The breeze of leaf-bare chilled her soul. She felt bare herself, open, vulnerable and empty. The loss and uneasiness that has filled MoorClan as of late hung heavy in the air. She knew there was fragile peace between the three clans since the fall of GorgeClan's late leader, Bonestar. But the tension seemed to have picked up again. MoorClan had taken a small hit in comparison with GorgeClan and CreekClan, but any kind of loss in numbers would hurt a clan. We depend on each other. With a shiver she thought of her own loss, her own symbol of warmth and love extinguished with any trace of warm air green leaf had left. It was as if her mother's last breath was also summer's last. Everything felt cold now.
The ginger she-cat stared into the pathetic "pile" of fresh-kill, if that's was an appropriate word for it. What hunting parties could scrounge up for mice that hadn't hidden away from the cold, was skinny and meager. It seemed as though MoorClan weren't the only inhabitants struggle to find food in these dark times. She pondered for a moment whether other species were being affected by the Spore or if it was just cats. She lifted her eyes and scanned the camp for her mentor. Perhaps he would take her out hunting, if she asked nicely and he wasn't too busy. Everyone seemed to be busy these days. She glanced at the entrance to camp and briefly wondered if anyone would notice if she slipped out... The tip of her tail flicked with excitement, but then she thought, 'Better not.."
She gave the fresh-kill one last glare and pushed away her own hunger as she turned away to find something productive to do or someone to distract her from emptiness she felt inside. She felt alone in an empty world with her empty spirit, beside an almost empty fresh-kill pile. But when you're part of a clan, you're never alone, not really.
The job of a medicine cat was not just to heal the physical. Skywhisper had taken his own mentor's words to heart. Moons had passed since Snowberry's passing and Bonestar's fall. An uneasy peace came over the Clans.[break][break]
Frost clung to the leaves and grass of the camp. A breeze swept through the territory and Skywhisper dug his claws into the ground to prevent a visible shiver. MoorClan territory lacked cover moreso than the other Clan territories, and leaf-bare was always the first to hit them. It certainly would snow soon, he thought to himself, silently counting his stocks in his mind. He was prepared, for now, but every leaf-bare brought on new and unpredictable challenges. [break][break] Today the fresh-kill pile dwindled to one or two scrawny mice. Being a medicine cat, Skywhisper returned to camp with the first rabbit in days. He was not particularly nimble at hunting, and he would attribute today's kill far more to luck and the poor rabbit's desperation. [break][break]
Skywhisper thought about bringing the rabbit to Cherrybloom; she was always a joy to visit. But as he entered the camp, a small ginger pelt caught his attention. Lilypaw had approached the fresh-kill pile, and then seemed to dejectedly turn away. [break][break]
Skywhisper sighed. It was like the weather to get under everyone's mood. Young cats often felt too guilty to eat despite their hunger. Little did they know, it was during these times that MoorClan would need their energy. He picked up his pace and dropped the kill in front of Lilypaw. "Eat," he instructed.
[break][break] He was a medicine cat, after all. Perhaps Lilypaw would at least listen to him? [break][break]
Perhaps it was the happenings of the Clan as they grew from the ashes Bonestar had left behind. Or the passing of her mother, who, just like any other cat, held a great deal of weight in her life. It could even be the leaf-bare that brought hardships to all the Clans that contributed to the dark cloud that seemed to be hovering over Lilypaw's head as of late. Part of her felt an ache of missing her siblings. They had all grown so busy after becoming apprentices, she felt as if she only saw them when they were sleeping, resting for another full day. Her own mentor had seemed so distracted lately, and she had an itch to leave camp and hunt. But lately it seemed he couldn't seem to scrape up enough time to take her out.
Lost in her own little pity party, she was startled when a rabbit fell at her paws. She hadn't even heard Skywhisper come through the entrance to camp, he could've been Bonestar himself and she wouldn't have flicked an ear his direction. She pulled her left paw into her chest in surprise as her wide eyes looked up to the semi-white medicine cat. She had known Skywhisper since birth, and he had always seemed to be a calming presence to her, even though she wouldn't consider herself to be "close" with him. She slowly set her paw back down as she pulled herself away from her own thoughts and back into the real world.
Lilypaw awkwardly looked around the camp as if someone from somewhere would appear and scold her for even thinking of accepting his offer to eat the fresh rabbit. Instead she offered Skywhisper a small smile and said, "Skywhisper! You found a rabbit!" It couldn't have been an easy feat. MoorClan terrain was becoming more and more scare with prey. She slightly nudged the delicious smelling creature and added, "But I couldn't possibly.... Not when there are others who could make much better use of it." Like, Skywhisper, himself. So she raised her brows pointedly at the last part of her words. Medicine cats worked hard and sometimes around the clock. And now Skywhisper had an apprentice to watch and teach on top of his normal duties, surely he was hungry, too. (Weren't they all?) And he needed to keep his strength up in case he was needed.
♚ Leafbare was officially Goosesnap's least favorite season. For a small time, the title had belonged to green-leaf, with its achingly long days full of sweat and lack of water. Then came leaf-bare, and brought with it were biting winds and fat snowflakes. At first he had enjoyed the snow, primarily the joy of flicking said snow into the faces of others. But once his clanmates began to retaliate, and he had been faced with facefuls of snow in rapid succession, well, Goosesnap had come to the conclusion that leafbare was a rotten season.
So, as he plodded into camp, emphasizing his disappointment by dragging his feet to create small trails in the dust of snow in camp, one could say Goosesnap was in a foul mood. His face still stung with the bitter cold of melted snow, not helped by the chilled wind that rushed into the camp as he lugged himself through. Stars. He hated leafbare.
With a grumble of assent, his stomach demanded his attention as the fresh smell of rabbit lifted his spirits. Two cats crowded around it, but that was no problem for Goosesnap. He was a self-proclaimed cats-cat, though no one would ever back that claim. He was certain that he could convince these two that he was the tom to share with. Afterall, he was not called the snappy flirt for no reason. (side note: no one had ever, or ever planned, to call him this)
So, with the confidence of a lion, Goosesnap strutted up to the duo. "Why heelllo-" his jaw snapped shut as it finally clicked in his mind. Apprentice. Medicine cat. The only two types of cats he was outlawed from flirting with. Great. "Hey. Hello." his white tail curled behind him in discomfort.
"Nice weather." the lie literally hurt his tongue. He was contemplating how fast he could snatch the rabbit and run when he caught the glance the apprentice shot the medicine cat. "So, what is the dealio with this rabbit?" he eyed them.
"I don't know about you two, but I'm sensing a three-way split in our collective futures."
`ooc notes; hope you don't mind if i slide in here!
Skywhisper flicked his tail at the rabbit again, indicating for Lilypaw to eat. It was just as he expected; she would feel too guilty to. Young cats these days, the medicine thought to himself in amusement. If it were him, he'd have wolfed down that rabbit with the speed of StarClan.[break][break]
Medicine cats did not even need as much energy, he thought to himself. At most, he sat in his den sorting things or took a walk to collect herbs. Hunting did take more energy, but he did not do that nearly as often as regular warriors and apprentices. Surely, the apprentice could use the food. Skywhisper had not even considered the aspect of hunger before. He had merely been hoping to raise the apprentice's spirits. [break][break]
"Well, if you're so reluctant to eat..." he teased Lilypaw lightly but loud enough for Goosesnap to hear. "Goosesnap is here to help."[break][break]
Goosesnap had strolled into the camp, his feet dragging. Skywhisper wondered for a second what had gotten into all the younger cats today. Sure, the weather was foul, but that was no reason to be this down. Just a few sunrises ago, Goosesnap had been the one enthusiastically tossing snow in other cats faces. [break][break]
He dipped his head at the white tom, slightly confused by his initial wayward greeting. Certainly, today was the antithesis of nice weather. Skywhisper backed away slightly and sat down. He was actually not that hungry, and was content on letting the two young bellies do their work.[break][break]
Skywhisper was rather insistent she partake in the meal he had provided. Her stomach muscles contracted in response and she licked her lips ever so slightly upon impulse, before she could stop herself. Her body was begging her to just do as the tom told her and she almost agreed until Skywhisper announced Goosesnap's presence. She turned her head toward the approaching young warrior. Goosesnap was handsome and his pelt matched the leaf-bare snow. He wasn't much older than Lilypaw, he had been a new apprentice when Lilypaw was born and became a warrior just after she was apprenticed. Though she didn't know him well, she considered him a familiar face and she was happy to see him draw near to her and Skywhisper.
The ginger apprentice raised a brow awkwardly at his first attempt at a greeting and looked down at her paws as he tried again. 'What was that all about?' She asked silently to herself. And she was only further confused at the next sentence out of the warrior's maw. 'Has he been holed up in the warriors' den all day?' She bit back the rude reply but he eyes narrowed, giving away her bewilderment. It was only an afterthought that he may be trying to joke with them. Instead she welcomed him with a flick of her tail as she vocalized these two words, "Hi, Goosesnap."
Goosesnap proceeded to inquire about the rabbit that now sat at the center of the trio, he must be as hungry as she felt. Again, she felt her belly tighten in protest as if to say, What are you waiting for? One of her ears flattened as she peered over to Skywhisper, who backed away from his kill in response to the warrior's questioning. She took a deep breath in defeat and shot Skywhisper a thankful glance. "Skywhisper caught it. Would you like to share?" She turned her attention from the medicine cat to Goosesnap.
♚ it was quite obvious that his initial greeting was not quite up to standard. the she-cat, her orange pelt striking against the soft snow underpaw, was quick to narrow her eyes in swift judgement. lilypaw. her name came to him in the heart-beats after - a welcome realization - and he fought back the urge to stick out his tongue in retaliation. he was a warrior afterall, while she was still an apprentice. though, she looked skinnier than usual - a shared trait of moorclan in the heart of leafbare - and goosesnap nearly regretted his entrance into the situation. nearly. the emptiness in his own stomach reminded him exactly why he was there.
"lilypaw. skywhisper." he greeted them with a nod. he tilted his head in confusion as skywhisper began to back away from the rabbit. part of him shrugged it off, but another part of him desired to call the tom back. to end the whispers of doubt, the medicine cat sat down about a tail-length. goosesnap shuffled his paws, but kept his maw shut for once. his gaze trailed back to the rabbit at lilypaw's question, then to her golden eyes.
"no way. skywhisper, you caught this?" goosesnap was bewildered. he himself had not been able to catch anything in his attempts to hunt this morning, but a medicine cat had snared a giant rabbit. maybe he had called upon starclan to strike said prey down. now that was something goosesnap would enjoy seeing.
the tom took a cautious bite of the prey, but was quick to close his eyes in pleasure. food had never tasted so delicious. "so, ahem-" he swallowed. "how's the training going with fallowbreeze?" a chuckle bubbled in his throat as a joke emerged from the statement. "more like.. mellowbreeze..." the joke, feel short before he even spoke it. goosesnap switched his focus to skywhisper. "and orchidpaw? i mean, for an orchid, she's a little.. intense."
WHILE MUCH IS UNKNOWN ABOUT THIS MYSTERY DISEASE, IT HAS CHOSEN TO GRACE YOU WITH ITS PRESENCE. the signature musty odor of the spore begins to fill the nose of skywhisper. while it remains hidden to those surrounding him, it soon overwhelms his senses. within moments of this smell, his neck begins to feel stiff and sore. as a brief extent of time passes, the muscles in his neck will become rigid and if any movement is exerted he will encounter severe pain. friendly reminder, the spore will not kill any characters without prior authorization from the owner of said character. feel free to continue on with your thread and The Spore will interact as need be, there is no need to wait for the spore in your posting order.
"I..." Skywhisper began to say something, and then broke off abruptly. A slight scent filled his nose. His eyes widened as he scanned over Lilypaw and Goosesnap. Neither of them seemed to scent anything out of the ordinary. The smell grew stronger and stronger and then it dawned on him. [break][break]
"...just remembered something I need to do," he meowed briskly before leaping away from his Clanmates. He was unable to register what direction he was heading, since the odor blocked out his sense. Unknowingly, he headed in the closest direction to be away from their sight, out of the camp. Just out the camp entrance, he became unable to carry himself further. Skywhisper felt a strange stiffness in his neck, spreading to his shoulders and making him unbearably sore. [break][break]
He collapsed against the brambles outside the camp entrance, fighting for air. The muscles around his neck became so stiff it hurt to breath. Thoughts soared through Skywhisper's mind. It had been a rabbit again. Could it be the rabbits on their territory? The scent was overpowering, blurring his vision and clogging his nose. He wondered if he would die here, apprenticeless, leaving his Clan without a medicine cat in the face of such a terrible disease.[break][break] No, it could not be the end, he convinced himself. Skywhisper tried another time to get up, but his muscles were rigid and pain shot through his neck. He couldn't help but give a loud yowl.[break][break]
Goosesnap wasted no time in diving into the rabbit, not that Lilypaw could blame him. They were all hungry these days. Leaf-bare was harsh. She followed suit, taking a ravenous bite of the juicy meat. Warm, familiar flavors hit her taste buds and made her body relax. She felt lucky to be tasting such fresh kill and felt a stab of guilt again. How many here were hungry while she indulged herself? She swallowed her bite and licked her lips, thankful for Goosesnap's question to distract her from the remorse she felt creeping up on her. She didn't quite catch the afterthought the white warrior spoke under his breath and decided to ignore it. "Fallowbreeze showed me how to track in the snow yesterday," she purred , remembering her outing with the tom. Finding prey was hard in this season and it was important to know the ins and outside of hunting in the snow. It was much different than in green leaf she was told. She couldn't wait to hunt in the warmth of the sun.
She looked over to Skywhisper as he began to speak, but broke off. She tilted her head slightly, trying to follow the medicine cat's thoughts, but she fell short. He quickly leapt away, mewing about something he needed to do. Lilypaw rose to her paws, her pelt started to prickle and her amber eyes followed the silver tom as he sped out of camp. Something was wrong. Skywhisper was off. Without removing her eyes from the tunnel entrance she commented, "That was weird." Every muscle in her body tense and the rabbit at her paws forgotten, she heard the yowl and instantly sprang toward the exit where Skywhisper had disappeared. Her blood felt cold, she knew something wasn't right.
She almost stumbled over him in her haste, he hadn't made it very far. Laying against the brambles, just outside the camp entrance was Skywhisper, body stiff but alive and struggling. She quickly raced to his side, a sense of urgency taking over every cell in her being. "Skywhisper!" the young tabby cried desperately. She searched her mind for anything to help and came up empty. She crouched down close to the tom, straining her senses for any clues. "Skywhisper," she pleaded, "Just tell me what to do. Tell me what you need. I can help of you tell me." She searched his face frantically. 'Just tell me what to do, please...'