Beyond the Cherry Tree

Beyond the Cherry Tree by Joe O'Brien

Book: Beyond the Cherry Tree by Joe O'Brien Read Free Book Online
Authors: Joe O'Brien
the murky waters below. Something had spooked the blues. Something they saw in Josh’s eyes when he commanded them away from Mad Argil.
    ‘The wizard Wilzorf has made contact with Josh through his envoy. Magical powers have passed from the Wizard to the boy. The blues sense this, but they sense something else too. The envoy!’ said Bortwig to Danthenum.
    Bortwig coaxed Mad Argil away from Josh and over towhere Danthenum was standing.
    ‘Now, be quiet,’ instructed the elf.
    Suddenly something appeared from a tree in front of Josh. He didn’t startle or show any surprise; he was clearly already in some kind of hypnotic state.
    The creature wrapped her wings around Josh and the boy disappeared inside them. Danthenum drew his sword.
    ‘Wait!’ warned Bortwig. ‘He is in no danger. It is Eusyphia, the wizard’s envoy. I knew she was close when I saw how the blues reacted to Josh.’
    Danthenum returned his sword to his side. Eusyphia glanced toward them, and smiled. As she opened her wings wide, holding the sleeping boy against her underside, Bortwig told Danthenum how the witches of Zir had cursed Eusyphia with the hideous body of a giant swamp moth and left her beautiful face unchanged just to remind her of the beauty she once had.
    Danthenum recognised this face as Eusyphia smiled to him, then rose up in the air and vanished through the thick camouflage of the trees.
    ‘I remember her!’ said Danthenum. ‘She was a girl when I was a young boy. She disappeared when bathing in the springs of the waterfalls.’
    Bortwig looked to Danthenum.
    ‘The witches’ evil has touched many. Come, Danthenum.We will travel ahead to the palace and address the council. The boy is with the wizard. They must prepare for his coming.’ 

Chapter 16
The Wizard Wilzorf
    E usyphia gently approached the water, sensitively allowing tiny splashes to spray against Josh’s face.
    Droplets rolled down the boy’s face and kissed his dry, thirsty lips.
    He opened his eyes.
    He did not know how he had come to be here, or who or what had hold of him, but he was calm. There was no sudden urge to fret or struggle. The beauty of the cascading waters danced in the light of the full moon.
    Eusyphia spoke.
    Josh knew some sort of insect creature was holding him, but her voice was delicate and filled him with comfort.
    ‘Fear not, boy. Let the magic of the waters wash over you and you will be with the wizard.’
    Then she flew into the waterfall. The water did not thrashagainst her wings, but gently washed over her with familiarity and fondness. Not one drop of water touched Josh’s body as Eusyphia hovered in the thick of the waterfall, then folded her wings and released Josh from her grasp.
    ‘He is on the other side. Go to him.’
    Josh walked a few steps, his legs slowly finding their strength.
    He turned to Eusyphia only to see her face slowly disappear back into the water. She was beautiful. She smiled to him and nodded. Then she was gone.
    As Josh passed through to the other side, the parting waters closed behind him and formed a crystal clear wall of cascading beauty.
    Standing small and frail, with his bearded chin bowed before Josh, was the wizard Wilzorf. Josh’s heart beat faster. He was happy and relieved that the wizard was alive, just as Bortwig had said.
    Pressing his staff against the gritted floor, Wilzorf slowly and awkwardly approached Josh. He humbly took the boy’s hand and kissed it. Josh could not believe what was happening .
    Why? he thought.
    It was as if Wilzorf knew him and had not just met him for the first time. Wilzorf raised his head. The warmest glow covered him and banished the pale, sickly look from his face.
    ‘You have returned, my lord,’ spoke the Wizard, weakly but with hope in his voice.
    Josh was confused.
    These were not the first words he expected to hear from the wizard.
    Yes, he had questions, but Bortwig had told him that the wizard would give him answers before he even asked those questions. But

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