Uplifting a Broken Spirit

3 years, 11 months ago

Tigerpaw, a depressed and broken-spirited apprentice, is approached by his mentor Weaseljaw as the older tom tries to comfort him.

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The sun was slowly setting over the forest, casting beautiful gold and orange sunbeams through the leaves. It dappled the forest floor and almost made patches of it look like they were dipped in gold. A beautiful day for early newleaf, when the forest was finally beginning to regain its glory and life. Despite such a beauty, however, the young apprentice Tigerpaw could only feel sadness as he gazed up at the fading light through the clearing above ThunderClan's camp. He still thought so much of his siblings, and hated that he was here seeing this without them. What were they seeing up in StarClan? Did they get to experience such pretty sights, too? The older Clanmates always described StarClan as being a place where it was always greenleaf and the prey plentiful. How true was that?


The apprentice jumped as he finally realized someone else was talking to him. He snapped his head to the side with his whiskers twitching to see who it was that had spoken to him. As his gaze saw it was only his mentor, his fur stopped bristling, though his tail tip still twitched. "Weaseljaw!" he exclaims, looking suddenly embarrassed. "Hey. What's up?"

The older tom smiles gently, his orange and white pelt almost glowing in the light of the setting sun. "Well, other than your head being in the clouds, not much," he mewed back teasingly, his tail swishing behind him in amusement. Tigerpaw puffs up his chest, but his mentor continues before he can speak up. "If you're not too busy with your daydreaming, why don't you come take a walk with me?"

Tigerpaw looks up at him, looking like he wanted to ask him what was going on. But he decides to keep it to himself as he nods and gets up onto all four paws. "Of course, Weaseljaw. Where are we going?"

"Oh, just a quick walk around the territory before night falls."

Weaseljaw left no room for more questions as he trotted towards the entrance of camp, leaving Tigerpaw no option but to hurry after him. Ducking through the leaves that covered the entrance, Tigerpaw had to keep a quick pace to keep up with his mentor, otherwise he may end up falling behind. His mentor strode confidently through the undergrowth, whereas Tigerpaw was struggling some to keep up with him. But he didn't complain once throughout their trip! He remained as quiet as the older tom as they made their way to the edge of ThunderClan's borders. Weaseljaw came to a halt and Tigerpaw bounced up next to his side, his gaze looking out before them. Through the trees and clearing beyond it, Tigerpaw could see Fourtrees in the distance.

"You've still been looking rather glum, Tigerpaw," Weaseljaw notes as he takes a seat, wrapping his tail around his paws as he gazes down at his apprentice with a gentle look.

Tigerpaw frowned, unable to meet his mentor's gaze. "...I don't know how to get over this," he muttered, his paws digging slightly into the grass beneath them. "Will I ever feel better, Weaseljaw?"

"That's up to you." Tigerpaw lifted his gaze in confusion to the tom, who was just smiling gently to him. "You can let this sadness continue to consume you for the rest of your life. You can let it weigh down your paws and your mind and keep everything good out as you try to fight it away. Or...you can accept it." He pauses, taking in a slow breath. "Part of what makes every cat different is their life--the good and the bad. Some have more good than others, and some have more bad than others. But that shouldn't stop you. You should learn to accept what happened and turn it into something great." He flicks his tail playfully at Tigerpaw. "You've lost much already, and I know it hurts. But think of it this way: it gives you something to fight for. To ensure that never happens to another cat."

Tigerpaw was quiet as his mentor went on, his gaze eventually falling to the ground as he sat, looking at his paws and the grass and dirt around him. His ears lay back against his head as he feels his eyes starting to sting. "But...what about them?" he mews, his voice nearly breaking. "I...I miss them."

Weaseljaw moves closer to his apprentice, brushing their pelts together. "They watch over you from StarClan. The brave warriors and queens before us are taking good care of them, in a land where it's always greenleaf and there's plenty of prey to go around. They see everything you do." The warrior nods firmly. "They'll see all the good you do for the Clan. All of your hard work and effort--and they'll know you do it for them."

Tigerpaw lets this all sink in, letting those words really speak to him. He lifts his gaze up to the sky as he can now see the first few stars starting to sparkle in the dusky light. For the first time in a long time, Tigerpaw feels a smile come to his maw. Doekit, Sparrowkit, Ratkit...you're up there, aren't you? he thought to himself. You must be. I know you are. Weaseljaw is right--you'll all look after me, so I can look after the Clan in your stead.

The apprentice breaks into a grin, though there's tears leaking from his eyes. "You're right, Weaseljaw!" he suddenly exclaims as he leaps up onto all four paws. "They're gone...but they'll watch over me! And I'm gonna do everything I can for them! I...I couldn't help them as a kit...so I'll help the Clan instead!"

Weaseljaw smiles with a light purr as he nuzzles into the top of Tigerpaw's head. "I'm glad that you feel that way, Tigerpaw," he mewed. "And I know you'll make an excellent warrior." Still purring, the warrior stands. "Now, what say we take a quick run around the border, and then head back to camp? We're going to work you twice as hard starting tomorrow."

The apprentice bounces on his feet, still grinning wide. "Bring it on! I'm totally ready!"