camp TIME TO BE ALIVE (return from moonstone)

// tagging @BERRYHEART and @RACCOONSTRIPE because they were with her!

Her paws ache from the trip, but she and her sons know that this is just the beginning of what the day will bring. They can waste no time while the dogs continue to live on their riverbank. So, they rush. They clamber down from Highstones, the newly named Howlingstar bearing eight more lives than she did the night before. She'd only been able to share a small moment of sentiment with the two with her, a nuzzle, an assurance their father in StarClan loves them and their niece thinks of them, before she is hurrying. Down the rocky slopes, across the thunderpath, through the hollow with the four towering oaks, across the creek that splits their territory. When they finally arrive back home, the sun is high in the sky and exhaustion is written across the new leader's face. She hasn't even had time to wrap her head around the night she just had. She saw so many loved ones, so many faces lost to the stars. She'd cried, embraced, accepted their gifts with gratitude and grief. Now, she must heed their advice and lead her clan with strength and love. She must protect them and to do that, there is a danger that must be rid immediately, before another apprentice is maimed.

She pads into camp with her head held high and a fire of determination in her tired eyes. She is Howlingstar, leader of ThunderClan, named by Emberstar and gifted with nine lives. And she is about to ask her clan to go to war.

She has no time to chat with the friends that begin to approach and greet her. There is no time to waste. Her pace picks up and she bounds up the boulder until she stands at the peak, tail lifting high in the air with pride as she calls out, "ThunderClan! I have been to the Moonstone and received my nine lives. I am called Howlingstar now, and I mustn't waste time." She scans the growing crowd with haste, clearly nervous about what is to come. "You've had your night to rest. We cannot let those mutts continue to terrorize us. We can't let them get another chance when they've already almost taken Wildpaw from us! When they've already taken Emberstar from us! We drive them out at dusk! These beasts are not to be underestimated; we will need nearly every capable warrior and apprentice."

She pauses, breaths coming quickly as she gets worked up to urge her clanmates to fight. "I call upon you all to fight with me to rid these dogs from our side of the river! I know they do not camp on our territory, but we have no choice! Those who claim the land will do nothing, so we must! Who will fight?"
Flamewhisker had woken early that morning. She knew Howling Wind would be coming back today, and she wanted to congratulate the new leader. She also knew that when she returned, the battle with the dogs would soon follow. Her slumber had been light last night, her dreams constantly interrupted with possible scenarios for the battle. She knew Flycatcher intended on fighting, and the thought scared her to no end. What if they stole him from her? Their children couldn't loose their father....she couldn't live without him. He was her rock, her support. She had prayed all night to the stars, begging for them to take pitty on her for once, and to protect her mate from the beasts.

When Howling Wind and her son's emerged into the camp, Flamewhisker stopped her last minute touch ups to the dens, and hurried over to gather below the Highrock. Even though there wasn't a doubt in her mind that the other molly was exhausted, she seemed stronger than the day before. Her tail was held high and proud...she even looked like a leader. "Howlingstar! Howlingstar!" the lead warrior would chant, raising her own tail to celebrate.

Here it came, the battle announcement. Her stomach twisted in worry, but she tried to not let it show. How many more will we lose? She knew it had to happen, but with any battle there were always risks. She would wait for their new leader to finish speaking, before sharing words of her own. "While I can not help, I wish you all luck. I will watch over the camp for you, Howlingstar."

One of his clanmates alerts him to the return of Howling Wind and her sons. Flycatcher quickly hurries over, joining the throng of ThunderClan cats beginning to gather to welcome her back. There is little time for pleasantries or for welcomes to be shared, Howling Wind - Howlingstar now - is quick to announce her new name and nine lives, before continuing to say they should not waste time. It is time to deal with the dogs once and for all. They've had their rest and time to think and now is the time to act.

She asks for capable warriors and apprentices to help, and Flycatcher's gaze meets his mates for a moment. He knows he will go and he knows Flamewhisker would do the same if she were in his place, but he also knows there is much to be afraid of now should he not return. He has family here - Flamewhisker, his nieces and nephew, and his kits too. If something were to happen to him how would they cope? "I will fight at your side, Howlingstar," Flycatcher answers, lifting his head as he speaks. "I will defend my family, my friends, and my clan. I want to ensure these dogs terrorise us no longer."

Hollow Tree had barely been able to sleep. But she felt awake hearing her mother’s voice once more. Quickly padding over to make sure the trio that had left were okay. Pride floods her senses as Howlingstar speaks. Her mother would make a fine leader and would lead Thunderlcan for many moons. She knew this to be a fact. Though, they would face off many horrors. One being the dogs that threatened their home.

“Howlingstar!” the warrior joined the chanting before focusing on the task given. Hollow Tree would fight beside her kin and clanmates. She would do whatever she could to make sure the dogs never came near Thunderclan again. “I’ll fight for Thunderclan.”
[ you fall through the trees . tags ]
It was real, now.

She was Howlingstar, now. Wasn't Wolfwind happy? It's what she's wanted since they came here. Since she heard the tale of the five giants standing high, lifting their heads to be blessed with something unimaginable. Another chance at life, so many chances of life. Something so many cats deserved, but not all of them received. Howling Wind– Howlingstar was a rare crossover. She deserved this chance, and she received it too. Recognized by their ancestors. She is tired. They all are. But still, she stands strong. Her eyes shine with something Wolfwind cannot place. And she's glad, isn't she?

Won't it be that much stranger, when she's gone?

It was easy before to think, to pretend that life would only ever blossom around her. Little Wolf's kits were little wonders– the idiots that they were. The idiot that she was, in the nursery, once again, but those kits would be little wonders too. Berryheart was star-blessed. Her cousin, too. Raccoontail and Graystorm could earn scar after scar, and yet they'd always stood tall. No extra lives, no nothin'. Just– here. Howlingstar would have that times a thousand.

But it's so much easier to think about when Emberstar was gone. Her body was cold now. And eventually, Howlingstar's would be too. She doesn't want to lose anybody else.

Her own voice is dull, compared to the others. "Howlingstar..." More awe-filled. More like she could not believe what she saw. And part of her could not. ThunderClan would thrive beneath her, she knew. She isn't sure what she's going to do. She isn't sure how. "I'll fight for ThunderClan."

Sloepaw hadn't strayed far from the camp's entrance in Howling Wind's absence, intent to be there on her return. His bleach-blot, inken form was tucked tight to the shade of a waifish fern frond when his mentor became visible. By her stride, he assumed it had gone well. The tom wasn't entirely sure what to make of the supposed process, but having seen Emberstar bounce back he didn't have the energy to doubt it. And now it was his mentor's turn. Silt lids hooded his gaze for a moment, steadying. She was safer than she had ever been- nine times over.

A little murmur of worry, like the trill of his old keeper's talk-box, slowed his approach. What if she'd changed, been changed by seeing the stars? His ear drew a sharp angle as he considered it for a heartbeat before letting the fear fall away. Howling Wind was the sturdiest force in the forest. He didn't think anything could truly shake her. The apprentice watched her ascend, a vision of well-woven confidence in his eyes.

Howlingstar. That was going to take some getting used to. He hoped she wouldn't be offended if he misspoke, not that he said much anyway. Flamewhisker rallied a chant and he was drawn into it, low tone calling her new name. He'd have to take even more care now- he represented her. Apprenticed to a 'star'. It knocked a fresh ache through his head.

At their leader's call to action, Sloepaw bowed his head. While he lacked the conviction of Hollow Tree and wordliness of Flycatcher, the char tom croaked out a fierce, "Always."


"Howlingstar!" Sunfreckle's voice joined the chorus, limping over carefully to give their deputy turned leader a quick glance as if curious if anything changed that he could see. She still looked like the same Howling Wind but with her new name surely it meant things went alright on her trip.
The relief he felt was monumental and he only hoped the extra lives served her well. She was recieved well by StarClan, given a name, lives, and the determination to return to them to prepare for war. His paw still felt tender from the earlier incident with the dogs, he wanted to raise his voice to volunteer alongside the others but knew he would only hamper their progress so he glanced to Flamewhisker with a nod, "I'll remain here in camp. We will continue to reinforce the walls." They'd gotten a fair bit done already in her absence and while the dogs may be driven out the extra padding around their border would still bring him comfort in the case of future incidents. All he can do now is hope things go well, that they are successful despite their struggles, that Emberstar is avenged and the clan can continue their routine in safety.

"Howlingstar!" Little Wolf cries out from where she is, slowly but surely making her way over to her mothers side "I'm glad you made it home to us safely" she purrs quietly. The journey to the moonstone is a long one and even though her mother had her brothers to accompany her, she still cannot help but worry. Perhaps if she weren't so swollen with kits right now, she could've gone, but there was no use wishing for things that she couldn't change.

She wants to ask her mother if she had seen her daughter, or her father. The idea is nearly enough to make her tear up right then and there. What she wouldn't give to see either of them again, to tell Morningpaw she missed her or to ask her father if he was watching over her and her family. She is almost jealous of Howlingstar and Berryheart for having the opportunity. Almost.

The newly named leader announces a call to arms and Little Wolf knows its the right thing to do, knows its necessary but still she cannot help but worry. "May Star Clan guide your paws and watch over us all" she says quietly "I will do my best to watch over the kits while everyone else does what they can" she is sad it is all she can offer in her current state, but she knows its important too. Star's forbid Falconkit or Stormkit managed to wander from the camp right now while everyone was busy. She cannot even fathom the thought.


Berryheart had been fairly contemplative upon the return home, head bowed low as he had idly scanned the deadened ground for any possible herbs he could retrieve. His mother had assured him that their father loved them, and yet the speckled tom could not shrug the itching feeling beneath his skin, that irritant prickle. It was not strictly negative- but it felt like a keen discomfort at least, like his skin was crawling raw against his bones with no flesh between to cushion it. There was a reason other than absence, then... but it was selfish to think that way, now. ThunderClan needed its leader, and its leader was his mother- and what strength Father had given her to shoulder the task was what mattered. Not the why of it.

Stood at her side then, he let lazy eyes trail over the crowd. A small smile settled upon his stony face, pupils shifting to look up at his mother from where he had settled outside of the medicine den. She knew his answer- knew where his loyalties lay. And she knew too his duty. As capable as he would be in a fight- and as much as he knew she would realise that- he had to be in camp, ready to tend to the injured when they returned from their valiance. What little he knew could be just enough to save a life.