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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!”

<–Previous   –BeginningNext ->

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.



1. Mari Juniper - August 8, 2012

Thanks for this, darling. Waiting for next shot now. lol

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