Beasley Windor

Ghost Wolf, Epilogue: An Unexpected Ally Appears

(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.

Status Update!
Power Crystal count: 3 of 9 8

Next time: first impressions on the next book, Heart of Avalon.

Ghost Wolf, Chapter 7: An All-Out Bad Day for Everyone

(If you’re reading the original edition, this is Chapter 5.)

The next day, Adriane and Dreamer visit the portal field so they can contact Orenda. Dreamer sends Adriane an image of a figure trapped in a cocoon. Adriane realizes that whatever is threatening Ravenswood is only in the spirit world, at least for now. She also notices that Dreamer is losing his magic, since he can only communicate with her by sending images. Even worse, Adriane can’t seem to cast spells anymore: she tries casting Create Weapon, but the lasso she makes disintegrates.

Adriane then remembers why she was such a loner: her family was always moving, so she never stayed around long enough to make friends. When she moved to Ravenswood (18 months before this book takes place), she met Stormbringer, who allowed her to make friends with the party. Adriane is afraid that she will never be able to bond with Dreamer in the same way she did with Stormbringer.

Since their attempt to communicate with Orenda totally failed, Adriane and Dreamer return to the cottage to meet up with the rest of the party. Turns out that other party members are having problems with their magic, as well: Kara can’t seem to contact her dragonflies. Emily discovers that something in Ravenswood is preventing Dreamer from using his magic. However, the party and the refugees haven’t seen anything out of the ordinary, so it must be something they can’t see.

While all this is going on, the party is using Kara’s sentient toiletries to groom all the animals in time for the next tour. Unfortunately, visitors come a couple hours early, and it’s not the tour group they were expecting. Instead, it’s the local sheriff, Mrs. Windor, Dr. Fletcher … and Adriane’s parents.

Mrs. Windor and the sheriff are here to close down the preserve and capture Dreamer. Kara’s dad has apparently closed the preserve for tours until further notice, due to the “wolf attack” article printed in the newspaper. Kara calls her dad for confirmation.

Meanwhile, Adriane’s parents try to talk to Mrs. Windor about Dreamer. Mrs. Windor claims that Dreamer is a wild wolf. As if to back up this claim, Dreamer runs out of the woods and tries to defend Adriane. Mrs. Windor claims that Dreamer attacked her, even though it’s quite obvious that he didn’t. The original edition suggests that Mrs. Windor is being mind-raped or possessed in this scene, because her eyes start glowing red.

And then the department of fish and game show up with tranquilizer guns. Adriane tells Dreamer to turn into mist or something — yes, even in front of all the stupid humans — but he can’t, so he gets shot.

And then everybody gets pissed at each other! Emily is pissed that the fish and game guys shot too much tranquilizer into Dreamer. Adriane is pissed that the fish and game guys are taking Dreamer away in a Tiny Net. Her ultimate reaction, after the fish and game guys drive off:

One major nitpick here: we learn that the names of Adriane’s parents are Willow and Luc Charday. However, we know that Adriane’s mother is Gran’s daughter … so, did Luc decide to take on his wife’s surname? Because Charday is not a very French name. (The text states that Luc is French.)

Also … why doesn’t anybody think Adriane is crazy when she tells Dreamer to turn to mist?

Next time: The Original Party obtains a world map.

Ghost Wolf: First Impressions

Ah, Ghost Wolf. You were the first book I had to special order because the local Borders didn’t regularly stock the series at the time it was released. You were the weird book with the trippy extradimensional travel that was a little hard to understand upon initial reading. But mostly, I remember you for introducing Adriane’s parents and having them settle in one of the more stereotypical artist communes in upstate New York.

Obviously, this is an Adriane-centric book, in which a ton of shit gets piled on her. And I mean a lot: there’s family issues, problems with Ravenswood, and some stuff concerning her bonded animals. Did I say “animals”, as in the plural? That was kinda spoileriffic — but then, it is mentioned on the cover blurb, so I guess it’s not.

Anyway, on to Jewel Riders connections. The book is essentially “Badlands”, in which Fallon reunites with her artisan parents, who don’t approve of her being a Jewel Rider. But there are shout-outs to “Dreamfields” (there’s a lot of weird dream-stuff in this book), “Wizard of Gardenia” (topiary monsters), and “Mystery Island” (the dweasel tea party).

Ghost Wolf original cover
I remember this cover being a lot shinier in real life. This image makes the border look really dull. But hey, now I know there was actually a pattern on the border, instead of a shimmery, oil-slicky brown blob. This is one of the few times I like the original cover more than the new one. Adriane’s standing in the middle of a forest, possibly trying to summon Fenrir. Oh, and I think Dreamer makes a cover appearance in the background there, but I’m not sure. Sometimes you can’t really tell with these old covers.

Ghost Wolf new cover
Hey, doesn’t the cover art look kinda different here? Well, the regular artist for the series couldn’t get the cover or interior illustrations done in time for publication, so someone else (Shiei, who did the art for the last two volumes of Warlock Diaries) finished the sketches. So a lot of the artwork looks really wonky — like this cover, for example. Adriane has this out-of-character XTREME SNOWBOARDING TO THE MAXX! look on her face, and Dreamer looks really cartoony. And wait — didn’t one of those characters on the cover get nuked a few books back? Um … spoiler alert?

What to expect from this book:
* Me getting help from my art grad school friends for artist references!
* More Charday family issues!
* An actual threat to Earth!
* Middle school students getting really involved in nature conservation!
* Bitchy Ms. Windor action!
* A token male character!

Next time: Something that only appears in the original edition.

Spellsinger, Chapter 7: How Do I Do Magic, Part 3

(If you’re reading the original edition, this is Chapter 6.)

Kara is not doing too great on her way to school the next day. She feels guilty about stealing the unicorn horn, and whines laments her lack of a Sparkly Rock and her role in the party. Kara realizes that, compared to Emily and Adriane, she is severely under-leveled, and believes that she won’t get anywhere without a Sparkly Rock or other artifact that proves she’s a Blazing Star. (In the original edition, she also worries that she doesn’t have any magical talents and that she may never get a Sparkly Rock ever.)

But then Kara remembers that she does have a unicorn horn, and unicorn horns can do Almost Anything. This segues into a brief segment on Kara’s experiences with the Unicorn Jewel in the original edition:

She remembered the wild magic of the unicorn jewel she had found a month ago. In her hands, that jewel was awesome in its power. Although she had given it back to the unicorn’s maidens, the magic of the unicorn jewel had awakened in her feelings that would never again lie dormant. Feelings that would not, could not, be denied. A part of her needed to unleash the magic. It lay pent up inside, dark, cold, and vicious, like a coiled snake, ready to strike.

Lyra flies in at this time, and asks Kara to demonstrate her singing skills. What Kara sings isn’t specified in the new edition, but in the original it’s “Friend in You”:

Of course, Kara sucks at singing, so it doesn’t sound as good as the clip I posted. Lyra suggests that Kara takes singing lessons. Kara, however, thinks about using the unicorn horn to improve her singing skills. Lyra senses this, which prompts Kara to consider telling the astronomical leopard everything she’s done in the original edition:

As much as Kara deeply needed to unburden herself to her friend, there were so many things she was trying to come to grips with. She wasn’t exactly proud of what she had done, and though she knew she could trust Lyra, Kara still worried about how the cat would react once she knew the truth — not only had she taken the unicorn horn after the girls had made a promise to one another to always keep it hidden away, but she was planning to use the magic for her own selfish gain.

I’m actually surprised Kara feels so guilty about stealing the horn in the original edition — which makes me wonder why she never bothers to return the damn thing when given the chance. (Said chance is right now, by the way.) Anyway, Kara’s running late for school, so she leaves Lyra.

At school, Kara can’t really think about anything except Johnny Conrad, spellsinging, and using the horn. It’s glossed over in the original edition, but expanded on in the revision:

…Kara’s greatest frustration was that she didn’t have the spellsinging book. If she had been more on top of things, she would have gotten it back from Emily the night before. The time spent with Johnny had seemed to cast another kind of a spell on her, making her feel light-headed with joy, not able to think as clearly as she usually did. Today she could hardly concentrate. All she could think about was spellsinging. And Johnny.

Kara’s so distracted that, in the original edition, she ditches one of her classes so she can try out the horn. Yeah, real smart move there. The revised edition changes it so that Kara does her experiment during lunch, which is a less conspicuous time to do so. (Also, we don’t have to go over Kara’s elaborate plans for not getting caught.)

So Kara hangs out by the band room, where the school choir is practicing. Kara tries to sing along, but realizes that she can’t without some magical help. So she takes out the horn and asks it to make her sing good. When that doesn’t work, Kara briefly thinks that the horn may only work for Emily. However, Kara decides to try composing a spellsong that will improve her singing voice:

I want to sing like a bird
The best in the world
Make my voice ring
I’m super-stylin’

Kara raps this — I’m not kidding — which causes the horn to react. Overflowing with magical energy, Kara runs through a three-octave scale perfectly — so perfectly, in fact, that she breaks a window with her voice. But then (in the new edition) she gets drunk with power!

Yes! The jewel was exactly what she needed. Just like the last time, the exquisite power she used with the jewel of the unicorn. Only this time it was stronger — just what she needed to change….

Luckily, Kara’s able to rein in her power before she gets caught playing with an Awesome Magic Artifact.

Meanwhile, Mrs. Windor is released from jail, insisting that she was nowhere near the Fletcher residence last night. The door hits her ass on her way out.

Status Update!
Kara learned: some spellsong that improves her singing ability, which she’ll never use again!

EDIT: Changes in the e-book edition

  • The choir doesn’t practice in a spacious music room.
  • Kara starts singing a G instead of an A when she experiments with the unicorn horn.

Next time: What, a boss battle already?

Spellsinger, Chapter 6: Let’s Get This Party Started!

(If you’re reading the original edition, this is Chapter 5.)

Johnny Conrad and his entourage finally arrive at Ravenswood Manor. Kara greets them while Adriane is stuck carrying all their equipment inside (because wearing a cherry red Fender Stratocaster apparently makes her look like a roadie). Among the members of Johnny’s band is his “mix master”, Inky Toon, who gets a description in the new edition:

Inky was a big guy, well over six feet tall, with ebony skin and cropped black hair. He wore a red hoodie with oversized jeans, silver sneakers, and a black bandana [sic] with little yellow squares. He sported sunglasses and a blinding smile.

For the purposes of this recap, I’m gonna pretend that Inky is Cee-Lo Green. I know, he doesn’t quite fit the description, but I wanna post a clip of him saying “Oh DAMN!” at some point.

Anyway, after the band’s stuff is moved into the manor and all the groupies show up, it’s time for a party! Mrs. Windor decides to crash said party in the new edition. It’s a long scene, but it’s kinda funny in the “damn kids and their rock-and-roll” type of way, so I’m posting it in its entirety:

“I do not listen to rock and roll music,” Windor was droning on. “Big events are dangerous for a small community. Attracts all the wrong elements.” She eyed the reporter suspiciously.

Yeah, kinda forgot to mention that the press are present, too. Going on….

“All right then, thank you, Mrs. Windor.” She signaled her crew to move on to Johnny.

Mrs. Windor sneered as the rock star walked past. “Ravenswood should be shut down, not saved!”

Johnny raised an eyebrow. “I’m here to support a worthwhile, charitable cause.”

“You have no idea what kind of animals are really here!” Mrs. Windor snapped.

Kara couldn’t believe what she was hearing. She had to do something!

Suddenly, Inky was sweeping in ahead of Johnny. “Come on, now, people,” Inky said with a broad sweep of his big arms that forced Mrs. Windor out the front door. “Animal rights is an important issue and we’re here to support all animals.”

“Soon the whole world will know what you’re hiding here!” Windor bellowed as the door closed in her face.

“Who was that?” Johnny asked Kara.

Kara flushed. “Mrs. Windor. She’ll do anything to stop this concert.”

Johnny chuckled. “Well, I wouldn’t worry about her. Something tells me she’s going to go ape over this show! Trust me.” His dark eyes glittered with the bright lights held by the camera crew.

Kara smiled. Of course he was right.

Believe it,” he winked.

After the little scene with Mrs. Windor, Kara and Emily decide to go up to the library and check out the spellsinging book. Wait — how can they check out the book if Adriane obtained it in the last chapter? The original edition explains:

Kara had seen Adriane put the book into her backpack, then rush out without it when the doorbell rang. Smugly, she had retrieved it.

Anyway, when the girls reach the library and turn on the lights, they find weird, three-toed tracks all over the rug. Kara realizes that they must belong to the shadowy figure from earlier, but Emily reminds her that Stormbringer the Protection from Evil dreamcatcher would have stopped it from even entering Ravenswood if it was evil. (Um, question: what if it belongs to a neutral creature? You have a Protection from Evil spell over the portal, not a Protection from Neutral spell!) Whatever, the girls stop talking about it and turn to the spellsinging book instead.

After reading a few lines from the book — which sum up as “Oh, spellsinging alone is fine and dandy, but spellsinging as a party is Super Effective!” — Johnny Conrad shows up. He oohs and ahhs over the decor, and mentions a couple of artists whose works adorn the place: Parrish and Bates. I had to run down the street and ask some Art Grad Students who these guys were, because I’m not familiar with their names. Maxfield Parrish was an American illustrator and graphic artist, and Harry Bates was an English sculptor. I guess this is a “Showed Their Work” entry, but it would’ve been much easier to look up these artists if RR mentioned specific works! (Especially for Bates, because it took a ton of Google-Fu to find him.)

Emily comes up with an excuse to exit with the spellsinging book, leaving Kara alone with Johnny. He goes on and on about how Kara has “star power”, and mentions that Kara and Adriane are a musically talented duo. (I guess Johnny didn’t read the last book.) Kara is too enchanted by Johnny to really think about anything else but how f’ing cute he is.

Sometime later, Emily makes it home, exhausted. Before she can get to sleep, however, she hears a disturbance at the Pet Palace. Emily checks it out … and finds Mrs. Windor acting like a wild animal and freeing all the monkeys Emily conveniently mentioned a couple of chapters back! Coincidentally, the reporter from earlier is also at the Fletcher residence, and shows up at the right moment to take some embarrassing pictures. Emily and Dr. Fletcher set off to retrieve the monkeys.

Meanwhile, in the woods, Mrs. Windor turns into a seven-foot-tall reptilian monster. Oh crap, she’s a Skrull!

Status Update!
Emily obtained: Spellsinging Book (complete)!

Next time: Kara plays hooky.

Credit where it’s due: Thanks, Art Grad Students!

Spellsinger, Chapter 2: Beasley Windor, Paranormal Investigator

Kara logs into a chat on the Ravenswood forum to tell her Catty Girl Posse and other friends about Johnny Conrad’s appearance at the Ravenswood Benefit. (The thread’s been very active in the old edition; apparently the Catty Girls decided today would be Let’s-Make-Our-Posts-Rhyme Day.) In the old edition, Kara considers mentioning Be*Tween’s disappearance, which segues into this spiel on internet safety:

For an instant, Kara considered admitting the band’s disappearance, but the truth was, Kara had no idea what was really going on with Be*Tween. She’d learned to be careful about believing a lot of stuff people posted on the Net.

Remember, this book was written when the internet was getting more widespread — I just quit using AOL and got a DSL connection when I first read it — so the warning was (and still is) appropriate for all those children new to the web. (Admitting all this also dates me quite a bit ^_^)

Anyway, while the chatroom (or message board) turns into a puddle of squee, Adriane barges in with some Bad News. Mrs. Windor sneaked onto the preserve with her niece’s camera, hoping to take some pictures of magical creatures. Kara realizes (in the new edition) that Mrs. Windor could post a video of the animals on YouTube and cause some serious problems (and create a viral hit). Since they’re the only party members at the preserve, Adriane and Kara run out into the woods to scare off their favorite City Council member.

However, it seems like the magical animals have everything under control: they set traps everywhere! (I assume this is Rommel’s doing ^_^) Kara and Adriane find some quiffles manning some traps in the woods, but decide to help out a little, too. Adriane fires a Magic Missile in both editions, but what precipitates this differs. In the new edition, Kara just taps Adriane’s Wolf Stone, causing her to fire an Improved Magic Missile that creates a barrier between Mrs. Windor and some animals; in the old edition, things are a little drawn out:

“…You create a diversion with your jewel.” Kara pointed to the golden wolf stone locked in the black band around Adriane’s right wrist. “I’ll take care of Mrs. Windor.”

Boldly, Kara stepped out from behind the tree. Behind her she heard a faint crackling and felt magical power building. Turning sharply, she saw Adriane snap into a fighting stance, whirling her arm in a circle. The wolf stone glowed brightly with sparkling energy.

“On second thought–” Kara said, reaching out to Adriane, but she was too late. A searing bolt of golden light ripped from the stone, smashing into a cluster of dead branches over Mrs. Windor with a terrible explosion.

After this, Kara scolds Adriane for casting Magic Missile — even though it did create an acceptable diversion.

The party’s not out of the woods yet: Mrs. Windor almost steps on Rommel! Rommel’s all like, “I’m just a squirrel trying to catch a nap … except I’m a MAGIC KOALA!” which causes Mrs. Windor to go “WTF!” and fall on her ass. And to top that, an Earth Fairimental materializes and scares the shit out of Mrs. Windor. It smashes her camera to bits. The whole experience causes Mrs. Windor to run out of the preserve screaming.

I would like to note here that throughout this whole misadventure in the woods, we get some insight as to why Mrs. Windor hates nature. She thinks it’s dangerous. Damn, she must have had some horrible experiences at sleepaway camp or something to feel that way.

Anyway, the Earth Fairimental has an important message for the party. The words are different in both editions, but the gist is the same: Kara’s in danger, and the party has to spellsing together. The new editions also adds in some bit about using the Fairy Map, which the party lost in Book 1 (thanks a lot, Kara).

After the Fairimental dissipates, the party realizes that some serious shit must be going down if the Fairimentals are trying to contact them. In the original edition, Kara acts like she doesn’t care about it, insisting that her show is more important:

“We have to tell Emily about this. The Fairimentals need our help,” Adriane called out to her.

Kara shot her a withering gaze. “Well, that’s your department, isn’t it? Saving the day? I just have my stupid little concert to take care of, thank you very much!”

She walked off, head held high.

“Wait!” Adriane ran after her. “It said you had to be careful.”

“It’s a twig!” Kara yelled. “It was hard to understand anything it said.”

“We have to get a message to Zach,” Adriane insisted, referring to the human boy she’d met on Aldenmor who’d been raised by mistwolves.

Dammit, shouldn’t we know who Zach is by now? You don’t need to keep reminding us. Also, Kara’s line about her concert is moved to much later in the book in the new edition, when she’s clearly brainwashed. There’s no reason for her to be so bitchy now. Oh, and the party doesn’t even think about contacting Zach until much later in the revision, either.

In the new edition, the party’s conversation focuses instead on a Fairy Map they clearly don’t have:

“What was it trying to tell us about the Fairy Map?” Adriane asked.

“We already know the sorceress has it.” Kara remembered the gift the fairy creature called Phelonius had tried to give her. At the time, she didn’t know how important it was. In fact, she didn’t know what it was at all. Until it had been stolen and taken back to the sorceress. It was their one clue to finding Avalon.

“Maybe she’s trying to use it,” Adriane guessed.

Anyway, Kara decides that, despite the obvious danger, the show must go on. Adriane is not amused.

EDIT: Changes in the e-book edition

  • Kara only contacts the Catty Girls about B*Tween. Also, Kara texts them instead of IM-ing them.
  • Adriane calls Kara “Lady Gaga” instead of “Hannah Montana”.
  • Adriane doesn’t mention that she met an Earth Fairimental on Aldenmor.

Next time: Mayor Davies tries to use slang. It doesn’t go well.

Spellsinger, Chapter 1: Tweenage Squee

It’s another big day for Kara: today — if the inspection goes well — the Town Council will give the party a permit for their Ravenswood Benefit Concert. So what better way to pump Kara up for the meeting than singing along to Be*Tween’s latest single?

Okay, not the kind of music that would get me pumped up, but whatever. Be*Tween is Kara’s new favorite band, and they’re supposed to play at the benefit, so it’s appropriate.

Anyway, Kara rushes outside to meet her dad, making sure to take a moment to say bye to her mom. Mrs. Davies just says a cursory “Okay, dear,” which isn’t commented on in the original edition. The scene is expanded in the revision, and sheds some light on Kara’s personality and her relationship with her mother:

“I have a big meeting with the council about the benefit!” Kara yelled. For a second she wished her mom would just show a little interest in all of her hard work at Ravenswood. Well, this concert would be hard to ignore! Cheered by that thought, she shot out the front door, bolting into a crisp October morning.

For those wondering about the series’ continuity, you’ll be glad to know this book takes place sometime in October, meaning that the events of the series so far have taken place over three or four months.

Meanwhile, Mrs. Windor and some members of the city council — Sid Stewart, Lionel Waxxer Hoover, and Mary Rollins — are waiting impatiently for Mayor Davies and Kara to arrive. Emily shows up and decides to do some advertising for the Ravenswood website. Of course, in the original edition it’s also an opportunity to mention a real-life sponsor of the series:

“We’ve linked to the kids’ division of the National Humane Society called NAHEE [National Association for Humane and Environmental Education]. It’s all about helping animals.”

It’s a little bit harder to get to the parents, educators, and kids sections of the website now, so the above quote is significantly different in the new edition. Emily only mentions that she’s posted articles on animals and environmental issues, because “we all have to think ‘green'”.

Mrs. Windor doesn’t really give a shit about the website, though — she just wants to make sure there’ll be no more incidents with “fake” unicorns or other wild beasties. She seems to be alone in this regard; everyone else on the town council loved Lorelei’s unexpected appearance at the last football game. Hell, the team actually won that night. (And against a high school team, too!)

Kara finally shows up and gives the city council a tour of the great lawns, where the benefit should take place. She’s enthusiastic about Be*Tween’s participation in the event, and the council is excited by all the media attention Stonehill will get. However, Adriane arrives and bursts everyone’s bubble by showing Kara an e-mail from Be*Tween’s agent. Be*Tween has disappeared, so they won’t be able to attend the benefit. This pisses off everyone who isn’t Mrs. Windor.

Then Adriane shows Kara another e-mail. Be*Tween’s agent is sending another of his clients to take the band’s place at the benefit: current teen idol Johnny Conrad. The party turns into a puddle of squee, because Johnny Conrad is Just That Awesome. Meanwhile, Mrs. Windor does a Finger Pyramid of Evil Contemplation and imagines Ravenswood trampled under the feet of a herd of squeeing pre-teens.

Interesting note here: the name of Be*Tween’s talent agency in the original edition (Cigam Management) holds a clue to defeating a boss that shows up in the next book. The agency’s name is changed in the new edition to “Worldwide Tours Unlimited”, and has no connection to the boss. Unfortunately, it also means that when Kara does figure out how to beat said boss in the new edition, the solution is kinda pulled out of thin air because it’s not referenced anywhere else.

Anyway, I hate Mrs. Windor and her unreasonable hatred of the party, nature, and unicorns. Nobody can be as bitter as her in real life, right?

EDIT: Changes in the e-book edition

  • It’s official: “B*Tween” is how you spell the band’s name.
  • Mrs. Windor doesn’t call Emily by name in her inner monologue initially — she just calls her “red-haired girl”.
  • Kara doesn’t run up to Adriane when she arrives with the news regarding B*Tween and Johnny Conrad.

Next time: Mrs. Windor kicks everyone’s favorite magic German koala bear.

Secret of the Unicorn, Chapter 11: Are You Ready for Some Football?

(If you’re reading the original edition, this is Chapter 8.)

The next day, Emily is sitting with the marching band at Stonehill’s football game. She passed her band audition, and I suppose she went through the hassle of getting fitted for a band uniform and ordering proper marching shoes and other band shit like that. I do find it odd, though, that a) a middle school is holding a football game on a Monday, b) that this game is taking place two days after their last one, and c) Stonehill Middle School is playing a high school football team (this only applies to the new edition). No wonder they’re getting their asses handed to them.

In this chapter we’re introduced to another major side-character: Rae Windor, Mrs. Windor’s flute-playing niece. Rae’s a plain-looking girl who’s kinda chatty and self-centered; the only knock against her is that she just happens to be related to Mrs. Windor, which is a little unfair. When we first meet her, she’s going on about cute boys and some minor band politics — which is pretty normal for a twelve (thirteen?) year old girl like her:

“Over here! He totally looked at me. He’s just the cutest guy on the entire football team. Plus he’s an eighth grader, you know. Seventh graders can be so juvenile, don’t you think? I should so play ‘We Will Rock You’, that’s the first song I learned on flute. I’m going to do that for my solo, don’t you think?”

Rae also has the bad habit of blowing bubble gum during band gigs, which — from personal experience — is generally frowned upon.

Anyway, Emily is distracted by some weird music — the same sinuous melody she heard the last time she went to a football game. She starts seeing that weird ghoulish face all over the stadium, too. Emily feels her entire world go into slow-motion, when suddenly she hears a crystal clear note … and then Lorelei shows up.

Except this isn’t Technicolor Dream Horse!Lorelei, but a pure white unicorn. And she’s strutting out on the field, searching desperately for Emily. Unfortunately, two entire football teams and Mrs. Windor try to force Lorelei off. Thankfully, Kara is great at BS’ing and claims that Lorelei is a horse fitted with a fake horn that she brought over from Ravenswood to use as Stonehill’s mascot. This doesn’t go well with the opposing team’s mascot, who taunts Lorelei with a so-called chicken dance.

Lorelei promptly spears the mascot in the face.

Be thankful this is a children’s book: no mascots were physically harmed in this chapter. ^_^

Emily eventually figures out how to get Lorelei off the field: by playing her Trippy Dream Sequence song and adding mental lyrics to it. All those psychic-musical talking sessions with Lorelei must have paid off, because it works. Lorelei leaves the football field, the kids are entertained, and everyone’s happy — well, everyone except Rae, who wanted the solo during the halftime show.

Here’s Lorelei’s song, which was changed slightly in the new edition:

Look into my eyes
Know that you can trust me
Listen to the sound
I’ll always be around

Hear my words
Feel the magic in them
In friendship we are bound
I’ll always be around

You and me
It’s meant to be
We’ll always be
Friends forever

Just for the record, you’re not going to find a recording of this on the Avalon website. There’s no lyric credits at the beginning of the book, so I don’t think it’s an actual song.

Status Update!
Emily learned Lorelei’s Song!

EDIT: Changes in the e-book edition

  • Lorelei’s song is replaced with “Friend in You”.
  • Lorelei tells Emily that she’s not afraid, instead of that they’re friends forever.

Next time: The party tries to figure out what actually reeks of evil in the preserve.

Secret of the Unicorn, Chapter 2: The Last Wave

Okay, loyal followers, things are gonna start to get screwy here. The first section of Chapter 2 in the original edition is our first instance of a moved scene: it’s placed at the start of Chapter 3 in the revised edition — which, honestly, makes a lot more sense. In the scene, the portal in Ravenswood opens, and a herd of Black Fire-poisoned animals stumbles out. Adriane, Stormbringer, and Lyra help the new refugees as best as they can, but are startled by the brief appearance of a strange, multi-colored horse thing.

Meanwhile (or before this happens, if you have the revised edition), Emily walks the Pet Palace dogs to Stonehill Middle School’s first football game of the year. She can’t shake the feeling that something horrible is going down at Ravenswood. Unfortunately, game day probably wasn’t the best day to bring the dogs to the game, because they all jump on Mrs. Windor. This pisses off everyone’s favorite city council member to no end. (Remember, children: kicking a dog — or just calling a nice dog who wants love-ups a “mangy mutt” for no reason — flags a character as a Not Very Nice Person.)

Anyway, Emily makes her way to the bleachers, and feels increasingly crampy and feverish. She spies a creepy, ghoulish face in the crowd, which freaks the shit out of her. Luckily, the Catty Girls and Cool Dudes find Emily and let her sit with them. The Cool Dudes act all chivalrous and ask Emily how she’s doing, Joey asks Emily where Adriane’s at, Molly wonders if one of Emily’s dogs could be Stonehill Middle School’s mascot, and the other Catty Girls make a snide comment or two.

Then the crowd starts the wave, Emily’s Rainbow Jewel goes on Detect Evil overload, and a surge of magical energy generated by said wave causes Emily to black out. Oh noes.

Next time: Kara makes a phone call.