GREENLEAF

Warm and sunny, 80s (F), prey is running well.

UPDATE - 6/17/18 Since it appears those who needed time to get their character situated from our last site have all settled in we are opening Lies in the Low a few days early. Once again welcome to members joining us from previous sites and those completely new. We do have a site chat box, but are much more active on our discord so if you haven’t already please feel free to join us there. Any questions can be directed to our ask staff channel. At this time we will be opening auditions for high ranks, but only four at a time until the ranks are filled. Currently SC leader, RC leader, ThunderClan medicine cat, and WindClan medicine cat are open for audition. You can find more information on how to audition as well as the audition form in our high rank thread

UPDATE - 6/13/18 Welcome to Lies and the Low to members joining us from our last site, and to any new ones we might have gained along the way. Lies in the Low is currently on a soft opening and during this time high rank auditions are not open. They will open once things have settled down and we begin advertising to keep things fair for new members joining us after the soft opening. Please be sure to re-read over all posted information as you will find a few things have changed, and we’ve also added a nifty little perk system you can read about here under the perks tab. Reminder that you can only have two bios posted in the wip section at any given time, and must wait until those are finished and accepted before posting more to help staff keep some level of control during what we expect will be a busy few days. Points and character slots do not move over from the last site with you, but for the first week and for your first four characters you do not need to re-purchase any shop items for your characters. If you plan on re-using a face from one of your characters on DitM you get first dibs (barring it being a face you need someone else’s permission for), but after we begin advertising it’s business as usual and there are no holds. If you have any other questions or concerns please post in the ask-staff channel on our discord here.

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 → cathedral where you cannot breathe, for Tempeststar & Stoneclaw
Orcaheart
 Posted: Jan 25 2015, 01:21 AM
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.head { width: 400px; height: 200px; top: 25px; position:relative; z-index:5; }.box { display: inline-block; width: 119px; background: #4c816f; padding: 10px 5px; margin: 2px 4px 0px 0px; text-align: center; font: 10px times; letter-spacing: 2px; color: #eee; }.box a { background: transparent; color: #eee; }#text { width: 360px; height: 250px; overflow: auto; color: #888888; font: 9px georgia; text-align: justify; padding: 20px; }#text::-webkit-scrollbar { width: 5px; }#text::-webkit-scrollbar-track { background-color: #eee; }#text::-webkit-scrollbar-thumb { background-color: #4c816f; }Looking up from underneath,Fractured moonlight on the sea.Reflections still look the same to me,As before I went under.Everything seemed a whirlwind to Orcaheart, from the spinning of her thoughts to the tumult of emotions and situations she’d been through of late. Had it really been less than two moons since that night on the bluffs? The night where, under serene eddies of falling snow, she and Stoneclaw had pledged their hearts to each other, binding themselves together with words and love? StarClan had been the only witness to their pact, but of course Tempeststar was told, from which point the news filtered to Turtlespots, and from there to a few eavesdropping apprentices and thus into the entirety of SkyClan. Better yet, a keen-eyed Rednettle had approached Orca just a pawful of sunrises later to ask a few too-casual-to-really-be-a-coincidence questions…And she was pregnant.She knew it now for sure, the swelling of her belly and the sudden, insatiable cravings for sea urchin and mussels just as telling as clouds foretelling a storm. Tempeststar, perhaps being a little too overbearing, had barred her from warrior duties the instant Orcaheart had informed him, whisking her urgently to the nursery and sending his own apprentice-aged children scattering for fresh nest materials. Faster than she could say “Now wait a moment,” she was settled in a down-lined bed with the freshest of capelin at her paws, eyeing her adoptive father with what could’ve been construed as exasperation. Perhaps she should’ve waited to tell him, for the sake of her own sanity – sitting in the nursery all day was dead boring, after all – but she didn’t want to spring any more surprises on Tempeststar, not after her sudden announcement of her attachment to Stoneclaw.With a little shake of her head, the black-and-white queen dismissed her recollections of the past moon and a half. She’d been growing more rotund, as was to be expected, and the shift had her distinctly uncomfortable. “Ugh,” she muttered softly to herself, nose wrinkling as she flopped to one side in an effort to find a softer spot. “Asternose?” Orca called quietly, grateful for what wasn’t the first time that Stoneclaw had all but demanded that his sister stay nearby while he was on patrol. “Do you think… we could go for a walk? I’m all stiff and feeling… lumpy.” There was really no better way to describe it, for all that career queens raved about the joys of rearing kits. A bit of fresh air would do her good, she’d decided, and the weather seemed calm enough. “I suppose so,” the younger warrior responded, her voice perhaps a little hesitant. Stoneclaw and Tempeststar both had been emphatic about Orcaheart staying put, for the good of herself and the kits as well as their own sanity.But today was one day that Orcaheart would brook no refusal. She was a queen heavy with kits and on a mission.“Let’s go then,” she mewed cheerfully, hauling her increased bulk out of the nest and into the daylight. It was colder than it had been when she’d started her imprisonment in the nursery, but her fur had thickened along with her waistline, leaving her little room to complain about the chill. Waddling in an ungainly version of her normal steady stride – though maintaining her usual dignified posture – Orcaheart led Asternose along through the camp. Things were quiet, with cats out and about hunting, training, or patrolling. The absence of apprentices meant things were far more peaceful than they were during playtime, or mealtimes, though Orca had to credit them with being a good source of entertainment as she watched them from the nursery.Feeling a bit unsure of her paws – was her stance always so wide before the pregnancy? – the young queen’s steps were slow and deliberate on the rocks leading out of camp. The ocean crashed in its familiar voice, but the water seemed different, somehow. Instead of flat grey and matte in texture, it frothed against the rocky shore, waves booming in and hissing out at high speed. The wind wasn’t too harsh, but there was a tension living in the air, arcing like static electricity against the salted cliffs. A dark bruise of clouds stained the far-off horizon, almost rivaling the waves in agitation. “Storm coming in, maybe?” she mused over one shoulder to her companion, though it was more of an idle thought than anything.Idle thoughts, idle paws, a distraction too much on unsteady paws.From an outsider’s perspective the next few moments might have appeared comical, as Orcaheart’s next step in the path she’d taken so many times skidded abruptly. Perhaps it was the extra weight of her kits, perhaps it was her recent lack of practice walking. All that was known for sure was that in one moment everything was fine, and the next it was falling apart. Air rushed into the queen’s lungs with a sharp whistling gasp as she overbalanced, her weight not supported the way she’d expected it to be. Falling was something that every cat knew, the sensation of weightlessness, the vague wave of nausea in the gut, then – usually – the jarring of a landing. But this, this was all wrong. This was not the quick drop from a tree branch or from a ledge within camp; this was a sea cliff, with rocks and surf below awaiting with eager embrace to meet a jumper. The cliff-side peeled away with some sort of slowness, as Orca’s sudden realization of disaster rendered every detail in exacting high resolution. Her paw-pads and claws scraping hopelessly against the rock, the sharp tang of the sea air, the look of absolute horror on Asternose’s face – had her eyes always looked so much like her beloved Stoneclaw’s…? – the eager keening of the waves below, and one horrific thought, one insidious truth that Orcaheart would have given her life to deny.She was falling.Her kits were going to die.Stoneclaw’s kits were going to die.It was in precisely that moment of clarity that Orcaheart’s mind snapped, the innate maternal drive to protect her unborn young stripping away whatever semblance of peace and even-tempered levelheadedness she’d worn her entire life. Feral and raw, an echoing yowl erupted from the queen’s throat as she fell, her body cartwheeling once, twice in midair before the greedy ocean snatched her up. All she knew in that moment was gray, her frantic mind wishing only in that desperate moment that the slate-colored surf would hold her as warm as a certain gray embrace would have.It didn’t.tag: TEMPEST & STONE▲▲▲words: 1,085 WORDSnote: there are no words for this
^
Stoneclaw
 Posted: Jan 25 2015, 10:36 PM
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So much had happened all at once that Stoneclaw could hardly keep track. It was as if it was happening to someone else and he was just watching, but somehow simultaneously he was so deep in enjoying his life that he could go yowl it from the clifftops. He and Asternose were actually, really talking for the first time in a long time, and that made him happy. His relationship with Turtlespots was on the mend, and that lifted a heavy burden from his shoulders. He couldn't be more proud of Webpaw and all the progress she was making, and he was sure to tell her so -- especially in this past moon or so, when she'd proven her capacity to be understanding and diligent and lovely. And it was all because of Orcaheart. She gave him courage and joy and, well, everything. Finding out she was going to give him a family, too, was the best kind of surprise. He'd redoubled his efforts at everything then, trying to be the best mate, best mentor, best hunter. Leafbare wasn't exactly the most advantageous time to be having kits, but he couldn't regret a thing. At least Webpaw was getting her fair share of hunting experience out of the deal, as Stoneclaw often refocused their training sessions with the goal of bringing back the choicest prey for Orcaheart.

Another upside to Stoneclaw's improved relationship with Asternose was that he could beg her to do things for him (for Orcaheart, but for him, too) and she actually would. She might've anyway, of course, as she and Orcaheart were good friends, but Stoneclaw liked to think he had some kind of influence. It wasn't really a control thing, more a protective thing -- he wanted everything to go perfectly, knowing full well that something going wrong was perfectly possible, especially in leafbare. If he had anything to say about it, though, their kits would be perfect, Orcaheart would be perfect, and everything would go smoothly.

Out on a patrol with Tempeststar, Stoneclaw had left Asternose with Orcaheart and instructions to please, please be safe and stay in camp. As he and Tempeststar drew closer to camp, though, they enjoyed a full view of the rocky cliffs -- and something else, as well. The unmistakable shapes of Orcaheart and Asternose were outlined against the grey sky, walking near the cliff edge. Before Stoneclaw had time to be irritated or worried or upset, all the things that might've crossed his mind, though, he saw the rocks moving, slipping, falling, and to his utter horror, Orcaheart was following them down. He saw Asternose scrabbling after her, saw her miss, saw her jump. By that time the fish was on the beach and his paws were kicking up sand as he skidded, trying to pick up speed and wasting precious seconds because of the damn sand and why did they even live here anyway, where it was so dangerous and where the ocean he loved so much could swallow up the cats he loved more? Anger, mostly directed at himself but big enough that he felt like lashing out at anyone and everyone, flooded him and fueled his pace. Even the rushing in his ears wasn't loud enough to block out the sound of Orcaheart's panicked yowl, or his own foreign-sounding, garbled scream, or the heavy splash at the end, and Stoneclaw's mind did him no favors as it replayed the sounds for him over and over. Tempeststar's paws pounded at Stoneclaw's side, and though Stoneclaw was a bit faster than his bulkier leader, panic and anxiety had them neck and neck when they plunged into the churning ocean themselves.

Asternose, always so eager to prove herself, had a good heart -- she only wanted to save her friend, do what warriors did, be like her brother and everybody else didn't think she could be. Stoneclaw might understand that one day, but chances were he'd never quite get it. He'd always fancied himself the hero, and he couldn't understand what it was to feel sidelined. Asternose did, though, and that was in her mind as she went in after Orcaheart. It was fortunate that the particular place they'd fallen wasn't as high as it could've been, that there weren't as many rocks as there could've been, that they weren't killed instantly on the cliffside or on a rock jutting out from the water. Asternose's heart, while good, wasn't as strong as it might've been, though, which was the unfortunate part. The shock of hitting the frigid ocean waves seized her in its tight grasp, and while she tried valiantly to swim to Orcaheart's black and white form, she was swept away and down, into the water. That in itself was somewhat of a miracle, because she could've easily been dashed against the cliff by the waves, but as all SkyClan cats knew, the ocean was a fickle thing.

Stoneclaw and Tempeststar, already chilled to the bone, made it to the she-cats' area in record time, pushed by fear and a sense of urgency like little else could give them. They just had to hope it wasn't already too late. Trying desperately to stay above water, Stoneclaw surveyed the situation with panicked eyes, catching sight almost immediately of Orcaheart's inky black and stark white fur. What he didn't see, though, was Asternose. There was little hope of seeing her underwater, either, but he tried anyway, ducking his head under the waves and meeting only disturbed sand and murk. "Gotta find Asternose," Stoneclaw gasped, the water stealing the breath from his lungs. "Take Orcaheart!" Tempeststar was far stronger, and as much as it pained Stoneclaw to let any other cat play her protector, his leader was one of the only ones he'd ever be able to trust in that role. He wasn't normally an orderer either, content to follow them, but this wasn't in any way normal or right.

Paddling closer and struggling to maintain control while the ocean worked against him, Stoneclaw ducked his head underwater again, looking for his sister and praying desperately that everything would be alright. He had a sinking feeling that it wouldn't be alright, not ever again.
^
Tempeststar
 Posted: Jan 26 2015, 11:20 PM
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So much had changed in the past few moons, and whether for the better or the worst, Tempeststar knew he had never felt more certain of SkyClan’s future than he did now. Admittedly, it took him a little time to come around to the idea of Stoneclaw with Orcaheart (as it would with any of their daughters taking a mate), but he had quickly learned and witnessed the love the two shared. Squelching any dominant male-cat feelings he might have had, and the protective father instincts over his daughter, he welcomed Stoneclaw into the family – not that the tom wasn’t already. Like it or not, Stoneclaw had been a large part of Tempeststar’s family for some time now; he was a close friend of Turtlespots, Pebblepaw’s first crush, Webpaw’s mentor and now his eldest daughter’s beloved. And, his feelings aside, he would have never deprived his daughter of love anyways. Tempeststar was a big romantic himself, having persued Turtlespots with the patience of a saint for as long as it took simply because he loved her. The family that resulted was Tempeststar’s pride and joy, and he wanted every bit of that for Orcaheart – but that’s not to say he didn’t have a little fun at her expense. He made certain they were the ones who had to break it to Pebblepaw.

Now, that day on the island with Orcaheart as she nervously told Tempeststar the news, seemed like distant history as they were on the eve of kits. Admittedly, he might have been a smidge over-protective and a smidge excited, exerting both fatherly and leader powers over his daughter and admitting her to the nursery as her belly swelled and became too noticeable for her to keep it a secret any longer. He’d been through the routine with Turtlespots, making him feel a bit like an expert, but also knew that the death of Orcaheart’s mother at such a young age likely factored in to him wanting to keep her in the camp and away from the sea.

Right or wrong, over-stepping his rights or not – he’d admit he cared little, rather seeing Orcaheart safe and healthy even if it meant her being upset with him. Stoneclaw, bless his heart, took it in stride. Whether it was because he knew Tempeststar’s personality would have it no other way; his penance for inserting himself so far into Tempeststar’s family; or just because they agreed on so much was lost on the grey leader, but he was grateful for their allowance of him in their special moment for as long as they would have him. Kits were a big thing, and a particular thing that Tempeststar got really excited for.

As the time drew nearer Tempeststar found himself kicked out of camp (more often than not by Turtlespots), and sent on patrols with Stoneclaw so Orcaheart might have some time to herself. He didn’t really mind – he would argue he needed the exercise – and he’d always fancied keeping up on the status of the territory and prey throughout the progression of leaf-bare. He and Stoneclaw hadn’t come across much, but they had managed to catch some sea-life to bring home to the camp. Much of their land-prey, and practically all the birds, vacated the territory come the snows, but the ocean always provided. Tempeststar had a thick eel in his jaws as they rounded the beach to camp. He was feeling particularly good (why shouldn’t he, after all), and felt as though he could spring the remainder of the way, but that would never be.

Movement caught in the corners of his eyes caused his head to turn in tandem with Stoneclaw’s. His ears flicked and head titled, but no words escaped his throat despite the movement of his tongue against the eel’s slick skin. Could he talk he would have asked what Orcaheart was doing on the bluffs, sighed, hissed, or any variation of the three. All he could do though was watch – watch as Orcaheart misplaced her foot and began to slide from the cliff. For a mind-numbing moment everything stood still; his heart leapt into his throat and an icy chill slammed hard into his stomach, causing a fit of pain that slackened his jaw and allowed the eel to slide silently to the ground. Asternose, someone he knew to be keeping Orcaheart company lately and yet someone he hadn’t noticed on the bluffs until now, suddenly leapt from the cliffs in a vain attempt to save the falling Queen. It was a stupid, stupid move – selfless, and perhaps what any of them would have done – but stupid. The ocean was far from docile in the leaf-bare, and having two cats in the sea was far worse than just one. Jumping at that height was suicide; if the impact from the fall didn’t get you, the disorientation and the waves would.

Wordlessly, driven by fear, instinct and pure adrenaline, the two tom-cats abandoned all else as they sprinted head-long down the beach to where the two she-cats had gone in. Tempeststar was anything but a sprinter (he was hardly a runner) but his feet had never moved so quickly. They reached the water, ignoring the chill and the bite, and dove in. Tempeststar cut easily through the water, his legs strong and paws wide paddles that easily propelled him through the choppy waves, but even being a good swimmer meant little when chill was a factor. Cold would seize the body and begin to shut it down, and if they weren’t out of the sea before then they might all be lost.

Orcaheart was easy enough to spot, her black and white fur bobbing a top the water, buoyant yet, but Asternose – his green eyes tried in vain to spot the warrior, but a decision had to be made. His fatherly instincts drove him to go towards Orca, but the clan leader in him (the part that argued he would have a better chance of surviving looking for Asternose) nearly told him to send Stoneclaw with Orcaheart – but that too had its risks. Orcaheart was by no means light now, and her bulk would make her awkward and hard to maneuver through the water. Stoneclaw made the decision for him, a decision that was not made lightly, Tempeststar was sure. Asternose was his sister, though, and with the likelihood of survival after such a slender she-cat hit the water with the force she did…Tempeststar understood the decision. He said nothing as angled for Orcaheart, grasping the queen’s thick scruff in his jaws so her head and nose were above the water. Her round body bumped gently into his as he positioned her alongside him, swimming awkwardly at an angle back towards shore.

Even now his muscles were sore, his joints stiff, but the adrenaline – it was a magical thing. His body felt little of the cold and the pain, and it instead only moved as he instructed it to. While numb to the exertions his body was experiencing, his mouth was not safe from the rolls of salt water that rushed inside as it sat agape, Orcaheart’s scruff between his teeth, and her weight pulling him back and down. His throat naturally wanted to clench, to gag and to retch up the salty water, but he muffled it to quiet coughs. He had to keep swimming. He had to keep moving. Orcaheart – the kits – they’d all die.

His throat hurt so bad.
It was on fire.
His eyes strung.
His lungs burned.

He had to keep swimming. He tightened his grip on his daughter, heaving her above the waves another time, panting and spitting water with each labored breath.

The beach was so near.
His paws brushed the sandy bottom as he reached the shallows.
His legs shook as he numbly floated Orcaheart to the beach, zombie-like and near black-out as he dragged her the last few feet to the beach.

Was she okay? Was she alive? Why wasn’t she breathing? He pressed once, twice, three times on her side, hoping the water would come from her lungs as blackness swam before his eyes.

He had fallen.
What was going on?
’Tempeststar, you are losing a life.’
^
Orcaheart
 Posted: Feb 4 2015, 02:14 PM
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.head { width: 400px; height: 200px; top: 25px; position:relative; z-index:5; }.box { display: inline-block; width: 119px; background: #4c816f; padding: 10px 5px; margin: 2px 4px 0px 0px; text-align: center; font: 10px times; letter-spacing: 2px; color: #eee; }.box a { background: transparent; color: #eee; }#text { width: 360px; height: 250px; overflow: auto; color: #888888; font: 9px georgia; text-align: justify; padding: 20px; }#text::-webkit-scrollbar { width: 5px; }#text::-webkit-scrollbar-track { background-color: #eee; }#text::-webkit-scrollbar-thumb { background-color: #4c816f; }fractured moonlight on the seaWater was something Orcaheart – and most cats, for that matter – had always regarded as fluid, something that could be easily padded through in the case of puddles, or forded in the case of small streams. Ever-changing and temperamental, but nonetheless giving; the source of SkyClan’s food and their claim to fame within the valley. Out of all the Clans they knew the great grey beast that was the sea best, keeping up a tenuous neighborly understanding with its moods and capricious tides.Liquid it might be, but soft it was not.Pain slammed into Orcaheart just as her body struck the ocean’s seething surface, a blinding wall that – mercifully – plunged her into an unfeeling, silent darkness. It was as if a blanket had dropped over her body, deadening her nerves and senses to everything. She floated there, dazed, but with the distinct impression of watchful, concerned eyes. Was this what it was like to meet StarClan…? She’d never be able to remember, so as to ask Tempeststar, since her very mind seemed to be floating away from her body, drifting on a current of stardust as warm, almost pleasant tingles shot through her limbs. If this was dying, then it didn’t seem quite so bad. It was warm, it was soft, but it was most importantly safe – Orca could feel the weight of the kits in her belly and relaxed another degree. On the verge, then, of accepting the warm embrace of the void, a screeching yowl shocked through her entire body. It was a voice as familiar as it was surprising, one that she’d never heard raised in such a soul-splitting cry of fear, denial, and outrage.Stoneclaw.She couldn’t leave him, not even for the sweet silence and calm of nothing.Coming out of the dark was infinitely more difficult than entering it had been, though it had barely been a pawful of heartbeats she’d missed. The organ in the queen’s chest shuddered, fighting against the shock that had drowned it in darkness. Her senses returned all at once, relaying to her the sensations of stabbing cold and crushing pain that her water landing had induced. Water dragged at her limbs, the cold numbing and weight pressing in until her paws could barely flex against the salt-laden prison. Orcaheart’s lungs screamed out for her to breathe! now! and how could she say no to the one reflex she’d always had? Seawater poured into her mouth, choking her even more. All of this was too much, too overwhelming for the queen to even feel the tearing agony in her abdomen, the knifelike pain of her broken ribs and wrenched shoulder.Too much to feel the kits dying inside her.Feeble as her struggle was, it was somehow enough for her to be found among the tossing surf; the sensation of fangs meeting through her scruff scarcely registering among the other myriad lances of fire over her body. Wracked as she was, Orca could do nothing but dangle, limbs and mind insensate until heavy paws thumped against her body, forcing the water out in a burning stream of cold fire from her pale lips. Even then she couldn’t move, body trembling faintly in cold and shock, tiny breaths gasping in and out of her throat. Pain throbbed through her body with every heartbeat, but with every moment that ticked by, the feelings changed, her body doing what it had to do to preserve her life.Orcaheart’s gut twisted, muscles clenching down in a primordial instinct. Every potential mother knew of this subconsciously, of the regular and strong contractions that would bring the next generation forward. For Orca, however, it was entirely the wrong time and altogether the wrong place. The sodden queen’s throat convulsed in an effort to protest, but the rawness of its tissues prevented any sound but a hoarse moan.The kits were coming, but how could they have survived…? tag: TEMPEST & STONE▲▲▲words: 652 WORDSnote: there are no words for this
^
Stoneclaw
 Posted: Feb 4 2015, 09:51 PM
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Tempeststar, bless him, just acted, taking Orcaheart to safety. Stoneclaw's heart eased some, knowing his beloved was in good paws -- not to say he wasn't worried about her anymore, not to say he wasn't cold only from the ocean, but he'd set himself to looking for Asternose and he knew he had to focus on her now. Much more time in the indifferent sea would spell her death, and Stoneclaw knew perhaps better than anyone that his sister wasn't as hardy as a cat like Orcaheart or himself. Asternose had been so foolish, jumping in after Orcaheart as if that was going to help, and as Stoneclaw coughed and spluttered the water from a surprise wave out of his mouth and nose, he felt anger burn hot in his stomach.

Within seconds, he regretted that, couldn't believe he'd ever be angry at Asternose for being the lovely cat she was. All he wanted was to save her, to find her in the murk and the sucking, dragging water, but he couldn't see her, couldn't feel her when he dove underwater and swiped blindly with big paws, hoping to touch something cat-like. Sucking air from the surface as he shot up, unable to hold himself under anymore, Stoneclaw's mind raced. He couldn't keep looking for Asternose forever; time was ticking away, as loud in his ears as his grating breaths, and his limbs grew heavier by the heartbeat. There would come a point when he wouldn't be able to get himself back and he'd leave Orcaheart and their kits mate- and fatherless, and he couldn't do that, just couldn't.

Giving one last yowl of his sister's name, hoarse from salt water, Stoneclaw waited for some reply. Hearing none, seeing no flash of cream-colored fur, no blue eyes he loved so well, he gave up and turned back, heading for shore. I'll come back for her, I won't leave her, I'll find her, he promised himself as he paddled, straining to keep his head and nose above water. There was no other way to assuage the tearing in his heart than to lie to himself, lying pure and simple because he couldn't bear to think of little Asternose all by herself, swallowed up in the ocean never to be seen again. His heart was pulled so many ways now, but really there was no contest; Orcaheart and his unborn kits would always take precedence, as much as it pained him.

His limbs felt like they were on fire by the time Stoneclaw got to the shore, dripping and exhausted, but somehow he found the strength to stagger his way to the two cats lying prostrate on the sand. Tempeststar had been able to get them both up out of reach of the tide before apparently passing out; a half-hearted shake didn't wake him, and Stoneclaw's panic began to rise. Orcaheart was spitting water, half-awake half-not, and the grey warrior was terrified. He could fight off any enemy, but there was nothing here for him to claw or bite. He couldn't protect his loved ones against nature.

"Orcaheart, hey, hey sweetheart, you're gonna be alright," he managed, nosing at her forehead. She moaned, and at first he thought it was in some sort of response to him, but then she moaned again, louder, and Stoneclaw noticed the way she was crunching around the middle, curling as if her stomach hurt --

Oh.

Stoneclaw, choked with a mixture of horror (he knew it was far too soon) and worry and paralyzing panic and a little bit of elation, stood stock still for a moment. He thought for a second perhaps he could get her back to camp, but there was no way, and even through Stoneclaw's strident urging for Tempeststar to just wake up, his leader remained unresponsive. Unsure and fearing for the lives of those cats he loved most, Stoneclaw did all he could think to do -- he yowled, yowled for help, yowled for Rednettle, hoping someone would hear him and come running from camp. "I'm right here, it'll be alright, I'm gonna keep you safe," he continued in a murmur, for Orcaheart's ears only, whether she could hear him or not -- well, it might've been a little bit for him, too, mostly because he really didn't know whether it would be alright.
^
Tempeststar
 Posted: Feb 5 2015, 12:33 AM
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Tempeststar opened his eyes to find himself strewn out before the SkyClan cats of StarClan. His predecessors, Breezestar and Canyonstar, looked down upon him fondly enough, but he could tell each was holding back their concern and mild disappointment. Tempeststar was still fairly young as far as leaders went, but already he had already whittled his lives down to six -- 'No, five now. You have five.' He had to remind himself, that's why he was here after all. He looked past his ancestors and found himself, or rather, a faint outline of himself that grew brighter with each life he lost. The sight was disheartening and caused the tom's throat to tighten with a white-hot lump and his stomach to knot with dread and fear. One day it wouldn't just be an outline, but the real thing. He wasn't ready, nor was he sure he would ever be, but at least today was not the day.

He stood carefully on shaky legs, green eyes focused as they returned to Breezestar and Canyonstar. "You'll return to your body shortly. The water will have expelled from your lungs and you will survive this, but Tempeststar-" Canyonstar's voice ended softly in caution. Tempeststar nodded, smiling weakly at his old leader and friend. "I know, I'm not as young as I once was, but my clan mates -- my daughter -- was in danger." He knew they knew that, and he also knew they knew he'd do whatever it took to protect those he loved, but all the same they worried for him.

There was no time for parting words as Tempeststar felt the familiar pull of his physical body calling him back. He blinked and opened his eyes. His view was foggy, hazed, but he recognized the brown surface of the beach as well as Orcaheart's and Stoneclaw's body in front of him. It was a second longer before the ringing in his ears stopped for him to register the screaming. Stoneclaw's yowls were deep and pleading, but what were they about? He lifted his head off the sand, still too numb and cold to really move, but his eyes at last focused on the black and white queen just beside Stoneclaw's larger bulk.

Orcaheart was awake, alive, moving, but her jaws were parted in an agonizing yowl and her body crumpled and caved in on itself in a queer way. The neurons seemed to fire in Tempeststar's brain; 'Kits! She's in labor! The kits were too soon!' He found his feet and moved quickly to his daughter's side, watching her body convulse with what he assumed were contractions. Turtlespots hadn't let him in the nursery while she was giving birth, so while experienced in fatherhood, he was useless and blinded in the labor aspect of it. Frowning, feeling a touch angry for not being included in the birthing process with his own kits now, Tempeststar turned to Stoneclaw, his eyes heavy with worry. He noted that Asternose was not on the beach and could only presume the worst, but little could be done about that now. The chances of such a slight she-cat surviving that fall were astronomical, but they'd return to find her when they could. if they could. "I'm going to get Rednettle." He hissed urgently, wanting to say more but not finding the strength to say what he knew Stoneclaw must already know: that something was wrong.

He turned and, as quick as his recouping body could move, dashed down the coastline for camp. "Rednettle! Rednettle! Someone get me Rednettle!" His deep baritone voice cracked, the burning of nearly drowning and salt water having damaged his throat some, but he forced the words out anyways. "We need help now! Orcaheart's in labor!"



^
Rednettle
 Posted: Feb 5 2015, 12:20 PM
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It had been a quiet day, cold but unremarkable, and Rednettle was spending it taking stock of his herbs. This wasn’t exactly the most exciting way for a cat to spend his time, but it was still something that needed to be done. Rednettle longed for an apprentice to help him with little, mundane tasks like this, but he knew it was too soon for that. You’re just starting to grasp more advanced treatments, he told himself as he poked through a pile of chervil. So don’t get any bright ideas about getting your own apprentice until you’ve mastered everything yourself. Until then, sorting herbs was just something he’d have to manage himself. He compiled a mental list of what they needed—a fairly long one, too, considering the time of year, but was pleased to note the excess of fresh fennel. SkyClan was lucky that it grew abundantly on the coast, and it might be needed in the near future during Orcaheart’s labor.

”Orcaheart’s in labor!”

The words coincided so perfectly with his own that he thought he’d imagined the voice echoing across the sand. But no—it had been no inner monologue, it was Tempeststar! Rednettle stood for a moment, dazed, before the facts sank in. Orcaheart was kitting, far too early, outside of the camp and—judging by Tempeststar’s tone—something was very wrong. Giving his head a quick shake, Rednettle leaned down and snatched up the fennel he’d just been eyeing, followed by a tuft of ragwort, a little branch of juniper berries, and a few fresh raspberry leaves. He looked ridiculous, that assortment of greenery stuffed in his mouth, but he didn’t know exactly what he’d need until he got there, and it sounded like there was no time to waste going back for more.

He stayed not a moment longer, scrambling out of his den and sprinting down the beach. It was a rare sight—Rednettle normally moved as a snail’s pace, happy to take longer to get places if it meant conserving his meager reserves of energy. But this was hardly the time for that, and Rednettle was grateful that he was still young enough to manage these short bursts when needed. He passed Tempeststar on his way out of the camp and felt his stomach lurch at the sight of his face. Just how bad is it?

Renewed in his haste, Rednettle dashed over the sand until he reached Stoneclaw, bent over Orcaheart’s crumpled form. Was she in the ocean? the tom wondered incredulously at the sight of her soaked fur. He spat the herbs he’d brought onto the ground and turned to Stoneclaw. “Tell me what happened,” he said, leaning down to look more closely at the yowling queen. Gently as he could, he tried to take stock of her injuries, and the state of the kits, resting his paw on her chest, her legs, her stomach. He had no time to explain to Stoneclaw the grim discoveries he made with each movement, but his dismayed expression likely said it all.

He straightened up and pushed the small supply of raspberry leaves toward Stoneclaw and tried to keep his tone level, despite the incredible urgency he felt. “She has to chew on these,” he directed, certain that if anyone was going to get Orcaheart to gnaw on them, it would be Stoneclaw. They would help dull the pain without dulling the queen’s senses like poppy might have, and, StarClan forbid, if she was bleeding internally, it could aid with that too. Turning away from Orcaheart, but ears still perked to hear any helpful explanations Stoneclaw could offer, Rednettle quickly scanned the beach around them. Spotting a clamshell half nestled in the sand beside them, he flipped it over with one paw and dropped several juniper berries into the little basin, followed by a bit of ragwort. He began to knead the plants delicately, crushing them down with the pad of his paw into thick mixture. His mind felt filled with Lilyleaf’s voice, explaining this, clarifying that. He just hoped there was nothing he’d forgotten, anything he’d missed. This is a mess, he thought bitterly, turning to check and see if Stoneclaw had managed what he’d asked him to do.
^
Orcaheart
 Posted: Feb 5 2015, 09:26 PM
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.head { width: 400px; height: 200px; top: 25px; position:relative; z-index:5; }.box { display: inline-block; width: 119px; background: #4c816f; padding: 10px 5px; margin: 2px 4px 0px 0px; text-align: center; font: 10px times; letter-spacing: 2px; color: #eee; }.box a { background: transparent; color: #eee; }#text { width: 360px; height: 250px; overflow: auto; color: #888888; font: 9px georgia; text-align: justify; padding: 20px; }#text::-webkit-scrollbar { width: 5px; }#text::-webkit-scrollbar-track { background-color: #eee; }#text::-webkit-scrollbar-thumb { background-color: #4c816f; }fractured moonlight on the seaPain was all Orcaheart knew then, more agony than the young queen had ever experienced in her entire life. Worse than the muscle aches that had come from her training, from the torn pads she’d endured on the rocky shore, the pinch of a crab’s claws on her tail. This was all of them combined, and then some. That was bad enough, would’ve been enough to have her screaming, howling for release. She almost regretted pulling herself back from the verge of sweet silence, painless and dreamless and effortless; the splitting sensation that ran from her gut through her spine all the way to her skull was one thing, but she couldn’t even seem to breathe properly. No more was the searing sharpness of cold saltwater tainting her lungs, but now it was as if they resisted air out of suspicion.Panting shallowly, Orca keened faintly, her tail lashing wildly against the ground, against Stoneclaw’s legs as he came to sit near her. The fact that she recognized his presence at all was a testament to her love for him, she reckoned; practically any other face that would’ve tried to soothe her would’ve been clawed in a heartbeat. “Stone… claw…!” her voice was like gravel dragging its way out of her ocean-ravaged throat. “Th-th… the kits…” Writhing there, she was faintly aware of Tempeststar’s voice as well, and the name of just the cat she knew she – and the kits – would need. Rednettle. Only Rednettle could save her dear little ones from the danger they slid closer and closer to with every beat of Orca’s heart, with every twist of her abdomen. They were contractions, she realized in a flash of panic, the shock of her accident driving them from her body far too soon, far too fast.“Get… get them out,” she mewed piteously, eyes wide and pleading as they locked onto Stoneclaw’s face. “You have to… have to save them.” Pain swamped her mind again, and she was swept away in another convulsing wave of pain. A hundred racing, frantic heartbeats later, Orcaheart finally heard the voice she’d been praying for, the urgent words and sudden whiff of sharp herbs that heralded the medic’s approach. Unable to open her eyes against the pain – for the light was stabbing her eyes just as the broken rib in her side stabbed at her guts – the sodden she-cat followed the scent of the leaves, not needing Stoneclaw’s urging to try and chew them between contractions. They were mild, as far as herbs went, but the flavor had nothing on the pain. It soaked into her tongue, and Orcaheart willed the pain to subside as she faced down the next wave of tension in her lower belly.This one was different.There was a resistance this time, a sensation that had her gasping for more breath and her paws scrabbling against the ground as she heaved against it. Three heaves, and the block was gone, tearing free as she panted hard. “The kit…?” she had the presence of mind to wonder aloud, head spinning wildly through the ether. Too soon after, then, the wall was back, the straining urge of instinct to press against it overwhelming her as she shoved, caterwauling hoarsely. ‘StarClan deliver me. Deliver us.’tag: TEMPEST & STONE & RED ▲▲▲words: 545 WORDSnote: aaaaaaaaaa
^
Stoneclaw
 Posted: Feb 5 2015, 11:14 PM
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The relief Stoneclaw felt upon seeing Tempeststar finally awake and aware was indescribable, though swiftly put out of his mind again with another moan and convulsion from Orcaheart. Tempeststar went for Rednettle, but all motion outside of Orcaheart was relegated to Stoneclaw's peripheral vision. "It's gonna be okay, they're going to be just fine, perfect and beautiful just like you," he said urgently, words spilling out over each other as he tried to reassure his mate. He just hoped he wasn't lying. "I'm gonna keep you safe, and Rednettle will be here before you know it. Please just breathe." Stoneclaw tried to comfort her with rhythmic, soothing licks over her cheek and the top of her head, but there wasn't much he could do to assuage the pain in her middle.

Rednettle's arrival was another huge relief, and Stoneclaw was grateful for his business-like attitude. "She fell from the cliff," he explained hurriedly, "but Tempeststar and I got there as quick as we could and he got her out, so she wasn't in the ocean very long." He didn't need to say exactly how hard he feared she'd hit the water. "Asternose went in after her, but -- I couldn't find her," Stoneclaw choked out finally, meeting Rednettle's eyes with a fearful expression for only a couple of heartbeats before the medicine cat was shoving herbs at him. Thankfully, Orcaheart didn't require much persuasion, chewing the leaves -- raspberry -- readily.

Tempeststar hovered around the edges of the scene as Stoneclaw stuck by Orcaheart's head, whispering comforting nothings to try and keep her calm since there was nothing else he could really do. Rednettle's face as he did whatever it was he could, feeling for the kits probably, didn't bode well, but Orcaheart thankfully couldn't see that, and as much as his heart ached with the knowledge that Rednettle wasn't optimistic, Stoneclaw wasn't about to give her any more to worry about. "You're doing so well, I'm so proud of you," he whispered, repeating the words over and over as he caught a glimpse of a gray kit, fur dark and wet, entering the world. Unsure whether he ought to stay by Orca or leave her to start cleaning the kit, Stoneclaw hesitated a moment, but the problem was solved for him when one of the other toms passed him his firstborn. He knew enough to know that kits were to be licked the wrong way to dry their fur and get them breathing, so he wasted no more time.

In short order, Stoneclaw's yet-unnamed son let out his first mewl, beginning to struggle to move. "A tom," he said, trying to capture his mate's attention and distract her from the pain of birthing. "He's perfect."
^
Tempeststar
 Posted: Feb 6 2015, 12:17 AM
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Tempeststar's body ached and lungs burned with each heavy breath he took. He wasn't looking forward into laboring into camp -- not right now, not in the state he was in -- but thank StarClan Rednettle heard his shouts from down the beach and came running towards (and past him) before Tempeststar even reached the camp. Stoneclaw and Orcaheart weren't far away, so Tempeststar was unsurprised when the ginger and orange medicine cat darted past him and bee-lined to his patient. Despite the adrenaline still coursing through Tempeststar's veins he found himself tired, slow, and it took him a few minutes after Rednettle reached them for him to arrive on scene.

He knew there was little he could do in this situation; most of it would be up to Orcaheart and Rednettle, and even Stoneclaw as his role as mate. Tempeststar, as the father figure in this, was forced to sit back on the sidelines, near enough he could see the kits as they emerged but far enough back to not crowd the medicine cat. He hadn't been keen right off the bat about Stoneclaw, but as he watched the tom comfort Orcaheart it became more and more evident that he was the right cat for his daughter.

The first kit arrived after a show of yowling and pushing. Tempeststar, unable to contain himself, moved closer and helped usher the kitten into Stoneclaw's paws so Rednettle could focus on the next. The kitten was silent, but writhed as he handed it off -- a sign that it was alive. He watched as the new father licked the kitten, praying to StarClan that it would mewl, half-expecting it not to make it. The kit was born early, had likely been shaken and jarred on the impact with the ocean -- if it lived it'd be a miracle.

But it did.

Tempeststar gave a stuttering purr as the first mewls came from the kit, watching with something a kin to shock, relief and love. He was a grandpa, maybe not by blood, but he loved Orcaheart like his own and her kits would be no different.

He didn't dwell on it too long though -- the next kit was coming.
^
Rednettle
 Posted: Feb 6 2015, 05:01 PM
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Just as Rednettle finished preparing the next batch of medicine and slid the clamshell over to Orcaheart, her little son came into the world, squirming and quiet. He paused a moment to stare as Tempeststar passed him to Stoneclaw, for a moment caught off guard by how small the kit was. Rednettle wasn’t inexperienced with kits, but he’d certainly never encountered a newborn so diminutive. It was a miracle the little thing had actually been born alive—who knew if he would stay that way? Of course, this was a reality Stoneclaw and Orcaheart would have to face at a later time. There were still more kits to come, and Orcaheart herself was not out of danger just yet.

“Lick this up,” he ordered, tilting the clamshell so that it rested a breath away from Orcaheart’s mouth. The herbs would sharply ease the pain in her abdomen, and give her the strength to not only finish giving birth, but survive the shock to her system once it was through. He wished there was a poultice that could help in this situation—applying medicine on the outside of such an injured patient would be much easier than having them eat whatever he concocted. If Orcaheart refused the mixture, he certainly couldn’t shove it down her throat, as much as he’d have liked to.

He took a moment to glance over the first-born kit once again. He’d already heard it mewling, which was a good sign, but who knew if it had suffered some internal injuries from Orcaheart’s brief dip in the ocean? For now, beneath Stoneclaw’s rasping tongue, the kit seemed intact, but the moment this was over Rednettle wanted to examine it thoroughly. Not that he was especially experienced in kittings—he’d only begun assisting in them, let alone witnessing them at all, when he became a medicine cat. But still, Rednettle had never seen a kit born so prematurely, and surely that came with complications. He made a quick, mental note to send word to Lilyleaf as soon as possible. Surely she would have some insight into the longer-term issues that came with something like this. But then... You’re getting ahead of yourself, Rednettle thought. It was still entirely possible that the kit would not live beyond a few hours, perhaps due to underdeveloped lungs, or some other unfortunate deformity caused by the early birth.

And then Orcaheart, though injured and exhausted, managed to usher a second kit into the world. But the relief only lasted a heartbeat—unlike the first one this one wasn’t just silent, it was unmoving. Rednettle looked sharply to Tempeststar, willing him with his harsh gaze to sweep the dead kit up and out of Orcaheart’s sight. Of course the parents would want to grieve for it, but this wasn’t the time. Orcaheart needed to keep her strength up, her hope alive, if she was going to make it through this intact.

A third kit arrived, but this one had gone the same way as the second. Quiet. Motionless. This time, the medicine cat didn’t bother to give Tempeststar a harried look. He hadn’t sensed a fourth kit writhing in Orcaheart’s stomach when he examined her. This one had been the last. He immediately felt weighed down by defeat. He’d only saved one, and who knew if that one would even make it? Rednettle was aware that it hadn’t been his fault—the kits had likely died in Orcaheart’s belly, long before he even arrived—but that wasn’t exactly a comforting fact. Still, this wasn’t the time to feel sorry for himself. “When you can, Orcaheart,” he said stiffly, attempting to keep the grief from his tone, “Open your mouth wide.” With that, he grasped a stalk of fennel between his teeth. If his patient obeyed, he’d break the stem and let the juices drip onto her tongue, another pain-reliever for her chest and hips. The kitting may have been over, but there was still work to do on the queen's other injuries. And yet he knew, no matter how many herbs he fed her, there was nothing in his stores that could ease the agony that was about to blossom in her heart.
^
Shellkit
 Posted: Feb 8 2015, 04:40 PM
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It started with darkness. It was a peaceful darkness, one full of warmth and contentment. All was well with no reason to suspect that would change. The moment Orcaheart slipped into the water changed everything. Her insides were as much of a raging torrent as the waves around her that shoved her every which way and threatened to cover her head and fill her lungs. The trauma would trigger something within her, perhaps too soon, and unnatural regardless. Her body was in no condition for her kits to come, and yet as StarClan would decree, they were coming nonetheless.

First to arrive would be the only kit to take its first breath, the only one to wheeze and wail and dig its paws in the dirt out of anger and confusion. Something rough ran along his spine and down his sides, simultaneously drying him and making him feel even colder than he already was. He would protest this, too, his paws moving on their own to swipe at the empty air in front of him. Too young he was to sense the distress only a tail-length away from him, to know that his siblings arrived but were already dead, to know that he was the sole survivor. All he knew in that moment was the darkness, and the warmth he so desperately longed to return to.
^
Orcaheart
 Posted: Feb 9 2015, 11:55 AM
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.head { width: 400px; height: 200px; top: 25px; position:relative; z-index:5; }.box { display: inline-block; width: 119px; background: #4c816f; padding: 10px 5px; margin: 2px 4px 0px 0px; text-align: center; font: 10px times; letter-spacing: 2px; color: #eee; }.box a { background: transparent; color: #eee; }#text { width: 360px; height: 250px; overflow: auto; color: #888888; font: 9px georgia; text-align: justify; padding: 20px; }#text::-webkit-scrollbar { width: 5px; }#text::-webkit-scrollbar-track { background-color: #eee; }#text::-webkit-scrollbar-thumb { background-color: #4c816f; }fractured moonlight on the seaAfter the longest stretch of agony Orcaheart could imagine, it was over, she could breathe a little easier (though the pain in her side still burned fiercely), her body felt empty, worn-out. A murmur of voices washed over her, the specific words mostly unintelligible to her dazed brain. A shell filled with some sort of paste was thrust toward her, and the queen obediently – albeit slowly and shakily – scraped it into her mouth to swallow thickly. Unlike some medicines she’d taken before, this one didn’t taste all that badly. Some vague little part of her mind prodded her to thank the medicine cat, but she had to file it away for later. A kit was bundled into the shell’s place, and suddenly Orcaheart could think of nothing else.A son. She had a son.They had a son.With some effort Orca peeled her eyes open, wincing as the light stabbed her sensitive retinas, but scanning nonetheless for sight of her firstborn. All it took was a glance, and then the ordeal was rendered completely and wholly worth it. He was small, still wet from birth and Stoneclaw’s vigorous attentions, but to her the little grey bundle was entirely perfect. “Wel… welcome, little one,” she purred roughly, throat still hoarse but somehow unhurting. Orcaheart wasn’t sure if it was the herbs working at last or the warm glow of motherhood that soothed her pains, but all at once she felt whole. The little rational voice in the back of her mind made the cool observation that they only offered her one kit, rather than all three, and a sense of guilt settled coldly into her gut. Burying her nose into the quietly-mewling bundle that was her child, she glanced quickly to see the twin lumps that would have – should have – been her other sons. “I’m so sorry, Stoneclaw, father,” she meowed in a hush, trembling with the realization of just what consequences her desire for a walk had wrought. Stoneclaw and Tempeststar were both soaked through and exhausted-looking; she could’ve lost them both from their desire to rescue her, and… where was Asternose?Worried, the she-cat scanned for the familiar pale pelt of her mate’s sister, but came up empty. Surely she’d be here, to see her nephew born…? Truth crashed down on her in a wave, and a soft sob twisted in her chest. “It’s my fault,” she whispered into her surviving son’s rumpled kitten-soft fur, “Asternose, the kits… They’re gone because of me.” They needed names, Orcaheart realized, names to take with them to StarClan, so they could play among the other lost ones. She owed them as much, for the foolishness that had killed them. “Ternkit,” she said in a tremulous voice, “and… Gullkit.” The little charcoal-and-white kit would’ve torn Stoneclaw’s heart out, as much as it looked like her. So many dreams, lost with the mis-placement of a paw, a single loose stone.Awash in grief, yet keenly aware that she needed to attend to her newborn’s needs, Orcaheart fell to grooming the little tom gently, almost apologetically. He looked like his father, she noted with a touch of pride. And, while small, he carried sturdy and strong blood in his veins from both sides of his lineage. She wondered at his name briefly, then looked up to meet Stoneclaw’s eyes, her own gaze overflowing with myriad emotion. “His name is Shellkit.”tag: TEMPEST & STONE & RED ▲▲▲words: 565 WORDSnote: brb sobbing
^
Stoneclaw
 Posted: Feb 16 2015, 11:54 PM
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Focusing on Shellkit and Orcaheart, Stoneclaw was mostly distracted during the quick births of their second and third sons. It wasn't until he noticed Tempeststar on the fringes, not occupied with cleaning a kit and not passing another to him, that he realized with a shock colder than the sea that there would be no nudging these kits to their mother's belly, no watching them squirm and fight to return to the warm womb they'd always known. He plummeted further, defeat crashing over him like a wave even as he remained still and encouraging for those still here, his beloved mate and his surviving son. He locked eyes with first Tempeststar, then Rednettle as the medicine cat fed Orcaheart herbs, but he wasn't really looking at them.

Stoneclaw was seeing a different time entirely, a night on the bluffs just a moon and a half ago. He'd been worried, scared, until snow had started to fall gently on him and Orcaheart had been wreathed in moonlight. "I have to value it, cherish it, love it. Because snow melts, of course, and then it's gone, and then all you have is muddy ground." The damp sand was muddy ground enough, he thought, looking past his memory to the little bundles that would've been his kits. Two sons and a sister lost all in one fell swoop, and he didn't need to be told that the little kit he'd cleaned was small and could pass to StarClan, too.

Stoneclaw was yanked out of his wallowing by Orcaheart's broken apology. "No," he said, shaking his head. He couldn't quite keep the little edge out of his tone. "No, it's not your fault, it's not anyone's fault. Don't do that to yourself." That was a bit of a lie, of course, because Stoneclaw definitely blamed himself, but he wasn't about to start that. He was drained, exhausted, but he had enough energy for Orcaheart -- where it came from he couldn't say, but it was there when he dug and he would've been grateful if he had the attention to spare. "Ternkit and Gullkit," he nodded along, voice tremulous as he looked at them. He'd have to clean them, too, he thought absently. Couldn't send his kits to StarClan looking like that.

Tearing his eyes from them, little Gullkit the image of Orcaheart, Stoneclaw nosed at his mate's cheek, giving her time to name their little survivor. He wasn't particular -- frankly, he was just happy the little tom was alive. At least something good would come of this nightmare. A stuttering purr erupted from him at the name, just perfect. "You're absolutely right," he murmured softly, eyes bright. "Hello, Shellkit. My son."

Finally looking up from the squirming kit, Stoneclaw's awareness expanded again to include Tempeststar and Rednettle. "Meet your newest Clanmate," he smiled, but the same shadow hung over his face -- it would be there for a long time yet. "But quickly -- we need to get everyone into the nursery."
^
Tempeststar
 Posted: Feb 17 2015, 11:38 AM
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Tempeststar’s eyes lingered a long on his daughter, frowning as the realization hit her that the first bundle he had handed to her was also the last; the other kits were stillborn, and Tempeststar braced for the pain and sorrow he knew both Orcaheart and Stoneclaw would feel. He’d been blessed in that all seven of his and Turtlespot’s kits had been healthy and safe, but he was still a father and knew the intense love parents had for their off-spring. He was unable to offer words, there was nothing he could saw that would take the pain away, but he was glad for StoneClaw’s place in his daughter’s life as he watched him next to her, consoling only the way a mate could.

He nearly hissed when he heard her argue that it was her fault – a ridiculous, however understandable notion – but StoneClaw was on top of it and he settled for stepping beside Orcaheart, stooping to lick her cheek. Words bubbled there in his throat but were blocked by a growing knot of emotion he felt, and instead drew back with a gentle huff. Little Shellkit mewled against her side and he offered the newborn a smile, love swelling in the midst of the sorrow. ”He’ll be a fine warrior.” Tempeststar brushed his tongue down the young kit’s head fondly, mentally promising the young kit world, ”All you have to do is hold on; be strong, your momma needs you.” He whispered, meaning the words to be heard only by Shellkit.

He drew back, nodding his thanks to Rednettle as he set about to grooming the two stillborns, Ternkit and Gullkit, clean from their birthing fluids. It was agonizing, but the least the leader felt he could do for the new parents. He wanted nothing more than to hear them mewl and to feel them struggle, but knowing it would never come caused him to steel against the feelings he felt, concentrating on the repetitive motions of his tongue as he drew it along their bodies. ”I’ll go on ahead and let the clan know what has happened. The clan can all say good-bye to Gullkit and Ternkit and we’ll prepare a good and proper burial for them. I-“ He wanted to apologize, but the notion felt silly, ”-I love you two.” He said instead, green eyes traveling between Stoneclaw and Orceaheart. ”And your new addition; already got his grandpa smitten.” He smiled softly before stooping to scoop up Ternkit and Gullkit. ”Please help Stoneclaw with Orcaheart and Shellkit, please, Rednettle. And thank you for all you did today.” He turned and led the way slowly back to camp, making a note to talk to Rednettle later about the life he lost, though that seemed unimportant and far off now; he would have willingly lost a hundred lives it it meant saving Orcaheart and her litter.

He needed to talk to Stoneclaw later, about returning to try to find Asternose, but a vigil for her would likely have to be arranged to go along with the two deceased kits, as painful as it would be to not have a body. The chances of recovering it in such a choppy ocean were scant.
^
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Baraenor, Lion RP Wild Equines v3

Carried Home Catharsis - Semi-Realistic Wolf RPG White Wolf Mountain Way of the Clans: AU traditional Warrior Cats

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