The Midnight Window: Plans of Future Past

It’s been a good morning, though I could have done with a bit more sleep.  Hey, you can’t always get what you want, right?  Since it’s a long weekend I can nap whenever I feel it’s necessary.  Until then, I just keep plugging words into the right places.

Rocking out to Domino as I go about my day.

Rocking out to Domino as I go about said plugging.

Chapter Thirty-four is finished due to plugging in one thousand and twenty-five words to the chapter.

Right here's the proof--more or less.

Right here’s the proof–more or less.

Now all that remains is Chapter Thirty-five and four scenes, maybe six thousand words total, two of which will be “The End.”  One more scene in the Sea Sprite Inn–which may or may not be needed, I’ve yet to decide–one on the plane, one at the airport in Berlin, and the final one at Kerry’s house.  I’m actually considering moving the first scene of Chapter Thirty-five to the plane simply because there’s something I want to do, and having everyone at the plane makes that thing happen easier, so that may be what happens.  As soon as I start writing, I’ll know.

If that is the case this could be the last scene at the Sea Sprite.  And remember that thing that Annie wanted to discuss?  Well . . .

 

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

Kerry crossed the room and sat on the bed as Annie asked. He watched her as she went over to her bag on the luggage stand, opened the bag, and unzipped one of the compartments. Her body shielded what she was removing, but upon turning it was easy enough to see, for she was holding a large book bound in a plain white cover. She floated the book in his direction and waited until it was nearly in front of him before she moved towards the bed.

He kept his eyes focused on the book as it came to a stop before him. “Is this what I think it is?”

 

Yes, Kerry:  it’s exactly what you think is it.  And is there a reason this book is coming out?  Sure there is, and Annie’s going to tell you–

 

Annie didn’t answer the question: rather, she began speaking as she climbed on to the bed. “The Sunday after your birthday I wrote to my mother and asked if she’d ever shown her wedding book to Papa, and if it was common for wives to do so after they were married. A few days later she wrote back and told me that, yes, she had shown her book to Papa—

“My mother and father were married 20 June, 1997. My mother wanted to be married near the first day of summer because it’s considered an auspicious moment when one marries at anytime on or close to a solstice point. They graduated in 1994, did their Real Live Experience the following year, and were invited in for a year of the school’s Continuing Educational Program before leaving in ‘96. Since that counted as two years of college, they then went off to Uni in the fall and finished another year while Mama planed for their marriage. They finished Uni the next year and graduated right before they celebrated their first anniversary.

“After that they settled to Pamporovo full-time and built the main house; it was finished in October, and they were all moved in before winter hit.” A sheepish look came over Annie’s face. “That’s where I was conceived.”

Kerry touched Annie’s hand. “Right around Christmas, if my math is right.”

She nodded. “Mama told me that it likely, um, happened right at Christmas. She told me she was trying to start a family, and conceiving a child at that time—”

“Is considered auspicious?”

“Obviously: look how I turned out.” After they both giggled Annie continued. “So on their next anniversary Mama was pregnant with me, and that would be their last one with just them together. Papa treated her to a spa treatment at one of the hotels in town, then they jaunted into Sofia, saw a movie, and had a romantic dinner. She wrote that it was one of her best days ever.

“After they returned home they visited what was going to become my nursery before heading off to bed. She wrote that they didn’t go to bed right away: she pulled out her book and showed it to Papa, showing him everything she’d planed from the time she was a little girl until even a few days before the wedding. That was—” Annie blushed slightly. “That was when she picked out names for her children.”

“She knew what she wanted.” Kerry squeezed Annie’s hand once more. “Like mother, like daughter.”

“Um, hum.”

“Was your name in the book?”

“She told me I was at the top of the girl’s list.” She chuckled softly. “She said she told Papa that as they were starting a family, and she didn’t believe they would ever not be a couple, she saw no harm in sharing those memories with him. She also wrote that while it isn’t that common for wives to do this, once you know you’re in a relationship that will last forever, there’s no harm.”

 

Now you know so much more about Annie’s family:  their schooling, their marriage, and the, um, “special Christmas” they had in 1998.  Just think of all the times now Annie will be down in the family room, look over at the door leading to her parent’s bedroom, and thing, “Yep.  That’s where I was made.”  Not that she probably didn’t know.  Then again, her mother has probably known for at least three years that Annie had the lake house built for one reason in mind, and she sort of shakes her head whenever she looks up towards the loft.  And now that she’s met Kerry . . . probably a bit of face palming now and then.

It’s a given that I know when Annie’s parents were married, because–

I have a time line for everything.

I have a time line for everything.

And if you notice there’s an end date on their marriage:  15 November, 2126.  That means, according to the calculation determined by Aeon Timeline 2, they remain married 129 years, 4 months, 3 weeks, and 5 days.  When we talk about the longevity of witches, there’s a prime example right there.  And you can guess their marriage ends because one of both of them die, which means both of them are over a hundred and forty when one of them passes beyond The Veil.

Now, as far as their school time together–

I have it right here.

I have it right here.

Things get a bit interesting.  Jessica, Trevor, Mathilde, and Matthias were all older students when Pavlina and Victor started school, and Maddie and her now-deceased husband were only a year old.  Ramona and Coraline were only a year younger, and Adric and Holoč a couple of year behind them.  We can also see that Harpreet entered Cernunnos Coven the year after Holoč, and you have to wonder if C Level Holoč showed the same welcome to B Level Harpreet when she first arrived on the second floor.  And Isis came on to the first floor of Cernunnos Coven at the same time Pavlina and Victor were doing their only years of the school’s Continuing Education Program, so it’s possible the may have encountered the future Chief of Security for the school while they were essentially graduate students.

In case you’re wondering about the above line colors, they correspond to covens.  Red is Cernunnos; yellow is Ceridwen; sea green is Blodeuwedd; orange is Åsgårdsreia; and blue is Mórrígan.  Yes, Erywin and Helena are covenmates with Maddie, which is likely another reason why Helena was ready to kill her when she found out she was a Guardian mole.

Now, why is Annie showing Kerry her book?  There is an excellent reason for this:

 

She gentle lay her left hand upon the cover of the unopened levitating book. “As I see it, my love, we’ve been married for thirteen years, and I believe we’ll be together for the rest of our lives.” She slipped her right hand out of Kerry’s and set it over his chest where the personal medical monitor set. “Like you pointed out, we’re joined in more ways than one, and I have no fear you’ll ever take up with someone else.”

He placed his hand over her chest as well. “I wouldn’t leave, ever.”

Annie nodded once as she and Kerry set their hands back to their laps. “In five years we’ll be eighteen—well, you will: I’ll be eighteen in a little over four, but . . .” She retook his left hand in hers. “By then we’ll have graduated from school and have finished our Real Life Experience, and if we’re asked back for CEP studies, I want us to return as a married couple.

“I want to show you everything I’ve dreamed about and planed for the last seven year. I want you to see my sketches, my dress designs, the first drawings I made of the lake house—”

“And the names of our children?” A broad grin spread across Kerry’s face.

“I don’t have those—yet.” Annie’s face broke out with a smile as well. “Also, I want a June wedding: like my mother, I want to be married as close to the solstice as possible; I want the moment to be auspicious for us as well.

“But there’s another reason I’m doing this: there are some things in which I want you to have a hand as well. I told you about the rings I’ve designed, and I want you to see them so—” She rested her head against his shoulder momentarily “—you can have your input. While the things in her are my plans and dreams, there are a few items for which you should have some say” She turned a coy look in his direction. “It’s only fair.”

Kerry felt his eyes misting over again and he put a stop to it right away: he didn’t want tears to fall into Annie’s most prized book. “I’m honored you trust me with this.”

“If I can’t trust my husband, who can I trust? Come, my love—” Her eyes twinkled in the darkness as she flipped the book open. “We have a wedding to plan.”

 

“We have a wedding to plan.”  And right there, Annie is letting her soul mate know there’s no more screwing around:  in five year’s time there’s gonna be wedding bells, and they’re gonna ring in June.  She’s always got her eyes on the prize, and the prize involves getting hitched to the Ginger Hair Boy.  Though you have to wonder if she starts putting names in the baby section if she’ll tell Kerry, or if she’ll ask for suggestions.  Or if she’ll say something like, “My love, we need to pick to baby names,” and wait for him to ask why.

Yeah, I think that’s the end of the Sea Sprite until next year, because anything else in that building is anticlimactic after that last statement.

Don’t worry:  they’ll be back next year . . .

Timeing On a Sunday Afternoon

It’s one-thirty PM, or thirteen-thirty if you happen to attend a certain fictional school I know, and the mimosas didn’t kill me.  Rendered me a little spacey–okay, a lot spacy–but that’s it.  I’m still functional, after a fashion.

Water + Music = Recovery!

Water + Music = Recovery!

When I picked up my new computer a couple of weeks ago the primary goal was to get it set up as quickly as possible so I could get back into my writing, and do it with the tools I’d already learned to use on the old Beast.  Getting Scrivener and Scapple and Blender weren’t that big of a deal:  I had the licence from when I’d picked them up originally, so all I needed to do was download current versions and reapply the licences.  For Sweet Home 3D I pick up a new version, which was needed as well as this one came with lots of content.

But Aeon Timeline was a completely different story.  In the time since buying it originally a new version had come out that changed how it now function, and the dilemma was do I get the old version and work with that, or do I go with the new hotness even though it’s going to run me $50?

The answer was yes and I proceeded to get the new program and pay for the licence.  The question after that became, was it worth it?

The answer is yes.

The basic interface to Aeon Timeline 2 is much the same, yet at the same time it feels so much fuller and, in a way, less crowed and busy.  This is due to taking a few things that were all clumped together and breaking them out either into their own windows, or setting tabs to allow the user to drill down to what they want to work upon.

So new, yet so familiar.

So new, yet so familiar.

When you bring up the program the first time the interface is now a black background with white lettering.  If you don’t like this, you can go to the old standby of a white background with black lettering:

Which is pretty easy on the eyes.

Which is pretty easy on the eyes.

And if you want to get fancy, there are a few backgrounds that allow a little color and text to liven up your time lining drudgery.  Like this one, the Borealis:

Which, for obvious reasons, reminds me of The Polar Express.

Which, for obvious reasons, reminds me of The Polar Express.

As before, adding an event is as simple as clicking somewhere within an existing time and plugging in information.  This function is a window that drops down from the middle-top, and there are a few things here that immediately pop into view, such as Parent, Participants, Observers, and Place.  The last three take the place of another function found in Timeline 1, and Parent–well, we’ll get to that.

Until then I'm teasing you hard.

Until then I’m teasing you hard.

The Inspector–that area that you can pop open on the right hand size of the interface to add information to each event–has been updated considerably.  Where as in Timeline 1 everything was crammed into that widow for one to search out and modify, everything is now set up in separate tabs, allowing the user to concentrated on one particular thing at a time while they’re building up an event.  This making things less confusing when modifying something, as the signal to noise ratio is toned down a great deal.

There’s a lot of meta data that can now be entered for an event, and in the past if you wanted to see that meta data you needed to open the Inspector.  Not any more.  You can go into your Display Options and decide what you want to see when you “expand” an event, and then all one has to do is hover over said event until a little green arrow pops into view in the upper right hand corner–

That one right there.

That one right there.

And click it so the event expands.

Giving you all this.

Giving you all this.

Here I went crazy with the expanded data.  So now I see what is happening, who is involved, who is watching, where it’s happening, the arc in which this information is found, and, if I like, a nice picture of the area that I can expand into a larger picture window.  If you notice, the time line event also tells me the ages to the people involved, and even the age of the location.  The people and location can be tied to an event for time purposes, allowing you to see how old a person and/or location is in relationship to where the event falls.

So if I want to see how long my kids had been at school at the time the Called Up event occurred, I bring up Manage Entities, find the character in question, and reset their age at the moment they arrived at school:

Seems like you only arrived yesterday, doesn't it, young lady?

Seems like you only arrived yesterday, doesn’t it, young lady?

So when I reexamine the Called Up event, we now discover how long Annie and Kerry were students when they were informed by Helena that The Guardians needed them.

Answer: just a week short of seven months.

Answer: just a week short of seven months.

Man, walk in the door of this joint and before you know it people want you to go off and “observe” bad guys.

Two of the biggest changes are Parents and Dependencies.  Creating Parent Events allow one to set up an entities that occurs over time, yet consists of multiple actions or events within that time period.  One of the easiest to show is from A For Advanced, the first week of school from the first class to the last moment of the second Midnight Madness.

Pretty straight forward as it sits now.

Pretty straight forward as it sits now.

Now lets created a new event called First Week of School and set the time frame for the parent.

B For Bewitching Aeon Timeline 2 First Week of School

And start moving the already established events into the Parent Event:

Until it looks like this.

Until it looks like this.

If you look closely you’ll see a little “+” on that event line, so if you click on that–

There's all my old events.

There’s all my old events.

This helps you manage your events better without having to resort using another time line and linking to that–unless, of course, you have several arcs worth of information you need covered, in which case you may want that other time line.

Dependencies are the other addition to the program, and it’ll come in handy where one has events that not only require a certain amount of time between passages, but are grouped together.  One sets the main event, then when adding additional events after that, the user needs to only specified to what event the new event is tied, and then indicate the time span between those events.  Not only does the program then determine the actual times, but if the first event is change to a new time and/or date, the dependent events follow and are adjusted automatically.

Comes in handy when you want to create the time line for a fast-occurring action scene.

Comes in handy when you want to create the time line for a fast-occurring action scene.

And as I discovered while playing with another time line, if you need to know when an event happening in one time zone is being monitored in another, then event can be made dependent, and times can be adjusted forward and backwards.  So say Helena’s in San Francisco for some reason, and she wants to speak with Kerry in Cardiff and Annie in Pamporovo, you’d set up Helena’s event with San Fran time, then make Kerry’s event 8 hours ahead of Helena’s, and Annie’s 10 hours ahead, and right there you have the events and times without having to do a lot of looking.  And if the user needs to move Helena’s time for any reason, Annie’s and Kerry’s events change time as well.

There you have it:  my new toy.  And while it might not be useful for his latest novel, I’m certain I’ll get some use out of it in the following novels.

It’s just a matter of time.

The Final Days and Nights: Presents and Perceptions

As much as I thought writing this scene would be difficult, I’m finding it pretty easy to get the words out.  Yesterday there was a little over seven hundred twenty-five words written; today a hundred more than that.  Maybe it’s the coffee:  maybe it’s just that I’m getting the writing feeling again now that I’m near the end of this novel.

Maybe getting out on a cold morning gets the creative juices flowing.

Maybe getting out on a cold morning gets the creative juices flowing.

Whatever the reason, I’m probably half-way through the scene now, and my Party of Six has begun making their rounds of Provincetown.  In fact, I even know where they’re headed:

 

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

They’d decided to take lunch there because of the central location as well as being close to the water and at the entrance to MacMillan Pier. Before arriving, however, they’d wandered about the town examining the local and doing a little window shopping in the process. Though they weren’t wandering without a destination in mind: they headed south to see a bed and breakfast before walking down to Commercial Street to look at a rental property. He’d discovered both locations during his examination of Provincetown the week before, and joked with the others that he was considering the possibility of using either of the locations in the future for a holiday.

While the other chuckled at his comment, Kerry knew Annie took his comments seriously He’d discussed the possibility of using their Foundation connection to perhaps stay at one of the locations in the future, maybe even for a weekend when they were older. He’d told her spending one of the graduation weekends there might be allowed once they were D or E Levels.

By the time they arrived at Lopes Square they’d walked two and a quarter kilometers and lunch was definitely required. They sat outside, moving two tables together so they could sit as a group. Being slightly off-season there weren’t a lot of people about, and the chilly, gray weather reduced the number of visitors considerably. No one minded: they were used to these conditions, and had hot beverages to offset the chill.

 

Part of what I’ve done this morning is lay out their walking route.  They want to look up a few places before they sit down to eat, and leave it to Kerry to set up an itinerary.  Either that or you got everyone going, “Where to next?”

When you have an itinerary, you always know where you're going.

When you have an itinerary, you always know where you’re going.

Kerry heading up to the Roux isn’t completely out of the question:  it is a well-know bed and breakfast in PTown, but it’s also one of the locations for the Cape Cod Writing Workshops, who I’ve followed for a couple of years.  It’s my hope that this year I’ll save enough to do a weekend retreat–though not on 15 October of this year, which is when Bride Pride, the largest lesbian wedding in the world, takes place.  Unless, you know, I just happen to be getting married . . .

The other place where Kerry stops is also a real rental property, right there on the bay shore.  Is he really serious about getting away for a weekend with Annie at some point in the future?  Hummmm . . .  that boy’s really thinking ahead.  And it sounds like Annie wasn’t adverse to the idea.  We’ll have to see, won’t we?

The distance they walked is about about one and four-tenths miles, and while that may seem like a lot, keep in mind these kids have spent the last nine months covering distances like that every day.  Sure, Kerry hops on the broom, gets Annie on the back, and takes off when they’re in a hurry, but for the most part Annie and he are all about the walking thing at school.  And just think, a year and a half ago this sort of walk would have killed Kerry, but now he’s just dealing with the stroll like it’s no big deal.  And if he can handle this, so can the other kids.

Now that everyone’s down to eat, it seems one of the girls has become a big inquisitive–

 

They were only thirty seconds into their lunch when Penny cleared her throat. “Annie, can I ask a question?”

Annie stopped in mid-sip and put down her beverage. “Naturally.”

“I, um—” Penny appeared embarrassed that she was bringing up the question. “I don’t want you to take this the wrong way—”

“I won’t know what way to take your question until you ask.” She smiled broadly. “What do you want to know?”

Penny pointed to Annie’s purse, which was slung over the back of her chair by the shoulder strap. “Is that a real Louis Vuitton bag?”

Annie gave a slight nod. “Yes, it is.” She reached down and gave it a light touch. “It’s a birthday present.”

Alex joined the conversation. “You got a Louis Vuitton bag for your birthday?”

“Yes: when I turned ten.” Annie finished the interrupted sip before saying more. “The day after my tenth birthday party Mother and I went to Paris where she bought the bag at the main store. She told me I was old enough to have a real handbag.” Annie took a bite of her sandwich. “Mama has three: she says a woman needs a good bag for every occasion. Oh, she bought me a wallet as well.”

 

By now it’s a given that Annie comes from a bit of money, as both parents do rather well for themselves.  We know she dresses well, and it’s hinted that when there’s shopping to do, Mama and she jaunt off to one of the various cities around Europe to make their purchases.

Now you know:  Annie doesn’t have just any handbag, she’s walking around with a Louis Vuitton bag.  That she got in Paris.  For her tenth birthday.  Maybe she doesn’t like to show off the face she’s got money, but when an eleven year old girl walks into school with a bag that, at the time, probably cost a bit more than €1000.00, kids are gonna take notice.

And, yes:  I know what her bag looks like.

Because you know I do.

Because you know I do.

It’s an Alma BB, which is one of their smaller cross body bags without being a clutch.  You can put your keys, your compact, you phone, and–oh, yes, your wallet in there and be set for the day.  And the wallet is from the Paris store as well, because of course Mama isn’t going to get her little girl a proper bag without a matching wall.  One that, I have to point out, has her initials stamped inside–

In gold, because naturally.

In gold, because naturally.

But it doesn’t just end at the bag and wallet:

 

Penny and Alex exchanged looks before Penny turn back towards the Bulgarian girl. “Of course. Is that also when you got that roll-on bag?”

“Oh, no.” Annie shook her head. “That was a going away present for school. That was actually Papa’s idea: he wanted me to have good luggage for when I was traveling.”

Kerry set his drink down. “She also has a passport holder.”

Penny nodded. “I’m not surprised.”

 

Yes, that roll-on we’ve seen her with when traveling is also from the Paris store, only this time Daddy got it for her.  And she has a cover for her passport, so this girl is covered.  She didn’t go that time, but you can imagine she had a good time going with Mama when they picked out her birthday present–

I can now point out that I have been to the Louis Vuitton store in Paris, where I bought someone a bag for a special occasion, and while I was waiting for them to make up their mind about what they wanted, I hung out in the luggage section of the store and watched as a mother and daughter–no, not Annie and Mama, the daughter was older than Annie–bought a couple of pieces of luggage for, oh, a lot of money, and while the salesperson rang up the sale and checked the warehouse for availability and delivery times, he brought out a bottle of champagne, cracked it open, and poured them a couple of glasses to enjoy while they waited.  You can bet it wasn’t cheap stuff, either:  you drop low five figures on luggage, you’re getting something a lot better than the bottom shelf shit.

It’s probably easy to imagine Annie sitting in the store drinking sparkling apple cider from a champagne flute, however . . .

All this talk of her fancy goodies has some effect on Annie’s mood, however:

 

Annie immediately felt she’d done something that she’d always said she wouldn’t do while at school. “I’m sorry: I must sound like I’m bragging.”

Alex leaned over the table. “No, not at all. I mean, if I had a bag like that, I’d show it off like mad.”

“Yes, but I’m not trying to show off—” She set her hands on the table, appearing a bit nervous. “I don’t like to bring up anything about the fact my parents have money. Yes, I have my bags and luggage and clothing, but this is just how I am, how I look. I don’t try to appear better than everyone else.” She looked across the table to Kerry, who sat opposite her so the other couples could sit together. “I don’t want people to imagine I’m some spoiled rich girl.”

Penny reached over and patted Annie’s right hand. “I don’t think that, Annie: none of us do.” She gave her friend’s had a light squeeze. “Believe me, I had that bag I’d be rockin’ the shit out of it all the time. I wouldn’t do it to show off; I’d do it ‘cause it’s my bag.” She offered a smile. “I don’t think you’re spoiled.”

“I don’t, either.” Alex offered her friend a smile as well. “We’d never think that of a friend.”

Penny nodded. “Truth.”

Annie’s face softened as she put away the concern that had affected her for a moment. Normally she wouldn’t allow herself to feel overly bothered by the notion that she may have been acting ostentatiously, but Penny and Alex were close to her, and she never wanted them to feel as if she was trying to come off as being better. “Thank you, both of you. I wouldn’t want to ever hurt your feelings.”

 

Annie doesn’t like to hold up her privilege to others, and it does bother her when it’s noticed by people she likes.  You know she wouldn’t give a shit if Lisa started in on her, but Penny and Alex are now close friends, and she doesn’t want them feeling bad because she’s gotten lucky in the parental lottery.  It’s also one of the reasons why she doesn’t talk about any of this stuff with Kerry, though it’s impossible to keep it from him.  Fortunately, he doesn’t care if she has money:  he loves Annie for being her.  Though there will come a point when he finally sees the Lake House, and he’ll likely be a bit astounded if not a little shocked, as he knows why that house is there . . .

Now that the class discussions are out of the way, the kids can get down to eating–and who knows what else–

The Remains of the Day: Setting By Sunset

There was writing last night–a whole lot of it.  Naturally with it being Monday most of it went into my Fear the Walking Dead recap, but I still managed just over four hundred words on my own novel, pushing everything up over three hundred and the thousand words total.  It seems like only yesterday I was pushing up over three hundred thousand words–well, two weeks ago on 24 April–but three twenty-five is getting closer all the time.  And so it the end of this novel.

Before the words come there’s something else that needs mentioning.  I left work early yesterday because it was time for a new hairdo, which means it was time for a new wig, so I headed off for a fitting.  And I found something that, so far, everyone tells me works well.

What did I decide?  I decided to join the most hated group of people ever:  I became a ginger.

I'm not evil. I swear.

I’m not evil. I swear.

I’m really liking the color and style, and surprised at how much hair there is on this wig.  I was told this is “happy hair,” and it really does make me look and feel better.  Also, my friends tell me this suits my complexion better than blond, and if I like this, it may just become the color of choice.  Not that I have a problem with doing such a thing.

Now, about that writing . . .

I wanted to have a bit of a melancholy feel for the rest of this chapter, and to do that I needed a good setting.  So I found one, because they are all over the school.  You just gotta know where they are and when to use them.

 

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

A bright spot of light lingered in the western overcast, marking the location where the sun had settled below the horizon only five minutes earlier. Annie thought the coming evening would be much nicer were the sky clear, but at least the wind was calm and the temperatures had finally begun moving into the upper teens Celsius.

Despite all that happened today, the day was winding down into something lovely.

After their meeting with Deanna they went through the rest of the day as they’d planed: they went down into their lab and watched a movie on Kerry’s computer tablet; they went into Salem with other students and had lunch with their friends; they spent the afternoon window shopping and returned to the school for dinner.

There was one thing they didn’t do during all this time, however.

While Kerry avoided discussing their morning meeting, Annie found she wasn’t eager to talk about the newest revelation about their relationship. It wasn’t that she was afraid to bring up anything, it was more about not giving Kerry anything more to worry about or concern himself with the end of school, and his return home, so near. She wanted him to relax and enjoy their classes and what little remaining time they had together, and not bother with one more thing impacting his life.

There remained, however, what she wanted . . .

They were headed back to the tower to rest a little before changing for the Midnight Madness when Kerry made the suggestion that they head out to Sunset Tower and, as he stated, relax. Annie found the idea a bit unusual in that they’d never done this at any time since arriving for their A Levels. On a few occasions they’d walked the walls just to observe the world beyond the school walls, but they’d never taken the time to come out to the wall to be alone. They’d been to Observatory Tower on many occasions, and sat on the roof of The Diamond to watch the Beltane bonfires burn, but the wall? Never.

And they’d never visited Sunset Tower.

The tower was famous because, before what became known as The Dogtown Expansion to the south occurred, Sunset was the furthest western point of the main school walls, and just as Sunrise Tower on the other side of the grounds was first section of the outer wall to receive the morning light, Sunset caught the last light of the day. While this was no longer true, the tower retained the name and the reputation, and was responsible for the large, fast Green Line turn being given the name Sunset Boulevard.

 

Sunset Tower has been visited once before:  it’s where Wednesday went to reactivate the nodes controlling the detection and communication grids during the Day of the Dead attack, and where Erywin almost zapped her while doing this.  But as far as the kids going there, as stated they’ve been on The Wall before, but not out to Sunset.

Real close by, you know?

There it is. all by it’s lonesome.

And as was pointed out, there’s a section of the Green Line that goes past there, and it’s where Emma was racing Kerry before they were told to stop and Emma screwed up Kerry’s knee in a slight collision.  But no one remembers that except some Bulgarian girls with long memories.

B For Bewitching Sunset Tower Far

There’s that long bend that led to Kerry having knee problems at eleven.

This is a good view of the school showing nearly all the main class buildings and The Pentagram Complex with Sunset Tower all they way out there sitting off in the woods.  It doesn’t look like it’s that far, but it’s about a good kilometer from The Pentagram, and while it can be reached by tunnel, most kids don’t bother walking there.  Now from the air . . .

And a note about something mentioned in the excerpt.  We discover that the push for land in the south was known as The Dogtown Expansion, and that’s because Dogtown was once a real place on Cape Ann.  It was once the major community on the Cape and was the location of the main road between Rockport and Gloucester.  After the War of 1812 people moved out of the area and settled on the coast, and the only people who were supposed to be in the area after that were, um, witches.  What a shock, huh?

Today, in my story, Dogtown is right outside the Gloucester Gate, the southern entrance into the school.  That way people can visit there without having to walk into the grounds, but as with everything else, if they get too close to the walls–well, magic takes over and they think they’ve gone on a long walk in the woods.  It’s better for everyone that way.

Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, maybe we’ll find out what’s happening with my kids . . .

Welcome to the Coven

It is true:  you give me a new toy and some time, I’ll put it to good use.  Or I’ll waste my time screwing around with stuff–hey, either works for me.  At least when I’m obsessing on something I’m not falling asleep in the afternoon, and as I had laundry to do, keeping busy is the best way to be.

Given that I’d written over thirteen hundred words yesterday morning I figured I could play around with something else, and that’s exactly what happened.  I decided to design something, and finally, I have it in place–

I welcome you to Cernunnos Coven Tower.

Pretty much as you'd expect it to look.

Pretty much as you’d expect it to look.

Yes I set out in Sweet Home 3D to lay out the building, and I started on that yesterday afternoon.  What you see in the picture above it just on level:  in starting the layout I managed to set up space for both the sub-level and lower level of the coven, so in time you’ll see where the kitchen and Annie and Kerry’s private lab are on the floor below, and where everyone went when they had to retreat underground when students went into the sub-levels during the Day of the Dead attacks.

But first, what about the image above?

Right off the bat you see areas outside the tower:  a ring around it and four walkways heading off in different directions.  The walkways are easy:  those that look like stone are the covered walkways leading to the Great Hall (the one heading off to the left) and to the Transformation Center/Chemical Building and the Instructor’s Residence (the one heading to the right).

The other two passages on the left are actually the Pentagram Walls, and the ring around the tower is the wall passage that allows people to move from one side of the Pentagram Walls to the other without having to walk through the coven.  The ring around the tower is 4 m/12 ft wide, and the walls themselves are 5.5 m/18 ft wide.  The passage at the top of frame heads to Ceridwen Coven, while the one on the bottom heads to Åsgårdsreia Coven.

The inner tower–the actual coven itself–is 20 m/65 ft across, and the ground floor is the location of the main commons.  There are three entrances:  two under the stairs at about 10 and 4 o’clock on the dial, and the other at the bottom where the passage to Åsgårdsreia lay.  The area with all the small rooms is the space directly under the mezzanine commons, and they are, from left to right, the boy’s bathroom, a small meeting room where students can gather, the stairs to the lower levels (it’s the small room between the meeting table room and the commons itself), the service passage where you’ll find two storage areas near the exit, the Coven Leader’s office (like the one Annie and Kerry were just in with Deanna), and the girl’s bathroom.

And if you want to see the Coven Leader’s office, it’s right here below:

B For Bewitching Cernunnos Coven Office

Kind of stark, isn’t it?

It’s not meant to be huge, just a place to conduct business, but it’s bigger than my office, that’s for sure.

As for the main commons, it’s pretty large, taking up a little over half the ground floor, and you can see the staircases leading up to the mezzanine.  Because of the limitations in the program they aren’t quite as smooth as I would like, and there isn’t a railing on those grand staircases, but right now the layout works.  The walls of this level are 4.5 m/14.75 ft high, giving a good open feeling, and the walls of the next level up, the mezzanine, are another 3.5 m/11.5 ft, so you have a wonderful, open feeling when you’re sitting down here.

So what does the coven commons look like from the ground floor?  Glad you asked.

B For Bewitching Cernunnos Coven Ground Floors

Looks a lot bigger down here.

This is what is looks like standing near the girl’s bathroom/west exit and looking towards the east/inner Pentagram Garden.  Lots of chairs, a few tables to set things upon, the fireplace and sofa right where they should be–and is that a couple sitting before the fire?  Yeah, I couldn’t resist placing those two on the sofa where so much has happened, and they’ve yet to be caught sleeping.  Yet.

And just as I did with my layout for the Sea Sprite Inn last novel, here’s a little walk through video.  And since I have a better system now, I can actually create this video quickly enough that I won’t still be waiting for it when the heat death of the universe occurs.  I set the light so that it gives the impression it at night and the lights are low, which means it’s gonna be romantic, yeah?

So there you are:  the layout of the Cernunnos Coven ground floor.  More will come in time, eventually you’ll see the entire tower laid out.  I’ll probably do the lower levels before I get to the mezzanine, and then it’s up to the dorm floors, which are pretty much duplicates of each other.

We close out with a certain couple enjoying the quiet while they sit before the fire–

B For Bewitching Annie and Kerry on Sofa

‘Cause by this time in the story they’ve earned the rest.

Mornings With the Seer: The Future Couple

First off, I’ve been a busy little beaver this morning.  Up at almost five, which sucks when you think about it.  But while I was up I managed to finally get my licence for my new version of Aeon Timeline 2, and gave it a spin–

New look; new feel; same old time lines.

New look; new feel; same old time lines.

I figured out how to put square floors in a circular room–for reals–and after all that I headed down to the coffee shop for some writing.

And some coffee as well.

And some coffee as well.

There was a lot of writing, like over thirteen hundred words.  I finished the scene because I felt it was necessary, and because I know I have laundry and napping to do tonight before sitting down tonight for a little more writing.  One day I’m getting paid for all this, right?  Yeah, probably.

With this in mind, it’s time to find out what’s going on.  And that means Deanna’s gonna start her rap as soon as I’m finished–

 

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

“It’s something—” Deanna turned her gaze to the ceiling for a moment. “You’re not the first couple we’ve discovered with an astral binding. Over the last five hundred years that witches first began noticing this phenomenon, they’ve discovered these bindings—prior to yours—in forty-one known couples. Given that at any time in the last two hundred years that the total world-wide Aware population was between five and ten thousand people, we’re not talking a common event.” She held up her left index finger the moment it became apparent Kerry was about to speak. “And I asked Erywin if there was any significance with the number forty-two, and as she assured me there was, so there’s no need for you to comment.”

Kerry snapped his fingers in mock disappointment. “Darn.” He looked to his left where Annie was giving him a bemused look. “I’ll tell you later.”

 

It’s nice to know that Erywin is the Geek Instructor on the Spot when the other instructors want to know something, and we know this is one of the reasons why Kerry and she get along so well.  For those of you who know what Kerry was going to say you can groan, and for those of you who don’t, well, you need to brush up on your geekness a little more.  Or ask me:  I’ll tell you.

 

Annie turned back to Deanna. “You were saying?”

The seer was back on track immediately. “Maybe two and a half centuries after the first astral binding was discovered a few pre-Foundation researchers that a few of the individuals began exhibiting unusual abilities later in their lives. No one knew why at the time, however, while only a few of these people had Gifts, spawning new Gifts later in life, particularly in one’s thirties, was not known to happen.

“It was only in the mid-Nineteenth Century that researchers noticed that the couples who were experiencing this ‘spawned Gifts’, as they called them, had found each other at an early age, married, and then consummated their marriage soon after. And it wasn’t just all couples that appeared to do this, but only the few who were performing a particular ceremony during the marriage—one that turned out that witches in some parts of the world had performed as part of an older tradition.”

It was impossible for Annie not to appear interested. “What was the tradition?”

“The couples in question were partaking of an exchange of their physical essences during their weddings.” Deanna did a slight toss of her head to the right. “There are several different interpretations as to what constitutes a ‘physical essence’, but it would seem we’re looking at fluids or semi-living tissue.”

Kerry’s eyebrows shot upward into his brow. “Like skin? Or muscle tissue?”

“Perhaps. It appears to have differed from couple-to-couple.”

Annie wasn’t interested in the particulars: she was drawn back to one of Deanna’s questions. “Why is this called the Three Bindings?”

 

So, are we talking cannibal wedding in the future?  These crazy witches, it seems like just when you have them figured out there’s just a bit of weirdness floating about that proves they’re a little different than us.  Do I know what passed for physical essence?  Silly people, of course I do.

But Annie’s like a little Bulgarian bullet who wants to get to the heart of the matter, because that’s how she is . . .

 

“Because the couples were bound together in three separate ways.” Deanna sat up and kept her gaze flickering between her two guests. “The first binding is the astral binding, naturally. None of this can happen unless you were both bound to each other at birth. The second binding is known as the physical binding, the process of connecting the couple through personal elements found in the Physical Realm.

“The last binding is known as the life binding, which is meant to represent the simultaneous exchange of essence that is used to consummate another life—” She gave a dry chuckle. “In short, sexual intercourse.”

Now the first question made sense to Annie. “That’s why you wanted to know if we’ve had sex.”

“Exactly. I wanted to see if you’d already broken the bindings.”

“What do you mean ‘broken the bindings’?” Kerry felt a uneasy feeling build in his tummy as he imagined the possibility dire consequences behind Deanna’s words. “Have we done something wrong?”

“No, you haven’t.” The seer eyed them carefully. “Not yet.”

Annie’s stare grew in intensity. “Meaning?”

“It appears that in order for the Three Bindings to occur the binding process must happen in the order I defined—” She leaned forward, resting her forearms against her desk. “Astral first, then physical, then life. Go out of order, or performed the magic necessary for the ceremony used in the physical binding, and it doesn’t work.” Deanna stared back at Annie with the same intensity the girl showed her. “That’s why out of the forty-two couples known to have an astral binding, there are only ten who are documented as having went all the way through the Three Bindings.”

 

This story is all about being different, and the rarities that are sometimes brought up by these differences.  Way back in Act One Kerry mentioned to Annie, right before they headed into Starbucks and starts hanging with the older kids who liked them, that they were different, and they could either ignore that or accept the fact and embrace the difference.  And we’ve seen it:  Annie can fly; Kerry is a mimic; they are a couple of levels ahead of everyone in their level; and eventually Kerry can also be a girl when he likes.

We learned earlier about their astral binding, and now this.  Even within their own little group of witches, they are to extra witchy that they’re really in a level of their own.  But when you’re different, it means you need to face a whole different set of issues . . .

 

“And why are you telling us this?”

“Because you needed to know—and I wanted you to know before you did something you shouldn’t.”

Kerry twisted up the left corner of his mouth. “Like have sex?”

“That’s one.” Deanna looked directly at Annie. “Or do something that could prove harmful.”

It only took a few seconds for Annie to figure out the meaning of Deanna’s last sentence. “You were worried we’d find out about this on our own and learn how to do this ceremony for the physical binding. Weren’t you?”

“Yes, I am.” Deanna ran her right index finger slowly along her upper lip. “Both of you have shown a tendency to strike out on your own when it comes to learning magic, and even with being in the advance classes everyone’s aware you’re still pouring over books in the library to find ways of crafting new spells, or finding variations on the ones you know.” She tilted her head slightly to one side. “That’s most of what you do in the Black Vault, isn’t it, Annie?”

“Yes.” Annie knew there wasn’t any point in trying to deny the accusation. “Like you say, everyone’s aware.”

“Yes, they are. Which is another reason why you’re here.” Deanna sat back and pulled a tablet out of her Hammerspace. “I’ve filed a Writ of Exclusion with The Foundation forbidding either of you from researching any and all information, magical or otherwise, relating to astral, physical, or life bindings, as well as anything pertaining to the Three Bindings.” She slid the tablet across her desk. “The writ went into effect today at six, Paris Local Time, which was time last midnight our time. You can examine the writ if you like, but I believe you’ll find it in order.”

 

This right here, this last paragraph, is probably the sternest thing that’s ever been leveled against either kid.  A Writ of Exclusion is pretty much The Foundation being told, “Hey, we don’t want this person or persons doing something, and so lock them own when it comes to them trying to do so,” and just like that, they’re kept from doing so across the whole of The Foundation.  And as you can imagine, every library in The Foundation, and every bookseller as well, have a magical way of knowing who’s accessing what book, and so you can imagine if they walk into the school library and pull down one of those books they’re not supposed to read, Trevor’s gonna know and he’ll be down in a flash to pull said volume from their eager mitts.

In short, they’re banned for the time being from reading anything relating to their current condition, or anything they could do in the future to change this.  Needless to say, they’re not happy . . .

 

Though Annie was famous for keeping her emotions under control, she couldn’t help the sudden rush of blood that made her cheeks feel as if they were on fire. “What? Why did you do that?”

“Because, as you say, Annie, everyone’s aware of how you both turn to books when you want to learn something new, and I could see you trying to attempt the physical binding magic in a couple of years—”

Annie scooted to the edge of her seat. “Why would we?”

Deanna waited a few seconds before answering in a soft voice. “You know why.”

Kerry rolled his eyes as he signed. “We’re not ready for sex; we’ve said that over and over.”

“I know, Kerry, and I get that—” Deanna nervously patted the back of her left hand with her right. “What about when you’re E Levels? Or even D’s?” She looked off towards the right side of her office. “What about next year?” She turned her gaze back on the young couple across her desk. “You’re not like the other couples here, and you know this. You know you’re going to get married and be together for the rest of your lives, and you’ve already developed an emotional maturity concerning your relationship that goes beyond that of your fellow levelmates, so it’s not inconceivable that what you’re not ready for today won’t be true in a few years—or even a few months—time.”

She leaned forward again, softening her tone so that she came across less as a coven leader and more as a friend. “I know this is gonna sound like adult bullshit, but I’m doing this to protect you. I don’t want you trying something that you might just screw up—” Deanna held up a hand to hold off the protests. “You both know as good as you are you’re not immune to mistakes or not crafting a spell correctly the first time, so just drop that argument now. I don’t want you screwing up and blowing this thing, because you know if you do you’re going to hate yourselves.” She tapped her fingers against the desk top. “As it is, I’ve given you a choice.”

 

I’m reminded once in a while that these kids have hormones, and as they get older they’re gonna become hell to ignore.  They haven’t acted upon whatever urges pop up from time-to-time, but as Deanna knows, it’s only a matter of time before they find themselves in a quite, private moment, and one of both go, “Hey, since we’re getting married in a few years . . .” and the rest is history.

However, Deanna has left then with a choice–

 

Annie had finally pushed her anger away and could speak with little strain in her voice. “The choice of whether we want to wait for this or not.”

“Yes.”

“And what happens if we wait and manage these Three Bindings correctly?”

“Then something will happen.”

Annie jumped up straight in her chair. “Something?”

“That’s the best I can offer. It seems to affect each couple differently. One spawned the others existing gifts; another seemed to develop a mental connection that allowed them to speak with each other no matter where they were in the world.” She shrugged. “Who know what could happen with you? At least now you know what could happen—”

Kerry sighed as he turned to Annie. “If we wait.”

She nodded. “Yes, if we wait.”

Though she was aware that this action wasn’t being received well by her friends, Deanna knew it was the right course to follow. They’re upset for the moment, but in time they’ll understand why this is necessary. “I know it may be hard, but as with everything else here at school—” She offered a slight smile. “It’s entirely your choice as to what you plan to do with your life together. I wouldn’t have it any other way.”

 

It’s been drilled into these kids that their actions at school are up to them.  Now Deanna is taking it a step further:  something wonderful could happen to you if you don’t fool around and wait until your wedding night to do that–which they knew in one vision they had, while a second vision left them doubting that possibility–or just do the deed and blow any chance you have of making The Three Bindings a part of your life.

Deanna’s playing the odds here, because as much as she understands the relationship these two have, and how their biological changes would affect it in the future, she’s also betting on the fact that when it comes to magic, they’re both pretty driven to be better than the rest–

Only one more scene in Chapter Twenty-three remains, as I’m pretty certain I’m going to delete one that I’d defined a while back when plotting everything out–

I haven't pulled the trigger yet, but you can bet it's coming.

I haven’t pulled the trigger yet, but you can bet it’s coming.

And this will end pretty much as you might expect–

With the kids weighing what comes next.

Like Deanna said, it’s all up to them . . .

All the Time That Be Time

What is going on this morning?  Not a lot, to be honest.  I’m off to get my nails done in a couple of hours, so I’ve sort of piddled around trying to motivate myself to write.  However, I didn’t sleep for crap last night despite being tired as hell, so my mind is a muddled mess.  So much so that I knew anything I tried to put down in the system would come out full of suck, so I haven’t bothered.

That doesn’t mean I haven’t been busy . . .

For a few weeks now I’ve meant to make some changes to the time line that is the story of my kids at school, though change really isn’t the right word:  additions is more like it.  That’s the way my mind works, with lots going ’round and ’round all the time and things always popping in and out.  What’s been bugging me, however, is that I haven’t done anything about these pop ups for a while, mostly due to just feeling too damn exhausted to get in there and put things into my little Book of History.

And while I’m doing this I should mention that I’ve been rocking out to Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture, complete with cannons at the end.  Only in Russia would a composer think, “Now, I need an instrument to make the climax memorably;  what should I use?  I know:  cannons.”  Yes, Comrades, in old Russia, orchestra blast you!

Since I’m down to my last three chapters of this novel I’ve begun getting things in shape for the stories to follow, while I mostly concentrate on three events that happen outside of school, though I fourth started taking hold in my mind this morning.  Two of those event involve both of my kids, and two of them involve Annie alone.  My little Bulgarian Pop Princess all by her lonesome?  Why not?  She’s a big girl, she can handle herself.  And don’t worry:  it’s not as if Kerry doesn’t get enough screen time on his own.  But sometimes a girl needs a little Me Time just to chill and be herself.

Now, I’m about to lay out something I’ve only parts of here and there, but this is the real deal now:  here is the time line I’ve used for B For Bewitching.  At least this is how I take my cues when I’m putting the story together.  First, we have the sections for Annie alone and Kerry alone.

Just a little of what the kids go through on their own--

Just a little of what the kids go through on their own–

What is up there is pretty much all the key points from the start of the novel to the end.  You can see there are a few details off to the right that, I will tell you now, aren’t going to be in this novel, but in the next–that’s one of the reasons a couple of points have been scrubbed, because I don’t want you to know what they are.  I will go ahead and spoil this now:  the event in the upper right hand corner in “Annie’s Story”, the 02 June Meeting, that starts off the next novel, C For Continuing.  The first novel started and ended with Annie, and this current novel started with Kerry and will end with him.  That means the next novel starts and ends with Annie.  Simple, huh?

Below this is another layout, seen here:

And what they go through together.

And what they go through together.

This not only shows events they enjoy together, but the very bottom lays out some of the school’s event–like, the entirety of racing season.  You’ll notice that a few more events are scrubbed here, because that’s necessary, trust me.  Below this I even have a mark showing the time covers by each novel, and at the very top I show when certain holidays occur during the year, so if there’s a question about when something is happening, I can look there.

This is a little of what I keep hidden behind the scenes, and like I said at the beginning, I’m adding to this.  Adding mean thinking through the story, and that also means research prior to plotting.  Really, you wouldn’t believe what I’ve already discovered in the last couple of weeks playing around with these various ideas . . .

And just think:  you only have a few years to wait before you see them come to fruition.