There was a blast of blue and white light.
It was a familiar black, the black of sleep.
What a strange dream she had.
She was awoken by a clumsy kiss on her lips.
"Mama! You need to wake up!" It was her son speaking. She opened her eyes to see a sandy cave, only illuminated by the light of the setting sun.
"They're going to be here soon mama! You need to wake up!"
Why? It was so warm and soft where she was. She never wanted to wake up again.
"I-If you don't wake up soon...I'll leave you!"
No don't leave.
She felt something warm and wet drip on her cheek like rain. Her head turned and she could see her son sitting over her, fluffy hair over his flushed cheeks and red tears falling from his eyes.
"Don't cry..." She said gently, putting her hand to his cheek. It was so soft, she would give anything in the world to feel that cheek again.
"Mama! You're hurt real bad, I don't know what we can do when they get here!"
The jade blood looked down to her stomach and the world flashed to show her floating atop the cold ocean, sea foam washing through and burning her midriff.
Strange, she thought she saw something.
"This? This doesn't hurt at all, I've had much worse-" It hurt to say his name.
"I thought-I thought you were dead." He sobbed. The word dead rang in her ears.
"Me? No no, I would never die while you're with me."
"R-really! But there's so much blood." She felt so tiered.
"Don't worry yourself, hon. I'll be fine." She felt her fingers run through his fluffy hair. It had been so long since she had done that.
"Ok...but we need to get going! We've been here to long."
"But I don't want to leave." She found herself saying.
"We have to! Then we'll both die!"
D I E
The waves were warm from the sun as they carried her, beating against the shore with a gentle hiss. Her hands planted into the wet shifting sand as she opened her eyes.
The cave was gone and replaced with the never changing stars, so familiar in their light, and the once warm sandy floor was now damp and cold. The jadeblood hissed in pain, and almost howled out as she felt a burning in her gut, and looking down she saw a giant hole where skin, bones, and organs should have been. There was small drips of blood where salt hadn't crusted over her tender flesh, and her heart raced as she realised that she couldn't feel her legs.
Her panic was broken by primal hunger.
There was yet another troll who had washed to shore, this one an unconscious sea dweller with a chunk of wood through her chest. With unknown strength, her claws dug into the sand and she dragged her limp body towards the sea dweller, dilated eyes locking on her. It wasn't long before she leaned over the body with glowing eyes and dripping fangs like a ravenous beast, watching the chest weakly rise and fall. The sea dwellers breath hitched as the jade furiously dug her teeth into the neck, biting the skin again and again and sucking out the salty-sweet metallic blood as soon as it burst from the veins. Unnoticed by her, parts of her body began to regenerate, first small cuts, bruises and cracked bones, then her spine, bones and spinal fluid dripped into existence and giving her the strength and stability to lean more into the corpse.
It wasn't long before the blood stopped flowing and dried in the corpses veins.
She licked her extended claws and wiped her chin, emotionlessly looking down at the corpse before stumbling to her feet, her newly formed spine bending back and forth until she found stability. She begin scanning the area for any witnesses, only finding a few barkbeasts waiting for her to finish and in the distance she could see a lit up manor, the only structure in the entirety of the small island. The only other troll on the island.
The Expatriate pulled away from his tinkering, listening. He heard...scratching. Not animal scratching.
He quietly stepped out of his room and crept down the stairs, being sure to move as quietly as possible as to not scare away the creature. How odd, it was at the front door, as if it knew that it was the entrance. He hoped it was one of the purrbeasts that came by for cuddles and the occasional pre-killed fish he could stomach handling, As he drew close to the door the scratching stopped and he crouched down, preparing for the animal as he opened the door.
He saw grey legs and the remains of a tattered, brown skirt. He stood up, and on his way a jet of panic shot through him as he saw a gaping hole in her gut, a slick white spine travelling up the gap.
There was a second of horror between the two as eyes traced familiar flesh.
"You." She hissed, her glowing yellow eyes scorning themselves into his soul. The jadeblood advanced forwards, head craned up to look him in the eyes as she pushed him back. "You. Killed. My. Son. You kiLLED HIM!" Her voice spat venom into his head, diminishing the towering blue blood down to a speck.
"I-I-I-"He stammered, tears welling up in his eyes. He looked pathetic. This was the troll who has tortured and killed thousands! This was the troll who killed her son! She grabbed his shirt and pulled him close to her face.
"YOU KILLED MY SON!" She shrieked "FOR SWEEPS I HAVE LIVED IN MISERY AND THIS IS HOW YOU ACT!? YOU'RE PATHETIC!"
"I-I'm sorry! I didn't want-I-didn't-I-I-" His hands clutched into his long limp hair, not bothering to pull off the jade as he could do with ease, claws digging into his head. "I-I-don't-he-the blood-I-" The jade blood dropped him and he fell to his knees, folding over himself and still clutching his head.
"You killed him..." She wiped the budding tears from her flickering eyes and looked down at the wreck of the troll, her brows furrowing. "Get up. I won't have you sobbing in front of me." She commanded sternly.
"I'm sorry I'm sorry I'm sorry I'm sorry I'm sorr-"
"Get up!" The demand cut through The Expatriate's pre-programmed brain and he shakily rose to his feet, covering his face with his hands. "Good. Now feed me. I know it's straight forward but I haven't been properly fed in quite a while."
"I'm-what do you want to eat. I don't eat meat so all I have is-"
"Blood." He shuddered at the word, trying to steady his breathing.
"N-no. No blood. I don't-don't like blood. Not anymore." She drew close to him again.
"Give me your blood, Darkleer." She said, precisely, enunciating every word.
"Ok. Just...do it quickly." He exposed his neck to her and the jadeblood rolling her eyes and leaning close, slowly sinking her teeth into his neck and gently sucking out the blood. She could very quietly hear him repeatedly mutter 'blood' under his breath.
This time the jade blood could feel her abdomen healing, skin growing and stretching into a strange spiral over newly formed organs as his rich blood flowed into her. She pulled away and smacked her lips, making sure to wipe away all blood from sight.
"Don't be so melodramatic. It wasn't that bad, was it?"
He got to his feet once more and steadily hugged her, the jadeblood's eyes opening wide in surprise.
"I didn't want to kill him. I didn't want to kill. I-I still remember everything."
She...hadn't expected that.
The jade put her rage aside and comforted him. "It-It's in the past."
"News has spread about your presumed demise, Dolorosa." Darkleer said calmly, pouring the two some pale green tea, the steam rising through the cold air and collecting at the ceiling.
"I see..." The Dolorosa muttered thoughtfully, her head ducking behind the chipped mug as she took a long sip, tasting one of the first hot drinks she had in over a lifetime. It was bitter and herbal, and she had to restrain herself lest she forget her manners after all those sweeps.
"All I need now is a change in identity. Any suggestions?"
"You are a jadeblood," He suggested "You could always return to the caverns under an alias."
"No." She said grimly, clutching her cup with shaking hands. "I could never go back there."
"Exactly. I still can remember his cute little face...his beady red eyes..."
"Was it difficult to raise him?" He enquired, feeling a need for a change in subject.
"A little." She reminisced "But he was a good, kind boy. He had a temper though; one time we were picking fruit and I let him climb a tree, and he cried for hours because he was scared of heights but wouldn't let me help him down!" She put her hand to her mouth and giggled, Darkleer smiling a little at see one of the trolls who scorned his nightmares so calm.
"How did the rest of your band join together, with the olive and yellowblood?"
"The psionic was one of the slaves we set free, and the Disciple," She smiled reflexively, looking down at her mug "As soon as she saw him she pounced and dragged him to her cave. After the three hours it took to find him, he was sitting on a fur rug drinking tea while trying to deny her offers of dead animals." This time Darkleer laughed.
"After all these sweep, I've wondered," Her tone was more sombre, and her smile died down. "Why spare her?"
"P-pardon?" He said nervously, gripping his greyed mug.
"Why spare her, and not my son?"
"I...her eyes. They were so desperate, like a wounded animal. They-they were pleading for me. I could see the eyes of every troll I have ever harmed in the few glimpses I had of her."
"I see..." She placed her cup down and stood up, her chair scraping against the floor. "Well I must be going, it would be rude to stay any longer."
"No no stay, I insist!" Darkleer persuaded "You need to rest and gather yourself."
"I will be fine. I think I will float on some wood through the ocean until I find a ship, I can survive without food for a while."
"What about when you are found? Then what?"
"Then I shall play an innocent victim. 'Oh, how hungry I am.'" She whined mockingly, dropping one of her tattered sleeves to expose more of her neck and chest, widening her jade eyes. "'What is this lonely jadeblood to do? I would do anything for some food and water!'"
"And then?" The corners of her mouth pointed up into a smile, revealing her fangs.
"I kill them. Drinking their blood and taking the ship."
"I-" Darkleer composed himself in his chair. "I wish you luck, Dolorosa."