Randomly Building a World Class Class

I often talk about how writing isn’t always just writing.  Often there’s a great deal of research for just simply things, as I’ve discussed before.  Sometimes you gotta figure out where people are walking around a city.  Sometime you need to investigate hotels and other points of interest.  Sometimes you need to figure out flights from city to city.

Sometimes you just gotta build a class.

I’m starting Chapter Six now, and this and Chapter Seven go over events in the first week of school.  Here’s the scenes for Chapter Six:

Five scenes, no waiting.

Five scenes, no waiting.

Now, if you know my school, you’ll see that three take place in classes, two of which are the new advanced classes.  Astria Porta is another of those “kissing scenes,” and we have to read it, and After Class Request–well, you can probably figured that out if you know classes starts on Monday, and that’s a few days later.  As stated, two of these scenes take place in the advanced classes–the first scene should make that obvious as hell–but while walking home over the last few days, the question kept coming up:  who’s in these classes?

Well . . . I had to do something about that.  Let’s look at Advanced Formulistic Magic . . .

Right off the bat I knew I’d have one student in the class who was an F Level, and I decided I wanted them to come from a North African country.  I picked Libya, because why the hell not.  With her–yes, the girls still well outnumber the boys–graduating at the end of year, that meant she’d head off on a year of her Real Life Experience, then she’d leave for college.  She wants to go to a school with a great engineering program, so I found a link for the top engineering colleges in the world, figure out she’d go to a school in Europe, looked up the schools there, found one, found the undergrad and graduate programs offered, and figured out what this young lady was going to do for the next few years of her life.

That was the easy part.

Besides this mystery girl and Annie and Kerry, I needed . . . hum . . . five more students to show up for class.  The question became one of where do their come from–

So I got out my dice.

Not really.  As I’ve pointed out I have a dice rolling program.  Why do I have one of those?  It’s a hold over from my gaming days, where dice are used to generate random outcomes for your characters.  Like, did I knock down a door?  Did I drive the car at high speed correctly?  Did I shoot the bad guy in the head?  You know, fun stuff.

The splash screen looks like this:

Bunch of electronic dice, no waiting.

Bunch of electronic dice, no waiting.

You may ask yourself, “What’s the D4 crap?  And D8?”  More gaming stuff, so let me tell you.  D stands for dice, and the number that follows indicates the sides to that dice.  So a D4 has four sides, a D8 is eight-sided, a D6 you know and love from your crap shooting days, a D20 is the dice of choice of D&D geeks, and a D100 is usually two ten sided dice of different colors–one for your ten count, the other for your ones count–used to generate a percentage.  I say “usually”, because I have seen a one hundred sided die, which pretty much looked like a golf ball with numbers painted in each of the divots.  Thing was hell to read, let me tell you.

So the break down went like this:  as there are six continents from which students can arrive, I used a D6 to figure out where their country was located, with the intention of ignoring Antarctica because non of the students at Salem are magical penguins.  Right off the bat I rolled Australia, but since it’s part of the world known as Oceania, I looked for countries in that area, using different kinds of dice to narrow down the search until I found a place the student called home.

Do that enough and you have the homes of five students.  I figured on two of these kids being D Levels and three being E Levels, then I used a D10 to figure out their coven–a roll of 1 or 2 was Åsgårdsreia, 3 or 4 was Blodeuwedd, and so on–before using another D10 to figure out their gender.  Since it’s about four girls to one boy, a roll of 1 to 8 on a D10 meant a girl, a 9 or 10 was a boy.  Once I’d narrowed down gender and country, I brought up Scrivener’s Name Generator, began plugging in nationalities, and before you know it I had my people.

Welcome the 2012/2013 Class of Advanced Formulistic Magic.

Bunch of students who'll one day be making your world a better place.

Bunch of students who’ll one day be making your world a better place.

Nesreen’s college of choice will be Delft University in Delft, The Netherlands, situated between Den Haag and Rotterdam, and you can see she’s going to get a Bachelors of Science in Molecular Science & Technology, and a Masters in NanoScience, both of which are actual courses at Delft.  The Euro kids have finally edged out the African kids, but you never know who Erywin might bring into the class next year.

When I rolled up the Czech Republic, I knew the family name of the kid would be Zelenka, meaning one day he’ll probably end up in the Pegasus Dwarf Galaxy looking for Atlantis, which is an in-joke of mine–but wait!  Remember Professor Semplen, the Coven Leader of Cernunnos and also a citizen of the Czech Republic, tried out his Bulgarian on Annie when they first met, and here we have another person from there–and a covenmate as well–and what do you think he’s gonna try?  That conversation is at the bottom of my notes, with Honza first speaking to Annie in Czech, and then her replying in the same before he and she switched over to a snippet of Bulgarian, and you will see this in the scene.

I’ll need to do this for Kerry’s Advanced Transformation class as well, and maybe I’ll do the same for his Advanced Flight One–that will be easy, as I already know who all the B Levels are–and for Annie and Kerry’s Advanced Self Defense Class.  I may even do that today, since it’s not like I have a hell of a lot to do other than write.

Now you see some of the fun things I do just to make my world fell like a real world . . .

Party of Ruminations

Busy, busy, and yes, busy.  After chillin’ like a villain last night–as mentioned before, Touch of Evil was on, and that’s one of those movies I never miss, if for no other reason it’s a beautiful movie to watch to see how one can put a movie together–I started hitting the scene after trading some major Game of Thrones snark with a friend who reviews the episodes.

And hit it I did–hard.

As seems to be the norm for Saturday mornings, I wrote just shy of thirteen hundred words to complete the scene, bring it in at just about eighteen hundred and forty words, and finish the novel currently a few words short of thirty-five thousand words–like seven words short.  I know this because Scrivener tells me so, and it never tries to lie to me.  Almost never.

This is the scene where school hasn’t yet started, but the kids are laying out on the second floor, enjoying snacks and drinks from Valenzuela, and listening to music via Kerry’s tablet.  It’s late and they’re waiting for tomorrow to come as well as the new A Levels.  It looks like the B Levels are fitting right into the groove of being returning students.  Well, there are some differences . . .

 

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

As the song changed to something slow and soft, Annie leaned back so she could look up into Kerry’s face. “It’s not like being home, is it?”

He brushed her hair. “What do you mean, Sweetie? This is home—remember?”

She kissed his cheek.  “I certainly do.”

Alex wiggled her eyebrows at Penny, who had given up trying to hide her smile. Earlier Annie overheard the girls warning Jairo earlier that their “Lovey Dovey” reputation was not only intact, it had grown since the end of the last school year. There was also mention of them having a “private dinner” during their stay in Berlin, and that they still looked “joined together”. Annie told Kerry that she took this as a complement, and believe if this was the worse their new friends thought of them, they wouldn’t have any problems through the coming school year.

 

Annie and Kerry:  Making Their Covenmates Uncomfortable with Public Displays of Affection Since 2011.  And if we’ve seen anything, it’s that these two are even more loving than they were in the last year.  Why shouldn’t they?  They are in full remembrance of their past, they suffered through a summer of limited contact save for their letters and one notable instance, and they are hooking up in their dreams again–though you can imagine the “Hey, we found ourselves in a dream bed in our birthday suits!” dream is gonna get back to the Seer of Dreams at this joint at some point–

As for the C Levels who don’t want to see this, the easiest way to get beyond this is to–talk about magic!

 

Alex’s gaze shifted from one floating cold fire sphere to another. “It’s amazing seeing those up there.” She turned to the cuddling B Levels. “Who taught you to do that, Annie?”

Annie saw no point for false modesty. “I taught myself—” She glanced up at Kerry. “Last year.”

Alex voice beheld her feelings. “What? You’re kidding.”

“No. I did it for a project Kerry and I worked on.”

Alex shook her head slowly. “Tse yak—nemozhlyvo.” She lay back, sipping down the last of her merengadas. “I would so love if you could show me how to do those spells.”

Annie didn’t want to commit to helping. “Cold fire is a C Level spell, so I’m sure you’ll get it this year.”

Penny chuckled. “She tried it at the end of last year and almost set herself on fire.”

Alex shot a glance at her dormmate. “Zamovkny.” She nodded at Annie. “I’ll let you know how I do.”

 

Annie already has one kid to teach–her one and only soul mate–so the last thing she wants to do is start offering pointers to the girl who is supposed to learn cold fire this year.  Oh, and once again, the Ukrainian girl is speaking . . . Ukrainian.  These kids and their mumbling in different languages, it makes for a far different environment, don’t you think?  First Alex says, “That’s like–impossible,” which we know isn’t true, since Annie made it possible, and the second time she says, “Shut up!” just like a normal teenage girl would say.  ‘Cause no matter how much magic these witches know, they’re still teenagers, and they’re gonna act like them.  So just like shut up, ‘kay?

Now that they are at school, it’s time to ask another question–

 

Penny had another subject she’d held on to since Tuesday in Berlin. “So, you going out for the race team, Kerry?”

Like his soul mate, Kerry didn’t see a reason for hiding his intentions. “Yes.”

“That’ll be great. We could use you.”

He chucked. “If I make the team.”

“You’ll make it.” Penny sat up and leaned over her crossed legs. “Right now we have two open slots on the A Team, and Alex and I heard rumors . . .” She lowered her voice slightly. “Risto may leave the team.”

“What?” Having followed the team last year, Kerry knew the tall Finnish boy by name. “Why?”

“Those two wrecks he had last year messed with his mind—”

Alex cut into the conversation. “And he had a bad one right at the end of the year before, too.”

Penny nodded. “Yeah. We heard yesterday that with him getting set to graduate this year, he doesn’t want to have the responsibility of being team captain and worrying about spending time in the hospital.” She pushed back into some pillows. “I can’t say I blame him.”

“But if he leaves—” Now Alex was sitting up. “That’ll mean the whole B Team moves up and we’ll need to fill those slots.”

Penny finished the thought. “We’ve got sixteen people in the coven, and with six of them on the teams that means there are only ten people who could fill those slots. If you went out, I’d guaranty you’d get one.”

There was something in Penny’s tone that made Kerry question the finality of her statement. “Are you sure?”

“I’m sure—” She pointed back and forth between Alex and her. “We’re sure. We know how well you did in Basic Flight; you moved up to a 4500 the first weekend; you flew observation during Day of the Dead; you’ve already had kinda one flying accident—”

“And you handled yourself well during the Mile High Flight.” Alex chuckled while shooting a look at Annie. “Quite well.”

 

Someone must have wished she’d gotten a Mile High Kiss–

Now, I’ve named a name in the coven race team, and spoken about A and B Teams, but you have to know I’ve done a lot more than that.  Yeah, I have.  For example, I figured out who was on the team last year, and that means I currently know who’s on the team this year.  That looks something like this . . .

See, you do need a score card.

See, you do need a score card.

There you have former and current members, with five students in the A Team and three in the B, which is the reserves used when the members in the A Team are unable to fly.  Humm . . . looks like the Horned God demands some boys on this team–and this is going to come up much later in the story, trust me.  You also see the Levels of the students racing, and where they’re from.  As the oldest member of the current team, Risto should end up becoming captain, but . . . we’ll see, right?

Oh, and you know who’s trying out for the Mórrígan Coven Team.  Do I really need to say her name?

So out of ten student who can try out–and I’ll get to that in a moment–we know of one.  What about the other?

 

Penny chuckled. “I can tell you that just about everyone who did the Mile High Flight could get on a team if they try out.” She turned to the girl in his arms. “Annie, are you going out?”

She didn’t hesitate giving her answer. “No.”

“Why not?”

“I’m not a racer. I enjoy flying for fun—going out on long flights and watching the scenery go by while listening to music.” Her smile was bright in the dim blue light. “Kerry’s the competitive one.” She leaned back and gently caressed his right cheek. “And there should only be one racer in the family, don’t you think?”

Kerry cooed. “You’re right as always.”

And uncomfortable silence fell over the C Levels upon seeing and hearing the short moment of affection between their B Level companions. Annie noticed Jairo squirming uncomfortably, and she believed it was her statement which caused him acute embarrassment. They’ve never heard us speak like this to each other. Even while in Berlin I saved these terms of endearment for our private moments. She kept the laugh she felt coming on deep inside. If they want us to be a part of floor, they’ll need to get used to us.

 

I was asked a few days back when might we see Annie and Kerry calling each other “husband and wife,” even if it’s in a joking way, because kids going steady are like that some times.  Here’s Annie, for the first time, making a comment about “Only one racer in the family, right?” and Kerry’s going along with her–and it’s making the other kids on the floor really uncomfortable.  Why?  Could it be because they can hear their voices and see their faces and notice their body language, and realize right then and there that they’re not kidding around?  Umm, yep.  Pretty much.  And Annie’s thinking, “Time for you to get used to us, kids.”  Yeah, it’s going to be an interesting year.

Now, about those A Levels . . .

 

Right then Annie noticed five green lights appear above the door leading to the staircase: four were to her left, one to the right. Kerry noticed them as well, commenting immediately. “What are those lights for?”

Jairo caught them right away. “It’s to let us know the new A Levels are in their rooms.” He shook his head. “Damn—only five?”

Penny sighed. “I was hoping for more considering thirty-seven came in this year.”

“Yeah, every coven should have gotten at least seven people.” Alex muttered softly. “Damn Phoenix hates us. Durnyy dukh.”

Annie wasn’t going to comment on the fairness of getting only five new students, for it was impossible to fathom the reasons behind The Phoenix’s decisions. “Four new girls—”

Kerry finished her statement. “And a new boy.”

Jairo nodded. “You figured that out, huh?”

Kerry pointed to the light configuration. “Four on the side with the girl’s rooms, one on the boy’s side—” He smirked. “Pretty easy to figure out.”

 

First off, “Durnyy dukh” means “stupid spirit,” and they are damning their luck at only getting five new kids.  So now that the A Levels are here, what do the final counts look like?

Like, um, this.

Like, um, this.

And as you can see, Cernunnos is the loser once again, while every one else came out way ahead.  Now, I knew Cernunnos would get five, but how did I figure out the others?  Did I just pick and choose?  Nope.  I rolled some dice on my computer.

Really.  Back when I was gaming I used my computer for said role playing.  Gaming of this nature require dice, and let me tell you, while some gamers love carrying around like fifty dice in a bag–something I have done–I got tired of it pretty fast.  So I bought a dice program for my computer, and used that to first figure out how many students would go where.  Assigning a value to each remaining coven, I used a D8 to see who would get nine students, and then a D6 to determine who would get seven.  Once that was determined, the remaining two got eight students, and all was well at the School of Salem.

Really--never leave home without your dice.

Really–never leave home without your dice.

There’s only one last thing to do now–

 

There was a slight smile on Penny’s face, but her tone indicated something completely different. “Yeah, I guess.” She stood and stretched. “And with that, kids, I’m ready for bed.” She prodded Alex with her bare foot. “How about you, zhopka? Ready?”

Pfft. I am always ready, cyka.” Alex waved to everyone sitting. “Good night, and see you at breakfast.”

They all said their good nights, and as the girls were heading into their room Jairo stood. “I should do the same. Got a lot to do tomorrow.” He nodded at the still-seated couple. “Good night.”

Kerry waived with his right hand. “’Night, Jairo.”

Annie nodded back. “Good night, Jairo. See you tomorrow.”

“See you.”

As soon as they were alone Annie rolled off Kerry and settled to his right, facing him. “You should turn down the music.”

Kerry summoned the tablet from where it had remained stuck to the wall so he could lower the volume before setting it aside. “There. Far more intimate.”

“Yes—” Annie lay her right arm over her soul mate and kissed him. “It’s more comfortable like this.”

“Almost comfortable enough to fall asleep.”

But do they?  Ha!  Not telling.  And the last thing here, to show that Penny and Alex are good friends–Penny calls Alex “Little Butt” and Alex calls her “Bitch.”  Not quiet the same as “Love” and “Sweetie,” but then these two . . . well, you’ll find out about them.

We’ll see if I get the Headmistress on stage tonight.  She’s about due to put in an appearance . . .

The Seeing of the Scene

If by now you haven’t caught on, I write.  It’s not my day job–I have one of those where I go into an office and do things and stuff and come home at the end of the day–but it’s one I’ve been doing for a while; just about four years come this September.  It is my dream to do this full time, but unless I get the damn books out there for people to read, that will never happen.

If you’ve followed me from the start, you’ll also notice that my writing style has changed considerably.  There is a different flow to it these days, far more than when I published my first stories two and three years back.  The way I write has changed a great deal, too:  probably because I spend so much time now waltzing through these new worlds which now have become old worlds due to my having lived in them for right around two years now–three years if you count the times I’d think all this over while driving back and forth to Indianapolis during the summer of 2012.

Lately, however, the writing has turned into . . . well, I have become heavily involved in a task known as “getting it right.”  Particularly with this new story, getting each scene started has become a complete pain finding the right words, the right setting, the right mood.  Example One is below.  This is the start of the newest scene in my current novel.

 

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

The evening had reached the point where the coven tower lights would flash three times to indicate the lights were going out in a minute, but on the second floor of Cernunnos Coven there wasn’t a need for lights out, for the lights had been out for nearly an hour while the students used alternate light sources as they relaxed in comfort in the open space outside their rooms.

Penny, Alex, and Jairo had gathered pillows from the ground floor storage and set them out in a circle. Penny and Alex used various spells and enchantments arrange a few of the pillows so they could lay back against them, while Jario prepared local snacks and cool drinks in the small kitchen in the lower level.

While the C Levels were busy, the B Levels did their part to make for a relaxing evening.

Since they’d need light, Annie created several small spheres of cold fire and levitated them overhead. Kerry took musical suggestions from everyone, set them up on his tablet, then set it against the wall between the entrances to the bathrooms, then crafted a spell so the speakers would project the sound around them, making it seem as if they were surrounded by music.

In the blue light of cold fire the five B and C Levels sat listening to music, snacking on tequeños and golfeados while drinking merengadas, and enjoying their company.

 

That’s just two hundred and thirty-five words–and that took me forever to write.  Or close to forty minutes, if my internal guessing is correct.  Now, I will admit to about five minutes of research looking up snacks and beverages from Venezuela, which constitutes the last line of the excerpt, but the rest of it was all me sitting in front of the laptop trying to figure out what I want to say.  Particularly that first paragraph:  that little gem probably took a good fifteen minutes of my life to figure out.

"Lights?  Lighting?  Should they just grab a student from another coven and use them as a bonfire?"

“Lights? Lighting? Should they just grab a student from another coven and use them as a bonfire?”

Don’t ask Annie about that last; she’s got a couple of students in mind.

It’s been like that since starting this novel.  Getting the scene started usually takes a bit of work, but once it’s going, it’s off and running.  Tonight might not be that case, since I’ve got a butt-load of things to do when I get home, but then again, since most of that revolves around laundry, I can write while waiting for things to get clean.  At least try and get it finished before Touch of Evil comes on tonight, because that’s one of those movies I don’t like to miss.

There’s nothing wrong with getting it right up front.  I know most people who have cut their teeth on NaNoWriMo say, “Write first, then edit later.”  To paraphrase Col. Tom Parker, “That’s good enough for you, but what about me?”  Not that I haven’t worked on a major edit:  I did it last year about this time on the Parts One and Two of A For Advanced.  But I like to avoid that if possible, because . . . well, just because.  Really, too:  I’m laying out the scenes in a far different way than the last novel.  The kids are back on familiar ground, so there’s no need for a lot of oohing and aahing.  They know the drill, just like when they boarded the plane, and there isn’t much of a need to get back into that–save for the moments like the one above, where my kids are truly in The Pond and becoming part of the student body.

I’ve noticed this popping up more and more.  Some of it is likely due to distractions around me, and the mind is looking to focus on something else instead of the task at hand.  Writers need to write, but they also need stimulation, and I’ve tried to put that into my life so I don’t keep turning back to a cycle of work, eat, write, sleep again.  That way leads to burn out, and I’ve fought with that for too long now.  I give into burn out now, and it’s going to be a while before I recover from that.

And there is so much story ahead to tell . . .

Talking Around the Shadows

Maybe it was something in the water; maybe it was something the air.  Maybe I could feel it coming in the night.  Maybe I’m stuck in a Phil Collins song that got heavy rotation after Miami Vice.  Whatever it was, it was like being back in NaNo Land, because I was on last night.  Extremely on.  Like I wrote two thousand, four hundred, and seventy-nine words in two different location over the course of about three hours on.

It may be a rambling mess, but it’s my mess, and I did it all on my own.

It also could have been because of something else that happened, but I’m keeping that a surprise until the end . . .

 

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

Annie and Kerry exchanged a quick glance. The knew the name well: Tanith Granstrom had been the object of a field operation everyone in the room had conducted for the Guardians in April of this year. It had been Annie’s and Kerry’s job to keep and eye on Tanith and, when the time was right, explain that she was no Normal person but was instead a witch on cusp of becoming Aware.

It was while Annie and Kerry were showing Tanith that they really were witches that they and Erywin, who was monitoring them from a distance, received an abort call from Helena, and soon found themselves engaged in a short but nasty fight with three Deconstructors who did their best to kill them, and were killed instead. Annie and Kerry was taken away to the CDC in Atlanta for treatment, and ended back at Salem a few hours later, while Tanith and her father Kaden were taken into Guardian protection.

During the Guardian debriefing that came a few days after the operation, it was explained to the children that Tanith would likely be “made to forget” what happened to her and her father during the operation, and while it wasn’t known at the time if she would ever come to Salem to receive schooling, but if she did, they’d never be allowed to discuss what happened to them that day in Kansas City—

There was no more wondering now: she would soon become a member of the student body.

 

Believe it or not, those four paragraphs took me about half an hour to write.  And the first one took about fifteen minutes and five tries to get it right.  Seriously, sometimes just finding the right words to start a transition is the hardest thing in the world.  And I know a little something about transitions, right?

Now let’s get the lowdown on the arrival.

 

Annie folded her hands and began rubbing the tips of her index fingers together. “When will she arrive?”

Helena tapped the display on her tablet. “Everything is on schedule right now. The Oceanic, East and Central Asian kids will arrive between eleven and twelve-thirty; the kids from the Americas will get here between fourteen-thirty and sixteen hours; and, as you know from experience, the Euro, African, and Western Asia kids will arrive between nineteen-thirty and twenty-one hours.” She pushed the tablet aside. “She’s arriving with the kids from North and South America, which should tell you something about where she was relocated.”

Kerry leaned forward a little. “She’s not coming under her old name, is she?”

“No. Her new name—which I’m sure you’d discover on your own eventually—is Kristiane Schoyer. From what I was told she didn’t change her appearance, but as part of her new identity the Guardians changed her birth certificate so she’ll fit in with the other eleven year old A Levels.”

Kerry glanced at Annie and Erywin before turning back to Helena. “Okay.”

Annie didn’t find that surprising: if the Guardians wanted her to blend in with other new students, rather than come up with a convoluted story about how she became Aware late—which is what drew in the attention of both The Foundation and the Deconstructors in the first place—they’d fix her legal age. Which means they likely did something to ensure she didn’t remember her real age— She addressed Helena. “What would you like us to know? Besides her coming here.”

 

For one, we now know when various A Levels show up at school, and what Tanith’s new name is–I mean, Kristiane’s.  That one little line is gonna come back at the end with great importance.  Just wait . . .

Helena was asked, and Helena answers:

 

Helena stood and came around to the front of the desk. She didn’t like sitting behind one when she spoke: it made her feel like she was hiding. She sat back against the top and kept her focus on the children before her. “I’ve already briefed Erywin on this, because she’ll have immediate contact with—Kristiane—once classes start—sooner if she is placed in her coven.” She folded her hands before her. “You’re not to attempt contact with her once she’s arrived. That shouldn’t be too hard with her being an A Level: she’s in the Fishbowl, and you’re both in the Pond for real now. The only time you should have contact with her is when it happens in the course of a normal day—like passing her in the Dining Hall, or on the grounds, or any number of venues here. If she approaches you for anything, the chances are she’s looking for information, or she’s asking a question, or she needs help with a lab. That’s stuff is normal, and in those instances you treat her like you would any other student.”

Helena glanced off to one side for a moment. “She doesn’t remember you or Erywin: the Guardians made certain of that. Otherwise they couldn’t risk letting her come here.”

Kerry quickly figured out the implications of the sorceress’ last statement. “Does she remember anything from her old life?”

“No. Her father and mother, yes, but everything else—living in Albuquerque; Kansas City; the event with the Deconstructors and being taken away to Atlanta—none of that remains. She’s been given not only a new identity, but a whole set of memories to go with that identity. The Guardian people who work on these things are good at their jobs, and they would make certain nothing remains of her old memories.”

Though she didn’t let the feeling show, Annie felt somewhat sad about this turn of events. She’d read about some of the things that these memory specialist could do, but she’d never realized, until now, how details these operations could become. “So even if we tried to tell her that we saved her life—”

“She’d think you were talking shite at her.” Helena gave Annie a piercing stare. “Not that you’d do anything that foolish—right?

“No—” She shook her head. “That would be a stupid thing to do.” Annie kept her breathing slow and controlled. “I’d expose myself if I did that.”

A slight smile played along Helena’s lips. “I like that thinking.”

 

Of course she likes your thinking, Annie:  that’s why you her favorite.  Annie is thinking like a Guardian:  don’t do stupid things that would give you away.  Walking up to Kristiane and saying, “Hey, remember me?  I saved your ass back in Kansas City,” would get you instantly branded as a crazy loser and someone who is way too dangerous to place back out in the field once again.  And that’s not Annie–or Kerry, as we’ll see.  And leave it to him to notice something . . .

 

Kerry agreed with Annie—he would never do anything as foolish as go up to Tani—no, Kristiane now—and try to get her to remember him, but there was something Helena said that caught his interest. “What do you mean by she could ask for help with a lab?”

Helena cleared her throat as she turned towards Erywin. “You want this one?”

The coven leader moved around in her chair so she could face her younger friends. “I have it on good authority that since you both have a bit of ‘free time’ during the day, you may get pulled in by a few instructors for minion duty.” She chuckled. “I know Wednesday is interested in having you help out in her regular B Level class, and I might ask you pop in for my A or B Level class—”

“Except on those days I might want you for A Level Sorcery.” Helena glanced from Annie to Kerry. “Once we start getting further into the year I wouldn’t mind having either of you help out. Annie, while you are the—” The right corner of Helena’s mouth curled upward. “—Dark Witch of this group, Kerry’s not far behind. And with you teaching him a little extra on the side—”

“He’ll become much better.” She looked to him, nodding. “I agree. And I’d be happy to help out.”

Kerry grinned. “So would I.”

“And just between us in the room—” Erywin automatically glanced towards the door as if she expected someone to enter. “Wednesday and Jessica are both asking about getting you out of normal classes so you could come and help out in a few of their classes.”

“That’s really . . .” Kerry found it hard to arrange his thought so he could explain what he was feeling. “I didn’t realize we were that much in demand.”

“This goes back to when you were invited into the advanced classes.” Erywin took a second to stretch her arm. “Even then the instructors were thinking about using you for minion work.”

Helena wiggled the finger of her right hand in time to an unheard beat. “Which means the instructors who’d like your assistance are doing so because they know you’re able to do the work. And Jessica’s one of those instructors—” She shook her head. “She never asks for minions. That should tell you all you need to know.”

 

You gotta wonder when these kids are gonna find time to snog.  Well, don’t wonder too long, because they’ll find time.  Still, it looks as if they’re being given a lot to do.  Regular classes, advanced classes, and now they’ve being asked to become lab minions from time to time.  And they have to teach each other what they’re learning in their advanced studies:  Kerry for Advanced Transformation, Annie for what she’s picking up on sorcery in the Black Vault.  Is there such a thing as burn-out at thirteen?  Maybe the school is conducting an experiment.  Or . . . maybe it’s a certain Guardian?  We’ll see, won’t we?

 

Helena stood and stepped away from her desk. “That’s all I have to say. I’ll let the proper authorities know we’ve had this discussion, and there shouldn’t be any need to bring this up again.” She cocked her head slightly to the right as the tone of her voice turned a touch darker. “At least I hope it doesn’t become necessary to bring this up again.”

Both children shook their heads, with Annie speaking for them both. “That won’t happen, Helena.”

“No, I don’t believe it will.”

Erywin stood at the same time as the children. “Just so you know—”

Kerry spoke first. “Yes?”

“The A Levels tend to stay inside either the Great Hall or the Pentagram Gardens after their E and As. It’s never been confirmed, but we believe The Phoenix does something to the student so they’re not wandering about the grounds for most of the day.” Erywin took a step towards them. “Holoč would have told you, but since we’re together now—”

He smiled softly. “Yeah.”

“You’ll see more than a few of them lounging in the Dining Hall when you’re eating; we’ll have a few sofas and chairs laid out for them.”

Helena chuckled. “We wouldn’t want them to go without resting all day.”

Erywin stood next to her partner. “While you’re inside the Pentagram grounds, don’t use any magic; we have to keep up the charade, remember?”

“We remember.” That made Annie wonder. “So that happened to us as well?”

“Yeah, it did.” Helena crossed her arms. “It’s a little unusual that you didn’t go off to eat with the other students, though.”

Annie didn’t see why that was strange. “I wasn’t feeling well, so we went to the hospital.”

“Yeah, but you did it on your own. Whenever Isis sends someone to the hospital, it’s usually for something along the lines of severe shock, or disorientation brought on by a concussion—”

Erywin joined in listing issues. “Maybe bleeding from the ears.”

Helena nodded. “Or a broken arm.”

“Or leg.”

“Or a fractured skull—”

“I see.” Annie frowned. “What you’re saying is not many go to the hospital because of an upset stomach and spinning head.”

The two instructors looked knowingly at each other before Helena replied. “Something like that, yeah.” She nodded towards the door, making it unlock. “Okay, you two: go out and do some wandering. We’ll see you later.”

 

So what you are saying, Helena, is that Annie and Kerry shouldn’t have ventured to the hospital, not with the maladies they had?  Interesting.  Is this some doing of The Phoenix?  Don’t know.  We may never know.  She’s a strange bird, you know.  It also sounds–from the injuries rattled off–that she likes to do a bit of the ol’ ultra-violence now and then.  It sounds like all she did to these two was scare the shit out of them.

It’s time to go and have fun, but you know Kerry the Killjoy:  he’s gotta wanna analyse everything.  This is no exception . . .

 

Once outside the office Annie began walking towards the stairs, but Kerry stopped her before she could go upstairs. “Would it be okay if we took the tunnels?” He glanced over his shoulder. “Maybe head up to Perquat’s Grove?”

Based upon Kerry’s body language, Annie suspected there was something he wanted—and it didn’t necessarily lay at the location where they spoke to Erywin, and Kerry learned of Annie’s long desire to marry him. “I would love that.” She joined him, taking his arm. “It should be beautiful today.”

They found the main tunnel leading north to the Polar Portal, the classrooms under the Observatory, and the cross-tunnel leading from the Firing Line and the portal leading up to Perquat’s Grove. The only time they’d taken this route was during the winter when there was too much snow on the main path to the Observatory; during this time of year, when the weather was beautiful and warm, the only people taking this route were those looking for privacy—usually with the intention of finding some intimacy, but sometimes all they needed was an opportunity to talk . . .

They’d walked about a hundred meters before Annie decided to give him a chance to open up and speak. She understood his moods, and when he had something on his mind, he often needed to know it was okay to speak. “What are you thinking about, my love?”

That was all the opening he needed. “What we did in Helena’s office—”

“Yes?”

“Do the Guardians really think we’d, you know—” He looked around in case there was someone close by. “Screw up and talk to her?”

 

Annie is the rock in this relationship:  she is almost never rattled, and when she is, it’s only because of her Ginger Hair Boy.  Deconstructors hell-bent on killing her?  Screw that shit, she’s throwing down.  Kerry, on the other hand, is the sometimes quivering emotional center of the relationship, and he not only lets those feelings get to him, but he also overthinks a lot of things that don’t require overthinking.  And he’s doing that right now:  he’s smart enough to understand they needed to know this stuff, but still . . . it feels as if the Guardians were keeping them after class for a talking.

Not so, Bro.  Listen to your better half . . .

 

She said nothing for about fifteen seconds, letting Kerry’s curiosity build. “I’ve read a little on the history of the Guardians—”

Kerry chuckled. “I’m not surprised.”

“My parents had a book on it, but there were a couple in the Black Vault that went into far more details.” She slowed her pace until they were almost shuffling along the large, empty tunnel. “They’ve always collected intelligence, but it wasn’t until the Deconstructors started becoming a problem in, I think, the late 1950s, that they started becoming an offensive force. From what I read, they were almost like a specialized military force during that time.”

“Like the SAS?”

“Exactly like that—only they also continued to gather intelligence. It was a dangerous life, given that they also spent a great deal of time going into the areas that the Soviet Union and the Chinese controlled. Anyone who stayed alive for more than five years was usually moved to an office.

“Deconstructors were almost impossible to find back then. The Foundation used to say that they lived in the shadows, and that only the bravest women would venture in to find them. That’s how the Guardians earned the nickname, ‘The Shadow Walkers’: they’re still known as that today.”

She pulled Kerry to a slow stop. It was safe here; if there were any students close by, they were likely on the surface, unaware there was anyone below. “Helena told me before we went home that, as far as she knew, we were the youngest team the Guardians sent out on a field operation. She was a C Level, a few months past her fourteenth birthday, when she went out on hers, and she only knew of someone going out who was a few month younger than her when they went out. She said that as leery as she’d been about us going out, the Guardians wouldn’t have sent us out if they didn’t believe we could complete a mission.

“There was a reason Helena called us in today: she was under orders. She told us, without actually telling us, that the orders had come from high up the line of command. She told us—her new name, something we could have found out on our own, like she said—but she told us instead.”

She held Kerry’s left hand tightly within hers. “She wasn’t giving us a warning, my love: she was giving us a briefing. She told us about her arrival today, and as she said, she’d report back to the proper people that we’d received the briefing, and that we understood to proper actions to take should we encounter here.”

A slight grin formed. “We were given that briefing because we earned the right. Because we walked into the shadows—” Annie pulled Kerry close and hugged him tight. “—and we were good enough to return to the light.”

 

“We were good enough to return to the light.”  They were, and they did.  Both played their parts, and played them well, and if Kerry hadn’t been–ah, hem–overthinking his part, there’s wouldn’t have been a need for Annie of the Broken Arm to go all murder time on the second Deconstrutor.

But she gets it.  They were given a briefing not because they’re a couple of kids and then need a bit of schooling–it was because they earned the right to a follow-up.  Not a warning, but a head-up that they’re gonna see this girl, and here’s what you wanna know.

I guess you could say they’re part of the club now.

So here is the book . . .

Coming along nicely, I see.

Coming along nicely, I see.

And I rolled through thirty-one thousand last night, which means I’m less than nine thousand words from–yes, let’s say it–this being a true novel.  And that’s going to happen sometime in Chapter Five.  Maybe about the time the kids are Remembering Memory . . .

Now, for the surprise I promised.  It’s not writing related, and it’s probably not something one would look at and go, “Meh, so?”  But I have a friend who knows a little of my past, knows I’m trans, and doesn’t care about any of that because I have cool friends.  She’s been going on for a few days about how she’s going to tie the knot, so to speak, and she’s looking at venues and the like for a ceremony next fall.  She’s telling people it’ll be a small, intimate affair, and she’s not looking to have many people show up, and I let her know I will be there, don’t worry.  And that’s when she dropped the bomb on me in private chat–

She wants me to be her Maid of Honor.

I have been in weddings before.  I was even a Best Man once.  If you told me back in 1976 that in 2016 I’d be someone’s Maid of Honor, I’d have probably thought, “What do they know that I don’t?”  Now I’ve got to start planing, and looking at dresses and shoes, and I’ll likely need a new wig by that time.  And if it’s held in one spot I suggested, then we’ll have a spa there to get our mani/pedis before the ceremony, and our make overs, and all that stuff before we get into the dresses–

Yeah.  I’m just a little excited . . .

Let the Day Begin

If you’re expecting writing here of a novel nature, expect it tomorrow, for today I have a face only a mother would love.  Um . . . strike that.  I’d probably get Kerry’s mom, and she’d laugh at me and ask how many girls I know.

This is your face--or your upper lip--on electrolysis.

This is your face–or your upper lip–on electrolysis.

Not only is there swelling today, but last night my head was spinning around a bit by the time I got home.  I did the ice and ibuprofen last night to combat the spinning and swelling, but as you can see, the later is still around.

"You shouldn't knock it; you look good."

“You shouldn’t knock it; you look good.”

Thanks . . . I think.

It’s going to be like this for a few more weeks, for sure.  I’m guessing that by the middle of June the facial hair will have vanished completely, and by July I’ll have my face back in more or less one good piece.  Right now it’s a lot of pain to go through once a week, but . . . it’s needed.  It’s necessary.  And I won’t have to shave anymore, so there’s that.

Now, did I write?  Yep.  Made it past four hundred words before stopping because my mind just wasn’t into it.  The spirit was willing, but trying to plot together something through a slight haze of pain was a bit too much.  Actually, since there’s a half hour drive between my apartment and the place where I get electricity zapped into my face, I could think out points while I’m in the car.  And what did I come up with?

One, I figured out the new C Level the kids will met.  You get a paragraph on him in this new scene, and how he’s acting when he first meets Annie and Kerry.  He was sound asleep when the Euroflight came in, which is why no one saw him in the last scene.

I also came up with an elegant solution to the question:  what happens with the new kids after they do their E and A?  I mean, the school doesn’t want them to see magic before Orientation Day–Annie makes a comment to Kerry about this in the current scene on which I’m working–so how does a school full of returning witches keep that from happening?  Well, you’ll find out, because Helena will explain it to Annie and Kerry when they speak.  It’s really very simple, once you give it thought.

I also added a new scene, which will pop in after the one I’m working on now.  I’m calling the new scene Party of Five, which is a play on the term I was using for Annie and Kerry palling around with Penny and Alex, The Gang of Four.  Since there is a new guy on the second floor, this scene shows them hanging out on the night before Orientation Day–or Getting Reacquainted Day for the returning students.  Yes, that’s right:  there are only five people in the B and C Levels at Cernunnos Coven, out of, right now, sixteen kids total.  That is not a lot of witches:  in fact, you find out in a later post that Cernunnos actually has trouble fielding a race team because of low numbers.  Let’s hope they get a good group of A Levels this year.

In the mean time, Annie and Kerry will relax this Thursday night–

Sort of like this, only in a dimly lit tower while sitting on pillow.  But totally the same.

Sort of like this, only in a dimly lit tower while sitting on pillow. But totally the same.  Except Annie would be on the other side . . .

Because that’s what witches do when they’re together at home.

The Last Days in the Big B

Right now I know there are a few of you going, “Damn, Cassie, you’re taking your time gettin’ this post out.”  That’s because you haven’t seen what I’ve done up to this point.  You didn’t see me at six-thirty writing in the current scene, doing my research as I went along, and three hours later writing a little over twenty-two hundred words and finishing the opening scene to Part Two, Chapter Four.

Yeah, you didn’t see that.

Nor did you see this:  how my desktop looks when I'm working on a scene.  With notes and music.

Nor did you see this: how my desktop looks when I’m working on a scene. With notes and music.

Sure, I also managed a touch over five hundred words last night, too, but also more important, I figured out just how many people I’ve got for next year–

At my school you do need a scorecard.

At my school you do need a scorecard.

In figuring out the attendance for this school year I took the number from the year before, figure out who didn’t make the cut and who graduated, and checked my above totals with the totals at the bottom.  Believe it or not, this consumed about an hour of my time, because I kept forgetting that people had graduated and my numbers weren’t matching.  Really driving me nuts.

But this covered a couple of days of stuff–and, you know, things–and not only that, but we get the see the kids being, well, kinda kids.  Not only that, but if you look at my notes above, you’ll see they’re no longer alone . . .

 

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

Tuesday morning found them sitting in the hotel restaurant, having breakfast and discussing their itinerary for the day. They were going over the route they would take to their first destination when Annie felt the presence of others standing close behind. They turned and were asked by two girls if they were really going to the Olympic Stadium—

That was how they met Penelope Rigman and Alexandria Chorney, who preferred to be known as Penny and Alex.

They were covenmates, C Levels students who they both knew by reputation due to their presence on the coven’s Racing B Team. Annie and Kerry had only encountered them in limited fashion when they’d helped out on occasions as Vicky’s minions during Beginning Flight class. The rest of the time they were in their own classes and resided on the second floor, where the B and C Levels were housed.

Penny lived outside Canterbury, England. While her parents were born in the UK, both sides of her family were from Barbados, and on the train ride out to the stadium she joked that her father’s family knew Rihanna’s family. She was slightly distressed because over the summer she’d experienced a growth spurt, and she’d went from one hundred fifty-seven to one hundred sixty-seven centimeters, and she was worried this was going to affect her performance on the track. Annie, who stood one hundred fifty-five centimeters—the same as Kerry—wondered if she would ever be that tall; given that both her parents were close to one hundred and eighty centimeters, it was highly possible.

Alex hailed from Dubno, Ukraine, and her family lineage covered most of the old Soviet Empire, with grandparents from Russia, Estonia, and Kazakhstan, and her father from Azerbaijan. She said the greatest mystery in her family was not how the members of her family came together, but how she was the only one with blond hair. She had an growing interest in sorcery, and in a moment when they were alone while touring the Olympic grounds, she asked Annie if she could find a moment now and then to give her some tutoring, as it had been common knowledge among the B Levels of the coven about her skills. This was the first time Annie was aware that anyone in the coven had taken notice of her skills with sorcery, and that it had been a subject of conversation with some of the upper covenmates. Until that point she figured all anyone in the coven knew was that Kerry and she were the Lovey-Dovey Couple and the Mile High Kissers.

"Ukranian girl with blond hairs?  Does she have pet scorpion?"

“Ukrainian girl with blond hairs? Does she have pet scorpion?”

Sorry, you have her confused with another blond Ukrainian.

Penny and Alex are going to be recurring characters through the next few novels, and seeing as how they’ll be sharing a floor with Annie and Kerry–the B and C Levels are on the same floor, as pointed out above–they’ll pop in here and there, mostly over there if you must know.  Also, notice:  more girls for Kerry to make friends.  I’m sure his mother will be pleased.

In my notes you’ll see the Imperial measurements for the kids as well, and you’ll notice that Annie and Kerry are, well, short.  Don’t worry, that’s gonna change over the course of this novel and the next, but they’re still twelve, though in just a month Annie becomes a teenager and all hell will likely break loose because hormones, I guess.  Will it become an issue?  Hard to say, but if they have any more shared dreams like their last one at the Mystery Hotel, Coraline might just have to sit their butts down and have another chat with them.

So what did this Gang of Four do?  Well . . .

 

They visited the Olympic Stadium and grounds; they took a cab to nearby Spandau and visited the citadel before having lunch. The took the train back towards the city and spent time at Schloss Charlottenburg, before heading over the the eastern section of the city and visiting the DDR Museum. They returned to the hotel after their visit to the two hundred and three meter high observation gallery at the Berliner Fernsehturm, mostly due to Annie telling their traveling companions Kerry and she were going to dinner that night, and they needed a nap and a chance to clean up before then.

It wasn’t until she was in the hotel car with Kerry that she told him they were returning to the Fernsehturm and the revolving restaurant the floor above the observation deck they’d visited that afternoon. It was there, for most of the evening, they dined and chatted alone for the first time since breakfast. Annie admitted that as much as she’d enjoyed hanging out with the two girls, it was quiet moments like this the cherished, and she couldn’t wait until the time they could be together all the time. Kerry agreed, and as the western section of the city came into view, they clicked their glasses of soda together in a toast to their future.

 

All these people sitting in what I presume is a somewhat nice place to eat, and here you have a couple of kids strolling past the queue and being escorted to a window table–’cause you can bet Annie used either Foundation or family connections to get a good reservation–and spending the evening eating and enjoying their company . . . really, it’s a romantic scene.

Yeah, I'd say really romantic.

Yeah, I’d say real romantic.

But now what about going home?  I got that covered, too:

 

Wednesday would prove to be a crazy day, for they would stay in Berlin until that evening, then leave the hotel near twenty-three hours for what Penny, Alex, and several other returning students, called the Midnight Mile High Madness. While they picnicked in the Grunewald forest they discussed the trip home: since they were leaving the city near midnight and returning to the school not long after two in the morning, nearly all the students dressed in their night clothes for the ride to the airport and the flight home. As Penny explained, since they were going to have everyone get on Salem time during the flight—or to use her phrase: “We adjust on the bus”—and everyone was going to be super tired by their time they reached their towers, what was the point of changing? “Best to get comfy in your PJs and make a party of the trip while we can.”

Annie and Kerry both saw the wisdom in that point of view, and saw no reason not to join in the festivities. After all, they’d looked forward to this event all summer, so they reasoned—why not make it memorable?

 

Adjust on the Bus:  truer words one can’t live by.  And as I point out . . .

 

The festivities began a little after twenty-two hours as the returning European, African, and Western Asian students gathered in the lobby with the luggage in tow. All were in their pajamas save for Shadha Kanaan—who was from Oman—who wore an abaya instead. Annie and Kerry mingled with students that had already made this trip with them. Mesha and Gavino, and Jacira were there representing Europe, as were Shauntia and Daudi, representing Africa. The trio of Western Asian girls–Shadha, Elisha, and Dariga—hung out together while making sure to chat with everyone else. Joining them were eight new C Level, and two D Levels who’d decided to fly back with everyone else because they didn’t want to spend the night and tomorrow morning in Berlin before jaunting back to the school.

The last student to come down before the instructor chaperons was Anna Laskar: as she lived in Magdeburg, Germany, the didn’t arrive at the hotel until late Tuesday afternoon, and appeared to remain in her room when she wasn’t with her Åsgårdsreia covenmates. Though she spoke with the other students, she left one with the impression that she guarded every word that left her mouth.

 

You can just imagine the stares from other people with twenty-one kids from various places around the world gathering in one spot, and being all chatty and stuff and looking like they’re enjoy all the late night activities–with no one else any the wiser that more than a few of these kids could probably blow up the lobby of the hotel with the wave of their hand.  And none of the other students know about what went on during that little side trip my kids took to Middle America back in April, which would probably have even the D Levels keeping their distance if they were aware.

But that doesn’t keep anyone from enjoying the trip out . . .

 

At twenty-two thirty Professors Semplen and Grünbach appeared—not wearing pajamas—and began marshaling the twenty-one students and their gear onto the bus that would take them to the airport. Unlike when they departed from Amsterdam, the mood aboard the bus was festive, with plenty of talking and laughing. Kerry had Annie program a short selection of songs to play on his tablet, and as they bus pulled away from the Crowne Plaza the instructors anticipated what was coming: they threw up a privacy screen between them and the students as the first notes of Aracde Fire’s Keep the Car Running filled the compartment. Everyone did their best singing, and even Kerry, who didn’t know the song, joined in on the chorus while hugging Annie tight.

Unlike the year before the bus drove onto the airport tarmac and pulled up close to a 767 parked near Tegel’s Terminal C. By this time everyone was eager to board and get underway, and it was difficult for everyone to keep their exuberance in check. Boarding went smoothly, and Annie and Kerry pretended to carry their luggage up the gangway stairs, using simple levitation spells to make it look as if they were lifting the bags from stair to stair.

 

And in case you were wondering what they were listening to as they pulled away from the hotel . . .

I don’t disappoint.

The important moment to take from this short scene is not the party atmosphere of the kids taking the bus to the airport, it’s that Kerry let Annie use his computer.  He didn’t let that sucker out of his sight in the first novel, but here he is, handing it over and letting Annie set up a music stream for everyone to jam out on as they head for their new ride.  May as well break out the engagement rings now, kids.

They get to the plane–a 767, like the one they took back to Europe after they finished their A Levels–and they sit up front like last time as well.  As they’re getting settled Annie makes an observation:

 

“I hope we’ll get this to ourselves, like the last time.” She sat and got comfortable as Kerry did the same to her right. “Did you notice the moon tonight?”

“Yeah—it’s almost full.”

“Just like when we came home.” She placed her hand in Kerry’s as the memory of gazing upon the nearly-full moon through the bay window of their room at the Sea Sprite Inn was one that wouldn’t leave either child. “I think it has an auspicious meaning.”

“I’m sure Deanna would say as much.” Kerry wondered what the school Seer would say about this coincidence, but decided now was not the time to get into that discussion.

 

Really, it’s just the luck of orbital mechanics, but the fact they returned from school on a near full moon, and now their going back on one–well, Deanna might think there’s a meaning behind that, or maybe she’d say, “Hey, moon goes ’round, kids.  That’s all it is.”  Maybe.  Maybe not.  We’ll see, I guess.

I got them around the city, I got them out so they could enjoy time together, and now they’re back on the plane.  Let’s just play the whole final section out . . .

 

They didn’t need to wait long. About ten minutes after they found their seats they heard the outside door close and lock. Less than a minute passed before the flight captain’s voice floated through the cabin. “This is your captain. The gangway has been pushed back and the main cabin door has been shut. We’ll get a push back here momentarily and should be rolling out shortly after that. Tegel Flight Control has given us priority takeoff clearance, so we should be airborne shortly. Please fasten your seat belts, sit back, and enjoy the flight.”

Kerry gave the cabin a quick examination, as if to ensure that they were the only ones here. “They aren’t wasting any time getting underway.”

“They have nothing to hide now.” Annie set her empty glass aside for the attendant to gather. “Everyone knows what awaits at the end of the flight.” She shrugged and smiled. “Why pretend?”

“True that.” The engines started up and the plane began moving slowly forward as the attendant gathered their glasses and locked the closet door where they’d stored their luggage. Kerry set his hand upon the armrest between Annie and his chairs and held her hand in his, the same as they’d done on their last flight today, and as they had when they’d departed Amsterdam on their first flight to Salem. He remembered how nervous he’d been about the flight, because flying upped his anxiety levels and made it difficult for him to relax. During takeoff from Schiphol Airport he’d reached out and held Annie’s hand more out of nervousness than affection, because of an unnatural fear of crashing. If only I’d known then what I know now. He smiled at his sweetie as he gave her hand a tender squeeze. No way would we have crashed on that flight, nor will it happen this time, either

The captain spoke to the main cabins again. “This is the captain. We are next in line for takeoff. Will all attendants please take their positions and prepare for departure. Thank you.”

Annie and Kerry sat in silence as the engines maintained the same low drone while the plane turned left, straightened, and slowed to a stop. A few seconds later the pitch of the engines dropped away to almost nothing—

Kerry knew this moment perfectly. “Here we go.” Annie held his hand tightly as the engines were throttled wide open and they began hurtling down the runway. The plane shook and vibrated as it picked up speed:  twenty seconds later the nose rose and the 767 lifted into the air.

Turning to his left as soon as the landing gear retracted and locked into place, Kerry looked out the windows to the bright lights of Berlin beyond. “Auf Wiedersehen, Berlin.” He waved with his free hand. “It was fun.”

Annie waved with her left hand, saying her goodbyes with far less formal German. “Tschau, Berlin.” She turned to Kerry. “And it was fun. The most fun I’ve had there.”

He leaned over and kissed Annie’s cheek. “I hope we can do it again.”

“We will: I promise.”

Kerry didn’t take his eyes off his soul mate. “This is it, Sweetie: we’re going home.”

Annie felt something beyond words radiate from deep within her heart, for after the discussion in their last dream she knew the true meaning of his statement. “Yes, my love—” She settled against Kerry’s shoulder. “We’re going home.”

 

That's it, Kids.  Next stop:  home.

That’s it, Kids. Next stop: home.

Next scene they should be at school–

Really . . . don’t you know me by now?

Reacquaintance at the Crowne

And just like that, I’ve done in another scene and passed twenty thousand words in the novel, and that last took just two and a half weeks.  I even took note of word number twenty thousand, because why not?  I like doing that stuff.

I wasn’t only writing, however:  I was playing around with the new Google Maps, which I didn’t think I was going to like at all, but now that I’m figuring out things I can do with it, it’s a whole lot of fun.  It’ll show up in tomorrow’s post more, because I did some checking on landmarks for that scene, and the result are pretty impressive.

But for now, it’s back to Berlin . . .

First off, there’s the matter of Kerry’s room in the hotel, which is at the Crowne Plaza Berlin City Center–and we do mean right in the city center, more or less.  You’ll see what I mean when I lay out the maps tomorrow, but they are close to a lot of stuff . . .

Hotel on the left, and on the right, far in the background, the impressive building is actually a Bus/Underground hub.  The Foundation thinks of everything.

Hotel down the street on the left, and on the right, far in the background, the squat, impressive-looking building is actually a Bus/Underground hub. The Foundation thinks of everything when it comes to location.  So do I.

So after the Lunch in London, after the French Dream Connection, after the Dinner Embarrassment, after the Early Morning Pick Up, Kerry’s finally back where he wants to be–with Annie.  Alone.  For what will be, for now, another four months . . .

 

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

Kerry opened his arms as Annie skipped towards him, wrapping them around her as soon as they touched. They gazed into each other’s eyes for a few seconds before kissing long and passionately. Though he’d been with Annie only a few weeks earlier, and they’d shared a couple of dreams, he felt as if he’d not seen her in the longest time.

When the kiss finally broke he burned his face in here chestnut hair. “Hi, Sweetie.”

“Hello, my love.” Annie kissed him on the cheek. “I’m so happy to see you.”

“As much as I am you.” He kissed her cheek back. “I’m surprised you could get in here.”

“Oh—” She flashed a broad grin. “The hotel was more than accommodating.” She stepped back and pulled him along. “Come see.” She led him through the now open double doors to the room beyond.

The bedroom was nearly the same dimensions as the living suite behind them. There was a table and chairs next to the window on their right, a king-sized bed against the wall in front of them, a couple of chest of drawers across from the foot of the bed and against the wall on their left, next to the entrance to the master bathroom. Atop the chest of drawers across from the foot of the bed was a small television: it was currently turned it to a music channel that Annie muted the moment she heard Kerry entering the other room.

He looked around and gasped in a small, quiet voice. “Wow. This is better than the room we had in—that other place.” He remembered what Helena said about The Foundation using listening spells at some hotels, and didn’t want anyone who could be listening in knowing he’d spoken about something of which he wasn’t supposed to speak.

“Yes, it is.” Annie hung on to his left arm. “It’s a deluxe suite: one of the Crowne’s best.”

 

As I pointed out yesterday, since they’re returning students there’s no need for The Foundation to go through all the subterfuge they went through for the “You Know Nothing” A Levels who didn’t know the real story.  No more screwing around:  you know the people who pay for your education can pay for a lot more, and they’re doing just that.

Of course, Kerry needs a little more information . . .

 

“Leave it to The Foundation to spring for some good rooms.” He turned to Annie. “Is your room like this?”

“Oh, yes.” She nodded slowly. “You could say it’s identical.”

Kerry was about to ask for her room number when he saw the quizzical look on Annie’s face, and as he watched her brows slowly arched upward did her finally understand. “Oh. This is your room, too.”

Annie’s eyes rolled up in her head as she laughed. “Vie ste tolkova nevezhi.” She threw her arms around his neck and kissed him. “Of course it’s my room. Tova e neshto dobro az te obicham.”

Kerry was aware that “obicham” was the Bulgarian word for love, and since he’d heard Annie say “Obicham te” many times before, he was aware she was telling him that whatever she’d said the first time, it didn’t matter, because she loved him. He went up on his toe and kissed her forehead. “I az te obicham.”

 

And here we are again, with out kids sharing digs.  I’ll get to the Who and What part in a second, but first, there’s Annie spouting off some more Bulgarian.  I use one of the online translators to get my sentences, and eventually I’ll find someone who knows Bulgarian to give me exact translations.  But a quick overview of the above–

“Nevezhi” is clueless, which we all know Kerry to be.  “Obicham”–as Kerry also pointed out–is one of the words for love.  “Obicham te” is “I love you,” and what Kerry says in return is “I love you, too.”  An interesting thing is that “He obicham” mean “I dislike/hate you,” which kinda makes it the Good/Ungood of the Bulgarian world.  I keep track of all this through my scene notes:

Which also keep track of what words hit a milestone.  I'm strange that way.

Which also keep track of hotels and what words hit a milestone. I’m strange that way.

But the question remains:  who put this together.  Annie has it figured out . . .

 

She hugged him tightly before letting him go. “Your accent is coming along.”

“I’ve been working on getting it right.” He examined the bedroom before turning back to Annie. “Who put us together like this?”

“I believe . . .” Annie went over and sat on the end of the bed. “Ms. Rutherford book this room.”

“How do you know that?”

“Because there was a message waiting at the front desk when I checked in with Mama.”

Hearing Annie speak those last few words peeked Kerry’s interest. “She didn’t read it, did she?”

“No. Papa and she brought me to the airport, and Papa went on to work while Mama came with me to the hotel.” She grinned up at the still standing Kerry. “Did you come in a Mercedes?”

“Yeah.” It was his first time riding in one, so he made sure to examine it closely. “It was an E-Class.”

“They’re nice: Papa’s driven them on a few occasions.” Annie returned to the previous conversation. “Mama went back to the airport as soon as I was checked in; I read the message as soon as I got to the room. It said you’d check in about an hour after I arrived, and that I should leave—” Annie glanced down at the floor for a moment, and when she looked back at Kerry, a sly grin was faintly visible upon her face. “—a suitably ambiguous message telling you where I was.” She shrugged. “So I did.”

 

Now we know Papa drives Mercedes at times, and what sort of cars they took from the airport to the hotel in Berlin.  Again, The Foundation is being nice to their returning students, and it shows.  Though they probably didn’t have anything to do with booking to twelve year old kids in the same room, but what the hell?

So with that information out of the way, my kids can get down to what they’ve been waiting to do for a long time . . .

 

“And it was good.” Kerry sat to Annie’s right, as he always did. Now that the excitement of their reuniting was over, he could relax and enjoy being close to his soul mate once more. It’s not like when we were in London. He reached up and brushed her hair back from her right ear, bringing her small gold hoop earrings into the light. He ran his finger over her ear ridge, eliciting a giggle as she tilted her head towards him. “Does that tickle?”

“Yes, it does.” She pressing her head against her shoulder, trapping his fingers between. “We have almost all day today, all day tomorrow, and most of the day Wednesday.” She slid towards Kerry until their thighs and hips were touching. She took his hand and massaged it between hers. “You should unpack, and then we can work on what we’re going to do the next few days.” Annie nuzzled their combined hands. “You have your computer in your backpack?”

“In the next room.” Kerry’s heart softened being close to Annie once more. He’d felt this way for the first five minutes they were together in Russel Square, and that feeling of closeness, of togetherness, of love . . . of excitement: it was back. He was with Annie once again. “I wouldn’t ever leave it at home.”

“I didn’t think you would. And I know you can put it to good use here.” Annie turned slowly so she was facing him. “Just like you did in London.”

He didn’t attempt to pull his hand free from Annie’s grip. “You know your way around Berlin?”

“Not like I know other cities.” She leaned closer to her love. “Wait until next year when we’re in Paris . . .” Annie pulled her right leg under her, making herself a little taller. “I know that city so well . . .”

She pressed herself against Kerry, pushing him backwards. She fell next to him but kept herself propped up on her elbows. She gently lay a kiss upon his lips, holding it for five, ten, fifteen seconds before she stopped. “Seven week since the last time we kissed like that.”

“Yes, it has been that long.” Kerry wrapped his left arm around Annie and let his fingers glide over her back. “But it’s over.”

“Though you know what?”

“What?”

Annie slowly settled next to Kerry, snuggling against him while laying here left arm across his chest. “The days passed a great deal slower than I expected.”

 

Annie’s gettin’ her moves on!  Well, she is the more aggressive of the pair, though Kerry is starting to come along.  Knowing Mr. I Analyze Everything, it’s pretty much even money that he knows if he tries a similar move like Annie just pulled, things might happen, and he has enough embarrassment in his life without that happening.

Just give him time, though.  They’ll be more then enough opportunities to blush for his girlfriend.