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.



Xarxes was right, they had found their first toy. As they stood in the misty, eerie, homey swamp of Laod Mor - two predators peering upon their unsuspecting prey - he knew that Xarxes was right. Before them was a delicate lass, and she was so fearful of her surroundings that she was drenched in fear. It was delicious for him to taste, and her rich perfume flooded his senses as he inhaled deeply. His eyes rolled back into his head, and he closed his lids to block out any visionary stimuli that would shorten the moment. This first toy of theirs would make them stronger, bonding them together... or elsewise it would forever ruined any chance that they had of becoming a kindred spirit. It all rested on this moment, on this girl. And if she manage somehow to fuck it up, he would never let her die - he would make her suffer until she old age claimed her, stilling her heart… But keeping her alive but not be an act of mercy, a moment of kindness, no. His mind played over that which he desired to do to this poor pawn in their sick and twisted game - Perdere would let Xarxes take the lead, being as generous as he was… But it was more so that Perdere could get a full read on exactly what Xarxes‘s fantasy was. Xarxes had spelled it out in words, but words were from the tongue, from the mind, and were not often to be trusted alone. No, what Perdere wanted to see was Xarxes‘s heart - and that would lead his actions. That was not to say that Perdere would not take part, for he would. But only when and where Xarxes would want him to participate. Perdere would get enough enjoy this time out of merely watching if that was all he was allowed to. This time.

Slowly, regretfully, the kalak allowed his pools to descend, pulling his focus from the detailed plan in his mind into the present - nothing ever went exactly as planned, but it always was a good idea to have a plan and though Perdere knew that in his mind, he could do far worse things, and even let his victims live longer, as they were fantisful and imaginary, he always preferred real life in the end. In his plans, and his mind, he could see it all, but it was so much better to feel it all. To feel his claws tearing through hair and flesh. To feel the warmth of blood spraying over his coat, staining his vision, clotting his pelt. It was better to hear their screams, to feel the reverberations of their vocal chords as he clamped down upon them, and then to hear in comparison to the stark silence when he crushed their windpipe. And finally, the look of complete and utter fear and horror, the realization that death was nigh and inevitable… And then the acceptance of death that always showed in the eyes first… But it would not last because their last moments would not be at peace, but of pain as they struggled to take a breath but could not. Ah, it was such a beautiful, delicate scene.

But it would not be his scene, not today -this would be Xarxes’s musical, his orchestration. Perdere would play a minor role most likely, one that he was all right with for this one time. Unlike most of the other maned wolves, he knew how to share, and was looking forward to it. At long last, his visionaries slipped from under their hoods and peered through the undergrowth. And if he wasn’t mistaken, the femme was looking back at him. Perhaps not him directly, but at his location. She had heard them, and yet she had not run. The fear was obvious, but there was something else there - expectation? Acceptance? Perhaps desire? Perdere stifled a chuckle - he needn’t get himself carried away, not yet. Gently, he pushed against Xarxes‘s shoulder and gestured to the right. Silently, he slipped away, and moved circumferentially around her. He was careful with his movements, but it was not hard for him. The long, lithe limbs that Akuji was graced with suited him well - it made him graceful and allowed him to move with ease, even through this swampy abyss. Delicate strides saw him picking a solid path on top of moss, rock, and roots - he avoided the water as it would make too much noise to slip in and out of. He stayed hidden behind the shrubbery that grew thickly between him and the fae, and once he was where he wanted to be, he peered through. The branches were not thick, not now, not in winter, although they remained dense. But in this land, with its humidity and heat, there was never truly a winter. It got a bit colder, but snow rarely fell. The moss remained on the ground, if a bit thinner and more delicate. It would thrive again in the spring time, once there was sufficient warmth and rainfall. As for his camouflage? The musky scent of the swamp would hide his cologne - there was not any wind to sweep it from him, none to carry it, no gusts to break through the dense undergrowth anyway. And his body, now hunkered down lower to the earth, was hidden well enough - the black of his dorsum might be visible but it would be well hidden by the bramble bush until he chose to reveal himself. And so he remained still and focused, his eyes on the prize as he waited for Xarxes to make his move. If this she wolf decided to try to flee, Perdere would be ready to catch her. She was now stuck not between a rock and a hard place, but between two vile beasts who had finally found another to share in their glory, two brothers who shared not blood but heart… And it would not end well for her.


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