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.


A Handmaiden's Tale

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'I'm not a slave...'

Though Olya heard Camille's words, they were lost on her - Olya was now too worked up. Thoughts and accusations ran through her mind of things that this stranger could be if she was not a slave, though the thought of Camille being a free wolf never was brought up. Though Siku had made the same claims of freedom, surely he was a unique case. And Olya was still not sure she believed him... but the chance of a second wolf being free and having never belonged to the kalaks was unlikely. Unheard of for Olya. Olya had started to spout out accusations of being a warrior ess, of being a spy, but to all of that... Camille reacted not at all. Olya was not stupid at all, but she was ignorant of so many ways of the real world. She had never lived or been outside of maned wolf society and knew naught. But... she could not deny all of this. Finally, Olya had given in and had allowed curiosity to slip out a few questions of intrigue, and the fae's response had shocked her.

'No hun. I haven’t heard those names other than when you spoke them…I’m sorry if this is troubling you. I’m not here to capture anyone either.'

Olya shook her head... it wasn't troubling at all. Well it was, but only in one sense of the word. And despite everything she had ever been told, for some reason Olya believed this stranger. Kalak's were manipulative and often made their slaves manipulative too, but this interaction - if indeed Camille had been a slave or a spy - could have and would have gone in one of a thousand different directions. But it hadn't. And kalaks would never have trusted a mudblood with a mission to collect Lilith - there would have been nearby kalak overlords watching the mudblood's moves and yet Olya had not scented out any. The only logical conclusion that the slave could come to was one - Camille was exactly what she claimed to be, and really did not have any connection to the kalaks. What troubled Olya now was that everything she knew, she now had to question. This Camille - if she was telling the truth, was no threat to her, but still was a threat to the kalak's. If only all the other slaves knew this. If they knew that their life as a slave did not need to be. That they could be free - that there were free wolves who had never known the cruelty of the kalaks. Who had never been tortured or beaten or bruised or raped for sport. Who had never been forced to have a pregnancy they did not want. There was a world - this world - where Olya could have been born and lived and grown up without a single scar. Without a single fear. But it also meant she would have never met her mistress, and despite Princess Lilith being a royal kalak herself, she was kind and caring. Perhaps in this alternate universe, they could have been friends, instead of master and slave.

'Forgive me for asking…but are you a slave?'

Olya nodded and bit her lip to stop it from trembling. There was no use in thinking about this alternate universe - for as wonderful as it would have been, it had not been. She had grown up within the Faraway clan, not here in Blossom Forest. And whether she liked it or not, she was, in fact, a slave. Nothing would or could ever change that. The Council knew her, and knew of her mission to bring Lilith to safety. If she failed or ran, they would hunt her down wherever she went. All they had to do was lay her down and fip her over in order to she the brand that they had carved into her lightly furred abdomen. There was a F with a circle around it marking her as belonging to the Faraway clan, than Farant's own symbol for belonging to his pack, then Lilith's parent's symbol for being transferred to theirs. She could never forget who she was, for they would not. "Yes... I am a slave. I was born to my mother Aleesya who was a captive of the Faraway clan, taken in retribution from another. She was a slave, and thus so too was I. I was not deemed fit to be a warrior and so I was given this role. My original master -" Olya paused. Even though Farant was dead, she could not bring herself to speak his name aloud. His cruelty had been too immense, and her fear of him too great. "- my original master gifted me to my current as part of a dowry, for they were betrothed. My role is to be her bodyguard - not as a fighter, but as her last defense incase her bodyguards fail her. Which they did." Olya shook her head - she knew she still should not be talking to this wolf, should not be trusting her. But she was, and she did. And now that she had found this little piece of liberation for herself - the knowledge that was kept from her - she found herself gaining a newly found confidence and daring. She was still a coward and terrified of what would happen, but given the near absolute chance of her death, she thought it worth it to chance this - a bond with a wolf who did not want to rule over her. Cautiously, Olya leapt across the narrow part of the falls closest to her and started to creep up the staircase of stones that separated her from this mudblood. Her heart pounded as there was still the slightest of chances that she would be attacked and captured, but her soul told her no such thing would happen. Still, even after she ascended to the same level, she remained about ten feet away from her, just to be safe. "Tell me what it is like. Growing up here... growing up as a free wolf."

.:. I was a gift my my mistress .:. And though she treats me well .:. It's impossible to forget I'm a slave .:.
||Olya|| ||Handmaiden Loyal to Lillith|| || No heart || || No Pack || Slave ||


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