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Guardians have patrolled the Umbral gates for centuries, defending unsuspecting humans from the body-craving Lurkers within. When the mantle of Apprentice Guardian begins to fall upon Dessa, she is only a child. But as she grows, she becomes the quarry of an eldritch Lurker, Hangman. With the aid of the current Guardian, Dessa must learn to use her powers to defend herself from the powerful Lurker and accept her full apprenticeship as the next Guardian of the Umbra.

Character Bios

Character Bios


Age: 19

Height: 5'

Hair Color: Red

Eyes: Blue

Dessa is a fun-loving, impulsive and passionate young woman who wants to stand up and take her place in the world. She is artistic and firey, fiercely standing up for herself and others. When making plans and decisions, her ability to see endless possibilities causes her to wait until the last minute and forces her into the fray by the seat of her pants. Dessa knows how to communicate what she wants and she works relentlessly to get it. Her best friend is a reluctant Lurker bound into a stuffed red panda she affectionately calls Mr. Stuffypants. Dessa always seems to get herself into trouble, but manages to slip her way out of it, even if it means invoking Mr. Stuffypants' eldritch powers. 

Original concept art by Annabelle Ok



Age: 43

Height: 5' 11"

Hair Color: Red

Eyes: Brown

Life was never easy for Moriarty and he is convinced it never will be. He is a reluctant Guardian of the Umbra, forced to take up the Scythe as a last result to protect his family from Hangman. He is haunted by the death Dessa's father Denny, his younger brother he couldn't protect, and has shouldered the responsibility of shielding Dessa from the threats of the Umbra. He is cynical, headstrong, and direct. Moriarty will do anything to protect what is left of his family, regardless how steep the cost to himself or others. His problem solving is educated by his past experiences and he will stop at nothing to make sure Dessa never has to take up the Scythe in his stead.

Original concept art by Annabelle Ok

The World of
Guardians of the Umbra

Aesthetics and Worldbulding

Worldbuilding Inspiration


I do not own the individual art pieces in the following collages. They are being used for inspiration only.

Please see our project Pinterest boards to view the original pieces.

If you are one of the artists and would like your artwork removed, please email me.

The Umbra

The Umbra Inspiration Collage.jpg

The Guardians

The Guardian Aesthetic Inspiration Collage.jpg


Lurker Inspiration Collage.jpg

The Guardian Estate

The Estate Inspiration Collage.jpg

Original Concept Art
by Annabelle Ok

Prequel Book 1 Preview
Draft 1 (unscripted)


     By the time I had finished digging the last grave, the sun was setting and the water in the air seemed frozen. It cut at my face as I walked back to the shed to put away my tools. I leaned to see if Petrov was crammed in the midget office on the way back to my bike. He was, light spilling from the window in the door. I debated on telling him I was leaving, but thought better of it. 

     I knelt beside my bicycle and began undoing the lock. Next to it on the ground was a disassembled flood light, something Petrov was in the process of fixing. The glass front plate and bulb had been removed, leaving only the reflective coating on the inside of the casing. In the corner of my eye, I could see myself reflected in it in color and shapes. Then, while flipping the last number in the unlock code, I saw a silent figure begin to slide up behind me in the reflective surface. 

     I sighed.

     Without looking up, I said, “Yes, Petrov, what is it?”

     Silence. My bike lock clicked open. Petrov’s rippled, shadowy silhouette hadn't moved to indicate he had heard, so I turned around.

     “Don’t just stand there--”

     I froze.

     The shed was empty. 

     Shooting to my feet, I leaned back, looking to see if Petrov was still in his office. And sure enough, light still pooled from the windows on his office and his enormous bulk was crouched over his boxy desktop computer.

     A chill ran up my spine and a sick feeling dipped into the pit of my stomach. I stood paralyzed, my back to the reflective lamp casing. I didn’t want to turn around. My whole body felt wound tight as a spinster’s bun. Afraid to close my eyes, I kept them trained on Petrov’s office.

     I could feel a cold presence behind me. Faintly, and distinctly different from the feeling I had in William’s creepy old house. It felt old, very real, and I could have sworn I felt frozen fingers on the back of my neck. 

     Then, as suddenly as a wind, I felt the presence zip away, and strangely, I felt hyper aware of every reflective surface in the shed as it passed through and disappeared. 

     I gulped, feeling the hairs that had raised on the back of my neck flatten and I could suddenly feel the heat from the shed’s overhead heating units blasting me from behind. I shook myself and blinked, hardly daring to turn back around. 

     Part of me was afraid if I turned back around, the shadow would still be lurking, shapeless and detailed in the reflective papering that coated the lamps casing. But somehow I knew  the shadow, the cold presence, was gone. 

     Still, I turned around slowly to retrieve my bike, heart trying to bash it’s way out of my ribcage. Sure enough, I could only see my hazy blocks of colors reflected in the lamp’s surface. 

     I couldn’t get out of the shed fast enough. I walked my bike brusquely through the graveyard, not caring that it felt as though my skin was getting peeled off my bones with winter’s frigid knives. I pulled out my cell phone and speed dialed Denny. Pressing the receiver up to my ear, I heard Denny’s phone ring.

     “Come on, Den,” I whispered. “Pick up…”

     It rang a couple more times, and each time my chest clenched harder. Finally, the ring before I knew I would be pushed to voicemail, I hung up. 

     Breathing hard, I slipped my gloveless hands into my armpits, my breath frosting in front of my face. My bike weighed heavy on my leg and I looked down at it, watching the rising moon reflecting in the stripped metal surface.

     I cussed.

     I was going to have to fix that. 

     Not caring that I hadn’t left the lawns of the graveyard, I threw a leg over my bike, pumping as hard as I could. The freezing, dead grass bent and broke beneath my tire, crackling loud in my ears. Every shadow from every memorial jumped at me, and I found myself anxiously flicking my eyes down to the moon’s reflection in my bike. Waiting.

     I couldn’t feel the cold presence of the shadow anymore, but I knew it wasn't far behind me. It was out there, lurking, waiting for me to slip up.

Guardians of the Umbra

© 2022 by Aisley Oliphant & Annabelle Ok

Original Concept Art

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