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Flash Fiction – Night Raid January 8, 2010

Posted by techtigger in flash fiction.
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This story is part of a weekly series, updated every friday. Click Here to read from the beginning. 

The crescent moon hung low in the sky, barely illuminating the frozen river.  Nox had skated right up to the edge of the bridge that formed the base of her family’s ancestral mansion.  A whisper of power solidified the ice beneath her feet, but just beyond them ice and rocks ground together in the torrent that rushed between the support columns.  She cupped her hands and blew into them, and a chunk of pure, elemental ice formed.  She held out her hands and dropped it into the water.  “Rakastar.” 

Grimm let out a whurf of canine laughter. “Are you on a first name basis with every guardian around the mansion?”

Nox looked up at him and smiled. “What do you think?” 

“I think it’s far too large to come home with us.”

“Don’t worry, it’s happy here.  You, on the other hand, were miserable.”

The grinding sound grew louder, followed by a gigantic, scaly head breaking through the ice.  The frost drake reared up, then dropped its head lower to peer at Nox.  She reached up and stroked the pearly white scales over its nose.  “Hello Rakastar.  Long time, no see.”

She cupped her hands and blew into them again, creating an even larger lump of elemental ice.   Rakastar reached down and delicately ate it, not touching her hands despite the fact that its teeth were the size of Nox’s head.  She pointed at the bridge. “We need a lift to the loose cobblestone. Can you take us up?”

The drake blinked once, then lowered its head to the ice.  Nox unclipped the skate blades from her boots and clambered up between the curving horns on its head.  Grimm jumped up beside her.  

“You certainly do things in style.” He said, his tail wagging enthusiastically as they ascended. 

“I used to sneak back into the mansion like this all the time, when I had been out too late.” Nox said. 

The drake stopped just below the nearest arch of the bridge, and Nox reached up to push on one of the stones.  It lifted and moved aside on its own, leaving a hole just large enough for Nox and Grimm to fit through.  A moment later they were inside, and Nox reached down to pat Rakastar on the nose again.  “We should be back soon, watch for my signal.” The frost drake blinked an acknowledgement and dropped out of sight.

Nox returned the cobblestone to its place, then looked around.  “Now, where was that hidden stairway…”

Grimm pointed to remains of one of the old shops that had lined the bridge.  “Right here,” he said, “it goes straight up to the library.  Your great-grandfather was a paranoid old codger, had at least three different escape routes built into various parts of the building.” He nudged a carving in the stone with his nose, and the wall shifted to reveal the stairs.  The room at the top of them was pitch dark, so Grimm guided Nox through the maze of chairs and tables to the small door that marked the entrance to the vault.  The climate controlled room held all of the oldest and most fragile tomes in her father’s collection. And, as such, it was the most heavily warded room in the entire mansion.

Nox rubbed her hands against her pants to remove any perspiration, then pulled the replica she had made of her father’s seal out of her pocket.  “Here goes nothing.”  She placed the seal against the matching indentation in the wood, and twisted.  There was a loud click, and they both froze in place.  No alarm was raised though. Nox let out the breath she had been holding.  “Hot damn, we’re in business!  Time to get your memories back, furball.”

Grimm hadn’t realized just how many gaps there were in his memory till Nox had started asking him questions.  He was so excited about getting them back, it was all he could do to keep his tail from wagging again, and knocking over something priceless.  He looked eagerly around the vault.  Lucien had been adamant about keeping him out of here, but would never give him a reason why.  Or perhaps he had, and Grimm just couldn’t remember? Well, hopefully that would be fixed soon. He had every faith in Nox’s abilities.

Nox perused the tomes, trying to figure out where the journals were kept.  She had been lucky the last time she broke in here, the book she needed had been sitting out on the reading lectern that night.  Now the pedestal was empty, and she had no idea how the books were organized.  “So much for this being a quick visit.  We’re looking for Lord Galen’s day journal, the last of them. You start at that end, and I’ll start on the far side of the room.” She disappeared into the back stacks, and Grimm started with the shelves near the door. 

He knew they needed to hurry, but he couldn’t help lingering over a few volumes.  Histories of the Great Houses of the elementals, treatises on the arcane arts…he was just deciding whether they had time for a quick look at them when he felt a puff of air brush past him as the door opened.  He spun around to find himself looking straight into the pale, merciless blue eyes of his former master.   Grimm had never seen him look so angry.  He decided to play it cool.  “Hello Lucien. I see you’re up for a bit of late reading too?” 

“Outside. Now.”

Grimm flattened his ears, then shrugged. He had been meaning to have a talk to Lucien anyway.  He sent a private thought to Nox.  “Hurry up, short-stuff. We’ve got company.”  With a last, longing glance at the stacks, he padded out of the room.

Lucien was standing outside, a book in one hand and a sword in the other, which was pointed at Grimm’s throat.  “I am not going to let you destroy my daughter!”

(to be continued!)

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1. Marisa Birns - January 8, 2010

Even time I read your Nox and Grimm stories, I feel happy in that world. I envy Nox her gifts!

You never fail to astonish with your writing skills here.

Well done.

2. Sam - January 8, 2010

Yet another excellent Nox and Grimm adventure. Is your writing talent as boundless as it seems? This is one novel I would just love to have on my shelf, so I could recommend it to my friends. 😀

3. techtigger - January 8, 2010

Aww, you guys are making me blush! Thanks for all the support!

4. ganymeder - January 8, 2010

Awww, you can’t just leave us hanging like that!

Excellently told, as always.

5. Michelle - January 9, 2010

ah ha – the next installment…

6. Laura Eno - January 9, 2010

Arghh! You have such exciting cliffhangers! I’m with Marisa and Sam – I would love to have this book. It’s a wonderful world you’ve created.

7. soesposito - January 10, 2010

You’ve created these characters, this world with such loving-enthusiasm and it is contagious! Love them, love their adventures…just waiting for the book. 🙂

8. Anne Tyler Lord - January 10, 2010

This is such a wonderful world, I am really getting attached to Nox and Grimm. I hope you plan to keep it up for quite awhile.

Great ending!!

9. mariblaser - January 16, 2010

I’m totally with ganymeder on this: aargh! More, I want more! 😀

10. David Shrock - January 16, 2010

Like the frost drake. Great chapter. Nox and Grimm feel like friends.

11. sdavidrichardson - March 25, 2010

Good story…not a LOT of imagery for a fantasy story, maybe needs some more. Of course in a rewrite you would tighten up your sentences…many words could be slashed to make your sentences leaner and more powerful.
Overall okay.

12. Walt - August 20, 2010

Killer cliffhanger. Good thing I’m catching up and don;t need to wait a week for it 🙂

13. Xanto - September 3, 2010

I jumped when Lucien was right there! I thought that was only supposed to happen in scary movies!

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