All’s Fairy in Love and War, Chapter 21: Let’s Make a Circle of Friends

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

Kara and Starfire return to the quicksilver lake in the forest, where the dark magic of the Otherworlds is already starting to corrupt the Fairy Realms. Tangoo is somehow controlling this corruption with the Power Crystal he stole from Kara.

Lorren rejoins the party and explains that Tangoo is using the traveling mirrors to spread said corruption through the Fairy Realms. Kara has to somehow reverse the polarity of the magic flow, but isn’t quite sure how to do that. Unfortunately, Kara doesn’t even have enough magic to defeat Tangoo on her own, because Tangoo has that Power Crystal, all the talismans Kara created, and access to the Otherworlds’ magic. Hell, Kara fires an Improved Magic Missile at Tangoo, but Tangoo just reflects it back at her.

Kara realizes that she needs the magic of all her friends in order to beat Tangoo, but how is she going to access that magic when the rest of the party is back on Earth? Well, Kara figures out that she can use Goldie not only to communicate with the party, but to connect her to the party’s magic!

And this is where things get kinda weird. Kara suddenly finds herself back at school, where Emily, Adriane, and Ozzie give her their magic through the dragonflies. And then Kara’s in Ravenswood, where Dreamer and the refugees give Kara their magic. And then she’s in Aldenmor, where the mistwolf pack, the merfolk and their dragons, Zach and Drake, and the Fairimentals lend her their magic. The unicorns at the Unicorn Academy give Kara their magic, as do every single fairy creature in the Fairy Realms. Now Kara has enough power for the boss battle!

Boss: Tangoo
A goblin sorcerer who wants to reweave the Magic Web and make some minor cosmetic changes to the Fairy Realms. Makes really bad puns.
Attacks: Reflect

Okay, this isn’t actually much of a boss battle. Kara uses all her accumulated magic to push back the taint from the Otherworlds. Unfortunately, Kara starts to lose control, and everyone connected to her tries to rein in her power. She starts sensing a dark source of magic that tells her that everyone just uses her for her magic. This really pisses off Kara. She starts feeling a need to obtain more magic, with which should could do some serious reality warping do whatever the hell she wanted, like open the Gates of Avalon.

Luckily, a familiar voice rouses Kara from her dark thoughts: Lyra. Kara realizes that her astronomical leopard never left her at all! So she fires all her magic into the Earth Talisman (it’s called the Heart of the Mountain in the original edition), driving the dark taint from her magic and closing the portal to the Otherworlds.

Of course, Tangoo is very pissed off that his plans didn’t quite work out. He offers Kara unlimited power if she joins with him. Kara obviously doesn’t want to join him, so she fires a Magic Missile. Unfortunately, this Magic Missile is so powerful that it bores through the Power Crystal Tangoo used to shield himself, destroying the crystal and knocking Tangoo into the closing Otherworlds portal.

Lorren gives Kara a much-deserved What the Hell, Heroine? However, Starfire gives Kara his Power Crystal, and then disappears. Kara still feels Starfire’s magic, so he’s alive somewhere. Oh, and Lyra shows up and explains that she was dispelled from her quicksilver form when Kara closed Tangoo’s portal.

And now that the boss battle is over, Kara finally decides to return home. Just one question though: how the hell will the party complete their quest now that one of the Power Crystals is destroyed?

Status Update!
Kara learned: Network Circle of Friends! (Very obviously a Jewel Riders reference.)
Power Crystal Checklist: 2 of 9 8

Next time: Pimped-out outfits for everyone!

All’s Fairy in Love and War, Chapter 19: The Sudden, Inevitable Betrayal

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

Kara, Starfire, and Goldie land in a mine cart in the Dwarf Mines. I’m gonna let Donkey Kong provide the recap for this part:

At the end of the super-perilous mine-cart level, the party finds a giant pool full of quicksilver. By this point, Kara has noticed that Starfire is starting to lose his form, so she offers to give him one of the magic talismans. The fire horse, however, insists that Kara save the talisman for attracting the Power Crystal.

Then the party realizes that their adventure in the mines isn’t over yet! There’s a massive maze full of elemental earth magic, in which the walls keep shifting their positions. Kara tries detecting magic to make her way out, but it’s not very effective. She does figure out that the air harp she created earlier can help detect dead ends, so she uses that to make her way out of the maze.

At the exit is yet another massive pool of quicksilver. Kara finds creates another talisman, this time a quicksilver heart. There’s more detail on this in the new edition:

“Quicksilver,” Kara gasped. If she didn’t succeed, Lyra would melt away into a puddle just like this. And she would lose her best friend forever.

“Magic,” Goldie said.

As each bubble broke the surface, twinkles of bright magic were released into the air.

Kara closed her eyes and concentrated. Raising her hands, she sent silky tendrils of fire from her fingertips.

What was she supposed to make this time? She tried to focus but all she could see were Lyra’s beautiful green cat eyes.

After obtaining this talisman, the party jumps through the next mirror.

Now the party is in a dark forest, which is apparently full of evil things because Kara starts detecting evil. So Kara and Starfire start riding off, with Kara firing Magic Missiles at the weird creatures that follow them. Eventually they find some purple trees, which turn green as they ride past them. The two continue to follow the purple trees, which attracts more elemental fire magic. Once the party reaches a clearing, Kara creates the final talisman … a sunstone.

Yes, that’s right. Kara just created the freaking Sun Stone.

Unfortunately, Starfire is starting to lose his shape again, and the monsters are still chasing them. And to make matters worse, the Power Crystal pops in via portal. So the party rides off again, monsters and Power Crystal in tow, until they reach a lake. The monsters surround the party, and Kara realizes too late that this lake is the last mirror.

But not to worry! Lorren flies in on his bat and attacks the monsters. I guess he got out of the Spider Witch’s lair after all. While all this fighting is going on, Kara gets the Power Crystal.

To make things even more confusing, another Lorren shows up! The new Lorren wants Kara to give him the Power Crystal. The first Lorren takes out Mirabelle. Oh noes, which Lorren does Kara think is the real Lorren? Who will she fire a Magic Missile at?

Well, Kara should’ve fired a Magic Missile at the new Lorren, because a) he took the bag of talismans and the Power Crystal, and b) he’s not Lorren at all. He’s actually Tangoo. Tangoo explains that he’s sick and tired of every single fairy creature asking him for help, so he wishes to create a new Magic Web. He plans on blaming Kara’s failure on the Forest Prince. Oh, and he turned Lyra into quicksilver. Kara finally realizes that Tangoo did that so she would have to go find the Power Crystal.

Tangoo uses the talismans to turn the lake into a quicksilver mirror. Then he gives Starfire the fake Blue Rose, killing the fire horse. The lake turns into a portal to the Otherworlds, and Kara falls inside….

… Only to land on the stage during the school play.

Status Update!
Starfire leaves the party!

Next time: Kara burns down the house.

All’s Fairy in Love and War, Chapter 17: Your Mission, Should You Choose to Accept It

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

The rulers of the Fairy Realms are meeting at the Fairy Ring, debating the fate of their world. Raelda proposes to seal off the Fairy Realms, which Selinda does not want. Tangoo says that only Avalon’s magic can save their world.

Luckily, Kara and Starfire crash the meeting and say that they’ll go forth and find the Power Crystal. This impresses everybody present, because Kara’s riding a horse made of freaking fire.

Tangoo explains the quest to Kara: she has to ride through four mirrors, all located in places full of strong elemental magic. In each place, she must craft a magical talisman. This should be easy for Kara, because she has a freaking fire horse. The new edition explains more:

“Don’t I need a spell?”

“That is why you ride the fire stallion,” Tangoo grinned proudly. “Your magic combined with the Firemental’s should be more than enough to form each talisman.”

Kara must then put these talismans in a special bag, which Tangoo so kindly gives her, and ride through the final mirror back to the Fairy Ring. This will somehow attract the Power Crystal to Kara, since the Power Crystal was made from the elemental magic of the place Kara will ride through.

Before Kara leaves, she tries to find Lorren in the crowd. Unfortunately, she can’t find him. Kara hopes that Lorren somehow escaped from the Spider Witch’s lair.

And then Kara and Starfire ride off.

Next time: Jewel Power!

All’s Fairy in Love and War, Chapter 15: Dungeon Time!

(If you’re reading the original edition, this is the last half of Chapter 10.)

Kara, Lorren, and Goldie arrive at the Spider Witch’s lair, which is appropriately covered with spider webs. The party explores the place, which looks like an abandoned magitech lab.

Geez, what’s with the sudden introduction of magitech in this book?

Anyway, while they’re dungeon-crawling, Lorren decides that now is the perfect opportunity to tell Kara about the Spider Witch’s origins. Dark magic turned the Spider Witch into a half-fairy, half-spider creature. Sometime before the series began, a wizard banished her to the Otherworlds. Keep this origin story in mind for later: someone contradicts what the Spider Witch originally was in an upcoming book.

Meanwhile, Kara Detects Magic so she can locate the Blue Rose. As they continue to dungeon crawl and evade bugs, Lorren wonders how Tangoo knows the location of the Blue Rose. Kara just thinks Tangoo is a nice goblin who wants to help her out. In the new edition, Lorren brings up an interesting point concerning quicksilver!Lyra:

“Then why can’t [Tangoo] cure Lyra without the power crystal?”

“My magic is really strong.” Kara’s eyes suddenly burned with tears. “I … I don’t know how to use it.”

This leads into some arguing about why everyone wants the Power Crystal. Lorren argues that Tangoo wants the Power Crystal for “other reasons”, since — surprise! — he should know how to dispel quicksilver because it’s a major component of traveling mirrors. Kara thinks that Lorren wants the Power Crystal for himself. Lorren says that he wants to save the Fairy Realms, but Kara doesn’t believe him.

And then they suddenly Detect Magic.

Turns out that there’s a hidden room somewhere nearby. Kara finds the obvious, spider-shaped button that opens the room. Inside, they find a ton of tapestries and the two Blue Roses. The new edition provides a helpful description:

“Wow.” Lorren gazed at the immense artifacts hanging upon the walls. The weavings were incredibly detailed. Some depicted ferocious creatures in scenes of battle, others showed exotic places with alien landscapes. “These are amazing!”

“Yeah, a real chamber of horrors.”

Lorren, who has obviously been dungeon-crawling before, reminds Kara to check for traps. Kara approaches the roses, but forgets which one she’s supposed to take! Luckily, she sniffs both roses and takes the stinky one.

Unfortunately, this causes the room to collapse around them, revealing a pit full of spiders! Lorren, proving himself to be a badass, cuts down a tapestry and uses it to swing the party out of the room.

After a lot more running, the party finds themselves in a courtyard with three magic mirrors. Lorren doesn’t know which one to use, so Kara uses Mirabelle (wait, when did she bring her along?) to inspect the mirrors. None of them are safe, though. And to make matters worse, a horde of bugs are making a beeline for the party! Lorren tells Kara to give him the Blue Rose so the bugs won’t attack her, but Kara, thinking that Lorren used her to get the Blue Rose for himself, decides to jump into a mirror.

Unfortunately, Kara chose poorly. She’s in a weird realm of light, face-to-face with the Dark Sorceress.

Status Update!
Kara learned: Detect Magic!

Next time: Some serious infodumping.

All’s Fairy in Love and War, Chapter 13: Fun with Goblins

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

Thanks to the magic of mirror travel, Kara arrives at Castle Garthwyn, home of the goblins. There, Lorren and Queen Raelda greet her. Kara’s previous encounters with goblins hasn’t been the greatest, so she’s kinda surprised to see Raelda’s court just looking at her curiously instead of casting Magic Missile at her.

Raelda reveals that she doubts Tangoo’s plan to use the fire horse to obtain the Power Crystal. But hey, at least it was nice of Tangoo to take care of Lyra. After some more talk about doing anything in her power to save her people, Raelda leaves.

Lorren and Kara make their way to the goblin labs, where they meet another future party member: Tasha. Right now she’s just Tangoo’s lab assistant, but she proves to be quite the magitech master. Tasha has apparently invented tons of spells that she has stored in vials, and she can calibrate magic mirrors.

Oh, and did I mention that the goblins have magitech? Why the hell haven’t they shared this with party yet?

Anyway, Tasha shows Kara what’s left of Lyra. It’s not much, just her head and shoulders. Tangoo decides this is a good time to show up and tell Kara that she couldn’t dispel whatever she did to Lyra because she’s not a “Magic Master”. But if Kara gets the Power Crystal, then Lyra can be restored. Unfortunately, the fire horse Kara needs to tame doesn’t have enough magic to survive whatever ordeal Kara needs it for. But not to worry! Tangoo knows of an artifact called the Blue Rose that enhances elemental magic!

Just one problem: it’s in the Spider Witch’s lair.

Now, this Blue Rose thing has an identical twin which negates elemental magic. Tasha is nice enough to teach Kara a rhyme so she can tell apart the two roses. Apparently the one Kara needs is supposed to smell really bad.

Tangoo knows of a magic mirror somewhere in the Spider Witch’s lair, so he gives its coordinates to Tasha. While Tasha calibrates a mirror and Tangoo roots through his spell-vials, Kara decides to call the party (new edition only):

“One sec, I want to let my friends know what’s going on. Get me Emily, Goldie.”

Goldie flew to Kara’s ear and dialed in Fiona.

“Kara?” Emily said.

“No time to chat,” Kara explained quickly. “I’m going after a piece of magic that can help me found the fire horse.”

“We’ve rounded up a stand-in for you,” Emily giggled. “She’s very pretty.”

Argh, I wonder who Emily got to stand in for Kara!

Unfortunately, Tangoo throws a spell vial while Kara is on the line. The spell hits Goldie, causing the dragonfly to fall into the mirror. Kara, of course, jumps in after her….

Next time: We meet Kara’s understudy.

All’s Fairy in Love and War, Chapter 6: Epic Fail

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

Kara and the cage containing her brand new fire horse are brought to a packed riding arena. Tangoo was kind enough to put a shield up around the arena for the spectators, kinda like in the wizard battle in Adventure Time.

Kara, of course, is scared shitless, because her last experience with a fire elemental (all the way back in Trial by Fire) was quite frightening. She asks Goldie to leave the party, but Goldie refuses. She’s quite the loyal bonded animal. Instead, Kara contacts Emily for some pointers. After Kara recaps everything that’s happened to her so far, Emily reminds her that all animals, including those unicorn foals from the last book, love her. (Emily also claims that Kara bonded with the unicorn foals. When did that happen?) All Kara has to do is open herself to the fire horse, and she’ll bond with it no problem.

And then the arena’s shield goes up, and the fire horse is released from his cage. And he’s a pretty impressive horse: he’s made entirely out of fire, and he’s about 20 hands high (remember, kids, that’s about 80 inches at the shoulder). 20 hands is really big for a horse: I think that’s as tall as the tallest living horse.

The horse somehow activates Kara’s Unicorn Jewel, causing her to fire an Improved Magic Missile by accident. This pisses off the horse a lot. Kara tries to apologize to the horse, but she keeps firing Magic Missiles instead. The horse, now frightened out of its poor horsey mind, bolts.

Kara attempts to reason with the horse again, but the horse psychically sends her a stream of very confusing thoughts. Kara freaks out, fires yet another Magic Missile, and then realizes that a) she can’t separate her feelings from the horse’s, and b) she and horse can’t control their powers. It all comes to a head in this little snippet from the new edition:

Through the crystal haze, the stallion’s burning eyes locked on hers.

“I am fire!”

“I am fire!”

Raging, Kara flung her arms wide and let the magic go.

All the magic Kara and the fire horse produce overloads the shield around the arena, allowing the horse to escape. And then Kara blacks out.

Oh, if only taming a fire horse was just like in Red Dead Redemption….

I mean, look how easy he makes it!

Next time: The party sits on Musso.

All’s Fairy in Love and War, Chapter 3: How Many Things Are You Gonna Break, Kara?

All the fairy creatures in the Friendship Circle Fairy Ring settle down when Kara enters, and the Fairy Queen introduces herself to Kara. Everything seems to be going fine until one of the fake wings on Kara’s costume falls off. Then all the fairy creatures get pissed again, because they thought Kara was actually a fairy. But not to worry, the Fairy Queen reassures everyone that Kara is special. In the original edition, Kara also learns about the party’s fame in the Fairy Realms:

“Temperance, Rolok,” the Elf King interjected, speaking evenly but firmly to the Dwarf King. The short, kindly elf smiled warmly at Kara, but spoke to the crowds. “The blazing star is a friend to the elves, as are the other two mages, the healer and the warrior.”

They knew about Emily and Adriane? Kara thought wildly. What else did they know? And what did they want?

Looks like the elves on Aldenmor told their distant monarchs about the party’s achievements. (Remember, in the revision, Kara discovers in Trial by Fire that the party is famous in the Fairy Realms.)

Luckily for Kara, Tangoo, a goblin who seems to be a mix of Fu Manchu and Merlin, confirms that she is the Blazing Star. Lorren the Goblin Prince agrees, and reminds the audience of Kara and the party’s quest. Kara recaps her adventures with the Forest Prince, which doesn’t please her audience, since they consider the Forest Prince to be some sort of magic thief. This leads to a quick explanation as to why Kara was summoned: she needs to help find the Power Crystal in the Fairy Realms. If Kara doesn’t find it, the Fairy Realms will shut themselves off from the Magic Web. This is not a Good Thing: if the Fairy Realms are sealed away, the Magic Web will unravel, and all the worlds connected to it will die. Yes, this includes Earth, too.

So … why don’t Kara and the rest of the party tell everyone on Earth about magic, and get them to help out on their quest? That would be a smart idea.

Anyway, there’s lots of arguing, which differs between editions. Originally, the rulers of the Fairy Realms debate whether they should find the Power Crystal or not:

“Sacrifices must be made. We can reconstruct the web,” Voraxx insisted stubbornly.

“You don’t know if that will work,” the Elf King argued.

“We must save ourselves while there is still time!” the Troll Queen shouted in agreement with the Goblin King.

“It is our sworn duty to use Avalon’s magic to enrich all worlds,” the Fairy King interjected.

“The magic runs wild,” the Troll King growled.

“Precisely why we need the power crystal to stabilize the Five Kingdoms,” Queen Selinda said, keeping her voice calm. “The Fairy Realms depend on magic more than any other place.”

So we learn that a) the fairy creatures believe that the Magic Web can be remade, and b) the Power Crystals stabilize magic in certain areas. Yep, more confirmation that the Power Crystals in the original editions are basically the Jewel Riders Crown Jewels.

In the new edition, the arguing isn’t about the Power Crystals, but about something more important: what lies beyond the Gates of Avalon!

“It is only a matter of time before the web unravels completely,” King Voraxx continued. “We need to keep what magic we have.”

“We must save ourselves while there is still time!” the Troll Queen shouted in agreement with the Goblin King.

“But if the mages open the Gates of Avalon there will be enough magic for everybody,” Selinda countered. “We can restore the web to what it was meant to be.”

“We don’t know what’s inside Avalon,” Troll King Ragnar warned. “Whomever sealed the gates must have done so for a good reason.”

“You speak of myth and legends,” Fairy King Oriel shouted. “The gates must be opened!”

“We are not here to debate what lies inside Avalon,” Selinda stated. “We are here to save our kingdoms.”

“I refuse to put the fate of the Fairy Realms in the hands of a girl!” the Dwarf Queen scoffed.

“Then you will see our armies march on Ironhold!” King Oriel vowed.

How does nobody know what’s inside Avalon? Why do they all assume that there’s a massive source of magic in there that will help everyone? And it appears that fairy creatures have been debating what’s inside Avalon for god knows how long. You would think there are records of Avalon and whatever’s inside just lying around. Also, I love that the rulers of the Fairy Realms don’t agree on trusting Kara to save them … and that their distrust of her could lead to war. The conflict in the new edition is certainly palpable.

Eventually the rulers of the Five Kingdoms agree to listen to Tangoo’s plan. If it fails, then they will consider sealing off the Fairy Realms. However, the fairies and elves refuse to seal away the Fairy Realms, and plan on going to war. Thankfully, Selinda the Fairy Queen interrupts all this talk of war with a well-timed infodump on the Power Crystals:

“I don’t understand,” Kara said. “The power crystals are dangerous?”

“Very.” Selinda’s face was grim. “The crystal of the Fairy Realms is composed of elemental fairy magic. But it is now wild, destroying the very magic it was created from. The Fairy Realms are in great danger unless it can be found.”

Kara thought of the wild magic whirlwinds she and her friends had seen in the deserts of New Mexico. They were created by a power crystal; the magic warped and twisted whatever it touched, and had even switched Emily’s and Adriane’s powers.

Nice to see that all the magical mayhem in New Mexico and the destruction in the Fairy Realms is linked.

Selinda reminds her people that the party already found one Power Crystal. Since Kara is a Blazing Star, she can attract the Power Crystal in the Fairy Realms to her. However, the audience doubts that Kara is a Blazing Star. Also, Kara wonders why the monarchs can’t do the work themselves. Originally:

“Why can’t you find the power crystal yourself?” Kara asked quietly.

“We’ve tried,” the queen explained. “But without the magic of Avalon, we grow weaker every day. You are the blazing star.”

Okay, so without magic, fairy creatures can’t do anything. Good to know.

In the new edition, things get a little more tense:

“But I can’t find this power crystal by myself, I need my–” Kara began.

“Exactly my young celebutant mage,” Tangoo interjected. “That is why I have created a creature of magnificent power to aid you.”

“Ooo!” Goldie looked around expectantly.

“Only the blazing star can tame this wondrous beast.” Tangoo bowed to Kara.

“If she really is the blazing star,” Dwarf King Rolok grumbled.

“Prove it!” someone in the crowd yelled.

Yep … the only way Kara can prove she can handle the creature — and quell the audience’s doubts — is to use magic.

Kara casts Improved Magic Missile, but can’t control where she fires it! It bounces off a magic mirror and hits Lyra … turning her into quicksilver. And even worse, Kara doesn’t know how to dispel quicksilver! Luckily the Power Crystal has the ability to change Lyra back, but Kara has only one day to find it before Lyra melts and dies. So Kara agrees to tame the elemental horse to save her bonded animal….

Next time: I wonder what the rest of the party’s up to….