Jun 8, 2022
( ✧ ) Things were changing.

He didn't know how to feel, how to think. He only knew to maintain his distance, keep a careful ear pricked towards the wretched. He listened as names were given, as titles were bestowed, as the murderer among them feigned apology, only to oppose the very leader she swore loyalty to the very first chance she had. There were no boundaries set for her, no walls, she stepped on the toes of those she should be apologizing to. Her words carried far less weight than she realized.

Star's patience was bulled thin. No matter the circumstances, he bristled around the forms of his clanmates. There were eyes everywhere - faces he couldn't see - Judgement could be cast his way, or rather a malicious glance, and he'd be none the wiser. He lingers near camps entrance, meticulously still, aside from the beating of his heart. His tail curls behind him, apprehensive. He'd go mad without fresh air, trapped amongst this group of fools and murderers, unable to leave due to his ailment.

He relied in these sorry few. Perhaps that was the worst part of it all.

Breath comes out in short bursts, far from a steady rise and fall. His chest heaves with effort. "...I need to get out," he mutters, eyelids heavy. It's said to no one in particular, but the message is there. He couldn't trust himself in the forest all alone.

[ @meadowflame ]
ThunderClan seems to have drawn the critically wounded, though; Graystorm with his half-vision, Blinding Star with none at all. Meadowflame herself had escaped without much injury at all; her pelt remains pristine, nick-free. She had kept to the sidelines whenever possible, had offered to help in other ways when she could.

She thanks StarClan now that she had made that decision. After all, she could have ended up like Blinding Star.

What a pity of a tomcat. He'd been so handsome, carried himself so highly. Now he slouched in camp, confidence banished to the shadows as his now-sightless yellow eyes glare and sizzle at any who walk past.

He mutters to her now - or is it to her, or just to anyone - that he needs to get out of camp. The cream-colored tabby pauses and gives him a pitying look. Should she pretend she hadn't heard, keep walking? She isn't interested in taking this jerk into the forest so he can stumble and bump into things and fall into bramble patches.

She sighs quietly. No, other cats are watching. She's hesitated too long. With wasted facial movement, Meadowflame smiles in the white tom's direction and says, "Sure. Let's go. I could use some fresh air, anyway." It's a lie, of course. She doesn't want to be alone with him anywhere, but she can't very well tell the blind cat no where everyone can see, can she? "Let's go." She uses the tip of her fluffy tail to guide his flank.

He isn't sure who answers. The voice doesn't exactly ring familiar— maybe distantly, something dull ringing in the back of his mind. She's hesitant, the answer comes after some aching moments of silence., long enough for embarrassment to settle into his skin. Shame and relief bundle together into one, hit him square in the chest with her answer. She sounds friendly, at least. It's not like he could be picky. "...Thanks."

The touch to his flank does little to quell his onsetting shame. There was something different about this, requesting company rather than tagging along, unwelcome or otherwise. There was a special sort of feeling that came with requesting company from someone you didn't know. Stars, he wouldn't be doing this again.

The bustlings of camp receive steadily behind them, quieting into dull murmur before It disappears entirely. The silence between them is poignant. He grits his teeth. "I hate to drag you out here like this," he mutters. Torn ears flicker at the sounds of the wilderness; chirping bird, chittering things, anything that could make a fool of him later. "I couldn't be breathing the same air of a murderer for much longer. Hope you understand," In a fit of frustration, caution is thrown to the wind. Howling Wind was smarter than him in that way, she kept her voice low, her thoughts to herself. He couldn't give enough of a damn to be subtle anymore.
╭── ⋅ ⋅ ── ✩ ── ⋅ ⋅ ──╮

She's caused him some sort of burning shame, she can see, by the expression that darkens his handsome face. Blinding Star does not seem grateful for her company. It's a waste of her time, then, isn't it? What good is it to be stuck with him if even he doesn't appreciate it? She frowns, bitter, and she's glad he's blind at that moment. She supposes at the very least, she doesn't have to worry about maintaining a smile or anything of the sort.

Meadowflame leads, just a mouse length ahead so that Blinding Star can tread in her wake. She is careful to avoid stubborn tree roots and brambles, knowing all too well whose responsibility it would be to help the white tom if he were to be hurt.

"I hate to drag you out here like this." Meadowflame twitches an ear. Can he feel how much she doesn't care to be out here with him? He must be able to, though she isn't sure how. "It's fine," she says airily. "I needed to get away."

A sentiment she wouldn't normally share, and she's surprised at herself for uttering it. To her surprise, though, Blinding Star agrees. "I couldn't be breathing the same air of a murderer for much longer. Hope you understand."

"Ah... you saw that, huh?" She clenches her jaw immediately, realizing her faux pas moments too late. "I mean... you were there, when it happened," she stutters. Mentally, she claws her own pelt -- what's wrong with her today? She's realizing she doesn't know how to act around Blinding Star, and she isn't sure why, except that he's blind and brutally honest with his feelings.

Meadowflame supposes that makes him different enough from her usual company to cause her social skills to wither like fruit on a vine in leaf-bare.

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It's fine, she insists, and he tries to believe her. He does, he tries— I needed to get away. His ears prick at her words. Something they had in common, maybe. How suffocating it was in Thunderclan. Maybe he could relax, if only a little. The ground remains clear at paws, he's yet to stumble, (in his worst nightmare, he he trips over a gnarled root and tumbles straight into a badger's den, making the other drop the conversation entirely to run for a rescue patrol).

No, he's...fine. It's easier not to worry like this, just saying what comes to mind. His ear flickers at her momentary stutter, but otherwise, he doesn't react. It's fine. It's fine. He waves his tail in the affirmative, drawls out an agreeable "Mhmm, life ripped Ember's life away just like that, and for what? Her undying love of toads?" he theorizes with a snort. Or maybe it was a frog? He doesn't know, he didn't see the damn thing.

She's careful with her words, he realizes, and for a moment, he stumbles, the rhythm of his gait offset by a root or a rock or something. He recovers, fine, it's fine. His train of thought stalls when it comes to something to say, how to gauge her reaction. He purses his lips. "And I guess Howling Wind's meant to be her bodyguard now, or something," His impression of her was mixed. A former marsher, but she at least had some sense (even if those two ideas contradicted each other in his mind). "Think it'll help at all?" he questions, testing the waters, maybe.
╭── ⋅ ⋅ ── ✩ ── ⋅ ⋅ ──╮

He stumbles, and Meadowflame only watches passively. Luckily, Blinding Star rights himself quickly, does not stop to acknowledge the clumsy maneuver. She allows herself to relax, if only for a moment -- despite his disability, he's proven himself more capable than many of the less visually impaired ThunderClan warriors she is often exasperated by. She supposes she should cut him some slack.

"Mhmm, ripped Ember's life away just like that, and for what? Her undying love of toads?" Meadowflame can't help but giggle. "I almost wish I'd seen it," she confesses, a faraway glint in her green eyes. "Emberstar coming back to life just to let that heathen stay..."

She shakes her head, whiskers trembling. What a pity that their leader seems so afraid of enacting punishments. Blinding Star is quiet, then asks if Meadowflame thinks Howling Wind bodyguarding Emberstar will do any good.

The cream tabby says nothing for a few heartbeats. Howling Wind. She has nothing personal against the deputy, but she wonders if she's any more capable than their foolish flame point leader. "I think the only thing that'll help at this point is for Cinderfrost to be driven out. But I guess that won't happen." Her eyes glow, thoughtful. "Unless some cat takes it upon themselves to do it against Emberstar's wishes... wouldn't that be something!"

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