The caves are where it all started. They allowed the first wandering wolves access to the land of Blossom Forest, and afterward housed the monster that had threatened the earliest of inhabitants. The heroes had slain it, yes, but in doing so had also closed off one of the pathways in the caverns, magic blocking one of the many exits to Blossom Forest. But over the years, the original spell has weakened and now the way is clear. What will not only crawl out of the caverns, but erupt from it? The caves now thrum with the ever growing magic wellspring as it spreads out into the land. It is from here that the first vampire of Blossom Forest was corrupted, and it is here that any subsequent vampire will be born. To traverse its paths is dangerous - there is an almost impenetrable darkness, and in that abyss lays many secrets - hidden holes one could fall through, weakened floors, and then of course there is the labyrinthe itself. No one knows what the deeper levels hold - no one has traveled them and survived to tell tales. Not even those who call this place home dares to test their luck by going in deep, deep, deeper. The magic exuding from this place has rearranged the lands - moving packs, changing the terrain. Here the cave looks the same but it is not - it is more dangerous than ever. In addition, outside the mouth of the cave the sacred stones that once stood erect in another place now stand guard. They are colored the most beautiful arrangement of jewel tones, and almost appear to be made of gems themselves, no longer the dull grey they once were. It is within them that all official fights must take place - at the Blican Orlege. Welcome to Drylic Cofa...

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“Oh. My. God.” And without another moment to spare, the titan threw himself away, faster than he had ever dreamt of going. He could not stop, would not stop, for any slight chance of anything. Hellene would have to catch up. He couldn’t bare to wait any longer. He flung himself up the stairs, catching his breath only to wait for Hellene. The varg could hear her start to climb the staircase, a single heartbeat of water starting a dull echo opening the crack in his mind. Opening the crack in his mind. Whatever god had given rain and had sent the fish coming, if they were ever going to, hated Zev; he was sure of it. What was it that he had that others didn’t? He growled, a little loud if he was growling to himself, and hurtled out into the darkness. “Zev, wait!” But her vocals were merely a dream, determination eating away at his better self. But when the cavern got lower and the pathway got smaller, he slowed his pace. Oh yes, he did slow it. Then, another call from the vixen turned his head. “Zev, where did you go! What staircase were you talking about!” He called back, his voice thundering around his ears. “I’m over here. Just follow my voice.”

Should he tell her about the staircase? Of course; why had that question crossed his mind? He didn’t know. When did Zev ever know? He had travelled here with another vixen, her name almost vanished from his mind. He had taken Athene to the staircase to investigate it as the brute found that his first traveling aid had not wanted to go up there. Athene had not wanted to as well, but that was alright. Of course, he had never found what was up there, behind the plaster ‘wall’ he knew was blocking something. Perhaps maybe Athene had found what was inside? All of these thoughts whisked by within the matter of two-and-a-half seconds, as Zev kept on moving. It was hard to believe that his foot had taken an injury in a place just yesterday, and he felt no pain from it whatsoever. Or was that just because he was numb?

The narrowness of the pathway started to open, the edges of claustrophobia leaking away and out into the wind. “Zev, I can’t see anything, slow up!” So then the brute slowed down, turning his figure back around to the voice calling his name. And he waited for the girl. His tail thumped the edge of his back leg, his hackles raised in case he might jump out of weariness. His claws tapped the rocky bottom of the cavern, his mind starting to eat at him. Until Hellene finally came from out of the tunnel, and the brute turned and continued trotting. His breath was caught, but he kept moving. Until finally, the ess at his backside called the halt. Zev waited, the skin on his neck starting to stand with his fur hat had been there long before. Anticipation was eating him away, his blue gaze freezing. “Athene...Athene!” And the boy went numb, once again. He inhaled through his nares, prying forth through the air as he searched. Fear growled at him. There! There! He caught some of her. It almost melted him away. Seasons of escaped love and want retreating there the back of his mind and sent spiraling back into it. She was so close. But every star is out of reach.

Hellene was one step ahead of him. She ran forward, but the sound of rock against flesh burned a hole through his conscience. “Athene… Don’t leave! I’m coming! Zev is coming! We are here for you!” The boy ran forward, jumping onto the ledge at the edge of his vision. “Athene, please. Not again, not again. I’m here!” He flung himself up, and within seconds, without anywhere Hellene stood, the boy was at the top, but what was in front of him, he was still blind to.





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