A musket ball whistled past Alfred Saxton’s ear, striking a stout oak just a few short meters beyond him. The Doppelsoldner ran faster, trying to distance himself from the Swiss marksman. He weaved between the tall, ancient trees, heading deeper into the thick forest. A few minutes later, he’d lost sight of the ruined and burning caravan all together. Already he somewhat regretted having gone so deep into the woods, he possessed neither map or compass. He felt almost certain that he’d changed direction during his dodging and weaving through the trees, and due to the thick canopy, he could not see the sun to use for directional reference.
Even so, he reasoned that if he just kept going in his current direction, he’d surely reach a town sooner or later. Alfred stood still for a moment, listening for any sound of pursuit. The forest was eerily silent. The only sounds were the wind, and the quiet flow of a creek. The sound of the water only reminded Alfred of his great thirst- during his flight from the burning caravan, he had not had time to grab a waterskin. He eagerly followed the sound, and mentally prayed for it to be untainted. After a few minutes of walking, he found the source. He let out a quiet groan when he saw that it was entirely clouded with mud, and was completely unsuitable for drinking. He followed it, hoping the water would be clearer upstream. He walked on for quite sometime, softly whistling a marching tune to himself.
After some time of walking, he came across what looked like the ruins of a church. Most of the walls seemed to have collapsed long ago, though a few still stood, along with a great stone arch, which presumably had once been the doorway. He ran a hand along the mossy stones of a ruined wall as he passed under the arch. Just as he was about to reach the other end of the arch, there was a flash of white light, which blinded the doppelsoldner for a moment. He rubbed at his eyes, trying to clear his vision. Once he succeeded, Alfred was greeted with a sight that genuinely shocked him. The ruin he had just exited was gone, and he was left standing in an empty meadow at the foot of a short hill. His surroundings seemed entirely unfamiliar.
He un-shouldered his Zweihander, and spun, searching for any opponent. But there was no one there. He was truly alone. The thought occurred to Alfred that he could be dead and that this could be heaven, or some form of it. He discounted this, and looked about, trying to discern where he was. He found nothing familiar, but he did find another creek and this one was actually clear. Alfred’s thirst finally got the best of him, and he knelt down, and filled his waterskin and began to gulp down some of the water. A burning agony seemed to course through his body, and Alfred almost fell into the creek from the shock. Every bone in his body ached and seemed to move. His body slimmed, becoming sleek and lanky. His spine extended, growing out into a rudder like tail. His head and neck changed, and then the changes spread all over his body, causing the doppelsoldner further agony. He let out a final scream of pain, almost blacking out. But then, the pain simply stopped, and Alfred was left by the creek bed. He bent over the water, looking at his changed visage. He ran a shaking paw over the slight muzzle that protruded out. Feeling that it was there, and this was all real, and also feeling the new tail flick behind him, he fainted and he fell face first into the creek bed.