Fanfiction Fridays: Blood & Iron

Today’s Fanfiction Fridays comes with a special holiday word of advice: don’t Google search for ‘creepy fanfiction’ unless you’re willing to either a) be disappointed with a distinct lack of creepy fanfiction or b) find a lot more My Little Pony fanfic than you were anticipating.

Pictured: the internet's affect on my brain when viewing terrible horror fic

Pictured: the internet’s effect on my brain when viewing terrible horror fic

Now, as much as I love my horror manga, I felt that automatically heading off and looking for fanfic from them would be less rewarding than traversing the depths of the internet. Also, I think I might have actually cried if I found a high school AU fic of, say, the Fuan no Tane series. And, for the sake of full disclosure, after finding my twentieth PewDiePie fanfic in the Amnesia: The Dark Descent tag on, I kind of gave up on looking through horror games as well. What I found in their stead may be one of the greatest finds of this genre in the Hetalia fandom that I’ve come across.

With a name like Blood & Iron, I couldn’t help but be drawn in. Short, sweet, and dramatic-sounding: just how I like my titles. What I thought was going to be an awesome medieval setting (because I am a bad person and didn’t initially read the tags) actually turned out to be a Sherlock Holmes­-esque mystery story with fantasy elements thrown in. That’s even better.

Detective Arthur Kirkland, along with his partners Alfred Jones and Matthew Williams, are on the trail of the notorious killer known only as ‘The Ripper’—whether this is the already established Jack the Ripper or someone new entirely is unclear. The problem is, ten years ago, The Ripper was killed. So either the detectives have an imitator of the highest caliber on their hands, or the Ripper is not quite as dead as they assumed.

However, after the intervention of clockmaker by day, savant of the underground by night Francis Bonnefoy and a key piece of evidence, a sliver of tooth, being left on the fresh body of the newest victim, the answer turns out to be neither of those options. The answer, as in any good Halloween story, is vampires.

Of course, the story doesn’t just focus on the detectives: what can normal detectives do against creatures of the night? On the other side of the coin we have Van Hellsing style vampire hunters in the Beilschmidt brothers, Ludwig and Gilbert. As usual, Gilbert is the loud, showy, more obnoxious of the two, while Ludwig actually knows what he’s doing.

I’d like to say more about this story, but lucky us, I’ve found Blood & Iron right in its baby stage, and author erpsicle seems eager enough to continue on with the tale. I do have one problem with it and it’s the same problem that plagues almost every other piece of Hetalia media out there: lack of female characterization. So far in the two chapters that have been written, the female characters have been victims (forgivable since that’s the murderer’s MO), nameless foes, or there to hint at how totally gay the main characters are. I realize that there isn’t exactly a large pool of female characters to choose from, but that’s no reason to not add one or two in. For example, Russia is listed as a character in the tags. So why not have his sisters join in too? Belarus as a badass vampire queen would be fantastic, and even Ukraine as a somewhat bumbling vampire hunter would be appreciated. Belgium as a vampire hunter would be even cooler. Or Monaco. As has been mentioned before on this blog, just because a story showcases a male homosexual relationship doesn’t mean that it needs to write out female characters.

Despite this, the two chapters that are up (roughly 11k words in all) are really well written and express the characters perfectly without over-characterizing them. Blood & Iron’s last update was on the seventeenth of last month, so I can only hope that erpsicle is working on another chapter. If you’re interested in an old time-y vampire hunt, be sure to check out the fic here on AO3 (but also check the tags; if you’re not cool with gore, you might not want to get invested).

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About Tsunderin

Greetings and salutations! Feel free to just call me Rin—we’re all friends here, or nemeses who just haven’t gotten to know each other well enough. I’m a video game lover from the womb to the tomb, and Bioware enthusiast until the day they stop making games with amazing characters that I cry over. And while I don’t partake as often as I used to, don’t be surprised to find me poking around an anime or manga every once in a while either. A personal interest for me is characterization in media and how women in particular have been portrayed, are being portrayed, and will be portrayed in the future. I’m not going to mince words about my opinion either.