First off, I’ve been a busy little beaver this morning. Up at almost five, which sucks when you think about it. But while I was up I managed to finally get my licence for my new version of Aeon Timeline 2, and gave it a spin–
I figured out how to put square floors in a circular room–for reals–and after all that I headed down to the coffee shop for some writing.
There was a lot of writing, like over thirteen hundred words. I finished the scene because I felt it was necessary, and because I know I have laundry and napping to do tonight before sitting down tonight for a little more writing. One day I’m getting paid for all this, right? Yeah, probably.
With this in mind, it’s time to find out what’s going on. And that means Deanna’s gonna start her rap as soon as I’m finished–
All excerpts from The Foundation Chronicles, Book Two: B For Bewitching, copyright 2015, 2016 by Cassidy Frazee)
“It’s something—” Deanna turned her gaze to the ceiling for a moment. “You’re not the first couple we’ve discovered with an astral binding. Over the last five hundred years that witches first began noticing this phenomenon, they’ve discovered these bindings—prior to yours—in forty-one known couples. Given that at any time in the last two hundred years that the total world-wide Aware population was between five and ten thousand people, we’re not talking a common event.” She held up her left index finger the moment it became apparent Kerry was about to speak. “And I asked Erywin if there was any significance with the number forty-two, and as she assured me there was, so there’s no need for you to comment.”
Kerry snapped his fingers in mock disappointment. “Darn.” He looked to his left where Annie was giving him a bemused look. “I’ll tell you later.”
It’s nice to know that Erywin is the Geek Instructor on the Spot when the other instructors want to know something, and we know this is one of the reasons why Kerry and she get along so well. For those of you who know what Kerry was going to say you can groan, and for those of you who don’t, well, you need to brush up on your geekness a little more. Or ask me: I’ll tell you.
Annie turned back to Deanna. “You were saying?”
The seer was back on track immediately. “Maybe two and a half centuries after the first astral binding was discovered a few pre-Foundation researchers that a few of the individuals began exhibiting unusual abilities later in their lives. No one knew why at the time, however, while only a few of these people had Gifts, spawning new Gifts later in life, particularly in one’s thirties, was not known to happen.
“It was only in the mid-Nineteenth Century that researchers noticed that the couples who were experiencing this ‘spawned Gifts’, as they called them, had found each other at an early age, married, and then consummated their marriage soon after. And it wasn’t just all couples that appeared to do this, but only the few who were performing a particular ceremony during the marriage—one that turned out that witches in some parts of the world had performed as part of an older tradition.”
It was impossible for Annie not to appear interested. “What was the tradition?”
“The couples in question were partaking of an exchange of their physical essences during their weddings.” Deanna did a slight toss of her head to the right. “There are several different interpretations as to what constitutes a ‘physical essence’, but it would seem we’re looking at fluids or semi-living tissue.”
Kerry’s eyebrows shot upward into his brow. “Like skin? Or muscle tissue?”
“Perhaps. It appears to have differed from couple-to-couple.”
Annie wasn’t interested in the particulars: she was drawn back to one of Deanna’s questions. “Why is this called the Three Bindings?”
So, are we talking cannibal wedding in the future? These crazy witches, it seems like just when you have them figured out there’s just a bit of weirdness floating about that proves they’re a little different than us. Do I know what passed for physical essence? Silly people, of course I do.
But Annie’s like a little Bulgarian bullet who wants to get to the heart of the matter, because that’s how she is . . .
“Because the couples were bound together in three separate ways.” Deanna sat up and kept her gaze flickering between her two guests. “The first binding is the astral binding, naturally. None of this can happen unless you were both bound to each other at birth. The second binding is known as the physical binding, the process of connecting the couple through personal elements found in the Physical Realm.
“The last binding is known as the life binding, which is meant to represent the simultaneous exchange of essence that is used to consummate another life—” She gave a dry chuckle. “In short, sexual intercourse.”
Now the first question made sense to Annie. “That’s why you wanted to know if we’ve had sex.”
“Exactly. I wanted to see if you’d already broken the bindings.”
“What do you mean ‘broken the bindings’?” Kerry felt a uneasy feeling build in his tummy as he imagined the possibility dire consequences behind Deanna’s words. “Have we done something wrong?”
“No, you haven’t.” The seer eyed them carefully. “Not yet.”
Annie’s stare grew in intensity. “Meaning?”
“It appears that in order for the Three Bindings to occur the binding process must happen in the order I defined—” She leaned forward, resting her forearms against her desk. “Astral first, then physical, then life. Go out of order, or performed the magic necessary for the ceremony used in the physical binding, and it doesn’t work.” Deanna stared back at Annie with the same intensity the girl showed her. “That’s why out of the forty-two couples known to have an astral binding, there are only ten who are documented as having went all the way through the Three Bindings.”
This story is all about being different, and the rarities that are sometimes brought up by these differences. Way back in Act One Kerry mentioned to Annie, right before they headed into Starbucks and starts hanging with the older kids who liked them, that they were different, and they could either ignore that or accept the fact and embrace the difference. And we’ve seen it: Annie can fly; Kerry is a mimic; they are a couple of levels ahead of everyone in their level; and eventually Kerry can also be a girl when he likes.
We learned earlier about their astral binding, and now this. Even within their own little group of witches, they are to extra witchy that they’re really in a level of their own. But when you’re different, it means you need to face a whole different set of issues . . .
“And why are you telling us this?”
“Because you needed to know—and I wanted you to know before you did something you shouldn’t.”
Kerry twisted up the left corner of his mouth. “Like have sex?”
“That’s one.” Deanna looked directly at Annie. “Or do something that could prove harmful.”
It only took a few seconds for Annie to figure out the meaning of Deanna’s last sentence. “You were worried we’d find out about this on our own and learn how to do this ceremony for the physical binding. Weren’t you?”
“Yes, I am.” Deanna ran her right index finger slowly along her upper lip. “Both of you have shown a tendency to strike out on your own when it comes to learning magic, and even with being in the advance classes everyone’s aware you’re still pouring over books in the library to find ways of crafting new spells, or finding variations on the ones you know.” She tilted her head slightly to one side. “That’s most of what you do in the Black Vault, isn’t it, Annie?”
“Yes.” Annie knew there wasn’t any point in trying to deny the accusation. “Like you say, everyone’s aware.”
“Yes, they are. Which is another reason why you’re here.” Deanna sat back and pulled a tablet out of her Hammerspace. “I’ve filed a Writ of Exclusion with The Foundation forbidding either of you from researching any and all information, magical or otherwise, relating to astral, physical, or life bindings, as well as anything pertaining to the Three Bindings.” She slid the tablet across her desk. “The writ went into effect today at six, Paris Local Time, which was time last midnight our time. You can examine the writ if you like, but I believe you’ll find it in order.”
This right here, this last paragraph, is probably the sternest thing that’s ever been leveled against either kid. A Writ of Exclusion is pretty much The Foundation being told, “Hey, we don’t want this person or persons doing something, and so lock them own when it comes to them trying to do so,” and just like that, they’re kept from doing so across the whole of The Foundation. And as you can imagine, every library in The Foundation, and every bookseller as well, have a magical way of knowing who’s accessing what book, and so you can imagine if they walk into the school library and pull down one of those books they’re not supposed to read, Trevor’s gonna know and he’ll be down in a flash to pull said volume from their eager mitts.
In short, they’re banned for the time being from reading anything relating to their current condition, or anything they could do in the future to change this. Needless to say, they’re not happy . . .
Though Annie was famous for keeping her emotions under control, she couldn’t help the sudden rush of blood that made her cheeks feel as if they were on fire. “What? Why did you do that?”
“Because, as you say, Annie, everyone’s aware of how you both turn to books when you want to learn something new, and I could see you trying to attempt the physical binding magic in a couple of years—”
Annie scooted to the edge of her seat. “Why would we?”
Deanna waited a few seconds before answering in a soft voice. “You know why.”
Kerry rolled his eyes as he signed. “We’re not ready for sex; we’ve said that over and over.”
“I know, Kerry, and I get that—” Deanna nervously patted the back of her left hand with her right. “What about when you’re E Levels? Or even D’s?” She looked off towards the right side of her office. “What about next year?” She turned her gaze back on the young couple across her desk. “You’re not like the other couples here, and you know this. You know you’re going to get married and be together for the rest of your lives, and you’ve already developed an emotional maturity concerning your relationship that goes beyond that of your fellow levelmates, so it’s not inconceivable that what you’re not ready for today won’t be true in a few years—or even a few months—time.”
She leaned forward again, softening her tone so that she came across less as a coven leader and more as a friend. “I know this is gonna sound like adult bullshit, but I’m doing this to protect you. I don’t want you trying something that you might just screw up—” Deanna held up a hand to hold off the protests. “You both know as good as you are you’re not immune to mistakes or not crafting a spell correctly the first time, so just drop that argument now. I don’t want you screwing up and blowing this thing, because you know if you do you’re going to hate yourselves.” She tapped her fingers against the desk top. “As it is, I’ve given you a choice.”
I’m reminded once in a while that these kids have hormones, and as they get older they’re gonna become hell to ignore. They haven’t acted upon whatever urges pop up from time-to-time, but as Deanna knows, it’s only a matter of time before they find themselves in a quite, private moment, and one of both go, “Hey, since we’re getting married in a few years . . .” and the rest is history.
However, Deanna has left then with a choice–
Annie had finally pushed her anger away and could speak with little strain in her voice. “The choice of whether we want to wait for this or not.”
“And what happens if we wait and manage these Three Bindings correctly?”
“Then something will happen.”
Annie jumped up straight in her chair. “Something?”
“That’s the best I can offer. It seems to affect each couple differently. One spawned the others existing gifts; another seemed to develop a mental connection that allowed them to speak with each other no matter where they were in the world.” She shrugged. “Who know what could happen with you? At least now you know what could happen—”
Kerry sighed as he turned to Annie. “If we wait.”
She nodded. “Yes, if we wait.”
Though she was aware that this action wasn’t being received well by her friends, Deanna knew it was the right course to follow. They’re upset for the moment, but in time they’ll understand why this is necessary. “I know it may be hard, but as with everything else here at school—” She offered a slight smile. “It’s entirely your choice as to what you plan to do with your life together. I wouldn’t have it any other way.”
It’s been drilled into these kids that their actions at school are up to them. Now Deanna is taking it a step further: something wonderful could happen to you if you don’t fool around and wait until your wedding night to do that–which they knew in one vision they had, while a second vision left them doubting that possibility–or just do the deed and blow any chance you have of making The Three Bindings a part of your life.
Deanna’s playing the odds here, because as much as she understands the relationship these two have, and how their biological changes would affect it in the future, she’s also betting on the fact that when it comes to magic, they’re both pretty driven to be better than the rest–
Only one more scene in Chapter Twenty-three remains, as I’m pretty certain I’m going to delete one that I’d defined a while back when plotting everything out–
And this will end pretty much as you might expect–
With the kids weighing what comes next.
Like Deanna said, it’s all up to them . . .