[RO] Children should not go hungry when their pack is well-fed
Serpentine Mountains
#1
OOC: Foredated to May 25th in the foothills of the Serpentine Mountains.

The weather was poor in the mountain foothills, with rain showers passing through the area every few hours and drenching Jonk from head to toe. This was the last full day of his nuptial adventure with Woodsmoke, and the last night of sleeping under the stars in unfamiliar territory. The prince wouldn’t have minded such a thing a moon earlier, but with the potential of her being pregnant, he felt especially protective of her.

That was why parting, though his raven queen, was so difficult. Nevertheless, Jonk had managed to pry himself away from Woodsmoke’s side and was eagerly rooting around a gently sloping wood in search of spring forage to bring her. Few berries were ready to be picked — and they wouldn’t hold up well between his teeth — but perhaps he could find daisies to turn into tea. Drinkling a steaming bowl of it was good luck, after all.

Something small, dark, and possibly canine darted between the trees in front of him, interrupting his search. While not forced to investigate, his inability to find even a single daisy was beginning to frustrate him and it seemed like a good distraction.

Whatever it was, he’d watched it scramble into a blackberry thicket a short distance away. Jonk approached cautiously, and was surprised to discover that what he’d thought was a fox — or even a wolf pup — hiding in the thorns was some sort of pure black wildcat instead. The cub was small and malnourished, with delicate-looking ribs visible through their dark fur. And they were terrified. Truthfully, they looked the way Jonk imagined Woodsmoke must have all those years ago, only this baby was cowering away from a strange predator instead of their mother.

Perhaps that was why he stayed; whether by injury, death, or abandonment, the cub’s mother had doomed them to starvation. What kind of man would Jonk be if he did the same?

”I’m not going to hurt you, I promise. Are you alone out here?” Jonk asked, lying down in the grass so that he’d look less scary to the young cub. After watching them hyperventilate for several silent seconds, he rephrased the question. ”Is your mom around to take care of you? Did something happen to her?” This garnered a cautious shake of their head and then an almost imperceptible nod, before the cub crawled back even further into the thick brush. Jonk worried they’d get stuck in the brambles and he would have to cut the plant apart to rescue them, but he had no food to lure them out.

”That must be very scary, and you look very hungry. How many nighttimes ago did you last eat?” The golden man was unsure if they knew how to count, and if that was even a thing wildcat mothers taught their children.

”... Two.” They finally squeaked, but retreated no more — possibly because her path was blocked by thorns.

Jonk nodded, his lips pulled back in a frown that showed a bit of his teeth. No doubt a painful, but fortunately recent separation; they’d be okay if he could get them something to eat and a warm, dry place to sleep. Would Woodsmoke mind him bringing home a wildcat cub on their honeymoon? Maybe. Could Jonk leave them here to starve? Absolutely not.

Now he just had to convince them to come out from under the blackberry bush.
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