The Warden and the Prisoner

Note: A short story based of of the Warrior Cats book series written by Erin Hunter. 

 

The Warden and The Prisoner

 

Laws keep order;

Balance.

They create safety;

Security.

A foundation to lay

Our faith in.

 

Laws blind us;

Stifle our thoughts.

They chain us;

Imprison our true selves.

A coffin to bury

our hearts in.

 

The code is in my blood,

Tradition in my soul.

Leader's word is law

And Laws keep us

Safe.

Secure.

 

Their rules boil under my skin,

Smothering my soul.

The Puppeteer's lies empower him

Enslaving my family,

My friends,

All of us.

 

I protect my family, my clanmates.

I don't cause trouble; I stop it.

I'm diligent and thorough.

We need balance. Breaking rules,

It's dangerous

And I hate not knowing.

 

I tried to free them; my clanmates.

I fought for the truth; I killed him.

I cut the strings and declared

his black secrets. Imprisoning us

With a facade

Of safety in exchange for control.

 

Stone and mud colored stripes

Broken by white smears on his chest

And face;

Ragged and unkempt fur covers his scars.

It can't cover his deeds.

Killer.

 

Fire and Sleet fur blend in a graceful patchwork

Unbroken by dirt or any blood.

Her face

Is open and clear to my mind

And its tragic to see her soul:

Blind.

 

 

He is the Law Breaker;

The worst kind.

Breaking them to break them,

Murderer of the Law.

He's endangered my friends and family;

Broken my tranquility into a tempest.

 

She's the Soulful Follower;

The worst kind.

Following them to follow,

Embodiment of Law

She enjoys her imprisonment as well as ours

Ensnared by what her soul thinks it knows.

 

I stand guard over his hole.

They knew I wouldn't kill him if I was ordered not to

I won't fail them

My clanmates want to break the code

And kill him

But I won't let the code be further shamed

 

She's standing outside my cell

Like a obedient dog. Not even my destruction of her ideals

Lets her fail in following

Our clanmates have the passion to break the mold

And kill me

But she won't seek revenge unless law demands it

 

He just sits there.

His angular face set with deep green eyes

He doesn't move,

But his eyes are alive

They have energy

And thought

 

She watches me always

Her flat round face with those consuming brown eyes

Blindly obedient

But so full of thought

Her eyes burn with life

And a hidden energy 

And unspoken thoughts

 

I'd like to say I hate him

My sisters do and my father

My clanmates were hurt and betrayed by him

They hate him

They fear him

They're disgusted by him

 

There's no doubt she hates me

They all do

The anger and fear at my actions

I freed them

But they scurried back to their cage

where she was waiting

 

I felt the hate too, but it wasn't as it was

Meant to be felt. Passionately.

I felt it the way one feels pain from stepping on a

Thorn. By the law of nature

It was safe to hate, it was expected

---Its meal time

 

She was waiting there in the cage she never left

Not even when her icon of order was returned to dust

Did she step from law's cell to mindless passion

I don't want to hate her

But I kind of do

---It's meal time

 

I carry in a vole

One prey a day

A prisoner's ration

I enter and his eyes are filled with disgust

I mirror him silently and for a moment we share

The disgust for what we represent to each other,

 

It's a vole, but it may as well be ash

My meal is just another rule she cherishes

I narrow my eyes at her as a bitter taste fills my mouth

she's what I truly tried to destroy: the code

I killed the puppeteer, but here stood the strings unharmed

 

There's this disjointed emptiness between us that

None but us could understand

I can't comprehend his mind and it frustrates me more than the murder

I know it shouldn't, but it does

Who could want to tear safety and comfort into a mangled bloody mess?

He's mad.

 

I hate the crevice of nothingness that divides her mind from mine

I want to claw out the cobwebs that have ensnared her being

I can't comprehend how she trusts and fastens her heart to strings of empty words

She's the cleverest and the bravest

Her skills at the hunt and in battle flatten my own, yet by her own free will

She's the blindest

 

He's mad, but his eyes are watching me as I leave

To guard his cell once more

And they are not the eyes of a mad cat

They have thought, feeling

The ability to reason

Yet he'd murder refuge's promise and invite danger into our home

 

You're blind.” I reach out my vain hopes

Over the chasm that separates chaos from order

You are blind to your chains.”

If I die a prisoner

If they banish me or sentence me to death

I want to leave my mark

 

You're blind.” his hoarse voice drifts from

Behind me. I know what he means and he's wrong.

I choose to follow the safe road to happiness

The road does not bind me like a snake and

Force me to follow. They are ideas alone and I am action.

You're blind to your chains” he whispers his mad thoughts

 

I thought ending our power-hungry leader's reign would

Upset the code's noose on my clanmate's necks

It was nothing

Merely a stone in a stream

For a moment there's a splash of freedom in all directions, but then

The current channels us all back along the code's inescapable bank

 

I am blind. I cannot see

Into his broken mind. He's a terrible danger

The laws no longer protect him in their shattered state

I can see their sharp edged fragments filling his eyes

Threatening to spill out from his mouth and slice us all

To scarlet ribbons

 

The puppeteer wasn't enough. I'll burn the

String. I will save my clan once more

From their own blindness, lift the blindfold and reveal their chains

Starting with her

Such a noble spirit shouldn't be bound by

Blind eyes

 

He's moving. The gargoyle comes to life

The green energy in his eyes and soul filling his immovable fame

I block the way and glower at him as he approaches

His poisoned mind will not leave this cell

to wreck havoc on my clanmates once more

What do you think you're doing, Murderer?”

 

What do you think you're doing, Murderer?”

I knew she hated me

I stand before her false glory and summon the words forward

Please, see reason.” my voice rasps

The code is not my master nor should it be yours.

Nor anyone's”

 

See reason” he begins

and I listen to the mad tom try to

explain his twisted dangerous world to me

He's so blind. I wish I could show him the glittering

haven that the code has given our clan

but our minds are worlds apart, too far for either of us to see

 

My words can't reach her

she's too far from my soul. While hers somehow

inexplicably thrives in the chains of oppression, my soul

dances over uncharted lands far from the iron clasps of the code

my blood is hot with red frustration

I only want to help her see

 

He looks so distressed, I feel almost

sorry for him

under law's caring wing he'd be safe and need not to worry

instead he broke his chances and now the talons of justice

were position to strike over his head

and all his broken mind continues to see are the imaginary chains on the rest of us

 

It's too hard. Why couldn't my leader's death been

enough? Why did his suffocating grasp on us continue through the code?

Why was there this horrid emptiness of understanding between her and I?

My breath comes in fast and raw

like it did before I struck my claws into his throat

but blood doesn't spray on my stripes

 

He is breathing hard and closes his eyes

as if expecting something to hit him. It's tragic

to see someone who once was a fellow clanmate caught in

this strange madness I cannot comprehend

It burns my soul to see a perfectly able and smart tom

floundering in his attempt to cross the divide between his thoughts and mine

 

Why can't you see? How can you enjoy this kind of chained life?”

my shoulders tremble and my head hangs as I implore of her

what in her soul is okay with the narrow road

the code has forced me to walk for far too long.

This life was empty

when lived like a puppet.

 

Why can't I see? How can I enjoy my chains

he asks as his beaten body sags before me

There are no chains” the beginning of my response is soft

and a lie. My words are about to spill out like the hate,

explaining in the nature of law. Give it shape. But then I stop them

from coming. He's outside the law. My shape for law was a lie in his mind.

 

My words cannot penetrate that brilliant chained mind

She'll never see the choking grip the code has around our necks

Surely she can hear the emptiness that her words echo with

I look up

She's not just blind she's mad

But then her brown eyes lock with mine

 

no,” I relent and push through what my instincts said to

the core of my self, “I fear the unknown.”

I'm lost without guidance. The code is my father

leading me safely home to starclan.

The rewards for following their laws are all I need

family, security, comfort, happiness.”

 

She's afraid. She wants to be happy and safe.

She wants to know what to do.

I think for a moment I see a bridge between us because

I see her shackles transform into a star pointing her forward

showing her the way

My moment is her eternity

 

My center is opened up for him to see

if he can take off his blindfold and see the code carved into each part of my soul

I show myself to him the best I can from across the divide

his deep green eyes seem to lighten with a moment of clarity

I know he's doomed, his future is already forfeit to the code despite not being a cat of law

But I wish it wasn't so; He saw through the nothingness

 

She is the code

and she doesn't hate me. She'd opened up

more than her eyes, but her mind and her brilliant heart

I was the unknown to her, she feared me, but she broke her code

to let me in and see her beauty and vision even after

I tried to kill her guide to happiness

 

There's a wildness in straying from the path

you think you'll be safe, just for a little while

after all you haven't gone far

but in a moment, the black desires of your heart have you

and your tumbling in the mad fancies of another cat's world.

I could see the chains now, in his eyes

 

I can feel the untamed energy flowing between us now. Without

even a word from me, her eyes can suddenly see and the

emptiness between us is gone.

It's filled with our minds mixing with one another

I can see her haven

she can see my suffocation

 

Why didn't you just leave?” the question

is a waste of words. I know the answer.

He saw us all in chains and wanted to set us free

and now the broken laws would flay him

for his well meant murder

My code has been blackened by him.

 

Why didn't you just leave?” her soul

already knows the answer. Her soul knows my soul

I meant to set them free just as she means to protect them

from me. She knows me and I hate

what I've done to her. Her clear eyes are now frustrated with the grays

my black blood covered claws have brought into her clean mind

 

My shoulders tremble with frustration

my breath is quick and uneven.

Then his forehead touches mine and we're connected

his understanding of his crime flows about me and mine with his

the code is part of my very being and I drowned him with it

the code is the sIave-master to his spirit so he murdered my savior

 

She's floundering in her expanded view

only because of her bleeding heart

that I cut open with the edge of my broken law. Her eyes close.

I lean forward and touch my forehead to hers.

We're connected and her thoughts as thick as our leader's spilled blood

swims with my own. We both know each others' happiness and pains

 

Foxshine,” a brown tom padded over to the den that had been turned into a makeshift prison for Slatepelt. “Dovestar has returned from the MoonPit. She asked me to relieve you from your watch.”

 

Barkclaw stopped short at the sight of Foxshine and Slatepelt sitting close together by the den's entrance looking into each others' eyes with placid expressions. “Foxshine?”

 

The ginger and white patched she-cat tore herself away from her prisoner's gaze to look at her fellow clanmate with the most lost and sorrowful expression he'd ever seen on her before, “What is it, Barkclaw?”

 

Barkclaw shot a venomous glance at Slatepelt. What had the murderer done now? Foxshine was one of Mistclan's most capable warriors and now she looked as confused as newborn kit opening their eyes for the first time. “I said I'm here to take your watch. Dovestar wants to speak with you.”

 

Erm, yes, thank you.” Foxshine seemed to drag herself to her feet and eventually padded off toward the new leader's den.

 

Slatepelt watched her go for only a moment before closing his eyes and receding back into his prison.

 

Comments

Need to talk?

If you ever need help or support, we trust CrisisTextline.org for people dealing with depression. Text HOME to 741741