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.



What Romulus experienced next was nothing short of surprising. Of course it was not the girl that had terrified him. He knew that the girl was approaching him long before she even reached outside the edge of the foliage. Romulus played along though, for the girl was someone he could both relate to and enjoy the company of. Giving her the pleasure of having a surprise attack would be a first… but… no—something was wrong. The blind creature turned around suddenly, sensing the pain as soon as it came, moments before the scream plunged a dagger through his heart. Concern flattened his audettes as he slid towards her, claws digging into the terra and leaving lines. A haggard and brutish yell of his own escaped the very lips that had cursed his own existence multiple times in the past few months. NYMERIA! Fucking god, girl, what’s wrong? Then—the sharp tinge of blood. Immediately rage ensnared the brute. W-Who did this?! His face pressed against her neck, then slid down her body, trying to figure out where all the wounds were, what kind of animal it came from, how deep the incisions were, the smell on her. But he couldn’t do everything all at once. Sticky, hot blood wrapped itself onto his own flesh around his palette as he tried to visualize where her wounds were. Rom grabbed her flesh between his teeth, not so gently, and tugged her over, further inspecting her body. Every inch was overseen, even the areas that really one would only show their mate. No one touched you THERE did they? Romulus was in a frenzy. Why? He froze momentarily as he pondered this. Why did he care? Probably because she reminded him of someone he’d lost to his own stupidity. And here she was again, a ghost haunting the figure of some girl he couldn’t even see. A femme that was targeted and was the target for all sorts of bad happenings. Almost immediately the kalak raised himself.

Stand. He would not baby her. Stand up, Nymeria. Get yourself into the water. I will help you clean.


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