Springtime For Kerry: Ostara Overview

It’s that time again, kiddies:  the One Chapter Ends Another Begins time.  You know how this works, because I’ve done it so many times before.  However, this time it wasn’t all story writing–I had to plan things out again.

Lookie here:

Did you Lookie Here?  Good for you.

Did you Lookie Here? Good for you.

If you did look at the above image you’ll see a new file on the left, in what we who use Scrivener call “The Binder”, that says “Ostara Round Robin Race.”  Yep, it’s that time again as well:  another big race.  Well, I did tell you there was gonna be a lot of flying in this part.  Though this chapter isn’t so much about racing as it is about something else–though for the life of me I can’t seem to recall the word.  Some writer I am, huh?

Here we are, Saturday, 23 March, 2013–that’s the time in the book–and we focus on Kerry.  Again.  This kid’s getting a lot of screen time of late . . .

 

All excerpts from The Foundation Chronicles, Book Two: B For Bewitching, copyright 2015, 2016 by Cassidy Frazee)

Kerry walked out of the Cernunnos Ready Room and headed for the stairs to the lower levers of The Diamond where he knew Annie waited. As with all races, no one but A Team members were allowed in the team ready room areas, though friends of the racers and “fans” were allowed to wait two levels down where they could meet the team members and walk with them to either the track infield if they were ready to begin a heat, or to the paddocks where they waited their turn to race.

In Kerry’s case he was heading for the infield with the rest of the team. Today was Ostara, the spring celebration with events put on by Annie’s and his coven, the largest of which was the Ostara Pageant, where members of the school were given the opportunity to show off their talents. Just like the year before Kerry was performing—though not with Nadine, who was performing a piece of her own, though they’d worked worked together on their performances together so they could encourage and critique each other.

But now wasn’t the time to think about music: it was time to race, and he was heading towards something with which he had some experience. Today’s event was a round robin competition, much like the one he participated in on Samhain. It was the last big racing event before the final race of the season, and it was conducted in the same way as the Samhain round robin. At this point in the season the coven standings were almost the same as they were five months before: Mórrígan was in the lead and Åsgårdsreia was second. The difference now was that Cernunnos was only four points behind Åsgårdsreia, and a good showing today could tighten up the margin between the two covens.

The biggest changes were in the personal standings. Though Nadine remained in the lead, in the two weeks since Katahdin Penny had won the race following the huge cross country event and finished third the following week. Because Rivânia had a horrendous race the week following Katahdin—she managed a sixth by a three second margin—Penny was currently in second place in the Individual standing, though her lead over Rivânia was only two points. Neither girl thought they had a chance at catching Nadine—who was twenty-four points ahead of Penny—both had spoken privately about racing each other hard but cleanly for the rest of the season, and that neither would do anything underhanded to prevent the other from taking the number two position on the final Individual podium.

Kerry position had improved as well. During the same races that Penny finished first and third, he finished third in the first and second the following race. He was now in fifth place, three points ahead of Alex, and only seven points behind fourth place Rezi Lahood from Åsgårdsreia. Rezi was sixteen points behind Rivânia, which meant that just as Penny and Rivânia believed they didn’t have a chance to catch first place, the two girls and Kerry didn’t believe they had a legitimate shot at third.  And just as his Advanced Spells classmates did, Alex and he spoke with the Lebanese girl and gave assurances that while they’d race hard they’d race clean, and that they wouldn’t do anything to jeopardize each other while on the course.

The discussions among the top fire racers meant Kerry had no worries about anything nefarious happening during today’s races, or the races remaining over the next month. He didn’t even—

“Kerry.” Nadine flagged him down as she headed towards the same staircase from the opposite direction.

He waved back but waited until they were within a couple of meters of each other other before speaking. “What’s up?”

“You got a few minutes?” She pulled him aside so not to block the other team members making their way downstairs.

“Sure.” He gave is classmate and friend a smile. “What’s up?”

 

Pointed out is the fact that it’s three weeks after the big cross country race–Katahdin was help 5 March, and this is 23 March–and Penny and Kerry have done well for themselves.  And there’s been a lot of discussions between the racers at the top to keep things clean between them–something that does happen in the real world.  Well, more or less, because there are times when a couple of racers may decide to say “Fuck it” and start wrecking each other because reasons–

Why does the team captain from one team want to speak with a member of another team?  Maybe there’s something important?  Maybe became there’s a warning.  Maybe because Nadine’s also a ginger and she wants to compare hair with Kerry?  I do think I took all the gingers who couldn’t get into Hogwarts and put them in my school, don’t you think?  Oh, and have you noticed they’re all American?  Yeah, strange how that works.

So tune in tomorrow, kids.  It’ll be fun, it’ll be informitive.

And you’re gonna learn something about the big Katahdin race as well . . .

Dark Witch Truths

Yesterday was the whole, “Kerry’s in the hospital again and everyone’s coming by to see how he’s doing and up pops Emma,” scene, and it ended up with a lot of–let’s just say a variety of emotions are sort of swirling about right now.  The least of which are coming from Emma, who probably thinks she should have rethought this moment in her life:

"Is now--or like any time in the next six months--a bad time?"

“Is now–or like any time in the next six months–a bad time?”

Last night I wrote sixteen hundred words for this part of the scene, and that’s something I’ve not done in a hell of a long time.  And get what?  You get to see it all.  Because this is a moment a lot of people have waited for . . .

 

All excerpts from The Foundation Chronicles, Book Two: B For Bewitching, copyright 2015, 2016 by Cassidy Frazee)

A bit of redness crept into Emma’s cheeks as she looked towards the floor. “Thanks.”

“You ran a hard race—” Kerry’s tone turned towards the sarcastic. “—and you had only two speed penalties for rough racing. At least you were able to come in third.” He folded his hand over his lap as he tone turned cold. “Oh wait: you didn’t come in third. I did.”

Emma swallowed hard but didn’t look up. “Kerry—”

He cut her off before finding out what she wanted to say. “I had time penalties: I admit it. I even told Vicky I knew I was using magic during the race, and that she had to do what she needed to do.” He snorted. “I knew it was gonna screw me at the end, but I didn’t try to dance around then. I blew a gate and I used magic illegally. I own that, okay?” When it became evident his wingmate wasn’t going to say anything, Kerry continued onward. “What the hell is wrong with you, Emma?”

She appeared almost frightened when she looked up. “I didn’t mean it—”

Don’t tell me that.”

Annie watched Kerry closely, noticing how he handled himself. He didn’t shout at Emma; there wasn’t any need, for his anger was evident in the low grow of his words. Annie had seen him like this once before: when he questioned Lisa while she was under the control of his Draught of Submission. He’s fully aware of what he’s doing: he’s completely in control. She kept her face frozen, but inside Annie’s smile was bright and wide. He’s acting as a sorceress would; he’s being my Dark Witch.

 

Before we get into the whole “He’s my Dark Witch” thing, allow me to explain their penalty system:

Certain things done on the course require a set time penalty that are added to the racer’s finally finish time once they cross the start/finish line for the last time.  Blowing an elevation gate is a five second penalty; using magic on yourself while on the course–save for certain things like flipping up your visor or retracting your genitals–is a ten second penalty, and crafting a spell at someone an firing it off can get you anything from a minute to getting pulled off the track.

However, there are certain things that involve a speed penalty, which is simply a matter of Race Control telling you to throttle back your broom for a set amount of time and cruse at that speed until they tell you to go again.  Rough racing is one of those things that can get you a speed penalty, and that’s totally a judgement call on the part of Race Control, because bumps and grinds do happen on the course, and it’s up to Vicky to decide if someone needs a little less speed.

Kerry blew a gate and used magic on the course:  that’s fifteen seconds of time added to his final finishing time.  Emma was called for rough racing, and as you see she was called on it a second time during the race.  Some might say she was gaming the system a little bit, because if you get called on it a third time one can find themselves getting a time penalty thrown at them as well.

This is why the Unofficial Time for the Katahdan finish looks like this:

Which, you know, I just happened to have.

With all the pretty penalties.

And once the time penalties are added in, the Official Times for the race look like this:

Once again proving Time is a Tyrant.

Once again proving Time is a Tyrant.

Kerry had fifteen seconds of penalties, and when you add that to finishing seventy-eight seconds behind Nadine, it gives him a final interval time of ninety-three second, which puts him behind Emma by three seconds and ahead of Alex by five.  If Alex had been a little faster, or Kerry a little slower, or racked up another five seconds of penalties, he’d might dropped to fifth.  And just so you know, if he’d tied Alex he’d have still gotten forth, because he’s ahead of Alex in the standings due to wins, podium finishes, and top-5s.  Consistency has it’s place.

So now you know how this works out–and you’re about to know one more thing.  And this is the answer to a question that a lot of people apparently ask . . .

 

Kerry cleared his throat and shifted as much as he could with his knee immobilized. “Do you know why I fly with you?”

Emma finally looked up, and Annie and Kerry noticed her eyes growing misty with tears. “No.”

“I fly with you because you are the best. You know what to do when we’re out, you know what what could happen to us. When we’re flying together, I know how to anticipate your actions, and you can do the same with me. I fly with you because I’m one of the best, and I only want to fly with someone who I know is just as good. I’ve had people ask me, ‘Why do you fly with that crazy bitch?’ And that’s what I tell them: my wingmate is one of the best fliers, and I trust her to do the right things. And I do—but only when we’re flying.

“But when we’re racing?” Kerry gave a disgusted snort. “No I don’t. When you race, it’s like Crazy Emma comes out—the evil twin who doesn’t give a shit about anything but winning.” Kerry hadn’t sworn much in front of Emma, and she recoiled when he did it this time. “You don’t care about anything when you’re on the track—” He became more animated, using his arms to gesture while his tone remained constant. “All you want to do is win, and you’ll do anything to get to the finish line first. And if that means racing a little hard, that’s what you do. Only in your case—” His tone turned sarcastic once again. “You haven’t figured out the different between racing hard and racing dangerous. You think racing hard means putting someone off the course so they miss a gate, or into a safety enchantment so they slow up—or wreck—”

Emma began shaking her head as she pleased with her eyes. “I don’t—”

You do. It’s one thing to bump someone now and then when you’re racing, and it’s another to just run into them and get them out of your way. You didn’t bump into me today: you ran me over.” He sighed. “Do you know anything about racing in the Normal world? Have you ever watched Formula 1 or NASCAR?”

She shook her head. “No.”

“Then you don’t know what happens when a new person comes up and they decide they gotta win at all costs.” A smirk began to form on Kerry’s face. “They lose all their friends on the track. They have people gang up on them. They turn into the ‘bad guy’.” He pierced Emma with cold stare. “Is that what you wanna be? The Bad Girl of Salem Racing? I don’t think you want that, and even if you did you couldn’t pull it off, ‘cause you’d suck at it.” He once again set his hands in his lap as he settled back. “Nadine wants to see you before you guys go to the Midnight Madness, doesn’t she?”

 

Like it or not, Kerry sees there are two Emmas.  The first Emma is a great flier and has it together when she’s in the air, and she works well with her navigator.  This is something we’ve seen back on PEI during the first overnight flight, when these two worked out a route home in about the same amount of time it takes me to figure out what I’m going to wear in the morning.  They click; they are on the same wavelength.

And then there’s a second Emma who’s some crazy bitch with a “Win It All!” attitude who will push anyone out of her way–including her wingmate, whose life she’s gonna have to place her hands one of these days when they’re in the wilds of Canada.  Second Emma doesn’t think, and that’s what Kerry doesn’t like about her.  Racing isn’t just about winning, ’cause who wants to win all the time if they are burning bridges as they go along?

This is what Kerry knows, just as he knows her team captain wants to speak with her . . .

 

She nodded slowly as a certain awareness crept into her eyes. “Yes. How did—?”

“—I know? Because Riv and she were by earlier to see how I was doing. A lot of people came by to see how I was doing.” Kerry sat forward and finally raised his voice as he spoke. “I’ve got more friends on other teams than you have on your team. And you’re losing the few you have.” He sighed as he slightly collapsed inward. “If you don’t change you’re gonna get out on the track next season you’re gonna find yourself out there racing alone. No one’s gonna help you, no one’s gonna cut you slack. You’re gonna be out there all alone.” Though he spoke softer, Kerry’s tone didn’t waver. “Is that what you want?”

A few tears began streaming down Emma’s cheeks. “No.”

“I don’t know what Nadine’s gonna say to you, but I can bet she’s gonna ream you out. She’s gonna tell you to get it together, or you can get off the team—”

Emma wiped her face. “Are you sure?”

Kerry looked like he was about to jump out of bed. “Annie and I have class with her and Riv, and Nadine and I are working on our Ostara presentations together. Yeah, I’m sure. And you know what she’s gonna say as well, ‘cause you’re not stupid.” The cold stare and matching tone returned. “You need to fix this, and now. Otherwise you’ll probably never stand on a podium again.”

 

Again, Second Emma isn’t smart.  She doesn’t realize that Kerry’s not only friends with one captain from another race time, but two: Rivânia is the Åsgårdsreia team captain as well.  No, Emma isn’t smart, and Kerry’s about to give her the final cut.

 

The tears were flowing now and Emma found it difficult speaking through the sobs. “You right; I know you are.” She stared at the floor once more. “I’ll fix it, I promise.”

“You better . . .” Kerry took a deep breath as he leaned forward. “I’m gonna say one last thing, and after this we won’t talk about it ever again; I won’t bring it up, and if you try I’ll blow you off. Look at me—” Emma slowly raised her head. “Anna came with Nadine and Riv, and she said that from where she was positioned she thought you slid into me on purpose. I didn’t want to believe that, but you know me: give me time and I’ll over-analyze everything.

“Even if you came into Pond fast, you could have slowed enough that you could have diamonded that turn. I know you could because I could. In fact I would have done the same but Anna was there and I wasn’t in the right spot to pull it off. You didn’t have that problem, though.

“So from now on, until you fix the way you fly and prove you aren’t gonna be a danger to anyone, any time I see you coming my way I’m gonna assume you’re gonna do something stupid that’ll probably wreck me.” Emma’s tears began flowing more freely. “And I’m going to do what is necessary to keep that from happening—and if that means having to stick you in a safety enchantment, I will.” His tone turned dark. “And you know I can, ‘cause when it comes to both flying and racing, we both know as good as you are, I’m better.”

Kerry ignored his wingmate’s distress as he pushed home his last point. “I’ll keep flying with you. I’ll do snipe hunts, I’ll do overnight flights, I’ll even do the Polar Express. But I don’t have to do them as your friend. People work together all the time who may not really like each other that much, and that’s the way it might be with us.” He drew in a slow, deep breath. “It’s called being a professional. I would rather fly with you as a friend I can trust, but if I can’t, I can be a professional and do this to get through class.” He shrugged. “It depends on what you want to do, Emma. It’s all on you.”

It took several seconds for Emma to control her crying. She forced herself to stop and composed herself. “Okay, I . . .” She gulped several times as she sniffed back the remnants of her tears. “I’ll fix this, I will. I promise.”

Kerry lay back. “We’ll see.”

Emma nodded. “Yeah, I . . .” She glanced off to her left. “I, uh, better go find Nadine—”

 

There you go:  Kerry’s letting her know that he knows she didn’t just “slide into him.”  He’s called her on his bullshit, and has told her that if she keeps it up, he’s gonna start giving her a few racing lessons, and you can believe he knows how to hurt her on the track without it coming back to bite him too hard.  He won’t like it, but you know, sometimes you gotta be the Dark Witch and show those other witches who the hell they’re messing with.

This is also one of those rare times where Kerry comes right out and says, “I’m better and you know it.”  He doesn’t like to brag or show off, and for him to tell his wingmate that he’s better and she knows it–that’s his polite way of letting her know if she tries to play him in the future, he’s gonna, you know, fuck her up.  But he says it politely.  Yeah.

Well, that’s all over.  Kerry’s had his say and Emma can be on her way–

 

Wait.”

Emma’s head snapped around as the privacy curtain extended across the bay and slammed shut with a lout snap. Annie was out of her chair and half-way around the bed when she crafted a privacy field and set it against the inside of the curtain. “Kerry may not care if anyone else in the hospital hears what he has to say—” She cleared the bed and walked towards Emma, who slowly backed into the space between the curtain and Bed #1 and stopped backing up when she hit the wall. Annie moved right up to her and only stopped when they were toe-to-toe. “—but what I have to say remains between us three.

 

You know, when Annie starts off a conversation by locking your ass in the hospital bay with her, things are probably not going to get much better from that point on . . .

You're gonna make Annie angry; you don't want to do that--

“Emma . . . let’s talk.”

Timing the Trips Once More

Morning to all out in Blog Reading Land.  I’ve been a bad girl again, but not really.  I was thinking about writing last night, but after taking my shot and getting in a nap and then finding I had a real Need For Sweets, I headed out, had wine and cheesecake and another small libation to go with dessert, all the while speaking with someone I know.

You know what this mean:  no novel work last night.  Bad me.  And here I have ten AM appointment to get my nails done, so little writing from here unto the afternoon.

That doesn’t mean I haven’t been working.

Since I was up at seven I decided it was better to start getting into my time lines and begin making adjustments there before I started writing.  And that has been the plan up until about twenty minutes ago.  Yes, I’ve been a busy little beaver getting some of those fixed.  Not everything, mind you, because there’s a lot out there to do.  For example . . .

Is this what I think it is?  Probably.

Is this what I think it is? Probably.

Believe it or not, those green lines under “Book Events” are the time frames covered by each of the novels:  the ones finished, in progress, and to come.  There’s a lot more here that you don’t see–part of which are the events in the A Level book that you see to the left–but I’ve got my times worked out.  More or less.

There has been a bit more work on this line because something I changed here affected another time line:  I have lines within lines, remember?  That meant it was necessary to bring up the other line and begin making adjustments there, and while I was at it I figured that something that was on the second time line needed major changing because of something changed in the first time line.  Does that make sense?  Probably not, but keep in mind that from point of view I’m sort of time traveling here, and one little tweak on one time line blows up event later on in another time line.

Is that why I'm figuring out a route between Germany and Austria?  You'll have to wait and see.

Is that why I’m figuring out a route between Germany and Austria? You’ll have to wait and see.

This isn’t even the major work I discussed the other day where I started I needed to work on a new line.  I may do that work tomorrow afternoon because I don’t actually have anything planed, so why not get in there and start playing with time and locations?  I actually know most of the locations, it’s just a matter of plugging in times.  And in doing this I need to make a major change on my main time line because reasons, that’s why.

Who knew playing with time could be such fun?

I’ll continue the novel this afternoon after I get my nails all prettied up, but I will leave you with this:  I have an important anniversary coming up this Tuesday, and I want to look good for it, so I picked out the outfit, which involves an skirt I picked up yesterday.  And it is–

Excuse the Resting Bitch Face, but that's how I usually look.

Excuse the Resting Bitch Face, but that’s how I usually look.

Given that it’s supposed to be in the 45 F/7 C on that day, I may just be brave and go bare legged.  We’ll see.

Anyway, off to get the nails done.  Ta!

The Agony of the Finish

Last night was something of a first for me, because I did a couple of things I haven’t done in a while.  First, I started and finished a scene in one sitting.  Second, in doing the first, I wrote almost two thousand words.  Well, it was more like eighteen hundred and fifty, but you get where I’m coming from:  I haven’t done that in a while.  I did it by kickin’ it old school:  lots of music, most of it of the older variety, like 60s and 70s, and just kept pushing myself to get it done.

And done I did get it.

The vibe in this scene is far different it that it’s not all Kerry out there in the snow and cold all by himself.  Racing at this joint is a lonely affair, and it’s been proven because you don’t race with others on this course, you race the course, and that means you race alone.

Here you go:  all of the scene in it’s depressing glory:

 

All excerpts from The Foundation Chronicles, Book Two: B For Bewitching, copyright 2015, 2016 by Cassidy Frazee)

If it weren’t for the fact he was on the last lap negotiating the last major turn on the last section of the Katahdan course, Kerry would have DNFed and headed for the paddock. He wasn’t prepared for the stress the race placed upon him, and over the last twenty minutes he’d fought with the cold, he’d fought with the messy and at times impossible-to-see course, with the constant stop and goes and left and rights—but most of all he’d fought to ignore the throbbing in his left knee. Though he couldn’t prove it, he was certain the initial collision on Lap 1 tore the outer ligaments, and over the course of Lap 2 and 3 he’d torn the other two sets.

It didn’t matter: at the moment his knee was engulfed in flame that has found its way up his thigh and into his hip. He was tired of the pain. He’d raced hurt in other school races, but never for nearly two hundred and seventy-five kilometers, and Kerry was continuing on fueled by endorphins, adrenaline, and sheer willpower, and the same mantra that saw him through a few bad moments during the last school year: A good sorceress keeps their wits about them when everything is going to hell around them.

He flew through McCarty Pass and eased his way towards the Lowland turn. After doing the Perimeter Road flyover all that remained was the straight into Wrap Around and the short chute into Final before zipping across the Start/Finish line. He had no idea where he was in the standings: the last person he’d passed had happened all the way over in Section 2 during this lap, maybe twenty minutes earlier. He knew he hasn’t seen Penny or Nadine since they’d passed him on Lap 1, so he figured there were still ahead of him.

Which, if he were correct, meant there were still a lot of people behind him.

He bounced into Lowland and sailed through the flyover before turning on another quick burst of speed towards the end. There was little left ahead, and behind him—

For the first time in a while he checked his rear view and spotted two racers, then a third, shoot over the flyover and hit the straight behind him. He wasn’t about to try performing calculations in his head, which left him guessing—and his guess was they wouldn’t catch him before Final turn. I’m going to do this; I’ve got this . . .

Every second in Wrap Around left his knee feeling as if someone was jabbing a hot needle into an open nerve. He shook it off and concentrated on getting through Final. On last glance in the rear view and he watched one of his pursuers come out of the last turn. He didn’t bother with IFF: they weren’t going to catch him. He pushed through Final as hard as he could take it, staying to the far outside of the turn so he could keep his speed up, then pushed forward as hard as he could stand. The final gate flashed green as he reached the Start/Finish line and put three lap and three hundred kilometers behind him.

The race was over: he’d completed the Katahdan course, though not in one piece as he’d hoped.

 

Here’s the last segment, Section 8–

We're just about home--literally.

Which is a good term for being nuts, now that I think about it.

Kerry’s done his three laps, and he’s ready to come in.  It wasn’t something he was ready for mentally, and it’s showing.  There’s also something else bothering him as well–

 

Kerry pulled up and away from the course, slowing in a long, high loop to ease the pain on his knee. He was about to call in when Professor Semplen called him. “Congratulations on finishing your first Katahdin race, Kerry. Over.”

“Thanks, Professor.” He gulped as he flipped up his visor. “I need medical attention: my left knee is damaged and it’s killing me. Over.”

“Rodger. We’re contacting the hospital now.” There was a slight pause before Professor Semplen returned to the comm. “Do you think you can stand on it? Over.”

Kerry shook his head even though there wasn’t anyone else around. “Not a chance. Over.”

“We copy. Return to the paddock and remain hovering on your broom, or if you feel you need to lay down have someone help you off and stay on the ground. Someone will be there shortly. Over.”

“Got it.” He angled towards the small open grove just to the north of the Start/Finish line. “I’ll be waiting—over and out.”

He floated out of the sky and was over the confines of the paddock only ten seconds after his conversation with Professor Semplen. With the excitement of the race behind him the adrenaline stopped flowing and the endorphin high was rapidly fading. Even before he reached the ground Kerry’s vision had begun graying out from pain. He leaned over his broom’s control column before sliding to his right—

“I got ya, Kerry.” Penny held him tight, easing him to the ground while Nadine removed his helmet. “You’re okay now, just relax.”

He moaned as his left leg bent the wrong way. “Where’s Coraline?” He clutched Penny’s arm, digging his gloved fingers into her arm. “Where is she?”

“The professor called; a nurse is on their way.” She gave him a reassuring smile. “Hang in there, mate. You’ll be okay.”

“What happened?” Alex came running towards them, sliding to a stop next to Nadine, who was kneeling at Kerry’s left. “What’s wrong?”

Nadine had the answer. “Remember Emma getting a slow down at the start of the race for rough racing? Erywin told me she collided with him in the Pond Switchback.”

“She hit my leg.” He spoke through ragged breaths. “Screwed up my knee.”

“Again?” Alex shook her head. “Son of a bitch—”

 

So Nadine and Penny are there, which means they were up near the front as Kerry suspected.  And Alex is there as well, so she’s somewhere in that mix.  Now what could make this party complete?  How about . . .

 

“Kerry? How are you?”

All three girls attending turned to Emma, standing about three meters past Kerry’s feet. Nadine tilted her head slightly to the left. “You might want—”

Alex was on her feet, taking a few menacing steps towards the Mórrígan racer. “Did you do this? Vy nimyy suka.”

Emma’s demeanor alternated between upset and pissed. “I only wanted to see how he was feeling—”

“He’s hurt.” Penny shot her a withering glare. “How did you think he was gonna feel?”

“I didn’t know, Penny.” Emma’s tone was beginning to match those of the other girls. “That’s why I came over.”

“Well, now you know.” Penny looked down at the injured boy, who was sweating profusely in the cool Maine air. “Now you need to get out of here.”

Emma wasn’t taking the hint. “Who do you think—?”

Penny was standing and not bothering to hide her anger. “Piss off, Neilson.” She dismissed the girl with a wave. “Move your arse out of here before we move it for you.”

Nadine put herself between the Cernunnos girls and her teammate. “Come on, let’s go.”

Even with this Emma still hadn’t caught on that she wasn’t wanted. “I just wanted to—”

Let’s go.” Nadine stiff-armed the arguing girl and led her out of the area before a fight broke out.

“Let us through.” At that moment Nurse Bianca Gallard appeared wearing her white hospital jacket and carrying a stretcher. She left the stretcher floating just beyond Kerry’s head as she knelt next to his head. “How are you feeling, Kerry?”

 

Really, not the sharpest knife in the drawer, huh?  The Mistress of the Misstep causes a calamity and then comes over so see how things are.  Maybe she figured Nadine being there would keep the Vipers chilled out, but no:  Emma came within moments of getting an ass beating, and it required her team captain stepping in to pull her out of harm’s way for her to get the messages.

At least help has arrived.

 

He answered in a soft, weak tone. “I’m hurtin’ bad.”

Bianca gave him a tiny smile. “How’s your pain on one to ten?”

“About a seven.” Kerry closed his eyes and swallowed. “Maybe eight.”

“Okay. Here’s what we’re gonna do—” She looked across his body. “I’m going to immobilize your leg so we can get you to the hospital with it moving about as little as possible. My assistant is gonna give you something for the pain: just enough to dull it, nothing more.” The smile returned. “Got that?”

“I got it.”

“Okay.” Bianca stood and turned to someone standing behind her. “Give him a Number Two patch; we just want to manage the pain right now.”

“Yes, Nurse Bianca.”

 

An assistant?  We haven’t seen any assistants working in the hospital before–Oh, Wait!  Yes we have, back during the Day of the Dead attacks.  Yeah, they exist, so I wonder who got tagged for this duty?

 

Though Kerry hadn’t seen the person the nurse spoke with, he recognized the voice and accent instantly. A large grin appeared upon his face as Annie—also wearing a white hospital jacket over her sweater—knelt next to him. “Assistant, huh?”

“I am a member of the Triage Team, am I not?” She removed his right glove. “Coraline thought it would be a good idea if I came with Nurse Bianca.”

 

As if you hadn’t expected this one–Nurse Annie to the rescue!

“I’m sure you ran to the hospital and offered your help, too.”

Annie nodded as she reached inside her jacket and removed a medpatch. “You know me all too well, my love.”

He watched her unwrap the patch and cracked it to activate the enchantment that would get the medication into his system. “You gonna make me feel better now?”

“Yes.” She gently slid the patch against the back of his hand and pressed it in place.

“With a kiss?”

She leaned close to his face and whispered. “That’s for later tonight.”

Bianca was standing over the couple. “I’ve got the knee set. You want to get him up so we have an easier time getting the stretcher under him?”

“Yes, Nurse Bianca.” Annie stood and took a step back from Kerry before raising her hands so they were level with her waist. Kerry slowly rose from the ground as Annie levitated to where he as high as her knees. “Ready here.”

Bianca slapped the stretcher over him, phasing it through his body before getting it set under him. She pointed towards Kerry’s feet. “You take that end.” Annie moved into position as Bianca raised

Kerry until he was level with her waist. “Okay, Kerry; we’re taking you directly to the ward. Hold on though—” She cradled his broom in his right arm. “Wouldn’t want to leave this behind.” He looked across to her assistant. “You got a good grip, Annie?”

Annie held tight to the stretcher handles. “I’m ready.”

Kerry stared straight up into the gray, snowy sky as he heard Bianca give a three-second countdown before there was the now-familiar sensation of something light pushing against his skin and quickly vanishing. He started up into the lights of the first floor ward as he was moved down the corridor, finally ending up in familiar surroundings: Bed #2 in Bay #1.

Bianca whipped the stretcher over him and slid it into the bay across the corridor, then turned to Annie. “Start getting his accessories off and set them on Bey #1 with his broom. I’ll get the IVs and what we need to clean him and set his knee. I’ll be back in a moment.”

“Yes, Nurse Bianca.” Annie set his broom on the other bed along with the glove she’s held since they’d arrived. She moved to the other side of the bed to get his other glove. “Just relax; we’re gonna get you all better.”

Kerry had little difficulty relaxing now that the pain meds were in his system. “You’re going to clean me up?”

She began sliding off his comm helmet. “Doesn’t the staff always clean you up?”

He started grinning. “Does this mean you’re gonna undress me?”

Her right eyebrow rose. “What do you think?” It returned to its normal place of rest as Annie chuckled. “I did say we were going to make you feel better . . .”

 

Don’t worry, it’s all medical stuff gonna happen, so if Annie just happens to be there when Kerry’s in his birthday suit, it’s because she’s helping out the hospital staff.  That Annie, she certainly knows how to work the angles.

There you have it:  the end of Kerry’s race on the big track.  And the penultimate scene to this chapter:

It really is because I show you that it is.

It really is because I show you that it is.

One more scene, and then I put the penultimate chapter to this first part of Act Three to bed and move on to something . . .

Well, you’ll see.

A Day At the Races: Basin Deep, Mountain High

Finally, finally, finally . . . I finished the scene.  With all my note taking and map watching and picture imagining, I finally got the sucker finished–and even managed to dip into the Phil Spector catalog to come up with a witty title for today’s post.  I stand back; I kiss myself.  Maw!

Believe me when I say this was on long and hard chapter to write.  Of everything I’ve put together in two books, this is probably the longest I’ve gone without the main characters speaking to others.  Yes, Kerry does have a short conversation with Vicky, and he yells a couple of times, but that’s all of about a hundred or so words out of the five thousand three hundred total.  It’s all description, and that’s a pain in the butt, at least from where I stand it is, because I have to dream up everything.  It’s always so much easier when Annie’s crashed out with Kerry on a sofa somewhere, whispering sweet Bulgarian nothings in his ear, which reminds me:  does she really do that?  Do they run off to that little hiddy hole they have and sit next to each other, and Annie places her lips close to his ear and whispers, “Ti si moeto malko vkusna tikva,” which is, “You are my tasty little pumpkin,” and then gives him a kiss and–

Hey, that’s a scene for another time, right?  For now let’s get to the end of the scene at hand:

 

All excerpts from The Foundation Chronicles, Book Two: B For Bewitching, copyright 2015, 2016 by Cassidy Frazee)

While Kerry wasn’t a technical flier, there were certain track turns that he loved because of their complexity. Harvey was one of those turns: a difficult “S” turn that climbed three hundred meters to the 4K points of the course in just thirteen hundred meters. He went over the turn five times during the walk-through: twice during the two laps he was allowed to run, and three more times where he flew back from 4K to Cliffside Valley just to get a feel for turns and develop a rhythm.

He used that rhythm now.

With the snow closing in and streaming down the rough cut in the side of Hamlin Peak, Kerry wrapped around the course at the base of the actual ridge, then turned left and flew upward over the exposed rock face. He pushed his PAV up two hundred meters into a near white-out, then yanked the broom to the right flew across the escarpment to the eleven hundred and sixty meter level, then speed off up and to the left at nearly a hundred and seventy kilometers an hours, sliding through 4K as he continued turning to the left thought the light woods above the twelve hundred meter line and into the white out that currently engulfed Hamlin Peak.

 

Kerry loves those turns because, as you’ll find out later, he’s had experience on them–not at this school, but elsewhere.  So what does it look like up close?

I could get closer, but I'd have to fly there.

I could get closer, but I’d have to fly there.

The point at the far left is about where he flipped off Emma while zooming along, then he starts the turn, he turns again, and then it’s up in the air you go.  For just a little bit you’re actually hanging out over nothing, and it has to be kind of freaky to be at the top with all that snow swirling about, and catch a peek at the ground about seven hundred feet below you.  Then you’re across, you turn again, and then it’s up the mountain to 4K, which is just about where this ends on the right.

If you look closely you’ll notice that it would have been easier to go straight at the bottom, following the creek bed, and continue straight on to the top of the mountain, but where’s the fun in that?  I’m here to give my kids a challenge!  Which they are getting . . .

 

The last of trees were replaced by low shrubs, but within a few hundred meters they faded away into the bare rock that made up the mountain summit. Kerry slowed to about two hundred kph, hoping he wouldn’t get run over, and watched as the gates began flashing. He remembered from the day before he’d pass through six before reaching the edge of the peak and the High Dive. The first flashing gate went by, then the second, and Kerry girded himself for what was coming next—

He flew through the sixth flashing gate and watched the ground vanish from below his feet. He angled the broom downward about sixty degrees, then hurled down the flank of Hamlin Peak at close to two hundred and fifty kilometers an hour.

The course from the High Dive to the basin floor was about a kilometer long and dropped about five hundred meters with an interesting twist on the decent: for the first two hundred and fifty meters it stayed at the initial sixty degree angle, then shifted to about an eighty-five degree angle for another hundred before cutting hard to the left and taking an easier decent to the Basin Ridge turn. Given the speeds down this section of the course, it was easy to make a mistake—and any kind of bad weather made the decent that much more perilous.

 

The bit about the side of the mountain sticking out I didn’t get until I started looking at Hamlin Peak in three dimensions, and that’s when I saw the formation as described.  Sort of like . . .

Did you really think I wouldn't show you?

Did you really think I wouldn’t show you?

No matter how you look at it, roaring twelve hundred feet/three hundred and fifty meters down a mountain in white-out conditions isn’t a lot of fun.  Kerry’s already thinking this isn’t fun, but he’s feeling that with racing at the school:  it’s almost a job, and you gotta work at it.  And he’s doing that full-out now–

 

Kerry’s concentration didn’t waver, however, and ten seconds after flying over the High Dive the white out dissipated into heavy snow and the ground leveled out among the bare trees of Baxter State Park. He was around Basin Ridge and one his way to Campground, anticipating the slight rise as the course lifted above the trees for the first time as it followed one of the park’s roads towards Hamlin Peak’s southern flank, making it impossible for the placement of elevation gates at ground level. Kerry found this part of the course a bit more difficult to follow, for it didn’t trace the path of the road below exacting, and if one started following the course below instead of the one they were on, they’d soon miss a gate.

He didn’t make any mistakes, however. With the snow picking up Kerry stayed focused on the gates while the ridge line between Hamlin Peak and Mount Katahdin grew closer. He reached Saddle Climb and rushed up the mountainside, rising another three hundred meters in just under five seconds and clearing Katahdin Wave by only a meter as he was once more engulfed in a white out.

With no one near him, ahead or behind, he relaxed as he eased into the right hand turn leading to Hamlin Thirty-six. From this point on it was downhill all the way back to Section 8 and the Start/Finish line. There was only once more major climb ahead, but after what he’d just negotiated in Section 5, he wasn’t worried. He was going to get cold, he was going to get tired, and he was going to do his best to ignore the pain shooting through his left knee and upward into his thigh.

It was necessary, because he was going to finish this race.

 

There you have it:  all five thousand and some words for the posting.

Just like I said I would.

Just like I said I would.

Long and over, and the end is near.  Actually, since the next scene is The Finish, I’d say the end of something is close by.

But what I’m finishing only I know.

Wandering the Side Streets of the Mind

If you’ve come hoping to find more racing today, hope for more tomorrow.  Something happened to me last night known as “getting way, way sidetracked,” and I only managed a few hundred more words beyond the last two hundred and forty you saw after the confused witch picture.  It’s something that happens, right?

"Yeah, easy for you to say, Professor, you never had to worry about getting you iPad taken away because you came out!"

“I could just walk away from this ridiculous conversation–wait?  Who am I kidding?  This is the Internet!”

You know it does.

But this gets me thinking, as I have been the last few days while there’s a lot of down time due to Elsa not letting it go on the east coast.  And I’m thinking, I need to get to time lining again.  Why, you ask?  Because I have major things that exist only in my head, but not down on “the line”, so to speak.

If I should say so myself, my time lines are a bit famous, but more importantly they’ve helped me stay on track with my stories.  Since I’m aware of when the big changes in my kid’s lives are coming, I can set up the story to meet those points and write into and past them.  For the most part I do know everything–

And I do mean everything.

And I do mean everything.

And sometimes I have to set up stuff in the past just so I can write about it at some point in the gigantic novels . . .

Like, "When was stuff built?  When did people die?"  You know:  important stuff.

Like, “When was stuff built? When did people die?” You know: important stuff.

Of late I’ve been thinking about four events that happen in my kid’s future, and other than a “notion” of what needs to be written due to things like maps and notes scribbled here and there, I have no real layout for those events.  Three need to be laid out with a certain amount of precision due to them happening over a short period of time, and the other one . . . well, it’s done more just for fun only because it marks a fun event in Annie’s and Kerry’s life, and I want to get it, you know, right.

There is another however that’s a whole lot different in that is sort of falls out of the purvey of these time lines of which I speak, only because it sort of exists, but doesn’t.   Call it Schrödinger’s Timeline:  it exists and doesn’t, both at the same time, and they are only real only in how you look at them.

Putting these today help me stretch my imagination, which at this point could use a little stretching.  I ran into this when working on the last novel:  you spend so much time immersed in this one story that you don’t have time for others, and given that you know what’s coming, it sort of shuts down the brain a little to keep it from working the way it should.  In short, unless you have something else working on your brain while you’re working the brain, the brain starts to get stunted by all the single-mindedness going on.  Which is probably why you find your job so boring:  it’s the same thing over and over, and the brain just gives up after a while.

I’m likely going to start working on this stuff over the next few weeks as I do my best to bring this current chapter to an end.  The results of my mind exercises won’t be seen for a while–

At least not by you guys.

A Day At the Races: Snow Cruise

The word is out that I don’t have work again today, but that won’t keep me inside, for I’ll likely head into the office for a few hours.  Got to, my pretties, for no play, no pay, as they say.  But I’ll be able to write tomorrow–I mean, there was a lot yesterday . . .

Though I didn’t expect to keep at it as much as I did, by the time I called it quits last night I’d put twelve hundred and fifty-two words into the story bank, and that’s quite a bit.  It was slow because trying to take these images in your head and make them into strings of words that make is a hard job, and right around eight PM–or, as my kids would say, twenty hours–I twisted my face into a thoughtful grimace and said, “Hey, I forgot to eat dinner.”  So I made some egg rolls and got right back into things.

The reason it took so long is due to having to stop and recharge.  It’s always a pain in the ass writing description of things that are happening while making it sound interesting.  And this is one of those times when when writing it is a real drag.  I can see what’s happening in my head, but since you can be there, you only get my words.  They’re not that bad, but it would be far more interesting if we could just plug our minds into some Matrix and download our imaginations for you to see.  Though if I could do that I’m sure some of you would flip ahead to see what’s going to happen in a few more chapters–

Meanwhile . . . Ready, Steady, Go–yeah?  Kerry was about to kick off wildly into the great open space, and he had a goal of catching Rivânia so he could regain position.  It’s about time he did just that–

 

All excerpts from The Foundation Chronicles, Book Two: B For Bewitching, copyright 2015, 2016 by Cassidy Frazee)

Go was a kilometer and a half of flying over the valley between two peaks separated by Wassataquoik Lake. While only a small portion of the course few directly over the lake, but nearly the entire way was over empty air. Only, as Kerry noticed while covering a few hundred meters after a three gee burst of acceleration, the air wasn’t empty; the snow was back, and far heavier than it had been back in Section 2. While he saw Rivânia four hundred meters ahead and closing, she was becoming fuzzy and indistinct in the deteriorating weather. This is only seven hundred and fifty meters— Kerry locked his focus on the Rivânia’s processor. The snow is gonna suck climbing Hamlin.

He was only one hundred and fifty meters from Rivânia, and maybe four hundred meters from Needle, and his speed was holding steady at four hundred and eighty. There wasn’t time to think: Kerry was going into Needle in three, two, one . . .

It was called Needle because the course narrowed between low, forested peaks, and Kerry reached the spot at the same time as Rivânia. She’d begun slowing only a few seconds before entry, where as Kerry didn’t slam on the air brakes until he alongside the Uruguayan girl. It was a risky move, and even if he pulled it off, he was gonna hurt by the time he reached Gully. He cleared Rivânia by about three meters before throwing his PAV into a murderous right hand diving turn down the mountain towards Clench—so named because of the racers who said they “clenched up” as they fought to keep from flying off the course or crashing into the ground. There was little in the way of a margin of error at this point, and the majority of five second penalties for missing an elevation gate happened in this stretch.

The snow didn’t let up as Kerry headed down the mountain, and he nearly touched two gates before getting his speed down into a manageable range where he could safely negotiate the left hander down to Gully. He was starting to see why Nadine and Rivânia said that while they loved Katahdan, they were happy they only had to fly it once a year. He was almost out of Section 3, about a third of the way through the first lap, and he found the course far more taxing mentally than even the Red Line. He flared out Gully then relaxed for a moment before preparing for Sixty Up, which was exactly as named: a sixty degree turn to the left and up, leading out of the South Branch Trout Brook and back into the mountains.

 

Let’s take a look at where all of this pretty much happens:

Doesn't look that bad when it's nice and clear like this.

Doesn’t look that bad when it’s nice and clear like this.

This is Section 3 of the course, pretty much from Slip on the right to Clutch on the left.  Go is that long line stretching across the middle of the picture, but because Google Earth is a bit of a butthead when showing distance, the line hugs the earth.  In reality the course goes straight across that wide area, from one to the other, and yes:  it’s three hundred meters, or a thousand feet, to the lake below.  This is not really that much–the K1 turn on the Red Line goes up six-tenths of a mile into the air over the school–but it does become a bit of a vertigo-inducing moment as you’re racing through the woods before–BAM!–you’re out in the open with nothing but lots of air under your feet.

And then when you’re through zipping over the void you’re hanging on to keep from crashing as you fly right back into the woods and into another difficult downward spiral before heading back up the hill, so to speak.  Which means we’re heading into Section 4 of the track–

Into this.

Let’s trip into this insanity.

Here we go:

 

Kerry made his way through Section 4 without difficulty. Bump and Drop Off were tricky, but the snow was lighter and once past Drop Off the course stayed fairly level, with the ups and downs being more spread out over the twelve-and-a-half kilometers leading up to the Fade Away turn and the entry to Section 5. It was almost possible to relax as he made the easy turn at High Sweep and head off at at fast clip towards Approach. He could almost feel the chill as he headed into the valley and the entry into Annis. The snow started once more and grew thick fast as the wind swirled between the thousand meter high ridge to his left and the twelve hundred meter North Brother to his right. He lowered his head as he leaned forward—

There was movement behind him; a flier came out of the snow approaching slowly. For a moment he figured it was Rivânia until he noticed the blue piping on the shoulders and helmet. Kerry knee throbbed as his suspicions changed moved away from Rivânia. He checked the IFF enchantment used to tell a person who was in front and behind them—

He was right: it was Emma.

 

 

 

Kerry put her as much out of his mind as possible so he could prepare for the turn at Fade Away and the six kilometer long, eight hundred meter high climb to the Hamlin High Dive. Section 5 was considered the worst part of Katahdin: technically challenging and as intimidating as hell. During yesterday’s walk through Kerry took his time flying this section in decent weather: now it was likely he would spent most of this section racing in a white-out. And if that was the case, the last thing he wanted was someone trying to do anything they could to pass and perhaps even run into him—again.

It was three kilometers to Harvey, and he didn’t want to deal with Emma before getting there, or even after he made it through. He expected her to do something before Harvey, however, because he suspected she wasn’t going to force an action in bad weather conditions that could cause her to wreck. Not to mention that Race Control was probably watching her closely now, and if she pulled another stupid move in a section of the course where everyone was expected to watch out for each other, there was a good probability Vicky would either hit her with a time penalty that could reach upwards of a minute or more, or order her off the course.

If he gave her the chance to pass in the next three klicks, she’d take that chance. And if he didn’t give her an opening, she might take it anyway—

Kerry knee throbbed again as he hurried through Fade Away, making his gee meter spike in the process, before heading up Cliffside Valley at four hundred kilometers an hour. Emma was right behind him, maybe ten meters, but she was closing. Kerry didn’t want to go all out: the area here was narrow, and the snow was now heavier than back in Annis. He kept his attention on the deteriorating course ahead, but every few seconds he shot a glance at his rear view. Emma continued closing, and he figured if she was going to make a move, it would happen in the next few seconds up ahead—

 

Hey, it’s Emma!  Hi, Emma!  Here to wreck Kerry again?

Okay, well . . . so I couldn't find a witch on a broom who looked as if she was gonna wreck someone.  Sue me.

Okay, so . . . I couldn’t find a witch on a broom who looked as if she was gonna wreck someone, so here’s a confused one. Sue me.

Now, the above paragraph was the last thing I wrote last night.  There was more I wanted to write, but it was getting late and I was tired, but little did I know I’d be awoken at five-twenty due to someone out on the street below screaming–one of the pleasures of living in the city, let me tell you.  There was something else I wanted to write, however, to put a coda on this post, and the moment my computer decided to play nice with me I fired up Scrivener and started in on that sucker.

How said sucker looked just before I started adding words.

How said sucker looked just before I started adding words.

I should also point out that the above view is how it looks when I’m doing the writing for this scene:  I got my score card, and I know my players.  Just gotta talk about it, right?

Anyway, here’s what happens . . .

 

They headed into Basin Squeeze and two things happened almost simultaneously. First, the snow began swirling around much like it had coming through Annis, only worse. Kerry figured the wind was being funneled down from Harvey Ridge and being spun around in the little basin as the foot of the embankment. And second, Emma decided now was the time to make her move. He could only think of one reason why she was doing this now, and Annie’s words came back to him in that instance: Stop making it sound like she’s somehow your equal—she isn’t.

Time to make those words ring true.

With wingmate only a meter behind Kerry pushed his broom hard to left, cutting her off. He executed a barrel roll while never losing speed, bringing his helmet to within centimeters of hers so he’d get her full attention. Then he landed upright about a half a PAV length ahead on her right, flipped up his visor with a simply levitation spell he knew wouldn’t get him in trouble, and turned a withering glance back before flipping the finger in her direction. “Stay the hell away from me, Emma.”

Within a matter of a few seconds Kerry flipped his visor down, turned his attention straight ahead, and with great pain, slammed on his air brakes, threw the broom into a vicious right hand turn, and began the difficult climb up Harvey Ridge without losing any time or position.

 

So:  cut to the left, barrel roll over your wingmate all the while matching her speed, then flip her off right before slamming into one of the most difficult turns on the course.  All the while it’s snowing like hell.  And being broadcast back at Salem.  I’m certain there’s one witch who just pumped her fists in the air and mumbled something in Bulgarian about showing that bitch who’s the better racer–

Believe it or not I’m getting close to the end of this scene.  Maybe that will happen today.

After I go into work for a little bit and do . . . word stuff.  I think.