rewrite the stars / nine lives ceremony

[ NOTE: You can go in any order, I just need Hare Whiskers to be last! ]

/ @revelations @marquette @Floppie @Blitz Krieg @Jay @nico @empyrean @ABRI @rhosmari

Her nose met the cold, wet stone as Bone had instructed. Briar's eyes fell closed and she drifted into the deepest, calming sleep she had ever experienced. When her eyes opened, she was no longer in the cave with her sister. Instead, she was in a forest that seemed to dance in the cosmos, a gorgeous whirlwind of moving stars and a soft, white glow. The grass was cool and soft beneath her paws and despite being pregnant, she felt weightless, almost as if her kittens had been left behind with her body, unable to cross into this dimension with her.

"What is this place?" she mewed, her words echoing into the trees. Suddenly, nine figures appeared. She recognized all of them. Most were dear friends, others not so much. Her fur bristled slightly when she saw Rain walking among them. An instinctual pull was guiding Briar closer to the spirits. Wherever she was, this was the place that the ghosts who had appeared to them first at Fourtrees dwelled. Did that mean she was dead? Surely touching that rock would not have killed her. She looked around for Bone. Her sister had said something about feeling that she had to touch the rock too. Was she here as well?

There is no sadness as he looks upon his mate, only a sense of pride and understanding. She looks as beautiful as his last days on the earth in which he had walked with her for moons and there is nothing that will change that. The stars shimmer in his pelt as he steps forth with a smile pull across his muzzle and her question makes him glance around the peaceful place of green grass and healthy trees. "Welcome Briar, the moon in my night sky..." He lightly turns his ocean colored eyes back to her before he settles down to briefly to speak with a light tone, he is happy to see her even if they are apart for the time being. "This is Starclan. The place where every cat with a good heart and intentions will arrive upon their final breath. The place where guidance for the clans will come from and the place where as a leader, you will receive your nine lives so that you will not falter and remains strong for the clan that needs you." A heavy burden and he knows that but it is something that is a must to keep her strong, to keep her going when the times are rough but he hopes that the life he is here to give will help along the way.

Stepping forward he smiles a little as he stands before his mate and the mother of his kits, then and now. He leans forward to rest his head gentle on top of her own. The gentlest of touches but the feeling that flows through her will be one of happiness, lightness, a sense of carefree enough to bring forth the feeling of laughter and calmness. The energy bright like a surge of a wave. "With this I bestow upon you the life of humor. Leading a clan can be tough, sometimes it may even be bleak and worrisome but I won't you to never forget that there is always an end to suffering, there is always light around the corner. I want you to be able to see the humor around you, the peace, the calm. To have that day to laugh and to play and be as light as the air you breath." He steps back then and gives a small nod of his head.

"I'll always love you and I'll be waiting here for you when it's your turn to join Starclan." The smile he gives is lighter as he settles back for the next to step forth to give their life to Briar.
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Ash has given a life to Cicadastar, a life to Sootstar, but now before him stands the she-cat who has led him his whole life. She who called for war, she who cried over the broken body of her mate as silver spirits rose around her. She who his mother still follows, she who he would follow, too, had he still lived.

He waits patiently for Amber to gift Briar her first life, and then he pads before her to take his place. Ash tilts his face towards Briar's, eyes twinkling like his dappled pelt.

"Briar." He dips his head to her in greeting. "With this life, I give you courage. You have a dark road ahead of you, one you now must travel without your mate at your side. Carry your head high, and meet your challenges with bravery so your Clan can do the same." He reaches forward on tipped paws, nose brushing against her's.

From Ash to Briar shoots that same hot, fiery adrenaline rush, muscles cramping with pain and aching to move, heart beating fast as if in fear--but then it is conquered, as all challenges in life must be, and Ash draws away from her.

"Tell my mother I love her, and to be strong." For the briefest moment, a cloud settles over his gaze. The hardest thing about leaving his body behind had been leaving his loved ones. "And Cloudy, if you remember." His expression brightens, and he disappears back into the throng of cats waiting to pass their lives to Briar.

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What's next is a star-furred brown tabby, known usually for his playful demeanor, but now stands serious, mellowed-out, alongside those that also take part in such a ceremony.

"Briar," the tom, hardly older than a kit, greets the one who once was his leader. His former leader, who'd been his leader all his life. Who Leaping Toad hopes will continue being his brother's leader for many moons to come. All these lives they were to give the inky-furred feline - this whole ceremony to go along with it - was meant in the prospect of a life long enough to lead for seasons to come.

"With this life, I give you honor," Leaping Toad begins his own piece of the ceremony, "Not only for yourself and the clan you lead, but for those that make up ShadowClan, too. A clan won't thrive, if the members aren't held with the same great respect that you should hold. The clans won't thrive without it."

Such lack of honor could lead to more tension. It could lead to another war. Could lead to stars adorning Ribbit's pelt too quickly. Leaping Toad doesn't want that for his brother. He doesn't want that for anyone - doesn't want to see a new face in the stars, only to be hit with recognition soon after.

The scrawny tom reaches upwards to follow suit in Ash's action, touching noses with the ShadowClan leader. A rush of energy follows, one carried by a life taken too soon, only to peak with an overwhelming, almost-suffocating burst, before it ultimately quells to a stop.

"Tell Ribbit I'm okay," he requests, before quickly adding on: "Oh, and the rest of my family too!" He figures the eldest of his family members won't be hit with as much grief as his younger brother ultimately will, but, it would be good for them to hear he's safe here too, Leaping Toad thinks.

He steps backward with a bow of his head, leaving room for the next life to be given.
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