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There's No Place Like Home The Great Oz Knows Why You Have Come
How Very Resourceful Pay No Attention to That Man Behind the Curtain
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|Sorcerer's Sword, The (The "Emerald City" Series)|
The fourth volume of THE EMERALD CITY: The Storybook Folk choose leaders, some of them picking the giant Durban, while others favor the cranky Parcelius. The two groups split up, each of them going their separate ways (Parcelius to the west, Durban to the east) to build new cities in otherwise uninhabited Yellow Land.
Strahsheela, the Woodman, Almar, and Tom study Villina's magic map, parts of which are covered with white clouds indicating unexplored places. The friends decide to begin their quest with one white cloud right outside the Emerald City. They find a mountain there, and when they climb it, they see the Emerald City as it looked in the past, and, at the very summit, a phantom of Goodwin himself. The white cloud disappears on the map, and in its place is a mountain with the designation "Goodwin's Mountain."
In this manner they find the Temple of the Seven Idols, and proceed then to the Forest of Stone, where grew the bricks from which the Yellow Brick Road was made, and which leads off from it. (Goodwin had dismantled part of it to construct his city, and that is how the remaining part of it leads straight to the Emerald City.) From there they go on to the Moon River, where Almar enters into combat with elderly Master Farah and wins the bout, thanks to a ruby that formed the eye of one of the idols in the Temple. He receives silver armor from Farah and learns that the Sword must be sought in Violet Land.
Not long before this, a second contingent from the Gorge of the Black Dragons has set out in search of Torn's Sword. Donald had fallen under Pakir's control and, taking advantage of Corina's absence, he has set out with Polkan and Jerdan, in black armor provided by Pakir, to fulfill his new master's mandate. In a deserted village he meets Midgety-Pidgety the Ogre and, after using Pakir's magic to make the latter a vegetarian, he takes him along. They come to the Iron Castle of Argut, a Winkie smith who hates the Iron Woodman, and he joins them. Then they pick up Snagbough, an evil live branch, and, at a ruined castle in a dead forest, a flying reptile lad named Elg. It is through Elg that they get out of the dead forest and learn that they have competition, the Contingent of Light. They come next to a cave where Tamiz, Stella's former gardener, now lives, breeding plants for the coming Darkness, and from there to the City of Shadows, where Elg's father had once lived. Its king, Sagarot, had once betrayed Pakir, and the warlock had transformed all the residents of the city into shadows. Sagarot tells them "It's better to die than not to be alive," but he helps them reach Violet Land fast by turning them into shadows which Elg can carry.
The Contingent of Light travels with the help of the magic telescope, losing Shrubsy along the way in the Great River. In a forest in Violet Land, they cross the magical Lake of Dreams. The Dark Contingent, meanwhile, reaches Violet Land by another path and stops at Three Brothers Mountain, a monument to greed and cupidity. From there they see a rust-red lake with a dark could over it, and they know where to seek Torn's Sword.
The Contingent of Light meets Targan, the Sovereign of Shade, and they learn that shade and darkness are two different things. One of them reigns underground, while the other can take root only in the mind. He gives them as a helper the mighty Yurgod, last of the gryphons, and directs them to a certain statue of Torn. Yurgod takes them via the Road of Heroes past Three Brothers Mountain to an immense statue of Torn holding a sword. Almar climbs up to the hilt and lays his hand on it.
Meanwhile, Donald collapses from a pain in his heart, evidently caused by Pakir in his dissatisfaction. A contingent of the Sovereign of Shade's forces attacks them, but Donald revives, and they make short work of the attackers.
Almar has succeeded in acquiring only the hilt of the Sword, for there is no blade at the statue. Where could it be? But even as the friends are already despairing about where to seek the blade, the statue turns and points toward Red Lake.
The Dark Contingent has already reached the lake. Almar and his friends arrive shortly afterward, and Donald is desperate to prevent Almar from approaching its waters. He breaks the blade of Almar's sword, and when Stumpsy tries to intervene, the Black Knight slashes the stump in two. Almar reaches the lake, sticks the hilt of Torn's Sword into the water – and pulls out the intact weapon! (The red color of the lake had apparently been caused by the dissolved rust of the blade?) The battle is over, and the Knight of Light has won. The Black Knight and his contingent disappear into a cloud of darkness.
Almar's forces have won an important victory, but at a high price. Stumpsy is lying there in two pieces. The Woodman, after combat with the powerful Argut, is on the ground and showing no signs of life. And Elg had caught Strasheela and carried him off. But Polkan is free now of Pakir's spell, and most important, Torn's Sword is in the hands of the White Knight!
Almar is in despair. He does not know what to do or where to go. Suddenly he sees somegolden clouds flying through the sky far away. He decides they must be carrying Ellie and Corina, and these sorceresses could save the Woodman. Almar mounts the gryphon Yurgod's back and takes off after the clouds.
Synopsis courtesy of Peter Blystone
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