– Sometimes all you need is three panels.
– The Magical Land of Yeld Kickstarter ended on Monday and was a frighteningly huge success, with nearly 600 backers and 280% funding. Almost exactly twice as much funding as my previously most successful project, Modest Medusa Season 3. Mick and I both really appreciate the support and enthusiasm. I’m really excited to be moving forward with the project, most especially because it will give me a new format for telling stories in and about Yeld and exploring the history of the characters that live there. For example, this bit of background that i wrote about the Prince for one of our Kickstarter updates:
Long ago a stranger came before the Old King, a warrior who had traveled from lands so far away they were unknown to the King’s court. His name was Dragul and he called himself the Prince of Vampires. This stranger swore his services to the Old King with a simple promise, that for as long as the King lived Dragul would be his loyal servant, and with the King’s blessing he would transform Yeld into the most powerful and wealthy land the world had ever known.
The Old King was no fool, he could see into the heart of this stranger and saw clearly that it was powerful but dark, that this Prince had secret purposes and plans that he would never reveal. To test his oath of loyalty the Old King set Dragul on a campaign against the Fairy warbands that had encroached into Yeld from the Storm Mountains. The Prince went north with a regiment of handpicked soldiers and for a year the only news to emerge from the Storm Mountains were tales of bloody, brutal massacres. When the Prince and his soldiers returned to the Old King’s court there was no doubt that they were formidable warriors and that Dragul was a courageous and effective commander. But still the Old King had his doubts. The men under Dragul’s command had changed. Their loyalty was not in question, but they were darker. Stronger. The word “vampire” was unfamiliar to the people of Yeld, and while the Old King could see Dragul’s dark influence spread through his court and armies, he couldn’t imagine the Prince’s true nature.
More tests of loyalty came. The Prince led pirate hunters against the corsairs of The Deep along Yeld’s coasts, clashed with the last dragons, freed the besieged city of Kavult and led an expedition far beyond Yeld’s borders to challenge the Leviathan Knights and their monstrous queen. Dragul returned from each campaign victorious, and slowly the Old King’s nagging distrust of this stranger who had become his most effective general was set aside. The King knew that the Prince’s true motives were still a secret, and as he watched carefully he began to suspect that Dragul’s service was a means to an end. When not leading the armies of Yeld the Vampire Prince would often vanish for weeks, and the Old King’s messengers and spies reported that he traveled deep into Yeld’s darkest and wildest lands. The Old King began to suspect that the Prince had come to Yeld in search of something.
For 30 years Prince Dragul loyally served the Old King, and although there was no love between them the ruler of Yeld had much respect for his most powerful general. Many in the court thought that Dragul might be named as the next ruler of Yeld, but on his deathbed the King chose his oldest daughter, the royal Princess, to succeed his rule. The people of Yeld mourned the day that news of the Old King’s death came, and the court was shocked when shortly after the Prince announced his pending marriage to the royal Princess. With the King’s passing Dragul considered himself free from his oath of loyalty and intended to take the throne as his own. He summoned the most loyal members of the Royal Guard to him and told them of his plan. All were vampires who had served with the Prince on many of his long campaigns, and to his face each agreed that he was most fit to rule Yeld. But in their hearts many of the Royal Guard were still loyal to the Old King and loved the Princess dearly, and even their respect for the Prince and their gratitude for the gift of near immortality could not sway them. The next day the Prince discovered that fully half the Royal Guard had absconded in the night, taking the Princess with them and fleeing into the wilds of Yeld. Furios, the Prince named these traitors Oathbreakers. He summoned the rest of the guard to his side and made them a promise; they would hunt down the Princess and her Oathbreakers, capture them and return them to the court. For this each hunter would be rewarded with power beyond anything they had dreamed and would become the Prince’s most trusted lieutenants. These were the first Hunters of Yeld.
While many Oathbreakers died in the Princess Hunts, the Princess herself escaped Dragul’s clutches. After years of futile searching the Prince named himself Regent of Yeld. The Oathbreakers and their hidden Princess responded with open and organized rebellion, so Dragul’s first act as Regent was to sign a treaty with the Fairy Tribes and invite them to return to Yeld as a mercenary army under his absolute control. Eager to reclaim their ancient home, the Fairies returned to Yeld in savage force, plundering and burning villages under the oversight of powerful vampire knights and publicly executing any citizen accused of being a rebel. The Oathbreaker’s rebellion lasted decades, but by the time it was finally over and the Princess disappeared into hiding for good the land had been devastated and the people of Yeld fearfully kept to their homes, wary of the Fairy garrisons that occupied every town and village.
Slowly under Dragul’s rule Yeld became a darker and more sinister place. As decades turned to centuries cities that had once been proud centers of trade and culture fell to ruin or became fortresses for the occupying Fairy army. The Animal Tribes withdrew deep into the forests and mountains and for the first time in generations monsters freely roamed the lands. The Prince divided his new realm among his lieutenants, the Hunters of Yeld, and left them to rule or run havoc as they saw fit. The Prince’s gift of vampirism brought about a plague of undead, and barriers between the Ghost World and Yeld began to weaken. Roads become dangerous to travel, and the lands between villages became wild and infested with bandits and monsters.The Hunters of Yeld ran rampant, clashing against each other or fighting petty wars with neighboring lands, while the people of Yeld slowly forgot that their land had once been a bright and brave place.
And as Yeld rots and falls to ruin, the Vampire Prince Dragul still searches…