The Strange Tales of the Brothers Grimm

Brothers Grimm fanfiction

title: The Strange Tales of the Brothers Grimm
author: Me
main characters: Jake, Will, Cavaldi, Angelika
genre: adventure/comedy
pairings: none as yet
summary: The Brothers Grimm thought they had seen the last of adventures; Angelika thought she’d seen the last of the Brothers, and Cavaldi thought he’d seen the last of just about everything, but a strange letter from Romania signals the start of a new mystery.

When Jacob had taken up the career of writing (as opposed to the hobby) he had assumed that he had also given up mobs. Mobs had been an unpleasant characteristic of the previous occupation his brother Wilhelm had had him engaged in (skullduggery) and though Will had ensured him that mob mentality was a necessary aspect of their line of work, they had the unpleasant tendency of turning on you at a moments notice.

Case in point, the current.

They had been signing books. Innocently, innocently mind you, signing copies of their new book inside a shop in Paderborn for a few fans. Well, more than a few fans, really. It looked as though they were famous again in fact, and it had been rather nice to get equal share of the attention with his brother.

It had all gone wrong, however, when one of the fans wasn’t content with a signed book. Oh no, she wanted a hug from Will, and Wilhelm had happily obliged. And then all the other fans saw, and they all wanted hugs as well, and they started fighting, and then some of the parents took it into their heads that something inappropriate was going on (it wasn’t, though Jacob wouldn’t put it past his brother) and now, well, here they were.

It wasn’t a large mob, but it was a mob none the less and they were running through the honeycomb of streets at a mad dash, rain pouring down like there was no tomorrow (which Jacob thought for them at least was an honest possibility) with it nipping at their heels.

“I thought you said…this sort of thing wasn’t…going to happen any more!” Jacob wheezed to his brother as they ran.

“Well, you see,” Will admitted, “that was sort of based on the idea that you weren’t a very good writer!”

“Oh, thank you very much!” Jake blustered indignantly.

“Look, I was wrong wasn’t I? Hence the screaming fans?”

“At this point (wheeze, pant) I rather wish you hadn’t been!”

Jake followed his brother as he ducked down a dark and narrow alleyway, to the confusion of the mob, which continued to search the main street for them. Will motioned to a full clothesline, and Jake got the nauseous feeling that it was time to disguise themselves as women and ride out of town again.

This was something that the Brothers Grimm had had to do, if not often in their previous careers, than at least with some predictability. Most of the villagers that Will bamboozled stayed bamboozled, at least until they were safely out of town. Once in a while however a job would go bad and they’d end up in much the same state as the present, hastily pulling on skirts and bustiers while on the look out for the glimmer of torchlight.

Will hoisted Jake up by the ankle and they clambered over the fence, hastily, but hopefully inconspicuously making their way back to the stable of their lodgings to grab the horses and beat a judicious retreat.

This time the gods of luck seemed to be with them, in some small measure at least, as they made it back to the tavern without incident, and were able to throw their belongings together and leave. They didn’t stop to speak until they were galloping away on horseback, still dressed as women.

Will whipped his bonnet off, exposing his rakish blonde hair and grinned. “See, we got out of there alright, eh, Jake?”

Jacob scowled, adjusting his silver glasses on his nose. “Oh yes, well if you call being on the run out of town again ‘alright’, then yes. I suppose so.”

Will laughed. “Don’t worry Jake, we didn’t do anything wrong. This, my dear brother is just celebrity. As you well know.”

“I thought things would be different now,” he half whined. “I’d hoped we might have a bit of dignity.”

His brother tut-tutted at him. “A respectable writer, now whose ever heard of such a thing? Writers are just con-men in another outfit, or in our case, the same outfit.”

Most people found Wilhelm Grimm’s cocky grin infectious and inspiring; Jake had seen it much too often, he just thought it was obnoxious.

“You are an ass.”

“And what if I am? Relax brother, they’ll cool down, meanwhile, we’ll just go ahead to the next stop on our tour, right? No harm done.”

Jake slouched down in his saddle grumbling. There was plenty wrong, but there was no arguing with Will when he was this way, all exhilarated and suchlike. Jake had to content himself with a melo-tragical sigh, slouching down in his saddle, and pulling out a book of fresh paper, perhaps to pen a tale, perhaps only to avoid his brother’s gaze.

000

Dolore Cavaldi was staring at the bottom of a mug of ale; this was becoming an altogether too familiar pastime. Marbarden had been a dream, it seemed, something foggy on the edge of his mind, a hazy reflection that had come into focus so quickly after the exit of its Grimm Heroes. Or at least, as focused as anything in Cavaldi’s world got.

In the muddy glow of daylight Marbarden, stripped of its enchantment, it’s malignance, and finally its new heroes, became just another greasy hamlet in the woebegone German states. Cavaldi had found himself slipping, as the weeks dragged, on back into back into old habits and old harms. One afternoon he’d found himself chaining up the milkman in the dining room, holding him at gunpoint, and demanding to know what had been done to the morning’s cream.

Cavaldi had been run out of town that evening.

It had only been a minor set back, after all, and as Abigail, the woman whom he’d been sharing a cottage with, had shown no interest in fleeing Marbarden with the errant Italian, Cavaldi had not really counted it as a loss at all. That was, until fortunes conspired against him. He had traveled the countryside in as much style as his then waning purse would allow, and sought employment with the minor princes of the German states. The man who currently had Cavaldi in his service, was, in point of fact a Duke (though there was little difference in these backwater territories) called Jonas.

Jonas wore a hard, glittering iron circlet, and a hard, glittering smile that unnerved even the Italian half of the time. Cavaldi had the good taste, and good sense, not to enquire how the position of torturer had come to be open.

And so Dolore had returned to his family profession of pain, if with a slightly lower pay scale, and a little more of the Germanic lack of tact. His accustomed manic fervor had not diminished, no not in the least, but he found himself thinking between the screams, if there might not be something else he might be doing with his life, something perhaps with a little more elegance, and a little bit more appreciation.

What could taint a torturer? Fame? Adventure? A story?

And so came the drink. Of course, no one seemed to be able to tell the difference between a drunk Dolore Cavaldi and a sober one, at least, the Duke certainly didn’t give an clue that he did, but Cavaldi could tell.

A sober Cavaldi was a little more inclined to whisper meanly than to yell half-coherently, and a little more inclined to wonder about the justice of chains and whether he ought not really be the one strapped to the rack. At least, until he drank some more, and then the old Cavaldi would be back with bells on, at least, for a little bit. At least until the liquor started to settle in his stomach. And then he’d drink some more.

This Cavaldi was not drunk enough, though he’d been sitting in the finest pub his grace Duke Jonas’ territory could offer for several hours. This Cavaldi was shouting at the barman for another round, and god help the man who questioned him, as it would be off to the Duke’s snail and viper pit, so help him, god. So help him, god.

The torturer chucked his empty glass right over his shoulder and on to the head of a wine besotted German ponce sitting behind him. He pulled the mug full of thick ale toward him, and glared into it. Another round or two and he might be threatening the pint as well. Wouldn’t that be a lark?

The thought made Cavaldi chuckle, a dark, menacing thing, it started in the back of his throat, in the bottom of his belly, and it grew, a cold, mirthless cackle, a full blown maniacal laugh. The other patrons, drunken as they were, edged away from the Duke’s mad torturer, and avoided his gaze. The barman adjusted his apron nervously, eyeing the dark haired, olive skinned foreigner with mixed intentions. He might have kicked Cavaldi out, if not for the Duke’s wrath, and if not for the fact that the Italian’s seeming incomprehension of exactly how much a pint of beer cost.

Gradually the torturer’s gaze became hazy again, in a stupor over his ale, and the barman’s attention drifted back to those customers who, if they were out of their skulls, were only thus because of his establishment’s fine ale.

To be continued…

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