Full Circle, Chapter 18: Getting the Band Back Together

Last time on Full Circle, Emily discovered some serious reality-warping going down, Ozzie rejoined the party in time to save Emily, and a Final Boss showed up. Will Emily and Ozzie be able to save the rest of the party before the final boss battle? Find out after the cut.


Full Circle, Chapter 13: The Infodump to End All Infodumps

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.


All’s Fairy in Love and War, Chapter 16: Revelations

(If you’re reading the original edition, this is Chapter 11.)

Remember when I said that Kara is in an unknown realm face-to-face with the Dark Sorceress? I lied. Kara is actually in an astral plane with a mirror-image of Lucinda, who just so happens to look exactly like the Dark Sorceress. I know, they’re supposed to be sisters, but seriously….

Anyway, Lucinda is shielding Kara from the Dark Sorceress somehow, because the Dark Sorceress is trying to steal Avalon’s Kara’s magic yet again. In the new edition, there’s also some interesting stuff about the Unicorn Jewel:

“I am very happy to meet you, blazing star.”

Kara looked closer at the figure in the mirror. The unicorn jewel was reflected in a ghostly image around Lucinda’s neck, glowing with a warm, rosy light.

“The jewel that adorns your neck was once mine.” Lucinda’s bright eyes met Kara’s. “It as been waiting for the right match.”

“You have the wrong girl.” Kara wrapped the jewel in her hand.

“I know how confused you must be.” Lucinda’s eyes gazed at Kara compassionately.

Lucinda shows Kara scenes from her life to prove that each past event influences future ones. These mini-flashbacks start from when Kara was very young (getting second place in an equestrian competition), and end with Kara’s first encounters with the party. Through this, Kara realizes that she’s been a selfish bitch for the majority of the series, but the party accepts her just the way she is.

Now that Kara’s learned a lesson, Lucinda reveals that Blazing Stars don’t use their magic for themselves, but to help others. Okay, so she’s a support-type mage, good to know. She also tells Kara that she knows what the Dark Sorceress is capable of, like mind-raping people through their dreams.

And then, to drive the point home, she shows Kara a possible Bad Ending: The Dark Sorceress prepares to conquer the Magic Web. But wait — it’s not the Dark Sorceress, it’s Kara! And she apparently took Adriane’s and Emily’s Sparkly Rocks for herself! The scene is even longer in the original edition:

A beautiful teenager, seventeen years old, golden blond hair trimmed neatly below her shoulders, stood at the entrance to the Ravenswood Preserve, cold blue eyes looking through a chain link construction fence. Bulldozers cut through the still morning air, and trees toppled over as the destruction of the preserve began.

Shock, grief, and guilt consumed Kara. Why hadn’t she stopped this from happening?

After the scene ends, Lucinda tells Kara that she can change the Bad Ending. And then Kara falls out of the astral plane somewhere nearby the dying fire horse.

Kara takes out the Blue Rose and gives it to the horse, causing it to regain its shape. She then makes a proper introduction to the horse. Sadly, the horse admits that it has no name or memories; it just knows that it was made to attract the Power Crystal. So Kara names the horse Starfire and gives it all of her memories, bonding her to it. (And apparently, Kara now considers Starfire to be male.)

Kara mounts her kick-ass fire horse and rides off, hopefully with a heavy metal soundtrack playing in the background.

Status Update!
Kara bonds with: Starfire!
Kara learns: Protection from Fire! (You kinda need it when riding a fire horse.)

Next time: Kara gets a quest.

All’s Fairy in Love and War, Chapter 12: Return of the Exposition Fairy

(If you’re reading the original edition, this is the first half of Chapter 9.)

The next day, Kara is walking through the Fairy Gardens with Goldie. As always, Kara has a pimped-out outfit for the occasion: a dark blue jacket trimmed with white fleece, tan suede riding pants, knee-high leather boots, a white silk blouse, and her hair done up in a ponytail. Looks like someone wants to go riding!

Pimped-Out Kara Outfit Count: 7

Goldie spots a flock of dragonflies pollinating some flowers and decides to join them. Selinda then shows up and comments on Kara’s bond with Goldie. It’s been mentioned a few times before: dragonflies don’t usually bond with people.

Kara then notices that some plants in the garden aren’t doing so well. Selinda thinks this is the perfect opportunity to give Kara a much-needed infodump. It’s not much of an infodump in the original edition:

“[…] Avalon’s magic should flow here first, then to the web, and then to all other worlds. But now that’s not happening.”

Kara looked at the gardens. “Then this is all my fault, too.”

If you’re wondering why Avalon’s magic flows to the Fairy Realms first, it’s because the Fairy Realms are closest to Avalon. Anyway, we got a mighty proper infodump in the new edition:

“[…] Magic is our most precious resource, part of a delicate ecosystem connecting us to the web. In ancient times, Avalon’s magic would flow here first, then to all other worlds. When Avalon vanished, the Fairy Realms became the center of magic. But now even we are running out of magic.”

“What happened to Avalon?” Kara asked.

“You know that long ago humans and animals worked together, sharing magic between Aldenmor and Earth.”

“Yes, our friends at Ravenswood have told us the stories.”

“Some humans turned on their bonded,” Selinda continued grimly. “They became dark mages, stealing magic from the animals and twisting themselves into unrecognizable forms.”

Kara shivered. “Like the Dark Sorceress.”

“Yes, and worse,” Selinda continued. “Human wizards waged a long war with the dark mages. And in the end, the only way to save Aldenmor and its creatures was to close the portals forever. It was during the separation of worlds that Avalon was lost. The Fairy Realms have maintained what magic we could, but when the Dark Sorceress rose to power, it was not enough. Now the web is unraveling and with it — our worlds.”

Kara looked at the gardens. “So why close off the Fairy Realms rather than open the Gates of Avalon?”

“There are some who believe that the gates should remain closed — not to keep the mages out but to keep whatever is inside locked away.”

“But Avalon is the home of all magic,” Kara protested.

“The legends say in Avalon, magic flows from a place called ‘The Well of Tears’.”

“That sounds sad.”

“Indeed it does, Princess. Great magic can bring great loss.”

“Yes.” Kara thought of brave Stormbringer and how much the mages loved and missed her. And now Lyra. If anything happened to her — “What do you think?” she asked quickly.

“I think we need to open the gates. And trust in the magic to guide us, no matter what we find.”

“Well, I used the magic — and messed up, as usual.”

Wow, talk about an infodump! We get the backstory that was only available in supplementary materials in the original edition, we learn about a new character class, and we find out what exactly is in Avalon! This is all stuff the party should have learned about much earlier, so they would know exactly what to do!

Kara still thinks she’s going to have yet another Nice Job Breaking It Heroine moment, but Selinda reassures Kara that releasing all that magic from Avalon back in Trial by Fire was a good thing. She believes that Kara will do fine since, like all humans, Kara’s bond with a magical animal makes her a formidable magic user. Selinda also hints that Kara might not have been the one who turned Lyra into quicksilver. Dun-dun-DUN!

Selinda then goes on about how the Dark Sorceress manipulated the goblins to work with her. The fairy queen really wants to be friends with Raelda that goblin queen, but she’s willing to wage war against her if things come to that.

And finally, Selinda explains why Kara has fairy blood. Kara is a descendant of Queen Lucinda, which we already knew. What we didn’t know was that a) fairy blood skips generations in humans, and b) Lucinda was a Blazing Star mage. So … I guess we have our third member of the Original Party. And from everything the Dark Sorceress and Spider Witch said about her, I guess Lucinda is pretty much dead.

But I wonder … is Selinda also a descendant of Lucinda? If she is, then Selinda is also Kara’s great-aunt! Unfortunately, we get no confirmation on Selinda’s relationship to Kara.

After that infodumping session, Selinda escorts Kara and Goldie to the Fairy Ring. Kara uses the magic mirror there to travel to the goblin palace.

Trial by Fire, Chapter 13: Search Your Feelings, You Know It to Be True

(If you’re reading the original edition, this is Chapter 11.)

So the party fell into some random room in the dungeons below the crystal chamber. Stormbringer and Dreamer aren’t with them, unfortunately: Stormbringer is keeping the trapped mistwolves alive somehow, and Dreamer is off doing baby mistwolf stuff. Adriane, Emily, Ozzie, and Lyra try to make it out of the lower dungeons and back to the crystal chamber. Along the way they find Zach in a cell, under the Skultum’s sleep spell. Emily casts Dispel, and Zach’s back to normal. The party recaps everything that’s happened so far. In the original edition, Zach also tells the party why the Sorceress needs both Fairy Maps:

“No doubt she’s gotten Moonshadow’s fairy map,” Zach said soberly. “Luckily, the fairimentals safeguarded the magic of the maps.”

“What do you mean?” Emily asked.

“She may have opened portals,” Zach explained. “But in order to find the source of the magic, she would need two fairy maps.”

Everyone was startled — and concerned.

“What?” Zach asked.

“Kara has the second map,” Adriane told him.

Which brings us back to Kara, who finds herself in the Sorceress’ lair under a mind-control spell. The Sorceress commands Kara to show her the Fairy Map, but Kara briefly resists the mind-control and pulls out the unicorn horn instead. Unfortunately, before Kara could fire off a Magic Missile, the Sorceress uses her Jedi powers to snatch the horn from Kara’s hands and pulverizes it. After lots more taunting, this happens:

Except replace “father” with “Lucinda’s sister”.

Kara is forced to combine the maps. While she’s doing this, though, Kara manages to ask the Sorceress why she can’t use the maps herself. The sorceress claims that she has “traveled beyond what she once was”. Now, we know two things: (1) the Sorceress is always described as a half-human, half-animal creature, and (2) Lucinda was a fairy queen. So that means that the Sorceress was … half-human, half-fairy? But that would mean that Lucinda was also half-human, and half-fairy! Are half-fairies allowed to be Fairy Queens?

Sigh … Kara’s lineage is kinda a headache to plow through.

Status Update!
Stormbringer leaves the party!
Dreamer leaves the party!
Kara loses: Lorelei’s Horn!

EDIT: Changes in the e-book edition

  • Emily wonders why the Dark Sorceress needs large quantities of mistwolf magic, instead of mistwolf magic in general.
  • Adriane doesn’t realize why the Dark Sorceress needed animal magic (specifically Lorelei, Drake, and the Aldenmor refugees) to power her crystals.
  • Kara doesn’t respond when the Dark Sorceress asks her to demonstrate her magic.

Next time: Kara seriously pisses off the Dark Sorceress.