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Flash Fiction – Winds of Change February 5, 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.

The House of Ice was a hotbed of activity for most of the night. Five Mist and Marsh kin were found dead in their rooms before they caught up to Lady Danae. The matriarch had waited patiently by her grandson’s prison cell, and surrendered to the guards without a word.  No one was sure if she had merely executed those behind the firethorn attack, or taken out accomplices before they could talk. The last thing Nox remembered, before exhaustion claimed her, was that a truthfinder had been sent for to moderate the trial.

Nox woke at mid-morning to the sounds of a heated debate outside her bedroom door. It was going to be another fun day, she thought sourly, as she heard her mother’s voice raised. Was it any wonder that she preferred to sleep at her workshop?  She got a warning thought from Grimm – the decision to make her the heir, or not, was in full swing out in her parlour. Her father wanted to announce it at the trial, while they had a room full of grateful nobles to back her claim.

The hound’s rumbling telepathic voice came through with some asperity. “Would you quit molly-coddling her?  She will not thank you for it, and she certainly does not need it.”

“You will excuse me if I do not entirely trust your judgment,” Serena said, her voice dripping disdain.

Lucien’s quiet baritone came next. “We are her parents; we want what is best for her.”

Grimm growled. “Too bad neither of you can agree on what that is.  Why don’t you try asking her, she is awake.”

Nox wrapped herself in a silk dressing gown, and swept out into the parlour, making the sort of entrance usually reserved for a monarch entering their throne room.  Serenna opened her mouth to speak, but Nox held up an imperious hand, and gave a regal nod to Loki as he held out a chair for her.  Leave it to a fire elemental to sense mischief in the air. He smirked and played along with wicked good cheer.

“Coffee, Lady Ice? And might I tempt you with some breakfast?” He settled a white napkin on her lap, and whisked a laden tray to her side.

She sipped at her coffee and slathered toast with honey and clotted cream, pointedly ignoring the outraged looks her parents gave her.  They had played political games with her future for quite long enough. She and Grimm had made plans of their own.

“Now then, I assume you have not yet officially taken back control of the House of Ice from my care.”  Scrape, scrape, went the knife over the bread, and the sound fell into the deafening silence that had settled on the room. “Which, I believe, makes this argument completely pointless. The question is not whether I am fit to be heir. It is whether I will give the House back to you.”

Loki made mock obeisance to her. “If I might beg the Lady’s indulgence, my own future was being decided as well.  I have enjoyed the support of your House under the previous reign. Will it continue, under your august leadership?”

Serenna cut in acidly. “Enough of this charade. Time is wasting,” she said, but stopped as Lucien placed a quelling hand on her arm.

“This is no charade. She is right – legally, she became the ruler the minute I abdicated my responsibilities to stay by your sickbed.”  He gave his daughter a faintly amused smile.  “You have made your point. When you reinstate us, will you take up your inheritance?”

“Yes, and no.”

Grimm moved to her side, and she placed a hand on the hound’s furry shoulder.  “We are Air, father. The throne of the House of Ice is no place for two Wind Knights.” She ignored his sharp disappointment, and forged on. “You and I are Lord Galen’s heirs, and Grimm his loyal vassal.  Don’t you think it is time we quit hiding who we are, and raise the banner of the House of Winds?”

Serenna snapped at her. “Who will follow you, foolish child? There are no other Air elementals.”

“Wrong again, mother. The refugees of the House of Winds went south, to their cousins in the House of Storms.  Why else would we maintain such close ties with them?”  Nox sat forward, warming to her argument. “With the Chimaera gone, there is a whole territory empty and waiting to be reclaimed.  The storm kin are leaderless, and kept in chaos by the Morning Lords’ meddling.  They are already leaving in droves, why not give them a place to go?  You will have a buffer between yourself and his territories, and a dagger at his throat all at once.”

Loki smoothly joined in. “If you agree to my plan as well, we can deliver my uncle a sharp, double blow. Let me testify at the trial, Lucien.”

“You would plunge our whole world into war!” Serenna cried.  “Luc, this is madness.  We can still delay the trial, and find evidence to link the Morning Lord to the crime.”

Grimm snorted.  “War is already here. What did you think that horde of Chimaera was, a peace offering? Balor wants to soften you up before moving in for the kill.”

Lucien ran a hand over his wife’s cheek. A glamour hid the damage done by the firethorn, but he knew the scars were there. “Some things cannot borne without a fight. The time for diplomacy is over.  If Balor wants a war, we will give it to him.” He gave Loki a sober look. “Prepare yourself for the trial.  And you, daughter, need to hand me back my kingdom.”

Nox grinned. “The House of Ice is all yours.  Grimm and I will have quite enough on our plate.” She threw an arm around the hound’s neck and gave him a hug.

A look of fierce joy filled the hound’s eyes. “Long live the House of Winds!”

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1. Sam Adamson - February 5, 2011

Fantastic episode! Nox and Grimm are going to have their work cut out resurrecting the House of Winds, I sense many more thrilling adventures in the offing. 🙂

techtigger - February 6, 2011

like they say in the movies, you ain’t seen nothing yet! 😀

2. ganymeder - February 5, 2011

Awesome! I LOVE this series!

techtigger - February 6, 2011

thank you! 🙂 just wait till next week, muhhwaahaahaa!

3. marijun - February 5, 2011

Ohhh, I’m starting to see what’s coming twenty years from now… *hums* When does that novel come out again? 😉

techtigger - February 6, 2011

heheheheh… a lot can happen in 20 years… 😉

The novel is slowly, but surely taking shape. Who says world building isn’t fun? 😀

4. Gracie - February 6, 2011

Long live the House of Winds! Whee! Go, Nox!

Great episode, and the tension ramps up another notch, even while some things get resolved. Well played, Angie. 🙂

As always, look forward to the next one.

5. Laura Eno - February 7, 2011

ROFLMAO! I loved Nox’s entrance. 🙂 When will she throttle Serenna into removing those mind blocks (or did I miss something?)

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