The First Farewells

It’s finally happening:  it’s time to say goodbye to Salem, and my kids are beginning that process.  I started it last night, but I didn’t get very far, mostly due to chatting with a friend for close to four hours about what’s happening this coming Monday, and showing off my new work shoe collection–yep, just like all the other girls, I am–I hit close to five hundred words.  Not much, but it’s a start.  And I was up at five-fifteen today, before starting this post, to add a few hundred more words here.  With that said the scene is right around seven hundred and fifty words in and there will be a lot more before it’s finished.

More scene, and maybe a few tears along the way.

What would you know, Ned?  You got your head chopped off.

What would you know, Ned? You got your head chopped off.

I’ll be leaving the apartment in about an hour, which means I need to get ready for my drive north to meet with a friend.  (It’s six twenty-eight in the morning as I write this, in case you’re wondering.)  With that in mind, I give you the scene, in toto, up to this point.

 

All excerpts, this page, from The Foundation Chronicles, Book One: A For Advanced, copyright 2013, 2014, 2015 by Cassidy Frazee)

Annie looked about her room before sitting on the edge of her bed. She started out the window into the garden beyond, then allowed her gaze to flit from place to place. She examined her wardrobe, then her dressing table and the jewelery case she’s brought with her and was leaving behind to be moved to her new B Level room along with the painting she did for Ostera currently hanging over the head of her bed.

She ran her hand over the comforter, taking in the softness. Annie also asked for this and her sheets to be moved to her next room as well. It was silly to think that a new set wouldn’t be any different than this set, but she’s grown comfortable with this set, and she didn’t want to loose it. And she’d found out that Kerry was doing the same: he’d said that he loved how it kept him warm on even the coldest night, and he wanted that for next year as well.

Annie stood and examined her luggage one last time before grabbing her purse and slung the strap over her left shoulder. She did one last slow pirouette, taking in everything with perfect clarity. She finally faced the door and sighed. “Goodbye—” She nodded twice. “It was good here.”

She headed out of the room and into the hallway, gently closing the door behind her. The hall was empty and silent, which she expected since most of the tower was now empty. The East Asian and Oceanic A and B Level kids departed about twenty-three hours last night, and the North and South American children had been filing out throughout the morning. Annie would be in the last groups leaving: those heading to Europe and Africa would leave the school this afternoon and depart tomorrow in separate flights after spending the night in Boston.

Annie didn’t have to fly back: as a Legacy she could leave this morning with one of the instructors, or even have her mother jaunt over and take her home. But she didn’t pick either of those options. Her choice for going home was simple . . .

She rounded the corner leading to the open area in front of the bathroom entrances and almost ran Kerry over as he nearly did the same. They both caught themselves, half-wrapping their arms around each other before there was an accident. “Sorry.” Annie looked down and smiled. “I didn’t see you.”

“I didn’t see you, either.” Kerry relaxed his embrace, but he didn’t let her go.

“I was coming to see you.”

“I was coming to see you.”

Annie tightened her embrace around Kerry’s arms. “You must be packed.”

“I am.” Kerry let himself get pulled closer to Annie. “Everything I want to send home in one spot, and the stuff to get moved labeled.”

“Painting and comforter?”

“Yep.”

“And you have your broom in your backpack?”

He chuckled. Over the last few weeks Nadine had taught both Annie and Kerry how to Hammerspace their brooms, and as they had done with everything else this last school year, they mastered it quickly. While Annie didn’t expect to have need of this to hide a broom, or something larger, on her person, Kerry said he’d use it so he could take his PAV home and do some flying during the summer holiday. The joke between them was that since he took his backpack everywhere, he was keeping his broom packed there. “Yes, I have it sitting in my backpack—right next to my computer.”

“At least you’ll always have it handy.” Annie wasn’t worried about Kerry flying once he was home. On their trip the weekend before he proved he could stay hidden an travel a few hundred kilometers without getting lost, and Vicky had already confirmed with local Foundation authorities in Wales that they might track him out and about some days.

They pulled each other tight and silently took in their surroundings. Nearly a minute passed while they stood quietly and looked about the empty first floor. Kerry was the first to speak. “I’m going to miss this place.”

Annie leaned against him. “I will, too. We grew up here, this last year.”

“Yeah.” He wrapped his left arm around her waist. “So much we learned.”

“Not just magic, either.” She kissed his cheek. “So much about ourselves, too.”

He kissed her back. “Yep.” Kerry hugged her against his body. “I really don’t want to go.”

 

You sounds like The Doctor there, Kerry, and considering he said, “I don’t want to go” on 1 January, 2010, you can rip off his quote, kid.  Or should I say, I can rip off his quote?

As a quick aside, today, 31 January, is Inspire Your Heard With Art Day.  I know where my inspiration to write about my kids derives from; perhaps you’ll read this and find inspiration for your heart as well.

On Beyond A

I know, I should have something else posted here–like, you know, a story–but I don’t.  It’s like this:  I had to run out to pick up a few things, stuff that I was waking on or that involved getting money back.  Normally, even on a Thursday afternoon around five PM, that shouldn’t have involved too much time, because it’s not like The Burg is this bustling city with huge rush hour backups.

But what should have taken thirty minutes, tops, ended up taking about two hours because of a light cover of snow that made the roads just nasty enough to slow everything down.  So I picked up the thing I needed to pick up, then crawled across down in a thirty minute trip that normally takes about ten.  I should have just got in and got out with my refund, but . . . it was at a shoe story.  And the lady who knows me there knows me, and an hour later I walked out with three pair of shoes to complete my work ensemble.

I never used to like shopping, but suddenly it’s like, “Oh, I don’t need this, but you know, it won’t hurt to have it.”  And just like those statistics where they say a lot of women have like twenty pair of shoes–yeah, I’m a statistic.

Really, is it something in the estrogen?

Really, is it something in the estrogen?

By the time I stopped to get something to eat–because the roads were crap and it would have taken me thirty minutes to drive home anyway–it was just after eight PM when I returned home and I was starting to nod out in a serious way.  I brought up the program and started trying to write–and I couldn’t.  Really, the inspiration and motivation tank was dry, and my inner goddess was kicked back in her easy chair blowing raspberries at me.

Sucks, I tell you.

However . . . yesterday between bouts of testing and nodding out–yeah, I was doing this at work a lot–I started thinking about a story.  What story, you ask?

The next novel in the series.

This isn’t to say that I haven’t thought about the story at all; I have.  I’ve even part of it time lined out.  But I now have a definitive feel for like the first month or so the kids are back at school.  Even two months if I really push it.  It does detail a bit of Annie’s and Kerry’s summer, though most of that really happens on Kerry’s side.  We don’t really see much of his family life, save for one scene, where his parents begin questioning why he seems to have only girls as friends.

A little full disclosure:  at this point they don’t know that Annie is his girlfriend/soul mate/wife to be, they only know her as this girl from Bulgaria who lives in the same “dorm” with him.  (The thing with the dorm comes from the school forcing the kids from Normal families not to expose all their magical shenanigans just yet.)  That’s actually Annie’s idea, because she thinks, based upon everything Kerry’s said about them, they won’t be able to understand how their twelve year old son is in a serious relationship with a girl–and they definitely wouldn’t get the sleeping together thing, nope, no way.

But what happens is he gets his travel package in early August, and his parents finally start asking about the people he knows at school–because he does mention Annie and that he’s looking forward to seeing her again–and by the time the names start coming out, mom and dad notice this trend of female names, and start asking, “Don’t you have any friends who are, well, boys?”

And that’s the sort of shitty parents Kerry has, because they do think there’s something wrong with their kid going off to a school and developing friendly, non-dating relationships with the ladies.  They don’t actually come out and ridicule him, but they let it be known that they think he might be better off having, you know, some kid with testosterone hanging out so he doesn’t come down with permanent cooties.

But just wait until they find out all about Annie.

Yeah . . . just wait.

Upon Their Ways

This is it:  the final scene with the Headmistress of the School of Salem.  For after this moment she’ll be seen no more–and I mean that, at least for this story.  In fact, from here on out you’ll only hear from four more instructors and a staff member before the book reaches its conclusion, and a few other adults here and there, but with the exception of one scene, it’s all Annie and Kerry from here on out.  And even in the scene where it’s two instructors talking, Annie and Kerry are sorta there as well.

There is, however, one more scene I may add, and that’s Kerry finally returning home.  We saw him leave–a long time ago, I might add–with Ms. Rutherford, and after returning from the school he’ll return home with her.  By putting this in, the end of the novel will sort of reflect the beginning, where we saw Annie first, then two scenes with Kerry.  The end of the novel with have two scenes with Kerry, then Annie alone.  A nice little bookend.

But first, a last supper, if you will, at the Salem Institute for Greater Learning and Education.

 

All excerpts, this page, from The Foundation Chronicles, Book One: A For Advanced, copyright 2013, 2014, 2015 by Cassidy Frazee)

Headmistress Mathilde Laventure ascended the podium and watched the students gathered for the last dinner of the current school year. With the graduating class and the Last Cuts now home or on their way, the students now gathered in the Dining Hall numbered thirty-five fewer than this time last week. We’re missing a Coven and a quarter. She took her place behind the podium and activated the microphone spell. Let’s hope we can make that up next year.

“Good evening, students.” She scanned the crowd before her. “As you are aware, this is out last dinner together this school year, our last opportunity to enjoy each other’s camaraderie—a chance to enjoy one last, good meal before we depart Salem.

“Some of you will leave tonight, so we can get you to the other side of the world in an agreeable time. Most of you will sleep for a last time this year in your coven towers, awake tomorrow and partake in an enjoyable breakfast. Most of you will leave in the space between then and lunch; the rest of you will leave later in the afternoon. By tomorrow evening all of you will be back in your own homes, eating dinner with your families, sleeping in your own beds. Your time with us will have come to an end; the following morning you will begin your summer holiday.”

 

While what Mathilde says is correct, the are thirty-five fewer students than a week before, the graphic I showed you yesterday is wrong, because I left off something:  the nine students that died during the Day of the Dead attacks.  Factor those in and we have one hundred and five students at this dinner.  (I give that number because one of the deceased students was an F Level and is one of the two that didn’t make it to graduation.)  I’ll now have to fix that because, hey, I’m all about getting it right.

After a few things said about how lucky everyone is to be moving on–or leveling up, if you will–she turns her attention to the new students who aren’t so new any more.

 

She shifted her gaze to the children sitting closest to the dais, her smile still radiant. “It is a special moment for you A Levels, for you finally leave the fishbowl and enter the pond. From this moment on you are a integrated part of the school, meaning you may participated in inter-cover sports and other extra-curricular activities. Keep in mid, however, that you’ll now be held to an even higher standard of conduct than you were this year, and where you could beg ignorance for grievances and misdemeanors, that is no longer true. You know the rules and regulations: you now understand how Salem works. Incidences as A Levels which may have led to verbal warnings and minor detentions will merit far sterner punishments. And you will quickly discover that if you cause problems for another student, those students have ways of rectifying their grievances.”

 

This “rectifying their grievances” thing has been hinted at when the expression “call them out” has been used.  They’re talking about magical combat, where someone gets tired of being picked on and has the chance to fix that situation by heading out to the Manor where Self Defense is taught and doing their best to beat the shit out of the other person with spells.  Naturally if you’re good with, say, sorcery, you’ll have an advantage–and should you know, oh, Morte spells, the chances are pretty good no one will ever mess with you.  You’ll also be watched a lot closer by Security as well, and if you end up bullying people because you know they can’t do anything against your magic, you may find yourself being called out by the Chief of Security–and that would be bad.

With that we get to the end of Mathilde’s speech, and something special . . .

 

Mathilde looked to her right and nodded to one of the kitchen staff. “And now, a tradition our upper level mates know quite well, but which we’ve kept hidden as best we can from our A Levels. If you will . . .” A champagne flute of nearly clear, bubbling liquid appeared before not just the A Levels, but every student in the hall. As a murmur rose among the A Levels, the headmistress spoke. “There’s no need to get excited: it’s sparkling apple juice. If we were in France, however . . .” She chuckled at her own joke, then grew more serious. “This school has a long and storied history, and with every additional year we instruct the Aware, that history grows even more storied. There are many graduates of this institution who have went on to initiate great changes within The Foundation, and in some instances, throughout the world as well.

“I see the A Levels sitting before me, and I can’t help but wonder: will your names be immortalized one day in the Hall of Remembrance? Some of you have already earned a special place there—” She grinned but did not look at any students in particular. “—but I suspect that a few of you will achieve greatness. When we say ‘You are the future’, I firmly believe that a few of you will make differences that will affect not only the Aware and The Foundation, but the world as a whole. You will help make the future for all of us and those who follow.

“With that said, a toast.” She raised her flute, as did all the instructors and staff sitting on either side of the headmistress. A few seconds later, every student in the hall did likewise. “To the past and the success we’ve archived; to the present and the events which shape our character and our being; and to the future, which we will shape for the betterment of everyone.”

Mathilde set her flute aside and lightly drummed her fingers against the podium. “But enough of me talking . . .” She spread her arms wide and smiled. “Let’s eat.”

 

Yeah, lets toast the students, and let them toast themselves, and hope the kids who are good with transformation magic don’t ferment that apple juice a little too much before sucking it down.  You can bet every instructor on that dais is turning up their Spidey Senses just waiting for some kid to go, “Yeah, I’ll fix this!” so they can finish off dinner with a good buzz.  Save that for when you’re out of school and you can hang with your witchy friends.

"Remember all those times we nearly died trying to change the world?  Yeah, good times.

“Remember all those times we nearly died trying to change the world with magic? Yeah, that was fun.”

So there you have it:  the absolute last school activity.  Next scene is the following morning, a Friday, and it’s time to leave . . .

The Long Farewell

Here we are, now, the beginning of the end, and it’s reaching us oh, so slowly.  I was kind of rubbish last night in terms of getting the scene done, but I did everything else:  I paid bills, I hunted down shoes, I wrote out an interview, and I took a nap because I was feeling knackered.

It’s pretty much the story of my days these days.

I did get a lot done, however.  The end of the novel is formatted nicely and is, pretty much, in its final form:

Every last part, chapter, and scene in its place.

Every last part, chapter, and scene in its place.

Now all the part and chapter cards are there, the final scene is cut in two as I planed, and I’m considering going through each scene and doing as I did in the Day of the Dead section, and putting notations for date and time of day in place, so people aren’t confused by something they think is out of order.  Then if they say, 3 May, Late Afternoon, coming after 3 May, Morning, they won’t wonder, “Hey, does this scene take play after the last one?”  Yes, Virginia, it does.

(The whole novel is in order from front to back, with events taking place in chronological order.  The only reason I set up the time notation for the Day of the Dead Attack is because things were happening close together.  From the time Kerry crashes during the penetration of the screens, to the Level Three lock down, to the argument between Wednesday and Isis and Wednesday going out to charge the nodes and running into Erywin, to conversation between the headmistress and Isis, and to Kerry waking up after charging the brooms, is about forty minutes.  And as you can see from what I just wrote out, a lot happened.)

So no more messing with this or with checking the weather–okay, maybe once there–and no more looking at maps . . . okay, maybe one.  But that’s it.  I have dinner at Panera tonight, and there I finish Mathilde’s farewell for the year speech, which has something special in it that I dreamed up at work yesterday between bouts of hating on a program I’m testing.  And speaking of hr farewell speech, I also did this last night:

When you're speaking to students, one must know how many are there.

When you’re speaking to students, one must know how many are there.

Before this story started I figured out the counts for each level–I also have the counts for each Coven, the people from each country, and even the breakdown between the girls and the boys.  But this one . . . it’s almost a week after graduation, and I wanted to know how many students were sitting in the Dining Hall this one time.  The first number are the students in each level on 2 September, Orientation Day.  This is followed by the number of students who didn’t make the cut to the next level, and the total of each level that is sitting there listening to the headmistress.  Of course there aren’t any F Levels there:  they graduated.  And you can see, two didn’t graduate–they didn’t make the Final Cut.

One hundred and thirteen students, thirty-five less than they started with at the start of the year, when Mathilde came in to this same room to welcome everyone back and greet the new students.  If you’re sitting in this room, Mathilde will remind you that you’re moving on to the next level.

You made it.  You’re still a member of Salem.

And just like with Chicago Cubs baseball, there’s going to be a next year.

The Gifted Ones

Finally, I finished that big, long scene in the Instructor’s Library–but only by getting up at five-fifteen today and writing the last five hundred and fifty-five words.  Seriously:  I have them counted out.  In five days I managed almost four thousand words, which is a lot of late.

But I said I’d finish this sucker by today, and I did.

When we last left off, Annie had turned down Jessica’s offer to work with her in the Advanced Transformation class.  Jessica wasn’t happen, but . . .

 

All excerpts, this page, from The Foundation Chronicles, Book One: A For Advanced, copyright 2013, 2014, 2015 by Cassidy Frazee)

Jessica wanted to talk Annie out of her idea of letting Kerry teach her what he learned—but if the headmistress had given her consent to let Annie teach Kerry sorcery, she’d allow things to progress the other way around. She watched Helena out of the corner of her eye. I wonder how much influence she had on Mathilde . . .

“All right.” She pressed her hands together. “The invitation is going to remain open to you all through next year school year, so if you decide to change your mind, you can come into the class.”

“Thank you, Professor.” Annie wasn’t comfortable calling Professor Kishna by her given name, and now wasn’t the time to develop that familiarize. “I’ll likely be in the Black Vault at that time—” Her smile was comforting and bright. “I thank you for the offer, and I will give it consideration.”

“That’s all I ask.” Jessica turned to Kerry. “I can count on your participation, I gather?”

“Yes . . . Jessica.” He smiled at finding himself brave enough to say the Transformation instructor’s name. “I’ll be there.”

 

One out of two ain’t bad, but it wasn’t what Jessica hoped for.  And she suspects that the quiet, dark, sinister looking woman sitting at the end of their queue.  Yeah, don’t mess with Helena, even if you can turn into a big cat and kill people–which Jessica has done.  But her time is over and it’s on to Ramona, who invites them into her Advanced Self Defense class on Sunday mornings (Sunday, you say?  Ramona cares not about you sleeping in–), and they accept.  Then it’s on to the flight instructor . . .

 

Vicky rubbed her Star of David several times before speaking. “We’ve already discussed your attendances in Advanced Flight One—” She tried to put on as sweet appearance as possible for Annie. “I know you said most of what you’d learn in the class you already understand because of things you’ve picked up around the home, and I agree with you.” She bent her head slightly to the right. “Kerry, you’re still in, right?”

“Yep.” His face brightened as he spoke. “Wouldn’t miss it.”

“And that’s a good thing, too, if you’re planning on going out for racing next level. However . . .” She turned back to Annie. “I need to speak to you two about something else.”

Vicky’s statement only concerned Annie because the instructor’s tone seemed so serious. “What’s wrong?”

“Nothing’s actually wrong, but . . .” She cast her gaze between a few of the other women seated in the room. “Wednesday, you want to take this?”

 

Now we know Kerry will do some more flying, and Annie isn’t.  Given what I know about the class, that makes sense–but what’s the, “Wednesday, take this,” business?

 

“Certainly.” She took a deep breath and sighed before she leaned forward in her chair. “Annie, do you remember when you first started doing levitation?”

“How could I forget?” She rolled her eyes. “That was the first spell we learned when we joined the advanced class.” Her face softened as she smiled and took Kerry’s hand. “I had some help that night.”

Wednesday fought to keep her own smile hidden. All these instructors in the room, and she doesn’t care if we see her affection. Kerry doesn’t care if we see his, either. She figured she better speak up before they kissed and made everyone uncomfortable. “You managed pretty well in the next couple of classes, but when we did personal levitation right before Samhain—you did pretty good as I remember.”

Annie remembered the class before the Samhain dance, remembered how nearly all the students who’d never tried personal levitation before struggled. She remembered that it took Kerry about twenty minutes to figure out how to craft the spell so he could hover about forty centimeters off the floor—

While she floated off the floor and could touch the ceiling after about five minutes of practice.

“I remember.” She squeezed back as Kerry squeezed her hand. “I did well.”

“You did more that well, Annie . . .” Vicky pointed at her boyfriend. “Just as Kerry does more than well with a certain kind of magic—”

He looked up. “What do you mean?”

Jessica responded to his inquiry. “We believe you both have Gifts.”

 

This is the real reason for getting them into this room privately.  Any of the instructors could have spoken with them at any time, and normally the instructors don’t get together like this if a couple of students are being invited into one or two advanced classes.  But for something like this . . .

Gifts are a big deal.  It’s an ability that doesn’t actually require the expenditure of magical energy to use.  In fact, it’s pretty much on all the time.  Sight can be considered a Gift; Ramona is Speedy, meaning she can move like five or six times faster than a regular human just by doing so, and Coraline is much the same way.  And then there’s Isis, and the people in the room think Annie has something in common with the Chief of Security–

 

Annie started at Jessica for almost five seconds, then laughed as she turned to Vicky. “You think I have Flight?”

She motioned toward the small Spells Mistress. “Wednesday was the one who brought it to my attention—” Vicky shrugged. “It, um—it makes sense.”

This news was just then getting through to Kerry. “Those are special abilities.”

Jessica nodded. “Yes, they are.”

“I noticed things about Annie’s aura when she’d levitate.” Wednesday folded her hand and began pressing her thumbs together. “I’ve never checked out you when you’ve used transformation magic—”

“But I have.” Jessica slowly crossed her ankles. “Slight things when you’ve crafted Minor Self Transformations. When you’re working with copying the aspects of other people, you do it quickly, and seemingly perfect.”

“What does that mean?” Kerry gripped the inside of his thighs as he leaned forward towards Jessica.

Annie was able to answer again before any of the instructors could speak. “She thinks you’re a Mimic. That makes sense.” She leaned close to Kerry and spoke in a low, near whisper. “Remember when you changed . . .” She glided her fingers back and forth over her right hand.

He instantly picked up on Annie’s reference concerning when he changed this complexion to match Tanith’s. “Right. That was being a Mimic?”

 

 

Kerry’s ability has been seen, and more than a few light bulbs have come on over it.  Kerry also told Tanith in Kansas City that Annie was “really good” at levitating herself–so both kids have noticed these things in each other.  Wednesday’s spoken of them, and Annie would have more knowledge about them because, you know, Legacy.

Now to find that both kids may be Gifted on top of being top of the class witches and sorceresses–yeah, after that, Mathilde has to speak to someone . . . close.

 

Mathilde held the door as the students left the room; they were followed moments later by the rest of the instructors same one. Once she was alone with the last woman, the headmistress closed the door and return to her seat. “You are right about him; he’s changed.”

Helena stretched out her legs and tensed her arms to work out the soreness. “Some of that is due to our little excursion a month ago; a lot of that is due to a couple of conversations Annie told me they’ve had.”

“About?”

“The merits of being a good sorceress. Since then he’s taken well to the idea of keeping up and being the Dark Witch to his Dark Witch.”

Mathilde frowned. “What, exactly, does that mean?”

“Private joke between them. What it means is they’ll do well.” Helena scratched her right cheek. “They’ll help and push each other, and they’ll make it through. After all, why wouldn’t they?” She chuckled. “Salem is known for taking the best witches and pushing them beyond their known abilities—

“And we haven’t even begun to bring out the capabilities of these two . . .”

 

We?  Which we are we speaking of, Dark Mistress of All?  Paranoid people would think that Helena’s speaking of another we, and that Mathilde knows this, and by now we know what we we are weing.  Though, like so many things you don’t see, I know what it all means.

Now, this means Annie and Kerry have their schedule for next year, and it goes like this (their classes are in bold):

 

Monday: Botany and Life Sciences (8:00 to 11:00), Advanced Formulistic Magic (13:00 to 16:00), Astrophysics One (19:30 to 23:30)

Tuesday: History (8:00 to 9:30), Advanced Math (9:30 to 11:00), Transformation (13:00 to 16:00), Advanced Transformation Crafting (19:00 to 22:00; Kerry only)

Wednesday: B Level Spell Casting (8:00 to 11:00), Physical Sciences (13:00 to 15:30), Advanced Spell Casting (19:00 to 22:00)

Thursdays: Mid-Level Sorcery Theory and Applications (8:00 to 11:00), B Level Formulistic Magic (13:00 to 16:30)

Friday: Flight Gift Training (9:00 to 11:30; Annie only), Advanced Flight One (13:00 to 16:00; Kerry only)

Sunday: Advanced Self Defense (8:30 to 11:30)

 

Seriously, you knew I’d have this made up.  Advanced Formulistic Magic actually happens during an Open Study Period, which the kids can’t have right now because it’s class time.  It’s a pretty wicked schedule, because they pretty much go non-stop from Monday morning until Noon Tuesday.  They get Tuesday afternoon off, then Kerry’s off to class and Anne’s off to the Vault, then they’re free until Wednesday afternoon and evening.  Thursday ends up being their “easy day” with only a morning class, then they divide up with Annie having Flight Gift Training in the morning (if she proves to have the Gift) and Kerry having Advanced Flight in the afternoon.  Saturday’s are free, and then they go back to class Sunday morning, probably to blow up zombie homunculi with fireballs.

And so another chapter comes to an end, and there’s not much left to write–

Three more chapters then I can take a rest.

Three more chapters then I can take a rest.

Now it’s time to start bringing the sadness.

The Ending Starts

The last week I’ve really slowed down a bit on the writing–and yet, in a way, I haven’t.  I didn’t do a lot of writing last night, for which I blame my energy levels being down, and Inherent the Wind and Forbidden Planet being on back-to-back, I was sort of pulled away from the novel.  The funny thing, however, is that when I worked up what I wrote Sunday morning and added it to what I wrote Sunday Night, it’s came out to about twelve hundred words for the day.  I’ve written more, but I’ll take twelve hundred a day.

I realized last night I’m fighting the of the novel.  It’s one of those, “I don’t want to go moments,” and I’m working through it.  The strange thing is when you’re tired you feel like everything you’re writing is drab, and I was getting that feeling last night.  What I had to do to break out of that feeling was go back and read what I’d laid down in the morning, when I’d set down close to nine hundred words in about an hour and a half.  It’s the same ebb and flow, and I knew it was the same thing, the same words, the same characters.  And I felt more alive writing them twelve hours earlier than I had at night.

It’s funny how our minds work against us this way.  I should go back and reread some of my older posts about getting to this point in a story, because I know I’ve been here before.  I had a lot of problems writing the end of Suggestive Amusements because of what I had to do at the end of that story, and I just didn’t want to go there.  It was hard, so hard to get that ending in place.  Also Echoes.  I cried pretty much through the last two pages of writing, because of what the characters meant to me, and the feeling behind the character.

Like a certain Doctor I don’t like to say goodbye.  But I know I won’t be saying goodbye, really, to my kids, because there are more stories to tell.  I just have to finish this novel, then edit a four hundred thousand word story in three parts, get three covers–four when I sell the “Big Book”–and get that done before I move on to B for Beginnings, the second–and I promise, shorter–novel.  It’s a lot of work, and it’s on top of all the other things I have happening right now–

Like getting ready to come out at work next week.

This is the last Monday for the “Old Me” at work, and with the clothing in place–with a few bobbles here and there–I’m ready to go.  It’s just getting to that point where I can blow this final week off and move one.  The term “waiting for the other shoe to drop” has a different meaning for me right now, and I know I’m gonna be geared up come next Monday.  And thinking about finishing this novel isn’t helping.

"Send Annie and Kerry off to their homes alone and figure out how long it's gonna take me to do my make up in the morning.  This is so not fair!"

“Send Annie and Kerry off to their homes alone and figure out how long it’s gonna take me to do my makeup in the morning. This is so not fair!”

I will promise myself right now that I will finish the Invitation scene tonight.  Once that’s finished, that’s really the penultimate “school event” and then it’s a goodbye to all the students and . . . then Annie and Kerry start the trip home.  With a few stops along the way, but–

This is it.  It’s the beginning of the summertime blues.

Enter the Invitations

The good news is I managed a lot of rest last night after a long day to spending money on work related outfits.  I probably would have slept right though the night if the fire alarms for the entire building didn’t go off at midnight and ring for about fifteen minutes.  That usually happens about once every six months, and I get up, look around, smell for smoke, and then look outside to see how many fire trucks show up.  Last night only one showed, so I’m guessing they knew right off the bat it was a false alarm.  After that I fell back asleep and didn’t wake up until six in the morning.

I’m still a little tired:  I suppose that’s my body trying to make up for the stress I put on it from trying on clothes for two hours straight.  I bought enough to ensure I have enough outfits to start work, and I even had a bra fitting, where I discovered I was wearing the wrong one since like forever.  Now I’m legit there, too, and all ready for the big coming out party at work on 2 February.

One of the semi-casual looks I picked out.  Yeah, I look good in skinny jeans.

One of the semi-casual looks I picked out. Yeah, I look good in skinny jeans.

What’s been happening with my kids, however?  Well, the last anyone saw of them, they were being led into a library full of instructors in their private residence for a chat.  It’s actually a bit intimidating if you think about it, because you’re sitting across from the headmistress and two coven leaders, and you have no idea why you’re there other than to discuss something.

See, I even did a design of the scene.  The headmistress has the big chair in the top right, and Helena is sitting in the lower left, judging everyone.

See, I even did a design of the scene. The headmistress has the big chair in the top right, and Helena is sitting in the lower left, judging everyone.

In case you’re wondering the seating arrangement, it’s–top to bottom–Mathilde, Erywin, Wednesday, Jessica, Ramona, Vicky, and Helena.  Annie and Kerry are sitting on the love seat across from this gathering.

And why are they here?  Let’s have Wednesday bring us up to speed . . .

 

All excerpts, this page, from The Foundation Chronicles, Book One: A For Advanced, copyright 2013, 2014, 2015 by Cassidy Frazee)

The young instructor sat up in her chair and began smoothing her skirt. “First off, I want to thank you for the work you’ve done in the Advanced Spells class, and I can’t wait to see what you’re going to do next year.” Wednesday set her hands upon the arms of the chair as she relaxed. “Though given where you are in respect to the abilities of the other students, I’m gonna have to work hard to come up with something challenging next year.”

Annie felt both proud and slightly embarrassed. It was one thing to have Wednesday complement Kerry and her as they walked back to Cernunnos Tower with no one else around—it was another matter entirely to be complemented in front of people who had taught you for the last nine months. “Thank you, Professor.”

“You can call me Wednesday.”

“Yes.” Erywin adjusted her dress as she crossed her legs and got comfortable. “We’re all friends here, so no need for formality.” She nodded towards her right. “Though make sure to save your respect for the Headmistress: she’s the one who decides if you move on or not.”

“Erywin . . .” Mathilde rolled her eyes. “Please continue, Wednesday.”

“Thank you.” She eyes both students sitting directly across from her. “Do you remember when I brought you into the class I mentioned that it was always by invitation only, that one simply couldn’t ask to join?”

Annie nodded while Kerry responded. “I do.”

“What I didn’t mention at the time is that mine is not the only advanced class—and that in order to get into those classes one needed to be invited as well. That’s why you’re here—” Wednesday indicated the instructors on either side of her chair. “Each of the instructors here teach an advanced class in their appropriate discipline, and they’d like to offer you both an invitation into their class.”

 

Hey, moving on up, kids!  All that hard work and witchy . . . witching paid off, and I’m sure that doing some work for the Guardians may have played a part in it as well, though we’ll see that’s probably not the reason.  The real reason is the kids are way too advanced, and it’s driving the instructors a little crazy.

As you would expect, they’re excited–

 

Kerry sat up as if he’d been shocked. “Really?”

“Yes, really.”

A huge smile erupted upon Annie’s face. “That’s incredible.” As much as she’d driven herself to excel with the crafting of regular magic and sorcery, she’d never imagined that her actions would lead her to be invited into advanced study programs. “Which ones?”

 

When you get an excited Annie, it means she’s impressed.  But what about her question?

 

Wednesday cocked her head to one said. “Which one what?”

“Which classes?” She turned her head slightly from side-to-side, eying each instructor. “Which ones?”

Wednesday exchanged looks with all the women in the room. Helena finally spoke on behalf of the group. “Annie . . . all of them.”

 

There are six instructors in the room, and all of them want to take you beyond the next level.  Um . . . yep.

 

Now it was the student’s turn to exchange looks. Kerry gazed off into nothingness for a few seconds as he considered the sorceress’ words. “Everyone wants to invite us?”

Wednesday nodded. “Yes. It wasn’t an easy decision, because this is going to put a lot of pressure on both of you to not only continue doing the extraordinary work you’re already doing, but to push you both just a little more—”

“I don’t see that as a problem.” Now that the enormity of their presence here was wearing off, Annie was returning to her normal, calm self.

“Same here.” Kerry still seemed a bit shocked by the revelation, but had brought himself under control nearly as fast as his girlfriend. “We can do this.”

“I’m happy to hear that, Kerry.” Wednesday folded her hands around her right knee. “Well, we have to do this by the numbers, so . . . You know I’ll have you back for your B Levels; no need to linger there.” She turned to the woman at her right. “Erywin?”

 

Now, one might say that the reason the headmistress is allowing this to happen–and if you don’t believe Mathilde has a say in that matter, you haven’t been playing attention–is that she’s been told the kids need this sort of instruction.  Then again, as Erywin says when she invites them into her Advanced Formulistic Magic class, she needs to give them a challenge, and this is the only way to give them one.  Let’s face it:  they already faced down bad guys and showed they’re well ahead of their levelmates, so what are they doing to do in their B Levels?  Learn Air Hammer, which is a B Level spell.  Um . . . no.  It’s funny, but looking at the spell list I have for the B Levels, both my kids already know them, so . . . challenges, yeah.

We know they’re going back to Advanced Spells, and they’ll be in AFM, so what’s next?  Jessica?

 

“Like Erywin, I feel I need to give you both a challenge.” Jessica nodded at them as she spoke their names. “Annie, you’ve proved you’re one of the fastest learner in the class, and Kerry—” She chuckled. “You’ve taken to transformation magic not only well, but I’ve heard from a few people . . .” Her gaze shifted towards Erywin for a moment. “—that you’re doing things that should should do for another two levels.

“Actually, that’s been your whole A Level experience: it feels like you haven’t been stumped by anything I’ve showed you, and if you were, you didn’t stay that way for long. Or you’ve taken something small and expanded it beyond the experiences of the others—”

“Like the light bending spell?” Kerry leaned forward and smiled.

“Yes, just like that one. While the rest of the class can do small objects, you both—” She shrugged. “I think we know we’re you’ve both went with that particular magic.”

Vicky tapped the arm of her chair. “Good enough they could cover a few hundred kilometers today and not be seen.”

Jessica nodded and continued. “Given that, I’d like to invite you both to my Tuesday night Advanced Transformation Crafting. Like Wednesday’s and Erywin’s classes, it’s a small group of people, far more intimate and not as structured. Also, it’ll give you a bit of a breather, as B Level Transformation Crafting is on Tuesday afternoons, and not having to go to that class will give you break after History and Science.” She rubbed her hands together. “What do you say?”

As before, Kerry answered first. “I’d love to be in your class, Professor.”

“As I expect, Kerry.” She turned to the girl next to him. “And you, Annie?”

Annie seem to to give the matter serious consideration. “I would like to decline your offer, Professor.”

 

But . . . Annie?  What are you doing?  Well, she has an explanation . . .

 

Annie glanced at Helena for just a second, then turned back to Jessica. “I’m working with Professor Lovecraft to I can work at being a sorceress as good as her. One of the tenets of being a good sorceress is being able to teach what you’ve learned to others, and that’s something I’ve done with Kerry throughout this school year—”

Jessica seemed a little taken back by this news. “I’m sorry, what? You’ve been teaching Kerry sorcery?”

“With my knowledge.” Helena nodded in the direction of the headmistress. “And with Mathilde’s knowledge as well. If I’d thought she was doing something wrong, I’d have stepped in and stopped her.”

Jessica turned towards Erywin. “Did you know about this?”

Helena quickly spoke. “She didn’t learn about it until this . . . thing she and I did with Annie and Kerry started.” Though she was aware that Jessica had some knowledge that they’d worked with the Guardians, Wednesday, Ramona, and Vicky were still in the dark where even minimal details were concerned. “Just like you, Jess, she was on a need-to-know basis, and I didn’t tell her until she needed to know.”

Annie stepped back into the conversation so she could explain herself. “Kerry and I both know where are strengths lay: mine are in sorcery, and his are in transformation magic. Since he’s informed me that he’d also like to work toward becoming a good sorceress, it makes sense that if he could learn advanced transformation magic and then teach it to me, it would go a long ways towards that tenet of the art.”

 

And there you have it:  Annie has the idea that this is one of the ways Kerry can learn to be a “good sorceress”.  He teaches her advanced transformation, she teaches him advanced sorcery.  It doesn’t make Jessica a happy camper, but, again, this is something of which the Headmistress was aware, and what are you going to do about it, Coven Leader?  Nothing, that’s what.

That last line was as far as I wrote:  that was word eight hundred and eighty-eight.  I didn’t go any further because I needed to get this post out and go do other things, and . . . see those words “Needed to know.”  Look at the word “to”.  I made a note in my scene area that “to” is word one hundred thousand for Act Three.  Yes, I’ve passed that threshold again.

There's the scene, there's the note, there's the final word count for the day.

I’m There’s the scene, there’s the note, there’s the final word count for the day.

As Erywin said, “My business is finished.”

At least for right now.  There’s more later.