Warrior Clan Cats

The future's in your paws. Shape it well.

Roleplay in a cat Clan of warriors. Based off the Warriors series by Erin Hunter. Takes place in an AU before the cats in the books existed.
 
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 and spinning out about things that haven't happened [C]

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downfive
Former Staff
Former Staff
downfive


Characters : [R]owansong [Ro]okflight [S]ilverhawk [P]igeonpouce [F]ishpaw [Fa]lconpaw [Fo]xpaw
Clan/Rank : [R] RiverClan T5 Elder [Ro] RiverClan T4 Warrior [S] ShadowClan T5 Warrior [P] T2 RiverClan Warrior [F] ShadowClan Apprentice [Fa] WindClan Apprentice [Fo] SkyClan Apprentice
Pisces Horse
Number of posts : 2718
Gender : any or username
Age : 22

and spinning out about things that haven't happened [C] Empty
PostSubject: and spinning out about things that haven't happened [C]   and spinning out about things that haven't happened [C] EmptyWed 6 Mar 2024 - 5:55



"But I know there's a reason I'm alive."
Rookflight
T3 Warrior | RiverClan | they/he

Never in Rookflight's mind was there any belief that the war between SkyClan would pass smoothly. It was war, afterall. Perchstar's ideas of leaving only one body behind were noble, but unfeasible. Rookflight held their own opinions about the fight. There was chagrin and vindication over seeing the mess they'd predicted come to pass... but even they could not guess which bodies would be the ones to fall. Rookflight couldn't preempt just how forceful the aftershocks of brutality and grief would be. Everyone on the patrol had come back changed: Littlesplash bearing ugly wounds on his throat, the anxious nerve to Cindersky's tremble replaced with a quietly stoked fury, Poppyshine's sun clouded and her belly nearly gutted...

Perchstar. Not even a singular flash of light entered her eyes since the battle patrol's return. The reservedness Rookflight found such kinship in had become more than just the natural effect of her personality. It was a defense now more than ever; the mask was hardened. She'd lost an ally, a dear friend, and stained her own tongue in return. Perchstar was not one to wallow: as ever, she was their effective leader. But her grief was heavy. Rookflight knew.

Rookflight saw the same display in Sunpool when they were apprentices--it'd been the thing to cause their fight. Knowing that made nerves tickle at their hackles as Rookflight hurriedly led a late patrol into camp. They'd mentally cleared their evening for the sake of checking on Perchstar, but now that the event was upon them, their paws faltered. What if she misconstrued them the same? Rookflight couldn't stand the thought of even fleeting scorn from her. But he clenched his jaw around the trout tail between his teeth and looked up into the dusky, retreating sun. He'd tried once before, and though it'd gone poorly, the spat it caused hadn't been unfixable. Rookflight wouldn't be able to sleep with himself if he didn't at least make the attempt, anyway. He would not let the cat who'd become like his mother suffer in solitude.

Lowering his gaze to look over camp revealed the end of Perchstar's tail retreating into her den. Rookflight's heart clenched with echoes of the seasons-ago scene with Sunpool--and of the evening passed at the lake, in her temporary den, Perchstar's life shuddering between them. He persisted, caught up by worry that grief could kill just as teeth did. While the rest of his patrol departed to leave their catches atop the fresh-kill pile, he padded directly for the leader's den. Once outside the settling curtain, his steps slowed and Rookflight cleared his throat. "Perchstar," he called, slightly muffled by the fish he held. "Do you have a moment?" What if she said no? Rookflight wasn't sure he would obey if Perchstar turned them away. "Would you. Mind if I came inside?"
profile | playlist | discord: downfive | timezone: est | code (c) kieer



______________________________________

FishpawShadowClan
Apprentice
#2F8A7B
SilverhawkShadowClan
T5 Warrior
#845D56
RowansongRiverClan
T5 Elder
#68228B
RookflightRiverClan
T4 Warrior
#6082B6
PigeonpounceRiverClan
(T3) Hybrid MCA
#20AED4
FalconpawWindClan
Apprentice
#E36630
[not pictured]
FoxpawSkyClan
Apprentice
#9964B1
[not pictured]

Art by Xaandiir!


Last edited by downfive on Fri 22 Mar 2024 - 8:15; edited 1 time in total
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Ash
Former Staff
Former Staff
Ash


Characters : Living: Bubblebeam [B], Dovetail [D], Hedgepaw [H], Larchbreeze [L]. Deceased/Missing: Tansyfoot, Turtlepelt, Morning, Longwhisker, Ryestep, Poolmist, Nettletail, Halfmoon, Freckleface, Lionfur, Shimmerheart, Breezewhisker, Honeydrop, Ashstar, Snowpaw, Brushgaze (NPC), Shellwater, Snowblossom, Quailfeather, Gingerstripe, Carat, Redwing, Graybriar, Pricklebush, Appledapple, Flutterpetal, Felix, Perchstar.
Clan/Rank : [B]: SkyClan T3 Warrior. [D]: RiverClan T4 Warrior. [H]: ShadowClan Apprentice. [L]: WindClan T2 Warrior.
Cancer Snake
Number of posts : 6819
Gender : She/Her - kitty was here <3
Age : 22

and spinning out about things that haven't happened [C] Empty
PostSubject: Re: and spinning out about things that haven't happened [C]   and spinning out about things that haven't happened [C] EmptyFri 8 Mar 2024 - 18:30

"Wake up."

A small tortoiseshell form leapt in front of her with a desperate yowl. With a sudden spray of blood, all that Perchstar could do was watch in wide-eyed horror as her former friend became a rabid predator.

"Wake up."

Limply, her ally fell to the ground. Amber eyes glazed over, sightless. Throat mangled, torn open, gushing scarlet all over the forest floor. Dead. Permanently.

"Wake up!"

Her own fangs sought flesh. Bright, coppery blood burst across her tongue. Everyone was staring at her--she knew it--they all thought her a monster, they all hated her for the one time she had ever acted on pure impulse. But if she had gone back she would do it again. Even if it hadn't been her enemy's last life, she would have ripped every one from the hypocrite's convulsing corpse with her own eyes wild and her throat raw with screams.

"Wake up, fox you!"

The images, sights, tastes, sensations of that day would not leave her alone. It was her normal spiral of guilt and post-traumatic stress taken to its logical conclusion. She'd gone through another day, managed to go on patrols and catch fish and keep small talk with complete neutrality and kept off the trembling, the leftover rage and insurmountable grief, the urge to curl up into a ball like a kit and vanish. She'd kept it away until now. Finally, she'd been able to slip away into her den, and just in time. Memories consumed her, and she drowned in them, unable to float away. But it was better like this. If she just rode out the storm, she knew that eventually it would subside until the next time the mental tide rose. Just breathe. Just breathe and bite her tongue and ignore the taste of blood and the desire to do it again, ignore the hatred in everyone's eyes, ignore the sight of Mottlestar's mutilated body at her paws, ignore the voices screaming in her head, ignore ignore ignore--

"Perchstar. Do you have a moment?"

Like a burst of cold water over a fire or a loud sound in a flock of birds, the sudden intrusion drove away Perchstar's living nightmare. She blinked hard, trying to make sense of the words. That wasn't one of the voices that she was supposed to be hearing. It wasn't Mottlestar's yowl, or Birdchaser's strangled cry, or her own unfamiliarly hoarse words pleading with a corpse that would never move again. Her ear flicked once towards the source of the noise while she tried to regain control of her form. Get back into a normal sitting position instead of hunching by the wall, roll shoulders straight. Remove her teeth from her slightly punctured, gently bleeding tongue. Breathe. Breathe. Swallow down the mixture of blood and spit to keep the dryness out of her throat. Control her voice. Speak. "Rookflight." That was the voice she'd heard. Her former apprentice--coming to speak with her about something. Anything would be better than this. Stave off the horrors for a few more minutes. But stars, she couldn't let him see her like this. She had to gain control of herself. They'd already seen her die once and she hadn't been able to stop it. This time she would be better.

A few more moments passed. Though it was a struggle, almost an agonizing one, the leader managed to force neutrality upon herself again, or at least its outward appearance. Still paws. Straight back. A face free of the agonized grimace it had previously worn. Her tongue was still bleeding slightly, but if she was careful about how she spoke then Rookflight would not have to notice. "Sorry about that. Yes, you may come in." Perchstar turned towards the entrance, dimly grateful that they had been polite enough to ask instead of intruding upon her indisposition. She'd made enough people suffer just this moon to last a full lifetime. IF only that had been all the pain she would ever inflict. She squeezed her eyes shut to force the thought away, then reopened them so that she could meet Rookflight's gaze when they came in. Normal. Fine. Everything is fine. You're strong. You're fine. If she repeated it enough, maybe it would be true, at least for this brief interaction. Practice forced a calm neutrality she did not feel into her voice, though it came out perhaps a tad bit more monotonous than normal. "What did you need?"

______________________________________
and spinning out about things that haven't happened [C] 833dIG1

⸙ Larchbreeze ⸙ ~ ♡ Hedgepaw ♡ ~ ◈ Dovetail ◈ ~ ○ Bubblebeam ○
⸙ WindClan ⸙ ~ ♡ ShadowClan ♡ ~ ◈ RiverClan ◈ ~ ○ SkyClan ○
⸙ Tier 2 Warrior ⸙ ~ ♡ Apprentice ♡ ~ ◈ Tier 4 Warrior ◈ ~ ○ Tier 3 Warrior ○



~~PM me here or on Discord if you want a topic with any of my cats!~~
~Signature and Avatar by Xaandiir!~
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downfive
Former Staff
Former Staff
downfive


Characters : [R]owansong [Ro]okflight [S]ilverhawk [P]igeonpouce [F]ishpaw [Fa]lconpaw [Fo]xpaw
Clan/Rank : [R] RiverClan T5 Elder [Ro] RiverClan T4 Warrior [S] ShadowClan T5 Warrior [P] T2 RiverClan Warrior [F] ShadowClan Apprentice [Fa] WindClan Apprentice [Fo] SkyClan Apprentice
Pisces Horse
Number of posts : 2718
Gender : any or username
Age : 22

and spinning out about things that haven't happened [C] Empty
PostSubject: Re: and spinning out about things that haven't happened [C]   and spinning out about things that haven't happened [C] EmptyFri 15 Mar 2024 - 18:00



"But I know there's a reason I'm alive."
Rookflight
T3 Warrior | RiverClan | they/he

The wait for Perchstar to answer, either with rejection or allowance, was an agonizing one. She had called their name, hoarsely, and Rookflight's ears turned forward expectantly--but then came silence. It made them shift uneasily on their paws; it nearly brought them to pace, or to shouldering the protective curtain aside without regard for Perchstar's privacy. Had another moment ticked by, Rookflight would have considered the action more seriously. But her summons had finally come, following the tail of an apology. Despite their agitation to be inside the den, they stalled now that they had permission. A grimace took their features for a second. What did Perchstar wrestle with, in her solitary shadows? Rookflight wished they could see the war through her eyes. Their claws flexed, scraping through cold sand in lieu of predatory, intrusive thoughts made manifest, then sheathed again.

Quietly, Rookflight stepped inside. It was dim. They blinked several times to readjust before looking right towards Perchstar. She sat and spoke neatly, composed as always; though if she'd been so put together, it wouldn't have taken her so long to respond. Rookflight's ears turned back just slightly and they moved forward, crossing the distance between Perchstar and themself. They set the fish down at a respectable distance before taking a step back and reclining onto their haunches.

"Nothing," he said evenly. "I did not need anything-- formal, at least." Rookflight inclined his head towards the fish. Its presence was enough, but the silent gesture indicated it was hers. Continuing, "I wanted to visit with you, and make sure you ate. That is all. No one has been well since the battle, and you have seemed... faraway." He blinked slowly and lowered his eyes. "It could not have been easy, what you spoke of. I cannot say now is a time not to suffer--it is. But I wanted to ensure you were not suffering alone."
profile | playlist | discord: downfive | timezone: est | code (c) kieer



______________________________________

FishpawShadowClan
Apprentice
#2F8A7B
SilverhawkShadowClan
T5 Warrior
#845D56
RowansongRiverClan
T5 Elder
#68228B
RookflightRiverClan
T4 Warrior
#6082B6
PigeonpounceRiverClan
(T3) Hybrid MCA
#20AED4
FalconpawWindClan
Apprentice
#E36630
[not pictured]
FoxpawSkyClan
Apprentice
#9964B1
[not pictured]

Art by Xaandiir!
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Ash
Former Staff
Former Staff
Ash


Characters : Living: Bubblebeam [B], Dovetail [D], Hedgepaw [H], Larchbreeze [L]. Deceased/Missing: Tansyfoot, Turtlepelt, Morning, Longwhisker, Ryestep, Poolmist, Nettletail, Halfmoon, Freckleface, Lionfur, Shimmerheart, Breezewhisker, Honeydrop, Ashstar, Snowpaw, Brushgaze (NPC), Shellwater, Snowblossom, Quailfeather, Gingerstripe, Carat, Redwing, Graybriar, Pricklebush, Appledapple, Flutterpetal, Felix, Perchstar.
Clan/Rank : [B]: SkyClan T3 Warrior. [D]: RiverClan T4 Warrior. [H]: ShadowClan Apprentice. [L]: WindClan T2 Warrior.
Cancer Snake
Number of posts : 6819
Gender : She/Her - kitty was here <3
Age : 22

and spinning out about things that haven't happened [C] Empty
PostSubject: Re: and spinning out about things that haven't happened [C]   and spinning out about things that haven't happened [C] EmptySun 24 Mar 2024 - 11:00

It took all of Perchstar's long-practiced self-control to remain sitting upright. The nightmares pounded from the inside of her mind like a headache, attempting to force their way back out, but if she could just keep them away for a little longer, then--perhaps she could answer whatever question Rookflight had. But it seemed that this well-intentioned interaction could not be ended so quickly, nor so cleanly. Her former apprentice came in bearing a fish in their jaws and a quietness in their eyes that betrayed worry. And when they spoke, they gave a request more difficult than anything. One that Perchstar could not bear to accept. A request to share her suffering.

There was no point in pretending that she was whole and well, but holding up the mask was the only way to keep from becoming unintelligible. Perchstar could not stop her ears from pinning back just slightly at the unstoppable tide Rookflight brought in with them--a love she could not deny, but one that she had to if she cared for him. And she did. She cared for them deeply. Looking at the fish would not help; there was no way she could keep any food down right now when her stomach threatened to regurgitate nothing but acid. Instead, she locked her eyes on Rookflight's face, hoping that the sight of them would keep her stable, at least for now. But this interaction had to end quickly. Her self-control would not last. When she spoke, it was no longer with the forced monotony she'd had previously, but with a roughness she could no longer hide. Yet she did her best to speak clearly--even with the pain--so that the words could not be misunderstood. "Suffering alone is... is easier. Then I don't have to worry about others seeing me. I don't have to worry about hurting them, too. I've hurt enough cats this moon." More than enough. Cindersky's broken rage still haunted her, even now. Surely Rookflight thought the same of her, too, even with the foolish adoration they'd once held for her. All the pain and devastation she'd caused. If Cindersky, the kindest and most innocent of her former apprentices, now hated her with such vitriol... there was no way that Rookflight would not. Perhaps they were hiding it, for her sake. But surely spending any more time with her would worsen that. She'd hurt not only cats of other Clans, but her own Clanmates. The scars on Poppyshine, Littlesplash, Cindersky, all might as well have been caused by her claws. Perchstar's voice cracked shamefully. "The last thing I want is to hurt you, too."

But that would not make them go away, would it? It would only cause them in their well-intentioned goodness to press closer. Perchstar could not budge an inch, not without causing the hastily-patched wall that held back her agony to break. She spoke again, quickly, sincerely. They had to leave. They had to understand. If they did not hate her now, then they would soon. "I appreciate it. I know it is your kindness that brings you here. But there is no way to... fix me. I will continue to hurt. Even if cats like you, cats I love, ease the suffering for a little while... it passes on the pain to them for every moment that I do not bear all of the aching. And then, once you go--and you will have to go, since life does not stop even for me--then it returns in full force. So it is a fruitless endeavor." There was no point in exposing her knowledge of their hidden hatred; they would only stay and attempt to prove her wrong, or worse, they would prove her right. She could not stomach either. So they had to leave. But she could not bring herself to be unkind, even in her wish for him to go away.

In speaking so much, her bitten tongue had become impossible to fully contain. Without her full efforts to swallow back the blood, a drop or so of it escaped through her words and stained the white corner of her mouth red. If she had seen or noticed it, she might have retched. Even now the taste of blood was nearly too much for her. The idea of remembering how much of it had covered her maw after the less-than-clean bite that had ended Birdstar's life... it would have collapsed what little composure she had left. But even now, her neutrality could not mask the lack of control she currently bore over her own emotions. Rookflight had not gone yet. Why had they not gone yet? A fraction of her desperation broke into her words. "Please... go. I do not want you to feel my pain. There is too much of it... it is all that I can bear." She wanted them to go. She wanted to be alone. But... no, she didn't want to be alone. That was the problem. She wanted to beg them to stay and sit with her like they had in the fever dream of her sickness, when she lay dying due to nothing but her own incompetence. But that would cause them pain. Then their hatred of her would resurface for good, leaving the same empty-eyed glare with which all of her Clanmates would soon regard her. This pain was something she had to bear on her own. She had to. She had borne it thus far. But stars, it hurt, and the kittish side of her grew only stronger when so many of her mental faculties were claimed by the pain of remembering and breathing and knowing her flaws. Her weakness. The weakness that even now wanted to beg Rookflight to stay and take some of this pain away from her.

It was too much. Wrestling with her love and the agony it had caused was too much. In a few moments her legs would collapse beneath her and she would look just like the wreck she was. How could anyone bear this pain? If she had only managed to keep from caring, she could be safe. If she could rest easy in the safety of her Clan instead of mourning every wound they'd received, every wound they'd dealt, the knowledge of the betrayal that had made it necessary. The knowledge that she had caused it all. Perchstar took in one more shaky breath. Her eyes, which had been locked upon Rookflight this entire time as if by leaving her alone they could somehow save her, finally dropped to the ground. Why could she not just die of the agony? It would be easier. They had seen her die before, after all. They had not seen her break... not yet. She did not want to break in front of them. But this was becoming too much to swallow. How much longer would she stand here, feeling the loss stab into her heart again and again? How much more could she take? "No more," she whispered, unaware of even her own voice speaking the strongest desire that remained beyond the pain threatening to consume her. "I do not wish to bear this anymore."

______________________________________
and spinning out about things that haven't happened [C] 833dIG1

⸙ Larchbreeze ⸙ ~ ♡ Hedgepaw ♡ ~ ◈ Dovetail ◈ ~ ○ Bubblebeam ○
⸙ WindClan ⸙ ~ ♡ ShadowClan ♡ ~ ◈ RiverClan ◈ ~ ○ SkyClan ○
⸙ Tier 2 Warrior ⸙ ~ ♡ Apprentice ♡ ~ ◈ Tier 4 Warrior ◈ ~ ○ Tier 3 Warrior ○



~~PM me here or on Discord if you want a topic with any of my cats!~~
~Signature and Avatar by Xaandiir!~
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downfive
Former Staff
Former Staff
downfive


Characters : [R]owansong [Ro]okflight [S]ilverhawk [P]igeonpouce [F]ishpaw [Fa]lconpaw [Fo]xpaw
Clan/Rank : [R] RiverClan T5 Elder [Ro] RiverClan T4 Warrior [S] ShadowClan T5 Warrior [P] T2 RiverClan Warrior [F] ShadowClan Apprentice [Fa] WindClan Apprentice [Fo] SkyClan Apprentice
Pisces Horse
Number of posts : 2718
Gender : any or username
Age : 22

and spinning out about things that haven't happened [C] Empty
PostSubject: Re: and spinning out about things that haven't happened [C]   and spinning out about things that haven't happened [C] EmptyThu 28 Mar 2024 - 15:42



"But I know there's a reason I'm alive."
Rookflight
T3 Warrior | RiverClan | they/he

When they chanced a look back up, Rookflight found Perchstar's eyes centered on him. He blinked and straightened, regarding her with a gentle rise of his chin. He ached to look away from the scraping tone she spoke with, but Rookflight held her gaze. Quietly, as he was best at, he listened to Perchstar's platitudes. A singular twitch of his tail-tip was the only indication of his wish to protest. But they were not one to interrupt, and they'd discovered a tertiary motive for this venture: to get Perchstar to speak. They were not just here to sit stalwartly by Perchstar's side, ensuring she was taken care of--that she did not waste away again--but also to act as a reservoir for all her mutinous thoughts. Should anything she sheltered spill forward, Rookflight would stand ready to catch them.

And there he stood. Her admission of love did not move him. The red that surfaced and dribbled starkly down her chin did not move him. The rare crack in Perchstar's voice did not move him. Through the entirety of her speech, Rookflight remained silent and steady; a fixed point, stone-like against Perchstar's pleading torrent. If they adhered to her wishes and abandoned her now, how could Rookflight stand to face themself again? How could they disgrace her and still expect Perchstar to look at them with pride?

That was not the cat she trained. Perchstar did not foster a coward. She did not raise someone so weak-willed as to abandon their values and their love in a moment of hardship. Never once had Rookflight seen her falter when the choice was between allowing someone to suffer or taking the pain for herself. And so knowing that her paws wouldn't fail her, Rookflight would not let theirs.

It was the final admission that finally moved him. Swift and light as the breeze, Rookflight moved closer. He stood opposite Perchstar one moment and found himself tucked under her chin, against her chest, the next. "I know," he murmured, even though he did not. "I know." He would never know the unique agony of leadership, but Rookflight could imagine. For all their stoicism, their imagination was a lively one; yes, they could imagine. And it ached. Perchstar's hurt was tenfold, thousandfold. Rookflight remained pressed closely to her for a few minutes. They didn't pull away entirely when they grew satisfied with the embrace, choosing instead to shift just enough so they could look toward her face.

"Yes... you will hurt me," they agreed, tone gentle. "But that is okay. Even if you did not carry the weight of leadership--even if you did not host the trauma of war... you would have bad days. It is inevitable. And they would hurt me even if they were not to this degree. But it does not hurt because you have done something wrong. It does not hurt because you are cruel and wish to cause me harm. It is the cost of love. Sometimes there will be pain. And that is okay. That its warmth may be fleeting does not mean it's worth nothing." Cindersky must have been rubbing off on them... Rookflight blinked, an appreciative gesture she wouldn't see, then refocused.

"The act of caretaking is a burden. It takes time out of one's day; it disrupts patrols, hunts, training. It treads on rare leisure time. It, again, invites the pain inherent to care. But this is a burden I choose." Rookflight tucked their head under Perchstar's chin again, supportive of her tenuously held weight. "Please, Perchstar--burden me. I am asking you to. I will not leave you here; you would not leave me. Allow me this. Have faith and believe I will carry your pain with grace. It does not have to be yours alone. Let me stay-- and I will stay as long as you need me to, because the world will wait. It is not my concern now."
profile | playlist | discord: downfive | timezone: est | code (c) kieer


______________________________________

FishpawShadowClan
Apprentice
#2F8A7B
SilverhawkShadowClan
T5 Warrior
#845D56
RowansongRiverClan
T5 Elder
#68228B
RookflightRiverClan
T4 Warrior
#6082B6
PigeonpounceRiverClan
(T3) Hybrid MCA
#20AED4
FalconpawWindClan
Apprentice
#E36630
[not pictured]
FoxpawSkyClan
Apprentice
#9964B1
[not pictured]

Art by Xaandiir!
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Ash
Former Staff
Former Staff
Ash


Characters : Living: Bubblebeam [B], Dovetail [D], Hedgepaw [H], Larchbreeze [L]. Deceased/Missing: Tansyfoot, Turtlepelt, Morning, Longwhisker, Ryestep, Poolmist, Nettletail, Halfmoon, Freckleface, Lionfur, Shimmerheart, Breezewhisker, Honeydrop, Ashstar, Snowpaw, Brushgaze (NPC), Shellwater, Snowblossom, Quailfeather, Gingerstripe, Carat, Redwing, Graybriar, Pricklebush, Appledapple, Flutterpetal, Felix, Perchstar.
Clan/Rank : [B]: SkyClan T3 Warrior. [D]: RiverClan T4 Warrior. [H]: ShadowClan Apprentice. [L]: WindClan T2 Warrior.
Cancer Snake
Number of posts : 6819
Gender : She/Her - kitty was here <3
Age : 22

and spinning out about things that haven't happened [C] Empty
PostSubject: Re: and spinning out about things that haven't happened [C]   and spinning out about things that haven't happened [C] EmptyThu 11 Apr 2024 - 20:26

Everything felt as if it were caving in. The darkness, the blinding light melding at the edges of her vision; the stuttering speeding up of her heartbeat; the voices in her head crashing down the walls that attempted to keep them out, that attempted to regain some sense of sanity. Strong, coppery taste in her mouth. Teeth sinking into flesh. Claws stinging against her shoulder. The shrieks of the dying, echoing, always echoing in her mind... Amber eyes gone dark. That she remained standing at all, at this point, was a near-miracle. But even as Perchstar's head began to droop under the immense, unbearable weight of the pressures closing in, something stopped it. A warm force just beneath her chin, right in the ruff of her fur... where her kits used to nestle when they needed the comfort she was too inadequate to give. A familiar scent rose above the cacophony. Rookflight had remained, stubbornly, against her wishes... in accordance with her dearest wishes. Some part of her, wild and flighty like an injured prey animal, tried to reject the contact. She should not need comfort; she should be the one to give, and not to receive. Always, always giving. It was the vow she had taken. She could not expect others to keep their vows if she continued to fail so drastically. And yet, she could not curl in on herself and vanish as her veins shrieked at her to do, so... she stood upright, trembling, leaning what little of herself she could control onto Rookflight's steady presence. The desire to push them away failed beneath the avalanche of other sensations assaulting her mind.

His calm voice rose up quietly, soothingly, with far more patience and warmth than she deserved. Why... why did they always stay? Why did they always offer her what she could not take, what she could not allow herself to receive? But the words spoke to the kittish, shriveled Something deep inside her that remained starved and parched for affection. The pain, the hurt. Everything hurt. It was so, so difficult to hear Rookflight's gentle voice above the yowling in her head. Screeches of agony from Birdstar and her warriors, from Poppyshine and Cindersky... from herself. The scream she had emitted at Mottlestar's death, echoing in her mind even now. Yet Rookflight spoke. The exact words they said did not quite make it past the hissing, but... its meaning remained, settling over her uncomfortably warm like an embrace. They were looking at her, but she could not return their gaze. When they pulled back, however slightly, she nearly lunged forward to be with them again--but restrained herself. The physical contact felt like a tenuous anchor, something forcing even a small part of her mind to stay conscious in the pain. She found herself biting into her tongue again, despite its raw wounds already spreading the nauseating taste of blood in her mouth.

"The act of caretaking is a burden... But this is a burden I choose."

A burden. She took on everyone's burdens, more than she could bear... She was a burden. In her attempt to become the Clan's rock, she had become a millstone dragging them down. Everyone she loved. Starting wars, throwing them into fruitless journeys, poisoning the waters. None of these were entirely her fault--but they spread out from her paws, from her actions. She hated herself with every fiber of her being. Yet, through the darkness that seeped out of her thoughts, cooped up for so long it had tripled in intensity to the point of nearly destroying her from the inside out, her single point of light remained. One star in the abyss. One touch of warmth against her chest in the death-inviting cold. Rookflight remained, despite her pleas for them to leave. And... and it helped. Just slightly. Just barely, like a single mouthful of food against dearth and starvation or a single poppy seed against an ocean of pain, but... she clung to their presence as if it were the only thing keeping her from falling. Because he was. He was the only thing left. Here, in this moment, with the death throes behind her closed eyes, it was the only way to keep from collapsing. Perhaps she would have died from the intensity of it. How could they choose her? How could they bear it? How could they see how she shook like a leaf in the wind, how all neutrality faded in the presence of indefatigable torture, and stay? They ought to have

She should have pushed him away, should have insisted again. But she no longer had the power to do so. She no longer had the power do to hardly anything. Speech failed. Thought failed. Only motion remained. Perchstar wrapped her unleaderly, trembling form around Rookflight as if they were a single rock in the raging tempest--the only place upon which she could find even a semblance of stability. In a way that she had never done with Poppyshine nor even her own kits, her entire body folded circular around him, curling tightly into a circle. More points of contact. A tail wrapped around his back, paws enfolding his legs, a face pressing now into the fur of their chest despite the difference in size between them. Her teeth so tightly in her tongue she could not speak; her muscles seizing so rigidly that her embrace would be profoundly uncomfortable. But as most sense fled, and consciousness nearly escaped along with it, Perchstar pressed as close to Rookflight as physically possible. They were there. They were there. Her threshhold of pain had already been reached; all she could do was to weather the storm. Consequences were a matter for once the attack ceased. But for now... for now, she had to simply wait and swallow it down. If they left her now.... The thought did not even reach her brain, surrounded as it was. She could not imagine it. For now... they were here. And she would keep them close.

______________________________________
and spinning out about things that haven't happened [C] 833dIG1

⸙ Larchbreeze ⸙ ~ ♡ Hedgepaw ♡ ~ ◈ Dovetail ◈ ~ ○ Bubblebeam ○
⸙ WindClan ⸙ ~ ♡ ShadowClan ♡ ~ ◈ RiverClan ◈ ~ ○ SkyClan ○
⸙ Tier 2 Warrior ⸙ ~ ♡ Apprentice ♡ ~ ◈ Tier 4 Warrior ◈ ~ ○ Tier 3 Warrior ○



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