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

Milo was a fascinating little conundrum: the perfect blend of girl and woman, childish yet poised, joyful and wise. She played with the happy abandon of a pup—not in the least ashamed to express herself no matter how “immature” her antics might seem to less free-spirited adults; her body held the subtle curves that spoke of her physical awakening, though in stature she could have easily passed for a much younger fae; Kirastasia had seen how confidently her queen held herself as she conducted her meetings, but that same gentle ruler now grinned at her like a pup muzzle-deep in her first kill, eyes shimmering with manic brightness. It stole Kirastasia’s breath. In her Alpha’s presence, the snowbird felt as if she too were just as free to do as she pleased without any judgment to harm her. A leader who was nothing but herself—and who would allow Kira the same grace. It was as if someone had just cut the chains that kept the brindled brutale’s wings bound to her back . . . she could fly at last!

Kirastasia’s “sea monster” attack only served to excite Milo further. As the grey-dusted damsel launched herself at Kira, the ice princess allowed her limbs to slacken—so that when the femmes collided they tumbled right into the pool. Bubbles burst from Kira’s open maw, her laughter escaping in muffled blooms the shape of jellyfish—erupting into smaller glimmering pearls the closer they rose to the surface. Both she-wolves clawed their way back to the air at the same time. Water erupted from where their heads shattered the surface, all playful grins and breathless giggles. If Kira had not been right next to the little queen, her paws resting somewhere on Milo’s chest, she might not have heard the words whispered shyly only to her . . .

“M-Milo?” A gasp, half-delighted and half-scared: delighted because Kira would love to have a playmate like Milo to flirt with—scared because the consequences might be disastrous if their fun collapsed like the bubbles she blew under water. And that was the most terrifying thing at all, that Kirastasia feared consequences in the first place. She had NEVER worried about what her actions might cause! Consequences be damned! But if she broke Milo’s heart on accident . . . or made promises she could never keep . . . then this glorious freedom that only Milo could offer would never be Kira’s again.

The striped dancer cleared her throat, ears flattening slightly while she shyly averted her gaze from the equally bashful Alphess. She lifted one forepaw and let it plop into the water, raising a gentle plash. “How . . . would you describe this feeling?” Maple windows peered coyly up from pallid eyelashes, gauging Milo’s response. “Is it a sort of funny tingling right . . . there?” Her same forepaw moved slowly forward until it pressed softly to Milo’s chest.

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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