It may have been Newleaf, but the air seemed tainted somehow. The usual heady scents of blossoms didn't quite reach her the way they usually did. Swan loved the season; with it's riot of colors, it's renewal of life, it's warmth and light. Perhaps it was because they found themselves without a home to call their own, but while she was doing her best to keep up a bubbly image around her tribe mates, whenever she found herself alone she found herself utterly exhausted, her tail dragging and her shoulders heaving under an almost impossible weight.
Even doing what she had been born to do seemed of little help. While the amount of prey was definitely improving the farther away they moved from the destruction of Stonehome, she almost felt as if her paws were getting clumsy. She had been following the trail of a squirrel for some while, but upon finally spotting the creature gamboling about the undergrowth, her leap had carried her a foot too far, sending the rodent scurrying for cover.
"Foxdung!" She snapped; an odd show of anger for her, seeing as she was usually the last to curse any sort of situation. She dug her paws into the muddy soil as she braced herself, shoulders shaking. This needed to stop. The Tribe needed her - needed all of them -
They had already...they had lost so much.
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Newly named Ravenbranch was having a difficult time adjusting to clan life. The territory seemed unfamiliar, unwelcoming, and he would never fully accept it as his home. He only had one home, and that was in ruins.
Nonetheless, he felt his happiness restored to its highest levels whenever he bounced around the fields with his beautiful mate, savoring every moment he could with her. So much had been lost, yet he believed that this was their chance to begin again, turn over a fresh leaf and leave behind their previous misfortunes. And he wasn't thinking about the sense of the tribe, either. He was thinking about kits. Ravenbranch wasn't focused whatsoever at the task at hand, instead, he was dwelling on the thought of offspring. His own kits, new kits, new life, newleaf, it would be perfect. He knew he couldn't talk to Swan about it yet considering she seemed a little more on edge than usual, but with time she would hopefully cool off.
"It's okay, dear," he purred soothingly, stepping over to her in one stride and rubbing his tail atop her back in a calming gesture, "no need to fret, everything will be fine."
With that, he licked her head and moved away for a moment, dipping his nose into a bush and finding a wounded rabbit within it. He nipped it easily, raising his head back up and showing her his success in an attempt to make her a little happier.
Despite her age, Swan knew that she was acting childish over not catching something. Uncharacteristically bitter, she scuffed her paws in the dirt before she was reminded that was hardly the proper way to act. A voice of reason - one that sounded remarkably like her mother's even after all this time after her death, chided her: now, that's no way for any self-respecting Queen to act! Have you no sense of pride, of honor? A good hunter never need get their paws needlessly dirty.
She was shaken out of her own thoughts - as was often the case - by Raven. Or rather, Ravenbranch, she supposed. It was still so odd to her to use the truncated, compound names of the clans. She had been Swan for so long that she often found herself now taking several moments to answer to Swanstream - despite it being something she had, admit reluctantly, agreed to be known as. The addage was true that it was harder to teach and old cat new tricks.
Oh, but she wasn't old! She reasoned. Neither she or Raven were. Maybe there was a little more white fur growing in the patches around her markings than there once was, and when she looked at Raven there wasn't quite that same spring in his step. But they were still the same cats they were. They had survived so much hardship, and so much joy; raised three litters together. She could surely get through anything if he was at her side. Even a new name did little to change her feelings about him.
"At least you've managed to keep your head, " She mumbled, still angry at having lost what would have been welcomed meat on an easy kill. It took her less than a moment though, to eventually relax against his touch, nuzzling him and carefully licking a bit of blood from the end of his muzzle. "We won't go completely hungry tonight, at least. We can be thankful for that, I suppose..."
She trailed off, her attention grabbed by something unseen and not really of the physical world, losing herself to her own thoughts and worries, comfortable in the moment, of at least being close to Raven...branch.
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Ravenbranch found himself a little bit unreasonably annoyed at how Swanstream still seemed a bit ticked off, but he just shook away the thoughts around it and just nuzzled his mate for a moment, lost in her beauty and how lucky he was to have her. She and still was so kind to him, so perfect for him, after all these moons at his side. After all those litters and losses, Swanstream had kept lifting up his spirits and kept him happy no matter what.
"Swan...stream, I love you so much," he whispered, trying to cheer her up as he groomed her neck gently between whispers, "and you are still so perfect for me, so wonderful... so beautiful. Our little one isn't so little anymore, but rather a warrior. Finally, we have no one to care for. But I don't like that feeling. I want another litter, Swanstream. I want more beautiful little kits to watch over as they grow into fine young warriors. It's the perfect season to have them, but I understand if you don't want more than three litters. This time, if you're willing to have them, I will do everything in my power to keep our little ones from harm. So, Swanstream, my beautiful mate, are you willing to go back to the nursery, knowing you will have my kits?"
He gazed down at her with a sweet little smile, purring softly as he rubbed his tail along her back. Ravenbranch hoped dearly that she wouldn't turn him down, but then again it was her decision. He wanted more kits badly, but he'd get by if Swanstream didn't wish to have kits, as she would be the one carrying them around for two moons and then being stuck in the nursery for six more moons with tiny parasites crawling over her, away from her beloved pre- warrior duties. It was her decision, but from the look on her face, he found that he didn't need to be optimistic to think that she was going to say yes.
Over the years, Swan knew that she had always, and would always, love Ravenbranch. He was her first friend, her first mate - several times over. It was an odd thing for some cats to stay in love for so long, but even as she worried about losing herself, her kits, several losses - he had always stayed by her. They had even lost their home, lost their livelihood, most of their older children. Out of several litters they had two remaining children and so much heartbreak - but they were still there, and together.
"Ravenbranch, I..." She faltered for a moment, even as she pressed herself closer to his comforting touch. The world had all but been destroyed around their ears, but he was right. They were still here. And truth be told as much as she was a pre- a warrior now, she had always felt the most at home with little ones by her side. With a close-knit family, the little kits that sought her for protection, she felt at home. She felt right.
"Of course." The darkness in her expression finally seemed to lift a little bit, the glimmer of hope that she could be what she loved and bring some sense into the world again lightening her expression. "Only...if you think...if you still think we could...so much has changed...."
She was older, stiffer. Hardly old enough to be considered elderly, but they were no spring kits either.
But maybe with there help there would be a few more.
Carried Home is a Warriors roleplay forum. We feature four clans - all four of which have futures that heavily depend on what your characters do - as well as a 50 word count minimum on RP posts, and a functioning currency and shop.
While most of the action does center around our four clans, members are also permitted to make loners, rogues, and kittypets. You can also make both StarClan and Dark Forest characters.