private THE KINDNESS OF STRANGERS \ howling wind

Jul 27, 2022

Feet fleet carried the wayfaring former-wanderer to the threshold of camp, where ThunderClan thrummed with energy. Warmth swelled within him at the sight, figures backlit by the setting sun, dappled and orange by the threaded hands of the canopy above. In his rounded maw, the older tom carried a squirrel that he had caught- perhaps, a trademark by now?- to the pile, chest puffed out in slight pride. However deflation was soon to capture him- not dramatic, by any means, but slight and certainly noticeable to a watchful eye.

Many had already paired up in their evening activities, and though he was certain his destiny lay in this forest with ThunderClan he was unsure of where. Perhaps it was in the relationships he could form, after so many had been lost... or perhaps it was for some other reason. Regardless, his constant wondering lead his dreamy eyes to drift from the first step, which was to truly belong in ThunderClan.

He had faith his destiny would find him. But for now it was idle, and so was he.
// I'M SO SORRY I completely lost this because I rely on tags and it got flooded away in my discord omg

Howling Wind is and always has been an observer, especially towards those she does not know. And Truffle? She does not know him. She does not - cannot - trust him yet. If it were up to her, she would have turned him away on the spot, but Emberstar called the shots around here and she would obey. That only means she has work to do in getting to know the former wanderer.

She approaches on white paws, her tail curling over her back as she trills a greeting. "Need some company?" She asks, expression neutral, but not unfriendly. She settles across from him, and her green gaze follows his eyes around camp. "Are you liking ThunderClan so far, Truffle?"

His mind, as his paws once had, wandered- so realisation struck a loud spark in his golden gaze when someone addressed him, a tabby molly padding her way over. Tusked, taut lips relaxed into an easy smile, faraway eyes finally settling with the glow of recognition alight in them; Howling Wind, that was her name. From what he had gathered she was a respected face and a mother to many kin and perhaps, like him, she was wizened by a long life of experience.

"You have my gratitude," he hummed- an odd way of saying 'thank you, you're welcome to sit' but Truffle was not one to avoid flowery phrases he thought attractive in their structure. It was nice to have company; and since she had asked, he might be welcome to share a pawful of his worries. He had faith in the forces that were, however... something still felt as if it was missing. His epiphany, of course, yet he had no idea how to reach it.

"It is wonderful," and that was not a lie, exhaled with bewildered earnestness. "I feel like this is where I was always supposed to be. Though..." His voice petered out dreamily, tongue clicking against the roof of his mouth. "I have lived so much of my life away from ThunderClan, I worry I may not ever find the reason I was called here." Speaking of mystical intervention was as easy as talking about the rain for the cinnamon tom, aided by the languid swish of his tail to-and-fro.
Howling Wind blinks, a bit of surprise evident on her face. She hadn't expected the tom to be so...philosophical. For her, joining ThunderClan was a natural choice, an easy one. She had been present for so many seasons, seen all of the tension and strife unfold with the rival colony. She'd seen their star-spangled friends rise in new life and tell them their destiny. There was no other choice but to join one of the five clans. But for cats like Truffle, it was a choice.

She ponders his words for a moment before clicking her tongue and settling into a comfortable crouch. "What if the reason is to just be here and belong here?" She suggests, whiskers twitching. The way she sees it, there's no need to wonder about some grand destiny. This is just their life, trickling by day by day. They can fill it with love and friendship and duty and purpose, but the molly doesn't believe in fate.

Her solution, simple and obvious but oh-so-pleasant all the same, kept his tender smile alight upon his rounded features. "I have thought that a possibility..." the tom admitted, though did not elaborate. His voice held its airiness, though there was a dissatisfaction about his tone that gave away the fact that perhaps that answer was not the most ideal. He could have found his way here to simply live without guidance... no, there must have been a truer reason he felt such an urge.

"What called you here?" he asked, offering her a warm glance. She seemed so comfortable, so assimilated, that she had to have been lead here by some noble motivation too. ThunderClan had not been a place Truffle had heard of much before stumbling upon its doorsteps, yet so many had already bolstered its ranks at his arrival. It could be no coincidence, surely?
Howling Wind catches onto the dissatisfaction in his voice, earning him a tilt of her head paired with a half-smile. She almost wants to ask him about it, but he has already turned the conversation around on her. A soft laugh and a shrug is her response as she mews, "Only the desire to keep my family safe. ThunderClan was simply the best option for us when the time came to choose out of the five clans." It's as simple as that. She has no idea what is so captivating about murky marshes, vulnerable moors, bare-floored forests or islands surrounded by water. This forest, ripe with prey and lush with flora, is the most obvious right answer to her. "Did you feel....called to ThunderClan in particular, Trufflepelt? Or did you choose this clan, too?" The tabby inquires, eyeing him curiously.