ANOTHER DAY I WISHED AWAY — granite & starling

Anger boils beneath his skin, hotter than the lick of the flames that'd engulfed the Burnt Sycamore. If someone asked Pitchstar why he held such fury in his clenched jaw and lashing tail, he could not give them a straight answer. He is angry with everything. StarClan, for taking his mother away nine times over. Marrowkit and Slitherkit, for sneaking onto the Thunderpath in the first place. The monsters that roam the Thunderpath, for stripping her life away with their monstrous paws.

As much as he'd love to scream at the heavens until his voice gives out, he has duties to attend to. Namely, his two new apprentices. They finished their tour just yesterday, and now it's time for their actual training to begin. So it's with a groan that Pitchstar pulls himself out of his den and over to the apprentices', shouting a swift, "Starlingpaw, Granitepaw, get up," through the entrance. Inevitably, his lack of volume control would rouse other apprentices from their slumber, but Pitchstar couldn't give less of a shit. If he has to be up at the ass-crack of dawn, so do they.

Once the two are ushered from the den, they set off towards the Burnt Sycamore. Pitchstar loathes the stench of ash that lingers in the air, but he knows they might as well put the ruined area to some use. "You're going to learn a couple of battle techniques today." A more levelheaded mentor might have started off with some simple hunting techniques, but Pitchstar needs to subdue this blazing anger somehow... It's important for ShadowClan's youth to know how to defend themselves in a fight, anyways. "Claws will be unsheathed during sparring, but there will be no maiming. Understood?" Pitchstar doesn't want them to sustain anything worse than artificial scratches. It's important for them to learn the sting of claws in battle before they're face-to-face with an opponent; the pain could easily catch the inexperienced off-guard.

╭── ⋅ ⋅ ── ✩ ── ⋅ ⋅ ──╮

Granitepaw had been having a sweet dream, one he was not aware was not reality -- he and another cat are walking, side by side, on a cool evening while the moon is out. She is listening to him, not judging, not flinching from the way his voice sometimes rises. Not moving away at his contorting facial expressions as he rants. No, her eyes are limpid, her body language welcoming. There is no judgment from her, and in turn, there is no desire to hurt.

But a loud and obnoxiously familiar voice crashes through the thin veneer of his dream, and Granitepaw opens his eyes with a heavy feeling of disappointment in his chest. Of course it's not real. No cat like that exists. He grits his teeth and gives the opening of the den a murderous look. Pitchstar. The last cat he'd wanted as a mentor, much less leader of ShadowClan.

He searches the other nests for Starlingpaw, spots her black pelt among the other dark-furred ShadowClan apprentices. He pokes her with a paw. "C'mon. We gotta go see what His Highness wants from us today."

Granitepaw trails behind Pitchstar, the last traces of his pleasant dream seeping away into the atmosphere. Reality is hitting him from every direction -- the singed bark on the Burnt Sycamore, the scent of cinders still lingering throughout the marsh. "You're going to learn a couple of battle techniques today."

He shrugs. It doesn't matter to him what they do. "Do you want us to attack you, or each other?" He flicks his tail tip. Something in him doesn't really want to fight Starlingpaw -- it seems unfair to him. But he would gladly attack Pitchstar with claws unsheathed.

- ,,

It is the first time since her mother had passed that Starlingpaw finds herself in a deep slumber. No dreams. No nightmares, just a peaceful darkness that she had so desperately needed. It would not last, though. All good things must come to an end. She blinks sleepily up at Granitepaw as he prods her awake, taking a moment to register his words. Training. Her eyes dart to the entrance of the den, nervous for a moment. She had some pretty big paw steps to follow in, that was for sure.

She follows the gray furred apprentice out, sticking close to him as they made their way through the territory, flinching at the harsh smell of burnt wood as they near the scorched tree. Her eyes fall on Pitchstar as he speaks, frowning at his words. Silently, she agrees with Granitepaw. She does not want to fight him.