Adriane comes to in a sack that’s apparently being carried into some subterranean vault by Scorge. How does she know this? Because a) she’s going downhill, and b) Scorge hums a rather distinctive tune. Okay, it’s not much of a tune, just a bunch of pathetic hummmawahwah.
Eventually she’s dropped, and the sack is opened. Adriane has an oh crap moment: she’s in the Dark Sorceress’s lair, and Scorge is groveling like an idiot (talking just like a Dweasel from Jewel Riders). Apparently he was supposed to bring Drake (which he thought was a gigantic Sparkly Rock) to the Sorceress. The Sorceress gets pissed and gets her
Yuan-ti Reptilicon guards to send Scorge to the dungeons. (The book doesn’t give a name for the guards’ species, but it’s up on the original series’ site.)
Now alone with Adriane, the Sorceress interrogates her. The Sorceress soon learns that a) Drake hatched and is hiding somewhere, and b) Adriane has fully tuned her Wolf Stone, so the Sorceress can’t steal it. She then goes at length about how a bond between a human and a magical animal lasts for life, and then tries to coerce Adriane into summoning the mistwolves. This plays out differently in both editions; I went into depth on the subject in the comments a few weeks ago, but if you missed out, here’s how it goes down in the original.
“The truth is, Avalon doesn’t exist.”
[…] “Oh, there are are places of magic out there and that’s what this fight is all about. We all want magic. But this mythical place, this home of all magic — it’s all made up, just like your fairy tales. […] So you think very carefully about whose side you are on. What you really want.”
One problem with this: if Avalon doesn’t exist, why are the girls searching for Avalon? I guess you can argue that the Sorceress didn’t pass the test at the Gates of Avalon (i.e., she didn’t see the Gates), but that doesn’t mesh with what happens at the end of the series. The revised edition changes this entire conversation as so:
“Avalon is not what you think it is.”
[…] “You are afraid to be here. You think this is all some perversion of the precious magic that binds you to these animals. Now amplify that fear a thousand fold and you have a small sense of what Avalon truly is. The only chance you have of actually entering Avalon is by working with me. […] Give me what I need — what we need — to open the gates.”
A little spoiler: the Sorceress is totally telling the truth. And the only way she would know this is if she had been to Avalon before, thus contradicting her statements in the original edition.
Anyway, Adriane refuses to summon the mistwolves, so she’s thrown into a dungeon with a bunch of irradiated (or dead) animals, obviously the failed results of whatever it is the Sorceress is up to. This is the rather anvilicious anti-animal-testing part of the story: “Ah, the Sorceress is evil because she does horrid experiments on cute animals! Oh, and she magically nuked a good chunk of Aldenmor, too — but still, THINK OF THE ANIMALS.”
Adriane finds a mistwolf amongst them — Silver Eyes, the missing pack leader (who mysteriously has gold eyes in the original edition). She frees her from her glass cage (because mistwolves can only be trapped in glass), but Adriane contracts radiation poisoning due to making magic with a bunch of irradiated animals. She resigns herself to a slow death with the others….
EDIT: Changes in the e-book edition
- The Sorceress claims that the Fairimentals have used humans, not human magic users, to help them find Avalon.
- The pegasus in the Sorceress’s prison doesn’t address Adriane as “magic user” when she arrives.
Next time: A proper dungeon crawl!