Welcome to Ayphae, today’s stop on the blog tour!
Imagine stepping into a field of toadstools and knowing they’ll produce colored lights based on what you like. Or a group of mushrooms will dance around you, expecting you to do the same. In Ayphae, fungi think using your brain—without draining or affecting you, the way you might feed off heat from a campfire—and then produce strange results based on their specialties.
For instance, murmuring mushrooms might whisper thoughts of peace and comfort into your mind.
Sprinkler mushrooms might shoot liquid from the white spots on their red caps, watering your lawn.
Beat mushrooms are pretty much impossible to tame—they’re more likely to stomp out a beat in front of you, demanding you do the same.
Wherever you go in Ayphae, fungi are part of your everyday life. Some Ayphaeans study them, others use them casually—and of course, caterers create increasingly unique dishes from mushrooms. The helpful fungi, along with a low crime rate and virtually no disease, have led some to call Ayphae a “perfect place.”
But what if you felt you didn’t belong in Ayphae?
That’s the question Reisor and his younger siblings, Feselea and Dane, face. They woke up in an idyllic cottage obosa—a giant, hollow mushroom—seven years ago. Fields scattered with yellow lights and purple mist greeted them, along with a mysterious sage who told them Ayphae was their new home. He also told him their names—because they had no memory of anything else. They have only dreams, flashbacks—fragments of thoughts they can’t explain.
Reisor’s neighbors don’t remember him either. Their cottage obosa was vacant one day, and he and his siblings moved in on the next. That’s all anyone seems to know.
But now the land is withering. Trees are turning to mush, mushrooms crumbling to ash…what’s going on? Ayphae is all Reisor and his siblings know. But if they can’t crack this mystery, it may be the last thing they remember.
The world of Ayphae is more than imaginative
Real-world science is sprinkled throughout the fantastical elements. I love mycology, so I incorporated it heavily into this first volume of the Flames Chronicles. The grains of science sprinkled here and there make for a semi-educational experience.
I also think deeply about philosophy, and I consider a book a waste if it doesn’t challenge me to think. Since I don’t like mouthpieces, I try to make sure each of my characters disagree with me on at least one important aspect. That way, instead of taking sides during their arguments, I can let the reader decide whose position has merit.
Like the issue of Ayphae withering. A new fungus is growing everywhere all of a sudden—the aiethepa spore (though it’s more like a yeast). Dr. May Evelar thinks the spore is to blame for the withering (but she can’t prove it yet!). She’s petitioning Joe Marshalltoe—the ruler of Ayphae—to remove it.
Then there’s Nickolar Elegard. As a sensitive ranger-turned-speaker, he believes the Ayphaeans are to blame for the withering. His approach is to reform the thoughts and actions of Ayphae’s citizens, as he believes their mentality is tied to the wellbeing of the land. Since the fungi of Ayphae feed off our emotional energy, he reasons, we need to shrug off our apathy.
Eventually Nick and May come to a head—they argue about how to help Ayphae, and one of them shouts, “I’m just trying to save Ayphae!” The other one responds, “So am I!” While May believes strongly in the government’s ability to save Ayphae, Nick discounts the government entirely. “Politicians can only reflect your hearts, not change them,” he claims.
Both of these people represent positions that I have heard in real arguments: “the government will solve our problems,” and “the government can’t help at all. Change has to take place in the people.” I witness these debates all the time, and I thought it would be interesting to represent them in a fantasy situation: what if the evils of the heart became a literal destructive fungus, and the government was capable of removing it? Would you solve the problem by addressing its source (the people), even if that took longer and allowed more destruction—or would you treat the symptom by removing the destructive thing, ensuring the people’s safety without truly fixing the problem? Careful…there are consequences to both answers. And those consequences are explored in my book Ayphae.
At the same time, I explore a more general theme: purpose, and what makes a task worthwhile. Reisor and his siblings have felt aimless since waking up in Ayphae. Reisor has no idea what he’s supposed to do or if he’s doing any good at all. This spore presents an opportunity for him to do something that means something. Or does it?
That struggle with a lack of purpose is something many people can relate to—and just like in our real world, where there is often a lack of purpose, there are people who try to fill in the gap with politics or reformation. But where can meaning be found?
Ayphae is just one realm in the world of Kidar
Yes, Kidar—a fantasy world I have been creating and refining for about two decades. My series is titled The Flames Chronicles—and though it begins in the idyllic realm of Ayphae, the readers are expected to grow with its characters, as they face being controlled by their weaknesses—apathy (Ayphae, Book One), bitterness (Brekh’cha, Book Two) and fear (Caltswahn, Book Three). It dives deep into human psychology while telling a compelling story in a world beyond your imagination. And I am delighted to share this amazing place with you!
Check out Ayphae. It’s a beautiful world that will spark your imagination and maybe even educate you—while its deeper themes, running just beneath the surface, will spark your reflection.
The Flames Chronicles, Book One
The Flames Chronicles, Backstory to Ayphae
The Flames Chronicles, The world of Ayphae
The Flames Chronicles, Book Two
Follow the Clean Fiction Blog Tour in March to find independently published clean fiction.
If you comment and share each post you will be entered to win a prize pack filled with ebooks and a scholarship to Story Quest Academy! Tag @StoryQuesters so they can see each of your entries.
March 1st Story Quest Academy
March 2nd Ellie Naomi
March 3rd Julie Gilbert
March 4th Jasmine Natasha
March 5th Liz Delton
March 6th Mark Hansen
March 7th Ian Vroon
March 8th Story Quest Academy
March 9th Nicholas Kotar
March 10th J.M. Hackman
March 11th Mark Hansen
March 13th Debbie Schreffler
March 14th Story Quest Academy
March 15th Steven Guglich
March 16th Laurie Lucking
March 17th Julie Gilbert
March 18th Meg Dendler
March 19th Nicholas Kotar
March 21st Story Quest Academy
March 22nd Molly Casperson
March 23rd D.J. Edwardson
March 24th Marty C Lee
March 25th Molly Casperson
March 26th Mark Hansen
March 28th Story Quest Academy
March 29th Debbie Schreffler
March 30th Nicholas Kotar
March 31st Molly Casperson