Down For the Night In the Allagash

So . . . camping.  I haz it here.  Well, I’ve had it for a few days now, ’cause it seems as if this is all that’s I’ve been writing about for the last few days.  And it is somewhat crazy the amount of stuff I’ve had to look up for what turned out to be a three thousand word scene.  So much to know, I’m telling you.

The scene is finished, by the way.  Almost eleven hundred words were required, but it got there.  This was pretty much all Kerry–pretty much, I say, because at the very end another person enters the stage.  And since everyone knows her, there’s no need for introduction.  Just keep the hissing to a minimum.

 

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

Two small light points hovered at the middle sides of the tent. Emma was sitting up on her cot, her sleeping bag pushed down about mid-torso so she could wear her half-zipped fleece jacket over her thermal undergarments. Her winter flight boots occupied the space between the head of her cot and the front of the tent, and her helmet, balaclava, gloves, and mittens were stuffed inside. Her heavy flying jacket rested on top of the boots; it would remain there until she was ready for bed, at which point she’d lay it over her feet. She looked up as Kerry entered the tent. “Is it still clear outside?”

“Yeah, the sky’s totally clear.” He fastened the outside cover in place and zipped the entrance closed. “At least we don’t have to worry about snow.” He sat on top of his sleeping bag, removed his gloves and mittens, and began undoing his boots. “Just the cold.”

Emma nodded. “Cold I can handle; snow, too.”

“Yeah, you get plenty of that in Bolder.” He set his boots and external gear and accessories aside just as Emma did with hers, then removed his winter flight jacket. Unlike their regular leather flying jackets, their winter flight jackets were like Normal extreme weather parkas outfitted with draw-cords, fastening cuffs, and a hood with a removable fur cuff, and designed to keep them as warm as possible while flying in sub-zero Celsius temperatures. “Man, I’m gonna sleep well tonight.”

“Oh, yeah.” She stretched her arms over her head. “This flying at night is crazy.”

“Yeah, well, we have a couple of winter flights coming up when we get back from Yule.” Kerry began unfasten his flight pants, which besides their undergarments and helmet were the only thing from their normal flight outfits still in use.

“You sure you don’t want me to turn around?” Over the last couple of weeks they’d agreed if they were going to share a tent they couldn’t spend their time worrying about being seen in their undergarments.

“Only if I’m getting down to skin—” He rolled up his pants and stuffed them inside his unzipped sleeping bag. “And I’m not.” He pulled off his fleece mid-layer jacket, rolled it up, and set it inside his sleeping bag as well. “Thanks for putting the hot water bottles in here.”

“That was the deal: while one is prepping outside, the other preps inside.” She glanced up at the ceiling. “Thanks for the lights.”

 

All the stuff I have down about their heavy boots and jackets, the gloves and mittens combos, the fleece jackets over their long undergarments, that’s all legit stuff need for walking around in near-arctic conditions.  I know ’cause I’ve been looking this up like crazy, and even found a few websites that had information.  The sleeping bags are correct for the climate as well, and the deal with putting your clothing and hot water battle inside them–those are tricks that let you sleep comfortably while being outside during the winter.

So when everything starts looking like this, you know?

So when everything starts looking like this, you know?

Since they are layered up, in the morning they can leave the heavy jackets off to the side and walk around with just their fleece and undies on and be comfortable.  Once they are flying they’ll need the heavy outer gear because it’s going to be colder than hell while zipping around at a few hundred kilometers and hour.  When they’re in the arctic they probably will stay bundled up all the time, except for those moments when it’s like a balmy -10 Celsius.

So Kerry’s not embarrassed about undressing in front of girls–I wonder where he got that habit from?  We won’t go there yet, but he does have a few things to say to Emma:

 

“No problem.” Kerry bent his legs, raising his knees to his chest, and spun around until he was looking down the length of his sleeping bag. He slipped his body inside and zipped it most of the way up, pushing it down until it rested mid-torso like Emma’s. “You do need to learn that spell.”

“I know.” Emma looked down, her face growing red. “I just . . . I have a hard time with some of this stuff.”

“Like the fire spell.” Vicky was pushing a minimum set of spells they needed for camping on their own, and being able to create a fire using magic was one of them. At the moment Kerry was the only one in Advance Flight One who could perform the spell, though Elisha and Kalindi were close to crafting it successfully. “You gotta get that one down.”

“Yeah, but you can do it.” Emma leaned towards Kerry. “Why do I need to do it, too?”

“Because what if I got hurt? What if I end up with a concussion or was unconscious?” He looked away for a second. “What if I died?”

Emma’s eyes widened as the embarrassed blush vanished. “Don’t say that.”

A grin spread across Kerry’s face. “I don’t expect to die—at least not this year.” He waved at Emma to alleviate her fears. “I’m just kidding.”

“Well, don’t kid like that.”

“What I’m saying is you need to know that stuff so you don’t rely on me.”

Emma sighed. “I’m just not as good as you.”

“Don’t compare yourself to me—” He nodded towards the door. “Compare yourself to the others. They’re learning, too, and most of them aren’t any better than you.” He laughed. “You have one thing they don’t.”

“What’s that?”

“Me.” He nodded quickly. “When we get back from Yule I’ll help you get them going.”

Emma once again averted her gaze away, embarrassed by the offer. “Thanks.”

 

Like it or not Kerry just laid the “You’re not on my magical level” rap on Emma, but at least she’s smart enough to know it’s totally true.  And thanks to a certain Dark Witch he does know a thing or two about teaching spells to others now.  There was probably a time when he’d never have said anything like what he told Emma in private, and he certainly wouldn’t say it in public, but he is acknowledging that he’s got the mad magical skillz down, which is one of the reasons why Annie and he are sorta in all the advanced classes.

 

“It’s not a problem. I mean—” Kerry hadn’t wanted to bring this up, but it was best to get it out of the way early. “If we do the Express next year, we’ll have to trust each other with our lives. I’ll have to trust mine with yours, and I wanna know I can.” He couldn’t add that he’d already been through this kind of experience . . .

Emma got the message. Her demeanor changed as she looked directly at Kerry. “Okay, I get it. And I agree: I don’t want you out there doubting I can cover your butt.”

He nodded. “You got it.”

“Then we’ll work on that—” She extended her right arm and balled her hand into a fist. “Next year?”

Kerry bumped his right fist against hers. “Next year.” He pulled his tablet out from under his cot and checked the time before shutting it down. “We better get to bed: there’s gonna be a lot of flying tomorrow.”

“Right.” Emma spread out her sleeping bag before setting her jacket across her feet. While Kerry did the same with his jacket she removed her fleece jacket and stuffed it inside her bag. She lay down and zipped herself in, leaving nothing but her face exposed. “I’m ready.”

“Same here.” He waved his hand and extinguished the lights, then settled back and zipped himself up. He rested his head against the built-in pillow, feeling his clothes—heated by the hot water bottles—radiating their heat against his body. “See you in the morning.”

“You know it.”

Kerry rolled slightly to his left, keeping his face away from the exterior of the tent. He heard Emma chuckle as he made himself comfortable. “What is it?”

She let out with a long sigh. “This is the first time I’ve been on your left.”

Kerry chuckled. “So it is.” He closed his eyes and drifted off, thinking it best not to explain the sleeping arrangements he shared with Annie . . .

 

Yeah, best keep that last thought to yourself, Ginger Hair Boy, ’cause most of these kids would freak a bit if they knew about that.  Then again, some of them have to expect something:  after all the B Levels must have noticed that those two didn’t stay with them in a hotel in Boston before flying back to Europe at the end of their A Levels, and those same kids had to of noticed them entering or leaving a single room in Berlin.  Maybe it’s one of those deals where if they don’t talk about it, it hasn’t really happened?  Yeah, that works.

The good nights are spoken.  Tomorrow it’s time to get up, have breakfast, break camp, and head back into the cold blue yonder.

But not before enjoying a tasty mug of the school's famous hot chocolate.

But not before enjoying a tasty mug of the school’s famous hot chocolate.

And the third scene is going to be as different as the first two.  In the first it was mostly Annie with Kerry there, while the second was Kerry’s observations with a bit of Emma thrown in.  Next up are going to be those third party observations, and you’ll finally get to see a little of what’s happening up in the sky, and where this flight has not only been, but where it’s going.

It’s gonna be fun, I promise.

Time to Make the Camp Site

There are real pros and cons to taking a long nap when you get home from work.  The pro is you feel a lot better once it’s over and you’re up.  The downside is that you’re not all that tired when it does become time to turn in and go to sleep.  This is the dilemma I found myself in yesterday after a nap that seemed to stretch on for about an hour and fifteen minutes.  I felt recharged enough to writ about twelve hundred words for my recap, and then another eight hundred for this novel, but when you find it time to go to nodding land, you don’t really want to go.

"If only I hadn't written those last three hundred words!"

“If only I hadn’t written those last three hundred words!”

I did get to sleep, but I expect a bit of a hangover for most of the morning.  At least I’ll be able to head out and do some shopping tonight with a semi-clear head.

This section seemed to come pretty good for me, save for a couple of things which I’ll explain in a bit.  What we have now is the overnight flight has turned the music off, climbed down from their brooms, and they set about the task of making camp:

 

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

As soon as everyone was on the ground the teams went to work. First order was to get up four fires, and that was handled by Nadine and Rivânia. Kerry asked if he could help—he was still the only B Level who could do the Fireball spell—but was told by Vicky to get busy setting up his team’s tent and let the minion handle stoking the fires.

Emma and Kerry, as well as the other teams, went to work unpacking. All their gear—tents, cots, sleeping bags, cooking gear, and clothing—was loaded inside their large, thirty-six liter backpacks using a Compress spell that most students wouldn’t learn until their C Levels, but that the Advanced Flight students were expected to master by the end of their B Levels. Compress was kind of miniaturization spell, one that could make objects smaller with the downside of allowing it to retain ninety percent of its mass.

They removed their mittens and folded back the hoods of their thick white winter jackets. This was the first time they wore the cold weather gear they’d need to be able to live and fly in arctic conditions in the field, and moving about was a slow and sometimes difficult task. Both members of Team Myfanwy considered removing the heavy jackets, but they knew they couldn’t as that was an option they wouldn’t have once they were in conditions far colder than than their current situation.

 

The Compress spell is pretty self explanatory, and it does have a bit of a disadvantage for the kids in that if they’ve got to pack fifteen kilos of gear to lug around on their backs, they’re still gonna feel most of that fifteen kilos.  But shit happens, right?  And the spell to get this stuff up to normal size is below.

The other thing has not been mentioned up to this point, and it’s that the kids are all wearing cold weather gear.  One of the things I’ve done a long time ago is kinda show what that gear looks like, because . . . well, it’ll come to you in time.  Basically they’re wearing a thick sweater garment in place of their normal flight jacket and then, over that, they’re wearing a modern polar jacket with a hood.  They’re wearing the same flight pants, but their boots have been beefed up, and they’re also wearing mittens over their gloves.  It makes things a little clumsy to work in, but they gotta know how to do this.

So the process for getting up the site?  This:

 

They used the Expand spell they’d learned during the last month—though Kerry had already used it well before the end of his A Levels—to return their gear to its original size. Besides each carrying extra changes of clothing, Emma carried the main tent, the tent poles, her cot, and her sleeping bag, while Kerry carried the vestibule, his cot and sleeping bag, the team rations, their cooking gear, and a few miscellaneous items. He floated light points over head so they could see properly, then they got to work. In the last few weeks they’d practiced putting up their tent in the dark, so they knew the routine.

They removed the tent, vestibule, and poles, and began setting up their sleeping area, pushing poles through tent eyes, then driving and securing them into the ground. Once the tent was in place Kerry worked on attaching the vestibule while Emma assembled the cots just outside the tent and moving them inside once her work was completed. Kerry attached the vestibule and fastened it to the ground while Emma set their cooking gear and rations aside before setting up the portable camp toilet behind a nearby tree. The last act was for Emma to roll out each sleeping back on their cots while Kerry set up a levitated ground cloth upon which to lay their brooms and backpacks.

After just twenty-five minutes their tent was ready for occupation.

With the fires going, everyone brought out their small folding chairs and set them up so each team could set about cooking their evening meal. No one had eaten since lunch, and while most fliers had brought snacks, the cold weather gear their wore on the flight up prevented them prevented them from eating while airborne. Kerry and Emma used their cooking equipment to heat up their meals, which were items packaged by the kitchen for this overnight expedition. While the meals weren’t nearly as tasty as the fair they would have enjoyed had they remained at Salem, they were designed to be high in calories and filling.

It was nearing twenty-one thirty by the time meals were over and cooking gear was cleaned and stowed. Before people began heading to their tents for the evening, Kerry brought out something he’d been given before leaving: a container full of banitsa that Annie had asked the kitchen to prepare that day. There was one for every person in the flight, and was surprised when everyone not only took one, but ate them as well. He’d expect there’d be at least one or two leftovers, but at this point in the evening, with everyone tired and cold, anything resembling a desert was welcome.

 

There you go:  a real team effort between Emma and Kerry, and one that they can sort of do for real when it’s needed.  And the “missing person” of Advanced flight sent along a bit of her homeland with banitsa for all!  Nice of Annie to do that, but there is probably one banitsa in there meant for a special person . . .

Now, here’s where I did something different.  As I was writing I decided that I didn’t like the first three paragraph–no, let me rephrase that.  I didn’t like where they were as written, so what I did, ’cause you can in a computer, is move to to this point in the story and rewrite them a bit.  Rather than have your go back a couple of days to the originals, I brought them here for you to see.

This was how they looked in their original form:

 

Kerry waved his hand in the direction of one of the camp fires and crafted a spell to pull oxygen away from the flames and smother them, which was far better than dumping water and using up fluids that could be needed later. It didn’t matter that there was a lake only a dozen meters away: Kerry not only knew it was easier to use magic to put out a fire, but he didn’t feel like filling up a container and bring it back to do the job he was now performing with the wave of his hand.

He looked up through the slight gap in the trees seeing if the stars were out. At the moment there was nothing but overcast, something they were told to expect after twenty-one. It was like this when they left the school: cloudy, dark, and growing colder.

He tidied up a few things and stored what little trash there was in a lock bag that he’d stuff in his backpack before heading off to bed. Kerry adjusted the collar of his flying jacket as the cold once more encroached upon the campsite as his mind drifted back to their flight north—

 

And how they now look re-positioned and rewritten:

 

Vicky called lights out at twenty-two and ordered everyone to their tents, letting them know they’d need to be up about five-thirty so they could begin preparing for the day. Kerry waved his hand in the direction of one of the camp fires and crafted a spell to pull oxygen away from the flames and smother them, which was far better than dumping water and using up fluids that could be needed later. It didn’t matter that there was a lake only a dozen meters away: He knew it was not only easier to use magic to put out a fire, but he didn’t feel like filling up a container and bring it back to do the job he was now performing with the wave of his hand.

He looked up through the slight gap in the trees seeing if the stars were out. At the moment there was nothing but overcast, something they were told to expect after twenty-one. It was like this when they left the school: cloudy, dark, and growing colder. He tidied up a few things and stored what little trash there was in a lock bag that he’d stuff in his backpack before heading off to bed. Kerry adjusted the collar of his jacket as the cold once more encroached upon the campsite and allowed his thoughts to first drifted back to their flight north, and then on to Annie. He wondered what she was doing and if she was alone. They’d promised not to get upset over being separated for one night, and would make the most of his return tomorrow. He whispered a good night and love to his soul mate before entered his tent’s vestibule. He zipped the outer door closed, tapped his hand three times against the tent door to announce his presence, unzipped the door and entered.

 

Much nicer, I think, and it makes far more sense now.  It’s also a good lead-in to the last part of the scene, and I’m guessing most of you can figure out what’s coming next–

You're not going to find it here, however.

You’re not going to find it here, however.

It was a good night to write, and mostly pain free.  Mostly.  I’ll try not to be in pain when I write tonight.

I promise you this.

Fear the Walking Dead, Season 1, Episode 4: “Not Fade Away”

The recap is up!

Rachel Tsoumbakos

Jamie McShane as Lt. Moyers and Cliff Curtis as Travis - Fear The Walking Dead _ Season 1, Episode 4 - Photo Credit: Justina Mintz/AMC

Welcome to the Occupation.  You’re safe: would we lie?

Nick resting on a pool float and Travis is out jogging like it’s no big deal, and Lou Reed reminds us of what’s going on:

Just a perfect day
Problems all left alone
Weekenders on our own
It’s such fun

But it isn’t, really. The military is present, there’s a patrolled fence, supplies coming in from somewhere, we’re told in voice over it’s been nine days since the power went out, and we can see smoke rising from over a hill, probably something in downtown L.A. still burning. While we watch someone who looks like Carl Grimes enter the neighborhood—and, man, is he really out of the house!—Chris sits on the roof of his house with a video camera and thinks he sees someone signaling in the distance from the “dead zone”, but we know that can’t be true because…

View original post 1,843 more words

Rocking Along the Overnight Way

So, Cassidy, were are we now?  Good you should ask . . .

As I may or may not have pointed out, last night was my electrolysis session.  It was two hours of fun, if you consider having an electric needle stuck in your face fun.  At least Bonnie–the woman who does my work–and I were having fun, talking about Emmys, Game of Thrones–which I told her is also called Boobs and Dragons, which she loved–Orphan Black, menopause, and women who should wear something over really, really tight leggings.  I mean, what else are you doing to do for two hours?  I’m sort of sitting there with nowhere to go while she does her shock and tweeze routine,  so you make the best of the situation.

And don't mind how numb you are when you get home.

And don’t mind how numb you are when you get home.

But I did write:  last night and even a little this morning.  I wanted to get the scene moved alone, and . . . the part I added required a bit of thinking–which I did on the forty minute trip back from my session–and once I got home I needed to sit, change, get organized, and write.

And I came up with this:

 

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

Just west of Millinocket they turned nearly due north as they skirted the eastern border of Baxter State Park and Mount Katahdin. After completing the turn and getting set on their new course Kerry pulled down his balaclava—which everyone now wore under their flying helmets to keep their exposed faces warm—and looked to his left. He could just making out the darkened bulk of Mount Katahdin ten kilometers away. It was nearly impossible to make out detail with the naked eye as there was a new moon, and under low-light the green tint hide the beauty of the scenery.

Kerry remembered the location of their camp site, and with them moving along at nearly two hundred kilometers an hour, he quickly calculated they’d arrive in approximately twenty minutes. He called to Nightwitch and asked if it would be all to play some music off his tablet computer—which he’d brought to help navigate—to perk everyone up after nearly two hours of chilly flying. To his surprise Vicky told him to go ahead and put it on external so it wasn’t jamming the comms.

He quickly found three songs, set his modified computer over to external sound, adjusted the transmission field so it’d cover a sphere about twenty meters across, and hit Play. A few seconds later the snare roll of Smashing Pumpkins’ Cherub Rock began, and in seconds the Salem Overnight was cruising at eight hundred meters past the tallest mountain in the state of Maine as the bass, drums, and grinding guitar of the song filled the sky around the flight.

He found himself bouncing up and down on his broom’s saddle, moving with the rhythm of the tune. He looked to his right and saw Emma had pulled down her balaclava and smiled his way while bobbing her head. Nadine gave him a thumbs up from the other side of the group, and a few others looked his way and nodded in agreement. After nearly one hundred minutes of flying in darkness and sub-zero wind chills, everyone welcomed the addition to their travel.

Seconds after the first song ended the opening cello strikes to Viva la Vida began, and Nadine chose that moment to pop over to Kerry’s left. As Chris Martin began singing Nadine joined in and motioned for Kerry to accompany. He joined her on the second verse and continued singing as she returned to her position on the first chorus. He smiled broadly as he sang without benefit of magical auto tune, remembering that they’d almost chosen this song to play last year during Ostara, and they’d practiced it twice before Kerry decided to go with Lovers in Japan.

Though he knew he sounded terrible, especially when compared to Nadine’s fairly wonderful singing voice, he enjoyed singing along, and when he started getting into the second chorus, he heard others joining in, their off-tune voices coming in over the comms. It got him smiling even more, and the chill that had help him for the last hour drifted away.

The last song was one he’d always wanted to play while flying: Murray Gold arrangement of the Doctor Who Theme used from 2005 to 2007. He cranked up his system as the synths, guitars, bass, and drums were accompanied by the National Orchestra Of Wales and the quick tempo bombast of strings and horns blasted out over the almost deserted and near-frozen Maine countryside. It was only two and a half minutes long, but by the time they came up on their final turn and approach, Kerry was once more fully alert and ready to start setting up camp in the minus eight Celsius winter darkness feeling suitably heroic.

 

Kerry bringing the tunes to the sky!  Now, it’s been said before he’s done this–during the graduation flight Annie and he took at the end of their A Levels, he played music from his tablet, and he’s brought it along once more.  On the way up it’s a lot of cold flying–the temps are legit for the date and time, and if you really must know the wind chill, it’s -25 Celsius–but now that they’re down to the last sixty kilometers, he’s ready to rock out.

And it is sixty--okay, sixty-one.  We'll just ignore that last kilometer . . .

And it is sixty–okay, sixty-one. We’ll just ignore that last kilometer . . .

Which brings us to Kerry’s Last Sixty Kilometer Play List:

Smashing Pumpkins, Cherub Rock

Yeah, I remember this from when I was working in downtown Chicago and the Pumpkins were still kind of a local band.  And flying through the night with some awesome thrash going on is a good way to get the blood pumping as you’re flying past a big mountain peak.

What Kerry would see, only with a lot more darkness.

What Kerry would see, only with a lot more darkness.

Coldplay, Viva la Vida

Not only does Kerry like this song, but so does Nadine, it seems.  It’s a nice touch pointing out that he almost played this the year before at Ostara, but decided to go with another Coldplay song.  A good, driving beat that gets one in a bit of a positive mood and should make you forget the cold.

Murray Gold, Doctor Who Theme from 2005 to 2007:

And last but not least, Kerry is for sure gonna throw this one on.  Two-and-a-half minutes of tecno-orchestral bombast, it would be like having a marching band behind you as you fly triumphant through the night.  This would probably get a smile out of Erywin as well, as she’s something of a fellow geekette–after all, she is Leela.

Tonight:  gotta write my recap and I hope to finish this scene after that.

You might even get to see Emma . . .

Off Into the Wild Black Yonder

Yesterday I was in the middle of relaxing mood, and I was doing my best not to stress out my left shoulder, which was acting up again.  This coming weekend, for sure, I’m going to get a new chair; I think that will go a long ways towards helping the pain.

I also needed to save up the shoulder ’cause I knew I’d write about a thousand words during note taking for my recap, and that helped because I wasn’t in any for the most part.  But it’s still bothering me a bit, and I do believe I stressed something out bad there, ’cause even now I feel a little twinge while typing.  Maybe a heating pad would be a good investment as well.

I did manage to get almost six hundred words out–well, five hundred sixty, allow me this little fib–and it’s a bit of on-site recollecting:

 

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

Kerry waved his hand in the direction of one of the camp fires and crafted a spell to pull oxygen away from the flames and smother them, which was far better than dumping water and using up fluids that could be needed later. It didn’t matter that there was a lake only a dozen meters away: Kerry not only knew it was easier to use magic to put out a fire, but he didn’t feel like filling up a container and bring it back to do the job he was now performing with the wave of his hand.

He looked up through the slight gap in the trees seeing if the stars were out. At the moment there was nothing but overcast, something they were told to expect after twenty-one. It was like this when they left the school: cloudy, dark, and growing colder.

He tidied up a few things and stored what little trash there was in a lock bag that he’d stuff in his backpack before heading off to bed. Kerry adjusted the collar of his flying jacket as the cold once more encroached upon the campsite as his mind drifted back to their flight north—

They departed the school at seventeen-thirty sharp, as they were told in the briefing. As they flew beyond the school walls the weather was mostly cloudy and was already a degree below zero Celsius, but rain wasn’t in the forecast, and the only winds they needed worry about were the ones they’d produce on their two hour flight to Baxter State Park in Central Maine.

While he’d flown at night around the school, and during his A Levels the Beginning Flight class had taken a couple of Monday night flights to get them used to being on a broom in the dark, this was the first time he’d take a long flight in full darkness. Besides the eight flight teams of Advanced Flight One, Vicky was leading the team with held from Erywin, and they were being assisted by Nadine and Rivânia Suassuna, both from Advanced Spells and racing.

They followed I-95 north, keeping the highway below and the Atlantic to their right. They didn’t exactly fly one team after the other, front to back, but rather kept their teams in a loose grouping more like a flattened sphere kept ringed in by the two instructors and their minions.  Upon reaching Lewiston, Maine, the interstate shifted a bit to the east, and they paralleled the road until passing Palmyra, where they kept going straight as I-95 turned right on its way to Bangor, and they entered the area south of Baxter State Park and Mount Katahdin known at the 100 Mile Wilderness. Soon the distant glow of Bangor faded into the distance, and darkness enveloped them.

Kerry kept Emma close on his right and they chatted a little as they braced themselves against the wind chill they created. There were enchantments on the broom to keep nearly all the wind from hitting them, but they were still flying in the open, and the colder air that surrounded them pressed against them. They were still amazed they were out flying into a night time wilderness, and that excitement kept the cold away, but it was there just enough to remind Kerry that when they flew the Polar Express, the chill they felt now would be far worse.

Just west of Millinocket they turned nearly due north as they skirted the eastern border of Baxter State Park and Mount Katahdin.

 

Yes, I did just end right there with “and Mount Katahdin.”  Why?  Because I was really trying to hit my goal for the day, and that was my next milestone in my story.  As you can see . . .

Because I see to record everything.

Because I see to record everything.

The “they” right after Millinocket is word one hundred forty thousand.  I wanted to hit it to keep my ten thousand every two weeks streak going, and I just did.  Thank you, Saturday morning!

With the image above you can see a little of the map behind the Scrivener program, as I was using it to make sure I had my route down.  You can also see notes on the right, and so what is all this team stuff?  Well, I figured if I have a team for Emma and Kerry, then I should have one for everyone, and that also took up a bit of time.  Also, teams indicate sleeping arrangments, because those who wingmate together sleep together.  And so we have–

 

Sleeping arrangements:

Team Myfanwy (pronounced “muh-van-wee”)
Kerry Malibey, Cernunnos
Emma Nielson, Mórrígan

Team Sulaco
Mesha Tomasko, Ceridwen
Daudi Gueye, Åsgårdsreia

Team Azso
Sutou Takara, Ceridwen
Elisha Tasköprülüzâde, Åsgårdsreia

Team Arafura
Edelmar Brodney, Blodeuwedd
Fidele Diaz, Blodeuwedd

Team Zanzibar
Shauntia Okoro, Åsgårdsreia
Shadha Kanaan, Ceridwen

Team Castle Book
Dariga Dulatuli, Åsgårdsreia
Loorea Barling, Ceridwen

Team Picante
Kalindi Kartodirdjo, Mórrígan
Felisa Ledesma, Blodeuwedd

Team Manga
Franky Smith, Ceridwen
Koyanagi Jiro, Ceridwen

Minions and Instructors
Nadine and Rivânia
Victoria and Erywin

 

Pretty simple, I’d say.

Tonight I get electrolysis, but I will attempt to write as much of the scene as I can when I get home, because there are things that need writing.  By the time this scene is over they will have covered the ground on this map:

Because you know I have them.

Because you know I have them.

And you may just find out a little more about what they did in the air . . .

 

Ready for Overnight Flight

So, here we are, sitting around waiting.  In my case I’m waiting for my laundry to finish, because I’ve run out of unmentionables to wear, and a girl’s gotta have clean unmentionables.

And I got my nails done yesterday, too.

And I got my nails done yesterday, too.

Once laundry is finished I’ll need to run out and pick up a few things, and I figure I’ll get out about eleven or so.  Once all that’s done, I’ll start on the next scene, which sees Kerry heading off to go camping.  And, believe it or not, I’ve been getting ready for this moment . . .

First off, I’ve worked on the route my group is going to take.  As was sort of mentioned in the prior scene Friday–the day after the camp out–there will be a lot of flying.  The reason for that will get covered another scene, but it’s all over the place.  Love my maps, you know, because it really helps to know where my students are at certain times, and that also means I can check on weather conditions for those areas.  Because, you know, it’s gonna be cold, and there may be snow.

You’ve seen the brooms they’ll fly–everyone’s on Class 1s–and you’re kinda seen the camp site–

Right here.

When it’s not cold and gloomy and dark.

Which is easier to see from above–

North of the mountains and just south of the Allagash.

North of the mountains and just south of the Allagash.

Now, since there is a line heading off the top of the map, it’s pretty much a given that my fliers are heading off in that direction come Friday morning.  More of that will come out as I write not the next scene, but the scene after.

Now, gear.  There are tents, cots, and sleeping bags, not to mention food and hydration systems.  Let’s get this out of the way right now:  these are not TARDIS tents.  They are not bigger on the inside and decked out with all the comforts of home.    Nope, these tents are simple two-person, four season, cabin tents with a vestibule, just like Normal people use.

Though most of overnight tents will be combinations of black and white.

Just like this, though most of overnight tents will be combinations of black and white for tundra conditions.

The reason for having a vestibule is simple:  it’s a place where brooms and backpacks can be stored for the evening and remain out of the elements.  When the vestibule is zipped closed, it makes it easier to get things needed without having to worry about letting in wind and, in the case of these campers, maybe snow.

The cots are ultra light and remain close to the ground.  This way while they fill up the floor of the tent, they’re not so impossibly large that it makes it difficult to move around.  You can be assured that the sleeping bags will be able to handle the cold, either in the middle of Maine in mid-December, or somewhere in Canada in the middle of January.

It looks so cozy in there, doesn't it?

It looks so cozy in there, doesn’t it?

How are they going to carry all this stuff?  Thirty-six liter backpacks, that’s how.

Like these, only without the scenery.

Like these, only without the scenery.

Everything they’re gonna carry–save for their brooms–goes in the packs, and I know what you’re thinking:  how do they get everything in there?  Well, you’re gonna find out about the Compression and Expansion spells soon enough, and for the advanced fliers not in Advanced Spells–*cougheveryonebutonekidcough*–those are two spells they have to know by the end of their B Levels or they’re not gonna be allowed off the school grounds to go camping alone.  Does this mean Kerry knows these spells?  Well . . . you’ll have to see, won’t you?

It should also go without saying that the material is enchanted so it’s stronger, more resistant to cold and wind and rain, even a little lighter.  Now, that doesn’t means that the cold stays out completely–after all, what if you’re stuck with nothing but Normal equipment?  You may just have to rough it, or know how to craft the right spells to keep yourself nice and comfy.

Like I say quite often, writing isn’t always writing.  You want to get little details like these down, then you do your research and get everything together.  This is why getting scenes written don’t always go as smoothly as expected.  Sometimes you really do have to find the things you need to make the things you say sound a little more convincing.

Historical Hidings

First off, let’s get to the good news:  I have a new mouse!

All hail the new toy!

All hail the new toy!

Yes, I went with something pink and pretty, because yes, I can.  Also, I like how it feels in my hand, and the pad makes things all that much easier to do thing, so I like it a lot.

Second off, the shoulder is feeling much better.  I’m off to do my nails today, and I’m trying to come up with a good fall color, and I’ve been taking it easy this morning so that I’m not sitting around feeling nothing but pain shooting through my body.  In a way I help the process by not doing a whole lot last night, and it showed in the fact I wrote only three hundred and fifty words.

Ah, but that helped, because . . .

The scene is finished, mostly due to writing almost sixteen hundred words this morning.  It didn’t feel like I was pouring out words:  actually, the whole process seems to have slowed down as I try to visualize what I want to say, and then find the right word for the visualization.  And trust me, I’ve done a lot of visualization, starting with where Annie was taking Kerry . . .

 

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

Sequestered among several birch and pine trees sat one of the many covered stair casings that led to the school’s tunnel system. Every building save the Headmistress’ Residence Rhiannon were connected to the system, there were various locations on the grounds where access to the tunnels was possible. The covered staircase near Memory’s End and the one behind the Transformation Center were the most well known, though the staircases near Rhiannon Fettle’s grave—used by Wednesday Douglas to access Sunset Tower during the Day of the Dead attack—and the staircase just north of Perquat’s Grove were also familiar to the students.

Annie opened the entrance to the staircase and held the door for Kerry. Like most of the stairs in the coven towers, the circular stone structure was three and a half meter in diameter and descended easily six meters to the tunnels. She followed him down until their reached the bottom of the stairwell, at which point Annie stepped past him, open the door, and stepped out into the tunnel.

The tunnel was like the majority of the other tunnels under the school: six meters wide by four and a half meters high, with an arched ceiling segmented by columns and soft, indirect lighting. The staircase was situated to one side of a Y-junction, with two tunnels running off to the left of the staircase entrance, and one long tunnel vanishing off to their right.

Kerry let the door close behind him as he glanced from side to side, “Where are we?”

“Believe it or not, in one of the oldest tunnels at the school. I looked it up.” She pointed down the single tunnel. “That was one of the escape tunnels dug in 1762 when the grounds were expanded and the outer walls installed. The staircase behind you—” She pointed at Kerry and the door beyond. “—used to lead up into the wall where there was a hidden door leading to the outside. The idea was if the witches needed to evacuate the school, this was on of the ways they would leave.”

“Or if they were looking to get out of the school for the night.” Kerry stood beside Annie. “Then you could just jaunt out.”

“True.” Annie took his hand and led him down the left-hand Y-tunnel. “Just a little further.”

He stumbled along, smiling. “What is?”

“You’ll see.”

 

The school tunnel system was something that I spent a lot of time figuring out, because with the school being spread out all over the place, and with it being situated on a small island right off the coast of Massachusetts–which is what Cape Ann really is–winter weather is gonna be a real bitch.  So I figured the area under the school was riddled with tunnels, with most of them going way back to the 18th and early 19th Centuries.

This is what the area Annie’s discussing looks like–

That little Y in the upper left hand corner is where my kids are--you'll see them if you look hard enough.

That little Y in the upper left hand corner is where my kids are–you’ll see them if you look hard enough.

You can see so many things here.  The Pentagram is right down there at the bottom, and near the middle-top is the lower storage areas of The Aerodrome.  That little building basement in the upper right hand corner is the lower levels of the Flight School, and that blue spot near the “Y” I pointed out is the bottom of Van der Kroff Spring.  And in case you’re wondering, those round things sticking through on the left side of the picture are the lower levels of towers are those stuck in the West Wall of the school.

Where is this headed?

 

They walked for a couple of minutes before coming to an innocuous passage cut into the right wall. The entryway was maybe two meters wide, and was difficult to see due to being located directly to the right of a tunnel support arch. “Here.”

Kerry squinted past the entrance. “Not very bright in there.”

“One of the reasons this tunnel doesn’t stand out.” She headed inside with Kerry right behind. “The first time I was down here I almost didn’t see this.”

Kerry glanced up at the ceiling. “I’m surprised the lights are still on.”

“You know it doesn’t take much to keep a lighting enchant going.” Annie couldn’t help but look around as well. “Once you craft one, they’ll run until dimmed or shut off.”

“Yeah.” He tightened his grip on Annie’s hand. “Do you know when this tunnel was put in?”

“No, but probably the same time as the two branching tunnels; Isis told me those were dug out in 1802 when they did the final expansion of the southern grounds.” She came to a slow stop. “Here we are.”

Kerry faced a large wood door slightly countersunk into the left side of the passage. Unlike similar ones in the coven tower, there wasn’t an electronic hand scanner in the wall to the right of the entrance. “And where is here?”

“Where we are.” She motioned to Kerry. “Go on in.”

He pushed it open and stepped through the doorway. On the other side was a room nearly the same size as their private lab in the lower levels of Cernunnos Tower: perhaps four and a half by three and a half meters. The walls didn’t seem finished: even in the dim light Kerry saw they were slightly rough, as if the room were cut out of the native limestone and then rendered flat enough not to be an issue.

What surprised Kerry was that the room wasn’t empty. Besides a few small wooden crates there were three items of furniture: a sofa and an easy chair positioned around a makeshift table thrown together from a slab of board sitting on top of a couple of crates and covered with a blanket. He stared at the tableau for a few seconds, then turned to Annie. “What’s all this then?”

 

So . . . hidden rooms, are there?

Yes, right there, if you must know.

Yes, right there, if you must know.

The staircase that Annie and Kerry descended is there to the center-right, and they walked down the bottom corridor.  I put this model together last night, because writing isn’t always writing, right?  Let’s just say I needed to give the new mouse a workout.

Now, this is where it gets tricky, Kids–

None of this stuff existed last week.

I planed this chapter months ago:  according to Scrivener, the chapter was created 21 June, 2015.  But the first and second scene of this chapter weren’t all that well thought out, to be honest.  Like I’ve said before, I do the meta plot thing and then let things come to me.  And up until last week I had nothing for this scene other than a few mental images.

Until I imagined Annie and her mother together over the summer . . .

 

“Something I found.” Annie closed the door and crafted a couple of light spells to make the room brighter. “There: better.” She slowly made her way around the easy chair. “After leaving you at Advanced Flight a couple of weeks ago I decided to do a little exploring. There are a lot of tunnels in the southwest section of the school, but almost no one ever comes down here because there aren’t any buildings—”

“So no need to come down this way.”

“Yes. I’ve taken that one tunnel back to The Aerodrome a few times, but never ventured down this way. I actually found the passage outside walking down the left-hand tunnel: it runs all the way between them.” Annie paused behind the sofa and leaned against the back. “Found this room, looked inside, and . . .” She spread her arms wide. “Found this.”

“Yeah, but what is it?” Kerry stepped up to the table and prodded it with his foot. “This stuff has been here a while; that sofa looks like it’s older than my folks.”

“Mine as well.”

“How’d it get down here?”

Annie shrugged. “Someone likely made it using transformation magic.” She walked around and sat. “Come—” She patted the spot next to her. “Sit, my love.”

Kerry joined Annie and immediately wrapped his arm around her shoulders. “Exploring, huh?”

“Yes.” She snuggled against him, getting herself comfortable in his embrace. “I was curious.”

“About?”

Annie crossed her legs and stared straight ahead with half-opened eyes. “Over the summer Mama and I were talking about school, and she began asking questions that . . .” She giggled. “I think she was asking about us without actually bringing up the subject.”

“Really?” He chuckled as well. “Like?”

“She asked me if we’d walked through Astria Portal. The way she phrased the question—”

“—She wasn’t asking if we’d walked.” He moved his fingers slowly against her jacketed arm. “So what did you do?”

“What I usually do in that situation, my love: I gave evasive answers.” She sighed and settled back into the hollow of his shoulder. “She told me about a place Papa and she used to go to, as she said, ‘be alone’. She said there was a spot near Gloucester Bend surrounded by trees: the way she described the stop it reminded me of where Emma and you hid—without the danger, of course.”

“Of course.”

“She didn’t go on about what they did there, but it wasn’t necessary: it’s where they went when they wanted to be alone. She was telling me that story because—” Her hand glided across Kerry’s thigh. “—she wanted to know where we went to be be alone. Only . . . we don’t actually have a place like that. Not really.”

 

Yes, they don’t have a place like this–a place where they can go, well, you know.  Do what kids in love do.  Anne’s been doing a bit of looking, it seems, and she’s upfront not only about her explorations, but the reasons behind them–

 

“When I found this room, though, and I saw the furniture here, I realized couples use to come here. There was a lot of dust on the floor—”

“There was?”

“Yes, my love: I’ve cleaned up a bit before this.” She chuckled and pressed her finger against his lips. “Shush, and listen. No one has been here in decades, so I know this room is undisturbed. But it was used; a couple used to come here to sit, talk, relax . . .” Annie shrugged. “Who knows what else? It doesn’t matter. Since we both fly—” She grinned at the same moment as Kerry. “—we don’t need to worry ourselves that someone will notice us heading down The Chunnel to get here. Maybe security will see us open the doors to the staircase, but I don’t care; it doesn’t matter.”

Annie folder her legs under her as she wrapped her arms around Kerry’s shoulders. “What matters now, moyata srodna dusha, is that we have a place where we can ‘be alone’. Where we can come when we have free time and sit, talk, cuddle . . .” She leaned in and kissed him with great tenderness and passion. “And do that.”

Kerry moved slightly to his right and settled back into the arm of the sofa. “We’ll need some pillows to rest against.”

“There are blankets in those crates: I checked.” Annie lay against Kerry’s chest and listened to his rapidly beating heart for a few moments. “Tonight we’ll be alone: I’ll be here while you’ll be several hundred kilometers away. And in a week we’ll be even further apart. But . . .” She kissed him again, holding it for almost twice as long as the prior kiss. “Until you leave in a few hours, you are all mine.”

 

This is how my mind works, and how things come together in my head.  I wrote a lot, I pushed the story to within a few hundred words of one hundred and forty thousand words, and I’ve opened up a little insight into my kids.  And once more showed that when Annie wants something, she gets it–

All to herself.