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.


Disappear only to Reappear {Athene Only}

The words felt tasteless on his mouth, yet they were ablaze with emotion he did not know how to fathom. Inhaling, the perfume of Athene lingered momentarily, lacing between the fingers of his pelt. He opened his eyes, finding the white and gray of her pelt and tracing it with his eyes. Thumping his tail onto the ground, he started to shift himself again, so he could sit up with Athene cradled within his belly. The soft sound of the falls came ringing back into his ears. It had faded away, as before it has not been important. But now, Zev pulled all of his attention away, leaving some behind but also giving it forward. His tail started to move, and it wiggled around the fae’s legs, careful and resilient. It took several moments before the titan dared to speak again. Perhaps this time he would be gifted with her soft voice, but perhaps not. Perhaps maybe the silence between them would be all they could ever ask for.

“There is so much more out there.” The lyrics drifted out of his mandible with ease. He looked back down to the creamy head below him, and smiled. He didn’t know what he was thinking. He had never known how this would make him feel. He had always seen mates together, enjoying their time with each billow of wind. They knew they would spend a lifetime together. What an incredible time. For the rest of his life, this fae would stand next to him. For the rest of his life, he would fight for her. This was the moment in which he understood. This was the moment that destined him. And he would do it, because it would be worth it. “How should we spend our time, today?”

Peaking from behind the trees, a beam of light traced in front of them and towards the water. The giant waited thoughtfully, enjoying each moment with her as he could. He wanted to soak it up, keep it, remember it. We wanted time with her. He wanted to get to know her again. He wanted a lifetime. Just another minute he wanted to touch her. Just another minute and he would still be starving. He sniffed the back of her head, reading between the lines of her fur. Dare to dream, dare to live, dare to touch. Get something out of nothing even if nothing was all you needed.

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