Let the Wind Rise Page 1

Author: Shannon Messenger

Series: Sky Fall #3

Genres: Fantasy , Young Adult

For anyone who has ever fought and doubted and struggled, because hope is always on the horizon




They’re calling it “California’s Worst Natural Disaster in Decades.”

But there was nothing “natural” about it.

It’s easier if people blame global warming, though. Or Mother Nature. Or any of the other theories scientists have been tossing out, trying to explain the freaky tornadoes that stomped the mansions and country clubs in my stuffy valley into million-dollar heaps of rubble.

Nobody would know how to deal with a reality filled with “sylphs” and “wind wars” and “storms that fight like monsters.”

Plus, then I’d have to tell them the worst part—the part that makes me want to curl up into a ball and never move again.

It was my fault.

If I’d moved to one of the Gales’ bases in the middle of nowhere, or taken my training more seriously, or insert-any-of-the-mountain-of-Vane-fails here, none of this would’ve happened.

My hometown wouldn’t be a federal disaster zone.

Innocent people wouldn’t have died.

And Audra . . .

I’m trying not to think about where she is or what she might be going through. Or how I was the one who insisted she trust her mother and made her fly off with Gus, straight into Raiden’s trap.

Or how she broke our bond.

I want to believe she did it to protect my heritage—stripping away any knowledge she had of the Westerly language so she couldn’t give Raiden what he wants. But I wouldn’t blame her if she hates me.

I definitely hate myself.

But I’m going to fix this—all of it.

I have a plan.

I have the power of four on my side.

It’s time to be the hero everyone’s expecting me to be.




I’m stronger than this.

The words have become my lifeline, warming me with their promise as I whisper them in my frozen cell.

Ruined Northerlies tear at my hair, my skin, the flimsy fabric of my dress. The rough stone floor cuts into my bare legs. Still, I don’t move—don’t blink—as I count my shallow breaths. Waiting for Raiden to return.

Whatever he has planned, whatever horrors lie ahead . . .

I’m stronger.

I have to be.

For Gus.

For the Gales.

For Vane.

Thinking his name should claw at my heart with longing and regret.

Instead, I feel nothing.

No pull.

No pain.

Just an empty void where something precious used to be.

But it’s gone now.

All that remains is a ghost of a memory that would almost feel more like a dream—if it weren’t for the calm breeze wrapped around me.

I can no longer understand its words, but I know the gentle Westerly is loyal.

And that gives me the courage I need.

Raiden has power and pain on his side.

But I have the wind.

Change is in the air—I can feel it as clearly as I can hear the brave melodies of the untainted drafts slipping through the cracks of Raiden’s supposedly impenetrable fortress.

A hum building to a crescendo.

The wind starting to rise.




I’m pretty sure I’ve made a deal with the devil.

But I’ll do whatever it takes to get Audra back—even if it means trusting her psychotic mother.

I can see Arella from my bedroom window, her long dark hair tinted blue in the moonlight as she stands in the middle of my front yard with her face tilted toward the stars. The pose should be peaceful, but her brows are pinched, and she keeps scratching at her pale, skinny arms, leaving finger trails along her skin.

“You’re wearing the Gale Force uniform,” Solana says behind me.

Her voice is barely louder than a whisper, but the sound still makes me jump. Probably because I’ve been avoiding her.

I don’t turn around, even though I know I’m being stupid.

Solana’s coming with me on this mission—quest—whatever-you-want-to-call-it—thing. So I’m going to be spending lots of time with her.

But . . . every time I look at her I can’t help thinking, I saved the wrong girl.

It’s not that I regret rescuing her—there’s no way I could’ve left her trapped in the crushing grip of a Living Storm. But I was still helping Solana while Raiden was dragging Audra and Gus away.

“Yeah,” I mumble, realizing she’s expecting me to say something. “Figured I should start dressing the part.”

She’s quiet for a second, and I hope that means she’s going to leave me alone. Instead she says, “It suits you.”

I snort, but manage to stop myself from pointing out how the heavy black fabric is stiff and scratchy and pretty much the most uncomfortable thing I’ve ever worn. I’m done whining about the role I’m expected to play. Plus, it’s cold where we’re going, and this is the warmest thing I own.

“You didn’t hurt your elbow getting the jacket on, did you?” Solana asks.