Not long ago, author Shannon Messenger talked to us about what it was like bringing her Sky Fall trilogy to a close with the publication of Let the Wind Rise and today, we’ve got an exclusive deleted scene! Check it out below, and then be sure to read the extended excerpt of Let the Wind Rise while it’s still available!
“I replaced this scene with a different scene in LET THE WIND RISE before I even turned in the draft to my editor. It was one of those cases where I knew almost immediately after I wrote it that I’d gone off track. (I don’t want to give a spoiler, so I’ll just say the new scene also had to do with a cage of ravens—but a much smaller cage with only two birds inside.) I changed the scene for several reasons, the largest one being that I felt like I’d missed an opportunity to share something more personal about Raiden, beyond just that he’s scary and evil (which is primarily all this current scene accomplishes). I personally feel like the scariest villains are the ones you can almost relate to, so my goal for the final book in the trilogy was to show much more about Raiden’s past and how he thinks. I figured my readers already knew he was scary. Now I wanted to show them the why, and watch his unraveling.” —Shannon Messenger
I should pay closer attention to his tirade—but it’s the same weak excuses he’s already given. And I’m far too distracted by the sky.
I’ve lost track of how many days it’s been since I’ve seen it.
The clouds are gray and restless. A blanket of gloom shrouding his frozen palace.
But what lies beyond the churning storms?
Ruined winds roar around me, but I know they’re not alone. The healthy drafts I felt before are still out there, hiding just beyond Raiden’s grasp.
Hard as he may fight, he’ll never control the whole sky.
A sharp hiss snaps me back to the present and I stumble back as an icy flurry coils around the aviary, sending the ravens into a frenzy. The iron bars rattle as a second wind follows, then another and another, until the entire cage is wrapped in a funnel of sallow, sickly drafts.
Faster and faster the winds spin as the ravens screech and wail, slamming against the bars so hard their inky feathers scatter like shrapnel. When the howling winds drown out their cries, I realize what’s happening. It’s a trick I’ve seen Raiden perform once before, as I crouched among the rocks and shadows of Death Valley.
He’d used a sylph that day—and the result had been devastating. Stealing an innocent life and morphing it into a monster.
Now I watch in horror as the birds’ bodies twist and shift, black fading to gray as the hungry, ruined winds shred and tear and transform. It’s a gruesome, horrifying sight—but far less horrifying than the outcome.
A flock full of living, swarming storms, tearing around the cage, ready to feed.
Raiden laughs, staring at his new creation with eyes glowing in wonder. “Finally, a use for these infernal creatures.”
He slips his arm into the cage and the storms dive, shredding the thick fabric of his sleeve.
“I’m going to have a lot of fun with these,” he says as he retracts his arm and swipes a spot of blood from his skin. “But I shouldn’t be the only one to enjoy them. Your mother always said you had a way with birds.”
The words are still heavy in the air as he snarls a command, blasting open the door to the aviary as he shoves me inside.
I collapse to my knees and curl up tight, burying myself in the snow as the storm-birds dive, their wicked howls barely drowning out the roar of Raiden’s laughter. The last sound I hear before the icy numbness takes over is the click of metal, locking me in my new cage.