(If you’re reading either edition, “Epilogue” is spelled wrong. You would think someone would catch that….)
Late one night, Adriane and Dreamer run out to the portal field because Dreamer detects magic. There, they find … Mrs. Windor?
Turns out that Mrs. Windor is possessed by the Dark Sorceress, since her eyes are glowing red. If you read the original edition, you might recall that Mrs. Windor’s eyes flashed red during her last visit to Ravenswood, which may have hinted that she was being mind-controlled then. Anyway, Sorceress!Windor explains that she can only contact the party in this way because the Protection from Evil dreamcatcher is stronger now.
And then Sorceress!Windor gives Adriane a Power Crystal.
You see, the Sorceress stole the crystal from the Spider Witch because she doesn’t want her to reweave the Magic Web. It’s one of those weird the-enemy-of-my-enemy-is-my-friend sort of moments. The Sorceress doesn’t want the Spider Witch to control the Magic Web, and neither does the party, so the party gets a free Power Crystal.
The Sorceress then tells Adriane that mages pay a great price for using their magic: they can only achieve balance through loss. Apparently, the Sorceress lost everything in her quest for magic (original edition series title drop!), including her sister.
… Which is a total lie, because we know that Lucinda is still alive in an astral plane somewhere.
Whatever. The Sorceress tells Adriane that together they can
rebuild save Avalon. Adriane takes the Power Crystal, and Mrs. Windor — finally released from the Sorceress’s mind control — runs away.
Power Crystal count: 3 of
Next time: first impressions on the next book, Heart of Avalon.
(If you’re reading the original edition, this is the last half of Chapter 17.)
The party returns to Ravenswood after a hopefully exciting day in Philadelphia. After a quick Wolfsong, Tweek confirms that Adriane has leveled up: her Wolf Stone is now officially a Wolf Stone +2, and she is bonded with a very powerful paladin.
Kara teases Adriane about her crush on Zach, which eventually culminates into Adriane asking Zach to come to an upcoming school dance. But that’s not really important.
What’s really important is that Tweek tells the party what their quest entails! And what the party has to do is considerably different between editions. Originally:
“Tweek, was Avalon really destroyed?” asked Emily.
“From what the spirit pack told Adriane, it would seem so.”
“I saw the island,” Kara said thoughtfully. “But it was all under mist.”
“Even if Avalon was destroyed, the magic still runs strong. And that means it can be rebuilt.” Tweek regarded the mages as the animals of Ravenswood gathered around. “There are several ways to control the magic of Avalon, theoretically. The Dark Sorceress tried to control it through magical animals. The Spider Witch wants to re-weave the entire web. But the only sure way is by returning the nine crystals.”
Believe it or not, the original edition gives us the only clue as to what is inside Avalon. And it looks like obtaining all the Power Crystals and returning them to Avalon (or what’s left of it) gives one control over Avalon’s magic.
Things are slightly different in the new edition:
“…If the Spider Witch plans to reweave the web, she’ll be going after Avalon’s magic to sustain it.”
“But what’s inside Avalon, Tweek?” Emily asked. “Everyone we met seems to have a different opinion.”
“How do we even know there’s magic in there?” Kara added.
“Oh, there’s magic in there. You can bet your twigs on that.”
“Yeah, but what kind of magic?” Adriane asked.
Tweek regarded the mages as the animals of Ravenswood gathered around. “The only sure way to find out is by returning the nine crystals and opening the gates.”
So nobody has any idea what is inside Avalon, other than that there’s magic inside. And obtaining all the Power Crystals allows one to open the Gates of Avalon and find out what’s on the other side. Hmm, I’m starting to wonder why everyone conveniently forgot what’s in Avalon, and if that’s on purpose.
Anyway, Ozzie comes up with the best plan ever: find all the other Power Crystals, then worry about everything else later.
Tweek then gives a quick party status update — which, if you’ve been following this blog, you’ve probably already figured out that two-thirds of the main party have leveled up, and the party has two out of
nine eight Power Crystals. We do get some interesting information on Ozzie, though: he’s an important party member because he’s an example of “elemental transformation”. The Fairimentals probably chose him to help the party because of his strong magic.
The mistwolves then depart for Aldenmor via the portal. Before leaving, Dawnrunner reveals that she’s pregnant. (Hmm, maybe it wasn’t such a good idea for her to participate in that boss battle!) This is apparently cause for the entire party to dance.
Once the mistwolves leave, Adriane realizes that both Stormbringer and Dreamer hold special places in her heart. She can now feel Stormbringer in the forest around her, since Stormbringer is now the guardian of Ravenswood. Oh, and Adriane’s finally moved on from Stormbringer’s apparent death.
Adriane is bonded to: Stormbringer (paladin version)!
Adriane learns: Summon Stormbringer!
Next time: the party gets some unexpected assistance.
(If you’re reading the original edition, this is the first half of Chapter 17.)
Adriane, Emily, Kara, Zach, and the entire Charday family — yes, this includes Gran, because she’s finally recovered from her coma — visit the gallery in Philadelphia where Luc is showing off his sculptures. And apparently my art grad student friends and I were totally wrong about what the sculptures looked like, because they’re steel geometric shapes, and not neon lights. Anyway, Luc offers to teach Adriane how to make these sculptures, which is pretty awesome of him.
On the Ravenswood front, Dreamer’s “epic” return to the preserve has become front-page news in the Stonehill newspaper. Everyone thinks that Dreamer escaped from the zoo and walked all the way back to Ravenswood. This feat has catapulted Dreamer to “Ravenswood mascot” status. Also, the school started an extremely successful petition to keep Ravenswood open — so successful, in fact, that the Catty Girls and Cool Dudes are spreading the movement to other schools in the area.
After hearing about all this Ravenswood news, Luc, Emily, Kara, and Zach run off to do other stuff. This gives Gran and Willow the chance to tell Adriane that she can stay in Ravenswood instead of living with her parents in New York. So, hooray, status quo is restored.
The new edition then adds this scene, in which Adriane apologizes to Kara for acting like a total bitch earlier in the book:
Willow pulled away, patted her hair, and walked after her husband. Nodding in satisfaction, Gran took a seat to rest.
Adriane scanned the gallery and saw Kara standing alone in the next room, studying a sculpture suspended from the ceiling. The warrior walked over and stood silently next to the blond girl.
“Hey, what’s up?” Kara asked.
Adriane shuffled her boot across the wood floor. “I said some terrible things to a friend.”
“Do you think she would forgive me?”
Kara turned to face Adriane. “If she’s really your friend, you shouldn’t have to even ask.”
“Okay,” Adriane said.
A slow smile spread over Kara’s face. “Besides, I was getting lonely being the only Level Two mage.”
Adriane’s wolf stone flashed bright silver. “Not anymore.”
Next time: A massive status update.
(If you’re reading the original edition, this is Chapter 16.)
Well, shit has officially hit the fan. Dark magic is raining over Ravenswood, and the party can’t use their Sparkly Rocks because they’re tied to Ravenswood. (But wait … Ozzie and Zach got their rocks in Aldenmor, so they shouldn’t be affected! Also, why hasn’t anyone in Stonehill noticed the obviously black rain?)
The party realizes that the Spider Witch is using the Power Crystal to weave her own magic into Ravenswood. They know that the Spider Witch wants to reweave the entire Magic Web, so they assume that she’s starting her reweaving efforts with Ravenswood.
Suddenly, Dreamer detects magic! He roots around in the dirt and finds a sparkletastic rainbow flower. (Wow, we haven’t seen those in forever!) The dragonflies spread the flower’s seeds, which has the awesome effects of purifying dark magic and making the party’s Sparkly Rocks work properly again. Keep these effects in mind — they end up becoming very important at the end of the series.
Tweek explains that the rainbow flowers (scientific name: Flora rainbowpufficus) produce raw magic. The party reasons that they can restore Ravenswood’s magic if they grow more flowers. And it turns out that those markings on the Rocking Stone are instructions for growing rainbow flowers! Basically, each party member has to contribute elemental magic to make the flowers grow.
So the party forms a circle around the newly-scattered seeds, and decide to focus their magic with a spellsong. Yeah, I thought that the party had totally forgotten about spellsinging and jewel circles, but I guess they remembered these abilities for this one spell.
After everyone wastes some time cheering, the party starts to cast their spell. The song they sing is “Earth Song”, another Debra Davis song that wasn’t recorded for the series. Some of the lyrics differ between editions, so maybe it’s a good thing we don’t have a recording to refer back to.
Anyway, Emily starts by casting Control Water:
Droplets like jewelsFalling like rain
Awake, and renewAwaken again
The spell purifies the dark rain and causes jets of water to erupt from a nearby lake. Kara then casts Summon Starfire and sings her part of the spellsong. She fires a rainbow out of her jewel, which Starfire pulls across the sky, causing the clouds to clear away. Zach then casts Haste, forcing the flowers to reproduce faster:
Hours to days
Morning to night
In its own perfect timeWhen their time is right
Ozzie then casts Control Wind, which the rest of the party has to amplify because he isn’t strong enough to affect the flowers by himself. Lastly, Adriane and the mistwolves sing a Wolfsong, which summons the Spirit Pack. In the original edition, Adriane also sings a verse of the song:
Rhythm of life
Spirit of song
Our hearts beat as one
Adriane and the mistwolves cast Mist Form and join the Spirit Pack as they pull the flowers’ magic all over Ravenswood. Once they’re done, they return to their physical forms … and find another forest sylph. The new edition explains who the hell this new sylph is, because she just kinda appears out of nowhere:
“I am Wysteria, a sylph from the Moorgroves,” the ancient creature said, her voice resonant with the power of the earth.
Wysteria tells Adriane that Ravenswood’s magic will fade away without a forest spirit to anchor it. Stormbringer volunteers to be the new forest spirit; her reasons are only explained in the new edition:
Storm had been born from the magic of Ravenswood, a world away from the mistwolves of Aldenmor. Though she was connected to the spirit pack, she was never meant to run with them. Her spirit belonged here.
After some tearful farewells, Stormbringer leaves with Wysteria.
Adriane and Dreamer rejoin the party, and discover that everything is back to normal in Ravenswood. And it looks like Adriane leveled up, because her Wolf Stone is now silver.
Zach learns: Haste!
Adriane obtains: Wolf Stone +2!
Adriane leveled up!
Next time: The party visits an art museum.
(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.
Adriane learned: Mist Form!
Zach and Ozzie get their own personal dragonflies!
Next time: the party creates an Enchanted Jewel Circle.
(If you’re reading the original edition, this is Chapter 14.)
Adriane finds herself in a strange forest. One of the trees before her has a door in it, so Adriane goes through it. On the other side is a garden, in which the rest of the party is having a mad tea party, complete with constantly-changing outfits that look like they came out of Gothic & Lolita Bible. In the new edition, “mad tea party” is a total misnomer, because there’s no tea at all, only juice.
The party starts spewing some nonsense about Adriane being a loner and not wearing a hat. Adriane quickly realizes that she’s in a dream state — and no, it’s not the weird shapeshifting outfits that tip her off. It’s because the party mostly ignores her.
Adriane tries asking the party if they’ve seen Dreamer anywhere. The party reveals that Dreamer’s not on the “guest list”, because he and all the other mistwolves died … and it was all Adriane’s fault. Adriane tries to leave the party, but all paths lead back to where she started. The party restates what Adriane just discovered, and tells her that she totally sucks.
Adriane then realizes that she, and the rest of the party, don’t have their Sparkly Rocks equipped! Of course, the party has no idea what the hell these Sparkly Rocks are. Adriane tries to world walk out of the mad
tea juice party, but instead walks into a table. The party encourages her to stay with them and be normal. Adriane almost considers giving up and moving with her parents to New York….
When, suddenly, another Kara appears! This Kara starts waving her Unicorn Jewel around and totally disses everyone’s fashion sense. (I guess she’s not a fan of lolita style.) This somehow freezes the false party. Kara then tells Adriane to leave the dream state and find the Power Crystal.
But wait … how did Kara enter Adriane’s Trippy Dream Sequence? Well, Kara cast
Network Circle of Friends so she could give the party’s magic to Adriane. And since Kara has to be physically near Adriane to give her the magic, she got transported here.
Adriane thinks that it’s too late to do anything for Ravenswood. Kara then informs her that Dawnrunner has recovered, and that Adriane still has a chance to save Ravenswood and all the mistwolves. Suddenly, Adriane discovers that her Wolf Stone is reequipped.
Now with a weapon and the party’s magic, Adriane world walks to the gorge on the Spirit Trail that Stormbringer is bridging in her mist form. Orenda is waiting for her there, but she speaks with a different voice now. Adriane assumes that the Spider Witch is speaking through the sylph. She does her best Charlton Heston as Moses impersonation — except replace “my people” with “the mistwolves”, and omit the unseen snake fight:
Adriane wants to continue the boss battle from earlier, but without a bonded animal equipped, she can’t control her magic.
Suddenly, the Power Crystal appears, and Orenda takes it! Adriane tries to fight back, but Dreamer suddenly attacks her! Chain has possessed Dreamer, and he tells Adriane that she can never save the mistwolves. Adriane tries to cast Heal on Dreamer and Stormbringer (after realizing that she can still cast healer spells in the new edition). Then the Spider Witch reveals that Chain is her paladin! Chain!Dreamer leaps for the Power Crystal. Stormbringer tells Adriane to save the Power Crystal … but in order to do this, one of Adriane’s bonded wolves has to die.
Next time: The Insect Warrior makes his final appearance in the series.