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highgarden ♕ ten

Postby eagle, » Thu Oct 03, 2019 2:31 pm


      20
      14
      total 34
      servings 6
      pebbles 20
      xx
      Image
      ________________ Image ________________
      xx

      gods anytime
      kitting n/a
      injury none
      den decay 4m
      archive here







paragraphtawnyrose was lying in her nest in the temporary camp when softglow poked his head inside to find her. even at his entrance, the queen kept her eyes shut, opening them only when the king called out to her. "tawnyrose," he said, "the clan's ready to go, we're just waiting for you." with that, softglow dipped his head and disappeared back outside, leaving tawnyrose to gathering her thoughts on her own. from outside, she could hear the muffled voices of her clan, excited to return to their rightful home. with spring always came the flooding, when the snows melted from the mountains, filling the streams and rivers beyond their banks could hold until, at last, the waters swept through camp. the very thought of the yearly flood made tawnyrose freeze, recalling the memory of when her entire family was wiped out by the flooding. the highgarden she'd known as a kit, lost forever.
paragraphwhich was why she was particularly careful when it came to the recent seasons, constantly waiting for the first signs of the thaw so that she could get highgarden to the temporary camp, where they would be spared such an awful fate. "we're still alive," tawnyrose heard herself say aloud, reassuring her before she rose to her paws and shook out her fur. highgarden survived and would have moons of warmth and prosperity ahead of them to enjoy spring and summer; if nothing else, it was a cause for celebration, and tawnyrose knew precisely the way to honor the seven gods that cared for highgarden so dearly. but first, it was time to go home.
paragraphjust as softglow told her, the clan was waiting, gathered together in the clearing. she spotted tulipsteam and bassflow with their three kits, maplelily, sunglow, and smokeman nearby to help them take the kits back to the main camp. likewise, it appeared that merlinsong had gathered several thorns along with spencer to help carry his supplies, and softglow was speaking to him, likely asking if he needed any further help. before tawnyrose even had the chance to wonder where bluetcrest was, her attendant was at her side, and she shot him a sideways glance. together, they weaved through the clan to assess if there was any last-minute delay. "i sent swiftheart and dippernose to scout ahead, just to check to make sure that our journey would be safe," bluetcrest was saying, and tawnyrose nodded along with his words. "with tulipstream's kits, i didn't want to take any chances, and they're two of the fastest cats we have."
paragraph"that was a good idea, thank you," tawnyrose said, continuing to assess the crowd. "i want the thorns traveling in the middle with tulipsteam and merlinsong, and whoever else is assisting them," she said after a moment before nodding to mapleshadow, who was chatting with flickersky betonypetal. "have mapleshadow travel on the left flank, then hurricanejaw on the right. birchflame and clovershine'll take the back of the patrol." with that, she looked back to bluetcrest, who dipped his head diligently and made to turn away to tell those cats their instructions, but tawnyrose halted him. she hesitated, but lowered her voice, and bluetcrest leaned closer, "any news about him?" she asked, and bluetcrest was quick to shake his head. beyond the attendant's shoulder, tawnyrose could see erasmus among the other knights, not speaking as a part of them, but standing close enough to be associated with them. while it was clear that he was not able to yet integrate himself as one of the members in the same way that merlinsong seemed to welcome spencer and the roses had taken in sagecloud as one of their own, erasmus understood where he was supposed to fit into the hierarchy.
paragraph"no," bluetcrest said, keeping his tone quiet as well. "he's been keeping himself in line, it seems. he's gone to the herbalist den often, but i'm assuming that it's for spencer. otherwise he sticks to himself. goes on patrol, does whatever he's instructed." at that, tawnyrose flicked her tail dismissively, and bluetcrest turned on his heels, calling out to mapleshadow, birchflame, clovershine, and hurricanejaw, who were quick to assemble around the queen's attendant.
paragraphat last, it was time to leave, and tawnyrose turned to address her clan. the chatter faded out until the cats were silent, and tawnyrose tilted her chin up towards the sun when she finally commanded their attention. "cats of highgarden, today is a good day. thanks to the mother, we have survived the spring floods and may return to our rightful camp in the valley of the roses," she announced, pacing slowly from her place at the front of the patrol. to one side, softglow and bluetcrest were seated. for a long heartbeat, the clans remained in silence until a shout of joy went up from the middle of the group, and tawnyrose recognized hornetpaw's voice, followed by dippernose's chastisement, though the knight's words were lost under the chorus that joined hornetpaw. tawnyrose smiled and nodded in hornetpaw's direction. "we're going home," she stated simply. then, louder to be heard above her clan, "in honor of the mother and the gods that have graced us with our lives, i have decided to reinstate the spring tournament, where the knights will give a display of their strengths to give thanks to the mother and the warrior. in five days' time, we will honor our gods. for now, we stand together and reclaim our home." chatter rose again from behind tawnyrose, and the queen turned with a wave of her tail. with her king and her attendant at her sides, tawnyrose led highgarden back into the valley where their camp was waiting for them.

paragraphin the days that followed leading up to tawnyrose's spring tournament, the entire clan was abuzz with wonder and excitement, ready to take a break from the usual monotony of patrols and training. following the announcement, tawnyrose explained the spring tournament to her clan: the custom had been started seasons earlier, far back before she could remember, far before her parents could recall, she was sure. each spring, as a testament to another spring the clan had survived, the clan was to gather together to give thanks to the gods for allowing them sanctuary from the floods that threatened to sweep them away. to do so, the knights would engage in a fight without their claws, meant to showcase their strength for the queen. the knight who won would have the chance to lead patrols and choose his next thorn at his discretion. it was the type of reward that had several of the knights flexing their muscles, preparing themselves to show off.
paragraph"it's not fair," hornetpaw complained, not for the first time since the announcement. he was lying on his back in the grass outside of the thorns' den. iguanapaw was finishing her meal, sharing with warblerpaw, and tigergaze had joined them for the evening. ever since warblerpaw came to hornetpaw that one afternoon in the secondary camp, hornetpaw had been doing his best to invite her along whenever he was going somewhere. would she like to walk with him to the training hollow? had she eaten already and would she like to eat with him? and so on. for his own part, hornetpaw came to enjoy her company and dared to invite the other thorns, though the siblings kept close together and only accepted the invitations sparingly. in the moment, none of hornetpaw's friends seemed to have too much sympathy for him. "i should be allowed to fight," hornetpaw continued, swiping at the air above him, only to let out an indignant squeak when tigergaze jabbed a paw into his stomach.
paragraph"you're not a knight," iguanapaw pointed out dully, and warblerpaw laughed quietly.
paragraph"you guys are supposed to be my friends," hornetpaw huffed, aiming his next swipe at tigergaze, though his friend batted his paw away easily. with another sigh, hornetpaw rolled over so that he was on his stomach instead. "friends are supposed to be sympathetic and back me up and everything," hornetpaw pressed, though iguanapaw shot him a withering glance from over the finch. "besides," hornetpaw continued to argue, not yet deterred, "i'm old enough to be a knight, so that alone should be grounds enough to fight. i'm almost as big as tigergaze and i'm faster than sunglow."
paragraphthough iguanapaw and warblerpaw shared a knowing glance, tigergaze had the grace to shrug. "have you talked to dippernose about it?" he asked, flicking his tail when hornetpaw nodded dejectedly.
paragraph"maybe you just need to accept it," iguanapaw said with a shrug of her own. "it wasn't like your training started all that great," she pointed out, seemingly more interested in her meal than hornetpaw in the moment, and she returned to plucking a feather soon after speaking.
paragraph"please, do we really need to bring it up every time? so i got distracted a lot in the beginning, so what? i'm fine now. i can swim, i can hunt, and i can fight," hornetpaw replied with a bit of bite to his tone, one that pulled a question from warblerpaw:
paragraph"wait, i'm confused, what happened?" she asked, looking between her new friends. hornetpaw refused to meet her eyes, iguanapaw bit on a bone, leaving tigergaze to clear his throat.
paragraph"hornetpaw almost drowned in rose lake during one of his first training sessions. and he was fine -"
paragraph"thanks to a groveclan apprentice," iguanapaw cut in at last, only to swipe her tongue over her whiskers when hornetpaw shot her a look, hurt visible in his glance. she mustered an apologetic smile and stood to cross over to hornetpaw. at first, the older tom turned his head away from iguanapaw, though she pressed into his side. she caught warblerpaw's eye, who was looking on with wonder, but iguanapaw blinked slowly at her, hoping that she understood that it was a touchy subject, not to be spoken about so flippantly. iguanapaw herself made the slip. "i'm sorry," she murmured quietly, only to feel hornetpaw's muscles relax under her touch, and he turned back to her. "anyway, training is always rough in the beginning. and you're right, you're better now. but, come on, there'll be next spring. if tawnyrose is having a tournament now, there will definitely be more," she said, looking to her friends for further help.
paragraph"definitely. and then you'll have an even better chance since you'll have even more experience," warblerpaw added. she pushed aside the remains of the finch to join her friends, the group completed when tigergaze moved closer and nosed hornetpaw's shoulder.
paragraph"and just think about it, it's scary thinking about what i'm going to have to do in a few days, have you even seen how big some of the other knights are?" tigergaze said, wrinkling nose.
paragraphat that, hornetpaw let out a loud laugh, lighting up at the chance to poke fun at his friend. "gods, you're right. i wouldn't want in yet. even without claws, erasmus'll tear you apart," he said, and iguanapaw and warblerpaw were quick to join in.
paragraph"have you even seen hurricanejaw? isn't that what they say, that the quiet ones are always deadly?"
paragraph"he's my mentor and i can tell you that you don't stand a chance," iguanapaw confirmed with a nod, "and birchflame? he's not as big as erasmus, but he's strong enough."
paragraphthe pair went back and forth, discussing the different knights. how clovershine wasn't as muscluar as birchflame, but his eyes shifted a lot, so he must be faster than any of them knew. how bassflow and newtmask were bigger and stronger than tigergaze, surely. hornetpaw watched tigergaze's expression and caught when he winced. while the mollies giggled and rambled on, hornetpaw bumped his shoulder against tigergaze's. "you'll be fine. i wouldn't expect to win, but, that's the point. that why tawnyrose won't let anyone use their claws. when you get tired, you just stop. you'll be fine," hornetpaw assured, though tigergaze's expression only relaxed slightly.

paragraphthe training hollow was filled with the thorns and their mentors. though the thorns were unable to participate in the tournament, the knights had taken it upon themselves to have the younger thorns engage a small tournament of their own. dippernose had opted out with hornetpaw, saying that it would be better to have hornetpaw prepare for his upcoming assessment over playing at a tournament. the rest of the mentors were sitting around the perimeter of the hollow, hurricanejaw commanding the thorns and reminding them of the rules. they were merely sparring and trying to show off their strength, not trying to actually fight one another. from across the hollow, birchflame met clovershine's eyes, and the white tom flicked his ear silently, acknowledging that he understood that birchflame wanted to speak to him. clovershine leaned over to newtmask who was sitting beside him. newtmask nodded and clovershine padded away, having momentarily excused himself.
paragraphbirchflame, in turn, waited until hurricanejaw had finished running through the rules of the tournament and the thorns had begun before he looked to obsidianwing. the younger knight was watching the proceedings, his eyes tracking warblerpaw's form as she tussled with cougarpaw in a whirl of fur and lashing tails. "hey, would you mind looking at foxpaw? i'll just be a minute, i'll be right back," birchflame said, and obsidianwing blinked at him in surprise, clearly distracted, before he nodded and birchflame ducked away.
paragraphclovershine wasn't waiting far off, but he stood and loped towards birchflame. "i told newtmask i was having a stomach ache and needed to walk it off," clovershine said, and birchflame stifled a laugh.
paragraph"did you pick the most obvious excuse you could think of?" he teased, returning clovershine's lopsided smile. before his friend could say anything further, birchflame gestured for them to move away from the hollow, not wanting any of the others to see them standing and talking so openly. "come on, i need to tell you the plans for the tournament."
paragraph"the tournament?" clovershine parroted back, clearly surprised and not expecting it to be what birchflame wanted to speak about. birchflame shot him a sideways glance and clovershine winced, realizing that his voice had been raised. he bounded after birchflame, speaking when they were a safer distance from the training hollow. "what about the tournament?"
paragraphat last, birchflame rounded on clovershine, facing him when he spoke. "i need to win it, that's what," he said bluntly, and clovershine's eyes widened.
paragraph"are you crazy? erasmus is huge and comes from a rough clan. no offense, but i don't think anyone can beat him." when clovershine dared to speak the smoky tom's name aloud, he twisted around to scan their surroundings.
paragraphbirchflame rolled his eyes. "and we're from azgeda, or have you forgotten?" birchflame countered, to which clovershine scoffed and swished his tail. "exactly my point. we aren't so easy to mess with. we were trained by some of the best, we fought alongside some of the best, we are some of the best. scared of erasmus? i'm not. he's just big, but that doesn't mean anything." as he spoke, birchflame could see clovershine's eyes light up, his shoulders straightening as he gained confidence.
paragraph"right, so we'll team up, then," clovershine deduced, and birchflame nodded his agreement. "but what's the point? the tournament is just for the gods or whatever, what's the point of winning?" he asked then, and birchflame hummed softly.
paragraph"it's more than that, even if it's not official. it's to show the queen that you're strong. a queen must like strength. she has softglow, sure, but tawnyrose can see me - us, you too - as valuable. and the closer we are to her, the less she'll be to ask questions. she'll trust us. and we'll have power in the clan: influence, sway, she'll pick us to train more thorns. it's our way of ensuring that we live comfortably here for a long time, clovershine. help me win and we'll have this clan eating out of our paws."

paragraphobsidianwing watched warblerpaw dash ahead of him and the other mentors with the rest of the thorns following the impromptu thorn-tournament held in the training hollow. it had been a long spar, and obsidianwing himself had been surprised when iguanapaw came out on top as the winner of the group. even more surprising was the way the thorns all still found the energy to race one another back to camp, and bassflow had been the one to scoff as he watched them go, "i don't think i ever had the type of spunk. not even when i was that young," the older knight commented, though there was only amusement lining his tone, and hurricanejaw pulled a laugh from him when he replied:
paragraph"the way you talk, anyone would think you're an elder, turning into dirt before our very eyes," hurricanejaw said in a nonchalant tone that pulled a laugh from group, so much so that even newtmask cracked a smile.
paragraph"and you're even older than me. so what does that make you?" bassflow attempted to tease back, though hurricanejaw rolled his eyes.
paragraph"young at heart, i'd say. though iguanapaw would probably say that i'm ancient." hurricanejaw spoke in the same casual monotone, though obsidianwing joined the others in their laughter. it felt good, he reflected, to be a part of a group in this way. even when he'd been in basinclan, obsidianwing hadn't felt as if he was a real member. he didn't feel connected to any of the other cats, didn't feel like he really belonged. but there was a fullness that came to him while he was there, laughing between hurricanejaw and birchflame as the group of mentors waited their turn to go through thorny tunnel that fed into highgarden's camp.
paragraphbefore he had even managed to recover from his bout of laughter, he heard his name called from across the camp, and he found himself looking to smokemane, who waved him over. for a moment, obsidianwing almost wasn't sure if she was actually speaking to him, and he dared a glance over his shoulder to see that he was the only one standing there. that smokemane was most definitely addressing him and saw him look around for anyone else named obsidianwing.
paragraphhis fur warm, obsidianwing padded over to the pretty molly, who was busy grooming her long gray and white fur. "hey," he managed to say, keeping his voice even, "what's up?" he continued, mentally praising himself for not managing to embarrass himself any further yet.
paragraphfortunately, smokemane was kind enough not to comment on his actions and instead nodded to the space in front of her. "hi, care to sit for a minute? you must be tired after training thorns all day. and you should rest up, you know?" she said, letting out a breezy laugh, only to pause when obsidianwing must have appeared confused. "the tournament?" she filled in, brow furrowed slightly, "it's in, like, two days."
paragraph"right!" obsidianwing said as she spoke, quickly seating himself in front of smokemane. "right, of course, i didn't forget i'm just... i don't know, not as excited for it as some of the other knights are?" he said, questioning his own statement, even more so when smokemane tipped her head to one side. "i mean, i am excited, i am, i really am," he tried again, clearing his throat awkwardly, "but, like dippernose keeps talking about the different moves he's going to show off, and birchflame seems really intense about it. i'm just not like them, i guess." at that, smokemane's expression softened and she nodded.
paragraph"that makes sense. you're just not as competitive as they are," she said, and obsidianwing was quick to nod, taking the excuse as she laid it out for him. "i'm still looking forward to it. sunglow was saying the same things as you. he keeps saying that he'll be the first to tap himself out, like saying it now will make it easier on his ego later." she shrugged at that, then flicked her tail, "but you shouldn't worry. i was watching warblerpaw show iguanapaw some moves she said she learned from you, and they seemed really strong and quick. i'm sure you'll be great." at that, she seemed to have said what she called him over to say, and returned to grooming her chest fur. taking the cue, obsidianwing stood and began to pad away, though he paused for a heartbeat and then doubled back, blinking at her.
paragraph"are you going to be cheering someone on?" he asked, to which she squinted up at him, questioning. "i heard maplelily telling bassflow that she would be cheering for him since they're littermates. and warblerpaw and iguanapaw are cheering tigergaze on, since they're friends and he's the youngest. but... will you be?"
paragraph"oh, yeah," smokemane said, and her smile was gentle. "sunglow or newtmask, i guess," she said, quickly adding, "because sunglow's my brother and newtmask's my father. but if not for them, then i would be cheering for you." her words were so genuine, so sincere, that obsidianwing felt like he was walking on air when he turned away.

paragraphas the sun was setting over the highgarden camp, hurricanejaw settled in to groom his fur before he would be heading into his nest earlier. it was just as he was working a burr from his fur that a shadow fell over him, and hurricanejaw looked up at newtmask. the gray tom stood there for a moment, his eyes flicking back and forth before he cleared his throat. "can we talk for a minute?" he asked, and hurricanejaw nodded, unsure what he could possibly say in the moment. instead, he waited for newtmask to speak, which he did in his own time. "i just felt that we should clear the air between us. if there were any hard feelings, i'd like to stop them from continuing."
paragraphfor another moment, hurricanejaw could only blink at newtmask, his tongue stuck to the roof of his mouth. since hurricanejaw brought maplelily and her family to highgarden, hurricanejaw simply assumed that he and newtmask would interact only when push came to shove. though hurricanejaw was fine when it came to speaking with bassflow, maplelily herself, his kits, and even newtmask's kits, it was newtmask who proved to be the biggest unknown. not that hurricanejaw would blame him for the circumstances - newtmask had been maplelily's mate first. had their roles been revered, hurricanejaw would be bitter too. "i don't hold any ill will towards you," he stated truthfully, and newtmask nodded, still silent. hurricanejaw blinked at him again. "and i hope that you don't dislike me."
paragraph"i did," newtmask said at last, "i disliked you for a while. when maplelily had your kits. i was upset. i disliked you until i met you and saw that you weren't this evil unknown. you're not bad. gods, i doubt you even knew," newtmask said, and hurricanejaw shook his head with a weary smile. "like i thought," newtmask sighed, breathing out a short chuckle. "it'd be easier if i did hate you, if you weren't nice and funny. i wish you were rude and obnoxious," he said, earning a snort from hurricanejaw.
paragraph"no offense, but i'm glad that i'm not," hurricanejaw said in reply, and newtmask laughed again, this time a little louder.
paragraph"so am i, really." there was a long moment of silence between them before newtmask dropped his gaze to his paws. "i still love her, but i don't think that she's loved me in a long time."
paragraphhurricanejaw offered the other knight a sympathetic smile. "i'm sorry. if there was a way i could help, i would," he said, though newtmask merely sighed. hurricanejaw stood, deciding to leave him alone for the moment before pausing, "if it's any consolation. i don't love her anymore. and with the tournament... i don't know, it seems like a chance to get her attention, if that's really what you want." he rested his tail tip on newtmask's shoulder before walking away.

paragraphwhen the day of the spring tournament finally came, softglow awoke to the sound of tawnyrose and bluetcrest speaking excitedly just over his head. he blinked up at them, bleary, and it took him several moments to absorb words from their speech.
paragraph"- and the thorns helped clear a space large enough in the mother's grounds, just as you asked," bluetcrest was saying, only to pause and grin at softglow when the king raised his head. for as long as softglow had known bluetcrest, he consistently found himself unsettled by the attendant's smile. it was the type of smile that showed over sharp teeth and came off as predatory, even when softglow knew that bluetcrest was harmless, for the most part, and that there were far more cats with sharper teeth and a lot more reason to fear them. "there he is, good morning, ready for the big day?" bluetcrest said with that toothy smile, and tawnyrose huffed a laugh, which bluetcrest joined in.
paragraphsoftglow sighed and stood to shook out his pelt. "any news?" he asked. tawnyrose leaned to bluetcrest and whispered in his ear, then turned to exit the den, leaving softglow with bluetcrest.
paragraph"nope," bluetcrest said, popping the 'p' in the word, and softglow wondered if it did it just to annoy softglow in that moment. "everything is going according to plan. the tournament is set to begin at sunhigh, right on time."
paragraph"are all of the knights participating?" softglow asked before bluetcrest had the chance to follow tawnyrose out, and bluetcrest tipped his head to one side, eyes narrowing. clearly he understood exactly who softglow was so interested in knowing about.
paragraph"of course. such to honor the mother who protects us with her mercy," bluetcrest answered before turning on his heels. by the time softglow left his den, tawnyrose and bluetcrest were no where to be found, and asking mapleshadow who was sitting in the clearing told him that they had left to assess the set up for the tournament.
paragraphindeed, softglow concluded when the sun reached its zenith, the tournament would be an event to keep the entire clan entertained as the mothers grounds had been turned into a place worthy of the gathering. the trees and bushes were abloom with flowers, and spaces had been set aside for tawnyrose's inner circle to watch the knights, along with separate spaces for merlinsong in the case anyone was injured, the other spectators, and the great space for the knights.
paragraphthe air was charged with energy when the time came, and softglow's stomach tightened when tawnyrose addressed the knights sitting below them. on tawnyrose's other side, bluetcrest was arranged himself neatly, his tail placed over his paws and chin tipped toward the sky. tawnyrose, as well, looked the part of the noble queen with her meticulously groomed pelt. "remember, this is not to hurt or injure one another," tawnyrose was saying as softglow assessed the knights. in truth, they all looked impressive. even the younger knights such as tigergaze, obsidianwing, and sunglow looked lithe and muscled, ready to take on the likes of smallheart and newtmask. hurricanejaw's eyes were hooded, and covershine was standing shoulder to shoulder with birchflame. erasmus, however, towered over the other knights and softglow adverted his eyes quickly so that he would not make eye contact with the massive tom. "this tournament is for the mother in thanks for saving us from the flood. you may surrender at any time. and you all remember the reward. when i give the signal, you will begin." with that, tawnyrose sat and gave the knights time to orient themselves.
paragraphit was in that period of relative silence when softglow felt his mouth go dry and he remembered what he had told merlinsong the moon before when erasmus first came to their clan. what if he broke the rules and used his claws? they would surely lose several of their own before they had the chance to attack back. softglow's eyes turned to tigergaze and sunglow, who stood together and exchanged a glance as the other knights shuffled around the cleared space. they wouldn't stand a chance against erasmus. what if they had all been so wrong?
paragraphthen tawnyrose waved her tail and the tournament began.
paragraphbelow softglow, the knights erupted into battle, and his breath caught in his throat. he saw they leap at each other, pelts flashing, and his chest loosened when he realized that there was no howls of agony, no cry of pain. dippernose swatted at tigergaze, knocking him off-balance, but there was no flash of claws, and tigergaze was stunned, but otherwise fine. and, when his eyes tracked to erasmus, the massive tom gripped smallheart and tossed him aside, but he hadn't aimed to knock him into a tree or rock, and had grabbed the scruff of his neck. instead of looking to hurt the other knight, erasmus looked for where he would be fine, and smallheart landed on his paws and aimed a blow at bassflow in the next instant. erasmus hadn't tried to kill the smaller tom, and softglow released a long exhale.
paragraph"your nerves don't suit you, softglow," tawnyrose commented, and the king looked to the queen, who twitched her whiskers with amusement. "your job is to enjoy the display, not pass out from holding your breath." and, for the first time, softglow decided to listen to tawnyrose's advice. he looked into the tournament and realized that it was just what tawnyrose had promised: a display of strength of her knights. his ears pricked curiously, and he shuffled his paws. "see?" tawnyrose said, "enjoy the show." and she laughed then, though softglow realized that, perhaps for the first time, she wasn't laughing at him, she wasn't laughing to mock him, and softglow heard his own laugh mingle with the queen's.
paragraphfurther down, the roses and thorns were bunched together to cheer for the knights and, slowly, several of the knights began to escape the clearing, dipping their heads respectfully to tawnyrose, then softglow, then bluetcrest, before joining the other spectators or limp over to merlinsong, who nosed them over for any scrapes or other minor injuries. first sunglow and tigergaze, who dropped out at the same time - in what bluetcrest said must have been a planned move, and softglow was inclined to agree - then obsidianwing, smallheart, and so on. clovershine and birchflame fought together, as if a single unit, and softglow watched them, impressed. together, they batted dippernose back while hurricanejaw and erasmus were sparring across the clearing. at last, dippernose surrendered, then hurricanejaw, so that only erasmus stood against clovershine and birchflame. clovershine's sides heaved and birchflame shook dust out of his fur, though erasmus appeared unperturbed.
paragraphwith purpose, the three cats came together and softglow leaned forward as if to get a closer look. for what felt like a long time, it was a back and forth between the paired knights and erasmus. a mighty swipe of his paw would send clovershine skidding away, but the combined effort of birchflame and clovershine could send erasmus reeling and disorient him.
paragraphat last, a gasp went up from the spectators when erasmus managed to grab clovershine by his scruff in a similar way he had to smallheart. birchflame was collecting himself from where erasmus had sent him scrambling a heartbeat earlier. clovershine hit the ground and appeared to be stunned, and erasmus looked up towards tawnyrose when clovershine let his head rest against the ground, submitting, though tawnyrose said nothing. erasmus' brow furrowed until, in the same moment, birchflame exploded and rose himself from the ground, catching erasmus under his chin. erasmus stumbled back, but birchflame pursued him alone now that clovershine had crawled away towards merlinsong. it seemed that, before erasmus could properly catalog birchflame's movements, the ginger tom landed another blow and caught him off guard. softglow's breath was caught in his throat when erasmus landed sideways and birchflame moved forward to pounce, but erasmus waved his tail. "i submit!" he bellowed, and the clearing fell silent.
paragraphall eyes turned to tawnyrose, and the only sound came from merlinsong and clovershine speaking in hushed tones. until tawnyrose nodded to birchflame, her eyes glittering with what softglow could only place as intrigue. "birchflame, as queen of highgarden, i name you the champion of the spring tournament. the mother smiles down on you, knight." with that, cheers erupted from the clan and birchflame stood in the middle of it all.
paragraph"i credit my victory to you, my queen," birchflame said, blinking up at tawnyrose. "my victory is to honor the gods and the mother, but also you. we have been blessed by the gods, and i won for you." tawnyrose, in the moment, dipped her head again before climbing down from the perch. she padded through the others until she stood beside birchflame, facing the clan.
paragraph"the spring tournament has come to a close. i present you your champion."



actions
[ dens ] tawnyrose inquires into expanding the den for roses and knights
[ consumption ] highgarden eats one big fish and three mice
[ gods visit ] tawnyrose requests a root from the gods
[ rank changes ] hornetpaw is ready to take his assessment. if he passes, he will be known as hornetshade
[ hunting 1 ] tawnyrose, bluetcrest, betonypetal, maplelily, smokemane, and flickersky hunt
[ hunting 2 ] softglow, mapleshadow, swiftheart, sunglow, tigergaze, and smallheart hunt
[ supply gathering ] dippernose, erasmus, and sagecloud
[ training ] iguanapaw, warblerpaw, cougarpaw, racoonpaw, foxpaw, and wolfpaw learn how to swim
[ herb hunting ] merlinsong and spencer
[ herbalists ] merlinsong and spencer practice medicine
[ notes to mod ] i ask that no one die on patrols though injuries are fine xx



    queen (2/2)
    tawnyrose, 28m, ♀
    the wayward queen

    king
    softglow, 30m, ♂
    the lost king

    heir
    name, age, gender
    notes

    attendant
    bluetcrest, 32m, ♂
    the wayward's attendant

    herbalist (2/2)
    merlinsong, 35m, ♂ ✿✿✿✿✿
    spencer, 30m, ♂ ✿✿✿✿✿

    roses (19/20)
    sagecloud, 46m, ♀
    mapleshadow, 44m, ♀
    maplelily, 38m, ♀
    betonypetal, 27m, ♀
    flickersky, 26m, ♀
    swiftheart, 22m, ♀
    smokemane, 16m, ♀
    name, age, ♀
    notes

    knights
    erasmus, 42m, ♂
    hurricanejaw, 40m, ♂
    bassflow, 38m, ♂
    newtmask, 37m, ♂
    dippernose, 37m, ♂
    birchflame, 29m, ♂
    clovershine, 26m, ♂
    smallheart, 26m, ♂
    obsidianwing, 19m, ♂
    sunglow, 16m, ♂
    tigergaze, 15m, ♂
    name, age, ♂
    notes

    thorns (7/10)
    hornetpaw, 12m, ♂
    cougarpaw, 9m, ♂
    racoonpaw, 9m, ♂
    foxpaw, 9m, ♂ bobtail
    wolfpaw, 9m, ♀ bobtail
    iguanapaw, 9m, ♀
    warblerpaw, 9m, ♀
    name, age, gender
    notes
            roots (4/10)
            tulipstream, 30m, ♀
            - mate: bassflow
            - kits: stagkit, seedkit, rabbitkit
            name, age, gender
            notes

            seedlings
            stagkit, 2m, ♂
            seedkit, 2m, ♀
            rabbitkit, 2m, ♀
            name, age, gender
            notes

            wilted (0/5)
            name, age, gender
            notes
            name, age, gender
            notes

            allies & enemies & borders
            here

            medicine
            here

            prey
            total x42
            mouse | x13 | 1 servings
            vole | x6 | 1 servings
            squirrel | x4 | 2 servings
            rabbit | x3 | 2 servings
            big fish | x1 | 3 servings
            finch | x2 | 3 servings

            den supplies
            brambles x1
            feathers x0
            moss x1
            rocks x1
            sticks x0

            mentors
            dippernose, hornetpaw, 4
            bassflow, cougarpaw, 3
            newtmask, racoonpaw, 2
            birchflame, foxpaw, 3
            clovershine, wolfpaw, 3
            hurricanejaw, iguanapaw, 2
            obsidianwing, warblerpaw, 3
            mentor, thorn, 0

            deceased
            here

            family trees
            here
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highgarden ♕ eleven

Postby eagle, » Thu Oct 03, 2019 2:40 pm


      21
      17
      total 38
      servings 7
      pebbles 20
      xx
      Image
      ________________ Image ________________
      xx

      gods 6.21
      kitting ferretwhisker
      injury none
      den decay 3m
      archive here







paragraph"you're sure about this?" dippernose's question reached hornetpaw's ears from where they were sitting outside of tawnyrose's den. hornetpaw breathed deeply through his nose while his eyes tracked the queen's movements across the camp, where she was speaking amicably with tulipstream, joining the root to watch her trio of kits tumble with one another in the warm patches of sunshine. "tawnyrose has been good at picking names, so if you're worried about that, it'll be fine and -"
paragraph"i'm sure she has something great in mind, that's not why i'm asking for this," hornetpaw said, squaring his shoulders just as seedkit and rabbitkit pounced on their brother. stagkit jumped up, only for seedkit to latch onto his tail, holding on tightly. their three voices chorused their enjoyment. now that the weather had cleared, tulipstream made a point to bring them out of the nursery more often, giving them a chance to meet the thorns, roses, and knights. it was clear that the trio were adored by all of the clan, and highgarden rejoiced in the feeling of lightness that seemed to surround the camp ever since the spring tournament. more than once, hornetpaw saw softglow chatting with bluetcrest, hurricanejaw and newtmask were seen returning from a hunting patrol side-by-side, and even the quiet mapleshadow joined flickersky and dippernose on patrols. it was a time of happiness for the entire clan. "this is just... important to me. can you respect that?" finally, he looked to dippernose, who had his head tipped to one side.
paragraphthe knight's gaze studied hornetpaw's face for a long moment before he nodded. "of course," he said, though hornetpaw didn't miss the way his mentor's eyes were round with unspoken curiosity. before dippernose could ask anything further, however, hornetpaw stood, realizing tawnyrose's approach, the queen's chin tilted towards the sky. she regarded the pair with a leveling look, one they had all seen when tawnyrose was acting in what hornetpaw and his friends had dubbed as her queen-persona. whereas the tawnyrose of a moment earlier was more than willing to play with kits, now she was a cool and collected leader.
paragraphwithout any further pretense, she nodded towards her den. "shall we go inside?" she asked, leading the way inside when hornetpaw and dippernose nodded. the next several moments were long and drawn out, and tawnyrose seemed to relish in the precarious silence. the ginger queen took her time to situate herself across from the pair of toms, perching herself in her nest with her paws and tail arranged with poise, if not coming off as entirely vain in hornetpaw's eyes. at last, she cleared her throat and glanced between the thorn and his mentor. "what can i do for you both?" she asked, ultimately looking to dipprnose for an answer, only to slide her gaze back to hornetpaw when the striped tom spoke.
paragraph"i know what i want my knight name to be," hornetpaw said without breaking eye contact with tawnyrose. for a moment, the queen was silent and hornetpaw felt his blood run cold, fearful that she would reject the notion entirely, and he felt dippernose shift uncomfortably until tawnyrose nodded once, gesturing for hornetpaw to continue. at that, he ducked his head to try and hide his relieved smile before looking up once again. "i want to be called hornetshade."
paragraphonce again, the den lapsed into silence until tawnyrose addressed dippernose. "you approve of his decision."
paragraph"he said he has his reasons. i've no reason to disagree," dippernose said, and hornetpaw couldn't help his next smile. "and i have no reason to doubt his choices."
paragraphagain, tawnyrose nodded and flicked her tail, dismissively. "so be it. your ceremony is tonight, better get some rest before it," she said, and dippernose took the signal to leave hornetpaw a beat behind him. however, just as hornetpaw turned to leave the den, tawnyrose spoke up, "does it have anything to do with the groveclan apprentice who saved you? his name was midnightpaw, wasn't it? that's quite similar to shade," she asked, and hornetpaw heard himself blurt out his response.
paragraph"his name is midnightstream now," he said, pausing when tawnyrose's brow furrowed. at that, he drew in a deep inhale to calm his nerves. "would it be bad if he was the reason?" he asked in turn.
paragraph"no," tawnyrose said simply, her eyes glinting with something hornetpaw didn't quite understand. was it empathy? was it disdain? was it something else - hornetpaw couldn't tell. "but you could tell me if he was."
paragraphthe feeling of eyes burning into his fur made hornetpaw feel hot, uncomfortably so, and he shook his head slightly. "he's not the reason," he said, turning back to dippernose in the same instant, not wanting to stay along longer for further questions. he felt as if tawnyrose could see through him to the truth, could see that he was lying. that she could see that it went even deeper than his friendship with midnightstream. as he padded back to the thorn's den and settled in his nest, images flashed behind his eyelids. the images he had been seeing for moons in his nightmares.
paragraphthe dark strands of fur that blocked out his sight; the dripping water that gathered into a dirty puddle; the shadows cast by the trees, swaying from side to side; the darkness of the water closing over his head and the black pelt of his hero. all emphasized even further by the yawning chasm of empty darkness that swallowed him from inside out as his loneliness settled in with each passing day, the darkness that settled before him when he closed his eyes to rest before his own naming ceremony.

paragraphwhen maplelily came to hurricanejaw and asked if he would join her for a walk, he had originally been slightly wary, unsure of what maplelily might want, until he spotted his kits gathered around their mother when he padded over to meet her. wolfpaw perked up at the sight of hurricanejaw, and she bounded over to touch her nose to his. "mom said you were running late, that you always run late, but i said that you wouldn't miss being with us, that you would be on time. and i was right," she said, looking over her shoulder to smile widely at maplelily, who rolled her eyes teasingly in turn.
paragraph"of course i want to spend time with you scraps," hurricanejaw replied, licking wolfpaw between the ears before he herded her back to where maplelily and his sons were waiting. after he greeted racoonpaw, foxpaw, and cougarpaw, hurricanejaw looked to maplelily quizzically, "i just didn't know that you lot were coming with us, or i would have been here early," he said, touching his nose to maplelily's, though she didn't meet his gaze yet. instead, she blinked silently at him before herding their kits towards the camp's entrance.
paragraph"come on, there are birds for you all to scare. or maybe catch and we can have a nice meal out in the mother's grounds." sure enough, the apprentices charged off, chatting loudly as their started off. when they had only walked a short way, foxpaw turned with a bright smile full of mischief, asking if they could run ahead and try to catch some prey to bring back for tulipstream and her kits. maplelily waved them off, though hurricanejaw could hear their shouts even after they had disappeared into the trees, and he figured that they had already scared off all of the prey in the valley. as if reading his thoughts, maplelily looked to him, and hurricanejaw became hyper-aware of the emptiness of the forest around them. if he wasn't mistaken, they hadn't been alone like this since, "we became mates. when you were still in echoclan and i was still in waveclan, huh?" maplelily said.
paragraph"it feels like a lifetime ago," hurricanejaw said, and maplelily murmured her agreement. for several moments, they walked together in a tense silence until, at last, hurricanejaw's pelt began to crawl and he stopped, maplelily having no choice but to face him. "what is this, maplelily?" he asked, "why are we doing this?"
paragraph"before you found us, i hadn't seen you in moons, hurricanejaw," maplelily said, her eyes flashing, "and suddenly you show up with the news that you left echoclan and have suddenly joined this new clan with a queen as the leader and they don't believe in starclan?" maplelily shook her head, and hurricanejaw was taken aback at her outburst.
paragraph"i helped you," hurricanejaw said, surprised by the bite to maplelily's tone, as if she was accusing him of what he couldn't understand. "tulipstream was having kits, our kits were going to freeze in the old tower if they didn't get to better shelter. i was trying to be nice and do what anyone decent would do. as for echoclan - that's an unrelated story and has nothing to do with highgarden. i'm glad they took me in, or who knows where any of us would be," he retorted, feeling himself growing agitated before he had the chance to stamp down on the flare of anger. before he said something he might regret. "it's not like i knew that any of this was going to happen, it just did. and i'm glad it did, because i want to be a father for those kits."
paragraphmaplelily was silent for a moment before relenting, ducking her head. "i'm sorry," she said, "i'm still not used to being here. or being with you all of the time. and seeing you with them - they worship you, hurricanejaw. i used to tell them that their dad was far away and busy being a great warrior. and then yo show up when we needed you, calling yourself a knight of highgarden," she laughed then and bumped her shoulder against hurricanejaw's. "they they see you fighting against all of these other cats, training iguanapaw, all of these things. you're perfect." hurricanejaw furrowed his brow from confusion, despite the growing pit of warmth in his chest. maplelily's voice held an undercut to it, something that was one part fond, one part nostalgic.
paragraph"i love our kits," hurricanejaw said simply, looking off in the direction they had disappeared to. "i'd do anything for them."
paragraph"what about me?" maplelily asked, so bluntly that hurricanejaw was momentarily stunning. in his silence, maplelily's expression fell and she nodded her head once. "right, of course. i shouldn't have assumed that."
paragraphshe began to pad away, but hurricanejaw caught up easily, panting. "when we first got together, we were young and impulsive. i want to get to know you, not just some pretty molly on the border. i want to know everything about you. and then, maybe someday, there can be an us again, maplelily. but right now... i don't love you. right now i just want to know you, be a good father, and commit myself to highgarden." he could see that his answer didn't please maplelily, though she forced a smile and nodded.
paragraph"sure, hurricanejaw. friends?" she asked at last, and he nodded, leaning forward to touch his nose to her cheek.
paragraph"thank you. friends."

paragraphthe chatter of the highgarden cats came to a hush when tawnyrose emerged from her den, flanked by bluetcrest and softglow, though the pair of toms came to a halt, seating themselves when the queen climbed to her perch to address the clan. when the clearing had fallen completely silent, tawnyrose smiled down at her clan. "today is a day in which i can find only joy. over the past moons, highgarden has grown, and we all celebrate together as one of our own is given his full name." all eyes turned momentarily to hornetpaw, who sat in the front, and tigergaze bumped their shoulders, earning a laugh from those seated around them. "several of you will remember hornetpaw when he first came to highgarden. loud, prideful, and impulsive are a few words that come to mind," she continued, and several laughs rose from the crowd. "but hornetpaw has been training hard, and was highgarden's first thorn. and he has grown into a strong young cat with a lot to give to his clan. and today we celebrate him." with that, she waved hornetpaw forward, and he stepped away from the crowd to meet tawnyrose when she climbed down from the boulder shaped by generations of paws before her.
paragraph"hornetpaw, do you swear to serve highgarden as a knight until you are no longer able, loyal to the clan above all else, even if it means giving up your own life? do you pledge yourself under the light of the seven gods: the mother, the maiden, the father, the warrior, the smith, the crone, and the stranger?" tawnyrose's voice rose to the heavens, echoing through the otherwise silent clearing, though hornetpaw didn't miss a beat.
paragraph"i do."
paragraph"then, from this moment forward you shall be known as hornetshade. the gods have blessed you with enthusiasm and spirit. highgarden is blessed to have you as a full knight." at that, the newly named hornetshade stepped forward and allowed tawnyrose to tough her nose to his forehead, before the queen moved away. the clearing filled with cheers for the popular young knight, who was immediately tackled by first tigergaze, then iguanapaw. dippernose followed close behind, offering his congratulations, before hornetshade's eyes met warblerpaw's.
paragraph"congrats, we're going to miss you in the thorns' den," she said, ducking her head with a small smile when hornetshade purred, brushing his fur against hers.
paragraph"you really think that you'll get rid of me that easily? no, i'm going to be bothering you for a long time yet. and you'll be a rose soon enough. just you wait."
paragraph"i look forward to it," warblerpaw said.

paragraphsoftglow led his patrol through the rose pass, intending to track down a potential fox scent that birchflame's patrol reported the day before. around him, the knights and roses were speaking to one another - to one side, tigergaze was telling hornetshade about a bird he nearly caught that morning, if not for a squirrel that climbed up a tree and created enough noise in the leaves to scare the bird away, behind softglow, betonypetal was busy explaining the difference between a swan and a goose to clovershine, and to his other side, he could hear smallheart's laugh sounding out at whatever flickersky had said a moment earlier. there was a sense of peace in the air, and softglow felt entirely content in the moment, and he smiled from the feeling of the warm breeze ruffling his chest fur.
paragraphin that same moment, a shout went up from the back of the patrol, and softglow turned to see betonypetal and clovershine bent over a patch of mud, and the patrol was quick to gather around to see the paw print that was clearly visible there. "it looks fresh," smallheart commented, and softglow hummed his agreement.
paragraph"there's someone around here," he said, scanning the surrounding trees with his bright blue eyes. "no one from highgarden has been this way since last night. we'll split up, tigergaze and hornetshade, you're with me. the rest of you go together, shout the signal if you find anyone." with that, softglow led the pair of young knights further in the trees, opposite of smallheart's group. it wasn't long until they found a tuft of fur snagged on a bush, then another print in the mud. just as they went to collect the others to follow the faint scent trail, a twig cracked, and three heads turned to where a group of cats were, staring back at them. three of the cats were wide-eyed and crouched low, submissive, though the fourth cat, a molly, blinked at the group, taking them in, only to start when her eyes landed on hornetshade. she stepped forward, and softglow made to stand in front of the young knight, but hornetshade brushed past softglow to meet the molly halfway.
paragraph"ferretwhisker? is that you?" he asked, and the molly purred loudly, bounding forward to greet hornetshade.
paragraph"gods - brackenkit, is this where you've been this entire time? it's been moons, kid, ever since -" though she was cut off when hornetshade pulled back and shot her a fierce look.
paragraph"my name is hornetshade now," he said, with a purpose that had softglow looking at hornetshade with a renewed interest. questions swirled in his head about who this ferretwhisker is, how she knows hornetshade, why she called him brackenkit, and why hornetshade was suddenly so curt, though there was no time, as hornetshade looked to the king. "softglow, this is ferretwhisker. i used to know her... before highgarden. though, i don't know your friends," he said, his tone shifting once more, this time curious.
paragraph"it's a long story, but did he call you softglow?" ferretwhisker asked, addressing softglow, who nodded once. "ah, good. i've been told to ask for tawnyrose? the queen? brack- hornetshade, i've no clue our luck, but i had a dream a moon ago, telling me to come here. and i ran into a few companions along the way. good thing, too, as i'm expecting kits soon." the molly rattled on, and she turned towards her so-called companions, who stared back at the highgarden cats. "this is sandstrike, jaytalon, and the little one there is privetpaw. they come from different clans, all looking for new homes." again, she looked to softglow. "highgarden, is it? do you accept clan refugees?"
paragraphsoftglow couldn't help but snort out a laugh at that. among his patrol, nearly half of the cats came from disbanded clans. clovershine, smallheart, tigergaze. highgarden was a clan built from absorbing in other cats who needed a home, and they had yet to turn anyone down - though softglow thought that several cats might be worth turning away, with one standing out in particular. "we can take you to tawnyrose, and we will hear your stories, certainly, and see if you will be a good fit for highgarden." he glanced at the group, taking in their disheveled state and shifting eyes. "you are most welcome here."

paragraphin truth, tawnyrose tried to stay away from the herbalists' den as much as possible. the scent of bitter herbs wafted on the breeze through the camp and reached even her own den from across the clearing on days when she was particularly unlucky. it was a scent that repelled her, and she had no keenness to spend her time in the presence of merlinsong - it was no wonder to her why he and softglow spent majority of their time together, they were both outcasts for being peculiar, though tawnyrose decidedly preferred the quiet and sensible softglow to the eccentric and enigmatic merlinsong - and she had no love for spencer and his darker bulk of a shadow. even still, tawnyrose sought spencer out after sending bluetcrest on a patrol with erasmus, her beloved attendant bounding off after a characteristic eye roll and comment that "right, need to make sure he isn't plotting all of our deaths while gathering feathers." tawnyrose had granted her best friend an affectionate purr and a promise to make sure that he could go on a hunting patrol to watch erasmus the following day.
paragraphthough tawnyrose wasn't a large cat by any means, she felt that she towered over spencer when she entered the den and approached him while he was sorting away stacks of herbs in a pattern that appeared, to her, entirely inane and certainly one that came from merlinsong's head. when he noticed her, however, spencer seemed to curl into him, making himself even smaller, though he still managed to a polite smile. "good afternoon, tawnyrose," spencer greeted with an exaggerated dip of his head. surely, tawnyrose thought to herself, he hadn't forgotten their initial meeting, when she pried information out of him by offering up a few gentle words. tawnyrose would be more surprised if he wasn't cautious and guarded when around her.
paragraph"how are you doing, spencer?" tawnyrose asked him, looking for an opening, attempting to catch him off-balance. as she spoke, she brushed past him to survey the meticulous arrangement of the different leaves and berries that the herbalists were always collecting. "i haven't had the chance to check in with you much, but i wanted to see how you were settling in. if merlinsong was being nice, if there's anything i can do to help you at all, with anything," she continued with a casual tone, leaning forward to sniff at a large green leaf, only to recoil at the bitter stench, which pulled a laugh from spencer.
paragraph"everyone has been very sweet, thank you. and merlinsong has been very kind as well. highgarden is a very nice place to live, i'm glad we found it," he replied, and tawnyrose caught the slight edge to his tone, curious and uncertain. even still, tawnyrose found her opening and she smiled to herself.
paragraph"good, good, i'm glad to hear it. you fit in well," she commented, widening her smile so that spencer would see the expression as genuine. "and i'm glad erasmus is liking it as well. he's certainly been busy with helping out with patrols and all that. and he came so close to winning the tournament last moon - what a day indeed."
paragraph"the tournament was very nice, i'd never seen anything like it. and erasmus always likes the chance to show off, be strong and everything." spencer's tone was so fond in that moment, his eyes so bright and softening the longer that they spoke that tawnyrose nearly felt bad for needling him like this. however, her pity wasn't so much that it stopped her, and she pressed the conversation further.
paragraphshe turned to face spencer, tipping her head to one side in a way that made her appear genuinely curious. "do you love him?" she asked and spencer froze, just as she had expected. "i mean - it's obvious that he cares a lot about you. i just want to know, i mean, i don't think i've ever loved anyone before. but i see cats like you and erasmus, or tulipstream and bassflow and i can't help but think... how do you know when you love someone?"
paragraphspencer dropped his gaze to his paws, and tawnyrose drew in a breath, waiting for him to take the bait. she needed to know everything she could about spencer and erasmus, and getting spencer to speak was easy. when he met tawnyrose's gaze, shyly, she knew she had him pinned down. "when we first met, i was helping him heal from a sprained paw. i'm not sure why but i just knew that i wanted to help him, more than i had any other cat before. and he scared me - he's so big and intimidating, how could be not? but he was sweet to me," spencer said with a shrug, "and i was only in the kingdom for a short while, and it disbanded quickly. it was chaos and everyone was scrambling to get out alive. and i didn't have anywhere to go, there wasn't anyone to help me, you know? but erasmus did. and then we were wandering for a long time, trying to avoid clans out of fear that they would kill us. we looked after each other. and somewhere along the way, i realized that i couldn't live without him. that i would do anything, be anyone if it meant that he would be safe and happy." as spencer spoke, tawnyrose sat down to listen, drinking in his words, absorbing them and committing them to memory. "he accepted me and believed in me when a lot of the kingdom thought i was useless and tossed me aside. he knows me better than anyone, and he understands me for who i am. he inspires me to be better, and, yeah, i love him." he opened his mouth to say something else, but paused and nodded to tawnyrose. "but, i mean, you must feel that way about softglow, right? he's your mate," spencer said, and tawnyrose le out a practiced sigh, feeling spencer's flash of scrutiny.
paragraph"the gods are so good to have sent softglow here. we don't always see eye to eye, that's nothing new," tawnyrose said with a nod, "but i care for him more than anyone else, even if we bicker. but after i lost everyone i used to know in the flood, i don't know what love feels like. i think i'm scared to love anyone, scared that if i love him, something bad will happen." it was an answer that tawnyrose had practiced before, and it came from her mouth with the right touch of emotion, and she tore her gaze away from spencer's, as if she couldn't bare the thought of losing her darling softglow.
paragraph"i can't imagine your pain," spencer said, coming forward to try and comfort his queen, though he held back, as if unsure if he would be able to heal a wound that couldn't be seen. "and if there's anything i can do for you, please feel like you can come to me."
paragraph"i just -" tawnyrose started before breaking herself off, as if too overcome with emotion. she closed her eyes tightly. "i just want to love softglow in the way he deserves. oh - please don't tell anyone what i've said. they wouldn't understand," she said, looking back up to spencer with widened eyes. in that moment, he pressed close to reassure her, and tawnyrose knew that she'd accomplished exactly what she intended to do. with a few more moments of acting overcome and choked with emotion, she bid spencer farewell and promising to check back with him soon. when she left the den, however, and he was out of sight, she wiped her expression clean of sorrow.



actions
[ added cats ] sandstrike and jaytalon x, privetpaw x
[ consumption ] highgarden eats one big fish and four mice
[ rank changes ] privetpaw is ready to take her assessment. if she passes, she will be known as privetears
[ patrol ] tawnyrose, bluetcrest, betonypetal, maplelily, smokemane, and flickersky
[ hunting 1 ] softglow, mapleshadow, swiftheart, sunglow, tigergaze, and smallheart
[ hunting 2 ] bassflow, birchflame, clovershine, obsidianwing, warblerpaw, wolfpaw
[ supply gathering 1 ] dippernose, erasmus, hornetshade, sagecloud, cougarpaw, foxpaw - priority for sticks
[ supply gathering 2 ] jaytalon and sandstrike
[ training ] iguanapaw and racoonpaw learn advanced hunting
[ herb hunting ] merlinsong and spencer
[ notes to mod ] i ask that no one die on patrols though injuries are fine xx



    queen (2/2)
    tawnyrose, 29m, ♀
    the wayward queen

    king
    softglow, 31m, ♂
    the lost king

    heir
    name, age, gender
    notes

    attendant
    bluetcrest, 33m, ♂
    the wayward's attendant

    herbalist (2/2)
    merlinsong, 36m, ♂ ✿✿✿✿✿
    spencer, 31m, ♂ ✿✿✿✿✿

    roses (22/20)
    sagecloud, 47m, ♀
    mapleshadow, 45m, ♀
    maplelily, 39m, ♀
    betonypetal, 28m, ♀
    flickersky, 27m, ♀
    swiftheart, 23m, ♀
    smokemane, 17m, ♀
    sandstrike, 14m, ♀
    name, age, ♀
    notes

    knights
    erasmus, 43m, ♂
    hurricanejaw, 41m, ♂
    bassflow, 39m, ♂
    newtmask, 38m, ♂
    dippernose, 38m, ♂
    birchflame, 30m, ♂
    clovershine, 27m, ♂
    smallheart, 27m, ♂
    obsidianwing, 20m, ♂
    jaytalon, 18m, ♂
    sunglow, 17m, ♂
    tigergaze, 16m, ♂
    hornetshade, 13m, ♂
    name, age, ♂
    notes

    thorns (7/10)
    privetpaw, 12m, ♀
    cougarpaw, 10m, ♂
    racoonpaw, 10m, ♂
    foxpaw, 10m, ♂ bobtail
    wolfpaw, 10m, ♀ bobtail
    iguanapaw, 10m, ♀
    warblerpaw, 10m, ♀
    name, age, gender
    notes
            roots (5/10)
            ferretwhisker, 35m, ♀
            - due in 2m
            tulipstream, 31m, ♀
            - mate: bassflow
            - kits: stagkit, seedkit, rabbitkit
            name, age, gender
            notes

            seedlings
            stagkit, 3m, ♂
            seedkit, 3m, ♀
            rabbitkit, 3m, ♀
            name, age, gender
            notes

            wilted (0/5)
            name, age, gender
            notes
            name, age, gender
            notes

            allies & enemies & borders
            here

            medicine
            here

            prey
            total x48
            mouse | x11 | 1 servings
            vole | x8 | 1 servings
            squirrel | x5 | 2 servings
            rabbit | x5 | 2 servings
            big fish | x1 | 3 servings
            finch | x2 | 3 servings

            den supplies
            brambles x2
            feathers x2
            moss x1
            rocks x1
            sticks x0

            mentors
            dippernose, privetpaw, 4
            bassflow, cougarpaw, 4
            newtmask, racoonpaw, 3
            birchflame, foxpaw, 4
            clovershine, wolfpaw, 4
            hurricanejaw, iguanapaw, 3
            obsidianwing, warblerpaw, 4
            mentor, thorn, 0

            deceased
            here

            family trees
            here
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Posts: 7689
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highgarden ♕ twelve

Postby eagle, » Thu Oct 03, 2019 2:41 pm


      21
      17
      total 38
      servings 7
      pebbles 20
      xx
      Image
      ________________ Image ________________
      xx

      gods 6.21
      kitting ferretwhisker
      injury none
      font credit x x







paragraphbehind him, the screeches of fighting rose to the twilight sky. through the thick canopy of leaves and interlocking tree branches, it was impossible to see the stars, and it was too easy to imagine that there weren't any to watch the shadows in the darkness. the ground scraped against his pads, and he was sure that his paws were bleeding, though there was no time to stop and look to be certain. it was only occur to him later that he had possibly left a trail directly to where he had fled to. he thought: run. he thought: get away. he thought: survive.
paragraphthen he hid in the shadows of the trees, only half-aware that dawn would break soon, that the light would flush him out of his hiding spot. cold seeped through his fur, and his muscles ached from the hard run through the night. buzzing sounded in his ears, making him deaf to any outside noise until it was too late. the swish of fur against tree bark, the patter of pawsteps against the ground. the fur down his spine rose in anticipation, and sharp claws dug into the carpet of fallen leaves and soft grass, but he knew that he was too weak. his breath caught in his throat when he caught the first sight of long, feathery fur. they found me, he thought, preparing himself to scream, to struggle. he knew it would be for nothing, that they would get what they wanted, that they would always get what they wanted. he was young, yes, but he knew it all too well after watching and waiting. from the moment he opened his eyes, he knew that he needed to escape, but that escape would be impossible. he was too young, too weak. eyes flashed in the half-light, jaws parted to speak.
paragraph"hornetshade!" came the voice, but it wasn't their voice. it wasn't the voice that fit the cat across from him. but, again, it said his name, "hornetshade, wake up." confusion washed over him, dousing his fur. then he opened his eyes to see dippernose standing over him. past the older knight's shoulder, soft evening light washed into the den. the forest of his dream had been replaced by the soft scents of highgarden, the cat from his dreams replaced by his former mentor, though he knew well enough to know that the cat herself was not far away, only across the camp. for a long moment, dippernose fixed hornetshade with a curious gaze before stepping back to let him sit up. "are you alright?" dippernose asked at last, "you were tense in your sleep and kept twitching."
paragraph"i'm fine," hornetshade, too quickly, and dippernose tipped his head to the side. hornetshade shrugged, forcing his expression to remain neutral. "i had a dream that i was hunting. stupid mouse kept getting away," he added, mustering a laugh to try and sell it. either dippernose didn't want to push him further, or accepted the excuse, as he nodded once, though he didn't match hornetshade's forced grin.
paragraph"well, come on, tawnyrose called the clan together," dippernose said, straightening from where he had been crouched down. he turned to leave the den, only to pause and glance back over his shoulder to watch hornetshade stand and shake out his striped pelt. their gazes met before dippernose cleared his throat quietly. 'listen, i know that i'm not technically your mentor anymore. but if there's ever anything you want to talk about or need help with, i'm here for you." hornetshade swallowed around the lump in his throat before nodding, adverting his gaze down into one of the nests.
paragraph"thanks, i'll keep that in mind if anything comes up," hornetshade murmured, feeling dippernose's eyes on his for a heartbeat longer before the older knight ducked out of the den to join the clan gathered out in the camp clearing. alone, hornetshade sucked in a deep breath before following dippernose's lead, blinking away the final dregs of sleep to bask in the gathering twilight.
paragraphdippernose's familiar pelt pushed through the crowd toward the front to stand next to privetpaw. above them, tawnyrose was standing with bluetcrest and softglow on the boulder that marked the middle of the clearing. a hiss from one side caught hornetshade's attention, and his paws carried him to where tigergaze, iguanapaw, and warblerpaw were sitting. the tigergaze grinned when hornetshade settled down with the group, and his ear flicked teasingly. "i tried to wake you up but you didn't even budge. dippernose finally sent me out here, said he would drag you if he had to."
paragraph"gods know that it wouldn't have been the first time," iguanapaw teased, leaning into hornetshade's side. in front of them, mapleshadow turned to shush the group of younger cats, and it was only when the rose had turned back around that iguanapaw rolled her eyes.
paragraphhornetshade's attention, however, had been directed just past mapleshadow, where sagecloud was seated with ferretwhisker. the new root had haunted hornetshade's dreams since she arrived, had always been just at the edges of his peripherals, though he had gone out of his way again and again to avoid her. as if she sensed his eyes on her, ferretwhisker turned her face to the side, and time froze when their eyes met. hornetshade's breath caught in his throat. just as he though ferretwhisker might gesture to him, make some indication, hornetshade felt time snap back into itself, realized that warblerpaw was speaking to him.
paragraph"sorry, what?" he whispered to warblerpaw, watched as her whiskers twitched from amusement.
paragraph"i asked if you were feeling okay," she said, nudging her shoulder against his, "you've seemed really distracted lately, and tigergaze said you were asleep on your paws during your patrol." her voice was quiet, to avoid mapleshadow's wrath again, but her gaze was genuine. "if you want, i can go with you to merlinsong after this."
paragraphhowever, hornetshade merely shook his head. "i'm fine, thank you though. i just haven't been sleeping well. i think it's the new nest, still doesn't feel totally right just yet. i'll be okay, don't worry about it," he whispered back. he saw the way she hesitated then, but hornetshade was saved when tawnyrose, softglow, and bluetcrest separated. tawnyrose climbed to the highest point of the boulder, leaving the king and attendant to sit under her perch.
paragraph"cats of highgarden, thank you for joining me this evening. for tonight we call upon the gods to thank them for their blessings over the past moon, and so that we can greet a new rose of highgarden. privetpaw, here, came to us only recently, yet she has quickly become one of us," tawnyrose began, pausing long enough for several cheers to rise from the ranks of the clan. even from the back of the crowd, hornetshade could see the way that tawnyrose grinned, always one to let her clan voice their pleasure. 'privetpaw came to us after she had completed her training elsewhere, and dippernose has spent the past moon overseeing her skills and assessing her further to make sure that she would be properly suited for the life of a rose. and it is my pleasure to tell you that privetpaw has passed and is to be given her full name."
paragraphseveral more scattered cheers rang out for the young molly, who raised her chin, taking it in. tawmyrose descended from the boulder when she spoke again, "privetpaw, you came to us after living for life in pineclan. now i ask you: do you swear to serve highgarden as a rose until you are no longer able, loyal to the clan above all else, even if it means giving up your own life? do you pledge yourself under the light of the seven gods: the mother, the maiden, the father, the warrior, the smith, the crone, and the stranger?" indeed, privetpaw had only been in highgarden for a short period of time, just long enough for her to take her assessment and begin to understand the different system that separated them from many other clans.
paragraphall the same, her voice was steady when she answered tawnyrose, firm and resolute, "i do."
paragraph"then from this moment forward you shall be known as privetears, for your curious nature, for traveling so far out of your element to come to us and to learn our ways. the gods have blessed you with independence and inquisitive nature. highgarden is blessed to have you as a full rose." tawnyrose stepped back then, surrendering the center of attention to the newly named privetears, who turned to look at her new clanmates, who cheered and shouted her new name. though she was still one of the newest members, it was clear that she was liked, as the thorns especially shouted for the young rose. after a long moment, privetears finally dipped her head, first to the clan, then to tawnyrose, softglow, and bluetcrest. however, as the clan continued to cheer for privetears, hornetshade could focus only on ferretwhisker, and he felt his stomach roll.

paragraph"tawnyrose!" birchflame's voice carried across the camp when the queen of highgarden led her patrol through the entrance. at the sound of her name, tawnyrose glanced in the ginger knight's direction and flicked her ear once in acknowledgement, a silent request for him to stay put, before she turned back to finish her conversation with betonypetal. at last, the queen dismissed the pretty rose, and dismissed the rest of the patrol before she crossed to where birchflame was waiting, not so much as breaking stride on her way towards her den when she finally greeted him.
paragraph"good afternoon, birchflame, what can i do for you today?" she asked, voice even and calm, but unable to hide the curious undertones that were still present.
paragraph"i can to talk to you about my thorn," he said, and tawnyrose's ears pricked. at last, she halted at the entrance to her den, birchflame not a step behind. they turned to face one another.
paragraph"what is it?" tawnyrose asked, not giving birchflame the beat to answer. her eyes searched his face quickly, running over his features. "is everything alright with foxpaw?" quickly, she mentally ran through the different reports that bluetcrest had given her about the recent training sessions. nothing he had said indicated that foxpaw seemed to be struggling, nor that birchflame wasn't in control of training his thorn. if anything, tawnyrose had been surprised by how well bluetcrest had said all of the thorns had been performing in recent moons.
paragraphas such, her worries eased when birchflame shook his head. "foxpaw is doing well, they all have been. they're looking forward to taking their assessments, actually," he said, and tawnyrose's shoulders relaxed. she waited for him to elaborate further, which he did, only after taking a heartbeat to scrape his forepaw against the ground. "i meant, i wanted to talk to you about my next thorn. since i won the tournament, you said i get to pick, right?"
paragraphtawnyrose searched his face once more before she sat down, curling her tail neatly around her paws. "that is the tradition. very well, you want to mentor one of tulipstream's seedlings, then? my guess is stagkit. you wouldn't be the only one who's been showing interest in being his mentor."
paragraph'i want rabbitkit," birchflame corrected, though his head tipped to one side. "who's come to you about stagkit?"
paragraphthis time, when tawnyrose looked birchflame over again, it was with a small, pleased smile. she watched the way birchflame angled himself forward, clearly interested in hearing what was going on behind the scenes between the queen and her loyal clan. it was the moments like this in which she took the most pleasure, knowing that she had him right where she wanted him, right where she could strike at any moment. yet, even still, there was something to be admired about birchflame. beyond his clear strength, she saw something deeper - some cleverness that she had overlooked before. whatever game he was trying to play, she had no intentions of letting him have all of the fun. she broke their eye contact, drawing the moment out further by glancing over each shoulder. "ferretwhisker," she whispered, leaning closer to birchflame, "told me that she was very interested in training stagkit."
paragraphbirchflame's face fell immediately, but tawnyrose didn't hesitate to stand up and turn to walk into her den, leaving him to follow her lead. sure enough, the sound of pawsteps followed her, and she finally turned back to face him. "tawnyrose," he said, and she tipped her chin up at him, trying to ignore how loud his voice sounded in the quiet of her empty den, trying to ignore the way her chest tightened when she realized that they were alone, that bluetcrest was out in the camp and softglow was out on his own or with merlinsong. now it was just her and birchflame.
paragraph"you can have rabbitkit as your thorn when the times comes," tawnyrose said, swallowing down the dryness in her throat. "if that's all you need, i'm sure bluetcrest could send you on a patrol," she added, though birchflame didn't make any move to leave. instead, he took a cautious step forward, his expression changing from confident and curious to reserved, to something she might have marked as shy, if she hadn't known him better. "or you can stay for a little while, if you'd like to talk about something else."
paragraphagain, birchflame hesitated, but tawnyrose found herself exhaling through her nose and settling in her nest. "the king?" birchflame asked, his voice suddenly quiet, almost lost in the silence of the den. tawnyrose shook her head once and birchflame seemed to steel himself, his posture straightening with renewed confidence. "then i'd like to talk about you. what you do all day. what you think about?"
paragraph"and why," tawnyrose murmured, matching his volume when she drew a paw over her ear, doing her best to appear casual, "would i tell you what goes through my head?"
paragraph"that's up to you. i just asked the question." tawnyrose pondered this for a moment before, at last, nodding to the space in front of her, which birchflame appeared all too happy to occupy. and so they spoke.

paragraphit was rare when tawnyrose sent bluetcrest off on a patrol without her, rare that she went out on a patrol without bluetcrest. ever since they met, they had been nearly inseparable. just as it was meant to be between the queen and her closest of confidants. bluetcrest: he knew things. he knew more than anyone would give him credit for, and yet he was fine with that. bluetcrest didn't need to be told things, he didn't need praise. he liked being tawnyrose's attendant, and liked the perks that came with it. he didn't get the spotlight of being king, didn't have to deal with being a leader. he did as tawnyrose asked, did what she would want him to do before she even knew what she would want him to do. he was able to see into all of her meetings, but could also move about the rest of the clan. tawnyrose: she was smart, perhaps smarter than bluetcrest. she knew what an asset he was, what he could tell her if she ever asked. she knew better than anyone how important bluetcrest's role was, and how good he was in his role.
paragraphyet, despite all of that, she still decided to keep him towards the sidelines to watch over erasmus' shoulder. at first it made sense. he was openly hostile towards tawnyrose when they first met, he admitted his wrongs against groveclan, who was likely their strongest ally and was a border clan who had the population to be able to drive highgarden away if they so desired it. to keep the clan in balance and to avoid trouble, it made sense that erasmus be watched closely. but days passed, then moons, and bluetcrest was bored. he was worth more than marking how many times erasmus went to check in with spencer, how often he brooded. he was a dangerous cat, perhaps, but also a boring cat to watch. whenever bluetcrest tried to suggest that erasmus was just the type to frown, that maybe he wasn't out to destroy them all, tawnyrose brushed him away. it was softglow, who worried too much about everything, it was birchflame, who was distracting tawnyrose more and more with each passing day, and it was merlinsong, who would parrot back anything softglow said just to see the latter smile at him. none of them were as smart as bluetcrest. besides, it wasn't like erasmus didn't know that bluetcrest trailed him like a shadow through each and every step of his day.
paragraph"you look like you have something on your mind, bluetcrest," a deep voice said from the attendant's side. technically, bluetcrest was leading the patrol, though he gave smokemane and smallheart permission to scout ahead. from behind, he could hear the chatter between flickersky and swiftheart, though he didn't strain himself to hear whatever it was they were jabbering on about. instead, he shot erasmus a sideways glance.
paragraph"just hoping we can catch some prey to bring back to camp. i could eat an entire hare," he said in return, light and good-natured. erasmus offered him a snort of laughter in return, though it was impossible in the moment to tell if it was a genuine laugh, or if bluetcrest was being laughed at. he decided that he didn't care what erasmus thought of him.
paragraph"you work too hard, it's no wonder you're hungry," erasmus commented lightly. when they spoke, bluetcrest had to tip his head back to look up at the massive tom properly to meet his eyes. "always bustling around camp, or out on patrol, or doing something else. i don't think i've ever seen you sleep."
paragraph"not with you snoring so loudly all night. it's a blessing from the gods that anyone can sleep," bluetcrest shot back without missing a beat. "i like keeping busy. makes me feel good to be doing things."
paragrapherasmus hummed at that, dipping his broad head as a gesture of acknowledgement. "i admire it. i know i don't have the energy to keep up with you, even if i wanted to. but i guess someone has to keep the clan running. i'm sure tawnyrose must appreciate all you do, sometimes it looks like everything would fall apart if you weren't there." this time, bluetcrest took his time, narrowing his eyes up at erasmus before shrugging his shoulders.
paragraph"every member of the clan is important. we all do our jobs," bluetcrest said.
paragraph"you keep the clan going, tawnyrose lounges in the sun, and softglow pines over merlinsong," erasmus said, meeting bluetcrest's sharp look with a smile at the final point. "come on, don't act like no one knows, bluetcrest. softglow, he doesn't think like we do. he doesn't get subtly. he's in love, how could he?" it was an expression bluetcrest saw tawnyrose wear time and time again, like they had some grand idea and had cornered their victim so perfectly. it was the smile tawnyrose wore when they first questioned spencer and erasmus.
paragraph"and you follow spencer whenever you get the chance you get. you can't tell me you don't love him," bluetcrest said, sniffing when erasmus merely shrugged, not denying the truth. "you should mind the way you talk about your king."
paragraph"i still don't get all of highgarden's traditions, maybe you could help me," erasmus said, and bluetcrest felt his throat tighten. "the king is supposed to be the queen's mate. so how does it make sense that they aren't mates and never will be? how can he be the king when he has a mate that isn't the queen?" erasmus asked. he dropped his tone, feigning innocent curiosity, and bluetcrest felt his blood run cold. instead of answering, he glanced over his shoulder to where flickersky and swiftheart continued to chatter on, clearly not paying any attention to the threats happening only a few steps away, and smallheart and smokemane were still out of sight.
paragraph"i thought you would know enough to know when to hold your tongue, if you claim to be so smart," bluetcrest said lowly when he was sure that their conversation was still unheard. it was true that bluetcrest cared little for softglow, but the king was still the king. he still represented something special for highgarden tradition. he was important and shouldn't be disrespected. "you don't know everything, but let me tell you that treason is punishable in highgarden. and i have no doubt what tawnyrose would do if given the chance to punish you."
paragraph"oh, i know what she would do," erasmus said with another shrug of his shoulders, "i was just asking a question, bluetcrest. there's no need to get so upset about it." with that, erasmus paused midstep before turning away into the grass. "you're in luck, i think i smell a hare for you to eat." and then the massive tom ducked away, leaving bluetcrest in his dust.



actions
[ consumption ] highgarden eats one big fish and four mice
[ patrol 1 ] tawnyrose, bluetcrest, betonypetal, maplelily, smokemane, and flickersky
[ patrol 2 ] hurricanejaw, erasmus, dippernose, sagecloud, hornetshade, and jaytalon
[ hunting 1 ] softglow, mapleshadow, swiftheart, sunglow, tigergaze, and smallheart
[ hunting 2 ] bassflow, birchflame, clovershine, obsidianwing, sandstrike, wolfpaw
[ herb hunting ] merlinsong and spencer
[ notes to mod ] i'd like to trade in my den supplies for pebbles, if possible
i ask that no one die on patrols though injuries are fine xx



    queen
    tawnyrose, 30m, ♀
    the wayward queen

    king
    softglow, 32m, ♂
    the lost king

    heir
    name, age, gender
    notes

    attendant
    bluetcrest, 34m, ♂
    the wayward's attendant

    herbalist
    merlinsong, 37m, ♂ - 5sp
    spencer, 32m, ♂ - 5sp

    roses
    sagecloud, 48m, ♀
    mapleshadow, 46m, ♀
    maplelily, 40m, ♀
    betonypetal, 29m, ♀
    flickersky, 28m, ♀
    swiftheart, 24m, ♀
    smokemane, 18m, ♀
    sandstrike, 15m, ♀
    privetears, 13m, ♀
    name, age, ♀
    notes

    knights
    erasmus, 44m, ♂
    hurricanejaw, 42m, ♂
    bassflow, 40m, ♂
    newtmask, 39m, ♂
    dippernose, 39m, ♂
    birchflame, 31m, ♂
    clovershine, 28m, ♂
    smallheart, 28m, ♂
    obsidianwing, 21m, ♂
    jaytalon, 19m, ♂
    sunglow, 18m, ♂
    tigergaze, 17m, ♂
    hornetshade, 14m, ♂
    name, age, ♂
    notes

    thorns
    cougarpaw, 11m, ♂
    racoonpaw, 11m, ♂
    foxpaw, 11m, ♂ bobtail
    wolfpaw, 11m, ♀ bobtail
    iguanapaw, 11m, ♀
    warblerpaw, 11m, ♀
    name, age, gender
    notes
            roots
            ferretwhisker, 36m, ♀
            - due in 1m
            tulipstream, 32m, ♀
            - mate: bassflow
            - kits: stagkit, seedkit, rabbitkit
            name, age, gender
            notes

            seedlings
            stagkit, 4m, ♂
            seedkit, 4m, ♀
            rabbitkit, 4m, ♀
            name, age, gender
            notes

            wilted
            name, age, gender
            notes
            name, age, gender
            notes

            allies & enemies & borders
            here

            medicine
            here

            prey
            total x59
            mouse | x7 | 1 servings
            vole | x8 | 1 servings
            squirrel | x5 | 2 servings
            rabbit | x5 | 2 servings
            big fish | x3 | 3 servings
            finch | x5 | 3 servings

            den supplies
            brambles x2
            feathers x2
            moss x1
            rocks x1
            sticks x0

            mentors
            bassflow, cougarpaw, 4
            newtmask, racoonpaw, 4
            birchflame, foxpaw, 4
            clovershine, wolfpaw, 4
            hurricanejaw, iguanapaw, 4
            obsidianwing, warblerpaw, 4
            mentor, thorn, 0

            deceased
            here

            family trees
            here
User avatar
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Posts: 7689
Joined: Mon Jan 30, 2012 11:11 am
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Trade with me

highgarden ♕ thirteen

Postby eagle, » Thu Oct 03, 2019 2:46 pm


      21
      17
      total 38
      servings 7
      pebbles 55
      xx
      Image
      ________________ Image ________________
      xx

      gods 6.21
      kitting ferretwhisker
      injury none
      font credit x x







paragraphit was days like these that reminded bluetcrest of the early days of highgarden, back when it was only him, tawnyrose, and a few others. it was the time when the sun peeked through the branches of the trees overhead so perfectly, when the noise was kept to a minimum so that bluetcrest could hear the rushing water from the nearby stream, which paired well with distant birdsong. ever since the clan had grown and had taken in more outsiders, the quiet moments were few and far between, when bluetcrest and tawnyrose could simply bask in the final rays of sunlight of the day and talk about anything that came to mind. they had been best friends from the day they met all those moons ago - nothing would ever change that - but there had been a physical distance between them, though perhaps bluetcrest hadn't realized it until erasmus pointed it out to him, waving it right in front of his eyes.
paragraphlike this, stretched out on her side, her fur freshly groomed, head tipped back to face the setting sun as if to soak in the remaining warmth, tawnyrose looked the part of the elegant queen that she was never supposed to be. she was the queen that bluetcrest would follow to the ends of the earth if she asked it of him, the friend he would always love and the leader he would die for. but she was more than that, and he knew it. she was his best friend, his truest friend, his sister, his family like no other. when he thought of other members of highgarden - hurricanejaw, swiftheart, iguanapaw, tigergaze, and the list went on - they were surely his family as well. wherever they came from, whatever they might think of one another, he didn't doubt that they would come to defend one another until the bitter end.
paragraph"you're staring," tawnyrose's voice cut through bluetcrest's thoughts, and he blinked up at her from where he was lying on his back. her expression was soft, her green eyes warmer than he had seen in many moons. before he could say anything in answer, however, tawnyrose rolled her eyes and looked back towards the sky. "when you think really hard, you scrunch up your face and stare really hard," she said, and bluetcrest let out a huff.
paragraph"i do not," he argued, rolling onto his side and stretching out a paw to swat at tawnyrose, though the queen flicked his paw away easily.
paragraph"you do, trust me," tawnyrose said, only to then screw up her face and furrow her brow, as if to mimic bluetcrest. "you've done it ever since we met." her voice grew quiet at that, and bluetcrest stilled.
paragraphthere was a beat of silence between them then, broken only when bluetcrest cleared his throat. "it's been a while, hasn't it? and we've already seen a lot here," he murmured, pushing himself upright so that he could sit next to his friend. their fur brushed together, and tawnyrose leaned her head against his shoulder.
paragraph"more good than i thought it would be. when the flood wiped everything away, i really never would have thought that anything would come of highgarden again," tawnyrose said, so quietly that bluetcrest could imagine the words being swept away by the breeze, carried off and gone forever. it was rare when tawnyrose talked about the before, before her family had been killed in the flood, before everyone she had ever known had been killed. she pressed further into his flank, and bluetcrest rested his chin atop the crown of her head. "and i couldn't have done it alone, you know. you've been a lot of help, i don't know how i could have done any of this without you from the beginning. i would've cracked."
paragraph"it's wasn't all just me though," bluetcrest said softly, tucking his nose into tawnyrose's fur. "where would any of us be without merlinsong? and softglow... he keeps us in line sometimes," he said, feeling tawnyrose's laugh more than he heard it when it carried through her body. "we have the best cats here. our roses and knights, and the thorns... all of them... and we're going to have a long future here. i know it. ferretwhisker'll having her kits soon, tulipstream's are nearly ready for their mentors." there was a hitch in tawnyrose's breath, and bluetcrest let out a soft sigh. "we'll keep growing, more mates will come together."
paragraph"bluetcrest -" tawnyrose started, but he hushed her quickly.
paragraph"erasmus knows," he whispered, so quiet that he nearly feared that tawnyrose wouldn't even be able to hear him. but she did, evident in the way her entire body stiffened against his before she relaxed again, letting out a low breath. "do you remember what you told me, all those moons ago? that i'd be the first to know when you were interested in a tom as your mate?" he asked, finally pulling away from tawnyrose just enough so that their gazes could lock, green and yellow melding together. tawnyrose offered only the slightest flick of her ear of acknowledgement. "i know it's not softglow. no one thinks that it's softglow, and they don't think it ever will be."
paragraphtawnyrose's eyes searched bluetcrest's face for a long moment before she glanced over his shoulder, towards where the rest of the clan was gathered in the evening sunset. "what did he say to you?"
paragraph"not about you," bluetcrest said, "softglow and merlinsong." tawnyrose hummed gently, clearly running the information over in her mind, drinking in the importance of it all. "tell me," he urged after a moment, sensing the queen's hesitation, but catching the moment when she relented to let him in.
paragraph"birchflame," she admitted, then, "he can't know."
paragraph"no one can," bluetcrest agreed. "carry on as normal?" he offered as a suggestion, to which tawnyrose merely nodded.
paragraph"it's all we can do while i figure it out," tawnyrose said with a flick of her tail. "stay with him, keep your eyes on him. if he's going to start causing trouble, i need to know what his moves are going to be." again, her glance strayed over bluetcrest's shoulder, deeper into the heart of the camp, where erasmus could be lurking, watching, waiting.
paragraph"he knows i'm watching him. i could use help," bluetcrest said after a beat.
paragraphtawnyrose's expression was guarded, but thoughtful. she regarded bluetcrest for a long moment before blinking, relenting. "not softglow or merlinsong. they're too obvious. but it needs to be someone we can trust," she mused, trailing off before nodding to herself. "sagecloud," she said.
paragraph"sagecloud?" bluetcrest echoed. "why not someone who's been here longer? mapleshadow, or even hurricanejaw."
paragraph"think," tawnyrose urged, "sagecloud heard him when he came here. she already knows. we tell her nothing else. this all stays between us, we don't need anymore ears on this than there already are." with that, tawnyrose stood and stretched, taking her time, pausing only when bluetcrest stood as well.
paragraph"what about softglow? he doesn't know about birchflame, but he knows about softglow. he's the king, he should be in on this."
paragraphtawnyrose swished her tail, taking the lead in leisurely heading back towards the heart of the camp. "not now. he'll do something rash, he's only just beginning to calm down, we don't need him to be paranoid as well and then he'll give us all away," tawnyrose answered quietly, leaving no room for argument by the time they were back in earshot of the rest of the clan. with bluetcrest at her side, she headed towards where tulipstream and bassflow had taken their kits to play outside of the nursery. "would you look at them," tawnyrose purred, taking the spot beside tulipstream when rabbitkit streaked past, a moss ball clamped in her teeth and stagkit pelting after her, seedkit hot on his heels. "the next generation of knights and roses is already here."

paragraph"is merlinsong here?" the words tumbled freely from softglow's mouth as soon as he entered the herbalist's den. his friend's scent was faint, and he supposed that it was only normal for merlinsong to be out during the day, scouring the territory on one of his long adventures to find the perfect sprig of catmint, as he had been for days. instead, he was met by spencer's wide blue eyes and erasmus' bulky frame. yellow eyes flashed in the thin light of the den, though softglow didn't budge, barely granted the large knight more than a cursory glance, instead directing his attention towards spencer, who smiled warmly.
paragraph"he mentioned going to the twin rivers to try and find some herbs," spencer said, straightened up when softglow padded further into the den. "he probably won't be gone much longer since he's been out since dawn, but is there anything i can help you with in the meantime?"
paragraphat that, softglow's gaze flicked back to where erasmus was seated back in the shadows. at such an angle, it was easy to imagine him as spencer's lurking shadow. though tawnyrose and bluetcrest had done their best over the past several moons to ease softglow's suspicions of the knight, they had yet to be successful. he still didn't trust him enough for a mouse's tail, though, inexplicably, the king found a certain softness for spencer himself. perhaps it was the smaller tom's nervous smiles, the way he laughed that gave away just how anxious he was, how hard he was trying to fit into the clan. erasmus would never be seen as a full member of highgarden, not as far as softglow was concerned, but spencer was gentle, he was genuine, he was easy to mold. merlinsong told him time and time again that he was tolerable - which meant that he liked having spencer around for added paws in the den - and softglow felt that was enough for now. he could consider meeting spencer halfway. "i think i might have wrenched a claw this morning on patrol," softglow said, holding out his forepaw when spencer immediately came forward to examine it. "i'm sure it's nothing, but with the way merlinsong talks about infection like i might lose my whole leg, i figured it was better to be safe than sorry."
paragraphhe could feel yellow eyes burning into the side of his head, but softglow looked only to spencer when the other tom laughed softly. "he's making a real patient of you, huh?" spencer said, to which softglow hummed his acknowledgement. spencer took his time to look over softglow's claw before finally sitting back on his haunches long enough to tip his head at erasmus. "this shouldn't take long, but maybe you should go out and find some prey? i'll meet you in a bit," spencer said, and erasmus grunted. the knight made a show of dipping his head deeply to softglow before exiting the den, leaving spencer and softglow alone. when he was gone, spencer stood and hot softglow a toothy grin. "i think he's warming up to you."
paragraph"oh, i can only hope," softglow said, glancing back towards where erasmus had disappeared, unable to shake the way the large tom made his fur crawl, before spencer was before him again, this time chewing an herb into a pulp as he had watched merlinsong do many times over. "i'm just glad you both seemed to have found your places here. and that merlinsong hasn't chased you away yet," softglow said after a brief pause, turning quickly when a familiar voice came from behind him.
paragraph"if you could believe it, my king, there is someone here who seems to actually like my company," merlinsong cut in, earning another laugh from spencer through his mouthful of pungent herbs. merlinsong looked tired from a day of scouring for herbs, but a pile of leaves sat at his paws, showing that it hadn't been for naught, and his eyes gleamed with mischief, taking the chance to tease softglow the first chance he had. "now, what trouble have you gotten yourself into today?" he asked, pushing the new stack of herbs aside to pad forward until he brushed against softglow, his fur warm despite the chill in the leaffall air. he leaned over to look at what spencer was doing, then tracking to softglow's outstretched paw. "wrenched claw? probably chasing after a bird like a fool."
paragraph"the clan needs prey. and with the rate that you swallow blackbirds whole, someone needs to do the hunting around here," softglow interjected, not missing the way merlinsong's whiskers twitched from amusement.
paragraph"do you hear the way he speaks to me?" merlinsong sighed, looking to spencer, who spat out his mouthful. "i can take care of this, erasmus was brooding out there, i'm assuming waiting for you," he said after a beat, to which spencer sat up immediately, his ear pricked.
paragraphwithout waiting, the skinny tom moved away to let merlinsong take the space across from softglow. "thanks merlinsong, i'll bring you something to eat later! feel better softglow," spencer called over his shoulder, with a polite nod of his head to softglow before he was gone, off to find erasmus. they watched him go, waiting until he was certainly gone, before softglow looked back to merlinsong.
paragraph"i'm surprised you let him get this close to you," merlinsong commented, tone flippant, though softglow knew him better than that. "a few moons ago, you froze whenever he was close enough to see," he added when softglow said nothing, though the king sniffed at that.
paragraph"you trust him enough to work with him," he said simply, holding out his paw when merlinsong gestured for him to do so. the herbalist paused at that, though, and softglow watched the way he froze before shaking his head just once, began to apply spencer's chewed poultice to his paw.
paragraph"and that's all it takes, huh?" merlinsong said, and softglow could tell that there was supposed to be some bite there, some sarcasm, but it came out curious and perhaps a little fond.
paragraphsoftglow hummed quietly, shrugged his shoulders. "'course. i trust you more than any other cat. i trust your judgement." when their eyes met, it was a familiar warmth that carried through softglow's chest, something beyond mere friendship. the same feeling he'd tried to work around for moons. it was a comforting feeling, but it held the bite of danger, the knowledge that this wasn't supposed to be. him, merlinsong. not when it was supposed to be him, tawnyrose. and yet, it had never been him and tawnyrose, it never would be. he knew what he felt, he knew what it meant, but it wasn't time yet. not yet. though the look in merlinsong's eyes told him that his feelings were understood, that merlinsong felt the same way. that feeling: love.
paragraph"you mean that," merlinsong said, but it wasn't a question. no, it was an observation, said with such reverence that it was all softglow could do to nod his head. "alright then." in silence, he finished applying the herbs to softglow's claw and cleared his throat. "that should do it, then, if you feel any pain after tomorrow... come back here, or come find me."
paragraphsoftglow paused, then felt the tension release from his shoulders. all of the pent up anxiety he'd been holding for moons, since erasmus came to highgarden, before that, dissipated. he felt light, as if there was nothing that could tear him down from these quiet shared moments. nothing could touch him when merlinsong looked at him so warmly, in a way he knew the herbalist had never looked at another. "i'll come find you. i'll always know where to look," he murmured, quiet in the small space between them. he dared to lean forward then, to touch his forehead to merlinsong's, who purred softly.
paragraph"i don't doubt you," merlinsong answered. "and i'll always be waiting for you."

paragraphwhenever hurricanejaw led patrols, tigergaze learned that he liked to have the group spread out to cover more ground. as the weather grew colder, the senior knight was increasingly concerned with efficiency, the faster they could cover ground and take care of their duties, and the sooner they could get back to camp to beat out the chill that came when the sun went down, out of the sky. however, by the time the patrol reached the twin rivers, wind already whipped from the surface battering the patrol. at the front, hurricanejaw hissed softly, though bassflow laughed at his clanmate, his own fur thick to keep the wind from bothering him.
paragraphtigergaze himself was left to hop from paw to paw to try and keep warm, unable to help himself but envy smokemane's thick pelt, though she laughed at sunglow when her brother hissed at another gust of wind. hurricanejaw faced the patrol his fur fluffed out as much as possible, "alright, i want smokemane and bassflow to round the northern edge," he started, rolling his eyes when bassflow let out a low groan, "you two have the longest fur, so you'll go the furthest," hurricanejaw said, barely hiding his amusement, though bassflow and his niece puffed out laughs of their own at hurricanejaw's logic. "sandstrike and i will head towards the south-western edge to the western border. tigergaze and sunglow, i want you two to scout to the mother's grounds, then wait for the rest of us to circle around to you. you two especially, keep an eye out for any predators that might be trying to settle down there." with that, hurricanejaw dismissed the patrol and they set off, going their separate ways, with tigergaze and sunglow setting an easy pace away from their lake, to where the thick forest of the mother's grounds came into view.
paragraphthey took their time, walking side by side to canvas the area, sniffing out for any traces of foxes or other animals that may have decided to settle among the trees, pausing only when they could be sure that they had searched among all of the tree roots and hollows. when they had finished, tigergaze looked to sunglow. "where do you think we should wait for hurricanejaw and the others?" he asked, and sunglow looked up from where he had ducked his head to sniff at a bundle of fallen leaves.
paragraph"maybe we should go along the maiden's stream? we can meet bassflow and smokemane and then double back with them to meet hurricanejaw and sandstrike, so they wouldn't have to walk as far to find us?" sunglow suggested, and tigergaze nodded, padding forward to cross the distance between them until there was only minimal space between them. when sunglow shot him a curious look, tigergaze reached forward a pulled a fallen leaf from where it had tangled itself in the other tom's short fur. tigergaze stepped back then, spitting the leaf out onto the ground and sunglow chuckled, "thanks," he said.
paragraph"sure thing," tigergaze said, wheeling around to lead the way back along the path sunglow mentioned. there was a beat of silence between them before he looked at the other knight. "so, i've heard a rumor and want to hear if it's true or not," he pressed, and sunglow flicked his ear, acknowledging, and tigergaze grinned widely, "your sister and obsidianwing. something going on there?" he asked.
paragraphsunglow's laugh was surprisingly loud from someone who tigergaze had often regarded as rather reserved and quiet. but it was clear, carrying well through the trees. "if you asked smokemane, she would claw your ears for just asking," sunglow said with a laugh, "i doubt she would ever admit it, but i think there's definitely something going on there. she's mentioned more than once how nice obsidianwing is, you know, how good he is at hunting. i think she's got a crush on him."
paragraph"she's never told you for sure?" tigergaze asked, shrugging at sunglow's perplexed glance sent his way. "i mean, you two seem close. i guessed that you would tell each other those types of things."
paragraphat that, sunglow blew out a long breath. "we are really close but... i don't know. it's not really something that ever came up before, i guess. we were traveling for a while with our parents, and bassflow and tulipstream. it wasn't like there were crushes then not when it was just family and we didn't even have a place to live we stayed away from other cats then," he said, then shot tigergaze a sideways glance. "you know how it is, i guess. you traveled here from a different clan. did you have siblings?"
paragraph"nah," tigergaze answered honestly. "in hollowclan, it was just me and my parents. and we weren't super close. so when hollowclan fell apart, it was just me. i'm not sure where they went, and i found highgarden. i like to think that hornetshade and iguanapaw are like siblings to me, since we got close here but... i know it's probably not the same thing." and he'd seen how sunglow and smokemane talked together, how they interacted. he couldn't say that he didn't envy having such a close relationship with another cat. even with hornetshade and iguanapaw, they both had their own friends outside of tigergaze. hornetshade had been distant lately, too busy off on his own or with warblerpaw, and iguanapaw was usually playing with the other thorns. it was rare that it was just the three of them like how it used to be. he shook his head then, as if to clear it, as if to clear the air. "anyway, if you think smokemane and obsidianwing are a thing... you should help them speed it up. they'll be happy for it, i'm sure." again, sunglow laughed when they slowed, the maiden's stream slowly coming into view.
paragraph"clearly you've been giving this some thought," sunglow teased, bumping his shoulder against tigergaze's. "any big plans in mind? you'll have to help me, of course. i'm no matchmaker, i'll need you."
paragraphtigergaze rolled his eyes, but flicked his tail before taking a seat and nodding to the space for sunglow to settle in while they waited for the rest of the patrol to come their way. "i won't take full credit, but iguanapaw was telling me a story about how cougarpaw and racoonpaw moved foxpaw's nest in his sleep and used honey to -" and so he continued, telling sunglow several different plans while sunglow joined in, adding ideas of his own while they waited together, laughing and joking, their newfound friendship blooming in the cool leaffall sun.

paragraphmoons earlier, hornetshade used to find a sense of adventure in sitting at the edge of the lake, watching the water lap at the edges of the shore and stare off into the distance, letting time slip by while he looked over the border into groveclan territory. once, it had been with a sense of anticipation, waiting and hoping for the chance to see his friend appear, so they could shout across the water where they had first met. perhaps they would swim to meet each other, or hornetshade could pester dippernose into letting him skirt along the water's edge to meet midnightstream, at the very least long enough to say hello and exchange quick notes of the days since they'd last met. such were the times he looked forward to with baited breath. but it had been a long time since he last saw midnightstream, had been even longer since they had been like the best friends that he always liked to hope that they still were. now, it was all he could do to hope that midnightstream was happy - that he had the life he wanted, the life he deserved in groveclan, so close and yet impossibly far away.
paragraphhe'd come this far since the thorns had been finishing up their preparations for their assessments in the next few days. iguanapaw and warblerpaw had been adamant that they wanted hornetshade with them, since he had been so moody lately. they maintained that it would be good for him to get out, to have some fun. had he known that they were going to rose lake, he would have feigned a bad stomach, unable to digest the thought of midnightstream out there, somewhere, across a border he could never cross. over the moons, he did what he could to avoid the area, avoid the risk of their paths crossing, because it caused so much heartache. at first, he had always thought that he was a selfish friend, that he couldn't bear the thought that midnightstream had other friends that he didn't know, friends that midnightstream might prefer over him. iguanapaw and tigergaze had teased him endlessly, going on about his crush on the groveclan tom, but it wasn't until it was too late that hornetshade entertained it. did he have a crush on midnightstream? now it was too late to decide, as the news carried across the border and into highgarden that badgerstar's oldest son had a mate, that he had kits. and hornetshade spent the rest of the day retching, too ill with something that merlinsong and spencer had been unable to diagnose, too ill to leave his nest. that entire day, warblerpaw had come to him with water, with prey, trying to coax him out, to say anything to her.
paragraphhornetshade knew it was selfish, he knew that he was selfish. he just wanted midnightstream to be happy, in whatever way that meant. once, when they were just apprentices, he might have thought that it meant the two of them, romping around the border and beyond, chasing each other through the territories, all the way from spruceclan to hazeclan, on and on, as far as their paws could take them until they collapsed under the open sky. he closed his eyes tightly against the sight of the calm lake water, and when he opened them, it was to find warblerpaw seated at his side.
paragraph"hey," she said, "you're being really quiet. it's kinda scary. you're not usually like this... at least, you didn't used to be," warblerpaw continued. he didn't look at her, couldn't bring himself to it. instead he continued to stare across the water to groveclan territory, and she followed his gaze. "i wish you would let me in. i'm your friend, i care about you. i could help you, if you let me." there was a distinct hitch in his breath that he knew warblerpaw was too perceptive to not catch. she turned to face him. "c'mon, hornetshade, let me in. help me understand, help me help you. whatever you need."
paragraphbut how could he tell her? how could he make her understand that everything was catching up with her? half-remembered memories of a past he tried so hard to run away from and forget, a friend that he couldn't tell if he was still a friend at all. the ache of what could have been, what was supposed to be, what he wished to come to pass. instead, he breathed in deeply. "this is where i almost drowned, you know." beside him, warblerpaw fell silent to let him speak freely. "iguanapaw and tigergaze told you, i know, but this is where it happened. it was my first training session with dippernose. he didn't know what he was doing, and neither did i. it feels like so long ago now, but the water's still the same. it still looks the same." they were close enough to the edge that he could reach a paw forward to touch the lapping waves, but he refrained. "tawnyrose told us that the territory floods during newleaf so we just... we thought that i should learn how to swim. that it was too important to wait on. so we tried. he tried to teach me, and i tried but... it went wrong. maybe it was me, maybe it was the current, but i wound up getting swept closer to groveclan, and dippernose couldn't reach me in time. i remember being so tired, and still so scared. it was like all i felt was fear and the water in my ears, in my eyes, in my nose. i should've died then, i'm sure of it. like i was supposed to die that day, but i didn't."
paragraph"you were saved by a groveclan cat, right?" warblerpaw asked, and hornetshade nodded, closing his eyes once more. as if that could somehow take him back in time.
paragraph"midnightstream. badgerstar's son. back when he was still an apprentice too. he didn't even hesitate. he couldn't swim either, but he saved me. dippernose had been running around the lake to try and get on the groveclan side, but midnightstream didn't even hesitate. maybe he was scared too but... it there was some force from the gods that meant for me to die, he saved me. he was my hero," hornetshade said then, blinking his eyes open. overhead, the sky was darkening and the sounds of the other thorns playing, pretending to train, was faded from his ears. "he was my best friend."
paragraphagain, hornetshade fell silent, and warblerpaw leaned into his side. "do you still talk to him?" she asked.
paragraph"he's been busy," hornetshade said, perhaps too quickly, aware that he was tense. he forced out another breath and relaxed his shoulders. "i was busy with training, he's got a family now. friends grow apart, i guess. i miss him but... maybe it's better this way. we had that moment when he saved me and we were friends, but we've both moved on," he said, hoping that it sounded as sure as he wanted to tell himself he was. "i need to be here, and he needs to be where he needs to be. so as long as he's happy and i'm happy, then that's what matters."
paragraph"are you happy now?" warblerpaw asked, nestling further into his flank, and hornetshade dared to rest his head against hers.
paragraph"of course," he said, swallowing around the lump in his throat. he forced himself to tear his eyes away from the groveclan border to look down at warblerpaw. "i'm happy," he said.
paragraph"good," she said, letting out a quiet purr. "so am i. and now i just need to pass this assessment and get my full name. then everything will be perfect." hornetshade murmured his agreement, pressing his nose to the top of her head, as if it might offer some salve to bind him together. because she had to. because nothing else had been able to act as a remedy.

paragraphsoftglow was happy. he was happier than he'd been in moons, and all marked down to one name, one special cat. it was like a weight have been lifted off of his shoulders, now that he didn't feel so alone. he had a confidant, a best friend, someone he could trust to catch him when he stumbled. he had someone he loved, and he intended to tell merlinsong as such, as soon as he returned from wherever he had wandered off to before dawn, sure as the river was wet to return by dusk. there was no need to rush, not when they had all the time in the world and, for the first time in a long time, softglow found some sense of solace.
paragraphand so he waited for merlinsong's return from outside of his den, his paws tucked neatly under himself. it was like this when bluetcrest approached him, nodding to the space in front of softglow when the king raised his blue eyes to meet bluetcrest's yellow ones, widened with something that he could only call worry, and the thought passed through his mind that he had never seen bluetcrest look concerned about anything. "what is it? what's wrong?" he asked bluetcrest, though tawnyrose's attendant shook his head quickly.
paragraph"can i sit?" he asked instead, not waiting for softglow to answer before he took the space anyway, leaning forward and speaking quickly, sending a glance over his shoulder just to double check. softglow felt the fur at the back of his neck begin to rise. "tawnyrose didn't want me to tell you, but you should know what's going on," bluetcrest started, tone low so that only softglow would be able to hear him. "i think erasmus is up to something, and you could be in trouble. he knows about you and merlinsong, maybe from spencer. i don't know, but he might try and question your position as king, if you're not careful. you and tawnyrose are supposed to be mates," he said.
paragraph"no one ever thought that tawnyrose and i would ever be mates," softglow interjected, matching bluetcrest's volume. "the fact that we're on speaking terms at all is a miracle. a few moons ago, she hated me. you hated me," he pointed out.
paragraphstill, the worry persisted in bluetcrest's eyes. "i know, and that probably wouldn't have changed anything, but tawnyrose has been with birchflame a lot."
paragraph"does erasmus know that?"
paragraphbluetcrest shrugged, dared to glance over his shoulder again. "i don't know, but it might not be long until he starts putting the pieces together. and if he does, who knows what he'll do? he could threaten your claim as king, tawnyrose's right to be queen. we're stable right now, and i doubt the clan would turn on you two, but why risk planting seeds of doubt where they don't belong?" bluetcrest flexed his claws, letting them sink into the soft earth. "he told us what he did in groveclan. what if he's just trying to start some chaos here too?" he said, and softglow blew out a long breath.
paragraph"we should get rid of him. get tawnyrose to send an envoy to badgerstar, let them take care of him. he's too dangerous to have here." the weight returned to his shoulders then with his realization. "but tawnyrose thinks it's safer to have him here, huh? keep him where we can see him, outsmart him her way." bluetcrest blinked slowly, and softglow had all the answer he needed. what the queen says goes. that was just the way it worked. "so what am i supposed to do? pretend to be in love with her? while she goes off with birchflame?" he thought of merlinsong, who was due to return any moment, and his heart ached.
paragraph"just... hang tight for now. tawnyrose is trying to come up with a plan to deal with erasmus," bluetcrest said, flicking his ear when softglow grumbled under his breath. "i'm not even supposed to be telling you any of this. she said that you would do start something. just carry on, let her think and let me watch erasmus. i'm on your side here, softglow. i want to help you. anyone with eyes could see how you are with merlinsong. and it's nice to see you smile sometimes, you don't look so uptight then. i'll talk to tawnyrose, but right now i need you to keep your head down. don't do anything that would make erasmus look at you even more, okay?" at that same moment, movement came from the camp entrance, and softglow would only watch as merlinsong padded into sight. the herbalist's jaws were laden with herbs, though his eyes met softglow's from across the clearing. merlinsong took a step in his direction, though softglow shook his head once, and merlinsong nodded before turning to go back to his own den. there was no mistaking the warm way his green eyes glowed. bluetcrest watched the moment, and then turned back to softglow. "do you love him?" he asked then, and softglow felt the stab of pain right through his chest when he glanced at the attendant from watching merlinsong's tail tip vanish out of his line of sight.
paragraph"does it even matter right now?" he asked him, and bluetcrest blinked sympathetically. "tawnyrose doesn't have to worry, i won't do anything out of line, if that's what she's so worried about. as long as the queen is happy, then fine. i'll bow down," he said, not waiting for bluetcrest's answer before he stood and padded away, out of the camp. as he passed through the entrance, merlinsong's scent caught in his nose, though he had to shake his head to clear it from fogging his mind.



actions
[ consumption ] highgarden eats one big fish and four mice
[ kitting ] ferretwhisker is kitting. the father is a loner. ferretwhisker is given x1 stick
[ mates ] tawnyrose and birchflame try for kits
[ rank changes ] cougarpaw, racoonpaw, foxpaw, wolfpaw, iguanapaw, and warblerpaw are ready to take their assessments. if they pass they will be renamed cougarstrike, racoonslip, foxfang, wolfhowl, iguanaspots, and warblercry
[ patrol 1 ] tawnyrose, bluetcrest, betonypetal, maplelily, and smokemane
[ hunt 1 ] hurricanejaw, erasmus, dippernose, sagecloud, hornetshade, and jaytalon
[ hunting 2 ] softglow, mapleshadow, swiftheart, sunglow, tigergaze, and smallheart
[ hunting 3 ] bassflow, birchflame, clovershine, obsidianwing, sandstrike, and flickersky
[ herb hunting ] merlinsong and spencer
[ notes to mod ] i ask that no one die on patrols though injuries are fine xx



    queen
    tawnyrose, 31m, ♀
    the wayward queen

    king
    softglow, 33m, ♂
    the lost king

    heir
    name, age, gender
    notes

    attendant
    bluetcrest, 35m, ♂
    the wayward's attendant

    herbalist
    merlinsong, 38m, ♂ - 5sp
    spencer, 33m, ♂ - 5sp

    roses
    sagecloud, 49m, ♀
    mapleshadow, 47m, ♀
    maplelily, 41m, ♀
    betonypetal, 30m, ♀
    flickersky, 29m, ♀
    swiftheart, 25m, ♀
    smokemane, 19m, ♀
    sandstrike, 16m, ♀
    privetears, 14m, ♀
    name, age, ♀
    notes

    knights
    erasmus, 45m, ♂
    hurricanejaw, 43m, ♂
    bassflow, 41m, ♂
    newtmask, 40m, ♂
    dippernose, 40m, ♂
    birchflame, 32m, ♂
    clovershine, 29m, ♂
    smallheart, 29m, ♂
    obsidianwing, 22m, ♂
    jaytalon, 20m, ♂
    sunglow, 19m, ♂
    tigergaze, 18m, ♂
    hornetshade, 15m, ♂
    name, age, ♂
    notes

    thorns
    cougarpaw, 12m, ♂
    racoonpaw, 12m, ♂
    foxpaw, 12m, ♂ bobtail
    wolfpaw, 12m, ♀ bobtail
    iguanapaw, 12m, ♀
    warblerpaw, 12m, ♀
    name, age, gender
    notes
            roots
            ferretwhisker, 37m, ♀
            - due now
            tulipstream, 33m, ♀
            - mate: bassflow
            - kits: stagkit, seedkit, rabbitkit
            name, age, gender
            notes

            seedlings
            stagkit, 5m, ♂
            seedkit, 5m, ♀
            rabbitkit, 5m, ♀
            name, age, gender
            notes

            wilted
            name, age, gender
            notes
            name, age, gender
            notes

            allies & enemies & borders
            here

            medicine
            here

            prey
            total x68
            mouse | x3 | 1 servings
            vole | x8 | 1 servings
            squirrel | x5 | 2 servings
            rabbit | x8 | 2 servings
            big fish | x5 | 3 servings
            finch | x5 | 3 servings

            mentors
            bassflow, cougarpaw, 4
            newtmask, racoonpaw, 4
            birchflame, foxpaw, 4
            clovershine, wolfpaw, 4
            hurricanejaw, iguanapaw, 4
            obsidianwing, warblerpaw, 4
            mentor, thorn, 0

            deceased
            here

            family trees
            here
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highgarden ♕ fourteen

Postby eagle, » Mon Oct 07, 2019 11:30 am


      22
      22
      total 44
      servings 8
      pebbles 55
      xx
      Image
      ________________ Image ________________
      xx

      gods anytime
      kitting none
      injury none
      archive xx
      font credit x x







paragraphclovershine liked it better when meals were spent with birchflame, the two of them towards the edge of the camp, away from where the other knights and roses chattered on endlessly. after so many moons, he was tired of hearing obsidianwing talk to swiftheart and smallheart about his crush on smokemane, was tired of listening to smallheart and swiftheart talk circles around each other, as if they hadn't had crushes on each other since before covershine and birchflame got to highgarden. he missed the simple days, when the camp was a little less crowded, when he had more peace to lounge in the sun between patrols and simply think. instead, now, he had to watch through hooded eyes as his friend carried a mouse across the camp to where tawnyrose's den was, only to backpedal when mapleshadow commented that tawnyrose had gone out hunting with a few of the other roses. it was only then that birchflame found clovershine.
paragraph"i thought you would be out training wolfpaw," birchflame said simply when he set the mouse down in front of clovershine and sat down opposite him. clovershine stretched his neck to sniff at the mouse, then pushed it towards birchflame for the larger knight to take the first bite while he shrugged his shoulders.
paragraph"i told her to get some rest. assessments coming up and everything. want her to be strong and rested," clovershine said, feeling his own patience beginning to wear thin. without further delay, he drew the mouse closer back to himself and bent his head. "you were looking for tawnyrose," he said, leading birchflame before he took a mouthful and chewed thoughtfully.
paragraph"i was," birchflame said, with a tone that clovershine knew well. it was the tone of voice he had when he was thinking, considering something important. of course he knew what clovershine was asking. they knew each other too well. "we've been... you know," birchflame said, and clovershine took another bite of mouse, flicked his tail to gesture birchflame to continue. at last, his friend let out a sigh. "she likes me, this is good. you should be happy."
paragraph"happy?" clovershine asked after swallowing. he pushed the mouse away from them both. "happy about your whirlwind romance? sure, birchflame, though it would be nice if you actually caught me up on your plans. you haven't said anything since the tournament, when you said you had to win. now you're courting the queen. to what end, huh? what are you doing?"
paragraph"it was always going to be like this, clovershine," birchflame said, brow furrowed. "this is to protect us. to keep us safe. now i know everything that goes through the queen's head, i know what she thinks. this is how we keep our home here."
paragraphclovershine's eyes narrowed then. "you keep saying this like we're in some danger. look around, birchflame, what danger are we in of being kicked out? we both have mentored thorns. you won the tournament. tell me what this is really about. because right now i'm not sure if you're paranoid, or if it's something else," clovershine said. for a moment, birchflame's expression twisted. he looked taken aback, as if he couldn't believe what clovershine was saying. then clovershine blinked and his expression washed over again, perfectly serene.
paragraph"tawnyrose is falling in love with me, i can tell," birchflame said, and this time it was clovershine's turn to feel surprised. "she's never loved softglow. at worst, she confides in me. at best, i become king of highgarden."
paragraph"and is that what you want?" clovershine asked. "to become king?" a few moons earlier, the birchflame he knew wasn't birchflame at all. prometheus had just wanted to find a new home where they could survive. his friend hadn't been seeking power, hadn't sought love. now this cat was spinning visions of paranoia, of grandeur, before clovershine, and he didn't know what to think. so instead of waiting for an answer, clovershine stood abruptly and turned. he heard birchflame call for him, but it was too late, clovershine sought the closest cat, and stumbled over to betonypetal, who gazed up at him with wide, curious eyes, from where she had been grooming her fur. her mouth parted, prepared to ask a question, but clovershine beat her to it. "i uh - i was going to go hunting. and i think i need someone with me right now. i'm sorry - would you want to come with me?" he asked, only vaguely aware that his speech was jumbled, and that he likely wasn't acting rationally. but the thought of being alone terrified him. for whatever reason, betonypetal nodded and stood.
paragraph"lead the way, i'll follow you," she said simply, and clovershine felt a little lighter in that instant. he couldn't voice his gratitude, however, not when he still felt tongue-tied. so he did as betonypetal said, padding out of camp, with her following. it was only some time later, after aimless walking through highgarden's territory, that clovershine finally stopped. betonypetal had walked with him the whole way, never complaining, always walking at clovershine's side. when he stopped, so did she. it was several long moments before she let out a breath. "do you want to talk?" she asked, and clovershine shook his head. then shrugged. then nodded. again she waited.
paragraph"i think birchflame and i are in a fight," he said, finally looking to betonypetal. the pretty molly angled her ears at him, but her expression was clear and open, allowing him to talk while she listened. "i just - i thought he was my best friend. but he's been so distant lately. and i know it was nothing to do with me, but it makes me feel horrible. like i don't even exist until he remembers that i do. and i don't have anyone other than him to turn to." he drew in a shuddering breath then. "i'm sorry i dragged you out here. i just didn't want to be alone. i don't do well on my own," he added. for a moment, there was silence.
paragraphthen betonypetal spoke. "i don't know birchflame well," she said, "and i don't know you well either, but if that's how you feel... you should tell him that. because that's not how friends should treat other friends." clovershine's expression must have fallen even further, for betonypetal shrugged simply. "i think you need to worry about yourself right now. find more friends so you're less reliant on just him. getting out of your head more - it could be good for you," she suggested. clovershine opened his mouth to reply, but it was in the same moment that a rustle came from the side, and betonypetal turned quickly to the source of the sound. there was another thud, then a distinct giggle. she glanced at clovershine over her shoulder, then padded forward, slowly. together, they peered around a tree to where two young cats were tussling in the fallen leaves. betonypetal and clovershine exchanged a sideways glance, then he watched as she padded out into the open. for a moment, it seemed that the kits were oblivious that they had company, though one saw betonypetal first and fell still, the other following suit. the stood stiff, shoulder-to-shoulder, even when betonypetal let out an amused purr. "don't worry, we won't hurt you," she said, nodding to where clovershine was, and he padded out into the open. two pairs of wide eyes followed his every move. "is your mom around here somewhere?" betonypetal asked. two heads shook in tandem. "do you have a home somewhere around here? are you from groveclan?" she asked. then, when they shook their heads again. "are you from any clan?" a long beat of hesitation, then negative again. betonypetal looked to clovershine for help.
paragraph"do you have any family around here?" he asked the kits. then: "where are you from? it seemed strange to him, that two kits would appear out of no where, with no home, no family, no where they belonged. the kits were silent, refusing to answer where they had come from, and clovershine let out a long sigh before he glanced back to betonypetal. "i guess we should take them back to camp, see what tawnyrose thinks? maybe she can send out a patrol to see if we can find any trace of where they might belong?" clovershine suggested, and betonypetal considered this a moment before nodding. it was only a little later, while he carried one of the kits back to highgarden, that he realized that he did feel a little less inside of his own head, had thought less about birchflame, even if only for a few minutes. he cast a sideways glance to betonypetal, who carried the other kit, and she met his eyes.

paragraph"aunt maplelily!" seedkit stopped in the middle of kicking a moss ball towards rabbitkit, as she and her sister did they best to keep their toy away from stagkit. however, at the sound of the aunt's name, seedkit forgot about their game and instead bounded to where maplelily was getting ready to sit back beside tulipstream and bassflow. the long-furred molly instead let out a warm purr when seedkit bundled into her side, followed closely by rabbitkit and stagkit.
paragraphmaplelily exchanged amused purrs with her brother and tulipstream, who looked at their kits with affection and love lighting their glances. "you all keeping warm despite this weather?" maplelily asked the kits. seedkit had nestled herself into maplelily's flank, though stagkit and rabbitkit seemed more than content despite the chill in the air. maplelily drew her tongue over the smallest kit's ear when stagkit piped up:
paragraph"mom and dad said it would be good for us to get used to being outside in the cold since we'll be training next moon," he said, and maplelily hummed her agreement. stagkit turned, distracted, when rabbitkit picked up the moss ball. "plus ferretwhisker's kits are so small, mom said we'd wake them up and step on them," stagkit added, earning another round of purrs from his family, though he was too busy swiping at the moss to take notice. rabbitkit pulled back quickly, and stagkit growled playfully, pouncing after her to try and get it back. maplelily's eyes trailed down to seedkit, though the young molly's eyes were beginning to slip closed, obviously lulled by the warmth that her aunt's long fur provided. the rose looked at the kit for another beat before she addressed tulipstream.
paragraph"stagkit certainly seems excited to start his training," maplelily said, and tulipstream flicked her tail. the gray tabby was pressed into her mate's flank, much like her daughter was nestled into maplelily's fur. bassflow had taken to grooming his mate's cheek.
paragraph"he's getting too big for the nursery, that's for sure," tulipstream commented, though her tone was fond, her blue eyes bright. "i just keep looking at ferretwhisker's kits and thinking about how small my kits used to be, and how big they've gotten since." indeed, ferretwhisker's kits were the talk of highgarden since merlinsong and spencer had rushed into the nursery several nights earlier. it was always risky, as any molly knew, when it came to kitting so close to the change of seasons, when the weather turned cold. but, thanks to the gods, the news spread by daybreak of five newborn kits.
paragraphas she often did, maplelily thought of her own kits. "it doesn't get much better," maplelily said, her smile nostalgic just as much as it was happy. "i swear that my kits won't ever stop growing. even when they stopped getting bigger, i swear that sunglow and smokemane keep growing up. and the younger ones aren't any better," she said, her eyes automatically tracking across the camp to where the apprentices were lounging outside of their den. within the next few days, they would be sent out for their assessments to receive their full names. "it's like the gods' fury if i try to help them with anything anymore. all they want is to be independent, i guess."
paragraph"you act like we were easy for our parents to handle," bassflow commented, and maplelily rolled her eyes. he turned to tulipstream, "you ever want to see a stubborn kit? look no further than maplelily," he said, flashing a bright smile when maplelily let out a pointed huff. tulipstream, in turn, nudged her head against bassflow's shoulder.
paragraph"be nice to your sister, i like her," tulipstream teased, and bassflow let out a breathy laugh before returning to groom between his mate's ears. then tulipstream turned back to maplelily. "well, it looks like you've done a good job with all of your kits," she said, her expression so open and genuine that maplelily had to look away, peering down to where seedkit's eyes had fluttered closed, lulled to sleep. not too far off, stagkit and rabbitkit had abandoned their game with the moss and taken to wrestling one another, pouncing and giving chase.
paragraph"thankfully i didn't have to do it alone. newtmask loves sunglow and smokemane, he's always been a good father to them," maplelily said, pausing when she thought of hurricanejaw. "the others were a bit tougher, just because there were so many of them, and they all always had so much energy. but sunglow and smokemane helped with them too. and you two, of course. there's no way we would have made it here without you," maplelily said, matching tulipstream's gentle smile.
paragraphshe supposed she should have expected what tulipstream said next. "i noticed that hurricanejaw seems to be around the thorns a lot more. you two must be doing better, then?" she asked, and maplelily couldn't find it within herself to even try to lie to tulipstream. instead she shrugged.
paragraph"i've never known what hurricanejaw thinks about things," she commented with a sigh. "i was worried what they would think of him. not that i ever thought they would meet. after we left waveclan, it was all so confusing. i never thought i would see him again. it was just a matter of getting somewhere safe. it's a miracle that we all ended up together. i'm just glad that my kits can finally have their father, that he seems to like them." she thought of how newtmask adored her firstborn kits, how bassflow looked at his own kits with such fondness. it was the love of a father that she had wanted for her younger kits as well, and she was happy that hurricanejaw and the kits had taken to each other so well. "sometimes i think they look at him like some hero, you know. he came out of no where to save them when we needed him. i don't understand it myself."
paragraphtulipstream tucked her head against bassflow's shoulder when a gust of chilled air wafted through the camp. bassflow shot maplelily a sympathetic smile. "if it wasn't for him, who knows what would have happened to our kits. it is a miracle that he came here, that he found us all," bassflow said, his ears pricked with curiosity. "i guess the gods here work in mysterious ways and that they were looking out for us."

paragraphwolfpaw sat towards the back of camp, her eyes half-lidded and head lowered to stare at her paws. she was aware of the rest of the gathering together in anticipation, even before tawnyrose called the clan together. there was the feeling of envy, the feeling of failure that weighed down her shoulders. as much as she wished she thought differently, she wished that one of her brothers or one of her friends would have failed their assessments as well, as the thought of returning to the thorns' den alone, having to try and find sleep without being surrounded by their snores, the whispers in the dark, the simple knowledge that she wasn't alone in the darkness, scared her. when clovershine told her that she hadn't passed, she looked for disappointment in the knight's gaze, but he'd been kind, as he often was. he'd assured her that they would try again within a few days, that they would go over the assessment again informally, so that she would be ready the next time. next time - it couldn't come soon enough. so while her brothers would be receiving their full names, wolfpaw resigned herself to the back of the crowd, so she wouldn't have to face the glances she knew would be thrown her way by the roses and knights. news in highgarden spread quickly, and wolfpaw couldn't face the rest of the clan in her moment of failure.
paragrapheven still, she knew she shouldn't have been surprised when her father found her. when she was only a kit, maplelily told her only daughter that she looked so much like her father. at the time, wolfpaw hadn't known what to think. she hadn't met hurricanejaw at that point, knew only that he lived in echoclan and that she supposedly looked like him. it was only several moons later, after leaving waveclan, that wolfpaw met him, and her first thought had been i thought mom said he lived in echoclan. now, it only took a pawful of words from hurricanejaw to draw his daughter's gaze, and she pressed her face into his chest with a weak sound. "what are you doing back here?" he asked, only to bend his head to lick comfortingly between her ears. "wolfpaw," he said, and his deep voice was soothing, but she merely whimpered in reply. then, "don't let them see you cry, you'll have another chance. it was just some bad luck, it happens," hurricanejaw said. at last, wolfpaw sniffed and dared to look up at her father.
paragraphsince he found them in the old tower, wolfpaw couldn't help but admire her father and sought to impress him. no one in highgarden - not even newtmask - seemed to dislike hurricanejaw, and he'd been called upon more than once when tawnyrose, softglow, or bluetcrest, looked for someone to turn to. she thought of the spring tournament, when she watched him wrestle with the other knights. her father was someone to admire, and she did. which meant that she feared looking at him now, when she was meant to make him proud of her. the question lingered on her tongue of why he was with her, not congratulating his sons. but when their eyes met, her father looked at wolfpaw gently, his eyes bright with affection and adoration. "i'm sorry," she heard herself say, only to whimper again when hurricanejaw's expression grew even softer. he rested his chin on the crown of her head, and wolfpaw found herself comforted by the steady beat of her father's heart. "i'm sorry, i tried," she said, though he was quick to hush her.
paragraph"i know you did," he assured her, and wolfpaw slumped into her father's muscled form. "that's all i could ask, and i know you tried. we all have off days. it happens. just some bad luck, next time will be better," he said, and wolfpaw nodded. "what's important is that you know more now than you did yesterday. tomorrow you'll know even more, and every day after that," hurricanejaw continued, talking even after wolfpaw's crying subsided, her whimpers falling quiet until she was silent, merely listening. "there's nothing that i want more than to see you and your brothers succeed. and i know how much you wanted to pass your assessment, but failure is good sometimes. we don't always get what we want, and sometimes it's for the better this way. the gods thought you needed more time for training, and clovershine wants to make sure that you're prepared to become a rose. assessments are there for a reason," he said, pulling back enough to look wolfpaw in the eye. "it's in the lowest moments that you need to be the strongest, to see what you're made of, alright? so don't let the clan or your brothers see you cry. be happy for them, and know that they wish you were there with them too. and know that they'll be cheering really loud for you when it's your turn." at that, he waited for wolfpaw to wipe her eyes with her paw and draw in a deep breath before he led her closer to where the rest of the clan was gathering. he brought her to the front, where the rest of their family was waiting. maplelily had spent most of the evening grooming her sons and reminding them to behave, and smokemane called wolfpaw over to where she and sunglow were sitting with newtmask. wolfpaw leaned heavily into her half-sister's flank, and smokemane and sunglow spoke amicably, out of earshot of hurricanejaw. instead, he took his place beside maplelily.
paragraph"what did you say to her?" maplelily asked, and hurricanejaw caught a flicker of affection in her glance.
paragraphin reply, he shrugged his shoulders and managed a coy half-smile. "just what she needed to hear. i think she'll be alright now," he said, tensing for a moment when maplelily pressed her nose to his cheek. before he could say anything, however, she pulled back and smiled brightly.
paragraph"thank you, you're a good father," maplelily said, and hurricanejaw merely shrugged again, relieved of responding when tawnyrose, softglow, and bluetcrest emerged from the queen's den. without waiting, the trio took their places and tawnyrose smiled broadly down at the highgarden cats.
paragraph"thank you all for being prompt," tawnyrose said at first, when the last of the stragglers had joined the rest of the clan. "it always warms my heart when i get the chance to give a thorn their full name and rank. the thorns are part of highgarden's promised future, a visible sign that the next generation of roses and knights will be just as strong as our current one. it's for the benefit of highgarden, of course, that mentors pass down their knowledge to our thorns. they are our legacy. so it seems fitting that, even though none of you were born to highgarden," she said, looking at the row of thorns seated in the front of the crowd, ready to receive their names, "that you be given the highest rank i can bestow on you. because you have all proven yourselves to be worthy members, and this is the sign of your achievements." with that, tawnyrose cleared her throat and tipped her head back to look at the stars beginning to dot the vast expanse of sky over their heads. "now, join me as we call upon the gods we hold most sacred to look down upon these thorns as i call upon each of them." the queen descended from her perch, then, to stand in front of her clan, all of her attention directed to the thorns. when she gestured to iguanapaw, the lithe molly stood to meet tawnyrose. "iguanapaw, you highgarden's first seedling, and i think i speak for all when i say that you have grown into a critical member of our clan. highgarden would not be the same without you here," tawnyrose said, and several laughs and comments spread through the clearing before tawnyrose flicked her tail and the clan lapsed back into silence. "now, iguanapaw, i ask you: do you swear to serve highgarden as a rose until you are no longer able, loyal to the clan above all else, even if it means giving up your own life? do you pledge yourself under the light of the seven gods: the mother, the maiden, the father, the warrior, the smith, the crone, and the stranger?"
paragraphiguanapaw didn't so much as hesitate. "i thought the day would never come, of course i do."
paragraphtawnyrose's smile was bright in turn when she regarded the younger molly. "then from this moment forward you shall be known as iguanaspots, for your ability to think about the world differently from others to gain a better perspective. the gods have blessed you with boundless energy and bravery beyond your moons. highgarden is blessed to have you as a full rose." immediately, several congratulatory shouts went up from the middle of the gathered cats, where tigergaze and hornetshade had settled, more than happy for their friend. then tawnyrose moved on, gesturing to cougarpaw. the young tom met the queen, his head bowed respectfully when she addressed him. "do you swear to serve highgarden as a knight until you are no longer able, loyal to the clan above all else, even if it means giving up your own life? do you pledge yourself under the light of the seven gods: the mother, the maiden, the father, the warrior, the smith, the crone, and the stranger?" when cougarpaw gave the pledge, tawnyrose raised her voice to the night once more. "then from this moment forward you shall be known as cougarstrike for your resolute and sure strength. the gods have blessed you with determination and a fighting spirit. highgarden is blessed to have you as a full knight." cougarstrike backed away to join iguanaspots, and racoonpaw took his place. "do you swear to serve highgarden as a knight until you are no longer able, loyal to the clan above all else, even if it means giving up your own life? do you pledge yourself under the light of the seven gods: the mother, the maiden, the father, the warrior, the smith, the crone, and the stranger?" tawnyrose asked racoonpaw.
paragraph"i do!" racoonpaw said quickly, almost before tawnyrose had finished asking, and the thorn wore an apologetic smile.
paragraph"then from this moment forward you shall be known as racoonslip, for your ability to use words. the gods have blessed you with good spirits through humor, and the ability to bring joy to others with your good mood. this is just as much a strength as using your claws, and for that, highgarden is blessed to have you as a full knight." more shouts of praise rose. racoonslip was replaced by foxpaw. "foxpaw," tawnyrose began again, "do you swear to serve highgarden as a knight until you are no longer able, loyal to the clan above all else, even if it means giving up your own life? do you pledge yourself under the light of the seven gods: the mother, the maiden, the father, the warrior, the smith, the crone, and the stranger?"
paragraphfoxpaw, not to be outdone by his brothers, puffed out his chest and flashed a broad smile. "i do."
paragraphtawnyrose flicked her ear, clearly pleased. "then from this moment forward you will be known as foxspark, for your enthusiasm in whatever task is set before you. the gods have blessed you with courage and cleverness. highgarden is blessed to have you as a full knight." with that, foxspark bounded back to join the rest of his family. the three brothers were welcomed warmly by their parents, half-siblings, and sister. in that moment, even wolfpaw appeared too overjoyed and proud of her brothers to be upset that she was not the next called. instead, tawnyrose motioned warblerpaw forward. "for the final time tonight, i ask: warblerpaw, do you swear to serve highgarden as a rose until you are no longer able, loyal to the clan above all else, even if it means giving up your own life? do you pledge yourself under the light of the seven gods: the mother, the maiden, the father, the warrior, the smith, the crone, and the stranger?"
paragraphwarblerpaw's chest expanded when she drew in a deep breath, only to release it a moment later. "i do," she said, and her voice came out pleasantly steady.
paragraph"then from this moment forward, you shall be known as warblercry, for you you may be quiet, but cats listen when you have something to say. the gods have blessed you with sensitivity and foresight. highgarden is blessed to have you as a full rose." with that, tawnyrose stood back and allowed the clan to erupt into excited cheers. the new roses and knights bunched together, then pulled wolfpaw into their huddle as well. then they broke away, with foxspark, racoonslip, and cougarstrike joining their parents and siblings, and iguanaspots and warblercry moving to where tigergaze and hornetshade were waiting for them.

paragraphthere was very little that erasmus liked about the herbalists' den. merlinsong was a strange cat, who liked to talk circles around others, to taunt and tease and play his silly little games. erasmus didn't like him, nor did he like the entitled king of highgarden, who followed merlinsong like a shadow. erasmus had no care for softglow, not since the day they met and he tried to challenge erasmus, not since. it was no wonder that softglow and merlinsong were attached at the hip more often than not, exchanging their secret little glances when they thought that everyone else was oblivious to their pining.
paragrapherasmus didn't like the arrangement of the den either. the herbs were stacked in a disarray, it seemed to him, though spencer told him that it was merlinsong's method of doing things, that it looked a lot more complicated than it really was, that it was quick and efficient.
paragraphno, the only part of the herbalists' den he liked was that he could always find spencer waiting there for him after he'd been sent on enough border and hunting patrols to wear his paw pads down to nothing. it had been moons of the highgarden hierarchy sending erasmus out of camp, as if they were trying to see how long they could get him away from the rest of the clan, save bluetcrest. bluetcrest, who was like a thorn in his side, a tick that he couldn't untangle from his fur. wherever he was, bluetcrest was not even a step behind. as attendant, he was only doing tawnyrose's bidding, and perhaps it was erasmus's error to tell him how much he knew, but he'd been tired of bluetcrest following him around, was sick of being watched. it was no fun to be the one that no one trusted, and it was a intensely impossible to do much of anything. yet, it seemed as though bluetcrest backed off whenever erasmus sought the herbalists' den for spencer. perhaps it was because they didn't thought spencer was harmless - correct - or because the herbalists' den was merlinsong's territory - also correct.
paragraphmost of the time, he watched spencer go about whatever task merlinsong had set on him for the day, be it preparing some concoction, taking inventory, sorting out the old herbs, or something of the like. outside, rain fell in rhythm, and erasmus felt lulled by the sound of spencer counting aloud as he sorted through leaves that had been strewn across the floor for better access. it reminded him, indescribably, of when they met. "do you remember the first time we spoke?" he questioned aloud, cracking one brilliant yellow eye open when motion ceased. spencer was still, then he turned to look at erasmus.
paragraph"'course, you really think i would forget?" he asked, and erasmus managed a smile. spencer was the only one in the world who could coax such softness from the massive tom. merlinsong had been gone since before dawn, as he often was, and erasmus thought that the rain might stall him even further. like this, when it was just the two of them, erasmus might be able to convince himself that they were the only ones that existed, that spencer was the only one who mattered. "i remember that you really tried to scare me out of my fur, with you trying to act all tough. dante-this, dante-that, and you postured around," spencer said, earning a throaty laugh from erasmus.
paragraph"i tried," he said, sitting up straighter when spencer pushed aside all of the herbs for the moment and opted to cross to erasmus. the moment spencer was close enough, erasmus pulled him impossibly close, wrapping his tail around spencer's smaller frame. he held him there. "i tried to posture, but gods forbid if i even tried to stand on a sprained paw. with the way you reacted, it was as if my entire leg was going to fall off," he teased, nipping spencer's ear. the herbalist nudged his chest with his nose.
paragraph"you know nothing. for all you know, it might have fallen off," spencer returned, and erasmus let out a huff of air.
paragraphoutside, the rain continued to fall, drumming in time against the campground. "i remember thinking that you weren't what i expected. you stuttered, you tripped over herbs. my first thought was how clumsy you were," he said, then, "but when you pushed me down, i thought of how you were more than clumsy. you were strong, in your own way. i remember thinking how beautiful you were, even then. even though i didn't know anything about you," erasmus said, and spencer's body vibrated with the purr he let out. there was a beat of silence as they basked in the warmth of their fur pressed together. then erasmus looked down at spencer. "i brought us here to keep you safe," he said, knowing that spencer knew that. spencer's eyes narrowed slightly, curious, and he nodded once. "i just wanted to give you a home where you would be safe. do you like it here?" he asked, and his voice dropped until it was no more than a whisper. "merlinsong - does he treat you right? if you wanted to leave, or if you didn't feel comfortable, we can go. no one could stop us." and the thought crossed his mind that no one would want to stop them. if anything, tawnyrose would likely send a patrol to groveclan the first chance she had to wash her paws of them if they decided to run in the middle of the night. but, for spencer, he would do anything. he was worth it.
paragraph"you worry too much," spencer said, and his eyes were the clear blue of open summer skies. erasmus was happy to be able to drown in them. "i like it here. and whatever is going on with you and bluetcrest and the others, it'll get better. the more time passes from the kingdom, the better it'll be. they just need the time to see you like i see you," spencer said, and his tone was so earnest that it could have snapped erasmus in half. his throat tightened with adoration, and he pulled spencer close again.
paragraph"whatever happens, i just need you to be on my side. please, be with me," erasmus said, steeling himself to keep from trembling.
paragraphspencer, true to him as always, leaned up and brought erasmus' head down until their foreheads were pressed together. "i'm with you. always," spencer said, and erasmus wondered if he would still say that if he knew what erasmus had in store, if he knew exactly what thoughts passed through the dark crevices of erasmus' head.

paragraphsagecloud was settled outside of the nursery when bluetcrest managed to find her. upon his approach, she hot him a friendly smile and nodded to the space next to her. "good afternoon," she greeted as bluetcrest sat down and wrapped his tail over his paws. "tulipstream wanted to get out and walk with bassflow for a little while through the rose pass, to get one more look at the flowers before the snows come, i suppose. so i told her i'd watch the kits for her. you know, all let ferretwhisker get some rest with the little ones," sagecloud said, and bluetcrest nodded. for a moment, they sat and watched the older kits play. the new kits, briarkit and daisykit, had taken to joining in the fun with tulipstream's kits. stagkit stood before the line of mollies, explaining the rules of a game he made up, though it seemed as though his sisters weren't paying him any attention.
paragraphat last, stagkit complained that seedkit was paying too much attention on a fallen leaf instead of the rules, and rabbitkit interjected that he was being boring. seedkit giggled and stagkit balked at his sisters. all the while, briarkit and daisykit exchanged amused glances. for the most part, the sisters were quiet and spoke mainly to one another, though they had come some way already since clovershine and betonypetal brought them back. at the very least, they seemed to enjoy playing with the other kits and were interested in the way the clan functioned.
paragraph"they're cute, aren't they?" sagecloud said after a little while, after the argument between the siblings dissipated, and the group took up a simple game of catch. bluetcrest huffed out a laugh and bobbed his head.
paragraph"they are," he agreed, and another beat of silence passed before bluetcrest cast the rose a sideways glance. "where do you come from, sagecloud?" he asked, and noticed immediately when her expression glazed over, when absorbed the question and was sent back in time.
paragraphshe swallowed thickly but didn't meet his eyes. "it was called ravenclan, and it was a wonderful place to live. maybe a little flawed at times, but isn't everywhere?" sagecloud said, and this time her eyes finally locked on bluetcrest's. he found himself unable to look away from her, so entranced, so trapped. "when it disbanded, i lost my family. they were grown my that point, ready to become warriors. they were ready to go off into the world on their own but... i never stop thinking about them. i would still do anything for them, would do anything even if only to see them for another instant," she added, only to tip her chin back to the burning sun overhead. "if it meant they could be safe, i would do anything." then she looked back to where the kits were playing, flicked her ear, as if to dismiss the thoughts from her head. "watching the kits, it helps the pain a little bit. they couldn't fill the hollow ache - nothing could, you know, except for them - but they take my mind off it a bit. i would do anything to protect these kits too."
paragraphfinally, sagecloud lapsed into silence, and bluetcrest found his opening. he cleared his throat quietly. "you know, it's good you say that. tawnyrose sent me to find you," he said, leading into it, and sagecloud's whiskers twitched in silent acknowledgement. "there are things you know. things that you probably weren't supposed to know. but the fact that you know them means that you might be able to help me."
paragraphit took a moment for sagecloud to digest what she was told, it seemed, but she mouth the name to herself and bluetcrest hummed quietly. her gaze dropped to assess her paws, as if thinking over what she was about to get herself into. she must have concluded that it was in her best interest to agree, or thought that there was no way that she would be able to get away with not going along with bluetcrest. she already knew, she already was in. so she sighed lightly. "what do you need me to do?" she asked, and bluetcrest smiled gently, small and empathetic, but not sympathetic. he leaned closer to her and began to tell her the plan.



actions
[ consumption ] highgarden eats two big fish and one squirrel
[ mates ] tawnyrose and birchflame try for kits
[ rank changes ] wolfpaw retakes her assessment. if she passes, she will be renamed wolfhowl
stagkit, seedkit, and rabbitkit are ready to become thorns
[ patrol 1 ] tawnyrose, bluetcrest, betonypetal, maplelily, smokemane, and iguanaspots
[ hunt 1 ] hurricanejaw, erasmus, dippernose, sagecloud, hornetshade, and jaytalon
[ hunt 2 ] softglow, mapleshadow, swiftheart, sunglow, tigergaze, and smallheart
[ hunt 3 ] bassflow, birchflame, clovershine, obsidianwing, sandstrike, and flickersky
[ herb hunt ] merlinsong and spencer
[ herbalists ] merlinsong and spencer practice medicine
[ notes to mod ] ftu images or color-ins are fine, whichever is better for you!
i ask that no one die on patrols though injuries are fine xx



    queen
    tawnyrose, 32m, ♀
    the wayward queen

    king
    softglow, 34m, ♂
    the lost king

    heir
    name, age, gender

    attendant
    bluetcrest, 36m, ♂
    the wayward's attendant

    herbalist
    merlinsong, 39m, ♂ - 5sp
    spencer, 34m, ♂ - 5sp

    roses & knights
    sagecloud, 50m, ♀
    mapleshadow, 48m, ♀
    erasmus, 46m, ♂
    hurricanejaw, 44m, ♂
    maplelily, 42m, ♀
    bassflow, 42m, ♂
    newtmask, 41m, ♂
    dippernose, 41m, ♂
    birchflame, 33m, ♂
    betonypetal, 31m, ♀
    flickersky, 30m, ♀
    clovershine, 30m, ♂
    smallheart, 30m, ♂
    swiftheart, 26m, ♀
    obsidianwing, 23m, ♂
    jaytalon, 21m, ♂
    smokemane, 20m, ♀
    sunglow, 20m, ♂
    tigergaze, 19m, ♂
    sandstrike, 17m, ♀
    hornetshade, 16m, ♂
    cougarstrike, 13m, ♂
    racoonslip, 13m, ♂
    foxspark, 13m, ♂
    privetears, 15m, ♀
    iguanaspots, 13m, ♀
    warblercry, 13m, ♀
    name, age, ♂

    thorns
    wolfpaw, 13m, ♀
    name, age, gender
            roots
            ferretwhisker, 37m, ♀
            - kits: elkkit, beechkit, harrierkit,
            quillkit, dewkit

            tulipstream, 33m, ♀
            - mate: bassflow
            - kits: stagkit, seedkit, rabbitkit
            name, age, gender

            seedlings
            stagkit, 6m, ♂
            seedkit, 6m, ♀
            rabbitkit, 6m, ♀
            briarkit, 4m, ♀
            daisykit, 4m, ♀
            elkkit, 0m, ♂
            beechkit, 0m, ♀
            harrierkit, 0m, ♀
            quillkit, 0m, ♂
            dewkit, 0m, ♀
            name, age, gender

            wilted
            name, age, gender
            name, age, gender

            allies & enemies & borders
            here

            medicine
            here

            prey
            total x78
            mouse | x1 | 1 servings
            vole | x9 | 1 servings
            squirrel | x6 | 2 servings
            rabbit | x10 | 2 servings
            big fish | x7 | 3 servings
            finch | x5 | 3 servings

            mentors
            clovershine, wolfpaw, 4
            mentor, thorn, 0

            deceased
            here

            family trees
            here
__________________________________________________________________________________________________________
credit goes to the cac artists for all color-ins and lineart xoxo
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highgarden ♕ fifteen

Postby eagle, » Fri Oct 18, 2019 8:59 am


      23
      22
      total 45
      servings 8
      pebbles 55
      xx
      Image
      ________________ Image ________________
      xx

      gods anytime
      kitting tawnyrose
      injury none
      archive xx
      font credit x x







paragraph"how're you feeling, kiddo?" hurricanejaw asked her, and wolfpaw tipped her chin up to look at her father. moons earlier, he had been no more than a distant figment of her imagination, though when she looked up him now, she recognized the warmth in his gaze, the relaxed set of his shoulders. in the corner of her peripherals, she watched as tulipstream and bassflow led their kits, her cousins, from the nursery. stagkit shot out in front of his sisters and tulipstream made to hurry after him, though bassflow stopped her by licking affectionately between her ears. tulipstream bumped her shoulder against her mate's, and rabbitkit darted after stagkit, kicking up grass as she went, seedkit a step behind. the trio skidded to a halt a tail length away from wolfpaw and hurricanejaw, and wolfpaw looked back to her father wide a grin.
paragraph"i'm excited, but i don't think i could beat them," she said, and hurricanejaw touched his nose to her ear just in time for her brothers to join the group, maplelily and newtmask in tow. behind them, sunglow waved his tail at wolfpaw, and smokemane winked at her, though her half-siblings opted to sit with their friends. overhead, the sun was cool but burning bright. courgarstrike and foxspark were pushing one another, but racoonslip moved past them to touch his nose to wolfpaw's, and she leaned into her brother's wiry frame.
paragraph"they grow up so fast," racoonslip commented after a beat, and wolfpaw balked, only to shove at his shoulder. he gave way under her forepaws, letting out a booming laugh. "c'mon little sister, chin up. this is your day," he said, using one forepaw to poke at her flank. "just remember: whatever happens, i'll still be older."
paragraphwolfpaw rolled her eyes and bumped him again, but let him shake out his fur and draw his forepaw over his ears to smooth down the fur. "yeah, always a bully too," she shot back, and when racoonslip smiled, it was over-exaggerated to show off sharp teeth. as always, her brother's antics brought forth a laugh from wolfpaw. with her family around her, it was easy to forget the insecurities from the moon prior. she had been training hard with clovershine, and this time passed her assessment with ease. when she turned over her shoulder to look for the snowy warrior, he was talking to betonypetal, though he caught her eye and waved his tail at her.
paragraphchatter rose from the highgarden cats until tawnyrose finally moved away from where she was spreaking to birchflame and dippernose. in several graceful bounds, she climbed her perch and called out across the camp for her clan to settle, to call for their attention. she tipped her chin, the image of regality. "what an exciting day for highgarden. this is my favorite part. getting to give thorns their full names. but, also seeing stagkit, rabbitkit, and seedkit grown to the age when they are to be given their mentors. the first kits born into highgarden are now one step closer to becoming full members," she started, and the cheers from the clan echoed around the camp. there was a distinct chill in the air, but no one seemed particularly bothered by it in that moment. not when tawnyrose waved the three kits forward from the crowd to stand under her perch, between bluetcrest and softglow. "stagkit, rabbitkit, and seedkit, the time has come when you have reached the age that the gods have determined you are ready to begin your training. from this moment forward until you have completed your training and passed your assessment, you shall be known as stagpaw, rabbitpaw, and seedpaw," tawnyrose said, and the trio of new thorns looked at one another, smiles too big for their faces. stagpaw shuffled his paws, his tail kinked over his back, while rabbitpaw bumped her shoulder against seedpaw's, who grinned down at her paws.
paragraphthen tawnyrose cleared her throat and looked out among the clan. "stagpaw, your mentor will be hurricanejaw. he trained iguanaspots well and is a knight to be respected by all. if there is anyone who will be able to teach you how a highgarden knight should be, hurricanejaw is that cat," tawnyrose said, and hurricanejaw appeared pleasantly surprised. it was no secret that many of the knights had been hoping that they would be assigned to mentor stagpaw, as he was already growing to be larger than his father. all the same, hurricanejaw didn't hesitate to cross to his nephew and touch their noses together, and stagpaw's expression was one of pleasure, that he was glad who his mentor would be. "seedpaw, your mentor will be smallheart. he has been in highgarden for many moons and has gained a lot of experience since i first met him. though he is not as large as other knights, there is no doubt that he is still strong and should not be underestimated. he will teach you well," she continued, and smallheart exchanged surprised glances with his friends before tigergaze shoved his former-mentor to his paws to where seedpaw trotted over to meet him halfway. then tawnyrose turned to rabbitpaw. "your mentor will be birchflame. he recently mentored foxspark, and there is no question of his skills since he was victorious in the most recent spring tournament. you will have a lot to learn from him," she finished. birchflame had been ready for this, and he met rabbitpaw, who was wide-eyed with wonder in the face of the red knight. cheers went up from the clan to welcome the thorns and their mentors.
paragraphthen tawnyrose waved her tail to gather attention to herself once more when she gestured wolfpaw forward to meet her before the clan. "wolfpaw, you have been training hard for many moons. clovershine tells me that you passed your assessment with ease this moon and that you are ready to become a full rose of highgarde. so it is my honor to call upon the gods to welcome you. first, however, i must ask you: wolfpaw, do you swear to serve highgarden as a rose until you are no longer able, loyal to the clan above all else, even if it means giving up your own life? do you pledge yourself under the light of the seven gods: the mother, the maiden, the father, the warrior, the smith, the crone, and the stranger?"
paragraphwolfpaw's answer was concise and clear when she met tawnyrose's bright green eyes. "i do," she said, pleased that her voice didn't waver.
paragraph"then from this moment forward you will be known as wolfhowl for your resounding strength. the gods have blessed you with tenacity to continue in moments that feel too difficult and when others might have given up, as well as charisma. highgarden is blessed to have you as a full rose." then tawnyrose stepped forward to touch her nose to wolfhowl's forehead. when she stepped back, the highgarden camp was filled with cheers for the new rose. the next thing wolfhowl knew, racoonslip barreled forward into her flank, followed by foxspark and cougarstrike. together, the siblings laughed together and wolfhowl accepted words of congratulations with nods and polite smiles when her eyes locked with hurricanejaw's over foxspark's shoulder. her father was smiling wide when he dipped his head to her, and wolfhowl felt warmth in her chest when she returned the gesture without a word, then buried her nose in racoonslip's neck.

paragraphthe wintry air had come with a vengeance, rushing down the slopes of the valley and settling into the highgarden camp as a new member of the clan that wouldn't leave, wanted each and every cat know that it was here to stay for a good while. the clan did what they could to stay warm, to wait out until the snows came. bluetcrest sent out a healthy supply of patrols to gather prey to try and keep the stores up as much as possible, and the younger roses and knights took to their duties with a sense of fervor, eager to warm their lean muscles. between patrols, the cats took to huddling together in the den set for the roses and knights, though others joined in as well, happy for the chance to keep warm. bassflow, tulipstream, and newtmask sat together, while stagpaw, rabbitpaw, and seedpaw were huddled with them for warmth. wolfhowl had squeezed into a nest with warblercry, her brothers crowded together on her other side. another small group formed when flickersky and swiftheart returned from patrol and crossed to where smallheart was chatting with jaytalon and sandstrike, privetears curled in the next nest over.
paragraphupon the roses' approach, privetears lifted her head, blinking away the dregs of sleep. "how's it out there?" she slurred softly, still waking up from a nap. sandstrike purred lowly and ducked her head to nudge her friend's cheek teasingly. privetears' jaws parted in a wide yawn when she made to sit up, only to lean heavily against sandstrike.
paragraph"cold," swiftheart muttered bitterly, shaking out her fur before collapsing into the nest with smallheart. immediately, the lithe tabby tom let out a low hiss when their fur pressed together, swiftheart's body chilled against his own. still, he offered no further complaint when swiftheart tucked further against him. "looks like it's going to storm out there soon. all the prey's hiding," she added. flickersky, meanwhile, squeezed in on privetears' other side, and the pretty bobtail shifted even closer to sandstrike to give flickersky more room.
paragraph"we were going to go back out since bluetcrest and softglow have been throwing a fit about prey," flickersky said. "but merlinsong practically threatened our lives if we even considered overworking ourselves."
paragraphjaytalon let out a light laugh at that. "he doesn't want anyone to get sick," he said, and flickersky hummed her acknowledgement.
paragraph"this weather is going to drive me crazy, my whiskers are already freezing," privetears said, letting out a defeated sigh. when jaytalon laughed again, she lifted her gaze to the knight. "i don't want to hear it, jaytalon. you laugh but you literally came from a clan called snowclan, you're used to this," privetears said, and this time the rest of the group laughed with jaytalon. sandstrike bumped her shoulder against privetears', jostling her gently.
paragraph"you act like you've never seen winter before," sandstrike said, and privetears flicked her in return. "pineclan must've gotten cold this time of year too," she added teasingly, and privetears merely hummed, turning her face in towards sandstrike's shoulder to hide another yawn. in turn, sandstrike wrapped her tail around privetears and pulled her closer for warmth.
paragraphthere was a beat of silence before flickersky straightened up. "pineclan, that's right. i saw a few pineclan cats at the gathering the other night." whenever a mention of the gathering came up, those within earshot straightened up, ears pricked with curiosity. as such, the group's attention shifted to flickersky, and privetears even looked out from sandstrike's fur again to study the older rose, who nodded in her direction, "were any of your family there?" flickersky asked.
paragraph"doubt it, pretty sure everyone moved on by now," privetears said with a shrug. "we were never gonna stay in pineclan long. bramblingpaw and ausmaspaw left a before i did, and then my other siblings and mother left pineclan too. my mom just wanted somewhere to stay while we were still young," privetears explained when the others shot her a series of curious glances. she shrugged. "six kits is a lot of kits, you know, she didn't want to do it on her own. and pineclan was fine for a while, i learned a lot there. but i was ready to go," she finished. there was a beat of silence, then smallheart and swiftheart exchanged a quick glance.
paragraph"that was like amberclan," swiftheart said, and smallheart nodded his agreement. "it worked for us for a while until it was time to move on. of course, it was more sudden than we would have liked. the camp wasn't safe anymore, so a lot of the clan left. we wanted to stay behind and protect it, but everyone started leaving and.... it was time," swiftheart said, and smallheart blew out a long breath.
paragraphthe pair received murmurs of sympathy. then jaytalon ducked his head, shot sandstrike a glance. "we didn't know each other before highgarden, but both of our clans disbanded around the same time. i know that i was just wandering for a while, and then ferretwhisker came out of no where with sandstrike and privetears, said that some gods had sent her along, and that she was picking up whoever she came across." at that, privetears and sandstrike let out breathy laughs, clearing away a bit of the gloom that had settled in the darkened den as night encroached with the possibility of a storm. outside, it was possible to hear the wind. more knights and roses pressed inside, and dippernose and hurricanejaw pressed in a few moments later, carrying two of ferretwhisker's kits.
paragraph"here's an idea," flickersky said, thrusting her nose towards the rest of her friends at the same time that mapleshadow and clovershine brought in two more kits, followed closely by ferretwhisker who carried the last kit and herded daisykit and briarkit along with her paws. together, the root bundled the kits towards her in the middle of the den, where it was warmest. "no more leaving. highgarden is our home now and we're a family. we stick together, alright? no matter what," she said, looking around at her friends. from around the different nests and corners of the den, chatter rose as the highgarden cats settled in for another cold night together. softglow's head peeked in from the far entrance, his blue eyes surveying those settled inside, before he disappeared again. "we have to stay together, all of us, because we all found our way here. we're meant to be here," she added. her eyes tracked from privetears, to sandstrike and jaytalon, to smallheart and swiftheart.
paragraph"together." that was sandstrike, who nudged privetears again. the smaller molly nodded, a smile forming over his maw. murmurs of agreement rose around the circle, and flickersky grinned broadly.
paragraph"together," she echoed, and pressed closer to her dearest friends.

paragraphmerlinsong had been fretting for days about an incoming storm, and bluetcrest had taken every precaution to make sure that the clan was as prepared as possible for snowfall. prey was stored away, nests lined with extra moss. tawnyrose and softglow decided that it would be a good idea to move ferretwhisker and her kits in with the knights and roses on particularly cold nights, so they would have additional warmth from other bodies around them. merlinsong and spencer monitored all cats for any signs of even the slightest sniffle or cough, though even softglow commented that his friend might have been growing a little too neurotic about checking on the cats. but if it meant that the clan remained healthy, then so be it.
paragraphwhen the first snowflake fell, bluetcrest had gone out of camp to hunt, to stretch his muscles without having to worry about erasmus, or sagecloud, or other members of a patrol. he went out to get some sense of peace. the past moon had been busy with catching sagecloud up with what she needed to do when she was watching erasmus, how she needed to keep her head low so that he wouldn't catch on. for the most part, sagecoud floated through the clan, often sent out on patrols but never made much noise. she didn't stand out much, and she already knew everything that she needed to know. the more bluetcrest thought about it, the more it made sense that tawnyrose picked the rose to watch erasmus. it also helped soothe his opinion that it meant that bluetcrest was free to handle other duties, to be with tawnyrose more, to be on his own more. such were his thoughts while he walked by the old tower, sniffing to see if he could scent another prey that might have come out of hiding from the incoming snow. then a vguely familiar scent reached his nose and bluetcrest turned in time to catch the flash of bright green eyes, the smudge of black and white fur a moment before a cat barreled toward him. bluetcrest's eyes widened and he moved by instinct alone, dodging quickly to the send in a move that the stranger hadn't been anticipating. however, the stranger was just as nimble and managed to catch himself before crashing into one of the trees. he spun on his paws and faced bluetcrest with those vivid green eyes, unlike any he had seen before.
paragraph"who are you?" bluetcrest asked, but the stranger merely shook out his fur and then launched at bluetcrest again. this time, he anticipated when bluetcrest went to dodge off to the side and caught the attendant by the shoulder, bowling him over. the cat was fast, but so was bluetcrest. together they rolled in a lock of fur, and it was only when they crashed into a tree that bluetcrest managed to find his feet and pin the cat down. "who are you?" he asked again, though it took a long moment for the cat to stop struggling, to stop thrashing to try and unseat bluetcrest before he breathed out heavily. under short fur, bluetcrest felt the cut of his ribs and knew that this cat must be hungry.
paragraph"i'm looking for two kits," the tom said, lashing his tail. bluetcrest paused, and it was in that beat that the cat managed to wriggle free, quick as a snake. this time when he moved, he was able to knock bluetcrest over and hold him down, roles reversed before bluetcrest could comprehend what had happened. "two kits came this way, i followed their scent. did you do something to them?" he asked, and there was a hint of desperation under the aggressive growl, and suddenly bluetcrest recognized the cat's scent.
paragraph"briarkit and daisykit," he said, and felt the cat's claws press into his shoulder, his hold tightening.
paragraph"what did you do with them? they're just kits."
paragraphbluetcrest shook his head quickly, stared up into those green eyes. "i'm from a clan. highgarden. we haven't done anything. we have a nursery, we've been taking care of them," bluetcrest, and the cat searched his face for a long moment, as if unsure if he could be trusted, wasn't sure if bluetcrest might be telling the truth. "i can take you to them," bluetcrest added, and at last the grip relaxed and the cat climbed off of him. around them, more snowflakes were beginning to fall, larger and larger. billowing white flakes that stuck to the grass and tree roots.
paragraph"lead the way, then," the cat said, and bluetcrest rolled his shoulders before shrugging and doing as he was told. together, they walked in silence through the snow until the wind began to buffet into their sides, the snow falling even heavier, the wind colder until bluetcrest was sure that his paws would freeze.
paragraph"we won't make it," he said, and the cat's eyes bore into his. "we'll freeze before he make it back to camp, it's not safe." without waiting for an answer, he adverted direction, moving his path from heading towards the rose path to take them into the valley and into camp, to inside the side of the moutains that made the valley. there, he found the tunnel he'd been searching for. the crunch of pawsteps after him told bluetcrest that the stranger was following him. when they entered the tunnel, there was the immediate reprieve from the wind and snow. together, they shook their fur free of the flakes. deeper in the tunnel, the cavern opened to where the legendary rose of highgarden was, and bluetcrest stopped. he watched the stranger take in the sight of the lone rose in the middle of the mountain, look up further in the ceiling to where light filtered down during the day. silence stretched between them, broken only by the sound of wind from outside. "what's your name?" bluetcrest asked.
paragraph"pythoneyes," the stranger said, then nodded to bluetcrest. "what's yours? and... this clan... what's it like?"
paragraphbluetcrest settled, lying down and wrapping his tail around him. he faced pythoneyes, who mirrored him. "my name's bluetcrest. highgarden - it's not like other clans," he started, "we have a leader, but we call her our queen. tawnyrose," he began to explain, and pythoneyes was a good listener, didn't interrupt, but kept his gaze trained on bluetcrest while he took it all in. when he finished, pythoneyes merely nodded and bluetcrest pointed in his direction. "pythoneyes... that's a clan name. you're from a clan. you and the kits." another nod. "when we found them, they said that they didn't have family anywhere near here. they said they weren't from a clan. are they your kits?" he asked, and pythoneyes blew out a slow breath.
paragraph"their mom was my best friend. her and the father are dead now. and the clan i come from was destroyed. so, they weren't wrong," he said, and must have noticed that bluetcrest would ask him more, though he shook his head slightly. "our clan was attacked, that's where their parents died. i was supposed to protect daisykit and briarkit, but we got separated. they saw their parents die, you know, they must have thought that i was dead too." the tom scuffed his paw against the floor of the tunnel, sent a glance over his shoulder to where the single highgarden rose stood tall. "this highgarden... if it's as true as you say it is, would they accept me and the kits? they need a home to grow up in, i want to keep them safe."
paragraphbluetcrest smiled despite himself and reached out a paw towards pythoneyes. "when the storm blows over, we'll get back to camp. tawnyrose'll take you in. the clan is already in love with those kits, you know," he said, and pythoneyes' smile was warm.
paragraph"they are cute kits, aren't they?" he said, and bluetcrest laughed loud enough for the sound to echo in the cavern and drown out the sound of the wind for a moment.

paragraph"he should be back by now," tawnyrose said, and her tail lashed. from where he had settled in the corner of the queen's den after checked on all those crowded in the roses' and knight's den, he'd come to check on tawnyrose to find her pacing the length of the den alone. there was no way that he could bring her to the rest of the clan when she was so agitated, and so softglow settled in to sit with her. he sat, and waited with her, and listened to her while she paced back and forth until he was sure that she should have created a rut in the middle of the den before his very eyes. it was the first time he had ever seen tawnyrose upset by anything, let alone beside herself. but it made sense. it made sense that it was about bluetcrest. "he never should have gone out with the snow coming, the fool," tawnyrose muttered darkly.
paragraphnot for the first time, softglow tried to placate her. "it's bluetcrest," he said. "he's a cockroach. as if a little storm is going to stop him from coming back here." but the sound of the wind of vicious, and the snow had been coming down by the pawful for some time. all the same, it pulled a snort of laughter from tawnyrose, and softglow shuffled his paws, tucking them under himself. "seriously, though, he'll be alright. he probably found somewhere to hide out the storm and he'll be back once it's over to tell you some great story of fighting a snow monster, and we'll never get him out of our fur again." again, tawnyrose laughed again, and she halted her pacing long enough to slump down beside softglow. she rested her head on his shoulder and didn't comment when he stiffened for a moment before settling again.
paragraph"you know, he told me something funny recently," she said, and softglow remained silent, knowing that she wasn't looking for him to say anything. it was a dramatic pause, not a space for comments. "he said that you said that we both hated you," she said, and this time he knew that she was looking for an answer, some explanation.
paragraphit was softglow's turn to laugh. "because you both do hate me. or did, at least, if you don't anymore. when i first came here, you'd think i was a badger come to kill you all," he said flatly. tawnyrose said nothing. "whenever i passed by, you either went quiet or laughed loud enough so that i knew you were laughing either at or about me. you treated me poorly, you know, and you didn't hide it. and the rest of the clan adores you, so of course they played along. it took me forever to just find a single friend in this whole clan, and even still, i feel like they haven't accepted me. i feel like you haven't accepted me most of the time." his voice lowered to a whisper and his gaze dropped to the floor. "and i get that i'm not the king maybe you were hoping for, and i knew early on that we'd never be mates, but... was i really that horrible that you hated me so much?" he wasn't sure whether he wanted tawnyrose to answer or not.
paragraphbut of course she did. "softglow, i never hated you. maybe i wasn't fond of you -" she said, and softglow let out a self-deprecating huff. "and you're right, you weren't the king i was expecting. i think you're the king that this clan needs, though. you never make it look like anything's getting to you, and you still hold your head high. you stick it out when others won't bother. you're level-headed and kind. you're a good king, and i think we work pretty well together, don't you?" a pause, and softglow considered it, turned to study tawnyrose's face. he'd seen her act plenty of times before, saw her act the part to manipulate a cat to get what she wanted. but in the moment, he couldn't find that mask, the glaze that normally crossed over her eyes when she was in a role. he couldn't figure out what she might be trying to gain in the moment. if anything, he was convinced that she wasn't playing a game at the moment. so he took the bait.
paragraph"maybe so," he said. "someone needs to balance you out, you know."
paragraphtawnyrose let out a gentle purr and butted her forehead against his shoulder. "exactly. and you should know that the clan does love you as their king. maybe you don't see it so much, but they do adore you. softglow, the king of highgarden - doesn't that sound so nice?" softglow flicked his ear, noticed the shift in tawnyrose's expression. when he questioned her about it, tawnyrose let out a long sigh. "i know about you and merlinsong, you know. and i want you to be happy but... it's complicated, you know that, right?" she said, and softglow furrowed his brow, sure that they were finally getting to the point. because, it occurred to him, that tawnyrose was very rarely kind just because she felt like it. she was always herself, and she always wanted something. he should have known better than to let a snake get so close to his neck. and then, boom. "the thing is, i need your help. i'm pregnant."
paragraphsoftglow's exhale was long and drawn out, and he let his eyes fall shut. "birchflame's?" he asked, though he already knew. even if bluetcrest hadn't told him everything, it wouldn't have been difficult to surmise. as if the knight hadn't been courting tawnyrose for moons, hadn't won the spring tournament in what was known as a play for the queen's affections. of course it was birchflame. "and you want me to act like they're mine," he said, and this time tawnyrose chose not to answer. "you know that no one will believe they're mine."
paragraph"for now, i just need to get that far," tawnyrose said, and softglow's only choice was to agree. together, they listened to the snowstorm outside of the den, with tawnyrose's head resting on softglow's shoulder while they waited for bluetcrest's return.

paragraphseveral days passed after the snowstorm, and bluetcrest returned with a new knight who was welcomed with open paws by the highgarden cats, and it was heartwarming to see the way pythoneyes was reunited with briarkit and daisykit, who stuck to his side. the camp felt light despite the freezing snow on the ground that sent cats into their nests between patrols and training duties. softglow had been in his own den when merlinsong came to him without pretense, brow furrowed. "you haven't been to see me," he said without any introduction, and softglow blinked up at his best friend dumbly, before merlinsong kicked a pile of herbs in his direction. "for check ups. need to make sure that you're not sick." with that, merlinsong padded forward, but softglow knew merlinsong well - too well, perhaps. and he knew when something was bothering him. his walk was still and forced, his smile didn't reach his eyes, and softglow knew that he'd hurt his friend in his efforts to keep a low profile, to contain his own affections.
paragraphit was in the interlude when merlinsong was examining softglow that softglow tried to think of what he could say, what would make it better. but merlinsong found his words first. "congratulations, by the way," he said, and blew out a sarcastic laugh when softglow blinked at him again. "tawnyrose? she came to me a few days ago, before the storm. she's pregnant," merlinsong said. and there is was again, the hurt that flashed in pale green eyes, that drew forth the confession, too easily from his tongue.
paragraph"they're not mine," he heard himself say, and then saw merlinsong's reaction. the herbalist's eyes widened and his jaws parted. a beat later, merlinsong looked over his shoulder towards the entrance of softglow's den and, seeing that no one was there, pressed his nose to softglow's cheek. "they're not yours," merlinsong echoed, and softglow could only shake his head. at last, merlinsong pulled away to look at the king, his head tipped to one side. "i thought - i was worried," he said, and softglow managed a tight smile.
paragraph"no one can know," he said, and merlinsong nodded quickly. "just us, her, bluetcrest right now." merlinsong searched his face, looking for answers, and softglow swallowed around the lump in his throat, glanced back over merlinsong's shoulder towards the entrance. still, no one was there. it was just them. "there are things happening that no one can know, that's i'm not even supposed to know. things that could really hurt this clan, merlinsong. i don't even know who to trust, it's just so much at once and -" his breathing hitched then, and merlinsong kicked aside his herbs to climb into the nest beside softglow, tucking his body alongside the king's.
paragraph"you can trust me, softglow," he soothed, tucking softglow's head under his chin and licking over his ear. "i'm here for you, you know that, right?"
paragraphand then softglow let out a choked sob, burying his face in merlinsong's shoulder. "i know, i know," he managed to sputter into merlinsong's long fur. then: "i trust you more than myself. i love you." once the words came from his mouth the first time, there was no stopping them. once, then again. "i love you." then again, again, again. like a chant, a promise, a secret that he wished he could scream louder, louder, louder. all the while, merlinsong held him close and whispered comfort into his ear, to try and soothe him. he said he knew, that he loved him too. at last, softglow slumped against merlinsong, let his eyes remain shut tight while he let out the last round of sobs. a last time: "i love you," softglow whispered into merlinsong's fur.
paragraph"oh softglow," merlinsong murmured so gently, so quiet that softglow felt the words rather than heard them. "i love you too. i think i always have, you know." and like that, with merlinsong close and warm, when the rest of the world spun in its confusion, softglow could only let free the torrent of secrets that he'd been holding in. of what he felt for merlinsong, of what he feared about erasmus. of what he heard, of what he believed. of bluetcrest, or tawnyrose, of birchflame. and on, and on, and on. because there was only one cat he could trust, one cat he loved.

paragraph"are you ever going to tell us what we're doing out here?" that was hornetshade, though tigergaze chose to ignore his best friend for the moment. the striped tom let out an annoyed huff, which earned a laugh from warblercry, who hornetshade was sitting with. the pair had been huddled together the entire time tigergaze dragged them out of camp through the snow to the windmill. he heard whispers, and a giggle from warblercry, though he still didn't turn to look at his friends. instead, he was waiting for iguanaspots and sunglow to come into sight on the horizon with smokemane and obsidianwing. "tigergaze, can you -" hornetshade began again, and tigergaze turned then, letting out a long sigh.
paragraph"can you relax for once and just have fun, for once?" tigergaze asked, and hornetshade flicked his tail, expression drawn. it was then that tigergaze noticed the way warblercry and hornetshade were shivering from sitting in the snow for so long, just waiting. "i told you, iguanaspots and sunglow are coming and we're all just going to hang out with them and smokemane and obsidianwing," tigergaze began, and hornetshade grinned at him.
paragraph"right, right, i forgot. you're trying to help sunglow set up his sister with her crush because you have a huge sappy crush on sunglow. right, i forgot. sorry, i remember now," hornetshade said then, laughing only when warblercry rolled her eyes and shoved at him, knocking him off-balance.
paragraph"i'm helping sunglow because smokemane and obsidianwing are pining and it's a nice thing to do," tigergaze said while hornetshade righted himself and shook snow from his paws. the younger knight shot warblercry a pointed glance, though the rose shrugged her shoulders and offered him a small smile, the picture of innocence and niceties.
paragraphhornetshade shook out his pelt as another chill ran down his spine, then looked back to tigergaze. "you're really telling me that you don't have a crush on sunglow, then? and if i told him that you were just helping him for smokemane and obsidianwing, you would be cool with that?" hornetshade asked, and he must have known the exact way to tease tigergaze to get a reaction, for in the next minute, he straightened and stood on his toes, staring off into the distance. "i think i see him now, so i can tell him as soon as he gets here -" hornetshade continued to tease, only to let out a loud laugh when tigergaze pounced on him, tackling him into the snow bank. warblercry jumped out of the way of the knights when they came into his direction. they tossed snow at one another, and it was only a few minutes later that a new voice called out.
paragraph"you two look like a pair of kit who've never seen snow before!" the teasing lilt, the distinct laugh. the next moment, tigergaze let out a laugh of his own when iguanaspots bundled into his side, knocking him away from hornetshade. they rolled together, away from hornetshade while warblercry helped nudge hornetshade to his paws. then they broke apart, and tigergaze blinked up at sunglow standing over him, the tom's smile bright.
paragraph"having fun?" sunglow asked, and smokemane and obsidianwing stood beyond his shoulder, laughing to themselves at the sight.
paragraphtigergaze grinned happily. "you could say that." at the same moment, hornetshade shok out his fur again, splattering warblercry with snow, who swatted at him in turn, and the striped tom called out: "iguanaspots is on my team!" hornetshade said, and tigergaze blinked up at sunglow. "which team are you on?" he asked, and sunglow chuckled.
paragraph"your team?" the red tom suggested, but tigergaze didn't hesitate to reach up and pull sunglow down into the snow with him. sunglow spluttered and batted at tigergaze to free himself from the larger tom's grip.
paragraph"not my team. i can't do that if you're on my team," he teased when they both found their paws and shook out snow. at that, sunglow narrowed his eyes.
paragraph"oh, you're so on," sunglow shot back. then, to the others: "hornetshade, iguanaspots. i'm on your team," he said, and the pair erupted into exaggerated cheers. the teams were uneven, though no one seemed to mind much. tigergaze was joined by warblercry, obsidianwing, and smokemane, while hornetshade, iguanaspots, and sunglow bunched together in a huddle that sounded more like laughing than it did a discussion of strategy. then, with a war cry, the two teams came together, tossing snow in each direction, more likely to hit their own teammates than the opposing team, though no one seemed to mind. it wasn't as if they had set any rules, had even gone into it with the idea of teams. between ducking a pawful of snow that smokemane accidentally sent flying in his direction and aiming for sunglow, tigergaze had the fleeting thought that this was how it was supposed to be. that he was supposed to be laughing with his friends, running around and wrestling. he had the thought that it was nice to hear hornetshade laugh, that iguanaspots looked especially happy with snow glittering in her whiskers, and that sunglow's smile was enough to make him forget about the bite of cold against his paws and nose.
paragraphlike this was how it was supposed to be, how he always wanted it to be. like this always, for the rest of time.



actions
[ consumption ] highgarden eats two big fish and one squirrel
[ patrol 1 ] bluetcrest, betonypetal, maplelily, smokemane, iguanaspots, and warblercry
[ hunt 1 ] bassflow, erasmus, dippernose, sagecloud, hornetshade, and jaytalon
[ hunt 2 ] softglow, mapleshadow, swiftheart, sunglow, tigergaze, and smallheart
[ hunt 3 ] clovershine, obsidianwing, wolfhowl, pythoneyes, sandstrike, and flickersky
[ training ] stagpaw, seedpaw, and rabbitpaw learn agility
[ herb hunt ] merlinsong and spencer (priority for kitting herbs)
[ notes to mod ] i ask that no one die on patrols though injuries are fine xx



    queen
    tawnyrose, 33m, ♀
    the wayward queen
    - mate: birchflame
    - due: 2m

    king
    softglow, 35m, ♂
    the lost king

    heir
    name, age, gender

    attendant
    bluetcrest, 37m, ♂
    the wayward's attendant

    herbalist
    merlinsong, 40m, ♂ - 5sp
    spencer, 35m, ♂ - 5sp

    roses & knights
    sagecloud, 51m, ♀
    mapleshadow, 49m, ♀
    erasmus, 47m, ♂
    hurricanejaw, 45m, ♂
    maplelily, 43m, ♀
    bassflow, 43m, ♂
    newtmask, 42m, ♂
    dippernose, 42m, ♂
    pythoneyes, 38m, ♂
    tulipstream, 34m, ♀
    birchflame, 34m, ♂
    betonypetal, 32m, ♀
    flickersky, 31m, ♀
    clovershine, 31m, ♂
    smallheart, 31m, ♂
    swiftheart, 27m, ♀
    obsidianwing, 24m, ♂
    jaytalon, 22m, ♂
    smokemane, 21m, ♀
    sunglow, 21m, ♂
    tigergaze, 20m, ♂
    sandstrike, 18m, ♀
    hornetshade, 17m, ♂
    privetears, 16m, ♀
    cougarstrike, 14m, ♂
    racoonslip, 14m, ♂
    foxspark, 14m, ♂
    wolfhowl, 14m, ♀
    iguanaspots, 14m, ♀
    warblercry, 14m, ♀
    name, age, gender

    thorns
    stagpaw, 7m, ♂
    seedpaw, 7m, ♀
    rabbitpaw, 7m, ♀
    name, age, gender
            roots
            ferretwhisker, 38m, ♀
            - kits: elkkit, beechkit, harrierkit,
            quillkit, dewkit

            name, age, gender

            seedlings
            briarkit, 5m, ♀
            daisykit, 5m, ♀
            elkkit, 1m, ♂
            beechkit, 1m, ♀
            harrierkit, 1m, ♀
            quillkit, 1m, ♂
            dewkit, 1m, ♀
            name, age, gender

            wilted
            name, age, gender
            name, age, gender

            allies & enemies & borders
            here

            medicine
            here

            prey
            total x86
            mouse | x1 | 1 servings
            vole | x10 | 1 servings
            squirrel | x7 | 2 servings
            rabbit | x11 | 2 servings
            big fish | x6 | 3 servings
            finch | x7 | 3 servings

            mentors
            hurricanejaw, stagpaw, 0
            smallheart, seedpaw, 0
            birchflame, rabbitpaw, 0
            mentor, thorn, 0

            deceased
            here

            family trees
            here
__________________________________________________________________________________________________________
credit goes to the cac artists for all color-ins and lineart xoxo
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highgarden ♕ sixteen

Postby eagle, » Sun Oct 20, 2019 4:31 pm


      24
      23
      total 47
      servings 8
      pebbles 55
      xx
      Image
      ________________ Image ________________
      xx

      gods anytime
      kitting tawnyrose
      injury none
      archive xx
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paragraphsnow crunched under his paws and stuck into the crevices between his pads, but otterfur knew that he had to keep moving, had to put as much distance as possible between himself and what had happened. so he walked. he walked until his paws were numb from walking, numb from the freezing cold of the snow. he walked until it was all he knew how to do, and he kept his eyes forward. for looking back meant that he might lose his resolve and that he himself might crumble. leafbare was harsh, but he had no choice but to persevere. otterfur had no real sense of direction, moving only forward to the next spot, one foot in front of the other, stopping only when food and rest was absolutely necessary. when he'd lost everything else in his life that he cared about, moving forward was his only purpose for staying alive. if nothing else, his travel gave him a chance to see some of the world that he once might never have come across if not for putting the past behind him. an expansive and windy moor, crossed mountains, on and on through forest after forest. he crossed distinct borders that marked clan territory, but did his best to stay out of the way of passing patrols, and away from any areas where the scent of strange cats was particularly strong.
paragraphuntil, at last, he arrived at the lake. it was a lovely sight, glittering in the afternoon beams of cold light from the sun overhead. it would only be a matter of time until sunset, he supposed, and the ground was hardened from ice and the cold, but otterfur didn't mind it. in fact, he didn't find himself minding much of anything anymore. how could he, after he'd lost so much and done so many things that a decent cat couldn't be proud of? he'd lost his best friend to some sort of tyrannical madness that led him to nearly destroy bearclan, he lost the only mate he'd ever had, he'd killed his apprentice, and his sons... his regrets piled on, one on top of another, on top of another. with each step he took away from bearclan, another name passed through his head of those he'd let down, or those he had betrayed or violated.
paragraphthe edges of the lake were crusted with ice, and otterfur reached out to touch it. when he pressed down, a spiderweb of cracks began to form, radiating outward in a seemingly randomly pattern from the epicenter of contact. if he hadn't known better, he might have said that it was some sort of poetic irony, that it symbolized something extremely profound as if some greater reflection on his past. but it was just ice, and ice cracked when layered so thin over the dark lake water. it was only when a voice carried on the air, too close for comfort, that otterfur's gaze snapped up to attention, and he stared into pale green eyes. "i wouldn't do that, if i were you," the cat called out, and otterfur's eyes swiveled, seeking out any additional signs of other cats. "it's like i've been telling everyone, chills are more dangerous than anyone thinks that they are. it starts with a sniffle and shortness of breath, and then it gets worse." there was a sigh, and otterfur regarded the cat carefully, only to feel his eyes widen when the cat shook his head and swished his tail. "anyway, are you coming, or not?"
paragraphotterfur blinked, rose to his paws. "what are you saying? go where?" again, his gaze searched the surrounding area for other flashes of fur. "who are you?" he heard himself ask, only for the cat to let out a laugh, so carefree and uninhibited that it took the skinny brown tom aback.
paragraph"i'm merlinsong, highgarden's herbalist," the strange tom said, only to pad forward, closer to otterfur when the brown tom just blinked at him again. merlinsong's whiskers twitched with amusement. "no? doesn't ring any bells?" merlinsong asked, only to let out another sigh when otterfur shook his head. "no, i guess not. we don't tend to venture too far from the valley, you know," he said, though otterfur didn't know. when merlinsong gestured again off in the direction he had originally come from, and otterfur could only follow the stranger's lead, too travel-weary to try and argue. instead he was forced to listen as he rattled on. "it's like softglow's been trying to tell tawnyrose - oh, you'll meet them both soon enough, the king and queen of highgarden, of course - we need to work on how other clans see us. tawnyrose - oh, don't worry, she plays up a lot colder than she actually is, in my opinion, i'm sure she'll warm up to you in no time - anyway, like i was saying, tawnyrose likes to think that we're different than other clans, that we don't follow in the same pawsteps that they do. so we don't go to many gatherings and tend to contact only border clans," merlinsong continued with a nonchalant shrug. "so it's no surprise that you haven't heard of us before." together they walked, otterfur's long legs covering more ground that merlinsong, though he kept pace, following him through the snowbanks. "but you'll find out all about highgarden, when you stick around, and -"
paragraph"i never said that i would stay," otterfur said, suddenly halting altogether. "i don't know anything about your clan. and i'm perfectly fine on my own." his thoughts ran through the most recent scars from bearclan. the bear itself, viperstar and lionclaw, being driven out. "i think i'm better off on my own."
paragraphbut merlinsong's expression was incredulous when he faced otterfur properly. the dark tail swished against the snowy ground. "funny, i thought you looked a lot smarter than that. no one is better on their own. and anyone who thinks that way clearly hasn't been in the best of company lately." otterfur couldn't help the sharp, toneless laugh that he let out at the though, and merlinsong flashed a crooked smile. "i rest my case," merlinsong said, though otterfur merely flicked his ear. "i don't know what you've been through, but i can tell you that highgarden is different. take that however you want, but we've got cats who come from everywhere. and everyone has secrets. no one's perfect, but highgarden's a good place for a new start. if you meet us, you might just like us." then merlinsong flicked his tail. "though i can tell you that not everyone is anywhere near as entertaining as i am."
paragraphat that, otterfur couldn't help but crack a grin, eyeing merlinsong with a new light. he was strange, sure, and otterfur didn't know anything about him, but he'd left viperstar to get a chance for a new start. highgarden: he doubted there was such a thing as paradise, but he was tired of walking without a purpose, and here was a second chance tossed at his paws. "i think it'd be hard to find anyone quite like you," he said, and merlinsong's eyes glittered with amusement.
paragraph"oh, i knew you would catch on quickly, you've got that spark in you," merlinsong said, letting out a satisfied purr. "you can tell me more about you while we walk back, alright? i'd prefer to get home before my paws freeze," merlinsong said, and otterfur dipped his head. they began to walk again, and mountains rose into view in the middle of the territory, capped in snow, before otterfur's eyes.
paragraph"my name's otterfur," he started, well-aware that there would be many things he would keep to himself, some details that were worth omitting if he wanted a fresh start. some details would need to be omitted completely, but others he could keep. "i came this way from bearclan. i had to walk quite a way to get here, bearclan isn't anywhere near here."
paragraph"bearclan," merlinsong echoed, his eyes round. "why the name?"
paragraphotterfur let out a long exhale. "well, originally, slatestar said that it was because he wanted a strong clan. but, if you could believe it, there was actually a bear." merlinsong's surprised reply was carried on the wind in a cloud of fog when he huffed out a breath. and, like that, they exchanged stories while they walked through the snow, into the heart of highgarden territory.

paragraph"tawnyrose!" bluetcrest called from the middle of the camp as soon as the queen emerged from her den, and she could only sigh heavily and roll her eyes as her dearest friend dashed from the cluster of roses and knights to her side. "it's still cold in camp, you're better off being inside," bluetcrest was saying, and tawnyrose touched her nose to his cheek to try and quiet him. he pulled back and shot her a fierce glance. "i'm serious, tawnyrose. merlinsong will shred my ears if he finds out that you're at risk for a cold or worse," her attendant said.
paragraph"you need to relax," tawnyrose said, brushing past him, "i'm not leaving the camp. merlinsong said that it would be good for me to stretch my legs every now and then. these strolls around camp are herbalist-endorsed," she assured bluetcrest, who pressed close to her flank, as if to offer his own body heat to her. "i swear, you're more worried than i am," tawnyrose teased, and bluetcrest merely scoffed.
paragraph"well someone has to be worried. this is the future of highgarden, this is the future queen!" he said, and tawnyrose purred quietly, leaning her head against bluetcrest's for a long moment.
paragraph"you're right, but the next queen will have to wait a long while. i'm not done leading yet," tawnyrose said, and bluetcrest managed a laugh at that. together, they round back to where bluetcrest had left the roses and knights who still needed to be sent out on patrols for the day. tawnyrose exchanged a smile with tigergaze and smokemane, who were chatting between themselves, and she brushed her cheek affectionately against flickersky's. then she turned back to bluetcrest. "i'll be fine, handle this," she instructed him, already going to wave her tail to silence him when he opened his mouth to argue, but another voice came from behind tawnyrose.
paragraph"i'll walk with our queen for a little bit, since i just got back," birchflame said casually, and bluetcrest's sharp yellow gaze locked on tawnyrose's eyes before the attendant sighed and nodded once and turned back to mapleshadow. by the rigid line of her friend's spine, tawnyrose could tell that bluetcrest wasn't entirely pleased, but she turned her attention to birchflame instead, and the large knight studied her face when she padded to him.
paragraph"i will warn you that laps around camp can be quite boring," she said, and birchflame let out a warm laugh.
paragraph"we'll see about that. it's my honor to walk with the queen." and so they began, taking their time as they strolled. as winter was beginning to loosen its hold, the snow had begun to melt. softglow had organized cats to finish clearing the slush from the camp, and bassflow and otterfur, the new knight, had done a good job as volunteers for the tedious project. as they walked, birchflame made a point to steer tawnyrose away from any puddles or mud, and he smiled kindly at her. "how are you feeling, by the way?" he asked, and tawnyrose flicked him with her tail.
paragraph"oh no, you aren't allowed to start with me too," she said, and birchflame chuckled in kind. "i'm fine. cats have kits all of the time, and everyone here is acting as if this is so different." she'd already had to sit through lectures from merlinsong and bluetcrest, and she was not ready to have birchflame create an issue as well.
paragraphstill, the ginger tom hummed thoughtfully. "you're right, but this clan adores you, you're our queen," he commented after a beat. as if on cue following his statement, foxspark, racoonslip, and wolfhowl called out a greeting to the queen, who smiled warmly after them as they ran past to catch up to where mapleshadow was taking out a patrol. "and they'll love your kits," he added when the knights and rose were out of earshot. tawnyrose didn't miss the hint of bitterness hiding between his words. she set her jaw.
paragraphwhen she first when to birchflame to tell him that she was pregnant, she knew that he would understand everything that went with it. the kits were his, no doubt about it, but the odds that he would ever be able to claim them as his were slim. even if it was suspected, even if it was known that the kits weren't softglow's, claiming them as his kits would be detrimental to their claim as heirs, and to tawnyrose's status as queen. he understood this, though that didn't mean that he liked it by any means. "of course they'll love them. everyone loves kits," tawnyrose said, nodding politely to otterfur when he passed, managing a tight smile at the pair. "what do you think of him?" she asked, dropping her voice to a whisper.
paragraphbirchflame was silent for a moment, only to shoot a glance over his shoulder towards otterfur. "haven't spoken to him much. went hunting with him the other evening. a little quiet, a little jumpy," birchflame said, then shrugged. "he was talking to hurricanejaw, though, so that must be a good sign," he added, and tawnyrose bobbed her head, noncommittal. then he cleared his throat and spoke again, "whenever a new cat comes here, i can't help but think of when clovershine and i came here," he said, and tawnyrose sent his a sideways glance, though he tipped his head back to look at the clear blue sky. "it feels like so long ago, now. i wonder where i would be if we hadn't found highgarden."
paragraphtawnyrose expected him to say something further, though birchflame lapsed into silence. her whiskers twitched. "and?" she urged. "what do you come up with? is it better than here?"
paragraphbirchflame flicked his ear and blinked at the sky for a moment longer. then he met her gaze and smiled broadly. "that's the thing, i can't imagine anything better than here. even if i tried, highgarden is perfect. i have my best friend, the other knights and roses are great..." he trailed off, but his eyes remained fixed on tawnyrose, who shook her head, scoffing.
paragraph"you're obligated to say that, you know," she said. "it would've been insulting if you didn't."
paragraphbirchflame's fur brushed against hers when he maneuvered her carefully around a puddle of mud, though he lingered close for a moment longer than necessary, and tawnyrose's eyes drew back to his face. "but you know that i mean it," he said, and they both looked up when dippernose passed by, herding the thorns away from their den as he cleared away a branch that had fallen from a tree during one of the recent snowstorms. dippernose waved his tail at them, his mouth full of tree bark. tawnyrose and birchflame lingered long enough to greet him kindly in turn, before they padded away, and birchflame lowered his voice. "there's no place i'd rather be than by your side, you know that," he said, and tawnyrose glanced around the clearing, mindful of who might be listening in.
paragraph"you know what i said," she replied, forcing herself to keep her expression school and formal, as if she had been speaking with anyone else, if birchflame was smallheart, betonypetal, or hurricanejaw. "i'm glad that they're yours," she said, when birchflame's expression tightened. "but this isn't easy for anyone, this is just how it has to be. maybe, eventually, it can be different. but for now, right now, this is what is." she expected it when birchflame ducked his head for just a moment before he regained his facade and nodded.
paragraph"i know, i'm trying to understand," he said, and tawnyrose blinked sympathetically at him. "everyone is still going to know."
paragraph"and it'll be my word against theirs. if they love me as much as you say they do, then they'll learn to be blind to some things," she said, and birchflame let out a laugh at that at last, either from surprise or otherwise at such bold confidence, tawnyrose couldn't immediately tell.
paragraph"i'm just excited to see them," he said. "heir of highgarden. it has a nice ring to it, doesn't it?" birchflame added, this time nodding to ferretwhisker as they paused at the nursery. ferretwhisker grinned broadly and wrapped her tail over her paws. before her, her kits were still taking in the vast sights of the highgarden camp, briarkit and daisykit speaking gently to them in low tones. since pythoneyes came the moon before, the sisters had opened up considerably, even giggling and smiling when tawnyrose's eyes passed over them.
paragraph"it certainly does. it'll be a cause for much celebration, i'm positive," ferretwhisker said. "and quillkit has already been asking when they can get new playmates since briarkit and daisykit are leaving the nursery soon."
paragraphtawnyrose purred, deciding to settle down beside ferretwhisker, and birchflame sat at her other shoulder. "oh, i'm sure we can figure out some special occasion to welcome them," she said, not missing birchflame's grin at the idea. ferretwhisker, however, let out a loud purr and touched her nose to tawnyrose's shoulder delicately, and tawnyrose listed to her ideas as the kits played and the clan moved about the camp, preparing for the coming close of winter and everything that would be coming next in due time.

paragraphthe sky was clear while hornetshade sat guard for the night, his tail curled neatly over his paws. the front tunnel had been quiet for most of the night since the moonhigh patrol left with newtmask leading, the patrol leaving just as hornetshade relieved sandstrike from duty, and the pale molly had all but stumbled back to the den, exhausted from a long day. hornetshade hadn't slept well in seasons, and he stared up at the moon, feeling wide awake. while many of the roses and knights dreaded the rotation of night guard duty, hornetshade was known for filling in when someone was needed to take a late patrol or would be scheduled for the dawn patrol. he liked the peace that came in the middle of the night, in the period of time after the dusk patrol had returned and most cats were in their dens, before the moonhigh patrol was due to arrive back and before the dawn patrol was coming together. it gave him the chance to either think deeply about his day, or to zone and trust his senses, to think of nothing at all. he found solace in the feeling that he was the only cat in the world wide awake, that there was only him and the night noises of distant birdsong and his clanmates' slumber. he watched over the clan, and the moon and stars watched over him.
paragraphhornetshade heard the pawsteps from across the camp, the gentle brush of fur against the cold ground, and instinct kicked in. before he had the chance to take in scent, he stood and whirled around. a beat passed, and he stared into ferretwhisker's clear blue eyes. if there was one thing he remembered of her from their shared past, it was that ferretwhisker's real smile was distinct and delicate, so slight and gentle, but made any cat feel noticed and adored when directed to them. as a kit, he had done much to get her attention, when she was just a young warrior. now, he flicked his ear and sat back down, face turned towards the camp entrance. "can't sleep?" he asked at last, and ferretwhisker settled a tail-length away from him. a calculated and careful distance.
paragraph"how could we, after everything?" ferretwhisker replied, and hornetshade flicked his ear again in answer. then: "hornetshade... how did you ever decide on that name? your mother would have been appalled -" she began, though hornetshade finally felt his patience crack completely and he hissed low in his throat, cutting her off.
paragraph"you don't get to say anything about her," he growled, though ferretwhisker didn't so much as twitch. their gazes locked and hornetshade spat indignantly. "besides, after what happened, i doubt her greatest concern would have been that i changed my name. it was for protection - you should know that. you should've changed your name too." he shuffled his forepaws then, scraped against the top layer of dirt and dead grass that hadn't survived through the winter moons. "i was never supposed to see anyone from then again, and now you show up again, just like you did that night, and you act like we're supposed to be friends," he said, trailing off with a shake of his head.
paragraphferretwhisker rolled her eyes, unsympathetic. "after everything i did, you'd think that you might've been a little more thankful," she shot back, and hornetshade forced his fur to remain flat against the back of his neck, deciding to let her finish speaking. "they were chasing you, you're lucky that i'm the one who found you. you were still a kit, they would've swallowed you whole if they'd gotten their chance to get you. you're lucky i let you go and led them away," ferretwhisker said, and her eyes burned hot when their gazes locked again. then, she dropped her head for a moment and let out a prolonged sigh, regaining her composure before she glanced at the young tom again. "when montgomery overthrew thrushstar, we didn't know that anyone was supposed to get hurt. we thought we were making the clan better -"
paragraph"by killing the half of the clan that didn't follow him?" hornetshade cut in, his voice cracking halfway through. "you tell me, ferretwhisker, how does that make any sense?" he felt his entire body tremble from the emotion that welled up, had been piling on for seasons. since he got to highgarden, the entire time before highgarden. "my mother did nothing, and she was killed. and you didn't do anything to try and stop it. you just let it happen, and that makes you just as horrible as montgomery, you must know that."
paragraph"i helped you," ferretwhisker whispered, and hornetshade turned his head away from her.
paragraph"after it was too late, after you already had all their blood on your paws. and you just told me to run, i didn't even know if you would kill me the moment i had my back turned. i still don't know that you aren't leading him here to do it again in highgarden," hornetshade said, and ferretwhisker appeared unable to meet his eyes this time. he let out a watery laugh. "right, that's what i mean." he stood then and shook out his fur, turned away from ferretwhisker. "i'm still on guard duty. i need to do rounds of the camp." he paused mid-step, however, when ferretwhisker spoke up again.
paragraph"why haven't you told anyone?" she asked, and hornetshade glanced back to her over his shoulder. he shrugged.
paragraph"you have small kits. they haven't done any wrong," he said, took another step, and paused again. "when they turn four moons, just remember that that's how old i was when you helped murder my mother and destroy our clan." with that, he padded away from ferretwhisker, leaving her to sit alone in front of the camp entrance with the moon shining brightly overhead.

paragraphin the time he'd been in highgarden, pythoneyes found that he was settling in nicely, was happy to have a home that seemed quite safe and secure, was happy that he managed to track down briarkit and daisykit. he was glad that the kits seemed to enjoy their new clan as well and had taken to the younger kits and the thorns that were only a few moons older than them. originally, when the highgarden cats found the sisters, they said that they'd been extremely quiet, acting more like two shadows than two young kits. thankfully, it seemed that they had managed to warm up more since they recognized pythoneyes from their past home. pythoneyes spent the majority of his days helping out on patrols, more than happy to volunteer his time to seek out hard to find prey and learn more about the highgarden borders, though his evenings and nights were spent in the nursery with his best friend's kits, making sure that they were happy.
paragraph"are you both excited to start your training soon?" pythoneyes asked them. across the nursery, ferretwhisker had managed to round up her kits and fit them in her nest. elkkit was complaining about going to bed so soon, saying that he wasn't even tired until his argument was broken off with a yawn, earning a laugh from the rest of his siblings. in turn, daisykit and briarkit agreed that they were excited, and listed off a few cats that they would want to be mentored by. and pythoneyes listened to them, happy to hear their voices and the excitement at the prospect of the vast future before them.
paragraphhe groomed between daisykit's ears gently, and briarkit leaned into his flank, already beginning to doze off, that is, until daisykit twisted to look up at pythoneyes. "can you tell us a story?" she asked, and pythoneyes blinked dumbly at her for a long moment before he licked his lips.
paragraph"i'm not - i'm not good at telling stories," he said, but swallowed thickly when daisykit fixed him with him with those wide eyes. "but i can try. i - uh - what do you want to hear a story about?"
paragraphbriarkit sat up at the prospect of entertainment. "can you tell us one about mama?" she asked. "what was she like at our age?" daisykit, meanwhile, twisted around in pythoneyes' grasp to look up at him properly, and pythoneyes let out a gentle laugh, bending his head to press down a tuft of fur that stuck out at the top of her head.
paragraph"your mother... you know, she was actually a bit of a troublemaker back in the day," pythoneyes began, letting the kits press close as they held on to his every word. "i remember a time before we were apprentices, and lotuspetal - your mother was only lotuskit at that time, of course - had the idea that we would go fox hunting. we overheard the warriors talking about how there were foxes on the territory, and she decided that we were the ones who should go hunt it down. you know, the usual idea that if we did something so great, that we would be made warriors immediately. we were so young then, so foolish, we thought it made sense. trust me, it's not worth this, don't actually try to do this or i'll have your ears," pythoneyes said, aware that ferretwhisker was still awake and listening to the story, and the molly let out a soft purr at the light teasing. "anyway, we were only kits at the time. we'd never been far out of the camp, we didn't even know what a fox looked like, not really, let alone how to track one or kill it. still, your mother managed to convince me and your father that it was a good idea and that we had to go with her. by that point, i think your father was already a little bit in love with your mother, and maybe she was already in love with him. i was just happy to have a best friend, i would've followed her anywhere if it meant being her friend. so, we managed sneak out when our mothers were sleeping, since there was a hole in the nursery after a storm hit the camp and ripped a hole in the wall, just small enough for us to squeeze through." at that, pythoneyes paused long enough to glance about the nursery, pleased that the walls were still sturdy and intact. daisykit and briarkit were warm against him, and quiet as they were lulled by his voice.
paragraph"so we managed to get out of camp without anyone noticing. again, we didn't know how to track foxes, so the three of us were wandering aimlessly, just waiting for this mystery fox to land in front of us, and then i guess we just assumed that it would run from us, or fall over dead. the fact that we got as far as we did was surprising, in hindsight. but then your mother saw it: a tail! dawn was breaking over the horizon, night was over, and we finally found it. it was red, just like we heard foxes were. together, the three of us attacked. your mother latched right onto that tail with her teeth and held on as tight as she could. the tail lashed, but your mother was a born fighter, and she wasn't so easily beaten," he continued. pythoneyes recognized that briarkit was already asleep, that daisykit was close behind. still, he spoke on. "finally, i got through the brushes that were blocked our sight of the full fox. there was snarling, a lot of spitting, and i just wanted to see what a fox really looked like. so imagine how surprised i was when it turned out that it wasn't a fox at all, but our clan's deputy, sunflash, who was not happy that we'd gotten out to go fox hunting, even less happy that your mother had taken a bite out of his tail. apparently our mothers woke up before dawn, and the search parties had been tracking us." he laughed then, carefree and easy. briarkit rolled over in her sleep and daisykit snuffled a snore. across the nursery, even ferretwhisker had dozed off, her breathing coming out evenly. but pythoneyes looked up to see bluetcrest sitting in the entrance, his ears pricked. "how much did you hear?" he asked the attendant, and bluetcrest flashed a smile.
paragraph"i think i missed the bit in the very beginning, but i got the gist," he said, and pythoneyes matched his grin when the other tom blinked and asked: "so, how much trouble did you three get in?"
paragraphfor a moment, pythoneyes hummed, smoothed down daisykit's fur with his tailtip. "had to wait an extra moon to start training. had to spend that time taking care of elders and helping out the medicine cat," he said, then shrugged. "could've been worse. we could've been eaten by a fox." at that, bluetcrest let out a quiet chuckle, and pythoneyes' smile broadened from amusement.

paragraphthe idea first came about after iguanaspots decided that she was tired of hearing warblercry go on and on about her massive crush on hornetshade, how she was tired of wolfhowl bemoan how cute privetears was, and how much she wished that privetears and sandstrike weren't already constantly attached at the hip. iguanaspots was, frankly, tired of all of the relationship talk, and was tired of being cramped inside the den most hours of the day to try and ward off the chills that merlinsong was so scared of. so, as soon as word passed through the highgarden cats that rose lake and the twin rivers had begun to thaw, signalling nicer weather just around the bend, iguanaspots hunted down her friends and gathered them up, along with the newest rose, lyrewhistle who had been found only several days earlier. the newest addition to their friend group looked on wide-eyed as iguanaspots paced up and down in front of her friends. "i'm tired of all of the talk about toms and mollies and crushes and how much you want to wallow in self-pity," iguanaspots said, then looking to lyrewhistle with a cheery grin. "you're the exception, of course, but i figured this would be a good chance for you to get to know us," iguanaspots said, and lyrewhistle nodded her head slowly, still looking uncertain but she managed a tight smile.
paragraphat the same time, warblercry and wolfhowl exchanged a glance. "what are we going to do, then?" wolfhowl asked, swishing her tail against the ground.
paragraph"i overheard hurricanejaw telling bluetcrest that rose lake has thawed, so i want to go to the old bridge. and it'll be a good chance to show lyrewhistle around the territory since she's new." again, iguanaspots' glance lingered on lyrewhistle, and warblercry shot wolfhowl a sideways glance, though the smaller rose merely flicked her ear in acknowledgement of warblercry's look.
paragraph"we still can't be out too long, and we'll have to be careful," warblercry commented, an iguanaspots finally looked back to her, nodding her agreement. "because tawnyrose always says that the floods come with the thaw." together, the small group got up and headed out of the camp entrance.
paragraph"floods?" that was lyrewhistle, who glanced between the mollies who had been there for many moons already, who knew so much more than she did. "is that something we should be worried about?"
paragraphwolfhowl bobbed her head at that. "you haven't heard?" she asked, humming when lyrewhistle shook her head. "yeah, the flooding is a bit of a problem here. last spring we had to leave camp for a little bit and live by the old tower until the flood waters went back. and then we had the spring tournament after that to thank the mother for her mercy," wolfhowl said, and warblercry purred her amusement in response. "right, well, the story goes that tawnyrose was only one of the former queen's daughters. just her daughter, not the next queen in line. but one year the thaw came early and no one was prepared, so the flood swept through the valley and swept all of the cats away, drowning pretty much everyone. except tawnyrose, of course." at that, lyrewhistle shuddered, and iguanaspots sent the new rose a gentle smile.
paragraph"not that it should be something you should worry about," iguanaspots cut in, shooting wolfhowl a pointed look, and the other rose flicked her short tail. "tawnyrose says that we're far more prepared now than highgarden used to be. once the thaw really sets in, i'm sure we'll be on the move to the old tower to wait it out, and everything will be fine then. besides, highgarden cats are good swimmers."
paragraph"what if i can't swim?" lyrewhistle asked, quietly, so quiet that iguanaspots thought she might have imagined that the other rose spoke at all, but there was a glimmer of fear in her eyes, and iguanaspots nudged her with her shoulder to try and soothe her.
paragraph"like i said, it won't be an issue. we'll be gone before anything's going to happen. and we could always teach you to swim just in case," iguanaspots assured, and lyrewhistle managed another tight smile, nodded once. "everything'll be fine," she assured gently, and lyrewhistle nodded again, as if to convince herself that she could listen to iguanaspots.
paragraphin the same moment, wolfhowl let out a shout and darted forward, warblercry on her heels. "you were right!" wolfhowl gushed when iguanaspots and lyrewhistle caught up. sure enough, the lake glimmered in the sunlight, not as light bouncing off of ice, but as light reflected off the water. wolfhowl dared to go up to the edge, then deftly struck out a paw to send water droplets cascading towards her friends in a wide arc, splattering them with freezing water.
paragraph"wolfhowl!" warblercry complained, indignant, when she shook out her fur. "you know what merlinsong said, i don't want to get a cold!" she said, though wolfhowl merely laughed. when wolfhowl went to aim her paw at the water again, warblercry tackled into her sideways, and the pair rolled away from the water's edge, tussling. under other circumstances, iguanaspots wouldn't have hesitated to join in their games, though this time she beckoned lyrewhistle towards the lake.
paragraph"anyway, this is rose lake, which i'm sure you could figure out. across the water is groveclan, and beyond groveclan is hazeclan, and then that way is -" and on and on iguanaspots began to explain, leaning close to lyrewhistle to better be able to point out the different notable landmarks and directions.
paragraphat the same time, warblercry and wolfhowl broke apart, laughing at themselves, breathless and carefree. then warblercry poked wolfhowl's side and nodded towards iguanaspots. "what was it that she was saying?" she asked. "no talk or toms or mollies."
paragraphwolfhowl let out a laugh at that, rolling onto her side and swiping at warblercry, who batted her away easily. "and definitely no talk of crushes!"



actions
[ added cats ] otterfur from bearclan via discord
[ consumption ] highgarden eats two rabbits and one squirrel
[ rank changes ] briarkit and daisykit are ready to become thorns
[ mates ] flickersky tries for kits with stormshroud of the shadowed kingdom
[ patrol 1 ] bluetcrest, betonypetal, maplelily, smokemane, iguanaspots, and warblercry
[ hunt 1 ] bassflow, erasmus, dippernose, sagecloud, hornetshade, and jaytalon
[ hunt 2 ] softglow, mapleshadow, swiftheart, sunglow, tigergaze, and foxspark
[ hunt 3 ] clovershine, obsidianwing, wolfhowl, pythoneyes, sandstrike, and flickersky
[ training ] stagpaw and seedpaw learn hunting
seedpaw tries to learn agility again
[ herb hunt ] merlinsong and spencer
[ notes to mod ] i ask that no one die on patrols though injuries are fine xx



    queen
    tawnyrose, 34m, ♀
    the wayward queen
    - mate: birchflame
    - due: 1m

    king
    softglow, 36m, ♂
    the lost king

    heir
    name, age, gender

    attendant
    bluetcrest, 38m, ♂
    the wayward's attendant

    herbalist
    merlinsong, 41m, ♂ - 5sp
    spencer, 36m, ♂ - 5sp

    roses & knights
    otterfur, 70m, ♂
    sagecloud, 52m, ♀
    mapleshadow, 50m, ♀
    erasmus, 48m, ♂
    hurricanejaw, 46m, ♂
    maplelily, 44m, ♀
    bassflow, 44m, ♂
    newtmask, 43m, ♂
    dippernose, 43m, ♂
    pythoneyes, 39m, ♂
    tulipstream, 35m, ♀
    birchflame, 35m, ♂
    betonypetal, 33m, ♀
    flickersky, 32m, ♀
    clovershine, 32m, ♂
    smallheart, 32m, ♂
    swiftheart, 28m, ♀
    obsidianwing, 25m, ♂
    jaytalon, 23m, ♂
    smokemane, 22m, ♀
    sunglow, 22m, ♂
    tigergaze, 21m, ♂
    sandstrike, 19m, ♀
    hornetshade, 18m, ♂
    privetears, 17m, ♀
    cougarstrike, 15m, ♂
    racoonslip, 15m, ♂
    foxspark, 15m, ♂
    wolfhowl, 15m, ♀
    iguanaspots, 15m, ♀
    warblercry, 15m, ♀
    lyrewhistle, 14m, ♀
    name, age, gender
            thorns
            stagpaw, 8m, ♂
            seedpaw, 8m, ♀
            rabbitpaw, 8m, ♀
            name, age, gender

            roots
            ferretwhisker, 39m, ♀
            - kits: elkkit, beechkit, harrierkit,
            quillkit, dewkit

            name, age, gender

            seedlings
            briarkit, 6m, ♀
            daisykit, 6m, ♀
            elkkit, 2m, ♂
            beechkit, 2m, ♀
            harrierkit, 2m, ♀
            quillkit, 2m, ♂
            dewkit, 2m, ♀
            name, age, gender

            wilted
            name, age, gender
            name, age, gender

            allies & enemies & borders
            here

            medicine
            here

            prey
            total x96
            mouse | x2 | 1 servings
            vole | x10 | 1 servings
            squirrel | x9 | 2 servings
            rabbit | x12 | 2 servings
            big fish | x5 | 3 servings
            finch | x9 | 3 servings

            mentors
            hurricanejaw, stagpaw, 1
            smallheart, seedpaw, 0
            birchflame, rabbitpaw, 1
            mentor, thorn, 0

            deceased
            here

            family trees
            here
__________________________________________________________________________________________________________
credit goes to the cac staff & artists for all color-ins and lineart xoxo
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highgarden ♕ seventeen

Postby eagle, » Wed Oct 30, 2019 4:34 pm


      25
      23
      total 48
      servings 8
      pebbles 55
      xx
      Image
      ________________ Image ________________
      xx

      gods anytime
      kitting tawnyrose, flickersky
      injury none
      archive xx
      font credit x x







paragraph"how are you feeling today, tawnyrose?" the herbalist asked, and the queen's whiskers twitched, though he couldn't be sure if it was from annoyance or amusement. truth be told, he didn't care much either way.
paragraph"good morning to you, too, merlinsong," she said, and the herbalist flicked his ear, not missing the edge to her tone. highgarden's queen was stretched out, her stomach swollen with her kits, which were due any day. around them, the camp was a bustle of activity, as with every morning, as bluetcrest and softglow worked to sort out patrols. while waiting for their mentors, stagpaw helped show seedpaw the proper way to balance her weight in a crouch, and rabbitpaw was grooming her fur, offering small comments to their work, though she kept sending glances to where birchflame was speaking to bluetcrest. ferretwhisker had ushered her kits out of the nursery to stretch their legs, and quillkit took off, elkkit and beechkit hot on his heels. ferretwhisker called after them, but didn't appear too concerned as the seedlings weaved their way expertly through the knights and roses who carried on with their mornings.
paragraphmerlinsong let out a sigh and took the space beside tawnyrose, wrapping his tail neatly around his paws. "i'm just trying to do my job, you know. i want to make sure that you and the kits are healthy," he said, and tawnyrose finally met his gaze. bright green met a more muted green, and the queen cracked a crooked grin.
paragraph"you two are so alike, you know. both so committed to your duties, always putting others before yourself," she said, and merlinsong knew exactly who she was referring to. as if by reflex alone, he tore his gaze from the queen to track where softglow was speaking to otterfur and hurricanejaw. a laugh rippled through the trio from something hurricanejaw said, and the knight jostled otterfur's shoulder companionably, who rolled his eyes and nudged him back, friendly and amicable. all the while, softglow laughed, his eyes closed from the force of it, happy and carefree for just a moment.
paragraph"do you love him?" tawnyrose asked then, and merlinsong blinked, snapping back to turn to tawnyrose, who regarded him through half-lidded eyes. "he loves you, you know. he never had to tell me, but i figured it out a while ago." she tipped her head up, to the blue expanse of sky up above. "the way he looks at you, he turns towards you like a flower looks for the sun. like you were the one who hung the stars in the sky," she said, and merlinsong couldn't help but duck his head, feeling his fur flush. at that, tawnyrose exhaled a breathy laugh. "so you do," she said, and it wasn't a question. when merlinsong nodded, she sniffed absently. "he puts up with a lot, he deserves something to make him happy. you make him happy," she added, and merlinsong swished his tail against the ground.
paragraph"what do you really care, though? the way you treat him sometimes... like he's just a pawn in your games," he said, and tawnyrose didn't even have the decency to look sheepish.
paragraph"everyone is a pawn to anyone else, merlinsong. you're just aware of the game i'm playing. but everyone has a motive for the things they do, and you're naive if you think otherwise." merlinsong still must not have look impressed, for she rolled her eyes and pointed her nose towards betonypetal and where she was chatting with clovershine. "you see two cats who are friends talking. i see one cat who needs acceptance from someone, needs the validation to know that he's doing something right. and i see another cat with a crush, who wants to be nice so that he'll like her back and see how perfect for him she is." tawnyrose turned back to merlinsong, her brow raised, though he met her gaze without flinching. "i'm not saying that it has to be a master plan, or even a good plan. but everyone has a motive for what they do. so, what game are you playing, merlinsong? what's your motive?"
paragraph"i'm glad that i don't think like you do," merlinsong said in lieu of an answer, and tawnyrose shrugged.
paragraph"you're the trickster, and you know it. you like crafting puzzles and stories, talking cats in circles and being amusing. but what do you get out of it?" she asked, and when it seemed that merlinsong wouldn't answer, she let out a bored sigh. "i feel fine, merlinsong. good thing, too, we'll be moving camp soon."
paragraphimmediately, annoyance and frustration turned to concern, and merlinsong stared at tawnyrose. "we can't," he said. "ferretwhisker's kits are still young, and your kits are going to be here soon," he said, though this time it was tawnyrose's turn to look unimpressed.
paragraph"then the knights will have to carry her kits, and we'll have to get to the tower before i have my kits. i'm not risking the floods," she said, with a hint of finality that merlinsong knew better than to argue against. there was no winning when tawnyrose had her mind set on something, he knew, and especially not when it had to do with the spring floods. not when they all heard the stories of just how much damage could be done, how deadly it could be.
paragraphso, instead, merlinsong dipped his head and stood, made to turn away. at the last moment, though, he paused and turned back to her. "do you love him?" he asked, and, again, there was no need to specify who he was referring to. birchflame had approached the thorns and was speaking to rabbitpaw. "do you love him, or is this just a fling that we're all trying to cover up?" he asked, and tawnyrose turned her face away from him.
paragraph"i lost everyone i once loved in a flood seasons ago, merlinsong," she said, flicking her tail. "everyone i cared about, gone." there was a rawness to her tone, one that the herbalist had never heard before, and it nagged at him, as if this was the first time he had ever heard something genuine fall from tawnyrose's mouth. "i don't remember what it feels like to love someone, not like you know. but, this is the closest i think i've felt in a long time." she said, and merlinsong had nothing to say in turn. so, instead, he dipped his head to her and called out across the clearing to get spencer's attention, to go and tell him of the preparations they would have to make.

paragraphthe deaths had been too much for wolfthorn to handle. he was tired of seeing bodies laid out in the bearclan camp to be mourned. from the bear, from viperstar and his loyal deputies, wolfthorn's heart felt heavy with loss. even if he hadn't been close to some of the deceased, he still felt full with pain, when he thought of the families who lost time and time again, when he thought of how many stars in the night sky blazed with the spirits of those that had gone on, their faces already fading from his memory. still, nothing had prepared him what happened next. nothing could have prepared wolfthorn for rosemist's death, and the crushing knowledge that he'd been unable to safe her.
paragraphthe guilt followed him like a shadow, to know that he failed her and her kits, to know that, no matter how hard he tried, it hadn't been enough. it ate at him, twisting his stomach with nausea that evolved into a consuming pain like nothing else, following like a shadow during the day and visible in the bright stars in the sky at night. after the fire, watching more of his clanmates die, knowing that he was powerless to stop the deaths any further, wolfthorn had to leave and move on, to find a new home. the bearclan he knew, the bearclan he had committed himself to for so many moons, brought him only more guilt of what he had been unable to stop. events of horror replayed endless through his mind, and he could only hope that putting as much distance between himself and the ruins of his former clan would erase the sting.
paragraphthrough snow, he walked. he walked when it was dark, he walked until his paws felt swollen and raw, he walked until his eyes drooped, until he was too tired to put one paw in front of the other. at last, when he thought that his body would finally give out from exhaustion and over-exertion, after he sat back on his haunches and stare up at the streaks of dawn that painted the sky, laced with pink, purple, and a light blue, wolfthorn blinked his eyes against the sight of towering mountains and rolling fields of flowers beginning to come into bloom, rising up above the harsh winter snows. he blinked, blinked, blinked, and only then realized the silhouettes coming closer, headed in his direction. slowly, the shapes gained form, became distinctive, until at last a sleek black and white tom called out to wolfthorn.
paragraph"are you hurt?" his voice called out, and wolfthorn shook his head, though he couldn't be certain that the patrol saw the gesture. the thought crossed wolfthorn's mind that, somehow, he'd stumbled across another clan's territory. by the time wolfthorn managed to steady himself, sure that he wouldn't collapse and that he still had his voice, the patrol was on top of him. the lead tom had a distinctive mark on his nose, and he asked again: "are you hurt?" he asked.
paragraphwolfthorn merely shrugged his shoulders, not even sure of himself. "i've been walking a long ways," he said instead. "where am i?" his eyes traced over the patrol that surrounded him. besides the leader, there was another black and white tom, definitely younger, still growing into his long legs and long fur, and a third tom with a spotted tabby pelt flicked his tail. however, it was a tortoiseshell who answered him, her eyes sharp and piercing.
paragraph"you're on highgarden territory," she said, and wolfthorn blinked at her. "please state your name and where you come from." there was a very formal air about her, the sort of tone that allowed no room for insolence. she was the sort who was listened to when she spoke, the type who asked questions and received answers.
paragraph"i'm from bearclan," he said, and the lead tom pricked his ears.
paragraph"bearclan?" he ached, and wolfthorn nodded once, affirmative. immediately, he felt the tension around him release, and the highgarden patrol relaxed, though the lone stranger couldn't tell exactly why until the same tom tipped his head to the side. "you must know otterfur, then," he said, and wolfthorn's exhaustion fell away, replaced by hot rage and anger at the very name.
paragraph"of course," wolfthorn said, forcing his jaw to lax, the keep the fur at the back of his neck from raising, though the molly shot him a searching glance. "i haven't seen him a few moons, it's good to know that there's a friend here," wolfthorn added, and the youngest tom smiled broadly at him.
paragraph"he's at camp right now, i think," the young tom said, and the spotted tabby hummed his acknowledgement, agreeing, though it was also a distracted sound.
paragraphthe tortoiseshell turned her gaze back to wolfthorn. "what did you say your name was, again?" she asked, and wolfthorn had to hesitate at that. he thought of all that he had lost, all those he let down. he thought of rosemist, of his nephews, of the rest of bearclan, either dead or in shambles. wolfthorn had failed them all, left the survivors because he couldn't take the sight of them anymore. wolfthorn had done all of that.
paragraph"direfang," he said after a beat, and the molly shrugged. but she didn't understand. wolfthorn had failed those he cared about. but direfang, he would make up for wolfthorn's mistakes, would confront otterfur for all of the wrongs he had caused over the seasons in bearclan. otterfur was to blame for so much of the hurt and pain, and now direfang would make sure that he would pay for it.

paragraphslowly, the clan gathered together in formation to begin the travel across the territory through the rose pass and north towards the old tower and the secondary camp. already, merlinsong and bluetcrest took tawnyrose with birchflame and sagecloud to the secondary camp, as a chance to get highgarden's queen there safely and at a time when they wouldn't risk the floods, and hopefully before her kits were due to be born. the very thought of anything happening to their queen or any of the future heirs sent a ripple of anxiety through the clan, but by midday, sagecloud returned with the news that they reached the secondary camp safely, and that the path was clear for the clan to begin trip. sand so, by sunhigh, the clan set out together, with softglow leading the group with hurricanejaw and mapleshadow as the senior clanmembers to cover the flanks and report back to the king of any news from the rest of the ranks.
paragraphferretwhisker walked towards the middle of the cluster, surrounded by several of the knights and roses who helped carry her kits, since they were still small enough to be carried in shifts, not yet large enough to handle the trip in any reasonable time if they expected to make it to the camp before sunset. pythoneyes walked at her flank, speaking to daisykit and briarkit, who seemed to be handling the stress of the journey and the travel itself with ease, keeping up as the clan moved together and listening intently to their adoptive father telling them a story from their old clan.
paragraphto her other side, flickersky was talking to maplelily, who had been trading carrying dewkit with bassflow, who carried the kit now while maplelily rested. such was the sight for the rest of her kits as jaytalon had elkkit by the scruff of his neck, otterfur carried quillkit, and dippernose carried harrierkit, and clovershine passed beechkit to betonypetal. however, when bassflow passed dewkit back to maplelily for her turn, flickersky smiled at ferretwhisker. "they seem to be handling this very well," flickersky said amicably, and ferretwhisker couldn't help but agree. her kits usually had boundless energy, often wrestling and tumbling with one another constantly, though now she was grateful that they seemed to behave, as even quillkit didn't stir any trouble for dippernose as the black and white tom carried him the distance.
paragraph"i think they like all of the attention," ferretwhisker said, letting out an easy laugh. "they've started listening to briarkit and daisykit talk about mentors and training, and i think they've gotten it in their heads of which knight they might like to be trained by, or how they want to be the best hunters and fighters in the clan. so to now have the attention of all of the different knights and roses while going off to a different part of the territory? it's exciting for them," she said, and flickersky nodded, letting out a laugh as well. recently, ferretwhisker knew, news had spread from how flickersky was expecting kits of her own, and ferretwhisker noticed that the small molly was beginning to fill out over the moon, and that she should be expecting a denmate in the secondary camp when they arrived. ferretwhisker knocked her shoulder gently against flickersky's. "you must already be getting excited to have kits of your own, right?" she asked, and flickersky let out another laugh, sweet and genuine, when she ducked her head, suddenly and uncharacteristically shy.
paragraph"definitely. seeing you and your kits, and even the way pythoneyes is with his kits. it's sweet. i never thought that i would be a mother but this... it'll be nice," flickersky said, and ferretwhisker purred, happy for the younger rose.
paragraph"you never mentioned who the father is. is it a secret?" ferretwhisker asked after a moment, and flickersky paused long enough to consider this before shrugging her shoulders.
paragraph"not really, he's from the shadowed kingdom," she said, and ferretwhisker nodded, prompting her further to talk about her mate. "well, let's see... his name is stormshroud. he's quite handsome, and we met at a gathering a few moons ago and... i don't know, we just clicked. and then we started saying hello during patrols, and we met up a few times," flickersky continued, and ferretwhisker purred, touching her nose to flickersky's cheek. "i told tawnyrose, too, and she's been very supportive about it, especially since we said that it would make our alliance with them stronger because the kits will have our shared heritage. i wasn't even thinking about that, though. i just - i like him a lot, you know?"
paragraph"what matters is that you're happy," ferretwhisker said, and purred again when flickersky nodded, trying and failing to hide her smile. "that's what i mean. good for you," she said.
paragraphthere was a beat of silence before flickersky nodded towards ferretwhisker. "i don't know, i feel like this is a bad question to ask but... you've never mentioned your mate..." she said, trailing off after a moment, and ferretwhisker managed a tight smile, though it felt like a mask.
paragraph"no... i guess i haven't," ferretwhisker said, before clearing her throat and looking down at her paws. "i met him when i was a young warrior, when he came to our clan. he was strong, and quickly became one of our leader's favorite warriors. you know, one of the inner circle," ferretwhisker said, though she couldn't meet flickersky's gaze and maintained her glance down at the ground. "anyway, i fell in love with him pretty quickly, you know, and he figured it out. he was always able to know what i was thinking. when our leader died," she paused for a moment, swallowing thickly around the lump in her throat. "when thrushstar died, montgomery was given the leader position, and he didn't really have time to start a family, so we waited for a few moons. and then i became pregnant afterwards." ferretwhisker felt bile rose in her throat from the pile of lies, but flickersky's green gaze was even, curious if nothing else.
paragraph"can i ask what happened to him?" she asked, and ferretwhisker worked to retain the same sad smile.
paragraph"he died," she said. he's dead to me. the words died on her tongue, and flickersky ducked her head.
paragraph"i'm sorry, ferretwhisker," she said, so softly, and again, so genuine, that ferretwhisker couldn't help but press against her flank, and flickersky rested her head against her shoulder.
paragraph"it's alright, you didn't know," ferretwhisker soothed, though her stomach roiled from her own lies and guilt. "let's be friends, huh? we'll help each other with our families, how's that sound? and i want to hear more about this stormshroud. what does he look like?" she asked, to distract herself from looking through the crowd to where hornetshade's striped pelt was visible. and instead she focused on the warmth of flickersky beside her, focused on the sound of her new friend's voice, on watching her kits be passed between roses and knights around her. she focused on the knowledge that she made the right choice.

paragraphat last, it seemed that life seemed to be returning to highgarden's territory, and anticipation for the warm moons ahead bought joy to the clan. each day, several patrols were sent out to check the water levels of rose lake, the queen's gulf, and the various rivers and streams, but the clan had settled in their secondary camp for the time being, and obsidianwing felt a new jolt of energy coarse through him as he trailed after smokemane, who he had been paired up with for the afternoon's surveying patrol. he snapped quickly from his thoughts when smokemane paused and glanced back him over her shoulder. "i would've asked to get paired with someone else if i knew you were going to drag your paws all day," she teased, and obsidianwing grinned before he bounded to catch up with his friend.
paragraph"you're so dramatic," he teased in return, bumping his shoulder against smokemane's, though she barely budged, instead shooting him a toothy grin. "i do not drag my paws."
paragraph"you tell yourself that," smokemane shot back, moving a step ahead and beginning to drag her paws awkwardly, in a display that was clear over-exaggeration. "then you move like a lopsided badger. so if that's not dragging your paws, then i don't know how else to say it in a way that doesn't sound mean," she said, and obsidianwing growled teasingly, darting to catch up with her. she tried to duck out of the way, but he managed to hook his paw around her leg and send her stumbling, but the momentum dragged obsidianwing down with her. together, they rolled for several paces across the ground, until they came to a stop, lying side by side, laughing the entire time.
paragraphit was only when they were left entirely breathless, that they turned to face each other, and obsidianwing felt his heart beat against his ribcage, like a trapped bird trying to escape. he tried to swallow the feeling down, but it persisted, growing only stronger when smokemane met his glance and smiled, this time gently, sweetly, like she had a secret that she wanted to share with him. "you know, i'm glad to have you on patrols now, since you're done training warblercry," she said at last, and obsidianwing nudged his nose against her shoulder, letting out a chuckle when she prodded him in the flank with her paw. "even if you do drag your paws. you're fun to patrol with, and now you're not as busy."
paragraph"the training was fun, but i'm not much of a teacher, i don't think," obsidianwing said, shrugging his shoulders. "warblercry made it easy, thoug, she was a fast learner and already had some experience from her last clan," he added, and smokemane nodded once. when her silence persisted, obsidianwing sat up and shook a clump of dirt from between his ears. "i would've thought that sunglow would be your favorite partner for patrols, i'm surprised that you two didn't get paired up together today," he said, feigning nonchalance. smokemane followed his lead to sit up, and she bobbed her head from side to side, thoughtful.
paragraph"i love my brother, of course, but he's been acting so weird lately," smokemane said, then let out a quiet laugh. "i think it's because of how much time he's been spending around tigergaze, it's making him awkward. he has a massive crush on him, it's getting pathetic at this point that he won't say anything to admit his feelings," she added, and obsidianwing managed a tight smile in return, mindful of the way his heartbeat pounded still.
paragraph"it's pretty obvious that tigergaze likes him back, though," obsidianwing said, and smokemane nodded emphatically, her whiskers twitching.
paragraph"i know! and i told him that the other day," she said, and they stood up to finish shaking out their fur. "i said to him 'you know, you and tigergaze...' and you would've thought i said something horrible to him, the way he started stuttering and flushing and stumbling over himself. like nothing i've ever seen before. and all of the times we've been dragged along to hang out with them and warblercry and hornetshade." smokemane let out another laugh, pausing just long enough to reach forward and help obsidianwing pull a burr from his fur.
paragraphhe cleared his throat, adverting his gaze until she stepped away. "you would think that they would've confessed by now, with the way they've been acting," he said, before returning the favor and helping remove a snagged twig from her flank, not noticing how smokemane flushed, her pelt growing warm. instead, she mumbled her agreement before perking up.
paragraph"we should help them!" she said. "you know, like drop hints, push them together a little bit. give them the final nudge they need so they can get together and all that," smokemane said, and obsidianwing didn't even have to consider it. it meant more time to spend with smokemane, and that was all that mattered to him. and seeing two of his friends come together and be happy? that would be an added bonus, if nothing else.
paragraph"let's do it!" he said, and together they continued down on the path down towards rose lake, spending the rest of the patrol concocting different ideas to push tigergaze and sunglow together.

paragraph"- and she's okay with this?" softglow asked, unable to help but crack a smile at the familiar twinkle of mischief in those pale green eyes, and merlinsong shrugged his shoulders, glanced to bluetcrest who shook his head in turn.
paragraph"you already know the answer to that," bluetcrest said simply, though merlinsong didn't look concerned in the least.
paragraphinstead, the herbalist let out a carefree laugh and tossed his head to indicate the direction of the nursery, where ferretwhisker was beginning to herd her kits back into the nursery. "she'll have to get over it. the fact that she's not in the nursery now is enough to concern me. where someone could watch over her, where ferretwhisker could keep her company," he said, and bluetcrest let out a laugh at that.
paragraph"oh, don't worry, she's never alone," he said, and the trio exchanged a knowing glance. at if on a cue, a familiar ginger pelt flashed in softglow's peripherals, and bluetcrest blew out a long sigh. "flickersky said that she would keep her company during the ceremonies, and softglow'll be with her tonight, right?" bluetcrest asked, and the king nodded once. "good, that's settled then. i'm going to check on pythoneyes, make sure they're all ready to go," and then the attendant whisked away, leaving softglow and merlinsong to stare at each other for a long beat of silence until, at last, they shared a loud laugh.
paragraphwhen they finished, merlinsong blinked gently at the king. "are you ready?" merlinsong asked, and softglow rolled his shoulders, feigning nonchalance.
paragraph"sure how hard could it be? it's just a few words, thanking the gods, a few mentors, and then it'll all be over," he said, and merlinsong chuckled, softer this time, more personal. he ducked his head to butt it against softglow's shoulder.
paragraph"confidence, even fake confidence... it looks good on you," merlinsong murmured, so quiet that the words were nearly lost under the chatter of the clan in the clearing, coming together for the ceremonies. "you're going to do great," he said, blinking warmly at softglow, who couldn't stem his tender purr. the words on his tongue couldn't be allowed to escape, not when there was so much balancing on his shoulders. but, for a moment, he felt lost in merlinsong's gaze, more at ease than he'd been in seasons. merlinsong gave him confidence, made him feel like he could do anything he set his mind to. i love you, he wanted to say, but had to settled for replacement words.
paragraph"thank you," softglow said instead, and merlinsong's small smile told him that he knew what he meant to say, knew everything that went through softglow's mind. he knew, and he meant it too. merlinsong dipped his head to the king before backing away when bluetcrest returned with pythoneyes, who was busy fussing over briarkit and daisykit, laving his tongue over their ears to smooth down their fur, until briarkit finally ducked away from their adoptive father.
paragraph"i think we're good," briarkit teased, and pythoneyes smiled bashfully, but his tail was kinked over his back, pleased. softglow caught daisykit's smile, and it only broadened when bluetcrest nodded to softglow.
paragraph"we're all ready, then, so you'd better get going before tawnyrose escapes flickersky," the attendant said, and softglow managed a chuckle before turning away from the small group to climb up to tawnyrose's usual perch to overlook the clan. his shout rang out through the clearing, drawing the stragglers in from the warmth of their dens. his eyes scanned the clearing, from where briarkit and daisykit were looking up to him expectantly, to where direfang had joined the back of the crowd, watching with a curious air of detachment. at last, softglow found merlinsong in the crowd, and the herbalist's smile shone brighter than the setting sun set against the camp, ducking behind the mountains that flanked them.
paragraph"since merlinsong has decided to keep tawnyrose trapped in her den, i'll be taking over the ceremonies for today," softglow began, and he felt a bit of the tension trapped between his shoulders ease when laughs rose from the crowd below him. he drew in a deep inhale and blew the air out through his nose, slowly, until the clan settled again. "briarkit, daisykit, today marks a big day. when clovershine and betonypetal first brought you into the clan, you barely said a word, and then pythoneyes came to highgarden... and ever since, he's come to tawnyrose and i to make sure that we're giving you the best mentors to help you hone your skills and help you grow into the best roses highgarden will ever see. with the gods' grace, you are ready to start your training," he said, and turned from addressing the entire clan to look to the pair of young mollies. "briarkit, daisykit, from this moment on until you are named as full roses of highgarden, you will be known as briarpaw and daisypaw." he allowed for a brief pause, and the clan let out a brief round of cheers. daisypaw shot a glance over her shoulder to where pythoneyes was beaming widely at the kits, though briarpaw kept her eyes forward, attention focused on softglow. she leaned forward slightly, anticipating what was to come next.
paragraphsoftglow nodded to briarpaw first, who straightened up at the sound of her name. "briarpaw, your mentor will be jaytalon," softglow announced, and the young knight jolted from where he was sitting with sandstrike and privetears. his eyes widened and he blinked up at softglow, stunned, until his friends nudged him forward to where briarpaw was waiting at the front of the clearing, her whiskers trembling with excitement. "though young, jaytalon is a mature knight who has many stories and experiences to tell. and pythoneyes tells me that you're a fan of stories, and i believe that his energy will match yours," softglow said, and the mentor and thorn touched noses. then softglow smiled down at daisypaw, who watched her sister fondly, though shuffled her paws when silence fell. "and daisypaw, your mentor will be sunglow. he, too, is also young, but he has an eye for the fine details and has already grown into a well-rounded knight. don't underestimate him, because even those who are more soft-spoken have a lot to say, and i have no doubt that you'll listen to everything he says," softglow finished, and cheers echoed around the clearing, reaching a crescendo, when sunglow padded through the crowd, eyes round from surprise and wonder, to where daisypaw was waiting for him, touching her nose to his shyly.
paragraphby the time the cheers had started to die down, softglow had already descended from the perch, and shook out his fur. he turned to look as the clan clumped together in groups, breaking apart to either congratulate the new mentors and thorns, or to carry on with previous tasks. softglow peered through the crowd to find merlinsong, though the herbalist was speaking to spencer, and softglow settled for the moment, figuring that his friend was busy, that they would speak later. instead, he was interrupted when a flash of ginger fur caught his peripheral vision, and he twisted to where birchflame was standing, waiting. the large knight flicked his ear once. "can i have a moment?" he asked, and softglow nodded. together, they moved away from the rest of the crowd to a quieter corner of the camp.
paragraph"you said merlinsong is keeping her in her den," birchflame said, shuffling his paws nervously, not wasting any time to cut to the issue. softglow couldn't help but respect him for that. "is there anything wrong?" he asked, and softglow shook his head.
paragraph"she's fine," softglow assured birchflame, who eyed him carefully. softglow blew out a long sigh. "really, she's fine. it's just getting close, and he does't want her pushing herself and risking anything. he's been the same way for ferretwhisker, and he's already causing a fuss over flickersky. the queen is fine," softglow said, though birchflame's eyes continued to bore into his own.
paragraph"you would tell me, if there was something to be concerned about, right?" birchflame asked, and softglow shrugged.
paragraph"maybe," he answered honestly. "or maybe not. you're not supposed to be concerned, not unless the rest of the clan knows too."
paragraph"softglow -" birchflame began, his expression finally beginning to soften.
paragraphbut the king flicked his tail, not letting him finish. "i'm just being honest. i'm helping you both here, okay? i don't need to do any of this, you know? the clan doesn't want me to be king? that's fine with me, i don't care about power or position. not when it means that everyone else gets to step on me to keep secrets and try to get their own power," softglow said, keeping his voice measured and controlled so that only birchflame would be able to hear him. to an outsider, it would just appear that they were having a normal conversation. he paused, but birchflame stayed quiet this time, so softglow shrugged his shoulders. "but i know that she needs to be queen for herself, and she asked me to help. and since i'm not cruel, i'm doing what i can, even if it means putting aside what i want. so just let me do my job, and i'll tell you if you should be concerned, alright?" softglow said, nodding when birchflame lowered his head in turn. "alright. the queen is fine, just annoyed that merlinsong is keeping her cooped up. so stand by for now, and bluetcrest or i will tell you when something happens." with that, without waiting for an answer, softglow turned on his heels away from birchflame to tawnyrose's den.



actions
[ added cats ] wolfthorn from here. renamed direfang
[ consumption ] highgarden eats two rabbits and one squirrel
[ kitting ] tawnyrose is due, birchflame is the father. merlinsong stays back to assist her, and gives her x1 stick
[ patrol 1 ] bluetcrest, betonypetal, maplelily, smokemane, iguanaspots, and warblercry
[ hunt 1 ] bassflow, erasmus, dippernose, otterfur, sagecloud, and hornetshade
[ hunt 2 ] softglow, mapleshadow, swiftheart, tulipstream, tigergaze, and foxspark
[ hunt 3 ] clovershine, obsidianwing, wolfhowl, pythoneyes, direfang, and sandstrike
[ training ] stagpaw and seedpaw learn fighting
seedpaw learns hunting
[ herb hunt ] spencer
[ notes to mod ] i ask that no one die on patrols though injuries are fine xx



    queen
    tawnyrose, 35m, ♀
    the wayward queen
    - mate: birchflame
    - due: now

    king
    softglow, 37m, ♂
    the lost king

    heir
    name, age, gender

    attendant
    bluetcrest, 39m, ♂
    the wayward's attendant

    herbalist
    merlinsong, 42m, ♂ - 5sp
    spencer, 37m, ♂ - 5sp

    roses & knights
    otterfur, 71m, ♂
    direfang, 67m, ♂
    sagecloud, 53m, ♀
    mapleshadow, 51m, ♀
    erasmus, 49m, ♂
    hurricanejaw, 47m, ♂
    maplelily, 45m, ♀
    bassflow, 45m, ♂
    newtmask, 44m, ♂
    dippernose, 44m, ♂
    pythoneyes, 40m, ♂
    tulipstream, 36m, ♀
    birchflame, 36m, ♂
    betonypetal, 34m, ♀
    clovershine, 33m, ♂
    smallheart, 33m, ♂
    swiftheart, 29m, ♀
    obsidianwing, 26m, ♂
    jaytalon, 24m, ♂
    smokemane, 23m, ♀
    sunglow, 23m, ♂
    tigergaze, 22m, ♂
    sandstrike, 20m, ♀
    hornetshade, 19m, ♂
    privetears, 18m, ♀
    cougarstrike, 16m, ♂
    racoonslip, 16m, ♂
    foxspark, 16m, ♂
    wolfhowl, 16m, ♀
    iguanaspots, 16m, ♀
    warblercry, 16m, ♀
    lyrewhistle, 15m, ♀
    name, age, gender
            thorns
            stagpaw, 9m, ♂
            seedpaw, 9m, ♀
            rabbitpaw, 9m, ♀
            briarpaw, 7m, ♀
            daisypaw, 7m, ♀
            name, age, gender

            roots
            ferretwhisker, 40m, ♀
            - kits: elkkit, beechkit, harrierkit,
            quillkit, dewkit

            flickersky, 33m, ♀
            - mate: stormshroud, shadowed kingdom
            - due: 2m
            name, age, gender

            seedlings
            elkkit, 3m, ♂
            beechkit, 3m, ♀
            harrierkit, 3m, ♀
            quillkit, 3m, ♂
            dewkit, 3m, ♀
            name, age, gender

            wilted
            name, age, gender
            name, age, gender

            allies & enemies & borders
            here

            medicine
            here

            prey
            total x108
            mouse | x4 | 1 servings
            vole | x10 | 1 servings
            squirrel | x9 | 2 servings
            rabbit | x14 | 2 servings
            big fish | x6 | 3 servings
            finch | x10 | 3 servings

            mentors
            hurricanejaw, stagpaw, 2
            smallheart, seedpaw, 1
            birchflame, rabbitpaw, 2
            jaytalon, briarpaw, 0
            sunglow, daisypaw, 0
            mentor, thorn, 0

            deceased
            here

            family trees
            here
__________________________________________________________________________________________________________
credit goes to the cac staff & artists for all color-ins and lineart xoxo
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highgarden ♕ eighteen

Postby eagle, » Wed Feb 05, 2020 5:32 pm


      27
      28
      total 55
      servings 9 (+56)
      xx
      Image
      ________________ Image ________________
      xx

      gods n/a
      pebbles 61
      archive xx
      font credit x x







paragraphmore than once, softglow shot a glance across the camp to where birchflame was sitting. the sturdy tom had barely moved since ferretwhisker sprinted across the clearing from tawnyrose's den, calling for merlinsong and spencer to come quickly. as patrols came in for the evening, softglow watched as the roses and knights bunched together, their eyes lit with excitement. even as the moon rose in the sky and bluetcrest emerged from tawnyrose's den to try and herd the rest of their clans into their dens for the night, only few budged more than a step. hurricanejaw had settled with his kits, the young knights and wolfhowl listening to their father tell a story about his time in echoclan. the thorns and pythoneyes had taken to playing a game of mossball with ferretwhisker and her kits. overhead, the stars began to shine over highgarden, and softglow rose to go to birchflame's side.
paragraphthe ginger knight blinked up at softglow for a moment, his expression blank. then, when softglow sat down beside him, his expression pinched for just a fraction of a heartbeat before it wiped clean again. "you must be very excited," birchflame said, and softglow swished his tail against the ground before curling it neatly over his paws. "this is a very special occasion for you, i wish you very well, softglow."
paragraph"thank you," softglow said after a brief pause. the cold leafbare breeze stirred through the clearing, but the clan merely huddled together, drawing warmth from the ties that bound them as an extended family. even mapleshadow and sagecloud had emerged for the evening, gathering with otterfur, maplelily, and bassflow. nearby their group, sandstrike lounged comfortably, sharing tongues with privetears, the pair laughing along with jaytalon, swiftheart, and smallheart. "it's amazing, what these kits are already doing. bring the clan together like this... and they don't even know what the world holds for them yet."
paragraphwhen softglow glanced to birchflame, he watched the larger tom breathe in deeply, then his entire body appeared to sag on the exhale, as if entirely drained of energy. "take care of them, won't you?" birchflame asked, finally meeting softglow's glance, and the king hummed quietly.
paragraph"as if they were my own," softglow promised, and birchflame lowered his head again, bunching his shoulders.
paragraph"i hope that you're a good actor, to convince everyone. get ahead of it before anyone can ask questions." at that very moment, bluetcrest emerged from tawnyrose's den, and immediately made his way to where softglow and birchflame were sitting. his eyes flicked between the two, but birchflame stood and nodded towards softglow. "sen tawnyrose my congratulations."
paragraph"i'm sure you'd like to hear it from you," softglow said, but birchflame managed only a tight smile before he had turned away towards his den, leaving softglow to look to bluetcrest, who managed a smile of his own.
paragraph"they're here," tawnyrose's attendant said, and softglow nodded towards the queen's den. together, they crossed the clearing.
paragraphit was dark with the night inside tawnyrose's den, and they had to squeeze inside so that softglow and bluetcrest could fit beside the two herbalists. immediately, softglow found merlinsong's pale green eyes in the shadows, and he was, admittedly, surprised at the soft expression his best friend wore. spencer hovered towards the very edge of the den, letting bluetcrest brush past him to tawnyrose's nest. softglow heard the attendant's purrs, but he hesitated, unable to take his eyes off of merlinsong and his smile. as if reading his thoughts, merlinsong tipped his head in their queen's direction. "two toms and a molly," merlinsong said, and softglow felt the world sway under his paws as the gravity of the truth sank in. to spencer, merlinsong flicked his ear towards the entrance. "can you go fetch some more water for tawnyrose?" he instructed, and the skinny tom didn't hesitate to duck out of the den, giving the rest of them a moment of privacy. when softglow still hadn't budged, merlinsong grinned at him. "go on then, meet the pride and joy of highgarden." and softglow did as he was told, stepping deeper into the shadows of the den.
paragraphwhen his eyes adjusted to the darkness, softglow froze at the sight of tawnyrose curled around three small kits, bluetcrest curled against her shoulder. "tawnyrose -" softglow tried to say, but his words caught in his throat. never before had tawnyrose's expression been so gentle, never before had she smiled the way she did then, meeting his gaze. there was no malice, hostility, or even lingering contempt. she looked, for a word, happy, and softglow dared to inch closer to the queen. "how are you?" he asked her at last, and tawnyrose flicked her ear dismissively.
paragraph"a little tired but it was nothing i couldn't manage," she brushed off. her green eyes turned back to the kits then, and she nosed at the first kit's ginger head delicately.
paragraph"they're beautiful," softglow managed, and tawnyrose purred quietly.
paragraph"aren't they?" she paused then, as if taking it in again. "i didn't think that they would be this small... they're so small and delicate."
paragraph"there's one thing i know for certain," softglow said, feeling a smile of his own curl his mouth. "if they're truly yours, there's nothing so gentle about them." mirth filled tawnyrose's eyes, and she shook with laughter. one of the toms twisted when she moved, and tawnyrose adjusted, pulling him back into the warmth of the nest. when they had resettled, her glance cut back to softglow, and she beckoned the king closer.
paragraph"have you thought about names?" bluetcrest asked. his chin hooked over tawnyrose's shoulder, and tawnyrose leaned her head back to rest against his shoulder. softglow settled in front of them both, mirroring merlinsong's grin when the herbalist took the space beside him, letting their shoulders bump companionably together.
paragraph"we thought about a few," tawnyrose said, and she didn't need to say his name for the ginger tom to be conjured into the space, joining them even when he couldn't be with them in the moment. even from across the clearing, softglow supposed that birchflame was imagining what was happening beyond his boundaries, and he supposed that the knight must be aching inside to be so close, yet a life away. "he thought the name bramblekit was nice... and hawthornkit too, i liked that one when he said it. like they'll be sharp as thorns like highgarden is known for."
paragraph"growing strong," merlinsong murmured, and tawnyrose offered him a gentle smile.
paragraph"growing strong," the queen echoed back. silence settled around the small group, waiting for tawnyrose to speak again. she took her time, clearly contemplating, and she touched her nose to the small molly's head again. "i spent the past few moons wondering... did my mother have trouble coming up with names for us? how much time and effort did she spend trying to imagine who we would become? i mean, i guess it didn't matter much in the end, since lighteyes was supposed to be the next queen, and i was never supposed to be where i am now but... it makes me wonder who they'll become." the kit's fur stirred from tawnyrose's breath and the queen pulled back, instead letting her head lean against bluetcrest's, and the attendant let out a gentle purr.
paragraph"whoever they'll turn out to be, they'll be great," bluetcrest said, and softglow hummed quietly.
paragraph"you should see the clan outside, ready to welcome them into the world. they already love them," softglow added, and merlinsong nodded his agreement.
paragraphtawnyrose flicked her tail, considering. "my sister lighteyes... she wanted nothing more in the world than to be queen. she breathed highgarden, she loved this clan so much. and she would have been a great queen if it hadn't been for the flood. when i saw her on the water's edge when i woke up, my first thought was not that i'd lost my sister, but that highgarden lost the best queen it would have ever had." silence enveloped the group when tawnyrose paused. she cleared her throat then, and nodded to her kit. "when i look at her, even now, i can only think that she'll be the greatest queen in highgarden's history. better than my mother, better than me, and better than lighteyes would have been. lightkit... heir to highgarden... for all that could have been, and what she'll be someday." tawnyrose looked up from her kits, and her eyes found softglow's, as if looking for approval, and the king couldn't stop his grin if he tried.
paragraph"it's a beautiful name, and it has a nice ring to it. lightkit, the future queen of highgarden," he said. "lightkit, hawthornkit, and bramblekit."
paragraphalready, bluetcrest and merlinsong were nodding along. when spencer returned with the moss for tawnyrose, the queen's eyes were beginning to be weighed down from exhaustion, and bluetcrest nodded to softglow. "i was going to stay here, to make sure everything's taken care of," he said when spencer had gone again, sent by merlinsong to begin to spread the news to the rest of the clan. tawnyrose's head rested against bluetcrest's chest, her eyes already shut and her breathing begin to even out. "you should stay too. it's warm in here, and..."
paragraph"i'm their father," softglow said, unable to look at merlinsong when he spoke. "i'm the king."
paragraph"they'll be lucky to have you as their father," merlinsong interjected when bluetcrest shot them a sympathetic smile. without interlude, merlinsong pressed his nose to softglow's cheek. "come get me if anything happens. they're healthy now, but with leafbare here..." with that, the herbalist left, leaving softglow with bluetcrest, tawnyrose, and the newborn kits.
paragraph"you're a good friend, softglow," bluetcrest whispered just as softglow had curled on the ground beside tawnyrose's nest, where moss had been put down. his heart caught in his throat, and the weight of the sky crashed down on his shoulders, but softglow blinked one last time at the three kits, and he felt a little less closed in.

paragraphcold wind nipped at hornetshade's nose and ears, but there were other things on his mind. over the moons, he tried to think of groveclan less and less, tried to throw himself into highgarden more and more. above all, he was a highgarden cat, no doubt about it, and regardless of what ferretwhisker thought, he was hornetshade and would only ever be hornetshade of highgarden.
paragraphhis muscles ached after a long day of patrols, and the sun had already fallen below the hills of their territory, leaving them behind for night to take its place. only the last streaks of red and pale blue in the sky served as evidence that the day had been there at all, and hornetshade stretched out his limbs, feeling the pull of his muscles and the energy that still lingered, hugging deep against his bones. despite his body's exhaustion, he felt the thrum of motivation, the urge to go and do something, anything, if it meant that he could drive away the itch he couldn't reach that had been pressed against him since juniperstorm came to their camp.
paragraphmidnightstream. as much as hornetshade wished that he could, possibly, forget his best friend, he knew he never could. his own name was a testament to the friendship they once had, which crossed their borders; it was a friendship that hornetshade had thought, then, would be eternal. so many days splashing each other with lakewater, catching up and talking about the recent happenings, from juniperstorm - juniperpaw, then - catching a massive squirrel, to hornetshade telling his best friend about tigergaze and iguanaspots. it had been so simple, and then it wasn't. maybe it was hornetshade's fault, that he had made his feelings too obvious and that had scared midnightstream away; maybe midnightstream realized that hornetshade wasn't the friend he wanted after all. maybe, maybe, maybe. the thinking and wondering left hornetshade lost, until it bubbled and bubbled, like he was about to explode.
paragraphhe heard of emberwing and midnightstream, of the kits they were expecting, and hornetshade didn't explode. he got sick, then he went numb, and it didn't matter. whatever had happened, whatever he thought could have been, was no more, and maybe it was better that way.
paragraphso he tried to forget, to block it out entirely. he was hornetshade of highgarden, and that was what mattered. groveclan was merely an ally clan, and midnightstream a warrior of their ally clan. he was hornetshade of highgarden, and he couldn't concern himself with what happened in groveclan. that is, until juniperstorm came to him.
paragraphthe last time he had seen her, they had been young, still growing into their whiskers, but he would have recognized the family resemblance anywhere, even if bluetcrest hadn't told him who she was. the scene before him just hadn't made any sense, no matter how hard and how long he spent trying to piece it together in his mind. it was a picture that he was missing a part of, and there were too many unanswered questions.
paragrapha paw prodded his side, and hornetshade snapped to attention, blinking up at warblercry and iguanaspots. "are you alright?" warblercry asked, leaning down to touch her nose to his cheek, a gesture which hornetshade returned.
paragraphbefore he could answer, however, iguanaspots shouldered her way to settle at hornetshade's side. "i've been worried about you," iguanaspots said, and hornetshade blinked at her, missing the way her eyes gleamed with familiar mischief. despite the scent that was distinctly highgarden - that of crushed grass, roses, and sunshine - that clung to warblercry, he could the tell-tale trace of groveclan there as well, further muddying his thoughts, even when iguanaspots rolled onto her back and stretched out her legs. "i'm worried that you've been thinking too hard about something lately. it doesn't suit you, you know."
paragraph"what doesn't?" hornetshade asked, and iguanaspots snorted.
paragraph"thinking," she shot back. it took hornetshade a moment, and then he scoffed, flicking his tail against her nose. warblercry laughed when iguanaspots spluttered. when warblercry sat beside hornetshade, leaning gently against his shoulder, he didn't even give it a second thought before he leaned toward her to groom between her ears, pulling a piece of grass from her fur. but iguanaspots wasn't finished: "i'm serious, though... well, kind of. you have been distracted, even more than usual," iguanaspots said, and warblercry hummed her agreement.
paragraph"if there's something on your mind, you could tell us," warblercry added, and hornetshade glanced between his friends. at last, he let out a sigh and ducked his head.
paragraph"i keep thinking about when juniperstorm came here," he said, and iguanaspots immediately scoffed.
paragraph"she had some kind of nerve, don't you think?" iguanaspots said, rolling over onto her side. she rolled her eyes. "thinking she can just come to highgarden and try to blame erasmus for something in groveclan that happened seasons ago." while iguanaspots talked, warblercry caught hornetshade's eye. she tipped her head to the side, subtle, just for him to see, and hornetshade shook his head minutely. in response, warblercry blinked at him and turned her glance back to their other friend. iguanaspots, however, wasn't done yet. "whatever happened, she had some guts coming here and pointing blame like she did. it's a good thing that bluetcrest is increasing patrols on their border, because who know what they'll try to do next."
paragraphthat was information to hornetshade, who thought of the groveclan scent on warblercry's fur. "i didn't know he increased patrols on the groveclan border."
paragraphiguanaspots shrugged, but before she could say anything else, warblercry pricked her ears and nodded towards the camp entrance. "lyrewhistle's back from the hunting patrol," she said, and iguanaspots turned quickly to see the other rose. she excused herself, and when she was out of earshot, warblercry turned to hornetshade. "what is it, really?"
paragraphhornetshade shrugged his shoulders at that, looking over to where iguanaspots was helping lyrewhistle carry the prey into the center of camp. "i just keep wondering how juniperstorm would even know erasmus," he said, and warblercry tipped her head thoughtfully. "juniperstorm said that bluetcrest knew something, and he didn't deny it. and erasmus knew juniperstorm, too. i think something must have happened, and bluetcrest knew."
paragraphwarblercry seemed to consider this for a long moment, giving it the consideration long enough to not immediately reject his questions. "what do you think it is?" she asked, and hornetshade shrugged again.
paragraph"i don't know, i didn't understand everything that she was saying," he admitted. "but the look on her face... whatever happened, i think it's real. she couldn't have acted like that for nothing." as if summoning the massive tom, hornetshade fell silent when spencer came from the herbalists' den, erasmus in tow, his mate's dark shadow, following wherever he went. to wablercry, hornetshade lowered his voice. "i've just got a bad feeling, warblercry. what if something did happen?" he asked, and her whiskers twitched.
paragraph"if you're right, it could be dangerous to try and figure it out," she said. their eyes didn't leave erasmus and spencer as they approached where iguanaspots and lyrewhistle were depositing their prey.
paragraph"i know," hornetshade murmured. "you don't have to help me."
paragraph"but i think i do," warblercry said, and hornetshade rested his head against her shoulder.

paragraph"i heard their eyes opened," clovershine said when he approached birchflame. the larger tom barely acknowledged clovershine at first, his eyes fixed on the nursery. as soon as the news spread and merlinsong had given the all-clear, the highgarden cats made it a point to visit the queen and her kits, wishing them well and welcoming them into the ranks. maplelily, bassflow, and tulipstream waited their turns to go into the nursery, and flickersky and ferretwhisker sat with them, smiling and laughing while they conversed. when dippernose ducked out of the nursery, tulipstream took her turn, and the sleek knight padded off, back to his duties for the day.
paragraph"they did," birchflame said at last, and clovershine flicked his ear. the air between them was stiff, stale, uninviting. the white knight shuffled his paws absently, and birchflame still watched the nursery.
paragraph"they're very cute, when i saw them. lightkit... i already think she'll look a lot like tawnyrose when she grows up," he said, and birchflame nodded absently. clovershine huffed, then, and lowered his voice: "though i doubt that bramblekit and hawthornkit will look much like the king -"
paragraph"stop," birchflame cut him off, finally turning his burning gaze on his friend. "if there's something you want to say, then say it."
paragraphclovershine, however, didn't even flinch at that. instead he tipped his head to the side. "i think you're lying to yourself. do you even love her?" he asked. when birchflame didn't immediately answer, clovershine's whiskers twitched. "or did you love the idea of getting a new rank? is that it?" he pressed, and birchflame's ears flattened against his head.
paragraph"stop," birchflame hissed lowly at him, but clovershine stepped forward until their noses were nearly touching.
paragraph"did you love the idea of power, so much that you didn't realize that you're not even playing the game right?"
paragraph"and what would you know about that? you and your little kit-crush, what do you even know?" birchflame snapped back.
paragraph"i know my place, for one," clovershine said. "i know better than to reach for something that i can't have, and i know better than to be disappointed when i reach too high and it doesn't pan out how i want it to." he lashed his tail, and birchflame rose then, standing over him. again, clovershine's voice dropped so that no one else could hear them. "i know not to try and start a romance that will only end with me getting my heart broken."
paragraph"and how would you know anything about that? how do you know that she actually cares about you?" birchflame shot back. "how do you know that she doesn't just feel bad for you?" finally, clovershine flinched, pain reflecting in his eyes, and birchflame took the pause to advance. "you think you're so smart, clovershine, but you've never known your place, and you'll never know what it's like to have some drive or goals." clovershine's fur bristled, his pelt fluffing out. "and you can stop worrying about my life, my kits, and who i choose to care about, because you'll never know half as much as you think you do, you'll always settle for less, because that's what you are, less -"
paragraph"enough!" clovershine shouted, finally breaking the whispers shot back and forth between them. it wasn't clear who lunged first, or if they moved at the same time, but they clashed, clovershine sweeping birchflame's foreleg out from under him just as birchflame threw his weight on top of clovershine. they became a tangled knot of fur, teeth catching skin and claws stretched out for their former-friend.
paragrapha shout went up from the other side of camp, and they broke apart only when bassflow knocked into them both, sending clovershine sprawling in the dirt, and bassflow held birchflame down. when clovershine growled low in his throat and birchflame struggled against bassflow's hold, dippernose streaked forward, this time holding clovershine back, saving enough time for softglow to step forward, his blue eyes cold.
paragraph"what's the meaning of this?" he asked, looking between the pair of toms. when neither of them answered, softglow lashed his tail. "are either of you going to say what happened?" already, all eyes were fastened to the proceedings, and clovershine fell still when betonypetal shouldered between maplelily and flickersky. softglow's glance lingered on birchflame for a long moment before the king sighed and nodded to bassflow and dippernose. "let them up." then, to clovershine and birchflame he said: "no more of this, it's over. everyone else, get back to what you're supposed to be doing. you two can see merlinsong if you're hurt."
paragraphwith that, softglow turned away, leaving the two to shake the dust out of their fur. birchflame sported a slash over his shoulder, and clovershine had a cut across his cheek. without a word, birchflame turned and stalked off to the herbalists' den, and clovershine sat, wincing when he dared to touch his paw to his cheek. it was only when betonypetal padded to him that he stopped, unable to meet her eyes. "i'm sorry," he said, and she sniffed absently.
paragraph"you should have merlinsong look at that when he's free," she said. when tears stung clovershine's eyes, betonypetal let him lean his head against her shoulder, and he began to sob.
paragraph"i'm sorry," he said to her, his voice thick and watery. "i'm sorry you had to see that." and, in that moment, she didn't understand, but she placed her chin on top of his head and let him cry.

paragraph"is this really a good idea?"
paragraph"are any of ayalla's ideas good ones?"
paragraph"i can still hear you!" the shout rose from above their heads, and riverfoam sighed, tipping her head back to peer up through the bare tree branches. without the cover of the leaves, it was easy to see kitechaser at first, the calico taking her time while climbing, despite ayalla's challenge to see who could climb higher in the fastest amount of time. though kitechaser had taken her friend up on the offer, it was clearly because no one else would, since riverfoam made her opinion on ayalla's games known long ago, and tanagercall opened her yawns in a wide yawn. tanagercall sat beside riverfoam, picking at the sparse grass, and riverfoam shifted to try and find ayalla, up in the thinner branches of trees. even still, ayalla made it look easy, balancing precariously on branches that wouldn't be able to hold the weight of many cats, and riverfoam supposed that ayalla was lucky that she was so small and light-weight.
paragraph"i think you won!" kitechaser called up to ayalla from her spot further down.
paragraph"giving up already?" ayalla shouted back down, and kitechaser didn't hesitate in her answer:
paragraph"i gave up before we even started, so can we go now?" kitechaser was already inching closer to the tree trunk, eager to be done and to be back on solid ground. as such, it was only a moment or two later before kitechaser jumped down from the low branches to join riverfoam and tanagercall, and the three were left to watch as ayalla peered down at them all.
paragraph"none of you are any fun!" ayalla shouted, and tanagercall flicked her tail.
paragraph"i have a different idea of fun, i guess," tanagercall mumbled, more to herself than anyone else, but kitechaser nudged the somali with her nose.
paragraph"yeah, napping," kitechaser teased, but tanagercall merely smiled, unbashed, and rivefoam laughed at them before looking back towards ayalla.
paragraph"seriously, ayalla, i'm hungry. we need to catch something before night comes and it gets too cold," riverfoam urged, and ayalla finally shouted down a noise of agreement, and the eldest of the group watched as ayalla began her descent, slower than she had, to riverfoam's relief, on the way up.
paragraphas ayalla came closer and closer, riverfoam suddenly stiffened as a new scent reached her nose. "more cats," riverfoam said to the others. tanagercall sat up quickly, shaking grass from her long fur, and kitechaser waved her tail to get ayalla's attention. quickly, kitechaser hissed for ayalla to stay where she saw, and the three mollies on the ground took up their spots just in time to watch a patrol come into their sights. when the patrol spotted them as well, the cats changed direction, headed towards riverfoam and her friends, ready to meet the cats.
paragraphthe leader of the group was a pretty tortoiseshell with a somber expression, though she was trailed by a gray tom who appeared rather bemused, a striped tabby tom, a pretty bobtail, and a small calico. the leader of the patrol padded forward and nodded to the trio of strangers. "you're on highgarden territory, please state your names and your business here."
paragraph"my name is riverfoam, these are my friends. we're just passing through. kitechaser and i were part of another clan, which disbanded some moons ago, we've been traveling ever since," riverfoam said, nodding to kitechaser to indicate her when she spoke. "of course, we mean you no harm."
paragraphthe leader looked over her shoulder to her companions, exchanging a long glance with the others on the patrol before she looked back towards riverfoam. "if it's a home you're seeking, highgarden has been known to take in strangers before. especially with how cold the weather is growing as winter comes closer. we don't like to leave cats out to freeze," she exchanged another glance with the bobtail, who shrugged her shoulders. "especially when the strangers are skilled cats and former clan cats."
paragraph"and what if not all of us are clan cats?" tanagercall asked, her green eyes meeting the tortoiseshell's glance without wavering.
paragraphit was the gray tom who spoke, nodding to the little calico at his side. "we train plenty of apprentices in highgarden." the tortoiseshell nodded her head in her agreement.
paragraph"i'm a little older than a kit," tanagercall stated, and riverfoam let her friend say her piece. the thought of finally having a new home made her paws itch, but it would have to be the home for all of them, they were to stick together through it all.
paragraph"you'd have to speak to our queen about that," the tortoiseshell said. "but tawnyrose is very fair and listens to your concerns. to have made it this far, you must have some skills that we can sharpen from here." at that, tanagercall seemed rather content for the time being, and her glance slid to riverfoam. kitechaser exchanged a sideways glance with riverfoam, who finally nodded towards the patrol. "i think we're in agreement then."
paragraphas they spoke, the patrol had fanned out a bit, with the gray tom and his apprentice moving closer to the large oak tree, and the striped tabby sat down, his gaze wandering beyond the conversation. only the small bobtail stayed with the patrol leader, who nodded at riverfoam in turn.
paragraph"then shall we go?" the tortoiseshell said. "we can speak more on the way back towards camp, of course, but our herbalist would be very upset if we stayed out in the cold too long and got sick." however, riverfoam hesitated.
paragraph"there is one more cat who is in our group," riverfoam said, and the tortoiseshell's whiskers twitched curiously when kitechaser stepped back from riverfoam and waved her tail in a signal to ayalla.
paragraphwithout any further pretense, the small ginger molly leaped down from where she had been waiting in the trees, close enough to the gray tom for him to jump back in surprise, and riverfoam glanced to the tortoiseshell. "this is ayalla. she's part of our group too."
paragraphfinally, the somber expression broke, and the tortoiseshell nodded her head. "in that case, i think we're ready to go."
paragraphat the same time, the gray tom peered at ayalla, who grinned when the little calico looked up to her mentor. "jaytalon," she said. "can you teach me how to do that?"
paragraphjaytalon balked, but ayalla merely let out a chiming laugh. she leaned past the tom to wink at the little calico. "my name's ayalla. if he can't teach you, you're welcome to come to me anytime and i'll show you how to climbs trees with the best of 'em."

paragraphwhen obsidianwing padded into the den, he was quick to shake out his fur, sending snowflakes flying, splattering against smokemane, tigergaze, and sunglow, who voiced their complaints in a chorus, and the knight smiled bashfully, ducking his head before joining their small ground. nearby, sandstrike was lounging with privetears, and the latter called out to him: "how's it out, obsidianwing?"
paragraph"just getting started, i think," obsidianwing shot back, and privetears let out a low groan into sandstrike's shoulder while obsidianwing smiled sympathetically. "bluetcrest and softglow sent out a few cats to get the patrols back to camp before it gets any worse. apparently merlinsong thinks it'll be a bad storm," he added, and sagecloud chimed in from where she had been sitting with mapleshadow and riverfoam.
paragraph"and unfortunately merlinsong is usually right with his sense of weather," sagecloud sighed. like that, the time passed quickly, as the knights and roses came in from the snowstorm, shaking their fur free of the flakes before finding their spots with their friends. warblercry chatted with tigergaze and lyrewhistle while hornetshade and iguanaspots had opted to share a nest to nap in; riverfoam's group stuck close to mapleshadow; and newtmask and bassflow caught one another up on their patrols from earlier that day, with smokemane chiming in to interrupt her father and uncle with her own thoughts, earning laughs from them both.
paragraphas night began to intrude and the den was filled, the mood turned somber and quiet, with laughs exchanged for whispers, and several had taken to going to sleep as well. among it all, it was racoonslip who called to his father across the den, eyes round and eager. "can you tell us a story?" he asked hurricanejaw, who paused, noting the eyes turned in his direction, but the senior knight shrugged his shoulders.
paragraph"what story would you like to hear?" hurricanejaw asked, and this time foxspark perked up.
paragraph"a new one! something we haven't heard before."
paragraphhurricanejaw hummed thoughtfully, settling into the soft moss that lined his nest, and his eyes scanned the den. beyond his own kits, even the older knights and roses had turned to listen to hurricanejaw, who took his time to think, drawing a paw over his ears in the face of so much attention. "how about i tell you one about the deal for the sky?" he asked, and this only drew further intrigued, and hurricanejaw let out a low chuckle when he scanned the den again to find all eyes on him. hornetshade's chin rested on the edge of his nest, his eyes half-lidded with sleep, and otterfur lounged in his space beside hurricanejaw; lyrewhistle and wolfhowl exchanged an excited laugh, and even riverfoam's group was attentive to him. "now," he began at last. "i doubt that many of you know that the sun and the moon forged a deal over the sky? well, the sun came first, filling the sky with warmth, shining down on the trees and the wild cats. the sun drew the rabbits from their burrows and the roses from the ground, and the more life the sun saw, the happier the sun was. the happier the sun was, the warmer the rays of light that were cast down upon the dirt. at last, the lakes began to dry at the edges and the grass began to wilt from how hot the sky became. it wasn't the sun's fault - the sun was just so happy to be helping, and the sun didn't see that the light could also burn. the sun didn't know any better.
paragraph"at last, the trees and the grass and the rabbits and the rivers called to the sun," hurricanejaw continued, his eyes sweeping the length of the den. outside, the winds began to pick up, rattling the entrance to the den, but the roses and knights were too focused on the story to notice. "'sun,' they all said. 'can you please stop burning us? the lakes are drying up, and we need to drink to survive. the trees are scorched, and the land is too hot to walk. please,' they begged. 'we love you, but please give us some respite from the heat.' and the sun was confused by this. the sun wondered how it was possible that the light could harm these creatures that the sun loved so much. the sun considered this for a long time and then decided that there needed to be another to take the sun's place for a little while, until the creatures could call the sun back to bring light and warmth to them again. so the sun called to the moon, and the moon took the sun's spot in the sky." hurricanejaw cleared his throat, and sandstrike rested her head against privetears'. jaytalon and ayalla exchanged excited smiles, and wolfhowl leaned toward racoonslip to whisper rapidly to him. "the moon wasn't as warm as the sun, and the moon couldn't bring the same light as the sun, no matter how much the moon tried. but this was why the sun called to the moon. because the creatures needed light that was weaker and wouldn't burn. and the moon was glad when the lakes filled again and the birds took to the sky. the cats could walk without burning their paws, and the trees stood tall again. they all thanked the moon, and relished the cold that was so different from the heat from the sun. but, of course, as we know, we can't live in darkness forever, and the creatures grew restless. they called to the moon. 'moon, can you shine brighter?' they asked, and the moon tried, but to no success. 'moon,' the creatures called after more time had passed. 'we're getting cold, can't you warm us? the roses can't grow without warmth, and the cats' paws will freeze if the land is too cold. the trees are losing their leaves because it is too cold,' the creatures said.
paragraph"and the moon tried so hard to provide for the creatures," hurricanejaw continued. "the moon wanted to help the creatures be warm again, but it was no use. the moon called to the sun, and the sun took the spot in the sky again. but, like before, too long with the sun caused the land to burn. so the sun called the moon, and the creatures grew cold. so the sun and moon came together and decided that they needed to find a way to help the creatures. they both loved the land and the lake and the trees. they wanted the rabbits and the wild cats and the mice to be happy, and they wanted to be in the sky for forever to watch the creatures. but they also saw the damage they caused. they saw the burns and the frost, and they feared. then, the sun said to the moon: 'what if we split the sky? what if you had one half, and i the other, and we'll trade every day. this way the creatures can be warm, but not too warm, and cool, but not too cool. and we will be able to watch them always. and the moon said: 'we can call your side day, and my side night. and it will be a cycle.' and the sun and the moon agreed, and that was the deal for the sky." finally, hurricanejaw fell silent, and purrs rumbled through the den. hurricanejaw let out a chuckle when bassflow jostled his shoulder, ducking his head to hide his grin.
paragraph"tell us another one!" cougarstrike called to his father, but hurricanejaw shook his head.
paragraph"oh no, i think i've said enough for tonight. i hear pythoneyes has good stories," hurricanejaw began, but pythoneyes scoffed from his nest, shaking his head.
paragraph"i feel as though i'm always telling daisypaw and briarpaw stories. let someone else have a chance," pythoneyes argued. in that moment, several voices mingled as the knights and roses suggested one another, but there was no distinguishing who exactly called out:
paragraph"i want to hear a story from erasmus." and the other voices fell silent. instead, eyes turned towards the dark knight settled in the far corner of the den, back away from most of the light-hearted conversations and festivities.
paragraphdippernose broke the subsequent silence, nodding to the larger tom. "i'm sure that you must have lots of stories from your past, erasmus. only if you'd like to share, of course," the sleek knight said, genuine as always, and erasmus snorted. for a moment he remained silent, but at last he straightened up his ears brushing the den's ceiling when he sat upright.
paragraph"you want to know why the groveclan cat hissed at me, is that it?" erasmus asked, and when silence reigned. he huffed, flicking his tail impatiently. "i suppose it was bound to come to light anyway... well, when i first came to highgarden, i didn't know that groveclan was our border clan. i didn't know they were our ally. but once i did... i told tawnyrose, softglow, and bluetcrest that my clan before highgarden had a bad experience with groveclan." he sighed heavily then, adverting his eyes, and he hunched his shoulders. when he continued, his voice was thick with sorrow, as if there was a lump in his throat. "our leader... dante... he was heartless. he ruled without mercy, and an apprentice, novella, she feared the kingdom of shattered bones. many of us... we wanted to escape, but novella... little novella was the one who managed where the rest of us failed, and dante had us track her to the groveclan border. he said that groveclan stole novella, and that they would continue to steal from us until we taught them a lesson." at that, his voice cracked, and erasmus shook his massive head as if to clear it. "we were forced to steal their leader's kits. badgerstar... of course he wanted them back, and dante knew this. he knew that badgerstar would come and try to negotiate to get them back. but we... we knew that dante never wanted to let those kits leave, and he killed one of the kits and told the rest of us that we had one choice: to kill the groveclan patrol, or die trying to defy dante. and groveclan... they made it out that day, but it was the same day that i decided that i was no longer a member of the kingdom of shattered bones. i wanted to put it behind me, and i wanted to protect spencer. so, the first chance i had, we left and vowed to never look back."
paragrapherasmus heavy a shuddering breath, trying hard to hold himself together. "i will never be able to erase the image from my head, of what dante did. and juniperstorm... she was so young, then, i don't blame her for blaming me for the death of her sister. i was there, so of course she would associate me with that terrible time... i blame myself too, that i hadn't done more to stop dante. i relive it in my dreams constantly, and think of what i could have changed if i hadn't been so scared myself." he sighed, letting his eyes fall shut when he shook his head again. "but i feel just as much horror as uniperstorm, and i carry that with me the same as she does. i don't blame her, i feel ashamed that i hadn't done more, but i knew what dante could have done to spencer, and my choice to protect him was, perhaps, selfish. but it was the choice i made, and i still fear dante's wrath to this day... juniperstorm had something horrible happen, and i guess her reaction was partly rational. it's a day i'll never not think about as well."
paragraphsilence. cold with the wind, rocking the den, shaking it to its core. finally, several others murmured their apologies and sympathies. through it all, however, erasmus' eyes locked with sagecloud, who appeared to stare right through him. but he shuddered and hung his head, and sagecloud looked away from him, and outside the storm raged on.



actions
[ added cats ] ayalla x, tanagercall (birthday cat), kitechaser (advent 25th cat, noted in last post), lightkit (as semi-custom for cham's clans from katrione)
[ consumption ] highgarden eats 3 big fish and a vole
[ kitting ] tawnyrose is due, birchflame is the father. merlinsong stays back to assist her, and gives her x1 stick
[ patrol 1 ] bluetcrest, betonypetal, wolverinesnap, smokemane, iguanaspots, and warblercry
[ hunt 1 ] bassflow, erasmus, dippernose, otterfur, sagecloud, and hornetshade
[ hunt 2 ] softglow, swiftheart, tulipstream, tigergaze, foxspark, lyrewhistle
[ hunt 3 ] clovershine, obsidianwing, wolfhowl, pythoneyes, direfang, and sandstrike
[hunt 4 ] mapleshadow, maplelily, newtmask, riverfoam, kitechaser, and tanagercall
[ training ] stagpaw learns climbing
rabbitpaw and seedpaw learn hunting
daisypaw and briarpaw learn agility
[ herb hunt ] merlinsong and spencer (priority for kitting herbs)
[ notes to mod ] passed 50 cats so added another patrol and small fish as a prey option
i ask that no one die on patrols though injuries are fine xx



    queen
    tawnyrose, 36m, ♀
    the wayward queen
    - mate: birchflame
    - kits: lightkit, hawthornkit, bramblekit

    king
    softglow, 38m, ♂
    the lost king

    heir
    lightkit, 0m, ♀

    attendant
    bluetcrest, 40m, ♂
    the wayward's attendant

    herbalist
    merlinsong, 43m, ♂ - 5sp
    spencer, 38m, ♂ - 5sp

    roses & knights
    otterfur, 72m, ♂
    direfang, 68m, ♂
    sagecloud, 54m, ♀
    mapleshadow, 52m, ♀
    erasmus, 50m, ♂
    hurricanejaw, 48m, ♂
    maplelily, 46m, ♀
    bassflow, 46m, ♂
    newtmask, 45m, ♂
    dippernose, 45m, ♂
    pythoneyes, 41m, ♂
    tulipstream, 37m, ♀
    birchflame, 37m, ♂
    betonypetal, 35m, ♀
    clovershine, 34m, ♂
    smallheart, 34m, ♂
    riverfoam, 32m, ♀
    swiftheart, 30m, ♀
    kitechaser, 28m, ♀
    obsidianwing, 27m, ♂
    ayalla, 25m, ♀
    jaytalon, 25m, ♂
    smokemane, 24m, ♀
    sunglow, 24m, ♂
    tigergaze, 23m, ♂
    sandstrike, 21m, ♀
    hornetshade, 20m, ♂
    privetears, 19m, ♀
    tanagercall, 18m, ♀
    cougarstrike, 17m, ♂
    racoonslip, 17m, ♂
    foxspark, 17m, ♂
    wolfhowl, 17m, ♀
    iguanaspots, 17m, ♀
    warblercry, 17m, ♀
    lyrewhistle, 16m, ♀
    name, age, gender
            thorns
            stagpaw, 10m, ♂
            seedpaw, 10m, ♀
            rabbitpaw, 10m, ♀
            briarpaw, 8m, ♀
            daisypaw, 8m, ♀
            name, age, gender

            roots
            ferretwhisker, 41m, ♀
            - kits: elkkit, beechkit, harrierkit,
            quillkit, dewkit

            flickersky, 34m, ♀
            - mate: stormshroud, shadowed kingdom
            - due: 1m
            name, age, gender

            seedlings
            elkkit, 4m, ♂
            beechkit, 4m, ♀
            harrierkit, 4m, ♀
            quillkit, 4m, ♂
            dewkit, 4m, ♀
            hawthornkit, 0m, ♂
            bramblekit, 0m, ♂
            name, age, gender

            wilted
            name, age, gender
            name, age, gender

            allies & enemies & borders
            here

            medicine
            here

            prey
            total x106
            mouse | x4 | 1 serving
            vole | x10 | 1 serving
            small fish | x0 | 2 servings
            squirrel | x11 | 2 servings
            rabbit | x14 | 2 servings
            big fish | x6 | 3 servings
            finch | x8 | 3 servings

            mentors
            hurricanejaw, stagpaw, 3
            smallheart, seedpaw, 2
            birchflame, rabbitpaw, 2
            jaytalon, briarpaw, 0
            sunglow, daisypaw, 0
            mentor, thorn, 0

            deceased
            here

            family trees
            here
__________________________________________________________________________________________________________
credit goes to the cac staff & artists for all color-ins and lineart xoxo
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highgarden ♕ nineteen

Postby eagle, » Wed Feb 12, 2020 4:36 am


      30
      29
      total 59
      servings 10 (+63)
      xx
      Image
      ________________ Image ________________
      xx

      gods now
      pebbles 71
      archive xx
      font credit x x







writing was too long. can be found here


actions
[ gods visit ] yewbloom finds his way to highgarden
[ consumption ] highgarden eats 3 finches and a vole
[ patrol 1 ] bluetcrest, betonypetal, ayalla, smokemane, iguanaspots, and warblercry
[ hunt 1 ] bassflow, erasmus, dippernose, otterfur, sagecloud, and hornetshade
[ hunt 2 ] softglow, swiftheart, tulipstream, tigergaze, foxspark, lyrewhistle
[ hunt 3 ] clovershine, obsidianwing, wolfhowl, pythoneyes, direfang, and sandstrike
[hunt 4 ] mapleshadow, maplelily, newtmask, riverfoam, kitechaser, and tanagercall
[ kitting ] flickersky is kitting. stormshroud of the shadowed kingdom is the father. merlinsong stays behind and gives her x1 stick and x1 dandelion
[ training ] rabbitpaw, seedpaw, briarpaw, and daisypaw learn hunting
[ herb hunt ] spencer
[ notes to mod ] i ask that no one die on patrols though injuries are fine xo



    queen
    tawnyrose, 37m, ♀
    the wayward queen
    - mate: birchflame
    - kits: lightkit, hawthornkit, bramblekit

    king
    softglow, 39m, ♂
    the lost king

    heir
    lightkit, 1m, ♀

    attendant
    bluetcrest, 41m, ♂
    the wayward's attendant

    herbalist
    merlinsong, 44m, ♂ - 5sp
    spencer, 39m, ♂ - 5sp

    roses & knights
    otterfur, 73m, ♂
    direfang, 69m, ♂
    sagecloud, 55m, ♀
    mapleshadow, 53m, ♀
    erasmus, 51m, ♂
    hurricanejaw, 49m, ♂
    maplelily, 47m, ♀
    bassflow, 47m, ♂
    newtmask, 46m, ♂
    dippernose, 46m, ♂
    arcticblink, 44m, ♂
    pythoneyes, 42m, ♂
    tulipstream, 38m, ♀
    birchflame, 38m, ♂
    betonypetal, 36m, ♀
    clovershine, 35m, ♂
    smallheart, 35m, ♂
    wolverinesnap, 34m, ♂
    riverfoam, 33m, ♀
    swiftheart, 31m, ♀
    kitechaser, 29m, ♀
    obsidianwing, 28m, ♂
    ayalla, 26m, ♀
    jaytalon, 26m, ♂
    smokemane, 25m, ♀
    sunglow, 25m, ♂
    tigergaze, 24m, ♂
    sandstrike, 22m, ♀
    hornetshade, 21m, ♂
    privetears, 20m, ♀
    tanagercall, 19m, ♀
    cougarstrike, 18m, ♂
    racoonslip, 18m, ♂
    foxspark, 18m, ♂
    wolfhowl, 18m, ♀
    iguanaspots, 18m, ♀
    warblercry, 18m, ♀
    lyrewhistle, 17m, ♀
    name, age, gender
            thorns
            stagpaw, 11m, ♂
            seedpaw, 11m, ♀
            rabbitpaw, 11m, ♀
            briarpaw, 9m, ♀
            daisypaw, 9m, ♀
            name, age, gender

            roots
            ferretwhisker, 42m, ♀
            - kits: elkkit, beechkit, harrierkit,
            quillkit, dewkit

            flickersky, 35m, ♀
            - mate: stormshroud, shadowed kingdom
            - due: now
            name, age, gender

            seedlings
            elkkit, 5m, ♂
            beechkit, 5m, ♀
            harrierkit, 5m, ♀
            quillkit, 5m, ♂
            dewkit, 5m, ♀
            adenium, 2m, ♀
            hawthornkit, 1m, ♂
            bramblekit, 1m, ♂
            snowykit, 1m, ♂
            name, age, gender

            wilted
            name, age, gender
            name, age, gender

            allies & enemies & borders
            here

            medicine
            here

            prey
            total x106
            mouse | x5 | 1 serving
            vole | x10 | 1 serving
            small fish | x2 | 2 servings
            squirrel | x13 | 2 servings
            rabbit | x14 | 2 servings
            big fish | x3 | 3 servings
            finch | x8 | 3 servings

            mentors
            hurricanejaw, stagpaw, 4
            smallheart, seedpaw, 2
            birchflame, rabbitpaw, 2
            jaytalon, briarpaw, 1
            sunglow, daisypaw, 1
            mentor, thorn, 0

            deceased
            here

            family trees
            here
__________________________________________________________________________________________________________
credit goes to the cac staff & artists for all color-ins and lineart xoxo
Last edited by eagle, on Sat Feb 15, 2020 8:26 am, edited 3 times in total.
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