Outtakes from chapter 2

Here are those outtakes I said I would post. These should give you a good idea of Errol, Geoffrey, Marcellus, and Stephanus.

When Errol peeked through the crack of the door, he saw that Father was scribbling away at his desk, writing information into a large ledger.”Father,” said Errol, opening the door. “I must talk with you.”

Father glanced up. “Hmm?” His eyes settled on Errol’s bandaged hand. “What happened to you?”

“Ma’at bit me. I was trying to shield Stephanus from him when he attacked. I thought that since Stephanus was a family member, Ma’at wouldn’t bother him. I was wrong.”

Father started to rise. “Is Stephanus injured?”

“No.” Errol closed the door after Isis had followed him inside. “Well, he is scratched, but he is recovering. I made a grave error, however. I must deduce that the reason I can visit Esme is because Isis protects me, not because I am a Klarion.”

“So it would seem.” Father walked away from the desk. “Let’s have a look at that hand.” He grabbed Errol’s hand, carefully unwinding the bandage.

“Stephanus hates me now, Father,” Errol sighed. “He said so.”

“I’m sure he doesn’t mean it. I’ll talk with Stephanus. You just wanted Esme to have someone else to play with, didn’t you?”

“Yes, sir. She’s lonely, you know.”

“I know.” Geoffrey glanced at the bite. “Diana’s taken care of this quite nicely. Let me wrap you back up. That should keep it good and clean.”

“I would like,” said Errol seriously, “for you to tell me about the curse.”

His father searched Errol’s eyes. “Why do you think you need to know?”

“I can’t risk Esme or Stephanus by continuing to be ignorant. Ma’at was horrible today! Stephanus could have been injured or killed because I didn’t know about Ma’at. Can you please tell me?”

Father was quiet for a short time. Errol waited patiently. “You know what Ma’at is?” Father finally said.

Errol nodded. “Ma’at is a demon.”

“That’s right. Did you know Isis is a demon too?”

“I had a hypothesis she might be. She frightens Ma’at too much to be an ordinary cat.”

“Doesn’t the fact that Isis is a demon frighten you, Errol?”

“No,” said Errol. “Isis is the nicest demon I have ever met.”
Father laughed, just a little. “Errol, there is no such thing as a nice demon, I’m afraid. Have I ever told you about Erasmus Klarion?”

“No.”

“If you want to know about the curse, I have to tell you about Erasmus. He was your many times great-grandfather. Erasmus was a powerful man. He fought many dark binders, and people who studied other dark magic, all over the world. In his travels, he heard a story about a powerful scroll. It allowed its owner to control and summon demons. Several people wanted it, and Erasmus set out to make sure that they didn’t find it.

“Erasmus traveled to Nubia and found the tomb that the scroll was buried in. However, it was guarded by a demon. When he found the tomb, the demon challenged him. Erasmus refused to fight the demon for the scroll, but the demon would not let him go. So Erasmus decided to seal both himself and the demon inside the tomb. Erasmus impressed the demon by being willing to sacrifice his life, not to gain the scroll, but to keep the scroll out of the hands of others who wanted it. The demon didn’t want such a brave man to die, so she pledged her service to Erasmus, and her children’s service to his children.”

Errol stroked his chin. “I see. That’s why we have demons in the family.”

“That’s right. The demon watches over you while you are young, and protects you. That’s why Isis fights Ma’at. Ma’at would hurt you if he could, and Isis won’t let that happen. And that’s why Ma’at won’t let anyone near Esme. The problem, Errol, is that the demons are not servants. This is a contest of sorts. Each demon has to test every Klarion, to see if they are as worthy as Erasmus Klarion. When you are sixteen, Isis will test you.”

Errol paused, thinking. Finally, he asked, “How will she do that, Father?”

“She will take on her true form as a demon and challenge you in magical combat.”

Errol considered that piece of information. “I wouldn’t want to fight Isis.”

“I know you wouldn’t,” Father said. “However, you will have to. You must defeat and bind Isis to your will. Or banish her. Otherwise?” His father seemed to have trouble saying what came next.

“Otherwise?” repeated Errol.

“You serve the demon to the end of your days,” said Father.

Errol’s eyes widened. “Has anyone ever lost?” Errol asked.

“Oh yes.” His father seemed sad. “Yes. And there’s nothing we can do for them if they lose.”

The clock ticked on the wall for some time. “I see,” said Errol. “I’ll try very hard not to lose then. Thank you for telling me.” The clock ticked off more seconds. “Father, what happened to the scroll? If the demon left with Erasmus, who watches the scroll?”

“We do, Errol. That’s our duty too.”

“I see. Well, I’d better go. You were busy.” Errol bent over and scooped Isis off the floor. He held her ear close to his mouth. He whispered so his father wouldn’t hear. “We’ll be friends for as long as we can be, all right?” Isis purred at him, and he perched her on his shoulder. His hand found the doorknob.

“You can stay here with me a little,” Father said slowly, “especially if you’re afraid, or anything. I was afraid when I first found out, and I was older than you.”

“I would be lying if I pretended to be unconcerned,” said Errol. “But I think knowing is better than not knowing. Still, if you’re not busy, I would like to stay, thank you.” Errol and his father played chess in the study, Isis sitting in Errol’s lap, until Morsten came to summon them to dinner.

***

“I don’t think she’s frightening at all,” said Esme to Errol.

“I’m not afraid of her,” said Errol. He dangled a feather in front of Isis, who scrambled after it with her claws. “I said that I think Father is afraid of her.”

“Uncle Geoffrey isn’t afraid of her,” said Esme. “He has Horus. He has no reason to be afraid of anything.”

“Don’t be too sure of that,” said Uncle Marcellus, putting down his cup of tea on the tray by his chair. “Horus can make a man think certain things.”

“Why does she want to come, anyway?” said Stephanus. Eurydice crawled toward him and Stephanus waved a rag doll in front of her. She took it, giggling. Ammut, still a gray kitten, lay in front of the hearth, his tail wrapped around his nose, occasionally regarding Isis, who ignored him during play.

“She wants to meet you,” said Errol, moving his fingers out of the way of Isis’ claws, “and Eurydice, of course. Your mother and father didn’t let her see you, ever.”

“Errol!” Esme frowned. Isis’ claw grazed Errol while Esme disapproved.

“You drew blood,” said Errol, playfully. “No fair. I wasn’t looking. She’s also been away a long time, you know, in the Sudan.” He dropped the feather. Isis picked it up with her mouth and carried it to a corner of the room, sashaying her tail as she walked by Ammut, daring him to try and get it. Eurydice reached for Isis, who neatly sidestepped her. “I think Grandmother will be very happy to meet you, finally,” said Errol. “I am absolutely certain she will like you as much as the rest of us do.”

Esme stood by Stephanus, who stiffened and walked away toward Marcellus. Eurydice, however, didn’t mind her at all and giggled as Esme took the doll back and waved at Eurydice with the doll’s arm.

“Come along, Stephanus,” said Marcellus. “Let’s go outside and see if we can see them yet.”

Errol nodded. “We can manage Eurydice just fine.”

Marcellus put on his coat and waited until Stephanus had finished lacing his boots. They stepped into the courtyard, watching the tall iron gates through which an auto would come. Marcellus put his hand on his shoulder. “I want to apologize for the other day, for Ma’at.”

“Uncle Geoffrey talked to me,” said Stephanus, his voice flat. “I understand that Errol and Esme are protected by their pets, and that neither of them sent Ma’at or Isis after me.”

“That puts you at a bit of a disadvantage,” said Marcellus.

“I’m sure that seems quite unfair.”

“I don’t seem to get to choose what’s fair or what isn’t,” said Stephanus.

Uncle Marcellus sighed, and put his hand on Stephanus’ head. “Well, it just so happens that you do, a bit. You do know that your mother wasn’t cursed?”

“Of course,” said Stephanus.

“Your Uncle Geoffrey was a bit of a bully when he was young and she couldn’t exactly give him what he rightfully deserved sometimes. However, there were a few things that I taught her, so she could protect herself. I can teach you, too, if you like, to protect yourself.”

“Really?” Stephanus squinted at Uncle Marcellus. “Why would you do that? Aren’t you cursed too?”

Marcellus laughed. “Just because I’m cursed doesn’t mean that I’m not fair! Now, Errol and Esme are different than your uncle was. I think that we’ll have to worry about Ma’at and Isis more than the two of them, and you can learn a few simple spells to protect you from them. Then, when Eurydice is older, you’ll be able to help manage her and Ammut too.”

“It’s not fair!” Stephanus said. “Why do I have to be the one who doesn’t have a??”

“I know this is going to seem like a very odd thing to say,” said Marcellus, soberly,”but you are the luckiest of us all, and Esme, Errol, and Eurydice are very lucky to have you. You’ll see.”

“I want to do my best, especially for Eurydice,” Stephanus said, suddenly. “Esme scares me though, and Errol makes me so angry sometimes!”

Marcellus scooped Stephanus into his arms. Stephanus stiffened, and Marcellus stepped back. He knelt to look Stephanus in the eye. “You have every right to be angry, I think. Esme can’t help it that she scares you, but she likes you very much. Errol and you will fight because he lives here with you, but he told me that you are his new brother. Did you know?”

Stephanus considered. “Our family isn’t usual, is it? None of the binder families are.”

Marcellus shook his head. “Most of Hathersage thinks we’re eccentric and doesn’t know about the curse, or the magic. You’ll want to help us keep that secret.”

“Because other people won’t understand,” said Stephanus.
“Especially about the demons,” said Marcellus. “They think that the Klarions are bad people because of the demons.”

“Aren’t we?” asked Stephanus.

“That’s complicated,” said Marcellus. “I think I’d best let Granny explain that to you. I don’t think we are bad people, no.”

The iron gates swung open as a long black car began the gravel circle that would take them in front of Stephanus and Marcellus. “My father,” said Stephanus, “must think Eurydice is bad because of the curse.”

Marcellus pressed Stephanus close with an arm about his shoulder. “Your dad is wrong.”

Uncle Geoffrey opened the driver’s side door of the car. He raised an eyebrow at Marcellus who winked at him. The back seat opened, and two people came out. The old woman’s hair was all white, except for a shock of black that swept off to the left. Her eyes were the same color of blue as Eurydice’s. Stephanus blinked and she smiled his mother’s smile at him, which made Stephanus feel both inexplicably happy and sad at the same time. The old man beside her sized him up with a glance, and then turned around smoothly just in time to offer a hand to Aunt Melisande, who was opening her door.

“I hope the drive was reasonable,” said Marcellus.

“Very much so,” said the old woman. “It’s always so beautiful here.”

“You English have such a strange idea of beautiful,” said the man with an accent. “It is rugged, I will give you that.”

“Stephanus,” said Aunt Melisande, “this is your grandmother, Elaine. This gentleman is your new tutor, Professor Borgia.”

Stephanus wasn’t certain if he should bow like Errol would have, so he did nothing. He felt like he was staring at the new arrivals. The old man stared back at him. “As long as we understand each other,” said Professor Borgia. “Do you know anything?”

“Some,” said Stephanus. “I know some potions. Uncle Marcellus said he would teach me other things.”

“Will he teach you mathematics? Science? History?”

Stephanus blushed. “No sir,” he stammered. “I thought you must mean magical things.”

Professor Borgia smiled like the sun. “Every boy wishes to learn only magical things! This I well understand!”

From behind them, the door opened. Errol stepped outside and bowed to the people by the car. “Grandmother, it is good to see you again. I trust your journey was pleasant?”

Aunt Melisande laughed. Errol arched an eyebrow at her. “Let’s go inside,” said Aunt Melisande. “Errol, this is Professor Borgia. Have Morsten show him to his room, please. Then join us in the parlor.”

“Yes, Mother. Please, Professor, come this way.”

Stephanus turned to make sure his back wasn’t to Professor Borgia as Errol lead him into the house. Accordingly, his grandmother surprised him when she spoke so near to him. “I’m very pleased to meet you finally, Stephanus.” She kissed him on the cheek, and his hand tentatively touched where her lips had been. Aunt Melisande had been the only woman to kiss him. His grandmother smelled like heather. “Will you introduce me to your sister?”

Stephanus held the soft hand that she extended. Uncle Geoffrey opened the door for them and they went into the house together.

Author: Catherine Schaff-Stump

Catherine Schaff-Stump writes fiction for children and young adults. Her most recent book, The Vessel of Ra, is the first book in the Klaereon Scroll series. She is currently working on its sequel, as well as penning the middle grade adventures of Abigail Rath, monster hunter.

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