Deadly Destinations gets a lesson in flying today with Fran Wilde’s Updraft! This high-flying fantasy novel was released on September 1, 2015 from Tor.
Wingtests, Wingfights, and Dangers to Avoid Above the Clouds: A Charge for New Flight Instructors, as presented by Magister Dix (excerpted)
“Within the city’s four quadrants, teaching Flight is a sacred duty. You’ve seen what can happen with reckless fliers, or sudden squalls. You know the need for Laws and tests of ability.
Tower citizens trust us to train them in proper flight and safety techniques, while also protecting them from the inherent dangers. They expect us to prepare each tower’s next generation for not only a successful wingtest, but also for success on the city’s gusts.
I tell you now, Flight is also our first line of defense against those citizens who might not be prepared to take part in city life.
Now you may ask, ‘Dix, why say something like that when we can help shape the young minds of our towers before they become a problem?’ I know there are still a few Magisters who disagree with me, but listen carefully and I’ll tell you why: The stability and safety of this tower and that of all around us depends on our keeping a watchful eye on jealousies, stubbornness, and — worst of all — a missing sense of duty to tower and city. That last is worse than clumsiness, worse than being unlucky. Mark my words, you will see it among your students at least once in your lifetime. You must be prepared to deal with it.
How does this relate to flight risk? A missing sense of duty and tradition is not as dangerous as a skymouth on migration, some might say, but I guarantee you this is not true. A sense of duty binds us to our flight groups, and our towers, makes us mindful in the air of others on the wing. It keeps us from flying recklessly. It keeps those who suffer from ambition from harming the rest of us with their dangerous behavior. I could tell you a story or two about a certain famous trader and her dangerous lack of respect, but I’ll save that for another time.
But be aware that the Singers are watching. They count on us as the first line of defense. Much like bridges help support the towers and connect them together, so too we, the Flight Magisters, must help support our communities and bind them to their obligations.
I might add that your own sense of duty and tradition is defined by how well you observe for this in your Flight classes, and report it. But on to other dangers above the clouds, now that we’ve got that straight.
The main risks of flight in the city, in order of danger:
- The clouds themselves The wind near the cloud layer far below us is changeable and the danger of getting sucked into the unseen should be imprinted on your students from the first. They should be reminded at all times to remain with their flight group. Should a student tumble and no one be able to catch them, avoid sacrificing yourself before going after them. There are things within the clouds that even an experienced flier could not overcome.
- Skymouths While this quadrant has not seen a skymouth migration in some time, the possibility requires us to be ever vigilant. The terrifying creatures can appear right out of nowhere, although there are often signs beforehand. A distinct lack of birds in the area, sounds of tearing and even shrieking from nearby. Should you encounter one while on the wing, attempt to get to safety immediately while warning the guards.
- Squalls While we are at a much calmer height than the turbulent clouds, all tower citizens should be aware of and avoid squalls as much as possible. There are grips on each tower for emergency landings, and citizens are required to shelter their neighbors during squalls. These can disappear as suddenly as they appear, and knock fliers right out of the sky.
- Reckless flyers Possibly our most dangerous risk to safe flight is each other. Recklessness is an unforgivable breach and must be met with a sufficient weight of Lawsmarkers in order to bring the reckless one around, or to alert their neighbors that they have among them a danger.
I’ll take questions in a moment, and then proceed to the particular dangers of wingfighting before we turn to the wingtest elements. Before I do, remember that you are the first and last line of defense against many of these dangers for your tower. Yes, there are guards and hunters, but you provide the eyes and ears of the tower, and you alone can usher the next generation to safe passage on the wind.”
Fran Wilde’s first novel, Updraft, debuts from Tor Books on September 1, 2015. Her short stories have appeared at Tor.com, Beneath Ceaseless Skies, Uncanny Magazine, and in Asimovs’ and Nature. Fran also interviews authors about food in fiction at Cooking the Books, and blogs for GeekMom and SFSignal.
Want to read more from Fran Wilde?
Available September 1, 2015 from Tor
About this Book:
Library Journal Starred Review
Library Journal Debut of the Month
Publisher’s Weekly Starred Review
Publisher’s Weekly Fall 2015 SF, Fantasy & Horror Top 10
In a city of living bone whose past has been lost to legend, Kirit Densira breaks a law.
When she endangers her tower by attracting a terrible predator, she is punished by city rulers who have their own terrible secrets to hide. Kirit uncovers those secrets, and faces the consequences.
Click HERE to read an excerpt