'Yes, you were,' replied Lily. 'It's something we've all wished, but couldn't voice.'

Gull looked around the tiny battered group. 'How odd. We were just a handful of strangers, each brought to grief because of wizards' greed. Now we're-an army, I guess. Wizards and warriors and-and clockwork beast riders and-woodcutters…'

A knot popped in the campfire, and sparks crackled into the air. Gull watched them climb to join the stars that swept from horizon to horizon. 'My father used to say the sky was never so clear as after a storm.'

'So our future is bright,' said Lily.

'I suppose. But are you all sure you want to do this? Dedicate yourselves to an army-a crusade-with no clue how to proceed? Battle wizards and thugs and fiends and hellions, risk life and limb, just to stop them razing villages and mucking up folks' lives, folks you've never even met? When you could instead just go home?'

He looked around again, searching each face, but everyone just nodded.

He reached out his toe, jiggled the fire brighter.

'Well, then. That's what we'll do.'

Вы читаете Whispering woods
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