He had failed. The one task his mother had asked of him and he'd failed. Lark was gone, frozen under a heavy fall of snow that had filled the little tunnel nook he'd left her in. It should have been safe, and he felt so much like a fool for not realizing the snow would shift. He'd spent hours digging frantically in the snow, calling her name and begging her to hang on, that he was coming to get her. In the end he'd found only a faint scent of her deep in the tunnel, and knew he was too late. She'd have yowled, carried on, done whatever it took for him to find her, if she had lived. That day he had been forced to say goodbye to the only family he had left, to let her go and hope that some day they'd meet again and he could apologize for leaving her there in the first place. He loved Lark, he loved his sister more than anything, and losing her had about killed him.
Now, in newleaf, he still carried a broken heart even as he knew surviving alone would be easier for him. Without a young kit tagging along he could go further, sleep in more remote places, provide better meals for himself. But without her he felt cold inside, carved out and aching. So he'd thrown caution to the wind and gone deep into LightningClan territory, not caring at all if he got caught. He could fight his way out if he had to, and if he'd brought her to this clan or any of the others she would be alive now.
He was stalking the grasses, hunting.
Hellion Notes : Here's a lovely chance for them to run into each other and interact a bit more.
"Redwind, can you keep an eye on Lark for me. She is napping right now," The ginger and white she-cat nodded to the request made by Brightpool. With a final nod of gratitude the white coat she-cat left the nursery and headed out. She was still in charge of hunting for Lark and Brightpool took the role very seriously. Picking up her pace Brightpool trotted to her favorite hunting spot. The star field provided amble amount of prey items. Hopefully she could catch a rabbit for Lark and her to share later. At the very least Brightpool would bring a mouse or something for her little bundle of softness.
Her ear twitched as scented the air. She caught a whiff of mouse and rabbit but something else lurked on the wind. It was feline and not a clan-mate. Her hackles rose for a second. Brightpool wasn't a fighter but she would confront the intruder and send them back to the border. If she needed to fight she was sure her legs were strong enough to race back to camp and get a patrol.
Carefully she made her way closer to the strange scent until she saw him. Hunting in the grass was the cat Brightpool was sure had to be Shadow. She wanted to confront him, she had for a long time felt drawn to him but in a way she couldn't explain. The only thing that kept her back was knowing that if she did talk to him she'd have to tell him Lark was alive. Would he want to take her back? Brightpool had quickly grown attached to the she-kit and wanted to keep her safe within the Clan. If Lark became a loner her life would always be in danger.
Coming closer, Brightpool paused a few tail lengths away before making a sort of chirping noise to get his attention. "Shadow?" She asked in order to confirm who he was before moving any closer.
He had been distracted when she came into the clearing, distracted in his own thoughts while he was in a place that was dangerous to him as a loner cat. But at least he was sitting on a now dead rabbit to eat later. "Brightpool." He spoke her name flatly, his lean frame appearing from the tall grass as he approached her. Well, of the clancats he'd expected to find him this particular one was low on the list. He'd been listening to rumors that she had a kit of her own now.
Funny, how that made his heart clench and rage cloud his vision anytime he thought on it. "Haven't seen you since leaf-fall." Plenty of time to have a litter of kits, he thought sourly. But perhaps that was something he should ask her about. He'd never put much stock in rumors, after all. The issue, of course, was how little he knew this cat and how little he really cared.
Her stepped closer to him, prompting her to take half a step back. She wasn't afraid of him but it was a habit. Her ears tilted forward as he brought up that he hadn't seen her since leaf-fall.
Brightpool tried to think back to the last time she saw him. In truth most of her recent memories were about Lark. At the thought of the kits tucked safely in the nursery, Brightpool realized it was only fair she tell him the truth.
"I've actually been wanting to find you. I know where Lark is and I confirm she is safe and well taken care of," She told Shadow with a softness in her voice. "I found her during leafbare and she has been living with my clan since then," She went on to explain, titling her head toward the direction of camp. "You didn't lose her," She added unsure if that was a concern of his but figured he would want to know.
He didn't want to see her. He didn't want her near him. He wanted to be left alone. He wanted to grieve his sister in peace. But something kept drawing this she-cat to him. And then, of course, she spoke words that he knew had to be a lie.
The loner tom snarled and actually pounced on the she-cat, his distracted state causing him to miss her entirely and land on the other side of her. "You are lying! You don't know my sister! I took care of her, she never would have gone to a clan! She doesn't belong there!" His sides were heaving, but he didn't want to hurt Brightpool. His head hurt just thinking about it.
But...he had never told her he had a sister, nor what her name had been. He had never dared mention the fragile kit. So...could this be more than a cruel joke. "If...if you mean what you say, what does this kit look like? How do you know she's mine?"
Brightpool's eyes quickly went wide at his snarl. Confused at his reactions, Brightpool took a few steps back afraid he might actually do something to her. Part of her wanted to trust that he wouldn't, but grief made cats do crazy things. Reacting to him, Brightpool felt her claws unsheathed. She was soft and didn't like to fight, but she would defend herself.
"Why would I lie! She told him quickly as he accused her. "Do you think I'd get some sort of sick joy out of lying to you? She asked, her voice rising up a bit. Brightpool didn't want to be talked at in such a way, she deserved more respect then that.
As she prepared to leave and not look back, Brightpool noticed a change in his demeanor. She wouldn't say he was relaxed but something prompted him to ask her another question without being upset at her.
"Lark has the softest brown and white fur with the most beautiful brown eyes and I know she is your sister because all she talks about is you coming back to get her," She told him, flicking her tail to expel that last bit of her frustration at him. It wasn't fair she got upset right along side with him. She had to remind herself of that.
He felt himself sinking to the ground as she spoke, but didn't remember doing it himself. The look he gave Brightpool was of a cat who had nothing left to live for, and one who was hoping she could give him a reason again. He didn't want to be alone. "That's my sister." His voice sounded hoarse even to his own ears, and he didn't care. "She's all I have, I raised her, protected her all this time. I promised our mother she would be safe." His head touched the ground, all other thoughts gone now. "I failed her."
Why was he even saying this? Why Brightpool? Why this she-cat of all others? He couldn't stand the clans, distrusted their rules and their ideals, but for her he couldn't seem to stay away. Or to hurt her. "I don't know what you'd get out of lying to me. Why does anyone lie to anyone else? What motivates?"
She described her in a way that left no doubt, and he wanted his kit back. She was his sister, but he had cared for her since she was born. She was also his kit. "I told her I'd be back, and I dug until my paws bled looking for her in that tunnel." He was thin, his heavy coat only just covering up the fact that his bones were showing through. Hunting hadn't been good, and now he was barely strong enough to hunt for himself. How was he going to care for Lark?
She didn't know what to react. She hadn't seen such a display of emotion. Shadow looked as if she had attempted to steal his very soul. She didn't meant to upset him and thought the news of his sister would make him happy. The white she-cat envisioned this interaction differently.
Brightpool expected some kind of joy not a look of pain and hurt. She had to remind herself that he was getting news his darling little sister was indeed alive when he thought her dead. The jumble of emotions was allowed. The grief of the perceived lost didn't not unnoticed by Brightpool. She only hoped that with time Shadow would forgive himself and move on.
"Lark is happy and I've been taking very good care of her. Firestar had permitted her to stay with us," She explained until her ears caught his words. Him staking his claim on the young she-kit, wanting her back. A flare of maternal instinct caught in her throat as she fought back a growl. Shadow had every right to want her back but Brightpool didn't want to let her go. She had cared for the kit for most of two seasons. As far as she was concerned Lark belonged in LightingClan with her, where she could be protected and allowed to grow up strong.
"I can't just take her from the nursery. I'll tell her I found you then ask if she want to stay with me and my Clan or live with you. It has to be her choice, Brightpool told him flatly.
"I searched for her all Leaf-bare." He offered quietly, rising back to his paws to level Brightpool with the weight of his stare. "Thank you for keeping her safe, but she isn't yours. Would your leader keep me from taking her back? Especially when I am her brother, you aren't her mother." He didn't want to fight, but this was a matter he wasn't backing down from.
"As long as she is unable to hunt for herself she has no choice." He felt a growl growing in his throat. "Lark is mine. She isn't a clan cat. If you keep me from her then your clan will never be rid of me, and I will call you and yours kit stealers."
He wanted his sister back. There was no room for debate here. Brightpool had no right to keep her, her clan had no right to deny him the right to reclaim her. And no, a kit that could not care for itself did not get a say in where it stayed. Lark belonged with her family, not with some she-cat that wanted to play at being a queen.
Hellion OOC : OMG, I forgot how much of an arse Shadow could be.
Brightpool was sympthetic to Shadow's angisuh but it persude the she-cat. Lark was apart of the clan now, Firestar had approved the young she-cat to become an apprenitce. She was on her way to becoming a full member of LightingClan, just needed a few more moons to get stronger. Shadow had to understand that. It was unrealistc for him to take her back now when she still couldn't fend for herserlf. Surely Shadow had to understand that.
He kept talking, reminding Brightpool that she wasn't the she-cats mother and he was, in fact, her kin. But that didn't sway Brightpool, she had tended to the young she-kit for most of the leaf-bare and into the new-leaf moons. She might not have birthed the cat but she did love her and want to keep her happy.
Realizing his ranting was over, Brightpool felt her fur prickle and a rage build within her that only came from wanting to keep Lark safe.
"Lark belongs where she is happy and taken care of! You left her in some empty old tunnel where she could have died! You are lucky I found her otherwise we wouldn't be having his conversation." Brightpool lashed back, her words meant to be cutting. In front of wasn't the meek and soft-spoken Brightpool, no it was a new version of her a version made possible by the devotion she had for the little she-kit.
"I'll keep my word and come back to you in two days after I talk to Lark," Her tail lashed as a signal she was leaving. Done with the conversation and done with him, Brightpool turned and headed back home. Seeking out the nursery to find Lark and tend to the little she-kit.