June 11, 2020 at 3:22 pm #6752
Smokewisp – Shadowclan Deputy
The river was not kind.
Battered and bleeding Smokewisp finally washed ashore, just outside the territories. Through force of will and Starclan’s providence she’d managed to cling to life. Water lapped at her haunches as she lay upon the marshy bank, fading through various states of consciousness. Her wounds were still oozing and she’d taken a serious blow to the skull. ‘Please, don’t let me die here,‘ she silently plead. Bleeding out upon the stones wasn’t the honorable death she desired. She needed to warn everyone about Pantherstorm. He clearly held no loyalty, lashing out with murderous intent upon any who crossed him. Such a warrior didn’t deserve to reside among the clans.
‘That’s not my problem anymore,‘ she thought bitterly as she clenched her jaw in pain. ‘They’ll figure it out.‘ Hornetstar would find a new deputy and the clan would move on.
In her pain and anger a familiar scent wafted past her nose. “Hah, funny joke,” she sputtered, sides heaving as she coughed up water. The warm scent conjured imagery of Ravenwatcher. She could almost feel his deep blue eyes gazing down upon her. She’s tried to hard to avoid feelings for the dark tom. But, she’d fallen. She was hopelessly mesmerized by him, enthralled and wrapped in his tender care. A tear rolled down her cheek, anguished at the thought of never seeing him again. ‘This is unfair,‘ she screamed internally. What would Ravenwatcher do without her? Wold he be alone, and would he miss her? Would he find another she-cat to love? Her claws dug into the bloodied gravel, feeling a streak of jealous rage. The effort exaggerated her pounding headache, causing her vision to darken.June 14, 2020 at 7:59 pm #6780
“Ah! There you are.” A voice drifted toward the battered Warrior from down the shore, belonging to a very slightly built black tom-cat. It’s owner hurried toward her on snow white paws, and gazed upon her with concern in a pair of jade green eyes. Around their midsection was a makeshift pouch stuffed with a variety of herbs that were giving off a sweet smell.
“Poor thing, you have been through a lot, haven’t you?” Murmured the soft-furred tom as he gingerly slipped under her, grimacing beneath the weight of the sodden half-conscious cat. There was no way to tell how much she was perceiving, but he couldn’t simply leave her there.
A short journey later, the two cats were holed up on a cozy nest built out of tall dry grass. Fireflies floated lazily in and out of the threshold. Up, up and away until they vanished among the vast expanse of stars overhead. His head turned when he heard stirring behind.
“You’re awake! Good.” The tom smiled, picking up and skipping to her side. “You are from the Clans, are you not? I recognize your scent, though you are not from the River Clan.”June 23, 2020 at 10:35 pm #6868
Smokewisp’s blurry eyes locked upon the dark form beside her. Her pelt bristled as she briefly mistook the tom for Pantherstorm. “Here to finish the job?” She hissed, trying to put a mouse-length of distance between them. Surely death hadn’t brought her this far, only to be finished off by her assailant. She drew back her black lips, scenting the air. ‘He’s not clan,‘ she thought, visibly relaxing.
“Look, I’m sorry. Its been a long day–” She paused, giving him a quizzical look. “Wait, has it been a day? How long have I been here? I remember the battle and washing ashore.”
She tried to stand, alarmed at suddenly being so far from Shadowclan. “I need to get back, I’m sorry. I appreciate your help but–” She took a step forward and promptly collapsed. Her own fatigue and bloodless had rendered her limbs useless. “Or, perhaps I won’t be getting home anytime soon,” she sighed. She felt a pang of loneliness and fear, wondering what had happened after her plunge into the river. Was Hornetstar okay, and would he have already chosen a new deputy? Was Ravenwatcher safe? A thousand thoughts spilled into her mind and she felt so powerless.
First things first, she needed to guarantee her company was safe. “I’m Smokewisp, Shadowclan’s deputy. What’s your name, and how do you know Riverclan? I really need to get back to the clan. Surely they think I’m dead.” She paused, considering her own words. She wouldn’t be expected to return if they’d already declared her dead. Would Hornetstar send someone after her? She couldn’t travel back alone in this condition.July 10, 2020 at 11:03 pm #7272
Here to finish the job?
He frowned and cocked his head sideways, eyeing her wounds with clear concern. Getting cats from factions such as these to trust him was always a difficult thing. He looked too much like his father, he supposed. It didn’t surprise him to know that was unnerving.
“I’m afraid I cannot tell you how long you’ve been unconscious. The spirits simply whispered that someone needed help here, I was not expecting someone from the forest.” He admitted with a twinkle in his eyes. Hearing news of his kins’ home was always nice.
“My name’s Faize, I know of your clans because my sister lives there. She’s quite up in the ranks, if I recall.” Pride tinged his mew as he spoke. He never missed a chance to brag on his talented littermate. Though they had chosen different paths, his long-ago visit had shown that she’d made a good home there.
“Why don’t you come with me?” He went on, calmly. “I’m sure your family is worried about you, but let’s not have them be right about your demise. I have healing herbs back at my den, you really ought to rest for a bit before you go on a journey of any sorts.”August 2, 2020 at 7:48 am #7649
“Oh, I see … ” Smokewisp mewed, attempting to smother her disappointment. If she was absent for too long Hornetstar would likely appoint a new deputy. ‘Starclan please, I can’t do that to Hornetstar.‘
Her ears perked as Faize mentioned spirits. ‘Is he some sort of rogue medicine cat?‘ she pondered. ‘Does he mean Starclan sent him?‘
“I’d rather not be a bother,” she mewed, her eyes shifting back towards the river. She had little time and needed to return. But, the dark tom was right. She would be physically incapable of the long journey home. There was no point in returning if she wouldn’t reach her destination alive. “But, I would be grateful for your help.”
Smokewisp grimaced in pain as she hobbled to her feet. Her head ached horribly, her muscles were weak and she could feel blood soaking the back of her neck. “That’s impressive,” she mewed weakly as she felt the tom gently brace her shoulder. “I speak to loners fairly often, but I’ve never met one with herb knowledge. How did you learn?” she replied, hoping to provoke a story to distract from her pain.
“You have a sister in in Riverclan?” she hummed. The tom looked a little older than her, yet still in his prime. ‘Starclan, it can’t be,‘ she thought, noticing a strikingly similar facial features. “No chance she’s a calico with strikingly orange eyes?” she asked, giving him a startled look as they walked.August 2, 2020 at 5:45 pm #7654
The dappled gray she-cat was quite a bit larger and heavier than himself, but Faize still did his best to be a body worth leaving on. And he found to his relief he bore the weight well. They made quite a pair, hobbling across the landscape at a grueling pace. But he did not mind in the slightest. He wore a patient, happy smile with just the faintest hint of not being all quite in the moment- as was his norm. His vivid green eyes always had a half-distant hue to them. As if part of him was in a different world.
“My family had a healer we would visit when we had need.” He explained. “It’s not uncommon for outsiders to know a cat with herb knowledge and travel to be treated. It’s not normally free, but my father was a very persuasive tom.”
It took them a good while but they finally reached his temporary den of woven grasses, located in a nearby fallow farmfield. By this time night had crept into the sky. Faize led Smokewisp to a nest, and proceeded to murmur greetings to entities that presumably only he could see. It looked a bit mad, to everyone else.
“Ah! You know her?” He purred, when the subject of his sister was raised. His back was turned to his patient as he dug through his stores absentmindedly. “Do tell her I said hello when you return. We don’t meet as often as I wish we could.”
With those words he withdrew, hopping along some bright leaves hooked on one claw.
“Take these for pain.” He instructed. “And with your permission I’ll examine you for any breaks or sprains. I shan’t hold you hostage, but do rest in the meantime.”August 7, 2020 at 4:53 am #7710
Every time he closed his eyes, he could still see Smokewisp’s battered body falling into the river, being washed away with its strong currents. The oriental tom had tried his best to get to her in time, to help and protect her, but it had seemed that everything had been against him that night. Bodies pushing against him, not matter how hard he would shove, having to slash left and right at felines that once held a common goal, were now his enemy. Seeing his most trusted friend fall limply into the deep waters below will forever be imprinted into his memory. His heart ached at that image, of seeing the only feline he cares for disappear from sight. The dark tom had wanted to go after her, to follow her down the current to save her, but at the time of war…it could not be done if he wanted to make it out of the blood bath to find her.
Raven had sustained several wounds along his flank, deep claw marks along his ribs, a nick in his right ear, and a sprained paw. Hearing his leader announce the disappearance of Smokewisp had lit a fire of determination within him. Anger burned as he watched many go about their day after being healed, noticing that not one seemed to care that their deputy was missing. ‘How dare they limp about when Smoke is somewhere out there? Are they so quick to label her dead without proof?’ he inwardly seethes. The tall tom only stayed within camp long enough for his wounds to be tended to before sneaking out in the middle of the night. Ravenwatcher knew that his actions could be counted as abandoning his clan, deserting in their time of need, but Smokewisp needed him–he could feel it.
He had already lost a day of tracking, only using the dim moonlight as a guide through the dark. Ravenwatcher needed to begin where it all started; the battlefield. Nose wrinkling at the musty stench of dry blood staining the earth, a foul reminder that lives certainly had been lost here. Long paper-thin ears perking up at the sound of rushing water meeting his ears, the noise of the river continued to get louder the closer he approached. Pausing at the edge, the very edge smoke had fallen from, biting his inner cheek as his periwinkle lavender gaze stares down below into the dark depths of the raging water. He knew that her scent had long been washed away, with the heavy odor of blood clinging to the air as well, it was impossible for him to detect her scent. Oh how he longed to catch even a faint scent of her distinctive sweet woodruff fragrance.
Eyes narrowing in concentration, eyeing how the top of the water foams from the build up of pressure, how the water gracefully yet dangerously flows downriver. ‘I need to follow the current…the current is at it’s strongest here, which means that the stream as to steady at some point’ he reasons to himself. Taking a deep breath as he carefully clambers down, letting his sharp claws drag deeply into the softened soil as he nears the bank. Head tilting upwards once his four paws touch the ground, frowning at the 5 foot drop his grey mottled friend had to endure before submerging into the cold rapids, that is–if she was conscious before the fall. Letting the current guide him as he silently follows along the bank, his large paws sinking into the damp soil, ignoring the thick mud caking onto his paws and forelegs. Cricket chirps could be heard around him, filling the void of silence as he treks on.
Hours pass by, the dark navy blanket of starry light begins to lighten as dawn slowly approaches. Ignoring the rumbling in his stomach as he forces himself to continue onwards, only stopping every now and then to rest his aching limps and lapping up cool water to quench his thirst. His legs felt numb, muscles coiling and quivering with each movement he makes, his paw prints getting heavier in the mud as his exhaustion grows. Just when doubt starts to web into his mind, ready to corrupt his determination with darkness, he notices something up ahead. Eyes brightening slightly as the tall obsidian feline picks up his pace. Halting, gaze narrowing in observation at the indention in the soil, it took him a moment to distinguish the scuff-like markings as an imprint of a body dragging itself upon the shoreline. Wait–whoever washed up had help as Ravenwatcher’s keen gaze spots the second set of prints from the heavier set of the dragged feline.
Hope swelling within his chest as he had a gut feeling was telling him that those heavy, almost uncoordinated steps were Smokewisp’s and the lighter sets were from another feline, hopefully one providing aid. Parting his chapped lips, letting the scents around him flow in as he tries his best to detect her scent. Closing his lavender eyes, allowing his sense of smell to heighten with his sight becoming darkened as all he could see was the inside of his eyelids. The strongest aroma clinging to his tongue was a mixture of moss and lavender, but then a barely detectable scent of sweet woodruff catches his attention. “Smokewisp..” he breathes. Now he knew that his intuition was correct, Smokewisp was indeed alive and he was on the right track on finding her. The prints seemed to be less than a day old, frowning as he was further behind in his pursuit of finding the molly he truly cares for.
Shaking off the frustration as he puts all of his energy into following the two different of paw prints. Thunder rolling not too far behind him, clouds darkening in anger, the humid air thickening as the wind picks up. Cursing his luck as a storm was certainly brewing around him, telling him he needed to pick up the pace if he did not want the scents and tracks to be washed away from the rain. An hour and a half goes by with thunder echoing around, lightning brightening the dull sky, the clouds looking on the verge of releasing their tears upon him. ‘Just a little farther’ he pleads, eyes becoming tired as staring fixedly on the ground, Ravenwatcher was almost convinced he would become crossed-eyed if he had to keep it up. Scowling as he was losing light, the clouds hiding the silver pelt from guiding him on his journey.
Darkness quickly enveloping in all directions, rain drops slowly falling down in pitter-patter motions, slowly at first but soon it seemed that star clan was grieving. Releasing it’s tears to cleanse the stained earth below, Raven’s thick short fur quickly becoming drenched as he aimlessly continues on. The rain dulling his sense of smell, making it nearly impossible to follow their scents, the poor lad couldn’t even see two feet in-front of him. The grey misty haze felt almost like a wall forming, trying to block him from continuing onward. Ears straining against the heavy beat of the rain, Raven could barely make out the rustling of tall grasses before stumbling upon a hidden den within the field. Blindly stumbling within, almost missing his footing on the slippery grass before balancing out his weight. Taking a deep breath in relief before stilling, the aroma of lavender and sweet woodruff being overwhelming to his senses.
Lifting his cranium up slowly, letting his periwinkle lavender gaze flicker over a unknown black tom before settling on the tired form of a certain beautiful grey dabble she-cat, his voice getting caught in his dry throat, his tense shoulders slumping slightly as the tension leaves his body. He had found her.August 7, 2020 at 5:33 pm #7711
A tentative sniff identified the herbs as something familiar. For a brief moment it felt as if Smokewisp were back in the clan’s medicine den, surrounded by herbal scents and Saplingskies’ and Hareflights’ paws. She felt homesick, even though it’d been such a short time.
‘Did I really like it there?‘ she silently asked herself. She worked so hard for Shadowclan. Being deputy over the past several months had been incredibly difficult. Earning the respect of her warriors had been a constant battle. Honestly, she wasn’t certain if having a ‘home’ was worth such a struggle.
She sighed, feeling deflated. These questions were too heavy, considering the pounding in her head. “Alright, I suppose,” Smokewisp mewed, permitting Faize’s inspection. Her amber eyes peered out through the lush foliage as she spotted movement. “Someone is there,” she alerted the dark tom. She drew back her lips as she scented the air. ‘The rain is too heavy,‘ she thought in dismay.
“Show yourself,” she called out. A pair of lavender eyes peered back at her through the rain. “By Starclan,” she swore as she scrambled to her feet, the pain of her wounds suddenly gone. “Ravenwatcher, you’re here!” She stumbled forward, clumsily splashing water about until she reached him. “I can’t believe it,” she murmured, leaning it and touching her nose to his shoulder as a purr erupted from her throat.
A thousand thoughts ran through her mind. Why was Ravenwatcher the only one who came? Did the clan even care about her disappearance?
Her ears flushed hot, feeling a mixture of anger and sadness. She was grateful the dark tom tracked her. But, she was angered that her clan hadn’t done more.
‘There was just a battle,’ she scolded herself silently. ‘They likely don’t have many healthy warriors to spare.‘ The scent of blood caught her off-guard.
“I was afraid I’d been left for dead,” she looked up at him with sad amber eyes. “And you’re hurt! Are those from the battle?” she sniffed at his flank in concern.August 8, 2020 at 6:44 pm #7718
Faize glanced up from his patient’s injuries to find himself confronted with a new cat entirely. He flinched slightly, not accustomed in general to being caught off-guard due to his constant communalism with the spirits. But even they were not omniscient. He dipped his head formally as Smokewisp identified the tom as her kinsman.
“Welcome, welcome. You must be needing treatment too, I see.” He said softly, wishing to give them their privacy once he’d done his work. The both of them would surely have words for one another meant for no other ears.August 21, 2020 at 2:35 am #7852
Blinking his eyelids several times as he tries to process the fact that Smokewisp was really before him. Rain trickling down his angular features, dripping from his chin to the damp grass beneath him. Faint quivers of his body could be seen at the sudden temperature difference within the den. Loving the fact the tall grass of the field den kept in the warmth and pushed out the rain. His dark ears flicking backwards in slight discomfort as he could only imagine how he looked; with mud caking his paws, his black fur soaked in rain water, sticking up in odd places, definitely a sight to see. His lavender gaze glowing in the starlight, brightening considerably at hearing his name flow from her lips.
Stepping further into the den, having to duck slightly due to his height when entering. Grinning as he watches Smoke clumsily make her way towards him, biting his lip to refrain himself for scolding her to be careful, he knew there was no reasoning a stubborn molly such as her. “Of course I’m here. Come now…you honestly didn’t think I would just stay at camp without trying to find you?” He questions with a slight shake to his head, tongue clicking against the roof of his mouth as he gives her a faux hurt look. Tensing only for a brief moment at feeling her cold nose press against his shoulder. Raven knew that she needed to feel him in order to believe that he was there. Course he wouldn’t deny that he enjoyed the touch, no matter how small it is, just being near her was enough to settle his nerves and ground him.
Silence fills the small den, all that could be heard was their breathing and Smoke’s content purring. Resting his cranium on top of hers before looking over at Faize once more. Giving the unknown stranger a warm smile, “Thank you for helping her” his gruff voice softening in gratitude. Though he certainly knew that the grey dabbled she-cat would have had no problems in caring for herself in any other circumstances. Ravenwatcher could not see her face, but could feel her body tensing, subconsciously he leans further into her touch, hoping to ease her troubled thoughts in any way he could.
Tilting his chin downwards, letting his purple eyes lock on to her amber ones. The tall obsidian oriental tom hated seeing her so sad, giving her a small reassuring smile before muttering. “Can’t get rid of me that easily. Who else will trick me into going on morning patrols?” He teases with a toothy grin, his words referring to one of their first interactions when he was troubled with a nightmare. Confusion flickers over his features briefly at the mention of being hurt, he couldn’t tell that his claw wounds along his flank had started bleeding once more from over exertion of movement. Opening his mouth to tell her that he was alright when Faize intervenes in offering to tend to his wounds as well. Hesitating for a moment before nodding slowly in agreement “That would certainly be appreciated”November 6, 2020 at 7:52 pm #9007
Smokewisp looked up at Ravenwatcher, her amber eyes brimming with tears as a wave of complex emotions washed over her.
“S-So everyone is okay?” she stammered, pressing her nose gently into his fur, glad Faize had given them some privacy. She took a deep breath, soaking in his scent and the familiar pine musk of Shadowclan. It made her homesick.
“Some Riverclanner tricked me into the river,” she mewed somberly. “He nearly drowned me. He was …” she closed her eyes, feeling panicked as she remembered the chest-bursting sensation of drowning. “I don’t know who he was. But he’s not … normal. There’s something dark — perhaps even murderous in him.” She fell silent for several moments, taking comfort in the dark tom as her pulse eased.
“Do … do you think we should go back?” she whispered into his ear. “Is it worth returning? There’s more worthy clanmates than I for deputyship. We could leave, and we could live life as loners.” Her amber gaze met his as panic prickled at her paws. “I’m sure Hornetstar thinks I’m dead. This … this is our chance to be free, if we want it.”
She gently touched her nose to his, overcome by emotions and dizzy from the poppy seeds. “I could live anywhere, if it was with you, Raven. We could leave this life behind…” she trailed off, conflicted and angered by her own thoughts.
“I know they need me, but I-I’m so tired of responsibility, Raven!” she cried out, hot tears running down her face. “It’s so hard, and I’ve felt so alone as deputy! And now that TawnyPainter is back I-I … Do they even need me?! I just want to run away, I can’t handle this by myself!”November 18, 2020 at 1:27 am #9871
Frowning as he could see the stress and uncertainty glimmering in her piercing gaze, tears filling her eyes, he could tell she was trying her hardest to contain her raging emotions. Shaking his head as he gives her a fond smile, “So stubborn” he mumbles, using his slim tail to wrap protectively around her slender, yet muscular form. Pulling her closer, letting her cranium rest in the crook of his neck. A hushed silence filling the den, her ragged breathing filling the void around them. “Everyone is okay, many wounded but…they will be okay. All I care about right now is that you are okay” Ravenwatcher admits, his ears flicking backwards in mild embarrassment.
“Shhh” he calms, humming a soothing tone as he tries to ease the panic itching into her voice as she recounts what happened by the river. “That Riverclanner was a murderous snake; he is the reason the clans turned on one another. He is long gone” he reassures, deciding not to mention Pantherstorm by name or his relation to Wisteriastar, finding no point. A chill ripples down his spine as her warm breath caresses his ear as she softly questions if returning to Shadowclan was worth it. The Oriental tom knew that Smokewisp always longed for a taste of freedom as her father had drilled most of it out of her, but he also knew that a life of a loner/rogue was not the life for her.
“You think now that they do not need you, but you are wrong. Hornetstar has been distraught at the thought of having lost you, his trustworthy deputy. You have earned that title because you deserve it, don’t let someone take that away from you” he mumbles into her ear, his tone gentle and smooth. “I cannot nor will I force you to return, just know that I will follow you anywhere, no matter what you decide. You are stuck with me” he flashes a charming grin down at her. His periwinkle lavender orbs glowing in the dim light as he takes in her sharp feminine features, eyeing the tears trickling down her smokey grey dappled face.
“You are not alone….”trailing off as he gently licks away her tears, pressing his cranium against hers, forcing her teary gaze to meet his. “Running away isn’t always the answer…sometimes it leads you farther from home” his voice lowering, not wanting to ruin the intensity of the moment between them. “If you feel like they don’t need you, then you need to make them need you. Show them who you really are, how much you care and dedicate to Shadowclan. You need to step out of the shadows of others before you. It’s not about them anymore, but about you” Raven whispers, his words holding a deeper meaning as he was not just referring to her, but himself.November 18, 2020 at 9:43 pm #9940
Rain pattered against the leaves above, filling the silence as Smokewisp took silent solace in her friend.
‘He’s right,‘ she thought. ‘Running won’t solve my problems.‘
For a moment, memories of her father filled her mind. It felt like she was back in the silted tunnels beneath Shadowclan, learning battle moves far too advanced for an apprentice her age.
‘You’ll never amount to anything like this!‘ her father roared, snapping at her ear as he shoved her into a puddle. Smokewisp could practically feel the cold, murky water soaking her pelt. ‘Run, you coward! Run, just like my brother!‘
Memories of Duskgaze assailed her, his kind but calculating eyes upon her. She’d loved her uncle, as she had known him. But, to her clanmates he was ‘a snake in the grass.’ When his plans for Shadowclan betrayal were discovered, Duskgaze had fled into the woods. In the end, he was hunted down and murdered by his own brother, Nightstrike. Her father.
A knot formed in her throat. She’d been so scared she’d meet the safe fate, if she disappointed her father. He was terrifying. So, she obeyed his orders. She became who he wanted her to be.
She loosed a rattling exhale, grounding herself. ‘I’m not who I was,‘ she reminded herself. ‘I am who I am now, despite the flaws and pain. He’s right, I’ve carved my place in the clan, and I just need to fill it. I just … need to be me, not him. I’m not Nightstrike. I’m my own individual, and I can do this my own way.‘
She looked up, gazing once again into Ravenwatcher’s strikingly blue eyes. Her ears flushed warm, noting the closeness of their pelts and the tenderness in his touch. ‘W-What am I doing?‘ she thought, briefly pulling away. ‘What is Ravenwatcher to me?‘
The answer rose from her soul, almost immediately, and she found herself nuzzling the soft fur of his cheek.
“Oh, Raven,” she mewed quietly. “I’m not sure what I would do without you. You’re right. You’re almost always right,” a bubbly, laughing purr erupted from her chest. “You’ve found me, this lost and confused she-cat in the woods, and I’m not sure what you see in me.” She drew close, feeling his heartbeat. “I agree, the only way I can shake this shadow is by returning. Not as who I was, but as who I really am. I’ve lived in the shadow of my father for so long, following his wishes. Serving how be believed the ‘ideal’ deputy should be. But, that’s not me. Not really. I love serving my clan, but I want to serve it in my way. Not his.”
She took a deep, nervous breath before continuing, “I want something more. To set my sights on something higher, not just the day-to-day grind perfecting mindless tasks. There’s more to life than catching prey, digging tunnels and leading patrols. I want … more.” She felt her paws tremble slightly, “And, I t-think the first step to that is you,” she mewed shakily. “I want you by my side for this, Ravenwatcher.“
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