NaNo counts were made, Act Three was begun, and one scene completed, but it wasn’t easy. There are good days and bad days in the mental health game, and yesterday was one of those bad days. Really bad days. As in, if it were any worse of a bad day, I wouldn’t need to worry about any days after that. It’s also not easy when it’s a carry over from the day before, which is to say the bad day started on Friday afternoon. It seems to have dissipated, but . . . I’m watching hard. Really hard. Because I don’t need any bad days.
The thing is I still wrote. I still managed seventeen hundred words, which I consider and accomplishment, because there were times when I felt paralyzed by what was running through me. But the story must move, and it’s important to get things said. So I stuck to it and got down to business, because even when everything is going to hell around you, you keep your wits about you.
Helena would have been proud. speaking of her . . .
So this Gabriel dude comes calling. You can tell he’s a spooky dude, because he’s doing his best to act like a spooky dude. The headmistress let him into her residence, but she’s not happy about it. At least he gets to why he’s there right away . . .
All excerpts, this page, from The Foundation Chronicles, Book One: A For Advanced, copyright 2013, 2014, by Cassidy Frazee)
He finally stopped his examination and turned to the headmistress. “The designers have done an excellent job keeping the structure up to date while maintaining the look and feel of the original construction.”
“Perhaps you should have gone into that line of work.” Mathilde didn’t offer her unwanted visitor an opportunity to sit. “I’m surprised Isis didn’t inform me of your arrival.”
“That’s because I had a gag order with me.” Gabriel finally unbuttoned his coat. “San Francisco thought it best if I came unannounced.”
Helena looked down and mutter loud enough for all to hear. “What horseshit.”
“It doesn’t matter.” Mathilde was aware of the animosity Helena and Mr. Gabriel shared, and didn’t want it to blow up into a confrontation here. “You said the Guardians had questions and they were looking for answers. What answers do you require, Mr. Gabriel?”
As before he didn’t hesitate to get right to his answer. “We’re interested on the progress of some of your students. We’re in need of reporting.”
Mathilde was aware of the sort of reporting the Guardians often requested, but she needed more. “Weren’t my End of the Year summaries sufficient?”
“They were as always, Headmistress.” Gabriel began walking in a slow circle around the room. “We require specifics in the form of a detailed report.”
“I see. How many students are we discussing here?”
“Only two: A Levels.” He glanced from right to left as he moved around the room. “It shouldn’t be an issue.”
Hummm, only two A Levels. Well . . . any guesses as to those students?
Mathilde was almost afraid to ask the names of the students in question. “Do these A Levels have names?”
Gabriel nodded slowly. “Anelie Kirilova and Kerrigan Malibey.”
Jessica turned to Erywin and Helena. “Why am I not surprised?”
So now the secret police people have come calling, and they want information. Although . . .
Mathilde ignored the comment. “Everything that could be said about them was mentioned in my reports to the Educational Council and to the Guardians.” She worked to keep her emotions off her face as she spoke. “What more are you looking for?”
“More than they are Extraordinary marks in all proficiencies in all classes.” Gabriel stopped before the headmistress and eyed her closely. “That tells us nothing other than they are outstanding students—oh, and there is the matter of their being placed in Advanced Spells.” He began rubbing his chin. “Quite a feat for two A Levels.”
“As the report indicated, they’re extraordinary.”
“So extraordinary that Helena has given Kirilova access to the Black Vault.”
Helena shot Gabriel a terrifying look. “That was never in any of my reports.”
“That doesn’t mean we didn’t know.” Gabriel began moving in a tight circle in the middle of the sitting room, marking off points as he spoke. “Just as we know that Kirilova is likely learning another Morte spell; just as we know that’s she’s become proficient in Botany, Formulistic Magic, and Transformation Magic as well as sorcery; that she’s constantly managed to complete assignment for spells and formulas one or two levels higher than her current level—oh, and that she worked out an Air Hammer spell on the fly during the middle of a class test in Basic Self Defense.”
He turned and pointed at the headmistress. “And Malibey is doing all the same things, though he probably hasn’t learned any Morte spells yet, though he is becoming even better with Transformation spells than Kirilova—” He looked straight at Jessica. “He’s becoming quite handy with Simple Personal Transformations, isn’t he?”
He turned back on Mathilde. “Not to mention they have their own private lab in the bowels of Cernunnos Tower, which is quite an accomplishment for a couple of A Levels, one who was born a Normal—”
Helena had heard enough. “Who’s your mole, Gabriel?”
Gabriel chuckled. “As if I would tell you.”
Moles are not unusual, just to let you know. While Helena is, more of less, the only semi-active Guardian working the school, that doesn’t mean she’s handy with information. And even if she was, that doesn’t mean that the Guradians wouldn’t fall back on another source if required. Like it or not, it gives the Guardians as real Ministry of Truth vibe, though they are pretty benevolent, because something else if afoot, because Mathilde asks–
“If you know what they can do, why do you require reports?”
“Because they require official confirmation of their abilities.” Helena stood a few steps behind the headmistress’ right. “They can’t go off their mole’s word, because it’s just hearsay: they need documentation from the school officials. That’s the only way they can use the information.”
Mathilde didn’t look at Helena; she continued staring at Gabriel. “And what are you doing to do with the report?”
Helena answered for Gabrial because she knew he wouldn’t. “You’re thinking of using them for a field op, aren’t you?”
Gabriel unmoving face remained that way. “I couldn’t tell you if that was true or not.”
“No? First, that’s bullshite; I still have a field operator’s rating . . .” Helena nonchalantly pointed at Gabriel. “And two: the only people in the Guardians who’d tell me they can’t tell me are you blimin hoons in SOP.” She moved closer, now standing next to Mathilde. “Is that true? Is Special Operations and Programming working up a field op for our Lovey Dovey couple?” She cocked her head to one side and did frightening: she smiled.
The smile wasn’t returned. “If the SOP were putting together an operation, Helena, I couldn’t tell you.” Gabriel did smirk. “You’re out of the loop.”
“Not by much; I’ve done operations for SOP before—”
“Yeah, I remember the last one . . .” Now the smile appeared. “How many people died? Three thousand?”
Reminding the Mistress of All Things Dark that she was on an operation that saw three thousand people dying doesn’t set well with her–and, yes: I know what said operation was. But the interesting words here are field op, and in field operation, as in, “Let’s go out and have some fun kids.” Only . . . is it really gonna be fun?
It behooves Gabriel at that point to get all official on the headmistress. And . . .
Once Helena was back with Erywin and Jessica, Gabriel decided it was time to finish his business with the headmistress. “The Guardians would like a detailed report on the abilities of Kirilova and Mabiley compiled and delivered in electronic form by 1 March—though if you could have it finalized by 15 February that would be even better.” He rested his hands at his side. “Do you have any questions, Headmistress?”
“No, none at all.” Mathilde took one step towards Gabriel. “May I see the official request, please?”
The smirk that was affixed to Gabriel’s face slowly vanished. “I’ve just given it to you.”
“Oh, no, Mr. Gabriel. Official requests from any agency addressed to this school must be delivered either as a hard copy print-out, or as an electronic document.” She took another step closer to the Guardian representative. “Official requests of any kind, particularly those pertaining to the creation of official documents, must follow these protocols.” Mathilde took one final step and was almost nose-to-nose with Gabriel. “And at Salem I demand that protocol be followed—especially where the wellbeing of my children are concerned.” She leaned her head forward slightly. “Do you have any questions, Mr. Gabriel?”
He silently appraised the headmistress. “I was hoping we could dispense with that particular protocol.”
“I’m sorry to disappoint you, but I refuse to act unless I have an proper official order.” She straightened and crossed her arms. “I wouldn’t be a good headmistress if I didn’t follow my own rules, would I?”
Gabriel saw there wasn’t much of point it trying to argue or force the issue. “I suppose you’re right.”
“I am. Also . . .” She raised her right index finger. “If you ever come onto these grounds again, unannounced or otherwise, with the intention of trying to bully something out of me, I’ll turn my instructors loose upon you.” She half tuned to the right and shot a withering stare in Gabriel’s direction. “Indigne fils de pute.”
Mathilde pulls a Riddick, and Gabriel discovers he did not know who he was fucking with. And the image of Mathilde standing in front of her staff, pointing at someone, and yelling “Sic ’em!” is a great one indeed. Maybe Dumbledore should have done that when Lucius Malfoy came calling . . .
Needless to say, this is the opening salvo–
But we are finally seeing what’s happening behind the scenes.
And if you think this is the end of that, well . . . I’m gonna have to do a Riddick on you.
NaNo Word Count, 11/8: 1,707
NaNo Total Word Count: 16,478