Darkness consumes Selvenor under the rule of dark magic.
When his kingdom is seized by an evil witch, Prince Anaros is cast into the dungeon. Twenty years of imprisonment leaves him hopeless of ever being free—both of his stone confines and of his curse. But all that changes when he meets his new cellmate.
Zynnera, a thief caught stealing food, is determined to help her people. After escaping from the palace dungeon with the former prince, she sets out to find the rebel camp…assuming it still exists. Together they forge a plan to defeat the wicked queen, but the longer Zynnera is away from home, the harder it is to hide her secret.
Will revealing the truth cost Zynnera everything she’s come to love, or will her secret be the key to saving Anaros from his curse and their people from the witch’s wrath?
I paced around the cell, inspecting every detail of my new prison. It’s time to get out of here. I began making as many mental notes as could in case I ever found myself here again.
An almost inaudible whisper came from the man leaning against the wall. “There’s no point.”
“What?” I said, turning to face him.
He sat up straight, looking at me as he spoke. “I said, there’s no point.” I blinked at him, still surprised he was speaking to me. “I’ve been over every inch of this place a thousand times, and you are wasting your time.”
I laughed, a little frustrated. “I’m sorry, then what exactly would you have me waste my time with? Fancy a game of chess in the dirt?” He chuckled, making me even more infuriated. I didn’t find his pessimism humorous.
The man pulled himself to his feet. “What I suggest is you accept the fact that the only way you are leaving this dungeon is in a box.” He walked past me, placing his hand on the metal bars of the cell door. I wanted to be angry with him, but I realized being in such a place as this was bound to fill anyone with despair. I couldn’t help but feel sympathy for the man and the rest of the people who had been locked away in this dark abyss.
I crossed my arms. “Well, some of us do not toss away hope so easily.”
He turned to look at me, laughing as his hand still gripped the metal bars. “Easily?” He shook his head. The man looked at me for a moment, studying my face as if fascinated by idealism. “What is your name?”
“Zynnera,” I answered, waiting for him to respond with his own. He said nothing, instead turning to face the dungeon corridor again.
“And what is it you’ve done to deserve being thrown into the dungeon, Zynnera?”
I was already growing tired of his questions, and even more so of his derisive tone. “I could ask you the same thing.”
He laughed louder as he turned to face me. “So much hope, yet so little trust?”
I could feel my face turning red. “Now you suggest I trust a stranger that I’ve only just met? A hypocritical statement coming from someone who has told me nothing of himself!”
I watched the laughter disappear from his face and suddenly felt a little guilty for lashing out at him. He stared down at the floor as if accepting my criticism.
I sighed. “Stealing. Stealing food from the palace…and giving it to the people. I’ve been doing it for years.” I watched his reaction to my confession. He seemed to approve of my crime.
The man walked forward until he was standing right in front of me. His torn and filthy clothes gave proof to my suspicion that he had been in this cell for a long time. Looking into his dark brown eyes, I could almost feel the anguish in his soul as he stared back into mine. I couldn’t help but feel there were secrets hiding behind those eyes, secrets of a long-fought war with his own guilt and doubt. Yet there was still something there that longed for freedom, a small spark of hope buried deep in his soul.
I looked away from him, clearing my throat. “Now, if you don’t mind, I’d rather not spend the rest of the night in this dreary dungeon.” He scrunched his face in confusion as I marched past him to the cell door. I removed a pin from my hair and inserted it into the lock, wiggling it around until I heard a soft click. Gently pushing the cell door, I looked back over my shoulder at the man, who was now gawking at me in complete disbelief. “Well, are you coming or not?”
Character Concept Art
Check out more of Kelson’s artwork here:
About the Artist
My ambition for painting did not start early. My first painting was not until I was 21 years old. Soon after I changed my degree and received my BFA from West Virginia University in 2019.
My works on canvas vary from different styles. They tend to contain all-over compositions that can look chaotic at times. Bright colors and expressive line quality are prevalent in my work. I try to value content over subject matter when creating indirect paintings. However, some of my pop art paintings are merely surface deep. I want the viewer to determine for themselves if there is a deeper meaning, and if there is, I want that to be dependent on the viewer.
Growing up in a small town in West Virginia, I was raised primarily by my late grandfather and mother. I have always wanted to bring something new and unique to the area. In my hometown of Petersburg, WV visitors will see my murals scattered throughout the town and surrounding areas of West Virginia. Some contain resource information for those struggling with addiction and mental health disorders, due to the impact of the opioid epidemic in Appalachia.
I enjoy making art for the public for everyone in the community to enjoy it. Art has impacted my life greatly and I wish to do something great with it.