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Flash Fiction – A Winters Tale October 23, 2009

Posted by techtigger in flash fiction.
Tags: , ,

This story is part of a series.  Click Here to read from the beginning.

Nox walked arm in arm with Lord Kel through the sunlit silence of a winter forest.  The muffled crunch of their footsteps through the snow was the only sound, even the nearby stream was quiet under a thick layer of ice.  Grimm ghosted through the trees at a discreet distance – normally the hound had a strict paws-off policy when it came to her personal life, but these two were the heirs to the winter kings.  The houses of Ice and Snow were taking a stand against the New Dawn cult, and that made them prime targets for assassination.

Kel reached down to scoop up a dark blue flower, one of the few that could grow at these altitudes.  He handed it to her with a gallant gesture. “It matches your eyes.”

A wry smile tugged at the corner of her mouth. “I like that better than the first gift you gave me.”

“I’m never going to live that down, am I?  I was six years old, as I recall.”

“You smashed a snowball in my face.”

“And you pelted me with hail.  I’d say we came out even.”  He said with a laugh.   

His tone was light, but Nox could tell that something was wrong.  She studied him more closely as they walked – they had been betrothed since she was five years old, but had never spent much time together.  She had to admit, he was ridiculously handsome.  He was also an accomplished statesman, had a great sense of humor… and she had no intention of marrying him. 

“How is Arella?” She asked.

He stopped, and she could feel the tension in his arm.  “Ah. You know then.”

Nox laughed to put him at ease.  “I cheered when I heard the rumor.  No offense.”  She winked at him.  “You know I’m not the marrying type. So, when do you make the public announcement?”

He stared off through the trees, still tense.  ‘We don’t, yet.  That’s why I asked you here today, we need to talk about our betrothal.”

“What’s there to talk about?  I never wanted it, and you obviously don’t now.”   She paused as she saw the look on his face.  “Oh no, my father wants to use it to seal the deal on that alliance.  Please tell me you didn’t agree to it?”

“No.”  He finally met her eyes.  “Arella is with child.  I love her, Nox, I won’t leave her.  Even if it means we have to go into exile.  I’m sorry, I know this is going to drop you in the middle of a political firestorm.“

Nox placed a finger over his lips.  “Hush.  You are going to make a great father, and I,”  she gave him a wicked smile “am an old hand at wrecking my parents plans for my ‘grand future.’  You stay home and take care of your fiancee.”

He took her hand and kissed the back of it. “I don’t know how I can ever repay you for this.  If you ever need my aid, don’t hesitate to call on me.”

The wicked grin got wider.  “Don’t thank me yet.  I’m about to add fuel to that firestorm.”


Later, Nox and Grimm kicked back in the crowded loft over her workshop. They still hadn’t found a new location they liked. The hound was sprawled lengthwise across the couch, Nox leaning against his side with her feet propped up on a box of tools.  She frowned at the flickering image playing on the sheet she had tacked to the wall.

“Damn, still grayscale.  I’ll need to play with the projection crystals again. What did that guy call this thing?”

The hound thought for a minute.  “Bogart and Bacall collector DeeVeeDee.  You really are fascinated with that dimension, aren’t you?”

“Mom came from there, though things must have changed drastically in the past few hundred years.  So, did you catch any of the discussion today?”

Grimm sniffed indignantly. “Of course not.  Though he seems a good bit better than your usual dating fare.”

“Hey now, you promised not to comment on my social life.”

“I said I wouldn’t get involved, I never said I wouldn’t have an opinion.”   His tongue lolled out in a doggy grin. “So, when’s the wedding?”

Nox grinned back at him. “As soon as I torpedo my betrothal.”


“You really should have listened in like I asked…”

“Don’t make me bite you, woman.  What are you up to now?”

“Well… I always wanted a brother.  Don’t you think Kel would make a great one?” 

She was thrilled to see his stunned look.  They had a contest to see how many times they could render the other one speechless.  She had just made his jaw drop, that scored extra points.

“I’m talking about adoption, furball.  If my parents adopt Kel, they have two choices for heir and a family tie to seal the alliance.”

“And you get to go back to your tawdry affairs with your boy-toys.” 

Nox smirked.  “Damn straight.”  She looks back at the projected images.  “Check out that bar. I’d love to have a place like that.”

“Your mother would have kittens.” He said, then grinned again. “I like it, let’s open a bar.  Anything that ticks off Serenna is worth doing.”

Nox whooped with laughter. “Whoo!  One thing at a time, I need weasel out of this betrothal first.”

“Don’t worry, I’ve got your back on that one.  Never did like the idea of arranged marriages.”

She hugged his neck. “You’re the best wingman ever!”

“Damn straight.”

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1. Laura Eno - October 23, 2009

Can I have a Grimm of my own? He would be so cool to have. 🙂 Very involving continuing story you have here.

2. Marisa Birns - October 23, 2009

He IS the best wingman!

The story continues…and it does it so well. 🙂

3. soesposito - October 25, 2009

Oh, Nox is so bad..in a good way! Let the saga continue…

4. Laurita - October 25, 2009

I agree with Laura. Having a Grimm would be awesome.
You had me at the smashed snowball with this one.

5. mazzz_in_Leeds - October 28, 2009

Soemthing’s been bothering me the last few days. I felt like something was missing. Turns out I hadn’t had my Nox and Grim fix this week! I must have skipped your row while reading down Jon’s list!

Fun as always 🙂
Tell Nox to be careful, I was adamant for years that I wasn’t the marrying type and then… oh the horror 😉

6. Cecilia Dominic - October 28, 2009

I love the continuing saga of Nox and Grimm! This was a good mind break for the end of the work day.

7. David G Shrock - November 18, 2009

The dialogue reveals character and moves the story; even more important for dialogue heavy pieces like this one. Fun. The interaction between these two characters maintains the introduction and continues at a balanced pace through each chapter.

techtigger - November 18, 2009

I’m glad you’re enjoying the stories! I really love writing dialogue, it can tell you so much about a character. Flash fiction makes you work to get the most out of each word, and I’ve found that if I spend time on descriptions, it eats up half of the 1000 words. It’s better to see the world through the character’s eyes, and dialogue does that best.

8. donnacarrick - February 28, 2010

I’m really enjoying catching up on your series, Angie! Well done.

9. Walt - August 4, 2010

In a past episode the real estate agent was a little confusing but this installment clears it up with stepping through dimensions.

Well done

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