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Divining the Divine: Diversions Among the Devine

It’s now Wednesday and I have tonight and two more nights to get everything together for the big march on Saturday.  The cold that has been coming on for the last few days is still sort of lingering, but I think I’m holding it off successfully.  I may end up marching on Saturday with a bit of discomfort and maybe even a stuffy nose, but I will be in DC.

The plan now is to pick up some trail mix and a few power bars so I have something to eat, and possibly a water bottle.  I still have to print out my passenger manifest, which I intend to do on Friday.  I’m considering taking a cab to the rendezvous point, or possibly even bring over if there’s anyone out on the road at six in the morning.  And then finalize my attire on Friday night, because I’m going to need to get up at 4 o’clock in the morning to get ready on Saturday as our buses are leaving Harrisburg at six.

Soon, so much to do.  Chances are good I’ll get it done.

Today is also a big excerpt.  Were down near the end of Deanna’s scene for the first day of class, and given what is about to be mentioned it would be ridiculous to split it up into parts.  We know it started out with someone making a smart ass comment, but what you don’t realize is that Deanna is ready for such comments–and she has a bit of history when it comes to “burning” a witch over them…

 

(The following excerpts from The Foundation Chronicles, Book Three: C For Continuing, copyright 2016, 2017 by Cassidy Frazee)

 

Several students rolled their eyes while a few more groaned. The two students who knew her the best, however, were less circumspect in hiding their displeasure, and didn’t care if their outburst saw them getting into trouble.

Annie half turned and glared out of the corner of her eyes as she literally spit the words in Franky’s direction. “Proklet nevezh fanatik.”

While Kerry wasn’t certain of what Annie had said, he wanted to make sure there was no mistaking his comment. “Way to out yourself as an asshat, Franky.”

“That’s enough, you two.” Deanna didn’t want to show favoritism to Annie and Kerry in class, and couldn’t allow their outbursts to go unchecked. “Come see me as soon as class is over.” She then turned her attention to Franky. “By ‘Your people’, I assume you mean people from the Middle East, or Muslims, or both. Would that be a correct assumption?”

Franky shrugged as if the subject had already bored him. “Yeah, whatever.”

This wasn’t the first time Deanna had been asked this particular question and knew it wouldn’t be the last, so as she’d done in the past, the seer moved to make quick business of Franky. “You are right away: there are certain elements of the faith in which I was brought up that would say because I can do magic and I am involved in divination, I am well on the way to my eternal downfall. However—” She levitated her tablet to her and pulled up some information from the school database. “You were raised a Protestant, weren’t you?” She read something on display. “Anglican Church of Canada, am I correct?”

He was suddenly looking a bit uncomfortable. “How do you know that?”

“Because The Foundation compiled a great deal of information about you before you even came to school—and since they know, I now know.” Deanna gave a mysterious smile. “Is it true?”

 

The Foundation knows everything about you, Franky!  Doesn’t everyone at Salem realize this by now?  Kerry knows he’s been followed since a young age, and it goes without saying that The Foundation has probably been aware of Annie’s doings since she was a toddler.  There’s also a fair amount of certainty that they have monitored everyone who has ever walked through Founder’s Gate for several years before they were outed as witches.  Which means they know what sort of church you went to, Franky, and they would know if he was some sort of crazy religious person at this point.  What they would do with him if he was a crazy religious person is open to interpretation, and in certain it’s something that has happened at least once or twice in the past.

And speaking of religion… Well, get ready for some lessons on what to do if you ever encounter a witch.  Which everyone at the school does on a daily basis.

 

Once more Franky shrugged. “Yeah, it’s true. So?”

“Then you must remember some of your scripture teachings—or didn’t you study the Old Testament?” She didn’t wait for her student to answer the question. “Leviticus 20:27 is very clear on the subject: ‘A man or a woman who is a medium or a necromancer shall surely be put to death. They shall be stoned with stones; their blood shall be upon them.’ Now, while I’m not a necromancer, I am most certainly what one would consider a medium. Would you like to go outside, gather some stones, and lead the rest of the class in putting me to death?”

She allowed a few moments for Frank his discomfort to grow before continuing. “The verse that is most definitive on what to do with witches is Exodus 22:18: ‘You shall not permit a sorceress to live.’ Look about the room.” She held her arms wide. “Ten of your levelmates have moved on to Professor Lovecraft’s C Level Sorcery class, so you need to put about a third of the class to death.” Deanna moved towards Annie and Kerry and stopped just a couple of meters from them. “You might consider putting the two sorceresses in your level who are the most experienced with Morte spells to death first, as I’m certain they would take exception to your plan to kill their fellow sorceresses.”

Annie let out a short, harsh laugh before looking up at Deanna. “He could try killing me.”

Kerry half turned towards the now squirming boy. “’Try’ being the operative word.”

Deanna gave a short chuckle. “Maybe that’s something you need to try outside of this class.” She stepped away from the couple. “You should speak to Vicky about the things she learned about witchcraft while practicing Judaism as a child. Did you know the Talmud believes that most Jewish women used to practice witchcraft regularly? As far as it was concerned we couldn’t help ourselves; it comes naturally. And any gathering of women was considered suspicious; Pesahim 111a says that if two women are sitting at a crossroads facing each other, they are most certainly engaged in witchcraft.

“There is even a bit of an interesting connection between the Apocrypha and the Quran: it’s where humans learned witchcraft. The Apocrypha says that women learned it from angels, or Nefilim, as they were called, and the end for those women was spelled out in the Testament of Reuben, 5:5-6, in particular this passage: ‘For every woman who carries out these schemes will suffer eternal punishment, for it was thus that they led astray with their witchcraft the Nefilim before the flood.’ Not a very nice way to go, don’t you think?

“The Holy Quran looks at the origin of witchcraft a little differently: it said that sorceresses were taught witchcraft by jinn. And to do so pretty much damns you, as a portion of sura 2, ayah 102 states: ‘But the Children of Israel certainly knew that whoever purchased the magic would not have in the Hereafter any share. And wretched is that for which they sold themselves, if they only knew.’ To put it another way, we never realized that we were damning ourselves when we learn magic.”

Deanna ran her right hand casually through her hair, brushing it back from her ear and exposing a dangling gold earring. “I don’t know about you, Franky, but I was born with my gifts: I didn’t learn them from a jinn. But in case you were wondering, I have met a jinn and they are not the sort of creatures you want to learn magic from—and I don’t believe the one I met would have taught me had I asked. Since I was born with these talents, since I was actually starting to have visions before I knew what they were, I don’t see how they could be viewed as something horrible. It’s like saying I’m a terrible person because my eyes are a different color than yours, and because of that difference I need to be put to death. That’s ridiculous.”

 

Deanna has her quotes down, and not just from Christianity but from two major religions as well.  And believe it or not–though you know what I’m about to tell you is true, so the chances are you will believe it–those few paragraphs above pertaining to the preaching found in four different text took me about three hours of hunting down and research to make certain I got them right.  And not only did I need to determine the right, but I had to figure out how to fit them into the context of the story.  There was also the matter of deciding which translation to use, ’cause trust me, all this stuff has at least four or five different translations available, and each translation says something a little different.

I was surprised to discover the Talmud believed that nearly every woman was a witch.  It’s just something we do, I guess.  And while I knew about the Quran’s version of magic being learned from jinn–who were in league with demons, by the way–I did not know that the Apocrypha believed we had learned it from angels.  It all gets rather complicated after a while, but the core concept is the same: if you’re a witch, you’re bad.  And we know what folks back then loved to do to bad people–

 

She began to turn away and stopped halfway through. “By the way—” She gazed at Franky indirectly. “That quote from Exodus is usually translated these days to mean one should not let a witch live and not just sorceresses. Unless I’m mistaken, Franky, you’re a witch, and that means there are a certain number of your people who practice your faith that might be just as likely to kill you as those who practice my faith would kill me.” A smile gradually formed upon her face. “And unlike your scriptures, there’s nothing in the Holy Quran about killing witches.”

Deanna finished turning it and walked towards the large group of pillows in the middle front of the classroom. “I don’t mind having conversation on faith and how it relates to our unique positions in life, but anyone wishing to try and have that sort of conversation in this class is doing nothing more than wasting time: the classes and mine.” She stopped just short of the pillow pile and faced Franky, and for the first time there was the barest hint of anger in her eyes. “Don’t do this again, Franky, or you will find one of your proficiencies taking a hit for the day.”

She covered the last couple of meters to her seat of pillows and sat, folding her legs in the lotus position. “Now, who’s up to learning on how to see the future?” She gave her right hand a slight twist and the light level in the windowless room dropped by about a quarter. Using the same hand she snapped her fingers and a book appeared floating mere centimeters above them, and she levitated it towards her. “Get out your books: we have a lot to cover this year.”

 

There you go: you go to Deanna’s class, they get a history lesson concerning how different religions view dealing with everyone in her class.  It goes without saying that over the centuries anyone defined as a witch tended to get an express ticket to the afterlife, because like Exodus says, don’t let those witches live.  Which is one of the other reasons why The Foundation is one the great links to keep their existence, and the existence of their people, hidden from the Normals.  They hide in plain sight and have learned how, over the last two hundred years, to use their abilities to cover up their existence, as well as the existence of other entities like themselves.  And they’ve obviously gotten good at it, because if they can hide something the size of the School of Salem from the people living just on the other sides of the main wall, they can hide themselves from the rest of the world.

And this means they can go about teaching their kids in relative peace without fear of reprisal from the Normals.

"Sorry, you people without magical ability, but the witch killings have been put on hold--FOREVER."

“Sorry you people without magical ability, but here the witch killings have been put on hold–FOREVER.”

And now that we know where Deanna is taking her class, we have one last class to visit–

Wouldn’t you know it deals with those sorceresses we can’t suffer to live?

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11 thoughts on “Divining the Divine: Diversions Among the Devine

    • ” wreak ” havoc…. I was thinking create trouble, but that’s too lame.

      The Foundation should see to it these two, Lisa and Franky , do not do anything that would spell trouble on the witching world. Two years have gone by and they haven’t changed nor mature ….. I think nastiness is in their genes…… I hope they’ll be killed off in one of battle scenes with Deconstructors….. I think they will be recruited by these nasties, just like the students of the professor who led the Scouring.

      • Believe me, The Foundation eyes them more than you can imagine. The thing is they’re right at the most perfect place for that, since they’re at school for nine months out of the year and can more or less be controlled. We know someone checked up on Kerry during the summer holiday, so it’s not a great stretch that the bad kids are watched, too.

  1. I hate that they’re so unashamefully disrespectful to the teachers and elders. If they can behave that way toward others, I can just imagine how they treat their own families.

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