I know what you're all thinking, why the hell am I starting a new story? It's a good question really…but that doesn't mean I'm going to answer it. Cause I don't exactly know. All my other stories I just write off the top of my head. Chapter by chapter. No plot. Nada.

Anyway. This story has a plot! Moo hahahahaha! Ok that was sad.

Oh! And I'm going to be putting a quote/saying at the start of every chapter!

Reason: Cause I felt like it!

Lady in the Dog's Den

'If we discovered that we had only five minutes left to say all that we wanted to say, every telephone booth would be occupied by people calling other people to stammer out that they loved them.'

Chapter 1

Kagome's bedchamber was in total darkness, and she forced her limbs to relax beneath the furs that covered her. The alien sound that had awoken her seemed to have ceased- if, indeed, it had existed at all, for she had slept lightly these past six weeks, and thought sometimes that the sound of her own breathing was enough to wake her.

The reason for her unease was that her uncle, Lord Hiroshi, had been called away to help quell the unrest further south, and left Nightingale with only a minimum of men to protect it. Nothing had happened to justify her nervousness, and now that the king was back in Shikon after his eight-month absence in Miro, surely her uncle would soon return.

It had been a trying time for her. The sound of her uncle's young wife, Kikyo, admonishing one or other of the servants in a petulant, peevish voice had grown more frequent as the weeks went by and Kagome, who spoke the western tongue fluently, usually had to intervene to sort out misunderstandings and soothe ruffled tempers. Kikyo made little attempt to master the language herself, and the people who understood a few words of English refused to admit the fact to her. Kagome held her peace about it. She was hopelessly in the middle, owing some loyalty to Kikyo and yet sympathising whole heartedly with the Shikon people.

A rift had developed between the two girls- at twenty-three, Kikyo was but four years Kagome's senior-caused mainly because Kagome's Command of the Japanese tongue gave her an adventure which the other considered undermined her position as mistress of the manor. Kagome did her best to keep things cordial between them, for she had known 'Kiki' long before her uncle had wed her, and counted her a friend; but it was becoming more and more difficult.

She had never wanted to come to Shikon anyway. When the Duke had taken his army across the Channel of water to wrest the crown from Earl Rohado, her father and her uncle had gone with him, leaving her with her ageing grandfather.

When her father had been killed at the final battle, cloven in two by an axe, nothing would have induced Kagome to leave her beloved home to cross the river to join her uncle in that barbaric land. Later, with Washoru crowned king, Kikyo had gone to join her husband and Kagome had been content to remain with her grandfather. That elderly man's sudden death only weeks later, however, had changed the course of her life. Had things been different and she less reluctant to marry the man of her father's choice, no doubt she would have been wed and settled long since. As it was, she had no other family and knew she could not accept a home with friends without feeling herself a burden upon them. So she had sent word to her uncle, seen her grandfather buried, and when she could put it off no longer, made the journey to Shikon in the dreadful weather of mid-February.

There she had found her uncle and Kikyo firmly installed at nightingale, the manor and lands given to Lord Hiroshi by Washoru soon after his coronation at Christmas. Although she had now been at Nightingale for ten months, and was resigned to Shikon, Kagome still cherished the hope that one day she would return to Miro.

In those first unhappy weeks Naraku, a knight in her uncle's entourage, had been a sympathetic friend, and a fondness had quickly developed between them. He talked often of returning to miro, and more than once the thought had passed through Kagome's mind that they might come to marry and go back together. Naraku was with Lord Hiroshi, and she had missed him these past six weeks.

She turned over on to her side, hunching the furs around her against the December cold, and allowed thoughts of Naraku to lull her back to the edges of sleep.

A door slamming open further down the Hall brought her upright in the bed, catching her breath at the sound of footsteps outside. Wide-eyed and with a thudding heart, she stared towards her own door, and suddenly, with a resounding crash that brought a cry of fear to her lips, it was flung wide. The man -a Shikonean- stood framed in the glow from the torch thrust into the wall-sconce outside.

"Dress yourself," he commanded.

Fear drove the power of movement away although she understood him well enough. He advanced into the room, grasped her arm and before she had time to protest, dragged her from the bed and left her in a heap on the floor. He picked up the clothes she had discarded earlier and thrust them towards her. There was no mistaking his meaning when he repeated his command.

Agitated cries from the chamber next door told her that Kikyo was suffering similarly. Her head buzzed with questions, but she dared not disobey. The Shikonean withdrew a few feet and stood waiting, obviously meaning to watch her dress; she stood up, turned away from his gaze and pulled the gown over the gossamer-thin garment in which she had slept. Shivering with cold she struggled with the loops and her trembling fingers fumbled as she fastened the gold threaded girdle-belt about her slender waist.

Her eyes swept the room frantically even as she finished dressing, but her jewel-handled knife was on the carved oak table on the other side of the bed and she could not hope to reach it. A Shikonean girl, Ridana, came in just then. She had a twisted leg and moved awkwardly, and she came in for the worst of Kikyo's ill humour; so Kagome had made an effort to befriend her. Now she came in with an apologetic glance and began to collect together some of Kagome's clothes.

The Shikonean snatched up the heavy cloak and held it out to her. "Come," he growled and caught her arm, half-dragging her out to the Hall. She found her voice at last as she struggled to get fee. "Let me go, you oaf! What are you doing? Where are you taking me? How dare you-!" but he was far stronger, and fighting him only sapped her energy she might need later. She was too afraid to think of the Shikonean words and he ignored her protests, pulling her heedlessly towards the stairs.

As she went down, the scene that met Kagome's eyes made her heart sink and she clenched her fists in helpless fury. The men she and Kikyo had left drinking and talking so jovially when they retired to their chambers, were all slumped where they sat, drugged and unconscious, being bound hand and foot by a few of the Shikoneans. Ailsa, Kikyo's handmaiden, was on her knees in the rushes with her hands bound in front of her.

Anger burned in Kagome as the treachery of the Shikoneans within the manor, who had obviously had a hand in this and opened wide the doors. How cold they do it? They had been fairly treated by Lord Hiroshi all these months…

She had her answer almost immediately as her eyes were drawn to a figure standing with his back to the fire, his legs apart, his arms folded across his chest, surveying the scene with grim satisfaction. She did not doubt that it was InuYasha. InuYasha, who had been lord of Nightingale before the Morin invasion.

All the lands of those who had fought for Rohado had, of course, been forfeit to Washoru, but after his coronation he had allowed lands to be restored to the Shikonean owners who had survived, for a payment of gold and silver. But it had never been paid for Nightingale. Kagome had learned that it was because all the wealth of Nightingale had been given to Rohado to help pay the costs of raising the sort of army needed to keep out Washoru's armies.

Tall, broad and powerful, InuYasha stood in the torchlight of the great hall and his long hair white as the snow outside. She saw a flicker of movement at the top of his head. Two pointed, white dog ears stood erected and swivelling at the slightest sound. Right now, one of them was pointed at her. As he turned around she could understand why they called him 'the dog lord'. There was something about him that would brook no opposition, and she found her anger directed at him instead of the serfs who dared not defy him.

Anger, however, could not prevent and icy tremor of fear sliding over her as her captor pulled her roughly towards this man, wrenched her arm violently and sent her tumbling, with a cry of indignation and pain, into the rushes at his feet.

InuYasha laughed softly. "No, Miroku, not so rough. We don't want to bruise the wench. Damaged merchandise is no use to us."

Kagome's face gave no sign that she had understood these words, but inwardly she shivered a little at the contempt in his voice and the veiled threat behind his words. His foot nudged her, and when she looked up into the glinting amber eyes, he gestured her to stand.

As she did so, kikyo was brought struggling down the stairs. When she saw InuYasha, she guessed his identity and let out a stream of angry protests and demands for instant release.

"Woman, be silent!" the Shikonean thundered, and Kikyo was so surprised to hear his English command that she did just that. "Bind them quickly," he said I his own language to the man Miroku. "we've waited long enough." He turned and strode out with a command flung over his shoulder for the others to follow him.

When he had gone, the man who held Kikyo tried to steal a kiss and the struggle that ensued drew Miroku's attention. With a muttered curse, he strode swiftly towards them and pulled the man away. "are you a fool? InuYasha will have you skinned-bind her and curb you lusts!"

With his attention momentarily diverted, Kagome seized her chance and ran; but the Shikonean was faster and in an instant brought her crashing down, her face in the rushes. With an oath, he held her down with his knee in her back and wrenched her arms above her head. He bound her wrists tightly with a rough rope and then hauled her to her feet. Winded and shaken, she stood trembling before him and helpless as he pulled her roughly towards the door.


TADA! You like? You don't? Tell me! Gosh my fingers hurt! This is one thousand nine hundred and twenty- three words!

This is Alexius and I'm out.

PS Read and review