A Long-Awaited Return (Rook/Fire/Sycamore)

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  • #7483
    Phena
    Participant

    Rookfall & Sycamore

    His paw pads were worn. Much of his original body weight had been gained then shed. Survival was written in every margin of this cat, a mere shadow of the warrior he had once been. Scars flecked his face, flanks, and back, stories of the time he had been away. But it was over now. That chapter was closed and done…Here he was. 

    Home.

    It took him a moment to realize where he was. The familiar grass beneath his paws and sharp scent on the breeze seemed foreign to him now. He was used to the cloying smoke of Twolegplace, the stench of carrion, the breezy freedom of the wild. As a kit, he had thought SkyClan’s territory was all there was to see. Now, it seemed…domestic. Fenced-in. A haven to those who were lost. The tuxedo-furred tom’s knees nearly buckled as he recognized the trees. He recognized the birdsong. His heart collapsed in his chest and his eyes stung with emotion. “Oh…” He breathed, his face twisting into one of pure relief.

    Behind him, a little scrap of fur toddled. The silver-furred tom-kit made sure to stick close by, but he walked with such playfulness. He wanted to swipe at the butterflies and run in the wind, but did not for fear of his father’s strict tone. Ever since they had been separated from Xena, Rook had been distant. The death of Fire had hit him hard and now, Sycamore was all he had left. Rook’s abrupt halt caused the little one to stumble into his hind leg. His father didn’t move nor chastise him for being feather-brained…whatever that meant. Curious, he carefully crept around Rook, trying to follow his father’s gaze to see just what he was looking at. There was nothing different here than there was miles back. It was the same trees, same roots, same grass. Sycamore did not recognize anything here worth noting. He cocked his head and looked up at his father. “Da?” He mewed, sneaking closer to prod him with a paw.

     

    Rook was shaken from his reverie upon his son’s touch. His pale eyes blinked then looked down at Sycamore. There was a grand smile on his face. Sycamore had not seen that smile for what seemed like forever. Moisture had collected in the corners of Rook’s eyes and his voice, when he spoke, was nary a whisper. “We’re here, Sycamore.”

    They…were here? This was SkyClan?! Sycamore’s yellow eyes brightened and he pranced excitedly a few pawsteps ahead. “Finally! We’re here, we’re here! Oh, yes! Let’s go, Da–“

    “Sycamore.” Rook’s gaze grew as sharp as his tongue. “Stay by me. We are here, but we are outsiders. If we see anyone, let me talk to them. You are not to leave my side. Do you understand?” There was concern in Rook’s voice as well as a grain of fear. He had been gone a long time. Moons. Would his former Clanmates recognize him? Did they think he was dead? He didn’t look the same as he did as deputy…He didn’t feel the same. For all he knew, they would reject him, and all of this work would have been for nothing.

    No, Rook thought, shaking his head. This is my home. I’m here, Firestar…Moonberry…Oh, my dearest kits, I am here.

    • This topic was modified 2 months ago by Phena.
    • This topic was modified 2 months ago by Phena.

    “Destiny isn't a path any cat follows blindly. It is always a matter of choice, and sometimes the heart speaks loudest. Listen to your heart, because that's where your true destiny lies.”
    - Leafpool

    #7513
    Roach
    Participant

    The Calm Before The Storm GIF | Gfycat

    Firestar

    It would seem as of lately the leader would leave camp during the evening time, when most SkyClan settles down or turns in for the night. Being leader will always be a stressful job, one he is slowly but surely grasping a foundation on how to properly lead his clan like they deserve. Straightening up his slouched posture absentmindedly at the thought of becoming the leader his clan needs. Times have certainly been trying during his rein as leader, and he knew it will only get harder from now on. It was just the calm before the storm. Tilting his large wedged cranium upwards, letting his gaze flicker up at the sky, enjoying watching the sky fade into different hues of color. Pinks, purples, and oranges decorate the sky in intricate patterns, it was truly breath-taking. Natures art at its finest.

     

    The fiery and sandstone ginger Maine Coon had no real destination in mind, allowing the peaceful aura around him as a guidance in where he should go. No matter how much he was enjoying his little stroll, he could not help the permanent stress etched into his shoulders. With Milkynight due any day with his kits–it was easy to see why he was so rattled, wincing at just the thought of the snarky siamese beauty. The two hot-heads were definitely not on good terms, and he wasn’t so sure they ever would be. Both deciding that it was best not to be together, but simply co-parent their kits, it will certainly be confusing for their kits, but it was the best as both were not ready for such comment to one another.

     

    Mindlessly trenching on, padding closer and closer towards the edge of SkyClan, close to the foreboding outskirts. A sense of unease gnaws at his bones as he silently stares off into the distance, to him the forest within the outskirts seemed more lethal and darker than SkyClan, even though technically all that separated them was a stream cutting through the ground as a markable border. Paper thin ears with tufts of fur on the tips twitch as he catches a faint voice toward his right. Frowning as he turns his gaze in that direction, his form remaining stock still as he was not certain if he truly heard a voice or simply imagined it. Though its soon confirmed when he indeed hears not one but two voices, nostrils flaring as he takes in the scents around him.

     

    Rustic wooden and earthly tones fill his senses, but as well two unknown scents, though he felt an noticeable itch in the back of his mind as one scent smelt vaguely familiar, his tired mind could not put it together but decides to investigate why two unknown felines would be trespassing into his home. ‘Never a moment of peace’ he couldn’t help but bitterly think as he quietly pinpoints their whereabouts and follows the invisible trail of their scents. Sticking to the shadows of the sun’s dying light as he approaches closer and closer to the culprits, his ember gaze narrowing as he finally spots the two, though he pauses from revealing himself when he notices that one was just simply a kit. Frowning at the predicament, wondering on just who would bring their kit willing into marked territory. Firestar suspected that it was planned, as if the kit was a ploy to halt any unsuspected attacks with a kit in company.

     

    ‘Smart’ slowly his gaze flickers toward whom he supposed was the father when his breath hitches suddenly in his throat. Standing before him, several feet away, was the supposedly dead former deputy, his dear friend, whom was seen perishing during the Great Battle; Rookfall. His throat suddenly feeling dry as he swallows his shock and confusion of the situation before him. Soon anger rushes through his veins as he couldn’t help, but believe that Starclan was playing a cruel joke on him, or if it just the trick of the glowing golden light that caused him to believe that Rookfall was indeed alive. ‘Someone that looks scarily like him? A relative?’ only one way to find out. With that, he steps out of the shadows, letting the warm glow of the dying light radiate off his pelt, setting his fur into a fiery glow. “Who are you? What makes you think you can trespass into SkyClan?” he coldly muses, his piercing gaze flickering between Rookfall and Sycamore, before coming to a full rest of the black and white tuxedo, arching a single brow in a silent prompt for him to answer, and that his answer better be good.

     

    ‘Is it really Rookfall?’

    #7514
    Phena
    Participant

    ROOKFALL SYCAMORE


    “I said, do you understand me?” Rook repeated, his eyes somewhat chilled. If anything happened…He would not lose Sycamore. If he was to live, he had to listen, and Sycamore rarely listened unless Rook was firm. 

     

    “Yes,” Sycamore mewed softly then, his yellow eyes looking up at Rook’s. “I understand.”

     

    “Good. You remember what I told you about the Clans, don’t you? They don’t like outsiders on their territory.”

     

    “But we aren’t outsiders, are we, Da? Weren’t you SkyClan?”

     

    “It’s been a while. It’s…complicated.” Rook sighed then, his voice a mere rumble as he spoke to his son. His ear flicked as he heard a shift in the grass. He froze, then swept his tail around his son’s skinny frame. His pale eyes flicked around him, trying to see what was lurking in the shadows. His jaw immediately dropped to scent the air, but all he could smell was SkyClan. StarClan be damned, I’ve gotten sloppy, he thought angrily. At one point, he had been able to pick the breeze apart and distinguish prey from herbs from Clan scent to individual cats. Now…it was as if everything was murky. It was a lack of training and discipline, a life on the road, that had destroyed this. 

     

    A familiar voice broke him from his thoughts and his hackles immediately lowered. His heart sped and he shot his gaze over to a massive fire-red tom. Rook’s expression was soft with disbelief, relief, awe, wonder…It was as if every good thing had fallen into his paws at that very moment. His leader – his friend, his brother in arms – was here. It wasn’t a vision or a dream. It was real. Beside him, his tabbied son pressed close to his feet. Rook swept a protective tail around him, still wary even in the presence of someone he had once loved dearly. 

     

    “I walk hundreds of miles back here from what can only be described as the dead and this is how I am welcomed?” Rookfall’s voice was characteristically gentle, as it always had been, yet the words that fell from his mouth were mischievous and playful. “Then again, I expected nothing less from you, Fire,” he jibed, his pale green eyes sparkling. 

     

    Sycamore stiffened at that. His eyes widened as he peered up from Rook to stare in awe at the foreign tomcat. Fire! This was the cat his father always spoke of? He always said Firestar was big, but this cat was massive! As tall as the trees themselves!

    • This reply was modified 2 months ago by Phena.

    “Destiny isn't a path any cat follows blindly. It is always a matter of choice, and sometimes the heart speaks loudest. Listen to your heart, because that's where your true destiny lies.”
    - Leafpool

    #7517
    Roach
    Participant

    17 GIFs That Might Make You Feel Cool Again

    Firestar

    There is a tense moment of silence between them for several moments before Rookfall regains his composure to wittingly reply back to the ginger tom. Making sure to keep his emotions at bay, keeping his well practiced mask in place, not wanting his relief to seep through just yet. From Rookfall’s words it was plain as day that he was indeed his long lost friend, one to be dead. Somehow Rook had survived the battle moons ago and now stood before him, eyes narrowing as he observes his friend. His calculative and observant gaze noticing how much weight he had lost, the new scars littering his tangled fur, the exhaustion permanently printed on his features, and the protective way his tail wrapped instinctively around the tabby kit. ‘So he has a son’ the thought rings in his mind as he glances down at Sycamore in curiosity, wondering who the mother was, who had caught the attention of the usually oblivious tom?

     

    “It would certainly look like you have traveled far” he dryly comments as he eyes Rookfall’s disgruntled form in distaste, though his ember eyes gleam in happiness to have his friend back within SkyClan. Small twitch of a smile appears on his lips before clearing his throat as seriousness seeps in. “Where have you been?” he demands, not necessarily asking. Not giving him a moment to respond as he stalks forward, closer to his comrade. “I thought you to be dead, everyone did! It’s been moons and now you show up?” his voice remains level despite the fluctuations in his tone that conveyed his anger but hidden relief. “Not only do you rise from the dead, but show up with a son?” briefly looking down at the wide-eyed tabby kit with slight amusement before his attention is once more drawn to Rook. “You have a lot of explaining to do” he firmly states with a huff escaping him.

     

    “And do not believe for a second that I am not below hitting you in-front of your son” he quips in a teasing tone, though he certainly would smack Rookfall if his answers did not satisfy him. Firestar lets out a heavy sigh as he shakes his head, still not believing in the turn of events taking place before him. “What’s your name?” he gruff out as he soon notices that Sycamore has yet to say anything, which he found highly unusual for a kit. He could easily sense that there was a change to Rook, that the usual calm and collected was still there, but there was an aura of toughness and hesitance surrounding him, The tuxedo had seen and witnessed many things that certainly forever changed him, but he was still Rookfall through and through, that Firestar was certain of.

    #7520
    Phena
    Participant

    Leaves — Shaina Garfield

    ROOKFALL & SYCAMORE


    For a moment, he was worried he had been wiped from the leader’s memory. Waves of tension rolled between them before it finally broke like ocean waves. The edges of his lips carried the ghost of a smile. Relief swelled in his breast and he mirrored Firestar’s expression, his pale eyes soft even when the tom-cat approached him with thinly veiled anger. Rookfall’s expression was cool as he regarded him, his ears pricked atop a narrow skull, intently listening. “It would certainly look like you’ve traveled far.” You have no idea, he thought drily. He was not prepared for the spitfire projectiles of questions from him, but at the same time, he expected this. Firestar would not let him into camp without answering him, and Sycamore needed rest soon. The best thing to do was comply. The last comment, however, earned a small laugh from Rook. “And am not above hitting an old badger,” he retorted to Fire with a crooked smirk. His eyes glowed with amusement – at him, at himself, at the situation – amusement that dimmed to welcome unease as Fire asked Sycamore a question. “His name is–“

    “Sycamore!” The young kit mewed bravely, stepping forward out of his father’s shadow to look up at Fire. You’re Firestar? You’re even bigger than the stories!” His voice was awestruck and breathy, his yellow eyes carrying the same brightness as his father’s, despite gaining no other qualities from his paternal parent.

    Rook shot him a glance, but for once he did not chastise him. Their lives would be different now. They were home. His knee-jerk reaction to smother his son would only harm him as he found his place within a Clan…and he needed to do that alone. The tuxedo tom sucked in a small breath, then sighed. His expression was much more serious, reminiscent of the tom he had been moons ago. “The dawn before the battle, I had gone on a walk to prepare for what was to come. I wanted to center my mind, to be at my best for when you needed me. I followed the brook out. I walked right into a Twoleg trap, one that was for a small animal – like a raccoon or a possum.” He lifted his right forepaw to show Fire the deep puncture scars that had been left from the incident. “I had to lay there, bleeding and in agony, for hours. Every time I struggled against it, the iron claw worked its way in deeper. The Twolegs returned to their trap, and discovered me. They took me to a healer first – a place kittypets call a ‘Cutter’ – and they put me into a deep sleep. When I woke, it was behind metal bars, in a small den the size of a nest. There was stale, tasteless pellets of food and water that tasted like rust. My den was on top of another cat’s den, each side was taken by another den, above me was another. The room reeked of piss, pellets, Twolegs, and something sharp and sickly (bleach). I was kept there for such a long time…I don’t know how long. It felt like ages. Other hopeless kittypets and furious dogs yowling, howling, barking, meowing…for hours, and hours…” Rookfall’s voice wavered at that, his eyes darkening at the memory. “I’ve never heard such sadness.” He looked away, then growled out the next part of his story. It brought him much shame to admit it, but this was the story of his survival, not his honor. That chapter had closed with SkyClan. “Twolegs with their kits would come in and out of the room. They’d stick their fingers through the bars, press their faces to it to mewl nonsense. After a while, I noticed that certain cats would be taken out of the room if they granted the Twolegs what they wanted. I…I stopped hissing, I stopped spitting and yowling, and I started purring, pressing against the bars, and welcoming them, begging them to get me out…” Rookfall scrunched up his nose and spat. “To go from a warrior, to a kittypet that begs, was probably the lowest point of my life. But it worked. A Twoleg man came and took me in a cage to his den, where I met a hound who liked cats and…Xena.” Whereas he had been struggling to talk about his story before, his face became peaceful and his heart squeezed in deep mourning. His eyes were soft with sadness. “The Twoleg den was the same as the barred cage, except it was a bigger space. For a while, I just hid and tried to find an escape route. Nothing was open. The Twoleg wouldn’t let us out no matter how I cried. I was forced to become a begging, pudgy pet, but Xena was an escape. I told her about Clan life, and she told me about her dreams. We fell in love. When she became pregnant with Sycamore and Fire, we escaped when the Twoleg let the dog out, and we ran. We didn’t know where we were going or how we would get back here, but we ran until we thought we had put enough distance between us and our captors. We traveled together until she gave birth. When the kits were barely weaned, we were attacked by coyotes. They killed my son, Fire. I fought against them with everything, but Xena told me to take Sycamore and get him here, no matter what. So I did.” His voice thickened and he looked down to Sycamore, his last reminder of his beloved. He curled his tail around him and stroked his head with a paw, then looked up to Fire with a hard, fierce gaze. “I did everything to get back here. I searched Twolegplace upon Twolegplace, asking everyone who would listen if they ever heard of Clan cats. Some were kind, some wanted nothing but blood. I had to do a lot of things to get back here, Fire. I dishonored the Code I pledged my life to, so that I could return to my kits and give my son a better chance. You don’t have to believe me, but that is my story, and there is no changing it.”

    • This reply was modified 2 months ago by Phena.
    • This reply was modified 2 months ago by Phena.

    “Destiny isn't a path any cat follows blindly. It is always a matter of choice, and sometimes the heart speaks loudest. Listen to your heart, because that's where your true destiny lies.”
    - Leafpool

    #7548
    Roach
    Participant

    Smoke Forest GIF by Living Stills | Nature gif, Nature images ...

    Firestar

    His sensitive ears perking up at the sound of Rook’s laughter, it sounded rough and strained in a way, as if he hadn’t used that muscle in so long that it was foreign to use anymore. A subtle frown tugs at his lips as he eyes his friend in worry, though made sure to hide his emotions well behind his well placed mask, knowing that Rookfall would not appreciate pity or concern. Instead covers it with his well known smirk at his words, “Now is the any way to speak to a leader?” he teases with amusement, arching a brow slightly as he sensed the sudden unease at the action of him questioning his kit. Finding the action a little odd as it was not like he was a stranger to Rook; Sycamore yes, but not the worn out tuxedo before him. Hearing the high pitched mew of the small tabby answering with enthusiasm catches his attention, “Stories huh?” he questions with intrigue, wondering what kind of stories did Rook spring together for his kit. The main thing that stuck out for Firestar had to be Sycamore’s eyes, the same shade and hue of yellow like his fathers, the only noticeable similarities between the two, he suspected that the young lad took more after his mother when it came to looks.

     

    Sucking on his teeth as he suddenly realizes that there was only Rookfall and Sycamore, the kit’s mother was no where to be seen. Quickly he realized something tragic must have occurred for his dear friend to show up alone with just his kit, being sensible to not to pry, deciding it would be for the best for Rook to reveal everything himself without him fishing for answers. Sensing the subtle shift of the mood around them caused him to snap out of his thoughts, Firestar was half tempted to reassure him that he did not have to tell him everything, but knew that the tom before him would rather get everything off his chest and in the open now rather than later. Rolling his shoulders to relief the tension before settling down on his hunches, his fluffed tail wrapping naturally around his paws, letting his gaze flicker back to Rookfall, an indication that he was giving him his full attention.

     

    Firestar remains patient and attentive throughout the whole tale of the black and white former deputies hardships and travels, eyeing the faded scaring on his forepaw as evidence of the truth. Inwardly wincing as he could only imagine what he must have felt and thought in those moments of weakness, fur bristling at the parts of learning that he had been taken by two legs, forced into a metal nest with no way to escape, having to resort to begging and eating bland food in order to survive. It felt odd hearing about such experiences that other felines outside of the clan life was hard for him to follow, but did his best to understand just what Rook had gone through. He imagined himself in his situation, picturing in his mind as Rook describes it in detail, sensing and feeling the raw anger and disgust that he felt for himself for stooping so low in a dire need. He couldn’t help but ponder if his friend believed that he truly would think him any lesser for living the kitty pet life, no matter how brief it had been. While Firestar did not agree with the kitty pet life, he knew better than to discriminate one for living such simple subdued life, as several of his clanmates came from such a life style.

     

    His thick mane ruffling in the humid summer breeze, the sun setting at a rapid pace, giving the small clearing they resided in a warm subtle glow. Crickets could already be heard chirping their nightly songs in harmony, while many mammals scurry to their homes for a long nights rest. His steady gaze unwavering on the form of his dear friend, ears flickering in his direction, silently absorbing what exactly happened to his mate, but his eyes do widen at the mention that not only did Rook lose his mate to coyotes, but lost a son; Fire as well.  Pure agony is all Fire heard in his thickened emotional voice, following Rookfall’s gaze toward Sycamore. Watching them interact with fondness for one another, giving him a look of disbelief at the mention of him not believing everything that was just told to him. Openly scoffing at him as he rolls his ember eyes, “oh shut it, even I am not daft enough to think you made that all up” though his gaze soon turn serious as he eyes his friend.

     

    Rising to his paws, flexing his stiff muscles as he approaches him, now Firestar is that the type to usually initiate physical contact, but knew that it was what his ‘brother’ needed in that moment. Lightly pressing his forehead against in in a brotherly manner as he whispers to him, “I am sorry that I was not there in your time of need. You have been there for me, even when I did not deserve it. Don’t think for a second you have to defend your honor to me. I am also sorry for your loss…I am sure she was beautiful if she caught your picky eye” he softly adds with a true smile appearing on his sharp features. Pulling away as he notices the sleepiness clinging to the young kit. “I believe we have spent enough time away from home. Also-“ he pauses as he flashes him a shit-eating grin, “I was going to allow you back to camp regardless, just wanted to see how much you actually would tell me” Firestar hums before gesturing for them to follow him as he leads them back to SkyClan Camp.

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