Flanked by Thistlerock and his daughter Herondive, Hawkstar strode into camp carrying a mouse. The small patrol had set out to hunt earlier that morning, fur fluffed up against the biting chill of Leafbare. The previous day's wind had long since blown any remaining leaves from the sparse trees near the edge of StoneClan's territory; all that was left today was the cold. The wind had worked somewhat in their favor, however. The sky was clear, no trace of cloud to be seen in the crisp blue expanse. It was beautiful to behold, and admittedly, the three had spent some time just... Admiring.
Thistlerock had managed to snag a grackle, and Herondive had managed to launch herself into the throng of fleeing grackle to grab one more, in addition to the lizard she'd tracked down earlier. They'd been fortunate; prey was still in the midst of taking cover. Most animals were desperately scurrying around despite the cold, making preparations for the even more frigid temperatures to come. Depositing his mouse on the freshkill pile, Hawkstar paused to thank both members of his patrol and dismiss them from their duty. They each nodded and turn, and the three-cat patrol separated, each heading in opposite directions.
He watched Herondive duck away to the apprentice's den, likely to find one of her friends. Thistlerock, on the other paw, disappeared into the warrior's den, presumably to hide from some of the chill. Breath curling in wisps of steam from his muzzle, Hawkstar cast a surveying glance over the Clan. Admittedly, he seriously considered heading back to his den in hopes of finding Frozenrain to hunker down with. In Leafbare, cuddling with loved ones just always seemed so... Perfect. Mid contemplation, his pale amber gaze landed on the form of Sandkit slipping from within the nursery.
The young tom had grown since joining StoneClan. No longer was he a small bundle of fur trouncing about the nursery; instead, he was all legs, occasionally stumbling over paws he'd still not quite grown into. Briefly, he wondered where Silverglade was, though he was mostly concerned with the contemplative look the young tom wore. Setting his paws in motion, the StoneClan leader quickly closed the distance between himself and the nursery, offering Sandkit a greeting wave of his tail as he approached. "Hello, Sandkit. You seem awfully thoughtful today. Care to share what's on your mind?" He inquired curiously.
leader of stoneclan
and may you have the courage to scale their summits
The few moons spent inside StoneClan territory had brought about a world of change in Sandkit. No longer the tiny, vulnerable kit but an awkward young tom that had recently hit a growth spurt. He was built all lanky and his tail was fluffy like his mother's but the rest of his fur was short like his father's had been. He had to move very carefully now so he didn't fall all over himself, and it was frustrating for him as he just seemed to be getting bigger each day. He was still smaller than his mother, but he wondered for how much longer. She still licked his ears and called him adorable, and he didn't mind really if it made her smile but not being able to keep his feet was beginning to get on his nerves.
Upon hearing a familiar voice call out to him, his fluffy tail twitched in the same way his mother's often did when she acknowledged someone. His ears flicked forwards and the ginger tom turned to offer a gentle and very warm smile to the approaching tom. "Hawkstar, hello! It's good to see you." His tail flicked as the larger tom brought up the fact that he looked troubled. This was true enough, considering everything going on in his life just now, but he hadn't thought it was noticeable. Slowly he shook his head to clear it and offered a quiet honesty to the query.
"Sorry, I'm just worried. Most of the clan has been kind but I've noticed some of them are still very distrustful of my mother and I. That would be fine really, they don't have to like us, but then...well Dawnblossom said..." He shook himself harder and straightened his body up to full height, tail aloft. It was another gesture he'd gotten from his mother and it made him look much stronger than he felt. "If they can't bring themselves to trust, how am I ever supposed to help them? I want to, really I do. Clan or Rogue are things that hold no meaning for me when it comes to helping cats, so long as they don't mean me harm, but what if they won't let me help them because I wasn't born here? It worries me. Mama says I shouldn't worry about things that haven't happened yet, but I can't help it. I'm learning so much from Dawnblossom, and I want to be able to use it to help if I need to. Just...I don't know."
He sounded uncertain of himself in a way but sure of what he was learning. He trusted Dawnblossom's teachings, just not the willingness of his clanmates to let him help them. It was strange for the young tom that trusted others to easily to not in turn be trusted himself. It bothered him.
Hearing the beginnings of a long conversation, Hawkstar padded forward to take a seat at Sandkit's flank. Pale amber eyes searched the same camp the young tom was surveying, Hawkstar doing what he could to envision it in the eyes of a non-Clan cat. One ear pivoted toward the lanky tom, listening to each word he uttered. The story was a familiar one, one he'd heard from some of the other non-StoneClan born cats that had since joined them. Offering Sandkit a knowing sound, the sand-colored StoneClan leader tucked his tail over large, sturdy paws. As Sandkit's worried piece came to a close, Hawkstar shifted to glance down at him.
"Unfortunately, this is not the first time I've heard of something like this. You and your mother are not the first non-StoneClan born cats to join our rank, as I'm sure you've heard. And I'm certain you will not be the last. Many of us have grown up and lived under an extraordinarily distinct notion of what it means to be a Clan cat. It can be difficult to set such thoughts aside, hard to imagine a world outside of StoneClan's way of life. We've witnessed our deputy leave our ranks to bear kits in another Clan."
He paused, tail tip flicking thoughtfully. "You can understand why some may feel.. Betrayed or distrustful, whether justified or not. In life, you will always find those who disagree with you, no matter who you are. I guarantee you, not everyone here thinks the way in which I run the Clan is best." Thoughtful eyes wandered StoneClan's camp then, watching as the members of his Clan milled about their daily lives. "Just remember those who do trust you, who do believe in you. I have no doubt your mother will be there for you every step of the way. Dawnblossom most certainly sees something in you, for she's picked you to be her apprentice amongst the many possible candidates."
A sand-colored tabby tail shifted from his paws, moving to drape over the younger tom's shoulders. "And I trust you. I think you have every needed characteristic to be a medicine cat StoneClan can be proud of. I see kindness, I see intelligence, and I see a genuine drive to help others. Worry less about what you fear others may think of you. Instead, strive to build the best version of yourself you can. Those worth your time will see that and respect you for who you are, not where you came from. And if you ask me? All those who look at you with uncertainty will forget about it the moment they find need of your skill."
leader of stoneclan
and may you have the courage to scale their summits