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Flash Fiction – Hammerfall November 19, 2010

Posted by techtigger in flash fiction.
Tags: , ,
4 comments

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.


The air smelled of rain.  As the first fat drops of water hit the ground around Grimm’s paws, he cocked his ears forward to listen to the sound. He had to have the proper cadence for warcasting with Air. He tried to focus on the work ahead, but old memories ambushed him.  The last time he had gone into battle of his own free will, he had been chasing down the Shadowkin in a thunder of wind and fury. Memories flickered, as fitful as the rain, of the woman he had gone to save. The one who had betrayed him.

No. Push those thoughts aside, old man. The past is gone.

He reached for his sword – and suffered another moment of disorientation as he lifted up a paw.  He planted the paw firmly on the ground again and shook himself, water flying off of his shaggy fur.

Get it together, you fossil, he thought. You have a tail and four paws now.  Deal with it.

He looked back over his shoulder.  The tail was as a good place to start as any.  He swished it back and forth in a steady rhythm, like a metronome.  Then he imagined the pattern he would have cut through the air with a sword, and paced it out on the ground.  The air started to swirl around him in damp little vortexes.  He was from House Cyclonis. He remembered that now.  The poor bastard on the other end of this storm would not soon forget it. He was fairly certain it was one of the Storm kindred – Queen Rhianna had come to power at the point of a sword, and there were plenty of Dukes still holding a grudge.  It would be just like the Morning Lord to use a patsy to do his dirty work, and take out Rhianna for him.

Grimm finished the casting, and the swirling wind pulled water spouts out of the dark clouds overhead.  They danced and swayed, circling anti-clockwise around him in a graceful, deadly march. Every minute they grew larger, stealing energy from the storm and forcing his enemy to work that much harder.

The first attack came at him in the form of lightning.  Bolts crashed down, but they were gathered up by the water spouts and crackled harmlessly around him.  Even better, they formed a barrier as they jumped from funnel to funnel, and vaporized the fist-sized hail that followed them down.  Some joker had once called the storm kin’s attack combo ‘shock and ow.’   Grimm called it predictable.  Or maybe he was just so old that he really had seen everything.

He cocked his ears, and listened to the sound of the wind whistling through the cracks that riddled the cliff’s edge.  Once he had found what he was looking for, he paced out a new pattern. This time, he lifted his muzzle and gave voice to a deep, eerie howl.  It slowly rose in pitch, and the wind along the cliff grew more turbulent, battering against the stone and shrieking through the cracks.  The howl rose higher, and the ground started to shake.  More lightning struck, but he paid it no heed, and the thunder was dwarfed by the sound of the cliff breaking apart.  Grimm came to a dead stop, and the casting he unleashed pulled an even larger tornado out of the clouds.  It ripped up chunks of rock the size of small houses and flung them miles away at the source of the storm.

—-

Duke Niall’s guards ran for their lives as the rain of stone crashed into their ranks. He fumbled with the small metal box in his hands as a rock the size of a carriage hurtled towards him.  Lightning met it a bare few feet above his head and blasted it out of the sky.

The Morning Lord stood next to him, frowning in distaste as he brushed rubble off of his expensive robes. “I thought you said you could master the Storm key.”

The Duke glared at him. “Do you see those twisters out there? If I don’t fend them off, it’ll be us getting flung for miles instead of rocks.”  He flinched as another boulder slammed into the ground nearby.  “Why didn’t you tell me I’d be facing off against Hel’s own hound?”

The Morning Lord’s frown grew deeper.  “You should have assumed that Lucien would have his pet with him. I am most disappointed in you, Niall.”

“It doesn’t bloody well matter what you think now, does it?  Not while I have this.”  He brandished the box, and thunder rumbled overhead.  “Maybe that creature can eat lightning, but you are flesh and blood, Balor.  Don’t push me.”

“Do you think I had not considered that when I gave you the key?”

A portal opened up behind the Duke, and a red robed cultist grabbed him by the throat and thrust a long, thin dagger into his back.  Niall dropped the box and scrabbled helplessly at the sharp point that stuck out of his chest, until blood frothed at his mouth and his eyes went blank.  The cultist lowered him to the ground, and made way for the Morning Lord’s technomancer.  The man reached down with a plump, pudgy hand and picked up the Storm key, running his fingers over the etchings carved in each side.  Lightning charred the Duke’s corpse, and he handed the key back to Balor.

“I will send out word that Niall tried to steal the key you hold in trust for the Storm kindred. Tragically, he could not control it and perished.  Will that plan do, my lord?”

“Your plans have been failing, Dieter. Make sure this one works.”

“Patience, my Lord. The girl is the key to both the hound, and your nephew. Destroy her and they will fall into our hands. The next attack is already in place. It is only a matter of time.”


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The Great Chocolate Conspiracy Part 11 November 12, 2010

Posted by techtigger in Blog Tour, flash fiction.
30 comments

Welcome to The Great Chocolate Conspiracy!

Chocolate Digestive biscuits have disappeared from the shelves right across the eastern seaboard of the USA, and now the shortage has spread to London. Detective Chief Inspector Sam Adamson and his international team of investigators from the Metropolitan Police’s Confectionery Crimes Unit (CCU) have been tasked to solve the mystery.

This is the eleventh installment of a multi-part flash fiction story that originated during a chat between the authors on Twitter. You can read how it all began here. (Links to all the installments will be added to the author list as they are posted)

The next installment will appear on Friday, November 19th at Emma Newman’s (aka @EmApocalyptic ) Post Apocalyptic Publishing, and you can keep up on developments in the meantime by following the #GtChocCo hashtag on Twitter.

When Detective Adamson awoke, he found himself tied to a chair in a dimly lit room. The last thing he remembered was an explosion, and thinking, not again. He took a groggy look around the room.  “Motley? Anyone?”

The lights came up, revealing a long table with expensive leather chairs arranged around it. Several ladies sat at the far end – a tiny asian woman in a high-collared jacket sat in the center, holding a white stuffed kitty that she was petting as if it was real.  To her left was an olive-skinned beauty in a tailored suit, with wide, staring eyes and a nervous tic in one cheek. And to their right, sat Gracie Motley.

A vicious smile curled up the corner of Motley’s mouth. “It’s your lucky day, Detective. You get to be the first to meet the new rulers of the world.”  She pointed to large, polished brass letters on the wall that spelled out, FRAPPÉ.

“We’re about to be invaded by coffee?” Sam said.

She rolled her eyes. “No, you dolt.  It is an acronym!  We are the Fraternity of Really Awful People Perpetrating Evil.”

Sam harrumphed at her. “See here now, you’re all women. Can’t be a fraternity without the bait an’ tackle, if you catch my drift.”

Gracie began to spit out a retort, but the asian woman placed a hand on her arm. “Do not let the imbecile rile you up, my dear.”  She went back to petting the toy kitten. “You already know Gracie – a scientist of sweets, who developed an allergy to chocolate in a tragic lab accident.  Thanks to the cheap-skate American healthcare system, she lost the funding to continue her research for a cure.  She now heads up our North American operations.”

“To my left is the head of our Italian office, Angelina. She is a caffeine addict whose office posted a ‘You kill it, you fill it’ sign next to the coffee pot.” She lowered her voice to a dramatic whisper.  “But no one ever did.”

Sam tried to scootch his chair further away from Angelina, who had started to twitch. “Italy. America. Next you’ll tell me you’re in the UK.”

“Not just there, Detective. Everywhere a confectionary crime unit exists, you will find FRAPPÉ.  We are your silent, but deadly opposites.”

Sam snorted. “heh. S.B.D.”

She ignored him and continued on with her obviously well rehearsed monologue. “And of course, there is me. Do you remember me, Sam?  No, of course you don’t, there isn’t room in your little pin head for more than one thought at a time. Do you remember the museum of modern art? You once worked there. You were supposed to guard the international culinary competition.”

Sam furrowed his brow.  “Wait a minute. Ms. Nishi?”

“Yes, I was once the simple culinary artist Nishi. But now I am the EVIL Dr. Nishida!  I would have won that year, if it weren’t for you. My tower of digestive biscuits was a masterpiece. I WOULD HAVE WON!” she said, eyes bugging out a bit. “But You. Ate. My. Entry.”

Sam looked embarrassed.  “Blimey, lady, I thought someone left a pile of biccies out for the guards. It was an honest mistake!”

“IT WAS ART!” She screeched.

“You wouldn’t have won anyway, they were slightly stale…”

“Silence!  You stinking gluttonous round-eye! Can you imagine how I felt when the man who ruined my life became the head of a confectionary crimes unit?  Oh, the irony!  When you, yourself had committed a crime!”

“Allright missy, no need to get your knickers in a twist about it.  What do you expect me to do, apologize?”

A slow, wicked smile spread across her face.  “No Mr. Adamson.  I expect you to buy.”

“Err, what?”

She leaned forward, with a mad gleam in her eyes. “You, and every other biccie stealing, cuppa swilling westerner will pay for my humiliation.  You have been deprived of your favorite treats, but by tomorrow morning, every city and town will find the crisis has been resolved. Oh yes, you will buy. Once you have all had my special brand, you will never buy any other.” The three women joined together in a hearty, Muhhwaahaahaahhaa!

Dr. Nishida touched a button on the table, and the lights dropped. Another button brought up three spotlights, centered on three objects against the wall.  A table with a coffee machine. A pile of quarters. And a vending machine full of digestive biscuits. She smirked at him. “Bon apetite.”

The women got up to leave, and the ropes holding Sam to the chair fell away. As the aroma of fresh brewed coffee curled around him, his hands started to tremble.  He knew they were tempting him with tainted goods, but the machine looked like it had just been stocked…

—-

 

 

Flash Fiction – Sirocco November 6, 2010

Posted by techtigger in flash fiction.
Tags: , ,
10 comments

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.


“You want us to do what?” Grimm said, his furry ears wilting.

 

Loki crossed his arms. “No way.  I do not want him in my head. Thinking at each other is one thing, but linking up?”

“You? What about me?  I need to bleach my brain just from the random thoughts you project.”

Nox threw up her hands in frustration. “Ohh, you two are such big babies! Would it kill you to work together this once?”

It might,” Grimm said, exchanging an uncomfortable look with the fire elemental.

Nox glared at the hound. “Ha ha, very funny, furball.  Look, if you do this right, you won’t be in each other’s heads. The elements should combine naturally on their own.”

“Theoretically.”

Loki shook his head. “No offense luv, but you have never channeled energy on this scale.  It is more closely tied to our psyches than you realize.”

She pulled off one of her gauntlets and tapped him on the chest with it. “How much do you want to bet I can prove you wrong?”

Loki raised an eyebrow. “Is that a challenge?”

“If I wasn’t clear enough, I can always slap you with the glove,” she said, smiling sweetly.

Lucien shaded his eyes against the blinding scarlet light coming from the cliff top.  If that fool boy summoned too much fire, it would wreck all of the carefully crafted ice castings he and his troops had put in place.   He sent a sharp thought at Grimm. “What in the Hel are they doing?”

The only reply he got was the sound of the wind. It rose up around him, blew past in waves, a deep, sonorous chorus.  Lucien was not as sensitive to Air as his daughter, but even so, the element resonated through him as though he were a tuning fork that had just been struck.

A more delicate note joined in, and the wind turned hot and dry as it gathered up the energy from Loki.  That would be Nox; there was no mistaking her light touch. The wind rose higher, spiraling up into the dark storm clouds and sent them scudding away in tattered streams of grey.

“There will be no need for you to use the weatherscope, Kel. Your sister has handled the problem.”

“You know, I’m still not used to calling her sister,” Kel said, then winced as soon as the words left his mouth.

Adopting him into the House of Ice had not been Lucien’s idea. The deed was done, however, and they would all have to live with it. Lucien kept his expression neutral, and went on as if Kel had not spoken. “Tell Brand to take the third regiment out to the ridge on the left.  The Chimaera will make a straight line for Nox. We must force them to go through us to get to her.  I want you to take a mounted division to the cliff tops.  Some of the creatures may have already gotten behind the lines, and I do not want her fighting them along with the storm.”

“Yes sir.”

“And tell my daughter to quit throwing curve balls at me. I need details of everything she plans on doing.”

Kel laughed. “I will, sir.”

Nox called out to Loki, but her mind was so closely linked with Grimm’s that they both spoke at the same time. ::How are you holding up?:: they asked.

“Wow. That is seriously creepy. You two even blink in unison,” Loki said. “You realize though, this means I win the bet.”

They giggled/chuckled. ::Hardly. The bet was whether I/we would have to link minds with you, not ourselves::

“Even so, I was half right, so we should share the win.  I will cook you dinner, but at my place.”

::Deal::

He narrowed his eyes suspiciously. “Wait, which one of you said that?”

They grinned at him and looked back at the skies. ::Time to step it up a notch. Your uncle is fighting back::

“What is the plan?”

::Forget trying to disperse the storm. This time we take it from him::

Loki laughed and said, “You never think small, do you?”

::Go big or go home!::

Nox and Grimm slipped back into the strange double vision that came of sharing their thoughts through the soul-bond.  They followed the flow of air and energy all the way back to where the storm was re-forming.  Nox had noticed before that the keys were made up of patterns, like pieces of a jigsaw puzzle, and the storm key was no different.  She sent whirls of hot air into the clouds, until the two patterns matched up and locked.  She had gathered up the heat summoned by Loki the same way, but this casting was controlled by an enemy.  And she had just gotten his undivided attention.

The storm convulsed, sending a shockwave through the connection she had forged. Grimm stepped in and guided the energy safely past them. “Either the Morning Lord is learning fast, or someone else just took the reins. Be careful.”

“I’m trying, but they are moving the energy too fast for me to counter it!”  Another attack, this one laced with lightning, hit them hard enough to set Nox’s hair on end.  She shook it off and stubbornly latched onto more of the storm. Loki followed her example and started linking with the built-up energy in the clouds, and bled it off harmlessly as heat lightning. But even with his help, she was barely able to stand her ground.

There was something naggingly familiar about the presence controlling the storm. Grimm watched as the clouds twisted out of Nox’s grasp, and started to turn on her. “Let me take control, little one.”

“I can handle it,” she said, narrowly dodging another attack.

“You are doing well, but this one is out of your league. Watch, and learn.” The hound threw his head back, and bayed a challenge that shook the ground.  “It is time I showed these upstarts how a Master calls the winds…”


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