February 9, 2020 at 8:00 pm #5027
He was still reeling from the battle, feeling like he had fallen into the river and been swept along by a merciless current. His thoughts were scattered, made evident by the far away look in his green eyes, the tip of his tail twitching from side to side without pause. Every word his mother had spoke during the Clan meeting had went in one ear and out the other, gaze flitting from Wisteriastar to Heronflight to… No, no. Looking at that cat made him sick to his stomach, made him feel like panicking, made him feel like a failure. By the end of the meeting he felt ready to fly apart, jumping to his paws with a fevered air about him. Instantly he regretted this move however, wincing as the deep claw marks across his shoulder screeched in protest. Truthfully he had forgot about him, and the reminder of them, of who caused them, left a sour taste in his mouth.
By the time Forestmask had gathered his scattered thoughts, Heronflight had settled at the edge of the clearing and was licking at some shallow scratches he had received at the battle. Not knowing who else to go to, but knowing he needed someone else to know what he knew, he went straight for the deputy. “Heronflight, I need to speak with you,” he gushed once he had crossed the clearing, sounding like he had just finished running the length of the territory. Clearly whatever he had to say was important, and the usually collected tom shaken. Not waiting for an invite or acknowledgment, he settled before the other tom, and closely, so they could whisper without being overheard.February 14, 2020 at 4:01 pm #5114
Having barely the time to register Forestmask’s urgent greeting before the other tom was seated next to him, Heronflight blinked in alarm. The tabby looked nearly frantic, and there was a painful looking gash running across his shoulder. If he sounded any less riled up the grey tom might have suggested he get that seen to first, but it was obvious that whatever Forestmask wanted to share with him, it must be incredibly important.
Fixing his friend with a look of concern, he simply nodded, stopping for the moment from cleaning the scratches on his shoulders were the ThunderClan molly had pinned him. The odor was still sticking in his fur, and the combined scent of that with the anxiety in his clanmate’s usually calming one had him more uneasy than he had been on the return to camp. This must be about something that had happened in the battle, but Forestmask hadn’t been there until he arrived with the reinforcements.February 15, 2020 at 11:21 pm #5142
He had come over here feeling as confident as he could right now, but after Heronflight signaled for him to share… The brown tabby’s tongue left the camp. All he could do for a moment was just sit there and stare, heart beating a mile a minute in his chest. This revelation was truly earth shattering. It would be as if StarClan themselves had come down from the heavens and graced the earth with their presence. It also had the chance to be seen as slander, and though he was more worried for the cat he was about to throw to the wolves, he couldn’t help but be worried about himself. What would Heronflight think of this news, news that was very true but could easily be seen as false?
“It’s about the battle,” he finally choked out, glancing away from the deputy as his ears flattened to his head. He couldn’t believe he was about to do this to his own younger brother, to the cat he had mentored. Once Heronflight knew this, the poor tom’s… No, all of their lives were never going to be the same. “While you were busy fighting that ThunderClan cat, I… Another cat tried to ambush you. I stopped them.” He nodded to his shoulder, the wound burning with a merciless viciousness. It was as if he was being dared to reveal this secret, mocked for his failure.
The usually strong tom whimpered softly, turning watery green eyes upon his deputy. “I don’t want to tell you who it was, but-but as a warrior to this Clan, it’s my duty.” Never before had he wavered in his duty, but now… StarClan was testing him. “To the Clan, to you and my mother. I can’t just let this danger slip under the radar. The cat?” Suddenly he was very light headed, feeling like he wasn’t in his body anymore. Now or never. Now, not never. “It was Pantherstorm,” he whispered, certain he was going to throw up.February 28, 2020 at 4:44 pm #5291
When Forestmask told him that a clanmate had tried to attack him, Heronflight had thought for the split second before clarification that Forestmask must have been mistaken. It was easy to get confused in a battle– easy to jump to a conclusion because a fight demanded quick reactions at risk of injury if you were too slow. If the cat had been Pantherstorm, however, there was no way Forestmask would have mistaken him for someone else. It was a serious accusation, and the distress at saying his piece out loud was obvious.
Had Pantherstorm really been intending to attack him? Thinking back, Heronflight had been battling both a Thunderclan warrior as well as their apprentice at once, and it might have looked as though Pantherstorm was attempting to fight him as well when he was only trying to help. Could Forestmask just be mistaken? There must have been something that made it obvious that his brother was targeting him and not the enemy.
He felt frozen in his fur, and the brown tabby in front of him looked ready to disappear into the ground, but this needed to be sorted out as quickly as possible. “How did you know he was targeting me?” Heronflight asked slowly, wishing he didn’t have to push his friend any more than he had already been. “There was lots going on in the battle, and I know you’re certain of this or else you wouldn’t have interfered. Did he fight you?”
Green eyes landing on the gash on Forestmask’s shoulder, the deputy’s fur bristled at the thought that it could be from a clanmate. His gut protested angrily; it was almost beyond him to believe one of their own warriors could sink as low as this situation implied. What would motivate such a thing?March 7, 2020 at 3:11 pm #5352
As expected, his words were not so easily accepted – even with the obvious emotional distress he was showing. Or, maybe because of that emotional distress, he was being doubted. With emotions running high, it was very easy for a cat to screw up the facts they had been certain they knew to be true. But in this instance? Forestmask knew with dreadful certainty of what he had seen. Pantherstorm, his younger brother, the cat who he had mentored, had tried to kill Heronflight in the middle of the battle with ThunderClan. What better time than to make the incident seem like an accident, or as if a ThunderClan cat had done it?
“He- He was sneaking up behind you, from on top of a rock. I don’t see how that positioning could be remotely helpful in aiding you fighting those ThunderClan cats!” He forced himself to take a shaky deep breath, reminding himself to keep the ruckus down. This was between Heronflight and him for the moment. No one else, especially not his family, needed to know about this. “I know him, Heronflight. I trained him, I watched him grow up – he’s my brother, for StarClan’s sake. The look on his face… Even a blind cat could have seen his intent,” he whispered fiercely, green eyes as hard as rock. He was not messing around, he knew what he had seen, and Heronflight needed to believe him. Pantherstorm was obviously a threat now, and a dangerous one. His motives were unknown, his next step was unknown, no one else knew about this but them.
Suddenly he snorted sourly, gesturing once more at his shoulder. “Probably a show of my little brother’s love,” he spat, moving on from distressed to angry. How could Pantherstorm do this? How could he turn his back on his Clan, his family, and try to destroy them? Had their mother been next?
The thought made his blood run cold, though he felt on fire with anger at the thought the little idiot would dare to kill their leader, their mother. Wisteriastar had never treated Pantherstorm the best, but for him to use those emotions as fuel to be able to kill her? Needing to do something, he got to his paws and started pacing about, teeth gritted as his shoulder screamed in protest. He really should see the medicine cat, but well, there were far more pressing things to deal with right now. “He’s a threat, Heronflight. To this Clan, to you, to my family. What are we going to do? Something has to be done, of course.”
Taking this matter to his mother… Forcing her to make a decision – He thought he had been sick to his stomach before, but now he felt like he really could hurl. Maybe it was the pain on top of that? His shoulder was on fire from being forced to move, and was now bleeding once more. Wisteriastar would have to keep a closer eye on Pantherstorm most certainly, perhaps even face the thought of exiling him. But would exile stop him? Would they have to- “Oh StarClan,” he moaned, dropping to the ground and covering his face with his paws. Truthfully, he had never faced such turmoil like this before. It was tearing him apart, and he felt so very dramatic for it.March 28, 2020 at 10:58 pm #5721
A cold acceptance settled in the grey tom as his mind worked this new information into something certain. Though still blind to what reason Pantherstorm might have to take such a heretic path, the final consequences were unchanged. At this moment, Heronflight only had himself and Forestmask to rely on. It would do no good to bring it up to Wisteriastar just yet– if she wasn’t convinced by her elder son’s account Heronflight had no personal supplements to add. All he could do now was to be vigilant and support his… friend.
After watching the tabby warrior paces for a few minutes, Heronflight stepped in when the fresh scent of blood had him assuming that the tom’s wound had reopened. Moving to press their flanks together, he sighed deeply. “I’m sorry this is happening.” he said slowly. “It could be for any reason, but I know to be careful. If this is about me being deputy… at least your mother has many lives left. We’ll tell her once we have more evidence, but I trust you, Forestmask.”
A small sense of rightness wormed it’s way through the deputy’s chest and nearly had his muscles relaxing from the shared proximity, catching him off guard. It had been moons since they had proper conversation alone, he remembered, thinking back to the time spent away from the Riverclan camp during the flood. Thank Starclan that Forestmask still felt close enough to him to share this… but, the idea that they had hardly spent time together recently sat badly. If there was lost ground to cover, there wasn’t a more dire time to make it up again than now.April 13, 2020 at 9:20 pm #5938
The brown tabby physically froze up as he felt a pelt brush his, then a more firm press of another body against his. Hesitantly he lowered a paw and glanced over, surprised to see Heronflight offering him physical comfort. The heat gathering between their bodies seemed to soak into his muscles, into his very core, finally giving him the comfort he had desperately needed. He couldn’t help but melt against the other in an almost boneless heap, breathing slowing as a sense of calm washed over him. Whatever else happened next, they were in this together now.
“Yes, please be careful,” he softly pleaded, conjuring up a mental image of Pantherstorm’s ruthless amber eyes. He didn’t doubt Heronflight’s abilities, but he also knew what his previous apprentice was capable of. “I’ll keep a better eye on him from now on.” That’s about all they could do, until the younger tom slipped up and gave them both more damning evidence – if that ever happened. Maybe this was just a one time fluke, and would blow over?
But, even as he foolishly thought it, he knew the hope was just that – foolish. Pantherstorm had always had a chip on his shoulder, something to prove, bitter blood flowing through his veins. Wisteriastar hadn’t been the best mother to him, as much as it hurt Forestmask to admit, and now they were all going to pay for it. “StarClan can be so cruel,” he sighed, eyes fluttering closed. He sat there for a moment, soaking up the deputy’s proximity, before climbing to his paws with a smile now on his lips. “I’m gonna go git my shoulder looked at now, I’ll see ya ’round.” He offered in parting, hesitating a moment before heading for the medicine cat’s den.
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