Raucer looked down at their new telecommunications device, gifted to them by their newest friend Farlow of The Plains as a gesture of gratitude for aiding in finding the missing whelp Tyro. This device had been hacked specifically to not communicate with The Department any more and so Alita had opted to use it as a note taking device for their leads and clues. Currently the device was leading them to Bitzaron, and had stored images of a strange piece of parchment given to them by Tyro when they found him; though he refused to answer questions regarding where he obtained the parchment from. More mysteries, more questions, and a severe lack of answers. Alita was beginning to feel the pressure though her heart was overflowing with a new found determination - they were not alone in their suspicions of The Department.

"They must be around here somewhere." Alita scanned The Plains, determined to spot her mate Orchid before they left the area for good "They are running late. Did they not say they would be here by now?" The question was rhetorical but Raucer felt the need to answer regardless.
"Patience, Alita. Haren'ae often forgets most others are not as fast as he is so likely underestimated the time it would take them - he has been known to do it before when traveling with others."
Alita sighed, lowering her hand from her brow. Raucer was right.
"Although..." Raucer let her words trail off, directing Alita's attention to the direction of their clan. Approaching were two Tsabhua, a deep and dark violet one and an almost white one - that was unmistakably Orchid and Haren'ae respectively.
"Finally!" breathed Alita as she stood taller to wave at them. Raucer, however, remained seated to study the device and its features - no point in getting excited now when it would still take the bulls a while to reach them.

After what seemed like forever for the impatient Alita, Orchid and Haren'ae joined up with them. Alita rushed to Orchid's side, nuzzling his neck softly as they embraced.
"It has been too long, my dear" Orchid said softly, leaning into her warm embrace.
"It most certainly has, my love" Alita replied, not in any rush to release Orchid from her hold.

Haren'ae nodded a greeting at Raucer, who returned the greeting.
"Doing well?" he asked.
"Yes. We have a new lead, in Bitzaron of all places."
"Bitzaron? Is that not closed to-"
Raucer waved her claw dismissively "yes yes, it used to be. Apparently they have opened their gates now and we may find answers from some merchants who operate out of the city."
"That is excellent news!" Haren'ae exclaimed, already adjusting his pack to be move comfortable "We should best be going. It is a few days journey from here... maybe longer..." he glanced over his shoulder at Orchid as his voice trailed off, causing Raucer to chuckle softly.
"You just need to learn to slow down" Raucers reply gained a snort from Haren'ae.

"Hey, Lovebirds" Haren'ae called out to Alita and Orchid "We need to get a move on." he stamped the ground impatiently, kicking up dirt with his hind hoof - a feature unique to him and him alone among the clan though no one knew why he was born that way.
Alita and Orchid finally released one another from their loving embrace, with Alita gaining a serious expression once again "Yes, of course. We have much ground to cover and we had best hurry."

As they travelled, Alita and Orchid caught one another up on what was happening. Alita giving information about their findings with Farlow and the traveling troupe, and Orchid reporting on what was happening back home in Or'sol. Alita scoffed at the notion that the Elders were still holding fast to their resolve in following The Departments orders. She found it quite absurd that they clearly questioned the orders but yet did nothing about it, nor did they seek clarification from The Department directly.
"Alita, my dear. You must understand where the Elders are coming from? They are only looking out for the well being of the clan. The Department wields a great amount of power these days..." Orchid attempted to reason with her.
"And what? We are expected to be happy about not responding to reports and calls for investigations suddenly? Despite that being entirely the colonies roles as far as The Department is concerned? It simply does not add up..."
"I hear you. But, officially, the Clan cannot go against the wishes of The Department. You know this to be true."
Alita scoffed dismissively again, however she did indeed know it to be true. But for the Elders to not even show support to Alita, even in quiet, made her question even them.

As the suns set once more, Raucer had slowed down even further, her shorter legs unable to keep up with the long stride held by the Tsabhua she traveled with.
"Please, I must rest. We have been on the move the whole daylight. Please..."
Haren'ae stopped and turned to her, moving back to approach her with concern. "I am sorry Raucer, I did not realise you were struggling so much."
"It is fine" Raucer all but whispered, completely out of breath "I just need to be done for the day. Please find us a place to rest."
Haren'ae nodded and trotted off to find a semi sheltered area nearby whilst Orchid slid the bags off of Raucers back, his own apology escaping his mouth "Sorry Raucer. I did not realise either. Please, speak up if you need to rest. We are happy to stop. Also... your bags are incredibly heavy!" Orchid looked at the bags he had dropped gently to the ground with surprise "You have carried this the whole time!?"

Raucer merely nodded as she slowly lowered herself to the ground, breathing slightly heavy as she caught her breath.
Orchid turned to Alita, shock in his eyes. Alita merely nodded at him before whispering "She insisted" which gained a knowing sigh from Orchid - Raucer was known to be stubborn at times.

Haren'ae returned not long after having left "I found a good sheltered place to rest for the night. Follow me."
Orchid donned the heavy pack that Raucer was previously carrying whilst Alita helped her to her feet to guide her through the growing thicket. "Take your time, and lean on me if you need." she reassured the Belemoid with a gentle smile. Raucer was too exhausted to argue or stand her ground, so accepted the help though she felt minorly humiliated for it.

Soon the group were setting up for the night in the space Haren'ae had discovered, an area sheltered by a rather large tree on one side with their backs against a rock - a sheltered area from the wind and allowing for a small fire and a hot meal. Orchid cooked a delicious but light meal, focusing on using items from Raucers pack, whilst Haren'ae and Alita got to work rearranging everyone's travel packs to make sure the weight was more evenly distributed if a little lighter for Raucer.
Raucer barely woke enough to consume her meal before falling deeply asleep - unable to be stirred until daybreak.

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Setting out, and a heavy bag
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Crucible of Strength; "Become a pack mule for a traveling merchant for a trip."

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Submitted By Or'sol for Crucible of StrengthLocation: Mireh (B'Av)
Submitted 2 months ago Last Updated 2 months ago
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