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Flash Fiction – Three Elements July 23, 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 hid around the corner of a hallway, straining to hear what was being said in the room at the far end of the corridor.  There was no door to close off the room where Nox was talking to her father– any wood in the castle had long since rotted away.  Even so, the hallway was long enough that Loki could not make out more than a few words, without moving closer. And he could not do that without being seen.  He shot a questioning look at Grimm. “Can you hear anything?” he whispered.

The hound nodded.  He was crouched close to the floor, ears cocked forward and head tilted a bit to one side.  “Nox is angry, but not so much that we need to step in,” Grimm said, his voice no more than a quiet rumble in Loki’s mind.  He flicked an ear back at him.  “Don’t speak, think loudly, and I will hear you.  I just usually prefer not to.”

Loki smirked at that. Considering where his thoughts tended to wander when Nox was around, he did not blame the hound for shutting things out.

Grimm rolled his eyes. “My point exactly,” he grumbled.  He cocked his ear forward again.

“Can’t you just read their minds?” Loki thought, loudly.

“They would notice if I did. We’ve spent too much time in each other’s thoughts.”

Nox’s voice grew louder for a moment.  Loki noticed Grimm’s hackles were raised up, which was never a good sign.

“No! That bastard!” Without any warning, Grimm let out a rumbling growl and tore off down the hall.

Loki sprinted after him, and raised the dragon tattoo up to the surface of his skin.  He had a feeling he was going to need the extra firepower.

Nox had just taken her father’s hand when Grimm barreled into the room.  The hound threw his shoulder into Lucien, knocking his old master off his feet, and turned to shove Nox away from her father. He started pacing around her, growling so low he made the stones shake.  Nox realized he was doing an Air casting, like the chants the Wind Knights used.

“Grimm, what are you doing? Stop this!”

“He’s lying to you little one,” he said, and forced her back a few more paces.

“I read his aura Grimm, he was telling the truth.” Nox tried to get past him, but Grimm had backed her up to the wall.

“The best lies are cut from whole cloth out of the truth.  If he already knew about the damage your mother’s spell caused, why wait till now to fix it?  They would have done so already if they could.”

Loki entered the room just as Lucien drew his sword. Patterns of frost crept down the Ice Lord’s blade, and the temperature in the room plummeted.

“You would poison my daughter’s mind against me?” Lucien said.

Grimm snarled at him.  “Serenna has already poisoned her mind with that spell. I will never let her tamper with Nox again!”

Loki stepped in between them, flames wreathed around him.  “I can’t let you do this.  Stand down, both of you!”  The flames started taking on the shape of a dragon, and the room was filled with a sharp hissing noise as Lucien’s Ice casting brushed up against Fire.  Steam was pulled in by Grimm’s air casting and circled around him like a fog.  The air felt heavy, charged with the energy from three of the Great Keys of the elementals being invoked at once.

Hidden by all the steam and smoke, Nox slipped out from behind Grimm’s sonic shield.  Everyone else jumped when she spoke.  “AHA!  That’s it, how could I have missed it!” she said. “Stay put, you three, but keep doing what you’re doing. This is fascinating!”  To everyone’s surprise, she picked up Loki’s hand and started turning his arm this way and that, studying the tattoo.

“Ah, luv?  I may need that arm to keep the peace,” Loki said. He didn’t dare move, for fear of giving Lucien or Grimm an opening to attack each other.  Nox stood on tip-toes, peering down the back of his shirt to see the tail of the dragon tattoo on his shoulder.  Loki gave Grimm a helpless shrug.  “I’m at a loss, how about you?”

“Little one, this is not the time to play absent-minded professor,” Grimm said, keeping his eyes on Lucien.

“Ooh, forget about the silly fight.”  Nox turned and put her nose right up close to the blade of Lucien’s sword. “Look at the patterns, Grimm!  It was right there in front of me all along!”

Lucien moved his sword away from Nox before she could cut herself on it. “What are you doing, daughter?” he said, exasperated.

She gave him an impish grin.  “Finding answers.  Can’t you see it?  Oh, wait, what am I saying. Of course you can’t see it yet, you don’t have my aura sight.” She waved her hand, and the room was bathed in colored light.  White surrounded Lucien, crimson around Loki, and Nox had her usual electric blue.

Nox pointed to the sword. “Frost makes patterns. The tattoo is a pattern.  All elemental castings require a pattern to shape the energy.  Look at Grimm.”  The hound’s aura was made of swirls of black and gold.  “Grimm’s aura is a pattern.  This shape he’s stuck in is part of one big, insanely complicated casting!  If I can figure out how these Great Keys were made, I may be able to undo his curse!” She beamed at Loki and her father.  “It’ll take years, and I’ll need to study your keys in detail, but hey, I’m a technomancer.  I’m good at this!”

Lucien sheathed his sword.  “I cannot stay out here in the wilderness. If you wish to study the key to Ice, then you must come home.”

“Well, sure, I can’t expect you both to move out here.  Don’t worry, Grimm,” she said. “We’ll make plenty of trips back to visit with the ghosts of your old friends.  And we may yet find something useful in Lord Galen’s lab, once we find it.”  She linked her arm into Loki’s and walked out into the hall with him.  “Okay, now, don’t get any funny ideas, but I need you to take off your shirt.”

“You wish is my pleasure, Lady,” he said, with a wicked smile.

Back in the room, Grimm still faced off with his old master.  “Till later then?”

“A truce, for now,” said Lucien. “But we will settle this.”

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1. Laura Eno - July 23, 2010

There’s so much more than meets the eye here in the tension between Lucien and Grimm. I worry about Nox going back home too. Grrr…and I have to wait another week for the next installment. *wails*

techtigger - July 28, 2010

yes, those two have a long history – after serving Lucien for 300 years, having Grimm defy him is not going down well 😉

2. ganymeder - July 24, 2010

Oooooooooh, I love when we start to get answers and new clues! Great installment!

techtigger - July 28, 2010

thank you! 😀

3. Sam - July 24, 2010

This has got to be one of your best yet! Answers, new clues and some lovely touches of humour, I especially enjoyed the interplay between Grimm and Loki over the whole telepathic communication issue. Only problem is I now have to wait a whole week for the next installment!!!

techtigger - July 28, 2010

well, with WeSeWriMo you wont’ have to wait as long – for a few weeks, anyway 😉 Don’t think I could keep up that pace for long!

4. Walt - July 25, 2010

Another week and another excellent story. You had so much action swirling around that I can’t wait to see how it turns out.

Well done

techtigger - July 28, 2010

thank you! I’ve been working on my pacing, glad to see it’s paying off 🙂

5. asthemoonclimbs - July 25, 2010

The worst lies are mostly true, aren’t they? I like how you defused the situation. Very smoothly done. But of course, it’s not over. Can’t wait to see what’s next.

techtigger - July 28, 2010

Yes, this is just a temporary truce. Those two will be butting heads again, to be sure 😉

6. Mari Juniper - July 26, 2010


That’s all I have to say.

techtigger - July 28, 2010

hehehehe If I tied up all the loose ends, the story would be over! You wouldn’t want that, right? *grinz*

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