>A snippet from the new book

Allow me to indulge myself with a snippet from one of my favorite scenes in Airs of Night and Sea!
It’s short, and it’s in my antagonist’s point of view:

William found his teeth were chattering from excitement as much as from the chilly air aloft. Diamond flew straight toward the hills, her wings glistening an exuberant silver in the sunshine, her neck stretched, her ears pricked forward. William experimented, just a little, with his seat in the flying saddle. It seemed that the deeper his heels were in the stirrups, the more he could settle his weight against the cantle and press his thighs and calves against the stirrups, the better he could feel Diamond’s movement. He was glad of the thigh rolls that helped him keep his knees down, and he tried to loosen his grip on the pommel, to trust Diamond’s balance to keep him in the saddle.
The ripple of muscle across her chest caught his eye, and he looked down, past her beating wings. It was dizzying to see the ground spin by so far beneath him, the farmhouses like chess pieces on a great uneven board of fallow fields and narrow lanes. Only the road from Osham, twisting away toward the Uplands, gave him some certainty that he knew where he was.
When he judged they had flown far enough to the west, he laid the rein gingerly on the left side of Diamond’s dappled neck, and pressed his left calf against her shoulder, just beneath the jointure of her wing. Obediently, as if this was a logical thing to do, she banked and turned.
William seized the pommel with both hands in a sudden spasm of terror at the change in angle, and his thighs clenched beneath the knee rolls. Diamond’s body quivered at this. He struggled to relax, to keep the rein loose. Her flight evened out in a few seconds, and soon he felt secure again, heels down, head up, hands low on the reins. They were flying north now. Perhaps they could take a turn above Fleckham. Perhaps the lads there would look out their windows, stream out into the courtyard, and catch a glimpse of the glorious future that awaited them.
They flew on for perhaps ten minutes, and William’s thighs began to tremble with effort, his neck to feel rigid from holding his back straight. They would, he thought, take the turn over Fleckham and then go straight back to the Palace. They still had that first landing to deal with. Mistress Baron had warned that coming to ground was more perilous than the launch. He felt a jolt of anxiety as he thought about how far down he had to go, how hard the ground would be when they got there.


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