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Flash Fiction – A Chip Off the Old Block July 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 found her father in his study, surrounded by ledgers and stacks of paper.  Despite all that had happened over the past month, the mundane tasks of running one of the Great Houses still needed to be done, and Lucien was scrupulous about fulfilling his duties.  He was so intent on his work that he did not even notice she was there.  It seemed careless, in light of the recent attacks, but Nox knew just how many wards were built into the room.  Anyone stupid enough to assault him was in for a world of hurt.

She tapped on the door frame to get his attention. “Father, do you have a few minutes?”

Lucien glanced up, and waved her in. “Of course. Shut the door behind you.” He finished signing a few documents, and set them aside. “How goes your study of Air?”

Nox made a face. “Mixed results. I can now blow dust bunnies from the corners of my workshop with pin-point accuracy.  Beyond that, don’t expect too much.”

“Give it time,” he said. “You know well that fine control can be more effective than larger workings.”

She sighed. “I know, but we have so little time until I stand before the Convocation.  If I’m going to get the House of Winds reinstated, I need to do more than ruffle their hair with a breeze.”  She pulled up a chair and set a paper covered with symbols on the desk.  “I’ve been studying Galen’s work to find something that will get their attention, but I can’t find much of anything about these markings. I was hoping you might be able to help.”

“Where did you find these?” Lucien asked.  He leaned forward, curiosity giving more life to his expression than Nox had seen in years. But then, he was a scholar as well as the Lord of Ice.  The Ice part simply came first most of the time.

“They were around the door to Grimm’s old mausoleum.  Galen put them there, although, I wouldn’t recommend activating them. Ever. Trust me on that one.”

He looked up at her, his eyes the same eerie blue found in the depths of glaciers. “Do I want to know how you figured that out?”

“Well…Grimm said if I ever tried anything that stupid again he’d kill me. Then he threatened to pick me up by the scruff of the neck like a puppy and make me come talk to you before I even thought about using those symbols for anything,” she said, and waved vaguely in the direction of her notes. “I decided to walk myself up here and avoid the embarrassment.”

Lucien laughed.  Out loud.  Nox had never seen that happen.

“I seem to remember him saying that to me once,” he said. “Frog-marched me into the study, dropped me in that very same chair and made me explain to my father why there was a gaping hole in the east wing of the mansion.” He shook his head, still chuckling. “Of course, I was young enough to get turned over my father’s knee.  We will have to decide what to do with you.”

Nox gave him a sheepish grin. “Do you think maybe we could just work out what the markings do, and consider me properly chastised?”

“That depends on how much damage you did to the mausoleum,” he said.

“None at all, actually. The casting…umm, I think it brought Grimm back, for a minute anyway.”

He carefully set down the notes. “Back? How far back?”

Nox shrugged.  “As real as you or me. I even reached out and touched him, just to be sure.  Damn, but that man was huge.  I’ve seen smaller Mountain kindred.”

Lucien pushed his chair back and looked out the window. The graveyard could just be seen beyond the outer walls, the grassy hillside dotted with gravestones and the mausoleum sitting at its crest. “Are these all of the symbols?”

“Oh, no, this was only the start,” she said, and pointed to one at the top.  “You summon Air through this one, and it flows down into the ones below. The really cool part is that the energy also goes side to side across the entry – it flows out of one symbol, crosses the gap, and is caught by one on the other side.  Then, as you walk inside the oculus in the roof acts like a natural chimney and pulls the Air up through the inner markings.  The whole place is a resonating chamber, you should have seen it!  Every inch was covered in casting marks, all hung on the air itself.” She shook her head in disbelief. “2000 years, and not a single marking out of line, and it generated so much energy it was like standing in front of an avalanche.”

“Is that what upset Grimmalkyn enough to send you here?”

“No,” Nox said, and tapped her finger on one symbol in the middle.  “This was on the far wall.  It was the mid-point of the casting.”  She gave her father a troubled look.  “Grimm said Galen knew this one would kill him. I never pegged him for a suicide though, the old fellow was so careful.  And to leave something like this where one of his descendants could get wiped out by it? It just doesn’t track with everything I’ve read about him.”

Lucien rested his chin in his hand, his brow furrowed in thought. “I somehow doubt Grimmalkyn looked past the danger to you to see the casting’s true purpose.”  He pushed his chair away from the desk and stood up. “We will not find your answers here.  I think this casting deserves a second look, by a more experienced eye. Don’t you?”

Nox’s jaw dropped. “Who are you, and what have you done with my dad?”

A smile tugged at the corner of his mouth. “Let us just say that you come by your penchant for finding trouble honestly.”  He held the door to the study open. “Shall we?”

<–Previous   –Beginning–  Next->



1. Julie (O-kami) - July 29, 2011

oooo – this is REALLY getting good (not that it wasn’t already). You have me in your spell with this story, I just can’t get enough.

techtigger - July 29, 2011

aww, thank you! I’ll do my best to keep you hooked 🙂

2. FARfetched - July 29, 2011

Great scene here… gotta love it when Dear Old Dad has a few surprises left for his offspring!

techtigger - July 29, 2011

heheh, yeah, dad was a bit of hellion in his youth. Parents always neglect to tell us that though 😉

3. Sonia Lal - July 29, 2011

Sounds very good! Also sounds like a bit from a larger piece, one I would read.

techtigger - July 30, 2011

Thank you! and yes, it’s part of a webserial that’s been running for over a year now. Check out the flashfiction tab to read from the beginning 🙂

4. ganymeder - July 31, 2011

Loved it!

techtigger - August 14, 2011

Thanks! You keep reading ’em, and I’ll keep writing ’em 😀

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