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.

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The small rainbow had found herself separated from her savior, her guardian, her hero – her beloved Nephelim. He who did not belong to the bloodline of her blessed guardians . . . The gruff, obsidian brute did not belong to the line of Tempests, but, instead, he was the only one to hear and respond to her desperate cry for help some weeks ago. However, it seemed that she needed help once again. She’d fled from the rainbow’s reunion, desperate suddenly to create a barrier between herself and the Tempests who were not bonded with her. She’d gone precisely against his advice. Small creatures should not travel alone. But there was something in the little miss that just urged her to run. So, she did. And now she found herself falling into the unhinged jaws of Load Mor again.

It was expected of her to return to the place of her and Nephelim’s initial meeting. To relive not just the horrid memories, – especially the one where Vera almost met with a terrible and undesired fate, – but to also relive the good ones. The one where she met her cloaked and scarred knight. A menacing face that, somehow, ended up belonging to the pastel girl’s closest friend . . . a stranger who Vera willingly submitted her heart to, and one who an instant connection formed with. She wondered where he was now – Nephelim had seemed puzzled and overwhelmed himself at the reunion with Losa and Zwayne. Did he manage to follow her? Track her down? She certainly would not be hard to spot – not with her brightened cloak of pastel pinks, greens, yellows, and blues. Wide spheres of light violet peer across her slim shoulder now; confirming to the little miss that, for the time being, she was alone. Her shadowed knight no where in site.

She had not thought this far through. And now a threatening chill caressed her, sending soft shivers down her slender spine. When she is, at last, centered in the terrain, standing right near the waters that threatened her so only some time ago, the sun’s light becomes limited. The land is cloaked in darkness, and Vera can barely make out the foreign shapes surrounding her. In the distance, she can hear the light chirping of various bugs and animals. But the most significant, the one that catches her attention, is yet another memory. The lightening bugs illuminate miniscule spaces in front of her façade, and transfixed, the tiny girl begins to trail after them. She trudges across fallen limbs, stumbling over collapsed logs and thick roots. It is a situation that she has found herself in before, in the near past, but it is, apparently, one that Vera did not learn much of a lesson from. Vera picks up her pace, following behind these fluttering lights at a quickened gallop. She notices a gap that separates her limb from another, but she is certain that she can make it. So instead of being reasonable and slowing her run, she instead speeds up, convinced that she will be able to manage the long jump. Her front appendages leave the decaying bark first, and then her hind limbs push her small framing violently away from the surface. She propels forward, sending her tiny silhouette across the wide gap; but her jump falls a little short. Vera’s delicate muzzle leans in, smacking powerfully against the roughened surface of the opposing limb. A loud crack is sounded, the tiny bones constructing her adorable façade shattering into a hundred pieces, and her body falls limply to the murky waters below with a loud splash.

A soft whimper escapes her throat; but she cannot muster any desperate cries or screams for help. Her small maw is useless, miniscule gashes cause the deadly shade of crimson to trickle down and coat her once beautiful jaws of pastel. Thick water follows suit, crossing her face, her cracked snout, and begins to swarm into her airway. Lightheadedness follows next, and Vera’s hues of violet begin to lose sight, blackness threatened the framing of them and blurring her vision. Her slender throat vibrates with what should be high-pitched plees, but she does have the physical or mental capability to force them out. Instead, she accepts her doomed fate; convinced that Nephelim is not following her. And that he will also never find her . . . Vera would, instead, be a mystery. The tragic case of a missing rainbow, with no evidence to her own disappearance. No backstory. No tempest to be aware of this sudden and terrible pain. Or to even know to look for her. She is a lost cause in this dark and terrible universe. Sinking like a brick; an insect trapped and encased in thick amber as she is weighed down. Right as the water covers her blurred vision, Vera spots him – a cloaked silhouette, who she originally believes is Nephelim. Coming to rescue her from her death, from her own self again. Wouldn’t this be a funny story? It was scary now, but they could laugh later . . . right? Her chest cavity burns. It feels like a wildfire that rages in her lungs, with it’s violent and large flames licking at her nares and throat. Her vision finally fails, and she is graced with permanent darkness. The intense pain is over, as well as her pathetic struggle. The raging flames die down. And Vera is no more.

It turns out that this approaching shadow was not her savior. Not her precious Nephelim. Instead, this is a crowned devil with pointed antlers that adorn his large cranium. Crimson hues spot the pastel girl’s sinking, limp, and bleeding body, and instantly, Lucian is advancing towards her. It takes him a moment to maneuver through the tight spaces that Vera had, but he is finally on the edge of the muddied waters. Massive, gaping jaws widen, and they grab at whatever Lucian can manage to grip. A limp and colorful appendage that nearly crushes beneath the weight of simply his jaws. He rips the delicate fae from the grasp of the land, and together, they plunge onto the damp earth beside the murky liquid. Crimson hues survey her as the same red shade leaks from the rainbow’s tiny body, spilling violently from her maw and now from the small punctures left in her front appendage. What is this creature? The colorful being was so foreign to him, so small, and now . . . so cold. Vera lays limply before him, her beautiful robes forever waterlogged and tainted with the hideous tint of blood. He stands over her, his bulky frame seeming to dominate her miniscule one. What was he supposed to do now? What would he do with her body? Was he to leave her? What even was this tiny being, and who would he even announce her death to?

More importantly, how would this look to a bystander, a witness? Would it seem like Lucian was at fault . . . ? Perhaps it would, if a varg was to arrive at the wrong time. Lucian remained towering before her, trying to figure out what to do.


TOTAL WORDS: 1,205
vera .x. princess .x. pup .x. no heart .x. no home .x. arcus irae
HTML © RILEY





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