Frostwhisper stretched, quietly padding from his favored spot in camp and out towards the Sunning Stones. He had given Snappaw the day to herself for the most part, with the expectation that they would have a dusk to night training session at the Stones. Most would save the late day and night training for when an apprentice was older and more sure of their body and the way it moved, but Frostwhisper knew that the usual ways of training could not be afforded. Though it truly seemed like Gorgeclan was focusing on themselves, Creekclan was still being pieced back together.
He was... nervous. Snappaw was his first apprentice. Honestly, he had never expected to even be given this chance of shaping a warrior after what had happened to him. The way he had been taught could never work here - his voice would not allow verbal instruction. The tom would have to lead by example and physically adjust his apprentice to the correct stances. That much he had figured out and was fine with. It was the tips and tricks, how to get across on how to watch your opponent and their own movement, that he knew he would struggle with.
Well. The only way he would find out would be to do it. If all else failed... He could let Stoatstar know that he was not fit to be a mentor, no matter how much another failure would break his heart.
This depressing thought was what ended his journey to the Stones. Large form moving sure-pawed over the soft ground and towards a stone that still lingered with warmth, he sat and waited patiently for Snappaw to appear.
The young molly sat tucked in her nest, her legs stretched ahead of her as she kneaded her paws into the Earth. Snappaw had been basking in the setting sun, warming up her tangerine fur. Tonight was her very first training session with Frostwhisper. The apprentice was beyond excited, but also nervous. She could practically feel her jitters shake her pelt from the inside out. Snanpaw turned, her eyes squinting at the last rays of light. Swiftly Snappaw rose to her paws, carrying herself into the clearing. Her golden eyes scanned the surrounding area for her sister Fishpaw, but she couldn’t be found. With a bounce in her step, she hurried towards the Sunning Stones.
As Frostwhisper came into view the apprentice couldn’t help but mew in excitement.
“My first training! I can’t wait!” She smiled cheerily to herself, her thoughts worn on her expression.
As the molly neared her mentor she called to him. “Greetings Frostwhisper!”
Frostwhisper stood straighter as Snappaw first came into view. He did a good job hiding his nerves behind the amusement he felt at seeing how excited the young molly was. He dipped his head in greeting to her and hopped down from his perch. He took a second to gather his thoughts and figure out how to start before adopting his usual battle stance, braced firmly on all four paws with his head level to the rest of his body, blocking off easy access to his throat. Long white fur bristled for a quick second before the tom relaxed and sat again. "You," he rasped quietly, barely audible over the gentle rush of water.
He hoped she understood what he meant, that he wanted to see how she held herself in comparison to him. He would have to teach her what not to do first, always a hard lesson to learn. The size difference between mentor and apprentice meant she would have to rely on her speed and not brute strength like he did. Yellow eyes watched her carefully and one paw relaxed a bit, raising from the soft ground. If she went for a settled stance like he did, he was ready to lash out and trip her up.
The young molly could barely contain her eagerness. Her gaze flicked curiously across Frostwhisper as he lowered himself into a battle position.
His voice was quiet and rumbly, almost like a cracked, whispery purr. Snappaw had heard of Frostwhisper's throat injury, but she didn’t mind one bit. She knew despite his injury, her mentor was respected amongst Creekclan and was keen to gain his knowledge.
“If it’s too hard to speak, that’s okay. I’ll just try to copy you!” Snappaw said sweetly with a smile.
The apprentice lowered herself, trying to steady her weight. Her back held a bit low, while her head jerked a little too high.
Frostwhisper gave a sharp shake of his head and gave a swift bat at one of Snappaw's front legs to try to trip her up. He used his tail to gesture towards himself and his bulk, speaking at the same volume as before. "Strong." His tail waved at her. "Need speed." And that was perhaps the last he could speak for the night, the last two words trailing off to the point where he wondered if she was even able to hear him. Using his tail once again to gesture to himself, he once again took his settled stance.
Then he pointedly shifted his weight, standing with his paws not as spread apart and shifting his weight so that he stood less rooted to the ground and more prepared to dart to one side. His head stayed at the same angle to protect the throat but his tail loosened up to be prepared to help balance any sudden movements. Then he relaxed and pointed his tail at her again.
He could already tell this was going to be a long session. So much to teach and already he found himself frustrated with his limitations.
Snappaw’s leg buckled against the hit of Frostwhisper's paw, catching the apprentice off guard. The young molly knew small whacks from her mother or playing with her den mates, but this felt a little harder. She had a feeling this was nothing compared to the chaotic wounds of a real battle.
I have a lot to get used to...
The apprentice shook her pelt lightly, this time attempting to stand with more strength in her stance. Snappaw studied Frostwhisper more closely, paying attention to where his paws were positioned and the length of space between them.
The apprentice cocked her head, a serious and concentration expression lined her face.
Frostwhisper eyed her critically, taking a slow circle and using his tail or a paw to adjust her wherever needed. She still seemed to be relying more on standing strong like he did, but at least the form was correct. Using it would teach Snappaw what she needed to know, when the time came for spars between herself and either Frostwhisper or another apprentice.
Satisfied for the moment, he backed off and motioned with his tail for Snappaw to keep her stance. Almost every cat had an instinct when it came to defending themself, usually a simple swat to warn off a threat. But now, he wanted to teach her how to make a strike and get out quickly. It was more difficult for him, due to his larger size, but would work perfectly for her even as she grew older. Frostwhisper adopted the same stance he had his apprentice holding, darting forward with one paw to bat at the air beside her before shifting his weight and moving his body to the side.
He did this once more at a slow speed, so she could watch how he attacked and moved at the same time and how he shifted his weight so he didn't stumble as he moved away. Then Frostwhisper gestured for her to do the same directly in front of herself instead of at him so he could watch better.
snapfire | A/N: That's okay! After we finish this one, would you want to do the hunting thread next?
The way his paw sliced the air next to her was exhilarating! The energy of the swat felt different to her than playing with her litter-mates. It held determination and a stronger purpose. The excitement of becoming an apprentice was a lot to take in, but nothing that she couldn’t handle.
Snappaw watched, her eyes darting rhythmically with every one of his movements, trying to soak up the technique like a sponge.
She inhaled, preparing her stance again as she had before - keeping herself grounded as best as she could. Snappaw batted the air as her mentor had, before shifting her weight and moving to the side.
It had felt a little clunky, but she felt proud nonetheless.
Frostwhisper watched her critically, eyes slightly narrowed as she copied his move. It was rough, definitely the work of someone doing the technique for the first time, but he could already see that repeated practice would smooth out the edges. It would turn from something she had to consciously think of to something she could do on instinct in the heat of battle.
It would be something that kept her safe, buy her time to perhaps get away or retreat to other members of her clan.
He nodded in approval, tail flicking to ask her to repeat it. That was all he did, for a while into the night, before releasing her to rest. They could go over more the following day. Or, now that Frostwhisper thought about it, perhaps the first lesson in hunting the fish that Creekclan specialized in.
Yes. That sounded like a better idea, actually.
snapfire | A/N: I'll let you post and then we can close this and move onto the hunting!