Book Excerpt from Deltan Skies

4 Jul

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We’re hosting an excerpt from fantasy novel “Deltan Skies”. Enjoy the excerpt!

Book Excerpt

Quintanelle Fillion quickly scanned over the job listings at a workstation at the New Delta Unemployment Office, like she had been doing every day for the past month.

 The office was empty in the late afternoon. The only other job seeker was a round thing with tentacles called a Brac’tai. Quintanelle could hear it slowly coo as its tentacles flashed over the keyboard. Quintanelle yawned and continued searching.

A few minutes later she felt a nudge. She looked to over to see the Brac’tai looking at her, then at the screen, and then back at her. It whirred while it gave her a toothless grin, drool dripping onto the floor.  Quintanelle felt like she wanted to kick it away, but that would’ve gotten her in trouble.

“You want me to look,” she asked.

Its eye-tentacles raised and lowered.

Quintanelle leaned over and read aloud, “Dear Brac’tai designated Dave-237: Ashram-Uriah is pleased that you have floated safely across the Toxulic Ocean to New Delta from Elemchi. Now that you have arrived, we are excited to offer you the five-year data-entry position that you were promised at our annex in Bononogog… Compensation is the use of a sleeping tank in our Brac’tai dormitory and an unlimited supply of nutrient solution. In addition, you will be allowed a stipend of twenty thousand credits a year. Congratulations!”

Dave-237 let out a celebratory chirp. He logged off the workstation and jumped out of the chair. The Brac’tai then slid across the floor and out the door, leaving a trail of slime behind him. Quintanelle cursed that tentacle-thing for snagging a job when she couldn’t find anything.

Time was running out. She had rented a small apartment, but her savings wouldn’t last much longer, and once it ran out, she would have to scurry back home, her dreams of freedom defeated.

Quintanelle moved to New Delta because her home city of Teolos was controlled by an oligarchy called the Mage Council, who brainwashed the masses and stabbed each other in the back. She was a young elf of only thirty-two and just couldn’t see spending the rest of her life being suffocated and brainwashed to hate half the world for no reason at all.

Quintanelle was a Teolian mage, one of the most powerful magic practitioners in the world. She had graduated at the top of her class with a very prestigious apprenticeship under a member of the Council.  The skills she learned might have gotten her a very good job in Teolos, but didn’t prepare her for likes of plasma engineering, DNA writing or mainframe technician. Teaching jobs required degrees obtained in New Delta with no credit transfer from Teolos. She was also shut out of many jobs, especially ones with the New Delta government, because she wasn’t a citizen. There were jobs, strip clubs were always looking for elven strippers, but she’d rather get tortured than take those.

Quintanelle sat up, wiped her tears, and starting searching one last time.

Then she saw an older listing she hadn’t seen before because it was buried deep in the mass of listings. Next to the picture of a scruffy-looking human male, it said, “Private detective Alfonso Deegan looking for one assistant to help with cases on a full-time basis. Interview between the hours of 09:00 and 17:00, 3/3/10021 through 3/8/10021. Tower K-23, Height 4100, Suite B. First come, first served. No experience or resume necessary.”

Quintanelle checked the date and time: 3/8 at 16:30. Just enough time to get over there and interview. She prayed to her deity, Illwyn the Life-Bringer, for good fortune. Then she summoned on her purple mage robes with blue and green trim, and dashed out the office.

 New Delta was made up of towers laid out in a forty by forty grid of square mile-sized plots, with some towers taking up more than one plot.  New Delta towers were not simply buildings; each tower was a small city unto itself. Teolos was able to completely fit inside some of the largest towers in the city.  To make room for transportation, each tower narrowed significantly as they rose, allowing room for the walkways at a thousand feet and the skyways at four thousand feet.

The commerce tower she had been in, H-34, was a square-shaped tower that extended as far she could see in any direction. It was a mixed-use tower that contained shops and offices on different floors.

Quintanelle often wondered how offices or shops could fill up an entire tower,  but considering large sections of the city were so old and run down they were hardly used for anything at all, usable space came at a premium in New Delta. Also, despite how they looked from the outside, the floors inside towers were grouped in blocks with large expanses of empty space in between. This was to prevent fires from spreading. Weird creatures known as tower mutants lived in these expanses and crawled between walls and floors, feeding on vermin and trash. Late at night, Quintanelle could hear the mutants crawling by her vent. They ignored residents and served an important function, but it was still creepy to her.

Quintanelle ran down the metal walkway outside H-34, ignoring the ads blaring from large screens on the sides, trying not to look at the abyss around her. The ground a thousand feet below was covered in a toxic sludge made up of dissolved waste and liquefied corpses. Since the rainy season had just finished, the sludge had risen several feet and was especially foul, as the wind carried the stench upwards. Still, the sludge was welcome, as it was collected and refined into clean-burning aircraft fuel.

Then Quintanelle came to a tram station, which was built out from the walkways into open space. The tram system ran between the towers on metal rails just below and to the side of the walkways. They were free and were the fastest way to get around if one did not have an aircraft or riding-dragon.

Quintanelle walked down onto the platform. Finding no tram in the station, she sat down. She summoned a small mirror to check her appearance for the interview. Her brown hair looked fine. Her light skin was unblemished. Her emerald eyes were clear. Her robes were non-ruffled. She then dismissed the mirror.

All summoned items were copies of a physical item in the summoner’s possession that had a twenty-four hour life span before disappearing. Her robes and the rest of the clothes were safely at home, and she simply summoned on all of them to avoid having to do laundry.

A tram screeched into the station. Quintanelle got up and entered after a few passengers exited. The tram was nearly full with commuters going home; mostly human with a few elves. The last empty seat was next to an elf with purple skin. She debated to stand or not.

New Delta sat in the tropical grasslands of the Southern Deltan Plains where humans originated. The harsh sunlight of the Plains gave humans their dark brown or black skin. Despite the towers being large enough to the block out the sun, their shiny metal exteriors did a very good job channeling sunlight downwards. In addition, all interior apartments and offices were outfitted with specialized lamps that recreated exterior sunlight so occupants didn’t go crazy.

While there were small groups of humans living in the more temperate and rural Northern Deltan Plain, they were the descendants of humans from New Delta and hadn’t lived in the area long enough to be affected.

The same sunlight which gave humans their skin color also affected elves, but in a peculiar way. After a few generations of living in New Delta, white elven skin turned dark purple, eyes red and hair silver. These elves were known as Deltan elves.

Teolos believed Deltan elves turned to Armagda the Destroyer, the forbidden deity who would bring about the end of the universe in a few billion years. In actuality, the color change was an adaptation and Deltan elves still worshipped Illwyn, took similar names and were as proficient in magic as their Teolian brethren.

But logic never entered the picture, especially when confronted with the fact that Deltan elves outnumbered Teolian elves at least six to one.  Although New Delta’s true population was anyone’s guess, it had an official population of 200,854,127 with a makeup of about fifty percent human, thirty percent Deltan elf, translating roughly to 60,250,000 Deltan elves. That number didn’t include all the Deltan elves that lived elsewhere in the various towns that dotted the Southern Deltan Plains. Teolos only had 9,364,432 residents, just about all of which were Teolian elves. Almost nothing but wild forest surrounded Teolos.

Quintanelle didn’t see the disparity a sign of calamity; it was just how things were. She came to New Delta hating Deltan elves as she was raised to do. Having Deltan elves as her neighbors in Tower B-13, a residential tower consisting largely of elves, didn’t instantly make her see differently. However, the fact that she was even debating meant she was slowly coming around.

But by the time Quintanelle made her decision to just sit down, the tram arrived at a station where an ogre couple walked on. The entire tram shook with every step. The female was noticeably pregnant with sweat pouring down her dark beige body.

Ogre males averaged around eight feet tall and were ripped with muscle. Ogre females were seven-foot blubber cauldrons. Yet, female ogres weren’t morbidly obese as their babies stuck out and were only slightly weaker than males. Male ogres could rip her head right off her body with one yank. Female ogres would take a few tugs, but her head was still coming off. Consequently, Quintanelle liked being around them the least.

With ogres making up roughly ten percent of New Delta, there was little Quintanelle could do especially when it seemed nearly every single one rode the trams. While the majority of the city utilized the trams to a high degree, the problem with ogres was that they were so large. Often trams would be so crammed with ogres, she could not get on, and would have to wait for another one. Fortunately, there were only those two in that tram car.

“Can we h’ve da seats?” The ogre male asked, his tusks slightly garbling his speech.

 The entire row got up and the ogres sat down.

 “Thank ya.” The male said. “We’s goin’ to have biby at hospit‘l.”

“Congratulations…” Quintanelle replied.

Two more stops and she was at Tower K-23, an oval office tower. A sign at the station exit pointed her to Entrance A, which, fortunately, was right in front of her. She’d be late if she had to jog half a mile to the other entrances.

As Quintanelle gingerly stepped into the east lobby, she could swear she felt the tower move. Even in her own apartment she could feel the structure creak and move. Some towers were more stable than others, but since she arrived she had always been on edge. She knew how to magically glide and float, but they were no match for the heights and distances of the city and therefore no solace. Fortunately for her earnings prospects, she was slowly gaining her resolve.

Next to the lift banks was a table with a sign that read, “If interviewing with Alfonso Deegan, stop here first.” Sitting behind the table was a human male in a pressed grey suit looking mightily pleased as he checked a tablet.

 Quintanelle hadn’t interacted with humans much at all in Teolos. All she had known beyond their skin color was that they worshipped Elohim the Holy, couldn’t use incantational magic but excelled in technology, and they took two millennia to build New Delta.

Quintanelle walked over. “I’m here to check in. I hope I’m not too late.”

He looked up and extended his hand. “I’m Emmanuel Jones of Hightower Detective Agency. Nice to meet you.”

“Excuse me? I though I’m here to—”

 “I’m offering all of Mr. Deegan’s applicants the opportunity to interview with us tomorrow at 11:00.”

“But why—“

“We offer a salary, hours, and benefits that Mr. Deegan just can’t match. Plus you’ll have the opportunity to work with a large team of experienced individuals who will help you gain the skill you need to excel.”

“But I don’t—“

A lift door opened and large group of dejected looking people stepped out, complaining to each other about it wasn’t fair for him to lock the door right at 17:00.

  Emmanuel pulled out a business card and handed it to her. “Just don’t be more than ten minutes late and you’ll be fine…” Emmanuelle suddenly looked concerned and quickly grabbed the tablet and the sign.

Quintanelle looked behind her to see a tall, thick human with his hair in cornrows and wearing a three-piece suit. Quintanelle looked back to see Emmanuelle rushing across the lobby towards the door.

The other human walked towards her and said in a deep baritone, “You would’ve been an interesting candidate as no other mages interviewed. Unfortunately, interviews are finished.”

“Can’t he make an exception?”

“I could go tell him, but I’m going to dinner instead.” The man turned and continued out the door.

If that’s who Alfonso Deegan worked with, maybe not getting an interview was a good thing.

Quintanelle walked back out to the walkway. The man stood in the walkway intersection in front of her. When it was clear, the man leaped into the air and in transformed a red-scaled dragon ten feet tall and thirty feet long. He flew up and away.

The dragon was an Uthiran, a member of a race of highly-intelligent, shape-shifting dragons from the continent of Uthira. No Uthirans lived in Teolos, but a few would fly in from time to time to give guest lectures on various subjects at the Academy.

Alfonso Deegan working with one was interesting, even if he was rude. Since she no longer had any chance of working there, it did not matter.

About Deltan Skies

v1b_EBOOKTitle: Deltan Skies

Author: Noah Murphy

Genre: Fantasy / Adventure

A young elven mage named Quintanelle Fillion flees from her totalitarian homeland to New Delta, a dense metropolis made up of hundreds of mile-high towers. She finds employment working for New Delta’s top private detective, a human named Alfonso Deegan, and his red dragon associate Mordridakon. Quintanelle’s first case thrusts her in the middle of New Delta’s own problems.

After millennia of oppression, members of the disenfranchised avian race have taken complete control of the criminal underworld, but what they want is the one thing they can’t steal. To achieve their goals, the avians’ charismatic leader enlists the help of a goblin shaman cast out from her own suffering people. Together they create a risky and daring plan that involves everyone from the city’s inept mayor and a corrupt city senator, to Quintanelle’s new boss and even her own family.

As their plan unfolds, a dark reality emerges. New Delta stands on the brink of total annihilation, and Quintanelle may be the only one who can stop it. 

 

Author Bio

_MG_2009Noah Murphy grew up in Montgomery County, Maryland which features prominently in his writing. After graduating from Goucher College with a double major in philosophy and religion, he began a pet sitting service. In his spare time Noah volunteers at a not for profit parrot rescue. His love of animals provides inspiration for many of the anthropomorphic characters in his books.

 Part of the generation just before autism awareness began, Noah was diagnosed at age 26. For him, a later diagnoses was a hidden blessing. Being forced to be “normal” gave him the skills and knowledge to publish and run a business.  Autism also unhinges his mind, allowing him to approach situations and characters in strange new ways, and seriously enough to make them work.

An avid writer, Noah Murphy is the author of the fantasy novel Deltan Skies, and the superhero novel Ethereal Girls.  He  also enjoys sharing his opinions on life, literature and popular culture with his 29,000 followers on Twitter and on his blog.

Links

twitter @murphyverse
Website: www.k23detectives.com
Amazon book page: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00D2B98IO

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