1) The Battle of Degory


After hours of fighting, Philip finally accepts that the kingdom of Degory has fallen. It feels like for each beast the vampire general kills, five more replace it. Now half of his army is cornered behind the castle walls, no longer fighting for their kingdom, but for their lives. Screams are heard resonating over the mayhem as the werewolves take liberties on the villagers trapped outside the courtyard.

Philip swallows a hard knot in his throat, his grip tightening on his silver-lined rapier. With the eastern battlement crippled, the werewolves are pouring into the bailey by the dozens. They must maintain the western battlement; they must keep the courtyard secure; they must protect the royal family. It's all for the sake of the vampire race.

Philip's radio blares. A beta has infiltrated the western battlement! Repeat! A beta has breached the western battlement!

"Perfect," Philip grumbles sarcastically, his displeasured face mostly hidden beneath his hood. He glances at the starlit sky through the strands of his silvery-white hair. The full moon is out tonight, but thankfully, it's hidden behind the clouds. The general turns his gaze to the western battlement and catches a glimpse of the offending werewolf. Before the younger soldiers can subdue the beast on the battlement, it jumps down into the bailey.

Philip doesn't flinch as the wolf lands on the scaffolding below. The wooden structure explodes into thousands of splinters upon impact. The dusts settles, and the general's crimson eyes meets the beast's glowing, amber eyes.

Calmly, Philip brings the radio to his mouth. "Stay at your posts, men. I'll take care of the beta."

The wolf's ear twitches, and a toothy grin forms beneath its snout. At seven feet tall on its hind legs, it wouldn't be surprising if the beast is actually an alpha-level wolf. It lets out a deep, rumbling snarl as it cautiously approaches, its obsidian-like fur standing on end.

"Damn vampire," the werewolf growls. "We don't have time for your meddling."

Philip's frown grows even deeper, the lines on his pale face portraying an aged but seasoned warrior. Until now, the general thought that the werewolves were here to kill them off. For centuries, werewolves and vampires despised one another. Now that the vampire population has greatly diminished, the war has turned into a genocide. The werewolves are even killing humans on sight, since they are the vampire's only food source. In this case however, it seems that the vampires are actually impeding a different goal. What is it?

Then it hits Philip like a ton of bricks.

"Shit," the general curses. So engrossed in thought, he barely evades the canine's deadly claw swipe. Philip rolls out of the way, his superior speed causing him to skid across the dirt. Now a safe distance from his adversary, the general gets into his battle stance. He keeps his blade between himself and the werewolf. The wind picks up, blowing the hood of his black cloak from his head. The ponytail of his long, white hair, a vampire's most notable trait, dances in the breeze.

Phillip unexpectedly relaxes, and grabs his radio for the second time. "This is General Sterling. The beta with me is Rafael Montgomery. He's an informant. Do not attack the werewolf with me. I repeat: do not attack the werewolf with General Sterling."

The werewolf called Rafael looks about nervously. He watches several vampire soldiers run by without giving him a second glance. Letting out a sigh of relief, Rafael returns his attention to Philip and approaches the general. As he closes the distance, his body begins to morph. Thick, black fur recedes, exposing bronzed skin and a muscular build. Claws and paws slowly become hands and feet, while his pointed muzzle forms into a hairless, human face. Although Rafael's body shrinks, at 6'2", he is still a half of head taller than Philip.

The general unties his cloak. "Take this. It's a general's cloak. My kind can smell the difference between a human and a werewolf. Even in your passive form, the inexperienced soldiers might panic and send a silver bullet in your chest."

Rafael takes the cloak, wrapping the black cloth around his nude body. "I'm sorry I couldn't send you a warning about the attack. Even someone of my rank was kept in the dark by the Queen until it was time to deploy."

"You did your best, friend," Philip replies, placing a hand on his companion's shoulder. "We are grateful for your service. Now, come with me." Turning on his heel, Philip leads the werewolf towards the castle. "The wolves aren't here for us, are they?"

"Of course not. Otherwise, we would have attacked during the day when you are weaker. Our queen waited for the full moon so we can withstand the human's weaponry. She wants your King's head. He must go into exile if he values his life."

Philip responds with a low hiss as the pair enters the main gates and continues down the hall. The clacking of Philip's boots echoes with each step on the marble floor while Rafael's bare feet make no sound. Their walk is brisk, the flanking brass pillars passing by in a golden blur.

"How's my son?" Rafael asks, breaking the silence.

"He's doing fine," Philip responds. "The Aldars have studied werewolves for years, and Matthew is a great surrogate father. Though, I am curious. How on earth were you able to smuggle your pup out of Canidae?"

Rafael looks downward, his long, brown dreadlocks covering his profile. "I would never burden my family with my treachery. But David was born a runt. It was either to take him here, or carry on the tradition and leave him in the Surabian Desert to die."

Philip nods his head wordlessly, careful not to comment on werewolf traditions. He knows that although Rafael is a traitor, his friend is still a proud wolf and won't tolerate criticism from either vampire or human. "David is a nice name. He will grow to take down giants."

Philip and Rafael remain silent the rest of the way to the throne room. It's usually a peaceful place where business is conducted with the king. Tonight, however, the room is alive with clamoring servants carrying medical supplies, doctors tending to several injured vampire soldiers and human knights, and terrified civilians. A nearby radio blares, delivering urgent messages from the battlefield.

An authoritative voice stands out amongst the commotion, booming orders that echoes in the cavernous room.

"Reload the turrets! You, there! Bring more hot water!"

The crowd disperses as more orders are bellowed, bringing the owner of the voice into view. With an imposing aura, a build that rivaled his best knights, and a glare that can kill, it's apparent that King Roman is more than just a figurehead. His haggard, icy-blue eyes shows a leader who is working tirelessly to protect his kingdom. The strands of grey in his blonde hair and beard indicates a commander who has done this many times before.

King Roman approaches Philip, giving Rafael an inquisitive glance before addressing the vampire general. "I hope to gawd you are here to give me good news."

Philip gestures towards his werewolf companion. "This is Rafael Montgomery; our informant from the werewolf clan."

"I thought there was something odd about you," King Roman says to Rafael, a mix of admiration and surprise on his face. "The Kingdom of Degory is in debt to you, sir."

"Your gratitude is premature, Your Majesty," Rafael responds. "We are not here just for the vampires. We were ordered to take your head."

King Roman nods, unflinching of the news. "Queen Dolph finally views us as a threat, I see."

"You are perceptive, Your Majesty," Rafael says. "She has sent over a thousand soldiers here. I've never seen her act so rashly."

"She's terrified of our collaboration," Philip adds worriedly. "She want's to make you an example, Your Majesty."

King Roman glares at Rafael. "The vampires have lain hidden in Degory for over 200 years. How did she find out?"

"Your rival kingdom to the west told a covert operative," Rafael answers. "He tricked King Carver to believe that the information would grant his kingdom immunity."

"Fool," Philip hisses. "This kingdom has the best technology to defend against werewolf attacks. He doomed the human and vampire race."

"There's one more thing," Rafael says, a look of dread on his face. "She wants us to confiscate all your weaponry."

"That can't happen!" yells an unfamiliar voice.

The entire throne room grows quiet. Even the young, frighten children stop to stare at the odd-looking man in a white lab coat responsible for the outburst. Through his thick-rimmed specs, everyone can see the man's eyes bulging in panic. He scrambles to the King, his short frame disappearing between Philip and Rafael.

"Your Majesty!" he yells, his gestures as wild as his spiky, grey hair. "The werewolves can easily modify the weapons to turn it against us! We're just human, after all. As silver bullet can kill us just like any other bullet! And I have ground-breaking prototypes that have taken me decades to make!"

"Calm down, Ivan," King Roman says, though his glare seems to be more effective than his words.

"This man speaks the truth," Rafael says. "If the werewolf clan get their hands on human weaponry, it will be devastating for all of our races."

"What do you mean, Rafael?" Philip asks.

"My Queen's nephew is a wayward bastard. We are on the brink of civil war. Once the werewolf clan finishes off the vampires and humans, we will turn on each other."

The overhead suddenly radio blares. The bailey has been breached! Repeat! The bailey has been breached! Castle shutdown will now commence!

The throne room explodes into a ruckus as citizens huddle in fright while the soldiers and knights urge the general and king for instructions. With a simple raise of his hand, however, King Roman quiets the crowd.

"Your Majesty," Philip says, taking a knee. "Your great-grandfather took in my coven in our time of need. We were refugees; sick and starving. He gave us food, shelter and protection without asking for anything in return. Let my men and I hold back the enemy while you escape. Your knights can help the injured."

The vampire soldiers cheer their support, bringing their silver-lined weapons high above their heads. The human knights soon follow, chanting 'long live, King Roman'. Waving his arms, the king turns to the crowd. For the second time, His Majesty instantly silences his subjects.

"Listen, all! The Kingdom of Degory has fallen. My final act as your king will be to get everyone here out alive! Take the southwest tower down to the dock and board the ship." He pauses, taking a deep breath. "After tonight, I will no longer be your king."