Mentee Name: Allison Ziegler
Category: Young Adult
Word Count: 87,000
When the Church launches a hunt for spell-casters in her city, apprentice sorcerer Hazel pledges the fire in her fingertips to fighting back. But as murder and magic mingle in Allegheny City, Hazel may have as much to fear from her fellow sorcerers as the Church that wants her dead.
Hazel Congelier weaves her way through the afternoon bustle of downtown Allegheny City. Her pocket watch ticks out an insistent rhythm, and a black cat of delicate proportions matches her hurried pace. Newsboys shout, trolleys squeal, and spidery Crawlers drag their carriages with an eight-legged clang. And yet, the footfalls of a policeman carry sharp as church bells through the coal-smoke air.
She spotted him when she turned the corner, gun at his hip and whistle on his lips. Nothing in Hazel’s appearance marks her the scary blasphemer she just happens to be. She knows this. Except maybe he’ll suspect the cat at her ankles isn’t an ordinary cat; maybe he’ll see the nervous glint in her eye. Maybe he’ll want to know what she’s hiding, and maybe he’ll find out.
I’m sorry, officer. I was just going to meet my master for a welcome party in a secret haven for sorcery and the like. Spell casting is punishable by death, you say? No, I was not aware.
Hazel ducks into the alley at the center of the block and presses herself into the shadows against grimy brick. She counts the passersby to the runaway rhythm of blood in her ears. One, a well-dressed working girl with t-strap toes. Two, a fat cat businessman with a comb-over. Three, the blue-uniformed officer with deafening footsteps.
He saunters by without so much a glance in her direction, heading off to stop more obvious criminals and freeing her to face a magical door.