After a couple of days of two thousand words of writing, last night was a bit of a break, with only six hundred and three words written. It was not only a good time to slow up, but I was tired and looking for distractions as well, and a large part of the evening had me kicking back to my Facebook page where I was engaged in a “Where’s Carl?” meme fight with blogging friend Rachel, upon whose page I’m landing my Humans recaps.
Still, the writing happened. One think I was running into last night was finding myself unable to get. the. words. out. right. I’d write something then, after doing a quick read, realize it sucked the way it was, and I’d rewrite the line or paragraph. Yeah, self-editing: you gotta love it, except for those moments where it drives you nuts. There was even on moment when I realized I’d written a paragraph, but I’d put it in the wrong place in the narrative, so I had to move it down. I’ll tell you, I don’t know how people did this shit on typewriters, ’cause Iv’e had gone through a few hundred reams of people for the mistakes alone.
We’re out of the Great Hall and into the class room now–or, if we really want to get technical, we’re out in the Greenhouse, which is right next to the Life and Earth Science building, and right across from the Spell Center. You can see it right here:
This is actually a pretty good view, because if you were flying by on a broom, this is what you’d see, minus the trees, of course. Above left you have the Pentagram and the Great Hall, then the History and Arts Building to the middle top, and the far, western wall beyond that. And, if you were wondering, the coven tower closest to us is Mórrígan, the one to the right is Åsgårdsreia, and the one in the upper left is Ceridwen. If you look carefully, you’ll see the roof of Cernunnos Tower peeking up over the low, round dome which is the Rotunda.
We’re going to be here today and tomorrow, because it’ll take me that long to write up the scene. It’s gonna be short and sweet, probably another five hundred words at the most. It’s a lot of setup, and part of it deals with the kids getting the planting beds ready for winter, and that means moving soil and manure from the Life Scene building to the greenhouse. Remember how they did that last time? Well, you get reminded again.
(All excerpts from The Foundation Chronicles, Book Two: B For Bewitching, copyright 2015 by Cassidy Frazee)
During their A Levels it was necessary, at the start of the year, to move manure to storage bins in the greenhouse that each student used for storage. However, once their storage bins were empty, it became necessary to carry additional twenty-five kilo bags from the lower level storage area under the main building to the greenhouse, and this was an arduous task even in the best of weather. The best and easiest way to do this was to load as many bags as possible on to a cart and push them to the student’s desired location, but moving a couple of hundred kilo of dirt and manure twenty meters from storage area to storage bin often took three or four trips and left the students unenthusiastic to prepare their beds—
This time Annie and Kerry were handling things a little differently.
They were still using a cart to move soil and manure to the greenhouse, but they were taking turns levitating the bags just enough that only a small portion of their mass rested on the cart while the other pushed. While this cut down on muscle strain, the strain of crafting remained, because while pulling mystical energy into spells didn’t require as much exertion as pushing fifty kilos twenty meters, it still required the crafter to expend a small amount of physical energy. While small spells were easy to handle, bigger spells required more personal energy, and an extended period of crafting could leave a witch as exhausted as a Normal person who’d just finished running a race.
It’s been hinted before that casting takes some physical effort, and the size of the spell has an effect on the witch. Levitating the TV remote across the room takes very little personal energy; levitating the sofa across the same room will take more. While you won’t get as tired levitating the sofa as you would if you were moving it manually, do it enough times and a witch will start to feel tired. And a lot of heavy duty spell crafting will exhaust a witch faster than one might imagine. The older witches don’t feel it as much because they’ve built up their endurance, but if Wednesday went out and levitated a 747, say, one hundred meters into the air–something she could do–she’d feel pretty tired afterwards. Notice I said “pretty tired” and not “exhausted”. That right there should be enough to frighten a Normal person. Don’t mess with these witches. Don’t.
And just so you have a good idea of what they’re dealing with, these are fifty-five pound bags, and if there’s two on a cart that’s one hundred and ten pounds. Twenty meters is sixty-five feet, but they’re really moving this stuff about seventy-five to eighty feet, and part of that move is up an incline. And even though a lot of the weight is lifted off the cart, the witch doing the levitating has to pull the bags along as well, because the person pushing the cart still has to deal with mass and inertia. What Annie and Kerry are really doing is just a step away from saying “Screw the cart” and straight-up levitating the bags straight to the greenhouse. Should I point out they’re the only witches in the B Level doing this? Yeah, I should.
As soon as the seventh and eighth bags were set aside in their storage bins, Annie decided Kerry and she needed a break. Though Kerry was catching up to her with this particular crafting, levitating a hundred kilos on to a cart, then over twenty meters, then into a storage bin, had caused him a bit of strain. She sat next to him and took his hand. “Tired?”
“Not that much.” He slide down in the folding chair and stretched his legs. “I actually don’t feel that bad this time.”
“You’re getting better.” Her smile was broad and warm. “Pretty soon you’ll do as well as me.”
“Can’t wait.” Kerry laid their hands against Annie’s thigh. “How are you feeling?”
“Just a little tired, my love.” She shook her head. “I’ll be good as new in a few minutes.”
A laugh carried through the greenhouse, making both children look up. Though Franky and a couple of other students were smiling, it was obvious the laugh emanated with Lisa. She gave Annie a somewhat foul look. “Yeah, don’t get worn out; you won’t be able to get in your share of face sucking when you’re having your next class with your—” She deepened her voice to give her next few words greater emphasis. “—big lesbian instructor.”
You know, Lisa, you shouldn’t be making fun of the instructors like that. Particularly when the one you’re mentioning–Erywin, because this is Monday, and while all the other B Levels are getting an afternoon rest, Annie and Kerry are off to the Advanced Formulistic Magic class–hasn’t any problem getting on crazy on someone’s ass. Just like her partner–you know, the Queen of Salem’s Sorceresses?
And if you’re getting that feeling that this is the precursor to Lisa going off and being, well, Lisa–hey, you should get out of my head, okay?