So this story was inspired by a role-play and by some random daydreaming XD If you have any suggestions, please note them on either of our profiles and we’ll will do my best to answer! (This is a WIP and may not be finished very soon!) Thanks for visiting! ✌️

Made by: QuailFrost and XxWillowWindxX! (Also, keep in mind we’re not the best at editing and there ARE going to be some mistakes regarding how this page is presented- sorry...) Enjoy ^^

Ranks Matter

Keeper:(leader, can do anything.) Ace- dark grey tom with amber eyes, formerly of BloodClan

C͟l͟a͟w͟:͟  (deputy, second in command) Dandelion- unusually light cream-coloured she-cat, with a tiny tail, formerly of BloodClan

C͟u͟r͟r͟a͟t͟o͟r͟: (healer/ medicine cat) Pop- a black and white tom with a long, feathery tail, formerly a Loner

  • Scout: Cloud

Puppets: (do the Keepers dirty work, such as spying or stealing)

Spade- dark ginger she-cat with a grey underbelly and tail tip, formerly of BloodClan

Froggy- an unusually large, light beige tom with a spotted pelt

Quail- the sister of Froggy, a pretty short-legged she-cat with an oddly coloured pelt

  • Scout: Mars

Bird- dark brown tabby she-cat with sleek fur, formerly of BloodClan

Pebble- pale grey tabby tom with unusually short ears, formerly of BloodClan

  • Scout: Sphinx

Bloom- fluffy white she-cat with lavender coloured eyes, formerly of BloodClan

Chess- crimson and white she-cat, formerly of BloodClan

  • Scout: Owl

Lavender- very light grey tabby she-cat, formerly of BloodClan

Zero- light ginger tom with darker ginger swirls, formerly of BloodClan

Forest- white she-cat with golden splotches and dark green eyes, formerly of BloodClan

Corrupted- tom with colours like a german shepherd, the father of Froggy and Bramble, and adoptive father of Quail

Third Circle: (second lowest rank, fighters and hunters of the group)

Flip- dark brown tabby she-cat, formerly of BloodClan

Snowflake- white tom with grey flecks and spiky fur, formerly of BloodClan

  • Scout: Dove

Kestrel- diluted tortoiseshell she-cat with blue eyes and short hair, formerly of BloodClan

Bones: (servants, lowest rank)

Skull- skinny grey and white tom, formerly a Loner

Crystal- small blue-grey she-cat with amber eyes and a short muzzle, formerly of TigerClan

Fern- golden-brown she-cat with light gold patches, formerly of TigerClan

Midnight- sleek black tom, with white flecks, formerly of TigerClan

Scouts: (apprentices, can be trained as a Currator, Puppet or to be part of the Third Circle)

Cloud- very pale grey she-cat with green eyes

Mars- reddish-ginger tom with brown eyes

Dove- silver bengal she-cat with extremely short fur

Owl- dusky brown she-cat with white splotches, curled ears and huge amber eyes

Sphinx- hairless tom with large ears

Carers: (queens, will most likely become a Bone or part of the  Third Circle after their kits become Scouts)

Daisy- pretty cream and white she-cat with long, thick hair

Fox- bright ginger she-cat, whom looks a lot like a fox, formerly BloodClan

Cinnamon- tall tortoiseshell she-cat with a distinctive white chest, paws and muzzle

Sunflower- beige she-cat with black ears and tail tip, formerly TigerClan

Kits: (live a strict and possibly cruel life, and spend their first 6 moons of their life learning the rules)

Bramble- brown tabby she-kit with lighter brown legs and white underbelly, the youngest sister of Froggy and Quail

Berry- short-legged tom with a nose the colour of berries

Dapple- very light brown she-kit with darker brown splotches

Sparrow- tortoiseshell she-kit with dark amber eyes

Golden- golden tom with long fur

Apple- ginger she-cat with bright green eyes

Snake- light grey tom with turquoise eyes

Sunset- dark beige she-cat

IMPORTANT CHARACTERS: QUAIL, FROGGY, ACE, BRAMBLE, CORRUPTED, BIRD, MARS & PEBBLE! (Check out my profile to see how they look like exactly)

                              {|.:.|} Chapter One {|.:.|}

                                                  {| The Past |}

Quail rose to her paws from her mossy nest, widening her jaws into a yawn as she shook her fur, trying to wake up for her duties. She had only passed her test and became a full Puppet a couple of moons ago, but somehow she didn’t feel it. She still felt as if she had more to learn, how to defend herself and the rest of the Ranks. She knew it wasn’t her job to protect and hunt, it was the Third Circle’s duty, but she still needed to know in case of anything. She sighed deeply, tucking her paws beneath her clean, white chest and cozying up in the morning sun, having no orders to attend to. She let the warmth of the bright rays seep into her blue and brown fur, lulling her back to sleep. She felt her head drooping, when suddenly she jumped, feeling a poke in her shoulder.

“Wake up...” mewed a soft, familiar voice behind her. She immediately knew who it was, and nodded slowly, still trying to shake a sleepy feeling off her. “Cmon. We have to see if Ace needs anything” the voice muttered again, nudging her shoulder, trying to get her to stand up.

“I know... I’m coming, I’m coming, keep your fur on” Quail chuckled, standing up and stretching the stiffness from her small frame, before pushing past Froggy, who was much taller than her, and who had absolutely nothing in common than her apart from being siblings. Froggy sighed and followed Quail, trotting up to pace with her until he was looming above her like a dark shadow. They padded along to their Keeper’s den, which was at the back of the mountain and in between the two trees which grew at the entrance like an archway.

“Ace?...” Froggy called inside the den from the two trees, not daring to take a step inside the dark, shadowy crave in the mountain.

“What is it, Froggy? Must you bother me so much?” He hissed, his dark figure standing out from the newly lit entrance as the sun rose higher over the mountain edge. Ace stalked over to them, and let out an exhausted groan. His wounds were still bleeding, and part of his shoulder fur was hanging on like a dead leaf onto a branch in leaf-fall.

“We just wanted to know if you needed anything, don’t be so rude to Froggy” Quail mewed, trying to seem taller than she actually was.

“Oh...! Seems a certain puppet doesn’t know her place..” Ace growled, a dark smirk making its way onto his muzzle. Quail drew back a little, her stubby tail falling down slowly, her standing ear pinning to her head as Ace came muzzle-to-muzzle with her. “Don’t make me put with the Bones when you just earned your role..”

“I know my place here, and, although your the Keeper, you have no right to question me without any proof” She made eye contact with Ace, and her ears lifted. She wanted more than anything to prove to everyone that she was loyal to the Ranks, especially because of where her roots came from.

Her father, Corrupted, used to be a warrior in BloodClan, serving Scourge, and her mother was a ThunderClan cat, Silkpelt. If their leaders knew, Corrupted would have been exiled and killed, and Silkpelt would have been exiled from ThunderClan to defend for herself, so they kept it a secret. When her mother knew she was going to have kits, the battle between the forest clans and BloodClan began, and Silkpelt kitted Froggy during the battle, with the help of the kind Medicine Cat of ThunderClan, Cinderpelt. Another one of the queens from ThunderClan was kitting a few hours later, but sadly she had died due to blood loss. The kits all died, except for one of them: Quail. Silkpelt was taken to the ThunderClan camp for safety along with Froggy, her own kit, and Quail, the other queens kit. Cinderpelt asked Silkpelt if she could take care of Quail, and Silkpelt accepted eventually, feeling sorry for the poor scrap of orphaned fur. The two kits were growing fast, but still neither of them could walk or talk, not even open their eyes. In the night, Silkpelt gave the two kits to Corrupted, and told him that the smaller one wasn’t theirs, but was actually adopted. Corrupted took the kits to BloodClan, and a queen there agreed to suckle them until they were made into apprentices. In the end, their leaders found out and Corrupted was surprisingly given a second chance by Ace when BloodClan retreated to the mountains and became Ranks Matter, and Silkpelt was given a second chance by Firestar, as he himself had joined as a kittypet and his best friend- also deputy- had kits in RiverClan and decided to give her a second chance. Sadly, Silkpelt was found dead on the edge of the Thunderpath, killed mysteriously by a loner.

      Back in BloodClan,  Quail and Froggy grew up until they were made Scouts with thinking their mother was a honourable BloodClan warrior, who had given up her life to save her kits. The two kits were never told the truth that Quail was actually adopted, but a moon after they became Scouts, Corrupted told them the truth about their parents, but he felt as if Quail needed more affection than his own kin. Quail had always seen Corrupted feel more close to her rather than Froggy, but she just thought it was because she looked frail and weak. Curse these stubby legs of mine she thought, lifting a paw and shaking it, padding away from Ace and his dumb accusations.

“FROGGY!” She screeched, as Froggy opened his mouth to reply something to Ace, before shutting it quickly and hurrying after her, knowing how bossy and short-tempered she was. She let out a hmph of anger as she marched away, Froggy hot on her tail. Suddenly she smiled in amusement as she realised that she was much smaller and weak than he was, but she was always in charge of him, and she bet that if she told him to jump off a cliff just to please her, he would do it. It also occurred to her that despite her short legs, she could pounce and leap up much higher than her brother, which made her feel superior to the huge and muscular Puppet. She purred as she caught a glimpse of their little sister, Bramble gazing down the mountain, with two of the other kits, Berry and Sparrow.

“Bramble!” Quail called to her, bounding over to the little crowd of kits on the edge.

“Quail, come quick! Look!” It was Berry who spoke, and he was pointing with his muzzle down at something prowling around the bottom of the mountain, glancing up and around them as if they wanted to make sure they weren’t seen. Too bad thought Quail, narrowing her eyes at the slender figure beneath them. She frowned and turned to Froggy.

“Get the kits bk to the Den. I’m going to tell Ace about... that” She murmured, pointing with her tail and heading over to the Keepers den. With a worried glance after her, Froggy turned to the kits and shepherded them to the Den. If this cat was a clan cat, then Ace needed to know, no matter how mouse-brained and fox-hearted he was.  

{|.:.|} Chapter Two {|.:.|}

{| Bloodshed |}

“Ace?” Quail was a rabbit leap away from the den, a frown embedded onto her face as she waited impatiently outside. She made it clear she hated Ace, but she is  a simple Puppet and he was the Keeper, so, whether she liked it or not, she had to show at least some respect, and it was her duty to tell him everything that happened around the territory. She knew that if Ace ever found out whothe intruder was, they wouldn’t last long, and she didn’t agree with it. But this wasn’t her place to complain, and finally Ace’s shadow appeared, disturbing her from her thoughts.

“Oh, look who bothered to come” Quail mewed sarcastically, a smirk on her face as she waited for the Keeper to reply.

“Wipe that smirk off your face, Puppet. Now what do you want?... Again?”  he hissed, sitting down in front of her and slouching down to reach her tiny size and actually face her. His pelt was matted with dried blood, and she realised that half of one of his teeth was broken. It hasn’t been that long since the battle, but she expected the great and mighty Ace to bother grooming himself.

“Calm down, Oh Mighty Keeper. Just thought you might like to know that there’s an intruder crawling around the territory”

WHAT?!” he let out an echoing yowl, which still rang in the den’s walls. Most of the Puppets and Bones were nearby, and they all stopped and stared at Ace with wide, expecting eyes. Ace flattened his ears and snarled at the bystanders, and immediately they hurried away with heads bowed and tails trailing on the cold stone ground. “Now what do you mean about an intruder?...”

Quail sighed and opened her jaws to speak. “Bramble, Sparrow and Berry were looking down the mountain at something, and Berry called me over before showing me the intruder. It was looking around as if it didn’t want to be followed or seen, but it didn’t seem to know that we were here,” She was about to continue, when she was cut off by Ace, who was muttering under his breath. “Go fetch some more Puppets, and go looking for any, and I mean anyevidence that shows there has been an intruder. I don’t care if it’s clan, loner or kittypet. I want them off my territory. And if you do catch them... Make sure to give them a proper warning to never step foot into my territory again!.....” He had already gotten up and heading back inside his den, snarling the last words over his shoulder at Quail. Great. she thought. Now we have to go out looking for probably a curious loner!

        After a little while, she had rounded up Froggy, Mars, Bird and Pebble, and told them about the intruder.

“I’ll rip their fur off!” Growled Bird, who was already flexing her paws and taking a battle stance. Froggy and Quail exchanged a bored glance, before Mars nervously stepped in front of Bird.

“Calm down!... We don’t even know if it was an actual intruder yet! Right,.. Quail?” He looked expectantly at Quail, waiting for the short she-cat to say something.

“Yeah... And even if it is... We won’t kill them. What if they’re just some lost kittypet trying to find a way back to their Twoleg?” Bird gave her a hard, cold glare, before nodding slowly and letting the fur on her shoulders lay flat. “Where to now then?”

          The group of Puppets surveyed the whole territory, and yet they found nothing of any sort that proved there had been an intruder.

“Let’s go back! We’ve found nothing, and we’ve been all over the territory!” Pebble whined, nudging Quail in her side with his muzzle, his ears pinned to his head. He was trailing his paws, as if they were made of stone.

“There’s one last bit of the territory, and then we can head back...” She mewed, her eyes flicking back and forth as she took one last glance.

“Hey Quail... what’s that over there?” Mars was pointing with his tail towards a bush, which was shivering ominously. It’s leaves fluttered to the ground as it began to shake worse. Quail flicked her tail to warn them to stay quiet, and the others raised their hackles as Quail crawled forwards. She placed each paw carefully, precautious of the fallen dried leaves, which would give her away if stepped on. Her ears pricked up and her mouth slightly gaping open to taste the air surrounding them. An oddly familiar scent flooded and hit the roof of her mouth, and, mostly out of instinct, she rose to her paws. “Wait... The scent isn’t a loner or clan cat...”

“What do you mean?” Froggy mewed, an edge to his voice. Bird padded over to Quails side, and sniffed the bush cautiously herself. “She’s right... It’s a Rank!” Bird screeched, horror in her voice. A sudden stench of fresh, thick blood stung her nostrils, and she bounded up to the bush, pushing past the prickly thorns to find a pale body laying in a pool of blood, a huge gash in their neck, an endless river of red flooding out.

D-DANDELION!” Quail froze as she looked at the Claw, whom she had always admired. Dandelion wasn’t always the kindest cat in the group, but she was fair and loyal, no matter how mouse-brained her Keeper was. Now, watching the last breaths of life drain from the she-cats body, she felt as if she wanted to avenge her. She knew she could have been a much better Keeper than Ace, but she hasn’t told anyone about what her thoughts on Ace were except Corrupted and Froggy. Sharp gases and yowls interrupted her thoughts, and she turned around to see the others from the group staring at Dandelion’s body in shock and terror.

“I-Is.. Is she dead?..” whispered Pebble, with Bird at his side, muttering something only she could hear.

“Yeah...  she is... But who or what could have done this?!...” Froggy finally spoke, his voice trembling and his claws kneading on the dirt beneath their paws.

“It doesn’t matter right now... We have to take her back and show Ace. He’s going to need to pick a new Claw, r-right?..” Mars padded over to his mentor, who was smaller than him, and waited for a reply.

“W-well.. yes, but we still have to find out how she got killed... It doesn’t seem as if she put up much of a fight, could have been one or two fatal blows, probably an ambush?” Pebble walked forwards and leaned down, grabbing the dead she-cat’s scruff and lifting her head up. He signalled for Froggy to come over, and the huge tom walked over stiffly, crouching down and letting Pebble put the body onto his back to carry. Without another word, the two headed back for the base. Quail sighed, and followed. “Mars, Bird... Come on.. we have to get back”

The Scout and Puppet exchanged a worried look, before bowing their heads and padded after the others. Quail trotted faster to catch up with Froggy, and when she finally did, she looked up at his face. He touched noses with his supposed sister for a long moment before continuing the journey back up the mountain.

     When they got back to the base, terrified yowls and cries came from the Ranks around them. Quail nodded at Bird, Pebble and Mars for them to know they were no longer needed. The three padded away, still stiffened with shock. Her and Froggy carried Dandelion to the Keeper’s den, where Ace was probably still wasting time. They came to the den, and Quail took a few paw-steps inside for the first time in her life.

“Ace! Ace, come here! You need to see this!...” she raised her voice, her words echoing in the hollow cave.

“What is it, Quail?”

“Ace, how about coming out of this depressive den and actually get involved in your Ranks?”

“Oh shut up. Now what do you want me to see so very badly?” He followed the short-legged she-cat as she led him from his safe space. Quail pointed with her muzzle at Froggy, who was laying down the body in front of the Dark Ledge. Ace let out a low, deep hiss and unsheathed his claws. He lifted his paw, and slashed at the dead shes’ side. Quail sighed, not wanting to watch the horrible custom of their group. The Keeper had to approve of the dead cats by slashing them, but Quail was strongly against it, as she thought the poor cat had already suffered enough by loosing their precious life.

“All Ranks old enough to slaughter their enemies in battle, gather beneath the Dark Ledge to hear my orders!” He yowled, his words sounding for what seemed miles away.

                              {|.:.|} Chapter 3 {|.:.|}

                            {| The Search |}

The Ranks padded towards the Dark Ledge, gathering beneath the shadows and staring up at Ace, who was slouching in the dimmed light above the jagged platform which poked out of the highest point of the mountain. His ears were pinned to his head and his dark eyes closed. The fur on his throat ruffled as he took a gulp of air, before speaking up- well, down.

“You are all gathered here for some... mild news.” There were concerned mews from beneath him, and Quail sighed, picturing their reactions when they were told the ‘mild news’.

“Where’s Dandelion?!” a voice from the back spoke up, yowling a question which then riled up the whole crowd of cats. There were some concerned, some questioning, some angry and some just staring silently with shocked expressions, tail tips twitching with fear and curiosity.

Silence!” Ace hissed and spat down at the lower Ranks, his tail lashing and his razor-sharp fangs glistening in the moonlight. His fur bristled and almost at once the mutters stopped. The rainbow glowing orbs fixed on the Keeper.

“Dandelion... Is no longer with us. She had fought her last battle with a rouge ambush near the border of our territory. Some of the Puppets and a Scout have found her body behind some dead bracken, which stank of the putrid rouge scent!” Startled yowls and hisses rose from the cats below Ace, and this time he didn’t silence them. Quail just dipped her head for a long moment in honour of the fallen Claw. The others around her all bowed their heads in sorrow, and Bramble nudged her front leg with her muzzle. Quail lifted her tiny legs up and let Bramble crawl beneath them, and she lay down, resting her chin on Brambles head.

“I want all Scouts, Third Circlers, Scouts and Bones on watch at all times and if any cat finds so much as a leaf or stone out of place I want to know about it IMMEDIATELY!” He snarled, his long, hooked claws unsheathing and his muscles rippling beneath his colourless pelt, shining silver in the bright moon. He rose to his paws and a dark smirk creeped onto his face as he took in the furious hisses and yowls that rose from the multicoloured crowd of cats beneath him. Quail shuddered at the sight of his reaction, and wanted more than anything to get up and leave, but she knew the consequences of that.

However...” Ace continued, “we now need a new Claw for the Group.” At growling those words, all the Puppets fixed their slumped postures and looked gallantly up at Ace, while the Scouts and Bones shared their decisions on who they thought should be the next Claw. Quail sighed and shook her head, knowing no matter how they looked, it was always up to the Keeper, and nothing changed his mind, especially Aces’.

“Quail should be the new Claw! She’s great at hunting and she’s a great leader!” Bramble head-butted Quail as she wriggled from her warm hug, and yowled up to Ace confidently, her tiny frame stumbling over as she was kicked off. She scampered to her paws and shook her head determinedly.

“Bramble! Hush! Sit back down!” She nudged Bramble in her side no-so-gently, and Bramble let out a hiss of annoyance, sitting down indignantly with one eye closed, the other swivelling around the cats.

”Yeah! Bramble’s Right!”

“Quail should be the Claw!”

Other voices rang up, until almost every cat in the group was agreeing with her little sister. Quail felt her fur prickle as she suddenly realised that the group actually accepted her as one of them completely, so much that they would like her to become their next Keeper once Ace has fallen.

“Silence!” A furious hiss bellowed from above them, and suddenly the murmurs of encouragement died down. “I have chosen the new Claw already, and I’m glad to see that you all agree.” Ace shifted his cold stare to Quail, and a chill ran down her spine as she had a moment of realisation. She was going to be the new Claw.

”Quail,” she stood up quickly, and gazed up at Ace, her neck aching. “You have always been loyal to the group, despite from where your roots come from.” As he said this, he shot a meaningful glare at Corrupted, who was sitting behind Quail. She took a small step back wards, and flicked her tiny tail on his shoulder. Corrupted gave her a modest glance, before looking down at his paws in shame once more. Quail sighed, and looked back up at Ace.

”Therefore, you are now the Claw of Ranks Matter.”

{|.:.|} Chapter 4 {|.:.|}

{| The Plot Unfolds |}

Quail was astonished that she, of all cats, was now the Claw. Bundles of cats came to congratulate her, but all she could do was give little nods of notice and sit. Sit and stare at something beyond the loud cats, beyond rocky mountain, beyond the star spotted night sky, beyond anything the other cats could see. After a few long moments of watching the plain air, some sudden movement caught her eye. Ace’s dark figure leaped down from the Dark Ledge and slinked from stone to stone, all the way to the bottom. Questions bubbled in Quail’s mind like a newly thawed river in bare-leaf. She rose to her paws without a word and pushed past all the other pelts, making her way towards the edge of the mountain where Ace had disappeared. Her paws tethering on the edge, barely gripping on as the dark material beneath her crumbled like decaying leaves. Quail narrowed her eyes as the tail tip of the mysterious Keeper flicked one last time before pulling into a prickly bush. Her shadowy gaze was fixed on that one spot in the forest for what seemed like seasons, until a poke in her flank snapped her out of her thoughts.

”Quail, congrats!” It was Corrupted. He leaned downwards and nuzzled her, a purr rumbling in his throat like a motor. She lifted her front paws a little off the ground to read to his shoulder and give it affectionate lick.


“Look, sorry if... if our kin situation will make your duty harder and the other Ranks might accept you harder and-“

”It’s fine! If they do, they’ll just have to deal with it, ‘cause they have no right to disrespect me!” She chirped, her flopped ear bouncing a little as she set herself back down. Corrupted gave her a loving lick on her forehead, and she gave him one last muzzle before he walked away to the Lair, a slight bounce in his step. Quail then got congratulated by a giggling Bramble, who was vibrating with joy and pride.

“I TOLD YOU ALL SHE WOULD GET PICKED FOR CLAW! BUT DID YOU BELIEVE ME? NO!” Quail heard her sister boasting to the other kits as they were herded into the Burrow by Cinnamon and Sunflower. She couldn’t hold back a chuckle as she watched the two Carers (Cinnamon and Sunflower) scolding Bramble to stay quiet and stop showing off, but she took zero notice to it. Three other cats, Mars, Pebble and Bird, came to mew their compliments. These three cats were the closest to Quail in the whole group- aside from Froggy- even though they sometimes they were a pain in the tail. Soon she had seen every single cat in the group except Froggy, and the thought that her brother, her best friend, her closest companion wasn’t happy that she was just ranked to such an important role, let alone care. No... Maybe he just hasn’t had the chance to... she thought to herself, hoping more than ever than it was right.

With a shaky exhale, she made her way towards the Lair. She pushed through the hanging vines at the split entrance, and had a glimpse at where her old nest used to be set. As tradition, the fallen Claw had to be buried on their nest, as a sort of gesture to make sure they rested comfortably in their afterlife. Quail’s old nest had been thrown out and a larger nest replaced it, freshly made with soft moss, delicate feathers and silky leaves. The Bones sure were quick she thought as she picked her ways up carefully and settled down in her comfortable bed. She didn’t realise how exhausted she was until she closed her eyes and lay her head down in her small paws, giving in to the deep sleep which called out to her, urging her to fall into its endless depths. She surrendered easily, and drifted into a deep slumber. She awakened a few hours later at feeling something brush against her back, then curl around her tiny frame. Her eyes snapped open and her head whipped around, to hit something, or more like someone.

“Ow!...” A voice piped up, wincing.

“Oh! Sorry...! You scared me...” Quail twisted herself to face Froggy, who was curled around her, his tail set gently on her back like a fluffy blanket.

“So... Well done on becoming Claw...” He didn’t sound excited or even glad, but at least he tried.

Quail chose to ignore the edge in his voice, and she let out a delighted purr. “I thought you didn’t care!” She nuzzled him happily, gazing into his green eyes.

“Of course I didn’t forget, you stupid hair-ball!” He cuffed Quail on the shoulder, and she batted at his nose with sheathed claws.

“Then why did you wait so long to see me?...” Quail queried, shuffling a tiny bit away from his protecting embrace.

“I... I guess it’s a stupid reason, but it’s because... I saw you with dads and how proud he looked... I guess I just felt jealous...”

“Why?... What reason do you have to be jealous?...” She felt a strange feeling building up in her chest, a sort of... distant anger?

“Seeing how dad always gives you more attention, more love, more everything... I know it sounds weird coming from me, but it’s the truth. He clearly loves you more than me, and I guess I just thought- think- that now that your Claw I’ll loose some cat else...” Quail couldn’t really be sure, but she heard little sniffles and thought she could feel his sides shaking as he forces himself to hold his emotions. She sighed and felt the ball of molten anger cooling until it froze completely, and a soft smile appeared on her face. She cuddled up to him, and relaxed, a purr vibrating in her whole body like the buzz of a young green-leaf bee. She felt the tension in her brothers’ shoulders melt away, and he rested his head atop hers. After a little while, she fell asleep, and finally accepted the fact that she was new Claw of Ranks Matter.

{|.:.|} Chapter Five {|.:.|}

{| Wandering Minds |}

The sun rose over the edge of the mountain, the pale orange and bright yellow rays flashing inside the Lair. The sparkling light hit Quail’s eyes, pulling her out of her slumber. With an irritated grumble, she lifted her head, blinking the sleepiness away. For a few moments, she looked around her and didn’t realise where she was. Then it hit her. I’m the Claw... she thought, a small smile spreading across her muzzle. She felt a soft warmth pressed against her back, and saw beige figure. She sighed, wishing she could just curl up and cuddle in her new bed all day long as she used to, but being the Claw came with bigger responsibilities. She shook her head in thought, before padding out of the hollow space. The blinding new light stung her eyes, salty tears pooling and dripping down her fluffy cheeks. With another exasperated exhale, she picked her way towards Ace’s den.

“Ace?...” Quail mewed inside the dark crave, her voice echoing and blasting back at her from all directions.

What?!” He hissed from inside the deserted den, his dark amber eyes gleaming in the darkness like two flares of fire. The piercing anger in his cold stare made Quail flinch, her fur fluffing up and spiking in all directions.

“Ok Mister Sunshine, calm down, I just came to see if you wanted me to do anything, so don’t ‘Claw’ my ears off” She sat down next to the Keeper, who was looking down his muzzle at her. “Ok, not a fan of puns I see...”

“Fine, if your so desperate to do something, then you might be able to prove yourself useful by sending out some patrols to search the territory for any evidence for who killed Dandelion...” He was slouching down, his head hanging from his shoulders. Quail took a disgusted look at him, and for the first time realised exactly how bony he was; his ribs were poking from his skin. She shuffled a mouse length away from him, her nose wrinkled at the stench his pelt carried.

“We already looked in every corner of the territory, Ace. There’s no scent, no markings, no claw marks, fur, nothing! Try to accept the fact that it maybe wasn’t even a cat! It might have been a stray dog without a Twoleg! Now get up and stop sulking in your den like a hopeless kit and actually get involved in things!” Quail felt anger building up inside her chest, and suddenly it was as if she had stepped out of her body and was watching herself blurt out everything she truly thought of the tom. By the time she had finished her rant, Ace was glaring down at her, making himself as tall as he could just to make her feel smaller and weaker than she already was.

What did you just say to me?...”

{|.:.|} Chapter 6 {|.:.|}

{| The Rainbow Reveal |}

Ace had started a rant about how he was the Keeper and how he wanted respect, and how he made a vicious mistake making her the Claw, and blah, blah, blah... Quail zoned out as she glanced outside the bleak, shadowy den and catching sight of Froggy scurrying away from... Something? Her mind wandered to different places as Ace kept hissing at her and pacing up and down (thankfully now actually paying attention to his victim), and while he had his back turned on her she slipped out, making sure not to make a sound. With one last look over her shoulder, she padded towards the edge of the mountain.

After her successful escape from a furious Ace, she settled down on a small corner, the edges of the stone crumbling beneath her paws. Quail sighed as a soft breeze ruffled her fur, fluffing up her fur against the slight cold, tucking her tiny paws beneath her snowy white chest and gazing up at the sky. She hadn’t realised how stressed she had been lately, and suddenly she remembered something. Froggy has practically avoided her for the past moon, and she couldn’t come up with a reason why anyone would ever not want to be around her. I’m kind, brave, amazing, likeable,... she thought, then she realised. Oh. Right... That’s why... With a sigh, she let herself drift into the beginning of a wonderful nap, when a prod in her shoulder snapped her awake.

“Quail?... Do you have any time to talk?...” a voice whispered behind her, before she felt something brush against her side and curl up. She knew that voice all too well.

“Well look who decided to say hello!” She mewed sarcastically, a smirk appearing on her face slowly as she nudged the other cat. “Ok, hurry up, I have a very busy schedule now that I’m Claw”

“Har-har very funny. Mind if I take a few minutes out of your busy schedule your Highness?”

“Hey, hey, hey! Sarcasm is my thing, you can get your own thing!”

“Quail, seriously, can we talk?...” Something about the edge in his voice and the squeaky tone made Quail clear her throat and listen carefully, a new seriousness sparkling in her eyes.

“I’m listening, what’s up?”

“Well... Oh this is awkward to say now that your looking at me like your going to hear that it’s the end of the world...” He suddenly got up, muttering some other words of regret as he turned away.

“Froggy, cmon. Y’know I’m always open to helping you. What’s on your mind?...” She whispered softly, padding over to her brother and nuzzling him, before sitting in his way. She knew for a fact, and from experience, that he could easily step over her and carry on in his path, but she still sat there, willing that he wouldn’t ignore her.

“Fine... Well, I don’t like she-cats.” He blurted it out so quickly and quietly she almost hasn’t heard, but she had. And she was confused, not actually understanding what Froggy was saying.

“Wait.. then?..”

“I only like... toms..” he was looking down at his paws and slouching down, obviously embarrassed. Quail leaned forwards and nudged him, giving his shoulder a lick before s crouching down to look at his face.

“So?... What’s the problem?... It doesn’t make you weird or the odd one out, it just makes you special”

“But what will the rest of the group think?... They’re not as understanding as my own kin...”

“Who cares what they think?!”

“But what if they-“

“And if they make fun of you or exclude you out of... well everything, they’ll have me to answer to”

“I guess it’s useful to have a sister who’s the Claw of the group” He finally looked up, and a faint smile was spreading across his face.

“Isn’t it?” Quail smirked, batting up at Froggy gently with one paw, chuckling when she stumbled down.

“Thanks Quail... For always being there for me..” Froggy nuzzled her, and she returned the embrace.

“No problem! Y’know I’m always here if you need to talk to someone” She purred and gave his shoulder another lick, before rising to her paws and beginning to head towards the Den, when she heard a yowl.

QUAIL!” The shriek came from Aces’ cave, his voice cracking with fury and anger at the young Claw. “GET OVER HERE!”

“Uh-oh... Well, good chatting with you Frogger, but I now must assist the shrieking banshee. Good day, my good brother” She gave a little nod before sprinting over to her Keeper.

“I’M HERE, CALM DOWN!” she spat up at Ace, who was practically sparking off embers from his whiskers and the tips of his ears steaming. Quail imagined the picture, and the thought made her giggle. Bad move.

“Quail... How dare you talk to me like that!” And here we go again... she thought, listening to Aces’ rant all over again.

{|.:.|} Chapter 7 {|.:.|}

{| The New Problem |}

“Ok Mars, I’m going to set you your first assignment. Go to the top of the mountain, retrieve the poppy from Bird and bring it back down to me. You have until Pebble is done eating that rabbit,” She pointed up the huge mountain, which towered above them as if they were tiny, insignificant ants. Quail then gave a little nod towards Pebble, who was slurping and crunching on the rabbit. “ Also, Pebble, ew.”

“What?! I’m hungry!” He managed to mutter in between bites, and Quail gave an exasperated sigh.

“Ok well, Mars, off... you.. go!” Quail flicked her stubbed tail, and the young Scout dashed up, leaping from rock to rock, his powerful paws clinging to the grey stone. Some of the rubble flew down at maximum speed, and it landed straight on Quails’ head. She gave a squeaky wince, followed by a colourful curse up at Mars.

“HA! You deserved that!” Pebble laughed towards Quail, cackling some more insults which could make even the strongest and fearless Puppet cry and whimper in shame.

“Watch how you talk to me now, I’ve got a higher and more important Rank than you. It’s even in my authority to get you working with the Bones for a whole moon!” Quail tucked her paws beneath her chest, a smug smile spreading across her face as she felt a slither of pride in her mild threat. Of course, she could never in a million seasons actually commit to those actions, but it felt good to boast about her new sense of power.

“Fine, I’ll shut up. But your Scout had better hurry up; I’m nearly finished” Quail had just realised that there was barely any more meat left on the skinny bones of the deceased creature, but it hadn’t actually crossed her mind that Mars wouldn’t be back down by the time Pebble was done. She also knew that he was an extremely slow eater, and she had seen Mars do other tasks in shorter lengths of time.

“Now that you mention it, I’m getting a little worried. I’ve given him other tasks before, and in much less time to complete them, but he’s always finished them. And I also know he’s a good climber- remember the time Snake got stuck on the far side of the mountains in that weird hole? Mars climbed up all the way there and got the poor little kit out”

“Yea. It was a bit weird watching a cat carry another cat that was barely any smaller than him, but you’re right.” Pebble took one last bite of the prey, and pushed the bones away. They were so clean the white texture shined in the sunlight like diamonds. “Anyways, I’m done and he’s still not back yet”

“Go up there and see what’s going on, I’ll stay down here in case anything happens”

“Wouldn’t it be better is you-“ Pebble began to argue, a suspicious edge to his voice.

“Now.” She hissed, her head snapping towards her group mate. Her cold glare trailed behind the grey tom as he made his way up, his fur almost disappearing as he got higher up.

Quail gave a little sigh, her eyelids getting heavier and heavier. Since she had been made the Claw, Ace had her on random errands- getting him fresh kill, seeing that the kits were safe enough in the Burrow, helping Pop and Cloud gather herbs and spices for the stock... All those insignificant tasks tired her out, little by little, but she hasn’t exactly realised it until now. She felt her paws stretching out, as if she wasn’t controlling her own body. With a shake of her head, she managed to keep herself awake. Once again, she felt herself nodding off, until... SNAP! Something cracking behind her woke her up completely. Quail sprang to her paws, her fur bristling.

“Who’s there?!” Her hiss shook with a snippet of fear, as she knew she was too tired for a fight. “Don’t be a coward! Show yourself!”

An eerie chuckle rang through the clearing, as if a ghost was wailing in sorrow and pain. The sky began to darken, the blinding rays of sunshine disappearing past the horizon. Quail began to worry as she hoped any other cat from her group would appear out of thin air.

“Well, well... Feisty, are we now?...” A crackling voice hissed, sarcasm hitting Quail like a bullet. Oh no... Not this type of cat...she thought restlessly, worry and fear bursting through her. All her instincts screamed at her to run up the mountain and take refugee in the Den, but a little voice somewhere in her head whispered at her to stay and find out who this creepy intruder was.

“Look, whoever you are, just go away. I don’t want to start any fights for no reason...”

“I don’t take orders from you, little kit. And don’t worry, this battle will not be meaningless...” The intruder’s words chilled Quail to the bone, and another hissing laugh broke out.

“I’m not a kit! Now answer me; who are you and what do you want?!”

“Oh just someone, wandering by...” Suddenly she saw a dark figure weaving back and forth between the tall trees in the forest, and the sight of bright green optics put the fear of BloodClan in Quail.

“Well then leave! Do not make me call the patrols to deal with you! I don’t want blood shed on my territory for no reason”

“Well then... I’ll make sure you won’t see it!” An ear-splitting yowl shot at Quail, and suddenly the dark figure lunged towards her, sharp claws unsheathed and shredding the air, glittering white fangs ready to bite the life out of her. She felt a sharp pain in the side of her face, and tried to fight back, but it was no use; she was too weak and tired at this point, and stood to chance against this... this... phantom. With another hit in the head, Quail felt herself tumbling down to the grassy ground, her paws flailing helplessly in hope of crawling away. As her head made contact with the earth beneath her, she was blinded. All she could see was black. Pitch black.

{|.:.|} Chapter 8 {|.:.|}

{| The Wounded Claw |}


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