June 23, 2019 at 2:50 pm #1745RibiParticipant
Lately, Antlercreek felt stuck in a constant circle of patrols. Eat–patrol–sleep–patrol. Again. Thunderclan had been busy–an uncomfortable sense of busy, not the one that came with a fresh green-leaf. A unique sense of cabin fever had set in with the senior warrior-turned-deputy feeling locked in this new role of life, fueled by him missing the freedom he once exploited as a warrior. Antlercreek knew when Hollystar named him to this post that things would change, and he had a duty to serve his clan and Starclan. After a brief morning patrol and pawning off his normal noon patrol to another cat, Antler pounced on the opportunity to shirk his responsibilities for a moment of free breathing.
Of course, that didn’t mean he wasn’t entirely ‘off the clock.’ There was a party tagging along with the older tabby as they muscled through the thickening undergrowth to reach the river’s banks: Cherrypaw, his apprentice of the past moon, and two warriors. The poor apprentice was probably feeling border patrolled-out by now, so he was grateful for the option to put her developing hunting skills to work. Thunderclan’s fresh-kill pile was decreasing in both freshness and availability, so Antler planned ahead to use this patrol as a chance to hunt, himself, and then observe the progress of young Cherrypaw. He had confidence that everyone in this group would provide enough to restock the clan and their own bellies.
“Alright, everyone,” he announced as the footing beneath his toes turned from clay dirt to sandy, pebbly riverbank. “There hasn’t been a hunting patrol out here for awhile, I know–“ Antler prefaced, fully expecting his accompanying clanmates to instantly eyeroll once they realized the tom had brought them to the river instead of the forest’s more fertile hunting grounds. “–on some recent border patrols here, I’ve seen plenty of prey. They’re out for the fresh plants growing, or the water, I don’t know… but they’re here! Let’s split up, but still stay close.” The deputy sent a serious look at his comrades. It was well-known that this was the area where the last traces of his missing clanmates were found. Jaggedthorn was quite the able-bodied warrior, yet the river still took him away. Every cat needed to stay near each other and make sure no one went missing again. For a friendly note, Antlercreek added with a mood-lifting smile: “Let me know if anyone sees a rabbit!” He hunted the bunnies almost for sport, and was an accomplished rabbit-hunter of the clan.June 23, 2019 at 2:59 pm #1746NettlenoseParticipant
Luckily for all, patrols were as exciting as anything to Cherrypaw. The young ginger she-cat always seemed to be itching to get her toes outside of the camp, her excited gaze always trying to soak in whatever she could. It would have seemed that the sparatic molly would have been a poor hunter due to her fidgety attention span, however surprisingly she liked hunting best.
It was like a game. How still and quiet could she be to catch her prey on the first attempt? How low could she get her white underbelly to the forest floor without rustling leaves? Which ways could she step her paws in such a quiet manner that a mouse wouldn’t even look up from his meal? Indeed, hunting was one of the apprentice’s favorite activities, though she hadn’t gotten to practice it much.
Perhaps that’s why today she seemed extra excited. Cherrypaw bounced after Antlercreek and the others with a beaming smile, her tufted ears upwards and alert as she listened to the deputy speak. She wanted to impress her mentor by flourishing ThunderClans sparse fresh-kill pile with a mountainous heap of prey! A bit ambitious, but it was merely how she thought, in whales of things.
Hoping she would do better at this than in fighting, which the lean molly was lesser in, she nodded firmly to Antlercreek. “I’ll let ya know if I see one!” She responded to his request of alerting of a rabbit. With that, the ginger she-cat slunk off, maw hanging open for scent of prey.June 27, 2019 at 7:38 pm #1878Manna MothParticipant
Moonpaw followed along more slowly. She was hesitant to be showing off her hunting skills in front of the Thunderclan deputy but was determined to try her best. She opened her mouth and tried to scent for prey. A trace of squirrel caught her attention and she slipped into a crouch. She followed her nose around the brush until she head a faint chattering above her to the right. A brown fluffy tail swayed tauntingly from the large oak.
She backed away and silently padded up to an adjacent tree. Gathering up her haunches she leaped onto the trunk, claws sinking into the bark. She clawed her way up to a high branch and padded cautiously out until she could see the squirrel again. Focusing, she waited a heartbeat before running across the branch and leaping into the next tree. She landed squarely on the squirrel and finished it off with a bite to the neck.
She sat up with the squirrel hanging limp from her jaws with a satisfied twitch of her whiskers. A moment later there was an alarming crack and the branch she sat on lurched downward. With a startled cry she dug her claws in to the half broken branch, her hind legs churning. “Help!” She cried as the squirrel fell to the ground forgotten.July 1, 2019 at 7:16 pm #1983RoachParticipant
Murky olive hues flickered around silently as the tall broad dusty ginger, light flint and smoky grey tomcat obediently follows behind the deputy as they ventured further and further into the depths of Thunderclan territory on the hopes on replenishing the ever diminishing fresh kill pile. His large cream paws quietly pressing into the earth, muscles rippling underneath his thick long-furred pelt as he continued forward, ignoring the slight discomfort of the soil slipping in-between his toes as he glances around with interest. It has been a while since the older tom had been out on a hunting patrol with many other felines as many times he tends to hunt during his spare time. Yet today was one of those rare days when Desertcardinal had volunteered to tag along with the deputy and fellow warriors and apprentices to help feed the clan. Blinking in mild surprise at the sudden baritone voice of the deputy as he explained the reasoning for picking this certain area of the territory and giving directions on what they were here for. Humming quietly in agreement, giving a subtle nod in Antlercreek’s direction.
He remained where he stood for a few moments, watching the other felines dash off in unknown directions either in search or pursuit of prey. Desertcardinal closes his eyes, blocking his sense of sight in order to enhance his other senses. Paper-thin ears twitching, his claws unsheathing and digging into the soil as he patiently listens to the sounds around him. Lips parted, allowing scents to flood into his maw, landing on his tongue, tasting and detecting creatures nearest to him. Faint scurrying and the sudden fresh scent of thrush hit Desertcardinal so suddenly, causing his olive eyes to snap open and a grin to tug at his lips.
Silently following the sound and sent, heading towards the tall grass near the winding river. His ears flickering as the sound of rushing water become more prominent the closer he became, making a mental note to be wary of the cold dangerous river. Just as when the multi colored tom started to position himself in a hunter’s position a cry for help reached his ears. Furrowing his brows in worry as by the tone he could tell it was an apprentice that was in some sort of danger. Cursing under his breath, with one last longing glance towards the hidden thrush, Desertcardinal dashes off, following the voice of Moonpaw. Please be okay….he continuously repeated in his mind as he searched around for the apprentice wondering on what was going on.August 1, 2019 at 7:27 pm #2700RibiParticipant
Antlercreek smiled fondly upon Cherrypaw as she exclaimed with enthusiasm and then dipped off towards her future quarry. It was no secret the deputy was proud of his young apprentice, and his heart ached a little at her looming warrior ceremony. She would likely be the aging tom’s last apprentice. He made a mental note to discuss the possible timing of the ceremony with Hollystar before turning back at the rest of the cats in the party: Moonpaw and Desertcardinal, only to find them no longer behind him. Hm, they must be eager… The ruddy tabby mused, ears flicking about as he listened for both cat and prey. Neither sound reached him, and he frowned.
Then, suddenly in the distance: “Help!” It was Moonpaw, the young fae apprentice. Racing towards her direction, the cat found her struggling to cling to a branch that had evidently broken. Desertcardinal was not far behind. Antlercreek took in a grounding, deep breath. It will be fine, he reassured himself, heart thumping heavily in his chest. He was arguably the worst climber in Thunderclan. Not like it was a trademark skill, but Antler couldn’t climb a wee sapling even if his life depended on it. “You’re alright, Moonpaw,” the senior warrior boomed up to the little fae. “Help is on the way!”
Turning to Desertcardinal, the deputy advised: “You stay here and help her. Don’t put yourself in a spot where you might get hurt, too. I’m going to send Cherrypaw your way, and recruit another warrior or two that’s more adept at climbing than I am.” Antler checked the ginger warrior’s face for understanding, clarity, and calmness. He didn’t need the only full warrior here to break down and lose his cool. “Camp isn’t that far away.” He reassured. “I’ll be right back–!” Antler hollered over his shoulder, already dashing off on an azimuth headed straight towards Cherrypaw. Thankfully, her mentor found her in about the same area where he’d predicted. Huffing a little out of breath–his heavier coat was sweltering in this heat–the deputy brought Cherry up to speed on the events of the past couple minutes. The tabby tom gestured in which direction for her to go with his tail, gave her a stern look of support and encouraging, and then bounded off into the undergrowth.August 4, 2019 at 12:43 pm #2721RoachParticipant
Dark olive green eyes widening as the multi colored tom came to a stop beside Antlercreek. Chest heaving up and down at his rapid breathing due to the mad dash to get here as soon as possible. Despite the situation, he couldn’t help but mentally think that he wasn’t made for dashing quickly, as it was clear to him and probably the others noticing him gasping for his breath that he did not have the stamina for running. Shoving the unnecessary thought to the far back of his mind as he took in the situation more clearly. His muscles tensing beneath his thick pelt as his gaze takes in Moonpaw clinging to her life upon a breaking branch. Worry clouded his gaze, gnawing on his lower lip before looking back towards his deputy as he begins to verbally reassure Moonpaw before turning to him. Paper thin ears twitching in Antlercreek’s direction as he takes in his words, furrowing his brow at the order. Desertcardinal did not have to be told twice to help Moonpaw. “I will do the best that I can” He muttered to the older feline. He did not want to promise that he could get her down to safety and he also did not want to lie and say that he would not put himself in harms way in order to get Moonpaw from the Oak branch.
Watching the deputy dash off to inform Cherrypaw and to also gather reinforcements. Quickly he turns back to the huge oak that towered before him. Inclining his head upwards to gaze up at the anxiety stricken fae. Swallowing down his unease as he knew showing doubt or uncertain would make the horrid situation worse, he needed her to remain as calm as possible. Flashing her a gentle smile, “I’m going to come up and get you! But I need you to remain calm and still as you can!” He ordered before crouching low. Unsheathing his black dagger-like claws, putting all his weight into his hind legs before launching himself in the air. Narrowing his eyes in concentration as he sinks his hooks into the meat of the bark. Securing his position on the trunk, smirking in triumph before scaling up to the closest and thickest branch near up. Grunting as he heaves himself up, taking a look around him as he searches the safest but quickest way to reach Moon. It would seem that jumping from branch to branch would be his best option to make his way up. Taking a deep breath, his claws digging roughly into the dark beneath his paws as he skillfully leaps to one branch to another. His gaze always looking at where he was landing, his mind moving fast as he quickly calculated which branch would hold his weight and get him to Moonpaw.
Desert wasn’t far from her now but paused as a small but alarming creek could be heard slightly above. The branch she stood upon was slowly giving in to her weight. Clenching his jaw as he knew he didn’t have much time. Picking up his pace as he scaled up the tree one branch at a time. ‘Almost…just need to jump to this branch…’ he thought. Flicking his tail as he hesitated slightly as the branch wasn’t as thick as the others, but from his observation he believed it would hold the bulk of his weight. Nodding to himself as he readies himself to leap, pushing himself off the current branch he had once perched upon. Having not quite thought about his footing on a smaller branch caused the large feline to stumble, tottering to the side. Eyes widening in mild panic before redistributing his weight. Grunting in slightly pain as his shoulder slammed into the trunk of the oak. It would definitely leave a bruise. Shaking off the pain as he was now a taillength below slightly to the left of Moonpaw. “Okay I need you to trust me okay?” He meowed as his gaze stayed locked on her. “I need you to jump towards me, don’t worry I will catch you” Desert calmly reassured, but judging from the branch she stood upon she didn’t have much time. “You are just going to have to take a leap of faith” he warmly smiled, hoping he would calm her and get her to listen.August 4, 2019 at 3:27 pm #2722Manna MothParticipant
Moonpaw’s eyes widened with alarm at Desertcardinal’s words but she forced herself to nod. She tried her hardest to pull herself up and managed to fit all paws onto the breaking branch for a heartbeat. The black molly didn’t have time to think before immediately springing off and hoping to land safely. The branch snapped behind her and she flew forward towards her classmate.
He lunged for her and teeth grasped her scruff for a moment before the force of her impact knocked him off balance. The grip on her scruff loosened for a moment and she fell, hitting her shoulder harshly on the branch that stopped her fall and trying to climb onto it. The branch lurched slightly and Desertcardinal was beside her again helping to steady her.
He led her gently down the tree pastel by pawstep until they touched solid ground once more. The second her front paw hit the ground a searing pain shot through her and she crumpled. Eyes glittering with pain she turned to face the patrol. “Something’s not right, it hurts too much” she gasped.
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