Sorry for the short chapters :P
Warning: This page contains spoilers for the Stars and Shadows series (e.g The Rise of Shadows)
Iceshadow wants to be leader. Just the same as all those great warriors before her like Tigerstar and Brokenstar. But Iceshadow seems unstoppable. Will he be able to achieve what he wants, or, will he be stopped by a cat whom he has despised since he became a warrior?
"That one is just what we need," Tigerstar growled. Brokenstar snorted beside him. "Again? Seriously? After the Great Battle?" Tigerstar glared at Brokenstar. "We only lost because of disloyalty," he spat, "This time, we'll make sure that he doesn't escape. He will swear that he will never betray us. We will make his him love the shadows." Mapleshade rolled her eyes. "I see no point in this. Don't expect me to train anyone. I thought that Rosepaw was going to be like that, and look at how she turned out? Got herself killed before even becoming a warrior." Brokenstar nodded. "Same with Darkclaw. Wasn't very good at keeping secrets." Tigerstar growled in fustration. "Ivystream turned out to be the only survivor. And I thought that she would be weak." Hawkfrost frowned. "She's dead now." Tigerstar glared at him. "It's not my fault she died because of a stupid cough. It should have been me who killed her." Mapleshade watched as a leaf fluttered down from a tree. "But her wariness and shrewdness seem to live in on Cloudshine, her former apprentice." Brokenstar rolled his eyes. "Cloudshine is weak. She wouldn't be able to fight a kit." Mapleshade barked with laughter. "What medicine cat would?" Brokenstar shifted his paws uncomfortably. "A rabbit then." Tigerstar huffed. "Longtail couldn't." Hawkfrost suddenly cut in. "Stop arguing! Aren't we here because of another problem?" Tigerstar nodded. "Of course." Hawkfrost glanced at the other two cats "I'll help. I've got no doubts, unlike those two." Tigerstar grunted in approval. "Then may the new generation begin."
Icekit knew that he wanted to be the leader of his clan the moment he saw Sorrelstar up there, on Highrock, about to begin his apprentice ceremony. "From now on, your name shall be Icepaw," Sorrelstar mewed, glancing down at him, her tortoiseshell pelt prickling warily. Why was she so...uncertain? "Your mentor will be Hazeheart. Hazeheart, help him to grow into a reasonable, open minded warrior like you." Icepaw couldn't help but feel disappointed as he touched noses with his new mentor. Hazeheart disapproved of fighting. He thought that peaceful resolutions were much better that fighting. Icepaw had been hoping for someone like Thistletuft. The spiky gray and white tom was always keen to fight, always showing the kits new battle moves and telling their parents that it was never to early to learn how to defend themselves and their clan.
Icepaw crouched, sliding through the undergrowth, eyes on his prey. Swiftly pouncing, he killed the pigeon with a single bite. He sat bolt upright as a new scent wafted in his direction. Riverclan! Riverclan were on Sunningrocks! He had to warn his clan. He began to head back to camp, but was stopped by a voice. "Why don't you go and check out the scent before you go warn your clan? I'm sure Sorrelstar would like a precise report." Behind him, with his tail wrapped neatly around his forepaws, was a huge dark tabby with a battle scarred pelt and dark amber eyes. The cat then started to fade. Icepaw knew that the tabby was right. He bounded toward the edge of Thunderclan territory.
It was just a Riverclan apprentice who had strayed over the border. Snarling, Icepaw leapt in front of the apprentice. "What are you doing on Thunderclan territory?" The brown tabby looked startled, and took a step back. "S-s-sorry! I-I-I d-didn't realise that I strayed over the border!" he stammered. Hissing, Icepaw lunged, slashing his claws across the tabby's muzzle. This was his chance to prove himself worthy of being a warrior! Icepaw scored his claws down the tabby's side, and sank his teeth in his tail. Icepaw raked his paw down his belly. Screeching with pain and fear, Icepaw heard a cat yowl, Puddlepaw! Come back!" Great. Now Riverclan was here. "Icepaw! What are you doing?" Icepaw jerked his head around and snarled, "Defending our territory!" Hazeheart frowned. "It's just an apprentice. Barely." He narrowed his eyes at the trembling tabby. "There was no need to attack him." The Riverclan warriors slid out of the river. "Sorry about your apprentice. We will leave now." Hazeheart dipped his head toward the three, hostile looking cats. Beckoning to Icepaw, Icepaw could tell that his mentor wasn't pleased.
Icepaw felt that he was being watched. He turned, to see the unnerving gaze of Cloudshine, the medicine cat, watching him, her blue gaze following him. Icepaw blinked. The eyes had disappeared. Icepaw frowned to himself. What was with the awkward behaviour of Cloudshine and Sorrelstar? Had he done something wrong? Surely, it was completely normal to want to be leader after Sorrelstar.
Grief weighed down Cloudshine's paws. Even though Ivystream had died over a moon ago, the pain of losing her was fresh each morning. Closing her eyes, Cloudshine forced herself to push the sadness away from her heart. At least she still had her sister, Lemonbreeze. Sorrelstar padded in. She didn't even wait for Cloudshine to ask what was wrong. Instead she just mewed. "I'm concerned about Icekit." Cloudshine looked up with intrest. "In what way?" Sorrelstar shook her head. "I can't explain. The moment he looked at me...his eyes... turned..." Sorrelstar glanced away. "Amber. Just like Tigerstar's."
Icepaw had returned to camp, covered in blood from nose to tail. But not a single drop was his. Cloudshine knew this was a sign from Starclan. An era of blood was coming, and Icepaw would be the cause of it.
"I have a complaint about Thunderclan!" Volestar snarled, glaring at Sorrelstar, who gazed back calmly. "One of their apprentices killed my son, Pebblepaw!" Furious yowling rose from the gathered cats. Cloudshine felt Birchfoot tense beside her. "I'm sorry for your loss." she murmured. She wasn't surprised when Birchfoot growled, "Thunderclan need to have better control of their apprentices!" Sighing to herself, she knew there was no point in arguing with Birchfoot when he was grieving. Shadepelt murmured comfortingly to her. "He's still upset about Pebblepaw." Pebblepaw. The third Riverclan medicine cat apprentice who had died since Birchfoot had become a full medicine cat. Both he and Shadepelt were old, and neither of them had an apprentice. Windclan's former medicine cat, Mallowfur, had died from the same bout of greencough that had killed her daughter, and Cloudshine's mentor, Ivystream. Cloudshine closed her eyes, blocking out the sound of arguing.
Icepaw was having his warrior assesment today. However much Thunderclan needed more warriors, Cloudshine couldn't help but hope that the battle hungry apprentice would fail his assesment and learn some more patience and thought from his mentor. But Cloudshine knew that it was hopeless. Icepaw was sure to pass the test. He brought back plenty of prey from each hunt, and had the best fighting skills she had ever seen from an apprentice. All he lacked was open mindedness. And that was something that Cloudshine knew, that Icepaw would never achieve.
Sorrelstar wanted to give Icepaw a name that she hoped would make him a more reasonable warrior. But she knew better than to atagonize the pale, blue gray tom. She knew, that among many others, he was being trained by the Dark Forest. Sorrelstar didn't want to be in his way of anger. "Just be careful about the choices you make." That was Cloudshine. Who was she talking to?
The gray and white she cat was staring warily at Icepaw as he padded out the entrance tunnel. But before he disappeared, he glanced back throwing a scornful, hateful look at the medicine cat. Oh Cloudshine, Sorrelstar stopped in her tracks, knowing that she was no use to the medicine cat in this situation, Please, please don't get yourself killed. Thunderclan needs you. We can't lose another medicine cat. Alderheart, Kestrelwing, Ivystream. All the medicine cats who had died since Sorrelstar had been born. Retreating into her den, she allowed her memories to envelop her.
"No! Not Alderheart!" Sorrelwhisker watched, horror flooding her pelt as Kestrelwing and Hollytuft brought the stiff, limp body of the medicine cat. After helplessly fighting against a fox, Alderheart had several severe wounds. Most had gotten infected. Now, he was dead, leaving Kestelwing as the only medicine cat in the clan.
It has been 18 moons since Alderheart died. Six, since Kestrelflight brought back a kit. A kit, who's history and origins we knew nothing about. But Sorrelstar knew that Kestrelwing was hiding something. It struck her how Ivykit looked so much like a Windclan cat. How much she seems to be so used to clan traditions. Sorrelstar knew Ivykit was Mallowfur's child. The shape of her head was only too familiar. And that was one of the reasons why Sorrelstar accepted her into the clan. But she had never expected the little cat to become one of the most respected cats in the forest. Until she died.
Greencough was especially harsh on the clan that leafbare. Was this a punishment from StarClan? Sorrelstar's concerns were confirmed by the news from Cloudshine, Ivystream's apprentice. "She's dead." Cloudshine's voice was flat and exhausted. She clearly hadn't been able to have any sleep since Ivystream got sick. Sorrelstar rested her tail gently on the gray and white she cat's back. "Go get some rest." Cloudshine nodded and padded off, fatigue visible on the lack of spring in her step. She closed her eyes, now familiar with the death of her clanmates. It seemed that more medicine cats had died then warriors. Oh StarClan! What have we done to deserve this? "Remember,when a time of blood and ice come, only the cloud can allow the sun to shine again and melt the cold." Sorrelstar's head jerked up. Ivystream? Sorrelstar could smell her scent, but the she cat was nowhere to be seen. I hope the cloud can really save us all.
Sorrelstar jerked out of her sleep to see that it was already night. A time of blood and ice. Ice... Sorrelstar supressed a surge of realisation. Could that mean Icepaw? Is Icepaw the ice that will freeze the clan?
"Iceshadow! Iceshadow!" The pale blue gray tom's icy blue eyes shone with pleasure. Good. He was pleased with his name. But Sorrelstar didn't miss the hated look that Iceshadow shot at Cloudshine. And something else... Cunning? Sorrelstar had seen many looks like that on different cats. Was the gray warrior planning something? If so, what could it be about?
Iceshadow was a warrior at last. He knew, that he was once step closer to leadership. Now all I need is an apprentice. And then, once I'm deputy... Revenge shall be mine to have. I'll make you proud yet, Tigerstar.
Iceshadow narrowed his eyes at Sorrelstar. Would she make him a mentor? She'd better. He had waited moons for this. Moons of impatience, moons of paying lots of attention to the kits, moons of putting up with Cloudshine's watching gaze. Iceshadow was tired of waiting. Perhaps, if he got an apprentice, and slipped a bit of poison in Blossomheart's prey, he may be able to get himself up to the role of deputy. Then, he would murder Cloudshine, get revenge on her, and make sure there was no cat to tell anyone how many lives a leader had. Then, he would kill Sorrelstar, and seize the leadership of ThunderClan for himself.
Iceshadow watched as his apprentice, Owlpaw, scooped the legs from beneath his brother Eaglepaw. Knocking him off balance, he pinned him down. "Good." Iceshadow purred, pleased. "Now go and hunt until sunset. I need to go speak to Sorrelstar about your training. That was a lie. Instead, he was going to kill Blossomheart.
The ThunderClan deputy was sitting by Highrock. Now's my chance. Iceshadow narrowed his eyes. Keeping the deathberry seeds tucked closely in his tail, he slid the seeds inside a mouse. Taking the mouse and a sparrow, he padded over to Blossomheart. "How's Owlpaw's training?" Blossomheart asked as he approached. "Good. I just wanted to discuss a good hunting spot by the training hollow." Dropping the mouse in front of Blossomheart, Iceshadow began to eat his prey. "You mean by the hazel bush?" Iceshadow nodded. "There's plenty of nuts and berries around there." She dipped her head. "I was planning on taking a patrol around there later." Iceshadow tried to look interested. "Can Owlpaw and I come?" Blossomheart purred with approval. And that was when her eyes widened, and she fell limp. "Cloudshine!" Iceshadow screeched in fake alarm. Success was sweet.
Cloudshine knew there was trouble the moment she heard Iceshadow's yowl. But when she got to the clearing, she saw a limp body by him. It was Blossomheart. "No!" Cloudshine dropped the herbs and raced to the dead deputy's side. The she cat had always been kind. Now, she was dead. She looked up at Iceshadow. His triumph was barely visible beneath the fake screen of grief. Iceshadow killed Blossomheart, and Cloudshine knew why.
"The new deputy will be Iceshadow." Sorrelstar announced reluctantly. Surprise flashed through Cloudshine's paws. Already? She padded up to Sorrelstar. "So soon? He's barely a warrior." Sorrelstar shook her head. "I don't want to anger him." Cloudshine sighed. "You know that's exactly what will get you killed?" Sorrelstar gave Cloudshine an uncertain look. "Let's hope it doesn't come to that."
Blossomheart's pelt was stone cold. Cloudshine suddenly felt her tongue rasp on something hard and cold. Gently lifting the fur on Blossomheart's stiff flank, she saw a shard of ice, piercing her pelt. But the colour of the shadow was unnatural. A dark, dark shade of red. So dark, it was pratically black. A sign. At first, excitement coursed through her mind. It was her first sign from StarClan!Then she realised the meaning. It was saying something about Iceshadow. And it was the colour of blood.
"I'm going to the Moonstone." Sorrelstar acknowledged it with a dip of her head. "Stay safe." Cloudshine padded out of the gorse tunnel, not understanding the feeling of approaching fear. The anxiety was weighing her paws down, becoming heavier with each step. Forcing herself to not let her worries concern her, she continued on her journey to the Moonstone.
Her paws seemed like they had pads and claws of stone. Was this a warning from StarClan? SHould she have stayed at camp?
The dreams were uneasy. "The choices you have made will affect your future." Was all that Ivystream had to offer. But just as she faded, she added, so quietly, Cloudshine could barely hear it. "When a time of blood and ice come, only the cloud can allow the sun to shine again and melt the cold." What did that mean?
Cloudshine left with a hasty farewell and ran as fast as she could back to camp. She was afraid of what she might find on the other end of the gorse tunnel. And she was right. There, in the centre of the clearing, lay Sorrelstar's stiff body, her remaining four lives all torn out of her with a vicious gaping gap where her throat used to be. Cloudshine felt sickened at the amount of blood smeared around several of her clanmates' paws from carrying Sorrelstar's body.
"W-w-we found her dead by the fox den." Iceshadow mewed, grief glittering in his gaze. But it was the same expression he had used when he saw that Blossomheart was dead. It was an act. Cloudshine had looked at the prey that Blossomheart had been eating, and inside, so safely hidden, were deathberry seeds. Iceshadow was clearpy desperate to become leader. Oh Sorrelstar. I told you to be careful. If only you had listened.
Sorrelstar had never felt so betrayed in her entire life. Never as much as when Iceshadow suddenly leapt at her when she was hunting by an abandoned fox den. "I've waited a long time for this Sorrelstar, and you're not taking it away from me." Snarling, he lunged. Sorrelstar saw no more as he sank his claws deep into her throat.
"You have lost all of your remaining lives." Alderheart reported sadly. "We warned Cloudshine to pass on the message of ice and blood, but it was already too late." Sorrelstar felt sickened. She had ignored her medicine cat's warning, and continued to trust Iceshadow. He seemed like such a loyal, strong warrior. It was too late. Too late to change a single thing. I'm sorry Cloudshine.
Pleasure and anxiety surged through Iceshadow's pelt as he padded through the tunnel towards the Moonstone. What if StarClan rejects me? What will I do then? His worries faded as he arrived to see a glimmering rock in front of him. Is this seriously it? But Iceshadow decided not to question this as Cloudshine instructed him to press his nose to the stone. Worry darkened her gaze, but before Iceshadow could register his thoughts, he was plunged into darkness.
Why is this happening? Stop giving me warnings! I get it, you're threatening. But not as much as the Dark Forest. That is where I want to go once I die. "Icestar! Icestar!" The cats cheered before fading away. This was it. The beginning of his reign. The beginning of the era of ice.
His first task: To win the complete respect and loyalty from his clanmates. His second: To wipe the rest of the leaders from memory and start a new, stronger, unfading clan. "I grieve for Sorrelstar as much as any of you. She was wise, helpful, kind. I hope that I can be as great as she was." Murmurs swept through the gathered crowd. "But before I can do anything, or order and demand tasks from you, I need to know if you are loyal. If you aren't, take this one chance to leave with your life." No cat moved. "Then I expect undying loyalty from all of you. Any cat who is disloyal shall be punished severely. I hope that I won't have to punish a single cat here." Icestar searched for Cloudshine. She was sitting by the entrance of the medicine den, her blue eyes expressionless. Was she truly loyal to him, or just to ThunderClan in general? Either way, Icestar knew he would need the support of his medicine cat if he were to run his clan properly. As soon as she gets an apprentice, and makes them a full medicine cat... I'll kill her to keep all the secrets. Icestar thought. I hope Tigerstar's pleased.
"Claws out! Fight harder! If you get scratched, it's your fault for not moving fast enough!" Icestar yowled at the two fighting cats. Panting, Owlheart broke away. "Pineleap, you win!" Icestar congragulated the remaining cat. "Now let's head back to camp."
Icestar was met by a furious, icy blue glare. Cloudshine was fuming about the injured cats. "Training with claws out is not the way we should be training! It will weaken the clan when it comes to leafbare." Icestar returned the icy gaze with one of his own. "Battle training is none of your buisiness. Besides, I thought that medicine cats became medicine cats so they could avoid fighting." Cloudshine snorted and disappeared inside her den. Don't you worry, dear Cloudshine. You will be relieved from your duties...soon.
Cloudshine brushed past the thick undergrowth as she headed for the fox den where Sorrelstar had died. It had only been two days since she had gone to StarClan. The sight was horrifying, even if the body was gone. Blood splattered the plants around the den, and tufts of fur littered the clearing. This was surely no fox's doing. A fox couldn't have made this much mess. That was all the proof that Cloudshine needed in order to know that Iceshadow was the murderer. And now... All she needed to do, was to stop him.
I think I'll end it here. Please make sure to read the sequel!