The Battle Begins

William patted the doberman on the head, then gently lifted it and set it down on the floor, attaching its leash and approaching Christopher with the hound. 

"Do look after Baldwin for me while I'm out, won't you?" 

Christopher nodded. With that sorted, William stepped out onto the deck of the Divinicus. he breathed deeply of the cool night air for a moment before walking down onto the dock and informing the attendant who was keeping track of all the guests that he would be gone for a few hours. The man nodded curtly, scribbling something William was sure only the man himself could read next to his name.

Soon, William had lost himself in the wilderness with three of his best hounds - Averill, Caesar and Emmett. Emmett sniffed the air and barked, yanking at the leash. William released the catch on the leash, allowing Emmett to run free, and the hound immediately dashed toward the base of a nearby tree, sniffing the ground before taking off down a dirt path.

William and the hounds soon located a man wearing a black suit with serpent designs and lacing of a deep purple across the chest, who was strolling casually along a row of apple trees. William drew a flintlock pistol from its holster.

Raising the pistol, he called out, "You there - state your name and business." 

The man held his hands in the air, grinning wolfishly and twirling a sword in one hand. "Victor Lichtengel, at your service," the man replied. William lowered his pistol slightly, warily regarding the man. "I am a member of the Rechshaffen Wolves," the man added.

William nodded and holstered his pistol, calling Emmett off and placing the leash back on the hound. "I apologize for the rather rough greeting. You can never be too careful, and my hounds don't discriminate normal lycanthropes from your particular kind."

Averill sniffed the man suspiciously, but let him alone at William's signal. William shook the man's hand. "William Johnson, Crowned Eagles," he said. "I suppose you can sense the same things as all my hounds?"

"Indeed," Victor replied. "The stench of death yet to come is in the air. But not the death of any of our kind, certainly not," he added, gazing down at Caesar. The hound was panting as it looked up at Victor, who smiled slightly.

William nodded. "I should think not." One of the Crowned Eagles' knights passed by and stopped briefly to salute William before continuing on his patrol. The knight carried simple gear, not wearing the traditional full armor but instead only the arming clothes which were usually worn underneath. They could be worn on their own, in some situations, such as the current one. William returned the knight's salute and began walking away from Victor, continuing his patrol down the wooded path which eventually wound back into the center of town. He knew this because he'd scouted the same path a few days in a row now.

Victor was soon behind him, and the three hounds all barked nearly at once as William came close to the end of the trail. A figure dropped in front of him and he drew his pistol. The lycanthrope was on top of him in seconds, but William had been ready. He fired one silver bullet straight at the beast, catching it in the chest. The first wolf, crying out in pain from the bullet's impact, charged.

William drew his sword from its sheath and slashed the creature's chest, causing it to moan and fall to the ground. Soon, more of them were there. The hounds fought valiantly, as did William, but he soon began to wonder how many more he could stand against when he was all alone with just three dogs.

The End

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