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…

Looking Beyond the Curtain

What started this morning has moved on into the afternoon, which means there have been updates.  Most of all one of a personal nature–

No do like those new dos you do.

Yes, I went out and got a new wig and I have to say it was the right move.  I love the cut a lot and may just go back to shaving the head because my real hair is never going to get this good.  Hey, small price to pay to look good–particularly when a cut, color, and cap–I’ll still need to wear something to cover the bald–will likely run me $300 to $500 every six months.  So it looks like I’m heading back to wig country.

While I’m doing that, my kids are heading into some special territory–a place where humans normally don’t travel.  Unless they’re witches, and special ones at that.  And Annie wants to know what goes into being a member of the Special Witches Club:

 

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

 

“After that we’re going to learn Astral Projection and Astral Walking?”

Deanna fidgeted a bit on her pillows. “Before I go on, would either of you like tea?”

Annie and Kerry glanced at each other before Kerry spoke with a tone that expressed his incredulity. “Is this a loaded question?”

Deanna shook her head. “No visions this time; I’m simply offering tea.”

“Now I know I’m not going to get a vision with my beverage—” Kerry smiled broadly. “I love tea.”

Annie nodded in agreement. “As would I.”

 

You know it’s bad when your instructor offers tea and the first thing that comes to mind is, “She’s gonna have us off on another vision.”  Well, something an offer of tea is just that:  having some tea.  And with the beverage selection out of the way, they can get back to talking about class:

 

Deanna got to her feet. “Allow me to prepare, then.” Deanna headed to a small cabinet in the corner of the room and removed a kettle which began steaming as soon as she waved her hand over the top. She dropped several teabags into a small pot and poured in the water, then let the bag seep as she gathered cups and saucers before handing them to her students. “That should be ready in a few minutes.”

Annie set her cup and saucer aside. “When will we get to Astral Walking?”

“My, you are eager.” In the year and a half Deanna had known Annie she can remember seeing her this excited about learning magic. “Naturally, opening the Curtain takes a bit more skill than being able to read auras or project your aura into the Astral Realm. I don’t expect to actively to begin actively teaching you Astral Walking until we return from Yule holiday, but…”

“Yes?”

“I will take you into the Astral Realm before then.” She motioned towards the teapot and levitated it toward them, finishing her statement as she poured the tea. “You need to know a little about getting around in their before you actually go in there.”

Annie found it almost difficult to keep her cup and saucer from shaking as she considered thoughts of what it was going to be like entering the Astral Realm. Her mother and father had never advance this far into Astral Studies, so they had no tales of what it was like passing through the Curtain and beyond the Physical Realm.

As much as she enjoyed sorcery, Annie was nearly as fascinated by Astral Studies. She had always wanted to Dreamwalk and Astral Projection was another thing that she did want to learn as a young girl. Her parents lack of reading material on the subject kept her restricted in her studies, but she had never lost interest in wanting to know what existed beyond the Curtain.

And now, not only did she know how to Dreamwalk and was going to learn how to Astral Project, Deanna was going to take Kerry and her physically through the Curtain so they could stand on the other side.

 

And now you have the truth:  The Little Sorceress also wants to spend time on the other side of the Curtain and she’s been oh so eager to learn how to get there. And it seems like it won’t be long before the kids are gonna get to do a little walkabout in the Astral Realm so they can get a feel for the territory and learn what they can and can’t do.

And speaking of what Deanna doesn’t want them doing–

Seeing All That is Truthful

So, it seems I am finished with TV recapping for a while and I can relax for–well, maybe a month?  Or maybe I have to crank up tomorrow for iZombie?  I’ll see how I feel then.

But no talking about TV ’cause I’m still with Deanna and the Kids, which could be the title of a sitcom about a witch and her two kids growing up in New York, but it better be a Netflix show or it can go to hell.    Annie was curious about the possibility that all this special instruction was due to some–ahem, “guidance” from an outside source.  And now we learn differently:  Helena may be keeping some secrets about them from the Guardians:

 

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

 

This was something Annie hadn’t considered, the possibility that Helena might not tell everything she knew about them to the Guardians. She was aware Helena was protective of them, but would she go so far as to withhold information about the development from the organization it would likely be the potential employer in the future? After a moment’s reflection she had her answer: She is likely keeping some of this information to herself so the Guardians don’t push us into a mission that could end up becoming too much for either of us to handle. “I can see that as being possible.”

Deanna gave a quick nod. “It’s something you can take up with her, though I doubt she’ll say anything. Keeping secrets from one group means keeping secrets from everyone.”
Kerry had remained quiet through this exchange, but there was a question that required an answer. “You know that we’ve done stuff with the Guardians?”

“Obviously.” Deanna chuckled. “I didn’t mean to sound flippant, but as one of the three counselors at school I have to be aware of everything the students at this facility are doing—and that includes any extracurricular activities. Erwin filled me in on your actions with the Guardians not long after you were picked for your first operation back in your A Levels.”

Now done with the questions regarding any possible Guardian influence on their instruction, Annie felt it was time to get to why they were here. “So, what are we going to do in this class? What kind of special instructions are we going to learn?”

 

If we go all the way back to the first novel and the visit by Mr. Gabriel to Salem, Helena mentioned that there was a bit of information that Gabriel brought to the table that didn’t come from her.  Based upon that, it’s somewhat easy to see that isn’t telling her old pals in San Francisco everything she knows about Annie and Kerry.  Is this wise? asked the ostrich sticking its head out of the back of the van.  Assuming this isn’t some drug-induced hallucination, possibly, as Helena may be a bit concerned that the Guardians want to push these kids a bit too much and she’s worried about where that will lead.

Then again, maybe she’s like every other spook in the Guardians and knows that some things need to remain secret.  Which means they aren’t telling her everything she needs to know, but then she’s probably aware of that, which is why she isn’t telling everything she knows, but they’re aware of that and…

On and on.  You know it.

With that G Biz out of the way–hey, teach, what are we learning?

 

A sense of eagerness crept into Deanna’s features as she began. “Were going to go through his many of the Astral Disciplines as possible. I want to start you out on Aura Readings first, because I believe is something you pick up rather quickly and it will be something you can use immediately.”

Kerry grew serious upon hearing this. “That’s where we’ll be able to see another person’s aura and tell what they’re thinking?”

“It’s not so much should be able to tell what they’re thinking, as you be able to tell their emotional and sometimes mental states as they speak with you.” Dan adjusted her position as she grew more comfortable. “It’s often used by the instructors and counselors to determine if someone is being completely truthful when they speak.”

“So like a lie detector.”

“In a certain sense, yes. It may not tell you if a person is lying in a complete sentence, but it can alert one to the fact that the person with whom you are speaking may be telling a great number of falsehoods.” Deanna cocked her head to the side as she looked at Kerry. “I certainly hope you won’t be using this all the time to know who around you is being completely truthful.”

Annie jumped into the conversation. “I wouldn’t do that.” She didn’t mention, however, that she wouldn’t do that all the time… “Will you also teach us how to modify and hide our own auras?”

Deanna nodded once more. “That is part of the instruction, yes. In order to understand how the auras of others work, you have to understand how yours works, and that involves being able to modify and even hide your aura from others.” She turned her now-knowing look upon Annie. “I do expect that you will likely use this part of the spell quite often.”

Annie’s expression told both Deanna and Kerry what she was thinking before she spoke. “Oh, I intend to utilize that part of the spell as much as possible.”

Deanna gave a soft chuckle. “I’ll keep that in mind.”

 

Seeing and hiding those auras.  And being able to tell what the other person may be feeling and thinking.  Now, how could Annie use this?

 

(Annie)  “So, Emma, how was your overnight trip with Kerry?”
(Emma)  “Oh, it was good.”
(Annie)  “Nothing happened, right?”
(Emma)  “Yeah.  Nothing happened.”
(Annie charges up a black ball of energy)  “You lying little bitch…”

 

Okay, maybe not exactly like that, but once the other kids get wind that the Wonder Twins are learning this, they’ll likely learn to watch what they say in front of them.  And for the sake of transparency:  yes, other students know how to do this, but none of them are C Levels.

But wait!  There’s more to learn–