Chapter 1: Memories

Something didn't smell right; it was a familiar smell but not enough so to place. Crawling out of bed, Kagome made her way out into the hall. The guards at the door gave her slight nods as she passed and continued on their watch. Padding barefoot on the cold stone she made her way through the twisting halls to her parents room.

It was as she was arriving that she heard it: the single blood-curling scream. Turning around and running back for her and her brother's room she heard her parents door burst open, and her father barreled past her followed closely by her mother. When she arrived in front of her room no one in the crowd noticed the little five-year-old girl in a yellow silk nightgown pushing forward, because if they had they would certainly have tried to save her from the sight she witnessed next.
The two guards who had been at the door lay with their throats slit, blood pooling on the floor. Shocked Kagome entered the room to see her mother weeping, and clutching at her father's feet while four guards wiped off their swords. "We got them my lord." "Good. Now get them out of my sight." The guards began to haul the bodies of two grown demons out of the room. Dodging out of the way Kagome saw what she had not noticed before, the corpse that lay in the bed of her little brother who she had left asleep moments before. No one saw her; no one heard her, and no one saved her when her father made her 'die' too.
Kagome shot up her purple skin soaked in a cold sweat. A memory that was all it was just a memory. 'Events must be confronted at the time not after, other wise they distract you. And I can't risk being distracted now more then ever.' Kagome glanced out her window toward the thin line on the horizon. 'Dawn.' Pulling off her thin blanket she placed her feet on the stone floor of her room in the palace barracks and rubbed a hand over her face. "I'm even in the wrong place for those memories. That happened in the old winter castle, not here."

Kagome's black hair fell across her back and pooled around her as she sat, though if she had been standing it would have reached to just below her backside. Kagome's blue black eyes stared into space as she absentmindedly traced the dark blue lines on her face; she had one small dash along each of her cheekbones and another set going along her eyes in a thin line like eyeliner only to flare out as they reached the corner of her eye to connect.

A loud rumble snapped her back to reality and a small smile spread across Kagome's lips. "I really am ruled by my stomach." Kagome said to the air while standing up and stretching. "Wonder what's for breakfast?" The dinning hall was empty except for a few other early risers. Kagome dressed for training made her way to grab a bowl of rice pudding before settling in beside her second in command Sango a former Taijiya. The two sat in companionable silence until they had finished eating at which point Sango turned to her and asked, "Are we really going today?" Kagome nodded.
Today they were to leave for the western lands. Kagome's mother Leiko had been trying to negotiate a peace between east and west for months and finally they had come to an agreement. Young Lord Sesshomaru ruler of the western lands would become the mate of Kikyo the heir to the east.
Kagome stood up and headed for the dojo, she wanted to train before the soldiers began to arrive and Sango followed her lead. All of Kagome's men were already there and training hard. Each one was intensely loyal and determined to do their best for who they knew to be the true heir. The only two women in the group of assassins temporarily turned bodyguards Sango and Kagome headed for the middle of the dojo. Turning to face one another they bowed and began to spar.
Kagome let her instincts take over as she thought over what had happened to her in the last 200 years since her twin brother's death. Kikyo just two at the time had still been in the nursery. Her father in order to protect her told everyone that Kagome had died too and since the entire province was grieving no one ever thought to question the arrival of a young girl in the ranks.
She had excelled in all the tasks given her, both physical and mental; in fact it was throwing herself into these tasks that let her keep her sanity at all. Her mother had been to distraught at the time to even notice that her daughter's body was not there and had easily believed her husband's lie about Kagome's death for many years.

It had been while watching her brother's body burn that her father had lost control. The battle between the lands had caused the Inu to cross the final line. Ryuukotsusei lost his mind that day and transforming into his magnificent form had traveled to the west. They heard soon after that he had killed the Inutaisho but had been sealed to a cliff face in the processes.

Kagome had often dreamt that she would free him one day when she was strong enough though those dreams had been shattered almost a year ago when word came that the dead Inutaisho's hanyou son had killed him. Her father's insanity was the only thing that could have allowed something like that to happen. Knowing she had to be strong for her family she had gone and informed her mother of her existence.

Kagome snapped out of her reverie to look at the young boy who was trying so hard to gain her attention. "Ma'am, Lady Leiko would like to see you in her study." Kagome nodded her acknowledgement and the boy went scurrying off.

Walking out of the dojo Kagome headed to were she was supposed to be. Many wouldn't dare enter Lady Leiko's presence covered in sweat but Kagome dare not keep her mother waiting on today of all days.

Inside the study was cool and dark, books lined the walls and expensive rugs covered the floors. The room held none of the warmth it had when she was small and she shivered remembering with sadness that it had always had fresh flowers filling the vases and the curtains draw open before. Her mother sat behind the desk in one of her most elegant kimonos looking over papers pretending not to be as anxious as she was.

"Lady Leiko, you asked to see me?" Her mother looked up and gave one of her charming smiles, "Kagome no one else is here. Call me mother." "Yes mother." When Kagome had confessed to her mother her identity, her mother had gone odd. She began to make notes and to plot; it wasn't until later that Kagome found out it was revenge she was plotting.

"I've sent the proper uniforms to your group as we speak. You and Sango shall go as Kikyo's maids so as to keep a close watch on the girl. I don't want her screwing things up thank the Kami she is ignorant of our plans." Leiko's voice was smooth and level though anyone who had heard her speak while truly calm would know she was no where near such a state now.

"Remember you are to guard your sister. If anything should go terribly wrong before the mating ceremony kill Sesshomaru. Otherwise we do nothing until after she has born him his first child. Then we kill him and the babe."

Kagome didn't entirely agree with this plan but she remembered how useless it was to argue with her mother, and nodded. "Now go my daughter. You leave at noon." Kagome frowned. "Why noon?" Leiko looked at her as though Kagome had grown a second head. "Because your little sister needs her beauty sleep before meeting her future husband." She said as though it were the most obvious thing in the world. Kagome bowed and left, she did not want anymore of a description of the life of ladies. The thought of how she could have turned out sent a shiver down her spine.

Bathing quickly Kagome found a maid's uniform in her room. Changing into the reasonably well made white cotton kimono she left her room to seek out her group. Giving the air a quick sniff she headed off to the dinning hall where her men were now eating.

They all were dressed in their new guard uniforms and all looked intensely unhappy about it. "Good morning boys." Kagome called and leaned against the wall just inside the heavy oak doors. Miroku the lecher of her small group flinched at the sound. "What's wrong Miroku?" She asked with fake concern. She knew exactly what was wrong: the man had a hang over. It was faint but still detectable on the human's person. He must have rubbed his skin raw trying to get it off.

"Nothing." Was his vague answer. "It'll be nothing so long as woman don't start lining up at the palace gates with babies on their hips that look remarkable like you in nine months time." A few sniggers escaped from various sides of the table at her remark. Though Sango who had just entered the room looked pissed.

(A/N: Ouch! Fingers and eyes hurting! Need sleep. Tell me how you like this first chapter please. I'd like just a little feedback before I post the next chapter. Thanks)