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Flash Fiction – Sow the Wind August 5, 2011

Posted by techtigger in flash fiction.
Tags: , ,

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 stood with her hands on her hips and stared up at the imposing granite mausoleum. Her father stood next to her, his arms crossed. They both had matching frowns on their faces.

“You really can’t see the markings around the door?” she said.

“No, but I believe you,” Lucien said. “I am simply annoyed at finding an artifact of this magnitude hiding on my front lawn.”

Nox smirked. “Yes, well, normal families don’t have tombstones in their yard. Flowers, maybe. Lights. Lawn gnomes…”

He chuckled quietly at that. “I suppose you have a point. Our ancestor left us more than a few peculiar heirlooms.”  He ran a hand over the cold, heavy stones that framed in the door. “Your mother has a saying – Sow the wind, reap the whirlwind. Shall we summon Air, and see what the wind brings to us?”

“Oh no,” Nox said. “You’re not actually going to power this thing up again?”

“I see no other way to study it.”

“Yeah, but isn’t that what killed Galen?” she said, suddenly worried.

Lucien gave her shoulder a squeeze.  “Have a little faith, daughter.”

He made a quick gesture, and a blast of icy winter air blew down the front of the mausoleum. The casting marks lit up, and the energy rolled through them sluggishly.  He filled the chamber inside with a cool mist, and they watched as the jets of Air left contrails as they shot around the room. “The precision of the markings is quite impressive. I can see why you wanted to learn more about them.”

“I calculated the rate of power amplification,” she said, warming to the topic as her curiosity won out over caution.  “That kind of energy could knock the top off a mountain!”

“It would certainly put you on an even footing with the Lords of the other Great Houses,” he said, his voice echoing around the chamber as he walked inside. “Ah.”

“Ah, what?  Don’t hold out on me!” Nox said.

“I know what this does,” he said, and walked slowly around the crypt. “You will note that I used a cold wind to start the casting. Ice slows down Air, and keeps it from gaining too much momentum.  I will have to remove it to allow the casting to do its work. Please stay outside.”  He made another quick gesture, and the energy built up at a terrifying rate. The symbol at the far end of the mausoleum crackled into life, and he braced himself to ground the energy.

Nox cried out a warning as the light shot out at him – and went straight into Grimm.

The hound appeared a second before it would have struck her father. Grimm’s outline began to waver, and slowly reformed into the vague shape of a man in battered plate armor. His scarred face was twisted in rage, and his hands balled into fists.  “Lucien you IDIOT!  I sent her to you in hopes you would stop this madness!”

Lucien narrowed his eyes at the insult. “So, I finally get to meet the man my daughter has risked her soul for.”

“Let me go, Lucien.  You are messing with forces you do not understand!”

“I think I have a fairly clear idea.”

Grimm shuddered, his form flickering wildly between hound and man. “I cannot hold this forever!”

Lucien leaned forward. “If it was my daughter standing here, would you have such problems, I wonder?”

“I like her better than you,” Grimm snarled.

He gave his former servant a cold smile. “If you dislike me so intensely, then I give you permission to hit me, this once. No repercussions.”

“Don’t tempt me.”

“Coward,” Lucien said, and slapped him as if he were reprimanding one of his soldiers.

“Ohh, you asked for it!”  Grimm swung a haymaker at Lucien, but his arm was pulled up short. Chains ran from his wrists to the floor, where they merged into the glowing symbols that filled the room. “What in Hel’s name is this?” he said.

“Proof that my theory was correct,” Lucien said, and glanced over his shoulder at Nox. “Galen was a father, before all else.  When the war broke out, his first move was to hide his wife and children. When the Shadowkin made you their weapon, he took you back from them, because he knew his loved ones would be the first targets they sent you to kill.” Lucien turned back to Grimm.  “And when he failed to free you from your curse, he gave his life to make sure you could never raise a hand against his family.”

Grimm stared at the chains.  “Why don’t I remember any of this?”

“You could not break the chains if you did not know they were there,” Lucien said. “Take comfort in the fact that your liege did not die in vain, and that it was not by your hand.”  He pointed to a new symbol that started to glow near Grimm’s hand. “Release the energy there, and we will see what else Galen had planned for you.”

Grimm started to comply, but he stopped mid-motion. His mouth opened and a sound came out, so profound that it shook them to their core, and somewhere within it came a Voice. “Do not tamper with my hound,” it said.

The casting shattered. Grimm shifted back to a hound and shouldered past Lucien, but stopped in front of Nox.

Tears of frustration ran down her face. “I can’t help Grimm if I don’t understand what was done to him!”

The hound gave her a look that was somewhere between compassion and pity. “Perhaps you will help him, someday. But not like this,” said the Voice, and the hound disappeared.

“Oh great,” Nox said, wiping the tears from her cheeks. “Now Death is using Grimm like a sock puppet.” She glared up at the sky and screamed, “He’s not yours, dammit!  He doesn’t belong to anyone! Am I the only person in this whole damned world that realizes owning someone is wrong?”

She ignored her father’s startled look, sat on the doorstep of the mausoleum, and pulled out her notes. “Might as well write down what little we saw of the casting marks, while it’s still fresh in our minds,” she said, with a disgusted sigh.  “Maybe today won’t be a complete loss, then.”


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