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Hold My Tongue

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A black sky, filled with stars and two complimentary moons, above a planet filled with beings with horns of candy, blood like the rainbow, and skin the color of grey ash. That's where our first act takes off. Far, far in the past, to a time that some might say...is the beginning. If one was a troll, they would refer to it as "The Time Of The Ancestors". When the blood castes were truly what ruled and looked over many trolls heads, poisoning their lives and pushing them down into the depths of despair if they were too low on the hemospectrum, or even worse...not even on it. So the story goes. 

But we do not start our Act in this exact place, no, it's a little too soon to be starting in this scene. No, we begin on a little place, a not so little planet, known as Earth C. The Game isn't quite done with you yet little players...

 

==> Be THE GAME

What a foolish, foolish notion. Just like with another certain omnipotent fellow, you cannot be the game. You're just a smidge too weak for that, just a little to close to the sidelines to be able to do that. So instead, you observe THE GAME as best as you can. 

==> MSPAINT READER: Observe

It doesn't work very well. You hear the sharp sound of static, rgb game sounds from the classics, but through the staccato breaks in white noise, you hear whispers. Like the horrorterrors, but more…layered, with an electronic buzz to it's tone. 

“-new universe-

“ke-e-ep b-...usy”

“...nee---ded…..the..re-”

“-send off. Send them off.”

One of the voices breaks through, less buzzing then the others, more thrumming. It jitters through your body-or at least what you think is your body, you're not entirely sure-and shudders through your bones. This one was clearly the more powerful, perhaps the Server Leader. Or something of the sort. 

“...wh--o__se.nd F I rst???? 3”

“..tHe.. _--_- G r e y, Red--”

“-yes_the_descendant_he_will_do. “

“c-a-n we..$en d t==he mot+her WI th? “

“...yes,just in c a SE. But only af ter a Bit” 

 

The buzzes cut off all at once, and disconcerting silence reigns, before a ringing, wavering tone cut through the space. You almost want to cover your ears, but no, you have to have strength and all. You felt quite bad for the players. The Descendant would go first, and you were certain that meant Karkat. Grey and red, yes, it could only mean him. Then again, they also said they would send him first, so the others would follow. Probably Kanaya first, since they referenced The Mother, and what was Kanaya, if not the mother figure of the group? They were needed in that universe, you knew that for a fact. Otherwise, things would fall. And that wouldn't be good at all. 

In a flash of rainbow, near blinding, flashing light, everything burst out of existence, before returning. The scene switches-

________

 

Karkat ===> Wake Up

 

Sharp yellow eyes shot open with a quiet, choked inhale. No, not a gasp, he wasn't one of those fucking movie people, so full of cliches they were practically pouring out their waste chute. So no, he did not gasp as he woke up, he merely…took a sharp inhale. His chest heaved, and unnoticed, the ringing tone faded from his ears, and flickering rainbow lights fizzled out around his much smaller than usual form. What the fuck kind of dream was that? All buzzing voices and terrible, terrible ringing noises. Karkat shook it off, and carefully stood up finally noticing what the fuck was going on around him. He stopped dead once his mind registered and caught up with his eyes. Wind shook the trees around him, the dark sky only visible in slivers through the treetops. The lighting was odd. 

Why the living fuck was he in a forest?? Immediately, Karkat blamed it on Egbert. The human was a menace, pranking everyone and anyone. No one was given mercy, not even dearest, dark Rose, or tired, somewhat sad Gamzee. 

After the game ended, everyone revived, fully realized in their Godtier form and with the powers that came with it. They theorized it was The Games' way of rewarding them further. They had won, so they deserved many, many rewards. Everyone was happy on Earth C, and the humans had gotten jobs, while the trolls managed to make themselves a home in the deepest reaches of Earth's C’s uncharted forests. The humans money supported them all, not to mention with their powers, particularly Roxys, they wanted for naught. They were happy enough, and peaceful. Until now, apparently.

Karkat begrudgingly respected John for that, but he really did not at the moment. He had barely gotten any sleep, and now he was in a forest. 

“ALRIGHT EGBERT, ENOUGH'S ENOUGH, GET ME THE FUCK OUT OF THIS NOOKSTAIN OF A FOREST OR I'LL SHOVE MY FOOT UP YOUR WASTE CHUTE-! “

Karkat called out, and when he yelled like this, his voice reflected his typing style enough that anyone could recognize him. Karkat waited a few moments, and when no response came, he let out a snarl, and an irritated clicking noise came from his throat, before Karkat finally began to stalk off, weaving his way through the trees. His Godtier outfit kept him warm in the cold night, and it cleaned its own brown and black fabric automatically of any dirt or debris. There was something vaguely…familiar about the area. Not the forest, no, but in general. There was a smell to the wind that made something in his chest ache, a yearning for it, and Karkat frowned and rubbed at his chest. This was getting kind of…fucking scary now. Was it just him, or did the trees loom over him more then they reasonably should. Karkat sped up. 

“John! This isn't funny anymore you fucking windsock! “

Karkat said harshly, scanning the treetops above for any sign that a huge gust of wind would come spinning through, bring John and the sound of his damned ringing laughter with him. Maybe even Dave, flash stepping to come and save him from the madness of his not-moirail. Dave insisted they're not, but honestly, the four original humans are so close, they were all probably moirails to each other. Quadrants had gotten so smeared, that Karkat didn't even know where to begin sometimes without pulling out his hair and screaming. So Karkat waited. 

Nothing. 

Karkat's eyes darted around, hands at the ready to grab his Sickles from his sylladex at a moments notice as he walked quicker and quicker, until he was striding through the forest with intent, faster, faster, the trees were closing in, darker and darker and-

Karkat burst through the trees, breathing heavily, a panicked trill stuck in his chest. He fell down,the source of his breathlessness more panic then any real exertion. Those years in the game beefed everyone up, even Feferi and Roxy had some good muscles on them. His knees hit the grass with a soft puff, and it was then that Karkat finally noticed two, somewhat important things. Ok, not somewhat, two very, very important facts. 

One. His legs looked…smaller. Shorter then they were before, his hands less rough and wide, more childish and round. Just in the cusp of another molt maybe. He hasn't looked like this since he was nearly six sweeps old, near the beginning of The Ga-. Karkat shook his head, looking down and- his entire body screamed young wriggler. Karkat nearly let out a screech, but calmed himself with shaky, painfully high pitched breaths. He had forgotten what his own voice had sounded like when he was this age. The second important thing caught his notice moments later. The moonlight that shined down on him wasn't the pale, liquid pearl he was used to. Instead, it was a mix of bright jade green and intense, almost violent violet. Karkat's breath caught in his throat. He knew that light anywhere, the swirling odd color. He looked up and 

There they loomed. The two moons that had watched over him during his first year of life. 

On Alternia. 

He was on Alternia. 

 

Chapter Text

Karkat was vaguely aware of the sound and feel of sobs wracking his chest, violent and unsteady as he stared up at the two-toned sky of his home planet. It was impossible. Alternia was destroyed, he knew that, he remembered watching the meteorites come down and break the surface of his home, before he managed to enter the first gate, and yet. Yet here he was, looking up into the moons of Alternia. They had won the game, they were happy, safe, why was he back wherewaseveryone-

Karkat trembled and sat back onto his ass, his hands reaching up to grab at his hair. Ok. Ok. He needed to calm down to figure out the situation. He took a deep breath, and then took a couple more, quelling the tremors that racked his frame and squelching the anxious and distressed sounds coming from his throat. Who knows what could find him in the dangerous forests. It was his Lusus’s job to protect him when he was this young, when his eyes were still yellow and his face retained a bit of the wriggler look to it. But he didn't know where Crabdad was. He looked vulnerable and soft, even if he had claws and teeth and horns. His sickles would be his best friend in this situation. 

Karkat heaved a sigh, his blood pushed slowing it's pace in his torso until he was just sitting there in the clearing, glaring at the ground. He revised his earlier assumption. This was definitely not Egberts fault. More like Jade´s or Dave's. Space or Time. Karkat felt his frustration and ever constant anger rise up, being in his throat, and he did the only thing he could. 

 

“FFFFFFUUUUUUUUUUUUUCCCCCKKKK!!!”

 

Karkat screamed, his fangs bared and a threatening clicking starting up in his chest, as if he could chase away what was making him feel this way. He launched up and began to pace the clearing angrily. It raged through him, destroying any other possibility of thought or rational. The anger has always been with him, for as long as his thinkpan could remember. It was like a red hot coal in his stomach, burning him, but also fueling him. Like a curse, it was one of the only things that kept him going during the game, it was the only thing that was constant. So he screamed, and cried, and cursed. Cursing felt right, like it was the last string connecting him to his thread bare sanity. The featherbeasts in the trees let out screeches and screams of their own and burst out of the tree tops, flying away from the anger that spiked inside the surprisingly tiny being with nubby little horns below. Karkat scratched at his head, tugging roughly at his tangled, thick and coarse locks, all the while snarling and growling at he paced further and further in the clearing. Given enough time he could probably wear a path down, smashing down the thigh high grass. But he was getting off topic here, back to the matter at hand.

Ok. So. Alternia.

Two very dangerous suns, two bright and warm moons. A shit ton of very dangerous monsters and untamed potential lusi running amok in the wild lands. Who knows how many things in this forest wanted him for a midnight snack, before going for a soak in their abulation trap. Or something like that. He would need to find a makeshift hive for now, some place to rest his head and keep safe from the suns and the occasional bloodthirsty monster. . There was something telling him he wouldn't be seeing his friends or moirail for quite awhile. So maybe a cave, or a little nest up in a tree. A cave would be preferable. 

Karkat growled lowly, and set off again, weaving through the trees quickly, scanning for an opportune place to shack up when morning came. The Alternian sun's wouldn't kill him now that he was Godtiered, and even if they did, he would just revive. Slowly. But he would. It would instead sear and burn his carapace to a crispy peice of greyish meat that would look delectable to any passing predator. He shuddered at the thought. Karkat would really rather not go through that, thank you very fucking much. 

A new sound caught his attention, and he swung his head westward. It sounded like whispering, but more bubbly, the sound of water running lazily across rocks. Water was a good sound, it meant that the area was healthy, plenty of resources to keep him alive. That was definitely something to be concerned about in the long run. A few more steps and the small creek he had heard came into view, and Karkat made his way down the small slope curiously. The water smelled clean at least, and it was clear enough that he could see if anything inside of it was coming to cull him. Some of the water on Alternia wasn't the cleanest, especially near the old cities. The water near there tasted like rust and the metallic tang of blood, always a murky shade of brown or grey. Karkat kneeled down to scoop some water up into his mouth, drinking in the coolness gratefully. All his previously discarded survival instincts were coming to the forefront now, and he was already sorting out plans on what to do. Shelter first, and then a reliable source of nutrition. He had already found a reliable source of water, so that was a step in the right direction. 

Something caught his eye, and Karkat looked down into the water and caught his reflection in it, the image only disturbed by the drops dripping from his hand, rippling his visage. It was as he suspected, he thought with a grimace. His face was the exact same as it was at the very beginning of the game. His eyes were soft honey yellow once more, now that he was again younger then 8 sweeps. Before, that is, back on Earth C, his eyes burned a ruby hue, and he remembered Kanaya telling him how it somehow suited him. Matched his anger, she tittered and teased. Karkat wanted to get angry at her, but she was right in a way. It felt right to have those burning, candy red eyes. The rest of his body though, was a source of current frustration. He had the same stress lines, same tense shoulders and body, but...it lacked the scars he received from The Game. They weren't something he treasured per say, but they represented what he had gone through to survive. They were clear signs that he was strong enough, good enough to live. To not be culled. He scowled,and watched his face contort into the expression in the water with a hint of angry curiosity. His face was familiar but not, and by Gog it was beginning to piss him off. Karkat was tempted to slash at the image in the water, but he restrained himself, and stood back up, brushing off the wet blades of grass that stuck to his pants. It was a struggle, but eventually, he was on the move again. Karkat fell into the repetitive movement of his steps, and although he knew that he could float just the same as any Godtier, he didn't like to do that most of the time. The night drew on, and he kept walking, following alongside the river, and once again, his stamina proved to be useful, as he didn't tire until the air began to heat from the barest slivers of the Alternian sun's, lightening the sky and practically eclipsing the moons in size. The sky lightened to an almost pastel purple hue, and clouds that he didn't exactly remember Alternia having were the fluffy white of the Earth's surprisingly. 

 

Then, finally, and quite luckily, Karkat found what he was looking for. Caverns that may have been dens to creatures at one point, probably the Alternian equivalent of moles or foxes. But they now were abandoned, their owners either vacated or killed, and Karkat was free to take one without the danger of having to fight one out of there. They dug into the sloping, small hills the forest was situated on, breaking up the continuous patch of moss across the forest floor, the inside warm brown dirt. He let out a sigh of relief, and after some consideration, picked a smaller cave, a little bit up the side of the hill, and quickly clawed his way up and crawled inside. The ceiling was just a little too short, so he he had to crouch to get inside, but this could work to his advantage. Anyone taller would have some problems, so for once, Karkat was begrudgingly grateful for his size. He pushed himself as deep as he could, wedging himself into the rocks and curling up so that if the sun tried to shine through, he wouldn't get the brunt of it. He wasn't Kanaya, and he definitely did not find the Alternian sun pleasant. He pulled his cape off, and after some maneuvering, pushed it under his head to use as a pillow with a grumble. It was uncomfortable as fuck, but it would have to do. 

 

Now, time for some reflection. 

 

Karkat was on Alternia, and he had no idea what to do. He didn't know if he was alone or not, or how he got here, but like most odd things in his life, it was most likely The Games fault. Maybe…maybe this wasn't his Alternia? Karkat remembered meeting the Dancestors, who lived on a different Alternia. Almost a utopia compared to what Karkat gone through. The violent blood caste system was merely a fever dream on Beforus, that was what Alternia was called back then. They possessed a caste system in which the highbloods coddled and cared for the lower bloods, a more peaceful but certainly weaker world. So, the thought/possibility of this being a different universe was definitely possible...or maybe just went back in time? Alternia didn't really look any different from his time, well…except for perhaps the clarity of the sky. That was a new one. Pollution from the cities ruined that long ago. Karkat let out a sigh, before letting his eyes shut finally, trying to shut his mind up with the promise of sleep. He wouldn't do anything productive staying up, that he knew. So he let his mind drift off as the sun rose over the horizon. 

And dreamed of anger caused by forgiveness. A constant fire. Never to be put out. 

Anger

H---M----T

 

????????==> Find Shelter

 

Solemn ruby red eyes kept careful watch of his surroundings as they walked through the brush of the forest, pushing branches and large leaves away from him, his friends walking behind him just as carefully. If a human were to look at the forest, they would see it was a surprisingly pleasant mix of a tropical rain forest and a deciduous one. An amalgam to be sure, but one that wasn't looked upon with disgust.

 

 Back to the cloaked troll now. 

 

Alternia was dangerous, no matter where one went on its surface. Trolls had evolved to survive, yes, but it was still better to be cautious than to end up in something's stomach. Who knows what could be out here this late. 

“Kankri, do you know how far it ith to the next thity? “

Signless looked back for a moment with a small smile, ruby red eyes flashing for just a moment as he waved at Psiioniic with the map in his hands. The lisp his friend had was eternally evident, and occasionally, Signless liked to tease him about it, it made for a delightful amount of frustration. Not today though, they had too much traveling to do, and Signless would really rather not receive the silent treatment. At each city they came across, they would stop, and gather a group of trolls who were interested in their ideals. Signless’s ideas. About how their society was run, about how the hue in their veins shouldn't matter as much as the effort you put forth in society. 

“Yes, we only need to get through this forest here and we'll be on our way to Florina. “

He reassured his friend quietly. Psiioniic let out a sigh, but kept up, eager to find some place to rest. Signless felt someone slip their arm through his, linking them, and turned to find his matesprit/moirail/kismesis- love, his Disciple, smiling up at him with sharp teeth. Signless was never good with keeping his quadrants separate, always smeared, and he could only be glad his lovely Dis felt the same. He had had one too many trolls get angry or frustrated when he could stick to one lovely little square in the system of troll romance, and it always ended in disaster. Sure, he could switch up just fine, but it would always be tainted with other feelings. Flushed while black, black while pale. A black heart, a red diamond, a pale spade. None of them good.She linked her hands with his, and Signless smiled back brightly. 

“Well, I'm pawsitive it will be worth it. I don't think we've been to Florina fur a long time.”

Dis practically purred, and Psiioniic nodded in confirmation. They hadn't traveled this way in about a sweep, preferring to keep to their usual roads. A dangerous thing in some cases, to become predictable, but it helped. The trolls at the city the had already visited knew their schedule of visitation, and brought their friend along, who brought their friends along, until the had a huge crowd of trolls who listened, believed. It made Signless tremble with the thought of it, determined and inspired by his own action, spurred on by the hope he saw in those trolls eyes. 

 

The last member of their group was just a little bit behind Signless, and ahead of Psiioniic. Her title was The Dolorosa. She hadn't used her actual name in so long…not since…well, never mind all that. She was a Jade blood, and the proud mother to The Signless. She remembered the day she picked him up, curious and worried about the distressed sounds coming from the poor grub. She had always cared a bit too much. When she saw the cull-bait worthy hue of his body, that beautiful candy-red, she felt something melt and harden inside her with a gasp. Porrim picked him up, and quickly hid him in her large and fancy over coat, shooshing him and telling him desperately to be quiet. He listened, thank God the grub listened. She decided to raise him, to save him to the cruel and fatal hands of the others. She would raise him to be good, to be kind to others, despite their blood color being different then his. She decided to love him, to hold him, to take care of him. If she hadn't been there, her dearest Signless would have been culled, his candy red blood splattered across the breeding caverns. And he wouldn't have even been important. His death would have been meaningless, just another blip in the empires radar. She willingly committed treason for her grub, and she would do it again and again in a blood pusher beat. She would die for him, as long as he kept living, kept reaching for the stars, as long as he kept smiling and lived. He was a part of her, just as much she was a part of him. Rosa was his mother, and Signless her child. Nothing could break that bond. 

 

The mere thought of it made her face crumble slightly. Rose knew it was dangerous and saddening to look back at her life, but once in awhile, she needed it. Needed to remember what she was fighting for, not that she wasn't reminded every day, but…it was something different then that. She kept up with the group nonetheless, her flats sinning into the boggy ground slightly as she walked, her fingers occupied with a small bit of grey-silver thread she pulled from her freshly bought spool of it. Something about it called to her, like she would need it soon. So of course she bought it, and they went on their way to the next city. The forest loomed over them, vast and untamed, like the rest of the world they lived on, the slivers of moonlight that still remained glowing vibrantly. 

“Daybreak will be soon, we will need somewhere to camp.”

Porrim broke the silence quietly, her cultured voice dragging attention to her. Her Signless looked back to her, and after taking a glance upwards at the slowly brightening sky, nodded. 

 

“...I hear water up ahead, maybe we can follow it to somewhere. It's a shot in the dark, but we have no other choice. “

Signless said quietly, and the others in the group shifted, before nodding. They continued walking, faster than before, wanting to find shelter before the sun burnt them to a crisp. Dis raised her head and breathed in deeply, nodding as the creek came into view. 

“Yes, I smell the water, but I also smell troll. We must tread carefurrly.”

Dis warned, and the group tensed up, Psiioniic´s horns flashing red and blue briefly, before he calmed down and took a stance in front of the group, ready to protect using his psionics if it came down to it. He was always the one doing that, and it seemed Signless was the only one who knew why. Dis just assumed it had something to do with Psi’s background, why he insisted on protecting them all that is. 

 

Luckily, they came across a good shelter quickly, a set of burrowbeast caverns in the slope of the hills they had been traversing on. None of the creatures actually remained, so it was safe to search for a good sized one. Psiioniic breathed a sigh of relief, and Signless watched as he immediately flew up to one of the biggest caverns and predictably, he could hear the sound of his helmet clinking against the stone as he flopped down onto the cave floor. Signless shook his head, and Dis let out an amused giggle, before she began scaling the hill as well, digging her claws in and pulling herself up until she was inside as well, the other two following. 

“Alright, after today, we should be able to reach Florina. Hopefully we'll get a good crowd there.”

Signless grunted as he pulled himself up, Dis easily leaping up into the cave like a meowbeast and landing gracefully. shook her head, unpacking their recuperation supplies quickly so that they could rest. They didn't have any recuperacoon, so this would really just have to do. 

“I don't know...I know you all heard about the recent visit of Kur-...The Grand Highblood there, I think the other trolls might be a little too... scared.”

She explained sorrowfully, and the mood soured for a moment, going quiet as they ignored her brief name slip up. None of them had been familiar enough with him in sweeps to call him that. The Grand Highblood, grand priest of the Mirthful Church, had visited the smaller city just a week before. Trolls had wisely fled the city for the most part, at least the ones in the lower castes did. They didn't want to be culled. It was unknown what The Grand Highblood wanted there, but he was gone quickly, and the city returned to normal, if, a bit uneasy. Signless steeled himself, and puffed up righteously. Dis held in a giggle at the sight, Signless had never really gotten rid of some of his more childish habits. At least he wasn't going on about how one has to be careful not to offend someone. 

“Well, I'll just have to convince them then!”

He said confidently, and nodded with conviction, before going to organize his space in the cave. The group looked at each other with bemused smiles. Yes, Signless had this child like hope to him, that was what made them so happy to let him lead. He had the hope and conviction that the revolution needed. 

Dis rubbed at her nose with a quiet disgruntled hiss. She kept smelling the scent of an unfamiliar troll everywhere, wafting through the cave entrance. They mostly just smelled angry, like something set them off, lit a fuse that was already lit. But it wasn't quite aggressive either, more…lost, and confused. Dis had always been good at determining others emotions, especially through scent, and this was no exception. The feelings she could smell were laced with confused panic, and although she was still wary, she also felt concerned for mystery troll. She pushed her resting material towards Signless, and he smiled up at her softly. Yes, Dis was just a bit taller then Signless, and it made her giddy. 

“The scent is still here, much stronger than befurr, but…it doesn't smell malicious. Meowstly just panicked. “

She reported quietly, keeping her voice down just in case the troll might be nearby, as unlikely as it would be that they would have gone unnoticed. The group shifted in concern, before Psii spoke up.

¨I'll take the first watch then. You three try and get some sleep.¨

And before they could protest, Psii was already scooting up to the front of the cave, red and blue dual energy crackling around his horns and lancing down his arms. Signless let out a sigh, but none of the group made to stop the gold-blood. It was something that Psii had always done, taking the first watch that is, and there was no talking the other troll out of it. Signless had tried multiple times, concerned for his friend and his welfare, but Psii had merely glowered at him until the other troll backed off. They trusted Psii to protect them while they slept using his powerful electric Psionics...even if Signless didn't quite approve of violence. If the need arose though, they each could protect themselves well enough, all of them having some sort of apparatus that resembled a weapon. Signless used a scythe with a blood red blade and a pitch black handle with silver etchings going up and down the length of it, so rarely used that it's blade was still razor sharp. His mother used something a bit more…violent. A large silver and emerald rotating saw she swings around on a gleaming silver chain, all the while somehow managing to look sharply elegant while doing so. Dis uses gloves that have a unique feature. That being the claws attached to them. These retractable claws consist of three sharp blades, that emerge and retract when Dis demands it. The function of them was a mystery to Signless, but Dis seemed happy with them, so he didn't comment. 

 

Signless shook his head with a sigh, and tuned laid down, pulling the soft fabric up to his chest, and curling up. 

“It will be fine love, come and lay some with me. You too Mother, I know you'll stay up all night sewing if I don't get you to right now. “

Signless demanded bemusedly, the two females indulged the other troll, laying down after giving him a brief pap to the cheek. Psi got situated up front, near the entrance of the cave, but not outside of it. He would hopefully be shielded from the sun's rays well enough to not get burnt. He was smarter than that. Signless closed his eyes. 

And dreamt of a gate, of a rainbow spirograph in an unfamiliar blue sky. A pair of sickles, and an ever consuming rage. Red hot shackles, his cursed, cull-worthy candy red blood pouring into a puddle that reflected the sins of his people. 

How he d i e d for t h e m

When he woke, he remembered none of it. 

For a Seer cannot see if they chose to keep their eyes closed. 

Psiioniic==>Keep watch and reflect.

His blood was gold. That was the most important fact of his existence. That was how it always had been, and until a few perigees ago, he thought it was always going to be that way. One day, someone, probably a highblood, somewhere, would find him, and take him. Psi knew he was powerful, he had some of the most powerful psionics on Alternia, and that was the most dangerous thing in his life. Both for others and himself. For others, because when he was younger, just out of his teenage molt, he didn't know how to control his anger, he was childish and always saying the wrong things. He had seen more than a few trolls burnt to a crisp because of his carelessness. It haunted him everyday. They were a danger to himself as well. 

Because if anybody found out, his fate was doomed. Psiioniic was guaranteed to be linked up to a ship, his mind split in two, one half in his physical body, and the other spread out throughout the vessel. He would become a Helmsman, and drained until he could cry no more, bleed no more, give no more, murky gold and yellow dripping down his face from the strain. 

 

It was his greatest fear. 

 

It was the fate he thought was doomed to come to pass. Psiioniic was always surrounded by doom. 

 

One day, The Signless came to what was once his territory, in the slums of a smaller Alternian city. Psiioniic had lived there for nearly four sweeps, fighting in the fighting rings for psionics users, winging his way through, blasting through the ranks. He always won, and it only made him angrier. It was on an unremarkable day that Signless showed up. He couldn't remember the name of the city, but it didn't matter once the troll began preaching to the others there, speaking words of fire and brimstone, of the nonsense of the hemospectrum, giving them a vision, his vision, of a world where no one was better than the other. Where no troll was discriminated against because their blood was different color then another. A rust blood could operate a star fleet, a purple blood could work construction if they so wished, and not be mocked relentlessly for it, because it was 'so far below of one of their station'. 

When Signless spoke of this, in that tiny, run down, very much highblood-abandoned part of town (fuckers didn't want to get their shoes dirty with the dirty blood and brain matter spilt on the streets) Psiioniic felt something rise in him, burning like The Signless’s words and shooting up his spine, until…

 

||\ Flashback /||

 

..until unnoticed by Psiioniic himself, his psionics flared, red and blue arching up into the dark sky like lightning, making the other trolls in the crowd cry out and back away, smoking a little . Psiioniic only noticed when Signless looked over to him, noticing the commotion, and their eyes locked from across the crowd, and impossibly, when The Signless saw the energy that crackled around Psiioniic, lifting him off the ground to loom over the candy blooded troll, he saw awe, respect, and an almost vulnerable yearning flash in Signless’s eyes. 

It baffled Psiioniic. Frightened him, made his eyes burn worse then they did usually. How could someone like him, look at something so ugly like they were something to be envied. Like there was something better about Psiioniic, something that The Signless didn't have himself. 

It was what prompted Psiioniic to propel himself forward, the crowd of people he had known for four sweeps going silent. He hovered in front of Signless, silent as the night, red and blue highlighting his face and arching across his horns. He swallowed. 

“...how can you thpeak of thuch thingth. You're jutht one troll, are you thaying that you can do it? All on your lonethome? Are you athking uth to follow you?“

Psiioniic asked quietly eventually, his voice layered in two, higher and lower, and heard others in the crowd murmur in agreement. Psiioniic didn't care. He had eyes only for the pariah in front of him. When The Signless didn't react to his lisp other then to blink in slight shock, he could feel the fire rise in his veins again, the energy around him crackling harshly. Another curious thing. No insults were given. 

 

The Signless merely smiled in response, 

 

“Of course not. I'm just one troll, as you said. But if I can spread my ideals, give people the incentive to dream, then that's all I need. Alone, we can do little, but together, the things we can do, the things we can change, become insurmountable. If I can inspire people to take action, to spread the word… Then I've done my work. Then, I've fulfilled my duty. “

Signless said quietly, but everyone could hear, and everyone listened. Psiioniic stared, before suddenly his psionics came to a crescendo, releasing enough energy to blow The Signless back a little, before he finally calmed down and let himself lower to the ground, the energy fizzling out as the heat in his veins calmed, soothed slightly. They stared at eachother, before The Signless extended his hand, hesitant as if he his elf didn't know what made him do so. He didn't know why he did it at the time, but it was there nonetheless. 

 

A blood-pusher beat. Two. Three. 

 

Psiioniic grabbed on. 

 

|||/ Flashback End \||

 

Later on, he would think, that that was Signless’s power. He was a muse, a trigger of sorts. He was what gave people the power to dream, to think for themselves, to imagine beyond the blood caste system. Psiioniic was kind of flushed for him because of that at one point, but he knew that Dis and Signless were meant to be. He couldn't fight against what the olive and candy blooded troll had. 

He squinted out into the harsh, harsh sunlit forest, and not for the first time marveled at the beauty of the colors. Greens of all colors, with blue and purple in the shadows, some spots of pink and yellow and orange and red. All of them beautiful in their own special way. Quietly, he shifted closer, and stopped right before the sun's rays touched him. He wanted to feel it sometimes, to feel the light that nurtured something so beautiful. Something so completely opposite of what he was. 

 

Doom

 

He never told the others of his feelings, of how he felt cursed to end in disaster. They didn't need that with everything else going on. Psi spent the rest of his shift staring out blindly, sniffing the air every so often to make sure nothing had changed. When the time came, he woke Rosa up and told her he was going to sleep. She looked at him with a measure of concern, and asked him if he was alright quietly

“Yeah yeah, I'm fine. You're not my luthuth Rotha, you don't need to be tho contherned.”

Psii automatically waved her off, and although he could clearly see her frustration, she reluctantly turned away and went to the front of the cave. Psii let out a sigh of relief, and collapsed into his furs, curling up and letting himself dip into sleep like a lull in the purple ocean. 

Karkat ===> Start

Chapter Text

 

Karkat==>Start

 

The next time Karkat woke up, he knew exactly where he was. None of that “it took a moment to register” bullshit. He could feel the jagged rocks beneath his back, pressing up into his spinal column and just generally making him uncomfortable. The sky outside was just getting dark, the sun sinking over the horizon and the moons rising once more. It was a bittersweet sight, one he had seen every night before everything happened. His eyes burned looking at the traces of the sunlight still illuminating Alternia. Another good thing about being over eight sweeps is that once your eyes change color, they become a whole lot more resistant to light. Karkat missed it in this moment. Carefully, he wiggled his way out between the crevice, but stayed inside of the cavern, not quite ready to get out just yet. The sun was still just barely there, and Karkat needed a plan of action. Would he try to go find his hive? Or would he scope out a place of his own? Crabdad had helped him build before but he didn't have Crabdad this time. Perhaps he could wander around, and if need be…take another trolls hive? The very thought made him sick, but Karkat had time and time again shown that he would do anything he needed to, just to survive another sweep, another perigee, another sun cycle. 

Maybe he would just stay here. There were plenty of other caverns around him, he could find a bigger one and set up there. Another thing occurred to him, and he pulled his sickles out of his sylladex without hesitation, along with his original pair of clothes. His beloved black turtleneck, fluffy and woolen, with his sign in the middle, woven in silver-grey thread. His pants had changed though. Most of his friends had adopted things from their ancestors as was tradition, like Nepeta with her strife specibus choice, and Tavros dying his hair in streaks of bright red. Karkat had eventually given in, and took to wearing what Kankri had called “the legendary leggings”. They went up to his fucking armpits for fucks sake! But the way Kankri face had softened slightly when he saw Karkat wearing them, for one going silent with a proud but wistful look on his face…it made it sort of worth it. With his sweater on you couldn't even tell that the black leggings with red stripes going down the sides went up that far, so it wasn't all bad. In a flash, Karkat was out of his Godtier clothes and into his original outfit. If he wore that, he would get asked questions that he couldn't answer, plus, now that he was surrounded by trolls again, he didn't want anyone knowing his blood color. He didn't survive this long just to get attacked by some wannabe legislacitor teal blood or some shit. 

His heart panged at the thought of Terezi, and that was a whole other barrel of cuttlefish to open. He was already staring off into the horizon wistfully, so he might as well keep thinking about it. It was a requirement at this point. Karkat had been flushed for Terezi at one point, wanting her own blood red eyes on him, without the cats eye glasses in the way. And she had wanted him back, they had entered a matespritship, and Karkat was happy, happy to hold and love her…until it happened. Karkat began wanting more. He wanted to comfort her, wanted to be the one she looked at for everything. Karkat wanted her everything. But Terezi didn't want that. She liked having her quadrants neat and squared out. No smearing allowed. So they separated. Terezi went with Dave, and loe and behold, Karkat wanted Dave as well. He was waxing pitch for him for awhile there, until the smearing began, and Karkat saw some red qualities in him, and he couldn't even touch Dave, because Terezi had him. A red spade. It wasn't uncommon at least. Neither was a black heart really.All depends on what feelings you had first.The symbol comes first, and then the color. Karkat hated Dave, but then of course he went and flipped flush for him,fuck. Of course, at the time…he still had Gamzee. Poor, sad motherfucking Gamzee, who was just a kid. 

They all were. It was just…Gamzee didn't have a lusus to tell him what was right and what was wrong, Karkat had learned this in one of their piling sessions. A good feelings jam. Goatdad fucked off real early, so Gamzee barely knew how to function as a troll, everything he knew he learned on his own. It made Karkat immensely sad to hear it, and he gave Gamzee some really intense paps after that, shooshing him as he cried.

The moirallegiance didn't last too long after that, and both Karkat and Gamzee knew it couldn't last forever, because Gamzee had developed red feelings for Karkat, and for once in Karkat's gogdamn miserable life, he managed to keep a quadrant straight, and what he felt for Gamzee was strictly pale. All diamonds but no hearts. They broke it off because Karkat couldn't vacillate and that was that. Last he heard, Gamzee had entered a matespritship with Tavros,and a potential new moirail in Eridan. It was sort of a shock, but Karkat could see it working out...or ending in a complete disaster. Eridan was another topic entirely, the violet blood was depressed and kind of angry and so apologetic it hurt. Karkat eventually forgave him, because that was what Karkat did. He forgave, he was angry, yes, but he would always forgive if you truly meant what you said when you apologized. Eridan was also kismesis´s with Sollux and everybody saw that coming from miles away. If one were to look in even the general viscinity of those two, even from all the way across paradox space, they would be able to see the black pitch feelings brewing around that pair. 

They were good for eachother.

Sollux. Karkat curled up a little at the thought of the gold-blood. Ah, yes, another fucking crush. Karkat had some red floating around for Sollux as well, although it wasn't as gut wrenching as his flush-pitch crush on Dave. Karkat was happy for all of them. He and Gamzee’s moirallegiance was rather one sided anyways. Eventually though, he found a new moirail in a rather obvious place. Kanaya. It felt natural with her, like this was what was supposed to happen. Karkat helped her through her insecurities with her relationship with Rose, and she calmed him down when his anger came to a crescendo, and he couldn't hold it in without breaking down. He had Kanaya, he was waxing some real red pitch for Dave and sort of, kind of, he wanted Sollux, with his love for bees and honey and all things dual colored and red and blue.

But that was neither here nor there. He quadrant confusion could wait until he as actually back there with them. The sun had finally sunk down beneath the horizon line and Karkat could creep out of the cave. He was just about to do so in fact, until he finally noticed something going on below the caves.Shuffling sounds, voices, a shriek of laughter or two. Cautiously,he peeked his head out, wary of what he might find. He looked down, his eyes scanning and-

-and immediately pulled back inside, shoving himself as far as he could into the jutting rocks because, because-! 

Because there were other trolls out there, bigger, so much bigger than any Karkat had ever seen, they were, were, they were adults! Blood rending, wriggler culling, huge ass 10+ sweeps old A-D-U-L-T-S. That singular fact made Karkat's whole world come crashing down around him, because the adults weren't supposed to be on Alternia, they were sent out to space, and only the children remained. So why?? Why-??

Karkat took a deep breath, trying not to panic in case the adults hear him and find him. Carefully, very carefully, Karkat crept forward, breathing slowly, quietly, and placing his hand onto the stone near silently. He looked at the adults, choking on the scared trill in his throat, his instincts telling him to call for his lusus, even if there was no lusus to call too. There were four of them, two females and two males. They seemed to at least be in a good mood, laughing and joking with each other. That could either be his savior or his demise in this situation. But one thing stood out to Karkat. One thing in particular, now that he could inspect them without almost screaming.

These strange adults, if what what he understood by observing was correct, had camped somewhere nearby, and gog wasn't that a terrifying realization. Karkat could have been culled in his sleep. Just gone, his throat torn out, or his body clawed to shreds. Granted, he would be lucky if they were that merciful.

Something else rather obvious occurred to him as he stared at the strange figures.Those adults. …they looked exactly like his friends might have if they were older. Like a mirror image flipped and stretched, minor details here and there that were different. The olive blood(if her eyes were any indication)looked just like Nepeta,, the same cone shaped horns like meowbeast ears, even if they were pointier than Nepetas. Perhaps more like Meulin then, who Karkat had encountered quite a few times in the dream bubbles. Her mouth even somehow did the weird…thing. That thing, the meowbeast mouth thing. :3.The exact same thing. The olive bloods hand was locked with another one of the figures, and Karkat's heart clenched. She was staring at that figure with flushed feelings clear across it, so intense that Karkat felt his face heat up, candy red rising to the surface. Gog, it was like one of those flushed pornos that he frequented. The olive-bloods matesprit had a cloak thrown over his head, so his facial features were obscured from Karkat's view. The only thing he could really see of him were the broad shoulders, held in such a way that it commanded respect. Karkat thought the other troll was used to being obeyed, or at least respected enough that others did what he asked. He held himself like a commander. The only other thing he could see were the…stubby horns that jutted out of the holes in the adults hood. They gleamed in the pink tinted moonlight, dark red at the base, covered mostly by hair, then a robust orange, before finally being topped by a rounded golden point.The sight of them pierced through Karkat's chest like a blade, and it took Karkat clenching his hands until they were white knuckled for him to get a hold of himself, and not just charge out, screaming and ranting and demanding answers as to why this adult had such similar fucking horns. Karkat's were just a little pointer, and they almost had this backward sweep to them, probably the result of whoever his ancestor filled pails with. 

They looked a lot like Kankri´s.

Karkat wrenched his eyes away from the cloaked figure, his lungs feeling constricted at the thought of his dancestor. Kankri went on and on, droning until Karkat eventually learned to tune him out a bit, listening while somehow not killing his kin. Kankri seemed to appreciate it, because no one else listened to his rants. Except perhaps Dave, but even then it was with thinly veiled chaotic amusement, perhaps at the irony of the other mutants words. Karkat had managed to cultivate a good relationship with his dancestor,which is more than what some of his friends could say. Aranea and Vriska clashes like waves against a steel boat, and it was chaos. There was potential for a good kismesitude there at least. Tavros was actually a little uncomfortable when confronted with Rufio, the other bronze-bloods enthusiasm and strength making Tavros feel anxious and inferior in comparison. If they talked it out though, Karkat was sure it would work out. Kurloz and Gamzee got on like a house on fire, chucklevoodoos bouncing up and down whenever they were in the same room, but instead of invoking fear, they just seemed to relax everybody in the room, taking away their fear and anger. Especially anger. Gamzee actually seemed to relax when Kurloz was nearby, so of course they let Kurloz stick around. Porrim and Kanaya got along well enough, talking fashion and apparently they both liked to meddle so they spoke about the times they auspitized for their group. It was scandalous to hear them talk about their relationships so openly. Mituna and Sollux were...a bit rocky at first, but they got over it, and oh gog Latula and Terezi, that was a disaster in every sense of the word. Like a sack full of knives and cackling laughs. Karkat shuddered at the thought. Cronus and Eridan seemed to both be socially awkward, but they were awkward together, and Eridan needed all the support he could get. Meulin and Nepeta? So.Much. Roleplay. Happy meowing and all that shit. Aradia and Damara were..yeah. Just as spooky and downright disturbing as ever. They were like that pair of identical clutch mates from that horror movie Dave had showed him, The Glowing or some shit like that. They even spoke in unison sometimes, though Karkat suspected it was on purpose, those little shits. 

 Karkat jolted back into the present when suddenly the olive-blood leapt up into a tree, and a sqwaking noise rang out, before she came back down with a rather large feather-beast with three eyes and an odd gleaming bronze beak. The other trolls barely gave her a glance before going back to their conversations. Karkat quietly rolled his eyes, long used to olive-blood antics. He turned his gaze to inspect the other trolls, the Jade-Blood in particular, only to get another stab to the thorax. Or at least that's what it felt like. She looked just like his moirail, like Kanaya. She was beautiful, and so fucking similar to his diamond, down to the way she laughed and smiled, that it made him want to smile back. What really caught Karkat's attention though, was the way she looked at the cloaked troll. She had a particular look on her face, one that reminded Karkat of the way a particularly emotive lusus might look upon their grub. Proud, full of platonic, and to use the human term, parental love. It was so soft, so warm that it made Karkat want to cry. 

As one of the Blood aspects, connections were his strong point, and gog damn, that was some strong energy going on there, enough to make him both intrigued and weepy. 

That's how soft it was, like the other adult was her whole world. Like woolbeast fur. There was a steel in her eyes though, like she had seen things that made her close up, mercy forgotten in situations. She was…admirable, to say the least. She too looked as if she could command respect, elegant and bewitching. Karkat still felt a surge of worry and fear rise in his throat, bubbling up and festering. After all, adults were incredibly dangerous to young trolls like him, and Karkat was still wondering how they were even here, on Alternia. Karkat turned to look at the last figure and-

The last adult might as well have nailed a red hot metal rod into his blood pusher, because there was no mistaking who this one resembled. Same double set of horns, same red-blue dichotomy, red-blue lightning leaping between his horns. Psionics. He was speaking to the pair almost angrily, rolling his dual toned eyes and huffing, his lips twitching up into a sneer to reveal somewhat less jagged teeth. It would still be enough to cause a lisp though. It was a familiar motion, and it was only though practice that Karkat could recognize the amusement behind the pull of lips and exposition of snaggle teeth.

 Karkat looked over them all, his pale, orange, definitely wriggler eyes wide and frightened. There was an idea forming in the base of his skull, his blood-pusher thudding harshly in his thorax, but it couldn't be…there was no way. He shook his head, his eyes darting between the adults almost desperately, and as quiet as he could Karkat backed back up into the cave. He had no idea what to think about his current situation, fear making him want to chitter and skree, call for a lusus that wasn't there. His eyes drifted to his abandoned weapons, and he carefully picked them up, his bright orange claws scraping across the stone near silently, never turning his back away from the entrance of the cave. His eyes glanced back out, catching the still early hour look of the sky. Normally, Karkat would even be snuffling in his recuperacoon, still dead asleep cradled in the comfort of his sopor slime. Sopor. The thought of the substance was both reassuring and vaguely worry inducing. He felt that way about a lot of things. Dave called it The Gamzee Effect™, and no one really disputed it. When Karkat told Gamzee about it, the other troll even looked slightly...proud? Karkat was surrounded by morons, that was it. On the other hand,the thought of the pale asshole of a human sent little flutters through his stomach, just like Sollux did at times,red, red, red, and a bit of blue and- BLAGH-right he was getting off track. Karkat hurriedly settled against the stone wall, holding his scythes aloft so as to not scratch them against the cave, and looked out once more. The adults wouldn't be able to see him through the shadows of the cave, but Karkat could see them just fine. They were packing quickly, setting things into their apparent proper places, and pulling packs onto their backs. Karkat wondered what they had to be worried about. Sure, there were Lusus out here that might want them as dinner, but Karkat was sure they could hold their own well enough. His eyes dart over to the olive-blood, covered in bronze-colored blood from the feather-beast. Oh, it was a potential lusus. Sad, but it was all about survival here. 

The other trolls finally brought their attentions over to the olive-blood, and Karkat noticed with a twitch of his eyes that their emotions were practically screaming through the bonds they had with each other. It was odd, because normally, trolls didn't radiate that strongly. Then again, Karkat only had experience with juveniles and freshly pupated adults. Who knows how old these guys were. Anyway, the other trolls murmured appreciatively,and while Karkat still couldn't hear their voices, he could tell they were thanking the other. The gold-blood(redblue-) hovered over a stack of branches, before suddenly sending them up into flames with his psionics. The prey was propped over it in no time, and then the trolls sat around the fire. Coincidentally, the fire was just close enough for Karkat to finally hear their voices. 

“-after we go to Florina, we could take a break...visit the base. The others are probably getting a bit antsy, especially Sumner, you know how he gets. “

The fellow nubby horned bastard suggested, and the other troll murmured their assent. His voice was deep, but smooth, and it sounded so much like his own that Karkat flinched back. Ok, what the hell?! Was this guy an actual doppelganger or?? 

Wait…

“Gosh, remempurr when he somehow managed to get his paws on a thing of faygo? That furr(sure) was dangerous! “

Gosh is right, she even used the cat puns. The gold-blood snorted from where he layed in the grass. 

Could they be…?

“Yeah yeah, and he almotht got caught. Thit wath thtill funny though. “

He said, and the rest of the group chuckled. The trolls voice was raspy, somewhere between high pitched and low that was a miracle to hear. There also a hint of a buzz under it that all gold-bloods seemed to have. 

“I remember when you used to get up to mischief like that Signless. You were so young…”

The Jade-Blood said, and Karkat-

Karkat's world came spinning to a sudden halt. He felt like he was just given whiplash, thats how fast his thought processes came to a stop. Karkat wasn't so stupid as to think he misheard them, no, but the implications of what this could mean...Karkat curled up,his eyes wide and his entire being almost shaking. This was Alternia yes. But which version? And when? Paradox space was a tricky and confusing thing to think about and figure. Only the Space and Time players could really make sense of it all. Maybe the Void ones as well. Karkat quietly listened in on their conversation, his mind jumping from one possibility to the next. Strangely enough, he didn't feel like screaming. Huh.

He looked down at the adults once more. Now, he could put a name to them. The Disciple, The Signless, The Dolorosa, and The Psiioniic. Now that his terror and shock had drained from him, his curiosity and wonder came to the forefront. So these were the Ancestors of his friends. And for himself of course. In another life, they would still be the Dancestors. The Signless would still be simply Kankri, and Meulin would never grow up to be The Disciple. Karkat had a hard time connecting Mituna with The Psiioniic, and Porrim with The Dolorosa, but he figured something different happened in their lives for them to come out this way. Granted, there were some time shenanigans involved here, but they were still the same at heart. Karkat took his time observing them while they ate, none of them noticing the small pair of honey orange eyes watching them from afar. They had entirely different mannerisms to them than their descendants, but there were some things that stayed the same. Like how Psiioniic always blinked twice, always chewed exactly twenty-two times( Karkat suspected he had what the humans called ¨OCD¨),and how the Disciple tapped her claws in a three-four beat, and swished her tail across the grass idly in a certain pattern.Sollux and Nepeta did both of those.The Dolorosa had a odd habit of taking a bite, and pausing for a moment (perhaps tasting the food or checking it for poison) before beginning to eat in earnest. Kanaya did that as well.

Then, there was The Signless.

Karkat slowly relaxed to lay on his belly as he watched his ancestor. He was probably the calmest of them all, but at the same time, he ate like he was rushing to get somewhere, shoveling food into his mouth without spilling any of it and hurriedly chewing before swallowing. Karkat was almost afraid he was going to choke himself, but than he remembered that he himself ate in the exact same way, and tossed away his concern. Karkat had never choked, so Signless probably wouldn't either. The Dolorosa looked vaguely disapproving, but she, like many others, have learned that it was useless telling a Vantas what to do. If, Signless was even a Vantas, that is. Karkat knew that he was supposedly Kankri, but who knows of that was his name here. Too many things were a mystery for Karkat right now. He would be screaming obscenities right now if not for the real life incarnations of his wriggler stories being right in front of him. Not to mention, Karkat had calmed a little over the years, the game teaching him a lesson in the worst way. It mellowed him out a bit. But don't misunderstand, he still screamed and yelled and cursed, and sometimes, if he was in the mood, he let out a good ol loud crab skree. That always got some good reactions. The Ancestors were fascinating to watch interact, and feel the bonds flowing between them, intense and all new. They were certainly a crew*, that's for sure. Karkat grumbled at the thought of his own crew. Crew is the term used for a group of trolls that didn't hate eachother as much as the others of their race, and there was a whole bunch of shit biology and hormones and shit to go with it, everyone in a crew was biologically compatible with eachother, but basically it's a group of hatefriends that trust eachother. People could be brought into the crew if introduced, because if one of the crew trusted them, that meant that they were compatible, which meant that they could be trusted. If it got big enough though, about 10+, it became a swarm, and there were very few of those in history, because of the violent nature of the trolls themselves. Karkat's group of friends was a swarm, especially if you count the humans. They didn't release the same hormones as a troll, so it didn't quite work, but Karkat could tell that if they were trolls, they would definetly be crew. Karkat missed his swarm already.

 Karkat couldn't quite sense emotions like a Heart player might be able to, but he was indeed one of Blood, so he could track every minute shift in a bond between people.If he really focused, he could sense the tether between him and The Signless, as thin as a string of spider silk and as unbreakable as titanium. Ancestor and Descendant. In human terms...Father and Son. Karkat shook his head roughly as they finished their meal, feeling his own stomach growl in yearning. That's right, he hasn't eaten since yesterday. It didn't matter much, he had gone much longer without food before, and he couldn't really die from it. But it would be nice to get something inside of him, and that meat was smelling awfully savory...The crew below him stood up, leaving the remains of the food there to hopefully draw predators to it, a distraction. Better it than them. Maybe he could sneak some when they go...and than maybe Karkat would follow them? He really didn't have anywhere else to go, and he would be alone otherwise. Even if they didn't know he was there.Yeah, that sounded like a somewhat well thought out plan.

Totally.

“Right, off we go than. I'll stay in front this time, I still have the map.”

Signless said somewhat cheerfully, and Karkat sneered. Another difference between them. Karkat was rarely ever cheerful. In fact the last time he can remember being peppy like the Signless was currently, was when he finally caved in and drank some of Gamzee’s “wicked elixir”. Otherwise known as faygo. Gamzee was delighted beyond belief when he finally caved in, and quickly got him a bottle of bubbling, fizzing purple liquid. Sugar ferments inside of of a trolls stomach, much the same way apple juice might if one leaves it out for to long. So it's basically alcohol. Karkat was apparently a very loud, but very hyper drunk. Yelling with cheer instead of anger. Fun times all around. Karkat really needed to stop getting lost in his memories, important shit was going on literally right under his nose. Speaking of nose, The Disciple was looking around warily,nose twitching and nostrils flaring. Karkat shrank into the stone, his legs folding under him as he flattened himself down. Fuck yeah troll biology for giving them some odd, almost meow-beast like legs. Granted, they were a little more insectoid then that, but same basic shape. Karkat couldn't afford to sniffed out, who knows what they might do to him. He didn't think it would be anything particularly bad, no, he was sure of it, but they would ask questions that he didn't want to answer, or just plain couldn't, for fear of messing up the timeline. He didn't now if this was his original one, or a different one, one located adjacently in paradox space. 

¨Ugh, alright fine. Charge on, oh mighty thavior¨

Psiioniic replies snarkily, and Signless belts out a laugh, before doing just that, walking away from the caverns with the others following him, murmuring amongst themselves. Karkat waited a minute or two, before slowly creeping out of the cave, his claws digging into the shale, limestone, and mud surface of the slope. His claws sunk easily into the dirt and sedimentary rocks, and he was down the slope in seconds. He stored his sickles in his sylladex carefully, and crept over to the leftover meat on the body of the feather-beast/lusus. It was with great relish that dug into it, the meat not cooked all the way, which was how he and most other trolls preferred it. He wiped his mouth off with the back of his hand, swallowing roughly, before continuing to eat until his stomach felt heavy and full. It wasn't hard really, Karkat was…really quite small when he was this age. So was his stomach. He let out a contented chitter, before standing up and dusting off his leggings. 

Right. Now came the fun part. Following after his ancestors. It was a surreal thought, and 12 hours ago, if someone told him he would be stalking his ancestors through a primordial forest while in his six sweep old body, he would probably have shoved his boot so far up their waste chute they would be able to taste the leather. But here he was, up in the canopy of a tree, trying to keep off the ground as he tracked what signs the crew left, catching up quickly. He had rinsed himself off in the river so as to minimize his scent. Right. This is happening. 

He's making this happen. 

 

Karkat:==> Curse existence

Chapter Text

????==> Admire and Observe

 

It began in an alleyway. In the midst of a smaller city, with a rather floral sounding name. In the middle of the day, when not a single troll stirred. Well, except mayhaps a spare Jade-Blood, here and there. They were the only ones that could survive the intensity of Alternias sun. Olive bloods and Teal bloods, one level lower and one level higher respectively, were resistant to it, yes, but that only meant that they didn't get third degree burns right away. It was a slower process, and their eyes were still very sensitive, but still deadly.

But enough of that, we're getting off track here. In the alleyway of that(for now)quiet city, a young troll suddenly appeared, with a flash of white-green light and a grating, screeching sound of a metal spike against polyvinyl chloride, the spindle of a precipice. The air cleared, and it was silent again, the young troll not making a sound as her body settled, floated gently down by the light.

A whispered word in a tongue unknown, but a feeling of warmth, quiet support and distinct responsibility. Then, after a moment, the feeling was gone, and there she layed, quiet as she always is, yet still strong in her slumber. Her skin glowed like white marble, like the sun itself took residence in her, every inch of her pale skin. Her hair was black, as was normal within her species, but the shade was sublime. As black as the deepest depths of space, and it almost seemed as if the horrorterrors themselves decided to grace her with the color. Ah, but we can't keep admiring her beauty, though mighty it may be. Look, she rises. 

 

Kanaya==> Wake. 

 

It was cold. Cold, but it had give,, the surface beneath her. It smelled like blood, pungent salt and iron mixed with the soft scent of the soil. That was what made Kanaya’s eyes snap open, the glow from her skin fading away immediately as her consciousness rose to peak. The first thing her eyes reached, processed and reported, was the side of a building, and the hard packed dirt she seemed to be laying on, her short hair spread out around her gaze. Kanaya blinked in confusion, soft wriggler orange eyes flicking their sharp gaze around her.

The very last thing she remembered was going to sleep next to her lovely wife, her brightest sun, her light in the darkest nights. Rose, with her lovely, beautifully macabre pantomime. Her beautiful flower with thorns of darkness and whispers of the blight. Kanaya melted every time she thought of her, every single thing reminding her of the beautiful human she had fallen in love with. She thought of her so often that--oh my.

She blinked.

Karkat and Gamzee seemed to be rubbing off on her more than she thought, which was odd considering she hadn't talked to Gamzee in about two weeks, and Karkat four days. Gamzee and Karkat were still extremely good friends, and could be found together, more often than not, which meant that Kanaya was strung along, since Karkat was her Moirail. So perhaps that was why she seemed to get lost in thought so often. 

“...right. That's enough of that, I think. “

Kanaya murmured to herself, quiet, with a hint of a chastising tone woven in. It could be perhaps considered to be her default tone. She pushed herself up from the ground with a low grunt of exertion, surprised at how tired she felt. It was if she was drained of energy, raw and new. Her arms shook beneath her, and her entire being was almost swaying, verdant blood rushing to her head the moment she lifted herself up and stood tall. She looked around at her surroundings, bleary eyed and confused. Was she always this short? No, no she wasn't.

The alley way she laid in was surprisingly clean, considering it was, indeed, an alleyway. The floor was hard packed dirt, trodden down by what must have been centuries of footprints, and it smelled faintly of blood of all kinds. Towering stacks of cardboard boxes leaned up against the walls, and to her surprise(everything was surprising to her or some reason)colorful fabric scraps overflowed from them, to small to be used for anything in Kanaya's experience. Blunted, broken needles wrapped up carefully and little fly away threads were put inside the boxes as well, and all together, they pointed towards the very real possibility that Kanaya had somehow been transported to a side road next to a sewing shop.

Carefully, Kanaya struggled upwards, dusting off her godtier clothing. She, like most of her friends, had taken to wearing it most of the time. They were just so soft, they were self cleaning, and the space color pallet was just devine(Jade had agreed with her).

As a Sylph of Space, she was proud to wear it. She staggered upwards, barely noticing that she was barefoot, not that it bothered her any. Troll feet had tough skin on the bottom of them, almost like the sole of a shoe, so going barefoot wasn't that dangerous. It was clearly daytime, everything bright and...oddly saturated. It felt hotter than usual as well, but somehow incredibly familiar. Kanaya looked up, squinting and-

Ah. Yes, that was indeed the Alternian sun. How quaint. She stared for a moment more, before everything suddenly caught up to her. 

¨What the fuck.¨

Kanaya cursed uncharacteristically,swinging her head to look around more urgently, her bloodpusher pounding. The material the buildings are made of, the harsh sunheat beating down on her in waves, but not damaging her dark, dark grey skin, tanned from years of exposure. Even the patterns on the cloth scraps. They all pointed resolutely to one answer. Kanaya stumbled out into the main street, openly deserted, and gasped, a hand darting to cover her mouth

Looming over her, huge and gilded, was the town of Florina. She remembered seeing it during her school feeding, admiring how beautiful the little seaside town was even through the screen of her husktop. The buildings were colorful with the bright hues of artificial dye, and the more subtle shades that old blood provided. Her nose twitched. Yes, the scent of blood was strong here, troll blood, of all colors. Except perhaps, of tyrian.

Kanaya shook her head, her eyes still wide with wonder. The city was beautiful, yes, but…it hadn't looked like this in dozens of sweeps, not since the adults left Alternia. Kanaya visited it once, when she was young and her lusus wanted to show her. It was in ruins, the paint worn and washed away, but still beautiful in it's own way. So why…? 

Well, when it doubt, blame paradox space. Kanaya slumped against a wall, and without hesitation, she stretched out her powers, searching, throwing out a net with which to gain information with. As a player of Space, she had the quaint little ability to locate herself immediately wherever she was, what planet, and what place in paradox space she was located in. And of course, her powers reported quite clearly, that she was on Alternia. 

And apparently in a ‘parallel universe’. 

Once again, how quaint. 

[You may be wondering why Kanaya wasn't freaking out like Karkat was. Well, to be fair, she was. In a subtle way, Kanaya was screaming.] 

Her skin was flickering rapidly, barely visible in the sun, her Space powers lashed out, restoring things to their rightful states. As a Sylph, she couldn't do much for attacking with her powers,but she could in fact, heal. Kanaya took deep, slow breaths, trying to calm the inner voice inside her that told her to call for her lusus to come and rescue her. It was ridiculous, she was 11 sweeps old for Gogs sake! That instinct should have died off long ago.

With a shaky sigh, Kanaya pulled herself together. Right. Alternia, she was on Alternia once again, in a alternate universe, probably in the past. She couldn't be absolutely certain of course, she wasn't a time player. That was Dave's domain. But wasn't that something to think about?

¨Alright Kanaya, pull yourself together-¨

She muttered again, and pushed herself off of the wall. There wasn't exactly a map she could use to get around, but maybe her space powers could help in that respect as well? Jade had warned her not to try things she wasn't ready for, but she would be fine. Kanaya hesitantly reached out with her powers-

And immediately pulled it back because the feedback she received screeched in her ears, geographic information about the entire surface of Alternia roaring in her ears and thinkpan. She ha dnot used her powers in what was literally centuries, she had no reason to, none at all. She could tell this was a mistake. She let out a cry, collapsing shakily in the street once more. Tears pricked at her eyes, and she curled up on the dusty ground, trying sort out the static in her mind, the overwhelming feeling of too much information all at once.

It made her feel topsy turvy, like her balance was so off she couldn't stand up. She was so out of it that she didn't hear the quiet sound of a door opening, and a quiet, low-pitched gasp. She did however hear the sound of quick footsteps coming towards her and a pained hiss. Kanaya's eyes snapped open, and her body immediately reacted, jumping up into a unsteady crouch on all fours and swinging her head towards the new presence. It was another troll, a olive-blood by the looks of it, with broad shoulders and a square, firm jaw.. He had two sets of horns, a uncommon mutation for one of his blood, but not classified as cull worthy. The front pair was long and straight, looking comically like two sharp pillars, while the back pair curled around his ears like a rambeast. His hair was long, but tied into a braid that trailed nearly to the back of his knees. He was clearly an adult, so that solved the whole "am I in the past?" query she had. It also struck a chord of deep seated fear in her, remembering her lessons on how adults could be merciless. His face was contorted into a pained but concerned expression, and it hit Kanaya that they were standing directly in the sun, and while olive-bloods could handle it for a bit, it certainly wasn't pleasant.

¨Shit, are you alright there little miss?¨

He asked, no, practically rumbled, his voice low and soothing, dragging his M´s for a little longer than what was normal. An odd accent to be sure. Even odder, was his concern for her. Kanaya stared for a moment, swallowing a weary chitter, before answering without thinking.

¨I…I am fine, yes. Thank you for asking...I like your shop.¨

Kanaya blurted, than immediately flushed in embarrassment. There she went again, her mouth getting ahead of her think pan. The other troll seemed shocked for a moment, his light olive eyes blinking wide, before he belted out a low laugh, like a waterfall relentlessly crashing against rocks, his body rippling with it. 

¨I'm glad you do little miss. If you want, you can come inside. I would prefer it in fact, you're not looking so good.¨

He said mirthfully, and Kanaya felt her wariness flood out of her. There was something soothing about him, something that reminded her of Tavros almost. A gentle giant. She hesitated, before easing out of her crouch, her legs protesting. The olive-blood seemed kind enough not to cull her on sight, so perhaps she could afford to trust him this much. She smiled hesitantly, nervously, her lips twitching up just enough to reveal her sharp piercing fangs before she responded. 

"I would like that. Not to mention, you don't look like you're faring so well either. “

Kanaya replied, the easy rhythm of her snark letting her relax further. The olive blood chuckled weakly, and Kanaya could already see the tips of his ears and the back of his neck beginning to burn slightly. Oddly enough though, the skin there was tanned and tough, like he went out into the sun a bit more than what was healthy for one of his blood color. Which he probably did. The rest of his body was covered in a black collared steep V neck with dark, dark green swirling designs across the entire surface,only making room for the sign on it's center, etched in a brighter olive green. It began with a ring, the tail of the sign arching suddenly into a half-formed rectangle that ended with a little arrow. That shirt was tucked into a pair of high-rise black pants, the cuff of them dyed a vibrant olive. 

“-es, well, I'm not exactly a Jade Blood, so this is a bit uncomfortable. "

Kanaya was snapped out of her observations by the other trolls response, and watched as he stepped back under the shade of his awning, watching her expectantly. Kanaya smiled again, and readied her sylladex should anything go amiss, before taking the few trembling steps it took to reach the entrance to the little tailor shop. She hesitated a moment at the threshold, side-eyeing the other troll warily. He still looked relaxed and welcoming, a warm look in his eyes, a kindness rare to find in trolls. So she headed in, her bare feet padding against the polished marble floor, looking at the state of the shop as the olive-blood closed the door behind them. 

It was a tidy little place, larger than she thought it was on the inside. The floor was clean cold white marble, with veins of green and violet flowing through it. The ceiling was vaulted, nearly twenty feet tall which Kanaya assumed was because adult trolls could get huge, and their horns could as well.

An entire wall was taken up by pegs where spools of vibrant and dull threads hung, an organized chaos that scaled the entire color spectrum, though there was a notable lack of fuschia and bright red in the color spools. The rest of the room held display mannequins and racks of clothes in all manners of styles and cuts. Kanaya inner seamstress was quite pleased with the apparent quality of the clothing and stitching.

The olive-blood moved pass her, brushing up against her before heading over to behind the wooden counter, where he pulled down a little jar. Kanaya lingered awkwardly near the doorway, before finally deciding to move into the store further, determined on inspecting the clothing. 

“Well little wriggler, can you tell me why I just found you writhing out on my hivestep? What brings you to Florina? Aren't you Jades supposed to stay in the brooding caverns? “

The troll asked abruptly, shooting off questions just as Kanaya was about to reach out and touch a lovely bronze and gold dress that she though would look wonderful on Rose. She paused, and looked back at him. He was slathering some sort of greenish bluish ointment onto his neck and ears, a form of sunblock she presumed.

Kanaya panicked internally at the question. Right, that was also going to be a problem. Kanaya knew that after the Game ended, she wouldn't be able to tell anyone outside of her friend group of what had transpired, it was too risky. Now it could be risky for a different reason. Timeline/Paradox Space shenanigans and messing up the future. So she wouldn't be able to tell him exactly what happened but maybe she could fabricate something? Kanaya hummed, tilting her head. 

“...well before I tell you that, don't you think you should tell me your name first? It is only polite.”

Kanaya asked curiously, and he smiled at her, putting the jar of ointment down after a moment. 

“You've got fire to you little miss. I like that.“

He said bemusedly, and Kanaya felt her brow tick in irritation. Why did he keep referring to her as little? She was just as much an adult as he was!

“Anywho, my name is Sicily Verita. Certified olive blooded tailor, why, I've even made clothes for the Grand Highblood himself.”

The troll, Sicily drawled proudly, and Kanaya froze in her tracks. Wait. 

The Grand Highblood!?”

Kanaya asked alarmed, and Livyio blinked at her confused and a little concerned. 

“...yes? I know for one of my blood, it's a feat to even survive the encounter, but…”

Sicily trailed off, his brows furrowing. Kanaya swallowed roughly, trying to keep her hands from shaking as she clenched them into fists. 

“...it's..nothing. I've just had some…bad experiences with purple bloods. The highest of them all is extremely discomforting to think about. “

Kanaya lied. Maybe faking trauma would excuse her behavior. The Grand Highblood. How far back had she been sent?!?! During the Sufferers time? Was she in the midst of the revolution? Where was her swarm? Her friends, her crew, her quadrants? Rose, Karkat...Why was she here? They had won, there needn't be any more drama, no more violence, just peace and happiness. Than again, nothing was ever easy for them, so why would this be any exception, Kanaya thought bitterly.

 

Sicily==> Commiserate

 

Sicily let out a sympathetic sound, unknowing of Kanaya’s inner torment, but feeling her pain nonetheless. Purples were a crazy, riotous class, crazier than even the fuschias, not that anyone would ever say it for fear of getting culled. Fuschias somehow took pride in their insane workings, and as odd as it was, trolls learned not to question them on it.

Sicily watched the wriggler with pity, tapping his claws idly against the wooden surface of the counter top, before sighing. The little miss didn't just look lost…she felt it as well. He didn't quite know how to explain it, but something in his think pan thumped at him to help the little miss. He knew how it was to be alone with messy thoughts bouncing around in his thinkpan.

Sicily wasn't the sharpest needle in the spool, but he could certainly see when someone needed company, and when someone needed help.

So when he saw the poor girl writhing out beneath the sun, he rushed out to lend her a hand, even if the sun was harsh on his tanned skin, hoping to save her. Then he found out she was a Jade, judging by her lipstick anyway, and felt a little foolish. She still looked out of sorts though, her body all a tremble and her ganderbulbs dragging with exhaustion, so a hand was still lended. She was wary, rightfully so.

Adults could be downright dastardly to wrigglers, taking advantage of them in the worst ways, tearing away their will to live or their innocence. Whatever innocence a wriggler can have anyway. Alternia was cruel, he knew that much, with the highbloods bearing down on the low bloods and the lowbloods constantly plotting revolution if they weren't slaves. Granted, the revolutions always failed. The leaders weren't inspiring enough, or they weren't unique enough, or they weren't strong enough to gain a true following.The last person to do that was The Summoner, and before him, the beginning of it all, The Signless. They inspired the masses, rising up from the lowest ranks. Sicily was only lucky that he has managed to make a name for himself, and had yet to be culled. So he could afford some of his more lavish tastes. For an olive, he was practically a millionaire. Quietly, Sicily walked out from behind the counter, and made his way over to the little miss, who looked up at him sharply, her soft yellow eyes wary and wide. She was like a bladed featherbeast, quick and dangerous, ready to dart away at a moments notice. He smiled reassuringly, and laid a hand on her shoulder, ignoring the flinch her tiny muscles gave under his hand. Sicily was nearly eight feet tall, while the little wriggler under his hands was only just now breaching six. As a jade, she would grow taller than him someday, and quite a bit lankier. Elegant instead of sturdy.

“I am sorry for whatever you had to go through. The terror must have been…well, terrible. Purple’s have always been riotous.”

He drawled slowly, keeping his voice low and warm. Trolls tended to appreciate that for some reason. She looked at him with those big yellow eyes, wide and shocked and shaky. Her entire being seemed to quake actually. He really needed to get her to the guest room, let her rest. Something about her was absolutely…endearing. Like some part of him melted and hardened all at once when he saw her, small and curled up, seemingly helpless under the harsh sun. She seemed to relax under his hand, and a spark of something lit up in his chest. Sicily had taken in strays before, helpless to the kindness that filled his own bloodpusher, and they always gave him this same spark of warmth, the satisfaction of helping them find their way.

“Now, enough of that, bad thoughts will only fill your thinkpan with rot and needles. What is your name little miss? “

 

Kanaya==>Be soothed. 

 

Kanaya was absolutely baffled by the notion, but nonetheless, it worked to an extent. When the other troll rounded the counter and moved towards her, she was immediately put on guard, looking up at him with sharp, careful eyes. Then Sicily for some reason had the idea to put his hand on her shoulder, his gaze sympathetic and his voice low. She eyed the hand on her shoulder for a moment, before staring up at Sicily with wide eyes. What in the world was he attempting to do? Comfort her? Well, It seemed that way, and reluctant as she was to admit it, it was working. Her body's tremors calmed slightly and she un-clenched her fist, feeling the blood dripping down her fingers from her claws piercing into her chitin.Troll skin was thick, much thicker than human skin, but her claws were made to pierce skin like her own. After a moment, she stepped back from Sicily, still staring at him, and opened her mouth to respond to his question

“...My name is Kanaya Maryam, jade-blood and rainbow-drinker. “

She introduced herself politely, and she watched the other blink in shock and the other half of her introduction. Yes, that's right, rainbow-drinkers are not a myth bla bla bla. Kanaya waited for him to process this bemusedly. 

“...well damn little mmiss, you're all sorts of special aren't you? “

Sicily said, wonder coloring his tone. Kanaya quickly realized that his manner of speaking fluctuated between polite and to the point, and rough and tumble, like he was raised some place uncouth, but had to adapt. As an olive blood, he probably had. 

“Well, I don't know about that. But I certainly like to think I'm unique. “

Kanaya replied, and he laughed again, smiling widely, displaying his large lower fangs, and shaking his head

“That you are, that you are.”

He said cheerfully, and Kanaya felt her Jade green lips turn up into a responding smile. 

They spent the next few minutes chatting, where Kanaya’s fabricated a story about how her lusus died about two pergrees ago, and Kanaya was left to her own devices. She wasn't old enough to be conscripted to the brooding caverns yet, so she took the opportunity to explore, hence why she ended up in Florina. Unfortunately, a couple of blue bloods took offense to her existence and chased her down, which was why she was so exhausted. Sicily listened intently, shaking his head in disapproval over the highbloods actions, and clucking in sympathy when he heard that her lusus died.

“Ah, I know how you feel. My lusus died when I was only four sweeps old, killed by some other trolls lusus for dinner. She was a huge desert antlerbeast.”

He said sadly, his eyes going distant for a moment before he smiled again. Kanaya managed to slip in that she was a rather fine seamstress herself, and that launched a whole other discussion that lasted hours, even as Kanaya trembled with exhaustion. Soon enough the sun was fully set, and Sicily looked out the window with a worried expression. 

“I think I should show you to a room for you to rest in little mmiss. Customers will be coming in soon, and I don't want anything to happen to you. “

He explained quietly when she asked why he wore such a look, and rubbed his neck nervously. It wasn't normal for a troll to want to take care of another troll they just met, but she still looked so tired, and quite(platonically)pitiful. Kanaya immediately shook her head. 

“Oh no, I couldn't intrude, I can go find someplace else. “

Kanaya said hastily, but Sicily only shook his head right back. 

“Oh no you don't. It would be awfully rude of mme to not offer you a room when your body is trembling so.”

Livyio said, his tone broking no nonsense, and left no room for denial of his offer, so Kanaya reluctantly acquiesced and followed Livyio through a door that opened to a dark hallway that had doors lining it as well. Did he perhaps use this as a spare hive of sorts? She was led to a smooth wooden door, and the olive blood entered quietly, showing her the somewhat cozy respiteblock, with a recuperacoon and a few fluffy, nearly overstuffed couches and chairs.

¨You can stay in here tonight. I would advise you to be very quiet, I have some important customers today, so I must quickly leave. Good day. “

And before Kanaya could get anything else out, he was gone, quickly walking out and closing the door behind him. She sighed, and took a moment to collect herself, before running a hand through her hair and taking a seat on the bed. It was soft, much like her bed back home with Rose. 

Oh Rose. Kanaya's bloodpusher ached red for her beautiful wife. But she hope that she could somehow get back, she truely, truely did. 

The game wasn't done with them yet, that was clear. Kanaya needed to find the others, if they had come as well. 

 

It begins again.