Abner de la Scalla is Master Payne's right-hand man, and as such, the second in command in Master Payne's Circus of Adventure. (Well, maybe third in command behind Payne -- who's second -- and Countess Marie, who really runs things, although Payne wouldn't admit it.)

Introductions All Around[edit | edit source]

He first appears as Agatha and Krosp bring the lost Balthazar back to camp. Abner, who's generally a good-hearted soul, feels real sympathy for Agatha upon hearing her story. Although he has moments of doubt because of her story of fleeing from Castle Wulfenbach, he starts to extend an invitation to Agatha to stick around, but is hauled up short by the indignant Pix, who points out that that invitation is Payne's to offer, not Abner's. When Payne eventually decides that Agatha should not travel with the Circus, Abner is visibly upset, but like a good underling, he goes along with it. This just deepens his conflict with Pix, who's on Payne's side in this decision -- but of course, we know how that turns out.

A life of adventure[edit | edit source]

From here Abner jumps from adventure to adventure, just as though he was one of the main characters (so maybe he is). It's Abner who plays off Pix's act to throw Gil and Bangladesh DuPree off the track when they show up looking for Agatha and making themselves offensive to the Circus (although he has a shocking encounter with Bang in the process). Less auspiciously, it's also Abner who rides the Monster Horse Beastie back to camp after the successful con of Gil and Bang, with nearly disastrous results. Of course, that episode too turns out well, not least for Abner and Pix, who achieve, it is fair to say, a certain reconciliation over the MHB's smoldering remains.

Later on, he's front and center during the unpleasantness at Passholdt; although it's Lars and Augie that first sight the mutated Revenants created by Snarlantz, Abner's right in there fighting when they almost take out the Circus. It's Abner who works with Payne and the Jägermonsters to bluff their way through at Balan's Gap. Unfortunately, this brings the Circus to the attention of Prince Aaronev Wilhelm Sturmvoraus, which is not a good thing. Abner is also the one who hatches the idea of staging "The Socket Wench of Prague" as the Heterodyne show du jour, in the hopes of getting run out of town before Aaronev can do anything nasty (like, say, kidnapping Moxana). This doesn't seem like a bad idea, but when it turns out that Aaronev wants exactly that play performed for him, there's no turning back. This turns out to be an incredibly bad thing, because it winds up delivering Agatha into the clutches of Tarvek Sturmvoraus, and all manner of bad stuff follows from there.

Abner shows a rare moment of "the circus first" when he's reluctant to go back to town to rescue Agatha after the Sturmvorauses ("Sturmvorausen"?) throw the Circus out. Fortunately, Lars and the Jägers decide to go back anyway, setting the stage for all manner of merry adventures in the dungeons below Sturmhalten. When the Baron and his forces get involved, he's an impressed witness as Payne's evil magician "act" cows some Wulfenbach troops, and he gives his bunkmate Lars' impromptu eulogy upon hearing of the latter man's heroic death from Agatha.

Following these dramatic events, he decamps to England with the rest of the Circus. We meet him again as he runs things while the Circus gives a command performance at Queen Albia's grand soiree; his job is not made any easier when Agatha co-opts the Circus to perform some grand Sparkish prank...

The Novels[edit | edit source]

The version of Abner who appears in the novels is pretty much the same as the comic; we do learn his last name from them.

The Works[edit | edit source]

Abner appears in "The Works" with Pix. They are described as Circus Artists. See Abner and Pix.

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