Back On the Grind

And by that I mean I’m back and ready to talk!

 

And here are my other two presents:

 

 

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Beyond the Rune: You Belong to the Family

Yesterday was a lovely day, but for some reason I didn’t eat a lot.  I had breakfast before shooting my video but then I went out to Zeroday and had a lunch that consisted of humus, pretzel bits, and beer.

 

I also stopped off at the Midtown Scholar book store for a muffin and tea, because that’s always a good way to take the edge off.

 

Then I went home, napped, and went skating without food or water.  While I made it, I was trying to see how fast I could skate and didn’t do as well as I expected.  I have no picture, which is probably for the best.  However, I did shoot some video–

This was my first fast run, where I covered the equivalent of 25.7 laps in 4:59.  This first was done while playing The Doobie Brothers’ Without You, hence the title of the video:

 

And this was me just screwing around while listening to the Genesis song Duchess.  This was the first time I tried skating backwards outside and it’s really not as easy there as it is when you’re on a nice, smooth rink floor. Also, I sing–if what you want to call the sounds coming out of my mouth “singing”.  It’s all somewhat amusing.

 

So, about that story–

I’ve finally finished the scene, writing twenty-three hundred words in five days.  Not bad, I say, not bad.  One more scene to complete and Chapter Twenty-Eight is history and I don’t have to worry about writing it when I get to this point, as it’s already written.

What happens at the end of this scene?  Let’s find out:

 

(The following excerpts from The Foundation Chronicles, Book Three: C For Continuing, copyright 2016, 2017, 2018 by Cassidy Frazee)

 

“Media teams are those people who show up in the aftermath of—situations—and fix things so that Normals believe different events have occurred.” Helena lightly tapped the surface of her desk. “In some instances they’ll also work on the memories of people, both Normal and Aware, so that they are unaware of what really happened.”

Annie’s eyes grew slightly wider. “They can do that?”

“Of course they can. You’ve already been exposed to that aspect.”

The young sorceress thought for a moment. “Tanith and her father.”

Helena nodded. “Correct. Her knowledge of both of you and Erywin was removed and both she and Kaden had their memories adjusted so they would remember their new family history better. That way there are no slip ups.”

“Would they have been involved with the family of the girl that died?” A somewhat worried look began to form on Kerry’s face. “Ruth, wasn’t it?”

“Yes, it was.”

“Did they make her family forget her?”

“I don’t know: I wasn’t told. My guess is they brought in another child and did a ‘cut and paste’ as they like to call it.” Helena didn’t look at Kerry as she finished her though. “If Emma and you had died during the Day of the Dead, a media team would have likely showed up at both houses and ‘adjusted’ everyone’s memories of you.”

This was something Kerry always suspected would have happened in the instance they’d fallen to their deaths the first time, or if they were both killed by the Abomination later, but now Helena was confirming that the Guardians would have likely done just that. “So, they’d have gotten another boy to take my place?”

“Probably a cute ginger girl—” Helena smiled at Kerry. “You know, to make your mother happy.”

Kerry stared back, his face frozen in a dead-pan mask. “This is my ‘Not Amused’ face. Can you tell, or do I need to go into more detail?”

Helena immediately realized she’d once more overstepped her boundaries with the lad. “Sorry, Kerry.”

He did a quick tit of his head to the right. “It’s okay.”

 

This is the second time–or is it three?–that Helena is given Kerry a dig about his mother wanting a girl more than a boy, and just as he did the other time he wasn’t all that happy about the dig.  It’s been said before that everything at Salem–or that happens to these kids–is a test, so it’s likely that Helena’s little digs are a way of testing Kerry for–what?  Who knows.  Then again, maybe Helena’s just being a bitch.  It’s not like it’s out of the question.

Turns out Annie’s got something on her mind as well–

 

There was something about Helena’s description of media teams that worried Annie. “Do they ever change the memories of operatives?”

“You mean like those operatives who may have had a vision of a future operation?” Helena leaned back in her chair. “Is that what you mean?”

“Yes.”

“It’s been… known to happen.”

“What?” Kerry quick sat up straight. “They can’t really do that, can they?”

Excuse me?” Helena leaned forward once more. “Do you remember receiving encrypted emails while you were away for Yule holiday? The ones from San Francisco by way of Amsterdam? The ones that assigned an ID number to you? You know: the ones you used in a debriefing a couple of weeks ago?” She planted her right elbow on her desk and rested her cheek against the back of her hand. “Face it, kiddies: you’re part of the family now and that means if The Guardians want to twist your brain around a little so you don’t remember certain things, they can. And there’s damn little you can do.”

 

For a bit of reference, this scene is happening at the end of January, 2014: 28 January, 2014, to be precise.  This means it happens after The Polar Express and after Annie’s Girl’s Weekend Out.  And it’s the second real confirmation that Annie and Kerry truly are operatives for the Guardians, because they now have official identification numbers.

And why do I say second real confirmation?  Because there is a scene before this when Annie and Kerry as required to give their Guardian identifications during a debriefing, which you only do if you’re a real operative.  And since you know you want to know their IDs, they are:

 

Helena: ANE1648584FO
Annie: SUN9042241PO
Kerry: SUN3712108PO

 

The first letters indicate where the ID was filed.  In Helena’s case it was Amsterdam, Netherlands, Europe, while for Annie and Kerry it was San Francisco, United States, North America. Then you have a random seven digit number followed by a two-letter code indicating their operational status.  For Helena she’s a “Field Operative” while Annie and Kerry are “Provisional (Field) Operatives”, indicating they still require supervision.

See?  Easy Peasy, Lemon Squeezy.

So the question of “Are they or aren’t they?” is now answered: they are operatives, real ones.  This makes them part of the family–and that means the Guardians can futz with their memories if they like.  Which leads to this:

 

Annie and Kerry exchanged worried glances before Kerry asked a question. “Has it happened to you?”

“If it had—” Helena raised her right eyebrow. “—do you think they’d let me remember?”

Kerry nodded slowly. “Yeah, dumb question.”

“So…” Annie considered not asking the question, but knew she must. “Are you going to tell San Francisco what happen?”

Helena started at the surface of her desk for a few seconds before replying. “No.”

“May I ask why?”

She shifted her gaze to the girl across the desk from her. “My job, as your in-school handler, is to report regularly on your training progress—or your lack thereof. There is nothing laid out in my instructions about you requiring me to tell the Powers That Be about any visions you’ve had concerning your Guardian activities.” Helena shrugged. “And as I understand the way these things work, there’s always the possibility that what you saw won’t happen—so why get San Fran’s panties in a bunch over a mater that may never come to fruition?”

Again the couple exchanged a quick glance before Annie spoke for them both. “Thank you.”

“All right, now: get out of here. Go on.” Helena motioned towards the door. “And do not speak of what happened today in Divination. The less said—”

“The better.” Kerry was up and waving the door to the office over. “We know. Thanks.”

The moment the children left and the door was close Helena began tapping her lower lip with her right index finger. “And now that I’m done with you, I need to see a seer about a vision…”

 

And there you have it.  While Annie and Kerry aren’t getting reported by Helena, the fact that their in-school handler–the first time we’ve heard her say this–needs to see a seer about a vision means Helena is going to have a chat with Deanna.

Any guesses about what they’re going to discuss?

Skitty, Skatty, Writty, Whitty

What does this mean?  It’s all crazy.  Just like me.  And here’s the video to prove it!

Enjoy

 

Walking the Vision: The Mystery Guest

Believe it or not, I did something I haven’t done in quite some time: I wrote over a thousand words in a few hours and finished the scene I started yesterday with a total of nearly seventeen hundred words.

Yeah, I’m a little surprised myself, but the thing is, as I started in on this back end of the vision Annie and Kerry are sharing, I got to about five hundred and fifty words and decided I couldn’t stop there, that I had to see it through to the end.  So I kept at it and added another five hundred words–and brought the scene to an end.

So, we saw Annie and Kerry arrive at a cafe to meet with someone–a woman from the sounds of things.  Now, if you will, sit back and enjoy the rest of the vision, presented without interruption.

 

(The following excerpts from The Foundation Chronicles, Book Three: C For Continuing, copyright 2016, 2017, 2018 by Cassidy Frazee)

 

You remove your backpack before you sit and address the maitre d’ before he leaves. “Do you still have those amazing limeaids?” He says they do. “Could we have two, please?” He takes your order and departs while you both sit. You tug at the helix piercing in your left ear. “How long before you think she arrives?”

Kerry sets his backpack on the ground next to yours. “I’m surprised she isn’t here already.”

“I don’t imagine we’ll have to wait long—”

Just then the waiter approaches with your limeaids, only there are three on his tray. There’s a reason for that: as he sets the glasses down he announces that your guest has arrived. You stand as your guest also removes her backpack and sets it down across from you, which gives you time to examine her—

She’s dressed no differently that you: comfortable slacks, tee shirt and loose jacket, well-worn hiking boots. She’s about Kerry’s height, with jet black hair and a rich, light brown complexion. If you’d seen her walk by on the street you might not have even noticed her, but here it’s easy to see that she carries herself in a way that indicates she’s used to being in charge.

As you all sit you cast a glance at her eyes. They are a dark brown bordering on black and that makes the colored flecks you’re looking for even easier to see. Yes, she’s exactly who you believed her to be—

The woman speaks as soon as the waiter is gone. “I went ahead and ordered a selection of small plates for us. I hope you don’t mind.”

Kerry shakes his head. “Not at all. I mean, this is your meeting.”

“Yes, it is.” She looked at you then back to Kerry. “I wasn’t certain you’d come.”

“I never pass on a cryptic meeting request.” You rest the left side of you fast against your propped-up hand for a moment. “I mean, how could we pass up this opportunity?”

“And why do you consider it an opportunity?”

You ignore the question and ask the one on your mind. “Why did you want to see us?”

Your guest gets right to the point. “There’s something I’d like you to do.”

Kerry feigns surprise. “Us? Why would you want us?”

The woman takes a sip of her limeaid before answering. “I need a pair of highly skilled Foundation operatives who have—shall we say, a particular skill set that will come in handy for the operation in question. And I know you two are up to the task—” She takes another sip and looks to see if anyone is listening. “You come highly recommended.”

Though you already suspect the answer you ask the question. “Recommended by whom?”

Your guest doesn’t even try to avoid the question. “A couple of family members.”

You exchange glances with Kerry, who also isn’t surprised by the revelation. He clears his throat before speaking. “Once again, why do you want us? Isn’t this something you can handle?”

“Contrary to what you might believe, I can’t do everything—” The woman seems on the verge of a chuckle, but doesn’t. “Just like you I can be stretched thin, which makes trying to handle every problem that comes up a problem unto itself. And one such problem is coming up. As much as I’d like to handle this myself, I find it might not be possible. Ergo—” She holds out her hands, indicating you both. “I find it necessary to—what’s the word you use? Subcontract.” She smiles as she give a quick nod. “That’s it: I’m subcontracting this problem.”

A sickening feeling hits your gut as you consider the times you’ve encountered members of your guest’s “family” and you wonder about the task she has for you. “So what is—what is this problem?”

The woman holds out her hand towards Kerry. “May I see your phone?” Kerry hands it over without question and she begins tapping the screen, obviously pulling up information. After twenty seconds she returns the phone to its owner. “In forty-eight hours—give or take an hour—I need you at that location.”

Kerry examines the phone as his fingers move over the display. After a few seconds his eyebrows raise while a skeptical look takes over his face. He glances up at your guest. “You’re shitting me.”

Your guest shows no emotion. “I assure you, I’m not.”

He hands the phone to you. “Look.”

You examine the display and recognize the location pinpointed on the map. “You want us to go there? Why?”

“Because it’s necessary.” For the first time your guest seems slightly perplexed. “I can’t say for certain what’s going to happen, but I know that forty-eight hours from now, you need to be there to prevent whatever it is that’s going to happen.”

You raise your hands in a questioning shrug. “And how are we to stop something if we don’t know what it is we’re supposed to stop?”

“That’s a good question—” It’s also one your guest doesn’t answer, at least not directly. “I would suggest you get there early and take backup. I’m certain that with a bit of arm-twisting you can probably get a company of Marshals to help out.”

Kerry snorts. “Oh, yeah, The Foundation just hands those out like it’s nothing.” After a soft sigh he speaks with less sarcasm. “If we don’t go, what will happen? Do you know?”

A few moments of silence fall over the table as your guest considers Kerry’s questions. When she decides to answer, it’s in a low, tense tone. “I don’t know what will happen exactly: all I’ve been told is that it’ll be bad.”

Kerry jumps in before you have a chance to speak. “I’m a little fuzzy on the bad thing. What exactly does that mean?”

“It means whatever is going to happen will expand beyond the confines of that location not long after.” Your guest’s tone become even softer and more dire. “It means there will be implications that will affect not only you witches, but Normal humankind as well. I means if you decide not to act, millions—maybe tens of millions—will die.” She gives her head a slight tilt as she raises one eyebrow. “Does that give you a better understanding of the meaning of bad?”

Kerry nods slowly and gives a half sigh, half chuckle that you find slightly worrisome. You touch his left hand. “Is something the matter, my love?”

“No. It’s just—” He looks up with the touch of a smirk on his lips. “Why is it when something like this happens, we’re always the ones who are called upon…”

 

And there you have it–although, what was that Kerry was saying at the end.  Well, if you know me–and I’m certain you do–it means that Kerry’s likely to finish that statement in public as he comes out of the vision.

Or… maybe not.

I guess you’ll have to wait until I post the start of the next scene.

Walking the Vision: On Familiar Ground

What is this?  Another excerpt!  Damn right it is, kids.  And not just any excerpt–

We saw yesterday the Annie and Kerry were, indeed, falling into Visionland and it was going to be a participation event for the whole class.  However… as we’ve seen in the past, the only people who actually see what’s happening in those visions are Annie and Kerry–

And whomever the author wants to bring along on that trip.

This is the first part of the vision, all six hundred and twenty-eight words of it.  It should be easy to tell whose point of view we are seeing this vision from, but if you don’t know, you can always ask questions later.  Oh, and you will notice:  there are a few things about the kids that seem different…

 

(The following excerpts from The Foundation Chronicles, Book Three: C For Continuing, copyright 2016, 2017, 2018 by Cassidy Frazee)

 

You glance over the body of water on your left before returning your gaze to the street before you. There isn’t a lot of traffic and with the tourist season is winding down, there aren’t as many people on the street as one might expect.

You roll your shoulders, adjusting your backpack. You smile because you remember the backpack you wore the last time you were here: that was far larger than the little bag you have now, and it carried far more than the purse, phone, and tablet you now have. You’re also aware that it was Kerry who got you into the habit of using a backpack when the need arose to travel—something you now love with all your heart.

You give the waist of your jeans a little tug, as if to make certain they’re still fitting perfectly upon your hips. You wore tennis shoes because it wasn’t necessary to walk far, and even though the temperature feels around 13 C, you’re comfortable with an open flannel shirt over your tank top—though a bit of transformation magic helps maintain that comfort—

You glance to your right: Kerry is there as always when you’re both together. He’s dressed pretty much the same as always: sneakers, jeans, a tee shirt under a light jacket. His backpack is the same one he carried at Salem, and while it’s showing the wear and tear of years, he’s managed to keep it together using a few spells. You resolve that this Yule may be the time to convince him to retire his old friend and accept a new one.

You return you attention to the road ahead. “It would appear not much has changed since we were here last.”

He looks at the town to his and your right. “Yeah, kinda seems that way.” He turns to you as he chuckles. “Isn’t that the charm of this place?” Kerry brushes his shoulder-length hair back from his face. “That stuff has stayed pretty much the same way for the last hundred years?”

“That would be one.” You point to something up ahead. “There it is.”

“Hum, yeah.” This time his chuckle is somewhat dark. “Café Bistrot.” He shakes his head as he glaces at you. “Can’t be a coincidence that she picked this place to meet.”

You nod. “I don’t believe it is, either.”

Kerry adjusts his pack. “You think she knew we were here before.”

“Obviously.”

“We were in a lot of places before and after this place.”

You shrug. “A lot of them weren’t as remote: there were far more people around.” You flash a quick grin in his direction. “Be glad she didn’t ask to meet at the most remote place we visited when we were here last.”

“No kidding.” He grunts. “No way would I have wanted to go back there now.”

You entered the cafe together and you’re immediately greeted by the maitre d’. He takes you to the roof and as you emerge into the open space—which is only about a third filled with people at this time—Kerry asks if you could have the table for four in the far corner overlooking the street. “We have a guest who will join us; she should be here momentarily.” The maitre d’ agrees and you’re seated seconds later.

You remove your backpack before you sit and address the maitre d’ before he leaves. “Do you still have those amazing limeaids?” He says they do. “Could we have two, please?” He takes your order and departs while you both sit. You tug at the helix piercing in your left ear. “How long before you think she arrives?”

Kerry sets his backpack on the ground next to yours. “I’m surprised she isn’t here already.”

 

They’re getting ready to meet a woman–somewhere.  At a location they’ve visited before–but one we haven’t seen.  Kerry has long hair and Annie an ear piercing.

What comes next?

Find out tomorrow.

Visions Most Possible: The Start of the Inevitable

Hey, I bet you never thought you were going to see this post!

Yeah, this is the end of the scene with Divination Class, and while I didn’t think it was going to take almost five hundred words to finish, well, I’ve been known to be wrong quite often.  So without a lot of fanfare–’cause I’ve already gone through all of that–here’s what you’re waited for:

 

(The following excerpts from The Foundation Chronicles, Book Three: C For Continuing, copyright 2016, 2017 by Cassidy Frazee)

 

Five minutes later Kalindi and Usha failed to achieve a vision state, much as Deanna expected. Those were among the two she expected to have no Sight ability at all and if these crystal balls couldn’t activate anything latent within them, nothing would.

It was the same for the following six couples: they spent anywhere from five to seven minutes trying to reach a trance state, only to see their efforts dashed. Again, Deanna wasn’t surprised in the least: none of these students were within the group she expected to find their Sight activated through this exercise.

For the next couple, however…

Though she’d used a random number generator to determine the order for couples to attempt a vision, Annie and Kerry came out near the middle of the groups. Though she was inclined to put them at the end, she knew that doing so would lead others in the class to accuse her of showing favoritism, which was something she would avoid completely.

Given their position and the likelihood these two would have a vision, it would be impossible to hide it from the rest of their level. By now Deanna understood that she couldn’t fight against forces over which she had no control, so the only thing that remained was to allow what was meant to happen go forward.

She faced them and smiled. “Since you’ve seen the others in action—”

“We should know what to do.” Annie gave Deanna a quick nod before looking at Kerry, who sat across from her with the sphere between them. “Are you ready, my love?”
Kerry gave a quick smirk at a chuckle from somewhere behind him before looking at Annie. “Ready, Sweetie.” He placed his fingertips on the crystal ball at the same time as Annie.

While everyone else in the room watched the couple, Deanna slipped over into Astral Sight so she could watch their auras. Having already seen them have three visions before her she knew what to look for, and should they begin slipping into a trance that would lead to another vision—

She didn’t need to wait long: less than thirty seconds after they placed their hands upon the sphere Deanna witnessed Annie’s and Kerry’s aura turn a bright orange and merge. There. She dropped the spell and reverted to normal vision. It’s happening.

Annie and Kerry stared into the crystal ball, appearing deep in thought. After a few seconds Annie slowly raised her head and seemed to look though Kerry with a blank stare; a moment later Kerry did the same. After nearly ten seconds of silently staring at each other Annie spoke in a low monotone. “It would appear not much has changed since we were here last.”

Kerry slowly turned his head to the right as if he were looking at something. “Yeah, kinda seems that way.”

Deanna stood a few meters away, taking it all in. So this is how it begins.

 

And since we see them going into a vision, you know how the next scene is going to begin, with Annie making a statement that Kerry answers.  While they arrive somewhere it seems as if they’ve already been.

You know, that’s the problem with visions: people are always popping into places they may or may not have visited already…