Excerpt from the novel:
(from Chapter 30)

Rainbow, called Ky, as the last of the cloud-whale exited the spun-glass net and became nothing more than mist on the wind. It had been an easy chase through the cloud-laden afternoon sky, for the whale had been powered by a spectrum of Glimmers—mostly reds and golds, though here and there shined the more energetic greens and blues.

Look, cried one of the harvesters, pointing with his copper rod, a violet, and another.

Fetch them, said Ky. Those are worth more than all the rest put together.

And even as the first amethyst Glimmer drifted up the rod and into the glass box, I got several white ones down here, said another man of the harvester crew.

Pearlescent? asked Ky.

Nar. J'st plain white. Y'want me t'throw 'em back?

No, said Ky. Someone will use them as candles. Haul them in.

The harvest was perhaps half done, when—


An explosion juddered the Sorrow.

What th—? said Rith.

Release the anchor, pipe the silks, snapped Arik. Get underway.

Rith sounded the signals, even as Arik spun the wheel hard over and shouted, Man the cannons.

Hang-sails! shouted Ky, and all men rushed to their stations and fetched and snapped on harnesses of their silk-packs.

Lookouts searched the skies, even as another cannonball arced past on an upward trajectory and exploded high above.

Where away? cried Arik.

It's in the cloud below and aft, said Trendel, peering over the taffrail. We've been ambushed.

And up from a great cloud under the Sorrow emerged a swift galleon, mist streaming from her yardarms and spars.