It’s been a bit of a crap morning so far. Here it is, 5:02 as I look at the clock on the computer, and I’ve been up for an hour and a half so far. Panic attack, you know? I’ve spent a half hour trying to figure out what I want to wear to work, and there’s a new pair of boots I want to wear but I’m afraid I’m gonna tear up my feet if I were them because they are new. Oi. See what happens when you get up and your mind is full of fuzz?
I didn’t do too bad with writing last night: I just figure I’ll do horribly with writing tonight. Or not. It all depends on the nap I take when I get home, and I know I’ll take one ’cause I feel it already.
One of the things I did last night was make a change that I said yesterday I would make, and that was to reference how Deanna was dressed. And here you go:
(The following excerpts from The Foundation Chronicles, Book Three: C For Continuing, copyright 2016 by Cassidy Frazee)
“Blagodarya ti mnogo.” Finally here, Annie faced her guest as her smile brightened. “Deanna.”
The instructor finally left her chair and went to her young friend. “Hello, Annie.”
They hugged each other for several seconds before breaking. Annie appraised her guest for a few seconds. “It’s been a while since I’ve seen you dressed this way.”
The school seer nearly blushed as she tugged on the short sleeves of her pullover. “Given the informal state of our meeting I thought jeans and tennis shoes were completely appropriate.” She retook her seat as did Annie. “It is so interesting hearing you speak Bulgarian. I sometimes forget it’s your native language.”
See? Simple. Maybe not as simple as the part below, which required going in and doing some work to my notes as I wrote the following:
“She’ll probably start showing you how to refine this art this level. Heads up—” The server returned with their drinks and took their lunch order. The moment he was out of the area Deanna returned to her prior question. “Have you worked on any spells?”
Of all the things she thought Deanna might ask, this was the one question she was most eager to chat about. “I’ve worked on a couple. I’ve been practicing Blend With Darkness—”
Deanna appeared surprised. “Really?”
“Yes. Helena showed it to me last year and I’ve been reading up and trying to get it perfect. Right now—” Annie shrugged. “I’m like forty percent good: I’m getting blended, but you can still see me.”
“That’s a tricky one. I remember it took Isis a couple of years to get it perfect.” Deanna sniffed her coffee. “Oh, this is wonderful.” She took a long sip. “Delicious, too. What else have you worked on?”
“Kerry showed me how Compress and Expand work, so I’ve started on those. And…” Annie gave the briefest of smiles. “I’ve been trying to learn Aqua.”
“That’s a fun spell.” Deanna thought back to her time in C Level Spells when she first began learning to craft that element of the art. “Once you figure out how to control a small container of water you keep wanting to do larger ones.”
“I know. I can make a small bowl move around and I’ve figured out how to make a torus out of water and stand it on its side.” She chuckled. “When I told Kerry about this he called me ‘Sailor Mercury’.” Annie shook her head. “He had to explain it to me.”
“Something to do with one of his fandoms?”
“It’s from an anime and manga: the same one from where we got our character costumes for last year’s Samhain.”
What do you think witches talk about when they’re having lunch? Deanna has always been somewhat curious about both kids and she doesn’t hide that. Or maybe she does, because she is rather good at keeping secrets. But when one witch is an instructor and the other a student–a highly motivated student who taught herself how to kill someone about the time she was ten–you’re going to ask if they’re working on magic. Because we know that’s what Annie does when she’s out at her lake house. We know this because she’s said so a couple of times.
Blend With Darkness is that spooky one where you can stand in shadow and become one with it. Or, if you’re in a darkened room, just sort of make yourself one with the darkness. It’s a form of invisibility, though in this case there isn’t any light to bend or the need to make everything in your body translucent: in this case you really are one with the shadows because you pretty much wrap yourself up in them and let them keep you warm.
And if a person who can Blend With Darkness can also use that darkness to make deadly ribbons–yeah, look out.
We sort of knew Kerry was working on Compress and Expand because that’s something he can use on these overnight flights, and those lead directly to the Polar Express, and at some point before the end of their B Levels he got good enough that he started teaching Annie–and long before he started teaching his wingmate, too. While Compress doesn’t allow you to remove all the mass from an object–you can’t shrink an SUV down and then carry it in your backpack ’cause it’s still gonna retain about sixty-five percent of its initial mass–but it still makes packing a lot easier. Particularly if you need to bring a sleeping bag, cot, and parts of a tent with you.
But Aqua is the most interesting spells here and one with a lot of implications. As implied, it’s all about water manipulation and all the cool, neat, and dangerous thing you can do with it. It’s usually taught during one’s C Levels and when you’re in Wednesday’s Regular Spells class one starts working out with a volume of water that you’d find in a normal-sized Tupperware container. When Wednesday teaches it during her Advanced Spells Class–which apparently she hasn’t done yet with Annie and Kerry–she starts you out with a volume simply to that of a normal-sized bathtub. With the advanced kids it’s all about scale.
With Aqua one can do things like turn water into solid surfaces, like a table or bench. One could actually walk across a body of water by hardening the surface tension under their feet. Most of all, you can turn water into a weapon, and anyone who’s ever been hit by a high pressure hose can tell you, it can hurt. Now imagine a stream of water coming at you not as a spray under pressure but as a solid volume that’s been scooped out of a bathtub and thrown at you at close to 100 kilometers an hour, and you’re either gonna get messed up bad or even killed.
Knowing Kerry it’s surprising he didn’t call Annie a “water bender”, though there’s plenty of time for that. (Actually Annie has air and fire bending down pat, so it might not be long before Kerry starts calling her The Avatar.) Instead he fell back on that old standard of naming her after the member of the Inner Senshi, Mizuno Ami, whose family name means “Of Water” and who likes to use a lot of water based attacks.
And you know it’s only a matter of time before Kerry is working on those water skills as well. Can’t wait for Franky to start giving Kerry shit in a bathroom only to have Kerry smack him with a blast of water from one of the toilets. Wonder how often that happens.
Anyway… back to the lunch and–
“That makes sense.” A grin spread across Deanna’s face for a moment as she turned her gaze towards the table top. “Are you going to teach Kerry what you’re learning?”
“Yes, of course.” Annie finally tasted her tea. “Good sorceress and all.”
“Naturally.” She continued looking down in silence for a few moments. “How is he?”
“It hasn’t been easy.” Annie gave a slight shake of her head. “His parents don’t want to accept that he’s a witch and it’s causing a lot of stress…” She turned towards the window as her words trailed off.
Deanna didn’t need to view Annie’s aura to know she was troubled: her body language said everything the seer needed to know. She won’t admit it, but she’s feeling the stressed as well… She cleared her throat. “I don’t think it’s a good idea to talk about it now: you’ll only relay second-hand information and Kerry will want to talk about it when you return to school in a few weeks.” The was a faintest hint of a humph. “Won’t be long now: travel packages arrive in five days.”
“I know.” Annie turned her attention back to her guest. “Next Monday. Hotel assignments in Paris and orders for travel.”
“Yes.” A happy sigh emerged from Annie. “Not only will I be back with Kerry, but we’re going to meet our friends as well. I can’t wait.”
“Good. Because—” Deanna sat back and took a more commanding demeanor. “School is one of the reasons I wanted to have lunch with you. I want to talk about something that’s going to happen to you, and to Kerry, during you C Levels.”
Yeah, there is a reason Deanna wants to talk to Annie that goes beyond hanging with the girl and talking about magic and hearing her sigh as she imagines camping out with him for a few days in Paris. I wonder what it could be?