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 A Wonderful World [ open ]

When Xena made the decision to leave her pack, it wasn't because of bad feelings or dissatisfaction but more because of an intense need to see beyond the only home she had known since birth. After the death of her mother, Lambda, she felt an emptiness that needed to be filled and a yearning to see the world her mother had often protected her from.

After nuzzling each member of her pack, all near and dear to her heart, she set off on her journey - often feeling the tug of her heart strings to turn around but just as often feeling exhilaration toward her new adventure.

Growing up, she was taught and protected and disciplined with love and patience by not only her mother but by all of the steadfast and loyal members of her pack. They knew her well, perhaps better than she knew herself, and understanding her need to explore and experience more than their settled group was willing to do, gave her their blessing, though reluctantly and will great sadness for their loss of her.

As Xena trotted past the pack's established boundaries, her senses became more alive than she could ever remember, and every movement, every sound, registered itself inside her head, as she processed it and made the decision to ignore or explore.

After a long day of travel, she came upon a clearing with a stream of fresh water and places she could sleep and settle in for the night. She felt safe - and at peace- and allowed herself to nod off as dusk approached. The night time sounds lulled her spirit and her body to rest, and as she fell asleep, her last thoughts were of her mother, who if alive, would be so worried - but oh, so proud.


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