Chapter 16: The Dark Falls

 

They hurried on along the thin Silver path with their torches shining straight ahead. Every now and then a sneeze exploded out of the bundles the Knights were carrying. But mostly it was dark and silent apart from the sound of the water trickling overhead. Jenny wondered how much further they had to go.

‘It’s not far now,’ said Molly.

Jenny smiled to herself. It was quite strange knowing that someone could read your thoughts. But, suddenly, she felt something brush against her face.

‘It’s only a piece of spider’s web,’ said Molly.

‘Oh,’ said Jenny, not at all sure that she was happy about that. Spiders in the darkness was just too scary. And now the Silver of the path seemed not as bright as before. ‘Molly, what will happen if the Silver path fades altogether?’ whispered Jenny.

‘We will be LOST and never found,’ said Molly. ‘But I do not think Sir Lucas will let that happen.’

Jenny did not want to be LOST in a dark forest full of spiders. The thought of that really did fill her with Terror. So she hurried a little faster than before. And she soon became aware that the sound of the trickling water was getting louder and louder. And in the distance she could hear a loud crashing sound.

‘It’s the Dark Falls,’ explained Molly. ‘We are approaching the end of the Valley where the river becomes a waterfall. We have to pass through it to reach the Ebony Palace.’

‘We have to pass through a waterfall?’ said Jenny.

‘Yes. And, to do that, we will have to turn off our torches, said Molly.’

‘But, Molly, how will we see where we’re going?’

‘We won’t need to see where we’re going. Because as soon as we step into the waterfall we will already be there.’

‘Where?’ said Jenny.

‘In the Ebony Palace. The Dark Falls are at the end of the Valley. And they mark the entrance to the Palace of the Knave Prince, which stands at the Far Edge of the Kingdom of Raggedy Lyme.’

Jenny stared into the darkness and tried to think. Then something occurred to her: ‘Won’t we get wet if we walk into the Dark Falls?’

‘Of course not! It’s enchanted water. We just step through it into the light.’

Jenny listened to the crashing and roaring that was getting louder with every step. But now she could see that the Silver path was disappearing from under her feet. She heard Sir Lucas ahead of her, calling to his Knights:

‘Keep moving! follow the light of the torches ahead of you,’ he yelled.

‘But, Molly, there’s nobody ahead of Sir Lucas,’ said Jenny. ‘There’s no torch ahead of him. How does he know where to go?’

‘He is following the sound of the Dark Falls,’ said Molly. ‘He will not let us be LOST.’

So they followed Sir Lucas, trusting him to find the way. And the roaring of the Dark Falls became very loud. Suddenly, Sir Lucas called a halt because now the Knights torches were shining ahead into a Black wall of water that sparkled here and there in the torchlight. Jenny saw the Royal Carriage coming up alongside them. The door opened and Grandma Lily called to Jenny above the sound of the enchanted water: ‘Jenny, do not worry. Remember always believe the people you trust. We will wait for you in the light.’ With that, the Carriage door closed and Sir Henry and Sir Thomas, led the Dragonflies and the Royal Carriage forward towards the Falls. Jenny watched the Knights then the Dragonflies and then the entire Carriage simply disappear.

‘They are through!’ shouted Molly.

Jenny wasn’t sure. She wanted Grandma Lily to come back to show her she was alright. In fact, at this very moment, she wanted Grandma Lily to be back home in the lounge, asleep in front of the television, and she wanted herself to be back home in the kitchen threading her beads. She stared at the Dark Waterfall and shouted: ‘Molly, how do you know the Royal Carriage has not just fallen into a big Black hole and taken my grandma and the Queen with it?’

‘Because that is not what happens, Jenny!’

‘But how do you know? Have you been through the Dark Falls before?

‘No,’ shouted Molly. ‘I have never been to the Ebony Palace before now.’

Suddenly Sir Lucas was standing beside them. He spoke above the noise of the Falls: ‘Sister-witch Jenny Berry, I have passed through the Dark Falls many times. You must not worry. You will be safe. Perhaps it will be best if Princess Molly Berry goes first and then she will be able to tell you all is well.’

‘But I’ll never hear her,’ yelled Jenny.

‘You will hear me in your mind, my Sister-witch,’ shouted Molly.

Molly let go of Jenny’s hand and before Jenny could stop her, Molly had turned off her torch and stepped into the Falls. And Molly was gone. Jenny could feel herself starting to cry and then all at once she could hear Molly’s sweet voice calling her, not through the Dark Falls but from inside her head. And Molly was telling her to hurry through and join her. Grandma Lily had told Jenny to always believe the people you trust. And Jenny did trust Molly, and she trusted Sir Lucas as well. So, without a another thought, she turned off her torch and stepped bravely into the Dark Falls.