private don't understand ;; smokethroat.



Meet me at Fourtrees the night after the Gathering.

A simple, whispered sentence she had whispered to the Lead Warrior was all the interaction he had gotten at the Gathering, Hyacinthbreath struggling to maintain her posture after the sudden announcements- the drama. She shuts her eyes tightly, the small molly standing tucked into the shadows of Fourtrees, tail flicking side to side. A land of neutrality, where nobody usually traveled to unless to meet in groups. She'd heard of couples meeting here, but she didn't think this was one of those situations. With her kits having been born, she couldn't deny their existence anymore. She couldn't deny the mistake she had made, but she couldn't let it drown her. Not now.

She didn't think he would show tonight, or ever, really. Their first interaction was one of her mocking him, degrading him- calling him lesser because he was a RiverClan cat. She firmly believed back then that WindClan must be blessed by StarClan because they lived beneath the stars. She still believed, actually. The idea of being friends with someone outside of her Clan seemed impossible for her, but that doesn't mean she doesn't want to think about the talk Pollenfur had with her.

"You're here. I didn't think you would come. Smokethroat." Hyacinth meowed in surprise, body language nervous. "Did you come alone?"

His almost immediate response to the carefully uttered words during the idle chatter of the gathering was a silent huff of exasperation. It was only after the evens unfolded did he realize the weight such a request might carry. It would seem things were going to be a fair bit more tense from now on among the clans, some moreso than others.

With the groups returned home and resting, he continues on his day as normal; listening to Cicadastar's call for a meeting before organizing patrols with Willowroot and taking his terrible duo of apprentices out for a brief hunting trip that ended in him ending up in the river and no amount of sass from the two little mollys over the ordeal. He realized he did not mind it so much anymore, they were shaping up to be proper warriors so he would not begrudge them the remainder of their youth. Sometimes he wished he could go back and live as a kit again in the safety of RiverClan, where he need not worry about survival as he had done so long ago.

He pushes his way through the shrouded undergrowth into the small clearing, pausing only for a moment to glance around Hyacinthbreath curiously; he's never seen this area so empty before. It is much larger than it seems when filled with gossiping cats and mingling scents, it seems almost ominous now with only two present and the empty spaces filled with shadows and formed from lacing branches overhead.

"I didn't think I would come either if I am being honest."
The tom admits gruffly, shaking his pelt free of any leaves or bits of debris that might have clung to him on his trek here. Normally he would have swam as he and his clan did most often, but to avoid being seen leaving the territory he had opted for the most halphazard approach of dragging himself through bushes and brambles and he showed it. It would take a good swim to dislodge the burrs now caught in his coat. "Of course I came alone." Against his better judgement he had, knowing the two-legs still roamed his clan's territory with impunity. He'd be lucky if he didn't get shot on his way back knowing how well his fortune had been as of late, "What is this all about?"


Hyacinthbreath chuckles at the tom's response, his grumbles of complaint at the burrs in his fur making her flash a tired grin at him in amusement. He was a good guy underneath that stiff exterior, she figured- his clanmates trusted him enough to obey him, something she didn't exactly have in WindClan. Emberfang was a pain in her ass, and Kestreltalon disrespected her just because Sootstar chose her. The whole idea of being respected by her clanmates is foreign to her, in a way. She hadn't realized that cats like Dandelionpaw and Pollenfur looked at her with admiration, yet caution. She was on thin ice with the cats who cared, but she refused to grow closer to them. Getting close to others would lead to issues, issues like the one Moonshadow was now in- or her friends getting hurt because of her.

She blinks the thought away, focusing on the tom in front of her. Violet hues look behind him, before she gestures to the shadows she had been hiding beforehand. Once the two are hidden, she lets a heavy sigh leave her for once. "I can't go into detail. Things are tense in WindClan right now, and I'm in a tough spot right now. I- Stars.. Uhm. I got a friend of mine pregnant with my kits, and I'm terrified for their safety. I'm keeping myself away from them, the mother of the kits is keeping the sire of them a secret until they're old enough. But I'm absolutely.. Terrified, of what could become of them if their mother stepped on Sootstar's toes." She confesses with a nervous glance at the tom, revealing a more vulnerable side to the molly she didn't usually let show. "I've been thinking, lately.. The way we run things in WindClan, it's dangerous this way. And I'm complacent to it, because I'm a Lead Warrior. Having to follow along with everything, even if I don't think it's a good idea... If I make one move wrong, if I make my intentions true.. I am scared of what will become of myself." The end of the ramble is met with an audible groan, paws rising up to her face to rub swollen, sore pawpads against her face in exhaustion.

"I feel like I'm losing myself." She starts again, stopping herself mid-ramble before she jumped back to the right topic. "E-Enough about me. I called you here 'cause.. 'Cause I don't know what to do anymore. Sootstar, she.. She maimed a member of the clan recently for speaking bad to her. Right in front of everyone, and I- I don't know what to do. I can understand a punishment like extra hunting patrols or border patrols, but taking her eye as punishment? I hadn't realized that wasn't normal because of my own upbringing, but a clanmate talked to me recently and it helped me realize just how wrong that was. I- Keep your mouth shut about this. It affects everyone in WindClan, and if you tell someone I swear to the Stars above, Smokethroat- Maybe I'm stupid for trusting a RiverClanner, but I saw how you looked at your clanmates and I-I just.. It made me think about how we treat our own.."

;; please keep smokethroat from going to anyone in riverclan about this knowledge! it's a moment of vulnerability for her, so..

She must have been rightly paranoid to want to sit in the shadow of the tree, but he offered no protest and moved to take a seat. Settling his paws under him in preparation for whatever sort of chat she wanted, he was not prepared for how immediate it started with a fear scent and a rambling of accidental kittens and how dangerous it was in WindClan right now. This felt terribly blasphemous to be speaking, it felt traitorous and disloyal and he almost wanted to tell her she ought to reconsider her stance if she was going to go ranting clan secrets to another cat, but then she got to bloodshed. His orange gaze darted to the scar on her chest that all of the WindClan high positions had borne during the gathering before drifting back upward to both blue-violet eyes. He didn't know what to say.
Why come to him with this? He wondered, and she answered almost as quickly as the thought crossed his mind. How his clanmates viewed him…? Smokethroat frowned thoughtfully at that, but understood. While his seriousness and gruff mannerisms had been met with various responses, none had been cruel. None of them expected no more from him than what he was capable of giving. Once again he thought of Cicadastar speaking to him like he was a small flame on the verge of being put out while not infantilizing him, how Willowroot talked to him as an equal while still emphasizing her gift of interacting with others so naturally-like it was breathing. How cheerful, laughing Clayfur continually told him to lighten up but treated him no differently from any other clanmate.

To come to him, of all cats, with this. To open yourself for scrutiny from a known enemy.

Smokethroat wanted to feel annoyance at being burdened with her distressing life-it was not like it had anything to do with him or his clan, but he only felt a pang of sympathy. That Hyacinthbreath would so openly pour her soul out to a RiverClanner she must have had no one else to go to.
An entire clan of cats on the moorland, yet hopelessly alone.

He’d felt similar, at first, RiverClan was a foreign thing invading the peace of his solitude. He had joined out of a sense of wanting purpose and for the convenience of shelter and prey, threw himself into their fold to provide and be provided for. The dark tom did not expect to consider it his home so comfortably, to bask in the presence of his clanmates and enjoy their existence in his life. While he was not the sort to sit around and chat or show his affections, simply being there fulfilled him in a way he had never thought he could be and they had accepted him for what he was. A quiet cat who did his duties and could be depended on, but one who struggled still at times.

He tried to imagine a RiverClan where Cicadastar maimed a cat for standing against him for his decisions and could not. Though he did not think the leader frail and unable to do so if necessary, he also found his strength was more his kindness and understanding; that he would seek to reconcile things in a nonviolent manner. The dappled tom fought his battles less with claws and more with words, yet his claws were no less sharp for it. It was a thing to be admired and he admired it he did.
But if, for any reason, Cicadastar had done what Hyacinthbreath described her own leader doing; He knew what he would have done. He'd have responded with claws, dug them into the dappled tom’s throat to tear the vocal cords that had caused him such grief. He'd have ripped him wide open, dragged his obsidian blades over the ivory ridges of the bones in his neck; crushed them under the weight of his body so that StarClan would have nothing, his only act of kindness ending the tom swiftly, repeatedly so that the heavens themselves would weep and keep him in their claim. He would be screaming, demanding to know why, but giving no quarter, no mercy.

It was only when her voice grew ragged, insistent, did he finally snap from his thoughts to speak. “Relax. Relax….I wouldn’t even know how to go telling this to anyone anyways.” And he didn’t, how did you even start with that? It wasn’t something you could even vaguely imply to gauge opinions for either, it was the sort of thing that got cats killed. He’d not let blood coat his paws that he didn’t put there himself, WindClan or not.
“Secrets safe with me.” Smokethroat added for emphasis, just to ensure she understood him. He did not know the full situation, were other cats okay with this path being forged? Was it only her who dissented? Were there others?
"I'm not...I'm not exactly with...offering guidance. I'm not even sure if that's what you're after...or if its confirmation. I have no idea. But I can tell you in RiverClan we do not punish with claws. To lead with fear, I can't imagine that was what StarClan wanted when it first appeared."
He finally stood back up, tail lashing because he couldn't stay comfortable when his thoughts were racing so aggressively.
"We've both come from places where violence was always the answer, or so I imagine if you've struggled to understand otherwise, but I have learned that to rule cats in such a way leads only to've at least one cat who understands as you do now. You'll need to decide who your loyalty lies with. Sootstar or WindClan...because those are two distinct things."
Finally with a sigh he added on, almost uncertain, "...if you're truly so afraid for your kits...I make no promises...but worse case scenario...I can try to get them into RiverClan for the time being."
It wasn't the fault of the youth where they were born into.


Are you no better than the rabbits that live in our tunnels? Keep going like this, and you'll dirty your soul, Hyacinthbreath.

Pollenfur's voice rings into the back of her mind as Smokethroat speaks, and she finds comfort in his silence- despite her anxieties, she finds that she can trust this tom with this secret. She gives him a nod of thanks, tense body loosening up as he stands. She understands the need to keep moving when in thought, Pollenfur seemed to be the same way- and that brings a smile to her face. Listening to Smokethroat makes her realize that the two are quite similar, though she doesn't voice her opinion aloud. She'd rather keep that fact to herself, bask in the realization that she wasn't alone in this big, wide world. Not anymore.

"Guidance isn't what I seek. You've done well to help me already, I just.. Needed to know that this type of living situation wasn't normal for others outside of WindClan. Unlike Sootstar, I wasn't born from the two original colonies. I'm from a long ways from these lands. Customs here are still foreign to me." She meowed softly, the offer to take her kits in if she would ever need it making her smile for once. She shuts her eyes, chuckling to herself. How odd, to speak to a RiverClanner like this- to be offered such a thing that others would normally panic over. But Hyacinth doesn't, she merely murmurs her thanks and gives his shoulder a grateful touch with her nose.

"I know this was sudden. We barely know each other. But I'm grateful for you nonetheless, Smokethroat. I only hope.." Hyacinth lowers her voice in sorrow, giving a sad smile to the tom. ".. That I don't have to take your offer to heart. I'd rather die than let those kits get hurt. I thought I would have followed Sootstar to the end of the world, fight for her and only her. But now that these kits have come to be.. Even if I may not be apart of their lives, I will protect them from afar until the day comes that they shall know of the truth. That I am their sire." She meowed, a bit uncomfortable at the idea of being seen as a mother. She'd hated the idea of it, back when she was younger- being a mother, having a mate, it all seemed to useless to her.

She turns to the tom and gives him a smile, standing up to push him towards the edge of the forest so they could walk. "Walk with me. I'll take you with me through WindClan territory so you don't get harmed. Can you trust me to do that at least, big man?"

"Can't claim to be an expert on....what is expected of a clan, but I can hardly imagine StarClan stopping so much bloodshed just to allow us to continue it within our own territory." They rested on hollowed ground now, a place where cats were buried who died for one cause or another and would have continued piling up had the heavens themselves not demanded they cease. It was just like being back at the two-leg city, watching cats tear eachother apart for as paltry as a single scrap of food; they killed for less than what an apprentice would be scolded for here in the clans.
His orange gaze settles briefly off in the distance at the sudden laugh, he wondered if she thought he was joking; but he was dreadully serious. Those kits didn't chose to be born under Sootstar's rule, he didn't know the full details (only it was said to be an accident) but if he was in such a clan he'd have never had offspring for fear of what might become them. It made him wonder if he'd ever have kits himself back in RiverClan, as of right now it was a firm no. He had no interest and given he'd have to carry them he was appalled at the idea of laying around doing nothing for such a long period of time. His restlessness would not allow it, his desire to be productive would not allow it.

"If it'll spare me being turned into more tangled burr than cat then I'm all for the quick risk." Truly, the idea of dragging himself through bramble patches and thick bushes was almost agonizing. He didn't have especially long fur, but it was long enough to catch on anything that he rubbed against; the last thing he wanted was having to spend most his day picking nonsense out of his unkempt hide. Rising to a stand at the shove he moved to follow along behind the silver rabbit chaser.
"Mind yourself around our borders. I would rather not have to kill one of your clanmates if they cross, but I will without hesitation if the boundary is not respected." She did not need to know that Cicadastar was horrified by what he heard so aggressively he would not fault any of his warriors for meeting a WindClanner with open violence and hostility; so long as they kept their paws cleared there would be no issue and while right now he was calm and content to talk plainly; it was on the even ground of Fourtrees that no cat owned. On his own territory he would meet opposition with aggression, even Hyacinthbreath herself though he hoped it never come to such; he found her somewhat bothersome but there was a sense of duty he understood that rang of familiarity. If they were the same clan he imagined they might even be friends, a concept he was just now understanding with his own clanmates.