Given that I didn’t do a lot of writing yesterday I figured today would be a good day for a data dump. I’m out this cool morning wearing my fall attire:
J. J. Abrams snuck in behind me when I wasn’t looking.
And I’ve had my first hot cider of the year.
So I’m ready for fall.
Kerry, however: he’s ready for school. Travel package in hand–more or less–he’s eager to get on that jet for a few months of learning at his home by the sea. Now his mother is finally asking questions about his time with the witches and she seems genuinely interested, so much so that Kerry is starting to relax. And when Kerry gets relaxed he doesn’t mind talking…
(The following excerpts from The Foundation Chronicles, Book Three: C For Continuing, copyright 2016 by Cassidy Frazee)
“Regular spells, Formulistic Magic, Transformation—” Kerry wrapped his arms around his body as if he were cold. “Advanced Flight Two and Advanced Self Defense. Flight is pretty much what is it, though this year we’re learning about various way of tricking out our brooms for additional performance and how to spend time out in the wilderness.”
“Well, a Class 1 PAV—that’s the official designation for our brooms—is great for flying out into the middle of nowhere. I was on a few overnight camping trips last level and I’ll do a few more this year.”
Though she didn’t want to admit it, Louise found this all a bit interesting. “And this self defense class?”
Kerry stepped behind the chair and leaned against the back. “We’re all being taught different disciplines. A few are learning kung fu and tai chi; a few taekwondo; a couple judo. One student has been learning silat for a couple of years.” He picked up on his mother’s “What’s that?” look in a matter of seconds. “That’s a martial art out of Indonesia. It’s pretty effective.”
“I’ll take your word for it. And what are you studying?”
He looked down for a brief moment. “I’m studying Kali?”
This time Louise didn’t bother hiding her shock. “Kali?”
“It’s from the Philippines. It’s better known as Arnis or Eskrima: it’s a combination of using your hands and feet as well as weapons, just like with silat.” He straightened as he spoke with obvious pride. “Annie and I are the only ones learning Kali.”
Louise went back to showing little emotion. “Just you two.”
“Yeah. Our instructor, Professor Chai, says that we’re suited to the art. She said she’s never seen anyone pick it up as fast as us.”
As much as Louise wanted to hear about Kerry’s work with this Bulgarian girl, she was interested in something else. “Ms. Rutherford mentioned that you were a sorceress.”
This is the first we hear that Annie and Kerry are the only ones getting all that great training in Kali with a side of Silat thrown in. At least he’s not telling his mother, “Oh, and we use batons made of magical energy so it looks like we’re giving you a beat down with light sabers.” Louise isn’t ready for that one yet.
Also, he’s doing it with that “Bulgarian girl” and Louise isn’t missing the fact that her name keeps coming up in the conversation–as in, “Annie and I are doing blah blah blah.” You can be sure that Kerry isn’t being absent-minded about this: by now he’s probably ready to spill the beans on their relationship. I mean, if Mommy and Daddy aren’t hip with his being a witch, why care if they know for sure he’s got a witch girlfriend? Watch this space and see where this goes.
However the S Word has come up and Kerry knows to tip toe around this subject–
He paused for a few seconds before answering. “Yes, I am.”
“Is that one of your advanced classes?”
Kerry wiggled his right hand back and forth. “Yes and no. There are no actual advanced classes for sorcery: everyone takes it during their A and B Levels. But in order to take the C Level class you have to be invited and not everyone got an invite. Maybe half the B Levels moved up.”
“I take it you did?”
“Yeah. Annie and I knew months before we were going to C Level Sorcery.”
Louise made note of the face this was the third time Kerry made mention of this Bulgarian girl when speaking about himself. “Was it like that with your other advanced classes?”
“Getting an early invite?”
“Not really. We knew we were moving on without being reminded.”
“You and Annie.”
He nodded. “Yeah.”
Louise figured to move on to something else. “What happens in this Formulisic Magic?”
“The Bulgarian Girl. Coming to a theater this fall!” Louise really has a problem with The Pamporovo Princess’ name: it’s like Annie is the Heisenberg of Magic. “You know who I am, Louise.” “No, I don’t.” Sure you do. Go on: Say My Name.” She is gonna have so much fun with her future mother-in-law.
At least Kerry managed to get out of that trap and moved smoothly on to another subject–
Kerry chuckled. “That’s just a fancy name for Magical Chemistry.” He sipped his juice a couple of times and remained standing in one place without shifting his feet. “We take different formulas and come up with the various mixtures. Sometimes we keep them in liquid form, sometimes power or solid, like a hard tablet. A few times we’ve had to create gel caps out of the stuff we’ve made.” He glanced off to his left and sighed. “This year we get to use the superlab—”
Once again one of Louise’s eyebrows angled upward. “That sounds a bit intimidating.”
“It is a little. We’ll be working in mixture batches that can be anywhere from fifty to three hundred liters in volume before final processing. This will be more about quality control and creating mixtures according to established protocol. We’ll even have to write up out own for mixtures we need to do without existing procedures.” He shrugged. “It’s the first step in learning how to do this professionally.”
“They certainly cover everything.” Louise had to admit that what Kerry was doing went far beyond anything she imagined of his life at school. There was one final question about that world she needed to know— “So, do you know spells that will hurt people?”
Okay, so maybe he’s not out of the trap yet. Louise can be just as tenacious as her boy when she wants something and rarely lets up until she gets it. Maybe she won’t make the connection…
The sudden shift in questioning caught Kerry off-guard. Up until now the conversation was pleasant and he’d hoped this was an indication of a thaw in the tenseness that had existed between them all summer. Suddenly, however, he felt himself being forced to scramble for the answers to the questions he expected were coming. “Mom…”
“Do you?” Louise finally placed a hand on the chair to left as if to steady herself. “Does magic like that exist?”
He glanced about the dining room for a few seconds “Any magic can hurt you if a witch puts their mind to it. I mean, transformation magic for sure; formulas can do damage as well if you know what you’re making. Even some simple common spells and put a person in the hospital if used with that intent—”
“What about sorcery?” Louise’s stare bored into her son. “I did some reading on this the last couple of weeks—”
“You can’t trust the writings of people who aren’t real witches.”
“It’s that something like dark magic?”
Kerry sighed. “We don’t call it that.” He knew better than to tell his mother what they called the power they used to power these particular spells…
His mother turned her head a little to the right. “What do you call it?”
“We call it sorcery. Not dark magic; not black magic; and for sure not the dark arts.”
Louise drew in a breath and straightened her back. “Is there a death spell?” The way he looked down with a pain expression more or less told her everything she needed. “Is there?”
Annnnnnd she does. This is what happens when The English Patient is running around Avada Kedavraing everyone in sight: you begin assuming your witchy son who is also a sorceress can do the same.
For his part Kerry doesn’t lose it cool, but he’s not gonna try taking a trip down Bullshit Lane. He knows exactly how to proceed:
Kerry turned his eyes to the ceiling knowing he wasn’t getting out of this easily. “Do you really want to know?”
“No, there isn’t.”
“There’s close to a dozen.” He didn’t wait for his mother’s shocked expression to fade before continuing. “We have a subset of spells in sorcery known as Morte; those are designed specifically for gravely injuring or killing someone.” He shrugged as if he found the conversation uninteresting. “You wanted to know—now you do.”
“Yes, I do.” She regarded her son coldly. “Do you know anything like that?”
He closed his eyes for a moment. “Yes.”
One gets the feeling that Kerry’s done playing with his parents, particularly his mother. Once bringing up this question he knows she won’t let it go, so he sees no reason to tell her lies that she can use against him later should she discover the truth. It’s not like the people at school, students and instructors alike, don’t know his abilities, so since Mom is being a pain in the ass about trying to learn things about her son, the dear boy sees no reason not to fill her in. Good or bad, he’s not in the mood to keep dancing to her tune, so he’s taken over the band and he’s calling out the steps.
The question that remains is how this will be taken I’m so sure Louise will take this news as she’s taken everything else concerning Kerry–