By now it’s pretty obvious that the stuff that started out Act Three thirty thousand words ago (yep, it’s that many, and a little more) is now coming home to roost. And since Helena came over to give the kids the “good” news, chances are she got all her wishes granted. It’s just like she’s Dorothy and she traveled to the Emerald City to get her wishes granted by The Wizards, only somewhere along the way she ditched those other three losers and probably realized that Glenda the Good Witch was the bitch who actually needed to get put down, so she smoked her, too.
After all, I’d bet any amount of money Helena has taken down a fair share of witches in her time, so notching Glenda wouldn’t be that big of a deal. But I digress . . .
In fact, this situation with the Guardians is going to take up some of the bulk of Act Three–namely Parts Eleven and Twelve, and all the chapters therein.
The good thing is, once this creeping and peeping stuff is out of the way, there’s only two more parts, and those deal with the end of school and Annie and Kerry heading home and breaking up for the summer and not seeing each other and . . . hey, do I know how to end a novel on an upbeat note?
Trust me, it won’t be that bad.
But let’s get back to the spook stuff at hand. I didn’t quite make my NaNo word count for the day yesterday–mostly because I spent about six hours on the road and I was pretty beat last night–but I managed to push it over a thousand words, and now I’m only forty-five hundred words from fifty, and that means that while I’m likely going to make my word count for this NaNo, it’s not going to be anything to write home about. However, my word count starting from last year’s NaNo is about 340,000 words, so what’s another fifty, right?
What’s the story here, Cassie? Well, Helena’s being a secretive witch, and she’s got herself and three other people locked up in her office in the lower levels of the Witch House, and she’s doing her spiel . . .
All excerpts, this page, from The Foundation Chronicles, Book One: A For Advanced, copyright 2013, 2014, by Cassidy Frazee)
It was only after the room was sealed that Helena spoke to the other three members who’d gathered. “Before we get into the matters of why were are here and whether or not certain people will agree to do something . . .” She looked hard at Annie and Kerry as she walked past their chairs on her way to the chair behind the desk. “I have to make this clear: what is said in this room today stays in this room. If in five minutes time we decide not to move forward, neither of you—” She pointed across the desk at both children. “—are to ever admit this meeting happened, or that we ever gathered on this date and time.” She sat, glanced at Erywin sitting to her left, then turned back to the real reason she was here. “I hope I’m clear on this matter.”
Annie leaned on the left arm of her chair. “I understand completely, Professor.”
Kerry nodded slowly. “Same here.”
You were never here, this never happened . . . always a great way to start out a meeting. What else is happening, Sunshine?
“Good. Now, according to protocol I’m permitted to give you some light specifics on why I’ve ordered you here, and the meaning behind my statement last night.” She sat back and forced herself to relax. “Difference factions of The Foundation pour over our student reports combing them for talent. In case you hadn’t thought about what happens outside these walls, talent is prized by The Foundation, and while there are a number of other schools in the system, this is the one they look to the most, because only those whom we believe will become the best students in are allowed through Founder’s Gate.
“The one organization that examines us the closest is the Guardians. The reasons are simple: not only do we produce the best witches, but we also produce the best sorceresses—and being a great sorceress is a must if you want to become a Guardian. Knowing sorcery—in particular, knowing Morte spells—is the main requirement for being a Guardian, because we’re the ones walking in the shadows dealing with nefarious shit that we hope never becomes known to the Normals. And I say ‘we’ because I’m still a Guardian with a field operative rating—and I’ve handled my fair share of nefarious shit over the last two decades.
“The Guardians not only cherry pick our students records, but if they find someone they like, they contact the people in charge and ask for additional information on them, always in the form of a detailed report. If they like what they see there, then they take the step of requesting access to the student for a few days—usually no more than that—and they take them out into the field to see how they operate in either a test environment, or on an actually field operation.”
Helena set her elbows on the arms of her chair and leaned forward. “That’s why you’re here. The Guardians saw the reports on you and wanted additional information. They were given that information a few weeks ago, and now they want to see what you can do.” Once again she glanced at Erywin before looking back at Annie and Kerry. “They don’t want to test you; they want to send you on a field operation.”
You get too good in this world and you end up getting to play Secret Witch. Aren’t they lucky?
She lays out all the stuff that she pretty much already laid out for Gabriel and Mathilde, and though she never mentions this to the kids. She also lets them know that one of the reasons Erywin is her second is because she knows people–she’s a counselor and the school’s LGBT adviser–and it’s her job to figure out if the kids are, as Helena puts it, “mature enough to handle something like this.” Which was a concern she brought up once, but not to Annie and Kerry.
Finally we get to the last bit, the thing that determines where we go with this . . .
Helena stood and came around to the other side of the desk. She leaned against the edge directly in front of Annie and Kerry. “Now we get to the important part: your participation. And here’s where it gets tricky, kids, because no matter what I’ve said up to this about what I’ve done to ensure that this mission won’t screw you right into the ground, nothing happens if one or you both invoke your Right of Refusal.”
As she expected Annie said nothing, while Kerry asked the question. “What’s that?”
“It’s simple. You are both minors, and remain so until you’re eighteen, the Age of Majority. Now, under extraordinary circumstances The Foundation can conscript sixteen and seventeen year olds for operations, but that in no way affects you. You’re twelve and eleven, and about the only way they could get you out into the field would be to kidnap you and make you do it against your will.” She didn’t tell them she suspected that could happen if the wrong people got desperate . . .
“That means you have Right of Refusal, and that means if you say ‘no’, then you’re finished, your not involved, there’s the door, see you around, and remember not to tell anyone you were ever here. If, on the other hand, you say ‘yes’, then you sign non-disclosure forms, we pull out the data, and we start putting the operation together.” She looked from Annie to Kerry before focusing on a point between them. “So what’s it going to be? Are you in, or are you out?”
And that’s where I ended it, because I know what they’re going to say, and you’re likely know what they’re going to say as well, otherwise I’d find myself writing something else. And as I mentioned, I was tired, so I didn’t need to write the next part–
At least not last night.
It’s a new day, though. Looks like I have a few thousand words to work out today.
NaNo Word Count, 11/17: 1,232
NaNo Total Word Count: 45,460