There are many products on the market to sort out the kind of problem normal trolls have. Your basic antiperspirant stick works for most people. Most people also don’t have your embarrassing-but-impossible-to-avoid neurotic responses to a large number of situations.
There are reasons you stayed almost completely solitary except for your lusus.
You’ve tried the harder stuff, chemicals that settle unhappily into your skin and do unkind things to it, so that you are madly trying not to chafe the burning itches and trying not to let anything touch the skin you’ve slathered with the stuff and still the sweat comes, diluting the chemicals and stinging as it drips in little vindictive rhythms down your body.
You have tried. And so when people say, hey, Zahhak, ever heard of deodorant, or hey, Zahhak, what’s it like to be the world’s most disgusting sweatsponge, you ignore them on the surface--because statistically the majority of them are lower bloods than you and therefore have no place saying a da...rned thing to you anyway, and.
And it does not stop being annoying. You thought perhaps when you passed the misery of the sudden growth spurt, weeks spent in throbbing fevered agony as your bones creaked and expanded, your muscles reformed themselves (muscles like no other’s, of course, no, you were STRONG to begin with and you would be extra-specially STRONG once the shift was completed, and wasn’t that something to look forward to, being even less able to touch anyone else without damaging them), your body reshaped itself and the unpleasant necessity of the quadrants became ever more pressing, that perhaps you might have got over this. No. It’s worse now.
It’s worse because somehow it smells more, even if you’re in the ablution trap five times a day and you don’t even exert yourself it smells, rank and raw and somehow wild, like one of the creatures Nepeta is always doing unpleasant things to. You wash and you wash and you have towels everywhere and even so the slightest, slightest thing can start it off and then you are fever-hot all over, breathless, your bloodpusher pounding, your clothes drenched and clinging, flushed ultramarine and totally unable to hide it from anybody. If it were only in your armpits, or the palms of your hands, that would be annoying but bearable, but it’s everywhere. When you were younger you sometimes considered pretending to be ill, simply because running a fever would explain all your unpleasantness.
You have no intention of mentioning this as a weakness to anybody, because honestly what would you get in return other than disgusted scorn and quite possibly attack; but you wish, you really wish, that it would stop.
Sometimes you think you should cut your hair short, make it simpler to deal with, easier to wash, but it’s the only thing you have other than your shades that you can hide behind, and Nepeta plays with it sometimes, and that helps. She does ridiculously undignified things with it that involve brightly colored ornaments and she prattles absurdly on about purretty things and you can stop caring for a little while, just a little while, as her little fingers gently tug and twist and clip. And when she’s lost interest in that and curled up in the pile with you, her face pressed against your chest, she does not seem to mind either the smell or the dampness, and sometimes that feels like a benediction you do not deserve.
The horn, too, you try not to think about that, mostly you manage. Mostly. It doesn’t hurt unless something touches it, and that’s another thing your hair does, it sometimes acts as a sort of tangled shield. The raw edges of the horn have desensitized a little, over the past sweeps, but if you forget and catch a comb on the tip of it you are going to feel sick and shuddering for several minutes, that somehow hollow raw pain like the sensation of a broken tooth magnified times several hundred. When you broke it you spent almost a perigee with a stiff awkward kind of brace around the tip because you could not stand to have anything touch it, you would retch at the pain, and even after the instant of horrible agony was over the sickness stayed with you, it curled down the hornshaft into your skull and down your spine to curl lovingly round your innards. These days it is less sensitive. A little less.
You can’t, of course, ever let anybody else know about that. Only Nepeta, because, well. Nepeta. The Highblood doesn’t know about it. You are sometimes very glad that the Highblood doesn’t know about it. For all your STRENGTH, that broken horn is the easiest way to reduce you to a heap of gagging misery; and one of the many reasons you have cultivated the veil of hair and the dark sunglasses is to bolster your general air of menace. If nobody steps to you, nobody can touch your horn, and nobody needs to know how big of a deal it is.
Really, you should just give up on the chemicals: you know they hurt more than they’re worth. But sometimes, sometimes, the itching-burning is enough to make a little less sweat worthwhile. A little less.
You are Equius Zahhak and you wish, sometimes, although you would never admit it out loud, that you were anybody else.