He was out on another patrol, one of many since he'd spotted foxes in the territory not so long ago. He often went out with any cat that would come with him, provided they weren't bringing an apprentice with them. He had no problem with apprentices, he was just very worried of a repeat of the last time. Seeing the apprentice, a tiny she-cat, in very mortal danger had tightened something painfully inside him to see. He had feared for her life, as had her mentor. So, no more apprentices for awhile. In this case, he'd pulled Zephyrfang away from camp and out of the patrol with him.
The tom's mate was expecting, and he wanted to get him out of camp for awhile to hopefully ease his mind on things. She-cats had been having kits for ages without their fussing mates about to bother them. Besides, Bluejay knew how to deliver kits, she'd never let anything happen. If she could help the matter, anyway.
Also, he was hoping the time away would idle the other tom down. Or, in the least, ease some of the stress he had to be under. And, in the meantime, they'd be protecting the Clan and the queens from encroaching foxes.
Post by Fawntastic on Oct 14, 2016 21:53:05 GMT -5
46 Moons, Warrior of TreeClan
After a long goodbye in which he told Silentsong that she was beautiful, perfect and going to be an excellent mother (among many other things), Zephyrfang finally allowed Falconstorm to lead him out of camp. He liked the other warrior's sense of humor, the dry sarcasm amused him, but on today of all days, his heart and mind were back in the nursery beside his mate, even if his paws were carrying him further and further away with each step.
"Have you seen any markings, droppings or fur anywhere?" Zephyrfang mewed, trying to force his attention onto the task they'd both been given. As if possessed by a bat, the tom's ears kept swiveling back and to the front and to the sides, sometimes together, sometimes one at a time, obviously listening for the tell-tale cry of kits in the nursery or Bluejay speaking soothingly to Silentsong.
Suddenly, Zephyrfang stopped in his tracks. "What if the kits are as quiet as their mother?" he murmured, more speaking aloud than to Falconstorm, having already forgotten the other tom's presence. "Then I won't know if she's kitting, or if they've gotten here already—!" Zephyrfang turned around, his claws digging into the ground, trying to hold himself back from sprinting to the nursery.
Zephyrfang didn't consider himself as... beholden to the Warrior Code as his Clanmates were. Call it a loner's upbringing, but he was very focused on his more immediate family, and it was tearing him up inside at the thought of missing such an important moment.
"Yes to all three. We're almost there, and I'll show you." He doubted the area of the attack was all that disturbed, since the skunk stink had probably kept most sane creatures away while it cleared. It hadn't been long at all. They had only reached the small clearing when Zephyrfang started having what, to Falconstorm, looked like an anxiety attack.
He tried to be patient with the other tom, really he did, but he had no tolerance for theatrics. So he calmly leaped onto a raised root and then pounced on the other tom, pushing his weight onto the loner turned Clancat. "Listen to me, before you worry yourself to sickness. Your mate will be fine. Queens have been birthing kits since the beginning of all things. Bluejay knows what she's doing. I'm sure if your Silentsong were to start the birthing process our medicine cat would send someone to fetch you. The only thing fussing over her is going to do is make her as anxious as you are, and that's bad for the kits."
He shifted and rolled, allowing his weight to leave the other warrior. "Now, please calm yourself. This is important. Your mate and your future kits are in danger from these foxes. We need to know where they are and make certain they can't reach our most vulnerable. I can't take on two foxes by myself, and unless you seriously think your Silentsong is safer with these foxes around the territory, when they've stolen kits from our clan already, then kindly concentrate." The last was said with a hiss, his voice dropping an entire octave with his annoyance.
If Falconstorm hadn't brought up his unborn kits, the fluffy tom would have been in serious danger of having his ears clawed off. There was an aggressive gleam in his eyes, as if all that tense energy would be channeled into unsheathed claws, but Falconstorm had the good sense to get off of his back. Physically, anyway.
Tail lashing, Zephyrfang saw the sense in the other tom's words. He was right. Dealing with those foxes would be better than hovering outside of the nursery waiting for the first signs of labor. Zephyrfang regarded his Clanmate with a kind of respect, begrudging at first. Most Clan-cats that tolerated him did so with words; few were brave or foolish enough to be so physical with him. It wasn't that he frightened them, it was that they still felt an invisible barrier between them.
As if he was just masquerading as their Clanmate, and they tolerated as much of it as they could, not wanting to waste greater effort for a tom whose only link here was Silentsong.
Well, after today, he was going to have two, maybe even three new links to the Clan. His kits would be TreeClan, through and through. It was going to be quite possibly the best thing for TreeClan, whether they realized it yet or not.
"Lead the way, Falconstorm. And word of advice--don't ever jump on a former loner's back. I was gonna shred you into mulch." Zephyrfang chuckled, as if mincing his denmate was a funny outcome. That helped ease some of the stress, however, and he flexed his claws in and out, the amber fire in his gaze not at all diminished, though he was no longer glancing so expectantly back towards camp.
Focused now, Zephyrfang opened his senses to the rest of the forest, letting the woodland smells bathe his tongue and the sounds fill his ears, which swiveled at the shrill cry of a bluejay nearby, and he caught a few stale whiffs of deer coming from the direction of NightClan's territory. It would be better to kill the foxes, but knowing these Clan cats, that was probably against their precious Code... This fell under the 'kill when necessary' category of Zephyrfang's personal Code, but he kept his thoughts to himself, confident but not so confident that he suspected it would be an easy task.
"You would have tried." He flashed a grin at the other cat, ears swiveling. "I don't see a loner, former or otherwise. I see one of my Clanmates that was in need of a bit of a distraction." He faced forward and led them a little further into the area, starting to scent the stale stink of skunk spray. "Smell that? We're here."
Falconstorm acknowledged that he'd been threatened to be shredded, but he also was a decent sized tom himself and wouldn't have gone down easily. He sneezed then, trying to purge the scent of skunk from his before he went noseblind the world around him. "Their den is just here." He showed the other tom the place the pair had come from, where their attack had come from. "They were young, probably too young to be away from their mother just yet. So, there is probably one more than the two youngsters we saw."
The den had scraps of fox fur in it and various bones from their recent kills, as well as the heavy scent of fox. There was also the skunk smell permeating everything, but he'd expected it.
Post by Fawntastic on Oct 21, 2016 14:17:01 GMT -5
46 Moons, Warrior of TreeClan
If Falconstorm hadn't explained his squirrelbrained (but surprisingly effective) scheme of luring the foxes into the path of skunks, he would've accused the fluffy tom of having lost his sense of smell. This part of the forest definitely reeked, and Zephyrfang's muzzle wrinkled, nose scrunching as the pungent odor danced maniacally around his scent glands.
"Then let's find the mother, and deal with the cubs if they decide to stick around." It was going to be the opposite of fun, tracking these things. Already foxes stunk, and then adding on the skunk spray overtop...
Investigating the fox den, Zephyrfang was confident it was empty, and he thrust his head in, examining the dark interior. Scraps of fur, bones, and a bit of moss and leaves that had probably been blown in from the wind or put there on purpose by the mother fox. Inhaling deeply, he got a whiff of the mother's scent - there was a faint milky aroma to it, which he guessed was leftover from nursing her cubs.
"If I were a fox and I'd just got sprayed, I'd head for the brook to try to wash some of it off." The tawny warrior glanced back at his companion, already feeling his nasal senses begin to dull due to the overwhelming scents everywhere. It had been a while ago, but the stench was still almost eyewateringly powerful. Zephyrfang's tail lashed; it was obvious he wanted to move on as quickly as possible.
Falconstorm sneezed and pawed at his nose a few times before giving a firm nod to the others suggestion. There was nothing worse than skunk stink, at least in his opinion.
Once Zephyrfang made a suggestion for their direction the other tom just nodded and sneezed again in the foul smelling clearing. As soon as they'd come far enough away from the clearing the tom pressed his nose against a bush and inhaled slowly to clear his senses of the smell of skunk.
"There, now I can actually track them." He'd been having a hard time of it since he was being overwhelmed with the scent of skunk. "I am regretting leading the skunk to the foxes, but it did save that apprentice."
As they drew closer to the brook the sound of splashing grew louder. So, Zephyrfang's thought had been straight on. The adolescent foxes were swimming around in the brook then rolling in the dirt and moss at the edges. An adult fox lounged nearby, probably the mother.
Falconstorm watched as she rose to patrol the border of the brook, noticing that she was tipping her head to the side so that her right eye was facing more towards the front. "I think she may be blind on the left side." He whispered to his companion, body pressed close to the ground so as not to be seen.
Post by Fawntastic on Oct 23, 2016 22:24:15 GMT -5
46 Moons, Warrior of TreeClan
There they were. A mother and her two cubs. Despite the certain truth that he would more than likely become a father within the next pawful of days, Zephyrfang felt no sympathy or compassion stir in his heart for the vixen and her offspring. In his mind, it was 'survival of the fittest', with the added layer of 'fiercely protective of his family' to ensure that he and TreeClan always came out the victors, when it boiled down to 'cat versus nature'.
"I think she may be blind on the left side."
Or she's hard of hearing on one side. Zephyrfang narrowed his gaze, staring hard at the fox until he could make out the slight milky coloration and what looked like a scar on the side of the vixen's head. Zephyrfang nodded. "I think you're right about that. We must kill the vixen and chase the cubs into the mountains. I'd rather kill all three of them," Zephyrfang gave a small shrug of his right shoulder, not caring if he sounded bloodthirsty or not (he had loved ones to protect) "but even I know two against three are bad odds. If we take out the vixen, we can scare off the other two."
Zephyrfang flexed his claws, strategizing from where he and Falconstorm were crouched. I'm better camouflage, Falconstorm sticks out like a bleached bone, so I'll be the one to sneak up on the vixen.
"You're hard to miss. Think you can distract her while I sneak up on her blind side?" A challenging glint flickered into life like a spark over dry leaves. "But if you're scared, I'll handle this myself." Zephyrfang couldn't explain why, but sometimes he just met cats whose buttons were fun to press. He doubted Falconstorm would get upset at the teasing - if anything, it would probably make him jump right into this, which is exactly what the tawny, tiger-striped warrior wanted.
"I would be offended if you weren't right." Falconstorm told the other cat. His colors were fine most of the time, but with leaf-fall in full swing there wasn't enough foliage to hide the bright fur coloration of his pelt. He usually had no problems hunting and the like, but there were certain times where he knew he stood out. It was why spring was his favorite season, there were an abundance of flowers and tall grass to hide in so his pelt was nothing to worry about. He wanted to kill the lot of them, but he doubted they could without at least another two warriors with them. Foxes were bigger, if only just. It made sense to have more for taking them all out. But the mother was safety for the cubs, and the cubs would run after she died. "I agree. The vixen needs to go. Lets do this."
When the other tom issued his challenge he gave him a slow grin that said he was absolutely up for it. "I'm not. Challenge accepted." He crept forward then darted around to climb a tree on this side of the brook. His plan was to provide the distraction by creeping up on the family and making as big of a nuisance of himself as he could. He'd show the other what this 'hard to miss' cat could do.
He waited until she had her good side towards him then leapt down and yowled at her as loud as he could. The cubs stayed playing in the brook, but their mother snarled and charged at him. He climbed the tree, keeping his fluffy tail just above her snapping jaws. Distraction achieved.
Post by Fawntastic on Oct 25, 2016 11:04:00 GMT -5
46 Moons, Warrior of TreeClan
Falconstorm wasn't very subtle. Zephyrfang could appreciate that; hiding in the undergrowth below long fronds of bracken and fern, the tiger-striped, tawny warrior slunk closer, amusement coloring his gaze briefly as he saw the fox try to grab Falconstorm by the tail. It was as fluffy as a squirrel's, which probably made it twice as irritating for the fox - imagine being taunted by a cat that looked like prey? - remembering the fox's blind spot, Zephyrfang gathered his strength and launched himself out from the undergrowth, barely rustling the fronds as he did so.
With a swift bound, Zephyrfang leaped upon the fox, barely giving her time to react as he knocked her off her paws, his claws digging into her shoulder, his ferocious snarls alerting the cubs to this new threat. He bit and scratched where he could, digging his back legs into the fox until she yelped. Zephyrfang didn't fight in pairs. He had never done battle training with another cat acting as a teammate; so he ignored Falconstorm, not aware if the tom was helping or not. His tunnel vision had narrowed significantly onto himself and the fox; she threw him off with a snarl, and Zephyrfang twisted in the air, landing hard on his paws but unscathed, his tail swishing furiously behind him, tufts of fox fur stuck to his claws and mixed in with his own pelt, stuck there by blood.
Well, this was happening. Zephyrfang was feirce, and a tad on the viscious side, but he couldn't really blame him. A pregnant mate waiting for him at home and the promise of new kits in the very near future would make any cat viscious. Family was important, and love gave both strength and weakness in a cat. Mostly, he admitted, it was one of the greatest strengths they could have. He had every intention of helping, and right after the fox through the other warrior off her, thus turning around so that her back was to him, Falconstorm struck.
He leaped from the tree, landing hard on the vixen's back and sinking claws and teeth into her hide. The fox started snarling and writhing around trying to dislodge him, but Falconstorm was a big tom, and he knew how to strike fast and fierce. He couldn't think about the two cubs just now, though likely they'd gone into hiding when the two warriors struck their mother. They were scared, and that meant they weren't going to help.
Eventually, after a long few minutes of bucking and nipping at him the vixen managed to throw him off her as well, leaving the fawn colored cat to slide to a stop after she threw him through the air. Like Zephyrfang he was covered in blood and bits of fox fur, body puffed up and angry. Braced for an attack he knew would come. But he was also unharmed, minus a bit of pulled fur where the fox had nipped him. Fur grew back.
The vixen was bleeding heavily now from the combined attacks of the two toms. Her teeth were bared in a snarl, but she had been backed up into the tree that Falconstorm had lured her too. Trapped unless she ran, and she wasn't going to leave her cubs.
Zephyrfang wasn't a cruel cat. Though he had been raised a loner, by a mother twisted by hatred and a father whose one fault had been his inability to care about anyone outside of his own family, Zephyrfang had rebelled against them. He was not a merciless killing machine; if anything, knowing he had Silentsong waiting for him competed with his usual reckless, taunting fighting style to take things a bit more seriously.
Looking briefly at Falconstorm to make sure he wasn't bleeding profusely, he lunged forward, the vixen flinching as he fell upon her blindside. The fox screeched in pain and fear as he latched onto her throat, feeling her jaws twist as she tried to bite at his face and head, but he held fast. Covered in the reeking breath of a predator, Zephyrfang held his own, his muscles growing weary as the fox thrashed against him.
He was pushed away with a last spurt of strength, but it did the vixen no good. She was too injured to recover - and every creature present knew that. Zephyrfang spat out blood and fur, watching as she tried to limp after her cubs in the direction of the border.
Zephyrfang stole another glance to Falconstorm, trying to share his idea. Herd them to the mountains.
She was headed that way as it was, and Zephyrfang preferred keeping the little group together instead of chasing after a bunch of StarClan forsaken cubs all through the forest. He didn't have time for that. Tail lashing with his impatience, he nipped the vixen's heels, and she quickened her pace, leaving blood splatters on the crunching, crackling leaves and the gnarled roots they passed by.
Besides, a dead vixen and her cubs would make a fine meal for Demon. And with the monster lynx well fed, TreeClan would be safe for a few more sunrises.
Falconstorm's fur was stood out on end, which would have looked hilarious in any other context. As it was it seemed to frighten the two cubs that had started the issue in the first place. The blood all over the place didn't bother him, though he still felt bad for essentially destroying this little family. They were nuisances, and their mother could potentially take and kill a TreeClan kit. So they had to go. It was just sad if he thought on it long enough. But it was more practical this way, and there were other foxes in the valley.
He caught the look from the other warrior and nodded, charging after the fleeing group and rerouting them towards the mountains. Safer than letting them go into the forest where they may run into other cats. Though TreeClan's safety was more his responsibility he didn't want any of their local loners getting caught up in a tangle with an injured fox and her cubs either. StarClan welcomed most cats, and he didn't want to be responsible for the death of a cat inadvertently.
Once they were far enough away the warrior slid to a stop so that he could catch his breath and start settling down his mass of fur. He looked to Zephyrfang next to him and gave a lopsided smile. "We should probably try and get most of the fox blood off before heading home. I don't think your mate would appreciate you coming back to her covered in it and treck it into the nest."
He'd go to the brook for a short, very cold, swim, just to shake the blood from his fur enough that a good grooming would handle things. He'd have a miserable time drying out, but nothing a swift run wouldn't help with.