Valley of Gold a voice
Raventhorpe
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#1
All Welcome 

tamar went to their leaders.

bringing a meal of two rabbits, she informed @Solveig and @Rusalka that she would be traveling to the desert with @Zulema, to look for their family before arsenio departed.

but when she rejoined her daughter at the edge of the plateau, she mentioned nothing about those dispersed children.

they traveled down the flatlands until akashingo grew larger; in tightness had tamar diverted them to the mountains. they rested in the hollow where paleo had once been, and went on the next morning.

on the way back, she said, they would visit the vale.

stony terrain gave way to tarns, and then to new green wheat, a sea of it, broken here and there by soft grass and gathered pools of cold water.

by late summer, this would all be gold. she looked out across the rolling green, then leapt forward in delighted doelike delight.
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#2
zulema was quieter than usual as they traveled; it was not due to any darker emotions. wonder stole the words from her. she had never seen such places! the breath within her lungs felt fuller than ever before, likely the cause of elevation differences. the sandy girl adored it.

the sun did not shy away behind the trees and the wind was strong here. a heavy sigh escaped the girl and she closed her eyes, welcoming the soft caress of the air. she was only pulled to reality once more at the sound of her mother's delight, bounding across the valley. zulema had not seen tamar so happy in a very long time.

"are there others in this valley?" she panted out, moving to keep up alongside her mother.

was tamar alone in her time here? she briefly imagined this place as where she might have met arsenio. a bitter taste fell on her tongue at the thought of him. he was distant; now it carried emotional and physical truth.
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#3
great was her joy.

"i do not know. i have never been to this desert." her teeth flashed bright; daring! "but i know the desert, no matter where i am. i remember how to find water where there seems none, how to use the stars to cross the dunes that shift with each step." an inhale of the warm air as she slowed now, gazing thoughtfully off toward the place she did not yet know was muat-riya. "and i am sure we are not alone in knowing these things."

and she hoped she did remember these things.

she bent to taste the water, still chilled by winter and refreshing. in summer what water gathered in the valley would attract mosquitoes. better to avoid it then, despite its beauty.

it occurred to her that this year the girl might become woman. she counted silently the months and years in her head, then again, brow gently tensing, and then a relaxing. acceptance, mingled with trepidation. she would rather they were back among raventhorpe before this happened.

but zulema showed no signs of this, and for now tamar put it from her mind. "the nights are cold." the woman said, looking toward the barrier gulch and considering the wind which now whipped at the sand, and blew it up at them. "first, i think, we will collect skins. the ones of foxes are best." she could not explain without showing, but eventually a hide could be cured almost entire, the eyes and bones removed, the fox's empty jaw resting over one's head. it provided some protection from the sun and the blowing grit, especially when a wearer learned how to arrange it best.

she trotted off, the coyote lineage weaving in and out of her gait as she put her muzzle to the sand.
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#4
the desert held an appeal all things did not; as it was unforgiving, it revealed itself to be rewarding in many manners. zulema felt a childlike wonder she had not experienced in months. she felt the moment was so brilliant that it was her imagination. the girl, soon to be a woman, listened to her mother with urgency.

she nodded silently and followed tamar's movements, nose to the ground. zulema had not seen her at work like this before! the very woman she wished to be was before her eyes. experience and knowledge poured from tamar in all ways.

"thank you, mom. i needed this. you did too, i'm sure? with dad all, ya know." she breathed out hurriedly with the trot that stole her oxygen. 

she rambled, out of tune with the nose that was supposed to be looking for traces of foxes. her brain had a one track issue.
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#5
"i needed this."

arsenio. "your father wants to return to his home beside the sea." and tamar, she could not for now even conceive of leaving this desert.

"i suppose all that remains is for you to decide what you will do, zulema," the red-gold woman murmured.

foxes here were pale, not dark or the deep red of the forest dwellers. at length she stopped, pointing out the small figure far ahead of she and her daughter.

"we will follow the fox to a place where it is not so open," tamar went on, slipping between the stalks of wheat.
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#6
zulema did not answer. if she felt her mother would have been offended by such response, she would have spoken. the girl loved her father dearly, just as tamar. it seemed that this would be where the flawless image of love zulema saw in them would go away, just as she thought all things did. tamar was here, however, and she held herself from picturing her mother in the context of that idea.

"he has shifted from what i believed him to be... if that makes any sense." she clicked her tongue in thought. "but i love him, but love will not take me to the sea as it has here."

she hoped her words were enough. enough to tell her mother that she would not be leaving her any time soon.

arsenio was as soft and kind as he was stoic. a dependable and constant source of love is what she found in him. as of the late months, her father did not seem to instigate these emotions anymore. zulema missed him, even though he was right there.

the sandy girl listened intently, her ears perked towards her mother's low voice and then the direction of what she might of thought a mirage. zulema's posture shrunk in on itself, but her movement remained comfortable and quiet as she followed tamar's lead.
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#7
tamar wanted to defend arsenio.

but zulema knew she was loved. zulema knew she was protected.

what she needed was his words.

their daughter would not go. she felt her heart break, inexplicably. tamar darted after the fox when she saw it again, and curved it around, back toward zulema.

they did not need to speak again until the hunt was over. and this, too; this would be good.
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#8
rolled a 2 D:

zulema welcomed the adrenaline. the rush of blood through her newly formed muscles as the rippled with movement. she ran fully extended, wishing to distract herself from the truly painful conversation. she would follow tamar anywhere, even if her meant her father's absence. paws punched into the dirt as she bound towards the fox ready to twist and turn for the direction it fled.

the inexperienced girl was not as ready as she thought, the fox slipping away as it swerved by her teeth with a slide another direction through the grass. zulema quickly recovered, power beneath her legs as she pursued once more with canines exposed in frustration.
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#9
tamar was out of practice.

the desert came naturally to mind and spirit but not so for body.

she did not pursue but drew up sharply, flanks fluted with her breath, and called for zulema to do the same. "in the forest, in the mountains, on the plateau, you run. you chase, hard and fast. not here." 

the sun burned down. "you will exhaust yourself more quickly than that rabbit and there is no water to easily find if you go too far from this field."

she took another drink, then faced where the tracks led. meeting zulema's eye, tamar took up a trotting gait not unlike that of a coyote, one that would not tire them so fast.

she loped out across the sand, letting the field fall away behind.
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#10
zulema halted with irritation, a sharp huff extending with her ribs. she shook her head with narrowed eyes as she watched to creature escape with the warmth they'd needed. her ears turned to her mother as she pulled her head slowly from the vision of failure.

"i've got much to learn." the ruddy girl panted heavily as she moved to catch up to her mother.

she was excited to follow. the unknown had never been more welcome.
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#11
"you will learn."

"and i will remember."

in silence they would follow a long while, until a rough oval of darkened sand indicated water beneath. tamar showed zulema how to dig there, to overturn sand until liquid welled.

they drank and rested and set off again, and in a scrubby patch of chaparral, they found not only their intended quarry but its warren with several rabbit-kits hopping to and fro.

tamar crouched in the greasewood.