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Flash Fiction – A Game of Chess, Part 2 – Queen’s Gambit January 23, 2012

Posted by techtigger in flash fiction.
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The fading sunlight was reflected in a thousand pieces of shattered glass. Water dripped from ice covered upholstery as the warm evening breeze passed through the empty windows of the solarium. And in the midst of the devastation, Nox stood with her arms wrapped around herself. “I think mother just tried to kill me.”

Lucien frowned as he studied the vines that had attacked her. They were still encased in ice, held motionless by his will. “Nonsense. Your mother would never cast a spell that would harm you. Someone else must be behind this attack.”

“Oh really?” Nox said, scowling at him. “Have you forgotten that she’s the one who crippled my ability to channel the elements?”

Lucien’s frown deepened. “We have discussed this. It will take time for her to devise a way to safely remove that spell.”

“Oh, for goodness sake, open your eyes!” Nox said, gesturing angrily at the vines. “She has no time for that, but apparently she has plenty of time to find new ways to wipe me out.”

Lucien turned to give her a quelling look.  “These vines were created by a forest kindred. No human can make elemental castings, as you well know.”

“She can work with an accomplice,” Nox spat back.

The crunch of footsteps on ice caused them both to turn around, only to see the focus of their argument standing in the doorway.

“What have you done to my solarium!” Serenna said.

“I’m fine mother, thanks for asking,” Nox replied, bitterly.

Serenna ignored the comment and swept into the room on a tide of self-righteous fury. “You used technomancy to unlock the book, didn’t you?”

Nox bristled at the accusation. “It would have taken weeks to remove the locking spell using sorcery, and I still would have set off that secondary enchantment.”

Serenna jabbed her finger into Nox’s chest. “So you admit that you knew how to safely remove the lock, but you took the easy way out?”

“Don’t you dare try to blame this on me,” Nox said. “I could have been killed, you sick, evil, twisted…”

Lines of acid green energy twined around Serenna’s hands. “Watch your tongue, daughter, or I will give you a lesson you will not soon forget.” She rounded on her husband. “I blame you for this, Luc. You have indulged her whims, and now we are left with a willful, spiteful child.”

The look Lucien turned on his wife was cold, and unforgiving. “No more ‘lessons’, Serenna.”

She sneered up at him. “No more lessons. I forbid this. I command that. How easy for you to toss out orders. Well, you ordered me to train our daughter, and I will do it as I see fit.”

She shoved past him and slashed her hand downwards. The vines crumbled, and the binding on the book bubbled up and melted away, leaving only scorched pages behind. “You will read this young lady, and master every spell inside.”

A cold, sick feeling settled into the pit of Nox’s stomach as she watched her mother do the impossible; if Serenna could control the elements, then she was no longer completely human.  The truly terrifying part was imagining who could be strong enough to alter her, without her husband noticing.

Lucien must have been following the same train of thought. Nox had never seen him look so shaken. “We will discuss this later, ‘Renna,” he said. “For now, I think it is best if Nox returned to her duties.”

Serenna’s eyes narrowed.  “Of course, Luc. Don’t we always do as you command?”  She gave the room one last, scornful look. “You have a whole outpost full of Fire kindreds at your disposal, daughter. Find one to repair the glass.”

Nox and Lucien both watched in silence as Serenna left. Nox finally cleared her throat and said, “We are in deep sheep dip.”

“That is an understatement,” Lucien replied, still staring at the empty doorway. “I tell your mother everything.”

The sick feeling in Nox’s stomach turned into an icy lump as the implications of that sunk in. “Oh, crud. If someone has gotten to mother, then every one of our defenses has been compromised.”

Lucien looked sharply at her. “All of them…where is Grimmalkyn?”

“He was just here,” Nox said. She sent out a silent call through the soul-bond she shared with the guardian, but all she got in return was an echo of her own thoughts. “He’s gone!”

—–

Elsewhere in the mansion, Serenna pitted her will against the creature held within her summoning circle. “Your plan failed, Katya. I had to damage a valuable spell book to cover up the mess you made. Not to mention alienating my husband. You will not overstep your bounds again.”

The lovely forest kindred gave her a petulant look. “You asked me to distract the guardian, and I have done so. Even if your daughter calls, Grimmalkyn will not be able to answer. One wonders why I bother to do so much on your behalf, when I get so little thanks.”

“You bother because I order you to,” Serenna snapped, and hoped that it was still true. The creature had proven incredibly difficult to control. She brushed her worries aside – it would all be over soon, and then she could banish Katya to the depths of Hel. “Right now, the only thing I require of you is to keep Grimmalkyn busy while I finish the work on my daughter.”

Katya gave her a graceful curtsy. “That I will do, with pleasure.”  She turned away, but paused before disappearing. “You do realize that the lifespan of our kind is measured by the amount of the elements we control. You are about to cut your daughter’s life disastrously short.”

Serenna shrugged. “A human’s life may be extended by the use of spells. Once the taint of the elements is removed, Nox can cast the same spells I use.”

“Is she human enough to survive the cleansing?”

“I will make her so,” Serenna said.

A cruel smile crossed Katya’s face. “Very good, poppet. I always knew you had the makings of a Shadowkin.”

“Begone!” Serenna cried, but the creature only laughed as it faded away.

(to be continued!)


<–Previous   –Beginning–   Next->

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.

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Comments»

1. brainhaze - January 23, 2012

Ohhh next, next….this is great! The tension and language you use is enough to entice the reader to be on the edge of the seat – great stuff!!!

techtigger - January 23, 2012

heehee, next one is almost done, and will go live later this week. Glad you’re enjoying it so much! 🙂 Only 3 more episodes till I hit #100 for the series…


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