Dark Mage, Chapter 4: In Which the Party Finally Learns How to Use the World Map

Last time on Dark Mage, Adriane and the refugees did some landscaping. Will marginally more exciting things happen this time? Find out after the cut.

At the Ravenswood library, Ozzie helps Emily search for the sentient bear creature on the magitech computer. Unfortunately, Ozzie has a craptacular organization system, so of course he’s having difficulty looking up Sentient Bearface That Eats Middle School Girls. Emily remembers that the bear was wearing amulets, so that narrows down the search a bit. Tasha is kind enough to inform Emily that a) creatures that craft amulets usually have some sort of societal structure, and b) the sentient bear thing may not be in the party’s database because it’s probably unidentified.

It turns out that the rest of the party are also in the library: Kara is grooming Lyra, and Adriane is wondering what sort of shit will hit the fan now that the Magic Web is disintegrating. Emily has apparently recapped her encounter with the bear, because all she says about the incident is that the bear was specifically looking for her.

And then we finally learn that the creature is a kobold. That’s right, kobolds in the Avalon universe are sentient bears.

Anyway, Kara suddenly wonders how she activated the recording from Henry Gardener all the way back at the beginning of the series. Tasha, the resident magitech expert, types something in the computer, and voila! The lights dim as they did before, and a map of the Magic Web appears on the ceiling. Sadly, there’s no world map music to accompany it.

This map of the Magic Web is Gardener’s copy, and it’s woefully out of date. Tasha is nice enough to upload an updated version of the map, which she created with data from the Garden, some goblin magitech labs, the warlocks, and Tweek. That list of sources is enough to prove that Warlock Diaries is totally canon — remember, Tweek makes a big deal at the end of the comic that his map was updated with locations from a warlock map.

The new and improved map reveals some good and bad things. The good news: the locations of three out of four remaining Power Crystals are now known. Tasha still hasn’t found the last one for some reason. The bad news: the Magic Web is unraveling, portals are shifting or reopening, and the Spider Witch has completely rewoven a section of the web. And the only reason the Power Crystals are showing up on the map is because they’re being drawn into the Spider Witch’s territory.

Tweek reminds the party that they can’t open the Gates of Avalon unless they have all nine Power Crystals, which will be impossible because Kara kinda blew one up. Tasha and Tweek have no idea how to make a Power Crystal, so they’re shit out of luck. But the party still has to find the Power Crystals, because I guess that’s the right thing to do.

Each of the Power Crystals are in far-flung sectors of the Magic Web. One is near Dalriada, another is near the Fairy Realms, and the last is in a so-called uncharted territory. I’m only saying it’s “so-called” because it’s actually Dragon Home, which the party has visited already. Why it’s not labelled as such on the party’s map, I have no idea.

Kara has the bright idea of splitting the party up, because the crystals are all so far away from one another. Adriane brings up the whole Kara-forcing-Zach-to-cast-Time-Stop incident again, causing a fight. Emily eventually breaks them up and decides that, yes, splitting up is totally a good idea. As long as each party member brings their dragonfly buddy and contacts each other before doing anything, all will be fine.

Emily decides to head to the Fairy Realms so she can learn more about the kobolds. Kara wants to go to Dalriada so she can drop off care packages at the Unicorn Academy. Adriane gets stuck with lands unknown Dragon Home. Tasha decides to watch over Ravenswood — which would be kinda hard, since, I don’t know, she has green skin and would totally stick out — and Zach is keeping watch at the Garden. Kara volunteers the Catty Girls to take the party’s place as tour guides over the weekend.

Tasha is kind enough to tell the party that new, dangerous creatures are also after the Power Crystals. Looks like the difficulty has spiked in the third act, as usual. The party agrees to contact each other when they find a Power Crystal, and then go to the Garden where they can leave the Mineral MacGuffins with Zach. Tweek offers to calibrate the portals for the party (with MapQuest, of all things!) when they’re ready to leave.

But first, Emily reminds the party that they have to stock up on supplies! That’s right, one last potion, ether, weapon / armor upgrade, and food run before the party splits up. Thank god Emily finally realizes she’s in an RPG-influenced children’s book series.

Next time: The party wastes three hours strip-mining worlds for resources, because why not.

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