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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!”

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1. Mari Juniper - August 17, 2012

Excellent, Angie! This feels like the story is approaching a closure. Do you have a forecast?

techtigger - August 19, 2012

no, not done yet 🙂 I was trying to get back to having each episode be able to stand alone, but i may just go back to cliffhangers and longer story arcs. Any votes on which style you prefer?

techtigger - August 20, 2012

actually, i may just post the name of the next episode 🙂 Coming next week , (title here)… 🙂

Mari Juniper - August 21, 2012

I like all the options, actually. Although you kill me with your cliffhangers I sort of love them in a masochist kind of way… lol.

So I’d say, use this opportunity to experiment as much as you like. I’m up for it all! 😀

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