ALWAYS ASCENDING ; nine lives ceremony

  • A dark face parted through the plumes of breath. Moon eyes set into a velvet brown looked onward, splitting realities revealing the future to come, starlight danced across the dew-strewn lands refracting and magnifying through beads glistening with nighttime's luster. He couldn't feel much other than an empty stomach and the emotions that had welled at it's pit. A terrible anticipation that clung to his bones, it settled over him, a foreign fear, of the intangible morrow. He felt at odds with himself as he traveled through the mystic, dark lands. He had little idea where he was in relation to the other clans, all that he felt in certainty was the dryness of the moorlands against his aching paws while the pair came upon it.

    Waiting for him, a stoic being, was the darkness of mothermouth. Where leaders were born. Nerves trembled at the sight of the cave, the blackness that awaited him, with the thickness of ink, it terrified him. Only kits are afraid of the dark.

    He waded through the darkness, an ocean of fixed shadows that wrapped him in black silk. He felt like a kit, oblivious to the future that lingered ahead, an impressionist painting of abstract truths, tides that could sway any which way, commanded by the tip of his tongue. The influence of hegemony was an offshore feeling that left him severely daunted at the prospect, forsaken to him by someone who claimed to have trusted him but vanished into the unknown, leaving him untrained, inexperienced with the complexities of leadership. And here he came, now, long whiskers sending sensations twitching through the fine muscles of his muzzle and face. A wall to his left, he tasted cautiously, previous uncertainty resolved by the evenness of the cavern's floor. The correct tunnel.

    A silvery blue sliced through the ink, ahead lay the moonstone, a glistening rock, towering over him. He had been skeptical of it's existence but it was impossible to be now, unbearably brilliant and overwhelmingly beautiful, the luminosity pierced through his eyes and cast his meek existence into the complexion of starlight. He could feel himself melting into the dazzling glow, unsteadily navigating through the white, it was almost as numbing as the pitch that lingered at his heels. With his tender vision ripped apart by the extremities of light and dark, he leaned into the source, a chill speared through his face, and his nose pressed into the stone. A tiredness swept across his drained bodice, and he fell to the ground, consumed by the obscurity of slumber, awaited by the faces of the ascended.










    /in no particular order <3

  • Cliffpaw had been frightened when he opened his eyes to find himself not in his nest having just woken from a bad dream, but rather in a starry land shrouded by mist- a nightscape lit gently by the moon. When he saw the first cat to greet him, stars in their pelt and shining in their eyes, he knew where he was. Dead, lost forever in the sky, so far from the cats he knew and loved. It was terrifying, but then so had life been. Maybe there was no escape from his anxiety, even in death.

    Funnily enough, he felt somewhat at peace here and now in the moment. After all the weeks he'd spent away from his friends and family, surrounded mainly by cats he couldn't recognize but some who seemed to recognize him, it was comforting to see a familiar face. Gladefall- Gladestar soon, he supposed. Finch's friend, a good warrior. A good leader. Cliffpaw stepped forward, head low.

    "Gladefall..." he greeted the tom, elegant even in the company of stars. "It's good to see you, though... I guess this means something happened to Twistedstar, huh?" Light green eyes, once similar to grass but now more akin to peridot with the way they shone, averted downward. His chest filled with a deep breath, released in a slow, almost sorrowful exhale. He wished he could see Finch, or Blue, or Pearl like this. In front of him, so close he could touch them.

    "I guess I can go first, then," he said, straightening his posture to stand at full height and meet Gladefall's eyes, appearing almost confident for a moment- something that had never happened to him in life. "Gladefall- uh, star- with this life I give you caution." He seemed to shrink back down at the word, confidence escaping as he remembered how he died. "For all the fear I held and still hold it didn't keep me from going out and foolishly getting myself killed." His eyes, locked on Glade's own silvery hues, seemed to plead with the warrior as his voice took on a somber tone. "Please... use it to make good decisions. Keep yourself and the clan... and Finch safe. And when you get back, please tell her I miss her- and that I'm sorry."

    With nothing else to say, Cliffpaw nodded his head in deference to the new leader of Riverclan and stepped back into line with the other Starclan cats. Perhaps if Gladestar did relay his message, it could provide some comfort to his friend.

    Oh, how he wished he could do it himself.

  • Heatherbloom had never been called on to give a life to a leader-to-be. She had missed the ceremony of Moonstar, passed over in favour of those whose gifts would help the silver tabby in her journey as ThunderClan's head. When she felt the unfamiliar tug towards a stranger, she hesitated, ears flattening momentarily as she saw quasi-familiar forms gather around a tom who smelled of fish and wet fur. A RiverClanner? How strange.

    Remaining silent for a moment, she watched as Cliffpaw stepped forward to give the life of caution, observing the transfer with keen verdant eyes. It looked painful on the pointed leader, but the medicine cat knew that it was a necessary evil in the path of a leader. What she was not expecting was the spotlight to turn to her when the young tom sat back down. Embarrassment raked over her form but she squashed it in favour of standing up.

    "Gladefall." She meowed, and there was a glimmer of warmth in her empty green eyes as she stepped forward. "I don't expect that you'd remember me; my name is Heatherbloom. I served as medicine cat under Blackstar, about six moons ago." She took a breath, trying to find the words to convey the gift she planned to pass on.

    "When I was promoted to the rank of medicine cat, our Clans were on the verge of war, my own suffering famine in the wake of a BloodClanner lighting our territory on fire. Your own was barely better off with the river frozen. I had nowhere to turn, with an apprentice of my own to train-- but with no knowledge to do so. Then I met Rootlegs." The lilac tabby took a deep breath. "He offered his help to Heatherpaw and I despite the tensions, and has trained my apprentice in my absence. I was wary at first, but I see that accepting his help was the best choice I've made." She tilted her head slightly, ruefully.

    "With this life, I give you trust." She touched her nose to the leader's forehead. He would feel fear, apprehension, the exhilaration of facing the unknown that tightened a cat's throat and muddied their mind. But he would also feel faith, the faith that would allow Gladefall to place his trust in his Clan and those who would help them. "While RiverClan is strong and clever, the best source of help may not always come from within your Clan. Know when to recognise that. Putting your faith in others is not always the worst of ideas."

    She went to step back into the crowd, but she hesitated. The look she offered Gladefall - soon to be Gladestar - was warmer this time. "Tell Rootlegs I said thank you."



    — starclan | ex-medicine cat | storage | played by wren —

  • hadn't he just done this? a young boy of snow and stars would settle a citrine gaze on the hickory dusted man before them. where was twistedstar? she wasn't here, that was for sure. not with him. the sobriety of realization darkened his eyes of stained glass. she had gone off somewhere. had she abandoned riverclan? that wasn't like her. that wasn't his old mentor.

    "gladefall," asterpaw greeted curtly. "you're early." he took to his paws and crossed the distance to come face to face with the new leader. a disappointed sigh escaped his maw, and he dropped his gaze in favor of looking at absolutely nothing. "i won't lie and tell you that i'm particularly happy to see you. twistedstar's reign was not meant to be this short." eyes ablaze with anger would come to meet those of hidden fear. a tut. "you aren't ready for this. we all know it. but..." he glanced to the celestial beings around him then back to the boy. the new leader. "none of us would be here if we didn't believe in you. i know you will do the best for riverclan... i mean it.

    "and so, i give you the same life i gave the leader before you. the life i will give the leader after you. i gift you with the life of candor. unconditional honesty." he could remember the words he told the tabby warrior, and a pang of sorrow softened him. he missed her. "to your clan. to your advisers. to yourself."

    his voice was unfamiliar, closed; there were little no emotions to be shared between them. that was how he preferred. how he lived. "when your clan looks to you, you owe them the truth, free from reservation. when you lead, you must know yourself. your limits. your morals. you cannot lie. you cannot hide. falsify and your clan will turn against you, fear you, distrust you. i give you the life of candor. they deserve the truth. always." he dipped his head once to the man in parting. the embers that heated his gaze slowly fizzled out just as they had the night he died. seemed like so long ago now. "don't let our family down." he would take his place among the dead once more, the stars that formed his being desperate to rejoin starpelt. soon, soon.

  • ★ ★ ★ and so had came the twisted form of palepaw, a boy gone too soon. far, far too soon. his pelt was a pale sky scattered with even paler stars, and his horrid scars had never faded despite his untimely death, and yet...a smile was upon pale. a true, genuine, and soft grin as he had watched gladefall receive his lives. from cliffpaw, to heatherbloom, and then asterpaw. he wished to cry, for he never would have expected to see gladefall until he had passed as well. nonetheless, the apprentice had watched carefully, eye a constant burn from the threat of spilling over. he didn't think that he would be called upon to give a life, let alone a life to glade. yet, he was glad. he got to see the tom one last time, despite their limited interactions. he had always looked up to him, that he could not lie.

    slowly, the pale-furred felidae had limped over, arriving before the dark-masked man. "hello again, glade. it's been long, hasn't it?" a soft song as he had started, a nervous feeling deep in his core as he had looked over to the others. they seemed to do it perfectly, and yet he knew that they all experienced the same feeling. they had to, right? "i must thank you first, for making riverclan a home for me. i looked up to you, and it took my death realize it. i wish i were half of the cat you are." he had paused, swallowing the emotions that were rising and forcing his grin to stay upon his gentle lips. this must be done. for what is, is what must be. "i trust you will only bring riverclan further into the light, into happiness and blooming smiles. please, give them the leader they deserve. someone they can put their trust in, to always count on and rely on. do not abandon your people, i beg of you." another gulp has the one-eyed boy had taken a step back and taken a deep breath.

    it felt as if he had given up another part of himself, but this one was pain free and carried no ache. "with this life, i give you compassion. use it wisely, and remember that a guarded heart may be free from pain, but also free from love. i look forward to your reign, dear gladestar." compassion was something pale had in large amounts, but he was careless with it. before the mauled boy could turn and hide back into the stars, he had halted. staring back at glade with regret blooming within him. "i must ask, for i have failed so many...but please...please take care of harepaw for me. be someone for her, someone i couldn't be. tell her i miss her." and in those fading, choked words, the boy had moved away from glade. to rejoin his fellow fallens and watch once more, forever waiting. forever crying until the day he can hold his sister to him once more.

    -- oh, worm?

    sin squad -- a foolish bastard

  • The calico molly was not of StarClan. She came from a heaven far, far away. She died not only moons, but years ago, by the gorge where she settled with her loner-born children. Her presence swayed the stars as she moved, placing each paw forwards with grace and might. She was welcome in the Clan of stars, despite never having any connection to it when she was still alive. Today, they welcomed her to give a life to a new leader, Gladefall, soon to be Gladestar, of RiverClan, the border upon which she had perished. She stepped into the clearing, bold amber hues beaming like suns as they met the tom's silver moons.

    "Gladefall," She greeted, "I am Flutter of Singing Blackbird. I come from the Tribe of Endless Hunting, but StarClan has allowed me to grant you a life. With this life, I give you patience. Time is both a friend and a foe. Patience teaches you to take advantage of what you have. Should you stumble upon a difficult decision, do not make haste to please your Clan. Think. Breathe. Listen. Wait. Use it wisely, for it will be a great aid should you need it." Blackbird pressed her nose against Gladefall's forehead, "Take care of my little Raven. Take care of your Clan. Take care of your loved ones and treasure them well."

    It had truly been a long wait to finally meet someone who she could speak through to those who lived in the Clans, but it was worth it. The rush that flooded her would be shared with the tom, both foreigners in this afterlife. It burned like fire, a warm sunlight that had cast itself upon the earth, giving her light. It was the joy of finally becoming apprenticed, growing up, forming friendships and allies who could support and be supported throughout life. All they had to do was wait, and fate would take its course. She stepped back, giving him one final glance before the starry mountains called her back.

    "speaking in #fed8b1"

    - tags -

  • Her boy. Boy grown. His shining eyes full of the sun and moon and stars, bones and muscles swayed by hardship but never, ever torn or broken. She'd remembered his body in life, still a bit smaller than now, battered and bruised and shivering despite the strength that lay beneath the skin. Now, in the light of StarClan, his mother could see that he had finally stepped in to fit it.

    Her eyes were filled with the proudest of tears.

    The formalities of the ceremony were familiar enough, though fogged by time, fine granules piecing themselves together to form some kaleidoscopic image: shivering little she-cat, barely a warrior, let alone someone fit to lead; plump and ugly and terrified of violence and loud winds and looking others in the eye. Gladef-- well, soon to be Gladestar, couldn't be further from what she'd been. He'd dragged himself out of the milky darkness of terror and grief and while there was still more to come, he was fully able to meet it. His shape, always larger than hers, gleamed like a beacon in the shifting light of the starlit landscape: power built on a lifetime of hard learning and a deep, unstoppable flame of the love. He was smart-- he always had been, brilliant boy-- but his greatest strength had always been the ferocious empathy that framed his every action, every darting glance and tentative step. It would serve him beyond measure.

    She broke through the crowd and approached, not as a superior, but a comrade in arms and the mother that she had grown to be for him, the tears now falling, twinkling and gentle. The steps of a moth. She looked as she had before she'd lost her lives in quick succession: slipping somewhat gracefully into old age, the soft wrinkles about her eyes, the white frost upon her muzzle and brow. Eyes like brimming suns. Formality cast aside. Her round face had collapsed into a clumsy smile, rueful and warm, like the feeling of dappled spring sunlight, as she embraced him, her starry pelt pressing into his, hot tears falling like raindrops on to his pelt, before she drew away, blinking away the water still threatening to spill from her eyelids. She spoke, quiet and tentative and rumbling, like gentle thunder rising from her chest. She didn't need to say the words to be heard. I love you, my son.

    "I held some grudges, didn't I, Glade?" she didn't laugh, but a spot of tooth showed with a twitch of her lip. "Against everyone under the sun. My family." Owldapple, for leaving her and her sister until they were old enough to find him again. Cougarstar, for... everything. "My Clanmates. Other Clans, the river, the land, the dead." memories twisted in her peripheral vision, but the only thing she could see clearly was the gleaming shape of her son's face. "Myself." she saw so much of herself in him that it couldn't help but sting. "But you can't hold on to them. It took me a long, long life to see that. They'll eat you alive." she shifted on her feet, standing up a little taller.

    "With this life, I give you forgiveness. Use it well, and be generous with it. Forgive your friends, your foes, the branch that tripped you and the muddy ground beneath your feet." her eyes pleaded with him. Dire lessons. "Forgive yourself." she stretched forward to touch her nose to his forehead. The life felt like bleeding out. Then, the wounds knitting themselves back together. Whole.

    She gazed at him for centuries, or maybe only a few moments, and stepped back into the crowd.

    (so sorry i'm late so much)