This has been a strange morning. I’ve been up since just after five; I went to get groceries at six-thirty, and I started writing at about nine after I’d act breakfast and did a few things around the apartment. This is how my weekends go: most of yesterday I did the same, with a bit of napping here and there.
A couple of other things have happened as well. First, I’ve made a few additions to my time lines, because, well, it was necessary. In doing this it got me thinking about a trip Annie and Kerry would one day take together, as well as something else that could happen in their lives soon, because as I’ve pointed out from time to time, while I have a lot of metadata for my novels, that doesn’t mean things don’t change now and then, or become developed further.
And in thinking about that second got me to thinking about the third, and that is what sort of fighting style will Annie and Kerry develop? Sure, they can use magic to drop your ass, but they’re also taking Advanced Self Defense, and that means Professor Chai is probably teaching them styles of fighting that will allow them to become very dangerous without having to resort to bleeding out every jackhole who gives them shit.
What fighting styles will they develop? Here you go: Arnis/Kali mixed with Pencak Silat/Kuntao. What the hell is this? Arnis and Kali are the same thing: they’re the national sport and martial art of the Philippines, and it also goes by the name of Eskrima. You can use it empty handed or with weapons, the most famous of the later being the baston, a fighting stick about two-thirds of a meter, or two foot, long, and used in pairs with one in each hand, and the balisong, or what we in the U.S. would call a butterfly knife. Pencak Silat is a form of silat found in Indonesia, and Kuntao is an martial art used by Chinese in the Malay Archipelago, Indonesia, and the Philippines, that is so close to silat in its forms that a lot of people can’t tell the difference and usually don’t bother calling it anything but silat. Pencak Silat also uses weapons, one of which is the kris, a wavy blade knife that is considered magical in some circles, and was traditionally made by infusing poison into the blade while it was being created, and take years to finish as the blade’s metal is folded hundreds of times.
What does this mean? It means that once they get good at this they won’t need magic to kick someone’s ass, they just will. And when they start making their own bastons on the fly out of ball lightning sorcery spells, sit back and pity the poor bastards who decide to try and do something stupid to them–like, say, mug Annie and take her purse. (One day I’ll need to write up the time someone tried mugging Coraline and she kicked him about ten meters/thirty-three feet into a dumpster. Good times, yo.)
It’s also even money she’ll take someone to The Manor if they call her “Anniemae”.
But before we get to the point where we need a Rocky-like montage of Annie and Kerry going through their martial arts struggles to learn their forms, we gotta get out of Kerry’s dream and back into the real world. And wouldn’t you know, that’s happening right now–
All excerpts from The Foundation Chronicles, Book Two: B For Bewitching, copyright 2015, 2016 by Cassidy Frazee)
“GET OUT, GET OUT—”
Annie was barely aware she was back in the library when she was jerked off the sofa by Deanna and fell into her arms. She spun around and found Kerry on the sofa, his eyes closed and his body twitching and jerking while screaming the same phrase over and over in a fighting, high pitched voice. She knew immediately what was wrong: He’s still in the trance; still in the dream—
Deanna held on to Annie tightly as she yelled at Coraline. “Wake him up.”
Coraline was hovering over Kerry right away, speaking quickly and clearly in a loud voice. “Kerry, I’m gonna count back from three—”
Kerry continued screaming. “GET OUT.”
“—and when I clap my hands you’ll wake up.”
“ONE. Clap, clap.”
“OUT. GEtttt Oooouu . . . AhhhhhhHHHHHHHHHH.”
Kerry threw back his head and thrust his palms against his eyes as he cried out in as loud a voice possible. After nearly going the whole school year without having a crying jag he let out everything, weeping out whatever pent-up emotions he held. After a few seconds he rolled to his left and collapsed on the sofa, continuing to sob loudly.
Deanna nearly pushed Annie away before she jerked out of her hands. “Go to him.” She was on the sofa in seconds, sliding his head up into her lap. Kerry buried his face against her thighs as he continued sobbing while Annie gently stroked his hair. “Shush, shush. It’s all right.”
He could barely get out his words between tortured breaths. “I’m sorry. I’m so sorry.”
“I know. It’s all right. Shush. You’re with me now.”
Point of Order, Your Honor: if Kerry is setting his palms against eyes, what about his glasses? Well, back when Coraline was hypnotizing him she was supposed to remove them, but, unfortunately I forgot to have her do that. That made it necessary to go back today and fix a certain paragraph, with additions in bold:
Coraline moved closer to the love seat until she was about a meter away, then knelt down before the boy. “Let me get these off—” She removed his glasses and set them on the end table. “Wouldn’t want anything to happen to them. Okay, lights low.” The room grew darker, leaving everyone seated in quiet gloom. She rested her left hand above her head and made a small pinpoint of light appear. “Kerry, I want you to look at this light and continue looking at it while I speak. You understand?”
Now that I’ve fixed that, let’s get on to one soul mate calming down the other, and see what else falls out of this experience–’cause simply based upon things that have happened in the past, it’s likely there’s a few upset people in this room.
Nearly a minute and a half passed before Kerry settled down and stopped his sobbing and he returned to a sitting position. His face was a mess: hair was plastered to his forehead, his eyes were bloodshot, snot trickled from his nose, and his cheeks were wet and red from tears. He started down at the floor, not meeting anyone’s vision, as he constantly and loudly sniffed trying to clear his nose—
He finally looked up and turned to the person who’d spoken his name. He silently regarded Deanna with pain in his eyes.
The seer looked down for a moment and sighed before meeting his stare. “It wasn’t my intention to deceive you, but it was necessary. When this action was discussed earlier in the afternoon, I was the one who mentioned that if you knew I’d bring Annie with me to view your dream, you’d fight being hypnotized, and if you were put into a trance, your knowledge that Annie was dreamwalking with me could cause you to try and alter the dream.
“I know you’ll find it difficult to believe, but Annie needed to be there; she needed to see the struggle you’re having in your dreams. Right now I can’t tell you why, but I’m asking you to believe me when I say she knows as much as possible about what is happening with you.”
She looked down again. “I know this means nothing, but I hurt knowing I needed to talk this step.” She looked at Annie, then back to Kerry. “I only hope that in time you both come to forgive me for my actions.”
As she turned away a strangled voice called out softly. “Deanna.”
She slowly turned back and saw the boy staring at her through teary, bloodshot eyes. “Yes?”
He struggled to speak as he wiped his nose and face with tissue given him by Coraline. “You’re right: if I’d known you were bringing Annie, I’d have fought you. I wouldn’t have agreed to being hypnotized, and if I were, I would have struggled. And . . .” He sniffed back tears for a few seconds. “She needs to know. I haven’t been able to say what is going on with my dreams, but—” He glanced over to Annie before taking her hand. “She needs to know.”
He took a deep breath before clearing his throat. “I forgive you, Deanna.” He managed a weak smile. “There’s no sin.”
Annie turned to Deanna as well. “It hurt seeing those—” She closed her eyes trying to block out the memories of the last few minutes. “—thing, but I know you’re only trying to make him better.”
She nodded slowly. “I forgive you as well.”
Deanna put her hands together and gave him a slight shake. “Thank you, both of you. It means a lot knowing you don’t hate me.”
As Coraline and she returned to her seat Erywin was the first to speak up. “What it what we thought?”
“It was.” She crossed her legs. “He had the mirror dream.”
Kerry’s voice was almost back to normal. “Mirror dream? What are you talking about?”
Kerry’s a mess, but now that he’s had his fit and moment of pain and embarrassment, he can’t hate ’cause he knows Deanna is right about him. Annie can’t hate either, because she knows Kerry well at this point, and she understands that sometimes you can’t tell him everything, least not right away. Hey, she was tricked into his dream, and he was tricked into not knowing she’d be there, but why stay pissed off at one of the people who’s looking for an answer someone can’t seem to give?
Also, these kids aren’t–excuse the pun–normal, and they have a maturity not found in most twelve year old boys and thirteen year old girls, the majority of whom would have likely stormed out of the library after calling everyone bitches. The really scary part is that two members of the school administration–the headmistress and school doctor–and three coven leaders are sitting in a room with a couple of kids who have yellow flagged student files, and they deliberately set in motion a process that was pretty much designed to upset both the scary little sorceresses. Now, we know Coraline can magically kick ass and Erywin probably has a big weapon stashed away in Hammerspace, but what if both kids lost it and fireballed the whole room? Notice that Coraline didn’t sit down until Deanna did? Yeah, she was probably going to give both kids a magical slapping if they got too bent out of shape.
Now that all the crying and recriminations are out of the way–what is the mirror dream?
Notice how I raise these questions without answering them right away?