The Griffin's Boy - cover design by Laura Wright LaRoche of LLPix.com
Balkind's wings effortlessly took them higher and higher, until the Manor Hall was just a smudge of yellow amongst a green background surrounded by a denser darker greenery of tree tops. Chantress Anderra could no longer been seen, but the boy could imagine the expression on her face. He twisted around to face the front, but needn't had worried about guiding his griffin. Balkind was intent on catching up his companions, and flew straight and true. They were flying higher and faster than the boy had ever been before. He felt giddy with freedom and whooped out-loud. Balkind's flight feathers cut through the air, a gentle swoosh swoosh sound. The boy drew breath after breath deep into his lungs, wanting to savour every second. His hands rested lightly on the large veins emerging from the griffin's shoulders. Under each of his palms, two ancillary hearts pumped blood around the intricate network of capillaries, inflating feathered flaps of skin into wings. In flight, a griffin's ancillary heart rate went from barely ticking over to the tempo of a drum tattoo. Right now, it felt as though two butterflies continuously fluttered under the boy's hands, in a desperate bid to escape. The boy looked down. The griffin's starboard wing filled his vision. It shimmered against the air like a triangular sail. The shorter side curled around the boy's thigh, providing warmth, security and comfort. Below the griffin's pewter grey feathers, a duller grey of the ocean glittered against the metallic grey of granite cliffs. The boy peered to his left. Again Balkind's wing filled his vision, this time outlined against a verdant green. The glorious feeling of freedom increased, filling the boy's senses with joy. With Balkind, he felt invincible. He straightened up on the griffin's back. Far ahead he saw several dark blotches flying in the same direction and at around the same height. He gulped. It could only be Romulus and his new recruits. As the distance between Balkind and his fellow griffinettes shortened, the enormity of what he had done hit the boy. For the first time in his life, he had directly disobeyed an order. An order given by Chantress Anderra, who together with the Griffin Master, had given him a chance far above his social status. It's too late to turn back, and however loud Romulus shouts, Balkind deserves his chance too, the boy told himself. He sat up straighter, and pushed his palms against Balkind's primary veins in an upwards motion. Balkind immediately responded by soaring higher and faster, and the boy whooped with delight again. I don't care if I'm hung, drawn and quartered – this is worth my life. This is my life!
From The Griffin's Boy © author Julia Hughes. A short story of Ella Earth's Griffin Riders. To be published by Talon Pub, this summer. Enjoyed this extract? You could win an advance reader copy in Charlie Plunkett's free easy to enter competition. Visit Charlie's site for more details of this exclusive competition.
To win an advance reader copy of "The Griffin's Boy" simply visit Charlie Plunkett's site. Download this beautiful sketch by artist Damian Harrison, and using your own colour scheme, bring Balkind and friends to life.
First in the Ella Earth Chronicles of The Griffin Riders is "The Griffin Cryer". Over 50 reviews on Amazon.com and 25 on Amazon.co.uk Ave. rating 4.7*. If you enjoy urban fantasy and adventure, download a free sample to your kindle, and discover the magic of griffins.