Behind Door Number One

First off, before I get started, I gotta do a little pumping of fists and a bit of boasting.  Over on the other blog to which I contribute, The Snarking Dead, the person who got me into the recapping game, Rachel, put up her recap for the season finale of Game of Thrones, The Winds of Winter, on Monday my time.  It started getting hits, slowly at first, before taking off like wildfire consuming a bunch of religious fanatics, and up to this point, about forty-eight hours later–well, here:

 

Numbers don't lie.

Numbers don’t lie.

Since that’s a bit hard to read unless you open it in a new window and enlarge, it’s 13,845 hits for that particular post.  So I tip the cap I’d wear if I could find one to fit my big head to my co-conspirator in snark, for that is remarkable, and the sort of numbers I’d love to have one day.  Just gotta keep snarking.

But not today.  Today we’re getting into Evaluations and Assessments.

Last night I got into editing Annie’s evaluation, and there was a bit of rewriting going on there, mostly because right now, two and a half years after writing the scenes, I have a better focus on what is going on there, and that allowed me to narrow it down to the basics.  Even so, sixty-eight words were added to the event, so nothing suffered.

What did happen was we got to see the facade that Annie keeps up for everyone at this point crack a little as a certain naughty person pushes her buttons like Annie were a game controller.  And shall I say it:  that particular “person” is rather nasty towards her.  She cuts Annie no slack, and gets her to admit things that she’s never said aloud to anyone.  Which is what evaluations and assessments are about:  pushing the kids to admit things that they don’t like to admit exist.

I’m not reposing the conversation, for as I was reminded yesterday some things should remain a mystery.  By Annie’s own words a year and a half later in her own time line, she say that she yelled at her “adviser”, and that’s for damn sure.  But then her adviser was a bit of a pain in the ass as well as being a massively haughty bitch.  All I’ll show is that, at one point, she tells Annie with whom she’s dealing, and she’s not the least bit modest about talking herself up:

 

(The following excerpts from The Foundation Chronicles, Book One: A For Advanced, copyright 2016 by Cassidy Frazee)

“Oh, please. Don’t try to tell me what’s right and wrong: I alone make those decisions.” She slipped closer to Annie, though she was never close enough for her to reach out and grab. “The Foundation has no control over me, and they know it. I am The Benefactor and Savior of Salem. I am The Protector of the Institution, and as such I do as I please.” She shook her head. “No, young lady, I am not bound by your rules, so don’t ever try to judge me using them.

I decide who comes and who goes. You were picked by The Foundation to come here—so what?  It’s entirely up to me who spends the next six years of their life behind these walls, not some human institution that didn’t even exist when I began watching over this school. I am not only the life of every student who enters this domain, and I am their death and their rebirth.” She shrugged. “Why do you think I have this name?”

 

Yeah, what name is that, Phee?  No one can say that Annie didn’t have a wonderful time, and she’ll be the first to say she didn’t, because at the end of this little event she didn’t come away feeling that well.

But never mind that:  Kerry’s up next, and we sorta know how much fun his will be.

One traumatized child down, another to go.

One traumatized child down, one to go.

I’ll be doing that tonight.

Truths Laid Upon the Plain

Though I stated yesterday I wanted to finish this penultimate scene so I could move on to the next, things didn’t work out the way I expected.  That doesn’t mean I didn’t move on with the scene, but the finish is likely going to happen tonight after I have dinner.  I know I’m supposed to go out tonight, but I may forgo that venture because I have a lot of writing to perform tonight, and I need to get to that–which means going out and getting hammered isn’t the path to walk.

The part that was finished last night, well . . . it’s a little insight into the two people speaking at the moment.  Oh, did I say “people”?  I should say person and a well-on-neigh creature that claims to spend all her time acting as the Benefactor and Protector of Salem.  Yes, as a couple of people figured out, Deanna’s speaking to the entity known as The Phoenix, the creature that does all the E and As for each new student not long after they enter the school grounds.  I did say she would put in an appearance in this novel–oh, wait, that’s not what I said exactly . . .

But we’ll get to that in a moment.  Meanwhile, Deanna’s on the clock and she’s dealing with a pesky spirit, and that’s not setting well with her–

 

All excerpts from The Foundation Chronicles, Book Two: B For Bewitching, copyright 2015, 2016 by Cassidy Frazee)

Deanna wasn’t in the mood to spend the evening chatting with a whimsical spirit. “May I pass?”

Humh.” The tone of the disembodied voice turned serious. “To continue your investigation?”

“Yes.”

“You humans: you’re so inquisitive. And you, Deanna—” A sound like a low growl echoed through the library. “There are times when you become so singled minded in your endeavors—”

“Am I allowed to proceed?” It wasn’t often she found herself having to argue with the school’s protector. This is what I get for coming in here, but I had little choice— “Or are you going to cast me out?”

This time there was an ominous undertone to the laugh. “If I were going to cast you out, Seer, you’d find yourself back in the physical realm lying on your back in the garden nursing your wounds.”

A slight curl appeared in the corner of Deanna’s mouth. “Perhaps.”

The moment she spoke the word Deanna regretted her choice. She jumped back and instinctively reached for her sword as the space before her erupted in hot blue flame twice her height. She calmed herself as she recognized this form selection and knew it wasn’t a coincidence. As stated in the Quran they are made of smokeless, scorching fire— She threw up her shield as a pair of orange eyes opened in the middle of the flame and stared back at her.

For the first time since entering into this conversation with The Phoenix the voice speaking with her emanated from within the flame. “Suddenly feeling fear, are you?”

Deanna left her sword in its sheath but keep her shield in place. “If anyone knows how to frighten me, it’s you.” She stood her ground even though she wanted to rip open the Curtain and head back into the physical realm. This is why I can’t be around Cold Fire . . .

 

If you haven’t picked up on the clues, Ol’ Phee decided to appear to Deanna in the form of a djinn.  What’s a djinn, or jinn if you’re not into the old spelling?  It’s a genie, and you know what those are, right?  No, I’m not putting up a picture of some blue dude and attempting to write in a way that Robin Williams would speak.  Sorry.  The transitional djinn aren’t something to mess with.  In some ways they’re like angels, and in other ways they’re like demons.  In both ways they can be bad news, and they shouldn’t ever be taken lightly.  They are described, just as Deanna thought, as being of a smokeless and scorching fire, and many old images show them as being leaping flames of blue fire.

They also seem to scare the piss out of Deanna, and she knows The Phoenix knows they do.  Deanna also, we learn, doesn’t like Cold Fire because they are too much like those djinn, and you have to wonder if she starts having strange thoughts about how Annie loves to play with that stuff.  There’s nothing cold about this fire, however, as Deanna obviously feels the heat, and in more ways than one.

And now we learn just a little more about our favorite seer:

 

There was a long pause as the flame-shrouded eyes coolly regarded the school seer. “You are so unlike the scared girl who walked through Founder’s Gate in 1996, who spent so much of her E and A crying—”

“I was scared because I didn’t know what I was getting into.” Deanna finally lowered her shield and stood straight. “I was crying because I didn’t expect to have my E and A held in Majlis al-Jinn.”

“But that experience gave me everything I needed to see your life.” The mirth returned to the spirit’s laugh. “And seven years after that you managed to encounter a real djinn.”

“An experience I could have done without—” A smile slowly came to her face as she remembered the particulars of her meeting on the outskirts of Birjand, Iran. “—but it did change me.”

“For the better from what I’ve seen.”

While hearing about her personal improvement from the creature that set her about the road of her life, Deanna was here for other reasons. “There’s something I must do—” She looked passed the hovering blue flame. “May I proceed?”

The flame and heat vanished as the voice once more seemed to emanate from all around. “It would be rude of me to keep you any longer. Fi Amanullah.”

“Thank you, Phoenix.” Deanna didn’t offer a traditional reply, for if there was anything that likely didn’t need Allah’s protection, it was the immensely powerful spirit with whom she’d just conversed. She waited until she was through the library door and proceeding across the first floor landing before emitting an immense sigh of relief: other than her E and A she had encountered The Phoenix only once before, and that meeting turned out to be far more acrimonious—

There wasn’t time to worry about that past event, or the one she just left behind. She stood outside the luminescent outer wall of the hospital. Let’s hope there’s something of interest on the other side.

She thinned the walls and walked inside the ward.

 

We know that most people remember where their E and A was held–yes, I know, at the school, but once you’re alone with The Phoenix you are convinced you’re somewhere else, and that somewhere for Deanna was Majlis al-Jinn, The Meeting Place of the Djinn, which is a huge cave chamber located in Oman:

This one right here, see?

This one right here, see?

If Deanna was frightened of djinn, and she had her E and A in a place where they are reputed to meet, then you can understand why she was crying.  But according to Phee she’s a much better person for it, and look:  she ran into a real one during her Year of Real Life Experience, which means you also now know that djinn are real, and they are out there, and they may give you three wishes–or simply turn your life into a living hell.  Probably a lot more of the later, and even the former could really mess you up.

It also appears that Deanna’s run into The Phoenix while tooling about the astral realm once before, and that meeting didn’t go as well as this one.  Will we ever heard about that time?  Um . . . perhaps?

Deanna’s gonna look over the kids, but there’s something I need to point out.  I’ve stated more than a few times that The Phoenix would show up in the story, and she has during this short scene.  But . . .  Maybe I should let Ol’ Ben explain:

Not The Phoenix Meeting

She’ll be back.

And looking a lot better than Arnold did in Terminator Genisys.