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.

Out On Their First Flight: Family Involvement

There was a whole lotta writing going on yesterday.  A whole lot.  Put on the recapping hat last night and did my first recap of the year for Humans Season 2, and that took up about two thousand words in ninety minutes, then it was into the novel for a short rest, where another eight hundred words were set into the mix.

Why so little for an original work?  When you’re recapping you just watch and make notes, then turn the notes into detailed descriptions.  I had to imagine everyone in a building that I designed, then I and to pull up that design so I could make sure I had dimensions right.  Then I had to image things about the superlab and that led to looking up clean room requirements and codes so I could get one line right.  And I’m still getting notes on chemical processing equipment down, because finding information on how to put a superlab together for something other than making meth is a bitch.  It’s like they figure you know how to put a lab together already.

And on top of all this I’m in the middle of Erywin describing something and my mind goes, “Hey, remember you just listened to the song #9 Dream?  I got a great scene that will go with that!”  And just like that I gotta take about ten minutes to visualize it and figure out what’s going on.  Because my mind is like a bag of cats trying to get comfortable and this is its way to letting me know I can’t rest for too long or I’m gonna get another scene thrown my way.

But the hell with all that:  Emma’s got a broom and she’s not doing any cleaning.  And she wants the whole family to watch something…

 

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

 

“We have a bunch of trees out in our backyard, so I get us in a group of them and I tell everyone to get in tight around me. I didn’t tell them what I was doing, I just throw up a light bending spell so the neighbors can’t see what’s going on. Now that I know no one can see us, I put the broom in hover and bring up the HUD again and start explaining everything to my parents. But instead of just letting the broom hover like I did in my bedroom when I was speaking with Ronnie, I get on the broom while I’m talking. That way I knew I’d have my parents attention and they could see something that were used to seeing all the time.

“Now that I showed them what the broom could do I told them to watch and let them know that once I was like twelve feet in the air I was going to vanish because of another spell. I got my feet back, pulled just enough on the column to get it to move, and rose slowly into the air. Just like I knew would happen I got four and a half meters off the ground and they start looking around because they can’t see me. So I hover for about five seconds and then slowly push back toward the ground and settle right down the middle of them.

“I explained to them how there’s a levitation and movement spell built into the broom and the processor on the back feeds energy into it to keep it going. I start telling them things about how fast and high it can go and tell them about the different race courses at school and the Mount Katahdin race course, and I tell them about how I did in the races over the school year.

“Then I decided to try something a little strange. I’m sitting side saddle on the broom and look at Ronnie and asked her if she wanted to go up with me.”

Kerry had avoided speaking up to this point but felt the urge to interrupt. “You asked your sister if she wanted a ride on the back of your broom? That’s pretty ballsy.”

 

This is the smart thing to do:  find something that isn’t too scary but is nonetheless magical–and what’s more magical than a witch’s broom?  Of course it’s cool when those brooms have radar and altitude/speed sensors and a lot of the conveniences found on a commercial jet, but it’s still a damn broom.  And then she asks her sister–the little brat, mind you–if she wants to go up.

And she says..?

 

Emma grinned as she shrugged. “I figured if there was anything that was going to get across the whole ‘I’m different from you because I’m a witch’ thing, it was going to be using some form of magic with someone in the family. And I saw how Ronnie looked at me when I pulled out the broom, so I figured this would be a good way to kind of bond with her over our differences.

“After she said yes I extend the seat for two people then told her to get on behind me. I let her know that her feet would automatically curl up behind her when she got on so she wouldn’t have to worry about holding them in place, and when she was on o put her arms around me and just hug me. Once she was in place I asked her if she was ready, and once she gave me the go-ahead I pulled on the column and off we went, straight up.”

“How high up did you take her?”

“Seventy-five meters. I figured that would be high enough to give her a good look around and at the same time give her a feeling of what it was like to be on the broom.”

“Good idea.” Kerry rubbed his chin as he considered his wingmate’s sound logic. “Did you fly any?”

She shook her head. “Not that time; all I did was a slow spin so she could get a good look at everything. I could tell she was a little nervous going up, but once we were on location and she was seeing everything she was calm, really cool about the whole thing. She even asked me how high I’ve been up on my broom and I told her, I’ve been up about two miles on this thing.” Emma chuckled for a few seconds. “I think that was first time I’ve ever heard Ronnie gasp.”

“But she liked it?”

“She dug the hell out of it. After we landed she was all excited about how we went up in the air together and it was just so cool being on the back of this thing… I mean, she really loved it.”

Kerry tapped his hands against his knees. “She takes after her sister.”

Emma considered statement for a few seconds before nodding. “Probably.”

 

I should remind everyone that the Neilson Sisters were doing their Rocky Mountain High thing in their pajamas and Veronica likely marveled a bit at how nonchalant Emma seemed.  And if anything it not only made the parents a little less worried about their Ginger Witch, but likely caused the sisters to bond somewhat:

"I'm sorry I was mean to you."  "I'm sorry I called you a brat."  "No, you're not."  "Okay, got me there."

“I’m sorry I was mean to you.” “I’m sorry I called you a brat.” “No, you’re not.” “Okay, got me there.”

But Emma said something in one of the paragraphs about and it’s going to lead to a little more bit more of an explanation…

Mother’s Little Annoyance: Your Son, the Sorceress

In the last except Kerry’s mother, Louise, decided she was gonna push the boundaries and get right to the heart of the matter of what her son learns at school, and discovered–somewhat to her dismay–that it’s not anything like those nice witch school you read about in books where they do stuff like change birds into cups.  Nope, Mama Malibey discovered that some students know how to kill someone with their brain, and guess what?  Her son is one of those people who’ve learned how to do that–

 

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

 

Louise seemed to stop breathing for a few seconds as Kerry’s single word hit her. “Are you serious?”

Kerry nodded. “Completely.”

“I—” Louise wiped the back of her left hand across her brow. “Did you teachers show you that?”

“No.” Once more he looked down as he drew in a breath. “I taught myself.”

What?”

“I read about the spell in a book from our library and stared figuring it out on my own. I practiced for most of the school year and finally got to where I could control it completely.”

“And your teachers let you do this?”

He shrugged. “I had help.”

Who?”

“Annie.”

Louise swallowed hard. “They let her help you?”

“Yeah.”

“How in the hell could they—?”

“Because she already knew a Morte spell.” He kept his face free of his feelings but the quiver in his voice spoke of the combination of fear and frustration running through him. “Annie learned the spell when she was ten, so when she entered Salem for our A Levels she had what we call a ‘yellow flag’ on her student file: it means you know and can control a Morte spell. Since she was already able to do one of those spells already, the Head Sorceress more or less had her help me.”

“And the school allowed that?”

“Yeah, sure.”

 

Right about, oh, now, Louise should be shitting he knickers ’cause her son–you know, the one she’s mentally and emotionally abused for years–is admitting to knowing how to use these spells, and admits even further that he’s learning them from The Girl Who Writes–who, it also turns out, is not only someone Louise has been tossing shade at for at least a year, but is a little Dark Witch in her own right who learned one of these spells when she was ten.

Needless to say, this news has her head spinning:

 

Louise stared up at the ceiling while shaking her head. “I can’t believe her parents would allow her to learn something like—”

“Her parents are witches, Mom.” Kerry leaned on the table as he sighed. “From what she’s told me they were pretty good sorceresses as well and had a lot of books on the subject around the house. They got her a book of her own when she was nine because they wanted her to learn the right way.”

“I can’t believe I’m hearing this.” When she decided to question Kerry about his schooling she’d anticipated some bad things could come out of the discussion, but she hadn’t any idea that this sort of nonsense occurred. “Your school allows a girl your age to teach you a spell to kill people—”

“Why not? They let me teach her the spell I knew.” He didn’t wait for his mother’s shocked gasp to dissipate and vanish. “Professor Lovecraft, the Head Sorceress, says that good sorceresses not only learn but can teach what they know, so she got the school to allow Annie and I to teach each other things. She gets mentored in advanced things by Helena—”

“Who?”

“Professor Lovecraft. She gets mentored by her and then teaches me and I teach Annie the things I learn in Advanced Transformation. We’re evaluated on how well we do with the lessons in the same way we’re evaluated in class.”

Louise closed her eyes as she shook her head. “I can’t even comprehend how your school can allow these things—”

“That’s because it’s not the Normal world.” Kerry was certain his mother though he meant normal with a small “n”, but after two years at school he knew better. “We do things differently at school because—” He shrugged. “Because we’re different:  we’re witches.  We don’t learn the same as other kids.”

“Like kids you used to go to school with.”

“Yeah, like that.” He nodded once. “Like Normal kids.”

 

And there is lay the rub, Louise:  your son isn’t like all other kids with whom he used to attend school, and maybe that’s the reason you should have spent the summer getting to know him instead of Gish Galloping him a few weeks before he heads back to school.  Maybe he wouldn’t have freaked you out as much–

"See, right here, Mom, the school says we can't use death spells against our parents--not without permission first--"

“See, right here, Mom, the school says we can’t use death spells against our parents, not without permission from a teacher–“

–or maybe not.  The point is you spent most of your life ignoring the boy before he discovered he can do magic and now you’re having an even harder time getting to know him.

But since he keeps bringing up the name of his Bulgarian Buttercup, maybe now is a good time to learn a bit more about her–and what she means to a certain Ginger Hair Boy…

Mother’s Little Annoyance: Dark and Stormy Spells

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.

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.”

“Why that?”

“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?”

“Yes.”

“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?”

“Yes.”

“No, there isn’t.”

“Well that’s—”

“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–

Mother’s Little Annoyance: All Those Changes

Yesterday was a bit of a strange day.  I’ve been hyper-focused on work of late, so I’ve been zooming through my assignments like no one’s business–so much so that I’m now sitting around for hours waiting on specifications.  This gives me a chance to look up things and think.  One of the things I looked up was a possible adventure in Manila, The Philippines, for Annie and Kerry–because there is a Foundation facility there–and at the same time I discovered that a gigantic meth superlab was found in the foothills of Mt. Arayat, leading me to believe that Walter White didn’t die, he just moved to Asia.

Not a part of The Foundation, believe me.

Not a part of The Foundation, believe me.  They keep their superlabs where kids can use them.

But this thinking has also brought me to consider a few changes in my life and I think I’ll discuss them in a video tomorrow.  Nothing bad, mind you, but they are things I believe I need to do because–well, reasons as always.

But back to what’s going on in my fictional world–and that’s a discussion of stuff and things…  Mama wants to know what you can do with transformation magic, Kerry, so maybe you should tell her?

 

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

 

He wondered how much he should tell his mother, then figured if she wanted to know what he could do, he should tell her everything. “I can change the color of my hair and change my complexion; I’ve gotten pretty dark—” He thought it best he didn’t tell his mother about his Mimic Gift. “And I can do it pretty fast, too.”

“You can change your hair?”

“Yeah. I’ve been black, brown, blond.” Kerry’s chuckle was so soft as to be almost unheard. “I can do that to others, too. I’ve practiced on a couple of instructors and I changed Annie’s hair color for our last Samhain dance.”

Louise’s head tilted slightly to the right. “Samhain?”

“You’d call it Halloween: we go by all the old names.” He began shifting his weight from foot to foot out of habit. “We have a costume dance. Some of the kids and instructors get pretty inventive.”

“I see.” Now that Louise had raised this particular question she had to know— “What color did you make her hair?”

“Aqua.” He rushed through his mother’s sudden eyebrow raise. “We went as characters from an anime. I made my hair blond.”

She was certain she wouldn’t understand anything about any characters Kerry and his little friend were imitating so Louise didn’t ask more there. “You had blond hair?”

“Sure. I could give you blond hair, too, if you ever wanted to see.”

“No, thank you.” Louise was concerned for only a second that she may have come off too strong. “I like my hair as it is. What else can you change besides your hair and skin color?”

 

“Kerry and his little friend.”  Jeez, Louise, could you be a little more condescending even if it is in your own thoughts?  The boy is thirteen:  he doesn’t have little friends.  And the one he does have could kill you in about ten seconds flat.  For that matter, so could Kerry, but let’s not go there yet–

This is really the first time that Kerry has mentioned to either of his parents that Annie and he have done anything together other than have a sex talk, that is.  And if a girl allows you to change the color of her hair–yeah, you can bet Louise filed that one away rather quickly.  “Little friend” my ass:  a whole bunch of letters over two summers, an angry retort about a girl’s name, and a sex talk at school = My Son’s Got Somethin’ Goin’ On.  But she isn’t saying anything about that yet.  Oh no, not yet.  She has other things she wants to know–like what else can you change?  And don’t you know Kerry really wants to talk…

 

Kerry gave a slight shrug. “Eye color, though that’s always tricky. I’m also getting good at…” He shook his head one time. “I’m to where I can change different—parts. This year I’m gonna work on things like size and weight alterations and anthropomorphic alterations—”

His mother’s puzzled look returned. “What’s that?”

Go on: tell her. “It’s taking on the aspects of other non-human creatures. You know: sonar like a bat, or wings, or…” He pushed past his fear of looking silly. “Annie and I figured it would also be possible to create gills and a dolphin tail. Like a mermaid—you know?”

If Louise was shocked by this she didn’t let it show. “A mermaid? Seriously?”

“I…” He nodded. “I’m sure I’ll have it figured out by my D Levels.”

“Well…” Louise broke into a slight smile. “You really mean you’d be a merman, don’t you?”

“Oh, yeah: that’s what I meant.” Kerry had decided a few seconds before there was no way he was going to explain his other Gift right now. “It’s just that everyone thinks of mermaids—”

“It’s popular, I know.” She slowly pressed her right fist against her mouth, something she did when she was thinking. “You said you take advanced classes—”

“All of them.”

“In what?”

 

Size and weight–or really mass, but laypeople don’t really understand that as much as weight–alterations are on the menu for the C Levels, and while they won’t allow you to become the Incredible Shrinking Man or the 50 Foot Woman, they go a long ways towards making people think you’re someone you’re not.

And animal stuff like wings?  Yeah, that can happen and has.  In fact, people who are  really good with transformation magic can make themselves over into just about anything, and Jessica once used an animal form–a lioness–to maul another witch to death.  Sure, she could have stopped their heart or pulled organs out of their body:  nope, Jessica wanted to rip them to shreds and did.  This is just another reason why you don’t mess with her.

But mermaids?  Yeah, Annie and Kerry talked about that.  You gotta figure it makes swimming underwater easier and once you get past the whole “I’ve got gills and I’m breathing water” thing, one could get used to being that way for a while.  And since one can now get a job as a mermaid–really, look it up–it’s a good cover for something they could do while working undercover for the Guardians.

"It's a lot of fun.  You're in the water the whole time and you get a clam-shell bra!"

“It’s also a lot of fun. You’re in the water the whole time and you get a clam-shell bra!”

Now Mom and Kerry are on to the other advanced classes.  Hum…  I think things are about to get even more interesting–

Mother’s Little Annoyance: Witchy Fixing

I woke up about twenty minutes ago and my first thought was, “It’s only Thursday.”  Seriously.  I feels like the week should be over right now, but it’s not.  There’s still today and tomorrow to get through, and it’s sort of bumming me out.  Not that I have anything exciting planed for this weekend, but really:  I’m so over this week and I’m ready to stop going into work.

At least the time at the phone bank was productive and I was actually chatting with a few of the women last night, so by the time I finished my two-and-a-half hours I was in a pretty good mood.  And I’ve been there long enough that I was helping a couple of new people out when it came to what to do and say.  I must be an expert now, yo.

Speaking of experts–now that it’s been established that Kerry is on his way to Paris and Louise knows he’s been jaunting around the world for the most part instead of flying like a Normal person, she decides to bring up something that is apparently bothering her…

 

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

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