Mechanical Dragons, Book 4
How much can you trust a stranger in a time of war?
Ancient riddles written in journals...
... four monuments hidden around the world.
Do they have anything in common?
Khaly and her family race against time and the Sisters to find all the pieces of the strange puzzle. But they’re tired and frustrated. The war has taken its toll, causing tempers to flare within the group.
The Sisters and their Army always seem one step ahead.
They have to find the pieces of the same puzzle.
Can Khaly keep her group together long enough to finish the task? What could the end prize be? How could it possibly turn the tides of the war?
Air is the fourth book in the epic steampunk fantasy, Mechanical Dragons. If you’ve enjoyed the surprising events of the previous books, this one won’t disappoint! Hold on to your hats as we reach the ending battle and discover the hidden secrets!
OTHER BOOKS IN MECHANICAL DRAGONS SERIES
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Athenamal skidded to a halt and glanced back down the long underground tunnel that was his escape route. He felt around his neck, realizing he’d left something behind. It was a mere trinket, really, but it was a family heirloom. His mother gave it to him before the war took over Malicondran City, before the sisters recruited him, before the immoritian rose. He debated his choices: continue out of the tunnel and escape the insanity the sisters had created and go to the Underground and fight by Khaly and the others’ sides, or risk getting caught retrieving the necklace. “Guard it with your life,” his mother had said as she shoved it into his hand. Such strange words for an ugly and worthless piece of jewellery.
But he’d made a promise. He bolted down the tunnel the way he’d come, halting before opening the door back into the building. He stuck his head inside to make sure it was clear. Athenamal slid in and closed the door gently behind him, careful to not make any noise.
He hastened his pace to the room he shared with four other young men, relieved to find it also empty. They were likely on patrol.
Athenamal searched his dresser for the pendant; the longer it took him to find it the more his panic rose. His heart pounded, and it felt as if it were going to break through his chest. “Ah-ha,” he exclaimed with relief and gripped the chain tight in his hand. The pendant swayed gently as he held it up.
Athenamal shoved it in his pocket as he turned to the door. The sun was beginning to set. The patrols on the outer rim of the compound were going to start to come in, and the immoritian were going to be set loose. His small window for escape was slipping away. He headed back into the hallway and rushed for the escape-tunnel stairs. He restrained himself from running even though every fiber of his being wanted to, but the halls echoed and he was certain the sound of running footsteps would bring unwanted attention from anyone who may be within earshot.
The minutes it took for him to reach the tunnel door felt like hours; sweat beaded on his forehead, not from the exertion but the stress and fear of being caught. He readjusted his pack on his back as he reached for the door handle.
“You there!” a voice shouted from behind.
Athenamal cursed under his breath. He turned his head in the direction of the woman at the end of the hall. She was short but stout.
“Me?” He pointed at himself.
“Yes, you,” she sneered as she closed the gap between them. “Where are you headed?”
“Nowhere . . . I was—”
“What’s your assignment?”
“Yes. Were you headed for the docks?”
The woman gave him a sidelong stare. “What’s your name, soldier?”
Athenamal’s mouth went dry. He could feel his palms sweating. His mind raced. He had to get out of the compound, out of the city before the immoritian were released. The windows at the far end of the hall showed the sky turning a bright orange as the sun began its decent.
“Did you not hear me?” Her agitation was becoming apparent.
Athenamal glimpsed her hand moving to her side, where a small club the length of her forearm hung; it had a ball on the end so it could sit comfortably in the palm of the hand. He knew the weapon, as he too wore one. All younger ranks did, and he was well trained in its use.
He cleared his throat. “I think there has been some sort of misunderstanding here,” he said, attempting to calm the woman but hearing the distinctive click of the clip holding her club in place.
She swung it down on him. Instinctively he reached up, grabbing her forearm before the club struck his head. He shoved her back, hard, and fumbled with his own club. He wasn’t able to unfasten it before she was on him again. He brought his arms up to protect his head when he felt the scantly padded stick collide with his bicep, then again on his knuckles. He cried out in pain as he felt one knuckle dislocate and he pulled it away, giving her the opening she needed to land a blow to the back of his head. Athenamal stumbled back, black and white spots shooting like fireworks in his mind’s eye.
She was on him again faster than he could recover. He heard her yell out for help. Fear rose in him; what would the sisters do to him? He saw what they did to Khaly. Would they view him a traitor like her? Athenamal struggled to get his feet under him but the woman struck him again. He was able to raise his good arm in time to block the blow to his head. He kicked out, connecting with her stomach, doubling her over. Using the wall to push himself to his feet he shook his head to try to clear the cobwebs, then heard footsteps running hard behind him.
Still unable to completely focus he reached for his baton, this time successfully unclasping it from his belt. The first of the reinforcements approached in time for him to swing out, striking the man with such force he was lifted off the ground and thrown hard onto his back with the sickening sound of his skull connecting with the cement floor. Athenamal faced off with the man’s companion, forgetting the woman was still behind him.
Athenamal balanced the club in his hand; it was loose but he still had control. He had trained for this, hand-to-hand combat, he just never thought it would be against the very army he trained with.
“Just let me go,” he said. “No one has to know. I’m just one guy. I’m insignificant.”
He watched his opponent keenly, then the man’s gaze shifted just off Athenamal’s right shoulder. Athenamal leaned to the left as the woman’s club came down. He felt the breeze of the weapon as it narrowly missed his head. He grabbed her wrist, stepped to the side, and pulled her forward as he struck the back of her head with his own weapon. She crumpled to the floor as the man lunged at Athenamal.
The man jammed his shoulder into Athenamal’s stomach. All of the air in his lungs released at once, causing him to cough and gasp for air. The man seemed taller somehow, hulking, even more menacing than the moment before. Athenamal felt the man’s arm wrap around his neck and start to squeeze. He dropped his club and did his best to maneuver to face the wall. When in position he lifted his legs and shoved off, tossing them both into the opposite side. The grip loosened only a little, but enough for him to reposition himself again to the side to slam the back of his fist into the others groin. He heard a grunt and a moan but it wasn’t enough to break free.
Like a vice the man tightened his grip around Athenamal’s throat, cutting his air supply. Tears welled in Athenamal’s eyes as he struggled to remain conscious, but he knew the battle had been lost when his vision narrowed and he drifted into oblivion.