Jazz meets Magic with The Amulet of Kings
Take one Dark Lord, one off-White Witch, two teenagers, one dwarf blues band and a jazz-loving bog troll. Mix. Wait for the explosion of laughter...
What could be worse? Having to take a holiday in the (rainy) Lake District in the Northwest of England, with an aunt who turns people into frogs for a hobby? Or battling the local Dark Lord, whose attempt at world domination starts with the nearby underground Dwarf Mansion, and its enormous collection of used pizza boxes? Or getting involved with a jazz-loving bog troll and his dwarven Rhythm and Blues band? Or is it being miles from a McDonalds? The teenagers find out as they fall into a Mad, Mad World, so close to our own that you can't tell the difference.
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Excerpt from The Amulet of Kings - Chapter 4
The light grew brighter and brighter, the circle became an orb, which crackled with lightning, until a fifth member joined the group.
"Do we always have to meet in the middle of nowhere? In the rain?" he complained.
Two more shining orbs appeared, disgorging two more sets of matching cloaks and boots. Both the newcomers carried spears, and one had a guitar on his back as well. Otherwise, it was impossible to tell any of them apart.
"The Stone of Lath," said Finn, the last to arrive.
"Look we know where we are, or we wouldn't have got here," said Liamm, the second to arrive.
"Huh?" Diarmid asked.
"You know what I mean. Can't we get on with it? I was in the middle of bridge, and halfway to a small slam."
"Would you like a Grand Slam, with this staff?" grumbled Liamm.
"Not unless it's got the ace of spades up its sleeve."
"Brother Tuatha," cried Erald, who had been first to arrive, and was now getting wet and fed up, "long has it been since we met at the Stone of Lath." His strange accent had gone, obviously just put on earlier for effect.
"Can anyone remember how far it is to the pub?" Diarmid wanted to know.
"Yeah, we'd started meeting in the Rose and Crown down in the valley. Nice barmaid, too," commented Finn.
"They have a good folk night on Tuesdays," recalled Diarmid.
"Is there a good night for folk?"
"Yes. Any night when I'm not there," said Finn.
"Quiet! Surdin moves," Erald told them.
"Wish we could, me feet are bloody freezing."
"And it's only half an hour to closing."
"And it's not Tuesday."
"We, the Tuatha, are met to ask the Edern to ride with us against the new strength gathered by the evil wizards of Caer Surdin," announced Erald.
"Not sure about that," moaned Diarmid. "They keep on singing those old songs no one understands, and complain when I get me guitar out."
"We all complain when you get that out," Finn told him.
One of the black cloaked Tuatha looked furtively round at the grey clad Edern and muttered, "They are as bad as that blasted Dago, too. Every time they see a windmill, they yell: Charge!"
"Windmillophobia. Well-known whatsitcalled phobia, that is. Catch it in Spain a lot."
"Phobia? You mean it's all in their minds?" Liamm wanted to know.
"Can you charge the windmills of your mind?" asked Finn.
"Bet you the Electricity Company would have a go. Charge for anything they can."
"Look," said Erald, trying to take charge again, "we need their help."
"Their help? Load of fairies?" asked Finn, dismissively.
"They shorten the odds."
"On account of only being four and a half foot high?"
"On account of there being a lot of them," Erald retorted.