Eyes fly open. Weavermoth gasps for air. A split second of time in a few hours. His tail twitches back and forth and he looks around, confirming the sheer lack of worms. Either they cleaned up really fast, or… he had a vision. He draws knowledge from experience. What did Paperflight do?
Well, she complained about a migraine and stormed off to the leaders den. Weavermoth thinks that he shouldn’t waste time doing the first part to the air. He pauses, and his tail curls between his legs. But routine helps, doesn’t it? Being sure of what you’re doing. He feels beyond awkward, and resigns to the urge.
“...Oh no, I have a headache.” He feels stupid. Weavermoth curses himself out under his breath and rushes to Owlstars den. He tries to forget the idiotic stunt he just pulled, but he can’t get it out of his mind. It felt like the entire clan knew about it. When he pushes into Owlstars den right below the gathering rock, he has a strange feeling that the leader knew as well. The look in his eyes as Weavermoth enters makes him feel small and on the spot. Immediately, he’s bristling and backing away a little. The squinty eyed golden stare is unrelenting and unfeeling as the tomcat mrrps, tilting his head.
“Weavermoth. It’s been some time since we’ve been able to chat directly. A few days now, hm?” He stands and stretches. Despite his small stature, Owlstar is more than formidable. Comparing the way the two of them hold themselves, the cowering and lanky Weavermoth looks smaller than the upright and confident Owlstar. “What brings you here, then?”
“I think I-” Weavermoth tries, and has to swallow down his suspicions. “I think I had a vision. From The Beyond. I don’t know. Me and Sagepaw saw this… cat. Yesterday, we met it and it told us… mostly riddles, really. I couldn’t really hear it properly. All shapes and colours and-”
“Yes, yes, get to the point , Weavermoth.” Owlstar says.
“Well, my point is, we’re all in danger. I saw worms attacking the camp. Everyone was full of these- these holes. It was vile. I saw Sagepaw with thorns, Lillystorm buried under worms, Sugarbee fighting off worms beside me. All frozen in time. And that cat I was talking about, his name is Micheal. He was there with a deathberry, the nightshade ones. He dropped it into the worms and they all started moving again. Then I woke up.” Weavermoth rambles, tail swishing anxiously back and forth. His whiskers are upright. Owlstars expression morphs from quiet listening to understanding.
“Thankfully it isn’t spiders.” Owlstar comments.
“What?” Weavermoth says.
“What is it, Weavermoth? I was thinking.” Owlstar looks up innocently, barely having changed. Weavermoth probably just imagined that. Haha, yeah.
“Nothing. Just… What do we do? What do I make of this message from The Beyond?” Weavermoth says.
Owlstar struts past Weavermoth and out into his camp, surveying the area. He glances over in one direction, only to watch Lillystorm and Sugarbee rush out and begin walking to the outside of the camp. Owlstar smiles and puts on his kindest expression, the one that means ‘ do something for me ’.
“Sugarbee, hey!” He pauses, watching the two chatting warriors pause. Lillystorm laughs and bumps Sugarbee, who ends up bristling and looking away. “I need you to go out and collect some nightshade. I believe there are quite a few bushes on the Fakeclan border.”
“Got it, Owlstar. Nightshade. No gossiping on the border again. Promise!” Sugarbee says, and begins to take off with Lillystorm. Owlstar blinks, and speaks up again.
“Ah-ah-ah. Lillystorm, I need your aid back at the camp. We are preparing for an attack.” He says. Lillystorm bristles a bit and lets his ears fold back in a half wince. He nods at Sugarbee, the two exchanging a quick nose-kiss and a few licks before parting ways. Lillystorm trots over.
“Hey boss, what do you need?” He smiles and looks down at Weavermoth, tilting his head and practically radiating sunshine. Weavermoth squashes down the small kit in his chest that begins to flip and run around frantically in circles, chasing a moss ball in his heart as if he’s supposed to be feeling this way.
“Wrong boss, Lillystorm. Weavermoth has had a vision. We need you to round up all the cats you can and do anything you can to seal off entrances into the camp.” Owlstar says firmly, still standing tall. He looks so professional compared to the other two cats, who are slouching and relaxed.
"Ohhh. Yup! Gotcha, Owlstar. I'll get sch-moovin." Lillystorm puffs up and gently bats at Weavermoths nose, giggling a bit before turning around and walking off. Weavermoth tilts his head, turning to look at Owlstar.
"What does 'sch-mooving' even mean?" He questions, earning no answer from the leader. He just stares ahead, tail twitching.
"I know a lot of us are touched, but we are touched by those we look to. He is touched by Desolation." Owlstar looks over, an indiscernible expression on his face. "He's going to end up just like the rest of the Lostclan warriors. Feral and melting into kittypet life. You can't have a paw in both worlds, and yet they do."
"I thought they lived in an old twoleg nest?" Weavermoth wants nothing more than to leave and get to work.
"They have a roof over their heads provided by twolegs. They live in luxury. All Lostclan cats want to see the forest burn." Owlstar blinks, and Weavermoth feels hot magma below his paws. He can't move. Flames surround him, arcing inwards and consuming him whole. It's gone in just a second.
"Yeah, yes, well-" Weavermoth stammers, looking side to side. "I should get going. I really should."
"Of course. Good luck. Thank you." Owlstar smiles, and there's a look in his eyes that makes Weavermoth think that maybe someone already told him. Stupid, stupid, stupid .
He stalks out of the den, and comes to the sight of cats scrambling out of the camp. He spots Sagepaw across the camp, speaking to Lillystorm, and approaches subtly.
"...So yes, I've dealt with them. You need some thorn branches. Just dig them into the holes they leave and it'll hook them out. Of course it hurts! But it's better than worms." Sagepaw rambles to a listening Lillystorm, who's watching the apprentice with some sense of pride and a twitching tail. "I've had a lot of time on my own to think about this, y'know?"
"Of course. Perhaps we can go together? Get a bunch from the sharp bushes by Silverpaw Lake." Lillystorm says.
"Sounds good! I'll always need backup. Thanks a ton, Lillystorm." Sagepaw laughs and stands, and Weavermoth watches the two rush out.
Weavermoth exhales slowly, and leaves the camp to gather and prepare.
"...Earthclan on the border…"
Weavermoth has a cobweb loaded with berries, gripping the twigs between his jaws. Inches away from piercing one, inches away from death. Gathering these was a dangerous game. Regardless, it was what had to be done.
The chatter from the returned patrol makes his ears swivel around, to take in the conversation.
"They were terrifying! I don't even know what they were talking about." One says.
"It was creepy. 'The feast draws near' or whatever." The other responds.
"Just hoping it has nothing to do with the order Owlstar gave."
Weavermoth knows better. It does. He immediately bristles, looking back and forth and backing away to climb back up to his den. Judging by the scents, it's been a bit of a hot spot as of recent. He pushes past the vines to a few piles of deathberries stacked in one of the many nooks, overflowing.
He drops his twigs on an empty shelf and sighs quietly, not particularly enjoying the acidic smell that permeated the smell of his clanmates. Weavermoth plops down, heavy body enjoying the soft pine below.
" Bring the thorns, bring the thorns, don't prick your tongue and you put them in a pile. " Lillystorm hums from outside flatly. The interruption isn’t too welcome as the tomcat pushes his way in and reveals way too many thorn branches. Many of them have tufts of fur caught on them, likely from getting them and accidentally catching himself. “ Keep them in a stack, keep them in a stack, don’t stab your medicine cat and make sure they’re not… wack. ”
Weavermoth lets out the tiniest of chuckles, which is more or less a little exhale and a shake of his head. Lillystorm turns over, fake pouting and letting his ears fall back.
“Hey! What’s so funny, little guy?” He stalks up to Weavermoth, batting his ears like a kit. “Don’t laugh at my suffering! What, do you find it funny? Hmmmm?” He keeps batting, laughing happily. Weavermoth can sense a hint of worry at the edges of his voice, but he doesn’t bother thinking about it too hard. Instead, he keeps ignoring Lillystorm, tucking his nose into his paws and curling up.
“Don’t give me the cold shoulder, mousebrain. Cough it up, what’s so hopelessly entertaining? Is it my beautiful, sexy charm? You can say it is.”
Weavermoth can only watch Lillystorm as he walks around in front of Weavermoth and poses, puffing his chest out. The warrior struts around like a chicken, tail lashing to accentuate each action. It’s unfortunate that Sagepaw has to walk in on this embarrassing display, almost choking on the thorn branches he’s carrying at the sight of Lillystorm.
“Well hellooooo there. Welcome to my performance!” He exclaims, taking the thorns from Sagepaw and placing them with the others. “It’s a shame Sugarbees isn’t here right now. She’s really missing out!” Lillystorm meows out around the thorns, though it’s rather muffled.
“Missing out on what? To be honest, I just got here and I have no idea what you’re doing.” Sagepaw responds.
“Stop dancing, we have an attack to worry about, you know.” Weavermoth points.
“Can’t I have a little fun in the face of imminent death?” Lillystorm says.
“ No .” Weavermoth says bluntly. “You need to go out there and do patrol. Find Sugarbees, too, she should be back by now.”
“ Go patrol, find Sugarbees. Go patrol, find Sugarbees. ” Lillystorm hums to himself and hops out of the den, tail twitching and paws tapping. There’s a long point of silence between the apprentice and medicine cat.
“...Sooo. How… are you?” Sagepaw tries.
“Is he normally this… musical?” Weavermoth asks, finally sitting up. It aches.
“Oh! I think it’s just a nervous thing, y’know? Like how you tend to lower your body when you’re nervous. Or- No I don’t know that. Haha. I’m going to go.” Sagepaw trips over his words, then over his feet as he backs out of the den. Weavermoth is left alone again. At least, as alone as he can get with cats walking in and out of the den.
A few hours pass, of Weavermoth resting as best as he can with constant visitors, and the den filling up. Very few disturb him beyond a “ hello ” or a “ good afternoon ” which is very, very welcome. Until Lillystorm and Sugarbees enter. Yup, this is what he needs, and it’s what he wants too!
“Hellooooooo mister Weaver of Moths!” Lillystorm announces, pressed flush up against the ginger cat. Sugarbees smiles down at Weavermoth, eyes dilated with joy. It smells like blood and paint.
“Haha! Weaver of Moths! You’re so funny, Lillystorm!” Sugarbees reassures. Weavermoth gets up slowly, stretching out and letting his claws flex. He’s definitely not used to that sensation, usually keeping his claws to himself. He leans forward and sniffs Sugarbees, shivering a bit.
“Sugarbees, have you been romping around Fakeclan territory again? I mean, you were gathering things there, after all. You smell a little weird.” Weavermoth says. “Are you alright?”
“Me? Just fine! Don’t worry too much, Weavermoth.” She smiles, ear flicking. Lillystorm smiles too, but not as wide.
“God, you’ve always been such a scaredy-mouse.” Lillystorm comments, yawning. “ Annnyyyywayyys , we came here for a reason. Owlstar wanted us to tell you that we have seen no Earthclan warriors here, however we have seen some worms. By some we mean a lot. Like a lot a lot. Have you gotten anything else?”
“I mean- I guess I can try… speaking to Micheal? Wherever it is.” Weavermoth dips his head, shoulders rising as an anxious habit. “I don’t know what it’d have to say, or if it even knows that I dreamt about it.”
“Ooh. Let me tell you. I did see Micheal when I was out, you know.” Sugarbees says. “We had a nice conversation, as nice as Micheal can be. It told me that it was happy to have visited because it wants to see us live! For whatever reason that might be. Probably to just kill us later.”
Deep in thought for a moment, Weavermoth devises a plan. His tail twitches back and forth, turning around to face the two piles.
“Arm everyone with some nightshade. Each cat gets two or three to sleep with. Queens should be watched over by warriors to be sure the kits don’t eat them. The thorns, too… give them to the senior warriors, so the other cats don’t ruin them or something. I don’t know! This isn’t really my job.”
“Actually, it is. You’re supposed to help our wellbeing, no?” Lillystorm comments, making his way towards the pile. Sugarbees stands stagnant for a moment, staring with wide pupils before following. They gather some up, chatting quietly around them, careful not to burst the dangerous berries in their mouths.
Weavermoth sighs, and supposes they are right. He’s supposed to help the clan, he’s supposed to heal the clan. He’s supposed to be there for them. So why is he so bad at it? He’s done his job relatively well enough, but without Paperflight the path there has been full of stress and panic attacks. In the stern silence, he turns his nose upwards, speaking through the den scrape roof.
“Fourteen, great Eye, Web, End, and Lonely. Please place your paws upon my heart, and send it beating in the right path.” Weavermoth begins.
His nose tickles, and he knows he’s been answered. Time slows around him, smelling like sulfur.
“Please, please deliver me some aid. Anything. I need to know what to do. I cannot keep flailing around blindly. I am not fit for this, why did you let them make me your medicine cat? I am a failure. I should be culled.” Weavermoth prays, not bothering to look down at the shapes before him. A hallucination, probably, but it’s still annoying to see in his peripherals. He can’t sever the connection just yet. “I need to know .”
A headache scrapes and claws at the back of his eyes, and he decides to finish off his prayer.
“Guide my paws along your paths, and witness my rise. I look down.”
It’s always felt strange to pray to someone you didn’t entirely believe in. Weavermoth had grown up in the beliefs like everyone else, and he had seen miracles before his eyes around him. It didn’t make the idea of magical all knowing cats in the sky any more believable, and he was a very suspicious cat. That must be why they never came to his aid, because of all of his mental scrutiny and the fact that he felt embarrassed for something that came too easily to other cats.
He wonders what the other cats say when they pray. Who lies awake right now in the dying sun to try and earn the chance to enter the rotating ears of their Three or Four. What wishes they are granting or what goals they are fulfilling. He wonders all of it, and there’s a pull of knowledge. Weavermoth stands, and leaves his den to gaze over the dawn-lit camp. There are cats moving to and fro, dropping off berries and thorns and making sure everything was safe according to his vision.
No, it was a dream. Weavermoth didn’t have visions. Weavermoth didn’t believe in visions.
He watches Goldenfeather sprint across the camp with thorns in his jaw, bump into Owlstar with a hurried apology, and rush past. He looked flustered.
Endingflight seems to be handing out the deathberries, the skeleton marked cat pushing them over gently with a paw or putting them on a stick carefully. His precision is baffling.
Glassbark and Daisyscar are fortifying every crevasse and nook they can find, packing it tight with mud as if that was going to help burrowing worms. It was the thought that counts.
Lillystorm and Sugarbees are chatting happily, despite the dread, sitting on the Gathering Stone as if it wasn’t restricted. Weavermoth watches Driftweed strut up to them and usher them off.
Sagepaw is… he enters the camp, moving along the edges of the canyon and clearly coming up to Weavermoth. He looks exhausted, and plops right beside the medicine cat.
“What do you want?” Weavermoth asks.
“Oh, nothing, just… comfort? I don’t know. I had to deal with these guys before, I’m a little more than nervous.” Sagepaw bristles at the thought and curls in on himself. He looks small and fluffy and fragile.
“You never told me about that.”
“I didn’t? Oh, well, I mean- I can tell you, if you want.” Sagepaw suggests, looking up.
“Please, enlighten me.” Weavermoth wants to at least know one thing. At least one thing in this god forsaken timeline.
“Okay, uh, where do I start.” Sagepaw thinks for a moment, getting comfortable and loafing himself down. “I was just… doing normal things. Patrolling the border, doing some training on my own. Driftweed says I should train alone, you know? Says it’s better for me… anyways. I got off track. I was training to hunt and stalk to finalize things and just make sure I know how to do it - which I do - and I saw a little shiny thing. I pounced on it and bam. There was this… silver worm. It exploded in black blood and guts when I jumped on it.”
“You told me you were in the ravine. I remember that conversation. You were in a ravine in Earthclan, right by their camp.” Weavermoth points out. Sagepaw stiffens, before forfeiting to the truth.
“Yeah, I was… it was a recon mission. You know about avatars, right? I think you do. Yeah. Okay. I was moving along the edges of the ravine, sort of climbing down a bit without putting myself in immediate danger, just scouting the place. I ended up slipping regardless, and I fell right onto one of the little bridges Earthclan has set up. They’re made of rock and built right into the ravine, so I don’t think they made them, Earthclan warriors can’t bend rock-”
“Make your point.”
“Sorry. Uh. I was on a bridge, hurt, and I heard the word “ Sian ” from a distance. I don’t know what it means, don’t ask. I look up and there’s this cat. Staring at me. She asked me in a… in a strange voice. She asked what I was doing here. I said I didn’t know. I felt wriggling against my paws and I saw a worm. A silver… worm. Black tip. I automatically smushed it, of course. She leaned in, and I’ll… I’ll never forget it.``
He’s shivering at this point, fur standing on edge and pupils tight slits. He probably doesn’t even realize his claws are out.
“You don’t have to continue.” Weavermoth says.
“I need to.” Sagepaw says,
“Okay.” Weavermoth says.
“Her jaw cracked open, and all I could see were… holes. I could see right through in some places, and in others I could see her insides twitching and writhing. I couldn’t tell where the worms began and she ended. I could barely move. She leaned into my ear and she said… uh.” Sagepaw pauses, shivering and speaking with a low, raspy voice. “ Can… you… hear…. their… song…? Become… Sian. ” He’s sure to pause between each word, though his imitation is dripping with fear.
“Do you know who she was?” Weavermoth asks, trying to give Sagepaw a break from the story.
“W-wormwrithe. Wormwrithe from Earthclan. But, uh. Wormwrithe was… I don’t know. I ran right after that. I remember one of the worms got into my shoulder, so I had to act quickly. I just grabbed a stick and tried to put it in, didn’t work, so instead I jumped into a thorn bush, and forced one of the thorns in the wound. Somehow, it caught the worm and it came out. I’m thankful for that, at least.”
Weavermoth cringes at the idea of that, even though he’d been through it not too long before.
“Did you tell anyone?” He asks, trying to provide at least some sense of comfort by resting his tail on the apprentice.
“No, no I didn’t. Who would believe me? At least… before all of this. They’d believe me now.” Sagepaw grumbles quietly. “No one would believe a stupid little apprentice.”
“I-” Weavermoth tries, but gets quickly interrupted.
“You don’t have to lie. You can call me annoying.”
“You are… cool.” Weavermoth says awkwardly.
“ Hmph .” Sagepaw says in reply.
They remain in silence once more, watching the sun slowly set on the camp and the preparations take way.
“I should get going.” Sagepaw says. “Wouldn’t want to keep you any longer.”
“Yup. Stay safe. Good luck.” Weavermoth responds, and watches the apprentice stand on shaky legs and trot off to his den. He’s sure to watch Sagepaw until he’s gone, until he’s safe in the den with everyone else and the deathberries and thorns they’ve collected.
Now, Weavermoth turns to his den, kicks over a couple berries, and curls up around them.
The idea that Wormwrithe was going to be here very, very soon was terrifying. It made him sick to his stomach and he really didn’t want to deal with it. But it was nothing that he could do anything about, was it? The good news is that they had some form of preventative measure. One that probably wouldn’t work against worms. It was so dumb, but maybe it was dumb enough to work. He swallows his doubt and tries to sleep.
It doesn’t work.
He spirals in his thoughts.
Spirals in real life. Two very long claws make themselves known in front of him.
“ Well hellooooooo little medicine cat! Fancy seeing you here! ”
It smiles and laughs, laying in front of Weavermoth.
“It’s my den.” Weavermoth says blankly, trying not to let the too bright, too dizzying thing in front of him confuse him. It giggles, grabbing one of the deathberries with surprising grace. Stars and phosphenes and floaters fly past his vision, spiraling and exploding like little fireworks and sparkles. He hates this.
“ It’s still nice to see you! I’m glad you took my advice! You’d be dead without me, y’know. C’mon, say thanks. I hate Corruption as much as the next guy! ” Micheal says cheerfully, flexing its claws once more like the weapon they were. Weavermoth looks up, and its thousand trillion smiles are stretched beyond the edges of the earth. He looks back down again. “ Now I know why Sugarbees called you such a spoilsport. ”
“ Spoilsport- that’s besides the point, why are you here?” Weavermoth demands.
“ Whoa, whoa, getting ahead of yourself there. Not nearly far enough for that! ” It giggles, wiggling its head back and forth tauntingly. The outlines and edges fuzz and blur.
“ Please just tell me one thing.” Weavermoth half begs, wrinkling his nose.
“ I will tell you that I’m here to say hi and check up on you! Hopefully you aren’t dead tomorrow. You’ve been one of the most fun so far! Paperflight was always so boring, you know? You haven’t heard half of- ”
“Yes. Yes I get it. Mysterious cryptic things I can’t know now. Please come back when I can know. Thanks .” Weavermoth spits, standing up only to turn his back to it and curl up again around his berries.
“ Well I-! ...Fine! ”
It was there, it exists, and now it doesn’t. Or maybe it does, Weavermoth isn’t sure. What he is sure about, however, is the floaters have stopped and the glow has left. He exhales slowly and lets in the quiet silence of the forest, listening to the leaves rustle and the crickets chirp. The wind blows by outside, and even that’s wrong.
He shuts his eyes, and finally drifts into nothing.