Written by Victoria Howell
Wait a minute…! There’s no Alana in the original legends…
No there’s not. But there is the character of Alan-a-Dale… Alana Dale… see what we did there?!
So our Alana derives from the legendary character Alan-a-Dale, a wandering minstrel who takes up with Robin Hood and his Merry Men after Robin rescues Alan’s sweetheart.
Alan is a later edition to the story, first appearing in the 17th century, whereas the Robin Hood legend itself is first referenced in the late 14th century, in the poem “Piers Plowman.” This suggests ballads and songs were in existence by that time, although the earliest surviving text actually dates from several decades later, around 1450.
Our first conception of Alana was for her to be a minstrel-like character, recording and broadcasting the activities of the outlaws. However, she has grown to become something more than this.
Alana is a powerful Hycatha.
It’s a long story, and for a really deep dive check out our extensive wiki articles [link], but for the TLDR version, a Hycatha is a woman with magical powers. There are three levels of ability – Baethla, Cyntha and Nyridia. Alana is a Cyntha, and a very powerful one. In fact, as there are no known Nyridiae left, Alana is one of the most powerful Hycathae in existence – or at least she will be when she has fully mastered her powers. Having had no formal training, her magic can be erratic but, like anything else in life, practice makes perfect.
Hycathism was the dominant religion in the Anglia Isle for almost eight hundred years until the events of the Second Hycath War in the 1890s created an atmosphere of suspicion and intolerance. Many Hycathae fled to North Africa, where they created the fertile oasis city of Al-Murooj, also known as the Promised Land. Those who remained often found themselves shunned by their communities and went into hiding. In the present day, the Hycathic Salvation Program has been formed to document and assist the Hycathae, providing them with safe spaces and employment opportunities. Alana is not registered with the HSP.
Some people refer to humans and Hycathae as separate species, but this is not entirely true. The Hycathae are essentially human, they just have enhanced abilities. Hycathic magic is rooted in the physical world and obeys the laws of physics – a Hycatha cannot conjure something from the air, but they can manipulate an object or person.
Alana’s Role in the Story
In the world of HOOD, Alana is the adopted sister of rebel leader Will Scarlett. Her own mother has debilitating mental health issues which led Alana to run away from home at the age of 9, where she lived on the streets for a year until being taken in by the Scarlett family. Now 17, she seems older than her years, having had to grow up fast, though Will still often treats her as a child – which of course annoys the Hecate out of her!
Alana lives with the rebels in Greenwood, where she is also close to Bucky, another young rebel who has largely taken over the chronicler role of the original Alan-a-Dale character. Their bond is strengthened by their similar backgrounds and Alana regards Bucky as a little brother, even though they are the same age – and he would rather she didn’t as he has something of a crush on her.
Alana’s powers mean she often assists with medical emergencies in Greenwood. She is able to transfer healing power into another person, so long as she has physical contact with them. This comes in very handy when rebels are injured on raids, or tussles with the Sheriff’s security forces. However, this frustrates her at times. Alana wants to do more to assist with the rebellion, but Will’s overprotectiveness means she is often forced to stay in Greenwood – or sneak out on her own missions, determined to prove to her brother that she is more than just a walking first aid kit!
Do you think having magical powers would be a blessing or a curse? What powers would you like to have?