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Robin McKinley – Spindle’s End (2000)

Rosie could feel him thinking, but he was silent for long enough that she had the opportunity to notice that he was the only one of all of them who was not blundering over his own feet. She felt him notice her noticing—there was a certain sense of “at last” about it—and then he said: The things that aren’t there are not there in different ways. Some of them are almost there and some of them are nearly not-there.

Narl said slowly, “Yes. This seems to be a—neither here nor there sort of place. And the things here are neither here nor there either.”

“Only they don’t seem to—upset Flinx’s sense of balance,” said Rosie.

“Perhaps cats are neither here nor there all the time,” said Narl, and Flinx, picking up the gist of this through Rosie, gave Narl a thoughtful look before returning to his tail.

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Robin McKinley – Spindle’s End (2000)

…But the wing had not healed as it should, and so it was given the vaulted height of the Great Hall to live in, where no one dared trouble it, and it was fed by a falconer with a very long pole.

The merrel also knew its wing had not healed. But I could reach a great height once more before it failed me, it said. And from there I would fold my wings and plummet to the earth as if a hare or a fawn had caught my eye; but it would be myself I stooped toward. It would be a good flight and a good death. And so I eat their dead things cut up on a pole, dreaming of my last flight.