When Times Slips Away–

Here it is, almost ten in the morning, and all the things I’ve wanted to do I haven’t.  Which means my blog post for the day is coming after I return from brunch, which I’m supposed to show up for in an hour.

The thing is, the reason I haven’t written anything this morning is because I’ve been playing with a new toy.  And, man, have I been having fun.  I can’t talk about it right now, but it will likely be the subject of the next blog post.  The one coming this afternoon, that is.  Assuming I haven’t drank too many mimosas.

I’ll just give you a little peek at what’s coming:

It looks so familiar, yet so different.

It looks so familiar, yet so different.

See you on the other side.

Welcome to the Coven

It is true:  you give me a new toy and some time, I’ll put it to good use.  Or I’ll waste my time screwing around with stuff–hey, either works for me.  At least when I’m obsessing on something I’m not falling asleep in the afternoon, and as I had laundry to do, keeping busy is the best way to be.

Given that I’d written over thirteen hundred words yesterday morning I figured I could play around with something else, and that’s exactly what happened.  I decided to design something, and finally, I have it in place–

I welcome you to Cernunnos Coven Tower.

Pretty much as you'd expect it to look.

Pretty much as you’d expect it to look.

Yes I set out in Sweet Home 3D to lay out the building, and I started on that yesterday afternoon.  What you see in the picture above it just on level:  in starting the layout I managed to set up space for both the sub-level and lower level of the coven, so in time you’ll see where the kitchen and Annie and Kerry’s private lab are on the floor below, and where everyone went when they had to retreat underground when students went into the sub-levels during the Day of the Dead attacks.

But first, what about the image above?

Right off the bat you see areas outside the tower:  a ring around it and four walkways heading off in different directions.  The walkways are easy:  those that look like stone are the covered walkways leading to the Great Hall (the one heading off to the left) and to the Transformation Center/Chemical Building and the Instructor’s Residence (the one heading to the right).

The other two passages on the left are actually the Pentagram Walls, and the ring around the tower is the wall passage that allows people to move from one side of the Pentagram Walls to the other without having to walk through the coven.  The ring around the tower is 4 m/12 ft wide, and the walls themselves are 5.5 m/18 ft wide.  The passage at the top of frame heads to Ceridwen Coven, while the one on the bottom heads to Åsgårdsreia Coven.

The inner tower–the actual coven itself–is 20 m/65 ft across, and the ground floor is the location of the main commons.  There are three entrances:  two under the stairs at about 10 and 4 o’clock on the dial, and the other at the bottom where the passage to Åsgårdsreia lay.  The area with all the small rooms is the space directly under the mezzanine commons, and they are, from left to right, the boy’s bathroom, a small meeting room where students can gather, the stairs to the lower levels (it’s the small room between the meeting table room and the commons itself), the service passage where you’ll find two storage areas near the exit, the Coven Leader’s office (like the one Annie and Kerry were just in with Deanna), and the girl’s bathroom.

And if you want to see the Coven Leader’s office, it’s right here below:

B For Bewitching Cernunnos Coven Office

Kind of stark, isn’t it?

It’s not meant to be huge, just a place to conduct business, but it’s bigger than my office, that’s for sure.

As for the main commons, it’s pretty large, taking up a little over half the ground floor, and you can see the staircases leading up to the mezzanine.  Because of the limitations in the program they aren’t quite as smooth as I would like, and there isn’t a railing on those grand staircases, but right now the layout works.  The walls of this level are 4.5 m/14.75 ft high, giving a good open feeling, and the walls of the next level up, the mezzanine, are another 3.5 m/11.5 ft, so you have a wonderful, open feeling when you’re sitting down here.

So what does the coven commons look like from the ground floor?  Glad you asked.

B For Bewitching Cernunnos Coven Ground Floors

Looks a lot bigger down here.

This is what is looks like standing near the girl’s bathroom/west exit and looking towards the east/inner Pentagram Garden.  Lots of chairs, a few tables to set things upon, the fireplace and sofa right where they should be–and is that a couple sitting before the fire?  Yeah, I couldn’t resist placing those two on the sofa where so much has happened, and they’ve yet to be caught sleeping.  Yet.

And just as I did with my layout for the Sea Sprite Inn last novel, here’s a little walk through video.  And since I have a better system now, I can actually create this video quickly enough that I won’t still be waiting for it when the heat death of the universe occurs.  I set the light so that it gives the impression it at night and the lights are low, which means it’s gonna be romantic, yeah?

So there you are:  the layout of the Cernunnos Coven ground floor.  More will come in time, eventually you’ll see the entire tower laid out.  I’ll probably do the lower levels before I get to the mezzanine, and then it’s up to the dorm floors, which are pretty much duplicates of each other.

We close out with a certain couple enjoying the quiet while they sit before the fire–

B For Bewitching Annie and Kerry on Sofa

‘Cause by this time in the story they’ve earned the rest.

Mornings With the Seer: The Reason For Calling

Before I get into anything important, I have discovered something wonderful about software on my computer.  Now, I have almost everything in place–I still need to get a licence for Aeon Timeline, but that’s something I have marked to do after I get my nails done this morning–and I pulled up Sweet Home 3D because I wanted to check out something.

Now, one of the things that has bothered me about the program on my old machine was an inability to draw curved walls.  It wasn’t a huge issue, but it prevented me from doing a three dimensional layout of the coven towers.  With the new system comes new software, and I wondered if that ability was there now.  I discovered that, yeah, I could draw curved lines but that they wouldn’t show up in the rendered view because they weren’t walls.  However, there was a very particular way to draw those curves and create a circle, so I wondered:  could I do the same drawing walls?

And the answer was yes.  I most certainly could.

And they look really good.

And they look really good.

This means I can not only create layouts of the covens, but I can fix my rendering of the library of the Great Hall and give it the gigantic curved northern wall it’s supposed to have.  I know this will sort of cut into writing, but it’s gonna be fun.

And I still managed writing, with seven hundred words of goodness today.  We’re in Deanna’s office at Åsgårdsreia Tower, and it doesn’t look all that strange–

 

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

The inside of Deanna’s coven office wasn’t much different from Professor Semplen’s office in their own coven. Unlike the stark demeanor of her office in Memory’s End, there was a sofa at one side of room, several chairs in the middle, and a simple desk to the right of the entrance. There were a few potted plants set in a couple of corners, and a small table between Deanna’s desk and the far wall upon which set everything needed to make tea.

Annie took in the room, spending a few seconds giving it an appraisal. “Nothing like your other office.”

“Not at all.” Deanna backed up slowly as she waved the door shut behind the children. “I was informed that I needed to keep this room ‘official’ in apparent, whatever that means.” She turned and headed towards her desk. “I have to conduct coven business here, and I gather the Headmistress felt doing so while seated on pillows wasn’t the way for that to happen.” Before she sat she indicated the two chairs in place across from here. “Please, won’t you sit?”

Deanna waited until both children were comfortable before she took her seat. “You’re probably wondering why I asked you out here this morning—”

 

Yeah, we are wondering about that, Deanna.  She’s really stating the obvious, like maybe she isn’t ready to get to the real reasons?  Well, her guest are feeling a little the same way:

 

“That thought has crossed our minds.” Annie put on her best smile.

“I intend to put your thoughts at ease, then.” Deanna returned the smile. “I want you to know that this isn’t regarding a disciplinary matter: if it were, Holoč would be in front of you, not me.”

“We didn’t think it was anything like that.” Kerry shook his head. “If it was something we did wrong, we probably would have been stopped before leaving for breakfast.”

“Quite true.” Deanna set here arms upon the desk and leaned forward. “I apologize for all the mystery, but I felt it best if we spoke where we had the most privacy, and this office is remarkably secure.”

Now Annie’s interest was higher than before. Why does she want us to speak from within a secure location? What does she have to say? She decided she couldn’t wait any longer. “Now that we’re here . . .”

“Yes, of course.” Deanna sat back in her chair and regarded the students carefully. “Before I begin with the real reason, I have to ask a question, and I hope you don’t feel this is too forward, but it’s necessary. Have you had intercourse?”

 

Just get right to it, Deanna:  are you two kids doing the deed yet?  And if there is anyone who would know about these two and their proclivities, it’s Deanna.  Keep in mind she was the one who warned Coraline to get to Kerry’s hospital bay in the aftermath of the Day of the Dead, because she flashed on a vision of them being discovered by the Headmistress–but the real reason for that was because she felt Annie needed to be there that night.  Does that mean she saw Kerry talking about his Chestnut Girl?  Or was there something else?

And Deanna admitted she watched both kids play out, more or less, their wedding night vision as well as the one they had at the start of their B Levels–one that is about to get mentioned.  But who knows what else Deanna’s seen?  After the overnight stay at the Sea Sprite Inn she told Erywin that the kids were both still virgins, which means she had to see something, and that has to be hell on her.  I mean, you gotta feel a little sorry for Deanna if part of her life entails flashing on her student’s sex lives, because some of these kids are her friends.

The implication here is that she may have seen this happening, but it was as a future event and now she has to check to see if it hasn’t happened already.  Either way, it sucks that the question comes up.  At least the kids have an answer:

 

Annie and Kerry sat in silence for a few seconds before turning to each other, as if to confirm they’d just heard the same thing. Kerry turned a waring glance towards Deanna. “You mean, like that, um—”

“I mean have you had intercourse?” Deanna allowed a slight grin to play upon her face. “Or, as I’m sure you were about to say, ‘That sex’.”

Annie cleared her throat. “No, we haven’t had intercourse. As I’ve said on a few occasions, we’re not ready for that step.”

Kerry sat back and stretched. “That’s a ways off in the future. Maybe until we get married.”

Deanna’s right eyebrow shot upward. “Maybe?”

“We did have that other vision at the beginning of the school year that showed—” He chuckled. “You know: you were there.”

“Yes, I was.” Deanna rested her hands against her stomach, interlacing her fingers. “So you believe it’s possible your shared vision may not come true?”

“Anything is possible with visions.” Annie gave a grin that almost made her appear embarrassed. “You’ve taught us that.”

“And I’m glad to see you’re paying attention.” Deanna took a moment for the mood in the room to return to something close to normal before moving on. “Have either of you done any study on your astral binding?”

This time Kerry was the one to answer. “No, we—” He chuckled nervously. “We haven’t had time for that.”

Annie took a moment to look Kerry’s way before adding a bit more information. “We’re also a little uncertain about what we could study.”

“I see.” Deanna took a deep breath as she prepared to wade into the reason they were in her office. “So you’re unaware of the three bindings?”

“This is the first time I’ve heard the expression.” Annie leaned slightly forward. “What is that?”

 

Wait:  the three bindings?  What the hell is that?

"Oh, no!  She's asking the sex question!  And this binding stuff--is that like being tied up?  I won't like that."

“It’s bad enough she’s asking these sex question! Now this binding stuff–is that like being tied up? I won’t like that.”

As someone might say, The Queen of Cliffhangers is gonna leave you until tomorrow to discover what those are, because I do have places to go and nails to do this morning–

And I can’t do those if I’m here telling you this stuff.

Mornings With the Seer: Simple Warnings and Thoughts

Here I am, coming to you on the New Hotness, my first new computer in ten years.  Picked it up about four in the afternoon, started in on it about fifteen minutes later, and by about seven I had just about everything I want to have and need in the system–including about six thousand pictures I’ve taken over the years–but since this computer has a 1 terabyte drive, I’ve about eight hundred and thirty terabytes to play with.  It’ll be a while before I fill it up.

In comes the new, out goes the old.

In comes the new, out goes the old.

Honestly, when I packed the old computer up I cried, because it’s really been my companion for just a few weeks short of a decade now, and you build attachment.  But there are still things on there I can used, and who knows?  I may pull it out once in a while and give it a spin just for old times sake.

The biggest changes, besides the keyboard being slightly off-center, are the way the programs appear.  Everything is just a little larger, which sort of makes everything look as if I’m back on my old nineteen inch monitor back in Indiana, but it’s livable.  The biggest change is the way Blender looks; it sort of pre-renders everything for me.  Before everything looked like this:

And for your viewing enjoyment, follow Kerry's route along the line from left to right.

Can you handle all the green?

And now it looks like this:

With shadows and everything!

With shadows and everything!

So much different.  I think I can get used to this.

Oh, and it has a built-in camera which I just had to try out–

The writer as a thirteen year old girl getting a new selfie.

The writer as a thirteen year old girl getting a new selfie.

By the way, that’s how I normally look when I’m home from work.  Now you know.

What this all means is that everything from here on out is written on the new machine, and I even made a note in Scrivener of the first paragraph written using this computer.  Because that’s what I do.

And speaking of new . . .  What is up with Isis?  Well, since I wrote over six hundred words last night and finished the scene, you’ll find out.  Like right away.

 

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

They both bounded up the stairs to the first floor and hurried over to where Isis waited. Annie spoke for them both. “Good morning, Director.”

“Morning to you both.” She nodded in the direction of the transept alcove leading to the security offices. “Let’s get out of the open, shall we?” They wandered over into the alcove above the ground floor of the West Transept and were well out of sight before Isis spoke. “Before I say anything else, I want you to know you’re not in any trouble.”

Both children appeared slightly confused for a moment, casting glances with each. Kerry eventually turned to the security director. “So if we’re not in trouble—?”

“It must be something else, yeah?” Isis’ smile was bright in the gloom of the security area. “It is: Deanna wants to see you.”

“About?” One of Annie’s eyebrows arched high as she forwarded the question.

“She didn’t say. All I was told was to wait for you to enter the Hall and stop you before you got to breakfast.”

Kerry joined Annie in the arching eyebrow column. “And she knew what time we’d come through because—”

Isis snorted loudly. “You don’t have to be a seer to know your schedules. You’re both like clockwork when it comes to getting to the Dinning Hall: six on the weekdays, six-thirty on Sunday, and between six forty-five and seven on Saturday.” She shook her head. “You guys shouldn’t be so predictable: if someone wanted to take you down, they’d know when and where to wait. Maybe not now, but . . .” She gave a shrugged that was nearly nonexistent. “It’s something to keep in mind later on in life.”

Annie knew what Isis was referencing: that they needed to watch their routines when they were members of the Guardians so that they not become vulnerable to attack by Deconstructors, or those witches who may be working with them. It wasn’t something she’d considered before, but now that Isis had brought the matter to her attention— “Thank you. We’ll keep that in mind.”

 

Sometimes the Seer sees what you’re doing, and sometimes the Chief of Security knows your schedule ’cause you do everything like clockwork and that can be a dangerous thing. The kids are on a schedule here at school so there’s little one can do about that, but Isis is letting them know that doing that once you’re out of school isn’t always a good thing.  It’s even a worse thing when you’re job involves spying and hunting down Deconstructors, ’cause someone may just come after your ass one day while you’re sitting in your favorite cafe having lunch ’cause they know you hang there every day between eleven and twelve-thirty.  Keep changing up that routine, kids, because it can save your life.

Now, the important question is:  what does Deanna what?  And . . .

 

Kerry’s mind was working along the same lines. “Yep. But about Deanna: what time did she want to see us?”

Isis hooked her thumbs in the pockets of her jeans. Like many of the other instructors and staff she adopted a more casual feel during the weekends. “She said she wanted you out to the tower by nine.”

“The tower?” Annie almost did a double take. “She doesn’t want to see us at Memory’s End?”

“Nope. She told me to tell you to come out to Åsgårdsreia Tower and meet her in her office.” Isis took a step back from the children. “And that’s all I have to tell you.” He nodded back towards the Rotunda. “You should get going: whatever Deanna wants, it must be important, so I wouldn’t be late.”

Kerry gave a knowing nod. “We won’t.”

“Thank you, Isis.” Annie took Kerry’s hand and led him towards the the stairs. She said nothing until they were three steps down from the first floor landing. “This can’t be Guardian stuff.” She stopped after two more steps, careful to keep her voice muted. “She’s not involved.”

Kerry looked down and sighed. “You think this has something to do with our visions?”

“Perhaps. It’s just—” She looked down the flight of stairs. “Why is she being so secretive?”

“Because she knew if she contacted us directly we’d start asking question.” His chuckle came off sounding particularly grim. “So if Isis tells us—”

“She knows we won’t get anything from her.” Annie turned and descended the staircase slowly. “It has to be about the visions. I can’t imagine her discussing anything else with us.”

“True. Unless—”

Annie stopped half-way down. “What?”

“What if—” His face twisted into a thoughtful grimace. “—there’s something we haven’t thought about?”

 

Yeah, kids:  there’s always something you haven’t thought about, and this is probably one of them.  The thing here is when Deanna wants to meet you in Memory’s End, she’s usually doing so as a friend and adviser, but when she’s meeting you in her office in the tower, where she does all her official Coven Leader stuff, it’s often an indication something important is about to get said.  We’ll see, won’t we?

And you'll see it right here, I promise.

And you’ll see it right here, I promise.

One last thing:  as I gave a shout out to Yuri Gagarin, today I give a shout out to Al Shepard, who today became the first American to fly into space aboard Freedom 7, aka Mercury-Redstone 3.  The flight lasted only fifteen minutes, and due to the publication of The Right Stuff we know Al flew with a spacesuit full of pee, so think about that the next time you’re bitching about having to get in the car and drive a couple of blocks down to the local convenience store to pick up a few quick items but you don’t like the fact you have to throw on pants.

Though we never had any astronauts attacked by wolves.  Yet.  There’s still time for that to happen . . .

Mornings With the Seer: Before Breakfast

This is going to be kinda a short post today.  Maybe, I don’t know, not yet.  See, there’s stuff going on behind the scenes, things you haven’t seen . . . and there, my stuff and things are out of  the way and I can move on.

But seriously:  I have a problem, and probably will for the rest of the week.  Here’s what happened.

Now, a lot of things happened this weekend, most of the sucky.  And to add to the suckiness, the fingers of my right hand hurt for some reasons.  Like I slept on them funny, or something.  But that’s something else.  The main thing started with the except below, which isn’t long or sweet:

 

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

With the school year and classes winding down, Annie discovered that suddenly having lots of free time to spend with Kerry was far more enjoyable that she could imagine. With the end of racing three weeks before, this left the whole of their Saturdays open to hang out around the school grounds and take excursions off-campus. Last Saturday they went into Boston with Jessica, Madeline Palmescoff, and Professor Polly Grünbach, and while Deanna and Ramona were taking some students into Salem after lunch, Annie had heard from Helena yesterday afternoon that Erywin, Harpreet, Wednesday, Isis, and she were planing on taking about thirty students into New York City for most of the day.

Though she’d seen most of the world’s large cities she’d never visited New York City, and she was eager to see Times Square and spend time in Central Park with Kerry. It wasn’t that she never had the opportunity to spend time with him in a park-like environment, but having seen so many romantic pictures that part particular park in the spring, her mind’s eye allowed her to imagine the two of them there taking their own springtime pictures.

For now, however, they kept to the grounds, and their plan for the day was to have breakfast and spend a part of the morning in their lab, they heading up to Observatory Tower to finalize their end-of-the-year project in Astrophysics One. After that it was back to the Dining Hall for a quick lunch before—well, Annie had ideas for this afternoon . . .

 

Then disaster struck:  I broke a key on my keyboard.

"Now how am I gonna be brilliant?"

“Now how am I gonna be brilliant?”

Yep.  flat out broke off the “Y” on my keyboard.  Now, you will notices that I’m still typing a number of words that have “Y” in them, but I kinda haveta look at the keyboard when I hit that key because there’s just a little green stop there now, the pressure pad.  It still works, but it really slows me up when I’m doing stuff.  Like writing.

My beast of a laptop is just a couple of months short of ten years old.  That’s a lot of time to get out of a computer these days.  I’ve stated before that I would hate to give up my computer because we’ve been through so much together, but if I wanna keep being productive on my home system, and I can’t do it with a busted-ass system.

Last night I ordered a new laptop:  17 inches, Windows 10.  I did not get the 2-in-1 because I don’t really need anything like that, so a system with eight gig of memory and a one terabyte drive will do the trick for me.  Even after pulling the trigger and ordering it I was still a bit sad about having to replace my computer–

And then, right in the middle of the climax of Fear the Walking Dead last night, when I’m trying to take notes for the recap I’ll right tonight, the damn computer locked up on me.  For about ten minutes.  Needless to say, after that I was more like, “Okay, having a new computer won’t be that bad.”

The new system arrives later in the week, which means I’ll likely spend part of the upcoming weekend getting everything set up on that machine.

Here we go:  I’m finally stepping into the future.

Seeing Down Into the Past

Today there isn’t any writing to show, because you got it all yesterday morning.  The rest of the day involved being out almost the whole day, and once I was safely back in the confines of Casa Burg, I didn’t feel like starting on a scene that will be difficult to write.  Not to mention I have to start getting ready for work in about twenty minutes, because while it’s a holiday for state employees, as a contractor I only get paid when I work, so I need to roll in about eight and put in at least four hours.  Those bills don’t give a shit if I get a day off or not.

Walking around the city yesterday gave me plenty of time to think about where my kids are going.  Not that I don’t already know, but still, sometimes you want to get things down in your head a little clearer, while at the same time you go back over events that have occurred and you put a different eye on those matters.  Like last night I was reading an excerpt where Kerry said something, and for a few moments I had to think, “Okay, what was he saying there?” and then it came to me because I’ve been living in their heads for way too long.

Also, I have their Timelines.

The timelines for these stories have become almost mythical, at least to my thinking.  They’ve been in place for about a year and a half, and I’m still adding to them whenever I get an idea.  It’s my way of keeping track of things, like when they did meet, when did they have their first dream together, when does Annie have her first little witch–oh, wait.  I shouldn’t talk about that.  Spoilers!

Well, guess what?  I’m far enough along on this trip that I can now show some of things of which I’ve discussed.  Because why not?  You’ve already ridden with my kids for a year and a half, so why not see how they arrived at where they are today?

It’s funny how I’ve had to keep these hidden and secret, because there are things on here that do give away a lot of the what’s coming.  At the same time I’ve really wanted to bring them out in the open, because putting them together was great fun, and I’ve always wanted to share.  With the A Levels behind me, and a good chunk of the B Levels, too, it’s time to show you how it got to where I am.

First with Aeon Timeline, it’s possible to segment things into different groupings.  So you can have a “Global” area showing events that affect your world and everything in it, and then you can create little areas that show events for that particular section.  What I did, besides having a global event, is set up sections for Annie and Kerry individually, so if there is something particular to them, it stands alone.

Like this:

As you can see, each kid is special to me.

As you can see, each kid is special to me.

There you see Annie’s Story and Kerry’s Story, going back to when they not only started school, but they were first introduced.  “Annie and the Tree” and “Kerry Gets Picked” were the first two scenes in the first chapter of the first part of the first act, and it only went from there.  If you’re watching the points you see they start in 2011, but end in 2013, which is where we’re at now in the second novel.

But don’t I have things they do together?  And what about the school?  Glad you asked:

Because here they are.

Because here they are.

Here are all the things they do together, and below that are all the normal school events, like the duration of racing season, the beginning of classes, when the first and last Madnesses occur, and the dates for Samhain and Ostara celebrations.  You also see the duration of each Level:  A you see from start to finish, and B is still on-going.  You can see the start of their loving one another, Kerry’s trip to the hospital in what turned out to be their first night together, and while you don’t see the timeline for the attack on the school, you see a little mark next to the point, “Kansas City”, and clicking on that opens up another time line showing what they did there.

When you look at the top and bottom pictures–which, in Aeon, are directly above and below each other as illustrated–you may see some points above matching up with those below.  That’s because I’ve pointed out individual things that happen within something that happened to both kids:  Kerry’s Fifth Time in the Hospital and Annie Goes After Lisa is one example of that.  There’s also some detail in some points that doesn’t show up here, but I can access it if I open up the segment in the program’s Inspector.

Here’s one of my guides, and you finally get to see a small segment of this.  Believe me when I say it goes back in time several hundred years, and also forward in time about the same distance.  I’ve used this for a long time, and you have no idea what I have set up ahead–or some of the things I need to add.  It’s all so very strange.

And speaking of strange, this afternoon I’m going to try something that I haven’t done in a long time–and it may just be the strangest thing I’ve attempted yet.

Pulling the Strings

With things getting back into a normal routine and the transphobic jerks tossed into a nearby star–if only–it was time to write.  And while it was only about only eight hundred words, that’s good enough for me to get back into things.  Because sometimes you need to walk slow back into things.

Also, I’m making up stuff as I go along more or less.  See, some of this process is coming to me as I write, because I have an outline, but I don’t have it all well-developed.  I don’t get everything figured out in my head ahead of time, regardless of what some people think, and I gotta work this out with words as I go along.  And that was what I did last night:  workin’ it out and writin’ it down.

And what I came up is a couple of kids ready to rock–

 

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

“At least we’ll have a good connection.” Helena approached the rigs. “How are you feeling?”

Kerry leaned forward into his harness. “I’m good.” He rested his head against the cushion and pushed his face through. “I’ve been looking forward to this since last night.”

“I can see.” Helena turned to Annie, who was rolling her shoulders before completing getting into her rig. “And you? Not too nervous, are you?”

“Not at all; I can’t wait to start.” Annie was aware what they were about to do was something that wasn’t normally taught at school, but rather was something explored during Salem’s Continuing Education Program. For the Guardians to have us train like this only a year after we came to their notice is incredible—I wonder if this means there’s more to come? “This isn’t something anyone else at school is doing—”

“This isn’t something anyone at school is doing—” Ramona punched something on her tablet. “Period. Marionette training usually takes place at a Guardian facility.”

“Which one?”

Helena chuckled. “One of them.” She touched Annie’s rig. “Come on, Sunshine: your better half is waiting on you.”

 

Annie is wondering what is going on, and it could be something, it might be nothing.  The Guardians work in strange ways, though the interesting thing here is Ramona not questioning a thing.  One has to figure that Helena gave her an overview of what’s happening and then told her not to say a word, which is likely:  after all, just about all the instructors in the heavy magic classes–as well as martial arts and probably some of the science stuff–have to come in contact with both the Protectors and Guardians at some point.  Or, as in Helena’s and Isis’ positions, a lot of points.

 

Kerry’s blush was bright against the dull cream color of the face padding. “Sorry, I’m just—”

“Excited. I know.” Annie finished getting into rig and pressed her face into the padding before giving the overhead straps a tug. “I’m ready.”

“Starting elevation.” Ramona moved her fingers over something on her tablet surface and a second later the marionette rigs began to rise off the floor as they slowly pitched forward.

As soon as the kid’s feet were off the ground Helena unfastened the rigs from their ceiling straps. “How they looking?”

“I’m getting good feedback on their auras.” Ramona looked up from the tablet. “I’ve got a connection: we’re ready to move to the next step.”

“Sounds good.” Helena stepped between the two floating children. “Okay, guys, just relax and let your arms hang down.”

Kerry almost nodded. “Do we need to close our eyes or anything?”

“No—that will happened as soon as we enact the enchantment.” Helena ran her fingers over the contours of Annie’s rig. “When your eyes close, you’ll feel like you’re floating under water and there’s a line nearby stretching away from you. Grab that line and imagine pulling yourself towards the surface.” She nodded at Ramona. “Let’s kick it.”

 

Yo, Ramona, let’s kick this bitch!  Once more, something you’ll never hear anyone at other magical schools say.  Before you know it, Helena and Ramona will be kicked back with a couple of Sam Adams reflecting on all the magical fun they had with the kids.  Probably with a Pandora stream in the background.

So what is puppeteering like?  Well . . .

 

Annie’s eyes closed and after what felt like perhaps ten seconds she sensed the line she was supposed to take only a meter from where her consciousness resided. She reached out with what felt like a hand, took the line, and began to pull herself towards a lightened area above. The light grew brighter, and in a matter of seconds she felt herself breaking the surface of some unknown pool—

—She opened her eyes and let out a gasp as she drew in a breath. Everything felt different: she was on her back in a reclining position, the light was different, the room felt larger—and Helena was sanding next to her, looking down.

The sorceress held out her hand and placed it close to the semi-confused girl. “Okay, just relax.” Helena’s voice was soft and filed with calm. “Don’t try to talk, just nodded when I ask if things are good or if you understand, and don’t do anything if they’re not good or your unsure.” She smiled. “We’ll get to talking once you start getting the feel of your puppet, but first we gotta get you used to the body. You got all that?”

Annie nodded and followed Helena’s instructions as she learned how to control the homunculus. She worked on opening and closing her eyes and slowly turning her head before starting to flex her legs and arms. The first real look she had of her puppet was when she raised her right hand. Immediately she saw the forearm was completely hairless and there wasn’t a single line anywhere: not at the wrist, not on the fingers or the palm of the hand. And the honunculus didn’t have fingernails: when she turned her hand over to look at the back, her thumb and fingers were smooth flesh all the way to the tips.

In time Helena put her hand behind Annie’s head as she felt whatever she was lying upon move her upright. “Okay, Annie: it’s time. We’re going to walk, and I don’t want you to try anything fancy: just one foot in front of the other, nice and slow.” She gave her a smile. “You can try talking; you’ve wanted to for the last ten minutes.”

Annie took a breath and formed the words in her mind before releasing them from the homunculus mouth. “Uoka.” She chuckled softly. “Iii fells su strigue.”

Helena nodded. “Like your mouth is numb?”

“Yuus.” Annie gave slow nod. “Mue toong wunt mooov ruit.”

“That will get better.” Helen had the almost completely upright Puppet Annie by the left arm. “You got your weight on your legs okay?”

Annie looked down for a second. “Yuus.”

“Okay then—” Helena took a short step back. “Follow me.”

 

There you have it:  at least Annie is a puppeteer:

No, not this kind of puppeteers.

No, not this kind of puppeteer.

She’s in the homunculus and she’s moving, she’s up, she’s even sort of talking.  That means I can take it forward from here–

Tonight.  For sure I’ll get to it tonight, because even though I know what’s going to happen, I want you to see it as well.

I think it’s gonna be fun.