With enough rest comes the renewed energy to tackle your projects. Or so it is said. In my cash I think the extra energy came from a dinner of good sushi and saying a satisfying farewell to Cosmos. It triggered something in me to go forth and be a little more strident, a bit more awesome, maybe even a touch more creative.
I was also bolstered by the fact that this last weekend was my best for views ever. Saturday was one of my best days for legitimate views–where I wasn’t being botted to death, which has happened before–and this weekend ended up being one of my first to see more than a thousand views for the week. That doesn’t sound like a lot when I compare it to the views that some of my friends get, but I’d rather go for quality over quantity when it comes to followers.
And I now know that writing about near death experiences brings everyone to my front yard for my milkshakes. Probably won’t do many of those, however. Can’t afford the time.
Oh, and there was writing, too.
I was on a tear last night. I finished one scene and sunk five hundred words into the next. When I finished up I’d put nearly sixteen hundred words behind me, and tops Act Two over twenty-five thousand words. That means the story is now in the one hundred and seventy-five thousand word range now, and by the time I finish Chapter Fourteen, that’ll probably edge right up against one hundred eighty thousand. Yeah, I got a monster on my hands, but it hasn’t gotten away from me–
So what happened? My kids surprised the hell out of my Mistress of Magic, the Queen of Spells, Wednesday, who didn’t know where that fire alarm came from. But she sure found out more than she wanted . . .
(All excerpts, this page, from The Foundation Chronicles, Book One: A For Advanced, copyright 2013, 2014, by Cassidy Frazee)
Kirilova and Malibey wore work gloves while loading what appeared to be charred wood into a couple of large canvas totes, only to look up when Wednesday stopped about a meter from them. The professor looked about the room before turning her gaze upon them. “What’s going on here?”
The children looked at each other for a moment as if they didn’t understand the question. Annie finally spoke up. “We’re just finishing up, Professor.”
“Yes, but what were you doing?”
“Spells.” Annie pointed to the charred wood that Kerry was finishing loading into the tote. “So we could make charcoal.”
“It’s our project for Professor Semplen.” Kerry removed his work gloves as he stood. “We figured it would be easier to make charcoal using magic.”
Annie nodded in agreement. “That’s why asked if we could use the spell cell—we had to use fire.”
“That’s the reason I’m here.” Wednesday slowly walked around the fire pit Annie and Kerry used. “The fire alarm went off in my office, but I get here and there’s no indicate the safety enchantments worked.” She stopped and looked at them across the metal pit. “Did anything out of the ordinary happen?”
Again the students looked at each other as if they were trying to coming to an silent agreement. Annie absentmindedly brushed her fingers through her hair. “I may have set it off when I was terminating the fire spell. It flared for a moment: that might have been enough to set off the alarm.”
But why didn’t it set off the enchantments? Wednesday was missing something here, and before she could reach a conclusion, she needed to know what went on in this cell. “Tell me all the magic you performed here.” She flashed Annie a quick smile. “Please?”
“Sure.” Annie pulled off her own work gloves as she rehashed what was used. “First Kerry did a pattern transformation on the wood. Then I created cold fire and an ice encasement—”
“Which I helped with a little.” Kerry tossed his gloves in the tote and moved towards the shelf where they’d laid his computer and phone.
“Yes, he did. And once those were in place, he put a time spell around everything to speed up the process, so we didn’t have to wait twelve hours for the charcoal—”
“We only needed fifteen minutes.”
“That’s all we did.” Annie shifted her weight onto her back leg and folded her hands in front of her. “Nothing more than that.”
Wednesday held her shock in check, if only because Annie’s answers brought forth additional questions. “Who else helped you with this?”
“I’m sorry?” Annie blinked several times, not certain if she’d heard the professor correctly. “I told you what we did.”
“You mean you two did all those spells? Alone?”
“Yes, Professor.” Annie straightened her back the tiniest amount. “We did all those spells—” She looked over at Kerry. “Together.”
He finished packing things in his backpack. “Yeah, we did this all on our own.”
Take that, Spell Girl!
Actually, Wednesday’s a bit shook up, because–though I don’t show it in this scene–she knows why that fire alarm went off, and it’s not leaving her with a good feeling. Especially when this comes out:
Wednesday shook her head. “No, it’s okay, Kerry.” She gave both a smile, hoping to show she wasn’t upset. “No, you guys are okay. Do you have anything more to do?”
Annie shook her head. “No. Just need to empty the bucket, put back the books, and take our charcoal over to the greenhouse.”
Wednesday’s right eyebrow shot up. “Books?”
“Yes. Books.” Annie showed her the book she’d found in the lower level library. “I used this for the ice encasement.”
“Oh, nice.” Wednesday’s shock was starting to deepen, because she was nearly afraid to ask the next question. “How many times did you practice this?”
“I didn’t.” Annie stared back at Wednesday with a hint of her own amazement. “I read about how the spell should work, and crafted my visualization here.”
“Same with me.” Kerry set his book on time spells next to Annie’s book. “You know, did it natural, like you suggested that one day, Professor.”
Yes, I did suggest something like that, didn’t I? Wednesday was literally at a loss for words. There were so many things she wanted to ask, even more she could say, but here and now was not the time to say those things. That was for another time . . .
Here, my child, take this book on levitating buildings in three easy steps and get back to me in the morning. There’s also another part right before this when Wednesday realizes she should have checked on what these kids were going to do before turning them loose. Then again, who expected kids that have been on campus for a month to start doing strange shit that students a few levels higher have difficulty doing? No one, that’s who.
And therein lay the problems.
So what does Wednesday do? Well, she’s a good instructor, and she has a plan–one that involves going here in its entirety:
Mathilde Laventure loved this time of day: the sun was setting on the other side of The Great Hall, and it presented her with a fantastic view of the East Pentagram Garden and Mórrígan Tower through the two large windows set on either side of her desk in the wall behind her. Whenever she found a free moments she’d stand and gaze out upon the this little part of the Salem Institute and try to imagine what the garden was like a hundred years before, or two hundred, or even three hundred, long before The Foundation bought the grounds so they could learn magic from the witches who’d founded the school.
Not that she had a lot of time to stand and admire her garden. September and most of October were busy: then, after Samhain, came a short November break before rushing into December and Yule holiday and First Half of the School Year student evaluations that it was necessary for her to compile, approve, and submit to the Educational Council and the Guardians.
Still, one needed to take time from business now and then, and enjoy whatever little pleasures life provided—
There was a knock on the open door. Wednesday stood in the entrance, looking a bit frazzled. “You have a minute? We need to talk.”
But I will have to enjoy those pleasures at a later time. “My Mistress of Spells, what is ever the problem?” Mathilde motioned for her to entered and waved the door shut the moment she was inside.
Wednesday stood before the Headmistress’ desk, but didn’t take a seat. She went right into what was on her mind. “I think we have a situation that needed our attention.”
Mathilde didn’t like “situations”. They usually bode ill for the school, the instructors and staff—and for the students who were often at the center of these problems. “Who or what is the cause of this problem?”
“Two students. They were just out at the Spell Center.”
“What happened?” Mathilde knew that when situations arose at the Spell Center they were rectified quickly if Wednesday were present, or able to teleport there as soon as she received word of a problem. Right now, however, the instructor appeared slightly rattled, and that bothered Mathilde because her Mistress of Spells was someone who didn’t rattle easily.
Wednesday eyes one of the chairs situated before the headmistress’ desk, but remained on her feet. “Can I show you?” She pointed to the terminal on the desk. “It might be easier to explain while we watch.”
Mathilde waved her around to the other side, and turned the display and keyboard for her to use. “Show me what?”
“Security camera footage.” Wednesday began typing, accessing her portion of the school’s network. “I monitor everything that goes on down in the lower level spell cells.” She pulled up the footage she wanted and slightly turned the display back towards the headmistress. “Nothing really bad ever happens down there, but once in a while I get something like . . . this.”
Wait? They have a network? Yeah, because they know you can’t run this joint on owl shit. You need computers and data bases and email–you know, all the stuff that one finds in the Twenty-First Century? And security cameras in the spell cells? Wends, you little snitch!
And how do I know Wednesday isn’t easily shaken? Well, there was a time when she could be shaken, but then–hey, come look at something I wrote almost a year ago, about the time when Wends was but a student at Salem . . .
(Follow excerpt from The Foundation Chronicles, The Scouring, copyright 2013, by Cassidy Frazee)
“What are you doing out here?” Warnstedt always felt a little uneasy around Rory, but he often felt that way around sorcerers and sorceresses. It was something in their way they carried themselves, the way they always seemed to be wary of everything around them—and their chosen field of study. “It’s a little late for you to be wandering about, isn’t it?”
Dessauer nodded. “I have business to conduct.”
Warnstedt gave the sorcerer a skeptical look. “At this time? Come no—”
Professor Warnstedt’s pajamas inflated and turned bright crimson as blood squirted from the through the buttoned-up seem of his night shirt. Both Cleo and Wednesday heard his chest cracking and turned to watch him crumple to the ground, his eyes vacant, the last unspoken word still hanging upon up lips.
“Holy shit!” Cleo shook as she screamed, her voice echoing in the curved corridor. “You killed him!”
Wednesday stared at the door, unsure of what to do. Professor Warnstedt had died right in front of her, and the way he’d gone—it was obvious neither of them did the deed—
Cleopatra turned around and turned a hard stare upon the chief black magician. “You son of a bitch!” The surprise she’d felt vanished, replaced by anger. As Wednesday turned to face Dessauer, Cleo mumbled, “We were right—”
In the blink of her eyes Wednesday face was slick with Cleo’s blood as her friend’s head vaporized, popping like an overfilled balloon. There were no bone fragments, no swatches of skin, no gelatinous lumps of brain peppering Wednesday’s face—just blood, lot of Cleo’s blood, pumping fresh from her open arteries as her heart had yet to realize it was suppose to stop.
Wednesday didn’t scream or jump or cry. From the moment Professor Dessauer had arrived, to now, the moment of her friend’s death, only fifteen seconds had passed. The Professor and Cleo dead; Wednesday started at Professor Dessauer’s impassive face, his cold stare, and knew she only had seconds to live—
The door to the coven slammed shut and the locks engaged. Wednesday darted at Dessauer, her body able to accelerate quickly through a combination of quick, silent spell casting. She covered the ground between them in under a second, running into him with enough force to stagger him and throw off his concentration.
Wednesday continued around the curving corridor. Her spell was already wearing off, and she could feel her speed slowing to a normal run. She neared the second entrance: the door slammed closed and she heard the locks set as she ran past. There was a high probability she was going to die, but before that happened she wanted to lock up the coven so Dessauer couldn’t get inside and . . .
He’d going to kill everyone, she thought as she neared the opposite entrance. He’ll get inside and do what he did to Warnstedt and Cleo, then he’d gonna go and kill—
She ran into Dessauer, who appeared before her. She was more shocked that he’d appeared as he did, rather than he’d been able to teleport . . .
As soon as the girl bounced back from his body, Dessauer backhanding her hard and driving her to the floor. “Little bitch!” he hissed. “What the hell do you think you are going to do to me? Hum?” He needed to get inside the tower, but he’d first kill this little pest—
That was when everything went dark.
It wasn’t just darkness that enveloped Dessauer: there was pain, stabbing pain across his head, upon his face, in his eyes . . . He screamed as his eyes burned and his eyelids felt as if they were melting away from his face.
Wednesday slowly propped herself on one knee before standing. She knew Dessauer couldn’t see her: she’d used a bit of transformation magic on him that she hadn’t been certain would work, but as there was nothing to loose, she threw the spell and hoped for the best.
Her emotions finally burst through. “You killed them!” She leaned towards him, her voice rising. “You killed the professor; you killed Cleo.” Tears burst from her eyes and poured down her cheeks. “I liked Cleo!” She pulled back her right arm and screamed. “Bastard!”
She wiped her hand around in a circle three times, then brought her hands together, clapped hands twice, and spread them apart. Dust flew around Dessauer: from the walls, from the floor, and in a vortex from the high ceiling. It came together around his body and began spinning into a cylinder. The dust moved fast, hissing as it move rapidly through the air.
The cylinder contracted around Dessauer. He began screaming, blindly flaying about trying to touch something, or trying to stop what was happening to him. Skin began peeling away from his face and hand, and the dust took on a rusty hue as it mixed with his blood.
Wednesday twisted her right hand, and the cylinder contracted until it was only a little wider than Dessauer’s body. His clothes were shredded, pieces flying about the confines of the tower corridor. Soon the dust was a dim red and his clothes were no long being ejected into the air. The professor’s screams grew quieter and, after a minute, stopped.
When Dessauer no longer made any sounds Wednesday dropped the spell. The small particles of stone she’d used to flay Dessauer dropped to the floor as a fine red solid mist. The professor’s flayed body remained standing for a few seconds, then his naked form crumpled and lay unmoving.
Wednesday didn’t see Dessauer; she wasn’t focusing on anything. She saw Cleo’s head vanishing, felt her sticky blood washing over her, heard rather than saw what was left of her collapse . . . She felt number for the murderer laying before her, nothing at all.
She began shaking all over and started crying. Delayed reaction stress would not be denied, and chose the moment to shake Wednesday to her core, to turn her into a quivering mass—
Still crying, Wednesday willed herself to stop shaking. Dessauer was down, he was dead, but there were others: Ram and Raque. Dessauer was the head of Mórrígan, she thought as she steadied herself, and Ram watches over Åsgårdsreia . . .
There weren’t time for shakes. With Professor Warnstedt dead, there wasn’t anyone close by to go to for help.
There was only her.
And believe me when I say, Wednesday does her part to save to school. After all, she’s teaching there, isn’t she? So she must have. Also, now you know why being able to do spells on the fly is important to her. After all, when people leave dirt and some rock dust around, someone with a bit of imagination and a lot of desperation can put it to good use.
Where does this leave me?
I will most definitely finish this chapter this week. I might even start the next as well, before heading back to The Burg. Then on to Part Five–
And even more witchy stuff. Why do you think it’s called The Witching Hours?