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THE KIDS

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Mallory is a firecracker. She's always on the move, always the intrepid globetrotter, looking for an adventure that'll live up to those of her father's legacy--the legacy passed on to her by her grandfather.

She's tenacious and stubborn, rarely careful of whatever danger she's thrusted herself and her friends into, and once her goal is set, come hail or high water--in vicious spite of any obstacle--she's going to get what she's after. What's more, for better or worse, she absolutely refuses to lie.

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Saki doesn't much care for people. Actually, she's a total misanthrope, but she does love a good adventure. She's deaf, but while she does wear cochlear implants, she'd often rather block out the world--especially the kids at school, who've not exactly been kind to her.

 

She's secured herself as both the brains and brawn of the team, ready to quote Kierkegaard or throw down on whatever obstinate obstacle flexes at her and her friends. She doesn't speak, but with some wisdom from her mother and some coaxing from Mal, Saki might just embrace her voice again.

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Isaac isn't much for wild adventure, but he wants desperately to learn how to be a more interesting kid. He doesn't have any particular talents and he's terribly awkward, making it difficult for him to find his confidence.

His only identifiable trait among his schoolmates is that he happens to be the richest kid in the county--a fact he isn't fond of being known for. He's not exactly proud of his father's reputation as a hotshot billionaire playboy, and Isaac would rather be in a bind with the girls on some adventure than chasing the shadow of a father who's never there.

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The proverbial Cheshire Cat of Brookwood Forest, Ava is a spectral wildcard to the kids. She seems to have an encyclopedic knowledge of the Dark Garden, the Dreaming Tree, and even Mal, Isaac, and Saki.

She only reveals her true self to Isaac, otherwise she's darting around in a wooden coyote mask, showing up at just the right time to offer a cryptic word to the wise when the kid are in trouble.

She has a deep, mystic relationship with the Dreaming Tree, that much is clear, but her motivations are an absolute enigma.

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Animus is the new leader of the Milk Carton Kids, and the primary antagonist in Mallory's quest for the truth.

Animus has a past, but no one knows exactly what happened. What's known is that Animus harbors resentment toward adults for the cruel, petty, power-driven world they've built, and for molding children into anxious and competitive animals just like them.

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Delmar Wood is the resident bully of Cloud Academy. He's got a menagerie of complexes, stemming from his treatment as an outcast due to his family's rare genetic blood disorder that makes their skin blue, and also as the poorest of the students attending the academy.

Delmar has a competitive complex that pits him against Mal often, having been raised to obsess over conquering adversity, but this is offset by his unshakeable sense of loyalty once he's committed.

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Amber Tamlin is the resident mean girl of Cloud Academy. With her entourage of sneering sirens, she sets the social standards and norms of schoolyard society, terrorizing any kid who runs afoul of her queenship.

She finally meets her match in Mallory, who is just as stubborn and unyielding about her own autonomy as Amber is about usurping the autonomy of others. Mal has no patience for pomp, circumstance, or petty authority, and so she and Amber butt heads at every turn. Mal will never turn down an opportunity to pry Amber’s claws out of any poor kid who’s unwittingly crossed her.

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THE ADULTS

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Odran is a world-weary man with a profound amount of love for the things he believes are important, and despite his concern for Mallory's safety, he does try his best to give her space.

He's desperate to keep Mal out of harm's way, but made the mistake of telling her stories of her father's wild adventures, and now Mal is determined to live up to that legacy. There's more to these stories, though, and Mal's suspicion that Odran isn't being entirely honest becomes the catalyst for her war path to uncover the truth.

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Cyrus is the mysterious gravedigger who once knew Mallory's parents. He knows a lot more than he lets on, but it's clear that he's very closely tied to the Dreaming Tree and the events of Mallory's parents' disappearance ten years ago.

He's a world-weary man with a lot on his mind and a weight on his shoulders. Mallory's determined to figure out what it is that has him so burdened, and she knows it must be significant and revelatory in her journey to uncover the truth about her parents.

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Ira Lloyd was a neuroscientist at Sherwood University in Isaac's hometown of Scarborough, and he had an office in Moonreach Tower in Satellite City.

Lloyd disappeared from the public eye years ago, but he seems to be closely connected to the stories Mallory was told about her father. His name is born on the cover of Phelim's journals, as though Lloyd was a companion who had chronicled Phelim's journey--even up to the moment he disappeared in the treacherous mountains near Mt. Skyladder.

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Phelim is Mallory's father, Odran's son, and perhaps the most enigmatic figure in Mallory's life.

In a town full of people with pasts, Phelim takes the cake. A lot of people have a lot to say about him, as Mallory finds out, and what she uncovers about his history with the town will shake the foundations of everything she thought she knew--and in so doing, threaten her relationship with her grandfather.

Was he the adventurer Mal had grown up adoring, for whom she now risks everything to find?

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Mary was Mallory's mother, and Mal knows even less about her. What she knows is that Mary had written a romantic--though cryptic--poem to Phelim, and that they had planned to be together until they died, when they were to be scattered at the Dreaming Tree.

But there's more to this relationship than a single poem, and as Mallory unravels the mysteries of the past, Mary's true relationship to Phelim--and Cyrus

--is revealed.

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Olivia is Odran's old colleague and closest friend. She's his confidant, but she's also Saki's mother.

Olivia is blunt-force reason. She's got a big heart, but suffers no foolish rationalizing. She's always there to help Odran see the reality of his situation--to cut through the dark--with genuineness and sweet wisdom.

She's suffering herself, too, with Saki's muteness, and she's trying to show her the value of using a voice when you've got one. She wants to hear her daughter's voice again.

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Hirohoto Tsukino is Saki's father, a prolific farmer, a Japanese ex-naval man, and a well-trained martial artist.

In addition to his skills, his travels as a young man brought him into contact with a great diversity of people and ideas, and so he developed a love of philosophy that he and Saki share intimately.

His relationship with Saki is strong, often the source of envious animosity from his other daughter, Enya.

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Enya Tsukino is Saki's older teenage sister. Enya is really having a rough time navigating high school. Unlike Saki, Enya is obsessed with her reputation and her place in the social hierarchy.

Enya is a meticulous persona crafter, always modulating herself to fit in, but always seemingly one step behind the fashion. This stress, along with her jealousy over her sister's close relationship with their father, has made Enya an ill-tempered presence around the house--but Olivia isn't the mom who walks on eggshells.

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Miss Eve Parker is Mallory, Isaac, and Saki's 4th grade teacher at Cloud Academy. Her cool, irreverent humor can sometimes venture into cynicism, but she's a young woman shuffling through her 20's in the 90's, so y'know...roll with it.

Despite her dating life being a comedy of errors, Parker is a sweet, fun, insightful teacher to the kids, and she's always there to help them navigate their problems with some sage bit of real talk.

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Mark Aldo. Oy, this guy... Mark is Isaac's father, and the current patriarch of the great Aldo Estate. He inherited all of it from his father, who was a beloved philanthropist, but Mark never inherited that charitable nature.

Instead, Mark is the negligent billionaire playboy, always out cultivating his image and pleasing the aristocracy with lavish parties. He's as vain and vapid as they come, and this has left Isaac with a very sour taste for his father and inheritance.

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Wynona Lanois is of Shoshone and French ancestry. She was a resident of Brookwood Forest, and a hermetic naturalist. She disappeared without a trace ten years ago, leaving her newborn daughter on Cyrus's doorstep to raise as his own, after a tumultuous relationship with Phelim.

Wynona gave birth alone, in her cabin deep in Brookwood. Her daughter is unregistered, unknown, and has certainly inherited her mother's free, naturalistic lifestyle.

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Gal Rogers is the lead singer of Mallory's favorite band, Neon Brew. They're a jazz-punk fusion band, with a very unique sound--something like The Lounge Lizards meets Zero 7. They're the Primus of jazz.

Gal is a punk at heart, but an absolute music virtuoso. She rocks pretty hard, but she's also determined to be a good role model for her fans, taking a page from the trope of metalheads with a heart of gold. Think of her as a Jack Black-ette.

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Commander 4K (Tracy Edwin) is the host of the Saturday morning cartoon block of Channel 4 local television in Wyoming. She's a joyous presence around Moonblush, and a Satellite City native.

She's always hosting events around the county to get kids together and playing outside, perhaps to offset her work as a television personality.

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The Incogitable Kate Quasar: Cosmic Inquisitor! She's Mallory's favorite comic book hero, and the inspiration for Mal's no-nonsense, straight-talk investigative nature.

Quasar zips around the cosmos as a space-noir detective, solving crimes both big and small. In a genre known for femme fatales, Quasar takes that archetype and centralizes it, blending the old trope with a new paradigm.

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Sharon Behr

Mallory's estranged grandmother.

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Monsieur Babineaux

A mime who comes around with the Detestable Festival. Mallory's favorite act.

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Dr. Carolyn Mitchum

A kooky cognitive behavioral therapist running a practice out of her smoky garage. Known for her indecipherable analogies.

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Police Inspector Henry Cragihan

The grizzled detective trudging around Nightdrift in search of hoodlums.

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Dr. Chris Mitchum

An unorthodox medical practitioner who acts more like a mechanic.

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Nurse Renchitt

Dr. Chris Ketchum's assistant.

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Khaila Lyon

The host of a real-talk self-help talk show favored by Olivia and Odran.

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Park Ranger Harriman

The primary ranger of Brookwood Forest.

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Lee Perry

A well-known local real estate agent for all of Nightdrift County.

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Lowell Perry

Lee's husband, and a local general contractor.

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Ann Rose

Mallory's neighbor, a sweet old woman who used to babysit her.

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Frank Gambill

A local artistic renaissance man and culture jammer, a la Banksy.

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Walter & Danetta Aldo

Isaac's grandparents, beloved by the town for their incredible philanthropic achievements.

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Mila Crackstone

A local design guru and entrepreneur with Giraffe Interiors.

OTHER CHARACTERS

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The Man Who Sold The World

A mysterious stranger who hands off a cryptic globe to the kids and sets them on a quest.

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Iola Aldo

Isaac's mother.

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