Episode Seven, Season One, of Solitary.
About the Clans
Taking a deep breath, I turned my back to my den. At the moment, there was no need to stay there. Curiosity was driving me away, to the clearing where I had talked with Blossomheart yesterday.
She promised she’d be back, I thought, confident in it. She told me she’d be back. First question is, when?
Now that I had an idea of what the Clan was like, I could envision it more. The two leaders were Hawkstar and Whitestar – that explained why they had spoken for their Clan at the Gathering…
At the thought of Gathering, I felt my pelt bristle. I still didn’t know the reason why they had met at the border. What were they actually doing?
Questions were tugging at me, and I tried to ignore them. Eventually, I managed to shut them away. Finally, I finally managed to move: back to the place where I had realized that the Clans weren’t as bad as they seemed.
When I arrived at the clearing, Blossomheart wasn’t there. Her stale scent still hung in the air, now overlapped by various prey-scents. Mine was there too: I could still recognize it as my own, as it was the only other cat-scent in the clearing – yet it was stale as well.
How long will I have to wait? I thought despondently, as I looked around the clearing. How long will it be until she arrives?
I sat down, and curled my thick-furred tail over my large, sleek paws. I would wait for Blossomheart, until I learnt more about these Clans. At the moment, I was unsure who to trust – Clan or rogue?
I tasted the air from where I was sitting. I smelt cat scent – TreeClan scent, to be precise – in the distance. Then the scent got stronger, and stronger, until a white shape bust into the clearing.
Blossomheart! I thought, relieved, expecting the she-cat to stop. To my surprise, she didn’t, and she bowled into me.
Unprepared, I flailed. Blossomheart’s paws batted against my side, and thankfully I realized her claws were sheathed. Before I knew it, she was on top of me, her green gaze burning into mine fiercely.
“What do you know about me and Gooseflight?” Blossomheart hissed angrily.
She knows! Under her paws, I flinched. “I just came across you against the border about a moon or so ago…” I mewed unsteadily.
“You’d better not have told any cat about what you saw,” the TreeClan cat continued. I felt her claws unsheathe, and dig into my pelt.
I shook my head. “No,” I meowed, more confident this time. “I’ve walked alone since my mother died. My father is also dead; he died before I was born. Since you Clan cats arrived, I’ve wanted to find a group, but… no cat seems to trust me.”
Blossomheart stood over me for one more moment, before I felt her claws release from me. She walked off me, letting me to get back onto my paws.
“I recognized your scent,” Blossomheart admitted, lowering her lead. “I had to wonder why you were there… I didn’t mean to hurt you,” she added, and I looked down to see a few small dots of blood at the top of my chest.
“What even happened with you two, anyway?” I interrupted. “Why did you leave Gooseflight?” At that moment, I realized that all of Blossomheart’s hostility when she first arrived had vanished. Blossomheart turned her green gaze on me. “The warrior code strictly forbids it,” she mewed quietly. “I don’t love him anymore anyway.” I watched as Blossomheart sat down, and I did the same. “Now, Wisp, do you want to learn more about the Clans?”
I nodded, my throat dry. “Yes, I want to learn about the Clans.”
Blossomheart lowered her head, and for a moment I was confident that she was absorbed in her own memories. Then she lifted her head, and whispered: “I’ll tell you the reason why the Clans had to leave their original home, and came here.”
Memories – terrifying memories – started whirling through Blossomheart’s head. In her haze, she couldn’t believe she had promised to Wisp that she would tell them what happened to the Clans. That experience was too terrifying, and some of her mental scars would never be healed…
Blossomheart’s fur was bristling madly as she fled through the mass of fallen trees. The rest of the Clan was scattered around, also trying their best. Hawkstar was leading them: the brown tabby leader was obviously confident in what she was doing.
“Run!” The same voice whispered again. Blossomheart whipped her head around to see Paleflight running alongside her. Blossomheart’s mother was keeping up with her with every stride, despite her body being frail. The pale she-cat had been known for her speed when she was younger, and even now she was still fast. Recently, she had retired after many moons of service to the Clan.
“Run alongside me, Paleflight,” Blossomheart murmured. “We can survive.”
“Are you sure?” Paleflight’s mew was confident, but Blossomheart could hear a tone of distress in her voice.
“Yes, we can,” Blossomheart managed to gasp out.
All of a sudden, a tree came crashing down. It landed on Blossomheart’s side – the side that Paleflight was on. The branch crushed her between its clutches, and Blossomheart stopped running at once.
“Paleflight!” Blossomheart pleaded, as she came up to her mother’s side. “Come on, we can finish this.”
“It’s my time to go,” Paleflight wheezed from under the branch. “I’m sorry I can’t travel with you.” And at that, Paleflight’s head dropped, and the brown-and-white she-cat fell still.
“No!” Blossomheart gasped, touching her nose to Paleflight’s one last time. But now she needed to save herself. Turning away from Paleflight’s body, tears springing up in her eyes, she continued running, away from what used to be her home.
Remembering this, Blossomheart took in a sharp intake of breath. She didn’t want to relive Paleflight’s death – not again. Trying not to act sorrowful, she turned back to Wisp.
“The day we left was a day that changed my life,” Blossomheart meowed. “But there was a reason why we had to leave.”
Wisp looked up at Blossomheart, his blue eyes wide. “So that’s why you had to come here,” he purred softly. The pale gray tom turned to lap at the wounds that she had inflicted on him, and then he continued: “Tell me the reason why.”
Blossomheart sighed, defeated. “Okay, then,” she mewed tartly. “But you’re not going to like it.”
At Blossomheart’s tart response, I gave a small shiver. If the white warrior wasn’t lying, it was bound to be bad. I snapped my attention back to Blossomheart as she started speaking:
“ForestClan and TreeClan used to live in a forest, about a moons’ travel away from here. It was a bit like the one we live in now, except it was dominated by oak trees in both Clans’ territories. It was peaceful there, and no cat wished to move.”
“So why did you leave?” I mewed, cutting in the middle of Blossomheart’s words. “Was it because you were threatened? Your home destroyed?”
Blossomheart lashed her tail. “You’re on the right track, but please don’t try to interrupt me,” she half-mewed, half-growled. At once, I sat up straighter, and curled my tail tighter around my legs.
“The Twolegs came,” she said quietly.
What in the name of the spirit-cats are Twolegs? “Twolegs?” I echoed. I knew mothing about what they were – only about the forest in all its beauty.
At once, I saw Blossomheart turn her head towards me. “You don’t know what a Twoleg is?” she gasped. When I shook my head, she continued: “Twolegs are hairless, pink things that wear bright-coloured pelts and walk on two legs. They’re huge, and like to destroy everything.”
Now that just sounds ridiculous, I thought, uncurling my tail from around my paws, and laying it on the ground. “That just sounds weird,” I grunted.
“Twolegs do lots of strange things,” Blossomheart hissed. “Now that I think of it, there are not many Twoleg areas around here – we won’t have to bother worrying about them.” She then flicked her tail at me, and her eyes were wide like moons the next time she spoke: “But then, they came along, and destroyed the place.”
You’re kidding me. “What?” I growled, leaping to my paws. “They’d do such a thing like that?”
Blossomheart gave another weary sigh. “I told you that Twolegs do a lot of strange things,” she murmured. “It caused so much death to the Clans, it did. Then we had to travel here for a moon, and we lost more cats. Now we are finally starting to recover.”
Now I realize… For the first time, I realized that the Clans couldn’t move again. They had a right to stay in the forest. For the first time since the Clan cats arrived, I felt like I could truly trust them.
“You need to stay here, then,” I mewed, so quietly so that only Blossomheart could hear. “Now I realize that you truly need to stay.”
“I’m glad that you’ve realized that, Wisp,” Blossomheart meowed, and the white she-cat got to her paws, and padded towards me. “Not much believe this. The only one that my Clan knows, apart from you… is Cinderfire.”
Cinderfire. The name of the dark gray she-cat echoed in my head. The Clan cats had a purpose to life – and now she had it.
But I still don’t think I have the confidence to join the Clans, I added to my thoughts. But in a way… Blossomheart is helping me.
“Stay safe, Wisp.” I heard Blossomheart murmur three words in my ear, and then I saw her leave the clearing in a gap between two trees.
A pit of longing filled inside me as I turned away. I really wanted to be with Blossomheart, but I felt that I didn’t want to join her lifestyle – as of now. Could I eventually have the ability to join the Clans?
Later in the day, when the sun started to sink below the treetops, I took a detour to the far TreeClan border. I needed to clear my head: to let the information that Blossomheart told me sink in.
The TreeClan border was silent, as far as I could see. No cat was in sight. I knew that there was also a rogue group living around here – but I didn’t know their opinions. When I asked if they would join my former cause against the Clans, they were still deciding. But now, that could’ve easily changed.
Maybe they’ve teamed up with Oak and Raven’s group. The thought sent shivers down my spine. Oak and Raven were vicious, and I knew they would do anything to destroy the Clans.
I paused for a moment, and tasted the air. At once, I froze. Rogues from the group were approaching. As fast as I could, I ducked behind a bush lying near the roots of a birch tree, and peeked through its branches at what was unfolding.
The leader of that group – which was Flame, a bright orange she-cat with a fiery temper – was standing at the group’s head. Four other cats – all of whom I didn’t recognize – stood behind her. All five cats crouched down defensively as Flame flicked her tail at the rest of her group.
What is going on? I thought worriedly. Why are some members of Flame’s rogue group doing so close to the TreeClan border?
As if on cue, a TreeClan patrol stepped out. I recognized Hawkstar at its head at once, and with a pang of longing, I spotted Blossomheart as well, next to a dark brown-and-gray cat that had been at the Gathering a few nights before.
“What’s your decision, Flame?” Hawkstar asked, stepping ahead of the rest of the TreeClan cats. Her amber eyes scanned the group warily.
“We won’t let you steal our territory,” Flame hissed. I watched as the rogue group’s leader got out of her crouch, and turned to face Hawkstar. “We will attack.” At that, I watched with horror as Flame sliced Hawkstar’s nose with unsheathed claws. At their leader’s instruction, the rogue group advanced.
“TreeClan, attack!” Hawkstar mewed, her voice full of pain due to the wound that Flame had inflicted on her.
I could only watch helplessly as the two groups attacked each other. I didn’t know what was happening: I didn’t know what to do. All I could do was stay silent and watch the battle happen – but I knew it was wrong.
Stop fighting! I thought, although no cat could hear me. You’re creating a needless war!