You know what happens today? Video! And today I actually have a subject to discuss–
And the song in question:
You know what happens today? Video! And today I actually have a subject to discuss–
And the song in question:
We all need some moments of silence in our life and last night was my moment. It was something of a weird evening for me, for I spent most of it sitting around in front of the computer with no music playing and no interest in watching TV. I was basically doing some research and preparing for my bus captain group meeting last night–held online at 9 PM Eastern time–and after I was done with that I managed to write a few hundred words and settle in the bed.
I’m not sure what I was feeling, but the spark of creativity was not there. I think it was my moment to just sit around and veg out.
Yesterday was the introduction to the first day of art class, and we managed to learn a little about Matthias Ellison’s background and why he’s the artistic dude he has become. Today we’re gonna learn what he thinks about art and why it’s important for everyone to have exposure:
(The following excerpts from The Foundation Chronicles, Book Three: C For Continuing, copyright 2016, 2017 by Cassidy Frazee)
For the first time since beginning his monologue Matthias began to pace around the studio space, turning to individual students as he spoke. “I love art. I love all forms of artistic expression, but art is one of those things that, like music, reaches right into my soul and touches me in a way few things can. It not only provokes an emotional response, but at the same time it’s stimulating your mind to create an intellectual response as well. And if a particular piece—be it a painting, a song, a passage from a story—is done just right, it can even provoke physical response as well. It might be joy, sadness, or anger, or even passion, but it can happen. And the best are can provoke all three of those things in individual at the same time. There’s little in life that can be said do the same.
“A thriving society needs its artistic community, because it needs the stimulation that come from the appreciation of artistic endeavors. Every society that has grown and thrived throughout history had, at its core, a vibrant artistic base, because—as I see it—artistic endeavor is an offshoot of imagination, and imagination comes from intellectual stimulation.
“The inverse is true: every society that is waning or dying has lost its artistic community, either through negligence or indifference. Once society has decided that art is an indulgence, that it’s something they can’t afford, that it will appeal only to the intellectual community and should therefore be shunned as being too ‘highbrow’ for the majority of people to understand and/or enjoy, then that society, as a whole, begins to die. They have decided that only the lowest common denominator of every form of expression is acceptable, and that the only purpose of art is to be ‘entertaining’. Once that happens, it’s only a matter of time before that society vanishes from the face of this planet.
“Art is essential for a witch, for any of the Aware, because we need our imaginations and artistic expression is one of the best ways to stimulate our imaginations.” Professor Ellison looked at his tablet so we can call on a student without falling back on the four he knew best. “Shauntia, what is the acronym we use to describe the process needed for crafting a spell?”
His feelings about the importance of art in any society is one that’s been echoed from time-to-time by other academics. You see this happening today in the U.S. and it becomes apparent that things like art and music are seen as something to only be enjoyed by “snobs”. Matthias believes this completely and isn’t afraid to say a society that doesn’t embrace it’s arts is one that doesn’t need, or won’t, continue.
And this leads him into one of the reasons witches need art;
Shauntia Okoro didn’t need to consider the answer as it came to her automatically. “VEW, Professor.”
“Correct. VEW: Visualize, Energy, Willpower. But what does this really mean?” He chuckled as he looked about the room, seeing some of the quizzical looks directed his way. “That was a rhetorical question, by the way, but let me show you where I’m going with this—
“Let me work this backwards. At the end there’s willpower, which we all know is the force of your personality that you use to make the spell become real. As I’m sure Professor Douglas and a few of the other instructors of said, your willpower is necessary because you need to essentially override reality. And the stronger your will against reality, the more effective and powerful your spell becomes.
“In the middle we have energy, which you need to power the spell. The energy can be either mystical or dark, but without energy your spell goes nowhere. Doesn’t matter how much willpower you have, if you haven’t allocated energy to your crafting, the end result is nothing.
“But the very first thing on this list, the very first thing you need, is visualization. You not only need to see the shape the spell is going to take, but you have to imagine the end result of your crafting. The very first step crafting magic is to imagine what it is like to reshape reality, and that is artistic expression.
“Every good witch is, at their core, an artist. You not only have to imagine how a spell is going to look, but as you advance through your learnings it becomes necessary to put these three things together in a matter of seconds. Which means, the greater your imagination, the faster you can conceptualize the reshaping of reality.”
Matthias waved his tablet away and set her down gently upon his desk. He began making a slow circuit of the room as he finished his monologue. “Everyone has some sort of artistic ability inside, and as with any talent it needs to be nurtured so that it grow. Now, I can’t say that by the end of this class you’re all going to be equally great artists: that won’t happen because you all different people. And it will be the same with what you draw: I can ask the entire class to draw a scene and each of you will come back with something different. Because you’re showing me your vision; your showing me what you see.
“But that’s what we intend to do in this class: we intend to find your talent, we intend to bring it out, and we intend to help it grow. When you first came to school all but one of you had absolutely no idea how to do magic, and now look at you. Well, you now you find yourself in this room and with the exception of a few, you’re once again unsure about how to draw or paint. We’re going to set about changing that. Together, we’re going to attempt to make an artist out to you. It may not be easy, and at times it’s going to seem super frustrating. But nothing done here at school has ever come easy, so why should what happens in here be any different?”
Matthias laughed as he headed back toward his desk. When he reached it he waved his hand and a holographic projection of the woods to the north of the history and arts building appeared in the open space at the front of the room. “Here’s a good first exercise. If you were to go to the roof of this building this is what you see as you looked towards the observatory. What I want you to do simple: set a sketchpad upon your easel, grab your pencils, and draw what you see. I assure you there’s no right or wrong, and there’s no good or bad. There’s just what you draw.
“And the reason for this is simple: each of you sees the world differently.” Matthias smiled as he looked about the room and saw the sometimes grim, sometimes confused faces of the students. “And once I know what you’re seeing, then maybe I can show you how to see better.”
It is so true here in my world that imagination is the key to being a good witch. Those who have the strongest imaginations are gonna rip reality a new one, and that probably gonna affect anyone standing close by. We know Kerry has a great imagination and Annie has already demonstrated her artistic ability, so could it be that the reason these two are such great witches is because they can visualize better than their fellow witches?
The start of art is over–now we’re on to the next scene and a different kind of seeing…
Get Ready For the Pain, Bitches!
Entertainment Weekly reported today that the FX Network not only reconfirmed that American Horror Story was renewed for Season 7, but that it was also being renewed for Seasons 8 and 9. EW also confirmed that Sarah Paulson and Evan Peters have already signed for Season 7, because even if you do win an Emmy and you’re starting to develop a successful career in superhero movies, as long as someone’s going to pay you big bucks to phone in your part, how can you say no?
Ryan Murphy has said that Season 7 of AHS will revolve around a “modern-day story”, but that was all that he would say. He’s been notorious the last few years for not giving out much information concerning the season’s concept, but after last season’s American Horror Story: Roanoke, or as I like to call it Ten Episodes of Taking…
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The last two nights of writing have ended up seeming a bit surreal, because of back inside Helena’s A Level sorcery class, and I’m remembering all the stuff I wrote about her the first time while doing it all again. And make sure realize that some of the instructors at the school have been on the job for close to twenty years: there are two who fall into that category easily, and two more were creeping up on that goal. Helen is one of those instructors who has been teaching for about ten years straight, but during the 1990s she actually had a few other stints between Guardian field operations where she put in a year or two of instruction during her down time.
And when you consider that every instructor, as well as the staff, were students before they became instructors, that tacks on anywhere from six to eight additional years spent at school. When you had that on, Helena has spent nearly twenty years at Salem, and Jessica and Erywin have been at Salem for closer to thirty. But you know, what’s thirty years when you’re likely to live for a hundred and fifty?
Speaking of one of the instructors is actually been at the school for over twenty years, first as a student and then instructor, we now get in to actually meeting Professor Matthias Ellison, the head of the Arts and Music Department. The reality is that save for a few people who come in from time to time to help out with things, he is the Arts and Music Department, as the only other people who are associated with this department are those student tutors who Matthias reaches out to to help other students.
Believe me when I say I had fun putting his background together, because it gives you a little hint of how he actually got to where he’s at and you get to see a little of the Normal background that drove him to be who he is today. So let’s kick back and enjoy Professor Ellison’s opening statements.
(The following excerpts from The Foundation Chronicles, Book Three: C For Continuing, copyright 2016, 2017 by Cassidy Frazee)
Professor Ellison waited for everyone to find their workspace before he begin taking the first attendance of the year. As soon as he was satisfied that everyone was in the proper classroom he moved the tablet about three quarters of an arm length from him and turned to face the students. “Good morning, everyone, and I would like to welcome you to Introduction to Art. I am Professor Matthias Ellison, but most people call me Matthias. It’s easy to remember because it sounds like an important name, and I prefer being called that because ‘Professor Ellison’ sometimes sounds a bit too stuffy.
“A little bit about me. I was born in Canada and come from a Normal background. When I came to the school I was placed in Blodeuwedd Coven, were managed to maintain fairly good proficiencies and graduated in 1991. After leaving here I went to college in Canada and managed to get my Masters before coming back here to teach in 1998. I was present during The Scouring and fought with honor alongside a number of instructors and students—and some of those students with whom I fought for now colleagues of mine.
“I mentioned I’m from Canada. Specifically, I’m from White City, Saskatchewan, which is situated on the Trans Canada Highway about ten kilometers east of Regina, a city famous for its NHL hockey players, a song by The Guess Who, the hometown of actors Leslie Nielsen, Stephen Yeun, and Tatiana Maslany, and the fact that everyone messes up the pronunciation of the city by not realizing it rhymes with a body part found only on women.” He waited for a smattering of laughs to die down before continuing. “White City is also known for The Ice House, which serves the greatest hamburgers in all of Canada, and anyone who says that isn’t true is a liar. There’s little that makes the town spectacular: it’s what people in America would call a ‘bedroom community’ and today it’s filled with a lot of upscale people, two of whom are my parents who work in downtown Regina.
“One of the more interesting things about White City is the origin of its name. One says that it came about because of a misspelled store sign, but another—the one I like best—is that it was named after the White City section of London, England. I mean, it’s not unusual: a lot of places in North America are named after cities and towns in Europe, so it makes sense that perhaps someone decided to name my hometown after location back in the old world.
Everything in the preceding three paragraphs is true. Not only did I do my research, but I happen to have a couple of Facebook friends who live in the Regina area, and when I told them that I was actually researching Regina for this section of my novel, they gave me a few hints on what to include. One of the friends remarked that she was surprised to see me include the MacKenzie Art Gallery and the University of Regina, which both appear below. My other friend is actually from White City and found it interesting that I wanted to write about it.
And it’s this friend who told me to make certain that I wrote about The Ice House, a local burger joint that is well known through this part of Saskatchewan, and which she actually said serves the best burgers in all of Canada. So I looked up a little information on The Ice House and discovered that it is not only a burger joint but a liquor store as well, because Canada. I mean, why not? Load up on a burger and fries, maybe a little poutine while you’re at it, and then grab some beer and wine for the drive home.
Their primary burger is known as The Iceberg, which is a homemade confection that appears to be the sort of thing that I would eat if I visited this place. But if you have a huge appetite you can try the scaled up version of The Iceberg called The Glacier Burger, a CAD $29 monstrosity that will guarantee you don’t leave this establishment hungry if you can find the energy to regains your feet and stagger out to your car. In fact, it looks almost like one of those novelties that you see restaurant served from time to time: you know, like a five pound/two and a half kilogram steak that if you can eat the whole thing you get for free. Though I’m pretty sure with this burger you pay up front before you start eating.
And one last thing to point out and that’s the correct pronunciation of the name Regina. This one I got directly from my friend Nicole, who lives and works in Regina, and who has said on occasion that since far too many people pronounce the name “Ra-GE-na”, there is an easy phrase to help you remember the correct way to pronounce the name: “Regina like Vagina.” Yes, just like Professor Ellison said, it rhymes with a particular body part found only on women–well, on csiwomen. There’s just some of us gals who haven’t quite caught on with that particular trend…
Now that Matthias has given us a little background on Canadian geography, he gets into one of the main reasons why he is the person he is today:
“I really didn’t think much about my hometown’s name origin until I started here as an A Level. That’s because two months after I started here an album came out titled White City: A Novel, which was written and performed by Pete Townsend—he’s a guy who’s been in the band The Who for like forever, which is something I’m sure almost all of you didn’t know.
“White City—the album, not my hometown—is what was known as a ‘concept album’, which means all of the songs tied together to tell a story. You don’t hear of those too much these days, mostly because the music buying public can’t really listen to a song that’s more than four minutes long before they tune out, but back in the 1970s and through a bit of the 1980s, they were all the rage; it seem like every famous band then put out at least one during their lifetime.
“Now here’s a dirty little secret of mine: before coming to Salem I wasn’t really that into music. I listened to music, but it was little more than background noise to my life. It wasn’t until I was able to sit and listen to White City that I started to get into music. It wasn’t that the music was great—because it was, it was fantastic—but it was the idea that one could convey a story using music and lyrics, and make it a coherent, meaningful experience.
“You might say that this album was my musical epiphany, because it wasn’t long after that I realized that all music tells the story. It does this because music triggers an emotional response in each of us and makes us feel things that we didn’t realize we could feel.
“While I was home on Yule holiday that year I parents took me to the MacKenzie Art Gallery, which at that time was still connected to the University of Regina, my other alma mater. This was the first time I was exposed to paintings and sculpture, and the experience left me speechless. When you’re twelve years old you’re supposed to find art stuffy and boring, but I didn’t: I found it amazing. When we were leaving the museum I bugged my parents to buy me a book that would show me how to sketch, and I spent the rest of my Yule holiday working on sketching. And I brought that book back to school with me, managed to get a hold of a sketch pad and pencils, and spent the rest of my A Levels sketching whenever I had time.
“When we returned home from school that summer I couldn’t work on magic, so I worked developing my artistic talent. I also asked my mother if I could take piano lessons that summer, and she paid for me to see a teacher. So that summer I was not only learning to draw and paint, but I was also learning to become a musician—or, I should say, I was learning how to play piano.
“After returning to school I asked the then head of the Arts and Music Department if I could perform during Ostara, and if she could get a tutor to help me work on a piece between the start of my B Levels and March of the following calendar year. She agreed to both my request, and in 1987 I performed at my first Ostara. After I left the school I went back to the University of Regina enrolled in the music program graduated with honors from there, and then worked on a Masters that would allow me to teach music and composition.
“And when I was finished with all that, I decided that the one place in the world where I could make the greatest impact with what I’d learned was right here at Salem. And I’ve been here ever since.”
There you have it: Matthias Ellison discovered music because the guitarist from The Who created album that, I feel, is one of his best and most underrated works, and because his parents decided to expose him to art. And from that he learned to draw and play, then went to college to understand it better before coming back to Salem to pass along what he learned. Which is how real teachers do this.
Now that we have his background, it’s about time for him to explain why he likes the arts–and why you should as well…
What’s a little revenge between families?
[Image via Jonathan Hession/HISTORY Channel] Welcome to the recap for Episode 17, entitled “The Great Army,” of Season 4 Part 2 of Vikings.
Poor Bjorn Ironside (Alexander Ludwig), just when he finally gets to the Mediterranean and can claim greater fame than his father by travelling further than any other Viking ever, Ragnar (Travis Fimmel) goes and dies on him. Thanks to Odin’s (André Eriksen) visit in Episode 16 of Vikings, Bjorn now has to turn around and head on home to Kattegat.
[Image via Jonathan Hession/HISTORY Channel] On the way home, Rollo (Clive Standen) is given the choice to return to Frankia or be killed once he sets foot on Kattegat soil. No surprise Rollo chooses Frankia, even if his wife is as feral as wounded cat when he does get home. Needless to say their reunion is so heated History Channel isn’t even game to…
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This is the first excerpt that shows the first day of class for my C Levels. I’ve stated elsewhere that it only took a hundred thousand words to get to this point, and it’s a truism as the hundred thousand word mark was passed while writing this excerpt. Also, this excerpt comes from the shortest scene in Chapter Eight, which ended up exactly sixty-nine words short of three thousand.
And since we are finally into classes, now would be a good time to actually see the schedule that Annie and Kerry are going to carry through 2013 and 2014. Here is their class schedule:
This excerpt takes place in the very first class on the very first day of C Levels: Introduction to Art. You know this is one of the classes that Annie and Kerry are taking because it’s in bold, and any class that isn’t in bold are the classes but the other C Levels are taking. I don’t have it marked but the Monday afternoon class for Annie and Kerry is study hall or additional elective period for everyone else.
A few things to point out here: Individual Cross Training is the personal sessions that Annie and Kerry use last year to cross train each other, with Annie showing Kerry sorcery and Kerry showing Annie transformation magic. Now it’s been formalized as the time they need to use to get together. Also, Annie’s time with Helena learning Advanced Sorcery has become formalized as well. It should also be noted that since there cross training class actually takes place the day before their learning what they should be cross training, it’s a given that they are probably showing each of these magical moves before they get to that time.
Thursday is a bit of a wild card day for them. Normally they would have the entire day off, because neither are taking regular Formulistic Magic or regular Spell Casting. Instead, they’re getting shanghaied by Helena to do minion work in A and B Level Sorcery. This isn’t going to be an every week thing, which means they will get some downtime on Thursdays. Or maybe they won’t, because Thursday morning is also A Level Transformation Magic as well as B Level Spell Casting, so there is a distinct possibility that if they are slinging dark magic on Thursday mornings with Helena, they could be doing minion work for either Jessica or Wednesday.
Lastly we have the Friday afternoon class: Special Astral Training. This is the class that Deanna told Annie she was going to teach, and this once again takes up some free time the kids could spend together. Annie at least gets Friday mornings to relax while Kerry is off in Advanced Flight Two, and both kids are pretty much guaranteed to have their Tuesday mornings free, though that is also the same time Wednesday teaches Basic Spell Casting to the A Levels, so they could find themselves getting roped in the minion work there.
In short, the only free time may have guaranteed are Saturdays and Sunday afternoons, and once racing season starts in October, Kerry can pretty much kiss is free time goodbye as far as Saturday afternoon is concerned. This is about as wicked a schedule as anyone at Salem has ever undertaken, and you can bet the kids are going to be watched closely for signs of burnout.
Today’s the first day in art class, and even though we’ve encountered Professor Matthias Ellison in the last two novels, we haven’t actually seen him at work. Well, that’s all about to change–sorta. Because first I need to get a few rumors of the way…
The following excerpts from The Foundation Chronicles, Book Three: C For Continuing, copyright 2016, 2017 by Cassidy Frazee)
The twenty-four students who made the C Level of the Salem Institute of Greater Education and Learning began wandering into Studio #1, on the north side of the first floor of the History and Arts Building, at least ten minutes before eight. The majority of the students were unsure what would happen in this class: the synopsis in their travel packages stated they would develop their “artistic talent”, but said little else.
Upper level students told a different story: the C Levels would learn to sketch and paint, and they would learn various methods for doing both. They also had wildly varying opinions on Professor Ellison. Some said he was far too laid back to the class and didn’t really seem to care if you learned to draw or paint well. Others said that he could be a pain in the ass and would often badger selected students to improve their work or get out of his class. Two E Levels from Mórrígan related a story that was known to many in the school: that the year before he become so frustrated with one of the then C Levels attempt at painting that he pushed the student back from her canvas and Fireballed it into ashes.
After dinner Kerry and Annie asked Penny, Alex, and Jario if that particular story was true and all three not only confirm that it was, but gave the name and coven of the student: Maritza Iglesias from Blodeuwedd. Alex stated that after the incident Maritza was so distraught by the incident that Professor Ellison needed to have someone come out from the hospital and take her back to the Great Hall so she could “rest”. Penny said it was the damnedest thing she had ever seen and as soon as Maritza left the room Professor Ellison acted as if nothing had happened.
After hearing all the stories Annie and Kerry found it difficult to believe that this was the same person that they had not only known for two years, but who seemed to always treat them with the utmost respect as well as showing a great deal of interest in their work. There were a few incidences in the past where, while preparing for Ostara, Professor Ellison would come into where they were working and critique their work, and each time this occurred he always gave positive reinforcement.
Though as Kerry indicated, having him come in and see what they were working on for a presentation at the Ostara Festival was far different than being in the classroom where the professor had to evaluate them based upon the school’s established seven proficiencies, and it could be that the Professor Ellison they knew as a mentor was far different than the Professor Ellison they were about to meet as an instructor.
It’s not unusual for these stories to circulate. After all, the only exposure Annie and Kerry have ever had to Professor Ellison has been during their time preparing for Ostara, and it would make sense that the last thing the art and music instructor wants to come across as is and out-of-control prima donna. He wants kids relaxed and confident, and he can’t do that if he’s raging out and throwing fireballs. At least I can say the words I ever had an instructor do in any class I took was throw chalk around the room when he couldn’t get his point across. Though I do seem to remember one teacher tossing all of his books into the trash and stocking out the room for five minutes–
Studio #1 was a bit like the room used for class in the Transformation Center: it was a large open area filled with work cubicles, though the cubicles themselves were more areas his dimensions were taped off on the floor and within those dimensions set a large table, a comfortable swivel chair, and a low supply cabinet.
Annie was familiar with this layout, as it was very similar to the private studios she had used in this building and in the Auditorium while working on her paintings and drawings for Ostara. She also noticed as they entered the room that there was a placard with the names on the top of each desk, and that Kerry and she shared adjoining workspaces.
The students were still settling into their workspaces when Professor Ellison entered the room from another entrance in the back. He was dressed in khakis and tennis shoes and topped off the ensemble with a light blue polo shirt, giving some credence to descriptions of him as being “laid back”. He carried a tablet with him—something that all instructors of Salem did—but rather than hold it or place it on his desk in the corner of the room, he levitated it and wrapped in enchantment around it which kept it just off to his right at all times, so that no matter where he moved the tablet was in the same spot in relation to him.
It was only after watching him for a few seconds that Annie realized she had never seen Professor Ellison craft magic—and based upon the look on Kerry face, it was obvious he’d never seen the professor craft, either.
The laid-back art instructor: they even act that way at witch schools. And why didn’t they have art at Hogwarts? Hell, they didn’t even have math, which makes you wonder how the hell any of them could balance their checkbooks. Then again they didn’t write checks and all their money was gold, so how the hell did they go into a chips shop and get lunch? Or get groceries? Ah, that’s fiction: my kids are in the real world.
Tomorrow we get the professor’s opening statements to the class–and as you might imaging, he’s quite passionate about his field…
Let’s get the personal business of the way first. The stuff I need for my weekend Women’s March on Washington–which occurs in a little less than two weeks–has begun arriving. Tonight I get my portable phone charger; tomorrow I get my wall socks; and I’m waiting for my thermal underwear and mukluk insoles to ship out. Yesterday, however, I received my first item:
Yes, the Pussy Hat is here and while it’s a little big it’s still wearable. One shipment I’m worried about is the thermal undergarments: they’re coming from Land’s End and I haven’t received notification that they’ve shipped. I’m hoping that all ships this week, and the one shipment I can do without are the new insoles for my mukluks, because all have wool socks as of tomorrow.
And the totally ironic thing is the weather for 21 January in DC is expected to be somewhere between 50 and 55 F/10 to 13 C. If we get those terms I may not even need the thermal undergarments. But it’s always nice to have them just in case.
Now, let’s finish up but I was in the middle of yesterday.
There’s about a thousand words left in this last seen, which just happened to be the first of Chapter Eight. Last night they ran off another eight hundred and fifty words, and I figure I might have another fifteen hundred to two thousand words to write to finish off this current scene and the chapter, at which point I can move into Chapter Nine, which finishes off Week One and it’s the kids to the Midnight Madness.
Things are zipping right along.
So, let’s finish up with the meeting in the Witch House and see how Helena and Erywin are dealing with Kerry’s particular situation…
The following excerpts from The Foundation Chronicles, Book Three: C For Continuing, copyright 2016, 2017 by Cassidy Frazee)
Helena moved her chair closer to her desk so she could lean her arms against the top. “No one is thinking any less of you, Kerry, and no one in this room believes they can’t count upon you. As you indicated, your main concern is whatever group you’re working with—but you need to watch your own arse as well.”
A concerned look came over Erywin’s face. “If you’re feeling a little bit of trepidation about any, you and I can always speak. I mean, I do have a little bit of an understanding of what it’s like dealing with what might seem unusual emotions.”
Annie leaned so she was a bit closer to Kerry and could speak softly. “Something to consider, my love. And it couldn’t hurt to discuss these things with another person.”
He gave a slight nod. “Maybe later.”
Helena yawned for a few seconds. “Oh, sorry: didn’t get much sleep last night. Anyway, I have given you notification that you are in an on-call status with the Guardians as of this moment. Congratulations.” She threw up her hands in mock cheer. “You’re now like hundreds of other Sentinels wondering if you called out on a field operation any time soon.”
It seems as if this is about the third or fourth attempt to get Kerry to “talk things out”. There’s a bit of a conundrum here with the boy, because for all of his life he’s been conditioned not to talk about his feelings, simply because his parents don’t want to hear about them. Now he’s starting to find himself wading into some shit and he’s hesitant to put his feelings on display. Sure, he might talk to Annie, but she’s not a trained counselor. Getting him to open up to adults who really do want to help him is going to be something of an ongoing battle.
And with Helena’s last statement Annie hear something that may or may not be good for her–
Hearing the phrase “on-call status” made Annie wonder about their actual standing with The Foundation intelligence division. “Does this mean we’re—?”
“Actual Guardians?” A faint smile crossed Helena’s lips. “That was the last thing is gonna bring up during this meeting. You’ve both been moved to Provisional status, which is to say you’re old enough to go out on field operations, but you’re not old enough to be sworn in as actual operatives.”
“Because you have to be considered emancipated before the Guardians will allow you to take the oath. One of the reasons you are allowed a Right of Refusal is because you haven’t reached the Age of Emancipation, but once you hit that then you can have the Guardians Oath administered and become full-time Sentinels.” Helena chuckled as she scratched her arm. “Of course, once you are full time that means that you can’t turn down any missions unless you have a damn good reason. Taking that oath means you get all those nice Guardian benefits without being able to walk away from the shit missions when you feel like it’s necessary”
“I didn’t expect it to be perfect.” Annie gave a slight shrug. “One has to take the bad with the good.”
Helena raised one eyebrow. “What do you expect the good to be in the Guardians?”
Annie had her answer ready. “To be able to protect The Foundation and its people, and by extension Normals who know nothing of our existence but benefit from our largess.”
Helena turned to Kerry. “What about you, Ginger Boy? What does serving the Guardians mean to you?”
Kerry had an answer ready as well. “By protecting the interests of The Foundation we keep the rest of the world safe. We’re not protecting a single country; we’re basically protecting people the world from the bad guys who would like to turn the lives of Normals to… shit.”
It was evident from Helena’s reaction that she hadn’t expected these responses. She turned to Erywin. “I really expected something a little more boilerplate.”
“You should know better.” Erywin chuckled. “You dealing with two highly motivated teens here.”
“Obviously.” Helena swiveled her chair back towards the two across the desk. “All right, is all I have to say. If it becomes necessary to have another meeting like this in the future, I’ll send you both a secure email with nothing more than the time: you’ll know where were going to meet.”
Both Annie and Kerry nodded with her replying. “Always here.”
At times it’s interesting to watch the reaction of adults around Annie and Kerry. We know they’re bright and articulate, but they’re also quite perceptive. Helena asked a gotcha question and then admits that she expected the kids to give a far more boilerplate answer than what they actually gave. In short, she had low expectations for what they were going to say–which is something she shouldn’t have done. But as Kerry might say, everything is a test, so perhaps Helena was actually testing the kids. Perhaps? We don’t know–well I do, but you don’t.
And with that it’s time to close down this meeting:
“Correct. Okay, you two, that’s enough for now.” Helena stood as did Erywin. “Kerry, as soon as I hear something back from San Francisco I’ll let you know. For that will likely send you a secure, encrypted document. And if you get one of those—”
Kerry gave a slight nod as he stood. “Read, delete, and clear deleted messages.”
“Sounds as if you been doing this spook business for a while.”
“I know how to take precautions.”
“Good.” Helena waved both kids toward the door. “Go on now. I understand a couple of instructors are taking some kids into Salem for lunch and an afternoon of shopping and relaxation. If you get back to the Great Hall by ten, I’m certain Erywin and I will be more than happy to let you accompany us.”
Annie waved back. “See you both at ten.”
Rather then head back up to the ground floor of the Witch House, Annie and Kerry decided to take the tunnel back to Memory’s End and emerge above ground there. They felt that is no one would be in the comments—at least not in this area school—they would be able to speak freely.
Annie felt she needed to reassure Kerry. “I hope you don’t think that we don’t believe you could do a field operation as a girl.”
He shook his head. “I don’t. Anyway, it was my suggestion I don’t go out like that right away because I’m not sure I can handle—you know—” Kerry tilted his head to the right as if to indicate something. “Like Erywin said, all the hormones and stuff.”
Annie gave Kerry’s hand a squeeze. “It will take some time you to filter through all the feelings. As Erywin said we’ve had time to learn, whereas you’re going to be instantly immersed. But I want you to know I’ll be there to help you in any way I can, though it may not be much.” She gave their arm a playful swing. “I won’t abandon you.”
Kerry leaned into Annie and rested his head against hers. “I know you wouldn’t. You’re the last person who would ever abandoned me.”
As Annie kissed his head only one thought remained in her mind: I’ll always be with you—until death do us part.
Annie seems to enjoy the idea that the boy by her side will be with her until the day one of them dies. If one didn’t know any better, one might say Annie almost saw the relationship as something of a fairy tale–and given that some fairy tales were gruesome and bloody as hell, perhaps she’s not wrong. The only question remains there is will they live happily ever after? Like I’ve said before, I know when, where, and how they die, which means I know how they lived. I know their happiness, I know their sadness, and I know some of their regrets.
In other words, they’re going to have lives like a lot of us.
Only we don’t get to have real magic in ours…