|End of the Clans|
|Preceded by: |
|A War That Never Ends||Succeded by: |
Cold as Ice
This is the second book in the End of the Clans Series. You should probably go back and read the first one called Wavering Loyalty. This will be alternating between Nightkit and Wolfkit's PoV's. I hope you enjoy!
Medicine Cat: Leopardheart
Medicine Cat: Littleclaw
Medicine Cat: Hawkpelt
Medicine Cat: Rabbitclaw
I was born in this time of blood. I'm still just a kit. My father is out somewhere in that bloody battle fighting for his life. My mother is right here with me. I have nightmares every night. I've seen things that kits this young aren't supposed to see. It's been three moons since the battle started. And it's still going. All because of Runningstar, the leader of FrostClan. Well, I say FrostClan.There's not much left of it. My name is Nightkit. I live here with my brother Wolfkit. We're currently on the move, so that no one finds us.
We can't trust anyone. FrostClan is basically just a group of cats now. I don't know how me and my brother, Wolfkit have survived all this time. But we have. And that's a blessing from StarClan itself. I'm only three moons old. I was born the day before this war started. My mother, Moonshine, says this is worse than when the Clans had to battle the Dark Forest many moons ago. I see dead bodies every day. I see cats barely clinging to life.
And I see blood. So much blood. Many cats are dead. The Clans still stay together, though. Runningstar still leads us, despite her betrayal. I think Stonestar still leads StoneClan. Ever since StoneClan attacked FrostClan Runningstar and Stonestar, have made no contact between each other. I know Stonestar still leads StoneClan though, because he leads them into battle. There are no such things as territories now. The four Clans are always on the move, when they're not battling.
We still do hunting patrols. Prey is scarce though. The Clan rarely listens to Runningstar, anymore though. We mostly listen to Crowfoot. Runningstar is on her last life, which is scary. The battle started three moons ago, and she's already lost four lives to it. The Clan has kind of forgiven her. She gave her lives for the warriors of FrostClan. My spirits lift as I see Eaglefeather, my father, limp into our so-called camp.
"Daddy!" Me and Wolfkit squeal, scampering over to him. Eaglefeather's tired eyes brighten as he sees us. "Nightkit, Wolfkit! Have you been good for Moonshine?" He asks. Moonshine comes over to Eaglefeather. "They've been good little kits." She says. I nod eagerly. "We have been good!" Leopardheart limps out of the her makeshift den, followed by Whitepaw, her apprentice. "Eaglefeather, come." She says.
Eaglefeather licks me and Wolfkit on the head. "I'll be right back." He says to us, as he limps towards Leopardheart and Whitepaw. I see Silverheart stumble into our temporary home. She had been made a warrior not long ago. "Willowleaf is dead." She announces. Wails of grief come from the cats of FrostClan. "Who was Willowleaf?" Wolfkit asked Moonshine. Moonshine bent over to whisper to us, "Willowleaf was a very brave warrior."
My blood turns cold, as I see Silverheart and Mosspelt help drag Willowleaf's body in. "She froze to death." Says Mosspelt. Moonshine immediately covers our eyes with her tail. I'm glad she does, because I can't look away. Neither can Wolfkit. I then turn away from the horrible sight. I hear the scraping of claws, as they dig a hole for Willowleaf. I hear the small thud as they roll her body into it. I hope that never happens to me one day.
I hope this war ends one day. And if it doesn't, I hope for a swift death.
I glance at my sister Nightkit. Her face is frozen in horror at the sight of Willowleaf's dead body. My name is Wolfkit. I've heard legends about the odd creatures I was named after. Wolves, they were called. Moonshine said, that they were bigger and fiercer than dogs, but were fiercely loyal to each other. My mother and father both said that I had the heart of a loyal wolf.
I didn't know if wolves were real. If they were, I'd make sure to keep my distance. I can hear the screeches of battle far away. The shrieks of pain, and fear. I stench of death and blood, fills my nose. "Go to sleep, kits." I hear Moonshine murmur. I curl up beside my mother, and sister, and fall asleep.
When my eyes open, I know something is wrong. Fear as cold as ice creeps up my spine. I hear a shriek of madness inside FrostClan's temporary camp. I scream. The Clan is already awake. I hear the sounds of battle right next to me. "RUN!" I hear Moonshine yowl. "Wolfkit, Nightkit run! Get out of-" My mother is cut off, by a screech of agony. I yowl, and burst out of the den. It's pitch black outside. I can see shapes battling though.
I run towards the entrance. "What's going on?" I hear Nightkit wail. "I don't know!" I exclaim. I try to find a way out, I can't. Something slams into my side. I feel jaws clamp over my scruff. "Help!" I wail. "Wolfkit!" I hear my sister, Nightkit yowl. I'm lifted into the air, and thrown. I land with a sickening crunch. I let out a yowl. I limp away, as fast as I can, trying to make out what happened. An invasion. That's what happened.
I slip, and tumble into a thorn bush. As I'm trying to pull myself out, I realize Nightkit isn't with me. "Nightkit?! Moonshine!? Eaglefeather!?" I call out. "Anybody?" I'm in unfamiliar territory. I had to find Stonestar. My mother said, that if I ever got seperated from her, to look for Stonestar, because he would have pity on me. I didn't know why, out of all cats he would. But, Moonshine knew better than me.
All I need is to find my sister. "NIGHTKIT!" I wail. Nothing. I'm only three moons old, and I'm on my own. I don't know how to hunt, and my ribs, and front leg hurt horribly. "Somebody help!" I cry. No answer. I know I have to go on. I limp away. I still drink milk, I've barely tasted fresh kill before. I was going to starve out here on my own. Or freeze. Or get killed by an evil cat. Or get eaten by a fox. I don't what to do or where to go. I don't know where to start looking to find anyone. I'm lost, and I'm alone.
I flop down, exhausted. I've been walking for a very long time. My vision is getting blurry. Hunger gnaws at my stomach. Pain shoots through every part of my body. Soreness does as well. I'm shivering from the cold. It's night. All the while, one question keeps coming back to me: How will I survive? My mind even starts to hurt. I wish Nightkit were here. I hated Runningstar. And Stonestar. It was their fault.
I would be living a normal life if it weren't for them. I would be playing in FrostClan camp, with Nightkit. Instead, I'm fighting just to stay alive. I feel the life getting sucked out of me. I then see a shadow by a tree. A cat. "Please don't hurt me." I manage to choke out. Darkness is worming it's way into my vision. My eyes are drooping. The last words I hear are, "My name is Snowstar."
"Wolfkit!" I call out. I can't find my brother anywhere. During the invasion last night, he had disappeared. The last thing I remember, was him getting picked up, by Eaglefeather, and getting thrown out of camp. Eaglefeather had saved Wolfkit's life. A cat was about to hurt him, and Eaglefeather, had picked Wolfkit up, and tossed him out of the way, before getting attacked by a cat named Wolfclaw from StoneClan.
I don't know what StoneClan has against FrostClan. What did we ever do to them? FrostClan had barely made it through the invasion. We were weak. I look up at Moonshine. "Where's Wolfkit?" I ask. My mother's eyes are filled with grief. "I don't know." She says, truthfully. Eaglefeather is still unconscious, slumped on his side, blood oozing out from a wound on his shoulder.
Four Moons Later
I bare my teeth at Wolfclaw, and lunge at him. My name is Nightpaw. This is my first battle. Crowfoot, now Crowstar knows StoneClan is weak. We're attacking them for revenge on the night they attacked us. It's been four moons since the invasion. Wolfkit is still missing. Fury burns in my stomach. This cat was the reason Wolfkit isn't here! Most likely dead. It's a harsh life out there. I don't know how Wolfkit could have survived on his own.
I don't have an official mentor. Different cats just teach me things. Runningstar died, fighting against PineClan. Crowstar is leader now, and Mosspelt is deputy. Wolfclaw ducks, and I fly over him. As I land, I whip around, feinting an attack on his left, but diving under him, clawing at his stomach. Wolfclaw lets out a yowl of pain. He rears up on his hind legs, and lands down straight on my chest.
I gasp as the air get knocked out of me. I let out a hiss of defiance, as I whirl around, to lunge at him again. "Nightpaw, over here!" I look over at Mosspelt. He's waving at me with his tail. I run towards him, aware that Wolfclaw is hot on my tail. As I run past Mosspelt, Mosspelt rams into Wolfclaw's side. As he's on the floor, Mosspelt tears at him, mercilessly with his claws, slitting Wolfclaw's throat.
Shivers run down my spine. The code was destroyed. But I wanted to restore it. I'm just as good as any other ordinary warrior would be. When I was young, I was taught battle moves, and specially trained to listen for an attack. There were no such things as "ordinary warriors" now. When we got the chance, we killed a cat from another Clan. I've gotten in trouble for not doing that.
I had cornered a PineClan warrior. I had the chance to end his life, but I let him go. I had gotten in big trouble. This was a ruthless world. The Clans have been at war for eight moons. And I vow that I will stop this war, no matter what it takes. I want to know what it was like to not have to look over your shoulder every few seconds. I wanted to know what it was like to live a normal life.
Blood coats my pelt. My eyes are dark, and cold. I wear a mask on my face. I was dark gray, not quite black. Snowstar made me black. Around my eyes, he used ash from the forest floor, and rubbed it around my eyes, so that they look as black as my soul. My name is Wolfpaw. Four moons ago Snowstar found me in the forest, helpless, and dying. He took me in, taught me how to hunt, and how to kill.
Even when I was a kit. I'm the fiercest one in battle. I've killed many cats. Including Runningstar. I'm not in any Clan anymore. I'm in Snowstar's Clan. The Clan name is SnowClan in honor of Snowstar. I'm one of his closest members. I can beat any warrior I face. I do not hesitate to kill if necessary. I've forgotten about my family. About Moonshine, Eaglefeather, and Nightkit. I'm ready to be a warrior. I've been an apprentice ever since Snowstar found me.
The second he saw me, he renamed me Wolfpaw. I've worked twice as hard as anyone else here. One day Snowstar will rule the forest, with me by his side. And when he dies, I will rule. I will become Wolfstar. No. Not Wolfstar. I will keep my warrior name when I become leader. StarClan, doesn't deserve my name. I don't want their name in my name when I become leader.
My loyalty will forever remain to Snowstar. He brought me back to health, and healed me, when I was a kit. He pushed me so hard, so I could be the best warrior I can be. Tonight is my warrior ceremony. I'm headed back to camp, right now. I've just gotten word that Wolfclaw of StoneClan was killed. I'll avenge him. He was my second mentor, when Snowstar wasn't around.
All the other cats fear me. As I walk I see a warrior, exhaustedly, limping away. When he sees me, fear fills his eyes, and he darts away. And he was twice my size. The marks around my eyes, mark who I am. Whoever follows Snowstar, has these black marks around our eyes. The other cats know that we rule. But they won't submit to us. I'm sure Snowstar will find a way to make them.
Snowstar will also change his name tonight. As I get back to camp, I watch as Driftpaw battles Leopardpaw. "Aim for the throat!" I hiss at them, as I walk past. Leopardpaw reacts faster, and claws at Driftpaw's throat, claws unsheathed. Leopardpaw, barely misses, wounding Drifpaw's chest instead. Pathetic. I think. I see Snowstar sitting on top of the Tall Ledge. "Clan meeting!" Yowls Snowstar, as he catches sight of me.
All the cats of SnowClan gather around the Tall Ledge. "Today," starts Snowstar, "is a special day. Wolfpaw has proved himself to be a worthy warrior of SnowClan. From this day on, he will be known as Wolfheart. I know he has the heart of a wolf. He is loyal to SnowClan, vicious, and will do anything necessary, to protect his Clan." SnowClan merely nods. My fur bristles, and I glare at each one of them.
As they see my glare they begin to chant, "Wolfheart, Wolfheart, Wolfheart!" Out of fear. SnowClan never chanted new names. Unless it was for someone important like him. "I also have another announcement." Says Snowstar. "I am going to remove the star from my name. From now on I will be known as Snowclaw!" The Clan begins to chant his new name. I chant the loudest. "Snowclaw, Snowclaw, Snowclaw!" I know that one day me and Snowclaw will rule the forest side by side.
Whether the cats of the other four Clans, make us use force, or not.
I make sure to keep low to the ground, as I silently bound over the SnowClan border. No one knew about what I was doing. Not even Crowstar or Mosspelt. My plan was to gain SnowClan's trust, so I could be a warrior there. After that came the part I hate. I would kill as many cats as I could in there sleep. Quickly. If I could get to the heart of SnowClan and take them down from the inside, SnowClan would fall.
I get to the SnowClan border, and wait for a patrol. A patrol of three cats see me, and run over to me. I shudder. They look even worse now that I can see them clearly. They stink of death and blood. Their teeth and pelts are covered in blood as well. The black masks around their eyes, made them look eerie. "Get out!" Hisses one cat. Another cat claws it's shoulder.
"I ask the questions!" He bellows. The other cat shrinks back and nods, fearfully. "Yes, Wolfheart." It says. The cat named Wolfheart looks at me. He's my age. There's something oddly familiar about him. Could it be...Wolfkit? I think. No. It can't be. Wolfkit is or was loyal to his family. "What is your name?" Mews Wolfheart. I straighten. "Nightpaw formerly from FrostClan." I say.
I don't know if I imagine it, but I see surprise, and emotion flicker in Wolfheart's eyes. It can't be Wolfkit. I think again. But then Wolfheart is my same age. He has the same colored pelt as me. "I want to join SnowClan. Snowstar seems to be the strongest one in this war." I say. Wolfheart gives me a sharp look. "For your information it's Snowclaw and he is the strongest." He snaps. I know this has to be my brother.
"Moonshine always said you had the heart of a wolf. She was right in more ways than she could ever imagine." I say. I see Wolfheart bristle. "Wolfheart, do you know this cat?" Asks the cat who got it's shoulder clawed. "No, Leopardpaw. This cat, is untrustworthy. She abandon me when I needed her most. She can't be trusted." Says Wolfheart. "Now get out of our territory FrostClan cat." He hisses.
"But FrostClan is weak. I want to join SnowClan." I say. Wolfheart glares at me. "You have five seconds, before I make you." He says. I turn around, and run. I fight back tears as I run. My brother has changed in so many ways. What had Snowstar, no Snowclaw, done to him? What would I tell Moonshine? How could I tell Moonshine? What would I tell her? That her kit who was once innocent, and young, has turned into a bloodthirsty monster?
I don't even know what I'll tell Crowstar when I get back. I can't get Wolfheart out of my head. Pain pierces my heart like a thorn. My brother, who was once innocent and young, is now an evil, SnowClan cat. A horrible thought enters my mind.
If I do stop this war, will that mean killing my own brother?
I can't believe Nightpaw is alive. My sister. My family. I think Moonshine is alive too. Would I be able to kill them if I met them in battle? No. Eaglefeather, I might be able to kill him, but not Moonshine and Nightpaw. I wouldn't be able to kill those two. The rest of the day is a blur. I can barely focus on anything. That night I can't fall asleep. I have to many thoughts in my head. Moonshine and Nightpaw are alive.
But how could I go back to FrostClan? Snowclaw has been more like family to me than Nightpaw and Moonshine ever was. Probably because they didn't have enough time. I had only lived in FrostClan for three moons. I've lived with Snowclaw, for four. Snowclaw has just payed more attention to me, I guess. Even when he was monitored all of SnowClan he payed the most attention to me.
He was like a father to me. He praises me when I do well in training, and other things. When I was young, he'd play games with me. I feel torn, as I eventually drift off to sleep. That night I dream about some of my earliest memories when Snowclaw, then Snowstar, had first found me.
I pad through the forest, looking for Snowstar. He told me we were playing a game, where I would go hide, and he would try and find me. It's been taking awhile for him to find me, and I'm getting scared. I've decided to go look for him. "Snowstar!" I call out. My name is Wolfpaw. It's been a day since Snowstar found me. He told me I was ready to be an apprentice, so he named me Wolfpaw. He promised to protect me.
"Snowstar!" I call again. I eventually see the shadow of a cat in the bushes. "Snowstar?" I ask. The cat turns around to look at me. This cat isn't Snowstar. It has a hungry look in it's eyes. "What's your name?" I ask. "Pine." It replies. "And, I just found my dinner." I let out a shocked yowl, as Pine lunges at me. I try to scamper away, but I'm still injured from the invasion. I fall over. Pine stands over me.
"Say goodbye little kit." Pine snarls. He's about to eat me when Snowstar jumps at him. "GET AWAY FROM WOLFPAW!" He roars, pummeling into Pine. Snowstar bites Pine and scratches him. I merely watch in fear. I don't want anything bad to happen to Snowstar. Eventually Pine retreats. He looks behind his shoulder, glaring at Snowstar. "Savage!" He hisses as he runs off.
Snowstar turns to me. "Wolfpaw, are you okay?" He asks, concern in his eyes. "I'm fine." I squeak. "You couldn't find me, so I came to look for you!" I say. Snowstar sighs. "I heard you yowl, and I came as fast as I could." He says. "One day you'll be fighting battles like this." My eyes brighten. "Really? Can you teach me to be as good of a warrior as you are?" I ask. Snowstar nods. "I'll teach you to be the best warrior you can be."
When I wake up, I still remember that dream. It was a real dream. I remember that day, when Snowclaw had saved me from Pine. I then remember how Moonshine, had protected me in battle. I feel a pang of sadness. I have torn loyalties. If I had to choose though, I would stay with Snowclaw. Memories of my past fill my head. I decide to take a walk to clear my mind. As I'm leaving camp, I hear Snowclaw call my name.
"Wolfheart! I need to talk to you, come to my den." He says. I nod, and bound up the Tall Ledge, and make my way into his den. When I get in, I'm surprised to see regret and pain in Snowclaw's eyes. "Wolfheart," starts Snowclaw, "I've done horrible things. I've been making sure that this war will never end. But last night StarClan came to me. I don't know why, but they said they'd forgive me, if I tried to right my wrongs."
I cock my head at him. "What do you mean?" I ask. Snowclaw sighs. "I'm going to help stop this war, Wolfheart. I know you feel the same way about this as I do. I want your help to stop it. I remember when you were just a kit. You didn't like war. I felt guilty for that. You sparked warmth in my dark soul, Wolfheart. I love you as a father would love his kit. I just hope you feel the same way about me." He says.
"The only reason, I wanted this war to keep going, was because I was angry. I felt alone and angry. When I was a kit, I was bullied and picked on. I just wanted other cats to respect me. Ever since I found you, I've been having doubts about my ways. Then StarClan came to me, and I knew I had to stop this. Will you come with me, to each Clan's territory, and help me tell them to meet me in the heart of SnowClan's camp? Will you help me tell them, that they can go themselves or bring as many warriors as they want? Will you help me tell them, that I want to stop this war?"
I nod. "I will help you. You're like a father to me, Snowclaw. I'll help you, until the day I die."
It was only yesterday that I saw Wolfheart at the SnowClan border. I had told Crowstar and only Crowstar everything. About my plan, about Wolfheart, about how SnowClan had rejected me, everything. I'm on a hunting patrol, when I scent SnowClan scent. It's only Snowclaw and Wolfheart. Fear strikes my heart. What were they here for. I look for somewhere to hide, but they see me, before I can.
"Nightpaw!" I hear Wolfheart yowl. "There you are. I wan to talk to you, sister." He says. "Me and Snowclaw." I see Snowclaw come to stand by Wolfheart. "What do you want?" I ask, fearfully. To my surprise, I see that Snowclaw and Wolfheart have guilty looks on their faces. That's when I realize their black masks are gone. "What's going on?" I ask him. Wolfheart looks at Snowclaw. "Snowclaw will explain everything."
I nod, and sit down. Snowclaw then tells me about how he found Wolfheart, and how Wolfheart sparked warmth in him. He told me about how, that Snowclaw had kept this war going, because he wanted others to respect him. He told me about how sorry he was, and how he wanted me to tell Crowstar, to meet him in the heart of the SnowClan camp at moonhigh. Snowclaw told me everything.
I'm shocked. "Please forgive us." Wolfheart begs me. "Please." His voice is almost a whisper. I look at my brother, Wolfheart. I don't know how I can forgive him. I remember how harshly he clawed Leopardpaw, for talking out of turn. All I said was. "I'll tell Crowstar." Snowclaw nods. "Okay. Tell him that Lionstar, Icestar, and Stonestar are coming as well." Says Snowclaw.
I nod. "I will." I'm still shaking, as I enter FrostClan's camp. "I need to speak to Crowstar." I say. "Now." The leader of FrostClan pokes his head out of his den. "Is there something wrong, Nightpaw?" He asks. I shake my head. "I just need to tell you something." I say. Crowstar nods. "Come into my den." He says. I nod, and walk into his den. I tell Crowstar exactly what Snowclaw told me.
Crowstar nods. "I see. We'll go." He says. "Me and you." I'm shocked. "You're only bringing me?" I ask. Crowstar nods. "Yes." He says. "Just you. We leave at dusk." I nod. "Yes Crowstar." I say. Crowstar jumps on top of the Tall Stone. "Everyone gather around for a Clan meeting!" He says. All of FrostClan gathers around the Tall Stone. Crowstar tells the Clan everything I told him. "And," he adds, "me and Nightpaw will leave at dusk, to go to SnowClan's camp." Shocked gasps and murmurs ripple throughout camp.
When dusk arrives Crowstar looks at me. "Ready?" He asks. "Ready as I'll ever be." I reply. Crowstar nods, and sprints off. I follow him. In not to long we arrive at the SnowClan camp. Stonestar, Icestar, and Lionstar are already there. Snowclaw sits on top of a large stone. He straightens as me and Crowstar walk in. His eyes are dull with guilt. I see Wolfheart sitting beside him. When my brother sees me, his eyes brighten, and he bounds over to me.
"Can I sit by you?" He asks, hesitantly. "Please?" My gaze warms. I realize that Wolfheart, is truly guilty for all the things he and Snowclaw caused. "Of course. You're my brother." I say licking him on the shoulder, affectionately. Snowclaw looks at all four leaders. "I have been lying to you for eight moons now, trying to keep this war going. Crowstar, Icestar did not kill Runningstar, one of my warriors did. Stonestar, Lionstar did not kill Foxfern, I did."
Angry whispers ripple throughout the four Clans. Snowclaw dips his head. "StarClan came to me in a dream last night. I apologize for all the things I've caused. This war would've only lasted a little less than a moon if it weren't for me." He says. "You may punish me however you want. I have banished all of my warriors, except Wolfheart, my foster son." Wolfheart gives me an apologetic look.
I smile at him. "I know you see him as a better father than Ealgefeather. I don't blame you." I say. I'm surprised when I hear Icestar speak up. "Leave."
My spirits lift. Could this be the only punishment they give Snowclaw? To leave and never return. I hope so. I feel Nightpaw relax beside me. The other three leaders look at Icestar and nod in agreement. "Yes Snowclaw. Leave and never return. That is your punishment." Says Sonestar. The other two murmur in agreement. Crowstar speaks up. "You can never return to the Clans, or else you will be killed. Do you understand?"
Snowclaw nods. "Yes, I understand." He says. "What about Wolfheart?" He asks. I stiffen. What about me? Crowstar gives me a sympathetic look. "Wolfheart may return to FrostClan, if he wishes." Decides Crowstar. My blood turns cold. How could I decide. "Give me one night to decide." I blurt out. "Let Snowclaw stay here for one more night, so I can decide." I say. The leaders nod. "Okay." They say.
Crowstar looks at me. "When you've decided, come to me and tell me." I look up at him. "Can Nightpaw stay here with me?" He asks. Crowstar nods. "Yes. Nightpaw, you may stay with Wolfheart. Nightpaw, actually you report to me Wolfheart's decision." He says. Nightpaw nods. "Yes, Crowstar." She says. I close my eyes, as the leaders and their warriors leave. Where do my loyalties lie? With FrostClan or with Snowclaw?
That night Nightpaw stays up, by my side. In the morning I decide. "I've decided." I say. Nightpaw looks at me. "What is your choice?" She asks. "I will leave with Snowclaw." I say. I see pain and betrayal cloud her gaze. I quickly add, "Not because of you! I love you, you're my sister. It's just...Snowclaw is like family to me. I'm sorry Nightpaw." I feel her press up against me. "It's okay." She says.
"I would probably make the same choice if I were you." Nightpaw says. I nuzzle her. "Goodbye Nightpaw." I say. "May StarClan light your path." Snowclaw heard my decision. As me and Snowclaw begin to bound out of the territories, I hear Nightpaw call out behind me, "And may StarClan light yours as well, brother. I will always remember you." My heart warms.
And I'll always remember you too.