She rode well, he begrudgingly admitted. In the beginning, he had watched her for any sign that she might change her mind. There had been a moment when Roar turned back to gaze at the shrinking city that had made him hope she would reconsider. But after a long, lingering look, she’d faced forward, leaned into the wind, and picked up her pace. And from that point on, the only times she had looked back had been with caution, as though she expected a storm to come barreling after them at any moment.
... Little by little, her nervous glances backward lessened, so that by the time they stopped to eat and rest at a spot known as Death’s Spine, she appeared completely at ease. Almost … giddy.
...But his eyes kept wandering to where Roar walked along the rocky line of sandstone that gave this area its name. Death’s Spine was the unofficial end of Pavan territory, and from this point on it was them versus the wildlands. There was something captivating about Roar, standing upon that dividing line—framed by civilization on one side and wild terrain on the other. She stared out at the surrounding land, hair blowing in the breeze, taking it all in like she was tasting joy for the first time. He blamed Jinx’s earth magic; when she worked it always seemed to affect more than just whatever plant she was focused on. The sun shone a little brighter, the grass appeared greener, even the breeze seemed to luxuriate in the presence of magic, curling indulgently around them. (c)