Special Rules For Special People

This has been a lousy week for writing, in that I haven’t felt much like writing.  After the twelve hundred words I put out on Sunday I pretty much skipped a day and have only been putting out four and five hundred words a night.  It’s not been easy.

Part of the struggle has had to do with the current scene.  It’s involving a lot of rule and there is going to be a lot of action, and that always requires a lot of time on my behalf.  I’m getting there, but slowly.  Gotta trust me on this one, kids.

That said, it’s time to leave Chapter Ten behind.  Maybe if I feel everyone’s hot breath on my back I’ll get to writing.  In the preceding excerpts we learned about what Annie and Kerry were going to learn:  however, Deanna has some things she doesn’t want them to do…

 

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

 

Deanna waited until everyone had a few calming sips of tea before she went on. “I am going to set down some ground rules and I want them followed. If they aren’t, this special class we’re having is going to come to an immediate halt and you’ll find your access to materials that could help you continue these studies on your own will stop.” She said her tea aside. “Do you both understand?”

Kerry gave a curt nod. “Understood completely.”

Deanna looked at Annie. “Do you understand?”

Annie did understand: Deanna was preventing them from learning anything about The Three Bindings and it would be easy to add certain elements of Astral Studies to that same restriction. “I understand and will do exactly as you say.”

Deanna set her hands in her lap and lean slightly forward. “Very well. Now, you went ahead and learned dreamwalking on your own even though I had asked that you not do that until this school year. Fortunately you haven’t encountered any issues, but that isn’t something I can guarantee with the spells you’re going to learn now, not with you having direct access to the Astral Realm through two of these spells.

“As far as Aura Readings are concerned, I expect you’ll start picking up on that spell quickly and you learn at your own pace. You’re even free to read up on it in the library as much as you like and you’ll find several books in the library here as well. This is the least dangerous of the spells will work on, as you may have guessed.

“We’ll go through the specifics on Astral Projection in class. For the first few attempts I want those to occur here under controlled conditions: I do not want you to try this on your own until you have an understanding of what is involved. I know the urge will be there, while you’re lying on your bed waiting to fall asleep, to attempt the spell, but I need you to resist that urge. I will let you know when I feel you’ve become proficient enough with the spell to go projecting on your own.

 

If there is one thing that Annie is known for among the instructors, it’s that she doesn’t wait.  When she’s ready to learn something she get busy on that shit, which means if you ain’t willing to keep up, she’ll leave you behind.

That was how it was with Kerry that long ago day in the lower level of the Spells Center.  They wanted to make charcoal and they were gonna make it happen using advanced magic, and you can bet if Kerry hadn’t been able to bring his skills to the table Annie wouldn’t have been a happy girl.

And with this next spell Deanna wants to make sure they know the rules–

 

“And lastly there’s Astral Walking—and under no circumstances do I want either of you attempting the spell on your own. Neither of you are to attempt this alone, and until I feel you’re ready to solo I don’t want you attempting it without me present. Of all the spells were going to learn this is the one that can kill you. You may be able to pull aside the Curtain on this side, but that doesn’t mean you’ll be able to open it from the other side. And if it’s your intention is to get over into the Astral Realm, have a quick look around, and then wait for The Phoenix to come to your aid and help you back to the Physical Realm—” Deanna rolled her eyes as she shook her head. “She’ll just as soon leave you there to die than help you return.”

She took a slow, calming sip of her tea as she allowed her students to absorb her words and understand the meanings. After about a minute she set her tea aside. “The majority of witches have no idea what it’s like on the other side of the Curtain. They think it’s a mystical, magical place, and in many ways it is: it’s beautiful in a way that’s indescribable. But it’s just as dangerous as it is beautiful and most witches forget this. The closest analogy I have about being in the Astral Realm is that it’s like going into the desert: standing on the edge it has this incredible beauty that never leaves you, but the moment you decide to head further into the desert, that’s when you begin setting yourself up for a great deal of hardship and even death. The desert can begin killing you before you even know you’re dying, and the Astral Realm is the same way.

“Once we enter the Astral Realm we have to know how to create armor and weapons; you have to learn how to work spells in ways that they don’t Backlash on you because you’re essentially crafting surrounded by mystical energy. And most of all you need to understand the rules of the Astral Realm. Just as the desert has rules, the Astral Realm has them as well. If you have insufficient knowledge of those, or if you ignore them completely, you could die.”

Deanna motioned to her left and three books levitated their way. “This is the first were going to use; this will help us with Astral Reading.” She suspended two of the books directly before her students, who eagerly snatch them out of the air. “These are school copies and as such I’d like you not to make notes in them. If you’d like to have your own copies we can stop at the library before dinner and have Trevor order them for you.”

She held her copy tight against her abdomen as she leaned forward once more. “Ready to learn how to read someone’s aura?” Annie and Kerry nodded simultaneously with smiles on their faces. Deanna sat upright and opened her book. “Then let’s begin.”

 

So the law had been laid down:  no jumping the magical gun on any of these spells, particularly Astral Walking, or Deanna is gonna throw the both of them in Magical Jail and not let them study this stuff outside of class.  And as Deanna has already thrown them in Three Bindings Jail, she’s the one instructor serious about locking them out when it comes to the advanced and possible dangerous magic.

And that’s it for Chapter Ten.  Now we move on to Chapter Eleven and the start of one really big test…

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…

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…

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 Hot and the Maybe New

As I expected I’m on a three-hour delay this morning, which means I’ve frittered away about two hours of morning before getting around to writing this post.  I seem to be doing that a lot of late, probably because I need the downtime.

Oh, and I was out in the snowstorm yesterday. Why?  To go have beer, that’s why.  How did I get there?  I walked.

Walked down one road to get there–

 

And down another to get home.

 

Because I’m nuts sometimes.

Yes, I spent hours walking around in a snowstorm on deserted streets for two glasses of beer, a hard cider, and a great sandwich at the Yellow Bird Café.  Because maybe I just didn’t want to sit in the apartment all day long.

This doesn’t mean I didn’t write any yesterday: I did.  In fact, I did manage to get in my thousand words and nearly made it eleven hundred.  But I had reached the point where he didn’t need to go on any longer and I left it at that.  I managed to do it all while struggling to keep my eyes open.

Seriously, I should get a cookie or something for my efforts.

The good news is I’m almost 5800 words upon the excerpts at this point. The bad news is I’m starting excerpts on the scene before the one in which I’m working, which means I need to write faster and harder to get them done.  That means I need to get at least five hundred words out of the way tonight just to keep up.  Such is the life of a writer showing their wares.

After spending some time in the Witch House it’s time to go over to the other side of the Salem campus and see what’s going on in the Transformation Center.  Which means were about to look in on the other half of Team Lovey Dovey.

 

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

 

As was usual inside the Transformation Center, the temperature inside the classroom was just a touch on the warm side—at least it was to Kerry’s liking. It was always like this for any transformation class, because after two years he knew Jessica always liked to keep her classrooms slightly warm. She did this, he was aware, because she wanted to keep everyone just a bit uncomfortable. She’d said several times in the past she did this because of students could concentrate in less-than-perfect conditions, they’d be able to craft transformation magic anywhere in the real world.

After two years, however, Kerry realized there was another reason for this forced discomfort: a student who was good in transformation magic would find it possible to change their metabolism just enough that they could ignore the slightly stifling classroom. This was especially true for any students in the Advanced Transformation class, which was the reason why, when looking around the room, none of the other four students with him seemed to give any outward appearance that they appeared bothered.

Kerry knew he wasn’t bothered, for he had figured out how to ignore the heat near the and of his A Levels and taught Annie how to craft the same spells before leaving Salem for the first time. While he still couldn’t ignore the effects of extreme cold or extreme heat—much like the temps found during winter and summer—he could easily ignore a two or three degree change in temperature.

 

This was something that popped up in the A Level novel and while it was on touched in the B Level novel, it was there.  It’s always there. Jessica likes to keep everyone uncomfortable: we know this.  She likes to “test” people, much in the same way Helena was testing Annie at the same time Kerry’s thinking about how he’s gotten around being hot and uncomfortable in Transformation class.  This Salem school sure does a hell of a lot of testing for a place that doesn’t hand out grades.

And just as we saw in Advanced Formulistic Magic, we get a rundown of the students in class.  And just like in that class there appears to be something on Kerry’s mind–

 

Annie wasn’t in class tonight—she told him that Helena wanted to see her in the Witch House and he’d have to show her what he learned Friday afternoon—which meant there were only the four other students from last year’s class. Kaisa Božic, the E Level from Åsgårdsreia, told everyone in the first class that Jessica was interested in bringing into more students but might not do so until October. Jordana Sauceda, the El Salvadoran girl from Ceridwen, told everyone then that she hoped to see a couple of new students coming to class before she graduated, which happened at the end of this school year.

Kerry wanted to see new students and hoped they were B or C Levels, for like in nearly all the rest of his advanced classes, he was the youngest student. The only class where this was not true was in Advanced Spells, where they started out the year with two new B Levels. Upon seeing them enter the room, Kerry remembered looking to his left at Annie and sharing a smile, for in this one class they were no longer the “new kids”.

The quiet of the classroom was broken as the door flew open and Jessica strode confidently into the room, wearing a light, bright blue blouse, blue jeans, and red flats. “Good evening, everyone.” She flipped her right hand upward and the classroom door closed with a slam. “I apologize that I’m a few minutes late, but there were two last-minute detentions I needed to assign and I didn’t want to leave those for any longer than necessary.” She scanned the room, looking from student to student. “I hope you all understand.”

 

Now, just to leave you with a little something after your reading, one of the above three paragraphs was rewritten extensively just before I’d made this post.  Can you guess which one?  Can you?  Then say it!  Say It Again!  LOUDER!

Yeah, this is what happens when I get a three-hour delay before going in the work…

The Final Definition of Darkness

Well, here I am, nice and warm at home.  Right now Harrisburg is buried under more than a few inches of snow, and while I don’t have an actual figure, just looking outside tells me it’s enough to keep people in.

 

What I saw this morning.

 

Here, too.

Yes, the pictures are correct: I was up at 5 o’clock this morning, my normal time, and I’ve been taking care of business ever since.  I didn’t take care of much business last night as I was at a Planned Parenthood rally and a press conference, both of which kept me out until 8 PM.  Once again, I’m being a bad activist girl getting out and doing things besides writing. I should be able to do some of that today, though around noon I’m actually going to go out and go to a blizzard party at our local microbrewery. Which means I’m a completely different kind of bad girl there…

Don’t worry, I will get some writing in tonight–or this afternoon–or whenever.  But it will get done.

In the meantime, were going to end the scene with Annie and Isis going over Blend With Shadows, were any answers the last question put to her by the Chief of Security–

 

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

 

For a moment Annie thought she was being given a trick question, but quickly brushed that notion aside when she realized Isis would never do something like that. This is another test. I suppose Helena meant she wasn’t going to give me any more tests, but she said nothing about Isis… A few moments later the answer came and Annie was surprised she hadn’t seen it initially. “You can walk through the wall.”

Isis’ smile was bright in the darkness of the room. “Correct. You could walk on either side of the shadow at its base, which is essentially the same thing as walking outside or inside the shadow. Or you could walk along the top of the shadow, which is essentially the same thing as creating a large Shadow Ribbon and moving along the shadow as if it were a floor.

“Or, you could walk inside the shadow. Just like you can create a pocket space within a few millimeters of the surface of the shadow, you can learn to walk within those few millimeters and be completely undetectable to the people around you. And unlike Shadow Cage, you’re completely cognizant of the world around you, because the shadow is translucent from your point of view.” The security chief appeared pleased with herself. “It’s really a marvelous feeling. It’s even more marvelous when you realize that because you exist within the insubstantialness of a shadow, you yourself are also insubstantial. That means someone can walk right through you and never know they’ve done so.”

Annie grimaced at the idea that someone could pass straight through her while she was inside a shadow even though she was a physical being. It was then she was struck by another thought— “It’s almost like being an astral being existing within the Physical Realm.”

Isis grinned as she pointed a finger at Annie. “Yep. Now you’re catching on. The reality is you treat the shadow almost as if it is a version of the Astral Realm existing within the Physical Realm. When you think of it in that manner, the concept of being able to move through the shadow unseen becomes even easier.”

Treating a shadow as if it were part of the Astral Realm—with Deanna preparing to teach Kerry and I how to walk about in that same realm. It can’t be a coincidence. But Annie didn’t have time to wonder about possible coincidences: Isis was explaining how this difficult spell could be visualized, and Annie could see herself using it within her mind’s eye.

She forced herself to keep her hands at her side as she felt the excitement of mastering this new magic swell inside. “When do we begin?”

The mischievous sparkle they had entered Isis’ eye when she first began to discuss the spell with Annie returned. “We can begin anytime you’re ready.”

This time Annie did bounce on the balls of her feet. “I’m ready now.”

Isis motioned to the shadows she had previously stepped from. “Then get ready to step into my other office…”

 

There you have it: Annie is starting to visualize how Isis performs this magic, and as we know by now visualization is one-third the process of crafting a spell.  And if there’s one thing we know Annie excels at, it’s crafting spells.  Just what we need: a little Bulgarian sorceress who can fly into a shadow and vanish.  It’s a good thing she’s not a snoopy ass girl, or her enemies would be living in fear.

“No, you have nothing to fear from me. It’s not like I’ll hear it when you call me a stuck-up bitch like you did last night…”

Yeah, safe to say that once others in the school find out Annie can do this should become an even scarier girl–of course, this is assuming she’ll learn how to master the spell, but who are we kidding?  Annie’s like a little bulldog when it comes to magic.

Now that we know what Annie is doing on this September Tuesday night, why don’t we pop over to Advanced Transformations and see what Kerry’s doing.  Something big, I’m sure…

The Definition of Shadows

Thousand word day–yes, I had it.  I had a lot to do yesterday but writing over a thousand words was one of the things on my get it done list.  I also thought about the physics of time spells in the Normal world, which made my head hurt, but someone’s gotta think about that.

Speaking of spells Isis is about to start her talk about Those Shadows, and it’s time to bend your brain just a little…

 

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

 

Annie stepped back from Isis and spoke with confidence. “I’ve not read much on the spell, though from what I have read, it seems there’s a bit of confusion as to whether or not it’s a variation of the Light Bending spell.”

Isis’ eyebrows shot upward for just a second. “Why did it seems like there’s confusion?”

“Some of the people writing on the matter believe that Blend with Shadows couldn’t be the same as Light Bending because the lack of light made that task impossible.”

“So you agree with the concept that darkness is nothing more than the absence of light, and that shadow is nothing more than those areas where light is unable to penetrate fully.”

Annie took a moment to scratch at the corner of her mouth with her right index finger nail. “I know what Normal science says, but you and I both know that Normal science is often at odds with Aware magic and superscience.” She nodded her head slightly to the right. “Knowing what I know of The Art and spell crafting, and having a working knowledge of Shadow Ribbons, I’m certain there’s more to shadows than a simple lack of light.”

A smile appeared on Isis’ face. “Right you are. As you know from your understanding of Shadow Ribbons, a shadow is insubstantial and has substance simultaneously: it’s simply a matter of being able to craft the spell so that one can make the best of both.” Isis slipped into a moment of thought. “You haven’t gotten to the spell yet, but do you understand the concept behind Shadow Cage?”

Annie gave a quick nod. “Yes. The concept seems similar to Hammerspace in that you create a hidden pocket within the shadow.”

“That’s correct. You’re actually creating a bubble of space within an area that may be only a few centimeters deep. Like you say: the concept is very similar to that of Hammerspace and that you’re creating a pocket storage area pretty much out of nothing.

“Blend with Shadows is a little different in that you’re not creating a pocket within the shadows, but rather—” Isis searched her memory for a few seconds. “Imagine a sheer wall thirty meters high yet only about five centimeters thick. Now imagine you had not learned Levitation or Adhesion, yet you’ve decided you want to walk the length of the wall, which is a couple of hundred meters long.” Isis eyed Annie hard. “How could you walk from one end of the wall to the other?”

There were only two possible solutions that Annie saw to this problem. “You can either walk along the base of the wall, or you could carefully walk along the top of the wall.

Isis nodded. “Those are the two most obvious solutions. But you missed the third: what is it?”

 

This is one of those scenes where I really had to figure out what is actually happening in magic and how it’s being visualized.  It’s what I did in the Transformation class and I’m now doing with Advanced Spells–and this is one of the reasons writing goes slow at times.  ‘Cause making this stuff isn’t always easy.

This should finish up tomorrow, which means I’ll still be five or six thousand words ahead of you, and then–

Oh, wait:  I’m gonna be under snow tomorrow.  Should have plenty of time to write.