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.


The Final Option

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The gears in his head were turning rapidly as he tried to take in everything unfolding before him. He came from a very simple land. Everyone had their place, everyone did their part. There was no... magic... no Arcus Irae... or Tempests. There was only one world. One world where all creatures great and small simply existed. He worried for a moment that perhaps he had finally really lost it. I mean, come on! He had been battered and bruised enough, maybe he that last hit to the head had done him in. He huffed to himself, alas, it seemed this was very much real. And the young fairy wolf before him was as tangible as the dirt beneath him.

He watched her with baited breath for her response to his request for her to take it easy a moment longer. Now that he had crossed the bridge of wonder over her strange appearance he was able to focus again on the more important things at hand. Such as the fact that the poor little fae was truly shaking like the leaves on the changing trees surrounding them. She was trying very hard to hide her suffering and for that he commended the brave little soul. He looked upon her with admiration as thankfully accepted his words of caution. He released a deep sigh of relief, and smiled at her excited squeal about riding upon his broad back. He nodded and again gave her his sideways half smile. He settled heavier within himself, allowing his body to relax a bit since it appeared they would be staying.

She began to spin her tale of princesses and evil soldiers. He watched her intently. Drinking in every single word. This life she spoke of was truly that of fables and tall tales. This Duma guy sounded like bad news and caused Néphe's hackles to raise slightly. He flexed his toes in annoyance at the brute's actions, dragging his claws in and out of the dirt. Her voice trailed off suddenly as it seemed she had focused on something behind him, reflexively he tensed and payed the expanse behind him a flick of his ear and a side glance, he hadn't sensed or heard anything approaching. Alas, it was one of the culprits of the girl's demise. He chuckled inwardly at her antics and obvious ADD. Such pure innocence was extremely rare these days.

His attention was quickly drawn back to the fae as she returned to her story. His eyes widened at the thought of another fae of this girl's size performing heroic acts and saving the day. He had to hold back another amused laugh, not wanting to offend Vera, as it really was actually impressive. His heart skipped a beat at the description of the Tempests. A creature that can tell good from bad? Was there really a difference? What decides one or the other if there is a gray area? Hmmm.. his thoughts again trailed off and he didn't even notice she has risen and was making her way down from her perch, that is, until she made a nearly inaudible yelp. He was instantly on his feet, dirt and leaves falling from his pelt. To love is to Destroy

He ignored the thought that plagued his heart again as he brought his skull down to her level, coming within inches of her frail bodice. His breath ruffled her light, silk fur as he took in her scent, assessing her situation fully. She wasn't going very far any time soon. Her muscles were useless, her pads were breaking apart. He looked at her hard, trying to decide what would be best. She probably needed food, and water... and she needed to get the mud off her feet before it dried her tattered pads out completely. He flicked his right ear in thought, absentmindedly bringing his front half to the ground and half lowering his hind with it. He tilted his cranium.

"I want to know absolutely everything. But first we need to take care of you, you are hurt Miss Vera"

Having been silent this entire time, his deep, grating voice swallowed the dark of the swamps like a black hole. He broke his intense gaze and rose from the ground, bringing himself to full height he towered over her. He began to scan the surrounding landscape. Where they were, there was plenty of murky, muddy water cascading around the trees. But he had sworn there had been a clean pool not far from where he had been lounging prior. If there is water, there is fish and he could help her clean her aching pads. He stared off into the abyss, claws sinking deep into the thick moss. The humidity seeped through his changing coat like a suffocation blanket. There was no breeze here and the earth seemed to be standing still. The massive brute walked to the edge where he had pulled her from certain doom. He glanced briefly and then circled around to the other side of the root upon which she had rested. He glanced down at her as he passed, making sure she was still there.... and real.

Not wanting to venture far with her, he was trying to decide if he should fetch the water and fish himself, or scoop her up and bring her through the swamp to the clearing he was hoping for. He didn't want to leave her alone, it rubbed his pelt the wrong way. She had already gotten herself into enough trouble, and with her attention span the poor thing would see a bird and painfully wander away. He turned back to her, right ear flicking about in deep thought. He brought his mass back in front of her and while still standing lowered his orbs back to her level. Mismatched oceanic eyes stared in concern.

"You need to eat, you need to drink and we need to clean you up. "

He spoke brusquely, not used to speaking gently... well... ever.

"It seems we have two options. Though I prefer the one. You can STAY here while I fetch food and some water.... or you can sit upon my back while I carry you to said destination. I would prefer not to leave you here. But riding upon my back wont be very easy "

He considered dragging her on a log, but if they ran into anything deep it would defeat the purpose.

"If you come with me, you can tell me more about your fellow rainbow critters and perhaps think about where or how we can begin looking when you are prepared."

Somewhere in the night a quiet professional is waiting.
He does not care that he is tired.
That his hardened body is sleep deprived.
He is unbroken and vigilant in his task.
Somewhere this warrior is the final tripwire.
Somewhere this weapon of war will not ask nor give quarter.
He is..... The final option
Male || Lone || Teen Photo and Table by Pompeii


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