In a remote, sunlit forest, several masked men travel on horseback to the edge of an enormous sheer cliff overlooking the sea. Off the coast is an otherworldly, dilapidated fortress, built on tall rocky spires. Some of the men have horns on their helmet. These horns look like those of Malus’s head. The men proceed down a winding path towards sea level, get in a small boat, and row silently towards the castle.


They have a prisoner with them: Ico, a boy with an immediately identifiable characteristic: two large horns protruding from his head. These horns are the result of an ancient curse, one that has stricken Ico’s village for generations and earned him all its hatred and blame for whatever misfortune comes to its residents. The men have taken him to the castle after his twelfth birthday to place him in a mysterious coffin deep inside the fortress’s darkened halls, where he will either starve or succumb to the cold. To open the way to the coffin, they take an enchanted sword that has the ability to open the idol-shaped gates that lead to the room.