Trial by Fire, Chapter 2: Yay, Exposition!

Today is not a good day for Kara, who decided to rejoin the party anyway a week after the last book.

Kara’s still moping about activating the Fairy Map and possibly letting the Sorceress have free reign over the magic of Avalon. (In the original edition, she also has no idea what exactly the Fairy Map did.) Meanwhile, Adriane’s talking about getting enough feed bins and salt licks set up in the preserve for the winter, Emily’s sharing a newspaper article about Mrs. Windor’s trip to Washington, and Ozzie’s trying to track the e-mail from Be*Tween and Mr. Gardener. The party’s generally worried about not hearing from the Fairimentals in a while.

For those of you wondering how exactly Be*Tween and Mr. Gardener sent e-mails to the party, the original edition explains why:

“I’ve been thinking about the E-mails,” Adriane finally said. “I mean, after all this time, why would Gardener and Be*Tween suddenly contact us, and through the computer no less?”

“Maybe they couldn’t before,” Rasha offered.

“Yes, maybe they were trapped somewhere,” Ronif added.

“That’s what I was thinking,” Adriane said. “Suppose when Kara opened the portals, she freed them. Or at least allowed them to contact us briefly.”

So I guess that kinda explains how Gardener, who (spoiler!) isn’t in any state to send anything to the party, contacts them.

Anyway, the party tries to cheer Kara up by telling her that maybe it was a good idea that she opened all the portals, because that’s the only way they can find Avalon. Kara’s still not convinced, because she thinks the Sorceress is already in Avalon. Emily tries to lighten the mood by teaching Ozzie and the major refugees how to make s’mores. After a number of epic failures — including Ozzie’s tail catching fire — Kara shows the animals the proper way to toast marshmallows.

And then the power goes out, and a gigantic fiery figure emerges from the fireplace.

The refugees are in awe, for an uber-rare Firemental materialized before them! Apparently they only show up when shit hits the fan. Originally, the firemental just points to the Fairy Map and tells Kara to activate it. In the revision … it’s kinda pissed:

“You opened the portalsss!” the Firemental hissed at [Kara].

Kara winced. It was not the fire that burned her, but the heat of her own shame.

“I … I’m sorry … I don’t know what I did. I messed up really bad. And now the Dark Sorceress is all over Avalon…”

“The witch waitsssss in her lair.”

Kara’s eyes widened. “The sorceress is not in Avalon?”

“She needssss map.”

Kara looked at the pattern of portals burning along the fairy map. “We’ll never let her get it again!”

“There isss another…”

After the Firemental dissipates, the party realizes that Moonshadow has the other Fairy Map! No wonder the Sorceress had all the wolves captured in the last chapter: she needs both maps to open the path to Avalon! Of course, the party doesn’t know that yet. But they resolve to reach Moonshadow and keep his Fairy Map out of the Sorceress’ hands!

So the party decides to head out to Aldenmor today, after giving plausible excuses to their parents. Kara, being the most practical of the bunch, announces that she’s going on a shopping spree. Hey, the party needs supplies if they’re going to hang out in a magical nuclear wasteland. They’re gonna need potions, lotions, hi-potions, ethers, and — since this is a magical nuclear wasteland — Rad-Away and Rad-X! Oh, and lots of food, too.

Next time: the party gets lost on the way to Aldenmor and asks for directions.



  1. I see it spelled Be*Tween on-line but in the ebooks it’s always B*Tween. I just noticed that. Is this only in the ebooks or was it a spelling change for the second editions?

    In the revision it sounds like B*Tween is afraid of being noticed if they sent too many messages as opposed to them being trapped.

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