Trial by Fire, Chapter 17: An Unorthodox Boss Battle

(If you’re reading the original edition, this is Chapter 15.)

Kara appears in the Otherworlds, which is a dusky place populated by barren trees and everyone’s favorite Skultum in the guise of Johnny Conrad. Not!Johnny does the usual “You Suck, Heroine!” taunting that all antagonists do. Kara’s sick and tired of it, of course … and then she remembers that she’s armed! So that means she can finally start a boss battle!

Boss: Skultum (this is the last time, I swear!)
Make him say his name, and he dies! Yay!
Attacks: You should know this by now.

But wait, how can Kara get the Skultum to say his name? Magic Missile is obviously not going to do the trick. Kara thinks really, really hard … and the dragonflies show up. The dragonflies make a bunch of shapes in the air, and hint that they know the Skultum’s new name. (How do they know it?) Not!Johnny is distracted by the frolicking dragonflies, and in the new edition he’s impressed that Kara bonded with them. (Apparently dragonflies don’t bond with anybody … usually.)

Kara gets the bright idea to play a sort of “dragonfly charades”. She thinks of a word, the dragonflies spell it out by contorting into letters, and the Skultum has to guess the word. The two do this for a while before Kara ups the ante: the dragonflies spell the words backwards, and Kara and the Skultum have to guess the words while doing headstands. This proves to be a hit, because the Skultum is laughing and enjoying himself. He’s so caught up in the game that, when Kara gets the dragonflies to spell the Skultum’s true name backwards, the Skultum blurts out the answer … and then goes poof!

The Skultum’s name is different, depending on which edition you’re reading. It’s Cigam in the original edition, and Howard in the new edition.

Yay! Kara beat a boss on her own, and she got the Skultum’s shapeshifting powers, too! Now it’s time for her to help her friends back on Aldenmor. Luckily, she has the dragonflies around to make a portal for her….

Status Update!
Kara learns: Polymorph!

Next time: Emily and Zach gain new abilities, and Adriane continues her boss battle.


  1. I really want to know why “Cigam” became “Howard”. Ah, I missed a chance to ask Roberts herself! Also, how would the dragonflies know anyway? Kara just guesses that they know, and she’s right!

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