Night came fast once again. Crow and his family were closer to the city he wanted to reach, yet still out of reach; the city Crow wished to reach was the harbour city to cross the ocean to the land of harmony and serene, the land of Seles. The land of the Triumph.
On their way they had to slow their pace for convoys of wagons and carriages were making their own slow pace in a similar direction. Crow recognized many faces, some were friends of his, but even so his trust was far from open; he recognized some as Seekers. He had his crossbow at the ready. It was torture for them to pass the convoys for the convoys would halt and begin roasting mouth watering food. The aroma the roasting meat was tempting for the young girls and Elanin was growing restless.
"We can't," Crow told his girls kneeling beside him, their faces were weak with fatigue from the trek. Mara was hunkered down on his left, she too looking as hungry. The girls as well as his clothes were becoming caked with dirt and grime; their clothes were slowly becoming threadbare.
They were at the edge of a large forest. Crow was behind a large spruce, his two girls kneeling before a thick bush and Mara behind a thin bush, with her blue and red tunic she would be the first to be seen. He and Elena would be fine and as long as Elanin stayed low they would not be seen.
"We can't take any unnecessary risks. I am well known in this continent and I don't want you in danger. None of you."
"Then you can stay here," spoke Elena softly. "I'll beg for food." She attempted to get to her feet.
"No!" Crow exclaimed sternly, halting her action.
"Crow, we have to try," said Mara. "Look at Elanin, she's going to collapse."
He did so and saw the hunger in her eyes, it pushed his thinking to an alternate course, but still he protested. "I still don't think we should."
"Father," Elena said. "You are well known, yes, but not everybody has seen your face. When they don't recognise you are you just bring up your name in a conversation."
Crow considered the concept. It beat all of his to the ground. Just like her mother. "I guess you are right. Not many people have seen my face. It worked many years ago, so it should work now." He stood. "I'll go first. If it's okay I'll signal to you to advance."
Elena and Elanin smiled in utter joy. Mara stood and wrapped her arms round Crow's neck and kissed him. "Thank you for doing this," she whispered into his ear. "Be careful."
Crow nodded to Mara. He turned to Elena and unclipped his crossbow. "If I am attacked, or if you spot anybody approaching from behind"—He proffered the crossbow to Elena—"use it, you are second behind me with accuracy and there is no one else I trust with this." As Elena took the crossbow he unclipped his quiver of bolts. "There are nineteen bolts left, use them wisely." He took a deep breath of reassurance, circled round the spruce and entered the open ground. The wagon was not too big but big enough to store a family of four. Crow saw only one man sitting outside the wagon preparing a fire.