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.


Sheep in a Wolf’s Den

The Lamb Caught in the Lion's Den
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The fae was mumbling away, rambling half sobbed apologies as her vocals trembled with emotion. Briseis, still trying to recover from the shock of being attacked by creature that she had, up until just a few moments ago, believed to be a myth, had only managed to stutter over a few words herself. They had strung themselves into a string of questions, ones that demanded answers. She knew that she had been drawn to Draven for some reason, that some force had prevented her from ever saying no to him, prevented her from ever disobeying him. And she had of course heard the wolves in the pack refer to themselves as vampires. But she had never thought that they actually were vampires. Perhaps it was due to her own experiences with her mother, but she had honestly thought that they were, all of them, psychotic. That perhaps Lucaya was a cannibal, and was raising the puppies all to be cannibals as well. After all, Briseis‘s mother Kahlan had a mental disorder herself - her mind was split, and when Briseis had been born, she had been exposed to it all too often. Most of the time, she dealt not with her own mother, but with the persona of her mother‘s dead brother, Henadin. In fact, she was quite sure that her motives did not even know she existed. He had explained to her exactly what her mother‘s condition consisted of, and because Briseis had grown up with it, she did not find it odd at all. Henadin had taught her all that her mother knew in terms of herb lore, and had hoped that she would be able to find a way to cure her mother‘s illness… But that had been when everything went wrong. She had awoken one day and found her mother‘s body gone - unbeknownst to her, Kahlan had at last regained control of the body‘s mind. Kahlan has decided to return to Blossom Forest, not knowing that she had ever born a child. Not knowing that she had left one behind. And that was why Briseis herself had come to this place - she had been looking for Kahlan, looking to help undo the damage done… But instead, she had been captured and chained to the devil.

And now, it seemed that things were about to get stranger, more unnatural. Things that she could not explain, things that were difficult to understand or believe were attacking her - they were monsters, true monsters of her nightmares in this place… But even if she wished to leave, under Draven‘s spell, she could not. And now it all made sense… Somehow, being attacked by the very pup that she had hoped to help, hoped to see saved, had made everything become crystal clear. She found that she hated the pup before her, despised it with every speck of her being… it created death and distraction whereas Brie had been brought up to care for others, to be giving, helpful. It put itself above the need of others, seeing itself as more important. But most of all, it was the appearance of her. For all intents and purposes, Diosa was in appearance a sweet and innocent young girl… Yet it was a camouflage, a disguise worn to hide the monster underneath. She was a horrid defilement of nature. And yet Brie also pitied Diosa. It's nature condemned her to be cruel, to inflict pain upon others. If she didn’t, she would die from starvation. It was a catch 22, and the more that Briseis thought of it that way, the dimmer her feelings of disgust and revulsion became. The being before her could not go against her nature anymore than she could stop being a wolf. Could Briseis really hate another for having to survive? Did the deer hate the wolf for the same reason? Did that make them, as wolves, as predators, monsters?

Really, Brie was so lost in her own mind she did not hear most of what the other said. The general concept of apologies was taken and absorbed, but beyond that, all the other words just sounded like jarbled mumbling. She was in shock throughout the entire monologue. But no matter what the pup said, the outcome would not have changed one bit - it was simply just not in her to hate another. She was a loving, caring wolf. Although, this was not the most traditional nor the preferred way for it to have happened, at least she had in fact helped the femme a bit. After all, hadn’t that been her goal? When she had seen Diosa in the swamp, hadn't she called out to her, offering help? She had… And so to now say that she hated her would be hypocritical. Besides, Diosa did not seem mean nor cruel. Despite being… a vampire… from what Brie could tell, Diosa was not like any of the others. Even now, after so soon, she was apologetic. And besides, it was not Diosa's fault that she did not have a parental figure teaching her how to have morals, what was right and wrong, any of that.

Brie looked over Diosa again… Diosa was bigger than Briseis last remembered, but for some reason had not noticed it much before. Perhaps they were not as far apart in age as Brie originally thought, seeing as she was but a teenager herself. Still, with everything that had been put on her from the moment her blocked ears had cleared, she was far more advanced in maturity than most others her own age. She closed her eyes and inhaled, trying to focus her thoughts. Trying to find a way to calm herself. To ignore the pounding pain within her that, even though it had subsided, still could be characterized of agony. Her trembling limbs no longer quivered, but that was more because they were too tired to do even that. Even now, they were just standing and in a locked position, that was the only thing keeping her up.

"So… Did you not know that biting me, you would hurt me? Have you… Not fed before? How did you even become a… a… vampire? Were you born this way? Or were you… Turned? Oh my God, is that even a thing? If you were turned… How did you not know what was going to happen to me? You must have… Right? If you turned... wouldn't you have had to experience this pain?" Now it was Bree who was rambling, and all of the talking was only making her head pound more. She closed her eyes just enough and she whined. "I… I’m sorry. I am rambling now. You… I… This is all a lot to comprehend." And it was. Everything was switched upside down. But there was nothing she could do to change that… And even now, she could feel the pull of her master, beckoning her home. "I… I don’t understand what is going on, all right honey? But I have to return…."

Briseis felt as if her skin were being tugged on, as if there were teeth in her skin dragging her back to Caidir. Draven had commanded that though she was allowed to go where she wanted, that should be back by morning. After all, she was the one who left looked after him during the daytime hours. "I have to go back… I have to get back to Draven. Because… Oh my God it all makes sense now. That’s why he sleeps during the day. Why he won’t let me sleep during the day. Why I have to listen to him… Morning! You have to get back too!… We have to… Hurry." Briseis stumbled over the moss that she had tried to walk over and fell face first into a shallow puddle. Once again her limbs trembled as she managed to stand. That was why her body wanted her to get back to the land now - so that she would have enough time to get there. Somehow, her bond with Draven was able to comprehend such things. Brie whined but managed to get herself to her paws. Step by slow step, she started walking toward Caidir. Toward her prison. But she paused and looked awkward over her shoulder. "Would you like to walk with me a ways? I think I need you to tell me everything again… I’m not sure how much of it I really swallowed." Though she knew that she had nothing left in her stomach, Brie felt like she had to dry heave. Her mouth had the salty, tangy taste in it and she bit the inside of her cheek to resist the urge to start retching. How she had gone from hating this thing one minute, to asking for conversation the next was beyond her. But here they were.

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Ω Briseis Ω Draven's Slave Ω Caidir Olc Ω Azura Ω


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