Last time on Full Circle, the Spider Witch and Dark Sorceress had flashbacks. Are we going to get more background information on the Original Party? Find out after the cut.
(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 8.)
Willow, Adriane’s mother, did see Drake and all the other animals from Aldenmor when she arrived at Adriane’s house! But then the mistwovles cloaked them with their mist forms, so Willow dismisses it as a trick of the light.
Aww, poo. I was hoping someone who wasn’t a party member would finally figure out what was going on at Ravenswood.
At least Kara has a plausible excuse for why Zach is at the preserve: she claims that he’s from Allentown, and part of an inter-city student volunteer exchange. (Allentown is a real city in Pennsylvania, and is an hour’s drive away from Philadelphia.)
Anyway, Willow is very pissed at Adriane because she didn’t go straight to the hotel she’s staying at after school. Apparently, the Chardays are in town because Luc is exhibiting his sculptures in Philadelphia. Kara, whose mother is on the board for the gallery holding Luc’s show, knows all about these sculptures. Luc prefers to call them “free-form light modules”. I had some very brief, not-very-in-depth discussion with my art grad student friends on what a “free-form light module” is, and we concluded that they probably looked like Bruce Nauman’s neon light sculptures.
Willow then takes Adriane inside the cottage for a private chat. First, she gives Adriane a copy of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, which is Adriane’s favorite book ever. This copy apparently has really nice illustrations, but the book never mentions which artist did them.
Willow makes some tea and starts talking about Luc’s new projects. (Question: How does Luc keep making sculptures if he and his wife are constantly moving? Are they small? And where does he store them?) She then reveals that she learned about Gran’s coma in a dream. Willow, like Adriane, grew up in Ravenswood hearing stories about magic and being able to talk with forest spirits. Adriane, she notices, seems to have changed during her time at Ravenswood.
Wait a minute … this part of the conversation suggests that Adriane’s grandmother actually knows about magic! So why doesn’t she mentor the party in Gardener’s absence?
Adriane is not amused with all this talk about art and Ravenswood. She’s pissed that her family kept moving all over the place when she was younger. Willow thinks Adriane’s just projecting her anger about the Dreamer incident on her, and reminds Adriane that having a pet wolf is not normal. Adriane thinks that her mother wants her life to suck because she has bad experiences at Ravenswood as a child.
Willow tries to change the subject by revealing that she and Luc are settling in Woodstock, New York, because Luc received a grant from a gallery there. (Nice job choosing the one artist colony in New York that everyone knows, and insinuating that the Chardays are total hippies.) Adriane is not amused by her family’s new situation.
Suddenly, Drake contacts Adriane through her Wolf Stone. Willow notices Adriane’s Sparkly Rock and realizes that Adriane made some sort of connection with Ravenswood. Adriane insists that she belongs at Ravenswood because of this connection. Willow doesn’t seem to care about that: she tells Adriane that she has to be packed and ready to move to Woodstock by the end of the week, and then leaves the cottage.
The rest of the party shows up for a group meeting. Zach reveals that he got infodumped while Adriane was talking with her mother, making my job a little bit easier. Kara thinks that a Power Crystal landed in the astral planes. And since Power Crystals have strange effects on magic, the one on the astral planes is screwing up everything in Ravenswood. Zach also thinks that the Spider Witch is corrupting the Ravenswood sylph so that she can attract the Power Crystal. The mistwolves reveal that Dreamer, unlike most mistwolves, can walk in the spirit world without using the Spirit Trail. The party then realizes that the Original Party is targeting Adriane so they can get to Dreamer.
Kara then receives some good news: Dreamer is being held at the Amazing Adventures Animal Park. (The animal park is fictional, so I think it’s a reference to the programming block Jewel Riders used to be on.) Adriane vows to save Dreamer, no matter what it takes.
Next time: Kara buys a designer tactileneck.
(If you’re reading the original edition, this is the first half of Chapter 3.)
The party and Dr. Fletcher are at the hospital, checking up on the comatose Gran. Well, that’s what modern medical science concludes; Emily discovered that Gran is under a spell, and Heal has no effect on her.
Dr. Fletcher is concerned about Dreamer, since he did attack a couple of animals in the last chapter. The party claims that he’s fine, but Dr. Fletcher tells them that the City Council and the tourists have some “concerns” regarding him. And by concerns, she means the tour group’s claims that Dreamer attacked them. (But that’s not true: Dreamer only attacked Lyra and Ariel, not the humans!) Dr. Fletcher tells the party that they might need to send Dreamer to a more “secure” location. Adriane, of course, totally objects to this. She doesn’t want Dreamer sent to a circus or the zoo.
On the way back home, Adriane telepathically tells the party that she can’t talk to Dreamer anymore. (Wait, they all have telepathy now?) The party wonders why Adriane didn’t tell them this earlier. Adriane insists that Dreamer was trying to protect Gran from something.
Eventually, Dr. Fletcher invites Adriane to stay with her and Emily while Gran is in the hospital. Emily and Kara suggest staying with Adriane at her place. Dr. Fletcher allows the party to hang out at Adriane’s place over the weekend, but only if Kara’s parents are cool with it.
And finally, we have a human non-party-member character who is acting smart! Dr. Fletcher notices that the party has been rather secretive since they started working at Ravenswood, and she wonders where the hell Dreamer came from. And she also calls Emily out on neglecting the Pet Palace and marching band practice. Wow, thank you for noticing that something is up.
No changes between editions here, other than the truncated chapter length and a line in the new edition in which Kara calms Adriane down after Dr. Fletcher’s suggestions regarding Dreamer.
Next time: Sleepover at Adriane’s place!
(If you’re reading the original edition, this is the last half of Chapter 2.)
So a bunch of tourists from Atlantic City decided to take a bus tour to Ravenswood. The party leads the tourists through the manor, pointing out paintings and recapping that wonderful incident with Skultum!Johnny Conrad. The tourists, being stupid tourists, are only interested in Henry Gardener and the cause of his disappearance.
You know, I think those tourists have a point. Why hasn’t the party tried to figure out why Henry Gardener disappeared, and where he ran off to? I would think having a magic expert like him would help the party….
Anyway, the party finally leads the tourists out of the manor. Outside, the party has set up a snack table, and Lyra and Ozzie are there to perform for the guests. Unfortunately, Dreamer lopes out of the woods and attacks Lyra for no discernible reason! Adriane and Emily herd Dreamer away from the tourists. Adriane then starts detecting evil, and Emily casts Remove Fear on Dreamer so that he doesn’t attack again.
To make matters worse, Ariel shows up and is promptly attacked by Dreamer. A local reporter takes pictures of this whole incident and decides to make an overblown wolf-attack article for the paper.
But enough about tourists — let’s see what the Original Party is up to!
At the Spider Witch’s lair, the Spider Witch and her horde of spiders are working on a tapestry of Ravenswood. When this tapestry is complete, the guardian sylph of Ravenswood will turn into some sort of elemental demon. The Dark Sorceress, who is watching all this go down, realizes that something powerful is fueling the Spider Witch’s magic, and it’s not her Sparkly Rock.
The Dark Sorceress thinks that the Spider Witch should mess with Adriane more, but the Spider Witch thinks that’s a bad idea. Hell, she thinks all the Sorceress’s ideas are bad: she reminds her about her failures throughout the entire series so far. But it looks like messing with Adriane is the next part of the Spider Witch’s plan, anyway, because she starts to add Adriane’s house to the tapestry.
Meanwhile, back on Earth, the party concludes that their first tourist visit was an utter failure. And to make things worse, Dreamer tells the party that something is attacking Adriane’s house. The party runs over there, only to find Gran unconscious and Dreamer standing menacingly on top of her.
Next time: The party goes to the hospital.
The new edition starts this chapter off with a Trippy Dream Sequence:
The explosion of the immense crystals shattered Emily’s call as the healer tried to reach her friend.
“We have to go now!” Kara pulled Adriane from the crumbling chamber.
“No!” The warrior shook free from the blazing star. She ran back inside, choking on the dust filled clouds of black fire as blasted rock rained from the roof.
In the center of the chamber, a form shimmered — a lone wolf. Stormbringer’s silver coat and warm golden eyes were fading away as she pulled the last of the mistwolves to safety from the Dark Sorceress’s death traps.
“Storm!” Adriane screamed, her wolf stone igniting in a blaze of light, engulfing the fading wolf in golden fire. “I’m here!”
But she was too late.
Storm’s eyes focused on the warrior. “You must let me go.”
“No!” Adriane screamed, tightening her hold. She would never fail Stormbringer, not now, not ever! “Don’t leave me!” The warrior reached out desperately, fingers touching her bonded packmate’s vanishing face.
With a thunderous boom, the chamber collapsed.
“Storm!” Adriane reached for her packmate, but her fingers clutched only empty air.
The original edition picks up here. Adriane wakes up. She has been dreaming about Stormbringer’s death for a while now, and these dreams usually play out like in the Trippy Dream Sequence above. Outside, she hears wolves howling, so she joins in.
Suddenly, Adriane senses that something is amiss. The mistwolves are lost, and Adriane has to help them! So she runs into Ravenswood, following a shining light in the forest. The woods around her turn into a crazy Technicolor blob. Eventually she reaches the Rocking Stone, where she hears a strange song.
And then a willow tree summons Adriane.
This tree is Orenda, the guardian sylph of Ravenswood. She has been watching Adriane ever since she moved here. Unfortunately, Orenda is being cocooned by spiders, and she can no longer protect Ravenswood. So she tells Adriane to protect Ravenswood and find the lost mistwolves.
Suddenly, a wolf with David Bowie eyes appears! The new wolf introduces himself as the pack leader, and voices his distaste for humans. He thinks that humans will always hurt the mistwolves. Adriane tells the new wolf to get out of her territory. The wolf then attacks her. Adriane fires a Magic Missile at the wolf, but it has no effect….
And then Adriane wakes up! Argh, it was one of those dreams within a dream!
Dreamer is going wild on top of Adriane, attacking some imaginary thing. Adriane calms him down, but notices that something is wrong: Dreamer has trouble communicating telepathically! He just sends images of a spider’s web trapping Ravenswood, evil creatures, and Adriane’s grandmother sleeping in the kitchen. Adriane thinks Dreamer’s telling her that Gran is in danger, so she runs down to the kitchen.
But it turns out that Gran is waiting in the kitchen with some hot cocoa prepared for her. Gran tells Adriane that the forest spirit is dying. She also reveals that she has spoken to this forest spirit before, the last time being when Adriane moved to Ravenswood. She wanted Adriane to move to Ravenswood because she could learn magic, whereas her mother could not. Oh, and she also mentions that Adriane’s dream may have been real.
Adriane looks down at herself and realizes that she’s covered with mud and dirt. So maybe she did run into the forest and see a talking willow tree! Adriane tells Gran about this, which prompts Gran to give her a new Indian name: Little Wolf.
Next time: The party learns how to level up.
(If you’re reading the original edition, this is the last half of Chapter 12.)
Emily and Dr. Fletcher finally arrive at Ravenswood for the concert. Suddenly, Emily gets a telepathic message from Stormbringer that things are not right with Adriane. She runs over to Adriane’s cabin, where she meets up with Ozzie, Stormbringer, Lyra, and all the named refugees. There they discover that Adriane and her grandmother are under some sort of sleeping spell. Emily casts Dispel, which wakes them up.
Meanwhile, Kara notices something weird going down during her boss battle with not!Adriane. Adriane transforms into Johnny, and then shifts into some frightening reptilian creature before vanishing. Kara briefly wonders what the hell’s going on, but then is distracted by her Cursed Locket flaring up. And then Johnny suddenly appears in the room, asking Kara what’s wrong. Kara believes that she won her boss battle, and is all pumped for the concert. Yay?
Back at the cabin, Emily, Adriane, Ozzie, and the refugees finally realize that there’s a shapeshifter on the preserve. (It took them long enough!) There’s not a whole lot of discussion on the topic in the original edition; Ozzie only concludes that it’s a “demon-level” monster. (Wait … the monsters now have levels?) The conversation is a lot more lively in the new edition, and everyone’s favorite German tank commander-turned-magic koala chimes in, too:
“What’re we talking about here, banshee? Sylph? Brag? Dryad?” Ozzie asked.
“Worse,” Rommel answered.
“Keep going,” a pooxim sang out.
“A fairy creature then.” Ozzie paced, paws behind his back.
The animals followed him, nodding in agreement.
“I thought fairies were good,” Emily queried.
“Not the dark ones,” Eddie the brimbee said.
The pooxim agreed. “Dark fairy creatures are extremely dangerous.”
Ozzie turned to the girls. “This one is very cunning and proficient with spells.” The ferret waved his paws around.
Adriane flashed on the Fairimental’s warning. “Like spellsinging.”
“Skultum!” several animals said at once, their voices quivering.
“Blingo,” Balthazar said. “This fairy creature is rare and very, very evil.”
“A Skultum. That explains it. It must have disguised itself as me.” Lyra was wildly pacing now. “I thought she was ignoring me, but maybe she can’t hear me.”
And then all the refugees freak out and panic. But there’s no time for that: the concert’s starting!
Next time: BACKSTAGE BATTLE!