William Sims is different. He believes in a better life. He dreams of going topside and becoming a cloudwalker. He meets with a wise old man every day after school, training for the day he’ll finally get to realize his dream. His family and friends all think he’s crazy. That he should leave well enough alone. But William is driven by something deep inside that no one, save for Surious Klum — his teacher and mentor — seems to understand. One day, while training with Surious in a far off canyon, his village is attacked by topsiders sent from Lord Thomas, the cloud king. They rape, pillage, and burn the village. A few select men, children, and women are taken topside where they’ll serve the king in whatever capacity he desires. William is grief stricken and nearly paralyzed by the loss. With nothing left Surious tells William that he must set out for topside. It will be a long and perilous journey, but the king must be defeated. The slaves freed, along with the citizens trapped under the cloud. But William’s like, I can’t do that. I’m just a kid. Surious says he’d be surprised at what one can do, when one is properly motivated. William’s tears turn to anger as they walk through the ruins one more time. Then his anger boils into a burning vengeance. William looks at Surious who says, “It’s time for your real training to begin.”
On their journey they meet Wiggy and Puff. Two creatures bringing goods from the underworld to sell topside. Creatures and humans alike rarely left the underworld, and topsiders had no reason to go under the cloud. Unless they were the king’s men looking for slaves. Or smugglers like Wiggy and Puff. They share camp for a couple of nights and decide to stick together until they reach topside. Safety in numbers. Something bad happens that shakes their world. They all bond more deeply in battle. Then they’re captured and taken to a cell under the cloud where Surious tells William the truth. He’s not an old peasant. He’s actually a wizard. He was tasked with keeping William safe and training him for the day he would take back his throne. He tells William that he needs to face his fears, by facing his brother. Lord Thomas. Surious continues. After his mother gave birth to him, bandits broke into the castle and killed his father. They took William away, placing him on the doorstep of a peasant family in the underworld, leaving the kingdom without an heir. But his mother, unbeknownst to anyone, was carrying twins. William’s brother, Thomas, was second born. He grew up spoiled, mean, and hateful. He used people and used the cloud as leverage to gain control. Citizens who didn’t conform to his rule were banished to the underworld. Topsiders lived on the highest mountains that protruded through the clouds. They built crafts, much like boats, and used them to travel to the different “islands.” In the underworld, legend had it that topsiders could walk on the clouds, but the truth was less thrilling. Surious looks at William and says, “You are the rightful heir to the throne. It’s time for you to claim what is yours.” They break free from the prison and break for the topside. They ultimately escape due to Surious sacrificing himself. William is crushed and, for the first time in his life, without his mentor.
Once topside, William discovers that Wiggy and Puff are actually part of The Uprising. A group of freedom fighters looking to reclaim their kingdom. After all they’ve learned, Wiggy and Puff pledge themselves to King William and take him to their secret hideout with the rest of the uprising. They plan an attack based on information recovered by Wiggy and Puff — the real reason they were in the underworld. The battle is epic, but they make it through to the king’s tower. William and his brother are face to face. Identical twins. But William, with years of dedication and training, gets the upper hand and kills his evil brother. Then, with Wiggy and Puff by his side, William climbs the tower, removes the magic stone from it’s place, releasing the underworld from its curse.
One year later
It takes almost six months for the cloud to disappear. There’s a huge mess to clean up, but with sunshine, there is hope. William is now the king of all the land, and rules with compassion and strength; always leading by example.