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Flash Fiction – Judge and Jury December 18, 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 stood by the block of ice that still held Mikael imprisoned. The mistborn huddled miserably in one corner, his bloodied hands tucked under his armpits to try and keep them warm. She gave him an encouraging look. “My father will be here any minute, Mika,” she said. “Tell him the truth, and you have nothing to worry about.”


Mikael gave her a jerky nod, but did not reply.  His eyes were focused on the man riding up to them.  The Lord of Ice had come straight off the battle field, pale as death and spattered with gore.  Grimm paced beside him, the huge, ghostly hound looking no less forbidding than his former master.  Lucien’s personal guards marched ahead of them, forming a loose circle around the accused.

He swung down off his horse, with his sword still unsheathed, and pointed it at the remains of the assassins. “Explain.”

Mikael lurched unsteadily to his feet.  “I swear, I didn’t know.  I would never do anything to hurt Nox. We hired on extra guards,” he said, but was cut off as the Marche Warden bulled his way through the ring of ice elementals. The pair of advisors that came with him were grabbed and subdued, leaving him standing alone next to his son’s prison.

“You will tell him nothing,” he said to Mikael. “Not while we are held against our will.  The Convocation will hear of this, Lucien!”

“Your men used firethorn,” Lucien said. “I am sure the Convocation will be interested to see how you seal alliances.”

The Marche Warden stiffened.  “The alliance was made in good faith.”

Grimm advanced on him, growling loud enough to rattle the ground.  “He tells half-truths, Lucien. Shall I make him talk?”

Mikael yelled, “Wait!  Wait, don’t hurt him! We hired on extra guards a few months back, mercenaries, but they were Mistborn. We thought we could trust our own people!”

The Marche Warden pointed a finger at him, his face twisted with fury.  “Not another word, boy!  You shut your mouth!”

Nox gave Mikael a pleading look. “Please, talk to us! We can’t help you if you won’t help yourself!”

Mikael looked from her to his father, and hung his head. “I’m sorry. I really am.”

The Warden drew himself up and put on a stern countenance.  “By law, you cannot judge me on your own Lucien.  I demand a full trial by my peers!”

“So be it. There are enough of our peers at the mansion. If they live, you will have your trial. If not,” he said, “you will share their fate. An eye for an eye, Warden. Do you agree to the terms?”

The Warden swallowed convulsively. “You can’t do that.” He turned to his advisors. “You can’t allow him to do this!”

The older of the two glared back at him. “My wife came on this trip with me. If she’s dead, I’ll cram the thorns down your throat myself.”

A sharp rap from the pommel of Lucien’s sword turned the ice around Mikael into a shower of powdery snow.  “Take them into custody,” he said, and the guards bound all four Mistborn securely. “Bring the bodies of the assassins as evidence.  Brand, pick twenty of the House guard and two medics to come with us.  We ride on ahead of the army.”

The guard captain pounded a fist to his chest. “Right away, my lord!”

Nox noted that Brand only picked men who did not have families at the mansion.  A wise, but heart-rending choice as the men left behind were clearly upset about their loved ones’ safety.  She caught her father’s eye. “I’ll summon Rakastar. We’ll get home faster by the river.”

He simply nodded, and finished giving orders for cleanup of the battlefield.

Nox felt a warm hand on her shoulder, and Loki leaned down to whisper in her ear. “Can you read the Warden’s aura?”

She frowned and made the slight mental shift that let her see the energy fields that radiated around every person.  “He’s afraid. Calculating though, so he’s not too scared to think,” she whispered back. “I’ve seen the same thing around the guards when they gamble in the barracks, and make a bet they can’t cover if they lose.”

“Damn. I was hoping I was wrong,” Loki said. “He’s looking for protection.  First he hires mercenaries, then he tosses his neutral status aside for an alliance with your House. Now he keeps shooting looks at those advisors of his.”

“I wonder what he expects them to do for him? The one already turned on him.”

“But not the other. He may be the reason the Warden clammed up.”

“We have to do something. I can’t sit here and let Mika take the fall for his father’s stupidity.”

Loki gave her shoulder a squeeze. “Patience, luv.  We don’t want to tip our hand until we know what hold that man has over the Warden.”

She scowled at him. “Now I know the world is ending. A fire elemental counseling patience.”

He chuckled and gave her a kiss on the cheek. “You have been a good influence on me.”

A few minutes later they gathered with the guards at the riverside where Rakastar waited. The ice drake let out another of his tea-kettle purrs as Nox climbed up between his curving horns. Grimm, Loki and her father soon joined her there.  She checked to make sure everyone else was hanging on to the drake’s ridge-spines securely, and reached down to place a hand on his scaly head.  “Take us home, Rakastar.”

The drake surged through the water, barely noticing all the extra weight from his passengers.  She stood up and slipped her hand into her fathers, offering what little comfort she could.  There was nothing else she could do, except to hope that what waited for them at the mansion did not spell disaster for both the House of Mists, and Ice.

<–Previous Back to Start Next->




1. ganymeder - December 18, 2010

Incredible! I’m still amazed how you manage to put out a serial that manages these little *almost* self contained stories with each installment. Can’t wait to see what happens when they get back to the House of Ice!

techtigger - December 19, 2010

aww,thank you! I try to treat them like scenes in my WIP – good practice for that 🙂

I will have next one out early, prob. wed. because of the holidays. So not too long to wait!

2. Gracie - December 18, 2010

Excellent again. I hope the scene at the castle isn’t total devastation. And I hope Mikael will do the right thing and talk.

*waits anxiously for the next one*

techtigger - December 19, 2010

working on the next one now – watch for it mid week 🙂

3. Trevor Belshaw - December 19, 2010

Nice story this. Really pulls you in will be back for more.

techtigger - December 19, 2010

thank you! if you want to read more, just click on the Flash Fiction tab, I have a list of all the episodes there 🙂

4. GP Ching - December 21, 2010

You have a knack for high fantasy. You have some sophisticated politics going on here and I can tell you know your characters well. Great installment.

techtigger - December 22, 2010

thank you so much! I have put a lot of work into backstory for these characters, and it’s nice to hear that my readers are enjoying the extra bit of depth that adds 🙂

5. Colin James I-10 Blog - December 24, 2010

Penny dreadful indeed1
You have a new follower; excellent stuff.
Merry Christmas.

techtigger - January 3, 2011

thank you! Merry Christmas, and welcome aboard! 🙂

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