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In cleansing a hundred year old blemish from his family, Sesshoumaru invokes not only the wrath of his great and terrible sire, but even the gods themselves. Faced with the impending loss of that which he values most, he must find a means of absolutionâ€¦ or he will be destroyed.
Chapter 2, The Final Promise
Chapter 1: The Final Promise
Sesshoumaru’s distaste for humans began when he was very young. Aside from their obvious fragility, and lack of innate power, he simply did not like the smell of them. From his observance most were rather untidy creatures but even those that were not could not remove from themselves the lingering stench of mortality.
Why his father ever bothered with such inferior creatures was far beyond the parameters of the demon lord’s understanding.
Without discrimination, the Inu no Taisho had befriended and battled along side anyone he deemed worthy, their species bearing little importance against their honor, relative strength and valor.
When he finally settled in the west, he built a fortress in which all his old allies, supporters and vassals were welcome. In fact, there were at least two humans who had acted as his most trusted advisers until their short lives came to an end.
His youkai associates endured the presence of the humans in spite of their relative distaste for the inferior creatures. Many of the demons did not make it a secret that they held little regard for the mortals though they realized that their tolerance of them would ensure that they remained in the Inu General’s good graces.
In time the Inu no Taisho took a wife.
The marriage was political, a bid to obtain more power and land, but, in time the General grew to care a great deal for his mate and one year after their union the demoness gave birth to his first son. As with the birth of most inu, Sesshoumaru’s birth was greatly celebrated and within his first year of life, DaiGin named the pup as his heir. Both parents were extremely proud of their son and for a time, all was well.
It was not until his father took a second wife that things began to fall apart.
Without regard to his first mate, his son or his house the daiyoukai graciously welcomed into his home and his bed a human female by the name of Izayoi. It was a decision both Sesshoumaru and his mother resented bitterly, but as he was the lord of the house, the great inu was free to do as he pleased. From the first time he saw them together, Sesshoumaru knew that whatever his father felt for his mother, it paled in comparison to what he felt for the human.
It was sickening to watch as his father doted on the female as if she was the most precious thing in existence. When the youkai of his house began to notice how DaiGin fawned over his human mate, faint whispers of his strength and solidity began to stir. It was hinted at, on more than one occasion, that the human was weakening him and his weakness would bring susceptibility upon them all. This of course gave rise to issues they had been previously willing to ignore; issues like the lord’s willingness to install humans as high ranking generals within his army, a decision that could prove fatal should another region decide to wage war against them.
Adding to the unrest that stirred ever so ominously beneath DaiGin’s unwary nose was the pregnancy of his second wife. It was at that point, Sesshoumaru’s mother decided that she could endure no more. She confronted the great general and presented him with an ultimatum. He would oust the human female from his bed and his home, together with their halfling pup, or she would leave him to return to her ancestral home.
“Then leave!” the General had told her, enraged at her audacity. “You will not force my hand on this or any matter! The pup she carries is just as much mine as is Sesshoumaru and I will abandon neither it nor the mother who carries it!” Then, taking a moment to calm himself he continued. “I care a great deal for you, Noriko and I am appreciative of all you have done for the western province. But, if you cannot accept my love for Izayoi and our pup, then your presence here is no longer welcome.”
The demoness had glared at him and beneath the icy steel of her amber gaze was the sea of hurt she attempted to hide beneath a façade of indifference. The demoness’ sharp ears did not miss his words and her even sharper mind was quick to decipher them.
‘I care a great deal for you, Noriko… If you cannot accept my love for Izayoi and our pup, then your presence here is no longer welcome.’
The key word… was “love.” It was a word he had never used when speaking to her or even in reference to her. In fact, this was the first time she had heard the deceptively benign word fall from his lips he had used it to describe his feelings for the one called Izayoi and the worthless halfling of a pup he sired with her.
“Then I shall go.” Noriko had replied frigidly. “My honor has been impugned far too much already and I shall endure no more.”
DaiGin’s eyes narrowed in icy reflection of her own. “Is this your final decision?”
She hesitated for only a moment before his callous words echoed through her mind again.
“Yes.” she hissed vehemently, her voice cracking only slightly beneath a wave of veiled emotion.
“Then go to your ancestral home and never return.” DaiGin told her, his tone speaking of displeasure but not pain.
“Then I shall collect Sesshoumaru and be gone within the hour.” she announced before turning away from him.
“You shall do no such thing!” the General roared, a dangerous edge to his tone. Noriko rounded on him, her trademark composure shattered by the look of incredulity she wore.
“What are you saying?!” she demanded though she already knew what he meant.
“Sesshoumaru will not leave with you.” he informed her, the dangerous glint in his eyes daring her to refute his words.
“Fool!” the demoness roared, her first true expression of disrespect toward the male that had been her lord and husband. “If you believe I am going to leave my pup here with you and that--!”
Noriko’s words were cut off as a single clawed hand clamped down on her wind pipe instantly halting her ability to breathe. Almost before she realized what had happened, her deceptively slight form was hoisted from the floor in a flurry of fur and silk. Her hands instantly coming up to claw at the hand that held her, the female could do nothing as DaiGin ignored the rivulets of blood that sprang from the perforation of her claws. The great General glared up at her with glacial eyes.
“You will not take Sesshoumaru.” his voice came out in a low, dangerous drawl. “He is my heir and to take him would be and act of treason; a declaration of war. I would not hesitate to destroy yourself and every member of your father’s house.”
His grip on her loosened but he did not let go. “Is that understood?”
Barely resisting the urge to bare her teeth in anger, the demoness did not respond for a long time. The General issued a warning growl and tightened his grip around the female’s neck. “Answer now!” he roared, giving her a jolting shake for emphasis.
“Yes.” she finally growled through tightly gritted teeth, faint wisps of red bleeding into her eyes.
Finally, the great inu released her and did not seem at all concerned when the woman fell into a heap on the beautifully polished floor of his study and began to cough violently.
He turned his back to her and in a voice that held no emotion told her to be out of his home before sunset. He gave her no final glance before he quit the room and made his way down the south west corridor. In his haste to distance himself from the woman that had been his first wife, DaiGin did not notice the adolescent pup that stood silently around a nearby corner.
Things only got worse after that…
With the departure of DaiGin’s youkai mate, his house was weakened in ways he had not anticipated. In spite of the demoness’ beauty and elegant appearance, she had been a fierce warrior, an exceptional strategist and a weapons master. Only in hindsight did he realize that it was a tactical error to let her go. To make matters worse, the General was later informed that he had lost Noriko’s father as an ally.
Inevitably, his ability to keep hold of his territory was brought into question and the west was attacked by the Hakaisha; a clan of dragon youkai that claimed a small territory near the western border. Because Noriko’s family also resided in the west, her father should have sent soldiers to aid in disposing of the threat but instead he remained true to his words and refused to lend his support.
DaiGin’s forces would eventually win the war, but just barely. The remaining dragons attempted to retreat but the inu lord insisted that none be left alive. Enemies were to be shown no mercy and the annihilation of the Hakaisha clan would stand as a warning for any who sought to test his fortitude again.
So true to this testament was DaiGin, that in spite of injuries and fatigue, he decided to leave his territory to defeat Ryuukossei, leader of the Hakaisha. The dragon had not accompanied his soldiers and therefore was left alive after the decimation of his forces, a situation the inu lord sought to rectify.
Hearing of his father’s foolishness, Sesshoumaru went to confront him.
“All of this could have been prevented and now you will throw your life away.” He sneered then. “… And all for the sake of a pathetic human.” the young inu had told his sire.
Only by sheer force of will did the General keep his claws from his son’s neck. “You will not speak of her in that way.” he warned darkly and the boy was able to hear the promise of bodily injury should he push his lord and father any further.
Sesshoumaru narrowed his eyes but refrained from another biting comment against the female.
“You are making a mistake.” Sesshoumaru warned, his tone now devoid of the tumultuous emotions that hid beneath the stark stoicism he projected.
The elder inu turned his back to him. “My decisions are my own. I will destroy Ryuukossei and then all will know that this DaiGin is not to be trifled with.”
“But your decisions affect more than just yourself.” Sesshoumaru insisted. “Can you not see that?”
The General was quiet for a long time.
“If I do not leave, the dragon will only come here and my entire house will be in jeopardy.”
“Then let him come!” Sesshoumaru had shot back. “Our forces will destroy him just as we destroyed his army.”
“I will not permit danger to draw near to her again!”
At his hastily spoken words, Sesshoumaru bared his fangs to his father’s back. “So it is the human you fight for.” he hissed sharply. To his further ire, DaiGin did not deny his words and the young inu felt swirls of red bleed into his eyes. Already his father had lost so much because of that insignificant woman and now he was willing to throw his very life away in the fool hearted desire to keep her safe.
In that moment, Sesshoumaru’s mind flashed with memory and he recalled the day his mother had left. He recalled his father’s harsh words and callous treatment and the way he made no attempt to go after her when she was gone. Now, at the risk of death he was going into battle, tired and injured against and opponent he knew to be formidable even in the best of circumstances.
“Is she truly that important to you?” Sesshoumaru questioned, not fully keeping the disgust from his tone.
Instead of answering his question the General said, “In the unlikely even that I do not return, you are to protect Izayoi and your younger sibling.”
“No.” Sesshoumaru said resolutely. “If you do not return, I shall wipe your mistakes clean from this house.”
DaiGin spun in place intent on making the boy retract his words only to find that he was no longer there. “Insolent pup.” he murmured tiredly. It was of no consequence, he decided, it was not as if he would allow himself to be killed by an oversized lizard anyway.
Icy golden eyes stared impassively down upon the great and terrible DaiGin, the Inu no Taisho who had thrown his life away for the sake of a mortal woman.
“Father,” Sesshoumaru whispered to the man who was no longer among the living, “You are a fool.”
If nothing else, the young inu had to commend his father for dispatching his enemy before his apparent demise, but really, it was all so senseless.
Kneeling, he lifted his father’s body in his arms and began the journey back to their home. As much as he resented the decisions his father had made, he would not allow the lord’s remains to be desecrated and torn apart by the youkai scavengers.
With his own hands, Sesshoumaru buried DaiGin in the small eastern garden. He placed an engraved stone to mark his father’s final resting place, secure in the knowledge that the female and pup he had died to protect soon would be joining him.
When he finally decided to act upon his promise, he discovered that the woman was gone. She had fled in the night shortly after discovering her mate’s demise, apparently fearful that her safety among the youkai was at last at its end.
Though he was still very young, Sesshoumaru took the reins of the western province together with the territory that had been claimed by Ryuukossei. As expected, there were those who thought to exploit his youth and inexperience, but those met a swift demise at the end of his poisonous claws.
He ousted his father’s human allies from his home, telling them that because of their loyalty and service they could remain on the land and under the protection of his rule. But he warned, not even their previous deeds would grant them mercy should they find themselves outside of his good graces.
Once his rule was firmly established, Sesshoumaru set out to find Izayoi, his promise to his father neither forgotten nor abandoned. In intermittent cycles, he searched for her for years. When at last he discovered her whereabouts, the woman was already dead, the pup she had given birth to missing without a trace.
Through bits and pieces of information, he discovered that the child was a male and his name was Inuyasha.
Eventually, he found the halfling whelp. He had been near the edge of a human settlement, dirty, starved and on the brink of death from a series of injuries.
Sesshoumaru looked upon the boy with a disgust that somehow was not related to either the pup’s sorry condition or his mixed blood. He was so small, so… fragile. He could not have imagined how the boy had survived alone for as long as he had.
His miniscule form lay beneath the bare branches of an ancient elm pillowed in a bed of dead leaves. Though his hair was dirty and matted with dried blood Sesshoumaru could see that it was silver, just like their fathers… just like his own. As he moved closer, Sesshoumaru saw that the child’s right hand and arm were completely covered in blood, but as he took in the child’s scent he realized that this blood was not his own.
His attacker, Sesshoumaru realized and an odd sensation washed over him. Someone had attempted to harm him, and, as evidenced by the amount of foreign blood that covered him, the pup had retaliated, killing the human that sought to injure him.
Using his booted foot to roll the boy over, the young daiyoukai discovered that even though Inuyasha had fought back, he had not escaped without serious injury.
Illogically, he found himself enraged. Even though he planned to kill the boy himself, he was angered that these filthy humans had thought to spill the boy’s blood. Tainted as it was, the Inu no Taisho’s blood still flowed through his veins so to die at the hands of a human was not an acceptable fate.
He collected the child’s limp form and turned to leave, but a muted growl made him pause in his steps. He looked down only to see that the boy had opened his eyes and was scowling up at him. “Put me down.” Inuyasha demanded weakly.
Sesshoumaru looked into the boy’s eyes absently noting that they were golden like his own. “No.” he said, his voice a bland monotone.
The pup frowned lightly and a strange sort of recognition flashed in his eyes. “Who… who are you?”
For a long time Sesshoumaru simply stared at him and did not respond. Then, he finally looked away, his demonic cloud forming at his feet. “I am your brother… my name is Sesshoumaru.”
Sesshoumaru watched over the pup as he slept, his injuries finally knitting beneath a layer of bandages. He had seen that the boy was cleaned and fed and now he simply needed time for his frail body to repair itself.
Retiring from his brother’s newly designated room, Sesshoumaru headed to the eastern garden. Beneath the shimmering rays of the half moon, the young inu lord seated himself near the grave of his former lord.
“Father,” he began softly. “I have not forgotten my promise to you. I will kill the boy.” he promised again, his eyes staring glassily into the horizon.
“However,” he began after a long silent moment, “I will honor our noble blood. Though it is tainted by your foolishness, I will not spill his blood until he is fully capable of standing against me. I will train him myself and only when he is ready will I end his life and wipe the blemish of his existence from our family.”
Standing, he brushed the stray debris from his clothing and turned to leave. He took several steps but then paused and glanced over his shoulder to the place his father lay.
“This is my final promise to you.”
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