The King's Hounds Organization in Known World of the Spellster Universe | World Anvil
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The King's Hounds

Those born in Demarn who are found to have an immunity to direct magic become part of the spellster-hunting group known by the moniker of "King's Hound". Whilst the main mission of a hound is to escort spellsters born in the Demarn Kingdom to their new lives in the spellster tower, more often than not, their task boils down to eliminating dangerous spellsters.   Considered throughout the kingdom as the crown's elite task force, few know the full truth when it comes to how the hounds are trained. They are often taken whilst quite young (sometimes as infants). As children, they are subjected to a brutal regimen where they are trained in an array of weaponry, poison and hunting techniques. During this, they are poisoned, tortured and taught to harden themselves against any pleas a rogue spellster might give. Failure to improve in any one sector is punished with death as a weak hound is seen as a liability who is just as dangerous as a spellster.   Throughout all this, most are only officially known by their birthdate and don't gain anything close to a true name until they pass the final test, which many take during their late teens (with eighteen being amongst the oldest). The few who survive to join the pack are marked with a pawprint somewhere on their body (often their neck or face) and have nothing but a lifelong service of hunting down spellsters.


Because hounds are small in number and often work alone, they're all expected to perform similar duties when it comes to encountering a spellster. However, there are a few official designations pertaining to their main task. These designations are also what many fledgling hounds are named after once they reach full hound status. The placing is chosen through a mixture of fighting ability, sensitivity to magic, investigative skills and general personality.   Trainer: These hounds are generally older and typically are named through their previous designation of hunter or tracker. As the name suggests, they're responsible for moulding children into beings capable of fighting, and even killing, spellsters.   Reporter: Like trainers, these hounds are mostly older and have often spent years roaming the kingdom. Although a few have been known to gain their position at a young age, this is often due to a death vacating the station. Either way, they spend their time managing the messenger pigeons at the handful of manned designated stations scattered across Demarn. They're also responsible for any spellster sightings in the surrounding settlement. They must also possess good people skills as they interact with the local authority.   Tracker: Typically these hounds are ones who are both sensitive to magic and capable of pursuing their prey through a variety of environments. They're more commonly the ones people speak of when mentioning hounds escorting spellsters from their homes to the spellster tower.   Hunter: Whilst not the only hounds to clash with the more dangerous spellsters, they are the ones sent after rogue spellsters who have fled the tower and are marked for execution. They are often given their task through missives either at pigeon stations or whilst at headquarters. They tend to have a more ruthless streak than others, typically have a more brutal killing style, and may even butt heads with their fellow hounds.   Seeker: Where trackers are generally sent to verify rumours given to reporters by the kingdom's citizens, seekers are expected to comb through the more rural settlements where there are no hound stations. As a whole, those in this designation generally barely scrape by in their hound training.   Escorter: Designated solely to chaperone leashed spellsters from the spellster tower to the Demarn Royal Army, only one hound is ever assigned this job at a time and the chosen hound generally holds it for life. It's considered the weakest position and is often looked down upon by the rest of the pack, especially by hunters.


Obedience to the pack and the Hound Mistress/Master is quite literally beaten into young pups to the point where few will challenge an order. Even those who gain full hound status are wary of even suggesting any concerns they have with their commands. This has led to the phrase good dogs obey and bad dogs must be put down.   Though their names are often derived from their designation, many gain nicknames during this time and may be called such by those close to them throughout their whole life.   Even with their natural immunity to direct magic, the dangerous nature of their task—and Demarn's general outlook on what a good death entails—hounds are almost casual about the idea of death. The expectation is that they'll meet their end before reaching old age, typically whilst facing down a spellster. This is true for many and whilst those who survive to their elder years are revered.  


  Like other Nulled Ones, any progeny of a hound is more likely to result in a spellster than another hound. Because their sole purpose is to hunt and contain spellsters, hounds are prohibited from having children. This restriction extends to having lovers and, to some extent, any intimate relationship that involves sex with the same partner. Sexual activity itself is also frowned upon, and generally considered discouraged, but not outright forbidden so long as such activities are purely physical and the hound takes precautions to limit the chance of a child.   Any who dare attempt to have a lover will find themselves thrown into the Pit alongside those they've formed such a relationship with. They are then expected to fight to the death or watch their lover be fatally crippled by an arrow and slowly bleed out before a similar fate befalls them.


Once fifty members strong, the culling at Wintervale and subsequent genocide of the spellster tower saw their numbers fall to thirty-three full hounds. The number of young pups is unknown.
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Character flag image: The tattoo every full hound is marked with to denote their status. by Aldrea Alien


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