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.


s w e e t as sugar

The colorful fluff listened carefully as the cloaked male explained the horrors of traveling alone, her vibrant purple hues held open wide and her pale pink maw gaped open slightly. “That is just terrible! Don’t you think?” her delicate mask furrowed gently in the dim lighting. “Then I guess that I should not wander… and that means you shouldn’t wander either!” A soft huff erupted from her tiny chest; this small girl meant business. The brute that stood before her was massive; perhaps one of the largest creatures she had seen in her short life so far. But the small ess did not see him for his size, or for the muscles that encased his large silhouette. Or even the thick gashes that littered his skin; all trophies of battles, regardless of whether or not they were victories or losses. Instead, Vera saw him as a friend. And she would be darned if any friend of hers was going to run into trouble! “At least we have one another now! Nothing can eat or use us if we are together!” She smiled a toothy grin to the tall titan. Quite obviously, the frail girl had no strength or size to her. But in her mind, her words to Néphelim were true. She wanted to take care of him as he took care of her. Vera’s heart was gold.

The large demon listened to her excessive babbling with patience, a faint look of disappointment in his oceanic hues as he seemingly waited for her to continue. Then his great frame rose from the damp earth and his black kissers curved into a soft side smile. Vera beamed with pleasure back at him. He SMILED at her! It was the first time the male had smiled at the painted pup; previously, he had been much too infatuated with her unusually bright robes. And before then, he was too concerned with rescuing her, of course. The shadowed brute turned his back to the little being, taking a step or so away before his large bodice came to a halt. And Vera was somewhat relieved. Again, she had gotten a little… too far ahead of herself. She realized it, after she rose to the tops of her toes, that the muscles in her short pillars were still engulfed in the flames from her journey. As if she'd been assaulted by a herd of deer, Vera's body ached and screamed all over.

The pain was tremendous. It she hadn’t of known better, she would have sworn everything was broken. But her new friend was here, and now he had turned back to face in the direction of the petite ess as if remembering her predicament. She could not worry him! She did not want to see him anything other than happy. With an audible sigh, her large opposite rooted himself back into his previous resting place. He was right in the words he spoke next, expressing concern about the small creature venturing through the swamps one more time. Instead, he asked to hear more about the Tempests and the Princess. Vera’s pink maw parted slightly; but instead of arguing to insist their travel, Vera accepted the defeat. Néphelim was right, - she was in no condition to explore her new world just yet.

Any weariness in her bright hues was expelled whenever she heard him mention that he would carry her. “Of course, I would love to ride on your back!” she squealed weakly. “But you are right, Néphe.. Let’s stay for just a little while,” Vera’s pink kissers curled into a warm, sincere smile. She noticed that he had yet to answer her about her inquiry of his own story, but the petite creature seemed perfectly okay without knowing. She was certainly not one to pry, and of course, Néphelim’s past made no difference to her. Perhaps he would tell her in the future.

Her brilliant blue cranium tilted gently to the side as she searched the male’s mask. He wanted to know more, but what exactly did he desire to know? There was so much. Vera could spend days on the subject. The small girl decided to start with Losa and Zawyne. “There are two princesses! There is Princess Losa… and she would have been our Queen one day. But everything went really bad and they imprisoned all of the Rainbows,” the small girl’s kissers fell into an extremely rare expression for her; a frown. “Duma… he is the bad soldier. He killed their parents, the King and Queen. He killed some of our parents too… but he did not kill or hurt us. He just locked us all away,” her purple hues reached past the silhouette of Néphelim now, focusing emptily on a singular, tiny light bug as it flickered in the distance. The whole reason that Vera found her little self in trouble in the first place.

“But Princess Zawyne is so brave! She freed us all! She is younger than Losa, more around my age,”
her delicate façade became animated once more as she described the young princess. “But this is why we need our Tempests… their pretty eyes can see whether someone is good or bad! How cool is that? Oh, I do hope we will find one soon.” However, it was obvious through the small ess’ sluggish mannerisms that, soon, like the demon suggested, possibly would have to wait until later. Pin and needles impaled her cracked and dried up pads as she stepped slowly down from her root throne. A soft, almost inaudible wince would escape from her painted pink maw, but that is the only hint of complaint that would utter from the tiny ess.

Now she was back to original height, her blue crown having to dip back in order to reach the mask of the darkened knight. “Is there anything else you would like to know?” she asked softly as she tucked her pastel cloaked frame against the bottom of the root that she had just emerged from. Placing her pink and blue cranium upon her damaged and mud-covered paws, she looked up to him with large, curious purple hues.

vera .x. princess .x. pup .x. no heart .x. no home .x. arcus irae


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