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The Chosen Grandma, Chapter 11.2

by BlueAfrica


A/N: Y'all are lucky I rewrote this before publishing. Not great but loads better than previously. ANYWAY. Eighty-three-year-old Chosen One Edna Fisher has successfully stolen the Sword of Destiny, but in doing so she's landed in the hospital thanks to smoke inhalation. She's learned a little more about her newest companion, a teenage girl named Clementine Rodriguez, and is now being dosed with magic by a witch/nurse for pain.

Question for reviewers who have been reading along or feel like they have a good gauge on Edna's character: does the existential crisis in this chapter feel natural? It seemed like the right way to go at the time, but I want to know what y'all think of it. If I'm going to keep it, does Edna need to have more doubt in previous chapters? Or does this work as-is?

Edna settled back on her pillows. She should’ve been a witch. She didn’t mind the white hair and wrinkles and bad vision—she’d been near-sighted all her life anyway, and wrinkles, she thought, were a sign of a long life lived well.

But it’d be nice to have both her real hips and knees.

And to—well, if she’d been a witch, couldn’t she have just made all that smoke suck itself right up? She could’ve saved the church, and kept Clementine from looking so frightened and pitiable—she could’ve divined Theobald Smith for sure, found the right one on the first try, and gotten the sword before it was too late. Clem would’ve come too late, found it gone, and returned to wherever she’d come from.

Why, she wondered, why on earth had the wizards named her as the Chosen One? She was old and alone and she didn’t even know magic.

The nurse ran her hands over Edna’s chest and throat. Edna resisted the urge to giggle, but her mouth turned up at the corners. It felt ridiculous. The nurse wasn’t doing anything. Just running her hands in the air. You’d think there’d be, Edna wasn’t sure what exactly, but maybe magical sparks or a golden glow. Something. But there was just a middle-aged red-haired woman in scrubs moving her hands along in the air.

To Edna’s surprise, however, she felt it working. A moment ago her head had felt like anvil and speaking had been a burden, but now she felt—perhaps not ready to get out of bed, but like she could sit up, at least.

“Better not,” the nurse said. “This is just for the pain. You’ll still want to rest everything.”

“But it’s magic,” Edna said. “Can’t you just poof me all better?”

The nurse chuckled, and even Clem cracked a smile. They exchanged a glance, and then the nurse said, “Now, Mrs. Fisher, surely you know better than that.”

The door opened a third time, and this time it really was Benjamin, with Theobald Smith—and, to Edna’s surprise—Methodius in tow. Despite the nurse’s advice, Edna sat up and enfolded Benjamin in a hug.

“You’re all right!” he cried hoarsely. His eyes were red, like he’d been crying. “God, I’ve been so worried.”

“I’m all right, dear. I’m all right.”

The nurse stood up and smiled at them. “I’ll give you some privacy.”

Then she wagged a finger at Benjamin and added, “You take care of your mother, young man. Make sure she stays in bed.”

“If I can figure out how to make her do anything she doesn’t want to,” Benjamin said in what Edna suspected was only partially fake exasperation.

The nurse nodded to Theobald and Methodius on her way out. Edna felt around for her glasses and put them on. The room leapt into focus.

“Your mother?” she said.

“We had a bonfire,” Benjamin explained. “You’re my mom, and Clementine’s my daughter.”

“It’s Clem,” Clem said. Benjamin ignored her.

“Theobald’s your neighbor,” he said. “He saw the fire go out of control and rushed over to help. They were a little confused as to why he didn’t have any smoke inhalation, but he went into a whole thing about all the ways to keep smoke out of the nose and lungs.”

“Used to be in the volunteer fire department,” Theobald said from the doorway.

“And—Methodius?” Edna said, with a glance at the wizard. To her even greater surprise, Methodius was holding a vase of carnations from the hospital gift shop.

“That nurse knows him,” Benjamin said. “But I guess she, er, well, she knows about his past with Theobald—”

Methodius blanched and Theobald scowled, but neither of them said anything.

“—so we made up some garbage about him being in the neighborhood. I guess he works pretty closely with covens all over the world.”

“Trying to get some witches into the Council of Wizards,” Methodius said. “It’s been difficult. The council can be very stubborn about tradition.”

He deposited his vase on Edna’s bedside table.

“Are those for me?” she asked.

He reddened. “Well. Yes, since you asked.”

Well, well. Would wonders never cease? Edna admired the carnations, but now the room had fallen silent, and she didn’t know what to say. It felt as if they were all waiting for her to—what? She wasn’t sure.

“They want to keep you a couple more days,” Benjamin said at last. He was still standing beside her bed, in a manner that suggested he didn’t know what to do with himself. “Make sure everything’s working right and that you don’t have a reaction to the magic or something.”

A couple more days? That wouldn’t do at all. They’d finally found the sword, but they hadn’t exactly been secretive about it—they’d left a burnt-up church and a ruined auction in their wake, and Edna knew how these thing went. She’d been so preoccupied with finding the Sword of Destiny that she hadn’t given that much thought to Redway, but she thought of him now. Did he know the wizards had named a Chosen One? Did he know the Sword of Destiny was meant for him? Did he know it had been stolen?

The enormity of what she was supposed to do hit Edna for the first time. She swung her legs over the side of the bed and started looking about for her clothes. If she was going to save the world, she wasn’t going to do it in a hospital gown that showed her backside to the whole world.

“Edna, what are you doing?”

“I can’t stay a couple more days,” she said.

“Why the hell not? Edna—”she tried to stand up, but Benjamin put his hands on her shoulders—“stay in bed.”

She did as he said, feeling like a wrung-out sponge. All she could think of was Redway, Redway and his dragons and the Knights he’d killed and the towns he’d attacked. She was just one old lady.

“Edna,” Benjamin said, “what’s wrong?”

She folded her hands in her lap and looked at them. She wasn’t sure what she didn’t want to see in Benjamin’s eyes—whether she thought he’d look relieved or disappointed or simply like she’d lost her mind—but she couldn’t stand to meet his gaze just now.

“Oh, Benjamin, why did I ever agree to do this? I’m an old woman, and not even a hag or an enchantress or a witch or a priestess. I can barely walk, for heaven’s sakes. Why on earth did they think I could do this? Only,” she said, “they don’t think I can do this, did they? Methodius doesn’t approve at all—do you?” With a glance at the wizard. “It’s just that one wizard who named me, isn’t that what you said?”

Methodius flushed. Benjamin opened his mouth to say something, but she kept talking.

“I don’t know how to wield a sword. I don’t know how to cast a spell. I don’t know how to do anything! I’m eighty-three years old, and I don’t know how to do anything. Except knit. That’ll be useful, won’t it?”

She sounded bitter, she knew, and she knew everyone was staring at her, but she couldn’t help it. It took energy to be so cheerful all the time, and she didn’t have any right now.

“I don’t know what I’m doing,” she said. She dabbed at her eyes with her sleeve. Something seemed to have gotten into them.

She felt a hand on her shoulder and looked up to see Theobald beside her bed. He towered over her like a giant, but he crouched down beside her and said gently, “Mrs. Fisher, it’s all right if you decide you want to go home.”

“I don’t have anywhere to go.”

“There’s the nursing home,” Benjamin said.

She laughed. “Not a chance, my dear.”

“Edna—”

“I’m not going back there.”

They sat in silence for a long moment. Theobald’s hand was warm and heavy. He’d worn nothing but frowns before, but now he seemed like the only one who was comfortable. Benjamin looked unsure of what to say; Methodius gazed at the floor, the color of a bad sunburn; Clem’s frown had deepened.

“I don’t think,” Methodius started finally. He paused to clear his throat and finally looked up from the floor. “Mrs. Fisher, I—I apologize for what I said, back at the nursing home. It’s true, Philostratus is considered, well, a little, shall we say, unorthodox around the council. We’ve always chosen teenagers, and when he named you—anyway, Centius the Wise does think very highly of him, and if—you know, when you were named, I did advocate for you.”

Edna dabbed at her eyes again. “You did?”

“Yes, I—well, I told the others we ought to hear Philostratus out, anyway, and accept his choice, which—I didn’t realize what would—well, anyway. Mrs. Fisher, I pride myself on considering all sides of an issue fairly and coming to a just decision, but I’m afraid I’ve treated you unjustly. You’ve already stolen a sword and survived a terrible fire. I think, perhaps, the council judged you too hastily.”

“As usual,” Theobald said. Edna waved his comment aside.

“It’s up to you of course,” Methodius continued. “If you really feel that way—no one would blame you if you went home now. The smart money was on young Clementine here—”

Clem’s eyes blazed as she looked at him, but she didn’t say anything, just leaned forward, glued to his every word.

“—so if you did decide to pass on the mantle of Chosen One, well, she could hold the sword for us until we made it official. But if you choose to continue, you have my blessing, as little as that may matter. Philostratus returns from Mars in a month. Perhaps he can tell you what it was about you that made him decide you were destined for this.”

Looking disappointed, Clem settled back in her seat.

“So what do you want to do?” Benjamin asked. His expression was one of resignation, which Edna took to mean he already knew her answer.

“Get me my clothes,” she said. “We’re checking out.”

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Wed Sep 13, 2017 12:41 pm
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Rydia wrote a review...



Okay, right, time to review!

Specifics

1.

But it’d be nice to have both her real hips and knees.
Why is this related to being a witch? Is it that they don't have health issues when they are old? This hasn't been explained yet, though Methodius seems to be in good health so the reader can kind of assume that witches age better than humans but it's not something that's been confirmed yet.

2. If Edna were a witch, she wouldn't have been the Chosen one and wouldn't have been on this mission so following that line of thought seems pretty pointless. The whole point of the chosen one for this particular quest is that they need to have no magic so they can touch the sword without risking death.

3.
To Edna’s surprise, however, she felt it working. A moment ago her head had felt like an anvil and speaking had been a burden, but now she felt—perhaps not ready to get out of bed, but like she could sit up, at least.


4.
He reddened. “Well. Yes, since you asked.”
I don't understand the response here. It seems to suggest she asked for flowers but I don't think she did or don't remember her asking? Or is it the generic 'since you asked' thing? If so, it feels out of place here - it's usually given as a sarcastic or annoyed response when someone didn't ask. Like "I'm fine thanks, since you asked."

5. I think the existential crisis is good but the last chapter needs to be a little less calm/ doubtless to make a smoother lead up to it. That definitely felt like something which was missing from the previous chapter though so it's good to see it here.

6. I think Clem looks disappointed too soon - she doesn't know Edna as well as Benjamin does and after that outburst, it wouldn't be so far fetched to believe the old lady might actually go home and let the mantle pass to a younger pair of shoulders.

Overall

I think there are some good emotions flying around in this chapter and Methodius gets to show a softer side of himself which is definitely nice. I kind of want to see more reactions from Theo on that side - the last time they were in the chapter together, he threw them out of his house so while it's understandable that things have simmered down, I can't tell if Theo is still angry. I would still be angry if my boyfriend had dumped a magical sword on me and then not returned for years just because some stupid wizard council told him not to. That doesn't excuse not writing or not at least making a parting visit to explain. It makes Methodius a pretty unforgiveable character in some ways.

Back to work I go but as always, feel free to ask any questions!

~Heather




BlueAfrica says...


Thanks! Good, so it must have been the last chapter that actually made me feel like I had major problems with this chapter - I felt like perhaps it was too soon or something for Edna's doubts and stuff, but after your comments on both parts of this chapter I see it's just that she actually didn't quite feel them soon enough. Or at least didn't have a strong enough reaction to the fire/feeling frail soon enough.

(UGH pacing is my kryptonite.)
(Pacing and description.)



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Tue Aug 15, 2017 9:22 pm
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papillote wrote a review...



Hi, BlueAfrica. It's been a while but I'm catching up.
Those chapters were perfect. I like that you don't sacrifice your supporting characters simply to focus on your hero. They are believable and well-developed. I can already see myself getting very fond of Clem and her cryptid. I'm already halfway in love with Methodius and Théobald.
As for Edna's crisis of conscience, it rang true to me. It seems natural that she'd be feeling a little intimidated: she's in a room with five other people, two are immortal and four can do magic. I would be intimidated as hell. But of course, she's going to pull herself back together. If she doesn't, Clem's going to inherit the sword.
I can't see Edna backing down if it means that someone so much younger will be decimated in her stead. As motivation, it's more plausible than vengeance or a desire to save the world. If I was an eighty-three-year-old bored with her life and I could save an innocent teenager from being killed, maimed or scarred for life, I think I would do it, thinking that I'm going to be dead soon, anyway.
Now, I'm very curious of what comes next. I can't see an eighty-three-year-old leading an army into battle or having an epic swordfight in a swamp. I hope you have something great in store.




BlueAfrica says...


IT HAS INDEED BEEN A WHILE when are you going to post more Viggo's Break???



papillote says...


Haha, tonight probably.
I was taking a holiday with my very demanding girlfriend. She says she is getting jealous of my computer so I'm trying to tone it down.



BlueAfrica says...


That's understandable! If I was on holiday with a significant other, I would probably also want them to pay more attention to me than the computer. HOORAY FOR MORE.

Oh, re: the other chapter, it turns out I had revised it because at some point *I* realized the wizard, who is not supposed to touch the sword, was touching the sword...but I forgot to update it here. OOPS.



papillote says...


Happens. You're working on your story, you realize you made a huge mistake but you need to reread everything just for tiny, bitsy references so you just go on, thinking you'll get back to it later.
And, of course, you forget.



BlueAfrica says...


YEP. Especially in Draft Numero Uno. Once you're revising it's a bit easier, because you can read the whole thing and make notes on inconsistencies as you go.



papillote says...


True, it's easier but I ALWAYS find a couple of mistakes, even on the hundredth revision.



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Thu Jul 13, 2017 10:52 am
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saentiel wrote a review...



Hello, BlueAfrica! I'm here to review your work! I'm sorry in advance if my review isn't all that helpful. I'm trying to become a better reviewer, but I'm still not used to reviewing some of the things I'm going to mention in this review.

I didn't have any problems with the grammar, so I'll move onto the other parts of the review.

You included a lot of description in the paragraphs without dialogue, but the parts where the characters were speaking weren't accompanied by much descriptions. It felt like some parts of the chapter were mainly dialogue. The descriptions that you included were definitely good ones, but they were mostly bunched in paragraphs without dialogue.

I think the existential crisis worked perfectly in this chapter. Edna almost died, so it makes sense that she would start wondering if she's right for the job. I also love how you showed Edna's stubbornness again with wanting to leave the hospital. Edna is such an interesting protagonist!

I hope this review helped. I really enjoyed reading your work, and I'm sorry if any part of my review seemed harsh! Also, please feel free to PM me if something I said doesn't make sense. I'd be happy to explain it to you. Keep up the great work - which I doubt you'll have trouble with - and good luck on your writing endeavors! I hope you have a wonderful day/night!

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Wed Jul 12, 2017 2:13 am
Kays wrote a review...



This is Nikayla here dropping in for a review! I'm on a roll for being here earlier than usual. Hopefully I can keep this up with the later chapters too.

Edna settled back on her pillows. She should’ve been a witch. She didn’t mind the white hair and wrinkles and bad vision—she’d been near-sighted all her life anyway, and wrinkles, she thought, were a sign of a long life lived well.


The second sentence here is a little odd in wording with the word 'and' used twice. This isn't a large problem though I can see this being worked around for a more interesting opening to the chapter.

But it’d be nice to have both her real hips and knees.


Same here, though the problem is starting with 'but'. This is more of a personal preference, though I hold a grudge against using words that are supposed to connect clauses at the beginning of lines. So, to, and, because/but. They end up spelling S.T.A.B. for a reason, and that's because when you're using them at the beginning of a sentence, that's usually what they're going to do to your writing.

And to—well, if she’d been a witch, couldn’t she have just made all that smoke suck itself right up? She could’ve saved the church, and kept Clementine from looking so frightened and pitiable—she could’ve divined Theobald Smith for sure, found the right one on the first try, and gotten the sword before it was too late. Clem would’ve come too late, found it gone, and returned to wherever she’d come from.

Why, she wondered, why on earth had the wizards named her as the Chosen One? She was old and alone and she didn’t even know magic.


I wish this came across more naturally, since the concept or thought of having Edna being existential on paper is great especially for where we're at in the novel, though this doesn't come across quite right.

The nurse ran her hands over Edna’s chest and throat. Edna resisted the urge to giggle, but her mouth turned up at the corners. It felt ridiculous. The nurse wasn’t doing anything. Just running her hands in the air. You’d think there’d be, Edna wasn’t sure what exactly, but maybe magical sparks or a golden glow. Something. But there was just a middle-aged red-haired woman in scrubs moving her hands along in the air.


Instance of S.T.A.B. again with the last sentence in this paragraph.

I'm confused by Benjamin and Edna discussing who's who. Is this a cover-up for what happened? I can't tell if it's the smoke inhalation here (I'm going to assume not) though I am unsure of why Benjamin is saying that Clem is his daughter and Edna is his mother. A little more context here might be helpful. Is Benjamin lying to Edna about the bonfire because of the smoke inhalation? This part truly confused me, since I don't see how this is much of a cover-up story seeing as the hospital probably would've known of the fire at the church. Reading on, I can see that Edna is conscious now and fully aware of what's happening, though I still don't get the part about the bonfire.

“I don’t know how to wield a sword. I don’t know how to cast a spell. I don’t know how to do anything! I’m eighty-three years old, and I don’t know how to do anything. Except knit. That’ll be useful, won’t it?”


Foreshadowing perhaps? I hope so. If so, you are a sly woman, Blue. A sly woman.

The end of the chapter is super empowering. I have that much to say about this. While there were some vague moments in the middle that I may have not understood and the existential thoughts of Edna could've been executed a little better, this ending still hits the reader.

If you have any questions, don't be afraid to ask! I hope I helped and have a great day.

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BlueAfrica says...


Okay, I'm glad the ending is good! And (sorry) that the existential crisis is at least placed right and just needs some work in the actual execution, which is what revision is for. Do you have any suggestions for the execution, or should I just play around with it until it's more natural?

Foreshadowing perhaps? I hope so.


I'm sure I don't know what you're talking about.



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Tue Jul 11, 2017 8:12 pm
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Sonder wrote a review...



Gosh, I love this story. The characters are just so well-rounded and natural and yum. I think her existential crisis is perfectly natural at this point in the story! Being hospitalized will make anyone lose some of their morale. Her optimism and determination springs right back, anyway, so I think it fit her character well.
Keep writing this, it brings me joy. <3




BlueAfrica says...


Omg thank you so much!



Sonder says...


No prob! Hey, do you know why this got marked as a review when I posted it as a comment? I don't want to rob you of better, more in-depth reviews!



BlueAfrica says...


I marked it myself, actually, because you answered the question I specifically had about the chapter! A review doesn't have to be long to be helpful.



Sonder says...


Oh, okay! Thanks. :)




It always seems impossible until it's done.
— Nelson Mandela