(n.) /ˈkīräs/
the fleeting rightness of time and place that creates opportune atmosphere
for actions, words or movement; the moment when everything falls perfectly into
place; "the appointed time in the purpose of God", the time when God acts.

If not for the wind roaring in her ears, the silence that hung over the Plegian night might've deafened her.

Even as a grown woman, Kikyo never saw comfort in darkness. Oh, it surrounded her each and every day, but she did not embrace it. Perhaps she could blame it on some small remnant of her childhood that refused to leave, but she could only see beauty in morning light. There were no creatures lurking out of sight. No beasts lingering near with their bony claws outstretched, waiting to tear her in two. Only the warm comfort of the dawn. But there, under the shroud of night and stars, she felt safe.

The Wyverns flew low, kicking up dust and sand with every flap of their leathery wings. The wind blew against her ears, sending her cape billowing behind her, and the slivered moon hung in the sky, lighting her—their—path to freedom.

Underneath the tattered brown hood of her cloak, a ghost of a smile dared to appear as she gazed at the bundle tucked in her arms. A folded cloth covered the top, protecting its cargo from the chill of the night, but she knew exactly what was hidden underneath. Pale skin, and a tuft of hair as dark as her own. Bright eyes as blue as the sea, and cheeks a pretty red flush. Her moon, her little raven. Her precious baby girl. Bred all for the sake of reviving a horrid monster.

Dark blue eyes sharpened against the wind, and pale arms held the precious bundle ever closer.

It had seemed like such a grand honor at the time. Surely, any woman from the inner circle would have given her right arm for the chance. Wed the leader and give birth to the future vessel of the Great One! Cradle your newborn for the first time with the knowledge that she would be fated to lose her own mind so that a horrid beast might overtake her body and eradicate all of humanity! Her pale mouth curled into a wry, self-loathing smirk.

Oh, yes. An honor indeed.

And a damned fool was she to have agreed. Happily so, at that!

For nine long seasons, she had carried her precious girl in her womb. Each man born into her dear husband's line had been raised in hopes of being a suitable vessel for their Lord. Neither he, nor his father before him had been worthy, but their child, he claimed, was surely the One. For nine months, she had been lauded by her fellow Grimleal members as the mother of the Vessel. Foolish had she been to have been honored. A damned fool! Where had her conscience been? Had it abandoned her in those months? Had it fled her pretty head the moment she donned her robe? Who in their right of mind would bring a child into the world, knowing that they would bear that fate?

But she was not so blind. Had another woman of Grimleal been chosen, their child would surely have been doomed to a fate far worse than death. But not her. No, not Kikyo. The moment her eyes fell upon her daughter, she knew she could not submit her to such a life. Not her only child. Not her precious girl.

So she played the part of the overjoyed mother, the devoted apostle, and she played it well. But there was so little time, and Kikyo could not afford to be idle.

In a country like Plegia, one could never be too cautious. Every human who was born upon Plegia's unforgiving terrain was a member of Grimleal, though some were more dedicated than most. Plenty Plegians, famished from war, would do anything for coin. But finding the right ones was a dangerous task indeed, and if Kikyo had not been so desperate, she would not have tried to hunt them down. It would have been far too risky. But desperation begot desperation. And, perhaps the Gods had recognized her attempt at repentance, for she found them.

As far as the men were concerned, she was not but a simple, if wealthy, mother, trying to find a better life for herself and her child.

Kikyo peered over her right shoulder. Two Wyvern riders soared behind her and her escort, each with a lance attached to their backs. She feared that, if they had known who she was, they would not have agreed to help her. Perhaps, if not for the danger it might have posed for their business, they might have turned her in for an even larger sum. After all, it was only business.

Still, she couldn't say.

But there she was, riding on the back of a Wyvern with nothing but her daughter, a pouch of gold, the cloth on her back, and a small satchel of belongings. The men would escort her to the docks at the far edge of Plegia, where she would be escorted by their associates to the safety of Ylisse. And then….

A hollow pang resounded in her breast, and Kikyo forced herself to swallow down the lump that formed in her throat.

The moment Kikyo arrived at the agreed meeting place; she knew that she could not stay with her child. It pained her more than she could ever hope to articulate into words, but it would be far too risky. It would be harder to track down a growing child than it would a grown woman. If she stayed with her child, anyone looking for them would know that the child with her was hers. The brand would only damn them further. And she couldn't afford to let them take her baby back to that Gods-forsaken barren wasteland. Kikyo would sooner offer her own self as sacrifice for the Grea—for Grima, than see her daughter suffer further.

Holding her daughter as close as she could, Kikyo's eyes slid shut.

She had never before believed in Naga or the Gods, only ever in Grima. Kikyo had once been a loyal Plegian. She, though her family protested, had believed that Ylisse and their damned Exalt were the cause for every misfortune that had ever befallen her family. And when she had confessed her concern over her family's mindset to her so-called true family, they responded in kind.

"Misguided," the women cooed, shaking their heads. Yes, misguided. But she had believed that when she returned, with honor bestowed upon her family's small farm and the future Vessel of Grima clutched to her breast, they might have changed their tone.

It was never too late to change. Not them, no, never too late for her to change.

Bowing her head, Kikyo inhaled deeply and attempted to stifle her growing distress. At that moment, as she flew atop the black Wyvern, there was little she could do but pray. Pray for herself and her daughter. There was no use dwelling on the past and unwelcome memories.

Naga, she prayed silently, lips moving to form voiceless words, I know that I should not dare to speak to you. I know that by having listened to the gospel of Grima, if only for a moment, I have committed a sin for which I might never repent. But I beg you to hear me, if only once.

Protect my child from the hands His worshipers. I chose to bring her into this world, and if her sin is having been born, allow me to repent in her stead.

Protect her as you protected man from Grima all those years ago.

I beg of you. Watch over her, for I know that I cannot.

As the shore came into view, the Wyvern slowed to a stop and began to lower its large body to the ground, causing the child in her arms to let out a small cry. Kikyo quietly shushed her daughter, rocking the bundle ever so slightly as they landed with an audible thump. There was no time to waste. Surely, the entire inner circle of Grimleal knew by now that she had stolen away with the child. She and her escorts had too much of a head start for them to catch her in time, but that did nothing to soothe the spike of fear in her breast.

The man in front of her quickly leaped off the back of the beast, and handing her child to him so that she might as well, Kikyo carefully slid off. Sand kicked up in protest, but she paid no mind. Sand in her boots was nothing compared to what might await her and her child if they delayed for too long.

The men said nothing as her child was handed back to her. A handful of gold coins were handed to each rider, and Kikyo bowed her head in thanks.

"May the G—"

Her voice caught in her throat. No. Not Grima. Never again.

"...May Naga be with you," she murmured after a pause, keeping her gaze to the sand under her feet.

The man whom she'd ridden behind raised a brow, and let out a small chuckle, but did not reply. The shortest of the three, a young woman, simply snorted and flicked her hair back. Only the largest of the three dipped his head in return, quickly mounting his Wyvern once more as his companions saddled theirs. And as silently as they arrived, the three left into the night. Kikyo stood, holding her child as she watched them fly back to the capitol. Only moments passed before they faded into the night.

Would they return before her husband's followers set out to capture her?

Her tattered cape billowed in the wind, and she turned to face the small dock behind her. A single modest-sized boat was settled against the shore, the dark waves lapping at the wood, and standing before it were two young women. One taller, with up-done black hair, and one shorter, with long white hair. The shorter woman-child held a lantern that did little to illuminate their features. But, she supposed, it was only fair. Her own hood obscured her face, and her daughter was so swaddled that all anyone could see was a tuft of black, if that much. Perhaps it was for the best.

"You're the woman, then?" the taller one hummed, blood-red eyes glowing in weak light of the lantern, raking over her barely distinguishable form. For what, she hadn't a clue. The shorter girl said nothing, seemingly content to stare into the darkness behind her. Kikyo averted her own gaze as she shuffled closer, shifting her child to a one-armed hold. The girl's dark stare raised the hairs on the back of her neck. Were they sisters? She couldn't see any similarities between the two, from what little of them she could see. Partners then, perhaps.

"Indeed, I am."

The red-eyed one hummed again, giving her another once-over, and held out a single palm. Somewhat confused, Kikyo began to lift her own before the woman tsked, sending her a hard stare that had her immediately withering back.

"No, fool," she sneered. "Half here, half when we arrive. Understand?"

Her companion raised a pale palm, finally shifting her dead stare to Kikyo. She tried her best to suppress her instinctive shudder.

Oh, of course. Heat rushed to her cheeks, and Kikyo was grateful that both the night and her hood obscured her face.

Once again, Kikyo's hand dipped into the small coin pouch tied to her belt. The weight, or lack thereof, worried her. Would there be anything left to provide her and her child with sustenance or shelter after they departed?

Ten gold coins were deposited in both hands. The taller one seemed to bite down on one of her coins while the smaller one set to work, readying the boat for the four of them. After a moment, the red-eyed woman seemed satisfied with whatever she found, and stepped into the boat as soon as the smaller girl pushed the boat off the shore. Kikyo worried her bottom lip and glanced behind her. There were no forms in the distance, ready to charge at the four and drag her back to Validar and the Grimleal by her hair, but fear and uncertainty were difficult beasts to slay.

"Are you waiting for an invitation from the Exalt, woman? We haven't all night."

Tensing, Kikyo shook herself out of her paranoia and turned back to the two women. It mattered not. They would be off in a moment regardless, it was far too late for her husband's men to catch her.

With legs as shaky as those of a newborn fawn's, Kikyo stepped into water, lifting a leg over the rim the boat before she eased in. The mother quietly settled across the irritable red one. There'll be no talking, then, she thought wryly. Lest the older woman have more reason to complain. Still, her companion's dour mood couldn't stifle the warm feeling in her belly as the smaller girl pushed the boat into the water, hopping in as soon as the water rose to her hips, causing the boat to bob under the sudden weight. Conversation was a tiny price to pay for freedom.

The younger girl fixed the lantern onto a raised piece of wood that hung above the center of the boat, and the two began to row.

It was time.

Kikyo had never imagined that she'd feel so happy to leave Plegia. Two years ago, she would have sooner cut out her tongue than even entertain the thought. Two years ago, Plegia had been her home, and the Grimleal, her family. She'd been an obedient wife, a obedient disciple, and a powerful mage in her own right.

But then, two years ago, she hadn't a child to protect.

The two women focused on rowing, so silence was, once again, her only companion. But the slosh of wood hitting water was like a mother's lullaby, bringing her more comfort than she'd felt the last few days, and as the shore drifted further and further away, Kikyo's tense form slowly began to relax.

Reaching up, she gently lowered the hood of her cloak, and allowed her long black hair to blow back from its hold. Her babe shifted in her arms, and Kikyo, now calm, as they were no longer on Plegian land, pulled back the folded cloth, revealing her child to the comforting light of the moon and the soft glow of the lantern. The tiny girl blinked sleepily, blurry blue eyes attempting to find her mother's face in the darkness. Kikyo smiled softly and lifted the bundle, easing the girl's drowsy plight. She could see no flaw on her daughter's face. Not one hint of her father's blood, nor her Plegian lineage. Her child would be safe in Ylisse, where she would have a family to raise and care for her.

Kikyo gently raised her hand to touch her daughter's face, rubbing the back of her finger against her soft, pale skin. The girl cooed, and smiled gumlessly up at her.

Her daughter would never know of her place in Grimleal. She would never know the reason behind her birth.

She would never know of her connection to Grima.

Tears stung Kikyo's eyes, and she couldn't help the burning sensation in her throat, or the small sniff that managed to escape. But looking down at her child, she forced a smile to her lips and blinked her tears away.

She would never know of her mother. Not the one who gave her life. The only mother she would know would be the one to raise her, whomever she might be. It would be a lie to say that Kikyo didn't want to be selfish. To run far away with her daughter in tow, raising her as her own raised her. To watch her daughter grow from a small babe to a beautiful young woman. For she did. Kikyo wanted to be selfish, and she envied the woman who would be there to help her along the way.

After all, she thought to herself, is that not what every mother wants? To watch her child grow?

But she couldn't, not if it meant putting her daughter at any sort of risk. It would hurt. Oh, Gods, would it hurt. There would never be a day where she wouldn't think of her daughter, where she wouldn't pray that her chosen parents were doing right by her, giving her everything Kikyo couldn't. Her days would be filled with what-ifs, and her nights would be filled with tears and regrets. But she wouldn't let her own selfishness put her daughter at risk. If it was to be her penance, then so be it.

Her wry smile turned melancholy as her daughter giggled, and her small hand instinctively latched onto Kikyo's finger. The very hand marked with the sigil of Grima. As much as it pained her, there was nothing Kikyo could do to hide it. For the moment, a small strip of white cloth wrapped around the girl's tiny palm, concealing it from view, but it could not hide the mark. All she could do was pray that her child's future parents wouldn't think much of it. A child abandoned by a fanatic Plegian would be the best case scenario. But, if they were to find out…

Kikyo clenched her teeth, forced herself to abandon the thought. It would do her no good to think of such things.

Impossible. No one believes that Grima could ever be resurrected, she told herself. She will be fine.

The calm smile had left her face in her thoughts, and as though sensing her mother's unease, the young girl began to fuss in Kikyo's arms, wiggling and letting out distressed whines. Ever the dedicated mother, Kikyo was quick to respond. Forcefully shoving her thoughts to the side, Kikyo shushed her daughter and gently began to smooth her hair, holding her close with both arms. The red-eyed woman glanced at the bundle in her arms only momentarily.

"There now, love," Kikyo whispered softly, smiling gently down at her daughter. "Mother's fine. Be still, my darling."

The blue-eyed babe sniffed, but made no move to wail. Her tiny hand released her mother's finger, only to reach out and grasp a strand of Kikyo's long hair. She gave a brief tug, and giggled as Kikyo smile returned in response, along with a small wince. That was her little one, always so well-behaved. Kikyo was truly blessed to have been given such a ray of light.

And if the Grimleal had its way, her sunlight would have disappeared.

Kikyo situated the girl in her arms and began to hum softly. Loud enough to be heard over the sloshing of the paddles, but soft enough to not disturb the girl too terribly. Memories of her own childhood began to flood her mind, intertwined with the bitter taste of nostalgia. Memories of a small farm and family, long before she'd officially joined the inner circle of Grimleal. Memories of her sister, her parents, and the boy whom she once loved. Of her mother smoothing her short black hair back when she had a nightmare, of her father's deep, hearty laugh, and her sister's cheerful laughter. They'd never had much, and there had been hard times, but they had been happy.

Her family would have loved her child, of that, she was sure. Her sister would've taught her everything she'd known. How to plait her hair, how to sew, how to sing. Her parents would have spoiled her relentlessly. They had always wanted grandchildren. Perhaps, she thought, had circumstances been different, the girl in her arms would've been her first love's daughter. It'd been years since she last thought of him. Tanned skin, white hair, clumsy fingers, and all. He'd never been very good with young ones, but he would've loved any of their children. Would've protected her with his life, as she did now. They were all surely watching over her this night, and she would not disappoint them.

She would secure her daughter's future, or perish in the attempt.

Her daughter's eyes slowly began to close as Kikyo's gentle hum and the rocking of the boat lulled her to sleep, and Kikyo gently placed the topmost cloth back over her, covering her from the cold, but gentle, wind.

As the moon gave way to the sun, the two women rowed them from Plegia to Ylisse, never saying more than a few words when necessary. The weather and sea were kind to them, and as the sun settled high in the sky, their small vessel arrived at the lower part of Ylisse. It would be far too risky for them to arrive at the main docks, so Kikyo would be forced to travel by foot. Her only regret was that she knew little of Ylissean territory. Had there been more time, she might've tried harder to find a map. As it was, she had little to go on but fortune and her own sense of direction.

Kikyo stepped onto the shore, her boot sinking into the sand. The younger one had, once again, pushed the boat onto the shore, and she couldn't help but marvel at the girl's strength. Surely her and the taller one's added weight should've made it harder, but she pushed as though it was nothing. The red-eyed woman stood tall in the boat, her arms crossed and chin lifted.

"Ah, yes," Kikyo mumbled, digging the final half of the women's payment out of her satchel.

Pulling out a handful of coins, half was deposited into the shorter girl's hand, and the rest, into the red-eyed one's.

"Naga be with you."

Shaking her head, the irritable one mumbled under her breath and turned away, resting her rear back on the bench of the boat. The white-haired one began pushing their wooden vessel back into the water, and Kikyo, herself, turned to face the dense forest that lined the edge of the shore. It would take more than the prospect of bruised, dirty, and aching feet to quell the warm feeling that filled filled her.

They had made it.

They were free.

For a moment, she was content to stand in the sand, taking in every sight, scent, sound, and smell that entered her senses. She'd never known anything but that which Plegia had to offer, and to some, Ylisse might not have been particularly extraordinary. Especially not the tiny nook of land that she was greeted with, with only trees, sand, and the ocean. But they were not Kikyo, and to her, it was the most beautiful sight she'd ever seen. The ocean lapped at the heels of her boots, and the breeze that blew against her face was pleasant, not burning her face or chilling her to the bone. Birds chirped in the lush forest, and the comforting scent of saltwater and earth filled her head. The rest of Ylisse could only be just as beautiful.

"Look, love," she whispered, lifting the bundle up just so as she gestured to their surroundings. "Your new home."

But she could only spare so much time to stand in place.

A few moments later, after Kikyo had composed herself, she squared her shoulders and set off into the forest across her. With her only companion being her infant daughter, she was left with nothing but the sounds of the forest to accompany her thoughts.

Of course, Kikyo's journey was not an easy one. Supplies were sparse, and there was only so much gold left in her pouch. More than once, she found herself begging for coin, getting by only on her wit and the charity of others. Only once had anyone offered her shelter for the night, and Kikyo had been so grateful that she'd nearly began to weep. Her legs and arms grew weary with travel as the day passed, and her stomach began to sound more and more like a ravenous beast with each missed meal, but Kikyo was stubborn.

Unfortunately, the second village they came to was small, too small for Kikyo's comfort. But there was an Inn, and after nearly running into a bear the night before, she did not want to chance another night out in the open. So she took what few coins she had and stayed the night, clutching her daughter close to her chest, as though someone would come and spirit her away into the night—like she had done only three days before.

Kikyo's feet were soon caked with dirt and grime after days of use, covering the scars that began to accumulate on the skin. Her boots hadn't been made for travel, and only caused her pain. They'd sold for some coin, thankfully, but that only got her by for so long. Her hair became dirty and tangled, and her clothes, ripped. Her body had become frailer, and as she lied down on the grass, staring up at the stars that had become one of her only comforts, she felt a sense of helplessness overcome her. She hadn't a clue where she was or where she was going. It was unlikely that her body could stand much more travel, but none of the villages she'd passed through seemed like suitable homes for her child.

Was this her punishment for all she'd done? The Gods had watched over her on her journey to Ylisse, but now that she was no longer on Plegian ground, they'd begun to lash out? Could they not at least grant her daughter salvation, first? Kikyo's eyes clouded over as she looked at her child, cuddling her close as though shielding her from the heavens above with her own body. There was nothing for it, though. She could no longer continue as it was. Whether she wanted it or not, she would have to find a home for her child in the next village. She could not provide for two the way she was, and if she died in her stubbornness, her daughter would be left to suffer.

And with that thought overtaking all others, exhaustion grabbed Kikyo by her hair, and she did little to fight as it dragged her into a dreamless sleep.

The next morning, the outline of yet another village greeted Kikyo as she walked along the path, occasionally passing a traveler or merchant who glanced at her ragged form in distaste. She could not fault them, however, as she was sure she made for quite a sight. Ragged and bone-thin, wearing a dirty cloak and carrying a wailing child. Kikyo felt as though she hadn't slept at all, but her stride, though occasionally accompanied by a sway, was determined. Today, she would find a home for her daughter. Gods help her, she might collapse the moment she stepped back onto the road, but her daughter would be taken care of first.

Dark eyes outlined by dark circles glanced around as she entered the village, paying little mind to the people who roughly pushed past her in their own haste. After some time, she'd begun to grow used to it. There were certainly plenty of people around, though she was unsure as to which ones lived in the village and which ones were only passing through. The marketplace was bustling, and as she began her customary survey, walking the entirety of the grounds, a carriage—which, of course, earned a fair amount of damning from the frail mother—nearly ran her down. A trading village, then. For it certainly wasn't large enough to be the capitol, and she could find no other reason for the surprising amount of activity.

However, as she continued on, she soon found that despite its activity, the men and woman who actually lived in the village were surprisingly kind and patient with travelers. Routinely, she hailed someone down to ask for directions, or to inquire about the most inane thing she could come up with in a moment's notice. No matter how she acted, they listened to her with patience, and gently corrected her when she purposefully got something wrong. On occasion, a group of children would pass her, kicking around a ball or swinging wooden swords. Kikyo easily sidestepped the youngsters each time, keeping an eye on them till they merged with the crowd. Her child would at least, if they neither minded nor saw the mark on her hand, have other children to play with.

Kikyo's thoughts began to drift as she neared the end of her round. The village wasn't perfect, but it would certainly be better than nothing. And once she grew, there would be enough villagers around that she would simply blend into the crowd. Multiple times, she'd spotted a woman with black hair, blue eyes, or both. With such a vague description and no knowledge of how she would look as a grown woman, it would be impossible for anyone to find her. The only difficult part, of course, would be to find a family for her. A mother and father would be best, but if it came down to it, she would force herself not to be picky. Surely, there were plenty of people who'd raised their children after their husband or wife passed, and they'd have done fine jobs.

I should stay clear of the marketplace, then, to start, she thought.

The town square, too, if only for now. Too many people, too much movement. Perhaps I should start by the c—

Kikyo's thoughts were forcefully interrupted as she bumped into a dark wall, sending her tipping backwards with nothing in sight to steady herself. Her arms instinctively tightened around her cargo, and her body tensed in expectation for impact.


Hands suddenly gripped onto her slim shoulders, jerking her forward and back onto the flats of her feet.

"Steady there!" a male's voice called, a concerned tone lacing his voice. How had someone gotten in front of her so quickly?

Dark blue eyes, which had clenched themselves closed, warily cracked open. A man stood in front of her, his hands still firmly holding her shoulders. Concerned purple eyes looked down at her, framed by wispy black fringe. Her gaze continued to travel downwards, any further words only processed as distant mumbling by her rattled mind. Her body instinctively jerked back when black and purple robes entered her sight, but the man held fast, visibly growing more concerned by the moment. They were absent of the customary eye-shaped symbols, but that meant little to Kikyo's exhausted mind. Black and purple meant Plegia, and Plegia meant danger.

They found her.

They found her and she needed to run before they caught her and dragged her back to Plegia and Gods why wasn't anyone doing anything couldn't they see that she needed help why why why

"Peace, my lady! Everything is alright, please—"

A woman's voice resounded through the clearing, cutting off both her thoughts and the man's words.

"Harassing another defenseless woman again, are you, lecherous husband of mine?"

Kikyo concealed her daughter under her robes as she stood in front of the couple, nervously shifting her eyes from the man to the woman.

The woman was certainly beautiful, and she felt a twinge of jealously as she recalled her own state once more. Clean, tanned skin, warm brown eyes, and long hair of the same shade held back in a topknot. Her hand was pressed down on her husband's skull, forcing him to bend forward while her own head was bowed. If she looked, she could just barely make out the tick developing in her eyebrow. Apparently, she was under the impression that her husband had been forcing himself on her. Part of her wanted to explain, but if she mentioned anything of Plegia, they would certainly ask questions. It was best to hold her peace.

"Once again, my lady, I apologize for any grief my fool of a husband might have caused you. It seems as though he still occasionally forgets," she accentuated with another push on her husband's head, ignoring his cry of protest. "that he is married."

The man attempted to raise his head against the force of his wife's head, sending her a pitiful look.

"Honestly, my love, I was only attempting to h—"

The look the brown-haired woman gave him could have sent Grima himself running for his life. Kikyo, despite not being on the receiving end, instinctively took a step back.

"Silence, you lech!" she hissed, teeth baring in her anger. The man let out a whimper, and Kikyo, feeling some pity for him, nervously cleared her throat.

"E-Excuse me, my lady. Your husband speaks the truth. I...I ran into him, and when he attempted to steady me, his robes brought forth...less than pleasant memories," Kikyo inclined her head, keeping her eyes trained on the ground in front of her. Her child squirmed underneath the concealment of her cloak, somewhat annoyed by all the commotion and the sudden shift in her position. "Please, do not punish him for a crime he did not commit. I apologize for this misunderstanding, for it was my fault."

Her gaze was still downwards, so she couldn't see either of their expressions. After a moment, the woman coughed and made an uncomfortable noise in the back of her throat. She could hear the barely audible sigh of the male, and, taking that as a good sign, she rightened herself. The woman's arms were crossed over her chest and her gaze was directed behind herself. Perhaps it was the position of the sun, but her face seemed more red than it had before. Her husband's face was one of relief as he rubbed his head, mussing his hair up even more than it already was. Cautiously, he placed a hand on his wife's shoulder, and turned his smile towards her.

"Simply a mistake on all parts, my love."

The woman mumbled something under her breath and sighed, shaking her head for a moment. Dropping her arms, the woman turned to face Kikyo, allowing a much calmer smile to cross her face. "Forgive us for causing such a scene. Please, allow us to introduce ourselves."

She placed a single fist over her heart, bending ever so slightly at her waist.

"My name is Sango, and I am a Pegasus Knight whom hails from Ylisstol. 'Tis a pleasure to make your acquaintance, my lady."

Her husband removed his hand from her shoulder and copied her movements, though his hand was flat over his heart, rather than fisted.

"And I am Miroku, a simple Mage from Themis. A pleasure, indeed."

Kikyo, despite her time spent living as she had, hadn't forgotten the manners her mother had beaten into her. Though their manner of greeting was different from those of Plegians, Kikyo placed her own hand over her heart and bowed, keeping a firm grip on her daughter. She could only thank the gods that she had kept silent throughout the ordeal.

"An honor to meet you, Sango of Ylisstol and Miroku of Themis. My name is Kikyo, and I...Iam but a traveler."

Sango lowered her fist and smiled gently at Kikyo, and, for some reason, there was a hint of understanding in her warm brown gaze. She opened her mouth to speak, but a distressed whinny quickly caught her attention. Turning on her heel, Sango caught sight of a group of children crowding around her Pegasus, whom she'd left beside a tree to hunt down her husband. Her smile quickly turned into an irritated frown, and she threw an apologetic glance at the dirty woman. Her hand reached out and snatched her husband by his robes, and she began to pull.

"Forgive me, Lady Kikyo, but we must depart for now. Please, if you decide to stay in the village, be free to seek us out!"

Inclining her head, Sango ran off with Miroku in tow, shouting something at the top of her lungs. Miroku was barely able to wave before he began stumbling over his feet in an attempt to keep up with his wife.

Kikyo was, once again, left on her own.

But she was not distressed.

Rather, a seed of thought had planted itself in her mind. The only sign of her intentions was the smile that slowly began to appear on her face as she turned to walk the other way, subconsciously rubbing her thumb back and forth along the cloth that swaddled her child.

Yes, she thought as she looked up at the setting sun, the colors bathing her ragged form, I believe I've found them.

As the last of the sun faded over the horizon, time found the couple following the well-worn trail back to the stable. The village, for the most part, had begun to settle down. The children had all followed their parents back to their homes, the marketplace had closed for the night, and the merchants had all either left or retreated to the inn. Sango had been ranting to her husband about the children's treatment of her Pegasus as they, too, made their way back to their home. Miroku, patient as ever, listened to his wife as she grumbled and growled, hands tucked away inside the sleeves of his robes.

"—ut Kirara is not some sort of toy, and I fail to understand why no one—"

"Well, perhaps if you weren't always allowing children to ride on her back—"

Sango immediately paused, hands hanging in the air mid-gesture. Miroku realized his mistake not a second after her expression began to fall, and he was immediately by her side, pulling her to his chest and running his fingers through her fringe. His wife, however, did not respond.

"Forgive me, my love," he mumbled into her hair as he stooped low, gently placing a kiss to the top of her head. "I forgot myself." Of course she would let children ride on Kirara's back. She'd always wanted children, so they would, of course, be her soft spot. He'd yet to witness her tell a child "no". His hand gently began to rub her back, but she quickly pushed him away, turning her face in the other direction.

Kirara gently nudged her rider with her snout, wings ruffling in distress.

"Easy, Kirara," she muttered quietly, reaching up to pat her partner's neck with one hand.

Barren, the medic had told her. It happened to plenty of women, and it was nothing to be ashamed of. She remembered that day well. Sango had always wanted to be a mother, even before she met Miroku. She used to gently rib her brother when they were both younger, telling him that she'd set her children loose on him when she needed a moments peace.

"Gods help us all," he'd said, rolling his eyes good-naturedly. "one of you is enough for Ylisse."

Her hand gripped her partner's reigns tightly, and she began to walk back to the stables, ignoring her husband as he tried to apologize for his slip of tongue.

Of course, she had no brother to set children loose on any longer. Not that she could have any children in the first place, it seemed.

Neither she nor Miroku noticed the dark figure silently trailing behind them on their way to the inn, and if Kirara noticed, she made no move to alert her partner.

Her chance had come.

As much as it pained her to take advantage of such a kind couple, she had no other choice. They could not bear children, it seemed, and she had to find a home for her daughter. Both she and the couple had something to gain from such a situation. They, a daughter to call their own. Her, a safe family for her little girl. And such a perfect couple to raise her, at that! A Pegasus Rider and a Mage, both loyal to their country. They would be able to protect her from anything and everything that would ever threaten to harm her. And if worse came to worse, she held no doubt that they would teach her how to protect herself. And Kikyo could not think of a single Plegian who would suspect such devoted Ylisseans of raising the would-be Vessel of Grima.

It was perfect. She'd never find another chance like it, not in a hundred years.

As Sango and Miroku left the stable, the former still refusing to listen to the latter's apologies, Kikyo quietly followed behind. Taking her eyes away from them for only a moment, she pulled away the topmost strip of cloth. Instantly, her heart began to ache. Both at the state of her child, and the thought of leaving her. Her poor little girl did not glow as she did the first night. There was no redness in her pale cheeks, her skin and hair were both dirty, and Kikyo feared that, despite her best efforts, she was slowly becoming malnourished. They would be able to return her to health, of that, she was sure.


Kikyo quickly took shelter behind the base of a large tree as the couple came to a small home. The shadows of the night and the backdrop of the trees kept her from sight, and she held no fear of being seen. The two seemed to pay little attention to their surroundings, but any added security was never unwelcome. The woman entered first, and after a moment's hesitance, the man followed, and the door was shut.

Her dark eyes moved from the small home, to the small girl in her arms. As often as she thought about it, part of her never seemed to fully come to terms with the fact that she would soon need to give up her daughter. Perhaps it was simply denial, the belief that she would always be with her. But the time had come, and that part of her had begun to violently protest.

Run, it whispered. Take the girl and run to Ferox.

As weak as she was, Kikyo, when at her top most, was a fairly formidable Mage, herself. After all, it wouldn't have done for the mother of the Vessel to be defenseless. But there was no place she could run with her daughter where she wouldn't eventually be caught, and Kikyo knew that. She was nothing against Plegia's forces. Despite that, her heart continued to ache. Kikyo looked down at her daughter, blinking every few seconds as tears began to burn her eyes. The night had finally come. In the night, she had spirited her daughter away to Ylisse, to a better fate than that which Plegia had planned for her, and in the night, she would say her last goodbye to the girl as well.

But how would they react to the Sigil? No one believed that Grima would return, not so soon, but would any proud Ylisseans raise a girl branded with a Plegian mark, no matter how badly they wished for a child? They seemed kind enough, but she was not marked with anything that gave away her Plegian heritage. Could they look at the girl every day, knowing that she was born on enemy soil?

Kikyo peeled her dirty hood back, allowing her face to go uncovered for the first time in days, and lifted the girl up to her face, allowing a wavering smile to grace her face once more. The little girl stirred, but her eyes kept closed. It was for the best. If she had been awake to watch her mother leave, she might have gotten upset, and Kikyo did not want that. She wanted her last memory of her daughter, if anything, to be that of her sleeping soundly. She did not want to live with the memory of her daughter crying because of her. It would have broken her already fragile heart.

Their reaction would be left up to chance. All she could do was wait in the shadows and pray. Lifting her free hand to her face, Kikyo watched as sparks quickly surrounded her fingers, bright blue giving light to her hiding space for a moment, before flickering out as quickly as they came. She was exhausted, and while it would pain her both to expend the last of her energy, and attack such a kind couple, she would do what she needed to to protect her child. If they tried to harm her, she would react in kind.

Kikyo only hoped that her draw was quicker than the man's.

Inhaling deeply, Kikyo took one last look at her daughter, and placed the cloth back over her. Giving the area a good once-over, she quickly made her way to the couple's door.

It had taken some coaxing, but eventually, Miroku had eased Sango to the chair. She still sat stiffly, staring at a fixed point on the wall behind him, but it was better than having her lock herself away in the room for the entire night. He really needed to learn to watch his words, at least out of concern for his own personal safety. One day, she would certainly smother him to death in the night. And, looking back on his tactlessness with a cringe, he doubted that she would be in the wrong.

But, for now, the best thing he could do was keep his mouth shut and wait for the oncoming storm. Perhaps she would force him to sleep in the stables for the night. Miroku peeked up at his wife from the miniscule curtain his fringe created. Considering the look on her face, he deduced that he could only be so lucky.

She'd had moments like this before. He was something of a professional when it came to upsetting his wife. There were plenty of subjects that could or would upset her, but her reactions always varied. And Miroku found that he generally preferred the ones that made her scream or hit him—at the very least, she would react. But when it concerned children or her brother, she would close up like a lock. And as much as he loathed it, there was not he could do in times like those but stay by her side and wait.

For what was easily the fifteenth time since they stepped inside their small home, Miroku cursed himself as he sat across from her at their table, watching her impassive face for any change as he held his slowly cooling cup of tea. He couldn't think of a word to say that might snap her out of the little box she'd locked herself in, but that didn't stop him from trying. However, before he could so much as get the chance to open his mouth, a sharp rap at the door caught his attention.


They rarely ever received visitors. Ones that had nothing to do with either of their professions, at least.

Glancing at his impassive wife once more, Miroku stood up from his chair and crossed to the door in a few quick strides.



Whatever it was that he'd expected, it certainly didn't come in the form of a small purple bundle upon his doorstep.

Kikyo peered at the door from behind the safety of a tree, one hand already raised in preparation for backlash. She'd already written a note upon a piece of parchment before she fled for Ylisse, but as she set it down on the bundle that held her daughter, Kikyo made a decision. Perhaps it wasn't a bright one, but it would make things far simpler for everyone involved. Before she rapped her knuckles against the door, she removed the topmost cloth one last time, and removed the dirty bandage that concealed her daughter's marking. They would know that she was Plegian-born, and it would be up to them whether they would take her in regardless, or cast her out.

So she hid, watching as the male opened the door to see the bundle of cloth placed in front of his door. He stared for a moment, before turning back to face the interior of his home.


Miroku wasn't sure why he expected his wife to react. Perhaps she would come sprinting to the door, alarmed or curious. Or perhaps she would tell him off, yell at him for disrupting what was usually a mutually agreed 'quiet time'. But, of course, she did neither of those things. She continued to sit in her chair, tea untouched and eyes focused on the wall. The man let out an impatient sigh and walked back inside, leaving the door open—something he knew she usually hated.

"Sango, love, come now." He attempted to rouse his wife out of her seat, but she refused to have any of it. The woman finally did react, however, if only to send her husband a withering glare.

But, a stark contrast to his usual self, Miroku was undeterred.

Miroku snatched the brown-haired woman by the arm, forcefully pulling his wife up and dragging her to the door. Handling a woman forcefully was something which he usually was against, especially when it came to his own wife. However, he was willing to go against his usual principals, if only once. As soon as he made it to the opened door, his wife clawing at his arm all the while, Miroku yanked his wife forward, his free hand gesturing to the cloth on the ground. It took a moment, but Sango's fierce glare soon dropped from his face to the object.

Never had he seen his wife's expression change so fast, and Miroku made a note to thank Naga if his suspicions were correct, for Sango's hard expression turned into a wide-eyed stare. A heap of dirty purple cloth greeted the couple, with a crumpled slip of parchment settled atop it. Miroku stooped low and gently picked the bundle up, cradling it in one arm while handing the slip of parchment to his wife. For a moment, she only stared, looking from his hand, to the cloth, to his face, and back again. But Sango had always been quick to gather her wits, and not a moment later, she quickly swiped the parchment from his hand.

As his wife began to read the contents of the slip, Miroku adjusted the bundle to a more secure hold, before gently peeling back the top piece of cloth. Yes, the Gods and Naga all deserved a thousand thanks. He was no longer a man of the cloth, but he would give his thanks till his throat turned raw. As if an answer to their prayers, the cloth revealed an infant. Somewhat dirty, and a bit smaller than he recalled most being, but a child nonetheless.

A small, but genuine, smile appeared on his face, and as he lifted one hand to touch the child's face, a loud gasp sounded out next to him.

Turning to face his wife, Miroku likely would've began to chuckle if the situation hadn't been what it was. The parchment lied on the ground, completely forgotten by the woman who'd been reading it. Her wide brown eyes were focused solely on the child in his arms, and, giving her a closer look, Miroku would swear that her hands were shaking. However, Miroku needed no verbal nor physical cues, and gently, he held the child out. Again, it was a moment before Sango reacted. He would not fault her, though. He could see the hesitance and disbelief in her eyes, and, if he was truthful, he almost couldn't believe it himself.


Tanned, shaky hands slowly reached out for the child, and Miroku watched as his wife gently cradled the babe to her chest, eyes never looking at anything but the child's sleeping face. However, as her gaze eventually moved to take in the rest of the child, another, smaller gasp ripped itself from Sango's throat.


Eyebrows furrowing, Miroku moved in closer, purple eyes scanning the child for anything that might've shocked his wife. His own eyes widened as a Sigil branded on the child's right hand, something that he hadn't noticed when he held it, caught his gaze.

He'd know those markings anywhere.

The child was Plegian-born.

Suddenly, uncertainty filled his gut, and he stepped away to take in his wife's reaction. Miroku didn't believe in killing a child for the sins of their blood, he couldn't say with certainty that Sango felt the same. He wasn't the one who'd lost his brother to Plegian bandits. Barely, just barely, he could see her slim throat bob as she swallowed, and her eyes moved from the babe's hand to its face. He had no qualms with taking in a Plegian child, but ultimately, it was up to Sango. He could only wait for her decision. However, as Sango's gaze landed on the child's face, their eyes slowly began to crack open, and brown was met with hazy blue.

Miroku could almost see his wife melt.

Slowly, Sango's eyes began to glaze over as she took in the child, and a shaky smile came to life on her face. His shoulders sagged, and a gentle smile arrived on his own mouth. That was it, then. He took his place by her side once more as they both looked down at the child, sleepy but curious eyes staring back at them.


Miroku hummed, and peered down at his wife. He couldn't see her face from the angle which he stood, but he watched as she held the child closer to her chest, her shoulders slowly beginning to tremble. Sango took a breath, and he set a hand on her shoulder as she exhaled slowly, lifting a hand to the child. And, as if on instinct, the babe reached out to grasp onto the closest finger they could reach.

"The parchment. Her name is Kagome." she whispered, voice trembling, as tears burned her eyes.

Plegian or not, the Gods had answered her prayers. She had been blessed with a daughter.

Her husband's chin gently came to rest atop her head, and though she couldn't see, he smiled down at the girl in her arms. They would not be turning their gift away, no matter her bloodline. Miroku's arms slowly came to wrap around Sango's midsection, and in the dark of the night, with their eyes focused on their gift from the Gods, neither noticed as a dark figure slowly stumbled away from their home, their own frail shoulders shaking gently as they fled into the night.

"Very well. Hello, Kagome."

eyyy how u is

idk whos been around long enough but um. as like one or two of you might know i haven't tried to write a fanfic in a long ass time. and by a long ass time i mean like. the last time i wrote anything for ff was when i was 13

im almost 18 now, for comparison.

but recently the fanfic bug decided to come and bite me on the ass and i went hey. you know what ff needs. a fe:a/inuyasha crossover. uuuunfortunately i guess no one else has played fe:a here because there has been a grand total of


not one single fe:a/inuyasha fic. not even a one-shot in a drabble series. so i decided that it was time to get off my ass and try writing something other than rp replies again. so here we are. unfortunately you can probably tell that im a little rusty because this chapter is like. hella shitty. that might be because I wrote this within the span of like four hours but hey. who knows for sure right.

another thing is i guess uh? this is also kind of just gauging interest in this sort of fanfic since thered really be no point in writing something that no ones gonna read so. i dunno even an "update soon" would be appreciated 'cause at least then id know that people are actually reading this pos

anyway this is getting rlly long so uh. yeah! and if you haven't played fe:a but you wanna know whats gonna happen/wanna keep up with the plot then id suggest watching a let's play on youtube if you don't have a 3ds/don't have the game? the one i watched is by Sagemaster15 but any one will do i guess? yea

ciao ( ´ ▽ ` )ノ