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.


looks can be deceiving [ Aindreas ]

Upon hearing through the grapevine about Blossom Forest, the ebony and ivory maiden had planned out her voyage from her homeland almost immediately. Iris knew her father would murder her on the spot if she tried to escape from his grasp and run away to safer grounds, but it was something she had to try. It was worth the risk. Iris knew she would rather die than remain there and be abused for another year. She never fought back, but instead always cowered helplessly until it was over. However, the night before she had left, as he clamped his jowls onto her right forearm, the once innocent little girl, filled with deep animosity and indignation, snatched her leg away from his jaw out of reflex, scraping flesh to the bone. With her adrenaline coursing through her veins and her heart pounding in her charcoal auds, she didn't even feel the pain as she lunged back at her father, somehow latching onto the side of his neck and slicing her jagged incisors into the shallow skin, only to retreat as quick as it had happened. The shock and disdain in his face was enough to know she had made a mistake that would hurt her in the long run. She shouldn't have done it, but if Iris hadn't reacted with instinct, her leg would have been snapped. That night he would come for her again after he had treated her wounds. And it was that night that she disappeared.

That night had been the turning point of her entire life. If Iris had never encountered her father that night, she probably never would have gained the courage to leave. She never would have limped her way to the lands that she would now live a nicer life; a life where she made her own choices. Choices to make herself happy.

Iris moved her way throughout the foliage towards the sound of a steady stream. The water's trickling rhythm was different from the regular river flow, sparking profound interest from the young adult. The sunlight filtered through the striving, spring spruces, allowing their misty rays to send spots scattering and scurrying across her charcoal back. Iris could feel the soil begin to change beneath her pads; the once hard terra firma was now moistened by the near liquid. Iris limped across the soft ground, unable to tell if she was thankful for the change beneath her paws or not. Her forearm was throbbing from the recent wound from her father, which wasn't much of a surprise. She knew it would take more than just a few days for the deep cut to heal her aching limb, but the agony kept the memories fresh, something Iris was ready to forget and move on from.

Finally breaking the tree line, Iris' sapphire dreamers took in the gorgeous scenery. The cascading water went down several levels, sending waves of mist into the air to evaporate. The obsidian and alabaster maiden hobbled on three legs towards the waters edge, stepping onto a stone that protruded into the steady stream. After lapping up her refreshment, her nearly trembling legs practically begged for relaxation. Obeying their command, she let her body sink to the ground, the tension in her body melting away with the soothing sounds around her. Iris laid her head on her good paw, exotic orbs watching the fish frantically swim through the bubbles and rushing currents. As bad as her forearm ached and throbbed, she let a small smile slide across her facade; she was relaxed for the first time in a while.

looks can be decieving


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