Time Be Time

So here we are, back where we should be.  Or lease where I should be.  And at long last, you’ve caught up to the same scene I’m working on.  Though, if I’m able to get in an hour or two of writing tonight, that won’t last too long because I nearly finished the scene last night.  I only stopped because it was getting tired and I needed to do a few things before going to bed.

Today’s excerpt brings us to Advanced Spells, Wednesday’s class on Wednesday nights.  Believe it or not, I’m still a little proud of the whole “Wednesdays with Wednesday” saying I put together back in the first novel, and this is the first time we visited her class since then.  We don’t get into classes all that much, simply because the story isn’t about just learning magic and slinging spells: it’s about a couple of interesting kids who happened to be witches.  But every once in a while you get to find out what they’re doing in class, and this group of excerpts that have been running for a few weeks show just that.

Since we’ve had the opportunity to see what’s going on in some of the other classes, it’s only fair that we get to see a special night in Advanced Spells.

 

(The following excerpts from The Foundation Chronicles, Book Three: C For Continuing, copyright 2016 by Cassidy Frazee)

 

“Time: what is it?” Wednesday Douglas looked around the semi circle of students who made up her Advanced Spells class. “There are some who would say it’s a river; there are some that say it’s a stream from which we can never escape. There are some who say it is a logical progression of cause to effect, though there are few of us here who know that’s not true.” She winked at Kerry as a way of keeping him from saying what she knew he was going to say and replied to her comment.

Wednesday love the expressions on the faces of her students. It seemed to be divided halfway between those who understood the concept completely and were comfortable in their understanding of time, and those who seemed utterly confused by what they were about to discuss and do next, particularly when it came to her two new students.

Though her Advanced Spells class had remained static the previous year, this year saw a couple of changes. For one Hasumati Choughury, one of two Blodeuwedd students, graduated and moved on to her year of Real Life Experience. Though she was usually quiet, Hasumati had been one of her most attentive and had usually been among the first of her students to work out and master a spell.

But she offset this loss with the addition of two new students. The first was Naomi Rohner, an Åsgårdsreia coven girl from Switzerland who was short, blonde, spoke French and German fluently, and asked a lot of questions during Beginning Spells. The second was Subhan Najafi, a quiet yet intense boy from Pakistan who was a member of Mórrígan coven. Though he’d experienced some initial difficulty finding himself surrounded by so many people from all parts of the world, by the end of his first month he become completely at ease with who he was and where he was receiving instruction.

Her two new students where the ones who seemed the most confused by her opening remarks, though Serafina, her remaining Blodeuwedd student, also seemed a little confused, which wasn’t surprising since Serafina seem to have a bit of an issue with time in general. Which was likely why their past work in the upcoming spell casting had always given her something of a problem…

 

Yah gotta keep Kerry from answering the question “What is Time?” because, by now, everyone in the damn school probably knows what he’s going to say.  Wednesday sure did and cut him off before a single word slipped from his mouth.

The classes are changing, too.  We’ve seen a student graduate and leave Formulistic Magic and now we have someone who’s done the same here.  But two new students have entered the fold and just as Annie and Kerry did when they were nearly brand new A Levels, they are feeling a bit intimidated by the older kids.  Give it another month and they’ll not have a problem.  Or they’ll have burned the joint down.  Either one is possible.

What is it about time that bothers witches?  Let’s find out–

 

Finished with her dramatic pause, Wednesday continued. “All of us here know that time is far more complicated and far more simpler than that. All of us have worked with time spells in this class—with varying degrees of success, I might say.” She smiled at Serafina, who rolled her eyes in response. “There are even some witches who are in possession of the Jump Gift, and are actually able to make small movements up and down the timeline.” She half smiled as she shrugged. “I’ve read about what happens to these people if they make a mistake with their gift, and the results are not pretty.

“That’s because time is a rather unforgiving element of reality. Everyone here has experienced a mild version of Backlash whenever they weren’t precise enough in their crafting. For those witches were adept at manipulating time, even the smallest miscalculation in their crafting can result in some rather horrendous Backlash. There was an old ad on American television that said ‘It’s not nice to fool Mother Nature’. That’s so true, ’cause when it comes to a screw-up in time, Mother Nature can be a rather foul bitch.

“Now, the sort of Backlash were talking about here occurs were trying to do major disruptions in the time stream. However, you’ve all dealt with what we would consider minor disruptions of the time stream—like when we set up enchantments to produce time variations inside closed rooms. All the lower-level coven kitchens have them and some of the study rooms and labs have them as well, so we know, if done right, there are no dangers and playing with time.

“What we are dealing with tonight are individual time spells, the kind that we can use to assist us in everyday tasks, or to help us out where we need something extra when crafting our spells.” Wednesday ignored the pained looks from Serafina and Chunghee Pang, her Ceridwen coven student from South Korea. Though she knew they could handle the crafting, nether student was particularly fond of time spells. “I know we went over this a few times in the last couple of years and it hasn’t exactly been something that the majority of you have enjoyed. I myself am not a huge fan of time spells, but I recognize their usefulness. And I want everyone in this room, before they graduate, to recognize the same.”

 

If what happened to Helena on a certain day in September isn’t an indication of what sort of beating nature can give you if you fuck around with time without considering what you’re about to do, then you won’t mind if the world goes all Donny Darko on your ass and pound you into the ground.  When messing with time you better bring your A Game–

I wonder if there’s anyone in this class who’s gotten really good with time spells?

Magic With a Touch of Science

Well, finally.  I seem to be back on the blog, though it’s slow due to having a few days off on the road and a ton of work to do on the writing side that will likely keep my busy for a week.  Such is my curse.

Anyway…  here’s the last of Jessica’s class, and this puts you, the reader, within four thousand words of where I’m at right this moment.  I’m not worried, but I am feeling the pressure:  produce or die.  Well, maybe not die, but something along those lines.  I hear ya and hope to keep working.

As it was we left off with The Two Jordanas and it’s what some people call “a moment”:

 

(The following excerpts from The Foundation Chronicles, Book Three: C For Continuing, copyright 2016 by Cassidy Frazee)

 

Both students stared at each other in disbelief for nearly five seconds before Jordana looked up at Jessica and spoke in a choked voice. “He’s the same height as me.”

A low chuckle slip from between Jessica’s lips. “You mean ‘she’, don’t you?”

Kerry bristled slightly when he heard Jessica use the pronoun “she”, but rather than dwell on the matter he stepped in before Jordana could argue. “When you Compressed her, it affected her aura, too, didn’t it?” He looked away for second as he dispelled the uneasiness felt by speaking in such a strange voice that wasn’t his, and yet, was.

Jessica nodded. “That’s exactly what happened. In an inanimate object it’s not necessary to worry about affecting an aura because they don’t have one. With living creatures, however, their aura adjusts along with their physical size.” Jessica moved closer, appearing to tower over both children. “That’s why when you Mimicked her, Kerry, you matched her size exactly.

“Now I want to do something else—” Jessica squared her shoulders as she turned towards the real Jordana. She moved her hands in front of the girl’s face and seconds later, as the spell dissipated, she was back to her normal size. Jessica nodded in the direction of the other students. “Go sit down.” She stared down at Kerry. “When I give the word, I want you to change back to your original self.”

He understood what Jessica wanted to show, though he was a bit skeptical if things were going to work the way he expected they were supposed to work. “No problem.”

“All right then…” Jessica waited five more seconds to allow the anticipation to build. “Change back now.”

Kerry concentrated on going back to the way he was, back to his original body. It was what he’d always done when he’d mimicked before and given that he never had a problem then, he didn’t expect one now. As always, there was a second of disorientation as his form changed, only this time the disorientation hit him just a little harder as he instantly grew eight centimeters.

He threw out his hands as if to steady himself. “Whoa.” He let out a sigh as he grinned at Jessica. “Back to my old self.”

 

At least we know Kerry’s fears of not going back to Boy Kerry were unfounded, so he’s nice and happy.  But, the pronoun dig…  Jessica was actually chuckling at Jordana’s discomfort, but Kerry felt the hit only because–well, misgendering is a real issue for him one of these days.  Not right now, but it makes one wonder how does someone handle those pronouns when you’re using magic to pretend to be someone on the other end of the gender binary?  Not easy to figure out–though it really is when you think about it.

Now, the title mentions science and here it comes.  Enjoy.

 

“That’s because your original aura was unaffected.” Jessica alternated her glances between Kerry and the rest of the class as she spoke. “As I explained once before, Kerry’s original aura possesses a sort of memory of his original form, which includes his current shape and size. This is why when he Mimics back to, well, his original form, he doesn’t have to go through any additional transformation magic. Mimicking wouldn’t be worth a damn if you can go back to being your old self after being someone new.” She looked at Kerry and motioned towards the chairs. “You can sit down now.”

With everyone in their seats Jessica was able to continue with the lesson. “Now, the advanced form of Compress treat size and mass the same. While it is possible to reduce the height, and consequently size, of a living creature to a maximum of about fifteen percent of its original volume, you’re only able to reduce the mass of the original, at that size, to about thirty percent of the original weight. While this doesn’t exactly work the same way as the Normal version of the square-cube law, it does present an interesting limitation in that we can’t take something the size of a car and compress it so it’s small enough to carry comfortably in our backpacks.” Jessica gave everyone an interesting grin as she looked around the room. “That doesn’t mean there aren’t witches who haven’t tried: it’s just that their level of success varies.

“Now, while this means that when Kerry goes off on the Polar Express next calendar year, he’ll be able to take about thirty kilos of equipment and stuff all of that into his backpack and it will weigh right around ten kilos. That comes in very handy for those times in the future we decide you want to do hiking and you need to bring along a tent and sleeping bags and food and water, but you don’t feel like carrying around fifty kilos of gear. Though trust me: I’m sure after Kerry’s been flying for eight hours with that ten kilos on his back, he’s going to wish it weighed a lot less.

“Using advanced Compress on humans, however, can make it difficult to maintain an illusion that a very small person looks like a child is not what they seem. For example—” Jessica pulled out her tablet and checked the display. “Jordana is 165 centimeters, so if I was the Compress her down to twenty percent of her size, should be the approximate height of a two-year-old girl. However—Jordana, how much do you weigh?”

The El Salvadoran girl wasn’t the least bit embarrassed to give this information. “Sixty-six kilos.”

“Sixty-six kilos. That means when she’d reduced to the size of a two-year-old, her weight would be around twenty-six and a half kilos, which would put her weight around what is considered average for a seven-year-old girl.” Jessica levitated her tablet over to her desk and set it down. “Anyone trying to pick her up would immediately notice a discrepancy between the size and the overall mass, and they’d wonder what was wrong.” She once again looked around the room from student to student opening her point wasn’t missed. “For those of you who might decide to use this form of transformation to achieve that sort of effect, it’s something you need to keep in mind.”

Kerry raised his hand and spoke once he was acknowledged. “If I were to mimic, say, a six-year-old, would my weight match theirs, or would it go against the same sort of limitation we see with the Compress spell?”

Jessica already knew this answer. “Since your Mimicking Gift bases your appearance off the aura of the person you’re mimicking, you’re going to match them in every category, including weight.” She gave a slight grin. “Quite an advantage you have there.”

As there was not much left to say, Jessica was ready to start the evening’s class. “All right then.” She clapped her hands together and began rubbing them like she was eager to start. “Who wants to be the first guinea pig in this miniaturization game?”

 

Now, in case anyone isn’t paying attention, there’s no Ant Man shit going on here, though no one has said anything about expanding things–  I would imagine that has a whole new set of issues that requires a bit of ingenious dealing on the part of the crafter.

And speaking of ingenious crafters, it’s time to learn about time.  No, really…

Eastward Into the Sunset

No, I don’t have a novel excerpt.  I don’t have an excerpt of any kind today.  It’s nearly 2 o’clock in the afternoon and I’m sitting in the first toll plaza in Western Ohio as you head eastward.  It’s called Tiffin River, though I don’t know if there is a river nearby. I do know I snapped the fingernail completely off as I was sitting down, but I think it was already broken.

Happy arriving–

 

Though a moment later the bitch face is strong.

I’ve been up since about five-thirty and pretty much been on the go since getting up.  But my business in Indiana is finished and I don’t have to return until June.  So what I have ahead of me is at least another nine hours of driving, which should put me back in Harrisburg sometime around midnight.  This isn’t the first time I’ve run this route, and it certainly won’t be the last.

The next five or six days is going to see me writing like mad. I have three TV recaps I need to do and I likely won’t get them done until this time next week.  Thanks, AMC, for screwing up the schedule of the show I’m recapping and dumping a whole month’s worth of programming in two weeks.  You don’t make a girl’s job easy.  And I’ve spent too much time in the current chapter I need to really get going on it, as I’m getting really close to one hundred and fifty thousand words.  It just seems like it’s taking me forever to get there.

This is what happens when life gets in the way.

So, I can’t dillydally long here at Tiffin River, because once I get back to The Burg it’s off to bed because at 5 AM tomorrow I need to get up and start getting ready for work.  Then I’ll drive off and get my nail repaired, and then I’ll go home and unpack.  It just never seems to end, doesn’t it?

If there’s one thing that could be said about the morning drive to this part of Ohio that is good, it’s that I figured out how the series ends.  I pretty much have the exact ending worked out in my head and even walk through some of the dialogue. Needless to say, there were quite a few tears shed as I figured it out.  But, it’s a good ending. I just need to write it.  One of these days.

Yeah, my kids are probably getting lonely.  I haven’t been paying much attention to them of late and they need to get their stories told.  I even worked out another scene over breakfast this morning that involves Annie and Kerry–and Emma.  Needless to say, Emma is feeling a bit uncomfortable, and there’s good reason for that.  When will you see that?  Sometime in this novel: that’s a guarantee.  Now spend all your time trying to figure out what it is that’s happening…

No matter what you may think it is, it isn’t.

Fearing an Unknown Known

Believe it or not I’m fairly busy this morning.  Yeah, I know, it sounds like I’m doing nothing but running around today and the reality is, I am.  I’m gonna go do taxes and about ninety minutes then after that I have to drop off some papers to change accounts due to my name change, and as soon as I’m done with this post I have to call my insurance agent and get things changed on my name as well.  Yes, I know, I could’ve done this last year. I didn’t. Sue me.

So what you’re going to get is a quick and dirty excerpt from the scene we’ve been in for a while, but haven’t heard from for a few days due to me being on the road.  Doesn’t mean I haven’t been writing, but it does mean I haven’t been posting much. At least not much of the novel.  But now you get to see that.

So we pick up right after Jordana has been made a little smaller by the Mistress of Transformation.  And she has something else she wants to show now…

 

(The following excerpts from The Foundation Chronicles, Book Three: C For Continuing, copyright 2016, 2017 by Cassidy Frazee)

 

“I just—” Jordana shut her mouth quickly, for she knew the wrong word could see her being punished in ways she wouldn’t find pleasant. “I was thinking that you would only make me a few centimeters shorter than Kerry, that’s all.”

“That’s exactly what you are: a few centimeters shorter than Kerry.” The wicked grin that had appeared earlier crossed Jessica’s face once more. “Eight centimeters shorter, if we were correct in our first assessment. Isn’t that right, Kerry?”

He gave a quick nod. “Yeah, we kinda figured out that she was a couple centimeters taller than me.”

“Which means that now we’ve seen how the spell works at the advanced levels, I want to show the class something else.” Jessica waived her right hand and conjured a poncho-like cloak. She held it towards Kerry. “Would you put this on, please?”

As Kerry took the cloak he began feeling a nervousness that he suspected Jordana was feeling moments earlier. He slipped it on over his head and let it fall to his sides, with the him coming to a point just below his knees. He made a few adjustments and then stood staring at Jessica. “Is this okay?”

She nodded. “That’s perfect.” She turned to the other three students. “I want to show you an unseen aspect of the Compress spell.” She half turned Kerry and pointed at him. “I want you to Mimic Jordana.”

Kerry exchange looks with his fellow classmate, but before he could say anything she turned to Jessica. “Professor, you know I don’t—”

“I don’t give a shit what you don’t like.” Jessica took a step forward as she crossed her arms and glared at the girl. “We spoke about this last year and we will not discuss it again. So unless you want to end up half a meter tall for the next twenty-four hours, you won’t complain when Kerry Mimics you, nor will you afterwords.” She leaned forward slightly, her dark eyes emotionless. “Are we clear?”

Jordana glanced downward as she swallowed once. “Yes, Professor.”

Jessica nodded slightly, content that she had gotten her point across. She glanced at Kerry. “Go ahead: do it.”

 

Jessica is apparently still pissed at Jordana for not wanting to be mimic the year before, and she’s not playing that game this year.  So this is sort of her revenge and like it or not, Jordana is going to get a twin sister.

Although, it seems as if the erstwhile twin may be having second thoughts of his own–

 

There was a moment where Kerry felt an incredible amount of fear gripped him internally, because he knew what he was about to do wasn’t simply a matter of using his Mimic Gift and becoming a duplicate of Jordana. Near the end of the last school year Annie and he were shown the video of the time he had Mimicked Sudarat and Kaisa, so he was aware that in the process of Mimicking a girl there was a moment where he was his female self—Girl Kerry, as Annie called her.

He wasn’t worried that the others would see this: it happened so quickly that no one saw it happened this last March. But he was immediately gripped with an irrational fear that when it came time to drop the Mimic and return to himself—

What if he stayed Girl Kerry?

He closed his eyes enforce the notion from his mind. He had been reassured, time and again, that he could only transition into his female self after the first involuntary transition occurred, so any fear he had now about his Mimicking going wrong was unfounded.

He opened his eyes and stared straight ahead as he imagine himself to be Jordana. He threw his willpower into the transformation—

Less than a second later he was eye to eye with the real Jordana.

 

Kerry’s got that clock ticking, ticking, ticking, and he’s aware that the moment he mimics Jordana there will be a moment when he’s going to turn into that cute little redhead that he’s only seen in his dreams–oh, and in a video as well.  It’s legitimate for Kerry to fear that the moment he changes back he may not change back to himself–well, at least not the self he was when he walked in the room that night.  Even though he’s been told many times that what he’s worrying about is impossible, that doesn’t prevent the Ginger Hair Boy from thinking that they impossible could happen.  After all, for a while in his life he grew up believing magic wasn’t possible and he certainly proved that shit wrong.

So, we finally get to see The Two Jordana’s together and both appear to be about the same size.  Maybe if I’m not to rush for time tomorrow you get to find out why…

Got Those Going Westward Highway Blues

Saturday is usually the day I’ve got video for you, usually being the operative word.this time, however, I’m at Glacier Hills Travel Plaza, which is the first place along my westward trip back to Indiana that I’ve been able to get a good Wi-Fi signal.  I knew I would get a good one here as I’ve use this location many times before for blogging, so that’s exactly what I’m doing now, at ten-twenty in the morning.

As you can see I’m hard at work.

And even though I had eaten a while ago back in the darkness of Breezewood, Pennsylvania, there’s a Panera here, and wherever there’s a Panera, I have to get my favorite breakfast food–

Just call me Souffle Girl.

I never had the chance to do video last night.  I had to write a TV recap, I had to eat, I had to pack.  By the time I have a free moment to do video, it was nearly 10 PM, and I probably would’ve been up to close to midnight getting everything set up.  So, instead, I’m giving you a little vignette of my travels on the road and hoping that you are enjoying the view I’m presenting.

The travel here has been cloudy for the most part, and are times when it appears that I’m entering the set of Stephen King’s The Mist.  In fact, there was even a short stretch, right before I hit the Allegheny Mountain, where I was getting a bit of snow.  I don’t think I’ll hit snow now because it’s far too warm, but it looks as if I’m going to be in a lot of the gray clouds the whole way home.  Which is fine by me, for I know how to navigate in cloudy weather.

Maybe I’ll do a video tomorrow for my old library back in Valparaiso, Indiana, and you’ll have the opportunity to see all the books I left behind.  One of these days I’ll have them back with me: for now, however, they have to stay in Indiana.  Besides, it’s not like I have time to read anymore these days: I’m just way too busy.

I’m actually considering doing a post this week on science fiction movies and TV shows, one that I’ve wanted to do for a while.  It would be a Baker’s Dozen style list, the original of which I first developed her back around 2002 and have updated from time to time.  I keep saying I’m going to do this, but something always seems to get in the way of me doing it. Maybe this would be a good one to prepare for Tuesday morning, when I hope to be back on the road heading eastward to Pennsylvania.  That way you’ll have something to read while I’m spending another 11 to 12 hours driving back to Harrisburg.

I’m taking my time driving westward so I’m not all burned out by the time I get home. I’d like to be able to do some writing tonight, but I can do that if I’m falling asleep at 9 o’clock.  So I’m stopping like every eighty or ninety miles to relax, grab something to eat, and maybe even get some coffee so I don’t get too spacey behind the wheel.  I’ve been in that position before and it’s not enjoyable; the second time I tried driving back to Indiana I nearly fell asleep at the wheel and wrecked.  Believe me, that lesson has stayed with me a long time.

In a few minutes I’ll be shutting down the computer and getting back on the road.  I’m charging up my phone and I’ll be listening to my YouTube playlist, Music From San Junipero, across the state of Ohio.  It will take me about three and a half hours to traverse the state and that playlist runs three hours and forty-two minutes, so I’ll be looking for new playlist about ten miles inside the Eastern Indiana border.  Fortunately I bought a lot of data last night, so I’m not anticipating running out anytime soon.  I’ve been listening to music for the last couple of hours going through Pennsylvania and it’s made driving a far more enjoyable experience.  I’ve also thought about Annie and Kerry making the same trip, although they would probably fly if they had the opportunity.  Or jaunt.  Anything but drive.  ‘Cause like it or not, driving is reserved for us mere Normals.

Ah, if only we could do magic…

“Humans”, Season 2, Episode 5, “Ends and Odds”

With three episodes to go, we finally get in to one of the biggest mysteries ever–

The Snarking Dead TV Recaps

[Image via AMC] I apologize that the recap is coming a little late but life is a bitch and it doesn’t want to cut me any slack. That and I’ll be busy as hell the next three or four days, so expect the next one to come day or two late as well.

The fifth episode of Humans seem a bit scattered even though there was plenty going on, but by the end it all tied up nicely. Never the mind: we’re ready to get started.

Factory Reset:

As expected, Mia (Gemma Chan) was sold out—literally. When she’s powered up she finds herself chained up in the back of a van with Ed (Sam Palladio) standing there explaining that he has to keep his mom in the home, so he’s in need of some fast, hard cash, and he’s going to get it by selling Mia to an anonymous buyer. She manages to…

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