Chapter 4-1

posted August 3rd, 2017, 11:02 am


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August 3rd, 2017, 11:02 am

WildfireK

Chapter 4-1

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That night, Lynxheart opened his eyes. In front of his were trees blacker than any pines ShadowClan had ever seen. The leaves were grey, and oozed with sadness. A toxic river dark green with slime rather than dirt inched its way around Lynxheart’s feet. Disgusted, the former leader jumped away, trying to dry himself, but the ground itself was wet with darkness and it provided no respite. Lynxheart shivered. This was the place he had heard of in nearly every nursery rhyme. This was the Dark Forest, a place where the unwanted of the dead went to rot in silence. The cats that lived here lived bitter afterlives, cast away at the gates of StarClan. Lynxheart could never imagine living here – it was too horrible for any cat, no matter their moral greatness, to ever experience.
A forlorn rustling of leaves in front of him made the fur on Lynxheart’s back rise. Out of the cover of darkness trudged an abomination. An unkempt russet she-cat stumbled dejectedly through the murk. Her sunken eyes were as dull as the grey leaves, so much so that Lynxheart could not tell what color they were when the she-cat was alive. Each and every one of her ribs shone against her thin figure. However, the most salient detail of the disfigured cat’s body was the scars. Half of her face was furless, torn apart by some cat’s claws. She was missing an ear and an eye, and a gruesome scar across her throat showed exactly how she had died. Other scars crisscrossed her body, so many that it seemed like she had faced an entire clan of cats when she was alive. Lynxheart tried not to gasp, so he nearly vomited instead. The cat raised her head and looked him straight in the eye. Lynxheart felt his heart, strong as a lynx, shrivel up and die.
“Like what you see?” the she-cat mewed. Lynxheart nearly fainted. He knew that voice. It was the same voice that had appointed him deputy. The russet she-cat was Rubystar. The she-cat’s voice was hoarse and coarse from moons without use, but Lynxheart could still hear the honey-like tones that carried the mist of ShadowClan inside.
“Yes, Lynxstar, It’s me, Rubystar,” Rubystar croaked.
“I-I’m Lynxheart now, Rubystar,” Lynxheart corrected fearfully, bracing for a blow that he hoped wouldn’t come. Thankfully, it didn’t instead, something quite the opposite flew from Rubystar’s mouth.
“That’s what cats may refer to you as, but when I look at you, I still see a leader,” Rubystar smiled, revealing rotten, decaying teeth. Lynxheart swallowed. Rubystar noticed. “Sorry. I must be a wreck.”
“Why am I here, Rubystar? Is there something you needed to tell me?” Lynxheart asked, wanting to get out of the Dark Forest as soon as he could.
“No, not really. I just wanted to show you what conditions here are like, and what I’ve become,” Rubystar responded. “Plus, it gets really, really lonely out here. If I didn’t talk to anybody, then I would probably go insane. So, let’s talk. How’s life in ShadowClan?” Lynxheart was taken aback. Unlike with StarClan, Rubystar was asking about how things were going, not ordering him around. The former leader couldn’t help but feel a pang of pity for the she-cat. She was doomed to spend the rest of her afterlife rotting away in this dump. But she was here for a reason. StarClan obviously wanted nothing to do with her. Why was that so? Lynxheart had personally expected Rubystar to be in StarClan. For all that she had done, it was for the good of ShadowClan. Would StarClan really send her to the Dark Forest just because she was manipulative? If Lynxheart knew anything, it was that manipulative cats weren’t always bad – he was one himself.
In a flash, Lynxheart remembered the order that StarClan had given him. He couldn’t recall it verbatim, but they had said something about staying away from the darkness. Lynxheart looked at Rubystar. Was this what they meant? What would Rubystar try to do if he didn’t stay away?
“You’re suspicious, aren’t you?” Rubystar laughed. She laughed the sort of laugh that would make you want to cry. It was so full of pain and loneliness that Lynxheart couldn’t help but want to comfort her. “What kind of stories have they been telling about me, now that I can’t do anything to stop them?”
“Well, they say you’re… manipulative, dangerous, untrustworthy…” Lynxheart winced. He was hurting Rubystar even more. Living in the Dark Forest was enough punishment. Hoping that Rubystar wouldn’t lash out, Lynxheart shrunk. “Sorry. That’s probably hard to hear.”
“It’s fine, it’s fine. It’s what I expected,” Rubystar mewed, but her voice cracked and raised an octave before she could hide it. “Enough about me, though. What about you? How’s life treating you?” Rubystar said the word ‘life’ like it was the greatest thing in the world.
“Good,” Lynxheart replied tersely, unable to come up with anything else to say in time. “Well, I just got demoted from leader to warrior by Froststar,” Lynxheart said the albino she-cat’s name coolly, but as he said it, Rubystar spat on the ground. “Coalkit, Aspenkit, Cypresskit, and Twokit are warriors now, and Chervileye and Firfire had new kits,” Interest was piqued in the depths of Rubystar’s dull eyes.
“That’s great! I assume Froststar is leader now?” Rubystar mewed, hissing Froststar’s name. Lynxheart nodded grimly. Rubystar sunk to the ground. “I don’t know how she keeps getting ShadowClan to throw away great leaders. ShadowClan crippled itself when you stepped down,” Rubystar asserted bitterly. Lynxheart felt a twinge of pride. Somebody had complimented him, and he liked it, no matter who that somebody was.
“I’m a great leader? Thank you very much,” Lynxheart stated humbly. Rubystar laughed, a little bit of humor creeping in, joining forces with something else – an emotion Lynxheart had never heard.
“Why do I think I made you deputy?” Rubystar mewed rhetorically, rising to her paws once more. “On a tangent, this is the best I’ve felt in a while,” the she-cat pointed out. “I’ve missed talking to cats more than anything else.” Knowing how much he and Rubystar both relied on relationships, Lynxheart could sympathize.
“That’s great,” Lynxheart mewed awkwardly. “By the way, what was coming to the Dark Forest like?” Lynxheart asked. He saw Rubystar wince, and he cursed himself for not being as tactful as he normally was.
“Well, I just woke up here. I didn’t see no StarClan warrior or anything. They didn’t even give me a chance to defend myself,” Rubystar growled harshly. A flicker of doubt crossed Lynxheart’s mind. Why would StarClan do that? Why decide that Rubystar was unfit for them without involving her? They had decided her destiny just like they had decided his. Lynxheart shifted his paws. How much do we really control? Lynxheart asked himself. Are we really free?
“Wait. Can you do me a favor?” Rubystar whispered. Lynxheart narrowed his eyes.
“What kind of a favor?” he asked suspiciously, still untrusting of the fabled villain, and offput by her appearance.
“Just a simple one. One you probably take for granted,” Rubystar replied eagerly, nearly bouncing up and down on her paws.
“Okay, but can you tell me what it is?” Lynxheart pressed, frightened by Rubystar’s giddiness.
“I just want to touch your fur,” Rubystar squeaked, immense hope pouring out of her body and mixing with the murky slime below her feet.
“What?”
“Hold still. I’ll come over,” the disfigured, ragged she-cat edged closer, and Lynxheart leaned away, trying to fight the urge to vomit. He nearly did when Rubystar stopped a tail-length away from his and reached out one diseased, slime-covered paw. She slowly raised it and brushed a tiny hair on Lynxheart’s chest, leaving an oozing string of slime. Rubystar snatched her paw back as if Lynxheart was an extremely hot object, then reached out again, more bravely this time. She planted her paw firmly on Lynxheart’s chest, and the former leader shivered at how impossibly cold Rubystar’s paw was. The only time a cat could ever feel this cold was when they were dead. Lynxheart jumped back away from Rubystar’s reach.
“Sorry!” Rubystar yelped, startled.
“Your paw is really cold!” Lynxheart exclaimed.
“Really? I never noticed,” Rubystar frowned, examining her paw as if she could pick out something that would signify her coldness. Instead of looking distraught, the she-cat just looked mildly curious, which sent a chill down Lynxheart’s spine for reasons unknown. “Can I do that again?”
“Uh…” Lynxheart started, wanting to refuse but unsure if it was polite to do so.
“Please?” Rubystar asked, and in that moment Lynxheart knew that he couldn’t resist. Rubystar’s appearance unsettled him, but when he got over that fact, he could feel nothing but pity.
“Okay.” Rubystar edged closer once more, and placed her paw firmly on Lynxheart’s now slimy chest, holding it there for a few seconds. As if she had been waiting for some sort of confirmation, Rubystar’s eyes lit up like fireworks, and Lynxheart could swear that for a second, the she-cat’s eyes flashed amber.
“No. This is not happening!” Rubystar gasped, her entire body shaking with joy. She jerked her head up to face Lynxheart, who was shaking with fear. What was Rubystar doing?
“You’re real! You’re actually Lynxstar!” Rubystar yowled. Suddenly, the she-cat jumped back and performed a shaky, faltering happy dance that immediately reminded Lynxheart of Coalblaze. Then, faster than Lynxheart, or any cat, could react, Rubystar thrust her muzzle against Lynxheart’s cheek.
“Wha-“ Lynxheart started, jerking away. Then, he smelt the utter nauseating stench of Rubystar’s rank breath. He retched and vomited all over his fur. Rubystar, not daunted at all by Lynxheart’s disgust, proceeded to tackle Lynxheart to the ground. The she-cat hugged Lynxheart ferociously as the tom struggled weakly, coughing and spitting all over the already filthy, grimy she-cat.
“Get-off-me!” Lynxheart screamed, kicking out with all four legs. The force of the blow threw Rubystar into the darkness, so far that Lynxheart lost sight of the she-cat. Getting to his feet, Lynxheart heaved one more time. The sheer uncleanliness of the Dark Forest appalled him. Lynxheart winced as the russet she-cat trotted back into view.
“Sorry,” Rubystar panted, “about that. I just haven’t seen a real live cat in so long.” Lynxheart sighed. Rubystar truly needed company. “Am I making you uncomfortable?” The russet colored she-cat meowed unexpectedly. Taken aback, Lynxheart nodded, then soon felt sorry that he had acted so quickly.
“It’s okay. Don’t be sorry. For a cat that specializes in relationships, isolation is really destructive. I suspect I’ll be less awkward once I get used to talking again,” Rubystar mewed.
“I’m sorry this has happened to you,” Lynxheart mewed sadly, wishing that StarClan wasn’t so harsh in their punishments. “By the way, where are the other Dark Forest residents?” Lynxheart asked, pulling out topic after topic to keep Rubystar talking.
“To be honest, I have no idea. I guess I’m alone here. Yarrowstar and the like are probably alone as well. Personally, I wouldn’t to meet somebody like him in a place like this–“ Rubystar shuddered, “but nobody, not even him, deserves to be here.” Lynxheart nodded sympathetically. Rubystar looked away, staring at her paws now that she had nothing to saw. The two fallen leaders avoided eye contact for a while, slipping into an awkward silence. Both of them desperately grasped around for something to say to keep talking.
“Rubystar!” Rubystar shouted suddenly. Lynxheart jumped. Knowing that she had probably scared the tom, Rubystar looked up.
“Sorry. I just need to keep reminding me of who I am so that I don’t forget. Also, I need to keep saying things; the silence will get to me otherwise,” Rubystar apologized, sighing. “By the way, how is Roserain?”
Roserain was Rubystar’s younger sister. Though they looked alike, they could not be more different in personality. Lynxheart’s heart warmed and broke at the same time. It was very sweet of Rubystar to not forget about her sister after all these moons in the Dark Froest, though it broke his heart to see Rubystar rotting while Roserain enjoyed Frostfire’s leadership. What would Roserain say if she sa the state of her sister?
“Roserain’s doing great,” Lynxheart said truthfully.
“Gossipy as ever?” Rubystar pressed, eliciting a bittersweet laugh from Lynxheart.
“Yes.”
“Please tell me she supported you when Froststar overthrew you,” Rubystar mewed.
“Um…” Lynxheart started, cornered. He couldn’t lie, but Rubystar would not like to hear his answer.
“Oh,” Rubystar looked towards the ground, infinitely disappointed. “Well, I hoped our sisterly bond would keep her from Froststar, but it looks like she’s been brainwashed with the rest of the Clan into believing that I was a monster.” Rubystar unsheathed her claws, and for a second Lynxheart thought she would pounce on him. However, she made no move towards the former leader.
Suddenly, the entire landscape of the Dark Forest tilted to its side as Lynxheart and Rubystar were thrown off their feet. The world slipped from under them as the entire ground shook rapidly. The two former leaders failed to plant any of their four feet firmly on the ground for more than a second before they lost their balance against. Lynxheart’s head hit a gnarly, grizzled tree, and his sight blurred.
“Wake up, Lynxst-heart! We’re going on the dawn patrol!” A voice echoed throughout the air, seemingly emanating from every single angle. Even through all the distortion, Lynxheart could still tell that the voice belonged to Coalblaze.
“Wait! No! You can’t go!” Rubystar’s frantic shout interrupted Coalblaze’s words.
“Lynxheart! You usually aren’t that deep of a sleeper; Wake up!” Coalblaze mewed from everywhere at once.
“Please! I need someone to talk to!”
“I’ll come back tonight!” Lynxheart shouted back, as he was thrust into a decaying bush. He never liked the slimy forest, but he couldn’t leave the she-cat alone.
“Hey, what’s this? StarClan, is that vomit?” Coalblaze yelped.
“Oh, mouse-dung! There isn’t time to wash off the slime!” Rubystar yowled, panicking. “Please be careful! Make up an excuse or something!”
“Lynxheart, wake up! Are you okay? StarClan, let him be okay!”
“I’m trying!” Lynxheart responded, rapidly fishing for something. However, sheer turbulence of the earthquake shattered his thoughts.
“Tell Roserain I love her!” Rubystar yowled before she was thrust into the mist, her voice drowned out by Coalblaze.
“I can’t!” Lynxheart cried, but Rubystar didn’t hear.
Then, the ground under Lynxheart disappeared and the tom felt a sucking sensation. He was falling for a split second before reflexively jerking upwards. His head collided with his black-pelted friend’s and they both fell back. Lynxheart let out a mrrow of pain before his head thudded against the soft, cool moss. Gone were the stinky, grimy trees of the Dark Forest, replaced by the calming, mysterious ShadowClan mist.
“Lynxheart! You’re up!” Aspensong breathed, relieved. The grey and white she-cat sat next to her friend.
“Uh…” Coalblaze winced. “Did you know that you have puke all over your pelt?” Yes, I know, Lynxheart thought, but he feigned surprise anyway.
“What? Holy StarClan, that’s gross!” Lynxheart shouted. Thankfully, the warriors were out of the warriors’ den, except for Crowsand and Cypressroot, who shot to their feet as soon as they saw Lynxheart covered in vomit and slime.
“You really scared me there! I thought you’d never wake up!” Coalblaze mewed. “You must have had a really bad dream in order to vomit like that. Are you sick?”
“No, I’m not sick,” Lynxheart panted. He then faked retching in order to give him more time to think. “I, uh, um, I dreamt that–“ Lynxheart’s mind drifted to the Dark Forest, and remembering the imposing, dirty foliage, Lynxheart retched. For real, this time. “Ugh. I dreamt I ate crow-food. It was covered in maggots and slime and all that stuff–“
“Stop! You’re making me want to puke!” Coalblaze interrupted, disgusted. “You’re right. I can see why you vomited. But just in case, we should see Shadowsmoke.”
“Shadowsmoke? Isn’t Swampshine still medicine cat?” Lynxheart asked.
“Yeah, she still is, but Shadowsmoke is doing all the duties right now, because I… um… injured her. Yeah,” Coalblaze stuttered awkwardly. In an effort to brighten the situation, Coalblaze mewed, “Shadowsmoke’s doing really great. She’s handling everything so well. She’s really a second medicine cat instead of an apprentice now.” Aspensong nodded, agreeing.
“Anyway, sure, I’ll go to Shadowsmoke,” Lynxheart mewed, scared that if he refused, his friends would just get more worried.
“Are you alright, Lynxheart?” Crowsand asked, speaking up now. Lynxheart was grateful that the warriors’ den was filled with friendly – or, at least, respectful, in Cypressroot’s case – warriors, rather than cats like Twoheart and Roserain. Speaking of Roserain, Lynxheart wondered how she felt about Rubystar. She probably didn’t have a very high opinion of her by the way she had sided with Frostfire.
“Yeah, I’m alright, thanks for asking,” Lynxheart replied, heaving himself to his feet. He stumbled on his way up, however, and fell back to his knees. “Ow.”
“Lynxheart! You’re all battered and bruised!” Aspensong yowled shockingly.
“What?” Cypressroot responded dubiously.
“It’s true! Look!” Crowsand probed a spot on Lynxheart’s back where he had hit a tree. Lynxheart flinched.
“No, guys, really, I don’t know why you’re making such a big f–“ Lynxheart began, panicking.
“That couldn’t be caused by any regular dream,” Coalblaze whispered grimly. Then, as if everyone had been told terrible, terrible news, all heads swiveled towards Coalblaze and the room grew more silent than silence itself. Lynxheart’s black-pelted friend opened his mouth to speak, and Lynxheart knew he had been figured out.
“Lynxheart, who have you been visiting?”

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October 21st, 2017, 3:18 am

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August 8th, 2017, 12:29 pm

ShadowStalker1128

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IT'S RUBYSTAR

oh wow. I really wasn't expecting Rubystar to be like that. Huh
Maybe she's trying to get Lynxheart on her side
For some reason
Idk

I wonder if Lynxheart will tell them

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August 8th, 2017, 12:32 pm

WildfireK

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@ShadowStalker1128:
What were you expecting?? XD

But yeah, if you built your whole life on social relationships, and if you gained power because of it, if you were stuck alone with nobody to talk to, hated by everybody, and one more thing I can't mention, then of course you're gonna be pretty desperate XD I know I'd be XD

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August 8th, 2017, 1:03 pm

ShadowStalker1128

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@WildfireK: I was expecting her to be...smoother, I guess

Good point XD

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August 8th, 2017, 1:04 pm

WildfireK

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@ShadowStalker1128:
Lynxheart ain't smooth anymore after his fall so XD

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August 8th, 2017, 1:09 pm

ShadowStalker1128

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@WildfireK: true that XD

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August 8th, 2017, 1:10 pm

WildfireK

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@ShadowStalker1128:
Did you like how I hid Lynxie's subtle character change behind Coalblaze's massive one?

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August 8th, 2017, 1:14 pm

ShadowStalker1128

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@WildfireK: oooh yes
Cause you're always focused on bigger change, yeah?
But it didn't work on me muahaha
I see right through you Lynxheart (okay jot really but eh)

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August 8th, 2017, 1:16 pm

WildfireK

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@ShadowStalker1128:
Imagine Lynxheart having to focus on every character change at once


Being manipulative is actually incredibly hard amd stressful
At least for Lynxie

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August 8th, 2017, 1:19 pm

ShadowStalker1128

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@WildfireK: no it is hard
It's hard to write one too :3

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August 8th, 2017, 1:24 pm

WildfireK

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@ShadowStalker1128:
Really?
Actually Lynxheart is the easiest character to write for me

The hardest is Honeycry

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August 8th, 2017, 1:31 pm

ShadowStalker1128

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@WildfireK: I forgot who Honeycry is

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August 8th, 2017, 1:36 pm

WildfireK

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@ShadowStalker1128:
Honeycry gave a warning (she's StarClan) to Lynxheart in like chapter 3
But Lynxheart, just like you, completely forgot! XD

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August 8th, 2017, 1:38 pm

ShadowStalker1128

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@WildfireK: oh
Pfft she can't be that important

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October 14th, 2017, 9:13 am

Fire storm

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Hey,why is Rubystar in darkforest?She seems nice!>:0

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October 14th, 2017, 9:14 am

WildfireK

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@Fire storm:
She's manipulative >;3

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October 14th, 2017, 9:16 am

Fire storm

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@WildfireK: ._.
...

That can't be the only reason right???

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October 14th, 2017, 9:18 am

WildfireK

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@Fire storm:
Don't trust her~
There's no telling what she will do if you let her wrap you around her paw >;333
She seems nice, yeab

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