February 4, 2020 at 1:46 pm #4926JetstreamParticipant
– W I S T E R I A S T A R –
The RiverClan leader led her Clan back to their own territory quietly, not a single word leaving her lips as they trekked through their enemy’s territory, now quiet as a mouse as the sun began to set behind them. The silence and lack of movement around them was unsurprising– all of ThunderClan was likely concentrated in their camp due to the battle they had just experienced. Warriors and apprentices alike tending to their wounds and cleaning camp grounds of blood and fur from the scrap. The prey had scattered, having fled from the screams and yowls of angry cats, and it seemed that even the wind had stopped, for the leaves high above their heads didn’t rustle. Wisteriastar’s steps were stiff, her whole body was tense and it showed with how square and high up her shoulders were as she led the head of her patrol back home. Whether it was from the pain or the anger she felt, even she didn’t know which was more prominent. The wounds she had acquired from both Hollystar and Antlercreek stung, the most deep of them throbbing with each step she took. But as she thought about it more, it wasn’t the pain of her wounds that hurt her as much as it was the death of her old friend, Antlercreek, which was solely her responsibility. He died because of her and that reality sunk in deep to her conscience.
She was RiverClan leader now and she had been for a few moons. Her priority at the end of the day had to be to her own Clan and ensuring the safety of her clanmates. They relied on her for guidance and her ability to successfully lead them to profit. She had done what she believed to be her best option to not only trust her deputy’s words, for she more than had faith in Heronflight, but also to try and keep peace with their borders with ThunderClan. And the result had been devastating, a battle with many wounds and blood spilled and a death toll that didn’t need to exist in the first place. The regret she felt stung more than her wounds and it fueled the agitation that built up within her. Even the familiarity as they returned to their own territory and the ground underfoot that softened didn’t ease her stresses. The RiverClan cats made the walk back to their own camp safe and sound but it didn’t feel like a victory.
“Hold it.” She told her warriors the heartbeat they stepped paws into their own camp, commanding stillness from them and with only two words, forbidding the wounded cats of the water from returning to their nests to lick their scratches. The calico warrior made way for the Waterfall Rock and leapt up the rocks to the camp’s peak despite the ache to her body. “Let all cats old enough to swim gather beneath the waterfall for a clan meeting!” Wisteriastar’s voice boomed, though the need to call her Clan appeared unnecessary, for the entirety of RiverClan had already been made aware of the battle and the majority of them were already clustered in camp, anxiously awaiting their return. Before she began her announcements, her attention turned to their new healer, Hickoryroot, from where he took his place close beneath the base of the waterfall. “There are many cats who need their wounds treated, I’m trusting your ability to care for them. Should you need extra paws, you’re free to borrow any warrior you need.” She told her medicine cat. He was new to his role, but she had confidence in him that he would be alright. It had been quite the time for the river warriors, the day had passed and now the sun was setting low in their camp, alighting their clearing in an ominous, deep red-orange, as if to mimic the blood they spilled today in someone else’s home. The rocks that sheltered them basked in a deep, dark orange and the waterfall that usually so peacefully cascaded into their camp turned a bright red, running almost like blood itself before them. Wisteriastar closed her eyes and took a deep breath at the sight, giving herself a moment before she peered down once more at her Clan.
The light caught her orange-amber eyes as they focused in on Sootstain, giving them a hue that mimicked the ferocity of fire itself but despite that resemblance, her eyes were cold and stoic as she looked at the grey warrior. “There were actions taken today that cannot be undone,” she had begun, contemplating for a moment how severely she was going to come down on the reckless tom. But she figured that the lashing he had received from the ThunderClan deputy had wounded his pride enough already and that getting an extra lecture from his leader right now was likely the last thing he needed. “I am only going to say this once, so listen closely. The battle that occurred today could have been prevented had the directions I gave been followed through properly. Those of you that have disobeyed me will have to pull extra effort to gain back my trust. This is the only time I will let such a thing slide.”
The RiverClan leader’s next words carried a tone of complete authority, one that gave absolutely no room for argument. “From now on, in what I can fully expect to come, warriors that cannot follow orders will not be welcome here in RiverClan. If you disobey me, you disobey your clan and the trust given to you by your clanmates.” As much as she wished it could be prevented, this was the reality the clans had come to face. She had to do everything she possibly could to ensure the safety of RiverClan. “There is war coming. We must prepare for it. Heronflight, starting at dawn tomorrow, begin preparations for battle training and secure our borders strictly. That is all. You are all dismissed. Get your wounds checked before you go to your nests tonight.” With that final statement and a dismissive flick of her tail, the calico feline ended the clan meeting.February 4, 2020 at 2:32 pm #4928WolfstarParticipant
Vinepaw was silent with shock the whole way back to camp, her leaf-green eyes locked straight ahead as she thought about the battle that just occurred. Her first battle ever, and nothing good came of it. What was the whole point of fighting a battle that went nowhere? The mottled gray she-cat limped into the camp, feeling defeated and exhausted. Her fight with Darkberry was a brutal one, and it left a deep gash in her shoulder as well as fierce claw marks from above her left eye to the right of her chin. Her pretty face was now distorted, and it stung as if a thousand bees were stabbing her.
Once inside camp, she searched for her mentor, Creekfrost and sat beside him, leaning into him to help her stay steady. Despite himself having wounds, she could tell he wasn’t as bad off as she was. I just want my wounds checked and then fall asleep. She was so sore that she couldn’t imagine training for the next couple of days, but that was for Hickoryroot to decide. When Wisteriastar called out a meeting, Vinepaw’s head tilted up to stare at their leader on the waterfall, her waving in the wind. Were the ThunderClanners right…? Was her leader a murderer? Vinepaw followed Wisteriastar’s gaze to Sootstain and blinked with confusion. What had happened before the battle began? Vinepaw had wished she was in the leader’s patrol.
Vinepaw’s eyes widened at the leader’s shouted commands. I will never disobey you, she promised quietly. Once Wisteriastar ended the meeting, Vinepaw looked up at Creekfrost. “What was the point of that battle?” she asked blatantly, wanting to know exactly what she had just fought for. At the moment, she was confused on the whole ordeal.February 4, 2020 at 4:45 pm #4933ChrisParticipant
When the other Warriors had carried her body in, Blankstone had not felt immediately alarmed. It looked as though Swiftstream were merely asleep, on unconscious as others were from their wounds. But as they lowered her to the ground she saw very clearly how her head bent at an impossible angle. She could not tear her eyes from the sight, even as distantly they explained to her how her daughter had fallen and broken her neck.
It was like plunging into icy water. Too much feeling at once, too much, too much. The river was roaring in her ears. A river of blood, yes, they would bleed for this.
What am I thinking? This is not a rational response.
Her mind struggled to reign in these impulses. They were ugly, unnatural. You must not cry. She told herself, the image of her sister Shroudtail prostrate in her grief filled her mind. Blankstone would not be like that, it had never been her way and for a very good reason. Even with her sister gone, these emotional pathways were forged in stone. To divert was unnatural.
Nonetheless, the feelings lingered. Like a quake, the aftershocks were gentler yet still persistent enough to draw a tiny sob from her mouth. Instantly her head snapped up to see if anyone had noticed her moment of weakness.February 4, 2020 at 5:30 pm #4935HollystarParticipant
At Wisteriastar’s call, Troutbelly gathered beneath the waterfall. He had been left behind the guard camp- just in case. And apparently he was luckily to have been. Every cat that returned to camp after the battle was badly injured and their spirits seemed broken. As his leader spoke of cats disobeying her, he wondered what had happened. The orange tomcat watched as the injured cats were brought in and watched as Blankstone looked towards her fallen daughter. She had been the only one lost in Riverclan- a tragic loss nonetheless. Swiftstream was young, and was a promising Warrior.
Troutbelly watched his sister from a distance at first, and only when he saw her brief sob did he make any movement. Their relationship had never been strong, but maybe it was time they tried to repair it. He approached her cautiously. You could never tell how one would react when grieving her kit. The ginger feline rest his tail gently on her back. “I’m sorry, Blankstone,” he meowed softly. He hoped she wouldn’t shut him down and push him away. He wanted to be there for her right now, but wasn’t really sure what to say. “I know nothing will make this right, or easier to deal with. I know we’ve never been close, and I know you try to keep everything inside, but if you need me, I’m here for you,” Troutbelly expressed to her.February 8, 2020 at 1:23 pm #4978FinchParticipant
Having made the painful trip back to camp with the rest of the RiverClan patrol, Heronflight had stuck to the tail end of the group, keeping a weary surveillance of their surroundings on the slow treck home as well and ensuring no one had fallen behind the others unnoticed. His temper was sparking underneath a frost-thin layer of calm, and it was fortunate that the group didn’t run into any issues on the return trip.
Even though he was nearly unscathed, he still sat down gratefully when the meeting was called, his muscles sore from exertion. Wisteriastar tasked him with organizing extra battle training as well as increased border security, and upon dismissal he rose slowly and padded off to lay under a bush where he could watch Hickoryroot tend to the others who needed more urgent care. It would be important to plan the change of routine carefully, so as not to exhaust the clan or to leave the camp under-defended. And of course, extra activity would mean hungrier cats.
Realizing belatedly that as deputy he was now directly tied in with clan moral, Heronflight pushed quickly to his feet once more. It would be good if he spoke with some of the clanmates who seemed the most uneasy—this wasn’t his forte in the slightest, but he had a responsibility to be present for his clanmates if they needed him.February 8, 2020 at 3:35 pm #4982ChrisParticipant
Blankstone reacted in a very programmed fashion as another Clanmate approached her. Straightening her back, fashioning her features into the neutral thin-lipped expression that every cat knew her to bear. A curtain descended over her dark green eyes, muddying the emotions that fought hard to surface in their depths.
“I appreciate your offer, but it is not necessary. We know that when battles occur, our Warriors may be asked to make the ultimate sacrifice for RiverClan. I am proud of her.” The words themselves could not have been any more devoid of feeling, though turmoil leaked into them like muffled music from another room.
“And I would also like request that you not make assumptions of me- you are right, we do not know one another.” The anger in this stanza was plain, she allowed it to edge into her tone in hopes of rebuffing these odd advances from her elder brother.
Rainysky practically burst from the Medicine Cat den, his wounds clearly not having been attended to as blood oozed sluggishly from a shallow gash on his flank. His seafoam green eyes were stretched wide with a mixture of fear and shock. It did not go immediately remarked however, as Rainysky often appeared this way over events of varying significance.
The silver tabby tom snaked through the crowd deftly, climbing up stand on an outcrop of stones just below where their Leader was addressing everyone.
“Wisteriastar!” He cried loudly. “It’s…it’s Hickoryroot! There’s something wrong with him, I think he’s sick or…..I don’t know but he can’t move.” His jawline quivered.
“What are we going to do?”
And with that, he fainted dead away his body slumping over the gray rocks like a dead fish.
February 19, 2020 at 11:40 am #5206JetstreamParticipant
- This reply was modified 3 months, 3 weeks ago by Chris.
– W I S T E R I A S T A R –
The calico leader watched the clearing with a feeling akin to satisfaction as her warriors murmured their support and stood proud and resilient before her. She was more relieved than anything else that her clanmates were still confident in her ability to lead them and were willing to still follow her. She did admittedly have a bit of doubt in herself after the result of the ThunderClan battle, for the disappointment in their rival clan in her had penetrated her usually thick skin and made her wonder in her ability to lead RiverClan to greatness. But they were willing to stay with her and that, to her, made all the difference. ThunderClan could think what they want but at the end of the day, she knew that she deserved to be where she was and she would never let that go. Satisfied, Wisteriastar began to dismount her position on the top of the outcrop of the waterfall, but her descent was disrupted by Rainysky, who had come clambering up, frantic and blubbering about the state in which he had found their medicine cat, Hickoryroot, to be in.
Alarmed, the RiverClan leader parted her mouth to question him more, but she stopped short when the warrior fainted right before her eyes. “Rainysky?” She blurted, feeling quite shocked at the sudden interruption as well as his abrupt collapse, she went to his side immediately and pressed a paw to his flank. She was relieved to find that he was still breathing, and it appeared that he wasn’t in any immediate danger in terms of his survival. Sighing, Wisteriastar motioned for a nearby warrior. “Please watch him,” she told them, trusting her clanmates to care for Rainysky, for she had to go check on the state of their healer now as well. Quickly, the calico feline made her way to the medicine cat den to find the grey tabby tom in the state in which her messenger had said he was, out cold and feverish. She was stricken with a sense of dread immediately– if Hickoryroot was out of commission, what was the rest of her Clan going to do? A good majority of them were still dealing with their wounds from the battle in ThunderClan and she needed to have them tended to. The thought came to her immediately; she had friends in ShadowClan, friends she knew she could count on in times of need. Fast on her feet, Wisteriastar stuck her head out of the den and called to her deputy, “Heronflight! Send for Saplingskies immediately. Tell him I need his help.”February 20, 2020 at 11:31 am #5212HollystarParticipant
Troutbelly shifted uneasily as Blankstone quickly covered up any sign that she might be feeling grief for her deceased daughter. A frown appeared on the tom’s muzzle, as he listened to his younger sister push him away once more. He nodded slowly. “I’m proud of her too, but my offer still stands. You don’t have to accept it,” he said coolly and with a shrug. He could feel the anger in her next sentence, but the ginger cat just shook his head. He was going to speak, but decided to keep it to himself. This wasn’t the time to start a useless argument with his estranged sister. “Whatever, Blankstone. I’m just trying to be nice to you. And I will continue to try to be nice to you no matter how much you push me away,” he replied flatly, before turning and walking away to sit with the other warriors.
Suddenly, Rainysky burst onto the scene, claiming something was wrong with Hickoryroot. Worry flooded over Troutbelly about the Medicine Cat, and now about the fact that his nephew was slumped over, looking quite ill himself. Luckily, Wisteriastar had a plan to retrieve Saplingskies. He hoped the Shadowclan Medicine Cat would actually come. A lot of the Riverclan warriors that had battled today looked pretty beaten up.
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