The Motherless Sons
The Motherless Sons were a heroic clan of ronin Hiver — they eventually defeated the mad Queen Fire Lotus. A brief recap of the story follows:
The aging Queen felt that she had entered her last season, and called her daughters to her side to announce her successor. The Princess she had chosen was strong, wise and relatively well-liked by other clans — her name was Crystal Shimmering, and she had maintained a long love/breeding relationship with an equally well-respected Prince, August Moon.
The Queen proposed to perform a death ceremony and succession feast right away, hoping to spare her people the bloodshed and chaos of civil war. She knew that at least one of her daughters was dangerous and likely to cause trouble — she had simply underestimated how dangerous, and how much trouble. The Princess Fire Lotus made her move at the death ceremony, sealing the cathedral with many of her sisters and their consorts within. Her plan was to kill the Queen and take the crown jewels herself, and thus ascend to power at swordpoint.
She had not counted on the courage and creativity of Crystal Shimmering and August Moon. As Fire Lotus gloated over the dying queen, ready to tear the gems from her body, Crystal Shimmering attacked — an action never before seen in the recorded history of the Hiver race, and completely unexpected. Even the children of Fire Lotus were aghast at the sight of two princesses in battle — clawing, tearing, snapping crown and wings in their fury.
The cathedral erupted into chaos, with many Princes fighting for their lives and the personal guards of many princesses being cut down like wheat by the massive soldiers of Fire Lotus. August Moon moved quickly. He tore the gems from the Queen's body, and gave his mate's personal guard an order to commit the unthinkable act: they were to abandon their mother and father and flee, to fight their way out of the cathedral and the city, and to escape — taking the royal gems with them.
A hundred knights of Crystal Shimmering's guard had come with her to witness their mother's ascension that day: only one of them survived the battle and won freedom, still holding the precious gems. This brave and resourceful warrior Hiver managed to make his way, badly injured, back to his brothers — only a half-step ahead of the children of Fire Lotus, who had come to wipe them out to the last bug, even as they had slaughtered all occupants of the cathedral.
Most of Crystal Shimmering's children gave their lives in a holding action, for no other reason than to allow a small coterie of their brothers to escape — still carrying the crown jewels with them. For the next year, the one surviving member of Crystal Shimmering's guard was known as Broken Breast, and he and the Motherless Sons carried the queen's gems around the world, fleeing the wrath of Fire Lotus and seeking a worthy successor to the throne.
In the meantime, Fire Lotus operated as a de facto Mad Queen, tyrannizing the entire Hiver race — one of her most despicable acts was a mass murder of Princes, an action undertaken to weaken the clans of her sisters and make them incapable of producing children strong, intelligent and brave enough to oppose her. Only those Princes who would agree to become her consorts were permitted to live — all others went into hiding, often sheltered by their own children in humiliating circumstances, or were killed.
In the end, Broken Breast found a tiny alpine Princess living in the peaks of the highest mountains of the world. She and her clan were adapted to low temperatures and high altitudes: her name was Drifting Snow. Although small, modest and almost entirely ignorant of political matters, she was also wise, brave and kind. When she heard Broken Breast's story, she agreed to become Queen, on the condition that he and his brothers would help and advise her in the days to come — Broken Breast in particular would have to make a great sacrifice.
The Motherless Sons agreed to her terms. Broken Breast gave his life and was devoured by Drifting Snow, to be reborn as a red Prince called Sword of Blood. His brothers were adopted into her clan. Drifting Snow then swallowed the gems and became Queen — over the ensuing two decades, she and Sword of Blood bred a massive army and fought a brutal war to redeem the Hiver race — winning the lands back from Fire Lotus and her Princes kingdom by kingdom, and placing their own daughters in power behind them as they came.
In the end, cornered and desperate, Fire Lotus and her consorts took their own lives — burning most of the ancient capital to the ground in the process. The new Queen and her favored consort ruled wisely and well for many years afterward, and the Hiver have never again been ruled by a mad Queen...
Not yet, anyway.
Even now, hundreds of years later, the strong blood of Drifting Snow and Sword of Blood can still be seen in a few Hiver royals. White is a rare pigment in a Hiver.