As a boy, Cloud was banished from his castle-home by an invading Beast. Now a man, Cloud journeys back north to reclaim the castle from the monster, who styles himself a king and has opened his doors to all manner of creatures and cursed fellows.
In his exile, Cloud lived as a soldier of the Right Ruler’s kingdom. Released from service, he is joined by his good friend Alder to see his quest through. But the lands beyond the Right Ruler’s domain are governed by no man.
It is a fair country north, yet unsettled and unknown. Thieves abound. Dark rivers rage with rapids and war. Cannibals, cults, strange shepherds, giant brutes. And if the heroes survive what lies before them, their purpose at journey’s end is to conquer a castle of beasts, or die.
This is a high fantasy tale with swords, sorcery, spirits, and strife. There are no elves or orcs here, but a mottled land of strangers, mystery, and adventure.
Cloud, of the Stolen Castle
As a boy, Cloud grew up in the castle his great-grandfather built, until one night the Beast-King arrived and banished his family through mere fright. Seventeen years later, Cloud journeys back north to reclaim his family's castle from the monster. He boasts that he will stop at nothing, and refuses to bear his family name.
Alder, son of
Alder is an old friend of Cloud's; both served as soldiers in the Right Ruler's royal army. Now freed of service and blessed by his father, he has joined Cloud to guard him on his journey and see the quest through. As soldiers, Cloud saved Alder's life once or twice, and so Alder seeks to repay such a costly gift however he can.
Vole, the Knockboy
Vole is the son of no living man or woman. As a knockboy, he is knocked about from one job to the next, from working as a farmhand to a bar lad. Cloud and Alder seek a spy for their quest, and Vole volunteers himself for the job. It is his hope that he will see a more incredible part of the world in such an adventure, and make a name for himself.
Trouto is a fellow traveler on the way north, met by chance. He is plump, far from young, and claims to have knowledge of the magical arts. He bears a giant pack on his back and a wispy beard on his chin.
Daniel Seong is a visual designer and illustrator living in Austin, Texas. He works for Preacher, a creative company, and has contributed artwork to Knob Creek bourbon and Yeti coolers. His favorite pastime is fishing, both reel and fly. His proudest catch to date is a 5lb largemouth bass from Ladybird Lake. Most importantly, he’s Forrest’s friend.
Check out his work on instagram: @deesong
The following are various drawings by the author, for fun. The cover art was also designed by Lybrand.