However, when Hugh Fox was Picked, DomDaniel insisted on going into the Hermetic Chamber himself to get the pen. When he brought out a much-chewed black pen belonging to Hugh Fox, no one could believe it. Not even Hugh Fox. There were rumors about the Pick not being fair, but nothing could be proved.
The truth of it was that DomDaniel had put back a pen belonging to Jillie Djinn, a talented and well-read scribe, and pulled out Hugh Fox’s penbecause he reckoned that Hugh Fox was a pushover.
And so Hugh Fox was instructed in the Cryptic Codex, handed the Official Seals and duly installed as Chief Hermetic Scribe. To DomDaniel’s disgust, Hugh Fox had great trouble UnLocking the secrets of Marcia’s book, but he did manage to find the Flyte CharmConcealed in the coverjust as DomDaniel became a bundle of bones in the Marram Marshes. After DomDaniel’s demise and Marcia’s return to the Wizard Tower with Septimus, the Restoration Unit threatened Hugh Fox with the same fate that had befallen poor old Watkins if he did not give Simon Heap access to the Ice Tunnels. Hugh Fox agreed. And when Simon Heap demanded the Flyte Charm, he handed it over without a murmur. DomDaniel had been rightHugh Fox was, indeed, a pushover.
Colin Partridge had once been a Custodian Guard. He had been unwillingly recruited from a small village on the edge of the Sheeplands. Partridge was a dreamy child whose days were spent minding his father’s sheep. Partridge had lost more sheep than his father cared to think about, and his father despaired of him ever making a good shepherd. So when the Custodian Guard Recruiting Party promised to "make a man of him," Partridge’s father had young Colin packed and ready in no time at all, much to the horror of his doting mother.
Luckily for Partridge, he arrived right at the end of the Supreme Custodian’s regime, and within a month of joining, he had signed up for the Second-Chance Scheme and been snapped up by the Manuscriptorium. Partridge had never been happier.
The Ice Tunnel Ghosts
Eldred and Alfred Stone were brothers. They, like many other stonemasons, had been brought in at the time of the Great Catastrophe underneath the Castle. They had worked long hard hours to try to repair the breach in the tunnels but to no avail. They were among the thirty-nine people who were trapped by the Emergency Freeze and never again saw the light of day. Along with their companions, they continued to walk the tunnels, unaware that many hundreds of years had passed since they were Frozen. Both brothers were convinced that their lives still awaited them, if only someone would tell them the way out.
Ellis Crackle had been DomDaniel’s Apprentice when the Necromancer was first ExtraOrdinary Wizard at the Castle, many years ago. Ellis was a slow, ungainly young man with little aptitude for Magyk, but DomDaniel did not care. He chose Ellis because he was Betty Crackle’s brother. At that time, Betty Crackle was Keeper of the Dragon Boat. She was a disorganized White Witch who meant well, but she always left a trail of trouble behind her, due to her absentmindedness and general untidiness. Aunt Zelda eventually took over from Betty after she wandered off to the Port one winter’s night and got caught by the Big Freeze.
Ellis Crackle was even more forgetful than Betty was, but DomDaniel had guessed that there might be something very important at Keeper’s Cottagesomething that stopped him from getting complete control of the Castleand he wanted to find out what it was. Employing Betty Crackle’s brother seemed like a good way of worming his way into the secret.
Unfortunately for DomDaniel, just after Ellis took up his Apprenticeship, Betty and Ellis had a huge row. Ellis boasted once too often about his important new post and Betty, who was very jealous, could stand it no more. She put an Enchantment on Keeper’s Cottage to keep Ellis away and never spoke to her brother again. And so it turned out that DomDaniel never discovered the Dragon Boat at Keeper’s Cottageor even where the Cottage was.
When Aunt Zelda took over from Betty Crackle, Ellis was of no further use to DomDaniel. He took on Alther Mella as a new Apprentice and Ellis was Suspendeda long and nasty Darke process of Reducing someone to a Shadow. DomDaniel then Kept the unfortunate Ellis for further use. He came in very handy later, as Marcia’s Shadow.
Hildegarde had worked for the Council of the Custodians in the accounts department, which had spent most of its time trying to curb the lavish spending of the Supreme Custodian. It was an impossible task. Later Hildegarde had been transferred to the Sales Force, which forced the sale of all the Palace treasures. Hildegarde grew to love the old pictures and furnishings she had to sell, but she drove a hard bargain and got a good price for them.
Hildegarde was very pleased when the Second-Chance Scheme helped her get accepted for training as a sub-Wizard. She was a little uneasy at being on door duty at the Palace, and when she looked at the empty places where all the treasures had once stood, her conscience troubled her. She was determined to become an Ordinary Wizard and make any amends possible.