Demon hunting’s a young mans’ game isn’t it? Actius and Grimsby – an excerpt.

About a week ago I started on a new writing project. I didn’t intend to, it just kind of happened. I had the idea and went to do what i usually do which is write a couple of seed paragraphs and a few notes before moving it to the backburner to be finished off at some point in the future.

However, this was one of those stories that doesn’t want to stay in and I wrote close to 3000 words in about two days. Which is a lot for me, someone who usually feels pretty accomplished with 500 in a day. The ideas for it flowed thick and fast and I already now have 3 chapters for what I thought initially would be a short story.

The elevator pitch was a Fantasy/Horror with a Romance element featuring a Demon hunting middle-aged Gay couple. I mentioned this on Twitter and quite a few people liked the idea. I’m pretty happy with how it is progressing, so I have decided to share the opening couple of scenes.

It doesn’t even have a working title yet which is weird for me, so for now I’m using the names of the two main characters. Without further ado I now  introduce you to Actius and Grimsby:

     Jolting uncomfortably at the movement of the cart on the uneven road Grimsby tried to find a better position among the sacks of grain. After a fruitless minute of wondering how a bag of stuff could be so bloody uncomfortable he gave up and searched inside his jacket while steadying himself against the edge of the tray. At length he pulled a dented flask out, removing the cork with his teeth to take a swig.
“So, where are we headed to again?”

The reply came from what at a casual glance seemed to be a pile of discarded clothing that revealed itself to be a man. He sat up from where he had been laying in an attempt to nap. “I really wish you would pay attention once in a while, honestly, what do you do in that head of yours while the High Magus is talking?”
“Daydream about not listening to the High Magus mostly.”
“How someone with as much blatant disrespect for authority as you ever became a Warden I’ll never know,” said Actius, shaking his head and reaching his hand out for the flask “Come on. Give me some, seeing as you’ve got it out already.”
“That’s what you said the night I met you if I recall correctly” Grimsby said, handing Actius the flask with a smirk.
Actius rolled his eyes and tried not to laugh. “You are a terrible human being sometimes, you know that?”
Grimsby drew himself up in mock indignation “I’ll have you know that the human blood in me is deeply offended”
“…and the demon blood your grandmother let in is laughing its tits off I’m sure” Actius said, drinking gingerly from the flask. His face froze for a second as the liquid hit his throat and caused him to cough before he sucked in some air desperately while patting his chest.
“Makers breath! What ungodly concoction have you been drinking?”
“It’s a brew Finster and I cooked up while you were off chanting rhyming couplets with the other Magi. You don’t like it?”
“I’ve used nicer things to clean bloodstains out of my robes,” answered Actius with distaste “Sometimes I wonder if I should worry about the ideas that you and that alchemist friend of yours come up with.”
“Probably.”

Actius snorted and moved over next to his partner “Let me in, I need a pillow to rest on.”
Grimsby lifted his arm for Actius as he snuggled his lithe frame in beside him.
“You need to trim your beard.” He said as he found a comfortable place for his head on Grimsby’s barrellous chest.
“But my beard is what makes me handsome, without it I’m just some potato faced slob.”
Actius moved up to kiss him delicately on the cheek, before laying his head down again “Well, there is that I suppose.”He said as he closed his eyes. “We’re headed to Ashvale by the way, something about a poisonous fog.”
“I’ll just follow your lead then.”

Grimsby pushed back the cowl of the robe to gently run his fingers over the electric blue rune that had been branded onto his Husband’s forehead long ago. Even now – twenty years after he had survived the choosing and become a fully initiated Magus – the colour of it stood out brightly against the deep brown of his skin, as if it had a source of light inside it that kept it bright. He had always been secretly jealous of the aesthetic of the Magi’s branding compared to the tattoos that signified him as a Warden. Actius had always said that the knotted ropes of black ink symbology that began on the back of his hands and rose up his arms to curl around his neck were impressive, especially when he charged shirtless into battle. Not that I do that much anymore, he mused. He brushed across the greying hair on Actius’s temples, mentally comparing it with the grey he had noticed in his own beard of late and wondered if they were getting too old for this kind of lark. Dismissing the thought for some other time, he leaned back a little and tried to sync their bodies with the swaying of the cart as it continued its way along the road.

***

Grimsby looked back toward the hamlet of Ashvale as it lurked furtively among the low hills in the way that all of the border towns seemed to do. If it wasn’t for the permanently flaming pyre atop the tower of the Magus in its center Ashville would probably fade into the surroundings with ease. But, such was the will of the Makers. If the Maker of Fire demanded a permanent flame over their holy site, then a permanent flame was what they got. After all, if the Magi were denied the source of their power on account of the tantrum of a miffed god they would all be fairly screwed.

Thinking of the cosy bar in the Sundered Hound and the warm stew and good ale that he had recently imbibed he sighed and turned his attention back to Actius who was surveying the open country in front of them. He was using a hand to shield his eyes from the afternoon sun that stabbed its way down through fitful grey clouds, the expression on his face neutral.
“Hagen asked if we could check in on the ward stone while we were out here and make sure the enchantment is up to scratch,” Actius said matter of factly.
Grimsby groaned in complaint. “Must we? You know those damned things give me awful headaches.”
“Despite your discomfort, yes. Myra was taken ill after inhaling some of the fog we’re here to investigate and they’re short handed at the moment.”
“I suppose you didn’t think to suggest that someone else do it did you?”

Actius paused and gave his partner a sideways look “As a matter of fact I volunteered to do it. The Wards are our primary defense against the horrors out there in the valley and if they fall Maker knows what kind of work we’d be up for to stem the tide. Imagine how much complaining you’d have for me then.”
Grimsby harrumphed sheepishly in reply.
“If you want to complain about about headaches, go find a spirit talker and whinge to your Grandma the great hero Klara Ironhead. Then you can tell her not to make doe eyes at handsome demons”

With that Actius pulled his robe tight around himself and began to stalk across the sparse ground, boots crunching on dried grass and rocks as he went. Grimsby hefted his pack and followed him wordlessly.

Thank you for reading 🙂