SKIN BY SPENNY @ SHINE. MINI PROFILE BY MINK. TABBED SIDEBAR BY KISMET OF RPG, TOGGLE SIDEBAR BY SUBDEVO, CUSTOM FORUMS BY BLACK.
DEEP IN THE MEADOW WAS CREATED AND IS OWNED BY MINK WITH LOTS OF LOVE AND CREDIT TO STAFF MEMBERS RAINBOW & HAWK. THANKS TO STYLES AT ABANDON HOPE FOR HELP WITH POST ICONS. PLOTS, CHARACTERS, ETC OWNED BY MEMBERS. ALL IMAGES CREDITED IN CHARACTER BIOS, ALL TEMPLATES & CODES CREDITED TO THEIR RESPECTIVE CREATORS. ALL CONTENT IS OWNED BY THE PERSON WHO POSTED, UNLESS OTHERWISE SPECIFIED. DO NOT STEAL. IF YOU SEE ANYTHING THAT BELONGS TO YOU THAT YOU WOULD LIKE CREDIT FOR, PLEASE CONTACT THE STAFF.
Welcome to Deep in the Meadow, a literate semi-AU Warrior cats roleplay site with a 200 word minimum. DitM features a sandbox play style, a stat system for character development, staff-run NPC accounts for events and encounters, and an overarching political landscape to help structure characters and interactions. Territories are refreshed, but will remain familiar to Warriors RPers. Play as a member of the four Clans or as a Clanless cat - and enjoy!
UPDATES - 3/19/18 Thank you thank you to everyone who took the time to audition for RiverClan deputy. After much deliberation we congratulate Mountainfang (Mink) on getting the position! Remember ThunderClan deputy is still open for auditions, and WindClan deputy will be again in the near future! We still have some medicine cats looking for apprentices, too (if interested PM the medicine cats!).
UPDATES - 3/17/18 A big thank you to everyone who applied to and showed interest in the WindClan deputy position. After discussing the characters and proposed plots we congratulate Jackdawclaw (Yazsh) on getting the position. If you have any questions or would like help with your next audition you can send staff a PM or DM. If you missed out we encourage you to apply for RiverClan deputy before the deadline on March 19th and for ThunderClan deputy. WindClan deputy auditions will open up again in the near future, so keep an eye out!
UPDATES - 03/16/18 RiverClan deputy audition deadline is Monday March 19th! Please get auditions in before then if you're interested in trying out for the position. If you think you may need more time speak to staff asap and the deadline may be extended. Also, we have an activity check running until March 31st, so make sure and post in that ASAP!
UPDATES - 03/14/18 WindClan deputy audition deadline is Saturday March 17th! Please get auditions in before then if you're interested in trying out for the position. If you think you may need more time speak to staff asap and the deadline may be extended.
UPDATES - 03/12/18 Okay hold on to your hats my friends! We now have RiverClan and WindClan deputy open for auditions as well. Link to the high rank board to the left as well as in the news blurb below this one. Same rules apply as with TC deputy -- fill out the audition form and send it to all staff members.
UPDATES - 03/11/18 ThunderClan deputy is now open for auditions. Please be sure to read over the high rank info here. If interested in the position please fill out the audition form and send it to staff as well as Madelin. MCA positions are still open (info below). Keep your eyes open for an activity check in the near future too (and hopefully a new skin if Mink can find time to do a banner!). I should add, while not necessary, including plot ideas (even if they are far out) is very much helpful!
UPDATES - 02/28/18 Rainbow has opened a temporary WindClan MCA position and is asking that interested parties be open to them losing the position within a few months so be sure to have plot ideas as to how they lose the position (death, failing to save a patient, etc) and DM (discord) or PM them your ideas and a bit about the character if they don't already exist on the site. Both RiverClan and SkyClan MCA are now open as well, and those interested should PM/DM Madelin and Trick respectively with your ideas, bio links, or a little about the character's personality/history if they don't they don't yet exist on site.
UPDATES - 02/26/18 A nasty case of greencough has taken SkyClan's deputy, Orcasong. Thankfully, it hasn't shown signs of spreading to the rest of the clan yet. Sequoiastar has chosen Weaselwhisker as her new deputy (which will be officially announced during an upcoming meeting along with a few other exciting things for the clan). Also be on the lookout for more news about the war between ThunderClan and WindClan. Staff will likely start a sign up sheet in the next couple of days to assemble patrols once the ThunderClan meeting has progressed a bit further, so please get your cats' responses into that as well as finishing up your Gathering posts. Because of plot progression and the nature of our sandbox roleplay style, both WC and TC deputy positions may be opening up in the near future. We will open auditions and make additional announcements when that times comes, but go ahead and start thinking about exciting plots for your potential deputies and brush up on the requirements of the position, which are located here!
UPDATES - 01/30/18 A very special announcement! Please join us in congratulating Monument on her engagement!
UPDATES - 01/30/18 The activity check is over and those who did not post or speak to staff have been deleted or moved into our inactive group where they will remain for two weeks before being deleted themselves; bios are never deleted, but are instead moved into our archives. If you have been deleted and wish to rejoin please feel free, and if you find yourself in the inactive group you'll have to PM a staff member with links to your bios and threads to have those moved back. All cats have been aged so please check to see if your characters have moved into a new age bracket, or if they are old enough for a rank change (speak to your leader or update directories/names if that's the case). Be sure to check mentors & apprentices to see if anything has changed, and keep in mind staff is turning those who are not reliable with training threads away from both mentoring and receiving a mentor themselves until consistency can be shown. Our site gathering is still going on (it's just gotten started!) so be sure to check that out.
UPDATES - 01/23/18 Site gathering is up here. Please do not post until the leader of your cats clan has. Leaders have the right to deny a cat access to the gathering and will let those who cannot attend know. The gathering can count as one of your active threads for the activity check.
UPDATES - 01/19/18 An activity check is up here. It will run until Tuesday the 30th of January.
UPDATES - 01/17/18 In light of our near every-clan-wide ban/discouragement on apprentices staff wanted to address a few matters. We all know and can relate to the fact that training threads can get boring quickly, but we want to remind users that they don’t need to be the same old things over and over and over again; training threads can be fun, and the concepts that apply to being a warrior can be presented in fun and new ways. Linked are some threads that staff have themselves participated in that demonstrate a wide variety of different directions to tackle training threads from that range from puzzle solving, critical thinking, assassination attempts, games, and even role playing (patrols and the like can count as training threads too). 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8. If you want to request a flash event you can ask a staff member or purchase one in the shop, and if you need help brainstorming ideas ask on our discord—we’re a collection of creative folk and we can certainly help one another out. In keeping training threads interesting and fun we hope to get more people signing up to do mentor.
In the same stroke we staff have also noticed a trend in that some sign their apprentices up for mentors, ask for training threads, but then never respond to them (or take months), and in the end end up purchasing apprentice passes for their apprentices to get their names on time. Going forward staff will request you skip signing up for a mentor (you can npc one instead) and just purchase the apprentice pass to save desperately needed mentors for those who will participate and complete training threads so we aren’t wasting mentors/time.
UPDATES - 01/16/18 Starvation Notices have officially gone out in ThunderClan. To prevent more, and to prevent those who have received them from worsening, get your cats out in patrols and hunting! WindClan, not far behind ThunderClan, is officially on notice of starvation, too. Don't be like ThunderClan and put off hunting threads until it's too late.
UPDATES - 01/10/18Staff has made a slight rule change. You can find this change noted on Rule #17 on the rule sheet, and explained in more depth on the bio guide (specifically the 'history' post, which is linked in Rule #17). Direct any questions to staff. Please make sure to read this update.
UPDATES - 01/09/18 Update concerning clans and clanless cats claiming and challenging for territory. Read about that here. As our largest clan on site we're officially giving ThunderClan a starvation warning. No one is starving quite yet, but they have rumbling bellies and an empty fresh-kill pile more often than not. Get out hunting, and not just on your own territory, ThunderClan, or risk finding starvation and illness notifications in your PMs ;D
UPDATES - 01/02/18 Happy New Year! We have a lot going on on site in terms of clan meeting and exciting, drama-filled going ons. Three of our clans have meetings up, and while two are further along than the third they are still in need of reactions to either help wrap them up, or to help their leader in making her decision. Give them a look: WC, RC, & SC. Once some of these big plot threads wrap up you can expect our next site gathering to get underway.
UPDATES - 12/27/17 There has been a change in DitM's staffing team as Cheshire has had to step away to tackle that thing we call life. You can read about that here. The staff team wishes Cheshire all the best, and a huge thank you for all they've done for the site! In light of how busy we still are we've promoted Yazsh, who has been helping the staff team already with mod stuff and flash event posts, to a full member of the staff team. Be sure to give the ma warm welcome and have patience with them as they learn the ropes! With Cheshire leaving that means Palefeather's and Graystar's plots are at a stand still, but since they are all sorts of tied up into the future of the site staff will be taking on the roles for at least a short while to keep things moving smoothly. Please direct all those character's plot questions to us. Rest assured we'll be working with Cheshire if we have questions, and the sand box environment, to see these through! Have patience with staff as well as we figure out what threads need to be done and get a handle on how to best play these characters. Thank you!
UPDATES - 12/24/17 A few days later than the set date, all accounts in the inactive category have been deleted. If that's you, you're welcome to rejoin at any time; staff can always pull things from the archives for you if you would like to remake characters. Just be aware that you may need to change names or face claims if they have been used in your absence.
UPDATES - 12/21/17 A happy Winter Solstice! Our season on site has been changed to Leaf-Bare. The staff team wishes happy holidays for those celebrating!
UPDATES - 12/06/17 The activity check is over and the site has been aged! Those members who did not respond or check in with staff have been moved to the inactive category and will be deleted on 12/20. If you were moved to inactive, just message a staff member with links to the items you need replaced and the accounts you need moved. For those of you still with us, please check characters' ages and active threads so you can claim any new stats. Please also check mentors & apprentices in case you have gotten a new mentor/become a mentor! Finally, many of us need to update our bios, at the very least to reflect name, rank, and sometimes Clan changes. If I have to call people out by name I will ;).
UPDATES - 11/29/17 We have an activity check going on! Link is here. Members have until December 5th to post. Please speak to staff if you don't think you'll be able to post by then. We are doing it a bit differently this time around so please be sure to read the post completely.
UPDATES - 11/15/17 A big thank you for all those who took the time to audition and show interest in ShadowClan deputy. After discussion between Rainbow & staff we congratulate Gillyflowerthroat (Mink) on getting the position. As promised if you have questions or desire tips in preparation for our next open high rank position you can send staff a PM or DM.
UPDATES - 11/09/17 New skin! Staff is still making tweaks to this top table potion (the link colors and navigation link colors) and to staff/site tables, but otherwise please let staff know if you still see any lingering green colors. A deadline has been set for ShadowClan deputy: Tuesday Nov. 14th. If you'd like to try out please send your auditions in before then, and if you think you will need more time be sure to let staff know.
UPDATES - 11/04/17 Auditions for ShadowClan deputy are now open. Audition form can be found in our high rank info board and all auditions should be sent to the staff team + Rainbow. A deadline will be set at a later date.
UPDATES - 11/02/17 Katzen has stepped back from the site and her role as ShadowClan's leader to focus on her senior year of college. To fill members in on what happened ICly with Vulturestar Rainbow has helpfully written a small AU you can read here.
Rowanfang remained mostly quiet and thoughtful as ThunderClan returned to their camp through the forest. He offered his clan mates words of encouragement when needed, and shook his head at WindClan’s arrogance—speaking, in feigned ignorance, of the bafflement over ThunderClanner’s being found on their territory—when appropriate. For ThunderClan the gathering might have been perceived as a disaster, but for Rowanfang at least it had gone swimmingly; it couldn’t have gone better, he thought, than if he had scripted it.
He brooded at the back of the group of cats until the camp when, in a bold display, he shouldered past Piedstar and mounted the Tall Branch before Piedstar could get to it; he didn’t doubt calling a meeting was something the leader would be prompt about, before word of the war traveled from the mouths of his clan mates, so Rowanfang had decided to be quick about. He shot the leader a brazen stare, daring him to make a move against him, before calling to the clan. ”ThunderClan gathering beneath the Tall Branch for a clan meeting!””
He looked out into the crowd for the cats he had been planting seeds of doubt against Piedstar in. It was them he would need to be vocal here—them he would need to support him in what he was about to do.
Oblivious to the sly and subtle actions of his own clanmates, he had faced accusations of stealing and trespassing from the one clan he had attempted to avoid angering. The clan he was not EXPECTING wrath from. And, with no idea of what his own clanmates had down, Piedstar was under the impression that every accusation spat by Graystar's foul mouth was a lie. A lie intended to slander his clanmates, a lie intended to turn the other clans against them.
He didn't know why, but he had his suspicions. Graystar was likely trying to either snatch ThunderClan land, or trying to see how far his warriors could go. Piedstar didn't think his clan ran the risk of being run from their territory, but his head swam with the thoughts of the cats they might lose. He didn't need to lose more, and certainly not to a group of worthless cowards and liars who hid behind lies and accusations.
Already he was planning what he would say. What he would say to his clanmates, the precautions he would take, the actions they would rally behind to make WindClan regret what they'd done. He wasn't sure about everything, this all had happened quickly and he was running high on emotion and adrenaline, and was distracted... as such he didn't immediately notice when Rowanfang hurried ahead of him upon reaching camp.
He did, however, take quick notice as his deputy gathered a meeting before him. Piedstar paused in his tracks, blue eyes narrowing at the form of his deputy and noting the look that was shot back. Perhaps Rowanfang was angry, perhaps he was acting rashly- he was a bit put off by the tom acting out of line, but he was curious to hear what he might say. Still, the dappled leader worked his way through the group of gathering warriors to be near the base of the branch, ready to jump up once his deputy had his say.
Chestnutkit was still eagerly awaiting his ceremony, now around the appropriate age to become an apprentice. He hadn't expected it today, with the gathering upon the cats that were old enough to go, but seeing his clanmates return to camp, he still hastily poked his head out the nursery only to see his clanmates looking distressed and frustrated, and, even more strangely, Rowanfang sitting atop the Tall Branch rather than Piedstar. If Piedstar had wanted, he could have easily exiled him and his siblings, as well as his mother, so Chestnutkit was very much inclined to stay on the tom's good side. Seeing Rowanfang in his place brushed Chestnutkit in the wrong way, but Rowanfang's wording -- for all of ThunderClan rather than only those old enough to catch their own prey -- was still enough of an invite for him to scamper out the nursery (on the outskirts so he was less likely to be herded back into the nursery).
"Shouldn't Piedstar be there? That spot is for the leader. You're not the leader -- is Piedstar in time-out?" he mewed agitatedly. He didn't have the sort of intuition or foresight to tell that something was off; all he knew was that Rowanfang wasn't where he usually was, and that bothered him.
For the second time that night, Brightpaw was roused from the warmth of his nest in the apprentices' den. He was grumpier about it this time; the first good meal he'd eaten in what felt like moons weighed pleasantly on his stomach and made him groggy. But attendance at clan meetings was mandatory, so the scrawny young tom pulled himself up and padded out of the den into the frigid clearing, hoping the rest of the clan wouldn't notice the lingering scent of rabbit on his breath.
Brightpaw stopped short in surprise at the sight that met him. Those who had attended the Gathering were trickling back into camp, and it was not Piedstar atop the Tall Branch, but their deputy, Rowanfang. Their leader sat instead near the base of the branch, looking grumpy but obliging. This was... unusual to say the least. The cats who had returned all looked irritated and stressed in their own right, and many were muttering to themselves in an agitated way. Brightpaw caught the name Graystar a few times. Wasn't that the WindClan leader? Something big had clearly happened at the Gathering tonight, and from the looks of it, something else big was about to happen.
"What's going on?" Brightpaw mewed to no one in particular. He wove his way to the front of the assembled cats, where he took a seat, curling his striped tail around his white paws. He looked back and forth between Rowanfang and Piedstar, waiting for one of them to cut through the tension in the air and tell him what was going on.
Was this truly happening? She couldn't believe it. She couldn't. How were they made the cause of this? She had not set a paw on WindClan territory! If she had wanted to hunt more, she went to neutral grounds to hunt there; with caution. And twice had she been accused by WindClan to have hunted on their lands. It was absurd, unbelievable. Nobody would have done such a Thing. And Piedstar had seemed so certain of his case too. She couldn't believe that he would approve of such a thing. Now RiverClan, that she knew... And she knew RiverClan in turn had retaliated because Bramblefrost had told Piedstar, hadn't he? If anything, she had expected Halfstar to mention that, but instead it was Graystar.
And he had gone to the extremes... War, even. She couldn't fathom what she was feeling, or how she needed to feel... Most of all, she was afraid. Afraid for her sister and brother, afraid for her parents... Afraid for young Murkpaw and her newly turned warrior friends and, oh dear... Heart plummetting, she took in a deep breath before finally looking up when Rowanfang instead took place to call out to the clan ( why not Piedstar? ). A blink of the eyes before she finally weaved through the crowd, searching out her sister. A moment she had brushed pelts with young Brightpaw, just as he asked what was going on. They just turned apprentices... And already would they feel the sting of war... A swallow.
" Graystar declared war upon ThunderClan. " she finally gently told Brightpaw, giving him a sad look before lifting her head to continue searching for Daisygrace, or Poppyfoot, or Baynose... Anyone that could ease her troubled heart. Not again, not again. She couldn't lose someone again... Buffalopaw's death... Bullpaw and Bisonfang and Heatherpaw and-- No, she couldn't have more death.
Blizzardfang was a little perturbed about not attending the Gathering. He stayed behind to help protect the camp and its remaining inhabitants. There were still several sick cats, primarily Elmfur's new litter, but another issue was rearing its ugly head. ThunderClan was slowly starving to death. If leafbare didn't let up soon and let the prey return, then they would lose cats. It was a scary reality, and they were working to avoid it.
The pointed tom was confused when the patrol returned. Tails were lashing and angry murmurs permeated the space. Others looked frightened, as if they had seen a spirit or a predator. It was worrying, but no one spread the news quickly enough to the rest of the clan which was beginning to stir. Without preamble, Rowanfang ascended and hastily called a meeting together. Having already been awake and in the clearing, Blizzardfang found a seat quickly, moderately close to Tall Branch. An unsettling expression crossed Piedstar's features, but he schooled himself quickly as he sat below his typical post. This was odd, indeed. Some sort of power struggle was occurring before his very eyes, but Blizzardfang kept silent. He didn't wish to be on the bad side of either of the toms. Whenever the time came for one of them to appoint a new deputy, Blizzard wanted to appeal to them. An unwavering blue gaze settled onto Rowanfang as he watched the clan rouse themselves and gather. This was serious.
Orchidfox had been sleeping peacefully in her nest when the sound of a voice called out for a meeting. Her brow furrowed in confusion. She was momentarily lost while her eyes adjusted to the darkness of the warriors' den. She was disoriented by the sudden wake up call, but made her way out of the den with minimal stumbling. There were already rumbles of confusion and possible reasons for the meeting spreading throughout the gathering cats. Orchid pieced together that the Gathering patrol had returned, and apparently there was something rather urgent to discuss. That realization woke her up like falling in a river, but the fact that Rowanfang manned the Tall Branch was another source of confusion. Piedstar sat beneath him stoically, allowing his deputy to take control for reasons unknown.
The tabby's very next thought was of her children. She waded through the crowd until she had spotted all three of them before finally being able to settle into a seated position. This was a serious matter, and seeing that her babies were not currently in any harm allowed her to relax. Questions regarding the premise for the meeting cropped up all around her, but most everyone turned their attention to the deputy. Orchidfox was among them until she overheard Primroseheart speaking in a hushed tone at Brightpaw. Orchid's eyes widened immediately and her stomach dropped. Her jaw worked uselessly as she tried to form words. This couldn't be happening. Not right now while they were still so weak.
she hadn't intended to fall asleep, but waiting for the rest of the clan to return from the gathering wasn't the most exciting of tasks. the irritation of not being invited to go was more than enough to have sent smallflower spiraling into a terrible mood, but the seemingly never-ending waiting period for her clan to return only made it worse. still, as the pitter patter of footsteps came closer to camp, the lithe she-cat pushed herself upward, albeit with a groan.
peering her head out of the entrance to the den, she couldn't help but twitch her whiskers in curiosity as she took notice of their faces, some crestfallen, some angry, some frightened. the base of her ears angling backward, smallflower crept out into the clearing, looking around for some clue as to what went down. should she be worried?
spotting a cream tom across the clearing named blizzardfang, smallflower made a bit of a beeline for him, relieved at the fact that other cats seemed to be crowding on the other side of camp. approaching him cautiously, the calico she-cat peered over her shoulder as she heard the deep, broad voice of rowanfang, bellowing out a calling for a clan meeting. instantly, she felt her fur raise, being piedstar following suit behind the deputy. had something happened to piedstar? was he retiring? was he okay? ideas ran through her mind at a dizzying pace.
taking a seat several mouse lengths away from blizzardfang, dipping her head in slight greeting. "any idea what this is about?" she voiced, keeping her voice soft. she didn't want to invite anyone else over to the two of them, three tended to be a crowd. "I hope piedstar is alright. it's weird that rowanfang is up there." she commented, flicking her gaze to give the white tom a side-eyed glance.
Larkcloud sat pretty in a space between physically waking and really rousing self enough to be capable of anything remotely productive: when voice of someone too rough to be the leader he knew forced him sardining toward center of camp.
Yawn parted lips in circle comparable to moon above. Blinked once, twice for good measure;
said to limber brown kit by nursery opening,"Yeah, hm—" (nother yawn) "—you're right. It just means something terrible or very great happened at the Gathering." Lark hadn't attended tonight because... alright so maybe he lacked solid justification for skipping, especially considering last Gathering hadn't even gone that sour aside from enigmatic end. He guessed he wanted to keep somebody company, but who who who? Head too groggy, but he'd figure it out before it stopped being relevant, hopefully.
Figured there would be no harm done in settling just slightly in front of Chestnutkit's spot. They weren't only cats caught out of the loop here, from what Larkcloud could garner. Up ahead, Primroseheart seemed to know. She'd finished speaking before Larkcloud had time to approach, and was too far for him to latch onto any keywords. So it was with ambiguous emotions, warmed by buzzing head, that he kept waiting.
Murkpaw felt miserable. The gathering had not been quite what he had expected—or, at least it didn’t end that way. The beginning of it—meeting and making a friend, he hoped, in Juniperpaw—had been quite enjoyable, but it had quickly soured with the ill news; clans spawning murderers, cats dying, Jaguarpaw being intimidating, and finally WindClan declaring war on ThunderClan. He had stayed close to his clan mates as they made their way back through the forest. He felt as though his head was in a cloud, and he hardly remembered his paws moving until the sight of camp—the smells and voices of his clan mates—brought him back to the present.
He had been resolved to go curl up in Daisygrace’s nest (hopeful she wouldn’t object), or at the very least retire to his own nest in the apprentice den and hope one of his fellow apprentices might allow him to lay close for warmth and comfort, but he stopped short seeing Rowanfang jump up to the Tall Branch.
He wasn’t the clan leader, and Murkpaw wasn’t at all sure if the deputy was allowed to call meetings. Had Piedstar asked him to? His whiskers fluttered curiously and nervously as he turned, the meeting called, to sit. He yearned for his nest but maybe Rowanfang had ideas on how to get ThunderClan out of this war. Murkpaw didn’t want to fight anymore than he wanted to see his clan mates hurt or killed—they had already been through so much!
Rainpaw’s fur had been bristling the whole trip back from the gathering. It had been a disastrous night. First off, ThunderClan's starvation had made them appear weak to the other clans, if the looks of pity and derision he had caught from other more well-fed clans were anything to go by. Then, some other apprentices had been blatantly rude to him, almost asking for a fight in a way he hadn't thought would ever happen on a gathering night.
But all of that paled in comparison to Graystar’s accusation and declaration of war.
It was a shock to everyone. How could Graystar start a war when the accusations were clearly false? He hadn’t even listened to Piedstar’s denial! To Rainpaw, Graystar's mind had seemed made up.
As the shock faded, Rainpaw found himself furious. It was clear to him that WindClan must be fabricating an excuse to steal ThunderClan territory. Seeing ThunderClan in their weakened state at the gathering had only confirmed that now was the perfect time for a conquest. Rainpaw snarled to himself. Well, they’d be wrong.
As Rainpaw entered camp, he quickly noticed Rowanfang moving away and leaping up onto the Tall Branch. Rainpaw frowned. He had been expecting Piedstar to call a meeting, of course, and he was itching to hear what their leader had to say and what they would do. Rainpaw glanced at Piedstar who was moving to the base of the branch and assumed that he must have asked Rowanfang to call the meeting. Perhaps Piedstar needed time to think before he spoke.
Spotting Orchidfox looking worried, Rainpaw approached and waved his tail in what he’d meant to be a gentle way to get his mother’s attention. Instead, his tail lashed jerkily. He tried to control his anger as he sat beside her, overhearing Primroseheart nearby explaining the situation to Brightpaw.
“He wouldn’t even listen to Piedstar,” he added in a growl, directing his words to Brightpaw. They weren’t sitting right beside one another, so other cats eager for news from the gathering would easily hear his words. “Didn’t even acknowledge that WindClan clan had stolen from ThunderClan after Piedstar brought it up to him.”
He shook his head in disgust and his claws dug into the ground beneath him. As much as he wanted to attack WindClan in his anger, he knew that ThunderClan couldn't afford a war right now. Just looking around at his skinny clanmates was reminder of that.
He looked up at the Tall Branch, meaning to address Piedstar, but instead his words were directed at the cat actually standing there.
Fawnpaw had been dead asleep when Brightpaw's second stirring roused her. At first she tried to ignore it, however the sudden commotion in the clearing quickly piqued her interest. As she sat up with a yawn, she remembered the gathering. By the time she turned, it was only her ginger-and-white brother's tail she saw, slipping through the exit.
"Hey, wait for me!" She mumbled sleepily, taking a step forward before remembering her other sibling. She bat Thymepaw on the head to wake him up before quickly making her way to the clearing. She found her way through the crowd to Brightpaw, giving him a friendly, if a bit rough, bump before sitting down beside him. She barely heard Primseroseheart whisper something, craning her ears after the pretty she-cat as she wandered off. Fawnpaw shot her brother a curious look.
"War? We're fighting someone?" Fawnpaw repeated, immediately becoming much more alert.
"Is it RiverClan? Ugh, it's too cold to learn how to swim..." She muttered under her breath, still trying to catch her bearings as she inspected the crowd. The cats returning didn't look to be in good spirits, and Fawnpaw frowned.
"What is Rowanfang doing up there?" Fawnpaw asked after a moment, squinting her eyes to look up at the red tom. Her thoughts mirrored most of her clanmates puzzled by the sudden switch, and she glanced around only briefly to look for Piedstar before settling her gaze on Brightpaw. Her brother was still thin, but at least held some life in him. War... Fawnpaw wasn't sure what to think about war - it was bad most of the time, even if the stories sounded exciting. She huddled a bit closer to her brother, watching the crowd uneasily. She only snapped back to attention when Thymepaw approached them, shooting him her usual smile, though her eyes betrayed her anxiety.
Daisygrace had been unable to attend the Gathering. She hadn't had enough energy to even want to go, but had been pleased to see Murkpaw given the chance. Even if it was practically throwing him in the deep end, he needed to grow out of his shell and be the warrior that Daisygrace knew he could be.
When the Gathering party returned, Daisygrace was in her nest, trying to sleep off the hunger pangs that were biting at her. She couldn't remember the last time she'd had a good meal - when Murkpaw was still a kit, probably. Forcing herself to her feet at the call of Rowanfang instead of Piedstar, she shuffled over to the group of cats who had just returned.
Instinctively, she bee-lined straight to Murkpaw. She greeted him with a swift, if tired, lick across his ear. "Make any friends?" she asked, trying to hide the hoarseness of her voice. Without waiting for an answer, Daisygrace sat down and turned her dull blue eyes up towards Rowanfang, keenly aware of the whispers of war.
Since Zinniathroat and Crowfoot had encountered Ravenfeather at the border with her so-called "gift", the tom had been on edge. He had been first to volunteer for the night watch, standing guard at the camp entrance as he carefully watched the moon and horizon for any signs of trouble.
Relief came to him when the Gathering party returned, but Rowanfang had a brooding look on his face, and moved quickly through the pack as Zinniathroat stepped in after everyone else. He blinked curiously as the deputy jumped onto the Tall Branch, calling for a meeting. Piedstar didn't intervene - at least not verbally, anyway.
It was hard to ignore the whispers of war that he had heard as his clan members had all walked past him. He heard Primroseheart and pushed apologetically through the crowd. "War?" he asked in hushed tones. "How are we going to win a war? Look around," perhaps he was being a tad too pessimistic about it, but when he lifted his head and looked at ThunderClan, they were sickly looking. Skin hung from their bones, and the last lingering remnants of disease still clung to their pelts. "Please tell me WindClan looked at least as thin as we are."
Rubyheart hadn't been picked for the Gathering, and while it had been a smidge disappointing, it did mean that someone else got to go instead. She had bid a cheery farewell to the party, watching them leave before her father snorted softly at her and told her to get in camp.
She had taken up her time with the kits, allowing their mothers a moment of peace while she told them a daring tale of heroism and woe. It was hard to keep their attention for very long,
but they were kits. When the tale petered off, and the kittens got bored, Rubyheart became an invader from ShadowClan, Rubystar - who intended to kitnap the kittens to make into strong, mindless ShadowClan warriors.
Rubyheart was enjoying the game perhaps a little too much when it was interrupted by the return of those who had attended the Gathering, and with the call of Rowanfang ordering the clan's presence. Her ears pricked curiously as she stepped out of the nursery,
aware the kits would probably follow (and at this point, half of them were old enough to be made apprentices so it didn't matter anyway).
"What happened?" she asked no one in particular, settling down. "We don't normally have meetings after Gatherings."
Though her kittens were old enough to be without her—ready to be named apprentices any day now—Weevilheart chose to remain back with them than trek through the snow and the cold to sit through the gathering that, if the last one was any indicator, wasn’t likely to be pleasant. Her evening, on the other paw, had been pleasant; warm, and full of cuddling and play-time with her nearly grown kittens, and time spent with their fathers. She was blissful with her life (barring the sad circumstances of Elmfur and her sickly kittens), and had no clue it was about to get a little darker.
She didn’t want to leave her warm nest, but it wasn’t Piedstar’s voice that called the clan meeting when the gathering party returned, but Rowanfang’s. Curiosity more than anything roused the she-cat, but as she settled in amongst her clan mates whisper of war and WindClan was on their tongues. Her brown eyes narrowed and looked first to Piedstar, than more slowly to Rowanfang for answers. ”What’s this about war? We can’t…” Her nose wrinkled. They were barely surviving leaf-bare—how would they fare in a war? She desperately hoped the whispers were wrong.
Barleyfire was uncomfortably full after Cherrybird’s rabbit. He’d done his best to cover the scent, but perhaps one of his more perceptive clanmates would catch the scent of prey on his breath as he found himself approaching his younger siblings. His green orbs narrowed as he spotted Rowanfang on the Tall Branch. He’d heard the deputy’s voice from the warriors den where he had been resting, but he had assumed Piedstar hadn’t been loud enough to announce his presence to the exhausted warrior. <b>”What do you think you’re doing up there, Rowanfang? Last I checked, Piedstar was looking just fine.”</b> His whiskers twitched, his lip curling in annoyance, though he suspected his voice would be lost to the gasps of from the announcement of war.
However, most of his clanmates agreed that Thunderclan simply couldn’t afford the fight against Windclan. <b>”No one is fighting anybody, not in the condition we’re in. It must be a misunderstanding. And you wouldn’t last a second on the ice- you can’t even walk on dry land,”<b> he tried to tease Fawnpaw, though there was concern in his voice. Could he bring himself to fight against the clan whose warriors and helped feed his younger sibling? It didn’t sit with him; it was unjustifiable. He looked towards Brightpaw, wondering if his mini-me was thinking the same thing.
Don't wanna give you all my demons You'll have to watch me struggle From several rooms away But tonight I'll need you to stay.
Since Lotusfire had taught him to fish, Volestorm had been a little bit more respected in camp - he was bringing back prey, being helpful on patrols with the baiting techniques Lotusfire had shared, but despite the gratification he felt when his Clanmates looked at him with some appreciation, it was a drop in the bucket. The hole ThunderClan was in, with their large numbers and prey restrictions, was too deep for a few fish to fill. Still, Volestorm was doing his best and he was glad of Rowanfang's support and trust. Talking with the deputy privately about what was going on in ThunderClan had given Volestorm a boost, if not of confidence in the Clan's future under Piedstar, then of Volestorm's own role in the months to come.
As the Gathering party returned, Volestorm was no less incensed -- the cold of the journey had done nothing to cool his blood after Graystar's declaration of war and accusations of lying, stealing, and trespassing on the part of ThunderClan. The idea that ThunderClan was hunting on WindClan territory was no surprise to Volestorm, as Rowanfang had suggested as much to him moons ago, but that preparation for instability and war, potentially from both their neighbors, didn't make the rabbit-hearted leader's spew any easier to stomach. Watching Rowanfang leap up to call a meeting, Volestorm quickly planted himself in the middle of the gathering crowd of ThunderClanners, ready and eager to listen to what the deputy had to say. The idea that Piedstar should be the one marshaling their forces right now briefly crossed Volestorm's mind, but the fact that the leader hardly reacted (at least from where Volestorm was sitting) to the interruption just cemented the idea that Rowanfang was strong and Piedstar didn't have as much control over his Clan as he should.
Rowanfang had power in the clan as deputy—organizing border patrols, keeping hunting patrols running, maintaining mentor and apprentice pairings—but none of those were quite as satisfying as seeing the clan come together and huddle beneath him, he on his lofty perch, at his call. He only just kept the smile from his face, suddenly chilled thinking of Furzeheart, his Dark Forest mentor, and how pleased he would be if this worked out in his, Rowanfang’s, favor, and how soundly he would be punished and belittled if it didn’t.
His eyes moved well past Piedstar to try to gleam the feelings of his clan mates by the looks on their faces; many, understandably, were confused why it was their deputy and not their leader calling the meeting, while others looked concerned over the news they’d received at the gathering, and others yet, like young Chestnutkit, seemed slightly bothered. His whiskers twitched in a show of mild amusement at the young cat’s words—Piedstar in a time-out indeed, and hopefully a permanent one if Rowanfang got his way.
Some stragglers were still getting settled, but enough had grouped together that the deputy saw fit to continue least the whispers of those who had attended the gathering get everyone in a half-informed panic.
”By now those of you who did not attend the gathering tonight might have heard the news that ThunderClan is now at war with WindClan.” He announced loudly and clearly. He paused for dramatic effect, but not so long to let his peers begin to cry out, complain, or protest over him. ”WindClan claims our cats have been sighted and scented numerous times on their territory. Whether it’s true or not is no longer our main concern; it’s a position our clan, and our clan mates, should have never been put in, but here we are. Piedstar has asked us, asked you, to break the code and to sneak around like terrified thieves to feed your clan—your loved ones—or risk starving if you do not. RiverCan or WindClan it never mattered—we were bound to get caught, and our thieving and pretending we weren’t doing anything wrong wasn’t going to go unanswered forever.”
”ThunderClan should have, from the very beginning when things first started to go poorly for us, but we were still able bodied enough to fight, taken land for our clan and readjusted the borders as a show of strength, but now we find ourselves in an even worse situation.” A flicked tail meant to draw attention to at least a portion of the clan’s more slender-than-what-was-healthy bodies, and with it the symptoms of starvation that would render them ineffective fighters. ”And one we cannot escape from or hope to avoid. WindClan is coming for us.” He let that hang heavy before he looked accusingly to Piedstar.
”Piedstar’s leadership has marked the clan for weak, and it’s made clear from the clan’s lack of faith in him to get us through this.” How could it not be true if his clan mates were going behind his back, disobeying his orders, in order to feed themselves and their clan mates. ”His decisions have been poor—conservative and frugal—and have gotten us nowhere; we hungered at the beginning of his leadership, and moons later we’re still there, and worsening. It’s time for a change. I, here and now, ask for Piedstar to step down as leader, and ask for the clan’s support so I might see ThunderClan through this uncertain time.”
Rowanfang had spent a great amount of time laying down the foundation for this; he had planted seeds of doubt here and there, inspired and encouraged others who might have otherwise been ignored, and always presented himself as a strong, steadfast, and courageous cat. He was, perhaps, that, but he was also much more—more, perhaps, than ThunderClan was bargaining for if they chose to throw their support behind him, and let Furzeheart, through him, take the wheel of the clan.
ooc: Madelin and I do not know the outcome of this, and neither are we looking for one thing over the other -- this is completely up to the sandbox environment (ie: you & your cats), and our own plots will stem from what happens >) Enjoy the ride and pray for ThunderClan.
There was a certain amount of irony present in this situation, one that Piedstar was not blind to. Moons and moons ago he had schmoozed his way into the rank of deputy with the sole intention of forcing the leader before him to step down. It had been a plan born of concern and dissatisfaction for the way Kestrelstar had guided the clan, and now here he stood. Before a younger deputy who's words burned him to hear.
The leader's fur bristled, his tail puffed out, his ears went flat to his head as a harsh glare was fixed upwards. He felt anger, and a hiss slipped through his muzzle. Rowanfang looked right at him, and he glared right back, and while he let the deputy finish, it was only by a few moments. He didn't look to his clan, either- some part of him felt as though there was no way they would do this. Not after everything he'd done- but another part feared he would turn to see his deputy's accusing glare mirrored on their faces.
"You forget how things actually happened," Piedstar snarled, his voice defensive and dripping with anger, "In the very beginning the clan was weak already. When I came to leadership cats were starved and being killed and sickened by our own food. You would have had us take a border while we were weak, sick?"
His voice began to rise, loud enough for the gathered cats to hear as his own arguments imbued some confidence. Piedstar was nothing if not filled with self confidence, "You would have sent your clanmates to their deaths. If you think RiverClan or WindClan would have sat by and let us take their land you are a fool. I did the only thing that would prevent us from having to fight."
"WindClan is coming for us now but that was not MY doing, if RiverClan had made that declaration your words might be true, but that hasn't happened. My decisions have gotten us through famine and sickness, it has kept us alive." And finally he turned, standing as tall as possible to see over the faces of the cats nearest to him, examining the crowd. StarClan, let him be right.