When solid ground grows soft with emerald moss and rivulets of black mud, and coffee-colored water pours slowly around the trunks of densely carpeted trees, this marks the beginning of Laod Mor: the swamp of Blossom Forest. Time itself seems to slow to a soporific crawl . . . the humid jungle air grows stagnant, thick with the scent of rich flooded earth and an abundance of green things that can be found nowhere else—except perhaps Caidir Olc. In some areas of the swamp, water rises so high the only way to cross it is to crawl across fallen logs or massive roots arching from their liquid beds; in other places a wolf might wade easily through the mire—or find a fortunate stretch of mostly dry earth. Pieces of the great river, Glaesfaet Sceawere, also slice through from time to time: small falls that feed into surprisingly clear pools, only to terminate into tar-like pits. Of course, Laod Mor’s beauty shines brightest at night. Here, fireflies gather at all times of the year . . . suffusing the shadowy place with millions of twinkling lights.

Those looking to hunt here of course find a myriad of water prey, including caiman, turtles, fish, crayfish, otters, and toads.



 photo queen_zps6b1122d2.jpg

they say the captain goes down with the ship,
So when the world ends, will God go down with it?
Chapter One: Long Live The Queen

“Yes. You may call me Queen.”

Her Lids Began To Stubbornly Slide: Nimhe Chapter One

The body down the perilous falls looked dead, comatose even, as if even a breath inflating its own lungs would have trouble pushing the heavy shoulders up from the deep slumber that claimed them. Oh, how she craved the still diaphragm, the limp heart locked behind the gnarled rib cage of another useless waste of space. Yes, that’s what she called wolves these days, just wastes of space. All they did was curl up at their own leisure in whatever attitude they wished, in whatever location so pleased their pining and wasted hearts.

All of these soulless fiends—they turned Carnival into the reaper as she swooped to yet another of her fallen charges with the empty depths of Hell burning in her eyes. As the devil moved so did she, all sinuous curves without definitive edges, mysterious and enigmatic as the fog itself as she dove through it. The angelic beauty curled facing towards the falls was of no particular interest to Carnival; all small splotches of black and overwhelmingly white, this stranger certainly wasn’t any tactical asset to a land perpetually wreathed in shadows and darkness. Just as she knew Malignant was growing just by the feel of the darkness roiling out from the lands, slowly but inexorably, she knew without hesitation that it was her job to wake this little minx from the portrait of sleeping beauty she exuded. Why do such a cruel, terrifying thing?

Oh honey, well when you’re the one, you just don’t fight it.

Carnival recalled her treatment of the gorgeous Jixer with a small smile; her first sleeping victim. With him it had been all coy words and forthright threats, adopting the snake-like and cunning persona of the viper that had invaded her desire and her passion. But each case was special. Valkyrie was given treatment she could handle, being thrown at the merciful expense of an unbalanced Queen in the hope that her intelligence would prove her worth. The Lady had yet to decide.

This little one, blanketed by the falls, was lucky on two counts that day: one, Carnival was feeling benevolent, almost glorified in the reaping of her trophies around Blossom Forest, and two, each case was special. In this encounter there was no taunting, no bickering, no slights of hand. She moved in confidently and steadily, a woman in control of her domain, and settled next to the sleeping beast, pressing a flank to hers. Her broad head sank slowly to her paws, and she waited for her companion to awake, in any varying state of shock, before breathing. “Wait no longer. You have been accepted to Malignant Felicity.”


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