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Flash Fiction – Firethorn December 3, 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.

Lucien sat astride a tall warhorse, directing his troops from its back so that he would have a clear view of the battlefield.  His personal guards and a group of messengers, also mounted, waited to carry his orders to the commanders on the line.  The area around him was always an island of calm amidst of the chaos of battle, and today was no different  – until his daughter arrived. An incongruous burst of laughter came from somewhere behind him, and he turned slightly in his saddle as the small group rode up to meet him.

Kel and the troops Lucien had sent to fetch Nox were in the rear of the column.  Grimmalkyn paced in the lead, and Nox rode double with Loki.

She gave a cheerful wave. “You should have seen it father!  Grimm made a whole wall of funnel spouts, and each one was scribing more castings on the ground to power bigger twisters, and all of it was powered by the enemy’s own storm!” she said, talking in her usual breathless manner.  “I didn’t know you could do a controlled cascade of warcastings! Think of what you could do with frost.  All those ice crystals interconnecting in patterns…”

Lucien pinched the bridge of his nose and sighed inwardly. The scary part was that her idea would work.  The only question was how big of a crater it would leave when the energy turned in on itself.  “We will discuss it later, once we are off the battlefield.”

A messenger galloped up to them.  “Sir, the Chimaera are making a straight line for us here. It’s like they’ve gone berserk!”

Nox laughed. “Hah! I told you Grimm and I would make good bait.”

Lucien nodded, a slight frown on his face. “Indeed.  I will need you both to remain here, to draw them fully into the trap.  Kel, take command of the right flank. Brand already holds the left.  And Loki,” he said, giving the young fire elemental a stern look. “No more showing off for my daughter.”    All he got was an unrepentant grin in reply.  Lucien bit back another sigh, wondering when exactly he had lost control of everything involving his little girl.  Probably the day she was born.

At least the battle could be controlled.  He focused on the river –The heat from Loki’s earlier warcasting had softened the ice pack, turning it into slush.  Hoards of Chimaera were already slogging through it, sinking in as they struggled to get across to their prey.

Lucien raised his hands, palm outward.  Pale scars criss-crossed them, from all the times he had drawn blood to summon Grimmalkyn.  But in the center were silver marks, made by a cold so deep it could sear the skin of an ice elemental. It was his connection to the great weather scope, the Key to Ice.  Skill and will combined to send arctic winds screaming across the river, freezing the slush and trapping the Chimaera where they stood.  Orders were called out down the lines, and a hail of arrows rained down on the enemy. Lucien motioned for a messenger, and sent an order to get Kel moving.  The boy was an able commander, but too conservative.  They had to push the advantage.

From behind him, he could hear Loki’s voice raised with a dangerous edge to it.

“I remember Nox ordering you to stay with the observers.”

Mikael, the Marche Warden’s son answered.  “My father wanted to offer our services.  The mix of fire and ice is starting to fog things up.  He says the Mistborn would like to honor the upcoming marriage… alliance… um…” There was an audible gulp. “Please don’t kill the messenger.”

Nox cut in, “You and I are not getting married, and Grimm can handle the fog.”

Lucien turned to order the whole noisy pack of them off the field, when Grimmalkyn’s panicked thought cut through his mind.


One of Mikael’s guards flung a handful of black seeds at Loki and Nox.  Grimmalkyn howled and a gust of wind knocked all the guards flat, and the seeds back into their faces.  Lucien encased Loki and Nox in a hollow cube of ice, and Mikael in a separate block. He yelled an order to his own guards, and he and all of his men transformed, looking like sculptures carved from ice.

The mistborn guards writhed in agony as the firethorns dug in. Heat caused the seeds to open and send burrowing tendrils into any organic matter they found to feed on.  The mistborn must have inhaled some of the seeds.  It was a horrible way to die, and Lucien could see the blood drain from Loki’s face as he recognized the symptoms.  This was how the Morning Lord had murdered the boy’s family.

Even while snapping out orders to his guards, Lucien kept an eye on the two young men trapped in the ice on either side of Nox.  He had been putting off the decision of which suitor would get his blessing, but the task had just gotten easier.  Loki had turned to shield Nox with his own body, despite knowing what the thorns could do to him. Mikael had stood there gaping like a landed fish.

This time, he would be a father first, rather than let politics guide his decision. Serenna would argue, but…

He locked eyes with Mikael.  “Did all of your retinue come with you?”

Mikael was so startled he jumped back and bounced off the wall of ice behind him.  “Um, no, sir,” he stammered. “The rest are still at your mansion. Lady Serenna insisted that the guests stay for the night.”

His wife would have no warning.  At least half of their guests were vulnerable to the thorns as well.  The battle was not over, and they were hours from home, even at a full gallop.

Nox banged on the wall of the cube to get his attention.  “Father, I can help!  Let me out!”

(to be continued)

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1. Gracie - December 4, 2010

Eek! Great action in this one, and hurray for Lucien! Good daddy. 🙂

Anxiously awaiting the next episode!

techtigger - December 12, 2010

yes, lucien is finally waking up to the fact that he could lose the very things he’s been fighting for. he may be made of ice, but he’s still got a heart underneath 🙂

2. Laura Eno - December 4, 2010

Is Lucien finally coming to his senses? Is was a capper, full of action and the famous Angie cliffhanger, of course!

techtigger - December 12, 2010

still the cliffhanger queen, woohoo! 😀

3. Mari Juniper - December 4, 2010

Ohh, the tension!

Good to know that at least one of Nox’s parents is thinking of her well being. Another great episode, Angie!

techtigger - December 12, 2010

thanks! i like to have characters that grow and change and learn – no static stereotypes allowed! 🙂

4. Brainhazewp - December 5, 2010

Love these stories. Always something fantasically random. Keep it up:)

techtigger - December 12, 2010

thank you, I will! 🙂

5. Laura Eno - December 6, 2010

I have an award for you on my blog. 🙂
A Shift in Dimensions

techtigger - December 12, 2010

eee! thanks!

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