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Flash Fiction – The Key July 17, 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.

In some ways, the Lord of Ice and his daughter were very much alike, or so Loki thought.  Both were pale, dark haired, with those piercing blue eyes.  And, for the moment at least, they both wore the same cold expression.   Nox had been far from composed earlier though, when she learned her father was coming.  Damn, but she had a temper.  Loki hadn’t thought she knew those sort of words.  He carefully hid his smile, to avoid having her temper turned on him.

Lucien still sat astride his horse, looking up at the castle walls where Nox stood.  He had led a small army into the territories once held by the House of Winds, ostensibly to beat back the Chimaera that were invading his lands.  Loki knew better though.  He was here for his rebellious daughter, and perhaps, to deal with a young fire elemental who had gotten overly-familiar with her.  Well, fire was impetuous.  Perhaps that excuse would keep him from ending up encased in a glacier.

Nox let out a small sigh.  “Let’s get this over with.”  A dozen ghosts appeared around her and summoned the wind, lifting her gently from the walls and down to the ground.  The horses of the nobles and guards behind Lucien shifted uneasily, as their riders registered shock at this little display. No one had seen an air elemental in millennia.  Even as ghosts, the knights were impressive. Nox nodded to them as her feet touched the ground.  “Thank you again, sir knights.  Please, stay, I am sure my father will have questions for you.”

Loki exchanged a look with Grimm. “Do you think he will miss the implied threat they pose?”

The hound snorted. “He will at least think twice before trying to take Nox home against her will.”

Below them, Lucien dismounted and handed the reins of his horse to the nearest guard.  “I will indeed have questions for them, daughter, and for you as well. But first, my men have fought hard this day, and there will not be time to return to our lands before nightfall. Is there somewhere that they can pitch camp?”  He directed that last question to one of the knights, but the ghost deferred to Nox.

“The courtyard in the castle is large enough, and the defenses are mostly intact,” she said.  “As long as the men do not wander, the ghosts will keep them safe while they are here.”

Grimm shook his head.  “Did you notice he said my men, not ours?  As if Nox were not a member of the House?”

Loki drummed his fingers on the stone wall next to him. “What did she put in that letter she wrote?”

“She all but told her parents to piss off.  Only she was less polite. He has not officially cut her off from the House yet, although I guess their talk later will decide that.”

“Ouch. Does she want to stay connected to Ice?”

“If she does not, then I will adopt her into Winds.  Lucien and all his schemes be damned,” Grimm said, suddenly fierce. “I may do that anyway, she belongs with us.”

“It looks like they are heading inside. Do we eaves drop on them?”

“I was going to suggest it.  If they come to blows, I will sit on Lucien. You grab Nox.”



Nox perched on a pile of rubble in the room she had chosen to talk privately with her father.  It would at least put her head on level with his, so that she could look him in the eye without craning her neck.  “Well, now that we are alone, can we ditch the niceties?   Why are you here?” she asked, not bothering to mask her anger anymore.

“It is long since time we talked, daughter.”

“About what?  Will you try to explain what you’ve done to me?  Why should I trust anything you or mother tell me?”

He reached into his pocket, and pulled out a child’s teething ring to hand to her.

“What is this,” she asked, warily.

“An heirloom.  Every child of our house is given this, to hold back their secondary element and let Ice take the fore. It didn’t work this time, you were too human. So we tried a human solution.”

Nox got a sick feeling in the pit of her stomach. “Ice is my secondary element. You kept that from gaining strength, and then you strangled my primary with sorcery.” She let out a bitter laugh. “Bravo, father.”  She flung the ring at his feet, and clenched her fists in rage.  “You ruined me to hide an element no one cares about anymore. Was it worth it?”

Lucien bent down to pick up the ring. “You know that every House has one artifact that is a key to access the heart of their element.  Fire has the dragon tattoo, Ice has the great weather scope.”

Nox looked stunned.  “Grimm.  He’s a key?”

“Lord Galen hid the key to the House of Winds in the last place the Shadowkin would look for it. We have hidden who we are for generations to protect Grimmalkyn.  Would you have him become a target for every power-hungry fool that can cast a binding spell? You have seen what Loki can do with the dragon, and what his uncle will do to get it. I cannot let that kind of power fall into the wrong hands.”

Nox blinked away tears she had not realized were falling.  She had said she would risk her life to help Grimm. Her father had risked her life.  Would she have done the same, in his shoes?

He held out his hand. “Come home, daughter.  Your mother and I will do everything in our power to heal the damage we have done to you.”

If she were whole again, she could better help Grimm fight the Shadowkin.  Left as she was, they were fighting a losing battle.  Nox wiped away the tears with her sleeve and took his hand. “I’ll trust you this once. For Grimm’s sake.”

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1. Laura Eno - July 17, 2010

He’d better be telling the truth about healing the damage! I’m amazed how you wrest an emotional response from me week after week… 🙂

techtigger - July 18, 2010

I tend to get pretty emotional while writing them! glad to know I’m not the only one 🙂

2. Sam - July 17, 2010

I, on the other hand, wouldn’t trust Lucien as far as I could spit a dead rat! To echo Laura, he’d better be telling the truth!

techtigger - July 18, 2010

but that means you would need to have a dead rat in your mouth to begin with…. I think you’ve been spending too much time with those pixies! *lol*

3. Mari Juniper - July 17, 2010

I don’t think he is. What a sacrifice Nox is making!

Grimm and Loki will be so pissed off, lol.

techtigger - July 18, 2010

oh, i’m sure they will have something to say about it 😉

4. ganymeder - July 17, 2010

Great job, as always.

One small question, How is Grim the key? ]ut I assume you’ll reveal that in later installments…

Also, toward the end, her father held HIS hand? Is that a typo or did I misunderstand…?

Can’t wait for the next chapter!

techtigger - July 18, 2010

yes, held *out* his hand – thanks for the catch!

and you know I can’t give away how grimm is the key! you’ll just have to keep reading! *lol*

5. Gracie - July 17, 2010

Oh… I don’t think I trust Lucien either, but he better be telling the truth. My mind is so full of “what’s going to happen next?” it hurts a little.

So many possibilities open up in this short piece. It’s gonna be a long week… 🙂

techtigger - July 18, 2010

Well, i will do my best not to disappoint! off to write next episode now 🙂

6. Gracie - July 18, 2010

You NEVER disappoint! 😀

7. Walt - July 19, 2010

I enjoyed reading this story. I was a little torn when I was finished. I wanted to go forward and know more, and at the same time I need to start from the beginning and catch up. Now knowing the back story left me a little confused in spots but that is nothing a little additional reading can’t remedy.

Well written and entertaining.

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