Sword of Blood

Hiver male breeders are similar to their female counterparts although somewhat smaller. They average around 350 centimeters in height and mass in the neighborhood of 250 kilograms. Physically speaking they can be recognized by their size, the extremely bright colors of their chitin, the length and strength of their wings and the sharp, Warrior–like projections on their second pair of limbs — the so–called "dueling blades".

At some point during Hiver evolution, there was far more intense competition among Princes for the attention of a single Hiver Queen. It was during this period that the physiology and underlying psychology of the basic Hiver prince developed.

At this point in their history, Hiver princes usually compete in more clandestine and Machiavellian ways, but a primal duel is still possible; it is considered a "macho" eccentricity of sorts for a Prince to train himself physically to be the master of his blades, and to find reasons to use them on Hiver from other clans. Even other Princes may be challenged, especially during open warfare. However, this is not common — a certain strained civility is usually maintained, with Princes suffering more from witty barbs than physical ones, as is often the case when any group of males is constantly in competition for the same pool of breeding privileges.

Socially speaking a male Breeder is essentially a free agent, unlike the warriors and workers of his family. A Hiver Prince has weaker ties to his mother than any other type of Hiver, but those ties are not non–existent, especially when he is younger. For example, a Prince's first "marriage" is usually arranged by his mother for her own purposes. Once he is an experienced man–of–the–world, he will chart his own course, but a Hiver Prince seldom chooses where and how to give up his "virginity".

Breeder males, accordingly, are the only Hiver who are socially and psychologically capable of moving from one Hive to another at will. They are more self–interested than any other class of Hiver, with far weaker attachments to their mothers and families of origin than would be normal in a worker or a warrior. A prince's chief loyalty is to himself, his breeding partner and the hive to whom he is a Father.

The reasons for these psychological differences are obvious — a female Hiver generally seeks out males which are not her own sons for breeding purposes. Although a Hiver Princess can reproduce with males hatched out her own eggs if given no other option, this practice would quickly lead to stagnation both socially and genetically if it were common–place.

Highly competitive, career–oriented and motivated to succeed, Hiver princes seek out positions of authority and opportunities to lead, perform in public or otherwise draw attention to themselves. A prince's ability to draw attention to himself and his achievements makes him a desirable mate and puts a premium on his services. Princes and the loyalty they inspire creates another level of influence and power, which may be separate from or conjoined to the basic clan division.

Since heredity in a Hiver is based 60% on the contribution of the male, a Prince who is cunning, strong, gifted or beautiful can become a prize that many Hives will vie to win. Savage wars have been fought over the kidnapping, murder, or defection of a valuable Prince. In contrast, the exchange of sons has been known to end a war. The use of a beloved or strategically relevant prince as a hostage is not unknown, especially if he has provided direction, leadership or some other vital support to his clan.

Hiver, although very attached to their mothers, also have a certain pride in their paternity. A Hiver hatched from a clone egg is smaller, less intelligent and has less status than a Hiver hatched from a properly fertilized egg. A Hiver Princess is thus far more likely to use her clones as cannon fodder and janitors and cherish the offspring of a valuable Prince.

Given that, even a Hiver Prince who has left the service of a given Princess can still expect some consideration from the children he has left behind. Like the children of any divorce, Hiver don't forget the absent parent. e.g. although their main loyalties are to Mother, they still send Christmas cards to Dad.

A Prince who has "jumped ships" many times will have many offspring scattered among the various clans and may have a surprisingly large and stable pool of both influence and income based on his various romantic adventures.

It would be rare and agonizing, needless to say, for a Hiver son to have to make the choice to support only his Father instead of his Mother. In general almost any Hiver would choose his mother over any other loyalty, but if she truly violated his sense of honor, he might have no option but to turn on her...and his father would be a natural second–choice for his allegiance and devotion.

The beauty of being a Prince is that you have control over your own destiny. Being a free agent, a Prince is the only type of Hiver who can attain status as an individual in Hiver society. Because a Prince can attain status as an individual he can also lend that status to others. So a powerful Prince can sometimes ally with an unknown Princess who is just starting out with her first clutch of eggs and instantly make her a celebrity — simply by choosing her to be his mate.

By normal Hiver standards, Prince behavior is considered somewhat mad. Princes make their own way in the world (horrors!) and act for unfathomable reasons of their own. A Prince might choose to unite with any given Princess for any of a number of personal reasons, all of which are completely beyond the comprehension of the average Hiver.

Perhaps she is beautiful and he finds her physically desirable. Perhaps she is wealthy and powerful and he wants the opportunities and luxuries she can provide. Perhaps she is young and naive and he feels she'll be easy to manipulate. Perhaps she is just available and he wants to spread his genes around. Perhaps she is being shipped out to deep space to form a colony and he sees this as an opportunity to explore the universe and achieve great things. Perhaps, the Great Mother forfend, he even loves her and will be loyal to the death.

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