On Beyond the Curtain: Taking Over

A lot of writing has happened this weekend, and a lot more will happen before this day is out.  I’ve already written about six hundred words in two different stories, and later this afternoon–after a movie and dinner–I have one TV recap to write and another to start.  This is likely going to be the busiest writing day in a long time for me.

It’s what I do, right?  Sure it is.

Four days or writing have brought me to about twenty-three hundred words in the current scene, and since we’re near the end of the last one, today you get the last seven hundred and fifty words of that.  And since I’m fairly certain that most of you want to see what happens next, let’s get into the action…

 

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

 

The flame contracted and shrank until it was approximately the size and shape of a human. Over the course of several seconds limbs and features began to appear as the flame took on a humanoid appearance. After another five seconds it became readily apparent the creature was shaping itself into something that was approximately the shape and size of the two Salem students. A few seconds more was all it needed to change its form—

Annie heard Kerry’s sharp intake of breath the moment The Phoenix—for there was no other creature this could be—finished transforming. For The Phoenix decided it wasn’t going to appear as just any person: it had decided to take on the appearance of Kerry’s soon-to-be female self dressed in a Salem school uniform with Cernunnos coven markings.

The Phoenix straightened her school uniform jacket and gave it a quick tug to set the shoulders before turning to Deanna. “There, much better. Now then, let’s see…” She slowly approached Kerry, who was standing rock still in seemed almost afraid to move. She closed until she was only half a meter from him, at which point she stared up at him for nearly five seconds, never breaking eye contact. She finally began slowly twisting and turning her head from side to side, doing it for another five seconds before speaking. “It’s like looking in a mirror, only… not.”

Kerry drew in a breath and exhaled loudly. “Yeah, thanks for that observation, John Travolta.” Though he appeared in control, the flaring in his aura indicated he was feeling agitated. “You know you can back away just a bit; I’d feel a lot better if you did.”

The Phoenix straightened herself but didn’t step back. “In case you hadn’t noticed, Kerry, the concept of personal space is one with which I’m not that well versed.”

 

For any of those people who have no idea what’s going on in the exchange between The Phoenix and Kerry, here’s your explanation.  What The Phoenix said is a direct quote from the movie Face/Off, the entirely gonzo John Woo movie from 1997 starring Nicolas Cage and John Travolta as a criminal and a FBI agent who exchange faces and, therefore, lives.  The flick is totally bonkers and so far off the rails you’re in a completely different country before you know it, but God dammit if it isn’t a fun movie.  The statement made by The Phoenix is the one John Travolta makes to Nicolas Cage upon their first meeting after switching lives, which is why Kerry responded the way he did.

And why did she do that?  Because if there’s one thing The Phoenix knows how to do, it’s push buttons.  And in the case of the soon-to-be Ginger Hair Girl, she is turning up the discomfort to eleven.  Something the significant other instantly notices–

 

Though aware The Phoenix loved playing psychological mind games, Annie didn’t see the rationale for it now. “Your current form is disturbing him. Why do you have to appear that way?”

“Because I can.” Though she didn’t raise her voice, The Phoenix’s tone let everyone know she wasn’t about to suffer fools gladly. “For someone who’s a particularly smart girl, you certainly ask some stupid questions from time-to-time, Annie. I expect better of you than that.”

Annie changed the line of questioning, as it wasn’t her intention to get into an argument with a creature likely thousands of years old. “Why are you here?”

“That’s an easy question to answer: I just stopped by to see how you’re doing.” She finally stepped away from Kerry and turned to face Deanna, who is not taking a position to Kerry’s right. “Were you hoping to get in and out before I noticed you were here? Is that it?”

“It’s impossible to enter the Astral Realm without you noticing.” The instructor chuckled. “Speaking of asking ridiculous questions—”

The Phoenix shrugged. “I’m allowed ask them. After all, you are in my home. And if I’m not allowed ask ridiculous questions here, where can I ask them?” The spirit turned to her right and appeared to examine Annie and Kerry closely. “And I wouldn’t be much of a host of I didn’t show them around.” She glanced back at Deanna. “I’ll take them from here, Seer.”

 

The other thing The Phoenix doesn’t do well is suffer fools, and she knows both these kids are smart.  Which is why she immediately jumps and Annie’s ass for asking a question for which she likely knows the answer.  I mean, Annie is one of two people we know of who are quite aware of what happened in her E and A, so she knows what kind of psychological mind games the spirit will play.  Therefore, asking why she’s doing something is sort of a futile and not-so-smart question.

And now our favorite guardian and protector wants to take Deanna’s charges off her hands.  Deanna may not be quite down with that, however–

 

Deanna’s jaw tightened as she swallowed. “I think it would be best if I stay with—”

The Phoenix half turned her head in the direction of the instructor and spoke in a low, ominous tone. “I wasn’t asking.”

There was nothing she could say and way of rebuttal: Deanna knew arguing with The Phoenix was futile. Instead, she moved closer to her students and spoke in a friendly, relaxed tone. “I’m going to return to Memory’s End; I’m sure I’ll be summoned when she’s finished.” She reached out and patted them both on their shoulders. “Don’t worry, you’ll be fine: nothing’s going to happen to you. I’ll see you soon.” She took a step back, rose perhaps six meters straight up, then headed back along the same path they had come.

Once The Phoenix was certain they were alone she turned toward her new charges. “Okay, then—” She gave a quick nod and spun around on her heel until she was facing to the south. With a quick wave of her left hand she motioned for Annie and Kerry to follow. “Let’s go for a walk.”

 

The Phoenix is certainly not used to hearing the word “no”, and she certainly is going to take it from a human.  Deanna is smart enough to know that The Phoenix probably won’t hurt the kids, but she still worried just enough to leave a touch of doubt in everyone’s mind.  After all, the Phoenix has been known to bash kids around during their B and A, so why might she not be in the mood to slap Annie and Kerry around a little?

I guess we’ll have to wait until tomorrow to see if that happens.

On Beyond the Curtain: A Visitor Calls

Happy Not Mexican Independence Day, where a whole lot of Americans will use this as an excuse to get drunk.  Which they really don’t need—the excuse, that is–but you can write off the guilt a lot easier if you say you got hammered on Don Julio because it was Cinco de Mayo.

Now we come to an interesting point in my novel.  I’ve been teasing for a while the appearance of a certain–character.  Well, it’s about time to stop the teasing.  And before that happens, we need a set up–

 

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

 

After passing through the library wall with Deanna’s help, Annie and Kerry floated down from the first floor to the main floor of the Rotunda. Just as they had seen in the library, the physical presence of students walked by and spectral fashion, their auras bright in the strangely pink and maroon hues that outlined the familiar locale. Annie watched one student heading from the North Passage towards the Dining Hall walk by close enough that she could’ve touched her back in the Physical Realm. “What would happen if one of the students walked into us?”

Deanna needed a moment to clear her throat before speaking. “You wouldn’t feel a thing: you can’t physically interact with an individual in the Physical Realm unless you’re exceptionally proficient with certain magics. On the other hand, if a person in the Physical Realm encounters an individual in the Astral Realm, to feel a momentary discomfort; momentary chill will pass to their bodies—”

Kerry picked up on this right away. “Is that like the feeling you get when you’re told someone’s walked on your grave?”

Deanna nodded. “That’s exactly the feeling.”

“I’ve felt that a couple of times.”

Annie affixed him with a stare. “So have I.”

Before Deanna could answer the sibilant voice seemed to come from all around them. “Haven’t you ever wondered how your Foundation has managed to observe you before you came to school?” There was an all encompassing low chuckle. “Seer, I thought you would’ve told them by now.”

Annie glanced at her instructor. “Is that who I think it is?”

 

Yes, it’s exactly who you think it is.  Who else could it be?

Now, coming up it something that took me some time to work out, as there is this conversation between Deanna and The Phoenix, and since we saw them speaking in Arabic in the last novel, guess how they converse in this one?  In the novel I probably wouldn’t translate what they’re saying–or maybe I would and/or should–but here I’m gonna cut you some slack and show you what they’re saying.

That said, it’s time for a little human-on-spirit conversation…

 

A towering orange flame three meters in height appeared at Kerry’s right a few meters away. There was another chuckle before the voice began speaking in an unfamiliar language. “’Araa ‘annak qad qarrarat ‘an takhudh al’atfal lilnnazhat.”  (I see you’ve decided to take the children for a walk.)

Deanna faced the flame while seeming a bit nervous. “Not that it’s any of your concern.”

The voice continued speaking in the unknown language. “Kl ma yahduth huna hu qalbi.”  (Everything that happens here is my concern.)

“Okay, I’ll give you that. Could you at least speak to us in English?”

This time the chuckle was more of a laugh. “Wayunkur lak alqudrat ealaa alttahadduth ‘iilaa shakhs yaerif lghtk?”  (And deny you the ability to speak to someone who knows your language?)

Deanna turned to her students with an exasperated sigh. “If you’ll excuse me, I need to take care of this.” She turned back to the flame and began speaking in the same language. “Baldbt ma tarid?”  (What exactly do you want?)

The flame’s tone seemed to soften. “’Ana gharibat limadha qarrarat ‘ann tajlub lahum fi alana. hal ymkn ‘an antazarata, kama taelamuna.”  (I’m curious as to why you decided to bring them in now. You could’ve waited, you know.)

Deanna tossed her head back toward her students. “Hal haqa? Kunt taerif min hum hadhin?”  (Really? You do know who these two are?)

“’Ana mudrik tamamaan min hum, Albasirat.”  (I’m well aware of who they are, Seer.)  (Note:  In Arabic the word “Seer”, as I’m using it, doesn’t really have meaning, so The Phoenix is actually saying “Visionary”.)

“Thumm taelamun alaintizar mae hdhyn lays khiara.” (Then you know waiting with these two is not an option.)  She snorted. “La takun munfatihatan jidda.”  (Don’t be so obtuse.)

The flame grew in intensity, leaping up maybe another meter as it seemed to lean towards Deanna in a threatening move. “Sawf tafeal jayidaan lilhifaz ealaa alllisan almadani fi fmk, Albasir. lla yanbaghi li ‘an ‘adhkurkum min jmye alnnas ‘an hadhaan hu baladi alealam wa’ant kl dyf. ‘Iidha ‘aradtt dhlk—”  (You would do well to keep a civil tongue in your mouth, Seer. I shouldn’t have to remind you of all people that this is my world and you are all guest. If I so desired—)

“’Ant ln tafeal shiyaa.” (You would do nothing.)  Deanna tone turned belligerent and she grew more animated as her hands began moving about. “’Ana mudrik jayidaan lilssultat alty tahammuluha huna, walakunni ‘aydaan ‘adrak jayidaan ‘annah ‘iidha kunt satafeal shayyanaan balnsbt lana, kan yumkin ‘an yahduth hatta alana. Waqf mae hadhih alttahdidat alssakhifat walttakhawif. ‘Annaha la taemal ealaa li, wa’annaha ln taemal ealaa hdhyn li’annaha la ymkn ‘an nafham kalimatan laenatan nuqul.”   (I’m well aware of the power you hold here, but I am also well aware that if you were going to do something to us, it would have happened by now. Stop with these ridiculous threats and intimidation. It doesn’t work on me and it isn’t going to work on these two since they can’t understand a damn word we’re saying)  She straightened herself and stared up at where one would imagine one would find the face. “Sawf tafeal jayidaan ‘an nafham ‘ann kl ma ‘aquluh hu alhaqiqat.”  (You would do well to understand that everything I am saying is the truth.)

There was a considerable pause as the flames seem to back away from Deanna and turned its attention toward Annie and Kerry. Finally there was a sound similar to that of a chuckle, though it was low and guttural. “You’re right, Seer. So instead of doing nothing, perhaps I should do something…”

 

It’s not often we get to see another instructor speak in their native language, but this will pop up from time-to-time with other instructors as well.  It’s just a matter of finding the right time to bring it on stage.

And now we have all the players here.

All that remains is to see where they go.

On Beyond the Curtain: Behold the Ghostly Hall

As you may know it was my birthday yesterday, and I was out.  Not out of it, but out after work.  Since I’m all about sharing my life, here you go:

 

First, dinner.  Stuffed quail on a lemon risotto.

And home-made strawberry shortcake.

Here I am enjoying my first of two glasses of wine.  Yes, I don’t look happy.  That’s because I was by myself–again–and I wasn’t feeling the love.  However, right after this the Physician General of the state, Dr. Rachel Levine, came in to have dinner with a friend, and after we chatted a bit she wished me a happy birthday.  So I had that going for me.

After dinner I headed over to the Midtown Cinema to watch Your Name, the highest grossing anime in Japan and an incredible movie.  It didn’t turn out to be anything like I was expecting and I spent most of the last half of the movie trying to keep from crying.  If you can, see this.  And see it in the original Japanese:  it’s funny hearing some of the voice acting in the movie.

 

Life is out of the way for now, so let’s get back to fantasy.  And that means doing a bit of sightseeing in the Astral Realm:

 

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

 

Kerry glanced over, keeping his eyes focused on her. “Sounds like a faint whistling or hissing, yeah?”

“Yes.”

Deanna fielded this as she knew the answer. “That’s the Astral Wind. Anytime you’re out in the open it’s audible.”

“But what is it?”

“It’s the flow of mystical energy within the Astral Realm.” Deanna looked about. “As I told you earlier, were surrounded by mystical energy. It flows everywhere through the Astral Realm; in a sense it acts as the wind for this world. Every once in a while you’ll feel a light stinging on your face: that’s mystical energy brushing against you.”

Kerry appeared to relax now that he was growing more used the floating free without a broom below him. “Is this where the astral weather comes from? Mystical energy gathering and forming patterns?”

“That’s exactly where it comes from. And it’s a lot like the weather back in the Physical Realm: it can cause a mild inconvenience, or it can become a devastating force. When it’s the later you don’t want to be around.” She examined Kerry closely. “You think it’s okay if I let go of your hand?”

He nodded. Diana released her grip on him slowly and pulled her hand back only a few centimeters, ready to grab him in a second if it looked as if he was about to fall. Kerry took a deep breath, closed his eyes, that open them slowly as he nodded. “I got this.”

Annie floated up alongside him. “You’ll be just like me here.”

He laughed. “I’ll never be just like you.”

“Now that he’s acclimated—” Deanna pointed off in the direction of the ghostly Pentagram and Great Hall. “Let’s head over there. Ready?”

 

There is weather in the Astral Realm and it can get pretty nasty.  There will be a scene late in Act Three where you’ll get a chance to see just how bad it can get.  Which means we’ll be back in this area then, because how else do you see this weather, yeah

Now that Kerry can float about on his own, let’s go and look around…

 

As they moved off Deanna took the lead while Annie instinctively fell in behind Kerry. He flew forward well: she had only taken up position behind him to ensure that if he began to falter she could help him along. That didn’t happen, however, and he had no difficulty keeping up.

Perhaps a minute later Deanna touched down on the roof of the Great Hall’s library. With a smile she took her student’s hands and floated downward through the cavernous library to a soft landing on the first floor. She stepped away so she could face the children. “Take a look around. Notice anything unusual?”

Annie was certain Kerry noticed the same thing as she: not only were they surrounded by the ghostly structure of the Great Hall’s library, but there were also a dozen ghostly apparitions surrounded by their brilliant auras situated at various locations around the room. “Those are the students.”

“Exactly.” Deanna pointed to sitting at a nearby table apparently conversing with each other. “From here all you see is the individual’s physical outline and their aura, but one should closer it can actually make out the features. And when you become adept at reading auras, you could stand here and know exactly what they’re feeling as they converse.”

“You can see the lifelines, too.” Kerry looked at Annie. “I didn’t realize I could see ours, too. Or yours.”

“You don’t notice it because you too busy observing everything around you.” Deanna stood facing his students, her hands crossed in front of her. “I’m certain you both noticed your auras as soon as you entered the realm, and then immediately put it out of your mind. It’s the same sort of reaction you have when you check yourself in the morning before leaving the coven, and then you pay no attention to your appearance the rest of the day.”

Annie chuckled. “Or until someone points out something wrong.”

Both Deanna and Kerry laughed, with Deanna responding to the quip. “That’s so true.” She pointed toward the far wall of the library into the Rotunda beyond. “Let’s head over here.”

 

Snooping kids who know how to get into the Astral Realm could be a real pain in the butt if no one is watching them.  One has to assume that Deanna isn’t dishing everything about how the Realm works, because–well, instructors need to have a few secrets.

Speaking of secrets, I’m gonna go out on a limb and say we may meet someone else tomorrow…

On Beyond the Curtain: Getting Into the Open

Something interesting happened yesterday.  No, not my mermaid story, where I cranked out a couple of scenes–about twelve hundred words–in a couple of hours, then wrote almost six hundred more in the novel after that.  No, this is different.

See, with this next scene I have a certain spirit who’s shown up to chat.  At some point she refers to other spirits like her, which meant I really needed to know the names of those other spirits.  And it developing their names–

I now know the real name of The Phoenix.

Yes, she has a real name.  Will you ever discover it?  Probably not.  But I know who she is and that’s what matters.

Now, she hasn’t shown up yet.  That’s mainly due to my kids still being stuck back at Memory’s End.  But that’s about to change…

 

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

 

Kerry’s thoughts were still on something Deanna had said a few moments earlier. “So, could you actually create physical structures here using mystical energy?” He pointed to her sword. “I don’t mean just your weapon or your armor: I mean, like, could you make a house here?”

Deanna nodded. “Yes, you could. It would take some time but it’s entirely possible. Now, I want you to listen closely… As you can see, I’m floating rather easily in mid air. There is no trick to this: one can move about in the air as easily as Annie does with her Flight Gift. In actuality, it’s much closer to how one moves about when they’re dreaming—”

Annie didn’t need for further elaboration as she understood Dreamwalking well. “So, you just will yourself to fly and you do?”

“It’s as simple as that. The biggest difference between flying here and doing what you do in the Physical Realm is that your top speed here is not much more than perhaps sixty kilometers an hour.” She motioned towards both children. “Go ahead, try this. Annie, it should come easy to you; Kerry, you may have to work at it a bit, but I’m certain you’ll get it.”

Annie was hovering seconds later, aided by her Flight Gift. She did notice, however, they going into a hover took almost no effort; she barely even considered performing the action before her feet left the ground.

She watched Kerry out of the corner of her eye, eager to see how well he’d hover. While he had no difficulty levitating objects, Annie had rarely seen him use limitation on himself other than in the few instances where he needed to rise maybe a meter or two off the ground in order to retrieve something on a high shelf. She wasn’t surprised to see him rise off the ground: she was surprised, however to see him move side to side as easily as she did when using her Gift.

She spun to face him. “How do you feel?”

“It feels great.” He moved up then down, trying to get a better feel for his mobility. “Now I know how you feel when you’re doing this.”

“And you look a bit like Annie when you’re doing that.” Deanna move slightly forward and leaned so that her body was sticking halfway through the outer wall of Memory’s End. She held out her arms. “Take my hands so I can phase you through the wall.”

Annie took hold of the in his right hand as Kerry was reaching for her left. A moment later Deanna pulled them through the wall, allowing Annie to feel the tingling strangeness that came with passing through a physical structure that wasn’t really there. The moment they were outside Annie looked around and realized that the sky was far more brilliant than originally envisioned, something she put down to having been inside the building. The colors were far more brilliant, the contrast more vivid, the movement of the astral sky far easier to perceive. There was also something else… “What’s that sound?”

 

In the Astral Realm anyone can Fly Like Annie, but they still have to learn how to phase through walls.  Give them time:  pretty soon they’ll be as good as Wednesday.

But it won’t happen tomorrow.  Believe that.

On Beyond the Curtain: Getting An Understanding

The middle scene of Chapter Twelve was put in the book bank last night.  It was another seven hundred words, which brought the scene to a bit over thirty-six hundred words, which was a lot longer than I imagined it’d turn out when I first starting putting this together.  It’s funny how that works out.

Meanwhile I’m looking pretty sharp today.  Believe it or not I’m running a meeting today and I wanted to look my best.  And I do:

I’ve been “thinking through” the next scene and, damn, I’m coming up with something that’s gonna be strange.  I keep saying that, but so far this present scene has been pretty strange, so I gotta ramp it up for the next scene to come.  And that also means doing some research this afternoon…

Speaking of the strange, let’s get into that:

 

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

 

Annie quickly picked up on the need for such items. “So there are things in the Astral Realm for which we need to protect ourselves.”

Deanna nodded. “Of course there are. There are always spirits floating about within the realm, but the things you have to worry about the most are Phantasms and Wraiths. While one is more dangerous than the other, they can both cause you harm.”

Annie and Kerry exchange looks, with Kerry being the one to ask the question. “What are those?”

“Those are creatures that we are going to discuss at a later date. But for now—” She nodded toward the outer wall on her left. “It’s time to venture outward. Follow me.”

Deanna headed across the room to the west wall. Like the floor the wall was completely translucent, allowing everyone to see the spectral outlines of trees. She faced her students while motioning to all around her. “Even though were in the Astral Realm, we are still connected to the Physical Room. It’s a tenuous connection, but it’s one that has to exist, for if it didn’t none of us would be able to perform magic. That means that whenever your inside the Astral Realm, and you’re close to certain edifices in the Physical Realm, you’ll find those edifices possess a limited amount of physicality here. As you can see—” Deanna stomped her right foot twice on the floor, then rapped her knuckles against the wall. “Memory’s End is all around us, even though it isn’t exactly here with us in this world.”

Annie raised her hand and quickly asked a question. “Will we see this with every building?”

The seer shook her head. “Those structures that possess a greater quantity of mystical energy tend to be more visible in the Astral Realm. It’s one of the reasons why you can walk through areas of Europe and Asia and see structures everywhere, while you could walk through most of North America and see only a few structures.

“Now, it is true that we can still feel the building around us. However—” Deanna took three steps backwards and moved through the outer wall. Instead of plummeting to the ground she appeared to hover in the air. “Just because you can see and feel something doesn’t mean it’s impenetrable.”

Annie and Kerry exchanged smiles before Annie spoke. “What did you do to get through the wall?”

“Oh, just a bit of magic.” Deanna held up her hands as she smiled. “I’m afraid I’m oversimplifying the matter. You see, here the Phase spell is easy to craft because nothing truly has a physical presence—except that which you can create using mystical and dark energies. Anything which we encounter that was created within the Physical Realm is already somewhat insubstantial to us, so being able to pass through those structures becomes rather simple.”

“Once you know how to craft the spell.”

“Exactly. I intend on teaching you how to craft the spell, though I must warn you, the version you will learn from me can only be used here.”

 

Now you know how it is that there are certain things you can see in the Astral Realm–and you learn that not everything exist there.  So if one were to walk through a new housing development and all the homes were standing out in the Astral Realm, there would have to be something there causing that to happen.  Like being built on an old burial ground, maybe?

Tomorrow we’ll learn a little more, and maybe even get a visitor.  Maybe.

On Beyond the Curtain: Lay of the Land

Blessed Beltane, Happy International Workers Day, Have a Great Mayday:  all are valid today.  As such I stopped along the way to snap a picture from the cloudy, cool steps of the Capitol Building, much like I did last year–

Oh, it’s also the first day of MerMay, something stared by artist and animator Tom Bancroft, where people are encouraged to draw a mermaid picture every day in May.  I was told that since I’m not an artist I should write a little each day concerning the activities of a mermaid of my own creation.  We’ll see what happens tonight.

Now that real life is out of the way…

Today is the first day my kids physically travel beyond The Curtain and it’s nothing like what they’ve seen before.  And since I don’t want to keep people in suspense, let’s go!

 

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

 

There was no direct light source: it seemed as if everywhere within the Astral Realm existed within a perpetual state of Magic Hour. It was bright enough here to see everything clearly, yet the lack of shadows told Annie that anyone standing within this place would instantly know they were no longer within the Normal world.

And if one needed for the reminding, they needed to only look around at the colorful landscape.

This sky was a combination of glowing fluorescent and shimmering iridescent colors that seem to be moving at all times. To Annie’s eyes the sky appeared in constant movement, with colors swirling and merging with each other, creating complex, intricate patterns. She stood watching the same section of sky for nearly a minute and Annie was certain she never saw the same pattern repeat.

She examined the space around them. They were still standing inside the classroom, but the walls had taken on a ghostly translucence, making it possible to see through them into the other parts of Memory’s End. Annie looked down at her feet and saw the ground floor classroom below, picking out the doors and the pillows as well. It was then that it struck her: in order to see the sky, she was looking through the outer walls of Memory’s End to the world beyond.

Kerry, who stood alongside, appeared outlined by a brilliant sheath of color. Annie immediately realized she was seeing his aura, which had to be visible in this realm. She raised her right arm and saw the same ghostly outline of color surround it, her hand, and each of her fingers and thumb. But when she looked at Deanna she saw something completely different: while she could see her aura, it was far fainter, almost ghostly in appearance. And Deanna was no longer wearing the jeans and tee shirt she had on when she greeted him: instead she appeared to be wearing some sort of softly glowing armor that covered her from neck to feet. She wore a similar, faintly glowing helmet, as well as a brightly glowing sheathed sword set on her left hip.

 

We already know what we’re seeing on Deanna, because she wore this armor in the last novel.  However, we were the only ones to see this, which means she’s gonna explain things to the kids:

 

It was only upon seeing her instructor’s outfit that Annie finally broke the silence. “Deanna, what do you have on?”

Annie’s words were enough to pull Kerry back from his gawking so he could witness Deanna’s outfit as well. He was outwardly impressed by what he saw. “Holy geez, you look like Lady Sif.”

Deanna laughed as she placed her hand on the hilt of her sword. “I have to admit that I garnered the idea from the designs of her armor.”

Annie, however, needed an answer to her question. “Why are you wearing that? What is it?”

The seer turned towards Annie. “It’s Astral Armor. The concept is similar to the Physical and Magical Shields we throw around ourselves for protection in the Physical Realm. Here, both those magics are somewhat useless: you instead need something that form fits to your body while offering the same protection.” She shrugged. “I put it on out of habit, which is why you see it now.”

Kerry pointed at her waist. “What’s with the sword?”

“This is nothing more than Astral Energy forged into a shape that allows me to use it for all offensive and defensive measures.” Deanna tapped the health as she smiled. “This is really no different that the weapons you’ve learned to create out of Mystical Energy. The concept is the same; only the crafting source is different.”

 

We’re finally learning a bit about the unseen world beyond The Curtain.  Tomorrow we get to do a bit of looking around as we learn…

Beyond the Curtain: Making It Part

Well, I made it through yesterday in one piece. Sort of.  Honestly, after walking two and a half miles yesterday I actually felt worse than I did walking ten and a half miles the Saturday before.  I think the biggest difference was that yesterday it was in the mid-80s F/30 C with a bit of humidity, and I wasn’t doing a very good job of staying hydrated.  Fortunately, the air conditioning is now working in my apartment, so after a nice shower I just sort of lead in my chair and watch television.

Also, because I am spent most of the day holding a rather large sign, I wasn’t able to take a lot of photos.  It doesn’t mean I didn’t get a photo taken–

See, right there.  Out doing the protest thing.

From the looks of it, there were perhaps a hundred to two hundred people outside where the Cheeto in Chief was speaking, while there was perhaps close to a thousand people in the march I was in on the other side of the tracks.  And while we did put in an appearance, I, and a few other people, certainly felt there could have been more present.  But, you take what you can get.

Today there has been writing, and this time I managed to get up over eight hundred words.  Part of what I wrote today involves Deanna in a certain spirit we all know and love speaking in a language that required me to do a lot of translating.  And what comes next is going to be even more fun–it’s only a question of how get to it tonight or have to wait until tomorrow to write that part. As it is, I’m almost 3000 words ahead of you now, which is why I’m dumping the rest of the last scene out today.

Besides, this part needs to go together.  It would make any point to split it up just to keep the excerpts coming…

 

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

 

Annie let out a happy sigh. “You can’t imagine.”

“Oh, I can imagine. My first time inside the Astral Realm was performed one-on-one with my instructor. I spent at least half of our time on the other side of The Curtain mesmerized by the sights; it’s an incredible place.” The smile on her face softened slightly. “But even then I was aware it can also be an incredibly dangerous place. And it’s my intention that you know the same.”

A comfortable silence passed between Annie and Kerry for a few moments, and Kerry turned to his instructor. “Anytime you go somewhere incredibly beautiful, you have to deal with the possibility of extreme danger. They seem to go hand-in-hand.”

“That’s so true, Kerry. But there’s a danger in the Astral Realm that few people consider when they first enter.”

“What’s that?”

Deanna cocked her head slightly to one side as her smile turned into a near smirk. “Saturation.”

This was a term with which Annie was not familiar. “What’s Saturation?”

There are a lot of unfamiliar terms that we encounter in this story. And like with most of those terms, I generally offer some sort of explanation as to their meaning. This one isn’t any different.  So, you want to tell us about it, Deanna?

“Saturation is when you have too much mystical energy with which to craft. Think about it: when you’re on the other side of The Curtain, one is surrounded by nothing but mystical energy, so when crafting a spell one has to be careful with how they draw in energy. Here, we overcharge our spells by crafting them with an overabundance of mystical energy; do the same thing in the Astral Realm and you’ll saturate your spell with so much energy it’s liable to blow up in your face.” Deanna gave both children a half smile. “There’s many an inexperienced witch who came to an untimely end because they were unaware of the amount of mystical energy they were using.

“Here’s the best analogy I have found to compare crafting in the Physical Realm and Astral Realm. In this realm, the energy required to craft a spell comes through the witch’s body, which in reality is being drawn into their body through their aura, their only connection on this side of The Curtain to the Astral Realm. In that sense, mystical energy is pulled into a spell as if one were drawing it through a spigot.

“In the Astral Realm, however, one is surrounded by a literal ocean of mystical energy, so finding the energy needed to craft a spell isn’t difficult.” This time Deanna chuckled. “Though all of us know the danger we face if we find ourselves dropped into the middle of the ocean—

Kerry nodded. “Even if you know how to swim, you always run the risk of drowning.”

Annie found no difficulty in understanding these analogies. “Then crafting in the Astral Realm is a bit like crafting Shadow Ribbons: one needs a somewhat deft touch when crafting.”

“That’s exactly what it’s like. Instead of needing a massive amount of energy to power your spell, one finds a thimble full will do.” Deanna pointed toward the cabinet in the corner where the kettle and cups were kept. “Would you both care for some refreshment before we go?”

Kerry watched Annie for visual clues, knowing she was eager to get on with today’s exercise. He needed only a few seconds to determine that tea was the furthest thing from Annie’s mind. “Naw, I’m good.”

Annie nearly found it impossible to hide or temper her excitement. “I would prefer to enjoy some tea after we return.”

“Then by all means, we should began.”

Backlash, which has been mentioned a few times in these novels, is what happens when crafting doesn’t go quite as one expects in the spell turns back on the crafter.  Saturation is a little like that, but only in the sense that if you’re not paying attention to how much energy your pumping into a spell, said spell can blow up in your face–and probably take a portion of your face with with the explosion.  Not what one would call the most pleasant of situations.

Now you can finally begin to understand why Deanna was so eager to start Annie and Kerry on this advanced study course.  While it’s likely they would have discovered these things during their own investigations, the possibility also exists that they wouldn’t have fully understand it be implications of their book learning until it turned around and bit them on the ass.  Going all the way back to their A Levels, this is exactly what happened down in the Spell Cell when Annie was crafting Cold Fire and Kerry was putting together time spells.  They knew what they were doing: they simply didn’t realize what would’ve happened had things not gone according to plans.

Now that the explanations are out of the way all that remains is the curtain pulling…

Deanna moved to the east side of the room before turning and facing the opposite wall. She motioned for Annie and Kerry to get behind her before she began crafting: once they were in position she raised her arms as she slightly lowered her head.

She appeared deep in concentration for about five seconds before a pinpoint of light appeared at about eye level three meters from her position. The pinpoint grew wider, appearing to twist around in a circle as it went from being no larger than the diameter of the finger, to that of a tennis ball, and onward. The light inside the circle appeared bright and shimmery and while it did not grow in intensity as the circle grew wider, the various hues grew more numerous and brilliant as they came better into view.

In a matter of perhaps ten seconds the multicolored circle was perhaps two and a half meters in diameter. With the opening now connected to the Physical Realm, the faintest whisper of sound entered the room, existing just on the edge of hearing.

Deanna stepped up to the circle, which ended just above the floor, and stepped over the threshold into whatever existed on the other side. There was a brilliant flaring around her body as her aura came into view, a brilliant combination of shifting colors shot through with violets and pinks. She moved about three meters beyond the edge of the circle. While the divination instructor looked about Annie move slightly to her left to confirm that Deanna no longer existed within the Physical Realm: she didn’t.

After ensuring that everything was fine, Deanna turned back toward the entrance and faced her students. “Well, come on.” She waved them towards her.

Annie reached out and to Kerry’s hand. “Ready?”

“Sure am.” They stepped up to the threshold of the circle and Kerry motioned for Annie to move on. “Lady Dark Witches first.” He held onto her hand as she stepped through and followed her moments later.

Annie and Kerry moved alongside their instructor and remain close. Deanna looked back at the circle and, with a glint of determination in her eye, waved her right hand upward—

The glowing circle collapsed upon itself.

The classroom was empty.

 

And there they go, off into the Astral Realm to find a whole new world.  Though I wouldn’t expect Deanna to begin sings songs while they ride around on a magic carpet–

Maybe she’ll leave the singing to Kerry.  He’s got a good voice… I

Beyond the Curtain: Getting It All Out

The weekend is almost here and so are all the summer shows I’m gonna have to start working on next week.  Netflix reminded me this morning that next Friday I can come home from work and spend the next ten hours binging Sense8, which is something I might just do.  Because why not?

Now, back at the school the kids are making their way to Memory’s End, where revelations await:

 

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

 

On the walk to Memory’s End Kerry said little, and when he did speak it was not about the day’s instruction. It was only once they were inside the building and heading for the stairs to the first floor that he finally brought up what awaited. “Are you worried about me?”

Annie didn’t see a point in avoiding a direct conversation on the matter. “You’ve seemed somewhat anxious since learning what we’re doing today.”

“I was, but…” Kerry stopped them both before heading up the stairs. “I’m not scared. If anything, I’m excited about this. It’s just that I recognize this could be one of the most dangerous things we’re going to do this year, and I can’t help but think of all the possible things that could go wrong.”

“That I can understand.” She was keenly aware that Kerry was the sort of person who often anticipated the worst of a new situation. “How are you feeling now?”

“Eager to go. Really, when I mean I think of the worst that could happen, I don’t believe anything’s going to happen to us today. But, I’m certain Deanna’s going to tell us everything that can go wrong once we start visiting the Astral Realm on our own.”

From everything that Annie had read in the past she understood that the Astral Realm possessed dangers unique to that world. There were spirits and wraiths that sought out anything that wasn’t part of their world, and witches had noticed and documented weather-like phenomenon in the Realm that were terrifying and dangerous.

She knew Kerry was correct: Deanna was preparing them for when they were ready to enter the Realm on their own. At the same time, however, she was certain that the Astral Realm within the walls of Salem was a benign region, and she couldn’t imagine it being a dangerous place.

Then again, there were other things within the walls of Salem that one needed to watch for—

They bounded up the stairs and headed directly for the study room. Deanna was waiting for them, standing in the middle of the room smiling as if she had anticipated they were going to walk through the door that very moment. And he smiled back. “Good afternoon, Deanna.”

Kerry waved. “How’s it going?”

The seer approach them. “Good afternoon. And to answer your question, I am doing well.” She waved the door shut and rubbed her hands together. “I imagine your eager to begin.”

 

Given that they just met with Deanna it’s not gonna be long before they take that first step…

Beyond the Curtain: Pre-Passage Jitters

So…  how was your evening?

First off, I did my video.  It was fun, but as I usually do when it’s over I feel as if I could have done more.  It’s that whole thing that goes hand-in-hand with being creative–you know, everything you do sucks and you want to do better?  I should get out of that habit and will.  One day.

Then I head off with a friend to the Harrisburg chapter of the National Organization for Women and after opening my mouth a couple of times, I end up one-half of their fundraising committee.  This is why I shouldn’t say anything, but I can’t keep my mouth shut.

Came home, watched one episode of Breaking Bad, and the–wrote?  Yep!  Wrote!  Put down about seven hundred words as I began describing what it’s like over by der in the Astral Realm.  And since I’ll be home all night tonight I’ll not only write more about this, but… well, you never know who just might show up.

The thing is, if you got your witchy kids in the Astral Realm, that means they had to of started on this side of The Curtain.  And they did.  I know this because it all starts below–

 

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

 

Being a legacy witch meant there was little that could surprise or shock her, but Annie imagined today would be one of the days where everything she saw and heard was completely new. For today Kerry and she were about to embark on an adventure:

Today they would pass beyond The Curtain and walk in the Astral Realm.

The realization that they were taking this step came at breakfast this morning. They were just sitting down at a little before seven when Deanna came to their table, through upper privacy barrier around them, and said today was the day they would visit the Astral Realm. She refused to answer any questions: she simply said anything that needed to be asked could wait until the afternoon, as she wished to discuss anything concerning today’s exercise in private.

And just as quickly as she approached and gave them the news, she turned and left the Dining Hall.

Annie grew excited right away. Since he had begun her special training with Deanna she had begun preparing herself for anything involving passage beyond The Curtain. She’d read stories and had even seen a few pictures, but they did nothing to dampen her expectation of what would come about in the next few hours. She was on the verge of living a dream that was nearly as important as wanting to become a sorceress and a Guardian.

For his part Kerry seems slightly distracted. When she asked if there was something troubling him, he said he was a bit nervous about entering what was essentially an alien world. He knew there was little to fear for Deanna was skilled in these matters and everything would happen within the confines of the school’s walls, but he still found the prospect of walking into another world just a bit worrisome.

When she reminded him that entry new worlds was something he should be comfortable with given his science fiction fandom background, he agreed, but only with the caveat that he also knew, based upon those same stories, all the things that could go wrong even though they were told everything would be fine.

Though she spent the morning concerned that Kerry’s mind wouldn’t be on flying while Emma, he, and two other fliers from class made a high-speed run to Philadelphia and back, she was pleasantly surprised to find him in a good mood at lunch time. He explained his change of mood as being nothing more than the realization that since everything he had done since arriving at school a little more than two years earlier was new and somewhat alien when compared to Normal studies, why should he get upset about dealing with the situation that was completely alien?

 

There you go:  Annie is a secret Astral junkie and Kerry is just a little worried about stepping into his first alien landscape.  But you know these kids are going there.  How do we know?

I told you up at the start of the excerpt.  Duh.

A View From Afar: The Watching

As you’re reading this it is highly likely that I am either somewhere on the outskirts of Washington, D.C., or I’m in the city and on my way to the Washington Monument.  Yes, I’m back in the capital getting ready to do my part for the March For Science, and if you have any sort of connection to my Facebook page, you’ll notice that my profile picture is changed to that of Science, Princess Bubblegum’s favorite rat.

Because I’m all about Science.

What you’re reading is the last few hundred words of Part Three of Act One.  And this is the last excerpt you’ll get for a couple of days.  Sunday I’ll be sending you another video, and the odds are pretty good that Monday you get a video as well.  Because I’m all about the videos right now.  Also, and allow me to catch up on some writing and perhaps put fifteen hundred or two thousand words between me and these excerpts.  It’s hard to say.  All I know is, I’m going to keep writing.  Because I have to.

But here, at the end of this last part, we have Deanna doing a little sneaking around.  And why is she doing that?  Because her something she wants to see.  And she wants to see because it’s a special day…

 

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

 

Deanna positioned herself behind the tree and look to the north, where the largest open space on the shore of Lake Lovecraft was situated. The sun was setting but Magic Hour was nearing and everything was taking on a shadowless demeanor. It wasn’t for this reason that she was able to see the two figures standing almost sixty meters away. Since she didn’t want to move closer, she used a bid transformation magic to give herself telescopic vision, which made it seem as if she was standing maybe twenty meters away.

Even without the telescopic vision she immediately knew who was standing in this open space: it was Annie and Kerry. And there was a simple reason for them being here, for today was Annie’s fourteenth birthday, and as Deanna knew they had done last two years, Kerry brought her here so he could give her a birthday present.

As Kerry faced Annie Deanna thought back to their moments this afternoon in class. She didn’t notice Annie wearing anything new, but she was able to tell from scanning Kerry’s aura that he was anxious, which she took to mean he hadn’t given the present. Though she didn’t have much to go over she managed to drag out class out as much as possible, if for no other reason than to make the setting of the gift giving to be far more perfect. She knew she was being a bit mean, but she was also certain that when the moment came for Annie, it would mean far, far more.

She watched Kerry remove his backpack and reach inside one of the pockets to retrieve something. From here the package didn’t look large, but then she was aware that Kerry had never really given Annie anything large except the leather jacket he presented after her last solo flight the previous school year. Given that the package fit easily in one of Kerry’s hands Deanna assumed it was a small present—

And small presents were often the most intimate.

Annie slowly unwrapped the gift revealing a box, then open that to unveil gift inside. Whatever it was, there was enough of a surprise that Deanna detected her momentary recoil. Kerry partially blocked what happened next, but it appeared he helped remove whatever was inside the box and and presented her the actual gift. Though difficult to see, to Deanna it seemed almost as if Annie raised her left hand for a few seconds, then looked down for a moment before wrapping her arms around Kerry’s shoulders and giving him an appreciative and emotional kiss.

Deanna dropped her telescopic vision and stepped away from the tree before turning to her left and making her way back to the path. Though she couldn’t say, she was certain she knew what Kerry had given her, and not because of any guesses made based upon her observation—

She stopped and closed her eyes she took a slow, calming breath. You’re not supposed to think of these things: you’re supposed to make assumptions based upon what you’ve already seen. You’re not even supposed to be here

“And yet, here I am.” Deanna didn’t worry that she was heard, as the only people close to her were sixty meters away and likely busy kissing. She made her way to the path and turned to the south, then spent a few seconds crafting a Far Sight spell and jaunted to the edge of the path just outside the entrance to the Instructor’s Residence.

She went inside and headed directly up the stairs toward her room so that she could prepare first for dinner and then for the Midnight Madness. Once inside her room she leaned against the closed door and spent nearly ten seconds staring at a spot at the joint the ceiling in the wall.

It’s times like this I hate my Sight. Deanna headed to her bed and flopped down on her belly. I know so much about so many and I hate that I can’t warn them of what lay ahead

She rolled onto her side and lay there with her thoughts, much as she had done and she was a student. I hope you enjoy your gift, Annie, and all the happiness it brings you today. And I hope Kerry is also happy that you are so extraordinarily pleased with what he has given you.

For it maybe the last bit of happiness you both share for a while

 

I debated for a long time whether or not to show Annie’s birthday gifting up close and personal as I had before. In the end, I thought I would view it from a different perspective, one outside them.  And Deanna is a good one for that, because it could be several reasons why she’s there.  I mean, it’s not like any of the instructors don’t know that on Friday, 27 September, 2013, Annie turns 14.  And when that happens, Kerry takes her out to the north shore of Lake Lovecraft and gives her a gift.

As strange as it may seem there is a reason I didn’t want the interaction to focus on Kerry giving Annie a gift and having Annie’s reaction to that gift. Rather, I wanted someone to see it from afar.  That’s not to say you won’t get a chance to discover her reaction, it just means you’re not going to see it now.

Yeah, I’m being sneaky that way.

And speaking of sneaky, just wait until you get your next excerpt–

A View From Afar: The Arrival

So it’s that time again: it’s time to say goodbye to a chapter while at the same time saying hello to another.  That’s right, today we reached the last excerpt from Chapter Eleven, while at the same time I managed to start Chapter Twelve last night.  In fact, here’s what it looks like:

Yeah, just look at it, will ya?

That image was taken before he began writing, so you have to trust me when I say there are almost five hundred and fifty words and at first scene now.  Now, if you look at the chapter title–which is over there in the upper right-hand corner–and then look at the scene titles, it’s pretty easy to figure out what’s going on here.  This likely won’t be a long chapter, but there are going to be some interesting things going on.

And speaking of interesting things–which we were–here we get the last scene of Chapter Eleven.  And it starts off with someone we haven’t seen in this chapter–

 

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

 

Deanna Arrakis tidied up the few things lying about in her office and prepared to leave Memory’s End for the day and the week. Normally she was already back in her coven office at this point, but since she’d begun her special classes with Annie and Kerry on Friday afternoons, she’d begun handling all coven business on late Friday mornings—something she discovered the witches of Åsgårdsreia Coven preferred.

She had released Annie and Kerry twenty-five minutes earlier. They’d spent a rather exhaustive afternoon not only going over the specifics of Astral Projection, but today marked the first time or two students attempted to project. She wasn’t surprised that they failed, for they had both experienced difficulty learning how to Dreamwalk and she had expected they would face a similar frustration with Astral Projection.

She was also unsurprised by their frustration. By now Annie and Kerry were used to picking up magic rather easily, though Deanna’s investigations proved that while they might learn advanced magic quicker, it wasn’t always learned on the first attempt. During our first class she’d worn them both against expecting to develop their Astral Disciplines quickly, and while they had listened they apparently had not heard her words properly.

She gave them another warning that what they were learning in this class could come to them slowly, while at the same time she thought this would push them both, particularly Annie, to explore these disciplines on their own. While she had given them another warning against such an endeavor, Deanna didn’t need Sight to understand that she was very likely speaking upon deaf ears.

She walked out of her office, closing the door behind her, and headed for the main entrance. Memory’s End was deserted as usual, which didn’t bother her in the least. Divination was a difficult magical talent, one that couldn’t be learned unless one already had some sight, and the only time this building had more than a handful of students was when she taught any class concerning Astral Disciplines. From Deanna’s perspective, she would rather spend her time with a handful of students she knew would master these disciplines then wasted with students who wouldn’t develop even the most rudimentary understanding of the magic involved.

That was one of the reasons why she enjoyed her special class with Annie and Kerry: she preferred quality over quantity.

Outside it was still clear with the temperatures hovering around 18 C. Gone were the overcast skies that greeted the morning and the windy conditions that heads lasted from just before lunch until perhaps an hour before. It had become such a nice afternoon that she decided to walk back to the Instructor’s Residents rather than jaunt—

Though she needed to take a slight detour first.

She jaunted from Memory’s End to a point just outside the shaft known as Dolvan’s Stairs, named due to its proximity to the Dolvan Pavilion. Though she’s used Far Sight to ensue she didn’t jaunt on to someone—which would be a disaster—she’d known the Westerly Path, as it was called, was going to be deserted. Not only didn’t many walk this way to the structures north of Memory’s End, but it was almost Friday dinner and all the school’s students would be on their way to the Dining Hall—

Well, almost all students.

She looked up and down the path to once again ensure she was alone, then Deanna turned right and began walking slowly north. In less than a minute she was standing next to the Dolvan Pavilion where she paused before looking around once more. Absolutely certain she was alone, she turned right and stepped off the path, making her way among the trees and foliage.

She didn’t have to go far to reach her destination, for only a few meters from the path was the shoreline of Lake Lovecraft. As a student she often visited Dolvan Pavilion and gazed eastward through the thinned foliage while thinking about the past events of the day and what lay ahead; today she was here to witness something else. Something that she felt was about to occur, something that required her to remain unseen.

 

There you have it: Deanna Arrakis being all stealthy and sneaky and stuff, roaming around the shores of Lake Lovecraft.  With her parents we are presented with a question: what would bring her out to Lake Lovecraft to witness something that requires her to remain unseen?  Well, if you’ve read the other two books, you probably have a good idea about what is going to happen next.

If not, I guess I’ll have to show you tomorrow.

Special Rules For Special People

This has been a lousy week for writing, in that I haven’t felt much like writing.  After the twelve hundred words I put out on Sunday I pretty much skipped a day and have only been putting out four and five hundred words a night.  It’s not been easy.

Part of the struggle has had to do with the current scene.  It’s involving a lot of rule and there is going to be a lot of action, and that always requires a lot of time on my behalf.  I’m getting there, but slowly.  Gotta trust me on this one, kids.

That said, it’s time to leave Chapter Ten behind.  Maybe if I feel everyone’s hot breath on my back I’ll get to writing.  In the preceding excerpts we learned about what Annie and Kerry were going to learn:  however, Deanna has some things she doesn’t want them to do…

 

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

 

Deanna waited until everyone had a few calming sips of tea before she went on. “I am going to set down some ground rules and I want them followed. If they aren’t, this special class we’re having is going to come to an immediate halt and you’ll find your access to materials that could help you continue these studies on your own will stop.” She said her tea aside. “Do you both understand?”

Kerry gave a curt nod. “Understood completely.”

Deanna looked at Annie. “Do you understand?”

Annie did understand: Deanna was preventing them from learning anything about The Three Bindings and it would be easy to add certain elements of Astral Studies to that same restriction. “I understand and will do exactly as you say.”

Deanna set her hands in her lap and lean slightly forward. “Very well. Now, you went ahead and learned dreamwalking on your own even though I had asked that you not do that until this school year. Fortunately you haven’t encountered any issues, but that isn’t something I can guarantee with the spells you’re going to learn now, not with you having direct access to the Astral Realm through two of these spells.

“As far as Aura Readings are concerned, I expect you’ll start picking up on that spell quickly and you learn at your own pace. You’re even free to read up on it in the library as much as you like and you’ll find several books in the library here as well. This is the least dangerous of the spells will work on, as you may have guessed.

“We’ll go through the specifics on Astral Projection in class. For the first few attempts I want those to occur here under controlled conditions: I do not want you to try this on your own until you have an understanding of what is involved. I know the urge will be there, while you’re lying on your bed waiting to fall asleep, to attempt the spell, but I need you to resist that urge. I will let you know when I feel you’ve become proficient enough with the spell to go projecting on your own.

 

If there is one thing that Annie is known for among the instructors, it’s that she doesn’t wait.  When she’s ready to learn something she get busy on that shit, which means if you ain’t willing to keep up, she’ll leave you behind.

That was how it was with Kerry that long ago day in the lower level of the Spells Center.  They wanted to make charcoal and they were gonna make it happen using advanced magic, and you can bet if Kerry hadn’t been able to bring his skills to the table Annie wouldn’t have been a happy girl.

And with this next spell Deanna wants to make sure they know the rules–

 

“And lastly there’s Astral Walking—and under no circumstances do I want either of you attempting the spell on your own. Neither of you are to attempt this alone, and until I feel you’re ready to solo I don’t want you attempting it without me present. Of all the spells were going to learn this is the one that can kill you. You may be able to pull aside the Curtain on this side, but that doesn’t mean you’ll be able to open it from the other side. And if it’s your intention is to get over into the Astral Realm, have a quick look around, and then wait for The Phoenix to come to your aid and help you back to the Physical Realm—” Deanna rolled her eyes as she shook her head. “She’ll just as soon leave you there to die than help you return.”

She took a slow, calming sip of her tea as she allowed her students to absorb her words and understand the meanings. After about a minute she set her tea aside. “The majority of witches have no idea what it’s like on the other side of the Curtain. They think it’s a mystical, magical place, and in many ways it is: it’s beautiful in a way that’s indescribable. But it’s just as dangerous as it is beautiful and most witches forget this. The closest analogy I have about being in the Astral Realm is that it’s like going into the desert: standing on the edge it has this incredible beauty that never leaves you, but the moment you decide to head further into the desert, that’s when you begin setting yourself up for a great deal of hardship and even death. The desert can begin killing you before you even know you’re dying, and the Astral Realm is the same way.

“Once we enter the Astral Realm we have to know how to create armor and weapons; you have to learn how to work spells in ways that they don’t Backlash on you because you’re essentially crafting surrounded by mystical energy. And most of all you need to understand the rules of the Astral Realm. Just as the desert has rules, the Astral Realm has them as well. If you have insufficient knowledge of those, or if you ignore them completely, you could die.”

Deanna motioned to her left and three books levitated their way. “This is the first were going to use; this will help us with Astral Reading.” She suspended two of the books directly before her students, who eagerly snatch them out of the air. “These are school copies and as such I’d like you not to make notes in them. If you’d like to have your own copies we can stop at the library before dinner and have Trevor order them for you.”

She held her copy tight against her abdomen as she leaned forward once more. “Ready to learn how to read someone’s aura?” Annie and Kerry nodded simultaneously with smiles on their faces. Deanna sat upright and opened her book. “Then let’s begin.”

 

So the law had been laid down:  no jumping the magical gun on any of these spells, particularly Astral Walking, or Deanna is gonna throw the both of them in Magical Jail and not let them study this stuff outside of class.  And as Deanna has already thrown them in Three Bindings Jail, she’s the one instructor serious about locking them out when it comes to the advanced and possible dangerous magic.

And that’s it for Chapter Ten.  Now we move on to Chapter Eleven and the start of one really big test…