Ravenbrow woke early and managed to slip out of the den without disturbing the rest of the family. He knew his sister and father had been out late and would likely not be up soon, but the rest should be rising shortly. He prepared himself for his favourite morning activity, positioning himself above the opening and out of sight. He didn't have to wait long. Despite his nocturnal wandering Cinderscar forced himself to rise along with Copperfire, who pushed past him on his way out. Lack of sleep fogged his mind as he stumbled into the predawn shadows, dull and off balance. He was only surprised for a minute, however, when the gold and grey weight of his brother forced him to the ground. Once again Ravenbrow had gotten the drop on him. The black winged crest across his forehead bobbed mockingly along with the barking laugh of his attacker. He had come to expect some sort of daily ambush from his wily sibling, often receiving several. They were random and unavoidably clever, coming at times when he was particularly distracted. Cinderscar rarely fought back, welcoming the small amount of attention in spite of the humiliation he felt. Satisfied for the time being Ravenbrow trotted off to wrestle a bone away from Copperfire as his victim slunk away, curling up and licking his scar, once again soothing his frayed nerves.
For his part, Copperfire wasnít ready to turn over the femur he was worrying away on and gave Ravenbrow a growl of challenge, daring him to continue his attempts to steal it. The rising sun glowed along his shiny red fur as his marbled brother happily accepted, each using all four paws to brace themselves as they pulled. They were evenly matched in size and strength, with Ravenbrow having the advantage of speed but unable to use it in the motionless struggle. Refusing to stalemate Copperfire changed tactics, releasing his end unexpectedly to send Ravenbrow tumbling, then running up on him quickly and snatching the treat as it flew free.
Despite having other bones to choose from Ravenbrow wasnít ready to let the contest end, rising quickly to tackle his brother and send them both sprawling. Indignant, Copperfire retaliated more aggressively than he meant to, the strike that was to be a mere nip catching more flesh than intended. This in turn aggravated Ravenbrow, who struck back just as viciously. They continued to trade blows as they tussled, their sharp teeth causing blood to flow free in several places. Soon they found themselves exhausted with the feud unresolved, both holding each otherís throat as they lay tangled in a heap.
Thatís when they found out Grayback was awake. His massive frame was suddenly towering above them, his glare forcing them to separate without further incident. Ravenbrow was at least pleased to find that he was closer to the bone and stooped to retrieve it. When Copperfire made to protest he was silenced by his father, the simple gesture of turning to look straight at him cowing him and cutting off his voice. Stormdancer appeared in her usual place, imitating her fatherís stance and expression. Since their mother had taken to the den with the new cubs she had assumed the role of beta, seeming to relish her power over her brothers. Grayback, satisfied that the quarrel was over, moved off, ducking back into the den to be with his mate. Stormdancer, however, wasn't ready to let Ravenbrow off so quickly. After forcing him to his feet she spurred him out of the den site, knowing that he had no desire to travel. On their way out they passed Cinderscar, who looked bored and restless, so she gave him a nudge in invitation to join. He seemed eager to do so, and they were soon running free through the morning forest.
Stormdancer gave Cinderscar a glance every now and then to make sure he was keeping up. She had led them through a considerable amount of their territory as the day wore on and it was clear that Copperfire was not used to the exertion. Though she had never seen him range very far, Cinderscar clearly had no trouble with the pace she had set. They had stopped only a few times as they neared the river, one time her mysterious brother surprising her by providing more fish than the three of them could eat. The family had spent little time near the main river since the fire, relying on a small offshoot not far from their den for water. It was rare that a fish of any size made it that far, and there was no other way to account for his skill as a fisher. Regardless the act seemed effortless and only afterward did he show any reaction, and one of guilt and humility at that. She decided they had been out long enough, Copperfire was clearly exhausted, even though his siblings were barely winded. She was happy with the results, he would think twice before stepping out of line again. She was still amazed that her seemingly quiet brother was as conditioned as he appeared. She resolved to watch him closer, realizing there had to be more to him than she knew.