From the moment he stepped up beneath Lionstar at the front of the clans, his ears drank in everything. The colossal chocolate black tom sat still and ominous, like a gargoyle at the foot of StarClan's Claws as Hawkstar began his speech. The whispering clearing moments before the leaders began to speak had enlightened Pumafang mildly, giving him a glimpse of NightClan's struggles: the most intriguing topic of the evening being Darkstorm's incredible advancement, in his opinion at least.
It was hard to miss the arrogant and unfiltered new leader of TreeClan's troublesome neighbors.
Pumafang had begun to let go of his feud as details amassed regarding the untimely deaths of Foxstar and Briarthroat both. The respect he had for Darkstorm had been lost when she succumbed to outrage at the border, crippling Gorsetail, though it had been newfound as she stood before the clans, a fresh figurehead of NightClan. Regardless of how suspicious her ascension may have been, she did it.
It all about evened out in the end anyways: the boring balance of life.
Hawkstar's trite updates made Pumafang's eyes glaze over with disinterest. Silverstar and Firestar were much of the same. Let's just start giving participation awards. He thought snidely, listening to the intimate updates: warriors, apprentices, kits... Every bug and blade of grass was being commended for their existence. The chocolate black tom had to stifle a yawn, almost choking on it as Lionstar dove into criticisms. Pumafang's characteristically charismatic and level-headed idol had vanished as TreeClan's leader bit and tore at Darkstar's reputation.
The tension in the clearing was almost palpable between NightClan and TreeClan. Upon signal from Lionstar, Pumafang leaped from his post and began gathering TreeClan at the far edge of the clearing: it had been more eventful of a gathering than he anticipated, though he couldn't help the prickling feeling of discomfort as he listened to pieces of Skyteller's speech from a far distance.
How disappointing. Pumafang thought unenthusiastically as he waited for further instruction.
The crown is getting heavy But they've written my name in the stars
As Lionstar shepherded his Clan back to their wooded home, he could not help but flick one ear towards the loud but indistinctive murmuring of the groups left behind in StarClan's Claws. There would be some who disagreed with his speech and his behavior just now - in truth, Lionstar knew Gorsetail would not have done something like this - but Lionstar had tasted enough of Clan politics to sense how it would all play out. Hawkstar and StoneClan would remain friendly to TreeClan, NightClan - led by their impulsive young rogue - would continue to loathe them intensely. RainClan was a distant factor, and Lionstar didn't truly care what Silverstar thought of the Gathering.
He only privately hoped that Silverstar be on guard with NightClan in the nearby future. Not only would it place well-deserved pressure on NightClan, but it would likely be the safest choice for RainClan, too.
As for LightningClan...
The season was drawing to a close. It would be time to discuss what to do with the Open Woods soon. We'll redraw the territory lines and be done with it. Firestar is as old as I am and doesn't care about TreeClan's feud with NightClan. Lionstar felt the tension along his spine begin to ease as they crossed the scent line into TreeClan's familiar dense woods.
The trees were still recovering from the harsh nakedness of winter, but the wind was cool and fresh, and it soothed the agitation burning in his heart. "Pumafang," Lionstar halted the enormous black tom in his tracks, and led him towards the Ancient Stump while the rest of the Clan filed into camp. They were not kits to be herded to bed; they could find their nests or their loved ones on their own.
"I want a double patrol along the Deer Path, no less than five cats each patrol. Only older apprentices may participate, if necessary." As he rattled off these new orders, Lionstar knew he didn't have to go into a long-winded explanation of why. Pumafang was no fool. They had both witnessed the way NightClan had bristled when he had called out Darkstorm's honorlessness; there would be cats on both sides itching for a battle.
"I want apprentice training to be expedited." Golden eyes glinted, hard as steel, his anger not quite cooling. "NightClan has been a thorn in our sides for countless moons. We must be prepared for anythi--"
More-so for being interrupted than at the sound of his name, Lionstar turned around. It was Zephyrfang, the tawny former warrior wearing an expression Lionstar wasn't used to seeing on him. Displeasure.
"I stuck around long enough to hear what NightClan had to say." Zephyrfang snorted, tail flicking. "Darkstorm wants Brackenstride dead. I'd watch your son, if I were you. She's aching to sink her claws into him."
It was a warning, from one father to another. Zephyrfang's gaze flicked to Pumafang once, and then the senior warrior joined his sons and mate in camp.
Cold dread spilled into Lionstar's veins. No! Brackenstride had killed Blackwolf; nothing would change that, nothing would fix NightClan's idiotic obsession with avenging the old dead warrior. Likewise, nothing would stop Lionstar from protecting his kit. Darkstorm would like nothing more than to leave Brackenstride's broken body at the borderline.
"I will not allow it," seethed Lionstar, his voice a low, foreboding growl. He could not stop this flash of emotion, claws unsheathing to prick furrows into the soft newleaf earth.
I've been building up all these kingdoms for so long It's good to be king
Post by Ghost the Undead Goddess on May 31, 2019 12:02:47 GMT -5
The story's getting old but my heart is getting colder
The camp was completely empty save for the sentries that watched the camp entrances. The massive tabby wasn't on patrol but her massive form was slinking among the shadows as those frosted pools kept watch from where ever she was standing.
It was the night of the Gathering, and while she wasn't invited, it didn't stop her from staying up and keeping her ears open for any sign of trouble. It was her duty after all to keep her clanmates safe, even the ones who were gathered at Starclan's Claws at the moment.
The tabby warrior didn't trust the other clans. Never had, even if there was a peace pact for this single night.
Her ears flickered as movement sounded before the fresh scent of Treeclan wafted through the camp. The group who had left was returning, but they were oddly early. The mood of the peaceful camp completely shifted the second Lionstar and the others stepped into view under the silver light of the overhanging moon.
Still among the shadows of the outskirts of camp, frosted cerulean was emotionless as Timberfrost observed before pulling herself to her massive paws, intent on making her way towards where Pumafang and Lionstar stood, the two patriarchs of the clan.
The loner born warrior, Zephyrfang, was there by the time the tabby she-cat quietly made her way to them, the remnants of his words finally catching her ear, which gave a quick flick.
So Nightclan had new leadership, as the name Darkstar had been briefly caught while she passed tired clanmates. The vague question of Briarthroat and Foxstar's demise swept through her mind before quickly disappearing. In all honesty, she didn't care what happened with or two the shadowy clan that lived among the pine trees. Though she could understand the wrath that the new leader was apparently hell bent on bringing to Treeclan.
Brackenstride had killed a respected and notable warrior from Nightclan, a debt to be repaid within their mind, and to be honest, would it have been any different if Blackwolf had maimed the latter rather than what had actually happened. Timberfrost was sure that Lionstar would have hunted down the cat that killed his son, he was ran by emotions rather than logic it seemed.
Something the stripped she-cat didn't agree with when it came to his style of leading...
Flickering her tail, the ever sturdy feline parted her maw to speak within the frosty tone of hers, icy gaze holding all three toms for moment as she stopped beside the colossal deputy. "Brackenstride will be safe as long as he stays away from Nightclan's border until it cools over." If it does anyways, Timberfrost wouldn't be surprised with Darkstar carried the grudge until the last of her nine lives. It seemed like a Nightclan thing to do. However, the tabby she-cat would use her body and life as a barrier to keep her clanmates safe.
Turning her attention towards the deputy next to her, "As for paroling that part of the territory, it would be best to have cats who are not as reactive... as some." Timberfrost avoided glancing in Zephyrfang's direction, the older warrior was known for having a bit of a temper and it didn't soften for those who were considered his 'clanmates'. All he really cared about, it seemed, was his silent mate and their kits.
Icy cold pools moved from Pumafang back to Lionstar, gaze practically as emotionless as it was cold. "I'd be more than willing to walk Nightclan's border and keep an eye on things." Timberfrost was aware of her large stature, her intemedating appearance and her battle prowess. She was a force to be reconded with but she was also intelligent enough not to lead head first into the smallest inkling of a battle. Threats and words were harmless and they bounced off her pelt like the breeze. She could keep peace, but if the night dwelers attacked then she wouldn't hold back.
It was her duty to defend Treeclan and those who belonged to the clan among the forest, with her dying breath. She was a warrior, it was her duty.
Pumafang was lucky Timberfrost jumped in with some comforting words for Lionstar, for there had not been an honest phrase in his mind that would have consoled Treeclans icon. Brackenstride was a warrior, and it was going to be up to him to stay smart. Promising protection had always been futile in Pumafang’s mind: it was a lie in essence.
It would only rip its castor apart with remorse if fate determined otherwise.
“I will ensure the borders are appropriately patrolled and monitored. Those with both experience and composure will be assigned to NightClan’s border in an effort to counter the impulsive and violent tendencies they seem so keen to unhinge.” The chocolate black tom meowed flatly, amber eyes shifting from Timberfrost to Lionstar as he continued. “I do believe we will manage to keep NightClan in its place without repercussions from our past.”
Pumafang would speak personally with Timberfrost afterwords to inform her of the events at the gathering, though his last comment was deeper than that. The feud between TreeClan and NightClan went back to the beginning, and Pumafang doubted anyone knew why.
It was accepted, and while there was still land to fight over, this reality would never change.
One glance at Lionstar’s posture and expression suggested that the golden tom needed the company of comfort, perhaps his mate or family, to settle his mind sooner rather than later.
He hoped this would be a short conversation, for Lionstar’s sake.
The crown is getting heavy But they've written my name in the stars
Cool voices tempered the fire and the fury inside of the Clan's leader, Lionstar's shoulders tight, his muscles burning as though he might spring into action at any moment. And then he wrested control over those emotions long enough to hear the sense of the words spoken to him. "I trust your judgement, Pumafang," rumbled Lionstar, tail finishing its aggressive sweep to end in a taut stillness. "Speak with the senior warriors, those who are more experienced with NightClan's patterns of reckleness."
Timberfrost's stalwart loyalty and sense of discipline earned an approving nod from Lionstar. Pumafang had been the correct choice, but he had briefly considered the large she-cat for the position of second-in-command. She had admirable qualities, and they tended to show in times of crises.
"My son respects you," Lionstar's amber gaze met Timberfrost's opposing chilly stare. "Keep him from making a mistake that costs him more than just his dignity and a few clumps of fur." Even as he spoke, a familiar sight - full of piercingly keen eyes and a sauntering gait - pressed past the flow of traffic to reach them.
There was no sense in hiding the truth from Brackenstride; in fact, both of Lionstar's more boistrous kits were bound to react as brashly as he would have, back in the day. The tom clenched his jaw, running over the right words that would cool their tempers when he could barely keep his own from getting the best of him. Before Lionstar could have the first word, however, another TreeClan gathering attendee scampered over to Brackenstride; it was clear in the way the sleek golden warrior's posture changed that someone told him about NightClan's change in leadership.
Brackenstride's attention snapped to Lionstar's, and the son met the father with a rapid, demanding step. "Darkstorm is the leader of NightClan? Are you kidding me?" Brackenstride snapped, glaring at the three of them as if they were somehow to blame for the she-cat's wretched rise to power.
Lionstar's ears twitched, irritation rising now that he had to counter his son's impudence and penchant for recklessness. "Yes, and there is nothing we can do about it. Get whatever mousebrained idea you have out of your head. We will double the strength of our patrols, and keep an eye on NightClan. For now."
"But they almost murdered Gorsetail!" Brackenstride snarled. "We can't let her get away with--"
"I feel the pain of Gorsetail's maiming even more than you do," Lionstar interjected, raising his jaw. "I watched him grow from a kit into an apprentice, I taught him how to serve his Clan, I chose him as my deputy. He was my son before you were born."
Brackenstride's eyes narrowed. "Your son, huh? Then why aren't you putting together an attack party? We should shred every last life StarClan's given her!"
"Enough, Brackenstride! I will address the Clan later. Go back to your nest, the night is over. "
The young tom scoffed, turning his back on the group of cats. "Over? I think you mean the night won."
I've been building up all these kingdoms for so long It's good to be king
Post by Ghost the Undead Goddess on Jun 19, 2019 3:28:34 GMT -5
The story's getting old but my heart is getting colder
Frosted pool watched her leader with an even expression, always level headed as she managed to freeze out her emotions most of the time. His frustrations, his furies, his worries, they were all very present within his aging form and wild gaze. Lionstar had always been a fairly emotional cat, it was who he was and how he ran the clan.
His level of self-control was rather impressive as well.
Out of respect, the massive tabby dipped her head at both the praise of having Brackenstride's respect as well as being asked to keep an eye upon the young lion of Treeclan. Granted, Timberfrost knew very well that the younger tom would do the exact opposite of what any-cat had to say, including herself.
Her thoughts only where confirmed as father and son had a heated argument about the entire situation. It was almost amusing, at how similar the two of them were and Timberfrost could only imagine that Lionstar was practically the same as how Brackenstride was at this moment in his life. Just as young, and strong willed and brazen.
The heart of a Lion, if any had it.
Tilting her head slightly, Timberfrost returned those frosty pools of cerulean back to where Pumafang and Lionstar stood. "Brackenstride thinks with his heart, a good quality to have." Her sharp tone as cold as her gaze, the tabby warrior speaking without a negative tone. There weren't many moons between the two of them, and for all their teasing and poking, Timberfrost respected Brackenstride as much as he did her. "I doubt I can do much to change his mind on such a matter," Honesty was the best policy and Timberfrost wasn't one to shy away from the truth. She was a logical warrior, she thought and analyzed because she froze her heart away in an attempt to not deal with the matters that came from it. She had been raised in a broken, corrupted family whereas Brackenstride had known nothing but pure and unfiltered love. And so, he believed his heart over his head during times. "However," She continued. "I will do all I can to ensure that his life remains mostly intact." It was a promise, a duty of a warrior was to protect her clanmates, even if they put themselves in dangerous situations. Timberfrost took that duty very seriously, it was why she so quickly offered her services along Nightclan's border, it was her bases for being the best warrior she could. But, that didn't stop the slight undertone of sarcasm to touch her cold voice at her underlying joke.
Though she didn't voice it, the massive tabby knew that if Brackenstride were to take the matters into his own paws that she would be by his side, breaking the rules that Lionstar had set down for his son.
The comfort of family, that thing Pumafang had thought Lionstar needed, turned out not to be a comfort at all.
Brackenstride was a talented warrior, but no less than perfect was to be expected from Lionstar's bloodline. Perhaps the clan anticipated more out of the young tom because of his lofty parentage. Maybe it was stress, or even fear, that caused the tense moments between father and son he had just witnessed. Despite Brackenstride's apparent skill in battle, the youth had a sharp tongue and an arrogance that seemed more egocentric than his sire's more humble ways.
Although tonight's happenings made Pumafang wonder if humble was the right word.
It was not his place to speak on family matters, but it was his place to stand for the many other's in TreeClan who were to be heavily affected by Darkstar's threat as well. NightClan's new leader had manipulated Lionstar well, hitting where it seemed to hurt him most: family. It was likely that rage had swayed Lionstar's decisions.
It wasn't that Pumafang disagreed with double patrols, but more exercise meant an increased demand in prey. TreeClan was blossoming, though the Deer Path was taken, and they were sharing the Open Woods with LightningClan. They couldn't keep this behavior up past the warm, generous seasons without sacrificing the health of TreeClan's strongest, most level-headed warriors.
It was a reasonable short-term solution to NightClan's hostility, though they would have to speak again.
Problems for another day, no doubt.
The large, chocolate black tom listened carefully to the exchange between Timberfrost and Lionstar, pleased to see her complimented by TreeClan's icon. She spoke honestly and faithfully. The tabby was a staunch warrior, though her last comment was a merciless one despite its truth: Gorsetail's wounds may have been too fresh in Lionstar's mind, though Brackenstride was his own entity who will always make his own decisions.
Timberfrost would lay down her life for Brackenstride if it came down to it, but Pumafang worried whether or not the tom had the composure and sense to keep out of trouble. Timberfrost's devotion was unquestionable, but Lionstar's son seemed unpredictable.
TreeClan would protect him nonetheless, but Pumafang still silently willed him his father's characteristic altruism and reason.
Pumafang's tail flicked slightly. There wasn't much else left to be said tonight, and Lionstar was quite clear on the deputy's duties starting in the morning. Double patrols on the NightClan border, and those involved in them were to have calmer minds.
Brackenstride would not be invited.
I hope you like LightningClan. Pumafang thought solemnly, amber eyes flashing blankly in the night as he waited for Lionstar's next move.