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.


h e a r t . t h r o b

you don't have to love me . . . you don't even have to like me . . . but you WILL respect me

“Zoe, hmm? What a lovely name. But, darling, why are you all alone?” Kirastasia couldn’t help herself: she leaned down to swipe her tongue in soft, sisterly strokes over the tiny thing’s pelt, wiping away some of the moisture she’d splashed and easing away sweet little cowlicks that stood up like bird feathers. Inwardly, her mind babbled in panic. When Kira was but a pup, her own mother had all but abandoned her as well . . . but Kira had been living in Malignant Felicity at the time. She had a pack to protect her, and a territory to hide in. She’d had her brother, Kavik, who would destroy anyone that so much as looked at her wrong. But this child . . . Zoe . . . didn’t appear to have anyone at all. And she was BLIND! Had somebody cruelly deserted her, hoping she’d die all on her own? Because that’s what would happen—Kirastasia was sure of it. Obviously a tiny blind thing couldn’t survive here in the cruel wild. No way.

“Can I help you find someone? Your parents . . . your siblings?” The snowbird doubted Zoe had anybody, but it never hurt to ask. What would she do though, should the small girl be truly abandoned? Should she take her back to Munashii? Dump her somewhere else? Ugh, she had a headache coming on . . . caring for others was too much work.

why? 'cause I'm the boss!

【Heiress of Malignant – pining for Kahlan – daughter of Kershov x Queens – sister to Kavik – LSVK】


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