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

Slowly, like the unfurling of a bud into the sweet openness of a blossom, Kira’s maw parted in shock. She heard her heart beating very hard and very loud in her chest, a persistent knock like someone’s fist battering her breast bone. She felt as if she were starving, and the male with the glowing eyes had just offered her a buffet beyond her wildest dreams. Things that Kirastasia had never tasted . . . or even hoped to taste. All her life, the striped dancer had been the huntress: it was she that chased the prey her heart longed for, she that exhausted herself in pursuit of affection. This role had never bothered her. At least, not unbearably much. Kira had been mostly successful in acquiring her desires; until the agony of Kahlan’s scorn, Kira had never truly experienced real “rejection.” But now a stranger had approached her out of the blue, without the snowbird having to lift a paw, speaking with total seriousness that she belonged to him—and him to her.

And he said that magical word that made the damsel’s pulse race like liquid fire: Soulmate.

The notion of being wanted deeply, irrevocably, made Kira’s perpetually wounded heart overflow with emotion, tears glittering faintly in her honey irises. Time would allow such feelings to drain through the weak spot in that reservoir . . . yet for now the ice princess hardly dared to believe somebody might actually be “hers.” No games, no manipulation—just hers. Plain and simple. She could give two shits about his supposed magical bloodline or his relatives. The Universe, which had taunted her with a craving for companionship only to forever leave her lonely, her heart bursting with love only to burn through it too soon, had finally answered her prayers. The white knight—Drizzt—gazed at her with those soulful blue portals as bright as stars and Kira understood she could trust him with her life.

“You wonderful handsome creature.” Kirastasia’s musical lyrics carried the faint hoarseness of a sob not released. She swallowed it with a smile, blinking away the moisture in her eyes. Not alone, not alone! The jubilant cry rang out its victory in her head. Her entire soul gleamed with resplendent happiness. “You are in luck! For I have courted many times, and I am always successful.”

The dappling of shadow and sunlight played with hypnotic ripples over the woman’s pallid canvas as she stepped even closer. She gave Drizzt no choice but to either allow his muzzle to be buried in her bosom or lift his cranium so that Kira might press her downy chest against his. “I like to be touched,” the winter dragoness purred, her lips ghosting against the male’s ear. Then she swiped her tongue brazenly across his brow, leaving a cowlick of eggshell-colored fur sticking up between his towers, and chortled. “But I also like to play. So what will it be, boy with the beautiful eyes?”

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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