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The Wanderer’s Tale – Part 2 August 31, 2012

Posted by techtigger in flash fiction.
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(the mini-series with Grimm’s origin story continues!)

Ten years wrought terrible changes on the people of the winds.  Aurelius’ prediction that more wyverns would come proved to be more accurate than he ever could have imagined. They kept coming, first in flights of four to six, then tens and twenties, until the skies were black with leathery wings. At first the tribes had tried to stand and fight, but they were soon outnumbered. The herds that were the lifeblood of the tribes dwindled and the Air kin starved. Finally, they were forced to give up the open air, and retreated to caves found in the sides of a deep canyon that stretched across the western reaches of the plains.

The years had wrought changes in Grey as well. At sixteen years old he was already as tall as his father, although he still had that unfinished look that told of more growth spurts to come. He now wore armor made of wyvern scales, and kept a heavy barbed spear near to hand. One thing had not changed, however, he still had a hound by his side. Cavall was a wolf-hound, one of the huge mixed breeds Aurelius was training. The shaggy beasts were a cross between the swift, sleek runners of Grimm’s childhood and the tough, muscular dire wolves of the far southern mountains.

Grey sat to one side of the cavern on an outcrop of rock, fondling the hound’s ears and listening to the endless arguments of his elders. He rather wished they were more like the hound, quiet and useful. Their pointless bickering was getting on his nerves.

Raynard, the chieftain of Gale was the main instigator today. He shook his greying head in profound disapproval. “What good is fighting anymore? We tried that and look at us now! There are more old men and half-grown boys in our ranks than solid fighters.”

Brennan of Tempest was barely more than a ‘half-grown boys,’ but he was the oldest surviving member of his tribe, which gave him a place on the council. He crossed his arms and returned Raynards glare. “We can’t sit here and starve, either. We have to take back our lands!”

“We can move again,” Raynard said. “The herds have moved north, and we should follow them as we always have. The traders agree, things are not so bad in other regions.”

“Yes, it’s always better somewhere else,” Brennen said, his voice dripping with scorn. “I should think a man your age would know better than to believe traders’ tales.”

“Watch your tongue, whelp!” Raynard snapped. He rounded on Grey. “Speaking of whelps, what about you, Aurengrey? You’re the voice of Cyclonis till your father comes back, and yet we haven’t heard a word out of you all day. What is your vote?”

“Two weeks,” Grey said, glad that his voice had finally settled into a deep bass. It leant him an authority far beyond his years, and with this bunch he needed all the help he could get. “My father asked us to wait that long for him. So we wait.”

“For what, boy? No one has survived out in the open that long for years,” Raynard said, throwing his hands up in disgust. “You sit there in that damned ugly armor, doing nothing, and for what? Do you hope to see his ghost?”

Grey stood up. He was tall enough that he could look down on the older man. “If more of us had worn armor like this, they would still be alive.” He inclined his head toward the tunnel that led up to the canyon wall. “You can leave anytime, and take your chances with the wyverns. Cyclonis will wait.”

Grey snatched up his spear, called his hound to heel and left.  He could still hear them talking though, the acoustics of the cavern carrying their words along after him.

“Now I know why he’s so quiet,” Brennan said. “He’s so angry that his words choke in his throat.”

“Bah. I’m angry and you don’t see me biting my tongue,” Reynard replied.

Brennan snorted. “Mores the pity.”

That started the argument all over again. Grey had heard enough. Those two had been at it all week, and he was sick of listening to them. His father had a plan, a good one, and all they had to do was wait for him to come back home to set it in motion.

He gathered up the winds that moaned through the caverns and took off, flying and break-neck speed around stalagtites and rockfalls.  The hound ran below him, his broad paws finding purchase on even the most broken terrain, easily keeping up with his master.

They wound their way upward, to an entrance that was just below the cavern rim. Grey dropped back down the floor and rested his spear to one side. He inhaled deeply, filling his lungs with clean air. He was tired of dust and grime, musty chambers and still, dead air. Brennan was right, he was angry. This was no way for an Air kindred to live.

A shadow swept over the face of the cliff, and Grey backed up a few steps. There were always wyverns overhead. The damned things were smart, keeping watch in turns in case some bold or foolish person should try to leave the caves.  One of his friends had died that way just week before. Grey glared up at them, his hands clenched into fists. Oh yes, he was angry.

He grabbed his spear and moved back out to the entrance. “C’mon. You want me? Come and get me, you stinking cowards!”

The shadow raced against the cliffs again, followed by the high-pitched cry they used to signal the others when they sighted their prey. Grey hefted his spear, looking for a target. More shadows crossed over him and kept going, five, seven, ten, and then he heard the booming of Air castings in the distance. They wyvern’s weren’t after him.

“Father! He’s back!”

He leapt out into space and rocketed upwards, racing to meet the tiny specks that wheeled and fought overhead.  One of them faltered and dropped, only to be caught by another. Wyverns circled and dove in, larger silhouettes against the glaring white of the clouds.

“Hang on dad, I’m coming!” Grey said, and put on another burst of speed.

Overhead, more shadows gathered, and the high pitched cries filled the air.  Grey could see individual shapes now, five people spiraling and darting amidst a dozen of the huge predators.  The entire hunting party had made it back!  He did a quick spin, making sure no more wyverns were sneaking up on him. The sky was clear and they creatures had not noticed him coming. A dark smile crossed his face. He had a new trick he had been wanting to try.

Grey flew straight up, so high that his breath came out in frozen plumes. Then he hovered, turning in a slow circle, reading the fast moving wind currents of the upper air.  Sounds from the battle below sent his pulse racing, but he couldn’t rush this. It had to be right, or he’d do more harm than good. He began sketching casting marks in the air with the tip of his spear, and flicking them outwards until the air around him hummed with the gathering energy. Frost laden air rushed through the marks, gaining speed, and Grey’s lungs began to ache from the cold.  The last mark settled into place, and he reached out with his will to grasp onto the construct.

And the he unleashed Hel.

Roaring winds swirled down and clashed with the warmer air below, the turbulence so great it nearly ripped the wings of the wyverns near the edges of the cold front. Lightning rained down, and the winds howled as they whipped around in a monstrous tornado. Hail followed, and wind shears the snatched up the creatures,  snapping bones and dropping them from the sky.  And in the midst of it all, in the calm eye of the storm, Grey floated down to gather up his battered kin.

Aurelius flew up to give his son a bear hug, pounding him on the back. “Now that is a proper welcome home!”

Grey was grinning from ear to ear. “It won’t last long. We’ll have to make a dash for the caves. But I can help anyone that needs it.”

Aurelius looked up into the maelstrom. “I think we can manage it. By the heavens, we will manage it,” he said, giving Grey a fierce smile. “We found it. We found their nesting grounds.”

“We’re finally going on the hunt?” Grey said.

“Oh yes. We are going to put an end to this.”

To be continued!…

<- The Wanderer’s Tale, Part 1   —|—   The Wanderer’s Tale, Part 3 –>

The Wanderers Tale – Part 1 August 25, 2012

Posted by techtigger in flash fiction.
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Hi everyone! The main Nox and Grimm series is on hiatus till I get back from vacation, but in the mean time here’s the first of a miniseries featuring Grimm, back when he was still Aurengrey (or Grey, as his freinds called him).  I thought it was about time we got to find out where he came from, and I hope you enjoy exploring new parts of the elemental realms as much as I have been while writing it 🙂

-Angie

—————————

Grey’s earliest memories were filled with the sound of the wind causing the leather walls of his family’s gureda to boom. He would lie on his sleeping furs, a warm hound on either side of him, and look up at the soot-stained smoke hole in the roof, trying to catch a glimpse of his father coming back from a hunt. The Wind tribes of the southwestern continent were nomads, traveling across the plains with the herds of bison and antelopes that covered the grasslands like a brown and golden tide. His father was the chief huntsman and, along with a council of elders, he led their small community in their endless journey from east to west, north and south as the herds migrated with the seasons.

It was almost autumn, and the crisp air lent a certain excitement to the day. They would be moving in a few weeks. And this time, Grey might be allowed to fly on his own instead of being lifted along with their belongings. The hounds must have picked up on his mood because they started thumping their tails, and the male let out a low whine.  Grey wriggled out from between them and threw on a warm fur-lined tunic that his mother had lovingly embroidered with spiraling patterns over the course of the last winter. Then he sprinted outside, barefoot and bareheaded, with his mop of jet black hair flying out behind him and the hounds at his heels. Jenna, the grey female fell into step by his side while rangy Janus bounded ahead, his excited howls letting everyone within earshot know that his master would soon be home.

Aurelius’s coming was heralded by a gust of swirling winds. He walked down out of the sky as easily as if he were on a hillside. His spear rested casually against one shoulder and he had on warm leathers and sturdy boots, fitted tight around him to keep them from flapping or snagging while on the hunt.

More men and women floated down from the clouds in pairs, with their catches slung between them on crossed spears. They had brought in a large haul, enough to keep the whole tribe fed for a month. They only did that when they knew they’d be too busy to catch fresh meat. They were definitely going to move!

Grey let out a whoop and shot up into the air, trusting as only a child can that his father would catch him. Aurelius laughed and swung him around, his spear hovering off to one side.

Grey was so excited his words tumbled out all at once. “We’re going aren’t we and I can help pack and can I fly please please!”

Aurelius laughed again and tossed his son up onto his shoulders. “Yes, chatterbox, we’re heading south. Have you been practicing your landings?”

“Mmm hmm! I’m really good at it now! And I did a loop-de-loop and a corkscrew and a zigzag – “

“Aurengrey, let your father get a word in edgewise!” Merina smiled indulgently up at her husband and son. She stood outside the entrance flap to the gureda, drying her hands on a check patterned apron that she wore over a tunic and trousers. Her long brown hair hung down almost to her ankles, an unusual thing for an Air kindred. Normally they kept their hair short, but she had come to them from far away islands, the daughter of a trader who sailed along the coast to sell his wares.  Her clan only used Air to fill their sails or calm a storm, not to fly.

As Aurelius touched ground, she reached up and took Grey from his shoulders.  “Go on now, go get washed up. It’s almost time for dinner.”

“Awww! But I’m not dirty!” Grey complained.

“Aurengrey, you smell like those hounds!  Go wash up!” she said, and shooed him away. “And dry off right away, I don’t want you catching cold!”

The hounds were already milling about, snuffling at hands with wet noses and bumping up against Aurelius’s legs.  Grey ran to get a cake of soap and a towel, and the hounds bounded after him.

Merina yelled out to him, “Wash upstream from them!  I won’t have you at the table smelling like a wet dog either!”

Grey turned around and yelled back something vaguely like a promise. His mom and dad were paying no attention to him though. They stood close together, their fingers entwined and heads leaned together. The setting sun brought out golden highlights in his mother’s hair, and bluish ones in his father’s black waves. Grey made a face – he knew where this was going. Kissing. “Ewwggh, mushy stuff!”

He stomped off in disgust, trying to decide which was worse, washing up, or that. He took his time getting to the stream, kicking at rocks and throwing sticks for the hounds to chase. The stream was just beyond a small rise, but Grey was sure he could make the trip last another twenty minutes before they called for him. He reached down to grab another stick, but Janus ignored it. The hound lifted his sensitive nose to the air, and he let out another whine, this one higher pitched.

A large shadow moved over them, and Jenna started to growl. “Easy, girl,” Grey said. “It’s probably just an eagle. Hey, maybe I can find a feather from it! Then I can wear it on an arm band like the older boys!”

He hushed the hounds and crept forward, imitating his father’s skill at silent tracking. Something up ahead let out a shrill cry that was quickly followed by crunching sounds. The hounds started to growl again, and Grey signaled them to be quiet. He crawled on his belly to the top of the rise and peered over the edge.

Right into the eyes of a monster.

It was huge, with dull grey scales and bat-like wings folded on its back. Its eyes were a dark oily yellow, and its jaws and sinuous neck were spattered with gore. The headless body of a roe-buck was clenched in its claws. A long tail with a wicked barb curved up over its back, waving back and forth like a snake waiting to strike.

Grey froze, unable to move.

The bloody jaws shot forward, and Janus flung himself at the creatures head, bellowing out his war howl. The two collided, the hound scrabbling for purchase on the smooth scales, but he got a hold on the tender snout of the beast with his teeth and dug in.  The creature screamed and lashed its head back and forth.  Jenna dove for the tail, leaping and dodging around the brutal sting.

Grey finally got his wits about him and ran. One of the dogs let out a yelp and the other was barking madly.  He looked back and saw the creature shoot up into the air, circling round him once, twice, before diving down, claws extended.  He ran as fast as he could, his sturdy legs pumping like pistons but he wasn’t fast enough. The thunder of wings buffeted him to the ground and he rolled helplessly through the clouds of dust kicked up.

He stared upwards, terrified, but the descending jaws were met again by Janus. The hound hit the creature in the head, shoving it aside and then jumped free. He hit the ground, paws digging in and then leapt again, harrying the beast.

The creature hissed and caught Janus with barb in its tail and flung him aside. Then it threw its head back and let out a whistling shriek.

THUNK.  The sound was cut off by a spear flung through the soft under skin of its throat. THUNK THUNK.  Two more spears joined it, and Grey felt a gust of wind curl around him and yank him out of the way of its death throes.

Grey found himself blown straight into the gureda and he landed in his mother’s arms. Aurelius and the other hunters had streaked past him along the way, flying out to make sure the beast was dead. Grey squirmed to get free of his mother’s hold. “I have to go back momma! I have to check on Janus and Jenna!”

Merina, her cheeks tear stained, shook her head and held him tight. “Your father will find them.”

An hour later, his father came home. There was no sign of the hounds. Aurelius knelt down and brushed a hand over his son’s hair. “I’m sorry. Your friends were very brave. They saved your life.”

“But where are they?” Grey said, not understanding.

“Running together for eternity on the gray plains. Don’t be sorry for them, son. They’re together.” Aurelius picked him up and put him to bed. “Try to sleep. We have a busy day tomorrow.”

Merina was wringing her apron between her hands. “We’re moving? But all that fresh food you brought home will go to waste if we don’t dry it. And nothing is ready… ” she said, her voice trailing off.

Aurelius put his hands on her shoulders. “My love, we have to go. Where there is one wyvern, more will follow. Pack quickly tonight. We leave at dawn.”

Next –>the Wanderer’s Tale,  Part 2

Nox and Grimm – A Quick Update August 24, 2012

Posted by techtigger in Uncategorized.
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Hellooo everyone!  As I’m sure you’ve noticed Nox and Grimm has been running on a bi-weekly basis this summer. My apologies for not warning you in advance, but I honestly hadn’t planned on it that way. Life is funny like that 😉

The good news is, there is lots more N&G to come!  Our intrepid heroes are about to get pulled onto the political stage in a big way, with Nox the temporary ruler of Ice in her father’s absence, and Loki getting ready to claim his own inheritance. And you know Grimm will not give up on his hopes of bringing back the House of Winds.

The main story will be taking a brief hiatus  while I am on vacation however, but fear not!  There will still be stories while I am away! I have been compiling my notes on Grimm’s history into a mini-series, so we will finally get to see where he came from and how he went from Aurengrey, to Grimmalkyn.  It should be a lot of fun and I hope you’ll enjoy it . Look for the first installment of “The Wanderers Tale” tonight! 🙂

-Angie

Flash Fiction – Political Games August 17, 2012

Posted by techtigger in flash fiction.
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Nox was positively glowing, and it was not just because she was cuddled up next to Loki. An hour after they had broken loose from their stony prison, she could still feel prickling, tingling sensation of her healing talent at work. And for the first time in over a month, she could see colors again.

She did not have her full sight back yet, but the shifting colors of auras were coming slowly into focus. It was enough to let her see the silhouettes of everyone around her. Loki was wreathed in scarlet flame, with a muted area where he had belted a borrowed cloak around his waist like a kilt. The Storm kin, Anders was cloaked in a silver curtain of energy, and her guards were sheathed in the glittering white that was typical of Ice kin.

Nox sensed Grimm coming before anyone else saw him. She looked up from where she sat, happily ensconced in the circle of Loki’s arm, to see the golden nimbus that surrounded the hound ambling down the mountainside. She gave him an enthusiastic wave. “Welcome back Grimm! C’mon down, we have dinner waiting for you!”

Grimm’s ears perked up. “Dinner? I knew I liked you for a reason!” he teased.A jumble of browns and ochre bobbed down the hill after him, encased in a golden bubble.

Loki’s aura rippled as he let out a laugh. “Hey, he’s brought a present for us. They’re gift-wrapped and everything!”

Grimm snickered. “As requested. Four rogue Earth kin, alive and only slightly worse for the wear.”

From within the bubble, she heard Roland spit out a curse. “You bastard, Loki! I’ll kill you, and the little half-blood bitch as well!”

“Mind your manners, boy,” Grimm growled, and set the bubble to spinning. All four Earth kin cried out in dismay, smacking into each other with meaty thuds as they tumbled around. Grimm shook his head. “Sorry, that one seems to be too stupid to know when he’s beat.”

Nox stood up, and Loki quickly got up as well to take her hand and guide her steps. “Perhaps I can persuade him to see reason,” she said with a cool, dangerous smile. “Listen closely, mercenary. Your lives depend on it.”

Roland crawled out from beneath his cousins, pride sending spikes through his aura. “Mercenary? We are the Sons of Earth, true bloods of the House of Earth!”

Nox’s smile grew more deadly. “Oh, so you admit that your family sent you to make sure the mountain erupted?”

“What? No, we came on our own to avenge my brother!” Roland said, taken aback.

“Roald was also working as an assassin for the Morning Lord when he died,” Nox said. “Do you really think anyone will believe that you were here without your father knowing of it? No, I’d say it’s obvious that Earth has chosen to side with the man who tried to commit genocide on the Winter kin.”  She moved closer to look Roland right in the eye. “I intend to make sure everyone knows what you have done. You will not hide behind your false neutrality again. All four of you will march on foot through the lands affected by the eruption, with heralds to announce your crimes to all those who have suffered from them.”

The colors inside the bubble turned ghastly. One of Roland’s cousins shoved him aside. “You can’t do that to us. We’ll get torn to pieces! It was Roland that made the deal; we just helped him because he was family. You must understand!”

Roland shoved him back. “Shut up, you fool. She wants something, and you’re playing right into her hands.”

“You could be right, but it depends on if you have anything I want.” Nox crossed her arms and tilted her head a little to the side. “So, how much would your father pay to save your lives? And how much more for me to not tell the sordid tale?” she said, throwing Roland’s own threats back in his face.

The irony was not lost on the Earth kin. Nox could actually hear his teeth grinding.

“Fine,” Roald snarled. “Name your price.”

Nox tapped a finger against her lips, a speculative look on her face. “Hmm, I think a show of good faith on the part of Earth would be a start. There are some very important votes coming up, one in particular that may settle the dispute between the Morning Lord and my Lord Dragon,” she said, indicating Loki. “I’ll expect your father to choose the side of the rightful heir.”

Loki lifted Nox’s hand and kissed it. “Why thank you, luv.”

Roald glared murder at Loki. “Never! We will never support you!”

His cousins dragged him down and shouted over him, “Done!”

Nox inclined her head to acknowledge the bargain. “Furthermore, I think it’s time the House of Earth gave up its neutrality. You will join us or admit to your crimes and serve the Morning Lord openly.”

One of the men groaned and buried his head in his hands. “Lord Randolph is going to kill us.”

Roland fought free of his cousins. “Very well then,” he said. “We accept, and offer our parole to take your demands to my father.”

He sounded defeated, but his aura dripped with treachery.  The ploy to get free was so obvious that Nox had to work hard not to laugh in his face,

Grimm wasn’t buying it any more than she was. He let out an amused snort. “Parole requires that you have a shred of honor in you. I have not witnessed any.”

“Nor I,” Loki said.

Nox nodded. “Agreed. I am afraid you’ll have to stay in protective custody until arrangements can be made for your father to collect you. Guards,” she said, and a dozen Ice kin moved to surround the bubble. “Put them in the west tower. Roll them up the stairs if you have to.”

The guards all gave her a sharp salute, and proceeded to roll the bubble down the mountain with prods from the butts of their spears.

Loki threw back his head and howled with laughter. “That was beautiful! Just beautiful!”

Nox gave him an impish grin. “I thought you’d appreciate it. Father should enjoy it as well. He’s been trying to get Earth into an alliance for years.”

“I’m sure Lucien will be very proud,” Grimm said. “You know, if he doesn’t get back in time from securing the borders, you will have to stand in for him at the Convocation.”

“I know,” Nox said. “I think he may have planned it that way. It’s time I showed everyone why he insists on making me his heir.”

Grimm’s stomach let out a loud rumble. “Yes, but can we save the politics for after dinner?”

Nox giggled and gave the hound a hug. “You’re absolutely right. Dinner first, then we can take over the world!”


<–Previous   –Beginning–  Next ->

Flash Fiction – Earthbound August 7, 2012

Posted by techtigger in flash fiction.
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Grimm’s father had been a tall man. Not as broad shouldered as his son would become, but Aurelius never fought in heavy armor. He had been an amazing flyer though, and he taught Grimm everything he knew. One lesson in particular stuck out in Grimm’s mind – Aurelius had given him a crooked smile after a particularly rough landing, pulled him to his feet and ruffled his hair. “Never play chicken with the ground, son. It always wins.”

Two thousand years later, Grimm lay on his back in the furrow he had plowed with his un-planned landing. “You were right, Dad,” he said with a groan, wishing his father was still there to give him a hand up.  Grimm ached from head to foot.

A wrenching sensation caused him to let out a yelp. The last phase of Lucien’s spell kicked in, transforming him fully into a hound.  “Great, now I ache from nose to tail,” he grumbled.

Grimm heaved a sigh at the change. There was nothing he could do about it though, so there was no point in wasting time complaining. He rolled over to his side and shook his paws to get the pins-and-needles feeling out of them. His innate healing ability was already repairing any broken bones, but the prickling while it worked was maddening.

Footsteps crunched toward him through the gravel. The Earth kindred Grimm had been chasing came into sight, standing just out of reach on top of the pile of dirt.

“Well, well, well. I see the rumors that your curse had been broken were greatly exaggerated,” Roland said, with a smirk. “The Morning Lord will pay handsomely for news that you’re so weakened.”

Grimm flattened his ears. “Weakened? Come down here, little man, and I’ll give you a scar to match his.”

“If you were going to attack, you would have done so already,” Roland said. He knelt down, his chainmail jingling, and placed a palm flat on the ground. “That was a rough landing, Air kin. And sadly, your last.” He pushed down against the ground and let loose an Earth casting. The ground around his hand solidified into stone, and the casting flowed down into the crater.

“You are going to regret this,” Grimm growled.  The ground around him turned to solid stone, and the effect started creeping up over him. The hound locked eyes with his foe, unmoving, letting the casting roll over him until there was nothing left but a granite statue of a dog-faced gargoyle.

Roland let out an ugly laugh. “You’re right! I can’t leave you like this. I’ll have to change you back so I can bring your pelt to Balor. That should be worth enough to buy an estate, and a title to go with it.” Roland stood up with a satisfied smirk, and pulled a skinning knife out of a sheath on his belt. “You know, I had expected to see a lot more from the legendary Grimm.”

The gargoyle, motionless to this point, bared his teeth in wolfish smile. “If you insist.”

Roland stumbled backwards with a startled cry and tripped, his heel catching on a spur of rock. Grimm launched himself out of the pit and barreled into him, knocking him flat on his back. The hound carried so much momentum he trampled over his foe and kept going, skidding to a halt. He dug in his back paws and spun around, taking a swipe at Roland with a huge, granite paw. The Earth kin flew up into the air and slammed back down.

“How?” Roland gasped. “You should be dead!”

Changing into a gargoyle was one of the first tricks I learned,” Grimm snarled, and smacked him again. Roland tumbled wildly across the rocky ground and landed in a limp heap. Grimm loomed over him, his deep, rumbling growl shaking the ground. “Don’t bother playing dead. I know how much punishment an Earth kin can take.”

Roland tried to scramble away, his eyes darting about in search of a way to escape. “Are you really going to waste your time on me, when your Lady is still in danger?”

Grimm let out a bark of laughter. “Lady Ice can take care of herself. Give up, boy. You are going to kneel before her and face justice, with or without all your limbs broken.”  The hound stalked menacingly toward him. “So, which will it be?”

——————-

When Nox sensed Grimm checking on her through their soul-bond, she lied through her teeth and told him she was okay.  She wasn’t sure what possessed her to do that – Loki still lay on top of her, turned to stone by Roland’s earth casting. He was still alive, but she only knew that from the heat radiating from him. The weight of him was crushing her, and the scorching fires within him only made things worse. Even if she had told Grimm the truth though, the chance he could get there in time to do anything was slim to none.

Oddly enough though, she wasn’t afraid.  She had logic on her side.

“Okay,” Nox said, thinking out loud. “I’m going to share Grimm’s fate. But I doubt he’s going to be crushed under the statue of naked man.” She let out a breathless little laugh mental image that conjured. “Definitely not. And if Loki is still hot, then he’s fighting the Earth casting and keeping some of his weight off me, or I’d be flattened already. So, what do I have left to work with?”

There wasn’t much. Her mother’s spell had robbed her of nearly everything – Ice, Air, her sight – but she could still work sorcery. “Healing,” she said. “I can buy myself some time, and if Grimm is a healer I should share in that, right?”

Loki didn’t answer. Unless his furnace-hot breath on her cheek was a reply, but she doubted it. She shook her head, realizing that lack of oxygen was making her mind wander.  She mumbled a simple healing cantrip, and her thoughts immediately sharpened with the brief respite it provided.

She gulped in a few deep breaths. “Good, now how does Grimm do this?”

The answer came unexpectedly. A sharp, blinding jab of pain came through their soul-bond, and Grimm’s thoughts turned inward. She saw a quick vision of a tall, black haired man that looked a lot like Girmm, and then it was replaced with a sudden prickling rush of energy.

The last time he used his healing powers, Nox was in no shape to see what he was doing. Not so now, and she silently followed the flow of energy through him back to its source.

It wasn’t Air. It was simply an innate gift, completely separate from the elements. Which meant her mother’s spell wouldn’t cut it off!

Excitement flooded through Nox. She knew how to do this! It didn’t matter if her healing ability was latent, hadn’t she just spent years studying ways to increase her stunted powers over Ice? She took a few slow, deep breaths to calm down, and focused on finding the same pathways in herself that Grimm had used to channel the energy. Her breathing slowed further as she dropped into a meditative trance, one that her mother had taught her when preparing to cast a healing spell.

Somewhere, deep down inside her the same energy Grimm had used fluttered to life, like a tiny bird battering against the bars of a cage. Nox chipped away at the blockage that held it back. The energy grew, prickling, tingling, just out of reach but she knew it was there. “C’mon, almost there!”

She threw her formidable will against it – and the energy burst forth like a flood. Nox threw back her head and let out an inarticulate cry as the tidal wave of energy surged through her veins. It flowed out from her and poured into Loki, breaking the Earth casting as it set his body back to rights.

Nox felt Loki roll off of her. He was saying something to her but she couldn’t make out the words. The energy still poured out and she wrestled with it, trying to stem the flow. Her heart started fluttering madly, and she broke out into a cold sweat. She vaguely remembered reading in Galen’s journal that sometimes the healer went too far, and drained themselves out.  “Don’t panic, don’t panic!” she told herself.

“Don’t panic, little one.” Grimm’s voice echoed through their soul-bond. “Here, slow it down like this.” His thoughts were calm, and wrapped around hers like someone holding her hand. Step by step, he helped her get the energy under control, and brought it back to where it waited inside her, like a still pond. “You are truly Galen’s heir. No one can doubt you know,” he said.

Nox felt Loki’s warm hand brush her hair away from her face. “Are you okay? Luv, please talk to me!”

She gave him a tired, but radiant smile. “I’m fine. I’m a healer!”


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This flashfic is part of an ongoing web serial, updated regularly 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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