The Final Definition of Darkness

Well, here I am, nice and warm at home.  Right now Harrisburg is buried under more than a few inches of snow, and while I don’t have an actual figure, just looking outside tells me it’s enough to keep people in.

 

What I saw this morning.

 

Here, too.

Yes, the pictures are correct: I was up at 5 o’clock this morning, my normal time, and I’ve been taking care of business ever since.  I didn’t take care of much business last night as I was at a Planned Parenthood rally and a press conference, both of which kept me out until 8 PM.  Once again, I’m being a bad activist girl getting out and doing things besides writing. I should be able to do some of that today, though around noon I’m actually going to go out and go to a blizzard party at our local microbrewery. Which means I’m a completely different kind of bad girl there…

Don’t worry, I will get some writing in tonight–or this afternoon–or whenever.  But it will get done.

In the meantime, were going to end the scene with Annie and Isis going over Blend With Shadows, were any answers the last question put to her by the Chief of Security–

 

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

 

For a moment Annie thought she was being given a trick question, but quickly brushed that notion aside when she realized Isis would never do something like that. This is another test. I suppose Helena meant she wasn’t going to give me any more tests, but she said nothing about Isis… A few moments later the answer came and Annie was surprised she hadn’t seen it initially. “You can walk through the wall.”

Isis’ smile was bright in the darkness of the room. “Correct. You could walk on either side of the shadow at its base, which is essentially the same thing as walking outside or inside the shadow. Or you could walk along the top of the shadow, which is essentially the same thing as creating a large Shadow Ribbon and moving along the shadow as if it were a floor.

“Or, you could walk inside the shadow. Just like you can create a pocket space within a few millimeters of the surface of the shadow, you can learn to walk within those few millimeters and be completely undetectable to the people around you. And unlike Shadow Cage, you’re completely cognizant of the world around you, because the shadow is translucent from your point of view.” The security chief appeared pleased with herself. “It’s really a marvelous feeling. It’s even more marvelous when you realize that because you exist within the insubstantialness of a shadow, you yourself are also insubstantial. That means someone can walk right through you and never know they’ve done so.”

Annie grimaced at the idea that someone could pass straight through her while she was inside a shadow even though she was a physical being. It was then she was struck by another thought— “It’s almost like being an astral being existing within the Physical Realm.”

Isis grinned as she pointed a finger at Annie. “Yep. Now you’re catching on. The reality is you treat the shadow almost as if it is a version of the Astral Realm existing within the Physical Realm. When you think of it in that manner, the concept of being able to move through the shadow unseen becomes even easier.”

Treating a shadow as if it were part of the Astral Realm—with Deanna preparing to teach Kerry and I how to walk about in that same realm. It can’t be a coincidence. But Annie didn’t have time to wonder about possible coincidences: Isis was explaining how this difficult spell could be visualized, and Annie could see herself using it within her mind’s eye.

She forced herself to keep her hands at her side as she felt the excitement of mastering this new magic swell inside. “When do we begin?”

The mischievous sparkle they had entered Isis’ eye when she first began to discuss the spell with Annie returned. “We can begin anytime you’re ready.”

This time Annie did bounce on the balls of her feet. “I’m ready now.”

Isis motioned to the shadows she had previously stepped from. “Then get ready to step into my other office…”

 

There you have it: Annie is starting to visualize how Isis performs this magic, and as we know by now visualization is one-third the process of crafting a spell.  And if there’s one thing we know Annie excels at, it’s crafting spells.  Just what we need: a little Bulgarian sorceress who can fly into a shadow and vanish.  It’s a good thing she’s not a snoopy ass girl, or her enemies would be living in fear.

“No, you have nothing to fear from me. It’s not like I’ll hear it when you call me a stuck-up bitch like you did last night…”

Yeah, safe to say that once others in the school find out Annie can do this should become an even scarier girl–of course, this is assuming she’ll learn how to master the spell, but who are we kidding?  Annie’s like a little bulldog when it comes to magic.

Now that we know what Annie is doing on this September Tuesday night, why don’t we pop over to Advanced Transformations and see what Kerry’s doing.  Something big, I’m sure…

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The Definition of Shadows

Thousand word day–yes, I had it.  I had a lot to do yesterday but writing over a thousand words was one of the things on my get it done list.  I also thought about the physics of time spells in the Normal world, which made my head hurt, but someone’s gotta think about that.

Speaking of spells Isis is about to start her talk about Those Shadows, and it’s time to bend your brain just a little…

 

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

 

Annie stepped back from Isis and spoke with confidence. “I’ve not read much on the spell, though from what I have read, it seems there’s a bit of confusion as to whether or not it’s a variation of the Light Bending spell.”

Isis’ eyebrows shot upward for just a second. “Why did it seems like there’s confusion?”

“Some of the people writing on the matter believe that Blend with Shadows couldn’t be the same as Light Bending because the lack of light made that task impossible.”

“So you agree with the concept that darkness is nothing more than the absence of light, and that shadow is nothing more than those areas where light is unable to penetrate fully.”

Annie took a moment to scratch at the corner of her mouth with her right index finger nail. “I know what Normal science says, but you and I both know that Normal science is often at odds with Aware magic and superscience.” She nodded her head slightly to the right. “Knowing what I know of The Art and spell crafting, and having a working knowledge of Shadow Ribbons, I’m certain there’s more to shadows than a simple lack of light.”

A smile appeared on Isis’ face. “Right you are. As you know from your understanding of Shadow Ribbons, a shadow is insubstantial and has substance simultaneously: it’s simply a matter of being able to craft the spell so that one can make the best of both.” Isis slipped into a moment of thought. “You haven’t gotten to the spell yet, but do you understand the concept behind Shadow Cage?”

Annie gave a quick nod. “Yes. The concept seems similar to Hammerspace in that you create a hidden pocket within the shadow.”

“That’s correct. You’re actually creating a bubble of space within an area that may be only a few centimeters deep. Like you say: the concept is very similar to that of Hammerspace and that you’re creating a pocket storage area pretty much out of nothing.

“Blend with Shadows is a little different in that you’re not creating a pocket within the shadows, but rather—” Isis searched her memory for a few seconds. “Imagine a sheer wall thirty meters high yet only about five centimeters thick. Now imagine you had not learned Levitation or Adhesion, yet you’ve decided you want to walk the length of the wall, which is a couple of hundred meters long.” Isis eyed Annie hard. “How could you walk from one end of the wall to the other?”

There were only two possible solutions that Annie saw to this problem. “You can either walk along the base of the wall, or you could carefully walk along the top of the wall.

Isis nodded. “Those are the two most obvious solutions. But you missed the third: what is it?”

 

This is one of those scenes where I really had to figure out what is actually happening in magic and how it’s being visualized.  It’s what I did in the Transformation class and I’m now doing with Advanced Spells–and this is one of the reasons writing goes slow at times.  ‘Cause making this stuff isn’t always easy.

This should finish up tomorrow, which means I’ll still be five or six thousand words ahead of you, and then–

Oh, wait:  I’m gonna be under snow tomorrow.  Should have plenty of time to write.

Here There Be Shadows

As I mentioned to one of my fans I’m a busy girl.  Oh, and now a member of the ACLU.  Yes, I went to a mixer presented by them last night and paid my dues when I got home.  So I’ll have my card by the end of April and head towards my birthday as a first-time member.  Yay me!  And tonight I’m hanging with people from Planned Parenthood, so the struggle continues.

The novel continues, albeit a bit slower, because The Resistance is important at the moment.  But I’m getting there five hundred or so words at a time, so keep watching this space ’cause my kids are coming.

And speaking of that, one of them has moved into a spooky place…

 

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

 

the ground floor was gloomy the first floor of the Witch House was bathed almost entirely in darkness. The light sources here were few and emitted only the dimmest light and Annie half expected to step into the T intersection a few meters ahead and find the hallway lined with lit torches. But she didn’t need torches, for down the hall, second door on the right, a faint light came from inside a room. It was possible this was another test, but in reality she believed Helena was waiting for her there.

As Annie suspected Helena stood in the middle of the semi dark room. There was a small light source in the far left-hand corner offering the only illumination. Helen stood alongside a circular table maybe two and a half meters across round which were placed three chairs. The head sorceress smiled as her pupil into the room. “I see you made it past the enchantment.”

“I required some direction from Sabrina.” Annie looked about the room as she allowed her eyes to adjust. “Your message didn’t indicate what we are going to cover tonight. Are we going to do something with Shadow Disciplines?” Since becoming proficient with Shadow Ribbons by the middle of her A Levels, Annie had been eager to learn the other two spells in this discipline, Shadow Net and Shadow Cage.

Helena picked up a bottle of water from the table and slowly unscrewed the top. “In a way, yes.”

Annie gave her a puzzled look. “What does that mean?”

The sorceress spent about five seconds taking a drink; when she was finished she screwed the top back on the bottle and set it down. “As a Guardian, shouldn’t you always be aware of your surroundings?”

“I checked the room when I entered.” Annie was instantly on her guard. “You are the only one here.”

Helena leaned against the table. “Are you certain?”

 

Annie’s eager to get on with those Shadow Disciplines, because maybe she wants to use them to keep Kerry from leaving the house when she wants him home?  Naw, Annie is a bad ass and wants all the skills that go with that title.  Which is why she’s with Helena.

However…  When you walk into a dark room where the only person is Helena and she asks if you are sure she’s the only one there, you better have your backup plan ready:

 

“I’m—” Almost immediately Annie knew she was being tested and that there was someone else in the room. With only seconds to figure out the threat she quickly analyzed her surroundings once more and tried to figure out where the threat lay. There’s only one light source and the room is full of shadows, that Helena says were not doing Shadow Disciplines—no, she said were doing the spells in a way. Which means it’s something that isn’t specifically a Shadow Discipline. And that means

She quickly crafted ball lightning in her right hand and molded into a magical baston as she wheeled to her right. Annie moved her left hand into a striking position as she pointed her baston at the shadow to her right rear—the one that now seemed to be moving towards her. “Stop, Isis. I know it’s you.”

The motion within the shadow stopped and a portion of it protruded, quickly becoming human sized. A moment later the darkness peeled back revealing Isis Mossman, the school’s Director of Security, standing two meters away, dressed in a tee shirt, jeans, sneakers. “You’re pretty quick with that weapon.” She brushed away some imaginary dust from her top as she looked over at a grinning Helena. “You didn’t tell me she could form one of those things that quickly.”

Helena shrugged. “You’re Director of Security; I figured you’d know.”

“I do now.” She turned to Annie, who still held the magical baston. “You can put that away. It’s not like I’m going to hurt you.”

 

There likely aren’t many people who can surprise Isis at the school, but one has to wonder what she would have done if she’d been able to sneak up on Annie?  Probably just put a magical knife to her neck and threaten to cut her throat–which may have provoked a response Isis might not have wanted.  Maybe one day we’ll find out.

Right now, though, it looks like Annie is about to learn how to walk into some shadows…

Minioning the Dark Way: The Hard Performance

Today is not going to be a fun day.  I have lab work this afternoon so I’m in the middle of a twenty-four hour fast which started about one PM yesterday.  I did have a handful of nuts to eat about nine last night, but I don’t think that’s going there affect my results that much.

What will happen today, however, is that I’m going to end up going to the bathroom a lot because I’ll be drinking water pretty much non-stop.  It’s either that or feel hungry all the time.  And then when I’m done and I’m back home I’ll probably get something to eat, maybe a personal pizza which I can stop in my mouth in record time.  Because of that I needed it.

I finished up the first scene of Chapter Nine and begin working on the next scene–

Which you can see here in all its glory.

Which you can see here in all its glory.

I wasn’t surprised that I finished the first scene so quickly.  When I was done working the overnight I knew there wasn’t a whole lot more I needed to say, but my brain wasn’t functioning very well and I knew I wasn’t going to be able to say it that.  It still wasn’t functioning all that well last night, but when I got through the hundred and seventy words I needed to finish the scene, it was fairly obvious that I had reached the end.  So altogether almost 650 words last night: not bad for someone who was sucking down one glass of water after another so I didn’t have to think about how hungry I was.

Now we come to the part of the story that is really at the end of Chapter Eight where, when I was writing it, I had some difficulty with what was about to happen.  What was about to happen, you ask?

It’s a good thing I can show you…

 

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

 

Kerry patted Annie on the shoulder. “You better go, Mrs. Peel.”

Annie didn’t get the reference, but seeing how Helena smiled when she heard Kerry speak, she could only assume that it was another of his thousands of pop culture references. She headed over and stood next to Stella. “Yes, Professor?”

Helena indicated the new student. “I want you to shock Stella using Electrify.” Helena turned her smirk on the suddenly worried student. “But only a small one; just enough to let her know it works.”

“Certainly, Professor.” Annie raised her hand just enough so she could point at Stella. “Don’t move.”

“You don’t have—Ahhhhh.” Stella jumped as a slight crackle of static electricity was heard throughout the classroom. “You shocked me.”

Annie shrugged. “I was ordered to shock you: what did you think I was going to do?”

“I don’t…” Stella gave Helena an angry stare. “I didn’t think you were serious about that.” She then turned to Annie. “And do you always follow orders?”

This time Annie turned an unconcerned stare upon the agitated A Level. “I do when Professor Lovecraft gives them.”

“Bitch.” She turned back to the Helena. “Is this over?”

Helena twisted her mouth up into a frown. “You believe me now when I say Annie can control her crafting?”

Stella glanced to her right and then back to Helena. “You’d have her do that same thing to anyone else in this class, wouldn’t you?”

“Oh for god sake.” Helena had finally reached her limit with the bickering student. “Go sit your arse down and I’ll show you.” She waited until Stella was in her seat before turning to Annie. “That’s something I want you to do—”

 

Kerry gets off the first bit of geek humor here, because of the end of the last excerpt Helena said, “Annie, I need you.”  Leave it to Kerry to know that Emma Peel was summoned by John Steele the same way when they work together on The Avengers.  Yes, Kerry is young and shouldn’t know TV shows from the 1960s, but this thing with being a geek: your interest roam far and wide.

Annie becomes the first minion that we know of who gets to use a Morte spell on another student in class.  She used Electrify in her judgment match, but that was different: here she gives a nattering little student a quick electrical burst, no pun intended.  So we know Annie is good; we’ve always known Annie is good.  Everyone knows and he is good except for this pitching student, which gets on Helena’s nerves, and when someone gets on Helena’s nerves she tends to get a little angry.  Or a lot angry.  And that sometimes leads to her doing things in class that might seem just a bit illogical…

 

While a few of the students in class recognized that Helena was angry, they didn’t know how unpredictable she could become the way Annie knew her. She knew something bad was about to happen and she steeled herself against what she felt was likely to be the worst possible request. “Yes?”

Helena pointed across the room. “I want you to give Kerry a damn good shock, one that’s going to shake him enough that everyone in the room can see.”

A knot formed in Annie’s abdomen, for this was the outcome she’d feared. “Professor, I—”

“Do you not follow orders when they’re given?”

Annie silently damned herself for having told the student this. “Yes, Professor.”

Helena nodded at the boy across the room. “Then do it.”

Annie turned around and found Kerry looking back at both Helena and her. He knew what she’d been ordered to do—they’d both spoken loud enough for everyone in the classroom to hear—and while he didn’t appear scared, there was a look of concern upon his face. She took a few deep breaths and began to pointed him before stopping and closing her eyes. When she reopened them, Helena was standing between her and the rest of the class, speaking in a whisper that only the two of them could hear. “What’s wrong?”

She glanced up at the sorceress. “I can’t do this.”

Helena kept her voice neutral and level. “Do what?”

This time Annie turned her head so she could look at Helena. “I can’t shock him: I can’t hurt him.” She swallowed as she tried to ignore her nervousness. “I swore I would never hurt Kerry and—”

Shock him.” Helena leaned in close enough that she was nearly whispering in Annie’s ear. “Do it, or I’ll put him in the fucking hospital.”

 

So here we go: Helena wants Annie to prove that she can light up anyone in the room and not kill them, and the best person to do that to is the other minion in the class–Kerry.  And this was something that I had to fight with for a couple of days, because I knew how much of an anathema of this would be to Annie.  She has never wanted to hurt her soul mate: not physically, not emotionally, not even verbally.  And now, in front of a classroom full of new students, she is being told to use her magic to physically harm the person she loves the most in the world.

She’s on the spot and if she doesn’t carry out orders, it’s going to lead to a huge loss of face.  And if there’s a loss of face in this class to one of the minions, that means Helena has to step in, and Helena’s reaction to something like this usually involves an overreaction–

Ergo, her threat to put Kerry in the hospital.  And when she means “put him in the hospital”, she means she is going to put him down hard.

Which means Annie only has one choice available to her–

 

Annie look straight across the room at Kerry has Helena straightened and stepped away so that the students had an unobstructed view. After about five seconds Kerry gave the tiniest of nods and gaze down at the floor as he clenched his fists—

She didn’t wait any longer than necessary: Annie pulled back her arm while crafting before whipping it forward while releasing the spell.

The air around Kerry crackled the instant the spell hit. He doubled over as he gripped himself around the stomach and let slip from his clench teeth a long moan. He didn’t fall to his knees, but nearly five seconds passed before he straightened, and even then he seemed as if he might not be able to stand on his own for long.

“I gotcha.” Helena scooped up Kerry and held him close to her so they wouldn’t fall to the ground she began maneuvering him across the front of the room but stopped halfway across to glare at Stella. “You want to know what it’s like to get shocked with a Morte spell? Because that’s what it’s like to get shocked with a Morte spell.” She shifted her gaze across the room and noticed that at least half the students were avoiding her. “Any of you other geniuses decide you want to whinge on about something, next time I’m going to use you as the example. And, Stella—” She once again turned her glare upon the girl. “Three of your proficiencies just took a whack: considering we haven’t actually started the class, you’ve certainly achieved some sort of record. Congratulations.”

Helena moved as quickly toward the door as she could while holding on to Kerry. She waved the door open but before they walked out she looked back at her remaining minion, standing transfixed at the front of the room. “Annie, I need you in the hallway.” She didn’t wait to see if if she was following them out.

 

Annie does the deed even though she is not the least bit happy about carrying out the orders.  But it probably did what Helena intended for to do: it’s likely scared the shit out of all of the A Levels, and then whacking the proficiencies of the student who pitched the most about it is just a little icing on the cake.  We also see that Helena has apparently picked up her own pop-culture geekness as well, because as she is ripping on her students she’s channeling Mallory Archer and will likely become memed all over school after this day.

Now we have Kerry hurt from getting another shock on the first day of A Level Sorcery–he’s probably the only student in the history of Salem to have this happen to them–and Annie is probably pissed as all hell that she was ordered to hurt her husband and father of their future children–

You're gonna make Annie angry; you don't want to do that--

Probably.

But you know Salem:  if you’re a witch–and who here isn’t?–everything is a test.  Or it’s at least made to look like a test…

Minioning the Dark Way: Rumors of a Guardian Kind

You may find this hard to believe, but I didn’t write last night.  I was out to a wine dinner last night, and by the time I returned I was feeling a little boozy.  I probably could’ve written, but I’m certain whatever would’ve went down would not have been that good.

However, a word of warning: if you haven’t been eating much for an entire week and you go to a wine dinner that involves five courses and five different kinds of wine, expect to feel just a touch queasy the next morning–like I am right now.  Also, somehow I snapped off a nail in the middle of the night and now I need to go get my mail repaired.  Eh, it was time for polish change anyway.

At least I looked good last night.

At least I looked good last night.

I admit the last week and a half I’ve been less than enthusiastic about writing.  I think some of it was the illness; I think some of it has just been the current events.  I’m pretty certain that right now I’m at what I would call a high functioning depression, warm feeling a bit depressed but it’s not that “I just can’t take it anymore I don’t want to go on” type of depression.  Also, the news out of Washington has been exactly the sort of stuff that for the last year I said was going to happen, and that’s not helping with my general mood.  Fascism rarely does do anything for me that’s positive.

But here we have something positive: young witches who have been growing up before our eyes and are now becoming sorceresses of some reckoning.  Yesterday we got the meet The Big Bad Sorceress; today we get the meet Her Minions.

 

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

 

“I want to introduce you to a couple of people.” Helena moved behind Annie and Kerry. “It’s not unusual for the instructors to employ lab assistants, all of whom we like to call minions. I don’t often use minions for A Level sorcery, but this year I’m going to employ them a bit more that I have in the past. So I like you to meet your on-again, off-again minions: Annie Kirilova and Kerry Malibey. As you may be able to tell by the stars, they are C Levels from Cernunnos coven. Both of them are in my C Level Sorcery class, which means they’re good.” She patted them both on their shoulders. “Who am I kidding? They’re better than just good. Beside here, you’ll see Kerry racing this year, and it’s my understanding that Annie is going to do a bit of tutoring, either in classes or individually.” Once more there was a low chuckle. “As if she didn’t have enough to do.”

“Since you’re in The Fishbowl you won’t have any chance to interact with them outside of this class, or any other class they might be doing minion work for, because I’m not the only one is going to use them this year. But you are going to hear rumors about them, because even though you’re not supposed to interact with the upper level kids, you can’t help but hear things when you’re in the coven towers. You’re probably going to hear things like, oh, Annie beat the hell out of a kid during a judgment match last year, and Kerry fought off a monster to save the life of his flying partner. But those aren’t rumors because those things actually happened

“There’s a lot of other things you’ll hear about them: most of it’s true, but a lot of it’s just fairy tales made up by students to amuse themselves because they’re bored. I will tell you this, however: you couldn’t ask for better sorcery minions. And when they are helping you with your lab work, it’s going to be like I’m helping you.” She slowly gazed around the room. “You had better believe what I just said, because it’s true.”

Helena brushed her hands together as she stepped away from her lab assistants. “Does anyone have any questions?” Misha Houtkooper raised his hand and Helena consulted the tablet she pulled from Hammerspace to make certain she got the name right. “Yes, Misha?”

Misha kept shifting his gaze from Helena to the top of his desk and back. Did this several times before speaking. “We heard from Professor Douglas that they might be helping us out, and someone in the coven told Lito and Sofia and me that back during their A Levels they—” He nodded in the direction of Annie and Kerry. “Left for part of a weekend with Professor Sladen and you. When they came back we were told they spent the night in the hospital because they were beat up.” He looked nervous as he asked his actual question. “They said it was because you guys were off doing something that had to do with guardians. Is that really true?”

 

It’s not often we hear Helena say anything nice about someone in public, but here she is talking up Annie and Kerry in front of a bunch of kids who’ve probably not met them.  I mean, she did say if they’re teaching you it’s the same thing as me teaching, and I’d say that’s a pretty good indication that she considers them her equal.  In the self-contained world that is Salem, this is high praise indeed.

But it would seem that even though Helena has told her class not the believe rumors, the A Levels are hearing stories.  And some of those stories seem to have the word “guardians” in them.  We read here and there, particularly in the last novel, that people at school, students and instructors alike, figured all this time that Annie and Kerry were spending together at the Witch House, or with the Head Sorceress at other locations, had something to do with Helena’s side profession.  Here is the first confirmation that people in covens are talking and that stories are slipping to the new kids to watch out for the Lovey Dovey Couple, ’cause they just aren’t all they seem.

And does this bother Helena?  Well…

 

Helena paid close attention to the other two Mórrígan coven members mentioned, Lito Echevarría, a boy from Belize, and Sophia Quirós, a girl from Venezuela, and she noticed how they appeared nearly as nervous as Misha. This made Helena wonder, first, who could be saying those things in the coven, and second, what exactly were they saying?

While it was true that the upper level students weren’t supposed to interfere with the A Levels adjusting to their new lives at school, it wasn’t always possible keep The Fishbowl separated from The Pond. There were always those chance meetings in The Rotunda or during the Midnight Madness, but the greatest possibility for an encounter was in the ground floor and mezzanine commons of each coven tower. While the older students were forbidden from doing anything to the A Levels that could be construed as bullying, it didn’t mean they didn’t offer warnings concerning some of their instructors, particularly during their first week.

And it wasn’t difficult for those warning to stretch the truth considerably—

Helena had heard nearly all the rumors concerning their Kansas City operation a year and a half earlier. By now everyone seemed to consider the cover story that Annie needed to return home due to a family emergency and Kerry needed to go to New York City for a medical checkup as one elaborate fable, but since no one who went on that Kansas City operation would confirm nor deny that they were engaged in a Guardian field op, the rumors remain nothing but rumors.

Now, however, an A Level was not only relating the rumor but they were mentioning the Guardians without knowing what they were saying. Of all the rumors that floated around the school, the possibility that Annie and Kerry were doing work for the Guardians was one that hadn’t been spoken aloud during the last school year. She was aware that a number of students suspected that the disappearance in April, 2012, had something to do with The Foundation’s intelligence service, but whenever the matter was brought up it was done so in hushed tones.

 

So she knows and it doesn’t seem to bother her that much, though the fact the A Levels are getting it this early is something of a concern.  The real question is, how do Annie and Kerry handled this?

 

Helena turned towards her two minions. “You two know anything about this?”

The couple exchange looks before turning their attention Helena. Annie spoke first. “That weekend I was called home because my mother was extremely ill and she wanted me with her.”

Kerry nodded. “I had to go to New York; doctors there wanted to do a little work on my knee because of all the damage it’d gotten.”

“I see.” Helena did her best not to appear pleased that they were still sticking to the story nearly eighteen months later. “I guess that explains why you spent the night in the hospital, Kerry. What about you, Annie?”

Annie became slightly embarrassed. “When I was getting ready to come home, I tripped down the stairs leading from my bedroom, tumbled, and broke my arm. I had it fixed at a clinic near home and they decided I was well enough to travel, so I returned to Salem.”

“Is that why you stayed in the hospital that night?”

Annie shook her head. “I had a concussion as well: that’s why it was in the hospital.”

“Okay, then.” There was a slight grin on Helena’s face as she turned back to her new students. “See? Simple explanation for everything. Like I said, a lot of these rumors come up because it’s what students want to believe. It’s one of the oldest games as ever been played at the school, and I’m sure it’s going to continue on long after were all dead and gone.”

 

My two kids stand up in front of the class of newbies and lie their asses off with straight faces, because that’s what they were trained to do.  And, of course, Helena is proud of their obsfucation.  They were put on the spot and they stuck to their story and they didn’t seem to think it was that big of a deal: that’s the way a Guardian is supposed to act.  Maybe this means that the class Helen is gonna give him a cookie–

Nah, they’re gonna get something else.

Minioning the Dark Way: Dark Honesty

After a couple of days I seem to be at the point where I have recovered from my long walk on Saturday.  I haven’t started on my post yet, mostly because yesterday was busy with work and a heavy nap when I got home.  I also feel as if I’ve finally gotten back to a hundred percent health as well and this helps.  The last couple of nights I’ve felt sore and distracted have only been able to write about six hundred words each night, so it’s all coming back slowly.

This excerpt delete is a continuation of one I started yesterday. It basically finishes up the thoughts that Helena began she first walked in the classroom.  And one of the things that comes up in this short, five hundred and fifty word monologue, is one of the reasons why it teaches a branch of magic that really does little more than help one person kill another.  Of course it doesn’t tell the whole story–none of the A Levels know that they only have two years of mandatory Sorcery–but he gives an insight into where they’re going.

So let us begin:

 

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

 

Helena hooked her thumbs in the belt hoops of her pants and began a slow walk across the front of the classroom. “Sorcery isn’t like that; there are no real ‘beneficial applications’ for the spells you’ll learn in this class. The spells you’ll craft and the formulas you’ll mix are designed to hurt, and possibly even kill, other people.” She stopped and turned only her head toward her class. “That’s it. That’s how all these spells are used. And that means when you come into this classroom to learn how to craft this magic, you damn sure had better be able to find the strength within you to cause some pain.

“Now I know—” Helena waved her right hand in the air. “I sound like twenty different kinds of crazy bitch up here. And you know what? It always sounds like that to the A Levels on the first day in this class. There’s probably even a few you, sitting here watching me, thinking, ‘Why would the school even allow such a thing to happen?’ I mean, in all the fiction out there about witches and magic and sorcery, anyone using magic or sorcery to hurt another person is a bad witch. And to use magic to kill another person—oh, god.” She shook her head. “How could the headmistress, in good conscience, allow me to show you things?”

Helena finally stopped, faced her students, and crossed her hands in front of her waist. “The reason I’m going to teach these things to you because you’re going to discover, rather soon, that we’re the good witches and the truly bad witches out there will kill you without a second thought. Actually more apt to kill you now because you can’t do shit to defend yourselves.” She gave a slight nod. “That’s what I’m going to change.”

She turned to her left and began slowly making her way across the front once more. “Two years ago the bad witches attacked us on what we now call the Day of the Dead. We call it that because that’s the day they attacked: 1 November, the day that people in some countries honor and remember the spirits of deceased infants and children.” Helena chuckled. “These assholes have nothing if not a sick sense of humor.

“We had patrols in the air; we had people on the ground; we had defense screens up along the outer wall and the Pentagram Wall. The bad guys figured out a way of getting in and while they were only inside a short time, they still managed to kill ten people: one instructor and nine students. There were a lot of acts of bravery that day and we had a few close calls with people who almost didn’t make it. I myself was on the ground and I sent a few bad guys on their way beyond the Veil. And I did it using sorcery. Which is exactly what you would use if you should ever find yourself in a similar situation.” She wagged her right finger in the air as so to make her point. “This is why I teach this: because one day you may very well find yourself in a life or death situation, and you’ll want to live.

 

“One day you’ll be in a life or death situation, and you want to live.”  And it really doesn’t get any simpler than that.  Now course, it takes two years to find out you’ve got the right stuff to be that sort of person who wants to live, but you will pick up a few neat little tricks along the way and maybe that’ll be enough to keep your bacon out of the fire.  Or you’ll know enough to hide behind the people who do know how to deal death.

And speaking of those people, I’ve got two little witches I want to introduce to you…

Mother’s Little Annoyance: Your Son, the Sorceress

In the last except Kerry’s mother, Louise, decided she was gonna push the boundaries and get right to the heart of the matter of what her son learns at school, and discovered–somewhat to her dismay–that it’s not anything like those nice witch school you read about in books where they do stuff like change birds into cups.  Nope, Mama Malibey discovered that some students know how to kill someone with their brain, and guess what?  Her son is one of those people who’ve learned how to do that–

 

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

 

Louise seemed to stop breathing for a few seconds as Kerry’s single word hit her. “Are you serious?”

Kerry nodded. “Completely.”

“I—” Louise wiped the back of her left hand across her brow. “Did you teachers show you that?”

“No.” Once more he looked down as he drew in a breath. “I taught myself.”

What?”

“I read about the spell in a book from our library and stared figuring it out on my own. I practiced for most of the school year and finally got to where I could control it completely.”

“And your teachers let you do this?”

He shrugged. “I had help.”

Who?”

“Annie.”

Louise swallowed hard. “They let her help you?”

“Yeah.”

“How in the hell could they—?”

“Because she already knew a Morte spell.” He kept his face free of his feelings but the quiver in his voice spoke of the combination of fear and frustration running through him. “Annie learned the spell when she was ten, so when she entered Salem for our A Levels she had what we call a ‘yellow flag’ on her student file: it means you know and can control a Morte spell. Since she was already able to do one of those spells already, the Head Sorceress more or less had her help me.”

“And the school allowed that?”

“Yeah, sure.”

 

Right about, oh, now, Louise should be shitting he knickers ’cause her son–you know, the one she’s mentally and emotionally abused for years–is admitting to knowing how to use these spells, and admits even further that he’s learning them from The Girl Who Writes–who, it also turns out, is not only someone Louise has been tossing shade at for at least a year, but is a little Dark Witch in her own right who learned one of these spells when she was ten.

Needless to say, this news has her head spinning:

 

Louise stared up at the ceiling while shaking her head. “I can’t believe her parents would allow her to learn something like—”

“Her parents are witches, Mom.” Kerry leaned on the table as he sighed. “From what she’s told me they were pretty good sorceresses as well and had a lot of books on the subject around the house. They got her a book of her own when she was nine because they wanted her to learn the right way.”

“I can’t believe I’m hearing this.” When she decided to question Kerry about his schooling she’d anticipated some bad things could come out of the discussion, but she hadn’t any idea that this sort of nonsense occurred. “Your school allows a girl your age to teach you a spell to kill people—”

“Why not? They let me teach her the spell I knew.” He didn’t wait for his mother’s shocked gasp to dissipate and vanish. “Professor Lovecraft, the Head Sorceress, says that good sorceresses not only learn but can teach what they know, so she got the school to allow Annie and I to teach each other things. She gets mentored in advanced things by Helena—”

“Who?”

“Professor Lovecraft. She gets mentored by her and then teaches me and I teach Annie the things I learn in Advanced Transformation. We’re evaluated on how well we do with the lessons in the same way we’re evaluated in class.”

Louise closed her eyes as she shook her head. “I can’t even comprehend how your school can allow these things—”

“That’s because it’s not the Normal world.” Kerry was certain his mother though he meant normal with a small “n”, but after two years at school he knew better. “We do things differently at school because—” He shrugged. “Because we’re different:  we’re witches.  We don’t learn the same as other kids.”

“Like kids you used to go to school with.”

“Yeah, like that.” He nodded once. “Like Normal kids.”

 

And there is lay the rub, Louise:  your son isn’t like all other kids with whom he used to attend school, and maybe that’s the reason you should have spent the summer getting to know him instead of Gish Galloping him a few weeks before he heads back to school.  Maybe he wouldn’t have freaked you out as much–

"See, right here, Mom, the school says we can't use death spells against our parents--not without permission first--"

“See, right here, Mom, the school says we can’t use death spells against our parents, not without permission from a teacher–“

–or maybe not.  The point is you spent most of your life ignoring the boy before he discovered he can do magic and now you’re having an even harder time getting to know him.

But since he keeps bringing up the name of his Bulgarian Buttercup, maybe now is a good time to learn a bit more about her–and what she means to a certain Ginger Hair Boy…