Hawkstar’s passing had shaken the clan like an earthquake. For the first time, the solid foundation upon which their feet had stood, the firm ground that they had taken for granted for being as such, had moved, fallen away and left little else except uncertainty and pain. In the era that had been Hawkstar’s reign, they had collectively forgotten that he, too, was mortal. Toward the end, his fur may have been grayer, his movements a little slower, but he had, nevertheless, still been there.
Until he wasn’t.
There was no reason Smokestar would not make just as great a leader; after all, she had managed just fine as deputy, and before that had been an invaluable warrior. But leadership was different, and never before had the responsibility of leading the clan fallen solely upon her shoulders. Whether or not their new leader could handle the burden of leadership remained to be seen, and though he did not expect the outspoken she-cat to crumble beneath that weight, he knew all too well that what he thought did not matter. This was a transition of power in StoneClan. It was a moment of weakness where experience gave way to untested mettle. The eyes of the valley were on them, and he would not put it past either of their neighbors to take advantage of their clan’s grief and their new leader’s relative inexperience. It was imperative that when they were at their weakest, they redoubled every effort to seem like they were at their strongest. Loss had been a close friend before he had even stepped foot out of the nursery; he was intimately familiar with its relentless waves. Ospreywing could stay strong. He would make sure the clan stayed safe, so that those closer to their late leader could grieve.
So to the border it was, with a quick word to Valiantstride followed by Birdtalon and Skunkspots falling into step beside him. He knew that in recent moons Hawkstar had reached a truce with Redstar over access to Sun Stones, and while that uneasy peace had thus far held, he did not trust it to last into Smokestar’s reign. There was little he trusted these days; the only thing he trusted of LightningClan was the inevitability of a fight. Historically, the border between StoneClan and LightningClan was the site of far more skirmishes than peace treaties, and he remembered all too well the horrors of StormClan.
“Do you think we’ll have to worry about aggression from RainClan or LightningClan more?” He mused out loud, the words following his train of thought. Or both. Yellow eyes flicked to the she-cat walking beside him, wondering idly if his sister had heard the silent statement that had followed. Both clans had different leaders, but he knew that history had a funny way of repeating itself. His gaze drifted to the other tom. Birdtalon still had the youth that had started to abandon Ospreywing and his sister, the youth that ensured that any stories he had heard of StormClan were elders’ tales and nothing more. It was strange to consider that, with the passing of older generations, the terror and bloodshed of that night and later battles had faded into history. For these younger cats, enemy warriors did not lurk in the dark corners of camp but rather safely beyond well-marked borders.
Ospreywing had learned early on, however, that camp was only as safe as their clan was strong.
Leaf-fall 27: A steady rain patters down upon the territories, refusing to ease for the rest of the day.
Post by KARA ( ˙▿˙ ) on Nov 23, 2019 22:33:49 GMT -5
The death of the clan leader was lamentable, but inevitable. Every star in the sky was a spirit of a cat who had gone before them, to hunt in the fields of endless prey and live with their friends and family in a painless eternity. It saddened Birdtalon greatly, but there was no death that could rock him as much as Redpaw's had. His faith in StarClan--knowing they were still strong and just as alive there as they were in life--allowed him to not weep while the two remaining StoneClan elders carried Hawkstar to his burial cave. As they took Frozenrain, however, Birdtalon had hung his head and buried his face into legs. It ached to see the empty bedding that still smelled like them.
He wondered what the Gathering's air had been when Smokestar leapt up on the boulder instead of her predecessor. Would the other Clans want to immediately test her after that night was done? Birdtalon inhaled deeply and shot air out through his nostrils. It would be smart to double up patrols. I'll check with Valiantstride, he thought.
Ospreywing apparently had the same idea, for when Birdtalon caught sight of the deputy, a patrol was already being assigned. He just jumped right on in. Lifting his tail in silent greeting to the more experienced tom, Birdtalon offered a respectful nod and a smile to Skunkspots. The she-cat was known for, well, being a stinker sometimes, so he wanted to get this patrol started on the right paw with her. The trip to the Sun Stones was cold and wet, but he kept up with Ospreywing's pace as best he could. The scent markers needed to be refreshed since rain had been drizzling since morning. Birdtalon sniffed the air, trying not to breathe in too many LightningClan fumes.
"LightningClan," Birdtalon replied with a disgusted expression. The gray tom trotted straight ahead on the slick flat stones. His nose wrinkled, and he sounded aghast as he remarked, "Some of their marks are quite ambitious." He squatted to graffiti the ones that were misplaced. "RainClan's got enough of their own drama to worry about, although maybe they've overcome all that since they were present at the Gathering. I heard their medicine cat is guarded by two warriors and an apprentice night and day."
tags replying to Phoenix and Fawntastic is up next with skunkspots. notes i'm still trying to figure birdtalon out. curious to discover what they find, if anything, on this patrol... :3
( this table coding is copyright of my friend hata )
Post by Fawntastic on Nov 23, 2019 23:45:25 GMT -5
68 Moons, Warrior-Queen, StoneClan
She'd been dreading this day of all days. Ever since Fallenleaf, her beloved mentor and the mother figure she'd so greatly needed, had passed on to StarClan, Skunkspots had refused to let her guard down around the Clan's oldest members.
Mortality, the frailness of feline life, was a constant companion of hers. Reminding her to step carefully, to not hold on too tightly to things, laughing at her when she woke each morning with fear in her belly for her mate, her offspring, her friends.
When the Clan elders carried Hawkstar and Frozenrain's bodies to their final rest, something inside her spoke through the tears. So it's happened, said that icy voice of cynicism, the one that refused to be surprised when someone in her life was no longer in it.
Skunkspots had been rocked outside of this grim surrender to reality by the looks on her kits' faces. Beetlejaw, looking as if the ground beneath him were caving in. Cicadasong, whose enthusiasm and warmth had temporarily given up the ghost while the Clan mourned. It had shaken her to the heart, and Skunkspots had mothered them as best as she could - grooming them, promising that Frozenrain and Hawkstar were in good company, alongside Beetlenose and Minkfur, her own parents StormClan had taken from her.
What happens now? This question had dogged her through that first solemn night, as she sat under the stars in solemn vigilance of StoneClan's matriarch and patriarch. Obviously life would continue, but what shape would it take?
The last thing, the very last thing Skunkspots had imagined, was that her Valiantstride would be picked for deputy. Pride and shock chased each other's tails inside her chest the entire day, and she was still on tenterhooks when Valiantstride had left their nest at dawn this morning to begin assigning patrols. I can't stay around camp, worrying about what's going to happen next. Anxiety pressed down upon the black and white warrior-queen, and she volunteered for the first patrol out - ending up alongside her littermate, Ospreywing, and Birdtalon.
For once, the awkwardness of her relationship with her brother wasn't the cause of her silence. It was, despite her best efforts, a quiet brooding over the state of the Clan. What if another war broke out? What if LightningClan and RainClan wanted to test Smokestar? The dilute tortoiseshell was so young, and (Skunkspots hated to say it but) so small, compared to Hawkstar.
“Do you think we’ll have to worry about aggression from RainClan or LightningClan more?”
Skunkspots's head whipped to the size, seizing on the cat who had voiced her worries aloud and made the hair along the nape of her neck prickle. Ospreywing. He never shied away from these dark, worrying thoughts. If Skunkspots suspected he dwelled in them.
Their lives had been marked by tragedy and war. Ospreywing lived in the darkness, in perpetual gloom, so he need not feel the emptiness of the sun when some great new calamity blocked out the light.
But Skunkspots didn't live like that. No, she felt the sun and it's warmth. She knew what she had to lose.
"LightningClan," Birdtalon replied without missing a beat.
Skunkspots hissed at the ground, closing her eyes. "Do we have to talk about this right now? Let StoneClan catch it's breath... before you start scaring everyone with things like this..." StarClan, she hated that these were valid concerns.
LightningClan could attack them. RainClan could too.
Hawkstar's death was a turning point in the valley. She wasn't fool enough to suspect nothing to come of it.
When I'm all alone, they show up on their own Inner demons don't play by the rules