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Meet the Mages

Interviews: Adriane Charday | Kara Davies | Emily Fletcher

ADRIANE CHARDAY, THE WARRIOR

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1. How are you and Kara getting along these days?

Kara does get on my case, but I have to admit some of the things she says are true. I’m not as good with people as she is – Kara always knows what to say. But even if we don’t always agree, Kara respects me for doing my thing because I take it seriously and it’s important to me. Sometimes people are just afraid of things that are different. Since we’re total opposites, we helped each other appreciate that being different makes the world so much more interesting and fun. She knows I’m happy walking through the forest when she’d rather be at the mall. But that’s cool, I like the mall too, just not as much as the blazing shopper. The truth is she has helped me become a better person. 🙂 And if you tell her that, I’ll deny everything.

2. What’s up with you and Zach? Everyone wants to know.

Everyone? That sounds more like Kara, lol. She’s always teasing me about my “boyfriend” Zach. I will tell you though, Zach is very cool. He’s kind and brave and he cares so much for the animals on Aldenmor. Not to mention being sooo cute! But he lives there and I live in Ravenswood. 🙁 It’s a bummer, but I know he’s super busy working with the mistwolves to protect Aldenmor. He and Drake promised to visit Ravenswood soon. I can’t wait!

3. What’s your advice for making friends?

Don’t be afraid to believe in yourself and take chances. I used to be such a loner because I thought it was easier not dealing with people. But Stormbringer helped me understand how important it is to get out there and make friends. It wasn’t always easy, and it’s not like everyone I meet is my BFF, but I’m proud of myself for having a positive attitude. A lot of kids at school were actually very cool once I gave them a chance. One of the most fun things about having friends is giving surprises, like the dragon stone I gave Zach. I just knew it was for him. Having friends helped me understand my magic, too. Being a warrior is all about standing up for friends – human and animal – and fighting for what you believe in.

4. Everyone misses Storm. It must be so hard for you. How are you dealing with loss?

I miss Storm like crazy, and sometimes it’s really hard not having her by my side. But whenever I get too sad, I remind myself that she’ll never really be gone. Her magic still flows through me, and I know that makes me a better warrior. She taught me to fight for what’s right, try hard, and never give up. Those lessons will stay with me forever, and I wouldn’t be who I am today without Storm. No one can ever take away the amazing times we shared together.

5. How is Drake doing?

Zach has been taking great care of him, and sends me reports on my baby boy whenever he can. Drake is the sweetest dragon I have ever known! Even the mistwolves love him! He helps Zach patrol Aldenmor, getting a dragon’s eye view to see how the forests are healing and checking to see if anyone needs help. There are a few elf villages that were pretty surprised to see a dragon soaring overhead! Once they realized Drake was friendly, they couldn’t get enough of him. Ozzie’s Cousin Schmoot gave Drake one of Farthingdale’s famous giant rutabagas for lunch!

6. Do you think there are more dragons out there?

Tweek says there’s a whole realm full of dragons hidden somewhere along the web! Can you imagine how amazing that would be? I’d love to know how many different kinds of dragons there are, and what they can do with their magic.

Favorite wild animal:

I love wolves, of course, but I think polar bears are incredible, too. They’re so independent and resourceful, and they actually spend most of their time hunting in the ocean! I really hope everyone realizes how extraordinary they are, because their habitat is disappearing every day and it’s getting harder and harder for them to survive.

Another favorite are birds of prey like hawks, eagles and ospreys. Their eyesight is unbelievable! They can spot their prey far below as they soar through the air, and nocturnal predators like the owl can see clearly in the middle of the night. And did you know the bald eagle can have a wingspan of eight feet? I think even Drake would appreciate that!

Future plans:

I definitely want to focus on wild places, so I think being a park ranger would be awesome. Rangers do important work like maintaining trails, replanting forests and monitoring wildlife and plants. They also make sure human visitors can enjoy the park without disturbing the native animals. I’m already doing all those things at Ravenswood. Maybe one day I can even be head ranger of the Ravenswood Wildlife Preserve National Park!

Hobbies:

I love jamming on my electric guitar. It’s fun to play songs I know, and I like making up my own riffs, too. Art is another hobby I’ve had since forever. I’ve carved wood, sandstone, and I also like going out into the forest with a pad and pencils to sketch the beautiful scenery around Ravenswood.

One day, I think it would be so cool to build my own guitar. There’s so much art that goes into making an instrument, from the exact right kind of wood, to the proper placement of parts to the right kind of polish to make it beautiful. That would be the perfect combination of art and music – and afterwards I’d get to rock out!

Favorite dessert:

Three words: chocolate cream pie.

Secret talent:

I’m a very good cook, if I do say so myself. Gran has taught me a lot, and now I’m usually the one who makes dinner! Cooking is such a creative process. You’ve got a whole variety of ingredients that can become anything at all, and it’s up to the cook to choose a combination and make something new. I’ll admit to a few failed experiments – although Ozzie ate them – but I’m always learning, and I’ve come up with some really delicious recipes.

I even have a small herb garden in back of the cottage with basil, mint, oregano, parsley – all kinds of yummy things! And since Ozzie has mad gardening skills, next summer he’s going to help me put in a vegetable plot so I can grow tomatoes, peppers, squash, beans, maybe even watermelons! Did you know he won the biggest rutabaga contest three years in a row in Farthingdale? I wonder what his green paw will be able to do with a pumpkin!

If I could change one thing about the world it would be:

I’d make sure that everyone appreciated all the wild places in the world and worked to protect them. It’s easy to get wrapped up in TV shows, video games, and computers, and sometimes people forget there’s a whole world outside waiting to be discovered. Everyone can do something to help, from planting trees to making sure your friends share your love of wild animals.

Kids would be surprised to know that I:

I actually like going to parties and dances! I used to be, like, beyond shy, especially when I didn’t know many people. I’d get so nervous if I got invited somewhere! But with a little help from the party mage, Kara, I’ve learned to relax, be myself, and give other people a chance. After all, everyone’s there to have a good time, so when I make an effort to have fun, I always have a blast.

 


 

KARA DAVIES, THE BLAZING STAR

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1. You weren’t sure that you were a blazing star, were you?

Well, it’s not an exact science. Sometimes you just know and sometimes it takes a while. This magic stuff is tricky. I admit it: I’m not good at it like Emily or Adriane. I end up, like, waving my arms around until something happens. But now that I have my own jewel, well, LOOk Out!! Don’t worry, I don’t want another “unihorn” accident. Besides, Lyra will tell me if things get out of hand, right Lyra? She says, “You bet!” I’m really trying to keep my powers under control and be part of the team. I guess I was used to being in the spotlight all the time, so part of becoming the blazing was learning to make other people shine.

2. Blazing stars attract tons of magic. Is that hard to deal with?

First of all, I think it’s great that every magical animal in the universe loves me. I’ve met a lot of cool animal friends I never even knew existed. Sometimes it can be a little overwhelming, but hey, who said being popular was easy?

You probably noticed that I’m still struggling to keep my magic under control. Adriane and Emily have been teaching me a lot, and I’m getting better. I’ve learned that the more magic I’m using, the more important it is to remain calm and focused. But it’s kinda hard to chill when a manticore is breathing down your neck, so things do tend to get out of hand.

3. What are you most afraid of?

Sometimes it’s hard because so many friends are depending on me to help. And what happens if I can’t? A lot of times I’ve gotten frustrated, but I totally get that nothing good comes easy. Practice is important, and I’m going to keep at it, because I know there are tons of challenges coming up and I need to be ready.

4. What’s it like working with the dragonflies?

Sure, they’re cute, but when I first met the d-flies, they wouldn’t leave me alone! I thought they were total pests. Did you see what they did to my hair?! Well, I guess it wasn’t all their fault. Now that I learned that secret about fairy magic, I’m beginning to understand why they like me so much. I started to realize how unique and helpful their magic could be. Not to mention powerful – at first sight you wouldn’t dream those little guys could open portals just like unicorns! Emily, Adriane and I have d-fly cell phones, something discovered by yours truly. I couldn’t imagine a day without Goldie, I love her so much.

5. What’s it like being friends with Adriane? You guys are like complete opposites!

Adriane’s tough, I’ll give her that. And she’s great with magic – I mean she’s not just good, she’s AmaZING! You should see what she does, leaping and flying all over the place and sparkling like the 4th of July! But then again, she practices all the time. A’s not afraid to speak her mind and I like that about her. I think we’re both learning to think a bit more before we start yelling, lol! She’s helped me have a more open mind when it comes to appreciating things that are different. What? She said the same thing? Huh, guess we do have a few things in common! =)

Favorite wild animal:

Cats, of course! My favorite is the white Bengal tiger. They’re so beautiful, and also extremely rare. I think the more people who know about them, the more people will want to help save their habitats and protect them. And speaking of endangered animals, what could be more adorable than a panda? Those gentle giants remind me of Phel, don’t you think? Oh, and harbor seals too! I went on vacation to Monterey one summer, and those cute, chubby little guys were having so much fun playing with each other and showing off in the water with somersaults and flips for all us humans taking in the show.

Future plans:

There’s so much I want to do and there’s only one job where I can do it all: President of the United States. I know it’s a big dream, but no goal is too big if you work hard, stay focused and really care about what you’re doing. Just think about Ravenswood. Everyone at school was so creeped out by Ravenswood, including me, but once Emily and Adriane showed me how cool it was, I started caring too. Our love of Ravenswood made all the other kids become interested, and now the whole town supports the preserve. Just imagine doing that on an even bigger scale, helping people and animals all across the country, and even the world! Oh, and I also want to be a Level 10 mage.

Is there a Level 10?

I’ll get back to you.

Hobbies:

Karaoke! What can I say, it has my name right in it! Hanging out with my buds is high up on the list, especially if it involves shopping or hair care! Movies are also a huge fave. I love getting carried away in great stories.

Favorite dessert:

Well, it depends. If you’re talking about pie, then blueberry a la mode. For cookies, definitely white chocolate macadamia. But when it’s ice cream, I go all out for Rocky Road.

Secret talent:

Singing! Okay, so that’s not exactly a secret… or a talent. But I totally rock at Guitar Hero. I beat my brother Kyle all the time, and he still can’t believe it. I even have the perfect name for my one mage band: Blazing Star!

If I could change one thing about the world it would be:

I think it would be great if everyone could just be themselves and accept everyone else for who they are, too. I don’t mind admitting that I was a bit closed minded when I first met Emily and Adriane. Since becoming a mage, I’ve learned that it takes a lot of different talents to make a great team, and everyone’s got something different to offer.

Kids would be surprised to know that I:

Have a zit on my chin right now, and I don’t even care! That much. I’ve learned that what’s on the inside is the most important thing about a person, or creature. So if I don’t look perfect all the time, that’s okay, as long as I’m trying my best at whatever I’m doing. Just don’t take my picture for a few days.

 


 

EMILY FLETCHER, THE HEALER

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1. Your mother runs Stonehill Animal Hospital and the Pet Palace. What are some of the perks of having your mother run those businesses? What are some of the downfalls?

In a lot of ways, it’s awesome having a mother who’s a veterinarian – mainly because it means I always get to be around animals. Mom has been practicing veterinary medicine since I was about five years old, and I’ve learned a ton by watching and helping her. I’ve assisted at surgeries, and watched puppies being born, and I know how to draw blood and give shots. The Pet Palace was mostly my idea – since Mom’s patients back in Colorado were always asking to board their pets with her when they went away on vacation, I told her she might as well make it a real part of her business when we moved here to Pennsylvania. She thought it was a good idea, though she was worried about the extra work. We made a deal – she’s in charge of course, but I do most of the work taking care of the Pet Palace clients. It’s nice to know she trusts me with that much responsibility.

There are a few things that are hard about it all, though. For instance, no matter how long I spend at the clinic, it never really gets easier seeing animals frightened and in pain. I always have to take a deep breath and remind myself that I’m helping them, and that if people like Mom (and me!) couldn’t deal with the blood and fear and snarls, the animals would suffer much more. As for the Pet Palace, the main downfall of that is not being able to take any time off. The animals staying with us always need to be fed, the dogs need to be walked, the water bowls need to be scrubbed out every day. That means I can’t just wander off to the mall whenever I feel like it, or stay over at a friend’s house without major planning ahead, or even sleep late on weekends. But I don’t really mind most of the time. The animals count on me, and I love working with them. Of course, Mom’s patients count on her, too. That means she’s almost always busy – it’s really hard to take vacations, or schedule quiet family time, or even play a whole game of Monopoly without being interrupted by emergency calls or people needing to ask Mom questions or check on things. That can be hard, too.

Still, I guess any kind of life has good and bad points. And for me, the good points of my life definitely outweigh the bad ones!

2. You’re a “healer” to the magical creatures at The Ravenwood Wildlife Preserve. Are you comfortable with that role yet? How does it make you feel when you are able to help an animal in trouble?

I’ll answer the last question first – it feels great to help an animal in trouble! That’s what makes it all worthwhile. (Mom says the same thing about being a vet, by the way.)

I suppose I’m getting more comfortable with being a healer. I mean, at first it kind of freaked me out when Stormbringer kept calling me “healer,” like it was my destiny or something. Now I’m actually starting to think of myself that way!

But that doesn’t mean I know everything about what I’m supposed to do. I’m still learning about what being a healer really means. At first I just thought of it as a job, sort of. When a creature is hurt, you put on a bandage or do surgery or give it medicine to help it get better.

But I’m starting to see that there’s a whole lot more involved than that. For instance, when I first met Lyra the magical cat from Aldenmor, the thing she needed the most was someone who understood what she was going through. Then there was Lorelei the unicorn – she didn’t even understand what she was going through herself, so she REALLY needed me to help her figure things out. It’s not always the physical wounds that are most important; a person or animal can have mental or emotional wounds, too. That stuff can get kind of heavy – but if I want to be a good healer, I guess I’ll have to figure out how to deal with it.

3. At first, you didn’t like Kara. Now she’s one of your closest friends. Has this experience changed how quickly you make a decision about someone? If so, how?

The very first time I ever saw Kara, I was in Arrowhead Park walking some dogs from the Pet Palace. She was dressed all in pink, hanging out with a couple of her friends from school. I thought all three of them were major snobs. And the next time I met her didn’t change my mind – that’s when I found out her dad is the mayor of Stonehill, and that Kara thought that made her pretty important. Basically, Adriane and I just put up with her at first because we thought she might be able to help us save Ravenswood. (And because she wouldn’t go away!)

Now, some of the same reasons I didn’t really like Kara that much at first are the same reasons I DO like her so much now. I mean, her other friends can still be pretty annoying – but now I know that Kara puts up with them because she’s really loyal and tolerant. I thought she talked too much at first, but now I totally love the way she always has ideas and opinions about things. I’m even getting used to all the pink clothes!

Mom has always taught me that you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover. That’s kind of a lame saying, but it really makes sense to me since meeting Kara. If I’d just written her off as a spoiled, shallow, snotty princess (like I wanted to at first), I never would have gotten to know one of the coolest people – and best friends – ever. So I always try to remember that now when I meet someone new. It doesn’t mean I’m always going to like everyone, but it should keep me from missing out on someone great just because they seem different at first.

4. Why is it so important for you to speak up for the animals at The Ravenwood Wildlife Preserve? Why do you think kids should care about animals?

Personally, I can’t imagine NOT caring about animals! After all, we share our world with them – we’re all linked together. My science teacher back in Colorado called it a worldwide ecosystem, but recently I realized you could also look at it as a kind of web, just like the magic web that links all the worlds together. Just like a web, every strand is interconnected. If a few pieces of the web break or get destroyed, other sections connected to the missing ones might fall off and disappear as well. That’s why it’s so important to protect ALL animal and plant life, even the spiny, slimy, thorny, or ugly species. Sometimes I catch myself thinking I could do without poison ivy in the world, or mosquitoes, or wasps, or rattlesnakes. But those species are important to the creatures that eat them or need them around for other reasons. For example, a lot of yicky insects pollinate fruit trees, vegetables, and other plants that provide food for us. Just try to think about THAT the next time you get a bee sting, and maybe it won’t hurt quite as much!

Of course, it’s also important for us human animals to speak up for the other species that share our eco-web, since they can’t speak for themselves. (Well, the non-magical ones can’t speak for themselves, anyway!) Everyone who realizes the importance of the eco-web has to keep on speaking until everyone understands – because once an animal or plant species is gone, it’s gone forever. No do-overs. When was the last time you saw a Tasmanian wolf, or a passenger pigeon, or a quagga, or a dodo bird, or a giant deer mouse, or a laughing owl? Never? That’s right, because they’re all extinct – that means gone. If we don’t watch out, more species will suffer the same fate – tigers, elephants, blue whales, giant pandas, California condors, orangutans, snow leopards, (all endangered species) and way, way, way too many more.

5. Can you think of some ways kids can help animals and their environment?

This is something I’ve thought about a lot, especially since coming to Ravenswood. The easiest way I can think of to help animals is to remember that every animal you come in contact with is a living, breathing creature with feelings – just like you! That means if you have a pet dog or cat, treat it well and pay attention to its needs ALL the time, not just when you feel like playing fetch or something. For starters, make sure your pet always has clean water to drink, and that it has the correct amount of food (not too much, and definitely not too little). If you need more information about keeping a pet happy and healthy, you could talk to your vet or another expert to find out more.

As for the environment, one of the best and easiest ways to help out is by recycling. Most towns and cities have places where you can drop off newspapers, rinsed-out plastic bottles, aluminum cans, and other recyclables – if your family doesn’t already recycle, ask your parents to help you learn more about it. Every piece of trash you recycle is one less that gets tossed in a landfill.

Outside your own home, there’s still plenty you can do. You can talk to other kids about the stuff you do, like taking care of pets and recycling. You can read books, magazine articles, and websites about environmental issues to learn more. If an issue is especially important to you, you could write to the politicians who represent you, such as the mayor of your town, your state senator, or even the President of the United States. (Ask your parents or teachers to help you find out the right people to contact for your state or town.)

Some people think kids can’t make a difference in something like protecting animals or the environment, but I think we can. Just look at how Kara, Adriane, and I have been working to save Ravenswood! If you care about this stuff as much as we do, don’t be afraid to speak up and get involved however you can. For more good ideas about ways to help, check out your local library or do a little exploring on the Internet.

6. As someone who’s recently moved from Colorado to Pennsylvania, what advice can you offer to a kid who’s new in town and struggling to make friends and fit in?

I was kind of lonely the first couple of months after we moved. Mom was really busy setting up her business, and I didn’t know anyone in town. At the time, it seemed to take FOREVER before I started to get to know people and feel at home. Looking back, though, it really wasn’t that long. So the first thing I would tell someone in that situation is to try to be patient, no matter how hard that is. The second thing I would say is to be yourself – don’t try to act different just to fit in, because that never works. My third piece of advice is the easiest of all – smile a lot! Smiling is contagious. Even if you don’t feel like smiling at first, if you make yourself do it, it will make you feel better. People will smile back, you’ll start to feel happier, and everything will seem a little brighter. I promise!

7. How would you describe your friends, Kara and Adriane? Why is their friendship so valuable to you?

Kara: strong-willed, outgoing, bright, popular, self-confident, and optimistic. Adriane: strong-willed, opinionated, tough, private, brave, and sweet (don’t tell her I said that last one, though!).

Basically, the three of us are just about as different as we could be from each other in most ways. Somehow, though, it works. . . well, most of the time, anyway. It’s a real drag when Kara and Adriane start sniping at each other, or when we need to decide on a plan and have three totally different opinions about what to do (four, if we count Ozzie’s!). When things get messy, I usually have to step in and smooth them over. Still, it usually seems to work out fine in the end. And no matter what happens, Kara and Adriane are two people I can really count on. That’s the most valuable kind of friendship I can imagine.

Favorite wild animal:

It’s hard to pick just one! I really love all wild animals – zebras, all the big cats, wolves, and lots more. But if I had to pick one favorite, I suppose I would have to say the snowy owl. There’s just something about them that’s so majestic and magical (even the ones who don’t come from Aldenmor and speak like Ariel!). Plus, I think it’s pretty cool how they can see in the dark with their big, wise, glowing eyes.

Hobbies:

Right now Ravenswood is my main hobby. But I also love music – listening to it, and playing it on my flute. I love reading (especially fantasy and animal stories), and doing arts and crafts. Oh, and I’ve always liked hiking. Back in Colorado my dad and I used to hike almost every weekend. (In the winter, we sometimes went cross-country skiing instead.) We even kept a list of birds and animals we’d seen and added to it every time we spotted a new species. I still remember the very first one we saw together and put at the top of our new list was a plain old Canadian goose, but I still thought it was super-cool. I don’t have a list like that in Pennsylvania yet, but maybe I should start one. I’ve certainly seen A LOT of interesting animals since I’ve been hanging out at Ravenswood!

Future plans:

The only thing I know for sure about my future is that I want to work with animals. Sometimes I’m sure I want to be a vet like Mom. Other times I think it would be really cool to run an animal shelter or organize a rescue group. Then again, my teachers always say I have excellent communications skills – maybe I could work for an environmental group, doing public relations for them or writing their newsletter or something like that. For a while I really thought I wanted to be a professional dog trainer or animal behaviorist. Oh, and if Mom would let me take riding lessons, maybe I could even be a member of the Olympic Equestrian Team on the side! Most of the time, ALL of those possibilities seem really interesting and fun. Luckily, I still have some time to make up my mind!

Favorite dessert:

That’s easy – chocolate-chip cookie-dough ice cream. Chocolate chips, cookie dough, ice cream. . . what could be better? 😀

Secret talent:

This is one that even Kara and Adriane don’t know about yet. Back in Colorado, a bunch of my friends were goofing off, blowing notes on blades of grass. Do you know what I mean? You pick a straight, flat, green, longish blade of grass and sort of press it tight and flat between the outsides of your two thumbs. There should be a little space between the joint in the middle of your thumb and the joint where it joins into your hand. If you blow there, the blade of grass acts as sort of a reed (like on a clarinet or saxophone) and makes a sound. (If you try it and it doesn’t work, make sure the grass is stretched really tight across that space.)

Anyway, most people can play a note that way pretty easily once they learn the right technique. But me? Well, I taught myself to play Yankee Doodle!

Okay, I know that’s kind of stupid. But hey, a talent is a talent, right? 😉

If I could change one thing about the world, it would be:

That’s easy. If I could change one thing about the world, it would be to make sure everyone appreciated animals and the environment as much as I do. All people would have the knowledge and spirit to understand the value of having such an amazingly broad range of species, not to mention so many cool and different natural places like rain forests and deserts and mountains and oceans. And everyone would want to work together to protect all that diversity and keep it safe forever.

Kids would be surprised to know that I:

. . . am terrified of spiders! Okay, I know they’re an important part of the eco-web, just like anything else. I realize they provide food for certain birds and reptiles, and that they help control populations of flies and other insects. And of course, there’s the whole WEB thing, which is obviously pretty cool.

But that doesn’t mean I want to get too close! I don’t know why, but they just give me the shivers. . . I still remember once when I was about five or six years old and there was a huge, black spider just sort of hanging out on the ceiling right over my bed. I didn’t notice it until I woke up in the middle of the night to get a drink of water – and I ended up spending the rest of that night in Mom and Dad’s room! In the morning, Mom went in and scooped the spider onto a piece of paper and took it outside. Whew! I was glad she didn’t even think about killing it – why should the poor spider suffer just because I was a wimp? But I have to admit, for the next few nights it took me a LONG time to fall asleep, since I kept opening one eye to check and make sure it hadn’t come back!

Of course, I was just a little kid then. These days I’m a lot braver. I can scoop a spider onto a piece of paper all by myself and take it outside!