7.9 To Heel

by Matt P.

Antigone’s hurl was more graceful, with the elegance of a dancer. But it was also significantly less effective than Siobhan. Walter had heard the description from Julian Shaw about how she had reacted when given the chance, and he had believed it 100%—he had just never seen Siobhan given an opportunity to act with the years of skill and training he had paid for.

Antigone hit with her shoulder, and moved the beast far enough away that its stumbling attack missed Walter’s fleshy bits by a few inches. Siobhan hit the beast low, using leverage to negate the weight difference between them. She grabbed it by the legs when the Eisenhund was in mid-stride and took it off its’ feet. With a sound like the shearing of metal and a cry that sounded like a hound interpreted by a Transformer, it went down to the ground. Siobhan rolled with it and ended up on top as it crashed to the ground.

Walter stopped with a skid on the dusty stone floor, coming to brace himself on a pedestal. He whipped around with the pistol out. “Dammit, the point was for you to not get chased!” He cursed as he squeeze the trigger. The firearm barked loudly, echoing in the dusty and empty chamber and mingling with the aggravated howl of pain from the Eisenhund that Antigone had bumped. The bark was joined by several others, as bullets from the Leah and the Alexanders impacted. They all shot low, targeting parts of the monstrosity that weren’t armored and may be susceptible to pain. It staggered the hound back and drew a baleful cry from it.

In the back Walter could barely see Tania and Morgan fighting theirs, but they had their swords out and were circling their prey like they were hunting a boar. They tried to stay on opposite sides, and reached out to strike when their prey’s back was turned. They moved in balletic coordination, each one not just knowledgeable but supremely confident about what the other could do. It, as much as anything else he had seen, showed him how long they had been working together.

He turned from the one his fellow marshals were covering while Antigone fled back, and brought his weapon around on the one Siobhan had expertly hamstrung. He expected to see his daughter fleeing. He expected to have to save her.

What he did not expect to see was Siobhan a few feet away in a crouch, where she obviously had rolled away in to a ready position, with a hand out in front of her. And he definitely did not expect to see the Eisenhund considering her with a quizzical expression. The whole area around them seemed to still, with even the gently floating motes of dust that had been kicked up in the rest of the chamber resting light and still on the ground.

Slowly and somewhat unsteadily, Siobhan rose to her feet. She kept her hand out in front of her and slowly walked toward the hound. It took one step back and pulled back its lips in to a slight snarl, as if it were going to attack, and Walter tensed. Siobhan didn’t seem disconcerted at all and continued to stare at it with a steady gaze. She squared her shoulders and took another step forward, keeping her hand out. She met the dog’s eyes, and Walter’s breath caught—but a moment later the Eisenhund lowered its gaze and sat back on its haunches like any chastised puppy across the world.

“Stop.” Siobhan called out. Her voice was strong but not strained. It was a voice of command and control, the kind of voice that could bring something or someone to heel. He didn’t know if it was directed toward the shooting cops, the fighting fey-folk, or the snarling hounds—but it worked on all of them. The whole room drew back as if unsure what was happening. The two faeries looked at Siobhan with wide eyes as if they couldn’t believe what was happening, which Walter sympathized with. The assembled police looked concerned but kept their pistols ready if they wanted to be shoot something. And Walter just kept his eyes on his daughter so he could be ready to bolt if she looked like she was going to get mauled.

But Siobhan continued to walk forward confidently until she stood in the middle of the room. The armored eyes of all of the Eisenhund tracked to follow her as she walked, until she stood between all of them. One by one she turned to meet eye contact with the remaining two hounds, both of them wounded but not seeming to mind overly much. She met them stare for stare in the silent darkness.

“Sit.” She said, and to the astonishment of everyone, they sat.