Chronicles of Crowblaze Feb 8, 2015 18:24:27 GMT -5
Post by Fawntastic on Feb 8, 2015 18:24:27 GMT -5
The Second Loss.
The Second Loss.
The evolution from apprentice to warrior, normally a time of great pride and joy for a Clan cat and their family, was stifled by the sickness that devastated RainClan. His first few tasks as a warrior had been to fetch bedding, to assist Swanfeather in the collection of herbs (Fernpaw had fallen ill), and to work his claws down to nothing at the riverside, fishing so that the Clan could continue to eat. To add insult to exhaustion, a cold drizzle spilled down from bruised, smoke-dark clouds, the sun having just slipped below the horizon line as though in avoidance of the scent of sick cats that permeated RainClan’s camp.
Crowblaze, hauling the last of his prey for the evening onto the unusually small fresh kill pile, grunted with the effort; Even with everyone not sick doing double patrols and double hunting, it’s still not enough prey. just about to take some for himself – he’d earned it, he hadn’t eaten all day – a salmon-furred warrioress stopped him, haughty cerulean latching onto cranky orange.
”Have you brought anything to the elders yet, Crowpaw?” She looked just as tired as he felt, but there was no sympathy for the older warrior – only a seething thorn sinking into his heart, feeling as though he had reached the last of his tether. A cold, terse response was what greeted her. ”No I haven’t, and it’s Crowblaze.” It was as if his ceremony hadn’t happened at all; the entire Clan was so busy that it wasn’t so infrequent for one of the warriors to have a moment of relapse and call him by his old name.
Bristling, he took a small trout from the pile and stalked away from her – she could find some other apprentice to spit at – Crowblaze instead glancing around the darkened camp in search of a familiar black, white and gray mottled pelt. But then he remembered. Heronstrike had left with the evening patrol and wouldn’t be back for a while; moody and with no one else to talk to (probably wise, anyway; he wasn’t going to be very good company right now), a secluded, heavily reeded area of camp was chosen and he ate his meal in silence. After he’d eaten, perhaps he would go visit his mother in the medicine cat’s den, or stop in and see Gullkit and Bitternkit – though he was loath to bring any of the sickness clinging to everyone’s pelts like oil into the nursery.
Dark pelt concealing him, he had watched the interactions of his Clanmates from the shelter of the reeds and the weeds alike, washing any lingering taste of fish from his whisker pads and muzzle with a damp paw. RainClan could not afford to seek shelter in the rain, which was coming down hard now; it was as if they were all afraid of what might happen if they stopped working and just let everything catch up with them. It was a dire time, not even their leader had escaped the sharp, unmoving claws of illness. Sandstar’s lost a life, Swanfeather confirmed as much this morning. He could just make out the light brown jaw of the RainClan deputy, Razorfang, as he brushed pelts briefly with the salmon-hued warrioress from earlier, the two cats going their separate ways though not without acknowledging the other.
It was exhausting, not being able to do anything. Apart from the fear of getting sick himself (it hadn’t exactly escaped the Clan’s notice that very few cats seemed to be recovering from the outbreak this season), it was this sense of helplessness that made him grind his teeth and sink his claws into the earth. What good was being a warrior if you couldn’t protect yourself or protect your loved ones from an illness? What did they expect him to do? Pray? He never liked the idea of his life and the lives of those around him being up to StarClan to decide what to do with; they weren’t mossballs to be batted around and played with.
So entrenched in his thoughts, Roselight’s approach caught him by surprise, dark ears pinning back against a tiger-striped skull, resisting the urge to glance towards the spot he’d buried the trout bones.
”What do you want?” He growled, half expecting her to reprimand him again when she had little right to do so – but the look in the she-cat’s eyes wasn’t as hostile or haughty as he thought they’d be. Crowblaze’s piercing orange stare narrowed, feeling his pelt prickle with an ominous discomfort; was that sadness in her eyes?
At last, she spoke up. ”I’m sorry, Crowblaze. It’s Falconleap…”
Crowblaze’s heart dropped. The dark warrior bounded from the reeds towards the medicine cat’s den, hissing as he saw two warriors dragging his mother’s body out of camp. ”Don’t you touch her!”
A spitting fury of claws and teeth, he leaped at Blackfalcon and Honeygaze, ready to tear them away from the unnaturally still queen – but the boom of his father’s voice in his ears ripped through him like thunder.
”Crowblaze ENOUGH! Your mother has to be buried, otherwise the sickness will spread.” Vultureback dragged his son away from the startled warriors, who hastened their attempts at getting the ex-StoneClan deputy out of RainClan and into the surrounding forest.
His body tensed, burned with outrage not at the quick, necessary burial of his mother but at the calmness of his father’s tone. Didn’t he care at all? First Hawk-kit had left, now this… It was too much for him to handle. Who was going to be next? Vultureback? Heroncry? Gullkit and Bitternkit?
Crowblaze rounded upon his father, eyes burning into the mottled warrior as though enough concentrated ire could set him ablaze. ”You’re acting like this is nothing! What is wrong with you? Didn’t she mean anything to you?” His parents were in love, or so he’d thought – so why the stoicism, why the calmness when their world had been flipped upside down? Grief was swelling up and pounding against his chest like an enemy warrior, trying to crush him with each painful throb.
Vultureback did not answer him, but it was with a bitter stab of triumph that he saw sorrow flash across his father’s eyes; as much as the senior warrior could try to keep up the charade that nothing perturbed him, that it was ‘a fact of life’ that cats died, his mate died, Crowblaze could see right through him. Was there any point to his father’s stony coping mechanisms in the face of tragedy? No, there wasn’t. There wasn’t any point in trying to attack Blackfalcon and Honeygaze either, but Crowblaze had no intention of apologizing.
He had no idea what he was going to do next. No plan. No strategy to deal with Falconleap’s death. It was, predictably, his father who nudged him gently upon the shoulder.
”Go and find your sister.”
”What are you going to—“ Before he could finish his statement, Vultureback had pivoted and made a somber march towards the nursery, every bit the bearer of bad news Crowblaze now recognized him to be.
Crowblaze finally noticed the rain soaking into his fur; water resistant as they were from their diet, it had reached down deep through the thick dark fur and onto the warm skin beneath, chilling him even as he smoldered with frustration.
It was the second time Crowblaze had felt loss take the breath from his body, sweeping through him like a grim reaper, robbing him of any concept of joy or peace or excitement. It was the second time he’d felt completely helpless, forced to endure the sorrow hardening inside of his heart.
The rain numbed his paws, he hardly felt them carry him as he left in search of Heroncry.
If he hurried, he could find her and say goodbye to his mother before Blackfalcon and Honeygaze were finished putting her to rest.