Eighteenth century Europe is under siege by folkloric creatures.
It fled like a wild animal, which in truth, was all it was. An over glorified hulk of meat and teeth. And as it romped through the forest, entrails dripping behind it, the other monster had a renewed disdain for every troll in existence.
The other monster had fired the last of his steel musket balls into it moments earlier, and was now moving in with the giant, six foot bidenhander to finish it off. Trolls were known for their resiliance, being basically a giant regenterative eating machine. Even if it lost more than half it's blood, it could still hide under a bridge and prey on humans for months before someone reported it again.
A crack splintered the air, ending the hammering footsteps of the giant. The other monster's keen eyes saw it not much farther ahead, scrambing to stand. It's foot was lodged in a hill of soft dirt, held together by the strong roots of a tree stump on top.
The other monster lunged with vigour, and brough his feet down on the prey-predator. He hollered, leaning away with the blade and bringing it back down in an executioner's arc. Tendons and bone parted, offering an equal resistance. The other monster braced his boot on the monster's bony spine.
Then the resistance ended, and the head parted. Collapsing and breaking apart with a loud crash as the flesh suddenly hardened to stone. The body spurted one last geiser of red before it too began to fade to grey.
The remaining monster raised his blade, blood boldy outlining the mystic runes carved into his sword. It lingered only for a moment, then turned to dust and was swept away by a gentle breeze.
"You certainly made me run." The monster quipped before turning and marching in what he hoped was the way back to town.
Hamburg, Germany, 1728
The lofty gothic spires that reached over the RechshafftenWolves' headquarters could have pierced heaven itself. Each of the five grey peaks were adorned with a billowing banner at it's crest, carrying the stark emblem of a white wolf skull with crossed muskets.
Nearly a century had passed since Imre Mura and his seven brothers had stood in the terrace of their future haven. It had been in the winter of 1638 they had banded back together and constructed this place with frostbitten hands. To commemorate, their likeness had been carved into eight trees in that very courtyard.
What normally might seem faerie-tale illustration was exaggerated further by a particularly spectacular dawn. The shadow double of the keep seemed to dance as the sky awoke, and those within began to stir.
Most did not sleep in the Order of Mura, but those that did took little pleasure awakening. It was another day, of which held training, meditating, or more of either.
The wolf-men of generally pure decent had immense trouble acquiring any kind of rest. Their souls of man and flesh of dog held them in a limbo between day and night. Many refused to acknowledge either side, and held eyes open as a form of rebellion.
With an obviously irritated groan, one of the dreamers had been taken from his sleep. A name of Leon Casar Wulf graced this white haired human of 29 years. Thankfully it was not naturally the snowy colour, but rather a choice of honoring his barbarous heritage to the beserker vikings of ancient Scandanavia. Rougish might be one word to explain the warrior's look; with eyes of a hound and dreary scowl of a little boy, but his mind held a far less romantic story.
Murdered parents that had left him and three stepsisters alone in the cold. A streak of revenge that had left a hundred dead behind what remained of this family. The price of a thousand franks on his head alone for the act of violence against a local doctor, who had(unknown to all others)committed his own violence against wolf kind in the name of dark sciences.
He still carried many scars from that time, baring them as he emerged from the bedspread in simple undergarments. He yawned, but it came out more as a howl. This outcry awoke the small black puppy that slept at the foot of his bunk. It raised it's shaggy head lazily and snorted, sleepily turning and laying the opposite direction.
Leon raised his eyebrow at the little dog, curious to how it had wandered into his room. At that very moment the wooden door behind him burst open. A figure fell forward into the room, losing her balance and stumbled right into Leon's dresser.
She was a short girl, with golden braids that fell down past her ears. Her frantic green eyes were wide in panic, and her mouth(with remarkably sharp teeth)was hanging open. She swung her head back as she stood up and looked to Leon.
"Brother! Have you seen Fenrir? I lost him yesterday after training! And I-"
"Calm down Angela! He payed me a visit last night." Leon sighed, nodding to the cowering pup.
Her grimace went to a relieved grin and she went to embrace her little creature on the bed.
This, was Angela Wulf. The youngest of his sisters, and by far the most cheery personality of the lot.
Leon decided to ignore her as she grabbed the dog and twirled back out the door. He was dressing for a full day, combat gear included. Green greatcoat draped over his simple shirt, black pants, an array of leather belts: all completing his hunting attire.
With a swish, he drew the sown hood up over his head. Concealing everything but a small tuft of white hair. The twin coat tails twirled behind him as he strode forth to enjoy a quiet morning jog.
A jog disrupted by the sudden sounding of the tower bells. Apparently a meeting declared on short notice was being held in the farthest gathering hall, where there were several topics to be discussed; as Leon caught from snips of conversations that he passed.
The den was giant and lofty, built in a Romanesque style and had been the last addition Imre Mura had requested before his death. Beneath a towering roof was a long ebony table, which was occupied to the brim with strong willed hunters.
"-Thus do to the efforts of a crowned eagles agent, the wampiric abomination was exterminated. We proceeded to collect the remains for proper disposal."
The giant Austrian man concluded his report, sitting down with a tired look. He had been working all night to find a suitable crossroads for those ashes.
One young man by the name of Harold leaned over to Leon and explained in hushed amusment;"They're saying that this man is more like us wolves than an insilaffe. He uses hunting dogs of all things! The vampire underworld even took to calling his pets 'werewolves of London'."
The both chuckled and went back to the droning of another hunter who had been recording the number of ships lost while crossing the channel.
"Did Victor choose not to join us today?" Leon asked, looking to one of the few vacant seats.
"It was a half moon last night, and very clear. He has been practicing for eight hours straight," Harold remarked,"Mary as well. "
Mary was his oldest sister, senior to him by only a few months. She too had dyed her hair white, but her hair reached damn near her waist. She was pretty easy to spot as you can imagine. Tall too, thanks to her nearly pure wolf genes.
"-'Sword of the soul' has sent in similar reports from eastern Russia. A large decrease in shipping has crippled the economy in almost all these port towns. Krakens ranging from thirty to eighty feet have become an almost daily occurrence. And what's worse is that this new subspecies we've encountered has a hide nearly double what the average ocean dwellers had," he withdrew a slab of dried skin from his pocket and tossed it midway down the table,"and that has made killing them much harder."
"If they migrate here, we'll have to figure a way to bring them down. It seems harpoons may no longer be the way." A balding elder-wolf frowned.
"As stated, the Mariner's gate is a viable, but costly possibility."
"Building a net across the channel that could keep out krakens? Imagine how long it would take to build!"
"Simply an idea, let us hope we will not be forced to act upon it."
The man saluted and sat back down. Leon waited, and when no-one took the stand for a minute, he desided to ask the question on his mind;"why was this meeting called so suddenly? So far it doesn't appear a catastrophe has occured, and mostly what I've heard today are average reports, be they a little distressing."
"That is true." Boomed a god-like voice from the back of the room.
Standing like a being out of Norse myth, Odin Mura, and current Packlord of the RechshafftenWolves. The sunlight from the open doors behind silhouetted him ominously.
"Fang Mura! You've returned from your trip to Romania then?"
Mura smirked, displaying silver fangs. His beard had grown past his shoulders, and was beginning to display specs of grey. As was his braided brown hair.
He drew an ornate scroll case from his blue robes. Drawing forth some crumbly contents.
"I did indeed find what I was looking for. But it came at a price, most of the castle collapsed and the catacombs are irretrievable. I've sent messengers to each of the other guilds in the area to see what they're thoughts are." He remarked while drawing the largest chair to sit.
Mura opened the ripped parchment and passed it to his second in command. The skinny warrior adjusted his spectacles and observed it before passing it to his left.
"The translation is rough and inaccurate, but it's what we can go on. This was recorded by a Egyptian scribe around the reign of Akenhaten, who, as we know, persecuted the original religion in favor of his own god."
Leon noted the name, faintly recalling it from some arcane textbook he had read earlier in his life.
"And it's safe to assume that other civilizations from the same era may have such records. Combined with the fragments we collected from the royal museum in London, I have a somewhat complete look at what happened."
Between 1328 and 1345BC there was an invasion of the damned. An uprising of undead occurred across Egypt. It was an event so monumentally destructive that most considered it blasphemous to discuss. We're lucky that we even found this.
"The armies of darkness swarmed over Africa, leaving 'clouds of pestilence' in their wake. For months cities fell, tribes were destroyed, the sky itself shifted to a bloody red as something called the 'dawn star' began to rise.
"Six months into this incursion, a figure walked into Cairo. All who approached were turned to ash, and rose again as his slave. As the sun fell he spoke words that echoed over the world, in every dream, in every mind. 'Await my return. If in thirty suns I can conquer a kingdom, then in a hundred I can take this world'.
"The morning came, and it was if nothing had happened. The monsters had vanished, and the plagues of locusts and disease left. In the figure's place a message had been burned;'I give you a million suns for reconcile'."
Mura's speech had left a lot of people pale.
"Does that mean....that whole thing in Romania was his declaration of war?"
Leon exchanged looks with his neighbors.
"Think about it! The sky went red! The Tepes royalty rose to conquest from beyond the grave!"
"Let's not jump to conclusions. What I have told you is not to cause panic; it is to warn you of a brewing storm."
Leon gripped his chair tightly.
Let them come. I'll personally send those freaks back to hell for what they did in Bucharest!
"This situation simply means precautions must be taken. As such, I've decided to convene a summit in Paris to discuss this turn of events."