About Talia

Download the Guide to Talia (revised 1580)


1. Pronunciation Guide
2. City Guide
3. Corteo Cards
4. The Manoush
5. The di Chimici family
6. Stravaganti
7. Talismans
8. Religion
9. Silver
10. Differences between Talia and Italy

The country of Talia is both like and unlike the Italy of this world. It exists in a parallel dimension and diverged hundreds of years ago from the Italy we know. The significant moment came during the dispute between the brothers Romulus and Remus. In the history of our world, which at that stage is not fully distinguishable from its mythology, Romulus won the contest and founded the city of Rome. In Talia, Remus was the victor and and founded the city of Remora, capital of the Reman Empire and situated roughly where Siena is in our world.

One change leads to others and there are marked points in Talia's history, particularly in relation to Anglia, which is what they call our England, which differ from Italy's. The most obvious one is that Anglia never split from the Reman Church. Henry the eighth of Anglia had a son by his only wife Catherine who became Edward the Sixth but died young and was succeeded by his two full sisters, Mary and Elizabeth, both of whom died childless. There is no equivalent of the Church of England.

Talia is in some ways more advanced than Italy, in that in the sixteenth century it enjoyed Strega and Prosecco, and had cultivated the potato and tomato, as well as importing coffee and chocolate. However it did not have tobacco.

A Note on Stravagation

William Dethridge, the first Stravagante, made his first journey to another dimension by chance, as the result of an alchemical accident affecting the rules of time and space. This happened in 1552, when Dethridge was officially teaching mathematics at Oxford University but spending a great deal of time on his private study of alchemy.

The copper dish which he was holding in his hand while trying to commute base matter into gold, became his talisman enabling him to travel between the two worlds and was a reliable key to that travel for nearly a quarter of a century.

But although Dethridge always arrived back from his journeys to Talia in his own time, the gateway he had accidentally opened was very unstable. Since his first journey, other Stravaganti, from the Talian side, have found themselves arriving in much later periods than Dethridge's Elizabethan England. Rodolpho left the notebook talisman in the twentieth century for example.

All talismans work in both directions but must come originally from the opposite dimension to the traveller's.

When in Talia, Lucien speaks and understands the Talian language, although he doesn't know Italian in his own world. Dethridge's language sounds old-fashioned to him, and only him, because they are both English, born about 450 years apart.