Title: MAGICK 7.0
Word count: 85,000
Genre: MG Fantasy
There are two kinds of quests: the good kind and the bad kind. The good kind leads to pots of gold and unicorns and everlasting fame. The bad kind gets you and everyone you love killed. Horribly and painfully. Possibly by zombie sharks.
Fourteen-year-old Anne is leaving the orphanage she calls home to embark on a quest—and it isn’t the good kind. That’s what happens when you accidentally fulfill a prophecy. She could opt out, but then as per Paragraph 5 Subparagraph 3 of the Official Questing Regulations she’d be exiled forever and all of her friends would be tossed into a dungeon. But hey, at least she has options.
Slay a silver dragon that doesn’t exist (that’s bad).
In just three days (that’s worse).
With only the help of a wizard with a platypus for an arm, a disgraced academic with no practical experience, a fused-together dwarf and elf, and a sassy holographic sparrow (that downright sucks).
Oh yeah, and to top it all off, what Anne doesn’t know—what no one knows, in fact—is that finishing this quest doesn’t actually save the world. It destroys it (so, you know, not exactly environmentally-friendly).
If she uncovers the truth before it’s too late, she’ll be a HeroTM.
If she doesn’t, everyone dies (that also sucks).
First 250 words:
At Saint Lupin’s Institute for Perpetually Wicked and Hideously Unattractive Children they didn’t play favorites. Each orphan was treated with the same amount of disdain and neglect. They were provided with one threadbare tunic, one pair of ill-fitting shoes, and one dusty and moth-eaten overcoat. They were given a daily ration of gruel, and they were bathed exactly once per month, just before going on duty in the coal mine. This, incidentally, was consistent with the advice given in the popular self-help guide, How to Raise Orphans and Make Money.
There were three ways to leave Saint Lupin’s. The first was to get adopted. Perhaps by a nice family who would whisk you away to your long dreamed-of castle on a hill—one surrounded by forests and glens, filled with interesting and friendly people, rich with history and bright with promise and hope. The board of governors was extremely pleased with its track record in this regard as it had managed to prevent all adoptions since the Institute’s foundation.
The second way was to reach the age of fourteen and be unceremoniously kicked out on your bottom.
The third way was to embark upon a quest. Although quests were heavily regulated (so they could then be heavily taxed), there were no restrictions regarding age or background and thus anyone could apply. The secret to a successful application was first to fulfill a prophecy (also heavily taxed). At Saint Lupin’s, both of these topics, that is, quests and prophecies, were considered particularly taboo subjects of inquiry.