(If you’re reading the original edition, this is Chapter 17.)
The Wave Fest is back on at Aquatania, and Marlin has a couple important announcements to make. First, Marlin swears to protect the merfolk’s magic. Emily is helping him out with this by using her Aura Sight to match merfolk with sea dragon eggs. Second, Marlin reveals that he’s a dragon rider, and introduces the merfolk to Niva. Together with their dragons, the merfolk will spread magic over Aldenmor, just like they used to.
Marina then shows up and has a very long conversation with the party about the Power Crystals, the Original Party, the Gates of Avalon, and a bunch of other stuff. This conversation is different depending on which edition you’re reading, though. Originally, Kara asks Marina about the other Power Crystals, and if they’re still tainted:
Kara stepped forward. “What about the other crystals in the Jewel Keep?”
“Are they tainted?” Lorren asked.
“When the heart was awakened, the other crystals were healed as well,” the Fairimental explained.
Well, that sure was convenient. And it also proves that all the Power Crystals were tainted by dark magic somehow. The original edition also has this long section that explains what happened to the Power Crystals before the series began:
“Did you take the power crystals from her?” Emily asked.
“No. Beings more powerful than us, the Guardians of Avalon, took the crystals to a hidden island.”
“So it was the sorceress’s magic?” Adriane asked.
Marina continued. “The Dark Sorceress and her allies stored strong magic in nine crystals. The crystals were taken before they could be turned against us. The Guardians allowed you to release that magic to save Aldenmor but the power crystals were wiped clean. They could be tuned either way, for good or evil.”
Emily nodded. “That’s how you became twisted. The sorceress planned it all along.”
“Do the sorceress and Spider Witch know of these Guardians?” Adriane asked.
“They have remained hidden, protecting places of magic along the web.”
“Like the forest sylph of Ravenswood,” Adriane mused.
Marina nodded. “The Guardians wait for you to return the crystals.”
Emily thought of Neerie, the water sylph, waiting for her to bring back the heart. If the Dark Sorceress and Spider Witch didn’t know about these Guardians, maybe the mages had a chance after all.
“Who made the power crystals?” Kara asked.
“That remains a mystery,” Marina said.
Okay … so originally, the Dark Sorceress and her allies (the Original Party?) stored magic in the Power Crystals, but she didn’t create them. And the magic Kara used to purify Aldenmor was actually from the Power Crystals, and not from Avalon. And Orenda was one of the Guardians of Avalon, if Adriane’s guess about her is right.
The old edition’s conversation then goes on to explain what happened to the Original Party when they tried to open the Gates of Avalon. This is the very first mention of the Gates in the original edition:
Marina flowed over the water. “We know that, long ago, the sorceress and her allies tried to open the gates to Avalon. We believe that hidden island is the same gateway. It falls upon you, mages, to succeed where they failed.”
Emily and Marlin exchanged a startled glance. Had they really been at the gateway to Avalon?
“We’ll find the other crystals,” Tasha exclaimed, proudly displaying her magic meter.
Okay, that wasn’t quite as descriptive as I thought. Anyway, here’s how that same conversation goes in the new edition:
“The prophecy has foretold that three mages will find the home of all magic. Many have tried to find Avalon but none have succeeded.”
Adriane’s wolf stone flashed silver. “What makes us so different?”
“Even without a mentor, you have all learned what it means to be a mage.” Marina flowed over the water. “You must use nine power crystals to open the Gates of Avalon and reweave the web with Avalon’s magic.”
“What if we can’t?” Kara asked worriedly.
“The web is almost gone. You are the last hope, the last mages.”
Emily, Kara, and Adriane exchanged a startled glance.
“So it’s all up to us,” Emily said softly.
“What about the crystal that you-know-who,” Adriane nodded at the blazing star, “lost?”
Kara glared at the warrior. “I’ll find a way to get another one.”
Tasha stepped in. “I’m working on some ideas.”
So the party is the Magic Web’s last great hope for salvation. And at least Tasha’s thinking about how to replace that broken Power Crystal.
Afterwards, Cribby approaches the party and reveals that he bonded with a sea dragon pup of his very own. Kara now wants a dragon, too, so Emily decides to let her help distribute eggs to the merfolk. Jaaran and Kee-Lyn then show up, thank Marlin for saving the dragons, and pledge their allegiance to him.
Emily then notices that Adriane is standing off on her own. Adriane tells her that Zach ran off to ask Moonshadow some questions about his parents. She also seems to notice that Kara’s been acting differently. Oh, and she’s still pissed that Kara amplified Zach’s spells during the last boss battle. In the new edition, Adriane has even more stuff to be pissed about, like why the Fairimentals didn’t tell the party about the Original Party. She is now very suspicious of the Fairimentals because they haven’t been completely honest.
Meanwhile, Kara and Ozzie prove to be sucktastic at dispersing eggs, so Emily decides to ask Adriane to help them out. Adriane refuses and decides to go running with Dreamer instead. Emily casts Aura Sight, and notices that Adriane’s and Dreamer’s auras are the same. She also sees that Kara has a very sparkly aura. Suddenly, Emily starts to share the same concerns as Adriane.
But Emily did learn something today — it’s just different depending on what edition you’re reading. Originally:
And what about her own healing magic? Being a Level Two mage seemed to only offer more questions than answers. What did it really mean to weave magic? Was she really as powerful as the Spider Witch?
She thought of the mermaid’s dark predictions. The healer had experienced a darker side of her powers, just as Kara and Adriane had in the past. Maybe the mermaids had only sensed Emily’s fear — or maybe they were right.
One thing was certain: They had all been changed by the magic. Each of the mages was stronger than she’d ever been before. But using stronger magic meant greater risks, for all of them.
How much would they change in their quest for magic? Could the mages stand strong, together, to face the challenges ahead? Or would they be pulled apart?
Question: when did Adriane ever experience a darker side to her powers? I recall that Kara was confronted with a vision of a Bad Future where she used her powers for evil, and Emily just went through that tutorial trap in this book. Could someone answer this for me, please? Continuing on:
She smiled. Indi could never be a real animal. But, in the end, by choosing to be his true self, he had only become stronger. And in so doing, he had helped Emily choose to accept the truth about her magic.
She was a healer.
And if it hurt to love so much, that was the price she had to pay.
Here’s what Emily learns in the new edition:
The mages had to work together, now more than ever. But instead of bringing them closer, it seemed as if the magic was driving them apart.
Every animal she had ever touched shone from her heart jewel, reflecting from its gleaming rainbow facets.
Emily was a healer. She would have to deal with pain.
But her magic had the power to transform pain into something far stronger: love.
And where there was love, there was hope. No matter what might happen, she had found the true heart of Avalon.
Next time: We finally find out where Henry Gardener has been for the entire series.