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Bound by Caleesci

The Last Talisman

Hello All, I know I have another chapter story, Of Slaughter and Salvation, however I just got the itch and had to begin writing this! Now my mind is at war with which one I like better. Share your thoughts!

Enjoy,

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                Kagome sat with her feet tucked underneath her and her hands folded delicately upon her lap. Her hair was being brushed by an elderly miko with grey hair and a patch covering her left eye. Slowly, her long black hair was braided with shimmering ribbons. Kagome felt nervous, her stomach twisting in knots.

“Kaede-sama, I do not understand. I am not set to take my vows for another year. Why have I been selected?” Kaede could hear the tremor in her tightly controlled voice and felt a pang of sympathy for the young woman.

“Ye know the reason ye have been summoned, child.” Though Kaede’s voice seemed strong and steady, Kagome could not help but feel as though the older woman pitied her. Tears began to gather and Kagome hastily fought them back.

“Why me?” Once again, the slight tremor gave way to her true feelings, despite the calm look she wore.

“Ye know the answer to that as well, Kagome.” The two sat in silence as Kaede finished with the girl’s hair. Standing, Kaede grabbed Kagome’s clothes out of the wardrobe.

“These are special robes, Kagome, and ye must wear it when you are presented to Shigurie-dono.” Kagome stood, letting the robe that had been about her shoulders fall to the ground. A light blush rose on her cheeks as she stood bare before the other woman. Kaede moved forward and began dressing Kagome in the intricate robes. Instead of the normal red and white miko robes that Kagome was used to, these were crafted of fine silk and styled like an intricate kimono. The color was a soft light lavender color with a silver obi sash. Decorated along the length were shades of various sized flowers in either a deep purple or shimmering silver. As Kaede dressed her, Kagome could not help but gasp at the sight she made. Kaede stepped back to admire her handiwork.

“Ye look radiant child.” Her voice was warm, with a tint of motherly affection. Kagome turned to her and gave her a nervous, yet thankful smile.

“At least I look that way, but I do not feel so radiant Kaede-sama. I am afraid.” Kagome moved towards the older miko, who was holding a small black pack.

“This is for ye, Kagome, a gift from the sisterhood. Ye may not see it as such, but to be chosen as a bride to Shigurie-dono and a reagent of one of his holy lands is a great honor.”

“That is how Kikyou felt.” Kagome said bitterly. “We were all so proud of her. But where is she now, Kaede-sama? Where is my sister? What happens to the mikos that are selected? Why is it she has not returned any of my letters?”

“Ye must calm yourself, Kagome. Words spoken in anger often lead to roads of peril. Let not Shigurie-dono hear such words of venom, or ye will find a fate worse than death.” The sharp stern tone was one Kagome seldom heard, and she lowered her head in shame. Kaede unwrapped her gift and lifted a small circlet of stunning beauty. The metal was a silvery color, a foreign metal known as platinum. It was simple in design, but expertly crafted. At the center of the circlet was a small gem, a pinkish white. Kagome felt the thrum of its power. She gasped at Kaede, her eyes wide.

“Kaede! The Shikon no Tama? But Kikyou…”

“Left it in my care, to give to ye when ye were chosen. She knew Shigurie-dono would come. There are heavy spells concealing the identity of the stone, only a miko of the Higurashi blood line can sense it. Not even youkai can detect it. Ye must keep it safe Kagome.” She placed the circlet upon her brow, completing her look.

“Now come child, the ceremony begins.” Kagome took a large breath to calm her nerves before following Kaede out of the room.

                Kagome followed Kaede through the hall and kept her head down as required. She longed to stare at the beautiful artwork, at the high gilded ceilings, at anything other than the marble floor. Yet she did as she was instructed and kept her eyes cast down in a demure submissive pose. It was an unusual way for a miko, who were always taught to hold your head high for only Shigurie-dono was above you. The nobles of the land had no control over the esteemed holy ones that were Mikos and Monks. Kagome heard the clank of a salute, and dared a glance at the armor plated men standing at the door holding spears that looked more ornate than deadly. They opened the door, and Kagome felt the finality of her situation wash over her like an icy wave. This time, Kaede motioned her forward to go on without her. Kagome moved through the doors, noticing that this room was much brighter than the halls. She could hear no sound as she made her way down the long isle, her eyes on the floor. When she came to the end of the walk, she dropped to her knees and bowed before the throne. She dared not catch a glance for fear of incurring his wrath. Footsteps were heard descending from the steps that the throne sat upon. She could hear the rustle of silk as they came to stand before her.

“Rise, my dearest, and gaze upon your husband and sisters.” Kagome moved her gaze up as she was commanded. A soft pale hand was in front of her, and she grasped it and stood. Her first instinct was to gape at the imposing man standing before her. Eyes like rubies examined her with a calculating stare. His skin was pale, almost sickly so, yet still beautiful. His hair was long and fell in soft brown curls down his back and despite herself Kagome felt it was almost feminine. He was simply too pretty to be a male. Yet the solid arms and stature of him spoke otherwise. He was broad and tall and had a musky scent that reminded her vaguely of a forge. He was dressed in full armor, a chest plate with spikes that Kagome could sense the youki within. Though she could sense the power from the armor, she could sense nothing else, no power at all from the man before her.  Flanking him stood the most unusal woman. The women were dressed elegantly in fine silks, but upon their faces they each wore a mask, one of a bird, one of a panther, and one of a dragon. Behind them, far away against the back wall werefour doors. Three of the doors had cloaked figures standing in front of them, their aura’s distinctly youkai, but were hidden or masked behind a barrier. The fourth door had no one in front of it, and was covered in sutras.

“Kagome, my sweet, my chosen one. I have watched you for many years. Watched you grow into a miko of unparalleled power. I can sense it, taste it on you.” He moved closer, his lips coming to rest against hers in a chaste kiss. “Yes, you taste as sweet as your power does. My little flower, that is what you shall be called, my flower. Come, my sweet flower, and meet your sisters. This is reagent of the East, a cunning and tricky little vixen, Yukiza.” The woman he mentioned removed the red and gold mask that looked to be in the shape of a great bird that covered her face. She had black hair that was pulled high upon her head and left to trail down in a swinging ponytail. She wore a red colored kimono styled similar to Kagome’s with leaves of different shades of orange and gold detailed along its length. Her eyes were a pretty shade of brown that had a mysterious glint to it. Kagome sensed an unusual power coming from her that made her uneasy. The woman had holy power, of that she could tell, but she could also sense the youki of a strong youkai.

“This is my reagent of the South, Kumiko, though do not let her complacent nature fool you, beneath her calm exterior exists a fierce fire.” The next woman he motioned to removed a black intricate mask with the face of a panther. Her hair, unlike the others was cut very short to her shoulders, an uncommon style where Kagome was from. She had a strong feminine face with dark eyes. She was dressed in a solid black robes that were similar to the customary miko robes. Though they lacked any decoration, they still had an intricate air about them. Despite the somewhat detached expression, Kagome felt a friendly warmth spread through her as their eyes met. As the same with the first girl, Kagome felt the holy power mixed with the aura of a youkai.

“And this is my reagent of the north, a woman that you know to be steadfast and wise, an enigma of perfection.” The third woman reached up and removed a somewhat frightening looking mask that sprung from her face like the snout of a dragon. Pale skin met dark brown hair and shining grey eyes. A light smile was upon the woman’s face.

“Kikyou...” Kagome said softly, as if she could not believe it were truly her. She saw her sister’s eyes mist with tears.

“Kagome, it has been so long.” The older girl’s eyes flickered to the gem at the circlet, widening slightly before returning to her sister’s. Kagome mouthed Kaede’s name and Kikyou understood. Kikyou stood dressed in the most intricate kimono, the typical 7 layer style fit for a princess. The many layers were different varying shades of green and decorated with a pattern that looked much like scales. Kikyou and the other woman placed the masks upon their faces once again as Shigurie stepped forward, his hands trailing the lines of Kagome’s face.

“You are young, my child, so very young. You will be my gem, my flower, my precious gift. I have a special place for you, as reagent of the West. The west is the strongest and most expansive of the lands. Tell me, young one. What do you know of the history of this land?” Shigurie’s voice seemed calm, kind and welcoming, yet Kagome felt her stomach coil in fear as if the words were sugar coated venom.

“I have learned as you decreed to be taught, my lord.” Kagome answered, bowing her head. “That hundreds of years ago in a time of strife, death, and war, you seized the lands from the harsh clutches of the daiyoukai lords, and using the powers of the kami, gifted the land to the humans so we may live in peace and prosperity.” The answer was nearly a direct quote, with little feeling and lacking in the admiration Shigurie was so very used to. He frowned lightly, but made no comment on it.

“Indeed, my dear. Now as you join my house I will share with you the secrets of the daiyoukai lords, and the past in which I conqured them." Kagome noticed the tightening of Yukiza’s fists, and the way Kumiko gripped a large black and white pendant that hung round her neck. Kikyou, unlike the others, showed no signs of outward emotion but Kagome knew her sister well. The slight shift in her posture was enough to belay her feelings. Oddly, her sister seemed insulted.

“Come to me, little flower.” Shigurie opened his arm, motioning for Kagome to step forward. Hesitantly she did, feeling her skin crawl as his hand came to rest upon the small of her back. He moved her toward a small table in which he pulled a long silver box.

“I have waited very long for you, little flower. This talisman has been the most difficult one to pass, little flower, for it marks the wearer as the reagent of the West.  The reagent of the West is the required to be the strongest of all, for you see this talisman has great power.” He opened the box and Kagome’s eyes widened as she felt the magnificent power radiating from it. Before her was a large pendant that was in the shape of a tear that was easily the size of her hand. Within the tear shaped pendant was the most unusual energy, a gold and silver mist like substance that glowed and was constantly in motion. It almost looked as though it were a wisp of gold and silver light constantly bending and moving. She had not noticed until she had seen Kumiko grip it, but the other woman all wore pendants of different colors. Yukiza wore one that was glowed a hot red with small speckles of gold, an odd color that shone against the gold of her robes. Kumiko’s teardrop pendant was filled with a deep, consuming black with a brilliant white weaving beautifully through the inky darkness. Kikyou’s was an unusual one, for it contained many colors, black, green, red, even blue. All the colors swirled together in constant movement.

“Why has this talisman been so difficult to pass to a miko, my lord?” Kagome asked tentatively, feeling incredibly uncertain about placing the pendant around her neck. The power she sensed was not holy magic, it was youki, powerful youki. Shigurie gave her a smile and Kagome could not help but feel as though it were somewhat feral.

“It is because each pendant contains a portion of a soul, dear little flower. A portion of the soul that belonged one of the great daiyoukai lords of old." Kagome felt herself swallow in fear. Her instincts screamed at her to run, but she dared not. Even when Shigurie lifted the pendant and began to place it over her head she moved not a muscle. The moment the pendant touched against her breast, the power was released. Kagome screamed as the youki contained within the pendant surged through her body like fire. The three cloaked figures jumped forward, each grabbing one of the woman and pulled them backwards as the youki flared dangerously with the miko powers of the girl. Shigurie stepped back as well, his feral grin spreading dangerously across his face. From the back of the room, from the door laced with sutras, came a roar that seemed to shake the very earth. The sutras that had been placed on the door’s length burned to ashes. There was a pulse of pink energy only Kikyou could sense, and the battle between miko and youkai seemed to change as the powers began to meld together instead of fighting one another.  As the winds of power subsided, Kagome fell to the floor in exhaustion. Her body tingled with power, power that was not her own.

                Slowly, Kagome stood; her eyes burning with strange intent. Moving past the others who were watching her every move, she made her way to the door that seemed to shimmer. Her feet moved forward as if on their own accord. Each painstaking step towards the door seemed to raise the anxiety in the air. The cloaked figures were standing in front of the women, as if to shield them should something go wrong. Though their eyes were hidden, if one could see them there would be an underlying sense of excitement.

                Kagome reached the door, the sudden fear making her still. Slowly, she reached out a hand. Her fingers touched the door, and it seemed to ripple at her touch as though it were made of water. A pale clawed hand shot out, gripping Kagome’s arm and she fought to pull away but the strange trance kept her still. Slowly, a figure emerged from the liquefied door that turned solid once more as the man fully stepped out. His hands and feet were bound with chains, and round his neck sat a collar. He was tall, towering over the human woman standing still before him. Lean muscles flexed along the male's chest, stretching the pale skin tightly over the chiseled perfection. Long strong arms ended in deadly claws. Upon his wrists and shoulders were stripes of magenta that seemed the marr the beautiful skin beautifully. Similar stripes appeared on his chest and cheeks, even on the lids of his eyes. His taut chest gave way to a hard and lean stomach that had a small line of silver hair that dipped tantalizingly below the cloth that was wrapped about his waist. Even the ends of thick magenta strips disappeared into the cloth, their direction almost pulling the eyes to the junction of his legs. The cloth covered to his upper thigh, where two more stripes stretched across the powerful muscles. The man was more handsome than any being Kagome had ever seen. His appearance, however, could not replace the sense of danger the man seemed to radiate. The markings upon his face and body marked him as something bestial, a youkai of regal breeding.

For the briefest moment, the room was silent. Slowly, magenta striped lids parted to reveal molten gold eyes that seemed to freeze and burn you at the same time.  Shigurie stepped forward, his own crimson gaze locked on the new addition.

“It has been four hundred years since you have been sealed within that door. And finally, after four hundred years, I have found a miko strong enough to release and bind you, Sesshomaru.”

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Love,

Caleesci

 

INUYASHA © Rumiko Takahashi/Shogakukan • Yomiuri TV • Sunrise 2000
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