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Flash Fiction – The Science in the Sorcery August 4, 2010

Posted by techtigger in flash fiction.
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This week starts WeSeWriMo, the web series writing month. As part of the challenge, I’ll be doing two episodes per week for the entire month of August.  Enjoy!

If you are new to Nox and Grimm, you can Click Here to read from the beginning.


Nox steered Loki to a sunny windowsill. “This will do. Have a seat, and lose the shirt,” she said, her voice cool and clinical. “I’ll need you to bring the dragon tattoo up to the surface of your skin slowly, so I can see how the energy flows.”

The corner of Loki’s mouth quirked up.  “Yes, professor.  Anything to further the cause of science.”

She flicked a cautious look over her shoulder, and Loki followed her gaze.  Lucien was standing within earshot, talking to one of his guards.

“Point taken,” he said, quietly.  He put his shirt aside, careful to keep his eyes, hands, and everything else off of her.  Lucien still hadn’t said a word to him about his request to court his daughter, and Loki did not want to blow it before he got an answer.

Nox ran a finger across his shoulder, her chill aura making a hissing sound as it came into contact with the heat radiating off the tattoo. “It’s a beautiful piece of work,” she said.  “Lord Galen made all of the greater elemental keys, did you know?  Gave them as gifts to his vassals.”

“Hmm, interesting,” he said, but he was already having trouble keeping his thoughts on the lecture. Her hair always smelled like night-blooming flowers.  A few dark strands had escaped the silver clip at the nape of her neck, and brushed against his skin as she leaned closer.  Focus, Loki, he thought.  He glanced to the doorway, and could see Lucien watching the two of them with that steely, ax-murderer look every father seemed to get when he was near their daughters.  Loki sighed inwardly.  Considering how much fun he’d had earning his bad reputation, he never thought he would have reason to regret it.

Nox kept talking as if she was unaware of her father’s presence.  “In theory, this should work the same as any other artifact.  They’re like water turbines.  The elemental energy that’s all around us is the calm mill pond.”  She looked more closely at the tattoo.  “There should be a glyph that works as a sluice-gate; it lets the energy flow into a narrow channel, defined by other glyphs.” Her finger ran down his arm.  “It picks up speed, down into the core markings of the artifact that make up the impellers of the turbine.  It magnifies the power, and the other markings connect into it like gears and gear-shafts. The outer markings are the machines run by the gears.”

“So, the markings power an elemental casting, as well as give it shape?” Loki said, intrigued in spite of the distractions.  “What happens if you don’t use the energy?”

“There’s always a way to release the excess energy.  That’s why the tattoo gives off so much heat when you use it.  If the energy didn’t have a way out, it would build up in there and,” she paused and made a face, “well, let’s just say the results wouldn’t be pretty.  Of course, your key is far more complex than the average artifact.  I have no idea yet how it hooks into your psyche, where the sluice gate is, or how the ink appears and disappears.” She gave him a rueful smile. “I’m afraid you’ll be spending a lot of time your shirt off. Sorry about that.”

I’m not, he thought, but said out loud, “Did Galen say anything about the keys in his journal?”

“I can barely get the damn thing to tell me about Grimm, I never asked it about anything else. Except for something to neutralize that toxin Roald used on you, of course,” Nox said.  She ran her hand lightly over the dragon on his arm again.  “How do you summon it?”

“I’m not sure I can describe it. It is all in the mind, though. There are no external triggers.”

“All in the mind?”  Her face lit up as she said it. “Galen was a genius!  That’s a psycho-reactive ink!  It’s a liquid though, how did he get it to retain its shape? There must be something in the molecular structure…ooh, I need some paper to write on!”

“Sorry luv, but you have already stripped me down to my breeches.  I do not have any paper hiding on me,” Loki said, grinning at her enthusiasm.

“Do you know what this means?  If I can figure out the right trigger thoughts, I can get that journal to tell me what I need to know about Grimm!  And the keys, and anything else it’s hiding!  It could be as simple as thinking about an index!”  Nox flung her arms around his neck and planted a kiss on him, nearly bowling him over in her excitement.  “Thank you!”

“You’re welcome?” he said, not quite sure what he did to deserve her thanks, but he was not about to argue.

Nox all but ran across the room, grabbed her father’s hands and pulled him around in a few circles. “Isn’t this exciting?  How soon can we get home?  I have to get back to my workshop.  Ooh, you don’t have paper either, do you?”  she dropped his hands and disappeared down the hall, her voice trailing after her.  “Grimm, wait till you hear this!”

Loki could not help but laugh at seeing the stern, sober Ice Lord get spun around by Nox.  The look on Lucien’s face was priceless.  “How in the Hel did you ever have a daughter like that?” he asked, still chuckling.

“I ask myself that all the time,” Lucien replied, but he gave Loki an amused look.  “If you are anything like your father, I suppose you have already been courting my daughter, with or without my permission.”

“I’d prefer to have it.”

Lucien crossed his arms. “There are conditions. You will observe all the proper forms, and you will not be her only suitor.  I have already given permission to another who asked before you,” he said, looking stern again.  “You will not challenge him to a duel. I will not have my allies cutting each other down.”

Loki gave him an unconcerned shrug. “I give you my word that I will not provoke a fight. But if he starts something, I will finish it.”

“Do not make me regret this decision.”

“Relax, Lucien. I will behave myself. Just warn suitor number one to do the same.”


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Comments»

1. Gracie - August 4, 2010

Yes, I loved the way Nox spun Lucien around, too. Another great episode, and very interesting magical theory going on.

And I’m so tickled to be getting to read this twice a week!

techtigger - August 4, 2010

Thanks! I’ve been needing to work out more of how magic works in this world, so this was a fun way to do it 🙂

The next few episodes will be a bit of a roller-coaster ride, get ready to hang on! 😀

2. Joely - August 4, 2010

Oooh! This is exciting. Especially because it made me think of the huge dragon tattoo on my back and the idea of psycho-reactive ink being used to create it.

Fascinating ideas and great characters 🙂

techtigger - August 4, 2010

Wouldn’t it be neat if you could make your tattoos move and change with a thought? No one would ever get stuck with an ex-lover’s name on them again *lol* I’m glad you enjoyed the story! Next one goes live on friday 🙂

3. lauraeno - August 4, 2010

I still can’t decide if Nox is aware of hidden treachery, if Lucien is on the up and up, I don’t want her to go back, I want to bash Serena…

I’m very happy that this is twice a week for August!

techtigger - August 6, 2010

yes, lucien is a bit ambiguous, isn’t he? *grinz*

More fun with him next week!

4. Sam - August 5, 2010

Another compelling episode. I worry for Nox because, like Laura, I worry she’s not aware of the treachery stalking her. Can’t wait for the next episode!

techtigger - August 6, 2010

Yes, she has enough enemies without having to watch out for her own family. But it is my solemn duty to make my characters’ lives difficult *grinz*

5. ganymeder - August 5, 2010

And suitor number 1 is….
to be revealed later. Dammit.

Why???? Shame on you! 😀

techtigger - August 6, 2010

heheheheheh You’ll have to wait till they get back to find out 🙂


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