Styles and Curtains

Like I said in my long video yesterday, the current scene was going to be long and it was:  just over thirty-eight hundred words.  But it is complete, even through here were a few computer hiccups along the way like the machine locking up on me for about a minute and a half because of a network change on the internet router here at the coffee shop.

But done is done and here it is.

But done is done and here it is.

Now, I also said yesterday that I not only picked up a new dress but I was expecting some new outfits in the mail.  I managed to get the mail guy before he locked my stuff away and was able to try on everything so I could decide what I wanted to send back, but I did end up with a new pair of jeans, a lace top, and a jacquard-style dress.

Never mind the "I'm Going to Hit You" pose.

Never mind the “I’m Going to Hit You” pose.

And for the dress I picked up yesterday morning, I now own a Christian Siriano dress:

I keep stylin'; haters be hatin'

I keep stylin’; haters be hatin’

There you have it:  my sartorial splendor.

Back in the realty of my fictional world you learned that Deanna is going to teach Annie and Kerry stuff they wouldn’t normally learn for another couple of years.  Some of it is pretty simple–if you consider seeing the magical electrical field around a person simple.  But as I indicated in yesterday’s video, there’s other things as well…

 

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

 

“Quite so.” Deanna enjoyed her first bite, taking her time to relish the dish. “I’m also planing to teach you more than that.”

Annie began refilling her tea cup the moment she finished swallow her first slice of lamb. “Such as?”

“Oh—” Deanna turned her gaze down at her plate while she separated her food. “Astral Projection and Astral Walking.”

Instead of skewering another piece of lamb Annie set her fork aside. She swallowed once so that her voice didn’t quiver when she spoke. “Seriously?”

“Absolutely.” Deanna set her fork aside and waved the server over to ask for another cup of coffee. “I can tell you’re surprised.”

“I am. I mean, I know Kerry and I have been learning spells a level or two over our actual level, but…” Annie giggled as she looked from the dining room to the scene outside the window and back to Deanna. “I’ve always concentrated on sorcery; I never imagined I’d learn a spell that would allow me to entered a completely different world.”

Deanna nodded with a slight smile on her lips. “You were content to remain in the Physical Realm.”

“Most witches are.”

“Well—” Deanna chuckled. “I’m not most witches. And neither are you. Or your significant other, either.”

 

The Astral Realm is a magical reflection of our world and while it usually mirrors what you see in the Physical Realm, there are changes here and there that one wouldn’t expect to find.  There are also things there:  spirits and entities that can make one’s life hard, or even non-existent.  That’s why when Deanna walked in that one time she had her armor and sword to protect her, though they were really more than that

Needless to say it’s not always the friendliest of environments, and getting there isn’t always half the battle.  Let’s also not forget that one may encounter things we think are friendly–

 

Annie found herself almost too excited to eat. What Deanna wants to teach us incredible. I’ve seen a little of what the Astral Realm looks like from Dreamwalking, but I’ve never imagined walking about in there. “So we’ll learn how to open The Curtain.”

“Astral Walking is pretty much worthless if you can’t.” Deanna chuckled. “You should see your face right now, Annie: I don’t believe I’ve ever seen you like this before.”

“What do you mean?”

“You’re visibly excited. At school you always maintain a controlled demeanor.”

“I know.” Annie finally found the means to eat a couple of bites before going on. “Every one thinks I’m this ice princess who feels nothing—”

“Except love for your Ginger Hair Boy.”

“Yes: except for that.” Annie filed this moment away for now and pushed the conversation back to the discussion of lessons to come. “I’ve always understood that the Astral Realm can be a bit dangerous.”

“It can be; there are things in there that can react badly to an invasion by someone from the Physical Realm.” Deanna interlaced her words between bites. “However, within the walls of Salem we’re safe.” She looked up from her plate with a half-grin. “We can thank our Benefactor and Protector for that.”

Annie knew that could mean only one person. “The Phoenix.”

“Yes. She always gets a bit testy whenever anything enters the astral space around Cape Ann.” Deanna gave a slight sigh. “Though if we catch her on a bad day ‘anything’ can extend to us as well. She can be tricky that way.”

“Oh?”

“We’ll discuss that when we’re at school and Kerry’s with us. For the most part, though, we’ll be able to spend as much time on the other side of the Curtain as we like, which means I’ll be able to teach you Astral Weapons and Astral Defense without fear of needing them right away.”

 

–but can sometimes be a pain in your ass.  We know from the one time Deanna walked the plain that The Phoenix likes to screw with people, if for no other reason that she can.  It’s not like you’re going to give her a harsh talking to because she’s jacking you around, and for all we know she can kick a person back to the Physical Realm if they decide to give her too much shit–or just kill you and make your body disappear.  Because, once again, she most likely can.

The one thing you can be sure of:  she’ll put in an appearance in this novel, just as she did in the A and B Level books.  Hey, it’s a hard job protecting the school–sort of–and she should get some exposure,

Speaking of mean things that like to jack with you, the next scene is talk between Kerry and his mother.  I wonder how that’s going to go?

House of Magical Styling

Here we are again, and everything is far better than it was yesterday.  I think I know the problem:  though I didn’t mention it, yesterday was 5 December, and that was Flight 19 Day, which means my head was lost somewhere in the Bermuda Triangle, and that made me just incoherent enough that there wasn’t a chance in hell I was gonna make sense, or understand what was happening.

However, today is different.  I’ve written another six hundred words–this damn scene seems to be coming out in six hundred word chunks–and I managed to get a lot of sleep last night after a watching a wonderful end to this year’s season of Doctor Who.  Oh, yeah, and something else happened:

Notice anything shinny?

Notice anything shiny?

Yes, yesterday I got my nose pierced, and it didn’t hurt a bit in case you’re wondering.  I’ll let this set for a few weeks, then maybe right before Christmas I’ll get a birthstone bob–which, for me, would be an emerald–and have it screwed in and left there.  Then I’ll have to wonder if I’m getting a third ear piercing next December, but I’m not gonna trouble my pretty little head with that today, because in about an hour or so I’m off to get my nails done–

And speaking of nails, that brings us to the excerpt for the day!  You see what I did?

I guess you do.

I guess you do.

We’re back to magical fashion styling, and it sounds like this is a big hit with people, fictional and otherwise.  And yesterday we had a question from the gallery to Kerry about doing something, but there was some concern about it being too weird for a boy.  But this kid fought Cthulhu Junior, so if you believe he’s gonna get freaked out by this request . . .

 

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

Kerry looked down for a moment as he shook his head. “Nah, Elisha, it’s okay—” He started pacing around the room as Annie had when she’d lectured. “Like Annie said, large-scale changes are easy, which is why changing things like your complexion and hair are simple. When you get down to the small stuff you want to change, it become more difficult because you’re fine tuning your crafting skills and localizing you imaging.”

He held up his hands for all to see. “Nails are easy to do because they are small and you can see them clearly without having to use mirrors or streaming video. You can actually get them right in your face and focus on them and nothing more, so right there you’re stepping up your ability to visualize . . .

“Annie said when she does an inanimate change she visualizes everything being over-bright, and she’s right: that does help you get the material change right. But changing yourself is more intimate, more detailed, because why you can have an imperfection in an object, people notice when there’s something wrong with you. So when I’m doing fine crafting of a small area, I see it like I’m looking at an HD video, all the detail right there in a little space.”

Kerry held out one hand so everyone could see while he looked down at his other hand. “Like I said, when you do this sort of crafting your nails are nice because not only can you watch—” The nails on both hands changed from their normal flesh-tone hue to a bright matte blue. “—and others can watch as well.”

 

And when he’s talking about “others”, you know he’s talking about Annie, because whom else has seen him do this?  Something he confirms in his thoughts a few seconds later–

 

Elisha was almost chuckling with glee. “I love that. Can you make them, um—”

He knew where she was going because of the time he’d practiced this with Annie. “You want to know if they can be shiny?”

“Yeah, like there’s a top coat on them.”

Kerry concentrated and a few seconds later his nails began to glisten as if they were slightly wet. “Yeah, that’s actually easy to do. You just have to imagine them being a little like wet mirrors.”

“That is so cool.” Elisha nearly came out of her seat before she calmed. “Can you do other colors?”

“I can do better than that.” He walked over to her. “Is it okay if I hold one of your hands for a second?”

“Sure.” She held out her right hand. “What are you going to do?”

“You’ll see.” He held her hand between his. “What color would you like?”

Her head jerked slightly as she understood the question. “Really?” Kerry nodded. “Um, I’d loved a light pink.”

 

Up until now he’s only tried this little trick on two other people:  Annie and Erywin.  This is the first time he’s ever tried this with another student, but if he can change someone’s hair color under the imminent threat of death, doing another girl’s nails in a classroom should be a snap–

 

Kerry nodded down at her left hand. “Watch—” After five seconds Elisha’s nails changed to a light, almost sparkly pink. He released her hand. “How’s that?”

Elisha gasped as she examined Kerry’s work. “Aman bu harika.” She looked up at Kerry, who was still standing just beyond her work cubical walls. “Do you need to remove this?”

“Naw.” He waved at her. “I haven’t gotten to the point where I can self-sustain a spell for another person, so that enchantment will die in about a day. Nothing to worry about.”

She nodded slowly. “And you’re gonna show us how to do this?”

“Well, we’ll see—”

“Um, Kerry?”

Months of flying together conditioned him to recognize his wingmate’s voice instantly. “Yeah, Emma?”

“Could you, um . . .” Her cheeks flashed bright red. “Can you do purple? I really like purple, and since we both have about the same skin tone—” Emma looked up for a second and squared her shoulders. “I think it’d be a nice color. Can you show me?”

 

I can hear it now:  “Emma, just stop.”  At least she didn’t ask for him to do it to her, probably because there’s a certain Chestnut Girl standing a few meters away.  We also learn, for the first time, that the spell will “wear out” after about a day, which means if you can’t add a little extra to the spell to make it run on its own, it’s gonna drop after a fashion.  And how would one do that?  I’ll tell you later, or they will, I guess.

Now, am I gonna finish this scene tomorrow?  We’ll see, ’cause I’ll have time this evening to add a few hundred more words to this story, and given that this scene has grown like Topsy, it might be a good time to close it out–

Though I’m really digging these magical lessons.  I guess my kids were cut out to be minions . . .

The Hard and the Soft of It

Hola, survivors of U.S. Thanksgiving.  I made it through the day yesterday, heading down to Maryland to relax with friends, then back up to The Burg for a late-night brow waxing before heading home to call family.  Yes, busy day all around.

And you know what that means:  no writing.  Not yet, at least.  I did it yesterday morning, and you saw that, but I didn’t write before going to bed because I was just too tired.  Now, since I had a two hours drive down yesterday, and two hours back, I had plenty of time to figure out things with my kids, and even lay down a couple of scenes, one of which will get played out in the next book.  Wait, am I really talking next book?  Yeah, I am.  I’m strange that way.

I also started thinking about Motre spells and how they could be looked at in the same way martial arts is examined.  Why is this and what am I talking about?  First, they why, and it came from a comment from my friend and fellow blogger renxkyoko, who made this statement the other day:

 

Just a lame observation……

Annie’s is more feminine…. I mean, ribbons ? He he
And Kerry’s is manly…. I mean, a sword ?
I guess it’s natural instinct. They gravitate towards what they prefer, deadly shadow ribbons for a girl, and a sword for the guy.

 

Now, I don’t see those as either feminine or masculine traits, because a lot of women in fiction where fighting is involved use swords–several animes would tell you so, I’m sure–whereas there are certain martial arts films where you see guys doing a lot of deflecting and misdirection.  And this is where I start looking at Morte spells where they are seen as hard and soft disciplines.

To lay it out quick and dirty, a hard martial arts style is often defined as power coming from the outside the individual, using fast, strong, direct attacks against your opponent, while a soft martial arts style is usually defined as power coming from within, using relaxed, slow, indirect defense against your opponent.  In terms of martial arts, Shaolin Kung Fu, Eskrima, and Karate would be considered hard styles, while Tai Chi, Aikido, and Hsing-I are considered soft styles.

The different spells are used different ways, just as in martial arts you have different ways of pretty much doing the same thing.  When Annie did her Morte demonstration she used ribbons to bind–soft restraint there–and then used magic to turn one’s body against itself:  in short, she bleed out her opponent.  She could be seen as a practitioner of a soft style that didn’t require any outside attacks, and given that her signature Morte spell is Exsanguination, the way she goes about killing someone isn’t going to be all that flashy or noticeable:  just look at how she took out the female Deconstructor during the Link Bridge battle.

Kerry went full-on external using Electrify as his signature spell, and even went a step further by showing he could craft an electrical sword.  We can guess why he started learning Electrify:  because he’d seen it used within various entertainments in geek culture, and if you haven’t figured it out, that’s also one of the reasons he was initially drawn to transformation as a magical form as well.  At this point in his schooling Kerry is going with what he’s seen, knows, and loves, but he’s still young–I mean, he’s not even a teenager yet, right.

At the same time the kids known how to change up their styles.  First, look at how Annie fought her Judgement Trial.  Everything was external, full of deadly Air Hammers and an Electrify kill shot.  She had to because there wasn’t room for subtlety:  it was go or blow, and Annie doesn’t not blow when it comes time to show her stuff.  She also had a point to prove:  mess with me and I’ll put you down hard.  It was a bit different from the point she made in her Morte demonstration, which was, “If I want to take you out, you won’t see me coming.”

Kerry is still learning his styles, but now that he’s learning Exsanguination he’ll change up when the need arises.  Remember, Annie’s had a few years to develop her signature Morte spell:  Kerry’s only been working on this stuff for about a year.  When he took out the homunculi during his Exsanguination training it became an “Ah, ha!” moment for him, when he learned that for some spells overthinking–or over attacking–isn’t what’s needed; sometimes you just kick back, flick your finger at someone, and let the magic do the rest.  Now, Helena mentioned that Kerry knows the same stuff as Annie, but you can bet all his fellow B Levels remembered from that class is how he lobbed a zombie head in their direction.

And one last thing that I find interesting.  Helena has been played up as a major bad ass, and rightfully so.  And yet, we know Kerry has killed someone, Annie has as well, so has Erywin, and it’s been implied that Maddie and Jessica killed people during the Day of the Dead attack.  Now, we’ve heard that Helena has killed people, but have you seen her throw a Morte spell?  No.  One day I’ll have to write up the time she killed a student . . .

So, there are my musings for the day.  Tomorrow I’ll have more for you to read–

And I expect this to be the look on some faces while they do.

And I expect this to be the look on some faces while they do.

Demonstrations of Death: Bloody Good Show

Before anything else goes down, there’s a little something that popped up on my Facebook time line today, and that something has to do with historical timelines.  I bring this up because one year ago today I posed The Coming of the Chestnut Girl, and we finally discovered the identity of The Chestnut Girl, about Kerry’s attachment to Annie through their dreams, how he first expressed something most important to her.

Of course that little coming out session led to my kids getting confronted by Helena as soon as they were done pouring their hearts out, and before long they’d find someone trying to rip their hearts out, because bad guys are assholes.  Not to worry thought, ’cause my kids were trained up enough that they managed to keep everyone from dying, and eventually Kerry learned (1) that someone wanted him to be a Dark Witch and (2) to stop overthinking everything.

What a difference a year makes–

Like almost a quarter of a million words difference.

Like almost a quarter of a million words difference.

I eventually wrote just over eighteen hundred words yesterday, and this section I’m showing today is all about practical demonstrations, and it starts off in a bit of a snarky way . . .

 

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

Kerry looked to Annie as she looked back. She half-shrugged her head to the right. “How do you feel?”

“You guys don’t have to do this.” Helena stepped so she was almost between them so she could speak more confidentially. “Like Annie said, you’re not here to show off.”

“True, but—” Kerry quickly glanced to his right, then between Annie and Helena. He lowered his voice. “I’m tried of Lisa’s crap.”

Annie nodded and spoke in the same hushed tones. “So am I.”

“Then it’s settled.” Helena returned to her spot to Kerry’s right. “Since I brought a few homunculi for those students who might be ready for a go at a quick test of their abilities, you’ll be able to see what my minions can do.” She glanced to her far left. “Annie, would you mind demonstrating the Exsanguination spell? I’ve not actually seen you do this on a full homunculus, and I would love to see it in action. I hear your spell is . . .” The right corner of her mouth curled upward. “Killer.”

Annie smiled darkly at Helena’s inside joke. “Of course, Professor.”

 

Who says Helena doesn’t have a sense of humor?  It’s just a little snark between Guardians, is all–and if you don’t believe Annie isn’t thinking of herself as a Guardian by now, you don’t know my Chestnut Girl.  As with all things involving her, it’s eyes on the prize, and this prize has a big “G” on the ID.

So let’s get Annie up there first with her killer spell:

 

Helena pulled out a tablet and began scrolling through something on the screen. A moment later one of the cabinets that were used for holding homonculi appeared about twenty meters from the group. “Since Ramona knows how much you all love those training zombies, she cooked up a batch this week just for you.” She tapped the screen a few times, then nodded at Annie. “You go first.”

“Yes, Professor.” She examined the cabinet as she stepped about five meters away from the other students. “Tracker homunculus?”

“Oh, yeah.” Helena grinned. “Those always give people an incentive to be good.” Her finger hovered over the tablet display. “Ready?”

Annie looked straight ahead, flexing her fingers. “Yes, Professor.”

“Here goes.” She tapped the display.

 

Right off the bat, when Annie says, “Tracker homunculus,” the students watching should have grown nervous.  Then you watch Annie standing there like she’d ready to beat the hell out of someone, and that should have been Nervous Moment #2.  So let’s open the door and see who’s about to try and lay the smack on Annie.

 

The door opened and the homunculus stumbled out. Annie was well acquainted with the type: a girl-like humanoid about her size dressed in a school uniform and appearing to be about a week dead. Like the ones Kerry and she had trained with in the past, this one didn’t stink of rotting flesh, though Annie half expected that at some point Helena would throw a few like that at them to test their concentration.

The tracker zombie keyed on Annie and snarled, then began shambling towards her. She was aware that these homunculus moved faster than they appeared to move, but in the short time she’d had to set up Annie knew what she wanted to do to this thing. All of them want some sort of an exhibition— She pushed her hair back over her shoulders and began to craft.

The zombie girl was about four meters from Annie when two black ribbons eased down from the shadows and wrapped around the homunculus’ upper arms. The zombie snarled and thrashed, but couldn’t free itself from Annie’s spell. It stumbled forward another three meters, finally jerking to a stop about a half meter from the unmoving, unwavering Annie. With Annie close enough to touch it reached out, trying to get hold of her so it could carry out its instinct to bite.

Annie stood in front of the angry, snarling creature, showing no emotion. Once she was certain the homunculus was secure she reached out and took the zombie’s hand in her right and pressed it down hard. It was only as she began crafting the transformation spell that a slight smile finally appeared upon her face.

Slowly the zombie’s hair changed from the the dark brunette to a light blond almost the identical shade of Lisa’s hair. Annie knew it wasn’t necessary to go this far to make a point, but as like Kerry she’d grown tired of the girl’s crap, and while she didn’t know if the argumentative girl would get the point Annie was about to make, she knew others in their level would.

The little sorceress inhaled deeply, clearing her mind. What she was about to do next she’d done before, and under far different, more stressful, conditions. She focused her energy and pulled in the dark energy she needed finish crafting her Exsanguination spell. All that remained was for her to activate the spell with her will . . .

She raised her left hand close to her face and pointed her finger at the snarling face of the zombie.

 

So the kids wanted to see stuff, but they weren’t likely expecting Annie to go all Natural Born Killer on this simple homunculus.  Sure, it’s enchanted to make you go unconscious the moment it bites you, because you should always know that if this were real–and who’s to say this isn’t in this world?–you’d be Zombie Chow.

But Annie’s taking this shit to another level.  First, she shows she can truss up her zombie and that she has no fear it’s going to free itself from her shadow ribbons.  Then she works in her little bit of transformation magic she’s learned from Kerry and gives her homunculus the same shade of hair as Lisa.

And then she gets serious . . .

 

Blood immediately began gushing from the homunculus’ nose, ears, and mouth. The snarling increased as the creature’s head began whipping about, spraying Annie’s face and the upper half of her uniform jacket and blouse with flecks of blood. Annie gripped the creature’s hand and held it steady as the homunculus’ clothing began soaking up the blood seeping from its body. In a few seconds the creature’s eyes filled with blood and sprayed away from its face as a huge burst of fluids doused the floor under its feet. The homunculus jerked three times and went limp a few seconds before falling completely.

Annie took two steps back from the zombie before turning and presenting a bloody visage to her fellow students—some who were gasping, some who were retching. She swiped blood from her eyes and flicked it to the floor before waving her hand back over her shoulder to kill the shadow ribbons. “I hope—” She walked towards Helena as the lifeless zombie homunculus collapsed with a loud thud. “—that was what you expected, Professor.”

Helena nodded and did her damnedest to keep the smile on her face from being seen by anyone but Annie and Kerry. “That was was far more than expected, Annie.” She waited until Annie, bloody and smiling, stood at her left before nodding towards Kerry. “Give me a minute to jaunt this mess away, then it’s your turn.”

 

That Annie, she knows how to show off when she wasn’t intending to show off.  The thing is Annie doesn’t show off, and everything she did had a point–

"And I do hope you bitches saw that point . . ."

“And I do hope you bitches saw that point . . .”

Everyone in the room got to see Annie’s signature move, and managed to see it in a way that didn’t involve them screaming and running for their lives, as they likely would have done the first time Annie kicked this sucker off when it was meant to mean something.  Sure, the shade throwing wasn’t necessary, but as Helena once said, one of the best things you can get for yourself is a bad ass rep, and Annie certainly added to that one.

Up next, Kerry–

Just as soon as they bloody zombie is out of the room.

Time to Make the Camp Site

There are real pros and cons to taking a long nap when you get home from work.  The pro is you feel a lot better once it’s over and you’re up.  The downside is that you’re not all that tired when it does become time to turn in and go to sleep.  This is the dilemma I found myself in yesterday after a nap that seemed to stretch on for about an hour and fifteen minutes.  I felt recharged enough to writ about twelve hundred words for my recap, and then another eight hundred for this novel, but when you find it time to go to nodding land, you don’t really want to go.

"If only I hadn't written those last three hundred words!"

“If only I hadn’t written those last three hundred words!”

I did get to sleep, but I expect a bit of a hangover for most of the morning.  At least I’ll be able to head out and do some shopping tonight with a semi-clear head.

This section seemed to come pretty good for me, save for a couple of things which I’ll explain in a bit.  What we have now is the overnight flight has turned the music off, climbed down from their brooms, and they set about the task of making camp:

 

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

As soon as everyone was on the ground the teams went to work. First order was to get up four fires, and that was handled by Nadine and Rivânia. Kerry asked if he could help—he was still the only B Level who could do the Fireball spell—but was told by Vicky to get busy setting up his team’s tent and let the minion handle stoking the fires.

Emma and Kerry, as well as the other teams, went to work unpacking. All their gear—tents, cots, sleeping bags, cooking gear, and clothing—was loaded inside their large, thirty-six liter backpacks using a Compress spell that most students wouldn’t learn until their C Levels, but that the Advanced Flight students were expected to master by the end of their B Levels. Compress was kind of miniaturization spell, one that could make objects smaller with the downside of allowing it to retain ninety percent of its mass.

They removed their mittens and folded back the hoods of their thick white winter jackets. This was the first time they wore the cold weather gear they’d need to be able to live and fly in arctic conditions in the field, and moving about was a slow and sometimes difficult task. Both members of Team Myfanwy considered removing the heavy jackets, but they knew they couldn’t as that was an option they wouldn’t have once they were in conditions far colder than than their current situation.

 

The Compress spell is pretty self explanatory, and it does have a bit of a disadvantage for the kids in that if they’ve got to pack fifteen kilos of gear to lug around on their backs, they’re still gonna feel most of that fifteen kilos.  But shit happens, right?  And the spell to get this stuff up to normal size is below.

The other thing has not been mentioned up to this point, and it’s that the kids are all wearing cold weather gear.  One of the things I’ve done a long time ago is kinda show what that gear looks like, because . . . well, it’ll come to you in time.  Basically they’re wearing a thick sweater garment in place of their normal flight jacket and then, over that, they’re wearing a modern polar jacket with a hood.  They’re wearing the same flight pants, but their boots have been beefed up, and they’re also wearing mittens over their gloves.  It makes things a little clumsy to work in, but they gotta know how to do this.

So the process for getting up the site?  This:

 

They used the Expand spell they’d learned during the last month—though Kerry had already used it well before the end of his A Levels—to return their gear to its original size. Besides each carrying extra changes of clothing, Emma carried the main tent, the tent poles, her cot, and her sleeping bag, while Kerry carried the vestibule, his cot and sleeping bag, the team rations, their cooking gear, and a few miscellaneous items. He floated light points over head so they could see properly, then they got to work. In the last few weeks they’d practiced putting up their tent in the dark, so they knew the routine.

They removed the tent, vestibule, and poles, and began setting up their sleeping area, pushing poles through tent eyes, then driving and securing them into the ground. Once the tent was in place Kerry worked on attaching the vestibule while Emma assembled the cots just outside the tent and moving them inside once her work was completed. Kerry attached the vestibule and fastened it to the ground while Emma set their cooking gear and rations aside before setting up the portable camp toilet behind a nearby tree. The last act was for Emma to roll out each sleeping back on their cots while Kerry set up a levitated ground cloth upon which to lay their brooms and backpacks.

After just twenty-five minutes their tent was ready for occupation.

With the fires going, everyone brought out their small folding chairs and set them up so each team could set about cooking their evening meal. No one had eaten since lunch, and while most fliers had brought snacks, the cold weather gear their wore on the flight up prevented them prevented them from eating while airborne. Kerry and Emma used their cooking equipment to heat up their meals, which were items packaged by the kitchen for this overnight expedition. While the meals weren’t nearly as tasty as the fair they would have enjoyed had they remained at Salem, they were designed to be high in calories and filling.

It was nearing twenty-one thirty by the time meals were over and cooking gear was cleaned and stowed. Before people began heading to their tents for the evening, Kerry brought out something he’d been given before leaving: a container full of banitsa that Annie had asked the kitchen to prepare that day. There was one for every person in the flight, and was surprised when everyone not only took one, but ate them as well. He’d expect there’d be at least one or two leftovers, but at this point in the evening, with everyone tired and cold, anything resembling a desert was welcome.

 

There you go:  a real team effort between Emma and Kerry, and one that they can sort of do for real when it’s needed.  And the “missing person” of Advanced flight sent along a bit of her homeland with banitsa for all!  Nice of Annie to do that, but there is probably one banitsa in there meant for a special person . . .

Now, here’s where I did something different.  As I was writing I decided that I didn’t like the first three paragraph–no, let me rephrase that.  I didn’t like where they were as written, so what I did, ’cause you can in a computer, is move to to this point in the story and rewrite them a bit.  Rather than have your go back a couple of days to the originals, I brought them here for you to see.

This was how they looked in their original form:

 

Kerry waved his hand in the direction of one of the camp fires and crafted a spell to pull oxygen away from the flames and smother them, which was far better than dumping water and using up fluids that could be needed later. It didn’t matter that there was a lake only a dozen meters away: Kerry not only knew it was easier to use magic to put out a fire, but he didn’t feel like filling up a container and bring it back to do the job he was now performing with the wave of his hand.

He looked up through the slight gap in the trees seeing if the stars were out. At the moment there was nothing but overcast, something they were told to expect after twenty-one. It was like this when they left the school: cloudy, dark, and growing colder.

He tidied up a few things and stored what little trash there was in a lock bag that he’d stuff in his backpack before heading off to bed. Kerry adjusted the collar of his flying jacket as the cold once more encroached upon the campsite as his mind drifted back to their flight north—

 

And how they now look re-positioned and rewritten:

 

Vicky called lights out at twenty-two and ordered everyone to their tents, letting them know they’d need to be up about five-thirty so they could begin preparing for the day. Kerry waved his hand in the direction of one of the camp fires and crafted a spell to pull oxygen away from the flames and smother them, which was far better than dumping water and using up fluids that could be needed later. It didn’t matter that there was a lake only a dozen meters away: He knew it was not only easier to use magic to put out a fire, but he didn’t feel like filling up a container and bring it back to do the job he was now performing with the wave of his hand.

He looked up through the slight gap in the trees seeing if the stars were out. At the moment there was nothing but overcast, something they were told to expect after twenty-one. It was like this when they left the school: cloudy, dark, and growing colder. He tidied up a few things and stored what little trash there was in a lock bag that he’d stuff in his backpack before heading off to bed. Kerry adjusted the collar of his jacket as the cold once more encroached upon the campsite and allowed his thoughts to first drifted back to their flight north, and then on to Annie. He wondered what she was doing and if she was alone. They’d promised not to get upset over being separated for one night, and would make the most of his return tomorrow. He whispered a good night and love to his soul mate before entered his tent’s vestibule. He zipped the outer door closed, tapped his hand three times against the tent door to announce his presence, unzipped the door and entered.

 

Much nicer, I think, and it makes far more sense now.  It’s also a good lead-in to the last part of the scene, and I’m guessing most of you can figure out what’s coming next–

You're not going to find it here, however.

You’re not going to find it here, however.

It was a good night to write, and mostly pain free.  Mostly.  I’ll try not to be in pain when I write tonight.

I promise you this.

Through the Foam

First off, a bit of strange news.  Because of some things–and, of course, stuff–said on this blog of late, I’ve told my friend Skye Hegyes, whose blog I’ve followed for a while and whom I verbally joust with now and then, that I would do a post on Genesis concerts and where the recordings, bootleg and otherwise, can be found on YouTube.  I’m going to do that Saturday morning, because why not?  It’ll give me a break from having to dream stuff up, and you can see where Kerry gets his knowledge.  In fact, one of the shows I’ll mention became a driving reason for him wanting to get out and about with Annie the first time they were alone in London . . .

Depression wasn’t that bad last night, but it’s still there.  This has been the longest stretch I’ve had, going on about two weeks now, but I think I’m getting out of it.  Think.  It doesn’t make for a good time of things at home, let me tell you.  And tonight I need to run out and get my face zapped, so I imagine this evening’s session isn’t going to go  well.  I may just opt for ninety minutes and ask to have my brows cleaned up.  We’ll see.  I am not dreading the moment tonight, but I’m not looking forward to it, either.

And so there was writing . . . just under seven hundred words, because I’m making up stuff like crazy now, and finding the correct descriptive words is a pain in the butt.  It all came out pretty much correct, and so we find out how Annie did with her art crafting–not to be confused with arts and crafts . . .

 

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

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Somnolence at the Bequest

There are more than a few things going on in my life at the moment, and depression is one of them.  It’s been weighing sort of heavy on me the last couple of weeks, and yesterday, after returning from work, it was on of the first times that I fell asleep in my recliner for about thirty minutes, and when I awoke I sort of lay there staring out the window for another twenty minutes.  Really sucky, let me tell you.

And when that happens in your life, it’s sort of hard to kick start the writing engine and get your butt in gear.  Last night I had a bit of cleanup work to do, changing what I knew to be an incorrect work into the correct phrase.  How long does something like that take?  Well, I went through a seven minute song twice before I’d completed the task, so there you are.  Then I set about changing the names of some of the scene in Chapter Fifteen, because after a while they aren’t making any sense, so you gotta switch thing up, right?

And you try to come up with something that seems a little more realistic for your fantasy world.

And you try to come up with something that seems a little more realistic for your fantasy world.

That was done and out of the way.

As you can probably see if you’re examining the above graphic, I didn’t write a lot.  In fact, this scene is short, really short.  Probably not the shortest I’ve ever written for a story–in my story Echoes there is a chapter that runs right around seven hundred and fifty words–but this has to be one of the shortest scenes ever written in this series.  But, you know, that’s okay, because you write what’s needed and move on.

And what is happening?  Annie’s trying to dreamwalk.  Let me tell you, when you’re trying to image how something that’s never happened before in real life actually works, it’s a pain in the butt.  That’s one of the reasons one, it took me about two hours to write five hundred and twenty words, and two, why the scene is so short.  What is there to say?  You imagine how Annie is crafting the spell and you put that down in the document.

Simple.  Kinda.

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

She understood the concept: in order to dreamwalk one needed to place themselves in a proper meditative state of mind and then, visualizing their surroundings within the dream realm, use magic to fall asleep and transport their consciousness to this tiny subsection of the Astral Realm.

Like all magic the process, as described, appeared simple. The practice was something completely different. Not only was Annie trying to perform magic designed to make her fall into sleep, but she was attempting to project her magical essence into a realm which she’d never seen. She’d read a much as possible about the Astral Realm, but imagining herself there was difficult, and it was one of the reasons Dreamwalking wasn’t taught until students were at least D Levels and had found some success with Astral Projection.

Only Annie had never performed Astral Projection, so trying to craft the spell for something she’d never seen made visualization that much more difficult. Not that this dissuaded her from doing her best . . .

 

Yepper Prepper, Annie doing her best is usually a hell of a lot better than nearly everyone else at school.  After all, she’s a very methodical girl . . .

 

She took one final breath and held it for a few seconds before releasing it, purging it and her thoughts from her body. Annie’s eyes shifted behind now-closed lids as she concentrated her willpower upon the image and sensations in her mind. As her body relaxed she wrapped her willpower around the other two elements of her spell and pushed with the last remnants of her consciousness mind as she slipped away into peaceful sleep . . .

 

And where does this lead us?  Well . . .

Here perhaps?

Here perhaps?

The first image has most of the answers.

It’s like searching for something in a dream, let me tell you.