Welcome to The Eleventh Hour. We are a post-Firestar roleplay set in the new lake territories, and are AU after the end of the main series. Peace has reigned through the Clans for many moons, but now that peace has fractured and split among the mysteries surrounding their home. Cats are dying with only one thing in common: They are all found floating in, or laying wet and muddy around the lake. The Clans have begun to lash out at one another in fear and confusion, and only RiverClan seems to hold the key to preventing an all-out war. With an entirely member-driven (you decide the outcome!) plot, a mere two hundred minimum word count, and a friendly, active user base, we hope that you like what you see and will consider joining us.
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green-leaf: temperatures between 70° and 95°f. rain currently threatens the sky. prey is difficult to find, and skinny.
Want to learn more about our lovely staff members? Check out our bios here!
"I don't give a mouse's tail what anybody else might think of us or whatever difference in rank they might see. There is none to me. You are a dear, dear friend to me, Oakwhisker, and I'm honored you feel the way you do. To tell the truth, there is no one else, there never has been. As long as I was serving ShadowClan, I thought that would be okay. But I was wrong. I do love you, Oakwhisker, and I would be just as honored to walk with you, if that's what you want."
Site concept and skin (When I See You Again) created by Rowan for use on The Eleventh Hour only. We give thanks to Becky at Candyland Couture for the mini-profiles. CFS codes by ree. Images, characters and side plots are copyrighted to their respective owners. The Warriors series belongs to the lovely ladies known as Erin Hunter, and is published by HarperCollins. Thank you for visiting!
AUGUST 25, 2015 Hey, guys! Sorry for the lack of events; between preparing for the new year of uni and trying to get SkyClan in order, there hasn't been much time for brainstorming. The month of September will, however, be chuck-full of stuff for you guys to enjoy to make up for it. That said, the August Activity Check and OTM Nominations have been posted. Please post there as soon as possible if you plan on sticking around.
AUGUST 05, 2015 Hey, guys; don't forget to give this a look-see. We've been seeing quite an unrealistic amount of forbidden relationships (especially regarding the site's medicine cats), so this thread contains some important new information regarding that.
AUGUST 04, 2015 OTM badges are running a little late, because I (Rowan) have to reinstall Photoshop before I can make them. They should start appearing on your mini-profiles within a day or two.
JULY 30, 2015 We have added a board for retroactive threads, titled the Hall of Dreams! This board is for anything that happened in a character's past - including things pre-site or things that never got a chance to be threaded out. All of the usual site rules apply!
JULY 25, 2015 The monthly Activity Check and OTM Nominations have been posted! Please reply to the thread as soon as possible. Also, we're working diligently on SkyClan's site lore, so expect them to make an appearance before Summer's end!
JULY 05, 2015 Ohoho, so soon? Yes! Another FLASH EVENT is taking place over in ShadowClan! Go protect your territory from a desperate fox!
JULY 04, 2015 Happy 4th of July, everyone! In celebration, an adder is attacking the ThunderClan nursery! Hurry and take part in this very fun FLASH EVENT. If you don't have any TC cats, don't worry; we will have stuff for everyone at some point. Stay tuned!
JUNE 25, 2015 We ask that you all please take a look at this post within the activity check thread, as it contains some important information regarding the OTMs.
JUNE 25, 2015 The monthly activity check and otm nominations have been posted! Please reply to the thread by July 1st, or you will risk deletion.
JUNE 21, 2015 Green-leaf has officially started on EH, and with it comes another event! This event will last for about two weeks, so have at it! The deadline has also been chosen for our SkyClan high positions, and it will be on June 28, 2015. However, they will likely not be announced until a few days after that, as we have implemented a new staff voting system for these sorts of decisions.
JUNE 20, 2015 Alright, congrats to our newest moderator, Aspen! All of the applications were beyond fantastic. This has literally been the hardest decision we've ever had to make, and I truly wish we could just wrap you all up in a tiny modlet blanket and keep everyone, but there will be more opportunities in the future, I'm sure.
JUNE 19, 2015 Friendly reminder for everyone to please post in this thread once you've finished your character. Sometimes it's hard for us to be able to tell which apps are done and which are not, which then leads to us taking forever to review and accept them. We don't like to keep people waiting for too long before they're able to play their characters, so this just makes it easier for us. Thanks!
JUNE 16, 2015 Seeing as how we've been seeing a lot of this lately, the rules have been updated.
JUNE 09, 2015 We now have a weather box! It can be found right beneath our welcome message, so please look to it when starting up new threads. This will be updated daily or weekly to keep things fresh, depending on how long the weather pattern holds.
JUNE 05, 2015 Today marks one year since EH's grand opening, and we are celebrating with a brand new skin! Not only that, but be sure to keep your eye out for several goodies throughout this month, including (but not limited to) contests and events. Here's to the future!
JUNE 04, 2015 In light of Tinsel's departure for the time being, Batnose has become the new ShadowClan medicine cat. Now, the reason we didn't hold auditions is simple; because Orchidsong didn't hold the position for long, we felt it to be reasonable that we fall back on someone else who had auditioned at the same time, and therefore we reviewed the old auditions one more time. Congratulations!
MAY 30, 2015 Training Threads and Pregnant Leaders / Deputies will no longer show up as a merit, just to keep things a little bit cleaner, as we're sure a lot of people will purchase training threads. This will prevent merit repeats for items. If your Training Thread or Pregnant Leader / Deputy item is still showing up as a merit, please PM Rowan and she will fix it. In similar news, we've limited the number of a single item permitted to be in your inventory at a time to one. This will hopefully prevent people from hoarding, and allow others to have a chance at snagging the item they need. Only one more day remains in the activity check, so please post if you plan on sticking around!
MAY 29, 2015 Please welcome Brandad to the EH Crew!! He is our newest moderator, so please don't hesitate to ask him questions and offer your congratulations!
MAY 28, 2015 Sadly, Tinsel has decided to step down from her position of staff. We will miss her, however she will definitely be welcomed back to the team if she ever decides she wants to help out again! She is not leaving the site, and will remain a beloved member of our community.
MAY 25, 2015 The monthly activity check and otm nominations have been posted.
MAY 19, 2015 Congratulations to Tyl and her character, Darkstorm, on becoming the new WindClan deputy! Thank you to everyone else who auditioned, too. You made the decision incredibly difficult for all of us (and Bran). We look forward to seeing how WC develops from here.
MAY 18, 2015 Don't forget to drop by our mentor and apprentice pairings thread to let us know when you've got enough posts in a thread. We try to stay on top of it, but some threads still manage to slip past us.
MAY 16, 2015 This is a reminder for everyone to please log into all your accounts daily, even if you don't post. It really helps us out when we recycle things. Also, remember that there is still a prey shortage! I've noticed a lot of threads where the hunting parties have been quite successful, however they should not be. Some prey is fine, of course, but you should not be finding large quantities of prey, and it shouldn't be large and/or plump when it is found. Yes, this applies to RiverClan, too; the fish are at an all-time low, as well, more likely to be found dead.
MAY 13, 2015 Congratulations to Tinsel and her character, Orchidsong, for becoming the new medicine cat of ShadowClan! If you didn't get it, we're sorry; there were a lot of great auditions, and there will surely be more opportunities to audition for another spot in the future. For instance, did you know that WindClan currently needs a deputy? The deadline for that has been set for May 19th, so go audition while you can!
MAY 10, 2015 Syn has chosen to step down from her role as WindClan leader. She is fine, so don't worry; she just doesn't feel like she can be active enough to hold that position. However, she will be keeping Reedwhisker, one of the RiverClan medicine cats, and Acornstar is still alive (now known as Acornbelly); we are still determining his reasons for stepping down. This means that Harenose has been promoted, and that WindClan Deputy auditions are now open!!
MAY 06, 2015 Congratulations to Nocturne and her character, Rooktail, for becoming the new deputy of RiverClan! We will be naming the new ShadowClan Medicine Cat on May 13th, so get your auditions in by then if you're interested!
MAY 01, 2015 The activity check has ended, and any inactive accounts have now been purged from the site. If you have returned, or you were somehow deleted by mistake, we ask that you simply remake your accounts and PM Rowan, so that she can restore your things.
APRIL 30, 2015 The activity check and otm voting will end tomorrow, so please post if you're still active, and haven't yet. If you don't have an active absence thread, you will be deleted if you don't post! There are also meetings going on in ThunderClan, ShadowClan, and WindClan that you guys can feel free to post in if you're looking for something quick to do. c:
APRIL 30, 2015 It's recently been called to my (Rowan's) attention that I may have handled Mericet's leaving quite poorly, and I would like to make it right. This should have been made on the day that she left us (which would have officially been April 27th, 2015), but here it goes, and I hope it's not too late for it to mean anything. Mer has decided that EH is not in her best interests anymore, and has decided to leave. However, I would like to say that she put a lot of time and effort into EH, helping me to make it the fantastic success it has been all this time, and I will forever be grateful to her for that. She drove me to make updates when I was being a bit slow, and when activity was low, she logged in and encouraged others to do so as well. She's the reason we have an automated marketplace now, and that awards system? Thank her for that. She loved the site as much as I do, so please understand that her leaving was through no fault of her own. As for her characters, she has said that they are all dead (except for adopted ones, which may be put back up for adoption), but she has requested that no details about their deaths be given, and I'd like you all to respect that wish. Thank you.
APRIL 29, 2015 Our new RiverClan Deputy will be announced on May 6th, so get those auditions in while you can!
APRIL 25, 2015 As per the usual, our Activity Check and OTM Nominations have been posted for the month of April. Please post, and vote as soon as you are able! From now on, those who don't vote in the OTMs will not be allowed to win in the category that they did not vote in. Any empty spaces will be chosen by our staff.
APRIL 21, 2015 The raid has ended with Stonestar's reveal that it is not the Clans killing off the cats... something is wrong with the lake.
APRIL 18, 2015 We now have a StarClan sub-board available for you all to roleplay the dead kitties that you've kept around! We don't want to see a bunch of freshly made dead cats, however; this is mainly for characters who have died on site. One or two cats from one of your living characters' pasts is alright, just don't go overboard please. Thank you!
APRIL 12, 2015 Due to the amount of people starting up a forbidden romance, which we feel to be quite unrealistic to the way that the warriors world works, it is now required that you purchase this from the marketplace. You will need to do this even if you've already begun your relationship, otherwise it will not be permitted to continue. If you've already given birth to forbidden kits, please PM Rowan or Mericet and they will gift you the forbidden romance, but only if you've already gotten that far. Thank you, and we hope you understand.
APRIL 09, 2015 Congratulations to Tinsel for being selected for biography moderator and to Zebra for becoming our new advertisement moderator! Be sure to give these two warm hugs when you see them. Good job everyone who auditioned, it was hard to choose between all of you!
APRIL 03, 2015 Currently, the staff team is accepting moderator auditions! They're open to members new and old, and we wish all you hopefuls good luck! We would also like to congratulate Bran, with his character Harenose for achieving deputy in WindClan!
MARCH 24, 2015 Congratulations to Golden, and Maplecloud for becoming the newest ThunderClan Deputy! Thank you to everyone who tried out; it was a truly difficult decision to make.
MARCH 22, 2015 The March activity check and OTMs have been posted! Please reply by April first. Thank you!
MARCH 17, 2015 The deadline for the ThunderClan Deputy Auditions has been decided: March 24, 2015. If you are interested in the position, please have your audition in by then. Thank you, and happy St. Patrick's Day!
MARCH 12, 2015 New skin! As always, please let us know if you find anything out of place or awkward, or if any of the colours sear out your eyeballs. Remember to please log into all your accounts daily, even if you don't post; it really helps us out when we recycle things.
MARCH 09, 2015 Due to Fallow's current situation, she has decided to downsize. As a result, sadly, Whitestep will be resigning, and ThunderClan Deputy Auditions are now open! Be sure to get your auditions in asap. WindClan MCA will remain closed until Zebra feels like Owlberry is ready to take on a new apprentice. EDIT Fallow is alright, she just isn't able to be around much and felt that it was unfair for her to have high positions while she's on hiatus. She appreciates your concern and will be doing her best to keep us updated on how she is. <3
FEBRUARY 28, 2015 Friendly reminder for everyone to please log into all your accounts daily! It makes it easier on us when we recycle things. Thank you!
FEBRUARY 24, 2015 The February activity check and OTMs have been posted and end March third. Please post! <3
FEBRUARY 23, 2015 Due to our growing member base (and because of a recent incident on my part), you are now able to reserve names for up to one week at a time to make sure that your prefix does not get snatched up before you are able to finish your bio. Please visit the name claim to do so. On a brighter note, I am pleased by the rate at which the raid is moving! Keep it up!
FEBRUARY 19, 2015 Congratulations, Mothpaw, on becoming the newest member of ThunderClan's medicine team! A big thank you to all who applied for the position — you all definitely succeeded in making this difficult for me with your stunning applications!
FEBRUARY 19, 2015 It's about to get real over in ThunderClan, as the RAID has been started! The character excerpt contest has been closed, too, and the results of that will be posted momentarily. The ThunderClan MCA auditions are closed! Results will be posted by Moonaloo later today.
The body of Cricketstrike has been found at the lake's edge, her back-quarters bobbing up and down in the water. Her fur sticks out in matted clumps, and an earthy, dark brown muddy substance can be found on a good portion of her usually white markings, and around her mouth. She smells of mud and rock. There are no obvious wounds or other scents.
weather: clear and sunny time of day:sunhigh
• this event is open to a patrol of three to five thunderclanners, and up to two cats from each of the other clans.
• your characters know only what we have chosen to share with you. clues are given in colored, capital italics above. speculations can be made.
• the clans are currently under a truce, so physical fighting should not happen at this time. a meeting of conjecture is encouraged!
• event 1.3 will last for about two weeks; that means the event will end on July 05, 2015. if it does not get as far as we would like, we will extend it.
It was certainly unusual for Lionheart to be out at such a time. He was not typically the kind to be out and about further than the camp; he was a popular, well-liked and conformist fatherly individual and the idea of those adjectives and the word "adventure" were not his first thoughts. However, given his incredible loyalty and determination to protect both his clan and his family it came as to no surprise that he would go on the greatest of quests if it meant protecting the ones he loved. Almost everyone in ThunderClan was his family, even those that were so distantly related to him as to appear like a separate entity entirely.
In any case, Lionheart had been told to come to this area because it was simply custom and a good check up. Lionheart was not the kind to disobey or disrespect a leader's choices, no matter his own opinions, and thoroughly respected and trusted Rowanstar and Maplecloud (the latter more so since they were closer) to lead the clan correctly and with a benevolent spirit. He smiled thinking of the thought, and edged ever so closer to the large body of water which was the lake.
As he looked out at the lake and the shining body of water he was content in the glow of the sun and watched almost with regal nature the serenity of the scene. The horizon was ebbing and flowing and it was not overly hot; it was perfect weather, one might say. However, this peace as per all things in the clans, was not to last. His orange brown eyes caught something in the water and as he approached he saw something devastating and grotesque. The body of a creamy white she-cat was bobbing in the water; her fur was in matted clumps. A dark brown muddy substance covered her fur, especially around her mouth. Lionheart gasped in surprise, unable to speak for some time.
"Come quick, there's something shocking over here!" He said, understating as always.
The blue she cat was closer to the lake than she usually found herself on a hunt, but prey was scarce and she hoped new areas would bear more fruit than her typical haunts. Not far from where she crept through the brush the forest let out onto shoreline, the neutral territory that cats used to reach the island during gatherings. Windclan had undergone many changes since their neighbors, Thunderclan, had been raided by their more dark neighbors. Her former mentor had stepped down from his position as clan leader and their deputy had filled the open rank. Harestar had seemed a little nervous at his first gathering but though she felt a little bitter being that it was supposed to be Acornstar in his place, she felt he would make a good leader. She couldn't imagine being thrust the position of leader so quickly. <br> <br> As she inched through the undergrowth in search of prey, it was Thunderclan she smelled first. Bluefeathers ears twitched as she peeked up out of the tall grass, squinting as she peered around, attempting to spot them through the wood that seperated them. With a lash of her tail she dropped low to the ground, belly fur brushing the dirt as she slunk forward. In moments she was right on the edge of the empty shore, sticking just far enough into the weeds to hide. His voice drew her attention before she spotted him, "Come quick, there's something shocking over here!" The windclan cat squinted. What was it?
It was the definition of a pleasant day, at least in Firthorn's opinion. Above, the sun was alone in a sea of blue; wisps of cloud were sparse. The sun's rays warmed his gray tabby pelt as he walked close to the lake shore. The warrior was out on patrol, having been sent to check the area to make sure that all was well. Patrols were rather boring, -once again, at least in his opinion-; nothing ever happened on most, and he could think of other things that would be a better use of his time. He could have been helping out around the camp, instead of walking fox-lengths upon fox-lengths through the forest.
He hadn't been watching where he was placing his paws, and ended up tripping in a denser area of undergrowth. He let out a small yelp of surprise as he toppled onto his side. Pausing a few moments to regain his breath, Firthorn stood back up, smoothing his pelt with a paw before he hurried after the rest of his patrol. He had only gone a few more steps when a voice caught his attention.
"Come quick, there's something shocking over here!"
Firthorn perked his ears, increasing his pace to a trot until he arrived nearby where Lionheart was standing. At first he didn't see anything unusual. But when his green gaze turned towards the lake shore... he let out a slight shriek of shock. The matted pelt of another cat- Firthorn couldn't tell who from where he was standing- lied just on the lake's edge, bouncing up and down with the water. The cream she-cat's fur was covered with what appeared to him to be mud, or something similar. "W-what happened?" he mewed faintly, not expecting an answer. He tentatively took a pawstep toward the limp form of the cat, lowering his muzzle. He couldn't see any scratches or wounds from where he stood, and could only identify the scents of mud and stone. He'd heard of the lake deaths before, but had never seen one firsthand.
Green-leaf was a season that Leafpaw had loved nearly all his life, despite the fact of his name-sake being that of leaf-fall. The reason was that it was, without question, one of the most hopeful. Most litters were born when the flowers were still sprouting from the ground, so by this time of the year, they were already old enough to be able to scamper around camp, engage in playful scuffles and most importantly, join Leafpaw and listen to the stories expelled by Rabbitleap and some of the older warriors. Other cats seemed to be more cheerful during this time of the year too, with their bellies full of the plentiful prey that no doubt graced the moors. Leafpaw had dreamed of the plump rabbits and hares leaping across the WindClan territory nearly since he was a kit - counting rabbits to fall asleep was only natural - but he hadn't really been able to experience it for himself since he'd been born in leaf-fall. But now? As an apprentice, surely, he could.
Leafpaw looked down at the quiet waters with a bit of a frown, paws sinking into the moist sand. Once again, his mentor had found herself busy with Deputy duties and so the tom had taken it upon himself to go see if he could find some prey on his own. Neither Brightpaw or Emberpaw had accompanied him either, both two preoccupied with their own training. While he had started out the day as blissfully optimistic, the lack of prey that he'd found certainly had put something of a damper on his mood.
Ever the optimist, though, the tom refused to sulk. At least it's sunny, he told himself firmly. Leafpaw turned his leaf-green gaze to the blazing sun overhead and it was then that he heard a voice. He'd wandered quite a bit from WindClan territory in search of prey, and had even pondered trying to fish when he'd spotted the lake. So, it wasn't really much of a surprise when he heard a foreign voice - probably another clan cat. It was the words, however, that confused him.
Something shocking? he thought, something like panic beginning to rise in him. He was only an apprentice. Maybe he should go get someone of more authority? Leafpaw looked desperately in the direction of the WindClan camp, when he spotted a familiar-looking gray pelt. He squeaked, "Bluefeather!" A young warrior that he'd seen around camp sometimes, and a cat that Nightstorm had - informatively - told him used to be Acornstar's apprentice. He clambered up to the WindClan warrior a bit breathlessly and asked, "D-did you hear that? What do you think? Should we go investigate?" He glanced nervously in the direction of the voice; two cats had already gathered, two toms from the smell of it.
“ and i guess,
people with stars in their eyes
in the ocean of life.
000 words for thunderclanners etc,, rain the emotionless strikes again
Rainlegs hadn't been on many patrols yet, even as a 'paw: she was still growing accustomed to the protocol. As arguably the youngest warrior who wasn't still in training here, she forced herself to stay quiet and hover near the back of the patrol, biting back the acerbic retorts she felt well up inside her as the leader of the patrol barked orders. She was a responsible member of Thunderclan, she would do her duty and do it well, may Starclan guide her paws, but no-cat ever said she had to like it.
She had been watching Firthorn as he had been watching where he placed his own paws, and so she had been equally as distracted as he. They both reacted to Lionheart's plaintive request at the same time, their heads shooting up, ears at a distressed vertical, eyes wide. No words came to Rainlegs' tongue this time, but she had to swallow hard nonetheless, swallowing something less like dissent and much more like actual fear. She had never seen a proper, real death before. It smelled strangely of ...mud. Did they all smell like that?
"She's dead," she said, in her usual deadpan, inspecting the body of the she-cat. She wasn't immediately recognisable, what with the mud that cloaked all her features, but something was familiar about her all the same. Lionheart and Firthorn hadn't said anything else, so she voiced her concerns, the words feeling uncomfortable between her teeth. "Is it Cricketstrike," she said. Questions never sounded like questions coming from Rainlegs: she had never learned how to speak in anything other than a flat, emotionless tone.
She hadn't known the she-cat at all. But she was part of her clan, a valuable member. Was she supposed to feel sorrow? Loss? Guilt, that they hadn't made it quickly enough to perhaps save her? Rainlegs knew all those feelings were preposterous. They didn't help with anything, and getting all teary-eyed over a she-cat she had barely spoken two sentences to felt somehow wrong, fake almost. But the others had such expressions of shock that she tried to emulate them, and ended up with a half-grimace across her otherwise blank face.
Lionheart couldn't quite believe it, though he had been faced with the nitty gritty nature of death before. What was there to say? It was not as if he could be his usual happy and extroverted self and though he was perhaps one of the most optimistic characters in the clan itself, death was always something very real and visceral. It was not avoidable, could not be sugar-coated, and definitely couldn't be ignored. He paused to think about all of these things and watched the bobbing figure for some time before speaking once again to the two clan mates present, "Firthorn, what you have just witnessed is the dead body of one of our clan mates covered in a dark brown mud in this here lake." The large tom turned slightly and sighed, "I'm afraid this seems to be the body of Cricketstrike, may the stars rest her soul." 'It's really tragic how it seems to always be the youngest, brightest and most promising lives that are taken by the lake.' The warrior thought, 'I just wish this damned lake would disappear altogether.'
The brown mud substance was also on the side of the cat and the tom looked at the mud in the distance, guessing at its texture. It was a brown cake-like liquid with an earthy and rocky smell. "What is this mud? Where did it come from? It doesn't look like it's from here..." Lionheart paused, "She smells of rocks and mud. Look, it's all over her body. Do you have any ideas what this could be?" He asked Rainlegs and Firthorn.
Firthorn was puzzled as to what might have happened to the she-cat. Was the most important clue the mud? He wasn't quite so sure, but it was possible, he supposed. He hadn't seen any other cats who'd ended up with similar fates, and didn't know if there had been anything in common between them all. He'd almost missed Rainlegs' words, hearing her confirm what they all must have been thinking. "She's dead."
He was worried for a moment that they too were in danger- if the lake had struck recently, who was to say it wouldn't strike again?- and he warily glanced in its direction, seeing the waves travel slowly towards the shore. Nothing seemed to be of danger... but that didn't mean all was safe. I'll be sure to keep an eye out for anything suspicious, he told himself.
At Lionheart's words addressed to him, he nodded, quickly adding; "I-I knew that." He'd never admit himself to be wrong, even if he had been. His green gaze returned to the muddied fur of the she-cat when he heard Rainlegs' question, asking if the cat had been Cricketstrike. He hadn't recognized her earlier due to his initial shock and all of the mud, but now that he thought about it, the cat did appear to be Cricketstrike. He'd never really interacted with her, but he knew that she had only been a few moons older than him. So young to fall victim to the lake. It only set him more on edge, and he warily stole another glance in the lake's direction. He nodded slightly when Lionheart spoke again, confirming what Rainlegs had observed; he was certain now that he knew who the she-cat was.
Firthorn had been uncertain what he should do next when he heard Lionheart's questions. He recalled his earlier confusion about the mud, but still was uncertain about just where it came from or what it meant. The gray tabby looked to Lionheart, thinking for a few moments about the other warrior's last question- "Do you have any ideas what this could be?", before responding. "The mud, you mean? Are you sure it's not from the lake?" he asked. "Perhaps the mud came from the ground, or perhaps Cricketstrike had gone through swampland before coming here, or..." he paused, thinking, "or maybe some other cat used the mud to mask something?" Firthorn said with a slight frown. He hated not having an answer to something, and wished that he could have known what exactly had happened to Cricketstrike. He felt horrible about what had happened, but there was nothing that could be done now, other than perhaps trying to find a way to prevent whatever it was that had happened from occurring in the future.
A heavy silence had settled between the two toms where perhaps a certain camaraderie should have existed. There was no tension in the air between them, only a sort of unspoken contentment broken by the occasional snap of a twig broken underfoot. Sprucestep felt no need to speak and so, simply didn't. Whether this was as tolerable to Swiftjaw, well he simply couldn't say. The sun hung high and fat above them. It was a lazy sort of sun, one that seemed in no rush to begin its evening descent. In but a few moments, the treeline would end. With it would vanish their shade. The heat would seep into their pelts, melting every bone that still managed to hold them feebly aloft. But, if things continued as they had been, it would be a quick patrol, a quick return to shade and home. For Sprucestep, this meant more pleasant, or at least more enthusiastic, company than Swiftjaw. If he was just lucky enough, he might catch Ravenflight. As sharp as her words could be, he valued the knife's edge of her wit over his own occasionally bruised feelings. After all, offenses could be forgiven and forgotten. But knowledge was something to be retained.
All hopes of a quick return vanished as they broke through the last thick bushes. The strong scent of Thunderclan washed over them like a wave. Sprucestep felt his hackles begin to bristle as he and Swiftjaw approached the border. No cross had been made, but the taste of spilled blood was still too strong on his tongue for comfort. A crowd had begun to gather, settled on the lake shore. Some stood with the water just barely lapping at their paws. Others seemed to have made a point to remain out of the water's gentle grasp. Sprucestep approached slowly, still remaining on his side of the border - at least for the moment. Through the bodies, he could just see a shape in the water, sodden and unfamiliar. He dipped his head. This was not his vigil to sit, nor his death to mourn. And yet silence had become intolerable now. He seated himself, casting his gaze downward. To stand and gawk, to crane his neck for some morbid peek of tragedy. Instead he cleared his throat lightly. Not begging for attention, but simply giving his condolences the chance to be heard. "I'm sorry for your loss."
000 words for thunderclanners etc,, rain the emotionless strikes again
Rainlegs was more than happy to let the tomcats do the talking. She wasn't uncomfortable with her own opinions being out there, but she felt like it was better for her to acquiesce to the ideals of older, more experienced warriors. She had to ingratiate herself with the elders of the Clan so that she didn't seem like an upstart, worry them with her tenacity, shock them, confuse them. She had to play it under the radar and keep it smooth and cool so that they didn't try to question her. Because if there was one thing Rainlegs was damn sure about, it was that she really would not be good under pressure.
She simply nodded as the others chatted about their thoughts. The silence felt natural, as if the grief she thought she was supposed to be showing presented itself in this quiet emptiness. Somehow, it felt right not to fill her thoughts with words, or as right as anything emotional felt to her these days. But as Firthorn said something interesting the idea resonated with her, and she had to say something. "A mask," she said, though there was no emotion to say whether this was a question, a statement, or an agreement. She spoke up again, harshly. "Check for wounds."
The words sounded croaky in her throat but she forced them out with a deep breath. She really did want to help, deep down inside, and she also wanted to know what was happening. Not having the answer to something, something that was lying prone right in front of her eyes, disappointed her. She felt itchy in her own skin, like she wanted to dance out of it and go lie in the cool waters of the lake, undisturbed for a while: but then the lake loomed, deep and dark and mysterious, inside her daydreams, and the idea disappeared as quickly as it had come.
She turned toward the strange voice behind her with a sharp flick of her head, and resisted the urge to hiss. Shadowclanners, monstrous creatures she just knew were shadows wrapped up in the skins of cats. She turned her head back quickly, raising her nose slightly, her ears flattening gently against her head just so. She figured that might be construed as some kind of snub but she got a swift feeling of blossomingwarm honey and rose petals inside her stomach at the realisation that she didn't particularly care. How deliciously rebellious.
The tom was not one to question the ways of nature and was not a cat of superior intellect or even of great agility. His true strength lay in his confident, fatherly and genuine nature which had a natural degree of charisma and leadership exemplified here by the fact that he had been the first to arrive and the first to start the conversation surrounding Cricketstrike. Make no mistake however, the warrior was still deeply saddened by her death and confused about why this had to happen to such a young, bright soul. Tragic, really.
When Rainlegs spoke the tom was slightly surprised at not only the fact that she could speak - he had always thought she was mute - but at her nature flat and emotionless tone. A speech impediment or a personality flaw, it was hard to tell. In any case, the tom nodded and spoke to mostly Firthorn but also the blue-grey she-cat next to him, "There's only one way to find out." The large tom prepared himself, eyeing the body. He then descended a little down the slope of the lake and grabbed on to her hind legs using his teeth. He lifted the body halfway out of the water, enough to where her face was still obscured by the lake but her hind quarters were fully visible, slopped across the lake's decline. He breathed heavily for a moment, regaining his breath and then placed a ginger red paw on to her back, removing some of the mud. "If it's a mask then it is not excellent... It comes off her body very easily. Perhaps it was for some other use?"
Having been engrossed in what was happening on the shore, Bluefeather had not heard Leafpaw near until he whispered her name. She started, tail puffed out, "ah! Starclan take me, leafpaw! You scared me!" the words were hissed lowly so that the others wouldn't hear her, but not in such a manner that suggested she was actually mad at the apprentice. Her ears twitched as she did overhear more voices. "D-did you hear that? What do you think? Should we go investigate?" The she cats tail gave a lash, her brows furrowed in thought. "Shadowclans done shown up..." She said lowly to Leafpaw. A tentative ceasefire had been brought between Thunderclan and Shadowclan since their raid, but there was no telling with the dark cats that lived among the times... "We should probably make an appearance, so Thunderclan knows they're not alone out there. We can just so happen to get some details while we 'check' on them."
She wanted to make Acornbelly proud, surely portraying their clan as more diplomatic than nosy would suffice with the former leader. Bluefeather jerked her head at the young tom in gesture to follow after and stepped from the brush. The long furred she cat picked a pace that wasn't quite a run, but a jog with purpose. Everyone could see the dead body now, and the closer she got the more peculiar the situation became. Shadowclans presence alone made her nervous. She had Lavender had tangled with one of them during the raid. Bluefeather hoped absently that his fur might have a few uneven patches from their tangle. "Oh..." The word escaped her as they neared the body. Even from the respectful distance she gave Thunderclan and their body, one could tell this wasn't the m.o the lake deaths had taken lately. Something was different. Definitely different. "I- I'm sorry." She offered. "We were hunting and heard your voices.."
The tom continued to stare at the older cat, leaf-green eyes searching her silence for something. Anxiety clawed at his stomach, unwanted, but he was unable to push it down. He had never wandered quite so far from camp, and this was the first time in his life that he’d been faced with something so … So intimidating? Scary? What? Leafpaw had spent a kithood sitting down in the Elder’s Den or in the presence of warriors like Rabbitleap, absorbing story after story. He could see each of the pictures painted behind a mind’s eye, illuminated like a million paintings. He knew of bloodshed and death, of the stories of arrogance and death and deceit that they no doubt stood for, but to experience such a thing for himself?
This was a first.
Apprehension rose in his throat, and Leafpaw was unable to quell it. It came swelling up in him, like a tide at moonhigh, and he could not say how many minutes he let pass before he turned away from Bluefeather and glanced at the collection of warrior’s that had gathered behind them. It could’ve been seconds after Bluefeather’s silence, or several minutes, but Leafpaw soon grew impatient. The warrior’s words felt foggy in his ears, his attention focusing on the gathering of cats by the shoreline rather than her apparent shock. Swallowing thickly past the burr in his throat, the skinny tom felt himself dipping his head in a jerky nod and scurried to the edge of the border after Bluefeather, watching the cats as they gathered around a shadow at the shore.
A dead… body? Leafpaw barely heard the edge of the conversation, but it cut straight through him. His stomach plummeted down to his feet. The young tom stared, wide-eyed at the scene that began to enroll in front of him. Cricketstrike… Firthorn… The names of the warriors were foreign to the patchy tom – he hadn’t yet been to a Gathering, and though he’d seen a few warriors. Like the rest, the words came in a mingled blur, and even if anyone were to ask, Leafpaw wouldn’t have been able to tell anyone who was who. If the deceased cat in the water was named Cricketstrike or Firthorn… he wouldn’t know. What he did know, however, was that a cat was dead.
I’m sorry for your loss.
The thought struck to him, unbidden, the moment he heard a rumble of voices at the opposite end of the border. Smaller than the ThunderClan warriors, Leafpaw saw what he could only assume was ShadowClan. Immediately, his muscles tensed, reminded of the raid Rabbitleap had spoke of not even a couple of days ago, but then loosened when remembering that a truce had been given at the last gathering. No fighting would happen today. At least, Leafpaw thought. I hope.
He dipped his head in silence too, respecting the life that was lost even if it wasn’t one of their own. Though, the apprentice didn’t speak, for fear of speaking out of turn in a group that was clearly warriors. Leafpaw heard Rainlegs’ voice the clearest out of all of them, sharp and blunt as it rang through the air. A mask? he repeated in his head, then blinked. Are they looking for reasons behind her death?
Uneasiness curled in the young tom’s stomach. Is that the right thing to do? If he was ThunderClan, he would’ve taken the cat back to camp immediately, to be looked at by the leader and medicine cat. It didn’t seem right to drag a fallen cat through the mud and sniff their pelt for wounds. Then again, he thought a bit critically. They’re warriors, and you’re an apprentice. He thought back to Hornetstorm’s words from a few days ago, and decided not to question it.
Or he was, except his eyes caught a glint of sunlight that happened to glance off what appeared to be the dead cat’s maw and a thought struck him. As the other cats were trying to figure out the cause of death, and the reason behind the mud ingrained in their fur, Leafpaw’s mind was reeling. “Maybe – “ he blurted, jerking forward. Then, he hesitated, glancing back at the ShadowClan warriors. Stay on your side of the border. He heard someone’s voice in his ear (Darkstorm’s maybe?), and seemed to think better of it, placing his paws back on the floor. His body gave a bit of a tremor of anxiety. “M-Maybe, “ he stuttered, feeling as though all eyes were on him. "Is t-the mud just on her torso? Is it somewhere else?” Could she have eaten something bad? … Did someone force her to eat something bad? He was too scared to say it though, afraid of the implications.
There was only one reason a cat would have mud on their face from eating prey, and they were the only clan not in attendance.
Stupid, he chastised himself. They’re so far away. That wouldn’t make any sense.
… Would it?
“ and i guess,
people with stars in their eyes
in the ocean of life.
Firthorn was still in thought, trying to think of any more possible reasons for the mud that covered Cricketstrike's fur, or how she had even ended up in the lake. Had she slipped, perhaps? Maybe she had slipped in some mud, and fell in the lake, perhaps hitting her head on something which could have knocked her unconscious.
"A mask," Rainlegs' voice brought Firthorn out of his thoughts. The blue-gray she-cat had next mentioned to check Cricketstrike for wounds. Firthorn was pleased that the others had considered his ideas, and he nodded at Lionheart's words- "There's only one way to find out." The other tom had begun to head down to the shoreline, nearing where Cricketstrike lied. Firthorn hesitated- it was his idea after all, so shouldn't he help? But what about the lake? It was dangerous, he was sure of it. And to be so close to it... after some more hesitation, the gray tabby padded slightly down the slope, stopping when he heard Lionheart's next words. "Perhaps the mud was for..." the warrior paused, his meow trailing off as he tried to think of another reason the mud could have been placed on Cricketstrike's fur.
He almost missed hearing another voice- a quite unfamiliar one, and definitely not either Lionheart's or Rainlegs' voice. "I'm sorry for your loss." He glanced up in the direction of the voice, catching the marshy scent of ShadowClan. His ears flicked back, and he warily nodded in response. In his opinion, ShadowClan was bound to have cats that would attack without reason, and he wasn't certain whether or not this cat was one of them. It hadn't been that long ago that the other Clan had attacked ThunderClan's camp, and Firthorn wasn't ready to trust them right at the moment.
The tabby tried to think of more reasons for the mud when another unfamiliar voice broke through his thoughts. "I- I'm sorry." He glanced over his shoulder, seeing two more cats standing somewhat nearby. He wondered for a heartbeat if they too were of ShadowClan, but their scent was different. WindClan, he realized. The cat who had spoken continued to mention that had been hunting when they heard their voices. He nodded in response, glancing back towards Lionheart before hearing a third unfamiliar voice, perhaps that of the second WindClan cat. His gaze turned back again, listening as the second WindClanner continued after seeming to hesitate slightly. "Is t-the mud just on her torso? Is it somewhere else?” Firthorn heard his question. The ThunderClanner's green eyes looked back towards Cricketstrike as he tried to find out if mud covered all of her pelt. "It's on her head, too, around her mouth," the tom mewed in response. He wasn't sure what it all meant- the mud, the lake, the scent of stone- but he wouldn't admit his confusion out loud. Not before he had a chance to really think about what everything meant.
000 words for thunderclanners etc,, rain the emotionless strikes again
She didn't know what to do. She just... didn't know what to do. And it wounded her, that knowledge, until she ruffled up her thin blue fur and raised her haunches, closing her eyes slowly like she was blinking through honey. A dark, cold iciness was seeping through her body, the kind she knew and recognised as apathy but, as always, had no care or possible way to deal with it. She hadn't known Cricketstrike and she certainly hadn't been her friend. She was no cat's friend, no cat's confidante, and to grieve over the mangled corpse of a cat she'd barely known was foolish at best and insulting at worst. She closed her yellow-green eyes and did not open them again.
Listening to Firthorn and Lionheart speak was soothing, at least, and melted her slightly, but she still sat rigidly and didn't add anything further to the conversation, staying inside her head. She was trying to rationalise, trying furiously to figure everything into its requisite box, but she was failing, and she was going underneath all the rising tides of thoughts that threatened to drown her if she didn't snap back to reality. She tried to focus on Firthorn's voice, good Firthorn, who often tried his hardest to help her when he could... Foolish old Firthorn, who didn't know that she was cold as ice and twice as slippery, who didn't recognise the true power emanating from her form when he saw it.
She suddenly felt a revulsion and opened her eyes just long enough to look into Cricketstrike's despairing face. Her staring, unblinking eyes looked back at her, covered in mud and dirt, and Rainlegs fought bravely against the compulsion to smack at the head, bat it away from her, make it stop looking at her. She closed her eyes again and swallowed, hard. This was death right in front of her, morbid and disgusting and real. She couldn't handle it, couldn't take it - she didn't know why or what or how - Cricketstrike was dead, dead, dying, death, dear, dye, dead - Lionheart was touching a corpse - the mud smelled like stone and suffocation - she didn't know, she didn't know, she didn't know.
And just like that, she turned and ran back toward Thunderclan camp without a backwards glance, stopping only to vomit across the base of a tree near the shoreline of that monstrous, awful lake.
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