Day: November 10, 2011

Trial by Fire, Chapter 9: Exposition Fairies

(If you’re reading the original edition, this is Chapter 7.)

Remember when I said it was a smart idea to do Kara’s scenario first? I lied. Kara gets infodumped by Be*Tween, because she needs to know a shitload of stuff about Avalon and fairies and a future boss battle and other fun stuff. And a lot of it was changed — or rearranged — between editions, so prepare to be bombarded with quotes.

So Kara’s all like “OMGWTFBBQ it’s Be*Tween!” but she still has no idea where the hell she is, why Be*Tween is here, or what the hell she’s supposed to do. Don’t worry, Be*Tween’s ready to explain it all.

Where the hell is Kara?
Be*Tween’s little fairy rave is in a “twilight realm between worlds”. But what exactly is a twilight realm? In the original edition, a twilight realm is an astral plane. In the new edition, it’s a “hidden pocket of magic” created by the disintegration of the Magic Web.

Why did Kara piss off everyone in the party?
Because Kara doesn’t know shit about fairy etiquette. Fairies can’t reveal their real names, or else they lose their powers. As Be*Tween succinctly explains to Kara: “If you trick [a fairy] into telling you [its name], you capture its magic.” Which begs the question: if the Fairimentals and Be*Tween have names, which are already known to the party, why haven’t they lost their powers? Or are the names they gave to the party fake?

What are Be*Tween? And why are they big?
Be*Tween calls themselves muses, because they “inspire creativity and imagination”, both of which are sources of strong magic. As for why they’re human-sized, that’s only answered in the revision: “Fairies and fairy creatures come in many sizes”.

What the hell happened to the Fairimentals? (original edition only)
A quick explanation of fairies and Fairimentals, straight from the original edition:

“Fairies spread magic through nature,” Sylina explained. “It is elemental, flowing through earth, sky, water, and fire.”

“You mean like fairimentals?” Kara asked.

“Fairimentals are guardians of special places of beauty and magic like Aldenmor,” Sylina said. “They are the highest power of fairies, existing as pure, flowing energy.”

“They are only visible when cloaked in shapes of nature,” Andi added.

“Where are they?” Kara asked.

“They have closed themselves off, like a seed, waiting for the rain,” Sylina explained.

Okay, so they’re just in hiding … which isn’t a good thing, after reading through Emily’s scenario.

So why are Be*Tween in this twilight realm?
Depends on which edition you’re reading. In both editions, Be*Tween is protecting the fairy creatures of Aldenmor. The new edition explains that they’ve been touring all over the Magic Web, summoning fairies and using their spellsinging to restore the Magic Web until a more permanent solution is reached. Originally, Be*Tween was on tour on Earth when a certain someone interrupted them:

“We were called back by a human wizard to protect the fairies of Aldenmor,” Crimson said. “You may know of him, Henry Gardener.”

Wait … Mr. Gardener’s a wizard? Dude, he’s like the best person to train the party so they don’t suck at magic! Why the hell is he absent? And if you’ve read the entire series (original or new edition), how the hell did Mr. Gardener contact Be*Tween?

About that fairy princess thing….
And here, things get complicated. Apparently magic existed on Earth, and shows up in humans every few generations. Here’s the full explanation from the revision:

“Many years ago, humans and magical creatures worked together,” Sylina told Kara. “When the portals between worlds closed, some of the magic remained on Earth. Many animals of Earth descended from magical ancestors.”

“Some retain highly developed senses,” Crimson added.

“Yeah,” Kara mused. “There was this dog that saved his whole family from a fire.”

“The same is true for humans as well,” Sylina said. “Some humans still carry its seeds. Every few generations the magic becomes strong in them.”

And then the big reveal: Kara is a descendant of Lucinda, the greatest of all fairy queens. Kara, of course, is all like, “Yeah, right.”

So what exactly is in Avalon? (new edition only)
Yeah, we’d all like to know this. Unfortunately, nobody does.

How do you beat a Skrull Skultum?
In the original edition, this is where Kara finally learns that the shapeshifting creature from the last book is called a Skultum. He’s an excellent spellsinger, but he’s subject to the same weakness as all fairies: get him to say his name, and he’ll lose his powers. This will be especially hard for Kara, because she has low resistance to fairy magic (thanks, magic lineage!). Only problem is that the party doesn’t know his name. Kara asks Be*Tween what the Skultum’s name is in the original edition, but….

“Once we did, but when the Dark Sorceress released the creature from the otherworlds, it took on a new name,” Crimson told her.

Yeah, you’re a great help there, Be*Tween.

Other random stuff I couldn’t fit in above:
* The party is famous in the Fairy Realms in the new edition. How word spread that far, and why haven’t any powerful fairies tried to aid the party on their quest yet, is never addressed.
* Only fairies can enter fairy raves.
* Be*Tween mentions that the Dark Sorceress was transformed somehow. Did she undergo the same mutation as the Spider Witch, but not turn into a monstrous cat-lizard-person?

Goddamn, that was a lot of stuff. Aftewards, Kara and Lyra leave, using the unicorn horn to open a portal to Aldenmor. The new edition gives them some friendly banter:

“Hey,” Kara said, suddenly realizing something. “If only fairies are allowed, how come you’re here?”

The cat stared back. “Gah.”

“I know how you feel,” she sympathized.

Status Update!
Kara gains: lowered resistance to fairy magic! (Damn, that sucks.)

EDIT: Changes in the e-book edition

  • Kara tells B*Tween that she loves their music, not their latest CD.
  • B*Tween are no longer muses.

Next time: And finally, the party is reunited!