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Flash Fiction – No Rest for the Weary January 29, 2011

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 would have given anything for the chance to sit down. She had channeled more energy in the past two days than she had done in her entire life, and she felt as wrung out as a dishrag.  There were still guests to be dealt with though – many of them had not planned to stay the night, and now they needed rooms to sleep in.  To make matters worse, most of the servants were recovering from the firethorn. Citrus was a rare treat this far north, and they had drunk the tainted beverage like it was small beer.  At least the guests had sipped more judiciously, but that meant they were the first on their feet and demanding attention.

She was in the midst of working out room assignments when Mikael’s grandmother tracked her down.  The matriarch of the Marsh Clan was stooped with age, and she held her shawl and cane in withered, bony hands.  Her aura was strong though, almost painfully bright.  Elementals grew more powerful with age, and she was one of the oldest Nox knew, next to Grimm.

“Might I have a word with you, young lady?”

“Of course,” Nox said. “Why don’t I show you to your room, and we can talk on the way?”

She could feel the weight of the matriarchs’ faded brown eyes on her the whole, slow way through the marble halls. The tap of her cane was a sharp counterpoint to the ever-present thrum of the river that ran below the mansion.  Nox had been trained her whole life to deal with difficult politicians, however, and waited with cool patience for her guest to speak.

The matriarch slowed her pace even further. “You know that I have opposed your father’s progressive policies. He would bring too much change, too fast. I cast my vote against his marriage to your mother. He promotes the dilution of our bloodlines.”

Nox held her tongue, more curious about the harangue than offended by it.  She had heard far worse things said about her human heritage.

“I most certainly did not approve of this match between you, and my grandson. Neutrality is the greatest strength the lowland Houses possess. Mists, Marsh, Swamp and Lakes, we do not have the military strength of our neighbors. But they respect us, and trust us to settle disputes fairly because we do not take sides.” She pursed her lips in disapproval. “My son would trade away our greatest asset.  That is why I opposed the match, but they tell me you opposed it as well. Do you still hope to be the heir of your House?”

“You know, if you had asked me that question a few months ago I would have said yes.” Nox stopped, and turned to face her guest. “If I thought it was the best thing for my people, I would still say yes.”

“And would you give up your fireborn lover, if the match caused hardship for your people?”

Nox thought hard before answering.  “If I could not, then I would step aside for someone better suited to lead.”

To her surprise, the matriarch smiled and patted her on the cheek.  “That is a rare bit of wisdom from one so young.  To lead is to make sacrifices. I still do not agree with most of what your father does, but I may have been wrong about you. I think I would have enjoyed having you in my family.”

“It would have been interesting!” Nox said, with a laugh.  She opened the door to the guest room, and pointed out the bell pull.  “Ring of you need anything.  The medics are on call if you have any difficulties because of the firethorn.”

“Oh, I did not have any juice, it disagrees with me.  But thank you for the offer.”

Nox wished her a good night, and let out a sigh of relief when the door was closed.  She had not expected to be grilled like that.  They were fair questions though, and she thought she had done a creditable job with her answers.

A few hours later, the last of the guests were shown to their rooms, and Nox was finally able to drag her tired body back to her own suite.

Loki was stretched out on her couch, hands behind his head and feet propped up on the coffee table. “Hello luv, mind if I bunk here tonight?”

She smacked her forehead.  “Oh no, I gave your suite away to one of the guests, didn’t I? I’m sorry, I’ll have a cot brought in for you.”

“Not quite what I had in mind, but I suppose it will do,” he said, with a roguish grin.

A blush turned her face turned bright red, and she blurted out the first safe topic she could think of. “I had the strangest conversation with Lady Danae tonight.”

He pulled her onto the couch next to him. “All work and no play makes Nox a dull girl. Why would I want to talk about a dried up old stick like the matriarch?” he teased.

Nox was sure that her face was glowing.  “I really think you should hear this,” she said, and repeated the conversation before she could get any more flustered.

His smile turned serious as she spoke. “That is odd,” he said, and got up off the couch. He rummaged through a pile of papers on Nox’s desk, and tensed as he pulled one out. “Was she wearing any rings? Did she scratch you, or offer you a drink?”

Nox shook her head, bewildered. “No, we just talked. What’s wrong?”

He handed her the paper, which was a cargo manifest of deliveries for the party. “The citrus drinks were her gift. I will bet money that she distributed it to the servants.” He pulled her to her feet. “Call the guards.  It looks like you are going to have another prisoner to put on trial tomorrow.”

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Flash Fiction – The Best Defense January 21, 2011

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.

Loki circulated through the crowds at the mansion, gauging the mood of the guests. Their relief at being rescued from the firethorns had put their guard down and made them chatty.  Once a spy, always a spy, and this was the perfect opportunity for him to gather intel from the allies of the House of Ice.

A change in the noise level at the doors to the great hall caught his attention; a hush, followed by a spike in conversation. His first instinct was to find Nox, but she was at the far end of the room.  Whoever had come in was moving towards her though, and he cut through the crowd with practiced ease to intercept the newcomer.  He was surprised to see it was Serenna.  Nox’s mother had been the hardest hit by the firethorn, and he had not expected her to be on her feet for days. The sorceress looked tired, and her voice was hoarse, but she moved with more strength in her step than he would have expected.

A good spy cuts off a situation before it gets out of hand, and the last thing anyone needed was for Nox and her mother to throw down right here in front of everyone.  He moved to Serenna’s side and slipped his arm through hers. He steered her toward the small stage where the band would normally play at a ball.  “You should not be up yet, Lady.  Here, rest yourself.” He settled her into a chair and radiated a gentle, soothing warmth around her. “I do not want you catch chill,” he said, giving her his most charming smile. “Winter kin never realize how cold these drafty halls can get.”

Emerald green eyes bored into him. “I appreciate your concern, but I think I am a better judge of my own health than you.”

Loki leaned over to speak quietly to her. “I know you came out here to show them that the leadership of your House is still strong, and you have done that. Let them come to you.  To move among them is to put yourself down on their level.”

“Are you my advisor now, as well as my physician?” she said.

He pitched his voice so that only she could hear him. “I have information you need to hear, Lady.” It was a gamble, but one that paid off.  He had always reported to Lucien, and this deviation played to her ego.  Hopefully it would buy Nox time to find a legitimate reason to be elsewhere.

“The lady of the House of Mists is being threatened, along with her children,” he said. “The Marche Warden only agreed to this alliance in hopes that you could provide protection to his family.  We have agents in place, but they need time to neutralize the threat. If you can delay the trial, even for a day it may make all the difference. He will take help from anyone at this point. Better that it be you, than the Morning Lord.”

She studied him curiously. “Why are you helping your rival?”

He raised an eyebrow, “What rival, Lady?”

“I see. You have already struck a bargain with the Marche Warden. Clever.  But you have not made any such deal with me.”

“Your husband favors the match.”

“He left the disposition of our daughter’s hand to me.  I will see her safely out of the succession for any House. I want her to live a long and peaceful life.”

Loki kept his face politely bland, but he put some force into his words. “She would be dead within a week if you married her to Mikael. The House of Mists cannot even protect their own.”

They paused for a moment, as a group of guests came up to pay their respects.  Loki waited until they were well out of earshot before he continued.  “You need to understand how my uncle works. He knows that the quickest way to break a man is to shoot for the heart. He wanted the dragon mark, and he made my father watch as he tortured my mother with firethorn. If the mark had not been hidden away with me, my uncle would have gotten it that day. ”

He placed a hand on Serenna’s arm. She looked at him in surprise, which was good. It meant she was listening.  “Lucien loves you both, intensely.  Nox will be a target as long as he lives, and opposes my uncle. That is the simple truth.”

Serenna gave him a long, measuring look.  “If she is with you, she will be doubly a target. Do you honestly think you can protect her?”

“I have already stopped no less than thirty attempts on her life,” he said, with a rakish grin. “Most of which she doesn’t even know about.”

She gave him a slight smile. “There are times when you remind me very much of your father.”

He laughed. “My father would have chucked you under the chin and said, ‘Buck up, little lady. I’ve got it all under control.’ I somehow did not think you would take that from me.”

“In that, you were right,” Serenna said.  She looked around the room, but Nox was nowhere in sight. “Shouldn’t you be protecting her right now?”

“How do you know I am not?”

Her eyes bored into him again, and his smile broadened. The air around them grew warmer, and Serenna’s spell fizzled.

“What do you know, dragon fire really can burn through anything,” he said. “I can keep her safe, Serenna, but I need you to quit working against me.  Trust in me, as you once did my father.”

The look she gave him was hard to read, but he thought he saw a bit of respect in it. “Perhaps I should.”

He bowed, and moved back into the crowd. Sometimes, he thought, the best defense was not to fight with someone at all.

<–Previous Back to Start Next->

Flash Fiction – Technomancy January 14, 2011

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.

This episode concludes the 12 part microfic series, that started with 12 Hours Part 1.

Nox stood in the courtyard of the mansion.  Her aura spread out across the cobblestones, marking out an elaborate pattern in bright, electric blue lines that looked like an infinity symbol, with one side larger than the other.  Her mother had warned her never to tamper with the design of a sorcerous circle, but what Nox was had created was not in any of her mother’s books. The symbol was a hybrid of science, sorcery, and elemental castings – that was the beauty, and the danger of technomancy. It could be used to combine any type of energy, and regardless of whether it worked, or left a crater in the ground, the results were always spectacular.

Nox pushed that thought aside. When using sorcery, you had to believe it could work, or it would not work at all.  She stood inside the smaller half of the symbol, gathering in energy to power the spells. Her satchel, the firethorns Brand had collected, and the shew-stone rested in the center of the other side.  She held one of her mother’s healing crystals in her left hand, and a long scroll in her right. She was just about to start when Grimm materialized in front of her.

“You did not think I would let you do this alone, did you?” he said.

“Grimm, you can’t help channel this kind of energy. You have to be human to use sorcery.”

“I can hold the scroll.”

“I don’t have time to argue.”

“Then don’t. I have decided to exercise the free will you gave me when you released me from that graveyard. Deal with it,” he said, grinning.

Nox gave him a tired smile. “All right, but I need to see the whole pattern.”

Grimm disappeared, but the scroll stayed suspended in mid-air.  Nox checked the pattern one last time, and sent a pulse of energy through it.  The flash of blue light grew brighter as it raced through the symbol, amplifying the energy just like an elemental casting.  “Part one of my theory is working, at least. Here goes nothing.”

The next step in the notes was from her mother’s list.  Bathursts’ mirror was, in essence, putting the chicken back into the egg. Or in this case, the tendrils back in the seed.  She chanted out the fluid sounding words of the incantation, and energy thrummed through the symbol.  In the other half of it, the shew-stone glowed, another good sign. Tragans Laws described the connection between a symbol, and the larger world. The shew-stone powered her mother’s stasis spell, and therefore was connected to everything that had been frozen by it. As the tendrils of the seed Nox had opened telescoped back into their casing, the effect was, hopefully, being mirrored by all the firethorns.

There was no time to stop and check her work though; the next two steps had to be done in rapid succession. As the thorns receded, they left holes inside their victims, which would bleed out if not healed.  But she could not let the seeds stay inside them, or it was all to do over again.

She did not have a true summoning jar to use for the spell by Magny, but the pocket portal in her satchel could hold a huge amount of material, and nothing could come out of it again unless taken out by hand.  The words for the spell hurt her tongue as she said them, and made her stomach feel ill. For a moment Nox thought she had screwed up and cast it on herself, as the stream of seeds flew out of the mansion toward her. She focused her will in a desperate attempt to keep the spell on track, and at the last second they skewed to the side and poured into the open satchel.

She and Grimm both let out a sigh of relief as they waited for the river of seeds to come to an end. Nox was doubly grateful for the respite.  The biggest spell was last, and she was running out of energy. She locked her knees to keep herself upright, and crushed the healing crystal.  This one required only two words to invoke.  “Be well.”  She blew the dust off her hands, and it ran through the symbol, gaining in power before shooting out into the mansion.  The shew-stone glowed, then started to dim. Nox felt energy draining out of her like water, filling in the gap as the stone failed. Cracks ran along its sides, and light shone out from them with blinding intensity.  Nox started seeing spots, and the world tilted beneath her feet. The stone shattered with a thunderous crack, and crumbled into dust.

Startled cries came from the mansion, and Nox could only hope that it had worked as the world went black.

The next thing she knew, Grimm was propping her up and the medic, Jens, was pouring something down her throat.  She gagged down the restorative brew, and wiped her mouth. “Did it work? Are they all right?”

Jens grinned from ear to ear. “Can’t you hear the cheering?”

She looked around in a daze.  The courtyard was full of soldiers, servants, guests and members of her father’s court, and all of them were celebrating.

Loki pushed through the throng to get to her side. He picked her up and swung her around. “You did it! You did it, luv!” He planted a big kiss on her, which got more raucous cheers from the people around them.

“I can’t believe it worked,” she said, when he let her come up for air.  “I never have an experiment go right the first time.”

Grimm laughed and gave her a sloppy, doggy kiss on the cheek. “There is a first time for everything!”

<–Previous Back to Start Next->

Flash Fiction – 12 Hours Part 12 January 14, 2011

Posted by techtigger in flash fiction.
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This micro-fic is part of an ongoing web serial, which will be updated every hour today from noon till midnight, when the regular weekly #fridayflash gets posted.  If you are new to Nox and Grimm, you can Click Here to read from the beginning.

The scroll in Nox’s hand was as tall as she was. Grimm and Loki were going over it with her, double and triple checking every word and symbol.

“Bathurst’s mirror. Magny’s summoning jar. Jaques de Fleury’s power circles.  And Tragan’s Laws.  I think that is as streamlined as we are going to get it,” she said. “Grimm, I need you to get the shew-stone from mother’s study. Use a wind to scour the courtyard down to bare rock, and place the stone there.”

“I’m on it.”

Nox continued going over her list. “Shew-stone, satchel, healing crystal, thawed and dissected firethorn. I think that’s everything.  It had better be, since I’m only going to get one shot at this. Damn, I hate working without testing,” she said. “How are we doing on time?”

Loki looked up at the moon, which hung low in the sky. “We are cutting it close, but we should still have an hour or two.”

Grimm’s voice echoed in their minds.  “No, we don’t. They are starting to move, little one.”

“Aw, crud.” She rolled up the scroll, picked up her tools and took off towards the mansion at a run.

Grimm was waiting for her at the entrance to the gatehouse. “The courtyard is clear. Are you ready?”

Nox took a deep breath, and let it out.  “Yeah. I’m ready.”

<–Back to 12 Hours Part 11Continue to Next Episode, Technomancy

Flash Fiction – 12 Hours Part 11 January 14, 2011

Posted by techtigger in flash fiction.
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This micro-fic is part of an ongoing web serial, which will be updated every hour today from noon till midnight, when the regular weekly #fridayflash gets posted.  If you are new to Nox and Grimm, you can Click Here to read from the beginning.

The Marche Warden stomped up to where Nox was sitting, with an escort of guards around him. One of the younger guards gave Nox and apologetic bow.

“I’m sorry Lady Ice, but he insisted.”

The Warden thrust out his hands, the manacles clanking with the violent motion.  “You have no right to hold me like this. I might put up with that from Lucien, but not from a slip of a girl like you.”

“You will get your trial soon enough,” Nox said, with a nod to the mansion, “Your peers are still indisposed.”

He loomed over her. “What does that matter to me? You will let me go, girl, or your House will regret it.”

Nox stood up, brushed her pants off, and looked him straight in the eye. Then she cocked her arm back and laid him out flat with one solid punch. “Judgement rendered. You’re a jerk.”  She motioned to the grinning guards. “Get him out of here.”

Grimm was laughing so hard he was wheezing. “I didn’t know you could hit like that.”

She opened her hand and dropped a solid ice slug.  “You said it yourself, I fight dirty.”

<– Back to 12 Hours Part 10Continue to 12 Hours Part 12 –>

Flash Fiction – 12 Hours Part 10 January 14, 2011

Posted by techtigger in flash fiction.
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This micro-fic is part of an ongoing web serial, which will be updated every hour today from noon till midnight, when the regular weekly #fridayflash gets posted.  If you are new to Nox and Grimm, you can Click Here to read from the beginning.

Nox sat cross-legged on the grass, her back to a tombstone.  A pile of tools and camping gear sat next to her, and she was tossing more bits out of her satchel. “No, no, useless, no.  A rubber ducky?” she said, holding up the offending article.  “Half of my workshop is stowed in here, and I still can’t find anything to use as a summoning jar.”  She put her head inside to look around. “What a mess! Remind me to clean this thing up later.”

Grimm was sprawled on the ground next to her, nosing through a thick tome titled ‘Tragan’s Laws of Energy Transfer’.   “I hate when you do that,” he rumbled.  “I keep waiting for the pocket portal to snap shut, with you still in it.”

“If the field was going to collapse, it would have done so weeks ago.”  She emerged with a party hat in her hand. “I know I didn’t pack this.”

“I thought we might want to celebrate later, so I tossed in a box of party decorations,” the hound said, his tail thumping on the ground.

“I appreciate the thought, but if I don’t find something to use as a summoning jar, there won’t be anything to celebrate.”

Grimm nudged the satchel. “Does it have to be a jar?”

“No, I don’t think so.” She ran a hand over the battered, travel stained bag.  Three years of research and half a year of extremely dangerous labor had gone into making it.  It was stable, secure, and was the centerpiece of her application to receive Master status in the artisans’ guild. With the way things were going, she would never have the time to make another one.  It was just a bag though, when all was said and done, and there were people depending on her.

She put the party hat on Grimm’s head and started tossing more junk out of it. “At least it’s already halfway empty.”

<– Back to 12 Hours Part 9 —  Continue to 12 Hours Part 11 –>

Flash Fiction – 12 Hours Part 9 January 14, 2011

Posted by techtigger in flash fiction.
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This micro-fic is part of an ongoing web serial, which will be updated every hour today from noon till midnight, when the regular weekly #fridayflash gets posted.  If you are new to Nox and Grimm, you can Click Here to read from the beginning.

When Loki returned, he found the crypt covered with paper and piles of books. Nox sat on a stool, looking somewhat haggard as she drew out elaborate symbols on a scroll.  He kissed the top of her head, and set down the coffee he had brought for her. “Hey there, blue-eyes. Did you miss me?”

She wrapped her hands around the mug inhaled deeply. “Oh, you beautiful man! I take back everything I’ve ever said about you.”

He laughed and set a plate of food at her elbow. “You need to eat something too. Even Grimm took a break for dinner.”

She blew on the coffee, and sipped it with a look of pure ecstasy on her face. “I have the divine nectar, what else could I need?”

He pried one of her hands off the mug and stuck a piece of bread in it. “Eat.”

“Yes dear,” she said, rolling her eyes at him. She took a bite, and mumbled around it.  “What’s the word on the street?”

“None of our allies were attacked, but they have been getting pressured to rethink their treaties.  Not too surprisingly, there are a lot of rumors that the House of Ice has fallen.  Our agents have done their best to counter them, but you know how tough that can be.  They are letting everyone know that your father won the battle with the Chimaera. That at least people will believe, since he’s never lost. But firethorn is another matter. You can’t fight something like that with swords.”

“I’m close to an answer. If I can just get this damned sorcerous energy to flow like the elements, I can work out the last pieces.”

He handed her another piece of food. “You’ll get it. But first you eat. You haven’t had a thing since our lunch the other day.”

“Hel of a first date, huh?” she said, with a sad smile.

“We’ll do better next time. I promise.”

<–Back to 12 Hours part 8 —  Continue to 12 Hours Part 10 –>

Flash Fiction – 12 Hours Part 8 January 14, 2011

Posted by techtigger in flash fiction.
Tags: , ,

This micro-fic is part of an ongoing web serial, which will be updated every hour today from noon till midnight, when the regular weekly #fridayflash gets posted.  If you are new to Nox and Grimm, you can Click Here to read from the beginning.

Nox pulled on thick, elbow-length insulated gloves and took a surgeons’ scalpel and a pair of tweezers out of a medical kit. Magnifying goggles and a clear blast shield, with holes to stick her hands through finished her outfit. She reached through the shield and used the tweezers to roll around one of the seeds.  “All righty, Brand. Start taking notes. The surface is covered with fine hairs, and small beads of an opaque liquid. Probably to help it stick to its food source. There are no seams or openings.”  She picked up the scalpel and made a small incision in the pointed end of the seed.  Nox and Brand both flinched as it opened with a POP, shooting tendrils and a fine mist out through the hole. The gloves and shield kept the tendrils off of her, but she waited a full minute to make sure it was not going to do anything else.

“The seed is apparently filled with compressed gas, to project the thorn bearing tendrils into the host. Ingenious, really, the body heat of its host expands the gasses, bursting the seed open and starting the process.”  She pulled one hand back, adjusting the goggles until her eyes looked huge through the magnifying lenses. She reached back in and extended a tendril with the tweezers.  “The tendrils telescope, folding neatly back into the seed. Hollow thorns, and the tendrils are hollow as well.  All are highly elastic. No sign of reproductive mechanisms outside.”  She carefully cut open the seed. “Ah, here we are.  A small fluid sack to feed it until the thorns start pulling in food. An air bladder, that is most likely a suction pump to pull food back inside. It also has a complex organ, covered in particles. I’m guessing that is where it makes new seeds.”

Brand put down his notes as she pulled her hands from the shield.  “Is any of that helpful?” he asked.

Nox pushed the goggles up on her head and grinned. “Oh yes. No time to explain though.  Put that seed back on ice, and hand me those books.”

<– Back to 12 Hours Part 7 —  Continue to 12 Hours Part 9 –>

Flash Fiction – 12 Hours Part 7 January 13, 2011

Posted by techtigger in flash fiction.
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This micro-fic is part of an ongoing web serial, which will be updated every hour today from noon till midnight, when the regular weekly #fridayflash gets posted.  If you are new to Nox and Grimm, you can Click Here to read from the beginning.

Brand carried in Nox’s satchel, and a small block of ice that encased several firethorns.  “Here are the seeds you requested, Lady Ice.”

A flick of her hand sent an icy breeze across the top of the crypt, sweeping it clean. “Place them on the tomb, please, and I’ll need you to stay and take notes.”

“Of course, my Lady.”

Nox blew into her hands, forming a chain out of ice with the seal of her House hanging on it. She handed it to Loki.  “Congratulations! You are now the acting Ambassador for the House of Ice.  I need to know if any of our allies have been attacked, or need assistance.”

He gave her a wry smile. “And you do not need me anywhere near you when you start dissecting those firethorns.”  He leaned down to give her a kiss. “Be careful, luv.”

“You too. Don’t melt that chain.”

He gave her a wink and collared one of the guards standing outside, waving the chain in front of his nose. “A horse, my good man. The Lady has put me to work.”

“Um, yes sir?”

Nox watched until he disappeared from sight, fervently wishing that he could stay. There was no help for it though, she could not risk any source of heat around the thorns.  She dug out a few boxes from her satchel and handed Brand a notebook and a pen.  “All right, let’s get to work.  Be ready to freeze those nasty little things if they get frisky.”

<– Back to 12 Hours Part 6 —  Continue to 12 Hours Part 8 –>

Flash Fiction – 12 Hours Part 6 January 13, 2011

Posted by techtigger in flash fiction.
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This micro-fic is part of an ongoing web serial, which will be updated every hour today from noon till midnight, when the regular weekly #fridayflash gets posted.  If you are new to Nox and Grimm, you can Click Here to read from the beginning.

The whinny of horses and the clanking of armor announced the return of the troops.  Nox rubbed at her eyes and set down her notes as Kel entered the mausoleum.

“Greetings, Lady Ice,” he teased.

“Don’t start Kel, it wasn’t my idea,” she snapped at him.

He scowled at her. “I didn’t say it was.  But let’s face it, Lucien still favors you as his heir.”

Nox glared back at him. “There is a mansion full of people who are going to die in the next few hours, and all I have to work with is this.” She threw the partially translated notes at him.  “Do you think I give a rats’ ass about who ends up as heir?”

He gave the notes a bewildered look. “Brand said you were whipping up a solution.”

“What, did you think I’d tell the troops that their fearless leader hasn’t got a clue? That’d go over well.”

“Where’s your father?” he said, handing the notes back to her.

“He won’t leave mother’s side. She stayed awake long enough to try and write instructions.”

“Damn, I’m sorry Nox. I thought it was just a few guests being quarantined.”

“Why should that make any difference?” She turned her back on him. “If you’re so hot to play at being Lord of the House, go do it.  I’ll get more done if I don’t have to deal with administrative crap every few minutes.”

He sighed, his anger gone as quickly as it appeared. “Okay, I’m an ass, I admit it. Sleep deprivation does not bring out the best in me.”  He gave her a crooked smile. “Neither do you, for that matter. It’s a good thing they didn’t force us to get married. Between your temper, and my ego, it would have been a complete disaster!”

She let out an amused snort. “I think that’s the only thing we’ve ever agreed on.”

<– Back to 12 Hours Part 5 —  Continue to 12 Hours Part 7 –>

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