out in an endless dark | helpless

i've been patient and steadfast and steady

/small trigger warning for mentions of blood + death

A whispering fog clouded his vision, though these shaded mornings Rocky found it difficult to separate the real mists from those that smoked his mind. Almost a moon had passed, and her scent had faded along with it. Mourning felt foreign- he would not acknowledge it. Instead, the ashen tom lingered at the edges of camp, watching his clanmates pass by as always. The normalcy he craved was lost, cracked beneath the weight of that one night. So quickly life had fallen to ruin. Half of their clutch of cats in the marsh had left too, even his beloved sister Foxy. She always knew what to say, what he needed to be said. Dully he had been informed of the star-flecked cats and their message but he hadn't had the energy to truly listen. He hadn't even given it enough thought to decide if it was believable. It only meant more hollow nests.

Rocky hated thinking about things, he liked doing them. Nights slipped by slim and thoughtless; days a weary blaze of washed-out sunlight that ran into each eagerly. And during none of them was he doing. But what was there to do? Tidy a nursery that no longer held his Mama, wander outside to be greeted with her grave? Grass shoots now grew atop the mound, the soil still so freshly tilled in his memories. The narrow green spears stung him.

He shivered, splitting the thin coat of tepid air that had gathered around his stone-still pelt. Drawing in air thick with the scent of moss and moisture, the tom stood on unsteady limbs. Rocky made eye contact with the prey pile, aware that it had been almost two nights since he properly ate. Not even a sigh left him as dusty paws drifted forward. It was only when a snag met his skin that he came to a disoriented halt and his slate stare turned to his side. A thick, grasping bramble wound around his back leg. Barbs plucked at flesh, pricks of mulberry seeping into his dishevelled pelt. Silver tufts were left across the wall he had brushed against, a sure sign of his clumsy pathing.

"Sorry." The hushed mumble was muffled against his chest, snout dipped in shame. Rocky's round eyes haplessly searched for a helping paw. He couldn't muster the courage to do it himself.

/sorry rip he's in his emo phase. tagging @BONEJAW to give him a bump in the right direction but no need to wait!

The hushed tones of a sorry caught her attention through the throws of her own mind. The many things that have been going on from losing clanmates to the splitting of the colonies into five different clans. It's all been a rush and now there is more on top of it with her daily dreams that do not let her rest. Her eyes narrow slightly as she sets her gaze upon the child that has been living in a listless world. One in which he seems not to be able to pull himself out of and she can think of a few reasons as to why. His mother for one, Dew, the very molly she has never had any like for, whom she distrusted till the very end. When the kits came back to tell of how Dew died and needed to be brought back to camp she did not know what to think. The battle had just ended and things were rough for every cat and she too was a mess of many different emotions but she still helped them. Because they were children, because she knew what it was like to lose someone she cared about. Yet, her own story is very different from theirs. She didn't have the time, the luxury, to mope and become a haze to the world. Her and her sister had to survive on their own and survive they did until they found Hare Whiskers.

So her own gaze bore into the child's and she allows herself to suddenly snort. She makes no move to help him even if she is close to him and instead she folds her paws over one another where she lays. "Don't be sorry about it. Get yourself out. The brambles aren't that hard to remove." She levels her gaze then on Rocky before she turns her eyes away from him and lays her head down on her alabaster legs. "Do something that requires effort and attention instead of languishing all day and staring into space. Life is hard but I'm sure that Dew didn't die just to watch her kits make a mockery of the life she sacrificed."

i've been patient and steadfast and steady

'Dew didn't die just to watch her kits make a mockery of the life she sacrificed.' A shallow, strangled gasp grappled his windpipe and he was choked by the truth of of Bone's words. Mama had left to save them, and here he was withering away. Here he was, letting his siblings pass him by. Rocky closed his eyes, as if to shut out the shame. His actions had made him sick and weak, letting sadness infect him. Unable to save her and his response is to give up? Disappointment lathered him like sleet, cold.

Taking a moment to steel himself, the young tom braced his back leg. It didn't work the first time- almost granting him a mouthful of mud- but the second wrench freed it from the brambles. A fierce slash from a stubborn thorn made him briefly wince. Not wanting to dwell on it for even a moment longer however, Rocky turned is owly-eyed attention back to the molly before him. Her white riboned back was almost luminous in the gloom. "Effort- attention? That'll help get rid of the sickness?" He was desperate to be told of a way out.
Loss still coated the ShadowClan camp like fog. Twilight herself is suppressing, knowing that the longer she lets herself rot, the closer she will be to being an outcast. And this community, this Clan, is all she has left -- if she is exiled for not contributing, she will die. It's a certainty.

Tired green eyes find little Rocky, one of the late Dewdrop's kits. Her heart squeezes like a fruit between jaws as she watches the despondent blue tomkit wrench himself free from brambles. Bone looks at him pitilessly, her words cruel.

The queen sets her jaw. Getting over it. What a thing to tell a kit who is still grieving the loss of his mother, the disappearance of a sibling. She rises to her paws and steps close to Rocky, giving him a small smile. "It will help," she says, leaning forward to lick at the spot the bramble had pulled at. "But also, remembering the good times you had with Dewdrop. Maybe we can talk about some of those?" She gives Bone a neutral look.

She respects the molly's ferocity and her loyalty to Briar and ShadowClan, but Twilight finds herself hoping Bone never conceives.

/ ic opinions lol <3

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The woman's eyes are half open as she looks at the young child and she tilts her head a little against her paws. His question makes her think a little and then she simply nods her head because of course it will. There is nothing else that will but to live, to move on, to see the life around oneself and understand that there is more to see than to live in a haze of grief. "Of course, if you keep yourself in a haze others will move on without you. Sometimes you have to help yourself. Honor your mother's memory and live for her, live for the siblings that are here with you." Her voice is muted then as she turns her head away, ears pricking up as she hears the paws of someone else and then the voice of Twilight. Her head lifts up just slightly and she looks to the other woman before hearing her words.

Seeing her neutral look towards her and she merely stares back with her own. She doesn't think much of the gaze simply because she sees nothing wrong with anything that she has said. From her own experience, from the deaths of her parents she had to get over it herself. Pull herself back from the brink for her sister so that she did not become dead weight. In the end they survived long enough to be taken in by Hare Whiskers.

i've been patient and steadfast and steady
Fervent eyes followed Bone's words and Rocky snatched each from the air, taking them in. It was a hard, hopeful path but the towering molly's promise of improvement- for him and for his dwindling family- had him pressing them like a brand to his spirit. He simply nodded his head solemnly, ears ever so slightly too big, and broke eye contact.

Lungs filled with a sharp purpose, the tom was able to keep his emotions even as Twilight's gentle form flitted towards them between tired, lulling lids. A purr, of soothed pain and mourning, was kindled when the queen cleaned his wound. Starved of maternal kindnesses the act stirred up a bittersweet squall. Blinking sadly, Rocky blandly replied "Mama always looked after us. She liked the sun." To touch on other memories triggered more traps in his muddled mind. He didn't like the sun. It upset him that he couldn't share the sky with her. Maybe he would have to try. Plans to sit in the weak rays later lay a thin comfort. Effort... and remembrance. He would try.

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Froggy overhears the advice, mottled ears pricking from the flattened position they'd seem to be stuck in for the past moon. Hazy eyes glance towards his brother, entangled in brambles. With a sniffle, he picks himself up and trods over. Blood trickles down the blue tabby's leg. Froggy's head spins, a wave of nausea crashing over him. He trembles ever so slightly, leaning forwards and trying to rasp his tongue gently over the cut. Bonejaw talks of effort and attention, and he flinches at the harsh words. Dewdrop didn't die to watch her kits make a mockery of her sacrifice. Froggy's muscles stiffen, dropping his head and staring at his paws. Is it true? Is Dewdrop disappointed in them, in him, for being caught in this pit of despair? His vision mists over at the thought, imagining his mother frowning at him, her lips curled with displeasure. He didn't want her to think of him like that. If she really does live in among the stars, he wants her to look down upon him with pride, not regret for saving his miserable life.

He sucks in a breath, looking from Bonejaw to Twilight. Twilight tells them to remember the good memories of Dewdrop. Rocky says that she liked the sun, and looked after them. Froggy blinks away the tears that he'd sworn he ran out of long ago. "She... she was always nice." Effort and attention, remember the good things. He's going to try. For Dewdrop. For his remaining siblings. "And she loved us a lot."