The Sorcerer Spindlecroft was entered for the grand magician’s contest, a contest that held only once every hundred years. It was to be held in the fabled and magnificent city of Cirenthia, and was open to the best wizard’s, warlocks, witches and sorcerer’s throughout the land. Spindlecroft had missed out on winning the contest previously, due, or so he maintained, to the underhanded skulduggery perpetrated by the wizard Runcible. He had never forgotten it and was determined to have his revenge this time come what may. Unfortunately, the natural choice to take with him to act as his apprentice was his nephew Flott-Bot, who had broken his leg, so effectively was out of the running. This meant that Spindlecroft was obliged (much against his better judgement) to settle for second best, and so his dogsbody, Tarmy fit-for-nothing, was seconded instead. A half-wit was not an ideal choice to act as an apprentice, not when so much rested on things going smoothly, so Tarmy’s friend Witheringly was roped in to help – the reasoning being that two half-wits should at least provide one whole wit. It was a decision Spindlecroft was to come to regret.