(This story is related to the events of ”Outrageous Fortune”. For other "Stories about Trolls", see the listing.)
It's a bittersweet thing, Ingot found, realizing how disadvantaged his family had always been, but how much they had done to make him comfortable and happy regardless of it. How he'd never really realized until now, when he’d tested formally into his House and was old enough to be confronted with the evidence for himself. The scope of the world that he'd never had access to was now too vast to deny. Not the various secretive spots the upper echelons of the Houses hoarded to themselves, but all the places that were openly exclusive. The ones he'd never gone to with his friends because they’d been placed into a higher tier than himself. Or because he was dressed in lowly clothes… because he didn’t have access to anything granted to the higher ranks… because he was dressed in lowly clothes…
Ingot had noticed invitations to spend time with his childhood chums had slowed down lately. And why shouldn’t they, when the answer would be obvious? How soon until his friends stopped entirely? Moved completely beyond him? What else would he miss out on as he got older? What would be denied him as an adult? Would he even have enough to survive on his own?
The fourteen-year-old troll sat alone on a bench, off to one side of the public area near his housing complex, trying to work out what to do with this new comprehension.... With the apprehension that came with it.
There has to be a way up and out of this... No, there IS way out. A troll is only limited by himself! Ingot took a moment to appraise what he did have. More to the point, what he had that others didn't. And he knew he had one advantage in abundance: access to a skilled teacher.
He put on a smile and entered the apartment. He soon found his mother in the kitchen end of the dining room, stripping beanpods for the evening meal. "You're late," Bladesong chided with patient smile. Ingot was keenly aware for the first time that she herself might be acting, too.
"Just getting some things together, Mother." He took a stool beside hers, and a reached for the bowl of pods that had been waiting for him. "I… I… was thinking… I was thinking maybe after supper we could have another fencing lesson?"
"Of course, dear, that would be wonderful."