Note on editing; Please do not edit this story unless you see a grammar/spelling error. If you do edit for one of those, please tell me in the comments what you fixed! This is my first fan fiction, so I really hope it doesn't suck!!
Leader: Stormstar- large grey tom
Deputy; Blackfeather- jet-black she-cat with orange eyes
Medicine cat; Silverleaf- dainty silver-and-white she-cat with white paws. Apprentice, Cloudpaw.
Heatherbreeze- pale grey she-cat with emerald green eyes
Smalltail- black tom with yellow eyes. Apprentice, Birdpaw.
Darkfur- grey tabby tom with green eyes
Appletail- dark red she-cat with brown eyes,
Mottlepelt- light brown tom with white spots, Apprentice, Oakpaw.
Foxfur- ginger tom with a pale underbelly and blue eyes
Swirlwater- black-and-white she-cat with blue eyes.
Whitestone- off-white tom with green eyes. Apprentice, Claypaw.
Smokefur- dark grey tom with a white-tipped tail.
Mistwing- pale blueish she-cat with brown eyes.
Icefeather- broad-shouldered, dark brown tabby tom with ice-blue eyes.
Horsefur- dark brown tabby tom. Apprentice, Harepaw.
Cloudpaw- black-and-white she-cat with pale eyes.
Birdpaw- ginger she-cat
Oakpaw- brown-white-and-tabby tom with green eyes
Claypaw- smoky-grey tom with fluffy fur
Harepaw- wiry tabby tom.
Flowerheart- tortoiseshell she-cat with green eyes. ( Mother to Stormstar's kits; Mintkit- silver-and-white she-kit with green eyes, Yarrowkit- silver tabby tom with green eyes, Fennelkit- dark grey tabby tom with grenn eyes.)
Pinebreeze- rheumy brown tabby tom
Cats Outside Clans;
Raven; jet-black she-cat with blue eyes,
Badger- Black-and-white tom with green eyes
Rainstorm; pale grey she-cat with green eyes
Leaf; dark grey tabby tom with blue eyes,
Snow; pure white tom with green eyes,
Dapple; Black she-cat with white flecks, green eyes
The heather rustled and the grass bent in the wind. Dark storm clouds rolled across the sky. Shadows dappled the camp, disturbed by a pacing tom. His eyes were wide with terror as a fat raindrop landed on his muzzle.
" Great StarClan. Surely she can't be out in this?" He fretted, shredding the grass stalks with his claws. A dainty silver-and-white she-cat pressed her muzzle against his comfortingly.
" Flowerheart's a tough warrior, Stormstar. She'll make it," the medicine cat soothed.
" I hope you're right," the leader muttered darkly. Why, oh why, had his mate insisted on leaving camp before her kitting? I should have stopped her. It's all my fault! Horror chilled his heart. What if she never made it back? Suddenly, the heather entrance shuddered and a cat pushed her way through. Stormstar purred and raced across the clearing, halting in front of his mate. She looked exhausted. Her tortoiseshell fur was matted and caked in mud. Her eyes were dull, but three shrieking bundles were perched on her back. The she-cats legs trembled and she sank to the ground. Stormstar pressed against her and gently nosed her up. He swung one kit off her back, then let the medicine cat take the others. He purred, and Flowerheart responded with a feeble one of her own. Stormstar twined his tail with hers.
" What were you thinking, going out in this weather?" he chided gently. Flowerheart let out a hacking cough.
" You've got more important things to worry about thab me," she almost sounded bitter.
" Not right now, I don't. You should have been kitting in the warm nursery, not all out in a storm by yourself!" He brushed off her comment. Flowerheart suddenly straightened.
" The kits!" She drew away from Stormstar and began to hobble painfully towards the nursery. He stopped her with his tail and carefully drew her back.
" The kits can wait. They've got Silverleaf to look after them. You need some rest," Stormstar meowed firmly, his leader authority coming thorugh in his meow. " So, there were only three?" Abruptly, Silverleaf drew away. Her eyes flashed and she bushed out her fur.
" Why do you ask? You saw three! Isn't that good enough?" She hissed and stalked away, nearly tripping in her fatigue. Surprised, Stormstar halted and stared after her in astonishment. Flowerheart had always been touchy as his apprentice, but that was unsual. She'd been so excited about the kits. What had he said wrong?
Flowerheart's pulse raced as she swung away from her mate. Almost at once, she regretted her hard words. But Stormstar could never find out… he could never know her secret. She ducked into the nursery and curled around her three trembling kits. But there weren't always three… she thought to herself. There was a fourth...
The kit's eyes weren't even open when her mother left. She couldn't make sense of anything going on around her, but she knew something was wrong. There were three other things, and a big one, her life giver. Then the life-giver left. And the kit was cold. She wailed and howled, feeling something seep into her fur and make her shake. But there was no one. The kit rolled over and over, trying to find the life-giver. But it wasn't there. The kit wailed even harder in anguish. Lightning cracked and sizzled as she howled and shrieked, but no one heard her. At last, she became tired. The kit whimpered and curled into a ball, trying to draw warmth from her dying body.
A rogue threw her head back in a soundless scream of agony. Why, why? Four kits sucked at her belly, but only three moved. The fourth, a she-kit, was stone-cold. The rogue picked up the dead kit and picked her way out of the den. How can I face my mate? He loved her kits more than his and her life combined. He'd leave her, and her remaining kits too. But he doesn't know yet. He's never seen them. Maybe if I hurry… the she-cat ran out into the storm. It was dark. She could hardly see the moor, and all she could make out was the faint shape of her paws. Quickly, she thrust one into the ground and made a hole big enough for the scrawny body. Squeezing her eyes shut, the rogue dropped her dead kit into the hole and covered it, grief welling in her heart. I'm sorry. I failed you. Just as she was about to leave, her hind-paws brushed something furry. The rogue was surprised. Did I not bury my kitten? She nosed it. The scent of the Clan cats washed over her and she backed away. I'd better not touch it. It's mother will come back for it, won't she? But she knew that the kit had just been born, and the mother would not come out in this weather for sure. It'll die by the morning, and what made the mother leave it anyways? The rogue felt torn. Then she thought of her own kit lying out half-drowned in a storm and left by a she-cat to die. Swiftly, the rogue picked up the kit and carried her back to the den. In the faint light, she squinted at the kit. Why did the mother abandon it?
" Oh," the rogue drew back a gasp of horror. From the hip downwards, the kits back leg was horrible twitsed. The rogue covered it quickly with her tail. " What a mother it must have. How horrible," the rogue growled. If she ever found that she-cat… well, the rogue didn't want to think about it. She tucked the kit in beside her own and watched it stir and suckle.
" Raven?" A deep meow came from outside. A tom shouldered into her den, an old rabbit hole. He dropped a half-dead bird at her head and purred. " How are the kits? Four, am I right?"
" Yes, four. But this one…" she showed her mate the kits leg, and he drew away. " She is your kit. You cannot reject her because of how she looks," Raven fixed her mate with a hard stare. He nodded.
" You are right. I will not reject her," he licked Raven's head. Love blossoming in her chest, Raven curled around her kits and made a silent pledge to the deformed one. I will love you always, as if you were my own. She watched the kits flank rise and fall until it gradually fell asleep.
Flowerheart tossed and turned in her sleep. She dreamed that she was floating on a river, being tossed around like a tangle of debris. At last, she awoke. Flowerheart blinked open her eyes and yawned. Light flooded the nursery, lighting up her kits' sleeping figures. Suddenly, Flowerheart gasped in horror. They were dead. Their throats were slashed open and blood oozed from their fur. And most horribly, all of their limbs were twisted.
" No!" Flowerhaert shrieked. " No, no, no!" She howled and tore across the nursery to the entrance. But there was nothing out there… just red-darkness. Her spine chilled. Red that was...
" Blood!" Flowerheart wailed, shooting up in her nest. Mistwing, another queen, glanced at her in surprise. Flowerheart panted. It was only a dream! Sunlight dappled the nursery floor, and the leaves of the thick heather walls were slick with dew. She looked down at her nest. No kits were there. " My kits!" She rounded on Mistwing. " Where. Are. My kits?" Mistwing's dark eyes widened in shock. She shrugged her muscular shoulders.
" Outside. And what were you going on about blood for? You'll frighten my kits!" She glared at Flowerheart, then got up to meet her mate who had come to visit. Flowerheart squeezed past Mottlepelt and Mistwing. Yeah right. Like Stormstar would ever visit me. He's too busy running his precious Clan. She angrily ground a beetle beneath her paw. Yarrowkit, Mintkit and Fennelkit were tussling in the long golden grass. They spotted her, then squealing in delight, flung themselves at her flank. Flowerheart pretended to stagger, purring hard all the while. She'd namde them all after herbs… as to heal my heart. Flowerheart shook her head. She had been good at blocking out those memories for the past two moons.
" Hi, Flowerheart!" Harepaw and Claypaw, two tunneling apprentiecs, walked over to her. She wrinkled her snout in disgust at the mud clogging their claws and rollde her kits away so they didn't get dirty. The apprentices didn't notice. They purred at the kits, who were watching them like owlets.
" You've got your paws full!" Whitestone, Claypaw's mentor, observed. Flowerheart nodded curtly, then led her kits away. She had no time for the filthy tunnelers. Yarrowkit, Fennelkit and Mintkit raced to the Hunting Stones, whiskers quivering in excitement.
" I'll be the hawk! You be the rabbits!" Yarrowkit yowled, shaking out his thin pelt. Mintkit and Fennelkit squealed, kicking up dirt in their wake as they fled. Mistwing's kits appeared, joining the game with happy shrieks. Flowerheart watched them, bitterness rising in her heart. She swung her gead around to catch sight of her mate who was busy talking to the senior warriors. He doesn't spend time with me, not since he became leader. I thought the kits would bring us closer together. Everything I did was for that. I even gave up… Flowerheart shoved away the thought. Stormstar noticed her watching him and padded over to join her.
" How are the kits today?" He purred, resting his tail on her back. Flowerheart brushed it off with her own.
" Oh, fine. Not that you would care," she added with a bite. Stormstar looked hurt.
" I'm just busy, okay? Running a Clan is hard," he protested. " Look, I'll spend time with you after I get this issue settled. The senior warriors want to move the elders den somewhere safer, but others say its fine where it is. Warriors sometimes!" He shook is head and trotted away. It wasn't long ago you were a warrior yourself. Flowerheart grumbled, heading back to her kits. They looked so happy, chasing Shadekit and Lightkit around the camp. How long until they grow up and have to bear the burdens I carry?
" I'm Clan leader!" Leaf announced, scrambling to the stop of the stones that protected the rabbit burrow they lived in. " Gather here to heed my words!" Leaf continued. Rainstorm perked up her ears and hobbled in front of the stones. This is my favorite game! A shiver of awe ran through her when she pictures the well muscled Clan cats coming past them every dawn and dusk. Her siblings Snow and Dapple sat on either side of her, whiskers quivering with excitement. It wasn't ever day that Raven let them out of the den. They were only two moons old. Speaking of Raven… Rainstorm's nose twitched as she caught wind of her mother's musky scent. Raven's finely shaped black ahead appeared from the exit of their den, the rabbit burrow. One hole led to a slope that inclined downwards to a wide underground cavern. That was where Rainstorm, Dapple, Snow and Leaf lived. Raven shook out her glossy black fur and frowned at her kits.
" Clans again? Haven't you had enough?" Raven scolded. Rainstorm buried her face in her mother's fur.
" But Clans are fun!" she protested. Rainstorm felt her mother's tongue gently wash over her ears.
" Stay away from the Clan border, okay? Those cats are fierce. They'll shred you if you set one paw over their precious scentlinee," Raven warndd. But we're just kits. Rainstorm blinked at her in disbelief. " Anyways, you are two moons old. I think it's time you see the moor for yourselves!"
" Really?" Rainstorm gasped in delight. At Raven's nod, Rainstorm took off. Although she started first, her littermates soon overtook her. Why am I always last? She grumbled to herself, then glanced back at her twisted leg. That was the answer. Clenching her jaw, Rainstorm hobbled after them. She looked up and gasped. Bright blue sky stretched out in every direction, dotted with puffy white clouds no bigger than stalks of grass. The moor rolled on so far she couldn't see the send. Purple heather was strewn across it, and dark pits showed signs of rabbit holes. Leaf jumped up and down in excitement.
" This is great!" He purred, tabby tail twitching.
" Is this really all our home?" Rainstorm gasped.
" It is our home, but we share. We share it with the birds, the rabbits, the trees and the grass. We don't hog it and fight over it like the Clan cats do," Raven said. Rainstorm tipped her head to one side.
" But surely they must have a reason?" She said.
" I don't care as long as unnecessary blood doesn't get spilled," Raven snorted. She flicked her ears. " Who wants to go hunting with me?"
" I do!" all of them chorused. Raven purred and flicked her tail for them to follow. I really hate being last! Rainstorm thought in frustration as she got left behind again. The dry grass crackled under-paw as Rainstorm lumbered after them. They were perched outside a rabbit hole, while Raven crouched beside it with her snout in the air. What are they doing? Curious, Rainstorm leaned forwards to peek into the hole. Dapple flashed out a paw and pushed her back. As Rainstorm hissed in annoyance, Dapple flung her fluffy tail over her mouth, then nodded to Raven crouching motionlessly at the side of the hole. Rainstorm nodded to show she understood, then settled beside her sister. Suddenly, Raven's snout twitched and she dived into the hole. Her footsteps echoed up through it, and all four kits shrieked.
" Where'd she go?" Snow howled, clawing at the ground in panic. Rainstorm noticed another hole a few fox-lengths away and began to run towards it.
" Maybe she'll come out here!" Rainstorm called. Sure enough, Raven burst out a few moments later with a light brown hare dangling from her jaws. Even through Rainstorm was still on milk, she knew the significance of meat. She and her siblings danced around their mother while she purred in delight.
" It's been a long time since I've had one of these!" Raven cried in delight. And with a sly glance at her kits, " maybe not to early for you to have your first taste of meat too!"
" Hooray!" Leaf shrieked, bowling Rainstorm over. She squealed and batted at him with her forepaws, but he was stronger and soon had her pinned down. Not much stronger, though! Rainstorm pushed with her fore and dislodged him. Since she only had use of three legs, her limbs were much stronger than other cats. Something flashed at the corner of her vision. Rainstorm swung around and saw something move in the gorse to her right. Alarmed, she scrambled to her feet and hurried away.
" Mama! There's something in that bush!" Rainstorm called. Raven turned around and showed her teeth.
" Something big!" Rainstorm yowled. A thin mewl drifted through the air. Raven's eyes widened.
" Goodness! Kits!" She hurried back across the moor and gently parted it with her teeth. Rainstorm widened her eyes in astonishment. A pale brown tabby was curled around two mewling kits. She looked up helplessly at Raven.
" Please… don't hurt them," she pleaded. A hacking cough seemed to split the air. The she-cat shrunk back into her nest. Concerned, Rainstorm leaned closer and looked at her kits. They were much larger than Snow, and he was the largest of them. The she-cat gaze traveled over Rainstorm, then froze on her leg. She let out a muffled cry and shrank backwards even more if that was possible. Self-concious, Rainstorm hid it behind her tail. The she-cat dropped her gaze.
" I won't hurt you. Would you like to shelter with us for a bit?" Raven offered, a note of warning clear in her voice. The she-cat nodded slowly and make a massive effort to stand up.
" Thank you so much. You see, I've been sick and my kits are too tired and hungry to move. Come on, dears. Let's go," she meowed, herding them with her tail. But they obviously weren't too tired as to wrinkle their snout in disgust when they passed Rainstorm. Rainstorm was painfully aware of how ugly her contorted leg was. Hurt, she hung back and dropped her gaze. Rainstorm loved her just the way she was, her littermates had gotten used to her leg.
" We accept you the way you are," Rainstorm was surprised to hear her mother's voice; she hadn' t noticed Raven join her. " But I don't think these cats will. Be strong, Rainstorm. Don't let them hurt you," Raven said. Rainstorm nodded to show she understood. But how is that possible when their mere gazes make me feel horrible?
The next morning, Raven made Rainstorm give the she-cat and her kits a hare. Paws as heavy as stones, Rainstorm approached the little family. In the snuggest corner of the burrow, the tabby she-cat had pulled together some dry grass to make a nest. She was curled around her two kits. The she-cat looked up sharply as Rainstorm approached. Her yellow gaze was sharp and unfriendly. " What do you want?" the she-cat half-snarled. Taken aback, Rainstorm bristled. She dropped the hare and kicked it towards the she-cat.
" H-here's some food?" Rainstorm squeaked. Heat flooded through her pelt. " Sorry," she whispered, backing away. Curse my leg! before she was little more than a few tail-lengths away, one kit stirred, sniffed the air and whimpered.
" Mama? Was that ugly cat here again?" He whined. His words pierced Rainstorm like thorns.
" Shhh!!" Rainstorm could hear the mother cat quieting her son, but her command lacked emotion. In fact, she sounded a bit pleased. Insulted, Rainstorm turned away and headed back towards her sibilngs. They don't care about what I look like on the outside. Snow, Dapple and Leaf greeted her with purrs. Raven simply regarded her with a serene blue gaze.
" Did she accept the hare?" Raven asked quietly. Rainstorm tried to act nonchalant.
" Yeah," Rainstorm shrugged, turning away so Raven wouldn't see her quivering whiskers. Snow anf Leaf didn't seem to notice anything wrong.