Authors: Shawn Thomas Odyssey
We bring stories to life
First published by Egmont USA, 2013
443 Park Avenue South, Suite 806
New York, NY 10016
Copyright Â© Shawn Thomas Odyssey, 2013
All rights reserved
Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
Odyssey, Shawn Thomas.
The magician's tower : a sequel to The Wizard of Dark Street /
by Shawn Thomas Odyssey.
Summary: Detective Oona Crate enters the Magician's Tower Contest, a competition of dangerous tasks and obstacles that has never been won. ISBN 978-1-60684-425-0 (hardback) â eISBN: 978-1-60684-426-7 [1. ContestsâFiction. 2. WizardsâFiction. 3. MagicâFiction. 4. Apprenticesâ
Fiction. 5. OrphansâFiction. 6. Mystery and detective stories.] I. Title.
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, or otherwise, without the prior permission of the publisher and copyright owner.
For Claire, Audrey, and Jacob.
And MoonbucketÂ â¦
who transported me into the stories
On the sixth of March, 1852, historian
Arthur Blackstone gave the following speech to the Historical Society in New York City.
“Like the hour hand on a clock, Dark Street spins through the Drift. It spirals endlessly within the space between two worlds. At the north end of the street stands an enormous gateway, the famed Iron Gates, which open for precisely one minute every night, upon the stroke of midnight, exposing the street to New York City. At the opposite end of the street stand the equally massive Glass Gates, the gateway to the Land of Faerie, which have remained locked for hundreds of human years, and are the only things keeping the Queen of the Fay and her unspeakable army of faerie warriors from murdering us all; the gatesÂ â¦Â and the Wizard.”
In June of 1853, Blackstone released his book
The Last Faerie Road: An Incomplete History of Dark Street
. It sold fewer than one hundred copies, and, unfortunately for Mr. Blackstone's New York publishers, no one took the book very seriously.
Fellow historians mocked the idea that such a fantastical place as Dark Street might exist at all: a place with candlestick trees and joke-telling clocks, not to mention a Museum of Magical History and a graveyard where spirits come awake in the night. The notion of a magical world so close to New Yorkâone with a Wizard living in an enchanted manor house in the middle of the streetâseemed nothing short of ridiculous to the serious scholars and scientific minds of the mid-1800s. And though Blackstone claimed that the street was filled primarily with ordinary people of no magical abilities at all, the premise was too far-fetched to be believed. The book was quickly forgotten by the academics, and would be remembered only by a handful of poets and artists, who themselves viewed the book, for the most part, as the ramblings of an overactive imagination.
On Dark Street, however, the book remained an acclaimed best seller for years to come.
(Sunday, August 19, 1877)
he contest is about to begin,” said the Wizard. He pointed a wrinkled finger toward the far end of the outdoor party.
A short man in a top hat slowly ascended the steps to a makeshift stage, at the rear of which stood an oddly shaped tower. Round in some sections and square in others, the tower rose like a misshapen shadow from the center of Oswald Park. The pointy pyramid at the top of the tower was scarcely visible through the misty clouds several hundred feet above. At the edge of the stage, dozens of evenly spaced tables flickered in the evening lamplight, each surrounded by flawlessly dressed partygoers.
Murmurs of polite conversation filled the night air, and thirteen-year-old Oona Crate leaned back in her seat, arms folded, lost in thought. She hardly heard her uncle's words, nor did she pay much attention to the man ascending the steps.
Of all the attendees at the party, Oona was certain that it was she alone who felt uncomfortable with the evening's festivities being located in Oswald Park. Named after Oswald the Greatâthe most powerful of the long-dead Magicians of Oldâthe enormous park was where the tragedy had happened over three years ago: the accident that had taken the lives of both Oona's mother and baby sister, leaving Oona with the grievous knowledge that it was her own misguided spell that had killed them. Ever since, the park had been a dreaded place for her. A place to avoid at all costs.
But three months ago something extraordinary had happenedÂ â¦
Fresh from the excitement of solving the most difficult case of her lifeâa baffling mystery involving the disappearance of her uncle, the WizardâOona had decided to face her fear and attend the Dark Street Annual Midnight Masquerade. It had been the first time she'd set foot on the park's grassy grounds since the day the magic had flown out of her control. It had also been the first time Oona had danced with a boy.
The night of the dance had been magical, the boy gentlemanly and handsome, and afterward, as they took their leave, she had thought that she was finally finished with her guilt over her mother's and sister's deaths once and for all. Three months later, however, she realized that she had been dreadfully wrong.
Tonight was Oona's second visit to the park since the accident, and unfortunately for her, she had no dance and no boy to distract her from her thoughts.
Images of the tragedy buzzed in and out of her mind like pestering flies: the sparks shooting from her improvised magic wand, the Lights of Wonder upending the tree and slamming it to the ground, her own panicked cry as the impact hurtled her through the air while Mother and Flora were crushed beneath the tree's massive trunk.
She did her best to shoo the thoughts away, concentrating instead on the contest that was about to beginâthe famous Magician's Tower Contest that took place once every five yearsâbut even Oona's excitement about the upcoming competition failed to ease her heart completely. She shook her head, casting around for something solid to hold her attention.
Give me facts!
she thought, and pulled her focus to her surroundings.
The tables were set with the finest of crystal and china, the food and drink of the highest caliber. Oona had
been to high-society gatherings beforeâher uncle was extremely fond of partiesâbut she had not seen so many of the street's wealthy residents in one place since the night of the masquerade three months ago.
She fidgeted with the sleeve of her dress, a high-collared gray-and-white gown, more formal than she was used to wearing. The dress was by no means as extravagant as the dresses worn by the girls from the Academy of Fine Young Ladies, nor was her jewelry as stylish or shiny, but Oona had an idea that it was more than her attire that caused the party guests to glance discreetly in her direction. Oona was something of a celebrity on the street, after all: the youngest Wizard's apprentice in over a hundred years, and it was no secret that she was a Natural Magician: the rarest and most powerful form of magician there was.
As Oona had discovered for herself, it was because of the ancient faerie blood that ran through her veins that her own magic was so incredibly powerful. The deaths of her mother and sister were common knowledge, and rumors of her ability to perform extraordinary magical tasksâmost of which were simply untrueâtraveled up and down the street like leaves blown from doorstep to doorstep.
The latest rumor Oona had heard was that she had turned her uncle into a toad when he had told her to brush her teeth. Simply absurd.