Disclaimer: I do not own the original story or the characters. Credit goes to Rumiko Takahashi.
This would be my first fanfiction. (I said that about Revolution but this is the first one I wrote. Revolution was the first one I posted.) Constructive criticism would be much appreciated.
The story is set in the traditional, ancient roles of male and female in a court and country created within the confines of my imagination.
the sword lifted high
There is hell making you tremble:
But go ahead,
And you have the land of bliss.
- Miyamoto Musahshi
Kagome glared at the back of her father's head until he had disappeared from view, quietly sliding the doors shut behind him.
She sighed, knowing from Kikyou's fan letters that the Kishinkasai family was respected by many if not all of Heikou's nobility, youkai and ningen. They were one of the Cardinal families beneath the Emperor and were very influential. The Inu no Taisho, the head of the family, had earned his reputation in the many wars that had plagued their large country over the centuries. Like the other four Taiyoukai he was ruthlessly cunning when it came to his enemies and as one of the four rotating Generals, he had the ear of the Emperor.
The Inu no Taisho's eldest son and heir, it seemed, was to become her betrothed. Their family had heard whispers of her line's elemental powers and wished to augment their strength with hers. It was also advantageous in that she was the Minister of Magic's only daughter in a brood of three.
Her glare lost its heat once her father's back had disappeared behind the wooden door. She had known the day when she would be carted off to another family would come, had known and ignored the futility of her lessons, the futility of becoming an intelligent female in a world ruled by males. Her mother had shaken her head at her daughter's relentless pursuit of knowledge and her father had donned a carefully crafted court mask whenever he caught her. She'd been allowed to continue with the little freedom allowed within her home but they had all known it was just a dream.
Even though she came from a line of Enchanters, humans known for their vast knowledge of many of the archaic and magical arts, even though her blood sang with power and her head was filled with useful spells and bits of lore, she was just a female. Her immortality made her coveted by many of the human lords eager to share her youthful lifespan and made her a suitable candidate for many of the youkai lords looking for a strong female to bare them young.
She looked at the paintings and scrolls strewn about her room in organized disarray, eyesight blurring as her throat burned. Taking a deep breath, she forced the despair down.
She would not cry.
Another few moments passed in silence as she padded over to her balcony doors and slid them open to allow the cool autumn breeze to blow through her room, sending pieces of parchment skittering across the table top. Her kimono ruffled around her toes and she smiled at the sensation before sinking down onto a pile of floor pillows and opening one of the small mahogany cases stored beneath her bed. Setting the velvet covering to the side, she pulled out a few sandalwood fans, the aroma spicing up the air around her.
She flipped one open, studied it for a moment and then put it to the side. She repeated the process twice more before a pleased smile quirked the corners of her full mouth and she settled more peaceably into the pillows.
Her eyes strayed over the designs, reading the messages encoded within as easily as she read kanji. Kikyou, her third cousin and daughter to one of the Emperor's close advisors, had utilized one of their childhood games once she'd been mated to the second son of the Western Taiyoukai as a way to keep in touch with the friends she'd left behind. A secret language of swirls, dots and designs had been created during their fostered younger years at the Emperor's court to send messages to one another when they were forbidden to leave their rooms. It was an effective way to keep in touch since gifts of fans, combs or jewelry were appropriate for females to send one another. No one commented on it or noticed anything amiss.
Kagome sighed and put the fans her cousin had sent away, reaching for another box, these gifts from Yuri. Yurinoshi, a dark-eyed mischievous young kitsune, was as of yet unmated but entertaining several offers from the sons of influential men a step below her father. She had a lot of bureaucrats and ambitious soldiers chasing her five tails and her father, one of the commanders beneath the Southern Taiyoukai had yet to allow any of the suitors reprieve from his daughter's relentless mirth. Yuri's dancing, playful eyes endeared her to many of the lower echelon and she was privy to a lot of information, most of which she sent out to her childhood buddies in the form of combs.
Kagome put Yuri's box away after discovering the same bits of information on the Kishinkasai family as Kikyou's fans had held. What she had read was not comforting. Her betrothed was an utterly ruthless male that kept his circles small and powerful. He was not one to be lenient with frivolity, a cunning warrior whose blades were said to shine like falling stars in the darkness of battle. His smile was said to strike fear in the hearts of enemies and allies alike. He was a close friend of the Emperor's heir and the Northern Taiyoukai's heir, the three often in one another's company with the few other friends they allowed near them.
The third box she sorted through was Ayame's, betrothed mate to the roguishly handsome Northern Lord's heir, Kouga. Apparently her soon-to-be-mate was a complete womanizer and preferred dancing the courtship dance with other females more often than not. Ayame, one of the most hot-tempered of their group had yet to say anything to her betrothed about her feelings and Kagome smiled to think that Ayame had finally found a male whom she didn't care to displease. The red-headed spitfire was falling in love with the sporadically sweet youkai she was affianced to and hadn't the slightest clue as to how to handle herself. Kagome giggled as she read some of the bracelets and fans sent to her by Ayame but then put the box away, disappointed.
There were three more boxes that she could have sorted through if she had desired to do so but she knew the other three of their group weren't as interested in politics and histories. Well, she contemplated; Tsubaki's eyes had always held a banked fire within them, an intelligence that was rarely shown amongst those she did not trust. Kagome might have looked at her correspondence for hints of the family she was to be wedded into if Tsubaki wasn't situated in the Southern Lands, the Head Commander's only child. The offers for her hand were occasionally glanced at if at all. Her lifespan was long and her father loved to indulge his only child's soft smiles. Tsubaki was safe from the machinations of the political world for the time being, despite her being of marriageable age.
Kagome's smile grew again as she imagined the other two members of her childhood. Airheads though they were, they were the twin daughters of Lord Himoshi, the Minister of Finance. They traipsed through the Eastern Court often, detailing the fashions and gossip with an excitement that had little to do with the political undertones chaining all of their lives together. Those two water nymphs cared little for the mechanics of their lives and much for the simple pleasures afforded to them by their family's wealth. They were the most frivolous of them all but also the most affectionate. Once they declared you family, you stayed in their inner circle for life and, considering the length and breadth of their influence, it was a good place to be.
"Kagome!" Her elder brother's voice was raised and urgent as his footsteps stopped outside her door. "Are you decent?"
"Yes." They'd been close when younger. The twenty-year old Enchanter had taken time out of his day to play with his little sister and her dolls before she'd been shipped off to the Royal Court. She'd never forgotten him, her nee-san. Their letters to each other had been a source of joy for her.
He opened the door, stepped in and closed it behind him before sinking onto the pillows in front of her. She had thought that he and Souta were still at University, studying to ensure that the Council position given their father would never go out of their family name. His amethyst-colored eyes rested momentarily on the three boxes beside her. He raised an eyebrow.
She mimicked him, a smile threatening to spill over her face. "You heard the news, nee-san?"
He sighed, eyes momentarily, depressingly sorrowful. "Yes. It is good to hear that you are being given to a worthy male, sister-mine. Sesshoumaru-sama is very powerful and more than able to take care of you."
She shook out her hair as she sat up, knowing that the evening sun shot the deep onyx strands with waves of burgundy and midnight-blue. Her pale, heart-shaped face remained a polite mask. "It is good to hear that you approve, nee-san."
Her brother's eyes flickered with that deep sadness again. "Oh, Kagome… you should have been born a male."
Her sapphire-colored eyes looked up at him, wide at the admission. It was a great, great compliment. She bowed to him at the waist in thanks and when she looked up again, caught the pleased twinkle. Her gaze roved over his face, imprinting it within her memory. A bit of red marred one cheek.
"Nee-san?" She grinned impishly. "Did you attempt to bequeath the family with another heir again?"
He had the grace to look away, embarrassed. "Kagome," he said, tone reproachful. "You shouldn't speak of such things."
"Because you shouldn't be doing such things, right nee-san?" Her grin widened.
He laughed. "Sesshoumaru is not going to know what to do with you, sweet heart."
"Oh, I think he will." She paused, looking towards the setting sun. "After all, I am primarily there to be a mother."
"Kagome!" Her brother tried but couldn't hold back the spill of laughter at the scandalous implication of her words.
She laughed too, pleased that the worry had gone from his forehead. "Come now, nee-san. Young women have minds as innocent as old men. You know this."
"Is that so? Then perhaps there should be more matches made between maidens and widowed lords. A closeness of mind is said to bring harmony to a household."
She made a face, ignoring her brother's laughter. "That's disgusting, nee-san."
"Miroku-sama your father wishes to see you downstairs in the library. The Western Heir has arrived." They both turned simultaneously towards the voice of the tanuki youkai bowing at her door.
"Nee-san!" Her voice stopped him as he rose.
"Hmm?" His eyes were dancing, meaning he knew she wanted to yell at him for not telling her that her betrothed was already at their home.
She sat back, glaring at him before bowing. She would not give him the pleasure of her anger. "Have a good meeting, nee-san."
He laughed, patting her head before leaving.
Kagome sighed as the room fell into silence once more, ignoring the tanuki as she puttered about lighting up the candles.
"Kagome." Her mother appeared at the door as the tanuki was putting the boxes away. Her mother's blue eyes settled on her kimono, apparently pleased that her daughter had worn the new embroidered silk her father had obtained for them. "You are to accompany me to the library. Sesshoumaru-sama and Toga-sama will be dining with us tonight."
Kagome nodded, rising and allowed both her mother and the tanuki to smooth the slight wrinkles in the heavy material.
She blinked back her tears, locking them away for a later hour, silently following her mother down the hallway and to the large library doors.
In seconds she would no longer belong to her family.
The scent of paper and scrolls dried the air and comforted her as they walked down the staircase in the library. They stepped around the decorated screen and knelt two steps behind her father and brothers.
"Kagome." Her father's voice was gentle as he called her to raise her head. "Come here, please."
She rose gracefully, noting the proud gleam in her elder brother's eye. She kept her gaze lowered as was respectful for one of her father's and betrothed's station. Regardless of gender, it was a gesture expected of one of lower rank and she was of lower rank than both.
She walked to the place her father had gestured for her to stand.
"At ease." The deep, almost-purring voice of the male in front of her caused her to glance up, his words allowing formality to be laid aside for the time being.
They looked at each other for a moment, taking in the aristocratic features, the almost-ethereal beauty exuded by both. His golden eyes and silver hair were a lovely compliment to her darker attractiveness. He was lithely muscled, tall. She was slender, delicate and petite. They were the perfect pair, light and dark, a balance that spoke of harmony and peace.
She blinked, knowing how the scene looked to both of their families; but, looks only went so far. If their personalities were as opposite, their lives were going to be miserable. Her head turned as Toga Kishinkasai himself stood up, taking both of their wrists, his son's left and her right. With a quick move he cut both, turned hers up and his son's down, pressing them together so the blood mingled.
Kagome's eyes widened as she felt a tingle go through her body at the power in his blood. A glance upwards caught the pleased light in his eyes as he noted the power in her as well.
"Tied by blood are these two betrothed." The declaration caused a small tendril of elemental power to tie around their wrists and seal their wounds.
He lifted his hand from hers, allowing her to see the black crescent decorating her pale wrist and the matching white one on his. Dark and light. Moon and sun to protect the earth and help it grow.
Kagome took a tiny step back after he did and they both bowed to one another.
"Welcome to the family, little one." Lord Toga's smile was quick and open, endearing him to her almost immediately.
She smiled and bowed low to the steel-haired inu youkai, quite unsure as to what would be an appropriate response. She straightened and then stiffened as she felt a warm breath on her neck. Moving back, she was stopped by a gentle hand on her arm.
"I am scenting you. Be still." The voice of her betrothed so close to her sent a shiver up her spine and she felt his smile. He straightened, eyes warm as he looked down on her then stepped back so his father and younger half-brother could repeat the process.
Her father's words eased her discomfort with allowing males so close to her body… somewhat. "Imprinting the scent of a family member- or pack, is a crucial undertaking in inu youkai tradition, Kagome. It is a custom shared by many youkai."
Kagome nodded, enlightened and with a thousand more questions crowding on her tongue. She caught her brother's reassuring smile and relaxed her tense shoulders before returning to her mother's side.
"The mating ceremony will be a year from now before the autumn rites. Is that agreeable, Lord Higurashi?" Lord Toga settled once more on the floor pillows facing her family. Sesshoumaru sat to his father's right as the heir and Inuyasha, the youngest male in the Taiyoukai's family sat on the left slightly behind his brother and father.
Kagome's gaze roamed over her betrothed's family, curiously settling on the stripes of their heritage. She caught a gleam in her betrothed's eye and blinked when she realized the same gleam could often be seen in her nee-san's eyes. She valiantly fought away most of her blush.
She was being mated to a hentai.
Thinking back on the conversation with her brother, she supposed she should be pleased. Though virgins for the most part, one of the primary topics of converse amongst the gatherings of young noble ladies was of a highly-sexual nature, meaning they discussed completely perverted topics. Sesshoumaru was young by youkai standards and their "closeness of mind" would no doubt produce harmony. And lots of babies.
Her brother glanced back at her and she couldn't help the quirking of her mouth. His eyes widened and he turned back to the discussion on where the ceremony should take place. He knew exactly what she was thinking of and would have probably cracked up if they had been alone.
Instead, he caught Sesshoumaru's eye. A silent exchange took place between the two and she soon found herself being scrutinized by a pair of beautiful flame-colored eyes. He looked her over and she fought the urge to hit her brother in the back of the head for giving her away. She turned her gaze towards her folded hands, trying to hide the blush on her pale cheeks.
Oh, Kami. She was embarrassed. She was going to keep her head down for the rest of the… there were going to be that many guests?
"It would be most advantageous if we could secure the Palace Hall for the ceremony. The numerous guests of state will be able to attend that way."
Lord Toga nodded thoughtfully. "Yes. We shall both speak to the Emperor on the subject, I presume?"
Her father nodded. "Perhaps the Empress would enjoy assisting with the decorations as well."
Kagome kept her face blank although inwardly she wrinkled her nose. Beside her, she knew her mother was doing the same. The Empress had horrible taste in decorations. Her daughters and her son's wife did most of the duties allocated to her.
Lord Sesshoumaru glanced at her and repressed the grin she saw dancing in his eyes. She supposed he could feel her distaste at the notion through the bond and put her head down again. She was never going to live this down and could only imagine being truly bonded to him.
"I am sure that if the Empress is too busy her daughters would be delighted to partake in the planning." His voice broke the short silence.
Lord Toga grinned as her father cracked a smile. They had both just been joking her and her mother!
Kagome's indignation caused a smirk to appear on her betrothed's mouth. She imagined shaking her finger at him like her mother did her father and was amazed to watch his smirk widen.
She felt a strange feeling envelope one of her fingers and blushed at the image he sent her through the bond. Peeking at him from beneath her lashes, she sent him a playful smile. She wouldn't mind if he licked the finger she shook at him.
She suddenly got a strong sense of annoyance from him and focused once more on the conversation. Inuyasha had mumbled something she hadn't caught.
"Seating arrangements and the like can be done by Kagome and Kikyou, I believe. They are more than able for that and if need be, they can acquire assistance from the Emperor's daughters." Her father glanced back at her, pausing, hesitating. "She is educated Toga-sama and if you so choose, can be an asset in magical matters to your family."
Lord Toga pinned her with his gaze. She looked down after a moment, not knowing what to do or how to act. "She can read?"
"Yes." Her father answered for her.
"When you say educated you are referring to the general education afforded to all young ladies of nobility?" Her betrothed asked the question.
"No. She has read many scrolls both in my library and at the Palace." Her brother's shoulders were relaxed as she peeked up.
Feeling the bond, she could tell that Sesshoumaru was curious. He gave her a nudge, questioning her. In return she sent him mental images of scroll titles, maps and books that she had read.
He seemed pleased at this and she heaved an inner sigh of relief. If he didn't hate the fact that she was intelligent he might let her continue with her forays in the literary world.
She watched under her lashes as both her father and Lord Toga looked at Sesshoumaru. She noted her brother was completely at ease while her father's shoulders were slightly tense. Her brother seemed confident of Sesshoumaru's reply and it made her wonder as to the nature of their relationship. While it wasn't her place to question her nee-san, he had been unusually close-mouthed on the friends he'd made away from home when he spoke with her.
"I am sure she will enjoy our own library as Izayoi and Kikyou do."
She sent him a small smile and felt another flash of curiosity through their bond. It remained to be seen what Lady Izayoi was allowed to read but at least she wasn't completely cut off from knowledge. If there were no restrictions on Lady Izayoi's curiosity, then there would be none on hers.
"Does this please you, Lady Kagome?" Lord Toga posed the question to her.
She bowed. "Yes, my lords. It pleases me very much."
She raised her head as a servant came to whisper in her mother's ear. On silent cue, all rose to their feet. Lord Toga and her father led the way out of the room followed by Sesshoumaru and her nee-san. She and her mother followed Inuyasha and Souta to the dining room as the two Lords continued to discuss the financial matters of the ceremony and the themes that would be appropriate.
Dinner was served as they continued to speak, facing each other across a long, Western-style table. Kagome sat next to her elder brother and across from Inuyasha. Due to her betrothal, she was now ranked directly below the heir in her family. Smiling faintly as she saw Inuyasha's ears twitch when faced with spiced noodles, her gaze turned to the Lords as they jointly agreed to allow her and Kikyou plan everything out and approve the plans.
She got a vague sense of amusement from Sesshoumaru as he listened to the decided upon course of action. She glanced at him curiously and was rewarded with the sense of expectancy. He'd already known what they were going to decide upon. Hiding her smile in a tea cup, she didn't catch the naughty twinkle in his eye until she felt a foot touch hers gently under the table.
Her eyes widened momentarily. He was being highly unorthodox in his actions. The rumors of him being cold and ruthlessly cunning were not matching up to his behavior. According to his reputation, he should have given her a cursory glance, declared her suitable and henceforth ignored her; but, he was being playful and amusingly endearing instead.
Was he trying to confuse her?
He gently placed his foot on top of hers and sent her a wink through their bond. He said something to her brother about the planning of a winter swordsmanship competition at the Emperor's Palace.
Ah, she thought. He and her nee-san were friends.
Kagome slid her foot out from under his, feeling his vague disappointment at the properness of her behavior. She put her foot on top of his, carefully watching his mouth twitch as the rice was served. If she hadn't been looking, the gleam of amusement would have seemed like a trick of the light. She'd surprised him.
"I do not believe Onigumo's son shares his father's sentiments, Father. Naraku and his sister are rumored to have been mistreated by the hebi-youkai and his kaze-youkai mate." Her betrothed's words were enough to snap her back to the conversation even as he readjusted his foot on top of hers.
Onigumo Enmuka was the undersecretary of the Minister of Finance, an influential position to be sure. He had aspirations to be named Minister once Lord Himoshi stepped down. It was a well-known fact that Lord Himoshi desired to step down and merely care for the lands bequeathed him by the Emperor. He would always retain the ear of the Emperor but he no longer wanted the Ministerial duties as well as the normal duties of a Lord. Onigumo, a once-minor lordling had mated with Kaguya Hitake to further his ambitions. She was the only child of Lord Hitake, governor of a large tract of land in the East and her dowry had raised Onigumo's status.
He had three children of their union. Naraku Enmuko was a reputedly good magician with great power. His twin sister Kagura was supposedly as powerful and a lovely conversant. Their youngest, Kanna, was a source of embarrassment for the family, a void youkai with albino coloring. Both of the elder children were said to have been subjected to torture during their growing years as a way of discipline. They were both known to be more powerful than their parents by far. Though generally disliked, both Onigumo and Kaguya were politically able and had retained a strong position in society, making a child abuse justice case impossible for its scandalous proportions.
Onigumo had licentious affairs with many of the servant girls, a well-known fact that his mate hated with a passion. He was also suspected of having dealings with Teorla, a country that Heikou- their country, was not on good relations with at this time. In fact, if she recalled correctly, they were close to going to war with Teorla.
But the question as to why they were discussing the Enmuko family remained.
"Naraku does seem to be an honorable young male and is apparently nothing like his father. He won the poison youkai competition at the University, correct Miroku?" Her father glanced at his son.
"Yes. From personal experience, Naraku is indeed an honorable male. His childhood was filled with cruelty but he seems to have grown up fine. I would say the calming influence of his sisters turned him from the path of his father." Her brother glanced at her. "Sisters are a treasure, right Kagome?"
She gave him an impish smile. "I can not argue with you, nee-san," she replied, referring both to the rules of etiquette dictating her acquiescence to her brother's words and to her own agreeable views on the subject.
Lord Toga laughed. "Nor would you want to, eh little one?"
She shook her head, making everyone at the table crack a smile.
Seeing the smile on the face of their daughter's fiancé, her mother and father relaxed. They had been afraid of giving their daughter to one known to be so frighteningly cold and calculating; however, they had worried for naught. If he could smile at their daughter like that, he would care for her regardless of his public reputation. Inu youkai were known to be amazingly loyal and attentive mates. That fact was one of the only reasons they had agreed to a meeting with the Western Taiyoukai. Not even the political gain that would come of the union would have spurred her father into accepting Sesshoumaru's suit had it not been for the genuine kindness and respect shown to him.
"Onee-san is intelligent and mischievous, Sesshoumaru-san." Her little brother, Souta, grinned at the other male from her left side.
"I will be most careful to keep that twinkle in her eye directed at my enemies, Souta-san."
"A wise move, Sesshoumaru-san. My sister has many fans with which to spread the subtle wings of change should you so choose." Miroku laughed at her when she gave him a puzzled look. How on earth had he figured it out?
"Must you always be cryptic, Miroku? Half your words of wisdom come in such phrases as to make a wise man of the one coming to you for advice." Sesshoumaru raised an eyebrow at her brother and it was then that she realized they weren't just friends. They were good friends if the carefully crafted political masks had fallen away for amusement on both of their faces. It was a rare show of trust in their world of cautious manipulation.
Her brother lifted his sake cup. "Wisdom is usually quite simple once figured out, a fact already known to the one seeking advice."
Sesshoumaru smirked. "So the wise man is not truly wise only perceptive?"
"As perceptive, Sesshoumaru-san, as a female who must watch the games men play in order to place herself accordingly." Her brother took a sip and placed his cup down.
Sesshoumaru picked up his sake cup, sipping. "Fans are most useful when keeping a flame going throughout a winter's night."
Kagome almost choked on her tea when she caught the double entendre in Sesshoumaru's words. She carefully kept her gaze on the fine china tea cup as he put his sake cup down. He ruffled the edge of her kimono with his toes.
"Lord Higurashi?" Lord Toga looked at her father. "Did you understand any of that?"
Kagome resisted the urge to laugh. She knew they hadn't understood.
"No. I haven't the slightest clue of what they are discussing."
Lord Toga nodded sagely. "Neither did I."
Sesshoumaru grinned. "Such is the beauty of youth and age, Father."
Kagome ducked her head to hide her smile at the petulant look on her father's and Lord Toga's faces. Sesshoumaru had just called them old. She giggled at the thought, unable to hide her mirth completely.
Miroku laughed with her. "Experience and naivety both have their advantages."
"Apparently." Lord Toga still sounded disgruntled, although his eyes were amused as they looked at the merry young woman.
"Perhaps my Lords would like to retire to the sitting room?" Her mother's soft voice interrupted Miroku's next words. A quelling look sent his way had him remembering to play nice.
"That would be most agreeable, Lady Higurashi." Lord Toga rose with her father.
"Your hospitality is most gracious." Sesshoumaru gave her a nod as he rose along with Miroku.
She rose with Inuyasha, her little brother and her mother. Her mother bowed in reply to the compliments. "Kagome and I shall retire for the night."
Kagome bowed, hair sliding forward. She turned gracefully and followed her mother from the dining hall, nodding in thanks to the servant holding open the doors.
Once she'd gotten into her room and bid her mother a good night, she allowed herself to relax completely. She didn't think she would mind mating the Heir of the West despite his fearsome reputation.
Nope. Not at all. He was kind to her, showing her a facet that he seemed to only show to a select few. She smiled happily as female servants came to help her take her kimono off, folding the beautiful fabric carefully in one of the drawers of her wardrobe before dressing her mistress in a blue silk yukata.
They left as quietly as they had come, leaving their mistress to her thoughts. A few candles remained lit to chase golden shadows around her room. The small flames reminded her of his eyes, warm and dangerous. To be sure, his aura and the strength of his blood was an alarmingly powerful taste of his soul. She hadn't searched him but she was quite sure that he was capable of great cruelty and that to be his declared enemy was tantamount to walking around with a death sentence. Many if not all feared the Western family to some extent, jovial though Lord Toga seemed to be.
She smiled at the thought of belonging to their name. They liked smart women, utilized many different ropes to obtain their desires and made themselves the best at whatever they chose to do. They were in the thick of things, never truly living a dull moment. Not that she expected to considering the man she was going to be tied to for eternity.
He was surely a hentai, a wickedly daring hentai that enjoyed the twinkle in her eyes and would be sure to keep it directed at his enemies.
She laughed, a merry, free sound that filtered through her door and to her guards. They chuckled with her, exchanging glances, glad their treasured charge wasn't crying.
The black-haired enchantress slid beneath the coverlet, a whimsical smile on her mouth. Slipping away into her dreams, she didn't notice when her cat curled up by her shoulder. Nor did she know that her cat would soon be the source of her first note of disgruntlement with her lord.
AN: This is a long chapter (I got carried away) but I thought I'd post it. I'm not quite sure what to make of this idea. It's very traditional and I haven't figured out what the plot is going to be yet. If you have a few extra seconds, tell me what you think please!