Harbinger

Paved with millions of stars and laden with cosmic dust, the Celestial Bridge shimmered clearly in the autumn night sky. At the glittering pathway that arched over sandy dunes and slapping waves a huge pair of scarlet eyes appreciatively gleamed back.

On the edge of a cliff overlooking the shoreline, Sesshomaru stood proudly in his truest form. Foreclaws larger than boulders gripped the earth as he surveyed the coast where the great island was embraced by the ocean – the very limits of the Western Territories.

The daiyokai smiled inwardly.

But not the limits of my power.

A wild wind tousled his ears and rumpled the great gray mane over his shoulder. Sesshomaru couldn't keep the lunar song at bay any more. The strength of freedom, revelry of abandon, were intoxicating; but no sooner had he parted his jowls than the scraping of wood on rock screeched for his attention. Jaws clamping shut, the dog-demon craned his neck to see what was happening.

Below, a strange ship bobbed in the open waters, but it wasn't the cause of the noise. Pulling up on the sand was a small boat, its cargo three or four passengers.

Sesshomaru's eyes narrowed, his nostrils flared. These humans were oddly attired with features misshapen from the norm – not even the countenance of Mainlanders. Their scent was pungent, riding high even on the salted air – strange spices mingled with citrus and the nose-burning stench of humans that hadn't bathed in weeks. The strange accents of their gibberish cinched it for Sesshomaru.

His ears flattened against the side of his head and his muzzle rippled with a growl.

Foreigners.

The moment he thought the word one of the outsiders turned to look his way. The man squinted almost as if he needed spectacles to see the towering white beast on the cliff just a ways off. Fingers touched a strange figurine dandling from his neck atop strange brown robes. The foreigner's lips worked slowly as if mumbling a prayer – or a curse. Then one of his companions called him over and the man's scrutiny was lost.

Sesshomaru's throat rumbled softly. He was not used to being ignored; but then, this was the wee hours of the morning. Humans often mistrusted their vision at this time.

Just as well, thought the daiyokai. It allowed more time to observe them. The gods knew there are probably more in that ship.

Loping back through the forests his hackles still didn't lower. Even the pounding of earth under Sesshomaru's paws was no solace. The night's magic was shattered with the crashing of a harbinger. It felt as if destruction had awashed on the shore. These people may crush the backbone of tradition.

Trying to outdistance the first rays of dawn, Sesshomaru did something completely out of his nature. For the first time in all his centuries, the Lord of the West hoped he was wrong.

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A/N: This was originally going to be a full story for a Halloween fic, but I've simply been too busy. So regular installments will have to do. I promise not to leave anyone hanging for too long. ;)