The Road to Recruitment: All the Little Moves

Yeah, I’m coming to this late.  And yeah, I haven’t written anything–

Yet.

It’s been a long last 24 hours. Part of that is due to getting my ass kicked hard last night at practice, because I was working on timing and hitting drills with the vets–yay, insurance!–and I did a lot of that work against a couple of our faster players.  That meant I had to push hard just to try and keep up and while I did my best, it wasn’t always that good.  Still, I kept at it and my thighs and butt are still screaming at me today.

Also, I did a 27/5 where I fell on the second lap.  I did finish with a time of 5:52, however, ’cause I got up and kept going.  Even though I knew I’d have a shit time, the thing to do it finish it out.  These days if I get on the line, I’ll get the time.

I should point out that it was almost a year ago last night that I had one of my first real practices–which I happened to photograph.  There’s the before:

Let's see how I look in a couple of hours. #HARD #RollerGirl

A post shared by Cassidy Frazee (@cassidyfrazee) on

 

And the after:

I died tonight. #HARD #RollerGirl

A post shared by Cassidy Frazee (@cassidyfrazee) on

 

If I remember correctly I may have managed 20 laps during cardio.  Back in those days I was pretty shit because I was so out of shape, but I was getting better–though I doubt I did anything like a 40/10 at that point.  That might not have happened until sometimes in July.

What’s up next is what happened to Annie at her Recruitment Night.  A lot of what happens to her is a lot of what I’ve seen at various Recruitment Nights over the last year, though I’m sure a 14 year old girl might not get it as hard as I got.

Let’s see how she did.

 

(The following excerpts from The Foundation Chronicles, Book Three: C For Continuing, copyright 2016, 2017, 2018 by Cassidy Frazee)

 

An hour after getting fully geared, Annie didn’t need to wonder what she and the other girls had gotten into.

She knew.

Angry and Holly and Princess—as they were told, during practice it was derby names only—showed them simple moves and encouraged them to perform them as well. They did knee drops—left, right, and both—where they’d drop to the ground and get back up after a few seconds without using their hands. A couple of girls, Annie among them, figured out quickly how to touch the ground with one knee and slid back up to a skating position quickly, earning some praise from the coaches in the process. They also learned to do something called “falling small”, which seemed to consist of getting down on both knees as quickly as possible, pulling your arms in as you sat back on your heels, and leaning over so as to make a small ball on the floor.

 

Falling Small is important because if you fall and then “starfish” on the floor–which is to say, your legs and arms are out wide from your body–and someone trips over a body part, you’ll get called for a low block on the player.  It doesn’t matter that they tripped over you, it’s your fault you’re spread out on the floor.  Ergo, learn to fall small.

And knee drops–all the kinds–are part of our Minimum Required Skills needed for certification.  You’re expect to get down and back up in 3 seconds without the use of hands.

Now my favorite part:

 

Then they learned about stops. First a plow, which Annie figured out quickly as it was much like plowing on skis. Then a t-stop, which involved putting one foot at right angles behind the other and using it like a break: that one she didn’t figure out right away. Then there was a transition stop, which they were shown but, as explained, they didn’t figure many would get it as few of them had ever been on skates, so they weren’t expected to try—

Unless they wanted.

About a dozen girls tried, each in groups of three with the coaches hovering over them since most had never been on skates, including Annie. She watched Holly go through the motions of the transition three times before trying it herself and her first attempt found her falling on her side. Holly helped her back on her wheels and to the coach’s—and Annie’s—surprise, Annie wanted to try again. This time she spun around one hundred and eighty degrees, but it was a sloppy mess and Annie thought about halfway through the transition she was going down again.

 

Though I’m getting better, I suck at plows.  Part of it is mental: I just can’t seem to sit back and push out my heels enough to get a fast stop.  Since I now “trust my skates” enough to do a good crossover during a 27/5, I need to trust them to plow.

As for t-stops and 180 transition stops–yeah, got it.  Though I tend to let my leg swing out on a 180 and I need to stop that, too.  There’s always work for you, no matter how good you get.

Now on to something I love–

 

Then, because there were so many skaters, the girls were broken into two groups, and put into what Angry called a pace line. What they did was simple: they skated around the track, keeping a certain amount of space between each person in line. Annie was in the second group and watched the first group skate slowly around the track for a couple of laps before they were stopped by Angry, who said now that they could do that much, it was time to learn how to weave through the line—

The way it was presented it seemed simple: the person in the front skated to the front, weaving between the skaters until they took the lead, after which the newest person at the back of the line did the same, until everyone went through. The moment Princess started out at the back as a way of showing the skaters—Annie reminded herself they were called Freshies—three girls asked to drop out of the pack, fearing they couldn’t keep up or make it through the pack. Angry allowed it and, after starting, everyone in the line managed one trip through the line with Holly’s and Princess’ help.

Annie’s pack got their turn next.

They started with twenty-one girls, but two immediately asked if they could sit out. Angry didn’t hold it against them and told Holly and Princess to begin. The assistant coach skated to the front, weaving pass Annie so close that she wondered if there really was enough room between them. Four more skaters took their turns—

Then it was Annie’s time to go.

When she heard her name called she took a deep breath and hesitated for a moment: it was the first time she felt doubt in doing something since her Levitation lab that first night in Advanced Spells just over two years ago. A moment later she skated out of line before moving to her right, cutting in front of Farah Charobim, who was directly in front of her. She then slipped to her left and passed in front of the next skater, and the next, and the next after that. While she wasn’t fast or particularly agile, Annie found a rhythm that allowed her to get through with little problem, though like the other skaters she found having to skate up to the pack when they were outside of them in a turn to be difficult.

When then last freshie made it to the front and they were asked to plow, Annie felt as if she’d accomplished something great.

 

This is the first time we’ve seen Annie show any kind of hesitation when it comes to school things since one night over two years before, probably because she’s out of her element. We know she does have doubt, but she’s gotten really good at hiding it away from other.  And yet, she made it through.

I love weaving and I’m pretty good at it.  When you get better you get to hit people, which we were doing a little last night.  From 8/8 of 2017, here’s a bit of line weaving with some hitting.

 

So Annie made it through all that stuff–which means she’s doing what?  Right now, she’s getting ready to leave…

 

After they finished Angry released everyone and reminded the girls that if they wanted to start practice next Monday, they should be in the Dining Hall at 09:30 so they could try on, and be fitted for, they own skates. She was half way to one of the benches when Princess skated up next to her. “Annie.”

Annie quickly plowed and slowly turned to face the woman. “Yes—” She reached up so she could remove her mouth piece—

“No, don’t do that.” Princess waved her hand and Annie stopped. “Start learning how to talk with it in.”

“Okay.”

“You did well tonight.” The coach ran her gaze from the floor up. “I hope you’re coming back on Saturday.”

Annie knew the answer without needing time to think. “I should be here first thing.”

“I’m glad to hear that.” Princess smiled. “I have a good feeling about you. I hope you stay with us.” She turned and skated off.

Annie continued towards the bench, found an open spot, and sat. She removed her helmet first then she skates, as she remembered that they weren’t allowed to stand on their skates if they weren’t wearing a helmet. She wanted to start making good habits now.

When she was finished Annie took her gear and returned it to the same small table where it had been placed originally. As she turned to leave Kerry approached. He gave her a big smile and a quick kiss before speaking. “Did you have fun?”

A smile broke out on Annie’s face. “I did. Were you watching me?”

He turned to walk with her. “Only a little. They said I’m not needed right away, but they thought I may make a good penalty timer.” He chuckled. “Whatever they do.” He glanced at Annie. “But I did see you in the pack.”

“How did I look?”

“Good. A little shaky but not as bad as some of the girls.” He leaned in close and spoke in a softer voice. “You coming back?”

Annie took his hand and kissed it. “What do you think?”

Kerry smiled. “I think you’ve found something you’re gonna like.”

 

This is really the first time we’ve heard Annie ask Kerry about how she looked and if he saw her for anything.  She didn’t care how she looked when she was fighting, she doesn’t seem to care about how she looks when she’s crafting–but tonight, she wanted to know if Kerry saw her.

It’s almost like she wanted him to appreciate she was doing something different…

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The Road to Recruitment: Ready Derby One

Today hasn’t been the greatest.  I’ve been going back and forth about… stuff… with the soon-to-be-ex and it’s driving me nuts.  I had to visit a blood doctor because my white cell count is up over 10,000 and no one knows why.  I had two jobs respond to my resumes and they told me I wasn’t “right” for them, which probably means they think I want too much money given my age.

Yeah, not a good day.

So what did I do?  I wrote.

Oh, am I getting some writing done.

 

This is the four time in four days I’ve written over a thousand words and I do hope I keep it up.  What this means for now is that I’m two scene, or about 2,400 words, ahead of what I’m posting today.  It’s nice having a surplus, you know?  It doesn’t stress me out.

Here you go: all of the second scene in one bit, with explanations in between.  After all, I don’t want to confuse you all.

 

(The following excerpts from The Foundation Chronicles, Book Three: C For Continuing, copyright 2016, 2017, 2018 by Cassidy Frazee)

 

Annie was with forty-two other girls sitting in a circle in the middle of what they were told was the track upon which they’d play. Like Annie, the other girls were wearing their elbow and knee pads along with their wrist guards. Some were wearing their mouth guards, trying to get used to wearing an appliance over their teeth without gagging, though a few weren’t succeeding…

Just before the last of the girls were in their gear and moving towards the center of the track, the two women who’d help them get checked in and ready went behind a privacy screen. Though Annie had heard a reference to someone named “Angry”, she’d yet to see this person. She knew it wasn’t one of the two women they’d already met: as she learned when she was given her release form, the tall blond was named Princess and she discovered from Elisha that the woman checking them in was named Holly. Annie believed these weren’t their correct names: Kerry discovered, through his research, that everyone on a team has a “derby name”, so she figured the names given were those.

The screen dropped and Holly and Princess headed towards the group, fully geared, including helmets and skates. They stopped just outside the circle and motioned for the girls to move apart enough to allow a third woman to skate into the center. As she reached the middle she widened her stance and spin through a hundred and eighty degree turn, going up on her toes and coming to a stop so Annie could just see her right profile.

Annie examined her closely. She was not too tall—maybe a meter six-five—but her upper arms and thighs were quite muscular, as were her calves. She had long, ginger hair pulled back in a pony tail and short nails painted black. Like Holly, this woman also had a great many colored tattoos which showed up well against her pale complexion. The ones on her arms extended about midway down her forearms and she had a large tattoo on her left calf, something easily seen as the woman was wearing short leggings.

The woman put her hands on her hips and looked around. “I’m surprised to see so many here tonight; I expected maybe half this number.” She slowly turned in place as she spoke. “My name is Angry Orange, though people outside of derby know me as Lucy van der Sloot. If the name and the accent didn’t give it away, I’m from The Netherlands: Buchten, in case you’re wondering. I’m also a former student of Salem, having graduated in 2007. I’m a member of Ceridwen Covern, but that doesn’t make me an expert on transformation magic: just ask Professor Kishna the next time you see her and she can give you details.

“For my Real Life Experience I maintained an apartment in Amsterdam while traveling the world, ‘cause I always wanted to live there. And once my RLE was over and it was time to go to school, in 2008 I began attending the University of Amsterdam. I graduated three years later with a bachelors in Law and just this last spring I finished my masters program in International Criminal Law. So now you know: I’m a stickler for rules and regs.

 

Now you know: some witches go into college and becoming big-time lawyers.  It’s not a surprise Lucy–I’m sorry, I mean Angry Orange–went into law, because if she works for The Foundation, she can set up in some corporate front and now how to handle all those pesky Normals.  She could even get a job with, say, Interpol, which gives her a leg up in knowing what they’re up to.

Unlike a certain witch universe, it helps to not only keep an eye on the Normals, but to be right down in them from time-to-time.

But Ms. Lucy ain’t here to teach law.  No, she’s got something else on her mind:

 

“But it was the summer of 2009 where I found my life really changing. I was hanging out in the city, enjoying the museums and coffee shops and everything else Amsterdam has to offer, when I fell in with these women who were doing something—different. They were putting together Amsterdam’s first derby league, the Amsterdam Derby Dames. Now, I’d not done any sports here: I’m not a fighter and I couldn’t race on a broom to save my life. But once I understood how to play roller derby, and once I got to where I was good enough to play, I fell in love with the sport. I’ve been a part of ADD since the beginning and technically, I still am, though I’m on sort of a leave of absence right now…

“Late in 2011 I discovered that Edinburgh had not only put a league together and was playing some of the Normal derby leagues around them, but that Dragon Home, KSBE, and Le Fortier’s were also putting together leagues. ECMI not only put their league together without help from the outside, but they applied for, and was accepted into, the Junior Roller Derby Association—which is to say, they’re pretty much to play with any other junior league in the Normal world.

“So me and a few other witches who play derby got together and decided that with things in the derby arena going well on our side of the ocean, why not bring the same thing here? So while the three of us are here—” She motioned to the other women on skates next to her. “—there are others at Dawson Creek, Tech Pec, and Sky and Summit, all working to set up leagues that can play against each other—and, in time, play against Normal leagues in their regions.”

 

At the time of this excerpt–November, 2013–that particular league to which Angry Orange did indeed go by the name Amsterdam Derby Dames, but recently–2017, actually–they changed their name to Amsterdam Roller Derby, and that’s how they’re known today.

There’s also a lot of names thrown around: Dragon Home, KSBE, Dawson Creek… These are all schools and training centers in my little Foundation Universe, none of which save maybe Edinburgh you’re heard of before now.  So a quick run down:

 

ECMI, Edinburgh Center for Magical Instruction, Edinburgh, Scotland, United Kingdom

Dragon Home, Home of the Winter Dragon (Hem för Winter Draken), Fatsjön, Sweden

KSBE, Kellenberg School for Gifted Development (Kellenberg Schule für Begabte Entwicklung), Reiselfingen, Germany  (Note: this school has a heavy emphasis on sorcery and it was one of the places Annie was planing to go before learning Kerry was going to attend Salem.)

Le Fortier’s, aka The Girls Club, Le Fortier’s School for Girls, Dijon, France (Note: this is where Mathilde was teaching before she was ask to take over as headmistress of Salem.)

Dawson Creek, aka Alaska Gate, Dawson Creek Science Center, Dawson Creek, British Columbia, Canada  (Note: it’s nicknamed Alaska Gate because this is the location of the southern terminus of the Alaska Highway.)

Tech Pec, Center For Special Studies (Centro de Estudios Especiales), Tehuantepec, Mexico

Sky and Summit aka S and S, Sky and Summit Observatory, Granby, Colorado, United States

 

There you have it: a nice cross section of schools The Foundation maintains.  And that’s just a few of them: there are a whole lot more, with three we know of from the first novel in Chile, South Africa, and Australia.  Just wait until we see some of the others.

So a couple of these joints have derby leagues and Angry and company are bringing the sport to North America, where it started.

And like the Cylons, they have a plan:

 

Angry began skating slowly in a circle, taking time to look at each girl seated on the floor. “We have a plan and while it’s ambitious, it’s also doable as hell. Starting next week, we begin practice in ernest. Monday and Thursday nights and Sunday afternoon, two hours each day, except every other Thursday we practice for three. Each practice is going to be held in a time compression field, so no matter how much time we spend on practice here, one hour will pass outside this hall.

“In order to play, each of you must pass a set of minimum required skating skills as laid out by JRDA for their leagues and we intend to follow a ‘boot camp’-style format to get there. I will be your head coach. Holly Goblightly—” Angry motioned to the brunette to her right. “—is my assistant coach. And Princess Powerpuff—” She motioned to the tall blond on her left, who curtsied when named. “—will act as our Fresh Meat coach next school year. Since you are all fresh meat at the moment, Princess will spent extra time this year with those who we feel require assistance to pass their MRSs, particularly at the Skill Level 3 assessment. This is to say if you need help getting bout ready, she’s gonna be kicking your little butts as hard as she can.

“By the end of February and the beginning of March, we expect to see the first of you pass your MRS: by the end of April we expect everyone who started practice, and is still with us, to certified. And by the end of next September, when all of you have returned to school for your next level, I expect to have the first roster set up for our first bout at the end of October, for the Samhain celebration.

 

MRS are your Minimum Required Skills needed to get certified, and with the JRDA you have a three level system you go through, building upon what you need to know before moving onto more advanced stuff.  Level 1 is all about basics, Level 2 is more advanced stuff and developing track awareness, and Level 3 is where you get into hitting and stuff.  Level 3 is also where you do your 27/5, which is the crap I’ve been working on for months.  But Annie and the others are young and should have plenty of energy.

And now you have they overall plan: certify and get everyone bout ready by the end of the school year, and have them ready for their first bout over Samhain weekend, 2014.  Which means you’ll likely see Annie play if she can.  What am I saying…?

In case you didn’t notice, the three coaches all have the same color hair as The Powerpuff Girls.  That’s not a coincidence.  I intended that from the start.

 

“In case you are wondering this is the reason we have A Levels here for recruitment.” Angry spun around and began skating backwards at about a half as normal walking pace. “No one will play this year: it’s all about getting your certified and bout ready. Next year, when everyone’s moved up a level, you’ll be eligible to play. At that time we’ll take in A Levels as our newest Fresh Meat, but we’ve reassured the headmistress that only under the agreement of all three coaches will those freshies be allowed to play before becoming B Levels. If we have enough people next year, it’s possible we could develop a second team—but that’s a decision for next year—

“This year it’s all about teaching you what we know and how to use that knowledge. And in order to do that, we first have to get you on skates. Everyone on your feet.” Angry stopped skating as all the girls in the circle stood. “You need to go over to the gear area laid out for you, get your helmet and your skates, and finish gearing up. Tonight all of you will use Riedell R3s; for those of you who intend to continue beyond tonight, we’ll meet this Saturday morning to size you up and pick out your skates.” She smiled. “Trust me when I say we’ll have your skates ready for you come next Monday’s practice.” Angry turned to the women standing in the middle of the circle. “That’s all I have to say.”

Both nodded and smiled before Princess skated to one side of the circle, spun around, and came to a stop. “Okay, Freshies.” Her voice boomed out through the hall. “Let’s get you geared up all the way so we can see what you can do.”

 

Now you know why A Levels are there: they won’t play because no one is playing this year.  And next year A Levels can join the madness and be Fresh Meat and maybe even play if they get permission.  But for now, everyone starts the same, everyone learns the same.

Which means it about time they learn something…

The Road to Recruitment: Here Be Gear

The writing continues and the derby chapter has seen a couple of changes.  First up, I finished the second scene, which means in two days time I’ve written a total of 3,301 words, which is pretty much a record for me of late.  It’s probably due to getting some of my writing energy back, though I imagine part of the deal is just finding that I’ve writing about something I know and care a whole lot about.  Write what you know?  I’m sort of doing that.

Also, today I did something I’ve not done in a while: I added two scenes to Chapter Twenty-two.  So what, you say? The two scenes take place on different days and I did that because, (1) I wanted to continue what I’m working on with this chapter, and (2) I didn’t want to start another chapter just for these couple of scenes.  Since they are logical extensions of what’s happening in this chapter, it only makes sense I keep it all contained here.

Sometimes you gotta add them ’cause it makes sense.

 

Annie’s got the release forms out of the way, so what’s next?  How about gear?  Yeah, sounds like a good idea.  But first–

 

(The following excerpts from The Foundation Chronicles, Book Three: C For Continuing, copyright 2016, 2017, 2018 by Cassidy Frazee)

 

Annie turned quickly to Kerry. “See you after?”

He smiled. “You know it.”

The blond immediately directed Annie towards a number of tables filled with equipment. “Name?”

“Annie Kirilova.”

“Okay, you’re right over here.” They moved a couple of meters to their left and stopped before what looked like some kind of protective gear, a helmet, and a pair of skates laying on their sides. “Okay, I’m gonna give you the quick gear up tutorial: I’ll tell you what’s what, but we want you to put it on. I’ll help you if you run into issue. Sound good?”

Annie nodded. “It does.”

 

Say your goodbyes to Kerry, kid, ’cause you’re about to enter a whole new world.  And here it comes:

 

“All right, then. These—” The blond held up something that looked like fingerless gloves. “These are wrist guards. They’re designed to keep you from breaking your wrists if you take a fall. You thumb goes through here—” She pushed her thumb through a hole in the soft leather. “—and you wrap the straps around so they fasten on the top. Remember, this plate—” She turned the guard so Annie saw a long plate embedded into the leather. “—always goes on the bottom part of your wrist.

“These—” She held up something that looked like a sleeve with a hard shell on one side. “These are your elbow pads. You slip them over your arms until they are fixed over your elbows. Remember, the shell is on the outside and this rounded part—” She touched the hard shell. “—goes closer to your upper arm.

“Last we have knee pads.” She picked one up. “You’re gonna spend a lot of time falling, so these are important. There are straps in the back that help hold it against your legs, then this strap—” She tugged on a large, thick one. “—goes at the top, around your leg to fasten on the top. The bottom strap goes through this buckle and then you pull it tight and Velcro it together. Keep the buckle on the inside of your leg. Any questions?”

Annie had one. “Are you sure these will fit me?”

The tall blond laughed. “We got your body measurements from your CMO about four hours ago, so yes, it’ll all fit. Besides, there are sizing enchantment in place so some scaling will likely take place.”

“I thought that might be the case.” She picked up the helmet. Unlike the ones Kerry wore while racing, this one looked more like the ones they’d wear for casual flying. “Same with this?”

“Absolutely. You won’t have to put that one until after Angry gives her speech, but keep in mind, any time you’re here with us and you’re wearing skates, you need your helmet on. It’s an insurance violation if you don’t.”

 

First off, this is all the same stuff I have.  For a bit of reference, last November, 2017, I did a black and white challenge on Facebook, where you took one B&W photo a day for seven days and posted it to your wall.  One of the photos was of my then derby gear, and here it is:

 

All the stuff here is the same as Annie’s, though I have a couple of differences.  First off, in the foreground, is the protective gear.  Left to right are the wrist guards, the elbow pads, and the knee pads.  Annie’s wearing the same stuff, set for her body size–thanks to the hospital and Doctor Gallagher–and if there are adjustment needed, a little magic will take care of that.

In the back are my skates–The Riedell Darts that I used to wear–and my helmet.  The biggest different here is Annie is wearing a normal derby helmet, while these days I wear a hockey helmet, which I feel–as do other skaters–gives better protection.  If you want to see the differences, here’s my old purple helmet, which I gave to the league:

Made it through one of my hardest practices. #HARD #RollerGirl

A post shared by Cassidy Frazee (@cassidyfrazee) on

 

And my current helmet:

Time to practice! #HARD #RollerGirl

A post shared by Cassidy Frazee (@cassidyfrazee) on

 

And when I’m all geared up I looked like this, taken one year after my recruitment night, wearing my Bont skates:

How I looked a year after recruitment. Not bad. #HARD #DerbyGirl #StillMovingForward

A post shared by Cassidy Frazee (@cassidyfrazee) on

 

In the gear picture above I showed knee gaskets, which I wore for a while because I needed the extra knee support.  They’ve gotten stronger and I rarely put them on now.  Also, in my “One Year After” picture, you can see pink tape on my right wrist guard.  That’s because the Velcro doesn’t stick well any longer, so I tape it up before practice. Hockey and Duct Tape are a derby girl’s best friend.  Trust me.

There’s also something visible in my hockey helmet picture, and we’re coming to that right now–

 

Annie set the helmet down. “Do we really worry about that?”

“Normally no, but if you’re outside the school playing Normal leagues, you could screw their insurance up if you aren’t following regs.” The blond picked up a small plastic case and removed a thin, flat piece of white plastic. “Open your mouth.” Annie did as told and the blond inserted the flat piece into her mouth. “Bite down and hold for about ten seconds.”

Annie did as told. For the first few seconds nothing happened, then she felt the plastic fold upward against her upper teeth. After ten seconds she opened her mouth and removed the molded plastic from her mouth. “What—?”

“That’s your mouth guard. You won’t be doing any hitting tonight, but you will if you decide to stay with this, you’ll need that.” The blond took the mouth guard and put it back inside its container, which she set next to the helmet. “Go over by those benches and put on your pads. After Angry talks we’ll get your geared up the rest of the way.” She pointed towards a group of long, flat seats not far from Kerry and a few others stood. “Go on.”

Annie took her wrist guards, elbow and knee pads, and walked over to closest clear spot, which happened to be next to Anna. The German girl—who had everything but her wrist guards on—looked to her friend as she sat. “What do you think?”

“Well—” Annie shrugged. “I don’t know yet.”

Anna sighed. “What exactly are we getting into?”

Annie chuckled as she set one of the knee pads into place. “I believe we’re going to find out soon.”

 

That pink think in my tank top strap is my mouth guard:  specifically, a Sisu mouth guard that I molded much the same way as Annie’s, though I needed hot water and my hands and not magic to achieve the same results.  If you don’t wear a mouth guard, you can do cool things like get in a pace line with the vets or hit, or block, or any stuff like that ’cause it’s an insurance violation otherwise.  Got to protect those teeth.  I actually have a couple of mouth guards, but my Sisu is the only one I can wear that doesn’t make me gag.

So Annie’s got her stuff and she’s almost ready to derby–

Almost.

The Road to Recruitment: Opening Night

Believe it or not, I’ve been writing.

It’s getting hot outside and plans aren’t always going the way I expect, so rather than spin my wheels, I decided to start writing.  I decided to start on the next chapter, number Twenty-Two, because–well, it’s something near and dear to my heart.

Four days after Annie projects her body into the Astral Realm, she goes to Recruitment Night to see if she has what it takes to be a derby girl.

And that meant I did something I haven’t done in a why: I wrote nearly two thousand words for a scene yesterday.

See that first part? That’s not a lie.

 

And, as you can see, I wrote nearly eight hundred and twenty-five words today, so for like the first time in a year I have a surplus of words to lay upon you today.  You’re not getting it all in the excerpt and since I’ll write more tomorrow, it’s quite likely I’ll have the second scene finished by the time I complete showing the first scene.

Hey, it’s always good to have more words than necessary.

So let’s get this party started and see what happens.  I’m sure it’s gonna be fun:

 

(The following excerpts from The Foundation Chronicles, Book Three: C For Continuing, copyright 2016, 2017, 2018 by Cassidy Frazee)

 

It was rare that Annie came to the Great Hall on a Thursday night, even more rare that Kerry would appear with her. Thursday was one of their only “nights off” from the grind of the advanced classes. Monday night was the night they spent teaching each other; Tuesday night was Advanced Transformation; Wednesday night was Wednesday’s with Wednesday. And, of course, Friday and Saturday were the Midnight Madness were they spent their time relaxing and talking to friends, but they also loved having Thursday and Sunday night to themselves to do just about anything they liked.

But tonight wasn’t just a night off: tonight was an event Annie decided to attend a few weeks before and that Kerry decided to join once he discovered it was possible to participate without being as active in the same way his soul mate.

Tonight was Recruitment Night.

Since learning the school was putting together a derby team, Kerry did his usual diligence and found a great many videos on YouTube showing what appeared a lot of women on skates running into others and doing their best to knock them down—at least that’s how it appeared to Annie untrained eye. While it appeared dangerous, something made her want to learn more, which was her main reason for coming tonight. She didn’t know if she’d do anything beyond this first night—

But as Kerry told her several times over the last few nights, it never hurts to try something new at least once.

As they entered the Dining Hall Annie was surprised to discover that even though they were slightly early—students were asked to begin arriving between 19:30 and 20:00—there were what appeared to be close to forty students already here, with about a quarter of them being boys. She recognized several girls right away: Zoe Navarro, Anna Laskar, and Elisha Tasköprülüzâde from Åsgårdsreia; Felisa Ledesma from Blodeuwedd; Humaira Noor from Ceridwen; and Pleasure Pimenta and Fabienne Ratsiraka from Mórrígan. She also noticed three girls from their cover—Leonora Couture, Farah Charobim, and Rajani Siddiqui—and it took a few seconds for the fact to register that A Levels were allowed to try out for this sport, something not permitted for both the fighting and racing teams.

 

Way back in the first novel it was mentioned that A Levels couldn’t go out for racing or the fight teams, so it’s a big interesting that A Levels are being allowed to come out tonight. There’s a reason for this–don’t I always have one?–and it’ll eventually get explained when I start excerpting the next scene.  It’s all legal, otherwise the headmistress wouldn’t all it to happen.

Annie’s making some other observations–

 

She was also surprised that so many girls came wearing tee shirts and jeans, even though instructions they’d received via email said to wear leggings, sports bras, and workout tops. Annie figured that most of the girls here didn’t have the necessary clothing and were making do with what they had for tonight.

They queued up behind four other girls standing before a table at which a bi-ethnic woman with black hair tied back in pigtails and wearing a black tank top sat. She turned to Kerry and spoke softly. “I didn’t expect this many would show this early.”

Kerry looked around the room. “I didn’t expect this many, period. Did you notice the floor?”

“I did.” Normally the floor of the Dining Hall was a well-worn dark wood that was probably far older than it appeared. While the floor was still wood, it was notably lighter in color. Also, maybe fifteen meters from where they were waiting, one could see the outlines of what appeared to be a track. “I wonder how long it took Housekeeping to program in this configuration?”

“I’m sure someone had a configuration they could use.” He motioned forward with his head. “We’re next.”

 

Though I wore a tee shirt to my recruitment night, I also wore a pair of leggings ’cause I couldn’t imagine skating in jeans.  Which is to say, I do find it a bit surprising when people show up wearing jeans and they strap on their gear and head out on the floor.  After you’ve done it a while you start showing up in leggings, but first timers in jeans isn’t that out of the ordinary.

The track is already laid out and, again, there’s a reason why the floor has that configuration.  I mean, it’s not hard to find a track layout on the internet, someone would still have to “program it” into all the enchantments that allow the Dining Hall to have a number of different layouts. And now “Derby Flat Track” is one of those configurations.

The queue is moving and my kids are next in line.  Where they meet–

 

They waited less than a minute before coming face-to-face with the woman in the tank top. The first thing Annie noticed was the bright blue stud piercing her right nostril as well as a number of multi-colored images tattooed all over her right shoulder and upper arm. The other thing she noticed was the woman was, at best, maybe ten years older than her.

She looked up at Annie and smiled. “Name and coven.”

Annie cleared her throat. “Annie Kirilova, Cernunnos.”

She checked something off on her tablet before turning to Kerry. “And you?”

He straighted as he spoke. “Kerry Malibey, Cernunnos. I’m here for the stuff that doesn’t—”

“You mean a NSO position?” She smiled at him. “It’s all right, mate: I know you ain’t here to hit some bitches.” She pulled two small reading tablets off a stack to her left. “These are standard release forms. Read them thoroughly before signing.”

Annie took her tablet and examined it carefully. “Release forms?”

Kerry jumped in. “To absolve the school of any liability in case you get hurt.” He turned to the woman behind the table. “I had to sign one when I joined our racing team.”

The woman nodded a couple of times before turning back to Annie. “He’s right. It’s to make certain that you understand you’re getting involved in a full-contact sport and this prevents you from coming back and holding the school responsible when you’re injured later.”

 

For the first time we learn that Kerry signed a release form when he joined the racing team.  We didn’t see it happened because–well, he was pretty much told “You’re on the team” and they likely sent him the release form via an email.

I not only signed a release form with my team, I had to sign one with York when they became our sister league.  And were I to skate with another league, I’d need to sign a release with them.  I even recently signed a release with another body–more on that later.

NSO: that stands for Non-skating Official.  They are the time keepers, the penalty box watchers, the wardens of the scoreboard.  Like refs. if we don’t have NSOs, we don’t play. We’re not just a bunch of crazy bitches who beat on each other while wearing skates: we are, for want of a different word, professional. And our organizing body sees to it we do things right.

But what about “hitting bitches”? That’s a term we use pretty freely: at my recruitment night one of my friends already on the team told me, “And we get to hit bitches, too.” So we got that going for us.  You, and Annie, will hear that term get used again.  What Annie doesn’t know yet is you’re also one of those bitches who gets hit–

And that last line: “–when you’re injured later.” We don’t say “If I get hurt”: we usually say, “When I get hurt.” Nearly all the people I play with have had something happen to them.  Since I joined my league 13 months ago I’ve seen, on my team, a broken ankle, a broken wrist, a broken leg, twisted knees, torn ligaments in the ankle, and a couple of concussions. I’ve already mentioned that I broke two ribs and I’m certain one of my teammates has broken a couple of ribs as well.

This is why you sign a release, Annie.

 

“I see.” Annie tried not to change her expression when the woman said “when” instead of “if”—she apparently knows more than me on this subject. “After we sign these—”

The woman pointed to another woman about six meters to Annie’s left, a tall blond also wearing a tank top. “You hand them to Princess there and she’ll get you set up with gear.” She turned to Kerry. “You won’t be gearing up; she’ll direct you over to where the NSOs are gonna watch and observe.”

Annie acknowledged the woman’s comments and wandered off a few meters to read the release. After seeing that it indicated that she was becoming involved in a contact sport that could lead to injury and that neither the school or JRDA—a word, more likely an acronym, that meant nothing to her—could be held responsible for said injuries, she used her index finger to sign the form and affixed her thumbprint for additional authentication.

Kerry approached her just as she finished up. “It’s pretty much like the one I had to sign for racing.”

“I vaguely now remembering you mentioning this.” She pointed in the direction of the tall blond. “We need to leave these with her.”

They made their way to the tall blond: Annie instantly noticed she had several rings in the midpoint of both ears. She looked up as they handed her the release tablet. “Oh, done, are we?” Her voice carried a slight accent that Annie thought might be Spanish. “Okay, then. You—” She pointed at Kerry then to a group of about six people, mostly boys, standing near where the breakfast buffet tables were usually found. “—go over then with the rest on the NSOs. After Angry talks a little you’ll go through instruction with them.

“As for you—” She rested her hand on Annie’s left shoulder. “Come with me.”

There’s Annie, all signed up and ready to find her gear.  And she has it–oh, does she.  And tomorrow you’ll see it up close.

Up there I mentioned JRDA–the Junior Roller Derby Association, which handles kids 7 to 17.  They’ll have control over what happens at Salem, though they probably won’t know the whole story.

Once you hit 18 you can join WFTDA–the Woman’s Flat Track Derby Association, which is my governing body. As I mentioned in my video this last Saturday, I’ve been given the go-ahead to get insurance because, well, I’m back to hitting.  And this last Saturday afternoon, I did just that:

I haz skatin’ insurance.

 

So I not only carry insurance through the governing body, but I also signed WFTDA’s 2018 Release and Waiver of Liability, Assumption of Risk, and Indemnity Agreement, which means I can’t sue them should I go to practice tonight and, while taking a hit, mess myself up in a bad way.  That’s because I know I’m involved in a full-contact sport and there’s a certain element of danger involved when you strap on a pair of skating and throw a block at someone–or they at you.

And before anyone asks: I did fill in my derby name.  I blacked it out here so you can’t see it, but I’m looking at my WFTDA Profile right now and, yes, my derby name is there.  And when I certify I’ll let you know what it is…

Until then, try guessing Annie’s derby name.

She already has it picked out.

Back At the End: With Friends Like That–

It’s been a while since I’ve said this, but Chapter Twenty-one is finished.

Yes, it really is.

 

Now, yes: I finished Chapter Twenty-eight a couple of weeks back, so I have said this before. But I started Chapter Twenty-one a long time back and now, really now, it’s done. Complete. Fin.  And it didn’t take a lot time to finish it up.

So what happens?  Not a lot.  Just a bit of advice about spirits who may or may not have your best interests at heart:

 

(The following excerpts from The Foundation Chronicles, Book Three: C For Continuing, copyright 2016, 2017, 2018 by Cassidy Frazee)

 

Annie needed a second to absorb Deanna’s comment. “That’s possible, but—”

“But what?”

“I wouldn’t imagine The Phoenix could be that mean to one of us.”

“Not mean?” Deanna chuckled dryly. “She’s put students in the hospital because of whatever happened during their E and As.” She glanced at Kerry as if to ensure he was still asleep. “Her being mean to use is like us being mean to a microbe: I means absolutely nothing. She may find us interesting, but only in the way we may find a far lesser form of life interesting: it’s there to study, but not much beyond that.”

As interesting as Annie found the old spirit, Deanna’s words touched her considerably. As Kerry has said before, The Phoenix’s way of thinking, her motivations, her emotional responses—if she had them—were completely alien to them and they’d never be able to understand why she did some of the things she did. It’s entirely possible Deanna is correct about what The Phoenix did to Kerry—but that’s the past. So how do we handle future encounters? Ignore her? Somehow I don’t believe she’ll allow that to happen

She figured the person best to answer that question was next to her. “What should Kerry or I do if we encounter her again?”

Deanna shrugged. “Be cordial and don’t give her any attitude. She seems to respond well friendly conversation.” She looked away for a moment. “I don’t believe she’d hurt you if you’re projecting or walking in the Astral Realm, but one can never tell. The less you do to antagonize her, the better.”

“So just be her friend.”

“If that works, yes.”

Annie nodded. “I’ll do just that.” She looked down at the still sleeping Kerry. “I’ll tell him when he awakens.”

Deanna looked at him as well. “Maybe we should wake him.”

“No.” Annie ran her fingers through his soft, ginger hair. “He needs his rest.”

 

The thing we keep coming back to is that we can’t possibly know why The Phoenix does some of the shit she does, so just hang loose and try not to piss her off, ’cause she could kill you if she’s in the mood.  Isn’t she wonderful?

Now, it’s time to move on–and I knew just where I’m going…

Back At the End: About Your Friends…

Coming to you a little late today because–well, I just woke up from a nap.  I had a busy day driving around getting some food stuffs and visiting some spots.  Such as–

Soon…

A post shared by Cassidy Frazee (@cassidyfrazee) on

 

Yeah, that’s a skate park near me and I’m considering hitting it early tomorrow with the GoPro because why not, right? Also, in a couple of weeks a meeting of Chicks in Bowls is gonna show up there and intend to put in an appearance after a four hour morning skating clinic put on by Satan’s Little Helper.  Yeah, you heard that right.

Wait for video: it’s coming.

Now it’s Writing Time and we’re back at Memory’s End and Deanna is gonna talk a bit to Annie about making friends with spirits:

 

(The following excerpts from The Foundation Chronicles, Book Three: C For Continuing, copyright 2016, 2017, 2018 by Cassidy Frazee)

 

There was something in Deanna’s tone that instantly put Annie on the defensive. “Why is that?”

The seer crossed her legs as she moved to a seated position next to her student. “We don’t know anything about her other than she’s at least thousands of years old—”

“She told Kerry and I she was one of the Seven Sisters.”

“Really.” Deanna’s eyes widened. “I happen to know that’s something she’s never admitted to Adric: as far as I know, she’s never admitted that to anyone who’s studied her. Yet the third time she speaks with you, she tells you this.” The seer leaned closer and spoke in a near whisper, as though she didn’t want to wake Kerry. “Did you ever wonder why she told you?”

Annie thought for a few seconds before shaking her head. “No. I never considered it beyond—”

“Her being nice to you?”

“Yes.”

 

Back during the actual Walk In the Astral Realm, Ol’ Phee confirmed that, yes, she was one of the famous Seven Sisters, seven powerful spirits found in various parts of the world.  Now we learn that Adric–the school’s expert and instructor on all things spirit–has never been told that fact, nor would it seem has anyone else.  As far as Deanna knows, this is the first time it’s been confirmed, which makes it an important piece of information.

And yet, Phee dropped that tidbit like she was talking about the weather.  To a couple of kids.

This is where you get into wondering why an old spirit would do such a thing.  And Deanna has an answer for that–and more…

 

Deanna shrugged. “It’s easy enough to do when she acts like she’s being nice—but is she? I think Kerry stated once that we can never really know why The Phoenix does the things she does because she’s… alien. She’s not human: not even closely related to us. She’s a different form of intelligent live that happens to share the planet with us.”

“I know that, but…” Annie knew she shouldn’t consider The Phoenix anything even close to a friend, but at the same time their conversation has been polite—up until the end. “Look at what she did for Kerry last year—for me as well. She unlocked his E and A so he wouldn’t go insane. She didn’t have to do that.”

“I agree. However—” Deanna leaned closer. “Did you ever consider the possibility that she allowed Kerry to get to the point where he almost went insane because she wanted to see what he, and those around him, would react?”

Annie grew visibly shocked. “No, I hadn’t.”

“Look at what she did. Kerry told us that during his E and A she turned him into a girl because she knew his mother always wanted one, so she gave him a way to reconcile with his mother. The only way she could have known that was to go through this thoughts.” Deanna paused for a moment as she gathered her thoughts. “If she knew that about his family life, it’s quite likely she was aware of his Bigender Gift, which means she’d know at some point during school he would begin having dreams as he approached recognizing his gift existed.

“While The Phoenix can say that she found Kerry’s transition interesting, keep in mind Kaity Caspersen and Lucyna Gorczynski were students then they each had their involuntary transitions. The only difference between them and Kerry is that we knew Kerry’s was coming and he didn’t hide it from us.” She gave Annie that warning look again. “She’s seen it happen before, so it’s likely she knew what Kerry was going through and she probably knew that keeping his E and A locked up would prevent him from reaching the last moment in his dreams where he accepted the gift.” She sat up and sighed. “If I didn’t know any better, I’d say The Phoenix wanted to see how far Kerry could hold out before the mental strain became too great, as well as seeing what steps we’d take to help him acknowledge what was happening to him.”

 

For the first time the seeds of distrust are being sown and Deanna is making certain that Annie knows that The Phoenix is something so different from us that we don’t really know her.  Sure, she’s curious about Kerry’s change, but she saw the change happen in two other students–both mentioned in the last novel–with the main difference being no one else knew what had happened to them.  No one human, that is.

I should finished this up tomorrow, which means you may get a double post.  Or not.

One may never know my reasons for things, either…