The Craven despise the Weak. They are burdens – to themselves and to society. The Agony often burns them up from the inside out, as soon as it is introduced to their bodies. Those less fortunate do not have the strength to subdue it. Those slightly more so – those that survive the first day – are exiled, forced to find their own survival – or cull themselves from afar.

The only thing the Craven hate more than the Weak are the Null. They are a constant reminder. The apex of Craven descent into genetic inferiority. A shameful black mark, denoting their distance from what once made them great. If the Weak have a distant connection to the Agony, the Null are cut off entirely. They are stranded.

The Agony is not introduced to Null. They would die from the process. There would be no chance to fight back.

It is better this way.

You were only given a short hunting knife, a thick leather cloak, and two gork-skin sacks. More of a formality, really. You are not expected to use the knife. The cloak barely covers your neck and back. The sacks are more deadweight than useful.

You are not expected to survive long.

All the ‘knives’ that you should use, the Agony has waiting for you. Weapons, within your own body. Sources of pain, suffering, ready to be tapped. If you do not use them, it will kill you with them. Or, you will use them to kill. This is the way of the Agony.

This is not the way of the Null.

But you are stubborn. For years, you begged to be gifted with the Agony. You pleaded with your master, bargained to earn the right. She laughed at you for all but one of those years. On the final day of the final year, she ceded to you that you had earnt it.

“The loyal servant wishes to die”, she had remarked dryly. “Who am I to deny them that?” So, the ceremony took place. Against all odds, you did not immediately die. Already enough to set you apart, yes, but then you did even more. You continued not dying, all the way until they threw you off the cart.

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