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.