D''Haran soldiers. Men at arms were rushing everywhere, checking every hall and looking behind every door, no doubt at Cara''s insistence.
"Egan is with Lord Rahl, too. He should be safe while we see to this man."
Kahlan''s mirth withered. "How did he get in here, anyway? Did he come in with the petitioners?"
"No." A professional chill settled back into Cara''s tone. "But I intend to find out. From what I gather, he just walked up to a patrol of guards not far from the council chambers and asked where he could find Lord Rahl, as if just anyone can walk in and ask to see the Master of D''Hara, as if he was a head butcher that anyone can go to if they want a choice cut of mutton."
"That''s when the guards asked him why he wanted to see Richard?"
Cara nodded. "I think we should kill him."
Realization wormed up Kahlan''s spine in a cold tingle. Cara wasn''t simply an aggressive bodyguard, unconcerned about spilling the blood of others--she was afraid. She was afraid for Richard.
"I want to know how he got in here. He presented himself to a patrol inside the palace; he shouldn''t have been able to get inside, wandering around unfettered. What if we have a hitherto-unknown breach in security? Wouldn''t it be better to find out before another comes without the courtesy of announcing himself?"
"We can find out if you let me do it my way."
"We don''t know enough yet; he could end up dead before we find out anything, then the danger to Richard could become greater."
"All right," Cara said with a sigh, "we will do it your way, as long as you understand that I have orders to follow."
"What orders?"
"Lord Rahl told us to protect you as we would protect him." With a toss of her head, Cara flicked her blond braid back over her shoulder. "If you are not careful, Mother Confessor, and n