Eagles and Swans
Ruthenia is the lovechild of genius and temerity. Not one teacher in the Central Circle School can deal with her firebrand recklessness, nor with her impudence, bolstered by her consistently stellar results in physics and mathematics, her unrivalled talent in building things, and her complete disregard for all else.
She has many opinions, and a habit of being barefacedly frank about them--often to her own detriment. One of those opinions is that all rules should be questioned, particularly those based on iffy lines in Ihir's Holy Script--for the simple reason that one such law ruined her life in quite literal a fashion.
You see, here in Astra, the act of building flight machines is considered sacrilege. And here in Astra, they take sacrilege very, very seriously. With her talent with all things mechanical and her penchant for defiance, it seems Ruthenia was always destined for a life outside the law.
What she doesn't realise--or even have the capacity to comprehend--is that under the conservative, theocratic facade of the nation lies a web of influences and tensions beyond the scope of anything she's ever imagined, formed of threads of influence that could snap and ruin a few lives if someone so much as said the wrong thing on national radio, or wore the wrong dress at a public function.
She will come to discover that this societal web is kept in working order by people in all corners of society--thieves, merchants, bishops, kings--people whom she will come to befriend and betray, as she learns about the nation she's never quite known, and fights for a chance to save the life of a flying fish goddess whom everyone else considers an enemy.