While part of Quailstream had expected it...the announcement Stoatstar had made not long ago was certainly not one she had expected all the same. While she knew that Berrybloom had been strangely...absent, and no one really knew where she was or why, and Pantherleap had fallen ill beneath poor young Spiderpaw's care...after everything the clan had gone through, she had hoped they would pull through this as well. Sure, it was a slip up, but their numbers were growing, and Spiderpaw was a good healer despite his young age. Berrybloom was...an odd one, of late, yet she was certainly not the sort to abandon her clan.
Yet...here they were, and honestly? It stung.
Truly, Quailstream did not know what to think. So, she did not. Instead, she did what Quailstream always did in any situation - she kept on moving forward. As Stoatstar had said, life must go on, and if anyone held that message at heart it was Quailstream. She was never one to let panic and hopelessness get the better of her - every situation deserved her full attention, and she would have time to mourn and wonder outside of her duties. For now, her clan needed her, and what ifs or whys were certainly not of any use.
It was why the molly found herself in the mossy clearing late in the afternoon, with the sun threatening its last few hours of daylight, which she refused to waste. To give those most effected by the loss of Pantherleap, revelation of the illness and report of Berrybloom officially missing, Quailstream had been putting all she had into her work for the clan. It was not to say that she was not upset by the news either, but she could work through it, while she knew others could not. Besides, she had a nasty habit of putting the emotions of others before her own, always, and she refused to think that perhaps it might not be the best thing for her to do.
Her clan needed her. So, she hunted and patrolled more often than not, helped the apprentices with their duties as much as she could spare the time. She had fixed many a den, been there as a shoulder to lean on and an ear to listen for many within her clan, certainly congratulated her dear friend Seawatcher and offered any help she might need, and had even offered young Spiderpaw her assistance should he ever require it. She may not know much about herbs, but at the very least she could serve as protection, support, and an extra set of paws if needed.
Basically, she had been all but working herself to the bone.
Still, as her patience paid off in waiting out a mouse hiding in a pile of rocks within the clearing, and her teeth meeting its neck silenced it before it could so much as squeal, she felt a flash of satisfaction. Offering her murmur of thanks to Starclan as she always did, the warrior drew the mouse closer to her, and sat down with a sigh. It felt so serene, to see the endless fur of green coated in the white of snow, yet she knew well enough that much like the spot she had cleared beneath her, the moss had not receded beneath the snow. It was simply hiding away beneath the white, waiting to be discovered where it lay dormant to begin its growth anew with the season's turn.
Just like Creekclan, because she refused to think this illness would beat them.
Notes | Time to see how compatible they are <3 Tagged | stoatstar
Stoatstar had been almost... mourning the loss on his old Deputy...and Medicine Cat. While they hadn't been entirely close to him, they were trusted advisors and close colleagues. They were two cats that he knew would advise him well, and deliver the secrets that they found. And now...well, Spiderpaw was young but seemed to be rather bright so perhaps there was hope on that front. And Seawatcher, he had hand picked the molly in hopes that she could fill the empty pawsteps of the ebony tom.
He spent much of his time in mindless solitary walks. They seemed to ease the burdens of his mind and lessened the stress that seemed to plague his heart. And on this particular day, he had found himself wandering to the mossy clearing. It was one of his favorite places in the clan. Sitting in the center of it and just staring into the bright blue sky seemed to put him in a trance. It pulled him away from his earthly body and closer to Starclan.
But today, he would find a scent that would distract him. Another body that would prevent the lone moment from happening and end his streak of solitude. The femme was easily identified, Quailstream. Her looks stood out in the clan, they weren't ones he saw everyday...unless he gazed upon her features. But that was unlike him, and so instead he relied heavily upon his brain to bring the information forth.
"Ahhh Quailstream. How's your...hunt treating you?" He let his eyes wander to the mouse at her paws, assuming she had been doing just that.
''this took forever for me to get to. i apologize!
A voice was quick to draw Quailstream's attention from the snow toward a ginger pelt, and from the second his voice reached her ears and his scent reached her nose, there was no doubt in her mind whose company she would find for the moment. After all, it was hard not to recognize one's own leader immediately, especially when she had put so much effort into supporting his reign. Quailstream would always look upon the ginger tom with respect, just as she did when she turned to him now.
"Well enough," she affirmed easily, gesturing to the mouse with a paw. "Every little catch is good hunting in Leafbare." That was simply her outlook, she supposed. Always moving forward, looking to the future. This mouse would fill one belly, and that would mean one less cat had the chance of going hungry tonight. It was a success in her eyes, no matter how much she would have liked to catch three. To expect prey in Leafbare was to expect snow in Greenleaf - it was better to just accept what one could achieve and put it to the best use possible.
Her attention, however, was quick to drift toward her leader.
She had never pictured him as the most chatty, energetic cat around - that prize would probably go to one of the apprentices, perhaps Dawnpaw or Snap-paw - she was not blind to his recent solitude. Perhaps it was nothing out of the ordinary for Stoatstar, but to wallow in ones problems was not the best choice, and if Quailstream could convince her leader to open up and say what was on his mind, then maybe she could be of some help. Though, she doubted she could fix any problem a leader could not, at the very least she had every intention to offer her support. It went a long way, after all, from her experience.
So, Quailstream offered Stoatstar a warm smile, tail curling closer to the heat of her body as she observed him. No judgement was present, though it was hard to avoid the hint of curiosity, wavering on the edge of morphing toward concern depending how the tom answered. "And how are you doing lately? I know things can't be easy for you, the pressure of leading everyone through all of this..."
Of course there was more she could say, advice she could give or assurances she could offer. However, Quailstream knew better than to carry on before he could respond - there was no sense in forcing a conversation that was not wanted, it was better to wait and see what the tom needed.
Sometimes cats just needed a distraction from problems instead.
He nodded to her words. She was right. Any scrap of prey was better than nothing in this season. This dreadful season. While the snow was quite beautiful, the chill that it sent through his bones was one he didn't ever quite get used to. But it was one that he could never escape, at least not here. But here was home, and for that reason he would be content to deal with the cold of leaf-bare. He brushed a small spot of snow away with a flick of his tail, providing a spot for him to sit. His tail curled around his paws, attempting to keep his body heat conserved.
"That's quite true. It seems to be especially unforgiving this go around." Perhaps he only felt this way due to The Spore and the recent death of Pantherleap. Of course, the disappearance of Berrybloom didn't attribute anything positive to the overall experience either. He let his eyes close softly, quietly wishing for the sun to show itself. It would bring warmth to the situation, or at least physically it could become helpful, even if it didn't touch the inner chill that plagued his thoughts.
His ears perked at her question. How was he? A soft smirk couldn't help but show on his maw before he wiped it clean. If she only knew. But he wasn't one to share, and he wasn't one to worry the warriors of his clan with the dark thoughts that plagued his mind. Those were reserved for....well, nobody really. It was sad to admit, but the tom didn't exactly have anyone truly close to him. Seawatcher was the only one he would be able to share hard news with, and even then..she wasn't meant to have his heartfelt torture and deepest secrets.
"I suppose as well as one could expect. But we survived Bonestar and the rebuild, Creekclan can make it through this." He was quick to dismiss the him out of the equation. He was Creekclan, Creekclan was him. It didn't matter how he himself was, it mattered how the clan was fairing.
''this could probably be better but im having trouble getting back into everyone eeep.
Quailstream noted as her leader sat down, pleased to see that he intended to stay and talk with her, though she would not comment on this fact. Instead, she regarded Stoatstar with a warm blink, before settling herself into a more comfortable sitting position. She kept her catch close to her, stopping it from getting cold quite so quickly, and contented herself with listening to the older tom.
"It is," she agreed softly, not one to shy away from the truth. However, she did not look shaken by this fact. No matter her worry, she had faith in her clan and their ability to survive. Even if they were down to the last few mousetails and everyone fell ill with this dreadful sickness, she could never imagine turning her back upon her clan. They had already been through so much, and she had been through it all with them. "However, Creekclan is strong, I believe far more so than the other clans after what we have faced. We will get through this, together."
There was a firmness of total belief in Quailstream's tone, though there still remained a softness to her gaze as she listened. They had already fallen upon hard times, and things were bound to only get worse, but Stoatstar had so much more resting on his shoulders than anyone else, beyond perhaps young Spiderpaw. This had to be so much harder for him than anyone, being responsible for the hope and future of so many cats, and yet here he sat before her as sturdy as ever.
Were there any cat she truly admired, surely it had to be her leader.
And yet that bravery kept him isolated. He did not wish to lean on others, to burden she assumed, and so he kept the worse to himself. Yet surely even he needed support? No one could take the brunt of this all alone, and with a new deputy he had yet to fully connect with...well, Quailstream found herself wondering if he had anyone close to his side at all.
"We can," she agreed, before her gaze aimed to seek out his, gentle and questioning, hoping to lend him some support. Everyone needed someone to help them stand tall from time to time - surely the tallest standing of all would need someone most. A soft sigh, and the molly offered the tom an understanding smile.
"You don't want to worry me," she observed lightly, no annoyance or judgment in her tone, simply understanding. "Yet if you are the trunk that supports the branches of our clan...surely even you need roots to keep stable when the wind blows harshly?"
While her gaze alighted with question, and maintained a hint of concern as well, her understanding never wavered. She could not blame him for not wanting to burden her with his truths, when she was much the same with hers. "You do not have to tell me anything, but I hope you know that I will always try to support you. As your loyal warrior, and I hope, as your friend."
The tom feigned a smile. Surely he wasn't that readable. Surely he could hide his ways more than it seemed. But as she offered an understanding look, he couldn't help but feel that perhaps he wasn't doing so well at keeping his secrets. Perhaps he wasn't hiding everything as well as he had hoped to. But his plate was getting rather full. So much had happened over such a short period of time. It was hard to really say if he would be able to keep it all bottled up for much longer.
Although he could vent out into the open, to nobody...it had been working thus far. Or....as Quailstream made it seem, it hadn't been. Or was at least beginning to lose it's calming effects. The orange tabby sighed softly. "It's hard to find one to trust. Moons ago, there was somebody. But here I sit, alone at the top of what seems to be a crumbling cliff." His eyes cast themselves away from her, he wasn't one for opening up...and letting somebody know his vulnerabilities, well...that made him easy prey. It made him an easy target.
"But that doesn't matter. There's just quite a bit going on. And I've been handling it as best as I can. When Pantherleap was here, he was at least somebody who could keep their maw shut if need be. But Seawatcher, I just don't know well enough. Not yet. And while she's trustworthy...I just can't let her close personally. That's...uh more complicated." He struggled with his words, hoping to find the ones that made some sort of sense.
''sorry i am super rusty after no replies forever. i'll get better with stoat again soon