> BE THE LOWBLOOD HANDMAID
You had forgotten that hate could feel this clean.
Your old hate for your masters has gone stale, spoiled, scummed over and tainted by old despair and surrender. But for this douchebag, your hate is pure. For him, your hate can be as pure and shining and infinite as the Green Sun.
He's standing in the middle of a bustling market square, the crowd breaking nervously around his bulk like an island in the sea. He gazes out over them with proprietary enjoyment, as if he's inspecting his personal possessions and finding them good.
You hate him because he can do that. You hate him because he loves, without pity, this world you have made, in all its cruel terrible bright glory, because he can stand in this marketplace spattered with old blood, and he belongs in it as much as it belongs to him.
You walk straight across the square to him, and when you are firmly within his personal space, at the point where your choices are swerve or walk right in to his chest, you stop and say, "Excuse me, you're in my way," in the snottiest overcultured tones you ever learned from your childhood guardian.
You hate him because he will live out a lifetime measured in hundreds of sweeps, and in all that time, you will never be sent on a mission that directly concerns him. He will be always in the center of history, and yet he will always do only, and exactly, what he wants to do, because he can. He will lurch through all of your careful plans insufferable and heedless, and yet somehow he will always keep within the awful balance that you have so carefully built out of pain, and he will die laughing.
You have business in town today, but you have time for a little bit of recreation first.
You always have more time.
He deigns to stop staring vaguely out into space and make eye contact with you, indigo to maroon. "Well, if it isn't my very favorite tightrope walker! How's motherfuckin' tricks, chica?"
You hate him because you've spent eternal lifetimes establishing your own blood color as the lowest of the low, despised by all, and he doesn't even have the decency to care; he insists, instead, on hating you for your own sake.
"If you don't get out of my way," you tell him softly, "I will have to make you."
"I would love to see you do that," he tells you cheerfully. "You know I'm always all lookin' for a miracle."
He never has any bearing on your directives, after all. So your Lord will have no reason to be upset if you tear out his chitinous windtube and asphyxiate him with it.
You hate him because he is never anything less than free.
> BE THE HIGHBLOOD CULTIST
You hate her because of who she is, and because of her FUCKING FACE.
She gives you a smile full of teeth and says, "After I dismember you and cast your still-bleeding remains out among the Noble Circle of Horrorterrors, shall I tell your Messiah you were thinking of him? He'll probably ask me to tea."
You hate her because she takes everything you have ever had faith in, hoped for, found joy in, and turns it into bitterness. You hate her because she has tea with the MOTHERFUCKING MIRTHFUL MESSIAHS and doesn't MOTHERFUCKING APPRECIATE WHAT SHE'S GOT.
You are going to rip her LIMB FROM LIMB, and not even bother to save her blood for paint.
She has powers and abilities that even Her Imperious Condescension is afraid to challenge directly. You don't give a motherfuck. You're vaguely aware that you're projecting your fear-manifestations to everyone within a two block radius; as close as she is, she should be reduced to a quivering heap of grubsauce. It's all immaterial because she's coming at you with her wands and you have your clubs out and her braids are lashing around her like the deadly whips they are and any moment now you are going to have your hands AROUND HER PEARLY GRAY NECK and you are going to squeeze.
Your fear powers don't work against her, anyway. You've been close enough to her to SEE INSIDE HER HEAD, and there is nothing you can possibly come up with that is WORSE THAN THAT.
You hate her because she is the literal embodiment of EVERYTHING THAT IS WRONG WITH THE WORLD and every time you have things EXACTLY HOW YOU WANT THEM she shows up and ruins them, and even when she isn't there, and it's your own destructive urge that ruins it, it's still HER FUCKING FAULT.
You're vaguely aware that there's a market stall falling to pieces around you; probably a fabric merchant of some kind. Scattered cloth from overturned racks is tangling around your feet, a trail of wreckage behind you. She's faster than you and she can FUCKING FLY but she's not used to GETTING HER PRETTY LITTLE HANDS DIRTY in actual combat and you're a LOT FUCKING BIGGER than she is.
You're just about to smash her face into the ground when you feel a hand on your chest. It's not her hand; you know this because one of her hands is twisting your arm painfully backward and the other has sharp claws uncomfortably close to your bulge. It's not your hand because you have one of them wrapped in her braids and yanking, and the other in a sloppy grip on her neck.
It belongs, you realize a second later, to a troll you have never seen before. He's got the small stature, stumpy horns, and colorless eyes of a subadult, and he has one hand on each of your chests and is pushing you apart.
"I can't believe you two," he says. "Seriously? Get a room, okay? Some of us have shopping to do."
You're pretty sure he shouldn't be here. You're pretty sure everybody in the area should have fled from the sheer horror you've been pouring into the ancient, many-legged, crawling parts of their thinkpans. You can still feel the power thrumming out of you. But he's here anyway, and still scowling at you in a way that reminds you uncomfortably of your first drill instructor.
You and your opponent have let go of each other and stepped apart, mostly, you think, out shock.
"You," he says, pointing at yourself, "At least have an excuse, it turns out you're completely off your gourd in every universe. But you, Maid, should know better," he says, glaring at her with his arms crossed over his symbol-free chest.
She is staring at him with her face blank in shock. You have never seen her rattled before; she is poised and immaculate even in the middle of a fight, but this scrawny monochrome kid has done it. You blink.
"Don't you have something you're supposed to be doing that's more important than interrupting my errands?" he adds. "Go on. Time," he says, with a sardonic twist to his mouth, "Is a-wasting."
She makes a tiny gesture that might be an aborted bow, and then disappears in a flash of green. He turns toward you.
"And as for you," he says, "Cut it out with the chucklevoodoos already. I think we all get the idea."
CHUCKLEVOODOOS? you think incredulously. The power to reach across space and time, to take a troll's sense and thoughts, to destroy all that makes them more than mindless insects, and -- HE CALLS IT CHUCKLEVOODOOS?
You should cull this kid. You want to cull this kid. Interrupting you in the middle of a fight, it's the least he's earned, and he is far too colorless on the outside. There is an EASY WAY TO FIX THAT.
But he's staring you in the face, and you make the mistake of catching his eyes, and there's something in them that's more terrible than your powers can create. More terrible, you think, than even what is in the depths of HER thinkpan. You think it's hate.
You want to think it's hate.
"Hellooo?" he sings at you. "Is anyone in there, or has the sad clown finally checked out for good?" He snaps his claws in front of your face three times. You blink. "Show's over," he tells you. "Go home."
You blink again.
He reaches up and flicks you in the forehead - plip - and says, "Shoo."
You decide not to think about why.
> BE THE COMPLETELY UNREMARKABLE RANDOM PASSERBY
The indigoblood disappears into the maze of city streets as if a heard of legislacerators are after him. You roll your eyes. You'd think nobody had ever tried to stare him down before.
At least he finally turned off the psycho clown powers, and the market crowd is cautiously reappearing, merchants checking their stalls and debris being pushed out of pathways. Your friend, who had stayed out of range of the chucklevoodoos, thereby demonstrating several degrees of intelligence which you entirely lack, finds you still standing in the open area created by the combatants' collateral damage.
The crowd is flowing nervously around you, now, rather than them. You could almost find that amusing.
"I ψeriously can't believe you did that," he says when he reaches you.
You shrug. "Ψ, why is it that every time I find someone I've already met in my dreams, they turn out to be a complete and utter asshole?"
He can't really do sad eyes behind his tinted glasses, but he's mastered the art of the trembling chin. "E-even me, SS?" he asks dolefully.
You punch him in the shoulder. "Eψecially you, you are such a fuckass," you tell him, and he slings an affectionate arm around you.
"I'm ψo glad you're my friend, SS," he tells you with a grin as you snuggle in automatically.
"It's mutual," you mutter into his side as you kick at the ruined finery under your feet, but you're smiling back. "Now come on, I don't think this stall is re-opening tonight, and if we don't find another vendor who has the figured velvet for that concupimitment gown Dolorosa's doing on commission, she'll sulk for a week."