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Flash Fiction – Say My Name March 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 morning’s high spirits gave way to more sober discussion as the truthfinder arrived.  He had brought an entire troop of battle-hardened veterans from his own clan to handle security for the trial. Thirty brawny, chainmail clad mountain kin now lined the perimeter of Lucien’s audience chamber, and more stood guard in the hallway. The truthfinder himself waited just outside the door, with his blunt hands folded over the pommel of an unsheathed broadsword that rested point down in front of him.  Everyone entering the room would have their identity verified by the enchantments worked into the blade.  He was taking no chances, after the events of the past two days.

A long line of nobles had queued up outside, with Loki, Kel, Lucien and Serenna at the end of it.  Loki glanced back to where Nox was waiting – Grimm had point-blank refused to talk to the Truthfinder, and they were even now arguing quietly off to one side.  A touch on his arm pulled Loki’s attention back to those around him.

“There is still time to change your mind,” Serenna said. “After you enter that room, there is no turning back. He will come straight for you.”

Loki patted the hand on his arm. “I think you are trying to put the horse into the barn after it has already caught fire, Ambassador. My uncle knows I am alive, and he is coming for me regardless.”

“Yes, but at least now it is only him. Others will take his side, to curry favor.”

“Then we will know for certain who we can trust, won’t we?” he said.

Kel looked over his shoulder at them. “You’ve got guts, I’ll give you that. You might, almost, be as tough as my sister,” he said, nodding back her way. “I wouldn’t want to argue with that thing.”

Grimm’s voice rumbled in their minds as he and Nox joined the end of the line. “I am a HE, not a thing, and I have very good ears.”

Nox coughed and covered her mouth to hide a grin. Loki didn’t bother.  “Serenna, you are going to give him lessons in diplomacy, I hope?”

“Yes. A lot of them,” she said, in a tone that made Kel wince.

“This is not a discussion for the hallway,” Lucien said, his quiet admonishment cutting the conversation short.

They were close enough to the front now to see the sword glow as each person stated their name, titles and House affiliations.  The sword would stay lit as long as the person being questioned told the truth.  The punishment for lying to a truthfinder was death, and there was no appeal. If the light around the sword went out, the instrument of justice was already in hand, and would be used without hesitation.

Grimm hung back again, and Nox with him, as Kel stepped up to the door.

“My name is Lord Kel, of the House of Snow, and adopted son of the House of Ice.” He left out any titles, since Lucien had not officially named him as heir yet.

Loki bowed and waved Nox’s parent’s ahead of him.

“Lady Serenna, Foreign Ambassador to the House of Ice, and wife of Lord Lucien.”

“Lord Lucien, ruler of the House of Ice.”

The truthfinder nodded, and allowed them into the room in turn.  Loki’s heart sped up a little as he stepped forward. He had waited fifteen long years for this moment.  All eyes in the hall were turned back to him, curious to see who would follow their hosts.

One of the Marsh kin called out, “Oy, I thought this was to be a trial by peers. Who the Hel are you?”

The truthfinder ignored the grumbling of the crowd behind him.  “State your name, House and titles.”

“I go by Loki, foster son to Readan of House Vulcan. Although some here may remember me as Cole, of the House of Fire,” he said, and gave the heckler a half-smile. “But you sir, can call me Lord Dragon.”

All eyes moved from the man, to the sword which burned with a steady, searing light.  The hall broke out into a tumult as the shock wore off, and the truthfinder bellowed, “SILENCE!”

The same Marsh kin yelled, “There can’t be two Lord Dragons!”

Loki turned a sardonic look on him. “No indeed. My dear uncle could never claim the title. He was missing a little something.”  He rolled up his sleeve, and the dragon tattoo swam to the surface of his skin and coiled around his arm.  “My father gave me this in the same hour that he died.”

Another question was hurled from crowd.  “Who murdered your father?”

“My uncle, the Morning Lord. I saw it with my own eyes.”

Another uproar filled the room. The light had not wavered once the entire time.

Out in the hallway, Nox pleaded with Grimm.  “We can’t let him go in there without us! I’d bet money a few of the Marsh kin are in the Morning Lord’s pocket.”

The hound wouldn’t meet her eyes. “Go on without me, then.”

The truthfinder walked over to him. “I have questioned the unquiet dead before, and while I know this can be difficult, your testimony is necessary. Your name was mentioned throughout the preliminary inquiry, as a key player in tracing the evidence back to the accused.”

Grimm snorted in contempt.  “The spirit bound to your blade is not strong enough to compel me to speak at all, let alone tell the truth. Any testimony I make will be invalid because of it.”

The glow around the blade started to take on a female shape, and Grimm flattened his ears. “Don’t look at me like that young lady. I was bound to this earth before your great-grandparents were born.”

The truthfinder was not at all deterred.  “I still wish to hear your part in this.”

Grimm let out a threatening growl that rattled the floor. “No,” he said, and disappeared.

(to be continued!)

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1. Mari Juniper - March 6, 2011

Jesus, you’re cruel, woman! I want more, and I want it now! Now, you hear!

Btw, I think there’s a bit of a typo on Loki’s line about how he got the dragon tatoo. (I shouldn’t help you after this one… *grumbles*)

Mari Juniper - March 6, 2011

Akk! Tattoo, I mean! 😛

techtigger - March 6, 2011

*lol* i am writing more now! 😀

And thank you for the catch, had no time to edit.Just wrote and posted. Hopefully day job will quiet down after monday, and I can get back to a normal writing schedule

2. ganymeder - March 7, 2011

Great, as always. 🙂

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