Dark Mage, Chapter 26: The All Is Lost Moment!

Last time on Dark Mage, the Dark Sorceress revealed her evil plan to Henry Gardener, took the last of his magic, and released a swarm of shadow creatures. Will the party be able to prevent shit from hitting the fan? Find out after the cut.

At last! Everyone finally meets up again at the Gates of Avalon to complete the quest and enter the Very Definitely Final Dungeon!

…OK, so everyone’s not there just yet. Right now it’s just Adriane and Kara, and whatever animals were in their parties.

However, Adriane is very pissed that Drake is in Kara’s party, and wants him back. Kara casts Shield on Drake and argues that she still needs him so she can complete her proto-Power Crystal. This then leads to a massive fight over Kara destroying a Power Crystal earlier in the series, Kara kicking Lyra out of her party, Adriane leaving Drake at Dragon Home after defeating the Shadow Dragon, and both girls possibly using dark magic. Kara makes an interesting point regarding that last item: she complains that the party is cool with Adriane using a Power Crystal, but when Kara uses one, everyone thinks she’s being an evil bitch.

Adriane then wonders why Kara didn’t bring the Power Crystals from the Garden, because they’re kinda required to complete the quest. So Kara just wishes that the other Power Crystals to show up, and poof! There they are. This then leads to some discussion on what the Power Crystals do. Kara’s obviously grants wishes, while Adriane’s fires a new kind of Magic Missile that … turns Kara invisible. Of course, Kara just wishes herself back to the Gates of Avalon, this time with a new pimped-out outfit.

Since Adriane fired Invisible Magic Missiles at Kara, Kara thinks she should fight back! So she wishes for a creature to fight Adriane for her. Unfortunately, that creature is a golem, which Adriane easily defeats by casting Wolf Fire Lasso. After winning that rather easy battle, Adriane taunts Kara’s sucktacular creature summoning skills.

While all this is going on, Ozzie’s party arrives at the Gates of Avalon! He shows off his Power Crystal, and poof! It flies off to join the crystals that Kara summoned from Aldenmor. Unfortunately, since Ozzie’s crystal contained dark magic, it starts tainting the rest of the Power Crystals. Lyra informs the party about this, but all it does is cause Adriane and Kara to accuse one another of being a dark mage.

Ozzie then does something smart: he tells the party that Avalon might be Sealed Evil in a Can, because dark magic and stuff. Kara insists that Avalon is Sealed Good in a Can, because the party released magic from there to un-nuke Aldenmor.

After some more fighting between Kara and Lyra about being kicked out of the party and the proto-Power Crystal, Adriane orders Kara to place her Power Crystal with the others. Kara argues that she still needs her Power Crystal for making the proto-Power Crystal, but Adriane thinks that Kara wants to keep the crystal for herself. Thankfully, Ozzie steps in and tells them to complete the proto-Power Crystal now. Unfortunately, Kara can’t make the proto-Power Crystal until Emily shows up.

And speak of the devil! Emily shows up with a Power Crystal. Of course, the party doesn’t question why she’s acting obviously brainwashed — all Emily says is stuff like “I need to heal the Magic Web”. After Emily gives up her Power Crystal, she tells the party — in her obviously brainwashed way — to stop fighting and give up their crystals. Unfortunately, Adriane refuses to give up her crystal until Kara does, and Kara won’t give up her crystal until she finishes the proto-Power Crystal.

Ozzie again proves that he’s smart and realizes that something is definitely wrong with Emily. I mean, come on, she’s obviously brainwashed and she’s saying stuff like “This is our only chance to fix everything.” So Ozzie tells the party that they have to support Emily, which is enough to convince Adriane to give up her Power Crystal.

And then dark, ominous clouds show up. Yeah, not a good thing.

Kara then asks Drake to give her his magic so she can complete the proto-Power Crystal. After Drake refuses, Kara decides to take Drake’s magic herself. This, of course, pisses off Adriane because Kara kinda did the same thing when Zach cast Time Stop in the last book. Kara gets pissed because Adriane is never satisfied with anything she does. Adriane then asks Kara how she’s going to get Drake’s magic into the proto-Power Crystal. Kara has no idea, but she sure wishes that she did.

And poof! The proto-Power Crystal turns into a dagger. Kara has no idea how that happened, but whatever. She stabs Drake with the dagger, which somehow completes the proto-Power Crystal!

So … there’s our character death for the back half of the series. Goodbye, Drake — we hardly knew ye.

Of course, Adriane gets really pissed, and fights Kara. There’s Magic Missiles flying everywhere, and Dreamer and Lyra are mauling each other, and Ozzie’s telling everyone to stop because the Gates of Avalon are opening….

Speaking of the Gates of Avalon, they just opened. All the Power Crystals combined to form a dark crystal (sorry, no description, which is kinda bugging me because I hoped some crazy jewel design from Jewel Riders would be used), and a weird crystalline portal appears. And Emily, who is the only one not involved in some stupid inter-party fight, approaches the portal and is blasted with dark magic.

Emily calls for the party’s help, but she somehow knows that they’re not going to come. Luckily, Ozzie shows up! Emily explains that she has to weave Avalon’s magic onto the Spider Witch’s web, and reveals that she’s quite scared about all this. Ozzie isn’t really cool with the plan, but he promises to always stand with Emily and gives her his magic. Suddenly, Ozzie sees Emily’s aura, and discovers that it’s being tainted by dark magic!

And that’s when Emily takes all of Ozzie’s magic, making his Ferret Stone kersplode. Emily then summons the brainwashed unicorns and prepares them to spread Avalon’s magic over the Magic Web.

Meanwhile, Kara and Adriane finally stop fighting because they notice that a) the Gates of Avalon are open, and b) Drake’s not dead. Wait, he’s not dead? Well, it turns out that the Shadow Dragon possessed Drake after the boss battle, and Kara used her proto-Power Crystal to take the Shadow Dragon’s magic.

And then the party discovers that the unicorns Emily summoned are obviously brainwashed and spreading Avalon’s magic over the Magic Web, and that there’s an obviously dead ferret lying at Emily’s feet.

And then the Dark Sorceress shows up! Kara and Adriane fire some Magic Missiles at her, but the Sorceress’ shadow creatures eat the missiles and start eating the party’s magic. Thankfully, the party remembers that shadow creatures eat magic and stop casting spells before their magic runs out.

The Dark Sorceress then informs the party that they fulfilled the Generic Fantasy Prophecy! Yay! And it’s all because Avalon is Sealed Evil in a Can. Apparently only dark mages can open the Gates of Avalon and use the magic inside. The Sorceress then asks Kara to join her in Avalon because she assumes that Kara dual-classed to a dark mage. But of course, Kara refuses. So the Sorceress enters Avalon with her shadow creatures, the Gates of Avalon close, and the combined Power Crystals vanish.

Kara and Adriane finally realize that neither one of them dual-classed! Kara just wanted to make a Power Crystal, and Adriane was briefly an incorporeal magical Tony Stark wannabe. Which leaves the obviously-brainwashed Emily, who used obviously-brainwashed unicorns to spread Avalon’s dark magic across the Magic Web, and killed Ozzie in the process.

You know, all of this could have been prevented if the party didn’t have a massive fight that took up like three-quarters of the chapter.

So yeah … the party fulfilled the prophecy, and it wasn’t quite as expected. Kara’s character has changed over the course of the series, Adriane followed her heart and learned more about herself … and Emily saw in darkness and dual-classed to a dark mage. Great job, party! But now you can’t enter the Very Definitely Final Dungeon and save the universe! So … game over?

I was going to post that clip from American Dad where Barry says “The All Is Lost Moment!” but nobody has posted that clip anywhere! So you’re going to get Black Dynamite instead. Which totally fits: we learn everything about Ozzie in this book, and then he dies! Who saw that coming?

Next time: first impressions on the final book, Full Circle.

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