When I say, “Oh, this should only go for another few hundred words” and “This will finish up just over five thousand words”–I’m a liar. Really. Because while I finally finished the scene that I’ve worked on for, oh, seven days, things went on far longer than I expected–
Yeah, just over sixty-two hundred words, making this the largest scene in the story. Like I said, Annie and Deanna get together and they start talking–oi! These ladies can gab. And they were about to watch some video together, which brings me to thinking: I would totally love to write a scene where Deanna and Annie are sitting on some pillows, comfy in the jammies, watching Mean Girls and quoting the movie in Arabic and Bulgarian. “Wal ha a ma.” “Prestani da se opitvash da donese sluchi: toĭ ne shte stane.” A laugh riot, I’m telling you.
We were going to watch something, yes? Okay, then: let’s go to the video:
(All excerpts from The Foundation Chronicles, Book Two: B For Bewitching, copyright 2015 by Cassidy Frazee)
It picked up with Deanna—who was off screen—mid-way through her initial greeting. “I’m loath to call myself ‘mistress’ of the discipline as some have; the title infers more than makes me comfortable. Come, let’s sit together.”
Annie watched herself step through the mass of pillows that lay on the floor that day. “Thank you. You’re quite kind.”
The off-screen Deanna’s voice remained calm. “Not at all, Annie.”
The shock that on-screen Annie felt was not only apparent, but watching-Annie felt it hit her once more as her past self spoke. “How did you—?” She listened to Deanna’s explanation where she stated the obvious. “You know how I know your name—and how I know Kerry’s, too.” As she’s never seen him react the first time, Annie couldn’t prevent a smile appearing as Kerry’s head snapped around at the mention of his name. “How?”
There was a hint of amazement in Deanna’s voice. “I love how off-balance he was then.”
Annie nodded. “He was.” She heard Deanna say she’d seen them coming, and the ever-so-logical ginger boy on the screen checked his surroundings. “Do you have monitors in here?”
“It’s a good thing I’m used to questions like that—” Deanna spoke over her voice telling Kerry she’d had a vision.
Annie did chuckle at Kerry’s response after she told him that the seer had a vision. “You mean like precognition?” The chuckled turned into a smile as she hear on-screen Deanna confirm Annie’s answer and ask them to sit. “I told him to have an open mind before we showed up. She listened to him attempting to rationalize Deanna’s claim of knowing how they were arriving. “I’m happy he learned fast.”
“Much better than some of your fellow levelmates.” Deanna regarded her memories of that day. “I had a few students that Friday night who needed some hand holding regarding what they saw that day.”
“There was a point, though . . .“ She heard Kerry say he didn’t believe in precognition.
“You were worried he would be the same way?” Deanna signed. “I wasn’t paying attention to him, for in time he would come around.” She looked over to Annie. “I was watching you.”
“Why?” Annie found the seer’s statement surprising. “You knew I was a Legacy—”
“Yes, I read your report, remember?” Deanna’s chuckle verged on laughter. “I was watching how nervous you were. You did a great job keeping it bottled up inside while keeping it hidden.”
Annie was glad Deanna couldn’t see her face, because she knew the woman next to her would had no problem mistaking her look of surprise. “You’re very perceptive.”
“Well, I wasn’t exactly playing fair.”
Now Annie’s curiosity was peaking. “What do you mean?”
I wrote all of the above last night while consulting the first novel, so that the words heard–all of the sentences in italics–and actions seen were accurate. And just like Annie you’re probably saying, “Okay, what’s the big deal?” Well, I left off one sentence, which starts this next section, followed by what I started writing this morning–
“You’ll see—” Deanna turned back to the display on the ceiling. “Sabrina, restart this video to the point I originally indicated, and replay with the aura recording applied.”
The screen went black. “Ready, Deanna.”
“Play the video.”
The scene played out as before, but the biggest change to Annie was how they appeared on-screen, with the bright glow of normally invisible energy surrounding each of their bodies. “You filmed our auras?”
Annie silently damned herself for asking a stupid question. “Do you do this for everyone?”
“Sabrina, hold the video.” Deanna waited three seconds after the command before answering. “No. Just you that day.”
“Something I felt in the vision that told me you were coming. There was a sensation that this meeting was important—more implied than stated—and that seeing your auras was necessary.”
Annie didn’t know what to feel at hearing this revelation. Seeing someone’s aura was considered the same as looking into their mind and emotions, as a skilled reader could know volumes about a witch with just a momentary glance. It was then that something Deanna said only a minute before registered— “You said you were weren’t playing fair. Did you use Aura Sight on us?”
Deanna’s answer came immediately. “Yes. I was watching you the whole time that way.”
“Because you felt it was necessary.’
“I felt it was important.” She commanded Sabrina to start the playback, then pointed at the floating screen. “Watch.”
You know, when seers get feelings about their visions, it’s a scary thing. Nearly all visions are literal things: you see one, and you try to make sense of what you saw. When you see something and begin getting hunches about something you should do, that’s when you begin wondering what the hell is going on.
And as Annie points out, you see someone’s aura, you seen into them. Not only can you tell they’re a witch–which is why they were using enchantments to hide those little tells in their auras that might give them away to Deconstructors–but you can tell what they’re thinking and feeling. It’s one of the things a witch will do to see if someone is lying, because unless the person they’ve speaking to is really damn good at manipulating their aura, the person asking questions can look at the other person’s aura and instantly tell if they’re bullshitting their ass off. Which instructors can see auras? All of them. They only have to use Aura Sight to view them.
Now, point of etiquette. It’s generally considered bad manners for witches to constantly use Aura Sight to look at another person’s aura while they’re talking to them. It’s like hooking someone up to a lie detector while you’re having a polite conversation, and witches who constantly do so hoping to call another person out on something are considered assholes of the first order and usually end up getting shunned by the rest of the witch community. Plus, one witch can use magic to look at the aura of another witch to see if they are using magic–because crafting spells do things to your aura–and if they suspect they’re being watched, well, they’ll just hide their aura and make you go fish. Because aura hiding is totally something you can do as well–
Oh, and yes: Guardians know all these little aura tricks. Which is why trying to find out if Helena is BSing you is an exercise in futility.
Here’s where we get to learn a little about auras:
This time Annie paid attention to the glow around Kerry’s and her bodies. Their auras were brilliant and filed with speckles of violet light—both the marks of Aware witches. Kerry’s alternated between an orange-yellow to brownish-orange, while Annie’s flowed from bright pink to orange-yellow to orange-red. “Why does mine have that bright yellow border?”
“That was my tip-off that you had a touch of fear: bright yellow indicates a fear of something—losing control, losing respect—”
Annie looked away from the display for a moment. “Losing someone you love.”
“What does the rest mean?”
“The orange-yellow indicates intelligence and confidence, while the bright pink shows affection and love.” Deanna paused to allow Annie to consider what she’d said. “You were looking for answers to what happened over the summer, weren’t you?”
“In a way. I hoped you might . . . see something.” She pointed at Kerry. “What about his?”
“The orange-yellow you know, but in Kerry’s case he was being far more scientific in his assessment of what he was seeing, which is why that color is more vivid for him. As for the brownish-orange . . .” Deanna swallowed loud enough for Annie to hear. “Given the way he was acting, those are his repressed emotions shinning through.”
“Literally.” Annie was astonished by how easily Deanna was able to read their moods and feelings by watching their auras, giving her more reason to learn Aura Sight as soon as possible. “Why have you never shown this to anyone? It doesn’t seem all that startling.”
I did a bit of research trying to find an aura interpretation that I liked, and what I eventually found works for me. I’ll probably even start writing those down as a hand guide to use. The colors do represent what the kids were feeling at the time: Kerry was trying to come up for reasons about what he was hearing and seeing–remember, this was the day after their E & A, and his was about as fresh in his mind as it comes–and Annie was looking for something, just as Deanna surmised.
But this isn’t the reason she wanted Annie to see this video–this is:
“It’s not.” She pointed at the screen, where Kerry was about to sit next to Annie. “Watch.”
Annie did as instructed. She saw Kerry set down his backpack, move to on-screen Annie’s right, and sit— “I am. What—”
“Sabrina, hold image.” Deanna propped herself up and turned towards Annie. “That’s why I’ve never shown this to anyone.”
The moment on-screen Kerry sat next to on-screen Annie their auras merged and became as one, a combined glow of orange-yellow surrounded by an aural border of emerald green and royal blue. “I don’t understand—”
“The aura of a person is the reading of them essence: your mystical fingerprint, so to speak. It remains yours and is always kept separate from those around you. Even if you’re holding someone in your arms, or laying with them, there is a discernible border that separates yours from theirs.” Deanna rolled over and lay back. “Your auras merged. When I saw it happen that day it took every gram of willpower I possessed not to gasp. It was the most incredible thing I ever witnessed.”
Annie started at the screen. “This doesn’t happen—ever?”
She nodded. “This never happens, even to people who are deeply in love. It’s like your essence merged and became one—” Deanna drummed her fingers against her pillows. “What you’re seeing is impossible. And that’s why I’ve never shown this to anyone . . .” She said nothing more, preferring to leave all further actions implied.
Your auras merged. And when you do something that surprises the School Seer, then you are truly remarkable because you’ve shown someone whose ability is to see things that haven’t happened something they’ve never seen. Which means that if Deanna was having visions of Annie and Kerry before ever meeting them–and there are indications she was–this was something she never once saw.
I’m not presenting the rest of the scene because . . . well, because thing are said, and I’m not giving anything else away. At least not until this book is published. Needless to say Annie learned a big secret about her relationship with her soul mate, and it’s pushed open the door of understanding a little bit. Not a lot, but enough that people can peek in and begin wondering.
I’ve done enough for today. I believe my work here is done . . .