Book 1 – Matilda Seer Spoilers
At 12:12 on December 12th, foster child Rachel Gates falls through a mirror and ends up sprawled on the ground outside the Macy’s department store in New York city, along with six other teens. Three adults, Asher, Titus, and Liora, introduce themselves as ‘Watchers.’ The Watchers explain that the teens have now left their former realm of existence and entered the ‘Inner Realm.’
The Watchers invite the teens to leave with them to their new home. They hesitate until they discover that pedestrians in New York now pass right through their bodies and are unable to see them.
With no other options, all seven teens travel via light with the Watchers, ending up on a beach. They discover that they are all foster children and that they share the same birthday, that very day—December 12. The Watchers explain that the Outer Realm and Inner Realm co-exist. The Entrance—the portal between the realms—is located at the Macy’s department store. The Inner Realm is aware of the Outer Realm (they call its inhabitants ‘Outers’) but the Outer Realm is clueless as to the existence of the Inner Realm.
They also learn that each year twelve teens—called the Chosen—are supposed to appear at the entrance of Macy’s, but for the past sixteen years no Chosen have appeared—until this year. It is clearly a mystery to the Watchers as to why only seven appeared have appeared now.
During a naming ceremony, the true names of the Chosen are revealed. They learn that their true names reflect the powers that will start to awaken in them. The first five Chosen are renamed as follows: Randall, who can create invisible shields, Kari, who can control and generate wind, Carter, who can move things telekinetically, Kaine, who has power over sharp objects, and Lainey, who can fully yield the power of light. (Liora informs Lainey that they share a very similar gifting.)
When it comes to the sixth teen, Garth, the Watchers are surprised to discover that he has been given two names: Ethan, meaning ‘strong,’ and Shay, meaning ‘supplanter.’ No one has ever received two names before.
Finally Rachel is named. She also receives two names: Matilda, meaning “strong battler,” and Seer, a ‘literal’ name. The Watchers explain that the closer a name is to its meaning, the more naturally the gift will come.
The Chosen are given an initial challenge: travel from the beach to the top of a nearby cliff. Rachel—now Matilda—receives a vision of jumping impossibly high to reach the top of the cliff. Following the vision, she achieves the feat for real. Ethan, who was watching her, follows suit. The other Chosen remain below arguing, not noticing the departure of Ethan and Matilda.
At the top of the cliff Titus is shocked to discover how quickly the two of them made it up from the beach. As they talk in the grounds to a large mansion (called Quarry Cottage, or just ‘the Cottage’), Matilda has another vision, this time of an impending attack. Only moments later a fearsome creature called a nightling attacks. One of the protector trees on the grounds comes to life and dispatches the creature.
Matilda, Ethan, and Titus walk to the entrance of Quarry Cottage where Titus introduces Haven and Barker, the young caretakers of the cottage. Titus excuses himself, explaining that he, Asher, and Liora need to leave to research the many mysteries of the day, but promises to return the following morning.
The other Chosen arrive a little later, having all been transported thanks to Lainey’s gift of light. (In the course of the transportation she managed to lose one of Kaine’s legs, but it was restored when she returned for it.)
Barker explains that they all have the ability to travel instantaneously from one place to another via light (Lainey’s gift makes it easier for her and gives her greater access to various locations throughout the realm). Since only Lainey traveled up via light, they are given another exercise: to instantaneously travel to the kitchen and back again, a task they all eventually succeed at.
Kaine has the biggest struggle achieving light travel and in an effort to encourage him, Matilda discovers that she can interject her thoughts into other people’s minds. In an exchange later that night, Ethan and Matilda discover that they share an identical birthmark on their right shoulders. The next morning Ethan discovers that he too can interject his thoughts. After sharing with the other Chosen, Matilda and Ethan realize that they can freely communicate with each other via thought and broadcast their thoughts to the others, but the others are unable to reciprocate.
At breakfast the Chosen are introduced to the cook of Quarry Cottage, Ambrosia, whose gift is creating incredible meals. After breakfast the group discovers that Haven and Barker have vanished, and that the Watchers have not returned. After searching the mansion for any trace of them, Matilda’s seer gift leads them to a note. The note is addressed to Barker and Haven and signed by someone claiming to be the seer protector of the Watchers. It states that the Watchers have been taken and held captive in the Black Mass Tunnels and that in a vision the seer protector saw Haven and Barker rescuing them and safely returning them to the Cottage.
The Chosen later discover that the Black Mass Tunnels are the domain of Lord Rafe, sworn enemy of the Chosen and the most powerful of the Nameless. The Nameless are people who are left unnamed after a naming ceremony, presumably because they have no light in them. No one has ever escaped from the Black Mass Tunnels once imprisoned there by Rafe.
With no one to guide them and Ambrosia retired ill to bed, the Chosen decide to leave and discover the fate of their Watchers. Matilda discovers that she can interject her thoughts to a tree in the grounds named Akira. Akira opens a path below her roots away from the Cottage.
Following visions that Matilda has begun to receive with greater frequency, the group head out through a broad system of subway-like underground tunnels. The first place they discover on their way out is ‘Quarry’s Tavern,’ an underground tavern run by Titus’ brother Yale. Yale sends them on their way with money for their journey.
Friction between Ethan and Matilda escalates to the point where Matilda leaves the group, with Kari and Kaine following her. Ethan, Lainey, Carter, and Randall continue on their original path, while Matilda and the others follow fresh visions she is receiving that lead in a different direction. As they travel, the Chosen start operating in their gifts. Lainey manages to create a portal to Matilda and the others, and travels to them to escape the unpleasant company of Carter and Randall.
In a dream, a stranger beckons Matilda to a place called Watson’s Gorge. While trying to find a way across a lake to the gorge, Matilda encounters her Seer Guide, a supernatural being who communicates directly with her and reveals how she can find the hidden bridge over the lake.
Once they arrive at Watson’s Gorge, they are reunited with Asher, who turns out to be the stranger in Matilda’s vision. The other group of Chosen—Ethan, Carter, and Randall—are ambushed by Lord Rafe’s men. Matilda is warned in a vision and the other Chosen retrieve them, reuniting the group at Watson’s Gorge.
Ethan and Matilda reveal their birthmarks to Asher, who explains that they resemble the Mark of Origin, an ancient symbol that few know about.
Titus and Liora rejoin Asher and the Chosen, but after a private discussion the Watchers determine that all three of them are being tracked and that remaining with the Chosen exposes the group to capture. They leave a note instructing the group to travel to the Forest of Turning and the protective custody of the Tree Wizards who live there. As the Chosen begin to leave, black panther-like creatures—dark creations of Lord Rafe—break into their meeting place. The Chosen escape, but Matilda is bitten by one of the creatures as she is leaving.
As the teens connect up with the Tree Wizards, Matilda collapses from the creature’s venom. In an effort to revive her, Ethan discovers that he can not only transfer thoughts to Matilda, but they can also transfer memories and emotion to each other. Once the Wizards discover the cause of her illness (a bite to her ankle) they rush her back to the Cottage, where one of the other trees, Althea, heals her.
Surprisingly, the Wizards send the Chosen on to the Black Mass Tunnels to find the Watchers and discover the fate of the caretakers, Haven and Barker. Matilda fears the worst after a vision of Haven and Barker trapped in the Black Mass Tunnels. On the way they barely escape an entire horde of nightlings. They also meet Moxley, a slate rat whose saliva has magical properties and is highly sought by practitioners of dark magic. Moxley had originally planned to ally himself with Lord Rafe (slate rats have a standing treaty with Rafe and his kind), but after being mistreated by Rafe’s men he abandons that plan and sides with the Chosen.
The Chosen are tricked into the Black Mass Tunnels by Fox, a distant uncle of Lord Rafe and half-ghost. They’re cast into pitch black with little food or water. They finally manage to reconnect with the Watchers. They learn that Liora succeeded in destroying the tracker map Lord Rafe had created, but in the process all three Watchers had been trapped in the tunnels.
Pooling the power of light within them, the Watchers break out from the tunnels and in the process detach Fox from the last vestige of his mortal body, rendering him a harmless ghost. Watchers and Chosen proceed to Rafe’s chambers to deal with him.
They arrive to a smug Haven and Barker, who had been allied to Lord Rafe all along. They had used dark magic to manipulate Matilda’s visions and lure the Chosen away from the safety of Quarry Cottage. This sends Matilda into a spiral of self-doubt, second guessing the seer gift that is the core of her new identity in the Inner Realm.
A battle ensues and in the process Matilda is transported away by Lord Rafe to a private room with no doors or windows, and no way to travel in or out without Rafe’s permission. Rafe plans to exploit Matilda’s seer gift to discover information about the future before killing her. Unbeknownst to him, Ethan had managed to finally use his second gift and transform into a fly. He had “stowed away” on Matilda’s shoulder as Rafe had transported her.
Ethan transforms back to his human form and he and Matilda struggle against Rafe. In the process Rafe manages to shrink Ethan to diminutive size. Matilda reacts by throwing an entire table of beakers and jars filled with dark magic potions and ingredients at Rafe. He starts to burn and scream in agony, finally disappearing.
Working together Matilda and Ethan manage to travel out of the room but get stuck in the ‘In Between,’ a place light travelers usually pass through without being aware of its existence. As they contemplate being trapped there forever, Matilda’s Seer guide appears to her.
The Seer Guide gives Matilda an ultimatum: she can return to the life she had before learning about the Inner Realm on her sixteenth birthday, or she can return to the Cottage and her new Inner Realm life. The catch: her decision will affect Ethan as well. She desperately wants to return to the simpler life she had in the Outer Realm, but she knows Ethan wants to stay here with his new life. In the end she decides to choose the Inner Realm for Ethan’s sake. Ethan, unable to hear the conversation between Matilda and her Seer Guide, is oblivious to Matilda’s decision and what it cost her.
Matilda and Ethan are able to travel back to the Cottage, but not before Matilda is attacked by a horde of shadows, trying to hold her in the In Between. Together Ethan and Matilda manage to fend them off and make it back to the Cottage.
Once they arrive, they discover that the Watchers and the other Chosen had defeated Haven, Barker, and the rest of Rafe’s men. They also assure Matilda that Lord Rafe is dead, killed by the nasty concoction of potions Matilda had thrown at him. Titus saw the body and the remnant ghost of Fox attested to it, swearing revenge against the Chosen for his nephew’s death.
Matilda is unconvinced and later that night has a dream of Lord Rafe, alive and vengeful. Ethan has his own dream and in it hears Matilda’s conversation with the Seer Guide and what it cost her. He is also able to observe Matilda’s dream about Lord Rafe.
A few days later the Chosen have recovered and it’s Christmas Day. The Watchers give each Chosen a key as a Christmas gift and explain that after their first day of studies a door will present itself in their rooms. They are not told where the door leads, only that it will be available to them for no more than half an hour.
The end of “Matilda Seer,” book one in the Matilda Seer and the Chosen series.