Off Into the Wild Black Yonder

Yesterday I was in the middle of relaxing mood, and I was doing my best not to stress out my left shoulder, which was acting up again.  This coming weekend, for sure, I’m going to get a new chair; I think that will go a long ways towards helping the pain.

I also needed to save up the shoulder ’cause I knew I’d write about a thousand words during note taking for my recap, and that helped because I wasn’t in any for the most part.  But it’s still bothering me a bit, and I do believe I stressed something out bad there, ’cause even now I feel a little twinge while typing.  Maybe a heating pad would be a good investment as well.

I did manage to get almost six hundred words out–well, five hundred sixty, allow me this little fib–and it’s a bit of on-site recollecting:

 

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

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—

They departed the school at seventeen-thirty sharp, as they were told in the briefing. As they flew beyond the school walls the weather was mostly cloudy and was already a degree below zero Celsius, but rain wasn’t in the forecast, and the only winds they needed worry about were the ones they’d produce on their two hour flight to Baxter State Park in Central Maine.

While he’d flown at night around the school, and during his A Levels the Beginning Flight class had taken a couple of Monday night flights to get them used to being on a broom in the dark, this was the first time he’d take a long flight in full darkness. Besides the eight flight teams of Advanced Flight One, Vicky was leading the team with held from Erywin, and they were being assisted by Nadine and Rivânia Suassuna, both from Advanced Spells and racing.

They followed I-95 north, keeping the highway below and the Atlantic to their right. They didn’t exactly fly one team after the other, front to back, but rather kept their teams in a loose grouping more like a flattened sphere kept ringed in by the two instructors and their minions.  Upon reaching Lewiston, Maine, the interstate shifted a bit to the east, and they paralleled the road until passing Palmyra, where they kept going straight as I-95 turned right on its way to Bangor, and they entered the area south of Baxter State Park and Mount Katahdin known at the 100 Mile Wilderness. Soon the distant glow of Bangor faded into the distance, and darkness enveloped them.

Kerry kept Emma close on his right and they chatted a little as they braced themselves against the wind chill they created. There were enchantments on the broom to keep nearly all the wind from hitting them, but they were still flying in the open, and the colder air that surrounded them pressed against them. They were still amazed they were out flying into a night time wilderness, and that excitement kept the cold away, but it was there just enough to remind Kerry that when they flew the Polar Express, the chill they felt now would be far worse.

Just west of Millinocket they turned nearly due north as they skirted the eastern border of Baxter State Park and Mount Katahdin.

 

Yes, I did just end right there with “and Mount Katahdin.”  Why?  Because I was really trying to hit my goal for the day, and that was my next milestone in my story.  As you can see . . .

Because I see to record everything.

Because I see to record everything.

The “they” right after Millinocket is word one hundred forty thousand.  I wanted to hit it to keep my ten thousand every two weeks streak going, and I just did.  Thank you, Saturday morning!

With the image above you can see a little of the map behind the Scrivener program, as I was using it to make sure I had my route down.  You can also see notes on the right, and so what is all this team stuff?  Well, I figured if I have a team for Emma and Kerry, then I should have one for everyone, and that also took up a bit of time.  Also, teams indicate sleeping arrangments, because those who wingmate together sleep together.  And so we have–

 

Sleeping arrangements:

Team Myfanwy (pronounced “muh-van-wee”)
Kerry Malibey, Cernunnos
Emma Nielson, Mórrígan

Team Sulaco
Mesha Tomasko, Ceridwen
Daudi Gueye, Åsgårdsreia

Team Azso
Sutou Takara, Ceridwen
Elisha Tasköprülüzâde, Åsgårdsreia

Team Arafura
Edelmar Brodney, Blodeuwedd
Fidele Diaz, Blodeuwedd

Team Zanzibar
Shauntia Okoro, Åsgårdsreia
Shadha Kanaan, Ceridwen

Team Castle Book
Dariga Dulatuli, Åsgårdsreia
Loorea Barling, Ceridwen

Team Picante
Kalindi Kartodirdjo, Mórrígan
Felisa Ledesma, Blodeuwedd

Team Manga
Franky Smith, Ceridwen
Koyanagi Jiro, Ceridwen

Minions and Instructors
Nadine and Rivânia
Victoria and Erywin

 

Pretty simple, I’d say.

Tonight I get electrolysis, but I will attempt to write as much of the scene as I can when I get home, because there are things that need writing.  By the time this scene is over they will have covered the ground on this map:

Because you know I have them.

Because you know I have them.

And you may just find out a little more about what they did in the air . . .

 

Details in the Dungon

This is not a good morning.  It hasn’t been for a while, because at two-thirty the fire alarms went off in the building, and for the first time there was smoke in our hallway on the eleventh floor.  It was smoke that smelled a great deal like someone was cooking and then fell asleep, allowing whatever it was on the stove to go up in flames.  Don’t laugh:  that same thing has happened twice before, and I suspect this morning was the third.

I didn’t get back to sleep until about four, which means I never really got back to sleep, so at the moment I’m feeling really slow . . .

This will be me in about another two hours, albeit with a lot less cleavage.

This will be me in about another two hours, albeit with a lot less cleavage.

On top of that the evening didn’t turn out to be the greatest, either.  It was one of those “Let’s Cry, Shall We?” moments from just about the time I walked out of work until I fell asleep.  I actually had to stop on the walk home and let it out for about five minutes, and then it was another five minutes after I got in the place, and another five while I sat out on my balcony and watched the lightning storm pass, and . . . you get the picture.  Lots of sadness; lots of crying.

And, yeah:   lots of writing.

Since I hadn’t written the night before I needed to make up for it last night, and penned–is that still a word?  We’ll go with it–a little over thirteen hundred words.  I took my time on it because, really, my mind was in other places.  Still, I got it done, and finished the scene.

And it doesn’t disappoint–I hope.

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

Most people were either in the covens or in the Dining Hall, leaving the Rotunda empty. They’d covered nearly half the distance from the transept to the East Hallway when they heard a familiar voice speak in a low tone. “Kerry.”

He turned towards the East Rotunda staircase where Nadine stood at the top of the flight leading to the lover levels. She waved them over. “Come here.”

Figuring there had to be a reason why Nadine was being so secretive he took her suggestion and headed towards her with Annie next to him. “Hey, what’s up?”

Nadine nodded in the direction of the downward flight. “Let’s talk in private.” She bounced down the fight, with her two friends close behind.

The lower levels of the Great Hall were much like the majority of the tunnels under the school: stark, dimly lit, and quiet. Kerry knew this section well, as the tunnel leading to Cernunnos Cover was a few meters to their right. Nadine turned left instead and walked towards the storage areas under the jaunt station and the school archives. As soon as they found a quiet passage she ducked inside and waited for her two followers. She didn’t bother with preamble. “Did something happen between you and Emma yesterday?”

He groaned quietly, hoping the unpleasantness that happening in Queens had died. “Yeah.”

Annie lightly touched his arm. “You should tell her everything.”

Nadine did a quick double-blink. “Must have been bad if Annie’s telling you to come clean.”

“It was . . .” He shrugged. “We landed in New York City—”

“I know: I helped set up your Scavenger Flight locations.”

“Right. We took a flight break when we were getting picture of the Unisphere, and she decided—” Kerry stared at the floor as he sighed. “She hit on me—”

Annie turned a cold stare towards Nadine. “Again.”

It was the older girl’s turn to scoff. “Yeah, I’ve heard the rumors in our coven.” She turned to Kerry. “I guess she didn’t take it well.”

“Not at first, but . . .” He cleared his throat as he shook his head. “She was okay by the time we were off Long Island and on our way home. I figured it was over.”

“What happened, Nadine?” Annie knew the whole story of what happened during the flight; after dinner, but before they got ready for the Midnight Madness, he told her everything that transpired earlier in the day. She’s suspected that if Emma tried anything Kerry would set her right, and he’d done that. However, there appeared to be a lingering aftermath . . .

“A couple of girls told me this morning that Emma started going on last night about today’s race.” Nadine turned and leaned back against the passage wall. “She was talkin’ shit about how you guys were tied at one, and this was going to be a deciding race.”

What?” Kerry’s face twisted about, unable to hide his disbelief. “What is she talking about?”

“One of the girls said that Emma told them that since you won your first race last Saturday, and she’d won the week before, this was going to be the chance to see which of the A Team B Levels was better.”

“Ah, jeez.” It became completely clear to him now. Two weeks before Emma won her first race as an A Team member, in a twelve lap heat on Class 2s against Ceridwen, making her the first B Level to win an A Team race in almost a decade. Then last Saturday Kerry won his first A Team race during a eight lap heat on Class 2s against Åsgårdsreia. “What is the big deal? We both have a win—so what?”

“It seems like it means something important to her, dude.”

Right off the bat we know that (1), the flight back from New York was cool, (2), Annie knows everything, (3), both Emma and Kerry have won races.  Of course there’s (4), Emma is totally talkin’ shit about Kerry, and it sounds like she’s letting people know that since this is the first time they’ve raced together, there’s gonna be some kind of showdown for the crown.  In other words, Emma’s acting like a twelve year old girl who’s been scorned, but instead of texting “Screw You, Kerry!’ to his iPhone, she’s gonna whip his ass on the race course.

All does not look that smooth in Wingmate Land.

Also, Nadine called Kerry “dude”.  Total teenager shit, yo.

Annie has a way of seeing something that Captain Clueless can’t–

“If I may . . .” Though not a racer, Annie had certainly lived through events at home and heard enough stories from her mother that she could venture a guess. “Even though Emma was on a Class 2, she was racing the Green Line, whereas you—” She touched Kerry’s hand. “You raced the Blue Line. You also won against the coven second in team standings, while Ceridwen was third at the time—”

“And still is.” Nadine slide her feet out a little and looked down at them. “I got a feeling Emma thinks your win is seen as being more important than hers—”

“But it isn’t.” He stepped back and looked down the long underground corridor to see if anyone had heard his rising voice. He sharply exhaled, getting himself under control. “We’re the only two B Levels on the A Team, and she won before me. It’s no big deal.”

Annie chuckled. “You’re still a bit clueless, aren’t you?”

He turned to her. “What do you mean?”

“She’s acting this way because you hurt her—”

“I didn’t mean to.”

“It doesn’t matter. She’s hurt, and she’s looking for a way to get back at you. And the race today—it’s the first time you’ve completed against each other since you both had your wins.”

Nadine nodded. “Annie’s right: Emma wants to get back at you somehow, and she’ll do it by making a point of showing everyone who’s the better racer.”

Girls understand girls, and they both seem to understand Emma.  Kerry’s still learning the tricks of the trade, and he’s getting there, but it’s still a bit of a struggle.  And now he’s feeling the pressure . . .

Kerry sighed, his eyes closed. I didn’t want any of this to happen. He opened them and stared at a section of the wall to Nadine’s left. If she’d just not said anything—or if I’d said something a year ago . . . “Oi. What a mess.”

“Yeah, it is a bit.” Nadine stood away from the wall. “I’ve already spoken with Erywin, and she said she’s gonna speak with Emma—though I don’t know if she’s gonna speak with her in person, or if there’ll be something said in the team meeting where it look like she’s not being called out.” She rotated her right shoulder, working out a kink. “She’s a bit pissed about all the blocking Emma does in the races, so maybe she’ll work in something about keeping your mind on the race into her speech.”

He ran his fingers through his short hair. “I hope so.”

“Is there anything you can do?” Annie decided it wouldn’t hurt to ask. “You are the team captain.”

Nadine frowned. “That’s true. But about the only thing I can do is tell her to lay off the blocking and shit like that. Still, I might pull her aside and tell her not to get cute out on the course today—it’s Fifteen on the Green, and the race is enough of a bitch without someone turning it into a grudge match.” She patted Kerry on the shoulder. “Look, just race your race today and don’t worry about her. Right?”

“Right.” Kerry managed a smile. “I’ll keep it clean.”

“Like you always do.” She gave his shoulder another pat. “See you on the course. Take care, Annie—and thanks.”

“You’re welcome, Nadine.” She waited for the older girl to vanish up the staircase before turning to Kerry. “What’s wrong?”

The problem Nadine has is that it’s known she’s somewhat friendly with Kerry.  In fact, what she did here could be viewed in some circles as fraternizing with the enemy, so to speak.  Nadine is her coven’s racing team caption, and warning a member of another team–well, all’s fair, right?

Nadine doesn’t play that game.  She knows a grudge match because of a broken heart could lead to something else getting broken, and she doesn’t want that to happen.  So she tells Erywin and Kerry, just so they know.  And she doesn’t leave Annie out of the mix, either.

Once Nadine’s gone Annie moves in to comfort Kerry, who is probably worried he won’t keep his cold yogurt drink down now.  And he’s being himself, which means . . .

He rubbed his forehead, covering his eyes. “I really screwed up.”

“Don’t ever say that.” Annie took his hands in hers and pulled him to her. “You did nothing wrong, my love. She decided to pursue you, and you told her it wouldn’t happen.” She kissed him before whispering in his ear. “Don’t blame yourself for her actions.”

Despite knowing that Annie was right, Kerry still felt some responsibility. “I should have told her last year to leave me alone and cut her out.”

“And we have no way of knowing if that would have changed anything.” She rested his head against her shoulder. “For all we know, love, things would be even worse. Things are where they are because things are meant to be here.” She patted his hair. “You’re going to do well today.”

He smiled as he wrapped his arms around Annie’s waist. “I’ll do my best, darling.”

She kissed his forever. “You always do, my love. You always do.”

Don’t blame yourself, Kerry.  None of you kids are really responsible for your actions as this age, mostly because hormones make you crazy.  But still–

What could go wrong in a race called Fifteen on the Green that Nadine calls “a bitch”?

Oh . . . many things.

That Which is Known and Unknown

A funny thing happened on the way to finishing up my writing last night–I was reading.  That’s not really that funny, but it points out that research can sometime mean going back and finding new . . . things.

I was reading over some scenes from the last novel, a scene that I knew pretty well, or at least thought I did.  It’s a good scene, explained more than I remembered–and then I saw it.  A single line, maybe eight or night words–but the moment I read it I thought, “Well, damn:  I’m going to need to change that.”

Why, you may ask?  Because it was something stated that will affect a scene I haven’t written yet, and the moment I saw what I had written, it hit me that I’d have to, at the very least, modify the line to allow something that would be said in, oh, maybe another thirty thousand or so words.  So I need to do a little rectoning–not much, just change the line a bit–but since that novel isn’t out, no harm, no foul.

Though I also found two other students who I hadn’t accounted for, and I had to do a little retconing on one of them so they’d fit in with my attendance these days.  Look, I’m only a half a million words away from where I started two years ago, give me a break.

Speaking of breaks, Kerry’s up, and it looks like something’s happening–

 

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

“Hello, Annie; Kerry.”

Professor Semplen approached the table, appearing relaxed and friendly. Annie hadn’t seen much of him since their time in Berlin, though he did stop by and wish her an happy birthday as he had the year before. She through they could were missing each other—save during his class—because Kerry’s and her schedule was so different from the rest of the B Levels. “Hello, Professor.”

Kerry set his hand in his lap. “Hello, Professor.”

“I hope I’m not interrupting—” Professor Semplen approached the table and stood opposite his covenmates for a few seconds. “May I join you for a moment?”

The children exchanged glances before Kerry nodded. “Please, have a seat.”

The professor chose the chair across from Kerry. “I won’t stay long: I just wanted to catch you before you headed to the Flight School. I saw your name on the tryout sheet for today.”

 

Kerry and racing sign-up sheets.  Annie had a few thoughts on that, and all along she’s said he’s going to do it, so why act like he’s not?  Because he’s Kerry, that’s why.  But here he’s got this coven leader–and I should mentioned, one of the coven racing managers and the head of their coven team–coming to him, so it much be something important, right?

 

Kerry didn’t appear nervous or self-conscious about the question, though. “Yeah, I signed up for the seventeen-fifteen slot so I can get down to The Diamond after class.” He set his elbows against the table top and leaned forward. “Should I come down earlier?”

“Actually . . .” Professor Semplen shook his head. “You don’t need to come down at all.”

Kerry went from appearing concerned to looking worried. “Is—is there something wrong? What’s going on?”

Sitting where she was between them, Annie easily read Kerry’s and Professor Semplen’s expressions and body language. She saw the answer before Kerry because she was a bystander. “Kerry . . . I think the professor is saying you don’t need to try out for the team.”

Kerry stared at his girlfriend for about three seconds before the her statement made sense. He slowly turned to his coven leader. “Is that true, Professor?”

Professor Semplen adjusted his glasses. “Only four people signed up for try-outs, and I’d already decided that you were going to get one of the B Team slots.” He shrugged. “Based upon everything we’ve seen from last year, and everything you’ve done, I’ve no doubt you’ll do well.”

“But I’ve never competed before—”

“No? What about the test races you were in on the Green Line and The Diamond? What about your accident last October?” The professor looked away for a moment. “What about the flying you did during the Day of the Dead?”

As Kerry was about to respond to the professor’s questions, Annie spoke to him instead. “This has been on your mind for a while, and the closer you get to the moment of proving yourself, the more you feel you’re not going to do well.” Her grin turned into a near smirk. “Once you wrapped your mind around magic you never had a problem. And you won’t have a problem with racing. Do you know what my father says?”

The fact that Annie was bringing up her father told Kerry all he needed to know about what she was going to say. “What?”

“Don’t worry about racing: just race.” She reached over and lightly touched his arm. “Professor Semplen is right: he doesn’t need to see you try out, my love. The moment the track lights turn green, you’ll know what to do.”

 

Annie never brings up her father unless it’s important, and here she’s quoting him to put his mind at ease.  But she’s known all along that he’d make the team–and given there are so few people in their coven to try out for those three slots, and Kerry is one of the best up and coming fliers, that it was ridiculous to believe he wouldn’t.  So after that all that remains is to tell him to show up Sunday to get fitted for his racing gear and get checked out on a Class 2–which he already has–and be ready to race in two weeks–

If he were on the A Team he's probably start next Saturday.  I know because . . . I know.

If he were on the A Team he’s probably start next Saturday. I know because . . . I know.

All that remains now is for Annie and Kerry to have a small, quiet moment together . . .

 

Once Professor Semplen was out of hearing range, Annie moved her chair closer to Kerry so that she didn’t have lean in order to touch his arm. “Well . . .”

Kerry looked down, full well knowing what was coming. “Yes?”

“Do I get to say I told you so?”

He lifted her hand from his arm. “Sweetie—” He kissed her hand tenderly. “You’ve been telling me that since I said I may go out.”

Annie chuckled. “You know I’m always right, my love.”

He laughed along with her. “I know, Sweetie. You’d think I’d get that by now.”

 

. . . and bring about the end of the chapter.

End of the chapter?  Yep.  Sure is.

End of the chapter? Yep. Sure is.

Now on to nine, and we’re going see some crazy here, because you can probably guess what Dark Witch Instruction is about–or maybe not.  You’ll just have to tune in and hope I write after my face burning tonight.