QSFer Stephen J. Wolf has a new queer fantasy book out: Delminor’s Trials.
The Red Jade was just a myth, its shards only whispered about among the mages.
Practitioners of the magic arts pull from the elements available to them, casting complex incantations and deciphering intricate runes, making magic inaccessible except to the most dedicated learners.Wishing to unlock the secrets of magic for all mages, Delminor pursues knowledge of the elements and the secrets of the Red Jade. His efforts, however, are hindered by the ever-raging war between Hathreneir and Kallisor.
The discovery of one mystical shard lights a thirst in Delminor to hunt any others in existence, but at a cost. Not all agree with his goal of sharing knowledge across the lands, and not all would use his powers for good.
Delminor’s trials begin before the War of the Colossus and continue on for decades to come. Only perseverance can help him now.
Delminor’s Trials is a prequel to the events in Red Jade books 1-4.
“This is a trifling matter of two neophytes tromping on grounds where they don’t belong, meddling in our affairs, and ruining the tranquility of our mealtime.”
Another mage piped up. “You’re the only one ruining anything with your shouting.”
“I’m not shouting!”
“You are now,” Delminor poked.
“Enough out of you!” She swept her hands in a wide circle and spat, “Compallionis auvian oeliouviah ouishalla noueniai orellias feinai!” Air gusted sharply from her hands, knocking Delminor and Donya over and making it hard for them to breathe.Delminor scrambled to his feet. “Jalicorith grienan breckalor kaie!” He launched a bottle into the air and the glass exploded when the dirt inside pushed outward to spray his assailant. The glass cut into her skin and she howled in rage.Varrus and Bannitt added their spells to the mix. Donya cracked open a bottle and launched it at Bannitt, who was also working with water magic. She quickly worked the deluge spell they had decoded together and brought Bannitt crashing down. The other mages in the room stood in awe at the neophyte’s spell.
“How is that possible?” Lorresh asked, having turned back around when he heard the shouting.
Varrus launched a set of vines in Delminor’s direction, determined to end this conflict by binding the teen’s hands together.Delminor had no knowledge of nature magic, but as the vines reached for him, he scrambled to counteract them. He turned on the spot, waving his hands upward and then out. “Souuellian ephaallar auvian entius eilaueia aie.” Where Una’s air blast had been strong and wide, Delminor’s was sharp and focused. The gust of air slammed the vines to the ground, where the spell dissipated.
“Impossible!” Una screamed. She launched another gust of air, determined to draw the breath out of Delminor. She cast the words while inhaling, her hands grabbing the air and pulling toward her chest. “Aremfuular vacutious exthelia ouliee ennuria aeolialiae.”
Delminor felt the spell take hold and he clutched his mouth, trying to hold the air inside. He grabbed for a vial of dirt at his side and popped the lid, watching as the air wafted the dirt toward his attacker as she drew the breath out of him.
He needed to counterattack the air itself. The dust was as much a prisoner as he was, and he doubted he could cast an earth spell strong enough to defeat the vacuous draft. He only had moments before his lungs would be drained and he didn’t know if it would immobilize or completely kill him. Panic sparked his imagination and the words of the air book fluttered through his mind.
He recast the air dart spell he had used against the vines, but this time he reversed the movements, drawing the air down and turning at the end. He barely got all the words out before his breath was gone, but then the air gusted back toward himself and knocked him to the ground, breaking him out of Una’s grasp.
Donya was working on Varrus, launching balls of water his way. He easily dodged each one, laughing as he did so. His hands writhed upward and he swung his arms out to the side then forward, clapping his hands together sharply. A barrage of tiny seeds launched forth, pelting Donya painfully. She cried out as she fell to her knees.
Delminor couldn’t remember the fire spell well enough so he didn’t try. Instead, he drew upon the little research they had done on the fissure spell. He didn’t know all of it, nor how extensive the damage would be if it was finished. But he didn’t need it. Inspiration struck again.
It was an earth spell, the opposite power of air. On its own, the earth would open and swallow its foe. But instead, Delminor mixed the words of earth and air and he mashed together the motions. He inverted the earth movements but not the air gestures. He didn’t know all the command words for air, but he pulled from those Una was using across the way.Una pelted them with blasts of frigid air, ignoring Bannitt’s plight completely. It was all Delminor could do to maintain his focus.He swept his hands up in the final rush of his impromptu spell. He screamed the words as he worked through the movements. “Brannallic rectronoth kaie compallionis auvian wrackken brethos kathra orellias prethullius fabronie feinai!”
A fist-sized rupture appeared beneath Una, but instead of dragging her down, a massive rush of air squealed from within. Her body swept up into the air, smashing into the ceiling with enough force to crack her skull and render her unconscious. The air faded, lowering her solemnly to the ground.
Stephen J. Wolf is a middle school science teacher with a PhD in science education and a penchant for fantasy books, movies, and video games. Growing up, he loved learning how things worked. When he saw Mr. Wizard’s World for the first time, he knew then that science was his place to be. From learning about how fireworks light up with different colors to understanding the mechanics of an acid-base reaction, chemistry and physics became his passion.
Stephen started writing in eighth grade when his English teacher challenged the class to craft three different scenes. One scene focused on a person. A second highlighted a location. And the third detailed an object. In the moment of the quick-fire writing prompts, Wolf linked all three tasks together and created his first short story. The following year he created his first novel, then expanded it to a trilogy, growing as a writer along the way.
With some short stories used in his classes, Wolf communicates a love of reading to his students through creative connections between science and magic. His short story, “A Shocking Journey,” teaches the fundamentals of electricity and magnetism, as experienced by a middle school class, through a series of “magical” experiences that allow the students to visualize the concepts. In time, Wolf hopes to develop a series of such stories for teachers to use.
Stephen lives in New York with his partner, Kevin, and their cats, Merlin, Monty, and Shadow.