Sunday is supposed to be a day of rest, but I spent most of that day either sleeping–which I totally did around noon because I was up at four-thirty–or writing. Eight hundred four words in the morning for one scene, almost twelve hundred words for notes for my Humans recap, and then I started another scene writing seven hundred ninety-eight words–
Yes, I start working on Annie’s combat.
Come one, come all, let’s see this happen!
Now we get into the low-down and see what’s about to happen. And it begins with just a bit of a rewind, because we haven’t seen or felt anything from Annie’s point of view–
(All excerpts from The Foundation Chronicles, Book Two: B For Bewitching, copyright 2015 by Cassidy Frazee)
Annie walked to her start position, her breathing controlled, her mind clear, her nerves steady. While a fight against Lisa would have ended quickly, someone more skilled in magical combat was going to give her a challenge—maybe even beat her.
She was aware of her abilities as well, and there was one important incident that no one at school—save three people—knew about. I wonder what this Rikkard would say if he knew I’ve killed two people? Not that it mattered: Annie couldn’t kill this student, nor could she use her most effective—and deadly—spell. It didn’t matter: she’d learned a great deal in the last year, and she knew how to put it to great use.
Annie stepped into the white rectangle and faced the boy ten meters across from her. She smoothed her skirt down and discreetly tugged on the waistband of her leggings, then prepared herself for the moment to come. The moment Professor Chai ordered the trial to begin was when crafting would begin, and she wasn’t concerned about her first spell: rather, she thought about what Rikkard would do. She’s not watched many of the combat matches—they weren’t as wildly watched as the races, and they were always held on Sunday afternoon, when Kerry and she did things—but her own experience, and the lessons in the Advanced Self Defense class—taught her that the majority of people in magical combat will throw up their defense spells before launching an attack. And if Rikkard is like the majority of those people, he’ll do the same . . .
Professor Chai raised her hands and the protection enchantments activated: Annie was sealed inside a bubble with two other people designed to protect the spectators from errant spells. In a moment the action would begin, and she knew exactly what she was do—
“And . . . begin.” With that the trial began.
So Annie figures she can beat him ’cause, you know, killing a couple of adults weren’t no big thing, and this is just some punk kid–a bigger punk kid than here, but that just makes it easier to hit him. Now that the command has been given to start your magical engines, Annie’s ready for action:
Annie watched Rikkard start his crafting, careful to watch his moments and notice the energy he was drawing upon—the last was something Kerry and she had begun learning a couple of weeks before in Advanced Spells. Normal magical energy being put into a defense screen—as I suspected. She began her own crafting, but experience she picked up in Wednesday’s class didn’t necessitate the need to give away her crafting: she didn’t want the boy across from her to know what she was about to do—
Not in the least.
She continued watching Rikkard. She observed him throwing up his defense screen in just a few seconds before moving on to his offense spell. She didn’t feel dark energy coming into play, so there wasn’t any chance the ball lightning forming in his hand was the result of sorcery; she figured he either didn’t know it well, or was saving it for a kill shot attack.
Rikkard chained three balls of lightning together, quickly pulled his elbows back a bit, and hurled the magic the direction of his opponent.
Annie bent her knees slightly and launched herself into the air.
Oh? Did we forget Annie can fly? She didn’t. Can she do that? Well, it is a kinda magic, so why not? Anyway, here’s sort of what that moment looks like, because drawing skillz, yo.
Artist’s rendition of Annie’s moment of lift-off (rather simplified).
I doubt very much if she went “Whee!” on take off, but you can bet there was a little confusion from her opponent. Which is what she wanted . . .
When Professor Chai mentioned they had to stay within the circle Annie remembered the demonstration Coraline and the professor had performed the year before—in particular the moment when Coraline performed a high back flip all the way across the mat. Though nothing was said about the validity of the move, Annie was certain Coraline wouldn’t have performed such an action if it wasn’t legal. But the moment the professor stated, “This is a match of skill, so use whatever you feel is necessary to prevail,” there was no question she’d use her Flight Gift. As far as anyone in the room was concerned she was levitating—and levitating was a magical skill.
However, she’d spent the last two months learning how to maneuver in ways few could using levitation, and she was going to put all that knowledge to the best use . . .
She was already four meters above the mat when Rikkard’s attack reached where she was and flew straight into the barrier beyond. Annie managed to see the boy’s look of surprise as he turned his gaze upwards. Before he could lock onto her, she rolled twice to her right and slipped upward and to the left another before she used the spell she’d begun crafting the moment the professor started the trial.
A huge fireball struck Rikkard’s defense screen as well as the mat around him. While he was protected by his magic, the mat outside the screen caught fire and the heat from the blast—which the screen wouldn’t stop—poured through. Rather than ready another attack, Rikkard was forced to move, as it would take a few seconds before the safety enchantment extinguished the flames and he wasn’t enjoying the sensation of being embroiled in massive amounts of heat.
Since Annie knew she wasn’t going to be where Rikkard’s attack would end up, she put what she had into offence and let rip with a huge fireball. How ‘about a little fire, Scarecrow? Hope you got on your fire suit.
Take that, Finnish Boy!
Now, rather than him maneuver for position so he can ready his next attack, he’s gotta do something to get out of the bonfire which has formed around his feet. Also, he’s gotta deal with some little Bulgarian girl who’s flying around like an angry swallow, only this bird can throw fireballs–and worse.
‘Cause Annie’s just getting warmed up.