Sunday, 4 April 2010

Aleena of the Lantern

Aleena, a teenage peasant girl, is lured into the mysterious and scary Gleaming Forest of Lost Souls where Good is at war with Evil. Queen Goodwende, ruler of the Good Spirits and the creatures of the countryside, are constantly battling against Archlord Pheande, master of the Evil Spirits. His army, led by the Knights of Mayhem, is seeking to gain control of the local mortals and eventually those in the world beyond.

Queen Goodwende, in order to save Aleena from his clutches, endows her with a power which changes her into a firefly whenever she is in danger. Unfortunately Tayne, an evil lantern maker who uses fireflies to power his lanterns, catches her and decides to use her extra brightness to power a special golden lantern that he intends to sell to his king.

When Tayne's cart is damaged, he visits the nearest smithy and meets the blacksmith and his two teenage sons. While he is there, he shows them the lantern and, although not realising that a girl is really the source of its light, the younger son, Kenelm, immediately falls under the spell of the lantern's beauty. He begs his father to buy it for his birthday but Tayne refuses to sell it.

Later that night, a spellbound Kenelm leaves home to follow Tayne and plead with him to part with the lantern. When they meet, Tayne dupes Kenelm into going to the Land of Farbeyond, to work as his apprentice, by promising to give him the lantern when his apprenticeship is completed.

Arriving in Farbeyond, Kenelm finds that everyone is well fed and housed but no one appears to be happy. He learns that several years previously, the king's only son was kidnapped whereupon the king decreed that no one would be allowed to be smile or be joyful in public until his son was found safe and well. He also passed over control of the country to his regent and became a recluse.

One evening, the lonely and unhappy Kenelm, seeking comfort in the beauty of the lantern, thinks that the firefly is dying. He releases it and immediately discovers that the firefly is really Aleena. Kenelm then realizes that it is not the beauty of the lantern but the beauty within the lantern that attracts him.

He decides to rescue her and return home but when he tells Tayne of his intentions, the lantern maker is enraged as he still plans to sell the lantern to the king. Tayne decides to stop Kenelm and arranges for him to be thrown into the evil regent's dungeon. While he is there Kenelm rescues, and forms a close friendship with, an unusual animal friend, a squidgel. Together they overpower their jailer and break out of their cell. Kenelm then discovers that the Queen Mother of Farbeyond and her courtiers who had disappeared at the time of the baby prince's kidnapping, are fellow prisoners.

Together they escape from the dungeons and, after meeting the king of Farbeyond, Kenelm is re-united with Aleena. Aided by the king's loyal followers, Queen Goodwende and the creatures of the land, they battle against the Knights of Mayhem who try to invade the Land of Farbeyond.

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