Six months had passed since the Carrigan Incident – and life, as it so often does, had returned to what approached normalcy. It had taken Kye months to recover from their experience – their doctors had said it was a miracle they’d survived it at all.

As it was, their tie to their magic seemed deeper, stronger, a phenomenon they simply couldn’t explain. 

New Holland, devastated in the Restoration, had received assistance from across the Eventide League. While the Kingdom’s coffers were deep, some materials simply weren’t available on-world, and with the expulsion of the Ibrea after their plans had fallen apart, the Olesians felt they owed Carrigan some amount of repayment.

So, as the city skyline once more began to climb into the sky, Kye Celan, the Lost Prince of Carrigan, was lost no longer.

Yet, Kye felt… restless. Their stargazing resumed.

The halls felt empty. Petitioners and courtesans, traders and politicians – transient, in the scheme of things. Their portrait was hung in the ancestral gallery, the latest in a line going back millennia, but it wasn’t really them. Their gaze always lingered on Hallek.

Sometimes they still saw blood on the tiles of the throne room. Still heard the sounds of pitched battle in the halls.

Still heard the whispers of the Darksea, and felt the raw horror of the crystal sun.

The Rime Nova had been consumed by Cursa – a weapon from the ancient past obliterated wholly and utterly. Even still, it had left a mark upon the Eventide League – a mark discussed endlessly in tired debates and trite arguments, even as Kye tried – and failed – to appear interested. Hesse was as it always was, an exercise in futility. 

Perhaps they weren’t quite made for this life, after all.

Their proper coronation had been scheduled, rescheduled, and pushed off into the future; a problem Kye didn’t quite see as a problem. They were the Prince, the last in their line – it wasn’t as if any other options were feasible. A regent, perhaps.

…or a steward.

Their dreams were filled with adventure – their time among the stars, seeing new worlds and new places. Carrigan felt hollow without the reassuring presence of their father’s court and the driving forces leading them home. 

They wanted to see the galaxy again on their terms.

So it was, one cold night, that Kye penned a letter. Addressed to the Red Council, an unheard of request – but one they could simply ignore no longer, as they marked the letter with their own seal and handed it off to a palace messenger. A regency, instated by a Prince who wasn’t quite sure the world needed one.

Despite his faults, the Director had offloaded many duties onto the Red Council in exchange for their complacency – and the planetary constitution was quite clear on what the Kingdom could do without one, anyway.

Perhaps their father was right. Time away might do them good.

Gone were their robes – they wore but a tunic, breeches and a cowl against the night chill, drifting through the rebuilding city like a ghost.

Gone was the prestige of recognition – they’d tied their hair back to fit beneath the cowl, carefully plucking all the flowers but one.

Gone was the Prince as they purchased a ticket off of Carrigan, they simply traveled as Kye.

As the ship lifted away into the sky, they watched the Autumn House retreat behind the midnight sky – and smiled.

Gone, for now, but not forgotten.