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 elseóexcept 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 mireóor 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 Morís 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.


Valar Morghulis: All Men Must Die

What do we say to the god of death? Not today.


The female did not remember the last time that someone had taken care of her and groomed her like Rom was doing right now. For so long she had wanted to be independent and show that she needed no one. So she had pushed her family away in a sense when she was younger. When her mother tried to coddle her she would ignore her and find her brothers to practice sparring with. When her sister wanted to sit around and chat, she would go out on her own and practice hunting and tracking. More often than not Nymeriaís coat was covered in dirt and mud and tangled, very un-ladylike. But that was how she wanted to be, how she liked to be. She did not want to sit around and pamper herself, like her sister Lady so often did, but would rather do her own thing and be her true self. She had always been a tomboy, and knew that coddling and pampering from her family would never change that. But this was different. The kalak understood her and what she was like and was not coddling her, he made it very clear that that was not what he was doing. But he was being a friend, helping her to feel better after something bad happened. It was very different than trying to protect her from the negatives of the world. They both already knew that was inevitable to avoid.

Normally Nymeria would shy away from the touch, not wanting to show a more tender side of herself, but she knew that she could be her true self around Rom, and so for once she leaned into his comforting touch. Ny felt him stiffen for a moment when she leaned into his touch, but she didnít care. He was the one that had started this so he could finish it, she just hoped he didnít make things weird. Ny appreciated that he was a handsome brute, but she was not interested in finding a mate in the near future, so her thoughts were not looking at him that way. But she still had her instinctual urges, which she often did feel around him, though she would not admit that to her friend. After a moment she felt the water on her pelt and the pull of his daggers and he continued to clean her. Normally she would help him, but he had a better angle being on the side of her, and she would not be able to reach all the dirt and blood that had caked into her pelt.

As the femme began to speak with a slightly shaky vocals about what she remembered the brute stepped in front of her, and she relaxed for a moment, yellow orbs watching to see what he was doing. His nares reached in front of him, prodding at her chest and limbs, pulling one of them up and over his shoulder. She shifted her weight so she would not fall over, once again partially leaning on him as he continued to groom the more hidden areas of her bodice. She let out a more content sigh before continuing to speak. Then the words began to tumble out of her mouth about what had happened to her, painting a vivid image for the brute, not realizing the sad irony in the situation of her blind friend that continued to listen patiently. Ny was glad that it was Rom she was talking to, if it had been someone else they would interrupt with gasps and give their apologies and sympathy. That was not what she wanted, not what she needed. She needed to move on and have distractions in her life to help her move on and not focus on what was in the past.

As the brute continued to groom her, she did not realize the effect that he was having on her. Her breath was becoming more ragged, her pulse quickened, her blood pulsing through her veins. She had mixed feelings going on. She was talking about a demon that had almost killed her, tortured her, yet somehow she was excited and comfortable at the same time. Having Romís body close to her own, their pelts touching, warmth and breath being shared, helped her to focus on the present and not on the past. Hormones inside her were beginning to cloud her brain, trying to get her to focus on parts of her body, and Romís, that she had never focused on before. This was not the first time that she had felt lust around her handsome friend, but this was the first time they were this physically close, and his scent in her nares heightened the feelings. The femme was torn from her thoughts and physical attractions when he gently nudged her limb back to the ground. She quickly shook her head, trying to clear her mind and focus on the words that Rom was now saying to her.

ďI am no soldier, Nymeria. I refuse to fight for you. But I will warn you against travelling alone. Go home. Find a mate. Stay with him. Rely on him. He will protect you. But you must not go near Abendrot. Stay as far away from dealings with them as much as you can. Your assailant was Kershov. White male, scars everywhere, one eye, sick way of dealing with his prisoners, and a man who is not afraid of kidnapping to get more soldiers. If he finds interest in someone, he WILL pursue them. Stay in your pack borders and you should be fine. He cannot touch you if there is a territory line between you and he.Ē An annoyed growl escaped the femmeís throat. Why did Rom think that she needed a male, a mate to protect her? She thought that he had understood her better than that. Sure, she had gotten herself into a bad situation, but everyone made mistakes. She knew better now not to trust others, to be wary of strangers no matter. And she had been working on her fighting and defense skills, practicing more often and bringing her muscle strength up. The brute had backed away from her when he spoke, and now there was a small distance between the two vargs. Nymeriaís yellow orbs looked towards him in annoyance, knowing that he would not be able to see it, but he would hear it in her vocals. ĒI do not need a male to take care of me. I donít want a mate. I can take care of myself now. And I donít even know if I belong in a pack anymore. Iím probably better off on my own. And I can avoid Abendrot without someone there to take care of me.Ē She didnít mean to sound rude to her friend, but she wanted to show that she didnít need to find a mate, nor that she wanted one.


**Nymeria**Ess**Loveless**No Pups**Moondown Shadows**Older Teen**Sister of Lady, Grey Wind, Summer, Rickon, and Ghost**Violet

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