Chapter 1

The first sign of the terrible trouble that was brewing in the..
Sorcery World hit the newsstands minutes before midnight…
By dawn, the news had spread like wildfire…
From the shores of America to the remotest Polynesian island,it
snaked its way into every sorcerer’s home,
sending a frisson of fear down their spines.
And found its way to Istanbul – into the Von D’eths’ home…

THE GREAT WEDDING SPAT

The Great Wedding of the Century has come to a sudden and tragic end.
What was to be the perfect union of Deep Sea Magic and Oriental Occult, perhaps the last chance to bring forth a new and more powerful generation of wizards and sorcerers has come undone.
Like the recent goof-ups by the Wizard Organization Worldwide (WOW), this chance too went down the drain.
Last night, Abyssinia, the Enchantress of the Deep, and Dead Lee, Sorcerer of the Orient, exchanged vows and rings, and quaffed down the mystical Potion of Eternity – to find themselves at the receiving end of a craftily spiked magic. Instead of declaring undying eternal love, the renowned sorcerers went off the deep end!
Dead Lee, spiked to his gills, declared himself master of Abyssinia’s seas, and tossed all fishing regulations overboard, setting off a mad rush by the Slimy Poachers Agency (SPA) to hunt whale, shark or whatever marine mollusk they could lay their nets on. To which the outraged enchantress, livid that her species were in danger of being slaughtered for supper, whipped up a tsunami that promptly wiped out Dead Lee’s islands!
Phantom Airways was forced to airlift over a hundred wedding guests stranded on Serenity Island with no broomsticks to get back home…. At the end of the day, the Great Wedding was nothing but a total washout with things going from bad to really worse.

And like recent incidents,
a raven feather was found at the scene of the crime…

‘This could be Black Magi sabotage,’ the Phantom Police reluctantly admitted.
‘This could be Black Magi sabotage,’ the Phantom Police reluctantly admitted.
How does The Black Magi, a small, shadowy group of evil wizards, manage these audacious coups all the time?
It was just last full moon that the Black Magi struck a blow at the heart of the WOW HQ in Siberia! The Insomnia Elixir, which would have changed the world for sleepy specters, vanished from under Druid Nostra’s nose!
Our sources also report that the new crop of WOW wizards and sorcerers are an awfully shoddy lot, messing up spells, potions and getting caught with their capes down… Frankly, it has become an embarrassment for the rest of the sorcery world to keep bailing out these bumbling nitwits whenever a mission goes awry, which seems to be happening at the drop of a witch’s hat.
There is now no doubt in every sorcerer’s mind that with every new moon, the Black Magi are going from strength to strength… And WOW needs to wake up to this nightmare!
GHOSTLY PRESS AGENCY (GPA) Press Release

CHAPTER 1: BLOODCURDLING NEWS

Is this the beginning of the end of WOW?
Will the Black Magi finally take over the Sorcery World?
Is there no way to beat this menace?

The breaking midnight news smacked Count Drunkula right in the face…How on earth did the GPA manage to go to press so quickly? Suddenly, the dark rafters of the Grand Souk of Istanbul, which had been home for the Von D’eths for the last couple of months, turned chilly and foreboding, as this awful news completely curdled his blood…
Three nights ago, Count Drunkula Von D’eth had been summoned by none other than the Ancient One – Nostra Daemus – the powerful, 317-year-old Druid who ran WOW with an iron wand. The mission: retrieve the secrets of the Potion of Eternity from the Vault of the Ancients, assist the Druid concoct the Potion …and make sure it remained safe and secure for the Great Wedding. They had been very, very careful, deploying a special task force but, somehow, somewhere, someone had sold out…and so instead of a nice pleasant ‘thank you for everything’ and a goblet of scotch, Drunkula found himself at the receiving end of exceptionally trashy publicity!
An uneasy thought crossed his mind, was it someone he knew? But who? Who knew the real reason behind getting the two sorcerers together besides the Ancient One?
He frowned, flipping through the rest of the news. This was all so distressing and terribly unsettling! He glanced at the roman dial that sat on the grime encrusted window ledge. He had a few more hours before dawn to finish off some last minute paperwork. Like all sorcerers and enchanters, Count Drunkula Von D’ eth needed very little sleep. A few catnaps in his coffin were enough to see him through the rest of the day. But sleep was the last thing on his mind right now. He wanted some answers, and some food for thought and he knew just the person.
Drunkula headed towards the kitchen.
‘Bon appetit, Count Von D’eth,’ Headless Hamid greeted him cheerfully. The portly Lebanese chef bustled about, his head hanging by a thread, laying silverware, and humming a haunting melody as he scurried about making sure the table was perfect. A scrumptious spread of lizard eggs sunny side up, sprinkled with crunchy chopped spider legs, and slices of moldy wheat germ bread was waiting at the table. But beneath that delectable spread, lurked a dark and terrible secret…
The Count shuddered involuntarily, remembering the stormy night they had taken in this wanted specter with a horrible price on his head. Poor Hamid, the toast of Baghdad, the man behind the delectable hundred flavoured baklavas, chef to the mad Caliph, had on one hot sultry desert night, made one teeny, tiny mistake. A spice had slipped in where it shouldn’t have, setting the Caliph’s mouth on fire… ‘Off with his head!’ the Caliph had ordered. Dead and with nothing left to lose, Headless Hamid had retaliated, snitching the Caliph’s favourite hookah, the very rare and beautiful Shah Jahan sheesha. That had done it! Hamid was forced to flee, his head hanging by a tendon, dodging the Caliph’s men till he fortuitously bumped into the Von D’eths out on a moonlit stroll. He found friends and refuge. And they in turn found themselves at the mercy of a crazed gourmet chef…
Boy was he hungry! Drunkula’s tummy rumbled. He picked up his goblet of cool milkweed milkshake, added a dash of highland malt and raised it to his lips, when the terrible thought about the traitor reared its ugly head again.
With that, the Count lost his appetite and decided to head to his study instead. ‘I’ll wheep up yur favoreet green fungus and squishy maggot tost, if you like, Count!’ offered Hamid kindly
‘Nein, danke Hamid, I’m not hungry, but maybe later, ok?’
Inside the chilly confines of his dim and dusty study, the Vampire Wizard stood lost in thought. Had the mole been someone they knew? This was not good at all! What went wrong, he mused, sipping his double single malt, longing for the good old days of swashbuckling glory…
What happened to the good old days, when the press would laud each and every WOW exploit? He had become a hero overnight when he had chased and tripped the dreaded scumbag of a mole, the Wizard of the Lochs in his own castle! He had caught the wizard red handed, in the very act of selling off the Treasury of Children’s Spells to the obnoxious Kidnapper Gnomes. Had the Count been a minute late, the horrible, children-hating gnomes would have gotten their wretched hands on the world’s most rare kidspellopedia and that would been the end of many a happy childhood. That battle had been a killer! Drunkula had gotten staked, and then unceremoniously thrown into a dungeon to rot to death. But later that night, when he came to his senses, he teetered and tottered about trying to find a way through the dank dungeon maze, slipped down a trapdoor and crashed head long into a mangled heap of a knight in rusty armour, knocking himself out one more time. Knight Laphroaig revived the Count with an emergency single malt infusion, and an hour later Drunkula Von D’eth had won the day, swooshing back into battle, vanquishing the evil Wizard Loch, saving the knight from a lifetime of haunting obscurity, and finding himself the perfect Man Friday to boot – all in a single night!
‘As for the time I met, wooed and wed Sinistra Sin-ha, my gorgeous Indian Tantrika’, he sighed happily, remembering their one in a million chance meeting at the Dreaded Woods Bar. By the time it was daylight, , the Count had forgotten all about his date with Beatrice Bloodbath and fallen cape over cloak in love with Sinistra! The paparazzi had gone completely batty over their whirlwind romance. They had even swooshed all the way to the Himalayas to get exclusives on the wedding at Kamakhya, and GPA managed to snap up a Para Normal Prize-winning photo of her formidable father, Yogi Baba, floating on his bed of nails.
But nowadays, however hard the Count tried, going public with his blood drinking intolerance, or admitting to his mother Hilda’s anger management issues, getting a decent write-up had become morosely difficult.
His latest exploit of capturing and re-bottling the devilish sand storm genie Al Khim had gotten a response akin to being served tepid tea with soggy biscuits!
‘The Count finally manages to put a lid on Al Khim ‘was the meager headline tucked away on Page 7 column 7 of the Tomb Times. ‘Nothing WOW does these days is good enough!’ Drunkula thought miserably to himself. Morale among agents had hit rock bottom, and fewer sorcerers flexed their powers to join the once respected and feared Wizard Organization Worldwide.
There must be a way out of these dire straits! But what was it? Count Drunkula Von D’eth wandered back to his coffin…when a loud thumping on the rafters of the Grand Istanbul Souk, startled him.

Who was it at this God-forsaken hour?