Jun 7, 2022

Basilpaw. His name was Basilpaw now. He remembers as the leader of the patrol calls it out to him, instructing him to keep up. He squints at the tom, trying to see him past the harsh sunlight, which he has since learned hurts to look at. It’s not fair that so much is expected of him. They want him to learn to hunt, and to fight, and to climb trees. Why couldn’t he learn how to sleep instead? The kit trudges along, not daring to look up because what if the sun is out there? What if it’s just waiting for him to look up to say HA! Got you! Now your eyes hurt you moron! Granted, this earns him a face full of bark a couple of times, as he’s not paying attention to what’s in front of him at all.

He continues this way for quite some time, unaware that around him the forest is changing, getting different and unfamiliar. The pines give way to oaks and there’s a faint sound in the distance, like a waterfall, though Basilpaw doesn’t know what a waterfall is yet.

When he finally looks up, he has no clue where he is, or what direction he has coke from. All he knows is he is lost.

Okay. He tells himself. Okay don’t panic. Mama told you if you get lost just stay put and someone will find you. Only that logic couldn’t work could it? What if nobody found him and he was lost for good? What if he went away like Marigold did? He shivers and try’s to swallow his tears. No, he was going to take destiny into his own paws! He was going to find his way back and prove to Harpyfall that he was smart! And capable! He lifts a paw and wipes the tears from his eyes before continuing on.

It’s some time before he stumbles upon another thing he hasn’t seen before. The sun is setting low in the sky, though he doesn’t look at it, he’s learned his lesson all right! He puts his paw out tentatively, touching the hard black surface before him with a cautious foot. When his fur doesn’t melt and the path doesn’t bite him he assumes it is safe to tread on.

Well this was turning into quite the predicament. He was hungry, he was lost and he was scared. It was going to be nighttime soon and all he could think about was how badly he wanted to curl back up in his nest. He lets out a whimper and then a barely suppressed sob and then he is crying. Bawling. He curls up on the black path, still warmed by the hot day time sun and sobs into his paws.

Not long into his crying there is a noise that makes him look abruptly up. A roaring like the one he had heard before. The ground trembles beneath him and then he sees it.

It’s perhaps the scariest thing he has ever seen in his life. Big hulking body on black paws that beat at the ground and eyes that are shining in the fleeting daytime. It’s blinding, just like the sun, but he cannot look away he is so gripped by fear. His body locks up and his feet refuse to move.

He braces for impact.

The sun slides lower in the sky, and soon enough it will be dark. The cats on her hunting patrol meet back up beneath the Great Sycamore, several with catches in their maws. Howling Wind smiles, impressed by the haul they'll have brought back. "Great work, everyone. Go on back to camp and relax - you've earned it. I'll return too, I left a squirrel buried just a little ways from here." With a flick of her tail, the deputy disbands them, sending them home and she turns. She picks her way through the foliage, paws finding paths that are already been trodden down by the hard-working paws of ThunderClan warriors. This forest was certainly becoming a home. A content sigh leaves her as she continues on, relishing the calm of the evening.

She pushes her way through a clump of ferns to find where she had covered her catch with earth, just near the thunderpath. Gingerly, she uncovers it with a forepaw and leans down to fasten her teeth into his pelt. She is straightening herself and turning back to the forest when the blinding lights of an oncoming monster appear. Normally, she'd be quick to turn and disappear into the forest, not wanting any sort of run-in with one of those. But...something...a feeling, makes her glance.

The lights shine upon a kit, cowering and frozen in the center of the black path. The squirrel falls from her jaws as green eyes stretch wide. "Stars!" She yowls in alarm before she's bolting, ignoring every fiber in her body that tells her to stop and run. She'd have her kits' ears for doing anything like this! But no matter how hard her instincts fight for her survival, it's simply against her being to let a child be harmed. White paws hit the thunderpath hard as she sprints across, jaws parting before she snaps up the child's scruff and pulls. He's young, hardly older than her grandchildren. Her muscles tense as she drags him swiftly to the side, back to safety, just in time for the monster to barrel past them. Their pelts and whiskers billow in the gust of air created.

Howling Wind releases her hold on the tom-kit and stares down at him, bewildered. "StarClan, what were you doing out there? You could've been killed!" Her voice is breathless, her eyes wide with the adrenaline coursing through her. "Didn't anyone teach you how dangerous thunderpaths are?" Where are his parents?

This is it, this is the end. He is convinced that the monster is on a direct crash course and he squeezes his eyes shut, just before the impact though their is a sharp pain in his scruff. He is whisked backwards by some invisible force. He lets out a choked out squeak in fear and shock, not understanding what was happening as he is whisked away to safety. He watches the monster roar past, expecting to see his limp body left in its wake, expecting to be one of those star cats. But the spot where he had been is empty and he is not dead.

The force that whisked him away puts him down and he sees that it is in fact not a star cat but just a regular cat. He cowers in fear as the she cat scolds him ‘didn’t anyone teach you to stay away from thunder paths’ the tom starts tearing up all over again, eyes watery and fresh tears replacing the dried up ones on his cheeks. “I-I-I got lost” the young cat stammers “I don’t know what a thunder path is” and it was true, he had never seen one before and no one had ever told him. He buries his head between his paws again, afraid of this strange she cat, afraid of the thunder path which still lays a few mouse lengths away. “I just-I just want to go home” he wails miserably. He wants his nest. He wants his mom.
She's staring down at him, breaths slowly beginning to steady before he starts crying. All strength withers away from the seasoned mother at the slightest sound of a child's wail. She buckles, lowering herself to her stomach as her entire demeanor changes in an instant, ears falling back and her voice cooing, "It's alright. It's going to be okay. My name is Howling Wind, what's your name?" She shuffles closer and finally catches a scent underneath the tangy tar of the thunderpath. Pine. "Are you from SkyClan?" She murmurs with a gentle tone, tilting her head to the side. "You've come a long way. This is ThunderClan's forest. And you see that over there?" She gestures to the dark, gloomy pines on the other side of the black expanse. "That's ShadowClan's territory."