The dog was one of the largest I’d seen.
He was, I would learn later, one of their champions. A hound blessed by Deus Canum himself.
And the Kinderzähne were terrified of him.
I’d gone out hunting the little bastards, word was they’d gotten into what was left of the Elroys’ hen house, and when they finished, well, there wasn’t a bird to be found. Better than more people, I suppose, although there are some people I wouldn’t have minded exchanging the hens for.
As it was, the dogs and I put up a cordon around the house, and the ravens settled in to keep an eye on them. I was about ready to go in, Colts loaded and in hand, when the champion arrived.
The other dogs parted for him, and several whimpered in appreciative awe. The hound towered above the others, and when he stopped in front of me, we saw eye to eye.
“My name is Brutus,” the dog stated and inclined his head ever so slightly.
“Aye, I knew who you were when the wind shifted,” the dog stated. “I’ve met a few of your kith and kin in the Hollow, Duncan Blood. It is always a pleasure.”
I raised an eyebrow and waited for Brutus to continue.
“I have heard there are some of the Kinderzähne in the property,” he said, nodding toward Elroy farm.
“A fair few,” I agreed.
The dog grinned, some of his great incisors broken and chipped. “Excellent.”
“Need a hand?” I asked.
Brutus shook his head. “While I have often enjoyed fighting alongside Bloods and Coffins, I do not require assistance today. I have fought the Kinderzähne, and while they are entertaining, they are not difficult.”
Without another word, the dog trotted off toward the farm. Behind us, the other dogs closed ranks, and I holstered the Colts. I found a high point on the stonewall that wrapped around the Elroys’ land and made myself comfortable.
From where I sat, I could see everything.
Brutus took his time.
The Kinderzähne howled at his approach and did their best to run. Some sought safety in the house, others in the barn. A few raced toward the far edge of the property, and they were the first to die.
Brutus lived up to his name, and I enjoyed every moment of it.