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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Filius dreamt rarely of anything outside of death, a spectrum as narrow as it was certain. A repeating collage of blood and water, of watching himself be disemboweled by the horns of a buck or boar, or charred in the heat of a wildfire. Smothered, drowned, beaten, impaled, hunted, diseased, trampled, frozen, burnt, devoured, broken. And when it wasn’t death, it was life a cripple. An invalid. Unable to defend himself, unable to take comfort in the assuredness of to the grave except by his own teeth. A hell above ground worse than the hell beneath his feet. He’d take to shuddering, jaw snapping, legs and muscles convulsing in the throes of whatever unpleasant demise he was in the midst of enduring, and when his heart had stopped in one world, it sped up in the next and he’d wake up panting, wholly agitated, the whites of his eyes more prominent than the black. If he was lucky he’d bring nothing over with him besides vague nervousness, but more often than not his tongue would be bit, legs overworked or pulled; the cause of his morning aches, not of progressive decomposition. No, that happened over a much longer period, over weeks, over months. Slow, deliberate, in mind as much as body. It was only a matter of time before something was torn or thrown out of place. That was part of the malady, a thread sewn into the web of symptoms, and would progress alongside it. It started with exhaustion, weakness, nightmares, and would eventually advance into paranoia, complete lack of appetite, hallucinations, aggression— what he was infected with wasn’t unheard of. Though no real name had been given, the ess he’d spoken to before abandoning his pack had theatrically dubbed it The Hunger claiming that towards the end he’d be rabid with a craving for wolf flesh- but her description was based entirely on rumor and inflamed with a collective fear of the unknown. Whether the last bit was true or not, the terror he dreamed of paled in comparison to his apprehension for unintentionally hurting, or gods forbid, killing Hestia when he was too drained to recall rational thought and affection. The possibility of wandering from her side filled him with anxiety, but not as severely as bringing her harm.
It was over this he mulled in the morning— if only to blot out the memory of sand crushing his bones and filling his lungs while he sank deeper and deeper beneath a sun-bleached desert— tending meticulously to a sore spot on his paw where a nail had been split when struck against the unyielding cavern wall. Dew settled over his wispy fur, and although it chilled him he let be, thinking it reflected the orange morning light in the most delightful of ways.
He fought furiously for the right to be vain.

BECAUSE I AM THE SUN,
AND I AM THE MOON.
I WILL SWALLOW YOU WHOLE,
I WILL SPIT YOU OUT,
I WILL BURN YOUR EYES,
AND I WILL CAST AN EVERLASTING DARKNESS,
OVER THIS BARREN FUTURE,
THAT YOU CALL HOPE.





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