right time, wrong place | seeking information

Jun 28, 2022
Dusky pinks slashed the blue sky at the horizon line, the sun's wavering shape descending behind sloping hills and sparse clumps of gorse. It was a sight Slowpoke was usually only granted through the flickering lightbox of his housefolk. Levity lifted his breathless lungs, throat cut by the keen moor air. The bright leather loped around his neck grew heavier by the stride, its patterned material chafing uncomfortably. At least I got rid of that ugly bell. Its incessant peals rung through his mind at the barest thought of the lost torture device- now left on the edge of a particularly sturdy fallen branch. Though leaving his housefolk's nest had been difficult, the sepia tom couldn't help but appreciate the quiet found in the wild. It was a subtle silence, for though the blustering wind still rushed past his chilled ears he could truly listen. Sounds were sharper, shots through the empty air, unlike the constant thrum of a twoleg nest. Being able to hear the swoop of wings as far as several jutting slabs off put him at ease.

He sought the wildcats said to be out this way. Stories of their way of life and fractured groups had fortuitously found him not a day before he had to leave home. Now Slowpoke strode towards them, or so he hoped. Desperation clung like tar to the fringes of his conscience. It was shrugged back, however, as the tom tried to maintain his confidence. The tiredness that threatened the aches in his joints worried him, his typically sedentary lifestyle unfit for this level of activity. Thankfully, he knew he still had the energy to bolt if he needed.

Brown nose tipped back into the headwind, he let the carried scents bloom across the roof of his mouth. Something cat-like led him further along the ridge flanked with shallow rough granite furrows. Some held smooth grass, others rough pits of gorse. Eventually, Slowpoke caught sight of a silhouette in the dim light, their pelts illuminated with a sunset warmth.
"Oi! You one of those moorcats? Mind answering some questions?" Nonchalant words masked his wary disposition. Although he had pursued their company, he wasn't quick to trust it.
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How unfortunate for this tom... that cat illuminated by the sunset?
Sootstar. Nearly- if not the least likely in WindClan to entertain a cat who came from... such origins.

She struts over with her nose both in the nose and wrinkled. What type of questions could this guy possibly have? The thought only lingers in her mind for moments before she concludes she really doesn't care.

"Standing before you is Sootstar, leader of WindClan. Yes were are of the moor and yes I mind answering your questions. I don't fancy wasting my time playing whatever kittypet games you're up to, begone." She waves a paw dismissively in the air.

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His lazy smile flattened into an unimpressed grimace. Ah, maybe not this group then. The option to tuck tail and run bobbed into his mind, but it was diligently pruned before it could take root. Nothing would push him back to that monstercatcher- her shrieks and penchant for flinging clay disks made home unsafe. Making deliberate eye contact with this haughty charcoal stranger, he persisted.

"That's mighty unwelcoming, but I suppose I can't complain. Your land and all. I'll be on my way if you help me out?" Slowpoke cocked his dark head as if to say 'eh?' If she wouldn't let him stick around he wanted to know where best to aim for next. The dense forests below them were unknown to the tom, with concrete landmarks more his purview. "There's other cat colonies out there, I know it. Mind generously giving me a brief low down, oh kind stranger?" Tone a drawl, clementine eyes sparked with exasperation. All the while, sable paws clenched the windswept grass below him. Maintaining a conversation and trying to keep up with the other sounds around them was difficult. He wasn't used to it and the strain was draining his concentration.

/an explanation would be awesome, but anything to tempt him towards thunder also works!
The manner in which Sootstar treats this stranger is an annoyance, but Hare does not dare speak up against her again. He stops a little ways behind her, blinking sympathetically at the kittypet who'd been unfortunate to run into the WindClan leader first. He's asking for help, which Hare doubts that Sootstar'll willingly give to him. With a furtive, wary glance towards the volatile leader, his accented voice softly speaks up, "Ah don't know too much myself, but..." Once again, Hare steals a glance towards Sootstar, his hind leg bouncing in place. "Ah've heard of other clans livin' out in them there woods." The fawn tom gestures towards the treeline in the distance.


Really?! He'd actually leave?
None of these loners or even kittypets that came about ever gave up that easily, damn shame. They were all mighty persistent in bothering WindClan specifically, joining WindClan. Suppose she should be honored, but her "soft heart" has allowed too many kittypets to seep in and taint her clan already... Suppose if any leader in the forest could make real warriors out of them, it'd be her.

Yet she doubts cats born in the prisons of twolegs even had such... capabilities.

"ThunderClan, ShadowClan, RiverClan, and SkyClan." She' meows, her tone stripped of any emotion. "SkyClan is the only clan lowly enough to accept the likes of you... afraid you're quite a ways from them. No one blames you if you turn around now and go back to where you belong."

She looks to Hare, it's a mere glance before her eyes bounce back to the other tom. "Oh... and maybe ThunderClan. That's a bit closer now... Not sure if that "Ember" is kittypet blood or not, but she hails from what SkyClan once was. If you want to try and pledge your allegiance to her I direct you to the east-west." Her tail flickers against the wind, pointing in the direction of the supposed clan of thunder.

"If that information satisfies you, I pray you to get to their lands safely... My- hawks get quite hungry this time of day... my prayers one doesn't swoop you up. How tragic that would be." The leader's tone was a sickenly sweet song, any cat with the slightest sense of perception could tell she was condescending. When it came to kittypets, Soot didn't hold foulness back.

"Let's go, Hare." She doesn't bother escorting this cat out of the land, she knew he'd leave... Tomorrow she'd scout out alone to see if she could find any remains the hawks leave behind... or if he really made it to ThunderClan.

As fast as the wind itself, Soot takes off in a sprint. With a couple of blinks of an eye, she vanishes past a grand slope.

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The smug satisfaction that pounced onto the so-called "Windclan" leader's ash-wreathed face almost elicited an open snicker from Slowpoke. So proud she seemed, to have scared off a lonely stranger on the moor. As convenient as it would have been to stay at his first stop he had every intention to scout each group and make his pick. He wanted somewhere where he fit in- could trust those around him. Certainly a lofty goal, and one that would never be met in a clan led by this abrasive molly.

So he let his citrine gaze flit between each of her grand gesticulations, pitch ears broad in their assessment of her words. Despite the molly's eagerness to be unwelcoming, a simple compromise had pulled what knowledge he needed from her. A twitch designated his awareness of the approaching fawn-specked cat from behind her. The newcomer's words were tentative, furtive in the presence of Sootstar. Further confidence in his decision energised his tired paws. He was glad to be dodging this.

At the mention of her hawks the tom couldn't hold in his snort of derision. He was ignorant of these lands, but not naive. Still, the reminder of the local predators struck him cold. The trek forward would have to be low to the ground, sight split between the rolling hills and darkening sky. "Yeah, yeah... you've made your "clan" undesirable enough. I'll be happily leaving your territory right quick. Cheers for the info though, hope your reign of tyranny goes well!" The last sentence was a louder call, the mocking following her lithe form as it loped away.

The moment her shrike-feather tail slipped over the horizon he let out a terse breath. Whatever cockiness he had smothered over himself slid away, the reality of his surroundings and situation laid bare. He was still desperate for a place to stay. What has gotten into you, you pillock? Being so flippant with his own safety was rare and this recent bout with the foul-nosed Sootstar had to have been born of a fresh recklessness. He didn't like it. With a polite nod to the other windcat Slowpoke turned to the forest pointed out to him. Self reflection would be the pastime of the trip it seemed.