The Samhain Dance: Off to the Dance

It’s finally that time:  the big Samhain dance, aka Halloween for all the people outside the Salem Wall.  It’s a time of racing–which we got–and dancing–which is gonna happen–and bonfire walking, which is in the future.  And none of this Mother of Dragons bonfire walking, either.  Though at this place there are a few people who could pull that off.

Lets get into this, and I’ll lay out comments as I go . . .

 

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

The night was growing cooler now that the sun had set, but the sky remained clear, allowing the starts to shine bright in the enhanced darkness the light elimination enchantment allowed the grounds inside the Salem school walls. Annie and Kerry walked down the covered walkway from Cernunnos Tower to the Great Hall. They noticed the orange glow to the south and realized the Samhain bonfires were aflame and awaiting those who wised to walk between them and burn off the remnants of the last year.

Annie felt the nervousness she’d felt earlier in the evening fade now that Kerry and she were out in their costumes in public. She never thought of herself as having a comfort zone, but tonight, when they were putting their look together in their private lab in the lower levels of the tower, she’d felt slightly self-conscious about how they were going to look. Much like she’d done with Kerry earlier in the afternoon when she worked to remind him of his racing accomplishments, he’d reminded her that in a school full of witches and transformation experts, they were probably going to be the most sublime couple in attendance at the evening’s festivities.

 

Bonfires are going, so it must be time to party:

Looks like some witches have been hard at work.

Looks like some witches have been hard at work.  And pay no attention to that fire truck in the back . . .

Really, this is even a bigger symbolic event than Beltane.  Everyone wants to go walk between them; everyone wants to feel the heat wash them clean.  I used a metaphorical walk between bonfires to come out online, and Kerry would have used the moment to tell Annie of his love were it not for déjà vu.  That will even come up in a later scene–as well as something else.  Maybe?  We’ll see.

 

They moment they were through the West Entrance and into the transept Annie heard the music emanating from the Dining Hall. She wasn’t certain of the song, but it was made for dancing, and she was that was already underway. She’d waited since this time last year to dance again with Kerry, and he’d told her several times in the last week—including twice while getting ready—that he was ready to dance with her. Last year he approached the dance with a bit of timidness. She hooked her right arm around his left. Not now; this year, he couldn’t wait for us to arrive . . .

They stepped through the west back entrance to the Dining Hall where Netra Bonds, one of the member of the staff who oversaw kitchen operations and the management of the dining area, acted as one of the official greeters. She was much like she was last year, her human form transformed into a chrome and plastic body that most Normal imagined when they thought of artificial people.

Netra turned to the children as soon as they were inside. “Welcome to the evening’s festivities. Who may I have the honor of announcing?” Kerry removed a card from his jacket and handed it to her. She needed only a second to scan the card before turning to the revelers inside. “May I introduce Miss Annie Kirilova and her escort, Kerry Malibey, both of Cernunnos Coven.”

Kerry nodded and smiled. “Thank you, Netra.” With that he slowly led Annie into the gathering of staff, instructors, and students perhaps numbering one hundred at the moment, and likely to see the arrival of the rest of the school body in the next fifteen minutes.

 

Kerry was a bit nervous the last time because it was his first dance with a girl–really, his first dance ever, but having a date ramped up the nerves just that much more.  Also, there was the matter of a song dedication . . .

This time it’s Annie feeling the nerves because–of their costumes?  Hum, no mention of them yet–maybe in the next segment?

 

It was much like Annie remembered it being last year. The dance floor was in the front center of the room, where maybe half the people were dancing; around the outside of the floor were tables, chairs, and sofas; and in the darkest part of the room, to the south near the main entrance, were the seats where those who didn’t want to leave the room, but desired some privacy and quiet, retired.

A lopsided grin slithered out on to Annie’s face as she thought about the few people who’d head there later to snuggle and kiss. They go there to hide— Kerry slowed then stopped, and she did the same. They go there because they don’t want people to see them. They go there because they’re still afraid. She slid her hands down to take Kerry’s. We don’t need to hide

“We have nothing to hide.”

Kerry turned to his left. “What did you say, Sweetie?”

Annie turned to face him before touching the back of his left hand with here right. “I said we have nothing to hide, my love.”

“Why would we?” He chuckled as he turned his left hand palm up so he could play with her charm bracelet. “I’m glad you wore this.”

“Why would I take it off?” It was her turn to giggle. “I would wear anything you give me.”

Kerry’s right eyebrow shot upward. “Anything?”

Annie nodded slowly twice. “Anything.”

“Hey, you two.”

 

Hey, who could that be?  You’ll find out tomorrow.

And notice:  no mention of any costumes.  You’ll get that tomorrow as well, because I actually spent about an hour going over things for what the people we’d meet would wear.  And I guaranty there won’t be anyone in a “sexy witch” costume:  too many of the already real sexy witches would probably rag their ass if they showed up dressed that way.

Talk about taking the fun out of partying.

Remembrances of a Year Past

The close of business yesterday wasn’t the best.  I had to run out and get a new inflatable bed because my last one sprung a leak, and in the process of doing that my bank thought someone was using my card and disallowed the charge (fortunately I had backup), and I split a nail.  Not chipped, not broke:  split it right down the middle.  It wasn’t a bad one, but this is the first nail issues I’ve had in months, and it totally pissed me off to have to cut and file and watch my manicure become damaged.  I know, First World Girl Problems.

That didn’t put me in the best of moods for writing, not to mention I was fading like crazy after carrying this heavy inflatable bed from car to elevator to underground passage to elevator to apartment and then having to set it up.  But there was work to do, and I got to it.  First, I got Act Two organized so I’ll know how many words I’m into it, and still be able to see how much has been added to the novel as a whole.  I filled out the coven rosters a little bit more, and ended up putting Not-Tanith-Anymore where she belonged, and made a change to the racing team rosters because, oops, I made a mistake in the original setup.

My head was all over the place, but still:  six hundred fifty words in, one thousand eighty total for the scene, and here it is, all for you, because you got to hear about other things yesterday:

 

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

Kerry felt complete calm as Annie and he finally reached the Great Hall. The last Saturday of October was Samhain Celebration, and everyone was already in the mood to hang out, relax, and enjoy the festivities—particularly the last part, with the high point being the costumed Samhain Dance. Kerry realized how lucky Annie and he were to still have their lower level lab to used as a place to practice magic and plan other activities, because Penny, Alex, and Jario were driving them crazy trying to learn about their costumes. As Annie told Penny during last night’s Madness, “You’ll see our costumes when you see them.”

Keeping their outfits for the dance under wraps wasn’t the only thing on Kerry’s mind. Unlike last year, where he and Annie spent most of the time hanging out in the Observatory watching racing before getting ready for the dance, this time he’d run at least one race as a member of the Cernunnos B Team. The B Team heats ran from nine-thirty until eleven-thirty, all of them three lap races with Class 1 PAVs on the Green Line. After the B Teams were finished there would be an ninety minute break, and the A Teams would take over from thirteen until fifteen-thirty. Each coven would complete three times over five heats, flying Class 2 PAVs for six alternating laps starting on the Green Line before moving to the Blue Line, and then moving back to the Green.

This month he’d run two races as a member of the Cernunnos B Team, and had done well in both races. While he’d not won yet, the last race he’d finished forth, just missing a podium, and his first race he’d finished second. The schedule had him in a heat at ten between Cernunnos, Blodeuwedd, and Åsgårdsreia, and depending on the outcome of that race, he would either race Ceridwen and Mórrígan, or Ceridwen and either Blodeuwedd, and Åsgårdsreia again. Before last night’s Madness Professor Semplen told Kerry he had a good chance at another podium finish during the first heat, as he’d gotten his podium finish during a race with Åsgårdsreia.

No matter the outcome of his race or races, Kerry would finish by noon, after which Annie and he could relax in the Dining Hall, watch the afternoon races, and get ready for the dance. It wa going to be a good day for racing, and an even better day to enjoyed the evening’s entertainment.

Not to mention having the opportunity to take another stroll through the garden at midnight with Annie at his side . . .

 

B Team stuff there, and though it’s just two races, Kerry seems to be doing well, with a podium and near-podium finish.  And if you’re not familiar with that, think of when you have first, second, and third standing together on boxes, only the boxes are a podium, and that’s what we’re talking about.  Here they take their racing seriously, and laugh at fictional games on brooms.  I mean, flying around throwing a big ball through a hoop while enchanted cannon balls try to knock you out?  Really?

Kerry has his mind on something else, however . . .

 

There was a tap on the back of his left hand: Annie was doing it to get his attention. “You’re off in thoughts again, my love.”

“Yeah, I know.” He waved open the doors of the West Entrance and waited for Annie to enter ahead of him. “Just running over everything in my head.”

“You mean for today.”

They slowed as they walked through the West Transept. “I’ve got the race on my mind, then just, you know . . .” He shrugged and smiled at her as they walked into the Rotunda and turned right. “The dance tonight.”

Annie gave a slight node. “Um, hum. Are you thinking of anything else tonight?”

“Yeah: the walk between the bonfires.”

“As am I.” She stopped him, swung him around to face her, and moved to within centimeters of his body. “I’m also thinking of something after that, my love.”

“So was I, Sweetie. Maybe—” He smiled. “A walk at night in the Pentagram Garden?”

She ran her fingers lightly along his jaw line. “That would make for a perfect end to a wonderful day. Like you, I want to walk between the bonfires.”

 

Walking between bonfires is a highly symbolic ritual at Salem:  you’re basically cleansing the old you of crap you no longer need, and preparing yourself for the seasons ahead.  The bonfire walk as Samhain prepares you for winter and spring, and those at Beltane prepare you for summer and autumn.  And ritual is huge at Salem:  they have just over three hundred years of school history to draw upon, and centuries more that came before that, so it’s there:  it’s always present.  The way certain events are kept in the memories of the students shows just how much the school still believes in ritual and traditions.

Speaking of memories . . .

 

Kerry remembered their walk after the dance, where they’d slowly walked between two huge bonfires letting the heat wash over them before they walked back to The Pentagram in the cool, misting rain. At the time he’d thought it was as perfect as thing could be: their first school function, where they mingled and chatted and danced, where he’d dedicated a song to Annie and they shared the floor alone, a moment where he’d held her close because he feared she may grow light-headed and faint.

It was an important moment for Kerry, for that night he almost told Annie that he loved her. This was before he’d remembered he’d known her through his dream all his life, and that he’d expressed his love to her years before. Last Samhain all he knew was that Annie loved him, that he’d fallen in love with her, and he was being a horrible person because he’d been afraid to express that love.

He’d wanted to tell her that night, but fear and déjà vu prevented the words from coming out. It was only a few days later, after the school was attacked during the Day of the Dead, after he’d saved people and was almost killed by an Abomination, after a night in the hospital where an old dream finally began breaking through the wall of around his mind and heart that he’d accidentally created causing him forget Annie, that he finally told her he loved her—

“My love?”

 

Kerry knows all this now.  He remembers all the stuff about Annie and him before losing his memory of her, and how he re-developed his love of her over time.  As he’s said, maybe there was something in the back of his mind pushing him to remember, and that’s possible, but there new memories of how he fell in love with her again will never go away, either.  It has to be incredible to know that you did return to loving someone as you had once before, and it would have to mean that you were made for each other, yeah?    Deanna was right when she told Annie, “He fell in love with you twice:  how many girls can say that’s happened to them?”

Not many girls at Salem.  Scratch that:  none of the girls at Salem.  Annie’s the only one.

 

Kerry snapped back to real time, to where they were standing just under the first floor landing on the west side of the Rotunda. “I’m sorry—” He slipped his arm around Annie’s shoulders and hugged her. “I was thinking about last year, Sweetie.” He kissed her forehead. “My little sarmi.”

Annie laughed as she playfully slapped his chest. “I am not stuffed cabbage leaves for you to enjoy.”

He laid his hand over hers. “But you do taste good.” He cocked his head slightly to the right and slowly raised his brows.

For just a quick moment Annie blushed, then placed her fingers over Kerry’s lips. “Shush, you. You’re supposed to keep that to yourself.”

“I will, then.” He nodded towards the dining hall entrance. “Shall we?”

 

In case you’re wondering, sarmi is a Bulgarian dish of cabbage leaves wrapped around a mixture of meat and vegetable–in other words, stuffed cabbage leaves.  And Bulgarians love to cover it in a tomato sauce and serve it with a side of sour cream or yogurt.  First she was his pumpkin, and now she’s Kerry’s savory cabbage roll–

Annie:  tasty and delicious since 2011.

Annie: tasty and delicious since 2011.

With all this talk of food, it’s off to breakfast, yeah?

 

“Yes.” She lightly slapped his chest again. “You need your strength.” Annie took him by the hand and led him towards the Dining Hall and breakfast.

They didn’t go far, however. They were just passing the stairs to the hospital when a voice they knew called out. “Kerry.”

He looked up the stairs; Penny was standing about a quarter of a way from the top. “Hi, Penny.”

“Hi.” Penny seemed ill at ease. “Could you come up? We need to talk.”

 

That certainly sounds serious.  And if I’m not too burned out tonight, you’ll find out just what it is going on.

Let Us Gather ‘Round the Reading

Here’s the thing:  about a week back I started playing with this video stuff, because why not?  All the cool kids are doing it, right?  The first one I put up in Facebook got a big response, and it got an equally good one here.  Then I kinda said something along the lines of, “You know, maybe I’ll put up a video of me reading from my novel.”  Really, I didn’t think people would take me seriously–

Ha!  Hahaha!

"And now we come to the part of the story where Walter White blows up a nursing home.  Are you ready?"

“And now we come to the part of the story where Walter White blows up a nursing home. Are you ready?”

If there’s one thing I’ve discovered, it’s that once you say something like that, it’s put up time, and you better be ready to go.  I decided that, you know, it might be fun to try at least once, and in the process I’ll learn along–like, you know, I might need a mic for some of this stuff.  But there’s the learning curve, yo, so don’t get to hatin’.  It’s all good fun.

Here it is, then:  I’m gonna lay it out for you.  This first video is an introduction of the Foundation and Salem, and a little about my two main characters.  It’s done late, about nine PM, after a long day of trying to upload a twelve minutes video and discovering that the software I normally used freaks out when that happened, and I had to get some other software.  This was one of those “learning curves” I was mentioning.

Video One:  The Intro.

 

The rest of the videos were performed on 30 July, 2014 (the one above was done on 27 July, 2014).  The second video sets up the where I am in the story before I start reading.  All I’ll say at this point is that it takes place during the Samhain dance.

 

Video Two:  The Setup.

 

Now, if you’re curious about what Annie and Kerry were wearing at the dance–and I know some people were–why, I have access to the same Internet that Kerry has, which means I can find the same things he does . . . though I’m sure he can use The Foundation’s search engine and get results a lot quicker.  Here you are, kids:  feast your eyes.

Though Annie isn't showing near that much cleavage.

Though Annie has a far different . . . necklace.

Yes, they went as Malcolm Reynolds and Inara Serra as seen in the Firefly episode, Shindig.  As stated earlier in the story, Annie’s gown didn’t show as much skin in the front and the back, but was otherwise a duplicate of that.

Now we get to the reading.  Since I didn’t want to deal with a long video that might take forever to load, I cut the reading into two parts.  Some of the sound quality may be iffy–after all, I’m not used to reading my own work out loud–and I did stumble in a few spots.  But you should still be able to follow along.

Here you go:

 

Video Three:  The Reading, Part One.

 

Video Four:  The Reading, Part Two.

 

And at the very end, I do a wrap up explaining something very unusual about this scene, and something that will likely surprise you.

 

Video Five:  The Wrap-up.

 

And since I don’t like to leave any stones unturned, here’s the song dedicated to Annie as she would have heard it on the dance floor of the Great Hall of Salem, echoing off the walls as she slow danced with her moyata polovinka while nearly every student–save for those making gagging motions at such a romantic display–and instructor looked on:

 

Like I said, that Annie’s, she’s a lucky girl.

 

Since I’m writing this the night before I post, I can say, “Back to writing tomorrow.”  And that’s when I start to get my George R. R. Martin on and get ready to kill some students.

Ya gotta show these kids who’s boss around here . . .

Renumbering ‘Tween the Bonfires

Before I get to the writing, I think I should make this official:  I now have a new video camera.  After breakfast I was like, “I gotta break up the routine a little,” and decided a new camera was just the thing to help me out with my multimedia experiences.  I’ve already charged it up, recorded, downloaded to the computer, uploaded to YouTube (sorry, none of the test videos are there), and presented one on Facebook.  I have this so down, trust me, though I might even play with getting things set with an SD card reader, just so I can make things fast.  Maybe.

Oh, and I visited two stores in order to find one pair of shoes I wanted, so also did the totally woman thing with my shoe shopping.  Yes, I rule.

There wasn’t a lot of writing accomplished last night, because it seemed like there were few times when I could write without interruption.  It was one of those moments in time when everyone had something they wanted to say, and they were saying it to me.  Not only that, but my mind wasn’t really focused on the task at hand, either:  I was trying to pulled out the purple prose to describe an event happening to my kids, and it wasn’t happening.  Maybe it was due to the interruptions, or maybe my head was someplace it wasn’t supposed to be.  Either way, I made four hundred and fifty words and called it a night.

Oh, and I also discovered that in the last three weeks I’ve written just over twenty thousand words.  How do I know that?  Shhh–spoilers . . .

But that doesn’t mean I wasn’t hard at work on the story.  You know that, “I’m always thinking about my story,” thing I’ve mentioned from time-to-time?  I was deep in that yesterday, and I began thinking:  I have a big event coming up right after Samhain, but not right away.  However, with this event in Kerry’s life–the one I’m calling his “Four Nights”–it would make sense if the second and third nights were, you know, closer together–

Allow me to explain.

These four nights have a profound effect upon Kerry’s life.  He’s already had the first one, that night in the hospital an week and a half before, story wise.  The Second Night is happening right now in the story:  the events of Samhain.  Now, the third night takes place the night of the attack, and it affects both him and Annie.  (The Second Night does this as well, but not in the same fashion.  First Night was actually initiated by Annie, but she doesn’t know that.)  In keeping with my little nudge at Shakespeare, Fourth Night happens some months off in the future, after the kids come back from Yule holiday and a few other things have taken place.  That one will rock both their worlds–

But we’re not there yet.

I decided that since Second and Third Nights are going to affect both kids, and affect them hard, it would make more sense to place them closer together.  So I pulled out my time lines and moved The Big Time up a week, to 1 November.  Because I can.

See how easy that was?

See how easy that was?

It’ll make for a more interesting time for my kids, particularly for Annie, who’s going to enter some tough times in the next couple of days.  But really, girl, I’m not doing it to be mean.

You want mean?  Here’s my second video.

Running on Sights

Long night–or should I say morning?  Was feeling a little emotionally out of it when I went to bed, and then I wake up at like three in the morning and having trouble getting back to bed because I’ve got a song stuck in my head and my dreams had me chased by the undead.  And as soon as I manged to fall asleep–zombie dreams come after me.  What did I ever do to them, other than have a couple of my students whack the hell out of them?  They should learn to mellow out.

Yesterday I said I’d post the video I made for one of my Facebook groups the other day, and when you get to the end of this post you’ll see it and a bit of my messy, somewhat stark abode.  But that’s at the end:  there are other things in between.

So three instructors arrive, two leave, and Annie is sitting there with Kerry and Professor Arrakis, and then this happens:

 

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

Annie was going to make a comment about the departing instructors, but Emma chose that moment to hurry over and stand across the coffee table from them. “Hi, um . . .” She turned to Kerry. “Would you like to dance?”

Kerry froze for a few second, his eyes locked upon Emma. “Um, yeah . . .” He cleared his throat twice, casting a sideways glance at Annie before continuing. “Um, I was, uh . . . I wasn’t planing on dancing—”

Annie jumped in to save her nervous boyfriend. “Kerry, go ahead. I don’t mind.”

He quickly turned to Annie as if to make certain she wasn’t playing with him. “You sure?”

She lightly touched his left hand. “Go ahead. I want to speak with Professor Arrakis anyway—” She leaned closer to him as she lowered her voice. “Girl talk, you know?”

He nodded. “Got it.” Kerry quickly rounded the table and joined Emma. “Okay, let’s do this.”

Annie was careful to note as the two walked away that he didn’t touch Emma—he placed his hand close to her back but never made contact—and kept her to his right as they headed for the dance floor. She’s not to his left; I’m the only one who ever walks on his left

 

Emma:  still being a buzzkill.  Though Annie did let he walk away with Kerry and she didn’t throw a spell at her back before she vanished into the crowd.  Because she’s talking “girl talk” with the School Seer–

 

“You were surprised.”

Annie looked straight ahead. “Yes.” She turned her head just enough to see her. “I was.” She finally turned her body enough that she wasn’t uncomfortable looking at the instructor. “I wasn’t expecting to hear him nearly tell Emma that he wasn’t going to dance with her.”

“He was going to say more than that; he was about to tell her that he wasn’t planing on dancing with anyone but you.” Deanna slid around so she was resting between the back and arm. “He’s changed.”

“Yes, he has.” She looked for him on the dance floor, then decided she trusted him enough that it wasn’t necessary to keep an eye on him.

“Quite a lot after his accident a couple of weeks ago.” She looked over her shoulder also searching for Emma and him. “His night in the hospital must have had a profound effect upon him.”

Annie didn’t want to speak of that night in the hospital. She didn’t want to speak of her anger at him, of her after-hours apology, and of the moments she spent in the near dark watching him sleep. Though she wanted to talk . . . “He’s so different tonight. Kerry’s always been attentive, but tonight he’s noticed so many small things . . .” She looked off to her right, towards the exit into the East Hallway. “He’s been so complementary tonight. Telling me I’m lovely, I’m beautiful . . .”

“You’re waiting to hear something else, aren’t you?”

Her eyes flickered over the seer. “Yes.”

Deanna nodded. “Perhaps—” She turned to watch the students dancing. “—he finally feels he’s worthy of giving you love.”

Annie’s attention snapped back to Deanna, her eyes filled with curiosity and interest. She knew it wasn’t an accident that the professor spoke nearly the same words that she’d spoken to Kerry that night in the hospital, telling him he was worthy of her love, and deserved all that she felt for him. “What do you know, Professor?”

 

Forget it, Annie.  you aren’t getting anything out of her.  That’s what it means to be a seer:  you have all these secrets you have to keep . . . and Deanna Arrakis is very good at keeping them.  This is going to cause a little back and forth between the instructor and Annie, but if you think Annie is going to learn her future while sitting at the Samhain dance, guess again.

I’m going to work on this scene right after this post goes out (at the moment it’s 7:10 AM, so figure before 7:20), because my afternoon is going to be way busy and I need to get my writing in where I can.  And I want to finish this scene and get then next going because there is fun coming, I tell you, fun!

The next chapter is nothing but laughs!

The next chapter is nothing but laughs!

Since a lot of you asked for it, here’s my video.  I’ve been asked in my Facebook group to do readings of my work, and there’s a very good possibility that’s going to happen.  For now, however, enjoy this.

 

The Calm Before the Seeing

First off, let’s move this out of the way:  after mentioning yesterday that I made a video for the first time, I had, shall we say, a few requests to see me speak.  Oh sure, I’ve presented pictures of myself, but never have I gone and made a fool of myself before one of those talky camera things.  So, today, I’ll upload the video to my YouTube account and present it here for you amusement.  You Have Been Warned.

And I had a session with my therapist, the first since starting my hormone treatment.  She was happy to see me, happy to see I appear happy, happy to hear how I’m moving forward in my life.  She also pointed out a few things she noticed about me, and this is where I do a Law & Order trope and invoke doctor/patient privilege so that I don’t have to go into just what it was she noticed.  While I’m open to a lot of things in my life, that isn’t one of them.

Which brings us to writing.  It must have been a good night, because I ended up just short of twelve hundred words for the evening, setting up a new scene at the Samhain Dance.  I also mentioned yesterday that I’d written six hundred and sixty-six words to finish the last scene, so imagine my surprised when I checked my word count this morning . . .

I believe I've moved into the Condo of the Beast.

I believe I’ve moved into the Condo of the Beast.

I love seeing number like that:  Ms. Rutherford would probably tell me that the Numerologists of the Foundation would find that an auspicious sign.  Given what I know is coming next in the scene, and the following scene, and the following chapter, they’re probably correct.

Onward to the party!

 

 

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

“Hope we’re not disturbing.”

Annie looked up along with Kerry and found Professors Sladen and Arrakis standing on the other side of the coffee table. Sladen’s costume was a simple affair: A rather plain halter top and matching brown wrap around skirt that feel to her knees, brown boots, and a braided gold and brown headband used to tie back her hair. She also carried a large fighting stick, maybe a jō, outfitted with leather bands to allow the user better control.

Professor Arrakis was far more elaborate and beautiful. She wore a bright green outfit that looked like a silk dress with a high collar and long sleeves, but Annie also saw what looked like the end of leggings just above her ankles. She also wore a helmet adorned with a feathered headband, and each wrist was covered with large gold wrist bands.

Annie shook her head. “No, Professor Sladen. We’re just sitting here enjoying the dance.” She was glad she didn’t need to raise her voice; there were enchantments in place to keep sound at a lower volume outside the dance floor, so people could enjoy the music and still carry on a conversation. “Please sit with us.”

“Thank you.” Erywin chose the chair to Annie’s left.

Deanna pointed to the empty spot on the soft to Annie’s left. “Would you mind if I sit next to you?”

She shook her head. “No, go right ahead, Professor.”

“Thank you.”

Kerry waited for both women to get comfortable before addressing Professor Sladen. “I recognize your costume—”

The right side of Erywin’s mouth curled up into a smile. “You do?”

“Yeah—where’s your Xena?” He looked around, grinning wildly.

Erywin laughed. “Either in the loo or preventing Armageddon from breaking out. She should be along shortly.”

“But your costume . . .” He looked around Annie at Professor Arrakis. “I have no idea.”

Deanna flashed Kerry a sweet smile. “You mean I’ve stumped you? I thought you knew everything.”

He shook his head. “Not everything. Not since coming here.”

“You have an honest boy there, Annie.” She smoothed down her skirt. “Razia Sultain, first female Muslim ruler in South Asia. She was the fifth Sultan of Delhi for four years, until 1240.”

 

See?  I not only give you a costume party, but a little history lesson.  And you discover that Kerry doesn’t know everything.

It’s not all fun an games at the dance, though.  As you can see when, as Kerry calls her, Erywin’s “Warrior Princess”, shows up to the party.

 

Professor Lovecraft walked up, greeted everyone with a hello, then sat in the open chair to Kerry’s right without asking. She leaned back and loudly exhaled her last breath before looking across the coffee table at both instructors. “I’m about to round up all your shieldmaidens and Celtic warriors and dump their asses somewhere north of the Observatory so they can beat the hell out of each other until no one is left standing.”

“Are they getting a big anxious for their annual skirmish?” Each Samhain the girls from the Åsgårdsreia fight team challenged the girls of the Mórrígan fight team to an “Ancestral Battle” fought with mock swords and shields. This had gone on for almost two hundred and sixty years, but in the last five years the lead up to the battle had begun to turn a lot more acrimonious, and it wasn’t unusual for the students to use the “Safe Space” status of the dance—meaning no one could be “called out” to settle their grievance with a real challenge fight inside Gwydion Manor—to start throwing a few non-magical punches back and forth.

“Coraline’s already fixed one broken nose—” She pointed at Erywin. “—that one of your girls threw, Honey.”

Erywin didn’t seem that concerned. She turned to Deanna. “I’m sure it wasn’t that bad.”

Deanna nodded as she he’d heard her fellow coven leader, but didn’t quite believe her. “Perhaps you could discuss protocol once again with them before they are unable to participate in the evening’s encounter?”

Helena nodded then stood. “That might not be a bad idea. I’ll help.” She turned to Annie and Kerry as Erywin rose from her seat. “You look lovely Annie. You’re . . .” She smiled slyly. “Good too, Kerry.”

Kerry almost laughed. “Thanks . . . Xena.”

Helena snorted. “I’m from New Zealand: who the hell else am I gonna come as?”

He pointed at her legs. “Your skirt’s a little long, though.”

Erywin stopped next to Helena as the later gave the skirt, which ended just above her knees, a tug. “Forgive me: I’m modest.” She turned and both teachers made their way through the crowd.

 

Helena?  Modest?  As with everything here, there’s probably a reason for that . . .

Also, you see the semi-informal school event that I actually blogged about way back on January 13 of this year, something I said I was going to write.  That post also included an excerpt from the first time Annie and Kerry attended Sorcery Class with Professor Lovecraft.  And here she is again, seven and a half months later, breaking up fights between the two groups of energetic fighting witches.  Just like Annie, I keep my promises.

Besides, these girls have been waiting months to kick each other’s butts.

"I'll break more than your nose, bitch."

“I’m gonna break a lot more than your nose.”

"You just screwed with the wrong Sheildmaiden."

“You just screwed with the wrong sheildmaiden.”

Let the Real Dance Begin

The strangest thing happened yesterday:  I made a video.  Really.  Not very long, just under four minutes, but it’s me, dressed pretty casually–like sweater over my pajamas casually–and I’m saying hi to a lot of women I know in a certain Facebook group to which I belong, and I’m talking about me and a little about my writing.  There was a time, even before my transition, that I’d never show my face anywhere:  I didn’t like taking pictures, and I never did video.  Now I’m sort of like:  eh, let’s just do this thing.  Actually I’m sorta like:  hey, I should do more.

Just one more thing to add to my multimedia empire.

I don’t know if this is a portent of something good or bad, but I wrote six hundred and sixty-six words lasts night.  Well, it is a Samhain dance, so you can excuse me if that number comes up and people are bothered.  Am I bovveed?  Do I look bovvered to you?  Actually, I’m at 668, so that makes me the Neighbor of the Beast, and they’re coming over tomorrow night for cocktails.

But seriously.  I managed to get out my video, get out my writing, watch a little television–which is probably why my word count was down–and even chat with people.  All in a night’s dealings.

But what about Annie?  Let’s see that gown.

 

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

Her gown was satin, the color of soft, creamy gold. It was sleeveless with keyhole shoulder pads, and she wore matching fingerless lace gloves on each hand. The gown pulled in slightly at the waist and spread away in a modified semi-tight A line. The original design of the gown has a plunging V line in the front and a scoop back; the back on this gown was normal, which the front dropped only low enough to allow her heart pendant to rest against bare skin. “Thank you, Nadine. I . . .” She leaned against Kerry. “It was all his idea, really.”

Kerry looked down as he grinned. “But you’re the one that makes the gown look good.” He brushed the back of Annie’s right hand. “I just thought about what would be nice.”

“Either way, you’re both killer.” Nadine continued to admire Annie. “I like the changes you made with the outfit, too.”

“I wanted something a bit more modest.” She touched her necklace. “I wouldn’t be comfortable wearing the original design.”

 

By original design she means wherever Kerry saw the outfit and got the idea.  She lets Mr. Geeky find the outfits, and she just does the alterations.

But there’s something else going on here:

 

“It looks better this way.” Kerry took Annie’s hand, raised it to his lips, and brushed a kiss against the back of her fingers.

Annie’s blush began spreading beyond her cheeks to her entire face. Kerry was his normal self throughout the day, but from the moment he saw her in this gown, his demeanor changed completely: he was attentive to her every need, he seemed to become more protective—and far more loving. Like now; Kerry wouldn’t have kissed me that way a few weeks ago

 

Ah, yes:  maybe Mr. Geeky is starting to get his feelings together  We might find out except for . ..

 

“Hey, guys. Hey, Kerry.”

Annie felt her stomach drop just a little as Emma walked up and spoiled the moment. There were many things she wanted to say, but as most of them were mean, she kept them in her thoughts. Though Kerry didn’t appear disappointed, he appeared to deflated slightly. Annie felt something float away from him—from them both, actually. It was the first time she’d felt this between them and wondered if it had something to do with the heightened magic permeating the grounds.

Kerry was polite to Emma, though. “Wow.” He didn’t move from Annie’s side, but did turn and twist his head as if he were taking her in from several different angles. “You decided to go all in on this, didn’t you?”

 

Emma:  buzzkilling relationships since two weeks before.  One day she’ll do that to the wrong witch–the wrong Dark Witch, I’m thinking–and she’s gonna have to watch her butt closely.

Here’s what I have:

Hey, looks different, doesn't it?

Hey, looks different, doesn’t it?

I’ve finished the entry into the dance, renamed the bonfire section, and altered the last part that I’d added.  The times are more in sync with what’s going to happen, too.  I’m doing this because, in my mind, I know how I want this chapter to now play out, and this is it.  Three little scenes, but I now know how they go.

Now for the magic to continue.