This snippet is from Rainbird, the science fantasy novella I’m currently working on. This is raw unedited first draft, so reader beware.
Rainbird’s breath frosted in the thin cold air. She started early, long before the other inspectors tumbled out of their eggs, tucked in warm in the discs between the sunway segments. She’d shed her coat and kicked it aside, up against one of the spines that that marched in a row along the nightside of the sunway. Under the coat, she wore thick pants reinforced with leather panels and a halter top which left her powerful shoulders and arms bare, leaving her wings free. They rose from her shoulders and upper arms in thin, diaphanous layers, hung ragged down her sides, past her knees. A true eiree was light enough and strong enough to fly, but a halfbreed—even with whole wings, hollow bones and acrobatic skills—could not.
Rainbird pulled the harness over her head and it settled against her shoulders and back. She cinched the straps tight around her waist and twitched her wings to make sure they were unconfined. Twisted leather ropes clipped onto the harness, their other ends secured to rings embedded deep in the spine. She stood at the edge of the sunway, where it curved down and stared down at the darkened land, at the faint pinpricks of light from some town below, at the uncoiling ribbons of darker roads and rivers.
Most inspectors did not jump. Most inspectors crab-walked their way down the edge, paying out the rope, boots scuffing against the side, edging edging their way down to the tracks on the underside, the sunside.
None of the other inspectors had wings. None of them had a drop of eiree blood. None of them wanted to fly.