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The Heir of Shadows

Rohan materialized into the heart of the Autumn Palace, his form shrouded in a swirling tempest of shadows. He stepped out of the furious whirlwind of darkness and gasped as a grim tapestry of death and destruction lay before him.

The vast hall was a macabre nightmare, a slaughterhouse. Lifeless bodies lay scattered across the floor, blood spattered on the floor and walls. Furniture was overturned, shattered, splintered. Banners of the Moon Court lay in tatters on the ground, like fallen heroes. Some wounded and terrified fae were being tended to by fellow survivors, while others shrieked in agony from grave wounds. Agonized cries echoed through the air, mingling with the pungent stench of blood. The moonlight streaming through the grand windows cast a ghastly pallor over the tragic scene.

However, it was the sight of his mother that drove Rohan to the brink of despair. She lay bathed in a pool of her own blood, her eyes wide open and staring blankly at the ceiling. Not far from her lay his brother and sister-in-law, their throats slashed open. And beside them…the small forms of his brother’s children. 

Rohan’s face contorted with shock and grief.  He took a trembling step towards them, unable to tear his gaze away from their faces. He wanted to hold them, to feel their warmth, to hear their laughter.  But he was restrained by Elegil, who sought to shield him from the grim sight.

“Rohan,” Elegil said softly, his voice trembling with sorrow. “Don’t look at them. Please.”

Rohan’s gaze remained locked on his family, and a question he could barely bring himself to ask hung heavy in the air. “The children…are they…” He couldn’t bear to say the word ‘dead’ aloud. He already knew the answer.

Elegil nodded solemnly, his eyes filled with sorrow as he delivered the heart-wrenching confirmation.“Yes,” he said softly. “They didn’t make it.”

A fresh wave of grief and an intensifying surge of anger coursed through Rohan, visibly transforming him. His eyes turned from a deep blue to a stormy gray. His veins pulsed with dark power, his shadows writhing around him like living things. Grief and fury collided within him, threatening to shatter his control. Rohan collapsed to his knees, his head bowed, his hands clenched into fists. He let out a roar of pain and rage, a sound that echoed through the palace and chilled the blood of anyone who heard it.  He knelt before his family, before the fallen, before the horror he had failed to prevent. 

Elegil, witnessing the tumult of emotions that consumed the Prince, implored him with urgency. “Rohan, please, you must be strong. We need to get to Erohir quickly. He still holds on to life, but time is slipping away.”


Rohan knelt beside his father’s dying form, his chest aching with a grief he could not voice. He clutched his father’s hand, feeling the pulse that grew weaker by the second. “Father…” he whispered, his voice breaking.

Helius stood nearby, silent and solemn, his eyes gleaming like stars on the verge of falling. Elegil stood faithfully at Rohan’s side, providing a comforting presence in this somber moment. And just a step behind them, Ororfin, his typically composed face now etched with sorrow. They all shared the knowledge that Erohir’s time was drawing to a close. Beltharion, the wise and enigmatic mage, stood beside them, his eyes reflecting the sorrow in his heart. He had known Erohir for a long time, and he felt the loss of his friend deeply. The High Lord of the Moon Court, the ruler of their people for centuries, was fading away.

Erohir lifted his gaze to Rohan, his son and heir. “My son,” he began with a raspy voice, “you must take my place. You will be the High Lord now. The fate of our people, our land, and our future rests on your shoulders. It is a burden no one can prepare you for. Be just, but unyielding. Learn from my mistakes and do not falter.”

Rohan shook his head, barely able to breathe. He wanted to scream, to run away, to deny this reality. But he forced himself to look into his father’s eyes, to see the pride and the love that shone there. He swallowed hard, trying to keep his voice steady. “Father, I can’t do this. I don’t want it…”

Erohir squeezed his hand, a flicker of fire in his touch. “You have no choice, my son. I believe in you.”

He slid a ring off his finger and placed it on Rohan’s. It was a smooth band of gold, engraved with intricate patterns of leaves and vines. Embedded within the band was a mesmerizing red gem that glistened like a drop of blood. The gem flashed like a living flame, sensing the new bearer’s presence. Rohan shook his head in protest, saying, “This should be my brother’s.”

Erohir’s voice was barely audible now. “The ring has chosen you, Rohan. It is your destiny.” He coughed and blood stained his lips. “Your brother was brave, but he was not the one. The ring rejected him.”

“But I…”

Erohir leaned closer, his breath ragged and uneven. He spoke with urgency, as if he had to say one last piece of wisdom to his son before he left this world. “Remember, Rohan… the strength of our people lies within you. You… are the beacon of hope… in these dark times. Trust in yourself, and you will lead them to …greatness.”

He opened his mouth to say more, but no words came out. His eyes lost their focus and grew dull. His hand went limp in Rohan’s grasp.

Rohan gently closed his father’s unseeing eyes.

As Erohir departed this world, Rohan felt an unfamiliar surge of power coursing through his veins, a wave of heat that filled every inch of his being. It was as if his father had passed on a part of himself to him, a legacy, a mantle of leadership that he had to carry on.

Ororfin stepped forward and bowed his head to Rohan, his voice solemn and loyal. “I swear to protect you with my life, High Lord. We stand at your side, ready to fight and defend what is just.”

One by one, the warriors of the Moon Court followed suit, saluting Rohan with clenched fists over their hearts and calling him by his new title: “High Lord.” They pledged their allegiance, vowing to serve and protect him with their lives.

Rohan looked at them with a mix of gratitude and dread. He felt the weight of their expectations pressing down on him. He wondered if he could ever live up to them.

He wished his father was still here.

He wished he could wake up from this nightmare.

But this was his reality now.

He was the High Lord of the Moon Court.

And he had no idea what to do next.

His gaze first met Elegil, his friend and confidant, who gave him a reassuring smile. Next was Ororfin, his loyal friend, who nodded at him with respect. Then he looked at Helius, his trusted ally, and finally, his eyes settled on Beltharion.

He felt a surge of defiance in his chest. He would not let them down. He would not let his father down. He would not let himself down.

He rose to his feet, standing tall and resolute. With a confident mask firmly in place, he concealed his fears and doubts behind a cold gaze. He looked at his companions, one by one, and nodded slightly.

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