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!
It was such a gloomy day. Clouds so gray they were almost black hung low in the sky, obscuring the topmost peaks of the mountains, and the moisture in the air was oppressive. There was definitely a storm coming, Snow's pelt prickled with the feel of it, but the rain wasn't falling yet and the Tribe still needed to be fed. At least, she sighed, there was no need to trek all the way to the valley anymore. Most of the snow had melted, and their path to the hunting ground was clear once more.
Dusk was with her, and their two cave-guard escorts, Dark and Roar, were standing at the base of a rock, watching the sky diligently. Snow scanned the slope, searching for anything that could attract bigger prey to hunt. Not much. She'd hoped that, like the Tribe, there would be prey out looking to stuff themselves before the storm broke. If necessary, they could use themselves as bait, but it was such a risky way of hunting that Snow hated to resort to it unless she truly had to. Besides, between she and Dusk, it probably wasn't the best approach.
Something twisted in the wind at the bottom of the slope, and Snow's gaze flicked back to it, craning her head to try to see better. "Down there," she spoke up, gesturing with her tail for Dusk. "A rabbit?" It didn't look like the right color, but it could be changing color, or maybe the dim light was playing tricks on her eyes. Glancing toward the dark-pelted tom, Snow waited for his reply.
Dusk scrutinized the rabbit-like shape Snow had pointed out. A mountain wind brushed against his tortoiseshell fur as he carefully skirted a jagged outcropping to get closer. "I'm not sure," he admitted, crouching and trying to peer at the familiar-yet-unfamiliar shape. "It looked feline."
Cerulean eyes found his hunting companion. "I think we should take a closer look. Dark?" Dusk found his brother - ever watchful, ever serious - and was granted a stiff nod of approval from his guardian sibling. Dark and Roar would keep an eye on them. These rocks could be treacherous, but at least enough of the snow had melted that experienced prey-hunters and cave-guards could navigate with relative ease.
Well, as much as 'ease' as there could be on a mountain slope.
A wing shadow fell across the stones above Dusk's head; he shied back, pulse drumming in his ears. Eagle! But there was no punishing rip of claws digging into his hide. Instead, Dusk craned his head back and saw the dark wing-beats of another recognizeable kind of bird. A buzzard.
Snow would trust Dusk's judgement on that- all she could really see was that it was gray. She nodded to his suggestion and started forward, taking her time on the slope and keeping her senses sharp. Dusk's startled jerk made her jump too, and then she dropped to the ground with her eyes fixed on the bird wheeling above. She watched it for another moment, and then noticed more, black specks against the dark sky. Glancing at Dusk, she brushed her tail against his shoulder. "Okay?" she asked, unwilling to move until she knew he wasn't going to collapse on her.
When assured, she moved on. As they got closer, she paused, lifting her head to eye the form and sniff. "Definitely not a rabbit," she commented. Too big, and too gray. Was it a cat- sleeping? That wasn't smart; maybe they were new to the mountains. Or maybe they were counting on their gray fur to blend in with the rocks?
"Hello?" she called, taking a step closer and then skidding as a rock tumbled away beneath her paw. Her tail whirled, and she got her balance back, but still there was no sign of the cat waking. Snow frowned. "Um... hello?" Maybe they were deaf? Or maybe she was just trying to fool herself.
Whichever, it all came to the same realization in the end, and Snow's ginger tail fluffed in the next moment as she suddenly recognized the tabby form. "Oh. Oh, no. Dusk." She turned to him, eyes wide. "It's Pebble."
Post by Fawntastic on Apr 13, 2019 15:41:17 GMT -5
Dusk that Shrouds the Forest
Home is when you're right where you should be
Prey-Hunter, 63 Moons
Dusk's stomach fell away like loose scree down the cliffside. "Are you sure?" He asked, breathless as he quickly traversed the stones to draw up next to Snow. Of course she was sure, but some part of his brain had been hopeful that maybe it really was just a rabbit after all. Their noses didn't lie, and the buzzards circling overhead all but confirmed the worst.
Dusk sighed softly, letting the wind carry away the noise. "Poor Pebble. It looks like something got its claws on her." There were patches of fur torn away from the skin, the ends stained dark and foreboding. "Must have been an eagle," Dusk gently scented the she-cat's paw pads, as if he might catch the raptor's scent in her claws - in case she had the chance to fight back.
The way her body was draped over the stones... It didn't seem like it.
It could have been a young, overly ambitious eagle that swooped down on the poor loner. Dusk's whiskers hung, his tail curling around his paws as he sat near the cooled body. The young eagle wouldn't have been able to carry her back to its nest - or maybe Pebble had struggled? - so Pebble was dropped, her body left to crash here against stone.
"We can't leave her like this," Dusk murmured, letting his pelt brush against's Snow's. Death was a sensitive topic for both of them - but her especially. He knew she had lost someone precious to her, but he had never pressed for details. Content, instead, with being trusted enough to know as much as he did. "Dark, Roar. We need your help."
They needed to find some place to bury her. Dusk gazed solemnly at their mountain home. It felt... unfriendly, the ground unsuitable for graves. NightClan's earth had been soft almost year-round, a kind of morbid convenience when it came to burying their dead.
She couldn't bring herself to say aloud that she was sure, her claws curling against the stones underfoot with an audible scrape. She stared mournfully at the dead she-cat, her limp body laid over the ground with blood streaking her fur. There wasn't enough for her to have bled to death, but the way her eyes were squeezed shut made it painfully clear she had died instantly. If she'd been dropped... Slowly, Snow approached her, a brief nod to Dusk's words about burying her. It would be awful to leave her like this.
Poor Pebble. She sighed, eyes closing as she came to grips with one more loss in a line of them. She hadn't seen the loner she-cat in some time, but she'd been a visitor now and then to the cave in seasons past, usually if the weather was bad, and the last time she'd seen her Pebble had been...
"Wait!" The word came out high-pitched, almost a squeak, as she realized. "Dusk, her kits!" She'd been expecting. Skyteller had offered the Roost to her when the time came, but when she had not shown up, most had assumed she'd found her own den. Which she must have, because her form was all too obviously lacking the plump look of kits. In fact she was a bit lean; she must have been trying hard to find food to keep herself and her little ones alive. And this was how it'd ended. A prick of sadness came again, but Snow swept it aside.
"We... should bury her, and then find her kits." Stepping forward, she gently took Pebble's scruff and lifted her, waiting for Dusk to do the same before heading toward where the Tribe buried their own dead. Skyteller wouldn't mind- she was sure of that. It was done quickly, but respectfully, with several Tribe members drifting out when they realized what was going on- Skyteller included.
When the she-cat's body was covered over, safely buried and shielded from predators, Snow told Skyteller that Pebble had had her kits, and she asked to go look for them. He agreed, adding another cave-guard to the patrol for protection, and reminded them to be careful. Just because the weather was bad didn't meant eagles wouldn't be out. Snow nodded, already turning with her tail flicking against Dusk's shoulder, and headed back to where they'd found Pebble's body. It was the best place to try to find which way she'd come from, to locate where she had hidden her kits. And they ought to be found quickly.
Grim thoughts battered Dusk like loose stones, spurred on by the lingering image of Pebble's broken body firmly fixed in his head. What if a fox has found them? What if they've frozen? What if they wandered off, wondering where their mother went?
Anxious paws were unsteady paws, and after one nerveless step, Dusk lost his balance - but quickly regained it, grimacing all the while. He needed to snap out of this. He needed to think like a warrior; what those kits needed now was someone willing to walk a thousand pawsteps and search a thousand caves if that's what it took to find them.
Aware of the Cave-Guards surveying the mountainside behind him, Dusk squared his shoulders and forced himself to concentrate. As long as their ancestors were kind and the weather held, they would find those kits. Dusk circled the place where Pebble's broken form had once lain, carefully detecting her scent from the stale smells of rabbits and mice from days past.
StarClan, I'm glad Snow realized Pebble had kitted recently. If they'd simply gone on their way...
"This way!" Dusk announced, feeling a breathless surge of hope as he latched onto something that felt much more recent. He found a crevice where the she-cat had once hunkered down to watch and wait for prey; carefully poking his head in, Dusk's eyes quickly swallowed up the dim lighting and adjusted.
It was too much to hope for the soft squirm of young kits nestled in the back, but he still felt a twinge of disappointment when he drew back, shaking his head. "How far do you think she'd go from her kits?" He asked Snow, hoping her experience as a she-cat may help him understand Pebble's thinking.
If I were a she-cat, and I wanted to keep a litter safe... Where would I put them?
His first thought was one of the Clans, but that was out of the question. Too much of a trek, for one thing. And who was to say that Pebble knew about the Warrior Code? That they were duty-bound to take care of kits in need? It was rare information outside of the valley and the few loners that dared walk the scentlines of the five Clans.
Snow ran beside Dusk as the tortoiseshell tom followed the trail, the three cave-guards keeping up at the rear. They paused at the crevice, but when that turned up nothing Snow cast out again. Ears flicked at Dusk's voice and she frowned. "Not far, I would hope. Close enough to hear if something was threatening them..." But on the mountains, there wasn't as much food, and if she was on her own she might have had to go out farther.
Scanning the surroundings, Snow's fur prickled. They had to find those kits. If not, they'd die of hunger, or something else would find them first. She overlooked the group of crows at first, but when Roar gasped and then hurled himself forward, ears back and hissing, Snow's paws were following almost of their own accord. The tabby-and-white cat sprang at the birds, flailing his paws at them, and as they cawed, wings beating in a flurry as they retreated, Snow spotted a hole in the ground; a small gray kit lay curled in a ball at the entrance, shrieking with his paws over his face.
Other wails came in reply from the small den, and when Snow ducked down to look, she was met with a fearful spit, and a tiny paw with claws unsheathed grazed her nose. She jerked back, more in surprise than pain, and then offered a purr. Green eyes opening, the gray tom stared up at the five adults, his cries ceasing quite suddenly.
Post by Fawntastic on Jun 15, 2019 20:48:24 GMT -5
Dusk that Shrouds the Forest
Home is when you're right where you should be
Prey-Hunter, 63 Moons
Oh StarClan, protect them. The wailing cries of a kit in dire straits sent Dusk's heart into a pounding frenzy. Even as he ran, bringing up the rear behind the Cave-Guards - Snow valiantly taking the lead in their search - he felt the weariness descend. It struck like a rock, and Dusk hit the craggy mountain floor with a muffled thump, his tongue pierced by a sharp fang when his chin met rock. Dusk was vaguely conscious of a shadow blocking the overcast newleaf light, and he knew it to be Darkblaze.
His brother was always looking out for him, even when Dusk should have been looking out for himself.
Regret was the feeling he woke up to a few minutes later. Dusk sat up abruptly, fur messy from the tumble, his tongue tasting of iron and throbbing from the accidental bite. "What happened? Where are the kits? Are they alive?"
Roar was looking at him - whiskers atwitch - as if he were trying not to laugh. "Snow has them," said the Cave-Guard. Dusk flushed with shame beneath his dark and ginger-mottled coat. A crow's feather lay nearby, a souvenir of the action he'd completely and utterly failed to partake in. Darkblaze's tail brushed his shoulder, but with a sigh and a rueful nod to his brother, Dusk moved out of Darkblaze's protective radius to find Snow.
"Sorry," Dusk mumbled when she was within range. "Are they okay?" The scents of stale milk, dirt and fear were still heavy in the air permeating Pebble's den, and though it made Dusk's nose wrinkle, he didn't shy away from it. He'd embarrassed himself enough today.
Snow barely noticed anything else but the three kits. The gray tabby rolled over and pushed himself up, blinking green eyes in a chubby face, and the other two- a mottled she-kit and a ginger-and-white, stared back at her from the shallow depths of the den. Stumbling on stubby legs, the two bundled toward her, all three suddenly pressed against her chest and mewling again, expectant stares and wordless waiting- Snow wondered if they were hungry, or confused...
She turned to Dusk as he approached and she flashed a glance over him. "Yes, they're fine," she assured over the shrill calls. "You- are you okay?" Had he fallen asleep again? Shame washed over her; she hadn't even noticed. She'd been more concerned about the kits. Dark's gaze, though, remained on his brother, and she realized that at least he hadn't been completely overlooked. Sitting up, Snow looked down at the kits again and leaned down to rasp her tongue over the ginger-and-white. A she-kit, who purred surprisingly loudly at the gesture.
"We should head back. They're probably hungry, but I think they're old enough to take meat." If not, there would be a kit-mother who could take them in until they were a little older. Gently, Snow nudged the little gray tom toward Dusk. "Can you carry him? And Roar, could you carry this one?" She bumped her nose against the mottled kit, waited for the cave-guard to grasp the kit's scruff in his jaws, and then picked up the last with a glance at Dusk. With Dark and Branch guarding them, the five, plus three kits, turned their paws back toward the Tribe's cave.