FOUGHT YOUR FIGHT — saying goodbye, vigil

Just after the meeting, like promised, the clan gets to work on the vigil for his brother. They use water soaked moss to clean the dried blood from his fur, they lace his pelt with flowers. Redstorm is grateful to them, it shows that maybe there was a chance that it hasn't just been he and his family who had given a damn about Haze.

Cats gather to say their goodbyes, and he feels eyes on him as he steps forward to say his own. He looks down at his brother, eyes focused on his face. The tom looked so peaceful in death, like he may just be asleep. But Redstorm knows better. His brother walks with their father in Star Clan now. "Haze" he says weakly, the name getting stuck in his throat. "Haze what can I say to you that you don't already know" he sighs sadly "you were my brother, even if we weren't related by blood that didn't ever matter to me. You were my brother" he repeats. "I love you and I hope you don't forget about us non star cats down here on the ground while you get to sleep all day" a half-hearted attempt at a joke for hes certain it's what his brother would do if he didn't need to eat or if he hadn't been forced to contribute. "Until we meet again" he murmurs and leans down to give the silver furred tom one final lick between the ears, just like Haze used to do for him, when they had been younger. Then he steps back so that others may say their condolences, his claws digging into the earth.

He hopes that Blazestar would be a cat of his word.

He wants Sootstar to pay.

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Batshriek is no stranger to the inevitable tragedy that is death. It is a fact of life, just the final step of the routine that is life. Just like the turning of the day, she thinks. The lives of cats rise and set in the same way that the sun does. For life to be taken in such a way—it doesn’t sit well with her. She would not be at this vigil if the warrior had not died in battle, though. Perhaps that’s a part of it, the icy shard that sits lodged somewhere in her chest. Had Haze fallen victim to some sort of disease, she would be nowhere in the vicinity.

As it is, she feels as though the air is tense. Batshriek isn’t sure whether she should reach out to the family, whether she should offer an apology, her condolences. Perhaps Redstorm would prefer to be unbothered right now, rather than be regarded with pity. So she steps forth, dips her head respectfully to the fallen warrior—no. It’s Haze, his name was Haze, and even if she hadn’t known him, he is deserving of her respect. "Rest well," she says, a simple farewell. Unfamiliar and unsure, but she’s trying. Then the black and white she-cat slinks back to the fringes of the gathered cats, hovering a few tail-lengths away from everyone else.
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Theres a quiet sigh, and then a quiet chuckle that follows it as Churro stands there, unblinking eyes set not on Haze but on Red. She seems to be sighing more than usual, its amusing, though... The reason she was, it was not amusing. Shes not a stranger to stressful situations, but shes never had to deal with a slaughter. She knew cats would die, everybody dies eventually but no one should be murdered. No one. And she stands by it, stands by Red, stands by Squall, and yet she finds herself becoming bitter with the star folks Blaze has spoken about. How many times do cats have to die, how many times do children become orphans, quads of siblings turned in to trios? She bites her lip hard enough to draw blood.

Who would be ripped away next? She finds her vision catching Red in her peripheral once more. Hopefully not him.

"Haze will forever be missed," she begins slowly, taking a deep breath in. "He was a good cat." she releases the breath with furrowed brows. "Descansa en paz." she gives him the best send off she can and she dips her head, eyes flicking to Batshriek before nodding at her.

A day of mourning. Oh, how she wished it wasn't like this. She knows not much about Haze, but she'd do anything to see Red's smile again, Squall by his brothers side. Surely, with how these star cats worked, if Blazestar has nine lives- then they could grant more... right? She begins to think. Would they resurrect Haze? She'll go to Dawnglare later and beg him.

No. Yes? Maybe. She'll stay here by Red's side through this thing.
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His brother lays before him yet again, now cleaned of spilled blood, and adorned with flowers.

Meanwhile, Squallmist is adorned with a new name, one to honor his fallen brother. One that might have been different, if Haze had returned beside him, rather than carried on his back. A new name, in which Haze might have carried too.

But he doesn't, and he won't ever. Instead of growing into their new names together, Squallmist must carry one for the both of them. Squallmist must sit vigil for his flower-furred brother, petals strewn in silver fur not to look pretty, but to mask the scent of his murder. Of death and blood and moorland.

He and Redstorm, they aren't alone in their grieving. Those who call SkyClan home join suit in the vigil, and Squallmist can't help but feel a sense of belonging that had gone missing in the wake of his father's death - in the rise of Blazestar and his reign - for his family. Others still cared for Haze, for them. It was just a shame such wasn't proven true in the eyes of both Squallmist and Haze, until one lay dead before them.

He finds his space beside Redstorm to speak with his brother. Squallmist isn't good with this 'saying goodbye' thing, he's learned as of recent. So many words were there to be said, only to get caught in his throat, to be pushed aside to be spoken to the stars instead. If Rain was up there to speak to, Haze would be too. Whether they would listen is still up for debate.

But he speaks anyway.

"Haze, I..." he starts, head bowed. He's overly aware of those around him, listening to words he'd prefer to speak on his own. "I'm sorry." It's the only words he can seem to find, over and over again. I'm sorry, I'm sorry, I'm sorry. Those around him could try to convince him it wasn't, but he found his mistakes in everything, in every detail that occurred within the past couple moons.

"Don't... Don't let the stars get to your head up there, okay?" A half-hearted tease, one last time. "Thank... Thank you for being my brother. May we meet again someday." Tears sting stormy eyes as he steps back, head dipped down as sorrow fills him once more.

Sootstar will pay for this. Squallmist will make sure of it.
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Dawnglare has prepared the body. The silver tabby had been cleaned of blood, adorned with herbs and flowers, and placed ceremoniously in the middle of camp, ready for burial.

Blazestar watches from a distance as Redstorm is the first to sit beside his brother. He speaks, low, eyes burning. Batshriek joins, offering a simple farewell. Churrodream goes to sit beside Redstorm, offering comfort. Squallmist is next, Haze's living twin, glass-green eyes dark with his misery.

"May we meet again someday."

Blazestar closes his eyes against the surge of despair that sweeps through him. Rain, is this my fault? Haze and Squallmist left after I chose Daisyflight as my deputy. I don't regret that choice, but could I have stopped this?

He remembers the flash of anger in the tabby's yellow eyes after Blazestar had brought the newly-named SkyClan back to camp. The bitter words that had lanced the flame point like brambles.

Rightfully, he thinks, Haze and Squallmist and Redstorm had all had poor opinions of him. They did not know their father had come to him last in the spirit world and given him his name. Blazestar.

He walks to where Haze lies now. His tone is low and distant, eyes trained elsewhere. "You never deserved this. You didn't deserve to lose your father over a struggle for your home. You didn't deserve the hurt that came with it, him being replaced by... me." He hangs his head. "I hope you're with Rain now. I know you are. And I hope you can see that I'll do right by you. I..."

He knows the others are listening. "I swear it, by StarClan."

Blazestar backs away, shaking his head. "Rest easy, Haze."

He will not hold vigil for the tabby who had despised him. He will leave that to his littermates and those who'd been close to him. No, he will go to his den and continue to wrack his brain for a solution to the mess he's inadvertently created.