This wasn't right! None of this could be right! Golden Butterflies? It couldn't be.... Blue eyes scanned the surface of the lake, mind blank for a name as the sun shone down onto the land. Eva was near the largest body of water the tribes had, but the shock of the gathering, of coming home, of trying to relearn everything, of hearing the news- It all made the warriors mind crash and go blank. She had trouble just looking at her own reflection and remembering her name.
It seemed perfect. Her family was split up by tattoo design. Her kits... Her mate. With the Butterflies, she could be with them. All at once. And not worry about being in different tribes. Or trying to stay loyal to her feelings and her tribe. They would be both. And isn't that something she wanted? For all cats to be able to get along. To live together. To be equals, regardless of their stature, their powers, or anything superficial?
A fish leaped out of the warrior, causing the warrior to turn and set her gaze on the rippling surface, eyes half lidded as she thought. Eva was loyal to her tribe. To the mountain and to her home. But to have all this.... To be able to bring it together, for all to become one and have true unity and peace within the tribes- Wasn't that better?
The fur on the back of the she-cats neck bristled slightly as she laid her head on her paws. It sounds too good to be true.
This wasn't okay, neither for her, nor for her tribemates or any other cats from the tribes. Weeks or at least a moon had been passed, that's what she thinks. In every corner she take a look, every moment she watched out for movements. The dark colored Water-Triber moved forward, had been sunken in deep thoughts. Even though she talked with her friend about the current situation, she still felt unsure what to do next. Everything sounded so great, she could have a mate from another tribe without fearing the consequences, she didn't need to watch her kits being separated from her, if she ever decides to settle down and have a family someday. Everyone could be just one single tribe. No... The female guard shook her head in disagreement, frowning about the silly thoughts. No...this is just wrong. They don't mean anything good... A sigh came out, thinking about her love interest made everything worse. Not forgetting the pulse on her right eye. Few days ago, when she talked to her friend, she inflicted this wound on herself. There is no time to regret...I inflicted it to myself...I have to bear those scars... But what was that? Once Elaine takes a look at the lake, not far from the way she walked, a familiar, blue-gray shape lied in front of the waters. Her green eyes narrowed as she tried to investigate the stranger. They looked so strange-this cat was a large tom, looking right into the waters of the lake-the Orange-Water soon remembered the cat, as she saw the tattoo on their face. "E-Eva?" Elaine neared the manly looking she-cat, nudging her gently with her nose. "Hey, Eva, you remember me? It's me, Bunny."
The sound of paw-steps stirred the warrior from her thoughts, and after raising her head to blink a few times, a small smile fluttered across her muzzle as the familiar shape and color of a young Orange-Water registered in her mind. A purr rumbled in the older warriors throat as the younger one nudged her, and after a few moments she stood and stretched, her chest fur brushing the ground and her claws outstretched across the ground.
She shook herself, standing up and turning her focus to the young female beside her. "Of course I remember you, little one. Though I am surprised you remember me. Perhaps I made a good impression?" The warrior joked warmly, trying to keep her mind off the worry that seemed to have affected the rest of the tribes. The repeated words of the Golden Butterflies echoed in her mind, and she flicked an ear as if to flick them away.
"May I inquire as to what has brought you all the way out here? Surely you aren't on a hunting excursion or a patrol."
Having a nice encounter was for now rarely for the female guard, as she was too busy to train herself and her apprentice, going on patrols and hunting for the tribes. For now she forgot the worries, giving a gentle smile to the larger cat. "Why wouldn't I remember you?" She giggled warmly, it was a great progression for her short-term-memory. "I never would forget a cat who shown me to hunt an owl." However, suddenly as the blue-gray feline inquired the reason she wandered far, the bob-tailed she-cat frowned by the thought of the mission she gave herself. Although it was a thing to do on her own, as no one would seem to help her, at least her tribe-mates doesn't seem so, maybe the older one might understand. "You're right, I'm not here to go out hunting...or swimming...this one is more important...most important for me." Bitterness invaded Elaine but soon shaking her fur to chase it off, it was not the right to fall for the insanity.
The blue-gray female listened quietly, schooling her face into an impassive mask as she listened quietly, openly, to the younger she-cat. Though her comment about why she remembered Eva had made her smile momentarily, the sudden shift in the young she-cats demeanor put the blue-gray warrior on edge. She did let several moments of silence pass between them as she watched the Water Triber think, the darkness swirling in her young eyes causing Eva to flick her tail around and wrap it around her large paws.
"I see that there is something weighing down both your mind and your heart, little one." She started out, trying to decide how best to get the younger guard to talk. The warm wind blew across the land, sending ripples across the lake and causing the fur on both cats to ruffle gently. The scent of Water Tribe wafted from the female, and Eva closed her eyes as she thought again of the strange cats that had appeared. So many of us call our specific tribes home. If we all were one tribe, none of us would be truly happy. I could never live beside the water or under the ground. Just like I can't imagine an Air Triber or an Earth Triber wanting to live so close to the volcano. We're separated by more than tattoos. Our powers were given to us for a reason, just like our territories are picked out for a reason.
"Tell me, what is on your mind?"
The wind blew, silence grasped over the area as they went in thoughts. Something does weighting her head and her heart and even though one cat does know it already, can't it be getting worse if another one would know the thing which bothered the Orange-Water? One tribe...all six becoming one. The idea itself is not that worse...but how could we live together if we are too different? Otherwise...we...wouldn't have problems with relationships... Elaine sighed as the face of a familiar tom crawled inside her mind, giving the bitterness and sadness back to her body. "Ado... Damn it, why did you do that? Talking would help to getting over things, so if she had talked to the Yellow-Water, why not to someone else who seemed a lot experienced with this topic. "There was one tom named...Branch. He was a Green-Earth and a close friend of mine. I...just started to have...feelings for him, when he...left...the Earth-Tribe...for the...Golden Butterflies..." Her teeth gritted and her claws scratched the grass but luckily she was strong enough to hold the tears back, even though she wanted to cry, she can't. It feels like all the tears she had wasted were all dried out. Or it was the fact that her heart 'steeled' so she won't break out in a sob again, unlike last time.
Her upper lip curled slightly at the mention of the strange cats whom had appeared. So many issues had been caused from these cats' appearance already! "It's like we have to deal with the Alliance all over again!" The blue-gray warrior spat in annoyance, turning her gaze to the far sight of the volcano in the distance. "As much as they talk a good talk, speaking of peace and unity, the idea of these cats makes my fur want to crawl off my flesh. It's disturbing." She blinked and turned her attention back to the Water Triber, taking a deep breath and forcing herself to relax.
"So many of the cats around here are so new to me. So many strange faces I don't recognize, but everyone else has come to know. You all... You all feel the loss of our tribe mates much more than I. I've been gone too long, I don't have any relationships from the past in my own tribe, save for just a few faces. I don't even know if my mate from Shadow Tribe is doing alright." Or her daughter.... How was her daughter doing? And Lapis, her Air Tribe daughter. How was she? Were they happy? Or had any of them gone to the Butterflies....?
"I don't trust them." She finally murmured, gazing solemnly at the she-cat. "Bunny.... This is not going to end well for us. I can already feel it. Many cats are going to die because of these Butterflies. Just like they did when the First Butterfly came around. Just like when the Silver-Water of the past, Aujir, went insane and began proclaiming that the Golden Butterfly was going to return. For our tribe mates and friends and family who have joined these beings.... We can't let them stay with these false beings."
It was the right time Elaine turned back to the enthusiastic she-cat that the Orange-Fire met her. But a few new informations hit her ears, for instance the mention of the Alliance, Eva had been gone too long and especially one name caught her curiosity. Aujir? So bad things had been happened before she joined the tribes or she was not even born, because her parents hadn't told her about a second war. Her ears flicked for nervousness and her dark green eyes widened in shock. It sounded the tribes had a bad chance to survive those times, but the Orange-Water saw things, things what nature caused itself. The female guard growled, her pupils were formed to slits and her fur bristled in anger, keeping her focus on the Orange-Fire. "And that's why we can't give up now! The tribes have experienced droughts, then the strange animals...it can't be getting so worse now. I know we might die, but...I prefer to die with the knowledge that I fought for my tribe, instead following those...bastards!" The last words were spitten out from her mouth, before she took a few breathes. "We have to find a way...we have to. I...I won't give them up yet, neither my tribe, nor the ones who left...and of course I won't give up on Branch. He's a good cat..."
"If the life of a tribe cat was supposed to be easy, we would have more cats with us." Eva stood flicking her tail, as if asking the young female if she would like to walk with her. May as well walk the border of the tribes' territories and see if she can spot anything while she's out here. And best to do so with company, especially since there was no telling what these strange cats would do. "We were granted specific powers for a reason. Just like we live in territories specific to our powers and who we are. The burning strength of fire flows through my veins and my heart, and I wouldn't want it any other way. Just as the smooth, gentle change and strength of water flows through your being as well. When you are hurt or upset, do you not look to the comfort of your powers and your abilities to calm yourself? If you had the fire inside you, do you think you'd be the same cat you are today?" Eva shook her head, turning her gaze to the sky. "I'm a firm believer that the Spirits didn't give us these powers for us to be picky and be angry about being different. I believe our powers are given to us not because the Spirit's chose us specifically. That would be selfish to think. I trust in our Spirits, in our ancestors. Our powers come from more than just being chosen. Our powers are granted based on our hearts. On who we are as sentient beings. Of warriors and felines with thoughts, feelings, hopes, dreams."
Her large plume of a tail curled over her back as she turned her blue orbs once more to the Orange-Water, flicking an ear thoughtfully. "It's something not many cats think about or dare to bring up. So many of us are happier putting all the blame on the Spirits. They are powerful. They are important. But they can only do so much. They gave us our free will for a reason.... They trust us to make the right decision. These Golden Butterflies? They're smoother than snakes when they speak. I only regret to hear that so many have stopped paying attention to the Spirits and our history and our beliefs."
As it seemed like, the Orange-Fire invites her for a walk, not knowing yet what she will hearing soon. No...I can't give up on him...I just can't... Her eyes checked every single corner of the territory, yet her mind had returned to her friend. Too much thinking makes sick, that's what her mother might telling her if she was there. This hasn't last long, her ears caught up words from her companion, turning her gaze towards her. Every single moment Eva spoke, Elaine remained silent and listened to the taller she-cat. "...if you had the fire inside you, do you think you'd be the same cat you are today?" "No...no I guess not..." Elaine mumbled, thinking about the words what the Orange-Fire let her hear. "Our powers are granted based on our hearts. On who we are as sentient beings. Of warriors and felines with thoughts, feelings, hopes, dreams." So many, many times, so often the words repeated inside her head, again and again. She thought she knew the most about the spirits, the tribes and the powers. Her parents told her story. But then it seemed they haven't understood this life and soon she realized that she has to learn a lot more than she ever expected. "I...I think I understand what do you mean..." Elaine muttered, returning the eye contact on the blue orbs. "I-It makes...s-so much sense now. A cat with the gentle, calm heart of the water would never be happy on a hot, fiery place. Same for a cat with the calm, healing light in a shadow..." Her heart knocked rapidly, one more time anger filled her body. "And these...Golden Butterflies destroy everything! They take away the ones we love. Our family, our friends...I don't want this anymore! I don't want this DAMN nightmare anymore! Why can't they just leave us alone!" She screamed the last words from her throat, tears of anger ran down from her eyes, her breath went faster and her paws clawed the ground.
They walked as the large feline spoke, and the Orange-Water's silence told the Orange-Fire that she was, indeed, listening and taking her words into deep consideration. And it was something she was most definitely thankful to the Spirits for. To have a younger feline who didn't know of the whole past of the tribes before they moved here, to not have the understanding of their powers and the true reality behind the Spirits, it was no wonder the tribes were left in such turmoil because of this!
So many of us have forgotten who we are in our own hearts and what our powers are supposed to mean to us.... I can only pray the Spirits will help those who have been swayed by the poisoned words of these strangers.
She dipped her head with the Orange-Water responded to her question, and she let herself fall into step just a bit closer to the younger feline. And she seemed to truly consider them. To think over what Eva was saying, to take it into consideration based off what had been taught, rather than what hadn't been taught. Of course, the Orange-Fire wouldn't help but feel a slight twinge of both satisfaction and pride in the young she-cat as she hesitantly came to terms with what was being said: What would be closer to the truth than anything the strangers had spoken of.
Eva stepped closer still as the younger she-cat spoke, listening quietly and letting her speak of her own understanding of her powers. Of the Spirits and the role of the tribe cats in this time and place.
"Calm your heart, young one. They didn't 'take', so to speak. Yes, they did exchange our kittens for those of a higher rank. Why? I do not know. But they do have a good bartering chip now. We must take that into consideration. But the other cats who have gone to them? It was for their own free will. The Butterflies didn't force them. Instead, our tribe mates have forgotten so much about ourselves and our Spirits as a whole and have let themselves be swayed by their false promises."
She paused, halting her steps, as the younger warrior began to scream her frustration of the situation to the world, and Eva could only gaze onto her sadly. Was this the worst the young guard had faced? Eva rested her tail gently on the feline's shoulder, giving a small, sad smile. Trying to comfort her silently before she spoke again.
"Bunny... I have been attacked by one of my best friends. I've had to watch as another one was tortured and killed before my very eyes. I've had to train an apprentice quickly on how to fight and defend herself because war was about to break upon us and she wasn't taking her training with me seriously because of her feelings for another cat. One of my sons left the tribes, I couldn't be the parent my kittens needed when they were young, and the leader I joined the tribe under went into the mountain I live under, only to never return from her fiery grave. And the apprentice I trained? She's long gone.... Long gone." Eva closed her eyes, feeling her throat burn and swell as her eyes burned and stung.
"Where there is peace there is anger and war just waiting to rear it's ugly head up. Just as we have to find the balance in ourselves, the world must try and balance itself out. I do not have a reason as to why these cats have come to us now, of all the times they could have appeared. All I know is that it's happening for a reason. And that the Spirits are looking to us with the same faith and trust that we should be able to give in return to them. Perhaps this is to bring our faith back. Perhaps it's to cleanse the tribes of those who aren't true tribe cats at heart. Or maybe it has nothing to do with the Spirits at all and this is something else, something far worse than anything we've faced before. Either way, we must try and speak with our comrades. To help them see the sense and the light of what is really going on with these creatures."
It had to get out. The frustration lied too long and now Elaine had the chance to scream all the anger out, she felt better a lot. Feeling fur on her shoulders, her dark green orbs rested on Eva, who gave her a small, sad smile. Once again she went mute as the blue-gray Fire-Triber explained her much worse things, anything worse than Elaine ever saw in her life. Was it egoistic from her to complain what bothered her, when another cat suffered from far worse things than this? And I call myself sympathetic... This won't change the situation however, the more she was glad to have another cat by her side, letting out a sigh by the fact she hadn't noticed yet. She was not alone and that's all it counts, right? "I'm...sorry, just...sorry..." Elaine mumbled, frowning as her head turned to the ground. "I...I just don't know what to do anymore? Every night...every single night I have these nightmares. I...see the corpses of my tribe-mates...and the devilish face of the Butterflies. I...don't know what to do anymore?" Realizing she was not okay through the past weeks and even for a moon, she seemed to slowly open up again. "Eva...I...can't do this alone..."
It couldn't be helped.
Not with the kind of cat Eva was.
Not considering the feline's morals, her thoughts, how she'd always been. Towards any cat of any tribe.
She watched as the young Orange-Water dipped her head to the ground, the signs of sadness and loss draping over the she-cats shoulders like a thick blanket of moss. Weighing her down. Her entire demeanor changed as she spoke, and because of this, Eva did the most natural thing she could.
As the feline admitted that she couldn't do it alone, all Eva could think of was that she seemed so much like a loss and hurt kit. Without a thought, she wrapped her large paw around the younger she-cat and brought her in close, tugging the smaller bodied feline close to her chest and resting her muzzle atop the Water Triber's head. She snaked her tail tightly around Bunny, her exceedingly fluffy tail doing a rather good job at covering the guards' body.
"You're not alone, Bunny. You have your tribe. You have your friends. You have the Spirits. You even have me. I can't do everything, and I don't have the same strength as a leader or a deputy has. But I can give my all. And if you ever need anything, at any point in time, do not hesitate to come find me. Come to Fire Tribe if you must. I will always be there for you. I promise you that upon the Fire Spirit."
Another mental breakdown caused the darker feline to wail in dismay. The frustration, the sadness, the worries and the loss of her crush letting her feel like an abandoned kit, whose mother left it on it's own. At this moment normally, her mother would come to see what bothered her precious daughter, but the fact she wasn't around the tribes made her feel lonely. Finally, Elaine soon felt a soft fur on her body, then another soft feeling on her head. Her left eye looked upon the larger feline, her body tugged to the chest. This was a gesture of a mother to calm her kitten down, hearing soft spoken words. "You're not alone, Bunny. You have your tribe. You have your friends. You have the Spirits. You even have me." She was not alone, even if she felts abandoned by most of them. But it's not true, Elaine was not alone. The Orange-Fire was right, she has the Water-Tribe, her second family, the spirits, guiding her through her life and now she even has a Fire-Triber as her friend. Feeling safe in the paws of the she-cat, the female guard stopped to wail, burying her face inside the chest fur, closing her eyes to calming down. "E-Eva...t-thank you...f-for being there..." She spoke in a rather raspy voice. "I...I miss them so much...I miss my family...my mother...my father...my beloved brother. I miss...I miss Ado...and I miss the calm life before it all happened...I...miss them so damn much." Without thinking for a moment Elaine just feels like she could trust the Orange-Fire enough to tell her the most precious treasure she carried. "My...my true name is Elaine."
May the Spirits bless this young one and the others like her. Who don't understand the dangers this world brings, or understand the true gravity of the situation we must deal with because of these strange cats. Eva continued to hold the younger she-cat to her, tightening her grip slightly as she thought of all the younger cats who would end up dying because of this. Would Bunny be one of them? Would one of her own kits? Would her new apprentice? Would her leader or her deputy? The fact that death was going to be a constant on every cats' minds now was horrible. It's like the Alliance all over again. But yet... It's worse. it will be so much worse. It's more than just fear that's driving the tribes this time around. Those who have joined the Golden Butterflies have joined in the idea of peace and unity. The rest of us....
"We all have loved ones that we miss, Bunny. It's how life works. If everything was perfect, there'd be no reason for us to be around. There'd be nothing for us to learn from. Nothing for us to experience and see. Nothing would hold any true importance because it'd have no real worth or value. But it's okay to miss the things that make us happy so long as we don't let it take over who we are. You've made it this far, so obviously you 're a strong she-cat. Just follow your heart and do what is right. It's your life, and sometimes you have to make up your own rules in order to deal with certain situations. So long as you follow your heart and trust in the Spirits, you won't be steered wrong."
The blue-gray warrior pulled her head back a few moments, staring down quietly at the Orange-Water as she spoke her true name. A low purr rumbled in her chest, and she brought her muzzle down once more to nuzzle it against the she-cat's ear. "Elaine.... That's a beautiful name for a beautiful soul. It's nice to truly meet you, little one."