November 26, 2020 at 11:14 pm #10041
A scream cut the thin night air like a knife. Icicles shook, and branches rained snow from woodland creatures who swiftly retreated to their burrows in alarm. Even long after the sound ended, its raw energy hung densely in the air. All was still, apart from the heavy fall of new flakes.
Blankstone stood, still shaking in the riverside clearing. She had expected to feel better for having released what she was feeling from her lips. But she felt weaker, and more confused than ever. Her trembling paws sunk further into the snowbank. But she welcomed the numbness, or every inch of her felt as if it was on fire.
The snows had come after the autumn leaves. Prey went beneath the earth, patrols returned from brisk weather. Kittens were born. Life was going on, while her daughter Swiftstream quietly rotted in the graves. It was wrong. Her child’s heart had stopped, and yet everything went on relentlessly.
Hot tears dribbled down her cheeks, where they quickly turned cold and stung. Blankstone hated being this way, letting her emotions lash out so irresponsibly. Thankfully her kits were grown, her Clan abed. Gently in her solitude she could remove the mask. Though by this point, it took skin with it. The removal was painful, as would be resuming her composure- if she even could. Her ears flicked toward the sound of crunching steps- footfalls belonging to something larger than prey. She tensed herself to meet whatever it was. And then green eyes met gold.
“Goldenswan.” She choked, a torrent of feeling dousing her insides. It was primarily composed of shame and anger.
“Forgot what you saw.” She said roughly, moving to leave while her eyes remained dry.November 26, 2020 at 11:37 pm #10043
the momma bear of riverclan
Goldenswan had ben out hunting when a haunting noise had reached her ears, pulling her away from the fish she had been about to strike out at, and toward a spot further downstream. As she plodded along the bank, keeping her steps quiet and her ears pricked, her pawsteps stilled to a halt as she recognized the scene in front of her. Blankstone sat in the clearing beside the river, curled in on herself and weeping. She had only moments to ponder what to do when the other molly suddenly tensed, her red-rimmed gaze flashing over to meet hers. The warrior blinked, only hesitating a moment before rushing forward, ignoring the other’s muttered words as she hurried to her side. She did not touch her, knowing sometimes less was more when it came to comfort. She would not make the first move when it came to physical comfort.
Instead, Goldenswan took a seat beside Blankstone, blocking the molly’s path. Obviously, the pale warrior could just step around her if she truly wished. Goldenswan offered her a small, understanding smile, murmured, “It’s okay,” and instead offered Blankstone her companionable silence. She curled her tail around her paws, sat still, and waited. The snow was cold, numbing her toes, and her breath billowed out in thick clouds. She understood Blankstone’s pain. Maybe not in the same way–of course, she could never dream to know what it felt like to be in the other she-cat’s paws, to suffer the losses that she had. But Goldenswan herself knew pain, knew bitterness and anger and defeat. That, she knew, and understood. That was something she was willing to share. Goldenswan knew most of the other’s story, had lived through it with her. If Blankstone wanted to open up to her, she would, and if she wasn’t ready, that was okay. Goldenswan didn’t need to know each and every one of the other’s thoughts, nor every bitter curse or regret. Being in the other’s company, and offering herself as a shoulder to lean and cry on was enough for her.November 28, 2020 at 2:08 am #10068
The older Warrior studied her denmate for a moment, pale green eyes running the numbers in her mind. She seemed to arrive at a conclusion that it was beyond her capacity to put up any more struggle, and sank to a low crouch. Her belly fur brushed the freezing snow, but her flank rested against that of Goldenswans, as though she were to weary to stand on her own.
“Why am I angry?” The question didn’t seem to be directed at the only sentient creature in her midst for her gaze was staring into nothing.
“Her death was tragic, of course. But I feel angry about it. I feel especially angry when I see my Clanmates, those who came home alive.” She shook her head, scattering teardrops in the snow. “Why? The fault was not theirs. Why am I not angry with the Warrior who faced her in the tree? I don’t even know their name. But I’m angry at someone and I don’t understand. She’s dead, that’s all there is to it. I must move on.”
For a time, her words just hung there. It was more than she’d said to Goldenswan in all their years of working alongside one another.November 29, 2020 at 11:14 pm #10174
the momma bear of riverclan
The tabby blinked over at the other, shoulders relaxing a little as the she-cat seemed to give up the fight, instead settling down beside her. As the molly’s flank pressed against her own, Goldenswan hummed, and leaned into the touch ever-so-slightly, offering her ever-steady shoulder as support. “It’s hard. Seeing who lives and who dies. Sometimes it feels unfair, and you want nothing more than to trade the lives of anyone else if it meant that they would have lived.” A rough laugh escaped her. “It may sound awful when spoken aloud, but it’s something everyone feels at some point after losing someone they love.”
The warrior sighed, lifting her chin to peer up at the night sky, which was dotted with heavy, dark clouds that sprinkled snow down upon them. She could barely glimpse the stars within the inky blackness, but there they were, all the same. “Grief is not something one simply overcomes by sheer will, Blankstone.” She murmured. “You’ve fought a good fight, trying to keep it at bay, but sometimes the best thing to do is let it wash over you, even if only for a short time. Embrace it, and come to terms with the pain that’s still tangled all around you.” Her blue gaze glittered, locking with that of the other warrior’s. “If you keep pushing it away, and never truly let yourself feel, it will haunt you to your death. If you can’t move on, you have to learn to live with it instead. Take that pain, and put it to work.”November 30, 2020 at 2:12 am #10179
“I cannot let these feelings go.” She shook her head, face twisted as though she were disgusted by the very suggestion. “You know not what you ask of me. It is not just this that I’ve kept at bay all these years. It will destroy me if I give in now.” Her gaze hardened at the admission. She knew all along that she’d only been toeing the line, that her feelings had been a beast she could not seem to kill. It had eluded her, taunted her since the day of her birth.
“I need….” She sucked a quick breath in, the ice stinging the back of her throat. The betrayal of her values produced a physical response. It was only natural, she supposed. She was turning away from everything she’d ever known, ever believed in. And…to what end? Yes the future seemed bright, but it was blinding. What lay behind its overpowering light? Blankstone had never been one to leap before looking.
“I cannot do this alone. I am far too weak.”December 5, 2020 at 1:47 pm #10259
the momma bear of riverclan
The gentle molly leaned forward with a hum despite Blankstone’s frustrations, gentle resting her nose atop the white she-cat’s head for a moment, right between her ears. Goldenswan had always been touchy-feely, even to the disregard of the personal space and boundaries of others. Growing up caring for younger siblings at all times could do that to a cat. She prayed it would bring her clan-mate comfort. “If you cannot let go, you must learn to deal with these hardships in a healthier way. No offense,” she murmured, the palest trickle of humor evident in her tone, “but screaming in the middle of the forest isn’t what one would consider healthy coping.”
Now that the truth was beginning to come out, Goldenswan felt herself relax a little. This was a good first step for Blankstone, no matter how small. She had seen her clan-mate’s suffering time and time again, and it broke her heart to see her struggling with the burden. “You don’t have to do this alone.” Goldenswan decided, lifting her chin from Blankstone’s head and using one paw to gently guide the other molly’s gaze in her direction. “Share your burdens with me. Please. I will help you through this in whatever way I can. I know we are not particularly close…” She paused, frowning a little, “…but I would like to be a friend, if you’ll have me. Let me help you.”December 7, 2020 at 1:34 am #10292
The white Warrior gritted her teeth as words of criticism stabbed her like thorns. They weren’t untrue, but she disliked having her faults served to her like this.
She buried her face in the other she-cats chest fur, enjoying the warmth and sweet smell radiating from it. It was damn cold out, and snuggling like this brought on a sense of safety she hadn’t known since kithood. Blankstone couldn’t rightly recall the last time she’d allowed herself the luxury of physical contact. It had been long since her youthful dalliance with Pollenfrost, and longer still it seemed since their kits had been born and grown.
“I suppose.” She muttered into the fluff. “You’ve already seen me like this, so what does it matter?” She asked, more to herself, in a gloomy and resigned tone of voice. The shame saturated her sense of being, but it was beginning to ebb ever so slightly. She felt a bit faint in its absence, as though disquieted by the absence of the burden she’d known for so long.
“Can we go home…? It’s cold.” She mewed, coming up for air to peer into the other she-cats eyes with an almost infantile complacence in her own.
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