Enter the Invitations

The good news is I managed a lot of rest last night after a long day to spending money on work related outfits.  I probably would have slept right though the night if the fire alarms for the entire building didn’t go off at midnight and ring for about fifteen minutes.  That usually happens about once every six months, and I get up, look around, smell for smoke, and then look outside to see how many fire trucks show up.  Last night only one showed, so I’m guessing they knew right off the bat it was a false alarm.  After that I fell back asleep and didn’t wake up until six in the morning.

I’m still a little tired:  I suppose that’s my body trying to make up for the stress I put on it from trying on clothes for two hours straight.  I bought enough to ensure I have enough outfits to start work, and I even had a bra fitting, where I discovered I was wearing the wrong one since like forever.  Now I’m legit there, too, and all ready for the big coming out party at work on 2 February.

One of the semi-casual looks I picked out.  Yeah, I look good in skinny jeans.

One of the semi-casual looks I picked out. Yeah, I look good in skinny jeans.

What’s been happening with my kids, however?  Well, the last anyone saw of them, they were being led into a library full of instructors in their private residence for a chat.  It’s actually a bit intimidating if you think about it, because you’re sitting across from the headmistress and two coven leaders, and you have no idea why you’re there other than to discuss something.

See, I even did a design of the scene.  The headmistress has the big chair in the top right, and Helena is sitting in the lower left, judging everyone.

See, I even did a design of the scene. The headmistress has the big chair in the top right, and Helena is sitting in the lower left, judging everyone.

In case you’re wondering the seating arrangement, it’s–top to bottom–Mathilde, Erywin, Wednesday, Jessica, Ramona, Vicky, and Helena.  Annie and Kerry are sitting on the love seat across from this gathering.

And why are they here?  Let’s have Wednesday bring us up to speed . . .

 

All excerpts, this page, from The Foundation Chronicles, Book One: A For Advanced, copyright 2013, 2014, 2015 by Cassidy Frazee)

The young instructor sat up in her chair and began smoothing her skirt. “First off, I want to thank you for the work you’ve done in the Advanced Spells class, and I can’t wait to see what you’re going to do next year.” Wednesday set her hands upon the arms of the chair as she relaxed. “Though given where you are in respect to the abilities of the other students, I’m gonna have to work hard to come up with something challenging next year.”

Annie felt both proud and slightly embarrassed. It was one thing to have Wednesday complement Kerry and her as they walked back to Cernunnos Tower with no one else around—it was another matter entirely to be complemented in front of people who had taught you for the last nine months. “Thank you, Professor.”

“You can call me Wednesday.”

“Yes.” Erywin adjusted her dress as she crossed her legs and got comfortable. “We’re all friends here, so no need for formality.” She nodded towards her right. “Though make sure to save your respect for the Headmistress: she’s the one who decides if you move on or not.”

“Erywin . . .” Mathilde rolled her eyes. “Please continue, Wednesday.”

“Thank you.” She eyes both students sitting directly across from her. “Do you remember when I brought you into the class I mentioned that it was always by invitation only, that one simply couldn’t ask to join?”

Annie nodded while Kerry responded. “I do.”

“What I didn’t mention at the time is that mine is not the only advanced class—and that in order to get into those classes one needed to be invited as well. That’s why you’re here—” Wednesday indicated the instructors on either side of her chair. “Each of the instructors here teach an advanced class in their appropriate discipline, and they’d like to offer you both an invitation into their class.”

 

Hey, moving on up, kids!  All that hard work and witchy . . . witching paid off, and I’m sure that doing some work for the Guardians may have played a part in it as well, though we’ll see that’s probably not the reason.  The real reason is the kids are way too advanced, and it’s driving the instructors a little crazy.

As you would expect, they’re excited–

 

Kerry sat up as if he’d been shocked. “Really?”

“Yes, really.”

A huge smile erupted upon Annie’s face. “That’s incredible.” As much as she’d driven herself to excel with the crafting of regular magic and sorcery, she’d never imagined that her actions would lead her to be invited into advanced study programs. “Which ones?”

 

When you get an excited Annie, it means she’s impressed.  But what about her question?

 

Wednesday cocked her head to one said. “Which one what?”

“Which classes?” She turned her head slightly from side-to-side, eying each instructor. “Which ones?”

Wednesday exchanged looks with all the women in the room. Helena finally spoke on behalf of the group. “Annie . . . all of them.”

 

There are six instructors in the room, and all of them want to take you beyond the next level.  Um . . . yep.

 

Now it was the student’s turn to exchange looks. Kerry gazed off into nothingness for a few seconds as he considered the sorceress’ words. “Everyone wants to invite us?”

Wednesday nodded. “Yes. It wasn’t an easy decision, because this is going to put a lot of pressure on both of you to not only continue doing the extraordinary work you’re already doing, but to push you both just a little more—”

“I don’t see that as a problem.” Now that the enormity of their presence here was wearing off, Annie was returning to her normal, calm self.

“Same here.” Kerry still seemed a bit shocked by the revelation, but had brought himself under control nearly as fast as his girlfriend. “We can do this.”

“I’m happy to hear that, Kerry.” Wednesday folded her hands around her right knee. “Well, we have to do this by the numbers, so . . . You know I’ll have you back for your B Levels; no need to linger there.” She turned to the woman at her right. “Erywin?”

 

Now, one might say that the reason the headmistress is allowing this to happen–and if you don’t believe Mathilde has a say in that matter, you haven’t been playing attention–is that she’s been told the kids need this sort of instruction.  Then again, as Erywin says when she invites them into her Advanced Formulistic Magic class, she needs to give them a challenge, and this is the only way to give them one.  Let’s face it:  they already faced down bad guys and showed they’re well ahead of their levelmates, so what are they doing to do in their B Levels?  Learn Air Hammer, which is a B Level spell.  Um . . . no.  It’s funny, but looking at the spell list I have for the B Levels, both my kids already know them, so . . . challenges, yeah.

We know they’re going back to Advanced Spells, and they’ll be in AFM, so what’s next?  Jessica?

 

“Like Erywin, I feel I need to give you both a challenge.” Jessica nodded at them as she spoke their names. “Annie, you’ve proved you’re one of the fastest learner in the class, and Kerry—” She chuckled. “You’ve taken to transformation magic not only well, but I’ve heard from a few people . . .” Her gaze shifted towards Erywin for a moment. “—that you’re doing things that should should do for another two levels.

“Actually, that’s been your whole A Level experience: it feels like you haven’t been stumped by anything I’ve showed you, and if you were, you didn’t stay that way for long. Or you’ve taken something small and expanded it beyond the experiences of the others—”

“Like the light bending spell?” Kerry leaned forward and smiled.

“Yes, just like that one. While the rest of the class can do small objects, you both—” She shrugged. “I think we know we’re you’ve both went with that particular magic.”

Vicky tapped the arm of her chair. “Good enough they could cover a few hundred kilometers today and not be seen.”

Jessica nodded and continued. “Given that, I’d like to invite you both to my Tuesday night Advanced Transformation Crafting. Like Wednesday’s and Erywin’s classes, it’s a small group of people, far more intimate and not as structured. Also, it’ll give you a bit of a breather, as B Level Transformation Crafting is on Tuesday afternoons, and not having to go to that class will give you break after History and Science.” She rubbed her hands together. “What do you say?”

As before, Kerry answered first. “I’d love to be in your class, Professor.”

“As I expect, Kerry.” She turned to the girl next to him. “And you, Annie?”

Annie seem to to give the matter serious consideration. “I would like to decline your offer, Professor.”

 

But . . . Annie?  What are you doing?  Well, she has an explanation . . .

 

Annie glanced at Helena for just a second, then turned back to Jessica. “I’m working with Professor Lovecraft to I can work at being a sorceress as good as her. One of the tenets of being a good sorceress is being able to teach what you’ve learned to others, and that’s something I’ve done with Kerry throughout this school year—”

Jessica seemed a little taken back by this news. “I’m sorry, what? You’ve been teaching Kerry sorcery?”

“With my knowledge.” Helena nodded in the direction of the headmistress. “And with Mathilde’s knowledge as well. If I’d thought she was doing something wrong, I’d have stepped in and stopped her.”

Jessica turned towards Erywin. “Did you know about this?”

Helena quickly spoke. “She didn’t learn about it until this . . . thing she and I did with Annie and Kerry started.” Though she was aware that Jessica had some knowledge that they’d worked with the Guardians, Wednesday, Ramona, and Vicky were still in the dark where even minimal details were concerned. “Just like you, Jess, she was on a need-to-know basis, and I didn’t tell her until she needed to know.”

Annie stepped back into the conversation so she could explain herself. “Kerry and I both know where are strengths lay: mine are in sorcery, and his are in transformation magic. Since he’s informed me that he’d also like to work toward becoming a good sorceress, it makes sense that if he could learn advanced transformation magic and then teach it to me, it would go a long ways towards that tenet of the art.”

 

And there you have it:  Annie has the idea that this is one of the ways Kerry can learn to be a “good sorceress”.  He teaches her advanced transformation, she teaches him advanced sorcery.  It doesn’t make Jessica a happy camper, but, again, this is something of which the Headmistress was aware, and what are you going to do about it, Coven Leader?  Nothing, that’s what.

That last line was as far as I wrote:  that was word eight hundred and eighty-eight.  I didn’t go any further because I needed to get this post out and go do other things, and . . . see those words “Needed to know.”  Look at the word “to”.  I made a note in my scene area that “to” is word one hundred thousand for Act Three.  Yes, I’ve passed that threshold again.

There's the scene, there's the note, there's the final word count for the day.

I’m There’s the scene, there’s the note, there’s the final word count for the day.

As Erywin said, “My business is finished.”

At least for right now.  There’s more later.

Restful Nervousness

One of the hazards of writing while working another job–you know, the one that pays your bills–is that this other job is going to leave you feeling, at the end of the day, listless and worn out.  And if you’ve been up since four AM that same morning, fourteen hours later you’ve going to feel the weight of that lack of sleep come crashing down upon you.

That was me about six PM last night.  The sun was up, the story was in front of me . . . and it was all I could do to stay awake.

Eventually I found the energy to do this thing.  Here’s something I found that’s helpful:  getting up on your feet and acting out scenes from your story will not only wake you up, but it will also get the creative juices flowing.  At least that did the trick for me.  For a while.

It was the time to start the Advanced Magic class.  Wednesday has nerves going, because she’s worried she maybe did the wrong thing by pulling a couple of eleven year olds–sorry, one eleven and the other twelve–into her class.  But things are done for a reason, and it’s usually not good to undo them–and after the word is out that your precious little snowflakes have moved up and on, the damage is done and you gotta own that decision.

Hey, it’s not like when she killed that teacher, right?

This was pretty much the middle and the end of my just over six hundred words before I saved everything off and watched the last episode of Fargo:

 

(All excerpts, this page, from The Foundation Chronicles, Book One: A For Advanced, copyright 2013, 2014, by Cassidy Frazee)

She looked around the room. Everyone was here save for Serafena, who was usually last to show because the girl loved being fashionably late. Nadine and Pang, already paired up—he in his white tee shirt, blue jeans, and slip on flats; her in her black leggings, a long sweater that matched the dark red of her hair, and red Converse high top sneakers—and were sitting and making small talk. Rivânia was staring out the window in the direction of the Pentagram, appearing comfortable in her dark blue yoga pants, yellow tee shirt over a white thermal shirt, and ballet flats. Hasumati paced around the room, appearing deep in thought. She was, as always, the most stylish person in the room, wearing a bright green embroidered top, skinny blue jeans tucked into expensive riding boots, and lot of bangles on both wrists.

All I need now is for Sera and my other two stars to appear. Wednesday leaned against the walled and sighed. She didn’t want to seem tired and drawn out—maybe she should have stopped by the hospital before coming and had Coraline give her something—

She heard footsteps coming up the stairs, and by the sound it appeared there was more than one person. Wednesday waited for whomever it was to appear standing in the entrance—and Annie and Kerry, hand-in-hand as always, walked into the room and looked around.

Wednesday greeted them before they had time to think about why they were there. “Hey, you two.” She touched them both on the shoulders. “How you feeling tonight?”

Kerry turned to Annie, who seemed to be speaking for them both. “A little nervous.”

“Same here, so don’t feel bad.” Wednesday gave their shoulders a squeeze, then turned to face the room. “Here you are: your new classroom and lab.” She pointed to the chairs laid out along the far wall in a shallow semi-circle. “Grab a seat and relax. As soon as Sera gets here—”

“Sera is here.” A dark haired girl with a light olive complexion strutted into the room. Attired in sandals, a red and white maxi dress, and a jean jacket, she examined her surroundings as if to make certain everything was in place and ready. “Buona sera, tutti.” Serafena, the student Wednesday was waiting on, waved to everyone as she strolled across the floor and took her seat.

 

The Italian girl:  fashionably late to the magical party.  Think she does that a lot?

The feeling is, as you can see, pretty relaxed for everyone.  With the exception of my A Levels and the instructor, everyone’s a teenager who will eventually have enough power to do some real damage to other things and people if they are of a mind.  And since it’s after hours, why bother with stuffy uniforms?  Get down, get comfortable, get to magic or get to dying.  It’s their choice.

And don’t mind the nerves:  that comes with the territory.

Hey, I even updated my score card!

Hey, I even updated my score card!

Magic Levels in Our Secret World

Being home has its advantages–like being able to go out on a cafe date with your daughter and your computers, and being able to get in a little bohemian-style writing, even if it is on an eight year old computer.  Dig it, baby:  I might have only gotten four hundred words in, but there’s nothing like writing out in public with the earbuds in and the music turned up.

And, no:  I wasn’t asked what I was doing.  Nor have I ever been asked.  One day I will get asked, and then I can figure out what sort of smart ass answer I want to give.

Where did I leave off?  Oh, yeah:  Wednesday was showing video to Headmistress Mathilde Laventure, and the last thing she saw was some huggin’ and probably kissin’.  Not that she hasn’t seen it before . . .

 

(All excerpts, this page, from The Foundation Chronicles, Book One: A For Advanced, copyright 2013, 2014, by Cassidy Frazee)

“I’m sorry?” It wasn’t that Mathilde was a stranger to the affections students showed one another while at school. Behind their fifteen meter walls the Salem Institute was a self-contained world, and for three-quarters of a calender year students worked together, played together—and showed affection for each other in this world.

But now that she knew who the students were, all the stories she’d heard over the last month began popping up in Mathilde’s memory. They were not only skillful with magic, but they were exceptionally devoted for two eleven year olds—correction, an eleven and twelve year old, as Annie had begun wearing a locket that she’d told several instructors was a birthday present from Kerry.

They also seem to dive under the covers during the Midnight Madness quite often . . . This train of thought wasn’t one the headmistress would pursue, however. She was far more interested in Wednesday’s videos. “What happens from this point on?”

 

The headmistress of this joint:  she misses nothing.  Maybe the school should consider getting rid of the sofas and the fluffy comforters, and switch to something like sleeping bags.

"We used to have a pretty sweet deal until Annie and Kerry ruined it all with their face sucking.  Oh, well:  time to transform the sleeping bags into one huge cozy!"

“We used to have a pretty sweet deal until Annie and Kerry ruined it all with their constant face sucking. Oh, well: time to transform the sleeping bags into one huge cozy!”

The problem isn’t the face sucking, however:  it’s the magic.  As in, they’re doing things they shouldn’t be doing, like . . . magic?

 

“But your spell cells don’t handle sorcery spells, do they?” It was long ago agreed that no one would practice dangerous sorcery at the Spell Center, reliving Helena of having to help set up protective enchantment in Wednesday’s spell cells. “And you didn’t tell them this, did you?”

Wednesday slowly shook her head. “No. When Annie told me she was going to try a fire spell, I instantly thought, you know, she was going to try something normal and simply.” She pointed at the now stopped video on the display. “I didn’t think she was going to whistle up freakin’ cold fire.” She leaned against the wall and turned to the headmistress. “Everything they did is well beyond their level. Cold fire, ice encasement, template transformation: those are all C Level spells. There is no way they should have even tried those, much less make them work.”

“What about the time spell Kerry used?” Mathilde has some knowledge of time spells: there were a few minor ones she used from time-to-time if she found it necessary to meet a deadline. But she didn’t care for them; they often left her feeling disoriented afterwords, and she knew all too well what could happen when one went wrong . . . “That’s also a C Level spell, no?”

“Oh, yeah. I almost never start on time spells until early C Level, but what he was doing—” She leaned against the wall and sighed. “Second half of the school year, usually.”

 

Now one may ask, “Are you sure those are C Level spells, and not something you could do earlier?”  Well, see, when I’m building my world I like to know where everything goes, even my magic.  ‘Cause you have to keep track of your things . . . you know, stuff?

Always do your research, even if all you're doing is making shit up.

Always do your research, even if all you’re doing is making shit up.

And therein lay the problem:  Wednesday’s a bit freaked out by this, even if she was doing advanced magic at an early age herself.  Probably because she wasn’t throwing out cold fire a month into her A Levels–she’ll tell you she isn’t much of a sorcerer–and if she had, she’d have at least practiced first.

But wait!  There’s more!

 

Wednesday chuckled. “Oh, I’ve saved the best for last.”

“And that is?”

“Right after I start going over the spell cell video, Ramona contacts me. She wants to know if I’m showing any of my A Levels advanced spells—”

Mathilde leaned heavily on her right arm. “What happened in her class?”

“Today was the day she ran her coven teams against her zombie homunculi—”

“Yes, I remember her mentioning it after dinner last night.” At least she didn’t mentioned it during dinner . . .

“Well, she told me most of the covens crashed and burned, as she expected, but there were two that managed to defeat the undead hordes. Mórrígan managed to figure out how to use their numbers to their advantage and take out their objectives while only losing two people.” Wednesday paused and rubbed her chin a couple of times as if she was considering not saying anything more—

Which was something Mathilde was not about to allow. “And what was the other coven?” Based upon Wednesday reaction, the headmistress had already chosen a name . . .

“Cernunnos: Kirilova and Malibey. They took out all five of theirs—which were worst odds than the other covens had, by the way.”

“Let me guess: they were the ones Ramona asked about—”

“Yeah, because right in the middle of almost getting their butts kicked, Annie pulled off an air hammer, and after speaking for a few seconds with Kerry, they both figured out how to apply that spell while using their weapons as foci.” Wednesday pointed at the display. “She let me have access to the recordings of their test: they were dismembering homunculi with wooden poles and bokkens. You want to see?”

“No, thank you.” Mathilde waved off her Spell Mistress; the last thing she wanted to witness was something that bloody this close to dinner. “Let me guess, though: nothing they’d practiced—”

They didn’t even read up on it. Annie just . . . figured it out, told Kerry, and he came up with the idea of applying it to their weapons.” She shook her head. “That’s what they told Ramona. She kept them after class to remind them that they couldn’t use that against their classmates, because they’d probably kill them if they did.” Wednesday moved out from behind the headmistress’ desk. “That was why I was contacted: she figured I was showing them the spell.”

 

Pesky kids:  killin’ zombies and slingin’ spells they shouldn’t be slingin’.  And since Wednesday knows all about using spells to kill people, this sort of stuff has her concerned because she didn’t start flaying instructors alive until she was a C Level.  Therefore . . .

 

Wednesday said nothing until she was standing in front of the large desk once more. “I don’t know, Mathilde. I don’t think they’re Savants; they don’t fit the profile. Extremely talented?” She shrugged, then turned her attention to the view outside the office windows. “This is more than talent. This is . . .” She turned her attention back to the woman across the desk. “Dangerous.”

“I agree.” Based upon what she’d been told Mathilde was inclined to believe her Mistress of Spells. “A Levels performing spells two years beyond where they are—”

“It’s not about being beyond their abilities; it’s about knowing what they’re doing.” For the first time since entering the office Wednesday chose to sit. “Nothing bad happened today, but what happens if they try something like this next week, where they pick up a book and decide to start winging spells? They could get hurt, or hurt others.” She wound a strand of hair around her right index finger. “Or even kill themselves.”

Mathilde nodded slowly. “I take it this is leading somewhere?”

“Yes, it is.” Wednesday leaned forward and explained exactly where her concern was leading.

The headmistress remained calm as she took in Wednesday’s request. “You told me you’d never do that.”

“I know what I said I’d never do, but I think, in this instance, I don’t have a choice.” She pushed herself back into the chair. “That’s why I’m here: I need your permission and your blessing for this.” Wednesday tilted her head slightly to one side. “Do I have it?”

Mathilde knew the answer, but had to ask. “You’re certain this is your best course of action for them?”

“I am.”

“Than you have my permission and my blessing.”

Wednesday looked up at the ceiling and smiled. “Thank you, Mathilde.”

The headmistress scratched behind her left ear. “When are you going to tell them?”

“Well . . .” Wednesday bounded to her feet, her smile still affixed. “The Madness is tonight, so I’ll drop this on them first thing in the morning.” She took a single step back from the desk before half turning for the door. “I wouldn’t want to be accused of costing them any sleep.”

 

Should I play, “Dun, dun, dunnnnn,” at this point?  Or is something else about to happen?  Or will they be put on a snogging alert and watched by Isis constantly?

I guess you’ll have to wait until I write the next couple of scenes.