Another First Day in the Witch House

Let me say I have the best fans in the world, because they care.  Thanks for all the notes of concern yesterday, and yes:  it did hurt, it was painful, and the left side of my face is still a little swollen this morning but it’s looking better.  I expect by Sunday it’ll start looking like normal once more.

I was, however, a bit of a mess.  When I got home I was feeling pretty punk.  I did cut a video for something else yesterday, but after that I was kinda like, eh, let me try and get at my writing.  I did okay, but at one point I had to sit and ice my face for thirty minutes because that made it feel better.

What I am saying is writing was slow.  Six hundred and ninety words last night, and three hundred the night before.  Almost a thousand in two days.  Not my best, but it’s getting better.  The issues I’m having is feeling what I’m writing, because there’s so much happening to me right now I don’t feel the words flowing.  It’s in my head, but it’s not coming out through my actions.

One thing I did accomplish last night was getting my new scenes into place, and getting a few notes set up.  I had to think about one scene in particular because it wasn’t tripping any bells, and then I saw the date and time and that was all of a trigger I needed.  See why I do that?  Every little bit helps.

Now that all my personal stuff is out of the way, let’s get out to the Witch House, where someone was telling the kids they may not become the Mistress of All Things Dark’s, um, Dark Witches . . .

 

(All excerpts from The Foundation Chronicles, Book Two: B For Bewitching, copyright 2015 by Cassidy Frazee)

She walked up to the middle area before the first row of student desks. She slid her hands into the pockets of her jacket and set back on to her heels. “There’s nothing wrong with not being a sorceress. I’m certain there are a few of you who’ve already thought, ‘Screw this, it’s not me’. And that’s fine, because if you are having those thoughts, you’re likely correct. This is not a life for all witches, and there are many instructors here—my partner Erywin among them—who’ll tell you that they weren’t cut out to do what I do, and they’re good with that.

“So I’m going to push you; I’m going to test you.” Helena leaned slightly towards the students seated before her. “By Yule I’ll have a good idea who’s got the best chance of moving into my C Level class. By Beltane I’ll know for sure, and by Graduation Day those people will know.” Her dark eyes scanned the faces staring back her way. “If you haven’t heard from me by that evening, you’ll know you’re not moving up to my next level.”

Helena was ready to tell the rest of the tale she’d planned for this morning. “Because I’m going to push you guys harder than I did last year, I expect there will be times when a few—or many—of you may require help. Therefore I’ve arranged to bring in some minions whenever it’s necessary. In fact, I spoke with them this morning before class began.” She turned to her right and nodded in the direction of the students who where now looking her Helena’s direction. “Annie Kirilova and Kerry Malibey will be my class minions this year: I selected them because of the work they did last year, and due to—”

What?”

 

Before class started–hum . . .  I wonder what that conversation was like?  Or if the kids knew it was coming–

"Why do I have a feeling today is gonna be kinda strange?"  "We're witches, my love.  Every day is strange for us."

“Why do I have a feeling today is gonna be kinda strange?” “We’re witches, my love. Every day is strange for us.”

Forgot about that, didn’t you, Kerry?  Actually there’s a story behind that–it’s just that I didn’t show it to you.

Getting back to the story–you know, exclaiming “What?” in front of Helena is never the best move in the world.  Most of the students there know this, and Helena surely does.  All you’re gonna do is draw attention to yourself, like this . . .

 

The last thing Helena had anticipated was an outburst from one of her students. She even less expected it from a student who’d said almost nothing throughout the entirety of their A Level. “Yes, Mr. Tomasko? You have something you’d like to add to the conversation?”

For a moment Mesha Tomasko didn’t know if he should say he was sorry and simply not say what was on his mind before deciding to speak. “I mean, Professor, it’s not usual for instructors to get help from inside the class . . .” He swallowed while gathering his strength. “I don’t think it’s right.”

Helena appeared puzzled. “You don’t?”

Mesha shook his head. “I don’t think it’s right. We should have . . .”

The sorceress’ eyes narrowed as she surmised what the boy from Poland was going to say. “We should have what, Mr. Tomasko?”

“We should have people who know what they’re doing.”

Helena’s gaze shifted to the student who answered her question, for it wasn’t Mesha Tomasko, but rather Dongsun Jeon, who was sitting near the middle of the class. Unlike Mesha, Jeon hadn’t the easiest of times during A Level Sorcery, and had only managed average marks in five of his seven proficiency levels. It hadn’t been enough to keep him out of this year’s class, but another year like would be enough, as far as the Head Sorceress was concerned, to keep him out of next year’s class. “What exactly does that mean, Jeon?” A strange look began settling across her features. “Do you think we need different help?”

Jeon slowly looked about the room, then fixed his gaze upon the students being questioned—who, for their part, were looking straight ahead instead of facing their accuser. “There’s a reason you get minions from the upper levels—”

Helena folded her arms across her torso and rested her right hand against her chin. “Please, enlighten me.”

 

Yes, by all means, enlighten Helena, because she lives for these moments when students find it necessary to explain her actions to her.

It goes about as well as you’d expect, and then some.

 

The young man continued onward. “We should have people who know how to do these things. I mean—” He motioned towards where Annie and Kerry sat. “Yeah, Kirilova and Malibey are good, but . . .” Jeon looked towards the floor as he shrugged. “I don’t know: I guess I’m not sure they can help.”

“Really.” Helena’s tone turned as dark as her black eyes. “Are you saying in your own special way that I’m mistaken in my choices?”

Jeon wasn’t about to say anything derogatory about his instructor’s choices, at least not directly. “I’d just feel better with someone from C or D Levels.”

It was Helena’s turn to shrug. “You’ll get the assistants I want, and not the ones that you think you should get.” She turned to her left and began her pacing again, intending to use the time to clam herself. “Everything will be fine.”

She chuckled and was about to finish her opening comments when a loud whisper reverberated throughout the room. “We got no choice; she totally kisses their asses.”

 

Well, there’s someone who isn’t trying to get on the instructor’s side!  Snidely commenting aloud that your instructor is kissing the asses of a couple of her students, and saying it so she hears you, is never a smart move.  It’s even dumber when you remember that, only a year before, she shocked a kid into a near-coma just because she was trying to get a reaction out of his girlfriend.

Who is this person who revels in dumbassery?

 

Helena spun around just in time to catch Lisa Glissandi leaning away from her covenmate Jeon, trying to appear as if nothing of importance happened. She eyed the girl hard. “You have something to say, Glissandi?”

Lisa snorted and nearly turned up her nose. “Nothing you’re interested in hearing, Professor.”

In that moment Helena considered tossing the Åsgårdsreian student out of the class, but decided she needed to not be the bitch here—at least not yet. She showed the classroom her back as she walked towards the very front of the room. “All right: show of hands. Who here has heard of the Shadow Ribbons spell?” She raised her hand as she turned around. “Put ‘em up.”

Only a few students raised their hands. Helena smirked. “Five out of twenty-seven: better than I expected.” She lowered her hand as she moved to the next question. “Of you five, who has done a successful crafting of this spell? Keep your hands up if you have.” She didn’t need to look to know three of those hands would drop . . .

She pointed at the two students whose hands were still raised. “Annie; Kerry—” She motioned them forward with a few flicks of her fingers. “Get up here–now.”

 

Get up there, kids, because Helena’s gonna make a point!  Which I should get to tonight after my shot and before Apollo 13 comes on.  It’s girl time, but I need to finish this scene.  I really do.

Oh, and tomorrow–something special!  Perhaps.  We’ll see.  But I’ll have something to say for sure.