I know it's long, but bear with me.
Speckleshine's tail twitched nervously back and forth as she sat with her best friend, Rosepetal, watching the devastating scene unfold before them. Badgerleap had come back bloodied, and Mintstripe looked horrified at whatever she had just witnessed. Lion, he was gone.. The white and ginger shecat furrowed her brows, her tail resting over Rosepetal's in comfort. Badgerleap was a big part in her life at one point, and she could imagine that the brown shecat was baffled at how many times Badgerleap had arrived at camp bloodied and wounded.Queen's dead.. Queen's dead..!
The thought kept repeating itself in her mind, before her judgement was so clouded that she had to work hard not to go and interrogate Badgerleap. "Rose.." Speckleshine stood, looking at the older warrior. "I.. Have to go somewhere." She began to walk to the entrance of camp as her shaken clanmates started to disperse. When she began walking outside of camp, she could feel several pairs of eyes boring in to her back.
I need to find him..
Speckleshine made her way to the border between Pineclan and Starless, looking around for a familiar pelt. She heard the chipping of bark to her right, and following the sound, she found herself in the presence of a menacing Starless member.
She watched the big gray and black tabby for a moment, and when his gaze met hers, she continued to stand her ground, a big frown on her features. "Bane.." She put her head down, showing that in his angered state (She had previously noted that he had slashed at a tree), that she didn't want to anger him any more. "I heard about Queen.."
It wasn't like Speckleshine to show her sympathy or her emotions towards the tomcat, but she found today to be an exception. "I'm so sorry.."
Bane stared her down for another tensing moment, his eyes burning with the fire of insanity. He took a ragged breath before replying to his apprentice's remorse. "It's fine.. but when I find out who did it, I'm going to kill 'em. I wasn't close to Queen, but she did deserve to die a better way and not be poisoned. And I'm going to make sure the coward pays for it." The growl could be heard in his voice, and Speckleshine saw his claws flexing in to the earth beneath him.
It took her a moment to process Bane's words, but when she did, it seemed like her world came crashing down quicker than a hare. "She.. She was poisoned?" A list of suspects started reeling through her train of thought, but she didn't dare say any names, or she knew Bane would come crashing right past her and terrorize Pineclan. She didn't want that.. Not yet. And not with Rosepetal in his path. "I was told rogues attacked her.."
"You were told lies, Vixen." Bane's expression had turned stressed, and he sad down hunched over in front of her. For the first time, Bane looked defeated. Speckleshine couldn't help but cautiously move toward him, sitting next to him and taking the same consoling gesture she gave to Rosepetal, and repeated them with Bane. The rest of their time together was not full of exchanged words, but of silence.
When the sky began to grow dark, the two cats parted ways.---A few days later---
Speckleshine had succeeded in escaping camp once again, making the excuse to Honeystar that she needed to clear her head, and in turn, would bring back some prey for her absence in the camp. She found herself wandering along the Starless border. Not in hopes of seeing Bane -it was too early for their rendezvous- but simply, as she had told Honeystar, to clear her head. She closed her eyes as she walked, enjoying the silence.
When the shecat opened her eyes to check where she was meandering on the border, she found herself face-to-face with a white and grey tabby. Her Jade eyes met with Vervain's blue ones. Surprised, Speckleshine took a quick few steps back.She snuck up on me! How did I not hear or smell her..?
"You're Vervain, right?" Speckleshine quickly regained her composure, trying to make herself appear tougher despite her small frame. It's the only thing she could do to have the other cat not underestimate her. She remembered meeting Vervain at a gathering, but even then she made the mistake of letting her guard down. She needed to get the idea in Vervain's head that she
was the one in power.
The shecat nodded her response, but Speckleshine could tell that the Starless cat was obviously flustered about something- and it wasn't the warrior before her.
"Vervain, is there something the matter?" She asked, trying to match the softer cat's tempo.
"Yes." She didn't hesitate to respond. "I'm so glad I ran in to you. I promise- I'm not going to do anything.. They just, they dragged Queen's body out of the camp a few moments ago so I figured I would get some fresh air."
Speckleshine couldn't help but flatten her ears a bit at Vervain's up and down tone. "I'm sorry." She said, but not directing her sentiments to Vervain. More towards Queen, and her short-lived bliss as leader of Starless.
"Speckleshine.." Vervain seemed to soften her tone, most likely because she saw her flatten her ears. "You have to be careful around the border, okay? I'm just warning you.. There are some gang members planning any clanners they come across.."
"So war, basically?" She flicked her ear at the thought. War... She was half expecting it. Queen was a mighty important cat, and even respected among those in the four clans.
"War?!" Vervain looked at her wide-eyed, her mouth hanging agape. "H-How did you know about that!?!"
"So.. There is
going to be a war?" She raised a brow. Judging by Vervain's reaction, the poor shecat didn't mean to leak the delicate information.
"No!" Vervain flattened her ears, instantly denying it. Her acting was pretty bad.
Speckleshine took a deep breath, closing her eyes. "Oh, boy.." She started. "I must warn Honeystar. Thank you, Vervain. I promise I won't say your name in our soon-to-be conversation, and I assure we will not be first to attack. Please.. Take care, okay?"
The Starless member before her solemnly nodded her head, stalking off back in to scarce brush.
Speckleshine grunted, shaking her head. She hated acting before a cat from another clan.. Acting all mushy and full of emotion.. It made her absolutely sick. Looking up at the sky, she gathered that it was about time to head to Bane. She had no intentions of telling Honeystar of Starless's plots, not at all. She had a plan brewing in her mind. One that, if there were a war, would work to her great advantage.--Mini timeskip--
"So, I saw Vervain at the border today." Speckleshine sat down about a tail-length away from Bane, looking in to his bi-colored eyes.
"Huh, that soft mollie?" He scoffed, but seemed a bit interested in the fact that Speckleshine brought up such a small meeting.
"Yeah.." She made sure he was looking back at her before she continued. "She mentioned an upcoming war between Starless and the clans."
Bane didn't make a move, only staring at his friend with a blank gaze. It took him a few moments to reply. Laughing lightly, he said ,"Yes, I suppose that's going to be happening soon, Vixen. You're fully prepared for that, I hope."
"Of course.." Speckleshine flicked her ear, a bit annoyed with the tom. He seemed way too relaxed about the war. "But I want to help Starless." She took a deep breath, not sure if she would regret what she was about to request. "Can you take me to Messenger?"--The Next Day--
Four cats were gathered around in a small clearing, giving each other nothing but serious glances. A large, brown tom had his plumy tail flicking back and forth, anxiously awaiting the words that would soon pour out of the clanner before him.
"I'm just going to cut to the chase." Speckleshine spoke, going through her head who each cat before her was. She knew for sure who Bane and Messenger were, but there was a new shecat that she didn't know in her presence. She seemed a bit familiar- maybe because she resembles Vervain..?
"I want to serve Starless during the war, but I want it to be on my terms. I'm not going to tell you who
told me about the war, and I don't know who murdered Queen, but.. I can tell you what I know. I can assure you that we can exchange information during the war. I want to be your spy, your intel," She looked at the four Starless cats, almost unable to gauge their reactions. "In turn, though, there's a certain cat I want you to leave alone during all of this. Her name is Rosepetal."
Speckleshine's stomach did flips as she thought of her beautiful friend. She hated to drag her in to a sinister plan such as this, but she felt it the only way to keep her safe.
The name seemed to get Bane's attention, and she knew he knew why Speckleshine wanted to protect her. Speckleshine and Rosepetal were both pretty odd, but a lot of cats knew that the two were inseperable- even outside of Pineclan
She looked over at Bane. She hadn't told him of her plans, but she knew he seemed a bit interested. Maybe he knew Rose? Despite her mentioning her during some of their meetings.
"Dove?" Messenger looked at the shecat that Speckleshine couldn't recognize. The gears in her brain seemed to be working..
"This could be good for us, Messenger." She said, blinking some after staring off in to space for so long. "If she wants to be on Starless's side, there's no telling how many more would agree with having a truce with us."
"I know a few cats.." Speckleshine commented.
"How do we know she's not lying, though?" Messenger seemed to be judging Speckleshine's every move, and it started putting her on edge. "A double spy?"
"The clans don't know how Queen died. I only just found out myself. I haven't told anyone in the clans, it would only cause mayhem. We don't need that now." She had no doubts that Badgerleap was the one who killed Queen. She didn't know why, but their story was just too convenient. Why else would Lion have left his mate?
"And I trust Bane's judge of character." Dove said. "Anyway, we could use Speckleshine to gather these cats against the clans to have a secret truce. No one must find out about this." Her last comment was directed to the white and ginger clanner. "She can be their ringleader. I don't think it would be wise to have any of them actually come to Starless. With us still ultimately in charge, of course." Dove's tail started flicking back and forth. It was obvious she was thinking hard about this.
"I think it would be wise to discuss the rest of the plan on a separate occasion." Messenger intervened on Dove's thoughts. He may have liked the idea, and not wanted Speckleshine knowing all of their intentions.
"Agreed." Dove nodded her respect to Speckleshine as she stood up. "Thank you Speckleshine. You have our word, and we will
leave Rosepetal out of this. For now, gather as many cats that are against the clans as you can." Messenger stood up along with her, and with that, she was left with Bane.
"Vixen, do you know what you're getting yourself in to..? I don't want you getting yourself killed."
"Don't worry, Bane." She smiled some, and bid him goodbye, walking back towards Pineclan. She had work to do.