Ghost Wolf, Chapter 18: Revelations Galore!

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

Chain!Dreamer arrives at the Spider Witch’s lair with the Power Crystal. I guess Adriane didn’t win her fight in the last chapter after all.

However, the Dark Sorceress notices something odd about the Power Crystal. Suddenly, mist pours out of the crystal … and solidifies into Adriane! Adriane fires a Magic Missile at the Spider Witch, forcing her to drop the Power Crystal. The Spirit Pack then escapes from the crystal. The Dark Sorceress realizes that the Spirit Pack was trapped inside the Power Crystal, confirming her just-now-revealed personal theory that the mistwolves are somehow connected to Avalon.

The Spider Witch orders Chain to kill Dreamer. However, the Spirit Pack decides to attack Chain!Dreamer first! Adriane realizes then that Chain was forcefully bound to the Spider Witch, and thus is not really her paladin. The Spirit Pack forces Chain out from Dreamer, and somehow cause the Ravenswood tapestry to unravel. The Spider Witch runs to her tapestry, revealing her true form.

Yep, she’s half-spider, half-human. I wish the only picture of her in the book did her justice, because she doesn’t look scary in it at all.

Anyway, the Spider Witch tries to fix her tapestry, but it unravels faster than she can reweave it. Meanwhile, a hole opens up in the lair’s ceiling, allowing the Spirit Pack to escape. Adriane and the Spider Witch then spot the Power Crystal and try to retrieve it. Adriane casts Create Lasso (I still haven’t come up with a good name for that spell yet!) and pulls the crystal towards her.

The Spider Witch calls for reinforcements. The Dark Sorceress tries to summon the Spirit Pack, but Adriane casts Shield on them. The Spider Witch uses this opportunity to take the Power Crystal from Adriane. The Dark Sorceress then notices that Adriane is bonded to Dreamer now. Adriane spams Magic Missile on the Dark Sorceress, who just casts Shield. However, the Sorceress can’t withstand Adriane’s attack for very long. Meanwhile, the Insect Warrior — who somehow makes an appearance in both editions of this book — covers the Spider Witch as she summons a horde of spiders and escapes.

Adriane casts Shield as the spiders advance on her. (Originally, she fires a few Magic Missiles at them.) The Spider Witch does something with the Power Crystal; Adriane assumes that she’s using it to attack Ravenswood again. The Dark Sorceress taunts Adriane about her wolves. Adriane asks the Dark Sorceress if she ever lost something important, which totally shocks her. (Hmm, did the Dark Sorceress lose something, and what was it?) Adriane then reveals how she hid herself in the Power Crystal. Originally:

She had been afraid of the wolf within, but fear had blinded her.

[…] The spirit pack touched every wolf, balancing raw power with ancient magic. Embracing the magical essence rather than the pure animal, Adriane had made her choice.

So … Adriane discovered that she had mistwolf abilities, I guess? Here’s how it goes down in the new edition:

[…] Being part of the pack meant she was never alone, never without power. She was just as connected to the magic of the spirit pack as every other mistwolf.

So Adriane realizes that she has friends, and that she is connected to the Spirit Pack’s magic like all the other mistwolves.

After this brief recap, Adriane casts Mist Form and joins the Spirit Pack on the Spirit Trail. On the trail, Adriane is reunited with Stormbringer. They and the entire pack look upon a crystal city. This city is Avalon, as it once was and will be again. Suddenly, the city is replaced by a mist-shrouded island. The Spirit Pack then tells Adriane what happened to Avalon. In the original edition, they just say that Avalon was destroyed. They elaborate more on the subject in the new edition:

“There was a time when mage fought against mage. Portals were closed, worlds separated, and Avalon was abandoned, its magic lost.”

Also, the original edition reveals what happened to the mistwolves after Avalon was sealed away:

Mistwolves lost touch with the spirit trail, reverting to savagery.

I guess this explains the whole Earth-animals-descended-from-magical-animals theory from earlier in the series. The animals didn’t evolve; they just lost their connection to magic.

After this much-needed infodump, the Spirit Pack explains that Gardener and Chain were best buddies, but they were never meant to bond. Together they tried to rebuild Avalon open the Gates of Avalon, since Avalon can only be found if humans work with magical animals. (Though the original edition suggests that others tried different methods to find Avalon.) Gardener and Chain fought against the Spider Witch, but when Gardener banished her to the Otherworlds, the Spider Witch bound Chain to her, and Gardener couldn’t do shit about it. That’s why Chain told the mistwolves that humans and mistwolves don’t mix. However, Adriane’s bond with Stormbringer proves that humans and wolves can work together.

Suddenly, Adriane is brought back to the material plane with Dreamer and Stormbringer. And everyone rejoiced. The spider webs are gone, everyone survived the boss battle, and the dragonflies are back. Zach and Ozzie even receive their own personal dragonflies now: Zach gets Barney, and Ozzie gets Blaze. However, the Spider Witch has control of the Power Crystal, the party’s magic isn’t working properly, and Ravenswood is all out of magic now that Orenda is gone.

Status Update!
Adriane learned: Mist Form!
Zach and Ozzie get their own personal dragonflies!

Next time: the party creates an Enchanted Jewel Circle.

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One comment

  1. Nice to finally give us a glimpse of Avalon after eight previous books. With it being in the title of the series it really ought to have been featured a little more. Half the time I forget it’s the goal of the characters.

    Anyway, I like this chapter a lot. We get an exciting battle and a helpful infodump. I’m glad the line about the mistwolves “reverting to savagery” was cut; phrasing like that just feels gross.

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