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Flash Fiction – Call to Arms September 10, 2010

Posted by techtigger in flash fiction.
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This flashfic is part of an ongoing web serial, updated every week as a part of #fridayflash on twitter.  If you are new to Nox and Grimm, you can Click Here to read from the beginning.


Nox was surrounded by the ‘vapid court flowers’ she had been mocking earlier in the evening. It was too late to cancel the party, since the guests were already arriving, so she had no choice but to play hostess to the whole awkward mess.  She rubbed at her temples to try and fend off a burgeoning headache.

The latest arrival was a platinum blond Mist elemental who punctuated everything she said with an annoying, high pitched titter. “You didn’t know you were getting engaged?  Where have you been hiding, deary?”

Nox stifled a sigh, and answered the question for the twentieth time.  “I was fighting monsters on the borders for the past month. My father is still mopping up a few rogues that got through.”

The girl let out another breathless little laugh.  “You say the most outrageous things!  Seriously, how could you not know?”

Nox gave the girl a tired look. “Will you excuse me?  I need some air.”  As she stood up to leave, the wrap she had been using to cover the scars on her back snagged on the arm of her chair and slid off.

The ladies all gasped in unison. “Oh my goodness!”

“You weren’t joking?”

“Did that hurt?”

She bit back a scathing reply, and instead gave them a chill smile.  “Good night, ladies. Enjoy the party.”  She put the shawl back in place and left, but not quickly enough to avoid hearing more of their conversation.

“Brrr, ice elementals. Poor Mika!”

“Forget Mika, poor Loki! What could he possibly see in a half-breed? She’s as nasty as her mother.”

The throbbing in Nox’s temples had turned into a full-blown headache by the time she got out of the hall and found Grimm.  The hound materialized and paced next to her.

“How much longer till this party is over? I’m not sure I can take much more of the brainless brigade.”

Grimm chuckled.  “Do not let them get to you.  No one ever expected those girls to be anything other than decorative, and that is all they will ever be.  You had the bar set higher.”

“Yes, but I had my wings broken so I could never reach it,” she said, her voice laced with bitterness.  She rubbed at her temples again. “Sorry.  My head is killing me.”

Grimm’s ears drooped a little in concern.  “Do you need to see the medic? You should have rested more after your head injury.”

“This is just an allergy attack. I react badly to stupidity,” Nox said, with a disgusted look.  “’‘Did it hurt.’  No, I liked having my back flayed open by claws, everyone should try it.”

Grimm let out an amused snort.  “My, you are in a foul mood.” He tilted his head to the side, and his ears flicked forward.  “Something is up at the guard barracks.  I can hear Loki there, want to check it out?”

“Absolutely.  If I’m working, they can’t make me go back inside.”

The barracks was buzzing with activity – throngs of guards hurried to strap on armor and grab weapons from the storage racks.  Nox found Loki talking to Brand, the captain of the House guard.

“Any word from my father?” she asked.

Brand looked bleak.  “More Chimaera sightings.  So many of them slipped through when the ghosts were attacked, we’ll be hunting the damned things for months.”

“I will be going with them, luv.  Can you keep your mother from doing anything irrevocable while I am gone?”  Loki said, with a wry smile on his face.  “That is, if you can stand to be with a horse trader.”

Nox wrinkled her nose at him.  “We’ll talk later. Right now, I need some paper and a pen.”

Brand pulled a clipboard off the wall and handed it to her.  “There should be blank pages under the patrol rosters. If you will excuse me, milady, I need to organize supply lines.”

“Hold that thought Brand, I have an idea.”  Nox walked behind Loki and braced the clipboard on his back while she wrote.

“Horse trader, writing desk, I’m multi-talented,” Loki quipped, and Brand coughed to cover up a laugh.

“Stand still, please.  There.  We should have new orders shortly.” Nox pulled two sheets of paper from the clip board and handed it back to Brand.

“We?” Loki started to read the note out loud. “Father, I can get them all in one place.”  He paused, clearly worried.  “You are going to fly again.”

“Damn straight I am, and you are going to help me.”

He did not meet her eyes. “That did not end too well last time.”

She stood on tip-toes and kissed his cheek.  “Don’t worry, all I need is a little bit of heat.”  She folded the papers up into an origami hummingbird, and sent it zipping off to find her father.

A few minutes later one of the sheets fluttered back into her hands.  Nox skimmed over it and handed it to Brand. “Call up the levies. We are going to need every man we can get. Grimm, can you bring me a few things from the workshop?”

“Of course.”

“Fantastic!  I’ll need my bow, force gauntlets, and the medical kit. ”

“Hopefully you will not need that last one again.”

“I second that,” Loki said, with feeling.

Nox slipped her hand into his.  “Trust in me.  I’ll be ready for them this time.”  She headed purposefully towards the stairwell.  “Oh, and I’ll need your help upstairs.  The maidservants are useless with armor. I guess they don’t cover chainmail in finishing school.  Would you mind helping get suited up?”

“I would be honored to play squire to a Wind Knight,” he said, keeping a straight face until she turned to leave.  She was still wearing a dress, which meant she’d have to change.  He gave Brand a broad grin. “I love my job!”


<–Previous Back to Start Next->

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Comments»

1. Gracie - September 10, 2010

Brainless brigade. Love it.

Another excellent episode. And into the thick next week! At least poor Nox will be among intellectual equals.

Great as always!

techtigger - September 12, 2010

*lol* yes, Nox would rather talk about the practical applications of dimensional portals than who wore what color dress 😉

2. Laura Eno - September 10, 2010

An allergy attack against stupidity and brainless brigade! Awesome! What? No chainmail in finishing school? Hee Hee. Another great one!

techtigger - September 12, 2010

thanks! Can you imagine a lady’s maid trying to figure out armor? Sounds like a monty python skit 😀

3. ganymeder - September 11, 2010

Great series. Keep ’em coming! 😉

techtigger - September 12, 2010

thanks, I will! 🙂

4. Mari Juniper - September 11, 2010

That headache of Nox, hmmmmm. I see her mother in it.

Glad she managed to skip the annoying party. I thought girl elementals weren’t mindless and prejudiced. I’m not sure I like these ones. ;p

Since the brainless brigade left *chuckles*, I want more! heh

techtigger - September 12, 2010

Keep in mind, those girls were invited by Nox’s mother. If they’re there, it’s for political reasons and not because they are friends. elementals aren’t all like that! 🙂

5. Aidan Fritz - September 12, 2010

I enjoyed the line: ““This is just an allergy attack. I react badly to stupidity,””. Amusing segment.

techtigger - September 13, 2010

heh, thanks! 🙂

6. Cecilia Dominic - September 12, 2010

Poor Nox, I totally understand her impatience with social niceties and giggling guests. I could picture the elemental wrinkling her nose in a condescending manner as she said it, too.

The hummingbird origami message thing was great! I need some of those…

CD

techtigger - September 13, 2010

mystical fedex, gotta love it 🙂

those ‘ladies’ are worse than a high-school clique. bored, rich, and nothing better to do than dish about their contemporaries. Mostly harmless, but not nice to say the least.


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