Into the 30 Days Hath

Must be starting out the month with a video!

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In the Morning: Bringing the Kettle

Yeah, I know it’s been a while, but here I am in the, um, well, sorta the flesh, I guess.

It’s been a long, boring day and I think I’m going to write tonight, but I spent most of the day watching movies.  The first was the Netflix original How It End, and the answer to that is “Not fucking well.”  Really, a dumb, simple, slow-ass movie where little happens and the actors–Forest Whitaker among them–appear to phone it in with little or no enthusiasm. It’s getting rocked like the Casbah and if your were of a mind to watch this, don’t.  Trust me on this.

After that turd I watched American Psycho, which I hadn’t seen in about ten years, and I’m sorry, but I laugh at a lot of the lines in this flick.  Really, if you wanna be shocked read the book, which is a horror story mixed in with commentaries on commercialism–along with a crazed cameo by Tom Cruise–and it’s not for the faint of heart.

But enough of murders and executions.  Let’s get our butts to Bulgaria.

Kerry has a hot kettle and he’s heading up to the stair to the first floor, which is Annie’s sanctuary.  And what happens?  Let’s find out.

 

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

 

Due to his work in the school’s superlab, Kerry had become somewhat proficient at negotiating spiral staircases, but this was the first time he’d had to walk up one while levitating an object. He peeked up over the side as he grew closer to the first floor and saw Annie seated at a table, her back to the stairs. He took in her posture: she was sitting upright, one hand in her lap while she sipped from the cup in the other. She looked almost regal. And it suits her

She set down her cup and half-looked over her shoulder. “You can come up: I won’t bite.”

“I had to make sure.” He made his way to the first floor landing and looked around: it was a somewhat plain space with two large windows and two closed doors, one to his immediate right and another in the corner on his left. He approached the table at which Annie sat—the only furniture in the space. “So… this is you sitting room, I take it?” He took the only other seat, the one opposite Annie.

 

Back in the day when I was excerpting the first novel, a few people felt Annie came across a little cold and a bit entitled, with the word “princess” getting bantered around once in a while.  Yes, Annie comes from money, but she also comes from manners, and as she points out, she’s doing something that proper ladies have done for a considerable amount of time–

 

She ran her finger around her cup as she seemed to examine Kerry. Much like her mother she wore silk pajamas, only hers were a dark burgundy. “Every girl should have a sitting room so she can entertain visitors.” Annie raised her right eyebrow, mimicking her mother from a little over thirty minutes earlier. “I mean, you wouldn’t expect me to entertain you in my bedroom at this time of day, would you?”

Kerry set the kettle down and removed the time spell. He sat back as a puff of steam came out of the neck. “No, I wouldn’t. That would be rude.”

“Exactly.” Annie placed a tea ball in a cup and poured in the hot water. “I know you like a breakfast blend for morning tea, so I had one made for you.” She finished pouring and levitated the saucer and cup toward him. “Take any of the snacks here: Mama made plenty.”

 

Now, one could argue that Annie should haul her ass downstairs and had tea with Mama at the dinning room table, because having a sitting room where you entertain visitors totally smacks of privilege.  And it does, no lie there.  But this is how Annie was raised, to be a proper lady.  And she is.  She isn’t putting on airs for people:  this is something important to her.

But who else would like to imagine how many people have actually sat across from Annie who weren’t of her immediate family?  The answer to that–and you know I have it–is not a lot: maybe a couple of classmates before she headed off to the Big Witch School.

And, as she points out, this isn’t something she’ll do for much longer:

 

While he hadn’t seen the snacks up close when he first woke, he recognized them as a combination of mekitsa and banitsa. He picked up a mekitsa and set it in a small place, after which he spooned a small amount of jelly next to it. “Your mother and you do this every morning?”

“Ever since I was seven.” Annie added hot water to her cup and chose a banitsa to nibble. “Sometimes it was the only time we had to see each other during the day and we wanted to make the most of that time. We started out with tea and eventually it ended up becoming a ritual that could go on for hours if we allow that.” She sipped her tea and slowly set the cup down. “It won’t be long before I won’t have this time with Mama, so it’s important I make the most of the time we have together.”

Kerry sat back in his chair, slowly chewing a mekitasa as he glanced out the window to his right and behind Annie. While it was still dark outside, the sky was clear and gave the impression the sun was rising soon. “What time does the sun rise around here?”

“I’m surprised you don’t know.” Annie looked up from her food and laughed.”

“Yeah—” He rolled his eyes. “I should have checked.”

“It’s all right. The sun’s fully up about fifteen before eight, but the mountains to the east tend to keep our meadow in twilight until about nine. Funny this is, while this is the shortest day of the year, after this sunrise comes a little later every day until the middle of the first week of January, then they start coming earlier while sunset comes later.”

“Interesting.” He crossed his legs. “So, what’s the plan for today?”

“Oh…” Annie held her tea cup before her face and looked up over it. “I think you already know.”

 

Annie knows all these things she does with her family will soon come to an end and she wants to get the most out of those events–though when your mother can pretty much jaunt to just about anywhere in the world, who’s to say Annie won’t still have morning tea with Mama?  I’d say the odds are pretty good.

As for what the kids are going to do once it gets light outside–I think you can guess what’s coming next…

In the Morning: At Annie’s Pleasure

Today has been a somewhat busy day.  Why is that? Well, I was out skating before 7 AM.  I was actually in front of my apartment building at 6:35 getting my skates on and by 8 AM I’d skated 4.8 miles/7.7 kilometers, at which point I got back into my street shoes, got coffee, and went home.

Most of the intervening time has dealt with uploading and editing film I took of my skating, which amounted to a lot of me taking my time getting somewhere. Originally I wanted to skate down 2nd Street and I think next week that’s exactly what I’ll do.

Oh, and here’s a picture of me at the north end of my little jaunt:

Have gigantic selfie stick, will travel.

 

So, now that Kerry’s learned about Victor and his Polar Express and how one gets coffee around the Kirilovi Household, it’s time Pavlina filled him in on how, um, things are handled in the morning…

 

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

 

Pavlina stood by the island for a few moments, silently regarding Kerry. When she finally spoke, her tone seemed almost apologetic. “There’s something you need to know about what Annie does in the morning.”

Kerry finished filling the kettle but didn’t plug it in. “Okay.”

“Every morning Annie and I have tea. I take up some tea and a few snacks and we talk: sometimes for a half hour, sometimes for an hour. She doesn’t like it when someone else goes up first instead of me. In fact, she prefers to send for another visitor after we’re finished.”

Annie had mentioned her morning tea ritual a few times in the past, but hadn’t realized it was this formal. “So what you’re saying is, after you’re finished speaking with her—”

“She’ll likely have me ask you to come up.” She nodded towards the stove. “That’s why I put on a second kettle: so you’d have hot water for tea.”

Pavlina levitated the tray. “I imagined by the time you’ve finished your coffee she’ll want to see you.” She smiled at Kerry before heading up the stairs.

 

In the Kirilovi Household even Ginger Hair soul mates gotta wait their turn before seeing their Chestnut Girl.  Annie has a routine at home and woe be to the person who breaks that routine.  We saw Papa do it last year and Annie didn’t come off as happy at the time.

So how does Kerry feel about this?

 

Kerry plugged in the kettle and turned it on before putting the filter in the mouth of the Chemex and filling it with coffee. Though he tried not to act too surprised, he did find it just a little strange that he’d have to wait to see Annie until he was summoned. At the same time, he didn’t want to act like he had the run of the Kirilovi House and do something that would eventually run him afoul of the family, including Annie—

He figured the best thing to do was make his coffee and wait.

A little over thirty minutes later he’d just finished his coffee, had put his mug in the dishwasher, and was hand cleaning the Chemex when Pavlina came down the stairs with the kettle she’d taken up. “She’d like to see you now, Kerry.” She set her kettle on the island. “You don’t need to wear your robe up; we’re rather informal, in case you hadn’t noticed.”

That was all Kerry needed to hear. As soon as he turned the coffee maker upside down, he hurried back to his bedroom to remove his robe, then returned to the kitchen. He glanced at the kettle on the stove. “Just a simple time spell around that, right?”

She nodded. “Yes. You want me to remove the spell?”

“Naw. I got it.” He levitated the kettle and set it just above his upturned hand. “Thank you.” He moved around her and headed up the stairs.

Just as he suspected, Kerry was summoned. Boy, the wife-to-be doesn’t play at this morning tea business: you come up when she wants you and not before.  Doesn’t matter if you’re going to be the father of those little witches she’s carrying: you get to have tea with her when she’s ready and not a moment before then.

And now that Kerry’s going up to the sitting room, we can see how Annie deals with this sort of engagement…

In the Morning: Didn’t But Did

Just as I promised, here’s the excerpt from the novel I said was coming.  And it’s going to have things in here that have never been spoken of before now–

However, let’s have some coffee first.

 

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

 

He was surprised to be offered coffee, but then he was aware that Annie’s parents knew he was heading off on the Polar Express in a few weeks and coffee was one of the items the team were packing. “If you don’t mind, I’d like a little coffee.”

“There’s an electric kettle under the counter there—” She pointed at the corner behind her. “In the cabinet above it you’ll find everything you need to make it. There’s coffee in the refrigerator: we have both Sulawesi Toraja Kalossi and Ethiopian Sidamo: Victor grounded both by hand.”

Kerry had no idea which of the two were the best, so he grabbed the first container he found. He retrieved the electric kettle before opening the cabinet. He smiled by what he saw. “You have a Chemex?”

Pavlina nodded at both kettles began whistling. She shut off the five under both and waved a spell around both. “A habit left over from when Victor flew the Polar Express. I’m sure you’ll probably keep yours.”

 

The Chemex isn’t designed for anything but making coffee.  You put in your filter and your grounds–and the Chemex uses special filters which gets rid of a lot of the oils that lead to a bad aftertaste–then you boil your water in a kettle and pour the  water over.  And that’s it.  Simple, hum?

I’ve had mine for about two and a half years and I love it.

Back in the day when it was nice and new.

 

So this is what Kerry is taking with him into the wilds of Canada when there’s a need for coffee–well really, a need to caffeinate the kids so they don’t fall asleep while flying–and Victor still has his.  Only one thing about Victor and the Polar Express–

 

Kerry levitated both the maker and filters to the counter. “I thought Annie told me he didn’t fly the Polar Express? That he didn’t go because you asked him to stay?”

“That’s true: he didn’t go—the first time.” Pavlina carefully levitated one of the kettles to the tray. “During their dress rehearsal flight, Victor and his wingmate flew into some incredibly nasty weather and decided to land and let it blow over. His wingmate misjudged the approached and crashing, breaking his right arm and giving himself a nasty concussion. Victor used one of their panic buttons to get back to the school.

“Now, even though his wingmate was cleared for the Express, they were both unsure about his flying. Victor was then offered the opportunity to fly with someone else—an upper Level student who’d already flown the Express—and it was then I asked him not to fly unless he was one hundred percent certain that he wouldn’t have problems. So he didn’t fly.

“The next year, however, his wingmate and he were given the chance to fly: it’s something the school does when they have students who were unable to fly the Express during their C Levels. So he’s not credited with flying the Polar Express during Advanced Flight Two, but he is credited as having flown the Express as a ‘make up’ in his D Level.”

Palivna raised her right eyebrow, something Kerry had seen Annie do many times. “Understand?”

He nodded. “Absolutely.”

 

Though Victor didn’t do the Polar Express the first time around, he did manage it as a D Level–it’s just that it doesn’t get quite the recognition as when you do it as a C Levels.  This is also the first time we hear about the “dress rehearsal flight”, which is something that happened the weekend before the Express and which happens the weekend after the kids return to school–

Something Kerry will do as well.

Now that all the history is out of the way, it’s time for Pavlina to lay down a few ground rules…

In the Morning: Awake In the Mountains

So here I am and yes, I actually have an excerpt.  It’s been a few days, I know, but I haven’t done any writing in a few days and since I wasn’t writing, no point in posting what I’m not writing.  Right?

It’s time to move the action, so to speak, back to Pamporovo, and in doing so we go to the first day of winter, 2013.  This will be Kerry’s first full day in Bulgaria, a country he’s never visited, and you can imagine it’s going to be a bit busy.  Why is that?  Well… he’s with Annie.  Something’s bound to happen.

Before those two get together, though, people gotta wake.  That includes a Ginger Hair Boy–

 

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

 

Kerry sat up in bed and listened to the silence. He looked around in the darkness and realized how much being at Annie’s house was like being back at school: everything was incredibly dark and quiet. He assumed most of the quite was due to them being in the middle of the mountains, but he also suspected the wall and door facing the living room were enchanted to keep out ambient noises.

He sat still for about twenty seconds and then decided to get up and moving. “Lights low; computer on.” Just as with his dorm room in Cernunnos Coven, the lighting system here was controlled by magic, and ever since Isis gave his computer an “upgrade” at the end of his A Levels, he could control the system through vocal command.

He swung his legs out from under the thick comforter. “What time is it?”

The computer responded in a pleasant female voice. “It is 05:31.”

“Any new email?”

“No.”

“Okay.” He’d hoped his parent would send him one to find out if he’d arrived safely at his Yule destination. While he’d send them an email the week before saying he was staying with friends, he’d not bothered telling them the friend in question was Annie. It didn’t matter: they hadn’t responded in the week before yesterday and they didn’t respond during the night.

They evidently didn’t care.

 

This is the first time we’ve seen Kerry use voice controls on his computer.  Annie has a monitor supplied by the school in her room and we’ve seen it work with voice command, so why not give Kerry’s computer the same interface?

I should point out that in my original idea for C Level Yule, where Kerry stayed at school while Annie returned home, he was going to give his computer to Annie to take back home while he used a school laptop to Skype her once or twice a day.  But that isn’t happening, so no need to go on about how sad all that shit was gonna be.

Speaking of sad, Kerry has emailed his parents that he’s off with a friend for Yule, but they’ve not emailed him back.  Which is further evidence that his parents are twats.  Though who knows if this is because both parents are twats, or if it’s just his mother and his dad doesn’t say a word because he doesn’t want to put up with the shitstorm that comes every time he disagrees with Louise.  Eventually we’ll learn the truth, but for now they’re both being twats.

Now that Kerry is more or less up, it’s time to get all the way up.  And that means…

 

Kerry used the bathroom to relieve himself, then threw on his robe, put on his slippers, and slowly opened the door. Light came from the kitchen, but the rest of the house was in darkness. He moved out of his room and covered the few steps to the kitchen, wondering who he’d find—

“Good morning, Kerry.”

He was a bit surprised to find Annie’s mother standing at the kitchen island, still dressed in her green silk pajamas, setting finger snacks upon a tray while two kettles were heating up on the stove behind her. “Good morning, Pavlina.”

She glanced in his direction. “Sleep well?”

“Yeah, quite.” He kept his voice low, subdued. “Sleeping here’s like being back at school.”

“We use a number of the same enchantments.” She finished arranging the tray before turning towards him. “You don’t have to keep your voice down: Victor can’t hear you in the lower levels, and while there’s a enchantment on the stairs to keep the ground floor sounds from going upward, I’m certain Annie’s awake.”

He chuckled. “I should have known. She told me she’s usually up by five-thirty when she’s home. I am, too, for that matter. It’s a bit of a habit now.”

“The same with me. Victor, however—” She looked at the kettles as if she expected something to happened, then turned back to Kerry. “He often spends a lot of late nights with his team during racing season, so he’s come to appreciate sleep and wakes up when he’s ready.” Pavlina leaned against the island. “Would you like some tea? Coffee?”

Again, it only makes sense that a lot of the magic used at the school is gonna be used in most witches homes.  Hell, there’s probably a list of enchantment that are taught later in a student’s life so they can fix things up when they get their own homes.  You can bet Kerry’s already using a few of this to “fix up” his room at home.

So Pavlina is offering Kerry both tea and coffee.  And not only is there a reason for that, but we’re gonna learn a secret in the process–