Well, I made it through yesterday in one piece. Sort of. Honestly, after walking two and a half miles yesterday I actually felt worse than I did walking ten and a half miles the Saturday before. I think the biggest difference was that yesterday it was in the mid-80s F/30 C with a bit of humidity, and I wasn’t doing a very good job of staying hydrated. Fortunately, the air conditioning is now working in my apartment, so after a nice shower I just sort of lead in my chair and watch television.
Also, because I am spent most of the day holding a rather large sign, I wasn’t able to take a lot of photos. It doesn’t mean I didn’t get a photo taken–
See, right there. Out doing the protest thing.
From the looks of it, there were perhaps a hundred to two hundred people outside where the Cheeto in Chief was speaking, while there was perhaps close to a thousand people in the march I was in on the other side of the tracks. And while we did put in an appearance, I, and a few other people, certainly felt there could have been more present. But, you take what you can get.
Today there has been writing, and this time I managed to get up over eight hundred words. Part of what I wrote today involves Deanna in a certain spirit we all know and love speaking in a language that required me to do a lot of translating. And what comes next is going to be even more fun–it’s only a question of how get to it tonight or have to wait until tomorrow to write that part. As it is, I’m almost 3000 words ahead of you now, which is why I’m dumping the rest of the last scene out today.
Besides, this part needs to go together. It would make any point to split it up just to keep the excerpts coming…
(The following excerpts from The Foundation Chronicles, Book Three: C For Continuing, copyright 2016 by Cassidy Frazee)
Annie let out a happy sigh. “You can’t imagine.”
“Oh, I can imagine. My first time inside the Astral Realm was performed one-on-one with my instructor. I spent at least half of our time on the other side of The Curtain mesmerized by the sights; it’s an incredible place.” The smile on her face softened slightly. “But even then I was aware it can also be an incredibly dangerous place. And it’s my intention that you know the same.”
A comfortable silence passed between Annie and Kerry for a few moments, and Kerry turned to his instructor. “Anytime you go somewhere incredibly beautiful, you have to deal with the possibility of extreme danger. They seem to go hand-in-hand.”
“That’s so true, Kerry. But there’s a danger in the Astral Realm that few people consider when they first enter.”
Deanna cocked her head slightly to one side as her smile turned into a near smirk. “Saturation.”
This was a term with which Annie was not familiar. “What’s Saturation?”
There are a lot of unfamiliar terms that we encounter in this story. And like with most of those terms, I generally offer some sort of explanation as to their meaning. This one isn’t any different. So, you want to tell us about it, Deanna?
“Saturation is when you have too much mystical energy with which to craft. Think about it: when you’re on the other side of The Curtain, one is surrounded by nothing but mystical energy, so when crafting a spell one has to be careful with how they draw in energy. Here, we overcharge our spells by crafting them with an overabundance of mystical energy; do the same thing in the Astral Realm and you’ll saturate your spell with so much energy it’s liable to blow up in your face.” Deanna gave both children a half smile. “There’s many an inexperienced witch who came to an untimely end because they were unaware of the amount of mystical energy they were using.
“Here’s the best analogy I have found to compare crafting in the Physical Realm and Astral Realm. In this realm, the energy required to craft a spell comes through the witch’s body, which in reality is being drawn into their body through their aura, their only connection on this side of The Curtain to the Astral Realm. In that sense, mystical energy is pulled into a spell as if one were drawing it through a spigot.
“In the Astral Realm, however, one is surrounded by a literal ocean of mystical energy, so finding the energy needed to craft a spell isn’t difficult.” This time Deanna chuckled. “Though all of us know the danger we face if we find ourselves dropped into the middle of the ocean—
Kerry nodded. “Even if you know how to swim, you always run the risk of drowning.”
Annie found no difficulty in understanding these analogies. “Then crafting in the Astral Realm is a bit like crafting Shadow Ribbons: one needs a somewhat deft touch when crafting.”
“That’s exactly what it’s like. Instead of needing a massive amount of energy to power your spell, one finds a thimble full will do.” Deanna pointed toward the cabinet in the corner where the kettle and cups were kept. “Would you both care for some refreshment before we go?”
Kerry watched Annie for visual clues, knowing she was eager to get on with today’s exercise. He needed only a few seconds to determine that tea was the furthest thing from Annie’s mind. “Naw, I’m good.”
Annie nearly found it impossible to hide or temper her excitement. “I would prefer to enjoy some tea after we return.”
“Then by all means, we should began.”
Backlash, which has been mentioned a few times in these novels, is what happens when crafting doesn’t go quite as one expects in the spell turns back on the crafter. Saturation is a little like that, but only in the sense that if you’re not paying attention to how much energy your pumping into a spell, said spell can blow up in your face–and probably take a portion of your face with with the explosion. Not what one would call the most pleasant of situations.
Now you can finally begin to understand why Deanna was so eager to start Annie and Kerry on this advanced study course. While it’s likely they would have discovered these things during their own investigations, the possibility also exists that they wouldn’t have fully understand it be implications of their book learning until it turned around and bit them on the ass. Going all the way back to their A Levels, this is exactly what happened down in the Spell Cell when Annie was crafting Cold Fire and Kerry was putting together time spells. They knew what they were doing: they simply didn’t realize what would’ve happened had things not gone according to plans.
Now that the explanations are out of the way all that remains is the curtain pulling…
Deanna moved to the east side of the room before turning and facing the opposite wall. She motioned for Annie and Kerry to get behind her before she began crafting: once they were in position she raised her arms as she slightly lowered her head.
She appeared deep in concentration for about five seconds before a pinpoint of light appeared at about eye level three meters from her position. The pinpoint grew wider, appearing to twist around in a circle as it went from being no larger than the diameter of the finger, to that of a tennis ball, and onward. The light inside the circle appeared bright and shimmery and while it did not grow in intensity as the circle grew wider, the various hues grew more numerous and brilliant as they came better into view.
In a matter of perhaps ten seconds the multicolored circle was perhaps two and a half meters in diameter. With the opening now connected to the Physical Realm, the faintest whisper of sound entered the room, existing just on the edge of hearing.
Deanna stepped up to the circle, which ended just above the floor, and stepped over the threshold into whatever existed on the other side. There was a brilliant flaring around her body as her aura came into view, a brilliant combination of shifting colors shot through with violets and pinks. She moved about three meters beyond the edge of the circle. While the divination instructor looked about Annie move slightly to her left to confirm that Deanna no longer existed within the Physical Realm: she didn’t.
After ensuring that everything was fine, Deanna turned back toward the entrance and faced her students. “Well, come on.” She waved them towards her.
Annie reached out and to Kerry’s hand. “Ready?”
“Sure am.” They stepped up to the threshold of the circle and Kerry motioned for Annie to move on. “Lady Dark Witches first.” He held onto her hand as she stepped through and followed her moments later.
Annie and Kerry moved alongside their instructor and remain close. Deanna looked back at the circle and, with a glint of determination in her eye, waved her right hand upward—
The glowing circle collapsed upon itself.
The classroom was empty.
And there they go, off into the Astral Realm to find a whole new world. Though I wouldn’t expect Deanna to begin sings songs while they ride around on a magic carpet–
Maybe she’ll leave the singing to Kerry. He’s got a good voice… I