private DECRETUM / emberstar

Flicker had been able to go wherever she wanted in the forest; she'd never considered herself limited to the marshes. If she'd wanted to swim in the river (why would she?), then she would have. If a run through the moors had tickled her fancy, fine, and likewise with a relaxing lounge among pine needles and squirrels. Rain's group moving in hadn't changed that. The war hadn't even changed that, until the five Clans had split from their two cores.

But there has always been one place she's refused to return to. A sulphuric strip of black separates her from the place of her nightmares, and she rarely ventures close enough for it to trigger any memories she'd rather have extinguished.

But beyond it lies the oak forest. She sits before the Thunderpath, reddish eyes hazy with nostalgia, with pain. It'd been more or less uninhabited, besides the odd rogue, since she'd been chased from it as a kit. Since her mother and sister had been slaughtered, since Flicker had left them for dead.

ThunderClan. A mocking name, to her. Reminiscent of the Thunderpath that splits their homes, but Ember had been the she-cat to leap to claim the land. How cruel it had been, to imagine Ember and her lackeys stomping around the place her mother's body had decayed! The place she'd been banished from!

She closes her eyes. The ground trembles, and a monster flies past almost before she can comprehend it. The acrid stench of its fumes cause her eyes to stream, but she tells herself it's only because of the heat and the chemical burn. That's all. Nothing else.

Flicker prepares to turn away, slink back into ShadowClan territory where she belongs, when a glimpse of brilliant sunkissed fur catches her eye. A pair of eyes the color of rainstorms. And despite herself, she emerges from the undergrowth, from the darkness, and finds herself facing the leader of ThunderClan from across the deadly path that now divides them.



Emberstar tried not to think about the battle.

It wasn't as hard as you would think, given how much Thunderclan had grown over the past days. There was always something happening. Some new problem for her to throw herself into. Especially now that Cinderfrost had arrived in the camp. There were days when she didn't think about the battlefield at all, when the memories of blood and screams were drowned out by all the voices around her. It was beginning to feel possible that she might be able to move on.

She hadn't meant to stray so close to the Thunderpath. Though the clans had yet to set any solid borders, she had seen the shapes of Shadowclan cats moving on the other side of it often enough to know that crossing it would be inviting trouble. Something she didn't need any more of these days. So, she gave it a wide breadth most days. Her prey, however, did not have the same reservations. The squirrel she was chasing seemed near suicidal as it raced toward the Thunderpath to escape her, her eyes narrowed as she pushed herself until her legs burned. Closing the distance before resorting to a final desperate leap to grab the small animal before it escaped.

Her jaws clamped around it. She tumbled to a halt as a monster went roaring past. She stood, eyes alight with pride. If she had been a few moments slower the creature would have stolen her kill. Then, there was movement from the other side, drawing her attention.

That's when she saw her.


Like a deer in the headlights, she froze. The brightness of those fiery eyes that she had never thought to see again stunned her. Silence hung heavy in the air between them for a moment. In that time the memory of every moment they had spent together ran through her head. The laughs. The betrayals. The battle. It was all she could think about.

That was why she spoke up. She had to break the silence, if only to cut off her own thoughts. "Heya over there!" she called abruptly, awkwardly, dropping her squirrel in the process. Her grin was uncertain.
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Flicker watches her, in pursuit of a bushy-tailed squirrel headed straight for the burning blacktop. She clenches her jaw, heart pounding, as Ember makes a leap for the creature and sinks her fangs into it, the two of them tumbling dangerously close to the Thunderpath as a monster roars by.

Flicker exhales, breath shaky; she hadn't realized she'd been holding it. Fury fans the flames in her chest and she bounds onto the dark border between ThunderClan and ShadowClan, her eyes like wildfire. Ember calls out a shaky, hesitant greeting, the squirrel dropping to her paws, but Flicker ignores the friendliness.

"Frogbrain!" She hisses, waving her tail. She sinks her claws into the asphalt. "Why do you throw yourself around like you're invincible!"

But then she stops herself, words clipping abruptly. Briarstar had returned from Highstones, absent Bone, and had told the Clan she'd been gifted nine lives by the stars. StarClan. Briarstar had seen Amber, Dewdrop, Ash, Asphodel, Moth, even Hare Whiskers, and many others -- and they'd made her strong enough to be able to withstand death nine times.

The tortoiseshell's glare becomes uncertain as she gazes at Ember. She looks the same to her, though there's something different in the way she holds herself that Flicker cannot place.

After a moment, she says, "So... are you? Invincible?" She remembers the last time they'd met, Ember pinning her to the ground and telling her she'll do it over and over until Flicker does not rise again.

If they met in battle now, would Ember be able to die nine times to Flicker's one?


A single word pulled all the tension out of her body. Frogbrain. It was such a silly thing to say, she couldn't help but laugh! A loud and boisterous sound that echoed through the trees. The insults the molly glaring at her from atop Thunderpath managed to come up with were so funny. It was strange, somehow it felt like they had picked up where they had left off before the battle. When they were just two girls having fun messing around in the forest, trading jabs and jokes. "It's niceta see ya too Flicker!" She greeted with a grin, and was surprised to find she meant it.

After what happened she had been... shaken, by what had happened between them. Something she'd only admit to herself. Even though they'd been on opposite sides, she had been sure they were friends. Yet, during the battle, Flicker had leapt on her the moment she turned her back. She hadn't known what to think after that.

It was reassuring though, to return to how they'd been before all that. Even if she didn't yet know what they were to each other.

Then the question hit her ear, and she blinked a few times. She tilted her head qestioningly. Until finally, her smile grew even wider as she realized its meaning. Emberstar bounced on her paws as her words spilled forth eagerly. "Oh, yeah! I basically am now! Starclan made sure I have nine lives, well uh-" For a moment, she actually managed to look a touch sheepish. A rare expression for her. "Eight now, but still! More than I'd ever need." She insisted eagerly, brimming with pride.

Her eyes fell to the the asphalt beneath Flicker's paws."It's not safe for you to be up there." Their gazes met. ""Why don't you come down here?" It was a simple, innocuous offer. Made with the same smile she said everything else. As if there was nothing to inviting a cat from another clan to trespass.
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Flicker snorts with laughter at Ember's greeting. It bypasses all of the tortoiseshell's rudeness, all of her spiny words and her angry expression. It's familiar, and it puts her somewhat at ease.

"StarClan made sure I have nine lives, well uh-" Ember seems to hesitate. "Eight now, but still!"

Flicker's expression darkens, but before she can say anything else, the flame point urges her to leave the Thunderpath and cross over into the oak forest. She freezes, gazing into the treeline as though a cat made of shadows and nightmares prepares to emerge, teeth stained with blood.


But the earth rumbles, and she knows she has to, or be flattened by the monster. With a startled, hiccuping breath, she leaps and finds her paws firmly on territory she has not been back to since she lost her family.

She blinks, sifts the earth beneath her claws. The monster flies past them, and she's brought back to reality. Rising to her paws, she attempts to regain her composure: "So this is how ThunderClan defends themselves, huh? Inviting ShadowClan cats over?" She gives Ember a teasing look.

But then what Ember had said -- the thing about her having only eight lives left -- dawns on her, resurfaces, and she blinks rapidly at the gray-eyed femme. "Wait. What do you mean, eight now?" Her near-scarlet eyes widen incredulously. "How'd you lose one so fast?!"


There was a rumble beneath her paws and Emberstar's eyes widened. The sound of a beast caught her ear. Instinctively, she stepped forward, her muscles tensing in preparation to leap forward. Before she could, the tortoiseshell had thrown herself onto the safety of Thunderclan territory. Allowing her to let out a sigh of relief.

Within a moment she was at the other molly's side. "You okay?" she asked with concern. "That was kinda close! And you were calling me reckless!" A chuckle left her. Flicker's sense of humor seemed intact at least, teasing the Thunderclan leader for inviting her over. Growing Emberstar's chuckles into full blown laughter. "Oh, come on! I'm sure you won't try to do anything bad! Unless, of course, your plan just now was to scare me to death!" It felt like her belly was going to burst apart as she enjoyed her own joke, it had been a while since she'd had this good a time.

Her laughter immediately halted when Flicker finally caught on to her little half-admission. She glanced away. "Uh, well, it was no big deal really." She began dismissively with a flick of her tail. "Y'know Cinder? Or, what was it Howling Wind called her? Salamander? Used to be a marsh cat?" Her explanation was slow and winding, it could not be more obvious that she was stalling if she had tried. She hadn't had to try and explain this to anyone yet. All of Thunderclan had seen what had happened after all. "The stars chose her to be our medicine cat but appperently she still had a bit of a grudge. Got the drop on me. Won't happen again." She stated quickly, punctuating the whole thing with a confident smile.

"But what's going on with you?" she redirected quickly. "How's Shadowclan? That's a cool name, huh?"
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Her senses slowly return to her as though the drain has been plugged on her world. With a start, she realizes Ember is at her side now, their flanks dangerously close. Flicker gives her a blank look before the skin beneath her fur tingles with warmth. She gives herself a shake, fake scowl returning. "Hah! Don't worry about me, Softie. I may not have nine lives, but I know how to take care of myself."

It's only partially a lie. Flicker can take care of herself... when she wants to. And maybe since Moth has died and ShadowClan has split, she hasn't wanted to...

But maybe she does again. Inexplicably.

Flicker skips ahead of Ember a bit, realizing she's seeing her birthplace with fresh eyes. In greenleaf, the trees are full and lustrous, and the air is rife with the scent of prey. There's the lull of monster growls in the distance, but otherwise there's peace here, sunlight and warmth and... well, Ember is here, too. For better or worse.

She throws a look over her shoulder. "I'm sure you won't try to do anything bad!" "Nah. Briarstar wouldn't want you on our side, but Softiestar wouldn't mind if I made myself at home, right?" She sticks her tongue out. Simultaneously, she has an epiphany. "Does that mean you're Emberstar now?"

It must. Nine lives from StarClan must come with the star part tacked onto your name. Funny-sounding to her, but she supposes it's not so bad. Emberstar. Makes sense.

But the playfulness in her scarlet-tinged eyes dies when Emberstar clumsily explains how she lost her first life. Flicker's brow furrows, and heat lashes through her body from ears to tail tip.

"Salamander!" The last time they'd seen her, she'd been deranged, fighting Bonejaw for her life and ranting about how the war had been all Briarstar's fault. Cicada had broken it up, and then Salamander had left in a huff. It'd been all she wrote when it came to the blue mink. She'd been a constant in the marsh group's lives, and her departure had felt odd, like a missing claw one can't help but worry with their mouth.

She gives her mottled head a fierce shake. "She killed you? And you're gonna let her stay? How frogbrained are you, exactly?" She glares at Emberstar, incredulity drawing her face tight. "I'd have dragged her right to the edge of the Thunderpath and held her down! I still might." She spits to the side, trembling with fresh anger.


This is the warmest Flicker has ever been with her and it feels good, really good. There was a playfulness there before the battle, but now she was openly showing concern for and joking around with her. None of that had happened before. Maybe she had been right, maybe they hadn't been friends before, Emberstar reflected, when there was the weight of a war hanging between them. Now, though, they might be able to be. That thought made the world make a little bit more sense than it had before.

She pulls herself back out of her thoughts to reply to Flicker sticking out her tongue by sticking out her own.

Again, she couldn't help but laugh. "Yeah, it's Emberstar now! Pretty fancy, huh?" After a moment she paused, confusion creeping across her face. "Hey, how do ya know about all that anyway?" she asked.

In her bewilderment, it took a moment for her to realize that the other molly had skipped ahead of her, and she had to hurry to catch up. The thought of showing the other molly around lit an eagerness in her belly. One more simple, earnest, and passionate than any she had felt in recent days. She wanted to boast of the bounty her territory held and the strength of her clan. She wanted to speak of the kits who shared her home now. She wanted to wean away the hours of the day do nothing at all of importance.

That was a privilege she was rarely afforded anymore.

Before she can do any of that, Flicker's exclamation cut her off. The same explosive anger bursting from her that had from everyone else that had heard of her decision. Another threat to Cinderfrost's life is added to the list. "Please don't. Even though I think my clanmates would thank you for it." She laughed weakly at her own attempt at a joke. There was nothing in the world she wanted to talk about less right now, it felt like this had been all she had talked about since it happened. "Look, I'm fine now and I have it under control, so ya don't need to worry about it. 'Kay?"
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The weight she's been carrying since Moth's death, since she'd killed that kittypet and lay battered under Emberstar's paws -- it's starting to dissolve, slowly but surely. She hadn't anticipated even being able to breathe in this forest where she'd been born, had expected to be inundated with memories best forgotten.

But those are all shadows being kept at bay by the fiery light Emberstar casts. It's a strange feeling, but Flicker feels herself at ease. She's in what Briarstar would consider to be enemy territory, with a cat who now leads an enemy Clan, but she is more relaxed than she has been in her own home and with her own Clanmates.

"It's fancy, alright. Too fancy for you. I think I like Softiestar better." She attempts to bat Ember's ears like the two are kits playing in the dust. It's not something she's done since she was a child playing in the woods with her sister, yet it's a subconscious action. "How'd I know? Just figured since Briarstar has nine lives, you'd have the same weird kinda name."

The tortoiseshell doesn't worry about exposing Briarstar's secret. She's not afraid of Emberstar, or ThunderClan, and she doesn't see the point in keeping things like that quiet, anyway. Her leader would likely see things differently, though she spares the spiky-furred she-cat no spare thoughts.

The ease had flamed into anger and shock at the mention of Salamander storming from the marsh to the forest and murdering Emberstar in her own camp. Had blazed fiercely at the idea that Emberstar is letting her live, much less letting her stay!

But the flame pointed fool makes a poor attempt at a laugh and shoes the idea away. "Please don't. Even though I think my Clanmates would thank you for it." Flicker snorts. "You don't say?" But Emberstar doesn't seem to want to dwell on Salamander. She pushes the subject away and assures Flicker she's fine and has it under control.

She scowls pointedly at the gray-eyed molly. "You're a damn fool, that's what you are. Someone's gotta remind you sometimes, even if that someone has to be me." She rolls her eyes, but decides that if Emberstar wants them to move past the subject, she'll let it happen. "You're so capable, aren't you?"

With a wicked grin and a flash of brilliance, the dark molly hurls herself towards Emberstar in an attempt to knock her on her back and pin her. It's done quickly, without warning, but there's no malice in the action. They'd first met sparring, and she has a fierce desire to return to it, even if the animosity their first meeting had been laced with has dulled.​
Emberstar giggled as Flicker batted her ears, not even attempting to dodge. It was the type of playful physical affection she often doled out, but rarely received. It just served to make her all the more certain that they really were friends now. "Softiestar!" She continued to giggle. It was such a silly title, one that put the funniest images in her head. "Imagine the clan calling me that!" she grinned eagerly. "Rushing into clan with important news only to call out; Softiestar!" At that, the damn burst. She couldn't hold in the full blown snorts of laughter that pulled themselves from her. The idea of her clanmates saying that name with the same reverance some of them gave her now...

The explanation Flicker gives her makes sense, even if she didn't bother to give it a response amidst her laughter. She didn't know why she hadn't considered that the other leaders would get the same treatment she had.

Emberstar still hadn't recovered when the other molly called her a damn fool. Through her dying chuckles, she shrugged the insult off. Her clanmates had said worse about the decision already. The compliment, at least what she considered to be one, she didn't let pass. "I sure am!" she stated confidently. Right before Flicker bowled into her, knocking her over.

She had been to distracted by laughter and pride to even notice it was coming.

"Heeeeey." Emberstar complained teasingly, with faux pout. She made no move to escape the pin, this was just a bit of fun after all. "No fair! I wasn't ready."

//sorry for uber late
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Emberstar all but lets herself be pinned, to the tortoiseshell's glee. She doesn't struggle to attempt to flip her 'attacker' over; she just exclaims that she wasn't ready.

"No such thing as fair, Softiestar." Flicker sticks her tongue out at her, but then loses herself to a small fit of giggles. She can't help but chuckle at the image Emberstar conjures - the flame point standing high among her Clanmates, addressing them royally and regally with a serious expression. She wonders if the pale-pelted she-cat is even capable of such a thing. "I bet your Clan meetings are real different from Briarstar's," she says, tilting her head as she gazes down at the molly.

Something occurs to her in a strange, stilted, stop-motion type of thought. This is the closest the two of them have been since that horrible battle, but there's no blood or chaos. She can feel Emberstar's heartbeat, can feel her own, and the softness of the other molly's fur and flesh are shockingly apparent.

Without thinking, Flicker says, "You really are soft." Immediately, she regrets opening her stupid mouth; if she'd been bald, her skin would be red as fresh blood.

She hops off of Emberstar and gives her pelt a shake, offering the other molly a cheeky expression. "B-but, uh, not as soft as your brain!" Yeah. There. Covered it up just fine.

Emberstar scoffed at the idea there was no such thing as fair, but her smile didn't fade in the slightest. Her heart was too filled with warmth at having made Flicker laugh for her to even pretend to be annoyed. It felt nice for someone else to enjoy her jokes as much as she did. It sometimes felt like she was the only one who really appropriated how funny she was!

Her joy did fade a touch to make way for confusion at the suggestion that her meetings would be different from those of Briarstar. She tilted her head. "How so?" she asked curiously, she had never thought to wonder how the other leaders did meetings. "What are her meetings like?"

"You really are soft."

"Thanks!" Emberstar replied brightly, not thinking anything of the comment. It was just a nice compliment. Even as Flicker suddenly scrambled off her, she didn't think anything of it. Just got up to shake the dirt out of her pelt, completely oblivious to the other mollies embarrassment. She let out a good natured laugh at Flicker's follow-up dig at her. Her insults were always so funny. "Good one!" she told her with an honest smile.
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