Day: November 30, 2011

Trial by Fire, Chapter 20: Endings and Beginnings

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

The party, the mistwolves, some elves, and the refugees from Ravenswood gather together at the Fairy Glen to celebrate the defeat of the Dark Sorceress. It’s both a joyous and somber occasion: everyone’s happy that Aldenmor is healing, but Stormbringer is, for all intents and purposes, dead. Adriane gets to join the mistwolves in their mourning rites, which is just a Wolfsong performed by the entire pack. (Kinda hard to have a Fantasy Funeral Pyre when there’s no body.) Afterwards, Moonshadow and Silver Eyes tell Adriane that, yes, it hurts when a loved one dies. They then present Dreamer to her, and the two of them bond. Aww.

Later, the Fairimentals show up (originally, it’s only Gwigg and Ambia; they’re joined by Marina in the revision), and tell the party that they healed Aldenmor and fulfilled the Generic Fantasy Prophecy. Now they get to protect Earth and improve their magic skills. However, the new edition suggests that the party’s quest has only just begun:

The Fairimentals gathered at the portal. “It has been a long time since magic has flowed across the strands of the web.”

“Did I release Avalon’s magic?” Kara asked.

“We do not know,” Gwigg rustled.

“But the prophecy … didn’t we find Avalon?” Emily asked.

“The prophecy can only guide us,” the Earth Fairimental explained. “It can mean different things. You make it your own as you walk your path.”

“I was on this island,” Kara insisted. “There were the most beautiful fairy wraiths there.”

“There are wraiths and sylphs who guard the most special of magical places.” Ambia fluttered on a cool breeze.

“What the blazing star found was the Gates of Avalon,” Gwigg said.

The mages glanced at one another.

“The wraiths said we need a key,” Kara said.

“That is correct,” Gwigg replied.

“A key? What’s in Avalon?” Emily asked.

Ambia shook her head sadly. “Avalon has been lost to us for a very long time.”

Moonshadow stepped forward. “In my spirit vision, I saw the crystal city, broken and covered in webs. It was a dark place.”

Gwigg trembled, twigs and leaves falling to the ground. “We fear for Avalon.”

“I saw a different Avalon.” Kara stepped forward. “It was beautiful, an incredible city sparkling with lights.”

The animals gasped.

“It means the future is uncertain, in motion, constantly changing.” Ambia twinkled brightly.

Okay, so the party needs to find this Key, and open the Gates of Avalon. Too bad that Kara’s and Moonshadow’s visions contradict one another’s, and that nobody actually knows what’s in Avalon in the first place. That seems important. Also, the party can’t get to the Gates of Avalon on their own anymore, since the Fairy Maps were destroyed. (Wait … when were they destroyed, exactly? Did they self-destruct when Kara activated them, or were they lost when the Dark Circle collapsed? Also, can’t the Fairimentals just make new ones?)

The Fairimentals open a portal that shows the denizens of Aldenmor and the Fairy Realms pledging themselves to the party’s service. Yay, allies. When the portal opens upon the elf villages, the Fairimentals give Ozzie a Sparkly Rock and name him a Knight of the Circle. It’s not explained why he’s called a Knight of the Circle in the books beyond “yay, you’re a defender of Avalon”, but there’s some more information in the supplementary materials. But, yay, Ozzie may become more useful in the future! Too bad he has to remain in ferret form when he returns to Earth with the party, though. Ozzie is given a chance to return to his elven self, but he decides that being a ferret and hanging out with the party is preferable, for now.

And then the party goes home, and all is right with the universe, I guess.

Status Update!
Adriane bonds with Dreamer!
Ozzie obtains: Ferret Stone!

EDIT: Changes in the e-book edition

  • Emily doesn’t ask the Fairimentals about the Key or what’s in Avalon.
  • Emily waves at Phel when he appears in the portal.

Next time: A brief recap of “Dragonfly Wrangling 102”.