Fantasy trilogy by Esther Friesner, consisting of Majyk By Accident (1993), Majyk By Hook or Crook (1994), and Majyk By Design (1995).
On the world of Orbix, "majyk" is a natural resource, the stuff that puts the spunk in spells. Kendar Gangle, student wizard, accidentally acquires the world's largest supply of majyk. (And a talking animal sidekick named Scandal, a mysterious creature from another world called a "cat".) Hilarity Ensues.
This series contains examples of:
- Accidental Marriage: About halfway through Majyk By Accident, Kendar is saddled with a Welfin wife when he takes her hand to go to dinner. She's pleased because she loathes the Welfin way of life, the other Welfies are pleased because it means they can make demands of Kendar, and nobody really cares what he thinks of it.
- Cats Have Nine Lives: Scandal. At one point, he loses half a life, the other half of which gets returned in the form of a kitten.
- Damsel in Distress: Played with.
- Mysti, introduced in Majyk By Accident, whose only source of distress is her Welfin relatives and who bullies Kendar into marrying her so she can leave the "jolly greensward ho" and stop skipping around like an idiot and her only REAL distress is when the curse hits her after Kendar refuses to follow through with a promise he made during the wedding vows. In the sequel, she becomes the swashbuckler with a secret identity, A Blade for Justice (and prefers to be referred to by his/her full name).
- In Majyk By Hook or Crook, Anisella, who wears nothing but chain mail, has a black belt in helo kiti and a green barette in po kipsi, and crumples like a McDonalds napkin when even barely brushed by wool... or any other fabric.
- Majyk By Design has a male example in Prince Boffin who has been turned into a toad but also a parody in Kendar's aunts (mercenary swordswomen) and his soon-to-be sister-in-law Dulcetta who, although she is generally the type of girl who would fall into this category, actually kidnapped the man whom everyone thought kidnapped her and hatched a scheme with him to write romance novels. When the main characters find her she is heard screaming for help with the help of a metric ton of Purple Prose and while she is recounting to them the story of what happened runs off to write when the characters paraphrase her cries as "Help me". She thought it was perfect. It also comes to light that her mother, who raised her to be a docile, dependent woman, was a barbarian swordswoman herself and only gave it up because she preferred regular bathing.
- Functional Magic: The series differentiates Magic (stage illusion) from Majyk (a pseudo-living force that puts the spunk into spells, the kick into cantrips, etc). Magique is a third tool but it's just Majyk from concentrate with lots of preservatives and has a tendency to make with the boomcrashtinkletinkle. The series also differentiates the Majyk used by humans (or cats) from to the Majyk ingrained in species like fairies, Welfies, or gods.
- Magic Ampersand: The game "Palaces & Puppies" is mentioned in Majyk By Hook or Crook.
- Magick: Parodied with "Majyk", and later in the series "Magique".
- Named After Somebody Famous: The local village idiots are named Lorrenz, Wot, and Evvon.
- No Celebrities Were Harmed: Curio the book-cover model, is a parody of Fabio.
- Our Elves Are Better: The Welfies are kind of a cross between elf and fairy and are snooty enough for both. In Welfie society, males are tall and willowy with the long blond hair and the pointy ears but are expert archers and rangers. How they hide in the woods wearing sequin-encrusted pink leotards is anybody's guess. Welfie warriors (a male-only occupation) are the only tribesmen allowed to eat meat besides the elders. Welfie elders communicate only psionically. All Welfies can change their size and do so as a matter of fashion. When they're small, they live in mushrooms and housing shortages are created when tall Welfies are a la mode. Female Welfies are expected to remain subservient and "foot it fleetly upon the merry greensward, ho" whilst gathering flowers and moonbeams and generally being all pretty and stuff. Some of them resent this.
- Samus Is a Girl: At one point in the trilogy, Kendar is rescued by a masked swashbuckler who identifies himself only as "a blade for justice". This eventually turns out to be his wife Mysti, disgruntled at being left at home while he's out on an adventure. Even after The Reveal, she keeps up the masquerade, finding swashbuckling to be a rewarding career.
- Screw Yourself: While the book doesn't get that far, in Majyk By Design, Scandal gets split up into a number of copies by villains (who can control the copies). By the end of the book, he reabsorbs them. Except for the one representing his female side, who being just a kitten was useless to them and out of the fight. He's accelerating her maturation, for this trope's purpose, with her full encouragement. (They are the only two cats in this world...)
- Sweet Polly Oliver: Majyk By Hook or Crook and Majyk By Design feature a Welfie swashbuckler who prefers to be called "A Blade for Justice". Blade turns out to be Kendar's wife, Mysti, disgruntled at being left at home while he's out on an adventure.
- Talking Animal: Scandal.
- Torches and Pitchforks: Majyk By Accident has a town that stages these regularly to get around an inconvenient law against dealing with witches. Trying to kill the witch isn't illegal, after all, and if the witch turns out to be too powerful and has to be appeased with trade goods, that's not the mob's fault. And if they find useful herbal remedies of completely unknown origin placed near her cottage, well, it must be their lucky day.
- True Love's Kiss: In Majyk By Design, Kendar's estranged wife asks him to turn himself into a frog, so she can use this to prove that she still loves him.
- Unholy Matrimony: Bibok and Calosta in Majyk By Design.
- World Shapes: The world of Orbix keeps changing its shape, due to being over-saturated with magic. At present it looks like a Moebius strip.