The Short Suppositions

So here we are, the final post of 2014, but the penultimate writing for The Novel That Wouldn’t End.  But that’s not true anymore, either.  Sitting here on the cusp of a new year, there are seventeen remaining scenes, split among five chapters and two parts.  And once those are finished, then it’s The End time and I can take a bit of a rest and figure out what comes next.  There’s also the possibility that I’m going to add one last scene, because the final scene in the novel is really two-in-one, and I do love splitting that stuff up.

The funny thing is I don’t remember writing a lot last night.  Getting into Google Docs and having a friend help with editing another project I’m working on, yeah, that took a while, but when I comes to the novel it didn’t seem like I wrote a great deal–and yet, there’s two thousand and sixty-six words in the scene, and that’s not something to brush aside.

But what were those words?  Questions asked by Erywin, questions answered by Helena, and, it would seem, and understanding between them of what may lay ahead for my kids.

None of this are happy thoughts, but then what are at this point?

 

All excerpts, this page, from The Foundation Chronicles, Book One: A For Advanced, copyright 2013, 2014, by Cassidy Frazee)

Erywin took a long, deep breath before asking her next question. “Any news on Ruth?”

“According to the people who were doing clean-up, the woman you fought was her doppelgänger. They’ve checked up on her family and they’d fine—mother, father, younger brother, all still alive. She probably left in a hurry from home just like fake Kaden did.” Helena shook her head. “As far as the real Ruth is concerned, we’ll never see her again. The Deconstructors are good at disposing bodies: they either dissolved her after leaching as many memories as they could from her, or dumped her in the middle of nowhere.” She slipped her hand from Erywin’s and folded both in her lap. “I figured a team’s looking into the matter now, and by this time tomorrow Ruth McRoberts will have never existed.”

Erywin hated hearing such news. “Such a waste. The girl has one year of school with Tanith, and for that she dies. Not to mention I hate it when women join up with the Deconstructors—”

“Our struggle stopped being the matriarchy verses the patriarchy a long time ago, my dear. May as get used to the fact there are as many pissed off female witches these days as there are male who aren’t buying into what The Foundation is offering.”

 

Just as they would have done had Kerry and Emma died, it looks like the Guardians are going in and “harmonize”, as they would say, the McRoberts Family with the new reality.  You don’t have a daughter; you never did.  And everyone who ever knew her will forget she existed.  Maybe Tanith will remember her, but she’ll never know that the girl she was talking to the day before she met Annie and Kerry was an impostor.

Also, in that last statement from Helena, you get a tiny glimmer of The Foundation/Deconstructor brouha.  Is it really as simply as a battle between the genders?  Hum . . . you’ll probably find out if I ever get around to writing the third novel.

Something else is on Erywin’s mind . . .

 

“True.” Erywin had been carrying a question since they arrived at the CDC, and she needed it answered. “Why didn’t they attack the children right away? Why did they wait?”

“Could be any number of reasons.” Helena had wondered about this as well. “Best answer I can come up with is miscommunication on the Deconstructor’s part. When Tanith left early fake Kaden probably didn’t check with fake Ruth to see when they were suppose to get together. He probably then told the third member of the party to get over to the mall and get some eyes on Tanith, and by the time he got there Annie and Kerry had already hooked up with Tanith and were on their way to the park.” Helena crossed her legs. “That would explain fake Kaden leaving in a hurry: once they realized there were Foundation witches with Tanith, there was a need to get everyone on site in a hurry. And then the kids went invisible and silent, you were laying low, so . . .” She shrugged. “They threw up blocking spells and waited for everyone to show themselves.”

 

Deconstructors:  Bad Guys You Don’t Want Planning Anything.  And there is some truth here, because they don’t have a huge network, they don’t have centralized headquarters, they seem like a bunch of mopes involved in a rear guard action.  Which, we all know now, can screw up a modern army pretty well if you plan your hit and runs effectively.

Something pushes Erywin’s buttons, however, and it would appear that the Deconstructors moved into KC about a month before Team Salem showed.  As Erywin points out in a passive-aggressive way, that was about the time they were called into action.  So one might assume . . .

 

Erywin sighed before standing up. “Walk with me, please.” As soon as Helena was along side, Erywin began speaking in a low, confidential voice. “Tell me you had no idea we were going to run into Deconstructors.”

“No mentions what so ever, and I didn’t have anyone coming to me with secret information.” Helena stared straight ahead. “You saw the same reports I saw.”

“I believe you. I know you’d never lie to me, and if there had been evidence of Deconstructors, we wouldn’t have gone.” Erywin stopped near a small line of trees and stared out over the lake. “But I think someone in San Francisco knew. I think they were aware of what the kids could do. And . . .” She exhaled a long, low sigh. “I think they wanted to throw those kids into a situation where they’d have to do everything they could to stay alive, and they’d use everything magical they had to make sure that happened.” She frowned. “It seems they got their wish.”

 

If the Guardians are good at watching and manipulating, then one might stand to reasons that they knew there was a good chances that a throw-down was inevitable.  I mean, if you suspect you’ve got a couple of wonder witches working for you, it’d be a shame to let their powers and skills go to waste, right?

And what does Helena think?

 

Helena slowly reached out and took Erywin’s hand. She held it in silence for about fifteen seconds, just staring out over the lake with her partner and companion. “I believe that, too. I know the Guardians too well, and even though everything seemed on the up-and-up . . . it appears that everything was leading to the three of you confronting the Deconstructors.”

Yep–she’s got the same sinking feeling.  Probably even more so for her, because she not only knows the sort of buttholery the Guardians can employee, she helped put the kids on the firing line.

Which leaves my two witches having these last thoughts:

 

Erywin said nothing, allowing the quiet of the CDC campus gather around them. “What happens now?”

“Now?”

“Are the Guardians going to keep after them until they bring them into the fold?”

Helena shrugged. “Why wouldn’t they? They kept after me, didn’t they?”

Erywin snorted. “Yours was a different situation; they knew what you were from day one.”

Helena’s dark eyes shifted just enough that she could take in Erywin’s profile. “Yeah? What the hell makes you think they haven’t known the same about those two?”

 

That’s right, Helena:  plant that kernel of doubt that maybe the Guardians have known something for a while, and this was their way of proving it.  The situation was different with Helena–her grandmother did work for the Guardians, and though it’s never said, her mother works for them as well–and Helena was pretty much learning to kill at an early age.  It could be said that the Guardians have had their eye on Annie for a while, but Kerry?  Well, he did have the fortune of living right in the Guardian’s back yard in San Francisco for a few years, and they picked up on him pretty easily, so . . .

I’m not saying.  At least not right away.

Act Three is currently just over seventy-six thousand words–

That'll do quite nicely, now, won't it?

That’ll do quite nicely, now, won’t it?

–And by the time I’m finished with tonight’s scene with Annie and Kerry, it’ll be closer to seventy-eight thousand.

We’ll see, won’t we?

The Quiet on the Campus

The fight in Kansas City is over, and it’s time for some rest and reflection.  This scene–the first of only two in Chapter Thirty-Eight–is a big change of pace from what’s happened before.  One, no one is watching someone else, running all over town, and trying to puzzle out mysteries.  And two–they’re not in Kansas City any more, Dorothy.

Time to see what happened, right?  After all, it’s time to wind down a bit and reflect . . .

 

All excerpts, this page, from The Foundation Chronicles, Book One: A For Advanced, copyright 2013, 2014, by Cassidy Frazee)

Erywin sat back and looked up and enjoyed the feel of the sun on her face. Compared to Kansas City, it was much nicer here—brighter and warmer. And from her position on the bench she could turn to her right and look out over the small lake just below this quite viewing area.

She spotted Helena, wearing her ever-present leather jacket, heading her way. She glanced towards the lake every so often, but for the most part kept her eyes locked on Erywin. She didn’t acknowledge Erywin’s presence until she was four meters away. “We’re all packed and checked out.”

“That was quick.” Erywin crossed her left leg over her right as Helena sat to her left.

“When you have four other people having you pack it’s easy to clean up and clear out in fifteen minutes.” She slid her arm over the back of the bench and behind Erywin. “I checked us out while our luggage was sent back to Salem.”

“So no need to return to Kansas City?”

“No.” Helena snorted. “There’s nothing there for us to do anyway. The Link walkway has been cleaned up, and the Guardians are all over Kaden’s house looking for additional clues. We were the opening act—” She turned to Erywin and grinned. “The headliners are on-stage now.”

 

Yeah, those lucky headliners:  they let you set up the audience and talk all the abuse from the fans who didn’t come to see you.  Helena has the right attitude:  you do your job and get out.  There’s usually no glory in what they did–even though they did save someone’s life.  Or is that lives?

It’s pretty obvious that they aren’t in Kansas City any longer, either, since Erywin’s asking if they have a need to return.  So where are they?

 

“The headliners never had to worry about getting killed.” Erywin looked at the long building within her line of sight. “They told me they should be able to release Annie and Kerry about sixteen.” She glanced over to her partner. “Did you see them?”

“I did. They’re getting the finest Foundation care a fake biosafety level 4 unit at the CDC can offer.” Helena looked around, taking in the campus. “You know, this is the first time I’ve been here.”

This was the first Erywin learned that Helena had never visited The Foundation facilities at the Center for Disease Control. “They never brought you here when you were hurt?”

“I was never injured while operating in North America.” Helena chuckled. “You three got lucky. I figured with you hurt they’d take you off to San Francisco or Minneapolis or Tucson—here you get pulled to the best lab facilities The Foundation has to off on this side of the world.”

 

Yep.  When I mentioned that The Foundation has places where they “hide in plain sight,” many of those places are pretty well known facilities.  We know Helena had access to underground bunkers used for continuation of government purposes, and that they held meetings at the World Trade Center, but now we find out The Foundation has facilities at the CDC?  Sure, why not?  After all, wouldn’t getting diseases under control be something they’d want to get their hands around?

You can see Erywin and Helena if you look just above that lake.  And Annie and Kerry if you look to the long building to the right of the lake.  You won't see the bad guys:  they're in the morge.

You can see Erywin and Helena if you look at the dark circle just above that lake. And Annie and Kerry if you look to the long building to the right of the lake. You won’t see the bad guys: they’re in the morgue.

Did The Foundation help build this place?  Maybe.  Do they help run it?  Perhaps.  Do they have a hospital here?  Damn right.  They do a great job keeping the image of the place up, too–

Although the Deconstructors have somehow gotten out word that they are working on the virus that will bring about the zombie apocylopes.

Although the Deconstructors have gotten out word that they are working on the virus that will bring about the zombie apocalypse . . .

Which is probably one of the reasons the CDC put out their information on getting ready for the Zombie Apocalypse.  Don’t forget to check out the comic, too, if you go to the website.

And now that they’re here, Erywin has a question about someone that came in with them . . .

 

“Probably because of Kaden.” Erywin looked around to make certain no one else was within range of their voices. “I saw that rig they pulled off him. Is that what you found him in?”

“Yeah.” Helena sighed and stretched. “Hanging in the goddamn closet. The Deconstructor doppelgänger was using the enchantment in the crown unit to leach off the real Kaden’s memories so Tanith didn’t know she wasn’t living with her father. The rig was keeping him alive, too.”

“So I heard. One of the doctors told me he was dehydrated and malnourished, though.”

“Happens. Those rigs are only good for keeping someone alive for a couple of months.” Helena shrugged. “That’s about all they’d need if Tanith was their real target.” She faced Erywin. “Did you see Tanith?”

 

So now you know why Helena called an abort:  ’cause when you see the guy who just left the house trussed up like a turkey in the closet, you know the Deconstructors got there first.

And what about Tanith?  Glad you asked:

 

Erywin nodded. “For a little bit. She thanked me for saving her father and her, and she wanted to know if she could see Annie and Kerry.” She gazed out over the small lake. “I told her ‘our people’ might let her in to see them, but it really wasn’t up to me.”

Helena nodded. “Good answer.” She’d not told the children that once the operation was over their access to Tanith would be cut, and the likelihood that if Tanith did meet Annie and Kerry again in the foreseeable future, it was unlikely she’d know who they were. Standard procedure on a field operation like this— She tapped her fingers against her thighs. The people who come to bring you in are erased from your mind so you can’t ever go after them should Deconstructors get you again—or you decide to turn. “I’ll have to talk to them tomorrow about the operation followup—just in case she were to show up at school next year.”

“They need that.” Erywin placed her hand on top of Helena’s. “Did you see them before coming down?”

 

The good news is Annie and Kerry saved the girl.  The bad new:  she’ll never remember them bringing her in.  Just as Isis talked about sending in “memory speicalist” to take care of Kerry’s and Emma’s parents and family if it turned out they’d died during the Day of the Dead attacks, those same people will go to work on Tanith to make certain she can’t even blow Annie’s and Kerry’s cover in this field operation.  It’s sort of a crappy thing when you think about it, because they were probably starting to bond and stuff, and now . . . nope, she won’t remember them.

Oh, and Helena has other news . . .

 

There was a lingering pause as Helena debated telling Erywin this next, and figured she needed to know. “I met with Gabriel up in the ward.”

This surprised Erywin greatly. “What was he doing here?”

“Wanted to see how the kids were doing, and pulled me aside to get a quick update. He told me we don’t have to debrief until Tuesday morning.”

“Why wait so long?”

“For one, Kerry’s a bit out of it and anything he says is going to be crap, and two . . .” Helena chuckled again. “I think he’s giving us a chance to get our stories straight. He told me he was at the walkway scene for a few minutes—said he was a bit surprised by what he saw.”

 

“Getting your stories straight” is usually a euphemism for, “You guys left shit really messed up and I don’t wanna have to ding someone.”  Which is what comes up next–

 

Erywin snorted. “I’m sure he was.” She turned to Helena. “Are they going to red flag Annie’s file?”

“I don’t think so. I made a point of telling him that she’d been under orders not to kill anyone if she could help it—” Helena shrugged. “Spells must have gotten away from her.”

Erywin nodded slowly, a slight smile on her face. “Must have. What about Kerry?”

“They’ll yellow flag his file for sure.” Helena slowly ran her finger over the bridge of here nose. “Did you hear about what he did to that last Deconstructor?”

“I just heard something quick after they brought in the bodies, but nothing specific.”

“He had four broken ribs, a ruptured spleen, perforations to his small intestine, and damage to his liver.” Helena gave Erywin a slight nod. “You told me he used an Air Hammer—he used dark energy on it, didn’t he?”

“Yes. No way I didn’t feel that.” Erywin cleared his throat. “Definitely trying to kill him, wasn’t he?”

“Probably why the guy was so pissed off. If Kerry hadn’t been trying to juggle two spells at the same time, he might have pulled it off.”

Erywin took a long, deep breath before asking her next question. “Any news on Ruth?”

 

We now learn, for real, that Kerry was going for the kill shot.  Unfortunately, he was also trying to charge up shields, and as good as the kids are right now, that’s a little too much on their plate to put up incredible shields and bounce off killer spells.  At least there was enough energy in the shields that no one was killed, just a little messed up.  Kerry:  once again saving lives and getting messed up in the process.  And, yet again, the girl came in and saved him . . .

“Any news on Ruth?”  Well, you’ll get that when I finish this scene, and a whole lot more.  That’s coming tonight, and then, for New Years Eve, I finish out the chapter and part while finishing the year 2014.  So when Beltane starts up in the novel, it’s a new year, and I have the impetus to finish the novel by the end of January.

Almost there, people.  Almost.

Oh, and Helena does not approve of fake CDC buildings.  Not at all.

Oh, and Helena does not approve of fake CDC buildings. Not at all.

2014 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 42,000 times in 2014. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 16 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

In the Link

I have written a lot these last couple of days, completing just a minute or two ago the longest scene I’ve done in some time.  How much?  This much.

 

1107 12/27 night

842 12/28 morning

1501 12/28 evening

555 12/29 morning

 

That’s a lot of words to get out, but then there were a lot of things going–namely, trying to stay alive as Erywin and the kids make their way to safety.

All they gotta do is enter the stairway on the left and walk.

All they gotta do is enter the stairway on the left and walk.

But is it going to be that simple?  Nope.  Never is.

 

All excerpts, this page, from The Foundation Chronicles, Book One: A For Advanced, copyright 2013, 2014, by Cassidy Frazee)

Erywin did her best not to look nervous or tight. She only glanced at Kerry a couple of times during the forty meter stroll to the entrance to The Link. There were actually two, and the second one was about ten meters closer, but that way up consisted of a lift, and Erywin wasn’t about to put herself and three children in a small, confined space, not while there were a few magical maniacs running about. While the stairs weren’t exactly the safest way up, either, there was room to move, making their odds of survival far greater.

As if he were reading her mind Kerry pulled out his mobile and slowed to check the display, allowing Erywin to get to the entrance first. She opened the door and held it as Kerry toddled towards her. “Come along, young man.” It was a simply move, but it was enough to allow the girls to hurry by and get inside the stairwell. A movement later Kerry, still looking at his mobile, walked inside. Erywin was close behind.

Erywin took the lead as they headed up the stairs, with Kerry right behind her. The girls slowly faded into sight about half way up, so by the time they were ready to step into The Link proper. Erywin checked the walkway while Annie returned Kerry’s backpack. It was quiet: there were a few people to her right heading in the direction of the train station, and from what she could make out, it looked as if there were a few people already on the other side of Pershing Road. No one seemed headed in their way, and Erywin didn’t know if she should count that as a blessing or curse. It would make it easier for them to cross the road among a group of Normals, but the longer they waited for some to come along, the greater the odds they could be attacked where they stood.

 

They made it that far, and so far so good.  Of course it’s only been about a minute of walking, but hey, no one’s set them on fire–yet.  Time for the Professor’s Pep Talk before going.

 

There wasn’t time to drag this out. Erywin sent a message to Helena, then turned to the children. “I’ve passed along a message; they know we’re crossing over to the Center and I’ll send another message once we’ve jaunted to the safe location.” She turned to her two students. “You know it’s likely to get tricky, yeah?”

Annie nodded; Kerry looked at Annie for about two seconds, then turned back to Erywin. “Yeah.”

“Good.” She gave them both a big smile. “I know I can count on you.”

Kerry nodded. “A good sorceress keeps their wits about them—”

Annie finished the statement. “—When everything is going to hell around them.”

Erywin shook her head. “I should have known you’d pull that one out.”

Annie smiled. “Of course we would.”

“Then let’s get ready to move. Tanith—” She pointed at the girl. “You stay close behind me, but if you feel anyone push you to the ground, you go down and stay there.” She nodded, but said nothing. “Annie, Kerry: you know what to do. You know the code word?” They both nodded. “All right . . .”

Looking into the walkway corridor Erywin opened her Hammerspace and felt the tingle that came when she had access. It felt like they were alone, but Erywin’s senses were on heightened alert: the last time she’d felt like this had been during the Scouring. She offered up a quick prayer: Mórrígan, watch over and protect us from our enemies, and grant us the strength to vanquish our foes should they face us in battle.

“Let’s go.” She waved the children forward as they stepped into The Link.

 

At this point they’re committed.  The kids know what may come, and they’ve got the words of Erywin’s significant other to bolster their courage.

 

They rounded the curved section heading towards the bridge over Pershing Road. Erywin wasn’t moving too quickly: she didn’t want to seem as if they were running for safety. But she was wary, and grew even more so as they stepped out over the highway. The people below on the sidewalk weren’t paying attention to them, and drivers certainly weren’t. Her eyes glanced to the left and right, watching for action below. There was no one there. It didn’t cause Erywin to ease up; in only caused her to be more on guard—

A man appeared about eight meters ahead, almost immediately followed by the pop of a jaunt. She though there’d been a pop behind here, but it wasn’t her job to check. She reach into Hammerspace and pulled her pistol. She flicked off the safety, stepped into a sideways shooter’s stance, and braced her right arm against her body while aiming with her left before yelling the code word that they were under attack: “ON.” She fired six rapid shots—

Annie and Kerry heard the pop behind them and spun around to find a woman about six meters behind throwing a spell at them. Both kids had put up shields before entering The Link, and with the word given, they knew their roles: Annie was offense, Kerry was defense. He pushed more energy into the the screens they’d set up—one for physical attacks, another, less powerful one, for magical attacks—while Annie crafted the most powerful spell she knew—

Erywin’s six shots were nearly invisible to the naked eye, crafted of pure mystical energy. The first two shots hit the Deconstructor’s shield and neutralized the spell; the third shot hit his chest and torched a hole in his shirt; the fourth, fifth, and sixth shots burned through his skin, burned into his body, and blew out the back of his chest. She waited until all six shot did their jobs before preparing for a new threat from the front—

The female Deconstructor casted an Air Hammer that struck the children’s shields less than a second later. Both were barely moved by the attack, though the walkway glass around shuddered and rippled. Kerry kept his eyes open for another threat but didn’t craft an attack spell because he knew what was coming—

 

Right here, right now:  it's on.

Right there, right then: it’s on.

It is on, and in a big way.  But a month of training has paid off, and the division of labor is known and being followed.  And why wasn’t Kerry getting an attack spell ready?  What did he know was coming?  Something a certain girl has been ready to use for a while . . .

 

Annie’s crafting was nearly complete, and as the Deconstructor’s Air Hammer hit their shields the spell became ready. She was fully aware of what she was about to do, but since she’d discovered sorcery she’d wanted to be a sorceress—and she knew what was expected of her, and what she may have to do.

She pushed her hand outward towards the female Deconstructor as if she were pushing her away and cast Exsanguation as another pop sounded in The Link pedestrian bridge.

The spell made it through the woman’s minimal shielding and went to work. She began coughing as blood flowed out of her nose and down her throat. She quickly crafted another spell as blood spurted from her tear ducts and dribbled out her ears. She got off the spell just as the crotch and thighs of her jeans turned a dark color from the blood streaming from her vagina and anus. A second later her eyes filled with blood and ruptured, causing dark rivers of blood to cascade down her face. She doubled over into convulsions as torrents of blood were pumped into her lungs, and a few seconds after that she collapsed to the floor.

 

And that, boys and girls, is what Exsanguation does.  Not a pleasant way to go, but then Deconstuctors aren’t very nice people.  As you can see with this new player in town . . .

 

The drain spell hit the shields and took effect; both Annie and Kerry felt their skin pucker as their shields lost effectiveness. Annie prepared another spell and Kerry began pushing more energy into the shield, for even with the female Deconstructor down, a third one had appeared and, just like his female partner, he had a spell crafted and ready to fly.

The Air Hammer that hit the group was tremendously powerful. Every walkway window flexed and vibrated: three cracked from the extreme pressures placed upon them, though the safety glass didn’t completely shatter and fall out of their frames. Kerry fell back into Tanith, who he pushed into Erywin. All three went down as the the spell hit them, but they were spared serious injury due to the spell shield effect, limited as they were.

Annie was thrown backwards into a floor-to-ceiling support, smacking the side her head hard against the beam. Her right forearm was pushed back into the angle between the support and window, and the crack was loud in the silence of the magical battle happening inside the walkway. She moaned once and collapsed on the floor.

 

Annie’s down, Erywin is probably down, and that means there’s only one person who might be able to do something . . .

 

Kerry heard Annie’s arm break, heard her moan, and even slightly dazed he knew there wasn’t anyone else to protect everyone else. He concentrated hard and threw energy into a light shield while he made it to his feet. He knew he could craft Electrify, but he wasn’t certain he could hit the target. He crafted something he knew would work—Air Hammer—but this time he fueled it with dark energy, intending to make it as deadly as he could muster.

It was crafted in seconds and pushed away. He cast it in the direction of his enemy, but his aim was off. Still, the Deconstructor caught most of the spell, which tossed backwards hard enough that he went down on one knee, moaning in obvious pain. He wasn’t down completely, however: he pointed his right arm towards Kerry—

The Electrify spell hit Kerry hard—as hard, or harder, than the time he was shocked by Helena that first day in Beginning Sorcery. Probably harder, because this time he had up a shield against magical attacks, and he still saw a bright flash in his eyes as the spell hit. He collapsed to the floor hard, feeling something twist in his left knee as he went down. He lay dazed, unable to do anything but look up—

Until the Deconstructor was standing near his feet, then his eyes were focused on his. The man—maybe no older than thirty, but as Kerry had learned, age was impossible to tell with witches—chuckled as he watched Kerry partially raise his right arm as he tried to craft a spell. “Not today—” A small sphere of blue Cold Fire appeared in his upturned right hand. “End for you, you little shit.”

 

Poor Kerry:  about to meet his end getting burnt up with Cold Fire.  Now I can end this novel with Annie weeping tears over his grave–

What’s that you say, Annie?  I’m sorry:  I don’t understand Bulgarian.  But it doesn’t sound nice . . .

 

As the Deconstructor raised his arm two ribbons of shadow snaked down from near a ceiling beam. One wrapped around his wrist, the other his bicep—and both pulled up hard. The upper ribbon cut deep into the man’s arm; the other severed his hand at his wrist, causing the Cold Fire spell to die without access to mystical energy.

Out of the corner of his eye Kerry was aware of Annie up on one knee, her right arm useless, her left arm extended to craft her ribbons, and a murderous look spread across her face bloodied and bruised on the left side. She hissed out a warning as she wrapped the ribbon that had amputated his hand around his neck. “You do not get to hurt him.” She stood and lifted the Deconstuctor off the floor. As she stumbled towards Kerry—who’d managed, somehow, to craft a small ball lighting effect—she swiped her left arm as if she were pushing something away: the Air Hammer stuck him and snapped his body backwards. Kerry managed to throw his Electrify spell at the same time, making the body twitch in shock as the sound of the Deconstuctor’s neck breaking was heard by all.

 

Moral of the story:  do not screw with the boyfriends of pissed-off twelve year old sorceresses.  Oh, sure, Kerry did hit him with a pretty deadly Air Hammer–too bad the Deconstructor had a shield up as well–and managed to shock him a little–and given Kerry’s state it’s a wonder he could actually get that spell working–so he might get credit for a partial kill, but this is pretty much the girls taking out the bad guys.

Leading to one finally moment in The Link . . .

 

He lay there on the floor vaguely aware of Erywin asking if everyone was all right before going silent. He was aware of of Tanith moaning. He was aware of the Deconstructor’s body crashing to the ground as Annie did away with her Shadow Ribbons. Mostly, however, he was aware of Annie kneeling by his head and stroking his frizzed-out hair. She bent over him and smiled. “I said I would protect you.”

He smiled back as best he could. “I said I would protect you.”

Annie leaned closer to his face. “We kept our words to each other.” She kissed him as she gently lowered herself on her left side, resting her head against his chest.

Kerry wanted to say they had to get up, they had to go, they needed to jaunt out, but he couldn’t. The words simply wouldn’t come to him. He reached over and stoked Annie’s hair as the sound of popping air was followed by excited and troubled voices. He thought he saw someone levitate Annie on a stretcher, and felt as if the same thing were happening to him.

Then it felt as if he were jaunting—

 

I wonder where they’re jaunting out to?

And just in case you were wondering how all this went down, on Christmas Day I time lined out this whole scene.  Magical combat goes quickly in this world, and as you see having your shielding in place is important, because if you’re hit, you’re usually hurt in a big way.  And what does this battle look like on a time line?

Something like this.

Something like this.

On the bottom grid, if there’s a solid dot it means they were actually an active participant in the event; an empty dot means they were just there and may have seen something happen.  No dot before the first event means they weren’t there; no dot after a certain event means that person is dead.  And as you can see, if you don’t keep your wits about you in something like this, you end up with no dots in no time.

And now that that’s over, it’s time to move onto the next chapter.

Kansas City is just about over.

Disquietude Park

As I was told this morning, I seemed to have left everything on a cliffhanger–and I’ve been trying to get off that cliff ever since.  By that I mean I’ve written almost two thousand words since last night and early this morning, and I’ve still got a ways to go.  But I’m getting there.

As you know everyone’s in the park across the street from the Crown Center–which, I found out this morning, is also the location of the world-wide headquarters for Hallmark Cards, so watch out, people, otherwise Annie and Kerry might just go and try to alter the history of greeting cards.  Or maybe that’s run by The Foundation, too.  One can never tell.

I should point out that the events in the park are happening at the same time Helena’s tossing Kaden’s house, so while Annie and Kerry are doing a magic show for Tanith, Helena’s figuring out how to time jaunt around so she can entered the house, look around–and find something in the closet that makes her call an end to the operation.

With that in mind . . .

 

All excerpts, this page, from The Foundation Chronicles, Book One: A For Advanced, copyright 2013, 2014, by Cassidy Frazee)

“Home.” Tanith stared at the ground as her voice took on a dreamy quality. “I like the sound of that. But talking to my dad . . .” She shook her head. “Oh, man, he’s gonna flip on this.”

Annie had figured that Tanith’s father would be the most difficult part of this trip, but he wasn’t her concern. “That’s where the adults come in. They’ll work with him as we worked with you.”

She looked up and frowned. “He’s never talked about any of this, so I don’t know how he’d want to talk about it with anyone now.”

Kerry shrugged. “We won’t have anything to do with that. They’ll probably send us off elsewhere while the adults talk.”

That interested the girl. “Where would we go?”

“It’s hard to say.” There had been discussion about this, but Annie didn’t want to discuss the locations mention. Depending on the time of day, it was thought they might go to Paris or London, maybe to New York or Chicago . . . Annie believed the most likely destination would be San Francisco, where the Guardians could keep an eye on them while they are out and about the city. “I’m certain it wouldn’t be Kansas—”

Erywin’s voice rang clear through the buds Annie and Kerry wore and straight into their minds. Children, supper’s ready.

Annie glanced and Kerry, who was glancing back. Tanith noticed this and didn’t like what she saw. “What’s wrong?”

“Something—” Annie watched Kerry out of the corner of her eyes. You call Erywin?

He nodded. Doing it now. Kerry looked around—the same as Annie—watching to see if anyone was looking in their direction. Mom, you there?

 

“Hey, Mom:  what’s up?”  If you haven’t figured it out, “Supper’s ready” isn’t just the title of a twenty-two minute song, it’s also the code phrase to indicate things have gone sideways and it’s time to shut this party down.  So Kerry gives her directions to where they are located in the park, and Erywin comes to visit . . .

 

She did as she was told and found the children fading into view. “Hello, there.”

“Hi.” Kerry gave Erywin a hug, followed by Annie doing the same. “Glad to see you, Mom.”

Annie had already given her greeting; she wanted to know things. “Why did you give the abort code?”

“Because the plug’s been pulled; we’ve moving out.” She finally acknowledged Tanith. “Hello there, young lady. Hope these days have been taking good care of you.”

“They have.” Tanith smiled at Erywin. “Are you a witch, too?”

“I’m the witchiest witch, my dear.” She lifted her teleport device from one of her jacket pockets. “Are we ready?”

Are you making a call?” Tanith pointed at the device in Erywin’s hand.

“No, Tanith. This is going to teleport us all out of here; we have another location where we’re supposed to go in the instance we need to abort this operation.”

Annie took Tanith’s hand. “We’ve done this plenty of times; it won’t bother you.”

“No, not at all.” Erywin finished punching in the coordinates of their arrive point. “Let’s link hands.” She held out her left hand, which Kerry took. He held out his left for Annie, who slid in her right while holding onto the Tanith’s with her left. “Ready?” All three children nodded. “Good then . . .” She tapped the activation icon on the display.

Nothing happened.

“What the hell?” Erywin rechecked the coordinates and confirmed they were right.

Kerry was trying to see what was on the teleport display. “What is it?”

“Enchantment didn’t engage.” She did a quick aural check. “It isn’t drained . . .” She crafted a quick spell and watched the results pop up on the display. “The hell is this now?”

None of the kids were comfortable with Erywin’s exclamations, but Tanith was the only one who wasn’t aware of the severity behind them. Annie kept her voice low, even though there wasn’t any need. “What’s wrong?”

“We can’t jaunt: there are blocking spells all over the place.” Her eyes slowly scanned the park as she slipped the teleport device back into her jacket. “Son of a bitch: they’re here.”

Annie turned so she was facing away from Erywin. “And they know we’re here, too.”

Tanith was completely confused by now. “They?”

“Deconstructors.” Kerry picked up on the clues being offered and looked off in a direction not being covered by Annie or Erywin. “The bad guys.”

 

Gotta give my kids credit:  the moment things go dark they get ready.  Of course, if they’re invisible, the bad guys are likely invisible, too, but they’re facing out and ready.  In all fairness, though, they did the same thing during the Day of the Dead, with both in separate areas of the school keeping their wits about them.  Okay, so Kerry did get a little panicky after being chased by a monster for ten minutes, but so would you.

Given the situation, they’re pretty quick at coming up with options:  this is what happens when you get trained by The Dark Mistress of All:

 

Annie looked over her shoulder at Kerry. “We should move.”

“I agree.” He tapped Erywin on the arm. “Can we walk out of the park.”

She carefully examined here surroundings. “We can, but I’m worried that once we’re out in the open the people here looking for us will likely sweep in on us and that’s it.”

Tanith didn’t understand the sudden concern. “I don’t get it: why are these people after you?”

“They’re not after us—” Erywin tapped Tanith on the cheek. “They want you. At least we believe you’re why they’re here.” She rubbed her lower left side. “They’d probably stun us all and make off with you.”

“What about you? What will they—?”

Annie didn’t bother with niceties as she cut off Tanith’s question. “They’ll kill us.” She ignored the girl’s gasp as she pointed in the direction of their hotel. “If we get across the street, can we jaunt then?”

“Should be able; it’s getting across the streets here that’s going to be a pain in the arse.” She pointed to the north. “We can’t climb over and drop down to the street below there, so that leaves crossing at Pershing and Grand, or . . .” She nodded towards the southwest corner. “Taking the overhead walkway to the train station, or back to the Crown Center.”

Annie had come to the park using the overhead walkway known as The Link. “Couldn’t the Deconstructors come after us there, too?”

“They could, but if we head for the Crown Center there aren’t any places for them to hide. That’s what I worry about being out on the sidewalk: they could hide and take shots at use from behind trees—”

“Could be the same if we head for the Amtrak station.” He pointed at the section of The Link running parallel to the park.

“Yes. Best bet is to get across to the Center, find a quite spot, and jaunt out. If they want to get us before we get there, they’ll have to come in there and get us” She surveyed the children. “Now that we have plan, we have to get out of here.” She tapped Annie and Kerry on the shoulders; they both half turned towards her. “We’re dropping code names right now; we don’t need anymore confusion that we might already have.”

They both nodded, with Kerry speaking in agreement. “Sounds good to me.”

Annie turned to Tanith. “I’m Annie; he’s Kerry; she’s Erywin. That’s so you’ll know.”

The girl nodded, not sure if she was catching the full gist of what was happening. “I don’t suppose I’ll get a chance to use them, but thanks anyhow.”

 

Leave it to Annie to put the cherry on this crappy sundae:  if The Deconstructors get to us, they’ll kill us.  Of course, what no one is saying is by dropping code names at this point, they’re taking a hell of a risk that Tanith isn’t going to rat them out.  But if Annie was ready to bleed out a girl just because she almost got her boyfriend killed, so I don’t think she’d have much of a problem protecting her cover . . .

There’s a bit of a kink in this plan–but wait!  There’s also a big surprise!

 

Erywin stared off in the direction of The Link entrances on the other side of the park. “We’re gonna have to make our way there with this invisibility up; we have to assume they know you both came in with Tanith, and if they see you three leaving, they’ll likely attack.”

“Can we teleport inside the park?” Annie pointed at a sculpture close to The Link entrances. “It won’t be as far as a wall.”

“Only one thing—” Kerry switched his gaze from person to person. “If we try and enter that invisible, it’s gonna be pretty obvious. And we can’t just drop right in front of the entrance.” He shook his head. “That’s a dead giveaway.”

Erywin was already thinking that they couldn’t make it into The Link without becoming visible for a few seconds. And there aren’t many places where we can do that without being noticed. “Dammit, I didn’t think about that.”

Annie had already made up her mind about what was needed. “Erywin, do you trust us?”

“Of course I trust you.” She eyed Annie closely. “What do you have in mind?”

Annie touched Kerry’s hand. “Give it a try; we have nothing to lose.”

“Yeah.” He stepped in front of Erywin. “Can you bend down here a little, Mom?” He smiled as he used her cover name again.

Erywin was now more curious than worried, and she did as was asked. “What are you trying?”

He changed his hair back to its natural color and placed his hands on either side of Erywin’s head. “Something I’ve been working on . . .” He closed his eyes and concentrated as Annie and Tanith looked on. Nothing happened for almost five seconds, then Erywin’s hair changed to lustrous auburn as it lengthened and curled. After another five seconds her transformation was complete. Kerry dropped his hands and stepped back next to Annie.

Erywin ran her hands through her newly changed locks. “How the—?” She shook her head. “Kerry, you shouldn’t be able to do that.”

“I’ve been working on it for a couple of weeks.” He nodded towards Annie. “It was her idea I give it a try, since I could do simple transformations on myself.”

“He practiced it last night on me.” Annie giggled. “You should see me as a ginger: I can imagine what our kids would look like.”

Erywin also chuckled as Tanith rolled her eyes. “We can talk about that later—”

Kerry got back on message. “Now that we really look like we’re related, you and I can walk to The Link, and Tanith and Annie can follow invisible. Once they’re inside they can turn visible again.”

Erywin nodded slowly. “That might just work.” She pointed at her head. “What about this?”

“It’s good for about twenty, thirty minutes. After that it reverts.”

“Sounds good.” She pulled out her teleport device. “Let’s not waste time—” She punched in the park location they’d decided upon, linked hands when they were ready, and performed the short hop across Washington Square Park.

 

Even in the face of danger, Annie’s talking about kids with Kerry.  Can you imagine that conversation from the night before?  “I’ve never been a ginger before.”  “It looks good on you.”  “It’ll look better on our kids . . .”  Oi.  Notice, though, that he isn’t rolling his eyes.  These kids need to get a room.  Oh, wait . . .

So right now they’re here in the park–

Dialoge

Sculpture to the right, walkway bridge to the left, entrance somewhere straight ahead.  Go for it, Team Salem.

Everyone’s in place and about as ready as they’ll get.  Only a few orders left to give:

 

The moment they were in place everyone looked about to see if they were being observed. When they didn’t noticed anything Erywin prepared them for the minute or so they’d need to walk to their destination. “Kerry, I want you to stay to my right: I’m left handed, and if I have to shoot, I don’t want to risk having you on that side.”

He nodded. “Got it.”

She turned to Annie. “We’ll keep the door open long enough for you both to scurry inside; you can fade back into view as we’re going up the stairs.”

“Okay.”

Kerry slipped off his backpack and handed it to Annie. “If they saw us coming in, they probably noticed this.”

“I’ll give it back when we’re in The Link.” After Annie she noticed the now nervous Tanith. Annie reached down and took her hand. “Don’t worry; this is going to work.”

“You’re damn right it will.” Erywin tapped Kerry. “We need to pull back and fade in—”

“Right.” He blew Annie a kiss. “See you in a bit.”

She blew him a kiss right back. “I’ll be right behind you.”

Erywin and Kerry stepped back until his light bending fiend broke from Annie’s. They both turned around and faded into view as they emerged from around the sculpture and walked at a normal pace towards The Link entrance.

 

The kids got two options:  get so uptight they look like they’re about to lose it, or keep it loose and cover up their nervousness with moments of affection.  They chose the later, though you have to wonder if they had a conversation the night before–when Annie wasn’t going on about how their kids might look–about what could happen to them today.

But they’re almost sorta home–

All I gotta do is get them to safety.

Undisclosed Revelations

Just like I promised the scene with Helena is completed, though it took a lot longer than expected, and took more words than I’d thought necessary.  But when one starts getting into a couple of lengthy descriptions of things happening–you know, stuff?–it ends up taking time and words.  And the first description also involved looking up a couple of things simply because that’s the way I am.

So we learned that Helena can Jump.  What is that?  It’s a Gift–think “mutant power”, but the reality is it’s something magical that always on, that’s inherent to the witch in question.  Isis has Flight, which is like levitation only she doesn’t need to expend magical energy to make it happen:  she just thinks about flying and off she goes.  With Helena she can jaunt up and down the time line–that’s how she met with Gabriel:  she waited an hour after he left, found out which route he took when he left the school, and went off to grab and gab.

She has to be careful doing this, however, and one of the things she’s never, never, never supposed to do is go up or down the line and meet with herself, because trying to change her personal timeline almost always creates a bit of paradox, and that’s never a good thing.

Which leads us to the next part.

There have been questions about how Helena was maimed.  Sean Bean notwithstanding, one does not simply lose both their legs, and a hell of an accident has to go down for such a thing to happen.  One of the things I wrote into this scene–something that took me a while to get right last night–was the exact cause of her accident.  Hang on tight, ’cause here is Helena reminiscing about the one really bad day in her life . . .

 

All excerpts, this page, from The Foundation Chronicles, Book One: A For Advanced, copyright 2013, 2014, by Cassidy Frazee)

Ti

A year and a half after the event at Salem known as The Scouring occurred, the upper echelon leaders of The Foundation agreed to meet to plan their final moves against the Deconstructors. The Guardians’ Special Operations and Programming division brought in Helena to coordinate security for the meeting: she’d completed field operations for them over the last five years, and they felt she was the right person to watch over the seventy managers who’d show up for the discussion.

There were aspects of the meeting she didn’t like. For one, she hated the site: she felt it was too public, too open. She requested that the meeting be moved to either Mount Weather or Burlington at Corsham, but after five attempts to change the location were vetoed she gave up and did her best to make the security at the primary location the best possible.

People began gathering at seven-thirty. Helena made certain there were multiple exclusion fields surrounding the meeting area, and that access to the floor required a personal okay from her at each of the multiple checkpoints along the way. The meeting began at eight-thirty sharp, as demanded by the schedule Helena had put together, with the intention of breaking for fifteen minutes at nine forty-five, and finishing with the first draft of a plan drafted by eleven. She wanted this done and over with in under three hours, because she felt the longer they were at this site, the more vulnerable.

She was walking the floor, examining the enchantment around the checkpoint, when she felt the hairs on the back of her neck stand up. Helena spun around and saw herself laying on the floor, her clothing torn, her body covered in white dust and red blood, with one leg was missing and the other barely attached to the thigh. The injured her reached towards the uninjured her and spoke three words: “Get them out.” Then the her on the floor vanished, leaving the shocked uninjured her behind.

Helena hesitated for far more seconds than normal: her mind was locked up, unable to function. When she finally came to ran towards the meeting area. She shouted to drop the exclusion fields immediately, then burst into the board room and ordered everyone to jaunt immediately—

It was eight forty-six on the morning of 11 September, 2001, and a few floors above The Foundation meeting area on the 92nd Floor a 767 slammed into North Tower of the World Trade Center. As the ceiling exploded in debris and fire Helena grabbed the two closest people and jaunted out. The woman in her right arm was killed by the same piece of metal that severed both of Helena’s legs: the women in her left survived and managed to get Helena to a medical facility, when, while delirious, Helena Jump jaunted back to warn her that they were under attack, and in doing so create a paradox that ensured that she would hesitate long enough to allow the approaching disaster to occur. . . .

 

This was the “job” that Helena did for the Guardian’s SOP division that Gabriel referred to way back at the start of Act Three, the one that ended up costing almost three thousand people their lives.  That was a dig that wasn’t deserved, for in time the whole history of that job and what part Helena played in it will be revealed, but for now that’s the story of what happened to Helena, and why at the end of Act One Erywin mentioned to her pretty girl that everyone was concerned that she was going to maybe some kind of PTSD flashback that day–which just happened to be a few minutes after midnight on the morning of 11 September, 2011.

A couple of things that I wanted to share to show where Helena’s mind was during that time in 2001.  She mentions that she wanted to hold the meeting at either Mount Weather or Burlington at Corsham.  And what are those places?  They’re huge underground bunkers built in the 1950’s to ensure continuation of government in the instance of a nuclear war.  Mount Weather is in the Blue Ridge Mountains about an hour west of Washington DC, and is suppose to be like a little city inside the mountain:  rumor has it one gets around on electric trams, and there’s supposed to be a small lake inside that acts as both fresh water storage and place where one can sit and think about the world going to hell on the outside of the mountain.  The site first came to light in the 1970’s when a plane crashed into the mountain about a mile from the entrance to the facility, and since then the above ground facilities have become the home of FEMA.  In one of the real ironies that makes life a lot stranger than fiction, Mount Weather is where nearly all of Congress was sent to ride out the 11 September attacks, so it was probably a good thing Helena wasn’t there with The Foundation.

I'm certain Helena would have had a real party here--

I’m certain Helena would have had a real party here with the Congress Critters–

Burlington is Burlington Bunker, located near Corsham, England.  It’s also about an hour west of London, and not only is the bunker still there, but there’s a train line that runs right through the middle of it.  The idea was that in the instance things were about to go to hell, The Royal Family, the PM, Parliament, and anyone else deemed necessary to keep things running would board a train and hightail it out of town for the bunker.  The train would enter the tunnel that runs through the complex and stop, letting everyone off to go inside and ride out the storm.  These days the bunker is decommissioned, but there is a brand new Ministry of Defense complex sitting right on top of the bunker, so don’t expect all that underground goodness to go to waste anytime soon.

You enter the tunnel from the right riding the Last Train From London.

You enter the tunnel from the right riding the Last Train From London.

There is one place Helena didn’t mention, and that’s Raven Rock, which is about an hour due south of where I’m writing this post.  It’s another Command and Control bunker, and it’s become more famous over the last few years as the place Dick Cheney always visited when he needed to get out of town and chill for a bit.  Does this mean Helena was afraid of upsetting Dick by taking over his digs?  Surely you jest; she probably didn’t want to be responsible for cleaning up the place after she went all Dark Sorceress on his ass.

The original Undisclosed Location.

Welcome to the original Undisclosed Location.

I mentioned to someone yesterday that The Foundation has places where they “hide in plain sight”, and these are a few of them.  You’ll get to see another of them two more scenes from now, and once you see it you’ll go, “Oh, yeah, that makes sense.”  Because it does.

Now, back to our regularly scheduled program.

Helena wants to get into Kaden’s house.  There is a way to do this thing, but she has to be careful least she set up another paradox that messes up Kansas City–and while she might not give zero shits about the city, she doesn’t want to get in trouble with people on her side of the magical line.  How does she do this thing?  Watch and learn:

 

Helena knew her paradox Jump a little over ten years ago led to the deaths of almost everyone at that Foundation meeting, and since then, whenever she found it necessary to Jump, she made certain she wasn’t anywhere in the area of her destination. This time was different, however: she needed to be close to the house so she could seek Kaden come out so she could Far Sight beyond the open door.

Fortunately Helena knew just want to do.

She checked the time on her mobile: twelve-oh-three. Kaden had left the house maybe three minutes ago, which meant that if she wanted to craft a Far Sight spell, she’d need to be ready about two minutes before he left. And she knew exactly where to set up—

She Jump jaunted and positioned herself about fifteen meters behind where her invisible self stood. Helena checked her mobile once more: eleven fifty-eight. She scanned the area between her new position and the house: she knew she was there, watching the house, and that she hadn’t turned around once, so she was safe where she was. All she needed was for Kaden to leave.

Right on scheduled the front door opened and Kaden walked out. Helena didn’t have a great deal of time, but she’s already crafted her Far Sight spell, and as the door began opening, she cast—

It felt as if she were moving at high speed towards Kaden, then she was past him and through the door, into the darkened living on the other side. She cast her senses around, sensed the dining room just beyond the living room, moved her Sight there, looked about and found a niche where she could hide.

Helena jaunted.

The moment she was in the house she threw herself against the wall and listened. She was still invisible, but that didn’t mean Kaden might not have heard the pop of her arrival. There wasn’t any worry, however: she heard the lock bolt home followed by Kaden stepping off the porch. She dropped her invisibility and stepped through the archway into the living room.

Another quick check of the mobile: a minute after noon. Helena smiling when she thought about her still being out there deciding upon the best way to get into the house, and now that she had solved that problem there was only one thing left to set right: the time frames for herself. Right now she was in two places at the same time, and in a moment she was going to jaunt away from her position in the park and set herself up five minutes earlier so she couple pop in here and think about how she was outside getting ready to jaunt five minutes back in time—

What’s that shit Deanna says all the time about divination? Helena unlocked the door. It’s wibbly wobbly timey wimey stuff? She should try a practical application of this shit sometime . . . Helena needed to break the shielding around the house so she could get back to where she should be, and pulling the door off the latch should do the trick. And if doesn’t, I’ll just bounce off the walls and end up in a heap on the floor

She Jump jaunted again, this time moving back up the time line to where she was in time before jumping about in time and space. She ended up on the other side of the playground set, and the moment she was settled she checked her mobile: the clock rolled over from twelve-oh-three to twelve-oh-four. That was what she needed. She dropped her invisibility and walked across the park and street to Kaden’s house. Up the porch, to the door—push it in. The door opened.

Helena entered.

 

And that’s how you do it, kids.  As the Mythbusters say, don’t try this at home:  leave time traveling to the experts.

She’s looking around for things, magical things, stuff that would make her understand why Kaden’s got such heavy-duty shielding around the house.  She finds no evidence that magic is being used full-time around the house–one of the things she notices is that, unlike witches who like to keep their things nice and shinny, Kaden’s letting his furniture age naturally, just like if he were a Normal–and Helena heads upstairs to scope out the bedrooms.  Tanith’s bedroom is neat and orderly, something she probably picked up from her dad.  And speaking of dad–

 

From there Helena headed into Kaden’s bedroom, and found much the same, though with fewer posters and plushes, and far more muted colors. The bed was made, the items on top of the chest of drawers all in their right place, the curtains drawn, a couple of items of clothing folded and placed upon a chair in the corner. She looked around and found his shoes next to the bed, ordered much the same way Tanith’s shoes had been ordered. She threw open the closet doors, expecting to find more of the same order she’d found in Tanith closet—

What she found caused her to take a step back, eye wide in horrid realization of what was likely happening this very moment.

“Oh, shit.” She double-tapped the bud in her right ear. “Parkland, this is Homestead. Abort, Abort, ABORT.”

 

A surprised Helena is not a good Helena, and she’s ordered the plug pulled based upon what she found in Kaden’s closet.  One can assume she didn’t stumble across a Rainbow Dash onesie, that’s for sure.

And one can deduce from this that things are about to get interesting for my kids . . .

Upon a Stakeout Dreary

You know, I’d like to say I have another scene finished, and I could show you everything that happen after the kids did their little magic act for Tanith–and quite well, I might add, they’re doing a great job as fledgling Guardian operatives–but I can’t, because I simply couldn’t get into the mood to write, and by “into the mood” I mean I was pretty much suffering most of the day yesterday.  I did managed to do something important regarding the scene that follows this one below, but I couldn’t get much beyond that.  Needless to say, I wanted to write, but I couldn’t.  I probably should have, it likely would have helped, but in the end I couldn’t roust myself to get in front of the computer and get it out.

Save for the little bit, about seven hundred words, that appear below.

I do feel that I’ll be able to finish this scene tonight, and start on the next one today–maybe even get enough of it in place to blog it out–because I’m eager to finish up this chapter before the weekend is over, and move onto the next part before end of the year.  There really isn’t that much left, and I’m starting to get that feeling that comes when you near the finish line and the excitement builds that your endeavor is nearly over.

Really, six more chapters are all that remains.  This current scene will push the story over sixty-nine thousand words, and the next will get it over seventy. and by the time I finish the next chapter, I’ll be over seventy-five thousand.

But first, I gotta finish the one below.  And it’s all Helena’s show now.

 

All excerpts, this page, from The Foundation Chronicles, Book One: A For Advanced, copyright 2013, 2014, by Cassidy Frazee)

After several hours of standing across the street from the Granstrom’s house, Helena was about to take the unusual and direct method of walking up to the front door, knocking, and waiting for Kaden to opened it up.

More than ever, she wanted to see what was inside their house.

She’d arrived in Montgall Park a little after nine and began her invisible observations. She contacted Erywin the moment Tanith left the house and head for the bus, but since that moment about twenty minutes after her arrival, nothing had occurred at the Granstrom’s house save for the large living curtains moving aside just a little twice in the last hour. Helena figured Kaden was peaking outside, maybe to check on the weather, maybe to see if someone were hiding invisibly across the street in the park watching his house.

Helena wondered if Kaden was this paranoid on a daily basis, or if she suspected something was up and he couldn’t relax. There was never anything in the Guardian reports about this sort of constant observing, just as there wasn’t anything in the reports about the level of shielding he had surrounding their house.

There was a flicker of curtains once more, and Helena wondered if she could shoot a bolt of lightning through the window and knock Kaden out so she could just brute-force her way in and toss the place. She stopped wondering after a few seconds, because if she couldn’t use Far Sight to look around inside, then all the offense spells in her arsenal below a certain dark energy application would bounce off and alert Kaden that she was trying to take him out. And above the energy application, she’d probably blow holes wide enough in the walls to alert everyone in the neighborhood, and would likely see The Foundation offering her a short stay in Cloudland.

 

Wait a minute–what is Cloudland?  This has come up before in the story, and always as an aside.  It’s a maximum security prison The Foundation runs, but it’s nothing like the supermaxes you’ll see on the news.  Taking another page from the novel The Stars My Destination (or is it the other way around?), Cloudland is an underground prison located in the Bighorn Mountain Range in Wyoming.  It’s nicknamed Cloudland because it’s located almost directly under Cloud Peak, which is the highest summit in the Bighorn Mountains.  You can see the location below, with Cloud Peak on the far left and almost even with the town on the right:

Just turn left at Buffalo and start hiking when you run out of road.

Just turn left at Buffalo and start hiking when you run out of road.

When you have people who can teleport themselves with magic, you need a location that fairly impossible to get out of, and Cloudland is it.  Sure, it’s only been there since the 1940s, but it has a notorious reputation, and no one wants to end up there for any period of time.  Lets just say . . . it’s not a nice place.

But that little snippet does tell you one thing:  Helena’s powerful enough to blow holes through the walls of Normal homes, and one could conclude that all the construction at Salem is probably reinforced with lots of magic and super science.  And you surly don’t want to neighbors to know you’re standing outside a house blowing down the door with the magical equivalent of C-4.

Fortunately something happens . . .

 

A minute later the door slowly opened and Kaden stepped out on the porch. He looked to the left and right, then pulled the door closed before turning and hurrying off the porch. He turned left and headed towards the intersection before turning left at the corner. Helena watched him until he stopped before a car, entered, and drove away about twenty seconds later.

Helena was left with an empty house. Her options for getting inside were just as limited as they were before Kaden departed. She could hammer at the shielding until it came down—along with a door or part of a wall. Then she’d be back in trouble with people living on this block thinking there was some kind of terrorist attack going on, and she’d end up in front of the Guardians explaining how she found it necessary to take down a single family residence in order to get inside and investigate the ruins.

What she needed was subtlety. She though of possible solutions that didn’t involve magical mayhem. And she kept coming back to one possibility: for the few seconds Kaden had the door open, not only would it have been possible to use Far Sight to look inside the house, but the shielding in that area would be minimal enough to allow jaunting.

The only problem was Helena had not only not taken advantage of the weakness in Kaden’s shielding when she could have—

If she was going to get into the house, she was going to need to Jump.

 

And what’s a Jump?  You’ve already seen it:

 

She stepped back and waved him away. “With that said, you need to get the hell off the grounds. In about five minutes Mathilde is gonna contact Isis and find out if you’re still here—and if so, she’s gonna have Isis turn one of her pets loose on your ass.”

He shook his head as he chuckled. “Is that what you’re advising?”

“No, you dumb son of a bitch . . .” Helena grabbed the lapels of her coat. “She made that call an hour ago. How do you think I’m here without them knowing?” She jaunted out of the tunnel.

Gabriel turned and slowly made his way towards the stairs, realizing what he’d just seen. “I keep forgetting she has that Gift . . .”

 

You’ll find out more tomorrow, and you’ll see how a Jump may or may not have almost gotten her killed.

But that’s tomorrow.  Today is today.

Let’s see how I get through this one.