The day is completely peaceful. The Dolorosa doesn’t notice anything different as she helps organize the Disciple’s notes from the last few sermons. Today is just another sermon. Today her wriggler, her child will step out in front of a crowd of trolls like he always does. She peers behind her to smile at him as the Psiioniic helps him into his normal cloak.
The Signless, as they have all learned to call him.
Her wriggler, her child.
They all, of course, go through the same ritual when he has a sermon. It is all very much the norm, nothing strange about it on any other day and certainly not today. Then again, how could any of them know that what the Signless is about to preach is to be known as The Last Sermon?
The mother finishes her helping and scoots over to press a hand onto her son’s shoulder. “Signless,” she addresses in order to gain his attention. He swivels his head from laughing. “It is about time, shall we proceed now?”
He lets his lips fall into a more serious smile. “Yes, of course, Mother. This will be the first time we all will enter together,” and then he turns with a flourish of cloak to exit the tent. Said tent lies just beyond a rock that he will preach on. It is the most recent upgrade, a tent they acquired through good fortune and the Disciple’s slight influence. Trolls come from all over, though only rust bloods and the few green bloods, to witness his sermons. Now, the Signless pushes past the curtain and strides to the top of the rock. Already a crowd of followers are gathering, staring up at him from the ground, their symbols standing out against their drab clothing. They are poor after all, every single one of them.
The Dolorosa is quick to exit, with the Disciple close at hand and Psiioniic doing his best to not run them over. Signless turns with much exaggeration to present them, first kissing his mother’s hand, then kissing the Disciple full on her painted lips and finally taking hold of Psiioniic’s arm in a friendly gesture. Then he twirls around to address the group that has finished gathering.
“My People… my people, look at all of you! Just look at yourselves, so many of you coming together for this one ideal. I know many of you have traveled great lengths to hear me, you have heard so much. Do not think you are mistaken, for the grandeur you hear is quite true. But first, I would like to introduce you to my family. Such a strange concept, one none of you have ever thought of! But that is fine, you will understand one day, I am sure,” he pauses to take a breath then gestures for the Dolorosa to step forward. She complies. “This is my mother, or as you may better know the term, one might consider her my Lusus,” he scans the crowd. A murmur is breaking out. What a strange thing, to have a Troll raise a Wriggler. “She took me in for I would never be able to survive. No lusus for the Signless, oh no,” he then gestures for the Disciple to come toward him. “My matesprit, the Disciple.. no, no, My Disciple.”
A noise breaks out against the crowd, the noise Trolls make when they see two trolls in a quadrant, especially a Matespritship. It is a sweet noise and he smiles. “But you can never forget the one who aids you the most,” he swoops elegantly over toward Psiioniic, who lets out a sigh at his dramatics. “May I present the Psiioniic? My comrade, who knows what we would be doing without each other.”
“Alwayth the one for the dramaticth, Thignleth,” he huffs but smiles as the man slides back to center of the rock.
“As I have observed what is happening to my people, I have realized that where we are doing here is not enough. Coming to listen to a man who does not even have a symbol preach about blood color not defining who you are? Fah! That will not do anything for us. It may inspire you, it may put the feeling inside your head but what does that matter? What does it matter if you do not put it into action? I ask you, as my people, the Signless’s people, to put an action out there. Do something! Rebel! We were never meant to sit here and wallow just because some fellow with blue blood tells us we aren’t worth anything!”
A cheer rings out almost instantly as he raises his fist. The Disciple is at the edge of the rock, feet over as she scribbles his words quickly. The Dolorosa and Psiioniic make their way into the crowd, a station that the Signless requested in case any trouble stirs up.
Psiioniic spots it first. “Dolorotha,” he hisses. She turns her head slowly from where she is watching with proud eyes. “There are highbloodth here.”
More specifically, a couple of blue bloods and an indigo blood stand there, their eyes narrowing at every word that is spilling out of the man’s mouth. The Dolorosa lets out a silent sob, knowing what will happen if they do not clear the area soon enough. After all, any indigo blood would report something to the Grand High Blood, who doesn’t always consult Her Imperious Condescension when he makes a decision.
“Your Imperious Condescension, I am very sorry to interrupt your meeting, but we have new from one of the Grand High Blood’s subjugglator’s,” the empress glances up from where she is leering down at the pathetic troll wibbling at her feet. “If you will hear it, it is a matter of utmost importance.”
“Very well, hm, this is not important, I would suppose,” she pushes the troll to the ground and crosses her legs. “Go on, then. Coming to me instead of the Grand High Blood, it must be quite interesting,” she smirks, shifting in her throne.
“Of course, Your Imperious Condescension. The Subjugglator was passing through a town in Lower Alternia with a few blue bloods, doing a normal scan of your subjects,” the troll pauses, her eyes going from where the Grand High Blood has entered the room to their empress. But she makes no acknowledgement so the troll continues. “When they came across a gathering of rustbloods cheering on a male troll… with no sign. And may I add that he was also hiding his blood color.”
“And? I do not have time for you to tell me about a stupid gathering around someone who is ‘special’ to those lowerbloods. Obviously, there is another factor that made you come to me,” Her Imperious Condescension is sitting up straight now. She has yet to greet the Grand High Blood but he moves to stare out one of the windows.
“Yes, of course, my apologies. I may have forgotten to add that he was rallying them. Asking them to rebel, that their blood colors do not matter,” the troll shits uncomfortably. “That this world doesn’t have to be led by the caste system we have now.”
A look of anger flashes across her face. Her lips pull down in a sneer and she screams furiously at the Grand High Blood. He turns slowly and smirks at her. “High Blood, my fellow, we cannot let this continue,” he chuckles at her as she pushes herself out of the throne and stomps toward the slave troll who interrupted. “Where is this taking place, young one?”
“T-the town of rustbloods in Lower Alternia, Empress,” the slave doesn’t move or flinch as the queen of trolls brushes past her. “It’s said the riot won’t be that hard to miss now. It’s grown hotter, practically searing. Whatever that man is doing… inspiring in them…”
“Take me there. I and the Grand High Blood,” she smirks as she swipes the 2x3 trident off its perch. “Oh… but call the best executer in the land. His name is Darkleer. Do bring him about. I have a feeling we will be needing him this day,” Her Imperious Condescension disappears outside with the Grand High Blood following her and jeering everything she is muttering.
The Signless is pulling people up with him now, pointing at them and requesting them to jump up next to him. “You,” he shouts, this time not randomly pointing for someone. He’s spotted a young woman, her eyes boring up into his. There is a spark there, like freedom is all she wants. “Come here, my dear, what is your name?”
She doesn’t answer right away, as she is making her way neatly up the rock.. When she stands next to him, she turns to smile at him. “You may call me the Handmaid, if is so please you, Signless.”
“The Handmaid! Well, you are very welcome to this meeting,” he smiles as she frowns. “I know everyone of my followers. You are new. Your blood is the lowest I have seen yet,” his smile saddens.
She freezes up as a scream rips through the crowd. He whips his head to stare at the commotion happening. A rustblood is felled, gripping at her neck in confusion. Behind her stands a man every troll had grown to fear as wrigglers, the Grand High Blood. The Signless takes a deep breath.
He feels the Disciple by his side instantly. He can feel the protection wavering off of her. As his matesprit that’s her job, but it is his too. He tightens his eyes for a moment and then grabs her by her shoulders. “My sweet, you must run. Please. You can escape now; Mother and I can deal with this. Take the Psiioniic with you,” but she just shakes her head at his pleading.
He leans his forehead against hers, exhaling before the shadow looms over them. Honestly, Her Imperious Condescension is not that tall but with the Grand High Blood just behind her, their shadows are frightening.
“Well, well, well, what do we have here?” Her eyes flicker between them. “Are you the one they call the Signless? Well, I suppose they needed something to call you. Do educate me, oh Mister Signless, on what you think you are doing,” her voice is growing more vicious.
“Her Imperious Condescension, I do beg you to leave my people alone,” he keeps his voice solid but he feels the Disciple slipping from him. He watches with horror as she is yanked away by one of the drones. It does nothing else, but she has been taken away from him. “Please.”
“Your people? Oh, you young fool. Just because they follow your words does not mean they are your people. They have and will always be my people. Look at your people now. Where are they? Run away, into their hives to hide. They do not want to watch another troll die, but neither do they want to die themselves. So they run. They are my subjects, by their blood.”
Her eyes flick to the Disciple who is sobbing and struggling. “It seems your few remaining people know what is coming,” and she turns to observe the Dolorosa and the Psiioniic. “Oh my. A Jade blood? What are you doing here, dear?” The Dolorosa stares hard at the ground, but tears are dripping down her cheeks. “Hm. Very well. She will be sold into slavery at the nearest convenience. I think the Seadwellers will do. After all, we cannot let her take in another grub to let thoughts run wild like this,” but she pauses in front of the Psiioniic. “Oh, oh, oh. And you, my darling. You will be mine,” she cackles as she whips around to the Grand High Blood. “Would you believe it? A troll with the exact powers I need! It’s perfect,” she turns to lock eyes on the Signless. “You are quite a blessing.”
When the drones began to drag the Disciple away, the Signless is up and running toward her. “Disciple!” He whips around, up in the empress’ face. “Let. Her. Go,” there is fury beyond his eyes, where red candy blood burns.
“No.” The simple word is followed by a giggle. “And that hideous blood of yours,” she snaps as she brings his chin up in her long fingers. From beyond her, the Grand Highblood bursts out laughing.
“Will be running through OUR motherfucking fingers,” he laughs hideously some more and the Condescension’s lips curl up in a frightening way.
The three are forced to watch, in the end.
The Disciple is held back by a pair of high bloods, but she is screaming and pushing against them. She struggles, never stopping and continuously screaming. The Dolorosa had her hands behind her and chained, while the Psiioniic is already placed at Her Imperious Condescension side.
No one is sure where they are. The Signless is chained to a giant pillar. His hands above, in a strange symbol that burns bright like this blood, burning his wrists and making him bleed from the rawness. A whole crowd is there. Forced there by Her Imperious Condescension, they stand there watching with horror on their faces. His followers of course and others who have no idea of what is going on. But by her royal decree they must stand and watch.
A blue blood stands, preparing an arrow to kill him. He swivels his head to stare at the three forced to watch someone they care about die. Then he is back to preparing. The Grand High Blood and Her Imperious Condescension stand just behind him, both staring at the executioner and the Signless with pleased looks.
Thus begins the Signless’ Final Sermon. He screams and connects eyes with the three as he talks. He’s shaking, screaming at them. Then, Darkleer brings back his arm, the arrow tensing. When it hits, a silence falls. The Disciple lets out a yowl of pain, falling to the ground. Dolorosa does her best to keep her face straight but a sob erupts from her throat.
The Signless is dead.
“Oh, do not forget, Darkleer, I do wish you to execute this female troll. She is his matesprit. No use keeping her around, she would be useless. A mourning troll is of nothing, and nothing quite special about her,” the empress sighs as she leans back. She expects this to be quick.
“Dolorosa!” The Disciple eyes widen as the arrow bearer swivels toward her. But the mother is too busy sobbing into her lap. She cannot control anything anymore. She’d much rather die.
“Go!” The man snarls. The Disciple shakes her head in confusion. “Go now! Before they do this themselves, run!”
There’s a shock as she finally breaks from the highbloods and falls before the pillar, wrapping her arms around her love. Sobbing, she manages to steal the one piece of clothing he has and tearing out before anyone can actually react.
The Dolorosa watches as half the Highbloods finally run after her while the others turn to face the empress. “Darkleer…”
“Oh, there you are,” there’s a sigh after the words as she feels the other woman fall down next to her. “What are you doing done here, Rose?”
Marquise sighs and wraps her arm around the Dolorosa. “My apologies, Marquise, I will go back upstairs and continue dinner. I just had a shock. If you would excuse me, plea-”
“No, no, no, no, no, no, no, no. It’s fine, the crew ain’t hungry. I ate in the port because Dualscar was being a bonebulge again! So, you just tell me what is wrong, ok?”
“I assure you, it is nothing. I would not want to concern you with my own troubles. It has been too long for me to be doing this,” the Dolorosa bows her head and begins to stand up. But Mindfang doesn’t loosen her arm, forcing her to fall back don’t. “Marquise..”
“Look her, sweet cheeks, you can’t just ‘xpect me to ignore this. You are always rather happy and bright, I’d like to think that you are never sad. So what is wrong? As your Captain and Master, you have to tell me if I so demand that ain’t it right?” Marquise wriggles an eyebrow at her and the Dolorosa smiles lightly at her.
“If that is what you want…”