The Din of Burden

Tigerblaze Avatar
Tigerblaze
Oneclan
Apr 20, 2020 22:02:25 GMT
tigerblaze
template by punki of adoxography
Cuz I'm a fighter, a tiger, see me walk through fire




try chain me up but i'll burst through, i'll defy ya
After moons upon moons of living in CreekClan and adjusting to their way of life and hunting, being back on GorgeClan territory was an absolute shock to her system. The hard ground under her toes was sturdy, warm even, as she marched herself over the boundary line with other sick cats in line in front and behind her, marching like the condemned to their prison; it had to have been some wretched twist of fate that their prison ending up being her old prison cell. Tigerblaze had never imagined she would return to her formal Clan, the thought not once coming to her even after the war had ended and peace returned to the Clans. Yet, there she was, sinking into a makeshift nest in a den she had lived in once upon a time.

Now, she's better, but finds herself still trapped in GorgeClan territory. The Spore had brutalized her in ways she couldn't comprehend, and despite being back on her feet, her health hadn't fully returned her to her and Tigerblaze felt it more appropriate to become a full-time hunter for the quarantined cats rather than wait out the recovery and return to her home. It was a decision she had made for herself. Yet still, her pelt prickles at her misfortune. Maybe it's the nest under her, the warm moss and dry lichen familiar in an unfamiliar way, or maybe the den she's in, one she had cared for as an apprentice and imagined retiring to as a warrior, silent and drafty with only her to warm it. Maybe it's just the turn of events that she calls her life. 

Soon, the prickling of her fur becomes too much and she's forced to stand, stretching slowly and fighting the cough that builds up in her chest with the force of the stretch. She exits, glancing at what used to be the warrior's den, sees Foxflight and later Badgerfoot and Batflight and Rowanwhisker settled next to her in her mind's eye before shaking her head quickly to shift away the images. The den remains empty as she passes it, seeking solace in the quiet, empty territory she still knows like the back of her paw.

Her original intention is to hunt - the Spore has left her weakened, but hunting is a task she's grown better at now that she cannot fight as fully as she once could and it's not like she's had to seriously fight in ages. However, after the third squirrel escapes Tigerblaze's distracted paws, she concedes, shifting her purpose to wandering aimlessly. She'll hunt later, when she's had her fill of solitude and fresh air, vastly different from the groans and smell of sick back at the camp.

Her paws lead her to the Rushing Waters, eyes taking in the river that's slowly returning to it's Newleaf glory. She's not sure why, but she knows where to go now that she is there. Along the bank is a slender path, slick with the spray of the falls above, that leads to a small cave, isolated from the rest of camp. She takes that now, one paw step at a time, careful to keep her balance. Any faster and she's likely to slip and fall, and despite her passion, she doubts her resistance to giving up will help save her weakened body from drowning.

The closer to the cave she gets, the colder it gets, the sun fading away as shadows take over just as the path widens to accompany the entrance of the cave. It's not entirely huge, big enough for perhaps the majority of GorgeClan at it's thinnest, and not entirely secretive - she can't imagine her and Badgerfoot were the only cats in the Clan to know about the cave or visit it, but the dangerous path combined with the overall nothingness that the cave is used for is a pretty good deterrent for the rest of  the Clan. Of course, that was before she left, so she isn't certain now, but as she enters, it's obvious that no cat has visited in moons, a staleness to the air she had only known once before, when she had first encountered it as a newly-appointed warrior. Except -

Except there is one smell, and even though it's been moons and seasons, she's so familiar with it that she knows that scent in an instant. "
Badgerfoot?" Where once her voice would have held nothing but hostility, it is now quiet, questioning, lingering in the silence around, the water rushing by a din in the background. 


PEBBLES
48
Female
She/Her
Demisexual
Warrior
Kein Jair
badgerfoot Avatar
badgerfoot
Oneclan
Apr 21, 2020 4:44:24 GMT
badgerfoot
i can't take back what i've done
but i hope you'll see the change in me
[attr="class","bandittext"]The last few moons had been rough on his body and harder on his mind, it seemed. Since the fall of Bonestar and the battle with CreekClan that had left him with one eye, Badgerfoot had become a shell of his former self. He'd seen the she-cat that had captured his heart once since that battle, since the day she'd taken his eye. And while he could have hated her for the action, he grew more reserved and withdrawn from the clan and everyone around him. The few cats he considered friends in his youth were either dead or chased from GorgeClan when Fangstar came to power and the only thing that had saved him from the same fate was forsaking the tom that he'd once believed in more than anything. Saying he was wrong, repenting for those sins. And since?

Well Badgerfoot was a model warrior - or at least as model as one could be when they interacted with no one. He hunted and participated in patrols but faded into the background where he knew his place to be, silent and watching the world take on a new light. A light without his kits and without Tigerblaze. A place he'd thought he could only go in death was now his waking world and that was where reality started to shatter.

When the Spore came, he was one of the first to assume it was due to their actions under Bonestar. When he fell ill, he closed his eyes and laid down, prepared for StarClan to take him home, where he'd wait for his family to return. But instead, with each passing day, he grew stronger. It was slow, and his lungs still ached to this day, but he was able to move about without assistance. He could stand upright without feeling like his lungs were gripped by vices. Occasionally, a deep cough would still shake his body but it was livable now. At least, more so that it had been.

Since he'd been well enough to make his way around camp, Badgerfoot had made himself as useful as he could be, hunting and bringing back pitifully small prey - or nothing at all - and patrolling the outskirts of camp. Anything to keep his mind from thinking too much about the cats that surrounded him now. GorgeClan had been decimated by the spore, leaving very few to protect the land that was once home to a fierce clan. And at night, he couldn't help but worry about the CreekClanners and MoorClanners that surrounded them. They were outnumbered and while he had hope that the other clans had forgiven their treachery, there were none but Badgerfoot who sat on his inner circle.

So the paranoia that set in each night drove him mad. He chose not to sleep in the camp, opting for the one place he had always felt safe. A place that those outside of GorgeClan didn't know of and most in it didn't venture. It was a safe place, a place that he and Tigerblaze had spent time in before she'd left. So he went here to think about what the world could have been like, to let his mind spin tales of where he could be now, had he not messed up so badly before. "Just a couple more weeks. Then I'll be well enough. Then I can stop hiding. Then..." His hushed whisper fell silent as the sound of paw steps approached the cave and his heart instantly began pounding in his ears, echoing into the silence so loudly he could hardly make out anything else.

Until she appeared, and he stared at the silhouette of the she-cat against the cave's light. Due to the blindness in one eye, he couldn't make out her coloring, but the smell of her overwhelmed him within a moment as a soft breeze carried her scent inward. And her voice broke the silence, but it was softer than he'd last heard it.

Maybe that was the illness.

He'd done well avoiding her so far, as Tigerblaze had been clear that she wanted nothing to do with him. It'd been difficult, but he'd pleaded to be left separate from her for as long as he could. Not out of fear, but out of respect. He knew that her being here was probably hard, and that GorgeClan was likely the last place she wished to be. GorgeClan was the last place anyone wished to be right now. Slowly, he nodded, but pushed himself to his feet as quickly as he could.

"Sorry." He said quickly, but his voice was gravelly and the breath wheezed out of him. "You... um. Hi. How... are you?" He sounded awkward, like a nervous apprentice talking to a warrior, but in the last several moons, Badgerfoot had purposely removed himself from the lives of others. "You're... you look well." He said with a weak smile, before slowly skirting around the edge of the cave. "You can stay here... if you want. I can go."


839 |

[newclass=".bandittext b"]color:#b84b4b;[/newclass]

PEBBLES
FIFTY-ONE
MALE
HE/HIM
HETEROSEXUAL
WARRIOR
NA
BANDIT
Tigerblaze Avatar
Tigerblaze
Oneclan
Apr 21, 2020 18:14:41 GMT
tigerblaze
template by punki of adoxography
Cuz I'm a fighter, a tiger, see me walk through fire









try chain me up but i'll burst through, i'll defy ya
A flurry of emotions jetted through her, so quickly and chaotically that she couldn't discern one from any other. An internal ache filled her as he spoke, warm, one she couldn't say she was familiar with. It was uncomfortable. His words washed over her and Tigerblaze almost had trouble making them out - it could have been his voice, far softer and far more hesitant than the proud tom who boisterously yowled praises to Bonestar, so strong in his abilities to protect her and their kits from harm - or perhaps it was the roar in her ears as her body moved to mimic his, circling opposite from him to move further away from the entrance.

It was a dance of wolves, of two being too familiar of each other to do anything but dance - equal pacing so one could not catch up to the other, plenty of room on either side of a predetermined path to run, to flee, to fight.

Perhaps they would have, in another time, in another place. The inkling of her claws sliding out, readying themselves for battle, never reached her. She was tired. Weariness spread through her like a fire - shoulders slumped, eased of tension, paws dragging themselves forward. No, there would be no fight - not like the last time they'd met. She could see the brand of her claws even from her distance, and for the first time since, Tigerblaze felt a stab of regret wash over her. She paused in her stride, a caboose cut loose, and stared at him as if it was the first time she'd ever laid eyes on him. 

"
Don't go," she stated, not quite a plea, though also not a suggestion. "You were here first, you have every right to be here - moreso than I, to be honest. I can leave." She was farther from the entrance then, but she'd still leave if asked. 

The rasp to his voice didn't go unnoticed and she wondered if he, too, fought back against the disease as she had, fought to deter it from taking over so he could hunt and protect and be the warrior he should. Maybe she'd be far better now if she had let it run its course instead of fighting. Maybe he would've been too. 

In the many moons following their separation, that last fateful skirmish, and the peace following the war, she'd grown, grown to live a life outside of battling and bloodshed. There was regret, yet - days she'd stared at her paws for hours, her mind blurring the line between reality and the past until the red of her fur intermixed with the red of blood and she worried it would never come off - so many of her former Clanmates slaughtered at her paws for supporting the tyrant that was Bonestar, and did they all really deserve that? Was she really that desperate to belong that she had slayed them without a second thought in her anger? And Badgerfoot - if it was one thing to regret, it was taking part of him when he had refused to fight as she stood angrily over him and just let her attack. 

She'd grown, and with it, the anger subsided.

"
I - I'm okay, just - I'm as well as I can be. How're you?" She hadn't even known he was in quarantine. StarClan, was she the fool. She looked up at him then, eyes hardened with something akin to anger because that's all she knew how to act around him, yet lined with a softness she hoped he could see. "I'm sorry." Perhaps it was out of sorts for a random apology to be thrown out into the air between them. How could he even know what she meant? But it slipped out of her before she could think, and it wasn't like she could just bring it back.


PEBBLES
48
Female
She/Her
Demisexual
Warrior
Kein Jair
badgerfoot Avatar
badgerfoot
Oneclan
Apr 26, 2020 0:56:19 GMT
badgerfoot
i can't take back what i've done
but i hope you'll see the change in me
[attr="class","bandittext"]The look of exhaustion that touched his features as they circled each other showed how little energy he had for this fight. He'd hoped after moons that Tigerblaze's hatred for him would finally quell, but he figured he shouldn't have been surprised. The fiery she-cat had ensnared him for so many reasons all those moons ago, and her personality had certainly been one of them. He'd learned to take the good sides and the bad. And he should have known that things wouldn't be that simple. She likely wouldn't rest until he was dead. At least, that was what he thought was going on in her mind.

So when she broke the silence, simply telling him not to go, he had to fight the look of genuine confusion that riddled his wary face. His brows knitted together and the tom-cat found himself staring at her in disbelief for several long moments. She even offered to be the one to vacate this place and Badgerfoot found himself biting his tongue hard to prevent himself from sounding too desperate with his reply. He didn't want her to go, by any means. It had been so long since he'd spent any time with her - that they'd been able to talk civily that the prospect of it thrilled him and frightened him all the same. That, and he was tired of being alone. Since GorgeClan had left him here in quarantine, he hadn't slept much. And if she wouldn't kill him, he'd take the company for at least one night.

"Stay." He said gruffly, slowly turning his gaze away from hers as he lowered himself to his haunches. The act took him a moment as every muscle strained to keep him upright until he sighed and lowered himself instead to lay on the stone ground. It was cool in new-leaf, a feeling he'd grown quite used to since this was a place he went to frequently for reflection on the mistakes he'd made in his moons. And the she-cat before him had been a center of his thoughts for quite some time, but he dared not admit that now. Tigerblaze may not be trying to kill him tonight, but he knew better than to assume that meant forgiveness.

He blinked a few times in the darkness, the only light that poured into the cave coming from the entrance and the reddish glow of sunset casting deep shadows into the cave, making it only harder for him to look upon her. Badgerfoot didn't allow himself to stare, however, and distracted himself with her question as he looked down at his paws. The chuckle that sounded was rueful at best, and it ended with a wheeze from his weak lungs, but he shrugged a little. "Tired, I think is the only thing that describes it now. Tired of the sickness. Tired of the long days. Just... tired." He settled on.

He could sense the intensity of her gaze from the way she looked upon him, but he made no effort to move. If she were to attack him right now, Badgerfoot didn't think he had the energy to fight back anymore. Between the ache in his chest, the strain of the disease on his body, and the moons of self torment, if this were it, he had nothing more to fight for.

Instead, an apology hung in the air and for several long moments, the gray tabby found himself looking through her. It took several moments, but he finally replied, his gaze lifting to hers as he spoke. "You don't need to apologize. I deserved it. All of it." Badgerfoot was a shell of himself at best, and the once proud feline was now barely able to hold himself upright, and he doubted that Tigerblaze would look upon him as the same cat. Maybe as the reason their daughter was dead, but not as a strong warrior as he'd once been. "How do you feel, being back here after all this time?" He asked cautiously.


670 |

[newclass=".bandittext b"]color:#b84b4b;[/newclass]

PEBBLES
FIFTY-ONE
MALE
HE/HIM
HETEROSEXUAL
WARRIOR
NA
BANDIT
Tigerblaze Avatar
Tigerblaze
Oneclan
Apr 28, 2020 18:37:07 GMT

tigerblaze
template by punki of adoxography
Cuz I'm a fighter, a tiger, see me walk through fire




try chain me up but i'll burst through, i'll defy ya
Badgerfoot had always been an easy to read cat, at least to Tigerblaze. It was obvious he was uncomfortable, surprised with the way she was acting. Could she blame him? Their last interaction left no room for words, no room to talk, and he'd fled after she clawed out an eye.

She couldn't blame him if he wanted nothing to do with her every again.

It was to her own surprise that he actually wanted her to stay, a command just as her own had been. Alright, okay, they could work through this. Tigerblaze sat with a sigh, easing into stretch that popped her bones and laid her out comfortably. The ground was colder than the air was, which probably wasn't all that great for her still-weak body, but it was something she was used to. If it meant neither of them needed to leave, she could put up with it for the time being. It felt good on her aching paw-pads, regardless.

She took a moment to watch Badgerfoot, really take him in, his fur, his stature, his eyes. If she looked quickly, she might have been able to pretend nothing had ever changed, that they were just two GorgeClan warriors sneaking out for a bit of adventure after however many hunting patrols they went on for the day. It takes her eyes a moment to adjust, to narrow and pick out the little differences that show any time had passed - his eye, for sure, the weariness to his face, the slump of his shoulders when they once laid so proudly. She imagined she didn't look much better but who was she to tell?

He spoke in wheezes and Tigerblaze remembers how she tried to fight the illness until she could no longer speak, words rasped out of a dry mouth. Once more, she wondered if he fought, or if he had just been too hard. Pity struck deep inside her and she brushed it away. Neither of them needed pitying. 

"
I do, though," she replied, voice low and grainy. Talking wasn't entirely necessarily when you weren't around others. Or maybe it was just guilt crushing her throat. "You deserved to realize the truth, not be marred by me. I could have helped you, or tried, but I just let me anger get control of me." Her eyes lower to her paws, almost ashamed, as they linger on the small scars that travel up and over her body. She loved to fight, true, and perhaps that was true of warriors in general, but she was a monster. If Badgerfoot didn't want to be around her, she'd entirely understand.

The conversation switched suddenly and it took her a moment to realize what he had said. How did she feel? Could she even put it into words? "
Strange," she admitted, settling on that one word. "It's ... familiar, in a distant way, like something you remember fondly from your kithood. I miss GorgeClan territory. CreekClan is okay, but," she trailed off. What could she say? It wasn't home? GorgeClan wasn't her home, hadn't been for a while. "I'll take what I can," she finished lamely without context.

"
How does it feel for you?"


PEBBLES
48
Female
She/Her
Demisexual
Warrior
Kein Jair
badgerfoot Avatar
badgerfoot
Oneclan
May 1, 2020 1:30:39 GMT
badgerfoot
i can't take back what i've done
but i hope you'll see the change in me
[attr="class","bandittext"]He watched the molly lower herself to the rigid, cool floor of the cave, his single eye lingering on her form for a few moments before he turned his attention back to the dull glow of light that was slowly dimming the cave into darkness.

There’d been so many moons where he’d wished to have her here with him again, he’d truly missed her but the gray tabby also knew that he’d lost any right to wish such things to StarClan. She’d left - and with good reason. He’d thought that it would take something extreme to bring her back to the clan where she’d lost everything, and technically, he’d been right by that regard. The quarantine hadn’t been any one cat’s decision, they’d all just been slowly relocated to GorgeClan’s territory because it was already too far gone to the disease. And so instead of risking another land, they moved all the sick here where they’d die slowly and fade into the shadows. There’d been so many deaths already...

Turning his gaze away from the fading sunlight, he slowly sighed and laid his head against his large paws. In the silence between them, he could hear the wheeze of his own lungs and it pulled a deep cough forward which he did his best to stifle.

Her grainy voice pulled his gaze back to her face, and the tom found a weak smile to offer, though it definitely didn’t meet his dull green eye. It’d been moons since he’d smiled like that since he’d allowed himself to unlock any sort of real feelings. It was so much easier to remain at a safe distance from everyone in his clan, silent and moving within the shadows. When Fangstar had taken power and began driving out all of the supporters of Bonestar, his shame was only hung higher over his head and he lowered himself to the ground, kept his tail tucked between his legs. Anything to show he was loyal to her and this clan now, despite what he’d done then.

I wouldn’t have listened.” He said finally, his voice softer, sounding defeated. “You tried to reason with me before you left. And I was… so enraptured in a dream that I didn’t understand. That I couldn’t even see. I just… believed in what my brothers told me and that things would be better. And I thought I was…” He swallowed hard, his voice softened as he continued. “I thought I was doing right by you all. I thought I was paving the way for a better future for us. For the kits. I just…

He sighed heavily, his voice getting softer with each passing breath as he drew in another. It was shakey, but at this point, Badgerfoot couldn’t tell if it was the illness that was doing this to him or his own mind. “I wanted to be more than I was in GorgeClan, which wasn’t much of anything. I thought if I did what was asked of me, if I proved my loyalty, that I could change that. I’m just… sorry you were in the middle of it.

The tom refused to look toward her as he spoke, his gaze lowered to his paws as he told her of all the hopes and dreams he’d had following Bonestar. And now, knowing what he did, he wished he could change everything. But the past was fickle that way, there was nothing to do now but accept that he’d made the mistakes, that he didn’t deserve anything after what he’d done.

Badgerfoot didn’t see himself worth saving from this place he’d sent himself to after Bonestar’s death. The darkness that consumed him was just what he deserved.

As Tigerblaze shared how she felt about having returned to GorgeClan’s territory, Badgerfoot knew he couldn’t be surprised by her reply - shouldn’t have been. Despite this having been her home for so long, he’d known that it was unlikely she’d ever return. However, her question brought a rueful smile to his face, and he shrugged slightly. “GorgeClan hasn’t been home for some time now. It’s more like a prison.



696 |

[newclass=".bandittext b"]color:#b84b4b;[/newclass]

PEBBLES
FIFTY-ONE
MALE
HE/HIM
HETEROSEXUAL
WARRIOR
NA
BANDIT
Tigerblaze Avatar
Tigerblaze
Oneclan
May 5, 2020 19:26:17 GMT

tigerblaze
template by punki of adoxography
Cuz I'm a fighter, a tiger, see me walk through fire




try chain me up but i'll burst through, i'll defy ya
"Probably not," she agreed, a hint of a laugh coating her words. "You were always pretty stubborn. We both were." She had tried, so very hard, to convince him that he wasn't in the right, that there was something Bonestar was planning other than the continued good of GorgeClan. He had convinced her otherwise, for a time, but Foxflight had wore her down and together they saw through Bonestar's act. Badgerfoot had not wanted to listen. She can still see his disappointment, the bite of his words as he spat out a harsh 'traitor' as she fled into the night. It shouldn't have bothered Tigerblaze as much as it did, and yet it still lingered. "You were not the only cat to be fooled by him. He was supposed to lead us to a stronger future, not on a warpath."

It was getting harder to hear him, for what reason, she wasn't sure. With an inaudible sigh, Tigerblaze gathered up her feathering strength and dragged herself across the floor, scattering loose pebbles as she went. In actuality, he wasn't all that far away; the cavern wasn't huge by any standards, but with her weakened body, it felt like a lifetime before she finally settled in front of him, a whisker's length away. Her tail swished behind her, the only sign of exhaustion she'd allow to shine through other than the soft panting as she tried to regain her breath without seeming like a total failure. Tigerblaze would never allow herself to be that weak without a valid reason. The urge to strengthen herself solidified in her mind and she vowed to start working on her body strength the next chance she got, fully recovered or not. 

Closer to Badgerfoot, she caught what she figured was the ending half of his sentence. "
Who were you trying to be loyal to? GorgeClan? Or Bonestar?"A rather simple question, sure, but an important one nonetheless. She kept any and all accusations out of her tone, though she kept a critical eye on him. "If the answer is GorgeClan, and you worked to prove that after Bonestar was killed, I don't really see a point of being so self-loathing. The past cannot be changed, forever behind us. That's why we have eyes on the front of our heads, not behind."

Badgerfoot wouldn't even look at her. Had she scarred him that badly, mentally as well as physically? She wanted to sigh again, but kept it contained for fear of making things worse. And then he, too, was calling GorgeClan a prison and she couldn't prevent herself from letting out a harsh snort, amused. She raised her paw slowly, as to not startle Badgerfoot into fleeing, before gently bopping him over an ear. "
Dummy. Now you know how I felt! Can you blame me? For trying to get out," she teased softly.


PEBBLES
48
Female
She/Her
Demisexual
Warrior
Kein Jair

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