Posts by JUNIPERTHORN

    Sometimes she confused him with her words. Once such an emotion had frustrated him to no end, but now? Now he found that one flaw she held in his regard to be something that renewed his love for her every time she did it. Perhaps she was being complacent, for she had turned it back to him in her own subtle way. How he wished he possessed such subtlety within his language... though perhaps if their dynamic wasn't so different, they wouldn't have connected so deeply, so quickly. It occurred to him it had been now five moons since they had first met... he had been newly made a warrior at that time.


    But she was right. As much as he wanted her to point out what path he should tread, he needed to assert himself. To recalibrate his muddled brain he had to take charge of certain things. Though, through the many subtleties of her manner he noticed... it seemed as if she was holding something back. What, he could not define. But he knew it was there. She began to speak, though, and the earnestness in her tone as she explained the sorrow and worry he had brought to her was almost enough to shatter the shield he wore entirely. He did not wish to collapse into sobs before her, but his voice did waver as he murmured the words, "I'm sorry. It's no-one's fault but my own, Arc." he paused for a moment, his feelings difficult to articulate. "Just... seeing you there was enough. To see you crying over me would have been horrible. I don't know the extent of what was happening, I could barely think, but I knew that I was so, so glad just to have you near." To have that reassurance that she cared so unconditionally- it was almost enough to make him falter. Now was as much a time as ever to declare how ardently and undyingly he cared for her too, though he held it for a while.


    He allowed himself to chuckle at her joke- though ill-timed as she might think, he did not see it as so. Something was needed to brighten the mood, anything. And her comment did indeed- it turned the corners of his mouth up in a manner not often seen. "Good thing you didn't have to... dying twice in one day doesn't sound fun." he joked, because she'd undoubtedly kick his ass. He wouldn't be in love with someone who couldn't kick his ass in a fight. "Same goes for you, you know. If you even think about dying..." he trailed off, breathless. His need for her was almost pathetic, to rely on someone this much. Yet she was a reason to keep going, and his most precious reason.


    They arrived at the orchard, and he sat, a sigh escaping him once again as his olivine gaze rove the surroundings. "This is the weakest I'm ever going to be. I want to tell you everything. You deserve to know it all." he vowed. He would not allow this to happen again. And oh, how well she knew him. He leaned into her, attempting to rest his head against hers- a support, a comfort, anything to stop him from faltering with the weakness he was about to bring about, to admit with his words. Telling this story... he doubted it would make him stronger, but he trusted her word.


    "You know about my nightmares. When I was nine moons old, I visited Brookfur after a violent night terror and she prescribed me poppy seeds. Three per week, for when I was feeling particularly exhausted." he murmured, great effort and pain dripping from his voice. "It was fine at first. But after she died, my dreams got way more violent- they always do after someone dies- and I couldn't take it. So I started going out by myself and gathering poppy seeds to stash under my nest."


    "They worked so well. They numbed it all- not just the dreams, but the grief and the pain. I used multiple every night after mom died, and they would throw me into such a refreshingly empty sleep. And I knew it was bad, but I couldn't stop doing it. I regret too much, I grieve too heavily and I don't forgive as easily as I should. This noise- it wouldn't shut up so I took them to stop it." His voice trembled so desperately he thought he might lose it. But he carried on. She deserved to know what he had done to himself and that none of it was her fault. "But in leafbare the poppies barely grow. I couldn't get the seeds, and I... think I fell into some kind of withdrawal. So now I'm stuck with the nightmares and the noise, and I have the added pain of knowing there's nothing I can do to stop it."


    He ended bluntly, tightening his jaw to hold back tears. He had been choking back said tears for quite some time that they were starting to give him a stitch-like headache, shooting through his skull from one side to the other.



    Birth did not dictate a true Skyclanner, not in the cinnamon tom's opinion. Lineage was a complex thing, and very rarely a cat was born a complete pureblood in their Clan. Hell, even he wasn't SkyCan by heritage, with his father an ex-Shadowclanner and his mother a former loner. But he had grown up in SkyClan, adopted their scent, grown up with their culture. He had been born here, and now he was their deputy. To call him 'not a true Skyclanner' would be the highest of insults. The same went for Kestrelpaw- she trained under one of SkyClan's greatest warriors to become one herself, and had sworn her loyalty- and, no less, was the daughter of their leader. She was a SkyClanner if he'd ever seen one!


    How lucky they were that this tree had not been destroyed when the twolegs had steamrolled over their old territory on the dawn of his mother's leadership. It was a great landmark in SkyClan territory and something he had often scaled before this indefinite rest period that he was coiled within as of late. The Branching Oak was a place of respite to him, not to the level of the orchard, but it was... something. A pillar, a permanent thing he could always rely on. Just like Mothshine, really (though she was a far better conversationalist). Speaking of Moth, her apprentice was now perched upon a branch, looking down at the ground. It was clear a little bit of energy had returned to him today, for he craned his neck up and let his gaze focus upon her figure. "Looking for a competitor?" he yelled, a slight smirk on his lips. He wanted to participate, but... the medicine cats would likely beat him to death if he tried. "I can't race you, but... I can challenge you to impress me."


    Such was a difficult feat- he was sure Tawnypaw and Ruddypaw could advocate for that.

    Ah, yes, this trio before him were witnessing a historic event, weren't they? A notoriously stubborn, ill-tempered tom such as himself asking for help? It was ridiculously unheard of, and he was half expecting people to expect he was joking, just to bait people into treating him nicely. But he was sincere, terribly sincere. Regrettably sincere- he didn't want everything to come to this, and that frustration (aside from his usual demeanour) could be noticed quite easily by anyone who'd looked at him more than once. "It seems that way because I am," he remarked shortly. "Hm... relax with a friend. Shame all the people I actually like spending time with are often occupied..." It was a bitter, needless remark and one not at all true. He regretted it immediately, and offered Tawnypaw an apologetic and grateful glance. Mothshine had vowed to make time for him whenever he could, and anyway- if he really wanted someone to spend time with him he literally had to power to alter the patrols and make them spend time with him. Though... that thought wasn't a relaxing one. In reality he missed spending time with Tawnypaw himself. He was bitter about losing his apprentice to the path of medicine, needlessly bitter. "Thank you, Tawnypaw." he added, as earnestly as he could muster. The kid deserved gratitude for trying to help


    Kestrelpaw approached, with Mothshine not far behind her. He offered them a glance, unable to translate his gratitude for everyone's gathering past the exhaustion that settled endlessly behind his eyes of grey-green. Kestrelpaw gave a rather detailed explanation, and a rare ghost of a smile began to weave its way onto the corners of his lips. She was terribly optimistic, wasn't she? Though, he wasn't about to complain... her advice was sage despite her apprenticeship. "I think she's exceeded you," he remarked toward Mothshine, lightness dancing at the edges of his harsh tone. "I like... climbing. I like relaxing with my friends. I like... sparring. And I like using berries to decorate the dens." he explained, quite slow in the way he spoke as if he had to think hard about what truly made him happy. "Maybe I'll experiment a bit..." he mused. "What makes you guys happy? Maybe I can copy your ideas."

    When Juniperthorn had been a kit, everything had been a whole lot easier. When he was smaller he was able to get away with a lot more, able to get away with staying up far into the night because the next day was full of nothing. He had lived his days jovially, even though he had not thought so at the time. Yes, as an infant he'd been a considerably poisonous presence (not that much had changed) but really he wished he'd been more appreciative as a child. Mothpaw and Lavenderskies were his only respite in those days- he should have branched out more, because one of them was dead and the other one was the closest thing he felt he had left to family despite not being related in any way.


    Everyone had been constantly urging him to rest over the past few days... looks like they were finally going to get their wishes, huh? He knew he needed to rest, to relax... and a part of him- a big part of him- hoped he could, not only for the sake of his own sanity but everyone else's, too. "Oi," he growled, his tone more hostile than he intended- a constant migraine would do that to you, he supposed. His gaze sharp, it swept over the bustle of camp- he looked down his nose at whomever might appear. "I need advice on how to... relax."


    It was clear he was being completely sincere with his restless demeanour and exhausted dullness behind his berry-hued gaze.

    Resting wasn't going to get anything done, and he was sick of feeling like a kit. Inevitably someone would tell him to go back to bed, to catch up on countless moons of sleep as if it was nothing to them. Because it was, wasn't it? To any other cat, sleep was as easy as just... shutting your eyes and letting it come to you. But for Juniperthorn, sleep was a complex thing that often evaded his grasp. Poppy seeds were the only thing that could often entice it forward, but now he was without them- and in constant withdrawal, to the point where he feared he would inevitably collapse to the whim of another seizure... he was at the mercy of only his mind, which had never been and would never be a good thing.


    Catching RiverClan scent, the deputy dragged his paws over, barely-open eyes fixated on the almost blurry figures who filled up the patrol. A few blinks cleared his drowsy gaze, but it was clear he wasn't fighting fit. Really, he shouldn't be out here at all. But if he just happened upon them whilst on a walk, like this... he supposed there was no harm in being here for a short while...


    "RiverClan," he murmured, speech clearer and more alert than it had been in previous days but staunchly lacking in it's usual razor-sharp quality. "Greetings. I-" a yawn, "-hope everything is well with you all."

    He turned to her as she smiled, and his gaze lingered on her for a few long moments, almost critical in how it analysed that grin she had offered him. He knew her smile well, it was something he'd had the pleasure to see time after time- and it didn't seem as if it was quite there as she looked upon him now. Still, he offered her a half-hearted smile back, mainly one that translated his gratitude for her always making time for him above anything else. He truly didn't deserve her. Perhaps he should stop thinking like that- he was a fool for doubting people truly cared- but instinct was instinct, and his told him that it was logically impossible for Mothshine to enjoy his company.


    Still, he'd never complain. To have a friend like her was a streak of luck he was boundlessly glad to have accomplished. Soft eyes of olive hue, usually so vicious in their sharpness, drifted from her face to the ground. Frankly, he felt embarrassed to have been one to cause her pain. He had vowed he would never hurt her, yet here he was. He had hurt her, undoubtedly. Harmed her by harming himself, for he had never seen her so hysterical as whilst he was in the midst of his seizure. That guilt within his gaze could surely be sensed by someone who knew him inside-out as Mothshine did.


    He sat beside her, a sigh exiting his maw. It was strange how old he felt- if she had voiced her thoughts, he would have agreed. Deputy and senior warrior, side-by-side, both only sixteen moons old. How could two cats so young, two cats with a lot of their life left ahead of them, feel as if they'd done everything that there was to do? Like they had gone through every single crappy thing possible? At least they'd had each other... there were a lot of cats who were not so lucky. "I owe you an explanation, don't I?" he said with effort, clearly in some sort of pain- though where he felt that pain he could not determine. The weight of admitting weakness was heavy on his soul. "That... thing the other day. That was a long time coming, really. I..." a sigh left him once again, a breath full of frustration. How was it that he could not find the words when he needed them most? "I'm just not really sure where to start. I'm sorry it ever got this bad. And that you had to see it."

    No matter how much he slept, or how much he was permitted to sleep, he still felt exhausted throughout the day. He supposed that he hadn't really had a good night's sleep since he was three moons old... having such nightmares at that tender age had never been good for him, he supposed. Was that the reason he had turned out like.... well, turned out the way he had? In honesty, unlike some people he did not often think about how he had gotten to where he was now. It was too late to change it all anyway. Not that he even wanted to.


    That morning, he had risen from his nest to go for a walk- just something, anything, to make him tired enough to drift off once again. People would often tell him he was lucky he was getting a 'vacation', but to him this didn't feel like any sort of holiday. He was constantly drowsy and constantly fearful that, if he fell and convulsed once again, no-one would find him. Gritting his teeth, he decorated his face with a scowl as he departed. Though, as soon as he heard a particular voice, and the sensation of the owner of said voice brushing up beside him, he let his expression soften. If anyone was going to insist on accompanying him, he was glad it was her.


    Juniperthorn turned his gaze on his mate, attempting to find some way to hide how exhausted he was, to hide how fearful he was. But he soon gave up the effort, knowing she'd see through it anyway; she always did. How she'd come to understand him so he would never know, but he was not resentful toward the fact she had. He loved her. Of course he did. None of that had changed, and the last thing he wished for her was to feel as if anything that had happened was her fault. Over and over again, if she were to voice those feelings, he would tell her she was foolish to think so. How could this ever be anyone's fault other than his own?


    Her words struck him, but not in the way they usually did. He had no idea how to answer her. A stutter left his maw before any words did, followed by a sigh. "You got me," he snorted, shrugging and beckoning her with his tail as he began to walk forward, treading the route toward the orchard. "What is is you want to know, then?" he asked, shrugging his shoulders, allowing something of a smile to appear on his lips. He knew she wanted to hear everything- he wasn't stupid. But... she had to give him somewhere to start. There was... so much she didn't know.

    Really, he felt awful for not telling her sooner.

    Though he wasn't usually one to participate in games (for he perpetually believed that there were much better things to do with one's time) but since he was now confined to doing absolutely nothing with his time in fear that he might collapse again or something. Still, he wasn't feeling completely awful today, so with a sigh to himself he would draw up along Arcticwind's other side, murmuring, "Don't have anything better to do." with a shrug.

    Watching each cat jump onto the tire swing and go spinning into oblivion was just the kind of thing he needed to brighten his day. Sometimes he felt so aged, by either his responsibilities or grief or some other affliction. Remembering that there was still some part of him that wanted to act like a complete and utter idiot... it caused the corners of his lips to turn up slightly, humour for once enrapturing his expression. What little apprehension he had was soon replaced with amusement; it seemed like an aeon since he'd just had worry-free fun like this. He let himself chuckle at both Dustdevil's and Mothshine's remarks, and Sedge's comment on Mothshine's form.


    As he landed beside him and apologised, Juniperthorn scoffed in laughter. "Don't call me that, for the love of the stars," he replied to Sedge addressing him as 'Sir'. It felt weird- he was younger than the guy, and just because he was deputy (and one who hated being disrespected) didn't mean he wanted people to grovel at his feet and address him only by formalities. "Juniperthorn should do nicely."


    There was defiance in his eyes, a quiet determination as a hubris-filled smile made its way onto his lips. The spotlight was on him, it seemed, and with a low laugh he launched himself upon the tire swing. At his impact it swung from side to side, spinning him as rapidly as it had done for just about everyone else. An uncommon sound bubbled from his chest then- a hearty laugh, not enclosed behind his teeth or mockingly spat. It was a jovial sound, and regrettably a rare one. As he leapt free from the clutches of the monster leg-on-a-string, his smile was no longer a hint but a tangible thing, carved upon his maw in plain sight. "Whew! Can't get a thrill like that from just anywhere," he remarked, the ground spinning a bit below him as he padded over to join his clanmates back on the ground. "So... should we keep it?"

    He couldn't just sit around whilst a blind kit was missing. He didn't care what his stupid condition was or what his orders were; what did everyone expect him to do? Just... wait around and hope she hadn't been run down by a monster or swooped up by a hawk? No one could abandon a lost kit- it was in the code. If he were anyone else he would have let hope keep his restless heart calm, but he was not one to rely on hope. Hope had failed him before, and he would not even allow it to take the reigns. Achey and groggy, dragging his paws across the ground, the deputy looked to Heronstar, his gaze steely and frustrated despite the exhaustion from the seizure that had not yet left his body. "Oh, yes. That'll look good for our reputation," he scoffed at Tawnypaw's remark, shaking his head. A sigh left his maw, knowing the unlikeliness of anyone permitting him to attend, but... he was never someone to avoid trying his luck. "Heronstar. I can't just sit here. Please just let me go on one," he said, restless and slurring as he spoke, clearly not in a sound state to be ledsing a patrol.

    He supposed he couldn't run from it anymore. Really, the only reason he'd ever hidden himself away was because he wished not to worry her so. He knew how she worried- easygoing as she seemed on the surface, he was not blind to his friend's suffering- through his many episodes, through injuries and deaths of those whom they were both close to, he had seen that rampant, overtaking fret. Juniperthorn had never wished himself to be on the receiving end of her concerns, but it seemed he had done so bad a job of trying to hide all his issues from her that he had ended up confined to camp like a kit.


    His displeasure at his situation was no secret, but as his olivine gaze befell the warrior he had grown up alongside, everything disappeared in the wake of one objective, and that was to tell her everything. He could spare no expense, because he had to make sure that his... seizure (he hated to even think of the word, because it made him feel helpless, for he had been in that time) would be the absolute worst that would happen. He couldn't leave her behind. He could never be able to live peacefully in StarClan if he knew that she was still down there. If he had any power over it he'd make it so that neither of them would ever have to leave each others side, that they'd die at the same time and fade from the sky at the same time, too. He couldn't imagine a world without her in it. Such a thing was so unfathomable to him that it hurt to even try.


    "Mothshine," he called hoarsely, though there was a sing-song tone to his voice, a surefire way to draw her attention. The way he spoke reminded him of the morning after their vigil, when they had spoken each other's warrior names for the first time. They had been through everything together- through apprenticeship, through badgers, dogs, and kitty pets, through BloodClan and the death of his mother- Juniperthorn had allowed her into every part of his life except the absolute darkest part. It had taken him all these moons to realise that it was in the darkness that he needed her most. The cinnamon tom was tired (though, when wasn't he), so very tired- he had a lot of sleep to catch up on, yet he could not allow himself the time even with his duties passed along whilst he recovered. "I need to speak with you. Do you have a moment?" he asked, greeting her with the slight brush of his shoulder against hers.

    Maybe a week or so ago he would have been excited to spar with someone, but hearing Sedge's call only made Juniperthorn wince. Resting in the medicine den made him feel absolutely, utterly useless beyond belief. Rotting away among the smell of herbs whilst he tried to catch up on seventeen moons of sleep wasn't quite his idea of a holiday, and a vengeful scowl often occupied his face when he was spotted outside. Today was no exception- he had a stormy look carved upon his features as he walked toward the warrior, frustration brewing behind his olivine gaze.


    "I can't participate." he spat bluntly, tightening his jaw. "Because I have to rest. So I suppose I'll watch." His voice was full of all the anger he felt toward himself, everything that had built up through all the moons of his life. Green eyes glistened, though he did not say any more, kinked tail-tip twitching as he watched Dustdevil take the offer.

    Despite everyone's best interest- including his own- he had gone out for a walk and did indeed run into the loner on the border. The cinnamon tabby was close enough to hear the unfamiliar, rust-hued loner give his name. Valerian. An interesting name, though not one alien to him- wasn't it a type of herb of flower or something? Ah, stuff it, he was no medicine cat... it was just a name to him, pure and simple. Just like how juniper was a type of berry, yet his name was completely separate, and how moths were bugs. Ugh... was he going soft in the head? He was certainly feeling rather groggy, and though he had vowed to do no manual labour, at least he could talk.


    Padding over to stand beside Bisonpaw, he would nod his head, expression drowsy though he tried to keep as much of a composed air about him until he could disappear once again. "I'm never gonna get a walk without an interruption, am I?" he mused, voice croaky. Looks like Bisonpaw was going to pummel him "Valerian, was it? I... don't see why not. I dunno whether we should have someone watch you, or..." His eyes closed, and the cinnamon tom paused for a moment, a yawn overtaking him. "We get plenty of people asking to join... but if you're going to interrogate about Clan life, please for the love of the Stars above don't come to me."

    He felt as if he was underwater. Mothshine's initial scream of horror (or whatever other unidentifiable emotion) cleaved his heart, and he would have done anything to reply, but the more effort he gave out the less control of himself he became. It was as if he was overtaken by a host, the control of his body slipping past him like water through his paws. His breaths shook, shuddering, whimpers dying into wheezes as he used what little control he had to try to calm himself. To Sedge he looked gratefully, barely deciphering the words he spoke, though his actions spoke louder- he didn't want to crunch down on something and break his teeth, after all.


    Arcticwind was the next cat he could identify, and he felt himself lurch, becoming desperate to hear what she was saying to Mothshine. He wanted to reach her, to tell her he was sorry he ever let it all get this bad. He wanted to tell everyone that. But the more he seized the deeper underwater he went, and the further away the voices became. His eyes darted around, his terror never more apparent than in that moment, and as the two medicine cats approached he expected himself to feel more relieved but instead he just felt numb. He smelt Heronstar, but he could not see her. Where was she? Was she with him? She wouldn't leave him here. He knew she wouldn't. It was strange... as everyone surrounded him like this. He wasn't used to being... liked after so much. Or... or maybe he was, and he just... couldn't tell anymore...


    For a moment he lay still, though for how long he could not say. He awoke from unconsciousness, and judging by everyone's positioning he had only been out for a couple of seconds. A gasp was then drawn in through the air, and Juniperthorn was back within his own body once again, breaths laboured but regular and lips still and lively. His eyes were stained wide, and he could barely find it within himself to speak, though managed to chock out two words as he tried to get his breath back. "Hey... sorry." A simple greeting, but it would do. Just... just something, to tell them he was alright. Lifting his head up slightly, he let his gaze fall upon every cat individually, lingering in guarded gratitude for a few moments before he lay his head upon the ground once again, exhausted but at least conscious.

    He shouldn't be up and out, really- resting was the only thing anyone droned on about to him, but he couldn't spend another minute in that stuffy medicine-cat den. He wasn't going to work, though- he was blacklisted from doing any sort of manual labour at the moment, so his groggy morning brain had deduced that the best alternative was to head out for a walk. He was slower than usual, his scowl still ever evident though there was an emptiness behind it. In reality, he was scared- scared that he'd fall again, that he'd have another seizure somewhere deep in the territory and no-one would find him until it was much too late.


    Perhaps the dawn would soothe him. Many others claimed it was, and whilst he didn't believe staring at the sun was going to help him put his worries to rest, it wouldn't hurt to try. Really, at the moment he'd do anything to tame his restless heart and spirit.


    In the distance her heard voices, carried by the wind, and in interest the deputy picked up his pace, eventually reaching the trio of cats either perched atop a branch or stood comfortably upon the ground. "You lot are up early," he remarked bluntly, not softening his words with a question or anything of the sort.

    Juniperthorn was stood beside his leader, his steely gaze lingering upon each ShadowClanner for a little while, studying each individually. "Hornetsting," he greeted, dipping his head. He too let a croaky laugh leave his maw after Tawnypaw's remark, though the ShadowClan deputy's words were warranted. Unlike the Tribe cats those moons ago, the words of the other did not make him angry- perhaps he was losing his edge, but the more likely reason was that he was just tired. "Who is this that accompanies you?" he asked, drifting to fall upon Stagpaw, a critical sharpness to their olivine hues. Since Heronstar had gotten out all of the important information, Juniperthorn would take a seat beside her, curling his kinked tail around his paws to cover his sheathed claws. Distrust was his instinct at this point, even if he did not want to be suspicious. For that reason he kept allowing himself to catch Mothshine's gaze. Having her around always quelled his worries at least somewhat.

    Sometimes, Juniperthorn was sure he was going to be just fine. That his season without poppy seeds, without relying on them to put him to sleep, would be just fine- smooth sailing. But other times he felt as if he was running on empty. Other times he felt as if he was working himself too hard, that his constant need to be useful was coming back to bite him. Yet... he didn't stop. Ensuring everything was done perfectly to the point where he could barely keep his eyes open anymore was a common sight, and often the deputy did not retreat to the warrior den until very late. Even then, there was a storm ravaging his mind that he failed to tame, and he could barely shut his eyes long enough to drown out the rumbling thunder of his thoughts. And, in the rare moments when he managed to fall asleep, he was often jolted awake with a terrible start after having experienced vivid night terrors.


    He was exhausted. So, so exhausted.. he just needed to sleep, he wished he could just sleep. Poppy seeds made everything better, but they made everything worse, too. Before he'd begun ingesting poppy seeds his thoughts had seldom kept him awake- it was the nightmares that were the problems. But now his jumbled-up thoughts refused to let him sleep without the brain-numbing effects of the seeds, even with Arcticwind by his side. As soothing as it was to have her beside him, he only found himself worrying about what could happen to her if he dared close his eyes. What could happen to Mothshine, too, who slept not far from his shared nest. Paranoia plagued his life and kept him up through the night.


    Often, in the morning, the cinnamon-hued deputy felt... fuzzy, for lack of a better term. He blinked in the soft morning sun, confused about what he had to do that day, but soon it came to him. Still, it was a peculiar phenomenon. He was usually organised in his thoughts, but over the past week or so he had become increasingly forgetful and mixed-up. This morning, especially, the deputy could be seen lying down near the threshold to camp, olivine gaze seemingly fixated upon nothing. He looked, but he did not see- a blank expression was carved upon his face, up until the point where he suddenly lowered himself onto his side, mouth hanging open, eyes glassy and wide.


    A choking noise left his maw and his body began to convulse, limbs jerking uncontrollably.


    Pain filled his gaze and a whimpering noise with no discernible meaning cascaded from his open maw with every convulsion. Though he was barely able to even think about what was happening as he seized like this, he knew above all he felt embarrassed, though could not articulate a meaning as to why in the current moment.


    It had been a while since he'd gone in the direction of Twolegplace, but he supposed it needed a check-up. Kittypets were known for being too dumb to understand how crucial of a time leafbare was to the cats of the forest, and he had vowed with the arrangement of his patrol that morning that if he saw one of this soft blobs catching their prey for sport he was going to smack them into next week. Every time he had run into kittypets, which was admittedly not particularly often, he had given them a grave warning, and with Juniperthorn's general demeanour he liked to think he had deterred them. But, it was always good to check... so that morning, he wandered into the centre of camp. When he would usually order people around and tell them what patrols they were to go one, often cherry-picking the cats he wanted with him, today he was feeling a smidgen more inclusive. First-come, first-serve he supposed.


    "I'm taking a patrol to the Twolegplace," he announced, not yelling but with a tone commanding enough to make his expectations clear. "Anyone care to join me? I haven't got all day." Because he wasn't going to have people dawdling around when their prey could be being eaten or stolen by the minute. Perhaps it was a presumptuous thing for him to say, but something told him it wasn't going to be a smooth patrol, and he wasn't usually one to ignore his gut feeling.