This was disastrous. A total failure. Why did he lead this patrol out with dark clouds hanging above? Why did he think that he would be able to outrace the storm? Stupid, stupid, stupid.

The consequences of his ineptitude takes the shape of a droplet splashing upon his nose. Pitchsun sneezes upon contact, sniffling as his pawsteps falter to wipe at his muzzle...

... Wait-

The storm does not give him time to process the situation. Instead, it drenches him within seconds, the rain pelting him feeling more akin to shards of ice than water. Lightning crackles overhead, illuminating the gloomy sky and casting the weather-beaten patrol in a flash of pale blue. Thunder shakes the earth in quick succession, and Pitchsun's hiss is hardly audible above the cacophony. "Shit!" They need shelter- Pitchsun needs to get out of this fucking rain. Squinting against the assault of raindrops, he glimpses the towering sycamore nearby... It's the best chance they've got at hiding away from this typhoon. "Over there! We can take shelter beneath the sycamore-"

As if StarClan themselves decided to unleash their fury upon the earth, another flash of lightning blinds Pitchsun. His eardrums rattle as a loud boom erupts far too close for his comfort.

His heart plummets when his vision clears.

The sycamore he'd been intent on taking shelter beneath... Engulfed in flames, and the torrential downpour does not seem to hinder it's spread. He'd nearly killed them all. The howling wind blows smoke and embers into his face, causing the rosette tabby to splutter and cough. "Holy shit!" As if this day couldn't have gotten any worse! Pitchsun barrels backwards, nearly running into a couple of his patrol members. The storm fades into background noise beneath the thundering of his own heart. "Back to camp- We need to go back right now." Briarstar needs to know. He has to warn them.

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"Brilliant time for a damn patrol," Flickerfire mutters behind the deputy, voice loud enough for him to hear her, hopefully. Even above the onslaught of water that begins to leak from the sky, splash on her face and drench her thin dark pelt, Flickerfire manages to complain. Lightning like a brilliant claw snakes across the darkened sky, and she watches with wide eyes as it bathes the ShadowClan cats in ethereal purple-blue light.

"Damn, that's -" She's drowned out entirely by the explosion of thunder that follows. Her ears flatten against her skull until she looks as though she were born without them.

Pitchsun calls for them to take shelter beneath the sycamore, but just as his dark paws attempt to find the path, those claws of heat and light are unsheathed again, crashing into the tree's branches. It ignites, and Flickerfire can feel the rush of heat from where she stands.

Hailpaw, she thinks, panic fluttering her heart. She cranes her neck around to try and find the younger smoke she-cat. "Go! Get back quick! Whoever makes it back first - yell for Briarstar!"

Her hackles are stiff, even through the drenched layers of her pelt. She tries to find Geckoscreech's and Pitchsun's eyes in the dangerous light that illuminates their surroundings. They never should have gone out here, never should have brought Hailpaw or Sagepaw. StarClan is all but telling them that, aren't they?


❝ holding it together with one loose string. ❝

if there was one thing that made shadowclan unbearable it would be moments like these, the downpour of rain from the swirling clouds above turned this already swampy territory into a sea of thick and cloying mud that made traversing more difficult. everytime her paws would sink into the muck it would cause the warrior to grimace in disgust, the bridge of her nose crinkling. who in there right mind decided this patrol was necessary? it wasn't like they were going to find anything, anyone in the right mind would rather stay inside a warm den away from the howling winds of the storm.

she strained to hear what pitchsun was going to say about shelter when suddenly everything became swallowed up by a blinding light, the deafning sound of a furious bolt striking the nearby sycamore sent everyone into a state temporary shock and fear. aqua eyes would watch in horror as the once towering tree was now engulfed in an wave of flames that stretched itself across gangly branches and at an alarming pace.

they almost died.

geckoscreech willed herself to move, to scramble backwards away from the burning heat and thickening smoke that threatened to swallow the patrol whole. she barely managed to register the fact flickersun was yelling to the apprentices to run, to head back to camp first and yell for briarstar.

how could a raging inferno spread so quickly? defiant of the rain that failed to smother it out? would it spread its destruction across the territory and head for camp itself? standing here surely wasn't going to help unless they want to find out first hand.

" well? let's get moving before the storm decides setting one tree alight isn't enough! "
Sagepaw flinched at the sudden boom of thunder followed by the flash of lightning. If just plain rain wasn't bad enough, now it was a full blown storm. If it had been up to her, she'd be curled in her nest with her paws over her ears, fully content to wait this out. She bolted for the sycamore before the words had even left the deputy's mouth, and had crouched beneath it just as another flash of lightning lit the sky.

Sagepaw jumped to her feet at a second loud clap of thunder, and then the blue was suddenly scarlet and the tree she was sheltering underneath burst into a blaze.

And she couldn't move. Her creamy white paws felt rooted to the spot, and she could only stare up in horror as the tree was quickly devoured by flames. She stood there as the fire made it's way down the trunk, only fully registering the danger of the situation when the fire had come close enough for the heat to singe her fur.

With a shrill yelp of alarm, the apprentice leapt back from the tree and bolted back the way they had come, yowling for the leader.

Following in line behind her mentor, Hailpaw felt some amount of pride in being selected to tag along with the older cats. Up until this point she’d hardly felt part of the clan, however, she felt that this could potentially be a turning point for her. Being part of a patrol was only the start of a sense of belonging. Had the clan finally begun to accept her? Eagerly the young molly would fall in step, until the first drop of moisture hit her nose. A snarl of irritation would escape her jaws as she glanced up at the sky, watching as more droplets begun to fall around her, and onto her, and the other felines. “Who’s bright idea was this again?” Her voice would join the chorus of others’ complaints at having to do the patrol with the current weather. Personally, she’d much rather prefer to be curled up in her nest back in camp.

At least a tail-length is what she’d have to guess she jumped. The sudden roar of the thunder, followed by the clap of lightning sent fear running down every nerve in her body while her hair stood on end. A silent plea to her parents, wherever they were to let her escape this would be one of the last things she recalled as the flames reached for the sky. Smoke fogged her vision, and she was left stranded in the wake of panic, everyone scattering in different directions. Coughing, she’d rub at her eyes in a desperate attempt to find her mentor, the deputy, somebody to help her find her way out. “Flickerfire?! Pitchsun? I can’t see!” Terror lit her eyes as the flames crept closer, threatening her each moment she was unable to move. I don’t want to die! Not like this! They can’t see me like this!
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Flickerfire sees Geckoscreech moving through the haze of smoke and flame, but her eyes focus on young Sagepaw, who seems rooted to the earth. The tortoiseshell leaps closer to her, prepared to grab her by the scruff and shake her, but Sagepaw seems to snap out of it herself -- just barely. In accordance with the older cats' orders, the blue-eyed she-cat turns tail and makes for camp, her yowls rising over the storm and the crackle of the fire.

Satisfied, Flickerfire's eyes dart for the other young cat. Hailpaw. Her apprentice. Where'd she go? Through the smoke, it's hard to see -- harder still, through the rain and the strange orange glow the fire casts on everything.

But then she hears Hailpaw's voice, uncharacteristically full of terror. "Flickerfire?! Pitchsun? I can't see!"

"Oh, damn it all to hell," the tortoiseshell snarls, bounding closer into the mess of stormwater and fire without thinking. She looks for the dark pelt of her apprentice through it all, but the heat is beginning to singe her flesh through the thin dark fur.

"Yell again, you frogbrain! I can't--" She steps again, her throat raw. Just before the sycamore's trunk itself is Hailpaw, cowering and panicked. "Here!" She lunges for the younger she-cat and grips her by the scruff, roughly. She attempts to pull Hailpaw with her with as much force as she can muster.

If successful, the two of them will be out of the near vicinity of the flames, but Flickerfire's fur is singed in places - as well as her whiskers - and her throat is raw from the smoke. She has to halt every few steps back to camp to cough. "Stupid time for a patrol," she says, but her voice is like a pawful of needles coming up out of her mouth. She only hopes Hailpaw is suffering somewhat less than her.

tl;dr flicker is about to follow the others when she hears hail and goes back in for her. flicker attempts to yank hailpaw towards clear air by the scruff. flicker's whiskers and fur are singed in some spots and her throat is raw from smoke inhalation; a bit dizzy and light-headed as well


Wildly she would turn, searching for the direction of Flicker’s voice. Coughing again, she’d only hope that she was able to guess where she was. I can’t! If I could call out I would you fur brain! Of course she would be blessed with the fur that played to her advantage in the pined territory. This time, however, it could potentially spell for doom upon the female, preventing her from truly being seen amongst the rising flames and smoke. “Flickerfire!” Unable to move herself, Hailpaw is pulled away from the flames, coughing almost in tune with her mentor. “Th-thank-” The molly’s voice would trail off as she collapsed where she stood. Should she be awake to know what had occurred, or rather recall the events of the day, embarrassment would only be salt in her wounds.

// hail is also suffering from smoke inhalation, some mild fur being burned/singed as well as loss of consciousness and potential short term memory loss! peaceful powerplay in bringing her to camp and healing are allowed!

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Pitchsun cannot think. He cannot see, either, the smoke pouring across the marsh and stinging his eyes. As soon as his yowl pierces the air, demanding for his patrol to get the fuck out of there, he should be gone. He should turn and run without looking back.

But he does look back. Hailpaw yowls for him, and every muscle freezes.

And Pitchsun runs in the opposite direction of the camp like a fool. Into the smog, coughing and spluttering as his lungs fill with smoke. The heat scorches him, singing whiskers and forcing his tongue to loll in quick pants. He's lead by sound alone, namely the sound of Flickerfire's cursing. And before long, he sees them; Flickerfire dragging a limp Hailpaw away from the worst of the flames. "Shit!" Pitchsun lunges towards them, attempting to help Flickerfire haul Hailpaw back to camp. "Come on, hurry!" His voice creaks out from a raw throat, more coughs rattling in soot-filled lungs.