Frostbite, p.1Adrienne Woods
Frostbite: The Dragonian Series 3
Copyright © 2015 Adrienne Woods
Illustration: Joemel Requeza
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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.
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First Fire Quill publishing edition September 2015
To my sister; Rile Freeman, for all your love and for being one of my best friends. You were the inspiration behind Cara. Love you to bits.
First and the most important, as always, 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 time and time again.
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, still, and your love for beautiful words has given Thunderlight the wings it needed to soar. Monique and Zoe, have become true citizens of Paegeia too, andyour 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, Fire Quill, 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. I will always, always be grateful for your love and support. Without you this series would not have lifted off, and you have given Frostbite a chance to be seen yet again by so many readers. I hope that none of you will be disappointed with this part.
Lots of love
Things aren’t always what they seem; the first appearance deceives many; the intelligence of a few perceives what has been carefully hidden…. Unknown
EATH WAS MY constant companion. I’d escaped its icy clutches three times in my short life.
My first brush with the spirit I now knew as Death was the night I learned who my father truly was. The night I witnessed his transformation into a dragon on Interstate 40. The night we were attacked by dragons. I lost my hero that night, and my world was completely turned upside-down when I was whisked away to Paegeia: a world where dragons and magic exist; a world located inside the Bermuda Triangle, hidden from the human realm behind a magical wall.
Humans have the ability to penetrate the wall, but if they try to exit Paegeia, they are instantly disintegrated.
I used to call it my one-way ticket to Neverland. Now it has become my home.
While the wall may be limiting to humans, dragons are free to come and go as they please, and they’ve done so for the past nine hundred years, hiding amongst the human race to protect the weak, help the poor and trade with the rest of the world.
The second time I almost died was right after I received my foretelling from the Viden. Foretellings are a type of prophecy intended to lead the people of Paegeia to their destinies, but the Viden gives them in a messed up way, in the form of a riddle.
Mine could mean anything, but I knew now that it would only bring death. What the words in my foretelling meant, I still needed to figure out. The question was, would it be worth it?
The first time I thought I had figured out my destiny was when I went to retrieve the King of Lion sword. It was formidable, magical and could slay evil in any form. Brian, a Sun-Burst dragon, died saving my life, and the lives of my friends who were dumb enough to follow me into the madness.
The second time I had the opportunity to fulfill the twisted words of the opaque riddle was when I had the opportunity to claim Paul, a Wyvern, to prove once and for all that Wyverns had the capacity to be good like all the other dragons. Once again I was wrong, and my only love, Lucian, paid the ultimate price. He died saving my life, but not before I turned into a dragon myself.
I was a dragon, I had always been a dragon, and I had never known. It was still a mystery why I hadn’t been able to shift before, and they were still studying why only my anger and fear had brought on the change.
To be honest, I didn’t care about my foretelling anymore. People I loved died, and I couldn’t stop feeling like all of this was my fault.
Losing Lucian took a huge toll on me. I didn’t want to live, but for some reason now that I wanted to die the spirit of death didn’t come to claim his prize. Instead I was left with a hollow feeling deep inside my chest, one that would never be filled. I was left with a broken heart: ice cold, as if no amount of heat could ever warm me again. Arianna is right, I am like poison.
No, not poison.
The people in my life, the ones I love, didn’t die from my touch, their deaths were written in the choices I made. All of them were on death’s list; waiting for the day they would take their last breath.
I’d paralyzed their lives, their futures. I was like ice, like frost freezing their hopes and dreams. I was the living embodiment of frostbite.
WAS BACK INSIDE that cave, the one where Lucian lost his life. I looked around but I knew he wasn’t going to come for me, he was dead. Then what the hell am I still doing here, staring at a psycho who claims to be my dragon?
“You really thought that I was your dragon, Elena? Seriously?” He laughed that sadistic laugh that made my insides twist and turn in all directions.
“Get away from me you freak,” I spat.
His hand connected hard against my cheek, it burned and my ears rang for a couple of seconds.
“I’m not a freak, I’m a patriot.”
“Patriot?” I laughed as loud as I could. “You are a murderer!”
Another strike. The Elementals clucked like crazy, they could feel the danger all around them and must have felt helpless. It was beginning to drive me insane.
“Stop it you mongrels, or I’ll skin you alive,” Paul yelled and for some reason they listened. He looked back down at me again. The point of his knife was close to my throat. “It’s funny how everyone around you knows who you are, Elena, except you.”
“What are you talking about?”
He laughed again. “I guess they like to play mind games with you, like to keep you in the dark.” His eyes met mine. “Some friends you have.”
“Stop that, you know
“Why? Because they all end up betraying you at the end of the day. Take it from me; it’s better to live in the dark. You can do whatever you want, be whatever you want. Your friends don’t give a shit about you, and neither does your dragon.”
“You are not my dragon,” I yelled again.
“Oh, I know that, and for some sick, twisted reason your true dragon wasn’t bothered one bit that I claimed you as my rider.”
“You are lying.”
“Am I?” He looked around. “Then where is your dragon, Elena? Why isn’t it here?” The Elementals’ clucking noises drowned the rest of Paul’s words. I could see his lips moving, but their sounds of pure panic drilled through my brain, making it impossible to hear what he had to say. It grew louder and louder and then a cannon shot rang through their cries.
I jumped up in bed, soaked with sweat. It was like, the gazillionth time I’d had that dream. I could still hear their clucking and it made me feel like I was going crazy, but still, no tears came. My heart felt as if it was bouncing inside my ears. No matter how many times I had the same dream, I could never hear Paul’s last words as the Elemental sounds kept interrupting him. But there was one thing that I knew was a lie, I didn’t own a dragon. I was a dragon, and that was one piece of information I still struggled to deal with.
LENA, YOU NEED to focus. Put all your strength and emotions into one place and see your dragon,” Sir Edward, the professor who taught transformations inside the Coliseum, said. “See who you truly are and the shift will come naturally.”
I shook my head at his words. “I don’t like the way she makes me feel.”
“It is who you are,” he said again.
“It’s not!” I yelled at him.
“Here we go again,” a chirp came from Amy, a Night Villain. Glaring at her I couldn’t help thinking how much I would love to zap her ass right now. The others just gave me slight shakes and eye rolls as they stared at me in disgust. They didn’t understand how I could possibly not want to embrace my dragon. When their stares became too much, I turned around and ran out of the arena.
“Elena!” Sir Edward yelled after me.
He could yell as much as he wanted. I knew starting with dragon classes would be a waste of time. I wasn’t a dragon. I couldn’t be one. For the love of blueberries, I was afraid of heights. Trees flew past me as I ran toward the wooden door that led to the school. I glanced at the Parthenon dome quickly before I ran up the stairs. I loved that dome and would give anything to put my trust in my two axes rather than rely on my purple lightning. Or to accept her, the being coiling inside of me, begging to be released. I couldn’t grant her that wish because she was too unpredictable and I never knew what the hell she was going to do when she came out. It was like when I became the dragon, I turned into Hyde. A monster that would destroy anyone, no matter if it was foe or friend.
I opened the wooden door with a flick of my wrist as if the hulking oak weighed nothing. I made it around the first corner fast and rested against the wall as I tried to catch my breath.
I hadn’t been lying when I’d said I didn’t like the way she made me feel. The anger and frustration of not being able to save him that day was ten times worse whenever I shifted into her. The pain and the heartache of losing Lucian were unbearable. It drove her, she wanted to kill, and if Sammy and George hadn’t been near me the second time I’d shifted into her, an innocent soul would’ve paid the price.
I wanted revenge so badly. But how did you kill a ghost and his Hippogriff girlfriend? Paul died that day, he deserved it, but the only thing I still struggled with was with knowing for sure. The love of his life, Nora Georgiou, a shape-shifting hippogriff who’d pretended to be our Enchantments professor a couple of months back hadn’t cried out in agony when he went up in golden dust. I’d also heard the word “drink” and my mind jumped to one conclusion: a potion.
Lucian’s iron blade had killed him, it was the only type of metal that could kill a Wyvern, and yet I had a funny feeling that she had found a way to save his life. How, I still needed to figure out since I couldn’t go and ask around if there was a way to save someone’s life if they were mere inches from death. If something like that existed, I was sure it would be something forbidden, something that Paegeia wouldn’t cast even if the king’s life depended on it. And if a potion like that didn’t exist, I would be the fool. So I’d been trying to search for the answer myself, with little success. If one of the library books did contain such information, I hadn’t found it yet. The Internet threw out potions in the search results that didn’t make any sense. Most of them were healing potions but none of them were what I was looking for.
The other reason I’d been searching for something like that, if it existed, was in the hopes that I could find a way to bring back Lucian. If I found something, I wouldn’t even think twice about it. I couldn’t live without him and thinking about him made me want to bawl my eyes out again, as the ache in my heart crept into my bones and blood. But since she’d come forth, I couldn’t show that emotion. There were just no more tears. The last time I’d cried was the day Lucian died.
I guess in some way I’d gotten my wish of never wanting to cry again.
I just never imagined it would come in the form of a purple dragon.
Pressing my back against the cold stone wall, I let my knees give out. I hugged my knees after my butt found the cold surface of the floor and rocked.
As I sat, I could hear a pair of footsteps and someone’s breathing approaching. A strong fragrance of vanilla and roasted almonds followed, yes something else that had been enhanced was my sense of smell, and I knew it was Sammy. The noise of her footsteps and breath came closer and closer until it sounded as if she was inside of me. Reaching down her arms wrapped around my entire body.
She wore the same robe as me. It was a piece of clothing that dragons would throw over their human forms after they transformed back. It was nothing special, but I clung onto it because I didn’t like being naked in front of everyone. It was the one thing I would never get used to. She was one of my best friends, and had been with me on every life-threatening experience I’d encountered since I came to Paegeia.
“Elena, you need to try.”
I looked at her. “Sammy, I can’t. Look what happened the last time.”
“It’s normal. You’re grieving and you want justice like all of us, including your dragon form.” She sat next to me. “We experience emotions on a different level, a more intense one and I don’t know if you will ever get used to it, but you are what you are, Elena. You can’t deny her.”
I sighed as I stared at the floor. “I thought I was done with the questions, but I can’t forget them. I can’t forgive him. Why didn’t he tell me?” I was speaking about my father. How many things had he hidden from me?
“I don’t know.” Her lips arched downwards and she had a huge frown between her eyebrows. “I wish so badly that there was something that I could tell you that could make all of this easier on you, but there isn’t. Being a dragon is hard, Elena. For all of us, but it’s who we are and we have to embrace it.”
“What if I’m like the Chromatic, Sammy? I don’t want to be beaten.”
She grabbed me around the neck. “You’re not. Master Longwei said that Thunderlights are good, remember?”
“Then why do I feel so evil?”
“You’re not evil. You lost someone you love in a messed up way. It’s bound to make you feel angry and frustrated because his killer is still out there. You want justice. That’s what you’re feeling. Not getting it made you do what you almost did the last time. It’s not who you are, you’re just experiencing the emotion of that loss and want justice on a more intense level.” She said the same thing again as if I didn’t get it the first time. The bell rang and she stared at me with soft eyes, eyes that pleaded with me to open my mind and just accept things the way they were. When students started to pass us, I sighed.
She made sense, but I still didn’t want to feel that pain and anger. It was too much and my Thunderlight would just have to stay trapped inside this human form a little longer.
“Come, let’s go and see what Chef has made for lunch.” She reached for my hand after she got up and pulled me to my feet in one swift movement.
We entered the cafeteria, and my back connected hard with the wall. Amy’s long and pointy nose almost touched mine. Her fist clutched my robe and with her Night Villain strength she lifted me almost off the floor.
Her two buddies held Sammy tight. “Leave her alone, Amy.”
“Sammy, shush. I’m doing this for all of us.” She snapped at Sammy over her shoulder before her head shot back around to face me. “Just move on, Watkins,” she spat, and I could feel her acid saliva spray gently onto my face. It burned slightly and I ground on my teeth to stop myself from showing my pain. Still it didn’t burn as much as I thought it would.
“Get your paws off of me,” I replied through clenched teeth.
“You’re pathetic. Arianna was right. Lucian wasted his life saving yours.”
The two girls that held Sammy snickered.
“Amy, shut up!” Sammy yelled.
No, she was right and I totally agreed with Amy’s last statement. Though my Thunderlight didn’t. She got mad and when I opened my mouth again, she cussed like crazy. The voice wasn’t mine anymore and Amy let go of my robe and started to back off. When she became smaller I knew exactly what was happening and there was absolutely nothing I could do to stop it.
The tables close to us crushed into splinters underneath my dragon weight. Pillows that came in contact with my talons tore into pieces and sponge popped out everywhere around me.
Huge scaly paws tore free from my skin and I didn’t care about the robe on my body that shredded into a million pieces, lying in a pathetic heap on the floor. I only concentrated on calming myself down as anger burned through my veins and revenge warmed my belly. If I killed Amy today Master Longwei would surely throw my ass out of here.
Frostbite by Adrienne Woods / Fantasy / Young Adult / Romance & Love have rating 4 out of 5 / Based on32 votes