To claim that Lavenderstar was loved would have been the understatement of the century. Despite how unpopular she was amongst other Clans for defending the actions of her Clan in a gathering, SkyClan loved her unconditionally, adored her for everything she did and everything she put into looking after SkyClan. There was no way she would be forgotten, not in Juniperthorn's lifetime, even whilst she lived amongst the stars. It had never occurred to him that he could become deputy one day- he'd never pained himself a candidate, yet she'd advocated for either he, Moth or Kestrel to become SkyClan's next deputy. It had been a terribly strange thing to witness, and even now he did not think himself to be in the same leagues as those two.

    Perhaps if he ever became leader he would get to see her again.

    Hearing the call for a hunting patrol, Juniperthorn sighed, rolling his eyes of grey green when no-one was watching. He hated hunting yet there was nothing else to do. Stars above, why did it always have to be hunting?

    Still, doing something he despised with his entire being could... help, possibly. To drag his mind away from all the sorrow hanging around camp like a disease, he might as well do something. "I'll come too. I have nothing better to do." he said in a low tone, monotonous and thick with masked emotions, the likes of which were likely rather difficult to figure out.

    It was clear everyone hated to have to do this as much as he did, and in a way he felt selfish and guilty for exempting himself from having to deliver such news. Though, no-one criticised him for it... perhaps they understood? Everyone always thought that the pain of a mother losing their child was the worst pain imaginable, but Juniperthorn would advocate to say that the pain of a child losing his mother was even worse. Perhaps he was being self-centred upon refusing to go, though... he would stick by his words. He was a man of his word, if anything.

    Inexplicably the indecisiveness of everyone irritated him, only because he didn't want to think too much. But this was his duty, right? As a senior warrior it was his job to make decisions- he couldn't let everyone else do that for him. He had been promoted by his mother, and now he would do anything to prove to everyone that he was as worthy of this position as the others who held it. "Okay," he hummed, fictive brows knitting together as his gaze washed over each cat.

    Hurricanegaze. Despite being his mother's apprentice, he and the other hadn't ever really spoken properly. Juniperthorn himself attributed this to his own irritable demeanour, a cause for Cane to avoid him. It wasn't an animosity, just... a grey relationship. Sleet, a newcomer, shy in her demeanour and someone whom Juniperthorn had again never spoken to directly, except for when she had joined. Perhaps his social life had gone off of the deep end, recently. Maplepaw, his niece, and Lavenderstar's grandchild. One of the youngest people to carry her blood- and he was rather fond of her, though he'd never tell her that- a part of him didn't want to send her along for fear she may feel as much pain as he did. But as Kestrelswoop spoke, Juniperthorn would nod to his colleague, acceptant. It would be unfair for Maplepaw to miss this part of her training, a horrible lesson that every cat would have to face one day. Kestrelswoop was another one Juniperthorn wordlessly respected- the two of them didn't have much in terms of a relationship, but somewhere inside Juni thought the two of them would get along rather well. Perhaps, in this grieving, it would bring them all closer together.

    And then there was the matter of Arcticwind- a cat he adored, yet a cat who he could not understand. He regretted telling her so more than anything he'd ever done, regretted it massively... yet he could not find the words to tell her so. With a pleading look in his eyes he would lock gazes with her for a few fleeting moments, hoping somehow she'd understand. I am in pain. That's why I push you away. echoed a plea within his mind. That she wouldn't go back on her feelings because of things he had said when he was in pain. Juniperthorn, so terrified of being hurt, drove away anyone who might have loved him because they too had the potential to hurt him.

    "Kestrelswoop- you, Maplepaw, Sleetshade and Hurricanegaze will go to WindClan. Arcticwind, you will accompany Mothshine and one other to RiverClan. Wait until Heronswoop gets back to go to RiverClan- I imagine she'll probably want to visit." he said, nodding. Still, he hoped Mothshine wouldn't get upset that he had sent her to RiverClan- the last thing he wanted was to cause her more pain, on the off chance she'd run into Finchblossom. His eyes rove the cats gathered in search of her approval.

    / this got SO long i'm sorry ;w;

    So, he'd promised Heronswoop he would do this as she had left- and his mind, on workaholic mode simply to distract himself- had gotten him straight onto that duty. With a solemnity about his demeanour he padded toward the centre of camp, eyes holding double the amount of fatigue they had done before his mother's passing. It was still... terribly hard to believe the fact she was gone, let alone accept it. He didn't believe he could do it, go around to their allies and inform them of Lavenderstar's fate. Seeing condolences from cats who had never known her, never heard her talk, and whom had only had an impression of her through political talks. They could not grieve the way he could, and he decided he wouldn't even attempt to see them try.

    "Apprentices and warriors of SkyClan," he said, his voice thick with professionalism, masking the tremble and the sadness within his tone. "We need patrols put together to inform our allies of Lav-" his voice hitched, and he began again, "-of the change in leadership. I want no more than four cats on each patrol. Kestrelswoop and Mothshine will lead the patrols- they can choose which one. I will be staying behind to make sure none of you set the place on fire." People would know why, he didn't have to explain it. Why would a leader's son want to go around and inform cats he did not know of his mother's death?

    / .Mothshine.   kestrelswoop   HURRICANEGAZE

    1. mothshine
    2. arcticwind
    4. heronstar
    1. kestrelswoop
    2. maplepaw

    3. hurricanegaze

    4. sleet

    Was it a surprise to anyone that he couldn't sleep that night? Granted, he didn't think anyone would expect him to. His mother had died that day, and they had laid her to rest, and as much as he tried to move on... he found himself stuck, paws bound with steel to the ground below him, ground that barely felt real anymore. How could he accept reality when the reality was that Lavenderstar was dead?

    Really, he expected it of himself to be more vengeful. More frustrated that nothing had been attempted- no-one had even tried to save her. Yet, he knew that there was nothing anyone could have done- it was too late for her, even before that morning. She had known, he was sure. She had known and hid it from her Clan, selfless as always, because she didn't want them to worry for her. That was his mother, in the end- she gave everything for SkyClan, lived and died with them around her. For someone not born into SkyClan, no Clanborn warrior could have done better.

    Facing the direction of the southern border where she had been buried, Juniperthorn sat at the edge of camp, his kinked tail idly swinging to and fro as cold, empty eyes of green stared into the dark mist ahead. Everything ached- his head, his throat, his heart, his limbs- he felt as if he could crawl into his mother's grave beside her and stay there forever, never wanting to live in a world where she wasn't around. That was what shattered his soul the most, really- the reality that now he had to face a world without her. A cruel uncaring world, without his mother at his side.

    He wasn't the first cat to lose their mother and he wouldn't be the last. For everyone it was a devastating thing, something that tore you apart from the inside, or so he'd heard. Really, the boy had wanted to believe it was an overdramatisation, that losing one's mother would not be so ungodly painful. Yet here he sat, barely able to move, shocked and grieving because his mother was dead- his mother was dead and there was nothing he could do about it. Juniperthorn was not the only cat in pain, he knew that. Yet he couldn't resist being entirely selfish in his grief, not bothering to check on anybody else. Besides, he could not take the burden of the pain of another whilst carrying this much agony beneath his own skin. Hearing how much she'd meant to everyone else made him feel even worse, for a reason he could not explain.

    Ah, it was just his mind being foolish, yet again. Perhaps someone would tell him to go to bed, because it would make him feel better- but Juniperthorn didn't know what 'better' was anymore.

    / .Mothshine. hope this is ok! <3

    When the light had faded from his mother's eyes, he had been speechless- not in the sense that he didn't know what to say, but the sense that words refused to leave his throat. Every time he tried to speak, a rasped sob would shudder from his maw; and even if he had succeeded in talking, it wouldn't have been anything meaningful. Probably pathetic begging- begging for her not to leave, begging for someone to do something, even though it was too late. She had crawled up to his side, died pressed up against him, and he had stayed until she was no longer warm, stunned and silent. And even though he had tried so hard to let her last words to him remain in his head, his mind had been so hazy that he had barely been able to take it in.

    Something about being proud. About beating her in children. About even becoming deputy. About having a long life ahead of them- but Juniperthorn could not imagine a life without her there, he could not think about the future now. All he could think about was the present, the horrible current reality that his mother was dead and now he was sat here staring over her grave, trying with great futility to remember the last things she had ever said to him.

    The words others spoke were static against his head, having no meaning in hissers. He didn't want to hear any voice that did not belong to his mother; though that gentle voice he longed to hear was one now buried beneath the ground. Would he be marked insensitive, emotionless, if he did not speak? Surely people could tell by the way his face stayed motionless, not a scowl nor a furrow to be seen, that he felt utterly broken. Yes, it was a cliché to say so- but he couldn't think of any other word, any other way to articulate how he felt.

    "Lavenderstar was my mother, for the two cats that don't know," he said, choking out the words. Another joke about how many damn siblings he had. "I am lucky enough to carry her blood, though... in a way, everyone here carries her blood. Everyone who had the pleasure of knowing Lavenderstar has a part of her within them, a part of her that will live on through generations. It is our job to make sure she does not go forgotten." Was he being too vague? Too forceful...?

    Maybe he should talk more about what she meant to him, specifically. Yet... he found it difficult to define his feelings properly with words. He hadn't planned everything, never wanting to believe this would happen, and now it had he still could not fathom it. "Mom meant a lot to me. Helped me through... hardships when I was a kit, built me up when I'd been torn down, and shut me up when I needed to stop talking. She's with the other half of our family, now. I hope she's happy there."

    As much as he believed in Heronswoop and wished her well, a part of himself wished he would never see the day she became leader. Heronstar meant no Lavenderstar, and his mother had been so undeniably close to him, a cat who understood him in a way few did, that he didn't know if he could handle a SkyClan with no Lavenderstar. He had never known a SkyClan without her, never seen the days before she joined. She was his mother, after all- it was because of her that he was here, because of here that he stood amongst this Clan as a loyal warrior.

    Yet... unexpectedly, he did not find himself angry at Heronswoop. He had, for the last few hours, believed that the moment Heronswoops left to the moonstone would be the moment he began to despise her for daring to stand where his mother stood. But instead, he was proud. Proud that Heronswoop would get to reign SkyClan, proud that the cat whom his mother had believed so fit for the job would get to lead them. And, most of all, he was proud that she trusted him enough, even in this state, to look after the Clan, even if it was alongside Mothshine and Kestrelswoop.

    Sadness still lingered behind his eyes, and he did not react with anger to Charcoalpaw's words like he might have. His voice was thick with grief and regret, and Juniperthorn knew why before he even said it. Any medicine cat would blame themselves, even the most skilled, for not being able to save her. But even Juni, the king of pinning the blame on everyone else, could not say this was Charcoalpaw's fault. He knew the kid didn't like him, but... hopefully his words would not fall on deaf ears.

    "Even Brookfur wouldn't have been able to do anything," he said, voice soft and mournful. "Mom knew it was her time to go. It's not your fault, kid." It hurt him to say it, and the way his voice shook at the mention of Lavenderstar showed that pain. He was grieving still, it was clear- everyone was. In a way, this felt terribly wrong; too soon, too sudden. Though, without a medicine cat, SkyClan could not afford to live without a leader.

    The cycle moved on- it had done with Minnowstar, and it would for every leader to come. Though Juniperthorn believed he'd never have to go through a transition this agonising ever again, no matter how often they moved through leaders.

    "We'll try not to set the camp alight, Heronswoop." he assured her, trying not to bring the mood completely down. This should be a happy day for her, surely- yet the sky still hung low with the haze of death, and grief still stung the pelts of any cat who walked by. "Our allies will need to hear the news- I'll..." he paused, holding himself together, "I'll arrange patrols to inform them."

    Anything to get his mind off of it all, really.

    Perhaps he should have been anticipating this; his mother’s declining health hadn’t been much of a secret, especially not to Juniperthorn. Her noticed the pain she was in just by walking, noticed the way she often seemed reflective and lost in thought, just like he noticed the changing seasons. But through either denial or just... not being able to fathom that this day would come, sooner rather than later, he had pretended that it never would. She had seven lives, right? She was practically immortal. This prospect had been the thing Juniperthorn had never been a realist about, only because he didn’t think he’d be able to handle it. He knew the day she went would be the day he finally lost it- it was why he had never imagined it, lest he lose his marbles just thinking about it.

    But here it was, clear as day. Like the rage-filled claws of a Riverclanner ripping open his spine, he felt blood spilling out of him yet again, but not physical blood. The blood that tied he and his mother together, the blood that made him her son. More of his family, torn away from his heart yet again. Tears shimmered in his gaze, usually so filled with venom, twisted by melancholy. This wasn’t fair- it was too soon. Too soon for her reign to end, too soon for her to die. This wasn’t how it was meant to be- this pillar of strength who had stood as a deputy and as a leader throughout his life, crumbling before him, begging to speak with her Clan once again. This wasn’t fair.

    Selfishly he wondered what he looked like in her eyes. In her final days, what impression had he left on her? Probably nothing more than the bitter warrior she had seen grow from an even more bitter kit. He’s caused her more grief than anything, surely- yet she’d always claimed she was proud of how far he had come. Though confident in his abilities, he was aware of how unlikeable he was, and found it amusing that she could ever be proud of him.

    As Heronswoop approached, speaking to her first, a flare of rage burned in his chest. How dare she speak to his dying mother before him? What gave her the right?

    But seeing the pain in Heronswoop’s eyes, the longing in Lavenderstar’s own- green eyes so similar to his own- all the rage was erased by pure, unfiltered agony. How could she leave him like this? After he’d lost so much of his family- Wheatbell, Fireflywatcher (who he’d never even met), his own apprentice and brother Lambpaw, Calfpaw, the entirety of his mother’s third litter... how could they take her away, too? How could they be so cruel?

    Mom...” he wailed, unable to constrain the tears that rolled down his cheek, flowing like waterfalls as he stood, wavering and unable to stop it. He couldn’t breathe- he hardly get as if he had to, anymore. Pieces of himself were being ripped away day after day, and it seemed that today the cruel gods of fate were aiming for his heart.

    He couldn’t gather these pieces up, couldn’t hold himself together. Sobs shuddered from his maw, barely parted. Guilt surged throughout his body at the fact that he found himself barely able to look at her.

    Not you too, mom. Not you too. Please, please...” he begged, unable to hold himself together any longer. Beside Heronswoop he crumpled, collapsing before her, and the grief that piled up on his spine made him wonder if he’d ever be able to get up again. “You can’t leave me here. You can’t leave me mom. Please, don’t leave me too!” he cried again, completely tangible grief spilling from his words as he sat, anyone’s words but his mother’s falling upon deaf ears.

    He didn’t even care for how pathetic he looked, begging for her not to leave him. Everyone he had ever loved had left him before. Half of his damn family, Destati, and now his mother.

    He didn’t even bother calling for someone to save her. The glimmer of acceptance in her gaze told him that she already knew it was far too late.

    / awh myth you already know how much this is going to DESTROY me!! i legit cannot articulate how much you and lav mean to me. it’s thanks to both of you i get to rp juni, and though lav’s journey is over i know this era of skyclan will never ever be forgotten. you were a wonderful leader, and a wonderful friend- thank you on behalf of everyone for everything you did for skyclan. its transformation under lav’s leadership was amazing- i’m so happy to have witnessed skyclan flourish. i’ve rpd with lav for almost 7 months now and i’m distraught to see her go ❤️❤️
    also i’m so sorry for any typos, i wrote this on mobile ;w;

    Juniperthorn had been considerably bored since his apprentice had retired to the medicine den for weeks after a rather worrying illness. Time and time again he had been told that there was nothing to worry about, and he wanted to believe it- but still, he'd found himself checking in on Ruddypaw at least once a day. The kid had been getting better over that past couple of days, and Juniperthorn returned from an irritatingly barren hunting patrol with a welcome surprise- his apprentice, yelling. So, it looked like things were back to normal.

    He could barely hide the ghost of a smile that lingered on his lips as he padded over, tilting his head in interest. "Have you forgotten how far behind you are on your training?" Juniperthorn said, slightly scornfully- though, his tone and expression softened as he remembered the state Ruddypaw had been in recently. It wasn't fair for him to push him straight into his training again, not if he wanted to play hide-and-seek or whatever. All of the demands and hardships would come during the actual training, no doubt- but Ruddypaw was lucky he'd caught his cinnamon-furred mentor on a good day. "I'll tell you what, you can have the day off today. But early tomorrow we're going to do some sparring- how do you feel about learning how to use the trees to your advantage?"

    One would be a fool to think that Juniperthorn would be asleep. After his recent episode of delirium he had decided to... slow up on the poppy seeds a bit, though at detriment to his sleeping patterns. Because of this, the senior warrior found himself up in the night for the umpteenth time in his life, pacing around camp because there was nothing better to do, watching with an intent glare as to whether anything was going to change, any abnormalities arose in the dark's embrace.

    Sure enough, it did. It always did. Virgo's muttering did not go unheard, and he furrowed his fictive eyebrows as he ambled toward her, still slightly uncertain in his steps since the... incident of a few days past.

    "Virgo...?" he croaked in a low tone, trying not to wake up anyone else in the queen's den. "Do you... wanna talk about it...?" Foolish thing he was. He was terrible at giving advice, at soothing people- yet he continued to offer, like the empty headed furball of conflicted bitterness he continued to be.

    Hearing her words, his claws only flexed more, a cold flame burning in his eyes. How could she be so nonchalant, telling him to calm down as if he was being crazy? Couldn't she see that he was worried for her? Anger was the only way he knew how to express it. Yet no concern left her body, no regret showed on her face. He felt entirely confused by her, more than usual.

    He'd never been able to work Arcticwind out- that's what he'd found so enamouring about her. With his observations and cold stares, a week of watching a cat would enlighten him to their mannerisms, their personality. But he had always looked at Arcticwind and seen nothing but an enigma- the boy had found it enamouring to an extent, to a great extent. How different she was, how different she made him feel. But different wasn't always good- and before his eyes, here, something was chipped away. Not his fondness for her, not his trust, but... something. Perhaps the barrier that stopped him from understanding her.

    He bristled even more as Creature's name slipped from her lips. White hot rage coursed through his veins, bubbling through his blood, and he bared his teeth, shaking his head over and over and over. No words left him, none until something clicked within him, and frustration in the form of growled words exploded into anger.

    "I don't understand you!" he yelled, stomping his foot and scowling, refusing to meet her gaze. Creature. Did she not know what this cat had done? What she had done to him? What she had done to his mother. "You don't make any sense! Why can't you just make sense?" he spat, immediately regretting his words. But he did not wait for a reply, instead turning on his heel and storming off at full speed, in direction of the orchard.

    He just... needed a moment.

    The concept of problems, and solving them, was a vicious cycle. All our problems could never truly be solved, because the solution to one problem always gave rise to more. He'd tried repressing his anger for everyone else's sake, so they didn't end up on the wrong end of it- he'd tried desperately to push away his terrible habits, but they didn't die off easy, and apparently his coping mechanisms were not the best in the world.

    Mothshine- he was relieved, even if not visibly, when he saw her approaching in a brief opening of his eyes. She had really been through it all with him, hadn't she? Through every hardship, every secret. She told him everything, and he did the same- there was a trust each had in the other not replicated by any other cat, even if to a similar extent. Their friendship was entirely unique, outrageously unlikely, yet in the days of SkyClan's low numbers and Juniperkit's incessant bitter wit, Mothpaw had held out her friendship and the tom of cinnamon hue had eagerly taken it. Through battles, scars, love and loss the two of them had stuck by each other- and here they were now, senior warriors, one standing over the other as he quite literally lost bits of his mind.

    "Moth- paw," he said, knowing that wasn't her name, yet something told him it was, something distorted his words so he said it all wrong. The world spun around him, a blaze of monochrome, and at the mild touch of her flank he flinched slightly, though did not shrink away. "I don't-" his voice hitched, "-what's happening," he begged, not a question, but a plea.

    Everything hurt, everything burned his brain like a screeching flame, and oh how he wished and wished for it all to end. "M'fine," he slurred, dizzily trying to sit up bringing his paws away from his head though he was still considerably disorientated. "Mothpaw, patrol. I don't- I don't know." His words were nonsense and he knew it. A growl rumbled in his throat, deep and long, as he raked his claws into the dirt. The growl continued, rising and rising until it became a rather melancholy sound, a call of frustration at the fact that he couldn't get his words out. Her name wasn't Mothpaw, yet he had said it again.

    The world spun and spun and spun, and he felt sicker and sicker as it did, more and more agitated and confused. "Moth- shine," he'd finally said it, "Stay, stay..." His voice shook with a thousand tremors, waiting for the moment he either fainted or got himself back together again.

    Juni had his fair share of encounters with dogs- he'd heard stories of savage beasts, had dreams of hulking great hounds tearing his friends and family apart, but a large majority of the dogs he ran into were like the one bounding before his mother, barking gleefully. Curious, oblivious, and entirely dumb- he'd never been able to understand their harsh language. It had always been grating on his ears, harsh to his already embittered mood. So to see his mother talking in this tongue at first made him wince away, before he realised what it was she was doing. "Mom...?" he called, curiosity getting the better of him as he strode up to his mother, furrowing his brow in vague interest.

    "Are you... talking to that thing?" he murmured in a low voice, looking at the dumb canine with a mild look of disgust etched on his face. Good lord, it was slobbering absolutely everywhere. They were all the same, these dogs- driven only by instinct and the language of their twolegs.

    Once, Juniperthorn had wanted to understand BloodClan. Under Ruth's rule, long ago when they were still allied with the city dwellers. Once, he had argued in favour of them, mainly out of fear, but also some semblance of sympathy. They were labelled murderers, savages, horrid cats filled with nothing but bloodthirst, and to an extent he'd felt bad for them. He still held onto his beliefs that not every BloodClan cat was evil- it was statistically impossible- but Creature was different. A hulking beast of a cat, with his amount of scars he could not judge her for her appearance, but... he could judge her immensely for another thing.

    Right before his eyes, she had killed his mother.

    Without regard, the femme of ebony had ripped a life away from her, forcefully and violently. He had been forced to watch, preoccupied with a BloodClanner of a similar age to himself, unable to help her as yet another part of her spirit was stolen away from her. Ever since then he had not been able to forgive Creature, a grudge raging in his gut for what she had done to his family, to him. He would be lying if he said he hadn't had nightmares about that battle, where instead Creature stole his mother's life away permanently.

    Even if everyone was rather exceedingly hostile toward Ryland at the border, it wasn't without good reason. When a BloodClanner came rolling into their territory, bypassing borders after BloodClanners had, multiple times, trespassed and harmed apprentices, they were entirely entitled to be just a little bit upset when a cat from such a Clan trespassed. Arc had been kind enough to take him home, refusing assistance, and whilst he had been reluctant to let her go alone her absence as dusk rolled around lead him to become even more sleepless than he already was.

    He caught her scent, and his relief stayed for all of three seconds before he noticed the fresh wounds carved into her body. His face fell, not into a look of disdain but into one of unbridled fury, blazing and vicious for whoever had dared to lay their filthy claws on her. "What happened? Who did this to you?" he spat, muscles tensing, anger contorting his face. Had Ryland abused her trust, attacked her when they were out of sight? Had she been ambushed when she had brought him back? "Tell me!" demanded the senior warrior, lashing his kinked tail.

    They would pay, in due time. He would make sure of it. Not only fo this, but for damned everything.

    Everything had been so damn hard recently that it had started to grate on his wellbeing- his sleep, most importantly. It was fairly common knowledge that the senior warrior hardly ever got enough sleep, though the reason why wasn't well known. He knew people would belittle him if they found out all of his problems ultimately stemmed from night-terrors; it was so babyish, so ridiculous, and even though Arc, Moth and his mom had all told him he wasn't stupid for being scared, he couldn't shake what his mind kept telling him- that he was being stupid.

    Poppy seeds had been the light in the dark, a way he could knock himself into an empty, deep sleep. Sure, he'd wake up feeling pretty spacey, and it'd take him a little while to be able to concentrate in the morning, but after that he was just as he was any other day. He'd always tried to only take the medicine when he really couldn't get to sleep, when the eye of the storm was within his conscience, but recently... with all the tensions, what was happening with Moth, and his mother's clearly deteriorating health- well, the tempest in his brain had grown ever louder. And now Brookfur was gone, it was much easier for him to get hold of the poppy seeds he needed.

    At the crack of dawn he would awake, ready to set off on the dawn patrol... or hunting patrol... to ThunderClan's... or RiverClan's border he had been instructed to lead that morning (though some part of him wasn't sure that it was this morning). Paws, almost silent even against the morning snow, would carry his scarred body forward automatically. He didn't even think about where he was going- his head hurt if he did. His head hurt even more than usual, and he barely registered the paw steps coming toward him. "Juniperthorn," called the voice of the npc, but he did not answer. "Juniperthorn!" Louder this time, yet he found himself again unable to answer. "Juniperthorn?"

    "What?" he spat, aggression uncalled for and something he almost regretted after having said. The other ignored his harsh words, likely used to them by now.

    "Are you ready for the patrol?" Yet again, he did not answer, unaware of why. Why wasn't he answering? Why did he feel so confused? "Juniperthorn!"

    "I'm- patrol?" he found himself saying, a paw coming up to his head as he squeezed his eyes shut. Patrol? Was he... meant to go on a patrol?

    "Are you alright?" asked the NPC, reaching out to touch him, and he bristled as their paw brushed his shoulder, a hiss exiting his maw.

    "Don't touch me!" he growled, vicious and forceful, shrinking back and sinking to the floor, violently clutching his head. "Don't- don't..."

    Despite his mother's influence, Juniperthorn had found himself... without a strong aversion to it like many cats apparently housed. He couldn't say he was looking forward to leaf bare, but... seeing kits playing in the snow was something even the coldest-hearted cat could enjoy. Still, he knew that his mother wasn't particularly fond of it, and he padded forward with narrowed eyes to stop among his clan mated, letting the sugar-coated scenery begin to build itself up around him. A sigh left a slightly parted maw as the scarred tom's ears twitched, the conversation around him not eliciting much of a response.

    "When have we ever been lucky, Kestrelswoop?" he joked, narrowing his eyes as he thought silently, exhaling softly as his breath erupted from his maw in a wisp of icy cloud. "Wow, yeah, it's so great. Now all the prey's gonna die even sooner! Wonderful," spat Juniperthorn cynically, flexing his claws in frustration. Everything was coming up SkyClan, wasn't it? Oh, this was just their stupid luck.

    What was it with trespassers lately? There seemed to be a surplus of unfamiliar cats walking through their territory, and Juniperthorn for one wasn't having it. At least this one didn't stink of BloodClan, though he wasn't exactly the prettiest. And he had something around him that looked... really weird. It wasn't a collar, nor fur- it hugged close to the other's body, and Juniperthorn found himself still for a few moments as he peered at the strange cat and his garment. "Oi," he called, hostility buried in his undertones and suspicion in his gaze. "What the hell are you wearing?" he snorted, unable to repress his amusement.

    He wasn't a huge fan of snow, though... it did give him a certain sense of childhood wonder. He had been born in leaf-bare, quite fitting for his personality, and had grown up in the cold. His mothers hatred of it had been influential, however, and though he wished to enjoy it the fun he had while it coated their camp and starved SkyClan's cats was rather limited. "You're in SkyClan's territory. Go on, give me your excuse." he sighed, rolling his eyes and suppressing a sigh of frustration. It was all rather monotone, wasn't it?

    Back in the day Juniperthorn used to get shunned by apprentices too, but not for being a wimp, or for being overly nice- no, he was shunned because he was on the absolute opposite. He was venomous and unkind, and people only talked to him because they had to. It was an unpleasant time, but exactly what he had deserved at the time- and, he would argue, he hadn't changed much. Harsh words still came hissing from his maw, sharp wit undying, and though his anger had mellowed it still lay dormant, and one day he knew it would come exploding out of him in one go. Behind his green gaze always brewed fury and frustration, and often angry words came inadvertently spilling out.

    The man bristled, coming up beside Cobracry. Letting his eyes rest with poison behind them to the bullies, he bared his teeth. "You, you, you and you," he hissed to them, gesturing to the four he'd heard making the comments. "Get out here now. If you're going to act like such insolent children, then you can sleep with the rest of the kits tonight. Go on, get out of my sight." he ordered, eyes flickering disdainfully from apprentice to apprentice. "Tick duty still stands. Cobracry and I will make sure you're obeying such orders."

    Juniperthorn would be the next to arrive, understanding the irritated and hostile reactions of his Clanmates. Perhaps some would criticise them for holding onto their feelings for so long, but... as much as the cinnamon tom wanted to forgive them, their trust had been scorned too many times. Neutralities and even alliances had been betrayed on BloodClan's end, torturers of children going unpunished time and time again. It was exhausting, and he might have added more hostile words to the boiling pot if he had arrived before Ryland spoke a second time, claiming he didn't even know who Bune was.

    "You don't know who Bune is, yet you stink of BloodClan? Sounds like someone's been slacking off," Juniperthorn snorted, words full of contempt. How did a cat who hailed from BloodClan not recognise the name of his leader? "Bune is BloodClan's leader, at least as far as we're aware. Our hostilities are well justified- your Clan has harmed ours many a time, even in times of spoken peace."

    Arcticwind's words were conflicting for him- as much as he liked her, which was a lot, there was one thing she said that made him bristle. "Arc, we're not going to rip him to shreds. Only then would we be 'worse than BloodClan'," he scoffed, regretting how much scorn had been spat from his mouth but choosing to repress it, for now. "If you really want to take him home, go ahead. Might be good if someone else went along with you too."