The Clockwork Dragon

One was bred to create…

The other was created to destroy…

Both must stop the war.

Born into the dreary assembly lines of the Cog Clan’s techworkers, Seven Valin yearns for something greater—to become a Navigator, those bred to fly the soaring clockwork dragons of war. But when he breaks the secret code to the Clan leader’s laboratory as a test of his abilities, he finds more than the simple, mindless machine dragon he’s yearned to fly.

Zefir is a dragon made of metal wrought for battle, but also a creature possessed of a child-like sentience. Together Valin and Zefir must learn to trust one another while seeking the mystery of the war’s origins in order to end the centuries long feud. For if they fail, the war between the Clans might rage for another two centuries.

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The Clockwork Dragon #1: The Dream of Flight

Valin hunkered down in the cave corridor, waiting for the Inventrix to leave her latest and most powerful creation. With her familiar granite features set in a frown, the Inventrix moved like time nipped at her heels. Because it did. For all of them. Especially if there was another enemy attack on the way. But…

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The Clockwork Dragon #2: Valin’s Choice

Valin could hear the bellows-rumble of Zefir’s mechanical breath, straining as the bomber dragon flew higher. Clutching on to his Navigator’s seat, while he pressed the multitude of buttons to vent excess heat from Zefir’s brass pseudo-metallic skin, he heard the dragon’s deep baritone through the microcog voice-hearing implant the Inventrix had designed but a…

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The Clockwork Dragon #3: Flying Alone

The mess hall was organized as Valin remembered, though why he expected to see something different was beyond him. No, the single thing that had changed was him. In the far corner at the largest long table, hunched the worn grey-and-brown clad techworkers, their faces caked with either grease or oil if they second levels—sootfoots…

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The Clockwork Dragon #4: Chase, Chase, Flee

“Now, I need a happy memory, yes, a pleasant one.” Seren perched over Zefir’s flight control panel situated on his back, hemming and hawing, half talking to herself, half directing her comments at the dragon. Zefir, lying down in this small little cave in the middle of nowhere—it was cold, not heated from underneath like…

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The Clockwork Dragon #5: Abominations

  The ornithopter bomber dragon was gaining on Zefir, but only because Valin was pushing the whirling engine to its utmost; signal warnings blared; if he kept this up, the thopter would fall from the sky. But part of him worried that if he didn’t catch Zefir now, the dragon would never be seen again.…

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The Clockwork Dragon #6: Was It Within You All Along?

Upon the back of the thopter ready to lift off, Seren watched the brass dragon fly upward, enraptured by Zefir’s effortless movement. Her mind calculated—the equations flittering by at such a speed, tangling beautifully as she thought each one into being, seeing the world in their exacting terms: the arc of his flight (calculate the…

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The Clockwork Dragon #7: To Repair or Destroy

For the fifth day in a row, the wolf leader had come for him. Still wearing the flight mask, the Clan leader entered their locked door with only a spare knock to alert the prisoners to her presence. Clad in reddish flying leathers, neck covered with a flying scarf, gloves hiding her hands, Valin still…

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The Clockwork Dragon #8: We Are the Shield

Zefir craned his neck over Valin’s shoulder as he sat on the floor, back leaning against Zefir’s shoulder, holding one the pieces of rubble while he sketched out complex calculations on the stone, so enthralled by them that he was certain most of the day had passed. All he was aware of were the numbers…

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The Clockwork Dragon #9: The Wolf

Zefir allowed himself to peer around at the vast carved caverns of the Wheelteeth stronghold, but did his best to appear unimpressed as he paced slowly by the wolf leader’s side. How easily he fit in the hallways, how grand and beautiful everything was, how…unorganized. He spotted the flight decks and the Navigators polishing their…

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The Clockwork Dragon #10: The Truth is Unkind

The gleaming brass dragon torso was already taking shape—it was growing. And Zefir couldn’t help but keep sniffing at it, eager to remember the similar-yet-not-similar scent that mirrored-yet-didn’t-mirror his own smell. Even as he watched Seren hunched over the form, microfyer goggles strapped over her eyes, she was muttering to herself, “Ach, no, no no.…

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The Clockwork Dragon #11: The Importance of Time and Dreams

Seren’s mind had never been so aflame—the ideas, calculations, and diverse sketches had never been so complex, so enthralling, so all-encompassing. She juggled all of them, following new formulations—sixty at a time—to their inevitable endgame, while simultaneously sketching the mechanical outline of Zefir’s heart, trailing her thoughts gleefully through that chaos of wonder. Zefir’s chest…

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The Clockwork Dragon #12: The Curse of Memory

The heat of the crucibles pressed against Valin’s skin, until the Wolf passed through the forges and into a cooler space—a laboratory the likes of which was arranged in madness. “Zef!” Valin cried. The dragon’s brass hide looked too pale, almost sickly, his quicksilver eyes dull. Zefir moved forward, not with his usual happy stride,…

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The Clockwork Dragon #13: Shadowfall

Jarre sat on his cot next to his blood-cousin, and Ferrei was staring at Valin’s work intently. When Valin grunted, or sighed, and placed another piece to the side of him on his cot, she would wince. “It’s salvageable,” Valin announced. “I can restore it, but we’ll need a few new parts. As long as…

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The Clockwork Dragon #14: Last Gift

“It’s clear that you don’t trust us,” said Nyru, hands at her side. Her stare gathered weight, her scar contorting her facial muscles into an unreadable expression. “And that’s why, Seven, I can’t allow you to undergo this mission with your dragon.” Valin was trying very hard not to raise his voice, but the increasing…

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The Clockwork Dragon #15: Uncompleted Designs

Zefir halted in his tracks when he saw Neri lying inert on the lab table. For a moment he wasn’t certain if this was part of one of his false memories. He swallowed around the sensation in his throat—breathe, breathe, he could breathe, yes the breath was there. Three minutes, fourteen seconds. He closed his eyes…

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The Clockwork Dragon #16: One Beginning, One Ending

Seren’s chuckle was a rough, wet sound, but it amused her to think her heart was winding down like some flesh-born clockwork toy. The only toy she possessed as a child had been the first thing she created, a fluttering ornithopter hummingbird that whizzed and hummed, its glass emerald eyes able to detect her motion…

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The Clockwork Dragon #17: Of Kith and Kin

Valin stood with his hands in fists as Lyth Zareth poked him yet again with the muzzle of a flechette rifle, seemingly for no reason. Nyru remained outwardly unconcerned and impassive, but every time the Lyth boys dropped the muzzle of their pistols a fraction, Jarre would tense up as if considering a wild leap…

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The Clockwork Dragon #18: Debt of Blood

Zefir heard the lab door unlocking, and though he wished with all his might that it would be Valin, he could sense who it was standing there, her pain sharp against his insides, pressing, wrenching, until the cold sensation spread in sympathy. Kirwen burst through the door, and while she looked briefly at the outline…

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The Clockwork Dragon #19: A Cry for Justice

Zefir had been lightly dozing, twitching at the thought that the bomb device would go off inside of him. He’d set himself as far from Ferrei and his sibling as possible, trembling, that cold sensation spreading with his fear. He half expected the false memories to accost him, but as of yet none of them…

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The Clockwork Dragon #20: To the Exile Post

Valin didn’t want to fight to be fully awake, and he squeezed his eyes closed harder, resisting. Sleep was better. His whole body ached, his shoulder was on fire, and his hand…was curiously numb. Still, voices intruded on him in this place where he was neither awake nor fully asleep. “—four days. Everyone sent to the…

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The Clockwork Dragon #21: An Offer of Life

The sun had risen since his Navigator was taken that night, and Zefir felt so cold inside that he was certain that his heat-cooling systems weren’t functioning properly; his wings were numb, his cooling-wire veins looked engorged and throbbed through his pseudo-metallic wing membranes; his joints likewise felt painful, creaking with faint noises as he…

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The Clockwork Dragon #22: Bargains, Offers, Threats

Nyru had finished her prayer, and still paced when Jarre made the hurried signal for enemy approaches. Zefir nudged his sibling from her muttering and calculations, but she snapped her teeth at him, growling, “Ach, Zefir-sibling, I told you not to interrupt—” He put his hand around her wrist and pulled her down, for she’d been…

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The Clockwork Dragon #23: Bred for War

At least there was food and water beneath the ketch-gryphon’s flight seat, and Valin gnawed on a strip of dried waterfowl while he downed more of his water. The wind buffeted his masked face, while he adjusted the trim on this bedamned gryphon for the fourth time in ten minutes. The blood-ridden thing had a…

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The Clockwork Dragon #24: Beyond All Costs

Zefir could feel the Wing runner’s eyes on him as he ducked from beneath another gryphon swipe, and without telling her how, or directing, Kirwen indicated the direction to dive through the Navigator’s panel upon his back—and he felt her pure elation in flying with him. [Head whirling. Stomach clenching with the dive. Delight.] He…

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The Clockwork Dragon #25: Trials of the Past

Zefir clutched tighter to Kirwen as his own legs gave out beneath him, his wings shuddering with the force of her memories—so clear, as if he were living them from his own eye, even stronger than Seren’s thoughts; they raged through his heart-mind, which he feared would burst from the overwhelming might; it buzzed and…

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The Clockwork Dragon #26: The Judge’s Regalia

The morning air was crisp against Zefir’s hide, and he glided with a speed that made him focused. Kirwen was better at not giving him instructions by ordering him through their virul connection, and instead he turned on a wing and plunged downward, slipping through an opening two wing runners had made in their line.…

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The Clockwork Dragon #27: To the End of the March

Qinethi Rhin wouldn’t meet Valin’s eye, but standing next to her Inventrix, the Rider’s gaze would flicker up momentarily, rest on the X on his cheek, and then quickly lower again. Especially, if she thought he was looking. The numbness of his cheek matched the numbness that was spreading inside, that faintly hollow sense that…

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The Clockwork Dragon #28: The Traitor’s Mark

The gryphon’s engine was groaning so fiercely that Valin knew he should decreased his speed, but half a day had already passed and he’d had to stop four times. He looked down and readjusted his farviewer goggles, focusing on what he thought might be the Wheelteeth’s sentries settled around the borders of their territory. There.…

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Clockwork Dragon #29: Searching for the True Enemy

They had flown to a small little brook on the Wheelteeth’s lands, and exhausted, Valin had fallen asleep on Zefir’s back the moment they landed. But Zefir reveled in the dappled sunlight from the trees overhead warming his brass flank, and he listened closely to the cadence of Valin’s breathing. He wanted to let his…

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The Clockwork Dragon #30: There is but One Enemy

Zefir had never been so exhausted in his life. Every vein was on fire, his pseudo-metallic bones rattling inside as if they would burst from his body; even his feet and hands throbbed to the tip of his claws; he held sail-foil tail held at an awkward angle, because it was too much effort to…

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The Clockwork Dragon #31: A Line of Gratitude

Valin’s mind screamed at him to open his eyes. How can I open my eyes when I’m dead? But still, he had the persistent thought that he must awaken—even from death—to see if Zefir was…still alive. I can’t die if he’s still alive. If he’s gone, Forge Gods, then I go to the Eternal Forge willingly. Or have…

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The Clockwork Dragon #33: Dissenting Voices

Zefir glided on the updrafts, feeling his wing membranes stretching differently with the stitches holding on to the flesh; a few places along the length of the wound were overly hot. But after being on fire, maybe it wasn’t the worst sensation. His chest muscles flexed beneath the painful burned flesh, and he had to…

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The Clockwork Dragon #34: The Duel

Zefir knew somehow that Rhin was speaking to him, shouting over the roar of the wind. He didn’t even know where he was flying. Everything was agony. He felt as if he were blind, as if pumping his wings were a foreign concept. But he’d saved the Rider. He clutched her tighter to his chest.…

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The Clockwork Dragon #35: Epilogue

Zefir lay on his accustomed ledge in the Inventrix’s laboratory, the pipes beneath the mountain warming the rock and seeping into his mechanical bones. He lifted his head, staring down at the Navigators flying with Innari. Shiran’s new flyers, these able to reach farther distances than even the most remote of the Lesser Clans, far…

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