As you may know it was my birthday yesterday, and I was out. Not out of it, but out after work. Since I’m all about sharing my life, here you go:
First, dinner. Stuffed quail on a lemon risotto.
And home-made strawberry shortcake.
Here I am enjoying my first of two glasses of wine. Yes, I don’t look happy. That’s because I was by myself–again–and I wasn’t feeling the love. However, right after this the Physician General of the state, Dr. Rachel Levine, came in to have dinner with a friend, and after we chatted a bit she wished me a happy birthday. So I had that going for me.
After dinner I headed over to the Midtown Cinema to watch Your Name, the highest grossing anime in Japan and an incredible movie. It didn’t turn out to be anything like I was expecting and I spent most of the last half of the movie trying to keep from crying. If you can, see this. And see it in the original Japanese: it’s funny hearing some of the voice acting in the movie.
Life is out of the way for now, so let’s get back to fantasy. And that means doing a bit of sightseeing in the Astral Realm:
(The following excerpts from The Foundation Chronicles, Book Three: C For Continuing, copyright 2016 by Cassidy Frazee)
Kerry glanced over, keeping his eyes focused on her. “Sounds like a faint whistling or hissing, yeah?”
Deanna fielded this as she knew the answer. “That’s the Astral Wind. Anytime you’re out in the open it’s audible.”
“But what is it?”
“It’s the flow of mystical energy within the Astral Realm.” Deanna looked about. “As I told you earlier, were surrounded by mystical energy. It flows everywhere through the Astral Realm; in a sense it acts as the wind for this world. Every once in a while you’ll feel a light stinging on your face: that’s mystical energy brushing against you.”
Kerry appeared to relax now that he was growing more used the floating free without a broom below him. “Is this where the astral weather comes from? Mystical energy gathering and forming patterns?”
“That’s exactly where it comes from. And it’s a lot like the weather back in the Physical Realm: it can cause a mild inconvenience, or it can become a devastating force. When it’s the later you don’t want to be around.” She examined Kerry closely. “You think it’s okay if I let go of your hand?”
He nodded. Diana released her grip on him slowly and pulled her hand back only a few centimeters, ready to grab him in a second if it looked as if he was about to fall. Kerry took a deep breath, closed his eyes, that open them slowly as he nodded. “I got this.”
Annie floated up alongside him. “You’ll be just like me here.”
He laughed. “I’ll never be just like you.”
“Now that he’s acclimated—” Deanna pointed off in the direction of the ghostly Pentagram and Great Hall. “Let’s head over there. Ready?”
There is weather in the Astral Realm and it can get pretty nasty. There will be a scene late in Act Three where you’ll get a chance to see just how bad it can get. Which means we’ll be back in this area then, because how else do you see this weather, yeah
Now that Kerry can float about on his own, let’s go and look around…
As they moved off Deanna took the lead while Annie instinctively fell in behind Kerry. He flew forward well: she had only taken up position behind him to ensure that if he began to falter she could help him along. That didn’t happen, however, and he had no difficulty keeping up.
Perhaps a minute later Deanna touched down on the roof of the Great Hall’s library. With a smile she took her student’s hands and floated downward through the cavernous library to a soft landing on the first floor. She stepped away so she could face the children. “Take a look around. Notice anything unusual?”
Annie was certain Kerry noticed the same thing as she: not only were they surrounded by the ghostly structure of the Great Hall’s library, but there were also a dozen ghostly apparitions surrounded by their brilliant auras situated at various locations around the room. “Those are the students.”
“Exactly.” Deanna pointed to sitting at a nearby table apparently conversing with each other. “From here all you see is the individual’s physical outline and their aura, but one should closer it can actually make out the features. And when you become adept at reading auras, you could stand here and know exactly what they’re feeling as they converse.”
“You can see the lifelines, too.” Kerry looked at Annie. “I didn’t realize I could see ours, too. Or yours.”
“You don’t notice it because you too busy observing everything around you.” Deanna stood facing his students, her hands crossed in front of her. “I’m certain you both noticed your auras as soon as you entered the realm, and then immediately put it out of your mind. It’s the same sort of reaction you have when you check yourself in the morning before leaving the coven, and then you pay no attention to your appearance the rest of the day.”
Annie chuckled. “Or until someone points out something wrong.”
Both Deanna and Kerry laughed, with Deanna responding to the quip. “That’s so true.” She pointed toward the far wall of the library into the Rotunda beyond. “Let’s head over here.”
Snooping kids who know how to get into the Astral Realm could be a real pain in the butt if no one is watching them. One has to assume that Deanna isn’t dishing everything about how the Realm works, because–well, instructors need to have a few secrets.
Speaking of secrets, I’m gonna go out on a limb and say we may meet someone else tomorrow…