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Flash Fiction – The Killing Seed December 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 looked out through the thick walls of ice that surrounded her, trying to project more confidence than she felt. “Look, I know my idea is risky, but we have to do something about the firethorns. Loki and I can’t stay in here forever. If you let me out, I ought to be just warm enough to germinate any seeds in the area without having them grow too fast to dodge the vines. You won’t be able to find them all otherwise, the thorns are too small. My aura shield should be enough to keep me from inhaling any of them.”

 

Grimm looked appalled.  “Should be enough? Do you have a death wish, little one?”

Even though he was transformed into solid ice, Nox could read the disapproval on her father’s face.  “What if you are wrong, daughter?  If you do not care for your own life, what happens when Grimmalkyn loses his anchor to this realm?  Do you think I can afford to lose more men, fighting the malevolent souls that lie waiting inside of him? Was the fight at the House of Winds not enough to teach you caution?”

“We can’t just stand here and do nothing!” she said.

“She is right,” Loki said. He smiled faintly at the stunned silence that followed his words.  “You cannot take the chance and allow them to spread. The seeds are tough to eliminate while still in their thorny shells, and will remain dormant in the cold.  But they are vulnerable when they first sprout. A shot of heat, followed by extreme cold will destroy them.”  Another faint smile crossed his face. “I studied them in depth after… the last time.”

Nox squared her shoulders and put up her aura shield. “Okay then, let’s do this.”

Loki looked into Nox’s eyes. “No, you won’t be the one going out there, luv.”

Nox started to protest, until she saw the ink from the dragon tattoo pooling in his hand. “Ohhh, good call!  If you keep the exit hole small, I can seal it behind you.”

“Wait for my signal,” said Lucien. He ordered his men to clear the horses, and anyone that could not hold a full ice manifestation out of the area.  Grimm checked everyone as they left, making sure no thorns had stuck to them.

Loki held out his hand, flames dancing around his fingers, and had the other around Nox’s waist.  “I’ll need you to hold me up for a bit when I get back,” he said.  “Ready Lucien?”

Lucien had already gathered so much energy around him that he glowed white.  Loki flicked his hand, and then stood motionless as the dragon tattoo shot out and burned a cylinder through the ice. Nox slapped a plug of ice in place to keep them sealed, and left her hand there to make sure it did not melt from the residual heat.

The ink dragon expanded, roaring up into the sky before swooping back down and letting loose a volcanic blast of heat.  Firethorns popped open and sent up pallid, fleshy tendrils covered in long, hollow spines. Nox shuddered to think of what those would do inside of someone, and was suddenly glad they had talked her out of tempting fate.  Lucien followed up with a cold so intense it even made Nox ache, and the dragon bellowed in pain as it kited back upwards.

She shouted to Grimm over the noise.  “Are we clear?”

The hound sniffed the air, and shook his head in the negative.

The dragon came around for another pass, and Lucien buried the ground in a foot of ice.  Again, Grimm shook his head and started sniffing around to find the unopened seeds.

Nox heard a frantic pounding behind her.  Mika was beating his hands bloody on the walls of his own icy prison, and pointing at her.  Grimm howled something to Lucien, who pushed his way through the wall of ice without breaking it.

“Do not move,little one” Grimm said.  “Get as cold as you can!”

Her throat closed in horror as she felt something moving on her back.  A seed had been caught in her armor, and opened slowly from her and Loki’s combined body heat.  The air temperature dropped to sub-artic as her father made his way through, and he quickly flash-froze the tendrils just before they got to Loki’s hand.  More had started working their way under her chainmail, and he had to carefully pull them out one by one to avoid having any pieces left on her.

Grimm spent a long time sniffing around them before finally giving the nod that they were in the clear.

The ink dragon darted back down and slammed into Loki’s body. His eyes rolled back, and Nox had to struggle to keep them both upright. Her own knees had gone weak from the close call.

Lucien put a shoulder under Loki’s other arm to help them stand.  “Your father used to hold the dragon out from his body, and let it settle in more slowly. He said it was less disorienting that way.”

Loki let out a weak laugh between chattering teeth. “Nnnnow you tttell me.”

A sharp bark from Grimm broke a hole in the ice, letting them guide the shivering fire elemental outside. “Set him down over here, Lucien, and I’ll help you clear out the Chimaera while he recovers.”

Lucien nodded, already calling for his horse and snapping out orders to his guards.

Nox put a hand on his arm. “I can send paper messenger birds back home. At least they’ll have some warning.”

“If there is anyone still there to receive them,” Lucien said, his eyes bleak. “Are you ready, Grimmalkyn?”

“Always.”

Lucien swung up into the saddle, and rode over to the ice block that held Mika. “When I return, I will have questions for you and your father. For your sake, I hope you have very good answers.”


<–Previous Back to Start Next->

 

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Comments»

1. Cecilia Dominic - December 11, 2010

Oooh, nasty firethorns! I have a feeling that that’s not the only trouble the heat between Nox and Loki will get her in. 🙂

CD

techtigger - December 12, 2010

*lol* you know it! those two are magnets for trouble, put them together and it multiplies 😀

2. ganymeder - December 12, 2010

Having killer seeds is sooooooo scary! Awesome installment!

techtigger - December 12, 2010

thank you! 🙂

3. Laura Eno - December 12, 2010

You’ve played Mika very well. I still can’t decide if he’s harmful or just his father’s pawn. Loved the whole firethorn idea!

techtigger - December 12, 2010

thanks! originally i was going to have it be a heat activated poison, designed to take out fire elementals, but this was nastier, and more far-reaching. wheee! I love writing stuff for the villains 🙂

4. Gracie - December 12, 2010

Eeek, seeds that burn you up! Glad they got them all. Nox and Loki may attract trouble, but it’s so much fun. 🙂

Another excellent one!


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