Willkommen in Wien: Das Setup

Well, now, it’s Yule Time in my world at this moment, and it’s time for the kids to get away and head for home.  And as you’ve probably noticed, the bad German in the post heading means they’re going someplace where German is spoken.  If you’re thinking, “Berlin,” wrong, because you only need look at my layouts to know where I’m going, and know that Wien means something else in English:

This means nothing to me/Oh, Vienna

“This means nothing to me/Oh, Vienna.”

If you remember from last year–yeah, about that time–when Annie left for home sweet home at Yule, she jaunted into Vienna.  And by now we know why we’re going to the airport, because The Foundation loves using airports for something besides flying . . .


(All excerpts from The Foundation Chronicles, Book Two: B For Bewitching, copyright 2015 by Cassidy Frazee)

Bernice Rutherford entered the waiting area of the Main Foundation Jaunt Transit Center located twenty meters under Terminal 3 of Vienna International Airport, having jaunted from London to the public center under Terminal 2 only ten minutes earlier. She scanned the room—about twenty by fifteen meters, with the main jaunt platform in another room just beyond a glass wall—and quickly counted just under a two dozen people. She knew they were there for the same reason she was there: children were returning from Salem for Yule holiday, and people were on-hand to take them home.

A number of the individuals gathered in the waiting area were like Bernice: case workers there picking up, for the most part, A and B Level students, though a few C and D Level students were still in need of transfer from here to their homes. In some cases one or both parents arrived with their child’s case worker, but most were waiting alone like her, and would leave as soon as their charge was ready to depart.

There actually wasn’t a need for Bernice to be in Vienna. Her charge lived in the United Kingdom which meant she should pick him up from the transit center under Heathrow, but an email she’d received on Wednesday informed her that her charge was entering Europe through another station, and she’d formulated a good idea why there was a change of venue.

She spotted a somewhat familiar face in the crowd, and as she head toward them to make her introductions, she wondered if they knew of this change in plans . . . “Hello, Mrs. Kirilova.”

Pavlina Kirilova turned towards the young black woman and spent only a moment searching her memory. “Bernice Rutherford, isn’t it?”

“Yes.” She held out her hand. “We met in Amsterdam when your daughter returned from her A Levels.”


Here we are, and I’m starting out the scene with the point of view not from the kids, but someone close to one of the kids.  It only makes sense that if Ms. Rutherford is in Vienna she’s probably going to run into someone who close to the other one of the kids, and she wasn’t disappointed.  And that other person remembers who Ms. Rutherford is close to as well–


Pavlina smiled as she shook the case worker’s hand. “My daughter and someone else, I believe.”

Bernice tightened her grip on the purse handles around her shoulder. “Yes—someone else.”

“Is that the reason you’re here?”

“Yes. Kerry emailed me Wednesday morning and told me he was returning through Vienna.” Bernice watched the face of Annie’s mother. “Were you aware he was coming?”

“Yes.” Pavlina glanced over Bernice’s shoulder, then shifted her gaze back. “The last letter from Annie informed me that Kerry was going to accompany her to Vienna, and from there he was going to either London or Cardiff.” She gave a quick shrug. “I received her last letter yesterday morning, though, so I didn’t have a chance to ask more about the change.”

“Oh, I see.” Based upon everything Bernice knew about Annie, it almost appeared as if the young woman was trying to head off a conversation by waiting until the last moment to inform her mother than she wasn’t traveling alone. “You could have contacted the school yesterday and asked for clarification.”

A few seconds went be before Pavlina chuckled. “Doing that would have made me look like one of those parents who micromanage their child’s life—and one thing I learned years ago is that Annie does as she likes. Contacting the school to speak with Annie—” She smiled while slowly shaking her head. “Besides, I trust Annie’s judgment: it’s not as if she’s doing something one might consider bad—”

“What are you two discussing?”


Yes, Annie’s mom knows all about Annie’s, um, friends.  Her close friends.  Her soul mates, you might say.  And here we learn that Annie waited until the very last minute to tell her mother that, hey, guess who’s jaunting into Vienna with me?  Not saying that Annie is being a little sneaky, but (1) she could have mentioned this at any time weeks before, and (2) she totally is.

But there’s really no harm here, because Annie’s mom has met Kerry, and Kerry her, and since they’re both headed for Europe why not leave together?  Kerry would have to kill time before leaving for London anything–because of the time difference he wouldn’t leave the school for another ninety minutes–and maybe they both thought it best to remove Kerry from a place where (1) Annie wasn’t around and (2) a certain red haired girl might throw caution to the wind and try something really stupid, which would lead to (3) Annie killing said girl, or at least messing her up bad.

But wait:  who is talking here at the end?  Because it’s obvious they’ve interrupted Pavlina–


Bernice turned and found a man about six centimeters taller than Pavlina standing to her right with short-clipped dark hair and brown eyes. He was dressed simply in jeans, tennis shoes, and a sweater. He wasn’t wearing a coat, but that was to be expected if he’d just jaunted from a home.

He handed a small cup of steaming liquid that Pavlina accepted without question. She took a small sip and nodded her approval. “Thank you, dear—oh, nothing much.” She turned to Bernice as she motioned towards the man who’d just joined them. “Bernice, I’d like you to meet my husband. Honey, this Ms. Rutherford.”


Remember me saying you’re going to meet someone you’ve never really met before?  Who has only actually appeared in the novel once, way back in the very first scene I wrote, which was Annie leaving for school.  He’s actually never appeared in the excerpts, but now, finally, you get to meet him.

Welcome, Annie’s father!


The man held out his hand. “Victor Kirilov. Pleased to meet you.”

She shook his hand. “Bernice Rutherford. It’s a pleasure to meet you.” She sighed out a breath. “And, if I may, congratulations on this last season.”

He appeared pleased. “We fought hard to reach third, so it was a welcomed podium.” He turned to his wife. “Did I hear you talking about Annie?”

Pavlina nodded. “Yes. Bernice is a case worker, and she’s here to pick up her charge.” She peered over the rim of her steaming beverage with large, dark eyes. “She knows Annie through her charge.”

“I see.” Victor turned to Bernice. “Are they someone in Annie’s level?”

Bernice fought hard to keep the grin off her face. “Yes, they are.” She shot a look at Pavlina, not certain who should be the one to do the reveal.

Annie’s mother saved her with a quick nod and a gleam in here eyes. “Honey, she’s here for Kerry.”

Victor required a few seconds before turning to his wife. “That Kerry?”


That Kerry?”  Sort of like, “That slime mold?”


“Yes, the one and the same.”

“Didn’t you say he lives in Wales?”

“He does, but apparently he’s coming home with our dearest daughter.”

“Hum.” He cast as quick glance in the direction of the jaunt platform. “I see.”

Pavlina smiled at the now grinning case worker. “I believe you will.”


Yes, I believe you will, Victor:  you will finally meet your dearest daughter’s one and only.  And he’ll get to meet you.

Yeah . . . this should be fun.

Generational Notices

I be all finished making observations in the observatory, for I have finished the first scene of this chapter.  It only took four hundred words last night and nine hundred words this morning, but I’m finished.  Good times, I tell you.

Also, this is a section that I have to refine in my mind just a little.  I knew there was going to be an exchange of some kind, but I wasn’t quite certain what it would be.  Then, once I started getting ideas about their discussion of the holiday out of the way, I realized that much of the talk would likely revolve around family.  And unlike Kerry, Annie has some family . . .


(All excerpts from The Foundation Chronicles, Book Two: B For Bewitching, copyright 2015 by Cassidy Frazee)

“Yes, well—” She pulled her head back revealing a huge smile. “One day you’ll visit for the holiday. One day soon. I promise.”

“One day.” He wanted to get away from talking about himself and wanted to hear more about the person he considered the most important in the world. “Did your parents get everything finalized for Yule?”

She nodded twice. “Yes, they did. They rented a private room at a hotel in Sofia. Everyone’s going to be there: my aunt, my cousins, and all my grandparents and great-grandparents.”

“Wow.” One of the letters Annie sent over the summer told Kerry of her immediate family: her grandparents, great-grandparent, and even a few great-great-grandparents. Of the three generations that preceded her, only her fraternal grandfather was no longer with them, having died in 1997 while serving with the Protectors. She told him this was one of the advantages of growing up in a family of witches: everyone lived so long that it was possible to grow up meeting four or five generations of family. “That’s a lot of people.”

“Quite a few, but we haven’t had a family gathering like this since my tenth birthday.”

He knew about the party, because they’d shared a dream that night: it was in that dream that Annie told Kerry she was a witch. “Why did you have such a big party for your tenth?”

“It was my first birthday with double-digits; no more single digit ages. My parents wanted it to be a special day.” Her smile carried a hint of sadness. “Won’t have many gatherings like that any more, since I won’t have any birthday’s at home any longer.”

“Not necessarily.” His fingers glided over the arm of her jacket. “Next year your birthday is on a Friday, and the next year it’s on a Saturday. Maybe . . .” Kerry lightly pressed his fingers against her exposed cheek. “If you ask real nice, maybe the headmistress will let you go home for a party.”

Her mood lightened instantly. “That would be fantastic. Two years from now?” Her eyes turned upwards towards her brows as she thought. “We’d start our D Levels then.”

“Yes, we would.”

“I wonder if the headmistress would allow me to take a guest?” She jutted her head forward and kissed Kerry. “By that time it would be a good time to have all my family meet you.”

“Ahumm . . .” The prospect of meeting Annie’s extended family filled him with a spot of dread. “Two years from now, huh?”

“Yes.” Her grin grew wider. “Give you plenty of time to ready yourself—”

“To meet everyone?”

Her tone grew introspective. “You are going to be a unique addition to our family, my love.”

“What do you mean?


It’s one thing for your girlfriend to say, “It’s probably time you meet my family,” because that’s an indication that you’re becoming part of their family.  In Annie’s case, however, there are four or five generations still alive, and nearly all of them could kill Kerry, or at least turn him into a newt.  And now we know that her father’s dad is gone, having died, one might say, in the line of duty for The Foundation.  Just so you know, because I know, Annie’s grandfather never saw her parents marry, as Annie’s folks didn’t marry until a year after her grandfather’s death.

Still, a lot of family to go through, and it sounds like Annie’s setting up Kerry for something.  And that would be . . ?


“Well . . .” Annie snuggled into her soul mate. “For one, you’ll be the first non-Bulgarian in five generations. I’ve a few ancestors on my father’s side who are from Romania—that’s where I get my Romani blood—but my maternal great-great-great grandmother was from Turkey, and she’s the last from outside Bulgaria. And you won’t just be the first non-Bulgaria, but the first non-European.

“Also, there hasn’t been anyone on either side of my family for six generations who came in as first generation Aware : the last was a grandfathers on my father’s side. While you’ve had witches in your family, there’s still enough generational separation that you’re thought of as coming from a Normal family.

“But lastly, and probably most important, I’m the last of the Kirilovis for my father’s line. My grandfather and great-grandfather both had brothers, so the line continues there, but from my father’s side, no: he had a sister and I’m an only child. When my aunt married she took her husband’s family name, and when I marry . . .” She found Kerry’s hand and held it tight. “I choose to take his family name.”

Kerry lay in a state that hovered between shocked and dismayed. “Gonna have a lot working against me, ain’t I?”

“No. It sounds like I’m putting pressure on you, but my family knows me: they know I’m my own girl.” Annie’s smile lightened the mood. “I choose my own loves and who I’ll marry. They know what will happen if they try to intervene.”


Kerry is non-Bulgarian, doesn’t come from a family of witches, and is marrying the last of this particular Kirilovi Line.  No pressure at all.  The one thing that Annie has going for her is that everyone in her family knows if they try to interfere in Annie’s love life, they’ll probably get turned into a newt, though the more likely route is they’re someone aware that darling Annie–who has studied a certain death spell starting at age nine–would probably tell them “Fuck off or die,” and that’s the end of that.  What Annie wants, Annie gets, and she gets the Ginger Hair Boy come hell or high water.

Don’t worry, though:  she sees an upside to this all:


“Still—” He took a deep breath. “I’m such an outsider.”

“Not to me.”

“And the whole ‘Last of the Kirilovi” thing—that’s kinda heavy. It’s like I’m doing something wrong.”

“My love, look at me—” Annie waited until she had his complete attention. “You’re missing what’s important. While I may not be a Kirilovi after we marry, I’ll become something better: a first generation Malibey witch, just like you. I’ll become the first matriarch of our magical family, and I consider that far more important than losing my old family name.”


Annie doesn’t see losing her old family name as a loss, she sees gaining a new family name as a win, because then she becomes Queen Witch of her own family.  And I wonder if it’ll be the same with Kerry:  what Annie wants, Annie gets.  It might be, because Annie’s about to lay down a little truth–


The sudden mood that came over Kerry vaporized and he smiled. “Humm . . . Clan Malibey. I like that.”

“We aren’t like that in our world.” She giggled. “We’re just like any other family that’s been around for a long time—”

“Only you do magic.”

“As do you, my dear. Here, I want to show you something—” Annie unzipped her winter jacket before taking his hand and slipping it under her sweater so it rested against her bare tummy. “Do you know what that is?”

He chuckled. “Your belly?”

“Yes, and something else—” Her voice dropped to a whisper. “Our children.”

Kerry froze for a moment, unsure of what to say next. In the last year there had been some discussion about their shared vision and what it meant, and he fully accepted, and welcomed, the fact that Annie would one day become his wife.

Now, however—he’d not given much thought to the other side of getting married, which was having children. The fact Annie and he existed was proof it happened, but until this moment it was something that happened to their parents—not to them . . .


Boom!  There is it.  First there’s love, then there’s marriage, and now Annie is letting Kerry know she’s got her eggs in storage simply waiting for the day when they can get their little family going.

"Don't worry, my love:  I have a bountiful womb, and our children will be many and--Kerry, where are you going?  Kerry?  Kerry?"

“Don’t worry, my love: I have a bountiful womb, and our children will be many and–Kerry, where are you going? Kerry? Kerry?”

When a girl, at age eight, writes down the name of the boy she knows she’s going to marry, and never changes that name, there’s also a pretty chance she’s thought about children as well.  Probably has their names written down as well.  But guys at that age?  Nu, uh.  Kerry’s thought about racing and holidays and holding hands and stuff of that nature, not . . . you know . . .


He slowly moved his fingers over her belly. “Kids, huh?”

Her eyebrows shot upwards as she smiled. “Yes.”

“I guess that would be something you’d think about. I mean, you will, um—”

“Carry them? Yes, I will. Of course, I’ll need some help getting pregnant—” She kissed the now deeply blushing Kerry before tenderly stroking his reddened cheek. “But when I do, I’ll carry our children happily and with great pride, my love.”

He turned his head and kissed her fingers. “So how many?”

“Oh . . . More than one, certainly. We won’t raise an only child like we were raised.” She finally unzipped his jacket so she touch him through his sweater. “We’ll have a wonderful family of witches.”

Kerry warmed his hand against Annie’s side. “But that’s for later—”

“Much later. I’m not ready to start a family tonight.”


Thanks for not wanting to start that family tonight, Annie!  You got a night ahead of you–which they are going to spend together, you totally know this–and then the journey home for Yule.  The fun thing to consider is at this rate, something tells me Kerry’s mom is going to have something else to bitch about, because they are certainly working their way towards another taking to from Nurse Coraline.  At least they’ll be no getting prego on her watch . . .

Still, it’s nice to see that Annie can find something to get Kerry embarrassed, and it’s a nice way to show that Annie is so much mature than Kerry, because she’s thinking about being a mommy and raising her own brood of witches, and Kerry’s totally going all derpy face over the her statements.  But he’s still there, and as he’d say, he’s not running.  He’s bright enough to know that getting the girl witch for the long run means getting the kids that come with the girl witch.  That’s the deal, dude:  the magic doesn’t come without a little responsibility.

And given that they’ve both already faced death together, there’s nothing wrong about contemplating the creation of life and bringing a few tiny Malibey witches into the world.

Wonder who long before one of them starts talking about Team Chestnut Ginger?

Cold Facts Upon the Cold Tower

Though it feels like I wasn’t about to get a lot finished last night, I surprised myself–must as I’d done the night before.  For one, I had to drive out to the local car dealership to have a safety recall performed on my car, then I stayed for an oil and air filter change.  While there I managed to get a couple of hundred words written.

Yeah, the Lady Writer hard at work doing selfies between scribbling.

Yeah, the Lady Writer hard at work doing selfies between scribbling.

After getting out of there I got a quick bite on the road and headed back to the hovel to write seven hundred or so words to get my total to just a little nine hundred twenty-five.  Not a bad time for a scene that I had a lot of trouble starting.

It’s Yule, and that means it’s time to get the kids out of the school and back home to the parental units.  This means Annie and Kerry are getting split up–again!–and they have to do nice holiday things.  For Annie this means hanging with her parents and probably getting, I don’t know, the book Twenty Ways to Kill People Who Piss You Off, while Kerry will probably stay in his room worried his mother is going to ask him if he’s still masturbating before warning him that girls–like The One Who Writes–have ways to drive boys going through puberty crazy.  I don’t know, maybe she’ll ask Kerry if Annie makes a mean milkshake.

But that’s in the future.  Let’s deal with the now–


(All excerpts from The Foundation Chronicles, Book Two: B For Bewitching, copyright 2015 by Cassidy Frazee)

It was just after twenty-one when Annie and Kerry touched down on the viewing platform that ran around the upper level of Observatory Tower. Kerry brought his broom to a light touchdown just inside the open dome, while the free-flying Annie soared over his head before setting down about two meters away. While Kerry placed his broom inside his private Hammerspace, Annie headed for the locker where the blankets and heavy comforters were kept. She returned with two comforters as Kerry finished setting up a two-person recliner where they could look outside.

Annie pulled a couple of small pillowed from her Hammerspace and set them on the recliner before sitting down. Kerry waited for her to settle in and get comfortable before joining her. Together they pulled one of the comforters over them, keeping the other one in reserve in case they grew chilled. After only a minute they were comfortable and warm, pressed shoulder-to-shoulder under their blanket.

Normally the sky over the school was clear because of the enchantment found in the defense screens that bore through the light pollution surrounding Cape Ann. With tomorrow the beginning of Yule Holiday, that enchantment was shut down until student returned to school, so rather than looking up into a totally dark sky, Annie and Kerry saw the lights of Rockport and Gloucester reflecting off the low winter clouds slowly moving in from the Atlantic.

The couple lay under their cover holding hands in silence. Since meeting up in Berlin on 25 August they’d remained together for all but one night and day, and now, almost four months later, they would separate and return home for the holidays. Their mood this time was different: where as the year before Annie faced her return with stoic grimness and Kerry found it almost impossible to keep the depression of being away from his loved one for two weeks, this time they’d exchange a couple of letters over the holidays, and be back in each other’s arms in another two weeks.

Though they didn’t want the separation, it was something they would survive. And the return would be that much sweeter.


So the kids are off to the Observatory:

Remember this place?

Remember this place?

And if you look closely, you’ll see two figures standing out on the Viewing Platform–probably my kids thinking about going up there to hang out for the night.  Which is exactly what these two are gonna do.  It makes you wonder if anyone else ever thinks about heading up to the open dome to hang out, and so far we’ve not seen anyone, but that doesn’t mean one of the reasons the observatory dome is open when nothing is going on is because they know this can be a popular hangout–if you have a way of flying up to the dome.  Which both my kids totally have.

I just realized that I do need to indicate how they’re dressed.  It’s only a little above freezing outside, which means they’re in their winter coats and sweaters and jeans, and in Annie’s case thick socks and boots.  Yeah, can do that tonight.

With them snugly under the comforter, their minds begin to drift and wonder . . .


Annie finally rolled to her left and kissed Kerry’s cheek. “What are you thinking about, my love?”

“You.” He kissed her back, only on the lips instead of the cheek. “My little sarmi at home in the snowy mountains of Bulgaria—” He slid his left arm over her body and held her close to him. “All alone.”

She chuckled. There was something ridiculously romantic about being called a little cabbage roll, though she wondered if anyone but her mother would understand the feeling . . . “I won’t be completely alone: I’ll be with my family.”

“True: you’ll have them.” He stared into her deep, hazel eyes. “I wish I could be there.”

“You could.” Annie adjusted her position so she wasn’t looking at Kerry cross-eyed. “I could ask my parents if you could visit.”

“It’d be too much trouble; I’m not out yet, remember?” He referred to the fact that his existence as a witch remained unknown to his parents. “I think it might be difficult convincing them that your parents want to fly me out of London during the busiest time of the year—” He rubbed his cooling nose against hers. “—just so I can visit a girl to whom I write .”

She giggled. “You do more than write.”

“I know. But they’d wonder what was up if I was only there for a couple of days.”

“Humm.” She tapped the fingers of her right hand against his side. “Well, for one, my father can afford to fly you down because he could—”

“I know.”

“And two—why do you think it’d be only a couple of days?”


I just has this conversation yesterday with one of my readers, who obviously is dreamwalking me or something, because this is one of the things that’s been going around in my head for a while–if Annie and Kerry could hook up during Yule Holiday, would they?  As Annie indicates, it’s not a problem for Papa to look as if he’s flying the boy down for the holiday–if he wanted to, he could probably ask the F1 team to bring him down on the company jet, which they could if they wanted to make it look like Kerry was traveling Normal Style.  In reality he’d just jaunt right to the house, and leave the jet to fly off to wherever.

So, yeah, I’ve thought about this for a while.  And Kerry, ever the realist, has as well–


The revelation that Annie would invite him to stay in Bulgaria for more than a few days surprised him. He knew she was used to getting what she wanted, but convincing her parents to let a boy they had only heard about second-hand was something he didn’t think she could manage. Besides . . . “Even if you got your parents to agree, I think my would say no.”

“Not even if you told them your girlfriend is rich?” Annie began grinning manically. “Or at least is the member of well to do family?”

“I thought you didn’t like to tell people you or you’re family has money?”

“I wouldn’t tell your parents—” She barely touched his cheek. “You would.”

Kerry considered the possibility for about five second. “While a tempting officer . . .” He shook his head. “I can’t do it, Darling.”

“Why not, my love?”

“My parents . . . I know them, and while throwing money around got them to send me to school, the moment I start mentioning money and a ‘rich girlfriend’, they’re gonna wanna know more about you and your family, and—” He slowly rubbed her back and sadly gazed back into her darkening face. “I still gotta keep the witch thing hidden for now.”

She wanted to argue that he was wrong, but in a moment Annie saw what Kerry was doing: He’s protecting my family and me. It’s not that he wants to be miserable, that’s that he doesn’t want us in trouble with The Foundation. She pressed her face against his. “I understand, my love. You’re being selfless.”

“I wish I wasn’t—” He brushed his lips against her cheeks. “I’d rather be with you.”

“Yes, well—” She pulled her head back revealing a huge smile. “One day you’ll visit for the holiday. One day soon. I promise.”


Kerry’s already anticipating problems with nosy parents, and he’s also likely wondered if Annie’s parent really would want him on the homestead for the holidays.  He could just see them now:  “So Kerry’s here for a couple of days–oh, the rest of the week?  And where is he going to stay?  The lake house?  Your house, one you sneak off to all the time, Annie?”  In all seriousness, now that Annie has kind of admitted she likes sleeping next to Kerry, how long before Annie gets tired of sleeping in her bed in the main house and wanders down to the lake house to see if Kerry is in any need of cuddling?

Not long, me thinks.

Let’s also face it:  Kerry’s parents are a bit dickish, and they’d want to speak with Annie’s folks and know more about them, and start wondering why they live up in the mountains away from everyone else, and why they built a house for their nine year old daughter, and what are their daughter’s intentions for their son, and . . . it would likely get messy, because they’d just be super pains in the asses for everyone.

As much as it pains Kerry, he knows getting away for the holidays isn’t something that going to happen in the next week.  However, that doesn’t mean they can’t talk about those occasions–and what they’re going to do for the current holiday.

I mean, there's plenty of room to do all that.

I mean, there’s plenty of room to do all that.

And this is when you’re going to find out some interesting, fun facts about Kerry’s Little Sarmi . . .

Down On the Deck: Home By the Sea

Here I was, yesterday, saying I wanted to finish this scene and chapter, and guess what?  Did!  Totally did.  No, really.

See?  No brag, just truth.

See? No brag, just truth.

And as you can see Chapter Seventeen awaits, where it’s a week later and–humm.  Looks like the kids are heading home for the holidays.  Yes, it’s that time, when the school shuts down for two weeks and all the kids go home to see their parents.  And if you look closely, you can see that Kerry is heading back to Cardiff and Annie is heading back to Pamporovo.

Actually, Chapter’s Seventeen and Eighteen deal with the kids being away from each other–the first scene of Chapter Sixteen is one of only two times you’ll see the kids together the next two chapters–but that’s in the future, and right now we’re finishing up the present, and it’s time to get my kids together again.


(All excerpts from The Foundation Chronicles, Book Two: B For Bewitching, copyright 2015 by Cassidy Frazee)

The dots on within the image had already crossed half the map when Nurse Bianca called the deck and informed the girls that Nurse Thebe and she were downstairs with warming blankets. Alex was able to get off a quick thank you when Kerry called in. “Flight Deck, this is Overnight. On my mark lowing to four hundred kph and beginning our decent.” He paused for about six seconds before continuing. “And . . . mark.”

Emma, as group pilot, gave the overall command. “Overnight, slow to four hundred kph and follow us down.”

Penny kept her eyes on the display, watching the dots descend towards Cape Ann. She nodded her approval. “Smart move. Forty kilometers out, coming in at four hundred kph—”

“They’ll be here in ten minutes.” Annie figured out the plan during the time Kerry informed them.

“A little more, actually.” Alex waved her hand over a pad. “Lights up on the roof and the Clock Tower. They should be able to see us now.”

“And we need to do now is lay out a landing pattern.” Alex walked over to the window and looked out onto the darkened meadow. “And light a few fires to everyone can warm up on the spot.”

“Good idea.” Penny tapped Annie on the arm. “You’re helping, right?”

“I wouldn’t miss this for the world.” Annie gave the display another look. “You think I’m waiting up here—”

“—While he’s down there? Nope.” Penny tapped near her ear piece. “Overnight, this is Flight Deck. We have the Flight School overhead lights and the Clock Tower beacon lit, and we’re going to set up your landing grid for you. Over.”

Emma returned with the acknowledgment. “Roger, Flight Deck. Should be on the ground soon. Over.”

All three girls were about to turn from the hologram when Kerry’s voice broadcast through the room. “Hang on, Overnight: A little homecoming music is in order. Hit it.” Immediately four loud guitar cords rang out followed by a heavy drum and bass rhythm. A few seconds later the vocals rang out: “Home by the sea/home by the sea—”

Annie chuckled. “I’ve heard this one before.”

Penny stared at the dots in the tank with a smile on her face. “Bloody hell.”

“That’s my Darling.” Annie grabbed the coats and levitated them towards the girls. “They’ll be her in a few minutes.”


Once more the Flight Deck is running pretty smoothly considering it’s being run by three teenage girls.  They got the action down.  This is why when the bad guys came calling, the school just locked shit up and put the kids out there with the adults, because nothing is crazier than a teenage witch.

“That’s my Darling.”  I actually loved writing that line, because if there’s something Annie’s doing this year, it’s getting loosened up around people.  Well, people she likes.  Other bitches best watch out or they’ll get a lightening bolt shot their way.

And here we have Kerry bring everyone home with music–He’d actually sort of foreshadowed this back on PEI:


“Already figured that out.” He pushed the map display to his right until they were looking at the western coast of Nova Scotia. “Right there.” He marked the point. “About as west as you can get before you run out of land. Which means . . .” He sketched a line to the southwest until he encountered a well-known point of land. “Rockport. And our home by the sea just to the west.” He quickly connected the marked points on the map, creating a line from their current location back to the school. “There’s it is: that’s the route.”


“Our home by the sea”.  So what song does he play coming in?  Why, Home By the Sea, what else?

Not only does he play it, he plays it loud:


All three girls hurried downstairs and found Bianca and Thebe waiting just outside the main hangar door. Penny began pointing to different spots around them. “Alex, set up three fires on the right, I’ll do the same on the left. Let’s get them in a large semi-circle.” She pointed straight ahead. “Annie, could you set up a row of lights for about twenty, thirty meters, maybe five meters apart?”

“Not a problem.” Annie rose about a half-meter off the ground and crafted a white light source on the ground before floating out about five meters to do the same thing again. She did this five more times, setting up a thirty meters runway for the flight to line up on and bring them into the group of fires Alex and Penny created.

She floated back to where the girls and nurses stood. Annie adjusted her wool cap and glanced skyward. “Do you hear that?”

Alex looked up and grinned. “Music?”

“Yes.” Annie grinned wildly. “Kerry must have it his tablet loudspeakers.”

“Jeez.” Penny shook her head. “Vicky must not worry they’re going to be heard from the ground.”

“It’s not like any of the Normals would see them.” She pointed towards the southeast. “I think that’s them.”

Annie saw two sets of yellow-white lights moving off to her right: one seemed to indicate where to turn, and the other seemed to point downward. The continued moving to her left as they now appeared to quickly lose altitude over the east wall. At the north end of the meadow tree line the lights continued swinging to the left, then stopped and began approaching her.

She heard Penny giving instruction for the flight as they lined up on the makeshift runway. The music was easily discernible now, and she could now clearly make out the lead flight, bundled up tight against the cold, with nary a square . Kerry pointed downward with his left hand until they were within touching distance of the ground, at which point he flattened his hand and spread out the lights at his fingertips, while Emma waved her right hand overhead to slow the group, then pumped a fist into the air bringing the flight to a complete stop. The last few lines of the song played—”Cause you won’t get away/So with us you will stay/For the rest of your days/Sit down/As we relive our lives in what we tell you”—before Kerry punched his tablet and shut down the song.

Emma pulled down her balaclava before looking backwards over her shoulder. “Dismount.” She was off her broom a few seconds later as Kerry pulled down his balaclava and slipped his goggles up onto his forehead.

Each of the girls grabbed a couple of warming blanket. Annie immediately made clear which team she was going to treat. “I’ve got the lead.”

Penny chuckled. “Figured that.”

Annie saw Kerry drop his backpack and come around the front of his broom and hold up his right hand for Emma to slap. They exchanged a quick nod before Kerry turned towards Annie, a huge grin affixed upon his face. “There you are.”

“Here I am.” She secured one of her blankets around Emma’s shoulders before doing the same to Kerry. “You need this.” Standing this close she saw patches of frost on his parka, and noticed his glasses were partially fogged. “Come on, both you—” She took Kerry’s hand and waved for Emma to follow. “Come warm up.”


Kerry does a quick high-five with Emma–who seems to have a good pair of lungs on her and likes being in control–and then he’s like, “Open arms for my Sweetie!”  Annie’s being nice handing a blanket to Emma, but then she’s not going to be a bitch a ignore her like someone used to do her.  And there’s frost on Kerry’s parka–probably from when he warmed up coming down to the school.  The temps went up considerably, believe that.


The entire flight had left their backpacks next to their brooms and was now crowding around the fires as the nurses examined a few of those students seen shivering. The two instructors went from student to student asking them them how they felt, patting each on the shoulder. Vicky checked on Emma before turning to Kerry. “I see you’re in good hands.”

Kerry wrapped his blanketed arms around Annie. “In the best, Nightwitch.”

“As I thought.” She stepped towards the middle of the runway. “Okay, listen up—” She raised here voice so everyone could hear. “As soon as you’re warmed up and feeling better, move your brooms and your packs to the hanger—do not unpack them now—then go get something to eat. As there’s no racing tomorrow, we’ll have a debriefing at nine, and after that we’ll unpack and put away our gear. And anyone who doesn’t want to change now let me know and I’ll have housekeeping move your clothes back to your dorm rooms.” She flipped her parka hood back, removed her wool hat and flight helmet, and shook out her hair after stripping off her balaclava. “It was a pleasure flying with all of you.”

“Hey.” Emma pulled her blanket tight as she stepped closer to Annie and Kerry. “I’m gonna see if Nadine will give me a jaunt to the Dining Hall.”

“No problem.” He grinned back at his wingmate. “After flying a couple of thousand kilometers, I think we’ll walk back.”

“Okay, then: catch you later.” She gave them both a wave and walked off.

Finally alone, Annie unzipped Kerry’s parka, pushed back his hood, and removed his head gear, dropping it to the ground next to them. “Feeling better?” She slipped her arms under his parka and around his torso.”

“I am now.” He leaned his head against her shoulder. “What’d you do last night?”

“Hung out with the girls and Jairo.” She felt comfortable and secure against Kerry’s body. “Penny and Alex had me over to sleep with them: they asked Professor Semplen to get housekeeping to move another bed into their room. They said they didn’t want me sleeping alone.”

Kerry held tightly on to Annie. “That was nice of them.”

“It was.” She whispered into his ear. “Did you miss me?”

He moved Annie back so her face was mere centimeters aware, then kissed her slowly for almost twenty second. “Oh, Darling—” He pulled her into a warm embrace. “Every second I was away.”

“So did I, my love—” Annie closed her eyes and held on tightly to her soul mate, least she slide to the ground. “So did I.”


No racing, just Midnight Madness after a little dinner and a cup of something warm, and some warm arms to lay in.  Annie got to do a bit of a sleepover with her covenmates, and Kerry is giving her a long, lingering kiss in a fire-lit PDA, probably because his lips are cold.  Yeah, that’s what it is.

Everyone’s home in what turned out to be a long chapter–one of the longest, actually–and now it’s time to send the kids away for a few weeks.

Where a few more surprises await them . . .

Historical Hidings

First off, let’s get to the good news:  I have a new mouse!

All hail the new toy!

All hail the new toy!

Yes, I went with something pink and pretty, because yes, I can.  Also, I like how it feels in my hand, and the pad makes things all that much easier to do thing, so I like it a lot.

Second off, the shoulder is feeling much better.  I’m off to do my nails today, and I’m trying to come up with a good fall color, and I’ve been taking it easy this morning so that I’m not sitting around feeling nothing but pain shooting through my body.  In a way I help the process by not doing a whole lot last night, and it showed in the fact I wrote only three hundred and fifty words.

Ah, but that helped, because . . .

The scene is finished, mostly due to writing almost sixteen hundred words this morning.  It didn’t feel like I was pouring out words:  actually, the whole process seems to have slowed down as I try to visualize what I want to say, and then find the right word for the visualization.  And trust me, I’ve done a lot of visualization, starting with where Annie was taking Kerry . . .


(All excerpts from The Foundation Chronicles, Book Two: B For Bewitching, copyright 2015 by Cassidy Frazee)

Sequestered among several birch and pine trees sat one of the many covered stair casings that led to the school’s tunnel system. Every building save the Headmistress’ Residence Rhiannon were connected to the system, there were various locations on the grounds where access to the tunnels was possible. The covered staircase near Memory’s End and the one behind the Transformation Center were the most well known, though the staircases near Rhiannon Fettle’s grave—used by Wednesday Douglas to access Sunset Tower during the Day of the Dead attack—and the staircase just north of Perquat’s Grove were also familiar to the students.

Annie opened the entrance to the staircase and held the door for Kerry. Like most of the stairs in the coven towers, the circular stone structure was three and a half meter in diameter and descended easily six meters to the tunnels. She followed him down until their reached the bottom of the stairwell, at which point Annie stepped past him, open the door, and stepped out into the tunnel.

The tunnel was like the majority of the other tunnels under the school: six meters wide by four and a half meters high, with an arched ceiling segmented by columns and soft, indirect lighting. The staircase was situated to one side of a Y-junction, with two tunnels running off to the left of the staircase entrance, and one long tunnel vanishing off to their right.

Kerry let the door close behind him as he glanced from side to side, “Where are we?”

“Believe it or not, in one of the oldest tunnels at the school. I looked it up.” She pointed down the single tunnel. “That was one of the escape tunnels dug in 1762 when the grounds were expanded and the outer walls installed. The staircase behind you—” She pointed at Kerry and the door beyond. “—used to lead up into the wall where there was a hidden door leading to the outside. The idea was if the witches needed to evacuate the school, this was on of the ways they would leave.”

“Or if they were looking to get out of the school for the night.” Kerry stood beside Annie. “Then you could just jaunt out.”

“True.” Annie took his hand and led him down the left-hand Y-tunnel. “Just a little further.”

He stumbled along, smiling. “What is?”

“You’ll see.”


The school tunnel system was something that I spent a lot of time figuring out, because with the school being spread out all over the place, and with it being situated on a small island right off the coast of Massachusetts–which is what Cape Ann really is–winter weather is gonna be a real bitch.  So I figured the area under the school was riddled with tunnels, with most of them going way back to the 18th and early 19th Centuries.

This is what the area Annie’s discussing looks like–

That little Y in the upper left hand corner is where my kids are--you'll see them if you look hard enough.

That little Y in the upper left hand corner is where my kids are–you’ll see them if you look hard enough.

You can see so many things here.  The Pentagram is right down there at the bottom, and near the middle-top is the lower storage areas of The Aerodrome.  That little building basement in the upper right hand corner is the lower levels of the Flight School, and that blue spot near the “Y” I pointed out is the bottom of Van der Kroff Spring.  And in case you’re wondering, those round things sticking through on the left side of the picture are the lower levels of towers are those stuck in the West Wall of the school.

Where is this headed?


They walked for a couple of minutes before coming to an innocuous passage cut into the right wall. The entryway was maybe two meters wide, and was difficult to see due to being located directly to the right of a tunnel support arch. “Here.”

Kerry squinted past the entrance. “Not very bright in there.”

“One of the reasons this tunnel doesn’t stand out.” She headed inside with Kerry right behind. “The first time I was down here I almost didn’t see this.”

Kerry glanced up at the ceiling. “I’m surprised the lights are still on.”

“You know it doesn’t take much to keep a lighting enchant going.” Annie couldn’t help but look around as well. “Once you craft one, they’ll run until dimmed or shut off.”

“Yeah.” He tightened his grip on Annie’s hand. “Do you know when this tunnel was put in?”

“No, but probably the same time as the two branching tunnels; Isis told me those were dug out in 1802 when they did the final expansion of the southern grounds.” She came to a slow stop. “Here we are.”

Kerry faced a large wood door slightly countersunk into the left side of the passage. Unlike similar ones in the coven tower, there wasn’t an electronic hand scanner in the wall to the right of the entrance. “And where is here?”

“Where we are.” She motioned to Kerry. “Go on in.”

He pushed it open and stepped through the doorway. On the other side was a room nearly the same size as their private lab in the lower levels of Cernunnos Tower: perhaps four and a half by three and a half meters. The walls didn’t seem finished: even in the dim light Kerry saw they were slightly rough, as if the room were cut out of the native limestone and then rendered flat enough not to be an issue.

What surprised Kerry was that the room wasn’t empty. Besides a few small wooden crates there were three items of furniture: a sofa and an easy chair positioned around a makeshift table thrown together from a slab of board sitting on top of a couple of crates and covered with a blanket. He stared at the tableau for a few seconds, then turned to Annie. “What’s all this then?”


So . . . hidden rooms, are there?

Yes, right there, if you must know.

Yes, right there, if you must know.

The staircase that Annie and Kerry descended is there to the center-right, and they walked down the bottom corridor.  I put this model together last night, because writing isn’t always writing, right?  Let’s just say I needed to give the new mouse a workout.

Now, this is where it gets tricky, Kids–

None of this stuff existed last week.

I planed this chapter months ago:  according to Scrivener, the chapter was created 21 June, 2015.  But the first and second scene of this chapter weren’t all that well thought out, to be honest.  Like I’ve said before, I do the meta plot thing and then let things come to me.  And up until last week I had nothing for this scene other than a few mental images.

Until I imagined Annie and her mother together over the summer . . .


“Something I found.” Annie closed the door and crafted a couple of light spells to make the room brighter. “There: better.” She slowly made her way around the easy chair. “After leaving you at Advanced Flight a couple of weeks ago I decided to do a little exploring. There are a lot of tunnels in the southwest section of the school, but almost no one ever comes down here because there aren’t any buildings—”

“So no need to come down this way.”

“Yes. I’ve taken that one tunnel back to The Aerodrome a few times, but never ventured down this way. I actually found the passage outside walking down the left-hand tunnel: it runs all the way between them.” Annie paused behind the sofa and leaned against the back. “Found this room, looked inside, and . . .” She spread her arms wide. “Found this.”

“Yeah, but what is it?” Kerry stepped up to the table and prodded it with his foot. “This stuff has been here a while; that sofa looks like it’s older than my folks.”

“Mine as well.”

“How’d it get down here?”

Annie shrugged. “Someone likely made it using transformation magic.” She walked around and sat. “Come—” She patted the spot next to her. “Sit, my love.”

Kerry joined Annie and immediately wrapped his arm around her shoulders. “Exploring, huh?”

“Yes.” She snuggled against him, getting herself comfortable in his embrace. “I was curious.”


Annie crossed her legs and stared straight ahead with half-opened eyes. “Over the summer Mama and I were talking about school, and she began asking questions that . . .” She giggled. “I think she was asking about us without actually bringing up the subject.”

“Really?” He chuckled as well. “Like?”

“She asked me if we’d walked through Astria Portal. The way she phrased the question—”

“—She wasn’t asking if we’d walked.” He moved his fingers slowly against her jacketed arm. “So what did you do?”

“What I usually do in that situation, my love: I gave evasive answers.” She sighed and settled back into the hollow of his shoulder. “She told me about a place Papa and she used to go to, as she said, ‘be alone’. She said there was a spot near Gloucester Bend surrounded by trees: the way she described the stop it reminded me of where Emma and you hid—without the danger, of course.”

“Of course.”

“She didn’t go on about what they did there, but it wasn’t necessary: it’s where they went when they wanted to be alone. She was telling me that story because—” Her hand glided across Kerry’s thigh. “—she wanted to know where we went to be be alone. Only . . . we don’t actually have a place like that. Not really.”


Yes, they don’t have a place like this–a place where they can go, well, you know.  Do what kids in love do.  Anne’s been doing a bit of looking, it seems, and she’s upfront not only about her explorations, but the reasons behind them–


“When I found this room, though, and I saw the furniture here, I realized couples use to come here. There was a lot of dust on the floor—”

“There was?”

“Yes, my love: I’ve cleaned up a bit before this.” She chuckled and pressed her finger against his lips. “Shush, and listen. No one has been here in decades, so I know this room is undisturbed. But it was used; a couple used to come here to sit, talk, relax . . .” Annie shrugged. “Who knows what else? It doesn’t matter. Since we both fly—” She grinned at the same moment as Kerry. “—we don’t need to worry ourselves that someone will notice us heading down The Chunnel to get here. Maybe security will see us open the doors to the staircase, but I don’t care; it doesn’t matter.”

Annie folder her legs under her as she wrapped her arms around Kerry’s shoulders. “What matters now, moyata srodna dusha, is that we have a place where we can ‘be alone’. Where we can come when we have free time and sit, talk, cuddle . . .” She leaned in and kissed him with great tenderness and passion. “And do that.”

Kerry moved slightly to his right and settled back into the arm of the sofa. “We’ll need some pillows to rest against.”

“There are blankets in those crates: I checked.” Annie lay against Kerry’s chest and listened to his rapidly beating heart for a few moments. “Tonight we’ll be alone: I’ll be here while you’ll be several hundred kilometers away. And in a week we’ll be even further apart. But . . .” She kissed him again, holding it for almost twice as long as the prior kiss. “Until you leave in a few hours, you are all mine.”


This is how my mind works, and how things come together in my head.  I wrote a lot, I pushed the story to within a few hundred words of one hundred and forty thousand words, and I’ve opened up a little insight into my kids.  And once more showed that when Annie wants something, she gets it–

All to herself.

Separations and Searching

What can I say but I didn’t get it done last night.  I’m back in low-production mode, and luck if I can get out just over five hundred words in an evening.  It’s to be expected, I guess, because there’s so many things going on that I’m trying to see in my head, and at the moment my head’s not exactly screwed on right.

Not to mention the worst news:  my mouse died.  It’s been on kind of its last legs for a while, but last night it pretty much decided that not working was preferable to working, and gave up a ghost that none of my stories necromancers will ever retrieve.  This means at some point tonight–probably after six when the rush hour traffic slows–I’ll need to run out and find me a new mouse, because there are some programs that simply run better when I have a mouse.

Then what did I write?  Well . . . that’s strange, because what I put down on paper wasn’t that much, but in my head I probably wrote parts of this scene, as well as two others.  That’s where most of the writing seems to take place these days:  in my head.  I’m seeing a lot of scenes play out in my mind, but when it comes time to actually working those scenes out of my brain and into the computer, it’s a lot harder.  Tonight I need to get a new mouse, get it set up, and then get the buds in and work out the rest of this scene.  I’m about twenty-two hundred words away from making my next ten thousand, and a good thousand word night would do wonders taking care of that line.

It seems I'm not a spring of creativity.  You'll get that bad joke in a moment.

It seems I’m not a spring of creativity. You’ll get that bad joke in a moment.

And I can get into a part of this scene that’ll reveal something about the school that no one knew.

So, in its minimal entirety, here we are:


(All excerpts from The Foundation Chronicles, Book Two: B For Bewitching, copyright 2015 by Cassidy Frazee)

They walked around the paths of the school for a bit before flying to Van der Kroff Spring, a local rarely visited by students because of the remoteness and lack of trails to the spot. They landed at the north edge—Kerry on his broom, Annie under her own power—before taking in the spot, their arms wrapped around each other.

The spring was small and shallow—only a meter and a half deep in the center—and was ringed by a narrow band of grass surrounded by a thick cover of trees. The spring was famous as the spot where Lucille Van der Kroff, the founder of Ceridwen Coven, would bathe every other day of the year, regardless of the weather.

The most notable part of the spring was the large tree situated across from them on the south edge. Annie ran her hands along the back of Kerry’s heavy jacket. “There’s her tree.”

“Yes.” He pulled Annie closer. “We seem to have trees so close to us—”

She nodded. “Not like our trees, though. Our trees were there for us, while hers . . .” It wasn’t necessary for her to say more, for they both knew the story of how when Lucille Van der Kroff her body was immolated and the ashes scattered her along the short of her favorite place, and come the next spring students who visited here found the tree growing in the spot where it was said she would lay naked and sun herself. “Our are associated with our dreams and lives: hers came with her death—” Annie tilted her head to one side. “And, if people are right, rebirth.”

Kerry looked down for a moment, trying to move the image of someone being reincarnated as a tree out of his mind. “I could think of better things to come back as.”

“And there are far worse, my love.” Annie looked around and got her bearings before tugging on Kerry’s hand. “Come on; this way.”

Annie led him off into the forest, visualizing a path where none lay. She and Isis had overflown this area many times during their training, and though it wasn’t necessary to walk far, if her directions were off, she’d miss there destination. Though with the coming of winter the leaves had fallen from many of the trees, and that made seeing through the foliage much easier . . .

Kerry was the first to spot the object she was looking for. “What’s that?”

A smile crept onto Annie’s face. “Our destination, my love.” She pulled him forward. “Come.”


Yeah, come here, Kerry, because Annie’s leading you off into the woods to show you something, and the last time you did that, she ended up getting you to promise to be her Dark Witch.  What comes now?  Deciding the names of your first born?  “Well, I have an idea for both a girl and a boy, and we could use both, because we’ll have at least one of each . . .”  There you go, kid.  Maybe Annie will have that written down in her book as well . . .

Chapter, Lines, and Parts

Is it safe to say this scene went faster than the last?  Yes, yes it did.  Fast enough that I finished it up with almost eleven hundred words, and in doing so, I also finished the chapter and the part.  With that, Chapter Fifteen, Part Four, are both in the books, so to speak, and Part Four topped out at nearly fifty-three thousand, eight hundred words, making it a little novel in of itself.

So it was written, so it was done.

So it was written, so it was done.

So what actually happens here?  You know it’s Annie and Kerry, and they’re in a locker room, and you will find out it’s the same day as her meeting with Deanna in the last scene.  We know from that scene that it was gonna be Kerry’s first race on the Red Line, so . . . must be after the race, right?

You wouldn’t be wrong.  It’s also evident he’s not happy . . .


(All excerpts from The Foundation Chronicles, Book Two: B For Bewitching, copyright 2015 by Cassidy Frazee)

Kerry remained hunched over, staring at the floor. “I’m okay—” He shrugged. “I guess. I don’t know. I still feel like, you know—”

“Like you didn’t do as well as you wanted?” Annie knew the odds of Kerry have good races the entire season were high, and as she’d expected, his first race on the Red Line—a Battle Royale between Cernunnos, Åsgårdsreia, and Blodeuwedd—did not turn out as he’d hoped.

He shook his head. “I feel like I let the team down.”

“Are you kidding?” She almost laughed. “Not in any way; you flew a great race.”

“Great?” He slowly turned his head towards Annie; she saw his eyes were downcast but dry. “First lap going up into K1 I lost six positions—” He sighed as he reverted it gaze towards the floor.

“Yes that’s true: you went from third to ninth.” She began rubbing the area between his shoulder blades. “In no part due to four flier from two covens going after you in an attempt to shake you up.” Annie’s voice softened. “It was to be expected.”

He didn’t look up. “What do you mean?”

“My father would say that sort of action is one of desperation because the other teams saw you as a threat.” She patted him lightly on the left shoulder and leaned closer. “You scare them: I’d take that as a good sign.” She slid closer and slipped her arm around his waist. “It’s only when they ignore you that you should worry.”


Just for reference, here’s the spot on the course they’re talking about:

The Red Line in all its scary glory.

The Red Line in all its scary glory.

This is what the school would look like from some distance in the east, probably a couple of klicks out over the Atlantic.  That spike going up and then down over the tiny building in the middle that’s actually the Great Hall?  That K1 on the Red Line, so named because that spike terminates one kilometer over The Pentagram.  This “turn” happens not too long after leaving the start/finish line, so first time out you don’t have a lot of time to get psyched up over shooting straight up for six-tenths of a mile, then shooting right back down.  It’s sort of like a mini Mile High flight, only not as high, but a hell of a lot faster and scarier–and, oh yeah:  you might have maniacs from other teams trying to do the bump and grind on your PAV–in this case the Class 3s, which look like flying jet skis–as you ascend and descend.

In short, it’s not a second for the faint of heart.  Kerry found out the hard way some teams play rough here.  And as Annie pointed out, it’s probably because he worries them.


A long silence drew on for nearly twenty seconds before a soft chuckle came from Kerry. “They really didn’t want me up there with them.“

“No, they didn’t. They did the same to Penny, too, which tells me the girls and you are putting a scare into everyone else.” Annie rested her head against her soul mate. “And yet they still messed up. Alex got through and finished third, and you regained two positions on the second lap, and got sixth away from Penny on the last. Let the team down?” She kissed him on the cheek. “Alex finished third, you finished sixth, Penny seventh, and Manco eighth. No, my love: you did a great job helping the team.”

Kerry finally sat up and turned towards her. Annie examined his face for tears tracks and found none. He’s not cried at all this year. She didn’t take her eyes from his as he put his arms around her. He’s not less emotional; he’s become better at showing the good while holding back the bad. She closed her eyes a second before Kerry kissed her and melted into him. And he always saves the best for me . . .

No one has actually commented on this, but Kerry hasn’t cried, not at all, except while at home after that conversation with the parents.  He must be holding it in better.  Or maybe something else is doing on?

Anyway, Annie has a couple of other bits of news to share as well . . .


The moment he broke the long kiss Kerry pulled Annie against him. “Thank you, Darling. You make me feel so good.”

“Thank Professor Semplen for allowing me in here.” She gently set her hands against the sides of his face. “There’s another reason I’m here, too—”

His eyebrows shot upward. “Oh?”

“You made a bit of history.”

The surprise he first showed turned to slight shock. “What?”

“It seems you’re the first B Level to point in their first race on the Red Line in thirty years.” She leaned back and pretended to straighten his racing uniform. “According to our race director—” She didn’t need to mention this was Vicky. “—a Victoria Salomon pointed in her first Red Line race as a B Level in 1982—”

“What did she get?”

Annie cut off Kerry before he could make comparisons between her race and his. “That’s besides the point: you raced against fourteen other fliers and finished sixth—” She almost didn’t mentioned the matter, but decided he needed the positive reinforcement. “Emma placed eighth against nine other fliers.” She tapped him lightly on the chest. “Never belittle your accomplishments, my love.”


Yes, Annie, get that little dig in.  Niener, niener.


“I won’t.” He returned to his last question. “So what did Vicky place in her race?”


“That’s good.”

“Doesn’t matter if it’s good: from now on when a B Level races the Red Line for the first time, they’ll wonder what you placed.” Annie took his hands. “Vicky thought Holoč should be the one to tell this to you, but he thought—” She gave him a quick, loving kiss before whispering in his ear. “I should be the one to give you the news.”

A smile burst upon Kerry’s face as he rested his forehead against his soul mate’s. “I’m glad he did. It made it more special.”

“It did.” She slapped Kerry on the thigh and stood. “Get out of your gear, clean up, and change. We have a date.”

“You’re full of surprises. He stood slowly. “What do you mean, a date?”

“A certain sorceress and her coven leader partner are going to that restaurant we visited when we stayed at the Sea Sprite. I’m told we’ll be back in time for the Midnight Madness.” Annie swung her arms in a moment of levity and happiness. “Helena thought it might be a nice way for us to have a little time together away from school—”

“Before we gotta go home for Yule.” Kerry stood and grabbed his helmet from the bench. “I should be ready in twenty minutes.”

“I’ll be waiting outside.”


Hey, they’re going out on a date!  And really, if you’re keeping score, it really is their first dinner date of the school year.  The last?  Just as Annie mentioned:  during their stay at the Sea Sprite at the end of the A Levels.


Annie left the locker room and thanked Professor Semplen for her moment with Kerry.  After he left she took a seat in the team ready room and relaxed. She crossed her legs and imagined Kerry removing the uniform and heading for the shower and— No. Don’t think of this.  The last think she wanted was to get flustered while out in public.

She stretched her legs and folded her hands across her stomach as she stared at a spot on the ceiling. Am I really imagining him doing those things, or is there something else at work here? Recalling her thoughts about his lack of crying this year, she wondered if that was all Kerry, or if he was somehow influenced by her and—

And whatever Deanna showed me today. What was that? What caused our auras to join that way?

Annie closed her eyes and pushed all those questions from her mind. She wanted to relax in the company of friends and to enjoy her time with her Ginger Hair Boy tonight—to feel his love and to be loved.

Finally all the questions that had formed in the time between her meeting at Memory’s End and her watching Kerry’s race—all but one:

Why did Deanna show that video? Why did she want me to see that?


Annie, what are you thinking?  Something naughty?  Well, she is probably the only thirteen year old girl at school who can say, “I’ve seen my boyfriend naked more than once,” and she wouldn’t be lying.  She’s leaving out all the broken bones and future visions stuff, but still–truth.

The question does remain:  why did Deanna want here to see that?  There could be an answer to that question, or their may not.  Right now I can’t worry about it–

I’ve got a camping trip to plan.