* Author: blue
* Email: blueweber@hotmail.com
* Genre: Drama/Angst/Romance
* Summary: Born in a war torn era in Japan, a young girl witness the death of her family and
clan to the hands of hatred, greed and power. Taken in by a mountain shrine, she becomes a
miko of healing. That is, until a wondering and disillusioned assassin breaks through her
peaceful world. Wounded and seeking revenge, he unwittingly finds himself depending on the
aid of the priestess to help heal him from his wounds. There an adventure begins and a
story that echoes through time with magick and mystery. (Sesshoumaru/Kagome)
* Rated: PG-13 (for violence and other contents)

The Kimono She Wore

The mountain streams flows,
Breaking through the ice.
The strength of fluid steel
Carries the scent of winter
through the lands.

.Part VI. ii.
(Betrayal of the Lord, The Empress' Jewel)

"A gift and a curse,
On this side of life."

"The Emperor died a few months ago," Kouga told Kagome gravely while she shook her
head in amusement at a ronin who was attempting to steal some of the food that she was
cooking. She had smartly smacked the not-so-young ronin's hand away with the ladel she
held, but the ex-general's words made her turn to him in surprise. The temperarily
unprotected food was filched and the man skittered away before Kagome could take notice.

Kouga found this a bit amusing and paused in his report of the outside going ons as
he chuckled at the childish display. Even his men seemed to be in better moods now that
Kagome had arrived in camp. That, and she definitely cooked better than any of them. If
her presence didn't do the trick, a full stomach sure did. "You were saying, Kouga-san?"
She nodded to him to continue now that he had her full attention.

Immediately, Kouga became grave and serious, if not a bit sad at the next words.
"The Emperor died a few months ago and upon his death bed he appointed his only daughter to
take his place as Empress. This is all well and good except that during times like these,
politics demands more solid confirmation of her place on the throne than the Emperor's words
and her birth right." Kouga told her as he held a ponderous look upon his face.
"Apparently the jewel known as the Shikon no Tama will assert her place and we have been in
search of this elusive jewel for some time. The royal armies are gathering, but there are
many who lusts for the throne, and an unwed Empress with no other heir to the throne has
many weak points. The jewel may not solve all of her problems, but it is a beginning
nontheless in eliminating some of her political enemies."

Kagome idly stirred the soup in the pot that merrily boiled away, "Strange that its
place is hidden. Wouldn't the Emperor have told his daughter its where abouts?"

"Even the Emperor did not know of the jewel's whereabouts, Kagome-sama." Kouga met
the surprised gaze of Kagome before he began the story of the mysterious jewel, the Shikon
no Tama, and its history of blood and tears. "Afterall," he quickly explained, "The
Emperor's great-grandfather was the last to have had a hold on it."

* * * * *

The Shikon no Tama was not always so famous a jewel. Once, it was but a gift to a
lost princess from the West who was to wed an ally of her father's. But her soon-to-be
husband was murdered the night they were to join.

Two war-lords had decided to join powers through an agreed upon marriage between one
daughter and one son. It was a match that was quite suitable. The young girl was studious,
well-read, and had an unusually good grasp of politics and strategy that she had secretly
taught herself. Had her father not found so advantageous a union of marriage, she would
have become a miko as she was thought to become since the day she was born. The young boy,
on the other hand, was a renouned fighter and an accalimed leader, he had good skills, good
talent, and was also, equally hard-working. They had had the luck of meeting each other
once, after their fathers' decision, and had decided they liked each other well enough,
though it really should not have mattered much, it made both of them glad that the other was
someone they could see each other marry. She admired him for his bravery, his honesty, and
his noble heart, and he admired her in return for her intelligence, diligence and grace. In
truth, they were the perfect son and daughter, and wedding together seemed to be what
destiny had ordained.

But it was not to be, for on the night of their wedding, the young girl arrived at a
burning house where her groom's family had been attacked. Having already been delcared dead
by her own family, and having it be a disgrace if she returned, the young girl disappeared
that night.

She had ran, finding refuge in a nearby shrine and begged the gods with the little
possessions she had, as gifts so that they would aid her in avenging the death of her
would-be husband and the family that would have been hers as well. She had hoped that in so
doing, she might regain the honor of her old family that had cast her out without a name to
call herself, as well as avenging a man she had thought to herself, already bound to. And
the gods listened to her outraged cries and so, sent a monk to her aid. He came to the
shrine that very night, seeking refuge from the storm outside. The young girl, finding that
the shrine had earlier been abandoned for whatever reasons -- perhaps a plague, or pillage
-- served him tea with what she could find. In return, she asked him if he knew the art of
fighting and war, and he replied, "I can teach you protection, but not death."

So agreeing, she learned from him how to defend herself from the weakness that was
natrually a disadvantage of being born a woman. The priest stayed with her for a year
before he left her at the shrine again, and this time a priestess came by. The girl,
serving the priestess the same tea, and asking her the same question, was answered in a
similar fashion. The priestess had smiled when she heard the young girl's quest for
knowledge of fighting, discreetly choosing not to delve for reasons, and instead, warned the
child, "I can show you the way of the bow to survive, but not to kill."

And from the miko, she learned how to shoot the arrow straight and true before the
other left her by herself at the shrine once more. At last, an old man came by -- and on
this account, many argued whether or not this old man was simply a man sent by the gods or
one of the gods himself. She, the young girl, out of great respect, served him tea and some
of the animal dumplings she had prepared earlier for the gods. For though he was no priest,
she sensed that he had great power and holiness within him. So she gave the offered gifts
to the gods, before wisely taking a few dumplings from the tray and handing it to the old
man. Thanking her for the tea and the food -- for the road to the shrine had been long and
weary -- the old man drank the tea and ate the dumplings graciously.

"I cannot teach you to kill, much less to fight," the old man had laughed when she
had asked the same question she had asked the previous priest and priestess. And though she
had a feeling that the old man would answer so, she had asked nontheless out of habit, for
this was the most important thing to her heart. "Instead, I will give you another gift,"
and he brought out of his travel worn sack that rested by him a jewel, a most simple and
splendid jewel that the old man named the Shikon no Tama.

"Take this jewel child, for though it may not seem much, it will grant you your most
precious wish. If your wish be evil, the jewel would reflect that same rank and angry wish,
and if the wish be pure, so would the jewel reflect that." He told her, "But becareful what
your heart whispers to you, for the feelings within, though solid, may be fickle come time
and again. Hold this jewel only when you are sure of the path you wish to follow, for once
on such a path, be it good or evil, one cannot turn back and change what one had already
chosen." And that night, the old man stayed and in the morning, he was gone.

For many days and weeks, the girl pondered what her wish would be. Perhaps, a part
of her did not believe it could be true, and yet another part cautioned her that it is
better to be careful than to recklessly take a gift that could be both a blessing and a
curse. But in the end, the choice was made for her.

Months had passed, before a curious flock of crows flew by the shrine and took
shelter in the great trees near the painted eaves. "Where are you going to in so many
numbers, birds of death?" She asked one of the many that had landed to rest on a tree
before continuing its journey.

"In the West, there had been a great battle," the bird told her through a few

"Yes, yes," another added, "A great lord had fought a great battle against enemies
that had murdered the man his daughter was to marry. Shamed, his daughter had ran away and
did not return home. Having had many tragedies on a day that was supposed to be joyous, the
great lord request to find the one who had killed his allied lord and friend."

"And they said, it was the ally lord's envious brother," another answered. "One who
did not wish to bow to his younger brother, who had been more fortunate than him in
acquiring land and wealth. So, the evil brother murdered his own blood through fire, as
well as his brother's family and the bride's intended."

"Make war, make war," the black birds cried before allowing one of them to continue.
"The great lord had shouted when he heard such dishonor and such evil news and after two
years of planning, and gathering his resources, he has attacked the wicked brother. Ah, but
the great lord has fallen to the treacheries of deceit and betrayal, and the evil
brother-lord wins."

"So we are going to where the dead are waiting!"

"Where lives this brother-lord?" She demanded, and the birds of death told her and
it just so happened that she had been clutching the jewel when such horrible news were
revealed. Her honorable father was dead, as had her once, soon-to-be honorable husband.
The jewel heard the wish in her heart, and the events that followed were one filled with
that same anger, sadness, and blood that had blossomed within the girl when she first heard
the news of such great injustice.

The girl then traveled to the fortress of the man who killed the two men she honored
most, and with her bow she strucked down his henchmen, and with her hands, she killed the
brother. Ah, but a twist, for both priest and priestess warned her that their art was not
used for killing, as did the old man who told her to becareful of her feeling heart. For
the jewel had heard her hearts desires in her great despair, and even to this day, there is
a great battle, that is said, to be still fought within the sparkling gem. And there, a
girl lives in eternal anguish on a path she cannot stepped down from.

Eternal vegeance, her heart had asked, and so that she was given. Reliving that day
over and over again, until the moment she but kills all her enemies, then does her lonely
quest begins once more on the night of a most dreadful fire. And it was truly a blessing
and a curse that such a jewel had come to be in her young hands and all hands after hers.

Then, who was to know that years later, a prince would find it in a great forest.
And into the jewel he saw the conflict all men may one day face. The prince was kind and
gentle, and knowing wisely that such powers were not for him, brought it to a shrine and
told the keepers, "Keep this jewel safe, but never use it or look within," and bid them to
keep it. "The jewel is a blessing and a curse, and all who hold it will share the fate of
the one who held it first. And should any of my descendants come this way, tell them that
perhaps, one day, a heart most pure and a soul most strong, might be able to cleanse this
jewel of the hatred it was born into first, and show it what forgiveness means. If they
deem worthy, give this jewel to them for I shall make it my quest to find one who can cure
such sorrow that even the gods must have taken pity."

Years passed, as they are wont to do, and his descendants did visit the shrine
searching for the "cure" for the jewel. It had became a symbol of leadership for their
clan, for things do change, and so did the telling of the tale as time went on, but no pure
heart had been able to cleanse the jewel of its hate and anguish. And it fell into more
trusted hands, returned to a hidden shrine in a bamboo forest, when one despairing lord -- a
descendant from the stately prince -- gave up his ancestor's search. "The answer may not be
able to be found, but it may come of its own accord," he reasoned.

And so, the powerful jewel that may grant wishes of both good and evil was stowed
away to where only the pure may tread, waiting for its day of cleansing.

* * * * *

The crows were numerous, he noted as his horse trotted through the silent village.
There, bodies were strewned over streets and broken windows, and through opened, broken
doors he saw more bodies, piled and bloodied. The stentch was unmercifully nasty, even
though, had it been summer, the smell would have been worse. He wrinkled his nose as his
own horse snorted. "I know," he patted the horse's neck, "It is quite a distasteful place."
With a gentle nudge and rising anger at the destruction of lands that once belonged to him
and his forefathers before him, Sesshoumaru set off to go deeper into his own territory,
territory that had once been under the proud protection of the Lords of the West.

"Naraku, for this you shall pay!" He promised himself as he sent his horse to
gallop out of the destroyed village and deeper into his own territories. "When I'm through
with you," golden-eyes narrowed as a feral smile rested upon his lips, "you will realize
that no amount of your trickery can win against a true lord's powers."

The aura around him built powerfully as he continued down the dirt road, leaving the
dead village he had travelled through farther and farther behind.

Father, he thought as he urged himself on tirelessly, this time, I'll make you
proud. And as he thought of this, sad brown eyes came from deep within, "Sesshoumaru,
you're just like your father."

I'll make you proud as well, Hahaue.

* * * * *

"Sesshoumaru-sama," the sly voice called as he turned his head to great the
dark-haired prince.

"Naraku," he answered without the formalities of title as Sesshoumaru gracefully set
down his tea. The other was a young and lowly general who had made a name for himself
through trickery, deceit, and skill. But he was no noble, and thus, beneath Sesshoumaru's
acknowledgment of any titles other than peasantry.

"I see you are... getting yourself well acquainted with my neice," dark eyes shot a
look at the seductive woman across from Sesshoumaru.

His "niece" was a willowy woman with black hair and slanted eyes that hinted a sly
nature. Though, not as calculating as the man before him, Sesshoumaru saw a great
resemblance between them. It annoyed him to realize that Naraku had thought he could bribe
him with lust and women. But the other had no noble blood running in his veins and it was
expected that such lowly servants could only think thusly, for they could not separate
themselves from physical needs.

"I am here on business, Naraku," Sesshoumaru dismissed the woman without wasting
another glance in her direction. "Not to waste my time with your whores," the indigent huff
was soon followed by a snapping sound of the shoji closing.

"Excuse my young niece, Kagura, she is a wild one and likes to have her way," Naraku
replied calmly, though Sesshoumaru saw through his mask easily. The other was as annoyed as
his counterpart, but the failure was noted with more grace and Sesshoumaru had a feeling
that the other would not mistake him for an easy prey hereafter.

So the games between them had risen, Sesshoumaru thought to himself with weary
amusment. "I'm sure you are quite aware of why I allowed this meeting to occur,"
Sesshoumaru said, dismissing talk of the woman as easily as he had of the woman herself. "I
will not tolerate your armies encorching on my territory, no matter what reasons you have to
give. It is not of my concern until you have stepped into my domain and I assure you, there
is nothing you can give me that can change my decision."

"Sesshoumaru-sama," Naraku finally said in a smooth voice that mimicked many of the
nobility with good education, but it was too silky to be listened to without skepticism, too
well acted. "I have simply come to ask for a month. My war will not involve you,

"You are in my lands, thus under my protection, or so it would seem to your enemies.
I will not make them my enemies, I will not allow them to burn my villages because of your

"Would it make a difference, Sesshoumaru-sama?" Naraku smiled darkly, "I am already
here, and rumors are abound to spread. Why would they believe your word against rumors of
the village people if they do not get to hear it?"

Sesshoumaru narrowed his eyes, "Are you threatening me, Naraku?"

"No," the other laughed, "I'm telling you the truth."

"You have a week to get off of my lands, Naraku," Sesshoumaru commanded softly as he
rose. "If not then, I will kill you myself."

Naraku stood and faced him then, "Kill me?" the younger man asked incredulously but
the look Sesshoumaru shot him silenced whatever else the dark-haired general might have
said. "So be it," the grim line of lips pressed closed as the two men stared each other
down. Annoyed at the pointless game of power, Sesshoumaru dismissed the man and went back
to his earlier inspections of his estate and the wellfare of his people. It would be that
fortnight that Sesshoumaru be attacked, and had it not been for the betrayal in his own
household, he would have easily defended what was his and crushed Naraku then and there.
But corruption ran deeply, more so than Sesshoumaru had earlier thought, and the deep anger
that came was harsh and cold.

He will take back what was his, and he would crush his enemies.

Naraku would die.

* * * * *

Kagome wondered when she had forgotten to laugh. It came out rusty to her own ears
when Kouga had disarmingly joked about something trivial and completely light hearted. She
had thought that in the years at the mountain shrine, she had been healed. Yet, now, in the
real world she had realized that though her wounds may have been closed, she had forgotten
what it was like to live and not just tend to the scars.

She liked Kouga much for bringing back the joy she had forgotten herself. And
suddenly, as she thought back, she remembered happier times that no longer brought wasteful
regrets but a smile for what once was, as well as a brighter hope for the future. Had she
not met the wondering ronins with a incredibly difficult mission, she would still have been
lost, if not a bit dead. And with each joke, her laughter became more open and far easier,
before soon she begin to wonder how she had ever lived without it nor could she remember a
time when laughter did not come so easily.

There had been amusing events at the Mountain Shrine, but as the head priestess, it
was always her duty to appear dignified and refined. At least, she had once unconsiously
thought it to be so. Now, now she was glad of the changes in her life that made it
possible for her to change as well once more.

"You laugh so prettily, Kagome-sama, you should do it more often." And she had
smiled with only a hint of embarrassment as she gracefully accepted the compliment from the
world weary captain, Kouga.

"Thank you, Kouga-san."

And Kouga only grinned, "It is the least I could do to repay you, for I have
not a yen in my name to spare for aught else but equipment and food supplies."

Kagome smiled, "My service is free, only what the people can repay is well enough
for me, if they cannot, then there is no reason to ask for reward. What I do, it is reward
enough to help the continuation of something more precious than yen."

Kouga shook his head, "If only all things in life were so." he answered.

"Where are we headed now?" She inquired.

Kouga's face became serious at those words, "Back to the Empress, for I refuse to
allow you to travel. It is my apologies to you, Kagome-sama, but we dearly need help with
doctors and such, war is not so kind and much harsher to those innocent, I do not wish for
you to see more than you must."

Kagome shook her head, "I am here to help, not for my own comfort. It is my
decision to step out of the Mountain Shrine, I have come out of that safe haven so that I
may be able to help others."

"Worse times will come, Kagome-sama. If it were my decision, I would have never
asked you to accompany us on this journey." Kouga sighed as he ran his fingers through his
hair, "Either way, we must return to the main camp. It has been four moons since we last
traveled back to report, we have been away long enough and the men need some rest. I've
heard that the Empress is gathering her powers in reply to the Ruthless-Prince's challenge.
And as much as I hate it, the General will have to be trusted with such vast armies though
he is still young and impetuous, that fool." Kouga spat out the names of both enemy and
ally distastefully, "A monster, the Ruthless one is. It would be good if someone but put a
knife in his back as he deserves no lesser treachery. That man deserve not an honorable
death for what he had done, but the High General does not understand that stealth is
sometimes more worthy than honor and brute force! That boy... even after losing Kikyou like
that he has pride enough to... Oh nevermind, you do not need to hear my mutterings."

Kagome watched Kouga solemnly throw more twigs into the fire, the light reddening
his features and shadowing his eyes with hooded darkness. "Death is never honorable,"
Kagome said to him in a whispered sorrow as she thought worriedly of a white-haired man that
she had seen those similar features of anger, sadness, and hatred. "It is inevitable."
That sweet face of despair and equal anguish, all of them bring revenge, hunger, and great

Yes, she had made the right decision, Kagome realized. The world was indeed, in
desperate need of the hands of true healers, ones who could bring back that torch known as


Wooohoooo! another one out! Just give me some time. I'm tired of making people wait for
the next chapter, and I know it can be very frustrating. I'm really sorry about that. I'd
like to thank everyone who's reviewed! And most of you are right, Kagome does act a lot
like Kikyou but that's only because she's lived with nothing but duties and memories, that
and she's not been brought up in the new era but the old. Now, in the real world, without
shelter or safety, she will be able to see the sun a bit clearer, even at the cost of having
to weather against the storm. Give it some time, Kagome will emerge and so will
Sesshoumaru-sama *grin*. And so the plot thickens! (I would like to apologize for the few
errors that are in this fic. I'm posting it now that I just finished formatting and I
haven't had time to really look over the story and edit. But I thought you guys waited long
enough, so here it is!) -- blue