Significant Significances

Far better mood I have this morning, thank you.  Yesterday was all about getting stressed out at work, then getting away, getting something to eat, coming home and trying not to lost my emotions.  Okay, didn’t quite make that last one, but everything else happened, and with gusto, as the old beer ads used to say.

It’s life.  Move on.

Things are downright cozy back at the coven tower, though it’s not quite as alone here as it was in the last scene . . .

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

For most of the night they sat before the fire, talking, listening to whatever played on Kerry’s computer, and watching students return to the coven. About twenty-one the last of the coven’s students arrived—D Level Darius Roy and A Level Nancy Piugattuk from Canada, and A Levels Huwey Juanico from the island of Guadeloupe and Menan Torres from Paraguay. Darius waved to his fellow racers as he headed for the stairs—the first time Annie could remember him doing anything that looked outwardly friendly—while the three A Levels sat off to one side of the ground floor for about fifteen minutes chatting. Before heading to their floor they came over to introduce themselves, hoping they weren’t “breaking the fishbowl” by speaking to upper levelmates. Everyone welcomed their warmly, and Kerry told them that this time late year Annie and he were living on their floor, and that while he couldn’t speak for all the students in the coven, those on the second floor were “pretty cool”.

Annie couldn’t keep the smile off here face, even after the A Levels went to their rooms. As much contact as they’d had with upper levelmates during the last year, they’d yet to have contact with the A Levels in their own coven, and she liked how Kerry made them feel welcome. A year ago at this time her moyata polovinka was a quiet bundle of nerves and unhappiness: now he was comfortable with both school, friend, and most of all, his soul mate. She also, in that moment, realized they would be the ones welcoming the new B Levels to the second floor . . .

Since this is the first time we’ve really seen the new students at Cernunnos, and like a lot of other towers the students are from all over the place.  Kerry and Annie, as pointed out, had little access to the upper levels of their own towers:  all of the older students they met came from the other four.  Here now, however, The Party of Five–well, Six for the moment–are taking time to say hi and make the new kid feel welcome.  This is something that’ll get touched on much later in the novel, but for now, it looks as if all the young witches have come home to roost.

Some, however, need to visit other parts of the school first–

As the time neared twenty-two Alex and Kahoku left; he was tired and want to get to sleep, and she wanted to bid him a good night. In the aftermath of their departure the remaining couples grew quiet as they listened to music. Penny and Jairo moved to the floor in front of the fireplace and cuddled, while Kerry lay back against the sofa arm while Annie lay back against him. There wasn’t a need for conversation: both couples wanted to reacquaint themselves with each other. Annie paid no attention to what her floor mates were doing: it was a habit she’d immediately picked up once they began attending the Midnight Madness. It was an unspoken rule that as long as you didn’t stare at others, they wouldn’t stare back.

And Annie was well aware Kerry and she did enough to warrant stares from others.

Alex returned a half-hour after leaving. Penny turned around to greet her, with Jairo taking his time moving around. “You give Kaho some good night snuggles?”

“I gave him more than snuggles.” Alex slid over the arm of the love seat where her levelmates had sat most of the evening. “I so missed him.”

“I know that feeling.” Annie pulled Kerry’s arms around her before adjusting the covers over her legs.

“I checked the status board in the Atrium on the way back—” Alex swung one leg over the love seat arm. “Only about half the instructors and staff are here.” She intertwined her fingers and cracked her knuckled. “Only three of the coven leaders, too.”

Kerry rested his chin against Annie’s shoulder. “Which ones?”

“Arrakis, Salden, and Palmescoff.” Alex snorted. “I met Palmescoff on the way over to Blodeuwedd; she was on her way to the Instructor’s Residence.”

“What was she doing?” Jairo snorted before asking the followup. “Checking on her students?”

“Probably. Don’t know. I didn’t go inside.” The blond Ukrainian girl wiggled her eyebrows. “We didn’t go right to his tower, if you know what I mean.”

Penny chuckled. “No need to elaborate.” She stood and helped Jairo to his feet. “And speaking of good nights, we’re heading up to the second for a few of our own.”

“Sounds like a good idea.” Alex was on her feet before she turned to the couple on the sofa. “You guys coming?”

“We’re going to stay up a bit longer.” Annie turned slightly so she rested on her side against Kerry. “We still have catching up to do.”

Yes, Annie and Kerry have “catching up to do”.  I guess that’s what kids there are gonna call it, right?  But we do get to see that the Lovey Dovey couple aren’t the only ones who do the snogging thing.  And Alex didn’t take her boyfriend right home?  Whatever could she mean?

So lets sorta bring the lights down a little on this party . . .

Penny was about to say something when Alex tapped her arm. “Come on; let the lyubyty ptakhiv have their privacy.”

“Yeah.” Penny gave them a wave. “See you guys in the morning.”

Jairo nodded. “See you later.”

Kerry gave them a short wave. “Mañana, guys.”

Annie did the same. “Have a good night.”

Alex was the last to leave. “Don’t stay up too late.” She chuckled as she bounded up the stairs after her friends.

It wasn’t until their friends were out of sight that Annie stretched out and relaxed. “Alone at last.”

“And I think completely this time.” He slid down slightly so he could rest his head. “We got the whole commons to ourselves.”

“Which mean we should make good use of the space—” Annie rolled around and gave Kerry a short kiss. “I missed you so much, my love.”

First comes the missing, then come the kissing, and then comes the . . . magic?

First comes the missing, then come the kissing, and then comes the . . . magic?

The scene isn’t quite over, and it’ll lead directly into two scenes that comes pretty much back-to-back to each other.  But I have to end this on off first, and that may happen tonight, as there is a bunch of stuff I should do tonight, but that I may put off until tomorrow–

We’ll see–won’t we, Scarlett?

The Samhain Dance: Of Costumes and Congratulations

This installment was one of those I didn’t think was going to come off last night.  Why?  Because I didn’t start writing until about nine-thirty, due to the fact I was involved in a video chat with someone I know, and we were discussing dieting options.  It went on longer than I imagined, but hey, those thing happen.  I’m going to be jammed up a bit this coming weekend, and thing will turn hectic on the writing front.

But I’ll still be here.  Somehow.

Oh, and I finally shaved my head last night.  Now my wig stays right to my head with no moving around.  It’s something I’ve meant to do for a while, and now it’s done.  And, no:  there won’t be pictures.  Well, maybe a video . . .

Now the other people are starting to show up in the story, and that means you’ll start seeing costumes, of which I have a list because that’s how I roll.  Shall we begin, then?

 

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

They looked up in time as Nadine approached wearing a black and yellow-gold jumpsuit. Her red hair was layered around her shoulders, and something that looked like a small purple dragon sat upon her shoulder. “I was wondering when you’d show—” She stopped and gave both Annie and Kerry a careful examination. “Interesting outfits.”

“Thanks.” Kerry gave the “I could say the same thing—Kitty.” He looked up at the creature sitting on Nadine’s shoulder. “How you doing, Lockheed?”

Nadine chuckled at the dragon spoke using a combination of tweets, whistles, and chortles. “He says hi.”

Annie found herself impressed by Nadine’s outfit—and the dragon on her shoulder, which she figured was a homunculus. “Who are you supposed to be?”

Nadine looked to Kerry. “You want to tell her?”

He should his head. “I think I already did.”

Nadine turned her eyes upwards. “Yeah, you did.” She smiled at Annie. “I’m Kitty Pryde, and this—” She held up a gloved hand for the purple dragon to rub its face against. “—is Lockheed. He’s my best bud—aren’t you, dude?” The dragon spoke in the same gibberish language as before, seeming pleased and content.

Kerry filled in the blanks for Annie, figuring that she had no idea what they were saying. “Kitty’s a mutant—one of the X Men—just like the character Nadine played last year. You know how Wednesday’s call sign is Shadowcat ‘cause she can do phasing magic?”

“Yes.”

“Well—” He motioned towards Nadine. “Meet the real Shadowcat.”

 

Nadine seems to have a thing for playing comic book mutants, which probably means she reads comic books.  As Kerry stated, Kitty can phase through any material–walk through walls, if you will, just like Wednesday has shown she can do.  As for the creature on her shoulder . . . yeah, Lockheed, an alien who becomes Kitty’s best friend and companion, and who actually begins drinking heavily in one comic when it looks as if Kitty has died–which if you know the Marvel universe is almost always a load of bullshit.

A mutant girl and her dragon are never parted.

A mutant girl and her alien dragon are never parted.

His existence at the party will get mentioned, though it seems Annie is on the right track . . .

Now someone else shows up–

 

“Yeah, only I can’t do the same stuff Wednesday does, at least not yet.” Nadine shrugged. “I should start getting that this year.”

Annie looked forward to the day she would learn Phasing. Her mother once told her that she’d learned enough to be able to push small object through walls, but she’d always been too worried about something going wrong if she’d tried moving through a wall herself. “I hope Wednesday starts showing how that works; I’m eager to try.”

“Oh, I figured you would.” Nadine looked them both over once again. “Who are you supposed to be?”

“I was wondering that myself.” Jessica walked over dressed in a light, flowing white gown modified to allow her the use of her eight arms, four on each side of her torso. “I have to say I like the hair. Who did them?”

Annie pushed her aqua hair back from her shoulders. “Kerry did his, I did mine.” She reached over and mussed his now-bright blond locks. “This was one of the first things he taught me.”

“I see.” Jessica took a step closer to the couple. “Did you do something to your noses?”

“Thinned them out just a touch.” Kerry took in his Advanced Transformation instructor’s costume. “Are you Tou Mu?”

Jessica straighted a touch. “I’m impressed. Most people have guessed Kali.”

“Kali had four arms, not eight. And you’ve a star in one hand and the sun in another. Plus—” His hand moved up and down, as if he were tracing something upon Jessica. “Outfit’s all wrong for Kali, but not for a Chinese deity.”

Nadine looked down while shaking her head. “How do you know this stuff?”

“Learned it from a role playing game first, and then read more after that.” He shrugged. “Isn’t that what you did?”

“Kinda.” Nadine chewed her lower lip for a few seconds. “Comics with me, then started reading stuff on the Internet.”

Annie tugged at Kerry’s jacket sleeve. “Here they come.”

 

Jessica with eight arms–neat trick, but when you’re the Mistress of Transformation, anything is possible.  And Kerry is right:  you can learn about these things from role playing games, ’cause that’s where I first heard of Tou Mu, and then I went and looked her up.  By the way, Jessica didn’t change her complexion this year, so she’s straight-up dark Chinese deity.

She also doesn't look as if she came off a woodcarving.

She also doesn’t look as if she came off a woodcarving.

But now, there’s someone else.  Who is this “they” Annie speaks of coming?

 

“I see.” He raised his right hand in greeting. “Greetings, floor mates.”

Penny waved back. “Hail to you—” She stuffed her hands in the pockets of her black leather jacket. “Strange costumed creatures.” She turned to Jairo on her left. “You figure them out yet?”

“Are you kidding?” His shrug was almost hidden in the folds of his World War II military coat. “Bad enough they got that secret lab in the lower levels to work on their stuff.”

Annie giggled. “Can’t be much of a secret if you know where it’s at.” She smiled as she nodded in Alex’s direction. “You must be Rose, yes?” She already knew Penny was dressed as the Ninth Doctor from the show Doctor Who, and that Jairo had come as Jack Harkness from both Doctor Who and Torchwood. She’d gotten enough clues from Kerry to figure out Alex was dressed as one of the Doctor’s Companions.

Alex tugged on her Union Jack tee shirt. “Of course; just don’t ask me to speak in English accent.”

“You don’t want to hear it.” Penny shook her head. “It’s horrible.”

“I only have to pretend to be English girl—” She ran her fingers through her bangs. “At least I have proper hair.”

Kerry leaned towards Annie. “And it’s not even peroxided.”

Alex stuck out her tongue. “Which means I’m better than English girl.”

Oi.” Penny rolled her eyes before the three students moved closer to Jessica, Nadine, and their covermates. She faced Nadine. “By the way, I didn’t get the chance before, but congratulations on your win.”

“Thanks.” Nadine’s win came during Stage Two when Mórrígan raced against Cernunnos. “And congratulations on your two seconds.” She shook Penny’s hand before shaking Alex’s. “And a third, fourth, and fifth for you.” She shifted glances between all three of the Cernunnos fliers. “All of you; that was some racing out there today.”

 

So now their covenmates appear, and they look like they’re right out of An Empty Child:

And if you don't think Kerry won't say the trademark expression from this episode, you don't know me.

And if you don’t think Kerry won’t say the trademark expression from this episode, you don’t know me.

Also, for the first time we see someone crossplaying, as they say in the biz, ’cause Penny is being Penny, and she certainly wasn’t changed into a skinny white dude like Chris in the Middle in the above image.  Nope, she’s just being her awesome self playing a character neither her gender or ethnicity because she can.

So there we have nine hundred words of the scene continued, and that was enough to push the story over ninety-five thousand words.  And it allowed me to mark off people on my costume list:

Can't tell the characters without a--you know the rest.

Can’t tell the characters without a–you know the rest.

That’s the list of everyone who’ll be seen and/or mentioned, and they all have costumes.  I had to stretch my brain just a little to find something for everyone, and I have to say I did a good job.

Notice, though, that you still haven’t seen what Annie and Kerry are wearing.  Oh, sure, there are hints, but nothing for sure.

Maybe tomorrow I’ll show you.  Maybe.

Party of Ruminations

Busy, busy, and yes, busy.  After chillin’ like a villain last night–as mentioned before, Touch of Evil was on, and that’s one of those movies I never miss, if for no other reason it’s a beautiful movie to watch to see how one can put a movie together–I started hitting the scene after trading some major Game of Thrones snark with a friend who reviews the episodes.

And hit it I did–hard.

As seems to be the norm for Saturday mornings, I wrote just shy of thirteen hundred words to complete the scene, bring it in at just about eighteen hundred and forty words, and finish the novel currently a few words short of thirty-five thousand words–like seven words short.  I know this because Scrivener tells me so, and it never tries to lie to me.  Almost never.

This is the scene where school hasn’t yet started, but the kids are laying out on the second floor, enjoying snacks and drinks from Valenzuela, and listening to music via Kerry’s tablet.  It’s late and they’re waiting for tomorrow to come as well as the new A Levels.  It looks like the B Levels are fitting right into the groove of being returning students.  Well, there are some differences . . .

 

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

As the song changed to something slow and soft, Annie leaned back so she could look up into Kerry’s face. “It’s not like being home, is it?”

He brushed her hair. “What do you mean, Sweetie? This is home—remember?”

She kissed his cheek.  “I certainly do.”

Alex wiggled her eyebrows at Penny, who had given up trying to hide her smile. Earlier Annie overheard the girls warning Jairo earlier that their “Lovey Dovey” reputation was not only intact, it had grown since the end of the last school year. There was also mention of them having a “private dinner” during their stay in Berlin, and that they still looked “joined together”. Annie told Kerry that she took this as a complement, and believe if this was the worse their new friends thought of them, they wouldn’t have any problems through the coming school year.

 

Annie and Kerry:  Making Their Covenmates Uncomfortable with Public Displays of Affection Since 2011.  And if we’ve seen anything, it’s that these two are even more loving than they were in the last year.  Why shouldn’t they?  They are in full remembrance of their past, they suffered through a summer of limited contact save for their letters and one notable instance, and they are hooking up in their dreams again–though you can imagine the “Hey, we found ourselves in a dream bed in our birthday suits!” dream is gonna get back to the Seer of Dreams at this joint at some point–

As for the C Levels who don’t want to see this, the easiest way to get beyond this is to–talk about magic!

 

Alex’s gaze shifted from one floating cold fire sphere to another. “It’s amazing seeing those up there.” She turned to the cuddling B Levels. “Who taught you to do that, Annie?”

Annie saw no point for false modesty. “I taught myself—” She glanced up at Kerry. “Last year.”

Alex voice beheld her feelings. “What? You’re kidding.”

“No. I did it for a project Kerry and I worked on.”

Alex shook her head slowly. “Tse yak—nemozhlyvo.” She lay back, sipping down the last of her merengadas. “I would so love if you could show me how to do those spells.”

Annie didn’t want to commit to helping. “Cold fire is a C Level spell, so I’m sure you’ll get it this year.”

Penny chuckled. “She tried it at the end of last year and almost set herself on fire.”

Alex shot a glance at her dormmate. “Zamovkny.” She nodded at Annie. “I’ll let you know how I do.”

 

Annie already has one kid to teach–her one and only soul mate–so the last thing she wants to do is start offering pointers to the girl who is supposed to learn cold fire this year.  Oh, and once again, the Ukrainian girl is speaking . . . Ukrainian.  These kids and their mumbling in different languages, it makes for a far different environment, don’t you think?  First Alex says, “That’s like–impossible,” which we know isn’t true, since Annie made it possible, and the second time she says, “Shut up!” just like a normal teenage girl would say.  ‘Cause no matter how much magic these witches know, they’re still teenagers, and they’re gonna act like them.  So just like shut up, ‘kay?

Now that they are at school, it’s time to ask another question–

 

Penny had another subject she’d held on to since Tuesday in Berlin. “So, you going out for the race team, Kerry?”

Like his soul mate, Kerry didn’t see a reason for hiding his intentions. “Yes.”

“That’ll be great. We could use you.”

He chucked. “If I make the team.”

“You’ll make it.” Penny sat up and leaned over her crossed legs. “Right now we have two open slots on the A Team, and Alex and I heard rumors . . .” She lowered her voice slightly. “Risto may leave the team.”

“What?” Having followed the team last year, Kerry knew the tall Finnish boy by name. “Why?”

“Those two wrecks he had last year messed with his mind—”

Alex cut into the conversation. “And he had a bad one right at the end of the year before, too.”

Penny nodded. “Yeah. We heard yesterday that with him getting set to graduate this year, he doesn’t want to have the responsibility of being team captain and worrying about spending time in the hospital.” She pushed back into some pillows. “I can’t say I blame him.”

“But if he leaves—” Now Alex was sitting up. “That’ll mean the whole B Team moves up and we’ll need to fill those slots.”

Penny finished the thought. “We’ve got sixteen people in the coven, and with six of them on the teams that means there are only ten people who could fill those slots. If you went out, I’d guaranty you’d get one.”

There was something in Penny’s tone that made Kerry question the finality of her statement. “Are you sure?”

“I’m sure—” She pointed back and forth between Alex and her. “We’re sure. We know how well you did in Basic Flight; you moved up to a 4500 the first weekend; you flew observation during Day of the Dead; you’ve already had kinda one flying accident—”

“And you handled yourself well during the Mile High Flight.” Alex chuckled while shooting a look at Annie. “Quite well.”

 

Someone must have wished she’d gotten a Mile High Kiss–

Now, I’ve named a name in the coven race team, and spoken about A and B Teams, but you have to know I’ve done a lot more than that.  Yeah, I have.  For example, I figured out who was on the team last year, and that means I currently know who’s on the team this year.  That looks something like this . . .

See, you do need a score card.

See, you do need a score card.

There you have former and current members, with five students in the A Team and three in the B, which is the reserves used when the members in the A Team are unable to fly.  Humm . . . looks like the Horned God demands some boys on this team–and this is going to come up much later in the story, trust me.  You also see the Levels of the students racing, and where they’re from.  As the oldest member of the current team, Risto should end up becoming captain, but . . . we’ll see, right?

Oh, and you know who’s trying out for the Mórrígan Coven Team.  Do I really need to say her name?

So out of ten student who can try out–and I’ll get to that in a moment–we know of one.  What about the other?

 

Penny chuckled. “I can tell you that just about everyone who did the Mile High Flight could get on a team if they try out.” She turned to the girl in his arms. “Annie, are you going out?”

She didn’t hesitate giving her answer. “No.”

“Why not?”

“I’m not a racer. I enjoy flying for fun—going out on long flights and watching the scenery go by while listening to music.” Her smile was bright in the dim blue light. “Kerry’s the competitive one.” She leaned back and gently caressed his right cheek. “And there should only be one racer in the family, don’t you think?”

Kerry cooed. “You’re right as always.”

And uncomfortable silence fell over the C Levels upon seeing and hearing the short moment of affection between their B Level companions. Annie noticed Jairo squirming uncomfortably, and she believed it was her statement which caused him acute embarrassment. They’ve never heard us speak like this to each other. Even while in Berlin I saved these terms of endearment for our private moments. She kept the laugh she felt coming on deep inside. If they want us to be a part of floor, they’ll need to get used to us.

 

I was asked a few days back when might we see Annie and Kerry calling each other “husband and wife,” even if it’s in a joking way, because kids going steady are like that some times.  Here’s Annie, for the first time, making a comment about “Only one racer in the family, right?” and Kerry’s going along with her–and it’s making the other kids on the floor really uncomfortable.  Why?  Could it be because they can hear their voices and see their faces and notice their body language, and realize right then and there that they’re not kidding around?  Umm, yep.  Pretty much.  And Annie’s thinking, “Time for you to get used to us, kids.”  Yeah, it’s going to be an interesting year.

Now, about those A Levels . . .

 

Right then Annie noticed five green lights appear above the door leading to the staircase: four were to her left, one to the right. Kerry noticed them as well, commenting immediately. “What are those lights for?”

Jairo caught them right away. “It’s to let us know the new A Levels are in their rooms.” He shook his head. “Damn—only five?”

Penny sighed. “I was hoping for more considering thirty-seven came in this year.”

“Yeah, every coven should have gotten at least seven people.” Alex muttered softly. “Damn Phoenix hates us. Durnyy dukh.”

Annie wasn’t going to comment on the fairness of getting only five new students, for it was impossible to fathom the reasons behind The Phoenix’s decisions. “Four new girls—”

Kerry finished her statement. “And a new boy.”

Jairo nodded. “You figured that out, huh?”

Kerry pointed to the light configuration. “Four on the side with the girl’s rooms, one on the boy’s side—” He smirked. “Pretty easy to figure out.”

 

First off, “Durnyy dukh” means “stupid spirit,” and they are damning their luck at only getting five new kids.  So now that the A Levels are here, what do the final counts look like?

Like, um, this.

Like, um, this.

And as you can see, Cernunnos is the loser once again, while every one else came out way ahead.  Now, I knew Cernunnos would get five, but how did I figure out the others?  Did I just pick and choose?  Nope.  I rolled some dice on my computer.

Really.  Back when I was gaming I used my computer for said role playing.  Gaming of this nature require dice, and let me tell you, while some gamers love carrying around like fifty dice in a bag–something I have done–I got tired of it pretty fast.  So I bought a dice program for my computer, and used that to first figure out how many students would go where.  Assigning a value to each remaining coven, I used a D8 to see who would get nine students, and then a D6 to determine who would get seven.  Once that was determined, the remaining two got eight students, and all was well at the School of Salem.

Really--never leave home without your dice.

Really–never leave home without your dice.

There’s only one last thing to do now–

 

There was a slight smile on Penny’s face, but her tone indicated something completely different. “Yeah, I guess.” She stood and stretched. “And with that, kids, I’m ready for bed.” She prodded Alex with her bare foot. “How about you, zhopka? Ready?”

Pfft. I am always ready, cyka.” Alex waved to everyone sitting. “Good night, and see you at breakfast.”

They all said their good nights, and as the girls were heading into their room Jairo stood. “I should do the same. Got a lot to do tomorrow.” He nodded at the still-seated couple. “Good night.”

Kerry waived with his right hand. “’Night, Jairo.”

Annie nodded back. “Good night, Jairo. See you tomorrow.”

“See you.”

As soon as they were alone Annie rolled off Kerry and settled to his right, facing him. “You should turn down the music.”

Kerry summoned the tablet from where it had remained stuck to the wall so he could lower the volume before setting it aside. “There. Far more intimate.”

“Yes—” Annie lay her right arm over her soul mate and kissed him. “It’s more comfortable like this.”

“Almost comfortable enough to fall asleep.”

But do they?  Ha!  Not telling.  And the last thing here, to show that Penny and Alex are good friends–Penny calls Alex “Little Butt” and Alex calls her “Bitch.”  Not quiet the same as “Love” and “Sweetie,” but then these two . . . well, you’ll find out about them.

We’ll see if I get the Headmistress on stage tonight.  She’s about due to put in an appearance . . .