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The Laboring Heir

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Run

The young troll ran, the rustling sounds of his clothes the only indication of his presence in the dead of night. He spared little thought to where he was going, only to why. He needed to run, to get away. The blood born from the veins of a lesser troll marked him for death. An unworthy brown, the kind he’d been raised to subjugate.

He was raised to expect praise, but in this age, he could only hope for a swift demise.

He hadn’t made a habit of letting the whims of the Heiress keep him from his blood right. He just acted out his holy mission in private. He purged the unworthy undetected and undeterred. Until he was spotted.

They knew him now. They saw his face. There was one motto that united the whole spectrum and it was that the Eyes of Entykk eventually see all. And once they did, they never stopped hunting.

All he could do is run. Run and flee and pray to the Messiahs above that he could find somewhere to hide.

A nice dream. But dreams are meant to be broken.

A sharp pain shot through his leg. He fell face first to the cold, hard dirt.

They dragged him away as he begged and screamed. A fresh trail of purple was the only trace left behind. Soon he’d wake up on trial. Afterwards, he doubted he’d wake up at all.

~

Xefros kept a careful eye out as Joey slept. Entykk had agents and eyes everywhere. An invisible looming shadow watched over them and Xefros knew he could do nothing about it. But he could at least see her hands coming and try to protect his newfound friend from them.

He wanted to mourn his moirail's disappearance. Wanted to try to find him. But there was no time. All he could do is watch, so they'd be ready to run when they need to.

He never believed the ghost stories he heard as a wriggler. All Tyrians were callous, Xefros knew as much, but high bloods were safe under them. Those lucky enough to be born a royal hue were untouchable, even Tyzias had to understand that.

Then Dammek smuggled him into a trial.

He remembered it clearly. The trial of Marvus Xoloto.

Marvus was an influencer. An icon. Even for someone of his caste, his importance could not be understated. He had followers in the billions, a near planet wide appeal. When he was arrested, no one expected it to amount to anything. Just another slap on the wrist. Same as usual. 

Then he saw Marvus Xoloto, the icon of billions, put to death like any other.

The Church was outraged, threatened to rebel. The smell of war was in the air.

One warning shot from the Heiresses’ lusus put them back in line.

The message was clear. “Obey. No matter who you are.”

Dammek's words of wisdom still rang in his ears. “If she’d kill Marvus Xoloto, what would she do to us?”

What would she do to him? To Dammek? To Joey even?

Entykk’s eyes were everywhere. All anyone could do was run. But unlike most others, Xefros had a place he could run to...

He just hoped it was somewhere Joey would be safe.