This is a story about the multiverse and what happens when you play with it. It is a story about Ankh-Morpork; wizards who don't exactly, well, wizz; and why by the time That Wossname is through with you you'll wish you were only dealing with something from the Dungeon Dimensions.
There are tales of universes just like the Disc but different. There are also tales of wizards who've gone to them. The problem isn't going. It's getting back. But that's only one problem. The real problem is when something goes wahooni-shaped and instead of going to a parallel universe you bring a little bit of that universe to you. This is sometimes referred to as the mountain coming to the prophet. It is better described as the mountain coming and squashing him flat.
And so when our story begins we find wizard Ponder Stibbons out cold by the Library entrance. Archchancellor Ridcully, never one to think without acting (although occasionally the other way round) threw a bucket of water at him. Unfortunately not just the contents; the bucket as well. However, this did wake the wizard up.
"I say! What was that all about?"
"You looked like you'd fainted."
"You'd faint too. There's an intruder in the library. Tall, dressed in black."
"Probably just an Assassin. The students can defend themselves."
"Assassins don't wear bloody great honking turbans like they're the Seriph of Al Khali!" Ponder exclaimed.
"You do have a point there. Maybe he's an emissary." The two wizards walked into the library, where they were greeted by a confused-looking orangutan.
"Seen anyone in here?" asked Ridcully.
"Oook," said the Librarian.
"He said a couple of undergraduates, but they ran away when this—this wossname—from another universe showed up," said a scraggly-looking wizard at a library desk.
"Thank you Rincewind. If you were half as good at wizardry as you were at languages..."
"I still wouldn't be very good at wizardry," Rincewind said dejectedly.
"All interdimensional personages in this library show yourselves! By order of the Archchancellor!" shouted Ridcully. In most libraries, it's considered impolite to shout. Ever since the Unseen University library got a book about the Band with Rocks In, and realized that the book played the band's songs constantly, it's considered bloody good sense to shout.
After Ridcully was finished shouting, a tall, dark and sinister man stepped out from behind a pillar. True to Ponder's word, he was indeed wearing a turban.
"You there! Are you Klatchian?" asked Ponder.
"Considering I do not know what 'Klatchian' is, I highly doubt it," the man said.
"Not know where Klatch is! You must really be from another universe! What is your name?"
"Sounds Klatchian. You up on your Klatchian, Rincewind?"
"He's not speaking it," the squirrel-like wizard responded.
"I'm from the City of Agrabah."
"Well, at least it's not a Dungeon Dimension," said Ridcully cheerfully.
"I don't trust him. He looks like a...He's a...Is he?"
"Rincewind, you're pathetic."
"Oooook!" said the Librarian.
"He SAID, Ask this bloke if he's a grand vizier anywhere," said Rincewind. Rincewind didn't like grand viziers. They tended to be far too interested in things like scheming and stealing Archchancellor's hats and throwing Rincewind into snake pits. That last was especially troublesome.
"I am Agrabah's Grand Vizier," Jafar announced.
"A-ha! You can tell them, you know," said Rincewind to the other wizards.
"Tell us what?" asked Jafar.
"You know, tell them. Spot them! And I'm telling you two, if he really is a grand vizier, you'll wish he was only something from a Dungeon Dimension."
"Doesn't look that bad. Looks a bit like the Patrician if you ask me." This is true, as far as it went. The newcomer did indeed wear black robes, and did have a pointy face with the kind of expression that seemed to say, "Do not let me detain you." However, Lord Vetinari was not partial to foreign headgear, and Ridcully was sure his lordship's beard was not quite so...twisted.
"Who is the Patrician?" asked Jafar.
"The Patrician rules Ankh-Morpork."
"I see. And where does one go to see this...Patrician?"
"You don't just go and see him! You've got to have an appointment and all of that!" said Rincewind. "Personally I'm afraid of him."
"That's not a high recommendation. Tell me, are you afraid of cats?"
"No, not really."
"Funny. I thought a rodent would be. Now, can one of you three tell me how to find the Patrician?"
"Won't do you any good. We're the wizards. We're the ones who can send you back."
"It wouldn't do to be sent back without paying a visit to your ruler."
"Well, just leave U.U. then. You'll be sure to find the palace."
"You don't get out much, do you?" asked Jafar, swishing out of the Library.
"You know what, Ponder?"
"I honestly think that man's a match for Vetinari."
Author's Note: I, as the author, do not think Jafar is a match for Vetinari. As is made evident in following chapters. However, I do think Ridcully would want to believe that a member of the fraternity of mages could get one over on the civil authority. Wizards are, after all, wizards, even if they are tall, dark and sinister Klatchian ones.