Enjoy some action from the future release, Legends of Windemere: The Spirit Well! If you’re wondering what a Peryton is (only mentioned in this excerpt but around more in the full chapter), they’re winged stags.
Dariana drops to an alley and charges into the street, joining the others who are trying to find cover from the battle that is mostly in the sky. Perytons swoop down to attack, their antlers and hooves skittering on the cobblestones whenever they miss. Being more concerned about the griffins, the confused predators are sloppy in their attempts to nab a meal and repeatedly miss whoever they are aiming for. Several of them crash into the sides of buildings, which helps the chaos spread and covers Dariana’s tracks. By the time she reaches the docks, the area is filled with citizens who are demanding that ships take them out to sea where they can watch the battle from a safer position. It does not help the situation that the telepath is putting the images of getting gored into the minds of a few people to increase their fervor.
Pushing through the terrified citizens and baffled sailors, Dariana makes her way to the southern mountain, only two griffins circling the top. The wooden doors are wide open to give the riders quick access to any mounts that are being kept on standby and safely away from the perytons. With most of the men and women in the air, there are very few people inside and only a handful of them are riders. The rest are teenagers who are there to tend to the griffins and help keep the place clean, all of them waiting until the day they can enlist as a guard. Knowing there is no reason to keep an eye on the openings to the various cliffs around the outer mountain, the soldiers and workers are only watching the front door.
“Just keep looking in the wrong direction,” Dariana whispers as she leaps onto the side of the mountain.
She climbs to the nearest cave and slips far enough inside that she can hide in the narrow shadows. Searching for an easy target, Dariana notices a young griffin hiding among the crisscrossing rafters. Stepping back outside, she gracefully makes her way to an opening that is above the pruning animal. Fearing that she has been in the open for too long, the telepath does her best to hide her presence, but she reserves most of her strength for the next step in her plan. The best Dariana can do is react to any thoughts that mention seeing her, which she is thankful are very rare. Battling her impatience and anxiety, it takes her ten minutes to reach the cliff and carefully crawl into the mountain. To her surprise, the tawny-furred griffin is staring at her while alternating between chirping and purring.
Climbing down to the rafters, she approaches the curious animal, its head curiously cocked to the side. It leans forward to let the stranger stroke its beak and run a cool hand against its warm cheek. For a moment, Dariana believes she will not have to use her powers on the creature and moves to climb on its back. The griffin immediately shrieks and flaps, drawing the attention of the riders and their saddled mounts below. With a muttered curse, the telepath forces the beast to accept her as a rider and holds on to its thick fur. Unable to get to the main entrance, she urges the animal to run for the nearest opening and leap out of the mountain without touching the cliff for a proper takeoff. As they hurtle toward the ocean, Dariana flips herself onto the griffin’s back and holds on tight. She fears that she has taken too much control of the animal until it veers toward the sky, its hind legs touching the incoming tide.
“You’re not happy with me. I understand that, but never scare me like that again,” the gasping woman says, scowling at the chuckling beast. Looking back, she can see that the other riders are coming after them. “We have to go north. Wait. I need to grab something that’s a little to the east. Think you can fly by the marketplace for something? Yes, I know we’re being chased, but this is very important. My plan will be ruined if I don’t get this item. Enough with the judgmental thoughts. I was in a hurry and didn’t think I’d find it here. Of course, I know this is sloppy and destructive on my part. Just go to this spot and don’t take any risks.”
With a snort, the griffin wheels around and charges their pursuers, which surprises the more experienced flyers. The youngster dives beneath the adults, forcing Dariana to duck and hold on so tight that her knuckles ache. A peryton lunges into their path, but the nimble woman flips forward and grips her mount’s beak. Her heel slams onto the predator’s head with enough force to send it crashing into a rooftop. Frantic to get Dariana’s hands off its mouth, the griffin bucks and rolls until the telepath returns to its back. Unwilling to let it end there, the animal looks at her and snarls its displeasure at the unexpected contact. Feeling like it has made its point, the beast makes a tight loop and soars toward the marketplace.
Their descent is broken by three griffin riders getting close enough to force them back into the sky. Maintaining such a delicate hold on her own mount’s psyche, Dariana finds it difficult to do anything to their enemies. Every mental push gives the wily beast beneath her a chance to rebel against her control, which becomes more fragile with every fight. It takes a diving spiral for them to gain some distance from the veterans, but the three adults close the gap as soon as the youngster is flying straight again. The only thing that saves them from real attacks is that the guards do not want to risk hurting the animal. Instead, they work to guide them back to the mountain where two of their allies are waiting with snares.
“This is ridiculous,” Dariana mutters as she stands on the griffin.