i will never lose my voice - nine lives

Ember did not remember waking up. The first thing she was conscious of was realizing she was walking. It felt as though her paws had a mind of their own as they pulled her through the night. She had no clue where she was or where she was going. The misty haze of sleep still clouded her mind. Her first thought was to stop so she could get her bearings, and yet something compelled her not to. There was a reason for her travel, though she could not recall it. It was important somehow. A glance above gave her that reason.

Stars. Bright and warm and filling the night sky. It was the most beautiful night she had ever seen. Those stars, they called to her. The spots of light in which her fallen friends now resided needed something from her. She could not deny their request, not now not ever. So she kept going. Followed her paws further into the night.

Moments blurred together as she kept walking. Though she knew she was going a great distance, the distance did not weigh on her paws. Nor did the time it took. It was a strange sort of waking dream that entrapped her. She barely noticed as trees turned to marshes turned to rocks. Until finally, she was there.

A small break in the stone, opening up into the gaping mouth of a cave. Within, the darkness of night, swallowed whole, with the same spots of light she had seen up above. This was where her friends in the sky had wished her to go. So she did. Her paws did not even pause a moment before pulling her into the crevice. Were she a larger cat, it might have been quite the squeeze. The darkness fell in at her sides, wrapped around her like an embrace. With every step that distant starlight grows closer. It glimmers faintly ahead of her, guiding her every step. Any moment now, she will reach it. She's certain of that, so certain.

Then it's more than just a glimmer, its a full, brilliant light that she had to blink into as her eyes adjusted. She does pause then. If only to take in the beauty before her. The small cave widened into a larger space, one open to the night sky above. In it's center, the shimmering crystal she had seen so faintly from the entrance, reflecting the light of the moon and stars in its surface. It was the most astounding, wonderful sight she had ever seen.

Lying next to it, however, was a sight that gave her pause for an entirely different reason.

The grey molly she had fought during the battle lay next to the crystal, seemingly asleep. A twinge of worry touched her mind. She ignored it. Over the past days innumerable enemies had become friends, and this was no different. If the stars told her this was safe, she would have faith.

Wordlessly, she stepped forth, approached the starry stone before her. Lying herself down next to the sleeping form of her former foe, she touched her nose to the crystal's surface. Slowly, she let her eyes drift closed. Then she waited a moment, and another, and another. Nothing felt different. Despite her faith in the stars, she couldn't help an impatient twitch of her whiskers. She was bored.

Surely they wouldn't mind if she just took a lil peak at the crystal?

One eye began to creep open, only for both to fly wide as she realized the cave was gone. Instead she found herself in a wide and starry expanse, with the same glimmering figures she had seen in the battle's wake all around her.
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Char's last moments had been filled with desperation, mind so focused on surviving the fatal blow from the black and white molly who'd slain him than anything else. Now that he's among the stars, he's had time to ponder his life, his mistakes, his weaknesses.

He has all the time in the world. But he's at peace, and he looks upon Rain's group, scattered to the wind in the forest below, and finds comfort in knowing one day they will, too.

The flame point who awakens in the clearing blinks surprised gray-blue eyes at the flock of gleaming cats before her. Char gives the others an impatient look before breaking the mold. Youth has been restored to the grizzled, scarred tabby--his muscles no longer burn, bones no longer ache. There's a glint of wisdom in his green eyes that had not been present before.

"Ember." His tone is gruff. "Welcome to StarClan. Are you ready to receive your nine lives?"

He thinks this must come as a shock to the five leaders--receiving nine lives at the whim of the gods. But he knows that for what lies in the future, they will need all nine and then some.

The tabby steps closer to Ember and brushes his nose against hers. "With this life, I give you self-preservation. You are brave, but be careful you are not reckless. Endangering yourself is one thing, but endangering the Clan you are responsible for is another." As they make contact, a pulse of energy pours from him to Ember. It's cold, powerful, would cause her fur and flesh to feel buried beneath a weight of snow. Once it passes, Char gives her a respectful nod.

"Don't waste that life, Ember." He gives her one last look before disappearing into the crowd of silver cats who look onward.


Black and white and blue twinkle with stars. Beneath these skies had been where Haku had fallen, smothered underwater by a marsh cat he has not seen up here since. Had he refused the walk to this afterlife, or had they simply not run the same hunting grounds yet?

No matter. There are more pressing matters, now; among those who had supported him and taken him in, it is his duty to give life to someone he had known when breath still moved his ribcage- Ember. Despite her valiant efforts to teach him to fight as war had darkened the sky over their home, he had failed to fulfil her lesson. In the battle his mind had reached for technique but had instead been pushed beneath the waves, any strategy snuffed. But with many cats looking up to her now, he hopes she will not give up on teaching. Daisy Flight had said, then- you're a good teacher. And she would be for moons to come, for the cats who looked up to her as ThunderClan's leader.

As Char speaks his piece, Haku dips his head in agreement. All the explanation they can give has been given, and now the whispers call for him to step up and meet her. Fleet, his paws barely touch the earth as he makes his way over- and when he finally reaches her, he pauses.

"With this life, I give you protection. ThunderClan will look to you as their general, and that is when you must use this life to protect them- whether it's with knowledge, or pure brute strength." Imbued within Ember as they touch noses is a surge of great adrenaline, and a twinge of pain; Haku knows, for he feels it too. A sigh lightens his load as he draws back, offering the leader a weary smile. "Fall for them, if you must, but only if you must." His parting words echo his final regret- the glory of martyrdom and the whispers of redemption never feel as good as you wish they would.

Though their interactions with one another had been brief in the time Leaping Toad was alive, the small tom is next in line to give Ember a life.

"Ember," he greets the flame-point, the to-be ThunderClan leader. Would she remember him? Leaping Toad isn't too sure. But, he remembers those final moments before his death well enough to know she was there too, that he'd made the move to help Salamander in her fight against the new leader, that Ribbit followed, before ultimately straying away. That if it weren't for him following his brother away from the scene, that it would be Ribbit standing here instead.

"With this life, I give you empathy," he begins, "To understand what those around you may be feeling. My brother was good at that. Though, it's something I had yet to learn." His star-frosted gaze lowers for a moment, but he continues on.

"As leader, you must have to understand what those around you may be feeling too. Especially now, with how much everything is changing." So many had been lost within the bloodshed. Leaping Toad hadn't been aware of just how many until he'd arrived in StarClan's territory. And, many of those that had lost their loved ones would be losing their home as well as they move into new territories, as two become five. Hurt and grief were inevitable as the clans settled into their new lives.

He reaches up to touch noses with the ThunderClan leader, a rush of energy similar to the one he'd already felt before as he gave Briarstar a life, now sent to Ember. When the passing of the life slows to its end, Leaping Toad takes a step back to look up at the leader.

"Be kind to those that still hurt from the battle." Leaping Toad urges, before he steps away from Ember, allowing for the ceremony to continue on.
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