(If you’re reading the original edition, this is Chapter 9.)
Okay, I forgot to mention this in my last post, but before the massive bad-ass battle, the party uses the unicorn horn to hopefully summon Lorelei. Instead, some giant fire-breathing beastie shows up. The party automatically assumes it’s everyone’s favorite manticore and thinks they’re screwed.
And then the battle begins! Adriane casts Shield and Magic Missile a lot, the party uses an Improved Magic Missile to create trenches that trip up the goblin cavalry, and Stormbringer mauls some enemies. In the new edition, Kara also gets caught in a tiny net:
Another group attacked from the side, driving the healer and blazing star apart.
“Stay together!” Adriane ordered.
“Kara, look out!” Emily screamed.
A wave of imps ran between the riders and threw a sparking net over Kara.
Adriane leaped and spun, fists of golden fire slicing the net to shreds.
Damn, that was not very descriptive.
Anyway, the fire-breathing creature torches most of the imps and goblins, thus tilting the battle in the party’s favor. The enemies eventually retreat, and the fire-breathing thing reveals itself to be none other than Drake.
Drake’s now the size of a bus, and can fly pretty well. I guess baby dragons grow a lot over two months.
After the battle, Drake tells the party that he’s been searching for Zach. He hasn’t heard from him in a while, and fears the worst. The party decides to recap their adventures to Drake, and discuss what the Sorceress’ ultimate plan is. It’s different in both editions. Originally, the party — who finally knows what a Skultum is thanks to Kara — thinks that the Sorceress will use Avalon’s magic to spread darkness over Aldenmor:
“…[Be*Tween] told me the shape-shifter is really an evil fairy and it’s going to spread magic when it comes.”
“You mean like Phel spreading magic seeds?” Emily asked.
“That’s what fairies do,” Ozzie said. “They spread magic through nature.”
“An evil fairy would use the magic to poison nature,” Emily reasoned.
“Wait a minute,” Adriane said. “The merfolk told me they were waiting for the magic rain.”
“They didn’t know whether it would be light or dark rain,” Storm added. “Good or bad magic.”
“Maybe the sorceress has opened portals, but there’s no more magic,” Emily suggested.
“No, no…” Ozzie was pacing back and forth, thinking.
“Or she hasn’t found what she needs yet,” Kara added.
“No, no…” Ozzie came to a stop. “The portals opened in a sequence. I think she opened the pipeline but can’t start the magic flow.”
Question: what’s the point of turning all of Aldenmor into a magical nuclear wasteland? Was the Sorceress just doing it for the evuls?
Anyway, the original edition also offers a very stupid reason why an army ambushed the party instead of the Sorceress herself:
“Then why didn’t she attack us?” Emily asked. “We could have walked into a trap at the dark circle.”
They all looked at the ferret.
“She’s afraid,” Ozzie said.
“Of course,” Ozzie started shuffling back and forth. “Whatever she’s doing, she doesn’t want us anywhere near her place. She tried to take us out, all together, right here.”
Or maybe she’s busy with her gigantic crystals and doesn’t think the party is worth her time? That’s a more plausible excuse.
Well, in the new edition, the party realizes why the Sorceress sent forces to ambush them, and what she’s after:
“They tried to capture Kara.” Ozzie paced. “Why? What has she got?”
“This.” Kara held out her backpack. “No, I mean, this!” she removed the fairy map. “Be*Tween told me the Skultum would come after me.”
“Why does she still need Kara’s fairy map?” Emily asked.
“We stopped the Skultum before he finished his job,” Adriane stated.
“The sorceress still can’t find Avalon,” Ozzie said.
“So … I didn’t open all the portals,” Kara concluded.
And then the party decides to pay the Sorceress a visit. Of course, one does not simply walk into the Shadowlands, so the party decides to fly on Drake.
Drake rejoins the party!
Next time: The party parachutes behind enemy lines!