Historical Hidings

First off, let’s get to the good news:  I have a new mouse!

All hail the new toy!

All hail the new toy!

Yes, I went with something pink and pretty, because yes, I can.  Also, I like how it feels in my hand, and the pad makes things all that much easier to do thing, so I like it a lot.

Second off, the shoulder is feeling much better.  I’m off to do my nails today, and I’m trying to come up with a good fall color, and I’ve been taking it easy this morning so that I’m not sitting around feeling nothing but pain shooting through my body.  In a way I help the process by not doing a whole lot last night, and it showed in the fact I wrote only three hundred and fifty words.

Ah, but that helped, because . . .

The scene is finished, mostly due to writing almost sixteen hundred words this morning.  It didn’t feel like I was pouring out words:  actually, the whole process seems to have slowed down as I try to visualize what I want to say, and then find the right word for the visualization.  And trust me, I’ve done a lot of visualization, starting with where Annie was taking Kerry . . .

 

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

Sequestered among several birch and pine trees sat one of the many covered stair casings that led to the school’s tunnel system. Every building save the Headmistress’ Residence Rhiannon were connected to the system, there were various locations on the grounds where access to the tunnels was possible. The covered staircase near Memory’s End and the one behind the Transformation Center were the most well known, though the staircases near Rhiannon Fettle’s grave—used by Wednesday Douglas to access Sunset Tower during the Day of the Dead attack—and the staircase just north of Perquat’s Grove were also familiar to the students.

Annie opened the entrance to the staircase and held the door for Kerry. Like most of the stairs in the coven towers, the circular stone structure was three and a half meter in diameter and descended easily six meters to the tunnels. She followed him down until their reached the bottom of the stairwell, at which point Annie stepped past him, open the door, and stepped out into the tunnel.

The tunnel was like the majority of the other tunnels under the school: six meters wide by four and a half meters high, with an arched ceiling segmented by columns and soft, indirect lighting. The staircase was situated to one side of a Y-junction, with two tunnels running off to the left of the staircase entrance, and one long tunnel vanishing off to their right.

Kerry let the door close behind him as he glanced from side to side, “Where are we?”

“Believe it or not, in one of the oldest tunnels at the school. I looked it up.” She pointed down the single tunnel. “That was one of the escape tunnels dug in 1762 when the grounds were expanded and the outer walls installed. The staircase behind you—” She pointed at Kerry and the door beyond. “—used to lead up into the wall where there was a hidden door leading to the outside. The idea was if the witches needed to evacuate the school, this was on of the ways they would leave.”

“Or if they were looking to get out of the school for the night.” Kerry stood beside Annie. “Then you could just jaunt out.”

“True.” Annie took his hand and led him down the left-hand Y-tunnel. “Just a little further.”

He stumbled along, smiling. “What is?”

“You’ll see.”

 

The school tunnel system was something that I spent a lot of time figuring out, because with the school being spread out all over the place, and with it being situated on a small island right off the coast of Massachusetts–which is what Cape Ann really is–winter weather is gonna be a real bitch.  So I figured the area under the school was riddled with tunnels, with most of them going way back to the 18th and early 19th Centuries.

This is what the area Annie’s discussing looks like–

That little Y in the upper left hand corner is where my kids are--you'll see them if you look hard enough.

That little Y in the upper left hand corner is where my kids are–you’ll see them if you look hard enough.

You can see so many things here.  The Pentagram is right down there at the bottom, and near the middle-top is the lower storage areas of The Aerodrome.  That little building basement in the upper right hand corner is the lower levels of the Flight School, and that blue spot near the “Y” I pointed out is the bottom of Van der Kroff Spring.  And in case you’re wondering, those round things sticking through on the left side of the picture are the lower levels of towers are those stuck in the West Wall of the school.

Where is this headed?

 

They walked for a couple of minutes before coming to an innocuous passage cut into the right wall. The entryway was maybe two meters wide, and was difficult to see due to being located directly to the right of a tunnel support arch. “Here.”

Kerry squinted past the entrance. “Not very bright in there.”

“One of the reasons this tunnel doesn’t stand out.” She headed inside with Kerry right behind. “The first time I was down here I almost didn’t see this.”

Kerry glanced up at the ceiling. “I’m surprised the lights are still on.”

“You know it doesn’t take much to keep a lighting enchant going.” Annie couldn’t help but look around as well. “Once you craft one, they’ll run until dimmed or shut off.”

“Yeah.” He tightened his grip on Annie’s hand. “Do you know when this tunnel was put in?”

“No, but probably the same time as the two branching tunnels; Isis told me those were dug out in 1802 when they did the final expansion of the southern grounds.” She came to a slow stop. “Here we are.”

Kerry faced a large wood door slightly countersunk into the left side of the passage. Unlike similar ones in the coven tower, there wasn’t an electronic hand scanner in the wall to the right of the entrance. “And where is here?”

“Where we are.” She motioned to Kerry. “Go on in.”

He pushed it open and stepped through the doorway. On the other side was a room nearly the same size as their private lab in the lower levels of Cernunnos Tower: perhaps four and a half by three and a half meters. The walls didn’t seem finished: even in the dim light Kerry saw they were slightly rough, as if the room were cut out of the native limestone and then rendered flat enough not to be an issue.

What surprised Kerry was that the room wasn’t empty. Besides a few small wooden crates there were three items of furniture: a sofa and an easy chair positioned around a makeshift table thrown together from a slab of board sitting on top of a couple of crates and covered with a blanket. He stared at the tableau for a few seconds, then turned to Annie. “What’s all this then?”

 

So . . . hidden rooms, are there?

Yes, right there, if you must know.

Yes, right there, if you must know.

The staircase that Annie and Kerry descended is there to the center-right, and they walked down the bottom corridor.  I put this model together last night, because writing isn’t always writing, right?  Let’s just say I needed to give the new mouse a workout.

Now, this is where it gets tricky, Kids–

None of this stuff existed last week.

I planed this chapter months ago:  according to Scrivener, the chapter was created 21 June, 2015.  But the first and second scene of this chapter weren’t all that well thought out, to be honest.  Like I’ve said before, I do the meta plot thing and then let things come to me.  And up until last week I had nothing for this scene other than a few mental images.

Until I imagined Annie and her mother together over the summer . . .

 

“Something I found.” Annie closed the door and crafted a couple of light spells to make the room brighter. “There: better.” She slowly made her way around the easy chair. “After leaving you at Advanced Flight a couple of weeks ago I decided to do a little exploring. There are a lot of tunnels in the southwest section of the school, but almost no one ever comes down here because there aren’t any buildings—”

“So no need to come down this way.”

“Yes. I’ve taken that one tunnel back to The Aerodrome a few times, but never ventured down this way. I actually found the passage outside walking down the left-hand tunnel: it runs all the way between them.” Annie paused behind the sofa and leaned against the back. “Found this room, looked inside, and . . .” She spread her arms wide. “Found this.”

“Yeah, but what is it?” Kerry stepped up to the table and prodded it with his foot. “This stuff has been here a while; that sofa looks like it’s older than my folks.”

“Mine as well.”

“How’d it get down here?”

Annie shrugged. “Someone likely made it using transformation magic.” She walked around and sat. “Come—” She patted the spot next to her. “Sit, my love.”

Kerry joined Annie and immediately wrapped his arm around her shoulders. “Exploring, huh?”

“Yes.” She snuggled against him, getting herself comfortable in his embrace. “I was curious.”

“About?”

Annie crossed her legs and stared straight ahead with half-opened eyes. “Over the summer Mama and I were talking about school, and she began asking questions that . . .” She giggled. “I think she was asking about us without actually bringing up the subject.”

“Really?” He chuckled as well. “Like?”

“She asked me if we’d walked through Astria Portal. The way she phrased the question—”

“—She wasn’t asking if we’d walked.” He moved his fingers slowly against her jacketed arm. “So what did you do?”

“What I usually do in that situation, my love: I gave evasive answers.” She sighed and settled back into the hollow of his shoulder. “She told me about a place Papa and she used to go to, as she said, ‘be alone’. She said there was a spot near Gloucester Bend surrounded by trees: the way she described the stop it reminded me of where Emma and you hid—without the danger, of course.”

“Of course.”

“She didn’t go on about what they did there, but it wasn’t necessary: it’s where they went when they wanted to be alone. She was telling me that story because—” Her hand glided across Kerry’s thigh. “—she wanted to know where we went to be be alone. Only . . . we don’t actually have a place like that. Not really.”

 

Yes, they don’t have a place like this–a place where they can go, well, you know.  Do what kids in love do.  Anne’s been doing a bit of looking, it seems, and she’s upfront not only about her explorations, but the reasons behind them–

 

“When I found this room, though, and I saw the furniture here, I realized couples use to come here. There was a lot of dust on the floor—”

“There was?”

“Yes, my love: I’ve cleaned up a bit before this.” She chuckled and pressed her finger against his lips. “Shush, and listen. No one has been here in decades, so I know this room is undisturbed. But it was used; a couple used to come here to sit, talk, relax . . .” Annie shrugged. “Who knows what else? It doesn’t matter. Since we both fly—” She grinned at the same moment as Kerry. “—we don’t need to worry ourselves that someone will notice us heading down The Chunnel to get here. Maybe security will see us open the doors to the staircase, but I don’t care; it doesn’t matter.”

Annie folder her legs under her as she wrapped her arms around Kerry’s shoulders. “What matters now, moyata srodna dusha, is that we have a place where we can ‘be alone’. Where we can come when we have free time and sit, talk, cuddle . . .” She leaned in and kissed him with great tenderness and passion. “And do that.”

Kerry moved slightly to his right and settled back into the arm of the sofa. “We’ll need some pillows to rest against.”

“There are blankets in those crates: I checked.” Annie lay against Kerry’s chest and listened to his rapidly beating heart for a few moments. “Tonight we’ll be alone: I’ll be here while you’ll be several hundred kilometers away. And in a week we’ll be even further apart. But . . .” She kissed him again, holding it for almost twice as long as the prior kiss. “Until you leave in a few hours, you are all mine.”

 

This is how my mind works, and how things come together in my head.  I wrote a lot, I pushed the story to within a few hundred words of one hundred and forty thousand words, and I’ve opened up a little insight into my kids.  And once more showed that when Annie wants something, she gets it–

All to herself.

The Size and the Dreams

As I’ve said before, a few hundred words here, a few hundred there, and . . .

Before you know it, you're got some real wordage goin' on.

Before you know it, you’re got some real wordage goin’ on.

That’s how this scene is playing out.  One bad night of less than three hundred words, and I think I’m going no where fast–and then I realize I’m encroaching on four thousand words for the scene, and suddenly it’s the biggest scene I’ve written since Emma and Kerry were back in Flushing, which I last edited back on 16 August.  This is a biggie, and it’s only going to get bigger, because I know I have at least another thousand words in me.  And in this novel I have written only two scenes of over four thousand words:  Remembering Memory in Chapter Five, which was where Annie and Kerry visited Deanna first day of the new school year and had visions–it is 4,004 words–and Friend’s List in Chapter Two, where Kerry has that discussion with his family, and is the biggest scene at 4,246 words.

So Annie’s gonna talk Deanna’s ear off, it seems.  What a yappity girl, right?

 

 

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

“It’s one of the meditation rooms.” Deanna shifted slightly on her pillowed. “Originally when everyone was in one building, the numerology people were on the ground floor, and the divination people were on the first. All the rooms were quiet and secluded, set up with subdued lighting to get everyone in the right frame of mind to allow their visions to flow forth.

“When the school began construction of this building, Wanda insisted that their meditation room remain in place on the first floor so they could be used for ‘advanced students’.” Deanna gave a relaxed, comfortable sigh. “Even then she knew we’d have advanced students—”

“She was a seer, so she would—” Annie smiled as she turned her head towards Deanna. “No?”

“Yes, she was. Each of these rooms was meant to represent a particular environment, so you have one that’s a bit tropical, another somewhere in the mountains, the third in the plains—”

“And this one in the desert.”

“Correct. And since we want the proper meditative state . . .” Deanna waved her hands; the points of light dimmed as the walls and ceiling faded away, replaced by the illusion of being outdoors and looking up into the night sky. “We can now have a proper conversation.”

It was more than an illusion, however: Annie became completely immersed within her surroundings, and for a moment forgot they weren’t in the middle of an Iraqi desert but were in a building on the western short of the Atlantic Ocean. “Who uses this room?”

“Advanced students, as Wanda intended. I have a few I bring here to instruct—” She glanced towards Annie. “—and some people I bring here for discussions. Like now.” Deanna folded her hands across her stomach. “What’s on your mind, my dear?”

Even though Deanna was correct about her showing up to talk, Annie suddenly found herself at a loss for words. She’d spent some time during lunch coming up with a conversation in her head, points she wanted to discuss and questions she wanted to ask, but now her mind was blank. There was only one thing to do: start right from the beginning. “I dreamwalked last night.”

 

It was pretty much a given that Annie wanted to talk about her dreamwalking experience, but it’s a little more than that–

 

Deanna didn’t question Annie’s stated but rather acknowledged her action. “You did. That’s fantastic. What was it like for you?”

“Strange, as I didn’t know what to expect.” She tapped her fingers against her abdomen. “I saw my dreamspace from the outside.”

“As you should.” The seer chuckled. “Did you dreamwalk anyone in particular?”

Annie gave a short laugh. “Did you need to ask?”

“No. It makes sense, however, as you know Kerry better than anyone else.”

“And he’s right across the tower.” Annie closed her eyes as she slowly drew in a breath. “I saw his dreamspace.”

“Which you would—”

“I also saw our dreamspace.”

Annie emphases gave Deanna a slight pause. “A shared dreamspace?”

“Yes.”

“How did it appear in relationship to Kerry’s and yours?”

“It was like our individual dreams spaces, only larger.” She shifted her eyes from one overhead star to another. “It was between and above ours, and they were connected to it with small corridors.”

“Like it’s an extension of your spaces.”

“I believe so, yes.” Annie turned her head slightly towards the seer. “Did you ever find anything on why we can share dreams? On why we’re connected that way?”

Deanna’s pause was much longer than Annie expected, and she was about to ask the question once more when the instructor finally spoke. “I’ve done some investigations with Trevor’s help, but I’ve been unable to find anything.” She hummed something for about five seconds that was just audible. “What you’ve described sounds like dreamwalking, but it’s not, it can’t be. Even with Kerry being a witch without knowing it, neither of you would have the ability to instigate a dreamwalk accidentally.”

“Not at all?” Over the summer Annie had developed the hypothesis that since Kerry was able to not only create a mental block around his memories of her, and affect her recollection of that happening, that perhaps the two of them together had dreamwalked each other without knowing.

“No, not at all. There’s too much that goes into a dreamwalk that it would just happen. Besides, when Kerry and you began sharing dreams, you were nearly half a world apart. How would either of you know of the other being on two separate continents?”

 

Asking Annie if there was anyone in particular she dreamwalked is a little like asking Helena if she’s ever killed anyone.  Of course Annie dreamwalked Kerry!  Duh.  But Deanna’s hesitation when it comes to answering Annie’s question about what allowed them to share dreams?  And the accidental dreamwalk is ruled out, which does leave Annie grasping for an explanation . . .

 

“True.” Annie wondered about that as well, and it always remained the flaw that tore her idea apart. “But then, what is that allows us to share dreams?”

Deanna’s chuckle came out as a snort. “The simplest answer is, ‘Because you’re different’.”

Annie didn’t find the answer satisfying or amusing. “That’s not an answer, Deanna.”

“No, it’s not.” Again the seer paused long enough to make Annie wonder if she would speak again. “Can I show you something?”

Annie was somewhat surprised by the request. “What do you want to show?”

“Something I’ve never shown to anyone.”

“How can I say no?”

Deanna raised her voice slightly. “Sabrina, please come.”

 

First off, Annie’s right:  Deanna didn’t give her much of an answer.  In fact Kerry would probably say she blew Annie off.  But this leads into Deanna wanting to show her something . . .

And who’s Sabrina?  Maybe a teenage witch?  Like the one sitting next to Deanna?

You know, it’s funny you should ask . . .

At Home Among the Witches

Of late I’ve been on something of a roll, and not the kind upon which you place butter.  I’ve cruised through Chapter Four, writing–and finishing–the third scene last night, which means I’ve written about fifty-five hundred words over the weekend.  I’ve also pushed the novel to a point just short of thirty thousand words, and considering last night was the twenty-third day of which I’ve worked on this novel, that means I’ve averaging about thirteen hundred words a day.  Again, not NaNo pacing, but it’s up there, and I’m happy.

So are my kids:  happy, but tired.  It’s two in the morning, and they’ve finally stumbled back home–if you can call a jaunt from Logan International Airport in Boston to the school “stumbled”, then yeah, they did.  And just like the last novel, it took a few thousand words to get my kids here.  And a lot of other kids as well . . .

 

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

The professors stayed behind to finish checking everyone in while the students filed out of the station. Those going to Mórrígan and Åsgårdsreia headed east and north across the Great Hall’s Rotunda; those going to Blodeuwedd and Ceridwen turned right out of the center and headed down the West Hall towards the Atrium and then outside to Founder’s Gate and the Pentagram Walls . . .

“Come on, Sweetie.” Annie felt her right hand being taken in Kerry’s left before they began walking towards the West Transept Entrance. Towards the covered walkway leading to Cernunnos Coven tower. Leading to their new rooms.

Leading back to their place they now thought of as home.

Off to the tower with you, kids!  And they do.  The new Gang of Four reach good ‘ol Cernunnos Tower, and Penny and Alex head up to their room, leaving the Lovey Doveys to look around the ground floor commons before heading up to their new digs.  They pass through the first floor and pause for a moment before their old rooms, before meeting up again on the far end where something–a spiral staircase leading upward–awaits:

They stepped into the stairwell and headed up to the second floor.

The layout of the second and third floors—the B and C Levels on the second, the D and E Levels above—were slightly different. For one, this staircase connected the second and third floors to the first floor; there wasn’t another staircase at the other end, which meant the only other way off these floors was by jaunting. The separation of the girls from the boys also remained the same, but since students entered the floor from the northeast instead of the southwest, the girls rooms were now on the right and the boys’ on the left. Lastly, the C Level rooms were in the half of the tower next to the staircase; that required the B Levels to walk to the other side of the tower to reach their rooms.

Annie veered to the hallway on the right and headed to the far side of the tower. She noticed a slight change in the wall shading, which she took to mean they had moved passed the C Level rooms and had entered the B Level section. Second door on her right she found her name plaque, the same one that had appeared next to her room at some time during Orientation Day. It had been modified since moving:

Anelie Kirilova — B Level

“Here I am.” She turned and snuggled into Kerry’s waiting arms. “You need to sleep.”

“So do you, dear.” Kerry held her loosely.

“Then we should get to bed.”

“Yes, Dear.” He gave her a soft kiss. “Good night, Annie. I love you.”

She gave him a final hug, the same way they had every night during their A Levels. “Leka nosht, Kerry. I az te obicham.” She watched him walk down the corridor and vanish around the turn before she opened the door and entered her room.

Good think Annie and Kerry’s names are close to what everyone calls them:  it would suck if they were known as “Pookie and Loser” and someone had to come look for them.  That’s where last names come in handy.  But they are in the big time now, out of The Bowl and into The Pond for sure–though given their advanced status in their own level, maybe they’ve moved on over into a small lake . . .

Fortunately Annie gets reacquainted with her new digs quickly–

It was almost identical to her last room. The study table was immediately to the right of the door, and her bed’s headboard was positioned against the right wall. Her dresser and chest of drawers were across from the foot of her bed, and her dressing table was to the right of the dresser. There was a large open area between her bed and the far wall where she’d find additional beds and dressers if she’d had a dormmate.

The view out her window was nearly identical. She still overlooked the Garden, the covered walkway to the Great Hall, the Great Hall itself, and Åsgårdsreia Coven tower. The main difference was now sitting four and a half meters higher than her old room, and that gave her a different perspective of her surroundings.

She faced her bed and examined the painting over the head of the bed, the one she’d made for the last Ostara celebration: Baby Snakes at Laputa. She had wanted to bring this home and hang it in her lake house bedroom—But if I did that, I’d have to bring it back for this school year. She resolved to do another painting for Ostara this year: all she needed was inspiration.

But that wouldn’t come tonight. All that awaited was her bed and a few hours of sleep. She pulled back the covers, removed her slippers, crawled onto the bed, and slipped under the comforter. As she rested her head against the pillow she felt sleep rushing towards her—

She was back at Salem. In her room. In her bed. With Kerry close by on the other side of the tower.

She was finally home.

And I'm almost finished with another chapter.

And I’m almost finished with another chapter.

There they are, sounds asleep–well, I’m guessing Kerry’s out as well, he was pretty much dead on his feet, too.

On the school timeline the new student begin arriving while the returning students are all in place.  In the next scene we’ll catch a quick look at the last C Level to take up residence on the second floor–a boy from South America who was sound asleep when the returning Euro Group came in–and I may add one more scene to this chapter–or should I add it to the next?  I’m considering it as I get more into the book and see where I can add scenes to flesh out the world and give my kids more room to grow.

Not to mention that since they’re thinking of Salem as “their home”, they should make themselves right at, don’t you think?

School’s about to start again.

Time to get crazy.