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–

The Remains of the Day: Sitting By the Edge of the Wall

The last twenty-four hours have been strange and good ones.

First off, yesterday morning someone decided to leave a long, transphobic rant in the comments of yesterday’s blog post.  I gave it a quick read-through then sent it off to spam, since that would pretty much block that person from posting here under that email again, then blocked their their Google + account, which appeared to have been set up just to make their post.  About an hour after that happened I did some of my computer magic and discovered that (1) they were on my site for fifteen and a half minutes, (2) they posted from an iPhone, which is probably why they were on my site for so long, (3) the owner of the phone comes from a city in eastern West Virginia, and (4) their email had vanish.  Yes, you can run, but I will find you.

Then, walking home last night, I pulled a muscle in my left calf.  This is the same muscle that I tore teaching aerobics about twenty-five years ago, and it had started acting up on me yesterday morning as I got out of bed.  I’ve tried heat and ice on it, and today it’s in better shape though still sore.  So today I stick to flats throughout the day.

The good is that I opened boxed for a gift exchange I was in, and I scored a few nice things:

Behold the geeky stash!

Behold the geeky stash!

The mermaid socks I can’t wear because I have huge calves, so I’m giving them to the daughter of a friend who was also in the exchange as she watched a video of me opening my gifts and loved the sock.

Now I have a couple of cool wall hangings, a novel, a frelling bag–

Hodge Geektastic Exchange 0510201603

And more figurines for my limited desk space.

If you know your characters, from left to right it’s Sarah Manning and Helena from Orphan Black, Michonne from The Walking Dead, and behind Helena is Baby Groot who, I should point out, was hand made for me by my gifter.

Oh, and there was one other gift:  a pink oneies that was made special for me.

Pretty in Pink, yeah?

Pretty in Pink, yeah?

Yes, now I can stay warm–and I do mean warm, ’cause that’s fleece–during the winter when there is no one else to keep me warm.  And hope I don’t have to use the bathroom much cause getting into that is like putting on a space suit.

Now . . . what about writing?

Well, my calf isn’t the only thing hurting.  The last couple of days I’ve had considerable pain in the knuckles of my pinkie and ring fingers of my right hand, and it was hurting so much last night that I found it difficult to type.  I managed only a little better output than I had the evening before–about four hundred and sixty-six words this time–and it didn’t help that my left calf was killing me as well, which means I should have been sitting down with my feet propped up instead.  And I just remembered:  the battery on this computer lasts about four hour now, so I could have tried writing that way instead.  Okay, note to self:  try that tonight if you have to write.

What I did get out not only advancing things a little, but ends in a way that no one would ever expect . . .

 

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

Kerry asked about visiting, Annie said yes, as she thought going to the wall was a good idea. Getting there wasn’t a problem: Kerry pulled his broom from Hammerspace and was airborne in about ten seconds, and Annie was alongside, floating into the air with aid from her Flight Gift. After the quick flight to Sunset they landed atop the wall and found a place to rest.

They did something there a few meters from Sunset Tower that they’d never done before: the sat upon the raised outer segment of the wall and dangled their legs over the edge of the fifteen meter high ledge. Annie watched Kerry carefully position himself so he wouldn’t tumble, realizing that his fear of heights hadn’t completely left him yet. She found that phobia a bit usual, as he didn’t have problem flying a couple of kilometers above the ground, but he was still shaky sitting at the top of a fifteen meters wall.

They sat quietly for about ten minutes, holding hands and watching the western light diminish as the sun vanished below the horizon. It was only when it seemed the gloom beneath their feet had become a tangible thing did Kerry speak. “What are you thinking about?”

She half-turned her head to her right. “I’m wondering about what you’re thinking.”

He chuckled. “Me, huh?”

“Yes.”

Kerry stared off to the west towards the town of Annisquam and the harbor beyond. “I just wonder if we’re going to get hit with any more strange stuff before we leave school?”

Annie carefully regarded the question. “While the past few months have been rather revealing and not a little unusual, I believe everything out of the ordinary has likely come to an end.”

“Yeah. Probably.” He released Annie’s hand and set his elbows against his thighs before leaving slightly forward. “You want to see if this Three Bindings thing is going to affect us, don’t you?”

“Naturally.” She swung her right leg up and under her left so she could turn and face Kerry. “You know me well enough that you shouldn’t even have to ask that question, my love.” Annie returned to sitting with her legs over the wall edge. “And I know you well enough to know you want to know if it’ll affect us as well.” She cranked her head around so she could see him clearly. “You should know better, Mr. Malibey.”

He laughed aloud as he turned towards Annie. “I do know better than that, Mrs. Malibey, it’s just—”

Kerry caught himself himself a few words later but couldn’t turn away from Annie, who stared back with a look of amazement on her face. She found her voice a few seconds after silence fell between them. “Well . . . that’s something I hadn’t expect to hear.”

 

And those last paragraphs will have me digging into the last novel, because that’s where this is going in a way:  back to the past.

All I have to do now is get through the day.

"Oh, man:  what sort of shit awaits beyond my door?  Be gentle, please."

“Oh, man: what sort of shit awaits beyond my door? Be gentle, please.”

A Certain Day in May: Wishes and Kisses

Here I am, down to the coffee shop on a rainy and gray Beltane, writing my butt off and feeling better than I did yesterday, which was probably one of the suckiest days I’ve had to push through.  But push I did, and I even managed to get in three hundred words last night, though I had zero motivation to do any writing.

However, Chapter Thirty-two is finished, and a little checking shows that this is the shortest chapter of the novel, shorter than Chapter Nineteen, which was just over fifty-one hundred words.  Hey, I’m still over three hundred thousand words total, so it’s all good.

And it's not like I've been slacking to get to this point.

And it’s not like I’ve been slacking to get to this point.

I should point out that last night’s and today’s writing has happened for the most part while Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue plays in the earbuds.  As a personal note, this has always been one of my favorites pieces, one that I discovered when I was in seventh grade, and one which I’ve loved dearly ever since.  In other words, I knew this before a certain airline made it famous in their TV ads.

Now that my kids are on “their” bench, where is their conversation leading?  Well, let’s listen in–

Continue reading

A Certain Day in May: The Moment of Giving

Kerry’s Birthday Adventure is nearly over, and that’s because I managed my way through another night of nearly eight hundred word writing to bring this second scene to an end.  I didn’t think that was going to happen, but it did.

I even have proof, which is all that matters.

I even have proof, which is all that matters.

 

Now, there isn’t much to say at this point about the writing:  it was just writing, you know?  You wanna know the payoff, which is something I’ve promised for a while.  Well, here it comes, just like the blog title says.

 

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

 

They entered Salem Green, one of the numerous walkways found around downtown Salem, and they quickly found themselves in a small lot behind the restaurant where they would dine this evening. The moment she was certain they were alone Annie pulled Kerry to a stop before drawing him off to the side next to some trees. After a short kiss she reached inside her purse and pulled out a small, gift wrapped box. “Happy birthday, my love.”

“I wondered when you were going to spring this on me.” After removing his backpack and setting it down he turned the box over slowly in his hands. “Quite a difference from last year.”

“Yes, but just as important.” Annie leaned against Kerry resting her chin on the hand she’s clamped over his left shoulder. “Last year when I gave you the Espinoza, it was to allow you to become a better flier and, in time, an excellent racer. I wanted you to feel the sky and become comfortable being there. This, however—” She nodded towards the box. “It’s going to help you next year.”

“Really? Well—” He began to carefully unwrap the package. “Let’s see then.” In about thirty seconds he had the paper off and handed it to Annie to fold and place in his backpack. The uncovered box was slightly smaller than his mobile and completely unadorned. Upon sliding off the top he discovered a small silver clam shell case inside. He popped it open—

Inside was a compass.

Kerry lifted the small device from the case, snapped the case closed, and began examining his present closely. The compass itself sat at one end of a Plexiglas baseplate that curved around half the ring dial, and extended a few centimeters to where he noticed the rulers, an orienting arrow, and a small magnifying lens. He moved it about, watching the arrow slowly align on magnetic north no matter which way he turned.

“I’ve spoken with Penny and Alex about what they did on The Polar Express.” Annie moved around so she was facing Kerry. “I know how you navigate: maps and a compass and visual flight rules, nothing more. And as the navigator of your team you need know that the course you’re setting is correct.” She nodded towards his hands. “I was told by Alex that’s one of the best you can get: it’s what she used during their flight. It will adjust for magnetic variances, it glows in the dark so you can navigate at night, and best of all, that one is global: you can use it in both the northern and southern hemispheres.” She chuckled. “I don’t know if we’ll ever need that function, but I figured it was good to have because you never know where we might travel.”

 

I’m certain there are a few people reading this going, “Are you kidding?  That’s Kerry’s present?”  No, really:  that’s what she bought him.  I’ll even show it too you, because I do know what it looks like.

The gift that any witch with a couple of million Euros in a trust fund can afford.

The gift that any witch with a couple of million Euros in a trust fund can afford.

While that is the current 2016 version, the 2013 version is nearly identical–I know, I’ve looked.  But there’s a little more that goes with this gift . . .

 

“That’s really nice.” He was rather impressed with his new toy, and he not only flashed upon an image of him using it to plot a course on a map, but he also considered the notion that one day in the future he may be somewhere in the southern hemisphere using this navigation aid. “Thank you.” He pulled Annie close and kissed her with great tenderness. “This is a beautiful present, Darling.  I’m going to start working with this over the summer.”

“I as much figured.” She tapped the hand that held the case. “There’s more.”

He pushed away slightly in surprise. “There is?”

“Yes.” Annie chuckled slightly upon the utterance of his question. “Open the case and look inside the lid.”

Kerry did as instructed and saw what he missed when he opened the case the first time: the inscription inside the lid—

 

Tova shte vi otvede obratno kŭm men. Lyubovta, Annie.

 

He read it three times, hoping his nascent Bulgarian would be sufficient, but the only words he recognized were the last two. “I know the last part says ‘Love, Annie’, but I don’t recognize the rest.”

She moved next to her soul mate and pointed at the inscription. “It says, ‘This will bring you back to me’.” Annie turned and kissed Kerry with as much tenderness as he’d done with her moments before. “And it will. No matter where you are, when you want to reach me, you will.”

Kerry closed his eyes and heard her words in his mind once more, then a second and third time. Only then did he slowly open his eyes, though he couldn’t see for they were filled with tears. “Oh, Darling—”

Annie touched his cheek. “What is it, my love?”

“The gift.” He sniffed back the tears. “It’s just a compass, but the feeling you placed within—” He hugged the love of his life tightly. “What did I ever do to deserve you?”

She placed his face between her hands and, while gazing into his eyes, spoke to him in tones of hushed reverence. “You were born.”

 

I ran that last line of the except–“You were born”–over and over for the last week, and most of the time when I played out the last part of this scene I’d begin crying.  It’s touching because Kerry understands what Annie’s saying to him with such a simply gift:  no matter where you are, you’ll always find your way to me.  And since the inscription’s in Bulgarian, no one else–save someone who speaks Bulgarian–will know what Annie had inscribed.

It’s for them and them alone.

Now, something I want to touch upon, so bear with me . . .

The idea of a compass really came to me about a year and a half ago, though I have to admit I didn’t start doing my research on this until about a week back.  It seems like a cheap-ass gift–what did Annie spend?  About €50?  Yeah, about that.  Considerably less than what she spent on Kerry’s broom.

I’ve said several times in the past that they give gifts based upon feeling, not cost.  The most Kerry’s spent on Annie so far was a few hundred Pounds on the earrings, and mention will be made in the next scene about them.

As for this gift . . . I have a little something to show.

A few nights back–Monday the 25th around 10:30 to be accurate–I was chatting with my friend Tanya, who is the person who created the original Annie upon whom my Annie is closely modeled.  We were chatting about the story–which we tend to do–and I brought up the matter of Kerry’s gift.  And here’s what was said:

 

Cassidy Frazee
That will get mentioned, but he’s getting his present from Annie.

Tanya
Oh!!
Does she end up giving him the same thing or is it something else?

Cassidy Frazee
She gave him his broom for his twelfth birthday. This year, because he’s doing the Polar Express the next school year, she’s giving him an engraved compass.
They give gifts that mean something. 🙂

Tanya
Not just because??
lol
Maybe Kerry could use some chap stick
all that wind can’t be good on the lips

Cassidy Frazee
She’ll have written on the back, “This will bring you back to me. Love, Annie.”

Tanya
awe
that’s adorable

Cassidy Frazee
It’s what Annie would do.

 

Of course I hadn’t decided on the exact type of compass the other night, and once I picked the Plexiglas one engraving something on the back would have been out of the question, which is why it’s now inside the case lid.  But that’s beside the point:  what’s important is Tanya’s last statement:  “Awe.  That’s adorable.”  Only the Real Annie(tm) would understand the meaning behind the gift, and get that it’s not a matter of being cheap, it’s a matter of being on point.  This will allow him to navigate across hundreds of kilometers of wilderness in the middle of winter with the intention of returning to the school.  Which they consider home, because we know, home is where the love lay.

Home is where Annie waits.

So, the gift is Real Annie(tm) approved, and that’s all I need to hear.

And you can bet a certain kid is gonna spend a lot of time zipping around England and Wales over the summer making sure he can find his way home when it matters the most.

The Solo Presentation

After a week of writing Chapter Thirty is almost a memory.  I finished it up yesterday with eight hundred and thirty-eight word finish and put scene and chapter to bed.  It was a good time, really, though it took me a while to get through this because I was really having issues trying to get it down into word.

But get it I did.

But get it I did.

So how did this finish up?  With something unexpected, that’s for sure:

 

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

Isis waved her right hand back and forth as if she were trying to keep something from coming forward. “You can worry about that later. We have pictures now—although—” She looked about the room, smiling. “I think there’s something else we’re supposed to do first.”

“I believe you’re right.” Vicky walked behind the kids and made her way towards the other side of the table behind Isis. She tapped Kerry on the shoulder as she walked past. “You wanna give me a hand?”

“Sure.” He followed Vicky without asking question.

Annie, however, knew something was up without needing to ask questions. “What’s going on?”

Kerry glanced towards Annie as Vicky reached for something under the table. “Oh, nothing. Just, you know—” She pulled out a gift wrapped box and set it in Kerry’s outstretched arms. He turned towards his soul mate as he finished his comment. “A present.”

“What?” Annie gave Kerry as a disapproving look as he approached. “I take it you’re responsible for this?”

“I am.” He slowly handed her to box. “Happy Flight Graduation, my Darling.”

It wasn’t the present that made her do a double-take, but the fact that Kerry was so open calling her “Darling” in front of Headmistress Laventure. Vicky and Isis have heard this before, but it has to be a first time for the Headmistress . . .

She examined box. It was about a half-meter by half-meter, and not very thick. The wrapping paper was featureless but felt like it wasn’t cheaply manufactured. Annie set the box upon the table and began removing the wrapping paper carefully. Once the box was exposed she slid the top off and—

 

That Kerry and his gifts.  He knows he’s not supposed to lavish gifts on Annie, but have we noticed her refusing anything?  Not yet.  Do you think she’ll refuse this?  Well . . .

 

Oh.” A woman’s leather jacket, black and cut in a modern European style, lay folded inside. She slowly removed it and held it before her, turning it so she could examine the detail in varying light. “This is—” She spun around towards Kerry and was unable to keep the surprise out of her voice. “This is a Pierotucci.” Annie turned about half-way towards Isis. “This is like yours.”

“Yes, it is.” Isis nodded towards the jacket. “It has all the same enchantments as mine, so it’ll modify itself as you grow, as well as being able to automatically switched back and forth from Normal to Flight mode.”

Annie shook her head in disbelief. “I couldn’t ever imagine getting one of these now.”

Kerry chuckled. “You’d mentioned more than a few times how much you liked hers—” He waited until Annie was facing him once again. “—that I though you needed one of your own.”

 

Something tells me she’s gonna keep this one, too.

Pierotucci is a brand of Italian leather goods, and it was part of my research the other night trying to discover what Kerry would get Annie.  Not only is it genuine, but it’s been enchanted, so that indicates some connection somewhere to The Foundation.  It could be it was ordered from the story and then sent through a cutout for “modifications”, which would make sense.  Either way, Annie is now styling, and yes:  it is an expensive jacket.  Kerry still hasn’t spent as much on Annie as she did on him when she bought his broom, but he’s about €1,400 closer now.

The girl is also feeling the way one might expect–

 

She found herself torn between saying nothing and making a comment, and the later impulse won out. “But—do you know how much this cost?”

“I should: I paid for it.” He moved closer until he was cupping her hands. “It’s not the cost, it’s the thought. And I thought this would not only keep you protected, but it’ll look great when you’re flying.”

“I had a little something to do with buying it—” Isis turned on a friendly yet sly smile. “But this was all Kerry’s idea.”

Vicky nodded. “One he mentioned back in January.”

Annie shook her head in near-amazement. “You did?”

“Yeah.” Kerry nodded. “But I’d thought of it over Yule.”

“I, um—” She found herself speechless, unable to find the words necessary to express her emotions.

Vicky decided now would be a good time to move forward with their original plan. “We should take pictures now, and that will give Annie time to return to her coven and change for dinner.” She began motioning everyone into position. “Annie, Kerry, just stand in front of the table: Trevor should be here any moment to get everything recorded.”

Isis leaned in towards the couple. “We’ll want to do one of your in your uniform with your wings, and then we’ll get a couple of you in your new flight jacket. Okay?”

“Okay.” Annie nodded and then drifted into her own thoughts. The earlier morning breakfast, the preflight preparation, the solo, the mad dashes over the ocean to each of the three buoys, the exciting return with Kerry blasting music designed to not only bring up her spirits but to let the whole school know they’d returned—the day was anything but dull.

And now there was the awarding of her wings, and another gift from her special love. He’s given me so much, none of expected. Always thinking of me . . . Annie felt a sudden lightheadedness begin creeping into her mind, and suddenly grew afraid that she was going to swoon—

Kerry was there are her side with an arm around her waist. He positioned his body so it didn’t appear to the others that he might be keeping her from falling. “Don’t worry, Sweetie. Nothing’s going to happen.”

She stared into his eyes and smiled. “You have me, don’t you?”

He leaned close and whispered. “A good chase is always there to help his pilot.” He kissed her on the check. “Always.”

 

Get this girl excited and she’s all about the swoon.  That’s really her emotions starting to get the better of her, but only those good emotions, like love, happiness, affection:  when those hit she’s ready for the fainting couch.  Good thing Kerry’s there to catch her, just as a good chase should.

So Annie is fully cleared for take-off, and you’ll see that happening a few chapters from now.  First, however, there’s a little matter of putting some of Kerry’s flying to rest . . .

The Calm Before the Light: Prelude to Surprise

Well, how was your evening?  Better than Kerry’s, I hope!  Actually, nothing’s changed for him since I wrote those last few words about him yesterday, the ones that seems to have left him freaking out just a bit.  And why wouldn’t they?  As I told my manicurist yesterday while I was discussing this latest plot twist while she applied Gelish “Manga-Round With Me” to my nails–

A bright pink which does not give me a big, ass-kicking manga, sorry to say.

A bright pink which does not empower me with a big, ass-kicking mecha, sorry to say.

–that it’s one thing to have a girlfriend who has a period, and it’s something entirely difference to find out that one day you’re the girlfriend with blood coming out of your vagina.  Sure, it’s possible that Carrot Girl–or should we just start calling her Kerry Girl?–may have, you know, kinda mentioned this at some point during their dream discussions, but if she did it didn’t stick–or Dream Kerry spent the time walking around his dreamspace with his fingers in his ears going, “Lalalala, I can’t hear you, can’t HEAR YOU!”

It doesn’t matter, kid.  This new Gift is about a done deal, and–oh, yeah:  your Significant Other has thought of something you didn’t:

 

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

“What’s wrong with having a period?” Annie chuckle felt light and relaxing. “You don’t seem to mind when I have one.”

“Yeah, but—you’re a girl.” The second the words left Kerry’s mouth he realized how ridiculous he appeared.

Annie replied to his comment before the others could speak. “If what Coraline is saying is true, when you’ll be that way, you’ll be a girl, too.” She leaned in close and whispered in his ear. “It’s possible I may not be the only one here with little witches waiting to appear, my love.”

 

It’s already been shown that Annie is quite aware that she’s sittin’ on some eggs that are just waiting to incubate, and she wasn’t afraid to tell Kerry months before that she when the time came, she was gonna be proud to get down to the baby making.

Now, it seems, she may not have the market cornered on this family thing.  She’s heard, “Vagina, uterus, ovaries, cycle,” and being that she’s already got that equipment, it isn’t a great stretch to figure out on the fly that under the right conditions Kerry could likely conceive and bring forth “little witches,” as Annie says.  And, yes:  this is also discussed in the next chapter.  I’m leaving no stone unturned here.  And way to go, Annie:  you are really toughening up your soul mate.  How soon before she’s rubbing his belly and saying, “Anyone in here?”  Oi, this girl.

Keep in mind, too, that I’m very big of Chekhov’s Gun, a literary device that says if you show a gun in the first act of a play, by the last act that gun is used.  How likely is it that I’ve introduced Chekhov’s Menstrual Cycle?  You’ll just have to wait . . .

Just as Kerry’s waiting on an answer, too.  But right now there’s something else to discuss:

 

Kerry waited for the enormous blush to dissipate before looking to Coraline. “Is that true?”

“We’ll discuss that later.” Coraline believe that going into some limited detail about the issues Kerry could face while female was better handled when it was just him, Annie, and herself. “What you need to know now is that this first transition is the only one over which you’ll have no control. After that you’ll be able to control the transition from one physical aspect to the other, though a few of the people who had this Gift indicated that after the first transition it took anywhere from twelve to twenty-four hours before they were able to switch back to the original body.

“Now, keep in mind is that you are in full control of this Gift, just like you are as a Mimic. You don’t need to worry that you’ll be walking to class in the middle of the day and then—BAM, you’re a girl. That will never happen. You determine which of your forms in which you’ll live, and you determine how long you want to stay in those forms.” She gave a mild shrug. “If after the first transition you decide to never become a girl again, that’s your choice, Kerry. No one’s going to force you to do something with which you’re not comfortable.”

Kerry looked off to his right while slowly nodding. “Okay. I guess—I mean, that’s good. I wouldn’t want—” He returned to looking straight ahead. “If I don’t have to be that way, that’s fine.”

“Why is that?”

He turned to Annie, who had been moving closer to him throughout the discussion, and was now pressed against his left side. “I don’t want you—”

“To be upset? Why? Because you think I’m going to feel that way if you’re a girl?” She lowered her head slightly to the left. “When we spoke with Erywin in The Grove last year, and I told you both about how I’d decided that I was going marry you, and I was upset that I hadn’t given you any say in the matter, do you remember what you said?”

Kerry vaguely noticed the looks on the faces of the headmistress and Jessica, who weren’t involved in counseling and wouldn’t have known of their discussion from their A Levels. “I said that even after hearing your plans I wasn’t going anywhere.”

“That’s right. And just because you can change into a girl isn’t going to alter my love for you. You’re becoming an expert on transformation—” She looked about the room. “Should I leave you because you may be able to change into one of the women in this room? Or into me? Or into this sofa?” She kissed him on the cheek. “Obicham te, skŭpa moya polovinka: I would never leave you for something that—minimal. No, my love:  I’m not going anywhere.”

 

No, this Gift isn’t a Ranma Curse where someone tosses cold water on Kerry and he has to run off to his tower in get into his fuku.  Like Annie is with her Flight and he is with his Mimic, he’ll be in control of Bigender.  After, you know, spending maybe a day at the other side of the physical gender binary.  And when does this happen?  Well, if it’s supposed to occur within a year of this Acceptance Dream he’s going to have, then it happens either at the end of this novel, or sometime during the next novel.  But happen it will–

And the comforting thing is that Annie has accepted this part of him–or as she puts it, she’d not going anywhere.  He said that when she revealed that she’d never given him a choice when it came to wanting to marry, and she’s saying that just because there may be times when he’s a member of Team Vagina, that doesn’t mean she’s gonna scoot on his ass.  She gonna remain at his–um, her side, and while it remains unsaid that there may be some adjusting necessary on her side of that particular equation, she’ll always love him–um, her.  She won’t leave him–

Something Deanna echoes, only . . .

 

Deanna spoke almost immediately after. ”No, Annie, you’re not.”

She looked at the seer. “I know I’m not.”

“No, Annie—” Deanna’s tone turned serious. “That’s not what I mean.”

“I know what she means.” The Phoenix motioned to both children. “Tell her to hold up a moment, then both of you—come here.”

Annie relayed the message as both Kerry and she approached The Phoenix, who stood in the open area to the right of Mathilde’s chair and in front of the library entrance. “Now stand here—” She positioned Annie with her back to the door and Kerry facing her, then moved them together until they were close enough to hug.

All the women watched in silence as the couple took direction from an unseen force, and once Annie and Kerry were in place Deanna decided to speak up. “What is she doing?”

“I’m not sure.” Annie followed The Phoenix, who was now taking up position behind their sofa. “What’s going on?”

The spirit smiled back. “Deanna wants to show everyone something, and I’m—” She winked. “—going to make things a little easier for her.”

“What do you mean?”

The Phoenix’s smile grew wide. “Watch.” She threw open her arms—

The room exploded in light.

 

And what the hell is THIS?  Why is the room exploding in light?  What is The Phoenix doing?  What does Deanna want to show?

What?  Did you think I only had one surprise up my sleeve?

Preparing For All Points Homeward

Since I was on the road all day yesterday there wasn’t a bit of writing–other than my blog post, naturally, but in many ways I don’t count that.  However, that doesn’t mean I wasn’t ready for this morning . . .

First off, Chapter Nineteen has begun.  We’re onto the point after Yule and, if you look at the image below, you’ll see we’re even into another year:  2103.

It won't be long before I'm up to our current year--whenever that may be.

It won’t be long before I’m up to our current year–whenever that may be.

Besides being the title of a song and album, “Goodnight Vienna” is Liverpool slang for “It’s all over,” and that pretty much sets the tone for this chapter:  the holiday is finished and students are on their bounce back to America.  It could also means more, but for me to say so . . . naw, I don’t play that way.  But I do like to pick up action somewhere on the worlds stage–maybe like in the namesake of the scene title?

 

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

Annie walked through Level 3 of the Vienna International Airport appearing as if she knew exactly where she was going—which, in fact, she did. After leaving her parents at The Foundation Jaunt Lounge, the concierge gave the message left for her almost an hour earlier, and those directions were the reason she was absolutely certain of her destination.

The lights were on in Level Three. The sun had set two hours before and full darkness was nearly upon the city of Vienna, though outside of the terminal windows the glow of the distant city were bright against the cloudy sky. Annie loved Vienna, and while there were other cities that stirred her teenage sensibilities more, there was an energetic charm that undeniable. One day I have to come here with Kerry and show him around . . .

She neared Gate G9 and saw the end of her journey nearing: the Vienna Tea and Coffee House cafe, situated in the middle of the level. Their selection of beverages and snacks wasn’t her reason for coming to this spot: the person waving at her from his table was. Annie headed directly for the table and took the seat being offered. “Hello, my love.”

 

In case anyone is interested–or not, ’cause I’m gonna tell you anyway–those three paragraphs came about from about forty minutes of looking about and trying to get things to load on a crazy wireless connection.  First off, I needed a map of the airport terminals at Vienna International, and wouldn’t you know they’d have a pdf of said layout?  But of course, because that’s how the world runs today.

Terminal map--check.

Terminal map–I mean, Flughafenplan:  check.

On the map I see that Level 3 has areas for people to rest and eat.  So I do a few more searched and I find an ifly.com listing for that level at the airport, and that’s when I discover that right by Gate G9 is the Vienna Tea and Coffee House.  The Vienna Airport site indicated that passengers were the only ones who access the G Gates on Level 3, but we know better than that:  if my kids and jaunt in and out of international airports around the world, they can also access any public spot in said airports.  If nothing else they’d just turn invisible and thumb their noses at airport security as they walked past the checkpoints.

And because a few Google searches are all that’s needed these days to find out just about anything you like, you know there are pictures of this location online–

Welcome!  Coffee, tea, or . . . another beverage?

Welcome! Coffee, tea, or . . . another beverage?

Now, where the guy in the orange shirt is sitting in the picture:  that’s where Kerry sat waiting for Annie.  He could have been sitting in the back where there’s a couple of easy chairs in front of a fire, but he wanted to people watch–and it’s also easier to see his soul mate coming . . .

 

“Hello, Darling Sweetie.” Kerry pushed in her chair and retook his own. “I see you got my message.”

“I wouldn’t be here otherwise.” She took the cup offered and waited for Kerry to pour the water over her tea. “I see you came prepared.”

“I knew it was only a matter of time before you arrived.”

She set the cup aside to let the tea seep. “So you’ve been here an hour?”

“About that.” He shrugged. “I emailed Ms. Rutherford this morning and told her I needed to get out of Cardiff, so if she could come for me about an hour early I’d appreciate it greatly.”

Annie immediately imagined more trouble at his home. “Was your mother causing trouble for you again?”

“Naw, nothing like that. It’s just since cooking for New Year’s Day, all we’ve been having is take away or leftover take away, and I wasn’t about to sit through a quick nuking of last night’s Chicken Tikka Masala again.” He shook his head. “She showed up an hour early and told my folks my flight had been moved up, and we have to leave like now—”

Annie chuckled because she could imagine his parents turning somewhat panicky at the prospect of their son missing his international flight. “Did you at least get a hug when you left?”

Kerry raised an eyebrow. “What do you think?”

“No.”

“Got a goodbye and see you in a few months and that was it.” He ran his finger around the rim of his tea cup. “Not that I was expecting anything else.”

 

You can bet that Annie had a light dinner with her family–who are an hour ahead of Vienna–before heading off to the airport, and she probably received a few hugs and maybe a kiss or two before leaving.  Kerry, it appears, was getting lots of leftovers, and he’d had enough of that crap that he begged out early with the help of his case worker.  Two years ago he probably wouldn’t have given a shit:  now he’s different, and being on his own and eating what he likes are his thing these days.  Oh, and the lack of affection thing?  Looks like someone’s got that covered, too–

 

She reached over and gently rubbed his hand. “Well, until you do return to Cardiff, you’ll get all the hugs you need.”

He smiled as he started at the table surface. “I’m gonna need a lot.”

“That won’t be a problem.”

“And kisses, too.”

She began grinning. “That can be arranged as well. Because—”

He looked up. “Yes?”

“I require all that as well.”

A tight smile formed upon Kerry’s face as he rocked his head back and forth. “Good thing we’re heading home”

“It’s good indeed.” She leaned over and planted a light kiss on his cheek. “I love you, Kerry.”

He returned the kiss. “I az te obicham, Annie.” Kerry took a slow sip of his tea before setting his cup down in a hurry. “Oh, I forgot—” He rummaged about in his backpack for a few seconds before removing a small, gift wrapped package. “Happy Christmas, Darling.”

 

What’s this–presents?  It would seem that way.  I’ll have more on that tomorrow after I write the rest of the scene.

It won’t be long before my kids are home . . .

Up the Air Without a Broom: the Example

Life is interesting, which is one of the reasons why we keep at it, because we want to see what’s coming next.  Yesterday was one of those moment, because I went off for my first wig consultation and fitting, and came out with a really lovely wig that was about fifty buck cheaper than my last wig.  I’m really thinking about doing a video on all my wigs, which now number four, of which only two are wearable.  Oh, and after yesterday’s consultation, the stylist and I agree:  lighter colors are me.

Tonight I go off for more face burning, and when I come back if I’m not in too much pain I’ll try to start up the next scene–

Hey, what's that wingmate stuff coming up next?

Hey, what’s that wingmate stuff coming up next?

Yes, time for that other flying class, that one where Kerry’s gonna be teamed up with the girl who tried to win his heart, and crashed into Epic Fail territory.  And it’ll start out interestingly, because Kerry won’t need to change into his flying leathers, as he’s already in them.

Speaking of flying . . .

The final tally last night was just over twelve hundred words.  I was enjoying the scene, even though I found it hard to get everything right.  I’d run the scene over and over in my head maybe a dozen time, and still, I gotta struggle with the words.  That’s how imagination works.

A lot of the scene dealt with Isis walking Kerry through the motions of flight because she wanted to make a point for Annie’s sake.  And the part where Isis make’s her point is, I think, one of the best I’ve put together . . .

 

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

“Stay where you are for now.” Isis turned away from the hovering boy and focused her attention on Annie. “Like I said, basic stuff you already knew. You also know you can combine the different modes of action, but even though it’s known as the six degrees of freedom, you’re not really free. Not like—”

Slowly Isis rose about a half a meter off the floor, then arched her back and rolled over, twisting around as she gained another half meter of altitude. About three quarters of the way through her backward somersault, she kicked out her legs and nulled her motion so she was facing Annie and Kerry, hovering on her side looking as if she were stretched out on a flat surface. “—this.”

Isis twisted round again, this time rolling to her right as she tucked her legs. She rolled forward as easily as if she were on the ground, then stopped and straightened, standing on her head for about three second before performing a pike, straightening, and shooting fifteen meters up. She tucked in her arms and spun, then dived to her left and towards the floor as she flicked her legs to the right and left.

A meter and a half above the floor she arched once more and did a slow climb to her left, leveling out two meters up and directly in front of both children. Isis pushed her arms out as if she were touching something, and almost appeared to be sitting in mid-air. “You flew before, Annie—” The security chief’s grin was warm. “—but you didn’t have Flight. With this, you’ll move through the sky much like a swimmer moves through the ocean, only our medium isn’t water—it’s air.”

Isis began moving about in the air in a slow motion dance, lifting her legs to her chest as she rolled onto her back while continuing to move forward. “It’s much as I imagine being is space is like.” She twisted onto her back, then stopped moving as she straightened her flat body so she was once more head up. “Only here, we’re not moving like this because we are falling—” She appeared to push with both hands against something on her left and slid quickly to her right. “We’re the ones who ignore gravity and do with it as we like.”

She sunk towards the floor, turning so she was facing Annie before appearing to swim upwards. “Kerry can always fly with us, but this is our ocean: air is the medium in which we swim.” Isis nodded in his direction. “Here, he’s a submarine, where as we—” She corkscrewed to her right, rolled over, and finally straightened up and hovered a couple of meters in front of Annie. “—are mermaids.” The demonstration over, Isis touched down. “Do you want to be a mermaid?”

Though she wasn’t one for flights of imagination, seeing Isis in the air pulled out emotions kept buried deep within Annie. “I do.”

 

"Finally!  Someone wants to be like me instead of building stupid snowmen!"

“Finally! Someone wants to be like me instead of building stupid snowmen!”

Mermaids of the Air.  I should note that, though not stated, Isis and Annie are the only two people at the school with the Flight Gift, so they are the only ones who can do this stuff.  Also, at the moment, the three in the Aerodrome are among a small group of people who know Annie has Flight, and none of these people are students.

One type of flying down–

Another to come.

The New Paradigm

A bit more back in the grove last night, but only a bit–does nine hundred and eighty-nine words count as a groove?  Not too bad.  The scene severed it purpose and set up things for my kids, as evidenced by the title of this post.

One more scene exists for Chapter Five, and while thinking it through last night I realized:  it’s so far taken three chapters and about twenty-five thousand words to cover the six days since the kids left home and returned to school–and at the moment it’s only the Saturday before class begins.  Maybe forty-four thousand words will flow under the writing bridge before the first day of class begins–

Which reminds me:  the next couple of days will see me setting up the class rosters for two of the advanced classes since it would be nice to see with whom Annie and Kerry are attending those classes.  We may never see them, but I like to know they are there.  We’ll see a couple of those popping up in the next couple of chapters.

hold

Astria Porta?  The last time the kids visited that spot there was kissing.  Is this another kissing part?  Do we have to read it?

Kids, we read all the kissing parts.  And speaking of kissing . . .

Magical Kidlettes are resting on the easy chairs, and they were starting to discuss their ordeals.  Which sorta leads to this:

 

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

She noticed how slow and deliberate his movements were. “How are you feeling, my love?”

“Kinda sore all over.” He laced his fingers into hers. “I’ve never done that much in a few hours.”

Annie could empathize. While she was good with levitation, she’d felt the exertion. I suppose he was doing a number of changes quickly, and some of it wasn’t easy. “What’s important is you did. We both did.” She leaned over the arm of her chair and kissed his hand. “You do know that a year ago tonight were walked through Founder’s Gate?”

“Oh, yeah.” He leaned towards Annie. “It was the second thing I thought of this morning.”

“Really?” Annie grinned. “What was the first?”

“Ummm . . .” He moved closer and closer to Annie’s chair. “A girl with a cute accent.”

“You think my accent is cute?”

“One of many things . . .” He covered the last few centimeters between them and lightly brushed his lips against hers—

 

See?  Kissing.  If Honest Trailers ever did one for this story they’d rename the story, “Magic . . . and kissing.”  Probably followed by, “When the f@#k do these kids do any magic?  They’re always kissing.  Get a room, huh?”  They’re workin’ on it, Trailer Guy.

And Annie has a cute accent?  I know someone who doesn’t think it’s all that cute.  But as long as Kerry does, that’s all that matters.  It’s such a cute accent, he’s gonna cover it up–with his mouth.  There’s that kissing again . . .

 

“Ah, hem.”

They both turned towards the front of the room and faced the origination of the throat clearing. Standing between Professors Kishna and Salomon was a short, dark woman with long dark hair that reached to the middle of her back. Annie and Kerry had met Professor Tristyn Julin, the head of the Gift Department and the Applying Powers instructor, when they’d entered the building for testing, as this area was the South African instructor’s realm.

Professor Julin sat as Jessica and Vicky took positions to her left and right. “Well, I finally get to see the Lovey Dovey Couple in action inside my own department building.” She chuckled. “I feel honored.”

Both students returned their chairs upright. Kerry tried to look appropriately embarrassed: this wasn’t something that Kishna or Salomon hadn’t seen before, but he didn’t know the new professor outside of seeing her at special school functions and the Midnight Madness. “Sorry, Professor.”

 

You know it’s bad when an instructor you’ve never met before calls you by one of your school-wide nicknames–and does so in her own building in a semi-humorous way.  With your other instructors standing there as well.  Next to her.  Watching you.

But look at Annie:  does she seem bovvered?

 

Annie didn’t mind being seen: their reputation were well known throughout the school, and if the new professor hadn’t wanted them together that way, then something should have been said. Instead, she wanted to get to the results of their testing. “I take it you’ve examined the data?”

Julin chuckled and exchanged looks between her fellow instructors. “You were right: she does get right to business.” The Gifts instructor nodded slowly. “Yes, you two: we have completed examining the results of your data.” She glanced at something on her tablet, leaned forward. “I’m going to turn this over to Victoria and Jessica, as this really falls under their purvey as far as instruction goes—

Both children grew more attentive upon hearing this last statement. Kerry turned to Annie. “Does this mean—”

Vicky spoke up, taking over the conversation. “Yes, it does, Kerry.” She looked straight at Annie. “We’ve confirmed that you personally weren’t levitating and that you have the Flight gift. I’ll set up an appointment with Isis so she can start training you.”

“Of course, Vicky.” Annie remembered that Isis was the only person at school who could fly, and that she would be responsible for all the hands-on training elements. “When will that begin?”

 

Annie not only gives zero shits if she’s caught with her lips locked around her soul mates, but she called a professor by her first name in front of other professors.  Now . . . that could be due to school not officially starting–in the next scene it’s started that it’s Saturday after their arrival–or it could be due to getting real chummy with other instructors over the last year.  Either way, Annie gets the lowdown from Vicky:

 

“No right away: I’ll leave that up to Isis to set up a schedule. Most of it will occur on Friday mornings, but it won’t be every Friday, and sometimes you’ll work on other dates.” Vicky turned to Kerry. “For the first class, however, I want you there.”

“Me?” He was somewhat surprised to be asked.

“Yes, you. I want you to act as Annie’s chase when the time comes.” She eyed him carefully. “You know what that is?”

He grinned. “You want me to follow and watch her when she’s flying.”

Vicky nodded. “Yep. Since you’re in Advanced Flight, and already qualified to fly solo outside the school walls, it’s a no-brainer that we want you to act as Annie’s chase.”

It made a great deal of sense to Kerry. He’d not only be able to help if the need arose, but he knew Annie, and he might see things in how she performed that might indicate how she was feeling. “Okay, no problem.” He reached out for Annie’s hand, which appeared for him to touch. “We’ll do this.”

“Great. I’ll leave it to Isis to tell you how she wants things done.” Vicky leaned forward and looked across Tristyn to the Transformation instructor and coven leader. “Jess?”

 

Kerry gets to play chase plane for Annie, which is fun, fun, fun.  Actually, it means he gets to spend time outside the walls with Annie, even if they are in the air for all of that.  This is actually going to lead to one of the scenes I’ve seen in my head that I so want to write, but probably not for another fifty or sixty thousand words.  Don’t worry:  they get to do a lot of flying this year, mostly with Kerry just following and being quite.  Maybe he’s training for marriage?   Hi ho!

If Jessica is getting called, then that means there must be some news for Kerry, right?

 

She nodded. “Kerry, we have the same conformation for you: it would appear you have the Mimic gift, which means if you weren’t all ready in Advanced Transformations, I’d moving you in from the regular class.” Jessica sat back and crossed her legs. “Now, as you’ll need to learn how the spells work along with being able to apply the Mimic gift to the appropriate ones, I’ll work with you one-on-one for a bit each class.” A bright grin appeared on her face. “Given your propensity to learn magic quickly, I imagine you’ll have a mastery of basic Mimicry before Yule.”

Professor Julin folded her hands across her stomach and pressed her thumbs together. “Though you’re not officially part of the Gifts program—because your Gifts are only a small part of what you can do—we’ll be here to help out when possible, such as coordinating with Doctor Gallagher when it’s necessary to perform medical exams.” Annie and Kerry both smiled: it was unusual to hear another member of the staff call Coraline “Doctor Gallagher”, a title she never used herself unless it was absolutely necessary. “We probably won’t see you down here too often—”

Jessica chuckled. “Unless either of you spawn another Gift.”

Tristyn nodded. “It’s rare, but it sometimes happens.”

Annie slowly shook her head. “I think—” She lanced back to Kerry, who was still holding her hand. “—one gift apiece is enough for us both.”

 

None of the “Nurse Coraline” stuff here:  apparently the head of Mutant Studies–one of the nicknames for the Gifts Department–ain’t down with the school doctor not referring to herself as the school doctor.  Now, Coraline does call herself the school doctor, or Chief Medical Officer, when necessary, but she got used to the nurse handle before she had to take over medical duties at school suddenly, and just never got out of the habit.

There we have it:  witches, sorceresses, and now they are down with their mutant powers.  We’ll see how those play out in future scenes, but it’s gonna be fun.  More or less.

Light As a Feather, Changed and Now Bored

It’s almost forty-two thousand words into my new novel, and still not one day of class.  So much set up, so much to do even though I feel like I’ve done it already.  It’s one of those things playing at my mind, that I want to get into this story . . . and then I realize, I am in the story.  This is needed.  And I’m writing it, slowly but surely.

So let’s get going.  In the story is 1 September, and a year before Annie and Kerry were walking into this joint.  Today . . . they’re doing something different:

 

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

After the jaunt Annie slowly stumbled in through the south entrance of the Sloan Powers Center, escorted by one of the students who studied there. One of the girls who helped Vicky during Annie’s testing walked alongside: she wasn’t actively helping, but was rather there in case Annie needed any assistance.

Annie wasn’t completely worn out, but she felt the strain of the last two hours.

Doing magic required expending personal energy to extract magical energy: it was the trade-off that witches incurred in order to craft their art. Usually the person energy expended wasn’t close to the energy retrieved, but as with any physical activity, after a while the witch in question will grow tired—even more so if there is continual crafting.

None of the crafting she’d done over the last year required using a lot of physical effort; her most strenuous class from her A Level was Advanced Spells, and two hours of crafting there ended up being no more difficult than taking a long walk from The Pentagram to the Observatory. This time, however, she’d found herself crafting almost non-stop for two hours, and while she wasn’t exhausted, the experience had certainly tired her. Instead of the experienced feeling like a walk to the Observatory, Annie felt more as if she’d jogged there.

And she knew if she felt tired . . .

 

I’ve not talked much about the thing in the south part of the school, and for good reason:  there isn’t much there.  See below:

The Pentagram and all points south.

The Pentagram and all points south.

You can see The Pentagram and Great Hall, the Spell Center on the left, and the Transformation Hall, the Chemistry Building, and the Instructor’s Residence on the right.  In this image “above” those are the Tesla Science Center and the Sloan Powers Center, and slightly above them in a short, long building known as the Hanger.  Above the Hanger is the Aerodrome, and almost due left of that is the Flight School, sitting on the edge of the light green area that is Selena’s Meadow.

In the upper left we have The Diamond, the racing stadium that can also be used for training.  All the way at top center is the South Wall and Gloucester Bend of the Green Line, and beyond that the town of Gloucester.  Beyond that is a lot of forest, and the remains of what was once known as Dogtown.  Over in the lower right, where that portion of wall and a tower sit, is the area where Emma and Kerry crashed down during the Day of the Dead attack.

I should point out that the Hanger is on its third incarnation.  The first one was built in the 1930s; that was later taken down in 1971 and replaced with a structure that looks quite like the one standing today.  The second incarnation was blown up by Maddie’s husband in 2000, during the Scouring.

It’s in the Hanger that Annie was doing her Gifts testing–which is what is happening in this scene–and Kerry is doing his in the Sloan Center.  The Tesla building looks like a T, and the Sloan Center is to the right, shaped like a U.  That’s where the action is taking place, and this is a part of the school–a small part–that has not been seen yet, because this area is for the Gifted and the Mad Scientists who are also witches, but are more technowitches and “mutants” than anything else.  They need the love, too.

Speaking of love . . .

 

The girl stopped next to a door and opened it about half-way. “You can wait in here. The professors will be with you as soon as they’ve finished examining your results.”

“Thank you.” Annie nodded at the girl as she pushed the door open the rest of the way and walked into the room beyond. Its wasn’t large: there was a table and a few chairs to her right, and a few large chairs—much like the ones in their Pilot’s Briefing Room in the Flight School—only these reclined.

One close to the table was fully reclined: the person in the chair, who wore loose light blue lounging pants and a gray tee shirt just like hers, looked up and slowly waved. “Hey—” Kerry pointed to the chair to his left. “Come sit.”

“I will.” She sat in the chair and marveled at its comfort, recognizing it was likely enchanted to feel this way. She reclined so she could seen Kerry without having to twist around. “This is nice.”

“It is.” He slid his hand behind his head. “Where did they take you?”

“Over to the Hanger.” The Hanger was one of three structures on school grounds where air craft could be stored and tested, though its main purpose was so students from the Tesla Science Center had a place to work on their projects. “Vicky and three students did the testing.”

“What did they have you doing?” Kerry stretched as he tried to stifle a yawn.

“A lot of levitating.” Annie stared at the ceiling as she recounted her experience. “I’d levitate something, then I’d levitate myself; then a few other things, then myself; then more things, on and on.” She rolled over so she was facing Kerry. “Then they had me stay in the air for about an hour while I levitated dozens of objects.” Annie stretched her right arm out towards the top of the chair and lay her head down. “What did you do?”

“Minor transformations—” Kerry rolled towards Annie. “Trying to change things like hair, eyes, lips, complexion, then trying to copy the same things from two other students.” He rolled his eyes upwards. “One of them was a girl, and Jessica had me trying to mimic her hands and feet.”

Annie perked up. “Did you?”

“Twice.” Kerry shrugged. “Though I did her fingers first . . .” He flexed his right hand. “It sort of hurt ‘cause her hands were smaller.”

Annie held her left hand towards Kerry. “That tends to happen.”

He reached out with his right and touched her extended fingers. “I’ve noticed.”

 

Poor babies hanging out in nice easy chairs while wearing yoga gear.  It’s hard out there for a witch, I tell ya.  But I’ll get into the writing tonight, perhaps finish this scene and move to the next.

I really want to get into the classes.  I think.

Out of Geekdom

Nothing about writing today, because I didn’t work on anything writing related last night.  It was a time to relax and recharge, and I’ll get into things a little tonight after I return from getting my nails done and grabbing something to eat.  No, I needed a nap and the need to sit and watch some TV last night, all the while thinking about something that’s been on my mind for a while.

It has to do with geekdom.  If you’ve followed the blog for a while you’ve seen some of my posts about my various steps into things geeky.  I’ve been into a lot of different things over the years, and I suppose I could say that I’ve tempered that love with a sense of reality, turning my love of various fandoms into a thing that I nurtured and cherished.

However . . . this year I’ve stepped into a “geeky gift exchange” that was limited to a small number of people, and since joining I’ve been going nuts.  No, really:  I’ve been really beating myself up the last couple of weeks over being in this group.  I should point out that I get like this with any gift exchange, because I’m fairly particular about giving gifts.  It’s not the value that I want someone to remember, but rather, I want them to have something that comes from my heart and speaks to them.

And then I begin reading what people in the group already own, what they’ve collected–and I began feeling bad.  Not for them, but rather, for me.

To paraphrase Karen Blixen, I had a collection in geeky things in my library in my home.  It wasn’t big, but it was growing, and it covered a lot of different things.

My first love had always been book–science fiction to be exact.  I was a space travel junkie, but there were a few other stories that I loved just as well, and in the 1960s and 70s I spent hours reading and trying to find stories relating to my favorite authors.  I collected Omni and Twilight Zone magazines, both sadly gone these days, and both of which offered fantastic stories and information while they were out.  I had nearly every issues of the first and all the issues produced during the Twilight Zone‘s short, two year run.  Twilight Zone was famous for first-run printings of Harlan Ellison’s Grail and Paladin of the Last Hour, among his best writing and my favorite stories, as well as Steven King’s The Jaunt and his now-famous review of The Evil Dead where Steven pretty much lost his shit and gushed out his love for the picture.

Then it was Doctor Who, which I started watching in PBS in Chicago about 1980.  Yes, twenty-five years before all the fans who today talk about how they’ve seen ALL THE EPISODES of the show, starting with Rose in 2005.  Uh, huh, sure you have.  I was fortunate to be able to watch the show on one of only two networks in North America that ran it at that time.  (The other network was a station in Toronto, Canada.)  After a while I began taping the show so I could go back and watch episodes when the mood struck, and when our local station finally managed to get access to the then full catalog of existing episodes (just under a hundred are missing, having been destroyed during various BBC vault purges), I was kept busy buying VHS tapes in bulk.

Then I asked for a scarf.

The Forth Doctor was my first Doctor, and he was known for, among other things, his long scarves.  My first wife, pregnant with our son, felt like she needed something to do, so she found a pattern for the multi-colored, eighteen foot scarf, and made it for me.  It was big and heavy, but it was also glorious.  I would actually wear it out and to work, and I didn’t mind the stares shot my way by people who wondered what in the hell I had wrapped around my body.

I few years later I wore that scarf to a huge convention where I met several of the actors, watched the first North American viewing of the Doctor Who episodes The War Games and The Caves of Androzani, and eventually had my picture taken standing alongside a full-sized Dalek that two guys had made in their auto body shop in high school.

This is not that Dalek:  back in my day Daleks didn't sport v-neck armor.

This is not that Dalek: back in my day Daleks didn’t sport v-neck armor.

I went to several DW cons over the next few years, cosplayed a few more times (we just called it “dressing up in costume” because we didn’t know what I was going to get labeled in the future), and met more actors.  At one con I managed to spend nearly forty minutes chatting with Colin Baker, the Sixth Doctor, and we just talked about things–not always about the show, but stuff about what it was like to act, what it was like to be in other shows, what it was like to live in England and have to hop a flight to Chicago where he’d find himself talking to people like me.  We did get to talking about his not being allowed to have a Regeneration Episode, and he had a . . . few . . . choice . . . words on that matter.  Still and all, Colin was an extremely nice guy and a lot of fun.

Again, not Colin, but I am digging the blond, Helena-like blond hair that I'd like for my own.

Again, not Colin, but I am digging the blond, Helena-like blond hair that I’d like for my own.

There were several other things I got into over the year.  Role Playing Games, of which I have dozens, and some of the games I ran during the 1990s were, in a way, legendary.  I collected Battletech miniatures, some of which are impossible to find.  I’d have people paint them and put them on display around the home.  During the period I was between my first and second marriages I began collecting anime:  some movies, some OVAs, a few wall scrolls, more than a couple of figurines that could only be bought in Japan–which, thanks to the Internet, was doable.  I also began collecting animation cells from various productions.  Of these I don’t have many:  maybe a dozen.  The majority are from the original Sailor Moon and Urusei Yatsura, with a couple coming from Song of Escaflowne and Silent Mobius.

All old school stuff, but as they are the original, hand-painted cells, they were and are worth a big of cash.  I know a couple ran about $200 in late 1990s money, and I believe the head shot I have of Lum set me back about $300.  The one I really wanted, the one I got into a bidding war with two other collectors, was for a full-body portrait of Sailor Saturn and her Silence Glaive, which was about as rare a cell as they came.  I stopped when my $850 bid was passed, and I later learned from the seller that the winning bid was $1,100.  Yeah, the things we did twenty years ago when we had money.

A figurine of what the cell would have sort of looked like.  Yeah, I just loved some World Destroying Firefly . . .

A figurine of what the cell would have sort of looked like. Yeah, I just loved some World Destroying Firefly . . .

So what happened to all this stuff?  Well . . .

You see, while I was happy in my geekdom, and wanted to continue adding to the collection, others close to me–otherwise known as First and Second Wives–had other ideas.  My first wife grew bored with my geekness–as she did with just about everything else pertaining to me–and began getting pissy with my collections and my interest.  When I got to where everything I did turned into a big argument, I stopped the pursuit of all things geek, though I didn’t actually curtail my gaming on the weekends.  It was during the time just after I moved out that I lost my Omni and Twilight Zone magazine collections:  my ex told me she sold them at a garage sale, but I’m more of a mind that she tossed them in the bin.  I later lost my Doctor Who VHS collection to my stepson, who my second wife allowed to make off with my boxes of tapes.  I was also “convinced” by my second wife to give him my scarf, because there wasn’t any need to keep it, right?

Some of the other things that happened during my current marriage has been the boxing of my figurines and the removal of my wall posters.  Some of them went to my daughter, but most of them have gone into garage storage.  I was told having them around the house looked–well, not good, right?  My Battletech miniatures are boxed up as well, since I was informed that it wouldn’t be a good thing to put them on display.  I never managed to frame my animation cells, either, and right now they’re sitting in my closet back in Indiana, still in their shipping sleeves.  I’m heading Back to Indiana in a week, and I promise to get a few photos of these and put them up for you to see.  One day my daughter will get them if she really wants them; if not, I’ll probably give them away to someone who’d love a pissed-off looking Sailor Mars about to fireball someone’s ass.

I really have no one to blame for my current geeky apathy other than myself.  Yes, I received little to no support in my pursuits, and in so many instances I felt as if I was working in a vacuum with my fandom, because the only one who felt an interest in these things was me.  Just like with my gaming–which I eventually stopped because I was told by someone that they didn’t understand why I gamed, and kept wanting me to scale back my weekend endeavors in that area–I agreed to curtail these activities, and ultimately I lost interest in the act of surrounding myself with things that reminded me of those interests I loved.

These days I keep my geekness to the area of intellectual endeavor, because I can always look something up and memorize facts and use that knowledge to kinda keep me warm a cozy.  It’s not always comforting, however:  it’s like the difference between having a sweater that keeps the chill away, and curling up under a comforter with someone you love who’s going to whisper in your ear, “I’d blow up a star to be able to speak to you one last time.”  No, not nearly the same.

Which is why I see what others I know have and love, and brings on the tears because it reminds me of what I once had–

And what, over the decades, I’ve lost because I didn’t want to upset people who didn’t support me.

Hey, it’s never too late to turn that around, is it?

The Gifted Ones

Finally, I finished that big, long scene in the Instructor’s Library–but only by getting up at five-fifteen today and writing the last five hundred and fifty-five words.  Seriously:  I have them counted out.  In five days I managed almost four thousand words, which is a lot of late.

But I said I’d finish this sucker by today, and I did.

When we last left off, Annie had turned down Jessica’s offer to work with her in the Advanced Transformation class.  Jessica wasn’t happen, but . . .

 

All excerpts, this page, from The Foundation Chronicles, Book One: A For Advanced, copyright 2013, 2014, 2015 by Cassidy Frazee)

Jessica wanted to talk Annie out of her idea of letting Kerry teach her what he learned—but if the headmistress had given her consent to let Annie teach Kerry sorcery, she’d allow things to progress the other way around. She watched Helena out of the corner of her eye. I wonder how much influence she had on Mathilde . . .

“All right.” She pressed her hands together. “The invitation is going to remain open to you all through next year school year, so if you decide to change your mind, you can come into the class.”

“Thank you, Professor.” Annie wasn’t comfortable calling Professor Kishna by her given name, and now wasn’t the time to develop that familiarize. “I’ll likely be in the Black Vault at that time—” Her smile was comforting and bright. “I thank you for the offer, and I will give it consideration.”

“That’s all I ask.” Jessica turned to Kerry. “I can count on your participation, I gather?”

“Yes . . . Jessica.” He smiled at finding himself brave enough to say the Transformation instructor’s name. “I’ll be there.”

 

One out of two ain’t bad, but it wasn’t what Jessica hoped for.  And she suspects that the quiet, dark, sinister looking woman sitting at the end of their queue.  Yeah, don’t mess with Helena, even if you can turn into a big cat and kill people–which Jessica has done.  But her time is over and it’s on to Ramona, who invites them into her Advanced Self Defense class on Sunday mornings (Sunday, you say?  Ramona cares not about you sleeping in–), and they accept.  Then it’s on to the flight instructor . . .

 

Vicky rubbed her Star of David several times before speaking. “We’ve already discussed your attendances in Advanced Flight One—” She tried to put on as sweet appearance as possible for Annie. “I know you said most of what you’d learn in the class you already understand because of things you’ve picked up around the home, and I agree with you.” She bent her head slightly to the right. “Kerry, you’re still in, right?”

“Yep.” His face brightened as he spoke. “Wouldn’t miss it.”

“And that’s a good thing, too, if you’re planning on going out for racing next level. However . . .” She turned back to Annie. “I need to speak to you two about something else.”

Vicky’s statement only concerned Annie because the instructor’s tone seemed so serious. “What’s wrong?”

“Nothing’s actually wrong, but . . .” She cast her gaze between a few of the other women seated in the room. “Wednesday, you want to take this?”

 

Now we know Kerry will do some more flying, and Annie isn’t.  Given what I know about the class, that makes sense–but what’s the, “Wednesday, take this,” business?

 

“Certainly.” She took a deep breath and sighed before she leaned forward in her chair. “Annie, do you remember when you first started doing levitation?”

“How could I forget?” She rolled her eyes. “That was the first spell we learned when we joined the advanced class.” Her face softened as she smiled and took Kerry’s hand. “I had some help that night.”

Wednesday fought to keep her own smile hidden. All these instructors in the room, and she doesn’t care if we see her affection. Kerry doesn’t care if we see his, either. She figured she better speak up before they kissed and made everyone uncomfortable. “You managed pretty well in the next couple of classes, but when we did personal levitation right before Samhain—you did pretty good as I remember.”

Annie remembered the class before the Samhain dance, remembered how nearly all the students who’d never tried personal levitation before struggled. She remembered that it took Kerry about twenty minutes to figure out how to craft the spell so he could hover about forty centimeters off the floor—

While she floated off the floor and could touch the ceiling after about five minutes of practice.

“I remember.” She squeezed back as Kerry squeezed her hand. “I did well.”

“You did more that well, Annie . . .” Vicky pointed at her boyfriend. “Just as Kerry does more than well with a certain kind of magic—”

He looked up. “What do you mean?”

Jessica responded to his inquiry. “We believe you both have Gifts.”

 

This is the real reason for getting them into this room privately.  Any of the instructors could have spoken with them at any time, and normally the instructors don’t get together like this if a couple of students are being invited into one or two advanced classes.  But for something like this . . .

Gifts are a big deal.  It’s an ability that doesn’t actually require the expenditure of magical energy to use.  In fact, it’s pretty much on all the time.  Sight can be considered a Gift; Ramona is Speedy, meaning she can move like five or six times faster than a regular human just by doing so, and Coraline is much the same way.  And then there’s Isis, and the people in the room think Annie has something in common with the Chief of Security–

 

Annie started at Jessica for almost five seconds, then laughed as she turned to Vicky. “You think I have Flight?”

She motioned toward the small Spells Mistress. “Wednesday was the one who brought it to my attention—” Vicky shrugged. “It, um—it makes sense.”

This news was just then getting through to Kerry. “Those are special abilities.”

Jessica nodded. “Yes, they are.”

“I noticed things about Annie’s aura when she’d levitate.” Wednesday folded her hand and began pressing her thumbs together. “I’ve never checked out you when you’ve used transformation magic—”

“But I have.” Jessica slowly crossed her ankles. “Slight things when you’ve crafted Minor Self Transformations. When you’re working with copying the aspects of other people, you do it quickly, and seemingly perfect.”

“What does that mean?” Kerry gripped the inside of his thighs as he leaned forward towards Jessica.

Annie was able to answer again before any of the instructors could speak. “She thinks you’re a Mimic. That makes sense.” She leaned close to Kerry and spoke in a low, near whisper. “Remember when you changed . . .” She glided her fingers back and forth over her right hand.

He instantly picked up on Annie’s reference concerning when he changed this complexion to match Tanith’s. “Right. That was being a Mimic?”

 

 

Kerry’s ability has been seen, and more than a few light bulbs have come on over it.  Kerry also told Tanith in Kansas City that Annie was “really good” at levitating herself–so both kids have noticed these things in each other.  Wednesday’s spoken of them, and Annie would have more knowledge about them because, you know, Legacy.

Now to find that both kids may be Gifted on top of being top of the class witches and sorceresses–yeah, after that, Mathilde has to speak to someone . . . close.

 

Mathilde held the door as the students left the room; they were followed moments later by the rest of the instructors same one. Once she was alone with the last woman, the headmistress closed the door and return to her seat. “You are right about him; he’s changed.”

Helena stretched out her legs and tensed her arms to work out the soreness. “Some of that is due to our little excursion a month ago; a lot of that is due to a couple of conversations Annie told me they’ve had.”

“About?”

“The merits of being a good sorceress. Since then he’s taken well to the idea of keeping up and being the Dark Witch to his Dark Witch.”

Mathilde frowned. “What, exactly, does that mean?”

“Private joke between them. What it means is they’ll do well.” Helena scratched her right cheek. “They’ll help and push each other, and they’ll make it through. After all, why wouldn’t they?” She chuckled. “Salem is known for taking the best witches and pushing them beyond their known abilities—

“And we haven’t even begun to bring out the capabilities of these two . . .”

 

We?  Which we are we speaking of, Dark Mistress of All?  Paranoid people would think that Helena’s speaking of another we, and that Mathilde knows this, and by now we know what we we are weing.  Though, like so many things you don’t see, I know what it all means.

Now, this means Annie and Kerry have their schedule for next year, and it goes like this (their classes are in bold):

 

Monday: Botany and Life Sciences (8:00 to 11:00), Advanced Formulistic Magic (13:00 to 16:00), Astrophysics One (19:30 to 23:30)

Tuesday: History (8:00 to 9:30), Advanced Math (9:30 to 11:00), Transformation (13:00 to 16:00), Advanced Transformation Crafting (19:00 to 22:00; Kerry only)

Wednesday: B Level Spell Casting (8:00 to 11:00), Physical Sciences (13:00 to 15:30), Advanced Spell Casting (19:00 to 22:00)

Thursdays: Mid-Level Sorcery Theory and Applications (8:00 to 11:00), B Level Formulistic Magic (13:00 to 16:30)

Friday: Flight Gift Training (9:00 to 11:30; Annie only), Advanced Flight One (13:00 to 16:00; Kerry only)

Sunday: Advanced Self Defense (8:30 to 11:30)

 

Seriously, you knew I’d have this made up.  Advanced Formulistic Magic actually happens during an Open Study Period, which the kids can’t have right now because it’s class time.  It’s a pretty wicked schedule, because they pretty much go non-stop from Monday morning until Noon Tuesday.  They get Tuesday afternoon off, then Kerry’s off to class and Anne’s off to the Vault, then they’re free until Wednesday afternoon and evening.  Thursday ends up being their “easy day” with only a morning class, then they divide up with Annie having Flight Gift Training in the morning (if she proves to have the Gift) and Kerry having Advanced Flight in the afternoon.  Saturday’s are free, and then they go back to class Sunday morning, probably to blow up zombie homunculi with fireballs.

And so another chapter comes to an end, and there’s not much left to write–

Three more chapters then I can take a rest.

Three more chapters then I can take a rest.

Now it’s time to start bringing the sadness.