Ashy sunlight filled the territory of Safe Haven early in the morning. Although the grounds within the walls were filled with lush woodland and clean water, the world outside was still as gray as the ash that covered it. Tan paws padded along the wall slowly. Hazel eyes gazed down at the many shapes and sizes of new cats. All these cats were affected by the calamity; most lost family, friends, their homes, and some even their lives. Lynxtail let out an audible sigh. She was lucky to have lived through such an event! All these cats were! But that was why Safe Haven was created. To reunite. Lynxtail laid her head on her paws and continued to gaze at the new comers.
Hopflight was lying flat on his stomach, forepaws dangling over the side of the great wall that surrounded their creation. He was tired, still feeling the aftereffects of the power he and Lynxtail had used to create such a place. His eyes were closed, his unmarred ear drooping almost as low as the one with the broken cartilage. But when he felt the weak sunlight filtering through the haze of clouds in the sky, he lifted his eyelids enough that he could gaze into the valley with a sense of satisfaction. Safe Haven. Their Safe Haven. Such a thing had seemed impossible in the last year of their fight, but in events that Hopflight himself couldn't begin to explain, it had been made possible.
He unconsciously used his power of telepathy, his mind searching for the presence of others around him. He sensed Lynxtail some distance away and raised his head, eyes opening further, his ear pricked. What a wonder they had created together! And here, filtering in and exploring the land that they could now call home, were their first members.
He brushed his mind against hers as he managed to get to his paws, alerting her to his presence. Enjoying the view? he asked her mentally, opening a channel for her to reply if she wanted as he made his way over to where he felt her lying.
Lynxtail almost jumped, not used to the whole 'Telepathy' thing. She herself could not use telepathy, her powers residing in a different class from Hopflight's. She let our mrrow of laughter. Who wouldn't? She smirked and lifted her head. She spotted her molted friend making his way towards her. "It’s nice out this morning," she commented once he was in earshot. Looking back down at their territory she added, "Look at all the cats who have heard our call! Its wonderful!" She shot him a toothy grin. "Who knew we were so loud haha," she snickered. She stretched slightly, still laying on her stomach. The sun felt so nice on her striped back.
Hopflight grinned as he approached, his sea-colored eyes sparkling as he held out onw paw to bat at one of her floppy ears. He pushed it up for a few seconds, but as soon as he removed his paw it curled right back over again. He sat beside her with a slight sigh, tired, hunched over a little bit as he looked down. It was good to be around other cats again. With luck, even more would come in the days following, and they would be able to truly push back against the Ashen. "We're social butterflies," he joked, tilting his head towards her, his short tail waving slightly despite his exhaustion. "Hence the name "Monarch." Of course we know how to be loud." He groomed one paw, drawing it over his face. The scar on his nose was refusing to go away, and he was wondering if he was going to end up adding another scar to his face-collection. At least the one on the back of his neck was hidden by all of his fur. "How are you holding up, kitten?"
She rolled her eyes as he batted her folded ear, though a smile still visible. "It feels weird being a 'monarch'" she widened her eyes slightly in exasperation. "Its like being leader- without the star! And the extra living time," she added the last part with a hmmph. "I always wondered what being a leader would be like.. Lynxstar-- nah i think i prefer tail," she giggled slightly. Her hazel eyes looked toward him. "I'm uh holding haha.." She laid her head back on her paws. "It could be better.. I mean its great having more cats to- well- be with..." The memory of the calamity struck her suddenly. She remembered calling for days upon days, never an amswer to her calls. Till she finally stumbled upon 'Mr. Flirtsy'. She turned her head with a small smile. She batted his cheek playfuly. "I am so glad that you answered my calls,"
Yes, there was a lot about their new system that was... well, new. They had come up with the ideas after a few sessions of brainstorming, but there was a lot they still needed to put into practice. But somehow, Hop was ort of glad that they weren't leaders in the Clan sense. Talk about a puppet of StarClan! Hopstar didn't have nearly the same ring to it as his warrior name. He'd never had great aspirations to be leader, more content simply to live his life, train his apprentice...
Tidepaw. He had watched her die, swallowed up by one of the chasms. He laid down, his head sinking to his paws again, eyes shining with the bit of grief that he always tried to hold back. A year and he hadn't been able to get over her death. If he'd been a bit quicker, a bit more careful, he would have been able to save her. The sight of cats filing into Safe Haven brought back a cruel spark of hope--would she possibly be among them? Could she be wandering through the world, coming now to the walls in answer to their Call?
He really should stop thinking about such impossible things. He turned to more realistic matters. Would Birdcatcher, his old mentor, show up? Perhaps Kindlestep, the medicine cat that he had loved to tease, spending unnecessary days in the healer's den. His big, stoic friend, Russetstep? Hawkpaw, his half-brother?
"You're not the only one glad about that," he chuckled, hiding his worries with a grin as he rolled onto his back. "Anyone in particular you're hoping to show up?"
She thought hard about his question. The first cat to come to her mind was a cat she knew would be dead. "My brother.. But I know he's probably dead.." She sighed. She hadn't seen Jetwing since he left Aspenclan in search of their mother all those seasons ago. It broke her heart; he was her best friend. "I also hope to see Littlestep, Kindlestep, Leaftail, Appletail," she started rattling off names of cats. She stopped herself suddenly. She caught herself in time before she said her apprentice's name. He died before the calamity. "Um.. It'd be great to see Lilypaw too and even Sunstar.." She stared down at the group of cats. She hoped more would come. She could feel the sadness in the air, not only her own. She turned and placed a paw gently on Hopflight's shoulder. "Lets not think about that cats that could be here but instead think about the cats that are,"
Hopflight tilted his head to look at his friend and leaned over, his tongue rasping over her ear. “Of course,” he purred, kneading the ground with his paws and closing his eyes. “We’ve got a good turnout. I’ve seen a few old Clan cats, and more than a few rogues that claim to have all been a part of a city gang together.” He paused thoughtfully, looking down into the valley. He could see the dark smudge of one cat, and imagined that he could see the roiling smoke even from here.
“Have you seen?” he asked quietly. “Those fellows with the dark auma. Everyone’s been calling them darklings. I’m… not so sure what we should do with them. I’m not about to turn away help, but I’ve heard some say that darklings are a little too close to being Ashen for their comfort.”
Lynxtail let out a purr at his comforting lick. "A gang huh?" She frowned slightly. "We should make sure to keep an eye on them.. I've never heard anything good come out of gangs.." She murmured. What kind of gang could these cats possibly come from? They would need to make sure to lay down rules for these gang cats, along with the rest of Safe Haven, to follow. Wouldn't want anyone getting hurt over past scuffles. "Hm?" She leaned her head over the edge of the great wall and peered down at said cats. "Darklings? Well if they're here, they should have more sense than an Ashen cat," Lynxtail nodded her head firmly. "I've seen a few come in. They don't seem dangerous.. Just misunderstood I think," she shifted slightly to allow her cream colored paw to hang over the edge.
Hopflight nodded in agreement, still watching the movement far below. “Well, we have a few things to settle,” he said, his tail flipping up and waving in the air. The sight of something good finally coming after the Calamity was giving him a little energy back, even with the side effects of using the power of the nine stars. “But now, I suppose the obvious question is where to go from here. Everything we’ve done so far has been to lead up to this thing, our glorious creation.” He flopped on his back, swiping a paw over his face. “And now, we have to find a whole new meaning to our lives! Seriously, though, what should we do first?”
Lynxtail let out a mrrow of laughter. "My best guess would be to meet the new arrivals." She suggested. "Make new friends, swap stories." She flicked her stub of a tail, "Lay down the laws, get everyone accustomed to this new.. Life." She stared out into Safe Haven, not staring at anything in particular. "It is a lot to get used to huh.. It’s kinda exciting," she added with a mischecious grin. "Makes me think of those old nursery tales with Lionclan, Leopardclan and Tigerclan.. Just with alot more explosions and deadly creatures,"
Hopflight’s face lit up in glee when she mentioned the legendary clans, his tail waving faster. “Indeed!” he said, with a bark of laughter. “Figure that! We’re more awesome than the old clans of great cats who everyone looks to for strength.” The thought made him incredibly smug. He wondered if he COULD take down a lion, or exchange blows with a tiger. Probably. His powers were certainly awesome enough. He stretched, his claws coming out as he raised them over his head, the motion accompanied by a yawn. “What you’re suggesting sounds nice, though. Get to know cats again, pool our knowledge, kick some Ashen butt. It’ll be practically a vacation.”
"A vacation huh?" Lynxtail smirked. "I doubt it'll be that peaceful," she rolled her hazel eyes. She then said in a dramatic tone, "What if while we're all down there mingling with the common folk, a great evil arises and demands a fight!" She flopped over onto her back and raised a paw to her forehead in mock distress. "Oh! what'll we do!"
Hopflight giggled as they lay together side-by-side, writhing in their make-believe drama. Feeling a little more awake, a little more energetic, he sat up and scratched his floppy ear with his back leg. “We’re all pretty dark-damned awesome,” he said, getting to his feet and nosing her. “We’ll manage, obviously. We probably won’t even need to set down our fresh kill.” He glanced to the side, to the great, tall tree that grew close to the north wall. He’d been thinking that it was about time for them to claim a den for themselves, and he’d had his eye on the tree for some time. “Come on, little Monarch. Let’s go check out our roost!”
Lynxtail raised a bro at the molted tom. "Our roost?" She followed his gaze to the large tree. It contained the most green she's seen since the calamity happened. She let out an audible 'oh' before hopping to her paws. "And hey! I'm not little!" She stuck out her lounge. He gave him a light shove before bounding past him and trotting down the wall. "I wonder if its roomy over there," she inquired. All during the calamity, before Safe Haven was created, they had to sleep in make shift dens that were quite uncomfortable. "At least now we don't really need to watch our backs every few minutes," she breathed.
“There’s a great hollow partway up the trunk,” he said, skipping a little as he bounced along the wall with renewed energy. When he reached a point of the wall not to far from the roost, he stopped and descended, picking his way down the surface. They really should have made stairs or something, but the climb wasn’t that tough, especially if one knew the wall and its layout as intimately as he and Lynxtail did. There were areas that were rather easy to scale. They’d never put in a gate or anything of the sort. Such a thing would defeat the purpose of having a wall. “It’ll be a place to call home,” he said as he touched down, leaning up to nose her to be sure she had also descended safely. “A place fit for Monarchs.”
Lynxtail followed his lead down the tree. "It is quite roomy," she commented after he helped her down into the hollow. "Just for Monarchs," she clicked her tongue approvingly. "I like the sound of that!" She popped her out the hollow and added joyfully, "look! this would be a perfect spot to give speeches and announcements! You can see alot from here," Safe Haven was beautiful. She already knew that, but everytime she got a bird's eye view of it, it just made her heart swell. It reminded her of home. The green grass, the sparkling water, the fresh air. Being in a gray world for a year really makes a cat cherish the little things. Lynxtail let out a breathy sigh.
Hopflight laughed a little at the sight of her head poking out from the great tree. “Indeed!” he said, clawing his way up to join her. “I forgot, we’re going to have to do that now, aren’t we? I’m going to have to be much more organized. You’ll remind me if I forget something won’t you?” He sat on a branch just outside the hollow, sea-colored eyes glittering as he looked at the land that they’d untainted and sculpted. It was so much like home. He could even see the Sea from the western walls, if visibility was good enough that day. Soon, he would go and pay it a visit. As for the rest of Safe Haven… it was good. Not perfect, but so much better than the land they had lived in for the past year that the very sight of it was enough to make his eyes sting with almost-tears. I’m still so dramatic, he thought, using his paw to dab the blur away so he could fix his gaze on the land more clearly. Glad to know I can get this part of myself back.
"Are you crying?" Lynxtail inquired slightly mischievously. She smiled softly at Hopflight. The sight of seeing the land alive again would make even the most stoic of cats cry. "You know what I missed most? All the colors the world had to offer. I don't think we ever truly appreciated the world we lived in until it was ripped from underneath our paws.." She missed her spot on the hill overlooking the ocean, watching the sun set on its waters shinning bright yellows, oranges and reds.
“No,” Hopflight lied, sniffling. “Shut up. You’re totally ruining the mo—” he paused as she continued talking, and felt that she contributed to bringing some sense of the mood back. He smiled a little, crossing his paws as he looked out, observing what it was she had indicated. Yes, the colors. The colors they had recaptured in Safe Haven, the shades of life and vibrancy that were lost to simple shades of dull gray, the occasional burst of red fire. “The colors,” he said, bobbing his head in agreement. “And… the change.” The simple changes were what he really misses. Like the changing of the seasons. The leaves that would turn red and fall, then be covered by thick blankets of snow. Then, when the snow melted, flowers would come, followed by leaves that would fall again. There hadn’t been much semblance of seasons since the Calamity. The world was changed, but it wasn’t continuing the cycles that had been law since a time before the clans themselves.
Lynxtail nodded. She missed how the land would change the farther one would go into a different territory. How the land could go from deep forest to the empty hills of the mores to then river and oceans. The land now was all the same. No subtle differences one could look out for. It was all grays and blacks, ashy trees and deep shadows. "Whatcha thinking about?" She asked not taking her eyes off the land.
“Hmm…” Hopflight said, yawning. “I dunno. That I’m tired, I suppose. And not looking forward to the work we’re going to have to do soon.” He wanted nothing more than to curl up with her in the den, as they’d done every night since being reunited after the Calamity. He hopped off the branch and into the little hollow, padding around, circling until he found a place to lie down. Once settled, he yawned again and put his head down on his paws. It was good to be among friends again. Good that Lynxtail was still by his side. Because even though it would be hard work to continue to organize these cats, he wouldn’t have to do it alone. That was enough to ease his mind, allowing him to settle into sleep.