Kiss of the Dragonfly


Sixteen year-old Petra Drakhorn is determined to raid draken nests with the men of her clan. Better that than herding goats in the mountain valley where the clan has its summer encampment. But her path isn’t hers to choose. Her flawless birthmark, a genetic ‘brand’ for an ancestor’s crime, makes her an asset to be traded, like breeding stock. Unknown to Petra, it also makes her the living key to a powerful weapon—and to the ambitions of a tyrant.

When his treachery embroils the clan in war, Petra must find a way to stop him. With her dog and gun, a bioengineered mule, and three unwanted companions, she sets out to warn her father and his raiders. But to reach them, she’ll have to evade the ancient sentient weapon the tyrant sends to hunt her, and get past the draken who killed her brother.

The story is an SF / Fantasy blend with three acts, sixty chapters, and 109k words. It’s the first in the Clanmarks series. I hope you’ll enjoy it.

Thick skin here.  I appreciate and enjoy comments and suggestions about the story, including critical ones. Votes let me know how far you got, what you liked and didn’t. Your feedback helps improve the story.


Below, a character list, and maps! If you’re here for the first time, just skip to Chapter 1.

The Clans

Clan Drakhorn — Petra’s birth clan. Proudly ancient, small, not rich. Ward Drakhorn is the clan’s Tash—its leader. His two brothers, Karl (Petra’s father) and Jorn, are leading men. Rachel Brael (Petra’s grandmother), Emma Stray (Petra’s mother), Genna Stray (clan witch), and Jess Stray are leading women. Clan emblems: Dragon, Horn, and ‘Cradle’—a fortress seized by rival clan Flays. Clan colors: crimson, gold, and grey.

Clan Brok — Otger Brok’s birth clan. A small clan that has fallen on hard times. It merged with the stronger Drakhorn clan in the spring, but as part of the covenant, retained its name and leader, Tash Gronnor Brok. Clan emblem: a dragonfly. Clan colors: blue and silver.

Clan Stray — Birth clan of a disproportionate number of the Drakhorn women, including Petra’s mother. The friendship and daughter-swapping of the Drakhorns and Strays goes back to their origins. Stray women are often witches. Clan emblem: a larch cone. Clan colors: green and gold.

Clan Flay — Blood enemies of the Drakhorns. A powerful clan that decades before seized Cradle Rock—the Drakhorn fortress—and the richest part of their hunting patch. Their emblem is a flay, for whipping people’s skin off.

Principal and secondary characters


Petra Stray-Drakhorn (MC) — Daughter of Karl Drakhorn and Emma Stray, fifteen and a half at the start of the story. Determined and tribal. A Clash team captain, which is unusual for a girl. Her best friend and cousin is Tegan. Her heroine is Kastra, a legendary scout who was also a Stray-Drakhorn. Her rival in everything is Otger Brok. She was born with two clanmarks, which are her curse and mother’s pride. Enemies call her ‘Princess’ because of them.

Tegan Stray-Drakhorn — Petra’s cousin and best friend. Nearly fifteen, good-natured and beautiful. She’s Petra’s lieutenant in Clash.

Emma Stray-Drakhorn — Petra’s mother, wife of Karl Drakhorn, and treasurer of the clan.

Canuut Drakhorn (One-armed Canuut) — A grizzled veteran raider who lost an arm in a raid.

Jess Stray-Drakhorn — Clan elder responsible for the food and for adjudicating Clash.

Ward Drakhorn — Petra’s uncle, older brother to Karl and Jorn. He’s Tash of Drakhorns, and leader of the combined clans. A former Clash champion and current enthusiast.

Karl Drakhorn — Petra’s father, raid commander, huntmaster, former Clash champion, brother of Ward and Jorn Drakhorn, and next in line to be Tash.

Genna Stray-Drakhorn — Petra’s grandaunt. The Drakhorn clan doctor and witch.

Jorn Drakhorn — Tegan’s father, younger brother of Ward and Karl, armorer of the combined clans and weapons-master of the raid.

Rachel Brael-Drakhorn — Petra’s grandmother, and mother of Ward, Karl, and Jorn. Convenes the council, runs the camp.

Grapple Drakhorn — An experienced nest raider and former Clash champion. Grapple favors a steel throwing hook.

Fallon Drakhorn — Nineteen, Ward’s son, Petra’s cousin, former Clash champion. Friendly with Cort Brok.

Lucan Drakhorn — a camp watchman.


Otger Brok (Otta) — Fifteen year-old nephew and ward of Tash Gronnor Brok since his father was killed by a draken. Captain of the Brok Clash team when the story begins. Petra’s rival.

Cort Brok — Petra’s friend and unacknowledged crush. Seventeen, handsome, a good swordsman, nephew and protege of Gronnor Brok. Friendly with Fallon Drakhorn.

Gronnor Brok (Gron) — Tash of the Brok clan and Otger’s uncle. Tall, large-boned, and has a condition that affects his bones but not his wits. Former huntmaster, raid commander, and Clash champion.

Mollos Brok — Gronnor’s lieutenant.  Favors throwing knives.

Gench and Ursil Brok — a camp guard and his wife

Demons, false-breeds, and animals

Bane — A retired trail dog working as a shepherd dog when the story begins. Petra’s favorite.

Bes — An Uninhibited ORCICE and numen-guardian of a nest camp.

Sadrak Nula — a draken (female drak). In appearance, similar to a wyvern.

Big Basta — king buck of the Drakhorn goat herd.  Petra’s favorite.

Jakko, Sipe, and Kale — other named dogs.

Mistake — a jackalute, or mule bred from a donkey and a biometaloid malute.

Boss demon — unnamed debt-collector with a sick sense of humor.


Map of the Drakhorn summer camp and environs.


Map showing the journey to Karlward and back (shown sideways because that works better for people reading on phones).


Tip: You can use left, right, A and D keyboard keys to browse between chapters.