we come from different places, but have the same name - finding camp

There were butterflies in her stomach as she padded away from Fourtrees. It had been an impulsive, spur of the moment decision to leap atop that rock. Now that her excitement had faded, the reality had begun to set in. Every responsibility she recalled Rain struggling with would be hers now. The other leaders, the Windclan leader in particular, had all seemed to have plans for their clans. Ideas on how they were going to succeed where the pine and marsh groups had failed. She had nothing of the sort. Cats had followed her out of that clearing, though she had been too nervous to turn and check how many, and she had no idea what she was going to do.

And yet, she couldn't stop smiling.

Thunderclan. It was a good name, she liked it. She was proud to have thought of it. The first order of business for her new clan was to find a home, and luckily for that she actually had an idea. During her time in the newly named Skyclan, she had ventured into the oak forest. There, she had happened upon a little clearing hidden away from the world. That was why she had blurted out the territory when she found herself atop the rock. Well, that and staying close to her old clan.

That was where her steps led her now, and, after a moment of searching, she found it again. With a paw she pulled back brambles to find the gorse tunnel she remembered. For the first time since she had left the gathering, she turned back to face the cats following her.

"Welcome home Thunderclan!" she announced brightly, her eyes scanning the crowd for their reactions.
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*:・゚✧*:・゚✧ Striped sienna ears flick at a young voice declaring her home "ThunderClan". A torbie with fluffed-out tricolor fur rises from the dust to paws that carry her carefully, regally. She sits near the newcomer who leads the procession, wondering how she had not noticed others were here.

"Ah, I didn't get the notice that... ThunderClan was moving in," she says, but her voice is mild and her eyes are curious and sharp despite a voice that cracks slightly with age. She lifts a paw and begins to clean it, studying the young she-cat carefully. So young, barely older than a kit, but her cream-colored pelt wears the scars of battle, and she has a determined set to her gray eyes.

Quail allows a small smile to grace her muzzle. "Forgive my sarcasm. I've been here for many moons. The gorse tunnel makes a nice defense system, don't you agree?" She sets the paw down again. "I'm Quail. Would you mind explaining to me..." Eyes the color of an herb snapped in half travel towards the tunnel, towards muffled pawsteps, "What this 'ThunderClan' notion is all about?"

She wraps a thick tail about her paws and waits, patient.

What was he doing? Leaf had followed the charismatic flame point out of the gathering place, barely hearing his father shout after him and the pleading wails of his mother. He walked away and never looked back, only keeping his steel cold gaze trained on the ground below him. Because he knew.

Leaf knew that the moment he turned around and met his mothers pleading gaze his resolve would shatter and he would go back to the newly named Shadowclan with his parents. And at that moment, he had realized that he wanted nothing more than to be as far away from the musty, suffocating, swamp as possible.

He hadn't paid much attention to who else had followed their new leader out of the clearing, but frankly, he could care less. His heart was pounding in his chest, eyes dilated from a mini panic attack as the full weight of the decision he just made crashed down on him.

Welcome home, Thunderclan!

Those words would snap him out of his daze, just in time for him to just barely stop himself from walking into whoever was in front of him. Blue eyes would stare at the gorse tunnel presented and he would swallow nervously, his right eye twitching as the only real outward sign of the stress he was under.

A new voice suddenly spoke up, and the fur along his shoulder began to spike in defensiveness. Had their new leader already led them into trouble by barging in on another cats home? Leaf would glare at Quail as she introduced herself, and relaxed ever so slightly when he saw her smile. Not hostile, at least not yet. Leaf would remain quiet at her question about what Thunderclan was because he truly didn't really know himself. So instead, he moved just enough to flank his new leader and waited to see if this stranger would make any sudden moves of attack.


✵ ღ ☾ LOVE WITH EVERY STRANGER - She had been watching the two groups for some time by now, privy to their bloody history, and their journey to new beginnings.
The grey molly had melted in the shrubs perfectly that night, watching the gathering take place with enchantment in her sage hues. When Ember had taken off with her group, Wildflower was already bolting back towards the tree’s, namely in search of Quail- to tell her the amazing news, of course!
If only she hadn’t gotten lost on the way back to Quails home, she may have been able to beat the newly named “Thunderclan.”
❝ QUAILLL! QUAIL! Guess what? Guess- ❞ Her excited yowls were cut short as she skidded upon the scene, tumbling over her two left paws.
She picked herself up quickly though, flicking dust from her tongue with a couple “pfffts, pfffts.”
❝ Y-you guys are coming to live here? No way! ❞ She exclaimed with an excited look casted towards her friend, moving to sit by her with a small thrum of her paws. ❝ Quails home is so dusty though! I mean- er, sorry Quail, but cleaning needs to be done! ❞ The words were tumbling from the star-struck mollys maw before she could catch herself.
Now she turned to Quail, pleading in her round gaze, ❝ oh Quail, you must let them stay! We could all be friends! ❞ She tried to convince, as if either of the two mollies could actually take on a whole clan by themselves.
❝ Speech. ❞

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An unfamiliar voice undercut her announcement, and it took her a moment to realize that it hadn't come from the procession that followed her from the clearing. She blinked, turning to find an older molly staring her down. Another blink. The clearing wasn't as empty as she had thought. Not even an hour into her leadership and already a misstep. There was nowhere other than here she knew that could serve as a home to as many cats as had followed her.

For a moment, she can't find her words.

Then Leaf bristled and slid up beside her, pushing her into action. She wasn't going to let a fight break out, not again. With a step forward, she met the questions sent her way with a smile. "That was just what I thought!" she laughed, while simultaneously gesturing the tom beside her back with a flick of her tail. "That protection was exactly why I had been hoping to move in. I had no idea that someone else had already had the same thought!" Her expression took on a sheepish tinge.

"My name's Ember, nice ta meetcha! I am the leader of Thunderclan which is, well-" she paused for a moment, head tilting as she considered how to describe it. Then the words Tugger had spoken to her came back to mind and her smile grew all the brighter. "We're like our own little family I guess. We live together, hunt together," her eyes shone with determination. "We look out for each other."

Another, much less coordinated figure tumbled onto the scene. One whose excitement at her clan's arrival was infectious to Ember. "Yeah!" she cheered, her confidence redoubling. This hadn't been a mistake at all, this was going wonderfully! She looked to 'Quail' hopefully. "We should all be friends!"
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*:・゚✧*:・゚✧ Quail looks at the young blue-eyed tom who bristles, flanks his leader with a distrustful expression. Her smile creases into a smirk. "Awfully quick to raise your hackles while in someone else's home, aren't you?" She flicks her fluffy tail. "Mind your manners, young one."

Speaking of manners. Her younger companion, the spirited gray femme who bursts through the clearing through the tunnel, gives a yelp of excitement. Let's make friends, she says. Quail gives her a solemn look, hoping for her to behave herself, quiet down. She isn't upset, though. Wildflower may have a point.

Quail turns her attention back to the flame point who is clearly in charge. She states she did not know the place was occupied, and the older she-cat gives a small nod. "It's easy to miss. We're more wanderers, aren't we, Flow?" She gives a brief affectionate look to the younger molly before turning her attention back to the leader.

Ember. Fitting. Quail appraises her again. After a moment, she gives a slow nod. "We're like our own family I guess. We live together. We look out for each other." Something within her aches, aches like it has not since before she met Wildflower. That longing for companionship, for family, that has only grown as she's aged.

Quail's smirk softens. "Well. I don't own this clearing. Flow and I stay here to eat and sleep, since it's quite safe. We've heard tales of war and bloodthirsty cats." She gives Ember a pointed look. "I suppose that's why you all have come here, to find safety?"

Another group?

Hadn't they gotten the news? That the two that already made claim to part of the forest had only recently caused a bloodbath? A third group, in the midst of all this tension and war, it sounded like trouble.

Kindle just hoped this third group didn't feed into that - especially since they were moving into the part of the forest the brown and white tabby called home. What a shame it would be, if blood were to shed upon such a place.

But, Quail and Wildflower - two faces Kindle is vaguely familiar with, having seen them pass through the area a fair amount of times - are talking to the flame-point he assumes is the leader of the group of newcomers, so... maybe the lot aren't so bad?

White paws cautiously step forward, heading closer to the crowd. His ears catch onto the leader's words - words of family and friends, of looking out for each other. The thought of such a group is intriguing, and the tom could use some more friends. But, the threat of battle still looms over the forest.

"So, this... ThunderClan..." Kindle starts, a hesitant tone in his voice, "You aren't... You aren't one of those fighting groups, are you? Two... Two groups fighting is enough, as is."
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It was warm here, and yet shaded all at once- what comfort to be found. Though his voice had not been raised in the cheering for ThunderClan, he was excited to be here all the same- and to be out of that bog. Hatred buzzed not through his veins for anyone involved in the conflict between his group and the pine cats, therefore the fact that his new home was going to be run by a pine cat was an issue that rolled off his shoulders as easy as water. They would be better off to forgive and forget- all had made mistakes in the heat of battle, which made them all even. He intended to stick by that opinion.

Uneven eyes flickered to their new leader, stood in the forest's dappling light. There was a fire about her, an enthusiasm any good leader required. She was the Spark that they all needed, an amicable face to make peace with the locals. It was rather interesting how many cats lived wild in these territories... was it truly safer to reside within a group?

A hesitant voice joined those greeting them, and Berry's hooded vision settled upon them. Fighting groups. It seemed news of their gruesome folly had reached the ears of even those who were not involved. "We're done fighting," Berry assured, tone as level and quiet as always. Politeness burned into his habits, he was sure to bow his head in greeting.
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Quail's words only fueled her eagerness. More than just being understanding of her misstep, the older molly seemed perfectly amicable to her clan moving in. This was better than she could have ever hoped for, better, even, than if the clearing had been completely empty! Not only were they getting a new home, they were getting two new friends along with it.

Then she mentioned the battle.

Ember's smile flickered.

It wasn't just Quail either, another loner arrived on the scene, asking directly if her clan was a part of all that. Her shoulder ached, as if the words reminded it that it should. Her words caught in her throat. She wanted to tell them that the bloodshed from her side had been in self defense, but how could she say that when the other side were now among her new clan's ranks? She wanted to tell them of the accord for peace they had made from dead cats in the stars, but how could she expect them to believe something so fantastic?

Berry found his voice before she did. Assuring the loners that the fighting was over. She tried to nod along. "Right! That's the point of spreading out into a bunch of groups like this, to make sure everyone isn't fighting over the same territory." It sounded so hollow a reassurance, even as she spoke it. She didn't like that. More than anything, she wanted there to be a reason her new friends should believe her that the terrible battle would not come to pass again. Somehow it felt like if they did, that would make it more true.

So she decided to be that reason.

"Nothing like that will happen in Thunderclan, not while I am leader." She promised loud enough for her whole clan to hear, voice filled with fiery conviction as she pulled herself up to her full height. Small as that height still was. It was an impossible pledge to keep, but that was fine by her. She intended to hold herself to it nonetheless.
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At his leader's signal to stand down, Leaf would scowl but silently obey, snorting softly in disapproval but sitting down and curling his tail around his paws nonetheless. The elder molly would speak to him, seeming to scold him but he would simply glare at her before looking away, biting his tongue and swallowing the razor-sharp retort he had been taught to give. No, he wasn't his father. He didn't have to snap at every cat.

His steel blue eyes flickered over to the younger molly who had quite literally hopped into the discussion but he would avoid eye contact with her as well, finding her chipper tone and Ember's enthusiasm grating on his already frayed nerves. Yes, yes, friendship and family and all that. Whatever they had to do to live here and start anew he would pledge to. no matter how ridiculous he found the sentiments.

Yet another new face would appear, a tom this time, asking if they had heard of the two warring groups and the scoff that left him was much more audible than he had intended. Luckily Berry and Ember spoke up, hopefully covering up his scoff and Leaf simply nodded once himself in agreement with their words.

He would watch Ember puff out her chest and stand tall and proud as she made a promise Leaf knew was much too risky to make, but a twinge of respect would turn in his chest as he blinked slowly. She may have promise yet.

"So..." Leaf would speak up finally, ears flattening against his skull in what would appear as frustration but in reality was nervousness, "Any chance we could hunt? I'm starving..."

*:・゚✧*:・゚✧ Quail flicks her tail in acknowledgement as Kindle arrives, and he asks a question she'd had burning on her mind as well. The war, of course, between those groups had reached their ears and stayed their paws. None of them had had any desire to partake in something that seemed so senseless.

A tortoiseshell with a sleepy expression explains that the fighting is over. Ember confirms this, that they're seeking a safe place for ThunderClan.

Quail glances at Kindle, at Wildflower, wondering if this was all too good to be true. But the young blue-eyed tom who had initially fluffed his fur up at her mutters something about hunting, and the older torbie brightens.

"Well, you're all in luck. This part of the forest is quite rich in prey during greenleaf. I suppose Wildflower, Kindle and I could show you some good hunting spots?" She looks to the flame point for permission, understanding implicitly who the leader of this ThunderClan is.

She can't help but feel drawn to the concept... and besides, if they're intent on settling down here anyway, what's the harm? They clearly aren't interested in driving the loners out. Quail thinks it's been some time since she's been around more than one or two cats at a time, and the idea... it's comforting, exhilarating, even. She does not invite herself to join, but she supposes if Ember wants her driven out at any point, she'll make it known..

A feeling of familiarity washed over Howling Wind as she followed her new leader throught he oak forest. It was partly because this is where she would often choose to hunt instead of the marsh, but also because she knew this is what home felt like. For seasons, she lived in that swamp, raised all of her kits there, took in Berry. She'd even watched one of her daughters give birth to her grandchildren there. These were new times, and she was ready for a fresh start. With her would be her family, all but one. Azalea had chosen to go to the river instead, and while the tabby was heartbroken, she knew she couldn't stop her granddaughter. They'd said their goodbyes, and now here they stood in a sandy ravine, tree stumps and ferns dotting the clearing. Home.

She watched silently as Ember greeted their unexpected neighbors, and what nervousness had been there faded away as she watched her leader make friends as easily as if she were hunting a mouse. Her gaze lingered on the flame point, surprised and thrilled all the same. She was already proving to be a diplomatic and respectable leader, unwilling to cause senseless bloodshed. Admiration swelled in the senior molly's chest and she found herself taking a few steps forward, greeting the strangers with a smile. "That sounds lovely," She mewed before looking towards Ember, wondering if she would approve.

Her promise seemed to satisfy everyone, at least for the moment, and she was glad for it. It made her feel like keeping that violence from returning was her responsibility, like it was something she controlled. That was a lot of pressure, sure, but it was leagues better than feeling powerless. That had been her overwhelming feeling during and after the battle, powerlessness. She wasn't going to feel that ever again, and neither would anyone else. Not if she could help it.

Leaf chimed back in to propose a hunt, and that sounded like a fine idea. Her new friends seemed to take to the suggestion too, offering to show hunting spots they knew. It was great, everyone was already getting along so well! Ember just smiled along as they all discussed it. There was a pause, a few moments of silence before she realized that everyone was looking at her. It took her another moment to realize why.

Ah. Leader. Right.

"That'd be great!" she hurried to add, giving a nod to Quail. "Lead the way!"
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