There are moments when one must sit back, take a moment, and say, “Yeah, I did that.” I did that last night. With a bit over seven hundred and fifty words put into the system, Act Two of my novel was finished, done, completed. After almost six months of writing every night and during a few afternoons, the middle third of The Foundation Chronicles, Book One: A For Advanced came to an end.
The last scene is a bit of an unusual one, in that neither Annie or Kerry are mentioned–I believe that’s a first–and it’s a set up for entry into Act Three. It doesn’t tell you much, other than it’s the end of January, 2012, and the headmistress has her own joint on school grounds.
But why don’t you see for yourself? Enjoy.
All excerpts, this page, from The Foundation Chronicles, Book One: A For Advanced, copyright 2013, 2014, by Cassidy Frazee)
Mathilde exited the Pentagram Wall and made her way slowly down the covered walkway leading to the Instructor’s Residence. She pulled her wrap around her; the weather wasn’t as cold now as it had been earlier in the month, but it was cold enough that outside the confines of the Pentagram Wall she could feel the light, winter wind.
The headmistress wasn’t alone. Walking along with here were Jessica Kishna, Helena Lovecraft, and Erywin Sladen. They were coming from the Saint Brighid’s Day feast and were heading out for a night cap at the Headmistress’ Residence, Rhiannon. It was a tradition she usually shared with three or four of the instructors, and this year her Mistresses of Transformation, Chemical Magic, and All Darkness, decided to take her up on her offer of a sniffer of cognac she’d picked up over Yule Holiday.
They’d walked from the Great Hall in silence; it was only after they’d ventured past Cernunnos Tower and were beyond the Wall that Erywin spoke. “I do miss the days when we used to call this holiday Imbolc.”
“I don’t mind calling it Brighid’s Day.” Helena pulled her long leather jacket tight around her neck before retaking hold of Erywin’s left hand. “Besides, I didn’t know what Imbolc was, or Brighid’s Day, or even if you put the bloody Saint before her name, before coming here.”
“You never heard of them from your mother and father?” Jessica was ambivalent on the naming of the Salem holidays: she enjoyed them all, and often referred to them by the names she’d grown up with as a child in Chicago before coming here as a student.
“Hell, no. My father never talked about the school, and all my mother wanted to do was teach me sorcery.” She laughed. “And my grandmother wasn’t much for the celebrations even when she taught here.”
Mathilde looked over her shoulder. “Your grandmother was teaching here before you were a student, yes?”
“Yeah. She stopped teaching a few years before I showed up.”
“I remember hearing about her when I started.” Erywin began slowly swinging her arm, and Helena relaxed and allowed hers to swing as well. “Scary woman.”
“As if you need to tell me.” Helena looked out over the cold open area between the covered walk and the woods. “I think the feast was rather subdued tonight.”
“I noticed that as well.” Mathilde stepped to her said and waiting until Jessica was alongside. “Why is that?”
“It’s the first school holiday here since the Day of the Dead.” Jessica rubbed her hands together and boosted her metabolism a bit to warm them. “They’re finally starting to remember what happened then, and that some of their friends are no longer with us.” Jessica allowed her voice to soften. “While they are here.”
“I understand completely.” Over Yule Mathilde had played the events of 1 November over and over, wondering if there had been more they could have done to prevent the deaths that had occurred. She’d finally come to the conclusion, two nights before Christmas, that Isis and all the others who’d participated in the defense of the school had done their jobs, and that there were things that couldn’t be anticipated, like having nearly a thousand Abominations hammer at the defense screens. And even then, they’d performed beyond their original specifications . . .
They reached the end of the covered portion of the walkway and turned left onto the path leading to the headmistress’ residence, situated just outside the tree line. An eighty meter hard path led to the entrance, and even taking their time the women covered the distance in a little over a minute.
Mathilde stepped up onto the porch and turned to face her guests as they joined her. “I think you’ll enjoy this cognac; it’s a X.O. that was recommended by a friend—”
“Then I’m sure it’ll be spectacular.”
All four women turned towards the voice that spoke. They all saw a man in a dark, heavy overcoat untangle himself from the shadows gathered at one end of the covered porch. He kept his hands in his pockets as he took a few seconds to graze at each woman. “Sorry for the rather unusual entrance . . .”
Mathilde wasn’t impressed by the gentleman’s entrance, but said nothing. She took two steps away from her companions. “What can we do for you, Mister Gabriel?”
The man got right to the point. “Quite a lot, I hope. The Guardians have question to which we need answers . . .”
End of Act Two
And there you have it: the cliffhanger that takes us into Act Three? And who are the Guardians? They’ve been referenced a few times in the story, particularly where Helena is concerned since she’s still one, more or less. They are the intelligence and dark operatives of The Foundation, very unlike the Protectors, who are like The Foundation police, and the Marshals, who you haven’t met yet, who act as The Foundation’s Special Military Op arm, and are extremely scary. When they get turned loose, all hell is probably breaking out somewhere in the world.
Since Mathilde knows this Gabriel character by sight, that means he’s been to the school a few times. Mr. Gabriel also continues my practice of using members of the group Genesis as side characters in my story–you’ve already met Mr. Mayhew and you know Ms. Rutherford, and if there is a third novel Mr. Gabriel will be replaced by . . . well, if you know the band history, you’ll guess the name of that character. The only name that won’t get used is Tony Banks, since it was already stated he, the real person, lectured at the school.
Now beings Act Three . . .
Now starts some rather secretive stuff, some payback, a lot of end-of-the-year sadness . . . and we’ll finally learn about Annie’s and Kerry’s relationship–well, you’ll learn about it, I already know what it is.
I just gotta get there and write about what happens.
NaNo Word Count, 11/7: 888
NaNo Total Word Count: 14,771