Sep 7, 2022
( ) birdie had been very clear - leave me. go find help, and bring them back here. be insistent. i know you can. she'd lain in a small nest of dried reeds and bits of moss (whatever robin could scavenge at the time,) her head lolling to one side, eyes flashing in the dim afternoon light. robin had nodded, little tail sticking straight up at attention, and had given her mother a quick lick before dashing off. she's on a mission now, one of the upmost importance - find someone, be annoying enough to convince them to go with her, and then save birdie. it's a foolproof plan, provided there are other cats around, and robin is sure there are.

as she hops from stone to stone beside the rushing river, something in the undergrowth crackles and she freezes, fur standing on end. scenting the air, she's relieved to find it doesn't smell anything like those hairless beasts her mom had encountered earlier. slowly, her fur lowers, but a growl still rumbles absentmindedly from her throat. tiny paws trot on, hastened by the scent of many cats all in one place. robin remembers birdie in the nest, remembers the weird red stuff painting the ground, and her steps quicken.

oh perfect. the smell is relatively fresh, which means someone must have been here not long ago. breaking into a run, she darts through the tall rushes and lumbering willows until she can see paws ahead, hear voices, knows she's found some kind of patrol. "hey!! hey cats!" her voice is loud for a kitten her size, and she stands on the path behind the patrol, legs set, stocky body as big as she can make it, fur fluffed on end. "hi, my mom needs you, so i need you to come with me actually." her tone is matter of fact, only the glimmer in her eyes revealing that perhaps the mission is slightly urgent. "if you just follow me we can go to her and then i can leave you alone. she just needs a little help i think. i don't know. anyway."


Paths are a tricky thing. They spread outwards, indefinitely long and endlessly branching apart. At times they can seem invisible and at times they can seem all too clear. Often enough, those paths that seem to clear become murky; such is the challenge of moving through the trail of life. For some, those paths are clear. They are easy to find and easy to walk with great certainty. For others, those paths are riddled with traps and hazards and grief of all kinds. Sometimes there may be only one path to take, and such times are terribly regrettable.
As he sat there, it was unclear to him what path he had taken. That path he had walked was a thorny one. He had had to push his way through the briars that smelled so sweetly but drew blood with every pass. The path behind him was so long and so choked with trials that he had long since forgotten how it had begun. He knew, though, that many many paths had been walked along his. Some of those who walked that path casted stones.

The path he walks now is complicated, but the more literal one carries him to the river where a shrill voice like birdsong draws him from the tall reeds he was pushing through. They were checking the river for signs of danger before sending out a hunting party in this direction. That they had to double-check their territory for safety due to those two-legs was agonizingly annoying but necessary. Smokethroat briefly considers dismissing the sound, perhaps he heard incorrectly and it was a bird, but after a moment the noise is much more apparent and distinctly feline. It does not take long to push through the reeds to find her.

A kitten? Briefly her colors remind him of Iciclepaw with the bursts of hot fire among darker tones, but more muted. At least, her pelt was muted, her voice was hardly so. Bossy, demanding, the usual kitten affair.
Smokethroat steps forward to the fearless little trespasser, head tilted to the side curiously. His approach is slow. His steps careful. He is more worried scaring her than anything else. One tumble and she might be swept away.
“Your mother…needs help?”
He had heard the crack of thunder in the distance earlier, had thought it the storm that had been beginning to form since the early sun rise but…perhaps it had been something else.
Turning to the first cat behind him in the patrol his words are curt and short, “Get Beesong.” Before turning to the kitten.
“...where is she?”

she comes from an opposite direction, light bickering shared between her and @LIGHTNINGSTONE about whatever had currently bothered the duo. arguing with the tom is an easy way to get some entertainment in the days, but the voices die down and buckgait is focused upon the sole figure of a child. something small and dainty, she is, something that should not be away from a mother. the only other cat is smokethroat, and he lacks much of anything to talk to the youth. it's not an insult to his character, he just isn't the type. the child's voice is strong and sure, almost casual in her demand. yet the situation is anything but calm. everything feels slightly off.

the earthen painted woman watches as a cat scurries from the patrol, beesong clearly being their target. she spares a glance towards her ward before coming to join smokethroat, a silent study of the beautifully colored girl. just to make sure. "we'll help her, i promise. what's your name?" smokethroat can take care of everything else, but buck is focused on making sure the child in front of her is okay.
( ) well this is nice. it seems these cats want to be helpful. as they should be, given her request, robin decides, but she's thankful nonetheless. the tomcat before her means business. he asks the question as if he hasn't heard what she just said, but bin will repeat if she must. offering a soft sigh, she speaks again. "yeah she said go find help and bring them back here. she also said i should annoy you until you come so you can't get rid of me." eyes of dark amber meet sunlit gold as the child tips her head up, almost challenging the man. he turns to another and orders something she doesn't understand, then asks the question robin has been waiting to answer. "she's by a big log in a nest that i made for her. i dunno how far. i'll take you there so you can help her." she's about to set off home again when another voice interrupts.

we'll help her, i promise. and something about this voice is just soothing enough that it pricks at her heart, and her eyes begin to prickle, chest hurting. birdie is hurt. robin's not dumb, she might be naïve, and she might be young, but she knows what it means when there's too much red. she's seen it on finch, his life pouring out of him upon the strange black stone. wren had been red when she was snatched by the hairless monsters a moon ago, her ear missing from her head. chickadee hadn't been red, but she'd been still and stiff.

birdie was colder than usual when robin left the nest. urgency takes hold of the little flame and she bounces back and forth on aching paws. "okay good because i don't think she's okay. i think the boom hurt her and i didn't know what to do so i'm really glad i found you guys," worrying her lip with pearly teeth, she focuses on buckgait briefly. "i'm robin and my mom is birdie and i have siblings too but they're not here right now." glancing back and forth between each warrior she finally looses patience and turns, confident the adults will follow. "come on!"

it's a rather short journey back to the big driftwood log, and the kitten runs all the way, her breath coming in gasps, even as she refuses to slow down. glancing behind her to make sure the bigger cats are following, she finally rounds the bend in the river and spots the log. "momma, i'm back!" her voice rings across the space as she closes the gap, skidding to a stop in front of the messily made nest. birdie is curled within, and there's more red than there should be, but bin is confident that her new friends will help. "i bet she's sleeping. she likes to sleep, you know. birdie!" wiggling into the nest to nudge at her mother, the kitten doesn't notice the crimson now staining her snow dashed pelt.

// as you can probably guess, birdie is dead. she's still a little warm but she's not breathing. your character might notice a bullet wound if they looked carefully.

  • Crying
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Lightningstone had been right in the middle of rolling his eyes in response to whatever his assignment was saying when he notices her expression shift. He pauses, following her gaze until he spots, before them, a child with Smokethroat. Stunned, he follows Buckgait towards the pair and listens as the kit introduces herself as Robin and demands that they follow to "help Birdie." He doesn't have a good feeling about this, but who's he to speak up against a lead warrior? He swallows his argument and follows, merely here to help. Although when they arrive, it becomes all too obvious he can't help. Nobody can. Birdie is dead.

The silvery tom's eyes darken as he stares at the body with a firm frown upon his face. He doesn't dare look towards Buckgait. Not after what he knows she's been threw with losing a kit. How in StarClan does she feel about a kit losing her mother? He can play the bad guy easily enough. Let it be him, and not these two far better cats. He turns his dulled hazel gaze to Robin and mews, "I'm sorry. Your mother walks the stars now. There's nothing we can do." It's blunt, but Lightningstone sees no point in sugarcoating something like this. Her mother is not coming back.

"You've done well to get help. As she said, we'll help." Whether that be assisting a wounded cat or digging a grave.

He was not good with children, but Buckgait seemed to be; there was a quiet, grateful nod to the earth dappled molly's presence there before he glanced once to Lightningstone and moved along following the child's swifter and clumsier steps as she brings them to the rotted log housing her mother. He can smell it long before they get there, copper-tinged and wrecking of the same horrific smoky burst of dark scent that accompanied previous encounters with the two-legs. His blood is running cold when the kitten remarks with nonchalance about the 'boom' that hurt her mother. She's dead. She's very dead.
The image of the little molted fire and burnt earth spotted kitten nudging into the side of the unmoving body hurts in a way he didn't expect it to. Maybe it was too raw of a memory, maybe it reminded him of folding into the slowly chilling body of his own mother as a kit; knowing there was nothing to be done and wanting that last bit of warmth before it is snuffed out.
Smokethroat inhales slowly, when he exhales it is with relief as the gray tom rips the wound open without hesitation. It is a cruel mercy, he had been preparing to do it himself, but there's a grateful stare to the other with both orange eyes that speaks volumes of his unease. It had to be done.
"Buckgait, you can take her right?" There was a body to be buried and he was hardly capable of the comfort a child would need given the circumstances. Lightningstone would accompany her, of course given his duties, but the unfortunate truth was he was used to digging shallow graves and preferred it to the harsh reality of processing grief.
buckgait knew she would not be reuniting a mother and daughter today, watching the young try and find the warmth she had grown up with. to let her mother comfort her and groom her wild fur. there's a small glance to lightningstone as he delivers the truth, cold and unforgiving. buck feels as if its too early to tell her, although she is sure robin already had an inkling of the truth. the woman simply didn't want the child to see this any longer. no mother should see her daughter cold and still; no daughter should see her mother bloodied and stiff. "come here, robin." it's something gentle and sweet and motherly, even as buck is struggling to keep her composure. it's a horrid sight. the world is entirely too cruel.

she offers only a nod to smokethroat, her attention heavy upon robin. she must separate them, to give robin a chance and for birdie to be buried properly. a mother will know she will not survive, the lost matron had sent robin to find her own saviors. a nose touches the deceased's, buck will keep her daughter safe and warm and fed. the earthen woman continues to try and lure robin to her side, the quicker they can leave, the quicker the body can know peace. "we'll take care of you. i'll carry you to camp and we can eat. i'll bring you back to visit your mother whenever." the words are too gentle for the raw emotions that are tearing through her. a paw extends towards the warmly colored girl, offering comfort and warmth.
( ) she feels the liquid squelching between her toes, her little white dappled paws spattered with crimson. she presses her muzzle into the short striped fur of her mother and feels the stiffness of her body, smells the odd scent she'll one day come to associate with death. robin is young- she's not had to process this clearly before. she's watched her siblings go cold and dark, but never put the pieces together that birdie ever could. the adults behind her are exchanging glances, processing this sight in their own ways even as she's turning it over in her mind. when the gruff but not unkind voice speaks the truth, the spotted child has already come to the conclusion herself. still, she turns, caramel and earthen neck craning up to gaze at lightningstone with wide amber eyes. "she's cold." her voice is suddenly much smaller than it had been only minutes before. she feels as though her limbs are going to betray her soon- her stomach grumbles and gnaws inside of her, and she can feel every little pinprick of pain as if it's anew.

the dark tom who speaks next is more gentle, but robin still flinches at the words. he glances between his groupmates with burning orange eyes and the girl feels a flash of defensiveness. she digs her claws stubbornly into the tattered nest, shredding bits of moss beneath her as she stands her ground. when the earthen toned molly speaks, the child doesn't soften, suddenly distrusting, distraught. "i don't want to." it's something she says all too often, in a pouting tone, but this time it's different. her voice has an edge to it, a sadness mixed with overwhelming fear. "i shouldn't have gotten help. this was a dumb idea - birdie was wrong. i could've saved her! i didn't run fast enough, i left her alone when she needed me!" her voice rises higher, louder, little paws stomping in anger and self betrayal. "i don't wanna go back to your camp, i want birdie back!"

her chin quivers, tone completely forgotten in the moment. buck looks upon her with such kind eyes, hope and despare swimming in them all at once. robin doesn't know what to do. she can't leave birdie, but she can't stay here - she's not stupid, she knows when she's lost. as buck bends to pay respects to the matriarch, robin breaks. her breath comes in gasps as she finally processes everything. stumbling from the unwelcoming nest, paws sticky with her own mother's blood, she presses into this new savior, trembling. "she liked flowers. and pretty rocks. and she liked the willow trees." prickling eyes travel to smokethroat and she gazes at him, a request for a promise. "don't let her be alone." bury her among the plants and blossoms of the late full-leaf. give her a peaceful rest.

  • Sad
Reactions: BUCKGAIT.