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Dirty Paws

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“Every society needs heroes. And every society has them. The reason we don't often see them is because we don't bother to look.

There are two kinds of heroes. Heroes who shine in the face of great adversity, who perform an amazing feat in a difficult situation. And heroes who live among us, who do their work unceremoniously, unnoticed by many of us, but who make a difference in the lives of others.

Heroes are selfless people who perform extraordinary acts. The mark of heroes is not necessarily the result of their action, but what they are willing to do for others and for their chosen cause. Even if they fail, their determination lives on for others to follow. The glory lies not in the achievement, but in the sacrifice.” 
― Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono

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A bit of troll culture history for you, before the story begins. Trolls are usually divided into two classes, high and low. However, many sections of this system also exist. For example: highblood are often classified from purple bloods and up, at least at the highest degree. Purple is often the gentlemen of the planet, who will act as guardians directly to the highest of bloods, the pure pink. Below that, blues are often soldiers, greens are political and high ranked workers, often in direct association of the highbloods. These, green to blue, are considered the midbloods. Below that, come the peasants. Often the ugly and rugged trolls, yellow and below are merely farmers, hunters, and slaves, if their lives have run into bad luck. To be put bluntly, the purer blood you are, the more chance you have of associating with the Imperial Condescension herself. The yellow shades to blue shades should be counted as lucky, for they have few chances they have in their lives, if ever, a chance to bow at her royal highness' feet. Those below, the muckblooded trolls, have absolutely no chance to ever lay their muck filled eyes on her.

Only certain trolls are able to break from this system, often allowed by their own profession, yet it is rare. Jade bloods, though midbloods, are the exceptional green bloods, simply because of their connection to the mother grub. Though so low and considered slaves to the royal mother, they are allowed the same privileges of the blue bloods, simply to keep them alive and healthy.

There are also scattered groups which play the risky card of employing trolls despite color, such as the Condescension's Cavel reapers.

The lowest trolls are often sent to live in villages, where they may better access the livestock or farm spaciously. These colonies often hold young trolls and their lusii, and adult trolls able to survive the horrendous years. Though we are made to believe that these adult trolls have parted happily from their lusus and continued to the world on their own, the pain in their eyes says differently. Rumors travel easily through sludgeblooded audio canals.

There's a colony on the outskirts, hugging just along the cliffs that fall to rocks and the ocean below. Forests hug the edge. Only adults are allowed there to hunt, the post coons are not. Not unless they want to be eaten alive. No lusus can protect you from the shadows beneath your feet.

In this crowded colony, a troll post coon sleeps. The daylight has not yet cleared from the clouded skies, and a lump of blankets with lusus beside is far too comfortable. The huge white hoof horned beast rests his head on his legs, barely able to shift inside the tiny hive. Not much is in this little lowblood's hive. Most of his ownership is to whatever food he is able to catch, or collect. The rest are pieces of cloth, hung on the walls and ceiling, keeping the sun out the best he can. A collection of shiny, broken metals hang from the ceiling in a clump. Gently rattling against each other as wind passes. As the sun disappears, the world seems to settle in a moment of complete and utter silence.

On this day, the drones will come to collect the harvest of food.

The white lusus rises his head slowly, ears perking to the wind. He paused, white eyes settling in the darkness. The Lusus yawned, and turned his gaze to the lump of blankets and dirtied clothes that nuzzled up to him. A few gentle pushes from his snout made the lump groan, and roll over. The blankets tugged with him, and the lusus peered down at the strip of grayed skin that peeked between his clothing. The lusus leaned down, licking a strip up the troll's middle.

The post coon yelped, pulling up and away quickly. A bellow from the lusus made him groan, and he shifted, finally sitting up with his eyes still shut. Black hair stuck every which way, his horns peeking from the sides of his head. With only two sweeps to his little body, his horns were abnormal even for him. Misshapen and awkward and still soft at the root, it was a miracle he could even lift them up on his scrawny little body. His tunic hung off his shoulders, pooling in his lap. With one big stretch of the jaw, he opened his eyes, still wide as saucers, filled black on yellow. He rubbed his neck, looking over one shoulder, and plopping back down on his lusus's belly

The lusus snorted in disapproval, and stood up, making the troll slide off. The little troll sat up, and whined loudly, but was greeted only with a playful tail-bat to the face as his lusus clambered out of the shack. The troll stood up, snatching a pair of trousers and putting them on, deciding to go against his uniform and leave his tunic untucked. He slipped on his boots, and bounced, rushing to meet his lusus in the streets outside.

The other trolls were just rising, sleepily emerging from their hives as the night begun. The smallest of trolls traveled with their lusus, heading to the main square. Each one kept to themselves, no need or want whatsoever to look at the little troll with the giant lusus. He just smiled, not minding much as he started to run out to the colony square. The lusus caught him by the tunic back in its jaws, and pulled him back. He looked back, frowning.

"What? I want to go ahead! Ev..eryone is gathering, I want to see!" He exclaimed, and the lusus bellowed and shook his head. The post coon rolled his eyes. "It's not that far, You c-can catch up, slowpoke! Lemme go!" He tugged away, and ran off. The lusus snorted, and he waved his hand. "I-I know, I'll be careful, I promise!"

He darted, straight into the crowd, deciding to take the low ground so that he could more easily move about. He could not. The older trolls merely pushed away the little troll, and snarled at him as he gently touched their clothing to get around. He frowned and backed up, tangling himself in and out of the flocking lowbloods, until a whistle caught his ear. He looked up, catching eyes with a troll only a half sweep older than him, who gestured for him to follow. He glanced at the wall, and the troll, and followed him.

The two ran along side the crowd until reaching a ladder. The new auburn blood pushed him up first, and then followed, the two settling on the roof with a group of other post coons, already in the midst of conversation.

"--starting to really beef up th' drones. Got 'em all sorta decked out with gear."

"It's 'cause some troll's wandering around killin' highbloods."

"Nuh uh, I hear he's stripped himself of a sign and is murderin' lowbloods."

"No way, he's supposed to be a black blooded troll!"

"Black bloods don't exist, stupid."

"You're stup'd!"

The brown blood glanced over to see two of the troll children start to pummel each other, both snarling in an effort to assert dominance, perhaps a bit of experimental black crushing? Either way, he ignored them, and sat on the roof side, looking over the mass crowd to watch them… the drones. The hulky black creatures slowly collected the food that the givers offered them, their giant claws being surprisingly gentle. Among them, a few blue blood soilders looked hardly gentle. One even got a bit rambunctious, and took to dragging off an offering giver, and threw them against a wall. The children, other than the bickering ones, watched in silence, all staring mostly at the offerings of food that were carried away. All of the roof dwellers could feel the ache from sparse amounts of food… most had to be given to the soldiers and drones as thanks. Even so, young stomachs pained to watch that food be taken away.

As the troll that harassed the lowblood walked back to his fellow soldiers, all a flutter and hiding a bit of muck on his fingers by rubbing it on his pants, he was met with a murmur to his ear, and nodded, walking off. The lowbloods made a path for him, all scrambling to allow him through.

The post coon was watching the highblood move with interest, until his gaze met another troll sitting beside him.

"Hey, d-d-d-dirt f-f-f-face." The new troll smirked at him, and the post coon frowned, looking away with an angry glare. The troll bumped his shoulder, and he pulled away.

"L-leave me alone." He mumbled, to which the troll laughed and scooted closer.

"Relax, dirt blood, I'm just saying hi. Now. You got wha' you owe me?"

The post coon glared, "I don't o..owe you shit, Marxus."

Marxus laughed, and pushed him again. "It's protection, dirt blood. Now give me half the rations you owe."

The post coon snarled, "No! I have to eat too!"

"You? A little twig? Can you even stomach all that food? Now come on, cough it up." He had started to stand, and the troll scrambled backwards, surprised to find the other troll children were around, and egging on Marxus. "Three fourths, now!" He barked.

"W-wh-hat!?" The young troll gaped speechlessly at all of them. Marxus towered over his sitting form. "You said it was half, I c-can't give you--"

"What the hell, shitblood, you making up stuff now? You're a real piece of work. I'm going to kick the snot out of you, and then I'm going to take ALL your rations." He sneered, stepping over his body.

"Stick it up y-your nook!" The lowblood yelled, and kicked his knee, making the other groan and pull backwards. The post coon rolled, falling from the building and into the dirt below. Gasping in pain as it wracked through him, he probably bruised his ribs. He looked up, holding his side as he heard the trolls yell and clambered off the roof. He stood up quickly, stumbling on a sore ankle and bolted, tangling himself into the crowds. Angry adults greeted him as he pushed and twisted around them, whimpering and blinking through elbows to the face and hands shoving him away when he crashed into them blindly. When the crowd cleared he fell, gasping as he stood up and ran again. He could hear them, screaming after him and making the crowd even more agitated.

Looking back at the crowd behind him, the young lowblood stumbled into another body, this one much taller and heavier. He bounced backwards and looked up at a towering Imperial Drone, who turned slowly to look down at the little troll. The lowblood yelped and scrambled backwards, eyes set on the following, looming gaze. He was going to die, he needed to move NOW.

The drone took a step toward him, and the lowblood cried out in fear. Turning away sharply, he ran past the drones and the highblooded soldiers. A few yelled obscenities at him as he ran past. A flock of post coons trailed behind him, following his footsteps.

The brown blood panted hard as he ran, clearing the crowd before he darted into an alley way. He glanced over his shoulder, finding the young trolls were not far behind as they turned the space between houses, chasing him. He panted, his aching chest heaving as he swung the corner, back into a street, dodging in and out of alley ways until his chest heaved with pain.

They had taken the slower, yet smarter route and not lost as much energy as he had. Glancing over his shoulder showed him that the younger trolls were still behind. The post coon panted heavily, whining slightly to himself as he turned back, only to collide once more into someone else. He half expected another drone, but instead found a little female troll, her sweeps barely stepping over his. She looked at him in surprise, her curved horns imitating the white lusus behind her.

His eyes widened at the sight of her, but widened more at the call from behind him. He looked over his shoulder. "Please, p-please help…"

"Shit blood!" He swung around, and was grabbed by the horn, and wrenched to the ground. His arms instinctively covered his face. The post coons gathered, and began to kick his body, yelling taunts as they bruised him and coated him in dirt.

"STOP!"

The children slowed, and the little dirtied brown blood rose his head, looking over his shoulder to the troll female as she ran forward and her fist collided with the nearest troll and knocked him to the ground, leaving him to howl in pain and cover his nose with his hand. She rounded on the others, delivering a punch to another's jaw and snarled at them ,eyes burning with anger.

"BACK OFF!"

The trolls stumbled backwards, snarling at her. She took a step forward and roared.

"I said BACK OFF!"

 

They yelped, and ran, yelling insults at them both. They ran, leaving a trail of dust kicked up behind them.

The female troll turned back to him, kneeling down and gently touching his back. The lowblood flinched, but looked up at her. She was a simple little thing, with round face and hair pulled behind her head to show the forming curving horns on her head. She was clad in a dirtied dress, red symbol on the front. He looked down at her symbol, then up at her.

"...You're h-helping me?"

".…Well, didn't see anyone else doing it."

The lowblood looked at her eyes with a crease between his. "… But you're lower than me?"

She scoffed, and pulled away, crossing her arms. "So what?"

"You're weaker.…ow!" She bent down quickly, slamming her head into his and making them both bounce skulls.

"My ass." She stood up with a bitter eyeroll, and waltzed off, following her lusus as it turned away. The brown blood bounced up to his feet, following her. He rubbed his forehead. She continued walking away while ignoring him.

"Okay, you're not weaker. Sorry."

"Nope. You needed a hand. I gave you a fist. Shouldn't you be going to your lusus and NOT hanging around a rust blood?"

He chuckled, "I d-don't really mind. I mean, you got a wicked punch. And plus you're pretty."

She swung around, and he halted, walking backwards his hands raised a bit in surrender. "K-kidding."

She glared at him for a long time, and then smiled, and turned, walking again. He smiled, and followed behind her, rubbing his sore side.

"Why did you help me?"

"Were you in danger?"

"W-well, yeah…"

"Then why bother asking? Get dropped on your think pan, little boy?"

He frowned, stopping. "It's Rufio. My name is Rufio."

She smiled, "Little Rufio, then."

He frowned at her as she continued to walk, he caught up with her to speak. "Can I get a n-name for my hero?"

She stopped, and laughed sharply, "A hero? A hero does not simply toss fists around. A hero saves millions. A hero can save a planet with words alone. I am no hero, Little Rufio."

He shrugged, "I'd still adore a name, doll."

She paused, and smiled, shaking her head at his boldness. "There is a troll, the rumors have already spread to this colony, I trust. He travels throughout this world, speaking of peace and equality of all trolls. A red blood, as rumor has it, like myself." She ran a hand along the soft curly fur of her lusus. "He defends the low, and trusts the high. He is hero. Not me."

Rufio blinked, "Equality?"

"He speaks of a world of it. Where we are not slaves and masters… but brothers." She smiled softly.

Rufio frowned crossing his arms and shutting his eyes in contemplation "A red blood fighting for peace? Sounds like a load of shit to me… huh?"

He looked up to her, but found the space around him settled in silence. Though her lusus remained, the girl was gone. He looked around in surprise, curious where she had gone.

"Uh.… doll?" He looked around the street, and with a nervous cry. He noticed that her lusus had lost track of her as well, and in a sudden fear stricken moment the lusus galloped off; leaving him behind as its proud curved horns tousled the air around it. Rufio looked confused, watching the lusus run off in a panic… but sighed, shaking his head. She was gone. He didn't know where… she just seemed to decide that place was the best to go. He scoffed, and shrugged, looking around.

After a moment, the little brown blood turned, and padded off on the dirt road, not bothered by the various rocks under the bare pads of his feet.

Arriving home had been no easy feat. It took careful dodging around the streets to avoid the post coons. Not wishing to run into the wrong faces before they forgot about him and the strange curly horned red blood. The crowd remained near the main square, but some had started to leave after boredom struck them. Rufio sprinted, back to his hive to find his lusus.

There were no signs he had even returned.

Rufio peered around curiously humming softly under his breath. Midmorning chores would begin soon, and the little troll should be getting to the colonies' post coon educational facilities or he would surely be culled. He looked around for his large steer lusus with the shiny gold ring on his nose, calling out for him quietly. No response, even as he went outside to look up and down the streets. Rufio frowned, humfing under his breath. He was getting a little frustrated with how much people were losing track of him today. He shut his eyes, and pictured his lusus' face, and reached out to the white beast's mind.

More history, some you may already know. Often, according to their bloodlines, trolls may be given a gift. Most, if lucky, receive mental shared gifts which will assist them if lacking physically. This is the reason why lowbloods are more likely to inherit these traits. The most commonly known of these is psionic controls, often given to the yellow bloods, and used to control mechanics and defend otherwise physically weak bodies. Most cases recorded are mental messages, telekinesis, control… and as seen in this little brown blood, who stays close to the earth, a mental connection to the lusii and the beasts.

It took far to stretch to his lusus, a pulse throbbing on his forehead. He clenched his eyebrows as he found the beast… and screamed as he felt its wave of fear and pain. His lusus struggling in agony and bellowing soundlessly into the air for his troll, for Rufio.

Rufio pulled back, gasping in surprise as his eyes snapped open, his blood pump pounding in his chest. He looked up, finding the eyes of a trio of passing adults watching him curiously. He could feel the sweat stinging his brow as his eyes darted away in fear, finding the pathway that led him to the great steer. He ran, ignoring all pain in his side and ankle. His lusus was in danger. He shouldn't have left him. He should have done as his custodian had told him to…

His feet ran swifter than ever before, with that painful cry still throbbing in his ears. He was so concentrated, he couldn't feel the sting of bent weeds under his feet as he went from road, to field, to the edge of the forest. The forest was forbidden until of well-trained age, but that didn't matter. He could feel the dull ache turn to a sharp stab. His lusus was close, and it could feel him. He was crying out for his Rufio.

He broke through the trees, hearing the cry of the flying sea beasts suddenly, forcing him to cry out in fear and scramble back towards the forest. He hid behind the trees, looking in confusion at the four lusii that gathered, or rather, were corralled and clearly agitated. Large, bulky soldiers crowded them and egged them on, forcing two to turn on each other and attack. The trolls began to howl with laughter, only to leap several inches by a sudden whistle. The trolls pulled the lusus apart, and lined up, coming to attention. Rufio watched them, and a bit confused. Nevertheless, he could feel the gentle pull of his guardian. His lusus was close. Ducking low, Rufio crawled on hands and knees through the dense weeds.

Grass hugged his face and his body, cocooning him as his knees dug into the rocks. He swallowed his breath, and crawled closer and closer, listening to the trolls as they clamored about, working. He swallowed, leaning closer to the ground and biting his lip. He crept closer, fearing the highbloods would detect him and use him as target practice.

When he found a large rock, he hugged it, leaning into it as he looked up to the lines of trolls. He was almost past them, and close to the clump of lusii. He was close. Beyond him, the trolls were being regarding by a proud looking sea dweller. His hair wind-blown back and clothes looking smoother than anything Rufio had ever seen, and dyed to most brilliant shade of purple. PURPLE. Rufio was in awe for a moment… but shook it off, and ducked again into the grass, making a swift crawl into the lusii. They startled a little as he ducked among them, but he hushed them quietly, his mind sending a lull over the crowd of strange lusii. They settled, watching him curiously and keeping a sharp eye on the soldiers. Rufio looked around… and caught eyes with his own lusus.

The beast bellowed quietly, and Rufio smiled, leaning into the beast's head, kissing it gently. He whispered silently to it, informing it that they were going to escape safely.

"ALRIGHT! MOVE BACK, SEPARATE THEM! LET'S GET THIS OVER WITH!"

Rufio yelped, pulling away and scrambling backwards, suddenly surprised as the large lusus with the long neck next to him pulled back in fear, crying out in surprise as it was roped, and dragged away. His own lusus stepped over him in protection, hiding him from view as it sat perfectly still. Rufio looked up, pressed between the hard chest of his guardian, and the sticking grass around him. He could hear the trolls as they bickered and fought with the animals, and the shouts of an accented voice he had never heard before. A low whimper came from his mouth as he looked up, the long horned lusus stomped around anxiously. He felt a surge of warmth and information through his skull. Blinking he turned around. Doing as his lusus commanded, he scrambled along the ground and slid along the ground, knees and face getting scratched. He saw the light of the moon again as his lusus bellowed, and he felt a beat travel up his spine, but he ignored it as he scrambled into the weeds away from this horror.

He heard the screams of the poor custodians, they shook his body. More so, were the voices of the adult trolls as they wrestled with the lusii. He stalled, and turned back to see… And he felt his pump seize up.

The soldiers were goading the lusii along, stabbing them with huge weapons and forcing them close to the rocks. Two had already disappeared, leaving only blood on the weapons of the trolls that held them. They then simply turned, and continued funneling the lusii along. Rufio sat up slowly, terror seizing him as he watched them goad the last two closer and closer towards the abyss.

He locked eyes with his lusus. His custodian was being prodded with rough, rigged weapons which slid from his body roughly, tearing skin from him and peeling away the muscle. The steer shook it's proud head, his horns stained from dirt or blood - Rufio honestly couldn't tell. One troll was hit by the magnificent horn, and knocked off its feet onto the sandy ground.

".…no.…"

The lusus, almost hearing his breath-like word, looked up to him. Fear filled those deep chocolate eyes, and as he was pushed, back legs kick in the air behind him, Rufio could hear both the voices in his ears, and the sweet voice of his guardian.

"NO!"

Rufio screamed this time, and leapt to his feet. The trolls hardly noticed, all too busy dusting themselves off after killing the last of the lusii. The little lowblood charged for the cliffs, darting around the shoulders and falling to his knees, looking over the cliffs in utter shock. He stared, down below to the ocean and rocks… but the waves had already swallowed the bodies, dragging them below.

Hardly a second passed when Rufio was grabbed by the back of his tunic and dragged backwards roughly. His knees scraping on the ground as he was dragged. He snarled and twisted, hands reaching up to scratch and sink his dirtied claws into the large, bulky hand in hopes of being released but to no avail. It carried him, and tossed him down, onto the ground. He looked up, finding himself right in front of the violet troll.

Up close, he could really see the size of the troll. He was slender faced and bodied, clothes hugging his frame and showing off the obvious grace of his figure. His eyes, low lidded and looking down to him as they were, were light gold with forming rings of purple, the same color that matched his clothing. He held a snarled, single eyebrow perched up in disgust at the sight of such a sludge blooded child in front of him. He eyed the brown leaking from Rufio's knees, but Rufio only looked at his face. His hair brushed around his large, deep purple stained fins, marking him to the even HIGHER class as a seadweller. His horns curved, down and then up, and stretched along the sides of his head. He hardly noticed that, however, and was staring more at the deep, wine stained pair of scars that stretched from his eyebrow, went across his eye and nose, and ended at his prominent jaw bone.

He scoffed. "And what, might I ask, are you doing outside your colony, little troll?"

Rufio stared up at him, eyes wide and mouth slightly agape as he stared at the towering highblood. The scarred man paused, and smirked, crossing his arms. The large blue tinted gun he held was hanging from a strap on his shoulder, and tilted slightly as he leaned over the younger troll.

"Oi, wriggler. You caught cotton in your ears, or you just deaf and dumb?" He snapped, looking to his soldiers, and jerked his head just a little. They moved forward to the lowblood, but suddenly Rufio snapped from his daze, and spoke.

"W-wait, please, sir. My L… usus was there, he was… p-pushed over." Rufio swallowed, trying hard to fight his natural stutter. The highblood arched an eyebrow, and held up a hand. The blue bloods halted, watching. Rufio glanced at them, and then back at the royal blood. He squeezed his hands, bloodied knees feeling uncomfortable under his body. "Please… h-he has to come back… I c..an't lose him. If he--"

The highblood rolled his eyes, "Enough. Wriggler, you should get back to your hive, and then scoot yourself off to work." He nodded to the others to follow, and turned, walking away. Rufio's body seized up, and he looked around in surprise.

"Wai.…t, but my lusus…"

The blue bloods chuckled, and pushed him away, following behind the proud sea troll. Rufio stumbled, but stood quickly, head shaking as he looked at the cliffs, and the trolls, confused and in complete anguish…. And enraged.

"My.…my lu-sus… you killed him…" He shook his head, and pulled his fingers into fists, teeth showing as he watched them walk away. His golden eyes focused on the purple troll that had so easily ignored him. He stooped down, grabbing the nearest rock he could.

"y-you… fucking killed him… you stupid HIGHBLOODED BRINEBACK!" He pulled back, and threw the rock, making the highblood flinch as it hit the back of his globe and bounced off. The rock had even had a bit of mud caked onto it, which remained on his hair and horn. The scarred troll snarled, and turned to look at the little lowblood, whose face dropped as he realized his anger made him attack and insult a purple blooded troll. The soldiers were turning in curiosity to see what the lowblood had done, and the scarred troll was already reaching for his gun to kill the renegade little troll.

Rufio stumbled, and turned, feet moving as fast as possible to get away from the angry troll. His anger turned to complete and utter fear. His knees and feet were numb by now, and he sprinted fast enough to reach the trees as the first shot rang out. He felt a sharp pain slice across his wrist, and he yelped, quickly bringing it close to his body, and clutching it. He panted as he ran, darting between trees and brush.

 

The scarred troll shot again, missing simply because of the distance of the post coon. He growled, and straightened up, rolling his shoulders back as he collected himself, smoothing his hair in an attempt to calm his flared-out cheek fins. His soldiers walked to him, checking to make sure he was alright, and a few jogged off to make sure the little troll was gone.

"I'm fine.…I'm FINE!" The highblood snapped, snarling as one soldier got too close. He looked at his hand as it felt sticky, finding a dark brown residue of mud on his palm. He held a look of disgust, and flicked his hand, throwing the disgusting muck off.

"Sir?"

The violet blood looked at his nearest, sapphire decorated commander. He frowned, and waved his hand. "We have other colonies to search, and I'll not be distracted by a shit blooded wriggler." He turned to his troops, and whistled. They all stopped, and looked at him with attention. "Let's move out! The royal queen's lusus grows restless."

 

Rufio burst into his hive, slamming the door behind him and covering his mouth as his back hit the door. He slid down, staring at the floor as he tried to silence his breathing. He could still smell the breath of his lusus in the small room. Sweet, but still similar to the earth. It was the smell that he despised as it blew into his face in the night. Rufio felt his body shudder, and felt his cheeks feel suddenly clammy, and wet in the darkness. He shut his eyes, body shaking with a sob as he curled into his knees. From fear or sadness, he didn't honestly know. The ache in his legs was becoming more obvious, and he opened his mouth, no longer able to hold the long outward cry of anguish. His neck bent, head hitting the door behind him, a long, sorrowful cry escaped him, body feeling limp and shaking.

His fist pounded lightly on the ground, before picking up strength and hitting again. Again, again, harder each time, until it was loud enough to be heard outside. His sobs had suddenly turned into a cry of rage. That troll, that violet blooded troll, had done the act and simply shrugged him away. He'd killed them, all the lusii. He took away the only thing that had ever shown him long term affection…

A highblood, turning away from his pain.

A few young lowbloods, struggling for food and turning to even attacking each other.

And lusii, killed, right from under their troll children's noses.

 

Rufio snarled, grabbing the nearest thing he could, and threw it, hitting the wall. A choice pick, as the clay plate shatter instantly and matched volume of his yell. Brows were turned downward, and he grabbed whatever he could, and threw it, even if it just simply brushed away. He broke whatever he could find, even going so far as to pushing over his only storage shelf, and shattering his collection of pretty objects.

He dropped to his knees, still shaking but definitely feeling cleansed of his blinding anger, though not entirely purged of anger altogether. He simply stared, eyes looking to his broken treasures. In his view, he could see a smear of red. It was nothing, just the last remnants of his grub paste. He stared at it, breath still hiccupping and face dripping watery brown tears.

The only person who defended him, that weird girl… Some weird red blooded girl who was stronger than him. Red… she'd mentioned that troll that had been creating rumors among the colonies. Some red blooded troll, demanding equality. Something he had never seen, something nobody had ever seen. He swallowed, just imagining such a troll. A troll who would have stood up to him, as the girl had. A real hero.

He would avenge his lusus. He would help him.

And Rufio would prove it, to all of them.

Rufio leaned, scooping up a handful of grub paste and spreading it between his fingers slowly.

The sticky candy toned substance spread between his fingers, making the air smell sweet. He reached up to his mouth, sticking a finger into his lips, and sucked it off gently. His last little bit of grub sauce. He swallowed, and reached up to run a hand in his hair, down the center. Grub sauce was one of the best for styling hair, though who honestly could spare enough rations for that. Well, he'd have to, for this. He collected as much as he could, and pushed more and more back into his hair, making the candy red stick in. He sniffled, rubbing an arm across his eyes and dribbling nose, smearing a little red on his face. It didn't seem to matter as much, as he removed his hands from the red caked hair and began to coat his face in red smears everywhere, marking his face in finger-width lines. Next, he reached up and ripped away his tunic sleeves, having to eventually use his sharp teeth to cut through the dark fabric. He spread it on his arms, and looked over himself, and then down to his sign. It was a looping, brown circle with two horn prongs. He stuck his hands right on his shirt, leaving red prints behind.

He sniffled again, but collected himself as he stood, looking around the room. With a careful maneuver over his destroyed home, he picked up the only thing he could, a large stick he'd picked up from the border of the forest. He breathed in, and out slowly, and turned, facing the door. With more strength than was needed, he pushed his poor rickity door open, and stomped off into the moonlight, body shining of red.

He sprinted again across the roads, receiving some curious gazes and alarmed stares from other colony members. Reaching the main square made him slow down, however, as most of the trolls were minding themselves and trading their rations in the shops. He looked around, finding most of the highbloods had gone, despite a few sleepy, normally seen green blooded guards. The violet troll, however, shouldn't have gone far. He swallowed, looking at the large pile of forgotten crates from the offering. He glanced to the green blooded trolls, but found them idly chatting. He swallowed, and began to walk forward.

As he walked, highlighted in red, trolls began to bump each other, nodding to make others look at him. A group of children practicing weaving looked up, watching the little post coon walk. No one moved, more so curious of what he was doing. Obviously, someone had hit this little brown blood one too many times on the head. Rufio swallowed, keeping his eyes forward and squeezing his hands to keep them from shaking. He reached the pile of boxes, and glanced back, finding to his surprise that many of the adult trolls had begun to gather around him, muttering to themselves, and avoiding eye contact with him. Rufio frowned, but turned, and pulled himself up onto the box. He crawled, higher and higher, looking over his shoulders to find the colony members watching him with interest.

When he reached a top box, he stood up. He looked around him, finding a small group looking up at him. He looked at all of them, and suddenly realized how ridiculous he looked, how sticky he felt. He itched the red on his neck, and breathed in and out slowly. He could do this. He could avenge his lusus… he just had to take care of that scarred troll.

Oh, shit. What was he supposed to say!?

".…T-.…too many times…" He mumbled, feeling his throat crack. He cleared it. He could taste the sweet sauce on his tongue, and how much it honestly stuck inside his mouth. He shouldn't have taken that sample. His eyes darted.

"Too many t-times the highbloods---" He glanced to the soldiers, who were now watching him as well, conversation halted. He quickly looked back to the trolls before him. "… highbloods have… b-beaten us, and taken us for gr-rant… ed… and … uh…"

He looked around, finding the eyes of an older man, who merely avoided his gaze by scoffing and muttering something to the troll near him. He could hear his echoing words of disgust, and Rufio glanced back up quickly.

"And.…stolen our lusii… from us. " He breathed slowly. The ground felt like it was shaking. "But… the lowbloods are the workers… w-where the highbloods have gone weak, we have… grown…"

He stumbled back a little as something collided with his stand. The lowbloods chuckled lightly as his expression.

"Grown strong. A-and…"

"GO BACK TO WORK, MUD BLOOD!"

Rufio stopped, looking away. Again, the stand was hit by an object, which clattered loudly. The lowbloods laughed a little more.

".…And the red blooded… troll…"

"SPEAK UP ALREADY!"

"NO ONE LIKES A SCARLET LOVER, KID."

"GO BACK HOME TO YOUR LUSUS!"

He was hit this time, and flinched, but stayed standing. "… The red blooded troll… w-will bring equality… t-to all… aah!"

He was hit again, and stumbled back. His footing slipped, and he fell back, into the boxes. The crowd howled with laughter, and he scrambled to regain himself. Hands grabbed him and pulled him out, and pushed him back up to his feet. And then they pushed him further, forcing him forward as rocks began to hit his body.

"Get out of here, runt!"

"Your preaching will get this whole place destroyed!"

"Start running, little brown blood! And don't stop!"

"If he's lucky, the hunger will catch him before the beasts do…"

In fear of getting hit, he started to run again, arms covering his head as he barreled through the trolls. He forced his words out.

"Y.…You'll see! You'll all see! I'll come back, and the r-red blooded troll w..will be with me! You'll see!"

He ran, further still, his breathing pods aching from the harsh push and pull of air they'd suffered today. He kept running, out of the village, and into the trees. There, at least, he was safe from the lowbloods.

".…They'll see."