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Warriors: Cats of the Sun

[FIN] The Next Step (Dusk/Sunseer/Skysong)

belloblossom

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Dusk wasn't entirely certain what to expect when he followed Skysong into the StoneClan's camp. He couldn't stop looking around; though he kept close to Skysong's side. He wasn't going to get in trouble with her right after she'd brought him here, for wandering off. Besides, from what he understood of Skysong's attitude, she'd see him pausing to look at one of the dens and accuse him of trespassing.

As he was led up into the Clan leader's den, having learned that it was a creature called a Sunseer he was meeting. Or maybe it was a cat named Sunseer? This information had been unclear when he'd received it. Once he entered the den, standing where he was directed to, it became clear that it was a cat he was meeting with - he should've guessed this, really, but his nerves were a jumble ever since he'd first met Skysong.

He had no idea how to start this conversation, really. He waited for a minute, averting his eyes and then finally sitting down.

"Hello." He said at last. "I spoke with your second in command, Skysong and expressed my interest in joining a community. Your Clan may be that place for me, but I'm not certain what would be expected of me should I join. As I explained to Skysong, I may prefer to work out conflicts through talking first, but I am able to fight as needed. I'm an excellent hunter, to be sure and I'm capable and a fast learner. However, if you could grant me the insight in what life in StoneClan is like, Sunseer, I would be grateful to learn more. I would not waste your resources in housing me, only for me to discover midway through that our morals are misaligned." Dusk mewed. "Do you feel this to be a reasonable request?"

After dealing with the second in command and her haughty attitude, Dusk opted to be his most respectful, in the case that Sunseer was exactly like his deputy in thought. @Blinded By Silence
 
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Blinded By Silence

Grizzled Veteran
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Skysong bade the stray to follow as she gathered her kills from her morning hunt. Gently, she picked up three mice and a squirrel before signaling directions with her tail. At least with her mouth full, it would be a quiet walk back to camp.

She took him back towards the paths rather than following the river south. There was a patrol hunting nearby and she didn't want to interrupt them. After all, they would need all the fresh kill they could get, what with so many new mouths to feed.

To say StoneClan had grown was an understatement. As Skysong led the grey tom over the scree-covered rocks and down the sloping cliffside, the camp came into view, bustling as ever. When they had arrived, they had been few, but now... They hadn't held numbers like this since back in the mountains. Still, it bothered her how few of these cats she knew.

With a flick of her tail, she told Dusk to follow while she dropped her day's work at the base of the Stone Circle, the central meeting place of the clan. Quick eyes took a count of the fresh-kill pile, Skysong was sure there would be enough for every cat to eat tonight. A nod, a silent thanks to SunClan. Her ice-blue eyes lifted and found his, "This way," she said simply, slipping behind the central stone.

"Sunseer," she called, nosing aside the curtain of lichen that shielded the entry to his den, "You have a visitor. Dusk, a stray found on the northern side of the river. He seeks an audience with you."

The Leader's Den felt too large. Perhaps it was how sparse it was, empty save for a small nest and the greying tom who rose from it. It would have bothered him more if he spent much time in it. Sunseer shook the dust from his pelt and gave his chest a quick lick before settling himself in the center of the room.

"Dusk, welcome, welcome. I must apologize, you caught me resting," The older tom said with a dip of his head. He turned his sightless, mismatched eyes to where Skysong's voice had come from and smiled wide and proud, "I managed the entire border on my own this morning, only stumbled twice. Littleflower wasn't impressed, she made me go lay down when I got back," he gave a dusty chuckle before sniffing the air to find this newcomer. It was polite to look at the cat you were speaking to, after all, even if your eyes no longer worked, "Little is my daughter and our healer," he explained to the young tom, "We call them Medicine Cats here. Now, Dusk," he settled down, sweeping his long, spotted tail over the stone floor, "What may I help you with?"

Sunseer listened respectfully as the farm cat explained himself, nodding along in approval, "Perfectly reasonable, yes, though already I sense our morals to run similar paths. It wouldn't be fair of us to hold you to expectations you are unaware of, isn't that right, Skysong?"

The white she-cat flicked an ear, "Of course, sir," she said calmly as her gaze slid to Dusk, "Though, once made aware, they will be expected to work just as hard as any other Warrior."

"Yes, should they choose to stay. Clan life is not fitting for all cats. Training is hard and, as you said Dusk, it would be a waste and no one wants that. If you'll permit an old tom his long-winded explanations, allow me to explain who we are and what it is we expect of our cats."

"As I am sure you know, cats are generally social creatures. We benefit from living in groups, be it small family units to wide-ranging colonies. Clans are different in the aspect that we are descended from a long lineage of Warriors. We carry on the codes and traditions of our predecessors. For many, bloodlines carry weight. I find that it is more than blood that makes a Warrior. Here in StoneClan, everyone has a role, and a purpose, from the tiny kits to our respected elders. And each of them helps the community as a whole. I think that, so long as a cat is dedicated to their role, loyal to their clan, and follows the Code, it doesn't quite matter who their bearers are."

"Please, stop me if you have any questions, Dusk. It's hard to tell when I've bored the young ones with eyes like mine,"
he gives a dismissive wave of his tail and a patient smile.

@belloblossom
 

belloblossom

Stew Aficionado
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Sunseer (the, or otherwise) was so unlike his second in command, Skysong, that Dusk's mouth had dropped open by the warm welcome. He slid his gaze to Skysong, a question he would never ask her in his gaze, then turned his eyes back to Sunseer as the older tomcat spoke.

"Worry not, Sunseer, I find myself quite intrigued by your explanations thus far. Though I should like to ask, for you bring it up so often, what is the Code that you speak of? Similarly, beyond this code, is there anything in particular that you might ask of me? As survival skills go, I know hunting is a necessity and as Skysong implied to me in our meeting earlier, a great deal of fighting is to be expected when joining StoneClan." He flicked his tail tip, anxious at hearing the confirmation on whether joining StoneClan was going to be a violent affair in the long-term.

"Any further insight or guidance you could give me into what I might encounter as a StoneClan cat would be much appreciated." He concluded. @Blinded By Silence
 

Blinded By Silence

Grizzled Veteran
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"Defending, protecting. Not just mindless fighting," The white she-cat's eyes narrowed ever so slightly as she corrected the grey tom, "We recently chased out a family of foxes denning too close for comfort to our camp. The area is known to have badgers and wild-dogs. And strays as well," Her tail tip twitches as she sits, "As I explained to you before, Dusk, we chase out anyone who chooses to ignore our claim to the area. Keeping the clan safe and fed is our main priority."




The older tom nods along with his deputy's explanation, "'Blood does not need to be spilled when words can fix the problem', another of our codes. This is to say, the Warrior Code, which is a set of rules inherited from our ancestors. There are a few of them, some have been added or removed over time, but they are as follows:"

"'Defend your clan, even at the cost of your life.' This one is a bit frightening to outsiders, so I prefer to lead with it. To die in service to your clan is an honor, but that doesn't mean we want our cats throwing their lives away in pursuit of danger. To put it bluntly, letting a fox take you over the kit you were protecting doesn't solve the problem, it only delays it. That is why we not only teach our cats how to fight, but when, why, and how to do so effectively. So, to correct your assumption, there will be a great deal of training, yes."


@belloblossom
 
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belloblossom

Stew Aficionado
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Dusk inclined his head to Skysong, acknowledging what she'd said without interrupting her. He frowned at her mention of strays - which had been what she'd been calling him, up until very recently. He wanted to ask her about the other Clans: how was it that they didn't invade one another's territories? And in fact, how could you really tell one Clan's territory from the other? Surely all Clan cats just smelled like each other, right? Something in his gut advised him not to ask these questions, at least, not to early into their conversation.

Turning his gaze back to Sunseer, he focused in solely on the tomcat. When the black and spotted tom was finished, he hummed his assent.
"How is it decided when or how the rules of the Code are changed?" He asked. "The rest of what you've explained makes sense to me - and I am relieved to hear that I will receive training on how to execute the jobs that will expected of me in StoneClan. Who will I be learning all this from?" He was uncertain if it was a co-training job, like his parents had to when they raised him, or if he would be learning different things from the entirety of StoneClan. Or maybe, though he was unsure how, only one cat would be in charge of training him. How one cat could pass on so much knowledge to another was beyond him, but he supposed he would learn about that too, in time. @Blinded By Silence
 

Blinded By Silence

Grizzled Veteran
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Skysong's tail twitches slowly as it lays over her paws. She flicks an ear, dismissing his dislike of the term 'stray.' After all, he wasn't a clan cat. Not yet, perhaps not ever. But she said nothing, sitting quietly as her leader gave the question a nod.

"Good, a very important question, Dusk," He replied with a low pur. He liked this cat. "When MountainClan was founded so many generations ago, their code was far smaller than ours is today. When things change, so do we." His sightless eyes flick to Skysong's spot by the doorway, understanding full well how much she struggled with this. "For example, another of our tenants is a rule that marks the age at which a kit is allowed to start their Apprenticeship. Long ago, a prior Sunseer began training at three moons old, rather than waiting the traditional six, due to a sickness that wiped out many of their warriors. But kits that young are not ready for such training. Many were injured, a few were even killed in the line of duty simply because their bodies could not be expected to fight the way a grown cat can. So SunClan intervened, and put a stop to it." He explained solemnly, clearly disappointed in this part of his proud clan's history. "Another part of the code is "the word of your leader is law," which has lead to some devastating mistakes in our past. But," He brightened a bit, "It can be a great help as well. My time as leader of MountainClan, I declared that all of the clan should eat together so that we could make sure everyone was able to eat in times where prey was very scarce. That's a code I have kept here in StoneClan as well. While we do not want for prey now, that may not always be the case. And it allows the clan to socialize, beneficially for both the mountain cats and the new members who have joined us."

Sunseer continues, "Typically, at six moons old, a kit is made an Apprentice. This is a great celebration for the clan as a whole. There is a ceremony where they are named from kit to paw and where I assign them their mentor. Clearly, you are no kit. But, we do require that new clanmates enter in as Apprentices just the same. We will hold a ceremony for you, cast off your old name as you have your old life and welcome you to the clan as Duskpaw. As for your mentor, I do my best to match Apprentices with a compatible cat experienced enough to guide you through our ways. I appreciate your questioning nature, however, and so I think I might like to train you myself."

Skysong is quick to butt in when she hears this, "Sir, I'm not sure that's wise. Rumbleheart was already a capable fighter before he joined us, this one will need a lot more--" But Sunseer silences her with a look.

"This one will be in just as capable paws, Skysong. If you worry so much about the quality of his battle training, then I will have you join us so you can see for yourself." The older tom says, his tone firm.

The white she-cat takes a measured breath, her face motionless, but her tail sweeps the stone floor in a quick lash before settling once more over her paws. After a moment, she nods, "As you wish, Sunseer."

@belloblossom
 
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belloblossom

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Dusk was relieved to find that Sunseer was open to answering all his questions and he felt an inkling of pride growing within him when he was commended for his good question. He was focused solely on Sunseer now, pushing the leader's pale shadow into the corner of his gaze as he listened to the older tomcat. He would hum occasionally to signal he was still actively listening and waited patiently until the tom had come to the end.

It was at the end that Sunseer had expressed an interest in training Dusk - though he supposed he would be called Duskpaw soon, how odd - and Dusk's expression lit up.
"Oh, that would be-" But his words were cut short by Skysong's interruption. At last, he turned his gaze back to her, frowning, but before he could make any way to defend himself - for he indeed felt as though she was putting him down - Sunseer had jumped in and she'd fallen quiet.

Well then. He thought smugly and his feelings of triumph showed on his face. He was not yet used to training his face as Skysong was. Why she felt the need to hide what she was feeling would become a mystery to him later, but in this moment he felt altogether too pleased.

Dusk turned his gaze back to Sunseer.
"I would be honored if you would take me on as an apprentice, Sunseer. There is much I wish to know about StoneClan and your answers have given me much more insight than I could've hoped for." Or gotten from Skysong, had he tried to ask her, he added silently. "Is there any more to the code that I should know, before we begin... and how shall we begin?" He felt his tail tip twitch as a surge of anxiety struck him. Would the apprentice ceremony happen immediately after this conversation concluded? @Blinded By Silence
 

Blinded By Silence

Grizzled Veteran
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Skysong remains quiet, impassive and unreadable to the one who did not know her. Sunseer holds his gaze in Skysong's direction for a long moment. Even with his sightless eyes, he can feel her displeasure. He sighs softly through his nose, blinking slowly at her with a knowing nod of his head. They would talk later. Argue, most likely. If only she would allow other cats to hear the fire in her heart when they debated what was good for the clan, perhaps then they would see she was more than her icy judgment. Ah, but that was for a later time. Sunseer turns his attention back to Dusk and lifts his chin with a solemn nod.

"Be honored, but know that my time is not my own and your actions from the moment you accept your new name reflect on me. I sense great potential in you, Dusk, but it will be hard work. Don't prove me wrong." He says, his tone serious, but not unkind, "Yes, a few more. First, 'Hunt only to feed your clan, for without prey there are no hunters.' This aspect of the code ensures we are not greedy and do not over hunt. While it isn't explicitly stated, it is frowned upon to hunt pregnant prey, if you can help it, as well as their young. This is also why we cycle the areas in which we hunt. Prey are smarter than most think and they will learn to avoid specific areas if we spend too much time there."

"Next would be 'Hold the Elders, Queens and Kits in high regard, for without them there is no clan.' Elders have served their time, devoting their lives to protecting and feeding their clan. They deserve their rest and our respect. While some might see Queens, especially those who remain in the nursery after their kits become paws, as weak or seeking an easier time than that of a Warrior, any cat who has raised kits can assure you that nothing about their job is easy." He gives a chuckle at that, "And kits are the future. Without them, we cannot grow. As I've said, every cat has their role, and every role is just as important and necessary as the others. Disrespecting a cat for their role in life will not be tolerated, is that understood?"

"Lastly, and most importantly, 'Any cat who asks for help deserves the aid of the clan.' If we cannot be bothered to assist those who come to us, then what good are we? What purpose do we serve other than to survive and exist off the land we have taken? No. We have the benefit of being clan cats and it is our responsibility to use that benefit to help where we can. That," And his eyes find his deputy once more, "is why we accept those who ask for the chance to learn."

"Now,"
he shakes out his fur and stands, stretching his hind legs, "If all of that still hasn't chased you off, Dusk, my belly tells me that it is nearly time to eat. You may join us, if you like. Meet the rest of the clan. Then Skysong will take you to the Apprentice dens and have a nest made up for you. Should you decide to stay, I will begin your training a first light."

@belloblossom
 

belloblossom

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Dusk listened with great intensity to Sunseer speak about how, once Dusk became Sunseer's apprentice, his actions would reflect on more than just himself alone. He nodded and then, remembering the missing sight of the other tomcat. To have such a great mentor would come with more than responsibility of his own actions, if Dusk acted poorly, it would reflect on Sunseer too. Dusk's fur began to prickle with doubt. He wasn't entirely certain he wanted so much pressure on him - or on Sunseer, who had been so polite and courteous to him throughout the conversation.

Deciding that this pressure would motivate him to do better, he raised his head, his eyes focused on Sunseer's, despite the fact that the tom couldn't see him.
How am I going to be trained to fight or hunt, if Sunseer can't even see his paws in front of him? I'm not sure I can learn by the visuals in Sunseer's memory alone. He thought, but pushed it away quickly. He wanted this. He wanted to join a community and he wanted to make Sunseer proud of him, however he could, even with the challenges that may arise in the process.

"I understand." He mewed when prompted, and it was the truth. He wouldn't have guessed that these Clan cats were able to comprehend the intelligence of prey, in the manner to cycle through their hunting patrols. Dusk was impressed. The mice in the barn were stupid creatures, fat off the thick foliage that the Twolegs grew. The matter of respecting the mothers would have certainly sat well with his own mother, Barb, though Dusk had no doubt that Barb would've tried to exploit that grace, allowing StoneClan to feed her while she did little of the work herself. His mother was a hard worker, to be sure, but she was also an opportunist. He repressed a sigh at the memory of the family he'd left behind. StoneClan would become his new home, he was certain and he would find new family within it. His pelt became warm as another thought drifted into his mind. He may even start a new family here, if he found the right she-cat. His whiskers curled up pleasantly at the thought and nearly missed the final part of the Code that Sunseer was explaining to him.

"I hope I do not sound too bias when I say that I am especially grateful for that part of the Code you uphold, since it's the reason why I am able to sit before you and have this conversation." He mewed with a smile. "I'll admit, I'm a little nervous, but I'm not scared of the prospect of this new adventure and I'm ready to rise to the chance to prove myself to you," He glanced at last to Skysong and raised his chin, a little show of defiance. "To both of you, in fact."

Getting to his paws to get out of Sunseer's way, he hummed his agreement.
"I would love to join you for a meal, to meet your Clan and to join it. You have my gratitude, Sunseer and I will show you that you were right to allow me entry into StoneClan." He promised the older tomcat. "Lead the way and I will follow you." @Blinded By Silence

(This is my final post for this RP! <3 )
 

Blinded By Silence

Grizzled Veteran
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Sunseer nodded in Dusks general direction, a gesture that carried with it a feeling of deciciveness, of weight. The decision had been made. Skysong's tail tip seased its twitching. A slow breath fell from her. A sigh? Most likely. She held Dust's defiant gaze unblinkingly until Sunseer's laugh broke through the tense air.

"Well, it's settled then! Perhaps some fresh-kill to calm those nerves of yours, yes? Come, come." And the old tom stepped past Dusk and Skysong, beckoning them to follow with a swish of his long tail. "Do you have a preference, Dusk? I'm partial to birds myself. The bigger the better!"

@belloblossom
 
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