This is my first fanfic. I do it for fun and for practice, so RESPECTFUL criticism is welcome. I plan to ignore flames, as they come from people with nothing better to do than put others down. It's simple, people…If you don't like the story or the pairing, DON'T READ IT!!

I do NOT own Inuyasha or any of the characters, but I DO own my story and my words.

Enjoy!

Chapter One

Rin traipsed around her master's quarters as the servants cleaned. Everything was in disarray and she couldn't imagine what might have happened. Scrolls were strewn across the floor, an open one hanging from his desk. His bed linens were pulled and crumpled against a wall. Rin fought back a whimper at her helplessness. There were guards everywhere. No one could have gotten in, so why did the pharaoh's room look as if there had been a struggle. A startled gasp came from behind her and Rin turned to find a young girl holding a bed sheet in her arms, close to her chest as she looked up in fear. Rin sighed and calmed herself, aware of the unnerving psychic energy she was releasing. Even after twelve years of training she had trouble controlling her mystic abilities. She walked away from the girl to straighten her lord's desk even as the maidservants pushed her hands away from the task. She released her aura then and watched as they backed away.

"My lady?" Rin turned. It was what they had learned to call her. She was not of the pharaoh's blood but was raised as such, and then there was her title as priestess. Though "lady" was used for those below her station, she acknowledged it all the same. "This was found beside His Serenity's bed, your Highness." Rin nodded at a small toad-like demon, a scribe she noted. From his hands she took a small scroll which had not been sealed but was scented in Jasmine. His Majesty knew of her fondness for the scent and was conscious to send all her letters fragranced in such a way. She nodded again to the short man and walked to a balcony that overlooked the calmness of the vast desert. She opened the tiny scroll.

My beloved Rin,

I have done more for you than any man of Egypt could offer his daughter. If you have this in your hands, I am no longer with you, and you must know that I have not intended this absence in your life. Be astute, Daughter of Egypt. And if you are ever in doubt, speak these words to find your peace:

Of sand and demons

Of blood and noble hounds

Kin to the prodigal son

Power of the Inu bound

Let your wisdom keep you safe, my Rin.

There was no signature to the note but she didn't need one. She rolled the scroll tightly and tucked it at her hip. "Jaken," she addressed the bumbling scribe. "I am going to the temple and am not to be disturbed." Rin turned her back on his obeisance. She wouldn't have bothered explaining herself to the small youkai were it not for her own safety.

Rin's mind was elsewhere as she walked to the Temple of Inu. Lord Sesshoumaru left of his own free will if he had time to write that letter, which meant one of two things. One, someone had ransacked his chamber after his departure in search of something, or two, her lord had ransacked it himself. But where was the sense in that? This was what Rin wanted to know. Was his life in danger? Was hers?

The young priestess slipped between the heavy doors of the temple, left ajar, as the sun passed noon. She called out to the temple's caretaker. "Priestess Kagome?" Her eyes adjusted quickly to the flickering light along the walls. The sound of metal and clay crashing against the stone floor had Rin scurrying in that direction. The temple's priestess was on her knees trying to gather two bowls and a stand in her short arms. "Priestess, let me help you." Rin kneeled beside the older woman, by six years, careful of the shards of a shattered clay bowl.

"Oh, Rin…Thank you," she said as she stood, her white gown stained red. Rin gasped. "Oh, no, it's only wine. I don't know why I'm so edgy, today. I've dropped almost everything I've picked up." Rin followed Kagome into the main chamber of the temple. "I can sense that you're troubled."

Rin was both pleased and respectful of the way the priestess put aside her own concerns to address hers. "It's…"

"Sesshoumaru, I know."

Rin gasped and placed the two bowls she'd carried onto a table. "Have you seen what has happened to him? I thought you didn't have the Sight."

"No, that gift still belongs to Kaede. But I know things. Nothing that will ease your mind. Sorry."

Rin sighed and leaned against the table. Her words overwhelmed her and the temple's calm offered her freedom to think aloud. "What am I to do without my lord? He has been my guide throughout my life, my savior."

Kagome placed the stand beside the altar and turned to look at her young apprentice. Lord Sesshoumaru had taken the girl in at seven-years old. She was of a family of desert nomads that had been attacked by brigands. By the time His Serenity had reached the fray all were dead, save for a young half-starved girl. It was unlike his lordship to show kindness or affection in any way or form, so when he brought the young orphan to the palace it was a shock to all, especially the priestess tramp, Kagura, who had been sharing the pharaoh's bed much to the chagrin of the priesthood. Kagome smiled and then hid it as she glanced back at Rin. "It's times like these that we grow strong, Rin. You cannot have expected Sesshoumaru to have been with you all your life."

Rin's eyes widened at the mention of Sesshoumaru's name without the preceding title but remembered that the priestess and the pharaoh had a mysterious history. "I know that, but…" What was there to say? How could she explain how she had come from so little and been given so much that without her benefactor she had no idea who she was or who she was supposed to be.

"You are who you always were, Rin. You are a woman who wraps the cool fabric of nobility around her warm heart; a woman full of fire and passion who dampens it for fear of something only she knows. Do not worry so much. I am sure that wherever our lord is, he is fine."

"He is not dead. I know this in my heart. I just wish I knew why he left and where he went."

Priestess Kagome nodded. "I understand your fears. I am sure they are shared by half the palace." Kagome filled a new clay bowl with red wine and placed the bottle under the cloth that covered the altar. "I will leave you to pray. I must meet with the ministers and priests before the temple becomes crowded."

Rin bowed her head to the priestess as she walked away, closing the temple doors behind her.

In the silence of the sacred room Rin swallowed her fears and embraced what peace had been left to her. Pulling the miniature scroll from her waist she opened all she had left of the man to whom she owed her life.

Speak these words to find your peace. "What does this mean, Milord?" Rin's voice was high and [whimpering/hysterical. She walked before the tall onyx statue of Inu no Taisho, the great demon god who ruled the land for 400 years before his son. "What is this, these words?" She waved the piece of papyrus at the statue then brought it, again, to her eyes. "Of sand and demons, of blood and noble hounds, kin to the prodigal son, power of the Inu bound." Fuming, Rin turned from the bejeweled dog and screamed, frustrated with the recent events, before falling to her knees before her god.

"Was there no time to awaken me and say goodbye? Could you have not taken me with you?" Rin considered Kagome's words. No, she could not have expected Lord Sesshoumaru to watch over her, forever. "Protect him, Great Taisho." She lowered her forehead to the stone floor before leaving the temple.

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Pale, almost marble-white, eyelids lifted to reveal glowing golden irises. They viewed darkness, the abyss-like black that enveloped them. The being to which the eyes belonged groaned and tried to stretch muscles gone unused for too long. "Where am I? What is this?" The voice was groggy, throat scratchy. Annoyed by the physical and mental confinement, caused by the darkness, the creature brought its elbows up enough to lift its arms and reach outward. Cold stone met cool, clammy skin. The creature pushed against the brick until it groaned and scratched as it shifted.

Kagome stood still, a broom clutched in her knuckle-white hands as sounds of shifting stone echoed down the hall into her room. Peeking down the hall she saw only the flickering of light on the walls of the main chamber, but all else appeared normal and the sound had stopped. She was probably just imagining things. That silly priest Miroku was always telling foolish tales of wild demons and evil spirits to the priestesses. It was just getting to her now that she was alone in the temple. Just to be sure Kagome tip-toed on bare feet down the hall to where the sun's last rays peeked through the slit windows and glinted off of gold plates where incense burned.

I will not call out. I will not call out. She chanted to herself as she stood frozen where the hall met the altar room. Everything was silent and she didn't move as her deep brown eyes searched for anything that seemed out of place. Kagome exhaled and turned to finish her cleaning when the sound came again, this time followed by a grunt. Kagome's eyes widened as she jerked back toward the sound. With her back against the wall, Kagome side-stepped toward an onyx statue of Lord Sesshoumaru and grabbed the iron staff from his fist. I can do this. Kohaku says I'm a natural. Kagome played movements she'd learned from the captain in her mind as she inched toward the pillar nearest to the altar.

The golden-eyed creature could feel the warmth of its blood sliding down the scratches on its arms as it moved around, but that wasn't what made it stop. Beyond the scent of the damp stone was a new scent. No, the scent had always been there, it reasoned, but now it was stronger, closer. It could hear skin sliding across floor as the scent came closer. It was like fruit, like plums, sweet and fresh. A wave of hunger slammed into the starved prisoner. It tightened its body, using the pressure between its arms and the stone to lift its lower half off the ground. It braced its legs against the stones to its rear while its arms scraped against the stones in front. It pushed.

Kagome let loose a startled cry and stumbled backward falling onto her back as blocks of stone crashed near her feet. She crawled backward until her back met a wall and shielded her eyes from the sand and stone fragments that scattered across the room. When the room went silent Kagome peeked from behind her hands at the pillar that once stood near the altar. She stood and walked closer until a half-circle of stone came into view. Hollow? The pillar was hollow? With wide eyes and furrowed brows, Kagome walked a wide circle around the debris on the floor of her temple home.

"What is going on?" Her whiny voice betrayed her nerves and she swore as she realized that the spear was no longer in her hand. Kagome jumped at the sound of a low grunt followed by a growl. She stood frozen as the rubble shifted before her eyes and pale shoulders lifted from the floor followed by a hard-toned torso and thick-muscled legs. A scream solidified in her throat. If only her muscles would loosen enough for her to open her mouth. Despite the long mane of white hair the body was decidedly male as Kagome saw no breasts, only smoothly sculpted pectorals and precision cut abdominals. Ignoring the body, Kagome remained focused on the hair. She only knew one man with hair that color. "Lord Sesshoumaru?"

The half-naked male groaned, but it came out more like a growl. "What did you say?"

That was not Lord Sesshoumaru's voice! Kagome let out a little of the scream that had been caught before she froze again. That voice was groggy and scruffy. Lord Sesshoumaru's was smooth and cultured. The male finally got to his feet and Kagome released the scream she had been holding.

Startled and irked by the sound, the disconcerted male braced his feet and jumped an unnaturally long distance to the screaming woman grabbing her roughly by the shoulders. "Will you shut up?!" He smirked as he noticed that his voice was back to normal. Screaming noises still came from the woman's throat. He growled and considered putting her out of her misery.

Kagome stared at the demon. And he was a demon, with those eerie golden eyes. To add to that, atop his white mane were two fuzzy ears, like that of a dog. Kagome started to inch her hands up to feel them when the demon leaned forward to sniff at her. His ears twitched.

"Did you awaken me?" The demon sniffed, again, at the priestess. The power was wrong. This woman's power was all wrong. It felt raw, needy, and unused. She was probably one of those women who needed a man before she could use her full powers. Frustrated he pushed the woman away.

Kagome watched in horror as the demon leapt to the door and lifted the heavy iron bar with ease before disappearing into the night. She was no weakling. Her powers flared and she sense how strong he was; not strong enough to be a noble, but too strong to control as a slave. No wonder he was locked away. Knowing she needed to warn someone she jumped to her feet and abandoned the temple to find the one person who might be able to help her.

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Syeira