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Flash Fiction – Revelations May 28, 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.


Grimm’s ears swiveled forward, and back again as he looked up at the sigils carved in the stone next to the portal. “Odd. This is not the inner line of defenses.  I expected us to come out in a gatehouse, but according to this we’re right on the city walls.”

Nox gave the hound a philosophical shrug.  “The elements are mutable, furball.  Even enchantments cast in stone can wear down over time.   Look on the bright side though, this saved us a day or two of walking.”

“I suppose I should be glad it worked at all, after two thousand years.” The hound lifted his muzzle to the air as he paced down the hall.  “Fresh air this way.  Let’s see if we can get a look at her, shall we?”

“Her?” Nox said.

“The city, Zephyra.  We always spoke of her as a person,” Grimm said, his voice sounding almost reverent as it echoed in her mind.  “The buildings were shaped to catch and channel the winds into perfect notes.  The city had a voice, she sang to us…” He walked in silence for a few minutes, listening intently as they walked through the rubble-strewn halls.  Finally his ears drooped.  “I suppose it’s all gone now, except for ruins like this.  We’d have heard her if there was anything left.”

Nox reached up to put a comforting hand on his shoulder.  “It can’t all be gone, and I’m sure these thick stone walls muffle any sounds.”

“Perhaps.”

“You could always go back to teasing me about Loki if it makes you feel better.”

The hound snorted.  “I am still trying to figure out how an ice elemental ended up falling for one of the fireborn.“

“He makes me blush,” she said, with a grin that put dimples in her cheeks. “But don’t tell him I said that!”

Grimm laughed so hard his sides shook.  “And here I thought you just liked his cologne.”

“I’m never going to live that down, am I?”

“Don’t think it so loudly next time!”

The hallway ended at a spiral stair that wound around the wall of a round tower. Grimm bounded upwards, eager to get a look at his old home.  Nox followed more slowly. “Wait up furball, it’s been a long night.”

“It’s only a few more flights, and it’s cool up here.  When the sun comes up we should be able to see for miles.”

As soon as they reached the top, Nox plunked down on the floor with a relieved sigh. She stripped off her socks and boots, and sat there wiggling her toes in the chilly, pre-dawn air.  “Oh, that’s much better.”  She leaned back, palms flat on the cool stones and whistled up a frosty wind to cool off.

As she did, a shadow darker than the gloom around them rose up.  Grimm spun around, hackles up and growling.  The shadow coalesced into a vaguely man-shaped figure.  “Who dares summon the winds?” it said, in a breathy, sepulchral voice.

Nox stood up and looked straight at the shade, her voice defiant. “Ice is my element, and I’ll dare to summon it whenever I choose.”

“Ice was not called here.  I guard this entry, and I will brook no falsehoods.   Who are you, that summoned the wind? Answer truthfully, or death will follow.”

“Stand down, soldier, she’s with me.” Grimm tilted his head to the side, ears perked forward.  “Tyrus?  Is that you?”

The shadow turned to look at the hound. “Captain?”  Mists swirled around the figure, and settled into the shape of a knight in antique armor.  “My apologies, sir!”  He stood up straight and pounded his fist to his chest in a salute.  “Lieutenant Tyrus, reporting for duty sir!”

The hound sat down, tail sweeping the floor in cheerful wags. “Forget the titles, Ty. The time for that has long passed.  I certainly haven’t been captain of anything since the Shadowkin got their hooks into me.”

“Begging your pardon, sir, but as long as any piece of the city remains, we stand at duty here. And you will always be our captain. The spirit remains the same no matter what shape you wear.“

Nox raised an eyebrow. “You said we? There are more of you?”

“Yes, ma’am.  One at every entry.  I must say, I was surprised when my gate portal opened, it has been so long.  The passcode was correct though, so I did not question your entry,” he said, with a nod to Grimm.  “It was only when the wind was summoned that I came to investigate.  You should not do that here, the creatures outside were bred to hunt the air kindreds.”

Nox shared a confused look with Grimm. “My primary element is ice.”

The guard shook his head. “I must beg your pardon again, but no, lady. It is not.  I can only speak truth, it is part of the ward spell that holds my spirit here.   You have an affinity for winter winds, to be sure, but you are Air.”

“That’s not possible, my father is the Lord of the Ice elementals.”

“Actually, it is possible,” Grimm said, thinking furiously. “Galen, you sly old fox.” The hound grinned. “Lord Galen had a wife, and two children.  He spirited them out of the city when he started losing the war with the Shadowkin.  He never told anyone where they went though.  The last thing he did was to bind me to guard his bloodline.”

“And he spellbound you to the graveyard next to the House of Ice.” Nox shoved her hair back out of her face.  “Bloody Hel, my father and I have black hair.  Ice elementals never have black hair, outside of the ruling family.”

“No wonder you’ve had so much trouble with the elements. You’ve been using the wrong one!”

“Recessive genes pop up every so often. Bloody effing Hel,” she said, and abruptly sat back down.

Tyrus gave them a deep bow.  “In that case, welcome home, to you both.”


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Comments»

1. Gracie - May 28, 2010

Great, simply great. I learn something about pace and action every time I read your stories.

Air and Fire. Now their attraction makes perfect sense! Loved it.

I still want a Grimm for myself. 🙂

techtigger - May 29, 2010

I think you may have to wait in line for a Grimm! *lol*

2. lauraeno - May 28, 2010

What will she be able to accomplish now that she knows what element to work with? She’s already strong, I can only imagine she’ll be whoop-ass now. 🙂

techtigger - May 29, 2010

ahh, but more power just means more ways to get into trouble. And Nox is oh-so-good at finding trouble! *grinz*

3. ganymeder - May 29, 2010

Wow. The plot thickens yet again. Awesome reveal!

I noticed one small typo…
> Grimm titled his head to the side, ears perked forward. “Tyrus? Is that you?”<

should be…
Grimm TILTED his head to the side,…

Loved this! You are coming out with this as a book (paper or ebook); right?

techtigger - May 29, 2010

good catch on the typo, thanks! 🙂

and yes, there will be some sort of book eventually!

4. Sam - May 30, 2010

AWESOME! How you weave twists and turns within twists and turns in these stories is nothing short of masterful. I really love how I find out little snippets about the world of Nox and Grimm every week. I’ll buy the book! 😀

techtigger - June 1, 2010

and you’ve only just begun to go down the rabbit hole, Alice! *muhhwaahaahaa!* 🙂

5. Kim Batchelor - May 31, 2010

I get to your story only occasionally, unfortunately, but your writing is so strong and story is compelling enough that I need to do better to catch up.

techtigger - June 1, 2010

I’m glad you can hop out here on occasion, thanks for coming back!

6. Cecilia Dominic - May 31, 2010

Great way to reveal the information! Can’t wait to see what she does with it.

Your descriptions are so great it’s easy to pop into your world.

CD

techtigger - June 1, 2010

Thanks! I wanted a way to slip this info into the story without it being too cliched, glad it worked 🙂

7. Anne Tyler Lord - May 31, 2010

Ah, it can be a real problem when you don’t know your own element! So wind instead of ice? Wonder how that will change things. Great installment!

Glad you will be getting this stuff captured in a book1

techtigger - June 1, 2010

Yeah, I’ve been dropping hints about that throughout the series. There are no toss-away lines in my stories, any tidbit can pop up later! 😀

8. Deanna Schrayer - June 2, 2010

This is marvelous Angie, unsurprisingly. I too love how you weave your stories, with perfect pace and setting every time.

This one reminded me of how I like to guess people’s astrological sun signs. I’m right about 90% of the time, but when I’m wrong I usually at least have the element correct.

Great work!

9. Mari Juniper - June 10, 2010

My mouth is hanging open.

You did leave hints all over, but still. 😮

So sorry to be late! I’ll move on and read the next installment. There’s always a bright side to everything, eh? heh

10. xantojones - September 13, 2010

I am completely caught by surprise by this! Great twist! I love it!


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