Last time on Full Circle, the party raided the Dark Sorceress’s new lair, easily defeated a boss with Emily’s new game-breaking powers, and finally found Henry Gardener. Will the formerly-absent mentor figure finally teach the party something useful? Find out after the cut.
Back at the party’s campsite, Gardener gushes about the party’s successes throughout the series so far. Namely, he’s impressed that Kara bonded with dragonflies, Adriane bonded with mistwolves and a dragon, and … well, let’s just say he’s impressed that the party bonded with lots of animals. Oh, and he’s surprised that dragons still exist, and he talks about how Adriane looks like her grandmother.
The party, however, is pissed at Gardener because he pretty much ditched the party. Gardener responds by going into the LONGEST INFODUMP EVER. This even rivals the one in Trial by Fire (see a pattern here?), so I’m just gonna try to break this up into easily-digestible chunks.
So how old is Henry Gardener, anyway?
Kara remarks that the only time the party ever saw Gardener was in a portrait back at the manor — but there’s no way the man in the portrait is Gardener, because said picture is over 200 years old. Well, it turns out that that painting was of Gardener … meaning that he’s over 200 years old!
So, is he immortal? Nope. Magic is the only thing that’s keeping him alive. So remember, kids: if you want to be nigh-immortal, store up massive reserves of magic.
Why didn’t anybody tell the party about the whole dual-classing thing?
The entire party is pissed that nobody told them about dual-classing. Gardener explains that it was for a good reason: they may not have agreed to go on the quest if they knew one of them had to kill an animal in order to dual-class. Oh, and Gardener is surprised that Emily dual-classed instead of Kara.
How did Gardener meet the Original Party?
A long time ago, sometime shortly after the American Revolution, Henry Gardener worked as a stable owner’s apprentice at Ravenswood Manor. One day, Gardener found Chain and the portal to Aldenmor in the woods. On the other side of the portal, Gardener met the Fairimentals, who told him to find a group of
teenagers with attitude mages who will save the Magic Web.
Gardener, unfortunately, was never meant to bond with magical animals and become a mage. So he studied jewel crafting with the warlocks instead. (This explains that secret magitech lab in the Ravenswood Manor basement.) Gardener also learned that he couldn’t open the Ravenswood portal, but magical animals could.
Eventually, Gardener met Lucinda and Miranda on Aldenmor. By this time, Lucinda had already united the Fairy Realms and become the first of the Fairy Queens. (So that’s why she’s the greatest Fairy Queen: she’s the first!) Miranda, on the other hand, only wanted to obtain more magic. Gardener later finds Sylvan, a young girl from Virginia who supposedly healed people and read minds. (Kinda interesting that only one member of the Original Party is from Earth.) Now with a full party, the Original Party set out to create the Power Crystals by combining animal magic with jewels.
Around the same time, Miranda learned about the Generic Fantasy Prophecy, but didn’t realize what it really meant: that the idiot who dual-classes makes the entire party get Game Over.
When the Original Party attempted to open the Gates of Avalon, Miranda killed Faylinn, turned Sylvan into the Spider Witch by firing Avalon’s dark magic at her, and apparently killed Lucinda with a magical explosion of some sort. The Power Crystals, now corrupted, were secreted away by the Fairimentals; and the Gates of Avalon were hidden.
What happened to Gardener after the Original Party got Game Over?
Gardener bought Ravenswood in 1810, and dedicated his life to studying magic jewels and bonding with mistwolves. The Ravenswood portal doesn’t open again until two years before Circles in the Stream, when magical animals escaping Aldenmor tell Gardener about a dark mage magically nuking the place. Gardener enters the portal in order to find the Power Crystals, but instead he found unstable portals and a disintegrating Magic Web. The Dark Sorceress ends up capturing Gardener before the party even arrived at Ravenswood.
So why didn’t the Fairimentals tell the current party about Gardener?
Because the Fairimentals only care about Aldenmor. In other words, they’re jerks.
So how can the party enter the Gates of Avalon and win the game?
Gardener reminds the party that Avalon was sealed away after its magic was corrupted by dark mages. Long ago, humans and animals made magic together, but some humans discovered that they could get the same results if they killed animals and took their magic. Also, the source of all magic is the Well of Tears, which is somewhere in Avalon.
Anyway, the best way to open the Gates of Avalon is to use massive quantities of animal magic. 200 years ago, the Power Crystals were the best way to contain that much magic; now, Emily’s new magic-weaving powers may be able to combine enough animal magic to create a new Key.
So … does the party have access to enough animal magic? Well, they have the unicorns and mistwolves on their side, along with all the refugees on Aldenmor and in Ravenswood, and the two dragons in their party. Unfortunately, that’s not quite enough to make a Key. So the party tries to convince Gwyx to get the other dragons to help them. However, Gwyx refuses to help the party and leaves. So that sucks.
Gardener finally notices that Kara has Lucinda’s jewel equipped. He then reveals that he was engaged to Lucinda, but obviously they never got married because Lucinda supposedly died.
But wait … Lucinda must have had children at some point, because Kara is descended from her! So is Gardener also one of Kara’s ancestors? Did he get engaged to Lucinda because he knocked her up? Or did Lucinda have all sorts of sexual adventures in the Fairy Realms? And wouldn’t that mean that all of Lucinda’s descendants are technically bastards? Also, since the Original Party was slightly older than the current party when they attempted the Gates of Avalon, that means that Lucinda had children as a teenager….
Anyway, Kara tells Gardener that she met Lucinda in an astral plane, so she must still be alive. Gardener remembers that Lucinda had a white unicorn paladin — the same white unicorn who showed up in All That Glitters and Trial by Fire! He thinks that the party can summon the unicorn, and use him to reach Lucinda. So the party successfully summons the unicorn, and Gardener rides the unicorn to wherever Lucinda is.
As for the party, they head off to the Gates of Avalon to — hopefully! — enter the Very Definitely Final Dungeon. And if all goes well, Gardener and Lucinda will meet the party there to help them beat the game.
Other Stuff I Forgot to Mention Above:
Gwyx gets the best line in the chapter: “PffffT!” Gwyx pfffted, irritated.
Miranda and Lucinda’s grandparents were mages.
Next time: The party calculates if they have enough war assets to beat the game and get the Super Mega Happy Ending.