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Flash Fiction – High Note July 10, 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.

Grimm padded upstairs to the loft of Nox’s workshop, with the handle of a small wooden box in his teeth. He let out a whurf of canine laughter as he saw her – she was sitting on the edge of their squashy sofa, almost bouncing with excitement.

“I’m ready for my first formal lesson. Let’s start summoning Air, furball!”

The hound dropped the box on the coffee table.  “Here you go.”

She picked it up and turned it back and forth.  “Tabletop skittles. Okay,” she said, dragging out the two syllables. “You lost me already.”

“Set up the game,” he said, but let out a little warning bark when she went to flip the latch.  “Without your hands.”

Nox gave him an amused look.  “Testing my fine control, eh?  You got it.” She puffed out her cheeks and whistled up a bitterly cold wind.

Grimm barked again, breaking her casting. “No Ice, either. You need to learn to summon Air without it.”

“Damn. I was afraid you were going to say that.”  She scrunched up her face in concentration and tried again, but only managed a weak breath of Air.  “I’m not sure this is going to work. Mother’s spell doesn’t leave me much room to play with.”

“This is a tiny elemental casting.  You have managed larger ones.”

“Yeah, by throwing myself off of a perfectly good building to trip the safety she built in.”

The hound shook his head, his deep, rumbling mental voice filled with disapproval. “Outside of the obvious reasons not to do that, you won’t always have a high place to work from. Not to mention it is sloppy energy work, and no student of mine will get away with that,” he said, looking down his muzzle at her. “Watch and learn, little one.”  He let out a quiet whuff, and a soundwave blew across the table, flicking the latch open.

“I’m not going to start barking at things,” she said, with a teasing grin. “Will any sound do?”

“Yes. The sound initiates the casting and gives it a direction, but remember it is your will and skill in channeling the energy that gives the casting shape and purpose.”  He let out another bark as she reached to close the latch. “Sit on those hands, young lady.  If I can learn to cast without them, so can you. Close the latch, and then open it again.”

Nox made a frustrated noise, but complied. She whistled, popped her lips, and even tried blowing a raspberry, but nothing worked.  “Arrgh! This is so annoying!”

Grimm did not look at all perturbed.  “Patience, short-stuff.  We simply have not found your trigger yet.  Everyone has a different one.  You will learn to use others, but for now, keep trying.  Maybe hum a few notes? I have never heard you sing, but if you can stay on pitch it might work.”

“I haven’t sung a note since I was little. Mother didn’t approve,” she said, and then her expression turned stormy.  “Son of a bitch. She didn’t want me to use Air inadvertently.”  Nox took a deep breath, and let out a pure, ringing note.  The game box blew off the table and smacked into the wall, scattering the little wooden pins all over the room.  “Hah! Take that, you evil old hag!”

Grimm snorted. “Sloppy.  You wasted all sorts of energy.  Pick up the game,” he said, and put a huge paw on her lap when she started to get up. “No hands, no feet. Start with the board.”

“Fine,” Nox grumbled.

“Then the pins, one at a time, without knocking any over.”

“Aww, c’mon!”

Grimm’s tongue lolled out in a big, doggie grin.  “Keep that up, and I’ll make you put them all back in the box, latch it, and start over.”  He nudged her shoulder with his nose. “Try a middle C.”


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