A devastating earthquake has struck the valley, rendering it to an almost completely unrecognizable state.
Though the Clans were warned of the impending disaster and most escaped to the shelter of the mountains, many cats will die.
Please see our Cull List for the full list of those that have died during the disaster!
As the Clans struggle through this catastrophic event, the lines between each of them will be blurred, for the time has come for them to join together, and they will not emerge as the same Clans they once were.
** Special Note: New member registration has been temporarily disabled as Fate undergoes an overhaul of the site, and a complete reworking of the Clans! We hope to open registration again very soon, but in the meantime you're more than welcome to hang out in our Discord if you'd like to stick around!
Please take the time to read through our Newleaf Announcement for how our five Clans will be merging into three, led by our current active leaders (Silverstar, Owlstar, and Clovermask/star).
We also have a territory contest where we're challenging members to come up with what the Clans' territories will look like after disaster strikes! Prey and badges are among the rewards for participating!
Happy New Year! After the tumultuous year 2020 brought us, staff have decided to extend the December hiatus into January!
High ranks are not required to meet their usual post quota, and you are still free to roleplay, but things may be a little slower around the site!
Staff are recovering from the year as well, so please be patient with us, as it may take some time for us to accept applications and update things. Let's make 2021 a great year for Fate!
** Special Note: Another predator will be spotted in the valley in the coming days. Keep an eye out for the next batch of the Tooth & Claw event!
The last of the day's heat beat down upon the black and white tom as he slipped into camp. His morning had started rather... Peculiarly. If you'd told him he would be helping with breaking his former apprentice's leg alongside his sisters and Rookfrost, he would have stared at you as though you'd sprouted five heads. Yet, that is exactly how his day had begun. Following that... Errand, Nightstep had been dismissed by the black spectre-like medicine cat, finally allowed to return to his regular duties. The leg breaking hadn't disturbed him; after all, he'd heard similar shrieks from cats beneath his own claws.
It had simply been a different start to his morning.
Sharp yellow eyes glancing up to the to sky, Nightstep took a moment to watch the beginnings of twilight creep along the wide expanse. He seemed to consider something briefly, before a determined look flashed through his penetrating gaze. Striding forward, he set course for the apprentice den, rapidly closing the distance between the camp entrance and his destination. Likely, the apprentices would be settling down for the night, thinking their duties were over for the day. He just hoped his apprentice's mindset hadn't been set on sleep, or she was about to be severely disappointed.
Briefly, he considered his previous training sessions with the she-cat. It had become quickly apparent she was shy, which Nightstep had accommodated just as rapidly. If he was to successfully train her to be an effective warrior, he had to be effective in his teachings. Using his adaptability, Nightstep had formulated the personality of the perfect mentor for her, just as he'd learnt to do with several members of LightningClan. Let them see him as they wished him to be; it would not change who or what he was at his core.
"Cloudypaw!" He called into the dim light of the den. His voice was not overly cheerful, but it was not sharp. He considered it to be neutral, enough to catch her attention and inform her he wished to speak with her. "Meet me at the camp entrance." He didn't tell her anymore than that. If she had questions concerning why he was collecting her so late into the evening, he knew she would ask them eventually. Instead, he let his long legs carry him easily to his designated meeting spot.
Dropping his haunches into a sit, the tuxedo tom focused his bright gaze on the apprentice den, awaiting any sign of the young she-cat. His posture was impeccably straight, his tail set neatly upon his white paws. He almost resembled some form of guarding, perched perfectly at the entrance; unmoving and stoic. But those who knew him knew he was far more agile than any stone guardian when he needed to be.
Post by Fawntastic on Sept 5, 2016 21:42:14 GMT -5
It probably wasn't advised, but Cloudypaw had taken a nap during most of sunhigh. It wasn't that the heat bothered her, it was that the stress of interacting with others, of being an introvert in a Clan that seemed to be powered by extroverts, had tired her out enough that all she could think of was her soft nest in the apprentice's den. Sunnypaw was out with Mudpelt, Batpaw had left with Brightpool... Her own mentor had been scarce; she caught a fleeting glimpse of a tuxedo pelt as a hunting patrol had left several hours ago. I guess we aren't training today. Had she done something wrong?
Cloudypaw shook her head from side to side slowly, as if trying to dislodge a bit of moss stuck to her inner ear-fluff. I haven't! I know I haven't, so... he must just be busy. Yes, that made sense. Nightstep had lots of family in the Clan, it had shocked her at first just to see so many cats related to each other just... around. Cloudypaw did not even know her father's name, and her only family apart from her siblings had been her mother. And even she was starting to fade from the kitten's memory.
Just trying to get comfortable, Cloudypaw's sigh was turned into a squeak of surprise as her mentor's voice filled the apprentices' den. Rising immediately, the tabby kitten with the snowy face and snowy white legs hurried quickly, posture that of a shy feline who wanted to be a part of things but knew not how to go about it.
Why does he want me to meet him at the camp entrance? Cloudypaw looked around, the dens looking faintly ominous in the evening light; rather than dally too long and get her bearings, Cloudypaw trundled for the camp entrance, dipping her head softly to any warriors who happened to glance her way (probably looking like a funny, awkward bird in the process).
"Good e-evening, Nightstep." She whispered, wanting to speak loudly but unable to do so. Sometimes Cloudypaw spoke as if she were afraid of her own voice—or uncertain she even wanted one at all. What are we doing out so late? Were they going to hunt at night? Surely all of the bunnies would be asleep in their dens by now.
Something flapped overhead, the wings beating almost jagged, erratic rhythms through the ear. Cloudypaw shrank back, but, upon realizing it was a bat, she smiled, remembering her friend. Maybe it's a good omen.
Word Count: 427 Words Tags: Bloodrose @marshymutt (Batpaw mention!) Notes:
Nightstep took the opportunity to evaluate his apprentice's mindset as she approached. He could tell from her slightly hunched position that her heart was beating wildly in her chest. The little she-cat's nerves easily rivalled those of his sister, Kindleflare. He paused a moment, wondering if it might do the she-kit some good to spend time with the medicine cat apprentice. He made a mental note to ask Rookfrost if he might borrow his sister for an hour or so in the near future. He knew the black medicine cat always seemed to have something for her to do, but... It was worth a try.
As the white tipped tabby pulled closer, he waved his tail in greeting, his features slipping into an easy grin. He dipped his muzzle to her as she meowed softly, his black ears pivoting forward to catch the quiet words she whispered in his direction. A trip out of camp might do her good. He thought to himself, mentally changing the destination of their training session. Originally, he had intended to bring her to the flooded grasses. Prey activity was always plentiful there, no matter the time of night. Now? He had a different idea, one that he hoped would help her relax.
Nightstep knew from watching his sister grow up that, with cats like Cloudypaw, being flustered was of no help to their training. He could be impatient, cold and hard, if that is was an apprentice needed to grow to be the best warrior they could be. But Cloudypaw needed something different. He just hoped he could guide her there. "Good evening, Cloudypaw." He meowed with an almost affectionate tone. Touching his tail tip to her shoulder, he motioned with his head towards the Clan entrance. "Come. I hope you were not planning to sleep, for we have some ground to cover tonight."
Rising to his paws, he led the way out of LightningClan's camp. He'd always preferred the night air; it was cool, refreshing, and alive with all kinds of sounds. To some, they might be unsettling at first. The hoot of a far off owl, the chirping of a hidden cricket... Each sound had its own quiet echo as it drifted over the moorlands toward them. But, if he could keep her busy, he thought he might succeed in helping her push the sounds to nothing more than background noise.
He kept his pace slow, so she wouldn't need to push hard to keep up. Casting his yellow-eyed gaze toward her, he spoke in a quieter voice, so as not to startle her now that they were moving through territory that would look unfamiliar in the dark of night. "What do you think of the stars, Cloudypaw?"
Post by Fawntastic on Sept 8, 2016 19:41:07 GMT -5
Confusion and curiosity warred across the timid she-cat's features, Cloudypaw finding herself following the tuxedo warrior out of camp without thinking about it. "Are we going into the mountains?" She asked, but her voice was drowned out by the chorus of crickets scattered throughout LightningClan's moorland territory.
It was strange to be out of camp so late; perhaps it was her imagination but she pictured shadows moving in every which way... There were no trees, here. Everything felt so open, yet as she maneuvered through the undergrowth behind Nightstep, it was obvious that she could find a little burrow or warren to hide in if need be, or could wriggle in amongst the gorse until the threat passed. But that did little to quell the jittery sensation in her paws, feeling so exposed.
Cloudypaw quickened her pace, making sure to stay only a hare-length behind Nightstep's tail in case anything happened. He blended in almost too well with their surroundings, and if it weren't for the moonlight catching the white fur on his chest and neck, she might've lost him by mistake had she looked away.
"What do you think of the stars, Cloudypaw?"
"T-The stars?" Her ears pricked forward, surprised by his question. "I like them. I think they're nice."That's a terrible answer... Shyly trying to elaborate, Cloudypaw slowed just enough that she could crane her neck back, blue eyes locked onto the starry swath of sky stretching out above them like an ocean. "They make the night less..." Cloudypaw took a gulp "Scary."
What if there weren't any stars? Cloudypaw stared, immensely grateful for the glittering lights up above, and the moon especially. If there were no light at night to see by, then they'd just be wandering around in darkness. Cloudypaw shivered. She was very grateful for the shadows on the grass and the faint glow of starlight on their pelts. She didn't want to wander aimlessly through blackness, relying only on scent to show her the way home.
Post by Bloodrose on Sept 10, 2016 14:32:13 GMT -5
When Cloudypaw first began speaking, Nightstep found himself glancing at her expectantly. Was that really all she had to say about the stars? That they were nice? His tail tip twitched behind him, the tuxedo tom doing his best to remain patient with her. Eventually, she added more, providing Nightstep with an answer that was more in depth than her first, if only slightly. Nodding his head to her in something similar to agreement, he continued to lead her toward their new destination. "That they certainly do, Cloudypaw." His level voice rumbled to life, quiet, but hearable over the other night sounds.
"Do remember, however, that even in the absence of light, you were born with the tools to still see the world in some form." His ear pivoted atop his head, the white-chested tom looking over his shoulder once again to focus on the form of his apprentice. "I see stars, the moon, and the many natural elements around us illuminated by their light. I hear the crickets, the owls, even the scamper of something small, up past it's bed time. I even hear the wind dancing quietly over the moorlands. I scent the cool weather approaching, a crispness to what was once a stiff, Greenleaf breeze."
As he spoke, his step never once faltered, the tom able to move with an ease that had long since been practiced. His paws seemed to know the earth below better than he knew the back of his paw. "Even your paws will whisper to you about your surroundings. Obviously, the grounds of the Trampled Clearing feel different than those of the Sun Stones. But there are also more subtle details to be found, should you be willing to spend a moment to find them."
His tail motioned slowly as he slowed to a halt at the edge of the Star Field. Yellow eyes glanced over the terrain stretching before him, before landing back on his apprentice. "Tell me what you see, and then tell me what you hear." He instructed, offering an encouraging smile to lessen any blow his words might have had.
Post by Fawntastic on Sept 11, 2016 9:42:20 GMT -5
Despite the apprehension felt in her every muscle, Cloudypaw found herself entranced by the tuxedo tom’s continuous, unbroken words, his tone even as he seemed to stride through the territory as if even the brambles were clearing the way for him.
”I hear the crickets, the owls, even the scamper of something small, up past it's bed time.”
Cloudypaw faltered, looking down at her paws as if wondering if the sound could have come from them. She was up past her bedtime, and relatively small by comparison. D-Does he mean me? But Nightstep was continuing regardless, and Cloudypaw quickly trotted after him, trying desperately to be quiet and not lose sight of him all at once.
Almost without warning, Nightstep halted on their path, and Cloudypaw resisted the urge to press against his pelt when a cool breeze ruffled her fur, bringing with it strange scents and strange sounds her timid ears were unaccustomed to hearing. She was split in two ways, being pulled deeper into the night and trying to edge her way back to her nest at the same time.
Fear of the night warred with curiosity. Curious cats got hurt, didn’t it? Curious cats went sticking their noses into places it didn’t belong, and she very much liked her nose.
At Nightstep’s insistence, however, the tabby kitten attempted to… try to give a good answer this time. As though she might disturb the atmosphere with a louder voice, Cloudypaw spoke up softly, trying to repeat the easy, seamless stream of description he’d given earlier, though she would fall very short of the mark.
”I-I see moonlight on the grasses, and trees over t-there.” Cloudypaw gestured shyly with her tail in the direction of the little woods, not knowing the name. ”I see wildflowers, and I see you.” In her nervousness, she’d nearly pointed at him too, as if he were a landmark that needed careful observation to spot. Embarrassed, Cloudypaw fumbled over her words again. ”A-And I hear crickets, and stars—wait, I don’t hear stars, I s-s-see them.”
Confidence diving into the dirt where it buried its nose under the grass, Cloudypaw looked away, burning with self-defeat. A whisper was carried on the breeze, voice sheepish. ”I meant to say I hear a nightingale.”
Word Count: 377 Words Tags: Bloodrose Notes: Oh help she's so awkward. She's really good at giving REALLY obvious answers!
Post by Bloodrose on Sept 11, 2016 16:56:07 GMT -5
His ear pricked as Cloudypaw began listing what she could hear, an amused look filtering onto his features as she mentioned the stars. He wouldn't have said anything, but she seemed to catch herself, stammering over her words and whispering a correction he barely managed to catch. Chuckling slightly, he tapped her shoulder with his tail to bring her attention back to him. "And here I was thinking you had extraordinary hearing... I'm a little disappointed." He teased, smiling at her in an attempt to ease her constant worry. Motioning back toward the Star Field, he surveyed the sprawling grasses.
"I hear the crickets and the nightingale too. Well done, Cloudypaw." He meowed to her, his tail swishing slowly behind him. "I asked you that, because it links into my lesson tonight. I'm sure you have hunted before, but I assume it has always been in broad daylight. However, as Leafbare approaches, the day will grow shorter and light will grow fleeting. Somedays, the light will be so flat that it becomes unreliable to use only eyesight. It is during these times that knowing how to use all your senses becomes more important. So tonight, we hunt using what limited light we have, while letting ourselves be guided by our other senses."
The night was no different than the day to him, and it was obvious in the ease with which he observed the dimly lit surroundings. "I trust you remember your hunter's crouch?" He questioned, slipping into his own with ease as demonstration, just in case she happened to have forgotten it somehow. He shifted his weight easily as he took a creeping step forward. He looked as though he were about to wave her off to begin, but he paused, casting her an easy grin. "Oh, and Cloudypaw? Even in the darkest of night, there is light to be found."
He told her, his tail stilling as his weight shifted to his haunches. "All you have to do is search it out." With that, he released the bundled energy in his hind quarters, darting forward with trained speed. His black and white pelt was a flash through the air, until he disappeared into the grasses of the Star Field. In his absence, however, it looked as though little stars took flight from within the grass, lights blinking to existence and dancing in the air above.
Kindleflare had always squealed with glee, finding this place to have a magical quality when they'd come here together. She looked happy, at ease here. He wondered if the beautiful dance of the fireflies would have a similar effect of Cloudypaw tonight.
Post by Fawntastic on Sept 11, 2016 17:15:06 GMT -5
Nightstep's soft tease put a faint spark of hope back into Cloudypaw's eyes, her self-confidence raising its weary, bruised head, half-surprised that she wasn't being scolded for her error. It was hard to say where her timidity had come from—her mother had been kind, her siblings loving; it was as if the kitten understood just how big the world was from the moment she opened eyes. Could she grow out of her fears? There was a strong maybe.
I know it! Her inner voice squeaked, relieved to have at least retained the basics. Slipping into a hunter's crouch that looked more like the posture of a confused mouse than a fierce predator, it was nevertheless correct—it was hard to teach surety in a cat who didn't come by it naturally. Night hunting sounded difficult, and as she stared past her mentor into the surrounding oppressive darkness, the little she-cat felt her spirits shrink back, daunted.
But Nightstep was speaking again, and the spell was recast, ensnaring her focus like a rabbit in the claws of a cat.
Listening with rapt attention, her heart leaped, latching onto the phrase that stuck out the most: "Oh, and Cloudypaw? Even in the darkest of night, there is light to be found."
He was wise. He did not let fear overwhelm him. In fact, Cloudypaw wasn't certain he even knew what fear felt like; Nightstep walked as though he were at home in any terrain, in any situation, in front of any cat. She felt her stomach pang, longing to be that confident. That cool and collected. Instead, she was a nervous little thunder cloud, her nerves like streaks of lightning.
"I'll try to look for the light," Cloudypaw whispered, more to herself than him.
Yet Nightstep seemed to hear her, for he answered seconds before he sprang away through the tall grasses.
"All you have to do is search it out."
As if stars has risen from the ground, tiny twinkling lights flared to life, floating and swirling through the air in front of the amazed kitten, the yellow flares reflected in her eyes like starlight. Cloudypaw gasped, watching in utter fascination, wondering how he had conjured stars from the tall grasses, wondering how these things existed. A bug landed on her nose, startling her at first until she saw it's soft, single pulsing glow.
A smile illuminated Cloudypaw's face, and, forgetting herself, she bunched her hind legs and leaped high. The fireflies swirled through the air around her, and she saw many as little yellow blurs on the way down, her cloudy-white legs landing on the grass and propelling her in a bunny-hopping fashion after Nightstep. They were supposed to be hunting, but a soft giggle, clear and light as a bell, rose out of the timid she-cat.
These are amazing. I wish I could glow like they could. I don't think I'd be afraid of anything anymore. Wouldn't it be nice, to have that kind of glow? To let your soul show on the outside?
With a kind of momentary peacefulness restored to her heart, Cloudypaw began to scent around for Nightstep, looking to see if she could spot him before her nose detected him instead. Is he h-hiding? Did he leave me behind? He wouldn't just leave, would he? Cloudypaw nearly squeaked into the dark where are you? but caught herself.
She was surrounded by fireflies. This was a hunting lesson. He hadn't abandoned her. Use your nose and use your ears, Cloudypaw. If you find him, he'll be proud of you.
The tabby and white kitten watched the fireflies for another heartbeat, before she mustered her meager courage and listened, stepping into the tall grasses with all senses in search of Nightstep.
Post by Bloodrose on Sept 12, 2016 19:12:40 GMT -5
An amused sound, barely louder than a breath, escaped him as he peered through the grasses. He could just make out the form of his apprentice bounding gleefully at the sight of the fireflies. Good. He thought to himself. Hopefully she will find focus without so many nerves distracting her. He let her have her moment, pondering once again the similarities he could draw between his current apprentice and his sister. He had no experience with nerves or shyness himself, so it was impossible to say he understood it. From his point of view, he was simply helping her become a better warrior.
Eventually, she re-centered herself, bounding into the grasses. He could see her begin to search him out, leaving the black and white tom to sink back into the undergrowth. If she could use her senses of smell and hearing to track him out in this terrain, he would send her to catch some actual prey. Settling himself just left of the center of the Star Field, Nightstep kept his breathing low; it was quiet enough that you would really have to be looking for it to pick it out. He stayed immobile, ensuring the rustling grass did not give his position away.
When her form finally appeared nearby, the tuxedo tom found her performance to be of an appropriate level. Yellow eyes reflecting silent praise, he moved his tail over his mouth in a sign that she should remain quiet. His right ear rotated, followed by a motion of his head. He could make out the distinctive scrabbling of a mouse searching for food. The LightningClan warrior figured it was a few fox lengths away, but hoped she'd pick up on it too. Slipping slowly into his hunter's crouch, his tail motioned for her to hunt, to find what it was he was informing her of.
Post by Fawntastic on Sept 18, 2016 16:48:49 GMT -5
Telling a kitten like Cloudypaw to be quiet was like telling a tree to keep growing leaves. With large eyes, Cloudypaw nodded, her elation over finding him without too much trouble swept away so quickly. What was left was a desperate focus, ears flinching forward to catch the subtle scrabbling of tiny claws on the dirt. Cloudypaw cast an uncertain gaze at her mentor, but Nightstep was already nodding encouragingly for her to go forward. Copying the tom's hunting crouch, she envied how effortless he made it all look; how much he blended into the night.
It was like the moonbeams were targeting the white fluff on her face, throat and paws, and she felt as if she stuck out like a glowbug at dusk. M-Maybe the mouse won't notice me if I'm as quiet as my namesake. That's why Firestar had given her this name, right? Because she was quiet? Quiet, like a cloudy day that wasn't planning on raining or building up any thunder. Just... whispering breezes, gray skies and tall grasses. Praying to StarClan above that she could live up to her prefix, Cloudypaw tiptoed through the grasses, entire body alive, fireflies forgotten as she concentrated on the mouse.
Suddenly she froze, worries getting the best of her. Suddenly the grasses all felt too close, and paranoia set in that she'd get nearly a harelength from the mouse before she'd step on something that would give away her position. Would Nightstep be angry with her? She had never seen fury cross the tuxedo tom's face before, but that didn't mean that didn't exist! Throat burning in horror, Cloudypaw gulped nothing but air, and, in a frantic desire to do something rather than stay stuck in the field like a badly-shaped toadstool, Cloudypaw leaped.
However, she didn't just leap, she sprang shockingly high for a kitten that had never revealed any particular athletic agility; despite her nervousness, and her body language on a regular basis, Cloudypaw's legs were actually a lot longer than one would suspect. In her desperation, Cloudypaw leaped completely over the mouse and landed with a bewildered, slightly muffled thud as her paws made contact with the ground, she squeaked in surprise, trying to find it.
The mouse, despite it's best efforts, squeaked in alarm and took off for safety—and met the business end of Nightstep's claws went it raced right into his hiding spot.
Cloudypaw hung her head in shame, crouching low again. "I'm... I'm sorry."
Word Count: 417 Words Tags: Bloodrose Notes: Character Has Leveled Up! New Ability Unlocked! Super-Jump!
Post by Bloodrose on Sept 24, 2016 11:59:09 GMT -5
Yellow eyes watched as Cloudypaw inched toward her targeted mouse. Nightstep silently evaluated her hunter's crouch, noting it to be functional, but not yet perfected. If she were to lower her hindquarters slightly, she wouldn't feel as much as if she were stretching to take each paw step. Not only that, it would automatically bring her tail closer to the ground, making it less of a conscious thought to keep it out of sight. Despite the little things, Cloudypaw managed to move quietly through the undergrowth, closing what distance remained between herself and the mouse. Nightstep followed her just out of sight, keeping his movements as silent as if he weren't even there.
He narrowed his eyes thoughtfully as the kitten seemed to freeze mid step. One pivoting ear told him the mouse was not aware of her presence yet; why then did she look as though she'd just had the clouds over head open up and a shaft of light shine down directly on her? Deciding to give her whatever time she needed to figure this out, Nightstep waited, his body low and senses alert. The mouse still scrabbled away at the ground where it stood, desperately trying to get at something beneath the earth.
He certainly hadn't expected Cloudypaw to leap into the air for no reason at all. Watching her soar through the air much higher than any apprentice he'd known previously, Nightstep's mind was anything but focused on the mouse that shrieked and dove away from his apprentice's paws. The fact it ended up dead beneath his claws was owed entirely to his hunter's instincts, rather than any awareness of the prey's attempted escape. Setting the mouse aside as though his claws had speared nothing more than a leaf, Nightstep properly rose to his paws and stepped out of his hiding spot.
A sharp gaze carefully evaluated the area, lingering momentarily on where Cloudypaw sat with her head hanging low, before drifting to the spot she'd started. "You were here." He motioned with his tail as he spoke. "Yet you succeeded in landing there even with the height you put into it." His voice held no trace of anger in it, instead carrying the same thoughtfulness that lingered in his eyes. "Impressive." He purred suddenly, stepping closer and picking her chin up with a flick of his tail beneath her muzzle. "Of course, we'll have to find a way to help you control that jump, but it will most certainly be a useful skill."
Offering her another of his winning grins, he cocked his head just so. "You never told me you could jump like that, Cloudypaw. Step into your hunter's crouch again." He instructed, waiting for her to do so before tapping on her flank with his tail. "Drop your hindquarters just a touch. Try taking a step now; do you notice the way it no longer feels as though you are walking on your toes now? Try your jump again, tell me if it feels any different."
Post by Fawntastic on Sept 29, 2016 14:18:40 GMT -5
”Y-You’re not mad?” The kitten gazed at him with large, startled blue eyes. But I don’t have any fresh kill to bring back to the elders or queens! The night was still young, of course, but Cloudypaw felt as if she had gotten started on the wrong foot. How could she possibly hunt for anything else if she sent all of her prey squeaking into her mentor’s talons? Nightstep hardly seemed concerned, and she found herself watching him with open curiosity, attention rapt as he spoke of correcting her hunter’s crouch.
With a soft nod, Cloudypaw adjusted her stance. Drop my hindquarters… It took a bit of patience on Nightstep’s part, but Cloudypaw finally settled into a more comfortable position, this time when she moved it felt not only less straining on her limbs, it felt natural. Her confidence was gently scooped up and dusted off, blue eyes flushed with relief at having gotten it right. He wanted her to leap again?
”B-But I’ll scare away more prey!” Cloudypaw whispered, looking into Nightstep’s calm, intelligent golden eyes. He gave her an encouraging nod, and Cloudypaw, ears flat to her skull with uncertainty, complied. How did I jump like that before? She’d just… jumped. It was hard to explain the thought process or the physical preparation, it had simply happened; unfolding her ears, she tried to empty her mind and focus on the sounds of the moorland all around them.
Jaws parting, she scented the air, hoping so hard her heart was pounding in her chest that she could detect another mouse or even something else worth catching. A bird? Was there a bird nearby? Resisting the impulse to throw another uncertain glance at the tuxedo tom nearby, Cloudypaw crept forward again, not quite jumping yet. Not until she had something to jump for.
Sure enough, there was a nightingale scratching at the dirt a few foxlengths ahead. Cloudypaw could not jump that far, but there was no harm in trying, right? So focused on her task was she, that the nighttime no longer held her in fear. Cloudypaw snaked through the moorland scrub, stepping as carefully as she dared; the nightingale froze, black eye shining in the moonlight. Don’t fly away, don’t fly away, don’t fly away!
The nightingale leaped for the sky. Cloudypaw leaped for the nightingale, powerful hindlegs springing her into the open air in a rush of cool wind. Her accuracy left a lot to be desired, but her claws snagged the bird’s wings, and both prey and predator tumbled back down to the ground in a flurry of feathers and fur. ”Ouch!” Cloudypaw squealed in surprise as the nightingale jabbed her right on the cheek, hard enough to draw blood, and Cloudypaw, eyes watering, did her best to pin it down and kill it before it could do further damage.
With some gentle encouragement, Cloudypaw did as she was told. It took a few taps of his tail along her back and flank before she understood the position he wished her to hold, but as soon as she got it, he could see the realization in her eyes. It feels natural, does it not, kitten? He thought to himself, yellow eyes watching as she tested out the new hunter's crouch. Though Nightstep had been aware of the nightingale for some time now, the black tuxedo tom decided to let her track the bird, rather than tell her where it was situated.
She picked up on it, much to his satisfaction, and he melted into the shadows to observe her. She seemed capable enough of holding the proper position once she was in it; it would be a matter of ensuring she could instinctively drop into the correct crouch in the future. Beady eyes shot up, the bird having realized it was being hunted. When it leaped for the sky, Nightstep considered it all but gone. Until, of course, his apprentice leaped into the air after it. What a pleasant surprise, 'paw. He thought with a twitch of his lips.
A squabble ensued, the black and white tom hanging back through it all. He would only intervene should the bird escape her clutches; the last thing he wanted to do right now was take another kill from her. He could see that her confidence did not need that. Ears pricked forward as she squealed in pain, the bird having obviously gotten her with its beak, but still he remained where he was. After another pawful of heartbeats, the bird was still beneath his apprentice's paws, the shy she-cat panting heavily at the effort the whole endeavor had required.
Padding forth, he moved toward her with business-like precision. Using his tail to tip her muzzle up into the moonlight, his sharp gaze inspected her features, lingering on the small fleck of blood that had bubbled up from the bird's jab. A moment passed, and he released her, purring approvingly. "We will visit Rookfrost and Kindleflare later to ensure no treatment is needed. Well done, Cloudypaw; I hadn't expected you to leap into the air after it." He told her, pushing back through the undergrowth to retrieve the mouse she'd chased into his paws earlier. Returning fairly quickly to her side, he deposited the prey, motioning with his head in the direction of the Trampled Clearing.
"Come, we'll head to the Trampled Clearing for a short time, to practice the accuracy portion of your leaps before you forget your positioning. It will only be a short session, I promise. You've done well tonight; you deserve rest following that catch." He told her, collecting the mouse and leading her out of the tall grasses in the Star Field. As they moved, he purposely leaped sideways into various bushes at random, scattering little fireflies into the night sky to light Cloudypaw's way.
Fawntastic Your choice Fawn! Either we can call this end thread (or you can post to end it more neatly), or we continue it in the Trampled Clearing ^^
Cloudypaw rubbed her cheek, a word of protest bubbling up in her throat as she saw the red on her small white paw when she held it out into the moonlight. I want to go home! I don't want to get hurt again! But Nightstep had already taken her nightingale and buried it beside the mouse, then leapt through the tall grasses in the direction of what she vaguely remembered to be the trampled clearing.
Taking in a deep breath, the stinging jab to her face had subsided, and as she watched the fireflies swirl and dance in Nightstep's wake, the kitten followed after him in gentle bounds. Be brave, Cloudypaw. You're a warrior, not a mouse! Don't run away at the first bit of pain!
But what if there's more? What if she got hurt worse? Nightstep won't let that happen. If the warrior had wanted to, Cloudypaw realized, he could have leaped up and got the nightingale himself, but he let her handle it. Or at least try to handle it as best she could.
If she was really in any danger... He'd save me. Feeling a rush of affection and reassurance at Nightstep's presence, she shyly followed after him, proud of herself and grateful Firestar had given her someone so great to teach her how to be a Clan cat.
Word Count: 223 Words Tags:Bloodrose Notes: Thread ended! ^^