Post by 🍁Searipple101🍁 on Mar 24, 2017 22:55:09 GMT -5
Banner by me
This story is of my own mind. Please don't copy without my permission! But don't be afraid to ask to write a fanfic of this fic. Side note- this is not a romance story.
Warning! This story contains death and gore much like the original Warriors books. You have been warned!
Summary: Thrush has known nothing but the lonely life of a rogue. One day while hunting she runs into a handsome tom from the nearby clan, but despite never having come in contact with the clan before, something is familiar about this tom. She learns from him that his clan is dying out and needs more members; he even offers to show her the camp and meet the cats he calls family. Intrigued but having no intention of joining, she agrees. Little does she know, this clan holds keys to a past she can't remember, and a chance at finally having a family of her own instead of being empty inside. But will she take the chance?
Special little announcement from me: If you like this fic, please don't be afraid to let me know you want fanned or to talk to me here! I would love so much to read your feedback! Please, don't be shy! I promise I don't bite <3 The support of readers is what keeps me, and other authors, motivated to keep writing. So, you guys will be helping out a lot ^.^ Thanks! Hope to talk to you soon!
Post by 🍁Searipple101🍁 on Mar 24, 2017 23:08:17 GMT -5
"You must pick one, Otterleap. The population is far too large here. We can't afford to house or feed anymore cats," a ginger tabby tom angrily tried to persuade the already grieving queen.
"But I can't! They are my kits! I can't just simply give one up to die in the forest..." she choked out, feeling every motherly instinct in her body screaming 'no.' She gazed down at her two newborns which nursed from her white belly, a tom and a she-cat. They were both so perfect, so healthy. But, that was the reason they had to go, one of them at least.
The ginger tom calmed down a bit and spoke more gently now, moving to sit by the queen and rest his tail along her spine. "I know it's hard. I really do, but this is for the good of the clan. Times have been good, prosperous. However, sometimes having too much of a good thing turns bad." He gave her a sincerely sorry look, as did the other queens who'd had to give up some of their kits as well. "We've tried building bigger dens. We hunt constantly, but there is never enough. At the rate we're going, there simply won't ever be enough and more and more cats will die. I would never ask you to give up both your kits, but you must release one to save the lives of other clan members. I truly am sorry, Otterleap."
The she-cat had never taken her eyes from her kits the whole time he spoke. They had finished nursing now and were climbing over each other to find good positions for rest. The tom climbed on his sister and laid still while she struggled. He was much bigger than her.
"Take the she-cat." The words felt like poison on her tongue. It burned to say such a horrible thing. While the words weren't so horrible in and of themselves, the reality of knowing what those words meant in the context was the worst thing imaginable.
The tom nodded and moved to gently push her brother from her then picked her up in his jaws. Instinctively, the little she-cat curled up and went still. Her brother, aware that his sister was gone, started to mewl protest. He wanted her back.
Already feeling wails of despair rising up in her throat, the queen gave her kit one last gentle lick on her head. "Goodbye, my little Fawnkit," she whispered, mew laced with sorrow. "Make her death quick, Adderstar. Please."
The tom nodded and then turned, disappearing from the rose tendril nursery. As all the many cats in the crowded clan watched, the leader took the kit through the entrance tunnel and away.
He raced as fast as he could without jarring the kit too much through the forest. The whole trip, the tiny kit was silent. Rounding large boulders and weaving through trees, even bounding through the shallows of the river branch, Fawnkit never once made a sound.
Once they were well past clan territory, Adderstar panted through his nose and around the kit's fur. He glanced around, not really knowing where he was anymore but knowing the way home. The forest around him now was quiet, extremely quiet. No birds sang here, no insects buzzed. The trees and brush were full of life, but other than that one wouldn't have been able to tell it was the height of new-leaf. It seemed so empty all around.
This was the perfect spot. The tom set Fawnkit down and gazed at her with sad, green eyes. While he had been adamant that Otterleap give her up, it did not mean he enjoyed this.
The kit began to mew, scared and alone now. She did not know a cat was right by her still, limited from her tiny body and lack of sight and mobility. Her mews increased in volume as heartbeats passed and the tom looked on.
"I have to do it," he told himself quietly. "But she's only a tiny kit..." Turmoil ravaged in his chest. It felt as if his heart was being eaten by monstrous guilt and wrong intentions. He had to kill her. One bite to the neck and she'd be gone, able to run with StarClan. Yet, she was only a kit, a healthy little kit.
He looked to the bright sky. It was only just past sunhigh, so the stars were not visible, but he knew StarClan was still up there. He knew they were still watching, could still hear him. "What should I do? Please, tell me what I should do." His pleas got no response. Perhaps StarClan did not want to aid in this kit's death, even if it seemed to be for the good of the clan.
Gritting his teeth, Adderstar lowered his gaze back to the mewling kit. Her cries for comfort had never ceased. "I'm so sorry," he half-coked out and crouched, wrapping his jaws around the kit's tiny neck and most of her body. Her mewing stopped, but he did not clamp down to deliver the killing bite. Just feeling something there had made her happy enough that she silenced herself.
Adderstar had to shut his eyes tight, his jaws trembling as he tried to force himself to do it. But he couldn't. He couldn't kill a kit.
Retreating, he gave the she-kit one last look of painful apology before turning and bolting back in the direction of camp. His mind screamed at him that what he did was worse than biting her. She would be left to either starve or be eaten by some predator, but there was no way he could have done it. His heart wouldn't let him kill her, even if he technically still was. He couldn't do it directly.
Her mews began to start up again as she cried for somebody, anyone to help her, to save her from empty loneliness. The cries rang in his ears, fading in reality but growing ever stronger in his mind as he pictured her tiny body lying there in the leaves. This memory would haunt him for the rest of his last life.
It pecked at the ground furiously, desperate to find food beneath the earth. Leaf-fall was coming soon, and it could not afford being starved this sunrise. Greedy for worms, the robin did not even notice it was being watched. The predator, however, had its eyes locked on the bird from a holly bush. They were both after the same thing, not wanting to go hungry this night. But the predator surely would have more luck in this endeavor, as it was paying close attention to its prey but keeping note of its surroundings as well.
Suddenly, the predator pounced, leaping from the bushes with incredible speed and agility. The bird never even had a chance as claws sunk into its feathers, and a killing bite was administered, silencing it forever.
Triumphantly, the she-cat laid down right there and began tearing the feathers from the carcass to begin her small, well earned feast. Downy feathers clung to her black muzzle as she dug in hungrily, loving the tasty juices that bathed her tongue. The good meal did not last long, however, as the silence of the peaceful forest was broken by a deeper, tom's voice.
"What are you doing here, rogue? You are way too close to our border." Looking up, the she-cat found a bulky tom to be standing there a few tail-lengths away. His dark brown pelt was sleek and shiny with his muscles rippling under it. She noticed that from this angle only his front paws seemed to give way to another color, white. It looked almost as if he had found a pool of just white and dipped his forepaws in it. His eyes stared at her with a firm amber.
"What's it look like I'm doing?" the she-cat replied, fully intending attitude towards this random tom. "I'm eating. Now leave me alone so I can do it in peace, again." As if defying him, the tan she-cat took another bite from the robin and locked eyes with the other cat as she chewed, taunting him.
The tom narrowed his eyes and flicked his tail, a flash of white appearing behind him. So , his tail, or at least the tip, was white too, she thought. No matter. These were no important details to her. He said nothing more, though, as he watched her.
"Look pal, I'm not on your territory, and I really have no intentions of crossing into it either. So you can just march your little, white tail back to wherever it is you call a home and leave me to my business." She sat up then and licked her lips a couple times before continuing. "Because sitting here and glaring at me isn't going to help much, now is it?"
Flattening his ears, the tom unsheathed his claws. He bunched his muscles in a way that said he was about ready to pounce at her. She was a very good fighter, but a tom this big could give her trouble if it came down to it. She readied herself to dodge the attack, but it never came. Instead, the tom relaxed in an instant and let out a chuckle.
The tan she-cat flattened her white ears in confusion, narrowing her yellow eyes at him slightly. "What are chuckling about?" she demanded, taking a step forward and slightly baring her white fangs.
"You. You're funny," the tom answered, a chuckle still bouncing his voice. When he calmed down, he explained. "You've got real spunk, and I like that. Plus, that baffled look on your face is pretty funny."
She quickly replaced that confusion with irritation after he spoke. "I am not funny!"
"Sure you are. It's a good quality to have, you know?" he gave her a warm and friendly look then to which she just huffed and turned her head away.
She muttered, "Whatever."
"Anyway," the tom said, direction her attention back to him, "My name is Bucktail. And this territory you're so close to belongs to my clan, RoseClan."
"Why do I care about either?" the she-cat asked. The black tip of her tail twitched in annoyance. Why was he even talking to her? She liked solitude, usually, and this wasn't it. He'd interrupted her meal, too, which was seriously irritating.
The brown tom gave a shrug of his shoulders. "I don't know, because you seem like you're out here all alone, and it's not fun to be alone," he answered, his expression turning into a gentle, amber gaze.
"I like to be alone!" she said defensively. Although this tended to be true as of late, it was natural for cats to want companionship in the form of friends. That was something she hadn't had since her mother died four moons ago. And even then she was the only company she had. They were the only thing the other had. He expression wavered as that defensive wall started to crumble down.
Bucktail felt bad for this she-cat. She was living alone in the Oak Barrens, after all. It really seemed like that, anyway. "Hey, do you want to come back with me to my camp?" he offered. "See, my clan is so small, and we're in danger of dying out. We need more cats, and it looks like you need some friends.
She was stunned by this offer. He would willingly take her to his home, one of which he just admitted to being weak and dying? That was a poor tactical choice. She could very well have other cats hiding in the shadows, or back at her den, waiting. She didn't, but she could have. "What do you expect me to do about your dying clan or whatever?"
"Join it," Bucktail replied without hesitation but then quickly added, "If you'd want to. It's really nice. You could be a part of our family."
That word struck her like a bolt of lightning. Family. Her only family had been her mother for her whole life. Secretly, she did desire more, especially now since her mother had moved onto the Beyond. But could these cats really offer her a family? A real home that wasn't just wherever she decided to sleep that night? Could this cat, Bucktail, really give her such things?
"So, what do you say?" he asked, giving her a kitty grin and finally sitting down. His tail was wrapped around his paws to reveal it was completely white. So that's why he had the name Bucktail, even though it was super weird to name a cat such a thing.
"No," the she-cat answered rather flatly. "I don't want to go. In fact, I'm not leaving this spot until you clear out." To further make her point, she sat down and firmly planted her paws on the ground, holding her chin high as well in confidence.
The tom rolled his eyes then actually padded past the scent barrier and over to her, but she didn't move other than readying her muscles for an attack. However, he only sat down next to her. "Come on, it'll be fun," he insisted.
"Please?" He leaned a bit closer, giving her kitten eyes, which actually looked kind of funny coming from a full grown cat.
"I said no," she meowed more firmly, but he only persisted in pushing into her now, their pelts warm against each other. She gritted her teeth and held back the urge to snap at him. "Fine," she growled finally, much to his delight. "But don't expect anything to come of it. I've just got nothing better to do, except finish my meal, if that's alright with you."
Bucktail pulled away and nodded. "By all means, do finish it," he mewed with a new sense of happiness. This was it. There was a chance his clan could still be saved and grow! Sitting back now, he watched her crouch and eat while she gave him a sideways glare, mostly watching him to make sure this wasn't a trick or something, to attack her while she was vulnerable and eating.
"So, what's your name?" he inquired, still watching her, delight and excitement dancing in his deep amber eyes. His paws even picked at the ground a bit, but he didn't seem to even notice.
She took a moment before answering, not really wanting to, but it was only fair since she knew his, she supposed. "It's Thrush."
After she had finished her now cold meal, Thrush sat up and licked her lips. Then, she brought a paw up and began to wash her face, taking her time with it.
"Come on, let's go! You ate already. You don't need to wash up, too," Bucktail complained, eager to get her to the clan camp. He knew she was doing this just to pass time more slowly and make him wait longer.
"If I'm going to be meeting others then I should look good," Thrush told him, letting a mischievous glint hint in her yellow eyes. "A she-cat should look her best." She rasped her pink tongue over her black forepaw then ran it along her white ear several times.
This caused Bucktail to groan and flop over on the ground, on his side. "Hurry uuuup. Please." He was acting like a little, impatient kit.
Thrush found satisfaction in her light method of torture. It was something she couldn't do all the time, or really ever, and it was quite fun. However, she soon finished up and stood. "Alright, take me to this clan of yours. But if this is a trap, I promise you that you won't have a fun time," she warned.
The brown tom quickly gathered himself up off the leafy forest floor and nodded quickly. "Of course. But I promise you, it's not a trap." He started off then, going back over the border and into his clan's territory. "Everything I've told you so far is true."
Still a tad hesitant, Thrush followed the bigger tom, staying behind and slightly to the right of him. Her ear were swiveling around to pick up any and every noise the moment she crossed past the scent markers, as if this foreign land was crawling with threats. The fact that a wall of mingled cat scents was the only thing separating this land from the one she knew did not even matter.
"So, what's it like living in the Oak Barrens?" the tom inquired, trying to make light conversation as they padded through the thicker growing undergrowth. He glanced behind himself at her, noticing the movement of her ears and how she seemed to not even be paying attention to him. "Hey, Thrush. Anybody in there?" He stopped walking to watch her.
Thrush didn't seem to even notice at all, her eyes looking elsewhere in the trees, and she kept going forward until his face was right by hers. He gave one loud, "Hiya," which was practically in her ear. In response, she jumped into the air with a startled yowl, her tan fur bushing out. The heartbeat the sudden fear left her body a moment later, she gave Bucktail the most angry glare. Now seething, she spat at him. "Why in the name of the Beyond would you do that?"
Bucktail could only laugh at her reaction. Even when she was mad he still found it very funny. She was kind of cute like this, too. "Because it's funny. You're funny," he answered, giving his white tail a happy swish. "You don't need to be so on edge, though. I promise you, you're fine. If you came in here alone there would be trouble, but you're with me. So, you're safe."
"Yeah, well I still don't exactly trust you," Thrush growled, her fur now lying flat but her claws digging into the earth.
"You trust me enough to follow me this far," he pointed out, that look of happiness never leaving his expression.
Thrush opened her jaws the say something and argue, but there was nothing to be said. He was right. It had taken annoying persistence, but she had willingly agreed to come with him. Why was she really doing this? He was a stranger, and now that she actually thought about it, this was a horrible and dangerous idea. Yet, there was something about him that was oddly comforting. Without the tension of a potential battle with this tom she could feel it. He seemed...familiar in a way almost. Why?
Bucktail padded over to her and placed his tail over her shoulders. "Let's go now. The day isn't getting any longer. Remember, the sun stops for no one." With that, he started to pad off again.
She could take this opportunity to book it back to familiar land. Thrush looked back in the direction they had come. It still wasn't far. She could run away and never look back. But something pulled her towards this tom and the direction he was walking. Some unknown force seemed to be willing her onwards. Was it curiosity in seeing the clan, perhaps? It didn't seem right, but it was the only real explanation her mind could come up with. Letting out a small sigh, she decided to follow.
After walking along with idle conversation filling the gap of awkward silence for some time, they finally arrived to a large wall made of rose bushes and some brambles, rose blossoms in full, pink bloom. A massive, gray boulder sat to the left of it but seemed to still be right in the mix. Inside the jumble of tendrils and thorns, a large, hanging willow tree was rooted. It draped its green leaves over the entirety of the rose mass and a great deal of the boulder. Right beside all of this, just to the left, was a lazily running river. The rhythmic babbling noise it made was quite soothing.
"Welcome to the RoseClan camp wall." Bucktail glanced at her as thrush stared ina we. She had been many places and seen many things, but this was a truly stunning sight. It was all so beautiful. Suddenly, she was kind of glad she'd come. "Pretty, isn't it?"
Thrush nodded then blinked and looked over towards him. "Yeah, actually. It really is."
He flicked his tail for her to follow, their journey not quite over just yet. "Wait until you see inside the camp. It's really cool." He padded over to the rose wall where a single, small holly bush grew then slipped right underneath it. He disappeared completely into the thick, dark leaves.
Thrush made her way over to it but hesitated. This was it. Once this wall was crossed through, there was no turning back. At least, not without a potential fight. "It's okay. I'm good at battle. If they want to do anything to me, then it won't happen without a fight," she told herself determinedly. taking a deep breath as if she'd be passing through a veil of water, she plunged into the bush. A dark tunnel awaited her, but on the other side she could see Bucktail's face as he waited, watching her come through.
Knowing she had to see this through now, Thrush padded the fox-length untils he emerged from the tunnel, to which she was greeted by the tom. Inside the walls, it was just as stunning. The camp itself didn't seem like much with only a few dens here and there and a leaf littered ground, but upon looking up, it was amazing. The way the willow tree hung down created the perfect leafy dome. The canopy shifted easily in the small wind, allowing sun rays to pass and cascade down in a beautiful, shimmering motion. It was as if the light itself was dancing with the tree as its partner.
"Pretty cool, right?" Bucktail's voice once again broken the silence, and her thoughts. "The best part is it's always like this right up until leaf-bare. So the leaves don't fall off much even once they've turned yellow until about the first frost. I'm happy to have this place as my home."
Home... That word hit her in a way that ached. It wasn't like family, but it was yet another thing she never really had. Out in what he called the Oak Barrens anywhere could be her temporary home. She could make a den under a tree, in a bush, wherever. But, it was never a place to really stay more than a couple nights, as foxes would often take them, or she'd simply grow bored of the simple set up. There never really was a place she could honestly call a home.
"Bucktail, who is this cat?" A sudden snarl snapped her from her thoughts. She looked over to see a ginger tom stomping towards them, his head held high. Black stripes adorned his pelt, closely resembling the ancient tigers she'd heard stories of from her mother. But he did not seem proud. In fact, this tom gave off an aura of, simply put, being a jerk.
"Hello, Wasppelt. This is Thrush. I found her in the Oak Barrens. Thought she might want to join us," Bucktail responded, seeming to be used to this kind of behavior from the other tom.
"Join us? Are you joking?" the tom known as Wasppelt scoffed. "What's wrong with you, Bucktail? She's clearly just a filthy rogue. We don't need rogues." He shot Thrush a yellow glare, but she returned it equally.
"Yes, we do need her," the brown tom meowed more firmly. "We need all the cats we can get. You know we do. You're just sore because it's your annoying personality." He gave the tabby a cheeky, kitty grin.
This only seemed to further anger Wasppelt, and he unsheathed his claws. "Well, I'm not going to let some useless rogue into my clan." He gave Thrush a growl, his hostility now being directed at her.
Thrush, in response, unsheathed her claws, too. "I'm not useless, but I bet you are. What kind of cat looks like a tiger but is named after a pathetic insect anyway?" she growled back, fur bristling.
Bucktail tried to calm them down by stepping in between them to break their intensely locked gazes of fire. "Alright, now isn't the time to fight." But, they ignored him. Or, at least, Wasppelt did.
The ginger tom suddenly lunged forward, launching himself right over Bucktail's body. His claws outstretched, he aimed for where Thrush had been, but with the added time she had from his more vertical leap, she dodged out of the way. The moment he landed, she spun around and tackled him, ripping her claws into his side. He screeched in pain but managed to grab hold of her shoulder, sinking his claws in and feeling the blood well.
Thrush had to think fast, or he could pull her on her side and take the advantage. It would be painful, but she'd survive. Gritting her teeth, the she-cat yanked herself away from him, ripping his claws from her shoulder. It caused more damage and more blood to seep from under her tan fur, but she was free.
By now, a tiny crowd was starting to gather, watching the fray happen. Even Bucktail had stopped trying to intervene and sat back to watch. One thing about Thrush joining the clan was that she had to be of use. Demonstrating her skills in combat was perfect to prove her worth. Even the leader, a silvery-white tom with darker ripples on his pelt, thought the same and had come to observe.
Wasspelt noticed the crowd watching as he glanced around while getting to his feet. He had to win now, more so than before. He had to show them all just how useless this rogue was and how great he was. "Here birdy, birdy, birdy," he mewed to ehr in a taunting way. His side now dripped with crimson.
Thrush responded by lashing her tail but keeping her stance. She would not be the one to attack first. "Why are you taunting me? Thrushes eat insects. Don't you know that, or are you too stupid? You don't have a chance here."
Like before, the taunt quickly angered him, and the tom lunged for her again. But, again, she dodged and tackled him. However, this time, she jumped away right after. Wasppelt quickly got up and lunged again, this time falling short on purpose. He was trying to bait her into rising up on her hind paws, and it worked. She rose, and he bunched his muscles to go for her soft underbelly. However, she knew what he was up to. She'd fought foxes on her own before. This cat was nothing. Before he could execute his attack, she slammed her forepaws down on his head. Not his shoulders, but his head. His legs did not buckle at first, but his head went down, the whole body tipping forward until his front legs did buckle, and the tom's face pressed hard into the dirt and fallen leaves.
Thrush stepped back then, removing her paws from his skull. "You're too quick to anger. That kind of stuff in battle will get you killed," she said to him matter-of-factly. The cats who had surrounded them stared in half-disbelief. She glanced around at them, growing suddenly more defensive. Her pelt prickled.
"Well done!" a new tom's mew praised from the side. she whipped around to see the leader approaching. He was calm despite her fur rising up once again. "You can relax now. Bucktail told me about you during the fight. And I must say I am quite impressed with what you've accomplished here."
"Impressed?" Wasppelt hissed from behind Thrush now. He was slowly pulling himself to his paws, half dazed. "You can't be impressed. She's a rogue. Filthy, useless, not fit to even set foot in the camp's walls."
The silvery tom sent a firm glance at Wasppelt. "You have no right to say she is not welcome here. You know as well as I do that our clan number are dwindling, and that we are in danger of all dying out. We need as many good cats as we can get, and this young she-cat here has proven her worth." He looked back to her, his blue eyes soft. "Now, if you can prove your loyalty, you're very much welcomed to stay here. Oh, and my name is Silverstar, by the way. It's a pleasure to meet you, Thrush."
Thrush looked at him in bewilderment. Prove her loyalty? She never agreed to joining them! She'd just fought off one of their members because he had something to prove. She'd only come here in the first place out of boredom, curiosity, and partly because Bucktail seemed really trustworthy. It had never once crossed her mind that she'd want to actually join this 'clan.' And now here she was getting a not-so-inviting invitation to join them. It felt more like she was passively being forced, to be honest. What was with these cats?
Thrush blinked at the silvery tom in surprise. "Excuse me? Prove my loyalty? What if I don't want to join this weird cat flock you've got going on?" Her chest puffed out. "I only came here because this idiot wouldn't leave me alone I did," she half-lied, gesturing over to Bucktail with her tail. There still was that odd force which seemed to pull here to this place.
Silverstar was honestly surprised by this she-cat's reaction to a simple offer. "I see," he said rather calmly. "Well, you do not have to join us. I was merely letting you know you had the chance." The tom sighed then. "It would help a great deal if you did stay. Our numbers-"
"I don't care about your numbers!" the tan cat snapped. "Why would I care? I just met you cats! None of you are any of my concern, and whether your 'clan' dies out isn't my concern either."
"Thrush, listen," Bucktail meowed, stepping closer to her with a pleading look in his eyes. "This place, these cats, they are my family. My home. This clan is everything to me. Don't you have some warmth in your heart to at least give us a chance? Stay for a few sunrises and see how things work. Get to know us. You don't have to stay forever, but please give this all a chance."
As she gazed into his amber eyes and listened to his words, she felt that pang of familiarity again. She really felt like deep down she knew him from somewhere. Had they met in a past life or something? The she-cat sighed. "No. This is all too much. This may be your family and your home, but it's not mine. None of this is mine. And I don't want it to be."
Part of her did want to know what it was like to be a part of a family again, more so than just having a mother. Part of her wanted a home that she could stay in for more than a few sunsets. However, a bigger part of her knew that such things only led to pain in the end. Families would eventually die, and homes would either be left behind or destroyed. There was no point really. These cats would all die in time, just like she would. So why grow attached only to have them leave her when she wasn't ready to let go?
She turned to make her exit, leaving Bucktail in stunned silence. However, a new voice stopped her. "Wait! I know you!"
"What?" Thrush turned to see the source of the call out. A white she-cat with black patches approached her, pale green eyes wide with recognition. "How could you possibly know me? I don't know who you are, and I would know if I've seen you in the Oaks." Just how many cats here were delusional?
"No, I know you becuase you're one of us," the other she-cat mewed, her voice growing happier. "I remember the day you were taken away."
Confusion grasped Thrush's mind in chaotic jaws. What in the name of the Beyond was this cat talking about? "Look-"
"Fawnkit," she interrupted, "I know it's you. I'm not crazy."
"Beechheart, what are you talking about?" Silverstar demanded, padding over to join them. "Taken away? Do you mean when the clan was too overcrowded?"
"Yes!" Her gaze went from Silverstar to Thrush again, her joy evident by the new light in her eyes. "Thrush, you're real name was Fawnkit. You got taken away when the clan was too big, but you're originally from here." Her eyes widened even more, but now they harbored realization. "Oh my StarClan. You're actually alive... How are you alive?"
Thrush stared at them both, not even sure how to begin to comprehend all of this or what to say. She was born in this place but was taken? By who? For what reason? To keep numbers here down? No, this couldn't be true. It just couldn't be, none of it. Her mother was from the Oaks, not here. Even if her mother was from here, why she let a kit be taken to obviously die in the forest alone? "Y-you must be mistaken," she stuttered for the first time. Suddenly, there wasn't as much confidence in her body. It had all been drained out.
"No, you were Fawnkit. The clan had too many cats and prey was getting scarce," Beechheart tried to desperately explain. "Either you or your brother had to be taken to help the clan. Adderstar took you himself, but I was there when it happened. The other queens and I were there."
Another cat walked over and butted in then, a tortoiseshell she-cat with large claws. "Are you really sure about this, Beechheart? She doesn't look like a clan cat to me." Her whole posture said doubt.
"Yes, Heatherclaw! How many times do I have to say I'm sure?" She turned her attention back to Thrush who could really only stare in disbelief at what was happening and being said. "I was a queen at the time. One of my kits got taken, too. I watched you be born and be taken right after." A small gasp escaped her jaws then. "Bubblepelt! He'll remember you!"
Heatherclaw was sent to fetch the cat known as Bubblepelt. She disappeared into an old fox den and crack in the large boulder portion of the wall. Moments later, a light, blue-gray tom emerged from behind her. His blue eyes shone in the dancing sunlight patterns, and the silvery spots dotting his back like leaf-litter shimmered. But, he did not look too happy.
The two padded over, and the tom's eyes widened. "See!" Beechheart exclaimed upon seeing the medicine cat's initial reaction.
"But how...?" He stepped closer and sniffed her shoulder just to be sure. While Thrush's markings weren't very common at all, other cats could still have them. But her scent was something unique to her and only her.
Thrush eyed him awkwardly and leaned away. "Can you not?"
"My StarClan... It is you!" Bubblepelt stepped back, but his expression dropped. "You shouldn't be alive."
"Well thanks," Thrush meowed sarcastically, finding her spiteful attitude again. "Maybe I should just go and jump into the river."
"Shut up," the blue tom snapped at her, actually taking her aback a bit. "I mean you shouldn't have survived when you were taken. You were taken to the Oak Barrens to be killed by Adderstar." His blue gaze fell to the ground then, becoming thoughtful. "That means he failed in completing his duty, but why?" he asked no one in particular, his mew a muttered whisper.
"Whoa, hold the fennel. Are you saying I supposed to be murdered?" Of all the things that she'd heard today, this was the most unbelieveable. Okay, maybe being from this clan and being taken from her 'mother' was a pretty hard concept to grasp, but killing a kit? That was just plain evil!
Bubblepelt didn't even hesitate to answer before immediately going back to his thoughts. "Yes."
"It happened to a lot of kits," Beechheart admitted, moving closer to drape her tail over Thrush's back in a gesture of sympathy. "Like I said, I had one of my kits taken away, too. But you're the one who survived. How?" She had to know.
"My mother, duh. My real mother," Thrush replied, shrugging the she-cat's black tail off.
Beecheart gave her a sad look. She felt nothing but sympathy for this poor cat. "Honey, you're real mother was here. She took care of your brother until she died with so many others a season ago. Her name was Otterleap."
Thrush shook her head, not wanting to believe a word of any of this. "No, you're either wrong, or you're lying. My mother raised me in the Oaks. Her name was Skull, and she was my only family. I don't have a brother. I'm not from here. And I'm definitely not going to stay here!"
A blue paw swatted her across the face suddenly. It was Bubblepelt. He glared at her like she was stupid, his tail lashing in raging annoyance. "Do you really think we would be going through the trouble of putting on an act and making up this whole story on the spot to get you to stay?" he growled at her. Before she could answer, he nodded his head to Bucktail. "You do have a brother, and he's it."
Bucktail watched them with eyes as big as moons. He had been sitting and listening to this all, not sure if he believed any of this either, but also half trying to remember anything he could. "I'm sorry, what?"
"She's your sister, you moron," Bubblepelt snapped then sighed and rolled his blue eyes. "I shouldn't expect you to remember, since you were only a newborn at the time." He turned to face Thrush again. "But I was a medicine cat apprentice. I was there when you were born. In fact, I helped you once you were born." His head turned back to Bucktail. "The both of you."
"I know you helped me," the brown tom mewed but seemed confused still. "But why had I never heard of even having a sister before?"
"Because the clan was not supposed to speak of kits who had been taken. The queens and medicine cats, even the kits that were old enough to watch this all happen were never to speak of it. Sometimes it was just best, for the benefit of the mothers who lost their kits and the kits who lost the siblings they would come to never know they had," Beechheart answered, her tone growing sadder the more she went on. "Plus, it was simply a dark time for the clan. No cat wants to know their friend or kin's kits were taken into the Oak Barrens or Sweeping Meadow to die. No one wanted to talk about it."
All of this was too wild. It couldn't be true. Thrush refused to believe any of it. And if there was the small possibility that it all happened to be reality, it was a reality she simply couldn't accept - her attempted murder, having a brother, the mother she knew not being her real parent, these cats killing kits or leaving them to die alone. Being part of this awful clan now seemed to be an even more impossible idea. Never would the she-cat want to be part of a 'family' that had tossed her out to die on her first sun of life, along with however many others.
"I have to go." For the first time in her life, her voice trembled. her whole body was shaking, actually, like tremors after an earthquake. But, the she-cat didn't seem to even care. She turned to leave again, but Bubblepelt took it upon himself to stand in her way, literally.
"Not until I fix that wound on your shoulder." His gaze fell onto the crimson stained fur which ran down her shoulder and leg. By now, it had dried and became crusted like rust. The pain had pretty much faded, as well. Yet, with all the happenings, thrush had completely forgotten the wound ever existed.
"No, I'll be fine." Sidestepping, she tried to move past the blue tom, but he only moved with her. This happened a few times, her never getting anywhere.
"Listen, if it's not treated then it could become infected, and you could die." His tone was blunt and annoyed, as was his face. " Is that what you want? Do you want to die?"
"I... No, but-"
"Shut up and come with me. If you try to run I will just follow you until you can't run anymore. I used to be a warrior, so I'm not afraid to go out there alone, or drag a frightened, little she-cat back for her medicine." With that, the tom padded back to the boulder and disappeared in the space of the fox den below and crack in the rock above.
Thrush watched him go then peered towards Bucktail who could really only nod for her to go, still mostly lost in his own thoughts, most likely mentally drowning in the disorientation of information.
"Go on, dear," Beechheart urged gently. "You can leave with no problem right after if that's what you really wish." Though, she hoped Thrush at least pondered everything and considered still staying, if only to learn more. Maybe then she would see just how good the clan was?
Thrush glanced around after the white and black cat's input to see what Silverstar or any others had to say, but they had left some time ago, not able to help in any way or having important things to do. While listening to and watching all of this turmoil was rather naturally interesting, stuff still needed done for the clan, such as hunting.
With a defeated sigh, the tan she-cay slowly made her way to the boulder, paws heavy. Now that she noticed it, there still was a slight sting in her shoulder when she walked. However, it wasn't exactly bothersome or concerning. Upon reaching the fox den with the large cracked rock above it, she peered in. From the angle she could only make out a couple small piles of dark leaves on the ground which appeared to line the left wall of the old den. Sniffing, she found no traces of fox left anymore either, but a strong, tangy odor hit her nostrils, causing her nose to wrinkle in distaste. "Hurry up and get in here already. I don't have all sun," Bubblepelt's angry voice echoed from inside the dark earth's maw. Stifling a sigh, she padded down the small slope and inside.
Green herbs lined the den wall inside the dark space, while the other wall houses nests made of moss, feathers, and fern fronds. With the odor of herbs now twice as strong, Thrush had to try hard not to gag. The combination of darkness and strong scent of herbs, along with the soil which was moist from the nearby river made the cave dank and rather depressing.
"Have a seat," Bubblepelt told her in more of a fashion that sounded like an order. His tail was to her mostly as he pawed at piles of herbs and petals on the ground.
Not wanting to upset the already grumpy tom any further, she just sat down where she was. Besides, the she-cat would do anything to get out of this place faster. Her shoulder stung a bit at the movement. She was quiet as the tom started chewing on the herbs. "Gross! Why are you eating those?" She couldn't believe her eyes. These cats were crazy, but she didn't think they'd be crazy enough to eat plants!
"I'm not," Bubblepelt said gruffly through the mouthful of vegetation. He pulled a broad beech leaf from a pile and then spat the pulp onto it. "It's a poultice to keep your wound from getting infected and to help it heal quicker. Now hold still while I clean up all this dried blood."
He moved to lick her shoulder, but she swiftly stood and stepped away. "No, I can do it." No way did she want some strange tom to clean her. It was almost embarrassing.
He simply rolled his eyes and turned away. "Whatever." It's not like it made any difference to him. Instead, he began carefully sorting out some nettle closer towards the back of the den.
Thrush inwardly sighed then began rasping her tongue over her crimson streaked shoulder. The blood tasted metallic and tangy, as usual. Never was a taste she could grow used to, even after so many injuries form so many fights. Now that she thought about it, if those many wounds from her past had never gotten an infection, why would this one? Oh well, if she left now there was no doubt in her mind this tom would chase after her and never quit until he caught her. It was yet another example of how insane these cats were really.
When she was done washing herself, Thrush looked up and over at the blue, speckled tom. "Alright, I'm ready," she mewed, really just eager to get this over with go.
Bubblepelt turned and padded back over then scooped some poultice up on his paw. He then dabbed it over her shoulder wound. it took only mere moments for him to finish this. But then he went over to the nettle he'd been sorting and brought it back, now sticking that on her shoulder as well. "To make sure this stays on for a while," he answered before the question could even be asked.
Thrush only nodded and sat still for him, happy when it was over. "Thanks, I guess," she muttered to which he only gave a curt nod. She took a few steps towards the exit but paused when the tom spoke again.
"I'm glad you're alive." For once, his mew was no gruff or grumpy. It was not filled with sarcasm or irritation. For once, he was soft and sincere.
Thrush didn't know what to say to this, considering he'd been one to let her go and to die in the first place. But she also knew he'd been the one to help her be born into this world, even if it was one of suffering and pain. At least, he had said he'd helped her when she was born. Whether it was true or not, there was no real way of telling.
Without giving a response, mostly because she didn't know which one would be appropriate, she continued on her way in silence. Cats watched her as she padded towards the camp entrance, her eyes fixed on only that target. She did not want to meet anyone else's gaze or engage in any conversation. Her time in this place had long been up.
But despite her clearly not screaming or even subtly asking for attention, Bucktail was quickly at her side, keeping pace with her. "You aren't really leaving are you?" he asked, his voice hurt and sad.
Still not wanting any of this, Thrush kept her jaws clamped shut and kept padding forward. She never faltered in step, either. Even her eyes didn't twitch to glance in his direction. They stayed fixed ahead.
The brown tom looked down sadly but still walked by her side. "I get it. You don't want to be here because you were basically thrown out before, but that wasn't my fault. I was only a kit too." He paused, gaze on the ground where he would put his paws. "Do you know how lonely I've been growing up with no one else?"
Thrush stopped at this. Lonely? He'd been lonely? She had been out in the Oaks with only her mother her whole life! And now she found out today that her mother might not even be her real mother! All of this was so hard to believe, but also really hard to disbelieve. Was her mother her mother? Was she actually supposed to long be dead? Thrush didn't know what to think, but she did know that he had no right to say he was lonely with all these other cats here. His family. Spinning 90 degrees to face him, her sharp tongue was about to slice him in half with a barrage of words, but he spoke first.
"They all died right in front of me. One by one." His amber gaze stayed on the ground, but he'd stopped in walking, too. "Warriors, apprentices; all our elders; Adderstar; our deputy, Vinewhisker; the queens; kits; our mother, Otterleap... All of them, one by one they fell only only a few of us remained. I was the only kit to survive." The more he spoke the more his voice failed him in staying collected and calm. "I was only four moons old, barely able to eat fresh-kill on my own." Now, his long, curved claws dug into the soft soil. "Please, Thrush. I'm not asking you to stay forever. I just... I just don't want to lose my sister for a second time. I don't want you to be alone."
Something in Thrush's heart ached then as she listened to his words and looked into his amber eyes. If he truly was her brother then she couldn't see how. He obviously cared about these cats more than anything, but he cared about her just the same. Yet, she did not feel anything but hatred and resentment towards this band of felines. However, she could admit that Bucktail was the one who did not bring that feeling. But having a small connection to this one tom wasn't nearly enough to persuade her to stay on this tainted ground.
"For the last time, Bucktail, I am not staying. I'm not joining this group of kit killers. There is absolutely nothing you can say to make me. I don't mind you, but I hate every single last one of the others. They left me to die in the Oaks, alone. If you care about me so much then how can you stay here and care about them when it could have been you that was left out there? Would you care about everyone in this place then? I doubt it highly. So leave me alone, Bucktail. Leave me to my lone, rogue life."
Without another word, she spun around and darted through the entrance. She didn't look back once as she bolted through the undergrowth, weaving between bramble thickets and trees. But after a while of running, she slowed and looked around, soon realizing that she was lost. Scents from a group of other cats still lingered and were quite fresh, actually. "How far does their territory span?" Thrush hissed to herself then started walking, opening her mouth to let the gentle breeze carry scents to her.
Drifting softly on the breeze were the scents of cats nearby. So nearby, in fact, that four shapes emerged from behind a holly thicket. One turned its head and spotted Thrush, quickly alerting the other three with a yowl. In an instant, all four pairs of eyes were on her, and the figures raced forward, stopping just short of Thrush but then encircling her.
The tan she-cat did not like this. She'd tried to move, but the garrison was quick and had her trapped. She whirled around, getting a good look at each of the cats she was faced with, and hostility in their eyes.
One was a large black and white tom, his chest and front paws the only white to break up the mass of black. His narrowed, amber eyes did help in this endeavor as well, though. Another cat was a mottled brown tom with most of his left ear missing from past battles, along with patches of fur. His green eyes glinted with instant hatred. The one who had spotted her was a younger tom, his pelt pitch black with no distinguishable markings. Only his blue eyes gave way to color. Finally, the last cat was the only she-cat of the group. Her pelt was as white as snow, other than her light gray paws. Her green eyes were filled with the most rage.
"What are you doing on our territory, RoseClan scum?" the tuxedo tom hissed, being the first to speak.
"Think you can come and steal our prey like you tried a season ago?" the she-cat snapped.
Thrush flattened her ears, her muscles instinctively bunching up for a fight, but she knew there wasn't a chance she'd defeat four cats at once, on her own. She continued to spin around slowly, trying to keep her eyes on every cat at once and not have her haunches vulnerable to attack. "I'm not part of any clan," she spat back, right in the black and white tom's face. Her pelt bristled and fangs bared, claws sinking into the earth.
"Then why did you come from RoseClan territory? Why do you have poultice on your shoulder made by a medicine cat?" the molted tom chimed in aggressively. He took a swat at her, but she spun around in time to swat his paw away.
"Because they wanted me to join them, but I don't care to be a part of any clans." Rage only continued to boil up inside of her, what little patients she had was already worn very thin by RoseClan and Bucktail. Now, it was filing down to be even less than a whisker thick.
"Then you're a rogue." That was the molted tom again, but his buddy chimed in after. "Get out of here, filthy rogue! And don't come back!" The white she-cat then gave Thrush a swipe.
Thrush whirled around to become nose to nose with the other she-cat, and she spat in her white face. "I'll happily go if you mouse-brains would point the way to the Oaks!"
The white she-cat growled and batted at Thrush's head with swift, fluid motions. "You're not getting off that easily!" Thrush backed up in response, but the molted tom was there, and he reared up enough to dig his claws into her haunches. She yowled and spun to face him but was met with more blows to the face. The tuxedo tom now joined in, knocking her hind legs out from under her. Thrush fell, being forced by strong paws to roll on her back, and was instantly jumped on by all three adult cats. Only the young, jet black tom did not join in on the attack.
Now with her completely vulnerable and soft underbelly to the sky, a fury of blurred, mix-colored blows bombarded her. From all sides the cats attacked, clawing at her relentlessly and hissing insults as they did so. All Thrush could do was flail her forepaws around in panic, trying to desperately, but futilely, fend off her attackers.
Blow after blow, blood flowed from open wounds on her belly, staining her tan fur an even darker shade of crimson than her shoulder had been. Just when she was about to give up and accept the cold embrace of death, a voice rang out through the trees. "Stop it!"
Suddenly, the blows stopped, and a harsh inquiry snapped instead. "Shut your mouth, Nightpaw. This is warrior business! You have no say in this." It could be recognized as the other she-cat's voice.
"Actually, he may have a point, Cinderfoot," the tuxedo tom chimed in, his gaze thoughtful as he watched Thrush bleed and lie still on the ground before them, her breathing and half-opened eyes looking around at them being the movement. Pain and crippling fear gripped her body in ice cold claws.
"What if she's with the rogue group from across the Sweeping Meadows?" he suggested, his eyes never leaving Thrush's body. "I don't know why she would be all the way down here, but if she has information on them then she could be of value."
The she-cat thought a moment, watching Thrush as well. "You could be right," she meowed finally. "We will take her back to camp and hold her until we get the information we want. I'm so sick of those mongrels stealing our prey and waltzing into our territory any time they feel like." Without warning, she slapped Thrush hard on the back with a gray paw, but with sheathed claws. "Get up. You're coming with us." There was no sympathy anywhere in her body or voice.
Thrush's yellow eyes slowly slid to look at her. "You really think...I can walk...right now?" the tan she-cat managed to get out, even keeping her snarky attitude. About to die or not, scared or not, she would at least go down fighting in her own way.
"Forget it. I'll just drag her," the largest of the cats growled then bent down and grabbed her scruff. He then began awkwardly walking back, Thrush half-dragging on the ground and leaving a thin trail of red behind.
"Do you really think it's a good idea to show this rogue where our camp is?" the molted tom asked, walking in front of them. Even though she couldn't see anyone but the young apprentice who walked behind her, she knew who was talking.
"It'll be fine. We can take on any rogues who come too close. Coming into the territory around the edges is one thing, but they would never dare to our camp. We'd wipe them out easily." That was the she-cat.
Thrush listened as they talked like she couldn't hear them. They'd begun insulting her now. her eyes watched the young tom, though. He padded behind her with an expression that could only be read as 'I'm so sorry.'
Thrush awoke to a stinging on her haunches. Hissing, she opened her eyes to see a dark space made of holly and bramble. That overpowering tang of herbs lingered in the air once more, smacking her nostrils and lungs with each ragged breath she took.
A sigh of relief sounded from by her tail. "Oh good, you're finally awake." The sensation of paws being pressed on her came, along with more stinging. "I'm sorry my clanmates were so rough with you, but most of them have seen too many rogues do bad things."
She felt too tired to really move right now, so lifting her head to see who was talking wasn't even an option. "Where...?" Even talking was a huge hassle and took a lot of effort and energy.
"You're in my medicine den. Darkstorm brought you in. You were out cold, but I'm glad you woke up now." The sensation of paws and the stinging of what she could only assume to be herbs moved to her belly now. "And before you ask, my name is Owlfur."
"I keep telling you, I'm not with the rogue group! I live alone!" A massive cat loomed over her and then narrowed his amber eyes but then calming and giving her a cool look. It was the same tom who'd dragged her to this place. "Alright, come on now. Just tell me what we want to know, what I want to know. Do it, and I'll groom you. How about that?"
Thrush looked on in bewilderment for a moment then burst out laughing. "Are you serious?" The movement of her sides hurt to laugh, but this was absolutely hilarious! The tom, however, did not seem pleased by the reaction, if not a bit confused as well.
When she was able to calm down, Thrush spoke again. "I don't know how handsome you actually think you are or how many she-cats swoon over you, but I'm not going to be one of them. Oh, and let's not forget you attacked me." Her gaze turned cold and hard like stone while she stared the tuxedo tom down.
"I understand you were brought here through...undesirable means, but we have cared for your wounds. You had a whole sun to recover. We fed you, and we will let you go as soon as we know what we want to know." That time a ginger tabby she-cat spoke. So far, she seemed more level-headed than the other cats she had encountered here, save for Owlfur and the apprentice from when she was taken.
"Oh my Stars, do you not understand the words I am saying to you? Can you not comprehend the language cat?" Thrush's tail lashed as her eyes shifted from the tabby to the tuxedo, and then Owlfur in the back; he was sorting herbs and trying not to get involved. "I live on my own, and that's how it's going to stay. I'm not with the rogue group that's doing whatever to you, and I'm not joining RoseClan, or whatever its stupid name is!" She felt her claws unsheath, even though a fight right now would be an instant loss seeing as how she was outnumbered, in their camp, and injured.
The ginger she-cat narrowed her yellow eyes, claws sliding from her white paws. "I have been nothing but reasonable with you this whole time, going so far as to bring you prey from our own fresh-kill pile. Darkstorm," her tail lashed in the tuxedo tom's direction, "could have left you out there to die. Yet, here you are, alive and recovering. I know you're not alone. Now, tell me where the rogue settlement is." Her voice was a harsh hiss.
Thrush felt like smacking her head off the thick holly bush truck beside her which made up the medicine den wall. Why were they not getting it? "Just kill me," she meowed finally after letting some silence hang in the air. Right now, she was the embodiment of frustration. "At this point, I'd take death over talking with you two."
The tabby did not like what she was hearing and was very fed up with all this charade. With a quick swipe, she lashed Thrush over the nose. In return, her nose began to seep tiny droplets of red and sting.
"Rowanstar, hurting her is obviously going to get us nowhere," Darkstorm meowed to her. He then leaned in closer to her ear and whispered something. At this, she took a deep breath and nodded, her claws sheathed once more.
"We will be back, soon," Rowanstar told Thrush with a firm gaze. Then they both turned and left.
Once they were gone, Owlfur rushed over. "Are you alright?" He glanced at her nose, examining it quickly. "It's only a scratch, nothing to worry about." The speckled tom gave her a sympathetic look. "I'm so sorry about my clanm-"
"It's fine," Thrush cut him off, huffing and then turning her head away to look outside the den. All she could really see was an open area with bramble walls in the background and the occasional cat pass by in that clearing. "These cats are nothing I can't handle. If I live to go back to the Oaks, fine. If I die here, fine. But I'm not going to live as a prisoner."
"You won't be here for very much time, as long as you tell them what they want to know," Owlfur mewed to her as he turned to hook a leave on his claw. he then began to chew it up a bit.
"I can't! Do none of you understand what I'm saying?" Thrush snapped, losing her temper and patience. Her tail began to lash in the dust behind her. It even caught a few of the herbs in a close pile and scattered them across the den floor. However, it wasn't something to be noticed by the she-cat, or cared about. "I'm not with any rogue group! I'm alone."
Owlfur was silent now. He saw the herbs he'd worked to compile neatly be brushed away by her tail but said nothing about it. He felt it best to not argue with the hot-headed cat before him. Instead, he spat out the leaf he was chewing then suddenly stretched his head forward and licked Thrush's nose.
Heat rose up in her body, coming to rest mostly in her face and ears. Her whole demeanor of being angry and hostile changed to show nothing but stunned confusion. Did he really just do that?
"There, now your nose won't get infected." The tom didn't seem to even acknowledge what he'd done a affectionate in any way, or how it made Thrush react. He simply padded behind her and sat down to paw the scattered leaves back into a neat pile like nothing had even happened.
Just then, the light from the den entrance wavered. A body blocked a small portion of the light. The black shape slunk in quietly, as if trying to go unnoticed by the cats who clearly knew he was there.
"Do you need something, Nightpaw?" the medicine cat asked without looking up from his work. This must have happened often, or Owlfur was just that good.
The black tom stopped in his tracks, barely inside the den entrance. His blue eyes looked from Thrush quickly to Owlfur and then down at the ground. Next, he took a seat where he was and shuffled his paws. "I, uh, I just had a thorn in my flank," the small tom meowed quietly. His paws began to shuffle in the dirt. But then he suddenly added in an almost fearful way, "But I can go. I'm sure it won't get infected."
Owlfur shook his head. "Nightpaw, it's best if I have a look at it, and you know that. You just need to stop getting thorns in your pelt so much." The whole time he spoke, the speckled tom was gathering up herbs and making a new, tiny pile. "Alright, let's have a look."
Nightpaw sat stone still as Owlfur checked through the midnight tom's pelt. It wasn't long before a thorn was found and removed, spat out on the ground to be disposed of later. "There. I doubt that little wound will be infected. The thorn was barely in your skin."
Thrush looked on curiously. She wondered why this black cat seemed so afraid of Owlfur when the medicine cat appeared to be the kindest of the clan cats she'd met so far, of this clan anyway. What was this clan's name again?
Nightpaw nodded, his blue gaze darting to Thrush and then back to the ground. "Thank you. I'm sorry I keep getting hurt..."
"It's fine. I'm here to help. That's my job. It's not really your fault anyway with all the rough cats here in DarkClan. I wish things could go back to the way they were before, before The Great Wave." Owlfur sighed and shook his head. "I also wish you could have seen times like that, when this clan was a lot less fearful of others and, in turn, hostile. Now it's just everyone is a threat, and everyone has to be super strong and skilled. I know you have a lot of expectations weighing on your shoulders since Darkstorm is your father, and having the deputy as your mentor as well." He shook his head as he started placing the herbs he'd piled for an infection back in their respective places. "Having one of the clans most respected warriors, and probably most handsome according to the she-cats, as a father would be hard."
Nightpaw simply nodded, staying quiet the whole time now. Maybe that's why he seemed to timid. He was afraid he couldn't live up to those expectations of being so great? He was a pretty small cat, even for being young like he was.
"That's stupid," Thrush chimed in with her usual zesty attitude. "Just because your father is a certain cat doesn't mean anything for you. It doesn't mean you have to do something a certain way, be a certain way, or anything. It doesn't mean mouse dung."
Looking up slightly, the black apprentice watched her tail lash again as she spoke. That motion alone sort of scared him. He hated it when other cats were angry, whether it was at him or not. But he nodded, however, a sort of grateful nod. It was at least nice to hear someone say such things when he worried all the time about who he should be because of who his father was.
"She's right, Nightpaw. How long have I been telling you the same?" Owlfur padded over and placed his tail on Nightpaw's shoulders. He gave him a very soft look when the smaller tom flinched at the touch. "I know you've been through alot in the eight moons you've been alive, but you're a lot stronger than you think you are. You have to be to live here in this clan anymore. You can come to me anytime you have problems you wanna talk about, too. Okay?"
"Thank you," came Nightpaw's soft but sincere murmur. He rose to his paws then and pulled away, beginning to walk out of the den. But before he could exit, Thrush spoke up.
"Hey. Uh, thanks for stopping your, uh, clanmates from attacking me." It felt so alien on her tongue to say such things as a thank you to anyone besides her mother, or adopted mother? Skull. It felt weird to say to anyone besides Skull. But it was needed here. Her heart may have been cold, but it wasn't made of ice. "I might have died if it wasn't for you. So thanks..."
The look in the black tom's blue eyes couldn't help but make the she-cat feel kind of good inside. His eyes sparkled in the half-light, truly grateful for those words. He gave a small nod then padded out, feeling better himself.
Strong oaks towered over the she-cat's head as she pressed herself to the leaf-littered ground. Slowly, her haunches waggled as her yellow eyes set a fixed gaze on a plump squirrel. With little cover in the Oak Barrens, the predator must become part of the forest floor, just as Thrush was.
Prey dug at the ground, soon bringing up an acorn which had been hiding amongst the leaves. The creature began to nibble on its prize, back to predator and unaware of its impending death.
With one swift pounce, the squirrel was lifeless in Thrush's jaws, having barely had time to get out a shriek of surprise before white fangs clamped down in its fur.
"Nice catch. You've certainly become quite the hunter. It isn't easy to sneak up on squirrels like that."
Dropping her catch, the tan she-cat whirled around at the sound of a foreign voice. Instantly, her claws unsheathed, and the fur along her spine started to bristle. Before her sat a ginger tabby tom with stars in his green eyes, and more faintly twinkling in his fiery fur. Through him, the oaks could be seen.
"Who are you?" Thrush snapped. "Why are you in my dream?" All she had wanted to do was escape from her clan prison for a little while with some much needed sleep, but it seemed that even in her own head others kept appearing, unwelcome.
The tom gazed at her softly, tail resting delicately over his forepaws. He showed no evidence of hostility, but more so gentle pride. He blinked slowly. "You've grown so much, little Fawnkit."
She didn't know why exactly this reaction happened when hearing that name, but she flinched. Right after, however, she went back to being her snarky, cranky self. "My name is thrush! Now, I'm not going to ask a third time. Who are you?" Her tail lashed behind her as she stood with stiff, tensed muscles.
"My name is Adderstar. I am the one who was supposed to kill you."
Thrush didn't wait for further explanation before launching herself at the mysterious, starry ghost of a cat. However, her outstretched claws impacted nothing but the leaves and soil underpaw. Her body went right through his. She jumped back but then instantly turned and lunged again, jumping around him and swiping angrily at his ghostly form. Yet, none of the blows hit anything more than air.
"Thrush, please stop. You're making a fool out of yourself," Adderstar sighed as black paws swished through his head but never actually connected or broke his figure.
The angry she-cat had to tire herself out first before she stopped, letting out all of her aggression in this moment of fruitless offense. After a couple more heartbeats, the rogue calmed herself down, panting slightly with the effort. "Get out of my head," she growled to the tom as she stepped back.
"Thrush, please. You must listen to what I have to say. I wouldn't have come here if it wasn't of dire importance," Adderstar meowed, an urgentness now filling his green gaze. Before she could interrupt, he continued. "RoseClan needs you, Thrush. They need more members before they're all wiped out."
"I'm not part of that group of murderers," she snapped, tail lashing again as anger once again began to boil. "And I'm not helping you. You're the one who took me out to die alone by the claws or fangs of Stars know what!"
Adderstar meowed quickly, getting more desperate, "I know what I did." His gaze fell to his own paws where his claws had started to unsheath slightly. Quickly, he sheathed them completely again. "I know what I did... I never wanted to, but we couldn't have afforded to keep any more cats. I deeply regret the decisions I made then." His mew was genuine as he looked back up at her, eyes filled with sadness and remorse. "I was supposed to kill you, just like a piece of prey. Other warriors I sent out with kits did it. They couldn't hardly sleep afterwards... But when it came to my turn, to kill you... I just couldn't bring myself to do it." His ears began to flattened against his head. "You were just so tiny and fragile. One bite was it would have taken, but you were so good when I carried you. Even when the ride got bumpy you never made a sound until I set you down. You cried and cried for someone, anyone to be with you so you weren't alone. But even when my jaws were around your neck, you fell silent because someone was there... How could anyone take a kit's life like that?"
Adderstar shook his head slowly, closing his eyes. "I was supposed to show you mercy, but instead I was a coward and ran. I left you there as you begged for a companion. You could have starved, gotten eaten by something else, or even frozen to death on the chilly night that followed. It would have been my fault." Opening his eyes again, he looked at her, nothing but regret swimming in his gaze. "The memory of your form, the cries that echoes in my ears haunted me for the rest of my last life until death claimed me moons later."
Thrush couldn't believe what she was hearing. Picturing herself as a newborn kit, lying there under the oaks and completely out in the open, begging for somebody to be with her in this empty place... It was too much. She shook her head vigorously before collapsing to the ground, paws coming up to claw her own ears. "Get out of my head! Get out! I'll never join your band of murderers! You're not welcome in my mind! Out!"
A paw on her shoulder made her jolt up with a start, pain rippling through her body as result. "Great freaking Stars!" she cursed, her voice racked with agony. She lay back down to let the intense feeling quickly fade. However, her ears burned.
"Whoa, are you okay, Thrush?" Owlfur stood over her, concern written all over his face. "Just relax. You're okay now. But you must have been having one heck of a nightmare to scratch your own ears up so bad."
Her body relaxed in the moss and feather nest, and her yellow gaze went to his. Blinking a few times, she inhaled and exhaled deeply to calm herself. "Something like that," she sighed then closed her eyes again, but quickly opened them as the image of her infant body lying under the Oaks flashed in the darkness.
Thrush sat in the camp's clearing, bramble walls surrounding her. Behind her, large boulders jutted from the ground and loomed over the she-cat's head while cats milled around. But she was calm. It had been seven moons since her capture, and during her time in DarkClan she had been intensely questioned multiple times a sun as to what the rogue group across Sweeping Meadows was planning, or where their camp was. However, now healing, she was able to walk around camp if supervised. But the bad thing were those dreams, the ones of Adderstar.
He came every night to tell her how she absolutely need to join RoseClan, but those dreams were always nightmares to her. When he spoke, all she could imagine was her own body lying in the dying leaves as a newborn kit. She could hear her own past wails echoing in her ears and feel her own desperation and sorrow.
Now wasn't a time to think about that, though. The sun was perched high in the clear, blue sky. The cats with whom she was closest, simply because they cared to actually be kind to her, sat at her sides and observed the clan's daily life with her. Owlfur sat to her right while Nightpaw sat to her left, his fur ever so gently touching hers. But the she-cat knew it was only because he was in the same boat as her. The clan wasn't so kind to him, and he enjoyed the comfort of a friendly soul. At least, Thrush was friendly him and the other tom, maybe not so much anyone else yet.
Rowanstar, a ginger tabby she-cat with stern, yellow eyes, padded across the clearing to meet with Cinderfoot, her deputy. Darkstorm was there, too. Rownstar spoke to the two with her tail tip twitching. She was clearly upset about something, but when wasn't she? Most of the cats here seemed to always be cranky or upset. Perhaps it was stress related with the group group involved, though, it's not like Thrush cared all that much.
Nightpaw shrunk beside her, bringing his shoulders up more and hanging his head, gaze falling quickly to the dusty ground. He even pressed himself closer to Thrush, their pelts fully against each other now.
Looking down and then at Darkstorm, Thrush understood the actions. The big tuxedo tom was casting stone cold glances in their direction, but he was looking straight at his son. If only what they were saying to could be heard, but even upon straining her ears, the spoke too quietly. Instead of trying to eavesdrop, the she-cat did something she had never once before executed. She wrapped her tan tail around the small, black tom for comfort.
She knew exactly why, too. She liked this little black cat. Even if she did not want to form relationships with anyone, especially clan cats, something about Nightpaw just brought out a deep buried instinct inside her. She wanted to make him feel like he wasn't hated, or that he was doing his best, that he had...a friend, or close enough to it.
After all, no one really deserved to feel the way she did. No one deserved to feel completely numb or empty inside, a heart void of companionship or love for others. No one should feel conflicted between wanting to be alone and hurt or being with someone else only to have it hurt worse later on when they left.
"Don't pay attention to him. He's an idiot who doesn't know what he's doing," she whispered softly to Nightpaw, a low growl in her tone. Darkstorm always got on her nerves the moment she even saw him.
"Yes, don't worry about him," Owlfur chimed in after making his way around Thrush to comfort the apprentice from his other side. "There is a lot of pressure riding on your shoulder for sure because of others putting it there. But that doesn't mean you have to deal with that pressure," the speckled tom mewed. "Deal with the pressure you put there yourself to become better, but don't stress over any of it."
Nightpaw slowly lifted his head, his blue gaze going from Thrush to Owlfur. He opened his jaws to say something, but the sudden screech of Rowanstar stopped everyone cold. "Silverstar? What are you doing in my camp?"
All three cats looked up and over at the bramble tunnel where Silverstar had just emerged. He held his head high and tail in the air as he padded in further, DarkClan cats bristling. "I'm sorry to intrude, Rowanstar, but we must discuss some things immediately, and I'm afraid I couldn't wait for a patrol escort." Behind him, Bucktail; Beechheart; and her apprentice, Lizardpaw, filed out of the tunnel to stand behind their leader.
Rowanstar's fur bristled with fury, and her claws sunk deep into the soil below. "How dare you march right up to my camp and think I'd talk with you?" She spat the words at the silvery tom, venom dripping from each one. But, any leader would be furious to have another group of cats trespass in the heart of their territory.
"Rowanstar, please. I only wish to be civil with you. I do not want to start conflict," Silverstar meowed calmly, however, a hint of desperation wavered in his mew. Yet, he stood tall and relaxed, not at all indicating he was looking for a fight.
Blue eyes grazed the camp until they met with Thrush's own yellow. A spark of relief flashed in the RoseClan leader's eyes, and he nodded his head ever so slightly to her.
Thrush only looked on in confusion. Why were they here? Surely it wasn't to still try and get her to join them. Couldn't they just take 'no' for an answer? She turned her head away from them and looked to Nightpaw and Owlfur instead.
Nightpaw had his gaze fixated on the small RoseClan garrison. His body language said nothing of hostility or fear. He seemed simply curious as to the group's intentions, just like Thrush herself and Owlfur.
"Leave our camp and territory now, before I rip your ears off." The bellowing threat came from Darkstorm. The black and white tom stalked right up to Silverstar, towering over him, but the silvery-white leader did not even flinch, though, the other cats behind him either tensed or unsheathed their claws.
Even his mew was steady. "Hello, Darkstorm, it's a pleasure to see you, too." He then leaned to the side, having to do so to see Rowanstar. "Please, Rownstar. All I'm asking for is a bit of your time. If you discuss with me the issues at paw, then I will gladly leave with my patrol and never bother you here at your camp again."
Rowanstar thought a moment then sheathed her claws and forced the ginger fur along her spine to lie flat once more. Taking a deep breath and exhaling slowly, she turned and flicked her tail for him to follow. "Leave your warriors out here." With that, she stalked back into her den.
Silverstar stepped past Darkstorm, head high as he followed his fellow leader. Behind him, the warriors stayed put, all except for Bucktail. The tom, against Darkstorm's wishes, trotted right over to Thrush and her tiny group at the edge of camp.
"We knew you'd be here," he mewed with a purr, stopping right in front of his sister and not paying any mind to the other toms with her, or Darkstorm growling like an annoyed kit from behind. "Don't worry, you won't have to stay here much longer. Silverstar came to get you back. We came to get you back."
Thrush looked at him, hearing the joy in his mew and the rumbling purr in his throat. She, however, gave no sign of joy. Instead, all she offered was more bitterness and attitude. "What makes you think I want to go with you and Silverstar?"
Bucktail's tail, which had previously been high in the air, now drooped at her words. He gave her a confused expression and tilted his head to the side slightly, ears folding back a bit. "Well...you don't want to stay here...right?" He prayed to StarClan that she didn't.
Rapidly growing irritated, Thrush twitched the tip of her tail and gave Bucktail a frustrated look through narrowed eyes. "Oh my stars, how can you be so dense?" Now, her tail lashed behind her. "I don't want to stay here, or with you, or any clan! I want to be alone in the Barrens! I want my life back!"
Bucktail looked at his sister with hurt filled eyes as she growled at him. He looked as though he was a kit being scolded for playing, unfairly and unexpectedly in trouble. His amber gaze fell, and he shuffled his paws on the ground. "Thrush, I... I just want my sister back," the tom mewed quietly, hoping to not be yelled at again.
Thrush's eyes narrowed even more, her tail still lashing and ears flat against her skull. The others simply watched, unsure of what to do or how to intervene. "I don't care," she hissed now through gritted fangs. "I don't belong in your dumb clan. I don't want to be in it. I don't care about you any more than a stranger, because that's what you are." How could she care for a cat whom she did not know? How could he?
Before any words could further be exchanged, the leader's den erupted with Rowanstar's angry snarls. "You cannot just march right into my camp and expect me to hand over my prisoner without good reasoning!"
All cats' heads turned towards the den, ears angling forward with interest. In that moment, an idea struck Thrush's mind. She glanced around at the other cats, making sure no eyes were on her. Then, without warning, she bolted for the entrance.
"Hey! She's getting away!" a tom called from behind her, but with a head start, she had already mostly made it out of camp before they noticed. Even free of the camp's confining bramble, the she-cat did not slow down nor changed direction yet. She just kept running, her paws barely touching the ground as blood laced with adrenaline pounded in her ears.
She had to get back to the Barrens. They didn't know that place like she did. once she was back, she could hide or lose them in the trees. Even if not much brush grew there, she still knew her way around and where to go to avoid outsiders like these clan cats.
Paws hammered the ground behind her like rhythmic thunder in pursuit. There was no telling how many were chasing after her, but it was more than a few. Looking back would only slow her down, so she did no such thing, only pushing herself harder instead. Soon, the trees gave way to long, sweeping grasses, and as she crashed through the thin stalks the roar behind her halted abruptly. Yet, Thrush did not slow down.
Now running blindly, the she-cat kept going in what she thought was a straight line. The only things viisble now were the tall grass which stretched high all around her and the blue sky above. Finally, after her heart felt like it would explode and her muscles and lungs screaming for rest, she stopped and sat down where she was, panting.
Glancing around, it was the same scenery - green grass and blue sky. The only thing to indicate where she had been was the trail she'd created in the grass where the stalks bent back only slightly to form a very thin path that would surely disappear soon. "I have no idea where I am," Thrush panted quietly to herself; talking to herself had become habit ever since Skull died. "But at least I'm finally away from those stupid clan cats.
Subtle rustling came from her right. Looking in the direction on instinct, she found the stalks to be twitching gently against each other. Her muscles tensed, and she stood and turned to face what she was sure to be a threat, another clan cat or even fox maybe. Baring claws and fangs with fur rising, she waited until it emerged. A small, brown mouse hopped into the tiny clearing Thrush had made in the grass, but upon seeing her it quickly fled, darting away in the grass again.
The moment her eyes landed on the prey, Thrush's body relaxed, and she let out a small laugh. How could she be so scared of a mouse? It was hilarious, actually. Unable to help it, she began to laugh louder, finding her own tension and fear hilarious when directed at a mouse, a mere piece of food.
"Why ya laughin' so hard?" came a soft and inquisitive mew from the space the mouse had appeared.
Thrush shut her jaws instantly, her yellow eyes landing on the red, tabby head of a she-cat, green eyes curious. "You've got to be kidding me!" Thrush blurted out, exasperated.
Post by 🍁Searipple101🍁 on Mar 24, 2017 23:13:24 GMT -5
Facts and trivia(spoilers possible):
- Bubblepelt and Mistystone are littermates.
- Lizardpaw is half Maine Coon, which is why he's so big for an apprentice.
- Seedkit originally had a sister named Willowkit and a brother named Needlekit, but they are now deceased.
- I came up with this story idea by lying in bed after waking up XD It just popped up into my head, and I had to do it.
- The Oak Barrens, or Oaks, is a vast part of the forest where little undergrowth grows because oak trees take up much of the space and sunlight.
- Bubblepelt was originally a warrior but had to become medicine cat apprentice when the old apprentice died, and he was sent a dream from StarClan telling him to become the new medicine cat apprentice. He still has no idea why it had to be him.
- RoseClan was named from the rose walls that protect the camp. They fill the camp with a sweet scent every blooming season.
- RoseClan borders two other clans - DarkClan and CanyonClan.
Shorts/backgrounds: Complete contest events here for these!
Hoping Bucktail isn't her brother cause I'm starting to ship ThrushBuck. Also glad to see another cat with the word Buck in it. Pretty interesting how the clan that was over populated became at danger of dying out so quickly. My thought is that a sickness came to the clan and wiped out a lot of the clan
Post by 🍁Searipple101🍁 on Mar 25, 2017 21:22:45 GMT -5
Alright, but you know you don't need to, right? I mean, I'm really glad you read my stories, but you don't have to because we are friends or something. You should read stuff that's really interesting, but not stack a bunch on yourself.
NOTE: Excessively spamming the shoutbox may result in a 24 hour ban. Other forum rules still apply. Please do not advertise by linking other websites. Members are encouraged to report offending content to the moderators by PM.