Little Mari, a year younger than five-year-old Zooey Davidson, took her by the hand as they ran toward the wishing tree. In their free hands, they each held a colorful cloth provided by Tala, who looked like she could be Mari’s teenage sister but wasn’t.
“Danilo helped me put my first one up. Now I’ll help you.”
“Did your brother tell you what it is?”
“Of course. It’s a wishing tree.”
“What do you wish for?”
“Anything you want.”
“Can I wish to go home?”
“I don’t know. A lot of the kids don’t want to go home.”
“Archers! At the ready!” Petran gave the command to his meager squad of elven soldiers as they formed a perimeter around the five Davidson children and the magician Raibyr. Nine-year-old Taylor was at the center with his siblings when he remembered he also had his bow and arrows.
The wind was frigid and fierce, which fortunately made the attacking Beelzebub horde uncertain in the air, but would also make accuracy with the bow extremely difficult.
The sense of the warrior Azzorh within Taylor came over him, and he nocked his first arrow.
The bat-winged demons were in as tight a formation as possible given the storm that was tracking toward the party from the west; a massive cloud of swollen, sickly green flies whose home was sewage, and whose taste was for blood.