FIRST AND VERY IMPORTANTLY, THIS IS NOT CANON. THIS IS COMPLETELY UNSANCTIONED (okay, not completely. Larry said I could do this for you guys without his ripping my head off) MHI FANFIC.
Good, now that we got that out of the way, why am I doing this? Both Grant and Fado Negro (Portuguese Monster Hunters) have minuscule parts in Guardian, the MHI book I’m collaborating with Larry Correia on. However, obviously the Portugal of Monster Hunter is not the real Portugal (Really, no arcane creatures come stumbling out of the undergrowth there. If there were arcane creatures, the country would be chock-a-block in them, when you take in account the continuous human occupation since… well, forever.) And this story gives me more of an opportunity to firm the worldbuilding. (Yes, it would be MUCH easier to do this with a notebook and noting things down, but that’s not how my mind works, d*mn it.)
Okay, that’s the rational excuse. The real reason is that d*mn Grant Jefferson won’t leave me alone. (Always had a thing for men from Patrician New England families. Ask my husband.) So I’m torturing him. Also Guardian won’t come out until I do this more or less at same time (I’ll be sending first chapter of that to Larry soon.)
Will this ever be a book? Don’t know. First Guardian will get delivered. Then, this being finished, I throw it at Larry. And then it’s his SOLE DECISION. (Which means, don’t you monkeys hassle him.) It’s his world and his character. I’m just grateful he lets me play in it in Guardian and here for your amusement.*
For those who have no idea what this is, Dark Fate starts
“So, King Don Manuel,” Sylvia said. She took a blind corner, while turned to look (and talk) to me. I noted that she stayed completely on target, in the right lane, and wondered if she was using some type of precognition. “Manuel the first, that is, though there’s some dispute on whether the second should count. Anyway, King Manuel who reigned from 1495 to 1521. He was known as the fortunate. Most people assume it was because in his reign all the work done on the discoveries started paying dividends, and it did in the form of gold and silver and spices from all the far flung parts of the empire.
In fact we had documents that lead us to believe he was the target of Ifrit attacks, started by a curse from the remaining Moors in Portugal. He was stupid enough to not know if it was a Moorish or a Jewish curse, but never mind that. The thing is that he took a lot of that gold from the discoveries and started prize money for those who killed monsters. We call it POT.”
“Pricipesco Honorario e Tesouro. The H is silent. Anyway, it started out paying to anyone who killed a monster, but this was the middle ages, or just out of, and sometimes it was really hard to verify that the things killed were actually monsters. So it sort of fell by the way side, particularly as people believed less and less in monsters. And the kings didn’t believe in Monsters at all, and the funds that were left to them to administer just never got disbursed.
King Alphonse VI who ascended in 1656, though, and he was known to like Fado, which at the time was mostly played in the parts of Portugal inhabited by converted Moors. Well, apparently the Ifrit was not dead, and a king of Portugal was much like another king of Portugal. So, one night, while the king was listening to a Fado ensemble called Fado Negro, that is Dark Fado or Fate which is the other meaning of Fado, he was attacked by the Ifrit. Fortunately for him, the members of the group were alert and capable, and killed the monster. They were rewarded from POT and also given a royal commission to fight monsters.
“Since then the group has gone through several rearrangements. In the eighteenth century it became a Student Fado group, hence the clothes we wear. Baron Forrester– Never mind. Anyway, we are now a student Fado group, and legally and ostensibly that is all we are: but it’s easy to carry weapons in our traveling vans, easy to hide them under the cloaks, and no one really looks too closely at a group of student singers out in the middle of the night, doing who knows what? So, that’s who we are, and why we use both instruments and weapons. There are several different groups, really, from the different colleges, and the college of Psychology part of Dark Fate is used by the Portuguese government to hide monster outbreaks.”
“All right,” I said. “By hereditary you mean Monster Hunting runs in families?”
“Yes,” she said. She’d turned again, and the car was suddenly full of the smell of the ocean, but the smell of an ocean completely full of dead fish. She didn’t seem to notice, and just told me. “Like my parents. They were monster hunters when they were students. It’s a profession that fits the young well, but people tend to retire once they graduate, or shortly after. Shortly after only if Dark Fate is very short-handed. My dad was the one who organized the party that killed the avatar of Dagon causing the sonic booms in the beach at Madalena in the early eighties.”
I made a sound as though this were very impressive, though of course I had no idea what she was talking about. I imagined that the incident had made it into the lore of monster hunters in this small Atlantic country, but America tended to have so many of its own outbreaks, that we rarely studied those elsewhere. However, I said, “An ancient god, uh? Do you get those here a lot? After all the area had been colonized since forever, and mostly what Portugal was built on was Portugal. And each tribe, and each invader had brought another layer of beliefs.
“You have no idea,” she said. “Though the worst ones are the false saints.”
“So, when the country became Catholic, if the church couldn’t discourage the worship of a particular god, they Christianized it, i.e., they made it into a Christian saint. This is why the celebrations of St. John, at the time of the solestice are so …. fraught. They tap into older, not even fully coherent superstitions and always cause a lot of outbreaks.”
“I see,” I said. And realized that, out of nowhere, a fog had enveloped the car and that in the midst of the fog, a vast, dark shape loomed. “What is that?”
She looked, screamed, twisted the wheel, hit the brakes, and opened her door.
“Jump, jump, jump,” she said.
(And I apologize for this being so short, but today was a day, including shopping for a computer because my current writing computer has started developing a “malaise of the week.” I promise the second half of this chapter — the fighty part — by Wednesday.)