Read The Wizard's Apprentice (The Apprentice) Online
Authors: Janice Ayre
Copyright © 2013, Gough Media
This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are products of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events or locales or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.
The Great Wizard Zebulon
The Journey Begins
Lessons in Magic
Story of the Pendant
The Journey Continues
A Life in the Balance
Chapter Twenty Three
A Time for Celebration
There had been great excitement in Forest Glen for weeks. The elves had been planning a large party in honour of some very important guests, the most important being the powerful Wizard Zebulon.
Brock was there, and so were his friends the twin brothers, Chet and Chad, as well as others from Frog Gully. Normally the folk from the Gully were not invited to the Glen parties, as they were not thought to be as good as the Glen folk. But on this occasion it was considered too important for anyone to be left out. Brock couldn't understand the fuss. All he wanted to do was to get to the fully laden tables with all the delicious food. Everything looked so good but even Brock, with his unerring interest in all things edible, wouldn't venture forward while the others stood back, talking in muted voices as though they didn't want to wake someone up. It was as if Mother Nature was holding her breath. Not even a leaf stirred.
Forest Glen was a lovely place. Large shady trees grew on the grassy slopes. Sparkling sunshine filtered gently through the tree branches, showing the many coloured wild flowers which grew in the area. It was a great place for the elfin folk to play and dance and meet.
While Brock was contemplating at which table he would commence and w
food he would sample first, there
came a soft breeze stirring the leaves.
At the same time a murmur rippled through the waiting crowd as they saw, coming along the tree lined path, the long awaited guests.
The one leading the way was a big impressive wizard. That had to be Zebulon. The sight of him caused some of the folk to shiver and immediately some began to tell stories of some terrible deed he had done or some fantastic magic he had performed. Holding his arm as he walked along was a tall elegant lady.
"Who's that?" someone asked.
"That's the Lady of the Mountain," another answered.
"No it's not her. She is very beautiful, and anyway, she doesn't talk to him because they had a terrible argument," another said. "The lady with him is Karman, the herbalist."
Zebulon was a very powerful wizard and he had a very bad temper. No one wanted to be around when Zebulon was mad. It was told that Zebulon had been in love with the beautiful and magnificent Lady of the Mountains, Saniyah. One day they had argued and Zebulon
been so enraged that he had caused some terrible thing to happen. Since that day Zebulon was even more bad tempered and it was not known what had become of Saniyah. No one seemed to have any further information, but many managed to look wide-eyed and knowing.
Brock was not too interested in any of the chatter. He did feel a little uncomfortable as he heard the stories of Zebulon's temper. One look at the wizard made Brock decide that he certainly wouldn't want to do anything to upset him. Not much chance of that, thought Brock, after all he had only come for the food and there was little chance he would come anywhere near Zebulon.
As the crowd moved forward to greet the guests, Brock made sure he moved close to the tables. There was so much delicious food in one place. Brock was so excited and his stomach rumbled in anticipation of the feast he would have. There were large tables with food for the common folk but at one table there were places set for all the important folk and the guests. The food looked really good on the big tables but Brock wanted a better look at the reserved table because each place had the guest's name and plates of their favourite foods. Brock's hobby was food, so he wouldn't be able to resist examining the various dishes set for the guests. He'd take just a little look, that wouldn't hurt.
Brock wished he hadn't worn his new suit, it looked smart, but it was just a little tight. With all the food he planned to eat he would have been more comfortable in his older clothing. He began by walking around the tables, noting all the treats he wanted to taste, but before long it got too much for him. While the rest of the party were talking and playing, Brock began to dip a finger here and there, just to sample the food. It seemed such a pity to him that all this wonderful food was sitting on the table and no one was eating it. As he progressed around the table, he began taking bigger and bigger helpings. He was enjoying himself so much that he didn't realise that someone was watching him.
Wizard Zebulon was standing talking with Karman the herbalist, and he smiled to himself as he watched Brock. He spoke t
Karman and they both went away only to return a little while later followed by a small maiden carrying a tray of the most delicious food. The girl carefully placed the plates from the tray in the place set aside for the Wizard. By now Brock had begun tasting the food set out for the important guests. Just a little taste here and there, no one would know. The arrival of the extra food didn't escape Brock's attention, he hurried to where the Wizard's meal had been placed. Now Brock never liked to hurry for anything, so for him to do so meant that the food was better than anything Brock had ever seen or smelt. His eyes were wide with wonder as he looked at the plates. There were colourful salads with rich creamy sauces, little pastries, exotic fruits, puddings and jellies. There were foods that Brock hadn't seen before but they smelt so good, nothing else mattered. On one plate, by itself was a large slice of rich dark chocolate cake. Never had Brock seen such a moist mouth watering cake.
Brock took a look around to see what everyone was doing, he especially looked for the Wizard. Zebulon was still busy talking to Karman and they were soon joined by some of the elders and ladies. Brock decided it was safe to have a little taste. His hand hovered over the chocolate cake as it sat there, shimmering and inviting. Just as he was about to break off a piece he felt someone was staring at him. He looked up to see Yelena glaring at him.
Yelena was the sister of the twins, Chet and Chad. Because the boys would often get up to some sort of mischief, Yelena would watch over them and scold them if they were being naughty. As Brock was their friend, this watchfulness extended to him also. Brock liked Yelena. She was a sweet and pretty maiden, but sometimes he wished she wouldn't take so much notice of him. He didn't like her scolding, especially when he wanted to do something he shouldn't be doing.
Quickly he drew his hand away but his eyes longingly hovered over the food. Finally Yelena was distracted by some mischief her brothers were
Brock didn't hesitate, he grabbed a spoon and tried some of the colourful salad with its creamy sauce. He could not believe how delicious it was. He took another look around. No one was watching him. He took another mouthful, and then another and before he realised he had eaten the whole plateful. The chocolate cake was still there, waiting for him. People were beginning to move towards the table. Quickly he scooped a big piece of the cake and crammed it into his mouth. It was so delicious, he almost moaned in pleasure. But then, he saw the Wizard was heading towards the table.
Brock looked at the empty plate and the cake with the large chunk missing. Quickly he turned the cake around so it hid the missing piece, then he gathered up salad from a nearby bowl and threw in on the Wizard's plate and quickly smothered it with a creamy dressing. He just had time to step back as the Wizard arrived at the table.
As Brock moved to make a quiet retreat, Zebulon placed a large hand on his shoulder. Brock shook with fear but as he looked up into the Wizard's face he was surprised to see that Zebulon was smiling at him.
"Well done, young lad. You have been looking after my meal for me," Zebulon said in a deep, rich voice. "Come, sit by me, I would like some young company."
Brock suddenly felt really full and all he wanted to do was to find a nice quiet place and curl up and have a sleep, but he was too frightened of Zebulon to do anything more than give a little nod and take the chair the Wizard offered.
All through the meal Zebulon asked Brock all about himself. Brock had never thought much about what he did and believed he would have nothing to tell. But as Zebulon questioned him
he found himself talking about all sorts of dreams and thoughts he had.
While Brock was enjoying himself, many of the
folk were staring at him. Why was Wizard Zebulon so interested in Brock? He was just a simple, tubby boy from Frog Gully. There was nothing remarkable about him. A few times Chet and Chad tried to catch his attention. Finally Brock saw them and frowned to discourage them from getting any closer. Zebulon was watching this and he smiled. Why was everyone so frightened of the Wizard, thought Brock. He's really very friendly.
"Are they your friends Brock? Why don't you invite them to join us?" asked Zebulon.
Brock reluctantly waved to the brothers and they came to stand next to him. Brock gave Chet a frowning warning to behave himself, but he needn
have worried. For once Chet was quiet and well-mannered. It was not long before the brothers were chatting happily to the Wizard also.
An unaccustomed feeling of jealo
sy came over Brock, but then he remembered he still wanted to have a sleep so he saw it as an opportunity to creep away. As he rose from his chair and began to walk away
he felt a tug at his neck. He felt his neck and there seemed to be a collar around it. Then his eye caught sight of something else. A silver chain ran from the collar right to the Wizard's hand. Zebulon didn't stop eating as he looked at Brock and gave him a wink.
Zebulon swallowed his mouthful and said. "Don't leave us Brock, we enjoy your company."
Brock sat down again feeling very frightened. Zebulon
he had taken his food and he was going to punish him. What would he do? A sick feeling began at the bottom of his stomach and went right to his throat. He fingered his throat and could still feel the broad collar. He tried first to get Chet's attention but when that failed he kicked at Chad, who was closer, to get him to look at the collar and chain.
"Ouch," cried Chad, and then, giving Brock an angry look, turned his back on Brock so he could listen to some of the fascinating tales the Wizard was telling them.
Nothing could be done but sit and wait. Brock lost all interest in the party and could only think of what was going to happen to him. He brightened a little at the thought that when everyone was leaving
someone would be sure to notice the chain. The Chief Elder of Forest Glen would be sure to insist that the Wizard release him. Why hadn't he taken notice when Yelena had warned him, thought Brock sadly.
Finally the time came for everyone to go home. Tables were cleared. It didn't bother Brock to see all the uneaten food disappear. Normally he would be there trying to gather up as much as he could before it was taken away, but he wasn't hungry anymore. Too many other things occupied his mind.
was finally cleared away and, but for the crowd, no one would know a party had taken place. The lush green clearing looked untouched. All began saying their goodbyes. Now, thought Brock, someone will notice. But no one did! Chet and Chad, after saying goodbye to Zebulon, asked Brock if he was coming. Brock began to wave the chain in front of their faces and they thought he was waving goodbye. Soon all those others were looking in surprise and asking where he was going.
"Well, the young lad is certainly keen to be going," said Zebulon. "Didn't he tell you, he has decided to become my apprentice!"
Chet and Chad looked very surprised. They were close friends, he should have told them.
"Are you sure that's what you want to do?" asked Chet doubtfully.
A little tingling sensation was felt at Brock's neck, right where the collar was. "Yes, I can't wait to begin my apprenticeship." Brock heard himself say.
Brock felt sad as he said goodbye to his friends. Outwardly he was smiling, no one could see the silver chain and no one could see that he was troubled. As he said goodbye to his parents he tried to tell them, but all he managed to say was goodbye. They smiled and waved to him.
Brock couldn't understand why his parents were not objecting but he didn't know that Zebulon had already talked to them and convinced them that
would be to Brock's advantage and that it was an honour to be his apprentice. Brock's father was especially pleased because he felt that his son wasn't doing much but eating and dreaming.
Yelena came up to Brock, and his heart gave a hopeful leap. She would understand and tell the others.
"Are you sure this is what you want?" she asked
Brock tried very hard to form the words to tell her he wasn't going willingly but no sound came and he was aware that he had a stupid grin on his face.
and even Brock could tell she was angry and hurt. She turned abruptly away but Brock was certain he saw a tear in her eye. That was something. At least, someone cared he was going. This lifted his spirits a little but when he realised it didn't help him, his heart
k again. Zebulon had enchanted everyone, he was sure of that now.
"Come Brock," said Zebulon after everyone but Karman had left.
"You knew I ate your food. Why were you so nice to me? What punishment are you going to give me? I'm very, very sorry. Please, can I go home?" Brock's words tumbled out.