Disclaimer: I do not own any characters associated with Inuyasha: A Feudal Fairytale. Any and all characters or events associated with this manga are the property of Rumiko Takahashi.
This fanfiction was inspired by the folk song, Mary of the Wild Moor. Being as it is a folk song, I cannot find any information on the web about who originally wrote the music or lyrics. It has been performed by numerous artists over the years. Suffice to say, I didn't write it, I can't sing it and I'm not making any money off of it.
The winds whipped harshly across the bare grasslands, creating a trail of thick, black smoke that lead eastward from the burning remains she had once called home. Soot covered her face, arms and bare legs while tears created a clear trail down her cheeks. She had nothing left except for the clothes on her back and the child in her arms and only one place left where she could go. If she could even go there, that is...
She clasped her hands under her chin and smiled broadly at her father. "Isn't it wonderful, Chichiue? I'm getting married and I'm having a baby!" Her eyes shone with eagerness and joy as she waited for some response.
Her excitement was met with silence as the two most important men in her life stared each other down, silently challenging one another in a battle of wills. Both wanted her and neither one was willing to compromise. But the younger held a trump card. He had given the girl something the elder never could: the chance to be a mother.
Finally the elder released his gaze and glared at the girl. "Izayoi, you will not bear this man's child," he stated, not leaving any room for discussion. "If you leave this house with that foreigner, do not ever return."
Her smile fell and tears welled in her eyes as her hands clutched at her heart. "Chichiue?" her voice cracked slightly. "I don't understand, I -"
The younger moved towards her and placed his hands on her shoulder in a silent sign of comfort. "It is very simple," her father said coldly. "You may be my daughter or you may be his wife, but you cannot be both."
She couldn't believe what she was hearing. Her own father would disown her simply because her husband's family was not native to her country?
"Izzy." She turned her head to look at the man standing behind her, his gentle gaze locking with hers. "Izzy, I love you, but I would never ask you to chose between me and your family. Stay with your father, ai."
Her lower lip trembled and she placed her hand atop of his on her shoulder. "No, I don't have to make any choice," she said, sounding more confident than she felt as her glare turned to her father. "I have no father, no family. You are all I need, Tai. You and our child."
It had been heart wrenching to leave the father she had adored her entire life to start a new life with the man she'd given her heart to and it had been less than a year since their painful separation. Had it been enough time to heal the wounds their words had left behind? Would she find acceptance in her father's home once more?
The babe, born only a few short hours before, whimpered from within it's swaddling blankets, the smoke and the cold irritating his sensitive skin and senses. She resituated the tiny bundle and quickened her pace, struggling against the icy wind that threatened to drive her back and the pain of the frozen grass beneath her uncovered feet. Her legs and feet were numb from the cold and she shivered from lack of clothing. Only her night yukata and a thin cloak wrapped around her shoulders shielded her from the winter weather, but finally, in the distance, she could see the smoke rising from her father's house. She was nearly there.
She tried the door, only to find that it had been barred from the inside. He would be sleeping, she knew, as it was nearly midnight, if not after. But she had to get the child inside near a warm fire. Her sole purpose on the earth now was her son and seeing that he lived. Her own life meant noting without her husband, but her son's life was everything.
"Chichiue!" She shouted as loud as she could and used her free hand to pound on the wooden door. "Chichiue! Onegai! I'm begging you, please, open the door! It's me, Izayoi!"
She pressed her body against the door, trying to listen for any movements within, but heard nothing. He hadn't stirred.
"Chichiue! Please! If not for me, then for my son, for your grandchild! It's too cold out here! Open the door or my son will die!"
The old man stood, by the fireplace, listening to the pounding and screaming at his door. He knew in his heart that he should open the door and allow her to come in, but his pride held him back. She had defied him, embarrassed him, discarded him. The ungrateful wench! He'd raised her from a mere babe, given her everything a child could want and that was how she repaid him?
The heartbreak he had suffered because of her abandonment was still too fresh and he could not bare to face her. Let her return to her lover. Let him give her aide.
Eventually the pounding stopped and there was silence outside of his door. He figured she had give up and started the trek back to where she'd come. Whatever her purpose in coming, she'd seen he'd have none.
Outside, Izayoi sobbed quietly and curled up by the door, her back leaned against the house and her knees drawn up to her chest. She removed her cloak, careful to not jar her baby and wrapped that thin material around the both of them. Her shivering increased, but it didn't matter. As long as the child was warm...
He rose early, still confused and upset over the events of the night before. Now that his head was clear of her pleading and pounding and he'd had the chance to think about it, he wondered what had brought his daughter all that way in the middle of a winter storm in the dead of night.
He dressed, still worrying and wondering if he should risk his pride and go to her. If his child was suffering, it was his duty to protect her. Yes, despite his having been displeased with her choice of suitor, he still had a duty to keep her safe when her husband would not. He would cross the moor to her village and find out what happened.
Opening the door to fetch his horse, he was met with a hateful sight. Izayoi leaned against the side of the house, covered in ash and soot. Her skin was pale, eyes closed, and her lips blue. Suddenly afraid, the old man knelt beside her and touched her neck, searching for a pulse, only to find none. Her skin was like ice to the touch.
Shock seeped into his veins and he could do nothing but sit and stare at the body of what had once been his beautiful and happy child until a loud, thin wail cut through the air and he looked down to her lap. The cloak moved slightly and he pulled it away to reveal screaming babe, skin tinged blue from cold.
With his hands shaking, he lifted the bundle and carried it inside, lying the poor child on his futon before returning to the door and carefully bringing Izayoi in as well, lying her lifeless body along side the child and covering her with a sheet.
The babe continued to wail and the old man joined him, bemoaning his decision to turn her away. Regret and anguish over all that was left unsaid between them tore at his insides and he very nearly took his own life right then and there. But then he had looked at the child whose wails had simmered to quiet whispers.
Where was his father? What had brought Izayoi to his home that night? Why had she been alone?
The answer to his questions came half an hour later, when he was attempting to feed the baby goats milk from a rag. It came in the form of a young woman, his daughter's age, named Kaede who had heard the devastating news and had come to offer her condolences. Her sister resided in that same village as Izayoi and had rushed over early that morning to relay the events.
It was no secret that the village where Izayoi andTai had set up residence had suffered ill luck since summer. Insects and drought had ruined the crop of nearly every nearby village, but on top of that, there had been disease among the livestock and population of the village leading to near starvation.
What hadn't been known was the fact that many in the village believed that these plagues were a punishment from the kamis for allowing the white haired outsider to come into their town and had come to the decision that the only way to bring prosperity back was to rid themselves of the cursed foreigner. A mob had attacked his home during the night. He had attempted to fight back in an effort to protect his wife and newborn son, but to no avail. They had murdered him and then set the house on fire. No one had seen the girl emerge and all believed she had died with the babe in the fire.
When she'd finished her story, he broke down into new tears and brokenly spoke of the night before. How Izayoi had come to his door and pleaded for entry and he had turned her away only to find her that morning, having died during the night. Yet she'd managed to save the child.
In penance for his sins against his daughter, he would see to it that her son grew into a healthy man. He would not hold his wrongdoings secret from the public. His grandson and the people of the village deserved to know the truth of his actions. He would not make himself a saint in their eyes, but simply a man working for forgiveness which, on his dying day, he felt he had finally been given.
In the years following Izayoi's death, while the boy grew into a man, no one made much of a deal out of the sad tale of Izayoi and her lover, but once the man was gone and the boy had grown and moved on, they turned her into a legend. To newcomers they would point to the old house, now half hidden by grass and covered in vines, and they would speak of the beautiful young maiden who had defied her father for love and had died still begging for his acceptance.
A/N: I really like these old folk songs. They make for wonderfully angst ridden inspiration when writing fanfiction. And you know, usually, I like a happy ending, but...IMHO, I'm really good at depressing people. I mean, I always knew my poetry was kinda dark, but geez...
Also, I know that in the song, Mary of the Wild Moor, the father and the baby die in the end, but we all know that Inuyasha's supposed to live and he had to have someone raise him...Oh, yeah. In case you couldn't tell, Inuyasha was the baby.
If you know of any other old folk songs that would make good inspiration, let me know, please?
Mary of the Wild Moor
On a cold winter's night when the winds blew across the wild moor, Mary came wandering home with her child until she came to her own father's door.
'Papa, oh, Papa,' she cried, 'come down and open the door or the child in my arms will perish and die from the winds that blow across the wild moor.'
But the old man was deaf to her cries and not a sound of the voice did he hear. Oh, the watch dogs did howl and the village bells tolled and the winds blew across the wild moor.
Oh, what the old man must have felt when he came to the door the next morn and found Mary dead, but the child yet alive closely clasped to his dead mother's chest.
In anguish he pulled out his grey hair and the tears down his cheeks, they did roll when he saw in the night she had died from the winds that blew across the wild moor.
The old man, in grief, pined away and the babe to his mother went soon. And no one, they say, has lived there to this day and the cottage is left to ruins.
Now, the villagers point out the place where the ivy grows over the door saying there Mary died, once a gay village bride, from the winds that blow across the wild moor.
From the winds that blow across the wild moor.