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….

Trial by Fire, Chapter 20: Endings and Beginnings

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

The party, the mistwolves, some elves, and the refugees from Ravenswood gather together at the Fairy Glen to celebrate the defeat of the Dark Sorceress. It’s both a joyous and somber occasion: everyone’s happy that Aldenmor is healing, but Stormbringer is, for all intents and purposes, dead. Adriane gets to join the mistwolves in their mourning rites, which is just a Wolfsong performed by the entire pack. (Kinda hard to have a Fantasy Funeral Pyre when there’s no body.) Afterwards, Moonshadow and Silver Eyes tell Adriane that, yes, it hurts when a loved one dies. They then present Dreamer to her, and the two of them bond. Aww.

Later, the Fairimentals show up (originally, it’s only Gwigg and Ambia; they’re joined by Marina in the revision), and tell the party that they healed Aldenmor and fulfilled the Generic Fantasy Prophecy. Now they get to protect Earth and improve their magic skills. However, the new edition suggests that the party’s quest has only just begun:

The Fairimentals gathered at the portal. “It has been a long time since magic has flowed across the strands of the web.”

“Did I release Avalon’s magic?” Kara asked.

“We do not know,” Gwigg rustled.

“But the prophecy … didn’t we find Avalon?” Emily asked.

“The prophecy can only guide us,” the Earth Fairimental explained. “It can mean different things. You make it your own as you walk your path.”

“I was on this island,” Kara insisted. “There were the most beautiful fairy wraiths there.”

“There are wraiths and sylphs who guard the most special of magical places.” Ambia fluttered on a cool breeze.

“What the blazing star found was the Gates of Avalon,” Gwigg said.

The mages glanced at one another.

“The wraiths said we need a key,” Kara said.

“That is correct,” Gwigg replied.

“A key? What’s in Avalon?” Emily asked.

Ambia shook her head sadly. “Avalon has been lost to us for a very long time.”

Moonshadow stepped forward. “In my spirit vision, I saw the crystal city, broken and covered in webs. It was a dark place.”

Gwigg trembled, twigs and leaves falling to the ground. “We fear for Avalon.”

“I saw a different Avalon.” Kara stepped forward. “It was beautiful, an incredible city sparkling with lights.”

The animals gasped.

“It means the future is uncertain, in motion, constantly changing.” Ambia twinkled brightly.

Okay, so the party needs to find this Key, and open the Gates of Avalon. Too bad that Kara’s and Moonshadow’s visions contradict one another’s, and that nobody actually knows what’s in Avalon in the first place. That seems important. Also, the party can’t get to the Gates of Avalon on their own anymore, since the Fairy Maps were destroyed. (Wait … when were they destroyed, exactly? Did they self-destruct when Kara activated them, or were they lost when the Dark Circle collapsed? Also, can’t the Fairimentals just make new ones?)

The Fairimentals open a portal that shows the denizens of Aldenmor and the Fairy Realms pledging themselves to the party’s service. Yay, allies. When the portal opens upon the elf villages, the Fairimentals give Ozzie a Sparkly Rock and name him a Knight of the Circle. It’s not explained why he’s called a Knight of the Circle in the books beyond “yay, you’re a defender of Avalon”, but there’s some more information in the supplementary materials. But, yay, Ozzie may become more useful in the future! Too bad he has to remain in ferret form when he returns to Earth with the party, though. Ozzie is given a chance to return to his elven self, but he decides that being a ferret and hanging out with the party is preferable, for now.

And then the party goes home, and all is right with the universe, I guess.

Status Update!
Adriane bonds with Dreamer!
Ozzie obtains: Ferret Stone!

EDIT: Changes in the e-book edition

  • Emily doesn’t ask the Fairimentals about the Key or what’s in Avalon.
  • Emily waves at Phel when he appears in the portal.

Next time: A brief recap of “Dragonfly Wrangling 102”.

Cry of the Wolf, Chapter 10: Everything Comes in Threes

You may have noticed that I haven’t been quoting from the book as often, or pointing out changes between editions as much as I normally do. That’s because there’s very few changes in the new edition of this book. But today that’s going to change.

So Adriane finds Zach, who’s hanging out in his Swiss Family Robinson treehouse hideout, which is actually a semi-sentient tree called Okawa. Zach finally tells Adriane his backstory: his parents (Alexander and the embarrassingly-named Graziela) were human magic researchers living on Aldenmor who were killed by a manticore when Zach was a baby. The mistwolf pack found Zach and raised him as one of their own. However, one of the mistwolves (Moonshadow, of course) didn’t really like Zach, so Zach decided to perform a brave-yet-stupid feat to get the pack’s approval: hunt the manticore that killed his parents! It doesn’t go well: all the wolves in his hunting party, including Silver Eyes, the pack leader, get captured by said manticore.

Zach is exiled, and is eventually found by elves, who bring him to the Fairimentals. The Fairimentals hire Zach to be their scout, so they can learn more about the magical nuclear holocaust going on in the Shadowlands … which brings us to the present.

Zach’s now totally cool with Adriane going off to find Stormbringer, so he runs off to pay his final respects to Wind Dancer. Since we don’t see the actual ceremony, I’m going to assume a funeral pyre’s involved (because there’s always a pyre at a fantasy funeral). So here’s three awesome funeral rites involving pyres for your consideration:

Adriane heads off to find Stormbringer, but instead is stopped by the Fairimentals. Adriane asks them a few questions, such as What am I doing here? Was the wolf stone meant for me? What kind of warrior [am I]? Of course, the Fairimentals ask some of their own, like: What is sacred to you? Why did you come to Aldenmor? This eventually culminates into Gwigg telling Adriane the Prophecy of Three (because all fantasy books and games need a stupid prophecy):

Gwigg swept around Adriane, leaving three symbols made of twigs at her feet: a line, a cross, and a circle.

“Three will be tested,” the rough voice said. “One will follow her heart.” A light flashed along the line. “One will see in darkness.” The cross pulsed. “And one will change, utterly and completely.” The circle flashed. “This is the Prophecy of Three.”

As you may have noticed, there were originally symbols that went along with the prophecy. Oddly enough, references to them still exist in the revised edition, most obviously in Secret of the Unicorn. The prophecy is supposed to describe the trials that the three mages who will find Avalon have to overcome, but like any typical fantasy prophecy, the heroes totally misinterpret it — but more on that later.

Anyway, Adriane is told to find Avalon and follow her heart, and is given a Fairy Map that she has to deliver to the mistwolves so they may follow their own destiny or whatever. Which begs the question: if the Fairimentals just have Fairy Maps lying around, can’t they give Adriane a new one to replace the one Kara lost? That way they could find Avalon faster and “cure the sadness” and whatever else they’re prophesied to do!

Whatever. Adriane bids the Fairimentals and Drake the Dragon Egg farewell and leaps through a portal.

Status Update!
Adriane obtained: Fairy Map!

EDIT: Changes in the e-book edition

  • Adriane doesn’t tell Zach that the party’s magic works better when Kara is around.
  • Ambia tells Adriane to follow “her path” instead of “her heart”.

Next time: Adriane gets unexpected followers.

Cry of the Wolf, Chapter 9: The Fairy Glen

Adriane, Zach, Rocky, and Wind Dancer limp their way to the Anvil, which is kinda like Niagara Falls, except it’s bigger and not a tourist trap. Hidden within the waterfalls is a portal that leads to the Moorgroves, a major elf settlement. (Hmm … so the Anvil is better than Niagara Falls: instead of standing in two places at once, you can travel halfway across the world. That’s hella awesome.) Past the Moorgroves, the party flies through another nearby portal that spits them out in the Fairy Glen.

Unfortunately, not everyone makes it: Wind Dancer dies from his wounds (and possibly from severe radiation poisoning). Adriane tries to cast Heal, even though she’s a warrior mage and not a healer mage and thus can’t cast Heal. The sparkletastic rainbow flowers in the Glen aren’t effective, either.

So, RIP Wind Dancer: you were awesome for like 4 chapters.

Then the Fairimentals — Ambia the Air Fairimental, Marina the Water Fairimental, and Gwigg the Earth Fairimental — materialize and try to console the party. They tell Zach that Wind Dancer’s spirit is now a part of the magic now (so wait … magic in Avalon is like the Lifestream in Final Fantasy VII?), but not to worry — he succeeded in recovering the Drake! And the Drake is none other than Rocky, which is the egg of the amazingly-rare Red Crystal Dragon! Said dragon imprints on the first person it lays eyes on, so it’s a good thing the party got it and not the Sorceress.

Except Zach doesn’t like dragons, because they’re mean and scary. Oh, and he doesn’t like that the friend Adriane is searching for is a mistwolf, because he kinda had a falling out with the pack. Zach storms off, and Adriane follows….

Of note: when Zach learns that Adriane’s sparkly rock is a Wolf Stone, he says that it’s a Wolf Stone, implying that there’s probably other Wolf Stones out there. So are there only limited types of Sparkly Rocks?

EDIT: Changes in the e-book edition

  • The Fairimentals don’t apologize for Wind Dancer’s death.

Next time: Adriane learns a Typical RPG Prophecy.