Author's Note: Windpaw is an Eclipseclan apprentice who had to stay behind after the earthquake due to an injury he sustained in a hunting accident a couple weeks prior. I figured since Windpaw is staying in the old ruins of Eclipseclan camp with his father, Mulberrysky, and that most of their journey would be just me roleplaying with myself, I thought I’d write small chapters. For those who don't know these main characters, I have written a bit about them below: Windpaw is a thick-furred, smoky black tom-cat with a medium sized build. He has glowing yellow eyes with a ring of emerald green around the iris, and his nose is a dark soot color. There is a large, healing wound from the top of his left shoulder down along his flank, crusted over with scabs. He has a slight French accent. He's close to ten moons old, and his mentor is Deadstar. Mulberrysky is a thick-furred, medium sized tom-cat with a ticked, silvery grey pelt. His limbs and head have very distinct black tabby markings that fade out around his elbows and hips, and his plume-like tail is covered in the same markings. His white chest and paws pop out against the black, and his eyes are a dull hazel color. There is one, small white splotch of fur over part of his nose and muzzle, too. His voice is usually monotone, but there is a faint French accent to it. He is a former leader of Eclipseclan, but he's ashamed of his leadership and doesn't acknowledge it often. Most of this chapter is just introducing context as well as the characters. There isn't much that happens plot-wise, but it's wholesome enough. Enjoy! Chapter One It sucks having legs when they don’t work or when using them, it's bothersome or tiring or painful. That’s pretty much common sense, and any cat could- and should- acknowledge that. Windpaw was no exception, so he laid day in and day out on his side in the medicine cat den, rolling- if he could bear the sudden searing pain- from one side to the other, bored out of his mind. “Amuse me one more time on how this all happened,” the flat voice of the tom’s father- Mulberrysky- rang out from the other end of the crumbling, now relatively empty medicine den. Windpaw’s initial response to his father was a short groan of annoyance. “You’ve heard it a million times, Dad!” he whined eventually. “Then what’s the harm in repeating it once more?” The apprentice gave a huff in response, sounding much like Mulberrysky himself, but after a moment of silence, he gave in and meowed, “I was in the tunnels with Thawpaw, and I saw a bat hanging over a high ledge,” “And you thought you could get it,” the older tom chuckled, “With no training,” “I could’ve! I did! I just landed wrong! It was already in my paws when I hit the ground!” “Oh, and I believe you,” Windpaw had heard enough of the older tom’s teasing. He knew if he hadn’t landed off balance, he’d still be hunting today. Maybe even close to his assessment... And not stuck in the medicine cat’s den for sliding down a rock face and tearing up his flank. Though Windpaw had fallen silent, Mulberrysky continued: “And now the clan is a quarter of a moon away, and the only instructions we have in order to follow them is to head in the direction of the rising sun,” Windpaw flinched as he thought back to the earthquake that tore the clans and their territories up a quarter moon ago… Eclipseclan was now split in half, the large ravine open to the sunlight above and what was left of the place at the mercy of a raging river at the bottom. Slabs of rock covered a few dens, but thank Lightclan- and maybe it was a sign of sorts- the medicine den had been one left unblocked. Only the ceiling of the den was shorter, the herb storage left to rot, and Eclipseclan’s two medicine cats journeying with the rest. “I’ll be walking soon enough. The pain just needs to subside, and I need to get stronger again,” Windpaw muttered flatly. “I’d give you another poppy seed, but we’re out,” his father sighed, “Let’s try again. You haven’t sat up at all today,” Windpaw complied. Sitting up was the easy part. He pushed himself gradually up, resting on his haunches. For the first time all day, the tom looked himself over, and before even attempting to rise to his paws, he gave the side he’d been laying on a swift swipe of his tongue. His tongue grazed the thick, fleshy edge of his long scar, and he frowned. It was scabbed over, skin finally starting to bury the wound. What skin there was a pale pink, a complete contrast to his dark pelt, and a constant reminder- as if the tenderness wasn’t enough- of his accident. His father watched him with narrowed, examining eyes as he pushed himself upwards. Even just a quarter moon ago, he couldn’t stand for long, but Mulberrysky wasn’t letting him off easily. His rehabilitation training was hard: standing up multiple times a day, taking at least five steps each time he stood, sitting up then lying down then sitting up again. Rudimentary stuff if you’re not half dead, as Windpaw often half-heartedly joked. A quarter of a moon ago, too, his limbs wobbled awkwardly with each step, much like a kit’s, but now he could take on average seven semi-confident steps without his legs having enough. “I want to see at least eight steps this time,” the warrior directed, and although Windpaw grumbled, he nodded and lifted a paw. Gingerly, he reached out, and each step was as tentative as the next, but he crossed the den to meet his father in the shadows. His paws were quivering by the time he got there, his shoulders and flank stinging as he sucked in heavy breaths. “Good. Next time, we’ll take nine steps, since clearly eight is too easy,” Mulberrysky hummed, his usually monotone voice laced with some pride and satisfaction. Windpaw took his words as a, ‘Yes, you can sit down now,’ and he slumped into the larger tom’s pelt. “We’ll? Yeah, sure,” the apprentice heaved out, but he was grateful even to get this far… He wanted nothing more than to make the journey. To see his brothers, his mom, and Thawpaw again… “Before you know it, you’ll be running tunnels again,” the warrior mused, his plume-like tail curling around his son, “All of us have to stumble at some point before we learn to fly,” Windpaw closed his eyes at that, sinking deeper into the comfort of his father's pelt. He could hear the warrior's steady heartbeat up against his ear, and it was a gentle, soothing melody to him; a heartbeat so consistent was about the only consistent thing seemingly left in this world, and the younger tom took solace in the little something he still had left.