The Stars Shine Down

Amazing thing, writing.  I go into another scene, a completely different scene than the one before but still talking on the same thing more or less, and come out with nearly identical word counts.  The one before was eleven hundred and seven, and this one was eleven hundred and twenty-seven.  It’s one of those amazing coincidences–

Or I just wanted the counts to be the same.

Or I just wanted the counts to be the same.

But the feel is so different.  Whereas Helena and Erywin confine their discussion behind the closed doors of an office, Annie and Kerry end up the very next night in the location that Erywin mentioned at the end of their scene.  Yeah, I do that sometimes–must be another coincidence . . .

 

All excerpts, this page, from The Foundation Chronicles, Book One: A For Advanced, copyright 2013, 2014, by Cassidy Frazee)

Annie and Kerry brought their brooms to a hover eight meters from the viewing gallery around the top of the Observatory Tower and examined the interior of the open dome. As they expected there wasn’t anyone inside, for the interior was completely dark; not a single red night light was on. Annie turned to Kerry and nodded, and he began moving slowly towards the viewing gallery railing with her. A few seconds later they cleared the railing and gently settled to the surface without sound.

She entered the dome silently, the floor absorbing the sound of her footsteps. “It’s so different being here with no one else.”

“And no lights.” Kerry left his broom on the propped against the dome while he retrieved a wide viewing chair, pillows, and blankets. “Not that we really need them.”

“Seeing we were just here last night, I hope we can find our way around.” Annie stood under the telescope and scanned the area to the south that it was viewing. “What do you think they’re viewing?” She pointed up into the sky. “I see Mars . . .”

“I see it, too.” Kerry continued setting up the chair. “That would be my guess, unless the C Levels are getting special scans of Regulus.” He spread it arms wide over the chair. “Your seat awaits.”

 

What’s this?  Annie’s got her own broom now?  That gets mentioned, but after eight months of astronomy, it looks like the kids know their stars, and they can look up and spot celestial bodies without a problem.  Of course I checked the sky for the Salem area two and a half years ago, and . . . yep.  Mars is close to Regulus, just like Kerry said.

Now that their under that blankets . . .

 

“Thank you.” Annie set her broom next to his and slipped onto the chair and under the cover. Kerry joined her as soon as she was settled. “This is comfortable.”

“I’ve always found it so.” He snuggled up next to her. “I remember when we first started class, we used to do this a lot.”

“Now it’s all making observations and working on our own charts.” She chuckled. “I do this at home during the summer.”

“Just sit out?”

“Yes. I’ll go out on the deck of the lake house and lay back in one of the lounge chairs and gaze into the night sky. Sometimes I’ll fall sleep and have the most peaceful sleep . . .”

Kerry loved looking at the stars, but it was something he never actually enjoyed until coming to Salem. There’d been too much light pollution from San Francisco to see anything, and living within Cardiff city limits meant his chances of seeing the night sky were non-existent. “We don’t do this enough.”

“We never have the time. We’re in class on Tuesday nights, walking back to the tower on Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday nights, and we never think about it all the other nights of the week.” She slid her right arm over Kerry’s chest and turned towards him. “Are you nervous about tomorrow?”

“A little.” He turned until he was facing her. “Are you?”

“Yes. That’s why I wanted to come up here.” She glanced out at the sky. “This relaxes me.”

“It was a good think Professor Salomon gave you a broom to use.” He nuzzled his cheek against Annie’s hair. “I wouldn’t have wanted to try flying you up here in the dark on mine.”

“I wouldn’t have minded.” She sighed. “It’s like like it’s any different than during the day.”

 

There’s where she got the broom:  Professor Salomon loaned her one.  And we know Annie loves to star gaze when she wants to relax.  I’m guessing, however, that since it’s after the Advanced Spells class, and it’s late, and tomorrow they head off on their mission, Annie and Kerry had something else in mind.

At least Kerry does–

 

“True.” Though the trip to Kansas City loomed large—particularly with the trip being moved up a week—he didn’t actually want to discuss what they were going to do. He’d had something else on his mind for a few days. “I was thinking . . .”

Annie smiled, for it was no secret that Kerry was always thinking. “Yes?”

“The visions we had of our wedding night—”

She didn’t let any expression show on her face, but hearing him say what he did made her smile inside. He’s calling it our wedding night; he’s not said that before like that . . . “I’m listening.”

“We shouldn’t discuss them that much.”

“Oh?”

“I mean, you know how visions work—”

“I certainly do.” Annie had been thinking the same thing, and had planed on bringing up the subject herself tomorrow night. “Talking about it all the time—”

“Makes it seem like we’re trying to make it happen.” Kerry gave a nearly imperceptible nod. “And the more you try to make them happen—”

“The more likely they won’t.” Annie nestled comfortable in the crook of Kerry’s right arm. “And you know how I feel about that vision.”

“You want it to happen.”

There was no uncertainly when he said that. “Yes, I do. I don’t fear telling you now, because you know my feelings.”

“And you know mine.” He looked up into the sky. “I would rather just let things happen.”

She chuckled. “That’s what Deanna always said: ‘Just let it happen’.”

“She’s right. And it won’t be that hard to let things happen—I mean, I know I’m not going anywhere—”

“Nor am I.”

 

Now Kerry’s calling it their “wedding night,” and Annie’s a bit surprised, but not shocked.  After reading all those books he’s a bit of a pedantic expert, but he’s right:  if one keeps talking about these visions, they end up working against you because you’re busy trying to make them happen.  And visions are a screwy thing here, because unless you’re an expert with them–like Deanna–you can make them go horribly wrong if you’re not careful.

It’s interesting to see that he knows Annie wants it, and he’s letting her know they’re on the same page.  One might say he’s resigned to the fate that awaits him, but he wouldn’t say that.  And Annie might bleed you out if you say that to her . . .

Annie then brings up the bad stuff:

 

“I know.” Annie grew quiet for a few seconds. “Kerry?”

“Yes?”

“Do you really think one of us might die?”

He turned his attention back to the girl laying next to him. “I’ve almost died once, and that was only a couple of months after we meet for real. How old do we have to be before we could marry?”

“Age of Maturity: eighteen.”

“That’s a ways away . . .” Kerry softened his tone. “And who knows what’s gonna happen to us in the next six years?”

Annie saw that Kerry had reached another important milestone in his life. “You understand that it’s a dangerous world for us.”

He nodded. “It’s not just Deconstructors, is it?”

“There are them and Berserkers—”

“I hear about them, but—”

“But we’ll talk about them later.” She ran her fingers through his hair. “There’s creatures that we hear about hiding in the shadows; there’s ghosts and spirits; there’s entities that we encounter—”

“Like the Phoenix?”

“Yes. It’s likely she’s one, thought no one has said much about it.” She touched his cheek. “There’s also Normals who would harm us if they were to find us.” Annie sighed. “Fanatics who fear witches and the supernatural—anything that’s different from them.” She moved onto here back and snuggled up next to Kerry. “But we can’t worry about them—”

Kerry rolled onto his back and lay shoulder-to-shoulder with his sweetie. “Why not?”

 

The world is hard, but it sounds like The Foundation world is even harder.  Probably not as hard as it would seen–everyone is staying low key, and these things they discuss don’t seem to be popping out from around behind every corner, but they are there, it seems.  The point about the Normals is true, too:  there probably are fanatic witch hunters out there who would kill them if they ever got wind.  And if the Deconstructors didn’t get their first.

So they end off with this little piece–

 

Kerry rolled onto his back and lay shoulder-to-shoulder with his sweetie. “Why not?”

“Because there is tomorrow.” Annie lightly pressed her head against Kerry’s while watching the sky. “Because we have something to do, and no matter how easy it might seem—”

Kerry rested his head against Annie’s shoulder. “It might not be that easy.”

“No, it might not.” She found his left hand and took it in her right. “But we’ll be together.”

He squeezed her hand back. “We will.” He said nothing more and relaxed in the darkness with Annie, watching—

Letting the stars shine for them.

 

–and all seems right in the world for them.  They’re a little nervous, they suspect it night not be as easy as the adults are letting on, but it doesn’t matter because they are at each other’s side, watching the other’s back.

Isn’t that what you do in a real relationship?

The Light at the Bottom of the Observatory Well

Here we are, holiday time, the year almost over, and here I am thinking about what to eat as I prepare for the Doctor Who Christmas special, which I know will probably rip my hearts to shreds.  Yesterday there was talk among a few people about the South Yorkshire “Man of Steel” sculpture getting a £1 million pledge for it’s construction along the M1, and it was proposed that we should instead build a thirty meter sculpture of Brian Blessed dressed as Prince Vultan screaming out lines from Flash Gordon as only Brian could, then imagining people on the motorway freaking out as they hear things like, “Gordon’s alive?” and “Flying blind on a rocket cycle?”, as well as, “Ah, well . . . who wants to live forever?” which is exactly what you want to hear as you’re roaring down the expressway.

Far better expenditure of £1 million if you ask me.

The novel progressed last night.  It headed over the eight-five thousand word mark, which means it’s close to becoming my second longest novel.  Her Demonic Majesty ended up with a final count of eighty-five thousand three hundred fifty words, and as of right now I’m one thousand, one hundred and three words away from beating that count.  I could do it today, because as I’m on my own, what else am I gonna do?

Last night Annie and Kerry made Observatorytheir way to their next class, which happens to be Astronomy at the Observatory.  Where else would it be held?  One of the things I also did last night was label my map so I won’t get confused, and as you can see I have my Observatory marked.  What was it like there?  Here was what I wrote last night for that section of the novel, again without edits:

 

(Excerpt from The Foundation Chronicles, Book One: A For Advanced, copyright 2013, 2014, by Cassidy Frazee)

It was completely dark by the time Annie and Kerry reached the Observatory. The sixty-five meter tower was the second tallest structure on the Salem campus behind the eighty meter clock tower, though the structure was far newer: this was the fourth school observatory, completed in 1985, and remodeled three times since.

They entered the building at ground level and were immediately surprised by what they found. Annie’s parents never told her about the new tower, and Kerry hadn’t read up on the building, so both expected to enter and find a long flight of stairs awaiting. Instead they found a large, round metal platform with a huge Cassegrain-style telescope located in the middle of the tower, a few instrument stations set up around the outer edge of the platform, and several cabinets around the area behind the telescope and a few work tables on each side. A few students were already here, though estimating the size of the crowd, Kerry knew not everyone was yet here.

As they walked cross a small gangway needed to reach the platform Kerry looked up. The tower was hollow, but he saw at maybe ten, maybe a dozen vertical rails rising up into the shadows above. He noticed the railing around the edge of the huge base and it clicked to him why the telescope was here, and how they were going to get into position for viewing today.

A woman with a dark brown complexion stepped away from a panel at the base of the telescope as Annie and Kerry stepped onto the platform. “Ah, children. So very good to see you.” Her accent was sounded somewhat Asian Indian to Kerry, who had come to know a few Indians while living in San Fransisco and Cardiff. “I am Professor Bashagwani, but you may call me Harpreet if you so wish.” She brushed back some of the long back hair that had gotten into her face. “Your names, please?”

“Annie Kirilova.”

“Kerry Malibey.”

Hapreet waved her right hand in the air and a holographic display appeared before her. She scrolled through a list of names until she found theirs. “Ah, yes: my two Cernunnos students.” She closed the fingers of her right hand and the display vanished. “I’m so glad to meet you. Come join your classmates while we wait for the rest of the students.” She turned her back on them and returned to her station.

The walked closer to the students, but Annie saw they were still all in their little groups from their own areas. We haven’t become a class yet; we’re still just people from different areas. She wondered how long it would take before they all saw each other as a group and not a collection of people from around the world.

 

There you are.  Class is about to start, and I someone is going to come up and talk to my kids.  Get ready, Annie:  you’re going to feel a tug on your heart.

Why would she?  Because before they arrived at the Astria PortalObservatory, they stopped at Astria Portal, situated in the old North Wall, and introduced Kerry to an “old family tradition”–said tradition being, as they say in Cardiff, snogging.  Sure, they’re only eleven, but if you don’t think some eleven year olds know a little about snogging these days, you’re not paying attention.

Tonight there will be star gazing and some hot beverage.

And probably a bit of crying.  But that’s another story.