[p] cities encircled in iron


Draugr is by Haley!

The drab-furred wolfdog was in a sour mood, though she knew she ought not to be. Though the wagon ride hadn't been comfortable in the least, it had been educational. Draugr was learning -- and quite quickly -- how to drive a wagon. She was not so expert a rider it came easily and naturally to her, but nearly three days riding south with Miqui had educated her quickly -- not only in how to drive, but how to survive a long, boring ride. At present, she walked beside the cart, occasionally jogging ahead to remove debris from the road. Their travels had taken them over both unbroken ground as well as along the old human routes, dilapidated and unkempt as the roads were.

Miqui sat in the driver's seat, reins in hand. He looked half-asleep. Though he outranked her, Draugr would be the one to speak to the AniWayans. Miqui had made this clear to her -- in no way did he intend to represent Salsola. Though the Associate found such an attitude strange, she supposed she understood -- Miqui had come to help load and unload the wagon, as well as keep after the livestock. A mottled herd trailed after the wagon, sheep roped to one another and the leader, a tall llama, roped to the wagon. It was at least interesting to have traveled quite so far from Salsola -- this was as far south as Draugr had ever been, and she took in her surroundings with bright purple eyes, curious to see just where they were headed.

Draugr looked toward the wagon, calculating, and scrambled up when the timing was good, plunking herself down next to Miqui quickly, lest he snap at her about not rocking the wagon. Dra looked over the backs of the horses -- Trader, implacable and calm beyond calm, and Blanche, the taller and far paler of the pair. Where will we stay tonight? the youth asked, glancing toward Miqui to see if he really was asleep. He stirred and looked at her, brilliant red eyes almost derisive -- almost, but not quite.

Not in AniWaya, the coyote grunted. We'll get whatever trade there is, turn around, and leave. Sleep on the road, same as last. You want to stay with these outsiders? There was dangerous scorn in his voice.

Dra scoffed herself, tossing her hair as she looked quickly away from Miqui. No, she said, trying her hardest to mimic his indifferent, flat tone. But it would be nice to sleep anywhere but the back of a wagon. Miqui only snorted in response to that and called for the horses to stop with a word, handing the reins over to Draugr and murmuring something about a nap regardless of its location. Dra took the rains and called for the horses to start again. When they didn't move, she flicked the reins and called again. Trader and Blanche both started forward again, and the bleating from the rear told her the sheep were moving as well.

It was some hours until they came across the border, and by then, the sun was dipping lower in the sky -- almost late afternoon, but still plenty of sun left. Dra smelled the border long before they reached it and called to the horses when they'd gotten close enough. They stopped where they were and Dra threw the brake. Miqui clambered up front and grunted, stretching and shaking sleep from his body. Ah, we're here. Well, get to it, he prompted, taking the reins from her hand and wrapping them about the post. I'm just here to take care of them, the dust-colored hybrid said, moving to unhitch the horses and allow them some time to graze. He brought Trader and then Blanche away, leaving the wagon where it was.

Dra first went and checked on the sheep and the llama, whose name she did not know and did not care to know. He was the bigger and stronger of the pair taken from Ichika, and besides -- he couldn't birth a cria. The sheep huddled close to the brown llama, gazing toward Dra with dull eyes. She looked over each of them, checked the wagon stores, and finally moved to the front of the wagon, tossing up her muzzle and baying in the deep hound's tones an offer for trade. When she lowered her muzzle, she hopped up into the wagon seat, uncertain of what else she ought to do.

Eris had told her to come here, having experienced good trade with this pack previously. Draugr thought she'd traveled awfully far for some sheep and a llama to be traded off, and was somewhat annoyed -- albeit secretly -- with the Auxiliary. Miqui, on the other hand, seemed entirely unperturbed by the journey.

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