Well, I'm getting down toward the end on this. I hope it's not too anticlimactic!
I've been thinking a lot about the real books lately, particularly Mages of Mâvarin. This serial is only a sideshow, probably apocryphal and way too padded. Still, I think it's been worth doing. For more about recent developments in the writing and editing of the novels, please see my LiveJournal, Mâvarin & Other Inspirations.
Synopses to Parts One through Six can be found at the top of Part Seven. Synopses to Parts Eight through Thirteen can be found at the top of Part Fourteen. The installments themselves can be read in order on using the sidebar.
Part Fourteen: Cathma and her friends meet Lee Ramirez, the American who inherited Li Ramet's magical talent for understanding and being understood in any language. With Lee's help, the Americans and Mâvarinû compare notes. It turns out that they all know their situation: their spirits and consciousness have now been transferred into each others' bodies. Lee confirms that his counterpart, Li Ramet, is involved, and should arrive soon with the remaining affected people.
Part Fifteen: Back in Josh Wander's castle, Fabian points out that Cathma is speaking English again, as is everyone else. She remembers more of her life as Cathy, but still feels more like Queen Cathma than Cathy Salazar. Fabian and Fayubi compare notes, and conclude that they both have Fayubi's talents. What is needed, though, is Rani's talent as a mind mage. Rani says that he needs Randy too, to have any hope of helping all the people affected by the transfer of minds and spirits. Fortunately, Randy is just arriving at the half-destroyed mall--in tengrem form.
Part Sixteen: Randy arrives, confused and half-feral. Rani calms him down, and gets him to come inside the castle. There he is able to understand and be understood in words. Although he admits to enjoying the tengrem condition while fully immersed it it, he doesn't want to take Rani's place forever, and experience the kinds of horrors Rani has lived through. After exhorting the others to find the source of the leak between worlds, Rani and Randy sit down together to try to exchange minds and spirits, thus putting themseves back in their original bodies.
Part Seventeen: While Rani and Randy commune in mindtouch, Lee Ramirez reveals that he knows where Li Ramet's portal is, and that it's the source of all the trouble. Before he gets far in his account, Li Ramet arrives with the last of the affected people, and suggests that they all "get started."
Part Eighteen: Li Ramet explains what he was trying to do with his portal, and what he thinks went wrong. Because of the arrival of Josh Wander's castle, the doorway became much larger and more powerful than it should have been, with strange effects. It encompasses the whole of Shoppingtown Mall, part of which is now in Mâvarin.
Part Nineteen: Just Do It
“So what’s the plan?” Carl asked. “How are you going to get Shoppingtown back where it belongs, and us back where we belong?”
“I think I can change the spell definitions enough to make our spirits flow the other way,” Li said. “But I’m not so sure I can get the actual stores back to Dewitt intact.”
“Let me work with you on that part of it,” said Joshua Wander. “I’m used to moving my castle around. Since my magic does work here, I should be able to help you move a shopping mall.”
“That’s good of you, since your castle probably caused the problem in the first place,” Li said grumpily.
“Well, that’s gracious,” Josh said. “I don’t know whether Toujours Chez Moi was part of the problem or not, but I’m willing to help. You can at least be courteous about it.”
“Sorry,” Li said. “Come with me, then, and I’ll show you what we’re working with.”
“I thought the whole mall was your portal,” Carli said. “Isn’t that what you just told us?”
“Yes, but there’s a particular spot where the spell started, and the effect is strongest. That’s where we need to concentrate our efforts.”
“Then I’d better come with you,” said Lee Ramirez. “If it starts to work, you’ll need your own body there to keep things going.”
“Right. Come on, then.”
“Are we going to trust him to get this fixed properly?” Cathy asked the room at large. “Maybe we should go too, and keep an eye on things.”
Li looked at her. “What would that accomplish? There isn’t anything you normals can do to help or hurt. Just leave it to us.”
The remark was a bit insulting, but Li had a point, Cathma thought. Even as Queen of Mâvarin, there wasn’t much she could do about a problem like this. “Let him go,” she said. “He’s already gone to the trouble of bringing us all here. I think he’s sincerely trying to help, and he has a better chance of succeeding than the rest of us.”
“What about what Rani and Randy are doing?” Carli asked. “Is that going to work, in case Li and Lee and Josh fail?”
“It worked for us, anyway,” said Rani—or was it Randy? The two of them had finished their mindtouch and gotten up from their chairs in the back of the castle’s Great Hall. They came forward, smiling.
“I think we can both help everyone else with this,” said the one who was dressed as Randy Foster. “I may be only Randy now, but with a bit of instruction even a certain high school student from Dewitt can do mind magic here.” His smile faltered. “Too bad I don’t get to take that ability home with me. That would be cool.”
“We’ll take you in pairs,” Rani said. “I can do Carl and Carli, and Randy will work with Cathy and Cathma. Then we’ll need to rest, but we should get to everyone eventually.”
“And if Li and Lee succeed in what they’re doing?” Jami Baret asked. “What then?”
Rani smiled. “Then our contribution should speed the process, with less effort on our part. We can do this. I know we can. All you have to do is trust us, and cooperate in the mindtouch and transfer.”
“Well, you know I trust you,” Carli said. “I always have.”
“Come on, then,” said Rani.
“Come on, Cathma and Cathy,” Randy added.
The idea made Cathma a little nervous, but she knew it had to be done. She followed her counterpart and Randy to the back of the room, not far from Carli and Carl. Randy had two chairs pulled next to each other, with a third chair facing them. Cathy sat down in the left chair, and Cathma sat next to her. Randy sat across from them.
“It will help if we all hold hands,” Randy said. Cathy and Cathma exchanged glances. Then Cathma reached out with her left hand, and clasped Cathy’s right one. Randy took hold of Cathy’s left hand and Cathma’s right one.
“It’s like a séance, except that nobody’s dead,” Cathy remarked.
“Ready?” Randy said. “Here we go.”