The First Madness: Final Requests

It’s’ a nice though cold morning in the Burg and I’ve spent a lot more time playing with my new mic/headset that I needed.  The reason being I thought I’d be able to use it in a noisy environment to “write” while out.  However, while I confirmed that the mic works, the background noise is just too great and nothing but gibberish comes out.  So no go there.  Note: I finally figured out what was wrong and it involved adding the headset mic to my Dragon profile and then muting the laptop mic.  I’ll test this out again next week and see if it works.

However, I do look as if I could work a customer support desk.

However, I do look as if I could work a customer support desk.

So, end of Chapter Nine.  It’s about time we get into that because it’s been around a while and it’s time to move on to Chapter Ten because I’m 6,600 word ahead of your and I’ll be over seven thousand by the time I go to bed tonight.  But we have the newest B Levels getting ask to race for the Coven of the Horned God, and you gotta be wondering what they’re gonna say?

 

(The following excerpts from The Foundation Chronicles, Book Three: C For Continuing, copyright 2016, 2017 by Cassidy Frazee)

 

Both B Levels once more stared at each other across the coffee table, but this time it was Nancy who asked the question. “Does this mean you want us to try out for the positions?”

“No.” Annie chuckled lightly, her gaze shifting from left to right. “What Kerry is saying is that the physicians are yours: all you have to say is yes.”

He nodded. “It’s pretty much the same thing that happened to me when I was put on the B Team last year.”

Neither Soroushi and Nancy said anything for nearly ten seconds, though they both appeared deep in thought. Soroushi then spoke in a quiet tone. “I’ll be able to race wearing my hijab?”

Kerry tilted his head to one side. “You fly with it on now, don’t you?”

The Iranian girl nodded. “Sure, of course. I just wrap it tight and put my helmet on over it.”

“Same thing here.” A grin began to slowly spread across his face. “Only when you’re racing you wear a crash helmet instead of a leather flying helmet. But it’s the same concept.” He once again cocked his head to the side but leaned towards her this time. “You’re not the first student who race covered, trust me.”

 

There have been many Muslim girls who’ve attended Salem and a few of them have flowed wearing a Hijab.  Deanna was one of them, and there’s another Soroushi–Soroushi Amouzegar, a Blodeuwedd E Level also from Iran and who participated in the 2o13 Mount Katahdin Cross Country Race–who races covered.  So this is nothing new:  accommodations are usually met for everyone wherever possible.  And this here reminds me that I’ll need to update the racing rosters soon.  Like maybe today.

Now that everything is squared with Nancy and Soroushi, what’s the word?

 

“If that’s the case—” She turned to Nancy and shrugged. “I’m in. What about you?”

The Inuit girl laughed. “Yeah, I’m in, too. I mean, gotta keep Team Amazons together, right?”

“Of course we do.” Soroushi turned to Kerry. “What do we do now?”

“Not much, really.” He nodded over his left shoulder. “Professor Semplen is sitting over there, so I’d just tell him that you’ve accepted the offer and you want to be on the B Team. After that—” He shrugged. “You can come back here and enjoy more deserving with us if you want.”

Nancy’s eyes widened in surprise. “You mean it?”

Annie turned toward the girl on her left. “We ordered enough banitsa for us all, so would be a shame to leave it go to waste.”

Kerry nodded. “I’m sure Penny and Alex and their boyfriends are going to come over soon, so if you two may want to come over and hang out with us if you are going to get involved in racing.”

Both the B Level girls look at each other and nodded then got to their feet. Nancy turned towards the sofa. “Thank you, Annie and Kerry. This is some really good news and you guys are really nice to us.”

“That’s so true.” Soroushi did a quick adjustment on her hijab. “We’ll be back in a bit; I really like those banitsa.” She winked at Annie before grabbing Nancy by the arm and heading off to speak with their coven leader.

 

All the players here are happy and we have more banitsa lovers in the works.  It’s also possible that more people are gonna join Annie and Kerry’s little circle of friends, and maybe

 

The opening bars of Alex Clare’s Too Close began playing in the background as Annie snuggled against Kerry. “You enjoyed every moment of that.”

“What? Telling them they could be on the B Team?” Kerry’s features twisted around into a bit of a smile before finally breaking into a wide grin. “Yeah, I like telling them. It’s sort of like when Penny told me last year: she said it was kind of crazy to watch my face when I was first told I was going to be on the B Team and then later when I moved up to the A Team.” He closed his eyes and rested his head against Annie. “It was a big deal for me and I suppose it’s a big deal for them.”

“I could tell it’s still important tonight.” She began gently touching Kerry’s thigh. “I suspect one day you’ll be team captain.”

“No, I don’t think so. For one, Penny or Alex would get the position before me and I think either of them are far better at managing a team that me.” His voice dropped down into a near whisper. “For sure a lot better than Manco. And two, I don’t really want the position. I like racing, but there are other things I’d like to command and none of them are here at school.”

Annie didn’t need to ask about what Kerry was interested in command: it was obvious he had his sights set on doing something with the Guardians. But she suspected there was a third option that he wasn’t discussing: Kerry seemed more comfortable working with authority rather than being the authority. He would probably love working with either Penny or Alex if they were team captain, but he would likely hate being in the position of having to make the tough calls. At least that’s true now: it could change in the next few years.

She twisted her body slightly that she can stretch out her legs along the edge of the sofa and rest with her head against Kerry’s shoulder. We’ll leave all those decisions for the future; tonight we relax and enjoy the Madness.”

He turned his head enough to whisper in Annie’s ear. “And maybe do that thing you are talking about later?”

She twisted around and gave his lips soft kiss. “That, my love? I don’t think we should ever have to ask if we are interested in that…”

 

So you can get into the mood there at the end, this is the song that starts playing as I head into the end of the scene:

So there we have it: Nancy and Soroushi has joined the Salem race team’s, which now makes me wonder if I need to go back and change the name of the other Soroushi who raced last year.  Probably not, because it shouldn’t be that unusual to up with being a school where people are going to have the same names.  I imagine the same thing happens with students were from like India, Japan, Korea, or just about any country.  So having two girls from Iran with the same name shouldn’t be that big of a deal.

It’s interesting to see that any doesn’t believe at this point now that Kerry would make a good team captain. It’s not unusual though, because she teaches him sorcery and knows as much about him as anyone else does.  She has to know his strengths and weaknesses, and right now she imagines that one of his weaknesses is that he’s really not in a position to lead other people.  But as she points out that could all change in a couple of years, so will keep an eye on that.  I mean, the reality is Kerry’s a lot stronger than he appears, but if he doesn’t feel he could be a team captain now, it’s likely he wouldn’t do well if thrown into that position.  Right now he’s content to follow; given another year so and he might be ready to lead.

Now, what did Kerry mean when he said we could do anything you talked about later?  Damn, these kids should get a room–oh wait: that’s what they’re trying to get!  Hormones, people: the gonna take over these kids.

Though they are definitely not going to do it in the next chapter…

Bringing Sexy Back

Saturday, right?  You know what that means, right?  Video time!  And here comes the newest one.

 

The First Madness: Teams and Obligations

Writing is a strange thing.  There’s so many times when you sit down to write when you don’t really feel like writing, that you wonder if you’re going to produce anything worthwhile.  Then you sit down and surprise yourself.  You might not write a lot, but what is written is satisfying.  And sometimes satisfying is the best thing that we, as writers, can produce.

I was sort of in that mood last night.  I was back from dinner and watching The Doors, which I hadn’t seen in a while, and didn’t think I’d get in much writing before hitting the sack.  So I started in on the scene and before I knew it I had close to seven hundred words written before going to sleep.  That’s how it goes sometimes:  you just start to writing and it comes to you.  And even though I’m not hitting a thousand words a night, hitting five to seven hundred a night is pretty good.

Yesterday a couple of the newest Cernunnos B Levels came to see Annie and Kerry and they said he had something he wanted to tell them.  It turns out he does, but he’s getting there via a few questions:

 

(The following excerpts from The Foundation Chronicles, Book Three: C For Continuing, copyright 2016, 2017 by Cassidy Frazee)

 

Kerry suddenly seemed embarrassed. “I don’t really have anything tell you: I’m really just doing something that a C Level did for me last year.” He spent a moment gathering his thoughts. “How did you guys like Advanced Flight One today?”

Nancy we crossed her legs so that now her left was over her right. “We had a great time. Vicky flew us down the coast all the way past Cape Cod until we were out over Long Island Sound. That was the first time we ever did that.”

“You’ll do a lot of that, both in a group and as a team.” At that moment the snacks appeared and everyone grabbed a glass of cider and a banitsa and spent a few moments enjoying both. “You two are flying together as a team, right?”

Nancy sat her cider and banitsa on the side table. “We room together, so we figured it’d be best if we flew together.”

“Have you come up with a team name yet?”

Soroushi shook her head. “Were trying to come up with something that is identifiable to both of us.”

“How about amazons? The word is Persian, I believe, and it can be used as a pick for two strong women.” He smiled as he shrugged. “Just a suggestion.”

Both B Levels looked across the coffee table at each other considering the suggestion. Soroushi nodded. “That’s… actually good. You’re right, that would work for us.”

Nancy looked at Kerry. “You knew that?”

He shrugged. “I know all sorts of stuff like that.”

Annie slid her arm around Kerry’s left. “He’s a font of information and trivia. He’s constantly surprising me.” She leaned closer to him. “Bikhte li iskali da pravite seks tazi vecher?”

Kerry blushed deeply as he half turned toward Annie. “We’ll talk about that later.” He cleared his throat. “Let’s back to flying.”

 

For want of a better phrase, Kerry is a fount of worthless knowledge, which comes from all the Internet digging he does when there’s nothing else to do while the music plays.  Amazons is something I remembered reading a while back and I checked it out when I was looking up names for Soroushi’s and Nancy’s flight team.  See?  I have a lot of worthless info as well.

And since people are going to ask, here’s what Annie said: “Would you like to have sex tonight?”  Yeah, that little Bulgarian is getting bold, isn’t she?  It’s a good thing that Kerry is used to her teasing, too, as any other thirteen year old kid would probably be ready to pop about now if they were told something like that by their girlfriend.  The thing is, we know Annie is bold–which is another way of saying she’s mature and getting even more so–and of the pair it seems like her hormones are the ones that need to be put into check.  Maybe it’s time for Coraline to have “The Talk” with these two again.

So, what was it that Kerry wanted to ask?  Well…

 

“Sure.” Soroushi said back and crossed her legs. “What did you want to tell us?”

Kerry decided to get right into the subject. “We have two openings on our racing B Team: The one guy on the team dropped out and one of the girls decided she wanted to finish out her schooling at The Vee because it was closer to home and they specialize in spirit studies.” He used the common name for the Vesuva Investigative Research, located in Hyderabad, India.

“Wait—” Nancy leaned forward. “How many years did she have to go?”

“She’s a F Level this year, so she was due to graduate. Her mother’s been having some health issues, so she asked if she could finish up her studies in India but still come back here to graduate as a Salem alum and she was told it was okay. But getting back to the race team…”

“Yes, the race team.”

“As you know from last year there are normally three people on the B Team and right now we have two slots open. You’re the only two Cernunnos members in Advanced Flight One and Professor Semplen tells me you’re both extremely good. So, he wanted me to tell you that we’d like you both on the B Team.”

 

We learn something new:  under special circumstances it’s possible to finish up your schooling at another school and be given credit that you finished a Salem graduate.  Madhushri was likely an exceptional student, so allowing her to finish her last year at The Vee–the Vesuva Investigative Research in Hyderabad, India, as stated–was not difficult to allow.  You can rest assured that if you’re a C Level and you decide you want to finish your schooling at another Foundation school, however, the odds are like one hundred percent you’ll be told you are no longer a member of Salem.  That’s how it goes, kiddies.

When the school year came to an end in the last book this is how the Cernunnos B Team appeared:

 

Original B Team (End of 2012/2013 School Year)
Madhushri Pai (F) E India Captain
Victoria Diop (F) D DRC
Hasan Fofana (M) D Sierra Leone

 

Hasan was the guy Kerry replaced on the A Team after he broke his leg and ended up becoming the Wally Pipp of Salem Racing.  Looking at the fact that he likely wasn’t about to get back on the A Team any time soon, he left the B Team.  So with both him and Madhushri gone, here’s the current lineup:

 

Current B Team (Start of 2013/2014 School Year)
Victoria Diop (F) E DRC Captain
Opening
Opening

 

In case anyone wonders, Victoria Diop likes racing on the B Team.  She’s not super competitive and she loves the idea of being able to mentor new fliers coming up.  This last is something Cernunnos needs as they haven’t had a great racing setup for some time.  Putting two B Levels who are good fliers on the B Team means at some point in the future they’ll be able to step up and make the A Team shine.  Or at least that’s the hope.  Maybe they’ll come up and take Kerry’s spot.

Yeah… don’t think so.

Out On Their First Flight: Family Involvement

There was a whole lotta writing going on yesterday.  A whole lot.  Put on the recapping hat last night and did my first recap of the year for Humans Season 2, and that took up about two thousand words in ninety minutes, then it was into the novel for a short rest, where another eight hundred words were set into the mix.

Why so little for an original work?  When you’re recapping you just watch and make notes, then turn the notes into detailed descriptions.  I had to imagine everyone in a building that I designed, then I and to pull up that design so I could make sure I had dimensions right.  Then I had to image things about the superlab and that led to looking up clean room requirements and codes so I could get one line right.  And I’m still getting notes on chemical processing equipment down, because finding information on how to put a superlab together for something other than making meth is a bitch.  It’s like they figure you know how to put a lab together already.

And on top of all this I’m in the middle of Erywin describing something and my mind goes, “Hey, remember you just listened to the song #9 Dream?  I got a great scene that will go with that!”  And just like that I gotta take about ten minutes to visualize it and figure out what’s going on.  Because my mind is like a bag of cats trying to get comfortable and this is its way to letting me know I can’t rest for too long or I’m gonna get another scene thrown my way.

But the hell with all that:  Emma’s got a broom and she’s not doing any cleaning.  And she wants the whole family to watch something…

 

(The following excerpts from The Foundation Chronicles, Book Three: C For Continuing, copyright 2016, 2017 by Cassidy Frazee)

 

“We have a bunch of trees out in our backyard, so I get us in a group of them and I tell everyone to get in tight around me. I didn’t tell them what I was doing, I just throw up a light bending spell so the neighbors can’t see what’s going on. Now that I know no one can see us, I put the broom in hover and bring up the HUD again and start explaining everything to my parents. But instead of just letting the broom hover like I did in my bedroom when I was speaking with Ronnie, I get on the broom while I’m talking. That way I knew I’d have my parents attention and they could see something that were used to seeing all the time.

“Now that I showed them what the broom could do I told them to watch and let them know that once I was like twelve feet in the air I was going to vanish because of another spell. I got my feet back, pulled just enough on the column to get it to move, and rose slowly into the air. Just like I knew would happen I got four and a half meters off the ground and they start looking around because they can’t see me. So I hover for about five seconds and then slowly push back toward the ground and settle right down the middle of them.

“I explained to them how there’s a levitation and movement spell built into the broom and the processor on the back feeds energy into it to keep it going. I start telling them things about how fast and high it can go and tell them about the different race courses at school and the Mount Katahdin race course, and I tell them about how I did in the races over the school year.

“Then I decided to try something a little strange. I’m sitting side saddle on the broom and look at Ronnie and asked her if she wanted to go up with me.”

Kerry had avoided speaking up to this point but felt the urge to interrupt. “You asked your sister if she wanted a ride on the back of your broom? That’s pretty ballsy.”

 

This is the smart thing to do:  find something that isn’t too scary but is nonetheless magical–and what’s more magical than a witch’s broom?  Of course it’s cool when those brooms have radar and altitude/speed sensors and a lot of the conveniences found on a commercial jet, but it’s still a damn broom.  And then she asks her sister–the little brat, mind you–if she wants to go up.

And she says..?

 

Emma grinned as she shrugged. “I figured if there was anything that was going to get across the whole ‘I’m different from you because I’m a witch’ thing, it was going to be using some form of magic with someone in the family. And I saw how Ronnie looked at me when I pulled out the broom, so I figured this would be a good way to kind of bond with her over our differences.

“After she said yes I extend the seat for two people then told her to get on behind me. I let her know that her feet would automatically curl up behind her when she got on so she wouldn’t have to worry about holding them in place, and when she was on o put her arms around me and just hug me. Once she was in place I asked her if she was ready, and once she gave me the go-ahead I pulled on the column and off we went, straight up.”

“How high up did you take her?”

“Seventy-five meters. I figured that would be high enough to give her a good look around and at the same time give her a feeling of what it was like to be on the broom.”

“Good idea.” Kerry rubbed his chin as he considered his wingmate’s sound logic. “Did you fly any?”

She shook her head. “Not that time; all I did was a slow spin so she could get a good look at everything. I could tell she was a little nervous going up, but once we were on location and she was seeing everything she was calm, really cool about the whole thing. She even asked me how high I’ve been up on my broom and I told her, I’ve been up about two miles on this thing.” Emma chuckled for a few seconds. “I think that was first time I’ve ever heard Ronnie gasp.”

“But she liked it?”

“She dug the hell out of it. After we landed she was all excited about how we went up in the air together and it was just so cool being on the back of this thing… I mean, she really loved it.”

Kerry tapped his hands against his knees. “She takes after her sister.”

Emma considered statement for a few seconds before nodding. “Probably.”

 

I should remind everyone that the Neilson Sisters were doing their Rocky Mountain High thing in their pajamas and Veronica likely marveled a bit at how nonchalant Emma seemed.  And if anything it not only made the parents a little less worried about their Ginger Witch, but likely caused the sisters to bond somewhat:

"I'm sorry I was mean to you."  "I'm sorry I called you a brat."  "No, you're not."  "Okay, got me there."

“I’m sorry I was mean to you.” “I’m sorry I called you a brat.” “No, you’re not.” “Okay, got me there.”

But Emma said something in one of the paragraphs about and it’s going to lead to a little more bit more of an explanation…

Join the Club: Making the Pitch

Let’s admit it: I was a bad girl last night.  I had to go out and get my nails fixed–yes, I had breaks–and once I was done there I went out to get something to eat.  And have a glass of wine.  And another.  And two more after that.  I started walking home after four glasses of wine and got into one of my “moods”.  So after a moped around for about twenty minutes, I finally got home and didn’t feel like doing a damn thing.  I watched TV until about ten-thirty, then read for about forty-five minutes before going to bed.

Why I do this to myself I don’t know. Well I do know: it’s depression.  And I deal with it.  Or at least I do my best.

Tomorrow I’ll do much better because on Tuesday nights I have started doing a weeks worth TV recaps, starting next week.  I don’t wanna find myself getting behind the ball on those.  At least with my writing I’m doing well.  Or I’ve convinced myself I’m doing well, I’m not really sure which.  No, I’m doing well.  I’m sure.

So now that we got this nonsense all the way, let’s figure out why Annie has been called out to Gwydion Manor for a meeting.  The answer is actually quite simple…

 

(The following excerpts from The Foundation Chronicles, Book Three: C For Continuing, copyright 2016, 2017 by Cassidy Frazee)

 

Ramona Chai’s voice rang out within the empty building. “We’re back here, Annie.”

Annie headed toward the back of the Manor to the professor’s office, which was the first door on the left in the hallway leading to the locker rooms. Even though the door was open she knocked on the frame to announce the presence and was somewhat surprised to discover that Helena was here as well, sitting in a chair directly across from Professor Chai, who sat behind her large, ornate desk. “You wanted to see me, Professor?”

Ramona motion for Annie to enter. “Please, come in. Take a seat.” She waved the door closed and waited for Annie to get comfortable before continuing. “How are you feeling this morning, Annie?”

“I’m feeling well.” She pressed her shoulders together and smiled. “I’m glad to be back at school.”

“After spending nine months here you get to where you want to come back while you’re on summer holiday.”

“Yes, that’s exactly how it feels.”

Helena cleared her throat. “You see Kerry off to class this morning?”

Annie positioned her chair so she could see both Ramona and Helena without having to turn her head too much. “I walked with him to the Flight School then flew back to the Pentagram. I was going to grab a couple of snacks and head out to the Witch House for a little reading.” She looked down as she smiled. “That was before I got the message that I was needed here.”

 

During the entirety of their B Levels Annie always walked Kerry to the Flight School so he could attend class.  The only time she couldn’t do this is if it was impossible for her to get away from something, but almost every Friday she made the walk down to the south end of Selena’s Meadow to give him a kiss and wish him well.

And to remind a certain ginger girl from Boulder, Colorado, that is certain ginger boy from Cardiff, Wales, was off-limits.  Yeah, this last one took some time to sink in.

Just as with so many other things that happened to her at school, the instructors are aware that she has this routine that she follows.  The interesting thing is, Isis is actually warned both Annie and Kerry about establishing a routine.  As she pointed out, if someone really wants to get to them at school, it’s a rather easy thing for people to know where they’re at a specific time, as they seem to follow that quite regularly.  Isis is one of the people at school who is likely aware that Annie and Kerry are doing Guardian things, and she’s giving them a friendly warning.  Maybe next time she’ll jump out of the shadow and grab Kerry around the throat and then start lecturing Annie on why having a routine is a bad thing.

‘Cause they usually take something like that to make people realize that the advice are getting is good.

Since everyone knows where everyone is supposed to be, we now start to find out why everyone is here instead:

 

Both the instructors relaxed and sat back in there chairs, with Ramona speaking for them both. “In case you had some concerns, you haven’t been summoned because of the disciplinary issue: you’re the last person in the school needing disciplinary action. This also isn’t discussion about how you’re doing in class either mine or Helena’s.”

Annie played with her right ear ring. “Well, I didn’t think it was either of those. But that doesn’t mean I’m not curious about why I’m here.”

“They wish to get down to business.” Ramona moved her chair closer to her desk and leaned against the surface. “Helena and I are responsible for the Rapid Response ground team—you are familiar with this?”

“I do.” The Rapid Response ground assault team was comprised of instructors and students who were charged with defending the grounds inside the walls should anyone dangerous breached the defense screens. Their presence was only required one security protocols were advanced due to an attack, or possible attack, on the school, and the last time they were called out was during the Day of the Dead.

“Due to the deaths we suffered a couple of years ago and the graduations of happened since, we find we’re in need of replenishing our ranks.” Ramona rubbed the tip of her nose.

“Your name is at the top of the short list of students we wanted to ask about joining.” She chuckled as a crooked smile formed on her face. “Now you know why you’re here.”

 

Salem knows how to protect itself, and the teams they have in place to watch the ground in the air do a great job of protecting.  We also know these groups are not playing, as there were deaths in the Day of the Dead attacks, both in the air and on the ground, though the majority of the deaths in the air were not from the Air Assault teams.

But here it is: Annie’s being asked to join one of the teams responsible for defending the school grounds in the instance the bad guys get it.  It’s actually something of an honor to be asked to do this, because Helena and Ramona know that anyone put in this position as a certain amount of bravery, works well in groups, is able to follow orders, and is probably a stone cold killer.  That last one is a necessity, because if you can’t kill the bad guys there’s no point in you being out there with the bad guys.

Well, we know Annie doesn’t have a problem with that last