Fearing an Unknown Known

Believe it or not I’m fairly busy this morning.  Yeah, I know, it sounds like I’m doing nothing but running around today and the reality is, I am.  I’m gonna go do taxes and about ninety minutes then after that I have to drop off some papers to change accounts due to my name change, and as soon as I’m done with this post I have to call my insurance agent and get things changed on my name as well.  Yes, I know, I could’ve done this last year. I didn’t. Sue me.

So what you’re going to get is a quick and dirty excerpt from the scene we’ve been in for a while, but haven’t heard from for a few days due to me being on the road.  Doesn’t mean I haven’t been writing, but it does mean I haven’t been posting much. At least not much of the novel.  But now you get to see that.

So we pick up right after Jordana has been made a little smaller by the Mistress of Transformation.  And she has something else she wants to show now…

 

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

 

“I just—” Jordana shut her mouth quickly, for she knew the wrong word could see her being punished in ways she wouldn’t find pleasant. “I was thinking that you would only make me a few centimeters shorter than Kerry, that’s all.”

“That’s exactly what you are: a few centimeters shorter than Kerry.” The wicked grin that had appeared earlier crossed Jessica’s face once more. “Eight centimeters shorter, if we were correct in our first assessment. Isn’t that right, Kerry?”

He gave a quick nod. “Yeah, we kinda figured out that she was a couple centimeters taller than me.”

“Which means that now we’ve seen how the spell works at the advanced levels, I want to show the class something else.” Jessica waived her right hand and conjured a poncho-like cloak. She held it towards Kerry. “Would you put this on, please?”

As Kerry took the cloak he began feeling a nervousness that he suspected Jordana was feeling moments earlier. He slipped it on over his head and let it fall to his sides, with the him coming to a point just below his knees. He made a few adjustments and then stood staring at Jessica. “Is this okay?”

She nodded. “That’s perfect.” She turned to the other three students. “I want to show you an unseen aspect of the Compress spell.” She half turned Kerry and pointed at him. “I want you to Mimic Jordana.”

Kerry exchange looks with his fellow classmate, but before he could say anything she turned to Jessica. “Professor, you know I don’t—”

“I don’t give a shit what you don’t like.” Jessica took a step forward as she crossed her arms and glared at the girl. “We spoke about this last year and we will not discuss it again. So unless you want to end up half a meter tall for the next twenty-four hours, you won’t complain when Kerry Mimics you, nor will you afterwords.” She leaned forward slightly, her dark eyes emotionless. “Are we clear?”

Jordana glanced downward as she swallowed once. “Yes, Professor.”

Jessica nodded slightly, content that she had gotten her point across. She glanced at Kerry. “Go ahead: do it.”

 

Jessica is apparently still pissed at Jordana for not wanting to be mimic the year before, and she’s not playing that game this year.  So this is sort of her revenge and like it or not, Jordana is going to get a twin sister.

Although, it seems as if the erstwhile twin may be having second thoughts of his own–

 

There was a moment where Kerry felt an incredible amount of fear gripped him internally, because he knew what he was about to do wasn’t simply a matter of using his Mimic Gift and becoming a duplicate of Jordana. Near the end of the last school year Annie and he were shown the video of the time he had Mimicked Sudarat and Kaisa, so he was aware that in the process of Mimicking a girl there was a moment where he was his female self—Girl Kerry, as Annie called her.

He wasn’t worried that the others would see this: it happened so quickly that no one saw it happened this last March. But he was immediately gripped with an irrational fear that when it came time to drop the Mimic and return to himself—

What if he stayed Girl Kerry?

He closed his eyes enforce the notion from his mind. He had been reassured, time and again, that he could only transition into his female self after the first involuntary transition occurred, so any fear he had now about his Mimicking going wrong was unfounded.

He opened his eyes and stared straight ahead as he imagine himself to be Jordana. He threw his willpower into the transformation—

Less than a second later he was eye to eye with the real Jordana.

 

Kerry’s got that clock ticking, ticking, ticking, and he’s aware that the moment he mimics Jordana there will be a moment when he’s going to turn into that cute little redhead that he’s only seen in his dreams–oh, and in a video as well.  It’s legitimate for Kerry to fear that the moment he changes back he may not change back to himself–well, at least not the self he was when he walked in the room that night.  Even though he’s been told many times that what he’s worrying about is impossible, that doesn’t prevent the Ginger Hair Boy from thinking that they impossible could happen.  After all, for a while in his life he grew up believing magic wasn’t possible and he certainly proved that shit wrong.

So, we finally get to see The Two Jordana’s together and both appear to be about the same size.  Maybe if I’m not to rush for time tomorrow you get to find out why…

Advertisements

Mother’s Little Annoyance: All Those Changes

Yesterday was a bit of a strange day.  I’ve been hyper-focused on work of late, so I’ve been zooming through my assignments like no one’s business–so much so that I’m now sitting around for hours waiting on specifications.  This gives me a chance to look up things and think.  One of the things I looked up was a possible adventure in Manila, The Philippines, for Annie and Kerry–because there is a Foundation facility there–and at the same time I discovered that a gigantic meth superlab was found in the foothills of Mt. Arayat, leading me to believe that Walter White didn’t die, he just moved to Asia.

Not a part of The Foundation, believe me.

Not a part of The Foundation, believe me.  They keep their superlabs where kids can use them.

But this thinking has also brought me to consider a few changes in my life and I think I’ll discuss them in a video tomorrow.  Nothing bad, mind you, but they are things I believe I need to do because–well, reasons as always.

But back to what’s going on in my fictional world–and that’s a discussion of stuff and things…  Mama wants to know what you can do with transformation magic, Kerry, so maybe you should tell her?

 

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

 

He wondered how much he should tell his mother, then figured if she wanted to know what he could do, he should tell her everything. “I can change the color of my hair and change my complexion; I’ve gotten pretty dark—” He thought it best he didn’t tell his mother about his Mimic Gift. “And I can do it pretty fast, too.”

“You can change your hair?”

“Yeah. I’ve been black, brown, blond.” Kerry’s chuckle was so soft as to be almost unheard. “I can do that to others, too. I’ve practiced on a couple of instructors and I changed Annie’s hair color for our last Samhain dance.”

Louise’s head tilted slightly to the right. “Samhain?”

“You’d call it Halloween: we go by all the old names.” He began shifting his weight from foot to foot out of habit. “We have a costume dance. Some of the kids and instructors get pretty inventive.”

“I see.” Now that Louise had raised this particular question she had to know— “What color did you make her hair?”

“Aqua.” He rushed through his mother’s sudden eyebrow raise. “We went as characters from an anime. I made my hair blond.”

She was certain she wouldn’t understand anything about any characters Kerry and his little friend were imitating so Louise didn’t ask more there. “You had blond hair?”

“Sure. I could give you blond hair, too, if you ever wanted to see.”

“No, thank you.” Louise was concerned for only a second that she may have come off too strong. “I like my hair as it is. What else can you change besides your hair and skin color?”

 

“Kerry and his little friend.”  Jeez, Louise, could you be a little more condescending even if it is in your own thoughts?  The boy is thirteen:  he doesn’t have little friends.  And the one he does have could kill you in about ten seconds flat.  For that matter, so could Kerry, but let’s not go there yet–

This is really the first time that Kerry has mentioned to either of his parents that Annie and he have done anything together other than have a sex talk, that is.  And if a girl allows you to change the color of her hair–yeah, you can bet Louise filed that one away rather quickly.  “Little friend” my ass:  a whole bunch of letters over two summers, an angry retort about a girl’s name, and a sex talk at school = My Son’s Got Somethin’ Goin’ On.  But she isn’t saying anything about that yet.  Oh no, not yet.  She has other things she wants to know–like what else can you change?  And don’t you know Kerry really wants to talk…

 

Kerry gave a slight shrug. “Eye color, though that’s always tricky. I’m also getting good at…” He shook his head one time. “I’m to where I can change different—parts. This year I’m gonna work on things like size and weight alterations and anthropomorphic alterations—”

His mother’s puzzled look returned. “What’s that?”

Go on: tell her. “It’s taking on the aspects of other non-human creatures. You know: sonar like a bat, or wings, or…” He pushed past his fear of looking silly. “Annie and I figured it would also be possible to create gills and a dolphin tail. Like a mermaid—you know?”

If Louise was shocked by this she didn’t let it show. “A mermaid? Seriously?”

“I…” He nodded. “I’m sure I’ll have it figured out by my D Levels.”

“Well…” Louise broke into a slight smile. “You really mean you’d be a merman, don’t you?”

“Oh, yeah: that’s what I meant.” Kerry had decided a few seconds before there was no way he was going to explain his other Gift right now. “It’s just that everyone thinks of mermaids—”

“It’s popular, I know.” She slowly pressed her right fist against her mouth, something she did when she was thinking. “You said you take advanced classes—”

“All of them.”

“In what?”

 

Size and weight–or really mass, but laypeople don’t really understand that as much as weight–alterations are on the menu for the C Levels, and while they won’t allow you to become the Incredible Shrinking Man or the 50 Foot Woman, they go a long ways towards making people think you’re someone you’re not.

And animal stuff like wings?  Yeah, that can happen and has.  In fact, people who are  really good with transformation magic can make themselves over into just about anything, and Jessica once used an animal form–a lioness–to maul another witch to death.  Sure, she could have stopped their heart or pulled organs out of their body:  nope, Jessica wanted to rip them to shreds and did.  This is just another reason why you don’t mess with her.

But mermaids?  Yeah, Annie and Kerry talked about that.  You gotta figure it makes swimming underwater easier and once you get past the whole “I’ve got gills and I’m breathing water” thing, one could get used to being that way for a while.  And since one can now get a job as a mermaid–really, look it up–it’s a good cover for something they could do while working undercover for the Guardians.

"It's a lot of fun.  You're in the water the whole time and you get a clam-shell bra!"

“It’s also a lot of fun. You’re in the water the whole time and you get a clam-shell bra!”

Now Mom and Kerry are on to the other advanced classes.  Hum…  I think things are about to get even more interesting–

The Calm Before the Light: History and the Oncoming Girl

Needless to say I’m still suffering from the effects of this cold, but it’s not quite as bad as it was a few days back.  I’ve also been busy writing away:  four hundred words last night, and just over a thousand this morning, all because there’s somewhere I need to be a ten AM, so I’m under the gun just a bit to get this post out.  Sure, it’s just before eight right now, but I gotta get ready and put on makeup and–you know:  girl things need a-doing.

Maybe like a certain character in this story is going to discover one day.  But I get ahead of myself.

The part I started last night detailed a little of this history of this Bigender Gift, and what there is known about it and how it works.  It seems that, as Jessica hinted, this all deals with auras, in particular, a person’s aura that is changing not slightly, but considerably.  It’s at this point that what little everyone knows about this gift starts coming out–

 

All excerpts from The Foundation Chronicles, Book Two: B For Bewitching, copyright 2015, 2016 by Cassidy Frazee)

Just as they’d planed that afternoon, Deanna handed this part of the discussion. “It’s true that everyone has one aura, but in the instance of those few who’ve developed the Bigender Gift, they have another aura—I suppose you could say it’s a sub-aura, something small and underdeveloped, but created at the time the person is born the same as the person’s regular aura.

“This secondary aura has continued to grow, but there’s an issue here: it needs to integrate itself with the primary aura and become part of the whole—and in order to do that, it seems the person’s mind undergoes some sort of realignment to allowed for this integration.”

Little of this made sense to Kerry, but it sounded as if everyone sitting across from him seemed to finally understand what was happening. “Why is there a realignment? Why do I have to get used to the idea?”

“Because of what change this new aura brings about.” Erywin shifted around in her seat, leaving a few moments for Kerry to prepare himself. “We only have six recorded instances of this Gift seen over the last three hundred years, and in each instance the secondary aura took on the aspect of a form from the opposite end of the physical gender spectrum. So, of the six, five were born female who developed auras with male aspects. The other, like you, was born male and developed—”

“A girl aura.” Kerry appeared pensive as he considered this news. “That’s why I’m seeing this girl in my dreams, right?”

“That’s right. She your mind’s way of taking what it knows about this new aura and giving it too you in a fashion you can try and understand.” Erywin glanced down at her feet for just a second. “This afternoon we perused some of the diaries of Lucyna Gorczynski, a Polish witch was first discovered to have this Gift in 1952. She had been writing about everything that had happened, and was happening to her, since she had her first dreams during the summer of 1946. She came forward with this information only after The Foundation discovered the existence of a second person with the Gift, an English woman named Kaity Caspersen who had been living as as a man off and on since 1943 on both coasts of the United States.

“Lucyna began handing over most of what she’d written down about her experience, and one of the things she mentioned were the dreams she had leading up to the Acceptance phase—”
Kerry rolled his eyes. “What do you mean by these phases?”

“In her diary Lucyna pointed out that she felt her dreams progressed in three phases. The first is Adjuration, which Deanna already mentioned: your mind’s appeal to accept the coming change. The second is Acknowledgment, where the person in question has what she called the ‘mirror dream’—finally seeing yourself as that other person and accepting that it’s going to happen—and then stating aloud that you this other person is you.” Erywin cleared her throat. “Two others who’ve had this gift have mentioned that part as well.

“And the last phase is Acceptance, where you have a last dream together with the manifestation that’s your secondary aura, and you allow your mind and body to initiate the change.” Erywin gave a slight chuckle. “Lucyna was big on alliterations.

 

There is Lucyna Gorczynski, she of the diaries that Erywin finally wanted to see.  In that one paragraph about how she came out due to the discovery of Kaity Capersen I had developed an entire history about how Capersen was discovered and why Gorczynski came out.  I may include it in this novel, or I may wait until the next to talk about that moment in time.  Needless to say, it’s interesting.

And so six other people during the last three hundred years.  How do I know?  You know how I know:

I have the time of my lines, that's how.

I have the time of my lines, that’s how.

There you see it starting in 1691 with Remy Durivage before moving into the 1700s and 1800s with Catrina Severo, Pesha Petrakis, and Tamae Miyazawa.  Then we’re heading into the Twentieth Century with Kaity Caspersen, Lucyna Gorczynskim, before finally, with only eight months left in the century, there’s the birth of Kerry and we pass on into the Twenty-first Century.

For something like this I had to know the information, just like I needed to know where certain parts of the school were built.  This is why I sometimes get crazy with the time line, and why I used them to help plot things out.  Just wait until I finish this novel and I show you how I figured out the B Levels . . .

But there’s still more history to come.  Now it is time to learn about these phases and what they mean–

 

“You’ve passed through the Adjuration and Acknowledgment phases—”

“What if I hadn’t, you know, said what was needed to be said after this dream?”

“Lucyna indicated she went through the dream three times before admitting she knew the identify of the boy in her dream. Another person with the Gift, Pesha Petrakis, indicated she went through the dream seven times before admitting to the true nature of this other, strange boy.”

The Phoenix finally spoke after several minutes of silence. “And if I hadn’t removed that block to your E and A, you’d find yourself stuck trying to verbalize the name of that girl.” She raised an eyebrow as she shrugged. “That would kinda suck.”

“Kinda?” Kerry snorted while shaking his head. “I don’t know about you.”

The spirit smirked. “Most people haven’t for the last three hundred years.”

He ignored The Phoenix and returned to the conversation. “What happens after this next dream?”

 

This is where I came up with the titles for this chapters–

Which I happen to have right here.

Which I happen to have right here.

I’d actually figured out these names before I started writing the first novel, so the Three A’s have been with me since about late 2012, early 2013.  And for obvious reasons I’ve kept these chapters under wrap for a long time, which always sort of sucks when you know you have to do something big, but at the same time you need to sit on it for a while.  Just like with the Big Time, which I’d started developing in 2011, and didn’t write about the very end of July, 2014.

Yeah, that’s how these things go.

Now that we know what happen, what’s going to happen next?  Well, I have the answer–

 

Coraline perked up. “I’ll take this—” She faced Kerry with a smile. “First, allow me to explain something that has us all a little excited. With the other six individuals who had this Gift, no one knew what had happened to them until after the fact. Since we know so little about how this gift works, you’re going to find yourself monitored a bit.” She held up her hand as Kerry appeared about to protest. “The Headmistress and I have already discussed this matter, and given your status as a minor we can keep monitoring as unobtrusive as possible. We’re not going to allow you to become a sideshow attraction, Kerry—I won’t allow that to happen. I’m going to see to it you’re protected, because no one has ever seen or monitored what you’re going through right now, nor have they had the opportunity to measure the upcoming events.

“What is coming, then? From what we understand you’ll have a last dream where full aura integration takes place. Then you wait for the next event, which is an involuntary transition—”

“Wait: what?” Kerry didn’t much care for the word involuntary.

“An involuntary transition. At some point in the next year you’ll go to bed one night as the person you are now, and wake up—” Coraline raised her right hand and shrugged playfully. “—as the other you. We don’t know about the first two people to which this happened, but the last four said they transitioned as early as sixty-three days after the last dream, and as late as two hundred and eighty-six days after their last dream. This is why we figure it happens within the period of a year.” She shrugged once more. “As stated, these so much about this Gift we don’t know, and you’re going to help us compile a lot of data on the subject.

“Your transitional form will be that of a biological girl. In a way it’ll be like Mimicking, but in many ways it won’t. With Mimicking, you copy the exterior of the other person’s physical aspect, but everything inside is still you, so even when you Mimicked those girls in Jessica’s class the other night, nothing inside you changed.

“This new form, however: it’s you outside and in. We already know what your exterior looks like—we’ve seen her.”

Annie’s eyes widened. “How?”

“On video recorded during Kerry’s gender Mimicking from last week.” Jessica glanced at the woman next to her. “Erywin spotted it when we were in the process of reviewing, and we discovered Kerry was filtering through this secondary aura before Mimicking the aura of his female subject. He didn’t even realize he was doing it—”

Erywin cut in. “And that process may have actually sped up getting into this previous dream.”

Not every day you go to bed as one person and wake up as another, but this is something Kerry’s gonna have to start living with, at least for the next year.  And before you ask:  yes, there are measures being put in place to deal with this should it happen while he’s back home in Cardiff.  That actually is dealt with in the next chapter.

But first, there’s a touchy little matter that Coraline needs to break to the Ginger Hair Boy . . .

 

Coraline nodded. “That’s entirely possible. Anyway, we’ve seen what she looks like—what you’ll look like. But what you need to understand, Kerry is that the changes won’t simply be external: they’ll be internal as well. When you are in that form you will be biologically female, and that means . . .”

Jessica leaned closer to Erywin and muttered softly. “Here it comes.”

She shot the transformation instructor a warning look. “Just wait—”

Coraline moved ahead hoping for the best. “Inside you’ll be just like us. Your body will produce estrogen instead of testosterone, so when you are in your female form for any amount of time you’ll notice it developing as would the body of any girl your age. Most importantly, however, is that you’ll have a working female reproductive system. This means you’ll have all the same equipment as all of us—a vagina, a uterus, and ovaries—and because of that, should you spend any time being a girl, you’ll develop a natural cycle; again, just like the rest of us, Annie included.” She sat back and waited for Kerry to understand the ramification of her comments.

He sat quietly for nearly ten seconds, blinking several times as he analyzed this new information. It was then that his eyes grew wider as he finally comprehended Coraline’s statement. “I’m gonna have a period?”

 

Don’t worry, Kerry:  Shark Week isn’t that bad.  Is it?  He may or may not ever know–

Because the rest of those ramifications come tomorrow.

The Calm Before the Light: Let’s Talk About Change

Let’s get the Report From the Sickness Ward out of the way first thing:  I felt like I was dying last night.  Really, work was a blur, and while I managed to stay awake all day and not fall asleep at my computer, the walk home hurt.  I couldn’t relax, I could sit right, I couldn’t lay down.  I was stuff and coughing up a lot of fluids.  Not a good time at all.

If I were younger and a ginger and had a real bed, this might almost be me.

If I were younger and a ginger and had a real bed, this might almost be me.

However, I did have a plan.  Everyone kept asking, “Are you going to see a doctor?” and the answer is always, no, they won’t do anything for you beyond telling you to rest and keep pounding down warm fluids.  So I stopped off to get some warm fluids:  specifically, a bottle of Rémy Martin VSOP cognac, which is my drink of choice when I’m looking to burn out a cold, and has served me well twice in the past.

"$120 for a doctor visit, $40 for a bottle of Rémy. Here's to getting well!"

“$120 for a doctor visit, $40 for a bottle of Rémy. Here’s to getting well!”

While I won’t say I’m one hundred percent, my nose is drained and I don’t feel the fluids building in my upper chest like I did last night.  There’s still a bit of a cough, but nothing like I had last night, and more importantly, I slept, so this morning I feel alive than I did throughout the rest of the week.

The downside to all this is try as I might, the six hundred and fifty words I wrote last night were a hell of a struggle, and I didn’t attempt to push past that number once it was obtained.  However, I did get that party started, and here’s what became of that:

 

All excerpts from The Foundation Chronicles, Book Two: B For Bewitching, copyright 2015, 2016 by Cassidy Frazee)

All eyes shifted towards Erywin, who had been chosen ahead of time to answer these questions. “First off, let me explain why I’m here. Because of some—concerns about the evasiveness of your answers regarding the last few dreams, I was asked to investigate whether or not there was a possibility you might be transgender, and that you were avoiding discussing the matter.”

He cleared his throat. “I thought that might be the reason you’re here.”

“I’m sorry I couldn’t tell you—”

“It’s okay.” Kerry waved his hand as if pushing the idea away. “I understand. Did you find anything? I mean—that’s why you’re here, isn’t it?”

“It is, indeed.” She leaned against the arm of her chair, making herself more comfortable. “I’ve examined what you’ve already told Coraline and Deanna, and I’ve seen the video of you performing your csigender transformation—and that video is what put on the track to the truth about what’s happening to you.

“First off, something you’re probably eager to hear: you’re not transgender. Based upon what I’ve seen of the physical evident, and what we’ve learned since this afternoon—and are learning now—my report is going to indicate there’s no need to proceed with discussions along those lines.

“However . . . that doesn’t mean there isn’t a gender-related issue to discuss.”

It was impossible for Kerry not to appear confused. “If I’m not trans, then what?”

Erywin meshed her fingers and pressed her thumbs together as she often did when she was about to make an important point. “You have a Gift.”

 

Of all the questions that’s hit me in the last couple of week, the biggest one has been, “What’s going on with Kerry?”  And since I’m like George R. R. Martin and I have to sit back and watch others pull out their hair while their favorite characters put through hell–and that’s the only thing I share with that gentleman–I couldn’t say a word about what I’ve known for like–three years?  Probably.  Maybe longer, because the first time I really starting thinking about this was late summer, 2011, and that’s closer to four and a half years.  Yeah, I’ve been sitting on this that long.

So he has a gift, and it’s one that keeps on coming apparently.  And here it is in part:

 

A few seconds passed before he understood the meaning of Erywin’s last word. “A Gift? I already have a Gift.”

“It’s not unheard of for someone to have two Gifts, though it doesn’t happen that often. But since Deanna was able to put the last piece in place—”

Annie spoke this time. “You mean this mirror dream?”

“Yes, that. Evidence we received early this afternoon indicates you have one of the rarest Gifts ever cataloged.” She paused to allow Kerry to ready himself for what was about to come. “You have the Bigender Gift.”

His eyebrows slowly rose from a combination of surprise and confusion. “What’s that?”

Erywin glance towards Jessica, who picked up the conversation. “You understand how Mimicking works?”

He nodded. “Yes. I interface my aura with that of another person and then use that information to change my physical form to match theirs.”

Coraline chuckled. “He sounds like you, Jess.”

Her smile was uncharacteristically pleasant. “He’s a great student with a great instructor.” She turned back to Kerry. “As you’re likely aware, your aura is not only a reflection of both your mental and emotional states, but it’s the astral aspect of your aspect in the Physical Realm. When you both begin your studies of Astral Magic you’ll discover that someone well versed in both transformation and astral magic can adjust a person’s astral aspect and have that change reflected in their physical aspect. In short, you change a person’s aural form, you may be able to change their physical form.

“The Bigender Gift does that while also acting a bit like being a Mimic as well. It’s really nothing more than altering your physical aspect—your body—based upon the selection of a astral aspect. As you change that form, your physical form changes as well—”

 

Did you get all that?  This is one of the reasons that the whole Mimicking Gift was explained a couple of times during this novel, because it was sort of a setup for what was coming.  It’s also nice to know that some asshole witch who’s powerful enough to do both astral and transformation magic can alter your aura and your body, and leave the proper authorities–i.e. The Foundation, probably The Guardians–unable to tell if you really were changed or not.  Which should tell you a little about transforming people, in that if you body changes your aura probably doesn’t.

Also Jessica seem quite pleased that Kerry can ramble off that mantra about how Mimicking works and sound like a pro.  Jessica gets like this sometimes, and it’s one of the reasons some people feel she’s a bit stuck-up and tends to feel superior over others.  The fact that she can turn you into a potted plant is probably another reason everyone acts strangely around her, but I’m only guessing here.

One thing, however, and Annie figures it out right away ’cause she’s that kind of girl–

 

“Wait.” Annie was sitting quietly up until now, but something Jessica said didn’t seem correct. “Whose aura is Kerry accessing in order to change his physical form?”

The transformation instructor half turned her head in Annie’s direction. “His.”

“That’s impossible. If Kerry’s aura is a reflection of his physical aspect, how can accessing it affect his body? He only has one aura—”

The right corner of Jessica’s mouth curled upward into a wicked smirk. “At the moment.”

“What do you mean?”

 

Yeah, Jessica, what do you mean?  What’s the “at the moment” stuff, huh?  Well, if I’m feeling better tonight, you’ll find out tomorrow.

And so far, I feel good.  I knew that I should now, too.

This Matter of Mimicking

This morning has been good, although it would be much better if this cold would be gone with the wind and leave me along, because I damn sure need a good night’s sleep, and I’m tired of heading off to bed and coughing up a lung for twenty minutes as I try to relax.  It’s a total pain in the ass, let me tell you.

But that’s neither here or there.  At the moment there is writing as done at the coffee shop down the road from my apartment . . .

Not that far from the capitol, a place I pass twice a day when I'm working.

Not that far from the capital, a place I pass twice a day when I’m working.

Enjoying myself–

I was told my smile looks real.

I was told my smile looks real.

But pink smiles ain’t gonna cut it if I don’t have something to keep you interested, right?  We left off with Jessica figuring out that Erywin is doing a write up on Kerry, and while one might assume that it’s because Kerry’s doing a little gender changing in private, it’s really a far simpler matter–

 

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

“Why do you say that?” Though she’d told Coraline and Deanna that she suspected Jessica would figure out the student in question, she kept her face straight, not giving away anything.

Thought the Formulas instructor was good at hiding her thoughts, she was nothing compared to an expert at transformation magic when it came to keeping their feelings invisible. “All of the students in that class have already attempted those spells—with the exception of two, and one of them informed me that she’ll feel more comfortable being taught this lesson by ‘someone else’.” Jessica finally showed a faint smile. “Really, Kerry’s the only student you’re investigating. It might be someone else, but I’d guess not.”

Erywin considered saying nothing, then reconsidered for several reasons. As a coven leader Jessica was responsible for a fifth of the students, and in her weekly dealings with her witches she found it necessary to keep secrets. Perhaps they weren’t always devastating secrets, but students felt Jessica would keep them once they were told.

There was also a persistent rumor Erywin had heard for years, that during her years as a runway model Jessica had supplied information to the Protectors, particularly during her travels through Japan and Korea. Every time Jessica was ask about this rumor, the reply was the same: either no, or that she’d already answered the question and her answer remained the same. Even Helena, with her friends in the Guardians, could find out if this rumor were true or false, though Helena didn’t find this all that unusual, as the Protectors and Guardians were notorious about keeping their own contacts and spies to themselves.

It was entirely possible that Jessica was telling the truth about not spying for the Protectors, and every no uttered without elaboration was the truth. It was also possible that she had done something for them, and continued to hold onto the idea that whatever the job it remained between her and her handlers. Either way, Jessica knew how to keep things to herself—and, as Erywin saw it, if the Mistress of Transformation were the one who’d first noticed these things with Kerry, or any other student, she’d have come to her with her suspicions and said nothing to anyone else.
Erywin still needed to confirm that she had nothing to fear. “I trust you won’t say anything?”

“You know I won’t.” Jessica set her unwavering gaze upon the fellow coven leader. “We both know how to keep secrets—though I think you’re are far deeper than mine.”

Erywin wasn’t about to get into a discussion of which of her secrets were deeper than Jessica’s. She suspected that the transformation instructor was referring to last school year’s Kansas City operation undertaken for The Guardians. “Now’s not the time to get into that.”

Jessica gave the comment a single, quick nod. “Agreed. Getting back to the original question—anything in particular you’d like me to watch?”

Jessica does the process of elimination, and if there hasn’t been an issue with her older, already known students, then the subject of Erywin’s scrutiny must be one of the two new students–one of whom has indicated they want someone other than Jessica to teach them how to do gender changes.  One might wonder why Annie is saying she only wants Kerry teaching her this spell, but we won’t try to figure that one out, not now.

Now we get into the questions, and for the first time we learn about Kerry’s gift:

 

“Have you noticed anything?” Erywin figured the day before that if Jessica did figure out the name of the student, she may as well ask her about any in-class issues.

“Nothing at all. Kerry’s been the model student, just like in every class.”

“How’s his Mimicking coming along?”

“As expected. I have to teach him the basics of personal transformation first, then show him how to apply that to Mimicking.”

Erywin didn’t know a lot about transformation magic—it wasn’t one of her stronger subjects as a student—so Jessica’s last statement came off as a bit confusing. “I don’t get it. I thought being a Mimic meant he could just duplicate another person.”

“In time, yes.” Given that most witches didn’t actually understand the finer points of transformation magic, Jessica enjoyed educating people. “A Mimic interfaces their aura with the aura of the person they want to copy, and once those changes are applied to their aura, they can pull them down, so to speak, and apply them to their physical form.” She shrugged. “That’s it in simplified form.”

If that was the simplified explanation, Erywin knew it was actually far more complicated. “Why go through the aura?”

“Because our auras are a astral representation of our physical forms. A Mimic can reverse that, and make their physical form mirror their astral one.”

“So why teach Kerry everything else about transformation magic?”

“Because he still has to know the how of changing himself and others. It’s all about taking the template in your aura and applying it correct.” A grin slowly formed. “A great Mimic will eventually be able to take parts of another person and apply them wherever they feel on themselves once they have total command of the gift.”

For the first time since she’d hear that Kerry was a Mimic did she get what was involved with his gift. “I understand now. Thank you.”

Jessica gave an approving nod. “You’re welcome.”

 

Magic ain’t that easy, even when it looks easy.  There’s a lot more to mimicking that just “copying” another person or their parts, though we’ve seen that Kerry could do hair with easy at least a year ago, and he could even do the hair change to others–just ask Annie and Erywin.  Still, it sounds as if one must know how to transform correctly before one can put all the parts together the right way.

This leave Erywin to ask one last thing . . .

 

“I don’t want to keep you from lunch.” Erywin stood but didn’t immediately head for the door. “Would you be interested in help with this where necessary?”

Jessica leaned forward against her desk. “Helping you with due diligence?”

“Sure. I mean, our last trans student was also pretty good with transformation magic, and you were the one who brought him to my attention—” Erywin shifted her weight to her right leg. “I’m not saying there’s a correlation, but something could pop up in class next month, and you’ll be right there.”

“Of course.” Jessica stood and came around her desk. “I’ll be happy to help.”

“Good. I’ll want access to the videos of the gender change class before they go out on the public server.”

“You’ll have that.”

Erywin started to turn for the door and caught herself to ask one last set of questions. “Has Kerry done a full mimic of anyone?”

Jessica’s response was a tiny head shake. “No, not yet. The week before we do the gender flips I’m going to have him mimic one of the boys—”

“Then do one of the girls the following class?”

“I’ll have him try change on his own before he does a mimic, but . . . yes. One of the girls the follow week.”

“Thank you. I’ll keep in touch. And enjoy your lunch.” Erywin left the office and exited Ceridwen Coven tower. Rather than use her teleporter to head for her own office in Mórrígan Coven tower, she chose to walk the inside of the Pentagram Walls back. It would give her time to think, to plan out how she was going to analyze the information, how she wanted to make certain of everything before she took the step of speaking with Kerry alone—

His life has already changed a couple of times in the last year and a half, and all for the better. Erywin stepped out of the wall and under the enormous arch of Founder’s Gate. I want to be absolutely certain before I speak with him that we’re looking at another change that’s good for him.

 

At the end we learn that Jessica help with the last trans student at the school, she’ll make certain Erywin has access to all her video before the school sees it, and that she wants to be damn sure she has all her T’s crossed and I’s dotted before she decides to call Kerry in for another “talk”–especially because she’ll probably want to speak with Kerry alone, and won’t that set well with the Chestnut Girl.  You betcha!

The most important thing here, however, is that Chapter Twenty-Three is finished.  Yep, it was a short one–

Another one bites the dust, so to speak.

Another one bites the dust, so to speak.

The next two chapters are almost all flying, divided between Annie and Kerry.  Annie is up first, however, and she’s about to do something that no other B Level has even done . . .

It’s gonna be great.

The Wise and the Called

It’s not often that I take a week to write a scene, but that’s what happened here.  After getting back from having my nails done–non-magically, unfortunately–I picked up some groceries, returned home and ate dinner, and began the slow task of finishing up the scene.  By the time ten-thirty rolled around, I’d added another six hundred and seventy-nine words, and pushed the novel closer to the end of Act Two–

One of the things I’m debating now is moving the last part of Act Two–Part Seven–and making it the first part of Act Three.  I’m thinking this because the end of this chapter would make a great cliffhanger, and Act Two is already around 115,000 words.  (Act One finished up around 80,000 words.)  The next part is gonna be hefty, so I’m thinking . . . yeah, I’ll likely move it tonight.

It's right there, it's not that big of a deal to move.

It’s right there, it’s not that big of a deal to move.

But the question right now is, “How does Kerry react to the Color Purple?”  Maybe not how you’d expect–

 

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

Kerry’s face froze into a mask of bewilderment as he started into the space between Emma’s and Linh’s work cubicles. He didn’t reply to Emma’s questions, nor did he notice Annie slowly moving up to his left until she whispered his name. “Kerry?”

He snapped out of his stupor and answered Emma. “Yeah, I can do that.” He enacted the color change quick and presented it to Emma with a smile. “See? Doesn’t look bad.”

“No, it doesn’t.” She sat down, her eyes shifting between Kerry and Annie. “And you’re right: it looks good.” She glanced over to her covenmate Linh. “I can’t wait to learn that.”

“Like I said, it’s really just a matter of visualization.” Kerry removed the spell from his nails and they changed back to their normal color. “That’s really the hardest part, and it’s what you’ll probably go over in lab.” He slowly turned to his left, catching Annie standing just a step behind him—

“I wonder what else he visualizes with his girlfriend?”

There was no mistaking Gavino D’Addario’s Italian accent; nor did Kerry need to turn around to see the next person speaking in a loud whisper, as he recognized Lisa’s American southern accent. “They probably sit around in their private lab and compare nails when they’re not, you know—” There were a few chuckles from a couple of students in the room, and while Kerry didn’t know what Lisa did, Annie’s angry, slowly narrowing eyes told him everything.

 

Leave it to Lisa:  she could get her own TV show with that title.  And any time the instructors are giving Annie and Kerry a shot at teaching the other students something they taught themselves, you know a few of others are gonna belittle–

Although it doesn’t quite work out as well this time . . .

 

“Watch it, Lisa.” Franky Smith chuckled softly. “A certain sorceress is gonna get angry.”

“Did I mention any names?” Lisa raised her voice just a touch. “I didn’t even mention her loser half—”

“Why don’t you just suck it, Lisa?”

The classroom went silent as Kerry—who’d spun around to glare at the Åsgårdsreia girl—clenched his fists and growled out his next words. “You have a big mouth and you push buttons. And that’s all you do; you just mouth off all the time and piss people off.”

Lisa calmly stared back. “And what are you gonna do about it, Kerry”

“Today? Nothing.” He snorted as he relaxed his shoulders. “Thursday night I’m leaving on an overnight training flight, so I don’t have time to call you out—” Kerry glanced to his left as he smirked.  “Which means I don’t have time to kick the butt of the champion you send after me ‘cause you’re way too scared to fight me yourself.”

Darkness drew down over Lisa’s face as she stared at Kerry with unabashed hate. “You suck, Malibey.”

“You and your friends, Lisa—” Kerry drew in a slow breath. “You’re all cowards.”

 

And that’s about as big a throw down as you’re going to get.  “Yeah, I’d call you out, but then I’d have to kick someone’s ass because you’re too chickenshit to face me.”  And then lumping all of her little clique in with her as cowards–it’s a ballsy move.  Some might say, “Annie should have done that,” but remember:  Annie’s really the analytical one while Kerry’s the emotional one, and it’s more in his demeanor to say this than Annie.  Annie just lets it build until she decides it’s time to act, and while Kerry has also let it build, right before things get nasty he just lays out some smack and cuts everyone down.  He knows he may pay for that–he pretty much called out three people at once, and could end up in over his head–but he got it out there for all to hear.

And that includes the instructor–

 

Lisa was on her feet in an instant. “You mother—”

“That’s quite enough.” Jessica finally stepped up next to her minions as she addressed the room. “We’re here to learn, not call out each other.” She laid a hand on Kerry’s shoulder. “Are we good?”

He looked straight ahead as he nodded. “Yes.” He looked up at her and managed a weak smile now that his anger was dissipated. “I’m sorry, Professor.”

“I understand, Kerry.” She gave him one last comforting pat. “We can discuss this tonight during Advanced Transformation.” Jessica didn’t immediately look upon the rest of the class as she addressed the one student who hadn’t realized their short confrontation was finished. “You need to sit, Lisa.” She finally gave the angry, defiant girl a stern look. “And you need to reconsider speaking because what will come out of your mouth will likely earn you a weekend’s detention.” She slowly raised her right eyebrow and continued staring until Lisa retook her chair.

“With that—” Jessica half-folded her arms just under here chests. “—I believe a break is in order. Fifteen minute to use the bathroom and whatever else, then we’re back in here in three groups to start lab.” She glanced at Annie and Kerry for just a second before turning back to the rest of the room with a slight smile on her face. “And anyone who isn’t comfortable accepting instructions from my minions will simply have to make do with me . . .”

 

As stated much earlier, a weekend detention with Jessica usually means getting turned into a sofa or chair or statue or something like that:  the woman is the Mistress of Transformation, and she can do that stuff with her eyes closed.  It’s not fun, and maybe because Lisa’s already been through that detention, she’s not ready for it again.

The “We can discuss this tonight during Advanced Transformation” is also kind of a subtle jab at the detractors.  Sure, she could give Kerry some form of punishment, but instead, she lets everyone know they’ll have a “discussion” that evening, because when you’re an advanced student you are treated differently from the rest of the rabble.  And while Kerry might get some kind of punishment, it’ll probably be something minor–like having to pinkie swear he won’t disrupt a class again by trying to make someone to call him out.  Which was exactly what he was trying to do.

Next scene is a Kerry scene as well–in fact, the next three pretty much are.

I wonder if anything bad is going to happen?

Late Yet Fanciful Colorings

Let me tell you, I’m dragging a bit this morning.  It feels like I have no energy, and that’s never a good thing.  It’s a bit of an ongoing thing, actually, because the last two nights I’ve crawled into bed about ten PM, which is usually ninety minutes earlier than I often get to sleep.  And it seems as if I can’t get into gear to write:  the six hundred words I present today I’ve had to drag out of my system.  Really, I don’t like it at all–

"No, no:  I'm getting to this story.  Only, right now, the inside of my eyelids look so nice . . ."

“No, no: I’m getting to this story. Only, right now, the inside of my eyelids look so nice . . .”

I have a feeling, however, that once I do a little running around, and I eat and take a nap, I may just finish this scene today.  I would like to get it out of the way and move on, because I’m really not enjoying this lurching about in the story.  Like Battlestar Galactica, it’s happened before and will happen again, but that doesn’t mean I like it one bit.

Where are we?  Oh, yeah:  Transformation Class, and minion Kerry was about to do his dance–

 

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

Kerry appeared a touch embarrassed for a second before picking up the lesson from Annie. “You can do the same thing, but it takes a bit of work to get the same sort of gloss that Annie’s getting because you’re changing the appearance of your own body.” He took a couple of steps closer to the class. “It’s almost like working with material but, you know, not.” He flashed a quick smile. “Just like with Annie, I started out with the larger changes first: hair and complexion. After I got those down I started working on finer control—”

Loorea Barling broke into Kerry discussion. “You can change hair and complexion?”

He nodded. “Yeah.”

“Like?”

“Well . . .” Kerry approached Loorea, holding out his hand the moment he reached her work area. “Give me your hand.”

She set her hand in his. “What are you going to do?”

“Nothing much—” He smiled, keeping his eyes focused on indigenous Australian girl. In a few seconds his skin and hair darkened as his pale complexion and ginger hair became a match for her darker skin and hair. “Just that.”

Loorea’s shock was evident. “Holy . . . You look like you could almost be my brother.”

 

It would be interesting to see him do this in the A Level Transformation, because there’s a student in there who may have some lingering memory of Kerry working this identical spell on her, and wouldn’t it be interesting to see if that tiny prod would be enough to bring her out of her memory adjustment.  Awkward for sure!

This leads into something else that happened back in good old Kansas City . . .

 

“I’ll take that as a complement.” He released Loorea’s hand and began backing away, letting his hair color and complexion slowly revert to their natural hues. “This is pretty easy for me; you’re not the first person I’ve practiced with, and I’d worked on changing my hair last year—”

“He’s can also do the same to others.” Annie held her hands in front of her as she rocked on her heels. “He sometimes practices on me.”

Loorea went from surprised to curious. “Can you show us, Kerry?”

Kerry turned slightly red before nodding. “Sure, I can do that.” He turned to Annie. “I need an assistant—”

“I can help there.” She stood in front of him, taking his hands. “Ready when you are, my love.”

Kerry ignored the light tittering from the few students who found Annie’s term of endearment amusing. He glanced at Loorea. “You watching?”

She nodded. “I am.”

“Okay, then—” A few seconds later Annie’s hair transformed from its normal lustrous chestnut color to a shade of red identical to Kerry’s. “There you are.”

Annie turned to face the class with a huge smile stretched across her face. “He did this same thing to me for Samhain, when we had aqua and blond hair for our costumes.”

 

So now we now that Kerry was the one who did their hair styling for the Samhain dance.  Wonder if he likes Annie as a ginger girl?  Because someone has a smart ass comment about Annie the Ginger Hair Girl–

 

Before Loorea had the opportunity to speak, Pleasure Pimenta, another of the members from Mórrígan coven, commented to the person sitting to her right. “She probably has him change her hair so she can dream about their kids.”

“I don’t dream about our kids—” Annie took two steps forward, the right side of her mouth curled upward. “But I do think about them. And I know they’ll be incredible regardless of the color of their hair.”

Elisha Tasköprülüzâde’s hand shot into the air. “Um—”

Eager to get back on track, Kerry dropped Annie’s transformation and turned to Elisha. “Go ahead.”

“Could you show us the nail thing?” The Turkish girl looked down for a moment, unused to this attention. “Back home my parents won’t let me wear nail polish, and it would be kinda cool if I could change the color of my nails when I go out with friends—” She looked around the room. “You know, ‘cause it would be nice.” She looked back at Kerry. “Does that make sense?”

He gave Elisha a warm smile. “I understand, really.”

“Do you mind showing? I mean . . .” She seems slightly flustered. “You being a boy, it might be weird.”

 

And now I have to write that part, yeah?  Because we all want to see if Kerry gets all weirded out because he’s a boy.  Who knows?  This could be the start of him becoming the lead singer in an 80s New Wave band . . .