Score falls victim to a deadly illness with only one cure: stopping the mysterious person behind this magical attack. Determined to save their friend, Helaine and Pixel go to Score's hometown, the Earth city of New York, to seek out his attacker, who is using Score's most precious item to hurt him: his mother's amulet.
Finding the amulet proves to be difficult on Earth-an unfamiliar world of cars, skyscrapers, and guns for Helaine and Pixel-where their magical powers are severely weakened. Luckily, the trio stumbles upon a wealthy businessman who promises to help them in return for curing his disabled daughter-but is he really on their side? And then there's Bad Tony, Score's abusive father, fresh from jail, who shows up with gun-toting thugs to kidnap his critically-ill son. Will Helaine and Pixel find the amulet in time to save their dying friend?
"synopsis" may belong to another edition of this title.
John Peel was born in 1954 in Nottingham, England. He attended Nottingham University and began his writing career as the editorial assistant for England's Apparel Production and Marketing. He later worked as a comic-strip writer for Marvel Comics in London, and was until recently the overseas television critic for England's Starburst magazine. Since immigrating to the U.S.A. in 1981, John Peel has worked as a contributing writer and editor for numerous media-based magazines. He now writes novels full-time from his home on Long Island, where he resides with his wife, Nan, their wirehair fox terrier, Dashiell, their orange, spotted tabby, Amika, and their miniature pinschers, Loki (aptly named after the Norse god of mischief and destruction), Bartleby, Shadow, Reggie, Tievel, Rocky, Anubis Princess and Lady Penelope.
He has just sold his first film script, Haunting Adrian, which is expected to commence shooting in the near future.
"He must come to Earth," Toshiro said, looking down at the girl in the wheelchair. "Everything has been set in motion. The trap has been laid."
The young girl nodded. It seemed almost to exhaust her. "Score is my only hope," she said softly. "My only chance to be freed from this prison. But will all three of them come? The amulet can only compel Score."
The Japanese man moved to stare out the window. "We have used what meager powers we have," he replied. "I have managed to see something of what has happened on other worlds. We know Score has bonded with two friends, Helaine and Pixel. I do not think it likely that they will abandon their friend. Quite the contrary, I am almost certain that they will insist on accompanying him to Earth."
"And then?" the girl prompted. She sounded hopeful at last.
"Then our . . . business associate, Mr. Caruso, will find them for us," Toshiro replied.
The girl shifted uncomfortably. "We seem to be placing a great deal of reliance on this man," she observed softly. She gestured at a computer on the desk beside her. "I have done some checking up on him. He is generally known as 'Bad Tony' and was in jail until a few days ago. Can he be trusted?"
"No," Toshiro answered honestly. "He has admitted that he has a reason of his own for wanting Score. He is, after all, the boy's father. But while he cannot be trusted, he is predictable. He will not betray us, because we have the power to return him to the custody of the police. He barely escaped from the jail that held him the first time. A second attempt is not likely to be successful. He has a great fear of confinement, and this makes him controllable. Knowing the weakness of an enemy gives you power over him; knowing the weakness of an ally makes him unlikely to desert you." Toshiro lowered his head slightly. "Mr. Caruso can be managed, I am certain, and his men will capture the trio when they return to Earth. Very shortly, they will be in my hands." He turned back to the girl. "And then Score will have to help free you from your current state."
The girl slapped her hands down on her unfeeling legs. "He must help me!" she cried. "I cannot endure much more of this waiting!"
"He will help you," promised Toshiro. "I will see to it. Score will help you-or else face my wrath."
When Score awoke, it was to an imme-diate surge of pain. He gasped and struggled to sit upright.
"Take it easy," Helaine said to him. The concern in her voice surprised Score. "You've had a rough experience."
"You're telling me?" Score asked. His chest ached. "I feel like someone tried to rip my heart out." He looked around the small bedroom in the castle the three had adopted for themselves. Pixel and Oracle were also there. Both looked as worried as Helaine sounded. "What happened to me?"
"You collapsed in pain," Pixel said. "We brought you here so you could recover." He glanced at the black-clad man beside him. "Uh, Oracle has some bad news."
Score tried to recover some of his normal humor. "When has he ever brought us good news?" he asked. Then he looked at the messenger. He wasn't actually real, not in the normal sense of the word. He was a projection of some kind who had once served the Triad. Now he was free, and he had decided to help the three of them. Whenever he showed up, though, it always spelled trouble. "So what's the bad news this time? I'll never be able to play the violin again?"
"It's worse than that, I'm afraid," Oracle replied. "You are not likely to get better in the immediate future. Quite the contrary, in fact. You are in serious trouble."
This would have depressed Score, except he could hardly get more depressed than he was right now. He could remember fainting because of the agony that had torn through his body. The idea that it could get worse made him sick. "So what's wrong with me? A bad heart or something? Incurable cancer?"
Oracle shook his head. "No, it is nothing medical. It is a magical attack, and it is just beginning."
Score sighed and lay back on his bed. "Oy. Another mad magician?"
"No," Oracle replied. "This is actually low-level magic. Very primitive. And, unfortunately, very effective."
Helaine glared at him. "Can you stop being cryptic for a minute and actually explain what you're talking about?" she demanded.
"I'll try. I'm sure you recall that when you went up against Sarman, he used dolls to control you. To animate those dolls, he needed your true name, form, and substance. Once he had those, you were forced to do whatever he commanded."
Pixel caught on. "So you're saying that someone, somewhere has made a doll of Score and is using it against him."
"Not a doll, no," Oracle answered. "This is very primitive magic. What they're doing is using something very personal that belonged to Score, and they've put a wasting spell on it. This spell will attack him through the object they have, causing cumulative harm. It will attack progressively until it kills Score."
"Two questions," Score broke in, before his friends could start. "First, what does this person have of mine? Second, how do I stop them?"
Oracle shrugged. "What they have, I cannot say, only that it isn't something simple, like your old clothes. It must be something intimately connected with you. Something that means a lot to you."
Score snorted. "There's very little that's important to me," he stated. "So what about question two?"
"That's easier and harder to answer," Oracle admitted with a sigh.
"Marvelous," Score complained. "Trust you not to have a straightforward answer for me."
"It's easy in the sense that you must track down the object and recover it," Oracle explained. "It's harder because I do not know what it is, where it is, who has it, or why they are doing this to you. You will need to know all of that before you can recover it."
"Then it sounds as if we're going to have to get busy," Helaine said practically.
"At least we have a good idea of where to start," added Pixel. "The only place Score could really have left anything that's valuable to him is back on Earth. We've been with him pretty constantly ever since, and we'd have noticed if he'd left anything valuable anywhere on the way."
"When I left Earth, I didn't exactly have a lot of possessions," Score told his friends. "My mother died when I was nine, and the less I saw of my father, the happier I was. He never gave me presents, and I never gave him anything."
"Nevertheless, there must be something there that is of great value to you in some way," insisted Oracle. "Perhaps you will discover what it is soon."
"And that means a trip to see Shanara," Pixel decided. "She's our best bet here. If anyone can help us again, she can."
Score realized that Pixel was correct. Shanara was another magic-user who lived on a world called Rawn. She wasn't as powerful as the three of them, but she had some very strong specialized magic. She was also far more experienced than they were, having practiced her magic for at least ten years longer than they had. She specialized in magic that could disguise her true appearance, enabling her to become any kind of living creature she desired. Score thought this was something of a waste because in her normal form she was a very beautiful woman.
It was another of her abilities that they needed now. Shanara excelled in discovering information. She had a magic pool of water that she used to see other worlds and peoples. She called this magical sight "scrying." Using this, she might be able to locate what was being used against Score.
Helaine nodded, obviously having reached the same conclusion. She looked down at Score. "You must stay here and rest," she said. "Pixel and I will go and see if she can help us."
"Forget it," Score answered. "I'm the one who's being attacked. And if Oracle is right, the attacks are only going to get worse. I'm not staying here, waiting to die. I'm coming with you. In between attacks, I'm perfectly all right." This was actually a lie; he did, in fact, feel terrible. But he simply couldn't just lie there hoping his friends would save his life.
"You're being impractical and stubborn," Helaine complained.
"Yes, and I know they're usually your fields of expertise," Score joked, "but for this once, I'm practicing them, too." He managed to sit up. "Anyway, it looks like the trail leads to Earth, and you'd be totally lost there. It's my home, so you'll need me to help you survive. Besides, I could really go for a slice of pizza."
Pixel gently placed his hand on Score's shoulder. "You don't fool me," he said. "You're not in as good a shape as you pretend." Then he shook his head. "Unfortunately, you're also right that we would need you on Earth, if that is where the trail leads us. So I agree that you'd be better off coming with us."
Helaine scowled. "You're on his side?" she grumbled. "I think he should stay here and conserve his strength."
"Even if the suspense kills me?" complained Score. "No way." He took a deep breath and managed to stand up. The room stopped swaying after about twenty seconds. "I can manage. And I want to find out who's doing this to me. Then I'll rip his heart out of his chest with my bare fingers and see how he likes it."
Shaking her head, Helaine said, "Well, I seem to be outvoted. You're coming along, then. But I still think you're being very foolish."
Score, managed a weak grin. "Hey, you want me to stop a lifetime of habit now?" He put a hand on her arm. "I know you're only thinking of what's best for me," he added seriously. "Trust me, going with you is a lot better than waiting here. I couldn't stand that. Put yourself in my position. If this were you being attacked, would you let Pixel and me go off without you?"
Helaine smiled slightly. "You'd never make it without me," she replied. "All right, you've made your point. But I don't want you to complain later that you made the wrong decision."
"Cross my heart," Score promised. "If I have one left after the next attack." He turned to Oracle. "How long will that be?"
Oracle shrugged. "I cannot say. This was the second attack, and it came eight hours after your first. Perhaps it will be another eight hours before the next, or perhaps it will be less. It is possible that the attacks will come closer together as they go on."
"Well, you're a real ray of sunshine," grumbled Score. He turned back to Helaine and Pixel. "Then it sounds like the less time we waste, the better. We should head for Shanara's palace as soon as possible. You know, once upon a time, I thought that magic could solve any problems. But the more we learn, the less confident I feel. And the less safe." He grimaced. "Not that I've ever felt safe since my mother died." Even though it had been years before, the memory of this brought a lump to his throat. His mother had been the only person in his life Score had ever loved or trusted. Until, maybe, Helaine and Pixel. And Thunder, the leader of the unicorn herd he had befriended. He couldn't remember much about his mother, except an impression of dark hair, a radiant smile, and a vague memory of a locket.
A locket . . .
Score slapped his forehead. "Boy, am I ever dumb!"
"Well, you won't get any argument from me about that," Helaine promised him.
"I've just realized what it could be that we're looking for," Score explained. "I was thinking about my mother and how I don't remember much about her. But I do remember a locket she used to wear. She would sing me to sleep at night, and I would see that locket swaying back and forth over my face. She had a lock of my baby hair in it from the first time I ever had a haircut."
"That could be it!" agreed Oracle, excitedly. "Do you have any idea where it is?"
"Well, I know where it isn't," Score answered. "Shortly before I came onto the Diadem, I went back to my old apartment. The only thing I found was a letter my mother had hidden there. There was no sign of the locket. I guess my father must have taken it."
"So we look for your father then?" asked Pixel.
Helaine said sympathetically, "I know how your father mistreated you. This can't be easy for you, having to face him again."
"Face him?" Score shook his head. "We can't do that. He's in prison. Which means he can't possibly have the locket. It's got to be somewhere else, and I don't have a clue where." To be honest, he was glad that he wouldn't have to deal with Bad Tony again. He'd lived in terror of his father for as long as he could remember. He'd endured cruel words and crueler beatings, and he still shivered at the thought of ever having to meet him again. That was about the only thing to be glad of right now: that whatever happened on Earth, he wouldn't have to face his father again.
"About this title" may belong to another edition of this title.
Book Description 2005. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Paperback. Score falls victim to a deadly illness with only one cure: stopping the mysterious person behind this magical attack. Determined to save their friend, Helaine and Pixel go to Score's homet.Shipping may be from multiple locations in the US or from the UK, depending on stock availability. 208 pages. 0.186. Bookseller Inventory # 9780738706139
Book Description Llewellyn Publications, 2005. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Bookseller Inventory # DADAX0738706132
Book Description Llewellyn Publications, 2005. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Never used!. Bookseller Inventory # P110738706132
Book Description 2005. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Paperback. Score falls victim to a deadly illness with only one cure: stopping the mysterious person behind this magical attack. Determined to save their friend, Helaine and Pixel go to .Shipping may be from our Sydney, NSW warehouse or from our UK or US warehouse, depending on stock availability. 208 pages. 0.186. Bookseller Inventory # 9780738706139
Book Description Llewellyn Publications. PAPERBACK. Book Condition: New. 0738706132 New Condition. Bookseller Inventory # NEW7.0291338