Sep 2, 2022
( ) he's a big man. he knows this because he's told himself it all his life. he's a big man, who is strong and really can take care of himself if he needs to. it's just that sometimes he likes having a family. still, he knows how to survive. yes. he does. he's a big man. tiger is his name, and he is christened after the great warriors who haunted his homeland. the great cat gods of old have blessed his family, and he knows he's bound to continue their legacy. after all, how can someone named tiger not be destined for great things. so there are two things he knows - he is going to have a great life, and he is perfectly content with the fact that maybe he's a little lost.

sure, if his siblings saw where he was, they would say a little lost? little tig, you're completely disoriented! and then they'd pick him up or offer a badger ride up the mountain (his siblings are the best at badger rides), and they'd let him talk their ears off until they got home and cuddled in the den. tiger tries not to think about that. he tries not to think about the last time he saw his siblings. he'll see them soon, he's sure of it. and he's a big man. how hard can it be to live on your own? so, the cream kitten stumbles through the undergrowth of this place he's sure he'll recognize any moment now, poking his head into little mouse holes and trying not to be discouraged. everything is going to be fine. he knows this, because it has never not been fine. sure he was chased from his home. sure he's without his siblings. sure his paws hurt like hell and his stomach is caving in, but he's going to be fine because he's tiger and he's a big man and he knows what to do. he knows how to live.

the only reason he's decided to brave these woods is because of the rumors of big groups of cats living here. he's almost certain they'll have news about his siblings, so he's trekked into the heart of the forest with confidence slowly waning. sun warmed eyes are wide and his fur is on end as he creeps through the trees, finding the path has disappeared from in front of him. there are weird smells all around and he suddenly feels quite small among these towering oaks. the mountain never had trees like this. kitten soft tufts of fur clump on the brambles he fights to get through. his chest hurts, his paws sting, and his eyes are drooping and prickly. he wants the mountain, he wants his siblings, he wants the great cat gods and everything he doesn't have. he wants to go home.

tiger, the big man that he is, starts to cry.


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Thrashing of wings and a loud warning call sends a flock of birds into the sky. The mismatched feline rises from a crouch with a frown.

Now, Whisker- no, Whiskercloud. Cloud, cloud, cloud. That's their name now! (They don't see why they'd needed to change it. It'd been hard enough to remember the names of others before another name got tacked on to the end! It's too much to memorize- too much, too much, too much. Too many words, too many syllables, too many changes. Why couldn't things stay the same?)

Now, Whiskercloud is not one who is easily frustrated. Some would, perhaps, even describe them as too patient. Long-suffering even when faced with the difficulty of others, all to ensure that they do not ruffle any feathers. (Or, er, rub anyone's fur the wrong way? Cats don't have feathers.) But they'd been so close to catching that bird, if it hadn't been for-

The cries of another?


Whiskercloud is immediately overtaken by guilt, the frustration dissipating as quickly as it had come. Biting the inside of their cheek, the monochrome warrior hurries towards the noise. With each step, their anxiety rises. Who is crying? Why are they crying? Are they hurt-?

There, in the brambles ahead, movement snatches Whiskercloud's attention away from their panicked thoughts. Tapered ears flatten, and a tufted tail curls itself around a hind paw. "Uhh," is their brilliant response at the crying child in front of them. They quickly realize the ridiculous nature of it, and they shake their head, cheeks burning. "Hey, hey, it's, uh, it's okay... What're you doing out here alone?" At least, Whiskercloud thinks the kid is alone. They taste the air, uncertain, but they don't detect any other cat scents aside from ThunderClan and the kitten's. "My name is, uh, Whisker." Wait... "No, Whiskercloud. Yeah... I can, I can help. If you want."

It was supposed to be just another training session with her apprentice. Hunting practice, as he so desperately needs. And when Howling Wind catches the scent of an unfamiliar cat, she thinks the stars must be playing tricks on her. Another trespasser? Were their borders not working? Emberstar hasn't exactly been the greatest at organizing such tasks as the she-cat continues to overwork herself, but the scent lines should still be there! "Come on, Sloepaw," She says suddenly, turning in the direction of the smell with annoyance causing her pelt to prickle. When she sees whoever it is, she's going to give them a piece of her mind (and maybe claws)...

She emerges from a clump of ferns to find something unexpected. Harsh gaze softens, her twitching claws relax within their sheaths. It's a kit. The tabby casts a concerned glance towards Sloepaw before looking back towards the strange kit just as Whiskercloud emerges from the opposite direction. She pricks her ears, making eye contact with them as they fumble over their words to greet the child. She steps in to help. "Do you know where your mother or father is?" She mews gently, ears flicking forward. Any kit is enough to make the mother crumple, and so her voice is honey-sweet and maternal as she coos, "I'm Howling Wind and this is Sloepaw. What's your name?"

He was not often on patrols. He maneuvered fine on three legs for the most part, but he struggled with combat due to his struggle with balancing as well as a horrifyingly crippling anxiety that made him freeze in the face of danger. Sunfreckle's productivity was often in the camp, cleaning and organizing; watching kittens for their harried mothers, offering a friendly face and company and fetching prey to elders and Cinderfrost and her patients. That he was out now was only because he was with others, idly watching the deputy train her apprentice from the sidelines and lazily lounging on the ground though his ears remained alert. He heard the sound long before Howlingwind had begun to move, but he waited to follow behind her on short hobbling steps to see the source of the sound.
Whiskercloud is already there and he has to lean to the side to peer around the gathered cats to find the crying child that had drew them all here.
To say his heart crumbles to pieces at the tiny scrap of fur sobbing bitterly in the dirt was an understatement. Sunfreckle wants to cry as well, his slow unsteady movements carrying him forward to flick that large bushy tail out in a comforting loop about the kitten, mimicking the deputy's own soothing tone, "Look at those powerful paws, I'm sure they must hurt-you must have came a long way."
The questions had been asked already, so he focuses instead of idle comfort until the kitten can compose himself enough to reply.