Restless, the winds howled through the Mournful Hills. In reality, it was a light breeze, but the strange rock formations made it echo from hill to hill like the voices of ghostly creatures. There was prey here, but tracking them was much more difficult due to the disorienting sounds of the wind. Dragonfly often wandered here, where the sound of echoes droned out her presence to other cats.
She was in a rather sour mood, and hunting took her mind off of things. She could not help wondering how long she could test Star's patience. Moon after moon, she refused his pleas to become mates. She could not deny there were not just friends. But how could she settle down now? At the prime of her youth, Dragonfly wanted to explore the land far and wide. Star? He just seemed to want to lounge around until the next scout brought food to his jaws. They were different, truly, but the heart wants what it wants.
And now, to make matters worse, he and Butterfly grew every closer. With a huff, Dragonfly landed, paws empty, on where a lucky field mouse had once been. She growled in disgust. How clumsy of her. Her sister Butterfly certainly would have gotten an easy kill like that.
A rustle made her hairs stand on end, but she was not sure if it was just the wind whistling through the trees or some lowly stalker. Since that night that Firefly followed her, Dragonfly had been on edge. She hated the fact that she needed a sentry's protection; it limited her independence, but sometimes it felt so necessary.
"Someone there?" she called out, trying to hide her embarrassment of being seen missing a kill.
Lavender felt a surge of excitement; she bounced along, purring a gentle melody to herself. The she-cat had been having a great sunrise, prey seemed to be tracking nicely and the sun was out and boy - it was cheerful! The feline shook out her short fur as the sun warmed her body. However, the heat quickly disappeared as she ventured deeper into the territory. The scout loathed the howling winds up on top of the mournful hills. The name was best fitting, for sure, she often thought. Still, she made her way up the steep rocky formations. I need to be brave. I need to try and get used to these hills. If I'm to ever be a great hunter like my brother...I must really face my fears.
Instinctively; Lavender pulled her ears flat against her rounded face. As another yowl of wind cracked against the hill edges, she tensed up, raising her shoulders defensively. The she-cat hopped onward, not seeming to take any delicacy when it came to keeping her paw-steps hushed. The wind would surely frighten most prey - or so she claimed.
The she-cat's ice eyes fell upon the pelt of a familiar she-cat; a glossy Bengal with mud coloured spots. Dragonfly was beautiful, she thought as she called out to the familiar feline, "Hi Dragonfly!" Lavender exhaled slowly; her breath feeling as icy as her blue eyes. Lavender wondered how Dragonfly was doing; last she heard from Star, she had rejected him again. Star seemed miserable by the rejection. But alas, he always did.
Lavender couldn't imagine how tricky their situation was. He loved her. She only sought friendship. Lavender had always tried to keep out of her brother's love life, but sometimes she could not help but feel curious. She was after-all his rock for support. She knew about it all. "How are you going?" She called back out as she drew towards the Bengal; completely oblivious that Dragonfly had missed a kill earlier, dampening her mood.
Star's sister was a peculiar cat. Dragonfly knew the siblings were close, and their similar demeanor certainly spoke the truth. They reminded her of when she was younger and closer to her siblings, when family seemed like such an important and lovely thing. Yet if it were up to Dragonfly, she wouldn't have it any different than the cat she was today. Her family had held her back, she reminded herself.
"Oh, Lavender!" she greeted the molly. Lavender was always a joy to see, despite the messiness of the Tribe. Somehow such a friend always lifted her mood. "I was trying to hunt around here... everyone seems to have trouble hunting here so I thought it might be a good challenge," Dragonfly answered. She had to admit, it was certainly hard hunting around here. But since the Tribe's other half of the territory had been lost, Dragonfly figured she might as well make the best of what they had left. "I needed some time alone, I guess. Too much drama in that Tribe of ours," she flicked her tail in the direction of the camp. By drama, Dragonfly almost certainly meant her constant follower Star. Moons had passed since he first showed interest in her, and yet it appeared he could not accept the rejection.
Not that it was his fault, after all. Dragonfly constantly made it seem like maybe she would be ready for a mate and kits one day. One day... a long time from now. The thought of a "family" brought darkness to her mind. It wasn't that she did not love him back. It was just... the life he desired differed too greatly from her own.
Freedom, was it? Or maybe jealousy over Butterfly?
There was no need to think such thoughts. Dragonfly knew better than to spill her true selfish thoughts onto the sweet Lavender that was Star's sister. Dragonfly shook herself and turned back to Lavender with a rather fake bright smile on her face, "What are you up to? Not exactly a pleasant place to take a walk, huh?"
Lavender's fur stood up slightly as a sharp breeze tickled at her fur. A slight frown crept across her expression, but it diminished as the short-haired rosette spoke, immediately capturing the rounded feline's gaze. Lavender studied the leopard like feline. They seemed to be continuously bumping into one another now, but Lavender did not seem to mind. However, she was grateful for the familiar face being Dragonfly and not Firefly. The charcoal tom was prickly and sour, his words often contained venom. Firefly felt like an aura of negativity, one that Lavender certainly did not enjoy being around.
Lavender wasn't sure whether Firefly and Dragonfly got along, but it most certainly seemed unlikely. Dragonfly seemed calm, collected, even kind. But, Firefly seemed to be her opposite. Funny how siblings could be so contrasting to one another.. The she-cat twitched the end of her silvery tail, a small smile parted across her pudgy maw as the leopardess described her hunting attempts in the mournful hills. While Lavender was not the smartest of she-cats, she knew fairly quickly what Dragonfly meant by drama. She exhaled slowly and looked down at her paws. Star was a really nice tom, he was relaxed and maybe a little lazy, but he made up for that in more ways than one. Still, Lavender knew you could never force the heart. "Yeah...Sorry about that," she said with a slight shrug. Although Lavender knew it was in no way her fault, she couldn't help but feel sorry for both cats. Star just wanted to give his love. But, Dragonfly didn't feel the same? Was love always this messy, this painful? The very thought made her a little sad. A constant love triangle. Would it ever stop? "I hope you two can still remain close...Despite this.." Lavender trailed off. There were really no words to explain what it was; love problem? my brother constantly nagging? your unrequited love? She gave a slight shrug before proceeding, "I guess..drama, as you call it," she said.
As Dragonfly shifted the conversation, Lavender felt a slight feeling of relief. Love was NOT her strength. All she knew about love was from tid-bits from Star. Although, of course, curiosity was always on the snowy fae's mind.
"You seem to have a good reason for being up here," she commented as her ears slid backwards slightly, "I admittedly hate this place. Hate it so much! But, with my brother recently being promoted to Preymaster..I thought I should at least brave my fears. He is so brave..." She said, her voice dwindling as another howl of wind interrupted her thoughts.
Shaking her head, she smiled back to the feline, "I guess I just wanted to try prove myself a little more...He has accomplished so much," she explained. Lavender felt nothing but pride for her brother, Burn, but it did reveal her weak points. Burn seemed fearless and confident. Lavender did not want to look weak in front of the rest of the tribe, especially in comparison to the big russet tom.
The leopard-pelted she was equally glad Lavender was the face that appeared. If it had been her creepy brother Firefly stalking her again, Dragonfly might just have lost her usual patience today. Or worse, it could have been Star taking Butterfly out for a stroll. Dragonfly loathed the idea of them near each other, but she made no audible complaint. Who was she to be jealous anyway?
"We are close," Dragonfly gave a small laugh as if to contain her anxiety when it came to the topic of Star. "I don't think he really understands how different we are. I would never be a good.... mate... for your brother."
Dragonfly's face wrinkled at the word. Mate. It was not a word she had ever seen used in a good context. Whether it be love or lust, it always ended in mewling kits and family drama. It was a word that her parents still called each other despite their lack of affection. To her it meant nothing, why not just be friends instead?
Then again, matters of the heart were not Dragonfly's strong suit. Where she belonged was alone, she had decided, out in this haunting wilderness, scouting for her next kill. She glanced at the fellow scout next to her and couldn't help but wonder how any cat felt differently. "It's a strange and spooky place. Makes me jump out of my fur all the time," Dragonfly agreed with a light meow, as if to intentionally shake off their earlier heavier conversation about Star. "I've learned to view scary things as a challenge though. Makes life a little more interesting... You wanna walk around? Might as well get to know the land now that we lost a lot of our old hunting grounds."
She motioned deeper into the Mourning Hills. She felt cautious just continuing on her path here, but perhaps having a companion would make it much more bearable and a little less ominous. Dragonfly had no doubt that this placed scared any cat, Burn included. In fact, being long-time training buddies, she had a hard time seeing Burn as a higher rank than her. He was still the same cat; it was just a preference of the Flamewatcher that he was Preymaster over Lavender. "You know that night when Firefly followed me to the lake with Wolf?" Dragonfly decided to bring up the incident rather frankly. It brought a smile to her lips, thinking of the spirited molly bumping into Firefly and disturbing his creepy maneuvers. She gave Lavender an encouraging smile. Lavender had comforted Dragonfly several times in the past moon, whether it was intentional or not. Perhaps the least she could do was the same.
"You were plenty brave then. I was too scared to even face the unknown cat in the dark but you just ran right in to greet him. We are all brave and talented, just in our own ways."
As Dragonfly explained her thoughts; that she believed she would not be a good mate for Star, she offered no debate. If that's what the leopard-colored she-cat believed, Lavender would not argue it. She simply nodded, as though she understood, a small smile on her maw. "Fair enough," she said. The white snow-tipped she-cat had never thought about her brother having kits, but she knew it would be inevitable. Star would make a great father, if ever given the opportunity. Lavender, Star and Burn had grown up without the affection of parents. Both having died when they were all fairly young. But, the three had been close, compensating for any lack of care a parent could provide. Lavender had been the closest with mother before her untimely death, though. She used to follow her around the nursery and camp like a small shadow.
Lavender giggled as Dragonfly explained that she didn't really like the mournful hills either. "Me too!" She meowed in surprise. It was almost reassuring that someone else found the hills to be a little eerie and spooky. Lavender often thought of herself as a complete coward; a goofball, but she often tried her best, it just seemed that negative associations always prevailed. Not just for her own thoughts about herself, but others too.
"Sure, why not?" She chirped, optimistically. In reality, Lavender had wanted to turn tail and run ever since she heard the howls of the wind. But the presence of another, one who understood, seemed to make the whole experience just a little bit better. Lavender pressed on, following after the leopardess. The hills were steep, but the she-cat was careful about her footing; placing each paw cautiously.
Lavender's ears shot up in surprise, her icy eyes focused on Dragonfly as she explained that Lavender had been brave only several nights passed. A smile curved across her maw at the mention of bravery. "Thanks," she said, stifling a slight laugh. She had really only bumped into him on accident, but she supposed she would take any compliment where she could. They were in fact rare for Lavender. "Firefly is a strange tom," she said afterwards, shaking her head slowly, "So.. Creepy and moody. Has he always been like that?" Lavender had never paid attention to the inky tom when she was training; her focus was on her family and admittedly her own growth. But she did know that she didn't like him, even if they had only a few interactions. It was enough to judge, she decided.