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Flash Fiction – Under Siege July 2, 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.

Loki awoke with Grimm’s rumbling voice echoing in his mind.

“Get up, fireborn.  No rest for the wicked, you need to get up, now.”

“Huh? Wha-happen’d?” Loki made a face as he shoved himself upright. “Ugh, I’ve had hangovers that were more pleasant.”

The hound snorted. “Your saddlebags are by the far wall. Get yourself together; we may have more unwanted guests on the way.”

“Lovely.” Loki peeled himself off the floor and took stock of his surroundings.  The room they were in was small, with no windows, two empty doorways and not much else.  Like every building in the ancient city, it was made of stone.  Rain drummed on the roof, reminding him of the day’s events.  The fight in the valley…the dragon tattoo lifting off his arm and carrying his spirit into battle…Nox falling… He looked to where she lay, her head still pillowed on Grimm’s side.  “How is she?”

“As well as she can be, all things considered. I need you to watch over her while I scout the area. One of the knights, Viktor, hasn’t checked in.”

“He’s a ghost, how do you lose one them?”

“I intend to find out. Try to keep Nox out of trouble while I’m gone.”

“Oh, sure. Give me the hard job.”  Loki laid out the bed roll from his pack and then carried Nox over to it. “Is there a full med kit in her satchel? She had a pretty rough landing; we’ll need to wrap that knee.”

Yes, it’s in there somewhere.  You had a rough re-entry yourself.”

Loki shrugged. “Getting back into your body is always harder than going out.  I get sick as a dog every time.” He looked over at the hound. “No offense.”

Grimm chuckled as he paced out of the room.  “None taken. I’ll be back soon.”

Loki waved at him. “Hey, send in one of the ghosts, would you?”  He had not even finished the sentence when one of them appeared at his shoulder.

“Can I help you?” the ghost said, in a low, breathy voice.

Loki held up a hand and checked his breath. “Yeah, watch her while I go shave my teeth…sorry, what was your name?”

“Evan.”  The ghost gave him a knowing smile. “You may want to shower as well, if you do not want to offend the lady.”

“That bad, eh?”

Evan pointed to the far doorway. “There is a balcony at the end of the hallway. I am afraid the rain is the best we can offer.”

“It’ll have to do. Yell if she wakes up.”

Wind and rain assaulted him as soon as he left the hallway. There was no railing, or roof on the balcony.  Loki considered making a hot spot over his head to warm up the water, but thought better of it. It was too soon after using the dragon mark.  He was having a hard enough time resisting the urge to send his spirit out again.  Rain drops sizzled and danced on the surface of the tattoo as if it was a hot frying pan.

Behind him, a sleepy voice spoke. “You’re naked.”

Loki looked over his shoulder in surprise.  “Oh! Hello luv.”  Nox was standing on his clothes, just inside the doorway.  “Let me say, before you make any judgements, the rain is really cold.”

“You are as shameless as an alley cat, standing there like that.”  She took a step out onto the balcony.  “I was looking for something.  There’s no shower in my workshop though, so this must be a dream.”

Loki grinned as he realized what was going on. “You’re sleepwalking, luv.  Go back to bed.”

“Okay.  My dreams have a nice butt though.  I still need to find that book.  What shelf did I put the mayo on, Grimm?”

Loki had to stifle a laugh. He did not want to wake her up abruptly when she was that near to a ledge.  He gently took her shoulders and steered her back into the room.  “Go lie down, Nox.  You’ll find the mayo in the morning, I promise.”

“mmm hmm…”

“Hey Evan, you were supposed to warn me… Evan?  Grimm?”  Footsteps made hollow echoes in the stairwell beyond the other door.  “Bloody Hel. That’s no ghost.”  He tossed on some clothes and grabbed a pistol out of his pack.

“Your ghosts won’t be coming.”  The Morning Lord strode into the room.  “If you scatter their remains, they dissipate.  It amused me to see the great and terrible hound out digging for bones.  I think he meant to reassemble them.  Or maybe he was hungry, so hard to tell with dumb beasts.”

Loki smirked at the bandages wrapped around the Morning Lord’s head.  “Grimm took a good sized piece out of you.  I think it’s an improvement.”  He slid one foot back to nudge Nox, hoping she would wake up.  She just mumbled something about pickles and rolled over to curl up around her satchel.

Half a dozen New Dawn cultists stood in the hallway behind their leader.  The Morning Lord gave Loki a thin smile.  “I came here for the girl, but imagine my surprise at finding you still alive, after all these years.  That was quite a show you put on today, nephew.”

“You lost any right to claim kinship when you murdered my family.”

“So fierce! Yet so foolish, just like your father.”  He lifted his hand, and the cultists aimed their crossbows at Nox.  He sneered as Loki glanced back at her.  “You are just as weak as Kyrios.  Born five seconds before me, and that gave him the right to be king?  It should go to the strongest!  Give me the dragon’s mark, boy, or I kill the girl.”

“You want it? Come get it.”

“Will you fight me with it? Fool.  The dragon is useless against another fire elemental.”

“Pistols work just fine.” Loki placed himself in front of Nox and took aim.

The Morning Lord stepped back behind his flunkies. “Kill the girl, but he is mine.”

A dome of electric blue light surrounded Nox just as the cultists fired.  What the Morning Lord had not seen was Nox winking at Loki a moment before.  She rolled up to a sitting position, pulled her bow out of her satchel and started firing.  Loki emptied the pistol into his uncle, but the bullets shattered against an invisible barrier.

“Must be something that pet technomancer of his made,” Nox said.  “Fire releases stored energy, cut through his shield and he’s wide open.”

Loki tucked the pistol into his belt, formed a saber out of fire and charged.  The cultists ignored him, following the Morning Lord’s orders and focusing on Nox.

“This is the problem with ruling fanatics, Uncle.  They don’t think for themselves!”   The dragon tattoo slithered down Loki’s arm and merged into the blade of his saber.  The blade turned to obsidian, with the dragon glowing scarlet in its core.

The Morning Lord backpedaled, hastily forming a sword of his own.  “What are you doing?”

“Giving you the dragon mark. Isn’t that what you wanted!” Their blades clashed in a furious exchange, but Loki kept the upper hand.  He was younger, faster, and a far better duelist.  “You’ve spent too many years playing politics, you bastard.”

“You know what they say, age and treachery always beats youth!” The Morning Lord reached into his robes and flung a handful of dust at Loki.

Loki recognized the somnolence powder, and surrounded himself with a wall of flames to burn it off. By the time the dust cleared, the Morning Lord was gone – only the fading outline of a portal hole marked where he had stood.   Loki cussed and headed back to the room to find Nox.  Grimm was already there.  He had taken out all the cultists, and had the entire band of ghosts there with him.  “You found their bones?” Loki asked.

“I am a hound,” Grimm said, his tongue lolling in a doggy grin.  “Let me guess, Balor ran. The coward.”

“We’ll get him next time. Count on it.”  Loki knelt by Nox.  “Oh, I never got to answer your question.”

She looked confused.  “What question?”

“You keep the mayo in the fridge, not the shelf. And thanks for the compliment.”

“That wasn’t a dream?” she squeaked, her face turning bright red.

Grimm let out a long-suffering sigh.  “I can’t even tell them to go find a room.”  He rolled his eyes at the ghost standing next to him. “Were we ever that young?”

Evan smiled. “No, sir. I don’t think we were.”

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1. Gracie - July 2, 2010

Eeeh, delightful! Loved it all, but the nice butt made me giggle.

It just gets better and better. 😀

techtigger - July 7, 2010

thanks! poor nox though, she’s always blushing! 😀

2. asthemoonclimbs - July 2, 2010

So maybe I’m picturing Darcy taking a dip in a lake here… mmm, yes. Very nice. Poor Grimm, always doing the dirty work.

techtigger - July 7, 2010

*lol* Darcy? too funny! I never thought of Loki like that 🙂

3. Sam - July 3, 2010

This episode’s got everything – action, adventure, magic, treachery, cultists. Brilliant! Loki’s crack about the rain being cold made me ROFL! Next episode eagerly awaited. 🙂

techtigger - July 7, 2010

This episode inspired by the late night giggles – i tend to get very silly when I’m tired *heh* but it’s all good!

4. Mari Juniper - July 3, 2010

Ohh, cool obsidian sword! Loved the dreamy exchange between Loki and Nox. Ah well, I loved everything, heh.

techtigger - July 7, 2010

thank you! writing exchanges between those two is always fun 🙂

5. ganymeder - July 4, 2010

This series keeps getting cooler and cooler. Oh well, since Loki’s a fire elemental maybe I should say hotter and hotter. Either way, well done!

techtigger - July 7, 2010

thanks! I always have a ‘warm’ tone when I’m writing from Loki’s POV 🙂

6. Laura Eno - July 7, 2010

I love it when you remind me that Grimm still has doggy moments. 🙂 Poor Nox, blushing again.

7. Cecilia Dominic - July 13, 2010

Nicely done! The sleepwalking was a great touch. It’s funny to think of these royal elementals eating mundane things like mayo and pickles.


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