Being home has its advantages–like being able to go out on a cafe date with your daughter and your computers, and being able to get in a little bohemian-style writing, even if it is on an eight year old computer. Dig it, baby: I might have only gotten four hundred words in, but there’s nothing like writing out in public with the earbuds in and the music turned up.
And, no: I wasn’t asked what I was doing. Nor have I ever been asked. One day I will get asked, and then I can figure out what sort of smart ass answer I want to give.
Where did I leave off? Oh, yeah: Wednesday was showing video to Headmistress Mathilde Laventure, and the last thing she saw was some huggin’ and probably kissin’. Not that she hasn’t seen it before . . .
(All excerpts, this page, from The Foundation Chronicles, Book One: A For Advanced, copyright 2013, 2014, by Cassidy Frazee)
“I’m sorry?” It wasn’t that Mathilde was a stranger to the affections students showed one another while at school. Behind their fifteen meter walls the Salem Institute was a self-contained world, and for three-quarters of a calender year students worked together, played together—and showed affection for each other in this world.
But now that she knew who the students were, all the stories she’d heard over the last month began popping up in Mathilde’s memory. They were not only skillful with magic, but they were exceptionally devoted for two eleven year olds—correction, an eleven and twelve year old, as Annie had begun wearing a locket that she’d told several instructors was a birthday present from Kerry.
They also seem to dive under the covers during the Midnight Madness quite often . . . This train of thought wasn’t one the headmistress would pursue, however. She was far more interested in Wednesday’s videos. “What happens from this point on?”
The headmistress of this joint: she misses nothing. Maybe the school should consider getting rid of the sofas and the fluffy comforters, and switch to something like sleeping bags.
The problem isn’t the face sucking, however: it’s the magic. As in, they’re doing things they shouldn’t be doing, like . . . magic?
“But your spell cells don’t handle sorcery spells, do they?” It was long ago agreed that no one would practice dangerous sorcery at the Spell Center, reliving Helena of having to help set up protective enchantment in Wednesday’s spell cells. “And you didn’t tell them this, did you?”
Wednesday slowly shook her head. “No. When Annie told me she was going to try a fire spell, I instantly thought, you know, she was going to try something normal and simply.” She pointed at the now stopped video on the display. “I didn’t think she was going to whistle up freakin’ cold fire.” She leaned against the wall and turned to the headmistress. “Everything they did is well beyond their level. Cold fire, ice encasement, template transformation: those are all C Level spells. There is no way they should have even tried those, much less make them work.”
“What about the time spell Kerry used?” Mathilde has some knowledge of time spells: there were a few minor ones she used from time-to-time if she found it necessary to meet a deadline. But she didn’t care for them; they often left her feeling disoriented afterwords, and she knew all too well what could happen when one went wrong . . . “That’s also a C Level spell, no?”
“Oh, yeah. I almost never start on time spells until early C Level, but what he was doing—” She leaned against the wall and sighed. “Second half of the school year, usually.”
Now one may ask, “Are you sure those are C Level spells, and not something you could do earlier?” Well, see, when I’m building my world I like to know where everything goes, even my magic. ‘Cause you have to keep track of your things . . . you know, stuff?
And therein lay the problem: Wednesday’s a bit freaked out by this, even if she was doing advanced magic at an early age herself. Probably because she wasn’t throwing out cold fire a month into her A Levels–she’ll tell you she isn’t much of a sorcerer–and if she had, she’d have at least practiced first.
But wait! There’s more!
Wednesday chuckled. “Oh, I’ve saved the best for last.”
“And that is?”
“Right after I start going over the spell cell video, Ramona contacts me. She wants to know if I’m showing any of my A Levels advanced spells—”
Mathilde leaned heavily on her right arm. “What happened in her class?”
“Today was the day she ran her coven teams against her zombie homunculi—”
“Yes, I remember her mentioning it after dinner last night.” At least she didn’t mentioned it during dinner . . .
“Well, she told me most of the covens crashed and burned, as she expected, but there were two that managed to defeat the undead hordes. Mórrígan managed to figure out how to use their numbers to their advantage and take out their objectives while only losing two people.” Wednesday paused and rubbed her chin a couple of times as if she was considering not saying anything more—
Which was something Mathilde was not about to allow. “And what was the other coven?” Based upon Wednesday reaction, the headmistress had already chosen a name . . .
“Cernunnos: Kirilova and Malibey. They took out all five of theirs—which were worst odds than the other covens had, by the way.”
“Let me guess: they were the ones Ramona asked about—”
“Yeah, because right in the middle of almost getting their butts kicked, Annie pulled off an air hammer, and after speaking for a few seconds with Kerry, they both figured out how to apply that spell while using their weapons as foci.” Wednesday pointed at the display. “She let me have access to the recordings of their test: they were dismembering homunculi with wooden poles and bokkens. You want to see?”
“No, thank you.” Mathilde waved off her Spell Mistress; the last thing she wanted to witness was something that bloody this close to dinner. “Let me guess, though: nothing they’d practiced—”
“They didn’t even read up on it. Annie just . . . figured it out, told Kerry, and he came up with the idea of applying it to their weapons.” She shook her head. “That’s what they told Ramona. She kept them after class to remind them that they couldn’t use that against their classmates, because they’d probably kill them if they did.” Wednesday moved out from behind the headmistress’ desk. “That was why I was contacted: she figured I was showing them the spell.”
Pesky kids: killin’ zombies and slingin’ spells they shouldn’t be slingin’. And since Wednesday knows all about using spells to kill people, this sort of stuff has her concerned because she didn’t start flaying instructors alive until she was a C Level. Therefore . . .
Wednesday said nothing until she was standing in front of the large desk once more. “I don’t know, Mathilde. I don’t think they’re Savants; they don’t fit the profile. Extremely talented?” She shrugged, then turned her attention to the view outside the office windows. “This is more than talent. This is . . .” She turned her attention back to the woman across the desk. “Dangerous.”
“I agree.” Based upon what she’d been told Mathilde was inclined to believe her Mistress of Spells. “A Levels performing spells two years beyond where they are—”
“It’s not about being beyond their abilities; it’s about knowing what they’re doing.” For the first time since entering the office Wednesday chose to sit. “Nothing bad happened today, but what happens if they try something like this next week, where they pick up a book and decide to start winging spells? They could get hurt, or hurt others.” She wound a strand of hair around her right index finger. “Or even kill themselves.”
Mathilde nodded slowly. “I take it this is leading somewhere?”
“Yes, it is.” Wednesday leaned forward and explained exactly where her concern was leading.
The headmistress remained calm as she took in Wednesday’s request. “You told me you’d never do that.”
“I know what I said I’d never do, but I think, in this instance, I don’t have a choice.” She pushed herself back into the chair. “That’s why I’m here: I need your permission and your blessing for this.” Wednesday tilted her head slightly to one side. “Do I have it?”
Mathilde knew the answer, but had to ask. “You’re certain this is your best course of action for them?”
“Than you have my permission and my blessing.”
Wednesday looked up at the ceiling and smiled. “Thank you, Mathilde.”
The headmistress scratched behind her left ear. “When are you going to tell them?”
“Well . . .” Wednesday bounded to her feet, her smile still affixed. “The Madness is tonight, so I’ll drop this on them first thing in the morning.” She took a single step back from the desk before half turning for the door. “I wouldn’t want to be accused of costing them any sleep.”
Should I play, “Dun, dun, dunnnnn,” at this point? Or is something else about to happen? Or will they be put on a snogging alert and watched by Isis constantly?
I guess you’ll have to wait until I write the next couple of scenes.