[o] ==>

The Sufferer required a less conventional upbringing to reach maturity. As a young grub, he landed in the brooding caverns where he would be expected to face his trials. But due to his mutation, surely no lusus would select him. No creature sympathetic to his scent had been bred yet. His odds for survival would have been remote, if not for a chance encounter.

The Dolorosa belonged to the rare class assigned strictly to serving the mother grub in the caverns, forbidden from visiting the surface. While on an errand, she found the young Sufferer in his crater and immediately recognized the child as special, as well as in great danger. For an adult troll to raise a child was unthinkable, but she saw no other hope for him. The Dolorosa abandoned her duties in the caverns, and fled to the surface to raise him.

In time, she would become the first follower of his teachings, and the first of his inner circle. But not his closest.

> [o] ==>