Reborn: Draconia World Book 5 - Joanna Mazurkiewicz - E-Book

Reborn: Draconia World Book 5 E-Book

Joanna Mazurkiewicz

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Beschreibung

The League won and the Dark Ones descended to the underworld. 
Draconia is finally under control of the wardens. But this peace will not last.
The Dark Ones retreated but not empty handed, but with the most powerful dragon in the kingdom, Avianna.
The League took a great loss during the initial battle, and will need outside help to fight the enemy. But Fran’s mind is elsewhere. She wants to return to the Diamond City on her own to free Avianna.
Betrayed by one she trusted, Fran is devastated. She blames herself. The man that she thought was loyal to her stole Avianna during Battle for Council.
Yet, are the rumors true? Is Avianna underground?
Fran must trust a member of her family to sneak underground. There she discovers that things aren’t exactly as they seemed from the outside. 
Will she be able to overcome her own insecurities and stand by her people? Will she continue to be their leader in the most brutal war in the history of Draconia?

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Reborn

Draconia World Book 5

Joanna Mazurkiewicz

Copyright © 2020 by Joanna Mazurkiewicz

All rights reserved.

No part of this book may be reproduced in any form or by any electronic or mechanical means, including information storage and retrieval systems, without written permission from the author, except for the use of brief quotations in a book review.

Created with Vellum

Contents

1. Trap

2. The new me

3. Where is she?

4. Confusion

5. Family

6. Going under the knife

7. Narrow path

8. To the right or to the left

9. Shock

10. Escape

11. Race against time

12. The reality

13. Crazies

14. Blood

15. Bodies

16. Stranger things

17. Knife to your throat

18. Something worse

19. Hold me

20. Rage

21. Is this the end?

22. Victory

Newsletter

Chapter One

Trap

“Son of a bitch. I’m going to kill you.” I heard Tim shouting behind me, while I stood paralysed, watching as Idris was dragging Avianna away. He had trapped her in some kind of golden chain that she couldn’t get out of. She was crying for me. I sensed her pain throughout my body; it was terrifying. This couldn’t really be happening.

The elders had vanished, or maybe I was too shocked to care. In one moment, they were standing beside me, and in the next, the tunnel was filling with dark smoke. I couldn’t take Avianna’s screams; I rushed after Idris, but there was nothing but pitch-black darkness in front of me. Everything was happening so fast. Idris, my Idris. This was impossible. He couldn’t have betrayed me again. We loved each other, but was it real, or had he been lying to me all this time? The enormous pain of betrayal sliced through my chest, spreading to every nook and cranny of my body.

The ground beneath my feet began to shake, and large rocks were falling all around me. The tunnel was becoming unstable. Timothy went for him, but within a moment, he screamed out in agony, and suddenly, flames surrounded us. Idris must have already vanished, but how? There wasn’t another exit for him. The Dark Ones must have figured out how to move through the magical portals, or they were using the cracks of magic.

“Avianna!” I shouted after her. It was too hot in here; we needed to get out, but I had to save her. She was gone; I couldn’t hear her internal voice anymore. More rocks were falling, and the fire was spreading so fast. Our oxygen was diminishing by the second, and I could hardly breathe. I panicked, wondering if this was really the end, if I was destined to die in here.

“Fran, come on. We have to get out of here,” a voice reached me. I was too upset to react. The pain was distant, dull, because I was overwhelmed by Idris’s unexpected betrayal. Deep down, I wanted to believe that this was just a dream, a vision that couldn’t possibly be true. I was hit with something, maybe a rock or another object, because darkness suddenly obscured my vision for a moment. Part of me wished I could just die in here, but then the tiny voice inside my head reminded me that I wasn’t a quitter. If I gave up now, it would mean that I had let Dara die for nothing.

“We are getting out of here, now. Come on,” the voice was commanding, dragging me from behind. It was so hot; my skin was burning.

Someone else was shouting, or maybe the screams were just inside my head. This couldn’t have been a trap. No, no. I prayed to the God of the Lower World. I prayed that it was just a nightmare.

My heart jumped in my throat when I could finally breathe again. The same calming voice was talking to me as he poured water all over my face, and I started coughing. I rubbed my eyes until I could see what was going on around me. My father backed away to the wall, and then collapsed onto the ground. He was breathing heavily, and half of his face was burned. Other members of the League were around; some of them were burned, too. Where had the fire come from?

Gregory was standing very close to me, holding something that looked like a bucket.

“Are you all right?” he asked me.

I wasn’t all right. I just couldn’t stop going over what happened in there. The worst part was, I had been separated from Avianna, by a man who was supposed to be my rock. Maybe he was being controlled again, just like he had been during the meeting with the warlocks. Anything was possible in the tunnels controlled by the Dark Ones.

“Yeah, getting there, but I’ll find it hard to heal without Avianna,” I said, clenching my fists. “How could he have done this to me? He was supposed to be on our side!”

“You never should have trusted him in the first place,” Timothy shouted. “He probably sent the Dark Ones to our location, to Mangus’s property.” He looked like he was in pain, and in a way, maybe he was right. Idris had betrayed me once before, but back then, it was supposedly a misunderstanding.

“He caught your dragon; he knew what kind of spell to use in order to separate you. I’m not sure what to think—”

“Right now, we haven’t got time to dwell on it,” Cole said, appearing next to my brother. “We need to head over to the square to join the others before the Dark Ones show up.” He was right. I needed to pull myself together. There was no time to stop; we had to fight. Idris’s betrayal shook me to the core. He’d ripped me from the inside out for the second time, but I had to keep going. Avianna would have wanted it that way.

He promised; how many times had he promised me that he would always be standing by my side?

My breathing sped up. Gregory handed me some kind of potion. I didn’t even question it, just drunk it down in one go. I needed something, anything that could take my mind off of what had happened just a moment ago. How long could I go without Avianna? I had no idea. The burns slowly began to heal. I stood up and handed the rest of the potion to my father, feeling guilty that he had just been left there. The League didn’t really care about him.

“He won’t hurt your dragon,” Cole said, approaching us. “Maybe he was only trying to protect her.” He was probably trying to make me feel better.

“Well, he’s dead to me now. I’m going to kill him myself if anything happens to Avianna,” I said, pushing away any emotions that indicated Idris was on our side. There was always hope.

Everything hurt, but more than anything, it was my heart that was bleeding.

How did the Dark Ones know we were going to be there? This question kept coming up. I just wanted to know who set us up.

“My guys set a few more explosions in the tunnels in case the Dark Ones decide to come back,” Cole added. “I heard from upstairs that everything is going smoothly.”

At least we had some good news.

I helped Timothy to stand and we started moving. I couldn’t believe we were leaving the tunnel, and I was returning without Avianna. The silence around us started to bother me—until it didn’t. We walked for a long half an hour, hearing explosions, and the tunneled ceiling above our heads began shaking. The smoke was rising ahead of us when we came out of the tunnels. We hoped that some of the wardens were defeating the Dark Ones. Gaining control of the council buildings was crucial, and I couldn’t imagine that all this preparation had gone to dust. Next would be Dimond city, but that was another part of the plan. It was still early, only around eleven p.m. There were rumours that a lot of mages had escaped to the underground. Overall, the wardens had taken them by surprise.

We walked in silence until we got to more populated parts of the city. Cole was talking to his people, while Gregory was listening, and walking next to him. We were seeing devastation all around: wardens running and screaming patriotic slogans, seeming cheerful. The magic rose as we were getting closer to the centre. Was it possible that we were winning?

At some point we decided to split up, as some of the wardens were fighting with a group of mages who had been singled out. I caught a few with my magic, channeling my anger and energy against them. The streets were gloomy, filled with fallen bricks, and dead mages. There were many dead wardens, too, lying on the streets, along with the wounded. I was seeing families and even children sobbing. It was heartbreaking, and guilt soared through me. They shouldn’t have been forced to fight.

“There is a group of wardens fighting with a few Dark Ones. Come on,” my father told me, pointing at the gate leading to the old part of the city. There were at least twenty wardens; some of them were being pushed out by only two Dark Ones. Now I was seeing the real picture. Even with the numbers we had, we were the weaker side. Damn it. I didn’t expect this. The eggs enhanced the wardens magic, but the mages were much stronger.

I charged forward, not looking back, and not waiting for anyone. I was furious and unable to control myself any longer. Deep down, the tiny voice inside my head kept reacting and telling me that everything was going to be all right, that Idris wouldn’t dare hurt Avianna.

Extraordinary blue light exploded from my palms as I reached the small space between the gate. The Dark Ones were tired, but their energy beamed through the darkness, hurting and killing many wardens. I attacked with everything I had, and, with my magic, one was struck almost instantly. My father was shouting something, but I wasn’t listening to him any longer. The wardens must have gotten some encouragement from me, because the moment they sensed my magic, they fought like lions. The Dark Ones began to back away. It was like some kind of power had exploded inside me. I fed on their fear and their fury. I wanted to fight—I needed to feel some kind of satisfaction after what happened inside the tunnel.

I was hitting them with spell after spell. My hands were shaking like crazy, until someone grabbed me from behind. I lost my balance, hearing whizzed breathing by my left ear.

“Hello, precious. Once I slash your throat, your wardens will start running away. No one has ever defeated the Dark Ones.”

I didn’t recognise this voice. At that point, I didn’t really care who dared attack me. My instincts took over. The mage punched me in the stomach; pain paralysed me for a second, but it was only temporary. I hit him with my elbow and spun around. He was ugly as hell, and it seemed he’d come out of nowhere, trying to help his comrades.

His skin was pale, almost ashen, and his dark cloak was tattered, hanging off him. Maybe this was the way they all reacted after hours upon hours of using their precious magic. I smiled at him, thinking about Avianna. She was alone with that monster in the darkness.

“You’ve already lost, my friend,” I snarled and then threw a ball of red light at him. This was supposed to work as a distraction at first, but it struck him directly in his chest. Then another ball of light swirled around his body. I used my left leg to deliver the final kick. He was thrown a few meters away, landing in a pile of trash.

I waited for him to get up, but he didn’t. Several wardens approached, and someone patted me on the back. My chest was rising and falling in rapid movements.

“That was badass. Who are you?” the stranger warden asked. He had a huge gash on his cheek.

“Francesca,” I replied, barely recognising my own voice.

“Thank you for what you have done,” the same warden said. “I didn’t think we could hold them off.”

“Come on, apparently the council building is ours,” Timothy said as he approached me. “We have to go.”

I looked around, seeing that the wardens had killed the two Dark Ones who were fighting by the gate. My father must have helped them. In the distance, I could see Cole talking to a group of wardens, probably sending them to the other parts of the city. I wasn’t entirely sure if we could defeat the Dark Ones. Most of them had relocated to the underground. For now, that gave us an advantage, but it was only a temporary victory.

I was a little worried about the dragon eggs we’d left inside the house. Idris knew about our location. I suspected he might send the mages to steal them back, but, right now, the whole city was under siege. The Dark Ones had other problems, so I doubted they were going to be concerned about dragon eggs.

We rushed all the way to the council building. There were several buildings where the Dark Ones resided, but this one was the most important. It was where the hearings, ceremonies, and other important events were held. This was their key location.

I felt nauseous passing so many bodies lying on the streets. There were hundreds of them, and my heart was thumping loudly inside my chest. We were seeing more and more families sobbing over their loved ones. Damn it. I should have expected this, but it was still painful to watch. Part of me couldn’t stand it, until I saw Rhian with Nicolas.

They looked exhausted, but I could see relief wash over their faces when they noticed me in the crowd.

“Are you guys okay? What happened?” I asked, confused and worried that this whole uprising was slowly going nowhere.

“We did it. I mean, the wardens did it. The Dark Ones are dead—well, a few escaped, but the council is ours,” Rhian said, and tears began spilling down her face. Then she hugged me, and I was a bit emotional, too. We were surrounded by too many dead bodies.

The magic was soaking the place. Nicolas looked a little worried, probably seeing my burns, but he managed to hug me, too.

“Is Avianna around?” Rhian asked, staring at me. “She’s confusing me with that invisibility potion.” Then everything came rushing back: Idris and her screams. I thought my legs wouldn’t hold me for a moment. I felt so lost.

“No, she’s gone,” I said, unable to tell them what had happened in the tunnel. This was just the beginning, but I couldn’t go on without my dragon.

“What do you mean, she’s gone?” Nicolas asked, horrified. Then I explained. I told them about the surprise in the tunnel, and about what Idris had done.

This whole thing felt like it was just a bad dream, not reality.

“Impossible, they must have used their magic to manipulate him. Idris has always been loyal to you, and to wardens.” Rhian was saying.

“You didn’t hear Avianna when he threw that thing over her. She was in pain, and she was screaming. He said that this was supposed to be done a long time ago,” I informed her, wiping the sweat off of my forehead. I just wanted to forget about her pain.

“So, then he just vanished?” Nicolas asked. “Disappeared in that tunnel?”

I nodded, wondering what he was planning to do with her. I refused to think of the worst.

“He won’t hurt her,” Rhian insisted. “It’s hard for me to say this, but my nephew isn’t capable of hurting people he cares about. He loves you too much. There has to be more to it.”

I didn’t know what to think. I wanted to tell her about that first time on the London Bridge, but I didn’t think I could.

“Everyone is gathering in the main auditorium,” my father said as he approached us. “Apparently that warden from the League wants to address everyone.”

Rhian was wrong. Old Idris was gone. He was never on my side. He must have been pretending this entire time, and that was what hurt the most.

“Let’s move,” Nicolas said. “It’s time for a new beginning.” He was right. It was time to get over our fears and embrace our newfound freedom.

Chapter Two

The new me

I had only been in the council building once before, a long time ago, when I was being questioned about having stolen items in my bag. Victor, my ex-boyfriend, had run away, leaving me alone. It was because of him I was sent away to prison in the Dimond city. Now, being in this place, I was having trouble gathering my thoughts.

The entire auditorium was full, and everyone was talking loudly. The wardens were excited. We had finally gained control of the city, but I wasn’t sure how long it would last. The Dark Ones had been pushed out, but they weren’t defeated. Wardens needed to realise that, sooner or later, many of them might return, and we had to be ready.

Their source of magic was in the Dimond city. We needed help to defeat them in the underworld: warlocks, and any aid from the outside world. Humans couldn’t get involved. This wasn’t their war, or even their world.

I saw Ripley in the distance; he was standing next to Harvey, and a group of warlocks were with them. Their faces were grim, and clothes burned, most likely from fighting alongside the wardens. There were many more than I expected to see in the first place, but still not enough to defeat the enemy. Gloomy thoughts began shading my mind. Flashbacks from the tunnel were still making me nauseous. This wasn’t good, especially under the circumstances, where I was supposed to be positive.

Rhian dragged us all the way to the front row. Cole was talking loudly with Gregory. I glanced over at my brother. He was a handsome warden, and I had never asked him about his father. We had a lot we needed to catch up on, but I realised it might be a while before that could happen. I was just happy to have him in my life now.

My thoughts were racing while we waited. It was unexpected: the uprising, the bodies, and all the magic that now drifted around the city. I had never felt this kind of intensity. Sure, Draconia was filled with energy, but this was stronger, different. I had an uneasy feeling in my gut that we’d defeated the Dark Ones too soon. It was all just too easy. It was possible that, maybe in the morning, they would be planning a counterattack when no one was expecting it. That’s why we needed to have someone inside the Dimond City, but that thought was immediately pushed back to the gloom I was feeling inside.

“Fran, I think you should address all the wardens in here,” Cole said as he walked up to me unexpectedly. “You were the leader of this uprising.” I stared at him like he’d just lost his mind.

“What? I’m not ready,” I said. “You created the League, and I nearly ruined everything in the tunnel. You should be the one speaking to them.”

He looked uncomfortable, running his hand through his hair, before he returned to Gregory. I wasn’t in the right frame of mind to speak to anyone. Rhian and Nicolas didn’t have to say anything, but I knew what they were thinking. They were wondering how Idris could have done something so despicable to me and all the other wardens. We’d been living in oppression for so long, and everyone thought he understood that.

“Attention, attention.” Cole spoke into the microphone, touching it a few times. The snippets and whispers died down. Many wardens had stayed behind to take care of their loved ones. There were going to be massive burials tomorrow morning. At the same time, the League knew they needed to stay active. This was only just the start of the real war. “Thank you all for gathering here tonight. We did it. After years of injustice, and struggling under the Dark Ones’ control, we managed to take over the council—our city!”

The wardens clapped and shouted, others cheered. The joyful energy moved throughout the room in waves.

“You were all very brave, and we’re all aware of how many lives that were lost tonight, but we want everyone to realise that this is just the beginning. The Dark Ones won’t accept what’s happened. They will return to punish those who rebelled against their order. They’re probably gathering inside the Dimond City right now. We’re strong, stronger than we were before, because of the warden girl, sitting in the front row here in this auditorium. Francesca, she was the one who voted for change, the one who discovered the truth about the eggs and Dragon Fever. The Dark Ones were never planning to reveal the truth. The wardens have always been the original keepers of the dragons in the Lower World. The Dark Ones created Dragon Fever. They’ve been lying to us for a very long time, and, for most of us, as long as we can remember, but now everything is going to change.”

More cheers and joyful words moved around the room. Some of the wardens had no idea what Cole was talking about. It was still too early to reveal the whole truth, to tell them that they had been manipulated all these years. A few wardens who were sitting behind me, began congratulating me. I didn’t want to be the centre of attention right now. I thought about Dara. She was dead, and it made me sad. I never realised that, one day, I’d be sitting in this council building, thinking about her. She would have been proud of me.

Cole continued to talk about our plans, about sending the League members to the strategic points of the city. Even the wealthy wardens were involved, and that normally never happened. They must have been inspired, too. Cole mentioned we were going to need a few days to gather an alliance from other parts of the Lower World. I had no idea who he was talking about. The Dimond city was under the Dark Ones’ control. I suspected they were hiding more eggs there. The two dragons we had freed were on our side now, and they would never return to captivity. They could play a key role in what was going to happen, but the underground? That was a completely different story. It was the place where magic thrived, and fighting there would be the most challenging.

After the speech ended, the wardens looked like they were motivated to carry on; they needed to realise that we still had a lot to do. Many of them began approaching me afterward, thanking me, and telling me that things were going to change for them now. I was glad when we were allowed to leave. As the hours passed, my energy diminished.

It was late when we left the council building. The warlocks were using their much-advanced magic to deal with most of the bodies on the streets. Apparently, Harvey found a way to create a mass grave outside the city. Frederick used his fairy magic to open a crack of magic in order to transport them there. I was a little surprised they were willing to go the extra mile to help us. Especially the fae.

“We should treat the injured ones tomorrow,” I said, feeling the light breeze on my face. “Right now, everyone needs to rest. It’s been a hell of a night.” The navy sky was scattered with stars. The smell of blood was strong. One of the buildings was still burning, but it was a sense of overwhelming freedom that made me realise we had done it. Now, at least for one night, we could feel safe in the place where we were born.

“We shall have a meeting here tomorrow,” Cole said, “gather around midday to discuss further steps. My people are already setting up wards in strategic places around the city. Even more warlocks will arrive from the human world once they find out we defeated the Dark Ones.”

“Really, did Harvey or Ripley say that?” I asked with disbelief.

“Yes, Ripley assured me that things are going to develop quickly,” Gregory answered for him. “Ripley wants a seat on the council, so he’s working with us.” I was shocked to hear about this. Harvey was convinced that warlocks didn’t care about the Lower World. Well, we’d promised them a reward, and I had yet to see him fulfil his part of the bargain.

“Fine, that sounds good, but neither of them can be trusted,” I told them. “Just keep an eye on him.”

We walked in silence until Gregory caught up with me.

“Hey, Sis, stop thinking about Idris,” he whispered in my ear. “His true nature took over, and I’ll help you get your dragon back.”

I nodded but didn’t say anything; I just couldn’t talk about this right now. I missed Avianna. Rhian and Nicolas continued walking with me toward our bikes. The wardens regrouped and worked together to protect the city. Even if Idris wanted to send his mages for the eggs, he wouldn’t be able to get to the city. We couldn’t control everything, but the Dark Ones were weakened by the fact that we had dragons.

My heart ached for Avianna. I had no idea what was going on with her, or if she was injured, or worse. I forced myself not to think of the what-ifs and only focus on what I could control. I had to; otherwise I would drive myself mad with worry.

I was still hurt, injured, and felt pretty down. I didn’t feel like I’d contributed much to the fighting. Next time, I was planning to slaughter many more Dark Ones.

We took the steam bikes and returned to Mangus’s residence. A cold shiver traversed down my spine when I looked around at all the destruction.

“I’m afraid to return to my own home and see what’s left of it,” Rhian said. She was talking about her home near the square where she had been under house arrest for years.

Timothy stayed behind. We hadn’t had a chance to talk, but I suspected he was going to head home soon. I hated Idris now, I hated the fact he had to ruin this for me. It didn’t matter that my heart was shattered to pieces, saving Draconia was much more important. I was ready to dive into the Dimond city and kill him with my bare hands.

“The wards seem untouched,” Nicolas muttered, looking around. Eventually we walked inside the house once Rhian took down all the protective spells.

“The eggs are still here. I think some of them might even hatch soon,” Rhian stated as we walked around the living room. I instantly felt better. The eggs’ energy was truly magical; they were already healing me. “And Fran, please don’t beat yourself up over what’s happened. No one could have predicted that Idris would betray us like that.”

“I’ll try,” I muttered.

I really needed to rest. I felt like my body didn’t belong to me, like I was living in someone else’s skin. We were supposed to be celebrating tonight and then possibly making love upstairs. I didn’t think it was possible to go from loving someone, to hating that person almost in a matter of moments, but that was me now.

I had a shower and washed all the dried blood from my body. I thought I could wash off his scent, too, but I could still smell him on my pillows. This was torture, but eventually, I fell asleep.

“Francesca, hey. It’s me. Can you hear me?” A female voice was asking. I suspected I was dreaming. It was so dark, and I was in a tunnel, wearing a white sleeveless dress.

For some reason, I recognised that voice from somewhere. Warmth began to spread over my chest. I looked around, disoriented, wondering what or where this place was. My feet were bare, and the torches were burning, showing me a long narrow tunnel in front of me. I could grab one and return the way I had come, but the voice drew me closer.

“Carry on walking; you’re so close, my dear,” the voice said, and I felt more warmth. This encouraged me to keep going. This was the voice of my blood, someone from my family. Natalie was my aunt, but I had only seen her briefly.

I started walking ahead, while my heart pounded inside my chest. I didn’t feel cold, and my magic; the energy was rushing through my veins, thumping inside my ears.

“Who are you?” I asked, moving inside the tunnel, but no one answered me. I had a strange feeling of déjà vu. This couldn’t have happened to me before. My subconscious kept reminding me that it was just a dream.

Then the tunnel ended, and I walked into a cave. There were dragon eggs everywhere, like in that cave near the Dimond city.

“Francesca, I knew you would come,” the woman said, appearing out of nowhere. My breath caught in my chest. My mother, but how? She was in prison, and this tunnel was part of the Dimond city. What did this mean? Did she escape?

Now that I was staring at her, I could see the strong resemblance. I truly looked like her, and she was beautiful. This dream—I had no idea when it was going to end—made me realise I had a chance to get to know her.

“What are you doing here? I was told you were in prison,” I said, and my voice was a little shaky. She took a few steps toward me, smiling widely. My heart was jackhammering in my chest. I felt hot and cold at the same time.

“The Dark Ones allow me to walk around the tunnels sometimes. It depends who is guarding me. Come here, I want to touch you,” she said, reaching her hands out toward me. Then out of nowhere, I saw another hand. A Dark One grabbed her and wrapped his arm around her neck, holding a knife.

When he stepped closer to the light, my whole body locked up in fear. No, no, no, this couldn’t be happening. I refused to believe it.

“It’s time to end your life,” Idris said to my mother and then looked at me, “and you’re going to be next, little one.” He was smiling, and then a second later, he slashed my mother’s throat.

I started screaming, grabbing and tangling my hair. She was dead—he killed her.

I awoke screaming, the nightmare was so real. Then Nicolas barged into my room. Sweat was running down my face. My T-shirt was soaked, and, for a long moment, I was disoriented, wondering why the hell I was screaming in the first place. My heart felt like it was going to explode inside my chest.

The images from the dream were rolling in front of my eyes. Idris killed my mother. No, this only happened inside my head. It was just a dream, a really, really bad dream. I needed to pull myself together.

“Are you all right, Fran?” Nicolas kept asking.