Author's Note: So this is my first Inuyasha fic, I'm kind of excited. I've been meaning to for a while but inspiration never actually struck. My muses are fickle things. The basis of this story is somewhat taken from Kushiel's Dart but the plot will be different and I won't be taking very much from it at all. It was just something to spring board off of. So I hope you enjoy.
The best way of letting me know if you do is to review. Keep that in mind.
The Path of Pins
When love cast me out, it was cruelty who took pity on me.
-Jacqueline Carey, Kushiel's Dart
When the poets speak of me, it is my beauty they speak of. Hair the color of night, a black so true if reflects blue, stark contrast against the ivory plains of my face and the perfect sapphires of my eyes. They do not, however, speak of my humble beginnings.
My parents gave me a name, Kagome, and a face that bred desire but naught else. I was born to a merchant; my mother was what all women are, his property. There was little time to spare on a child, a daughter. Even for all that, I remember that they loved each other, I remember eyes the color of forest pools in shadow gazing at a woman with flowers in her dark hair.
But love is not coin nor is it the shrewdness that is required for a trader to make his fortune. We traveled with a merchant train, the roads long and dull for a small child and my kindest memory of my first home was of my grandfather. A man, gray haired and stooped with age, who smiled when I pulled at his mustache. He spun tales of the grand adventures of princes in love and demons who could be noble or evil. Even now I smile to remember.
An honorable man, my father, but his purse was not deep and between mercenaries and brigands he traded at a loss. So when I was five and my mother's belly swelled with another child our house fell out of favor. My father begged for another chance from the head of our village but he was not a fool and my father had already cost him much, so he stipulated that for the gold that he paid for my father's merchant train my father would have to put up his own coin as well.
Our family's wealth was modest to begin with and with the turbulence of the age it could not last long. Four mouths are hard enough to feed, and with another on the way, what was their choice? I was a daughter with no hope of being anything more then another burden and they hoped that this new life would be a son. Someone to carry the name and to build my father's dwindling wealth.
And I, I was their only commodity worth selling.
My mother cried that day, eyes the same shade as my own drowning in tears but she did not speak out against it as my father lifted me to his horse. My grandfather was the only one who did not approve but that was all he could do. My last glimpse of home a mother who would not meet my eyes and a grandfather too angry to hold her. I don't remember the ride save my father's hands, white knuckled on the reigns, and that the end of it was a palace.
I was their daughter and they wouldn't sell me at an auction like a true slave, though that was what I was. Instead they took me to the Lord that ruled their lands, the second greatest house of our fractured country, hoping that they would take pity. He led me, my tiny hand pale against the tan of his own that seemed to swallow it, to the center of the house where a man waited pillows strewn about him as he lounged.
My first impression was of cold eyes, narrowed as I was brought before him. My second was hair wavy and black hanging down the length of his back, one section lifted away from his face. He was beautiful, and even as a child it struck me. My father spoke then of his plight, the failed caravans, the child still in my mother's womb, and his last chance to bring honor back to his name.
And as my father's voice ran dry the man before us moved one hand. Not lifted, not quite; a pair of fingers. "Bring her here."
So we came forward, my father did not tremble but he was stiff even as he bent one knee and I with the fearlessness that comes with youth. He lifted my chin with one finger and surveyed my features, they echoed my mother's carved in miniature perfection and she is said to have been a beauty. His eyes fell on my own and I saw something spark there, before he turned to my father.
"You have served in my armies, yes?"
"Yes, my lord."
"Do not let it be said that I do not reward loyalty, and she is a comely child we may find something for her to do when she grows older." He named a sum then, and my father gasped and I watched as his hands shook.
"My lord—" my father began.
The lord cut him off with a gesture. "My terms are this; you will tell no one. As far as the world is to know that child you sire in three months time will be your first. I do not want it said that my home is the refuge for the unwanted get on my vassals."
"That is not—"
"That is my offer." His voice was cold as he stared at my father. "We will take her in, raise her as our own. The price paid for her will afford her some respect, I can offer her that much. What can you offer her?"
My father turned to me then, the only clear memory I have of him, that last one. The dark brown eyes, searching my own, and the hard line of his mouth as he studied my face.
He stood, releasing my hand. "She is yours then."
I turned to see the man nod, a gesture bringing a servant to his side. "Bring the money for the man." It came quickly and I watched as a purse was thrown into my father's hands. Quickly he spilt some of the bag's contents into his hand, a dangerous thing to do in front of the lord, but with the nature of the transaction he could not dare to do less. The picture is seared into my memory with shame. A price was put on my head; even as a child I realized this. A number of gold disks counted out to equal my worth, as I had seen my own mother do for a fan once. They were pretty, yes, and numerous to be sure but the meaning behind them still remained.
With that my father was gone. Do I resent them? My family. I can't, what I have become I could never have achieved under their roof, though sometimes I wonder whether that is a good thing.
"You will now be known as Kagome Higurashi." The name, that wasn't wholly my own, was said softly and I faced my new master, though I did not understand it then. "My servant, Kagura, will take you to your new rooms." A woman glided from behind a shoji screen, hands clasped before her and head bowed. Her hair was swept up onto her head, intricately styled with pins and combs, and the eyes that met mine were tinged red, but all I could think of was the beauty of her face and the way she took my hand gently in her own.
"Come," she said soothingly in a voice like music. "Your home will not be so bad here."
My new master was Naraku Higurashi, and though the world may curse his name and, I admit, I have known both cruelty and pain at his hands I love him even now, a little. He gave me his name and when the very ones who bore me cast me from them he took me in and gave me a home. And, above all, he was the hand that shaped me, the one who made of me a musician who could play exquisite music upon the flesh of princes and kings, and he taught me what it was to think.