Believe it or not, I’ve been writing.
It’s getting hot outside and plans aren’t always going the way I expect, so rather than spin my wheels, I decided to start writing. I decided to start on the next chapter, number Twenty-Two, because–well, it’s something near and dear to my heart.
Four days after Annie projects her body into the Astral Realm, she goes to Recruitment Night to see if she has what it takes to be a derby girl.
And that meant I did something I haven’t done in a why: I wrote nearly two thousand words for a scene yesterday.
And, as you can see, I wrote nearly eight hundred and twenty-five words today, so for like the first time in a year I have a surplus of words to lay upon you today. You’re not getting it all in the excerpt and since I’ll write more tomorrow, it’s quite likely I’ll have the second scene finished by the time I complete showing the first scene.
Hey, it’s always good to have more words than necessary.
So let’s get this party started and see what happens. I’m sure it’s gonna be fun:
(The following excerpts from The Foundation Chronicles, Book Three: C For Continuing, copyright 2016, 2017, 2018 by Cassidy Frazee)
It was rare that Annie came to the Great Hall on a Thursday night, even more rare that Kerry would appear with her. Thursday was one of their only “nights off” from the grind of the advanced classes. Monday night was the night they spent teaching each other; Tuesday night was Advanced Transformation; Wednesday night was Wednesday’s with Wednesday. And, of course, Friday and Saturday were the Midnight Madness were they spent their time relaxing and talking to friends, but they also loved having Thursday and Sunday night to themselves to do just about anything they liked.
But tonight wasn’t just a night off: tonight was an event Annie decided to attend a few weeks before and that Kerry decided to join once he discovered it was possible to participate without being as active in the same way his soul mate.
Tonight was Recruitment Night.
Since learning the school was putting together a derby team, Kerry did his usual diligence and found a great many videos on YouTube showing what appeared a lot of women on skates running into others and doing their best to knock them down—at least that’s how it appeared to Annie untrained eye. While it appeared dangerous, something made her want to learn more, which was her main reason for coming tonight. She didn’t know if she’d do anything beyond this first night—
But as Kerry told her several times over the last few nights, it never hurts to try something new at least once.
As they entered the Dining Hall Annie was surprised to discover that even though they were slightly early—students were asked to begin arriving between 19:30 and 20:00—there were what appeared to be close to forty students already here, with about a quarter of them being boys. She recognized several girls right away: Zoe Navarro, Anna Laskar, and Elisha Tasköprülüzâde from Åsgårdsreia; Felisa Ledesma from Blodeuwedd; Humaira Noor from Ceridwen; and Pleasure Pimenta and Fabienne Ratsiraka from Mórrígan. She also noticed three girls from their cover—Leonora Couture, Farah Charobim, and Rajani Siddiqui—and it took a few seconds for the fact to register that A Levels were allowed to try out for this sport, something not permitted for both the fighting and racing teams.
Way back in the first novel it was mentioned that A Levels couldn’t go out for racing or the fight teams, so it’s a big interesting that A Levels are being allowed to come out tonight. There’s a reason for this–don’t I always have one?–and it’ll eventually get explained when I start excerpting the next scene. It’s all legal, otherwise the headmistress wouldn’t all it to happen.
Annie’s making some other observations–
She was also surprised that so many girls came wearing tee shirts and jeans, even though instructions they’d received via email said to wear leggings, sports bras, and workout tops. Annie figured that most of the girls here didn’t have the necessary clothing and were making do with what they had for tonight.
They queued up behind four other girls standing before a table at which a bi-ethnic woman with black hair tied back in pigtails and wearing a black tank top sat. She turned to Kerry and spoke softly. “I didn’t expect this many would show this early.”
Kerry looked around the room. “I didn’t expect this many, period. Did you notice the floor?”
“I did.” Normally the floor of the Dining Hall was a well-worn dark wood that was probably far older than it appeared. While the floor was still wood, it was notably lighter in color. Also, maybe fifteen meters from where they were waiting, one could see the outlines of what appeared to be a track. “I wonder how long it took Housekeeping to program in this configuration?”
“I’m sure someone had a configuration they could use.” He motioned forward with his head. “We’re next.”
Though I wore a tee shirt to my recruitment night, I also wore a pair of leggings ’cause I couldn’t imagine skating in jeans. Which is to say, I do find it a bit surprising when people show up wearing jeans and they strap on their gear and head out on the floor. After you’ve done it a while you start showing up in leggings, but first timers in jeans isn’t that out of the ordinary.
The track is already laid out and, again, there’s a reason why the floor has that configuration. I mean, it’s not hard to find a track layout on the internet, someone would still have to “program it” into all the enchantments that allow the Dining Hall to have a number of different layouts. And now “Derby Flat Track” is one of those configurations.
The queue is moving and my kids are next in line. Where they meet–
They waited less than a minute before coming face-to-face with the woman in the tank top. The first thing Annie noticed was the bright blue stud piercing her right nostril as well as a number of multi-colored images tattooed all over her right shoulder and upper arm. The other thing she noticed was the woman was, at best, maybe ten years older than her.
She looked up at Annie and smiled. “Name and coven.”
Annie cleared her throat. “Annie Kirilova, Cernunnos.”
She checked something off on her tablet before turning to Kerry. “And you?”
He straighted as he spoke. “Kerry Malibey, Cernunnos. I’m here for the stuff that doesn’t—”
“You mean a NSO position?” She smiled at him. “It’s all right, mate: I know you ain’t here to hit some bitches.” She pulled two small reading tablets off a stack to her left. “These are standard release forms. Read them thoroughly before signing.”
Annie took her tablet and examined it carefully. “Release forms?”
Kerry jumped in. “To absolve the school of any liability in case you get hurt.” He turned to the woman behind the table. “I had to sign one when I joined our racing team.”
The woman nodded a couple of times before turning back to Annie. “He’s right. It’s to make certain that you understand you’re getting involved in a full-contact sport and this prevents you from coming back and holding the school responsible when you’re injured later.”
For the first time we learn that Kerry signed a release form when he joined the racing team. We didn’t see it happened because–well, he was pretty much told “You’re on the team” and they likely sent him the release form via an email.
I not only signed a release form with my team, I had to sign one with York when they became our sister league. And were I to skate with another league, I’d need to sign a release with them. I even recently signed a release with another body–more on that later.
NSO: that stands for Non-skating Official. They are the time keepers, the penalty box watchers, the wardens of the scoreboard. Like refs. if we don’t have NSOs, we don’t play. We’re not just a bunch of crazy bitches who beat on each other while wearing skates: we are, for want of a different word, professional. And our organizing body sees to it we do things right.
But what about “hitting bitches”? That’s a term we use pretty freely: at my recruitment night one of my friends already on the team told me, “And we get to hit bitches, too.” So we got that going for us. You, and Annie, will hear that term get used again. What Annie doesn’t know yet is you’re also one of those bitches who gets hit–
And that last line: “–when you’re injured later.” We don’t say “If I get hurt”: we usually say, “When I get hurt.” Nearly all the people I play with have had something happen to them. Since I joined my league 13 months ago I’ve seen, on my team, a broken ankle, a broken wrist, a broken leg, twisted knees, torn ligaments in the ankle, and a couple of concussions. I’ve already mentioned that I broke two ribs and I’m certain one of my teammates has broken a couple of ribs as well.
This is why you sign a release, Annie.
“I see.” Annie tried not to change her expression when the woman said “when” instead of “if”—she apparently knows more than me on this subject. “After we sign these—”
The woman pointed to another woman about six meters to Annie’s left, a tall blond also wearing a tank top. “You hand them to Princess there and she’ll get you set up with gear.” She turned to Kerry. “You won’t be gearing up; she’ll direct you over to where the NSOs are gonna watch and observe.”
Annie acknowledged the woman’s comments and wandered off a few meters to read the release. After seeing that it indicated that she was becoming involved in a contact sport that could lead to injury and that neither the school or JRDA—a word, more likely an acronym, that meant nothing to her—could be held responsible for said injuries, she used her index finger to sign the form and affixed her thumbprint for additional authentication.
Kerry approached her just as she finished up. “It’s pretty much like the one I had to sign for racing.”
“I vaguely now remembering you mentioning this.” She pointed in the direction of the tall blond. “We need to leave these with her.”
They made their way to the tall blond: Annie instantly noticed she had several rings in the midpoint of both ears. She looked up as they handed her the release tablet. “Oh, done, are we?” Her voice carried a slight accent that Annie thought might be Spanish. “Okay, then. You—” She pointed at Kerry then to a group of about six people, mostly boys, standing near where the breakfast buffet tables were usually found. “—go over then with the rest on the NSOs. After Angry talks a little you’ll go through instruction with them.
“As for you—” She rested her hand on Annie’s left shoulder. “Come with me.”
There’s Annie, all signed up and ready to find her gear. And she has it–oh, does she. And tomorrow you’ll see it up close.
Up there I mentioned JRDA–the Junior Roller Derby Association, which handles kids 7 to 17. They’ll have control over what happens at Salem, though they probably won’t know the whole story.
Once you hit 18 you can join WFTDA–the Woman’s Flat Track Derby Association, which is my governing body. As I mentioned in my video this last Saturday, I’ve been given the go-ahead to get insurance because, well, I’m back to hitting. And this last Saturday afternoon, I did just that:
So I not only carry insurance through the governing body, but I also signed WFTDA’s 2018 Release and Waiver of Liability, Assumption of Risk, and Indemnity Agreement, which means I can’t sue them should I go to practice tonight and, while taking a hit, mess myself up in a bad way. That’s because I know I’m involved in a full-contact sport and there’s a certain element of danger involved when you strap on a pair of skating and throw a block at someone–or they at you.
And before anyone asks: I did fill in my derby name. I blacked it out here so you can’t see it, but I’m looking at my WFTDA Profile right now and, yes, my derby name is there. And when I certify I’ll let you know what it is…
Until then, try guessing Annie’s derby name.
She already has it picked out.