Where once the southern border of Blossom Forest was made by Leisure Lake, the magical rearrangement of the lands has laid there instead a vast, uncrossable ocean. The shore differs as you travel along it. Tall mountainous cliffs arise on the western part and at one point, the large river that runs through Blossom Forest opens up at its tributary into a well sheltered cove. As you come more eastward, the towering peaks shorten into rocky foothills. A large section of the shore is inaccessible to most, as Uyaraut has claimed it as their own. But if you skirt around their territory, the hills disappear, swallowed up into the land until it is as flat as the eye can see. The vibrant greens dull into short and dry browns and tans, and the land dries and cracks apart until it melds into The Waste - the desert that forms Blossom Forest’s easternmost border.

For those looking to hunt here, there are of course the fish within the ocean, along with crabs, seals and urchins. For on the shore, there are seagulls, herons, and ospreys.




Frekari’s fiery fur gleamed with so much water it appeared painted on her lean frame, not a curve or angle hidden from sight. Kalaks has always struck Kershov as bizarre—purely alien creatures not quite “wolf” enough to draw more than fascinated curiosity from him. He had never looked upon a kalak female and desired her. They existed on a separate plane, outsiders, animals that could speak wolf language and yet would never fully integrate themselves into the world Kershov claimed as his own. The glacial beast should not have felt anything more than intrigued by Kari; her incessant sarcasm should have irritated him to distraction, her assumed familiarity should have been an insult, and yet he waited for her to swish those long legs through the water and join him on land as if she truly mattered to him. He played the game—and ended it—based on a genuine desire to peel back her layers and see the core her fire hid from view. That unnatural beauty, that utterly exotic façade, temped him like a plate of fresh foreign cuisine. Kershov wanted to taste her. And the fact she desired the same thing of him had the bone-colored knight all the more starving.

She offered him a carefree grin, pearls shining, and after a beat he returned the gesture with a gentle, slightly exasperated smirk of his own. Once more he permitted the flame-toned minx to press against him, their soaked pelts sliding together like silk, scents amplified by the liquid shimmering across their canvases. “I think ‘sheltered’ is an inaccurate word.” The Czar craned his neck so that he might swipe his tongue between Frekari’s narrow shoulders, adding a playful nip on her nape. “That implies I seek protection from the outside world—and I do not. Perhaps a better word for how I conduct myself would be . . . restrained. Consciously caged. Because quite honestly, my submissive, it is the world that requires shelter from me.

Teeth playing with the long hairs of her mane suddenly tugged a little too hard, a little too aggressively, hoping to cause a jolt to shiver up her neck. Then it was back to careful cleaning, tongue a tool to take water from her robes as the sun poured its warmth over their spines. “Exposure therapy generally works to take the bite out of trauma,” Kershov murmured in a low, clinical tone, his focus now on the creamy fur around Kari’s jawline. “Something has taught you terror of water . . . something has stolen your agency, your strength, and replaced it with weakness. Weakness can be built back into strength . . . as long as you possess the dedication to work for it. As long as you want to be better. So that begs the question: how badly do you want to improve?”


【Free – tied to none – father to Kirastasia and Kavik – LSVK】


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