Song of the Unicorns

Song of the Unicorns: Illustrations

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Song of the Unicorns, Epilogue: Evil Plotting

Okay, this is going to be a little weird, because the epilogues are completely different depending on which edition you’re reading. So this will be a little more disjointed than usual.

In the Original Edition….
The Dark Sorceress holds a little pow-wow with the Evil Council of Evil, whose members consist of the Spider Witch and a freaky man-sized cicada thing called the Insect Warrior. The Evil Council taunts the Sorceress for screwing up everything — that is, losing the Power Crystal and failing to capture the unicorn foals. However, the Sorceress claims that the Power Crystal is safe with the Fairimentals. This apparently pleases the Evil Council, and everyone does the usual “We Will Crush You, Party!” taunting that villains usually do.

So … not much really goes on in this section, other than that we learn about the existence of the Evil Council of Evil. But why did they need the unicorns?

In the New Edition….
The Dark Sorceress and Spider Witch hang out in their prison in the Otherworlds. The Spider Witch is pissed that she’s still trapped, but the Sorceress claims that Henry Gardener is in an even more craptacular place than they are.

The Spider Witch reveals that she created the Dark Knight by creating a magical tapestry, which is now all tattered thanks to the party defeating it a few chapters back. Interestingly, the Spider Witch mourns its “death”.

Anyway, the Sorceress convinces the Spider Witch to help her open the Gates of Avalon, since the Magic Web is in a state of rapid disintegration. She urges the Spider Witch to look upon the Magic Web, since she apparently has the ability to see magic. So the Spider Witch looks upon the Magic Web (with her Wizard Eyes?), and realizes that it’s unraveling. The Spider Witch vows to “fix” the Magic Web, but she needs the unicorn foals’ magic to do so. The Sorceress tells the Spider Witch that they don’t need the unicorns, only the Key to the Gates of Avalon — in other words, the Power Crystals. That way, they can open Avalon and use the magic there to heal the Magic Web.

However, the Sorceress has other things in mind for Avalon’s magic. She plans on taking Avalon’s magic for herself while the Spider Witch reweaves the Magic Web. Dun-dun-DUN!

Afterwards, the Spider Witch reveals that she has someone looking for the next Power Crystal in the Fairy Realms. This is news to the Dark Sorceress. The Sorceress is also pissed that the party nuked her old lair and destroyed the new key she was making, since that was apparently her life’s work.

And then, the biggest reveal of all: the party didn’t fulfill the Generic Fantasy Prophecy! The Dark Sorceress reminds the Spider Witch that one member of any party that tries to open the Gates of Avalon always turns dark. And, of course, the Original Party knows this all too well.

Wow, we learned a lot of stuff here! Now we know why exactly the Original Party needed the unicorns, their designs for Avalon’s magic, and a shocking prophecy twist! We also learn the Spider Witch’s name: Sylvan. And there’s a hint that the Spider Witch might actually have good intentions, what with her plan to reweave the Magic Web. But there’s still a number of unanswered questions:

  • The Dark Sorceress notes that Henry Gardener is trapped somewhere. Where is he trapped, and did the Sorceress imprison him so he couldn’t help the current party?
  • The Dark Sorceress’ inner monologue suggests that the Spider Witch may be insane. How did that happen?
  • Which member of the Original Party turned dark? And what exactly does that mean?
  • Which member of the current party will possibly turn dark?
  • How does the Sorceress know that one member of any party that attempts to open the Gates of Avalon always turns dark? Were there other parties before the Original Party?

I know, most of these will be answered by the time we get to the end of the series. But I like seeing crazy fan theories, so go ahead and post them below.

Before I forget, there’s a little bit of Entomology Fail: the Spider Witch is described as having faceted insect eyes. Um, spiders don’t have faceted eyes. They’re quite round … and they can have more than two on their head, in very interesting patterns. Man, this is really making me want to see some illustrations of the Spider Witch now. Someone come up with some biologically plausible designs for her!

Next time: First impressions on the next book, All’s Fairy in Love and War.

Song of the Unicorns, Chapter 19: One Big Happy Family

(If you’re reading the original edition, this is the last half of Chapter 15.)

Sometime after the last chapter, the party participates in a western riding show. Emily’s dad and stepmom are cheering them on in the stands.

Emily realizes that she learned something during the course of their adventure. Of course, what she learned differs between editions. Originally:

Life was like an unending circle of discovery. Questions were answered only to have new ones appear. Mysteries were revealed only to bring new challenges.

I’m not sure what prompted that epiphany, other than that she learned about the quest to recover the Power Crystals. What she learns in the new edition makes much more sense:

She had been so worried about meeting her new stepmom, but she had found the courage to overcome her fears, and it turned out better than she could have ever imagined.

She would need all her new strength to meet the challenges that lay ahead.

See? Now Emily’s epiphany stems from her new relationship with Veronica. If she can handle meeting her new stepmom, she can handle finding the rest of the Power Crystals.

After the riding show, the party thanks Sierra for all her help during the book. Sierra reminds the party to keep her filled in on all the happenings at Ravenswood, and reveals that she’s been feeling more connected with her Sparkly Rock ever since the unicorns showed up. Hmm … probably means that the unicorns’ magic somehow awakened her powers. I wonder if we’ll ever see Sierra use them. (Spoiler: we do, but not for a long time.)

Veronica and David eventually rejoin the party, and ask them if they’d like to see the Living Desert Zoo. The party happily agrees, though Emily worries about their new quest. How will they level up, find the rest of the Power Crystals, and open the Gates of Avalon?

Next time: Anyone want to know what the Dark Sorceress was up to?

Song of the Unicorns, Chapter 18: Some Old Friends Return

(If you’re reading the original edition, this is the first half of Chapter 15.)

So the portal opens, and Thor, Loki, the Warriors Three, and Odin show up!

… I kid, I kid. It’s just Lorelei and Gwigg. The party knows it’s Lorelei in the original edition because she sings her song. Lorelei is glad that the unicorns are safe, and that all their horns are tuned already.

But wait … how did Lorelei know where to find the party? The original edition provides a rather pathetic explanation:

“…Once the power crystal of Avalon stabilized the portals in this area, we were able to jump through and track your magic.”

So obtaining the Power Crystals affected the portals somehow. Yeah, sounds like the Power Crystals have similar properties to the Crown Jewels from Jewel Riders: they stabilize magic in certain regions.

Gwigg has some good news on the Aldenmor front: the Garden (formerly the nuked-out remains of the Dark Circle) is healing nicely. He also notes that Adriane and Emily are stronger now because of the whole magic-switching incident. After Ozzie complains about his current appearance — he still has that beaver tail — Gwigg offers to either restore Ozzie’s ferret tail, or turn Ozzie into a beaver. Ozzie opts for the former. Then Kara starts wondering about her powers, and the loss of her Polymorph ability. Gwigg doesn’t say much, other than that Kara will figure out her fairy abilities eventually.

Lorelei then explains why the unicorns showed up in New Mexico: the unicorns at the Unicorn Academy hired the centaurs from the prologue to transport to foals, since the unicorns were too busy repairing the Magic Web. The Unicorn Amulet the centaurs used was designed to send the unicorns to the party in case shit hit the fan. Hmm … so if the girls didn’t go on their little western adventure, the unicorns would have landed in Ravenswood, and the party would’ve had an easier time returning them to Dalriada!

Then, the big moment arrives: Pollo and Riannan are revealed as the unicorn prince and princess! This is apparently an unprecedented event, because there is usually only one or the other, not both. Everybody rejoices. Well, except me, because I still don’t like how unicorn leaders are chosen. What if Pollo and Riannan disagree on some matter of unicorn importance? How do they resolve that? And how are they trained to be leaders?

Afterwards, Tweek asks Gwigg if he can return to Aldenmor. Gwigg says that Tweek has to stay on Earth, since he was designed to survive there. His role is expanded on in the new edition:

“Tweek,” Gwigg said. “You are the very first Fairimental designed to stay on Earth. Your mission is not over. There are still eight other crystals out there somewhere. They must be found.”

So I guess the party finally has someone to act as an In-Book Encyclopedia. About time, especially since Henry Gardener totally dropped the ball on the whole mentoring-the-party thing.

And then he tells the party more about the Power Crystal the party found: it was originally recovered by the Evil Council of Evil Dark Sorceress in the Otherworlds, who used it to power and control the Dark Knight. So … why would the Evil Council of Evil Dark Sorceress need the unicorn foals’ magic? Some explanation for that would be nice.

Also, Gwigg knows the location of the next Power Crystal: the Fairy Realms. I guess we know where the party is going next! This should be exciting, visiting new worlds that aren’t Aldenmor. Totally looking forward to that.

Gwigg then returns to Aldenmor, taking the party’s Power Crystal back to the Garden for safekeeping; and Lorelei returns to Dalriada with the unicorn foals after a very tearful farewell.

Next time: You know, Emily learned something today….

Song of the Unicorns, Chapter 17: Singing Your Way to Victory

(If you’re reading the original edition, this is Chapter 14.)

The Dark Knight continues to summon more tornadoes — I guess that’s his default attack — which the party obliterates with a well timed Improved Magic Missile. Wow, that was kinda anticlimactic.

Meanwhile, the unicorn foals discover that they don’t need their horns to make magic, because they always have magic inside of them! So Emily encourages the unicorns to spellsing, which has the unexpected effect of weakening the Dark Knight’s tornadoes. Riannon shows off her spellsinging ability, proving herself to be the best singer of the herd. All the other unicorns take their cue from her and start singing in perfect harmony. This somehow helps the unicorns regain their magic and their original coat colors. The Dark Knight, upon witnessing this, does the usual This Can’t Be speech that villains usually do before they’re defeated. The unicorns then break into a spontaneous chorus of “Music by Heart”, which apparently acts like an Improved Dispel, because it restores Emily and Adriane’s powers and destroys the remaining tornadoes.

While all this singing is going on, Tweek re-materializes on the Dark Knight. He jumps onto the knight’s staff, pries the jewel off of it, and throws it to Ozzie. The unicorn’s song somehow purifies the jewel before it reaches Ozzie. Once Ozzie grabs the jewel, the party lobs a few Magic Missiles (Improved and regular-type) at the Dark Knight, defeating it once and for all.

So how did Tweek and Ozzie manage their little act of bad-assery? Well, the Tweek that exploded at the end of the last chapter wasn’t really Tweek, but a decoy created by Ozzie. So of course the Dark Knight didn’t expect the real Tweek to show up and take that jewel.

The party then takes a peek inside the Dark Knight’s armor … and finds nothing inside! Apparently the Dark Knight was a golem, and the jewel Tweek obtained was its power source. So, boss defeated … by the second most useless character in the book. Great job there, Tweek.

Tweek also informs the party that the jewel is one of the missing Power Crystals! One down, eight more to go! I am a little disappointed that the Power Crystal isn’t given a physical description, though. Maybe it’s the Jewel Riders fan in me, because one of the things I enjoyed from that series was the design of the Enchanted Jewels. All the Crown Jewels and Wizard Jewels had crazy, unique shapes, so why don’t the Power Crystals?

Anyway, the party has little time to celebrate their victory, because the portal opens again! Oh noes!

Status Update!
Emily and Adriane regain: all their old spells!
Ozzie learned: Throw Voice!
The unicorn foals learn: Improved Dispel!
Power Crystal Checklist: 1 of 9

Next time: some Asgardians show up.

Song of the Unicorns, Chapter 16: Another Highly Unusual Boss Battle

(If you’re reading the original edition, this is Chapter 13.)

Good news: the party got the unicorns back. Bad news: Their magic is gone.

And to make things worse, the Dark Knight shows up again, and it’s pissed. It starts scanning the party and the unicorns for the now-missing unicorn magic. Apparently Riannon ordered the unicorn foals to give their magic away, but they couldn’t focus it … so now they have no idea who they gave it to. Yeah, great job there, unicorns.

The Dark Knight finally discovers that Kara has the unicorns’ magic, so you know what that means:

Boss: Dark Knight
A giant animated suit of armor.
Attacks: Polymorph, Magic Missile

The Dark Knight opens the battle by Polymorphing Kara into a banshee. This pisses off Kara, who fires a few Magic Missiles and Polymorphs herself into a sprite. The battle continues on in this fashion, with the Dark Knight transforming Kara into ugly things — the worst being a puddle of slime — and Kara changing herself into pretty creatures and firing Magic Missiles.

(Question: Why aren’t Emily and Adriane helping out during the boss battle? Emily could fire Magic Missiles now, and Adriane could spam Heal. There’s no reason for them to just stand on the sidelines.)

Meanwhile, Tweek finds a Goblin dictionary and spell-book in his HORARFF, so he could theoretically free the unicorns from their Tiny Net. Unfortunately, the only other member of the party who has a perfectly functioning Sparkly Rock is Ozzie, so it’s up to him to dispel the net. Ozzie’s early attempts at spell-casting fail epically, though, because Tweek was giving incorrect translations. So instead of freeing the unicorns, Ozzie grows a beard, and a shoe materializes on one of his feet. I get that this is supposed to be funny, but it was quite groan-inducing when I was reading it. (The best line is from the new edition, when Ozzie tells Tweek, “I’m going to focus you into mulch!”) Eventually Ozzie does recite the right spell, freeing the unicorns and somehow dispelling the beard and shoe he created.

Things don’t go so well for Kara, however. The Dark Knight eventually decides to spam Polymorph, which somehow allows him to steal Kara’s Polymorphing ability. Once the Dark Knight discovers that Kara possessed Skultum magic, not unicorn magic, it gets really pissed and creates a number of wild magic tornadoes. Luckily, the rest of the party is able to destroy them by casting Magic Missile. And while all this is going on, the unicorns are getting ready to spellsing.

And then Tweek decides to join the battle! Except all he does is surrender and explode in the Dark Knight’s face. Yeah, the party’s pretty much screwed.

Status Update!
Kara forgets: Polymorph!
Ozzie learns: Dispel Goblin Net! (Which he surprisingly never uses again.)

Next time: Spellsinging makes everything better.

Song of the Unicorns, Chapter 15: Hey, It’s That Guy!

(If you’re reading the original edition, this is Chapter 12.)

Adriane and Emily are still stuck in that magical tornado, which is causing some serious interference with their magic. Adriane can’t fire Magic Missiles inside the tornado, and Kara’s Magic Missiles only strengthen the tornado. Thankfully, Tweek tells the party how to dispel the tornado: by using Dreamer’s elemental magic. So Dreamer turns to mist, jumps into the tornado, and then attempts to regain physical form, thus freeing the girls.

Unfortunately, Dreamer is severely injured and can’t return to his normal wolf shape. And even worse, Emily can’t seem to cast Heal … but she’s pretty damn good at casting Magic Missile now. Which I guess is a good thing, because a bunch of cloud-bat-things formed from the residual wild magic attack the party. Adriane tries to fight the bats, but soon discovers that she’s sucktastic at casting Magic Missile, not to mention any sort of athletic activity. (Which kinda pisses me off — I thought Adriane was athletic because she ran all over Ravenswood. I don’t like this insinuation that Adriane’s athleticism is all magical, and not due to all the training Adriane did throughout the last six books.) The girls realize that Adriane and Emily switched powers, so Adriane gives Emily a quick Magic Missile tutorial. The bats are soon defeated, giving the party all the time in the world to figure out how to help Dreamer.

Emily gives Adriane a quick tutorial on casting Heal, which apparently requires opening oneself to the injured animal’s emotions. Adriane casts Heal on Dreamer, and the two share thoughts about their own abandonment issues … and then Adriane suddenly finds herself running on the Spirit Trail!

And that’s where things diverge wildly. In the original edition, Adriane runs into a deceased character:

One wolf broke from the back to run by her side. The wolf’s silver fur rippled over powerful muscles, golden eyes shining bright.

“My heart soars to see you, warrior.”

Adriane was filled with joy at the sight of her beloved lost pack mate. Stormbringer.

“Storm, is it really you?”

“Run with me, pack mate.”

Stormbringer tells Adriane to “open [her]self to those who love you” and stand with her friends, and then leaves. The whole exchange — and Stormbringer’s presence in the Spirit Pack — proves that Adriane’s old bonded animal is very much dead. However, things are a little more complicated in the new edition:

“Where am I?”

“You run with the spirit pack.”

The spirit pack! Her first packmate ran with the spirit pack now. Was it even possible to — “Stormbringer!” she called out, scanning through the wolves for the slightest glimpse of her first bonded. “I need you, Storm! Please, help me!”

“Your packmate is not here, warrior.”

“She is lost to us.”

Adriane gasped. What? How could Stormbringer be lost? She saved all the mistwolves!

The wolves tell Adriane that Stormbringer will always be in her heart, and then they leave. Here, there’s some hope that Stormbringer might have miraculously survived getting nuked or trapped in the Dark Sorceress’ lair in the last book.

Either way, Dreamer is healed. Yay. Now all that’s left to do is to get the party’s powers back to normal and figure out how to save the unicorn foals. Unfortunately, Tweek says that there’s no way to restore Adriane and Emily’s powers. But the girls do determine that the Dark Knight was sent by someone to capture the unicorns.

And then the unicorns suddenly return via the portal, still in their Tiny Net. However, there’s something different about them: Riannon finally has her horn, but all the unicorns’ coats are a dull color now because they lost their magic. Oh noes.

Status Update!
Adriane learns: Heal!

Next time: A boss battle!