March 25, 2020 at 3:07 pm #5679
It had been a fair while since the Riverclan deputy had been to the far edges at the south of the territory. There was little reason to patrol or hunt here; the ocean was obviously not a shared border with another clan, and asides from digging up an occasional crab the hunting on the beach was poor. But the lapping waves and cries from gulls was unique; it was a shame for Shadowclan not to have any way to come here.
Finding a large driftwood tree, the grey tom crouched for only a moment before springing up onto the bleached roots and looking out over the ocean. His wounds from the battle with Thunderclan had thankfully only been minor things, and he was long healed by now. If only the tension of what he’d learnt afterwards could disappear as well…
As he was contemplating, an unexpected scent caught his nose, so out of place that at first he thought he was imagining it. A kit? Surely not out here.. Sniffing the air again, Heronflight realized that the breeze undoubtedly carried the scent of a kitten. Hurrying off his new perch, he was soon rushing into the coastal winds down the beach. There had been many times he’s seen eagles here– if some idiot loner had brought their kit out to the beach and left them to hunt the child could easily be snatched away.
Once a few yards away, it was easy to pick out the kit huddled down between a dune and another driftwood piece. They were pathetically small, he realized, likely only just weaned from milk drinking. Forgetting that he himself would likely scare the small kitten, Heronflight hardly slowed his pace until he was standing a tail length away. He could get a better understanding of the scent from here, but it only made him more confused.
A kittypet, and by herself?
“Where’s your mother?” he asked abruptly, the moment she noticed him. “You shouldn’t be out here.”March 25, 2020 at 3:38 pm #5681
Phoebe tried to work out what just happened. It felt like ages since she was in the curve of her mother’s belly, watching in confusion as her brother tried balancing on the side of their basket only to fall. Multiple times. Miles stood between Phoebe and her former life, and she was unable to feel any sort of pain. Wait, no. No, she felt all sorts of pain, the storm in her gut swirling wildly even as her face revealed nothing.
“Mama!” Phoebe wailed, small white paws scrabbling for a hold of the basket as pale, hairless paws clamped around her. Another wail tore from her throat as the small kit was pulled away from her mother, whose expression was disapproving. “Hush, Pheebs, you’re making a scene.” That was enough to cause the color pointed molly to fall silent, allowing the two-leg kit to carry her away.
Pheebs thought she’d never get out of that blasted monster, but when the belly of the beast had opened the kitten had made quick work of clawing away from her captors and racing off. She had no idea where she was now, all she knew what that her legs hurt, her heart hurt- everything hurt!
“Where’s your mother? You shouldn’t be out here.” Oh, and she knew she wasn’t alone. Letting out a yelp, the tiny feline scrambled back, wobbling for a moment as the sand slid under her paws. The tom in front of her was tall and held himself the same way her mama had, with quiet authority. Phoebe felt a curl of warmth intermingle with the adrenaline pumping through her. “I-” Phoebe swallowed, pale blue eyes almost lavender in the sun light. “I’m… I don’t.. I don’t know.” She finally managed to whisper, her voice faint.
“Who are you?” She mumbled nervously, eyes darting up to flicker across the tom’s face before going back to staring at her paws intently.March 29, 2020 at 10:49 pm #5736
Glancing wearily once more at the sky before looking back at the kit when they questioned him, Heronflight sighed and sat slowly, lowering himself to be closer to eye level. Despite attempting to seem less intimidating, his voice was still somewhat crisp regardless of his effort.
“I’m a forest cat– Heronflight.” he explained slowly. “Why don’t you start from the beginning and we can figure out how to get you home.”
It will be easy to follow her scent-trail, he thought. The only issue with returning her was that the twoleg place was on the other side of Skyclan territory; he would have to cross through and rely on their good graces that he was only trespassing for this reason alone. Under usual circumstances it would be better to wait for a patrol to pass on the border, but it was likely that they didn’t patrol along the beach and the more time that passed the fainter the trail would become. The kit couldn’t be relied on to find her own way back using landmarks… this may very well be her first time outside.March 30, 2020 at 10:27 am #5748
Phoebe bristled, alarm taking over her face as her eyes widen with panic. “N-no, I’m not going back!” She snapped quickly, shaking her head for emphasis. “I ran off to get away from the twolegs that took me from mama.” This was the only response the color pointed molly offered before wrapping her tail around herself. She felt so small next to Heronflight, but she missed her mama and seeing this looming figure should’ve made her run away and cower. Still… There was something soft and tired in his eyes, a quality in the way he spoke despite his crisp tone that made Phoebe want to nestle between his paws and hide away from the memories from that morning.
“What’s, what’s a forest cat?” Pheebs had only heard about forests from her mama, having lived in a small two leg den in the city where the only ‘forest’ was a park a little way away from their home. Even then she’d never been to the park, too frightened by the dogs that were constantly there. “There’s no forest here,” the tiny kitten mewed, motioning with a small jerk of her head to the wide expanse of beach. Pale gaze locked with the green eyes of the other before darting back to her paws, which she continued to shuffle and kick up sand.April 20, 2020 at 9:51 pm #6167
The grey tom’s pelt bristled in shock as she-kit told him how the twolegs took her from her mother. The poor queen must be worried sick over her, but it was beyond him how he could help them reunite. He knew the twolegs traveled in monsters that went incredibly fast, and it would be impossible to know where one came from. But why didn’t she want to be returned to her mother, at least?
“The forest is up the cliff, just there,” Heronflight meowed, gesturing with a flick of his long tail towards their right. “You probably can’t see it from here, but if you followed one of the trails you might find one of our camps. Us forest cats live out here, away from the twolegs,” he explained, spitting out the last word as though it left a bad taste in his mouth. “Still, your mother must be worried sick about you,” Heronflight chided, but gently. “She must be out looking for you. If you remember what direction the twolegs took you, we should try to find her. Don’t you want to go back?”April 21, 2020 at 12:29 am #6171
Phoebe blinked rapidly, surprised by how much bitterness showed at the word ‘twolegs’. She herself could understand why some cat might dislike one of their kits but the elderly twolegs had always been nothing but kind and loving towards her. ‘Maybe they’re just as bad, though…’ The thought made the silver and white she tremble. The small kit actually laughed at what the tom said next, well, laughed and cried. As the giggle bubbled forth so did tears, collecting at the corners of her eyes and turning flat purple pools into amethysts.
“Mama told me to go with the twolegs… I don’t think she cared.” Phoebe’s voice remained oddly monotone, contradicting the tears that she quickly blinked away. “I’m Phoebe.” The kit added after a second’s thought, realizing she hadn’t given the stranger, Heronflight, her name. “Please don’t make me go b-back.”
An idea came to mind, one that blossomed hesitantly and quickly became insistent. “Could I stay with you?” Really, the kit wasn’t going to take “no” for an answer. Tiny as she was she had heart and determination, and Pheebs wouldn’t be shaken so easily. Perhaps it was because Heronflight was the first cat she’d seen, or maybe she was just that desperate for parental guidance and love, but Phoebe found something in the tom that drew her in. She’d never had a dad. It’d be nice. “Do you have kits?” Because of course Phoebe, despite her impressive amount of intelligence for a three month old kit, had about as much tact as the desert had water.May 8, 2020 at 7:39 pm #6313
Shocked silent for a moment before being hit with a wave of disgust, Heronflight stared at the helpless kit. How incredibly low, how despicable to not only surrender your children to the twolegs, but to not even have concerns while doing so?
If it had ever been possible to somehow return the kit to her mother, Heronflight judged it to be out of the question after hearing of this blatant neglect. Still… should he really bring her back to RiverClan? There was no doubt that he himself would choose this life a thousand times over, but she would know nothing of what hardships awaited her. Cold and hunger being chief among them, but there was no true promise against disease or injury, either. Bringing her back would be to subject her to all of these or more, if she stayed with them.
But if he left her here, she would die. He would have to choose between bringing her with him or attempting to return her to somewhere and hope that the twolegs who found her were merciful.
With little option, Heronflight nodded slowly. “A life in with the clans means that you must always put others first,” he warned. “If you’re prepared to learn to fight and hunt for more than just your own survival, I will take you with me. Are you sure about your choice?”May 10, 2020 at 11:57 pm #6327
Phoebe paused, a moment of uncertainty befalling the young lass. Was she ready to forfeit her selfish behavior and sacrifice for the good of this “clan”? Was she capable of that, she who was a kittypet and had known a comfortable, pampered life for at least three moons? The kit hesitated for all of three seconds before wordlessly nodding. It wasn’t vigorous and she didn’t smile, in fact, for a kit Phoebe seemed downright solemn. She wanted this, though. “If I join, you won’t try to push me away?” Phoebe couldn’t handle having her hope given and pushed back at her so quickly, she was trusting that in joining Riverclan they would let her join them and not try to shove her into another two leg home. After her mother’s betrayal Phoebe didn’t believe she had it in her to handle that.
“Will I have to change my name?” Phoebe hardly believed her name, which was so different from Heronflight’s, would fit in well with other clan cats. But if she wasn’t Phoebe, then who was she? What would the molly call herself?June 2, 2020 at 5:27 pm #6640
Some of the tension from his shoulders lifted slightly as the decision was made– for better or worse, the small kit had made the decision of where she would choose to go in life, at least for the next few moons. A first meeting was too soon to tell if she would keep her word, but the solemnity in her assent made him inclined to believe that she would honour the path she’d chosen here. He had very little doubt that she would be welcomed by Wisteriastar, being young and in dire straights such as this.
So, before him sat, for all intents and purposes, a RiverClan kit who needed to be returned to camp as soon as possible and integrated into a family at the nursery. Carrying her would be quickest, and likely safest as well. He was about to warn her before approaching so they could make haste back to camp when her question halted him. Though carefully veiled in her tone, the hurt from her mother’s betrayal was obvious, and Heronflight once again felt a flare of protectiveness.
“I’m not going to leave you.” he assured her, wishing he could say that all of the clan would stand by her so readily. “As long as you are part of RiverClan, you will always have my protection. As for your name… it would be best for you to consider changing it. Your new life will be less painful if you embrace it fully.” Your new clanmates will accept you with more ease if you don’t fight the integration.
Standing slowly with the intention of not alarming her, Heronflight bent over to take her scruff gently between his teeth, waiting a moment to see if she would squirm away before trying to lift her off the ground. He was, after all, very aware that he was a stranger, in a frightful and new location. She was trusting him because she had no other choice.
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