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.



As she stood before him, Xena took her time sizing up this unwelcomed male who had stumbled upon her as she slept. It was unlike her to not have been aware of him sooner – I’ve gotten too secure in the safety of a pack, she angrily thought to herself – and though he had caught her aware, she was now totally alert , all senses heightened, all of her strengths ready for flight – or fight. She neither felt nor smelled any signs of aggression, as she quietly stood her ground, deciding her next move. She was in no rush to answer his question. It mattered little to her that this wolf was a male – in her own pack and in confrontations with outside wolves , she held her own. And though she felt that he meant her no harm, she was not ready to share her space and newfound freedom – and besides, he had woke her up – how rude!

While readying herself to address this unwelcomed visitor, Xena continued to take in the sights and sounds surrounding her. The soothing rush of the falls appealed to her soul, while the other sounds – birds calling, leaves rustling in the wind, woodland creatures scurrying about, gave her no cause for concern. She felt relaxed, ready to continue her adventure.

As she was contemplating her next move, she noticed that the look on his face was suddenly not so sure and she smelled odors of uncertainty emanating from his pores – he was getting nervous. Okay, she thought to herself, I have him off his guard. Now it’s time to deal with him and get on with my day. She wanted no company – especially this male exuding his maleness – and was blunt and certain in her response.

First of all, I am here by myself because I choose to be, and the why of this does not concern you. I am strong of limb & need no council. Do not think because I am female that I either need you or want you – neither is true. So go on your way, young pup, and we shall depart in peace.

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