Authors: Shawn Thomas Odyssey
The Magician’s Dream
(an Oona Crate Mystery: book 3)
Shawn Thomas Odyssey
Oona Crate Mysteries
The Wizard of Dark Street (book 1)
The Magician’s Tower (book 2)
The Magician’s Dream (book 3)
Also by Shawn Thomas Odyssey
The Monster Society
All books available as audiobooks from
Copyright © Shawn Thomas Odyssey, 2015
All rights reserved
Cover character art copyright © Bob Doucette, 2011
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, or otherwise, without the prior permission of the publisher and copyright holder.
For my friends.
I could not ask for better.
An excerpt from the
DARK STREET (a.k.a. Little London Town):
Dark Street is the last of the original thirteen Faerie roads that connect the World of Man to the enchanted Land of Faerie. A world unto itself, the thirteen-mile-long street exists between the massive Iron Gates at the north end and the Glass Gates at the south.
Like the hour hand on a clock, Dark Street rotates, moving through the space between worlds—a space known as the Drift. At the stroke of midnight, the street stops and the Iron Gates open upon New York City. The gates remain open for exactly one minute before closing again so the street may once more begin its rotation.
At the opposite end stand the Glass Gates, which lead to the Land of Faerie, and have remained closed since Oswald the Great locked them shut in the year 1313, thereby ending the horrendous thirteen-year Great Faerie War.
In the very center of Dark Street—where the cobblestoned avenue splits apart in a wide circle—sits Pendulum House, an enormous enchanted manor house with a crooked tower poking precariously from its many slanted roofs, and the prow of an ocean-faring ship jutting out of the second floor like the remains of a sea wreck. It is here, at number 19 Dark Street, that the Wizard and his apprentice make their home. If the Glass Gates should ever fall, it is the Wizard’s job to protect Dark Street, New York City, and the World of Man from a faerie attack.
The Forest of Books
(Tuesday, December 18, 1877)
“It is time to begin your battle training,” said the Wizard.
“Battle training?” Oona asked.
“To prepare you.”
Oona glanced at Deacon to see if the bird understood what her uncle was talking about. Grim and composed, Oona’s raven companion flexed his talons upon her shoulder. The firelight reflected off his long black feathers, which he rustled slightly but otherwise gave no indication that he understood the Wizard’s meaning.
The two of them stood before the dragon-bone desk in the Wizard’s study. The sides and top of the desk rose and fell in steady waves, as if the bones were sleeping, lost in a dream. Tall, intricately carved bookshelves covered the back wall, the grimy spines of the books looking cracked and worn. Near the fireplace, a teacup floated several inches above a side table as if caught on a current of warm air. It moved in an endless crazy-eight pattern, its handle dusty, its contents long ago evaporated.
Oona raised one eyebrow at Uncle Alexander.
He read her expression well. “I am quite serious, Oona. There may come a day, after you have taken over the position of Wizard of Dark Street, that the Glass Gates fall. It is a possibility that every Wizard must prepare for, no matter how unlikely it is to happen. Because if the gates do fall, and Dark Street is open to the Land of Faerie, then it would be your responsibility to tap into the magic of Pendulum House and to protect not only Dark Street against a faerie invasion but also all of New York and the World of Man beyond.”
Oona frowned. “You know, I dislike that term, Uncle.”
“World of Man.”
The Wizard shook his head. “I do not understand. That is what it is called. What is there to not like?”
Deacon cleared his throat. “She means that she does not like the use of the word
“But it is a fitting description,” the Wizard reasoned. “It is the world where men have ruled and lived for centuries.”
Oona’s mouth flattened into a straight line. “Not just men, but also women. And boys. And girls.”
The Wizard pressed his pipe to his lips and puffed. He leaned back, nodding thoughtfully. “And what would you suggest?”
“The World of Humans,” Oona said.
The Wizard looked inquisitively at Deacon.
Deacon clacked his beak before answering: “Don’t look at me. I didn’t put the idea into her head.”
“Certainly not,” Oona said. “Deacon would have us call it the World of Birds.”
“There are more birds in the World of Man than there are men, women, and children put together,” Deacon said wisely.
“Yes, well, Deacon would know that, wouldn’t he?” said the Wizard.
Her uncle was referring to the fact that the raven was not only gifted with the ability to speak, but he also had an impressive number of books stored in his head, including the entire
, an extensive set of reference books containing texts on nearly all things magical.
Oona looked from Deacon to her uncle, her jaw jutting out in frustration. Neither of them was taking her seriously. It was infuriating.
“Let me guess,” the Wizard said. He puffed several times on his pipe and then exhaled a cloud of smoke that formed into a woman’s face. The likeness of the smoky face to that of their new housemaid was astonishing. “You got this idea from our new cleaning maid: Mrs. Carlyle.”
Oona’s frown deepened. Why did her uncle think it unlikely that she had come up with the idea on her own? Did he think she did not see the inequality between men and women in their society? Of course, what he had suggested was true, their new housemaid had indeed introduced her to the idea of discrimination against women. Mrs. Carlyle had many progressive ideas, especially those about women’s rights, which Oona found fascinating.
Oona had come to appreciate the presence of another female in their house. Even if they could not afford a full-time live-in maid, it was still pleasant to have the house cleaned on a daily basis. Pendulum House may have been instilled with immense magical powers, but the Magicians of Old—who had created the house nearly five centuries ago, as a home for the first official Wizard—had not implemented any self-cleaning spells. There were rooms Oona did not dare enter for fear of stirring up layers of ancient dust or getting tangled in a labyrinth of cobwebs.
But more than having a clean house, it was Mrs. Carlyle’s intelligent and well-informed conversation that had inspired Oona in the month since the maid had been hired. Still, it irked Oona to know that her uncle believed her incapable of having such ideas of her own.
She gave the Wizard a severe look. “You know, there is a
running for a seat on the Dark Street Council this year.”
“I do know,” the Wizard said. “Molly Morgana Moon has threatened to run for more than ten years. She seems an ideal candidate. It’s too bad she won’t win.”
Oona’s hands dropped to her hips. “How can you know that? Voting day is still four days away.”
Deacon clicked his beak before uttering: “He knows because Mrs. Moon is running against Tobias Fink, the current council member . . . a suspected associate of Red Martin.”
“So?” Oona said.
“So,” Deacon continued, “he has all of Red Martin’s considerable wealth to help him win votes.”
“To help him
votes would be more accurate,” the Wizard said.
Deacon nodded agreement.
Oona shook her head in disgust. Red Martin, the ultra reclusive owner of the Nightshade Hotel and Casino, was the infamous head of the Dark Street criminal underground. Despite the fact that he was wanted on a stack of criminal charges, including masterminding a plot to imprison the Wizard, it was known that Red Martin had many of the Dark Street Council members in his pocket.
“But Red Martin is wanted by the police,” Oona said. “He is in hiding.”
“But he is still in charge,” the Wizard said. He let out another cloud of smoke, this time obscuring his face and body completely, his hands poking through the smoke like those of a puppeteer. “He’s running things from behind the scenes, just as he always has. And also, if you ask me, I’m afraid that the voters are not ready to vote for a female politician.” The Wizard held up a hand as Oona opened her mouth to protest, and then waved the smoke away. “I know—it is ridiculous. I, myself, will be voting for Molly Morgana Moon because I believe in the principles she stands for: a crackdown on crime and more money for literacy and education. Yet I can’t help but wonder, is Dark Street ready to vote for a female council member when it has been only ten years since women gained the right to vote here?”
Oona’s eyebrows shot up in surprise. “Only ten years ago?”
“That is correct,” the Wizard said. He removed his wand from his pocket and pointed it toward the window. An image appeared on the glass of a woman in a jail cell. “And outside the Iron Gates, in New York City and the world beyond, women still do not have the right to vote.”
“It is true,” Deacon said in his matter-of-fact tone. “Only a few years ago, a woman by the name of Susan B. Anthony was the first woman to vote in a United States presidential election . . . but she was arrested for doing so because it was illegal, and was put on trial for it.”
The Wizard lowered his wand, and the image of the woman in the jail cell faded away.
Oona’s fingers pressed into her palms. It was beyond frustrating to learn that, in the modern age of 1878, women were still treated as if their thoughts and opinions were not important. She wondered what could be done about it.
The Wizard smiled at her, and his smile made her even more cross. How could he be so amused by this injustice?
Once again he held up his hand, as if warding off her thoughts. “I was just thinking that you remind me of your mother. She was on the forefront of the fight to gain women the right to vote here on Dark Street.”
Oona was taken by surprise. She had not known this about her mother. She was both elated and saddened to learn of it; elated because she had secretly hoped her mother would have been proud of Oona’s interest in women’s rights, but saddened because her mother was not alive to share in it.
Oona could feel the guilt and loss begin to rise up within her, and rather than pursue the matter, she changed the subject.
“You were saying . . . about battle training?”
The Wizard leaned forward, his long gray beard wafting above the desk. “Ah, yes. The training. There will be four days of tests, consisting of various magical challenges that you must overcome. They will be quite difficult, I assure you. And then on the fifth day you will face a sort of ancient rite of passage: a challenge that will require all of the magical skills you have been tested on in the previous days. The first test will begin today, at three o’clock. Here in the house.”
“Today?” Oona said, startled. “But . . .”
“I was planning on visiting the new library today.”
The Wizard exhaled another cloud of pipe smoke and peered at her through one eye. “Weren’t you just there yesterday?”
Deacon cleared his throat. “And the day before that.”
Oona’s face flushed red. “Yes, well, I have a lot of reading to do.”
Deacon tutted and Oona was tempted to nudge him off her shoulder. Deacon knew her true reason for visiting the new library so often, and she could only hope that he would keep his beak shut about it.
She cleared her throat. “It really is a marvel, Uncle. The new library, I mean. It’s so much larger than the old one.”
The Wizard nodded thoughtfully. “Of course, we have one of the finest
libraries on the street right here in Pendulum House. Certainly the greatest
library this side of the Glass Gates. No need to venture out.” He squinted at Oona through a plume of smoke. “Unless, of course, your fascination with the new library has to do with something other than books.”
Oona did her best to restrain her grin. “Why, I can’t imagine what you mean, Uncle. Why else would I wish to visit the library?”
“Three o’clock. That gives us six hours to prepare for the battle training.”
Oona and Deacon moved purposefully down the Pendulum House hallway. Beneath Oona’s feet, the carpet changed color with each step, while the wallpaper kept pace with her stride, its squiggly Victorian patterns moving like swarms of swimming jellyfish.
“What do you imagine the test will consist of?” she asked.
“I’m sure I have no idea,” Deacon replied.
Oona came to an abrupt halt, the shapes in the wallpaper crashing into one another as she did so. It was unlike Deacon not to know something about the magical world.
“You mean to say there is nothing in the
about these battle tests? According to Uncle Alexander, every Wizard’s apprentice has had to go through them.”
Deacon nodded. “That is precisely what I am saying. It would seem that the Wizards have purposefully kept such secrets . . . well . . . secret. That is to say, out of public knowledge. The
is public information. Anyone with a library card can have access to it, so there is no information there to be had.”
A heavy weight seemed to drop into Oona’s stomach, and she knew it was not from her breakfast. It was anxiety, and that kind of anxiety usually came from one thing: not knowing something that she needed to know.
Sensing her frustration, Deacon added: “There are many other sources on magic in the Pendulum House library,
books not available to the general public. Perhaps we could find something there.”
Oona snapped her fingers, and the squiggling patterns in the wallpaper scattered like retreating insects. “That is no doubt why Uncle Alexander mentioned the house’s private library. He was giving me a clue. Come, Deacon, let us unravel this mystery and prepare for battle.”
She arrowed a finger and began to march down the hallway, followed by a procession of squiggly wallpaper patterns, all marching in sync to Oona’s decisive stride.
They entered the library to the sound of giggling. At first Oona could not tell where the sound was coming from. Unlike a normal library, which would usually be composed of straight walls and shelves filled with books, the Pendulum House library gave the impression that one was entering a lush forest.
Thick trunked trees grew out of the floor and up the crooked walls, their branches and limbs holding what must have been thousands of leather-bound books, most of which looked so old and untouched that they had become part of the trees themselves.
One of the biggest rooms in the house, it was an easy place in which to get lost. The forest of books twisted and turned, with tables fashioned out of knobby tree roots and large spotted mushrooms for seats. Countless vinelike ladders gave access to the books above.