Name: Carl Hackman
Title: GERALD AND THE AMULET OF ZONRACH
Genre: Upper MG, Humorous Fantasy.
In the realm of Wyverndawn a wizard’s height is the mark of his power and shrinking one inch is a catastrophe for twelve-year-old Gerald. Creating a hill outside his village, to improve the view, shouldn’t be too difficult and he may even be promoted a few inches as a reward. But the spell he bought - from a guy who knows a guy - was a tad more powerful than even he anticipated.
First 500 Words:
A flash of blinding blue light filled the room, followed by a billowing cloud of dark, acrid smoke.
Gerald’s eyes locked onto the bedroom door. No-one wanted to hearthat word from a wizard and definitely not one only five feet tall. He had dreams of exceeding six feet but only the best wizards in the land ever reached those dizzying heights. Every successful spell he cast could gain him an inch in promotion, but if it failed he could also be demoted. And Gerald had the distinct feeling the latter was about to apply to him. It seemed unfair that the only profession afflicted by this rule was his. Hopefully no-one had noticed this little faux pas.
A rumble under his feet, steadily increased in strength until the floor beneath him rolled like a ship in a storm. Trying to stay upright, he staggered to the window at the front of his weather-beaten cottage. The small hill supposed to be growing outside - to improve the view - failed to materialize. But the cotton ball clouds, normally gently drifting on the warm summer breeze, were now whizzing by. The sight of villagers clinging to structures for dear life deepened his frown of consternation. His flint grey eyes nearly popped out of his head when the village herbalist flew past his window and, as he followed her progress across the green, he spotted Lord Moleheart hanging onto a tree like a flag in a gale.
“Kack!” said Gerald.
The bedroom door flew open. “Gerald! What have you done?” shouted Colin, dodging flying crockery as he made his way across the room.
“Hmm?” replied Gerald. The point of his tall and illegally obtained wizard’s hat twitched, as he blinked rapidly at the devastation occurring outside.
Colin, who had been posted to Molehaven as Gerald’s assistant – a position where roles seemed to change with alarming regularity – a few weeks ago, very rarely shouted. If he could get away with it he even whispered his spells. So, shouting indicated Gerald had been especially naughty and confirmation came when he shrank one inch before Colin’s eyes.
At this rate Gerald would not be a wizard much longer. Four feet eight was the statuary minimum for all wizards. Anything less and Gerald knew he would be back working in the fields, or shoveling horse poop until he reached the minimum height again.
“Have you been buying words again to strengthen your spells?” said Colin.
“It was only supposed to be a small hill, to brighten our view. It always looked so flat outside this window and you know how there’s this tikitonic plate thingy just outside the village? Well the word I know can make it move a bit but... the guy I know, who knows a guy, guaranteed this other word will move two of them together to make a hill.”
“Well, you’ve managed to cause the earthquake that should create it if a fault line existed there, although I don’t believe there is one located this close to the village.”