A HEART MADE FULLMETAL // nine lives ceremony

Blaise and Valentine's journey ends in a cavern leading to complete darkness beneath the earth. He hadn't wanted to come here. Would never have followed anyone else into the dark mouth of an unknown cave.

Well, that's not really true, is it? He snorts softly to himself. Hadn't he followed Little Wolf into the forest on a whim? He supposes he's become more impulsive in the last few moons, more than he had ever been as a kittypet.

As soon as they go inside, they are blanketed in thick, fuzzy darkness. Blaise can't see anything in front of him--and he feels panic buzzing in his chest, reaching his ears. "V-Val? Are you--are you in here with me still?" Had Val gone forward, blustering blindly into a cavern that could lead to a drop-off, a monster, anything?

But his paws move despite his fear, and he continues as if somnambulant. After an indeterminate time of navigating the dark, Blaise stumbles into a chamber lit up in silver light. He gasps audibly. The source is an enormous stone in the center of the room, almost glittering as the moon pours itself onto it from above.

"This?" He murmurs. This must be what Valentine had wanted him to see. "It's beautiful, but why--" He stops himself, blinking as his friend touches his nose to the stone and closes his eyes.

The flame point sighs. He supposes if they've come all this way, he should at least touch the rock, too. Val probably thinks it'll give us magical powers, he muses, padding closer to the stone's shining surface. He settles beside Valentine and pushes his nose softly onto the hard, cool surface. And he is so exhausted from their journey that he relaxes and falls asleep within moments.

Then there is the dream.

It doesn't feel like a dream. His paws are touching soft grass. There's a cool breeze ruffling the trees around him, and the sky is blazing with stars. He doesn't recognize the clearing he's found himself in--it's not familiar to him at all.

Blaise gazes around him, wondering why he'd have such a visceral dream of a place he has not been when there is a rustle from the treeline. Cats--nine of them, sleek and glowing like the moonstone, like the dead cats at the battle--pad toward him. They are as white as the moon, look to be made of its energy. They stand in a half circle before him.

He trembles, and he waits for them to speak.


Besides Rain, those who dwell up here are not those whom Haku knows particularly well- so a familiar face stands before him very much welcome, though he is not sure he had been quite so ready until now. He had been dead long before Rain, cast into the river with ribbons of sinking scarlet encircling his head, though despite his early martyrdom there was morbid positivity. He had seen almost everything leading up to their sequinned descent, and had since been watching at his burial ground, ready for the gathering that Rain had prophesied. Despite the message's lyrical nature they had deciphered it, and the newly-named SkyClan leader had been revealed as none other than his firefly friend.

Light cascades from the pelt of his patchwork form alongside those he is gathered with. Eyes the colour of waters' depths settle then upon the leader, who had been called here by their whispering siren song. Except, this is not his death they were leading him to- this is a new life, a nine-sided rebirth that he had claimed when he had given SkyClan its new name.

It is upon him to welcome the new leader.

"Blaise," he murmurs, and his voice sounds alien even to him as it ricochets off the moon-painted clearing, amplified by the swim of dreams. "This is StarClan, where you'll receive the nine lives you need to lead SkyClan. Are you ready?"

He is not sure the answer to that question could ever honestly be yes, from anyone. But in becoming SkyClan's leader Blaise has committed himself to this life, and Haku's sapphire eyes weep stars as he closes in toward the tom- either from worry, happiness or regret, he is not sure.

Though corporeal, his form fills with tangible energy as he takes a whispered breath in, silver silk winding through his lungs. His maw finally spills moonlight words that seem insane in their concept, but are very much as real as Haku feels. "With this life, I give you love. Love comes in many forms... I know you know that. Under your guidance, I hope SkyClan will be a place full of the love that cats cannot find elsewhere in the forest." It is concise- Haku has never been known to be particularly wordy, but he hopes it is enough. He reaches to touch his nose against Blaise's, and a surge of energy that is intertwined with both great adoration and sorrow pierces through the both of them.

"I'll see you around... friend." He murmurs the word he has not said in moons, and offers the flame point a smile before turning to take his place among the line-up once again. How sad that it has taken death for him to admit that.
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Haku's life was a deserving one, and Hare Whiskers found himself nodding along as it was transferred onto the new leader. This was a bittersweet time. Many lives so recently lost, just so they'd be able to give new life to the clans' leaders, so they may continue to protect and guide their clans for seasons and seasons to come. Soon enough, it was his turn, and he got to his paws to pad towards the former kittypet, passing Haku as the other returned to his seat.

He stopped in front of the flame point and dipped his head in deep respect for SkyClan's founder. "Hello, Blaise. My name is Hare Whiskers. I died long before you stepped foot into the forest. I brought the cats in the marsh together, and I was a part of the beginning of the war with your friends." He took a breath, pausing to think on what he was about to say before continuing. "With this life, I give you empathy. As a leader, it will be important for you to understand not only your clanmates, but also your enemies. Use it well to keep your clan happy and safe from needless bloodshed."

He touched his nose to the tom's, and with the contact brought forth a heavy, suffocating feeling. It wasn't painful like some other lives might be, but it was difficult to get through out of discomfort alone. When he was finished, he pulled away to blink once more at Blaise before padding back to take his place once more. "SPEECH."
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Time halted here, in a more corporeal way. He was happy with the fact that his stomach no longer rumbled hungrily, that there was always prey if he could ever need it. If you had asked Everest long before his death if he thought something like this existed, he probably would have looked at you odd and asked what the hell you were talking about. A funny idea, really. That dead cats could mean something to this big, vast yet lonely world? That they would earn a home together, free of fighting for those they love.

Those who were chosen to remain behind.

Starry eyes watched the first cat stand up, giving a life of Love. Love that comes in many forms, many sizes. He couldn't help but to agree. He'd fallen for Crow despite their colonies being enemies. He loved them, more than life itself. Their smile, their chuckle- he lifted a paw to his mouth to muffle the soft laughter at the memories that bubbled up. A worthy Life, indeed.

The next, a tom with wisdom upon his tongue, spoke. Empathy. There's a gentle smile in response, and he finds himself agreeing once again. It was comforting, for once, to sit in an area with cats who spoke of things he'd always wondered about in his life. This one had been an older tom, had history behind his eyes that put Everest's worries to rest. And just as soon as he lets himself ponder over it more, the tom is wandering back over to take his place beside Everest once more. He gives the older tom a gentle smile of reassurance; a big, 'you did great' look on his face. Then, as if instilled with a newfound determination, he proudly stood and walked over to the tom. Blaise, he didn't really get to talk to him.. But, he wanted to believe he would do good. He was one of the Chosen Five, after all. Surely there would be a reason, and he would watch it unfold himself from above.

At this point, he figured the tom would be struggling a bit to stand up. Everest gave a soft huff, worry evident in his body language. "Is this kid going to pass out before we give him all of his lives?" He asks softly to himself, barely audible, before leaning down to make sure he's alright. Then, he pulls back to speak; reassured. "It's nice to meet you, Blaise. I am Everest, I was from PineClan and died in the Great Battle. I left my mate behind that day. My precious Crow.." He smoothed a paw across the ground, grumbling softly to himself towards the end. Then, as if remembering where he was, grinned towards the other. "Uh, right. Blaise, I give you the life of Courage. Having the courage to stand up for what you believe is right, being unafraid of being the outlier, to be the voice for those who can't be a voice for themselves. That, my friend, is courage." Everest finished, chuckling softly to himself before he leaned in to press his nose to Blaise's own hesitantly- worried he'd fall over and smack him in the nose or something- but instead, it was a gentle touch.

The feeling of a throbbing pain, a longing- grief. The loss of love. Of what could have been. But as Everest pulls away to begin walking back to his spot, he gets nervous- Did I fuck up my first Ceremony? Are you FUCKING kidding me, Everest?
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