Nauxha clasped the device close to her chest, the harsh Rekes wind threatening to tear it from her hands.

     Travelling the mountains was hard enough during the warm months of the year, but late Kerah had brought with it even worse conditions.  Heavy layers of snow covered the land, deeper where it had been blown against rock faces, veiling deep fissures in the stone where one might fall and become trapped if they weren’t careful.

     Or, at least, that was how Nauxha was used to thinking about Rekes.  The device in her hands beeped from time to time, for what it felt like was solely to remind her it was there, and then more insistently when she neared a hazard.  It was a bit of survey equipment that DPIP had sent down with their colony’s researcher; while its intended use was to scan terrain for mapmaking, it worked well enough to alert her to hazards hidden beneath the snow.

     “Is it still working?”  Jhenigi piped up from behind her.  The younger tsabhua was smaller than Nauxha, and so had been walking in the trail she left through the snowdrifts on their excursion.  His salmon-coloured fur shone blue where the midafternoon sunlight hit him, accentuating the worried look on his face.  He carried a small camera, wrapped up in layers of protective fabric to keep the cold from damaging it, and a pack for holding samples.

     “Yes.”  Nauxha gave the device a gentle shake, just in case, and was rewarded with several more beeps.  “We shouldn’t have much further to go.”

     And then, if they were lucky, they could just follow their trail back to the colony.

     “Bzzt,” the comm device on Nauxha’s throat came to life and Jhenigi jumped back a step.  She resisted the urge to roll her eyes; how anyone could be so easily startled, she did not understand.  “Status report?”

     Nauxha shifted her grip on the survey gear to one hand, then pressed down a button on her comm to respond.  “All’s well.  Still proceeding to the destination.”

     “Good.  Make sure to photograph the site before taking samples.”

     “Understood.”  Nauxha let go of her comm.  She and Jhenigi had been sent out on a relatively simple job—if one disregarded the hazards of travelling through the mountains, which of course their researcher did—to collect samples from the rekke tree and bring it back to ZAG-15’s labs for study.  They had already done so at the start of Geshem, but Miru wanted to assess what differences there were in cuttings gathered during different seasons.  Nauxha had told them that the trees did not change much through the year, but they had insisted on having to test it for themself.  She supposed that they needed something to use all that expensive lab equipment for.

     “They sound angry,” Jhenigi scuttled a few steps closer to shelter from the wind in her shadow.

     Nauxha sighed.  “They don’t sound any different than normal.  Let’s keep going.”

     They continued, heading gradually downhill.  ZAG-15 itself was located in a tight valley between two cliffs, where walls of stone provided shelter from the mountain wind; not a bad place by any means, but it was high enough up that it required something of a walk to reach rekke trees of any adequate size.  Nauxha was navigating them down to the same grove they had visited several months ago, along a path that avoided most of the hazards she had identified when they had first surveyed the area surrounding the colony.

     It had snowed heavily the night before, and so Nauxha almost did not notice the trees until they were on top of them.  The side facing the wind was completely white with snow, blanketed so that they were almost invisible from the direction they’d approached.

     “Should I take a picture now?”  Jhenigi asked, stopping a few paces behind her.  He looked at her with a worried expression, as though he expected to be scolded simply for asking.  She knew the events that had led him to joining the colony had not been the kindest, but sometimes his constant worrying got on her nerves.

     “It’s as good a time as any,” Nauxha stepped out of the way of the camera.  “We’ll want to get a few shots from the other side, too.”

Once Jhenigi had finished documenting the forest, they set out together to take a few clippings.  The dark green needles didn’t look much different to Nauxha’s eye, but she dutifully sheared off a few small branches and scraped off a few bits of bark.  If she’d been feeling more generous, and had the tools for it, she might have collected some sap for Miru.  Ah well; they’d have to do without.

     “I think that’s enough,” she said, and helped Jhenigi load their samples into his bag.  “We should start heading back.”

     “Let’s,” Jhenigi agreed.

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[Foraging] Rekes Outing

In Foraging ・ By Zagreus-15 ・ 2 Favourites ・ 0 Comments

Nauxha and Jhenigi head out into the mountainside to collect some samples for their researcher to study.

Submitted By Zagreus-15 for ForagingLocation: Rekes (B'Av) ・ View Favorites
Submitted 1 month ago Last Updated 1 month ago
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