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Empirical

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Running and hiding is said to be the coward’s way out, and yet who’s the one lying dead on the sand? Certainly not you. Scared, yes, but still very much alive. Your breathing is shaky, now that you are in the clear. They’re gone. You’re safe.

Your name is Meenah Peixes, and you are a young seadweller, born of the utmost royalty there is. You are an heiress, a princess in line for the throne. Low bloods would fall at your feet in reverence. And yet, I'm being forced to fight like a woofbeast for some schmucks I don't even know... Slowly, you uncurl your your legs from under your chin, crawling towards the entrance of your hiding spot, a small crack in the rocks far below the ocean surface. You chose it, thinking that only someone who was specifically looking for it could find it, but with two combative rivals coming into this area, you feel as though you may have overestimated its security. It doesn't feel like chance had brought them here, but you're not keen on staying to find out if that was true. Besides, staying in one place wouldn't exactly be the smartest strategy to follow, not when you would be a sitting quackbeast should someone find you.

Peeking outside the mini cavern, the world around you is vast and colorful, charming to say the least, but to you, this place is your bleak watery hell. It only brings you distress and instills fear of the unknown. You’ve never been able to take the time to enjoy much. Every second spent down in the oceans of Alternia is a risk, but on land, you would be at an even bigger disadvantage. Ironically, that’s where you know you will eventually have to travel to. There is no avoiding nor escaping from the Coronation Trials. The waterlogged corpse lying on their grave confirms it, rich tyrian blood gently oozing out and diluting in the water. It’s a grotesque and harsh reality you must endure. As if the trials you went through as a grub weren’t enough.

You check your surroundings for any immediate dangers, and when you find none, you hesitantly make your way to the body. This heiress seemed to be an adult, fully grown and capable of massive damage. It's her gold jewelry that makes you vaguely nauseous. None of them are exactly the same color, some of them with varying symbols. These are little trinkets taken from previous victories. The victor of this battle must have taken her tiara as most tend to do. This practice is very common amongst your kind, meant to boast and strike fear into others. Trolls with several pieces of gold were not to be messed with. The idea of being feared and left alone for once is alluring enough that you stoop down and grab one of the bracelets yourself, ignoring the feeling of cold flesh beneath your fingertips. With a bit of wiggling, it comes right off and weighs heavy in your hands. You're not sure if it's because of the gold itself or knowing that someone else was culled for this bracelet. Studying your new treasure, you slide it onto your wrist. It's a tad too big for you now, but it makes you feel slightly better. You consider taking another, but you don't want to weigh yourself down. It's best to keep it light.

Satisfied with being equipped with your first, albeit unfairly acquired, token, you wade back into your makeshift hive. You’ll have to wait until it’s closer to day, a time when most trolls are keeping themselves out of the harsh sun’s rays. You’ll most likely be safe then. Hopefully. It’s been a whole perigee since you were forced to flee from your home, and you miss your lusus terribly. Even though it never really showed much interest in you, at least there you would be safe. You hope that they ate enough to last you until you can be reunited, whenever that will be if at all. 

The thought of death is off-putting to you, but it’s the entirety of your life. You just want to live forever and never have to deal with this anxiety ever again. Or at least live to see your next wriggling day, if that isn't too much to ask for. You’ll be six sweeps by then. It’s a miracle that you’ve even made it this far in life, though it helped that for most of your life, you lived in complete isolation. Unfortunately, that means at the beginning of your journey, you also knew considerably less than your rivaling heiresses. Even now, you barely know how to use your trident other than to stab a few wild lusii with it, and you can’t see yourself using it to kill a troll. But she wants you to.

Absentmindedly, you run your thumb over the mark on your wrist, burned into your skin by Her thin white wand. Her symbol is embedded there to remind you of the suicide mission She wants you to go on.

Kill the empress. Take her crown. Reign.

You tried to tell Her that there is no killing to be done at the Coronation Trials. Every few sweeps, any and all heiresses are formally invited to a tournament, with the end goal of being able to take on the current empress in battle. It’s a fair fight to the very end, and should the empress be bested, the winning heiress is crowned and hailed as the new queen of Alternia. There has never been blood shed on those floors. Ever.

Of course, that’s not all there is to it. Within the pristine halls of the palace, there is undoubted justice and honor, but outside of them, trolls always show their true colors and intentions. Murdering the competition behind the scenes is all too common, and everyone willingly turns a blind eye to it. What’s more is that both high and mid bloods flock there to observe, treating the Coronation Trials as some sort of celebration, albeit with equally corrupt ulterior motives. Though it’s never said outright, there are often bets, bribes, and ultimately interference. The perks of being so small is that you’re able to hide better and overhear these things. You’ve learned a thing or two from blabbermouths after all this time, but you also know that you will never be in anyones favor.

You’re a runt after all. No one will want to support you nor place a single bet. Surely, you will be the first to lose in battle, shadowed enough by the others, only to be slaughtered in silence. Who would even know you were gone? But She made it clear that you would rise above all and claim the glory of the crown, though, She never said how. She never answers your questions directly, if at all. It’s frustrating, but sometimes, you’re not really sure if you want to know what She really wants from you. The world of adult trolls frightens you. One more glance at the dead body sends a shiver down your spine. Will you have blood on your hands one day too? Your palms are so tiny and small. You’re scared of the future.