Ground Time

First off, there’s a reason this post is coming a little late:  because I was recording video and writing.  What other reasons would there be?  Strange character, I am, but that’s how I roll.  Oh, and since it’s Saturday . . .

Never leave home without Idris around your neck.

Never leave home without Idris around your neck.

About the writing.  I managed another eleven hundred and fifty words this morning, and I did about twelve hundred last night . . . I’ve finished three scenes in four day, which works out to about five thousand words.  That’s a damn good amount for me, considering I’ve been lucky to manage five hundred words a night for a while.  Oh, and also:

I knew Kerry would push me over the top.

I knew Kerry would push me over the top.

Yes, I have reached the official “This is my Biggest Novel” moment, and everything from here on out is a new record.  It’s like a mental barrier has been breached–just like a certain fictional school’s defensive screens!  I crack myself up sometimes.

Speaking of that school, the scene just finished is called Ground, and since it isn’t comprised of the line, “Kerry hits the ground after falling one hundred an fifty meters . . . The End,” the chances are good he’s still alive.  Right?  Right?  Why don’t we check in on the lad?

 

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

17:09 to 17:17

Kerry fell out of the blue and into the black.

He was in a rapid, controlled decent towards the darkened forest below, trying to reach the ground before the enchantment ran out completely. He figured it would take less power to drop one hundred and fifty meters straight down that anything else they may try—

14 . . . 12 . . . 9 . . .

One hundred an fifty meters, five hundred feet, and if he lost the ability to fly anywhere above ten meters there was a good chance he’d still die. As it was the goggles’ low light function was only helping marginally; it was hard to make out details below. He thought he saw a small clearing between a few trees, but there was a definite possibility that the was going to hit limbs on the way in . . .

8 . . . 6 . . . 4 . . .

He had no idea were Emma was. He saw her begin her decent with him, but after that he was too busy looking at the area below him to know where she was. He hoped she was safe: he wanted her to be safe—

Right now, though, he was plunging into the trees.

It wasn’t enough to get close to the ground; Kerry had to arrest his downward speed least he crash into the forest floor. If he couldn’t slow before the enchantment ran out none of this would matter: he’d hit at high speed and . . .

He sensed limbs snapping around him; he pulled back on the broom’s control surface as hard as he could . . .

3 . . . 2 . . . 1 . . .

Kerry was just under six meters above the ground when the enchantment vanished and he fell the rest of the way.

He’d managed to cancel out most of his rate of decent, but a six meter fall coupled with the left over speed he retained meant he was going to hit hard. Kerry tumbled to this left, pushing the broom away so that he wouldn’t get tangled with it before landing, and tried to roll as his feet touched down.

His left knee give way the moment Kerry had solid earth beneath him. Unlike the first time he injured his knee, the pain was tremendous. He flopped hard on his left side before rolling over to his right so he wouldn’t place any unnecessary weight on his knee. He bit down on his right glove and screamed into the leather so the sound wouldn’t carry, otherwise anyone within a couple of hundred meters would know he was still alive.

He didn’t know how long he lay there screaming, but he didn’t pull his hand away until he was certain there were no more screams left inside. He slowly rolled over onto his back and looked up, taking inventory of his pain. His knee was aflame: he knew it was damaged badly, maybe as bad as the first time. He flexed his fingers and toes: nothing seemed broken. He moved his arms slowly, then his legs. Other than his knee he seemed to have nothing more than bruises and a few cuts.

As he sighed into the deep purple sky titted with dark red peeking through the treetop, he took joy that he was alive. That he’d made it out of the sky; that he could be patched up; that he’d be able to see—

 

So he made it down, though it sounds like that bad knee just got bad again.  And while that’s not a good thing, at least he’s alive, and he’ll be able to see–who?  The Easter Bunny?  Humm . . . we’ll have to keep wondering.

The good think is Emma made it down, too, and they hook up.  However, with Kerry’s bad knee he’s not able to get around too well, and he also has to deal with the fact that they’re going to have to take their order a little too literally . . .

 

Emma went off to retrieve it, returning about ten seconds later with his broom in hand. When she knelt this time there was a serious look etched across her face. “The comms are down.”

“I know.” He sat up slowly. “I sort of figured that when they cut out in mid-order.”

“What are we going to do?” She looked around slowly. “We’re locked out now. We only had sixty second—”

“Emma.” Kerry’s voice was low and calm. “We go to ground.”

“We can’t.”

“Yes, we can.” He turned best he could so he could look at her better. “We find a place to hide and we stay there until the comms come back on and we get instructions. That’s it; that’s what it means.” Kerry grabbed his broom. “Help me up, please?”

Emma pulled Kerry up on his good right leg while he used his PAV as a crutch, keeping the processor on the ground while he leaned into the nose with his left hand. He found he could put a little weight on his damaged knee, but if he didn’t support his weight with his broom, his knee painfully bent outward. He got his right hand on the top of the broom and used his left hand to move it forward. After about thirty seconds of practice, Kerry figured he could walk in a fashion.

His wingmate was still concerned. “Can you get far like that?”

“Not very.” He turned to Emma. “We need some cover, but you’re gonna have to do the heavy lifting, Emma. I can’t move around too well.”

She didn’t look sure of herself. “What do I look for?”

“Good cover away from anything that looks like it might be a path.” Kerry smiled before reaching over and patting Emma on the shoulder. “You can do this, Selene. That’s why you’re Moon; you see everything.”

She giggled. “You think?”

“Yeah.” He nodded towards the ground. “Don’t forget your broom.”

 

Kerry’s being a good sorceress:  he’s keeping his wits about him.  This wasn’t what is signed up for, but it is what it is, and damned if he can do anything about it now.

As it is they find a place to hide, and once they’re settled in, the questions come:

 

It didn’t take long for Emma to break the silence. “What happened?”

“Up there?” Kerry finally slipped the goggles off; he was getting tired of seeing everything, including Emma, standing out in various shades of green.

She slipped her goggles off as well. “Yeah. What were those yellow flashes?”

“There was more than one?” This was news to Kerry.

She nodded, though Kerry barely noticed it in the gathering darkness. “That one south of us, and another close to Lake Lovecraft, I think.” She turned her eyes down so she didn’t have to look at Kerry. I saw a couple of fliers fall.”

“I did, too.” He sighed. “They were close to the southern blast.”

“What was it? What happened to our enchantments.”

He didn’t need to spend time figuring that one out. “I think there were massive drain spells.”

“What?”

He slipped off his helmet and ran his fingers through his short hair. “The last couple of weeks Annie and I have been learning about enchantments in Advanced Spells. A couple of weeks ago the last half of the class was all about powering enchantment, activating them—and draining them of power.” Kerry leaned against his right arm. “I think that was something like a huge drain bomb. These Deconstructors pushed something physical through the screen, and it was set up with a big Drain Enchantment spell, so when it got through it went off and—drained all the enchantments.”

“They were trying to knock us all out of the air?”

“It was more than that—” Kerry rubbed his forehead. “They were probably trying to knock the screens down from the inside. I’m pretty sure that’s what happened with comms; they must run off of some kind of enchantment.”

 

Drain bombs:  you hate ’em, I hate ’em.  Particularly when they make me fall five hundred feet out of the sky.  However, Emma saw something happening to other fliers when those bombs went off, just as Kerry did.  And it’s got her mind in a bit of a spin.

 

Emma sighed softly. “That’s good.” Something caught in her voice for a second. “Kerry, what happened to . . . the fliers who fell?”

Oh, man. He knew what happened—or at least suspected. But there was no way he wanted to get into that discussion here and now. “Emma, don’t go there.”

She was intent on going there, however. “They died, didn’t they?”

“Emma—”

“They’re dead—”

Emma.” Kerry kept his voice soft and tried not to sound mean or upset. He knew what Emma was saying was true, but the less either of them thought about the last few minutes, the better. “We don’t know that anyone died: they could have teleported, or maybe . . . I don’t know, there’s some safety thing that saved them. We don’t know, and I’m not gonna think about it, either.” He clumsily reached over and patted her arm. “We’re here; we’re alive. That’s what matters to me.”

 

Let’s face it:  it’s a bitch when you suddenly have to face your mortality at eleven–Emma’s birthday is in the middle of April, so she’s only a couple of weeks older than Kerry.  They both saw other flier on the High Road fall, and that means it’s likely they saw them plummeting to their deaths.  Like I mentioned to other people, it’s a tough ol’ world I created here, with kids coming into the school knowing death spells–I’m looking at you, Annie–and others suddenly realizing they came within seconds of meeting their own early demise.

It won’t be pretty from here on out, and their will be a death toll:  I’ll get to that in later scenes.  But there’s more magic coming . . .

 

“Yeah. We’re alive.” She laid her broom across her lap. “Though we can’t go anywhere.”

“Yeah, well . . .” Kerry reached for his broom. “I might be able to do something there.” He touched the processor. “HUD up.” He wasn’t sure if there was enough energy left in the PAV to display the HUD, but he figured the processor would draw on any energy flowing through him to power the system. It came up, glowing softly. He checked the Enchantment Power Level, which was flickering between zero and one percent.

Humph.” Emma exhaled a couple of times loudly. “It’s dead.”

 

You’re never getting anywhere with those negative attitudes, Missy.

 

“Give me a second—” Kerry half-closed his eyes. He knew what to do; Annie and he had done it more than a few times last week, and while he’d not worked on anything this big, the concept was the same . . .

He pulled as hard as he could and pushed energy and willpower into his PAV’s processor. Emma’s gasp told him all he needed to know; when he opened his eyes, he saw the Enchantment Power Level was now at eleven percent.

He shut the HUD off as Emma asked him the most obvious question. “What did you do?”

“Like I said, we learned about enchantments the last couple of weeks.” He slowly exhaled. “The first week was theory: last week was all about lab.” He patted his broom. “The processor is pretty much the PAV enchantment as well as the device that feeds it power: all I did was give it a jump start. In about thirty minutes the enchantment should be up around thirty percent.” He held out his right hand. “Lemme see yours.”

Emma handed her PAV to Kerry, who laid it on the ground between them. He brought up the HUD and did the same thing to hers as he’d done with his; seconds later the Enchantment Power Level for Emma’s broom was twelve percent.

Wow.” She set the broom behind her. “That’s impressive.  Good thing I’ve got a wingmate in Advanced Spells.”

“Thanks.” Kerry sighed again and tried to manage a slight smile. “Once they’re up around thirty percent we should be good to fly anywhere in the school if needed.” He lowered his head and began panting.

Emma touched his shoulder. “You okay?”

“Yeah.” He nodded slowly. “It’s just—that took something out of me.” He lay back on the ground and placed his helmet under his head. “I’m coming off the adrenaline rush, too.” Kerry folded his hands over his tummy. “I just need to rest . . .”

 

And that’s it; that’s the end of the scene.  What happened to Kerry?

I guess I’ll have to write about it, won’t I?