February 14, 2021 at 6:59 pm #11192
Oxhead stood resolute with the others. No one moved a muscle. It was as though they’d each been frozen by the cold, but as far as Oxhead was concerned he’d never felt warmer. His heart was hammering heavily against his ribcage like a prisoner railing to be released. But would it be released in the physical sense today? The senior Warrior had heard tales of bear attacks. Of cats, elk and more with their ribs laid open and their features beyond recognition. This was what they risked today. But they had numbers, and they had to hope that was enough, ancestors willing. What choice did they have, after all? Get picked off like mere prey? No, not I. He thought with a snort.
Just beyond the horizon the sounds of yowls and the deep crunch of undergrowth could be heard. It took everything in the old tom not to run to such noises. He’d always run into danger, no matter it’s cause. But today his role in this deadly relay race was to wait, for now.
Slowly the sounds grew louder and nearer. From the corner of his eyes he saw the others tense their bodies and felt himself do the same. He half-expected his life to flash before his eyes. As soon as that bear appeared it could all be over, simple as that. But his mind’s eye was plenty busy thinking of tactics and battle moves. It was more invested in keeping him alive in the present moment than of ruing the past. He sent a brief prayer to Starclan as the impending beast hurtled closer.
What happened next seemed to occur in slow motion. The bear broke the treeline, just as it was losing Roseshadow from it’s back. It was both glorious and abohrrent all in one. Raw untamed power of the forest. Glossy pitch-black fur, towering muscles and a thick body. Oxhead scarcely had time to marvel at the black leviathan before his concerns veered toward the status of his fallen Clanmate. As the signal was given, he took off running low to the earth towards where Roseshadow lay. He bent down and nosed her, searching for signs of life Thankfully she was breathing. He worked his way underneath her and took up her body upon his own, just as something flashed from the corner of his eye. A massive black paw crowned with five two-inch claws each as dark as night. He did not flinch, but closed his eyes as it came rushing toward his face.
February 14, 2021 at 8:26 pm #11196FearedParticipant
- This reply was modified 8 months ago by Chris.
This was nerve wrecking. Claws slipping in and out of their sheathed as he anxiously clawed at the ground. For now he was silently thankful that none of his children were present for this hunt, although he didn’t doubt their abilities. He was still their father and although he didn’t show it, he worried for them. He also thanked StarClan that Silverscreech and Blackleopard were not included. Ears twitched as he could hear the yowls and screeches of alarm and anger from his fellow clan mates as the first gang of cats did their best to lead the beast towards them. Pupils narrowing as his deep blue gaze glared through the foliage that he was hiding within, chin tilting as he watched the tall pine trees sway angrily as the bear knocked into the trees. Such power within a single beast was nerve wrecking, even for him. Slowly FearedJackal breathed in as he listened to the sound of foliage crushing under massive paws and young trees quivering against the bears power. His heart beat quickened with unease.
Everything seemed to slow down as the ground seemed to shake with tremor impacts of the massive bear running in their direction, his eyes briefly glancing to the cats around him that were hiding in position. Everyone seemed nervous and tense but ready to take this threat head on. Foliage fell as the massive beast made its appearance, his own heart beat seemed to still as his eyes landed upon the creature. Towering over any cat that he knew, with fur as dark as the night sky eluded of any stars. Drool seemed to be falling from the bears gaping mouth and he couldn’t help but silently note the size of the ivory teeth within those large jaws. Suddenly he found that time had suddenly caught up with him as he watched Oxhead rush out from his hiding place and charge the beast. No… not the beast. FearedJackal wasn’t sure where Oxhead was heading until he noticed that Roseshadow was laying splayed out upon the ground. Great, Starclan.. he was positive that she was dead. Fear suddenly rushed through his veins as the bear turned on its massive paws in order to turn towards Oxhead and Roseshadow. “Shit…” FearedJackal growled as the massive black tomcat rushed from his hiding spot, dark claws digging into the ground as he rushed forth. He wasn’t going to get there in time. Dark red splattered against the ground as the bear hit Oxhead, although FearedJackal wasn’t paying attention to where exactly the bear had hit. Maybe he could get there in time to take the bears attention.
His paws stung from how hard he was pushing himself, lowering his head as he braved himself for the impact as his shoulder blade connected with Oxhead’s large hip, pushing the other Tom and the she-cat slightly out of the way as his blazing dark blue eyes glared up at the bear. “Back off!” FearedJackal snarled, lifting a paw as he swiped a clawed paw at the bears massive muzzle, feeling his claws slice through skin. Hissing, his long black tail was floofed out from aggression. “Oxhead. Move your ass.” FearedJackal just had enough time to spit out his words as the bear rounded at him.February 14, 2021 at 9:04 pm #11197
Anger seethed throughout his body, muscles blazing like fire. Now he wanted revenge as badly as he desired a meal. This audacious she-cat, who’d clung so stubbornly to his back, had ruined his hunt. He glowered down at Roseshadow, teeth bared in a snarl. Another cat joined the fight, attempting to nose their collapsed ally to her paws. They wouldn’t be fast enough. The bear rounded on the one who assisted his assailant, lashing out with barbed paws. His claws plowed furrows through Oxhead’s flesh, sending crimson droplets spraying across the snow. Strands of saliva hung from his jaw, the scent of blood fueling his rage and hunger.
‘The feast begins, the hunger ends.‘
But then there was pain. Blazing, agonizing pain as FearedJackal’s claws raked across his tender muzzle. Blood dripped into his eyes, temporarily blinding him. Roaring in anger he lashed out, clumsy paws hitting their mark. He knocked the Shadowclan warrior over in a freezing spray of powdered snow. He then lunged forward, teeth meeting his enemy’s tender underbelly as he delivered the mortal blow. Warm blood covered his face and coated the snow as his fangs sunk deeply into FearedJackal’s flesh.
Smokestar – Shadowclan Leader
Smokestar’s sides heaved as she struggled ahead. Snow chilled her underbelly as she dove through another snowbank. ‘I have to reach them,‘ she thought in panic. ‘They’ll need me if anything goes wrong.‘
Oh, how things had turned against them already.
The mottled she-cat crested a snowbank and watched in horror as the bear tore Oxhead’s delicate flesh, sending a crimson spray across the battlefield. “No!” she yowled. Her lungs burned as she dashed forward to join her clanmates. But, she was too late. FearedJackal dove in, sacrificing himself to save Oxhead and Roseshadow from the bear’s terrifying maw. The creature mercilessly swatted the dark warrior, sending him tumbling before delivering a devastating blow to his underbelly. With a loud cry Smokestar charged in from behind, diving forward as she latched onto the bear’s hindleg. Blood filled her mouth as her teeth sunk into its flesh, causing the beast to roar in agony. She released, spitting blood from her mouth as she narrowly avoided the monster’s claws.
“Get him to safety, now!” Smokestar roared at her clanmates. There was so much blood, FearedJackal needed immediate medical assistance. Her gut churned, already knowing the truth. ‘It’s too late, isn’t it. This is all my fault.‘ She narrowly dodged another swipe from the bear before rounding on it, attempting to drive it further from her wounded and winded allies.
Courtesy of Mairu Doggy, Deviant ArtFebruary 15, 2021 at 12:03 am #11200
Oxhead barely had any time to register the pain as the shockwave of the blow sent him sprawling. His back doubled over too acutely, and he felt a spasm of pain therein. But it could not hold a candle to the left side of his face which felt like it was being held to an open flame. Thankfully he fell face-first into the snow where the cold muted the pain somewhat. But his blood darkened the white ground, a sickening sight for his remaining eye to behold.
Distantly he felt a vague sense of annoyance at Fearjackal’s words. Move your ass, how dare the young tom speak so crudely to a senior Warrior? Sure the situation was dire, but…
That irritation melted away when he beheld the sight of Fearedjackal’s form dashed across the snow like a bug crushed beneath the heel. He knew without a doubt there was no saving him, were he not already gone. For his sake, Oxhead hoped he was.
“Smokestar!” He hollered, squinting through the rivulets of blood that poured down his face, clouding his vision. “There’s no time. We’ve got to get this thing to the cave–” He broke off coughing heavily. The blood was flowing into his sinuses as well. It had made a mess of the intricate facial bones.February 15, 2021 at 2:30 pm #11203FearedParticipant
He wished he could say with good conscience that he had no idea that this would take his life, but he knew it was going to as soon as the bear turned its massive head towards him. Fearedjackal pulled his black lips back over his white teeth, hissing in defiance. He wasn’t going to go down so easily. This bear would at least remember him. Beady dark brown eyes landed upon him in a heated frenzy, the gaze clouded with the smeared blood the trickled down from the scratched wounds that Fearedjackal had caused. Oxhead and Roseshadow were not moving fast enough and he knew that it was because they were winded but he really needed them to move. His own mother was infatuated with Oxhead, although he didn’t really know why, but he had been friends with Roseshadow’s father and he couldn’t imagine losing one of his kits to a bear. The massive clawed paw of the bear was moving straight towards him and his jawline tightened as he prepared himself for the impact. “Oof!” He gasped out in shock as the air was knocked out of his lungs, eyes widening at the pain that shot through his shoulder blade and stomach. Nerves of steel. Fearedjackal’s fathers words were ringing in his ears, never would he give up so easily but he knew what the outcome would be. Everyone knew. His body was airborne for a split moment when the bear had whacked him, the tall and broad shouldered cat flung like he was nothing more than a ragdoll. Another ragged gasp left his throat as his body landed in a pile of thick snow, particles of snow went flying as he tried to scramble to his paws, but he was winded and confused as to where he was and where the bear was. Which was right on top of him. “Ah!” Fearedjackal couldn’t help the scream that tore loose from his throat as the bear pressed a single massive paw down on his chest, pressing him down into the ground as bones cracked within his chest. Effectively knocking the rest of the breath out of his lungs from the incredible rush of pain that seemed to fill every single fiber.
Dark blue eyes widened as the bear’s muzzle lowered and went towards his exposed belly, heart falling to the pit of his stomach as searing pain overtook him. Screeches of horror and pain left his throat, burning his vocal cords as he couldn’t hold back the agony that he felt in that moment. Hind claws and his forepaws desperately clawed at the cheeks and muzzle of the beast that tore into his belly, trying to dislodge the sharp teeth that tore at him. He felt weak as his blows to the bear were weakening dramatically, his own tongue was coated with blood as he gasped raggedly from his bleeding nose and his gaping mouth. Dark blue eyes welled with tears of pain as the tomcat watched the bear tear into him. Ancestors please… please take me.. Fearedjackal pleaded, trembling from both shock and pain. From what seemed like miles away he could barely make out a loud screech before the bear suddenly reared back and pulled away from his stomach. Deep red pooled around the warrior and stained the snow from where he laid, a loud ringing could be heard in his ears as he let out a soft cry of pain as the cold air immediately stung the open wound in his stomach. He tried breathing raggedly from his nostrils but it was getting harder as his head fell back against the cushion of the snow, his face contorted with pain as his chin turned to follow the sound of the screeches of cats and the low bellows of the bear. Did Oxhead and Roseshadow get out of the way? Had he saved them? His thinking was slowing and he was growing unsure of what was going on as he whimpered from the pain that consumed his every thought.
February 15, 2021 at 8:58 pm #11212
- This reply was modified 8 months ago by Feared.
Smokestar – Shadowclan Leader
Although Smokestar didn’t avert her gaze from the bear, she nodded in consent. “You’re right,” she growled tersely. Her gut ached, guilty and anger heating her fur as she realized she would need to abandon FearedJackal. The apprentices, along with Hareflight and Wasppaw, were likely on the way. But, they’d be too late. She glanced over at the fallen warrior, a crimson mark across a blanket of ice. ‘Starclan be with him,‘ she thought, forcing back her own tears as she darted ahead. Her claws raked down the bear’s side, causing it to bellow in pain as she dashed ahead. “With me, Oxhead!” she commanded. He wasn’t in good shape, but the fire burning in his voice indicated he wasn’t done fighting. Not yet, at least. “We’ll see this through together, for better or worse. We won’t let FearedJackal’s sacrifice be in vain!”
The bear, once again enraged and still half-blinded by blood, pounded after her. She could feel its hot breath near her tail. ‘Stay ahead, stay light on your paws. Get everyone else home safely.‘
Courtesy of Mairu Doggy, Deviant ArtFebruary 18, 2021 at 12:46 pm #11232JuncoberryParticipant
It was hard not to keep his eyes on the situation unfolding, even as Juncoberry was expected to sit still to be taken care of. His eyes were trained on the bear as it stormed further on through the forest, his heart pounding in his ears. He jumped to his paws then, as the beast rolled onto its back, risking crushing the she-cat that had just saved his life. His eyes widened as Oxhead suddenly appeared, and then he was moving. He was running, ignoring the pain in his paw and shoulder as panic once more rose in his chest. He was afraid; he didn’t want to watch a Clanmate die. He had only ever witnessed death once in his life, and he’d vowed then never to let some-cat die when he could prevent it.
He was too late to save Oxhead before the bear raked its claws over his face, blood spattering across the snow. He picked up his step, desperately trying to reach the group surrounding the bear. Fearedjackal was there then, and then he was gone. No, not gone, he realized; it had happened so quickly that he hadn’t even registered it before it happened. The bear was on top of him, tearing into him viciously as Juncoberry cried out, his stomach turning at the sight. He came to them finally just as Smokestar agreed to continue the chase. Tears were falling down his cheeks as he stood there, looking dumb and confused. They could just leave their fellow warrior here, sputtering and choking on his own blood? He was still alive, damnit!
He stumbled over to the other tom, trembling as he took in the sight of him. Sure enough, bears were just as deadly as their elders had warned them. The state this cat had been left in caused terror and– regrettably– disgust to leak into the deputy’s belly. He fell down to his belly beside him, his chest hollow and his heart aching. “You did good,” he comforted him, hesitantly touching his nose to Fearedjackal’s cheek. He was going to have to explain this to those poor kits… Fearedjckal was a father; he was leaving so many cats behind. Juncoberry couldn’t help but feel ashamed of himself. The moment he’d broken his focus, the entire plan had been ruined. He felt that same crippling guilt he’d felt the day Acornbelly had died.
If only he had just paid attention; why did he have to be so stupid? His stomach dropped through the snow beneath him as he felt the other warrior’s blood seeping into his pelt. He pulled his muzzle back just enough to rub his cheek along Fearedjackal’s temple, lowering his chin to his paws. The right one felt hot and swollen; he’d likely done more damage to it with his little stunt there. He couldn’t much bring himself to care, though. It was his fault that his Clanmate was dying, after all. His ears fell to his skull, and he leaned his forehead against the other tom’s cheek. “I’m sorry, Fearedjackal,” he mumured, “You’re a good warrior; all of StarClan is proud of you.”February 20, 2021 at 1:22 pm #11261
Ragged breaths erupted from his muzzle like curling smoke. The bear was growing weary of the chase, his pace slacking as the she-cat wove before him. Whenever he drew near she zipped away, just out of reach. What was supposed to be success had ended in failure and injury. He paused, debating on continuing the chase. The sting of his blood-crusted muzzle had ebbed, leaving him feeling empty and exhausted. A cold wind blowed, ruffling his thick fur as he gazed down the mountain and back into the wintery pines below. He could run.
Oxhead – Posting for Chris due to the weather!
“C’mon you great lump, I’ve still got one eye left. Care to try for that one too?” He jeered, clearly high on the pain and adrenaline he was currently experiencing. How dare this monster take one of his Clanmate’s lives. Just because it was bigger and stronger than them. As he drove his canines into the bear’s calf he poured every drop of resentment he had felt his entire life whenever there had been a situation where he went up against a big stupid bully.
Chomp. That one was for my mother. Chomp. That one was Smokepaw. Chomp. That one’s for you, father, you always liked to step where you pleased just like this dumb animal.
In this very moment he’d never felt more a ShadowClan cat than he did now. When he caught Smokestar’s eye he let out a slight whoop of exhilaration. Up against insane odds, using their wits to outsmart a towering beast. This was what it meant to be Warriors. This was what it meant to be ShadowClan.
Smokestar – Shadowclan Leader
Smokestar’s pawsteps grew sluggish, heavy with exertion. Likewise, the bear also seemed to be debating their chase. ‘No, Starclan please,‘ she silently plead. ‘We can’t stop here, we’re so close!‘ Her muscles burned as she continued forward. Oxhead’s jeering voice caught her attention, causing her to briefly turn as the Shadowclan warrior attacked the bear. With a loud roar the monster doubled its pace, trying to escape the conflict. Thankfully, it continued on towards its destination with the vicious guidance of Oxhead.
Finally, they reached the cave. “Okay, Oxhead!” she called out. “This is the tricky part! Come on, let’s finish this!” She darted ahead, taking the lead once again. They needed to bait the bear into the cave and convince it to take the food, rather than their own hides. Then, they should be safe to slink away. Her fatigued paws carried her inside, her eyes adjusting to the darkness within. A small fresh-kill pile, which had grown cold, sat in the middle. Frankly, this wasn’t ideal. The space inside was uncomfortably tight for being near such a large creature. But, they’d make it work. ‘We have to,‘ she thought, feeling a spike of fear as the bear loomed just inside the entrance.
Courtesy of Mairu Doggy, Deviant ArtFebruary 20, 2021 at 8:20 pm #11272ToriParticipant
– W A S P –
His siblings’ readiness to hop into battle made him more anxious than he was willing to admit. They were still young, just fresh out of the nursery and into apprenticehood and yet his brother and sister were so excited and prepared to become warriors. This mission was dangerous and he knew that blood would be spilled but the thought of the redness on the snow belonging to either Rowanpaw or Fennelpaw made his blood run cold. Please, don’t be so willing to get hurt. He willed silently, peeling his bi-colored eyes away from where they crouched beside him and his mentor. He never wanted to see his littermates hurt and he wanted even less to have to tend to their wounds. He wanted to believe in peace and quiet for as long as he could.
All too suddenly, action erupted on the battlefield. The bear came into sight and the warriors were readying themselves to lead it away. His fur rose in apprehension off his shoulders as his clanmates scurried like ants underneath the beast’s giant appendages. Swallowing, Wasppaw willed himself to stay calm. Everyone here knew that the reality of casualties was high, but the naïve hope that no one would become wounded still sang in his heart. His claws hooked themselves into the mush in an effort to steady himself. He couldn’t do anything out there and he knew it. He was in his place, beside Hareflight, waiting for the worst.
Yowls of pain and anger rang throughout the mountains as the warriors swarmed the bear. Wasppaw stiffened as the first to feel the wrath of the creature’s claws was their deputy, Juncoberry– thankfully though, it appeared that the young grey tom was swift enough to get away with just a knick. However, through the tumble he took to avoid the worst of the damage, his paw twisted horrifically under his weight. He needed to get out of there, and now. As the surrounding warriors shuffled the deputy out of the way and to safety, Wasppaw turned to his siblings. “Get ready,” he told them. Under Hareflight’s guidance, the healer to-be hurried to Juncoberry’s side with his leaf wrap in his jaws. The calico tom glanced briefly in assurance up to meet the tom’s gaze before he got to work. There wasn’t time to waste. As he unwrapped his bundle, he glanced at Rowanpaw and Fennelpaw. “Get two strong twigs, nearby loose roots, and straighten his paw out,” he ordered, “make sure it’s secure, but not too tight. You want to line it up, not cut off circulation.” His attention returned to the blood dripping off of the grey tom’s shoulder. Thankfully, the wound was no where near as bad as it could have been. Movements swift and light, he picked up a piece of horsetail in his jaws and chewed aggressively to get it into a pulp substance. Once it was ready, he spat it out onto Juncoberry’s shoulder, massaged it into the wound and then topped it off with cobweb. The herb would help fight infection and stop the bleeding. Along with the absorbent material of the webs, he was sure the tom would be fine.
He was in the middle of checking the job his littermates had done assisting Junco’s sprained paw when the cries of cats caught his attention. When he looked up, Wasppaw was horrified at the sight of Oxhead’s mangled face and Fearedjackel’s tattered body. Oh, StarClan, he braced himself, immediately moving in pace with Hareflight to reach their wounded clanmates. His fur stuck on ends as the black and white tom trudged forward under Smokestar’s command, pursuing the bear. Horror gripped him. He needs treating immediately! How is he supposed to fight blinded by his own blood!? He thought, jaw clenching as he and his mentor stopped by Fearedjackel’s side. Once again, he felt his stomach flip, clenched sharply with the sight of blood and open wounds that were more than just a knick like Juncoberry’s. His paws were immediately in action, though his movements were clumsy and not as confident was he was before– he had never seen anything like this and fear gripped him hard. Surely sensing this, Hareflight nudged him aside and took most of the responsibility of the treatment off his plate. Knowing that all he could do now was assist his mentor, Wasppaw moved aside, lingering closely nearby to provide an extra set of paws.February 23, 2021 at 1:55 pm #11313Hareflight [Mel]Participant
『 H A R E F L I G H T 』
In other circumstances, Rowanpaw’s words to Wasppaw might have rubbed Hareflight’s fur the wrong way. But although she could hear the conversation, it was distant as she tuned her senses to the chase which had begun before them. She knew how quickly things could go awry here and she’d prepared Wasppaw for that same fact the best she could. Still, it was hard to avoid the strike of fear as she watched Juncoberry’s footing falter. Once it was safe enough to do so, she raced towards him with Wasppaw and his siblings by her side. Hareflight offered a stressed smile at Juncoberry’s words, but her gaze was still focused distantly on the bear and her clanmates. She took a moment to examine Juncoberry and consider how proud she was of Wasppaw – he was dealing with this tremendously, with all the grace, urgency, and knowledge of a full medicine cat. And Rowanpaw and Fennelpaw were both being incredibly helpful. Before she had a chance to say as much though, a cry rang out from up ahead. Then another.
Hareflight took off right after Juncoberry, sure that the apprentices would be close behind her. It didn’t take much of a glance to know that there wasn’t anything to be done for Fearedjackal. She watched as Wasppaw stopped beside her and she took an urgent glance at him. “Take a s-step back. I’ll handle this, okay? J-Just keep an eye ahead in case they need us a-again.”
With this said, Hareflight turned her attention back to Fearedjackal, settling down beside Juncoberry. “I-It’s Hareflight, Fearedjackal… Y-You did so well. Roseshadow and Oxhead a-are alive because of your actions.” Hareflight’s throat was burning as she tried to keep her composure calm and steady for everyone around her. She blinked a couple times to clear her eyes, leaning down to press a nose to Fearedjackal’s fur. “We’re all here f-for you. We’ll make sure the Clan knows how b-brave you have been.” Watching her clanmate’s face contort in pain made her heart twist and she wished desperately there was something more she could do for him in his last moments. These experiences were never easy, no matter how many cats she watched die, and she never knew what to say. Hareflight, barely holding in her tears, pressed her nose into his fur, murmuring comforting words to him. The blood had now soaked into the snow and her and Juncoberry’s paws and it was a reminder of how cruel things could be. A lump settled hard in her throat and Hareflight leaned into Juncoberry’s side, hoping the contact could be as much a sense of comfort to him as it would be for her.February 23, 2021 at 2:24 pm #11315ToriParticipant
– W A S P –
The young tom moved aside swiftly to allow his mentor room as she stepped in front of Fearedjackel. He knew that she needed space to work and he knew that he should not get too close so that she would have the room she needed to treat the severely wounded warrior.
Instead of applying herbs or absorbents to the black tom’s wounds to try and stop the bleeding, she did… nothing. Horror welled in Wasppaw’s throat and he jolted immediately. “Hareflight!?” He exclaimed, unable to keep the shock from his voice as he watched his mentor kneel beside the dying tom and rest her head against his body. What was she doing!? He was gravely wounded, he needed treatment immediately!
And then, realization suddenly slammed into him like the massive paws of the bear. She knew that he wouldn’t live past this moment. Fearedjackel wouldn’t make it.
Wasppaw’s paws went numb against the cold bite of the snow, his body immediately feeling loose and unstable as the adrenaline and fear shook him. “No, no, no, no, no,” he muttered, refusing to simply sit back and allow the warrior’s life to slip out of his grasp. He couldn’t watch the tom die and not try to save him. As quickly as his stumbling paws could manage, the medicine apprentice grabbed a wad of cobwebs and moss and applied them to the gaping lacerations on Fearedjackel’s body. He pressed down, trying his best to stifle the bleeding with the pressure, but it was no use. The absorbent material was full in heartbeats and no matter how many wads he grabbed, the blood would not stop coming.
“No!” He cried out in grief, gritting his teeth sharply to the point where he swore he tasted blood within his own mouth. The voices of his siblings and his mentor sounded so faint, so far away. They were likely more aware than he was that his efforts were in vain, but… but…
Frustrated and feeling hopelessness creep into him, Wasppaw slackened, his body slumping miserably against the dying warrior’s. “I’m so sorry… I’m so, so sorry…”February 23, 2021 at 3:28 pm #11316HowlsParticipant
A soft hiss bubbled from her lips as she began to pace, snarls and roars and screams of pain and terror echoing across the mountainside. She hated it, not being able to do anything, not being able to help. She had virtually no training- in healing, in battle, in anything. And it was her own inadequacies that kept her paws moving, her tail lashing as she drove to release the tension from her limbs, to no avail. This would be her brother’s place in every battle, in every clash- doomed to wait on the sidelines, patching up whatever’s left of her and her clanmates.
How would he stand it?
She swung her head around to glare at him, sitting tensely beside his mentor. No, this could not- would not- be her place in life. Not if she could help it. Before she could say anything further, however, a sharp wail of pain echoed through the trees. The medicine cats were on their feet in an instant, heading for the cries of distress, and Rowanpaw was on their tails just as quickly, grasping the fragrant bundle of herbs she’d been told to carry.
Even they could not halt the reek of fear that tainted the air, combined with the salty tang of blood. She stumbled once, spitting beneath the bundle she carried, and drew to a halt as they reached Juncoberry, spitting the herbs onto the ground beside the two healers. An ear flicked at Wasppaw’s orders, and she hesitated for only a second, eyes scanning the area- not for twigs, but for her mentor, Roseshadow. She was alive- limping, but on her feet and alive. Her eyes flicker back to Juncoberry, sparking with accusation before she moved to follow her orders. She poked around beneath a bush and soo9n emerged with tw0 relatively straight twigs clamped in her jaws, bringing them quickly to the healers’ side.
Straighten his paw out? She hesitated, eyeballing the injured limb, belonging to a tom she’d grown more and more distasteful of. Straighten his paw? “I don’t- how-“ she stumbled over words, wide eyes flashing to her brother. She was no healer! What if she made it worse? But if he trusted them enough to give the order.. Gritting her teeth, she turned back to the injured tom, paws moving hesitantly as she took his paw and did her best to straighten it, binding the twigs as best she could using the roots they’d gathered. She gave them an experimental tug, making sure they were tight- maybe a bit uncomfortably so, though she did her best not to completely strangle his limb.
A rattling screech, followed by the cries of her clanmates, had her head snapping up, golden eyes wide. Nostrils flared as she took in the sharp tang of blood, and she nearly retched at the strength of it. Oh Starclan.. The medicine cats had already moved on, but she stood frozen at the sight of the body laying prone, blood soaking the ground around it. At the tom who was somehow still on his feet, half his face coated in crimson as he continued to lure the beast away.
It was Wasppaw’s yelp that brought her forward, finally, stumbling after her littermate as they halted beside the fallen warrior. As Hareflight leaned in- not to heal, but to say her farewells, to comfort the fading tom in his final moments. As Wasppaw shakily tried to apply cobwebs to the sound, blood seeping through them as if they weren’t even there. There weren’t words, for what was happening- the grief in their eyes, the pain in the barely-breathing tom’s.. There simply weren’t words. So she didn’t attempt any as she crept up beside her brother, head bowing in silent respect for Fearedjackal. She leaned quietly against her brother, lending him strength and support and comfort as well as receiving it- a silent reminder that she was here for him, that they weren’t alone.
February 25, 2021 at 1:45 am #11327
- This reply was modified 7 months, 3 weeks ago by Howls.
“Oh no you don’t!” Oxhead called out as he stumbled to a stop when he noticed that his charge had been distracted by another of his Clanmates. Mind working frantically, the black-and-white Warrior ran forward taunting the towering monstrosity with his still openly bleeding face. He knelt low, letting the river of blood flow down his brow and cheek to pool in the snow before them. When he felt confident he had its attention, he worked his way up to the cave alongside Smokestar. Keeping ahead wasn’t easy, he was starting to feel his blood loss keenly. But the image of Fearedjackal’s twisted body reminded him of what fate awaited him if he slowed even for a heartbeat. More importantly, it reminded him of who he was fighting to avenge.
The hill was the most grueling leg of the race. At his most exhausted he was expected to power uphill faster than before. Legs burning, heart screaming for rest, he climbed. He didn’t have time to see how Smokestar was doing, but he wouldn’t be shocked if she left one of her spare lives on the hill. Not that he was keen to find out. Those five two-inch claws looked like they’d sheer more than one life off of her total.
At long last the cave was in sight, Oxhead himself could already smell the prey-blood which meant surely that the bear could as well. Now came the tricky part.
The two of them were able to enter the cave easily enough, and to retreat to the back wall. This was the moment of truth. Either it would take the bait, or it would decide a pair of ShadowClan cats was the better deal.
Thankfully, the bear seemed to immediately make its decision without any hesitation. The prey won out, already being dead was in their favor. And certainly in mercy, thought Oxhead as the sound of crunching bones filled the cave.
They had to proceed with caution, but not too slowly. It would work through that meal soon enough, and they didn’t want to linger when that moment came. Slinking around the outcrop of rocks they belly-crawled until the light grew brighter. Oxhead felt the sun and cold wind on his face, and thought to himself that nothing had ever felt more wondrous.
“Smokestar, are you well?” He rumbled turning to face his companion.February 27, 2021 at 7:11 am #11341
Smokestar – Shadowclan Leader
Adrenaline coursed through Smokestar’s veins as she and Oxhead successfully escape the cave. The scent of blood was strong, primarily stemming from Oxhead’s wounded visage. “I-I’m fine,” she managed to stammer. Her heightened senses and burning muscles were beginning to ebb, leading a dull throb in her scarred limb. Now wasn’t the time to nurse wounds, they needed to return to the others. Her amber gaze met Oxhead’s remaining eye. “Are you able to make it back?” she asked, offering the warrior a shoulder. “You’re going to need a good looking over.”
Her gut twisted with remorse, knowing she was partially to blame for his disfigurement. Her words stuck to her parched tongue, and all she could choke was a soft apology. “Oxhead, I’m so sorry. It didn’t go according to plan.” She paused for a moment, glancing behind at the spattering of blood trail behind them. “FearedJackal shouldn’t have had to sacrifice himself for us. I’m the one with extra lives, I could’ve … Maybe I could’ve gotten there sooner.” FearedJackal’s torn body haunted her mind and she felt ill. “I’m sure they’re worried sick about us.” She gave him a bitter-sweet smile, “Hareflight will have my pelt for dragging you out here in such rough shape. But, thank you for coming with me in our time of need.“
Courtesy of Mairu Doggy, Deviant Art
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