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[ ✦ quickclan intermission 24.5 ]

Postby eagle, » Thu May 30, 2019 4:40 pm

paragraphredstar bringing heronkit and scorpionkit to camp

more relationship development
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[ ✦ quickclan 25 pt1 ]

Postby eagle, » Thu May 30, 2019 4:41 pm

paragraphthe snow fell around the clan cats as they gathered along the ridge that overlooked their camp. a snowflake landed on hollowfang's nose, and the newly-named warrior wiped it away with his paw. at the front of the group of cats, redstar spoke. the leader's large paws were caked with mud from digging, as were tallpeak's, cyanslash's, and darkflower's. "tumblejaw was one of quickclan's first warriors, here when we were in need of a deputy to help keep this clan safe and organized," redstar was saying, and hollowfang's gaze traveled around to the various cats. marshpaw and darterpaw sat to one side, their heads bowed together, though hollowfang couldn't tell if it was from reverence or if they were actually sad from the tom's passing.
paragraphhollowfang hadn't been there when tumblejaw died, though he had heard mintstem tell her siblings about it; how the former-deputy choked on his prey and no one had been able to save him. not even the medicine cats, who had tried to dislodge it, to try and force herbs down his throat to make him vomit. but nothing had worked, and the witnesses were horrified to say that they watched the large tom die where he stood. while other cats were dying from the barn cats' attacks, no one had been expecting a strong and healthy warrior like tumblejaw to die the way he did. whereas, days earlier, the clan had been in decently high spirits following hollowfang's ceremony and riding with the knowledge that there would soon be a number of new apprentices to occupy the apprentices' den, they all now gathered to listen as redstar bid farewell to one of his oldest friends, one of the cats that had been with the clan the longest. "for many moons, tumblejaw worked with me to build quickclan. when he joined us, there were only few of us here. we could barely be called a clan," redstar continued, and his gaze flicked towards blizzardrush, falconflight, tallpeak, and cyanslash, who were also among the first members. "since then, many seasons have passed and quickclan has grown to where we are today. tumblejaw has been here the entire time, aiding us with his strength every step of the way. there is no cat that i would have rather had as my first deputy." of course, hollowfang didn't miss the underlying tension that each cat knew so well: that tumblejaw had been forced to step down when he lost faith. hollowfang had never known the tumblejaw redstar spoke of - he never knew the tom of strength and loyalty. instead, he knew the warrior who lagged behind on patrols and was an outcast in the clan. the tumblejaw redstar spoke of was a stranger.
paragraph"he was the best mentor i ever could have had," berrypad spoke up when redstar allowed for an extended pause. snow continued to swirl, spiraling as the wind picked up. at hollowfang's side, mashpaw leaned into darterpaw while rowanfoot blocked rosepaw from the spray of wet snowflakes. "he taught me everything i knew and was so bright and energetic as a mentor," berrypad was saying, though hollowfang continued to search the crowd. redstar was surrounded by the early warriors and members of quickclan, each who had their heads bowed. however, it was sweetecho who looked up when hollowfang's gaze passed over her, and the silver molly held his eyes. berrypad continued to speak, until her voice faded away and cyanslash began to give his own farewell to tumblejaw, but hollowfang could focus only on sweetecho through the haze of flakes. hollowfang tipped his head to one side, as if to question her, though sweetecho's expression remained steeled until, at last, redstar's voice rose through the snowfall to dismiss the group. those who were close to tumblejaw would stay behind to pay their respects one last time, as they had been up all night for his vigil, and hollowfang found himself walking with his littermates back into the lower level of the camp.
paragraphjust before hollowfang split from marshpaw and darterpaw to their respective dens, sweetecho's lithe form blocked the stocky young warrior's path. "come with me for a moment," she said, beckoning them along, and the trio glanced among themselves, unable to argue. it was not an invitation, nor a suggestion, but an order. and so, they followed sweetecho through the camp, past the groups of warriors and apprentices looking to keep warm. falconflight and cyanslash spoke to their kits, fur pressed together and cricketpaw jumping from paw to paw. rowanfoot and rosepaw wrestled not too far away, the longer-legged warrior helping his closest friend as he prepared to retake his warrior assessment again. autumnpaw darted from the medicine cat den to the fresh-kill pile and then back again, surprisingly quick and sure-footed despite her blindness. sweetecho led the littermates through it all until they came to piperskip, of all cats.
paragraphthe dark molly's eyes flickered from sweetecho, to hollowfang and his littermates, and then back again. when she spoke, she addressed sweetecho. "are you sure this is the right time for it?" she asked.
paragraphat that, sweetecho lashed her tail. "when else? tumblejaw is dead," she said, the word dead coming out sourly. marshpaw shivered beside hollowfang, and the young warrior leaned towards his sister in an attempt to shield her from the wind.
paragraph"right," piperskip muttered, "as if we could have forgotten." again, the winds whipped, though neither of the older warriors seemed to mind the weather. instead, piperskip's eyes narrowed thoughtfully at the littermates until she finally spoke up again, "many seasons ago, sweetecho came to me in the middle of the night and asked or help. our medicine cat at the time, ivystripe, was having her kits."
paragraph"us," darterpaw spoke up, his voice nearly drowned out by the wind. "we're ivystripe's kits."
paragraphat that, piperskip nodded to darterpaw, her eyes once more searching their faces. "yes, you. ivystripe needed our help. as you know, medicine cats aren't supposed to take mates, and she didn't want redstar to know what was happening. but things went wrong, and she died. no one knew who her mate was."
paragraphtension prickled along hollowfang's spine, though he remained silent. "the entire clan was heartbroken when ivystripe died. we -" sweetecho picked up speaking, gesturing towards piperskip, "had done everything we could. but there just wasn't any hope. she was gone. and some cats were more upset than others." it was in that moment that hollowfang knew what they were working towards, what was about to be said. his muscles stiffened, his jaw set, and he felt the urge to get away and run. but then he looked to marshpaw and darterpaw, their eyes round as they listened. either they refused to acknowledge what was so plain, or had been in the clan too long to hold a wider perspective. he stayed for their sake, as their brother, though he knew that he would never feel kinship with them. "before she died, ivystripe told us the truth of who her mate was."
paragraph"tumblejaw," hollowfang broke in, not giving piperskip or sweetecho the chance. sweetecho met hollowfang's eyes with her own icy blue ones, and piperskip had the dignity to look down at her paws. for a moment, it seemed that his littermates hadn't heard, but darterpaw stood suddenly, snow flicking when he lashed his tail. marshpaw recoiled into herself. even still, hollowfang spoke again, "tumblejaw is our father. and he was never going to tell us."
paragraph"we tried to convince him for moons. but he always said it wasn't the right time. first hollowfang was taken, then you were busy training," sweetecho said with a slight shake of her head. "but i couldn't let this secret die with him. not telling the truth was what was holding him back for so long." silence fell, broken only by the crunch of snow under marshpaw's paws when she turned and raced back to camp, darterpaw quick to follow after her. piperskip didn't hesitate to follow them, calling out their names, though hollowfang kept his eyes locked on sweetecho.
paragraph"why tell us?" he asked after a moment, when he and sweetecho were alone. at the question, her shoulders drooped and he realized, with a start, that sweetecho was not a young warrior anymore. though not as old as sparrowcall or poppyhaze, she wasn't young like canaryleap or cherrydawn.
paragraph"because i would never want my kits to not know who their parents are," she said, bitterness lining her words, and hollowfang merely flicked his ear, not understanding the added bite and not wanting to know either. instead, he gave the slightest dip of his head and turned to return to the camp, pausing only when sweetecho spoke one last time. "we named marshpaw and darterpaw," sweetecho said, "ivystripe never had the chance to name you, so we queens named them. one of the other queens told tumblejaw that he could name you. so he gave you your name, hollowfang."
paragraph"and what a good father he was," hollowfang muttered darkly without looking back, just loud enough for sweetecho to hear him. "he doesn't reveal his identity and names his son hollowkit. maybe i would have been better not knowing him at all," hollowfang said, padded away before sweetecho could say anything else.

paragraph"cardinalpaw!" the cry rose from the nursery when cardinalpaw entered, and the kits seemed to turn as one. ploverkit led the way, bounding towards the red apprentice, pinekit close behind and crakekit following after. each day, cardinalpaw found himself struck by how large his half-siblings were growing. ploverkit was nearly as tall as cardinalpaw himself, with pinekit and crakekit not far behind. however, a cursory glance around the nursery showed that ploverkit was small in comparison to the older kits. clearly, kestrelkit and frogkit inherited their father's long legs, and he supposed that it would only be a matter of time before they towered over cardinalpaw. meanwhile oakseed's kits wrestled in the back of the nursery, and he could already see their muscles showing under their fur. out of the older kits, valleykit was the smallest, and she shot cardinalpaw a sweet smile when he glanced to her.
paragraph"i can't stay long," cardinalpaw said, giving ploverkit a lick between her ears when she pouted. "screechwing is talking to cyanslash about letting a few of us take our assessments," he explained.
paragraph"you're going to be a warrior soon!" pinekit said, brightening even further. "i want you to be my mentor," she said. before cardinalpaw could shake his head, ploverkit turned on her half-sister and cuffed her ear gently.
paragraph"no way," ploverkit argued, jumping back when pinekit aimed a swipe towards her chest. "cardinalpaw is going to be my mentor." cardinalpaw opened his mouth, but crakekit spoke first from where he was sitting behind the pair of wrestling kits, his eyes focused and tail wrapped neatly around his paws.
paragraph"he won't be anyone's mentor for a while," crakekit said, and green eyes met cardinalpaw's. "he's not old enough to have an apprentice. and who even knows if he'll even pass his assessment." at that, cardinalpaw tipped his head to one side, unsure of what to say. thankfully, ploverkit turned from pinekit to crakekit.
paragraph"of course he'll pass," she said dismissively. "cardinalpaw is going to be the greatest warrior in quickclan. he has to pass, he's redstar's son, duh."
paragraph"i hope i'll pass," cardinalpaw interrupted before any of the kits could speak again, "but assessments are hard and i could get unlucky. peckerpaw and rosepaw have been struggling the past few moons," he said, feeling a tingle of anxiety in his chest. he wanted nothing more than to be a warrior, especially with the looming threat of the barn cats. once more, he was reminded of seeing heatpaw lying in the field, of what those cats did to his brother and how he wouldn't let another of his siblings be hurt. if he was a warrior, he would be able to protect them.
paragraph"but they're them, and you're cardinalpaw," pinekit piped up, her whiskers twitching. "you'll be great." not for the first time, cardinalpaw was struck with affection for the kits, even crakekit. indeed, crakekit was more stand-offish than their siblings, but cardinalpaw knew that he meant no harm, instead he was merely stating fact. cardinalpaw smiled at pinekit, though his gaze traveled to where honeyflower was watching over scorpionkit and heronkit. the two kits were small and didn't have the appearance of many of redstar's kits. but even still, cardinalpaw heard the queens talk about how redstar brought them in and said he found them at the border. the queens had wondered how redstar always found these orphaned kits, so young and alone, but they were thankful that he had. cardinalpaw knew better.
paragraphas if on cue, fleetingpaw poked his head into the nursery, grin lighting his face and cardinalpaw stood, readying himself. "it's time," fleetingpaw said and cardinalpaw followed him with his half-siblings' cheers to send him off.

paragraphleafbare, it seemed, would never leave the moor this season, and chanterellestep shook snow from his paws while the hunting patrol picked their way through the barren fields. at the front of the patrol, blizzardrush was hard to make out among the snow, and chanterellestep thought of himself as lucky for his longer fur helping him keep warm, unlike several of the others. the sound of crunching snow signaled rowanfoot coming up to walk with chanterellestep, and the latter shot his friend a glance at the sight of his shivering. "if you keep stomping around like that," chanterellestep said after a moment of walking together in companionable silence, "you'll scare away all of the prey that isn't hiding from the snow."
paragraphrowanfoot's expression twisted from annoyance and he flicked his tail tip. "i'm not stomping," he argued with a playful hiss, "besides, maybe it would be a good idea. i could wake up some of the sleeping prey."
paragraph"is that some of the advice you've been telling rosepaw to do during his assessment?" chanterellestep asked, letting out a laugh when rowanfoot came to a sudden stop, as if suddenly frozen. sootstone turned his head and shot chanterellestep a confused glance, though the younger warrior ducked his head. sootstone studied them for another moment before shrugging and turned back to talk to sparrowcall. "i just noticed you two spending a lot of time together," chanterellestep said quietly when rowanfoot caught up, having the decency to look sheepish. "i mean, more time than usual."
paragraph"he's my best friend," rowanfoot said, rolling his eyes when chanterellestep let out a low hum. "he's been struggling, so i said that i would help him. sweetecho has been helping him, but we all know that she's been distracted, since the attack. i'm not mentoring him, just practicing with him for his assessment."
paragraph"and that's all it is?" chanterellestep pushed further, continuing to tease rowanfoot, who lowered his head and bumped his shoulder against chanterellestep's.
paragraph"you of all cats know that there's always more to it," rowanfoot murmured, "i know that he's only across the camp, but it still feels too far away. we've never been apart like this before, not for this long."
paragraphchanterellestep let out another laugh, though this time he didn't bother to look up and see if sootstone noticed. "remember when we left graveclan?" rowanfoot nodded and chanterellestep shook snow from his forepaw, "it was total chaos. but you and rosepaw... nothing could have separated you two." at the sight of rowanfoot's fond smile, chanterellestep tipped his head back to gaze at the gray sky. "i could see that you would have done anything for one another, would have fought to stay together. you adore each other, just because he hasn't passed his assessment yet doesn't mean that you two aren't still closer than ever."
paragraph"he jealous," rowanfoot said with a shrug, "especially now that hollowfang's a warrior. he feels left behind. i just hate to see him be gloomy and upset. all he wants is to pass, and i just want to help him."
paragraph"he'll pass," chanterellestep assured, earning a small smile from rowanfoot, who dipped his head in turn. at the same moment, a shout went up from the head of the patrol. the topic dropped and chanterellestep led rowanfoot to where blizzardrush, sootstone, sparrowcall, and brightcreek were circling a pair of mollies. one of the strangers, a brown and white tabby, angled her ears at their approach.
paragraph"our clan disbanded. i'm looking for my brother. he might've passed through here," she was saying.
paragraph"we get a lot of passerbys," blizzardrush answered, glancing among the other warriors, "if you'd like to come back to our camp, you can rest and we can try and help you for -"
paragraphthe second molly cut him off, shouldering past her companion. sparrowcall bristled at the sudden movement, but chanterellestep bounded forward, suddenly aware that he knew the dark molly. "hickorypatch?" he said, calling out to his former mentor. there was no mistaking her dark tabby pelt and pale eyes. in turn, she purred when they touched noses, and her gaze turned to rowanfoot.
paragraph"i never thought i would see you lot again," hickorypatch purred. "chanterellestep and rowanpaw... we've all done a lot of traveling, haven't we?"
paragraphboth of the young warriors nodded, and chanterellestep looked to blizzardrush, who had stepped back during the small reunion. "hickorypatch was my mentor in graveclan," he explained, and rowanfoot nudged the older molly with his nose. "my name is rowanfoot now, i'm a warrior. and hollowpaw and grasspaw are warriors now too," rownfoot rambled, though hickorypatch took it in stride, nodding along excitedly. "and rosepaw is with us to. you must come back and see everyone."
paragraphhickorypatch laughed and looked back to the other molly, who shrugged. "it's better than walking around in all of this snow. my whiskers are about to freeze off." with that, blizzardrush led the patrol back across the moor towards their camp, two new warriors in tow.

paragraphkindleflare had returned to her duties as a warrior, though it was with a heavy heart. after patrol, she returned to the warriors' den and tucked her nose under her tail, her body curled tightly. outside, she could hear the mingle of voices, though she felt no joy, no desire to join them. her kits had all died and there was nothing she could do to save them - they were gone. all of them just - gone. made even worse when hawkrise announced that she would be moving into the nursery after alpinemask gave her the good news. several of the queens - zinniabelly in particular - said that it might be better for kindleflare if she stayed, to rest her body and give herself time to grieve. at the time, kindleflare brushed them away, hoping that she would feel better hunting and patrolling. but, in actuality, she felt indescribably hollow.
paragraphthe more she looked around, the more it seemed that everyone was happier than her. chanterellestep had been reunited with his mentor, eagleheart's sister had been brought back by a patrol. everywhere - happy, smiling faces while kindleflare mourned in the privacy of her own nest. that is, until pawsteps came from the entrance of the massive cave where they made their den, and kindleflare glanced up to see eagleheart's lithe shadow, cast from the sunlight coming in from outside. when he noticed kindleflare, he hesitated and offered a smile. "sorry if i woke you up," he said, and kindleflare shook her head, silent. she wished that he would go away and leave her alone, but she also wished that he would come closer and speak to her. that he would be her friend when she needed one so desperately. she heard the scuff of his paws against the floor, then his voice was suddenly closer, "are you feeling well?" he asked, "i can get alpinemask if you'd like."
paragraph"i'm alright," kindleflare managed to mumble, though the words scratched harshly against her throat and she winced. she blinked her eyes open to see eagleheart looking down at her, his head tipped to one side and eyes wide.
paragraph"i was just looking to see if anyone wanted to go hunting with me," he said after a moment, his tail twitching, "i'd like if you came with me, perhaps." in the moment, kindleflare felt the ache of every muscle, felt how cold she was inside, lost and without direction. there was nothing she wanted to do but stay inside and away from the others. but there was something about the way eagleheart asked, surprisingly sincere and gentle, that made her pick her head up. "we don't have to talk if you don't want to, but it'd be nice to know that you were out there than in here alone." at that, kindleflare considered the dark chill of the den around her and how cold it would be outside. still she nodded once and rose to her paws. without a word, she padded towards the entrance of the den, only to pause and glance over her shoulder to see eagleheart watching after her. she blinked at him, confused, then he hurried to catch up.

paragraphwhen peckerpaw padded unevenly through the entrance of the medicine cats' den, he saw flintpaw sitting up in his nest, sharing a rabbit with autumnpaw. he opened his mouth to call out his arrival, but flintpaw twisted to face him, his ears pricked, "hey peckerpaw," flintpaw greeted with a flick of his tail. at the sound of his name, peckerpaw paused and looked to autumnpaw who gave nothing away.
paragraph"did you know i was coming?" peckerpaw asked when he moved forwards towards the pair. since he'd been brought to the medicine cats, it was clear that flintpaw had lost weight and his once-sleek black fur had begun to mat together. now, however, his older brother looked clean and healthy, save for the angry red scars that were forming over his eyes. when the medicine cats concluded that flintpaw would lose his eyesight entirely, peckerpaw hadn't been able to believe it. flintpaw had always been the strong one, that fast one. aspenwish had been beside herself with grief - first peckerpaw's leg, then flintpaw's eyes.
paragraph"no," flintpaw said simply with a shrug of his shoulders. unlike autumnpaw's eyes, which were clouded, the fur on flintpaw's face was only just beginning to grow back from where it had been torn away. "autumnpaw's been helping me tell different cats apart," he said after a moment, likely recognizing the beat of silence. "it's hard to not see you, but i could smell you. and your steps are very distinct."
paragraph"that's great," peckerpaw said, swallowing around the lump in his throat. a shout from further in the den called autumnpaw away, and the blind molly was quick to rise to her paws and follow the sound of alpinemask's voice. when they were alone, peckerpaw padded closer to flintpaw. "is there anything you need or anything i can help you with?" he asked, unable to read his brother's expression confidently.
paragraphflintpaw sniffed the air then drew his paw over his ears. "i'm fine," he said, "just tired of waiting around here for moons when i should be outside, hunting and fighting. what i wouldn't give to claw those rogues."
paragraph"rumor has it redstar is coming up with a plan," peckerpaw replied, though his thoughts drifted elsewhere. flintpaw - going outside? "have they mentioned letting you out of the den?"
paragraph"i've been out in the camp with autumnpaw. she's teaching me how to navigate right with sound and touch. i'm trying to memorize the camp, then i can start going towards the upper ridge and the moor and get back into training." when flintpaw spoke, peckerpaw looked down at his paws and shifted his weight on three legs, unable to look his own brother in the face.
paragraph"so," he drawled, "you're still going to be trying to be a warrior and everything?" peckerpaw asked at last, his brow furrowing.
paragraph"'course," flintpaw said without hesitation, "i'm not spending my life stuck in here. i know how to hunt and fight, it'll just take some reworking so i can use my other senses better. once gorseberry and alpinemask give me the all-clear, i'm going to redstar and cyanslash about it." the question remained on peckerpaw's tongue: was that a good idea? was that even possible? could a cat hunt without being able to see where he placed his paws? peckerpaw broke his legs in a rabbit burrow while being able to see, what would happen to flintpaw? as if sensing the anxiety pooling in peckerpaw's stomach, flintpaw flicked his ears, "you're still fighting and hunting with your leg. why shouldn't i try? it's no different. your injury, my injury."
paragraph"of course," peckerpaw said, rolling his shoulders. "if there's anyone who could do it, it's you." his tone came out flat, though peckerpaw believed what he said - there was no one better suited for the challenge than flintpaw, though he also wasn't convinced. "it'll just take a lot of work. i've been training with snakespots and a lot of the other warriors to strengthen my other legs, learning how to balance ad protect my side so they can't kick my legs out from under me. it's a lot of work."
paragraph"and i'm willing to work," flintpaw said, tipping his chin up defiantly. "i'll show you all. i'll be one of the best, just wait."
paragraphpeckerpaw nodded slowly, swallowing around the lump in his throat. "i know you will be."

paragraphwhen cyanslash heard the news, he rushed immediately to redstar's den, just in time to catch gorseberry as the medicine cat padded out of the high cave. their eyes met and gorseberry shook his head slightly, "no luck so far. i'm giving him some time to come back to himself, but if he doesn't eat soon... he's going to lose more lives," gorseberry said, his tone low. for a moment, cyanslash took him in - the way gorseberry's eyes were red-rimmed from lack of sleep and the hunch to his shoulders.
paragraph"get some rest," cyanslash said at last, touching his nose to gorseberry's ear, though the medicine cat simply shrugged and padded off, his tail low and paws dragging. cyanslash watched him go down the camp's path, but turned when he was gone and entered redstar's den. inside, the scent of rotting prey and death hung suspended in the air and cyanslash sucked in a breath at the sight of the great leader. the season had taken a toll on all of them, but no one more so than redstar, who didn't even look up when cyanslash approached and sat at his leader's side. "redstar," cyanslash said at last, when he concluded that redstar would not be talking to him first, "i know you're not feeling well, but we need to discuss many things. patrols, assessments," he continued to list, and sighed heavily when redstar continued to stare at the corner of his den. ever since tumblejaw's death, redstar spoke to few and was refusing food. when not even splashfall could pry a word from redstar, alarm began to fill the senior warriors and medicine cats. "gorseberry said you lost another life."
paragraphfinally, redstar turned his head and glanced up at cyanslash before returning his stare to the wall. "yes," he said, "i did."
paragraph"you need to eat, quickclan needs you," cyanslash urged, noting the squirrel placed just beside redstar's nest, likely left by gorseberry or one of the apprentices. when redstar didn't answer, cyanslash scuffed his paw against the stone floor. "please, talk to me. i want to help you, boss, as your friend."
paragraphthe old nickname from when they first met, all those seasons ago, seemed to jolt redstar, as his muscles bunched and he finally opened his mouth. "i lost my son, my mate, one of my best friends. and from what? a few tough rogues and a tough piece of hare? sweetecho hates me, cardinalpaw won't even look at me, and heatpaw and tumblejaw are dead. i can't act strong when i feel so defeated."
paragraph"you'd be the first to admit that you've... done bad things in the past," cyanslash said carefully, "you've said it yourself. but you can't get cardinalpaw and sweetecho back if you let yourself die in here. and tumblejaw and heatpaw would want to see you out there, fighting for the clan they loved too. let's beat those rogues so that we don't lose anymore clanmates." cyanslash thought of flintpaw, still in the medicine cats' den, and of heatpaw, who died. he thought of the patrol thrown into chaos by the cats who claimed the clan's territory.
paragraph"what would you do if you lost falconflight?" redstar asked, meeting cyanslash's eyes. "what would you do if a patrol came back to camp with the body of one of your kits?" cyanslash set his jaw but refused to flinch, instead narrowing his eyes.
paragraph"i'd fight starclan themselves to get them back," he answered.
paragraphin turn, redstar let out a low hum and shifted in his nest. "fine. then what do you suggest we do?"
paragraph"send word to groveclan and hazeclan for help. we tell them that our territory is being taken over - if the rouges take our moor, what's to stop them from invading hazeclan and groveclan if they'd like?" he suggested, pushing further when redstar shook his head. "pantherstar and badgerstar are good allies. they would help us," cyanslash added.
paragraph"and we would have to owe them in turn?" redstar said, letting out a toneless laugh, "no - we need to fight this battle on our own. find a better plan."
paragraphcyanslash stared at redstar with wide eyes, alarmed, though redstar flicked his tail, dismissing him. "go check up on the patrols. come back when you have a better plan, or if you figure out a way to bring my son back to life."

paragraphsince his first dream with starclan, gorseberry couldn't shake heatpaw's message from his thoughts. when he scavenged through the snow for herbs, he saw heatpaw's face, when he checked flintpaw's wounds, heatpaw's words echoed in his ears, and when he tended to the queens and miranda, he wondered what danger was already inside quickclan. when he curled up into his nest after a long day, he wished that he could return to the starclan cats, though no dreams came. one night, after he tossed and turned until the moon was beginning to sink in the sky, a voice called his name from the camp. fearing that it might be about honeyflower's kits, gorseberry scrambled to his paws and hurried into the clearing, only to find gullfeather seated there, waiting for him.
paragraph"we must make this quick, gorseberry," gullfeather said, rising to meet him halfway. she touched her nose to his, then moved to speak directly into his ear, "starclan is upset with you," she said, and gorseberry reeled back as if he'd been struck.
paragraph"with me?" he echoed, blinking at his former-mentor.
paragraph"they began watching you after the last time we spoke, they found out about dusklight," she murmured, "we've been ordered not to speak with you, but i couldn't leave you alone," she said, speaking rapidly, quicker with each word. gorseberry's tongue felt heavy in his mouth and he couldn't speak. "they said that we aren't to speak to you unless you break off contact with dusklight."
paragraph"gullfeather, i-" gorseberry began, backing away from her, "i love him." the very thought that he wouldn't be able to see dusklight again made gorseberry's head spin, though gullfeather followed him and pressed her nose to his cheek.
paragraph"i know, i know," she tried to coax him, "talk to alpinemask, don't give up yet. i thought you should know," she continued to say, though gorseberry had his eyes closed tightly. when her voice faded away and he opened his eyes again, he was lying in his nest, gullfeather gone and replaced by sunlight leaking in from outside. even still, he could not find himself comforted by her assurances, and gorseberry rose on shaking paws.
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[ ✦ quickclan 25 pt2 ]

Postby eagle, » Thu May 30, 2019 4:45 pm

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never stop running on and on with the wind
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            number of cats ninety-three | forty-seven ♂ | fourty-five ♀ | one non-binary | servings needed fifteen (+98)
            next moonpool anytime | injuries flintpaw, | kittings honeyflower - now, hawkrise - 2m
            pebbles 20 | den decay 5m

paragraphwriting was too long - can be found here


actions
[ added cats ] thistlestrike (x), hickorypatch via discord
[ consumption ] quickclan eats five hares
[ moonpool ] n/a
[ rank changes ] rosepaw and peckerpaw retake their assessments. if they pass, they will be named roselight and peckernose
marshpaw, cardinalpaw, and fleetingpaw take their assessments. if they pass, they will be named marshstripe, cardinalheart, and fleetingmoon
valleykit, kestrelkit, frogkit, rootkit, hootkit, branchkit, and swoopkit are ready to become apprentices
[ medicine cats ] flintpaw is in need of x1 cobwebs
[ kitting ] honeyflower is kitting, alpinemask is with her, uses x1 borage
[ hunting 1 ] falconflight, twiteflight, dustear, oriolefeather, sweetecho, and kindleflare
[ hunting 2 ] oakseed, berrypad, chanterellestep, sproutclaw, frostfur, and grassthorn
[ hunting 3 ] snakespots, alderpatch, flamestrike, cherrydawn, canaryleap, and brightcreek
[ hunting 4 ] thistlestrike, screechwing, and sagetuft
[ supply gathering 1 ] sparrowcall, whitesnow, minnowjump, mulestomp, hickorypatch, and rowanfoot
[ supply gathering 2 ] redstar, hollowfang, mintstem, duneserpent, splashfall, and acorntail
[ herb hunting ] alpinemask and gorseberry look for herbs
[ training ] darterpaw, owletpaw, rainypaw, and webpaw learn fishing
boulderpaw, daffodilpaw, finchpaw, and cricketpaw learn swimming
dandelionpaw, dovepaw, and plumpaw learn fighting
magpiepaw, tinselpaw, and rivuletpaw learn hunting
autumnpaw learns how to take care of queens
[ event ] redstar loses another life after not eating
[ notes to mod ] i ask that no cats die during patrols, though injuries are fine xx


      leader (1/1)
      redstar | 52 moons | ♂ |
      ★★★★★★✰✰✰

      deputy
      cyanslash | 41 moons | ♂ |

      medicine cats (2/2)
      alpinemask | 46 moons | ♂ |
      ✿✿✿✿✿
      gorseberry | 27 moons | ♂ |
      ✿✿✿✿✿

      medicine cat apprentice
      autumnpaw | 9 moons | ♀ | | blind

      warriors (51/55)
      sparrowcall | 76 moons | ♂ | (left)
      poppyhaze | 72 moons | ♀ | (right)
      sootstone | 69 moons | ♂ |
      duskflower | 62 moons | ♀ |
      snakespots | 58 moons | ♂ |
      mothtail | 58 moons | ♀ |
      tallpeak | 53 moons | ♀ |
      piperskip | 50 moons | ♀ |
      sweetecho | 50 moons | ♀ |
      blizzardrush | 48 moons | ♂ |
      brackenrose | 47 moons | ♀ |
      falconflight | 46 moons | ♂ |
      flurrywind | 46 moons | ♂ |
      splashfall | 45 moons | ♂ |
      hickorypatch | 45 moons | ♀ |
      aspenwish | 44 moons | ♀ |
      nightfall | 43 moons | ♂ |
      frostfur | 39 moons | ♂ |
      hollyfur | 39 moons | ♀ |
      eagleheart | 39 moons | ♂ |
      thistlestrike | 39 moons | ♀ |
      kindleflare | 38 moons | ♀ |
      fluffytuft | 36 moons | ♂ |
      oakseed | 34 moons | ♂ |
      duneserpent | 33 moons | ♂ |
      loonlight | 32 moons | ♀ |
      screechwing | 30 moons | ♂ |
      patchwing | 29 moons | ♀ |
      pearsblossom | 29 moons | ♀ |
      treespirit | 28 moons | ♂ |
      berrypad | 27 moons | ♀ |
      whitesnow | 27 moons | ♀ |
      flamestrike | 27 moons | ♂ |
      alderpatch | 27 moons | afab |
      brightcreek | 26 moons | ♀ |
      acorntail | 24 moons | ♀ |
      minnowjump | 23 moons | ♂ |
      mulestomp | 23 moons | ♂ |
      canaryleap | 23 moons | ♂ |
      chanterellestep | 22 moons | ♂ |
      sagetuft | 20 moons | ♀ |
      twiteflight | 19 moons | ♀ |
      sproutclaw | 18 moons | ♂ |
      mintstem | 18 moons | ♀ |
      cherrydawn | 18 moons | ♀ |
      grassthorn | 16 moons | ♀ |
      oriolefeather | 16 moons | ♂ |
      dustear | 16 moons | ♂ |
      rowanfoot | 14 moons | ♂ |
      hollowfang | 13 moons | ♂ |
      name | age | gender | [url=link]☼[/url]

      apprentices (21/25)
      flintpaw | 16 moons | ♂ | | blind
      peckerpaw | 16 moons | ♂ | | limp
      rosepaw | 14 moons | ♂ |
      marshpaw | 13 moons | ♀ |
      darterpaw | 13 moons | ♂ |
      cardinalpaw | 12 moons | ♂ |
      fleetingpaw | 12 moons | ♂ |
      owletpaw | 12 moons | ♀ |
      webpaw | 12 moons | ♂ |
      rainypaw | 12 moons | ♀ |
      boulderpaw | 11 moons | ♂ |
      daffodilpaw | 10 moons | ♀ |
      dandelionpaw | 10 moons | ♀ |
      dovepaw | 10 moons | ♀ |
      finchpaw | 10 moons | ♀ |
      cricketpaw | 10 moons | ♂ |
      plumpaw | 9 moons | ♂ |
      magpiepaw | 8 moons | ♂ |
      tinselpaw | 8 moons | ♀ |
      rivuletpaw | 8 moons | ♀ |
      name | age | gender | [url=link]☼[/url]

      queens (17/20)
      zinniabelly | 63 moons | ♀ |
      honeyflower | 51 moons | ♀ |
      hawkrise | 29 moons | ♀ |
      name | age | gender | [url=link]☼[/url]

      kits
      valleykit | 6 moons | ♀ |
      kestrelkit | 6 moons | ♀ |
      frogkit | 6 moons | ♂ |
      rootkit | 6 moons | ♂ |
      hootkit | 6 moons | ♀ |
      branchkit | 6 moons | ♀ |
      swoopkit | 6 moons | ♂ |
      ploverkit | 5 moons | ♀ |
      pinekit | 4 moons | ♀ |
      crakekit | 4 moons | ♂ |
      charredkit | 4 moons | ♀ |
      lagoonkit | 4 moons | ♂ |
      heronkit | 1 moon | ♂ |
      scorpionkit| 1 moon | ♂ |
      name | age | gender | [url=link]☼[/url]

      elders (1/5)
      miranda | 111 moons | ♀ |
      name | age | gender | [url=link]☼[/url]

      den materials
      rocks x0
      moss x0
      brambles x0
      feathers x0
      clay x0
          ally clans
          hazeclan | nightwolf950
          groveclan | solyn
          clan | user

          enemy clans
          clan | user
          clan | user

          borders
          north | hazeclan | nightwolf950
          east | clan | user
          south | clan | user
          west | quartzclan | miles morales

          medicine store
          alder bark | x1 eases toothaches
          beech leaves | x1 carry herbs for travel
          bindweed | x0 keeps broken bones in place
          borage leaves | x1 for fevers, tight chests, bad bellies; also
          produces milk for queens
          bright-eye | x2 cures coughs when used with loveage
          burnet | x1 traveling herb to keep up strength
          catchweed | x2 stops poultices from being rubbed off
          catmint | x2 treatment of whitecough and/or greencough
          chervil | x0 treatment of wounds, kittings, and infections
          cobwebs | x0 bind broken bones and stop bleeding
          coltsfoot | x1 eases cracked and/or sore pads, eases breathing,
          and treats kittencough
          deadly nightshade | x1 poisonous
          dock leaves | x1 soothes scratches, sore pads, and wounds
          elder leaves | x0 soothes sprains
          fennel | x1 helps pain in the hips
          feverfew | x2 treatment of fevers, chills, and headaches
          foxglove | x1 causes paralysis and heart failure
          goldenrod | x1 used to treat wounds
          honey | x1 soothes sore throats, coughing, infections
          horsetail | x1 treats infections and stops bleeding
          juniper berries | x1 soothes bellyaches, strengthens, calms,
          and eases troubled breathing
          lavender | x2 cures fever/chills; hides scent of death
          marigold | x1 used for infections, bleeding, and inflammation
          parsley | x2 cures bellyaches; stops milk production
          poppy seeds | x2 soothes shock, distress, and eases pain
          ragwort | x1 used to soothe aching joints and give strength
          stick | x0 distracts cats from pain
          stinging nettle | x2 induces vomiting
          tansy | x2 cures coughs, soothes throats, and can be used on
          wounds
          tormentil | x1 good for treating wounds and extracting poison
          water hemlock | x2 poison
          water mint | x1 eases bellyaches
          wild garlic | x1 draws out poison in rat bites and prevents
          infections
          willow bark | x1 eases pain
          wintergreen | x1 treats wounds and poisons
          yarrow | x1 extracts poison from wounds, induces vomiting
          herb | usage

          fresh-kill pile
          minnow | x11 | 1 serving
          mouse | x14 | 1 servings
          rabbit | x9 | 2 servings
          small fish | x10 | 2 servings
          squirrel | x8 | 2 servings
          hare | x17 | 3 servings
          big fish | x10 | 3 servings
          bird | x10 | 3 servings
          total | 190 servings

          mentors
          gorseberry | autumnpaw | 2
          nightfall | flintpaw | 4
          snakespots | peckerpaw | 4
          sweetecho | rosepaw | 4
          duneserpent | marshpaw | 4
          loonlight | darterpaw | 3
          screechwing | cardinalpaw | 4
          splashfall | fleetingpaw | 4
          sootstone | owletpaw | 3
          duskflower | webpaw | 3
          tallpeak | rainypaw | 3
          blizzardrush | boulderpaw | 2
          hollyfur | daffodilpaw | 3
          brackenrose | dandelionpaw | 1
          pearsblossom | dovepaw | 0
          treespirit | finchpaw | 3
          patchwing | cricketpaw | 3
          cyanslash | plumpaw | 0
          aspenwish | magpiepaw | 1
          mothtail | tinselpaw | 1
          piperskip | rivuletpaw | 1
          mentor | apprentice | 0

          deceased
          ivystripe | 34 moons | died during kitting
          petalkit | 0 moons | weakness after birth
          flashkit | 0 moons | stillborn
          batkit | 0 moons | stillborn
          privetfang | 23 moons | died during kitting
          flutterkit | 0 moons | stillborn
          gullfeather | 34 moons | killed by nolan
          heatpaw | 10 moons | killed by nolan's group
          tumblejaw | 47 moons | choked
          cat | cause of death

          families
          duskflower + ♂ = patchwing
          sunnywhisker (pine) + ♂ = sproutclaw, mintstem, cherrydawn
          aspenwish + ♂ = flintpaw, peckerpaw
          piperskip + ♂ = grassthorn, oriolefeather, dustear
          ivystripe + tumblejaw = hollowfang, marshpaw, darterpaw
          sweetecho + redstar = fleetingpaw, owletpaw, webpaw, rainypaw,
          heatpaw
          redhawk (hurricane) + redstar = cardinalpaw, vanillastrike (hurricane),
          kestrelheart (hurricane), rowankit, russetkit, windkit
          poppyhaze + sparrowcall = magpiepaw, tinselpaw, rivuletpaw
          mothtail + ♂ = boulderpaw
          mushu (hurricane) + sootstone = juniperpaw (hurricane), daffodilpaw
          hollyfur + frostfur = berrypad, whitesnow, alderpatch, flamestrike
          gullfeather+ paleflick (hurricane) = petalkit, flashkit, batkit
          meadowspirit (hurricane) + alpinemask = laurelkit (hurricane), valleykit
          turtledove (haze) + falconflight = dandelionpaw, dovepaw, finchpaw,
          cricketpaw
          flowerskip (char) + redstar = oleanderkit (char), ploverkit
          cleopatra (empire) + redstar = liftkit (empire), sneezekit (empire),
          aspkit (empire), pinekit, crakekit
          privetfang+ ♂ = charredkit, zipperkit (haze), and lagoonkit
          zinniabelly + ♂ = cloudykit (haze), flutterkit
          oceansplash (haze) + snakespots = kestrelkit, frogkit
          honeyflower + redstar = expecting
          bearclaw (haze) + oakseed = rootkit, hootkit, branchkit, swoopkit
          deerleap (bear) + redstar = rainkit (bear), ryekit (bear), heronkit,
          scorpionkit, lionkit
          hawkrise + genetstorm = expecting
          ♀ + ♂ =
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[ ✦ quickclan 26 ]

Postby eagle, » Wed Jun 12, 2019 4:23 pm

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      ┌────────────────────────────────────────┐
      total 88 : ♂ 46 ♀ 41 nb 1 | servings 14 (+91) | moonpool anytime | pebbles 20 | den decay 4 | mod kacchan, | archives xx xx xx

      └────────────────────────────────────────┘


x
x

paragraphthe sunset painted the sky in shades of red and orange with a hint of purple creeping around the edges to signal nightfall while cardinalpaw sat at the top of the path that led down to the ravine into quickclan's camp. he breathed deeply through his nose and felt his chest expand with air before exhaling slowly, with a purpose. at the sound of approaching pawsteps coming up the path, cardinalpaw opened his eyes to assess the sky, allowing his mentor to settle in beside him. "you know, when cyanslash came to me about being your mentor, i told him that i didn't think that i was up to it," screechwing said, his voice quiet, blending into the cool night wind that tore across the moorland. the comment pulled an indignant sound from cardinalpaw, who had only ever thought highly about his mentor, though screechwing hushed him before he could speak. "i was one of the newest and youngest warriors then, i was the youngest warrior to get an apprentice when you and the others were given mentors." while screechwing spoke, he studied the sky, just as cardinalpaw had been moments earlier, and his tone was surprisingly relaxed. "so, when i was supposed to train one of redstar's sons, i was floored." at that, cardinalpaw stiffened and he felt the fur at the back of his neck begin to bristle, though screechwing continued to speak:
paragraph"i kept looking around at the other mentors those first few days, and i kept wondering why i was put with them. rookwatcher was the most senior warrior at the time, duneserpent was a great hunter, tallpeak was one of the first warriors, and duskflower has been here longer than most," he said, listing through the various cats with a gentle smile. "and i was just a loner who managed to stumble into a hunting patrol. and i stayed because of oakseed, but suddenly i was training an apprentice. me? who felt i had so little to teach."
paragraph"you taught me everything," cardinalpaw cut in suddenly, and screechwing's smile grew. it was in the moment that screechwing turned to face him that cardinalpaw realized that screechwing was small - smaller than he was. somewhere along the way, cardinalpaw outgrew his mentor from the kit he once was, looking up at the lithe tabby with round eyes. at the same time, screechwing had grown into the clan and could reflect on it with a sense of nostalgia. "everything i know came from you."
paragraphinstead of responding immediately, screechwing ducked his head to smile down at his paws. "everything," he echoed with a soft chuckle, "that's a lot of things." the sun continued to dip lower and lower in the sky, fleeing the approaching indigo hues, and cardinalpaw dared to lean forward and press his nose into screechwing's shoulder.
paragraph"thank you," he murmured softly, to which screechwing rested his chin on top of cardinalpaw's head.
paragraph"thank you for being such a good apprentice. i probably learned more than you did. i can only hope my kits will listen to their mentors like you listened to me," screechwing said with a purr, standing when cardinalpaw picked his head up.
paragraph"no offense, but i've seen your kits," cardinalpaw said, "and knowing that they have you and oakseed as dads? they won't listen to anyone." when screechwing aimed a swipe at his ears, cardinalpaw ducked away with a laugh, dodging easily out of the way. "they'll be great, just a lot to handle. like i said, you and oakseed are their dads. they'll be great." screechwing opened his mouth to answer, but a shout came from further down the path, and cardinalpaw recognized rosepaw's voice calling up to them.
paragraph"redstar called the meeting, get your tails down here or you'll miss the ceremonies." in that moment, cardinalpaw and screechwing exchanged a wide-eyed glance before they sprinted their way down together, screechwing not wanting to miss his kits be made apprentices and cardinalpaw wanting to receive his full name. when the pair reached the gathered clan, redstar raised his eyes to acknowledge them, but he had already begun speaking and didn't falter.
paragraph"tonight we celebrate the growth of our clan. tonight is one for celebration and reflection of all that we have accomplished," redstar was saying, and his gaze passed over cardinalpaw and screechwing to assess the rest of the clan. "and it is my honor to present quickclan and starclan alike with new apprentices and warriors, as those who are ready to learn the ways of our clan, and those who have only recently completed their training." he paused and glanced up at the faint outline of the moon hovering over their heads as twilight intruded, effectively washing the day away.
paragraphredstar flicked his tail then, and cardinalpaw craned his neck to watch as frogkit and kestrelkit darted forward, followed by swoopkit, hootkit, branchkit, and rootkit. valleykit followed after the others, taking her time to join them below redstar's perch. "starclan, i present you with these kits who are ready to enter into their training to become warriors. accept them, as i give them mentors to guide them into the future." with that, redstar jumped down into the space before the kits, and he strode forward. "from this moment forward, you are apprentices of quickclan. valleypaw, your mentor will be brightcreek," redstar said, listing through the new apprentices and their mentors, who came from the crowd to greet their apprentices at the call of their names. when redstar had finished, he stepped back, allowing the clan to cheer for the pairs. in the midst of it, cardinalpaw looked up to see redstar staring directly at him, and cardinalpaw fell silent, meeting his father's gaze until, at last, redstar waved his tail to silence the crowd.
paragraph"we also have several apprentices who have finished their training and passed their assessments. they have earned their full names, and i call upon starclan to look down on them with approval." when redstar nodded to him, peckerpaw stood and padded to redstar, his steps uneven as his limp persisted. after so many moons, it seemed that peckerpaw's leg would never completely heal, his hind leg twisted at an unnatural angle despite the medicine cats' best efforts. even still, he carried himself well from what cardinalpaw could tell, and he had been able to perform in his assessment. "peckerpaw, from this moment forward you will be known as peckernose. starclan honors your determination and resilience," redstar said, and so he went through he different ceremonies for each apprentice, "rosepaw, you shall be known as roselight. starclan honors your warmth and spirit," then, "you shall be known as marshstripe. starclan honors your kindness and loyalty." after marshstripe had backed away, rejoining the clan, redstar gestured to fleetingpaw, who moved forward with grace, his head held high and his fur silver in the gathering moonlight. redstar regared his son for a moment before addressing the clan, "from this moment forward you shall be known as fleetingmoon. starclan honors your intelligence and strength."
paragraphat last, redstar called out to cardinalpaw, who rose on unsteady legs to pad through the gathered cats until he reached his father. their eyes met once more, and redstar held his son's gaze for a long moment before he spoke aloud, "cardinalpaw, from this moment forward, you shall be known as cardinalheart. starclan honors your honesty and altruism." at last, the crowd began to cheer for the new warriors, chanting their names to the sky, though cardinalheart couldn't tear his eyes from his father.
paragraphhis own name felt as if redstar had cursed him, and redstar stood there, as if waiting for cardinalheart to say something. so he did. "i'm not doing it for you," cardinalheart said, his voice lost under the exuberant cheers around them, though he was certain that redstar could hear him still. "i'm doing it for them, for all of them. because they're my siblings and i love them. but you?" he said with a flick of his tail, "you're just the clan leader." before redstar could say anything, cardinalheart turned and felt himself pulled in by the energy of the rest of the clan. there, fleetingmoon met him with a beaming smile.
paragraph"can you believe it?" fleetingmoon said, eyes bright with joy, "we did it!" not for the first time, cardinalheart felt the weight of his knowledge and the desire to tell fleetingmoon everything he knew. through the sea of familiar pelts, he spotted screechwing with oakseed and their kits, and cardinalheart relaxed, his muscles loosening in tension for just a moment, that there was at least one family in the clan that wasn't torn apart.

paragraphas nolan paced the length of the barn, he was ever aware of the eyes that followed him. how many were there? too many to count, he supposed. he remember when it first started, when it was just him and layla, barely managing to scrounge by. how layla had been too sick to move, and how nolan feared that her death was imminent. now, he had power thrumming under his paws.
paragraphlayla herself was lying among the hay, her eyes half-lidded while she watched nolan pace towards and away from her. at last, when the silence had stretched on for too long, she called out to him, only to roll her eyes when he didn't acknowledge her. at that, she stood and blocked his path. "you need to relax," she hissed softly. nolan, however, merely bypassed her entirely on his march, halting only when layla hissed again, louder this time, "you really think that this is helping? because it's not. graham is out there getting them, and you're doing what? nothing," she said, padding closer. nolan turned his face away from her, though she merely spoke directly into his ear, "what do you think that they're thinking, seeing you act like this, huh? their leader, looking like he's on the verge of panicking."
paragraph"and what do you expect me to do?" nolan spat back, "graham has been gone all day, and we haven't heard from them in nearly a moon."
paragraph"you're forgetting," layla argued, lashing her tail, "that graham takes an eternity to get anything done. but he does, and he will. and they have been busy gaining the clan's trust. everything is fine, and will be fine unless you crack," she continued, "so don't crack."
paragraphnolan stared at layla for a long moment before turning from her when a cat entered through the front entrance of the barn. the skinny gray tabby dipped his head to nolan and layla before speaking. "graham has given the signal as instructed," he panted softly from his rush inside, "we are ready to go."
paragraphnolan glanced over his shoulder to layla, who leveled her gaze at him. "like i said," layla purred, her light tone hiding the bite from a moment earlier. "everything is fine." in the same moment, nolan lifted his tail, signaling to the cats in the barn. bodies emerged from the shadows, slipping into formation with ease behind nolan.

paragraphkindleflare was curled up in her nest when she heard a familiar purr. "you're missing the beautiful weather outside," eagleheart said, though kindleflare remained silent. ever since they had gone out hunting together, eagleheart had been rather adamant about speaking with kindleflare. or, rather, he spoke to kindleflare. hunting for eagleheart turned into him speaking about his life before quickclan, asking kindleflare questions about her life in quickclan, to which she offered, at most, a flick of her ears. it wasn't that eagleheart annoyed her, but she didn't feel like talking to anyone. she remained silent ever since she cried over her kits, those who hadn't survived long enough to speak for themselves. they died, and with them went her voice.
paragraphonce, kindleflare loved to speak. she loved little more than talking. being able to chat over her evening meal with the other warriors after a long patrol, gossiping with loonlight about the newest topic. which warrior would get an apprentice next, which molly would be moving into the nursery next. her voice was hers, back then, but now she didn't miss it. instead, she took her time to acknowledge eagleheart, unwinding her tail from around her body and lifting her head to look at him. "she awakens," eagleheart said with a broad smile. there was a strange glaze over his eyes, like he wasn't entirely focused on the moment, and kindleflare hesitated, though he pushed. "come, love, the sun's shining. it'll be good for you," he urged, though kindleflare remained for a long moment, taking him in. he had a nervous energy to him, which made him shuffle his paws, his fur sticking out. he smelled like the moor, as if he had already been outside of camp, and his fur was rumpled. had she been able to speak, kindleflare would have asked what he did all day. but she couldn't.
paragraphwhen he went to nudge her with his nose, kindleflare shrank away, and eagleheart recoiled as well. "i'm sorry - i didn't -" he stuttered, taking in a deep breath. he stilled for a moment and she watched him, anticipating his next move. questions swirled through her head - why was he so agitated? what was he thinking? as if he could read her mind, he spoke then. "i'm sorry, kindleflare, i just - i know it's so sudden but. i like you. i like spending time with you." at that, kindleflare stilled and eagleheart rambled on, "i just think it's a nice day. there's not much snow. i think it would be a nice day to hunt, or just go for a walk, if you'd like that." kindleflare didn't respond for a long moment, instead narrowing her eyes to study him. was he just acting strangely because he liked her? maybe that was just him - he did come across as a little strange under normal circumstances. maybe that was all there was to it. at last, kindleflare dipped her head and pointed her nose towards the entrance to the den, urging him to lead the way out. eagleheart's eyes lit up and he hurried off, leaving her to follow, "come on, there's no time to lose!"

paragraphthe training hollow was abuzz with activity in the wake of the new apprentices and mentors. as the warrior with the most experience training apprentices, falconflight had gathered the group together and was busying overseeing their activity. before him, frogpaw remaining crouched low in the dust, practicing a stalking crouch that falconflight showed him. nearby, twiteflight was demonstrating how to evenly distribute her weight while kestrelpaw looked on, nodding before attempting to do the same. the sight of his adopted daughter working hard to pass on her own knowledge to her apprentice made his heart swell before he looked back to frogpaw. "you're doing well," he praised, offering a broad smile to the young tom. at that, frogpaw sat up, his ears pricked.
paragraph"can i try practicing it outside of the hollow?" frogpaw asked, and falconflight paused for a moment to consider. before falconflight could decide, frogpaw shuffled his paws, "it's just - wouldn't it make more sense to try out there? the ground here is even, but that's not how it really is." even still, falconflight felt a pull of reluctance, though he couldn't place where the feeling came from. surely it was a good idea - frogpaw demonstrated that he understood what he was doing in the hollow, so it would be good to see how he fared on the moor. but apprehension pricked his fur and falconflight licked his lips, looking across to the other mentors to try and bide his time.
paragraphat last, it was the genuinely innocent expression on frogpaw's face that made falconflight nod. "alright," he said, feeling himself smile when frogpaw jumped to his paws. "just for a little while," he cautioned as an afterthought, though it was too late. frogpaw had already charged from the hollow and falconflight was left to follow in his wake.
paragraphindeed, after some time of helping frogpaw adjust to the uneven terrain, it was a good idea. by the time the sun was inching down the sky, falconflight called frogpaw over to him, though frogpaw glanced away, "i just want to get a drink at the stream," he called, and falconflight waved his tail dismissively, sitting down again to wait. when a moment had passed before frogpaw reappeared, however, the surge of apprehension washed over falconflight again and he stood, sprinting over the lip of the hill to where frogpaw had gone to. there, frogpaw stood with his jaws parted, taking in a scent. when he spotted falconflight, the apprentice waved him over.
paragraph"there's a scent here, but i don't recognize it. it doesn't smell like prey." at that, falconflight breathed in the air and, sure enough, a sour taste rolled across his tongue that he instantly recognized as rogue. it was fresh, and close. immediately, falconflight nudged frogpaw back the way they had come, and his thoughts went to twiteflight, along with his other kits training in the hollow.
paragraph"we need to get to the hollow, hurry," falconflight urged, pressing his young apprentice along until they reached the hollow. behind them, the scent grew stronger and stronger, but falconflight exhaled when they reached the hollow, where the training appeared to be coming to a close. however, their arrival caught the attention of the warriors and apprentices, and mothtailspoke up first.
paragraph"falconflight - what is it?" mothtail asked, and falconflight told them about the scent frogpaw found.
paragraph"we need to get back to camp," he said, meeting twiteflight's eyes. together, the mentors round up their apprentices. however, just before they managed to leave the hollow, a battle cry split the air before a pretty molly came crashing through the entrance with cats streaming after her. without further warning, the rogues attacked, slashing out at the clan cats with claws outstretched and teeth bared. a cat barreled into falconflight's side, knocking the air out of his lungs. claws raked down his side, dragging a yowl from falconflight's jaws, but he kicked out. his claws connected with fur, but, suddenly, the cat was pulled away, and falconflight looked up to see twiteflight wrestle the larger tabby to the ground.
paragraphhis eyes scanned the hollow, taking in the unfamiliar pelts and searching for any he knew. close to twiteflight, berrypad and loonlight fought side-by-side against a towering gray tom with a torn ear. berrypad ducked under the tom's stomach at the same time that loonlight reared back to score her claws down her face. behind them, flamestrike, whitesnow, and alderpatch had managed to herd the young apprentices together, blocking them against the far corner of the hollow and batting away any rogue that tried to get close. falconflight spun when a familiar voice called his name, and he spotted cricketpaw fighting against a skinny molly. his son was bleeding from the shoulder, but falconflight reached himin two bounds, leaping onto the molly's shoulders and digging his claws in deep. "get her belly," he called, and cricketpaw jumped to action. under his grip, falconflight felt the molly try to get away from cricketpaw, though his weight held her in place until she began to crumple from the attack. in a smooth motion, falconflight released her and allowed her to run off into the trees.
paragraphit seemed that several of the rogues had fled, though falconflight spotted several bodies on the ground. whitesnow's fur had been turned red from several wounds and mothtail was slumped, though falconflight could see her flank rise and fall unevenly with her breathing. "go help alderpatch," falconflight told cricketpaw, who turned and followed the order without hesitation. however, in that moment, three scarred cats crashed into the hollow and bolted immediately for the cats guarding the young apprentices. falconflight tried to cut them off, but his muscles ached from a day of training and he was too slow. however, a screech broke the air and a dark shape barreled into one of the cats. rivuletpaw snarled, latching onto the cat's foreleg and biting down. the cat screamed and attempted to shake her off, but it was no use. instead, one of his companions grabbed the lithe molly but her scruff and flung her away. rivuletpaw landed hard on the ground and was still.
paragraphin the moment, the third cat managed to sweep cricketpaw and alderpatch aside, lunging into the young apprentices. there was a moment when it appeared that the cat might have killed them all, falconflight's vision blurred by his running across the hollow. however, the tom was overrun by fur as the apprentices swarmed him. his body slumped to the side, and by the time falconflight had turned to find the other two, loonlight and brightcreek chased them away. at that, the hollow fell silent and falconflight glanced around. rivuletpaw had yet to move, though magpiepaw and tinselpaw approached her body, and mothtail's breathing had stopped. from the far corner, hootpaw screamed swooppaw's name, and falconflight realized that the young tom was bleeding heavily, his eyes closed. falconflight felt his stomach twist in a wave of nausea of the sight of piperskip's body not far from mothtail's, and the world spun. it was only in the moment of near-silence when he turned to make sure that cricketpaw and twiteflight were still standing that flamestrike raised his head, ears pricked.
paragraph"there's more fighting," the tom said, and sure enough, falconflight could make out the sounds of battle screeches. flamestrike padded forward, his ears pricked, "it sounds like it's coming from the camp."
paragraph"apprentices stay here," falconflight deadpanned, "they split us up, it'll be safer here where you can hide." already, flamestrike had dashed off towards the camp and falconflight looked towards cricketpaw, who was ready to argue.
paragraph"i'll watch them," a voice spoke, and falconflight dipped his head to aspenwish, who stood beside a wounded whitesnow. "i'll keep them safe." with that, falconflight led the rest of the warriors to follow flamestrike back to camp.

paragraph"do new warriors always get stuck on guard duty instead of joining patrols?" roselight asked marshstripe as they sat together in the middle of the clearing. for most of the afternoon, marshstripe had been with roselight while they patrolled the camp. twice they had to usher charredkit and lagoonkit from the path that led up towards the moor, though that had been the most excitement they had seen all day since they relieved dustear and canaryleap shortly after dawn. at the very least, marshstripe supposed, roselight was someone she didn't mind spending time with. he was funny and kept her entertained while the rest of the day bored her to death. "because i have never seen rowanfoot on guard duty, not even when he was made a warrior," roselight continued with a flick of his tail.
paragraph"it could be worse," marshstripe said, "we could've gotten stuck with the nightfall guard. and you would have to be quiet." roselight wrinkled his nose and shook his head. at that, marshstripe let out an amused purr. "yeah, i don't think you're capable of being quiet."
paragraphwhen roselight cuffed her ear, marshstripe shook him off and shoved him over with her shoulder, though he held fast to her, and together they rolled to the ground in a heap of giggles and pushing. they broke apart only when someone cleared their throat above them, and marshstripe blinked up at cyanslash, who glanced between the two of them. "hi cyanslash," roselight breathed out, and marshstripe gave him one last kick before standing and shaking out her fur.
paragraph"well, i sure hope that you two are taking this seriously," cyanslash commented. there was no anger in his eyes, marshstripe noted with relief, though his voice was also stern - the tone of a deputy. roselight shook out his pelt and cyanslsh nodded towards the upper level of camp, "roselight, why don't you take a look to see what's happening up top?" he suggested, though his tone made it clear that it was an order, not a suggestion, "and report back what you see. if there's so much as a mouse, i want to know about it." with that, roselight raced off, up the path, kicking up dirt as he went. when roselight was gone, cyanslash looked back to marshstripe with an amused smile. "there's nothing wrong with a bit of fun," he said with a twitch of his whiskers, "but i also need my guards to make sure the camp is secure at all times so that-"
paragraph"cyanslash!" roselight's yell broke the deputy off, and the lithe warrior turned. at the top of camp, roselight stood with his fur fluffed out so that he appeared to be twice his size. "cyanslash! there're cats on the moor headed this way! smells like a band of rogues. there are a lot of 'em."
paragraphwithout responding to roselight, cyanslash let out a warning cry which echoed though the camp. before her eyes, marshstripe watched warriors materialize from the various dens and secluded corners of camp. a flash of white showed blizzardrush running to meet roselight, splashfall's tabby and white form barely a step behind. cyanslash flicked his tail to the next nearest warrior. "cherrydawn, get redstar from his den. acorntail and mulestomp, get the queens and kits in the nursery," he shouted out orders, telling warriors to go to where blizzardrush was commanding the patrol at the top of the camp, where the moor met their home. at last, he glanced to marshstripe, who was waiting for her deputy's command. "get miranda from her den and get her to the medicine den. i need you to guard it."
paragraph"alone?" marshstripe squeaked, but it was too late. cyanslash melted away to meet with redstar and marshstripe was left to watch after him while a patrol came closer.
paragraph"i'll help you," a voice to her right said, and marshstripe turned to see hollowfang standing there. without another word, she nodded and sprinted to miranda's den, hollowfang hot on her heels. however, when they peered inside, miranda was gone and her scent was stale, as if she hadn't been in her den since that morning. the first battle cry went up from the top of the ravine and marshstripe met's hollowfang's gaze. "maybe she's already with the medicine cats," he said, and they had no choice but to go there. in the medicine cats' den, alpinemask was alone. when asked where gorseberry and autumnpaw were, he shook his head. only flintpaw remained, though alpinemask was quick to hide the blinded tom into the very back, where he wouldn't be found.
paragraph"out gathering herbs," he said, though his voice gave away his nervousness as to where the others were. "i'm sure they'll be fine. gorseberry has warrior training and autumnpaw doesn't need eyes to claw your ears," he said, though it was no time for jokes. in the camp, the fighting had begun. redstar's voice echoed against the rock face from the top of the path, while cyanslash could be heard from below, ordering the warriors into formation for the oncoming attack. marshstripe and hollowfang positioned themselves shoulder to shoulder to protect alpinemask, though the older tom pushed past them and set down a bundle of herbs. "the others aren't here and i don't need you two guarding me. you should be fighting." marshstripe opened her mouth to argue, that cyanslash had given her an order, but the sounds of battle pressed closer and she watched as, before her eyes, fluffytuft came sprinting down the path from redstar's patrol, his pelt slick with blood. without further hesitation, hollowfang streaked away. from there, marshstripe remembered alpinemask pushed past her, running to follow fluffytuft with a bundle of cobwebs. then there was a battle cry as the rogues broke the line of redstar's patrol to meet cyanslash's tight formation of warriors. there was a screeching, the sound of blood pumping in marshstripe's ears, and then he was fighting alongside hickorypatch against a tom with a scarred muzzle. though hickorypatch was still new to quickclan, she fought hard to defend her new home, and she pursued the tom when he turned to flee.
paragraphin her wake, marshstripe was left to lash out, trying to remember the moves she had been taught in her moons of training, though the different moves were lost to her. she knew only how to strike out with her claws and hope to catch skin. as time pressed and her muscles wore of biting and scratching, it seemed the camp only became more full. for every cat she drove away, another two took their place. one cat bit her ear, another clawed her side. the world swam and then she was on the ground, recalling only a second too late that a cat struck the side of her head, catching her off-balance. teeth met her scruff and she braced herself for the worst, but a voice sounded in her ear. "i gotcha, you're fine," marshstripe heard, recognizing screechwing's voice. the lithe tabby managed to pull her through the thick of the fighting and off to the side. there, alpinemask was pressing cobwebs into peckernose's side. the black and white warrior tried to shake alpinemask off, but the medicine cat scolded him harshly. in the meantime, a cat charged at screechwing and marshstripe, though screechwing reared back to catch him off balance. for a moment, it seemed that it would work - that screechwing had surprised the cat. however, at the last moment, the cat dropped down and scored his cats down screechwing's belly. screechwing collapsed and the cat turned to marshstripe, one paw raised. too weak to defend herself, marshstripe braced herself for the end and closed her eyes. when nothing came, she opened one eye to see grassthorn standing over her, bleeding from her ear and side. roselight was holding to the cat's shoulders and rowanfoot clawed at the cat's face. marshstripe felt pressure at her side and glanced up to see alpinemask there, hollowfang assisting him.
paragraph"screechwing," marshstripe heard herself say, but hollowfang avoided her eyes. "no," she whispered, then louder, "no, no!"
paragraph"there's nothing you can do," alpinemask said sternly. "they're driving the rogues away." marshstripe dared to raise her head and, sure enough, rogues were running back up the path. "we won," alpinemask said, though his voice held little joy.
paragraph"did we?" marshstripe asked, looking to hollowfang. but her brother looked down and studied his paws.

paragraphthe river had been frozen for most of leafbare, though the thaw gave way to the rushing current as gorseberry searched the patches of frost-bitten plants for anything salvageable. at first, he had been uncertain that this was a good idea. autumnpaw was still learning how to navigate the vast stretch of moorland, and gorseberry had been leading her outside in small doses, but miranda came to their den that morning, asking if they would join her on a walk. "i need to get some air, and i walk slowly so you two can gather herbs along the way." even still, gorseberry's hesitance came from knowing that it would be difficult to look after more miranda and autumnpaw. but miranda insisted, pushing and pushing until, at last, gorseberry agreed under the condition that they not go too far from camp. at the time, miranda agreed, but it seemed that they got ahead of themselves. when they reached the river, miranda sat down and tucked her paws neatly under herself. "i say we rest here a little while. it's so peaceful." and so, gorseberry nosed through the grass, autumnpaw beside him.
paragraphfor a long time, they heard nothing beside the rustle of wind in the grass and the river's current rushing past them. autumnpaw heard it first - the battle cries. "gorseberry," she whispered, getting her mentor's attention, "do you hear that?" the trio lapsed into silence and, sure enough, they could hear the screeches and shouts of warriors fighting. gorseberry had never seen a large battle before, but he remembered the time his family fought rogues when he was only a kit. "it sounds like it's coming from the camp," autumnpaw said, and gorseberry turned to miranda, who stared back at him with wide eyes.
paragraph"you're staying here," gorseberry said, looking between autumnpaw and miranda. autumnpaw began to argue, but gorseberry cut her off, "no, you need to stay here and keep miranda safe. i need you to do that for me. stay here so i know where you are." to miranda, he tipped his head at autumnpaw, then managing a tight smile at her subtle nod. without waiting for further argument, gorseberry nudged autumnpaw to miranda's side before running to the camp, where the sounds of battle reached its peak.
paragraphgorseberry saw only the final moments of battle, too far away to help but able to make out the cats he knew so well fighting for their lives. at the top of the path, blizzardrush wrestled on with a gray cat, and splashfall was a blur as he chased off a bleeding tabby. though it was evident that quickclan had won the battle and managed to chase the invaders away, he couldn't help but eye the mound of dark fur. with a final push of energy, gorseberry reached poppyhaze's side, grabbing her scruff and pulling her away from the final traces of fighting. the dark molly let out a low whimper when gorseberry released her, and the blood seeping from her side hadn't gone unnoticed. already, she was slipping away before his eyes, though she looked up at him. "look after sparrowcall, please," she murmured her final words before she shuttered out her final breath. she was gone. gorseberry touched his forehead to her shoulder before standing and moving among the other warriors.
paragraphit was clear that this had been a fight for their lives, and all of the warriors showed signs of the battle. falconflight was speaking to cyanslash, who shook his head slowly. falconflight was missing clumps of fur from his flank and shoulder, and cyanslash's ear was shredded. by the time, gorseberry reached the lower level of camp after assessing the warriors on top, he saw that alpinemask had tended to most of the remaining warriors, but he beckoned gorseberry to his side. "redstar lost two lives. the queens and kits were protected. falconflight reported that the hollow had been attacked. we lost rivuletpaw, swooppaw, piperskip, and mothtail there," alpinemask said, listing through the different points in a clinical fashion, removing his emotion from the matter.
paragraph"poppyhaze died on the path," gorseberry said, matching alpinemask's tone, though there was no hiding the heaviness in his chest. "miranda and autumnpaw are by the river. we were out gathering herbs. i told them to stay there when we heard the fighting. i'll go get them."
paragraph"no," alpinemask said suddenly, "i'll get one of the warriors to do it. there's something else." for a moment, alpinemask paused and cleared his throat. his eyes were fixed on a point over gorseberry's shoulder, and gorseberry turned the same time a cry went up from one of his dearest friends. "screechwing is dead," alpinemask said, though gorseberry was already walking away from him to where oakseed was crouched over the smaller tabby.
paragraph"oakseed," gorseberry said, unable to find any words that might be able to comfort him, though oakseed shook his head and pressed himself against screechwing's body.
paragraph"he's gone," oakseed said, "he's gone, he's gone, he's gone. i loved him so much," oakseed cried into his mate's fur. all around gorseberry, apprentices were huddled together, crying for their friends gone. sweetecho and aspenwish were leaning on one another to grieve the loss of the friends they had shared the nursery with for so long. cats comforted other cats, and gorseberry touched his nose to oakseed's shoulder.
paragraph"he loved you too," gorseberry said, grieving for the loss of his friend, and for the pain he was unable to mend for oakseed. for now, it was all he could do to press himself close and try and be there for oakseed.


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LEADER ⎯⎯ (1/1)
redstar, 53m, ♂
4 lives remaining

DEPUTY ⎯⎯
cyanslash, 42m, ♂

MEDICINE CATS ⎯⎯ (2/2)
alpinemask, 47m, ♂
gorseberry, 28m, ♂

MEDICINE APP. ⎯⎯
autumnpaw, 10m, ♀
blind

WARRIORS ⎯⎯ (52/55)
sparrowcall, 77m, ♂
sootstone, 70m, ♂
duskflower, 63m, ♀
snakespots, 59m, ♂
tallpeak, 54m, ♀
sweetecho, 51m, ♀
blizzardrush, 49m, ♀
brackenrose, 48m, ♀
falconflight, 47m, ♂
flurrywind, 47m, ♂
splashfall, 46m, ♂
xx
WARRIORS CONT. ⎯⎯
hickorypatch, 46m, ♀
aspenwish, 45m, ♀
nightfall, 44m, ♂
frostfur, 40m, ♂
hollyfur, 40m, ♀
eagleheart, 40m, ♂
thistlestrike, 40m, ♀
kindleflare, 39m, ♀
fluffytuft, 37m, ♂
oakseed, 35m, ♂
duneserpent, 34m, ♂
loonlight, 33m, ♀
patchwing, 30m, ♀
pearsblossom, 30m, ♀
treespirit, 29m, ♂
berrypad, 28m, ♀
whitesnow, 28m, ♀
flamestrike, 28m, ♂
alderpatch, 28m, afab
brightcreek, 27m, ♀
acorntail, 25m, ♀
minnowjump, 24m, ♂
mulestomp, 24m, ♂
canaryleap, 24m, ♂
chanterellestep, 23m, ♂
sagetuft, 21m, ♀
xx
WARRIORS CONT. ⎯⎯
twiteflight, 20m, ♀
sproutclaw, 19m, ♂
mintstem, 19m, ♀
cherrydawn, 19m, ♀
grassthorn, 17m, ♀
oriolefeather, 17m, ♂
dustear, 17m, ♂
peckernose, 17m, ♂
limp
rowanfoot, 15m, ♂
roselight, 15m, ♂
hollowfang, 14m, ♂
marshstripe, 14m, ♀
cardinalheart, 13m, ♂
fleetingmoon, 13m, ♂
xx
APPRENTICES ⎯⎯ (21/25)
flintpaw, 17m, ♂
blind
darterpaw, 14m, ♂
owletpaw, 13m, ♀
webpaw, 13m, ♂
rainypaw, 13m, ♀
boulderpaw, 12m, ♂
daffodilpaw, 11m, ♀
dandelionpaw, 11m, ♀
dovepaw, 11m, ♀
finchpaw, 11m, ♀
cricketpaw, 11m, ♂
plumpaw, 10m, ♂
magpiepaw, 9m, ♂
tinselpaw, 9m, ♀
valleypaw, 7m, ♀
kestrelpaw, 7m, ♀
frogpaw, 7m, ♂
rootpaw, 7m, ♂
hootpaw, 7m, ♀
branchpaw, 7m, ♀
xx
QUEENS & KITS ⎯⎯ (11/20)
zinniabelly, 64m, ♀
honeyflower, 52m, ♀
vermillionkit, 0m, ♂
hawkrise, 30m, ♀
expecting 1m
ploverkit, 6m, ♀
pinekit, 5m, ♀
crakekit, 5m, ♂
charredkit, 5m, ♀
lagoonkit, 5m, ♂
heronkit, 2m, ♂
scorpionkit, 2m, ♂

ELDERS ⎯⎯ (1/5)
miranda, 111m, ♀

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MENTORS ⎯⎯
gorseberry, autumnpaw, 2
nightfall, flintpaw, 4
loonlight, darterpaw, 4
sootstone, owletpaw, 4
duskflower, webpaw, 4
tallpeak, rainypaw, 4
blizzardrush, boulderpaw, 3
hollyfur, daffodilpaw, 3
brackenrose, dandelionpaw, 2
pearsblossom, dovepaw, 1
treespirit, finchpaw, 4
patchwing, cricketpaw, 4
cyanslash, plumpaw, 1
aspenwish, magpiepaw, 2
alderpatch, tinselpaw, 2
xx
MENTORS CONT. ⎯⎯
brightcreek, valleypaw, 0
twiteflight, kestrelpaw, 0
falconflight, frogpaw, 0
berrypad, rootpaw, 0
whitesnow, hootpaw, 0
flamestrike, branchpaw, 0
xx
DEN MATERIALS ⎯⎯
rocks x1
moss x1
sticks x1
brambles x3
feathers x0
clay x0

MEDICINE ⎯⎯
xx

DECEASED ⎯⎯
xx

FAMILY TREES ⎯⎯
xx
xx
PREY PILE ⎯⎯
minnow, x12, 1 serving
mouse, x14, 1 servings
rabbit, x10, 2 servings
small fish, x10, 2 servings
squirrel, x9, 2 servings
hare, x12, 3 servings
big fish, x11, 3 servings
bird, x10, 3 servings
total: 172 servings
xx
ALLIES ⎯⎯
hazeclan, nightwolf950
groveclan, solyn

ENEMIES ⎯⎯
n/a

BORDERS ⎯⎯
north, hazeclan, nightwolf950
north-east, n/a, n/a
north-west, n/a, n/a
east, n/a, n/a
west, quartzclan, miles morales
south, n/a, n/a
south-east, n/a, n/a
south-west, swiftclan, phina d wolf
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[ ✦ quickclan 27 pt1 ]

Postby eagle, » Sat Jul 13, 2019 9:34 am

NOW
paragraphcardinalheart felt hollow, a knot in his throat that made it impossible to swallow or breathe. though it wasn't yet night, the sky was overcast with clouds, announcing that there was a storm coming. the scene was one that he had seen too many times in the past pawful of moons, so much so that he couldn't feel sorrow anymore, only a lingering numbness. he wondered, vaguely, as the first drop of rain hit his nose, what happened to the days when he was a kit and a young apprentice, when his days consisted of talking to fleetingmoon and heatpaw about a new game, or when rainypath would be the first up in the mornings and was tasked with waking up her siblings for a day of training. the days when he was careless, when his biggest worry was a far-off assessment and whether or not screechwing would ask him to train until his muscled burned and he was too tired to raise another claw. now, screechwing and heatpaw were both gone and the quickclan camp was stifled with grief as families bid members goodbye.
paragraphcries fell to the wayside as cardinalheart padded across the camp, barely aware of the feeling of the ground under his paws. faces blurred in his vision, so much so that his attention was caught only when fleetingmoon fell into step beside him, and cardinalheart flicked his ear when his brother spoke. "the kits shouldn't be seeing this," fleetingmoon said, and it took cardinalheart a long moment to register the words. when he did, he halted mid-step to follow fleetingmoon's gaze to where charredkit and lagoonkit were sobbing into zinniabelly's flank, pinekit and crakekit looking on with wide-eyes, and cardinalheart could only imagine what they were thinking in the moment. without saying anything, cardinalheart veered off his original aimless path to head towards the kits. though he didn't look to see if fleetingmoon would follow him, he felt his brother's breath on his tail and knew that he wasn't alone.
paragraphwhen they reached the kits, cardinalheart looked back to fleetingmoon, who merely pricked his ears. there was an emptiness to his eyes to which cardinalheart could empathize, but the red tom knew that having something else to focus on beyond his own feelings of loss would be for the better. he needed a task to take his mind off of things, even if only for a moment, and the kits needed them more than anything else right now. "we should get them back to the nursery, it's getting late and hawkrise and sagetuft can take care of them," cardinalheart said to fleetingmoon, who nodded once.
paragraph"i'll get charredkit and lagoonkit if you get pinekit and crakekit," fleetingmoon said, brushing past cardinalheart and pausing only long enough to nod again when cardinalheart asked him to meet him at the top of the camp after they were done. with that, cardinalheart turned to pinekit and crakekit. though none of the four kits had a birth mother in the camp, zinniabelly had raised them all after redstar brought pinekit and crakekit to camp, and after privetfang died. to see their adoptive mother lying cold in the middle of the clearing must have taken a toll on the kits, who were still so young, and cardinalheart wished that he could erase their pain. however, it the best he could do to go to them.
paragraph"come on, you need your rest," he urged, feeling his heart break at the sight of pinekit's shoulders heaving as she leaned heavily against her brother. behind him, he heard fleetingmoon get charredkit and lagoonkit to their paws and pass them by, leaving cardinalheart with his other half-siblings. though redstar had only ever explicitly told cardinalheart about ploverpaw, there was no denying that these kits were redstar's kits, and his suspicion was confirmed by the way crakekit's eyes met his, a brilliant green even in the gathering darkness. they were eyes that cardinalheart recognized as like his own, like their father's. unlike his sister, however, who showed her grief openly by weeping into crakekit's chest, crakekit himself was rigid, his posture straight and his fur bristling along his shoulders. cardinalheart opened his mouth to say something further, but crakekit lifted his chin to cardinalheart.
paragraph"i'm going to kill them," crakekit said, so suddenly and so forcefully that cardinalheart wasn't sure what to say for a moment. "they hurt us, i'm going to make sure it can't happen ever again."
paragraphfinally, cardinalheart cleared his throat and nodded once before leaning down to nudge the kits gently to their paws. "we're going to get through this, crakekit, it's all going to be fine." however, cardinalheart glanced down at the lower level of the camp as he led the kits to the nursery. the sight of the destruction left behind was nearly too much to bear. how can we ever be fine again?

THEN
paragraphwhen redstar woke, it was with a start. his muscles ached when he jolted upright, eyes widened to take in the thin silvery moonlight that slanted through the entrance of his den, though he was instantly aware that he wasn't alone. the soft puffs of air came from the corner of his den, and he quickly recognized sweetecho's silver fur, and he felt instantly calmed by her presence, watching the way her flanks expanded and contracted with each breath. the last few moons without her had been difficult, indescribably lonely. more than once, honeyflower came to redstar, to ask if he wanted to see their kit - she'd named him vermilionkit, she'd said, for his father. though redstar knew that his entire clan knew who vermilionkit's father was, just as they likely had caught on to the real reason why redstar brought in seemingly orphaned kits every few moons, offering no explanation of how he found them, where they came from, or how he knew that it was best for them to not look for their mothers, he still couldn't help but linger on the first cat he had ever come to love. he'd known sweetecho from as far back as he could remember, had loved her since he was an apprentice. her brother had been one of his closest friends. where and why he had strayed along the way, engaging in countless flings, he couldn't be certain, and there was no excuse. he'd done wrong by sweetecho time and time over, yet she was asleep in his den.
paragraphhe must have made some noise, rustled the bedding or otherwise, as one of sweetecho's blue eyes cracked open, meeting his gaze before she sat up suddenly. "dear starclan," she said, voice scratchy and tired, but even more relieved, "you're awake." with that, redstar's eyes widened when sweetecho stood and leaned into him, pressing her forehead against his broad chest. "you're awake," she repeated again before stiffening and backing away, suddenly. "i'll be back, i need to get alpinemask -" she started, though redstar shook his head quickly as if to clear it.
paragraph"wait, sweetecho, please," he said, and his heart clenched when he called to her, his tone uncharacteristically soft, so uncertain and wavering. in that same moment, the memories came rushing back to him in a tidal wave, and suddenly his entire body ached and burned. he felt hollow, not like himself. he felt like he was running on empty, a mere shadow of his former self. "tell me, what's going on?" he remembered claws dragging across his pelt, the burn of his muscles working to fight off attackers. he remembered his clanmates alongside him, all fighting for their lives against the rogues who wanted them to leave the moorland. then, darkness. "what happened?"
paragraphredstar watched as sweetecho's expression shifted, caught the way her eyes tracked back and forth between redstar and the entrance towards the rest of the camp. then, at last, her shoulders slumped and she looked back to redstar. "you weren't waking up, you've been asleep for days," she said at last, and her voice echoes in redstar's ears. the world tilts, and then sweetecho rushed forward, her pelt pressed into his side as she guided him back to lay down. "when the rogues attacked the camp, you lost a few lives. alpinemask said it was because you lost so much blood, you kept dying and coming back to life, only to die again. it was horrible..." she paused then and drew in a breath. redstar couldn't bring himself to look into her face, so he opted to look down at his paws instead, his tail wrapped around his body as if to comfort himself. it took him a long moment to realize that he was trembling. you've been asleep for days. even though he couldn't believe his own ears, redstar knew that it had to be true. his mouth was dry and his joints ached as if he hadn't moved in some time. it couldn't be right, and yet there was no other explanation. he remembered faint snippets of dreams, of waking in starclan with the sad smile of his past clanmates staring down at him as he walked the line between life and death over and over.
paragraph"alpinemask and gorseberry finally managed to stop your bleeding, but they said that you needed to be watched, just in case you slipped away again. they said you didn't have many lives left. they said you lost lives during the battle and since then," sweetecho said, and redstar kept his gaze fixed to the floor of the den, knowing the truth just as it was: he had only one life left. moons earlier, he had nine lives to give in service for his clan, and now he had only one left. one life left to protect the cats he had sworn to lead until he joined starclan. he had as much to lose as anyone else, and the thought terrified redstar. still, he swallowed around the lump in his throat and finally looked up at sweetecho.
paragraph"who did we lose?" he asked at last, fearing what she would say. he remembered the sight of blood, seeing pelts lying on the ground. he remembered the rogues breaking through the first line of defense, there was no way they hadn't lost any of their own. however, there was no preparing himself for when sweetecho listed off the casualties.
paragraph"mothtail, swooppaw, rivuletpaw, piperskip, poppyhaze, and screechwing..." sweetecho trailed off with a heavy exhale. "marshstripe and whitesnow were touch and go for a while, but alpinemask finally cleared them, and they should be on their paws any day now."
paragraphfor a long moment, there was a tense silence before, at last, redstar asked the last question that nagged him. "how long was i out for?" he asked, and his paws prickled with apprehension.
paragraphsweetecho, however, didn't hesitate and met his eyes without flinching. "almost four days. the medicine cats and i have been forcing water and food down your throat, waiting for you to wake up. but... the clan isn't well, redstar. cyanslash has been doing what he can, but... there's something else." she sighed again and redstar's ears pricked, his apprehension shifting into acute anxiety that made his stomach roll. "it's sootstone. after the battle, no one could find him. we think the rogues too him."
paragraphat that, redstar felt the den sway again and it took all of his strength to keep his legs from giving way under him. sootstone was one of the senior warriors, always dependable and sturdy, there when the clan needed him. now, when the clan needed him, sootstone was gone and redstar feared for the worst.

NOW
paragraphdaffodilpaw stood over the father she had never known she had. when she thought of sootstone, she thought of the senior warriors who ate on the other side of the camp. she couldn't recall an instance when she had ever spoken to him directly. maybe he was always gentle in the times they had interacted, but it was always in a group, with the warriors speaking to a large training group of apprentices. the taste in her mouth was distinctly sour, and daffodilpaw couldn't be certain if it was sorrow or anger. she had gone her whole life thus far thinking that she had no family, that she never would have any family. then, suddenly, she did, but he was dead and she never had the chance to talk to him properly. she would never know what dandelionpaw, dovepaw, finchpaw, and cricketpaw had with cyanslash and falconflight. she would never have the luxury of having a littermate like flintpaw and peckerpaw. she was entirely alone, sitting with the body of her dead father, that is, until she heard pawsteps behind her.
paragraph"i don't want to talk," she said, recognizing boulderpaw's scent as if it were her own. she would know him anywhere, the only cat who had ever been like family to her. even without looking at the gray tom, she could imagine his reaction, eyes wide and brow furrowed. he would be trying to keep his expression clear, but she knew that boulderpaw was bad at that. his eyes gave him away every time, and he always looked like he was thinking too hard. maybe because he always was.
paragraph"then don't," boulderpaw said, and daffodilpaw decided that she hated the sound of his voice. maybe because it made her shoulders slump, reminded her of all of the better times, when it was them against the world. back then, they'd just been kits. but now mothtail was gone, and so was sootstone. it really was just the two of them, though their game didn't seem so fun anymore, not when it was real. but she didn't hate his voice, never could. boulderpaw was her best friend, the only real friend she ever thought she had. when he sat beside her, daffodilpaw allowed herself to lean against his shoulder. "do you want me to talk?" he asked after a beat of silence, only to clear his throat when daffodilpaw said nothing, taking it as allowance to continue. "when we were kits, i was really scared of the dark, did you know that?" he asked, but daffodilpaw said nothing. so he spoke on. "well, i was. and mothtail realized that i would stay to the back of the nursery at night, away from the entrance. i wouldn't play after twilight, didn't want to be alone in the nursery either. so, one day she took me outside at night when it was a full moon. the camp was pretty quiet because redstar took a patrol for a gathering," as he told the story, daffodilpaw stared down at sootstone, wondering how it was possible for him to look like he was sleeping. at any moment she expected him to open his eyes and say something, anything.
paragraph"she told me to look up at the stars and see that it wasn't so dark after all. she said that nothing bad could happen if i looked up, because there were warriors looking down at me. and she told me stories of the warriors that were in the sky as stars. she told me about quickfoot, who quickclan is named after when he brought the cats to their rightful home on the moor. he never lived long enough to become leader, since he died saving his son, shalestar," boulderpaw continued, resting his chin atop daffodilpaw's head. "if i ever felt lonely, she told me to look up, because that's where the good warriors go. they go to the stars to watch us and be with us forever. and one day we'll be like them too." daffodilpaw wasn't sure when it started, but she felt her shoulders shake, the trembling moving down until she was wracked with sobs. under the stars and in sight of all of the dead warriors, she sobbed into boulderpaw's chest. she sobbed for sootstone, for mothtail, for quickfoot, and for the rest. all those who were gone, she sobbed and boulderpaw sat with her through the night, though the gathering clouds and rain that drenched their pelts.

paragraphat the same time, the medicine cats were gathered in the elders' den after gorseberry had been helping autumnpaw clear miranda's bedding. however, gorseberry quickly sent his apprentice to retrieve alpinemask when miranda said that there was something important she needed to tell them. when the four of them were seated in a circle, miranda heaved out a heavy sigh, her eyes trailing from gorseberry, then to alpinemask, finally resting on autumnpaw. "when i came to quickclan, i was told i was supposed to gather information and gain your trust," she said at last, and watched as gorseberry and alpinemask exchanged a baffled glance. before any of the medicine cats could ask questions as to what she meant, she flicked her tail. "the leader of the rogues, his name is nolan. he's my son," miranda said, "and i'm the one who led the rogues to the camp. it's my fault." met with eerie silence, miranda continued to explain to the only ears she hoped might listen without killing her immediately. and so she spoke, spilling her entire story...

THEN
paragraphthe news spread quickly that redstar had woken up, and it brought a new energy to the clan that had been needed ever since the attack on the camp. with their faith in their leader's health restored, the warriors were able to carry their chins a little higher. cyanslash continued to listen to grievances, understanding when oakseed asked to be excused from patrols for a few days while he settled after screechwing and swooppaw's death. however, there was no mistaking the fear that made his clan nervous. with each dip in the moor, the warriors watched for sudden shadows, and remained wary when looking over their shoulders. no cat traveled alone, and the camp and training hollow was heavily guarded. especially since there was still no sign of sootstone, cyanslash wasn't willing to take any chances. it was with that in mind that he settled in front of redstar.
paragraph"we need to send word to hazeclan and groveclan," cyanslash said bluntly after filling in redstar on the most recent events of the day. when he proposed going to their allies moons earlier, redstar had balked. this time, cyanslash expected the leader to be more open to the thought, to at least consider that he was putting the lives of his clan on the line. however, redstar shook his head and tipped his chin.
paragraph"badgerstar and pantherstar are good allies and friends, but we can't ask this of them, cyanslash. hazeclan is recovering from their illness, and what have we ever done for badgerstar where he would send his warriors to fight for us? no, this is something we face on our own," redstar stated bluntly, standing and raising his tail when cyanslash made to argue. "i mean it, cyanslash. quickclan was caught off-guard, but next time we'll be ready. nolan and his rogues came for us, but they won't again. we chased them away, but i intend to go to them this time," redstar continued, leading the way out of his den, cyanslash in tow.
paragraphthe lithe deputy huffed out a breath. "this is why we have allies - so they can help us. we need help now. all the better if we have them with us when we attack the barn. the rogues know how big quickclan is, but not groveclan or hazeclan." again, redstar waved his tail, but cyanslash bounded in front of him, cutting off his path. "what if you lose another of your kits next time, redstar? i'm not prepared to lose one of mine. we should send word to our allies, they'll help us." as his eyes met redstar's, he caught the uncertainty there, though it was clouded by pride, the desire to reassert himself as the unshakable leader he so desired to be. "please, redstar, let's not go into a fight we aren't prepared for. they have sootstone."
paragraphbegging, however, didn't seem to work, and cyanslash's shoulders dropped when redstar shook his head again. "no," he said, softer but just as firm as before. "and we aren't going for a fight. i intend to propose a deal. i want you to gather a patrol, we leave at sunhigh. i want to finally speak to nolan." just like that, redstar walked away, passing one of the new warriors that had come while redstar had been incapacitated. ravengaze's wide yellow eyes dropped when redstar passed, then he offered a polite nod to cyanslash, who returned the gesture with a smile.

NOW
paragraphit had been moons since sweetecho entered the nursery, and she was overcome with a sense of loss. it had been moons since she had her own kits, and now her litter were warriors. back then, she had been content to spend her days with aspenwish, piperskip, mothtail, and sunnywhisker while their kits played. so much had changed since then. aspenwish spent most of her days with her sons, helping them get on, though flintpaw refused help from everyone with the exception of autumnpaw, pushing away his mother and brother time and time again, and peckernose had been training hard to make up for his twisted leg and limp, so much so that he was nearly as fast as most of the other warriors, and he could climb just as well. heatpaw, mothtail, and piperskip were dead, and sunnywhisker had vanished all those moons ago. suddenly she felt as though she didn't belong, but the rain was picking up outside, and hawkrise picked up her head when sweetecho entered. "hi," the young tabby queen purred, "come on it, your son was just in here with cardinalheart. they brought in the kits before the rain started," hawkrise explained, gesturing to where charredkit, lagoonkit, pinekit, and crakekit were huddled together in one of the nests. "they're all becoming fine warriors." at that, sweetecho smiled and dipped her head, murmured politely to hawkrise before she set her sights on honeyflower.
paragraphthe red and white queen was in the back of the nursery with vermilionkit asleep at her stomach, her eyes closed, though she looked up when sweetecho approached. for a moment, it was all sweetecho could do to look down at vermilionkit, and her heart twisted in her stomach. wherever she looked in the nursery, she realized, she was surrounded by his kits. if not vermilionkit, then pinekit and crakekit, or heronkit and scorpionkit, or starlingkit and smokekit. her stomach rolled, but honeyflower looked up at the silver molly expectantly. "i'd like to... can we talk?" sweetecho asked, and honeyflower studied her for a moment before nodding and sitting up slightly, moving slowly so as to not disturb vermilionkit. honeyflower pointed towards the empty nest beside her, and sweetecho took it with a murmur of thanks. again, she was overcome with the feeling of nostalgia and loss, and her heart tightened from the pain, that she had lost so many of her friends over the past several moons. "i'm just going to ask this - did you love him?" she asked, honeyflower, who's expression shifted from closed off and cold to become less guarded. still, she merely blinked at sweetecho, who sighed in turn. "i used to. and i still do, even though i wish i didn't. redstar - he used to be so nice to me. he did everything to save me when brightstar was killed. it feels so long ago, now. but he was gentle, caring, and he rescued me when i was taken by two-legs. how could i not fall in love with him?" she said, looking to honeyflower when she paused, letting out a quiet laugh. "i think i always knew that he was out there, traveling and meeting other cats. he was so close with ivystripe, and he was never the same after hazestar... i think he was looking to make connections for a long time. i think he was looking for someone to love him," sweetecho said, sighing once more. she opened her mouth to speak again, but was cut off when honeyflower reached out a paw, effectively bridging the gap between them.
paragraph"when vermilionkit was born, i thought he would have visited. even if he didn't want to stay with me, i wished he would have. for him," honeyflower said, her gaze trailing down to her sleeping son. "your son, the one that died... i can't imagine how much pain that must have caused you," she said after a longer beat, and sweetecho ducked her head, her ears pressed back against her head.
paragraphwhen she had composed herself, sweetecho shook her head once and watched vermilionkit's steady breathing. "it's a pain i wouldn't wish on anyone. but we've all had our fair share of pain lately." there was another stretch of silence. it seemed that the kits had all fallen asleep between hawkrise and sagetuft. life would go on, sweetecho supposed, though quickclan would never be the same again. not after everything that happened. she would never be the same. "i just wanted you to know that... if you ever need anything, or need someone to talk to, i'd like to help you." sweetecho said at last before standing, pausing only when honeyflower spoke again.
paragraph"we should be friends, sweetecho," honeyflower proposed, to which sweetecho managed a tight smile and walked out into the rain.

THEN
paragraph"you're sure this is a good idea?" cyanslash asked, not for the first time that morning, as the quickclan patrol crested over one of the final dips that lead to the field and the barn that lay beyond, casting a dark shadow. redstar spared his deputy a sideways glance before looking at the cats that he had brought with them, stretching out along the ground behind them. the plan was simple: they brought a small patrol of senior warriors with them as a display of force, though tallpeak was leading a secondary, larger patrol in the case anything went wrong. redstar wanted to talk to nolan, and spoke to length with cyanslash about making peace terms. they would allow the rogues the field and the barn, along with a small strip of moorland beyond, and in exchange they would demand sootstone's release and a cease to the fighting. no one else had to die.
paragraph"it has to work," redstar stated simply, his green eyes scanning over his warriors. blizzardrush and nightfall were crouched side by side, snakespots and falconflight paced further off, with brackenrose and duskflower on cyanslash's opposite side. "this war needs to stop, i can't lose anyone else." with that, he waved his tail and gestured the other warriors to follow before cyanslash could reply. redstar led the march down through the fields, aware that, out there, eyes were watching and waiting. a twig cracked, the grass rustled, and redstar expected that they would either be attacked or met at the front of the barn. sure enough, the patrol made it to the front of the barn, and redstar finally laid eyes on nolan, the cat who had killed or ordered the killings of his clan. gullfeather, heatpaw, poppyhaze, piperskip, screechwing... all gone because of the bright ginger tom that faced him. other cats sat in a semi-circle around nolan, a pretty molly on his left, a scarred tom on his right, but there was no doubt in redstar's mind who nolan was.
paragraph"interesting of you to come here like this," nolan spoke, his voice pitched as he spoke, echoing against the wooden beams of the barn, whispered in the long strands of grass. "it's a shame we never had the chance to properly meet before now, redstar. i've heard much about you," he continued when redstar remained silent. "i was expecting an artful attack from you and your cats, redstar, something... inspiring. something to catch me off guard. i must say, i am disappointed."
paragraphat that, redstar tipped his chin up at nolan, assessing him for a long moment before he rolled his shoulders in a shrug. "i come to make peace with you. the moorland is expansive. there's no reason we can't all live in peace. i want an end to the fighting. we have peace terms," he said, not missing the glint in nolan's eye. maybe, he thought, this would work after all. it would mean quickclan would be without a decent portion of their territory, though it was worth the risk. if it meant protecting his kits, if it meant protecting his clan, it was worth it. anything was worth saving their lives.
paragraphnolan stood then and took several steps forward away from the barn. he was only a few steps away now, close enough that redstar was able to catch the scent of hay and mice on his pelt. "maybe i was wrong, redstar. this is interesting after all. though i know what you really came here for, no?" he flicked his tail tip and the scarred tom stood, making way when two other rogues dragged a writhing heap of gray fur forward. sootstone's eyes burned with anger, and redstar took a half-step forward. the rogues had the senior warrior pinned to the ground, though he continued to struggle in the dirt, calling out to the patrol.
paragraph"daffodilpaw! she's mine," sootstone was saying, his breathing ragged. there was a desperation when he clawed at the ground, but it was clear that he was injured and weak, no match for the rogues. "don't do this redstar, they'll -" he said, though he reeled when nolan flicked his tail, and one of the rogues batted at sootstone head at the command. sootstone felt silent, momentarily stunned and nolan shrugged, apathetic. at his back, redstar caught the signs of his patrol bristling. cyanslash stepped in darkflower's way when the senior warrior moved forward, obviously with the intent to try and help their friend. snakespots spat indignantly and nightfall's tail lashed.
paragraph"in exchange for sootstone, we will give you the barn, the fields, and the moor until the stream. it is yours to have, and there will be no need for us to fight any longer. let's end the war here," redstar said, tearing his gaze from sootstone to nolan.
paragraphfor a moment, nolan turned his head to speak to the pretty molly, and redstar felt his heart rise to his throat. surely it would work. it had to. but nolan shook his head when he turned. "no, there's something else i want," nolan said, and redstar bunched his shoulders, posturing straightening. "i want you, redstar. i want your life, and then i'll make the deal. i'll leave your beloved clan alone, we'll stay to our border." immediately, cyanslash bounded forward until he reached redstar's shoulder, speaking urgently to him, though redstar couldn't hear him. the blood pounded in his ears. faces flashed in front of his vision, of those who had gone before him, of his current clanmates he needed to protect before all else. all of his kits, sweetecho, cyanslash and his family. he thought of hazestar, of badgerstar. of what badgerstar told him at the last gathering: perhaps we are getting old, redstar, but i'd like to think we have a good few moons left in us yet, and he wished so sorely that it could be true.
paragraphhe heard himself say "it's a deal," and he stepped forward to the sound of cyanslash's shout, giving the signal to tallpeak to bring the second patrol in for an attack. he heard sootstone beg as he was hauled to his paws. redstar met nolan halfway, the ginger tom's eyes like ice when he leaned close. he heard nolan say "you shouldn't have trusted me, redstar. i don't make deals," and then another scream when sootstone fell under the claws of his captors. he heard a war cry go up from behind him, likely as tallpeak's patrol came to the rescue, but it was too late. his head hit the ground and his throat burned from where nolan raked his claws to end his life. then the world went black, and redstar's last thought was that he had tried his best, that he had always tried his best to protect the ones he loved.

NOW
paragraphit had been raining off and on all evening, and the storm finally slowed to a drizzle when cyanslash left the den, with falconflight in tow. his mate pressed close against his side, whispering gentle words of encouragement before disengaging and leaving cyanslash to climb the boulder that marked where redstar had always made announcements, from the early days of the clan until when he called together the patrols for the parlay with nolan. the memory flashed behind cyanslash's eyelids each time he blinked. after nolan's followers killed sootstone and nolan himself attacked redstar, the following battle had been a difficult one. the barn was filled of rogues, and the patrol would have been overcome if not for tallpeak coming in at the last minute with back up. though it hadn't been entirely without loss. besides redstar and sootstone, they also lost dustear and zinniabelly, who had volunteered to join at the last minute despite being out of practice from being in the nursery for so long.
paragraphthe four cats who had left them were stretched out in the middle of the clearing by the time cyanslash climbed the wind rock, and a cool wind scored across his pelt. though the battle had been only that morning, it felt as though so much time had passed since then. but the moon was beginning to crawl up the sky, and cyanslash needed to address the clan for the first time. "cats of quickclan," he yelled, surprised at the way his voice echoed back towards him against the opposing cliff face where the dens were. there were already several cats in the clearing - daffodilpaw, grassthorn, oriolefeather, and sweetecho and her kits, and they turned to face him, though they didn't remove themselves from their spots by the bodies of their family. slowly, silhouettes emerged from the dens, sliding into focus before him. for a moment, cyanslash felt disoriented, looking down at the expectant faces who stared back up at him, looking for some greater answer. the thought made his heart hammer against his ribs, overcome with the sudden spike of anxiety that this was all wrong, he should not be standing where the great redstar once did. but his gaze found falconflight's, who held it and offered a small nod of his head. so cyanslash spoke to him, to his family. he breathed in deeply.
paragraph"we have suffered many severe losses these past several moons. we've lost family, friends... leaders who brought us all together. you all know that today marks another dark day in quickclan history, for many reasons," cyanslash said, moving forward until he reached the apex of the rock, the highest point to look down at the gathered cats. "we will mourn the losses greatly for a long time to come, but i also urge that we look towards the real threat, as nolan and his rogues remain a dark shadow on the moor. we cannot be safe so long as they are here. and i intend to stomp them out so that we will no longer have fear," he paused long enough to draw in a deep breath and lash his tail. "if you accept me, i will lead you as best i can. stand with me, and nothing will get in our way." then came the moment of truth. "will you have me as your leader, quickclan? i cannot fill redstar's space as the greatest, but i strive to be the best for you and will continue to serve in whatever way you will have me."
paragraphsilence filled the clearing when cyanslash's voice faded off, and his head spun. cold claws gripped his chest as the cats below him exchanged knowing glances. at last, oakseed's large frame rose from the edge of the clearing. the dark tabby stared directly into cyanslash's eyes, even when his voice broke, full of pain. "i've lost my mate and one of my sons. quickclan needs to be strong so we cannot take this issue lightly," he said, turning his head to sweep the crowd before coming to rest at cyanslash again. "i would have you as my leader. i want cyanstar," he said, moving to sit as other shouts of his name rang out. cyanslash, cyanstar, his clan called for them. cyanslash dipped his head to oakseed, who's eyes were dark, his expression grim, but he flicked an ear.

THEN
paragraphthey returned to camp with scarred pelts and battered spirits, tails dragging low on the ground when the patrols returned. at the sight, mintstem turned from where she had been posted as a guard, and she raced her way, her voice echoing the shout for the medicine cats. when cyanslash paused at the lip of the path down into the camp, he turned once, and falconflight's stomach dropped at the expression on his mate's face. they'd been lucky, compared to what could have been. nolan and his rogues would have killed them all if tallpeak's patrol hadn't rescued them at the right moment.
paragraphsnakespots carried redstar's body while hollowfang had dustear, duskflower had zinniabelly, and brackenrose and nightfall carried sootstone between them. it was a long, tiring walk back to camp, and the sun had reached its peak by the time they arrived and alpinemask met the patrols with gorseberry and autumnpaw bringing herbs out of their den. however, cyanslash turned to falconflight instead of going to the medicine cats, even though his ear appeared to be shredded from the fighting. "can you get tallpeak and splashfall to meet me up on the moor when they're done getting looked at? i want to talk to you all," cyanslash said, and his eyes were so tired, so sad, that it was all falconflight could do to brush his muzzle against cyanslash's cheek when he passed. he watched cyanslash go with soft eyes before going off to speak to alpinemask, to make sure the medicine cat would look at the clan's deputy when he had the chance.
paragraphsome time had passed, though cyanslash was exactly where he said he would be, sitting neatly with his paws delicately arranged with his tail wrapped around him by the time falconflight brought the other warriors to him. tallpeak's side was covered in cobwebs, and though splashfall dragged his paws, he had not been with the patrols at the barn, instead left behind the in case he was needed to defend the camp. when they approached, cyanslash's eyes stared forward, looking out onto the moor, and he reacted only when falconflight pressed close into his side. "there's a storm coming," cyanslash said absently, tipping his head towards the far border, where dark clouds were gathering, just as he said. falconflight hummed his acknowledgement, only to feel the rigid tension fall away from cyanslash's body. "i just - i can't believe it," cyanslash said absently, and it was splashfall who spoke next.
paragraph"quickclan needs a leader," the tabby and white tom said, his voice cracking with undisguised grief. "redstar's gone now, it should be you. he chose you as his deputy." at that, cyanslash flicked his ear.
paragraph"by that logic, it should be tumblejaw, not me. it was almost you," cyanslash said, turning his head just long enough to thrust his muzzle at splashfall. "you were in the old quickclan, he almost chose you to be deputy. or tallpeak, who's been here the longest. starclan, maybe it should be blizzardrush or -"
paragraph"it's not," tallpeak cut cyanslash off in the middle of his frantic rambling. "redstar chose you, so unless the clan chooses otherwise, it's always going to be you." silence stretched between the warriors before splashfall spoke again.
paragraph"you'll need a deputy," splashfall said, and falconflight nodded silently, stopped short when he realized that cyanslash was looking to him.
paragraphwithout hesitation, he shook his head. "no, love, not me. i wouldn't be a good deputy. i like where i am," falconflight said, not missing the flash of hurt that flickered in cyanslash's eyes, though it was quickly glossed over by understanding and acceptance. again, cyanslash leaned into his side.
paragraph"splashfall," cyanslash said, addressing the other warrior, who met his eyes. "i need you in the warriors' den too. you and blizzardrush, i need you both to help me there, if i'm going to be leader," he said, and splashfall dipped his head. there was no hurt in splashfall's eyes, and falconflight felt a wash of respect for the tabby tom. then, attention turned to tallpeak when cyanslash spoke her name. "tallpeak, be my deputy. you nearly chased me out of the territory when we first met. but i need you by my side now," cyanslash said.
paragraphthere was a lingering hesitation when tallpeak regarded the lithe tom. her gaze met falconflight's, then traveled to splashfall, who was looking off at the moor. at last, she nodded with a bittersweet smile. "yes, cyanslash. i will be your deputy."

NOW
paragraphwhen the time finally came for cyanslash to go to the moonpool, cyanslash halted at the top of the camp to turn to address tallpeak. his deputy's ginger and white fur turned silver in the moonlight, and her eyes were wide. "you need to go," she urged cyanslash, "we're already running out of night." though cyanslash shuffled his paws for a moment without saying anything before, at last, he swallowed. alpinemask was waiting for him several steps away, his face raised towards the star-speckled sky.
paragraph"do you remember when we first met all those moons ago?" cyanslash asked her, and tallpeak's ears pricked. "do you remember when it was just us, redstar, and ivystripe?" he asked her again, and this time tallpeak dropped her chin and shut her eyes tightly. she took in a long, shuddering breath before nodding with a low chuckle.
paragraph"of course i do," she said, and cyanslash caught the traces of nostalgia in her tone and he knew that she felt the same way. of course she did, after all. she had been redstar's first warrior all those moons ago. tallpeak cleared her throat then and looked up to meet cyanslash's eyes. "i remember when redstar found me, half-starved after shatteredclan fell apart. i remember when we found you spying on our camp, and dear starclan were you annoying. you, falconflight, blizzardrush... you three were so annoying it's a miracle i wasn't the one to shred your ear," she said, and cyanslash let out a laugh, ducking his head to butt it against tallpeak's chest, allowing the sound of her purr soothe the nerves that made his stomach turn.
paragraph"and you were a total stick in the mud," he teased in return, allowing his eyes to close when tallpeak licked between his ears. not for the first time in the past moon, he couldn't help but wonder how it had all worked out. how he found blizzardrush and falconflight to give them shelter in the barn. he wondered how he'd gone from a loner without a care in the world to deputy of quickclan with a mate and kits, how he'd become leader of his clan so suddenly. "maybe it should've been you," he heard himself say, the words muffled when he spoke towards tallpeak's fur. "you, or blizzardrush, or splashfall. or even tumblejaw."
paragraphbefore he could say anything further, tallpeak pulled back and met his eyes. "redstar chose you, and you were a great deputy. you'll be a great leader, cyanslash, and i'll do everything i can to be a great deputy. but now you need to go, starclan is waiting for you, and i'll be here when you get back, i'll keep them safe," she urged again, this time shoving him towards the awaiting moorland that stretched before him. his paws scraped against the dirt and he took a moment to gather himself before padding down into the darkness to follow alpinemask.
paragraphwhen they reached the entrance to the moonpool, alpinemask stopped outside, his tail raised high. "this is as far as i go tonight," he told cyanslash, "let your paws lead you. starclan is waiting." at that, the gray and white tom turned his eyes away to give cyanslash the time to breathe in deeply and plunge down to the slope of abandoned fox den. the tunnel led down from the moor, and cyanslash was left to feel his way by the brush of his fur against the sides, and he imagined redstar and the medicine cats coming down to meet with the ancestors time and time again. redstar, who's body was still stretched out in the middle of camp for the clan to give their final respects. redstar, who was respected among the other clans, who had brought his clan from the ground up, and who was admired by his own clan, from cyanslash and tallpeak, the longest members, to those as new as swiftscreech, ravengaze, and thunderpaw. redstar, who would no longer be leading the clan he fought so hard to protect.
paragrapheventually, the tunnel began to lighten and open until, at last, cyanslash stood above the moonpool which glinted from light filtering in through a hole overhead. a few moons earlier, perhaps, cyanslash would have gone off to explore the tunnels and the secrets held within, but the water lapped at the soil, and he knew that he had wasted enough time. it was time for him to finally meet starclan. the water was cool to the touch, cyanslash realized with a jolt when he touched his nose to the glassy surface. he lapped up a mouthful and swallowed thickly until his eyelids drooped and fell close. when he opened his eyes a moment later, it was with a jolt, and he sat upright, his gaze tracking across the space. a chill went down his spine, though he saw nothing out of place, exactly as it had been when he blinked. that is, until a voice rang out clearly, calling out his name, "are you looking for something, cyanslash?" it was a voice cyanslash recognized instantly, one he hadn't heard in several moons, and he whipped around to find himself staring up at tumblejaw.
paragraphfor many moons leading to his death, tumblejaw had been a bit of a ghost in the quickclan camp, his eyes dull and fur ungroomed. he spoke to few, merely following orders and going about his days as the wind took him. now, however, he appeared younger, more like the tumblejaw cyanslash first met when he came to quickclan. his green eyes were bright with boundless energy, and he strode forward to touch his nose to cyanslash, who noted the flecks of starlight in his fur. "you look well," cyanslash managed to say, not missing the glimmer of humor that charged tumblejaw's expression at the comment, though it was not tumblejaw who spoke next.
paragraph"starclan does wonders for you, after all," another voice said, and cyanslash's ears pricked when ivystripe came into view, brushing past tumblejaw to touch her nose to cyanslash's. "welcome, cyanslash, it's been a while, hasn't it?" she said, to which cyanslash could only nod dumbly. Of course, he had known that he would see those who had passed on, but seeing ivystripe and tumblejaw again was still so surreal that cyanslash could only blink up at them for a long moment, his tongue tied. ivystripe purred gently and swept her tail around the moonpool, where many other starry pelts could be seen. some were familiar to cyanslash, blinding with the stars that decorated their pelts. zinniabelly leaning down to hush a small kit with privetfang by her side, poppyhaze and rivuletpaw, screechwing with swooppaw and heatpaw. in the center of them all, redstar's broad frame stood the brightest, his chin raised toward the moor over their heads. cyanslash made to step closer to his friend and former-leader, but tumblejaw stepped into his path instead and raised his voice so that it echoed across all of the starry forms, those bright and those dim, known and unknown.
paragraph"when i was deputy, i didn't give my clan the attention and dedication that it needed. i wasn't able to devote myself to my family or my clan, and i failed there. learn from my mistakes, cyanslash," tumblejaw said, and the large warrior's green eyes flickered to where ivystripe settled nearby before turning back to cyanslash, "i give you the gift of duty, both to your clan and your family. falconflight and your kits are equally as important as the clan, but it's important to know how to devote yourself to both," tumblejaw said before touching his nose to cyanslash's head. immediately, cyanslash experienced a rush of emotions. the hollowness and pain of loss that made him double over, his whiskers brushing the floor, and he gasped for air. redstar's words from moons earlier echoed in cyanslash's head, asking what he would do if he lost falconflight or his kits, and by the time cyanslash looked up again, tumblejaw was walking away. the dark tom brushed against ivystripe who got up to take his place in front of cyanslash instead.
paragraph"when you came to quickclan, i remember thinking that you were a young, foolish cat who would only cause trouble," ivystripe laughed, her smile wide and eyes even brighter than cyanslash ever recalled them to be in ivystripe's life. "and that was coming from me, who let you get into trouble with falconflight and nightfall. yet, i was the one who was in trouble, wasn't i?" she said then, her voice moving from light and humorous to serious when her tipped her head at cyanslash. "i broke the code and had kits, but i was forgiven by starclan, and i am grateful for it. with this life, i give you the compassion to give second chances and forgive cats who may cause some trouble from time to time, and for those who makes mistakes. we're not all perfect," ivystripe said, and cyanslash tried to brace himself for the feeling that rushed through him. he felt as though his entire body was torn apart, wracked with guilt and pain, only to be soothed over. when he opened his eyes open, ivystripe smiled gently and licked between his ears. "be strong, look out for my kits, please." with that, ivystripe turned and left him to wait.
paragraphgullfeather moved with grace as in her life, and cyanslash purred at the kits that tumbled along with her, and it struck him that they must have been gullfeather's kits. as if she could read his thoughts, gullfeather purred and nodded. "yes, they're mine," she said, and cyanslash smiled down at the three kits before gullfeather shooed them away, "with this life, i give you the gift of wisdom and farsightedness. sometimes we make impulsive decisions and don't realize that there may be consequences, and it's important to think clearly when one act can affect the entire clan," she said before leaning forward, and cyanslash finched under the rush that sent through his body, lighting his pelt afire. the painful peace of loneliness, cut short by a flash of pain, and then gullfeather was gone.
paragraphin gullfeather's place, screechwing's smile was welcome by cyanslash. "oakseed -" cyanslash tried to say, though screechwing's expression faltered slightly. the smaller tabby tom leaned forward to brush his cheek against cyanslash's.
paragraph"take care of them for me, won't you? please? i don't want oakseed to be in pain forever... tell him that i'm okay. me and swooppaw - we're okay," screechwing said, waving his tail to where his son was still sitting with a tight smile. then screechwing stepped forward and raised his voice to address all those gathered. "i give you a life of love, for the clan and your family. we'll do anything to protect those we love and care about. your clan loves you, just as you love your kits. they'll do anything to keep you safe, just as you will for them," screechwing said before leaning forward. cyanslash had expected another rush of pain, to feel the agony that screechwing had in his final moments, though the life was warm and left cyanslash panting, but feeling energized, prepared to get through the rest of the ceremony.
paragraphheatpaw was taller than cyanslash remembered, built like his father. if he had been given the chance to grow up, cyanslash suspected that heatpaw would have been bigger than any of his siblings. now, heatpaw was shorter than cyanslash but glowed brightly when he offered cyanslash a smile. "i give you a life of training younger cats and being a mentor. we all learn differently, and it's important to have patience. and you can learn from young cats as well, sometimes we're smarter and braver than we might look," heatpaw said, his smile broadening before he leaned up and cyanslash lowered his head to receive the life. a sense of urgency raced through him, the feeling of being weightlessness. he thought of plumpaw, waiting for him back at camp and of cherrydawn, who had grown into a fine warrior, and was more skilled with each passing day. she was warrior to be proud of, and plumpaw would be as well one day. then heatpaw was gone, and piperskip stood before cyanslash with a small smile on her muzzle.
paragraph"cyanslash, i give you the life of confidence and intuition. when my kit was taken from me, i knew that he was out there somewhere and that he would return to me in time. and i wasn't wrong," piperskip said, and her eyes traced to where dustear was seated among the group of cats. when he met cyanslash's eyes, dustear dipped his head respectfully. "trust your gut. while it's good to ask for help, you also need to believe in yourself and hold yourself with confidence." with that, piperskip touched her muzzle to cyanslash's head, and he felt the jolt of electricity that left his pelt fluffed out. at last, piperskip backed away to join her son. the space was silent for a long moment before redstar rose from where he had been waiting. his paws appeared to glide over the ground, not walking so much as floating. when he was closer, cyanslash noted that his pelt was free of the scars earned during his life.
paragraph"redstar, i'm sorry," cyanslash said, ducking his head, though redstar let out a laugh and nudged cyanslash with his shoulder.
paragraph"it was my time. but i'll always be here to watch over my clan and my kits. but now it's your time to lead, and you'll do a great job," redstar said, before scanning the crowd of shining cats. "it may look grim now, cyanslash, but there is no cat i trust more to save our clan. quickclan is strong, but you were right. we do need help sometimes." at that, cyanslash dipped his head, knowing that redstar was right, that with a little help from their allies, quickclan would be able to persevere. "with this life, i give you the gift of hope. quickclan has had a long past of disbanding, yet we are stronger than ever now. have hope, the darkness will not claim our clan yet." at that, several of the dimmer shadows began to fade away completely around them and cyanslash met redstar's brilliant gaze. "have hope, cyanstar, and lead our clan well."
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[ ✦ quickclan 28 ]

Postby eagle, » Tue Jul 23, 2019 3:54 am

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      total 93 : ♂ 47 ♀ 45 nb 1 | servings 15 (+98) | moonpool now | pebbles 50 | mod kacchan, | archives xx xx | font credits xx xxx

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indentthe image was burned forever in cyanstar's head, a scene he would never be able to forget. the sounds of wails throughout the entire night, eyes gleaming with tears of sorrow. no cat slept the night that redstar died, and none had been able to rest easily since, wouldn't be able to until they'd had their chance for revenge. the camp stirred, moving seamlessly between the dregs of grief that would last for seasons to come - they'd all lost so much, after all - and the desire to avenge the fallen. cyanstar saw it in oakseed, in marshstripe, in crakepaw. still, cyanstar took his time, wanting to ensure that there would be no more battles when they were finished, they would have their revenge soon enough, at any cost. as much as he hated the thought of having to kill another cat, it was clear that, so long as nolan was alive, there would be no peace. his clan would continue to swirl in pain. he, cyanstar, would continue to look over his shoulder at every sound.
indenthe sat in the middle of the lower camp, watching through half-lidded eyes as the apprentices wrestled, practicing their moves. thunderpaw and plumpaw circled one another to one side, and valleypaw advanced from behind. the pure white molly lunged forward at the last moment, catching thunderpaw off-balance long enough for plumpaw to dart forward and sweep his paws out from underneath him. valleypaw let out an excited yowl and jumped on top of thunderpaw, though plumpaw hesitated long enough to look back at cyanstar. when he caught his eye, cyanstar smiled and flicked his ear. in turn, plumpaw grinned and joined valleypaw to pounce on thunderpaw who tried to bat them both off.
indent"i like seeing you smile," a voice came from his left, and a purr rumbled immediately from cyanstar's throat. he'd been so engrossed in watching the apprentices that he'd entirely missed falconflight's approach. "the training looks like it's going well," falconflight added after a beat, when he had settled beside his mate. he leaned down to rub his cheek against cyanstar's, earning another purr in response. before them, other apprentices joined the fray from where they had been practicing in separate groups. cricketpaw and finchpaw teamed up to help plumpaw and valleypaw when dandelionpaw, magpiepaw, and kestrelpaw moved to help thunderpaw get to his paws and bat away his attackers. together, the mates watched in pleasant silence until falconflight spoke again, "have you been to see hawkrise? is that why you're so happy today?"
indentat the mention of the clan's newest kits, cyanstar shrugged slightly. "of course the news of the kits was good. i went to see them early this morning. they're cute, aren't they?" at that, falconflight murmured his agreement, otherwise remaining silent long enough for cyanstar to gather his thoughts. "we're almost ready," cyanstar said at last, not missing the way falconflight's whiskers twitched, though there was no surprise in his eyes.
indent"when?" he asked instead and cyanstar hummed softly, allowing his gaze to move back to the apprentices. dovepaw, frogpaw, hootpaw, and branchpaw had all joined in, taking sides, with ploverpaw and rootpaw running over as well.
indent"i need to tell badgerstar and pantherstar. tallpeak is going to groveclan sunhigh tomorrow," he said, leaning against falconflight. "would you go to hazeclan with snakespots?" only a moon earlier, he had sent the same cats out to their allies to tell them that redstar was dead and the leadership had been passed down to cyanstar. moon earlier, the rain ravished the cats and cyanstar met badgerstar for the first time. to hear the older and more experienced leader pledge himself to quickclan's aid eased some of the tension, to know that their allies would come to help them after all. the same news had been brought from hazeclan. not that it should have been much of a surprise - the ties between the clans had run deeply for seasons. still, it was good to know that the alliances would remain even though redstar had passed on, that groveclan and hazeclan would be there to help quickclan fight their enemies in the same way that quickclan would go to help them in turn.
indent"of course," falconflight said, and he followed cyanstar's gaze to where cricketpaw, dovepaw, dandelionpaw, and finchpaw had come together, laughing. finchpaw had pinned cricketpaw down, and dovepaw swatted grass in dandelionpaw's direction. "you really think we can do this?" falconflight asked after a moment, voice dropping to a quiet whisper, to which cyanstar let out a low sigh.
indent"we have to. the moor is out home, and they won't stop with us. they'll move on to hazeclan, to groveclan, to anyone else if we let them." he thought of the barn he had spent so much time growing up in, the barn where he met falconflight and blizzardrush. the barn that had served as a symbol of the moorland, just as much as the open stretches of ground, the twisting tunnels, and the winds. the barn was rightfully theirs, and nolan had taken it in the same way he had taken lives and the pride of quickclan. "we have to survive this." for their kits, for hawkrise's newborn kits, for the generations of quickclan into the future. there were no other options. it was a terrifying thought, and cyanstar twisted his head to touch his nose to falconflight's shoulder. "when the time comes, i need you to stay here with them. i won't let you come," he murmured and felt falconflight tense under him.
indent"you're serious?" falconflight said, and cyanstar nodded. "we've been together for everything. don't make me stay now."
indent"stay for them," cyanstar said, raising his eyes to meet falconflight's gaze. "i'll be protected. but i already lost redstar, we've lost so many. i can't - i won't - lose you too. if something happens, you should be the one to lead quickclan."
indentthere was a beat of silence, in which falconflight said nothing, his mouth a hard line and eyes narrowed. finally, he let out a low breath and nodded just once. "you'd better come back to me or i'll drag you back from starclan myself." despite everything, cyanstar couldn't help the laugh that bubbled up from his chest. they leaned against each other and watched the apprentices wrestle under the bright sunlight, the sounds of play resounding against the cliff face of the camp, echoing from the lowest level of the camp up to the moor above them.

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indentthe sun shone brightly overhead when cardinalheart found fleetingmoon, who was helping oriolefeather and ravengaze weave sticks and brambles together to form a covering for the dens. rumors spread quickly that the battle was coming and that the camp needed to be reinforced in the case that the rogues tried to strike the camp again. when he approached, fleetingmoon looked up with a bright smile. "hey, i thought you were on patrol. did tallpeak send you our way to help out?" he asked, and cardinalheart glanced towards oriolefeather and ravengaze, who were looking expectantly in his direction, before shaking his head slightly.
indent"i just got back from patrol. all's quiet out there," he said, and oriolefeather and ravengaze nodded to themselves before returning to their work. "and, no, i came because i was hoping that i could talk to you for a minute," cardinalheart said, not missing the way fleetingmoon's ears pricked with obvious curiosity.
indentfor a moment, fleetingmoon said nothing, just bent his head to tug a stick into place. when he pushed his piece towards oriolefeather, he looked up at the pair of warriors. "would you guys mind if i go for a minute? i'll be back, or can send someone in my place," he said, then stood and turned to cardinalheart when ravengaze nodded, his eyes keen as well, though the dark tom said nothing further, and the brothers turned away. cardinalheart led the way through the camp, his shoulders tensed, even when fleetingmoon piped up. "you're being awfully secretive today," he said teasingly, and cardinalheart managed a tight smile.
indent"i'll explain in a minute," he said, to which fleetingmoon merely shrugged and followed. they made it through most of the throng of warriors set to working on hauling prey from the middle of the camp into one of the unused dens, another group working on a barricade for the path down into the camp, and more warriors weaving the reinforcements for the dens. if something went wrong, quickclan was preparing to barricade themselves into their camp. just as they nearly made it to the path to lead up towards the moor, however, a voice called out, cutting through the din.
indent"cardinalheart! wait up. hey, fleetingmoon!" ploverpaw shouted, and the pair of warriors turned in time to watch the small molly duck between sweetecho and hickorypatch, who were carrying a mound of moss between them, headed towards the medicine cats' den. ploverpaw skidded to a halt in front of them, her fur fluffed out and eyes bright. "where are you going, can i come?" she asked, "duneserpent told me to go gathering more sticks for the nursery and to find a warrior who would go with me."
indentthe tension that cardinalheart had been carrying on his shoulders began to ebb away when he looked down at ploverpaw. she was always bright and cheerful, and cardinalheart knew that he would never be able to say no to ploverpaw. "yeah," cardinalheart said after a long moment, "fleetingmoon and i are going to talk but... you should hear it too," he said, catching the way fleetingmoon tipped his head to one side, puzzled, though cardinalheart didn't offer an answer. instead, he ducked his head down to lick affectionately between ploverpaw's ears. "c'mon."
indentthe wind on the moorland was warm when it ran through cardinalheart's fur. ploverpaw and fleetingmoon spoke amicably, and cardinalheart took the time to gather his thoughts as they neared the hazeclan border, where the moor began to give way to trees where they could gathering supplies for the camp. it was only then that cardinalheart came to a halt, soothed by the wind in his fur and the distant rustle of leaves. when they noticed that cardinalheart wasn't walking with them anymore, fleetingmoon and ploverpaw turned, but cardinalheart didn't give them a chance to question him between he tipped his head to fleetingmoon. "do you remember what you said after heatpaw? that we were the oldest and we had to protect our siblings?" he asked his brother. fleetingmoon's expression darkened at the mention of their dead brother, though he nodded once. "you said it, even though the entire clan knows that i'm not your littermate."
indent"cardinalheart, what are you talking about? it doesn't matter," fleetingmoon said, voice strained from the grief that was being dredged up, uncertain what cardinalheart was leading him towards. ploverpaw glanced between the warriors, her eyes round. "we grew up like brothers. you're my brother." his voice was so sure that cardinalheart had to breathe deeply to steady himself.
indent"i am your brother, but sweetecho isn't my mother," he said, his gaze flicking up towards the sun overhead. "sweetecho isn't my mother, but redstar was my father. he told me so." it took a moment for it to register on the faces of his half-brother, and fleetingmoon's whiskers quivered.
indent"you mean it's all true?" fleetingmoon asked, not giving cardinalheart a chance to reply before he turned away. his tail lashed and he paced back, so that he and cardinalheart were nose-to-nose. "there were always rumors, and honeyflower but... i always thought... i thought that maybe it wasn't true. that maybe it was just honeyflower. and you knew. for how long?" there was a violent swirl of emotions in fleetingmoon's face: grief, that their father was dead, that the illusion he crafted for himself was exactly that; betrayal, that the rumors of redstar's relationships were more than rumors, that cardinalheart knew but hadn't told the truth; but there was aalso a hint of acceptance, as if he had always known the truth.
indent"since we were apprentices," cardinalheart admitted, and fleetingmoon dropped his head with a long sigh. "he told me before i was ready to know. i didn't... i didn't know what to do. but now he's gone, and you should know the truth." fleetingmoon's shoulders shook with a silent sob before he steadied, nodded his head once.
indent"when he told you, what did he say?" fleetingmoon's voice was strained, and cardinalheart pressed his nose to the top of his brother's head.
indent"what i told you. that he's my father and my mother is from a different clan." over fleetingmoon's head, cardinalheart locked eyes with ploverpaw and he shot her a sad smile. "but there was something else. he told me the truth because there are other kits, and he wanted me to look out for them, because he didn't want the clan to know the truth. but he's gone and... i think they should know." though fleetingmoon continued to press close, cardinalheart watched as his words sank in, and ploverpaw's eyes widened further, her shoulders drawing up.
indent"who are you talking about? we have more siblings?" fleetingmoon asked, but ploverpaw padded forward.
indent"you mean me, right? that's why you let me come, because redstar's my father too?" ploverpaw asked, and fleetingmoon pulled back to look at them both when cardinalheart nodded. there was a beat of silence between the trio before ploverpaw crossed the distance to press into cardinalheart's side. "i always thought of you like my brother, now i have more than one," she said, and her gaze flickered to fleetingmoon, who straightened up with a small smile.
indent"you were right, fleetingmoon, we are the oldest and we have to protect them. there are just more than you thought," cardinalheart said, looking towards the silver tom.
indentfleetingmoon's laugh was surprisingly light and airy when he leaned down to touch his nose to ploverpaw's cheek. "we need to all protect each other. i'm not losing another member of our family, not like this." the wind continued to whip across the moor, warm and comforting before fleetingmoon looked back to cardinalheart. "there must be other, right? do you know who they are?" like that, the three half-siblings bunched together, cardinalheart listed the names of the cats he thought they were related to, the kits he had watched over for moons since redstar brought them to the clan. the weight didn't fall away from his shoulders, but he felt comfort that it was now shared, more manageable.

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indentwhen peckernose stepped into the medicine cats' den, he had been expecting to see the medicine cats hard at work. he hadn't expected to hear autumnpaw's exasperated sigh from where she was sitting with flintpaw in the opening of the den. "- and if you think that's a good idea, you're a fool," she was saying, though she cut herself off and whipped around to face peckernose when he padded forward. "thank starclan, someone with a little bit of sense. can you try and talk to your brother? he's driving me up the wall," autumnpaw said, her cloudy blue eyes narrowed slightly before she lashed her tail and stalked past peckernose. peckernose watched her go until she was out of sight, deep in the other side of the den, before he looked to flintpaw.
indentonce, peckernose had thought of himself as a the calm and composed one of the pair - reserved where flintpaw was a whirlwind of energy. now, however, his brother looked the image of serenity, his tail wrapped neatly around his paws and his sleek fur lying flat on his shoulders. flintpaw's chin was tilted slightly upwards towards the ceiling of the den. though several moons had passed since the battle that cost flintpaw his eyesight, scars still ran across his eyes, and peckernose was beginning to wonder if the fur would ever grow back completely. "she's being dramatic," flintpaw said with a simple shrug of his shoulders. in return, peckernose snorted. he took autumnpaw's place, sitting across from flintpaw with his hind leg stretched out to accommodate for the way it was twisted.
indent"i always thought she was a little hot-headed, maybe, but never particularly dramatic," peckernose said in turn, this time earning a huff of laughter from flintpaw. "so, what'd you say to get her so worked up?" he asked at last.
indent"i just told her that i wanted to talk to cyanstar about going with the battle patrol. i can still fight, and gorseberry might need help," flintpaw replied, his tone so casual that peckernose thought they might have been discussing the weather rather than his brother potentially going across the moor to help with the battle. unsure of what he could possibly say in the moment, peckernose remained silent and flintpaw flicked his tail tip indignantly. "she said that if gorseberry really wanted help, then she or alpinemask would go. but neither of them have formal training like i do."
indent"you're really serious?" peckernose asked, wincing slightly when flintpaw sniffed and puffed out his chest. "i just mean - you haven't been formally training in moons. and you and autumnpaw are still working on how to get you to travel with minimal assistance. you think it's a good idea to put you in the middle of a battle?"
indent"the last thing i saw was heatpaw and those rogues. you want me to sit here and do nothing? like i've been doing this entire time. i couldn't help heatpaw, i can barely get around the top of camp without getting disoriented," flintpaw began, and peckernose caught the traces of the flintpaw he knew - the one with a sharp temper and pride to match. it had been moons since he saw this flintpaw, and he had missed him. "i don't need to be able to see to fight, to do something that can help. just point me in a direction and i can do the rest," flintpaw pressed, his claws digging into the floor of the den.
indent"and you just want us to sit back and let you be killed in the meantime?" autumnpaw chimed in from behind peckernose, scoffing when flintpaw turned his face away from her. "you're not useless, flintpaw, you're just out of practice. but whatever you think this is, it's a dumb idea. first of all, cyanstar wouldn't let you go. gorseberry said that chanterellestep is the youngest warrior going, and that's because he begged and hickorypatch said she'd claw him if he got too close to the middle of everything. you want to be a hero, but this isn't it." there was a pile of herbs at her paws, and she ducked her head to pick them up and carry them over to where the brothers were sitting.
indent"you think she's right, don't you?" flintpaw asked, tone lingering between tired and accusatory, which alone was enough to give peckernose pause.
indent"if you were trained, then i'd agree with you but... you're not. if you want to fight, then you should talk to nightfall and cyanstar. i'm sure they could figure out a way to train you since you feel ready. but this, this isn't the way to go about it," he reasoned. when flintpaw's shoulders slumped and his chin dropped, peckernose finally allowed himself to let out a breath he wasn't aware that he was holding. "we'll help you. like you said, you're going to be one of the best, you have to be."

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indent"can we talk?" miranda was surprised when she walked into the medicine cats' den. though she was only there a few times, she had always thought of the space as clean and meticulously kept, organized and clean so that nothing was in the way in the case of emergency, and to ensure that it was easy for autumnpaw and flintpaw to get around. flintpaw wasn't in his usual nest, but miranda looked to the trio of medicine cats who were seated together, working on bundling herbs together.
indentalpinemask must have caught the searching glance, and flicked his tail. "peckernose took flintpaw to the moor for a walk," he said, and miranda took the unspoken invitation to claim an empty space between gorseberry and autumnpaw, across from alpinemask.
indentit seemed that the three were waiting for miranda to speak first, as it was clear that there was much to say. a moon earlier, she'd told them that she was a traitor, that she had joined quickclan with express orders to gather information and pass it on to nolan. she knew that it brought everything she said and did from the outset into questions. all the times she gathered the apprentices and kits together to tell stories to when she joined autumnpaw and gorseberry to help gather herbs. she wouldn't be trusted again, she knew that, though she was even more surprised that, seemingly, none of them had immediately told cyanstar the truth; they didn't say that she was the reason why so many cats had died. in the moment, it was all she could do to meet alpinemask's hard gaze and speak: "i haven't been in contact with my son since they attacked your camp. he's sent me signals several times, asking me to meet with his second, graham. but i haven't, and i won't. i'm not telling them about groveclan and hazeclan, about the attack."
indent"so you say," she heard autumnpaw mutter, followed by a sharp hiss from gorseberry, though the apprentice merely shrugged. miranda looked to gorseberry.
indent"she's right, you have no reason to trust me but... you haven't told cyanstar yet." when miranda spoke, gorseberry pointedly avoided her gaze, fixated instead on sifting through the various leaves. instead, miranda looked to alpinemask. "you haven't told."
indent"so you say," alpinemask said, pushing a pile closer to gorseberry for the smaller tom to reach. he shrugged his shoulders. "i'm not sure i like the idea of seeing you exiled or worse, even if you killed our cats. but i may change my mind. you should convince us," he said, and miranda straightened up, meeting his gaze without flinching.
indent"a mother would do anything for her kit. i adopted him, i raised him. i love him. he's always been... wanting for power, but it got worse when his mate, layla, became so sick she couldn't move. she became better eventually, but it took a long time for her to recover since we had so little food and no permanent home," miranda started, feeling like she was pulled back into the past, tagging along and watching herself from seasons earlier. "we had a lot of trouble finding a home. we were driven away so many times, that nolan decided that he couldn't do it anymore. so he found graham and the rest, who would fight for him in exchange for a place to live. the barn was never going to be enough, so he wants the moor. and i... he asked me to find a patrol, that i would be accepted. why not? a frail elder couldn't mean any harm," she continued, "i met graham every quarter moon or more, giving him names, any news from the clan. i didn't know that they had killed the other medicine cat -"
indent"gullfeather," gorseberry cut in, his tone sharp and blunt, "her name was gullfeather, and she was murdered." for a moment, miranda looked to the young tom, but he never paused from his bundling and sorting. in fact, only alpinemask appeared to be paying attention. miranda looked back to alpinemask, who offered nothing in return.
indent"gullfeather, then... i didn't know about her. but when the apprentice - heatpaw, was it? - was killed and flintpaw... i started having my doubts. i met with graham less, told him less when i did. but it was too late. graham told me that they were planning the attack on the camp and training hollow, so i made sure that you got out, so you wouldn't be hurt," she said, taking in a deep breath when she glanced between gorseberry and autumnpaw, though neither offered any acknowledgement, and she didn't expect thanks. "but when i saw everything they did, what my son did, i didn't answer anymore. i didn't think he would kill redstar and sootstone, truly i didn't." her words caught in her throat. "i know cyanstar and the others want him dead, and i know that he'll never allow for peace so long as he's alive but... he's still my kit."
indentthe words were bitter and hard to swallow, the realization that it was bound to come to a head not new, but still not easy to take in. even still, there was no sympathy for her, not when her son had taken so many lives from the clan that had trusted her and accepted her as one of their own. alpinemask finally shrugged his shoulders again before standing and taking a bundle from gorseberry. "i recommend that you stay in your den, get some rest. we have some work to do here now." even as miranda stood and left the den, she could feel alpinemask's eyes boring into her fur.

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indenthawkrise regarded the nursery through half-lidded eyes, drowsy and lulled by the soft snores around her. sagetuft was curled up in her nest, her belly large with her kits, and willowfrost was in a similar state further towards the back of the nursery. the queen had come to quickclan earlier that moon, given refuge despite the whirl of chaos around them, as cyanstar had been unable to turn down the pregnant mother who was in need of a home now that leaffall was approaching all too quickly. hawkrise, for her own part, was glad that she had her kits when she did, left only with the thought that she wised genetstorm was nearby. but she hadn't heard from him in moons. hawkrise wasn't a fool, she knew that he was gone and that she would never see him again. she'd been pulled in by his quick charms, and now she was alone with her young, fatherless kits.
indentalready, she loved her kits. they were small, but warm against her belly, and there had been no greater pride than when alpinemask announced that they were all healthy and strong. they were strong, they were beautiful, and they were her kits. honeyflower was the only other cat awake in the nursery, busy grooming vermilionkit's ears while starlingkit and smokekit were tucked against her side. even heronkit and scorpionkit rested peacefully, the brothers tucked together in a knt of limbs and fur. it was in that same moment that a face appeared in the entrance of the nursery, and hawkrise perked up when duneserpent cleared his throat quietly. he slipped inside the nursery when hawkrise blinked warmly at him, and he brushed his nose against her cheek. "hi," he breathed out softly, quiet as to not disturb the other queens and kits. "i hope it's an okay time i just - i wanted to see how you were doing, if there's anything you need." duneserpent had always been a reliable friend, quiet and resourceful, a skilled warrior who was dedicated to the clan, but also a good companion to keep patrols entertaining. that fact that he came to visit made hawkrise smile broadly, her previous drowsiness dissipating for the moment.
indent"i'm alright," she replied easily, only to butt her head against his shoulder, "but you must be busy. you haven't been to visit at all. i was getting worried you didn't want to meet the kits." at that, duneserpent flashed a bright smile at the teasing, and he pulled back to sit and gaze down at the kits.
indent"introduce me," he said simply, and hawkrise purred softly, shifting slightly so that she could crane her head and point to each kit in turn.
indent"waspkit is the oldest," she started, pointing to the largest kit, her first son, "he's already becoming a menace, always kicking the others. the only one that fights back is accentorkit, who seems like a nice molly but she's been protecting the others from waspkit, especially sedgekit," and so down the line of small kits hawkrise continued with a purr when she looked to the youngest and smallest of her kits, "sedgekit seems to be pretty shy so far, a little more passive than the others. copperkit seems like he'll be pretty level-headed, and will probably keep the others in line and make peace. unlike chaserkit, who is also going to be a lot of trouble. he's already tried to escape the nest," she commented, finishing. duneserpent looked down at the kits fondly, nodding along the entire time. when she was done, hawkrise met his eye and felt her smile disappear. "you came to tell me that you're going to the barn, is that it? you're going on the patrol," she said. duneserpent looked away, down at his paws, and hawkrise knew the answer.
indent"i have to," duneserpent said after a moment. "it's for the good of the clan. and don't act like you wouldn't volunteer if you weren't here," he pressed, and this time it was hawkrise's turn to look away.
indentat her stomach, chaserkit let out a small huff and turned in his sleep, and hawkrise shook her head slightly. "those cats are dangerous, all of our friends they've killed... they'll take you too if you give them the chance."
indent"i won't give them the chance. i'll be okay," duneserpent said, ducking his head to catch hawkrise's eye again. he held her gaze, unwavering. "i need to go, to protect the clan. to make sure that those rogues never come here again. you and your kits - i'm going to make sure you're safe, hawkrise."
indentthe tabby queen paused and closed her eyes long enough to draw in a deep breath. "you just... don't do anything stupid, duneserpent, or i'll never forgive you. you'd better come back just fine, alright? i want my kits to meet you too, i want them to have a role model to look up to." in the dimness of the nursery, hawkrise could make out the softness that rounded duneserpent's features, though her heart clenched for her friend, fearful of what was to come.

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indentsweetecho ducked quickly when a large paw was aimed for a blow at the side of her head. she moved away at the last moment, able to feel the air whisk by her ear, ruffling the fur there. but there was no time to linger before she moved forward, quick on her toes. she took in the dark fur and muscle mass, knowing well that there was no way she could win if it came down to pure strength. instead, she fainted to the left and moved right before crouching down and darting underneath oakseed's belly. her friend was surprisingly agile for his size, however, and reared back. sweetecho moved to aim a blow for his belly, but oakseed was faster. he knocked her off-center with a well-aimed paw, this time making his mark. together, they rolled on the ground before sweetecho escaped his grasp and found her paws first. they faced each other, panting heavily and pelts fluffed out. at last, they exchanged a nod and sweetecho stood, stretching out her muscles while oakseed sat back to pull a burr from his flank. "that was good," sweetecho said when their breathing began to even out. "really," she pressed when oakseed merely shrugged, non-committal. "you've come a long way from the lap pet i met all those moons ago in the next garden over."
indentindeed, the tom across from sweetecho was no longer the pet that she met while she'd been trapped with twolegs. from the moment they met, she had always known that oakseed would be suited for clan life. however, though his muscles were hard under his dark tabby pelt, there was no mistaking the darkness in his expression. even at the light teasing, oakseed flicked his ear dismissively. instead, sweetecho was left to stretch in silence, taking a break after a long afternoon of training with her friend. she looked up only when oakseed spoke. "how are you doing it, sweetecho?" he asked, and she blinked in return, not sure what he was referring to. "you lost your mate, your kit... how can you still hold your head up? i can't bare it. i think of them - of him - constantly. and it hurts... i miss him with everything i have in me," oakseed said, and sweetecho didn't hesitate to cross to oakseed and press herself into his side.
indent"i do it because i have to. because i can't let the pain take over. i miss heatpaw and redstar more than i could ever say. they're everywhere, in everything... but i carry on because i have to." she spoke into oakseed's shoulder, seeking to offer him more comfort. it was easy to see how much he had been hurting ever since screechwing and swooppaw were killed. he needed his time to grieve, but she also knew that he was one of the first to volunteer for the battle patrol when word circulated. she was gentle, leaning into him to groom the fur on his flank. "i need to be strong for my kits, but... it helps to do things. i need to fight these rogues for them. redstar, heatpaw, piperkip, mothtail, all of the others. screechwing and swooppaw too," she murmured, not missing the way oakseed flinched at the sound of their names.
indent"rootpaw, hootpaw, and branchpaw are so much stronger than i am. they miss them, of course, but they can still play games and train and... carry on. i can't," oakseed replied, matching sweetecho's soft tone, his volume little more than a whisper. she felt his body tremble, as if holding back a sob. "will beating the rogues really help?" he asked after a beat, pulling back enough to fix sweetecho with his amber gaze. she couldn't lie to him and had to shake her head.
indent"it won't bring them back, and it won't heal your wounds but... it's some sort of closure. revenge isn't the solution, though, i don't think there is one. we just have to make do," she said, and oakseed let out a shuddering breath.
indentfrom there, she assumed that her friend would lapse into silence, though he spoke again: "i can't even look at swiftscreech. it's not right to her but... her name is just so painful, sweetecho, it's like another constant reminder that he's gone," oakseed continued, and sweetecho noted that oakseed couldn't seem to even say his mate's name. "i miss him so much, i love him more than anything."
indentthere was nothing that sweetecho could say to her friend, nothing that would take away the pain he felt, nothing that would ease her wounds as well. instead, it was all she could do to press close again and offer her presence. "i know, i know..." she cooed to him. finally, oakseed let out another sob in the quiet of the training hollow and sweetecho listened.

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indentwhen cyanstar gave the shout to gather the clan together, most of the cats were already in the lower camp. overhead, the sun was beginning to lower from its apex, and the anxious murmurs fell to a hush; rumors had been circulating for days, of cats sent to groveclan and hazeclan, of cyanstar's plan for attack on the barn cats. at last, the time had come and the warriors were beginning to speak to their friends and loved ones in preparation. they were a clan who already lost so much, who knew what they had to lose. pairs of eyes gravitated up to cyanstar, who stood above them all, tallpeak seated under his perch.
indent"quickclan, you all know what i am going to say," cyanstar began, his bright blue eyes scanning the cats he had grown to love as his family. falconflight with their kits, snakespots curled around kestrelpaw and frogpaw, the former-graveclan warriors and their reunited families, and so on. all of the cats who meant the world to him, the cats he wanted nothing more than to keep safe at any cost. "a moon ago i became your leader after we lost redstar. along with many other warriors and apprentices, we have suffered an immense loss these past few moons because of nolan and his followers. but, tonight, we will drive them from the moor, and all will know that this is our home, now and forever." several shouts went up from the crowd, and cyanstar dipped his head to recognize them. "tonight, we will be joined by our allies in this fight. badgerstar and pantherstar have pledged themselves to our aid, as good friends of quickclan. with their help, we will make sure that nolan will not terrorize us or any other clan."
indentdaffodilstem and bouldertooth sat side-by-side, oakseed was surrounded by his kits. owletcry leaned across cardinalheart and webtail to whisper to sweetecho. "i would like to thank all of the warriors who will be joining me, tallpeak, and the groveclan and hazeclan warriors in this fight. starclan willing, we will succeed tonight." there was a long pause before cyanstar let out a deep exhale. "in the meantime, i am entrusting falconflight to be in charge of the camp. he is the the warrior who have been here the longest alongside tallpeak and i. you will be safe in his care. our allies will be here soon, and i urge the patrol to use this time to be with your families, and for all cats to finish your preparations of the camp defenses. starclan be with us and bless us." sparrowcall and his kits were seated beside aspenwish and her sons. cyanstar jumped down, dismissing the clan, who split up into various groups to continue to speak as earlier. from then on, it was simply a matter of waiting for their allies to arrive and for the sun to disappear from the sky.
indentin the meantime, cyanstar found falconflight waiting outside of his den, their kits in tow. cricketpaw was nestled neatly in falconflight's flank, dovepaw on falconflight's other side, and finchpaw got to her paws as soon as cyanstar came close. together with dandelionpaw, she bounded to her father and tucked her face into his chest. "you're going to be okay, right? everyone is going to be okay," finchpaw said, and cyanstar ducked his head to lick gently between her ears, then twisted to do the same with dandelionpaw.
indent"we've gotten this far, i'll be back," he told his kits, tucking finchpaw and dandelionpaw under his chin and directing his glance to dovepaw and cricketpaw. "stay with your father, alright? he'll keep you safe in the meantime. i don't want to hear of any of you causing any trouble," he added, giving finchpaw a pointed look, and his daughter had it within her to let out a soft laugh.
indent"forget about someone?" a voice sounded, and cyanslash turned his head to face twiteflight, who wore her usual smile, showing off sharp teeth. even still, he caught the glint of sorrow in her eye, and he knew that, as much as he said that it would be fine, they all knew the truth: that nothing was certain. redstar hadn't come back, and cyanstar was leader now. it was impossible to predict what would happen next.
indenteven still, cyanstar managed a low purr and gestured for twiteflight to join them, and he pressed his nose to the crown of his adopted daughter's head. "i want you to know that i love you all," he said, his voice catching on his words. as if by a signal, cricketpaw and dovepaw darted forward and joined cyanstar and their siblings, burrowing their faces into his short fur. falconflight met his mate's eye and followed more slowly, though there was no mistaking the fear and worry that softened along the edges of his face. "c'mere," cyanstar murmured to him, and falconflight offered a watery smile before cyanstar pushed his face into falconflight's neck. "i love you all, and i'll be back for you. there's nothing that could keep me from coming home to you lot," he promised. together, the family shared a meal and chatted from there, about the apprentices' training, twiteflight talking about a hunting patrol she had been on earlier that morning, until a shout rose from the upper level of camp. cyanstar touched his nose to falconflight's once more before he got to his paws, meeting rowanfoot when the young warrior reached the bottom of the path, panting softly.
indent"groveclan is here," rowanfoot said, and it was only a moment later that cyanslash followed his warrior through the camp, weaving between the groups of cats spending time with their families and going about finishing preparations to the camp. he sat at the top of the path of the moor, tallpeak seated beside him, and together they watched the groveclan cats approach, before they finally stood to meet badgerstar and his warriors.
indentwith a dip of his head, cyanstar greeted the older leader, "badgerstar, lionheart, welcome back to quickclan. we are very thankful that you came," he said with a tight smile before leaning forward to press his nose to badgerstar's in greeting. to the rest of the groveclan warriors he nodded and flicked his tail to gesture to the camp, "please, feel free to make yourselves at home." his gaze snagged on dusklight and falcongaze in particular, those he recognized from the last moon, and it made his chest swell that quickclan was truly among friends. with that, he led the way down into the camp, past the branching paths that led towards the dens, and to the lower level of camp, where many of his own warriors looked to the groveclan patrol, curious and friendly. "we are still waiting on hazeclan, but we still have time before departing. we can go over the final plan when pantherstar arrives," he said to badgerstar and lionheart, pausing only long enough to let eagleheart and splashfall to pass by, dragging a long string of woven brambles in the direction of the medicine cats' den. "we've been reinforcing the camp. if anything happens... we've been prepared to barricade inside the camp. once we leave, the top path will be blocked off, the camp will be entirely secure." he cleared his throat then before nodding towards his den, "please, we can talk in here," he added, ducking inside his den.
indentit was only a matter of time until pantherstar arrived with hazeclan, and tallpeak brought the hazeclan leader into cyanstar's den and took her place at the leader's side. once they were all settled, cyanstar nodded to those gathered. "again, i thank you for coming and standing by quickclan. i wish we could have all gathered together under better circumstances," he said, shaking his head slightly. "we will leave at moonhigh, and i suspect we should have the element of surprise by our side. even if nolan has scouts out, he will not be ready for the combined force of our patrols. hazeclan will surround the left side of the barn, and groveclan can cover the right. i'll lead my cats in front, to hopefully trick any scouts or guards that nolan might have set out. he will not be expecting your clans." as he spoke, cyanstar glanced among the den to the leaders and deputies. "gorseberry and mousestone will be able to treat any cat who is wounded on the battlefield," he continued, dipping his head to badgerstar once more in thanks for bringing one of his medicine cats as well, "together, we will make sure that these cats do not cause trouble for other clans ever again. after this, i suspect that we will all be able to rest easily, knowing that nolan will no longer be an issue."

writing continued here


→ actions
moonpool requesting a queen
consumption quickclan eats five hares
mates gorseberry becomes mates with dusklight of groveclan (biologically cannot have kits)
rank changes dandelionpaw, magpiepaw, and tinselpaw are ready to take their assessments. if they pass they will be named dandelionspring, magpiesong, and tinselstorm
hunting sparrowcall, chanterellestep, marshstripe, hollyfur, rainypath, and patchwing
tallpeak, snakespots, flurrywind, marshstripe, dartersplash, and bouldertooth
eagleheart, thistlestrike, kindleflare, cardinalheart, fleetingmoon, and fluffytuft
oakseed, loonlight, acorntail, minnowjump, mulestomp, and sproutclaw
border patrols nightfall, swiftscreech, ravengaze, owletcry, webtail, and grassthorn
blizzardrush, oriolefeather, peckernose, rowanfoot, roselight, and hollowfang
training dovepaw, plumpaw, and thunderpaw learn swimming
valleypaw, kestrelpaw, frogpaw, rootpaw, hootpaw, and branchpaw learn fighting
ploverpaw, pinepaw, crakepaw, charredpaw, and lagoonpaw learn stalking
herb hunting alpinemask, gorseberry, and autumnpaw look for herbs - priority for cobwebs/heals battle wounds
medicine cats alpinemask and gorseberry practice medicine
deaths during the battle with the rogues, frostfur and duskflower are killed and cyanstar loses a life. please roll for injury (not death) on duneserpent, hickorypatch, and treespirit
notes i'd prefer if no cats die on patrols, though injuries are fine, thank you! xx

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LEADER ⎯⎯
cyanstar, 44m, ♂
8 lives remaining

DEPUTY ⎯⎯
tallpeak, 56m, ♀

MEDICINE CATS ⎯⎯
alpinemask, 49m, ♂ - 5sp
gorseberry, 30m, ♂ - 5sp

MEDICINE APP. ⎯⎯
autumnpaw, 12m, ♀
blind

WARRIORS ⎯⎯
sparrowcall, 79m, ♂
snakespots, 61m, ♂
sweetecho, 53m, ♀
blizzardrush, 51m, ♀
brackenrose, 50m, ♀
falconflight, 49m, ♂
flurrywind, 49m, ♂
splashfall, 48m, ♂
hickorypatch, 48m, ♀
aspenwish, 47m, ♀
nightfall, 46m, ♂
xx
WARRIORS CONT. ⎯⎯
hollyfur, 42m, ♀
eagleheart, 42m, ♂
thistlestrike, 42m, ♀
kindleflare, 41m, ♀
fluffytuft, 39m, ♂
oakseed, 37m, ♂
duneserpent, 36m, ♂
loonlight, 35m, ♀
patchwing, 32m, ♀
pearsblossom, 32m, ♀
treespirit, 31m, ♂
berrypad, 30m, ♀
whitesnow, 30m, ♀
flamestrike, 30m, ♂
alderpatch, 30m, nb
brightcreek, 29m, ♀
acorntail, 27m, ♀
minnowjump, 26m, ♂
mulestomp, 26m, ♂
canaryleap, 26m, ♂
chanterellestep, 25m, ♂
swiftscreech, 24m, ♀
twiteflight, 22m, ♀
sproutclaw, 21m, ♂
mintstem, 21m, ♀
cherrydawn, 21m, ♀
xx
WARRIORS CONT. ⎯⎯
ravengaze, 20m, ♂
grassthorn, 19m, ♀
oriolefeather, 19m, ♂
peckernose, 19m, ♂
limp
rowanfoot, 17m, ♂
roselight, 17m, ♂
hollowfang, 16m, ♂
marshstripe, 16m, ♀
dartersplash, 16m, ♂
cardinalheart, 15m, ♂
fleetingmoon, 15m, ♂
owletcry, 15m, ♀
webtail, 15m, ♂
rainypath, 15m, ♀
bouldertooth, 14m, ♂
daffodilstem, 13m, ♀
finchthroat, 13m, ♀
cricketchirp, 13m, ♂
xx
APPRENTICES ⎯⎯
flintpaw, 19m, ♂
blind
dandelionpaw, 13m, ♀
dovepaw, 13m, ♀
plumpaw, 12m, ♂
tinselpaw, 11m, ♀
magpiepaw, 11m, ♂
thunderpaw, 10m, ♂
valleypaw, 9m, ♀
kestrelpaw, 9m, ♀
frogpaw, 9m, ♂
rootpaw, 9m, ♂
hootpaw, 9m, ♀
branchpaw, 9m, ♀
ploverpaw, 8m, ♀
pinepaw, 7m, ♀
crakepaw, 7m, ♂
charredpaw, 7m, ♀
lagoonpaw, 7m, ♂
xx
QUEENS & KITS ⎯⎯
willowfrost, 63m, ♀
due in 2m
honeyflower, 54m, ♀
→ vermilionkit, 2m, ♂
hawkrise, 32m, ♀
waspkit, 0m, ♂
copperkit, 0m, ♂
chaserkit, 0m, ♂
accentorkit, 0m, ♀
sedgekit, 0m, ♀
sagetuft, 23m, ♀
expecting in 1m
heronkit, 4m, ♂
scorpionkit, 4m, ♂
starlingkit, 1m, ♂
smokekit, 1m, ♀

ELDERS ⎯⎯
miranda, 113m, ♀

▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔
▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔

MENTORS ⎯⎯
gorseberry, autumnpaw, 4
nightfall, flintpaw, 4
brackenrose, dandelionpaw, 4
pearsblossom, dovepaw, 3
cyanstar, plumpaw, 3
aspenwish, magpiepaw, 4
alderpatch, tinselpaw, 4
brightcreek, valleypaw, 2
twiteflight, kestrelpaw, 2
falconflight, frogpaw, 2
berrypad, rootpaw, 2
whitesnow, hootpaw, 2
flamestrike, branchpaw, 2
canaryleap, thunderpaw, 3
duneserpent, ploverpaw, 1
xx
MENTORS CONT. ⎯⎯
sproutclaw, pinepaw, 0
cherrydawn, crakepaw, 0
splashfall, charredpaw, 0
mintstem, lagoonpaw, 0
xx
MEDICINE ⎯⎯
xx

DECEASED ⎯⎯
xx

FAMILY TREES ⎯⎯
xx
xx
PREY PILE ⎯⎯
minnow, x20, 1 serving
mouse, x11, 1 servings
rabbit, x7, 2 servings
small fish, x12, 2 servings
squirrel, x13, 2 servings
hare, x15, 3 servings
big fish, x10, 3 servings
bird, x11, 3 servings
total: 203 servings
xx
ALLIES ⎯⎯
hazeclan, nightwolf950
groveclan, solyn

ENEMIES ⎯⎯
n/a

BORDERS ⎯⎯
north, hazeclan, nightwolf950
north-east, n/a, n/a
north-west, n/a, n/a
east, n/a, n/a
west, quartzclan, miles morales
south, n/a, n/a
south-east, n/a, n/a
south-west, swiftclan, phina d wolf
Last edited by eagle, on Fri Jul 26, 2019 2:14 pm, edited 4 times in total.
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[ ✦ quickclan 28.5 ]

Postby eagle, » Thu Jul 25, 2019 1:34 pm

indentthe medicine cats' den, usually an organized sanctuary, seemed to be turned upside down as cats moved in all directions, shouldering one another aside to get what they needed. while eagleheart and splashfall worked to ensure that the last screen of brambles was put into proper place, gorseberry had autumnpaw double-checking each prepared bundle of herbs to make sure that they had everything he and mousestone might need at the barn, while he put together a few final piles of herbs. at that moment, alpinemask pushed through the entrance, and gorseberry immediately straightened when he heard alpinemask's voice and caught a familiar scent.
indent"- i think you'll find that we use pretty standard herbs, and for this we tried to get whatever grew in abundance so we would have plenty of it to use out there. you'll be with gorseberry, but i can walk you through what we have prepared -" alpinemask was saying, shooting gorseberry a sideways glance when the younger medicine cat stood.
indentgorseberry brushed past alpinemask then, pointedly ignoring autumnpaw's muted laughter before he greeted the groveclan cats. "mousestone, it's good to see you again," he said to the other medicine cat, then turning to dusklight, unable to help his smile. "hi, you came," he said to dusklight, leaning forward to brush his cheek against dusklight's.
indent"'course," dusklight said, and gorseberry was struck, once again, by how much he had missed his... friend. "i figured that someone needs to be the hero around here." it was the same confidence that gorseberry grew to adore after they met at that gathering, all those moons ago. even now dusklight continued to impress him, to inspire him, to make him feeling that warmth in his chest that he knew meant that he loved him so deeply and unconditionally.
indentanother laugh sounded from where autumnpaw was supposed to be working, and gorseberry rolled his eyes, bumping his shoulder against dusklight's when he turned to face his apprentice. "dusklight, this is autumnpaw. autumnpaw, this is dusklight -" he began, only to be cut off when his apprentice turned her pale eyes towards her mentor and the groveclan warrior.
indent"of course, it's nice to finally meet the infamous groveclan warrior that gorseberry won't shut up about," autumnpaw interrupted with a sweet purr. with that, she stood and flicked her tail. "everything's good here, gorseberry. i'll go check on alpinemask, to see if he needs anything." with that, she turned to move deeper into the den, where alpinemask had led mousestone, leaving gorseberry to shake his head in her wake before he looked up at dusklight once again.
indent"i swear, she gets sassier every day," he murmured, mostly to himself before shaking it off entirely, hoping that autumnpaw's comments would be overlooked. the last thing they needed at the moment was for gorseberry and his feelings to get in the way of the battle that was coming all too soon. the very thought gave him pause, and gorseberry's nerves pooled in his stomach. for his friends, for dusklight, who came to fight this battle. "can you... can you promise me that you'll be careful? like, if anything happens you'll come to me or mousestone," he said, only vaguely aware that his worry was getting ahead of him, that he was beginning to ramble, but it couldn't be helped. "i just... i need you to be okay."
indenttension bunched in his muscles, though gorseberry relaxed ever so slightly when he felt dusklight press against him, taking in the warmth from his fur. "i'll be fine, i promise."

indentwhen the hazeclan patrol arrived, tallpeak met pantherstar, expressing her thanks that they had come, before leading the hazeclan leader to where cyanstar had already taken badgerstar and lionheart to his den to begin discussing the night ahead. in the meantime, the quickclan cats were just as welcoming with the hazeclan patrol as they were with groveclan, though it was clear that one cat in particularly was well-liked by quickclan. kestrelpaw was the first to spot a familiar pelt, and she charged over, with frogpaw hot on her heels. "turtledove!" she cried out, her long legs carrying her to the hazeclan molly who had taken care of her for several moons. kestrelpaw jumped from paw to paw, telling turtledove a rapid-fire story, and frogpaw took the chance to tuck himself against turtledove's flank.
indentfrom there, it was only a matter of time until dovepaw and finchpaw barreled forward through the gathered warriors in the clearing, cricketpaw and dandelionpaw not far behind, joined by falconflight and snakespots. falconflight leaned forward first, pressing his cheek affectionately to turtledove's. "they were hoping you were coming, but i told them not to get their hopes up."
indent"i had to come," turtledove replied, leaning down to nuzzle cricketpaw and dovepaw in turn when they moved forward to greet her. "my little stars, you've been busy growing up, i see," she added, and finchpaw purred, puffing out her chest.
indent"dad says that we're going to be warriors soon. soon we'll be able to fight with you," finchpaw said, and kestrelpaw was quick to join in.
indent"us too! i've grown too! dad says i'm going to be one of the fastest and tallest cats in the clans if i keep growing," kestrelpaw was saying, though frogpaw rolled his head and bumped his shoulder against his sister's.
indent"yeah but you're not going to grow forever," he said in return, and the pair dissolved quickly into bickering back and forth, during which falconflight stepped back and snakespots moved forward to greet turtledove.
indentthe lanky quickclan tom ducked his head shyly before touching his nose to turtledove's. "thank you for coming. it's good to see you again, i just wish... it wasn't for this," he said, somberly, before he managed a tight smile. "when all this is over, maybe i could take kestrelpaw and frogpaw to hazeclan to visit you for a little while. it might be good for them to see where oceansplash was buried," he said.
indentturtledove's voice was sweet as honey and soothing when her fur brushed snakespots'. "of course, i've missed my little stars. and it's good to see you again too," she said, and snakespots couldn't help the way he perked up at her comment. "a visit sounds nice."
indent"great!" snakespots said, only to wince at the way his voice sounded. too eager, too ready. he cleared his throat and ducked his head again. "anyway," he said after a moment, looking down at his own kits who continued to bicker. "you need to tell me how's hazeclan these days? anything exciting happen recently?" he asked, content to listen to turtledove speak, soothed in the face of the battle by her calming presence, the steadiness in her tone, the knowledge that his own kits would be away from the fighting and would be safe in the camp.

indentby the time cyanstar emerged from his den with the leaders and deputies to call together the patrols, giving them the last moments before moonhigh to say goodbyes and compose themselves, majority of the quickclan cats were bunched together in the camp, save majority of the queens and miranda. from across the clearing, cyanstar's eyes met falconflight's, and the latter's smile was sad when he looked to his mate. cyanstar matched the expression before dipping his head, his gaze flicking to their kits that surrounded falconflight, before he had no choice but to turn to speak to tallpeak as the rest of the patrol began to form together.
indentoakseed wasn't far off, grooming hootpaw's fur one last time. "i'll be back soon," he told them, pressing his forehead against rootpaw's, who let out a quiet sob in reply. of his kits, it was branchpaw who managed to speak, her eyes glossed over with tears.
indent"promise you'll be back," she said, and oakseed fought the urge to flinch when her voice wavered. his kits had lost their sibling, their other father. for them, he needed to come back, safe and sound. "you gotta promise," branchpaw pressed, letting out a soft whimper when oakseed turned his eyes to her.
indent"i promise," he told them, gathering the remaining members of his family to himself as he whispered gently to them. "i promise, i promise, i'll be back. i love you all so much," he said, "but i need you to be strong right now, okay? keep each other safe while i'm gone, i'll be back soon," oakseed assured them.
indentberrypad streaked past oakseed and his family to where duskflower and patchwing were standing together, the mother and daughter appearing like shadows in the gathering night. "patchwing!" berrypad called out to her best friend, nearly barreling her over in the process. patchwing, despite herself, let out a gentle laugh and righted them both. "you gotta come home safely, alright?" berrypad said, not so much a question as a demand, and patchwing rolled her bright green eyes amicably.
indent"of course, you really think you can get rid of me that easily?" patchwing said, butting her head against berrypad's chest.
indentat the same time, duskflower purred and rasped her tongue over berrypad's ear. "don't worry, love, i'll be keeping her safe. now you should go to your parents," duskflower urged, and berrypad murmured a final goodbye before darting back through the crowd to where, sure enough, frostfur and hollyfur were preparing to join the patrol. berrypad squeezed in among her siblings.
indent"we should be there with you," flamestrike was saying, and alderpatch voiced their agreement, though frostfur let out a light chuckle.
indent"you'll have your chance in time, i'm sure," he said, exchanging a glance with hollyfur, who leaned against his shoulder. frostfur's pure white fur was bleached in the glowing moonlight, and whitesnow mirrored him when she leaned forward.
indent"mom, can you please look out for dad?" whitesnow teased affectionately, and frostfur let out a soft, playful growl, aiming a gentle blow that whitesnow backed away from.
indent"you brats, the lot of you," frostfur chastised, but his tone was fond. "i love you all, and whatever happens..." he continued, his tone softening, "know that i love you all, and am glad that we're all back together again," he said, nodding slightly to berrypad.
indentpeckernose limped through the throng of cats, guiding flintpaw until they finally reached their mother, who was speaking to brackenrose and blizzardrush, though she turned and her eyes lit up, and she quickly embraced her sons. "my boys," she cooed, "stay with alpinemask, alright? we should be back soon," aspenwish was saying, speaking quickly, though peckernose took in her appearance: the ruffled fur, the roundness of her eyes. aspenwish was more nervous than she let on, clearly wanting to seem strong for her sons. without replying, peckernose pressed himself close to his mother, who cut herself off with a purr. another body pressed close, as flintpaw joined the embrace. for a moment, there was silence, and peckernose looked up in time to see his mother blink away tears. "i'm going to claw their ears for you, flintpaw," aspenwish muttered, and flintpaw let out a low, sad chuckle.
indent"it's alright, mom, just come back safely. that'll be enough," he whispered, and aspenwish sniffed again.
indentsweetecho brought each of her kits close, resting her chin atop their heads and breathing them in with her eyes shut tightly. "i am so proud of you lot," she said when she had finished, stepping back to look at fleetingmoon, webtail, owletcry, and rainypath. "and i know your father was too. you're a group of warriors to be proud of, and i'm lucky to call you my kits. wherever they are, know that heatpaw and redstar are smiling down on you, alright?"
indent"we love you, mom," rainypath sobbed, pressing close to her mother again. "be safe, please." sweetecho blinked back tears and nodded, her voice failing her when she regarded the dark expressions of her kits. to fleetingmoon, her eldest, she swept her glance around at the others, and she watched his expression grow resolute before the slightest of smiles curved at his expression. if all else failed, she knew that she could trust fleetingmoon to be strong for them all.
indent"now listen you lot," chanterellestep said, his tone uncharacteristically fierce when he looked from hollowfang and grassthorn to roselight and rowanfoot. hickorypatch stood at her former-apprentice's side, her tail flicking with either amusement or impatience. "i want you to stay out of trouble. if anything happens, don't forget where we come from, and look out for each other. roselight, that means not putting bugs in grassthorn's nest anymore -"
indent"you did that?" grassthorn's voice was indignant, and she turned on the other warrior, who merely shrugged. despite the somber atmosphere around them, it seemed that the former-graveclan cats were still prone to picking on one another and resorting to humor, with the exception of hickorypatch, who watched the usual proceedings through half-lidded eyes.
indent"- and grassthorn, that means not clawing roselight's ears. rowanfoot, keep roselight from annoying grassthorn, and hollowfang, keep grassthorn from attacking roselight," chanterellestep continued without missing a beat. grassthorn let out an annoyed huff and roselight flashed a satisfied smile, though chanterellestep also chose to ignore them both. only then did his tone soften. "we've been through a lot, alright? so look out for each other in case i'm not here to box your ears and drag you by the scruffs," the golden tom said after a moment, assessing the group before him. it was roselight who found his paws first, all but tackling chanterellestep, who let out a surprised huff, but accepted it when the others followed suit until, at last, hickorypatch's purr sounded in his ear. "you all annoy me to no end, but you're my best friends, no matter what," he finished, only to turn to the sound of tallpeak's signal, calling him away from his family to join the rest of the warriors for the fight ahead.

indentcardinalheart would have volunteered to join the battle patrol if cyanstar had not declared that only a majority of senior warriors would be allowed to go, those with moons of experience as opposed to the younger warriors, who were eager to prove themselves and fight for their friends and families, but were at risk. the rogues were dangerous, cyanstar had said, and he wasn't about to let the eager young warriors fight in a battle they weren't prepared for. instead, he had them patrolling the camp perimeter and finishing up the last reinforcements. for his own part, cardinalheart had volunteered to keep guard over the nursery and ensure that all of the cracks and weak points were covered over. there would only be one way in, and it was blocked off with woven thorns and bramble, would be guarded by cardinalheart, fleetingmoon, and another of the warriors.
indentthe knowledge that falcongaze was willing to fight for quickclan against the rogues made his chest ache with something that he didn't yet understand, couldn't place like anything else. he had been touched, felt a warmth spread from his paws that falcongaze cared enough to come all the way from groveclan to fight a battle that, in all truth, wasn't necessarily his to fight. it made cardinalheart upset that he couldn't be there with him, that he wouldn't be there to fight alongside him in a battle that had taken the life of his brother, his father, and his mentor. he knew the potential cost, and it made him want to beg falcongaze to stay with him, to eliminate the risk that his friend would be hurt too. so, it was all he could think to savor the time they had left under moonhigh, when cyanstar and the other leaders would set out for the moor. there was so much he wanted to say, wanted to thank falcongaze for, but there weren't enough words.
indentso instead he pointed falcongaze to a point by the nursery's entrance, where the rock had long-since been eroded by weather and wind. "can you just press down there a little bit?" he asked his friend, turning long enough to scrape together a pawful of clay before he moved in beside falcongaze again to reinforce the side of the den. behind them, there was the usual chatter of kits, and cardinalheart recognized the pitches of heronkit and scorpionkit, heard honeyflower hushing them. "yeah - that should be good, thank you," he said, meeting falcongaze's eyes. "i really appreciate your help, everything you're doing."
indent"don't mention it," falcongaze replied, and cardinalheart sat back, managing a tight smile. in that moment, a shout went up from the lower camp, down below the nursery, and cardinalheart exhaled slowly. it was time for him to let falcongaze go.
indentwhen they reached the path that led down to where the patrols were gathering, cardinalheart stepped in front of falcongaze. "don't forget your promise. you need to come back here in one piece." he had already lost so many, he couldn't bare the thought of losing his friend too. not when falcongaze made him laugh, made him feel like he could forget his responsibilities for a short while. even if they hadn't been friends for all too long, he knew that this was someone he wanted to know for the rest of his life, didn't want to be away from. he should be by falcongaze's side now, but he wanted to stay there for a long time to come.
indent"i keep my promises," falcongaze assured him, and cardinalheart finally nodded, ducking his head.
indent"then go," cardinalheart said, swallowing around the lump in his throat long enough to nudge falcongaze's shoulder. "go, i'll be waiting for you."
indentit was only after falcongaze had gone and cardinalheart watched the warriors from all three clans march up the path from the lower camp up past the dens and out towards the moor, that he became aware of fleetingmoon and ploverpaw behind him, and he turned in time to catch fleetingmoon's eye. ever since he told them the truth, he noticed that fleetingmoon had been making an effort to spend time with ploverpaw, to check in by the nursery more. though cardinalheart narrowed his eyes at the pair. "what are you staring at?" he asked, and ploverpaw let out a low snort of laughter, turning her head away while fleetingmoon had the decency to look bashful.
indent"you've been spending a lot of time with that groveclan warrior ever since you met him at the gathering," fleetingmoon comment, and the spark reappeared in his eye. it was a look of mischief, one that cardinalheart came to recognize from their moons as kits and apprentices, when fleetingmoon came up with various schemes to cause trouble. "anything we should know?"
indent"he's my friend, what else is there to know?"
indentagain, ploverpaw snorted. "a really good friend, is that it?" she said, "is that why he keeps coming by whenever he gets the chance?"
indentcardinalheart shot her a look and moved forward to cuff her over the ear, to which she squeaked in complaint and pulled away. "i don't know what you're trying to say. he's been here twice. we just got on well, he's my friend."
indentthis time it was fleetingmoon who finally cracked a laugh, his smile wide and lopsided. "a very handsome friend, wouldn't you say?" he said, only to roll his eyes when cardinalheart didn't answer. "come on, cardinalheart, don't be dense. it's fine if you have a crush on him."
indent"i don't have a crush, he's my friend," cardinalheart retorted with a huff. "come on, we have to look over the nursery. there are cats fighting out there, this isn't the time for gossiping," he added, shooting his siblings a sharp look, to which they finally appeared to sober up at. together, they sat in front of the nursery in silence, watching and waiting.

───────────────────────

indentthe moon stood as witness in the middle of the sky by the time the barn came into view. cyanstar paused as the fields bled into the moor, long enough to look back at the patrol that accompanied him. already, badgerstar and pantherstar led their patrols in opposite directions to flank the barn, moving in wide arches to bypass any attention from nolan's scouts and guards: in truth, most of the plan rested on the element of surprise and that nolan wouldn't expect quickclan to bring in allies. if all went according to plan, then nolan would never know about groveclan and hazeclan until cyanstar gave the signal to launch the attack.
indentthe eyes that cyanstar met were those that he knew better than himself, had come to see as his family. blizzardrush, who had been cyanstar's friend since before quickclan, who had inspired him to seek redstar in the first place to learn more about clan life; duskflower and patchwing, one of the first warriors and the first apprentice of quickclan, who were always dependable; sweetecho and oakseed, who had lost so much in the past moons, but continued to fight to protect what they still had; splashfall and snakespots, who were two of the most skilled warriors any clan could ask for; frostfur and hollyfur, who treated all of the young warriors as an extension of their large family and made sure that no one was ever excluded; hickorypatch and chanterellestep, who worked hard to keep their extended families together and had traveled so far to create a new home for themselves; flurrywind and brackenrose, quiet but steady; aspenwish, who acted like a mother to all of the clan, who worked hard for her sons; duneserpent and treespirit, who were outsiders when they came to the clan but found their places where they were accepted; gorseberry, who had a rough start in the clan but also found his place where he could be happy and grow into who he was meant to me; and tallpeak, who had been there since the beginning and saw cyanstar when he was no more than a wily loner, but came to see him for who he was and supported him when he needed it most. these were the cats who pledged themselves to fight with him, and it was his honor to lead them.
indentcyanstar turned to them then. "whatever happens tonight," he said, "know that i am so proud of you all. we show that quickclan is not so easily beaten, if nothing else." in the tall grass, there was a rustle, and cyanstar waved his tail. "wait for my signal for the attack, and keep your eyes open," he continued, then nodded to gorseberry, who was laden down with several bundles of herbs. cyanstar flicked his ear, and the smaller tom dipped his head and turned, alone, to plunge into the grass, sure to keep to the edge of the clearing for the time being to set up his herbs in preparation while the rest turned to follow cyanstar towards the barn.
indentit wasn't a surprise that nolan was waiting for them at the front of the barn. if anything, cyanstar was glad to see it. if nolan's attention was directed to him, it gave badgerstar and pantherstar to get into position for the attack. nolan's bright ginger fur was turned silver in the moonlight, and he was joined by a tom with long gray and white fur, who stretched his jaws in a wide yawn as cyanstar and his patrol approached. bright blue eyes took in the semi-circle of rogues that lined the clearing in front of the barn, only to flick back to nolan when he spoke, his voice carried by the wind. "well, i would have thought that you lot would have run off by now. are you the new leader, then?" nolan asked, pausing long enough to take the tilt of cyanstar's head as answer enough. "not much of a talker, are you?" nolan mocked, and his companion drew a paw over his ear. "let me guess, you're here to make a deal?"
indent"no." cyanstar was surprised by the way his voice sounded in his own ears: oddly composed, chilled, yet collected. he regarded nolan through narrowed eyes, and his muscles thrummed with anticipation. still, there was no sign of the patrols yet. he continued to bide his time. "i'm not so interested in a deal with you," cyanstar said, and nolan let out a chilling laugh, tossing back his head. behind him, cyanstar heard the shuffle of paws though he didn't dare take his gaze off of nolan.
indent"ah, i see," nolan said, and even from the slight distance cyanstar could make out the twitch of nolan's whiskers. "now, what's your name? you seem to have more brains than redstar. do you all call yourselves colors? bluestar? or maybe graystar?" nolan said, his tone mocking, but cyanstar was happy that he was still distracted. paws shifted again, joined by a low growl that he recognized as sweetecho's voice. "tell me, silverstar, why are you here?"
indentat the edge of the clearing, behind the barn cats, a face appeared through the grass. "i came to tell you that you should have taken redstar's deal. it was a good one, you could have had part of the moor, the fields... it would have been a good deal." on the other side, more cats appeared, and the time had come. "but, you see, i'm not interested in peace with you." nolan's ears perked, and the other tom finally placed his paw down, ceased his grooming. "my name is cyanstar, and this is my territory. i'm here to make sure you will never hurt another clan again." nolan's expression pinched and his jaws parted, as if to issue a battle cry, but cyanstar was faster, louder. "quickclan, attack!" and then the clearing in front of the barn exploded.

indentthe familiar scent of quickclan mixed with that of hazeclan, groveclan, and the rouges when the groups collided in the middle. there was a fast rush forward, between cyanstar's cry and when the cats met in the middle, during which aspenwish found herself flanked by duneserpent and treespirit. together, the three warriors plunged into the fighting as a united force. there was the rush of ground under her paws, the blur of cats streaming in from all directions as quickclan was met by their allies, and the rouges scrambled to get into formation, surrounded on all sides. then treespirit fell away from the line to clash with a cat, then duneserpent, and aspenwish felt her body wrenched backwards when claws snagged in her pelt.
indenta snarl tore from aspenwish's throat and she deftly moved out of the way of the cat's blow, ducking out of reach to move between their forelegs. she lashed her tail, felt the fur brush the ground, and then she sank her teeth into a foreleg and held fast. the cat let out a pained noise, but aspenwish didn't relent, letting go only when she was ready, then finding her paws to straighten up and score her claws across the cat's face. anger boiled low in her stomach, for her son, who would never be able to see again, for the friends that had been taken from her.
indentshouts ans screeches rose to the sky from around aspenwish, and it was only after the rogue tore away from her onslaught that she recognized her own voice as one of many. she screamed flintpaw's name, she yelled for piperskip, for mothtail, for poppyhaze. nearby, someone shouted, "for redstar!" and splashfall ran past in a blur, chasing a rogue away from the thick of fighting. when aspenwish turned again, she recognized more pelts, her vision clearing from her initial rush of anger and fury to have more clarity. treespirit was reared back on his hind legs, wrestling with a scarred molly who matched his size, and duneserpent crept low behind the molly, only to kick her legs out from under her. together, the quickclan toms pounced on the rogue. treespirit seemed to be bleeding heavily from his flank, and blood welled in a wound on duneserpent's face, but they turned away as one and pressed on.
indentsnakespots wasn't hard to find in the midst of the fighting, as he often towered over the majority of the quickclan cats, and his ears still stuck over many of the rogues and hazeclan and groveclan cats. it took aspenwish a moment to recognize the cat he fought next to, then she blinked and saw that it was turtledove from hazeclan. while snakespots aimed his blows high, for the cats' ears and faces, turtledove attacked lower, and together they made for an impressive sight, too deft and overwhelming for the rogue to keep up with. another cat was sent reeling away, and the warriors turned on for their next target.
indenta shout went up nearby, and aspenwish twisted in time to see a rogue batter patchwing's ears. aspenwish was fast, but duskflower was faster, and by the time aspenwish reached them, duskflower managed to wrestle the cat away from her daughter. the dark quickclan molly rolled together with the rogue, and she seemed like it was well-handled, so aspenwish turned her attention to patchwing instead. she was bleeding from a cut above her eye, and a wound cut from her shoulder down her flank. "go find the medicine cats," aspenwish urged, but in that moment patchwing gasped, and the sight of another rogue pulling duskflower from the attack, off of the bleeding barn cat. duskflower was bleeding, though she struggled and snarled in the cat's grip. aspenwish turned to help her clan mate, but was distracted when claws scored down her side, and she let out a growl of her own. another cat advanced toward patchwing, and aspenwish thought gravely that duskflower was capable of fighting herself, that duskflower would want aspenwish to keep patchwing safe. so she kicked out with a hind leg, satisfied to hear a pained snarl from her attacker, and then she advanced towards patchwing.
indentin that same moment, a shout went up, and there was a flash of golden fur, joined by the glint of pale eyes in the moonlight. chanterellestep and hickorypatch appeared, the former tackling into patchwing's attacker, a well-aimed shoulder check sending the cat skidding away. chanterellestep was fast for his build, apparently seasoned from moons on the moorland, and he pursued, giving the barn cat no time to breathe before he was on him again. aspenwish twisted his gaze to see hickorypatch drag a rogue back by his tail, and aspenwish joined her, lashing out with her claws. the cat squealed and hickorypatch let him go, and aspenwish could only breathe out, "duskflower," before the pair of former-graveclan cats turned to where the dark molly had last been seen. hickorypatch was first, plunging back into the fighting, and patchwing was hot on the older warrior's heels. what they found, however, made patchwing scream loud enough to rise about the battle cries and echo off the walls of the barn.

indentas the fighting progressed, gorseberry weaved among the edge of the battle, out of reach of any stray blows, but close enough to peer through and assess the warriors to see if any had been hurt and were in need of his attention. already, he'd pressed cobwebs into chanterellestep's side, and the golden tom was back in the fray, wrestling a gray tabby to the ground, and he'd pulled chestnutblaze of hazeclan out of the fighting long enough to press a poultice into a stretch of claw marks before he set him back into the fighting. gorseberry hadn't seen nolan since the battle began, nor did he see cyanstar or oakseed, but he looked up at the sound of a loud cry, and he turned to where hollyfur was leaned over another figure, and it took gorseberry a moment to recognize frostfur beneath his mate's ginger fur. they were pressed towards the back of the barn, slightly out of the way of the fighting, and gorseberry grabbed a mouthful of his cobwebs and darted around the fighting, keeping his belly low to the ground.
indenta whirl of fur, claws, and teeth, blocked him when he got closer, inching along the side of the barn's outer wall, and he recognized splashfall's tabby and white pelt, made out the snarling of the rogue he fought, but it was only a long moment before splashfall came out on top, pinning the rouge down, only to send him reeling with a nasty blow. the rouge broke away and splashfall gave chase, and gorseberry continued to where hollyfur stood over frostfur, slashing viciously at any cat who dared to come within her reach, protecting her mate with all she had.
indentgorseberry was only a few steps away when a large shape loomed over him, and gorseberry looked up in time to see the paw that was aimed towards his head. he dodged nimbly and rolled to the ground, finding his feet several steps back, but the rogue pursued him. memories flashed before gorseberry, of the distant moons when he had been blizzardrush's apprentice, training until moonhigh when his body ached down to the tips of his fur from trying to master the moves that his mentor tried his best to teach him. but gorseberry had never been well-suited for fighting, and in the moment it was all he could do to back away, using his smaller size and speed to his advantage to avoid that claws that sought to sink into his pelt. an opening came a heartbeat later, and he acted by instinct alone, lashing out with a forepaw, surprised at the feeling of making contact, and he reeled back when the rogue let out a furious hiss. the next thing gorseberry knew, he was sent backwards by a blow that made contact with the side of his head, and his tail brushed against the barn's wall, the rogue effectively cornering him. his belly fur brushed against the ground when he made himself even smaller, and he had the vague notion that he'd dropped the cobwebs meant for frostfur.
indentthere. just as the same large paw was raised again, about to be brought down on gorseberry, movement caught his peripherals, and the dark form appeared to slam into the rogue sideways, knocking him off-balance. instantly, gorseberry breathed out the breath he'd been holding in, and he looked up to dusklight when his friend sent the rogue off, and their eyes locked. the desperate panic that he caught rounding dusklight's eye, gorseberry decided, was something that he never wanted to see again so long as he could help it, though it took him a beat too long to realize that dusklight had spoken, his mouth moving to ask if gorseberry was hurt.
indent"i-i'm okay," gorseberry said, after taking quick inventory of himself. the side of his head ached from the blow he'd taken, and his whiskers quivered from palpable fear, but there was no time to deal with it. if dusklight had been a second slower, than there would have been injuries to deal with, but a shallow cut to his cheek and the slight disorientation would have to be shaken off for the moment, when there were much more pressing injuries to attend to. earlier, dusklight said that someone needed to be the hero, and he'd been right after all. "you?" he asked in turn, taking in dusklight's appearance. in truth, dusklight looked better than he might have originally thought, and it was only the assurance that it was the case that made it so that gorseberry was able to pull his gaze from him to the rest of the clearing. in the moment, he wished for nothing else but the last time they were at the barn together, waiting out the blizzard, sleeping curled up among the hay, swapping stories to pass the time. it'd been peaceful then, so peaceful that it was hard to rectify the current chaos with that past serenity.
indentagain, he was struck by how much he loved dusklight, how much it pained him when they were apart for too long. despite the fear that rattled in his chest, he also recognized that he was, decidedly, safe. because the warrior he was so stupidly in love with saved his life. i love you, i've been in love with you for moons. the words rested on the tip of his tongue, on the precipice of speech, but it wasn't the time. not yet. not when they were still in danger, not so log as gorseberry had warriors to take care of, and dusklight had to fight. there would be time later, when it was over and settled. he reminded himself of the promise from earlier, that dusklight would be fine, and now gorseberry would watch over his shoulder better.
indentwithout any further delay, it pained him to nudge dusklight's shoulder. "thank you," he said, but what he meant was i love you. "come find me if anything happens," meant i would do anything for you. "be safe," come back to me.

indentfrom the outset, cyanstar knew that he needed to get to nolan, that the battle, that the war, would never be over until he was certain that nolan would no longer be an issue for his clan. that thought, that he would likely have to kill nolan, weighed heavily over his head, left a bitter taste in his mouth. who was he to decide whether nolan should live, and how did that make him any better than how nolan decided that redstar needed to die? but, he had his clan, his family to think of. there was no guarantee that nolan wouldn't return again, wouldn't launch an attack against hazeclan or groveclan next time. there was only way, and cyanstar slashed and clawed his way through the thick of the fighting.
indenttallpeak was never far from cyanstar's side, matching him blow for blow. out of the corner of his eye, he came to recognize many of the pelts and faces from his clan as well as his allies. a flash of white when blizzardrush raked his claws down a cat's flank, then splashfall's voice when the lithe warrior jumped onto the cat's back. blizzardrush reared back, distracting the cat when a third shape materialized from the writhing mass of fighting. brackenrose was smaller and even more nimble than splashfall, who continued to dig his claws into dark tabby fur. blizzardrush's claws sliced into the cat's forehead, and the barn cat never had the chance to realize that brackenrose was under him until hi jaws split into a yowl of pain. splashfall jumped down, landing neatly on his toes, and blizzardrush backed off in time for brackenrose to launch up, carrying the large rogue off of his paws, howling and running off. the warriors were quick and efficient, practiced from seasons of training together, passing on new tips and moves they had picked up until it all came together. the three exchanged a glance before jumping back into the fighting.
indenttallpeak shouldered a tom aside, then lunging forward to bite down on his ear. claws pulled at cyanstar's fur, and he paused his hunt for nolan long enough to whip around and claw at the attacker. he reared back, ready to deliver another strike, when a shout when up and cyanstar recognized flurrywind's gray fur and bright green eyes. the warrior barreled sideways into the barn cat and met cyanstar's eye. "i've got 'em, go find nolan," flurrywind send, effectively pinning the rogue down and ducking his head to bite down. over flurrywind's shoulder, he saw hickorypatch fight against a larger cat, her jaw set against the pain of claws piercing her fur. cyanstar's paws shuffled, uncertain, but then tallpeak was at his side again and she thrust her muzzle against cyanstar's shoulder. "let's go," tallpeak said, and there was no room for argument. he saw mousestone dart out to help hickorypatch, and he needed to find nolan.
indentas expected, the ginger barn cat had hidden himself among his followers, but cyanstar and tallpeak continued to push on, edging closer to the barn's yawning entrance. from the angle, no moonlight was allowed to enter the pitch darkness. tallpeak veered away to help drag a rogue off of treespirit, who was bleeding heavily, but cyanstar didn't pause. just when he thought that he would have to wait to find nolan wait until the fighting had begun to die down, claws collided with the side of cyanstar's face and he stumbled sideways. there was the flicker of distinct ginger tabby fur, and cyanstar caught his footing a moment too late. nolan's scent was thick with hay with sour undertones, and cyanstar's nose was clogged with it when nolan managed to roll him over, his back pressed into the unforgiven earth. claws sliced down his stomach and he yowled from the pain. adrenaline continued to burn low, set in his paws, but he felt when it began to ebb away. there was the momentary thought that he wasn't strong enough, that he had always been built for running and climbing, unlike nolan who was solid muscle as he pinned the quickclan leader down. tallpeak's voice sounded far away, and it was only when his deputy stood over him that cyanstar realized that he felt cold, weightless, and that nolan was gone. "- get gorseberry!" he watched tallpeak's mouth rather than heard the words, and his vision was clouded by black patches. the sounds of battle faded away, his vision entirely obscured. when cyanstar blinked again, he was standing above the fighting, distanced from his own body, and redstar sat beside him.
indent"cyanstar, i'm sorry. you lost your first life," redstar murmured, offering a tight smile. redstar's eyes were cast down on their friends, and cyanstar craned his head to follow his gaze. to one side of the clearing, hickorypatch was with mousestone, the smaller medicine cat talking with animated force to the stubborn warrior. nearby, snakespots was fighting shoulder-to-shoulder with turtledove, and brackenrose covered blizzadrush, whose white flank was stained red. treespirit and duneserpent leaned against one another, slashing out at anyone who dared to stray too close, and flurrywind dove to help them when one of the barn cats tried to catch them off-guard.
indent"you need to send me back," cyanstar said after a moment of silence, and he turned his gaze to redstar. directly below them, his body was lying still as lionheart and tallpeak protected him, waiting for gorseberry to cross the battlefield and for him to revive. "i need to help them." two more forms joined tallpeak and lionheart, and despite the veil that separated cyanstar and redstar from the world below, he blinked down at sweetecho and oakseed.
indentredstar's glance was sad when he turned to cyanstar, his smile somber. "you need to heal, you need time first, cyanstar. you're recovering." sweetecho and oakseed pushed on, past the clan deputies, likely in pursuit of nolan, and cyanstar noticed that redstar followed sweetecho with his gaze. "it's good to see the clans fighting together. it should have been like this moons ago," redstar commented when sweetecho was out of sight, and he looked instead towards the groveclan and hazeclan warriors. "you're doing well, continue to work hard. go cyanstar, finish what i never could. lead," redstar said, standing and haking out his starry pelt. cyanstar opened his mouth to reply, but he blinked his eyes open and gasped in a breath of air. the battle flooded back to him and gorseberry leaned over him, though the medicine cat twisted to call to tallpeak and lionheart.
indent"he's awake! help me move him away," gorseberry said, and cyanstar felt teeth dig into the scruff of his neck, let himself be dragged out of the thick of fighting.

indentfor most of the battle, oakseed had been alone. he needed to think, to feel the burn of his muscles when he fought the rogues that killed his mate and kit. with each blow, he thought of screechwing and swooppaw, thought of all the time he could have had with them if it wasn't torn away so cruelly. so he lashed out, his vision blurred with different fur and his own claws. he worked methodically, biting, scratching, dodging, striking. he paused only when he recognized sweetecho's voice in his ear, and he landed on his paws from sending one of the barn cats away, back into the mass of fighting. "i'm going for nolan," she said, and oakseed didn't speak, didn't need to. sweetecho turned and he followed her towards the front of the barn. when they reached the entrance of the barn, it was to see gorseberry pressing cobwebs into cyanstar's stomach, the leader and medicine cat protected by tallpeak and lionheart, who looked battle-hardened enough to send any enemy reeling. oakseed moved to help them, but sweetecho called to him, "this way! he's this way," she said, and oakseed was left to scramble after his oldest friend, watching a flash of ginger fur in the distance.
indentit'd been a trap, oakseed realized too late. sweetecho turned the corner to follow nolan, following her lead, and then there was a cry of pain and surprise. sweetecho was thrown aside, and oakseed instinctively jumped to her defense, staring down at nolan and the pair of rogues that flanked him. one of the barn cats was bleeding heavily, but still stood strong enough to send sweetecho reeling, and oakseed realized that it took the former-queen a moment too long to get up. the fighting had been going on for a while, and they were fatigued. his own body burned with exhaustion, and he was suddenly aware of each scratch in his pelt, every bite and strain. when the pair advanced by a flick of nolan's tail, oakseed was ready, and he braced himself for the attack. one aimed high, the other low, to get under oakseed, but he shouldered the first aside and rounded on the second. in the time it took him to wrestle the latter to the ground, the former dragged him off their partner, and oakseed nearly forgot that sweetecho was there until she came to his aid, biting down into one of the cat's shoulders to give oakseed enough room to wrench free. the barn cats backed away, baring their teeth, and it was in that moment that nolan stepped forward and waved them off. fur hung from oakseed's shoulder, and sweetecho was breathing heavily at his side.
indentthere was no time to wait, to let nolan strike first. instead, oakseed charged forward, claws outstretched, believing that he was bigger, stronger, could match if not overwhelm nolan. he was wrong, he miscalculated. nolan met him mid-way, rearing back and sending the dark warrior sprawling and disoriented. his vision tilted, the world off-kilter, and it was through half-lidded eyes that he watched nolan move forward for sweetecho. oakseed wanted to close his eyes, couldn't bare to watch his friend be cut down, couldn't stand the thought that he was going to lose sweetecho too, the sweet molly he'd met all those moons earlier, who brought him to where he was now by talking about clan life. never would he have thought that he would be anything more than a kittypet, but sweetecho changed his life, gave him his life to have. now she would die, he would die, at the same paws that killed redstar, screechwing, and so many others.
indentsweetecho was pressed low to the ground, and in the moment before nolan brought his front paw down, oakseed realized that her muscles were bunched. not cowering, but crouched and waiting. when nolan reared back, she shot forward, knocking him off-balance. nolan let out a surprised shout, and his followers moved to help, but oakseed found his paws. he barreled into them sideways, and the three rolled together. fur gave way under his blows, and oakseed held them down while sweetecho and nolan circled one another. suddenly, he remembered their sparring from earlier that moon. sweetecho darted forward again when nolan raised up on his hind legs, and oakseed remembered what had happened during their mock fight - she'd been too slow to get to oakseed's belly and knock him off-balance. he'd been able to strike her and get the advantage.
indentthis time she was fast enough, and made contact. there was a flash of claws when nolan fell, and sweetecho stood over him, her expression wiped of emotion. there was no joy, no anger, when she looked to where oakseed had pinned down nolan's loyal rogues. "go," she said, her voice low and even. "yell to the stars that nolan is dead." and oakseed released the battered barn cats.

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indentdawn painted the moorland sky in shades of pink and pale blue, chasing away the darker hues of indigo to make way for the promise of sunlight, and cyanstar spoke to badgerstar and pantherstar below the lower clearing's rock croppings that served as his den and perch for announcements. there was a weariness to all of the cats who had taken place in the battle, and all appeared to wear marks of the fighting - some more than others, as alpinemask, autumnpaw, cloudpaw, and darkflower joined mousestone and gorseberry in tending to the injured cats. autumnpaw circled the returned cats with surprising confidence, and alpinemask was pressing herbs to treespirit's wounds, the latter grinding his teeth against the sting while alpinemask explained what he was doing to darkflower, who was helping him.
indentthere had been losses, and cyanstar glanced to the bodies of duskflower, frostfur, and ospreytalon, where the families of the fallen were giving their condolences, before he looked back at badgerstar and pantherstar. "truly, i... i don't know what we would have done without your help. of course, your warriors are welcome to rest here for as long as they need until they are fit to travel back, we've been fortunate to have stocked up more than enough prey, to wait at least until the medicine cats give the clearance for travels," cyanstar was saying, before he cleared his throat and nodded his head just once. "i know that redstar... he would have wanted to be here. our clans have been friends for so long, and quickclan will be there to help and return the favor if anything ever happens again," cyanstar added after a pause, moving past the way his voice caught at the mention of redstar. as if on a cue, tallpeak approached the leaders, and she offered the group a tight smile before looking to cyanstar.
indent"we're ready when you are, i've spoken to treespirit, though patchwing... she's grieving," tallpeak said, and there was no missing the way the young molly was crouched by her mother's side with berrypad nestled close to comfort her, while the rest of berrypad's family was settled by frostfur. another reminder of all of the losses, though he sorely hoped that it would be the last for many moons to come.
indent"of course," cyanstar said, then nodded to his fellow leaders. "shall we?" with that, he turned and climbed the rocks to the highest point, sure that there was room for badgerstar and pantherstar to join them. from the vantage point, it was possible to see across all of the quickclan camp, from the main clearing of the lower camp, to the way the path snaked up the cliff-face, branching off towards the separate dens until it finally crested to the moorland. eyes turned to look up at the leaders, and cyanstar couldn't help the warmth that he felt looking down to see the three clans together as one large family. gorseberry sat close enough to dusklight so that their fur brushed, and cardinalheart was whispering to falcongaze. snakespots and falconflight were with turtledove, joined by the young kits. even alpinemask had taken to sitting with darkflower, and other warriors talked among themselves. despite all of the loss, it was sight that made his eyes gloss, momentarily overcome with emotion that they had survived together.
indent"when i was given my nine lives, redstar himself told me to have hope," cyanstar began to address the gathered cats. "he told me that no matter how dark it looked, that i should have hope, that the darkness would not claim quickclan. sometimes, he said, we just needed help from our friends. but, looking now at the dawn for the day ahead, i realize that he was wrong. hope, yes. but friends? quickclan, groveclan, hazeclan... we are family." cyanstar paused, and looked between pantherstar and badgerstar. "to all of you who have come today, i thank you. thank you for being here when we needed you most. thank you for fighting for us. thank you for being our family. the next time we all meet like this, i sincerely hope it is with only joy, for today we succeeded, but not without great losses." the injuries, the death. there was no forgetting the bodies in the clearing, the scars that would never heal.
indent"he said to have hope... and it's my wish that we remember his wish for us." with that, cyanstar nodded to tallpeak, who led cricketpaw and finchpaw forward. "it is my wish that these apprentices be made warriors in front of all of our clans, as a reminder for the future, that the next generation will be strong, and brave, and smart to handle whatever may come." at that, cyanstar jumped down from the rocks to approach his son and daughter, who were wide-eyed with wonder. "i, cyanstar, leader of quickclan, call upon the spirits of starclan and the dark forest," he began, mindful of the hazeclan cats in attendance and with the thought that his kits were technically half-hazeclan. "as well as i ask the permission of badgerstar of groveclan and pantherstar of hazeclan, to look down on these apprentices, who have trained hard and passed their assessments to become full warriors of quickclan." he turned to finchpaw first, who kneaded the ground with her paws. "finchpaw, do you swear before quickclan of past and present, to uphold the principals we hold most sacred, to protect the clan with all of your body and mind?"
indent"you'd better believe it!" finchpaw replied, her smile wide, unbothered even when cyanstar leveled a glance at her, and she laughed loudly. "of course i do."
indent"then from this moment forward you shall be known as finchthroat, for you are never afraid to speak your mind. we honor your energy and optimism as we welcome you as a full warrior of quickclan." then, he turned to cricketpaw, who ducked his head, his fur flushed but eyes bright with excitement. "cricketpaw, do you swear before quickclan of past and present, to uphold the principals we hold most sacred, to protect the clan with all of your body and mind?"
indentunlike his sister, cricketpaw nodded his head once and his voice was even when he said, "i do."
indent"then from this moment on you shall be known as cricketchirp, for your quiet insights. we honor your tenacity and attention to detail as we welcome you as a full warrior of quickclan." at last, cyanstar stepped back, watching fondly as his kits were swept into the love and attention from the other cats in the clearing, and it was all cyanstar could do to look up to the other leaders, his eyes equal parts sorrowful for the losses, but hopeful for the long future ahead. quickclan would rebuild, and they had their family secure with them.
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[ ✦ quickclan 29 ]

Postby eagle, » Sat Sep 21, 2019 4:23 pm

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indentin the before, the three of them had decided on a safe space where they would gather in the case they were ever attacked, in the case everything began to fell apart. maybe they'd grown complacent, but layla never forgot where the space was, in a dip on the other side of the barn, out of range of wind and set away from the moorland borders, where the quickclan cats wouldn't find them. of course, as time wore on and nolan became more certain of his victory - that they had already taken the lives of warriors and apprentices, and then nolan had killed redstar - it seemed that they would never have to worry again. they would have the moor in due time, and their family would be safe. the very thought, now, made layla's shoulders shake with broken laughter and undisguised grief. she'd lost everything: it had all been taken from her. her mate and close friend were both dead, nolan and graham struck down while she watched from the side of the barn. the others who survived fled and had refused to follow layla. nolan is gone, graham is gone, they said when she asked if anyone would come with her. as if she needed the reminder.
indentthe longer she thought, the angrier she got until it burned through every inch of her being, molding from crippling grief to motivating fury. they would pay, for the future they stole away from her. layla's paws carried her past the barn and didn't stop until she found herself in the middle of the open moorland. there, she waited and waited for them to find her.

indentas days passed on, injuries began to heal, groveclan and hazeclan cats began to return home. quickclan slowly returned to normal as the last warmth of greenleaf began to fade away. it would always be impossible to forget what happened, sweetecho supposed as she looked around the camp, and they would always want to remember, but relief came when patrols stopped having to look three times over their shoulders to make sure that they weren't about to be ambushed. they were all still cautious, of course, but quickclan's hold on the moor was reaffirmed and the ties binding them to their allies was as strong as ever. as the groveclan and hazeclan cats healed and returned to their respective camps, it was easy to see that their presences were missed. more than once, she heard snakespots talking to falconflight about turtledove, and fleetingmoon had been teasing cardinalheart about falcongaze from groveclan. sweetecho decided not to pry. instead she reflected.
indentshe'd told oakseed that killed nolan and getting revenge might offer some sense of relief, some sort of closure. even then, she knew it wouldn't be the case, though she had greatly hoped that she would be wrong. she thought on the days of before, when she met her kits after their training sessions and groomed them while they told her about their days. heatpaw had always been the worst at sitting still, always trying to duck out of her reach until redstar might stroll by on his way to find cyanslash or alpinemask. but nothing was the same as it had been: heatpaw and redstar were gone and cyanslash was cyanstar. nolan was dead, his followers chased off, and sweetecho felt even more empty, more alone than ever before. oakseed kept busy with patrols and was quiet when they shared meals together, her own kits too busy hunting and practicing to spend too much time with her. she knew that it wasn't on purpose, but it left sweetecho feeling lost, floating through the camp like a ghost who moved around them but stood apart from the actual proceedings. she was redstar's mate, heatpaw's mother. most of her friends were dead, and the friends she did have were dealing with their own shadows. which was why, days after the battle, sweetecho was surprised when honeyflower sat down beside her in the middle of the clearing. the ginger queen was quiet, staring off into the distance, and after a beat of silence, sweetecho spoke, "where's vermilionkit?" she asked.
indenthoneyflower blinked and turned to face sweetecho. "off playing some game with heronkit and scorpionkit," she said, nodding towards the other side of the camp, where sweetecho could make out vermilionkit's distinct ginger tabby pelt, small when compared to heronkit's tall and lithe figure and scorpionkit's bulkier frame. before they knew it, the older pair of kits would be given mentors of their own. if she blinked, she could imagine that vermilionkit was on his way as well, with the rate that moons were passing before her very eyes. honeyflower's voice broke through sweetecho's thoughts, and she turned back to the queen. "willowfrost snapped at them. apparently they were whispering too loudly while she was trying to take a nap," honeyflower said, and sweetecho let out a snort of amusement, not missing the way honeyflower rolled her eyes.
indent"to be fair to her," sweetecho pointed out, "kits rarely know how to be quiet. they struggle with using inside voices. it's like they only know one volume: loud." this time it was honeyflower's turn to laugh, the sound coming from her stomach, a pure and genuine sound that sweetecho decided suited the pretty molly quite well. "owletcry used to be the worst. not only did she now know how to be quiet, but she was also so clumsy back then," sweetecho continued, purring fondly at the memory. "there was one time i really thought piperskip and sunnywhisker were going to claw her when she tripped over webtail and woke him up. so he cried, but owletcry shouted that she was sorry and for him to be quiet."
indentanother beat of laughter passed before honeyflower let out a quiet exhale. "well, you all survived it. and clearly you've been a good mother. fleetingmoon has been coming by to play with the kits and keep them entertained, and i heard that rainypath brought back an impressive amount of prey back the other evening." as honeyflower spoke, she shifted closer when a cool breeze stirred the air. honeyflower's head came to rest on sweetecho's shoulder, the latter of whom stiffened for a moment before relaxing into the comforting warmth swapped between their brushing fur. "i just hope i can do right by vermilionkit."
indent"he must know how much you love him," sweetecho murmured, once more looking off to where the young ginger tom was playing with the older kits, scampering to keep up with heronkit's longer strides. "kits surprise you. they're resilient." starclan knew how much her kits had been through over the moons, yet they continued to grow and live their lives.
indenthoneyflower's hum carried through her body, and sweetecho felt it rather than heard it. "you should come by the nursery more, you know. your company is more refreshing than willowfrost's, and sagetuft and hawkrise just like to gossip." honeyflower pulled away then, and sweetecho pretended not to notice the sudden chill that crept through her fur. "and i'm sure you have stories for the kits. vermilionkit said that i'm bad at telling stories." sweetecho shrugged, only to nod a moment later when honeyflower pressed, "and hawkrise's kits are really cute, but also getting into trouble. we could use a few more paws to help keep chaserkit from escaping."
indent"maybe i'll stop by tomorrow," sweetecho said, and honeyflower grinned when they stood together.
indent"you know where i'll be."

indent"i know a secret," canaryleap stated as he led the small patrol over the dips and crests of the uneven moorland. thunderpaw followed his mentor closely, stepping where canaryleap bounded as if to make sure that their steps lined up perfectly, while duneserpent and ploverpaw walked side by side behind them. at canaryleap's outburst, duneserpent sent ploverpaw a sideways glance that made the smaller molly stifle a laugh. if canaryleap noticed this, however, he didn't comment, instead jumping up onto a rock and perching there, regarding the rest of the patrol from a vantage point, his gaze measured and expectant, his grin wicked.
indent"alright, i'll bite," duneserpent said when he and ploverpaw caught up to stand with thunderpaw, recognizing his cue to play into canaryleap's game. "what do you know?" at that, canaryleap's tail kinked pleasantly over his back and his grin widened even further.
indent"i know one of your secrets, dear duneserpent," canaryleap said, leaving no room for duneserpent to speak again before canaryleap nodded to ploverpaw and thunderpaw. "as you both know, i am extremely observant and have an eye for the fine details -" he said, not even pausing when duneserpent scoffed playfully, "- and i have finally concluded that duneserpent," he continued, lowering his tone and dipping his head, eyes flickering back and forth between the apprentices with an air of exaggerated dramatics that drew another laugh from ploverpaw, "has a crush!"
indentcanaryleap sat back on his haunches then, and ploverpaw exchanged a glance with thunderpaw before turning to assess duneserpent's expression. her mentor's maw was twisted in a bemused expression, contrasted against the way canaryleap drew a paw over his ears. at last, duneserpent scoffed again and shook out his fur, turning back towards the camp. "you really do have keen eyes, don't you, canaryleap?" he said, attempting to regain his previously lighthearted tone, though there was now a defensive undercurrent, and ploverpaw perked up.
indent"you do have a crush!" she said, bounding to cut into his path, and canaryleap let out a loud laugh. "who is it?"
indentduneserpent leveled a withering glance at ploverpaw, though she wasn't so easily dissuaded. when she didn't budge, duneserpent groaned and twisted to look at canaryleap over his shoulder. "you know she's not going to let this go, right?" he said, and the other warrior shrugged, though he was still visibly amused and not sympathetic.
indentinstead, canaryleap jumped down from his rock and padded forward, thunderpaw trailing a step behind. "would you rather tell her, or should i?" his teeth were sharp in his grin, his eyes gleaming playfully. ploverpaw suspected that, if duneserpent truly was uncomfortable, that canaryleap would back away immediately and go back to talking about how he caught a bird by accidentally missing his mark and landing on top of it sideways. however, duneserpent narrowed his eyes at his friend before letting out a breathy sigh.
indent"let's see how much you actually know," he said, and canaryleap puffed out his chest, preening under the attention and chance to show off even further.
indent"of course, you have a crush on -" canaryleap began, only to be cut off when thunderpaw brushed past his mentor.
indent"cats on the moor!" he said, and the warriors immediately turned, dropping the antics for the time being. though, since the battle, the moor had been quiet with no signs of the barn cats, the fear had not entirely dissipated.
indentsure enough, on the horizon, two cats were approaching. from the distance, it was difficult to see much about them, and duneserpent drew his tongue over his muzzle before looking to ploverpaw. "there are only two of them, we'll go slow and see what's going on. ploverpaw, stay behind me. canaryleap and thunderpaw, you hang back a bit, make sure it's not a trap." they fell into formation. just as duneserpent said, they walked slowly, assessing the moorland around them for any signs of other cats who might be with the pair while canaryleap led thunderpaw down into one of the many dips and hollows to check the surrounding area. the wind shifted several times, carrying scents from further along the land, though the only foreign markers were from the two cats: upon a closer inspection, one was a molly with long fur, the other a skinny tom who ploverpaw suspected was about her age. "you're on quickclan territory," dunserpent said when the two groups came to a halt, meeting in the middle. "please state your reasons for coming here."
indentthe molly was pretty, though her eyes gave away how tired she was. when matched with the tom's wide-eyed expression akin to fear, it was clear that these cats were no threat. even still, the molly held her head high when she spoke, "i've come to see redstar." the former leader's name was spoken with such confidence and authority that it took the patrol a moment to recover. in the beat that passed, the molly sensed that something was wrong and pricked her ears. "i need to talk to him." her voice was strained, pained, and ploverpaw thought for a moment that she recognized it, some distant memory in which the foreign scent was warm and welcoming.
indentat last, duneserpent found his voice, stepping forward with a soft expression. "i hate to tell you, but redstar died a few moons ago. our new leader, cyanstar-"
indent"no," the molly snapped, and duneserpent recoiled as if she struck him. "no, you don't understand. i need to talk to redstar." she growled low in her throat, and duneserpent squared his shoulders, opened his mouth to speak before he was cut off again. "i was mates with redstar. my son, oleanderkit, is redstar's son and our clan disbanded. i need to see redstar. my other kits is here." the statement clearly surprised duneserpent, and ploverpaw was left to blink at the young tom, seeing him in a new light. suddenly, not as a fearful stranger, but as a brother who was scared.
indentsuddenly, a streak of brown tabby fur caught ploverpaw's eye a heartbeat before canaryleap called out to the group, "flowerskip, is that really you?" flowerskip turned at the sound of her name to watch canaryleap approach, thunderpaw in tow. immediately, the tension in her muscles seemed to release and her eyes widened in shock.
indent"canaryleap? dear starclan, aren't you a sight," she said, padding forward to meet him. "honestclan... it's been moons. far too long." they touched noses and canaryleap turned back towards duneserpent and ploverpaw.
indent"let me introduce you. this handsome but serious tom is duneserpent, and that's his apprentice, ploverpaw," under flowerskip's gaze, ploverpaw ducked her head, suddenly shy. when she glanced up again while canaryleap continued to jabber, those large yellow eyes were still trained on her.
indent"ploverpaw..." flowerskip mouthed, and she brushed past canaryleap, pausing only when duneserpent put himself between the queen and his apprentice. even still, flowerskip had eyes only for ploverpaw. "my other kit... redstar said he was going to name her ploverpaw... are you...?" the fragmented question hung in the air, ripe with hope. the breath caught in ploverpaw's throat, and she looked to the strange cats, then to duneserpent, before letting the breath out slowly.
indent"i am," she said in an answer, and dunserpent wasn't able to stop flowerskip when she rushed forward to bury her nose into ploverpaw's shoulder. all the while, ploverpaw stood frozen in shock while flowerskip rattled on to her, leaving ploverpaw to look past the long calico fur to where her newfound brother mirrored her.

indentthere was no denying how much the clan had lost, sparrowcall reflected as he sat among his clanmates following cyanstar's usual call to gather quickclan together. there was no denying how much he had lost personally. poppyhaze, who had always been by his side was gone, as was rivuletpaw. he lost his mate, one of his kits, and friends along the way. with each day that passed, he was aware of the passing of time, that he had been in quickclan for some time now, had seen his fair share of seasons. it was the question of why and how he lived when poppyhaze, sootstone, and duskflower were all gone. he was the oldest of the quickclan warriors, and had dreamed of retiring with poppyhaze by his side until the end of time, when they would go to starclan together and weave among the stars, two souls attached endlessly, inseparable. and the barn cats had taken it from him, and for what? it was a feeling of hollow loneliness that couldn't be filled or forgotten, only dulled in spare moments of joy, such as watching his remaining kits sit under the wind rock, waiting eagerly for cyanstar to call their names. sparrowcall tried to forget that rivuletpaw should be with them, the third in a trio. at last, cyanstar bounded up to the height of the lower camp and addressed his clan.
indent"quickclan, this evening we gather to celebrate the accomplishments of three apprentices who have completed their training," cyanstar began, and he paused to allow for the cheers that went up from the gathered clan. his smile was wide when he regarded dandelionpaw, tinselpaw, and magpiepaw. "what do you say? let's begin," cyanstar said, jumping down neatly from his perch to stand among the clan. tallpeak sat back in the shadow of the wind rock when cyanstar padded forward and raised his voice to be heard across the entire camp. "i, cyanstar, leader of quickclan, call upon the spirits of starclan and all quickclan ancestors to look down on these apprentices, who have trained hard and passed their assessments to become full warriors of quickclan." cyanstar's bright blue eyes turned first to dandelionpaw, who met her father's eyes eagerly. "dandelionpaw, do you swear before quickclan of past and present, to uphold the principals we hold most sacred, to protect the clan with all of your body and mind?"
indentdandelionpaw's voice was clear and resolute when she nodded just once. "i do and always will," she said, and cyanstar's smile was fond when he spoke again.
indent"then from this moment forward you shall be known as dandelionspring, for your lasting energy and optimism. we honor your determination and strength of mind as a full warrior." several cheers went up from the crowd before cyanstar turned to tinselpaw next. sparrowcall straightened up even further, his heart in his throat from the wash of pride he felt for his kits. "tinselpaw, do you swear before quickclan of past and present, to uphold the principals we hold most sacred, to protect the clan with all of your body and mind?"
indent"i do!" tinselpaw asserted, clear and concise.
indent"then from this moment forward you shall be known as tinselstorm, for your whirlwind of strength and passion. we honor your strong will and tenacity." sparrowcall shouted his daughter's new name to the gathering twilight, joined by several others, falling quiet only when it came time for magpiepaw. "magpiepaw, do you swear before quickclan of past and present, to uphold the principals we hold most sacred, to protect the clan with all of your body and mind?"
indentthere was the slightest tremble in magpiepaw's voice when he answered, giving away just how nervous he was, but his eyes were bright and filled with wonder. "i do, cyanstar."
indentcyanstar offered the young tom a gentle and soothing smile when he finished, "then from this moment forward you shall be known as magpiesong, for your kind heart. we honor your grace when dealing with tough choices and your careful choice of words." at last, cyanstar stepped back and allowed the clan to cheer for the newest warriors, and the bubble of pride that had been building in sparrowcall's chest expanded full to bursting, so full of love. he pushed forward until he could touch his nose to tinselstorm's cheek.
indent"your mother would be so proud of you," he murmured to tinselstorm, who licked his shoulder in silent acknowledgement. "your mother is so proud of you." he glanced for magpiesong, and found his son several tail lengths away, talking to cricketchirp. for a moment, sparrowcall moved to go to his son, but hesitated when cricketchirp pressed his nose to magpiesong's cheek, the gesture so fond and tender that sparrowcall smiled to himself and turned back to tinselstorm, who wore a knowing expression. "i'm so proud of you both," sparrowcall said at last.

indent"autumnpaw, you know the rules about having friends in the den," gorseberry said as soon as he entered the medicine cats' den and took in the sight of his apprentice with her group of friends. flintpaw was stretched out on the ground, his whiskers twitching in amusement at the sound of gorseberry's voice, and autumnpaw flicked her ear from where she was seated between flintpaw and peckernose. ravengaze had joined the group since his arrival, as had marshstripe over the moons, though gorseberry chalked the latter up to a crush on ravengaze. peckernose, in the very least, blinked politely up at gorseberry, who sent the younger tom a half-smile before he attention returned to autumnpaw, expectant.
indent"the rule is that i can have friends here after i'm done with sorting the stores, which i have, and you can check," autumnpaw replied, unbothered, with a swish of her tail.
indentgorseberry shook his head once and padded closer to the group. "you're forgetting the other part of the rule," he said with a click of his tongue. "the other rule is -"
indent"- that we have to stay out of alpinemask's way, otherwise we'll make him grumpy," she finished for him, and not even gorseberry could contain his smile at that, fond for the eldest medicine cat as well as his apprentice. "but alpinemask isn't here," autumnpaw continued before gorseberry could say anything further, "he said he had some business in hazeclan and that he'll be gone until tonight or early tomorrow morning." she must have sensed gorseberry's confusion and stood, crossing the circle of young warriors until there was little more than a breath of space between them. she leaned up and touched her nose to gorseberry's, inhaling his scent before backing off again with a quiet huff of laughter. "of course, he probably could have told you that for yourself if you weren't spending half of your time in groveclan with dusklight." when autumnpaw spoke, however, there was no judgement or sourness in her tone. if anything, she sounded amused, and gorseberry smiled once more at the sound of his mate's name. even still, he wasn't yet prepared to give her the satisfaction and bent his head to nip playfully at her ear, earning a swat in turn.
indent"what i'm doing in groveclan isn't your business. if you stop being annoying, maybe next time i'll bring you along so you can see mousestone again." autumnpaw paused at that, and gorseberry grinned. of course he had noticed how much autumnpaw had come to like having the groveclan and hazeclan cats in the quickclan camp, even if she said that more than one of them had walked into her - dusklight included, she had been sure to point out - and gorseberry saw that she was especially fond of dusklight and mousestone. for the final few days of their stay, she had become like a shadow to mousestone, more than pleased to know that mousestone was half-blind, could fight, and was a skilled medicine cat; clearly autumnpaw admired mousestone for that. "anyway," gorseberry said at last, shuffling his way through the group of warriors, who moved out of his way with mumbled apologies. "what are you all up to, anyway?"
indent"waiting for nightfall so we can go train," flintpaw said without missing a beat. at first, when cyanstar, tallpeak, and nightfall came to the medicine cats to ask if flintpaw should take up his warrior training again, gorseberry had been, admittedly, hesitant. the past moons hadn't been easy on flintpaw, physical injury aside. for moons he woke up with nightmares, and at other times gorseberry worried that he was too reclusive, blocking out even peckernose on more than one occasion. but it was ultimately decided that it was for the best to, at the very least, try and see how he handled getting back into fighting and hunting. finally, when he heard flintpaw laughing with ravengaze and peckernose - a very welcome sound from a tom who had once always been so energetic and cheerful - gorseberry concluded that it had been the right choice. "ravengaze said he has a few moves he wants to try out, and marshstripe wanted to see him fail to catch me off guard again," flintpaw continued with another laugh, ducked out of the way when ravengaze made to swipe gently at him. the group erupted into laughter at ravengaze's annoyed growl.
indent"actually," autumnpaw cut in, following gorseberry when he picked up his herbs and moved towards the stores in the back of the den. "i was thinking that i could go with them. i mean, i know the rogues are gone, but it wouldn't hurt to try and learn something. and ravengaze and nightfall have been getting really good at helping flintpaw, maybe i could learn something too, and -"
indent"autumnpaw," gorseberry broke in when he set the herbs down, quieting his apprentice. "it's a good idea. you should go, just be careful, alright? and don't forget the rules."
indentautumnpaw' grin was bright, infinitely so, and she pressed her face into gorseberry's chest. "i know. don't tell alpinemask."
indent"that's right," gorseberry said, and their laughs mingled, nearly managing to drown out the sounds of nightfall's arrival from the entrance of the den. "go on then," he urged, nosing her back towards her friends and smiling as she went.

indentthe training had been difficult in the beginning, but over time flintpaw thought that he might be handling it all better. navigating was likely always going to be a bit of a challenge, and he accepted that it would always be easier if he had someone to help guide him. the training hollow, however, would always be imprinted in flintpaw's memory, the ground worn down from numerous paws, smooth and trustworthy under his paws. flintpaw had always found comfort in the hollow, in training until he was exhausted and his muscles burned from exertion. after several moons of recovery, he found that it took some time to get back into his training, and his body ached for several days following his first sessions with nightfall and peckernose. in the beginning, he got frustrated often and wanted to give up time and time again, but his mentor and brother were persistent, reaffirming that flintpaw had wanted this, had begged for it, and now that he had the chance to train again and show that he could still be a warrior, this was his chance to prove himself. so he worked hard, harder, and even harder.
indentravengaze. ravengaze was a good addition to the training. he was faster than peckernose, more agile than nightfall, and stronger than flintpaw had been before his injury. the former-jaggedclan warrior had mentioned once that one of the medicine cats from his old clan had been blind. when he saw the group leaving for the training hollow, he had asked if he could come along, to see if he might be able to pick something up from the warriors. as the days passed, ravengaze moved from an observer to a participant. he turned from a stranger to a friend, and flintpaw was happy that he was there.
indentacross the hollow, nightfall and marshstripe were talking to autumnpaw, going over the basics of fighting with the young molly. peckernose and ravengaze had stayed with flintpaw, to help him in his day's battle training. it was easy to pick out and distinguish their steps from one another: peckernose's twisted leg lent itself to an uneven limp, a far cry from ravengaze's lighter and quicker stride that crossed more ground. his new friend and brother circled flintpaw likely passing signals back and forth for their next moves through silent gestures and looks that flintpaw couldn't see. instead, he tensed his muscles and anticipated.
indentpeckernose came at him first from the left, his speed unhindered since he had learned how to manage his twisted leg. flintpaw knew that peckernose's forelegs had grown stronger over the moons, learned from one too many times being bowled over by his brother who used to be all spindly legs and fur. his muscles had hardened, and flintpaw knew better than to try and outmatch him. instead, he fainted right, aware that ravengaze was likely waiting for him there, and he didn't pause long enough to let either attacker come at him. he dropped down instead, taking in the sounds of peckernose's paws scrape against the ground, felt ravengaze's breath on his hindquarters. another gesture likely passed between them, but flintpaw didn't wait for them to make the first move this time, opting to go on the offensive and kick back towards where he judged ravengaze might be. sure enough, his paw made contact with soft fur and ravengaze grunted, only for flintpaw to have his forepaws hooked out from under him when peckernose swept forward. flintpaw's chin hit the ground and his teeth rattled, but flintpaw wasn't yet ready to give in. he twisted instead, not giving peckernose the chance to grab him. a shift in the air told him where ravengaze was, and peckernose's scent came from the opposite side. between his brother and ravengaze, flintpaw let out a frustrated growl before bunching his muscles and jumping at ravengaze. many times before, he misjudged the distance, but this time he was pleased to feel ravengaze under his paws, and they rolled together. flintpaw cuffed his friend's ear, ravengaze nipped at his shoulder, locked together. at last, they fell apart, gasping for air, and then ravengaze laughed, so carefree and happy that flintpaw laughed too. the weight that had been carried on his shoulders for so many moons seemed to have fallen away in that moment, replaced by the pleasant burn in his muscles, the dust surely clinging in his fur, and ravengaze laughing beside him.
indent"that was good, flintpaw," nightfall's voice reached them, and flintpaw rolled over onto his stomach to stand and meet his mentor. nightfall's tongue rasped over his ear, and flintpaw ducked his head to hide his grin. "we should talk to tallpeak, see if we can set up an assessment for you. you're getting better every day. and you've been an apprentice for too long." his joy grew.

indentbluesky's paw pads felt rubbed raw from walking across the moorland, his eyelids heavy from sleepless nights, and his stomach was wrapped with hunger pains, but the quickclan leader's den was warm, a welcome break from the wind that had whipped at his fur during their journey. in the falling night, it had been hard to see much of the quickclan camp, but bluesky had been able to see a number of silhouettes emerge from the shadows, dappled in moonlight, as he had been led down a stretching path, down, down, down from the moorland. the handsome ginger tabby tom who found the dewclan refugees had worn a nice smile, his voice welcoming, as he gathered them into is patrol and taken them to the quickclan camp. quickclan. it wasn't a name that bluesky recognized, but he was too weary to continue on any further, and his companions seemed to be of the same spirit. so they had followed the patrol, let themselves be led across the final stretch of open moor and down into the camp to meet this leader on the moor.
indentcyanstar had been just as welcoming when the ginger tom - falconflight, as he introduced himself - brought bluesky to him. bluesky did most of the talking, sunnyheart and birchface too tired, too out of their element in that moment, to do much other than interject soft words when asked directly to do so, and lean against one another. after bluesky told of their misfortune, how dewclan had broken apart and left them stranded, cyanstar had sat back on his haunches and conferred with the molly who sat at his shoulder. falconflight had disappeared early into the meeting, though bluesky heard his whisper to cyanstar that he would return after cyanstar had finished with bluesky and his group. "please," bluesky had heard himself say at one point, his voice scratchy in his throat, his eyelids drooping despite his best efforts to fight sleep. "we just... we can't travel any longer. please help us." begging: it wasn't something that bluesky wanted to do, but he looked at birchface and sunnyheart and knew that they had no choice. they wouldn't make it out there on their own much longer before the weather turned, prey, disappeared, and one of them fell ill. or worse. bluesky had trained hard to learn everything about medicine, he knew that it was only a matter of time that one of them gave out from lack of food and sleep, too much pressure put on the body without respite. they needed cyanstar's help.
indentand cyanstar must have seen this desperation in his eyes, for he blinked warmly at the trio. "quickclan is a clan made of refugees. we have prey to go around and warm nests to sleep in, medicine cats who can tend to you. you are, of course, welcome here," cyanstar said, but bluesky anticipated the but that was waiting suspended in the air before cyanstar drew in a deep breath through his nose. "but i'm afraid our medicine cats' den is full. we have two full medicine cats and an apprentice," even in the dark of the den, bluesky could tell that cyanstar's eyes were shockingly blue, not much unlike his own. "we could always use more warriors to help around..." cyanstar added, nodding politely to birchface and sunnyheart, the former of whom straightened and squared his shoulders.
indentbluesky didn't hesitate. "then take them in, please, they are strong warriors who will be a great asset to your clan -" bluesky began, only to hiss low in his throat when birchface cut in, sunnyheart speaking over him as well.
indent"we've gone this far, we're not splitting up now -"
indent"bluesky, don't say that, we're in this together -"
indent"enough," bluesky hissed, turning his head to send a sharp glare in their direction. sunnyheart slumped against birchface's shoulder, who merely shook his head, eyes hot and indignant. "my brother and his mate are good warriors. if quickclan would take them, i would be very grateful," he said, this time to cyanstar, who blinked at bluesky with those wide blue eyes.
indentthere was a pause, in which cyanstar turned again to his deputy, and they exchanged a silent glance before cyanstar returned his attention to bluesky. the laugh that the lithe leader let out was decidedly unexpected. "bluesky, we do not expect you to separate from your family. you are very welcome here as well. like i said, we don't have use for another full medicine cat, but perhaps we can find another place for you," cyanstar said, flicking his ear at the molly, who spoke in turn.
indent"we could always use more paws on the ground for hunting and patrolling," she said, brown eyes inviting and searching, only to widen slightly when bluesky sighed and shook his head.
indent"like i said, i'm not a warrior..." bluesky trailed off.
indent"would you consider becoming one?" cyanstar said, tone so genuine that it gave bluesky pause and the leader continued, "we have warriors from many different walks of life, and there is no standard for what it means to be a quickclan warrior. we can help train you, and you can be a warrior here, if you'd like that." at bluesky's side, birchface shifted again, this time his head tipped to one side, as if silently trying to find some hidden motive in cyanstar's words. it seemed almost too good to be true after they had run across the lowest of lows. cyanstar must have interpreted the beat of silence as reservation, for he added on quickly, "you don't have to give an answer now. falconflight said that you must have been traveling for some time and you must be hungry. please, take the night to eat and rest, and we can talk more tomorrow. i can introduce you to oakseed and you can decide on your own time." cyanstar stood then, and the others followed suit, bluesky once again aware of how numb his paws felt, how tired he felt. "tallpeak will show you to a place to sleep for the night. rest well, and welcome to quickclan."

indentthey found her where she waited for them. she didn't recognize the faces, but she didn't need to know who they were to know what they had done. it didn't matter: they would all pay by the time she was done with them, after all. she saw the leader, his deputy. she saw the camp, just as graham and nolan had described it to her after the successful attack. she pretended to be curious, pretended to be excited for this new home, this oasis in the middle of the windy moor. they answered her questions about living in their clan, and she took it all in. it was easy to play the part.
indentadmittedly, she almost slipped up when they asked for her name. the truth was heavy on her tongue. my name is layla. but she lied. she prepared for this, after all. "lilacshadow," she had said, then going on to tell about the clan she once lived in. how it had been wrongfully attacked, how she had struggled to escape. they offered their condolences. it occurred to her that one of them might recognize her from the barn, might somehow see through the act and catch any lasting scent of their enemies on her, but none did. nolan had always insisted that she stay out of the fighting, that she stick towards the back, especially after she told him that she was expecting his kits. he had been so excited, wasn't willing to risk her life or the lives of their unborn kits.
indentit was during the tour that she found her, while the warrior had been showing her around the camp. brackenrose was a lovely tour guide, layla decided after they parted for the evening. she was a quiet cat, but sweet. or, as sweet as might be expected given that she had played a role in stripping layla of everyone she had ever loved or cared about. "this is the elder's den," brackenrose had said, and layla felt her paws itch eagerly. miranda wasn't alone, but appeared to be in the middle of telling a story, surrounded by younger cats who listened intently and clung to each individual syllable. layla hated her, hated all of them.
indentlayla basked in the moment when miranda looked up. at her ear, brackenrose was talking about how miranda was currently the only quickclan elder, how she was always helping out in the nursery and telling stories to the kits and young apprentices. but layla held miranda's gaze, and felt a curl of pleasure in the flash of fear that stretched across the old molly's mouth. she was the only cat who knew the truth, and she knew what layla was capable of. she knew what lilacshadow had come to do. but, there were no words exchanged between them, as brackenrose began to lead back out towards the camp and miranda had to finish her story for the waiting kits. so lilacshadow merely offered a curt nod of her head and followed her sweet tour guide away to see what else quickclan had to offer her for the taking.


→ actions
added cats oleanderkit and flowerskip (x), aged up with permission to match ploverpaw; bluesky, birchface, and sunnyheart x
consumption quickclan eats five hares and a mouse
kitting sagetuft is kitting, the father is tumblepounce of steamclan. sagetuft is given x1 lavender
rank changes flintpaw, dovepaw, and plumpaw are ready to take their assessments. if they pass, they will be named flintspark, dovewish, and plumblossom
hunting sparrowcall, chanterellestep, marshstripe, hollyfur, rainypath, and patchwing
tallpeak, flurrywind, marshstripe, dartersplash, bouldertooth, and canaryleap
eagleheart, thistlestrike, kindleflare, cardinalheart, fleetingmoon, and fluffytuft
oakseed, loonlight, acorntail, minnowjump, mulestomp, and sproutclaw
border patrols nightfall, swiftscreech, ravengaze, owletcry, webtail, and grassthorn
blizzardrush, oriolefeather, peckernose, rowanfoot, roselight, and hollowfang
training valleypaw, kestrelpaw, frogpaw, rootpaw, hootpaw, and branchpaw learn swimming
ploverpaw, pinepaw, crakepaw, charredpaw, and lagoonpaw learn fighting
herb hunting gorseberry and autumnpaw look for herbs
medicine cats hickorypatch's wounds are treated with x1 cobweb and x1 chervil
notes i'd prefer if no cats die on patrols, though injuries are fine, thank you! xx

▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔

LEADER ⎯⎯
cyanstar, 45m, ♂
8 lives remaining

DEPUTY ⎯⎯
tallpeak, 57m, ♀

MEDICINE CATS ⎯⎯
alpinemask, 50m, ♂ - 6sp
gorseberry, 31m, ♂ - 6sp

MEDICINE APP. ⎯⎯
autumnpaw, 13m, ♀
blind

WARRIORS ⎯⎯
sparrowcall, 80m, ♂
snakespots, 62m, ♂
sweetecho, 54m, ♀
blizzardrush, 52m, ♀
brackenrose, 51m, ♀
falconflight, 50m, ♂
flurrywind, 50m, ♂
flowerskip, 50m, ♀
splashfall, 49m, ♂
hickorypatch, 49m, ♀
aspenwish, 48m, ♀
xx
WARRIORS CONT. ⎯⎯
nightfall, 47m, ♂
hollyfur, 43m, ♀
eagleheart, 43m, ♂
thistlestrike, 43m, ♀
kindleflare, 42m, ♀
fluffytuft, 40m, ♂
oakseed, 38m, ♂
duneserpent, 37m, ♂
loonlight, 36m, ♀
bluesky, 36m, ♂
patchwing, 33m, ♀
pearsblossom, 33m, ♀
treespirit, 32m, ♂
berrypad, 31m, ♀
whitesnow, 31m, ♀
flamestrike, 31m, ♂
alderpatch, 31m, nb
brightcreek, 30m, ♀
acorntail, 28m, ♀
minnowjump, 27m, ♂
mulestomp, 27m, ♂
canaryleap, 27m, ♂
chanterellestep, 26m, ♂
swiftscreech, 25m, ♀
twiteflight, 23m, ♀
birchface, 22m, ♂
xx
WARRIORS CONT. ⎯⎯
sproutclaw, 22m, ♂
mintstem, 22m, ♀
cherrydawn, 22m, ♀
ravengaze, 21m, ♂
grassthorn, 20m, ♀
oriolefeather, 20m, ♂
peckernose, 20m, ♂
limp
rowanfoot, 18m, ♂
roselight, 18m, ♂
sunnyheart, 18m, ♂
hollowfang, 17m, ♂
marshstripe, 17m, ♀
dartersplash, 17m, ♂
cardinalheart, 16m, ♂
fleetingmoon, 16m, ♂
owletcry, 16m, ♀
webtail, 16m, ♂
rainypath, 16m, ♀
bouldertooth, 15m, ♂
daffodilstem, 14m, ♀
finchthroat, 14m, ♀
cricketchirp, 14m, ♂
dandelionspring, 14m, ♀
tinselstorm, 12m, ♀
magpiesong, 12m, ♂
xx
APPRENTICES ⎯⎯
flintpaw, 20m, ♂
blind
dovepaw, 14m, ♀
plumpaw, 13m, ♂
thunderpaw, 11m, ♂
valleypaw, 10m, ♀
kestrelpaw, 10m, ♀
frogpaw, 11m, ♂
rootpaw, 10m, ♂
hootpaw, 10m, ♀
branchpaw, 10m, ♀
ploverpaw, 9m, ♀
oleanderpaw, 9m, ♂
pinepaw, 8m, ♀
crakepaw, 8m, ♂
charredpaw, 8m, ♀
lagoonpaw, 8m, ♂
xx
QUEENS & KITS ⎯⎯
willowfrost, 64m, ♀
due in 1m
honeyflower, 55m, ♀
→ vermilionkit, 3m, ♂
lilacshadow, 46m, ♀
due in 2m
hawkrise, 33m, ♀
waspkit, 1m, ♂
copperkit, 1m, ♂
chaserkit, 1m, ♂
accentorkit, 1m, ♀
sedgekit, 1m, ♀
sagetuft, 24m, ♀
expecting now
heronkit, 5m, ♂
scorpionkit, 5m, ♂
starlingkit, 2m, ♂
smokekit, 2m, ♀

ELDERS ⎯⎯
miranda, 114m, ♀

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MENTORS ⎯⎯
gorseberry, autumnpaw, 4
nightfall, flintpaw, 4
pearsblossom, dovepaw, 4
cyanstar, plumpaw, 4
brightcreek, valleypaw, 3
twiteflight, kestrelpaw, 3
falconflight, frogpaw, 3
berrypad, rootpaw, 3
whitesnow, hootpaw, 3
flamestrike, branchpaw, 3
canaryleap, thunderpaw, 4
duneserpent, ploverpaw, 2
snakespots, oleanderpaw, 0
sproutclaw, pinepaw, 1
cherrydawn, crakepaw, 1
xx
MENTORS CONT. ⎯⎯
splashfall, charredpaw, 1
mintstem, lagoonpaw, 1
xx
MEDICINE ⎯⎯
xx

DECEASED ⎯⎯
xx

FAMILY TREES ⎯⎯
xx
xx
PREY PILE ⎯⎯
minnow, x20, 1 serving
mouse, x13, 1 servings
rabbit, x12, 2 servings
small fish, x12, 2 servings
squirrel, x13, 2 servings
hare, x10, 3 servings
big fish, x10, 3 servings
bird, x12, 3 servings
total: 203 servings
xx
ALLIES ⎯⎯
hazeclan, nightwolf950
groveclan, solyn

ENEMIES ⎯⎯
n/a

BORDERS ⎯⎯
north, hazeclan, nightwolf950
north-east, n/a, n/a
north-west, n/a, n/a
east, n/a, n/a
west, quartzclan, miles morales
south, n/a, n/a
south-east, n/a, n/a
south-west, swiftclan, phina d wolf
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[ ✦ quickclan 30 ]

Postby eagle, » Thu Sep 26, 2019 6:49 pm

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      total 103 : ♂ 51 ♀ 51 nb 1 | servings 16 (+104) | moonpool anytime | pebbles 59 | mod kacchan, | archives xx xx | font credits xx xxx

      └──────────────────────────────────────────┘


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indentthe red evening sun sat on the horizon when cyanstar climbed the wind rock, his voice ringing out clearly when he called to the clan. already, falconflight sat with his daughter as dovepaw frantically drew her paw over her ears. many members of the clan were already in the clearing, though it took time for others to come down from the dens and the upper level of the camp, closer to the lip of the moor. in the time it took for quickclan to come together as one, falconflight bent his head to whisper to his daughter. "do you know why we named you dovekit all those moons ago?" he asked, watching as dovepaw looked up at him, pausing between nervous grooming.
indent"after turtledove, since you're so close to her," dovepaw said, and falconflight flashed her a gentle smile.
indent"we wanted kits so badly. we loved taking care of twiteflight when she was a kit, but we were both so nervous that we wouldn't have that chance again. we agreed a long time ago that we wanted a big family," falconflight said, aware of the clan coming together, picking out the familiar voices of the cats he knew so well. finchthroat's laugh resounded nearby, but falconflight couldn't take his eyes away from dovepaw. "so when turtledove offered to give us kits, we were thrilled. sometimes, you four are a pawful," falconflight teased lightly, knocking his shoulder against dovepaw's when she cut in.
indent"you mean that finchthroat is a pawful," dovepaw said.
indent"she gets that from cyanstar, i'm convinced," falconflight commented, earning a laugh in turn. "and when we saw you, we knew immediately that you were so special. you were so small, but we could tell that you were going to be so gentle, so peaceful, but also so strong. you were named for turtledove, yes, because you had already had all of the strength and heart that she has, and you were just a small kit." at that, dovepaw ducked her head and lapped at her chest fur to flatten it, but falconflight craned his neck to stay in her line of sight. "i just want you to know how proud we are of you. i know you were down that the others became warriors first, but you are so strong. you've come so far, and i'm proud to be your father."
indent"dad always says that you like to be a sap," dovepaw said after a beat, though she pressed forward to lean her forehead into falconflight's chest. "thank you, thank you for always being the best father."
indentanything else that they might have exchanged was packed into a warm smile when plumpaw bounded forward to join the front of the crowd, flintpaw following in his direct pawsteps, guided by peckernose brushing against his side, complaining as they went, "- i'm serious, peckernose, the only name that fits is flinteyes or flintsight -"
indent"can you be a little less optimistic, for once in your life?" that was autumnpaw, who weaved expertly through the various cats to reach where gorseberry and alpinemask were sitting on falconflight's other side, next to tallpeak. a nose nudged dovepaw from behind, and she twisted to see the faces of her siblings crowd into her vision, making her laugh. at that same moment, cyanstar began to speak again, and dovepaw turned back from cricketchirp, finchthroat, and dandelionspring, but not before watching dandelionspring mime taking a deep breath and cricketchirp grin widely.
indent"thank you all for being here. we have much to get through tonight, so let's get started so that we can all get some rest and the new warriors can take care of watching camp all night, eh?" cyanstar joked to ease the clan into the ceremonies, and his chest puffed out confidently at the laughs he received from the crowd. "tonight we celebrate as more of our apprentices become warriors. they have completed their training under the guidance of their mentors. and i call upon quickclan of past and present to accept them as full members of the clan." cyanstar's muscles flexed when he jumped down into the center of the clearing to greet the three apprentices, and all eyes rested on the young leader. he turned first to his own apprentices, who shot up without hesitation to take his place in front of cyanstar. when he stood, his forepaws kneaded the ground anxiously, and cyanstar couldn't contain his fond smile. "plumpaw, do you swear before quickclan of past and present, to uphold the principals we hold most sacred, to protect the clan with all of your body and mind?"
indentplumpaw's obvious nerves carried into his voice when he answered cyanstar, wincing when his voice cracked in the middle. "i do," he said first, then again, the second time coming out stronger and more sure, "i swear it." again, cyanstar smiled at the younger tom.
indent"then from this moment on you will be known as plumblossom, for your gentle spirit. starclan honors your boundless energy and eagerness to show what you're made of. quickclan welcomes you as a full warrior." then he motioned to dovepaw, who received several quiet cheers when falconflight nudged her forward. this time cyanstar's eyes gleamed, showing just how proud he was of his own kit when he addressed her. "dovepaw, do you swear before quickclan of past and present, to uphold the principals we hold most sacred, to protect the clan with all of your body and mind?"
indent"i want nothing else," dovepaw said in answer, her whiskers quivering, "i do."
indentcyanstar's smile only widened at that, and he offered her an encouraging nod. "then from this moment on you will be known as dovewish, for your optimism. starclan honors your gentle touch and passion for everything you set out to do. quickclan welcomes you as a full warrior," cyanstar said, taking the moment to lean forward and touch his nose to her cheek. "i'm so proud of you," he whispered, and dovewish answered in kind by pressing her nose into his shoulder for a beat before they parted. at last, he called to flintpaw, who was still waiting next to his brother. "flintpaw, i believe you've been waiting long enough for this moment. shall we?" cyanstar asked him, and flintpaw managed a huff of laughter when he dipped his head and rose to his paws. without any assistance, flintpaw crossed to cyanstar, stopping in front of the clan leader and raising his chin, looking entirely dignified in the moment. "flintpaw, do you swear before quickclan of past and present, to uphold the principles we hold most sacred, to protect the clan with all of your mind and body?" cyanstar asked him.
indentthere was a brief pause, in which flintpaw drew in a deep breath before giving a minute nod. "there's nothing i would rather do, i'd give everything i have for quickclan."
indent"i have no doubts about that," cyanstar replied sincerely. "and it is for that reason that from now on, you will be known as flintspark, for the fire you have within you. starclan honors your tenacity and resilience, even in the worst of times. quickclan welcomes you as a full warrior."
indentimmediately, the clan raised their voices to the darkening sky to greet the newest warriors by their names. "plumblossom! dovewish! flintspark!" dovewish watched from her place among falconflight, twiteflight, and her littermates, when flintspark paused and leaned closer to cyanstar, watched his mouth form the words, "thank you, cyanstar," before he padded away to where peckernose, ravengaze, and autumnpaw greeted him.

indentsagetuft was exhausted by the time that peace descended in the nursery and her kits were nestled at her stomach. her eyelids were heavy and her muscles ached from exertion, but she wasn't done yet. there was work to be done. nearest to her, willowfrost let out gentle puffs of air, snorting quietly now and again in her sleep, and the eldest queen's stomach was large with her own unborn kits. lilacshadow had claimed the nest on willowfrost's other side, and the calico queen slept with her tail draped over her nose, body wrapped tightly around herself. on the other side of the nursery, honeyflower was asleep with vermilionkit half draped over the edge of the bedding, and hawkrise had already given up trying to round her family into a single nest. while the tabby queen slept with accentorkit and sedgekit, waspkit, chaserkit, and copperkit occupied the one beside her. all of them were sound asleep, along with the other kits who preferred to sleep in a giant knot of limbs and fur. sagetuft envied them.
indentthough she knew that cyanstar would have no issue knowing that she had taken a mate from outside of the clan, she knew that others who ask for more details than she was willing to give. the clan was large, with too many gossips and ears to listen. sagetuft would much rather if her business was kept to herself. which meant that she would be entirely alone in taking one of her daughters to her father in steamclan. it was sagetuft's burden to carry, hers to go through with on her own.
indentbut her muscles were weakened from the birth and effort of late, and sagetuft felt her legs begin to buckle the first time she tried to stand. one of her kits, houndkit, whimpered softly. it must have been that noise: the sound of an upset kit that woke hawkrise, who raised her head sleepily. "sagetuft?" hawkrise whispered, pausing only when honeyflower snuffed at her side, "are you alright?" she asked.
indentthere should have been some excuse she could make for why she was standing, awake and alert in the middle of the night, one of her newborn kits grasped by her scruff. there must have been something she could say to hawkrise that would get the other queen to turn back over in her nest to sleep, so that sagetuft could slip out. however, any lie died in her throat, instead overcome with emotion, the pain of separation from the daughter that she still held, the suffering that came from knowing that her actions had consequences that she wouldn't be able to fully understand until it was far too late. instead, she placed her kit down and shook her head. "hawkrise, i need your help," she said, and some desperation must have seeped into her tone, for hawkrise sat up immediately, suddenly wide awake. "i need to take her to steamclan. i don't want anyone here to know. please, i can't do this alone." and she couldn't, not when she was so tired, not when hawkrise's expression showed genuine concern.
indent"let me help you," hawkrise murmured, standing and stepping over her own kits to cross to saetuft's nest. "what can i do?" sagetuft's muscles felt pulled taunt, though it was the tone of hawkrise's voice, the fact that she didn't question sagetuft beyond making herself useful, that allowed for her tension to easy ever so slightly.
indent"they need to think she's lost, or dead... there can't be a chance that they would track her down," sagetuft whispered. at that, hawkrise narrowed her eyes but nodded briskly. in the same moment, however, willowfrost tossed in her nest and blinked her eyes open. sagetuft supposed that the prickly molly meant to scold them for waking her, but she hesitated when she took in the sight: hawkrise and sagetuft alert, the latter's fur fluffed out and twitching anxiously, one of her kits between her paws. hawkrise noticed this too, and let out a soft sigh. without saying anything else, she gestured for sagetuft to leave the nursery with her kit, and sagetuft only looked back long enough to see hawkrise whisper quickly to willowfrost, who met sagetuft's gaze but said nothing in reply. by the time hawkrise met her outside of the den, sagetuft rounded on her expectantly.
indent"i'm going with you to steamclan, willowfrost is going to cover for us if any of the others wake up," hawkrise explained quickly. sagetuft meant to argue, but she flicked her ear dismissively. "no, you're still weak and i'm not having you go out there alone. not when the weather is getting cold. you could use the help, and i've never been to steamclan before." not waiting for further comment, hawkrise led the climb to the upper level of camp, pausing only when they reached the path that led to the warriors' den. "stay here, stay out of sight. i'm getting duneserpent so he can help too," hawkrise said before leaving sagetuft and her kit alone. high in the sky, the moon offered cold light, and the quickclan camp had never before been a more intimidating place to live.
indentas promised, hawkrise appeared again several moments later, a tired duneserpent in tow, though the lithe warrior didn't look all too surprised when he looked between sagetuft and her kit. hawkrise spoke again, "here's what's going to happen," she said, looking between sagetuft and duneserpent, "we're going to steamclan to drop off the kit. duneserpent is going to find some fox scent and lead a trail of it to camp. if we're not back in time, he's going to alert the clan and say that there was a fox in the nursery who took your kit and we tried to chase after it."
indent"you think they'll believe it?" sagetuft asked quietly.
indentit was duneserpent who answered, his tone surprisingly soft, "they will if you sell the story. if you need to do this, then you're going to have to make it look convincing."
indentsagetuft looked down at the kit at her paws, too young and too innocent. she thought of the two daughters who she would be able to watch grow up, and the daughter she wouldn't. the daughter that she was deciding to give to tumblepounce. the very thought brought a wave of emotions up her throat to well in her eyes until she blinked hastily, knowing that there was no time left to spare. "let's go then," she said, offering duneserpent a slight nod of gratitude for his help, before she ducked her head to pick up her kit. with hawkrise close behind, she climbed the last of the path up to the moor, cresting over it until she could set her eyes on the horizon. and so she went.

indentin the days following the news of a fox in camp that stole one of sagetuft's newborn kits, the entire clan was on-edge. patrols were sent out on constant rotations to scour the moorland for traces of kit scent or foxes. as the days passed, however, it became increasingly clear that the odds of ever finding the kit were slim, even less that she would ever be found alive. attention turned from finding the lost kit to comforting sagetuft in her time of need, protecting the nursery, and protecting one another. training was carried out in large groups, which was how ploverpaw found herself really talking to oleanderpaw for the first time since he came to quickclan.
indentit started with oleanderpaw asking if ploverpaw could help show him a fighting move that she had been practicing with duneserpent, and it was only a matter of time until they were walking back to camp together that he paused and looked to her. "what was he like?" oleanderpaw asked suddenly, and ploverpaw stumbled, having to regain her footing before she was ready to turn and face her brother. his gaze was downcast. "i mean... mom told me things, but i'm not sure how well she actually knew him. she didn't know that he had other mates... other kits. like owletcry, webtail, vermilionkit, cardinalheart. it's a lot to take in. mom didn't even tell me the truth until we were on the way here. it's -"
indent"a lot to take in," ploverpaw finished for him, stepping closer when oleanderpaw nodded. "i know. i mean, i only found out recently too. as far as i knew, a patrol found me on the border. no family, just me." her eyes raised towards the vast open sky when she exhaled heavily, "and then i find out that i'm redstar's daughter. and then you and flowerskip come from no where. and suddenly i have a massive family. i'm still not sure how to feel about it."
indentshe heard the hitch in oleanderpaw's breath, and his eyes were wide when she looked back to him. "in charclan, mom could't tell anyone that i was her son. forbidden romances... they weren't allowed. one of the other queens took care of me. but i think i knew, anyway, that flowerskip... that she cared." he flicked his tail anxiously, and ploverpaw watched as his claws dug into the soft ground. "so when charclan broke apart and she came to me, saying that she was my mother and that i had family in quickclan, i didn't question her. i just followed."
indentonce again, ploverpaw felt a pang ring in her chest at the sight of oleaderpaw, her brother looking so small, so frightened. he looked like redstar had, like cardinalheart did, but his eyes lacked the same fire of their father and half-brother. whereas redstar always appeared larger than life, and cardinalheart had always been a warm, protective force in ploverpaw's life, oleanderpaw was scared - no, he was terrified - for what had come to pass. "i didn't know redstar well. i didn't know that he was my father until after he died. but he was brave, and strong. maybe he did some things that... weren't so good. but without him, none of us would be here right now. and i like being here, i like here. he made it possible."
indent"do you think..." oleanderpaw started, only to trail off for a long moment before sighing quietly. "do you think he ever wished that we all could have been together? like he dreamed of having me here, and all of the others that could be out there."
indentploverpaw felt her answer lay heavy on her tongue, but she knew what oleanderpaw needed to hear. she pressed against his side, allowing their shoulders to bump, and she began to lead him back on the path towards camp. "i'm sure of it," she said, feeling her heart clench when oleanderpaw leaned against her, as if he was left boneless. by the time they reached camp, they had returned to lighter conversation. there, flowerskip was waiting for them. over oleanderpaw's shoulder, ploverpaw watched as flowerskip stood and made to move towards them, but paused when her eyes locked with ploverpaw's. flowerskip pricked her ears in a silent question, and ploverpaw responded in kind with the slightest shake of her head before returning her attention to oleanderpaw, who was laughing at a comment that passed between them.

indent"what does it feel like to finally be a warrior, flintspark?" the late afternoon sun was setting when aspenwish and her family were sharing their meal together before nightfall passed by. flintspark had taken to grooming his fur, whereas peckernose was stretched out on his side, his twisted leg tucked protectively underneath him while he dozed. as with every time aspenwish looked at her sons, she felt a warm pulse in her chest, what she marked as love for them, thankfulness that they were still with her after the last moons which had left them both injured, both healing in their own ways when so many other families had been torn apart. her heart went out to hollyfur's family, oakseed and his remaining kits, to patchwing and bouldertooth, to daffodilstem and sparrowcall. where so many lost their loved ones, aspenwish thanked the stars each night that her sons were still right by her side.
indent"i'm already missing bugging you," flintspark answered his former mentor, who let out a rumbling purr, merely rolling his eyes at aspenwish. "i was almost hoping that cyanstar would keep me back another moon or two so i could get a few more jabs in."
indent"he already saw that you were turning my fur gray, and the apprentices got together to vote you out of the den. i can see why. did you know you snore louder than blizzardrush and roselight combined?" nightfall shot back. at that, peckernose finally opened his eyes when he snorted a laugh. flintspark hissed and swatted at his brother's nose, missing by just a hair when peckernose rolled out of the way.
indentflintspark grunted and angled his ears towards nightfall. "that's slander and you know it. groveclan can probably hear roselight from his snores. i don't know how he and rowanfoot can share a nest."
indent"rowanfoot must be deaf," peckernose chimed in, and nightfall hummed. he opened his mouth to add on, though aspenwish cut in.
indent"be nice, now. flintspark, you do snore," she said, to which flintspark flicked his ear indignantly. "and nightfall, you snore louder than blizzardrush. it's a miracle that i'm not deaf from where my nest is between you two," she added, letting out a laugh when nightfall balked.
indentat that moment, a shout went up from the bottom of the camp path, and flintspark got to his paws, nudging peckernose as he went. "sorry, that's ravengaze. i told him we would go train a bit and he can help me with hunting. peckernose, c'mon," flintspark urged before touching his nose to aspenwish's and padding to nightfall long enough to nudge his former-mentor's shoulder affectionately. peckernose was slower to his paws, but he followed suit in saying goodbye to aspenwish and offering nightfall a polite grin before limping quickly after flintspark to meet their friend.
indentfor a moment, silence stretched between aspenwish and nightfall when they watched the young warriors go before nightfall settled beside aspenwish. "you did a good job with them. everything they've been through, how far they've come. you should be proud."
indentaspenwish hummed quietly. "of course i'm proud. they've had trouble, of course. it feels like just yesterday that they were so small. it wasn't just me, they had a lot of help. flintspark couldn't have done it without you. you two are so close," she said, finally twisting to look at nightfall after her sons had disappeared from her line of sight. "thank you, for being there for him. you were so patient. for moons."
indentnightfall shrugged his shoulders, but there was a heaviness in the act. "i was so scared when redstar assigned me to train him. i thought i was screw up. i was still so young, and here was this apprentice, this kit with such wide eyes. he's stronger than i think i could be." aspenwish smiled, so small and sad that nightfall couldn't help it when he leaned forward, resting his chin on top of her head. "when we were attacked, i was so scared again. here was the apprentice i would protect with my own life and... he was hurt. there was nothing i could do. maybe it's silly, but i felt like he was my son, and i feel like that even more now. i could never be like you - i could never be his parent but..." he trailed off then, and aspenwish shifted, this time moving to rest her head on his shoulder. tentatively, he licked between her ears, comforting.
indent"flintspark and peckernose... their father died before i even came to quickclan. he was hit by a twoleg monster. gone, just like that... they've never had a father. you're the closest thing that flintspark will ever get, and i think you've done a good job of it. thank you for helping him when i couldn't, nightfall," her voice cracked then and she sucked in a stuttering breath, and again nightfall pressed close, offering his presence as comfort.
indent"i'll always love him like he's my son. flintspark, and peckernose too. i'm going to do whatever i can to be there for them, and for you too, aspenwish. i'm going to keep you all safe," nightfall said, and aspenwish didn't miss the tone in his voice, so solemn and serious, so far removed from the teasing tom she had always known.
indent"and who will protect you, when you need help?" aspenwish questioned, tilting her head back to look up at him. "let me help you too, nightfall. you can't carry the world on your shoulders."
indentfor a moment, she understood his silence as hesitation, as some reservation. but when nightfall's eyes met hers, they were soft, a gentle green of grass in the summer, green like moss, green like leaves blowing in the wind. she could have lost herself in the green if not for the gentle timbre of his voice. "alright," he whispered, "we'll protect each other, then."

indent"miranda!" heronkit called from the back of the den, where he and scorpionkit had posted themselves with vermilionkit and valeriankit to make sure that none of the younger kits - chaserkit, namely - didn't try to escape the elder's den to go off on one of his infamous adventures. though he was only several moons old, chaserkit had made himself known as a menace in the quickclan camp, fond of stirring up chaos. more than once, miranda overheard several of the warriors taking bets of who would be assigned to mentor hawkrise's bunch of rowdy kits. of the group, only sedgekit appeared to the elder to be particularly well-behaved, lounging against smokekit as the older kit groomed her ears. miranda turned her eyes to heronkit, who always wore a broad grin. "can you tell us about the one with the fox?" he asked, and miranda shot him a smile in return. it was his favorite story.
indentshe cleared her throat in the same moment that movement behind the kits caught her attention, giving miranda pause. the sight of familiar calico made her blood run cold, though lilacshadow gave away nothing in her expression. "miranda," her voice was sugar, sweet to the point that miranda's stomach twisted from nausea. "i'm sorry to interrupt, but i was hoping i could talk to you for a moment. the rest of the queens are so busy." her eyes ran across the group of kits, and miranda breathed deeply to maintain her composure, to keep from showing signs of panic.
indent"of course," miranda said, then to the kits, "i heard that pinepaw and crakepaw learned a new battle move today. maybe if you ask them nicely they'll play with you all. sorry, heronkit, next time, alright," she said, feeling her fur prickle until the kits finally left the den. then it was just miranda and layla. "you need to stay away from them, they're just kits," miranda said when she was sure that they were alone.
indentthe statement pulled a harsh laugh from the calico queen, who moved forward until there was barely any space between them. "and what about my kits, huh? my kits, who are going to be without their father. what about them?"
indent"these kits didn't have anything to do with the fighting, and you know it, layla," miranda said, forcing her fur to lie flat on her shoulders.
indentthe growl that came from the queen was low and threatening, though miranda knew better than to let herself flinch when layla could see. "those kits are guilt. they're all guilty. and my name is lilacshadow. layla had everything taken from her, lilacshadow is going to take it back."
indentit was the logic of a kit who had their favorite ball of moss taken from them, so immature and illogical in that grounds of logic. once, miranda had cared so deeply for layla - for lilacshadow - when she had been ill, when nolan was still alive. in the before, miranda always thought of layla as a little headstrong, but such was the constitution of a cat who had lived a tough life, constantly on the move, chased by death. miranda had seen both sides, but lilacshadow was not the pretty young molly she had once known and cared for. there was a darkness in her stare, a danger in his posture, that couldn't be trusted. "you can't get him back. you don't think i wouldn't have tried? but he was gone long before he died, we both know it. he wasn't the cat we loved."
indent"you," lilacshadow snarled, "you gave up on him. you stopped loving him. not me. i never abandoned him. graham and i were always loyal. where were you?" but it was clear that she didn't want an answer. "you turned on him. his own mother: a traitor. you broke him, left him vulnerable. his blood is on your paws too, miranda, never forget that, because i won't." she lashed her tail and narrowed her eyes. "this entire clan, all of those clans, are painted in his blood. his, graham's, all of the cats we lost. for my kits, i'm going to make them all pay, starting with you. i want you to know that." anger and fury was suddenly replaced by a sweet smile, so sweet that miranda twisted her face away from the whiplash. before she could recover to say anything, lilacshadow turned from her and padded from the den. miranda swallowed thickly and exhaled in the quiet of her den. she let her face drop, resting her forehead against the ground, and it was only moments later that she realized that she was trembling.

indentevery muscle in bluesky's body ached, and he felt heavy from the ends of his whiskers to the tip of his tail. he heaved in deep breaths of air, but it wasn't enough. from the other side of the training hollow, he could hear the playful shouts of other warriors, where birchface and sunnyheart had agreed to tag along for moral support, though bluesky knew better when it came to them. bluesky's breath came in short pants, and he finally mustered the energy to look up to where oakseed was sitting a tail-length away. whereas many of the quickclan cats that bluesky had met were small and lithe, built for racing across the moorland for prolonged stretches of time, oakseed was large and well-muscled. it was no wonder that cyanstar had asked oakseed to overlook bluesky's training as he moved into the role of a warrior.
indent"i think we should take a break," oakseed said, sniffing patiently when bluesky nodded quickly, his paws dragging when he moved towards the edge of the hollow to lap at the clear pool of water. around him, other apprentices and mentors worked. a gray tabby, fluffytuft, nudged his apprentice to fix her hunting stance, whereas kestrelpaw and rootpaw wrestled in the dust, their mentors looking on and giving pointers to the pair. when he was their age, bluesky had been busy memorizing the different herbs, never would have dreamed of fighting and learning to the hunt in the same way that the quickclan apprentices were trained for rigorously. even birchface and sunnyheart had returned to the basics, it seemed, while they trained with two other young warriors, a tall spotted tom showing birchface agile footwork and sunnyheart mirrored a ginger and white tom's hunting crouch.
indentoakseed was a patient mentor, that much was certain, having to teach bluesky everything from the foundation up, just as a mentor would begin with a new apprentices. bluesky was awkward, clumsy on his paws, but oakseed never seemed to grow frustrated. no, the massive warrior was curt and even with everything he did and said, patient though there were times that bluesky thought that he saw a flicker of something in this deep yellow eyes that he couldn't quite place. some cool exterior, some level of pain, that bluesky knew had nothing to do with him, but pulled at his chest all the same. he'd seen enough wounds in his moons to know when one was healing, albeit slowly. over the past moon, many cats had talked about the fighting at the barn, and they had mentioned rogues who tried to drive the clan away. there was lasting pain and festering wounds everywhere in quickclan, pain and wounds that herbs wouldn't be able to heal.
indent"i think we should call it a day," oakseed said when bluesky returned to his side. yellow eyes met wide blue ones, and bluesky nodded. "cyanstar asked me to take out the moonhigh patrol. i need to go find some warriors to take with me," oakseed explained when bluesky remained quiet. he paused for a moment, looking the smaller tom up and down once before shrugging when he stood, shaking out his fur. "you're welcome to come, if you'd like. your brother and his mate too, if you're not so tired. it would be good for you to get started on patrols too."
indent"yeah, i'll be ready for then," bluesky said quickly. his body would continue to ache, he knew that, but there was a pull to prove himself, to show oakseed and cyanstar that he could learn and be a good member of the clan. "i'll talk to birchface and sunnyheart." he glanced over his shoulder to see his brother circling the taller cat - rowanfoot, as the other warrior called - while sunnyheart looked on.
indent"good," oakseed said, though when bluesky looked back at him, oakseed was watching the apprentices, where hootpaw and branchpaw swatted at one another, deft and agile despite their size as two of the largest apprentices.
indent"are they yours?" bluesky asked suddenly, struck by the fondness in oakseed's glance, in the way that the apprentices had the same broad shoulders, same thick pelt, same imposing frame. however, at the question, oakseed stiffened before dropping his gaze back to bluesky.
indent"yes," he said, offering nothing further and bluesky took the hint not to push. instead, he managed a tight smile when oakseed spoke again, "i'm going to head back to camp. are you going to stay here?" he asked.
indentbluesky could hear sunnyheart's laugh, clear over the din of activity. in that moment, he decided that his brother and his mate would be fine without him. "i think i'll walk back with you, if that's alright?" he answered, not missing the way that oakseed pricked his ears, expression touched with surprise.
indent"sure," oakseed said, leading the way out of the hollow. "i actually wanted to mention that you're getting back on your weight distribution. once you get that down, it'll get a lot easier with the crouches," oakseed was saying, and bluesky nodded along, listening as they walked back to camp.

indentwhen she came to him, cardinalheart was busy watching the sun on its descent to the horizon from his spot at the top of the camp. the moor stretched out before him, so open and vast, bigger than he could begin to comprehend. the sky was painted in shades of dark blue and pink and orange while he watched. he remembered how ploverpaw used to love and watch the sunsets when him when she was still a kit, and then for moons after, though now she was with oleanderpaw and flowerskip. fleetingmoon had never had the patience to watch the sky, and the rest of their siblings were always too busy playing games or pestering the older warriors to pay much attention. heatpaw had once sat with cardinalheart, back when they had just been made apprentices. they had pretended that they were new warriors, sitting vigil after redstar gave them their full names. but now heatpaw and redstar were dead, and ploverpaw had to divide her time. cardinalheart had never felt so alone.
indentthe thought crossed his mind that the same sunset was playing over groveclan territory, and he wondered if falcongaze liked to watch the sunset. he made a note to ask him the next time he saw falcongaze.
indenthe didn't know when she arrived, nor did he know how long she had been standing there, watching and waiting to be acknowledged. at last, he flicked his ear, though he didn't turn to look at her. "would you like to sit?" he asked her, "this one is especially nice, you wouldn't want to miss it."
indentand so sweetecho sat beside cardinalheart. silence stretched between them as the sun finally ducked lower and lower until it was gone, letting the stars begin to shine overhead. even then, he waited for sweetecho to speak, to say anything, to give some purpose for seeking him out. he was almost surprised at the sound of her voice when she finally addressed him: "i wanted to say that i'm sorry. i should have said it a long time ago, cardinalheart, but i'm very sorry for the way i treated you."
indentthe stars hung suspended over the moorland, bathed the ground silver. in the distance, dark forms crossed as shadows from where oakseed was leading his patrol to the far borders. "i think i always knew that you weren't my mother, but i wished you were. i wanted to be like fleetingmoon and rainypath," he said, his voice soft even to his own ears. "i wanted you to pay attention to me like you did with owletcry, webtail, and heatpaw. i wanted you to care about me."
indenthe could feel sweetecho's gaze staring into the side of his head, but he didn't look at her. the stars shone so brightly with all the spirits who could no longer place their paws on the ground. "redstar told me that he found you on the border, but i knew that you had clan scent on you. i was suspicious, but you were so small. i couldn't have said no. i told myself that i would treat you like my own kit, but it didn't make sense," sweetecho said, "you kept growing, and you looked so much like him. and it felt like everyone knew. they all knew how i looked: i was raising the kit my mate had with a cat from another clan." she let out a shuttering breath then. "and i should have been angry at him, not you. i never should have ignored you, pushed you away... treated you like i did. i was horrible."
indent"he made mistakes. you made mistakes," cardinalheart sighed softly, letting the wind take the words from his tongue. "but his mistakes weren't my fault."
indent"i know that now," sweetecho said. her voice cracked then, and cardinalheart twisted his head to look at her. her pretty blue eyes were glassy, and he was struck with a flood of memories from the nursery. sweetecho's fur warm against his, sweetecho grooming his ears. but also the way she would turn away from him, would encourage her own kits to play together, for cardinalheart to play with marshstripe or dartersplash. "i'm not asking for your forgiveness. but... i just wanted you to know that i'm trying to be better now. i'm trying to make amends."
indentcardinalheart looked away, back to the moor. "did you kill him?" he asked after a long beat of silence. "everything says that oakseed killed nolan but... you were there. did you kill him?"
indent"yes," sweetecho answered, so quiet that cardinalheart might have missed it if he didn't strain. but he heard her. he nodded once.
indent"i won't say i understand why you did it, sweetecho. but i forgive you," cardinalheart said slowly. "i've been trying to forgive him lately. i'm not sure if i ever will, but forgiving you is a start." the midnight blues of the sky morphed, moving from the softer shades of the evening into the deeper, richer tones for the night ahead. cardinalheart stood then, sweetecho a beat behind. his green eyes met hers when he nodded again. "that was a nice sunset, wasn't it?"
indent"do you watch it often?" she asked, and cardinalheart shrugged, allowing their fur to brush, fending off the cool night breeze when they started towards the camp entrance.
indent"it makes me feel like my head's clearer. a lot's been happening lately, it's nice to get some peace." sweetecho hummed in reply. before they parted ways, cardinalheart stopped their walk once more and rested his head against her shoulder. sweetecho didn't hesitate, licking between his ears as she had once done when he was a mere kit. he felt a little less alone then.


→ actions
traded cats sagetuft gives fogspark to tumblepounce of steamclan
consumption quickclan eats five hares and a mouse
kitting willowfrost is kitting, the father is a loner
rank changes thunderpaw is ready to take his assessment. if he passes, he will be named thunderstomp
heronkit and scorpionkit are old enough to become apprentices
hunting sparrowcall, chanterellestep, marshstripe, hollyfur, rainypath, and patchwing
tallpeak, flurrywind, marshstripe, dartersplash, bouldertooth, and canaryleap
eagleheart, thistlestrike, kindleflare, cardinalheart, fleetingmoon, and fluffytuft
oakseed, loonlight, acorntail, minnowjump, mulestomp, and sproutclaw
cyanstar, falconflight, brightcreek, canaryleap, plumblossom, and birchface
border patrols nightfall, swiftscreech, ravengaze, owletcry, webtail, and grassthorn
blizzardrush, oriolefeather, peckernose, rowanfoot, roselight, and hollowfang
training branchpaw and ploverpaw learn swimming
pinepaw and lagoonpaw learn fighting
crakepaw and charredpaw learn hunting
oleanderpaw and fallowpaw learn endurance
herb hunting gorseberry and autumnpaw look for herbs
notes an extra patrol and voles have been added for passing 100 cats
i'd prefer if no cats die on patrols, though injuries are fine, thank you! xx

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LEADER ⎯⎯
cyanstar, 46m, ♂
8 lives remaining

DEPUTY ⎯⎯
tallpeak, 58m, ♀

MEDICINE CATS ⎯⎯
alpinemask, 51m, ♂ - 6sp
gorseberry, 32m, ♂ - 6sp

MEDICINE APP. ⎯⎯
autumnpaw, 14m, ♀
blind

WARRIORS ⎯⎯
sparrowcall, 81m, ♂
snakespots, 63m, ♂
sweetecho, 55m, ♀
blizzardrush, 53m, ♀
brackenrose, 52m, ♀
falconflight, 51m, ♂
flurrywind, 51m, ♂
flowerskip, 51m, ♀
splashfall, 50m, ♂
hickorypatch, 50m, ♀
aspenwish, 49m, ♀
nightfall, 48m, ♂
hollyfur, 44m, ♀
xx
WARRIORS CONT. ⎯⎯
eagleheart, 44m, ♂
thistlestrike, 44m, ♀
kindleflare, 43m, ♀
fluffytuft, 41m, ♂
oakseed, 39m, ♂
duneserpent, 38m, ♂
loonlight, 37m, ♀
bluesky, 37m, ♂
patchwing, 34m, ♀
pearsblossom, 34m, ♀
treespirit, 33m, ♂
berrypad, 32m, ♀
whitesnow, 32m, ♀
flamestrike, 32m, ♂
alderpatch, 32m, nb
brightcreek, 31m, ♀
acorntail, 29m, ♀
minnowjump, 28m, ♂
mulestomp, 28m, ♂
canaryleap, 28m, ♂
chanterellestep, 27m, ♂
swiftscreech, 26m, ♀
twiteflight, 24m, ♀
birchface, 23m, ♂
sproutclaw, 23m, ♂
mintstem, 23m, ♀
cherrydawn, 23m, ♀
ravengaze, 22m, ♂
xx
WARRIORS CONT. ⎯⎯
grassthorn, 21m, ♀
oriolefeather, 21m, ♂
peckernose, 21m, ♂
limp
flintspark, 21m, ♂
blind
rowanfoot, 19m, ♂
roselight, 19m, ♂
sunnyheart, 19m, ♂
hollowfang, 18m, ♂
marshstripe, 18m, ♀
dartersplash, 18m, ♂
cardinalheart, 17m, ♂
fleetingmoon, 17m, ♂
owletcry, 17m, ♀
webtail, 17m, ♂
rainypath, 17m, ♀
bouldertooth, 16m, ♂
daffodilstem, 15m, ♀
finchthroat, 15m, ♀
cricketchirp, 15m, ♂
dandelionspring, 15m, ♀
dovewish, 15m, ♀
plumblossom, 14m, ♂
tinselstorm, 13m, ♀
magpiesong, 13m, ♂
xx
APPRENTICES ⎯⎯
thunderpaw, 12m, ♂
valleypaw, 11m, ♀
kestrelpaw, 11m, ♀
frogpaw, 11m, ♂
rootpaw, 11m, ♂
hootpaw, 11m, ♀
branchpaw, 11m, ♀
ploverpaw, 10m, ♀
oleanderpaw, 10m, ♂
pinepaw, 9m, ♀
crakepaw, 9m, ♂
charredpaw, 9m, ♀
lagoonpaw, 9m, ♂
fallowpaw, 7m, ♀
xx
QUEENS & KITS ⎯⎯
willowfrost, 65m, ♀
due in now
honeyflower, 56m, ♀
→ vermilionkit, 4m, ♂
lilacshadow, 47m, ♀
due in 1m
hawkrise, 34m, ♀
waspkit, 2m, ♂
copperkit, 2m, ♂
chaserkit, 2m, ♂
accentorkit, 2m, ♀
sedgekit, 2m, ♀
sagetuft, 25m, ♀
houndkit, 0m, ♀
verglaskit, 0m, ♀
heronkit, 6m, ♂
scorpionkit, 6m, ♂
valeriankit, 4m, ♀
starlingkit, 3m, ♂
smokekit, 3m, ♀

ELDERS ⎯⎯
miranda, 115m, ♀

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MENTORS ⎯⎯
gorseberry, autumnpaw, 4
brightcreek, valleypaw, 4
twiteflight, kestrelpaw, 4
falconflight, frogpaw, 4
berrypad, rootpaw, 4
whitesnow, hootpaw, 4
flamestrike, branchpaw, 3
canaryleap, thunderpaw, 4
duneserpent, ploverpaw, 3
snakespots, oleanderpaw, 0
sproutclaw, pinepaw, 1
cherrydawn, crakepaw, 1
splashfall, charredpaw, 2
mintstem, lagoonpaw, 1
fluffytuft, fallowpaw, 0
xx
MENTORS CONT. ⎯⎯
xx
MEDICINE ⎯⎯
xx

DECEASED ⎯⎯
xx

FAMILY TREES ⎯⎯
xx
xx
PREY PILE ⎯⎯
minnow, x20, 1 serving
mouse, x15, 1 serving
vole, x0, 1 serving
rabbit, x13, 2 servings
small fish, x12, 2 servings
squirrel, x13, 2 servings
hare, x7, 3 servings
big fish, x11, 3 servings
bird, x15, 3 servings
total: 210 servings
xx
ALLIES ⎯⎯
hazeclan, nightwolf950
groveclan, solyn

ENEMIES ⎯⎯
n/a

BORDERS ⎯⎯
north, hazeclan, nightwolf950
north-east, n/a, n/a
north-west, n/a, n/a
east, n/a, n/a
west, quartzclan, miles morales
south, n/a, n/a
south-east, n/a, n/a
south-west, swiftclan, phina d wolf
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[ ✦ quickclan 31 ]

Postby eagle, » Fri Sep 27, 2019 4:02 pm

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      ┌──────────────────────────────────────────┐
      total 112 : ♂ 56 ♀ 55 nb 1 | servings 18 (+119) | moonpool anytime | pebbles 59 | mod kacchan, | archives xx xx | font credits xx xxx

      └──────────────────────────────────────────┘


x
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indentwhen she thought of the quickclan redstar had told her about, cleopatra

larchbriar comes to quickclan, pinepaw and crakepaw meet their brothers

bouldertooth and daffodilstem

alpinemask and darkflower

falconflight and cyanstar

eagleheart and kindleflare

ceremonies!!

rowanfoot & roselight, ft. graveclan ensemble

kit/apprentice fluff?


→ actions
added cats cleopatra, liftkit, and sneezekit x. renamed larchbriar, rampaw, and cariboupaw, aged up with permission to match pinepaw & crakepaw
consumption quickclan eats three hares and three big fish
kitting lilacshadow is kitting, the father is a loner. she is given x1 lavender and x1 ragwort
pearsblossom tries for kits with willowthroat of groveclan
rank changes valleypaw, kestrelpaw, frogpaw, rootpaw, hootpaw, and branchpaw are ready to take their assessments. if they pass, they will be renamed valleymist, kestrelblaze, frogwatcher, rootwhisker, hootfeather, and branchbite
hunting tallpeak, flurrywind, marshstripe, dartersplash, bouldertooth, and canaryleap
eagleheart, thistlestrike, kindleflare, cardinalheart, fleetingmoon, and flamestrike
cyanstar, falconflight, brightcreek, canaryleap, plumblossom, and birchface
nightfall, swiftscreech, ravengaze, owletcry, webtail, and grassthorn
brackenrose, oriolefeather, peckernose, rowanfoot, roselight, and hollowfang
border patrols sparrowcall, duneserpent, marshstripe, hollyfur, rainypath, and patchwing
oakseed, loonlight, acorntail, minnowjump, mulestomp, and sunnyheart
training pinepaw, crakepaw, charredpaw and lagoonpaw learn climbing
oleanderpaw, fallowpaw, rampaw, and cariboupaw learn hunting
heronpaw and scorpionpaw learn agility
herb hunting gorseberry and autumnpaw look for herbs
notes in the case of death rolls, please only target those underlined. thank you! xx

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LEADER ⎯⎯
cyanstar, 47m, ♂
8 lives remaining

DEPUTY ⎯⎯
tallpeak, 59m, ♀

MEDICINE CATS ⎯⎯
alpinemask, 52m, ♂ - 6sp
gorseberry, 33m, ♂ - 6sp

MEDICINE APP. ⎯⎯
autumnpaw, 15m, ♀
blind

WARRIORS ⎯⎯
sparrowcall, 82m, ♂
larchbriar, 69m, ♀
snakespots, 64m, ♂
sweetecho, 56m, ♀
blizzardrush, 54m, ♀
brackenrose, 52m, ♀
falconflight, 52m, ♂
flurrywind, 52m, ♂
flowerskip, 52m, ♀
splashfall, 51m, ♂
hickorypatch, 51m, ♀
aspenwish, 50m, ♀
nightfall, 49m, ♂
hollyfur, 45m, ♀
xx
WARRIORS CONT. ⎯⎯
eagleheart, 45m, ♂
thistlestrike, 45m, ♀
kindleflare, 44m, ♀
fluffytuft, 42m, ♂
oakseed, 40m, ♂
duneserpent, 39m, ♂
loonlight, 38m, ♀
bluesky, 38m, ♂
patchwing, 35m, ♀
pearsblossom, 35m, ♀
treespirit, 34m, ♂
berrypad, 33m, ♀
whitesnow, 33m, ♀
flamestrike, 33m, ♂
alderpatch, 33m, nb
brightcreek, 32m, ♀
acorntail, 30m, ♀
minnowjump, 29m, ♂
mulestomp, 29m, ♂
canaryleap, 29m, ♂
chanterellestep, 28m, ♂
swiftscreech, 27m, ♀
dahliadrop, 26m, ♀
twiteflight, 25m, ♀
birchface, 24m, ♂
sproutclaw, 24m, ♂
mintstem, 24m, ♀
cherrydawn, 24m, ♀
ravengaze, 23m, ♂
xx
WARRIORS CONT. ⎯⎯
grassthorn, 22m, ♀
oriolefeather, 22m, ♂
peckernose, 22m, ♂
limp
flintspark, 22m, ♂
blind
rowanfoot, 20m, ♂
roselight, 20m, ♂
sunnyheart, 20m, ♂
hollowfang, 19m, ♂
marshstripe, 19m, ♀
dartersplash, 19m, ♂
cardinalheart, 18m, ♂
fleetingmoon, 18m, ♂
owletcry, 18m, ♀
webtail, 18m, ♂
rainypath, 18m, ♀
bouldertooth, 17m, ♂
daffodilstem, 16m, ♀
finchthroat, 16m, ♀
cricketchirp, 16m, ♂
dandelionspring, 16m, ♀
dovewish, 16m, ♀
plumblossom, 15m, ♂
tinselstorm, 14m, ♀
magpiesong, 14m, ♂
thunderstomp, 13m, ♂
xx
APPRENTICES ⎯⎯
valleypaw, 12m, ♀
kestrelpaw, 12m, ♀
frogpaw, 12m, ♂
rootpaw, 12m, ♂
hootpaw, 12m, ♀
branchpaw, 12m, ♀
ploverpaw, 11m, ♀
oleanderpaw, 11m, ♂
pinepaw, 10m, ♀
crakepaw, 10m, ♂
rampaw, 10m, ♂
cariboupaw, 10m, ♂
charredpaw, 10m, ♀
lagoonpaw, 10m, ♂
fallowpaw, 8m, ♀
heronpaw, 7m, ♂
scorpionpaw, 7m, ♂
xx
QUEENS & KITS ⎯⎯
willowfrost, 66m, ♀
wrenkit, 0m, ♂
ibiskit, 0m, ♂
twisted leg
pigeonkit, 0m, ♀
phoebekit, 0m, ♀
honeyflower, 57m, ♀
→ vermilionkit, 5m, ♂
lilacshadow, 48m, ♀
due now
hawkrise, 35m, ♀
waspkit, 3m, ♂
copperkit, 3m, ♂
chaserkit, 3m, ♂
accentorkit, 3m, ♀
sedgekit, 3m, ♀
sagetuft, 26m, ♀
houndkit, 1m, ♀
verglaskit, 1m, ♀
valeriankit, 5m, ♀
amarylliskit, 5m, ♂
starlingkit, 4m, ♂
smokekit, 4m, ♀

ELDERS ⎯⎯
miranda, 115m, ♀

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MENTORS ⎯⎯
gorseberry, autumnpaw, 4
brightcreek, valleypaw, 4
twiteflight, kestrelpaw, 4
falconflight, frogpaw, 4
berrypad, rootpaw, 4
whitesnow, hootpaw, 4
flamestrike, branchpaw, 4
duneserpent, ploverpaw, 4
snakespots, oleanderpaw, 1
sproutclaw, pinepaw, 2
cherrydawn, crakepaw, 2
sweetecho, rampaw, 0
blizzardrush, cariboupaw, 0
splashfall, charredpaw, 3
mintstem, lagoonpaw, 2
xx
MENTORS CONT. ⎯⎯
fluffytuft, fallowpaw, 1
chanterellestep, heronpaw, 0
hickorypatch, scorpionpaw, 0
xx
MEDICINE ⎯⎯
xx

DECEASED ⎯⎯
xx

FAMILY TREES ⎯⎯
xx
xx
PREY PILE ⎯⎯
minnow, x21, 1 serving
mouse, x16, 1 serving
vole, x2, 1 serving
rabbit, x13, 2 servings
small fish, x15, 2 servings
squirrel, x13, 2 servings
hare, x3, 3 servings
big fish, x15, 3 servings
bird, x16, 3 servings
total: 223 servings
xx
ALLIES ⎯⎯
hazeclan, nightwolf950
groveclan, solyn

ENEMIES ⎯⎯
n/a

BORDERS ⎯⎯
north, hazeclan, nightwolf950
north-east, n/a, n/a
north-west, n/a, n/a
east, n/a, n/a
west, quartzclan, miles morales
south, n/a, n/a
south-east, n/a, n/a
south-west, swiftclan, phina d wolf
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