Witches Over Salem: the Delayed Discussion

For a while I didn’t think I was going to make it through the day:  I’d lost all my internet and cable at the apartment, and it was a dull time with nothing but my writing and napping to keep me occupied.  Fortunately I took a long nap in the afternoon–almost ninety minutes–and not long after waking the television started working, and about two minutes after that the internet came back.  Huzza!

Then I managed to get back into my writing–because without music, Cassie is a dull girl when she writes–and I finished the scene while drinking a Game of Thrones Take the Black Stout:

You know nothing about drinking, Jon Snow

You know nothing about drinking, Jon Snow

And then, between moments of trying to work out what to say next, I decided to figure out how to take pictures without using a flash and manged a few off my balcony:

What you see without me--

What you see without me–


And what you see with me.

And what you see with me.

And between all this BS I managed to finish out the scene with another five hundred words, making my total for yesterday around seven hundred and twenty-five words.  Now all that remains is one scene, and I should knock that off today, which means by tomorrow Chapter Twenty-One will be a done deal.  And the next chapter should see me finally pushing the novel over two hundred thousand words, and means I’ll finish up this novel in another twenty-five thousand words.  Right?  Right . . .

Now, what happens with my kids while they’re sitting way up over the city of Salem talking.  If you sit tight, I’m gonna let them tell ya . . .


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

Kerry chuckled while shaking his head. “You get used to it, but you don’t like it. You seem to be doing okay, though.”

“I’m a mountain girl; ten below isn’t that unusual for me.”

“What about the thirty below?” He leaned towards her as much as he could without off-balancing the broom. “I noticed you slowly down a little here and there.”

Annie said nothing for a few seconds. “You were right about the cold building up around you: it gets a bit oppressive after a while.” She slowly spun to her right, looking out towards the ocean. “The view is magnificent up here.”

Kerry couldn’t disagree with his soul mate’s statement. The clear sky allowed them to see dozens of kilometers in every direction, and not only was the whole of Salem laid out below them, but Beverly and most of the small towns were visible to the north, Marblehead and the north Boston neighborhoods were clear off to the south, and Manchester, Gloucester, and most of Cape Ann were clear in the east. Kerry even saw planes taking off from Logan, launching north-northwest into the wind before turning on to their proper headings. “It is beautiful today.” He rubbed his nose with his right mitten. “We couldn’t have asked for a better day to fly.”


I’ve already shown one image of what their scene looks like to the north, and I also have similar images for the east–

Though we're looking more out to sea and not towards the school.

If you look hard enough you can almost see the school–if you were a witch, that is.

And another off to the south:

And right there in the middle of the picture is there favorite Starbucks.

And right there in the middle of the picture is their favorite Starbucks.

If there is any question about how far they can see, I did consult the Distance to the Horizon Calculator, which allows one to plug in an altitude and tells a person just how far they can see on a clear, clear day.  The kids are sitting eight hundred meters over the train station, and according to the calculator they can see one hundred and one kilometers.  The school is twenty-five kilometers away, so their sharp little eyes would see it pretty well.

Now that the travelogue is out of the way, let’s get to what’s on someone’s mind–


“I hope they’re all like this . . .” Annie finished her slow spin and faced Kerry. “May I ask something?”

“Sure. You can always ask me anything.”

“What happened during our Morte demonstration last week?”

Since the moment when Helena asked him pretty much the same thing in the aftermath of his demonstration last Thursday, Kerry expected Annie to ask the same. He knew she wouldn’t ask right away—that wasn’t her style—but he knew the question was coming because Annie had to ask. I know she tells Helena stuff about me, because it concerns my training; it’s the same thing I do with Jessica when I have to tell her how Annie’s doing our transformations lessons. “You mean when I froze for a few seconds?”


This is the first time we get any conformation that Kerry is having discussions with Jessica about Annie and her transformation instruction.  So Annie confers with Helena, and Kerry confers with Jessica, and both the little witches have to be completely honest about the abilities of the other to instructors who are considered the toughest and most intimidating at the school.  Though it’s never been shown, one would have to know by now that Annie told Kerry not to hold anything back, and to be honest about her instruction, because Jessica was going to know if Kerry were fibbing about Annie’s lessons.

No, not a lot of pressure at all.

Now that Kerry has been asked, and has known the question is coming, he readies his answer . . .


She nodded. “Yes.”

He slid his broom forward so he was not only as close as he could get to Annie without having her rest against him, but he managed to block the wind that was blowing into her face. “I froze for a second because the girl zombie reminded me of someone.”

Annie immediately knew of the person to whom Kerry was referring. “The girl from your dreams, right?”

“Yeah. The moment I saw the ginger hair I just—” He drew in a breath as he looked off to his left. “It was like there was something in the back of my head that was telling me something—” He shrugged and turned back to Annie. “I have no idea what it was.” He sighed. “It was a one-time thing: it won’t happen again, because I know not to let it happen.”

Though she didn’t show anything, Annie found his comments interesting. This girl was in his rune dream trying to tell him about me; what is she trying to tell him now? “Have you had anymore dreams about her?”


Yeah, what is that girl trying to tell Kerry?  But does Annie look bovvered?  Well . . . maybe?  And since she wants to know if that ginger-haired dream creature has appeared again . . .


“No, not a one.” He elaborated when he saw Annie was about to ask another question. “I promised I would tell you if I saw her again, and I’m keeping that promise. If I saw her, I’d tell you the next morning.”

This was all the explanation Annie need. “I believe you.” She floated a little closer and touched his hand. “There’s no need to discuss this any further.”

There was something Kerry needed to know, however. “What are you going to tell Helena?”

Annie wasn’t going to lie to the most important person in her life. “I’m going to tell her—when she asks, mind you—that what happened resulted due to a specific trigger; that you recognized that trigger; and that you won’t let it happen again.” She bowed her head slightly as she kept her eyes locked on Kerry’s. “It’s nothing any of us should consider a problem.”

He nodded slowly. “Does that mean I’m still Guardian material?”

“Oh, my love—” She floated the rest of the way and hugged her soul mate high above the City of Witches. “You’re always been Guardian material. The only one you’ve needed to convince of that fact is you.”


Annie’s happy with Kerry’s explanation, and she’s not worried that this is a one of those freakouts that’s going cause a problem if they’re out in the field–say, tomorrow–and the shit once again hits the magical fan.  He’ll do his duty, and that’s that.  No more to discuss, and they can finish out the rest of Annie’s first solo flight in peace.

There you have it, the full finished scene–

See, only one more scene--

And see, only one more scene–

–In this chapter, I should say.  Chapter Twenty-Two awaits, and after that comes Part Seven, Elements of Joy and Terror, and that, my friends, is where things really start to get serious . . .

The Hard and the Soft of It

Hola, survivors of U.S. Thanksgiving.  I made it through the day yesterday, heading down to Maryland to relax with friends, then back up to The Burg for a late-night brow waxing before heading home to call family.  Yes, busy day all around.

And you know what that means:  no writing.  Not yet, at least.  I did it yesterday morning, and you saw that, but I didn’t write before going to bed because I was just too tired.  Now, since I had a two hours drive down yesterday, and two hours back, I had plenty of time to figure out things with my kids, and even lay down a couple of scenes, one of which will get played out in the next book.  Wait, am I really talking next book?  Yeah, I am.  I’m strange that way.

I also started thinking about Motre spells and how they could be looked at in the same way martial arts is examined.  Why is this and what am I talking about?  First, they why, and it came from a comment from my friend and fellow blogger renxkyoko, who made this statement the other day:


Just a lame observation……

Annie’s is more feminine…. I mean, ribbons ? He he
And Kerry’s is manly…. I mean, a sword ?
I guess it’s natural instinct. They gravitate towards what they prefer, deadly shadow ribbons for a girl, and a sword for the guy.


Now, I don’t see those as either feminine or masculine traits, because a lot of women in fiction where fighting is involved use swords–several animes would tell you so, I’m sure–whereas there are certain martial arts films where you see guys doing a lot of deflecting and misdirection.  And this is where I start looking at Morte spells where they are seen as hard and soft disciplines.

To lay it out quick and dirty, a hard martial arts style is often defined as power coming from the outside the individual, using fast, strong, direct attacks against your opponent, while a soft martial arts style is usually defined as power coming from within, using relaxed, slow, indirect defense against your opponent.  In terms of martial arts, Shaolin Kung Fu, Eskrima, and Karate would be considered hard styles, while Tai Chi, Aikido, and Hsing-I are considered soft styles.

The different spells are used different ways, just as in martial arts you have different ways of pretty much doing the same thing.  When Annie did her Morte demonstration she used ribbons to bind–soft restraint there–and then used magic to turn one’s body against itself:  in short, she bleed out her opponent.  She could be seen as a practitioner of a soft style that didn’t require any outside attacks, and given that her signature Morte spell is Exsanguination, the way she goes about killing someone isn’t going to be all that flashy or noticeable:  just look at how she took out the female Deconstructor during the Link Bridge battle.

Kerry went full-on external using Electrify as his signature spell, and even went a step further by showing he could craft an electrical sword.  We can guess why he started learning Electrify:  because he’d seen it used within various entertainments in geek culture, and if you haven’t figured it out, that’s also one of the reasons he was initially drawn to transformation as a magical form as well.  At this point in his schooling Kerry is going with what he’s seen, knows, and loves, but he’s still young–I mean, he’s not even a teenager yet, right.

At the same time the kids known how to change up their styles.  First, look at how Annie fought her Judgement Trial.  Everything was external, full of deadly Air Hammers and an Electrify kill shot.  She had to because there wasn’t room for subtlety:  it was go or blow, and Annie doesn’t not blow when it comes time to show her stuff.  She also had a point to prove:  mess with me and I’ll put you down hard.  It was a bit different from the point she made in her Morte demonstration, which was, “If I want to take you out, you won’t see me coming.”

Kerry is still learning his styles, but now that he’s learning Exsanguination he’ll change up when the need arises.  Remember, Annie’s had a few years to develop her signature Morte spell:  Kerry’s only been working on this stuff for about a year.  When he took out the homunculi during his Exsanguination training it became an “Ah, ha!” moment for him, when he learned that for some spells overthinking–or over attacking–isn’t what’s needed; sometimes you just kick back, flick your finger at someone, and let the magic do the rest.  Now, Helena mentioned that Kerry knows the same stuff as Annie, but you can bet all his fellow B Levels remembered from that class is how he lobbed a zombie head in their direction.

And one last thing that I find interesting.  Helena has been played up as a major bad ass, and rightfully so.  And yet, we know Kerry has killed someone, Annie has as well, so has Erywin, and it’s been implied that Maddie and Jessica killed people during the Day of the Dead attack.  Now, we’ve heard that Helena has killed people, but have you seen her throw a Morte spell?  No.  One day I’ll have to write up the time she killed a student . . .

So, there are my musings for the day.  Tomorrow I’ll have more for you to read–

And I expect this to be the look on some faces while they do.

And I expect this to be the look on some faces while they do.

Demonstrations of Death: Observations in the Quiet

Finally, finally, finally, after four days and just a little over as many thousands of words as that, this fourth scene of the twenty-first chapter is over and done.

See, I don't lie. Not about this. Usually.

See, I don’t lie. Not about this. Usually.

So we get to the end of this cavalcade of blood–and it was bloody, and probably done that way for a reason, because my kids do know how to make a point when they put their minds to it–and Helena is one happy Mistress of All Things Dark.  Well, she’s almost completely happy, and you’ll see why–


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

Helena waited for some silence to return—and for the multiple instances of retching to subside—before speaking. “That wasn’t expected.” She gave the boy a lopsided smile as he turned towards her, the lightning sword still glowing in his hand. “Quite the move, too: I’d never seen that.”

Annie clutched her hands and rested them against her tummy. “He stared working on that beginning of December.” She appeared quite proud. “Said he wanted to have it perfected before the end of this month.”

“I’d say he’s succeeded there.” Helena approached him slowly. “Guess we’re going to have to get you some Jedi robes.”

Kerry made the sword disappear. “I actually learned that from an old anime—” He looked down, away from Helena. “I’ve only seen Star Wars a couple of times.”

“Still, it’s a good variation of Electrify.” Helena shook her head, chuckling. “You can always use another weapon—” She stepped between Kerry and his levelmates: the only one who could see them clearly was Annie since she was standing a few meters away from the others. She lowered her voice so Kerry was the only one who could hear. “You okay?”


First off, the fact that Kerry hasn’t seen Star Wars that much may seem strange, but there are some of us in that bucket.  (waving hands here).  Second, he’s right when he says he got the light sword from an old anime, because–of course–I know what anime he got it from.  That would be Tenchi Muyo!, the story of the most sexually repressed teenage boy in Japan and the extremely attractive and slightly psychotic girls who want to be his OTP.  It started out as an OVA, which I have, and then branched out into several variations of the same story, which is not all that unusual when it comes to anime.

He got the idea from Ryoko, the aqua haired–yes, again with the aqua hair!–space pirate who, in the OVA, is imprisoned inside a cave on Tenchi’s grandfather’s property, and who is eventually released and who is probably responsible for ninety percent of the crazy shit that happens to the boy.  She can make swords out of energy–check for Kerry–and throw energy balls–another check–and can fly–okay, not so much a check for him, but right up Annie’s alley–

And she has cleavage, which is a must for all young anime space pirates.

And she has cleavage, which is a must for all young anime female space pirates, but isn’t something Kerry needs.

She’s also deeply in love with Tenchi, and wants more than anything to be with him–a check for Kerry in relating to Annie–and is extremely open emotionally–another huge check for Kerry.

She's also tried to kill him with energy blast, something Annie hasn't tried yet with Kerry.

She’s also tried to kill him with energy blasts, something Annie hasn’t tried yet with Kerry.

By the way, until I found this gif I’d forgotten this scene–the OVA is from 1992 and I haven’t seen it in fifteen years–and I realize that’s a pretty good approximation of Annie’s “kill shot”, though Annie needs to work up the power a bit more than Ryoko and she uses both hands to focus and fire.  By the way, Ryoko’s name is spelled using an unusual kanji, and generally translates as “Bringer of Demons,” though in the OVA it’s stated as meaning, “The Devil Caller”.  That’s not a check for Kerry because he’s not a devil caller–yet.

So why all the concern, Helena?  Well . . .


His gaze shot up from the floor and froze upon the sorceress’ face. “Yeah, I’m good.”

“You sure?” Since Kansas City Helena made a point of reviewing all of the training video of these two, paying particular attention to Kerry’s training. She was aware he’d “had a problem” during the fight on the Link Bridge, and she accepted Annie’s explanation that Kerry had over-thought the situation and tried to split up his actions instead of going on the attack.

Since then she’d watch him learn when to defend and when to attack, and Helena was satisfied that any situations like the one that arose in Kansas City wouldn’t happen again. However, she’d seen his reaction after he set his sights on the girl homunculus, and it puzzled her. He hadn’t froze out of indecision; Helena felt it was more like the homunculus had triggered something, though she couldn’t imagine what— I have to be certain he’s okay: I can’t have this being a problem, not if The Guardians decide to renege on their promise and whistle up a field op this spring.

Kerry nodded. “Yes, Professor.” He glanced over his shoulder at the headless body of the homunculus. “For a moment there—” He looked down, though he was chuckling instead of appearing pensive. “It was like I flashed on something for a second that kinda just . . . pulled me away.”  As he looked up he nodded slightly.  “It’s not a big deal; it’s not gonna happen–”  He nodded towards the wall to his left.  “–out there.”

Helena didn’t question what had happened—at least she wasn’t going to do so now. Annie saw this; I know she’ll ask him at some point. She patted him on the shoulder as her voice returned to a normal tone. “Okay, good job.” She tossed her head to the left. “Go join your SO and give her a hug.”

“Thank you, Professor.” Kerry did as ordered and carried out both request.


This is the first indication that Helena is monitoring their progress, that she not only aware of what went down during the Link Bridge Battle and that she’s spoken with Annie about it, but that she’s concerned that Kerry might do the same thing again were they out in the field and the shit hits the fan.  But she trusts his explanation, and she also knows Annie will get to the bottom of this as well, and give Helena a report.  Not because Annie’s a little snitch, but because, once more, her eyes are on the prize, and that means training up here Dark Witch to be the best.

This leaves up with nothing but cleanup and the notice that not everyone in the room is cut out for the Sorcesses’ Life–


“There you are.” Helena turned her attention back to the rest of the students. “That’s how you do Morte, and one day some of you may be able to do the same as my minions.” She turned towards Lisa, who was doing her best to slide unseen into the background. “Once again you questioned the abilities of your levelmates, and you got your ass handed back to you.” Helena flashed two fingers. “That’s your second strike; there won’t be a third.” She finally noticed Gavino, the Italian boy from Blodeuwedd, lying on the floor. “He fainted? Really?”

Shadha Kanaan nodded. “Yes, Professor.”

“Okay, get his feet elevated—” She finally noticed the students who’d thrown up, the various sports of vomit on the floor, and the head of homunculus laying close by. “Everyone who got sick, lay down against the wall.” She flicked the head away, sending it to rest next to its body. “I’ll get a nurse down here to see to you.” She turned to Annie and Kerry. “While we’re waiting head over to The Manor and get cleaned up. I’ll have Housekeeping—”

“That’s okay, Professor.” A satisfied smirk settled upon Annie’s face. “I’m fine like this.”

Helena’s right eyebrow shot upward. “What about you, Kerry?”

Though he wasn’t quite as messy as Annie, his face and clothes were covered with their fair share of blood. “I’m okay.” He smiled broadly before shrugging. “Blood’s kinda of an occupational hazard for some people in The Foundation, right?”

It took every gram of willpower the Head Sorceress possessed to keep from laughing. “Yes, that is certainly true.”


Never let it be said Annie and Kerry haven’t started coming into their own by (1) getting ready to help out in the class, while (2) being bloody as hell, (3) learning this same Morte spell at the same time–assuming they haven’t already–and (4) probably chuckling darkly at the mayhem they helped create.  And they got Lisa in trouble again, which is always a plus.

Now on to the Penultimate scene, and it shouldn’t be that long, at least I don’t think so–

I’m kinda up in the air about it.

Yanking the Strings

Well, now, things have become rather interesting.  I mean, I really took my time writing this last night, and thought that I wasn’t really getting anywhere, that this was going to be a short segment to the scene . . .

And eleven hundred words later I had not only finished the scene, but surprised myself.

This scene got huge fast:  just a word short of thirty-two hundred words, or about half the size of the last chapter.  And it could have been longer, much longer, because of something that gets stated in the scene, but that’s gonna get left for another chapter.

But that’s the future–what about the now?  Well, how’s this for starting 2013 out right?


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

Ramona waved the reflective air away. “As I said I didn’t cook these up as much as I might have others, therefore there isn’t a reason for genitalia and other physical accessories. The only reason Annie has a semblance of breasts and hips is so we can tell one of you from the other.”

“Meeks seens.” Since Annie didn’t understand much about the process of creating homunculi she didn’t want to get into a long discussion with Ramona on too many details, but thee was one thing that left her puzzled. “Wuh doan wu huv huir?”  (Makes sense.  Why don’t we have hair?)

Helena motioned with her hands. “Annie, come here.”

Annie shambled towards the sorceress. “Ur wu gunna du sumthin?” (Are we going to do something?)

“Yes, we are.” Helena gently took the girl by the shoulders and slowly half-turned her until she was looking more at Ramona than Kerry. “Though this is going to be a bit difficult—”

She nodded. “I undurstun.” Annie managed a weak smile. “Wuh du yu wunt meh ta du?” (I understand.  What do you want me to do?)

Ramona answered the question. “At the moment, nothing.” She turned towards Kerry. “I’m sorry.”

As much of a puzzled look as Kerry could possibly manage appeared upon his face. “Hue cun?”  (How come?)


Yeah, how come, Teach?  How come you’re sorry, Ramona?  Well . . .


“Because—” A jian, the straight double-edged sword from China that the professor preferred over a katana, appeared in her right hand. Using her Speed Gift she accelerated herself and brought the sword around so fast that it was almost impossible to follow. The sword caught Kerry’s homunculus just above the left ear and sliced the top of his skull off with little difficulty.

Annie sensed Helena moving around behind her as she watched the destroyed homunculus collapse. Her instincts kicked in and her limited training took over as she started to throw up a defense screen while turning to face the Head Sorceress. While they would have been simple matters in her normal body, her puppet didn’t allow her to perform the same way. Only a quarter of a way into the turn her legs buckled and pitched her toward the the floor, and her shield never appeared because she was unable to perform magic.

She watched as Helena stood over her, the sorceress’ face calm and emotionless. She flicked a finger downward and Annie felt pressure quickly building in the sides of her head only moments before there was a sharp taste of blood as it gushed into her mouth—

Annie’s eyes popped open as she shook and spasmed within her harness. The rig room was filled with moaning—most of it came from her right, but she recognized her own guttural cries joining his. Her body felt as if someone had smacked her across the chest and back hard, while her head throbbed with dull pulses of pain. It was a few seconds before she realized she was on the verge of hyperventilating, and she let herself go limp as she struggled to keep from passing out.

The door flew open and Helena and Ramona hurried into the room, each heading towards the person they’d worked with on the main floor. While Annie said nothing as Helena approached, Kerry screeched out a question in a high-pitched, emotional tone. “Why did you do that?” He struggled in his rig, shaking and breathing hard. “What the hell is wrong with you?”

Despite her pain Annie chuckled as Kerry swore at the instructors. She glanced up at Helena as she gasped out her words. “You made him mad.”

“I don’t blame him.” Helena lightly touched the side of Annie’s head as both rigs pitched up slightly so the children could see the instructors without being lowered to the floor and removed from the contraptions. “You feeling okay?”


Ramona is Chinese, and she loves her jian, which if you’ve watched any good Chinese martial arts movie, you’ll know what they look like–

In Kerry's case, he got to see one up close and personal.

In Kerry’s case, he got to see one up close and personal.

Ramona’s Speed Gift means that for a short period of time she can move about five times faster than a Normal human–and given that at regular speeds she’s lightning fast, that means even the regular Kerry probably wouldn’t have stood a chance.  He’s learned a bit in a year and a half, but he’s no match for Ms. Hidden Dragon of Witches.

Annie knew what she was doing, and if she were back in her own body she might have stood a chance–instead she got her head blown off for her troubles.  A long time ago in a post far, far away, Helena spoke of how she used to practice a certain Morte spell on chickens, and because she wasn’t that good, she’d literally blow their heads right off their bodies.  Well, guess what, Annie?  You got to be a chicken–


“I’m fine, just—” Annie closed her eyes whiles she breathed deeply three times. “Just shaky.”

“Good.” She looked to her left. “How you feeling, oh significant other?”

Kerry let out a long, harsh sigh. “I don’t feel like I’m passing out, if that means anything.”

“It means you’re going to live to fight another day.” Helena stepped back towards the center of the room, with Ramona close by. “Standard practice for first-time puppeteers is to have them experience a snap-back, and the easiest way to do that is destroy their homunculus.” She nodded towards the woman on her left. “Ramona did what she does best, as did I?”

The martial arts instructor nodded. “Now you know the real reason why I didn’t cook up those puppets as much as normal.”

Annie was more interested in what Helena did to her rather than concentrate on her original statement. “What did you use on me?”

“Blood Hammer.”

“I thought so.” Annie closed her eyes and shuddered. “It goes fast.”

“Rushing all the blood into someone’s head does the job quickly.”

Kerry, however, remained fixed on the reply to his first question. “What’s a snap-back?”

“It’s what happens when you lose your connection to your puppet and your consciousness is tossed back into your own head.” Helena gripped one hand in the other and began to rock from side to side. “A small snap happens when you’re controlling your reentry into your head and you’re dumped back into your mind for one reason or another. They hurt, but it’s more like an annoyance than anything else. What you experienced was a big snap, when everything goes to hell and you get dropped back into your body feeling like someone dropped you off one of the coven towers.” She shrugged. “Like with a lot of stuff we do, if I told you this was coming you’d have been waiting for it to happen, and it’s better if you experience—”

“Like we would in the field?” Annie finally released her last sigh. “Yes?”

“Absolutely.” She chuckled. “Always better you learn it like this than elsewhere, yeah?”

The mood returned to normal, though Kerry semi-stared off towards the far wall. He finally spoke after a little more than five seconds of silence in a soft and dreamy voice. “Is that what dying’s like?”

Helena exchanged glances with Ramona as the two were about to discuss something. The sorceress turned slowly towards the boy. “No, it isn’t.” She looked down and away from both children as she completed her answer. “It’s a lot easier.”

Before either student could speak she looked up, smiling. “Okay, enough of that bullshit. Ramona and I are gonna get the next two puppets ready, and I promise these will be far more functional.” She looked about the room. “Let’s have some fun now, shall we?”


There you are:  teach the kids that suddenly losing the connection to your puppet hurts like hell–and dying is easy.  And now that you’ve seen what it’s like to almost die, let’s have fun!  That Helena:  she knows how to party.

Then again, if you’re training kids at the ages of, well, really, eleven and twelve the year before, to be Guardians, you ain’t gonna lie and try to gloss over stuff.  After all, Annie and Kerry have already seen that shit gets real on the streets, and Deconstructors don’t care about your age:  if you stand against them, you’re something to be eliminated and that’s that.

Chapter Twenty-One is half-way done:

Which could be a tag line for a movie if you think about it.

Which could be a tag line for a movie if you think about it.

And the next scene is Helena-heavy again.  Time for Death, you say?

You just wait.

The Country of the Blind

Seriously, I was going to have something here for you to read–well, technically, I do have something for you to read and you’re reading it now.  But no, I was gonna work on the novel, and even got eighty words into it, before I was massively side tracked–

Last night I was finally attacked on line for being trans.

It was really kinda of strange and stupid how it came up, because the troll–and I have no other word for her–rose up from out of nowhere and just started lobbing non sequiturs at me in a thread on Facebook that had nothing to do with anything even remotely LGBTA.  She was just like, “You’re not a woman.  You don’t know what sex you are,” and then threw in a Caitlyn Jenner jab because of course you have to do that if you wanna keep your Transphobic Card current these days.

I commented back to this person, but in a rather snarky and comical way–at one point she said I didn’t know what my type was, because of dating or some shit, and I told her it was Times New Roman.  She’s never try to engage me directly, because that would require digging into her bag of tricks and actually coming up with something intelligent to say, and we all know that isn’t gonna happen.

And then, come to discover, someone else in the same group, in another completely unrelated thread, decided to make an ultra snarky comment about me being the only person in the group who tucks “her” penis.  First off, how would she know?  Does she work for the NSA and she’s Secret Squirreling my ass when I dress in the morning?  And second:  for the record I don’t bother tucking ’cause there ain’t enough there to make tucking worth my while.  The strangest damn things people come up with, I’m tellin’ ya.

A lot of people came to my defense, which was heartening, and I did ask them on a few occasions to keep it classy and not get pulled into their whirlpool of ignorant suck.  Remember:  Never argue with an idiot. They drag you down to their level and beat you with experience.  It’s good advice that’s true in any situation where you’re dealing with slack-jawed mouth breathers.

I’ve expected that sort of thing to happen for a while, but given I’ve been really public on social media of late, I expected the bigots and haters to get their spine up and say something.  And it will happen again, of that I’m certain.  But so what?  As I told this person last night, she sounded a lot like my grandparent telling me “the truth” about minorities, and when they died their took their ignorance with them, and she could expect the same treatment.  Not to mention I have friends from various ethnic and religious backgrounds who probably hear far worse shit like that on a daily basis.  If that’s the case I’m in good company.

I won’t ever let these people get the best of me because they are wrong:  that’s all there is to that deal.  Flap those jaws, fool, but don’t expect me to get bent out of shape and start yelling back at you.  It won’t ever happen.  If there is one thing I’m pleased with it’s who I am as a person–and you, loser, had nothing to do with me getting to this point.  By attacking me you’re going straight to the ad hominem, and that means you lose any moral high ground instantly.  As I told this person last night after she accused me of attacking her when I said she was a bigot, “You pushed that button and opened the door:  I only kicked it wide open.”  Ah, yup.

Tonight I’ll get back to my kids and their instructors, one whom as an A Level, dragged a girl by her hair from the Dining Hall to the Rotunda to “have a talk” because the dragged girl made the mistake of calling the instructor a racial slur.  I was truly love to do that, but hey, we can’t have everything, right?  But I’ll be back to Salem this evening–I promise.

In the meantime I'm sorry I haven't the time for your shit:  I'm too busy being me.

In the meantime I’m sorry I haven’t the time for your shit: I’m too busy being me.

Activities of a Guardianship Kind

Of late when I say I’m going to finish something I’m usually talkin’ out of my butt, because between distractions and being tired, I never get down the sort of wordage I used to sport.  But since I know I’m going to have a busy afternoon and evening today, I’d better get the rest of this three-way discussion between The Three Sorceresses and clue everyone in on what’s going down at Salem.

And, you know, I didn’t disappoint–

One third down, two thirds to go.

One third down, two thirds to go.

Not only did I finish, but the second scene came out to nearly the same word length as the first.  Now, I think the next scene is going to run a little longer, and the one after that may be longer, and the penultimate one . . . that could run long, could run short.  I really don’t know at this point.  I’d say, right now, that this chapter will go over ten thousand words, maybe fifteen thousand, and could be the one that pushes the story over two hundred words–which means the story’s almost over, right?  Yeah, right.

All that stuff out of the way, what exactly are we talking about here?  Well . . . this:


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

This was something that Annie had obviously studied. “It’s the term use where someone who is Aware uses magic and technology to project themselves into a homunculus or clone and control it as if it were their body.”

“You know what a remote piloted vehicles is, right?” Helena knew that sometimes it was necessary to drop back into Normal terminology to help Kerry understand some Aware processes.

He nodded. “Sure. Like a drone.”

“Yes, except a puppeteer doesn’t use a monitor and joystick to control their drones: they move their mind into another form and use it like it was their own body.”

“Wow.” Something Annie said suddenly resonated. “Did you say—” He turned to her. “Clone?”


So now the secret is out:

"You said the C Word!"

“You said the C Word!”

Yes, it would appear that there are clones about in The Foundation world.  I mean, we know there are Artificial People, which are nothing more than self-aware androids, so why not clones?  That Foundation:  they so sci fi.  But so is Kerry, and he has questions:


She nodded. “Yes.”

He turned back to Helena. “I didn’t know we could make clones.”

“We can’t here, but The Foundation can.” Helena shrugged as she sat back in her high back chair. “It’s really nothing more than a variation of the magic used to create homunculi, only it uses a person’s genetic material as the template for development instead of magna mater.”

“How long has that been possible?”

“Since the mid Eighteenth Century.” Annie folder her hands into her lap. “That’s when the first experiments happened in Europe—mostly England and Germany.”

“I’m not surprised. So we like . . . go into a homunculus and walk around in them?”

Helena nodded. “More or less. You control the homunculus like it was your body. You see, hear, and feel everything, only if anything happens to your puppet, you’re not injured: your real body and mind are somewhere else, safe and secure in the marionette rig.”

“How far away can you, um, run this puppet?”

“Technically, if you’re good enough, from anywhere in the world. Realistic;y?” Helena cocked her head to one side. “Usually from about five hundred to a thousand klicks, and no further than a couple of thousand.”

Hearing this had Kerry coming up with dozens of questions, but there was only one that seemed important. “Can we do magic while we’re puppetting around?”


If you think about Annie’s comment–“Since the mid Eighteenth Century”–you may have caught a glimmer of where that conversation could have traveled.  Annie seems to know a bit about this stuff, and she probably kept it from Kerry just to keep him from getting all geeked out.  And now, you know, he may just start thinking stuff like, “I wonder what an Annie clone would be like?”  Watch some episodes of Orphan Black, kids, and see just how messed up that could turn out.

But what of his last question?  After all, if you look at humuncli and clones as nothing more than the RPVs of The Foundation World, why train anyone to learn all this bad ass magic so they can head out into the field?  Nice of you to ask, ’cause there are answers . . .


Annie jumped in with the answer before Helena could. “You can use the homunculus as something of a foci for Far Casting, but it’s impossible to do magic with the puppet.”

“What about when using a clone?”

“No.” Helena stretched, raising both hands above her head for a moment. “Even though a clone is made of your own genetic material, no one really knows how to make it channel energy to Craft the

Art, so really—” She shrugged after lowering her arms. “Even if you get your conciseness permanently downloaded into a clone, only about two percent of those bodies allow you to do magic, so you’re pretty much stuck as a Normal.

“And before you ask, that’s one of the reasons why we—” There wasn’t any need for Annie or Kerry to ask for the identity of the we in Helena’s statement. “—don’t run around in clone bodies while out on field ops. And while we could do magic in a clone body through a Far Casting spell, you’d also find a good part of your memories—actually, nearly all of them—in the clone’s brain—”

“And that’s not good if your connection to the clone is broken.” Annie slid around in her chair so she was facing Kerry. “Then there’s a version of you facing down Deconstructors who cannot craft magic, but knows everything you know.”

He nodded, a grave look on his face. “I can see how that would be bad.” Having faced Deconstructors as a witch, he didn’t want to think what they might do to get information from a non-Aware version of himself.

“You can’t even begin to imagine.” Helena set her tablet to one side as she turned back to the original subject. “Anyway, the Guardians have decided they want to see if you can adapt to a marionette rig—and if so, if you can then puppet a homunculus. Ramona has a couple of rigs in storage in the lower levels of Gwydion Manor and she’ll cook up a couple of puppets tonight.”


Sure, you can send in a clone to do a witch’s job, but unless you’re one hell of a Far Caster your clone will never be as good as you–in fact, it’s gonna be pretty shit compared to what the original can do in the same situation.  There are things you can use a clone for–say, you need some warm bodies to act as cannon fodder–but using them to conduct field ops like the The Gang of Four did in Kansas City the year before isn’t one of those things.

And don’t tell Emma about the clones, or she’ll doing he damnedest to get some blood from Kerry . . .

I’ve already stated that Helena is going to be in the next scene and the one after that, so we get to see a lot of the Mistress of All Things Dark dealing with school stuff.  And given that the name of the next scene is The Puppeteers, we’re going to see up close and personal how well Annie and Kerry work their puppets–

Um, no.  This is a different kind of puppetter--  *sigh*

Um, no. This is a different kind of puppeteer– *sigh*

Polar On ‘Till Next Year

I certainly surprised myself.  Got back into the grind at work, though it wasn’t a lot, but I was accomplished on a few hours of sleep and the whirlwind of the travel to and from the Midwest.  As much as I wanted to stop for a beverage last night, there was no way in hell I could given how tired I felt.  I’ve had been sound asleep at seven PM.

So I got into writing after I at.  And as slow as things seem to go along the way, I never realized that I’d written twelve hundred and forty-five words to finish the scene.  I also didn’t believe this scene would take nearly two thousand words to complete.  Wrong on both accounts.

The idea behind this scene was to actually give people and idea how this oh-so-often discussed event begins.  We know we’re here, but what is really going on?  We’re about to find out, and you’ll see that it’s not too exciting if you’re watching from the sidelines.


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

Though there were five teams in Advanced Flight Two only three elected to do the Polar Express this year. As Annie had heard at the same time as Kerry, one of the teams had started to come apart, teamwork-wise, and they’d both told Vicky they believed it best if they didn’t try to brave the wilds of Canada.

The other team was far more straight forward: one member had suffered two concussions from accidents near the end of team racing for 2012, and though the team member was cleared for flying and racing, her partner and she decided that spending a couple of days freezing their butts off wasn’t in their best interest.

Annie, along with Kerry, was there to send off one team in particular—one with whom they’d grown close, and whose members had shared much with Kerry this school year—

The lights in the Dining Hall dropped to about one-quarter illumination so the teams would not have to deal with night blindness when they jaunted into the wilderness. The three teams entered the hall and walked towards friends who’d gathered to see them off. One team approached two people and spoke with them for a few seconds before turning and approaching Annie and Kerry. One of the members hooked her thumbs in the pockets of her winter parka, letting the mittens attached to the sleeves dangle at her sides. “Thanks for coming out, guys.”

“Did you think we were going to let our floor mates leaving without saying goodbye?” Annie shook her head. “Not a chance.”

Penny nodded. “Yeah, well . . .” She chuckled. “I see you dressed up for us.”

Kerry moved closer to Annie. “Sorry, I left my formal wear back in Cardiff.” He switched gaze from Penny to her flying partner, Alex. “You must be pretty excited about now.”

“Not so much because this is the worst part—” Alex bit the inside of her lower lip for a few seconds “Not knowing where we are going, only that wherever we end up it’ll be cold and dark.”

“Canada in wintertime.” Penny tapped Alex on the arm. “Just be glad we don’t have to fly back from Alaska or Russia.”


Yeah, they could call this shit the Siberian Express, and then you’d really end up screwed.  Imagine flying out of there in the dead of winter.

It made complete sense that Penny and Alex, who are members of Advanced Flight Two, were going to set off on a tour of Canada during the winter, armed only with camping gear, their brooms, and their wits.  And since their racing mate is on the same floor with them, it makes even more sense that Annie and Kerry would stay up–as did a lot of other students–to see them off.

Now comes the time for goodbyes and hugs–


Before Alex could retort Vicky’s voice boomed out over the hall’s magical speakers. “Attention, all teams: departures begin in five minutes. Finish up your goodbyes and see to your equipment.”
Annie reached out and gave Penny a hug. “Have an uneventful flight.”

“Thanks.” Penny closed her eyes and hugged her second floor fried tight. “We’ll do our best.”

Alex slipped in around Penny and hugged Annie. “See you in a couple of days; keep Jairo out of trouble.”

“No promises there—” Annie nodded towards Kerry as she spoke in Ukrainian. “U mene ye sviy lyublyu dyvytysya, vy znayete.”

Alex replied in Bulgarian. “Mozhete da napravite poveche ot tova prosto da gledate, da znaesh.”

Both girls nodded and giggled before Annie switched back to English. “All true.”


It’s apparent Annie and Alex have been working on each other’s languages, and they probably can now converse just a little.  And what do they say?  Something like this:


Annie:  U mene ye sviy lyublyu dyvytysya, vy znayete.  (I have my own love to watch, you know.)

Alex:  Mozhete da napravite poveche ot tova prosto da gledate, da znaesh.  (You can do more than just watch, you know.)


Alex, you cheeky little girl.  These witches move fast, or at least the girls do.  Hormones and maturity, you know, while these boy witches are just so slow . . .

Now that the girls have said goodbye to Annie, there’s on person left:


Penny glanced at Annie and waited for a slight nod before giving Kerry a hug. “Keep Annie warm while we’re away.”

“That’s never too hard to do.” He finished his hug and accepted another from Alex. “Try and have fun if you can.”

“When we’re no freezing.” She stepped back when she was finished. “We’ll be here next year to see you off.”

Kerry looked down, touched by the sentiment. “Thanks.”

“Come on—” Penny nodded towards the two boys standing close together. “We don’t have much time.”

“Okay.” Alex waved to her friends. “See you soon.”

“Don’t drink all the hot chocolate while we’re gone.” Penny gave a farewell wave as they hurried over to say goodbye to their boyfriends. Annie and Kerry turned away and moved off a distance to give the couples a little privacy. Annie didn’t want to watch their final words, hugs, and kisses: she was already imagining herself being in the same position a year from now, and it wasn’t making her happy.

Vicky called out a two minute warning and the teams proceeded directly to their equipment. Penny and Alex snapped up their parka hoods and moved their goggles into place before lifting their large backpacks into place. As Vicky called the first team to the circle set out on the section of the floor where Kerry and she shared their Samhain dances, Penny and Alex put on their mittens and picked up their brooms—

“Team Wormwood.” Vicky nodded at the girls before motioning towards the circle. “You’re up.”

Annie held onto Kerry’s arm as the girls moved into place for jaunting. They explained their team name during one Midnight Madness, with Penny telling them that she wanted something that would link Alex and her together, and they went with Wormwood, because of its connection to the drink absinthe, to the creation of natural healing mixtures—and because the Ukrainian word for wormwood was chernobyl. As Penny said, “We can heal, we can make strange things happen, and we can meltdown on you at any moment.”


First off, notice that Penny and Alex sought, and received, permission to get huggy with Kerry.  All the girls are in relationships, so they are aware of the code in place:  ask before touching.  They also know Annie’s a sorceress, and they want to head off to Canada without smoke rising from their bodies.

Also, all the stuff about wormwood is true.  You can use it to make healing mixtures, a variety is used to make absinthe, and the Ukrainian word for wormwood is chernobyl.  That last I’ve known about for some time, and the first two were something I discovered last night.

The girls are all geared up and ready to go.  All that remains is the departure.


They stood in the circle as Isis confirmed setting up the jaunt with her people in the security station. She finally nodded to girls and held up her hand with her fingers spread, indicating five seconds to go. Alex took Penny’s hand as they hosted their brooms into the air—

They vanished from the circle with the familiar sound of air popping as it rushed in to occupy where they’d stood a second before. It was only when Annie heard Kerry exhale did she realized he’d held his breath in the moments leading up to the girl’s departure. “Are you okay, my love?”

“Yeah, I’m—” He took a deep breath as he wrapped his arm around Annie. “I’m fine, Darling.”

The last team jaunted off, leaving the staff and students lingering in the protracted silence. Annie didn’t want them there any longer than necessary. “I’d say it’s time for bed—agreed?”

Kerry was about to say something when something caught his attention. Annie found the source right away: it was Emma, standing with a group of girls from her coven. She nodded slowly at him, but he didn’t respond except to nod and wave. “Agreed—” He wrapped his left arm around Annie and turned towards the Dining Hall exit. “Time for bed.”

They were nearly half way to their coven before Kerry spoke. “No flying at all tomorrow.” He planted a soft kiss on Annie’s cheek. “We could sleep in if we wanted.”

“And if we were sharing a room, I’d want just that.” She leaned against him as they walked. “I thought you were going to speak with Emma after that last jaunt.”

He rested his head against hers. “I could tell that’s what she wanted.”

“Then why didn’t you?”

Kerry stopped and moved so he was facing his soul mate. “I’ve got a year to talk about the Polar Express with Emma.” He pulled Annie closer and held her tight. “But we have our first Friday and Saturday at school without classes for the first time since like the start of our B Levels, and I want to spend that with you.”

Annie set her arms around her love’s shoulders and kissed him with the cold darkness surrounding them. “I love you entirely too much.”

“I don’t think that’s possible—” He kissed her for almost fifteen seconds before continuing on towards their coven tower. “Give it enough time, and we’ll discover there’ll be lots of room for more love.”


Right there Kerry makes his choice, and while he could have had a few minutes with Emma going on about, “Hey, wait until we do this!” and so on, he wanted to head off to bed with Annie instead.  As he says, I have all year to talk with her, but right now I’m with you, and there really couldn’t be anything more true given that he was probably thinking ahead to the next year when he’s probably going to do this same event with the Ginger From Boulder.

So there–

One scene down, several to go.

One scene down, five to go.

And the next three involve our favorite dark witch at Salem–

No, not the small one:  the bigger one.  You’ll see.