At last, the moderate wait is over.
Rift Riders is Book 2 of the Wingborn series. This is a twice weekly serial updated every Friday and Sunday, and if you missed the first one, you can still read it for free. It’s a high fantasy world with giant, talking eagles, Regency-esque manners, a YA protagonist and lots and lots of clouds.
Book 2 starts about six months after the first one ends, with Mhysra and friends having just completed their first year at Aquila. But before we get to any of that trouble is brewing in the Wrathlen and a new world player is about to step onto the stage…
Appropriate snacks at the ready, people, we’re going in!
Kincarg, the Wrathlen
23rd Feather Month, 787 Cloud Era
THE WIND WAS bitter as it whistled across the top of the Wrathlen and crept into the crevices. Down below all was dark, while the sky above frowned with rain clouds. Everywhere was cold, but it was always cold here, even in the middle of summer.
Out of the grey sky, six kaz-naghkt approached, leathery wings beating in time, wiry arms taut with the strain of keeping a fur-lined cocoon aloft. They struggled to hold steady as winds buffeted them from all directions, roiling off the tumultuous Stormwash. But the pouch hanging beneath them remained smooth. Even when the right rear kaz-naghkt dropped its rope and collapsed on the landing crag, the other five took the extra strain and lowered it cautiously onto the rocks before allowing themselves to rest.
Panting, bone ridges flushed with exertion, the lead pair gently unwrapped the pouch, pulling leather strings and peeling back padded layers, each one marked with a series of breathing holes. Fleece blankets came next, followed by another leather cocoon. No matter how tight the knots, or how many growls of frustration the kaz-naghkt emitted, they never once lost patience or used their sharp wing spurs to rip or sever the cords. Even shaking with cold, they treated each layer as something unimaginably precious. At last, the pouch stirred on its own and the kaz-naghkt stepped back, taking up guard positions around it.
Which was just as well, because their arrival had drawn a crowd. Wary and suspicious, the inhabitants of the Wrathlen waited at a cautious distance, weapons ready, to see what the kaz-naghkt had brought. The crowd was entirely human, wrapped up against the chill, though the quality of their garments varied from the plushest furs to the cheapest wool. No one spoke, though many shivered. They stared at the kaz-naghkt and the kaz-naghkt stared back.
The pouch shifted, leather laces hissing as they were pulled from their holes, and the blankets loosened. A hand emerged, encased in fleece gloves, followed by an arm, then a head covered with thick waves of blue-black hair. The man looked up, pale barley eyes taking in his audience as he stretched and emerged from his cocoon, the only creature on the Wrathlen not shivering.
A sly smile curved the corner of his mouth as he stood between his kaz-naghkt guards.
“Take me to your leader,” he announced, eyes narrowing with amusement. “I believe she is expecting me.”
~ Next Chapter ~
Thanks for reading!