Styles and Curtains

Like I said in my long video yesterday, the current scene was going to be long and it was:  just over thirty-eight hundred words.  But it is complete, even through here were a few computer hiccups along the way like the machine locking up on me for about a minute and a half because of a network change on the internet router here at the coffee shop.

But done is done and here it is.

But done is done and here it is.

Now, I also said yesterday that I not only picked up a new dress but I was expecting some new outfits in the mail.  I managed to get the mail guy before he locked my stuff away and was able to try on everything so I could decide what I wanted to send back, but I did end up with a new pair of jeans, a lace top, and a jacquard-style dress.

Never mind the "I'm Going to Hit You" pose.

Never mind the “I’m Going to Hit You” pose.

And for the dress I picked up yesterday morning, I now own a Christian Siriano dress:

I keep stylin'; haters be hatin'

I keep stylin’; haters be hatin’

There you have it:  my sartorial splendor.

Back in the realty of my fictional world you learned that Deanna is going to teach Annie and Kerry stuff they wouldn’t normally learn for another couple of years.  Some of it is pretty simple–if you consider seeing the magical electrical field around a person simple.  But as I indicated in yesterday’s video, there’s other things as well…

 

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

 

“Quite so.” Deanna enjoyed her first bite, taking her time to relish the dish. “I’m also planing to teach you more than that.”

Annie began refilling her tea cup the moment she finished swallow her first slice of lamb. “Such as?”

“Oh—” Deanna turned her gaze down at her plate while she separated her food. “Astral Projection and Astral Walking.”

Instead of skewering another piece of lamb Annie set her fork aside. She swallowed once so that her voice didn’t quiver when she spoke. “Seriously?”

“Absolutely.” Deanna set her fork aside and waved the server over to ask for another cup of coffee. “I can tell you’re surprised.”

“I am. I mean, I know Kerry and I have been learning spells a level or two over our actual level, but…” Annie giggled as she looked from the dining room to the scene outside the window and back to Deanna. “I’ve always concentrated on sorcery; I never imagined I’d learn a spell that would allow me to entered a completely different world.”

Deanna nodded with a slight smile on her lips. “You were content to remain in the Physical Realm.”

“Most witches are.”

“Well—” Deanna chuckled. “I’m not most witches. And neither are you. Or your significant other, either.”

 

The Astral Realm is a magical reflection of our world and while it usually mirrors what you see in the Physical Realm, there are changes here and there that one wouldn’t expect to find.  There are also things there:  spirits and entities that can make one’s life hard, or even non-existent.  That’s why when Deanna walked in that one time she had her armor and sword to protect her, though they were really more than that

Needless to say it’s not always the friendliest of environments, and getting there isn’t always half the battle.  Let’s also not forget that one may encounter things we think are friendly–

 

Annie found herself almost too excited to eat. What Deanna wants to teach us incredible. I’ve seen a little of what the Astral Realm looks like from Dreamwalking, but I’ve never imagined walking about in there. “So we’ll learn how to open The Curtain.”

“Astral Walking is pretty much worthless if you can’t.” Deanna chuckled. “You should see your face right now, Annie: I don’t believe I’ve ever seen you like this before.”

“What do you mean?”

“You’re visibly excited. At school you always maintain a controlled demeanor.”

“I know.” Annie finally found the means to eat a couple of bites before going on. “Every one thinks I’m this ice princess who feels nothing—”

“Except love for your Ginger Hair Boy.”

“Yes: except for that.” Annie filed this moment away for now and pushed the conversation back to the discussion of lessons to come. “I’ve always understood that the Astral Realm can be a bit dangerous.”

“It can be; there are things in there that can react badly to an invasion by someone from the Physical Realm.” Deanna interlaced her words between bites. “However, within the walls of Salem we’re safe.” She looked up from her plate with a half-grin. “We can thank our Benefactor and Protector for that.”

Annie knew that could mean only one person. “The Phoenix.”

“Yes. She always gets a bit testy whenever anything enters the astral space around Cape Ann.” Deanna gave a slight sigh. “Though if we catch her on a bad day ‘anything’ can extend to us as well. She can be tricky that way.”

“Oh?”

“We’ll discuss that when we’re at school and Kerry’s with us. For the most part, though, we’ll be able to spend as much time on the other side of the Curtain as we like, which means I’ll be able to teach you Astral Weapons and Astral Defense without fear of needing them right away.”

 

–but can sometimes be a pain in your ass.  We know from the one time Deanna walked the plain that The Phoenix likes to screw with people, if for no other reason that she can.  It’s not like you’re going to give her a harsh talking to because she’s jacking you around, and for all we know she can kick a person back to the Physical Realm if they decide to give her too much shit–or just kill you and make your body disappear.  Because, once again, she most likely can.

The one thing you can be sure of:  she’ll put in an appearance in this novel, just as she did in the A and B Level books.  Hey, it’s a hard job protecting the school–sort of–and she should get some exposure,

Speaking of mean things that like to jack with you, the next scene is talk between Kerry and his mother.  I wonder how that’s going to go?

The Calm Before the Light: Let’s Talk About Change

Let’s get the Report From the Sickness Ward out of the way first thing:  I felt like I was dying last night.  Really, work was a blur, and while I managed to stay awake all day and not fall asleep at my computer, the walk home hurt.  I couldn’t relax, I could sit right, I couldn’t lay down.  I was stuff and coughing up a lot of fluids.  Not a good time at all.

If I were younger and a ginger and had a real bed, this might almost be me.

If I were younger and a ginger and had a real bed, this might almost be me.

However, I did have a plan.  Everyone kept asking, “Are you going to see a doctor?” and the answer is always, no, they won’t do anything for you beyond telling you to rest and keep pounding down warm fluids.  So I stopped off to get some warm fluids:  specifically, a bottle of Rémy Martin VSOP cognac, which is my drink of choice when I’m looking to burn out a cold, and has served me well twice in the past.

"$120 for a doctor visit, $40 for a bottle of Rémy. Here's to getting well!"

“$120 for a doctor visit, $40 for a bottle of Rémy. Here’s to getting well!”

While I won’t say I’m one hundred percent, my nose is drained and I don’t feel the fluids building in my upper chest like I did last night.  There’s still a bit of a cough, but nothing like I had last night, and more importantly, I slept, so this morning I feel alive than I did throughout the rest of the week.

The downside to all this is try as I might, the six hundred and fifty words I wrote last night were a hell of a struggle, and I didn’t attempt to push past that number once it was obtained.  However, I did get that party started, and here’s what became of that:

 

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

All eyes shifted towards Erywin, who had been chosen ahead of time to answer these questions. “First off, let me explain why I’m here. Because of some—concerns about the evasiveness of your answers regarding the last few dreams, I was asked to investigate whether or not there was a possibility you might be transgender, and that you were avoiding discussing the matter.”

He cleared his throat. “I thought that might be the reason you’re here.”

“I’m sorry I couldn’t tell you—”

“It’s okay.” Kerry waved his hand as if pushing the idea away. “I understand. Did you find anything? I mean—that’s why you’re here, isn’t it?”

“It is, indeed.” She leaned against the arm of her chair, making herself more comfortable. “I’ve examined what you’ve already told Coraline and Deanna, and I’ve seen the video of you performing your csigender transformation—and that video is what put on the track to the truth about what’s happening to you.

“First off, something you’re probably eager to hear: you’re not transgender. Based upon what I’ve seen of the physical evident, and what we’ve learned since this afternoon—and are learning now—my report is going to indicate there’s no need to proceed with discussions along those lines.

“However . . . that doesn’t mean there isn’t a gender-related issue to discuss.”

It was impossible for Kerry not to appear confused. “If I’m not trans, then what?”

Erywin meshed her fingers and pressed her thumbs together as she often did when she was about to make an important point. “You have a Gift.”

 

Of all the questions that’s hit me in the last couple of week, the biggest one has been, “What’s going on with Kerry?”  And since I’m like George R. R. Martin and I have to sit back and watch others pull out their hair while their favorite characters put through hell–and that’s the only thing I share with that gentleman–I couldn’t say a word about what I’ve known for like–three years?  Probably.  Maybe longer, because the first time I really starting thinking about this was late summer, 2011, and that’s closer to four and a half years.  Yeah, I’ve been sitting on this that long.

So he has a gift, and it’s one that keeps on coming apparently.  And here it is in part:

 

A few seconds passed before he understood the meaning of Erywin’s last word. “A Gift? I already have a Gift.”

“It’s not unheard of for someone to have two Gifts, though it doesn’t happen that often. But since Deanna was able to put the last piece in place—”

Annie spoke this time. “You mean this mirror dream?”

“Yes, that. Evidence we received early this afternoon indicates you have one of the rarest Gifts ever cataloged.” She paused to allow Kerry to ready himself for what was about to come. “You have the Bigender Gift.”

His eyebrows slowly rose from a combination of surprise and confusion. “What’s that?”

Erywin glance towards Jessica, who picked up the conversation. “You understand how Mimicking works?”

He nodded. “Yes. I interface my aura with that of another person and then use that information to change my physical form to match theirs.”

Coraline chuckled. “He sounds like you, Jess.”

Her smile was uncharacteristically pleasant. “He’s a great student with a great instructor.” She turned back to Kerry. “As you’re likely aware, your aura is not only a reflection of both your mental and emotional states, but it’s the astral aspect of your aspect in the Physical Realm. When you both begin your studies of Astral Magic you’ll discover that someone well versed in both transformation and astral magic can adjust a person’s astral aspect and have that change reflected in their physical aspect. In short, you change a person’s aural form, you may be able to change their physical form.

“The Bigender Gift does that while also acting a bit like being a Mimic as well. It’s really nothing more than altering your physical aspect—your body—based upon the selection of a astral aspect. As you change that form, your physical form changes as well—”

 

Did you get all that?  This is one of the reasons that the whole Mimicking Gift was explained a couple of times during this novel, because it was sort of a setup for what was coming.  It’s also nice to know that some asshole witch who’s powerful enough to do both astral and transformation magic can alter your aura and your body, and leave the proper authorities–i.e. The Foundation, probably The Guardians–unable to tell if you really were changed or not.  Which should tell you a little about transforming people, in that if you body changes your aura probably doesn’t.

Also Jessica seem quite pleased that Kerry can ramble off that mantra about how Mimicking works and sound like a pro.  Jessica gets like this sometimes, and it’s one of the reasons some people feel she’s a bit stuck-up and tends to feel superior over others.  The fact that she can turn you into a potted plant is probably another reason everyone acts strangely around her, but I’m only guessing here.

One thing, however, and Annie figures it out right away ’cause she’s that kind of girl–

 

“Wait.” Annie was sitting quietly up until now, but something Jessica said didn’t seem correct. “Whose aura is Kerry accessing in order to change his physical form?”

The transformation instructor half turned her head in Annie’s direction. “His.”

“That’s impossible. If Kerry’s aura is a reflection of his physical aspect, how can accessing it affect his body? He only has one aura—”

The right corner of Jessica’s mouth curled upward into a wicked smirk. “At the moment.”

“What do you mean?”

 

Yeah, Jessica, what do you mean?  What’s the “at the moment” stuff, huh?  Well, if I’m feeling better tonight, you’ll find out tomorrow.

And so far, I feel good.  I knew that I should now, too.