A dark figure weaved through the trees. The shadow would appear and reappear in an inconsistent manner. It was almost as if the being was searching for something. After a few moments, it paused in thought. Suddenly, it pounced and a squeal cut through the silence of the forest. The dark figure lifted its victim and then disappeared again.
Shadestar emerged out of the brush and into the camp with a mouse clamped tightly in his jaws. He trotted happily over to the freshkill pile and dropped the prey into it. The leader took a step back in surprise when he saw how little the clan had. He knew they were small, but his newly caught mouse was one of the two pieces. I would have hunted for longer if I had known we were so low.. He thought to himself and shifted his paws in worry.
The black tom squinted his eyes in contemplation. He could go back out hunting or he could organize a patrol to go out. He hesitated. No, I think I'd rather go out by myself. But before he could do anything, the tom saw a feather drift in front of his eyes and his focus was taken from him entirely.
Rowanfall placed the bird on the ground, a stray feather or two tumbling from his mouth is a less than dignified way as he did. "I thought some feathers would be good for the nursery, but now that I think about it... our nursery is rather quiet this season." The tom's gaze wandered over to the nursery den, faintly remembering a time when it had been bustling with shrieking kits and tired queens. Rowanfall hadn't quite appreciated the disturbance to his sun naps then, but with such a quiet camp he was almost certain he'd be willing to make the trade.
"Maybe I could find some use for them in the medicine cat den? I've been meaning to come up with some clever uses for our clan-- not just the feathers I mean." The siamese tom offered a lopsided grin, hoping to ease any of the leaders burden. He had seen the worry in the tom's golden eyes; a worry Rowanfall was sure was reflected in his own.
Their clan wasn't necessarily on bad terms with the others, but they also didn't go out of their way to build close friendships. Out of all the clans, Smokeclan seemed the most removed.... and there might come a time in future seasons where they might regret having gone down such a path. Being secluded meant not always having the help they might need dropped at their paws. And Rowanfall hated the idea of asking for anything from anyone...ever.
Slinking out of the warrior's den, Duskrunner noticed Shadestar and Rowanfall standing in the clearing of the camp. Her belly grumbled as she noticed that the camp's entire supply of freshkill can be carried by a couple of cats. Duskrunner sighed; the pile was as small as the camp was quiet. Maybe some hunting would entice her clanmates, and adding more prey to the camp's stockpile wouldn't hurt at all. She started heading over to the two toms, overhearing Rowanfall's comments about the feathers drifting from his bird.
"Well, you can always stick a few of them in your pelt, the way Twolegs like to put things all over their arms and head fur," Duskrunner joked. "Then you can start flirting with the birds too, and catch them that way instead." Noticing the familiar faraway look in Shadestar's eyes, she gently flicked her tail against his shoulder and added, "A hunting patrol would gather more prey, though. Should I organize one and take them out?"
The tom huffed in laughter, the fur along his chest ruffling with pride. "Oh yes, how did you think I caught it? I'd never stoop so low as to use my paws instead of my wit and charm." Rowanfall however did NOT want to admit that he HAD been considering using such things for more vain purposes. Just that morning he had been wondering at ways he could make his fur softer and glossier. Not that he would ever have a mate who would appreciate it, but Rowanfall just liked to look the best.
"Besides, if I used anything else for ornamentation you might just faint on the spot. Then you'd be useless to us and we can't have that." He mused, a joking gleam in his bright blue eyes.
Secretly, the medicine cat had been hoping the deputy's arrival would perk their leader up. Duskrunner had a way of taking control of things that made other's burdens seem smaller. Her offer to make a patrol would be useful for sure, and might offer Shadestar a chance at being a normal cat--just a tom hunting side by side with his clanmates.
Shadestar had been listening....but also not listening. The feather slowly drifted from in front of his face and down to the ground. His eyes followed it and he had to hold back every ounce of his being not to jump on it. For a moment, he thought of being a kit again. So carefree and innocent. A kit could bat at a feather and look adorable, but if Shadestar did the same it would be undignified. He sighed to himself. If only.
He was only snapped back into reality once Duskrunner had flicked him with her tail. "Yes! A patrol would be fantastic!" He said a little too loudly as if he had been paying attention to his clan-mate's conversation the whole time. Shadestar coughed in uncomfortableness once he realized he was acting like a fool and averted his eyes. "I only mean.. yes.. we need more prey."
Duskrunner tilted her head slightly at the note of discomfort in his voice, but decided to pass it off as being concerned for the Clan. "I'd ask you who I should take, but..." She gestured around the empty clearing with her tail. "I'd rather the camp not be without too few warriors to help defend it in case something happens. Regardless, we're going to need to make some semblance of a freshkill pile."
She wondered if Shadestar or even Rowanfall would go out with her to catch something for the Clan. For the time being, all paws are needed to keep the cats alive -- both figuratively and literally.
Rowanfall held in his laughter only barely, able to contain it to a mere whiskers twitch at the two cat's exchange. There was something endearing about it, but Rowanfall didn't want his laughter to be misread as malicious. Instead he stretched forward, rolling his broad shoulders as he did. The tom had never known his father, but he assumed he must have gotten his build from him. What he remembered of his mother anymore was soft tabby fur and bright green eyes-- at the time she had seemed giant, but looking back he supposed she must have been a rather small she-cat.
"I could join your hunting patrol if you need more cats. If I nap much more I'd be too devastatingly handsome for anyone to function," he teased. Rowanfall knew he came off as arrogant, and he was just fine with that. It made him almost gleeful to see cats roll their eyes or huff, mostly because he knew it rarely actually bothered his clan mates. "And if I see any herbs I might just pick some up as well--do my job and such," he smirked.
Duskrunner rolled her eyes and huffed, but she kept her fur flat and her ears relaxed. The dark faced tabby always meant well, keeping his flirts and jabs as light as the feathers drifting in the slightest breeze; as a matter of fact, she picked up some of his jokemaking skills throughout their apprenticeships, though she would never admit it. Yet while Rowanfall was a talented medicine cat, he overstepped his boundaries just a few mouselengths more often than he should, given his position in the Clan.
"More like if you nap too much you'll miss more opportunities to tease some poor she-cat before she remembers your duty to your Clanmates," she retorted. Trying to remember to keep her tone light, she added, "but I'll bet all the mice and the squirrels will just swoon at your feet."
Shadestar glanced between the two of them. He knew that it was harmless bickering, but he still decided to step between the two cats. "Rowanfall, we all know you're attractive. That's enough." The leader mewed with a chuckle. He turned to Duskrunner. "I think it's a good idea for the three of us to go on a patrol. You and I can hunt while Rowanfall looks for herbs."
Shadestar nodded and began to walk off. "It's about time this clan did something productive." He was just kidding, of course.
(I guess we can just continue it in this thread??? up to yall)
Duskrunner felt a wave of relief as Shadestar took control again. "Sounds like a plan. The Sky Tree hasn't seen much activity lately; we could probably start there and work our way back to camp," she replied. For once, the emptiness of the camp benefited their hunting agenda for the day. "Do you want to take lead, or should I?"
(either is fine by me but i just punched rowanfall in the stomach in my thread so i want that recorded into canon)