Magic With a Touch of Science

Well, finally.  I seem to be back on the blog, though it’s slow due to having a few days off on the road and a ton of work to do on the writing side that will likely keep my busy for a week.  Such is my curse.

Anyway…  here’s the last of Jessica’s class, and this puts you, the reader, within four thousand words of where I’m at right this moment.  I’m not worried, but I am feeling the pressure:  produce or die.  Well, maybe not die, but something along those lines.  I hear ya and hope to keep working.

As it was we left off with The Two Jordanas and it’s what some people call “a moment”:

 

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

 

Both students stared at each other in disbelief for nearly five seconds before Jordana looked up at Jessica and spoke in a choked voice. “He’s the same height as me.”

A low chuckle slip from between Jessica’s lips. “You mean ‘she’, don’t you?”

Kerry bristled slightly when he heard Jessica use the pronoun “she”, but rather than dwell on the matter he stepped in before Jordana could argue. “When you Compressed her, it affected her aura, too, didn’t it?” He looked away for second as he dispelled the uneasiness felt by speaking in such a strange voice that wasn’t his, and yet, was.

Jessica nodded. “That’s exactly what happened. In an inanimate object it’s not necessary to worry about affecting an aura because they don’t have one. With living creatures, however, their aura adjusts along with their physical size.” Jessica moved closer, appearing to tower over both children. “That’s why when you Mimicked her, Kerry, you matched her size exactly.

“Now I want to do something else—” Jessica squared her shoulders as she turned towards the real Jordana. She moved her hands in front of the girl’s face and seconds later, as the spell dissipated, she was back to her normal size. Jessica nodded in the direction of the other students. “Go sit down.” She stared down at Kerry. “When I give the word, I want you to change back to your original self.”

He understood what Jessica wanted to show, though he was a bit skeptical if things were going to work the way he expected they were supposed to work. “No problem.”

“All right then…” Jessica waited five more seconds to allow the anticipation to build. “Change back now.”

Kerry concentrated on going back to the way he was, back to his original body. It was what he’d always done when he’d mimicked before and given that he never had a problem then, he didn’t expect one now. As always, there was a second of disorientation as his form changed, only this time the disorientation hit him just a little harder as he instantly grew eight centimeters.

He threw out his hands as if to steady himself. “Whoa.” He let out a sigh as he grinned at Jessica. “Back to my old self.”

 

At least we know Kerry’s fears of not going back to Boy Kerry were unfounded, so he’s nice and happy.  But, the pronoun dig…  Jessica was actually chuckling at Jordana’s discomfort, but Kerry felt the hit only because–well, misgendering is a real issue for him one of these days.  Not right now, but it makes one wonder how does someone handle those pronouns when you’re using magic to pretend to be someone on the other end of the gender binary?  Not easy to figure out–though it really is when you think about it.

Now, the title mentions science and here it comes.  Enjoy.

 

“That’s because your original aura was unaffected.” Jessica alternated her glances between Kerry and the rest of the class as she spoke. “As I explained once before, Kerry’s original aura possesses a sort of memory of his original form, which includes his current shape and size. This is why when he Mimics back to, well, his original form, he doesn’t have to go through any additional transformation magic. Mimicking wouldn’t be worth a damn if you can go back to being your old self after being someone new.” She looked at Kerry and motioned towards the chairs. “You can sit down now.”

With everyone in their seats Jessica was able to continue with the lesson. “Now, the advanced form of Compress treat size and mass the same. While it is possible to reduce the height, and consequently size, of a living creature to a maximum of about fifteen percent of its original volume, you’re only able to reduce the mass of the original, at that size, to about thirty percent of the original weight. While this doesn’t exactly work the same way as the Normal version of the square-cube law, it does present an interesting limitation in that we can’t take something the size of a car and compress it so it’s small enough to carry comfortably in our backpacks.” Jessica gave everyone an interesting grin as she looked around the room. “That doesn’t mean there aren’t witches who haven’t tried: it’s just that their level of success varies.

“Now, while this means that when Kerry goes off on the Polar Express next calendar year, he’ll be able to take about thirty kilos of equipment and stuff all of that into his backpack and it will weigh right around ten kilos. That comes in very handy for those times in the future we decide you want to do hiking and you need to bring along a tent and sleeping bags and food and water, but you don’t feel like carrying around fifty kilos of gear. Though trust me: I’m sure after Kerry’s been flying for eight hours with that ten kilos on his back, he’s going to wish it weighed a lot less.

“Using advanced Compress on humans, however, can make it difficult to maintain an illusion that a very small person looks like a child is not what they seem. For example—” Jessica pulled out her tablet and checked the display. “Jordana is 165 centimeters, so if I was the Compress her down to twenty percent of her size, should be the approximate height of a two-year-old girl. However—Jordana, how much do you weigh?”

The El Salvadoran girl wasn’t the least bit embarrassed to give this information. “Sixty-six kilos.”

“Sixty-six kilos. That means when she’d reduced to the size of a two-year-old, her weight would be around twenty-six and a half kilos, which would put her weight around what is considered average for a seven-year-old girl.” Jessica levitated her tablet over to her desk and set it down. “Anyone trying to pick her up would immediately notice a discrepancy between the size and the overall mass, and they’d wonder what was wrong.” She once again looked around the room from student to student opening her point wasn’t missed. “For those of you who might decide to use this form of transformation to achieve that sort of effect, it’s something you need to keep in mind.”

Kerry raised his hand and spoke once he was acknowledged. “If I were to mimic, say, a six-year-old, would my weight match theirs, or would it go against the same sort of limitation we see with the Compress spell?”

Jessica already knew this answer. “Since your Mimicking Gift bases your appearance off the aura of the person you’re mimicking, you’re going to match them in every category, including weight.” She gave a slight grin. “Quite an advantage you have there.”

As there was not much left to say, Jessica was ready to start the evening’s class. “All right then.” She clapped her hands together and began rubbing them like she was eager to start. “Who wants to be the first guinea pig in this miniaturization game?”

 

Now, in case anyone isn’t paying attention, there’s no Ant Man shit going on here, though no one has said anything about expanding things–  I would imagine that has a whole new set of issues that requires a bit of ingenious dealing on the part of the crafter.

And speaking of ingenious crafters, it’s time to learn about time.  No, really…

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Fearing an Unknown Known

Believe it or not I’m fairly busy this morning.  Yeah, I know, it sounds like I’m doing nothing but running around today and the reality is, I am.  I’m gonna go do taxes and about ninety minutes then after that I have to drop off some papers to change accounts due to my name change, and as soon as I’m done with this post I have to call my insurance agent and get things changed on my name as well.  Yes, I know, I could’ve done this last year. I didn’t. Sue me.

So what you’re going to get is a quick and dirty excerpt from the scene we’ve been in for a while, but haven’t heard from for a few days due to me being on the road.  Doesn’t mean I haven’t been writing, but it does mean I haven’t been posting much. At least not much of the novel.  But now you get to see that.

So we pick up right after Jordana has been made a little smaller by the Mistress of Transformation.  And she has something else she wants to show now…

 

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

 

“I just—” Jordana shut her mouth quickly, for she knew the wrong word could see her being punished in ways she wouldn’t find pleasant. “I was thinking that you would only make me a few centimeters shorter than Kerry, that’s all.”

“That’s exactly what you are: a few centimeters shorter than Kerry.” The wicked grin that had appeared earlier crossed Jessica’s face once more. “Eight centimeters shorter, if we were correct in our first assessment. Isn’t that right, Kerry?”

He gave a quick nod. “Yeah, we kinda figured out that she was a couple centimeters taller than me.”

“Which means that now we’ve seen how the spell works at the advanced levels, I want to show the class something else.” Jessica waived her right hand and conjured a poncho-like cloak. She held it towards Kerry. “Would you put this on, please?”

As Kerry took the cloak he began feeling a nervousness that he suspected Jordana was feeling moments earlier. He slipped it on over his head and let it fall to his sides, with the him coming to a point just below his knees. He made a few adjustments and then stood staring at Jessica. “Is this okay?”

She nodded. “That’s perfect.” She turned to the other three students. “I want to show you an unseen aspect of the Compress spell.” She half turned Kerry and pointed at him. “I want you to Mimic Jordana.”

Kerry exchange looks with his fellow classmate, but before he could say anything she turned to Jessica. “Professor, you know I don’t—”

“I don’t give a shit what you don’t like.” Jessica took a step forward as she crossed her arms and glared at the girl. “We spoke about this last year and we will not discuss it again. So unless you want to end up half a meter tall for the next twenty-four hours, you won’t complain when Kerry Mimics you, nor will you afterwords.” She leaned forward slightly, her dark eyes emotionless. “Are we clear?”

Jordana glanced downward as she swallowed once. “Yes, Professor.”

Jessica nodded slightly, content that she had gotten her point across. She glanced at Kerry. “Go ahead: do it.”

 

Jessica is apparently still pissed at Jordana for not wanting to be mimic the year before, and she’s not playing that game this year.  So this is sort of her revenge and like it or not, Jordana is going to get a twin sister.

Although, it seems as if the erstwhile twin may be having second thoughts of his own–

 

There was a moment where Kerry felt an incredible amount of fear gripped him internally, because he knew what he was about to do wasn’t simply a matter of using his Mimic Gift and becoming a duplicate of Jordana. Near the end of the last school year Annie and he were shown the video of the time he had Mimicked Sudarat and Kaisa, so he was aware that in the process of Mimicking a girl there was a moment where he was his female self—Girl Kerry, as Annie called her.

He wasn’t worried that the others would see this: it happened so quickly that no one saw it happened this last March. But he was immediately gripped with an irrational fear that when it came time to drop the Mimic and return to himself—

What if he stayed Girl Kerry?

He closed his eyes enforce the notion from his mind. He had been reassured, time and again, that he could only transition into his female self after the first involuntary transition occurred, so any fear he had now about his Mimicking going wrong was unfounded.

He opened his eyes and stared straight ahead as he imagine himself to be Jordana. He threw his willpower into the transformation—

Less than a second later he was eye to eye with the real Jordana.

 

Kerry’s got that clock ticking, ticking, ticking, and he’s aware that the moment he mimics Jordana there will be a moment when he’s going to turn into that cute little redhead that he’s only seen in his dreams–oh, and in a video as well.  It’s legitimate for Kerry to fear that the moment he changes back he may not change back to himself–well, at least not the self he was when he walked in the room that night.  Even though he’s been told many times that what he’s worrying about is impossible, that doesn’t prevent the Ginger Hair Boy from thinking that they impossible could happen.  After all, for a while in his life he grew up believing magic wasn’t possible and he certainly proved that shit wrong.

So, we finally get to see The Two Jordana’s together and both appear to be about the same size.  Maybe if I’m not to rush for time tomorrow you get to find out why…

Getting Back By Example

So, I’m locked in a cycle of insanity right now.  Last night I had two meetings and didn’t return until 9:30.  Then I went to bed at eleven and woke up at three, so I’m a whole lot tired at the moment.

Tonight I need to write my TV recap–which I’ve put off for two days–and pack and prepare to spend eleven hours on the road back to Indiana.  Sunday is prep-time for taxes, Monday is Tax Time and getting stuff done at American Express, then Tuesday it’s test the car, get my tags, and drive back to PA and return to Harrisburg around midnight.

This is where being a jaunting little witch with a girlfriend would be nice.

Speaking of that lad–who, if he were around in real life, has already run through the Great Hall one last time yelling “Erin go Braless!” to celebrate his Irish ancestry–he’s made Jessica happy by relating Normal science facts.  As we’re about to learn, however, she’s going to reject your reality and substitute her own…

 

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

 

Jessica laughed along with the rest of the class. “As we’ve discovered, all things that we do are supposed to be impossible according to Normal science. We are not supposed to be able to transform ourselves, to change our appearance and our size. And yet—” In about three seconds she morphed into a duplicate of Kaisa Božic, her Åsgårdsreia student, matching her size, light brown hair, hazel eyes, and light complexion. “We know that’s not true.”

In a few seconds Jessica was back to her normal self. “Tonight, were going to be in working with the advanced form of Compress. Now, this does not mean that once you master this version of the spell you’re going to have free license to go around shrinking people simply because they’ve offended you, as you will find yourself in serious trouble for using magic on another student and you’ll likely find yourself doing a weekend detention with me.” She saw the worried looks exchanged between her students as they all knew how she handled weekend detentions.

“Before we get into the lesson allow me to give you a practical demonstration.” She had known who she was going to select even before walking into class that evening. “Jordana, would you please join me?”

Jordana Sauceda approached the front of the somewhat afraid of what was going to happen next. Ever since refused to allow Kerry to mimic her in last year’s class, her relationship with Jessica had become a bit rocky and she’d given serious consideration about returning to class for her last year. Part of her wanted to follow instructions so she could get back on Jessica’s good side, and part of her wanted to run because she expected the worst—

Jessica picked Jordana because at 165 centimeters she was her tallest student, edging out Kerry by a couple of centimeters. She read the concern in the girls aura but immediately pushed that concern aside: Jessica was here to teach and not to massage the bruised egos of her students. She pointed to her left. “Please stand here—thank you.” She was about to start the demonstration when Jessica realized there was something she needed. “Kerry—” She motioned for him to approach. “Come stand to Jordana’s left.”

 

In case you need some Memory Refresher–and there is a spell for that–Jordana was the girl who didn’t want Kerry Mimicing her during the Gender Switch spell class where Kerry’s Inner Girl was seen popping out before she was ready.  At the time Jessica said she was going to have a “talk” with Jordana, though she didn’t go into detail about what she was going to say.  Whatever it was, Jordana hasn’t forgotten–and, apparently, neither has Jessica.  And now she wants Kerry of All the Normal Answer to join in on the fun–

 

The two students cast glances at each other as Jessica addressed everyone in the room. “I selected Jordana because she is the tallest student here, and I selected Kerry because, as the second tallest student, he adds a frame of reference for you to use.” She moved behind the two students and placed her hands over their heads. “As you can see, Jordana is a couple of centimeters taller—something that won’t last much longer.”

The El Salvadoran girl rolled her eyes before casting a glance at Kerry and speaking in a near whisper. “Oh, shit.”

He cast a glance back. “Don’t worry; it’ll only be for a little while.”

Jordana rolled her eyes again. “You’re too funny, Malibey.”

“Enough, you two.” Jessica returned to her place at Jordana’s right and faced the class that she spoke. “Now, this crafting will involve not only reducing the living organic material, but reducing the inorganic coverings as well. After all—” She gave Jordana a wicked grin. “We wouldn’t want her garments to fall off, now, would we?”

Jordana try to keep her voice level and normal, but her expression gave away what she felt inside. “You’re not going to do too much, are you, Professor?”

“No.” Jessica gave her head a slight shake. “Not much at all.” She stared at her student for a few seconds before raising her right hand lightly touching the nail of her index finger to her forehead as she half closed her eyes.

For a few seconds Kerry didn’t see anything happening to his fellow classmate. It was only when Jordana drew in a sharp breath that he realized that her eyes were now level with the tip of his nose. A couple of seconds later he caught a glimpse of the top of her head and realized that she was now at least six centimeters shorter.

A faint whimper escaped Jordana’s lips when the effects of the spell ceased a few seconds later and she realized she was at least ten centimeters shorter than Kerry. She glanced up at the now taller boy with a look in her eyes cycling between fear and anger. “¿Qué? ¡Hijo de puta!” She turned to Jessica. “I didn’t think you would make me this short.”

“Oh?” The instructor shrugged. “Were you expecting to be shorter?”

 

Never tell Jessica that she didn’t something that has surprised you ’cause she’ liable to ask someone to hold her beer and show everyone what she can really do.

And that’s why she’s not done with her example–

Not at all.

Normal Rules Versus Our Magic

What were you up to last night, Cassie?  Why, I was out getting my browser my nails done, because I’m heading back to Indiana this weekend and if got to look my best.  And looking my best means I’ve got a do a good job with my nails because I want to be pretty.

And here I am, being pretty.

That color is OPI Gel polish Do You See What I See?  Do you?  Because I do, and this is a color I hope to carry into warmer weather which will lead to spring and summer.  In the meantime, it’s going to get me to Indiana and back, which is something that all least have going for me.

Even with that last night–which kept me out until 8 PM–I was able to get in some writing. I should say, I was able to get in some writing after doing a lot of scientific calculations for the scene I’m currently working on.  Yes, I had to do some figuring ’cause it’s needed.  And just a word of warning, but there is science in this excerpt as well.  I know I’ve been told at various times that they get lost when I start talking science our racing, but truth is sometimes it’s needed for the further advancement of the story and this is one of those times.

But first, let’s get reacquainted with Jessica and her detention habits:

 

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

 

Sudarat Chiangmai, the D Level from Ceridwen coven, snickered before speaking. “Are they going to have to do a weekend detention?”

The smile Jessica flashed was devastating. “Oh, no. It’s only going to be for the evening. But I made certain that the detention will stick with them well enough that I don’t believe they’ll attempt another transgression like the one that happened earlier this evening.”

Kerry knew there was no point in pursuing the matter further. Everyone was well aware that Jessica’s idea of detention was turning students in the various kinds of inanimate objects and forcing them to stay that way anywhere from overnight to an entire weekend, depending upon the severity of the student’s misdemeanor. It was rare that anyone deserved a weekend punishment: it was even more rare that a student would do anything that would require Jessica to issue more than one detention for that particular person.

Once was usually enough to get the point across.

 

It’s a good thing Jessica isn’t teaching at a Normal school, ’cause the administration there would likely get tired of their students getting turned into chairs, tables, and statues all the time.  Also, how many times do students go into one of Jessica’s offices–she has one in the Transformation Center and one in her coven–and wonder if the chair they’re sitting in is someone they know.  Witches who turn you into chairs, witches who shock you, witches who make you clean out the morgue if you’re bad.  So much for all that writing “I’m a bad witch” crap.

But we aren’t here to talk about turning kids into chairs.  No, Jessica has something else in mind–

 

Jessica pulled her tablet out of Hammerspace and laid it on the classroom desk. “Tonight we are going to touch on a spell that we last visited two years ago. All of you were in this class with the exception of Kerry, so you’ve all had some exposure to what were going to play with tonight.

“Everyone here knows the minor version of the Compress spell in one variation or another. Kerry learned it last year—or I should say, he was already learning it when he came into this class for he wanted to master it for Advanced Flight One. As for all of us here, your skill with Compress varies not only in the amount of compression you can effect, but also in the size of the object you’re compressing, and that means nearly all of you could take something the size of a Class 4 PAV and reduce it to nearly eighty percent of its size.

“The advanced form of Compress is different from the basic form in that you learn how to compress organic material.” She held up her hands. “Allow me to rectify that statement: you learn to compress living organic material. It is necessary to have an advanced understanding of the Compress spell, because if you don’t understand what you’re doing and you try to compress a living creature, the chances are excellent that you kill the object of your spell.

“The greatest issue we have with the Compress spell is exercising the willpower to make it work. Gathering energy is never a problem in most people are creative enough to visualize an object shrinking from full-size to a quarter of its normal size. The problem comes in the very last stages of the spell because disbelief sets in. This is especially true for witches who come from a Normal background, for Normal science says that shrinking a person to even half their size is an impossibility.” A mischievous grin appeared upon Jessica’s face. “We know better, don’t we?” Jessica pointed at the one student in her class whom she knew would have the answer to her question. “Kerry, why does Normal science say we can’t shrink things?”

 

So here it is:  Jessica is gonna teach the kids how to shrink things–actually, shrink living things.  As in people.  Which means she’s gonna teach her kids how to make people smaller.

“Wow!  I wouldn’t mind losing a few kilos!”

And maybe a meter of height as well, but that’s another story.

It only makes sense that if Kerry is out shrinking his camping equipment so he can get it inside his backpack, then it only stands to reason that some witch figured out how to do the same to people.  And that means Jessica probably has a few things on her desk that someone should pay attention to, ’cause they may also be classmates who ran afoul of the Mistress of Transformation.  And now she’s calling on the Geek Kid With the Answers on why Normal science says this is all bullshit:

 

Kerry didn’t know the exact answer, but he know most of what Jessica wanted. “The square-cube law comes into effect; it states that you can’t increase or decrease the size of an object without significantly increasing or decreasing the volume of the object even more so.”

“Which means want when it comes to shrinking a person?”

“The lungs can’t take in enough oxygen so they’re unable to supply oxygen to the blood, and even if they could the heart won’t be powerful enough to pump blood throughout the body. Shrinking the cells could possibly lead to cancers popping up, but the cell walls would also be so thin that they’d start breaking down and kill you that way.” Kerry stared off to a corner of the classroom as he remembered one last fact. “And lastly, you’d pack the atoms in the body so densely that anyone shrunk would weigh far more than they would in an un-shrunk condition. The only way you can get around that would be to shrink the atoms and science says that that’s impossible.”

Jessica nodded politely throughout Kerry’s explanation. Once he was finished she had one last question for him. “You’ve used the Compress spell, haven’t you?”

He chuckled. “Yeah, several times.”

“Ever have any problems with the spell?”

“A few times when I was first learning it, but nothing once I figured out.”

Jessica tapped her chin thrice before speaking. “So, in this instance, would you say The Art supersedes Normal science in this instance?”

A huge smile appeared on Kerry’s face. “Duh.”

 

Could you see one of the C Levels in the regular class answering Jessica with “Duh“?  She’d probably go Medusa on them right then and there, which would suck for the student in question.  But since Kerry’s an advanced student he can get away with it.  At least this time.

Since we’re talking about this new kind of magic, any chance we’ll see it working?

Hum…

The Calm Before the Light: History and the Oncoming Girl

Needless to say I’m still suffering from the effects of this cold, but it’s not quite as bad as it was a few days back.  I’ve also been busy writing away:  four hundred words last night, and just over a thousand this morning, all because there’s somewhere I need to be a ten AM, so I’m under the gun just a bit to get this post out.  Sure, it’s just before eight right now, but I gotta get ready and put on makeup and–you know:  girl things need a-doing.

Maybe like a certain character in this story is going to discover one day.  But I get ahead of myself.

The part I started last night detailed a little of this history of this Bigender Gift, and what there is known about it and how it works.  It seems that, as Jessica hinted, this all deals with auras, in particular, a person’s aura that is changing not slightly, but considerably.  It’s at this point that what little everyone knows about this gift starts coming out–

 

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

Just as they’d planed that afternoon, Deanna handed this part of the discussion. “It’s true that everyone has one aura, but in the instance of those few who’ve developed the Bigender Gift, they have another aura—I suppose you could say it’s a sub-aura, something small and underdeveloped, but created at the time the person is born the same as the person’s regular aura.

“This secondary aura has continued to grow, but there’s an issue here: it needs to integrate itself with the primary aura and become part of the whole—and in order to do that, it seems the person’s mind undergoes some sort of realignment to allowed for this integration.”

Little of this made sense to Kerry, but it sounded as if everyone sitting across from him seemed to finally understand what was happening. “Why is there a realignment? Why do I have to get used to the idea?”

“Because of what change this new aura brings about.” Erywin shifted around in her seat, leaving a few moments for Kerry to prepare himself. “We only have six recorded instances of this Gift seen over the last three hundred years, and in each instance the secondary aura took on the aspect of a form from the opposite end of the physical gender spectrum. So, of the six, five were born female who developed auras with male aspects. The other, like you, was born male and developed—”

“A girl aura.” Kerry appeared pensive as he considered this news. “That’s why I’m seeing this girl in my dreams, right?”

“That’s right. She your mind’s way of taking what it knows about this new aura and giving it too you in a fashion you can try and understand.” Erywin glanced down at her feet for just a second. “This afternoon we perused some of the diaries of Lucyna Gorczynski, a Polish witch was first discovered to have this Gift in 1952. She had been writing about everything that had happened, and was happening to her, since she had her first dreams during the summer of 1946. She came forward with this information only after The Foundation discovered the existence of a second person with the Gift, an English woman named Kaity Caspersen who had been living as as a man off and on since 1943 on both coasts of the United States.

“Lucyna began handing over most of what she’d written down about her experience, and one of the things she mentioned were the dreams she had leading up to the Acceptance phase—”
Kerry rolled his eyes. “What do you mean by these phases?”

“In her diary Lucyna pointed out that she felt her dreams progressed in three phases. The first is Adjuration, which Deanna already mentioned: your mind’s appeal to accept the coming change. The second is Acknowledgment, where the person in question has what she called the ‘mirror dream’—finally seeing yourself as that other person and accepting that it’s going to happen—and then stating aloud that you this other person is you.” Erywin cleared her throat. “Two others who’ve had this gift have mentioned that part as well.

“And the last phase is Acceptance, where you have a last dream together with the manifestation that’s your secondary aura, and you allow your mind and body to initiate the change.” Erywin gave a slight chuckle. “Lucyna was big on alliterations.

 

There is Lucyna Gorczynski, she of the diaries that Erywin finally wanted to see.  In that one paragraph about how she came out due to the discovery of Kaity Capersen I had developed an entire history about how Capersen was discovered and why Gorczynski came out.  I may include it in this novel, or I may wait until the next to talk about that moment in time.  Needless to say, it’s interesting.

And so six other people during the last three hundred years.  How do I know?  You know how I know:

I have the time of my lines, that's how.

I have the time of my lines, that’s how.

There you see it starting in 1691 with Remy Durivage before moving into the 1700s and 1800s with Catrina Severo, Pesha Petrakis, and Tamae Miyazawa.  Then we’re heading into the Twentieth Century with Kaity Caspersen, Lucyna Gorczynskim, before finally, with only eight months left in the century, there’s the birth of Kerry and we pass on into the Twenty-first Century.

For something like this I had to know the information, just like I needed to know where certain parts of the school were built.  This is why I sometimes get crazy with the time line, and why I used them to help plot things out.  Just wait until I finish this novel and I show you how I figured out the B Levels . . .

But there’s still more history to come.  Now it is time to learn about these phases and what they mean–

 

“You’ve passed through the Adjuration and Acknowledgment phases—”

“What if I hadn’t, you know, said what was needed to be said after this dream?”

“Lucyna indicated she went through the dream three times before admitting she knew the identify of the boy in her dream. Another person with the Gift, Pesha Petrakis, indicated she went through the dream seven times before admitting to the true nature of this other, strange boy.”

The Phoenix finally spoke after several minutes of silence. “And if I hadn’t removed that block to your E and A, you’d find yourself stuck trying to verbalize the name of that girl.” She raised an eyebrow as she shrugged. “That would kinda suck.”

“Kinda?” Kerry snorted while shaking his head. “I don’t know about you.”

The spirit smirked. “Most people haven’t for the last three hundred years.”

He ignored The Phoenix and returned to the conversation. “What happens after this next dream?”

 

This is where I came up with the titles for this chapters–

Which I happen to have right here.

Which I happen to have right here.

I’d actually figured out these names before I started writing the first novel, so the Three A’s have been with me since about late 2012, early 2013.  And for obvious reasons I’ve kept these chapters under wrap for a long time, which always sort of sucks when you know you have to do something big, but at the same time you need to sit on it for a while.  Just like with the Big Time, which I’d started developing in 2011, and didn’t write about the very end of July, 2014.

Yeah, that’s how these things go.

Now that we know what happen, what’s going to happen next?  Well, I have the answer–

 

Coraline perked up. “I’ll take this—” She faced Kerry with a smile. “First, allow me to explain something that has us all a little excited. With the other six individuals who had this Gift, no one knew what had happened to them until after the fact. Since we know so little about how this gift works, you’re going to find yourself monitored a bit.” She held up her hand as Kerry appeared about to protest. “The Headmistress and I have already discussed this matter, and given your status as a minor we can keep monitoring as unobtrusive as possible. We’re not going to allow you to become a sideshow attraction, Kerry—I won’t allow that to happen. I’m going to see to it you’re protected, because no one has ever seen or monitored what you’re going through right now, nor have they had the opportunity to measure the upcoming events.

“What is coming, then? From what we understand you’ll have a last dream where full aura integration takes place. Then you wait for the next event, which is an involuntary transition—”

“Wait: what?” Kerry didn’t much care for the word involuntary.

“An involuntary transition. At some point in the next year you’ll go to bed one night as the person you are now, and wake up—” Coraline raised her right hand and shrugged playfully. “—as the other you. We don’t know about the first two people to which this happened, but the last four said they transitioned as early as sixty-three days after the last dream, and as late as two hundred and eighty-six days after their last dream. This is why we figure it happens within the period of a year.” She shrugged once more. “As stated, these so much about this Gift we don’t know, and you’re going to help us compile a lot of data on the subject.

“Your transitional form will be that of a biological girl. In a way it’ll be like Mimicking, but in many ways it won’t. With Mimicking, you copy the exterior of the other person’s physical aspect, but everything inside is still you, so even when you Mimicked those girls in Jessica’s class the other night, nothing inside you changed.

“This new form, however: it’s you outside and in. We already know what your exterior looks like—we’ve seen her.”

Annie’s eyes widened. “How?”

“On video recorded during Kerry’s gender Mimicking from last week.” Jessica glanced at the woman next to her. “Erywin spotted it when we were in the process of reviewing, and we discovered Kerry was filtering through this secondary aura before Mimicking the aura of his female subject. He didn’t even realize he was doing it—”

Erywin cut in. “And that process may have actually sped up getting into this previous dream.”

Not every day you go to bed as one person and wake up as another, but this is something Kerry’s gonna have to start living with, at least for the next year.  And before you ask:  yes, there are measures being put in place to deal with this should it happen while he’s back home in Cardiff.  That actually is dealt with in the next chapter.

But first, there’s a touchy little matter that Coraline needs to break to the Ginger Hair Boy . . .

 

Coraline nodded. “That’s entirely possible. Anyway, we’ve seen what she looks like—what you’ll look like. But what you need to understand, Kerry is that the changes won’t simply be external: they’ll be internal as well. When you are in that form you will be biologically female, and that means . . .”

Jessica leaned closer to Erywin and muttered softly. “Here it comes.”

She shot the transformation instructor a warning look. “Just wait—”

Coraline moved ahead hoping for the best. “Inside you’ll be just like us. Your body will produce estrogen instead of testosterone, so when you are in your female form for any amount of time you’ll notice it developing as would the body of any girl your age. Most importantly, however, is that you’ll have a working female reproductive system. This means you’ll have all the same equipment as all of us—a vagina, a uterus, and ovaries—and because of that, should you spend any time being a girl, you’ll develop a natural cycle; again, just like the rest of us, Annie included.” She sat back and waited for Kerry to understand the ramification of her comments.

He sat quietly for nearly ten seconds, blinking several times as he analyzed this new information. It was then that his eyes grew wider as he finally comprehended Coraline’s statement. “I’m gonna have a period?”

 

Don’t worry, Kerry:  Shark Week isn’t that bad.  Is it?  He may or may not ever know–

Because the rest of those ramifications come tomorrow.

The Calm Before the Light: Let’s Talk About Change

Let’s get the Report From the Sickness Ward out of the way first thing:  I felt like I was dying last night.  Really, work was a blur, and while I managed to stay awake all day and not fall asleep at my computer, the walk home hurt.  I couldn’t relax, I could sit right, I couldn’t lay down.  I was stuff and coughing up a lot of fluids.  Not a good time at all.

If I were younger and a ginger and had a real bed, this might almost be me.

If I were younger and a ginger and had a real bed, this might almost be me.

However, I did have a plan.  Everyone kept asking, “Are you going to see a doctor?” and the answer is always, no, they won’t do anything for you beyond telling you to rest and keep pounding down warm fluids.  So I stopped off to get some warm fluids:  specifically, a bottle of Rémy Martin VSOP cognac, which is my drink of choice when I’m looking to burn out a cold, and has served me well twice in the past.

"$120 for a doctor visit, $40 for a bottle of Rémy. Here's to getting well!"

“$120 for a doctor visit, $40 for a bottle of Rémy. Here’s to getting well!”

While I won’t say I’m one hundred percent, my nose is drained and I don’t feel the fluids building in my upper chest like I did last night.  There’s still a bit of a cough, but nothing like I had last night, and more importantly, I slept, so this morning I feel alive than I did throughout the rest of the week.

The downside to all this is try as I might, the six hundred and fifty words I wrote last night were a hell of a struggle, and I didn’t attempt to push past that number once it was obtained.  However, I did get that party started, and here’s what became of that:

 

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

All eyes shifted towards Erywin, who had been chosen ahead of time to answer these questions. “First off, let me explain why I’m here. Because of some—concerns about the evasiveness of your answers regarding the last few dreams, I was asked to investigate whether or not there was a possibility you might be transgender, and that you were avoiding discussing the matter.”

He cleared his throat. “I thought that might be the reason you’re here.”

“I’m sorry I couldn’t tell you—”

“It’s okay.” Kerry waved his hand as if pushing the idea away. “I understand. Did you find anything? I mean—that’s why you’re here, isn’t it?”

“It is, indeed.” She leaned against the arm of her chair, making herself more comfortable. “I’ve examined what you’ve already told Coraline and Deanna, and I’ve seen the video of you performing your csigender transformation—and that video is what put on the track to the truth about what’s happening to you.

“First off, something you’re probably eager to hear: you’re not transgender. Based upon what I’ve seen of the physical evident, and what we’ve learned since this afternoon—and are learning now—my report is going to indicate there’s no need to proceed with discussions along those lines.

“However . . . that doesn’t mean there isn’t a gender-related issue to discuss.”

It was impossible for Kerry not to appear confused. “If I’m not trans, then what?”

Erywin meshed her fingers and pressed her thumbs together as she often did when she was about to make an important point. “You have a Gift.”

 

Of all the questions that’s hit me in the last couple of week, the biggest one has been, “What’s going on with Kerry?”  And since I’m like George R. R. Martin and I have to sit back and watch others pull out their hair while their favorite characters put through hell–and that’s the only thing I share with that gentleman–I couldn’t say a word about what I’ve known for like–three years?  Probably.  Maybe longer, because the first time I really starting thinking about this was late summer, 2011, and that’s closer to four and a half years.  Yeah, I’ve been sitting on this that long.

So he has a gift, and it’s one that keeps on coming apparently.  And here it is in part:

 

A few seconds passed before he understood the meaning of Erywin’s last word. “A Gift? I already have a Gift.”

“It’s not unheard of for someone to have two Gifts, though it doesn’t happen that often. But since Deanna was able to put the last piece in place—”

Annie spoke this time. “You mean this mirror dream?”

“Yes, that. Evidence we received early this afternoon indicates you have one of the rarest Gifts ever cataloged.” She paused to allow Kerry to ready himself for what was about to come. “You have the Bigender Gift.”

His eyebrows slowly rose from a combination of surprise and confusion. “What’s that?”

Erywin glance towards Jessica, who picked up the conversation. “You understand how Mimicking works?”

He nodded. “Yes. I interface my aura with that of another person and then use that information to change my physical form to match theirs.”

Coraline chuckled. “He sounds like you, Jess.”

Her smile was uncharacteristically pleasant. “He’s a great student with a great instructor.” She turned back to Kerry. “As you’re likely aware, your aura is not only a reflection of both your mental and emotional states, but it’s the astral aspect of your aspect in the Physical Realm. When you both begin your studies of Astral Magic you’ll discover that someone well versed in both transformation and astral magic can adjust a person’s astral aspect and have that change reflected in their physical aspect. In short, you change a person’s aural form, you may be able to change their physical form.

“The Bigender Gift does that while also acting a bit like being a Mimic as well. It’s really nothing more than altering your physical aspect—your body—based upon the selection of a astral aspect. As you change that form, your physical form changes as well—”

 

Did you get all that?  This is one of the reasons that the whole Mimicking Gift was explained a couple of times during this novel, because it was sort of a setup for what was coming.  It’s also nice to know that some asshole witch who’s powerful enough to do both astral and transformation magic can alter your aura and your body, and leave the proper authorities–i.e. The Foundation, probably The Guardians–unable to tell if you really were changed or not.  Which should tell you a little about transforming people, in that if you body changes your aura probably doesn’t.

Also Jessica seem quite pleased that Kerry can ramble off that mantra about how Mimicking works and sound like a pro.  Jessica gets like this sometimes, and it’s one of the reasons some people feel she’s a bit stuck-up and tends to feel superior over others.  The fact that she can turn you into a potted plant is probably another reason everyone acts strangely around her, but I’m only guessing here.

One thing, however, and Annie figures it out right away ’cause she’s that kind of girl–

 

“Wait.” Annie was sitting quietly up until now, but something Jessica said didn’t seem correct. “Whose aura is Kerry accessing in order to change his physical form?”

The transformation instructor half turned her head in Annie’s direction. “His.”

“That’s impossible. If Kerry’s aura is a reflection of his physical aspect, how can accessing it affect his body? He only has one aura—”

The right corner of Jessica’s mouth curled upward into a wicked smirk. “At the moment.”

“What do you mean?”

 

Yeah, Jessica, what do you mean?  What’s the “at the moment” stuff, huh?  Well, if I’m feeling better tonight, you’ll find out tomorrow.

And so far, I feel good.  I knew that I should now, too.

Gather Here the Brain Trust: The Remembered Studies

And as promised, the scene and chapter are finished, after going through what was probably the biggest day of writing I’ve had in the while.  I did a little over eleven hundred in the morning, and a little over eleven hundred at night, which means I wrote two thousand, two hundred, and thirty-three words total on the novel, then took about a thousand words of notes for the TV recap I’m writing up tonight for The Walking Dead . . . and that’s over three thousand if you’re keep track, and I haven’t done three thousand words in a day since NaNoWriMo 2013, ladies and gentlemen.

The chapter is put it way, it’s over, it’s history.  And in the process of doing all this, I’ve set up the scene for another long day for my kids.  It was left off with Kerry’s dream friend, Carrot Girl, seeming like she wants to come out and play since she’s standing right there in the holographic display where he should be standing.  As the kids say today, “What is this sorcery?”, though Helena would give you a good argument that there isn’t any sorcery involved, but that’s another story . . .

Anyhow, being this is transformation related, Erywin turns to the one person in the room who is the expert on transformation for an answer.  And she has one–

 

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

The instructor stared at the display as dumbfounded as the other two women in the room. “I have no idea why that happened.”

Erywin’s face became a mask of disbelief. “What do you mean?  You don’t know?”

“I mean I don’t know.” Jessica held up her hands, motioning towards the display. “I’ve never seen that happen before.”

Coraline was feeling just as surprised as Erywin appeared. When it came to matters of transformation magic there were few in the world better than Jessica, so to say she didn’t understand something that appeared to be transformation related, it was worrisome. “Maybe there’s something particular to him as Mimic that’s doing this? Something buried down in his mind?”

“Mimicking doesn’t work that way.” Jessica turned to Coraline with an exasperated sigh. “When you mimic another person you go from one physical form to another there’s no need for a transitional form. I’ve worked with mimics before: this doesn’t ever happen.”

Deanna clicked her tongue. “Perhaps Kerry doesn’t realize he’s doing this. He is new to this gift, after all.”

“No.” Jessica shook her head. “It doesn’t work that way.”

 

I may have mentioned this before, maybe not, but the saying of, “Those who can do; those who can’t teach,” does not apply to the instructors at my school.  The instructors at Salem are among the best in their field, and in Jessica’s instance there are maybe five other witches who perform at her same level.  When she tells you, “It doesn’t work that way,” she’s not saying that because she’s blowing you off:  she’s saying that because it’s true.  She knows, and don’t try to tell her otherwise.

Erywin is also the best in her field as well, but she’s also smart, and while there’s an argument going on about what’s happening on-screen, she’s got an argument going on in her head . . .

 

While the other women argued Erywin continued examining the changing boy in the display. Deanna’s right, that does look like the girl he’s describing in his dreams. There was something tickling her memory, however, playing right at the edge of her thoughts. She closed her eyes, trying to concentrate. He transformed into this form while going from csimale to cisfemale

Jessica’s voice returned:  There’s no need for a transitional form.

Erywin took a deep breath. Then why would he do this?

Deanna’s works suddenly struck home: Perhaps Kerry doesn’t realize he’s doing this.

This wasn’t making sense to Erywin.  Then if he doesn’t realize he’s doing this, what is the cause?

Once more words came flooding back from her  short term memory. A Mimic interfaces their aura with that of another person.

There’s no need for a transitional form.

Perhaps Kerry doesn’t realize he’s doing this.

Her breath quickened. Maybe this happened because he had no control over the process. Maybe it was invol

She slowly opened her eyes, locking on the holographic image before her.

Involuntary transition.

Erywin pressed her fists against her forehead. “Son of a bitch.” She spun around and faced the surprised women. “That makes sense.”

Coraline found enough mirth in the situation to chuckle. “Is there something you’d like to share with the class?”

She ignored Coraline’s comment and turned to the one person in the room who could likely answer her question. “Deanna, what can Trevor access from the Paris archives?”

Deanna didn’t find it unusual that Erywin was asking this question: everyone in the room was aware that Trevor and her were more than friends, and that she knew a bit about his role as School Librarian and Archivist. Given that, it didn’t seem unlikely that they’d never discussed the huge underground archive The Foundation maintained near the main headquarters in Paris. “He’s mentioned that he can access all but about five percent of the archive.”

“And the other five percent?”

“Well . . . He’s mentioned that four percent of that he can access with a request from either Mathilde or Isis, and the last one percent—” She shook her head. “It requires more security access than we have here.”

Coraline’s curiosity was getting the better of her. “What the hell is in the Paris archives that you suddenly need so badly?”

Erywin slowly faced the doctor and spoke in a cool, measured tone. “I want to see Lucyna Gorczynski’s diaries.”

 

And that is a name I know you haven’t heard before, because it’s been sitting on my time line for a while and I’m not in a habit of showing you my time lines.  But there is a mention for Lucyna Gorczynski there, and now she’s coming out to play.  The interesting thing is the other three women in the room appear to know that name, and their reaction isn’t what you’d expect–

 

Silence fell over the group, appearing shocked at Erywin’s mention of that particular name. Jessica glanced at the monitor then back to Erywin. “You aren’t suggesting—”

“What do you think I’m suggesting?” Erywin pointed at the frozen display behind her. “If you don’t know what that is, then it’s time to start grasping for answers, and based on a few things I’ve heard here, looking there makes fucking sense.” She sighed long and loud. “I remember reading that she turned over the last of her diaries ten years ago, so the entire collection is there. It’s just a question of whether or not we can access them.”

Coraline glanced between Jessica and Erywin. “Why do you think there’s any relevance here?” She motioned to the display. “How is what’s happening there—”

Deanna blurted out a single word in a surprised voice. “Dreams.”

Erywin nodded. “Yeah. It’s been twenty-five years since I read anything on Gorczynski, but there was something there—”

“About dreams.” Deanna quickly nodded. “I remember something when I was doing my dream studies during my D Levels.” She looked from side to side. “There was something about her in a section on dreams as they related to non-visions—”

“Yeah, I remember there were dreams. And something about transitions—” She closed her eyes as she hung her head. “It’s all fuzzy; that’s why I didn’t think of this before.”

Coraline was just as fuzzy on the matter as everyone else, but she knew the name and saw where Erywin was going. “We’ll probably need to get Mathilde involved.”

Erywin grunted. “I don’t doubt that.”

“What are you going to tell The Foundation when you put in the request?”

“That I’m doing research for due diligence on an LGBTAIQ matter.” She turned her gaze upon Coraline. “I don’t have to tell them any more than that.”

“Not until it’s necessary.” Jessica moved closer to the two women. “So we go to Trevor and Mathilde—”

“No, we don’t.” Erywin pointed at her feet. “We bring them here. Here we’re secure and we can speak without being overheard. And if the four of us head to the library and grab Trevor before heading off to the Headmistress, people will see us and begin spreading rumors. No: we don’t allow that to happen.”

Deanna joined the group. “I agree: we’re in a much better place to speak here, and we can show them the video.” She nodded towards the computers. “Trevor can even contact Paris from here: it’s as secure as making the request from either of their offices.”

“We’re going to need Mathilde with us on this anyway.” Jessica glanced over her shoulder at the display. “If this turns out to be true, Paris is going to freak.”

“There’s something we’re forgetting—” Deanna glanced side to side. “If we’re looking for something in Gorczynski’s diaries relating to her dreams, it’ll be difficult to compare them to Kerry’s.”

 

By “Paris”, Jessica is referring to The Foundation headquarters there, in cased you didn’t pick up on what I was saying throughout that last passage.  So whatever is happening could possibly make The Foundation freak out, and that’s something that doesn’t normally happen, ’cause when they freak out as a whole, it’s usually something that’s not good.

There is something else going on here, however, and Deanna’s brought it up for the others to figure out:

 

Coraline slowly lowered her gaze towards the floor. “Yeah, he’s been reluctant to go into any details—”

“Or unwilling—” She caught the shape look Coraline. “We have to consider the possibility that he’s deliberately obfuscating.”

Erywin set her hands upon her hips. “How do we fix that?”

Deanna leaned her head to one side. “There is a way.”

Jessica picked up on Deanna’s comment first. “Are you certain you want to do that? That we need to do that?”

Coraline avoided looking at the others as she pursed her lips and remembered a promise she’d made to a couple of sleeping children. “I told Annie we’d figure this out and we’d do it fast, ‘cause right now I’m suppressing Kerry’s REM functions, and I can’t do that forever, not without harming him.” She looked at Deanna for a few moments turning to the others. “We may not have a choice except to go with Deanna’s idea . . .”

 

There you have it:  my brain trust has gathered and found something.  Chapter Twenty-seven was all set-up.

And a pretty nice set-up at that.

And a pretty nice set-up at that.

Now comes the next step:  research and a solution.  Well, actually, you’ll miss all the research, and the solution actually comes in Chapter Twenty-nine.

Right now, we’re about to watch people get their hands dirty.