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.

The Tired Trek

The last thirty-six hours have been presented me with a real challenge:  how does one write when they aren’t there mentally?

It’s a strange feeling, let me tell you, but this whole weeks has been a bit of a writing bummer.  I’ve been managing five hundred words here, six hundred there, and while I was able to manage nearly twelve hundred on Wednesday night–which really is my night to shine–last night I managed only two hundred twenty-two, and I struggled the whole while I put that out.  Part of the reason was eating way more than I should have:  for some reason I was in the mood to pig out, and I overdid the carbs something spectacular.  That didn’t help at all.

Another reason is I’m tired.  I was up at four in the morning Friday, and last night I was up and down the whole evening, finally giving up the struggle to crawl out of bed about four-twenty and sit in my leather easy chair until about five, at which point I figured it was time to start getting ready for the long day ahead.

Why the trouble sleeping?  I’ve a few troubles going on:  there’s a friend I’m concerned about, and in another week I’m moving on from my old life and into the new one as I finally come out at work.  Nothing really major here, but it all adds up after a while and starts playing on your mind.  Particularly the coming out thing at work:  I’ve finally pulled the trigger on that matter, and though I’ve known it was going to happen one day, it doesn’t mean that I’m not finally getting a case of nerves over the fact that people I’ve worked with for a year and a half are now gonna deal with the New Girl in the Office.

Come on, who wouldn't love that shinny face?  Probably a few people, that's who.

Come on, who wouldn’t love that shiny face? Probably a few people, that’s who.

I’m also recognizing that the end of the novel is near, and I know this is gonna sound strange, but this time, I really don’t want it all to end.  Yes, it’s been a huge part of my life–sixteen months by the time I finally put it to bed–and it’s not only hard to say goodbye to these kids of mine, but there’s the realization that I don’t know when I’m going to revisit them.  There is a need to get out some other stories, and that will take me away from Salem and my Baby Snakes.

I have to finish this story.  And in a way, like them, I know they’re going to be real sadness when that happens.  I even had one of the lines I want to write for them in my head not long after I woke up–which followed, incidentally, a lyric from Wichita Lineman, “And I need you more than want you; and I want you for all time–” which was in my head as I opened my eyes this morning.  Those kids:  they won’t let me sleep.

A smoothie later and I’m finally waking up.  There is shopping ahead of me today, and I hope to get back into the story tonight after I return from my long afternoon trek.  Being out trying on clothes I’ll use for work should go a long ways towards waking me up.

Let’s hope the drive home doesn’t make me sad as I revisit the story once more . . .

Along the Shore of The Foundation Pond

Thursdays are never a good writing night for me.  I was tired, for one, and actually napped sometime around six-thirty.  Then Singin’ in the Rain came on, and though I’ve seen that movie maybe a dozen times, I can’t turn away from its greatness.  The lateness of the hour plus being sort of out of it night resulted in just under six hundred words being written–

Ah, but it’s a great set up.

The title of this post refers to something said a long time ago by Nadine when she first started to tutor Kerry for the Ostara Performance.  She downloaded sheet music from their Internet, and mentioned that if it had been created, The Foundation had access.  Her comment at the time was, “Welcome to the Pond,” meaning here was the place where one could find everything The Foundation had their fingers upon.

It’s also a secretive little place as well, a much smaller location within the gigantic ocean that is the world as a whole.  That’s because The Foundation has things that no one else does, and for now they’re keeping it pretty much too themselves.  Like, you know, being able to heal even the worst injuries over night–like what’s happened to a certain kid from Cardiff a few times during the course of this story, or the repairs made to the broken arm and cracked skull that his girlfriend received some time back.

Just imagine what the world would be like if everyone had that.

"Should I release one of our cures this week, or let the conspiracy theorists keep at it a few years more?"

“Should I release one of our cures this week, or let the conspiracy theorists keep at it a few years more?”

Here is what I wrote about Salem’s particular place in that pond.  Witches have gathered, but they’re not standing around a cauldron; it’s more like they’re relaxing comfortably while waiting for someone . . .

 

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

Mathilde closed the door to the First Floor Library in the Instructor’s Residence, gently pushing it against the frame until she heard the latch snap closed. She turned back to the other women assembled in the room with her. “I’m glad we didn’t have many students to meet tonight.” She sighed as she retook her seat. “It’s been a long day.”

“Graduation Day is always long.” Wednesday stretched her legs out before her and pushed her arms over her head. “It’s bad enough we have to get all dressed up—”

“Something you should do more often.” Jessica removed her heels and flexed her toes. “You’re so adorable when you look like an adult.”

Wednesday began laughing with a couple of the other instructors in the room. Besides being the youngest instructor in the room, she was also the one who still looked the most like a student. “Yeah, well, how about you kiss my ass, Jess? The kids don’t seem to mind, and neither does Isis. Besides, I ain’t an ex-model like you—”

“I can show you how to become one.”

“Maybe tomorrow.” She adjusted here skirt and crossed here legs. “I want to finish this up and take a long, hot, soaking bath.”

Erywin, who was sitting to Wednesday’s right, nodded. “Same here. I want to get undressed and into my night clothes and spend the rest of the evening snuggling.”

Sitting all the way to the left of the collected group of women, Helena chuckled. “I know how my time will be spent tonight.”

“Isn’t it spent that way most evenings?” Erywin turned to her right, where Mathilde sat. “It is a bit disappointing to have only four students tonight. I had hoped for a slightly larger selection this year.”

“Better four great students than eight mediocre ones.” Mathilde checked her smart phone display, which remained black. “At least we have two out of the way—”

“And two to go.” Jessica ran a long nail across the tip of her nose. “Saved the best for last, no?”

Wednesday nodded. “I’d say so.”

The screen of Mathilde’s mobile came on and she checked the message. “They’re here.” She turned to the women assembled upon her left. “Before we start, I have to ask: are you certain this is what we want?”

Erywin nodded. “We’ve discussed this for four days: it’s decided.”

“It has.” Wednesday folder her hands into her lap. “You know what I think.”

“It’s what I want to do as well.” Ramona Chai slipped her feet back into her low heels. “I don’t see a problem.”

Mathilde nodded. “Jessica? Vicky?”

The Mistress of Transformation leaned forward so she could see the headmistress better. “You know what I’ve said all along.”

Vicky shrugged and nodded once. “As well as with me. And there’s the other matter—”

“Yes, I know, Vicky.” Mathilde nodded back. “We’ll get to that tonight as well.” She eyed the last silent person in the room. “Helena? No opinion?”

“Only the same one I’ve given you for the last week.” She leaned against the right arm of her over-sized chair and crossed her legs. “It’s the same one I’d give you now.” Helena pointed at the phone near the headmistress’ right hand. “Now that you know the answer, go on and bring them in.”

Mathilde picked up the phone and held it close. “Send them up.” She set the phone aside as she stood and moved toward the door to great the new guests.

 

Astute people will recognize that not all these women are coven leaders–there are only two, in fact–and there are a two people here who seem a little out of place, namely Ramona and Vicky.  And why is Helena here?  Is she holding down the Guardian fort?  In this last moment of producing this post I suddenly realized:  I should actually model this library, because I want to see the scene–

And this won’t be the last time we visit this location.

Thoughts of the Moya Spŭtniks

It sounds like it should be the title of an The Americans episode, and could be some day, but it’s really all about my kids and their relaxation by the pond.  Not the Amy Pond, which would probably follow them home if they asked it to come along, but the Pearl Hill one, which is going to stay right where it is for a few thousand more years, I’d expect.

Last night I managed almost as much writing in two hours as I had in the last two days.  Then again, it was Wednesday, which is my normal writing night, and thought I wasn’t at Panera–I stayed home due to the weather–I managed to get out the words.  Because it’s Wednesday, and I should have been wearing pink.  Perhaps.

This scene has probably went through more gyrations in the last three days any just about any other.  I started out wanting to write one thing, then began to drift off in another directions towards another line of thought, and finally ended up with the thirteen hundred words I did last night.  And what did my kids talk about?  A little bit of everything, as you’ll see.  That’s how writing is some days:  you think you’re going one way, and you sort of end up the other.

Let’s pick up where we were yesterday . . .

 

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

Right now it was streaming Annie’s favorite music channel with the volume set where it could be heard without being overwhelming. She looked down at the display. “I knew your birthday present would come in handy one day.” She chuckled while snuggling back into Kerry’s arms.

He glanced down at the tablet and smiled. “It came in handy on the way out here—navigation and music, all in one.”

“You didn’t need it to get us out here.”

“But it was nice being able to fly to Wind and Wuthering.”

Annie grinned as she remembered back to the beginning of their flight where Kerry asked if he could play one of his favorite pieces, and once it started there was the strange orchestral sound at the beginning of the first song—he said it came from a mellotron, similar to the one Professor Ellison played for them that first week in the Auditorium’s Keyboard Room—seemed to set their mood as they floated away from Cape Ann on their way to Ipswich. The album was also long enough that it played nearly the entire way to Pearl Hill. “It was nice.” She squeezed his hands close to her heart. “So nice.”

 

Kerry finally dipped into his old classic songs, and what Annie heard was this:

Not only one of Kerry’s favorite pieces, by mine as well, and I still remember hearing this on the radio when I was a teenager.  But we’re not talking abut me, we’re talking about the kids, and there is something on their minds.

 

He sighed and stared off across the still water of the pond. “Are you thinking about next week at all?”

Annie slowly closed her eyes and paused her thoughts for a moment before answering. “It’s all I’ve been thinking about.”

“Me, too.” He once more rested his head against hers. “This time next week we’ll be at our own homes.”

“I would invite you home, but I don’t think I could keep you hidden forever in the lake house.” She chuckled. “Mama would know anyway, and she’d tell my father. And your parents would wonder where you went.”

“Don’t bet on it.” Kerry didn’t want to bring up his home life, so he pushed that aside. “Are we going to be able to keep in touch?”

“I’m sure we will.” The subject came up in the last Madness Friday night, and she mentioned that she didn’t own either a mobile or a computer, and she wasn’t certain she could get the use of her mother’s laptop to be able to speak with Kerry over the Internet. “I do believe my mother would object if I bought a computer and then spent all day long using it to speak to you.”

“We wouldn’t do that.”

“Really?” She looked up and back, finding it difficult not to laugh. “You know we would, love. It’s all we do now when we have free time.” She rolled her shoulders, getting settled. “And free time is all we’ll have during summer holiday.”

 

There have been questions about Annie having access to devices that would connect her to Kerry during the summer, but I think, once the next novel in this line comes up–What?  I’m talking about more novels?–it’ll be easy to see why Annie isn’t getting to computers and phones and the such.  Part of the issues right now is that Annie isn’t in control of her money, so she has to go through her parents to get something that’s big ticket.  And that might not always be easy–or wanted.  Then again, you never know.  One day she’ll have her own computer and she can chat up Kerry all she wants . . .

"I wonder if I can run a spell through here and find out if he's called that ginger bitch from Bolder.  Hum . . ."

“I wonder if I can run a spell through here and find out if he’s Skyped that ginger bitch from Bolder. Hum . . .”

Stop it, Annie.

And the funniest things happen when they’re not talking about being home for summer–

 

The quiet once more settled over the shore as they sat and enjoyed their closeness. Annie stretched out her legs and began rhythmical tapping her feet together as she leaned back into her soul mate. “I could stay here all day.”

“And we just might.” Kerry chuckled. “Not like you can hike in sandals.”

“I’m not in a hiking mood; we do enough walking at school. And I like wearing sandals when it gets warm: I love the feel of the air on my bare feet.” She patted his thigh. “I should get you a pair.”

“I’m not a sandals sort of guy.” He shook his head. “I have ugly feet.”

“I can give you a pedicure—”

Kerry gently messed Annie’s hair. “Get out of here.” He laughed, pulled her back in his arms, and gave her a long, soft, comforting kiss. “You’re not doing my nails.”

“There’s more to it than just polishing your nails.” She reached up and kiss his nose. “I’ll show you one day.”

“I’m sure you will.” He stared into her eyes, relaxing into her gaze. “When would be the soonest we could get married?”

 

Okay, Kerry:  where did that come from?  First you’re talking about Annie’s choice of footwear–and she does usually wear only sandals during the summer, and switches over once the weather changes–to laughing about pedicures–and get one Kerry, they’re totally nice–to “When can we get married?”  Yeah, even Annie didn’t see this coming . . .

 

Annie’s eyes widened in shock; this was the last question she expected. “Are you serious?”

Kerry nodded. “I’ve been thinking about our vision when I go to bed—”

“We said we wouldn’t.”

“I know, but—” He shrugged once. “Can’t help it. I remember how we looked in it and I wondered just how young we were . . .” He averted his gaze for a moment. “It’s why I ask.”

Annie rested against Kerry’s leg, propping herself upon her elbow. “Age of Emancipation is eighteen. That way you get six years of school and one year of Life Experience out of the way before you take your place in The Foundation, or go back to school if you’re invited into a Continuing Education Program.” She rolled on to her back, using Kerry’s thigh as a pillow. “It would have to come after you turn eighteen, which means it would be the summer after our Life Experience year together.”

Kerry immediately picked up on the Annie’s last word. “We’ll do it together?”

“I wouldn’t have it any other way, love.”

He lightly traced circles on Annie’s forehead and in her hair. “You think that’s when the vision happened?”

“I know it does. I have it written in my book that I want a June wedding.” She folded her hands across her stomach. “Right before summer begins. And given how we looked in the vision, I’d said that it probably happens the June after you turn eighteen.” She reached up and touched his cheek. “I wouldn’t want to wait.”

Kerry nodded slowly. “I don’t think I’d want to either.”

 

Kids talk about the damnedest things, but this is one for the books–or at least this book–and it even surprises Annie.  One at least discovers that she’s thinking to the year they spend after graduation from Salem, when they’re allowed to “walk the Earth”, more or less, and experience new things.  Kerry isn’t thinking about that, at least not directly.  And he does find out that, yes, Annie expects them to spend that year together, and that she knows the time of year when her wedding will take place.

It would seem that Kerry can’t get the maybe pending nuptials out of his head.  After all, it’s been a strange year:  you find out you’re a witch, that you do magic, that you’re also a sorceress, that you have to defend your school and fight monsters and kill bad guys, that you get sent out to fight more bad guys, and you rediscover your lost love who was always right in front of you and whom you’d fallen in love with again.  And that you’re getting married to her, because you both had a vision.

Pretty normal for this joint, but strange outside the walls.

 

A slight smile began to spread across Annie’s face. “We aren’t suppose to talk about this—”

“I know: the more you try to make a vision happen, the less likely it will.”

“And we’re talking about something that won’t happen for six years at the soonest.”

Kerry looked up and sighed. “I know.”

“But—”

“Yes?”

“That doesn’t keep me from thinking about us there, either.” She kissed the index and middle fingers of her right hand, then lightly pressed them against Kerry’s lips. “Obicham te, moya spŭtnik.”

Kerry did the same to Annie with his left hand. “Obicham te, moya spŭtnik.” He allowed his fingers to linger upon her face. “One day we won’t be apart when summer comes.”

“No.” Annie’s smile broadened. “We won’t.”

 

And ending it that way, with hope, was a lot better than ending it with depression over not being able to see each other.

Because . . . that’s still coming.

It can’t be avoided.

The Quiet by the Pearl

The newest scene is progressing, but slowly.  In two days I’ve managed fourteen hundred words, which is a bit below by norm, but it’s getting back closer to a thousand a night.  Right now I’m starting to feel the “endness” of the work approaching, which means I’ll reach “The End,” maybe with a few tears in my eyes as I have a couple of other works, compile Act Three and send it out, and wonder, “What’s next?”  Don’t answer:  I know what most of you want.

What I wrote last night brings us up to speed on the where of their location, and a bit of the how.  It’s kind of tough going, because I’m trying to find the right words to say these days before I put them down.  I’m doing a lot more editing as I write, and that’s reducing my output, but it means less cleanup after.  I find I’m being more careful now that I’m finishing up, because I really, really want to nail these parts perfectly.

And it’s so hard to do that.

Let’s find out what my kids are up to.

 

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

“Did you want to hike around?” Annie settled back into Kerry’s arms, growing more comfortable by the second. “Or did you want to stay here and enjoy the quiet?”

“I’d like to stay here for now.” Kerry rested his chin upon Annie’s shoulder. “I’m enjoying the quiet with you.”

“Where did you put the picnic basket?”

He nodded to his right. “Over by my backpack. All the rest of the stuff is put away or hidden.” He hugged her tight. “Don’t have to worry about anyone finding it by accident.”

Annie knew for certain no one would find their brooms and flight gear because they’d hung their flying gear over their brooms, set them to hover three meters over the ground, and placed a light bending spell around them. We know where they are, but no one else will find them. She smiled not because they’d done a fantastic job of hiding their equipment and gear—but that they were in a public place where hiding it from Normals was required . . .

And they were even given permission to come to this place.

 

And where is this place?  Well . . .

 

After the last Flight Class both Annie and Kerry asked Vicky if they needed to be on the grounds for the upcoming graduation events on Sunday. They were aware that access to the Great Hall would be restricted at that time, and that dinner was be served late due to feast held for the graduating F Levels and their families, so they asked it if was possible for them to leave the school for the day.

Vicky explained that normally no A Levels were allowed to leave the campus without an escort, particularly on PAVs, as the possibility of being spotted by Normals was extremely high. However, since March Vicky had been taking some of the A Levels outside the school grounds for short excursions, venturing as far as a two hundred kilometers from the school, and would often assign roles to some of the students, such has being the flight coordinator responsible for maintaining the formation, or putting someone in charge as the flight navigator.

Annie had shown to be an amazing flight coordinator, and Kerry complemented her by being a fantastic navigator. Vicky had allowed them to guide once flight back to the school from Cape Cod, and on another occasion had them lead the flight to Providence, Rhode Island. After each excursion Vicky pulled them aside and told them that given their skill levels she had no qualms putting them in charge of any student flight formation.

It was due to this declaration that they’d decided to ask if they could leave the grounds for a little while, maybe leaving in the morning and returning in the late afternoon. Vicky told them she’d consider the request and run it past the Headmistress and Isis, both of whom would need to approve the request before they could leave the campus alone. They didn’t expect their request to be approved—so when Vicky and Mathilde approached them during the last Madness of the year on Friday evening and told them their request had been approved, with conditions, they were startled more than they were surprised.

The conditions required their filing a flight plan with Vicky, and being required to carry panic buttons with them in case they ran into a situation that required their immediate return to the school. The panic buttons weren’t an issue, and neither was the flight plan: they both indicated they wanted to fly to Pearl Hill State Park in central Massachusetts near the New Hampshire border, and just a little over ninety kilometers away. After seeing the course they would fly, and hearing the protocols they would maintain during the flight to remain out of sight, Vicky approved the excursion and issued them temporary flight licenses so they wouldn’t be in violation of Foundation flight rules concerning minors.

 

There you have it:  the kids are off the school grounds and out on their own.  And their own would be . . .

At that end point all the way over on the left.

At that point all the way over on the left.

If you’re following these adventures closely, you’ll notice that my kids have been treated not like a couple of New Kids in The Pentagram–which they totally are, by the way–but far more responsible that twelve year olds should be.  Then again, Salem is suppose to push you to your limits, and then take you beyond that point, and that’s worked well with Annie and Kerry, who have matured well in the last eight months.  Kerry mostly, but Annie is not the packet of nerves and desires that she was when she walked through Founder’s Gate.  She’s mellowed just a bit–save for those moments when she’s killing bad guys, but no one at school save a few people know about that.

Even so, being allowed to fly half way across the state of Massachusetts on your own–that’s some pretty good trust on the part of the people at the school.

Just one last bit, however:

 

Now, twenty minutes after arriving, they relaxed in comfortable weather under cloudless skies. Annie brought a picnic basket filled with a sandwiches, fruit, and drinks for them to enjoy later, and Kerry brought his newly enhanced tablet computer which he’d used for navigation, and which was now sitting close. The computer modifications was his birthday present from the staff and instructors, who’d convinced Isis that Kerry wouldn’t show off his deceive to the wrong people and could therefore enjoy the same technology as everyone else at Salem. It now possessed expanded memory and hard drive capabilities, had a built-in holograph camera and display system, enhanced sound, and a processor similar to the one used by PAVs that mean it almost never required charging.

Right now it was streaming Annie’s favorite music channel with the volume set where it could be heard without being overwhelming. She looked down at the display. “I knew your birthday present would come in handy one day.” She chuckled while snuggling back into Kerry’s arms.

 

Remember Coraline telling Kerry Isis wanted to see him?  Now you know why.  And that’s another bit of trust–“Here, kid, don’t lose your computer with the upgraded 512 gigabyte memory and 256 petabyte hard drive.  It’ll freak out people if they know what you got.”  Yeah, and don’t pop up that holographic display:  it might get messy if other people see.

Maybe tonight I’ll be able to have the kids say what’s on their mind.  I’m having issues getting there.

Probably because I know it’ll be a little sad.

Ruminations Along the Morning Shore

After all the writing in the morning, and the explanation of what was coming, not a lot of writing was accomplished.  Mostly because I spent a large chunk of the day driving one hundred and fifty miles to see my HRT doctor for a consultation, then driving home, then getting dinner, and finally returning home about six hours after I left.  That means I was tired and a bit burned out, but hey:  life happens.

Still, I managed to get five hundred and four words into the bank.  They set things up and don’t tell you a whole lot:  I’d expect that to happen tonight, when I get deeper into this scene.  And it seems I have a thing for getting with my kids and lakes . . .

 

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

Annie stood upon the short of the lake and considered slipping off her sandals and stepping into the water. She’d done this many time during past summers when at home, and planned on doing the same after she returned next week. It wasn’t something she could do at the school save at the Van der Kroft Spring; the other lakes were actually old quarries, with nothing beyond the shoreline but sheer drop offs.

This lake, however, was not a quarry. It was quiet and secluded, and even though it was the middle of a busy holiday in this country, at nine hundred hours this last Sunday morning in May they were the only ones present. She wondered if Vicky had anything to do with no one being at the park this morning. It was likely that it was too early for most people, but there was always the possibility that Vicky—who had given then the temporary fight licenses yesterday afternoon—maybe have said something to the headmistress, or to Isis, and they said something to a person in Boston or New York, and access to the lake was temporarily suspended.

She turned back towards the tree line where Kerry was sitting about five meters from the shore. Annie wanted to say he was enjoying the scenery, but she knew he was watching her. She wasn’t dressed any differently from weekends at school: she’d wore a tee shirt and jeans under her flight leathers, and had changed out of her flying boots and into the sandals Kerry had brought in his backpack. She knew why he was watching: the last day of school was next Thursday, and Friday would see people returning home for summer holiday. Next Saturday they’d depart Boston for Amsterdam, and after they said their goodbyes on the plane and in the terminal, they wouldn’t see each other again until sometime in late August.

He wanted to remember her as she was right now: he was burning this moment into his memories.

Just as she was doing the same.

Believe it or not, this is close to where this scene is taking place.  Though they aren't sitting at the table . . .

Though he isn’t sitting at the table . . .

The picture above is suppose to be of Pearl Hill Pond, in Pearl Hill State Park, a little area in the hills close to the Massachusetts/New Hampshire border.  It’s suppose to be where the scene is taking place, though after checking out the terrain, I have my doubts.  But you get the point of how idyllic and quiet things are, and as Annie has pointed out, though it’s suppose to be a busy weekend–27 May is right in the middle of Memorial Day weekend–they are the only ones there at nine in the morning.

Also, the park isn’t anywhere near the school, so what are my kids doing here?  Spoilers.  You’ll find out tomorrow.

In the mean time, Annie has questions:

 

She turned and wandered slowly back towards Kerry. “What are you doing?”

He watched her move closer. “Enjoying the scenery.”

“The scenery includes my butt.”

He shrugged and smiled. “I’m enjoying that, too.”

Annie sat before him and slid back into the comfort of his arm. “Cheeky Welsh boy.”

Kerry wrapped his arms around her and pulled her close. “Sexy Bulgarian girl.”

She chuckled even though she loved hearing him tell her things like “sexy” and “lovely”. It was something she first heard in their dreams, and for a while she imagined her was just being silly. It wasn’t until they were a little older that she realized he meant every word.

And now that they were an open couple at school, hearing each endearment made her heart flutter. It’s why I never have to ask him if he really means them. She twisted around and kissed his cheek. I feel the words enter and take hold inside every time they’re spoken . . .

 

Now we know Annie likes being called sexy, and she’s apparently heard that term for a while.  She also knows Kerry is checking out her butt–kids, huh?  Must be those hormones I keep hearing about.

Well, then, we’ll get back into this scene tomorrow.  It’s going to be a quiet day in the office, as I’ll be just about the only one there.

It’ll give me time to think about how this story is ending . . .