Perhaps his least favorite part about being a warrior, patrols. Valiantstride slowly pulled himself out of his nest and toward the camp entrance. His beloved mate left to sleep the rest of the evening away. He quietly longed to stay at her side, all curled up and relaxed.
While he knew it was his duty to check the borders to maintain security, he simply wasn't a fan of just going for a walk. However, he kept that to himself. No point in making a fuss about something that didn't hurt him.
Taking a moment to groom his paws to rid them of dust and small bits of stubborn dirt. He glanced around the camp clearing to hopefully spot Smokestorm, as she was the one to lead the patrol. The other members joining him he wasn't quite sure of but Valiantstride considered himself on good terms with most members of the Clan. He had no worries about who he'd spend the rest of his evening with.
You're my end and my beginning, even when I lose I'm winning. 'Cause I give you all of me, and you give me all of you, oh oh
## - Taxx - Notes: it's a dookie starting post i'm sorry
This gal right here's gonna rule the world No, I won't sit still and look pretty
Smokestorm slid from the warriors' den after prodding Dawnchaser awake from a nap. The heat of the day was easing, and the dusk patrol called. The dilute calico yawned, shaking her head as she padded over to join Valientstride at the entrance to the camp. She gave him a nod, glancing back to make sure Dawnchaser was following, and then that Paintedpaw had remembered that she was due to join the patrol as well. She gave the young apprentice a moment to appear, settling down to give her fur a quick grooming to make sure no moss was stuck in her fur.
The sun was fully set, the sky slowly turning darker, when the four of the patrol were ready. Smokestorm led them from the camp, setting a brisk pace. She'd keep an eye on Paintedpaw, to make sure the young she-cat could keep up, but that was it. New to apprenticeship or not, she'd have to toughen up her muscles for these duties, and Smokestorm had never been the pampering type. "We'll follow the border up to the Sun Stones and end there. Keep yours ears pricked, I wouldn't put it past those badgers to try and reclaim their den. If we can, we'll drive them off; if not, we'll just have to let Hawkstar know and make another plan to chase them off."
Six moons had finally come and yet the young she-cat met this new part of life with the same dullness she greeted every day with. She had gone from aimlessly lying around within the comfort of the cool, dim nursery while watching her brother plot different types of adventures, to moving into the Apprentice Den to being forced to move around in the harsh sunlight and watch her brother plot different types of adventures.
What a drag.
As she had gotten older, the dark coated tortoiseshell had learned that she preferred the dimness of dusk or the refreshing darkness of nighttime to moving around within the blazing heat during the day. But she wasn't nocturnal, neither was the rest of Stoneclan, so unfortunately for her oddities, she was forced to do things during the day with her, oh so bright and cheerful mentor, Cicadasong. Just the thought of the over excitable mentor caused a sigh to part the young apprentice's maw.
Even though her more depressing like attitude didn't mesh well with Cicadasong didn't mean that Paintedpaw didn't work hard during training. In fact, she did rather well with what she was assigned to do and never seemed to have much problems when it came to remembering certain information or tasks that were assigned of her. Luckily for her, today she didn't have to go out on a task or training adventure with the she-cat assigned to teach her the ways of a warrior, so she managed to avoid most of the heat of the day by curling deep within her nest and napping. She even laid her fluffy tail across her face so that no-one would bother her until it was time for her to do things.
Dusk patrol. She had been informed earlier that day by both Cicadasong and Smokestorm at different times. It was one part of the day that Paintedpaw didn't mind, as the sun was usually going down and it caused the annoying light and heat to subside. Removing herself slowly from the den she now lived in with her brother and sister, Paintedpaw made her way over to where the patrol waited for her. She was silent as she approached, no need for her to say anything as she was the last to arrive, and it only took a few heartbeats before the diluted calico lead them off towards their desitnation.
Green pools remained forwards, watching with disinterest as the scenery moved as she did, though practically stayed the same. Stoneclan didn't consist of much more than stone, it wasn't like it was crazy exciting but at least it was home. A tuffed ear flickered to catch her deputies words and Paintedpaw couldn't help the sigh that once again parted her maw at the thought of those ghastly beasts stomping around like they owned the place.
Only slightly twisting her neck, Paintedpaw turned those dull green pools onto the leader of the patrol. She wasn't an overly curious cat by nature, but asking a few questions here and there was wise to gain information or logical reasonings. "Do you really think those badgers will try to return?" Paintedpaw had a raspy, monotoned voice and she hardly showed any emotion as she asked. She remembered the important facts of the battle, in which Lightningclan and Stoneclan worked together to rid the Sunstones of such beasts. And at least one of the black and white creatures died, the apprentice couldn't remember if more did or not.
But after being so violently driven out of the valley, why would they return?
Even if the skies get rough I'm giving you all my love
Paintedpaw was joining them, she confused him. Most apprentices were eager to explore the territory and in most cases get into a little trouble. However, with her flat affect, she remained a mystery to read. Valiantstride wasn't sure if he should strike a conversation with her, suddenly finding himself out a cluse how to engage with her.
Thankfully, Paintedpaw was the first to start a conversation. Her tone was equally dull as her expressions. Trying not to fixate on it, Valiantstride gave a friendly smile before answering. Relying on his charm to make the conversation feel more lively.
"I doubt it, at least not for a while. Badgers are stupid and plentiful. In a few seasons, a new brood will appear somewhere in the valley and eventually be driven out, the big danger we face is the foxes," He explained, pausing long enough to calm the spike of anxiety that came with thinking about the creatures. His son's injury only proved the ferocity of a fox. His only prayer sent to StarClan was to rid the valley of foxes until the sun fell from the sky. He knew his prayers were in vain, but it didn't stop him from muttering them. "Keep your wits about you when it comes to foxes," He offered the advice before falling quiet again. Letting the trip to the sunstones ease his discomfort.
This gal right here's gonna rule the world No, I won't sit still and look pretty
Padding along with the three following, Smokestorm's ears twisted back at the question that rose from Paintedpaw. Valiantstride answered first and she gave a nod to affirm his reply, but his mention of foxes had her tail lashing back and forth a couple times before she forced herself to calm.
"Doubtful, as Valiantstride said, but you never know. They're not very bright, but I think we got it through to them this time." Which was just as well, since both StoneClan and LightningClan leaders had lost lives. They'd claimed at least one badger's life in return, and the others had been driven off without mercy.
"Stay alert," she added as they neared the Sun Stones. "And stay close." She eased her way through the sparse grass, eyes and ears peeled for any hint of danger, but the air was absent of the rank scent of badger- or fox- and after a moment she relaxed, but before she ventured nearer to the pile of boulders she shared a glance with Valiantstride, to make sure he hadn't picked up something she might have missed. Then she turned back to blink at Paintedpaw. "What do you smell, hear, see? Think it's safe to go closer?"