The Heir

The Heir

King Kragar Stonecrown of the Krell Caverns sat, hunched on his marble throne. The lights in his great hall were unlit, and he sat in the enveloping darkness as the cries of a woman echoed off of the thick walls from somewhere off in the distance. He listened, drumming his fingers on the polished stone armrest while he brooded into his long gray beard.

After a while the cries died down, and a heavy door opened and closed from somewhere down at the end of the hall. Kragar didn’t look up. Footsteps echoed slowly, almost tentatively, until finally the figure that emerged from the darkness spoke.

“Milord…” he began. It was his steward, a man he had known since he was a child.

“Again?” Kragar asked, voice low and gravelly.

“I’m-I’m so sorry, milord,” he said.

Kragar said nothing.

“I’ll begin the funer-”

“No,” the king said.

His steward stopped for a moment, confused.

“Throw it away,” the king said, voice thick.

“My lord!” the steward said, stepping forward.

“Throw it away!” the king roared, slamming his fist on the armrest, shattering the stone. “Throw it out! Get out of my sight!”

The steward ran down the hall, and Kragar heard a door slam shut.

He leaned forward, head in his hands. Lost, he thought. All lost.

Voices filled his head, voices of doubt and ridicule. Voices from the past, come to haunt him as they did every day and every night before he slept. What are you? They asked.

Down the hall and through the door, the woman screamed and begged.

What is a king without an heir?

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