Divining the Divine: Seeing Where We’re Going

Always leave with the good news first, so that’s exactly what I’ll do.  Chapter Eight is done, finished, finito, fin.  It’s been a bit of a struggle to get through it, and the last scene has seen me either writing twelve hundred words in a couple of hours or three hundred words in a couple of hours; there’s been little in between.

And there was something about that last scene–

If I stare at these numbers maybe they'll tell me...

If I stare at these numbers maybe they’ll tell me…

Oh yeah: the last scene is the longest in the novel, and it’s nearly twice the length of the next longest scene in this chapter.  Why is that?  Because I had to do something they didn’t want to do, and it took me a while to do it.  Which is to say, something sort of bad happens in that last scene and I really had to work my way through it.  I hated when I have to do that.

That means Chapter Nine is gonna start tonight.  The chapter title is Freaky Friday, but you can rest assure you there’s nobody swapping going on here.  What is happening is it’s the first Friday of the first week of school, and that means we’ll get a peek at what’s going on at the start of Advanced Flight Two, will see the beginning of the first Midnight Madness of the year, Kerry will get a chance to find out how someone else’s coming out went over the last summer, and Annie is going to be asked an extremely important question.

Sounds dreadfully important, doesn’t it?  Only time will tell.

And speaking of time–we were speaking about time, weren’t we?  Or was it just some strange woman talking about the future?  Because yesterday we left Deanna beginning her monologue about what to expect in her class, Introduction to Divination.  And maybe now is a good time to see what she has to say–

 

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

 

She straightened and clasped her hands in front of her once more. “Sounds dreadfully dramatic, doesn’t it? Well, in a way it is a bit dramatic. I mean, you’re seeing your future—or are you? You can also be seeing someone else’s future—but is that true as well? The future is a nebulous thing and it’s affected by the actions you take today. So is always a possibility that what you’re seeing may not be true—and yet, at the same time, it could very well be true. And that’s because—” Deanna pointed at the ginger haired boy at the front of the class. “Kerry, what is time?”

He glanced down at the floor for a moment as he tried, and failed, to keep from smiling too broadly. “It’s a big ball of wibbly wobbly, timey wimey stuff.”

Deanna chuckled. “I somehow knew you’d have the answer.” She faced the rest of the class. “While that’s a rather simplified and somewhat entertaining description, it’s also extremely true: it is impossible to define time in absolute terms. Even when you see the future in a vision there’s always the possibility that it won’t be the actual future, but rather a possible future that may come about due to, or in despite, your actions.

“This class is meant to address all the different matters concerning divination. You learn about the different ways you can channel your Sight, how you can trigger a vision, how to interpret one, and most of all, what you should and shouldn’t do if you have a vision. Because we don’t know the future, we can’t say what actions will either make it happen, or prevent that from happening. And that is likely going to be the hardest lessons I will teach you this year, for we have a natural curiosity about the future.”

 

This last paragraph is one thing that Deanna keeps harping on constantly: even though you had a vision of the future, you’re not certain what steps need to be taken to get to that point.  And when that occurs, it becomes almost impossible to determine what one should do to reach the point they’ve seen in their vision.  Like with Annie and Kerry: they’ve had a vision of them getting married–well, technically, not getting married, but the aftermath of getting married–and it seen themselves flying in to what they now figure is Paris and then going to a hotel for the evening.  Those are all pretty simple visions, but what isn’t simple is how do they get to those points?  No one really knows, and given that marriage is at least five years away at the soonest, there’s no way in hell they could ever predict that their next action is going to bring about that vision coming true.

It’s never as simple as, “Don’t go out on dangerous missions,” because come the day after you turned on a dangerous mission you can find yourself being run over by a car–and that will probably put the wedding vision on hold, possibly permanently.  The future is a big ball of wibbly wobbly, timey wimey stuff, and there’s no way in hell you gonna navigate around it unless you know how to navigate.  And that’s what this class is going to teach the kids.  Or at least Deanna will try to do her best to teach the kids, because as we all know some kids are unteachable.

Maybe one of them even shows up and this next set of paragraphs…

 

Though she didn’t walk about the room, Deanna shifted her weight from one leg to another as she spoke. “Every witch has the capacity for Sight, but just like with crafting magic, Sight comes differently to all of us. For some it never develops, or will develop to the point we may have only one or two meaningful visions throughout your entire life. For others it develops to the point where they can only have a meaningful vision with an enormous amount of triggering—and even then their visions are limited and often ill-defined. And there are some who can only have visions under certain conditions which involve either helpful triggers or dreams.” Though she didn’t look directly at them, her eyes shifted toward Annie and Kerry. “I’ve already encountered a few students who’ve fallen into this last category.

“There are only a few of you who’ll make it to the point where you become what is known as an Active Seer, a person to whom visions come without any prodding and tend to take over your life for a few seconds when you least expect it. I can’t say for certain if there’s anyone in this room who could be considered an Active Seer because they are rare: extremely rare. Maybe one of you is like that, but I doubt if I’d be more than that in this room.

“Not only will we learn about divination, but I will attempt to trigger you all to get you to experience a vision. Some of these triggers will use runes, some will use deep trances, and some will require the use of—” Deanna pointed to a point between two of the doors. “Ouija boards. Yes, while a Ouija board cannot be used to summon a demon, it can be used to trigger a vision, something that Professor Lewiston and I joke about quite often.”

Deanna stopped moving about and glanced around the room. “Does anyone have any questions?” Two seconds later a hand shot up Deanna didn’t need to check her attendance because she knew the owner of this hand. “Yes, Franky?”

Franky Smith cleared his throat. “Does it ever bother you that because you’re a witch your people want to kill you?”

 

It’s nice to know that in my world a Ouija board will not summon a demon, but it can cause you to have a vision of the future.  And now that I pointed that out, you know there’ll be at least one scene where a Ouija board is used to bring about a vision.  So what does one use to someone a demon?  That will be answered in a later book, you can rest assured.

And now this last comment with Franky being a smart ass, which is something that Franky does rather well.  But you have to realize that this isn’t the first time that Deanna’s been asked about “your people” wanting to do her harm because she is a witch–

She’s so good at dealing with the subject that I just had to write about it…

Divining the Divine: Seeing Over the Beginning

Though today is a holiday I have to go and work: I’m actually supposed to be there in a little more than an hour.  And I don’t feel like going.  I’m still getting over whatever it is started coming on Thursday evening and my head is all fuzzy from medication I’ve been taking.  All this so few days from now I’m not a complete mess while in in Washington D.  C.  For the Women’s March on Washington.

Not even sure how long I’ll have to work today.  It’s likely I’ll be done by noon, and if that’s the case, I’ll come home take a nice long nap.  If I don’t do it at my computer first.

"Don't worry, I'll get back to writing as soon as... zzzzz..."

“Just resting my eyes, that’s all.  Back on my feet in no time.”

The scene I’m currently working on has suddenly become the longest in the novel.  Last night I took it just up over sixty-seven hundred words, and the chances are it will pass seven thousand before him done.  This means I also passed the hundred and ten thousand word mark, which only took me fifteen days to reach, due in part to the fact that there were few days when I wrote little or nothing.  Now I’m about closeout Chapter Eight the whole lot of words.

And speaking of a whole lot of words, were about to get into the first moments of Introduction to Divination.  As it’s taken me all day to get to this point, why wait any longer?  Let’s go!

 

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

 

The heat that had remained over the weekend was still at the school, and even though it wasn’t that hot—even now, just after lunch, the temperature was only 27 Celsius—no breeze coupled with an oppressive mugginess made the temperatures seem much more oppressive. For the first time since the end of their B Levels, Annie wore her school uniform without tights and Kerry and she used the tunnel system to go to Memory’s End. As she told Kerry when they left the Great Hall, while he was used to this sort of weather, it wasn’t something she experienced that often—and when she did during the summer, she was often lightly dressed.

 Since they knew their way around Memory’s End finding the staircase to the ground floor wasn’t difficult. When they stepped out to the main hallway they found a couple of students milling about wondering if they should enter the first room on the right near us the main entrance, or if they should use one of the three doors on the left. Their schedule said class would be held in Room #1, which was not the doorway close is the main entrance, but rather the one three-quarters of the way down the hall. Deanna explained to Annie sometime before that Room #1 was something of a misnomer: all three doors on the left leading into one large room which could be partitioned into three smaller rooms for more intimate classes. For the C Level’s Introduction to Divination they would use the entire space.

Being familiar with Deanna’s teaching methods neither Annie or Kerry were surprised when they entered the room and found the floor covered in large pillows. About a third of the students stood along the sides of the room looking as if they expected desks and chairs to appear at any moment, while the rest were sitting on the pillows waiting to see what happened next. Annie and Kerry had spent some time with Deanna on Sunday and learned that besides them, only six other C Levels came out to Memory’s End to visit with her—about a third of the C Levels.

Annie wondered how Deanna dealt with the other C Levels who saw her last Friday, and she couldn’t help but wonder if Deanna tried to coax a vision out of them as well…

 

It goes without saying that Annie and Kerry know their way around Memory’s End, because they’ve been out here more times than the other C Levels.  We’ve yet to get an accounting of how many of the C Levels actually visited Deanna during Reacquaintance Day, but at some point will hear the story and you may be surprised by the numbers.  Needless to say, the other C Levels haven’t visited quite as often, they were just plain scared to come out.  The reason for that may have something to do with how Deanna not only views herself, but how she sees others viewing her:

 

The alarm on Kerry’s phone began beeping as Deanna entered the room and waved the door closed behind her. After two years of contact with her, Annie had seen how Deanna dressed for class, and today it was obvious that she was trying to make an impression. She wore her dark hair brushed back over her shoulders so one could see her dangling amethyst earrings. Her long sleeve silk tunic was a lovely robins egg blue and she wore number of bangles on each wrist. Her flowing Palazzo pants were a dark forest green and were long enough that they nearly hid her leather sandals. Annie noticed something she’d never seen before: she wore three rings, two on her left hand and one on the right.

Deanna took a moment to scan the room with her tablet so she could determine who was whom before levitating it towards a large grouping of pillows at the front of the room and setting it gently on the floor. She faced the students, clasped her hands together, and gave a warm, inviting smile. “Well, you’re finally here. After two years of attending classes you get to find out if all those rumors and stories about the strange Iraqi girl whom they say sees the future are really true.

“In case you are lost this is Introduction to Divination and I am Professor Deanna Arrakis. I know some of you feel the urge to chuckle when I say the word ‘professor’, and they really are times when I have to remind myself that even though I turned twenty-eight this year, I am not only an instructor at the most famous school in The Foundation’s educational system, but also the leader of one of the five covens of Salem—the one to which I was assigned when I first came here. And before you ask: no, I didn’t have a vision of me doing either of those things.” There was a smattering of laughter around the room.

She pulled a metal flask of water out of Hammerspace, took a sip, and returned it before continuing. “It’s likely you’re asking yourself, ‘What am I going to learn in this class?’ It’s simple: you going to learn about divination. You going to learn about visions. You going to learn about Pronouncements.” While looking about the room Deanna made a slow motion with her right hand and the lighting in the room came down by about a third. “You going to learn whether or not you have Sight and if you do, you’ll learn how to use your Sight.” She took a couple of slow steps towards the students. “You’re going to learn how to see the future.”

 

After six hours stint at work, where I had the over the massive cold medication hangover, and a boozy, four-glasses-of-wine dinner, I finally get my blog post out.  Sorry it took so long, but sometimes real life is a pain and it gets in the way.  And unlike Deanna, I can’t see the future, so I don’t know when it’s going to be a pain.

Let’s hope, like Scarlett thought, tomorrow will be a better day…

The Size and the Dreams

As I’ve said before, a few hundred words here, a few hundred there, and . . .

Before you know it, you're got some real wordage goin' on.

Before you know it, you’re got some real wordage goin’ on.

That’s how this scene is playing out.  One bad night of less than three hundred words, and I think I’m going no where fast–and then I realize I’m encroaching on four thousand words for the scene, and suddenly it’s the biggest scene I’ve written since Emma and Kerry were back in Flushing, which I last edited back on 16 August.  This is a biggie, and it’s only going to get bigger, because I know I have at least another thousand words in me.  And in this novel I have written only two scenes of over four thousand words:  Remembering Memory in Chapter Five, which was where Annie and Kerry visited Deanna first day of the new school year and had visions–it is 4,004 words–and Friend’s List in Chapter Two, where Kerry has that discussion with his family, and is the biggest scene at 4,246 words.

So Annie’s gonna talk Deanna’s ear off, it seems.  What a yappity girl, right?

 

 

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

“It’s one of the meditation rooms.” Deanna shifted slightly on her pillowed. “Originally when everyone was in one building, the numerology people were on the ground floor, and the divination people were on the first. All the rooms were quiet and secluded, set up with subdued lighting to get everyone in the right frame of mind to allow their visions to flow forth.

“When the school began construction of this building, Wanda insisted that their meditation room remain in place on the first floor so they could be used for ‘advanced students’.” Deanna gave a relaxed, comfortable sigh. “Even then she knew we’d have advanced students—”

“She was a seer, so she would—” Annie smiled as she turned her head towards Deanna. “No?”

“Yes, she was. Each of these rooms was meant to represent a particular environment, so you have one that’s a bit tropical, another somewhere in the mountains, the third in the plains—”

“And this one in the desert.”

“Correct. And since we want the proper meditative state . . .” Deanna waved her hands; the points of light dimmed as the walls and ceiling faded away, replaced by the illusion of being outdoors and looking up into the night sky. “We can now have a proper conversation.”

It was more than an illusion, however: Annie became completely immersed within her surroundings, and for a moment forgot they weren’t in the middle of an Iraqi desert but were in a building on the western short of the Atlantic Ocean. “Who uses this room?”

“Advanced students, as Wanda intended. I have a few I bring here to instruct—” She glanced towards Annie. “—and some people I bring here for discussions. Like now.” Deanna folded her hands across her stomach. “What’s on your mind, my dear?”

Even though Deanna was correct about her showing up to talk, Annie suddenly found herself at a loss for words. She’d spent some time during lunch coming up with a conversation in her head, points she wanted to discuss and questions she wanted to ask, but now her mind was blank. There was only one thing to do: start right from the beginning. “I dreamwalked last night.”

 

It was pretty much a given that Annie wanted to talk about her dreamwalking experience, but it’s a little more than that–

 

Deanna didn’t question Annie’s stated but rather acknowledged her action. “You did. That’s fantastic. What was it like for you?”

“Strange, as I didn’t know what to expect.” She tapped her fingers against her abdomen. “I saw my dreamspace from the outside.”

“As you should.” The seer chuckled. “Did you dreamwalk anyone in particular?”

Annie gave a short laugh. “Did you need to ask?”

“No. It makes sense, however, as you know Kerry better than anyone else.”

“And he’s right across the tower.” Annie closed her eyes as she slowly drew in a breath. “I saw his dreamspace.”

“Which you would—”

“I also saw our dreamspace.”

Annie emphases gave Deanna a slight pause. “A shared dreamspace?”

“Yes.”

“How did it appear in relationship to Kerry’s and yours?”

“It was like our individual dreams spaces, only larger.” She shifted her eyes from one overhead star to another. “It was between and above ours, and they were connected to it with small corridors.”

“Like it’s an extension of your spaces.”

“I believe so, yes.” Annie turned her head slightly towards the seer. “Did you ever find anything on why we can share dreams? On why we’re connected that way?”

Deanna’s pause was much longer than Annie expected, and she was about to ask the question once more when the instructor finally spoke. “I’ve done some investigations with Trevor’s help, but I’ve been unable to find anything.” She hummed something for about five seconds that was just audible. “What you’ve described sounds like dreamwalking, but it’s not, it can’t be. Even with Kerry being a witch without knowing it, neither of you would have the ability to instigate a dreamwalk accidentally.”

“Not at all?” Over the summer Annie had developed the hypothesis that since Kerry was able to not only create a mental block around his memories of her, and affect her recollection of that happening, that perhaps the two of them together had dreamwalked each other without knowing.

“No, not at all. There’s too much that goes into a dreamwalk that it would just happen. Besides, when Kerry and you began sharing dreams, you were nearly half a world apart. How would either of you know of the other being on two separate continents?”

 

Asking Annie if there was anyone in particular she dreamwalked is a little like asking Helena if she’s ever killed anyone.  Of course Annie dreamwalked Kerry!  Duh.  But Deanna’s hesitation when it comes to answering Annie’s question about what allowed them to share dreams?  And the accidental dreamwalk is ruled out, which does leave Annie grasping for an explanation . . .

 

“True.” Annie wondered about that as well, and it always remained the flaw that tore her idea apart. “But then, what is that allows us to share dreams?”

Deanna’s chuckle came out as a snort. “The simplest answer is, ‘Because you’re different’.”

Annie didn’t find the answer satisfying or amusing. “That’s not an answer, Deanna.”

“No, it’s not.” Again the seer paused long enough to make Annie wonder if she would speak again. “Can I show you something?”

Annie was somewhat surprised by the request. “What do you want to show?”

“Something I’ve never shown to anyone.”

“How can I say no?”

Deanna raised her voice slightly. “Sabrina, please come.”

 

First off, Annie’s right:  Deanna didn’t give her much of an answer.  In fact Kerry would probably say she blew Annie off.  But this leads into Deanna wanting to show her something . . .

And who’s Sabrina?  Maybe a teenage witch?  Like the one sitting next to Deanna?

You know, it’s funny you should ask . . .