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  • #3169
    mahon [owl]
    Participant

    sootstain

    The tall tom couldn’t help but flinch when the leader spoke out to him, the tone of her voice indicating a higher knowledge that even he had to strive towards. Shaking his head, he focused on the apprentices as he tried to comfort them to the best of his abilities – something that was rather difficult for him to do.

    “I can’t fully understand the loss you’re feeling right now, but the whole clan mourns with you.” Sootstain murmured awkwardly as he had never been close with his family. They were all members of Riverclan, but the grey tabby did not have the same connection with his siblings or parents as the three of them seemed to have. His heart ached when he saw Sorrelpaws’ expression – one that was full of exhaustion and worry yet the will to stay strong – though he tried to shake it off

    Sootstain obviously wasn’t expecting a welcoming crowd of apprentices, but he certainly did not expect Pantherpaw to snap the way he did. Almost protectively, the young warrior stepped between Pantherpaw and his siblings, his gaze not only filled with spite but also a lingering sense of disappointment. The tall tom let Koipaw and Sorrelpaw speak to their brother, giving the two a grateful glance when they defended him. When they had finished, it was finally his time to speak. “You want to play that game? Fine. Frankly, I don’t care how you’re doing, Pantherpaw, but I do care about the way you’re treating everyone else. You aren’t the only one going through a bad time and it’s selfish of you to act the way you’re acting. You want to have a temper tantrum? Go ahead but do it by yourself. Your siblings are distraught and your mother has the entire clan to watch over while mourning for those she lost. So act your age and not like some ignorant kit – or should I ask one of the queens to keep an eye on you?”

    The grey tabby paused for a moment, realizing how harsh his words might’ve come across. “I get you’re dealing with a lot of emotions that you simply can’t control, but you’re going to have to if you want to become a warrior. There is a time and a place for all this but it isn’t now. We’re in a crisis right now and I need you to focus, we all do. You can all deal with your issues after we go to Thunderclan, but for now, we have to act civil and watch out for each other or this very well may be the last conversation the three of you have. Got it?” He could only hope that Pantherpaw realized the severity of the situation

    Amber eyes glanced down as he felt Sorrelpaw press against him, giving her a tight yet grateful smile. He wanted to comfort her and let her know it would all be okay, but it wasn’t right. The warrior followed her as she began to move away, making sure to stay by Sorrelpaw’s side – he didn’t want to lose her. Motioning with his tail for the rest of the apprentices to follow, he called out to them after Wisteriastar announced their departure. “Let’s go.” Turning to Sorrelpaw, he looked down at her with eyes filled with hundreds of different emotions. “We’ll be okay.” Sootstain murmured softly, pressing his side against hers as they began to leave the camp.

    #3170

    ~Frostedshell~

    Frostedshell began to divvy out herbs to the clanmates that offered there help. All in all, three apprentices and two other warriors, offered to carry the rest of the herbs. Her ears perked upwards as she heard Wisteriastar’s call to attention, informing that they were to move out. So she gathered up her share of herbs and looked towards Coppercloud

    Who was gazing off towards the direction of where the Mooncave lie, just beyond the horizon. She couldn’t help but feel an ache in her chest, knowing that Coppercloud had fancied Fishtail. Frostedshell knew Coppercloud well, they were both good friends, seeing him like this was painful.

    She went up to him and brushed her tail against his shoulder. “You coming, Coppercloud? Wisteriastar says it’s time to move out.” She mewed softly, before picking up her share of herbs, giving him a concerned glance.

     

    ~Coppercloud~

    Coppercloud was so focused on the horizon, that he had completely missed hearing his mother’s order to move out, and Frostedshell’s attempts at catching his attention. He held the herbs in his mouth, tasting the bitter tang of the leafy plants, yet not at all caring. The bitterness in his heart for Starclan taking Fishtail from them was more overwhelming than the taste of the herbs.

    Thoughts of denial began to wash over him, like the rain pouring onto his waterlogged coat, and he couldn’t help but think that maybe just maybe Fishtail wasn’t gone. What if he had just been washed away? What if his mother thought she saw him drown, but he hadn’t?

    What if—

    Frostedshell’s voice finally broke through to him, and he blinked rapidly, tears pricking in his lovely green orbs. He shook his head, “Ah what…oh yes…I’ll… I’ll be right behind you.” He replied woefully, as he dipped his head to Frostedshell, who pressed head to his cheek, nuzzling him, before she turned and joined the crowd of cats heading out.

    Despite saying he’d be right behind her, Coppercloud couldn’t bring himself to move. He just stood in the rain, watching as, one by one, his clan mates moved along. Surely it wouldn’t hurt to wait just a few minutes more, right? What if Fishtail came back? No one would be here to guide him to safety. Yet, even though these thoughts raged through his mind, he had a sinking feeling that Fishtail was indeed gone, and he was waiting in vain.

     

    ~Speckled~

    #3171
    Hornetstar
    Participant

    Unsurprisingly, ever the best son and brother he could be, Forestmask had become attuned to all his family members. How to tell when they were lying, when they were upset or needed a shoulder to lean on, and how to gauge what exactly it was they needed from him at any given moment. Of course he’d had his times when he’d judged a situation wrong, but those are few and far between. It was obvious to him how his mother relaxed marginally when he approached her. Seeing her relaxed helped him relax a bit (he still had all his siblings to check up on, after all).

    Back turned to them at the moment, he was obvious to the tension gathering between Koipaw, Sorrelpaw, Pantherpaw, and Sootrain. “If you ever need to talk, ma, I’ll be your listening ear. And don’t worry about everyone else. You can count on me to help them out,” he assured his mother quickly, before she had to resume being leaderly. He watched her metaphorically step back into her leader mentally, biting back a sigh. Then, giving one last dip of his head to Heronflight, he went off in search of any siblings that might need his help. The Clan was mobilizing, and he wasn’t about to let one of them be left behind.

    It was a good thing he was checking, because he spotted Coppercloud lingering. With a heavy heart, he trotted over to his brother. The orange tom’s gaze was aimed in no general direction, almost staring off into space. “We need to go now, Cop. Ma said we’re heading out, for ThunderClan. Come along,” he cooed almost gently, though his voice was in no way offensive; clearly just worried about his sibling.

    #3172

    Coppercloud’s thoughts were once again shattered, this time not by his dear friend Frostedshell, but by his brother Forestmask. It took him a few moments to actually process what his brother was saying, but once he filtered it and deciphered the message, he breathed deeply and then let the shaky sigh exit his lungs.

    His gaze flickered away from the horizon and locked in with Forestmask’s gaze, he could tell his brother was concerned for him, by the way his voice lowered, and how he was regarding him with a hint of sympathy within his emerald green orbs.

    Coppercloud seemed to wilt like a flower, letting his gaze wander back towards the horizon, knowing that the Mooncave wasn’t too far off, but it could be blocked off by the oncoming storm.

    “Rainstar’s gone… dad’s gone…. and he’s gone, Fishtail is gone. And I couldn’t do anything to help any of them.”

    He shook his head in dismay, keeping his tears at bay.

    “Maybe if I had helped Rainstar save those kits they’d still be here, or had our father’s back I could have done something, and maybe if I had gone to the Mooncave I could have helped Fishtail when he needed it the most!”

    He averted his gaze, trying not to break down, it wouldn’t do anyone any good.

    His heart was telling him to go look for Fishtail, yet his mind was screaming at him for being such a mouse-brain. Fishtail was gone, and there was nothing he could do about it, all he could do was carry on, like he always did in the face of adversity.

    Reluctantly he tore his gaze away from the horizon, which he could barely see anyways due to the heavy deluge of rain, and back to his brother.

    “S-sorry, you’re right, let’s go.” He mumbled numbly, bending down to pick up his share of herbs he was in charge of carrying. He glanced up at Forestmask, “…hey Forestmask… thank you.” He gave him the slightest of bittersweet smiles, before he picked up the herbs, and began to pad off.

    Falling in stride by stride besides his brother, whom he knew he could always depend on, through thick and thin.

    ~Speckled~

    #3182
    Hornetstar
    Participant

    He could see the second his brother wilted, like a flower, and it hurt his heart something terribly. Coppercloud was usually so bright and sunny, but not now. No, now it seemed as if the darned clouds above could block out any sunshine, even the metaphorical kind. Curse StarClan for letting this happen. Curse all those damn, useless ancestors above for letting all this suffering befall their beloved Clans. What use were they now, except to claim lives for their own ranks? Selfish and greedy, that’s what they were.

    Hiding all these terrible thoughts behind a bittersweet smile, he leaned over and gently touched his nose to Coppercloud’s shoulder. Though Brightfoot hadn’t been their father, and Forestmask had been painfully aware of this because he resembled Tunnelface so much, the orange and white tom’s loss was felt by all of Wisteriastar’s kits. And Fishtail… Forestmask had never been close to him, but he knew his brother had. Apparently they had been closer than even he knew, though.

    “You’re allowed to be sad, Cop. No need to apologize. Just remember you have all your family here for you,” he rumbled in a soothing purr, falling into step by the orange and white tabby. “If you ever need help or wanna talk, I’ll make sure I’m available whenever you need me.”

    #3186
    Finch
    Participant

    Foxspice

    Though she had gone to help the queens as well, what Foxspice had wanted to do was comfort Coppercloud, not spend a ridiculous amount of time coaxing kits into listening to their parents. They were too young to understand the gravity of the situation, and while she might be a little too scatterbrained to know exactly what was going on either, she at least could pick up on the severity of the atmosphere and act accordingly. The tension made the kits irritable and frightened, and the fiery molly wasn’t exactly the best with them despite her commendable display of patience here.

    She was intercepted from comforting her sibling again by Frostedshell, but grudgingly took a mouthful of bitter herbs to carry with them as they all prepared to leave. When she finally found her brother again, it was at the entrance to the camp as everyone had begun the evacuation. Purring loudly as she ran up to her brothers, Foxspice lifted her sodden tail high in greeting, weaving between the two to brush coats before stepping into pace beside them. Coppercloud was looking better than he had before, and she shot a friendly glance at Forestmask, knowing he must have had a word with him while she’d been occupied.

    A weight was pressing down somewhere in the back of her chest as they continued along, but it could be ignored for now.

    Heronflight

    Heronflight’s concern rose momentarily as Crocuspaw rushed over, stumbling on his words. It seemed as though Puddlepaw was missing, from the sound of things, but thankfully the mentioned apprentice nearly immediately flew in out of nowhere and tackled his friend into the mud. Scrunching his nose slightly at the dirty water splashed everywhere, the grey tom huffed, leaning out of the way. He would not show up in ThunderClan looking like a mudrat.

    He was pleased at least that the two youth were looking out for one another, as well as the clan, but he scoffed at the idea of them leading the elders anywhere when a mere moment before they hadn’t been able to find each other. He hadn’t wanted to put Wisteriastar’s words into her mouth, but the distracted molly clearly had a lot of her mind if she hadn’t registered their question. “Please join your mentors and complete whatever they ask of you,” he told the two briefly, moving to follow Wisteriastar as she beckoned him over to talk. “We’ll be leaving soon, I’m sure they’re looking for you.”

    Really, it was good that the apprentices were still functional. His heart pinched knowing his apprentice Koipaw was likely especially distraught at Rainstar’s death. Heron had never begrudged their bond– Rainstar was a formidable leader and he didn’t place an ounce of blame on Koipaw for his reliance on them– but it hurt him slightly, wondering if he somehow didn’t seem like someone the young tom could confide in. It was usually something he could brush off, telling himself that as long as Koipaw had what he needed to reach his potential then all was well, but if that was no longer the case then it was Heronflight’s duty to fix the situation.

    Ducking his head to make out Wisteriastar’s words more easily against the wind– she was a fair bit shorter than him, as were most cats– the warrior nodded slowly. Should anyone become ill, the clan was without a medicine cat and would be unable to tend to the injured or sick without relying on the benevolence of a rival clan. Any of which would view them as a second priority, if not a nuisance.

    “With any luck, StarClan will send you a vision as to the new medicine cat,” he said lowly. His agitation was clear in in features as well as the swish of his tail behind him over the wet stone. “Regardless, I’ll certainly keep watch over everyone and report to you if I see something worrisome.” Thank StarClan we at least are all used to wet fur. I can’t imagine ThunderClan or the others will be feeling well in this weather.

    Distracted for a moment along with Wisteriastar at Sootstain’s hasty departure, Heronflight watched his departure as well, his cool green eyes following the other tom skeptically as he bee-lined for the leader’s second litter, as if he’d already had it in mind where he was going before he’d asked. The cluster’s attention was entirely on Sorrelpaw, and Heronflight tensed as he saw hackles rising on several of the cats after some inaudible exchange went on between them. He was surprised in particular to see Koipaw’s burst of aggression, though it lasted only for a moment.

    Heron is pulled out of his observations by an unexpected congratulations– Forestmask has obviously come over to talk to Wisteria, but has also been the only one so far to congratulate either of them. Somewhat surprised that anyone would think to do it given the circumstances, he’s non the less pleased– it’s nice to be recognized, especially with how genuine it sounds. Perhaps it’s a bit of an act– Forestmask is certainly putting up something of a front for the benefit of others. Still, the handsome warrior’s calm countenance is certainly welcome and helpful for those who are more obviously distressed.

    He had just enough time to thank him before Forestmask left, and Wisteria rallied them. As one, the clan began to move.

    #3191
    Anonymous

    Crocuspaw

    Crocus should’ve been embarrassed for causing a ruckus, but he was soon swept up in the hubbub of everyone else. Before he knew what he was doing, the grey tom’s feet were moving of their own accord, his eyes searching for anyone looking in need of help. Of course, the tom made sure to keep his side pressed close to Puddlepaw’s, drawing comfort from their shared warmth.

    “Do you know where your mentor is?” He asked Puddle in a hushed voice, afraid to be too loud despite the sounds and words being thrown around them. “I can’t seem to find Stagthroat…”

    Crocuspaw cringed to think of his mentor. There was a certain distance the brown and tan tom placed between himself and all cats, but it didn’t ease the pain the apprentice felt every time he was around the older tom. Crocus imagined a mentor is who you looked up to, someone who you idolized the way you might idolize your leader or parents. But with Stagthroat, Crocuspaw felt small, like he wasn’t doing enough to earn the other’s attention. While he didn’t completely fail in his duties, the tom knew he was failing something. Why else would Stagthroat treat him like every other cat? A cat to be held at a distance lest he becomes too much of a nuisance with his chatter.

    #3199
    Jetstream
    Participant

    Pantherpaw || RiverClan Apprentice

    When Koipaw came nose to nose with him, Pantherpaw’s yellow eyes lit up in an emotion that couldn’t be classified as either surprise or excitement, but it certainly wasn’t shock or anger or fear. The black dappled tom appeared to be pleased that he had riled such a reaction out of his normally mild-mannered littermate. Koipaw certainly wasn’t the type of tom that would take offense to himself, but if his siblings were affected, he wouldn’t simply stand by and allow anything to happen. Pantherpaw realized this now, but it did not necessarily make a difference to him. When Sorrelpaw chipped in and joined in with snapping back at him, the apprentice was not at all surprised- she had always inherited their mother’s fierce personality. He didn’t bat an eye at her, at least to him, rhetoric remarks. 

    The black tom did not care either way if his siblings came to detest him, he did not care of what their mother thought, or how their older siblings judged him. The spike of their emotions and how they were directed at him glided off of him like oil to a duck’s feathers. He did not seem to really connect with the consequences of his words or his relationships with his littermates. Perhaps Sorrelpaw was right when she said that Pantherpaw did not care about the either of him, however, the emotion he felt currently for the two of them was not necessarily one of indifference. In fact, he was somewhat curious of his siblings. He was interested in seeing how the two of them would grow from here on, but more of from an observational standpoint; Pantherpaw did not want to linger with his family any longer, he wanted to separate himself from them. He wanted to watch as they either flourished or crumbled under the pressure of what was to come. 

    He was fine with what was happening here, that is, until Sootstain spoke up. This time, the words that came out of the other’s mouth did not go over his head, he absorbed every single word with a taste of malice. One thing the warrior was wrong about though, was that Pantherpaw was absolutely not having a temper tantrum. He was not lashing out out of anger or sorrow as to what had been lost for the clan. There had simply been a disconnect between Pantherpaw and this emotion that what most others came to know as Empathy. Even if Sootstain had taken a lapse between his words to soften what he may have thought was too harsh, the black dappled apprentice did not give him a chance to finish. 

    “Speak to me like that again and you’ll never make it to the elder’s den.” His tone of voice did not hold any rage to it, however the threat was not an empty one. There was an underlying iciness to Pantherpaw’s words that contained a quiet promise, more than anything else, the potential to act. His vague-set golden eyes left both the young warrior and his siblings and he parted from them, almost mechanically following the rest of the clan.

    #3206
    Peach
    Participant

    Koipaw

    His blue orbs danced frantically between his siblings as they departed, his heart tearing itself in two fighting over which cat to follow. Sorrelpaw was his Dearest little sister, but she had Sootstain and by the looks of it she’d much rather have the warriors company than her brothers; or Pantherpaw, his larger littermate but even the black dappled feline didn’t want the company of him. Koipaws head hung low to the murky earth, is siblings seemed to stand on two pedestals towering over him at two different ends of the earth. The toms eyes peering up slightly in search of the comfort of his mother, her first litter seemed to be handling the situation a lot better than his siblings and him had, all aside from Coppercloud, who just like Koipaw had also lost Fishtail in more ways than one. “mother” his voice was soft and faint, admiring the way his mother was handling her first time leading Riverclan during such a terrible storm, water shaking from his pelt as his head whipped from side to side rejecting his need to run by Wisteriastars side, she had a whole clan to worry about she didn’t need their drama distracting her.

    Rainstar will know what to do! The tom running frantically around the crowds of fur trying to spot the grey tabbied pelt of the feline he trusted more than anything. Wisteriastar, that’s right Rainstar was no longer around, Fishtail was no longer around his sister had Sootstain, his brother didn’t seem to care about him, his mother had a whole clan now, but who did Koipaw have? The weight of Koipaws world came crashing down onto his shoulders, it was as if reality kicked his legs right out from underneath him as the tom fell into the murky ground, he didn’t have any words, nor did any tears dare to fall his world was muted, the colors that once mesmerized the cat had faded. “We’re leaving to Thunderclan now!” Wisteriastars voice pulled to tom to his feet, his paws dragging as if something was holding them down as he found himself joining the cluster of wet warriors.

    His eyes flashed towards the group of apprentices being watched over by Sootstain, who was still unbelievably close to Sorrelpaw, though he did take notice that a few had slipped away to walk beside their mentors, mostly the ones who had a good bond. Perhaps I should just find Heronflight, granted he didn’t have the best bond with his mentor, mostly because he preferred training with Rainstar or learning to paint with Fishtail, it sounded a lot better than his other options. Koipaw weaved throughout the gang of feline towards the front were the grey pelt deputy had taken place, “Heronflight.” The tom greeted his mentor, trying his best to put on a good face for the clan.

    #3209
    Anonymous

    Fallowcreek

    Fallowcreek blinked in surprise when he heard a small ruckus to the side of him, looking over to find Koipaw, Sorrelpaw, Pantherpaw, and Sootstain. None of them seemed pleased. Frowning, the cinnamon furred tom wove his way through the crowd, stopping at Sootstain’s side and just in time to hear Pantherpaw’s venom laced voice as he threatened the younger warrior. Before he could try to advise Sootstain to keep a gentler tone, the other was already moving away from him, keeping himself at Sorrelpaw’s side. Resisting the urge to sigh in irritation, the older tom aimed to hurry after Pantherpaw.

    Fallowcreek would’ve said “hello” on a normal day when his heart didn’t seem to be beating his blood through his body as though it were a tremendous effort. He would’ve gone sooner to the fight to try to dismantle it before it got worse if his feet hadn’t felt weighed down with the pull of the earth. Still, the tom could manage this. He could manage to silently walk at Pantherpaw’s side, not saying a word just simply being there. The tom could recognize anger and fire in the apprentice that was so strikingly similar to his sister, Adelaide.

    #3213
    Hornetstar
    Participant

    stagthroat.

    The ever solitary tom had been lingering at the back of the crowd, watching everyone else fret and fall into grief, perhaps even panic in some cases. It was slightly amusing, if anything. All these trained warriors, losing sight of what really mattered. Rainstar’s death, Fishtail’s death, that one tom’s death? None of it mattered, not really. They were dead, gone. There was no bringing them back. But getting out of camp, seeking shelter in ThunderClan? That’s what mattered, that’s what would save more lives in the end. So when Wisteriastar finally called that they were going to get a move on, the brown tom rose with a sigh and stretched out a bit with his first few steps.

    On his way he heard his name mentioned, amber gaze settling on the form of his apprentice, Crocuspaw. Altering course, he soon ended up in front of the apprentice and his tom. “Speak of the Dark Forest, and they shall appear,” he warned the younger tom in a low rumble, the saying possibly being a joke, if it were any cat but Stagthroat. “Do you need me to hold your paw on the trip to ThunderClan, Crocuspaw? Or was there any particular reason you were looking for me? Surely not to come crying to me.”

    #3216
    Feared
    Participant

    Sorrelpaw ~ RiverClan Apprentice

    The young molly was unsure of what to do with her brothers recent change in behavior and heart, Pantherpaw seemed not to care even just a little bit about them. Why? What had she done to make him dislike her so much to the point where he showed no affection so what to her? Sorrelpaw knew their mother could be unkind and to the point distant from them all and especially to Pantherpaw.. but ever since they were kits Sorrelpaw had always been closer to Pantherpaw than she had been to Koipaw. Head beginning to throb from her stress headache and the fact that the rain was continuing to pound so roughly down upon all of them. Sighing heavily, she cleared her throat for a moment as she slowly lifted her chin to peer at the other apprentices as they were gathering, each and every one of them seemed scared and worried about it their upcoming adventure. 

    She jumped slightly out of surprise as she heard Sootstains deep voice ring out about them, ordering the apprentices to follow the clan and to stick with one another. Lifting her chin she could see the handsome dark furred Tom staying close to her side, his alluring amber eyes glistening with many emotions as he gazed down at her. The sight alone caused her to smile softly, Sootstain didn’t normally express so much emotion so just to see his eyes at battle to figure out which emotion to express… it meant a lot to her. Clearly her traveling buddy would be Sootstain, sighing softly as he tenderly pressed his side against her own as they walked. He clearly knew she needed to be comforted, the past few days had been hell on the young molly. “I know… what would I do without you.” She whispered softly, gently rubbing her cheek against the side of his neck since he was still taller than she was. Sootstain May have been battling for what he felt for Sorrelpaw… but Sorrelpaw was very clear on her feelings for the Tom. 

    Sorrelpaw didn’t want to upset the older Tom from showing affection, so she lifted her head from his neck and looked around, her firey eyes looking for the white and ginger pelt of Koipaw, finally spotting her brother as he went to walk with Heronflight, who was indeed his mentor and would be able to guide the young time in a time like this. However, Sorrelpaw wished that she could do a better job with comforting her brother like Sootstain was comforting her. “Thank you… I know you don’t have to.. talk to me outside of the training.” She smiled softly as she thanked the grey tabby, but truth be told she had grown closer to him because of the training sessions and perhaps this proved to her that maybe he had grown closer to her. 

    Shaking her head to clear her mind, she peered through the rain as she made sure to place her paws in careful areas of the mud. The ground had grown slick and she had seen the earth crumble away at the waters edge before. Keeping that in mind, she walked just a tad bit closer to Sootstain, her wet tortoiseshell pelt mingling with his drenched grey tabby fur. 

    #3219
    turnip
    Participant

    .. Puddlepaw of Riverclan ..

    He buried his nose in the long silver locks, taking a shaky breath to calm himself. For a brief moment, there was nothing but the rain washing over their mud-slicked pelts. All the voices muted in the background, until his broad shoulders eased and his coat smoothed down again. He could hear Crocuspaw’s quiet concern and lifted his head. When this was all over, Puddlepaw would need to thank him. For this, for everything.

    “Hm,” he nodded, “I’m fine.” He seemed well again, or well enough anyway. But for certain, for the rest of the way he would keep close to Crocuspaw. Asking of his mentor, his blue and yellow eyes flickered to the bustling crowd. He may have seen her frosty pelt. Frozenstream was a fair mentor and challenged his limits, both traits admirable to the young tom. “No, but I can find her–“

    Oh,  this was Stagthroat. This was the first they’ve met, the warrior only mentioned vaguely but Crocuspaw would change the subject, and already Puddlepaw decided he did not like him one bit. He glared daggers up at the older tom, ears twitching at his condescending comments. “We are to locate our mentors for assignments,” he answered for his friend, tone crisp. 

    #3221
    Anonymous

    Crocuspaw

    The grey furred tom winced, expression pained but was quickly painted over with a trembling grin. Crocuspaw’s hurt was clearly written on his face, but he did well to move past it in an attempt to ignore the growing knot in his gut. Before Crocuspaw could summon enough courage to face and respond to his mentor with a level tone, Puddlepaw beat him to it. When the tom’s mixed colored eyes flickered over to Puddlepaw’s, the apprentice’s face shifted from wounded to alarmed within a heartbeat.

    “Puddlepaw-!” Crocus hissed, tail lashing with a sudden burst of anxiety-induced adrenaline. Turning back to Stagthroat, Crocuspaw brought himself up to his full size, which was roughly around Stagthroat’s neck to chin height. It was weird to think that he was almost as large as his mentor and most other warriors now, but Crocuspaw had always been on the larger side.

    “I’m sor- that is-… I’m… I’m, we, are fine. We were told to find our mentors…” He mumbled out, resisting the urge to duck behind Puddlepaw. That’s what you always do, everyone thinks you’re a coward and what good will that do you when you’re meeting other clans? They’ll think you’re weak. How odd was it that the voice echoing in his head sounded hauntingly similar to Stagthroat’s? Crocuspaw decided that was something to postpone thinking about for a later sunrise-or never. Never was also a good option.

    #3232
    mahon [owl]
    Participant

    sootstain

    Sootstain remained silent after the threat, his amber eyes staring down at the smaller tom. He wasn’t afraid or shocked, not at all, but rather impressed. His analytical gaze stared the apprentice up and down, taking in every factor that could possibly be at play. Sootstain was tall and nimble, and, with moons of training over Pantherpaw, it was safe to say he was much stronger and better at strategy. Yet the grey tabby couldn’t help but take into account the darker tom’s personality –  it was as if there was a piece of ice in his heart that was taking over. And while Sootstain’s own heart was thawing, it seemed as if Pantherpaw was becoming colder and colder. What made Pantherpaw a threat was the fact that he spoke as if he had nothing to lose, he was becoming unpredictable. Still, the warrior couldn’t help but not be too bothered by the threat. “You’d lose.” Was all Sootstain said, a smirk dangling on his lips as he shrugged and followed Sorrelpaw away from the group.

    “Did I scare you?” Watching Sorrelpaw jump at his voice caused a warm smile to grow on his face, something that was unfamiliar. “I didn’t mean to.” The tall tom added softly, his voice gentle. He really was trying his best to become a kinder version of himself, something that was unnatural to him. Or at least, he wanted Sorrelpaw to see the effort he put around her. However, when the pretty she-cat rubbed her cheek against his neck, Sootstain blinked in shock. Still unused to showing any form of affection, his amber eyes scanned the clearing to see if anyone was watching the two interact – more specifically Wisteriastar or any of Sorrelpaw’s brothers. Though the tom wished he could be more comfortable around the younger apprentice, he was still struggling with not only how he felt about her but just how he felt in general and was grateful when she wordlessly understood. 

    Feeling bashful at Sorrelpaw thanking him and saying how they didn’t have to talk outside of training, Sootstain let out an awkward chuckle. “I know. I… I want to though.” As the two walked along, he felt the apprentice press closer to him and he couldn’t help but feel his chest tighten. The young warrior had never been so close to someone before, especially not in such a short amount of time as the two of them had. “Sorrelpaw…” He started unsurely, not wanting to hurt her feelings. “Let’s… Let’s talk about this after we get to Thunderclan, right now is too much.” Sootstain murmured, moving slightly so that while their fur still touched, they weren’t pressed against each other. He hoped she would understand.

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