// @Sloepaw @LITTLE WOLF @TRUFFLEPELT Thought we'd get right into it!! Feel free to have one of your characters spot it first!

It's only meant to be a simple border patrol, nothing else. Uneventful is what is expected. Not the stench of smoke burning their nostrils, the sound of crackling wood in the distance. The patrol already seems to be on edge. Howling Wind glances back towards her clanmates, eyes wide and confused. It's a silent question: What is that? They trek on, closer to the burning smell. "It's coming from ShadowClan," She remarks, voice chilled. She once more looks towards the other members of the patrol. Fear for her daughter comes first; should she really be leading them towards the smell of danger? Sloepaw is only a kid, soft and untrained with clumsy kittypet paws. It's her job to protect him. Is Trufflepelt scared? Has he ever come across anything like this before? Whatever it is, she's unsure she wants to find out.

Through moons upon moons of trekking and exploring, the smell of fire was still only vaguely familiar to Trufflepelt. But once you knew that scent, you would not soon forget it- acrid, throat-stinging, hot. It was an odour that was distinctive and meant only danger, and as fawn footfalls carried his tall boy beside his patrol, alertness bristled his neck-fur, yellow eyes staring forward. Darkening greying features, his frown deepened, brow knitting together in a frown. Frustration, rarely felt, bubbled deep in his chest- why was it that he could not see the source? He knew what it was...

"How would a fire have started this far out?" he asked, tone low. Crafted by their starry paws, had StarClan sent them some sort of warning? Or perhaps even a sign? Benevolence would not align with such a disaster, though- StarClan were not cruel. So, as soon as he had pondered it, Trufflepelt discarded that half-baked theory. Craning his neck upward, squinting eyes meeting the light-filtering canopy, blurry eyes found faraway smog. "There... smoke?" Motioning with a fawn paw, he sought agreement- with faltering vision, he might be wrong. Stars, he hoped so.

His pace started leisurely. The acrid haze that soon enveloped them woke him up however, and quickly. Woodsmoke coated his palette, soaking their pelts. Shedding the wide berth he gave the rest of the patrol, Sloepaw came close alongside Howling Wind. He knew of forest fires, even seen them depicted on the flickering surface of his twoleg's special window, but the thought of one so close made his paw pads prickle.

Shadowclan? They lived in the marshes, across a thunderpath he reminded himself. He hoped not. A fire in a twoleg nest would be a less concerning situation, the twolegs having their own systems to deal with dangers. A hushed hiss followed Trufflepelt's question, the unknown troubling. When the scraggly tom pointed to the sky Sloepaw jolted forward, following his gaze.

"There's smoke alright, a tonne of it..." His confirming words trailed his movements, weaving to find a better vantage point. Propping himself atop a tree stump, unabashedly standing on his hind paws he continued, "... near the thunderpath? I can just make out embers." A few treetops over it was streaming into the sky, the pops of flame puffing sparks. That reinforced his mentor's statement. Dark face turned back towards the rest, Sloepaw flit between them. He searched their expressions, trying to gauge their worry.