The novel is inspired by the Enchanter game by Infocom of 1983, although it is clear that the novel has a different protagonist than the game, and that events in the novel take place somewhat afterwards.
Library of Congress Card Catalog Number: 88-91365.
- Chapter 1: Anesi sits on the shore of the Flathead Ocean and daydreams about unicorns in the sky. He creates a water sculpture of a rabbit using a magical spell that he alone knows. His friend Fidget shoots an arrow at the sculpture; he doesn't expect to hit it, but he does, and the touch of something real breaks the spell. A little later, Anesi spots a boat out in the water, which is odd since there is no port in this northern part of world and nearly no one lives here except for Anesi's and Fidget's families. Suspecting pirates, he warns his father Choboz and his mother Mildi, and the family hides in the smoke hole away from the house. Despite this, they are quickly discovered by the group of wizards who have traveled here: Ishtur Glee, Khare the Watcher, Shad Treeskimmer, Grimbol the Great (who the others call Grimbol Grumble), Finister (who sleeps at any opportunity), and Raskil Worrysnot. Grimbol casts vaxum at a hostile Choboz to make him friendly.
- Chapter 2: In the house, Anesi and his family meet the elderly leader of these wizards: Shuboz Shuboz, the Grand Master of the Thriff Guild of Enchanters, Sorcerers, and Wizards. He explains that they have come here both to escape the influence of The Great Terror, a dangerous and magical entity reawoken in Miznia far to the south, and which wizards are especially vulnerable to. They also came to ask for Anesi's help against the Terror. Anesi is the grandson of the famous wizard Stribel Wartsworth, has studied at Galepath University (although just for a semester, when Choboz pulled him out), and the discoverer of a new spell. His level of talent and his innocence will both be needed to defeat the Terror.
- Chapter 3: Khare reviews with Anesi the principles of magic: presence, incantation, and unusual effect. He also gifts Anesi with a new Chevaux spell book and several spells—frotz (create light), nitfol (talk to creatures), blorb (which can hide and protect small objects), and izyuk (a basic flying spell)—each of which Anesi copies into his book using gnusto. Anesi practices using izyuk. Choboz leaves the cottage without explanation. Mildi explains that Choboz wanted to be a wizard and perhaps married her to get close to her father Stribel, but Choboz never had the talent or the imagination needed for wizardry.
- Chapter 4: Late at night, Anesi wakes up. His mother is still awake, sewing, and his father hasn't returned. Anesi goes out to look for him. Khare tells him that the wrongness Anesi feels in the woods is a servant of the Terror who has awoken in response to the Terror's desire. Khare gives Anesi a zorkmid medallion. The wizards and Anesi begin the search for Choboz.
- Chapter 5: Fidget's house is found destroyed. Fidget is alive but in severe shock, unable to speak. A huge hellhound attacks and ensnares Khare by his cloak and whips him around. Anesi kills the beast by casting izyuk on both himself and a large heavy post, flying above the hellhound, then removing the presence on his spell, dropping the post point first through the hellhound's skull. Anesi acquires several painful splinters in his arms as the post falls; he falls too, but is magically caught by Shad Treeskimmer. Shuboz Shuboz explains that the hellhound was a servant of the Great Terror.
- Chapter 6: Mildi, seeing Anesi hurt, has had enough and orders the wizards to leave, then starts to remove Anesi's splinters by the weak candlelight. When Anesi offers to cast frotz for more light, Mildi angrily tells him to forget magic and that from now on they will be a normal family. When Anesi objects, she slaps him. Anesi grabs his spell book and frotzes nearly everything in sight, screaming he doesn't want to be "normal" when he can do things like this, and storms out into the woods. Fidget tracks him there; Fidget himself glows with light from Anesi frotz spells. Anesi reminds himself that Fidget learned woodlore and tracking from Felbor the Hermit and suggests they look for the hellhound's lair.
- Chapter 7: They find the treasure-filled lair and help themselves to the jewels. Anesi finds two new scrolls: vaxum and krebf (repair wilful damage), which he gnustoes into his spellbook. A group of kobolds attack, and Fidget regains his voice. The kobolds are routed by the arrival of Cubby the brogmoid, who was Felbor's pet and companion.
- Chapter 8: Cubby has two personalities: a tough-talking street brawler and a timid three-year old. Khare finds the trio and tells Anesi to start his journey to Miznia immediately: the other six servants of the Terror have begun to search for him here. Fidget and Cubby assert themselves, saying they will go with Anesi. Khare gives Anesi a change of clothing, a new cloak, an infotater, and berzio potion to sustain them when food and drink is hard to find. Khare also warns Anesi not to use magic unnecessarily, since the servants can sense when magic is in use.
- Chapter 9: Further in the woods, the trio meets Tyrillee, a dryad, who adds herself to the party. She is lonely.
- Chapter 10: The group find a wasteland on the other side of the forest and hide from the searching servants. Tyrillee hid by entering a tree; Tyrillee tells Anesi that every tree contains its own world. They discover that berzio tastes differently to everyone; it tastes like your favorite food, whatever it is. The plain is broken by a deep gorge, spanned by a bridge made from a dragon's skeleton.
- Chapter 11: Across the grisly bridge, they spend another night in the waste before finding a ruined keep. Anesi risks using rezrov to magically unlock the gate.
- Chapter 12: They meet Humble Bellows and his puppet of King Dimwit Flathead. Humble Bellows pretends to be a wizard but confesses he is just a servant. The master of the keep, Dizpoz, returns, but Anesi manages to vaxum him. Tyrillee is missing.
- Chapter 13: Dizpoz and Anesi exchange strained pleasantries as Bellows takes the rest of the group away to get provisions. The keep is called Arbroneth, and it shakes violently as something roars. Dizpoz gets away from Anesi. Bellows tries to steal Anesi's spellbook but fails. In a underground "cell", Anesi finds his friends trying to free a chained red dragon. Dizpoz is now warded against vaxum and there is a scuffle. Anesi rezroves the dragon's chains and it is freed. Everyone flees the keep.
- Chapter 14: Dizpoz transforms into a blue dragon and attacks the red dragon. As they fight, Humble Bellows explains to the party that Dizpoz thinks of the red one as his "precious", his most prized possession. Bellows gives two scrolls he stole from Dizpoz to Anesi: radnog, a fireball spell; and yonk, a spell that enhances any other spell. Anesi gnustoes radnog, but his friends warn him to stop doing so much magic, so the yonk scroll is put away. The dragon battle ends and the red dragon lands beside them. Anesi casts nitfol so they can understand him. The dragon bats its eyelashes and says: "Well, hello there, sailors! New in port?"
- Chapter 15: The red dragon introduces himself as Chuck; we learn that Dizpoz is dead and that the bridge they crossed earlier was Chuck's mate, a green dragon named Chet. Friendship with the dragon is forged. The berzio potion is gone, but Humble Bellows, who still has his puppet, also has bread and cheese which he shares. Chuck offers to fly everyone as far south as old Mareilon. Humble Bellows doesn't want to ride the dragon, but doesn't want to be left alone in the desert either. After some argument, Bellows boards the dragon's back with the rest of them.
- Chapter 16: The flight of the dragon follows the Frigid River south to the Shallow Sea and Largoneth Castle. It was there that the Great Terror was imprisoned until either the evil wizard Krill or the apprentice enchanter who defeated Krill inadvertantly weakened the Terror's prison and allowed it to escape. (This refers to the events in Enchanter.)
- Chapter 17: They land and disembark and say goodbye to Chuck at old Mareilon, destroyed long ago by an accidental zimbor fire spell. As they try to sleep in an abandoned house, they are attacked by grues. After Humble Bellows wards them off with a frotzed stone, the grues howl for the rest of the night. Tyrillee is missing again.
- Chapter 18: Everyone is either fearful or having nightmares. Tyrillee returns at dawn; she fled from the queasiness of a house made of dead wood to sleep inside a living tree. Grues attack in the day by throwing rocks at them; one grue even braves direct sunlight. Tyrillee's right arm and Anesi's right thigh are injured as they flee into an open space south of the city.
- Chapter 19: Humble Bellows bandages Anesi's leg. Anesi uses izyuk to avoid walking. They cross the open space to the Backbone Hills where they encounter a surmin. Fidget scares the surmin with an arrow, and it breaks wind. Tyrillee disappears into a tree and Anesi flies out of range, but the other three get the stench full force and run as fast as they can into the nearest stream, strip, and wash themselves and their clothing. When it is pointed out that they all needed a bath anyway, Anesi is forced by peer pressure to strip and join them in the icy water.
- Chapter 20: As their garments dry, Anesi discovers that yonk cannot be gnustoed; he'll only be able to use yonk once. Tyrillee rejoins the group, and the naked menfolk run into the stream for modesty. She is unconcerned, doffs her poncho and joins them in their "swim". She has also brought Gryphon's Breath flowers to heal Anesi's leg wound. Fidget makes a crutch for Anesi to use. Tyrillee scolds Cubby when he tries to pick a flower; she claims that flowers are souls and that she asked permission to pick the Gryphon's Breath she brought for Anesi. The group arrives at the new Mareilon where the guards insults them and call the travelers "things".
- Chapter 21: Everyone is getting more argumentative and unkind. The group enters an inn and meet the owner, L. Rhonda. L. Rhonda thinks she recognizes Humble Bellows, calls them "things", but lets them buy beer and food. Fidget storms out after Anesi insults him. A brawl breaks out between the group and some miners in the inn. Anesi is forced to cast vaxum to save Cubby's life, but it's one spell too many. Fidget enters the inn at a run, yelling "they're coming!"
- Chapter 22: The servants of The Great Terror attack the inn. They are too large to enter, but they bash the walls and claw and chew the sides of the door. They escape through the kitchen with L. Rhonda into the narrow alley behind the inn, but this isn't safe either. Anesi flies up via izyuk and sees that it's too late to try to save Mareilon. Two servants have invaded the inn; Anesi destroys them with a massive radnog fireball. While the other servants reel from the shared pain of their fellows' deaths, L. Rhonda leads the group to her home. She names Humble Bellows as Steppen Wildroz. In a bedroom closet, Bellows opens a trapdoor and everyone descends the ladder except L. Rhonda, who is quickly packing her things and will leave the city by another route.
- Chapter 23: The group find themselves in the lost Great Underground Highway. Humble Bellows admits that L. Rhonda is one of his ex-wives, and he built the house over the Highway to that purpose. Anssi starts to hear the Terror speak to him directly. Casting a single frotz spell lights up the entire Highway, as every magical advertisement lights up in response.
- Chapter 24: The Highway takes them directly to Miznia; Anesi memorizes three spells while still underground. The city is Dolo Finis, the old capital of Miznia, built in the middle of swamp and jungle which has reclaimed it. Venomous and carnivorous spiderflowers float down from the sky, building webs around them. Anesi rezroves a door in an attempt to escape into a building, but the building's roof is open, and the deadly flowers are falling there as well. Anesi radnoges the web, and the group flees under a portcullis which falls behind them. Now the group is trapped in a courtyard with a well of snakes. Bellows spots the wheel house, and Anesi izyuks up there to open the portcullis again. But to get back down, he must learn izyuk again, and a harsh wind blows his spellbook away when he tries. The four servants, in bird form, encircle him.
- Chapter 25: The servants' dark magic creates the Great Terror incarnate in the shape of Choboz, Anesi's father. Anesi can't be certain this isn't really his father, who may have given himself to the Terror in exchange for the magic he craved. The Terror wants Anesi as his new servant, but Anesi resists, vowing never to serve him, and repels him with a massive frotz spell. Chuck and nearly twenty other dragons arrive, blasting the remaining servants. Chuck gets Anesi to the ground, and Anesi starts looking for his friends, but the Terror finds him first. Anesi stabs it with a dagger. Anesi is pulled away as Humble Bellows transforms into Anesi's lost grandfather, Stribel Wartsworth. The puppet becomes Stribel's spellbook. Stribel casts guncho to rip open a hole in space to suck in the Terror to somewhere else, but the ploy fails and the rip repairs itself without a victim. Tyrillee returns Anesi's spellbook to him and he learns the yonk spell. Anesi finally has a plan: He mocks the Terror, and Tyrillee drops down beside a morgia tree while Cubby drops down beside the Terror. Cubby grabs the Terror and throws it to Tyrillee who pulls it into the tree; she was the "spell" that Anesi's yonk amplified. The dryad reappears alone. The Terror has a whole world all to itself.
- Epilogue: Tyrillee stays in Miznia. Chuck flies the rest of the group north, dropping off Cubby and Fidget in Borphee, and Anesi and Stribel at Anesi's home. The wizards have altered the place somewhat. Stribel explains that he sensed the Terror quite some time ago, and had been trying to obtain the guncho spell that defeated Krill from Dizpoz by whatever means he could. His disguise also protected him from the Terror itself, and he couldn't trust anyone. Fidget returns via an aimfiz teleportation spell he bought in Borphee ("it was a stinkhole"). Fidget suggests hunting for the hoards of the seven servants. Anesi suggests just getting some hot chocolate for now.
Comments and Trivia
- Puns are used several times in the novel. In particular, every time Anesi introduces himself with "I'm Anesi", the listener thinks he said "I'm uneasy."
- Tyrillee prefers to be called a "dyriadnaiad", not a dryad.
- Dizpoz's refers to Chuck as his "precious" in much the same way as The Lord of the Rings' Gollum refers to The One Ring as his "precious".
- Although Chuck is rather obviously a gay dragon (stereotypical gay mannerisms and a same-sex partner), the terms "gay" and "homosexual" are never used.
- At the end of chapter 15, Chuck says that Anesi reminds him of another kid, although color-blind and with a terrible accent, who used to bring him string and sealing wax and other fancy stuff. The latter half of this refers to a boy named Jackie Paper in the song Puff, the Magic Dragon.
- Some of the geography in the novel doesn't agree with established Zork geography. For example, Largoneth Castle is in the westlands, and unless there are two Frigid Rivers, the Frigid River is in the eastlands. This is true with the Gray Mountains in this novel as well. It can be speculated that the Eastlands ones were named by Duncanthrax in homage of those in the Westlands.
- L. Rhonda's name may be a pun on L. Ron Hubbard's name. The "L" in her name stands for Letitia.
- Although Anesi claims that "dragons are so rare" in chapter 11, in chapter 25, Chuck returns with nearly twenty dragons, who he describes as the "Every-Third-Saturday-of-the-Month Leather Club" and "half the clientile of a particular bar" he used to haunt. Even in Zork, it's hard to imagine how a gay leather dragon bar large enough to hold forty dragons could possibly exist.