Humans, Season 1 Episode 5: I Compute, Therefore I Am

Originally posted on Rachel Tsoumbakos:

Humans Millican Killer Synth

With three weeks left in the run, Humans worked its way into the philosophy of being something others than human. Really, while this episode was spread out a little more evenly between the players this time, the high point was at Doctor Millican’s place, because . . .

Because that’s where Niska went. She met with Leo and listened to him talk about the code he found that will bring about Synth consciousness, but he wants to get Mia back on her feet, so in the meantime, Niska, go hid out with this friendly doctor—his name is Millican.

She does show up, and once inside she meets Vera, and nurse Vera ain’t buying the good doctor’s bullshit that she’s human. On the other hand, Niska isn’t playing, and pretty much tells Vera to piss off on that Synth business. It’s while she’s there and getting tired of being stared at, while…

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Life in Three Acts

I know what you’re thinking:  what, no writing again?  Yeah, that’s been happening of late as I’ve really been in the middle of some intense socializing for the first time in months.  Actually, it’s been kinda the perfect storm of interaction of late, with my trip back to Indiana, meeting people there, then doing things on this end–yep, that actually leaves a few holes in the writing schedule.  But I’ve needed the interaction for a while, and it’s helping me recharge a little.  Actually, I was a bit weepy for the most part yesterday, and getting together with someone for dinner helped bring me out of that funk.

It was either that or spend all my time crying while writing.

But this is a good time to get into something else that’s important to writing, or at least to my writing.  And that’s to answer the question, “Why do you lay things out the way you lay them out?”  Besides the answer, “Because I’m strange,” it’s really due in part to helping me keep action organized in a format that’s fairly well-known to writers around the world.

First off, let’s speak of something known as three act structure.  This is probably one of the most basic of all writing tools that’s used in so many stories that once you start getting heavy into reading the works of others, you’ll recognize it immediately.  Stephen King employed it to good use in most of his novels, particularly with The Stand and IT, and Joss Whedon has used this in both his Avenger movies.

The set up is easy:  the story is broken into three acts, often known as the Setup, the Confrontation and the Resolution.  The Setup is mostly exposition, where the story is set up, the character met, backgrounds laid out, and so on.  The Confrontation is just that:  the challenges are met and things start getting a little dicey.  The last act is the Resolution, where everything is tidied up and the hero–or heroes–walk off into the sunset victorious–or in a case of a couple of kids separated by the continent of Europe, they go home and get sad.

I had this structure in my last night, A For Advanced, because, really, it helped determine how I should sell the book when I sell the book.

I have the same thing in the current novel, 'cause why get rid of a good thing?

I have the same thing in the current novel, ’cause why get rid of a good thing?

The first time I used the three act structure was Kolor Ijo.  My characters meet in the first act and find out what’s happening.  In act two things ramp up, and in act three the move in together and take on the big bad.  That worked well enough that I decided to keep it for The Foundation Chronicles novels, while at the same time divided the story up even further.

In these two novels, acts are broken into parts that are basically a collection of interrelated things.  Let’s look below:

Hey, looks like there's a dance going on.

Hey, looks like there’s a dance going on.

Part Four, Under Pressure, deals with events in Annie’s and Kerry’s lives that affect them in different ways.  Those events becomes chapters, which contain the telling of those events.  Samhain Festivities is an event that’s good for Annie and Kerry together.  The Manor Called is something that affects Annie, and From Queens to Dreams affects Kerry.  The last, Restricted Dreamspace, is something that again affects them both, and sends Annie off asking questions.

And lastly I have scenes, and this seems to be the place where a lot of people look at me and go, “Huh?”  Since I think of my story in somewhat cinematic terms, a scene, to me, is a segment of a chapter relating to a particular event, like one would see in a movie or television show.  Let’s go back to the first Avengers movie.  You start out with the Tesseract acting up and Nick Fury coming to see what the hell is happening; that’s a scene.  Loki appears, gets his meat puppets, and scoots with the loot; that’s a scene.  There’s the chase out of the facility as everyone finished packing their shit and leaving before it all blows up and Loki vanishes with the goods; that’s a scene, and the end of a chapter.

I do the same above.  Kerry finds out he’s on the A Team–scene.  The A Team meets–scene.  They start the race–scene.  They end the race–scene.  Off to the dance and meet the other students–scene.  While Kerry dances, Annie talks–scene.  It’s all part of the festivities, and if I wanted to I could break those up between the Samhain Races and the Samhain Dance, and I may do just that when I get home.  This is why I like Scrivener, because it allows me that freedom, and given that I transition sharply from the race to the dance, it’s possible they could be two separate chapters.

That’s how I do thing, but more importantly, why I do it that way.  It also helps me keep things neat and organized, even if it looks like a huge mess.  Then again, this is what I used project management software to write my novels.

It helps keep the insanity to a minimum.

Frank and Forward

All the tunnel visiting and writing is out of the way, and the shopping is done, and the writing . . . well, it started.  In a way, that is, because yesterday I was tired.  Hiking and visiting and just generally spending the whole day doing something had a strange way of taking things out of me, and for most of Sunday I was sort of out of it.  Plus, I’m going in for electrolysis this morning–I actually leave about seven-fifteen AM to go to my appointment at about eight-thirty–and when I’m through with that horror show it’s back here and off to work, and then dinner with a friend tonight–

Suddenly I’m such the social butterfly.

Also, The Walking Dead Season 1 was on, and I was snaking like crazy.

Also, The Walking Dead Season 1 was on, and I was snaking like crazy.

But I did write last night, though my mind was elsewhere most of the time, and it was tricky trying to get my thoughts together.  I managed six hundred and sixty-eight words, but if you saw the cutting and pasting I needed to bring the scene into line with what I’d heard in my head–oh, man, such a strange thing.  This is why writing on a computer is good, ’cause I would have went through a whole buttload of paper if I were typing this out.

It was a good thing I figured out where these scenes were supposed to go ahead of time.

It was a good thing I figured out where these scenes were supposed to go ahead of time.

What follows is Annie and Deanna have a talk to discuss what’s on Annie’s mind, because by now Deanna is emphatic to Annie’s feelings, and she can tell when Annie wants to talk.  Or did Deanna see this conversation coming ahead of time and knew they were going to talk before they spoke?  That’s the crazy thing with seer:  you can never tell if they’re listening to you because they want to know what you’re going to say, or they already know what you’ve said and they’re being polite.

Anyway . . .

 

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

Annie reached the furniture setting where Kerry and she spent their time during the Midnight Madness. She waited for Deanna to settle herself on the love seat before she sat down on the sofa—their sofa. They’d started to think of this setting as theirs—their chair, their tables, their love seat—but it was their sofa they loved the most. So much love has transpired upon this sofa. She ran her right hand in a small, slow circle against the leather next to her. There is so much more that will happen here as well . . .

Deanna set her sword and shield on the coffee table, then set back and crossed her legs. “There is something on your mind.”

Annie wasn’t surprised that Deanna’s words came out as a statement and not a question. After a year Deanna knew Annie, knew her moods, and was aware of when she wanted to speak privately. “I’ve thought a great deal about our visions of late; the visions Kerry and I have experienced.”

Deanna folded her hands into her lap. “I can see how you would. I would think it almost impossible not to give it much thought.” She set her right elbow against the love seat arm and held her chin with her thumb and finger. “Is there something in those vision that bothers you?”

“Not so much bothers me as . . .” Annie pressed her lips against the back of her fingers while she paused in thought. “Is it possible for part of one vision to be overridden by something that happens in another?”

While Deanna was Salem’s expert on visions, she wanted more information before giving her educated opinion. “You’re referring to something changing in first vision?”

Annie didn’t acknowledge the seer’s question, though she appeared to remain in thought for a few seconds more. “Last year when Kerry and I spoke to Coraline and you about the specifics of our first vision, we mentioned that we knew our wedding night would be our first time . . .” She took a quick, short breath. “Doing that.”

Denna nodded once. “Having sexual relations.”

“Well—” A strange smile spread across Annie’s face. “I like to think of the act that lay ahead of us that night as engaging in physical love.”

“I see what you mean—or I believe I do. Can you elaborate?”

 

Doing that.  The thing that Annie has said they–Kerry and her–shouldn’t talk about.  But Annie knows what she’s talking about, and what she’s bending Deanna’s ear about is, you know, getting down with hubby-to-be-who’ll-was-actually-hubby-then.  But there’s something fairly specific she wants to discuss–

 

“I wonder if what we saw in our second vision—”

Deanna thought this might be the reason for her trepidation. “You feel that what could have transpired in the second vision may affect the first?”

Annie sighed. “You said you watched us pantomime our vision—”

“I heard you speaking, and . . .” Deanna’s right eyebrow shot up as she remembered the last thing that happened before Annie and Kerry came out of their vision. “And saw what you did at the end.”

She didn’t want to keep dancing about: Annie got right to the point. “I believe Kerry and I were going to have have sex.”

Hum.” Deanna rubber her lips. “There are all kinds of sex, and it’s possible—”

Annie shook here head. “The one we’re discussing—the one that Kerry and I will perform on our wedding night—” She looked Deanna in the eyes with an unwavering gaze. “That’s the most intimate, the most important. That’s what I imagine when I think of sex. As for the others . . .” She chuckled. “They’re just fun.”

Whenever Deanna thought Annie couldn’t surprise her, she’d come up with something that would. “I wouldn’t look at it that way—”

“It’s not important: it’s not relevant to what concerns me.” Annie didn’t want to get sidetracked into a discussion on her views on sexual activities and actions. “The second vision felt like Kerry and I were going to do something that would invalidate part of our first vision.” She looked away for a moment and sighed. “Is that possible? Can it happen?”

“That you can Kerry won’t be virgins when you marry?”

“Yes.”

Deanna chose her next words carefully, because she didn’t want to make Annie overwrought. “Do you think it’s possible that either Kerry or you will have—sex with someone else before your marriage?”

 

And, hummmmm.  So now you know:  when Annie thinks of sex, she thinks of it as a particular act, while the rest–eh, it’s for fun!  Okay.

Now, you may says, “She’s only thirteen,” and yes, that’s true, she is.  We’ve already seen, however, that Annie doesn’t appear to have issues with nudity–remember, she’s already discussed dancing around the bonfires with Kerry in front of other people, and told him she’s not that bothered that people will see her–and given this is a girl who’s been thinking about her wedding since like, oh, forever, it doesn’t come as a huge surprise that she’s quite nonchalant about sex.  Annie’s a worldly girl and quite mature for her age, and to try and put her in the same light as other thirteen year old girls would be difficult.

Remember, when it came to actually just sleeping with Kerry in the same bed, she didn’t get all red in the face or jump up and down like she was at a Taylor Swift concert.  She was like, “Kerry, make sure you put your clothes in that dresser.”  Because sharing a bed with the one she loves is natural . . .

Let’s, for a moment, look at Deanna’s reaction as well.  She’s not all shocked, though she is a bit surprised, which is understandable.  Now, imagine if Annie were speaking with Kerry’s mother–ai, yi yi!  Mama Malibey lost her shit over nocturnal emissions and Kerry having the sex talk with a doctor without her permission first, so how is she ever gonna handle Ms. Annie “Those Are Just Fun” Kirilova?  I know exactly when that moment happens, and trust me, it’s gonna be good times all around.

But there is a whole quantum leap of understanding here.  Deanna doesn’t get crazy on Annie:  no, she falls into a frank discussion with the girl.  She treats Annie like an adult, and that may have something to do with her being a coven leader and a counselor, or it could have something to do with maybe Deanna knowing exactly what Annie has done with her magic up to this point.  Or . . . as they were getting ready to return to Europe after the end of the kid’s A Level, Deanna told Erywin Annie and Kerry were still virgins.  As Erywin asked, how did she know?  Probably don’t want to know . . .

But how’s that last for a cliffhanger?  I’m such a bad girl . . .

Climbing Up Under Sideling Hill

As indicated yesterday I was out on “special assignment.”  This is a little different than just road tripping, and it usually means I went somewhere to do some investigating.  My destination this time was a location I’ve visited before:  the Abandoned Pennsylvania Turnpike, just east of Breezewood, PA, and a place I blogged about almost two years ago in my post On The Road to Nowhere. That time I went alone, but this time I was with a friend.

I’ve wanted to return here for a while, but my determination returned when I discovered my newest friend, Holly–a women who works in the same division as me and who is new to the Harrisburg area–wanted to see this place she’d never heard of until I’d spoken.  So . . . road trip?  Of course.  We left The Burg about seven AM and zoomed westward to Breezewood, where breakfast was the first order of the day–

Gril's gotta have her coffee before walking The Road.

Girl’s gotta have her coffee before walking The Road.

Holly giving me that,

Holly giving me that, “We’re gonna get murdered” look.

That last was a running joke we had all during our expedition, that somewhere along the line a serial killer was gonna jump us and leave our bodies on the turnpike.  And, truly, we were the only ones there at first:  when we finally arrived at our first stop, we were the only ones around for miles.

Looking east along the road.

Looking east along the road a famous filming location.

It was quiet save for the sound of bugs and birds, and if you don’t believe me–well, this time I did something I hadn’t the last time:  I shot video.  I put on my Hodgepodge Groupie tee shirt and brought my big tripod–I figured a way to bungie it to my backpack so it wouldn’t slide around–and it was time to get on camera and let you see what we were seeing:

As you can hear, it was quiet.  And you can also tell, I hope, that we were having a bit of morbid fun.  I should also point out that I incorrectly said that Laurel Hill Tunnel is being used by Bobby Rahil Racing:  it’s actually used by Chip Ganassi Racing.  My mistake.

After this it was back in the car and up to the west portal of Sideling Hill tunnel.  If you wondered what it used to look like, here it was during construction:

Nice, clean, and pristine.

Nice, clean, and pristine.

And how it looked when it was in use in the 1950s:

You can almost smell the petrochemiclas being burned.

You can almost smell the petrochemicals being burned.

Today, however, it’s a far different deal, given that it’s been left to the environment and elements for almost forty years.

Sideling Hill Tunnel 07252015005

Abandon All Hope–

Sideling Hill Tunnel 07252015006

Ye Who Approach.

And looking west along a famous filming location.

Looking back to the west from whence we walked.

Here I shot another video, and it’s a bit more creepy, because of things like dripping water, echo, and no one else being around for miles.  No, really:  we were the only ones in the area, and would be for at least another half-hour.

As you can see, and hear, we were staying upbeat, and we were actually joking about a lot.  It was also a lot cooler in the shade where we were standing:  by this time, about ten AM, it was already 90 F/32 C outside.

And all that kidding around about going inside the tunnel–yep, we did go inside.  And not just like fifty feet or so:  we went inside–deep under the mountain.

Here's all that running water leaking from the ceiling.

Here’s all that running water leaking from the ceiling.

Here's what lay ahead of us as we went deeper--

Here’s what lay ahead of us as we went deeper–

And the light we were leaving behind.

And the light we were leaving behind.

Holly totally in charge of keeping the way lit and reading all the grafiti.

Holly totally in charge of keeping the way lit and reading all the graffiti.

Eventually we reached a point far enough inside that it was totally creepy dark and dry–and still completely alone.  And this is where I shot the last video.  And if you don’t like dark spaces, or you get claustrophobic imagining being inside a mountain with tons of rock surrounding you, do not watch this next video.  It wasn’t bad for us, but then, we were there in the first place, so how could it be bad?

As indicated at the end of the video, people finally started showing:  it was two couples on bikes riding in from the west.  As they biked past the comments on how they wondered why we were moving so slow.  Well, because we’re on foot?  Yeah, something like that.

Before we left the deep interior of Sideling Hill–if you didn’t watch the video, we walked about fifteen hundred feet, or about four hundred fifty meters inside–we caught a couple of selfies:

Holly working on her Japanese ghost cosplay.

Holly working on her Japanese ghost cosplay.

Me practicing my remake of the Mama music video.

Me practicing my remake of the Mama music video.

And we did a group shot once we were back in the sunlight–

Tunnel Exploring Babes, Yo!

Tunnel Exploring Babes, Yo!

And Holly does her happy dance as we return to the car:

“Yay, we weren’t murdered!”

I should point out that we tried to make our way over to Ray’s Hill Tunnel, but the only area with close access also seemed to be protected but paranoid hillbillies who may or may not have been up to nefarious things, and the feeling was we should just get the hell out and come back to the other tunnel when it was cooler and we could stand a mile and a half walk.

As it was we still had a nice walk:  1.9 miles, or 3.06 kilometers.

As it was we still had a nice walk: 1.9 miles, or 3.06 kilometers.

On the way back to The Burg we stopped at Sideling Hill service plaza and changed into more comfortable clothes–aka skirts and jumpers–and sped back home to grab lunch before we began hangry–hungry and angry.  There we dined on pretty fine Italian food, and grabbed another picture together because why not?

Also, there were a few adult beverages going down--

Also, there were a few adult beverages going down–

--because that's what you do when you walk out of the Mines of Moria.

–because that’s what you do after you walk out of the Mines of Moria.

There we are:  another successful adventure, and one shared with another person who said she enjoyed herself immensely.

Now . . . what can I do next?

An Short Yet Annoying Interlude

I know you’re here looking for what a promised I’d have right now, but guess what?  It ain’t here.  And it’s not because I didn’t finish the scene last night, because I totally did.

I even put in other scenes to blabber on about as well.

I even put in other scenes to blabber on about as well.

Yes, I wrote twelve hundred and fifty words exactly last night and put the main Dance Away scene to bed–along with me, because it was close to eleven-thirty when I finally went to sleep.  I showed the rest of the children who are in the notes, what they were wearing, identified them, and then . . . we found out who Annie and Kerry had come as for the dance.  Oh, yeah.  Great times.

However . . . I have a special assignment for this morning, and because it take some time to put together everything with the proper images and accompanying snark, and because I’m supposed to be on the road in, let me check the clock, fifty minutes at six-forty in the AM, I figured I’d work on that post when I return from my travails.

Yes, you get two posts today!  Aren’t you the lucky ones?

In the mean time you can guess away all you like about my kid’s costumes, and you can wonder at whatever I’m implying with the titles of the sub-scenes shown in the image above.  Needless to say, I think the one between Annie and Deanna will likely generate the most comments, because . . . well, they’re talking about love, aren’t they?

But with me you never know what you’re getting:  I say one thing, and in my mind I’m thinking something completely different.  It’s one of the advantages of being the writer:  you are supposed to know what’s going on, and you leave the readers guess right up until the moment when you give them what you want.

I’m looking forward to writing that next scene, because it’s one that’s come to me over the course of the last week, and what would the school year be without Annie and Deanna having a heart-to-heart.  Actually, they have a couple of heart-to-hearts, because Deanna likes to listen, and Annie . . . give her the chance and she loves to talk.  And it must be something about which she can’t talk to Kerry about.

It must be serious.

It’s six on the nose and I’m ending the post now.  I’ll see you all later in the evening.

Play nice, kids.

The Samhain Dance: Stump the Geeks

Well, that was interesting . . .

Last night, I mean.  Not so much today, but last night, it just seems to go on and on, and it was hard getting into the swing of writing, probably because I’m looking things up as I go.  You’d think I’d know to have these things laid out ahead of time before I start, right?

But I still got it going, and I ended up with just about the same totals I’ve had the prior two nights:

 

Words 07/21/2015: 724
Words 07/22/2015: 895
Words 07/23/2015: 794

 

That’s what you have to call consistency.  I have a feeling I’ll hit close to nine hundred or so tonight, because I’m envisioning ending the scene tonight, then starting this post late in the evening so it will auto-post in the morning, because–believe it or not–I have to be on the road by about six forty-five in the AM tomorrow.  Why?  You’ll probably find out Sunday.

As for the eight hundred words that follow–do they advance the plot?  Nope.  A little information is given, but it’s a big of character building.  I love character building.  And as the title points out, there’s some stumpin’ going on . . .

 

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

Alex smiled before looking over her shoulder to snort. “At least you were good racer on your side.”

“Yeah, well . . .” Nadine looked about for her racing team mates. “I race clean ‘cause I don’t want to fly off a broom at a couple of hundred kilometers an hour.”

“Neither do I.” Penny shrugged. “I only got pissy with people on my own team today. Though . . .” Her eyes fell upon a mass of red hair a dozen meters away. “I was about to kick one ginger girl’s ass today.”

Annie looked in the same direction as everyone else, where Emma stood speaking with a few of the Mórrígan warriors who would soon venture forth to do battle with the Åsgårdsreia shield maidens. She glanced at Kerry, who stood showing no emotion. After their discussion while returning from The Diamond he’d not said a word about her or the races, his only mention of the event had been to promise Annie that he’d not go on about the events of the Mórrígan race, or let them bother him. He’s put it behind him—one way in which he’s not like my father . . .

“Who is she suppose to be?” Jairo scratched his head. “Kerry, you seemed to know these things—”

He did know who she was. “She’s Ginny Weasley.”

“I thought she was Hermione?”

“Nope. Hair’s straight for one, and—” Kerry pointed in her direction. “That’s a Gryffindor quidditch uniform she’s got on. Hermione didn’t play quidditch.”

Penny stared at the floor, shaking her head. “You gotta be kidding. How lame.”

 

Man, feel the Emma hate.  And given how the other racers as Salem feel about the magical sport of quidditch–which is to say, they think it’s laughable–it’s not an easy time tonight.  Plus–a witch pretending to be a witch?  M’kay.

"I'm a witch, and I fly a broom, too!  Watch me throw a block."

“I’m a witch, and I fly a broom, too! Watch me throw a block.”

Emma may be in for a hard time on the course, is all I’m gonna say . . .

However, someone comes along to help out a little on her behalf, and to answer some questions:

 

“Now, now.” Erywin joined the group. She wore a long, bright robe and a dark cloak, and sandals. She carried a spear in her left hand, and her arms and legs were covered in runic tattoos. The group parted as she stepped alongside Jessica. “Miss Neilson can’t be held responsible for her costume, for it’s my understanding she came up with it on her own rather than asking for ideas—” She nodded towards Kerry. “—as she had last year.”

Kerry remained quiet, not wanting to get drawn into the discussion. Alex had other ideas, however. “Professor, may I—”

“Erywin, please.” She slowly shook her head. “I left the professor title in my room for the evening.”

“Erywin, then. Did you do anything about how she raced today?”

Penny spoke up. “Yeah, she pulled some heinous shite out on the course today.”

“I spoke with her.” Nadine put her hands on her hips while her dragon friend flapped its wings once before hunkering down. “I’m team captain, and it’s my duty to let a team member know if their actions during a race were warranted.”

That wasn’t good enough for Penny. “And if she doesn’t listen to you?”

“Then I step in.” Erywin lay her spear across her chest. “And if I have to step in, someone’s gonna get their arse ripped open.”

“Yeah—” Kerry chuckled. “Don’t mess with Boudica.”

Erywin’s arms slipped to her side. “How did you know?”

Annie decided to answer, because she’d figured out the answer almost as soon as she saw the instructor. “Celtic warrior queen often associated with the goddess Mórrígan, which happens to be—” She set the tip of her left index finger under her chin. “Your coven, I believe?”

Kerry slipped an arm around Annie and tilted his head towards his left. “What she said.”

 

It’s bad enough getting outed by Kerry, but when Annie is owning you–well, it’s not good.

Who was Boudica?  Only one of the most bad ass queens who lived.  A member of the British Iceni tribe, the Romans made the mistake of taking her kingdom when her husband died, flogging her, raping her daughter and her, and then calling in their loads.  At that point she said, “You wanna know what my business is?  Killing is my business–and business is good,” and proceed to burn Roman shit down.  By the time she died on at The Battle of Watling Street–either by taking poison, from a cold, or killed in battle, depending on who’s telling the story–seventy to eighty thousand people were killed, and her army sacked and burned three settlements, including Londinium, and ended Roman rule in the south of England for about four hundred years.

A Disney Princess she wasn’t.

"Don't hate me because I'm beautiful; hate me because I'm about to hang your ass from a cross."

“Don’t hate me because I’m beautiful; hate me because I’m about to nail your ass to a cross.”

But wait!  Time for another coven leader to put in an appearance–

 

“Maybe I’ll have better luck.” Deanna slipped up behind Erywin before stepping around her. Her costume was an elaborate warrior’s suit of armor, with dark leggings and undershirt worn under form-fitting armor across her torso and hips. She had gauntlets on both wrists, and her flat boots were fitted with guards that protected her knees. She carried a sword in a scabbard across her back, and held a small shield in her left hand.

“Well.” Annie’s eyebrows shot upward. “Quite a difference from last year.”

“My students have been after me to try something different.” The seer cocked her head to the right as she glanced towards Kerry. “Well?”

He stood silently for about three seconds before a smile began to form upon his face. “You gotta try harder, Lady Sif.”

Deanna shifted her eyes to her right to take in her fellow coven leaders. “He’s good.”

Jessica nodded. “Good thing he’s with us.”

“Good thing they’re both with us.” Erywin nodded towards Deanna while speaking to Kerry. “How did you know?”

“The look of the armor and the sheath on the back is right out of the movie. Plus Sif is a shield maiden, and . . .” He nodded towards Annie—

—Who immediately picked up on the clue. “Aren’t all shield maidens found in Åsgårdsreia Coven?”

Kerry nodded. “You guys—I’m on a roll. What can I say?”

“Maybe I can stop that roll.”

 

And Annie tips it in again!  But, yes:  Deanna showing up as another Marvel character, Lady Sif of Asgard, who I do not hide my admiration for, even if she is a fictional character.  The outfit does fit with her coven’s rep–because Åsgårdsreia Coven is the home of the Shield Maidens–and it’s also a modest outfit, which is keeping in what Deanna likes to wear–

"Read your fortune?  Run you through?  Makes no different to me."

“See your future? Run you through? Could be both are one and the same.”

But who is coming to break up the Lovey Dovey Couple’s streak?  Ha!  I know, but you don’t, at least not until tomorrow.  And we still don’t know what they’re wearing, do we?

Looking at the list, and . . . nope.  Still being a cliffhanger Nazi.

Looking at the list, and . . . nope.  Looks like I’m still a cliffhanger Nazi.

The Samhain Dance: Of Costumes and Congratulations

This installment was one of those I didn’t think was going to come off last night.  Why?  Because I didn’t start writing until about nine-thirty, due to the fact I was involved in a video chat with someone I know, and we were discussing dieting options.  It went on longer than I imagined, but hey, those thing happen.  I’m going to be jammed up a bit this coming weekend, and thing will turn hectic on the writing front.

But I’ll still be here.  Somehow.

Oh, and I finally shaved my head last night.  Now my wig stays right to my head with no moving around.  It’s something I’ve meant to do for a while, and now it’s done.  And, no:  there won’t be pictures.  Well, maybe a video . . .

Now the other people are starting to show up in the story, and that means you’ll start seeing costumes, of which I have a list because that’s how I roll.  Shall we begin, then?

 

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

They looked up in time as Nadine approached wearing a black and yellow-gold jumpsuit. Her red hair was layered around her shoulders, and something that looked like a small purple dragon sat upon her shoulder. “I was wondering when you’d show—” She stopped and gave both Annie and Kerry a careful examination. “Interesting outfits.”

“Thanks.” Kerry gave the “I could say the same thing—Kitty.” He looked up at the creature sitting on Nadine’s shoulder. “How you doing, Lockheed?”

Nadine chuckled at the dragon spoke using a combination of tweets, whistles, and chortles. “He says hi.”

Annie found herself impressed by Nadine’s outfit—and the dragon on her shoulder, which she figured was a homunculus. “Who are you supposed to be?”

Nadine looked to Kerry. “You want to tell her?”

He should his head. “I think I already did.”

Nadine turned her eyes upwards. “Yeah, you did.” She smiled at Annie. “I’m Kitty Pryde, and this—” She held up a gloved hand for the purple dragon to rub its face against. “—is Lockheed. He’s my best bud—aren’t you, dude?” The dragon spoke in the same gibberish language as before, seeming pleased and content.

Kerry filled in the blanks for Annie, figuring that she had no idea what they were saying. “Kitty’s a mutant—one of the X Men—just like the character Nadine played last year. You know how Wednesday’s call sign is Shadowcat ‘cause she can do phasing magic?”

“Yes.”

“Well—” He motioned towards Nadine. “Meet the real Shadowcat.”

 

Nadine seems to have a thing for playing comic book mutants, which probably means she reads comic books.  As Kerry stated, Kitty can phase through any material–walk through walls, if you will, just like Wednesday has shown she can do.  As for the creature on her shoulder . . . yeah, Lockheed, an alien who becomes Kitty’s best friend and companion, and who actually begins drinking heavily in one comic when it looks as if Kitty has died–which if you know the Marvel universe is almost always a load of bullshit.

A mutant girl and her dragon are never parted.

A mutant girl and her alien dragon are never parted.

His existence at the party will get mentioned, though it seems Annie is on the right track . . .

Now someone else shows up–

 

“Yeah, only I can’t do the same stuff Wednesday does, at least not yet.” Nadine shrugged. “I should start getting that this year.”

Annie looked forward to the day she would learn Phasing. Her mother once told her that she’d learned enough to be able to push small object through walls, but she’d always been too worried about something going wrong if she’d tried moving through a wall herself. “I hope Wednesday starts showing how that works; I’m eager to try.”

“Oh, I figured you would.” Nadine looked them both over once again. “Who are you supposed to be?”

“I was wondering that myself.” Jessica walked over dressed in a light, flowing white gown modified to allow her the use of her eight arms, four on each side of her torso. “I have to say I like the hair. Who did them?”

Annie pushed her aqua hair back from her shoulders. “Kerry did his, I did mine.” She reached over and mussed his now-bright blond locks. “This was one of the first things he taught me.”

“I see.” Jessica took a step closer to the couple. “Did you do something to your noses?”

“Thinned them out just a touch.” Kerry took in his Advanced Transformation instructor’s costume. “Are you Tou Mu?”

Jessica straighted a touch. “I’m impressed. Most people have guessed Kali.”

“Kali had four arms, not eight. And you’ve a star in one hand and the sun in another. Plus—” His hand moved up and down, as if he were tracing something upon Jessica. “Outfit’s all wrong for Kali, but not for a Chinese deity.”

Nadine looked down while shaking her head. “How do you know this stuff?”

“Learned it from a role playing game first, and then read more after that.” He shrugged. “Isn’t that what you did?”

“Kinda.” Nadine chewed her lower lip for a few seconds. “Comics with me, then started reading stuff on the Internet.”

Annie tugged at Kerry’s jacket sleeve. “Here they come.”

 

Jessica with eight arms–neat trick, but when you’re the Mistress of Transformation, anything is possible.  And Kerry is right:  you can learn about these things from role playing games, ’cause that’s where I first heard of Tou Mu, and then I went and looked her up.  By the way, Jessica didn’t change her complexion this year, so she’s straight-up dark Chinese deity.

She also doesn't look as if she came off a woodcarving.

She also doesn’t look as if she came off a woodcarving.

But now, there’s someone else.  Who is this “they” Annie speaks of coming?

 

“I see.” He raised his right hand in greeting. “Greetings, floor mates.”

Penny waved back. “Hail to you—” She stuffed her hands in the pockets of her black leather jacket. “Strange costumed creatures.” She turned to Jairo on her left. “You figure them out yet?”

“Are you kidding?” His shrug was almost hidden in the folds of his World War II military coat. “Bad enough they got that secret lab in the lower levels to work on their stuff.”

Annie giggled. “Can’t be much of a secret if you know where it’s at.” She smiled as she nodded in Alex’s direction. “You must be Rose, yes?” She already knew Penny was dressed as the Ninth Doctor from the show Doctor Who, and that Jairo had come as Jack Harkness from both Doctor Who and Torchwood. She’d gotten enough clues from Kerry to figure out Alex was dressed as one of the Doctor’s Companions.

Alex tugged on her Union Jack tee shirt. “Of course; just don’t ask me to speak in English accent.”

“You don’t want to hear it.” Penny shook her head. “It’s horrible.”

“I only have to pretend to be English girl—” She ran her fingers through her bangs. “At least I have proper hair.”

Kerry leaned towards Annie. “And it’s not even peroxided.”

Alex stuck out her tongue. “Which means I’m better than English girl.”

Oi.” Penny rolled her eyes before the three students moved closer to Jessica, Nadine, and their covermates. She faced Nadine. “By the way, I didn’t get the chance before, but congratulations on your win.”

“Thanks.” Nadine’s win came during Stage Two when Mórrígan raced against Cernunnos. “And congratulations on your two seconds.” She shook Penny’s hand before shaking Alex’s. “And a third, fourth, and fifth for you.” She shifted glances between all three of the Cernunnos fliers. “All of you; that was some racing out there today.”

 

So now their covenmates appear, and they look like they’re right out of An Empty Child:

And if you don't think Kerry won't say the trademark expression from this episode, you don't know me.

And if you don’t think Kerry won’t say the trademark expression from this episode, you don’t know me.

Also, for the first time we see someone crossplaying, as they say in the biz, ’cause Penny is being Penny, and she certainly wasn’t changed into a skinny white dude like Chris in the Middle in the above image.  Nope, she’s just being her awesome self playing a character neither her gender or ethnicity because she can.

So there we have nine hundred words of the scene continued, and that was enough to push the story over ninety-five thousand words.  And it allowed me to mark off people on my costume list:

Can't tell the characters without a--you know the rest.

Can’t tell the characters without a–you know the rest.

That’s the list of everyone who’ll be seen and/or mentioned, and they all have costumes.  I had to stretch my brain just a little to find something for everyone, and I have to say I did a good job.

Notice, though, that you still haven’t seen what Annie and Kerry are wearing.  Oh, sure, there are hints, but nothing for sure.

Maybe tomorrow I’ll show you.  Maybe.