The Underground Warmth

The long weekend is nearly over, and for once I haven’t spent nearly twenty hours driving a couple of thousand kilometers to and from The Burg.  Even so, I haven’t written a huge amount, though I suppose a few thousand words in three days time isn’t that bad.  I’ve done better, but there were times when I did far worse.

But now the last scene of Chapter Twenty-One is here, and after an evening and a morning that scene is almost almost eleven hundred words long.  It’s the after math of the previous scene, though it takes play a long time after that scene finishes.  Where are we?  Back in the Midnight Madness–or, I should say, at the end of that Madness . . .


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

Kerry calmly opened his eyes as he was shaken back to consciousness. His first thought was Annie was waking him, but in moments he saw she was still laying between him and the back of the sofa. He was about to close his eyes once more when he was shook once more, and this was enough to get him to roll over and begin sitting up. He rubbed his eyes as he looked up. “Hi, Professor.”

Jessica Kishna gingerly set down on the edge of the coffee table. “Morning. I hate to wake you up just to send you off to bed again, but it’s twenty after midnight and we’re shutting down the Madness. You both need to head back to your tower.”

Kerry retrieved his glasses from the side table and slipped them on. “Sure thing, Professor.”

Jessica didn’t seem in a hurry to leave, however. She looked at the blankets that still covered most of the two children. “You guys were under two comforters tonight.”

“Yeah, well . . .” He stretched his shoulders. “We were really cold flying today.”

“I can imagine.” Jessica looked at the still-sleeping Annie. “Did she do well today on her solo?”

“Annie did better than well—” Kerry shifted around so he could smile down on his sleeping soul mate. “She was fantastic.”


Jessica being friendly and nice is something that hasn’t come up that much; most of the time when we’ve seen her she’s been in the running for the title of Queen Bitch of Salem, one which has apparently been coveted by Helena for some time.  Then again, Kerry, nor Annie, aren’t just another B Level couple struggling through their spells.  With these two she can afford to let down her armor just a little, particularly when no one else is watching.

Once Jessica is on her way Kerry goes about the task of waking up his soul mate.  And we find out that not only does he know more choise Bulgarian phrases, but Annie is still a tough one to wake:


Kerry grabbed Annie’s robe from near their feet and lay it across his lap before leaning close to Annie’s face. “Time to wake up.” He placed a soft kiss on her left cheek. “Sŭbudi se, skŭpa.”

While her eyes remained close, a slight smile began forming upon her face. However, Annie wasn’t quite awake— “Moyata lyubov, spish s men.” She sighed softly. “Nakaraĭ me topli s teb obicham.”

Since Kerry had no idea what Annie had said—he recognized only a few words—but he managed to understand the gist of her mumbling. Still, he knew that Jessica wasn’t one to bend the rules for them as Helena and Erywin had done before, so it was necessary to get Annie back to the towers. “Come on, my lovely girl.” He kissed her again. “Wakey, wakey.”

Annie’s eyes opened enough to see Kerry’s smile face centimeters away from hers. “I love being awoken by your kisses.”

Kerry pulled back a little so Annie wasn’t staring herself cross-eyed. “Well, one day—” He traced her left jaw line. “You’ll get it when you’re not giving them to me.”

“Oh, I can’t wait.” She sat up slowly and stretched. “What time is it?”


Needless to see, Annie’s comments are sorta . . . well, let’s just say when Annie is feeling loved, she has love on her mind.  Kerry’s only partially sure of what she said, but you can bet he’s a lot closer in his understanding of her words than someone who doesn’t understand Bulgarian.

They leave the Dining Hall and head back to the tower along a route they don’t normally use.


Their departure from the last of the Midnight Madness differed from their past departures. Because the outside wind chill was near minus twenty Celsius, instead of taking the outside route back to Carnunnos Coven, they headed directly to the stairs on the east side of the Rotunda and made their way to the lower levels of the Great Hall. They wound their way through the dimly lit corridors until they came to the tunnel that led to the lower level of the Pentagram Walls and the coven tower.

The entire length of the tunnel was deserted. Kerry expected this: it was a rare occasion when Annie and he shared a walk back to the tower with fellow covenmates. They made they way in silence, Annie pressed against Kerry as they walked, her robe secured tight. They were nearly two-thirds of the way along the passage before she spoke. “It’s been quite the day.”

“That it has.” Kerry released Annie’s hand and wrapped his arm over her shoulder. “Vicky and Isis were really happy about your solo flight.” He kissed her forehead. “Hit all your marks perfectly.”

“I know the next one is going to be tougher—” She sighed and rested her head against Kerry. “But that’s not going to happen for another month, so no point in worrying about it now. How was flight class?”

“Good. Next camping flight is this coming Thursday, and a lot of people nervous.”

“Do you know where you’re camping, my love?” Annie hadn’t given much thought to Kerry’s next overnight flight due to concentrating on her own solo flight.

“Lake Mansfield, up in Vermont. We’ve been told the snowfall is good, so we’ll get to see what it’s like setting up in arctic conditions.”


First, the tunnel walk.  By now we have a pretty good idea of what The Pentagram looks like from above:

Here's the walk we all know and love.

Here’s the walk we all know and love.

Right now, however, the wind chill is -20 C, and that’s cold.  Given that they’ve always spend a ton of time out in that sort of cold, they decide to take a slightly warmer route.

They night not get a good view of the sky, but they're not freezing right now.

They night not get a good view of the sky, but they’re not freezing right now.

They can walk straight back to the tower underground, and just like above ground it’s quiet and secluded.  By the way, the tunnel to the right is the one Wednesday flew down when she left The Pentagram to help with with the defense of the school during the Day of the Dead.  That’s the passage that was built to reach the tunnel system heading south, the one that was later excavated to become The Chunnel.

And here we hear of Kerry’s next overnight training flight in perpetration for next year’s Polar Express.  It starts on the last Thursday of the month–31 January, 2013–and has the students returning to the school the next night, 1 February, just in time for the Imbolc feast, and do we remember what happened after the last Imbolc feast?  I sure do, and you can be Helena does, too.

Where is the camp out going this time?  Well, up here:

Just down the road from Stowe--can you imagine these witches on the slopes?

Just down the road from Stowe–can you imagine these witches on the slopes?

In the image above the lake is just below the “Mt. Mansfield State Forest” legend, and given that the lake is fifteen hundred feet, or about four hundred and thirty meters, above sea level, there’s gonna be snow.  And it’s not gonna be that long of a haul to get there–

A lot closer than central Maine, that's for sure.

A lot closer than central Maine, that’s for sure.

Two hundred and seventy kilometers, which means they can get there in a little over an hour.  Assuming it’s not bone-chilling cold that night they leave.  Which it might be.  Maybe that’s what’s making students a little worried?


“Why are people nervous?” Given what Kerry told her after the last flight, she had her suspicions about why some students in Advanced Flight One felt nervous.

“Because Vicki’s still pissed about how the last flight went. She told us today that she felt most of the class wasn’t up to speed on being able to navigate using maps and visual references, and told everyone she was gonna grade hard on this flight.” He chuckled darkly. “She pulled Emma and me aside and said we’re not going to fly a single leg this time out, that we proved we know our stuff, and said if she has to turn to us, it’s because everyone else has screwed things up beyond any hope of recovery.”

“That’s what I expected. I’m sure Vicky’s comments were reassuring.”

“To me, yeah, but Emma?” He shook his head. “She keeps screwing up the Fire spell, and she can’t do a Compress spell at all.” The reached the end of the Great Hall tunnel and stopped just before the doorway to the Pentagon Wall passage. “She’s freaking out that she’s not gonna get proficient on either before the last overnight flight, and she’ll scrub out for The Polar Express.”


Hummmm . . . I wonder what Annie thinks about the possibility of Emma washing out of The Polar Express, and not being able to spend at least a couple of days and nights alone with Kerry.  I’m sure she’ll say that she knows Kerry won’t do a thing even if Emma does, and that Emma knows she’s gonna have to spend some . . . alone time with Annie . . . should she does something stupid, like hit on Kerry.  Then again, Annie probably has a curse or two she’s ready to lay on Emma just before Team Myfanwy heads off to the wilds of Canada, so it’s likely she has all her bases covered no matter what.

There’s more to come, and I should get to that this afternoon.  After a nap.  And while the zombie fun run is on the telly . . .

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 . . .

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.

Demonstrations of Death: An Electrifying Performance

So a quick one today this morning, ’cause I’m running behind schedule a little here–between this getting ready in the morning stuff and trying to get so many things finished before heading out the door to work, I don’t seem to have a much time in the mornings as before.  Getting dressed and getting my makeup on does seem to take a lot more time than before, when I used to throw on a couple of things and head out the door.  Sigh.  Don’t remind me that I chose the Vag Life.

Anyway, it’s time for Annie’s Soul Mate to get up and do his thing, and let’s see how that went–


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

It took a few minutes for Helena to juant away the body and have a couple of APs from Housekeeping clean up the mess left behind by the bleed out. She didn’t check on the condition of her students: they were seeing things that she’d grown into at a much younger age, and if they wanted to learn about Morte spells, then they were gonna have to deal with what the spells did, and the aftermath. They got a taste of this last year in Ramona’s class— The floor cleared and housekeeping departed. They didn’t handle it well then, which means they probably aren’t going to handle it well now . . . “Okay, Kerry: you ready?”

He nodded then gave the still slightly bloody Annie a hug before walking out to where his soul mate had stood only minutes before. “You want Electrify, Professor?”

“Yes, I do. However, let’s change things up a bit.” She tapped the display and two cabinets popped into position where the one had appeared for Annie.

He turned around, his head cocked slightly to one side. “I get two?”

“I’ve heard that Annie can handle two—” Helena gave Kerry a wink. “You wanna show her you can, too. Don’t you?”

He exhaled and smiled. “Sure.” Kerry spun around and faced his soon-to-be targets. “I’m ready.”

“Then here they come.”

Both cabinet doors snapped open at the same time, and both homunculus shambled out and made their way forward. Kerry felt his excitement begin rising and quickly he forced it down, setting himself to concentrate. His targets were much like Annie’s: zombie trackers about his age and size, both attired in Salem school uniforms, the one on his left a boy and the other on his right a—

Something ‘caused Kerry to close his eyes and shake his head; when he opened them the snarling fake walkers were less than three meters away and closing. He let out a short gasp as he realized his situation. How long were my eyes closed?


Now don’t get worried here, because Kerry makes a really nice recovery–


Kerry stepped to his left as he raised his right hand and rapidly crafted a Electrify shot, firing it off when the boy zombie was only about a meter away and reaching for him. He half-extended his hand and fired a bolt of blueish electrical energy into the throat and chest of the homunculus while taking two steps to his left to keep the girl zombie at a safe distance. The three second blast blackened the boy zombie’s shirt, jacket, and skin; before he dropped the spell the shirt caught fire and began burning the homunculus’ chin and face. He gave the staggering homunculus another electrical shot to the face and Air Hammered it hard: the upper half of the burning, damaged body ripped open jetting blood in several directions, with one of the sprays catching Kerry on this left side of his face and chest. He hit it with another Air Hammer, blasting it out of the way before it could become a messy obstacle.

With one undead creature out of the way, Kerry crafted a ball of energy in his left hand and prepared to take on the long haired zombie intent on biting him. Two meters away the homunculus raised its arms and reached for her target; Kerry closed his hand around the ball, turning it into a glowing blue-white pole a couple of centimeter across and a meter long, with three-quarters of the emerging from beyond his clenched fist. With a growl he shoved the electrical sword into the chest of the girl zombie, pushing he backwards as the smell of burning flesh began wafting away from the battle.

Kerry gave his sword a hard thrust and pushed it out the zombie’s back, scorching her jacket and crimson hair. He came face-to-face with this growling creature, grinning wildly, then jerked the sword down and to the left, ripping open the chest just below the zombie’s right arm. Ignoring the fresh blood pumping from the open wound, Kerry pivoted slightly to his left, then brought the sword around in a vicious forearm swing. He caught the girl homunculus just below the jaw, slicing through the neck and sending the head sailing towards Kerry’s levelmates. It landed with a thud that was barely heard over the screeching of several students.


I tried to find a nice image of a head flying through the air, but instead here's the story.  You can imagine the head on your own.

I tried to find a nice image of a head flying through the air, but instead here’s the story. You can imagine the head on your own.

It would seem that Annie and Kerry have learned a few tricks in Ramona’s Sunday morning class, and it’s paying off nicely, because Kerry wouldn’t have learned any of those neat tricks back in Cardiff public school.  Also, their styles are a lot different, but then so is their magic: from a martial arts point of view, Exsanguination could be seen as an internal discipline, while Electrify is always more external unless you’re already at Helena’s level.  And I should time line these both out, but all opponents were “dead” in under ten seconds.  That’s some quick dispatching.

Tonight I will finish up this scene and evaluate if I need to modify the next couple of scenes–because, really, they’re starting to bother me.  I’ll explain later.

Demonstrations of Death: Bloody Good Show

Before anything else goes down, there’s a little something that popped up on my Facebook time line today, and that something has to do with historical timelines.  I bring this up because one year ago today I posed The Coming of the Chestnut Girl, and we finally discovered the identity of The Chestnut Girl, about Kerry’s attachment to Annie through their dreams, how he first expressed something most important to her.

Of course that little coming out session led to my kids getting confronted by Helena as soon as they were done pouring their hearts out, and before long they’d find someone trying to rip their hearts out, because bad guys are assholes.  Not to worry thought, ’cause my kids were trained up enough that they managed to keep everyone from dying, and eventually Kerry learned (1) that someone wanted him to be a Dark Witch and (2) to stop overthinking everything.

What a difference a year makes–

Like almost a quarter of a million words difference.

Like almost a quarter of a million words difference.

I eventually wrote just over eighteen hundred words yesterday, and this section I’m showing today is all about practical demonstrations, and it starts off in a bit of a snarky way . . .


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

Kerry looked to Annie as she looked back. She half-shrugged her head to the right. “How do you feel?”

“You guys don’t have to do this.” Helena stepped so she was almost between them so she could speak more confidentially. “Like Annie said, you’re not here to show off.”

“True, but—” Kerry quickly glanced to his right, then between Annie and Helena. He lowered his voice. “I’m tried of Lisa’s crap.”

Annie nodded and spoke in the same hushed tones. “So am I.”

“Then it’s settled.” Helena returned to her spot to Kerry’s right. “Since I brought a few homunculi for those students who might be ready for a go at a quick test of their abilities, you’ll be able to see what my minions can do.” She glanced to her far left. “Annie, would you mind demonstrating the Exsanguination spell? I’ve not actually seen you do this on a full homunculus, and I would love to see it in action. I hear your spell is . . .” The right corner of her mouth curled upward. “Killer.”

Annie smiled darkly at Helena’s inside joke. “Of course, Professor.”


Who says Helena doesn’t have a sense of humor?  It’s just a little snark between Guardians, is all–and if you don’t believe Annie isn’t thinking of herself as a Guardian by now, you don’t know my Chestnut Girl.  As with all things involving her, it’s eyes on the prize, and this prize has a big “G” on the ID.

So let’s get Annie up there first with her killer spell:


Helena pulled out a tablet and began scrolling through something on the screen. A moment later one of the cabinets that were used for holding homonculi appeared about twenty meters from the group. “Since Ramona knows how much you all love those training zombies, she cooked up a batch this week just for you.” She tapped the screen a few times, then nodded at Annie. “You go first.”

“Yes, Professor.” She examined the cabinet as she stepped about five meters away from the other students. “Tracker homunculus?”

“Oh, yeah.” Helena grinned. “Those always give people an incentive to be good.” Her finger hovered over the tablet display. “Ready?”

Annie looked straight ahead, flexing her fingers. “Yes, Professor.”

“Here goes.” She tapped the display.


Right off the bat, when Annie says, “Tracker homunculus,” the students watching should have grown nervous.  Then you watch Annie standing there like she’d ready to beat the hell out of someone, and that should have been Nervous Moment #2.  So let’s open the door and see who’s about to try and lay the smack on Annie.


The door opened and the homunculus stumbled out. Annie was well acquainted with the type: a girl-like humanoid about her size dressed in a school uniform and appearing to be about a week dead. Like the ones Kerry and she had trained with in the past, this one didn’t stink of rotting flesh, though Annie half expected that at some point Helena would throw a few like that at them to test their concentration.

The tracker zombie keyed on Annie and snarled, then began shambling towards her. She was aware that these homunculus moved faster than they appeared to move, but in the short time she’d had to set up Annie knew what she wanted to do to this thing. All of them want some sort of an exhibition— She pushed her hair back over her shoulders and began to craft.

The zombie girl was about four meters from Annie when two black ribbons eased down from the shadows and wrapped around the homunculus’ upper arms. The zombie snarled and thrashed, but couldn’t free itself from Annie’s spell. It stumbled forward another three meters, finally jerking to a stop about a half meter from the unmoving, unwavering Annie. With Annie close enough to touch it reached out, trying to get hold of her so it could carry out its instinct to bite.

Annie stood in front of the angry, snarling creature, showing no emotion. Once she was certain the homunculus was secure she reached out and took the zombie’s hand in her right and pressed it down hard. It was only as she began crafting the transformation spell that a slight smile finally appeared upon her face.

Slowly the zombie’s hair changed from the the dark brunette to a light blond almost the identical shade of Lisa’s hair. Annie knew it wasn’t necessary to go this far to make a point, but as like Kerry she’d grown tired of the girl’s crap, and while she didn’t know if the argumentative girl would get the point Annie was about to make, she knew others in their level would.

The little sorceress inhaled deeply, clearing her mind. What she was about to do next she’d done before, and under far different, more stressful, conditions. She focused her energy and pulled in the dark energy she needed finish crafting her Exsanguination spell. All that remained was for her to activate the spell with her will . . .

She raised her left hand close to her face and pointed her finger at the snarling face of the zombie.


So the kids wanted to see stuff, but they weren’t likely expecting Annie to go all Natural Born Killer on this simple homunculus.  Sure, it’s enchanted to make you go unconscious the moment it bites you, because you should always know that if this were real–and who’s to say this isn’t in this world?–you’d be Zombie Chow.

But Annie’s taking this shit to another level.  First, she shows she can truss up her zombie and that she has no fear it’s going to free itself from her shadow ribbons.  Then she works in her little bit of transformation magic she’s learned from Kerry and gives her homunculus the same shade of hair as Lisa.

And then she gets serious . . .


Blood immediately began gushing from the homunculus’ nose, ears, and mouth. The snarling increased as the creature’s head began whipping about, spraying Annie’s face and the upper half of her uniform jacket and blouse with flecks of blood. Annie gripped the creature’s hand and held it steady as the homunculus’ clothing began soaking up the blood seeping from its body. In a few seconds the creature’s eyes filled with blood and sprayed away from its face as a huge burst of fluids doused the floor under its feet. The homunculus jerked three times and went limp a few seconds before falling completely.

Annie took two steps back from the zombie before turning and presenting a bloody visage to her fellow students—some who were gasping, some who were retching. She swiped blood from her eyes and flicked it to the floor before waving her hand back over her shoulder to kill the shadow ribbons. “I hope—” She walked towards Helena as the lifeless zombie homunculus collapsed with a loud thud. “—that was what you expected, Professor.”

Helena nodded and did her damnedest to keep the smile on her face from being seen by anyone but Annie and Kerry. “That was was far more than expected, Annie.” She waited until Annie, bloody and smiling, stood at her left before nodding towards Kerry. “Give me a minute to jaunt this mess away, then it’s your turn.”


That Annie, she knows how to show off when she wasn’t intending to show off.  The thing is Annie doesn’t show off, and everything she did had a point–

"And I do hope you bitches saw that point . . ."

“And I do hope you bitches saw that point . . .”

Everyone in the room got to see Annie’s signature move, and managed to see it in a way that didn’t involve them screaming and running for their lives, as they likely would have done the first time Annie kicked this sucker off when it was meant to mean something.  Sure, the shade throwing wasn’t necessary, but as Helena once said, one of the best things you can get for yourself is a bad ass rep, and Annie certainly added to that one.

Up next, Kerry–

Just as soon as they bloody zombie is out of the room.

Details of Dark Witching

A comment came up yesterday, though it was more of a question:  if they heard Helena tell them, “I’m gonna show you how to kill someone,” they weren’t sure how they’d react.  Really, if you were twelve or thirteen and some scary woman told you she was gonna show you out to put out someone’s lights with magic, would you clench up and listen, or say, “Fuck this noise,” and head for the doors?

If you know this school, you know everyone’s in the first camp.  Mostly because anyone hitting the doors won’t be let back in class.  Helena would say there’s no shame there, not everyone can hack the darkness, and she’s probably wish you well in the rest of your studies.  In the meantime, however, she’s getting ready to launch all the kiddies down that path so she can see what shakes out.


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

Helena looked over the faces of her students and waited a few moments before continuing her talk. “Oh, wipe those shocked looks off your faces: most of you have wondered about this since the first day of sorcery class back in your A Levels when you got to see a Morte spell up close and personal.” Her eyes shifted slightly to her left, towards a couple of students standing to one side in the front of the group. “A couple closer than the rest of you.”

After the couple of students in question finished shaking their head and rolling their eyes, the Head Sorceress moved on. “As you know, as you were informed that day that there isn’t just one ‘death spell’, that there are seven Morte spells that can cause death, but the reality is if you are a skilled enough witch, any magic can be made deadly.

“For example . . .” She turned to her lift and began slowly pacing across the main room. “Never get into a fight with Professor Kishna. Any expert of transformation knows tons of magic they can use to give them a physical advantage over you—and if they know anything about transforming others—” She chuckled as she turned on her heel and paced back towards the center line of the room. “They could make you deaf or blind; they could make it difficult for you to breath; they could make it impossible for one’s nerve impulses to reach your limbs.” Helena shrugged. “Or they could just shut down your circulatory or nervous system and kill you in seconds. Not a pleasant way to go.

“Then there’s my special lady, Professor Sladen. She is by no means an expert Crafter of Dark Energies, but she has constructed some incredible mixtures that can heal whatever is wrong with you, or kill you just as quickly. She usually carries three or four weapons in Hammerspace, most filled with a concoction of her own design, and she’s proficient with each of them.

“And least you think only those of us who specialize in magic are the bad asses of the Aware Witch World, may I turn your attention to Professor Douglas. During The Scouring, when she was a thirteen year old C Level, she took on the Head Sorceress—” Helena raised her left hand and waved dramatically. “—and killed him with normal, simple magic. Because she is imaginative; because she is inventive; because she is that damn good.”

She stopped and faced her students. “Any which who is good and knows what they’re doing can take you on and take you out, and there isn’t a damn thing you can do about it. Simply because someone isn’t a user of dark energies doesn’t mean they do you harm. However, being a sorceress does give you an advantage—just make sure you know your opponent and you don’t get too cocky.”


It behooves me to mention that during The Scouring, not only did Wednesday take out the Head Sorceress, but Jessica and Erywin also scored their own kills:  Erywin took out a couple of people with a big sci-fi like rifle filled with some of her magic goo that eats the flesh right off your body, and Jessica killed the Headmaster by . . . using transformation magic.  Yeah, that’s what happened.  Since Jessica and Erywin were instructors nothing happened to their files, but dear little Wednesday got something special added to hers:

"But all work and no killing makes Wednesday a dull girl!"

“But all work and no killing makes Wednesday a dull girl!”

But we’ll get into that “something special” in a bit, as Helena is gonna tell them about this spell–


Now that she’d told them a lot of information to put what they were about to do into prospective, she moved forward with her lesion. “It’s a given I’m going to teach Morte spells, but that only happens once we’re into the second half of your C Levels, and then further on into your D and E Levels—with the exception of this spell. What we’re going to start on today, and continue working on next week, goes by the name Lightning, as in ‘Calling down the’. It’s actually quite simple because it’s the only Morte spell that requires a foci, and that foci must give off some kind of energy. At the lower, easier levels, you pull from an existing source of magical energy which you may need to fortify with dark energy to craft the spell as true sorcery—and at the higher levels you can pull energy out of something as simple as a light bulb or mobile and focus the power to zap another person.

“The reason for starting you with this one is simple. One, in order to be a true master of this spell you need to learn a higher form of crafting, and you won’t learn those levels unless I invite you into C Level Sorcery. Two, the foci forms we’re using today are much like the forms we use for lighting throughout the school, only those forms are shielded so they can’t be used with this spell, so no worries that you’re going to leave here in a few weeks and start zapping fellow students in your coven commons.

“And three—and the most important part of the lesion—is seeing how you not only handle the crafting and use of the spell. For that not only helps determine if you are the sort of sorceress I want to invite into C Level Sorcery—” She clasped her hands before her as she grinned. “—but if your school record needs a yellow flag.”

Several seconds of silence passed before Leela Kaluwitharana asked the question that had popped up in the minds of several students. “What do you mean by having a yellow flag on your record?”


Now we see that what Helena is going to teach the kids is (1) a spell that isn’t one that’s easy to replicate at school, (2) can’t easily be done outside the school without additional learning, and (3) is going to be used by Helena to determine if you should go on to study that additional learning.  There is always a method to Helena’s madness, and this is sort of her “Pushing You Into the Deep End” to see if a student is ready to swim with the sharks.

And while we’ve touched on the whole “yellow flag” stuff before, Helena tells everyone in the room what it means, because unlike you, they’ve never heard of this stuff . . .


Helena loosely crossed her arms and began tapping her left forearm with her right index finger. “If any of you have ever pulled up your school records you’ll have seen a colored border around your student image. This is a color coding that we use to determine whether or not a student requires additional scrutiny due to their abilities as a witch. Nearly all of you have what we call green flagged files, which means there’s a green border around your picture. A yellow flagged file indicates that the student not only knows one or more spells that can be used to kill another person—usually Morte spells, but not always—but that they are in full command of that spell, and they can use it at varying levels of power.

“And since I know some of you are wondering and a few will ask—the next level up from that is red flagging. That means one thing: the student in question has used magic to kill another person. And there are a few students here with red flag files: they got them last school year during the Day of the Dead. They’re members of either our Air Assault Group or our Rapid Response Teams, and you’ll never hear them talk about what they did because having to kill someone is a duty that’s not to be taken lightly.”

Helena’s demeanor turned serious and not a little angry. “If I ever heard of any of my dark witches talking up about killing someone, they and I would have a quiet little chat far from the madding crowd, and my displeasure would be known. Fortunately—” She returned a slight nod in response to the two she’d seen. “—I don’t have to worry about that, because I know those I’ve trained, I’ve trained up right. So, if we—”

The distinctive accent of Edelmar Brodney from the Sunshine Coast of Queensland, Australia, ran out. “You said almost all of us are green flagged; there’s someone here who isn’t?”


Yeah, teach, are there kids in this room who are yellow flagged?  Silly students . . .


“That’s correct.” Helena sensed a few students looking in Annie’s direction, but didn’t bother acknowledging. “As I gather nearly all of you want to know your fellow yellow flagged levelmates, I’ll make it easy for you—” She raised her voice a touch. “All students here who are yellow flagged please come forward and stand to my left.”

A moment of silence passed before Annie stepped away from the mass of students, with Kerry a half a step behind. Seconds later they stood next to their instructor, with Kerry situated between the Helena and Annie. The Head Sorceress let out a gasp of mock surprise. “Well, isn’t this unexpected.” She turned back to the rest of the students. “Most of you likely became aware of Annie’s abilities to use Electrify after watching her fight in The Manor—though I’m certain she shocked the shite out of one student—” Helena smirked as she returned Lisa’s angry glare. “—but she also knew, and could control, Exsanguination before arriving at Salem: that means she was yellow flagged as soon as she walked through Founder’s Gate.

“What you didn’t know is that Kerry’s been hard at work learning the same Morte spells—under my guidance, in case someone feels the need to ask and/or complain. The reasons for his instructions are mine, but the end result is that he knows what Annie knows—” She gave him a slight pat on the shoulder. “Which means what Annie knows, he knows.”


Helena had to point out the obvious and throw some shade back at the Queen of Ass Covering, which only leads to more shade throwing–


“Can he fly, too?” The sarcasm in Franky Smith’s voice was unmistakable.

Kerry answered the question in a quiet yet assured tone. “There’s an easy way to find out, Franky.”


Well, there’s a thrown gauntlet if there ever was one.  But wait!


Helena glanced to her left and gave Kerry a smile. “Maybe sometime later, huh?”

A loud snort emanated from the student group. “Yeah, when he’s had a bit more training.”

Here we go again. Helena sigh wasn’t heard beyond her and the minions at her side, but she was certain it was seen. “What bug is up your arse this time, Lisa?”

“No bug, Professor.” Lisa made her way to the front of the group. “Only if you’re gonna brag on your brats, at least show us what they can do.” A dark grin spread across her face. “Kerry made the point: only one way to find out if he’s as bad ass as his—” Her face twisted around into a mask of scorn. “Girlfriend.”

The girlfriend was having none of this. “We’re not here to show off for you or anyone else.”

“I’m not talking to you, Annie—remember?” Lisa pointed at Kerry. “But I think we should see this supposed talent before he gets the chance to punk someone in the ring.”

Helena saw what was happening—Lisa was trying to prove Kerry’s abilities before someone, perhaps her, could call him out to The Manor—and she damned herself for opening this door. On the other hand . . . “Okay, then.” She turned to her left. “How do you both feel about giving a practical demonstration?”


Once more Helena finds herself in a position where she has to defend her minions–or, is she?  After all, we aren’t seeing what comes next, and as far as defending her choices of minions–well, there’s no need to do that this far into the school year.  Which means that whatever’s coming next–

It’ll likely be interesting.

Taking the Dark to the Next Level

It’s a slow going morning, that’s for sure.  Last night I went out to our local Transgender Day of Remembrance, which is one of those unofficial holidays that have popped up over the decades.  The TDR is meant to shed light upon those transpeople who were murdered during the past year, and those who killed themselves because there wasn’t a light at the end of the tunnel–and if you’ve followed the blog, you know I’ve had a few of those moments myself.

The event sees the names of the known dead read off, and this year, my first, I read the second of twenty-five names.  It’s not meant to be a happy moment; it’s meant as a reminder that just by being who I am my chances of being murdered increase by about fifty percent over the odd of ciswomen, and those odd literally double for transwomen of color.  Which is why when someone tells me this is a “lifestyle choice” I now ask them on the statistics of people who were killed because they were hispters, or who killed themselves due to being discriminated over their preference to drink PBR.

But it’s not my intention to bring you down today, not after finding out it’s World Hello Day.  So hello!  Let’s get to the writing.

I didn’t write anything last night, and this morning I haven’t exactly burned up the keyboard today.  However, I do plan on writing throughout the day between doing the wash and getting lunch and taking a nap:  all the normal stuff, you know.  But what I have written–ah, shit.  Yes, it’s not some happy time stuff, that’s for sure.  It’s just under three hundred words, but it’s going to set the mood for this scene like few others have set one.

What am I talking about?  This:


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

Unlike normal Mid-Level Sorcery classes, the B Levels assembled at the Firing Line instead of starting this Thursday morning at The Witch House. Few of the students were happy with the change—the walk to the Firing Line wasn’t any shorter than their normal walk—and some students got lost in the tunnels on their way to class, as they weren’t certain of the route to the building.

No one was certain of why the change of venue occurred, for the message detailing the change showed up as an email sent just after the previous evening’s dinner. Then again, few bothered challenging the thoughts and intentions of the Head Sorceress, as that usually led to grief the questioning student didn’t desire. More that a few students pointed out that it was better to say nothing and play to her whims than speak up and find an angry Kiwi glaring from a few centimeter beyond the tip of your nose.

At eight sharp Professor Lovecraft walked into the main section of the Firing Line where the students had been asked to gather. There was a low mummer among her students as a few commented softly on the sliver-colored sweater she wore under her ever-present leather duster, and that she had her black jeans tucked inside her high-heeled boots, something she only did on those occasions when she wanted appear extra menacing.

She stood before the gathering of students and regarded them for almost ten seconds. Finally she stuck her hands firmly within the pockets of her long coat and clicked her tongue before addressing her class. “Today I’m going to show you how to kill another person.”


Hey, good morning, kids!  Did you have a nice breakfast, ’cause I’m certain I can make a few of you toss that shit before class is out!

"Yeah, bitches:  time to show you what I do best."

“Yeah, bitches: time to show you what I do best.”

Before this scene is out you’re gonna know a little more about sorcery and these crazy death spells, and that’s what I’m gonna be working on today–

So you’ll have a bit of easy reading for your breakfast tomorrow.