One of the two races descended from a common ancestor brought to Earth by the Draic Kin, the '''Alatien''' are a winged people who live on the island of Alais. They are famous for their love of stories and apparently have a rich oral history.

When April arrived on Alais, the Alatien lived in a small village called Tama'a at the top of the mountain and were having trouble with their wings; the bones were becoming brittle and the Alatien could not fly for great distances. They were also at war with the Maerum, with the two races calling each other 'Wettails' and 'Wingdemons'.

FileThe_arrival_of_the_Old_God_and_the_ancestor_of_Alatien_and_Maerum.jpg, but their great love is storytelling, and their leader is known simply as the Teller. They pass stories on to each other, telling them in their own words - this means that the stories change, but as the Teller explains to April, all stories must necessarily change, lest they cease to have meaning to those who tell them. Some examples of Alatien stories include the Tale of Winds, the Tale of Sea, the Tale of Stars and the Tale of Homecoming; they are simple but powerful folk stories which actually form part of a test before April can meet the Teller.

They also have a prophecy about the coming of the Windbringer. Her meeting with the Alatien also allowed April to complete her work as the Maerum's Waterstiller when she negotiated a reconciliation between the two races. This was helped by April's discovery of an ancient city beneath Alais where the Maerum and Alatien had once lived in harmony. 

From the murals in the Ancient Shrine near the Maerum city, it is suggested that the luminescent Tanyenn algae flourishes when the Maerum and the Alatien live in close proximity, and that it would also help the Alatien recover the strength in their wings.

April learns about them in a book on the Alatien in the Enclave library, with a lead from Brian Westhouse.

ImageAlatienNests.jpg''"What is it like to not have wings? If we could not fly, how would we know what the world looks like? How could we learn of stories to tell each other? It must be like a prison, to be chained to the ground like your kind. Like a prison. I cannot understand, no I cannot, I cannot. " ''

''"Yes, we are storytellers. We tell stories. Yes. We have witnessed the birth and death of many, many people. We were here when humans first came, yes. We can tell all the stories of the human kind; of the wars, and the great romances, of the tragic death of heroes and the noble quests of adventurers. We have seen it all, yes, and we remember. We remember because we pass the stories on, from Teller to Student, throughout the centuries. " ''

''"Do you want to hear one of our stories? Ask us, ask. Ask about the prince and the beggar, about the stubborn mule of ''Altaban|''Altaban'''' and the beautiful princess of the West. Do you want to hear how the world was created? We know, we know. We tell that story. We tell the story of the First Wind." ''

'''The Story of the First Wind''''' ''

''"Long, long ago, when the skies were dark and there were no stars to be seen anywhere -- because the stars themselves had not yet been born --a wind blew through the leaves of the Making Tree, which grew in the centre of the universe. It was a young tree, then, only half an eternity old, and only a few of its buds had blossomed into green leaves. The tree was surprised to feel the wind caress its branches, because there had never been a wind before; this was the First Wind. ''

''"Who are you?" asked the tree. "What are you?" ''

''"I am the wind," said the wind, "and soon I will be strong enough to blow you apart." ''

''"Why would you want to do that?" asked the tree. "I haven't done you any harm." ''

''"Because there is nothing else I can blow," said the wind. "I can pass through the darkness for all time, but until I have something to blow, I am not really the wind." ''

''"I feel sad for you," said the tree. "I can stay here and be happy, because with every passing moment my roots extend further and my branches reach farther. Soon, I will stretch across the entire universe, and then I am everything." ''

''"Yes," said the wind, "so I will blow you apart before you get too big." ''

''And so the wind huffed and puffed and pushed the tree, but it was not strong enough to fell the Making Tree. The tree was already too big. Then the tree, feeling sad for the wind, said, "If I let you blow one of my leaves off and carry it with you on your journey, will you leave me alone?" ''

''And the wind replied, "Yes, I will leave you alone if you let me blow one of your leaves off." So the tree let the wind blow one of its leaves off, and the leaf fell through the darkness until it disappeared from view. But the wind kept huffing and puffing and pushing the tree, even though it could do the tree no harm, because it was the wind, and to be the wind, it had to blow. The leaf fell, and it became the Earth. And whenever the Making Tree felt sad for the First Wind, it let the wind blow one of its leaves off, and they would fall to create other worlds. " ''

''"This was how the world was created. It is a good story, and one I tell well. " ''

''"Now, a story from you? Tell us of the Windbringer, promised us in countless tales. She is to bring the wind of past days back, to let us soar for hours. Lately, our people have not flown like our ancestors. We are not strong enough to stay aloft for long. Our wings are weakening. No, no. This is not good? So tell us, will the Windbringer come, will she? Will she come save our people from the prison that is this ground you are chained to? Will she?"''

CategoryThe Longest Journey