Finch liked to think of himself as a fairly sensible cat. He knew what it took to survive and he knew, perhaps better than most, the extent to which others were willing to go to survive. The life of a loner was not meant for the soft-hearted, and if he had learned one thing over the course of his life, it was that life had a way of weeding out the weak ones and letting them fall by the wayside. When the trees began to shed their leaves, all those who had any sense and were able left their dens to catch what prey they could before everything disappeared. Every day mattered. It was this urgency and the ache in his stomach that had driven him out of his comfortable nook and into the thick haze that blanketed the mountainside. He had not been confident that he would find much of anything, but much to his pleasant surprise, he had managed to catch a rather plump hare (though it had taken a considerable amount of searching) – only to look up and realize that he had wandered into an unfamiliar part of the mountain range.
Granted, the impenetrable fog made everything look strange and foreign, but at some point when he had been tracking his prey, he must have gotten turned around and lost his sense of direction. Heart sinking, the loner turned in a full circle, searching for a familiar landmark – anything – only to come to the conclusion that he had no idea which way to turn for home. For a few more moments, he stood there, tail tip flicking anxiously as he tried to work out the best course of action. With no hints or sights that prompted his memory, it seemed as though there was little else he could do apart from picking a direction at random and hope for the best, but what if he only ended up walking further away? There was a distinct lack of certainty in that plan that had him hesitating, but a glance to the sky told him that he could not expect the fog to clear anytime soon. If he wanted to do something other than spend the rest of the day standing in that spot, then he would have to move.
So move he did.
Taking a deep breath, he picked a direction at random and began walking down what eventually morphed into a well-worn path. That alone was enough to catch his interest, and he wondered if there was another cat who frequented the area. Due to the mountain range's size, he had not yet stumbled upon another loner's den (more often than not, he found the cat themselves), though he assumed that they must exist in some capacity. Never one to spend time in the company of strangers, he considered turning off the path, but a thought struck him - perhaps this trail would lead him to another who knew the area better than he and could point him toward the Oasis, for once he was headed in the right direction, Finch felt confident enough that he could find his little nook with minimal trouble.
The trail did, as he had expected, lead to what appeared to be someone's den, and Finch, who had been moving at a steady pace, eager to find a hopefully friendly cat who would be willing to help him, and even more eager to return home to his comfortable nest and collection of feathers, slowed to a walk as he drew close. A faint trace of herbs and something sickly sweet caught his attention, and green eyes glanced curiously around the area. Somewhere along the line he had wandered into a sick parody of an open forest. Blackened trees stood out stark against the pale fog like sentinels, though whether they were there to keep someone out or keep something in, he could not be sure. Up ahead, at the end of the path, lay what resembled an old fallen tree, and the sight of it sent a shiver down his spine. He wondered again if perhaps he ought to turn back. Finch liked to think of himself as a fairly sensible cat, but in this, his calm and collected reasoning failed him. He carried on.
That strange scent of which he had caught a trace on the breeze grew stronger as he approached the fallen log, and the fact that he could not identify it set him on edge. Claws slipped from their sheathes as he approached what he assumed was someone's den, and after pausing a moment to gather himself and take a deep breath, he peered around the corner, squinting into the relative darkness. "Hello?” He called, ready to spring back at a moment's notice – and then, as he glanced down, something caught his attention. For a moment, he stared at it, not quite registering what he that exactly that oddly shaped object – or rather, pile of objects – was. And then it hit him. Faint horror spread through him as he started at what must have been the partial skeleton of some small mammal, even as he tried to rationalize why someone would have a neatly stacked collection of bones just sitting there. Perhaps it was from a recent meal and they simply hadn’t gotten around to tossing out the inedible bits yet… Yes, surely that was what it was.
i loved and i loved and i lost you and it hurts like hell
Post by Fawntastic on Nov 23, 2016 22:51:25 GMT -5
Nothing, nothing, nothing!
No results. Nothing definitive. Nothing worth investigating deeper. Research was getting him nowhere, and the former medicine cat knew it. Furious gray eyes were narrowed into silver slivers, ignoring the choked, desperate gurgles of a loner succumbing to the toxic mushroom paste he had smeared on their belly wound. With the promise of rendering aid, Whiteshade had lured the unsuspecting feline to the hollow, and left them there as though a friend leaving behind a present. In a macabre way, that was exactly what this was.
But Rookfrost had no time or patience for gifts that did not yield results. He had tried mixing the red-capped mushrooms with all manner of strengthening herbs, complimentary poultices meant to treat internal injury that went beyond bleeding or broken bones. It had worked - for a moment. For a day. With the gleam of discovery burning in his eyes like hellfire, Rookfrost had worked tirelessly to perfect this new solution.
But the solution, it seemed, had been a wild goose chase. There was a corpse in his hollow now, cooling down with the valley as the season changed from autumn to winter. He was still dying. The draft was uncomfortable, yet the fever permeating his body even more so; the once tall, proud, statuesque tom had been reduced to a thin, bony phantom of his former self. But the eyes were alive, burning, the pandora's box on his emotions having been unhinged the moment he'd cast off his Clan-cat persona. Here, he was allowed to rage against his dwindling lifeforce and the frustration of repeated failure.
A jet black ear swiveled, a cold, alert look drawn to the hollow's entrance. Another present?
Rookfrost did not reveal himself; not immediately. Rather, in a monotonous hiss (his anger suppressed, compacting like snow until a later time), the black tom spoke to the stranger. His throat stung from excessive thirst. "What is your name?"
If it was a Clan cat, then, even in his hour of greatest illness, he could not allow them to escape with their lives. If word spread to LightningClan that he was here, in the mountains, experimenting to find a cure in ways their precious Code would protest, Rookfrost had not the strength to fight off an entire attack patrol. If this cat was a loner, however, perhaps he could be of some use.