A Trial of Judgment: The Throwdown

We have our combatants in place, and the trial is underway.  Annie is up there in the air, floating around–well, not exactly floating–and she’s not gonna make it easy for someone to hit her.  Which is what we’re gonna see today, more or less.

There was, to be honest, a hell of a lot of writing against last night.  My weekly recap of Humans ended up running about fifteen hundred words, and that’s a lot.  Then I sat down for last night’s segment of this novel, and between it and chatting up some people who were asking me questions, I still managed nine hundred words, and brought the novel to just under five hundred words of the one hundred and ten thousand word mark.

I should point out that all of this occurred while my computer was having a bit of a nervous breakdown, and there were moments where I couldn’t do anything for about five minutes at a time but wait for things to unfreeze.

But that’s all in the past.  Let’s get to the buttkicking, shall we?

 

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

She threw up her defense spells while she shifted quickly a few meters to the right, then zoomed five metered to her left before dropping nearly to the floor. She didn’t want to give Rikkard too many chances to get her in his sights, and her Flight gift allowed her to move much faster in every dimension than any witch could hope for using levitation. I wonder if he’ll figure out what I’m doing?

There wasn’t a need to worry about that now: her opponent had recovered from his fire ordeal and was crafting up another attack. Pouring a bit more magical energy into defense screens, Annie gently ascended back over the mat.

While she wasn’t interested in being a target, she wanted to see if Rikkard was going to craft drain spells in an attempt to weaken her screens, or even attempt to set up a drain field around her. According to Wednesday a drain field was difficult for a D Level, but not impossible. She gave him a chance to cast so she could feel the spell as it struck the screens: a drain spell, as she’d expected. He’s playing things safe and conservative

Two purple balls of electrical energy stuck her screens while she was busy shutting down his drain spell and reinforcing her defenses. Annie was momentarily blinded by the flash, and enough of the charge made it through that she felt a numbing tingle rush through her legs. She speed forward and then to her right, missing two more Ball Lightning attack the boy quick crafted. She needed a moment to shake off the effects of the charge and regroup. Stop playing with this boy. She hovered some seven meters away from Rikkard. He isn’t going to let you win: you have to make that happen

Annie charged Rikkard.

 

So Annie now knows her opponent can magically sucker punch her when possible, and he likes ball lightning.  That’s good:  Annie likes other things:

 

Three meters from him she rolled to her right, shot off a few meters, and then unleashed a vicious Air Hammer. She didn’t expect it to make it through his defense screens, but that wasn’t her intention. As soon as she threw her attack, she jumped three meters up and five to her left before throwing another Air Hammer, then dropped close to the mat and threw a huge Air Hammer low and hard. Annie was trying to keep him off-balance and unfocused so he wouldn’t have time to make an effective attack against her.

On the contrary, she intended to put an end to this contest as fast as possible.

She moved into position, some six meters away from Rikkard and nearly five meters above the mat, and began fast crafting her next attack. She’d not used sorcery yet, because she didn’t want to spend a lot of time with smaller amounts of dark energy: Annie had something better in mind. I’ve weakened his defenses . . . She spun around once, acting as if she were about to throw another Air Hammer, then steadied herself so she was facing him. Now’s the time to remove them completely.

She gathered together all the dark energy her witch powers allowed her to draw at one time, formed the image of her attack in her mind, pulled her arms around and sighted Rikkard over her hands, opened her palms, and put every gram of willpower into her magic.

Annie fired her killshot.

 

A killshot isn’t always something designed to kill a person, though in this case it could.  Because Annie wants to dust this fool, she save all her sorcery for this moment, and when someone tells you there’s no light in darkness, well, they don’t always know what they’re saying . . .

 

The inside of the Manor was bathed in blue-white glare as the Lightening spell emerged from Annie’s hands like a crackling laser. It hit Rikkard’s defenses and bowed it enough that the screen snapped back and struck him. His magic fought against Annie’s, undulating and popping as the energies spilled several meters away from the point of impact, making students recoil with nervousness and fear.

Annie heard someone screaming out something in another language, but they weren’t word of fear but rather those of excitement. She figured it was Kerry cheering her on, but she wasn’t about to look. She concentrated on holding her spell for five seconds, knowing it would wear her down a bit, but if she ended this trial in the next few seconds it wouldn’t matter.

She finished her lightning attack, then pushed herself forward until she was directly over her opponent. Annie checked long enough to see if Rikkard was still on his feet—he was. That was all she needed. She threw another Air Hammer down on to Rikkard, a massive blast that it bored straight through his screens and slammed him hard to the mat.

Annie watched the boy for a sign of movement, and a few seconds after he hit the mat he began to stir. As he found his way to one knee, Annie slowly floated until she was a half meter off the mat, then close on him, stopping a couple of meters away. She hovered there with a ball of electrical energy in one hand and a sphere of cold fire in the other. She waited until he was up on one knee before moving into his field of vision—

He stopped moving and locked eyes with her. Annie said nothing for a few seconds, then spoke in a low, serious tone. “Step out.”

Rikkard nodded as he stood. Not taking his eyes off Annie, he turned his hands palm down and walked backward until he was outside the combat circle. Annie nodded back and killed her spells.

The trial was over; Annie emerged victorious.

 

And this is how it killshot appeared:

More or less.  A lot less, actually.

More or less. A lot less, actually.

As for the last scene of her hovering a few meters away with glowing balls of death in her hands–yeah, I’d love to see that scene drawn out.  Anyone seeing her do that–and seeing that grim, dangerous look on her face–would likely hesitate to ever mess with Little Miss Sorceress again.  The chances are that Rikkard was probably dazed pretty hard from her laser-like electrical attack, because if it was enough to drain his shields, he was probably getting zapped as well as he tried to keep from being lit up.

You’ll probably see tomorrow, when judgement is rendered.

Probably.

The Loneliness of the Dark Minions: the Setup

It is raining here in Camp Hill, this Forth of July, but that won’t keep the die hards from blowing off their fireworks later today, and maybe blowing off a finger or two in the process.  These videos serve to remind us that there’s not a lot of difference between the backyard collection you’ve got sitting in a cardboard box and a FAE kicked out the back of a C-130, and that you should always use caution when lighting off your explosives.

I keep a safe distance from my stuff, but I always tend to go big . . .

I keep a safe distance from my stuff, but then I tend to go big . . .

In my fictional universe there are no fireworks, at least not today.  It is, however, the day after Wednesday’s discussion with my kids, and if it’s Wednesday after B Level Wednesday, that means it’s Thursday morning B Level Sorcery, and guess who’s playing minion this morning . . .

 

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

They were only ninety minutes into B Level Sorcery, and Annie was feeling as if the class were about to explode. She recognized the reason for the tension, and a possible source for the detonation. Her concern was whether or not the situation could be defused.

The reason had begun the week before, when Helena began teaching the basics of Cold Fire, its creation, its use, and its misuse. While Annie had found Cold Fire to be a simple spell, she’d watched most of the students affecting various stages of confusion. The confusion turned to eye rolling the moment she informed them that they needn’t worry, because in the next class they’d get help for their lab . . .

When Helena stopped them as they were leaving the Dining Hall on their way to the Witch House and said she wanted to speak with them, Annie knew they were about to be asked to do something beyond acting as lab minions for the day. She was right: as soon as everyone was in their seats Helena called Kerry and her to the front of the class so they could demonstrate how easy it was to create Cold Fire. Anne produced her floating ball of blue fire without any problems, as did Kerry, and while Professor Lovecraft used this as proof that they’d be able to help anyone having issues trying to craft the spell, Annie knew no one would ask for help, for she saw that refusal on the faces of their fellow students.

During their before-class discussion Helena told them to be as unobtrusive as possible and help only if they were asked, and that was exactly what Kerry and she did, wandering about the classroom and examining the progress of the others. The professor informed them that she didn’t expect anyone to get the spell right, since she normally didn’t get serious about the Cold Fire spell until after C Level Yule holiday, but Annie saw a few students who appeared to almost create a small fire in the shielded dishes they were told to used as the focus point for their spells. For these levelmates Annie wanted to offer her services, but did as Helena requested and remained silent.

 

When Annie is having a bad feeling, it’s probably not going to be a good day.  Kerry might say her spidey senses are tingling, but he’d listen to her every word on the subject because he trusts her judgment completely.  Which is probably why . . .

 

Kerry slipped up beside her and nodded towards their seats in the far front of the room. As they moved in front of them Annie threw up a small privacy spell so they wouldn’t be overheard by the rest of the class. “Yes?”

He looked at Annie with some concern. “How you feeling?”

She snorted. “Bored. I want something to do besides watch everyone doing . . .”

“Nothing?” He looked past her shoulder towards the other students. “I know what you mean. I don’t want to watch everyone failing.” Kerry’s left fingers glided surreptitiously along Annie’s left arm. “I’ve gotten too use to seeing someone succeed all the time.”

“Not all the time.” She peeked towards Helena’s desk, where the Head Sorceress sat stone still. “I wonder if she’s taking a nap.”

“She doesn’t seem all that interested in what’s happening in class today, that’s for certain—”

“More interested than you might believe.” Helena stood and stretched as everyone in the class stopped whatever they were doing and looked towards the front of the room. “Since you’re all looking this way, that means I have your attention. I have ‘sorceress business’ to do, so—” She glanced in Annie’s and Kerry’s direction. “—the minions are in charge.” She waved open the door. “Back in a bit.” As soon as she was in the hallway the classroom door slammed shut.

 

So The Mistress of All Things Dark just ups and blows town, ’cause she had to perhaps use the bathroom?  Whatever.  I does seem like she’s setting up the kids–maybe she expects to return and find the Salem B Levels have received a true practical demonstration of Cold Fire–

And then Acts Two and Three can just be Annie and Kerry rotting away in jail for the rest of their lives.  That would certainly reduce how much I need to write in the future.

And then Acts Two and Three can just be Annie and Kerry rotting away in jail for the rest of their lives. That would certainly reduce how much I need to write in the future.

Swearing Out the First Week

On to the next five hundred entries, right?  Sure, why not?

I ground out the last scene yesterday, writing more in that once day–much of what did take a day–than I’d written on any three other days.  Fifteen hundred and ninety-one words is a pretty good way to finish out the Mistress of All Things Dark getting ready to kick some student ass.  Since today is a travel day for me–I’m going out somewhere to kinda celebrate Month Eleven on HRT–I’m just gonna give you what I did last night, and interject comments here and there, ’cause this girl’s got some traveling ahead of her.

When we last saw yesterday, Annie was going to Shadow Ribbon her one and only, and she’d been warned not to cut anything off this time.  How does she do?

 

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

She faced her soul mate, who stood with his hands handing loose at his side and a grin peeking out between his lips. She glanced at the ribbons then looked at Kerry. “Just stand still—”

He turned his head slightly to the left. “I’m not going anyway.”

“Good.” She began moving ribbons towards Kerry, bringing them closer to his wrists. Annie hand never tried this before, but she had no doubt she would succeed. All it required was a fine touch and concentration . . .

With a flick of her fingers Annie drew the ribbons between Kerry’s wrists and body. She lightly pressed them against his arms before lifting them slightly out and away, then wrapped each shadow twice around his wrists. Once Annie felt they were securely in place, and they weren’t hurting Kerry, she pulled his wrists together and wrapped the ends of each ribbon around the other.

With Kerry’s wrists firmly secured, Annie levitated him about twenty centimeters off the floor and brought him towards her. He started chuckling after floating a meter, and by half-way Annie was giggling as well. When he was an arm’s length away Annie left him in a hover while she checked his wrists to see that they were secured tight, and that it was impossible for him to use his hand. She brushed her fingers against his chin. “I have you.”

Kerry’s grin transformed into a smile. “You always have.”

Helena allowed them a final chuckle before retaking control. “All right, Annie: you can let him go.” As soon as Kerry was free of his shadows and standing, Helena moved alongside. “Good work. Now—” She touched him on the shoulder and pointed toward where he’d stood moments before. “Your turn. Secure Annie so she can’t use her hands, and made sure—” She touched the girl’s right hand. “—you don’t cut this off.”

 

Yeah, Kerry, don’t cut off the hand you hold all the time, ’cause Annie wouldn’t like that.  And Helena letting them get away with a sort of public display of affection–is the old sorceress getting soft in her, um–well, given she can live to be one hundred and fifty, forty-five isn’t that old.  But still, she had Kerry all tied up and floating where she could do anything . . .

It’s not Kerry’s turn, and he knows he’s not as good, but that’s not gonna hold him back–

 

“You got it, Professor.” He walked back to his side of the room, thinking about what was needed. He’d made shadow ribbons last year while Annie watched, but he’d yet to learn the same sort of control Annie had developed. But while he didn’t think he could fasten them around her wrists the same way she’d done to him, there was more than one way to secure someone’s hands . . .

He drew out two ribbons almost identical to Annie’s, except his were a little over a meter long. Instead of bringing them in line with his soul mate’s wrists, he positioned the ribbons so they were directly over Annie: one in front of her and one behind. Slowly they dropped until the front ribbon was even with her chest and the back ribbon was close to her waist, then pulled them around her body, pinning her arms—and hands—to her sides. Once she was firmly secured, he levitated the giggling Annie and, as she’d done with him, floated her to his side of the room until she was close enough to touch. “Well—” Kerry’s fingers glided over her right cheek. “Now you’re mine.”

She grinned sweetly. “And will be all our lives.” She gave his fingers a quick kiss.

Helena saw a few of the students rolling their eyes, and figured she had better break up these two before they got too carried away. “Okay, Kerry: release that dangerous girl.” After he dissolved the spell and set Annie back on here feet, Helena pointed, not to their desks, but to a spot to her right. “Stand over there for a minute, will you?”

 

And if you wanna know why the other students think these kids are strange, there’s a prime example.  PDA, baby, even in the Witch House.  But hey:  they’re home.  So why not be affectionate.  It’s also not like they haven’t forged a bond with Helena and sort of know just how far they can push something.

Okay, warning time here:  Helena is gonna get a little . . . rough.  You’ll see what I mean in a moment, but needless to say, there’s been a method to her madness, and she had a reason to show off her new minions–

 

With them in place, she turned to the rest of the students. “I’d say that was rather informative.” Helena turned her attention to the middle of the room. “I don’t start teaching the Shadow Ribbon spell until near the end of C Levels, and we don’t actually begin working them until the D Levels. It usually takes a good part of that year to get them right, too—assuming you ever get them. As I once told Annie, there are a lot of good sorceresses who never get a feel for shadow ribbons . . .”

Helena singled out the boy from Poland who started the questioning. “Mesha, would you say these two—” She motioned towards the children on her right. “—were able to demonstrate that spell to your satisfaction?”

Mesha started at the surface of his desk. “Yes, Professor.”

“Thank you.” She turned to the second of her doubters. “What about you, Jeon? Do you feel confident that Annie and Kerry have the ability to help you with any B Level spells you’ll require assistance learning?”

Like Mesha, Jeon was looking anywhere except at his instructor. “Yes, Professor.”

Helena turned to the last person in this little triumvirate. “What about you, Lisa? Would you say that you witnessed a practical demonstration of a spell that you might not start figuring out for another two fucking YEARS?” She took a step towards the front row, seeing the students there and in the row behind, recoiling from her outburst. Nearly everyone in the classroom was looking away: Lisa, however, stared back with unmasked contempt for being the focus of Helena’s anger. “Assuming you ever do figure it out, which is highly unlikely, you smarmy little bitch.”

 

It’s also been stated that these instructor are afraid to lose it in front of their class and start swearing, and here is a perfect example.  Helena could have lit up Lisa with a little Electrify, like she did with Kerry the year before, though given her present state of mind she might kill her, and even though she’d get brought back to life, the paper work Helena would need to fill out is a pain.  Better to drop an f-bomb and call Lisa a bitch.

And that brings around the real reason for this demonstration:

 

Helena looked about the classroom. “The one thing none of you get is the opportunity to question my actions. What I do in this class, for this class, is my choice, and it doesn’t matter if you like it or hate it, you do not get a say in the matter.” The stern, dark witch who’d appeared many times during the A Levels came out once again. “What you get is to keep your mouths shut and your simple, shite opinions to yourself.

“Everything I do has a reason, and if you don’t like that—” She flicked a finger at the classroom entrance. “—there’s the door, get up and leave. Once you’ve done that you can walk your arse down to the Pentagram and head up to the Headmistress’ office and tell her your tale of woe, about how mean ol’ Professor Lovecraft is being a bitch—again.” Her snort was heard throughout the entire room. “Mathilde’s a nice woman; as you talk she’ll probably nod politely and smile, maybe even agree with you a few times. And when you’re done she’ll take what you’ve told her and put it down in a file, and . . .” Helena flipped his right hand back as if she were tossing something over her shoulder. “That’ll be that. Because you won’t have been the first students to run off and complain about me—and you damn sure won’t be the last.

“In case you’ve forgotten, the headmistress gives all the instructors a great deal of lassitude when it comes to their classes, which means I can pretty much do as I please when it comes to my instruction, short of killing a student. And if you do want to talk to me about something that has happened in class, there’s a proper way to do it that doesn’t involve public bitching—” She half-turned to her right. “Annie, when I put Kerry in the hospital a year ago around this time, did you complain in class?”

 

If it sounds like Helena’s being a bitch, it’s because she is.  But what is it she’s looking for?  She wants sorceresses:  kids who can handle a good deal of rather dangerous magic and not go completely nuts with the power.  Bitching about her choice of minions isn’t a great way to show that you’re mature enough to handle death spells when the time comes–and that time is coming rather sooner than you imagine.

But back to that last question–how did Annie react?  Well, it might be foggy to some people, but not to a certain Chestnut Girl–

 

Annie’s lips tightened for a second as the memory of Kerry being repeatedly shocked by the Head Sorceress returned; she pushed it aside and returned to the present question. “No, Professor. I asked you to stop—”

“Which is not the same as complaining. That evening, when we were in the hospital, did you complain in front of Nurse Coraline and Kerry?”

“No, Professor.”

“When we met in private later, did you tell me what you thought?”

Annie’s smirked turned grim. “Yes, I did, Professor.”

“And I apologized, didn’t I?”

“Among other things, yes.”

Helena didn’t want to get into “other things,” though she was certain that most of the students in the room were aware of Annie’s access to the Black Vault in the Witch House’s lower level. She turned to the boy to Annie’s right. “Kerry, I know you didn’t have much of a chance to say anything here that day, but later, in the hospital, did you tell me how you felt?”

“I’m pretty sure I did.” Even now his recollections of that time in the hospital was sketchy, given the shock and drugs he was on at the time. “Yeah.”

“Did I apologize to you?”

That much he did remember. “Yes, you did.”

“Thank you, both.” Helena decided to put this matter to rest, and in a way that would leave no doubt where she stood. “Any of you have a bitch, you come and seem me and we’ll talk in private. The moment you start talkin’ shit about me in public, however, I won’t care how sorry you are, I’ll give no shits whatsoever about further discussions or your apologies.” She half turned to her left, then snapped back to the class. “And if you think I’m being a bitch, go ahead and do this in another instructor’s class.” She locked eyes with the still-fuming Lisa. “You got Transformation class next, honey: try telling Jessica she’s kissing certain students asses, and I guaranty you’ll spend the weekend in her office as a fucking chair.”

Helena finally turned away from the class and strode to her desk. She brought the lights back up to full and flipped open her instructor’s text while she was still three meters away. “Open your books to the first chapter—” She spun around and coldly surmised the now-attentive children. “Time to get this party started.”

 

And that last is about as true as it gets:  when Jessica hands out detention, she usually transforms a student into an inanimate yet still living object and leaves them around for people to use.  Most of the time they end up as a chair in one of her two offices–in the Transformation Center or over in the coven tower–and there are few people who ever forget the time they had to support a student’s smelly butt in their, um, lap.  Having a student write “I will not be a bad witch” five hundred times is for amateurs, kids.

One chapter left in Part Two, then it’s on to the last two chapters of Part Three and Act One.

Seem like I started this only a couple of months ago.

Seem like I started this only a couple of months ago.

And I’m looking forward to the next scene, because you can probably guess where I’m going flying without a net.

Fifteen Hundred

On 30 January, 2014, I ended the post for that day with this quote:

 

“Times change and so must I. We all change when you think about it. We’re all different people all through our lives. And that’s okay, that’s good, as long as you keep moving, as long as you remember all the people that you used to be. I will not forget one line of this, not one day, I swear. I will always remember when The Doctor was me.”

The Eleventh Doctor, The Time of the Doctor.

 

The occasion of that quote was my 1000th blog post, creativity titled Millennium.  At the time I had no idea what I was going to do from that point–

What?  Are you playin’ here, Cassie?  You had a lot going on.

Given that I'm now writing this post in the exact same spot I wrote that post, you can get coffee was one of those things.

Given that I’m now writing this post in the exact same spot I wrote that post, you can bet coffee was one of those things.

Well, two things for sure.

First off, I was nearly three months into writing a novel, which most of you know as The Foundation Chronicles, Book One:  A For Advanced, a legendary scree that some of you have actually seen in its entirety.  It started out as something I was going to write for NaNoWriMo 2013.  Believe it or not, at the time I started that book, I thought, at best, it might run one hundred and fifty thousand words.  You, in the back–stop snickering.  I really did believe that.  But about the time I was writing that post back in January, 2014, there was something digging around in the back of my head that said, “Uh, huh, Cassidy, you ain’t gonna finish this novel that soon.  Better bet on that happen sometime in the summer . . .”

Um, yeah:  about that.

Nope, it wasn’t going to be in the Summer of 14, either.  I’d finally finish that novel in March of 2015, four hundred and seventy-four days after I’d started writing.  That’s almost five hundred days, and that’s a good chunk of anyone’s life.

Strangely enough, if you haven’t guessed from the title of today’s post, five hundred days have passed since that day in January, and this is my 1,500th post.  Which is a lot of stuff to write and things to say, let me tell you.  If I go by my average of five hundred words a day–which is what I always aim to do–that means since I began this blog around four years ago, I’ve posted seven hundred and fifty thousand words.  750,000:  three-quarter of a million words.  That’s like the first two novels of the A Song of Ice and Fire series with half of the third thrown in for luck, and I’m still going.

(For the record, here are the word counts on those novels.  A Game of Thrones: 298,000; A Clash of Kings: 326,000; A Storm of Swords: 424,000.  Add it up and it’s 1,048,000 words, so just like I said in the last paragraph.  Nice to know A For Advanced is about the same size as A Storm of Swords.)

That novel is sitting around waiting for something to happen–trust me, I’m getting nudges from people about what I should do–and in the meantime I’m working on the next one, B For Bewitching, and after the almost six hundred words I wrote last night, I’m fifty-three thousand words into that and about to have something heavy go down . . .

 

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

She pointed at the two students whose hands were still raised. “Annie; Kerry—” She motioned them forward with a few flicks of her fingers. “Get up here–now.”

Both students approached the the Head Sorceress appearing somewhat uneasy about what was happening next. Helena smiled in their direction, and both returned the smile. She leaned in close as whispers so only they could hear. “Don’t worry; you’ll like this—” She straightened and pointed to opposite ends of the room. “Annie, I want you over here: Kerry, you over there.”

She waited until Kerry and Annie were about four meters apart before she addressed them. “Okay, here’s what I want.” She turned to the girl on her right. “Annie, I want you to used shadow ribbons to restrain Kerry so that he’s unable to use his hands. I don’t care how you tie him up—I simply want it done. You got that?”

Annie nodded as a smile crept on to the right side of her mouth. “Yes, Professor.”

Helena flipped her right finger at something near the door and the lighting dimmed slightly where they were standing. “You’ve got something to work with now. Oh, and . . .” She gave Annie a knowing look. “Don’t sever anything; I don’t want to have to take Kerry to the hospital to get things reattached.”

It was all Annie could do to smirking as she knew too well the incident to which the Head Sorceress was referring. “I’ll be good, Professor.”

“I’m sure you will.” Helena turned to Kerry. “Just stand there and let your better half do her thing, okay?”

He nodded once. “No problem, Professor.”

She stepped back and moved out of the way. “Go ahead, Annie.”

Annie didn’t bother acknowledging Helena but instead walked over to one of the lightly shadowed areas. What there was before her wasn’t much darker than what was in the Link Bridge in Kansas City, but she managed shadow ribbons there fine—and here she didn’t have to deal a broken arm and a head wound while working under a time constraint . . .

She raised her hands and reached out as if she were about to take hold of the shaded area. Annie didn’t need to set out the ribbons with her hands, but for what Helena wanted her to do she needed precision: the idea was to restrain, and she was certain that Kerry wouldn’t enjoy having his hands separated from his wrists. She spread her left thumb and index finger apart and imperceptibly touched a section of shadow before pressing her right thumb and index finger against them. Certain she’d locked one end of the ribbon, she slowly drew her right hand away from her left.

She felt energy flowing through her arm, visualized the how the ribbon was suppose to appear. Annie took one step back in order to see her work better: now that she had begun crafting her magic it wasn’t necessary to remain in contact with the shadows. She measured out about a half a meter before deciding that sixty-five centimeters would serve her needs better—

Annie took another two steps back as she pulled the single, gray ribbon away from its segment of darkness. She raised her hand over her head and extended her index finger towards the ceiling: the ribbon followed. She parked it about a meter to her left and about two meters over the floor: when she was certain it wasn’t going anywhere she crafted another ribbon and placed it next to the first.

Now that she had her ribbons, it was time to go to work on Kerry.

 

Yeah, get to work on that boy, Annie!  You’ll have to wait to see where this leads, but most of you probably have a good idea.

The above was written with the following three songs running on heavy rotation, partially because I like them, partially because they will show up in the story somewhere.  Especially the first one:  every time I hear Reap the Wild Wind, I want to write the scene where it’ll appear.

 

 

Something else has gone on during the last five hundred days as well, and it’s of a far more personal nature . . .

See, that picture above:  in a lot of ways she didn’t exist when I posted my blog entry for 30 January, 2014.  Oh, sure:  there was a Cassidy, but she was really out in the public eye where everyone could see her.  I knew what I was by that time, but I wasn’t ready to get out of the closet.  It took a trip to Indiana and a return to The Burg for me to realize I needed to stop hiding and get my ass out there.

Last year, on my birthday, I wrote about what I needed to do in the coming year, and set about doing that.  It’s been both a good and bad five hundred days.  I’ve written a little about my experience.  I’ve written about one of the darkest points in my life, and I’ve written about the people who have helped me through those moments, including one person in particular.

But the biggest thing that’s happened to me occurred 2 February, 2015, which is when I finally started working as, well, me.  That was really the final moment of coming out, and it’s been just over four months, a third of a year, that I’ve lived as the real Cassidy.  Not only am I out fully, but next month I reach another milestone:  one year on hormone replacement therapy.  The hits just keep on coming.

I guess the real question now is, “What of the next five hundred days?”  I looked it up and that date is Tuesday, 18 October, 2016, and the question I’m asking these days is will I still be around in the Blogsphere?  Two thousand posts is a lot of talk-talk, and there are a lot of times when I feel like I’ve run out of things to day, that I’d probably do well to burn out before I fade away.  Then I remember:  I have novels to write and, more importantly, publish.  I will start up on doing weekly television reviews on another blog.  And if the questions I had sent my way due to this Caitlyn person getting put on a magazine cover is any indication of things to come, I can help educate where possible, because it’s obvious as hell I have a somewhat unique outlook on life.

I have stories to tell:  not just on the written page, but . . . well, let me fall back to another quote to nail that point down:

 

“It’s funny, I thought, if you could hear me, I could hang on, somehow. Silly me. Silly old Doctor. When you wake up, you’ll have a mum and dad, and you won’t even remember me. Well, you’ll remember me a little. I’ll be a story in your head. But that’s OK: we’re all stories, in the end. Just make it a good one, eh?”

The Eleventh Doctor, The Big Bang.

 

We are all stories, and it’s up to us to make them good one.  And a writer I write for myself first, and all others second.  Which means if I’m gonna make it a good story, I’d had better like it–otherwise, why bother?

With that said, I’ll pull a Robert Kirkman here and see how I feel when I get to post two thousand.  If I have more to say, I will.  If not–well, I’ll see then, won’t I.

For now, though, I can keep going.  Particularly if I have coffee–

And damn good coffee at that.

And damn good coffee at that.

Another First Day in the Witch House

Let me say I have the best fans in the world, because they care.  Thanks for all the notes of concern yesterday, and yes:  it did hurt, it was painful, and the left side of my face is still a little swollen this morning but it’s looking better.  I expect by Sunday it’ll start looking like normal once more.

I was, however, a bit of a mess.  When I got home I was feeling pretty punk.  I did cut a video for something else yesterday, but after that I was kinda like, eh, let me try and get at my writing.  I did okay, but at one point I had to sit and ice my face for thirty minutes because that made it feel better.

What I am saying is writing was slow.  Six hundred and ninety words last night, and three hundred the night before.  Almost a thousand in two days.  Not my best, but it’s getting better.  The issues I’m having is feeling what I’m writing, because there’s so much happening to me right now I don’t feel the words flowing.  It’s in my head, but it’s not coming out through my actions.

One thing I did accomplish last night was getting my new scenes into place, and getting a few notes set up.  I had to think about one scene in particular because it wasn’t tripping any bells, and then I saw the date and time and that was all of a trigger I needed.  See why I do that?  Every little bit helps.

Now that all my personal stuff is out of the way, let’s get out to the Witch House, where someone was telling the kids they may not become the Mistress of All Things Dark’s, um, Dark Witches . . .

 

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

She walked up to the middle area before the first row of student desks. She slid her hands into the pockets of her jacket and set back on to her heels. “There’s nothing wrong with not being a sorceress. I’m certain there are a few of you who’ve already thought, ‘Screw this, it’s not me’. And that’s fine, because if you are having those thoughts, you’re likely correct. This is not a life for all witches, and there are many instructors here—my partner Erywin among them—who’ll tell you that they weren’t cut out to do what I do, and they’re good with that.

“So I’m going to push you; I’m going to test you.” Helena leaned slightly towards the students seated before her. “By Yule I’ll have a good idea who’s got the best chance of moving into my C Level class. By Beltane I’ll know for sure, and by Graduation Day those people will know.” Her dark eyes scanned the faces staring back her way. “If you haven’t heard from me by that evening, you’ll know you’re not moving up to my next level.”

Helena was ready to tell the rest of the tale she’d planned for this morning. “Because I’m going to push you guys harder than I did last year, I expect there will be times when a few—or many—of you may require help. Therefore I’ve arranged to bring in some minions whenever it’s necessary. In fact, I spoke with them this morning before class began.” She turned to her right and nodded in the direction of the students who where now looking her Helena’s direction. “Annie Kirilova and Kerry Malibey will be my class minions this year: I selected them because of the work they did last year, and due to—”

What?”

 

Before class started–hum . . .  I wonder what that conversation was like?  Or if the kids knew it was coming–

"Why do I have a feeling today is gonna be kinda strange?"  "We're witches, my love.  Every day is strange for us."

“Why do I have a feeling today is gonna be kinda strange?” “We’re witches, my love. Every day is strange for us.”

Forgot about that, didn’t you, Kerry?  Actually there’s a story behind that–it’s just that I didn’t show it to you.

Getting back to the story–you know, exclaiming “What?” in front of Helena is never the best move in the world.  Most of the students there know this, and Helena surely does.  All you’re gonna do is draw attention to yourself, like this . . .

 

The last thing Helena had anticipated was an outburst from one of her students. She even less expected it from a student who’d said almost nothing throughout the entirety of their A Level. “Yes, Mr. Tomasko? You have something you’d like to add to the conversation?”

For a moment Mesha Tomasko didn’t know if he should say he was sorry and simply not say what was on his mind before deciding to speak. “I mean, Professor, it’s not usual for instructors to get help from inside the class . . .” He swallowed while gathering his strength. “I don’t think it’s right.”

Helena appeared puzzled. “You don’t?”

Mesha shook his head. “I don’t think it’s right. We should have . . .”

The sorceress’ eyes narrowed as she surmised what the boy from Poland was going to say. “We should have what, Mr. Tomasko?”

“We should have people who know what they’re doing.”

Helena’s gaze shifted to the student who answered her question, for it wasn’t Mesha Tomasko, but rather Dongsun Jeon, who was sitting near the middle of the class. Unlike Mesha, Jeon hadn’t the easiest of times during A Level Sorcery, and had only managed average marks in five of his seven proficiency levels. It hadn’t been enough to keep him out of this year’s class, but another year like would be enough, as far as the Head Sorceress was concerned, to keep him out of next year’s class. “What exactly does that mean, Jeon?” A strange look began settling across her features. “Do you think we need different help?”

Jeon slowly looked about the room, then fixed his gaze upon the students being questioned—who, for their part, were looking straight ahead instead of facing their accuser. “There’s a reason you get minions from the upper levels—”

Helena folded her arms across her torso and rested her right hand against her chin. “Please, enlighten me.”

 

Yes, by all means, enlighten Helena, because she lives for these moments when students find it necessary to explain her actions to her.

It goes about as well as you’d expect, and then some.

 

The young man continued onward. “We should have people who know how to do these things. I mean—” He motioned towards where Annie and Kerry sat. “Yeah, Kirilova and Malibey are good, but . . .” Jeon looked towards the floor as he shrugged. “I don’t know: I guess I’m not sure they can help.”

“Really.” Helena’s tone turned as dark as her black eyes. “Are you saying in your own special way that I’m mistaken in my choices?”

Jeon wasn’t about to say anything derogatory about his instructor’s choices, at least not directly. “I’d just feel better with someone from C or D Levels.”

It was Helena’s turn to shrug. “You’ll get the assistants I want, and not the ones that you think you should get.” She turned to her left and began her pacing again, intending to use the time to clam herself. “Everything will be fine.”

She chuckled and was about to finish her opening comments when a loud whisper reverberated throughout the room. “We got no choice; she totally kisses their asses.”

 

Well, there’s someone who isn’t trying to get on the instructor’s side!  Snidely commenting aloud that your instructor is kissing the asses of a couple of her students, and saying it so she hears you, is never a smart move.  It’s even dumber when you remember that, only a year before, she shocked a kid into a near-coma just because she was trying to get a reaction out of his girlfriend.

Who is this person who revels in dumbassery?

 

Helena spun around just in time to catch Lisa Glissandi leaning away from her covenmate Jeon, trying to appear as if nothing of importance happened. She eyed the girl hard. “You have something to say, Glissandi?”

Lisa snorted and nearly turned up her nose. “Nothing you’re interested in hearing, Professor.”

In that moment Helena considered tossing the Åsgårdsreian student out of the class, but decided she needed to not be the bitch here—at least not yet. She showed the classroom her back as she walked towards the very front of the room. “All right: show of hands. Who here has heard of the Shadow Ribbons spell?” She raised her hand as she turned around. “Put ‘em up.”

Only a few students raised their hands. Helena smirked. “Five out of twenty-seven: better than I expected.” She lowered her hand as she moved to the next question. “Of you five, who has done a successful crafting of this spell? Keep your hands up if you have.” She didn’t need to look to know three of those hands would drop . . .

She pointed at the two students whose hands were still raised. “Annie; Kerry—” She motioned them forward with a few flicks of her fingers. “Get up here–now.”

 

Get up there, kids, because Helena’s gonna make a point!  Which I should get to tonight after my shot and before Apollo 13 comes on.  It’s girl time, but I need to finish this scene.  I really do.

Oh, and tomorrow–something special!  Perhaps.  We’ll see.  But I’ll have something to say for sure.

A Flurry of Moments

If there is anything about 2 June that can be said in its favor, it’s that . . . well, it was interesting.  It was rainy; it was emotional; it was sad; it was happy; it was tiring.

Rainy first.  It was rainy throughout the whole day.  There was misting in the air when I went to work, and it rained all day, and most of the late afternoon.  I caught a small window when I was walking home where it didn’t rain, but when I ran out to get something to eat, raining again.  A lot of rain.  Really sort of set my mood.

Emotional and Sad.  I was going over scenes in my head, some for this novel, some for other stories, and one of the things I thought about was my characters dying.  In particular, Annie and Kerry.  They will die.  Everyone in the story eventually dies, but, as I said, I know how they die.  I’ve worked out the details for them both, and . . . well, here it is right before six in the morning, and I’m starting to cry writing this.  Part of the reason comes from bottoming out on hormones–which makes me nuts–which is the complete opposite of boosting them–which makes me nuts–so there is only a small window where I’m not weepy.

Every person I’ll see in the story dies at some point.  Most of those deaths will never be seen.  Some will, and they’ll go quietly.  Some won’t.  Some will be horrible.  And some . . . just make me cry.  Which I did.  Which I’m doing.

What about happy and tiring?  Well, now, tiring comes first.  I had to run out and pick up a few things, and driving in the rain and dealing with traffic put the strain on me.  Then I was back, and that’s when I got the notice about another venture coming up–

Starting at the end of the month, and going on for sixteen weeks, I’ll be reviewing television shows over on the blog of my friend Rachel Tsoumbakos.  She’s got herself a writing gig, and this has caused her to fall behind on her reviewing commitments, so I asked if she would like me to step in a do a couple of shows, and she said yes.  So click on that link and read the release, and a little quick bio I worked up which I count as writing time, because it’s writing, and it took time.

And that brings me to my writing.  I’ve started the last scene of the chapter, and it’s All About Helena right now, because it’s Thursday morning, and we’re out to do some sorcery . . .

 

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

“It’s so nice to see all your . . .” Helena Lovecraft gazed out over a classroom full of somewhat attentive students who had to walk out to The Witch House at seven-thirty. “Smiling faces this morning. It’s also good to see you here once again, because this means you’re with our happy little family for another year.” The right corner of her mouth twitched up. “At least another year.”

Helena started her slow pacing along the front of this new room, the B Level Classroom in the west wing of the building. She rarely changed her procedure on the first day of class: she came dressed in a dark top and pants, her boots with the thick, clunky heels, and her leather duster, and while talking about what she expected during the coming year, she began pacing. It helped gather her thoughts and focus them into the words she needed to say.

“Last year I pushed the hell out of you kids. I know because I heard the complaints.” She slid her hands into the pockets of her duster, now aware she had the full attention of her students. “But that’s the way it is here at Salem: we make you find your limits and then push you beyond them. Most of you did satisfactorily; some of you succeeded.” Helena momentarily glanced at the couple sitting on the right side of the classroom and smiled. “And a few exceeded my greatest expectations.

 

A couple?  Sitting in sorcery class?  Who could that be?  And where would this classroom be?

Right in front of us, in the center of the picture.  I think I can see that couple if I look hard enough . . .

Right in front of us, in the center of the picture. I think I can see that couple if I look hard enough . . .

It’s right after this class that Helena has the A Levels, so it’s like jaunt out for class, jaunt back for lunch, jaunt out for class, jaunt back for dinner, kick back and relax.  Everyone else walks.  But, as Helena points out, maybe not for much longer . . .

 

“I’m going to do the same thing this year. I’m going to toss assignments at you that will force you into the greatest crafting you’ve ever tried. I’m doing that because there’s something you need to know about this year—” She stopped her pacing and faced the students. “This is the last mandatory sorcery class.

“I don’t have an advanced class like other instructors have for their magic—” Once again she glanced at the two students on her right, who were doing their best not to act as if they were being singled out. “When it comes to sorcery, either you can do this, or you can’t. And after this level, if you can’t, you don’t make the cut to the next level.” Her vision flickered from one child to another. “You get to do something else; you get to concentrate on something else; you get a free period at this time.” Her tone turned serious. “What you don’t get to do is be a sorceress. Not ever. That door, once closed, stays closed forever.”

Helena turned to her left and began pacing once more. “And who gets to decide this matter? Part of it is you, because if you can’t do the spells, you certainly can’t move on. But it’s also my decision, and if I feel you can’t handle the magic, if you seem to craft more through luck than skill, if you are stressed out by crap I’m going to give you—I don’t want you.” She slowly half-turned and glanced at the class out of the corner of her eye. “You can’t be my dark witches.”

 

Is someone listening in on your conversations, Annie?  That’s very possible, and it’s likely that at one point Helena has heard the “dark witch” remark, which will get a conformation later on.  But Helena’s really pimping out her special kids–is there a reason for that?

You’ll see.  Maybe tomorrow.  Depends on how much tonight’s face burning hurts.

The Altered Path

It’s been an interesting time last night and this morning.  It seems that I’m too tired to write at night, but on these weekends I’m getting a lot of writing done–although “a lot” is probably a misnomer, as I’ve only written eight hundred words in ninety minutes.  Not exactly Stephen King-level wordsmithing, but I suppose if I kept it up like he does for an eight to ten hour day, that would work out to almost sixteen hundred words every three hours, and around five thousand in ten hours.

Not bad, if I should say so myself.

But this was a tough scene to write, because Annie’s suppose to say things to Kerry, and say them in a rather nice way that doesn’t make her come off like a Bulgarian Bitch.  She needs to tell him something important–one of my astute readers has already figured out what–but she has to do it in a good way, and as we’ve already seen, Annie can be fairly blunt at times.  Except when it comes to her Ginger Hair Boy, then she sort of pulls back and tries not to let him have it too hard, while at the same time saying, “No, Kerry:  bad Kerry.”

But first off:  did Kerry deliberately kill that Deconstructor in Selena’s Meadow back when he thought he was safe from being eating by one of Cthulhu’s Minions?  And how did Annie figure out that she things Kerry smoked the dude on purpose?  The answer is pretty easy, actually . . .

 

All excerpts, this page, from The Foundation Chronicles, Book One: A For Advanced, copyright 2013, 2014, 2015 by Cassidy Frazee)

Kerry continued staring at his hand being held by Annie. He finally responded in a whisper much like hers. “How did you find out?”

Annie pressed her cheek against his for a moment before pulling back. “I figured it out.”

“When?”

“The Monday following the attack, during Flight Class.”

Kerry slowly turned so he was looking at Annie. “How? How did you figure it out?”

“Remember how I was waiting for you to come out of the locker room before the daily briefing?”

“I remember.” That was one of the few moments about that class that Kerry did remember completely. He’d felt so strange changing into his flight gear, which a few days earlier had been covered in blood and brains, and given that he was given a lot of space to as he changed made him wonder how the class would go for him. “It was a strange day.”

“It was indeed. You didn’t know it at the time, but Emma walked out right before you did. Everyone in the room knew what had happened to her, but only about half stopped what they were doing and watched her take her seat. It wasn’t like when you came out—everyone stopped talking. I don’t think you realized how quiet the Ready Room became right then, because you had pulled into yourself.”

He nodded. “Yeah, I was trying not to pay attention.”

“I know. You weren’t looking at anyone as we headed for our seats—but I was. I caught the few stares focused on you, could sense what they were thinking. I also saw Vicky . . .” Annie paused, taking a moment to breathe and think. “When Emma came out, Vicky was looking at her like she was happy that she’d survived her ordeal and has returned to fly another day.

“But when she looked at you— I caught her expression for just a second, but it was enough. She looked like she knew something about you, like there was a secret she was holding, and she was afraid someone else would find it out.” Annie lightly ran her fingertips over the back of Kerry’s hand. “She was sad and worried all at once—and the moment she realized I’d seen her, she shifted her expression back over to what she’d shown when Emma walked out.

“While we were sitting in the briefing, I remembered a moment we’d had back in the hospital after Emma wrecked you racing. Coraline said to Vicky, ‘I know you checked the flight data,’ and I realized she would have done the same thing with your broom the moment it was recovered from Selena’s Meadow. She would have wanted to see where you’d traveled, where you hid after you nearly crashed, she’d want to know everything. The fact she had the information that got us here proves she did.”

She inched closer to Kerry, pressing against his arm as she comforted him. “I know she would have examined your path when you tried to return to The Diamond, and when you tried getting away from the Abomination . . . and right before you ran into the Deconstructor. She would have noticed if you’d actually flew straight into him, or if you’d changed your path towards him . . .” Annie rested her head against his shoulder. “She would have seen that you altered your path, that you flew towards him, that you chose to hit him.” She kissed him on the cheek. “That’s how Vicky knew, and that’s how I knew.”

 

Annie is bright, and she’s observant.  She’s also aware of the emotional baggage that her soul mate carries around, and she tries not to add to that if at all possible.  The fact that she thought she’d figured all this out six months before and had kept it to herself shows she didn’t want to burden him with more troubles.  She probably would have said something had he started freaking out with night terrors and the like, though it’s likely that Coraline and a few others knew the truth along with Vicky–if that truth did indeed exist.

And did it?

 

Silence filled the clearing as Kerry removed his hand from Annie’s and slid his arm around her shoulders. “I saw the guy pretty well, because I’d looked over my left should to see what was happening behind me, and when I turned back there he was—standing with blue flame in his hand.” He pulled her closer. “I knew one of the other two people was Jessica; I was using low light on my goggles and I could tell by her height and complexion. I didn’t know who the other person was: one guy had cold fire, and he was getting ready to use it on Jessica and whoever she was helping.

“If I’d kept flying straight I’d have flown between them. I didn’t know if I’d been hit; it wouldn’t matter, since I could have flown over them. I did know that he was going to hit and burn them, and I knew what cold fire would do, so he was going to kill them. And I couldn’t let that happen, so . . .” He twisted and reached across his body so he could hug Annie with his other arm. “I shifted my path to the left a little. I didn’t think I was going to hit him in the head, though: I thought I’d hit him in the shoulders or chest, something like that.”

Even with her face buried against his flight jacket Kerry could feel Annie smile before chuckling. “What is it?”

 

I’ll get to the “What is it?” in a moment, but there’s the truth:  Kerry saw the guy, knew one of the people in his firing line was Jessica, and he altered his path to intercept, as any other flight jock might say.  Tough choice to make, and there weren’t a lot of options open.  And there’s another fact that plays out here:  If Kerry had tried to run and leave that scene of death and destruction behind, would he have lived?  Or would he have had a Morte spell thrown at him as he tried to jet away into the darkness?  Even I can’t say, because I wrote the scene the way it was written, and there’s no need for speculation.  So it is written; so it is done.

Now, what was Annie chuckling about?  Well, not what you think.  She gets there, but only after laying out her own truths:

 

“I’ll tell you in a minute.” Annie relaxed and rested against Kerry. “You knew early on that I was a witch, but I never mentioned that I wanted to be a sorceress because I didn’t want to reveal too much, or confuse you.” She turned her head, rubbing her cheek against his. “And as you’ve likely guessed, I want to be a Guardian. I thought about the possibility when I was teaching myself Exsanguination, and once we were asked to do the field operation, I wanted it to be more than a possibility: I wanted to make it real.

“I know what it means to be a sorceress, and when I started learning a Morte spell I understood that one day it might be necessary to use it—and if so, I couldn’t hesitate using it, because my life could depend upon its use.

“To be a sorceress means to use spells against other people: we learned that the first day of Sorcery class. It means you may find it necessary to use Morte spells against Deconstructors, Berserkers, and those people who turn on The Foundation and go rogue. It means you have to stop them, any way you can.” She pressed her head against his shoulder. “It means if it becomes necessary to kill someone, you have to do so without hesitation.”

 

Ambitious Annie, almost a teenager and knowing what she wants to do with her life.  It probably also answers the question of whether or not she’d have gone on the field operation had Kerry said no.  Then again, we don’t know if she would have said yes had Kerry said no–and one day I’ll actually give the answer to that question.

One day.

But Annie’s not finished:  now she gets to the most important part of her conversation with Kerry–

 

Annie twisted away from Kerry and sat directly in front of him, cross-legged. “During our battle on the Link Bridge you hesitated. I know you know this, because you’ve already said you’ve thought about the battle, and you understand your actions. I don’t know if you hesitated because you were unsure if you could craft the Electrify spell properly, or if you were, as you say, trying to do too many things at the same time.” She reached out and took Kerry’s hands, the one he’d kept sitting in his lap, and set them against her legs. “Or, lastly, it could be you hesitated because you knew you’d need to take his life.”

“Kerry—Erywin was down, I was down, it was you and the Deconstructor. You know what they’re like, you know what they’ll do to us: they’ll kill us without hesitation. Which is what he tried to do to you, and would have done to Erywin and me as well. My love—” She gave his hands a squeeze. “If I had been knocked out instead of stunned, you would be dead. You’d be dead, Erywin and I would probably be dead. Even if we hadn’t died, I’d have had to deal with loosing you, and that’s something I don’t wish to contemplate.

“This is why I asked if you want to be a good sorceress, because if you want to be good, you can’t ever hesitate like that again. Because the time will likely come again when your life, and perhaps the lives of others, will depend on whether you’re good or not.”

There it is:  she lets him know that he could have died and maybe gotten them killed at the same time.  You know, last year at this time, Kerry was probably sitting down for dinner, maybe having a favorite dish because it was his eleventh birthday, and while he was munching on his cake he was thinking that he was gonna see Annie in his dreams and she’d have a birthday kiss for him.  Quiet a difference from sitting in a tiny clearing hearing about how he almost died and maybe, just maybe, almost caused the deaths of the people with him.  Not exactly the sort of birthday goodness one would expect.

What is the end result of this conversation?  This:

 

Annie moved close enough that they were nearly sitting in each other’s laps. “I don’t expect you to walk my path; I know there are things you want to do that I won’t, and there are things I want to do that you won’t. But . . . you have the abilities of a great sorceress, and it would be a shame to let your skills go to waste.” She leaned closer. “Do you want to be a good sorceress?” She closed in, brushing her lips against his cheek as she whispered. “Do you want to be my Dark Witch?”

 

Annie is pressing home her question, and doing it as nicely and sweetly and . . . well, in a way that should leave Kerry with no misconceptions that she’s angry–it’s pretty much the opposite.

And he gives his answer–

 

Kerry sat there breathing slowly, his eyes half closed, his hands locked tightly around Annie’s as he considered her questions. He didn’t wait long to give his answer. “Yes.”

She didn’t pull back from her place so close to him. “Are you certain?”

“Yes, I’m certain.” He swallowed hard and sighed twice before continuing. “I screwed up; I know I did. I hesitated because I wasn’t certain I could craft Electrify, and . . .” He shook his head. “I screwed up: I won’t do it again.”

Annie had to extinguish all her doubts, however. “It wasn’t because you were afraid to kill him?”

“No. I knew he’d kill us: I knew they would all try.” He turned his head just enough so he could see Annie so close to him. “I can do this, Sweetie. I can.”

“I know you can.” Annie kissed him on the cheek. ‘Do you know what I was laughing about before?”

“No, what?”

“The Day of the Dead, you left from here and ended up risking your life fighting a monster you’d never seen before, all to save someone’s life. And ten minutes after that, having been chased all around the school—tired, frightened, scared you’d never see me again—you made a quick decision to save two more people.  You did so without hesitation, and you did so at the risk of your own life again.”  She touched his arm. “You thought like a Guardian, my love.”

 

And that is the truth:  Kerry did risk his life to save several people that day, and in both instances he could have been killed.  Hell, he faced getting killed three times that day, and while he might not have thought his last action was going to put him in the hospital, he didn’t know for certain.  He acted in each instance without giving it a lot of thought.

Now . . . just so it’s addressed, one could argue Annie used her feminine wiles to manipulate Kerry into choosing to do something that he’s really mature or emotionally stable enough to handle.  After all, Annie was pretty touchy-feely with the, “Do you wanna be my Dark Witch?” question, and it’s easy to see how someone could say, “She totally used his hormones against him!”  It’s possible, but I could argue that Annie’s not that manipulative, and she’s never tried that on Kerry before.  Or maybe she has, but she’s been a lot more passive-aggressive about it, and this is the first time she’s known she’d have to push him hard to get him to do something without making it look like she was trying to get him to do something . . .

Maybe Annie's a Overly Attached Magical Girlfriend?  Do we want to find out?

Maybe Annie’s an Overly Attached Magical Girlfriend.  Do we want to find out?

I do know the answer to this question, too, because I know what Annie’s thinking.  But here’s where the pain comes in:  that particular question will never get answered at any point during their attendance at Salem.  But it is answered–

When both of them are in their thirties.

That’s not that long to wait, is it?