The Last Autumn Royal
Gilt-skinned fae were scattered across the beach, the sickly-pale sand turned gold with blood and untidy with the dead. Some lay face down, others on their backs with amber eyes unseeing. Not a patch of sand was bare for miles.
It was over.
Most of the deceased weren’t his, and he was disgustingly relieved that no brown blood had been spilled. He didn’t know how the court would have fared if anymore of Autumn’s children had been slaughtered. The war had been a long one, and though he had instigated it he was glad it was won. His fae had suffered much but they would suffer no more.
Seven hundred years ago his mother had fought a great battle and was bested by the Summer Royals. They had lost a month of Autumn’s season as a consequence—but today the seasons were restored with golden blood.
The message of war had been clear: September belonged to the Autumn fae. His kin would no longer be confined to two months, starving for nourishment and yearning for the liberating month when the leaves on the trees became golden-brown with Autumn’s reign.
There would be new Summer Royals, of course, but they would not dare to challenge The Autumn Court. They would be foolish to step a foot outside their sunlit palace when the mortal world was in the full throes of the death of Summer.
He crossed the sand with his head high and his hands uncurled at his sides, stepping on the dead and not caring one bit. Peace writhed in every inch of his brown skin, and the turquoise sky overhead began to turn, reflecting his mood as if they’d been acquainted for millennia. Clouds churned and transformed the gentle sea into something rough and aggressive, and the moss along the cliff face began to wither with every footstep that took him away from the beach.
It did not matter that he was dead, and that his every touch, his very presence, brought about the death of all things that thrived. As he reached the fringe of the beach, the last Autumn Royal felt alive.