"Mintstreak and Deerleap will take you two to the Elder's Den and get you settled in while we figure things out," Ebonystar said firmly, gazing down at the two males as Swan was ushered aside by Badgergaze and Chillstep. Duck seemed eager to meet these clan cats, pouncing alongside them, but Flame dragged his paws a bit. He didn't like that they arrived in this strange place and were suddenly all being thrust in different directions...had Minx known this would happen? She had promised things would start making sense when he got here...but how was he supposed to figure things out if his family was split apart?
"Follow us sweetie," Deerleap, that was her name, the one with the short tail. Her green eyes were knowing, warm. They held a deep wisdom in them that he couldn't comprehend, and softened at Duck's antics. She must have had kits of her own at some point. The little bob-tailed kit chattered away excitedly as they walked across the camp and into a mossy den, with dark corners and soft nests built up all around it.
"I realize we must seem so hurried to whisk you away, we even forgot to introduce ourselves," the male spoke, glancing at Deerleap with fondness in his own green eyes, "I am Mintstreak, and this is the love of my life, Deerleap." The ginger she-cat chuckled lightly, but although she rolled her eyes at his loving words, it was obvious she felt the same, "We're going to try to make your stay here more comfortable, away from prying eyes." There seemed to be so much more spoken between them, although no words were said. Flame briefly wondered about this silent communication, even as he settled into one of the mossy nests to be more on Duck's level so the kitten wouldn't feel left out.
"Mint! Mint!" the patchwork ball of fluff charged up to Mintstreak unabashedly, plopping his hindquarters down, although they continued to wriggle with excitement. "Yes, Duck?" the older male dipped his head, green eyes meeting the shining brown ones of the kit. His fondness for young ones seemed to emanate in warm waves. "Will you tell me about all the clan stuff! Like, what would I do? And do I get a cool name like yours? And why does Ebonystar make all the decisions? And-And-" the kit struggled to get out everything he wanted to know, unable to make words fast enough.
Mintstreak chuckled softly, "Easy there kit, we'll try to answer your questions as best we can. Firstly, you're still young, you would probably be in the nursery with the other kits. Young ones such as you are given the kit suffix, so you would be Duckkit." "Woah, Duckkit," the kitten mewed in awe, much to the amusement of the senior warriors. "And you would stay in the nursery with the other kits, learning from them, playing, and preparing to become an apprentice," Mintstreak continued, whiskers twitching.
Flame flicked an ear. Nursery. A place protected. Warmth and milk...a place for mothers and kits. Certainly that was common knowledge. Duck would be safe there. He smiled softly at the thought of trying to keep the kit inside though, that would probably prove to be an impossible task, but they could try. And it was highly likely Swan would constantly be coming to fret over him.
"And once kits are old enough, they get to become apprentices," Deerleap chimed in, the transition between her and the tom fluid, almost rehearsed, although it was all spur of the moment. They commonly shared thoughts and finished sentences together now, and Duck turned his gaze upon her easily, as she continued, "So you would become Duckpaw. An assignment of a mentor is given, and you would train beneath them until you became a warrior, or perhaps someday a leader. That's what Ebonystar is. He was chosen by StarClan to lead PebbleClan."Star....mentor...apprentice...
Flame felt an odd tremble at the words, ears laying back as he stared at the mossy walls...those were words he had heard in his nightmares...he could feel the hint of them at the edge of his mind...
"That's so cool! I want to be an apprentice!" Duck bounced about, almost tripping over his own paws before staring up at Mintstreak, "Can I be YOUR apprentice!?" The older tom smiled a bit wistfully, "I'm afraid not. Deerleap and I are both retired now, we no longer train apprentices...but...I had talented ones..most recently, Meadowpaw...and what seems like a lifetime ago...I had another. He...he was called Tumblepaw.
The name brought a wave of nausea through Flame and he stood, stumbling out of the mossy nest, chest heaving as cats danced through his vision, blurred faces of cats from his nightmares, words that fogged his mind and made him heave, body shaking. Why...what was...these faces...gray, brown, faces...Mintstreak? Was that him? He couldn't see their faces, their eyes dimmed, they faded, red...red...all he saw was red....and a pale, creamy tom, the red was his, the red...
Blood."STOP IT! GET OUT OF MY HEAD!"
he shook his head, closing his golden eyes and shuddering from nose to tail, feeling tears prick his eyes. The other cats in the cave froze, staring towards him. Duck looked worried, what was wrong with his brother? Why...what was happening? Deerleap glanced at her mate, listening to the brown tom's quiet pleas for everything to stop. Her green eyes were soft, concerned, and knowing.
Mintstreak stepped forward, his pawsteps causing Flame to stop muttering to himself, "That..." he swallowed, his own green eyes watery, "That IS you....isn't it?....Tumblepaw?"
There was a long moment, where no one seemed to breathe, much less speak...and then Flame turned his golden gaze to the older tom, looking vulnerable and scared.
A few moments later, Emberlight stepped into the elder's den with a fresh piece of kill in her mouth. She had gone out hunting to bring home food for her parents, and returned to find the camp all in a clamor about some prophet. Flicking her tail, the fiery she-cat glanced around, her eyes widening as she became aware of what was going on.
"He's not Tumble-whatever! He's my brother, Flame!" a little kit was fluffed up, bouncing around at her parents, looking indignant, "He's mine!" "Sweetie he can still be your brother, we're not taking him," Deerleap mewed, her warm gaze flicking from the puffed up kitten over to her mate. Mintstreak glanced up at Emberlight, "Hello Ember, excuse the mess. Is that for us?"
"Yeah," she placed it on the ground before them, glancing down at the kit, "Who's the pipsqueak?" "My name is DUCK," the kit mewed, before running over to a brown tom she hadn't noticed at first, placing a paw on him protectively, "And this is FLAME, NOT TUMBLEPAW!" he mewed sternly. At the name her ears flicked back, whiskers trembling, "Tumblepaw?"
The brown tom looked up at her, his pelt twitching and his muscles still weak and trembling. He lay beside Mintstreak, looking lost and scared, but upon seeing her he seemed to...recognize her the way he had the tom that had mentored him, "Ember...paw?"
"Emberlight now," Mintstreak said, looking between his daughter and the tom he had considered a son, "Emberlight...come sit with us, I think this is something we should all discuss..."
Just know you're not alone...I'm gonna make this place your home.
The next installment of this beautiful plot arc that the wonderful Furdora
has got planned. A few of you were smart and pointed out some similarities between Flame and Tumblepaw, and I do so hope that the rest of you are surprised. Or at least someone. But hey, it was kind of obvious? Anyways this was drawn up right after the Prophecy one, but I wanted to give some time between them. And I was too lazy to color it. So here it is now. Thank you to everyone for your patience, I hope you can continue to bear with me. I promise I'm trying to be better about everything.
And thank you to everyone for the use of your characters. I didn't ask beforehand and I do so deeply apologize for that, but I hope you can forgive me and I hope I portrayed them well!!!
I'll try to give everyone credit for their gorgeous Pebbleclanners, please let me know if I missed you. All the cats in Flame/Tumble's visions were taken from his old relationship chart!
Ebonystar, Minx, Emberlight (c) Furdora
Mintstreak, Fastfin (c) GeneralPanic
Deerleap, Pigeondive (c) yeahactually
Badgergaze (c) Artistic-Twist
Heavypaw (at the time) (c) Drakeflame13
Duck, Ravenpaw (at the time) (c) Crazyfox346
Hawkkit (at the time) (c) Corrupt-Lantern
Lightningkit/Swiftkit (at the time) (c) reishuu
Finchsight (c) Sparklersaurus-rex
Streamtail (c) misfitmanaged
Dreampaw, Tumblepaw/Flame, Swan (c) EnchantedAdoptsPrevious Pieces of This Plot:The NewcomerPresenting to You, Your ProphetA Prophecy is Heard
Thank you all for your patience and support!