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Thunderlight, p.1
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       Thunderlight, p.1

           Adrienne Woods
 
Thunderlight


  If you purchased this e-book from anyone other than Fire Quill Publishing or a licensed

  FQP reseller, you should be aware this e-book is stolen property.

  This e-book is a work of fiction. Any references to historical events, real people, or real locales are used fictitiously. Other names, characters, places, and incidents are the products of the author’s imagination, and any resemblance to actual events or locales or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.

  Fire Quill Publishing

  www.firequillpublishing.com

  Copyright © 2014

  All rights reserved, including the right of reproduction in whole or in part in any form.

  All graphics and text associated with Fire Quill Publishing.

  Formatting by www.firequillpublishing.com

  Manufactured in South Africa.

  First Fire Quill publishing edition November 2014

  ISBN: 9780992244613 - print

  978-0-9946536-1-1 - e-copy

  We understand death for the first time when he puts his hand upon one whom we love.

  ~Madame de Stael

  Other Novels in this Series

  Firebolt

  Thunderlight

  Frostbite - 2015

  Moon Breeze - 2015

  Novelettes in this Series

  Venom

  Poison - 2015

  Other Novels by Adrienne Woods

  Dream Caster (#1 of The Dream Caster Series) - 2015

  Shadow Caster (#2 of The Dream Caster Series) - 2015

  Acknowledgements

  First and the most important thanks is to our Father in heaven, for blessing me every day, without Your guidance, I wouldn’t have done or finished with this if You were not involved in this every day. You are my purpose of life and I will love You till the end of time.

  Then I would like to thank my extraordinary beta readers, you know who you are, for your valuable input, patience and willingness to delve into this world again head first.

  For the endless support of my family; I would be lost without your loving support and your ability to keep me pursuing this project when I didn’t want to carry on.

  To Vinique; my bestie for your love, kindness and support. Love you to bits and thank you for being such a significant person in my life.

  A special thanks to my wonderful editors, Hillery, you are a true Paegeian and your love for beautiful words has given Thunderlight the wings it needed to soar. Monique and Zoe, your insight to the words on these pages made Elena and all her friends so much more entertaining, and a big thank you for polishing my work to perfection.

  To my cover artist Joemel. Your grace and elegance with lines, shadows and colors has made my novel cover truly spectacular. You were able to reach into my imagination, capture, and re-imagine a world I thought only I would ever see. Because of your passion and skill I truly hope my book will be judged by its cover.

  To my publishing company, FQP, for giving a home to my series and to the best team I ever worked with. Helen, Gerald, Sandra, Carlyle, Monique and Kelly, you are all stars for making my novels reach much further then I dream for.

  Last, but not the least, a big thanks to my fans. Without you this series would not have lifted off.

  Lots of love

  Adrienne Woods

  WO MONTHS AGO, I almost died. Well, actually, I almost died a few times, but perhaps I am getting ahead of myself. Let me take you back to the night my father died on Interstate 40 in the clutches of monstrous talons.

  My father and I lived a complicated life. He dragged me across the country from city to city, and town to town every three months as if my life fell victim to a celestial timer that would go off inside his mind. Even though I was forced to live this nomadic life, he never revealed the only question that was ever on my mind: Why? The last time we packed up to leave I didn’t give it a second thought; it was just like every other time, no answers from the stoic man pulling me along, only blank, determined stares. I didn’t know that this was the night I would finally get my answer to the question burning to ashes in the back of my mind. I sure got my answer that night, but I didn’t know the price that answer would cost me; my father’s life.

  Dragons…

  Freaky, right? But it was only the beginning. I had known my father all my life, and never once did I ever notice a scale or a puff of smoke escaping his lips when he was upset. Now that I think about it, I didn’t know how it could have slipped past me.

  My father was a great man. A great man who died saving my life from four dragons the night I came to Paegeia. Now, you may be wondering how I fell into this mess. Paegeia is a magical world unlike anything us mere humans have ever seen. It is safeguarded and hidden from the humans behind an enchanted wall. My old world knew it as the Bermuda Triangle. History tells of hundreds of ships and planes that have disappeared once they have entered the Bermuda Triangle, but in reality they were simply lucky enough to slip through the barrier and into Paegeia. Many of those humans, like me, lost their minds. It is one thing to cope with the reality of entering an alternate world but the reality of dragons, magic and everything else that goes along with it must have been a complete sensory overload. I, on the other hand, was lucky. There were people in this world that didn’t know the meaning of the word “give up” and somehow their combined will not to lose me, pulled me through the strange and unexplained reality, and I was able to ground myself in my new life.

  Thinking back, I didn’t think I would have been able to accept my new reality if I hadn’t been thrown head first in the deep end.

  I learned a lot about myself in my first few weeks in Paegeia. For some unknown reason I was born with the mark of the dragon riders. A mark, I was told, that should’ve never been mine because of what I was, half-dragon. You see, my father was a dragon, and although I didn’t own a dragon form, I still carried dragon DNA. My Mom, on the other hand, was human. I never knew her as she had left when I was only a child. I have since come to the realization that she probably left when she discovered my father’s secret and didn’t bother to take her two year-old daughter with her.

  Marks of the riders, known as the Dragonians, didn’t belong on people like me. Their carriers are human, born of two human parents; they were brave, fearless and not scared of anything.

  Me… I’ve got so many fears that the pages of this book couldn’t hold them, and ever since I came here, I’ve doubted myself on a daily basis. That is until I got my foretelling from our friendly Viden, a wannabe pretending to be Rapunzel by choosing to live up high in a tower, a dragon who can predict a person’s future.

  She was a Moon-Bolt, a dragon gifted with the ability to breathe lightning and see the future. At 300 years old, people said she was the best, but to me it seemed like all of her predictions came out a scrambled mess and she twisted them on purpose until they were unintelligible riddles. She also had the nasty habit of publicizing the futures of some, but only those she deemed special.

  Mine could have been anything. The only information she gave me was that a day would come and go and I would needed to make a choice for the truth to be known.

  I disregarded the message when I first received it, thinking she was playing a sick joke on the weird, new half-dragon. That was until I saw those famous words, my riddle, in her Book of Shadows. Not everyone’s riddle showed up inside that book, only when it was linked to Paegeia’s survival, would your riddle appear in black ink. Paegeians called them foretellings and they’ve been guiding people to their destinies for the past two hundred years.

  That was if you could unravel what your riddle meant and fulfilled it, which brings me to the second time I almost died.

  My foretelling finally made sense the day the King of Lions sword disappeared about two
months back.

  The sword was formidable; it had the ability to destroy evil. No matter the form that evil took, if it struck you and your intentions were not pure, you would disintegrate on the spot.

  To find the sword was number one on everybody’s priority list. The only problem was nobody knew where to look for it. So I had this brilliant plan to seek the answer inside the Sacred Cavern.

  The Sacred Cavern was a favorite story for most Paegeian children. What the cavern hid was unknown to everyone but five individuals. Only five women ever made it out alive, and they never revealed what truly lurked in the cave to anyone.

  Unbeknownst to me, I became the sixth, putting my first child’s freedom on the line if I ever told a soul that the cavern tried to trick you with riddles, mind games and obstacles that could easily take your life.

  I somehow made it through all the obstacles and received the ultimate reward. A look into a magical pond that could show you anything you wished to know, present, past or future.

  There was a flurry of questions that ran through my mind as I stood in front of that pool, my Mom’s identity or why the dragons attacked us that night, but I gave it all up and chose to learn the location of the sword in order to save my new home.

  I knew retrieving the sword from the thief who had stolen it wasn’t going be easy and the pond confirmed this theory. It showed me the image of a rider on the back of a Sun-Blast dragon on his way to the Volcano of Ekwador. The thief had been compelled and if my friends and I wanted to succeed in getting the sword back, we learned we would have to face the powerful and malicious Goran.

  Goran remains Paegeia’s most powerful sorcerer to this day. Once, a long time ago, he was the trusted friend of Paegeia’s most beloved king, King Albert. However he broke that trust, turning evil and betraying his best friend and the entire kingdom. On the night the King and his Queen died, creepers sprouted from the earth, a plant that resembled giant beanstalks, consuming the capital of Etan with Goran still stuck inside.

  Nobody, not even Goran, has been able to find a way in or out of Etan since. The Viden predicted that only the Rubicon, a very special dragon, and his true Dragonian would be able to free the people of Etan. The only problem with this prediction was that the Rubicon’s Dragonian had to be born from King Albert and Queen Catherine’s bloodline and they’d died childless.

  So, as sad as it was, Etan was lost to us. Many people lost loved ones that night and it was still a painful subject for them to talk about.

  To get back to the day I almost lost my life for the second time, Goran had possessed the rider’s mind and ordered him to steal and destroy the King of Lions sword.

  Only nine of us, including myself, stood in his way.

  Defeating Goran wasn’t easy and if it hadn’t been for Brian, the most courageous dragon I’d ever met, who sacrificed his life so we could live, none of us would’ve made it out alive.

  The Dragonian stabbed me a twice and I almost died, but the Rubicon, Blake, saved me. I would forever be grateful for him, even though he was still the most arrogant being I had ever met.

  I know now that going after the sword alone with only my friends for support was really dumb. We’d lost someone dear to us all and that guilt would stay with me forever. But it also showed me who I was, what I could accomplish, and that it doesn’t matter whose offspring you are, great things can happen to anyone….

  NGER, BETRAYAL, AND HATE turned my stomach to acid. It consumed my mind and I watched as bottles, papers and books on the desk flew off and crashed to the floor.

  A maid rushed to my side. She didn’t say anything, but her eyes reflected fear in their watery depths. The dustpan in her hand trembled as she started to sweep up the jagged shards of glass. Rising, she began to straighten the books that had fallen to the floor in a heap. Every few seconds her eyes darted nervously in my direction as if a mere breath would make me lash out at her with my outstretched hand.

  I touched her face gently until my hand reached her neck, tightening slowly as my anger began to rise once again. My grip tightened around her soft, shapely neck as I lifted her up from her position at my feet until her face was level with mine. Listening carefully I heard her heart fluttering like a bird trapped inside a cage.

  “How did I become this way?” I spoke, giving voice to my reality softly.

  She just stared at me with round, brown unblinking eyes. Her eyes were sunken deep into the surface of her face and her cheek bones were sharply defined.

  Looking at her sullen face made me feel worse. I lifted up my other hand and struck the woman hard across her cheek.

  A cry left her mouth and I threw her from me as if she weighed nothing. She skidded across the floor landing in a heap against a wall of cold, unforgiving stone. If I was a dragon I would blast fire, reduce this wretched place to a pile of insignificant ashes.

  Two other maids, hearing the startled cry, rushed into the room. Their eyes were wide as they took in the room and the immobile heap near the far wall. “Sorry, m’lord,” the older one said, her voice slightly trembling. “She’s new, we will train her better.”

  They picked up the maid who had come to and was sobbing. She clutched the side of her face, covering the huge, red handprint where I’d struck her.

  I nodded. The old maid knew her place well, although I still didn’t care for her name, she knew where she stood.

  I plunged myself down onto the chair and closed my eyes. A silent roar growled inside of me lighting a fire of rage deep in my core.

  The girl had made it.

  The Rubicon saved her life, so a part of him was still fighting me. I could still see her eyes searching mine. They bore into my soul, seeking answers. How was this possible! The wall wouldn’t allow any human to go to the other side.

  Albert’s laughter echoed inside the castle; a startling reminder that good would always win. He would pay dearly for this. I would find a way, and I promised myself she wouldn’t live much longer.

  I pushed myself up from the chair and rubbed my face hard. The emotion of my anger escaped my lips making a sickening sound. Rage that emanated from deep within me overpowered the haunting laughter and echoed throughout the entire castle.

  “Master,” Cain’s voice interrupted my thoughts.

  “Speak, my loyal servant,” I said out loud. “What is the news?”

  “Everything is in place. We won’t fail you,” his voice said in my head.

  I closed my eyes, took a deep breath and let it out hard. “We’ll see

  UMMER WAS ALMOST over but everyone’s spirits were high as Sammy searched for something in her room. I had recently arrived at the Leaf’s after spending the first weeks of my vacation with Becky. Sammy was in rare form this evening as she bounced off the walls of the room with barely contained excitement.

  “Elena, cheer up! We’re going to the Warbel games and I know it sucks that Lucian won’t be there, but I promise, you’re going to enjoy it, okay.” Sammy spoke fast as I moved out of the way of one of her shirts sailing toward me.

  “Sammy, it’s not like I’m trying to be like this, I just really miss him …” my lips puffed out a breath. “Tell me again why the Warbel games are so mind-blowing.” I tried to change the subject away from Lucian. He was still away on a hunting trip with his father and the girls had decided the best way to brighten my mood was a sport that basically sounded like Greek warfare. I still had no clue what the Warbel games were about even after Sammy tried to explain it to me while searching for the jersey of her favorite team. It sounded exciting as words like soldiers, attackers and scorers made it into her lengthy explanation.

  “Because it’s the Warbel games,” she simply said.

  The only thing I retained was that Warbel was some sort of dragon and human sport that they loved to play on this side of the wall. She also said that Dragonia had a similar game at the beginning of each school year, but it wasn’t as dangerous as the real one. I became even more confused when she started talking abo
ut raiders and incantations and couldn’t figure out how all of it came together.

  Guess I’ll have to see it before I can really understand what it’s all about.

  “The one thing you need to understand is that the game we are going to tonight is really dangerous,” she added as she continued to tear apart her closet, “and that the humans who participate are extremely well developed magic wielders, for their own safety as much as winning the game.”

  I still had no clue what the Warbel games were about. Okay, awesome, I thought sarcastically.

  Sir Robert had gotten five tickets for all of us from a friend who couldn’t make tonight’s game.

  Lucille, Becky’s mom, had also gotten tickets for her, Becky and George, so we were all going to the game together.

  I had spent the first three weeks of my vacation with Becky and Lucille. Lucille was not a typical mother, but was the most selfless person I’d ever met. She also seemed way too young to be Becky’s mom and looked more like Becky’s older sister. She hated it when I called her Mam or Mrs. Johnson, and insisted that I called her by her first name. She was a lot like Becky in a sense, they shared the same type of fashion choices and clever comments, but she also had a love of art, which Becky didn’t have. That part connected with me one hundred percent.

  Becky and her mother lived in the totally opposite neighborhood of the Leafs, and they had more money than I could even dream of. I guessed it was why Becky was a bit of a brat. Staying with them made me realize what type of a person she could be sometimes. Having all that money made Becky bossy and turned her into someone I never thought I would be friends with. But the thought of not having her around to give me her two cent comments, especially when I didn’t ask for them, was unthinkable. She was also one of the bravest and fiercest girls I knew and the best friend, apart from Sammy, a girl could ask for.

 
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