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On the list of five possible candidates to become the newest Magid on Earth, Mervin Thurless has the weirdest and most comic name. However, he's not funny in person. Not at all.

English, with a pointed nose, a pointed, jutting beard, and a face that tends to go mauve with rage any time he is thwarted in any way, Mervin Thurless is a fantasy writer who has recently returned from a speaking tour of Japan. He is now attending Phantasmacon -- a fantasy fiction convention in the fictional town of Wantchester, which just happens to be the location where Rupert Venables has set up his fatelines working to assemble all the Magid candidates on his list in one place so he can interview them.

Thurless's first direct appearance occurs as his battered old junker of a car gets to the car park at the convention hotel, only to find the way blocked by Maree Mallory and her young cousin Nick Mallory, who are doing the Witchy Dance for Luck next to their car, which has stopped right in the car park entrance.

Maree and Nick then proceed to take the last open spot in the car park, forcing Thurless to back out and drive off to park somewhere else. As Maree attempts to check into the room her aunt has presumably booked for her, it turns out that no room was reserved, so the conference manager gives her a vacant room in the convention room block, whose owner has not shown up yet. Naturally, that room belonged to Thurless, and he is absolutely furious at being shunted off to the backup hotel.

As the convention progresses, Thurless' mauve face and frequent tantrums are a regular feature, and it becomes clear to Rupert that this is an unstable character who is in no way suited to become a Magid.

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