There was a stench in the air.

It was unpleasant and unwholesome, a rank smell that pervaded everything, poisoning the air, corrupting everything it touched; plants, animals, and clothing.

Sesshomaru found the smell... irritating.

"I know this stench," Jaken grumbled, sniffing the air idly. "This is the stench of a burnt flesh." With a sort of crooked grin, the demon lord's retainer glanced at his staff almost fondly.

Sesshomaru wrinkled his nose ever so slightly, delicately. His eyes wandered over the countryside lazily, as his feet continued to walk.

He spotted the source- a small lump of charred, burnt, and generally devastated human flesh. The lump made odd whimpering sounds at times, but generally was silent.

Surprisingly, Tenseiga stayed silent, without even a hint of urging to save the human... if there was anything worth saving.

The lump of flesh was silent as he passed, and frankly, it simply did not seem too important.

So Sesshomaru kept on walking.

---

Koga loved to run.

He was the fastest, though not by much, of his tribe. He loved his speed, and always, always wanted to be faster, each time, just a little bit faster.

No one was quite sure if they would ever get him to stop and listen.

He ran, and he ran, until the world was nothing but a blur of greens and browns and blues and nothing mattered.

He ran so fast that he missed the smell of burnt flesh on a particularly long run to meet with another wolf youkai tribe.

---

Inuyasha spotted the pile of charred flesh that somehow resembled a human being from a distance. He briefly thought about moving to find out; but decided better of it. If humans were to find him with that thing, it would not look good.

Besides, Inuyasha thought to himself, exactly what harm could that probably dead human do anyway?

---

Kikyo found this burnt, near dead human and her heart was moved with pity. She brought him away, to a nearby cave and tended to his wounds.

She dressed him in the cleanest bandages she could find and scoured her knowledge of herbs and salves to heal the horrific injuries.

After a week, the flesh could speak again, though only in a tiny, weak rasp.

"What is your name?" Kikyo asked softly, kindly as she leaned over him, like a saving grace.

The man's only visible eye fixated itself upon her, and, despite herself, Kikyo felt a cold chill run through her soul.

"Onigumo," he whispered.