THE WORLD OF ALTEA
Times ago the island of Altea was a paradise, but now its dying. With every passing day its inhabitants become more gray and spent: their vital force is exhausting itself. How could all of this happen? Only archon Vimperion, the tyrant who never grows old, and a few rebels, knows the reason: the Flame of Altea, the legendary secret fire, has disappeared.
Now, the Archon and the rebels are searching for it: Vimperion in order to craft the elixir of long life; the Shadow Archons, chiefs of the rebels, to awaken the island’s inhabitants before its too late.
Unfortunately Vimperion’s secret police corp doesn’t allow the Shadow Archons to act freely, forcing them to choose two inexperienced kids to entrust with the most dangerous of quests: find the flame of Altea.
And this is where our story begins, among steam powered bicycles, peculiar inventions, and fantastic animals…
THE BAZAR OF WONDER
From the outside, it appears like an ordinary workshop, but on the inside it’s a true labyrinth, where you can find weird, mysterious and sometimes dangerous objects: the forgotten inventions of the ancient technowizards. It’s run by Dedalus, unlikely and peculiar shopkeeper who hides a great secret…
Ailan Pintor is a thirteen years old boy like many others in Altea, but when he enters for the first time Dedalus’s bazar, he’ll discover that he possesses resources that he would have never imagined. He’ll find the courage to get in the game, and he will get himself involved in the search for the flame of Altea. He will have to face every kind of obstacles, and he will find that his path bifurcates: become a follower of the archon, or rebel, and stay faithful to himself and his friends…
Marill is Ailan’s best friend. She’s wise, lively, and a little bit mischievous, but she’s willing to do anything to help her friend, even get captured by Flamebearers. Inside Dedalus’s bazar, she’ll find a magic purse, capable of shrinking objects, and a weird mollusk which looks like blue pudding: Shrill the memoshriller, capable of taking up the shape of everything she sees. From that moment, Marill will be able to open even the most complicated lock.
Taryn is one of the kids prisoners at Villa Amantea. He’s not terribly good at studying, on the contrary, he and books are not the best of friends. He’s a master of the art of getting by, which he learned in the undesirables district. He loves animals and he agreed on being a keeper of Vimperion’s menagerie in order to take care of them. He dreams of freeing them and escaping with them inside the forest. When he meets Marill, he’ll decide to join the rebels on the search for the flame of Altea.
Dedalus is the owner of the bazar of wonders, and he’s considered to be a weird, grumpy and peculiar guy. In truth, he is one of the two shadow archons, leaders of the rebels, and he concentrates all of his efforts into finding the lost flame and bring back the island of Altea to its former glory. He’s a kindhearted gruff who always knows what the people who search for the flame need, and he makes it so that they can find it on his bazar, of which he knows every secret.
Vimperion is the One Archon of Altea. His wealth and his power are beyond measure, but that’s not enough for him: he exploits the island on every possible way to increase his possessions, and he projects new machines in order to produce more and more, not caring about pollution. Still unsatisfied, he installed a garrison in the land of Keola to prey it of its precious water and natural resources. he keeps his young appearance thanks to the serum of long life, and he plans to rule forever
Kaspar Kayman is Vimperion’s right hand and chief of the Flamebearers, the officials of Altea’s secret services. Though cruel and heartless with the weak, he himself is a weak man, subjugated to Vimperion’s power and craving for his approval. Vimperion despises him and considers him to be an incompetent due to his inability to find the flame and capturing Ailan and Marill. The grudge Kayman holds against Vimperions’s abuse will have unpredictable consequences…
Smack and Nape
Smack and Nape are a rickety couple of velocipedants, whose duty is to patrol Altea with their steam powered velocipedes. With every trouble they cause, Smack flings a loud slap on the back of poor Nape’s neck. Naive, messy and gullible, they get themselves in trouble all the time, thus getting demoted, deprived of their beloved velocipedes and ordinance top hats. They are willing to do anything to regain their positions as velocipedants!
Grannie Amandine and the Old Ladies Gang
Who amongst the sleepy inhabitants of Altea is capable of holding their ground against Kayman and his fearsome Flamebearers? The meek and mild Amandine of course, with the help of her magic pastries and her dear friends: a group of fierce old ladies armed with flying umbrellas and armored purses, and the fearsome destroyer of calves, the doggy Mr Fluff. Nobody knows that Amandine, the elderly owner of the old pastry shop, is a Shadow Archon together with Dedalus.
Matt Crowler and Adèle Corsage
Master Matt Crowler is a mechanic and repairman of velocipedes. His wife Adèle used to craft fashionable little hats; now she’s lost in her world and spends her days watering the tin flowers of the garden with motor oil and sewing knickers for cats. Only Dedalus knows that Matt and Adèle are actually Technowizards of Altea, amongst the few who survived after the great persecution unleashed against them by Vimperion many years before.
Leolani is a seventeen years old warrior of the Olina tribe from the land of Keola, sent on Altea to watch over Ailan. To accomplish her mission without being discovered, she walks around the streets of Altea disguised as a sweeper. She observes and mentally annotates every move Vimperion and the Flamebearers make, and she’s always ready to intervene to get Ailan out of trouble. She knows every secret of Keola’s forest and she’s able to speak to Feoryns, in a strange language made of whispers and murmurs.
Tik-Tik and the hypogenes
the hypogenes are dangerous amphibious creatures of human form, with long fingers and almost transparent skin, who live in submarine caves. They don’t speak but they produce small creaking sounds. Tik-Tik is a young hypogene, prisoner in Kayman’s menagerie. Ailan will manage to free her and between them will grow a friendship with unpredictable developments in the story…
Zill, the mimur
Zill is Ailan’s pet. She’s a mimur of the psychougar family, native to Keola. She has long retractile antennas on her forehead and a prehensile tail curled up like a spiral. Her mane reflects the surrounding light and constantly changes color. Zill is able to communicate telepathically with Ailan, transmitting him images of what she sees. this ability will be of great help to Ailan in more than one occasion.
Shrill the memoshriller
Shrill is a gelatinous blue mollusk similar to a big oyster. She is able to imitate the shape of everything she sees and thus she can open every lock. The memoshriller quickly crystallize when the temperature grows cold, and this is why she loves to remain sheltered inside her shell. She’s shy, fearful and skittish, she shrills sharply and she loves to play tricks on Zill.
They are adorable, round-shaped little creatures, about the size if an orange and covered in soft brown fur. At villa Amantea there’s a cage full of them, constantly hopping and chirping. When they are young they are incredibly soft, at the point that Archon Vimperion, cruel with every animal, uses them to wipe his bum. But careful: if startled with a sudden noise, the fluffers turn into balls of spikes.
The trampletough is a two meters tall beast with armored skin, trunk-like legs, bony plates on his spine, and a big flat bone on his muzzle similar to a huge anvil. He’s a peaceful animal, very fond of honey, but when he charges nobody can stop him. He’s locked inside villa Amantea’s menagerie, in a huge prison with reinforced walls and doors.
The Feoryns are tiny, voracious and slightly anthropomorphic creatures. They have dragonfly wings, pointy heads, and sharp little teeth. They are native to Keola but Vimperion keeps a few specimens on his menagerie.They hide in dark places and are dangerous. They attack together, biting their prey with hundreds of tiny bites.
The narcopters, or ankylosing snoozeflyes, are small hairy bugs who buzz like bees and have the size of a nut. they are attracted to the pollen of the purple orchids grown into villa amantea’s greenhouse. There are two kinds of narcopters: the dangerous purple narcopters, whose venom is deadly, and the black and purple striped narcopters, whose sting causes a temporary paralysis..
they are a peculiar specie of sea dwelling turtles who live in the rocks under the Vjnlan isles. they are very sensitive: if disturbed, they but with their sharp beaks. they change their shell during with their growth, and that’s why Vjnlan’s caves are full of their empty shells. the Ikan children use them to build boats hauled by kytes, with which they make amazing acrobatic stunts.
The vampire jellyfishes
Shiny and transparent jellyfishes, similar to huge blisters, with mouths full of tiny sharp teeth. They are extremely dangerous because they do not attack only sea dwellers: they jump out of the water and with their tentacles they clamp to their victim, sucking their blood like vampires..
The Kurcan is an enormous flying creature. Every Ikan fishermen of Vjnlan fear its night raids, but nobody ever actually saw it. It’s portrayed in many drawings and fantastic paintings, and it’s said to live up in the glaciers of Keplan Kabut, the tallest island of Vjnland. The legend says that between the Kurcan’s eggs lays a piece of the legendary three-flamed key, which opens the starry prism.
The city of Altea, after which the island is named, its an imaginary city whose development is similar to that of late ‘800 Paris or London, but with steam powered technology. Everything is focused on productions, machines and speed, and it charmed by the idea of progress and by the endless possibilities of science. In short, a city that worships technology in every form. Here, everybody believes only in that which can be measured and proven rationally. Who thinks out of the box is seen as suspicious, foolish, weird and even subversive..
The technology: in Altea is refined and steam powered. Carriages, bicycles, machineries of every kind, everything runs with steam. It is said that once upon a time the flame of Altea used to provide the necessary energy to run the machines. Unfortunately, since its disappearance, the steam is obtained by burning coal and wood. This made the air become polluted and filled with grey smoke.
The cooking in Altea. typical dish is potatoes with anchovies. Its the most common and cheapest dish, and also the only one that citizens can afford, since everyone is broke for paying too many taxes and having to buy (from Vimperion) drinkable water at an high price. The Archon on the other hand feeds himself with sophisticated exotic (and disgusting) dishes, like sugar coated lionshark fins, toucartles neck stuffed with shrimps, gufflamingles skewers in chocolate sauce.
Etiquette in Altea the etiquette is very peculiar and elaborate and it involves elaborate bowings, that varies according to the social rank of who gives them and who receives them. Alteans care a great deal for their business cards and they compete with each other to have the most elaborate and refined of every other.
Circulation rules. Steam powered cars are not only privilege of the few, but also very recent inventions, and they are considered to be potentially dangerous machines, very difficult to control. They spit out dark smoke that dirties the faces of the passer byes, that’s why the drivers wear goggles with wiper blades. at crossroads drivers must shoot in the air with a little cannon installed on the hood of the car and wave a flag to signal their transit.
THE SHADOW ARCHONS
The magical flame that keeps alive the world of Altea has disappeared, and must be found before its too late…
THE TREASURE OF VJNLAN
Ailan and Marill are sent to Keola by Dedalus’s dislocator, to find the key that opens the starry Prism, but they find themselves at open sea, in the middle of a raging storm…
THE QUEEN OF KEOLA
Ailan and Marill have challenged the evil power of Vimperion, they have already found two pieces of the Key that opens the starry Prism and have started the search for the flame which gifts energy and life, but during the quest Ailan lost his eyesight…
THE NEW FLAME
The fourth adventure of Ailan and Marill searching for the mighty Flame of Altea. New in Bookstore.