Chapter 1: The Beginning
So, you wish to know more about them? The unwitting slaves and (for the most part) ignorant pawns that I allow to exist for the sole reason that they will one day aid in the begetting of my master in this continuum? You want to know how they evolved as a kind? How they crawled from the deepest cracks and crevices of their murderous planet into the moonlight like the wretched maggots that they pretend that they aren’t?
I do apologize for my harsh words on the subject. When you have been watching them as long as I have, been guiding them in oh so subtle ways and pointing them in the right direction (in relation to my own ends) just so that they believe that it was their idea all along to go in that direction, you would hold a certain amount of disdain for them as well. Not to say that they don’t surprise you in ways that, at first, seem redeemable and make them look like something greater than more meat to throw into the grinder that is Paradox Space. They grow on you the same way that they irritate you.
Anyhow, I do believe that I have become sidetracked. Rather than letting you see their story for yourself, you will just have to settle for my point of view on the matter. And while I never lie, of course, (why would I when all of this has already been said and done?) I still can’t risk a certain “Windy Boi” seeing this and preempting certain events that could lead to a less than favorable outcome (for me and my master, that is). So you will simply have to deal with the occasional omission. “But a lie of omission is still a lie!” I can hear you already saying with my non existent ears, to which I reply “What makes you think that you are entitled to this information in the first place? Remember, I am telling this to you because I am in a particularly generous mood at the moment.
So don’t push your luck. You will take the bits and pieces that I give you and, in turn, you will be grateful.”
Now that that is out of the way, where would you like to begin? I ask this question as a courtesy, of course, because the obvious answer is the “Beginning”. I place that already dubious word in quotations because where can one find a beginning in Paradox Space? So in this temporal context, the beginning shall be the beginning of Troll culture. This point will have to do, unless you want me to go into excruciating evolutionary detail about the first seeds sprouting from Alternia’s spiteful soil, or how the aforementioned maggots climed from the guts of her vast underground caverns to gaze upon the stars in astonishment, only to be burned away by The Sun.
As you can guess, the brutality of Alternia’s harsh climate, crushing gravity, and brutal life forms will breed a people who hold strength, power, and durability at a premium. As you can also guess (if you are familiar to evolutionary theory) they all share a common ancestor. This common ancestor would be what the Trolls call the Mother Grub. The mother of all other castes would be the Mothers of all Trollkind: the Jade Bloods.
From the caverns they crawled. Onto the surface they explored. And as a people shape the land over the course of a few measly centuries, the land shapes a people over the course of countless (countless for most people who aren’t me, that is) millennia.
With the possibly obvious exception of yours truly, there is no such thing as a perfect organism. There cannot naturally be a “one size fits all” species. If there is a species that “grows up” in the forest, then the environmental pressures of that environment will forge that species into an organism that is “perfect” for a forest setting. So when you take that forest creature and place it in a desert environment, it will most definitely die in a short while. Keep in mind that I used the word “naturally”. I do not mean to insinuate that most of the traits that the Trolls developed are in anyway natural. Most of them only have such spectacular abilities because those are simply the only abilities that would stick when I threw them at their genetic code, so to speak.
Such as the ability to contact the spirits of the dead, for example. What environmental pressure would promote such an ability? Obviously, it would be beneficial to raise a dead Troll’s spirit and ask how it died so that you may avoid the same fate, but how did it get there in the first place? I’m sure that the Burgundy Trolls have their myths about a divine being granting them the ability at the behest of their departed ancestors so that they may learn from the mistakes of ages past, but no, twas only me. You would be surprised how close their souls already were to the energies that permeate the matters of life and death. All they needed was a little push.
Now, let me assure you: not all of the Troll’s magnificent abilities are a result of my meddling. The ridiculous strength held by the Indigo Bloods? Purely a result of spending their lives hollowing out mountains, moving stone, swinging hammers, and building. If a group of people did these things for hundreds (or even thousands) of generations, you will doubtlessly see a marked increase in their overall physical strength.
Ah, I seem to be running short on time at the moment. If you’d like, you may come back another time for a more in- depth review of these stories. Perhaps I shall share them to you the same way I shared their current military roles? Yes, I think that would be fitting. The Burgundy caste shall be our next topic of lecture. Now, if you will excuse me, I must show someone a certain webcomic.
Until next time.
Chapter 2: The Inquisitive Burgundies
The Burgundies. The so called “Rust Bloods”. Now these are some of the most inquisitive creatures that I have seen, and the most outgoing. It seems as though (due to their pitifully short lifespans) they try to fit ten days of life into every day they live. I remember the first Jade Bloods (that would become Rust Bloods) climb out of Alternia’s endless underground caverns and into the light of the twin moons (This would not be the first time I’ve seen this particular event occur. But this is Alternia’s history I’m lecturing about, not Beforus’). These were more a kind of “proto- troll”. They were not fully Trolls yet, but they were fairly close.
They traveled farther from the caverns than any other. It was them who discovered that The Sun meant certain death. It was them who travelled at night to simply look at all the new things above ground. Later, they would realize that the green fluid secreted from the Mother Grub could counteract the effects of The Sun. By slathering themselves with the slime, they could traverse the surface even in broad daylight....to a degree, at least. Their makeshift sunscreen can keep The Sun’s wrath from cooking them until they find a shady spot to ride out the day or return to the caverns they came from.
Eventually they built underground abodes away from the caverns. These were originally meant to be checkpoints where early explorers would restock on such things as food and slime, while at the same time providing a place to stay the day. As time went on, more and more trolls moved to these locations and started constructing simple huts around the underground structure. These would be the first villages where trolls would live above ground permanently. Through their travels, they were able to observe that The Sun had little effect on the trees and plants of the surface. It is because of these solar resistant properties that the proto- Burgundies were able to build above-ground structures from them.
Unfortunately, the slime they used to cover themselves in order to survive in The Sun did not protect them completely. While they were able to hold a basic (albeit, flimsy) grasp on craftsmanship to make clothes that can stave off The Sun’s heat (by curing and soaking them in the cooling slime), it did not completely stop The Sun from wreaking havoc on their bodies. Some of the older explorers would develop conditions similar to skin cancer in humans. So there were still risks that came with prolonged excursions into new territories.
After a few thousand years, there were noticeable deviations from the original Proto-Troll form. The rate of mutation in trolls is much higher than that of humans. If you were an immortal being with limitless patience, you would see these mutations occur relatively rapidly. The color of their blood would change and their lifespans would shorten. They would also develop telekinesis from their innate psychic abilities. Psychic abilities are a common trait among most organisms on Alternia. This is how grubs and younger Trolls are able to subconsciously “imprint” on an otherwise hostile animal that they call a Lusus.
So there they were, just beginning to settle down into a scattered web of villages and farms connected by roving caravans of Proto-Bronze trolls (more on them later), then I decided to intervene. Do understand: I didn’t change much about them, I simply built on what was already there. Made them more durable, stabilized their genome to keep them as “Rust Bloods”, etc. With the addition of being able to call out to the spirits of the dead. This was an important cultural development for them. Being able to speak with the first, long dead explorers, to commune with dead travelers and receive their warnings of what killed them, and lay to rest the restless spirits of vengeful and bitter trolls. One use that momentarily took me by surprise was the way they utilized this power for battle. They would gather a group of spirits about themselves and send them to tear the target to ribbons.
Though they were getting the hang of woodworking. It was not until they made contact with the Indigo Bloods of the mountains that they would make the many stone structures that dot the landscape. These were temples where the remains of the most experienced adventurers would be kept. One temple might have adventurers who were skilled in cartography. Another might have trolls who were skilled in survival. There were other skills and trades that could be taught as well, anything from woodworking to stonecutting. If there was a skill or trade that would help a Burgundy troll find their way on the surface, there was a temple dedicated to that skill. Burgundy trolls would go to these locations to seek out the wisdom of their ancestors and receive advice from hundreds of adventurers. The role these temples held was somewhat like that of an academy. A group of young trolls would go to these places and learn any skill they wished, along with the added benefit of Burgundies being able to practice their Necromantic abilities.
These temples were not exclusive to the Burgundy Trolls. Any troll seeking to learn from the old masters of any trade could come seek knowledge, and any troll from any caste could arrange for their remains to be brought to a temple to teach future generations.
It wasn’t until the Sea-Dwellers came that a Temple of War was founded, for what little good it did.
Chapter 3: The Farstriding Bronze Trolls
The wandering nomads and the kind farmers. In the early days, they connected the Burgundy villages and helped keep them supplied with food, slime, and other resources.
Originally they would accompany the Proto-Burgundies to their underground outposts to bring extra supplies. These surplus supplies would be used to restock the adventurers that visit. They would improve their load capacity when they advanced in leatherwork to make packs and bags. And when Proto-Burgundy and Bronze trolls started settling in villages, it was the Proto-Bronze trolls that discovered the concept of agriculture. They were the ones who promoted the organized growth of edible plants to acquire more food, and were also the first to experiment with animal husbandry (that extended beyond their relationship with their Lusii). It is with these two trades of agriculture that the Bronze Trolls made themselves responsible for most of the food production in this Neolithic era. Although, an important invention that allowed them to safely travel the vast expanses of the surface would be the wagon.
When they made contact with the Indigo Bloods, they were able to trade crops and meat raised on their farms for materials like nails and metal bands to construct their wagons and carts. They used solar resistant plant fibers to weave lightweight coverings (which was soaked in slime, of course) for their wagons so that they could travel during the daytime. A human would find them reminiscent of those canvas covered carts used on the Oregon Trail. From the cover of their wagons, they could have beasts of burden pull their supply laden cart farther and farther away from the Caverns wether it be day or night. Oftentimes, when a new village was established, the Bronze Trolls would be the ones to transport any other trolls who would want to move to these frontier villages. After there were a certain number of villages, they also took up the role of tradestrolls. Where they would trade for different goods in their convoys, traveling from place to place. They could trade anything from tools, maps, food, slime, etc. They were the lifeblood of many villages.
There were others that took to living in the wilderness. These individuals would develop the ability to commune with animals. They would spend most of their time meditating in forests under a tree, caring for any animals they came across, communing with nature, and so on. With this many overly companionate Bronze Trolls taking care of so many animals combined with a Troll’s innate psychic abilities, it was not long before many of them developed the ability to truly communicate with animals. This made them by far the safest traveling companions. You would not have to worry about any wild beast attacking you on your journeys. If the Bronze troll you were traveling with was experienced enough, they could turn around any wild beast that is about to attack you and command them to leave. Or they could call upon any of the dangerous fauna around them (something dangerous is always bound to be within spitting distance on Alternia) to aid in driving off any bandits you would encounter.
Along with this network of trade, they made plenty of friends with those of other castes. They transported adventurers (most, but not all, were of the Burgundy variety) from place to place, they traded food and other resources for metal products and fertile volcanic soil with the Indigo Mountain Lords, a number of caravans hosted Mind Honey beehives (with a Gold Blood Beekeeper, of course), exchanging different products to the Olive Bloods (like metal hunting equipment made by the Indigo Mountain Lords) for safe passage through their forests, you get the idea. As with the Lime Bloods, the Bronze Trolls had friends in every caste in almost every village.... on land, anyway.
When I came around, there was barely anything I could see upon which I could improve. Of course, I enhanced their abilities to commune with animals so that they could fully Command them. I also increased their baseline strength. Aside from those two, I simply stabilized their blood color.
Although, considering how one particular Bronze troll pupated with wings, I can’t help but feel as though my meddling in their genetic code was somewhat less than perfect. But I digress.
Not even the most ferocious of beasts they could summon would be enough to fight off the Sea-Dwellers.
Chapter 4: The Golden Powerhouses of Alternia
The early ancestors of the Gold bloods came across the Bees soon after the first forays onto the surface. They were also the first to taste the honey that the bees produced, and quickly discovered it’s effects on their psychic abilities. Of course, when the first trolls tasted the mind honey, only a few survived the power surge that followed. Those survivors continued tasting minute amounts of the mind honey for the power it granted them. Then their descendants kept tasting (and likewise, surviving) for millennia. Eventually, they mutated with powerful telekinetic abilities that could only be described as Ψonics.
Please, do not make the mistake of comparing the telekinesis possessed by the Burgundy caste to the Ψonic powers of the Gold bloods. That would be similar to comparing a firecracker to a nuclear warhead. They may have the same manner of functioning, but one is clearly more powerful than the other. As I stated before while describing their military roles: some Gold Bloods were powerful enough (even without mind honey) to shake bedrock.
These abilities came in handy out on the surface. As a consequence of evolving so close to creatures as dangerous as the Bees, most other blood castes tended to avoid them (to a degree). As such, the Proto-Gold trolls had to face the dangers of the surface (for the most part) alone. This meant facing off against vicious beasts (that also had mind honey as a staple of their diet) without the aid of the other castes. This also meant plenty of opportunities to practice their Ψonic powers in a life or death scenario.
Over the following millennia, the Proto-Gold trolls would learn more about the Bees to a degree where they would be somewhat tame if there was a Beekeeper around, and grow into their increasingly powerful abilities. Among them, leaders arose. These leaders would be some of the most powerful Ψonics to exist. They led their own tribes centered around the Bees and their keepers who would supply the mind honey to further empower them. Some of these tribes saw fit to leave their various locales and travel abroad to learn of the other troll castes. They quickly made friends with the Burgundy explorers who would regularly explore Gold Blood territory and speak with them. Through the Burgundy explorers, they would also come into contact with the Bronze trolls. And, likewise, through them, the whole of the fledgling Troll society was open to them.
The ones that settled in villages found decent work in helping defend settlements from bandits and hostile animals. Those that sought to travel with the Bronze trolls helped in loading and unloading carts, clearing new trails, and defending caravans. In these caravans, some Beekeepers would raise a hive and have their Bees produce mind honey from the many kinds of plants they came across in their travels. Some chose to work with the Indigo Mountain Lords and utilize their Ψonic powers to aid them in their production of metallic goods. In exchange for their services, some Mountain Halls agreed to host a Beehive and a Beekeeper to further boost productivity.
These tasks are but a few among many others that the Gold Bloods found themselves undertaking on the Surface. Their augmentations were somewhat harder to cook up. There was already precious little I could improve upon (aside from stabilizing their blood color, of course). But the ability that stuck when I started tampering with their genome was a phenomenon usually known as Vision n-fold. This granted them a.... shall we call it, “sight beyond sight”. Depending on the value of “n” in their Vision n-fold (if they have this gift to begin with), a Gold Blood’s “sight beyond sight” will differ from individual to individual.
Suffice it to say, the Gold Bloods also found a niche in the fledgling troll society as minor prophets and fortune tellers. Diviners, some would say, or seers (before you start, I do not mean -that- kind of Seer). Some could see rainfall before the clouds even formed, some could hear the voices of the imminently deceased, while others still could send their minds out and see the happenings of places hundreds of miles away. Naturally, this did not come without consequences. There have been cases where a Gold Blood Troll has had a....glitch in their Ψonic mutation that caused them to be.... a Void for energy, rather than a shining beacon. This condition would come to be known as Void Rot. Where if the afflicted individual was not supplied a regular amount of energy, they would rot from the inside out and die. I am sad to say (sad for my lack of ability to perform perfect genetic manipulation) that this would be an ongoing occurrence through the rest of their history.
But even with their foresight, none of them could have seen that which awaited beneath the sea. And even with their awesome powers, they would only barely have what it takes to stem the tide (even if it was only for a short while).
Chapter 5: The Auspicetizing Lime Bloods
The Lime trolls were everyone’s best friends. The reason why there were so few bandits in those early days was due to the innate psychic ability within Lime Bloods to negate the aggression in other trolls. They were one of the reasons that the Trolls advanced so quickly from simple stone-aged explorers to a smattering of Neolithic villages found far and wide. They tempered the hostilities between bickering villages, castes, individual Trolls, etc. No matter the squabble, the Lime Bloods kept the peace. The only reason that there were bandits in the first place is because there were so few Lime Bloods. There weren’t always enough of them to calm everyone. In spite of their rarity, they could be found almost anywhere. In a Bronze caravan, a Burgundy adventuring party, in the Halls of the Indigo Mountain Lords, etc. Wherever there might be conflict, a Lime Blood would be there to smooth things over.
With so many conflicts ending before they even began, Trolls were able to focus more on exploration and learning about their world. As stated before, this allowed them to advance at an almost meteoric rate. Due to these abilities, there was nothing else I did to them aside from stabilizing their blood color. I already knew their fate, there was no point in meddling with their genome when they were all destined for death. Indeed, were it not for my intervention, things would have gone much the same as they did on Beforus: all the Blood Castes working in harmony to ensure a brighter future for all, with those higher on the Hemospectrum watching over those below them. As you can guess, this did not happen on Alternia.... later on, at least.
By that time, the surface was fairly peaceful (by Alternian standards). Most of the inhabitants having a nocturnal lifestyle, with the most activity seen in the daytime was travel between the various villages. Farms were flourishing, culture and rudimentary technology was advancing, and (mostly) everyone was looking out for each other and getting along quite swimmingly. Mostly because of the cohesion and peace that was afforded by the Lime Bloods.
They were all living in (relative) harmony, but everything changed when the Sea-Dwellers attacked.
Chapter 6: The Reclusive Olive Bloods
The Olive Trolls were particularly difficult to keep an eye on. The caves that this wily caste originated from were usually either near or within vast forests and jungles. This being Alternia, the arboreal animals in these places proved to be their own special flavor of mean and nasty. Silently stalking their prey waiting for an opportunity to strike, all the while avoiding the natural defenses of said prey like horns and scales. For a long time, the newly emerged Proto-Trolls proved to be some of the easiest prey for these predators, having not yet spent enough time on the surface to Imprint on a lusus from the surface. They had to rely on their senses and each other in order to avoid these predators.
Eventually, there were a few wrigglers who came out of the caves that were able to psychically imprint on these animals. Through these new lusii a new door was opened, so to speak, to methods of living on the surface for these Proto-Olive trolls. Their dangerous lusii were able to teach these young trolls how to survive in the wild; how to hunt the most dangerous prey, how to move without making a sound, how to fight for their territory, etc. These new skills combined with their newly forming pack-mentality, meant that they were quickly becoming the apex predators of their wooded biomes. When they met the first Burgundy explorers at the borders of their forests, they were.... less than welcoming.
You see, the Proto-Olive Bloods were extremely territorial in those early days, so the first explorers to unknowingly trespass on the borders of the forests were almost immediately hunted down and either driven away from the forests or killed outright. It wasn’t until the Lime Bloods entered the scene much later that they were able to curb the Olive Blood’s aggression towards outsiders.
Though that does not mean they fully trusted them. So long as the explorers entering their forests stuck to the paths made by the Olive tribes that dwelt within (paths that were a long ways away from any important hunting grounds), they would be able to traverse their territory unmolested. Only a few trusted individuals were allowed to walk off of the beaten path and explore the deeper parts of the forest. With an escort, of course.
Eventually, the Olive Bloods opened up enough to send a few of their number out into the world and see what all of this “society” kerfuffle was about. The first ones to travel from the forests were brought to the wider world via Bronze trolls and escorted to nearby villages. Needless to say that many were quite impressed. They could trade meat, pelts, plants, and other commodities that could only be found in the forests at the time for any number of things. Metal hunting equipment, wider varieties of food, medicine, and more were now all at their fingertips. Later on, they allowed trading caravans to pass through their territory. Likewise, the Olive Bloods were brought to other forests and jungles that were too dangerous to enter and made them safer to travel. In turn, they made these tamed areas their own, increasing their territory.
Not long afterwards, the forests claimed by this caste would be some of the safest places to traverse. They kept the number of dangerous predators culled to an acceptable minimum, they made sure there were no bandits squatting in their forests, and the things they did to the poachers that trespassed on their hunting grounds.... are best not said here. They took those kinds of things personally. They may have been the apex predators of their environment, but they had respect for their prey. Whatever they killed was used completely. Blood, bones, tendons, meat, hides, everything. Nothing was wasted. To waste something that died so that the Olive Bloods could live would be a grave insult to the spirit of their prey.
The changes I made to them included heightening their senses to the point that they could paint an almost perfect three-dimensional picture of their immediate surroundings. The average range that an Olive Blood could perform this was just over 120 meters. An interesting side note is that it seemed my meddling did not go unnoticed by them. When I started....acquiring....individuals to forcefully evolve, they started spreading rumors and stories about a Man of Blank Words. A man stalking the forests looking for children who would wander too far from the pack, moving unseen even by some of the best trackers and hunters.
Suffice it to say, I was quite surprised when it was I who was now being stalked. Every strange occurrence, every odd sighting of my handmaid, everything that couldn’t be attributed to a natural cause was thoroughly investigated by a select few hunters. I had to move extra carefully after my encounters with the Olive Bloods. Even to this day, there are always one or two Olive Bloods that have some inkling of my existence and my role in their history.
The Lelo tribe was particularly troublesome to avoid. They were the ones who first discovered me. They were the ones that discovered that I dwelt in the Green Moon. They are the ones who hunt me to this day.
It didn’t surprise me that they seemed to be the only caste that was fully prepared for war (aside from the Indigo Mountain Lords) when the Sea-Dwellers came.
Chapter 7: The nurturing Jade Trolls
Where would the other castes be if it weren’t for their Mother Caste? While the other soon-to-be-castes wondered off onto the surface, the Jade Trolls kept to their duties by the Mother Grub’s side. While others would take the slime secreted by the Mother Grub to travel farther from her, the Jades would make sure that she would have enough sustenance to replace it. And as countless trolls died on the surface from any myriad of causes, there would always be a new wriggler that pupated into a troll.
Due to their role in early Alternian society, the Jades and the Mother Grub Caverns were the closest things that trolls considered to be Holy. The only danger that the Brooding caverns faced was from the absurdly frequent monster attacks. These monsters ranged from the fairly small ones that only raided the eggs and wrigglers, to hulking behemoths that would make a feast of the Mother Grub. As you can imagine, the Jades took great offense to these attacks on their charges and dealt with these monsters quite harshly. The monsters they killed would be butchered into several parts and scattered around the entrances to the Brooding Caverns (preferably the same ones used by the offending monster) as a deterrent to other would-be invaders.
As the millennia passed (and the Proto-Troll explorers deviated more and more from the original Jade form), the newly emerging castes kept contributing their genetic material to the Mother Grub, who in turn expedited the formation of the separate castes. But the only ones that did not change were the Jades. Well.... Proto-Trolls I should say.... there were a few stages to their evolution before my intervention:
First there were the proto-trolls, aka the proto-Jades.
Then there were the proto castes. The not-quite-trolls-that-were-also-not-Jade-trolls.
After that came my intervention where the more defined blood colors you see on the hemospectrum today came to be.
Now, I truly cannot tell you the sheer magnitude of my surprise as to how much tampering their genetic codes could take before they met their limits. Out of all the castes on Alternia, they were among some of the most.... changed. Though, to a lesser degree. A vast majority of Jade Bloods were given the ability to walk in the Daylight without negative repercussions (unless you count glowing in the dark a negative), the others were the Rainbow Drinkers. Able to regenerate from even the most dire wounds, faster than even a Subjugglator’s eye could follow, and more than enough strength to match. They truly were one of the most dangerous castes on Alternia, but they faithfully kept to the Mother Grub’s side through the millennia to keep her and her grubs safe.
With protection from the Rainbow Drinkers and the other Jades (who were a force to be reckoned with in their own right), none would even imagine attempting to bring harm to any who resided in the Brooding Caverns. They were the few truly safe havens in the entirety of Alternia. They provided shelter for trolls who were presenting their genetic material to the Mother Grub, fugitive bandits seeking reformation and redemption from their nefarious ways, or even places of healing for trolls who are grievously injured or sick. The Brooding Caverns were the first thing that trolls had in place of hospitals or clinics.
These were so integral to the formation of Ancient Alternia, that the Burgundy Trolls built Temples of Healing to store the remains of those who took care of their fellow trolls. Combine that with the knowledge of anatomy and physiology gathered from the Teal caste, the healing capabilities of the Jade caste (or anyone who studied medicine for that matter) were miraculous! for that time period, that is.
But when the Sea Dwellers came, even the largest caverns would be full to the brim with the injured and those seeking refuge. And even the most patient of the Jade Mothers would reach the end of their compassion for those who have harmed so many of their children. And even the Sea Dwellers themselves would find reason to not only pause, but to cease their onslaught altogether, for a time, when the Rainbow Drinkers were given leave to punish them. For what force in nature could be more terrible than a mother’s wrath?
Chapter 8: The Studious Teal Bloods
The Teal Bloods were almost as inquisitive as the Burgundies. So naturally, when the Burgundy explorers came back with stories of what they saw, it was the Teals (or proto-teals, depending on the time period) that looked deeper into what the Burgundies found and studied it. They were the earliest form of scholars that Alternia had. It may have been the Burgundy caste that discovered which plants were edible and which plants weren’t, and it may have been the Bronze trolls that organized farms for the mass production of these crops, but it was the Teals that discovered the best ways to grow them.
They studied the soil, experimented with different kinds of soil, soil ph, how much they should be watered, selective pollination of the plants that produced more food, and many other things that go into raising better crops for a fledgling population of Neolithic Trolls. And that was just for plant husbandry. There were others who studied the movement of the stars in the night sky to make maps so the Burgundy explorers could find their way on the surface more quickly. They were the first to propose making huts from the surrounding trees and plants due to their solar-resistant qualities so that they could live on the surface in the daytime.
If there was something that had even a single question lingering around it, a Teal Blood would study that something until the question was answered. They were the early naturalists that ruthlessly applied the Scientific Method to everything they came across, wether it be animal, vegetable, mineral, or anything in between and beyond.
And not too long after the Burgundy Trolls started building their Temples, it was the Teals that made the first written language of Alternia. Through the written language, they were able to inscribe the teachings of the old masters of trade to bring their knowledge beyond the Temples. For while there were a fair few Temples, there was nowhere near enough space in them to go around for everyone. So the books and scrolls that were shared from these Temples went to smaller institutions of learning throughout various territories. And it was in these institutions (which were founded when a reasonable degree of general safety and resource security was reached) that children could focus more on learning about their world rather than fighting every waking second for survival.
The teachers in these Proto-Schools were much more often than not a Teal troll. It was they who were the clerks, and the librarians. When currency was invented, it was them who were the bankers and the “bookies” of the trading caravans. When a system of law was made, it was the Teals who wrote them in conjunction with the other castes and built on it.
Now, I do not mean to insinuate that this insofar description of the Teals envelopes all of them. There were those who took up the sword, so to speak, to become the official guards of those caravans that traversed the roads between villages and of the villages themselves. They organized the first Standard Guard that kept the peace and upheld the law that they wrote. Though the vast majority of the Standard Guard were Teals, there were many trolls from other castes that were accepted into their rank. Burgundy Necromancers, Gold Blood Ψionics, Olive Hunters, Lime Emissaries, and even a few Indigo Knights. With their combined powers, specializations, and skills, it was not long before the particularly large bandit crews that survived in the wild faded into memory just as quickly as the Golden Age of Piracy of the Caribbean did.
I believe that out of all the castes, the Teals had the least that I could improve upon. Aside from stabilizing their blood color, the most I did was improve their memory and increase the rate at which their brains burn through glucose thus allowing them to be able to think and process information faster.
Even with this united front, the time bought by the Rainbow Drinkers, the wisdom afforded by the Temples of War, and all the knowledge in all of their libraries.... it was never going to be enough to truly defeat the Sea Dwellers.
Chapter 9: The Versatile Cerulean Trolls
The Cerulean caste didn’t have all that much going for them before I intervened. Aside from their blood color, they weren’t too much different from the Burgundies, Teals, or the Jades. They were more of a Jack-of-all-trades manner of caste. There were some who joined the Standard Guard, some became scholars alongside the Teals, others were explorers of renown to rival some Burgundies, and others still took up the trade of craftsmanship and artistry with the Indigo Mountain Lords.
They served a myriad of roles throughout a number of positions in early Troll society for centuries. Unfortunately this also included them in a number of bandit crews. While the majority of the Cerulean trolls were working with their fellow trolls, they were only a majority by a slim margin. The rest were usually the leaders or high ranking members of large bandit gangs that plagued the roads and wilderness between villages and settlements.
Of course, unless they were attempting to seek redemption from their wicked ways, they were never allowed back into the Brooding Caverns for the slime that allowed trolls to wander the surface for short times during the day. So they would have had to either steal the slime from caravans and villages, or spend the day in their camps and/or subterranean lairs they dug out. Before the formation of the Standard Guard, if there was a newly emerging settlement, the ones building it would have to be weary of the surrounding area they were preparing and be ready for an attack from these bandits.
Rather that build their own base of operations, it was a popular tactic to attack a settlement just as it was being completed. This way, there would be minimal effort in construction and they would also have a free base they could turn into a fortress. Not to say that these construction sites were lightly defended. The trolls building these settlements were no pushovers, the task of constructing a settlement was not a job for the weak of body, so laying siege to a settlement with the builders on site was not an undertaking for a small band of brigands.
A bandit crew would have to be well established with quite a few skilled fighters to take on a building crew. Even before the Standard Guard was formed, a building crew (that mainly consisted of Bronze Trolls) was frequently accompanied by Gold Blood Ψiionics, a number of Burgundy Necromancers, or even a small pack of Olive Hunters. If the settlement was being constructed within the territory of the Indigo Mountain Lords, there would be a single Knight to guard the building crew.
There were no bandit fortresses within Indigo territory.
One of their enhancements were quite similar to the Gold Bloods. It was a variation of the Vision n-fold. Though rather than sense the future or see events of far off places, they could see in incredible detail or even through objects, to a certain degree.
Another enhancement of which their genetic code was quite accepting was telepathy. Although the strength of this ability varied from individual to individual (as I mentioned when telling you of their military roles), the majority of Cerulean trolls had a fairly strong grasp on being able to control others, sense their thoughts, or sending and receiving messages.
After the Standard Guard was founded, almost all of the bandit attacks on caravans and villages stopped. Those that refused to go to the Brooding Caverns and redeem themselves before the Jade Mothers, either died at the hands of the Standard Guard or spent the rest of their days eking out a living on the surface with a small band of close comrades.
Centuries later, when the Sea-Dwellers came. It was these few vestiges of bandit crews who offered to aid them in return for riches.
The Sea-Dwellers made sure none of them would live to collect their payment.
Chapter 10: The Indigo Mountain Lords
The Old Mothers of the proto-Jade trolls warned their children of the dangers of the surface, but this did not stop the few who explored it. They also warned of the dangers of going too deep into the caverns with stories of mountains that were so hot that rock and stone flowed from them as though they were streams of water. The few proto-trolls that heard these stories grew more curious of the deep caverns where these streams of rock flowed.
They went to the mountains of liquid rock and beheld the inside of an active volcano. They looked upon the small sea of fire and followed the flows to where they cooled and discovered metal ore. This discovery happened at around the same time as the first soon-to-be-proto-Burgundy trolls would send their first few expeditions out onto the surface. And while they were exploring the surface, the Indigo Trolls would soon become the Indigo Mountain Lords.
With the aid of volcanic heat and a near-endless supply of easy-to-access metallic ores of a wide variety, they quickly uncovered the secrets of metallurgy. Carving smaller channels from the main streams of lava, they were able to make furnaces that held crucibles over these smaller streams. Taking the shiniest pieces of ore and smelting copper. Taking charcoal from the trees surrounding the mountains to use in the process of making steel. Refining chunks of lodestone to make magnets. Gold, silver, and copper were found in absurd quantities in these mountains.When tougher metals were discovered that required higher temperatures, they built larger furnaces over the larger streams of magma.
As more Indigo trolls came to them from the Mother Grub, they expanded their work and living spaces to house them all. Carving out more and more space for the newcomers and showing them the trade of metal working and stonemasonry. On and on this went until they had veritable cities within the hollowed out mountains that housed thousands of trolls. To keep the mountain from collapsing upon them, they used the excavated stone from their mining and spatial expansion to make gargantuan pillars throughout the mountain’s interior to hold up the ceiling.
Now, this being Alternia, a vast majority of the mountains on the surface are active volcanos. So when a group of Indigo trolls hollowed out a mountain, there was always another to move onto. Not that these migrations were very frequent, it would take centuries to fully convert a volcanic mountain into a Hollowed City. And when the conversion was done, they still had the magma flows to provide them with a constant, steady stream of materials.
After this process of hollowing was completed and when they had to rely on the magma flows, they would let the lava flow into a number of pre-carved basins in order to cool and harden to harness the materials. After the introduction of Gold Blood Ψiionics, the metal was separated from the magma before it cooled. This way, the pool of material could directly be used for either farming soil or stone for construction. To be clear, not all of their stone came from the lava in their mountains, there were many sections of land (not just mountains) where quarries were founded to harvest stone.
One of the traits that really set the Indigo Mountain Lords apart from the majority of other castes during the early days of their development was their technology. When all the other castes were relying on wood, bone, and flint, the Indigo Bloods already had medieval style technology with advanced engineering, metalwork, and stonemasonry. Before the Lime Emissaries convinced the Indigo Mountain Lords to open their doors and share their knowledge with the wider troll society, the Indigo trolls were living a reclusive, monastic lifestyle centered around perfecting their crafts. These crafts included metal working, engineering, artistry, and military training.
They were also the only caste to have an official, organized military. They used.... not -quite- the majority of their metal to make an -extremely- wide variety of weapons that can be used in a myriad of different situations, but it was quite close. There were many monstrous animals that lived on the surface that would find their way into the mountain caverns and cause all manner of problems. Therefore, not only was most of their metal used for weaponry, but also most of the stone that was excavated from the interior of the mountain (which was not only used for the interior pillars) was used for constructing the walls at the base of their mountains that separated them from the outside world. These massive walls that were made by the same stonemasons that made the great pillars would deter even the most ferocious monstrosities that dwelt on Alternia. Mostly due to the fact that the walls were frequently patrolled, and any patrol that came across a beast trying to break past the wall would cut down the offending beast immediately with a few well-placed arrows.
They were by far the easiest caste to alter. All I had to do (aside from stabilizing their blood color) was tweak the way their muscles developed, and their already stupefying strength from hundreds of generations of extreme labor increased tenfold. This slight change to how their muscles developed would make it easier for them to build up strength and endurance in a way that any notion of interference wouldn’t even be thought of. I went almost completely unnoticed. Operative word there being “almost”. By the time I got around to abducting individuals to forcefully evolve, a few certain Olive Hunters were already on my trail. As I previously mentioned: they took great offense to having these changes heaped upon them. The only reason I know this is because my Handmaid heard whispers from a privet meeting between the First Hunter of the Lelo tribe and the High Mountaineer of the Sagicer Mountain Range where they were discussing the already notable strength of the freshly pupated Indigo Bloods and their seemingly endless appetite for milk.
At first, the venerable old High Mountaineer was skeptical of the First Hunter’s claims. How could she not be? A being who comes in and out of existence at will to bestow powerful gifts to trolls? Even if such a thing existed, why would it be considered an enemy? The First Hunter then showed his findings from the Sea: a simple, waterlogged bone from the body of a troll.
The High Mountaineer nearly died from shock when the Necromancer on site questioned the spirit of said troll about the happenings in the Deep.... I’m truly ashamed of myself for this oversight in my awareness occur.
Given that this was entire millennia before the Sea-Dweller incursion, they had plenty of time to prepare for war. The heads of the other castes such as the Necromancers, Ψiionics, and Emissaries did not listen to them. They didn’t see it as a threat when the Emissaries alone could quell the raging tide of Troll aggression. This arrogance combined with my own subtle interference assured that they wouldn’t take this threat too seriously. There was always the route of vying for peace, after all. And those who believed couldn’t reveal what they knew to the wider population without exposing themselves as targets for my Handmaid. If only they weren’t so sure of their abilities....they would have been better prepared for what was to come. Not to say that the preparations and precautions taken by the Indigo and Olive castes made no difference, of course....
They only delayed the inevitable.
Chapter 11: The Dark Carnival
I am a first guardian.
My very being is powered my a star that is twice the mass of an entire universe. My power output can be measured in the yotajouls per planck of time. The scope of my power is nearly infinite. Only in that mindless void between sessions, universes, and narratives can I even hope to be slowed down. I can destroy entire realities with a mere thought.
The Horror Terrors of the Furthest Ring are unto gods as they are unto amoebas.
And I can slaughter them as easily as look at them....
But the ShitShows of the Dark Carnival -terrify- me.
The Purple Blooded Alternian Troll is the single thing in Continuity that truly shakes me to my core. Would you like to know the reason?
They are all completely natural.... as in: I had not part in the development of their so called “ChuckleVoodoos”. They are a thing that more or less manifested upon the surface of Alternia. I don’t know where they came from, because I did not see them anywhere whilst the Troll species was developing. And every time that I tried to go back in time to observe them, they would arise somewhere else. I have tried this tactic billions of times to no avail. They are a constant in reality by the will of.... something. And it is that something that makes these Purple -things- an abomination to me. I have seen the true scope of their power but a scarce few times in the hundreds of thousands of years that I’ve been watching them. I will not forget that first time, when a single Purple MadLad faced off against my Handmaid.
You see, when I could not at first discern their origin, I decided that it might be best to kill them all. They couldn’t be THAT important to my Master’s Arrival. So to test the waters, I sent my dear Handmaid to kill one. She did succeed.... but only just barely. To start, it took an obscene amount of power to teleport one of them to a secluded location for the battle.
Usually I can bend the fabric of space time as easily it would be for some people to breath. But with this subject, it was like trying to carry a sack of heavyweights uphill. It was almost as if something was trying to keep me from taking it. Then came the battle itself. My Handmaid thought it prudent to hide out of sight nearby to ambush and kill the thing quickly, but as soon as I teleported it to the location, it knew almost exactly where she was and immediately attacked her.
So began the battle, but every injury she inflicted on it (that would have obliterated any other troll) only seemed to spur it on to newer heights of frothing, joyous rage. The battle with this relatively sickly specimen lasted twelve days. By then, the bloodied, mutilated thing could barely even move, and my Handmaid was not fairing much better. The most it could do when my Handmaid went in to finish it off was try to snap at her with its teeth. And even as she dealt the final blow, it kept snapping its teeth at her and weakly claw at her arm as it was buried in its chest. It died smiling....
Keep in mind, this was only a single Purple Blood. A rather sickly one at that. And it put up such a fight that I have only seen one other battle so spectacular. One between a Thief of Light and the Invincible Demon she helped make.
But that’s another story.
For now, I’ll tell you of the most interesting part of that battle: the immediate aftermath.
Now, before I tell you about this, I must state that it is this event which makes the Purple Bloods an anathema to me. The event of Narrative being torn open at the seams and a pair of mannequin angels coming down to lift the Purple Troll’s lifeless corpse into the realm that can only be called the Dark Carnival. Before this occurred, I only viewed them as a mysterious nuisance; an unwelcome variable in my plans, but nothing to worry about too much. Afterwards however.... was not a pleasant time for me.... I don’t wish to talk about it.
After seeing that incomprehensible fuster cluck, I decided to avoid the Purple Bloods as much as possible. If a single Purple Blood was able to put up THAT much of a fight, then I shudder to think what a full ShitShow could do. All my machinations and schemes were to be carried out VERY far away from them. Not only because of the fact that they would cause innumerable problems for my plans, but also because I had the sneaking suspicion that they could actually sense me. Or, at least, the power that emanates from me and my Handmaid. Which is why that first Purple Blood was able to discern my Handmaid’s location so quickly.
There was a time not too long before the Sea-Dwellers came that a few of the Subjuggulators would ally themselves with the few Olive Hunters that knew of me. They each had their own reasons for finding me. The Olive Hunters so that they could hopefully avoid the fate gleaned from the Sea-Dweller spirit mentioned in the previous chapter, and the Subjuggulators see me as much an affront to the spirit of their Dark Carnival as I see them to be an affront on reality itself.
Before that, however, they usually kept to themselves. At times there would be a few dozen evangelists of the Dark Carnival who would go out to convert others to their ways. They would entice them with displays of such joyous frivolity and allow them to imbibe their “Wicked Elixer”. This beverage is actually fermented and refined from the slime that is secreted by the Mother Grub. As with most things concerning the Purple Bloods, how they discovered this is an anomaly to me. But I do know that it acts on them in a similar manner as the Mind Honey acts on the Gold Bloods, it acts to enhance their ChuckleVoodoos to an even more ludicrous level than they already are. Not that there’s any accurate metric by which to measure their power, you just get a general feel that they are MUCH more powerful after they’ve partaken in “The Most Dankest of the Hella Communions”.
Going back to their converts, most of them would usually be used as sacrifices to the Dark Carnival. I only have vague notions and half-formed theories as to why they do this. But after they have served, worshipped, and prayed for the majority of their lives, they would be sacrificed to the Dark Carnival. My working hypothesis is that the connection between reality and the Dark Carnival is maintained by the psychic energy that emanates from the prayers and sacrifices of trolls. I know that sounds half-baked, but I quite literally haven’t the slightest clue as to what the FUCK is going on with that. So think of it what you will.
Aside from their evangelical escapades and their occasional party in the wilderness, they mostly kept to themselves. They only really reached out to others when the Olive Hunters forged an alliance with them. As stated before, this happened just too late to make a difference. Because the Sea-Dwellers would have come to stake their claim to the world not too long afterwards.
Speaking of, I do not think the Sea-Dwellers by themselves would have had a chance against the combined might of the surface world. Had they not Gl’bgolyb at their disposal, they would have been routed after their first encounter with the Dark Carnival.
Instead, the Empress (not Her Imperial Condescension, but a distant ancestor) channeled Gl’bgolyb’s psychic might to overcome the ChuckleVoodoos of the ShitShows, and laid waste to the minds of the Purple Bloods themselves. Thus was gained their first foothold upon the surface. Thus was their momentum begotten that would carry them across half of the surface world before they encountered the Rainbow Drinkers.
And thus was the first Empress killed from trying to focus so much psychic energy from a Horror Terror of the Furthest Ring.
Chapter 12: The Guided Violet Bloods
The first Sea-Dwellers were an offshoot of the main troll species. They split off into more aquatic environments almost as soon a the proto-troll came to be. Their Mother Grubs making their homes in underwater grottos and seaside caves, they developed fins, gills, and (in some cases) bioluminescence. I will spare you the finer details of the benefits of living in the ocean when compared to living on the surface. But you should know how quickly the Sea-Dwellers managed to flourish in the seas.
Surprisingly, there weren’t nearly as many dangerous predators in the shallow waters of the coasts as there were on land. Though there were quite a few throughout the ocean, the shallows didn’t have the space to fit the Leviathan Abominations of The Deep. They were relatively free to roam in this environment. Another facet that helped them in their development was that the seawater refracted the sun’s light enough so that anything in the water wouldn’t die from exposure. So as long as they didn’t get too close to the surface, they wouldn’t cook like lobster in boiling water.
And with my personal tutelage, they were able to advance far faster than the Surface Dwellers. Knowing what was needed of them, I helped make sure that the rate of mortality for their young was almost non-existent. They would need the numbers to challenge the surface population.
I taught them all they could learn. Submarine architecture, physics, mathematics, biology, military tactics, how to fight, how to wage war, and so many other subjects. To prepare them for what was to come, I would set up wargames between different sections of the population. For knowledge without experience is almost useless. Although, to make sure there wouldn’t be any wasted lives, I made it so that the weapons used in these mock wars were non-lethal. They would hurt, but they wouldn’t kill.
You seem confused. Why would I personally let my presence be known to the wider Sea-Dweller population? So that I can guide them more effectively, of course. It wasn’t difficult to convince them I was a deity of some sort, come to guide them to prosperity and greatness in the mortal realm. Of course, this wasn’t a lie, I don’t lie. I was for all intents and purposes, a god unto them. I simply didn’t correct them that I was a First Guardian and what that meant.
To be clear, it’s not like I was holding their hands every step of the way. I only showed up every few decades to show them a new thing or two, maybe leave a few questions for them to ask themselves that hint at other concepts that would then lead to further advancement. By the time that the Surface Dwellers reached a medieval times level of advancement, the Sea-Dwellers have already mapped the majority of the ocean floor, developed advanced firearms, built modes of rapid transportation across the ocean, and telecommunication.
By the time that they were ready for the invasion of the Surface, they were more than a match for any science fiction adversary that one can imagine. Let alone a society that had only just discovered the steam engine. But their hubris in this belief would be their downfall in many important battles that would cost many lives on both sides.
As you can imagine, I didn’t really need to manipulate their genetic code all that much since I’ve been selectively presenting their genetic slurry to the mother grub for desirable traits since the dawn of their evolution. At most, I merely used mild gene therapy to stabilize their blood color.
The Violet Bloods can be considered as almost perfect. But true perfection dwells within another caste.
Chapter 13: The Fuchsia Rulers
The Fuchsia Troll is not a completely natural phenomenon. I know that might not be surprising to you since I’ve been explaining how I’ve been genetically manipulating almost every caste on the Hemospectrum, but this applies even more so to the Fuchsia Trolls than the others. It has to do with the Fuchsia Lusus, you see. Gl’bgolyb is, as I’m sure you already know, a Horror Terror of the Furthest Ring.
What I did was steal her away from her kin in the Furthest Ring and imprisoned her on Alternia. I then took a few samples of her physical being, fashioned it into a genetic code that was compatible to the Mother Grub, and sent it on its way. A hop, skip, and a jump in time later, and viola! A Fuchsia Grub was hatched. After which, I personally introduced her to Gl’bgolyb. While Gl’bgolyb was quite averse to being imprisoned on Alternia, she would continue to willingly stay to watch over the troll that she considered her own offspring.
Now that I didn’t have to keep an eye on Gl’bgolyb and make sure she wouldn’t try to escape, I set about spreading the word to the other
Sea-Dwellers that I had chosen a single troll among them to lead them. Keep in mind that this was a very long time ago, not too long after I first revealed myself to them. So the Fuchsia troll was almost as old of a species as the Violet troll. With this particular caste of troll being immortal, she could lead her species virtually forever. Of course, that wouldn’t happen for this particular individual, Her Imperious Condescension wouldn’t come around for many generations.
Continuing on, the first Fuchsia Troll grew alongside the other Sea-Dwellers, learning, training, and generally preparing for the invasion of the surface world that wouldn’t happen for millennia. To make sure she wouldn’t grow too comfortable in her position as the Empress, I struck a deal with Gl’bgolyb for her continued compliance:
There would only ever be two, The Empress and the Heiress.
There would always be the Empress to rule and the Heiress to challenge her when she came of age. This way, the Empress would always have to struggle for the throne. After an Empress would defeat an Heiress, she would grow stronger, then send her genetic material to a Mother Grub. The Heiress born from this genetic material would be stronger than the last Heiress. And if the Empress would defeat this Heiress she would become even stronger. On and on this process went, creating stronger and stronger Heiresses until one would defeat the Empress. Then the new Empress would repeat the process all over again.
The only exception to this process was the First Empress. As stated before, she died in combat against the Purple Bloods, rather than dying by her Heiress’s hands.
I can’t tell you how many times this process repeated itself, afterwards. Mainly because I didn’t care enough to count, but also because of the sheer number of times it’s happened. The closest approximation I can give you (without going back in time and counting each and every single case) would be.... a lot. Somewhere in the low thousands. And that was only until Her Imperious Condescension came to be. She was the Last Empress of Alternia. Every Heiress that came after her (aside from one exception whom I’m sure you’re aware of) died at her hands. And with every Heiress she killed, her power only grew.
I honestly have no doubt that if it weren’t for The Game, Her Imperious Condescension would have ruled for the rest of Alternia’s history.