Perilous Artifacts: A Steampunk Adventure
Perilous Artifacts is one of my works in progress that has been languishing on the story pile for a while. But now–I want to finish it.
Because I believe that blogging should be fun, I thought that I would serialize at least some of this steampunk adventure story for you as I write more of it. Oh, but it isn’t just a steampunk adventure; it’s a sci-fi post-apocalyptic steampunk adventure! Let the fun begin…
What You Need To Know
On a world orbiting a distant sun, on the coast of the continent of New Helge, arranged around one of the few deep natural harbors offered by the post-apocalyptic terrain, lies the city of Glasburyton. Or, more properly, the new city re-founded in the year 7850 S.E. (Solar Exodus) burrows, tunnels, and sprawls through the vast slagged ruins of the old city.
Tunnel-works in some parts of the ruins descend more than a hundred feet below ground. Flickering gas lamps light the tunnels. Great shafts fitted with steam bellows and fans pump the air down to the lower levels, causing a constant whooshing of wind.
Lashed about at frequent intervals by terrible storms, the surface of the ruins is barren and rugged. Yet, persistence and creativity have allowed the farming of fruits and vegetables. Long shelters built of the clearest slag bricks interspersed with plots covered with tough, transparent hail sail fabric (imported at great expense from Oldlund) protect a wide variety of crops.
The city is stratified by wealth:
Wealthier families live closest to the surface. A private exit to the top side of the ruins and space enough for a small sun patio defines the epitome of status and wealth in Glasburyton. The less wealthy on down to the very poorest of the poor live in descending order below them. There are no public patios. There is, however, a public park.
In the center of the city, a massive slag brick cathedral rises in the middle of an open square a thousand yards on a side and five stories in depth. To the north of the cathedral, long, swooping swaths of hail sail cover the long aisles of the open-air market.
To the south and east, more hail sail covers the Free Mall: the only public park in the city and one of the wonders of the post-apocalyptic world.
Beautiful gardens filled with beds of flowers; groves of flowering and fruiting trees and fragrant bushes; and lawns of purple-tinted shortgrass fill the Free Mall’s spacious acreage. It is also lit at night by huge globular gas lamps and swarms of stingless glow bees. Birds and insects dart among the trees and play in the fountains and pools, delighting the crowds of city folk who walk the crushed gravel paths and occasionally stray onto the grass.
The Free Mall is open to people of all classes, however the poor seldom find time to enjoy it except on Sundays and Governor’s Days, held quarterly.
The Landing–a bare, graveled surface for anchorage rented by serious balloonists–dominates the west side of the cathedral.
A high fence with guard towers surrounds The Landing on three sides. It backs onto eight spacious aerodromes tunneled into the eastern slag cliff opposite the cathedral.
Above the aerodromes, anchored in the slag cliff and rising one hundred thirty stories into the sky is a massive mooring mast for blimps and airships. Built and buttressed of steel girders with elevators for passengers and freight, the mast’s landing platforms jut out at staggered intervals. Another high fence with guard towers surrounds the base of the mast.
Between the fence for the Landing and the wall of the Cathedral lies Grand Central Station and the stockyard where the rails for all the trams and trains running through the mid-levels of the city converge.
The city is bounded to the south and west by a deep ravine that runs for a hundred miles inland.
In an effort to reduce the burden of caring for the poor, the city fathers have allotted plots in the ravine to those willing to work them. No hail sail protects these crops, and those lower down are frequently wiped out by flash floods.
For the next installment (available next Tuesday), read Perilous Artifacts: Olive Goes Out. Here our story begins…
My books: Check out my Christian fantasy series.
About the artwork: I designed this lovely steampunk cover art (I also specialize in clean/Christian covers for fiction and non-fiction). Contact me for a quote.