Excerpt: Korinna defies Galenos

I’m working hard on finishing the second book in the Wyld Magic series, A Pride of Gryphons. It’s been a little rough, since there are multiple characters and plot threads to keep track of, and I admit that I’ve had some false starts. (Don’t ask me about the dead end I wrote, or how fixing it meant removing all of the words I wrote in July.) But I’m still moving forward and on track to publish this fall.

Here’s a taste of what’s coming. Korinna and Galenos are both struggling to rebuild the capital city of Kyratia and figuring out their new roles as duchess and duke. They start out as partners, working together, but when gryphons attack the countryside, they disagree on how to handle the situation. Things escalate, and that leads to this scene where Korinna chooses to defy Galenos’s concerns and act on her own:

As she walked out the door, Korinna heard Galenos shouting for the guards to stop her, but she knew that they would never reach her in time. All she had to do was make it outside.

There was a secret entrance to the building near their private chamber, and Korinna moved quickly through the winding halls. Its secrecy meant it went unguarded, so she was unchallenged when she pushed open the door and stepped out into the sunlight.

Galenos had finally built a paddock behind City Hall for their marewings to meet them in the morning, but then they went back to the military compound to graze with the other marewings for the rest of the day. If it had been within hearing range, she could just whistle for her marewing. But the government buildings were in the heart of the city, a full mile away from the Storm Petrels’ outpost.

However, Korinna had been practicing her communication with Sungold. She felt as if she could sense the marewing sometimes, even when they were separated. Since she wasn’t allowed to fly in her current condition, she’d gradually experimented with that sense over greater distances. Today, Sungold was on high alert ever since the messenger arrived, and Korinna sensed that she’d been waiting for the call.

She could hear guards hurrying to follow her down the hallway, but she ignored them. She stepped away from the building onto the grass, closed her eyes, and concentrated on calling Sungold to her.

In moments, a shadow passed over her. Korinna looked up. A golden marewing came gliding in and landed on the street, folding in her wings to avoid the nearby buildings.

There was no saddle or bridle, but Korinna had managed without them before. It took extra effort to hoist herself up onto the marewing’s back—she was grateful that Sungold was smaller than average. Then she wrapped her legs around the marewing’s middle and wound her fingers into the pale white mane. At a signal, the marewing took off galloping down the road, building up enough speed to launch back into the air.

Behind her, the guards burst out of the door, followed by Galenos waving his arms. “Korinna, stop!” he cried, his voice breaking.

It broke her heart to hear the pain in his voice, and she almost told Sungold to turn around and go back. But she’d already made her choice. Beneath her, the marewing gathered her haunches and jumped. The hot air rising off the city streets carried them swiftly up into the sky, and her pursuers were left behind on the ground.

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