NOTE: This Fanfiction takes place before SkyClan comes to the lake.
NOTE: Each chapter is an important part of Fernspring's life.
Leader: Spotstar- Brown she-cat with dark brown stripes
Deputy: Snarlface- Gray tabby tom
Greenheart- Dark blue-gray she-cat
Oneleaf- Red tabby tom
Squirrelberry- Beautiful gray she-cat with dark gray stripes
Bluetail- Yellow she-cat with dark yellow stripes
Sparkstorm- Dark orange she-cat
Tallstripe- White tom with black splotches
Bristlelight- Dark brown tom with hazel stripes
Whiteheart- Pure white she-cat
Finchleap- Black tom with one white splotch on ear
Jayspring- Dark gray tom with dark gray stripes
Mistshade- Beautiful ginger she-cat
Frostleap- Light gray she-cat
Sunfeather- Light yellow tom
Lilypool- Black she-cat with white splotches
Honeyripple- Beautiful white she-cat with orangish-yellow splotches
Darkstone- Black tom
Maplenight- Ginger she-cat
Sparrowsky- Brown tabby tom
Lionface- Gray tom with dark gray stripes
Goldenblaze- Beautiful golden she-cat
Starlingstrike- Light brown tabby tom with dark brown stripes
Silverstrike- Light gray she-cat with dark gray stripes
Mother of Fernpaw and Snowpaw
Fernpaw- Cream coloured she-cat
Snowpaw- Light gray she-cat with dark gray stripes
Walking up to the Moonstone, a cat with a flame colored coat looked at it with narrowed eyes.
"StarClan is dead! What are we going to do if our ancestors will never communicate with us again?" he spat.
This is so annoying! he thought, his eyes still narrowed. StarClan isn't going to do anything about this crisis now! Everyday, the danger rises and more cats die!
Another cat appeared from the undergrowth.
"Fire, I know that StarClan is not responding, but you don't need to be harsh," the cat said. It was a she cat.
Fire's voice softened. "I know, Dawn, but if StarClan doesn't respond soon, all of the clans will vanish one by one," he mewed. "We worked so hard to form the clans,"
"Which is why we shouldn't give up now," Dawn pointed out. "Especially because StarClan has communicated with me,"
"Why not with me?" Fire said angrily. "I am the leader of FireClan, so I have every right to be contacted by StarClan!" his fur started to bristle.
"Of course you are," Dawn soothed. "But StarClan chooses who they contact. The other leaders should be here in a moment for the meeting,"
Fire kicked out angrily, and let his fur relax. If Dawn was ever to be his mate, he was going to have to behave like her.
Fire knew that cats in different clans could never be mates, but he could not help loving Dawn. He loved her pale pelt which shined in the moonlight, and her starry personality that no one could resist.
"What's going on?" meowed a new voice drowsily. "Why are you making us meet in the middle of the night? For StarClan's sake, I'm trying to get some sleep!"
"Greetings, Snow," Fire mewed solemnly.
"Fire... it's good to see you," Snow mewed.
One other shape appeared, and Fire recognized it as Sun.
"Sun," Dawn meowed.
"Dawn" Sun replied.
"Anyways, I called this meeting of the clan leaders because I have received a message from StarClan," Dawn said proudly.
"What did they say?" Snow demanded.
They said, "Traitors, all of whom are hungry for power, shall rise from the shadows and cause destruction to the clans,".
Sun's eyes flashed with alarm. "Who are these traitors?" he meowed. "And which clan are these traitors from?"
"I believe that there will be four traitors," Dawn mewed. "One from each clan. I already think I know who the traitor of DawnClan will be,"
"SunClan warriors are not traitors!" Sun snapped.
Dawn narrowed her eyes. "Come on, Sun," she mewed. "StarClan would never choose four cats from the same clan as traitors!"
Sun shrugged. "Maybe you're right," he said. "We shall discuss this at the next gathering. Leaders, please tell your deputies and Senior Warriors,"
"Wait!" Dawn meowed. "None of your current warriors are traitors!"
"Then who is?" Snow asked.
"Cats of the future clans," Fire said. "Will be the traitors,"
Sun narrowed his eyes. "How would you know, Fire?" he snarled.
"I am a smart cat," he meowed. "Unlike someone else,"
Sun bared his sharp teeth and unsheathed his claws.
"Stop!" Snow yowled. "Now is not the time for a fight. We all have nine lives,"
Dawn looked uncomfortable for a moment.
"We must return to our own clans now," Snow continued. "We shall meet at the next Gathering,"
"At the next Gathering, then," Dawn muttered.
Snowkit watched her mother as she talked with Bristlelight for what seemed like an eternity.
"Why can't we get out of the nursery?" screeched Fernkit. "I don't know about you, Snowkit, but I'm getting bored here."
Silverstrike, their mother, appeared at the entrance to the nursery. "You'll be made apprentices soon! Patience is a virtue."
"To you," Fernkit muttered.
Fernkit had always been enthusiastic, from the moment she was born. She had told Snowkit that ThunderClan was her home, and she would do anything for her clan, though she was only a kit. Snowkit on the other hand, was quiet, shy, and didn't talk much. However, she could not resist the thought of becoming a ThunderClan apprentice. Though she had never verbally expressed it, Snowkit had always wanted to be leader of ThunderClan. She had heard stories about the noble Firestar, who had been the leader of ThunderClan countless moons ago.
"Let all cats old enough to catch prey meet here for a Clan Meeting!" called the leader of ThunderClan, Spotstar.
Fernkit started squirming, clearly excited to become an apprentice. Silverstrike started smoothening her kits' fur. After Silverstrike had finished grooming Fernkit and Snowkit, she led them towards the Highrock.
"Fernkit, you have reached the age of six moons, and it is time for you to be apprenticed. From this day on, until you receive your warrior name, you will be known as Fernpaw. Starlingstrike, you are ready to take on an apprentice. You have received excellent training from Bluetail, and you have shown yourself to be courageous and smart. You will be the mentor of Fernpaw, and I expect you to pass on all you know to her." Spotstar stated happily. Spotstar was Silverstrike's sister, so she was very happy for her.
Starlingstrike padded forward, a smile on his face, and touched noses with Fernpaw. "You'll be a great warrior when the time comes!" he said encouragingly.
"Snowkit, you are now six moons old, and it is your turn to be apprenticed. Until you receive your warrior name, you will be known as Snowpaw." Spotstar looked around the clearing for a good mentor. "Sparkstorm, you will be Snowpaw's mentor. You are brave and strong, and I know that you will be a wonderful mentor to Snowpaw."
Sparkstorm! Snowpaw groaned inwardly. Sparkstorm was a good warrior, but she was so strict!
Sparkstorm padded over to Snowpaw and touched noses with her. Surprisingly, she was smiling. "I'm so happy to be your mentor!" she said genuinely. Snowpaw smiled back at her, excited that Sparkstorm seemed to have changed.
"Fernpaw! Snowpaw! Fernpaw! Snowpaw!" everyone in the clearing chanted.
"We'll start your training soon enough. Meet me at the training hollow tomorrow at sunhigh," said Sparkstorm.
“Before you commence your other duties, there is another ceremony that I want to perform. Our clan has an apprentice who is ready to become a warrior,” Spotstar continued. “Mistshade, is this apprentice ready to become a full warrior?”
“She will be a warrior that our clan will appreciate,” Mistshade replied.
“Then I, Spotstar, leader of ThunderClan, call my warrior ancestors to look down on this apprentice. She has trained hard to understand the ways of your noble code, and I commend her to you as a warrior in their turn. Cinderpaw, do you promise to uphold the warrior code and to protect and defend your Clan, even at the cost of your life?”
Cinderpaw replied firmly, with no doubt. “I do,”
“Then by the powers of StarClan, I give you your warrior name. Cinderpaw, from this moment you will be known as Cinderdawn. StarClan honors your determination, and we welcome you as a full warrior of ThunderClan.
“Cinderdawn! Cinderdawn! Cinderdawn!” everyone in the clearing chanted.
After the ceremonies were over, Snowpaw trotted to her sister happily.
"We're apprentices!" Snowpaw exclaimed.
Before Fernpaw could respond, Oneleaf interrupted her.
"You two! Go and do the elders' ticks. You're apprentices," he growled.
"O-okay..." Fernpaw murmured.
"We'll go," Snowpaw said confidently. She knew that if they were going to be warriors at one point, they were going to have to work for it.
When Snowpaw went to sleep, she dreamt of a green forest. She saw a blurry shape of a cat in the clearing.
"Snowpaw. StarClan have a message for you," said a she-cat. "But before I tell you what the message is, I will introduce myself."
Snowpaw barely nodded.
"My name is Brambleberry. I was the medicine cat of RiverClan in the old forest-"
Snowpaw interrupted her. "Why are you telling me this? You were of RiverClan. I would like for a ThunderClan cat to tell me this message,"
"In StarClan," Brambleberry stated quietly, "we are one clan. In StarClan, we are not divided by our former loyalties."
"I-I see," said Snowpaw, embarrassed. "I am sorry. Please, give me your message,"
Brambleberry smirked. "It is not I who will give you this message,"
Snowpaw looked around, confused. Was there really another cat who would give her the important message?
"It is StarClan who is giving you this message,"
Suddenly, many unfamiliar scents filled her nose. She narrowed her eyes when many voices sounded at once.
"You are a different one, Snow Fall. You must be brave. You must face your destiny,"
Snowpaw's eyes widened in horror. "W-what do you mean? I am a loyal ThunderClan apprentice!" But her vision had already faded. Snowpaw woke up panting.
"Can you be quiet? I'm trying to sleep," Fernpaw mewed drowsily.
"Sorry, Fernpaw..." Snowpaw muttered.
The next day, Fernpaw and Snowpaw were eager to begin their training with Starlingstrike and Sparkstorm.
“Welcome to the Training Hollow!” Starlingstrike exclaimed. “Thank you for coming, Fernpaw and Snowpaw. I can tell that you are eager to begin your training.” meowed Sparkstorm. “We most certainly are!!" Fernpaw chimed enthusiastically. "Then let us begin! First, we will be learning some fighting moves." Starlingstrike mewed. "Sparkstorm will demonstrate." Sparkstorm rolled backwards and kicked her hind paws to the air. Snowpaw gasped. How will I ever be able to do something like that? Snowpaw asked herself. She breathed in for a moment, then let it out. "Snowpaw, would you like to try first?" asked Sparkstorm. Snowpaw gulped. "Sure," She tried the move that Sparkstorm had demonstrated. Sparkstorm and Starlingstrike's mouths were wide open after she had finished the move. "That was perfect, Snowpaw! Great job! I can tell you are going to be an amazing fighter," Sparkstorm complimented her. "Thank you, Sparkstorm!" Snowpaw purred. Fernpaw looked down. "I'd like to try now," she growled. "O-of course, Fernpaw!" Fernpaw tried the move, and when Sparkstorm and Starlingstrike flinched, Fernpaw walked sadly out of the hollow, and out of the camp. Oh StarClan, what have I done? Snowpaw asked herself.
Snowpaw padded over to Sparkstorm, her mentor. "Sparkstorm, will we be training today?" she asked. "Indeed we are. I am going to teach you how to hunt today," Sparkstorm replied. "When will we leave?" "Now! Follow me!"
Snowpaw ran after Sparkstorm outside of the bramble enclosure.
"Before you learn hunting, you must learn to distinguish different cat scents," mewed Sparkstorm.
She took a sniff, then said, "Snowpaw, what do you scent?"
Snowpaw inhaled the fresh scent, and then flinched at the new stench filling her mouth.
"I scent something I've never scented before... I think it is a cat from a different clan," She smelled the stench again. "No, a rogue!"
Sparkstorm smiled. "You are very right, Snowpaw. There has been a rogue on our territory. When do you think it came here?"
"It is stale, so I'd say 4 or 5 days ago."
"Precisely! You are going to be a wonderful warrior!" Snowpaw purred in response. "Now, I will teach you how to hunt."
"Okay!" Snowpaw exclaimed, a little too loudly.
"Be quiet!" Sparkstorm spat. "Do you want to scare all the prey in the forest?"
"I'm sorry, Sparkstorm," Snowpaw apologized solemnly.
Sparkstorm seemed to relax again.
"Now, I smell mice. Do you smell it?" Sparkstorm meowed.
"I think so," Snowpaw replied.
"Good. Now watch what I do," Snowpaw nodded silently. Sparkstorm started stalking the mouse with slow and quiet steps. She avoided the crunchy leaves on the ground. Suddenly, when the mouse stopped, Sparkstorm pounced on the mouse. It tried running away, but Sparkstorm was too quick. She killed the mouse with a bite.
"Wow!" Snowpaw exclaimed. "That was amazing!"
Sparkstorm beamed proudly.
"Would you like to try now?" she asked.
"Yes, please! I smell squirrel..." whispered Snowpaw. She started stalking the squirrel, her mouth watering with the juicy smell of prey. Suddenly, Snowpaw pounced on top of the squirrel, and gave it a killing bite.
"Amazing job, Snowpaw!" Sparkstorm complimented. "Let's bury our prey while we continue hunting. We'll pick it up later,"
Snowpaw nodded, then buried her and Sparkstorm's prey near a tree.
When Snowpaw and Sparkstorm had finished hunting, the she-cats had brought 2 blackbirds, 3 mice, and 5 squirrels for the fresh-kill pile. Snowpaw heard Spotstar saying to Snarlface, “We need a lot of kits as soon as possible. All of the other clans have more kits and apprentices than us. Spotstar noticed them and rushed to greet them, and when she saw all of the prey, it looked like she was about to faint.
"Wow, you caught so much prey! Who caught it?" she asked Snowpaw and Sparkstorm.
Sparkstorm and Snowpaw smiled at each other.
"Snowpaw caught most of it. I caught 2 mice, she caught the rest," Sparkstorm mewed.
Snowpaw blushed uncontrollably.
"Great job, Snowpaw! You'll be a warrior in no time, I'm sure. You can go ahead and have a meal."
"Thank you, Spotstar,"
Just then, Snowpaw noticed Fernpaw, head down, returning from outside the camp. Starlingstrike was next to her, frowning.
"Excuse me," Spotstar said briskly. She walked over to Fernpaw and Starlingstrike. Snowpaw followed her.
"Starlingstrike, what happened?" Spotstar questioned.
"My apprentice doesn't know what mouse smells like,"
Before Spotstar could reply, Snowpaw interuppted.
"I could teach you, Fernpaw! I caught 2 blackbirds, 1 mouse, and 5 squirrels today!"
Fernpaw's eyes widened. For a moment, she looked impressed, but then she blinked it away.
"You're not my mentor," she spat dryly.
Snowpaw looked down. "I was only trying to help." she said firmly. "If you don't want my help, then that's your bad," Snowpaw stalked away.
Fernpaw was on a hunting patrol with Bristlelight, Whiteheart, Sunfeather, and Cinderdawn.
Snowpaw had already been made a warrior because of her 'exceptional hunting skills' and 'courageous battle skills'. She was now known as Snowpool. Starlingstrike decided that he wouldn't be Fernpaw's mentor anymore, because she was too 'unskillful' to be mentored.
Fernpaw used to be a very horrible hunter, but now she felt that she had become more adept. Now, Fernpaw's mentor was Cinderdawn.
At the beginning of when Fernpaw had received the honor of getting a new mentor, Fernpaw was nervous because of two things. The first thing was that people would be suspicious of the reason why Fernpaw was getting a new mentor. If they ever found out that Fernpaw was the worst hunter in the clan, she would die of embarrassment. The second reason why Fernpaw was nervous was that Cinderdawn was an amazing warrior. She was strong, brave, and smart, so Fernpaw was worried that she wouldn't be able to impress the deft warrior. But she felt more comfortable now.
"I scent rabbit," murmured Fernpaw.
"That is very right, Fernpaw!" Cinderdawn said quietly. "Would you like to stalk it?"
"Yes please!" Fernpaw exclaimed.
Cinderdawn exchanged looks with Bristlelight, Sunfeather and Whiteheart, almost as if they were hiding something.
"Go ahead, then!" Cinderdawn said.
Trying not to make a sound, Fernpaw started stalking the rabbit towards a tree. Instinctively, Fernpaw pounced on the rabbit, and killed it with a bite.
“Let’s go back now,” Cinderdawn said.
“Why? We only started hunting a few minutes ago,” Fernpaw replied, confused.
“Let all cats old enough to catch their own prey come to the Highrock for a Clan Meeting!” Spotstar called when Fernpaw, Bristlelight, Sunfeather, Whiteheart, and Cinderdawn came back.
“One of our apprentices has been training and working hard for a very long time, and deserves to be made a warrior.” Spotstar stated.
“Cinderdawn, are you feeling good about the progress of your apprentice, Fernpaw?”
“She will be a great warrior,” Cinderdawn replied.
“Very well. I, Spotstar, leader of ThunderClan, call upon my warrior ancestors to look down on this apprentice. She has trained hard to understand the ways of your noble code, and I commend them to you as a warrior in their turn. Fernpaw, do you promise to uphold the warrior code and to protect and defend your Clan, even at the cost of your life?”
“I-I do,” Fernpaw replied.
“Then by the powers of StarClan, I give you your warrior name. Fernpaw, from this moment on you will be known as Fernspring. StarClan honors your determination and courage, and we welcome you as a full warrior of ThunderClan,” Spotstar meowed.
“Fernspring!” Snowpool yowled happily. "Fernspring!"
Everyone in the clearing echoed. Fernspring was surprised when she realized that Starlingstrike had joined in. When she met his gaze, he turned away, clearly embarrassed. Snowpool had noticed.
"Ooooh, looking at your soon-to-be mate?" she teased.
"Of course not!" Fernspring said, even more embarrassed than Starlingstrike, though, she couldn't stop thinking about his beautiful green gaze when she had become a warrior.
Snowpool woke up.
“Snowpool, dawn patrol!” Snarlface called.
Snowpool started grooming herself, when Fernspring started trotting towards her.
“Snowpool! I have some news,” she said crankily.
“Okay, but why are you so irritable?” Snowpool asked her.
“I’m getting to that part,” Fernspring snapped.
“O-okay,” Snowpool said. “But make it quick. I need to go on dawn patrol,”
“I-I’m expecting kits!” exclaimed Fernspring.
“Kits?” Snowpool said. “Kits?!”
“Who’s the father?”
“Starlingstrike,” Fernspring replied, looking down.
“I’m so happy for you!” Snowpool meowed. “Have you told Starlingstrike yet?”
“No, not yet. But I’m going now!”
Fernspring scampered over to Starlingstrike to tell him the news.
“Starlingstrike!” Fernspring called.
“Fernspring!” Starlingstrike said. He gave her a thorough licking and said, “What did you want to tell me?”
“You won’t believe this,” Fernspring said. “I’m expecting kits,”
“Kits!” Starlingstrike said happily. His expression turned sad. “I am the father, right?”
“Of course you are,” Fernspring replied.
“Well, go to the nursery! I’ll tell Greenheart and Eaglepaw.”
"I'm coming with you!" Fernspring said stubbornly.
"Fine," Starlingstrike teased. "Fernspring will be Fernspring,"
Fernspring rubbed her muzzle against his, and they padded towards the medicine den. Greenheart was helping Eaglepaw review her herbs.
“What do you use watermint for?” Greenheart asked her apprentice.
“Bellyache,” Eaglepaw replied.
“What do you use parsley for?” Greenheart asked.
“To stop a mother from producing milk,” Eaglepaw said eagerly.
“Amazing job!” Greenheart complimented.
“Starlingstrike! Fernspring! What are you doing here?” Greenheart said when she had noticed them.
“I’m expecting kits!” Fernspring said.
“My kits,” Starlingstrike added.
“Wonderful! I am so happy for you.”
Greenheart was Starlingstrike’s sister.
"I can give you a little check-up, if you'd like," Greenheart offered to Fernspring.
"Yes, please!" Fernspring accepted.
"Greenheart! Eagleflower! It’s Fernspring! She's kitting!" Starlingstrike called to the medicine den.
Eaglepaw had turned into a full medicine cat and was now known as Eagleflower.
Greenheart and Eagleflower rushed out of the medicine den.
"It's going to be okay, Fernspring!" Starlingstrike said, clearly trying to be calm.
Greenheart and Eagleflower appeared at the entrance to the nursery.
Eagleflower rushed to Fernspring and felt her stomach.
"They're coming! There are three!" he exclaimed.
Suddenly, a spasm grasped hold of Fernspring and she closed her eyes tight.
"It's okay, Fernspring!" Starlingstrike said.
"It's a she-cat! A beautiful one, too," said Greenheart.
Fernspring opened her eyes, and the kit was already suckling at Fernspring's belly.
"She's lovely," Fernspring murmured. But before she could continue, another spasm came, and a new kit came out.
"Another she-cat!" Eagleflower said happily.
The kit started suckling at Fernspring's belly with her littermate.
"It's going to be okay, Fernspring! Just one more," Starlingstrike comforted his mate.
A spasm gripped onto Fernspring, and the last kit came out.
"The last one is also a she-cat." Greenheart said, clearly pleased.
The last kit started suckling at Fernspring's belly.
"What should we name them?" Fernspring sighed.
"The red one will be Rosekit," Starlingstrike said.
"The gray one can be Poppykit," Fernspring agreed.
"And the last one will be Hollykit," Starlingstrike said.
"They're wonderful!" Fernspring said, looking at her kits.
"They are," Starlingstrike said. "I'm going to stay here and look after you,"
Fernspring licked her mate on the cheek.
Snowpool was sharing tongues with Jayspring, when she heard a noise. 3 small shapes were coming out of the nursery, and heading towards the warriors den.
"I'll be right back," she told Jayspring.
"I'll come with you!" Jayspring said. "I'd like to say hi to your sister's kits,"
"Sure!" Snowpool accepted.
"Rosekit, Hollykit, Poppykit!" Snowpool exclaimed. "What are you doing here?"
"Hey!" Poppykit said. "Why did you say my name last? I want to be first!"
"No, I want to be first!" Hollykit said.
Jayspring laughed. "What are you kits doing?"
"Nothing. We wanted to watch you sharing tongues. Maybe you two will have kits someday!" Hollykit said.
Jayspring and Snowpool looked at each other and smiled.
"Maybe we will," Jayspring meowed.
Fernspring and Starlingstrike appeared from out of the nursery.
"Are our kits bothering you?" Starlingstrike asked.
"No, of course not!" Snowpool replied.
"Kits, follow me back to the nursery! You still have to wait for 4 more moons to be apprentices!" Fernspring mewed.
All three kits groaned.
"Why can't we be apprentices now? Or warriors? I want to be called Poppycloud!" said Poppykit.
"You have to be apprentices, and then pass your training!" Starlingstrike said.
All three kits groaned again.
"I don't want to wait for 4 moons to be over!" said Rosekit.
"Then we can play a game," said Fernspring.
"May I join?" asked Jayspring.
"Of course!" Starlingstrike said.
"All 7 of us can play," said Fernspring.
"What game are we playing?" asked Hollykit eagerly.
"Who can go back to the nursery and sleep first!" Starlingstrike exclaimed.
Everyone burst out laughing, except for the three kits, who had already started running towards the nursery.
"No, I won!"
"It was me!"
"I should be heading back," Fernspring said.
"And me!" Starlingstrike chimed in.
"But before I leave, I want to tell you two something." Fernspring said. "Starlingstrike, you can stay."
"What did you want to tell us?" asked Snowpool.
"You don't know already?" Fernspring asked.
"Of course not!" Jayspring replied.
"You didn't realize that you were expecting kits?" Fernspring asked Snowpool.
"I'm expecting kits?" Snowpool asked, puzzled.
"Yes!" Fernspring said.
"How did you know?" Snowpool asked, astonishment and excitement in her eyes.
"Queens always know," Fernspring replied mysteriously, and walked away with Starlingstrike.
Jayspring gave his new mate a industrious licking.
“We’re having kits!” he exclaimed happily.
Snowpool touched her muzzle to Jayspring’s. “I’m so happy,” she whispered.
“Hunting patrol, lovebirds,” Snarlface said, rolling his eyes.
“You’ve never loved anyone before?” Jayspring asked.
“No wonder he’s so mean,” Snowpool muttered under her breath.
Jayspring smirked, and Snarlface said, “Dawn patrol. Now.”
“Okay, okay! No need to rush us!” Jayspring said.
Snowpool and Jayspring started walking outside, talking to each other about possible names for their kits.
“I like the name Beekit! No, Bumblekit!”
“What about Foxkit?”
“Berrykit also sounds nice,”
Starlingstrike woke up to a good start, and padded out to the clearing. As soon as Snarlface spotted Starlingstrike, he padded up to him.
“Starlingstrike! Dawn patrol! Your kits will be fine,” Snarlface scanned the clearing again. “Snowpool! You go with him,”
“But… she’s expecting kits!” Starlingstrike exclaimed. He eyed Snowpool’s bulging stomach. How could Snarlface force an expectant mother to go on a dangerous patrol?
“They’re only kits, for StarClan’s sake! Just… go!”
“Come on, Snowpool,” Starlingstrike said crankily. How could dawn patrol with a queen be right?
Snowpool and Starlingstrike started trotting out of camp. They headed to the SunClan border, and saw the SunClan patrol.
“What are you doing?” asked a SunClan cat. Starlingstrike recognized him as Flamewhisker.
“We’re doing dawn patrol. And we didn’t cross your border,” Snowpool said defiantly.
“We set our scent markers right behind where you are standing,” another cat on the patrol said.
“The border is the stream,” Starlingstrike snarled.
“Not anymore!” Flamewhisker said. Suddenly, he launched himself at Snowpool, who yowled loudly and stumbled back. She got back up and tried to attack, but another blow to her heavy stomach made her stumble back. Starlingstrike hit Flamewhisker with his paw, knocking him aside. He pounced onto both of them, scratching Snowpool up. She rolled over, unconscious.
“Snowpool!” Starlingstrike shouted. “She’s a queen, you idiot!” Flamewhisker smirked. Starlingstrike pinned the SunClan warrior to the ground, then growled, “Come nowhere near our Clan. The border has not moved. Now, scram!”
“Snowpool, come on! Snowpool, please wake up!” Starlingstrike meowed. He looked around nervously, then started running back to camp, as fast as his paws would carry him.
“Eagleflower! Jayspring!” he yowled. “It’s Snowpool! She’s unconscious!”
“What happened?” Jayspring demanded, clearly frantic.
“A...a SunClan warrior, Flamewhisker, attacked us during dawn patrol.”
“Why would Snarlface send out a queen?” Eagleflower cried. Jayspring shook his head.
“Let’s go. We’ll leave everyone else here. For now,”The cats hurried off into the forest. Starlingstrike led them to the stream, where the gray cat lay, bleeding and wheezing.
“SNOWPOOL!” Jayspring yowled angrily.
“Oh, no. Oh, no! No, no, no! Oh, for StarClan’s sake!” meowed Eagleflower quietly.
“What’s wrong?” asked Starlingstrike.
“She’s kitting. Or at least, trying to kit!” Eagleflower said.“Starlingstrike, go get moss. Now!”
Starlingstrike rushed away to get some moss. He rushed to the lake, got some moss, and dipped it in the dark green ripples.
“I’m back with the moss!” Starlingstrike said after rushing back to the SunClan border.
Suddenly, a spasm gripped Snowpool, and a tiny kit came out. It didn’t immediately start suckling. It didn’t even move. They stood there, watching it. After a while, Eagleflower started to whimper. “Wait...wait...no...NO!” Eagleflower screeched.
“What happened?!” asked Jayspring.
“This kit. It’s a stillborn, I’m sure...” Eagleflower made a sad sound.
“What! It can’t be...NO!” Jayspring wailed. He licked the stillborn melancholy.
“It’s okay! There are four of them, so the other 3 are coming,” Eagleflower comforted Jayspring. Eagleflower put his ear to Snowpool’s chest and stomach.
“Her beat is going slightly slow. Too slow, but she’ll survive,” he felt for kicking at the stomach, and he jumped back. “Wow, those kits want to come out badly!”
Suddenly, another spasm gripped Snowpool, and a kit came out. It’s fur was bright white.
“She’s alive. Perfect kit. What will the name be?”
“I want Snowpool to choose,”
“Okay…” Eagleflower murmured. “But there are still 2 more!” the process of kitting was going very slow. Eagleflower occasionally felt the heartbeat of Snowpool and the kicking of the kits. After a long time, he felt the heartbeat once more, then said, “It can’t be! Snowpool...she’s-” he paused and whimpered. “She’s gone.”
“NO! NO! She’s not dead! She can’t be! I lost a kit already, I’m not losing her!”Jayspring yowled loudly. He pawed Snowpool anxiously. Snowpool, wake up for me, wake up! For your kit! Jayspring thought. Then he said it out loud.
“Snowpool! Wake up! You can’t die on me. Please, Snowpool.” Suddenly, he heard quick pawsteps running towards them. The scent was familiar. Fernspring! Jayspring turned around.
“What happened to my sister?” Fernspring demanded.
“We were on dawn patrol-” Starlingstrike was interrupted by Fernspring.
“They sent a new mother, also a queen, on patrol?!” Fernspring yowled.
“Exactly!” Jayspring cried. “I asked the idiot Snarlface too!” In anger, Jayspring accidentally sunk his paw into Snowpool’s fur and flesh. She jolted awake.
“Jayspring?” Snowpool whispered groggily. “That’s you?”
“Yes, it’s me, Snowpool! You’re not dead!” Jayspring licked his mate’s nose.
“Oh!” Snowpool cried. “Ow!” another spasm gripped at her, and a kit started to come out.
“You’re kitting,” Eagleflower said. “Stay calm, okay?”
“I’M KITTING?!” Snowpool shrieked. Jayspring nuzzled her calmly. Snowpool lay her head back down and calmly breathed. In, out, in, out. “How many kits do we have?” she asked quietly.
“One was a stillborn,” Jayspring whispered. “Another is a she-cat. She looks like you, you know. We’ll decide a name together,”
“We need to get you back to camp,” said Eagleflower. “And your kits,”
“I’m still kitting, though,” Snowpool whispered weakly.
“She’s too weak to feed her milk to the kits,” Eagleflower observed. “Jayspring, can you go to camp, find Moonpelt, and ask her if she will feed them? They will die without milk, as it is the only thing they can consume as kits, so far,”
“She had better say yes,” Jayspring snapped to himself as he ran off. But he screeched to a halt.
“Snowpool’s my mate! Make Starlingstrike go! He’s just watching!” Jayspring shouted. Starlingstrike got to his paws, and started to pad quickly back to camp. When he got there, he was surrounded by warriors. But he ignored them and went straight to the nursery.
“Moonpelt!” he called to the blue-gray queen. “I need you to get over here. I need to tell you something,”
“Okay, but make it quick. I’m still feeding my kits,” Moonpelt replied.
“Snowpool was on dawn patrol, and a SunClan warrior attacked her-” Starlingstrike started. But he was interrupted by Moonpelt.
“Snarlface sent Snowpool on dawn patrol? An expectant mother? A pregnant cat? EXCUSE ME?” Moonpelt rattled off. She got up and stalked over to Snarlface, who was grooming himself while snarling orders to his warriors.
“Snarlface, you idiot! Do you know what you’ve done?” Moonpelt meowed angrily.
“What have I done, Moonpelt?” Snarlface snorted.
“You mouse-brain!” Moonpelt snarled, hot with rage. “Sending an expectant mother on dawn patrol!”
“So? It’s not like she can die from dawn patrol!” Snarlface shot back.
“She can, actually. And she almost is going to. She can die if a SunClan warrior attacks her, and then she immediately starts kitting!” cried Moonpelt.
“What?” Snarlface stopped grooming. “Don’t lie, Moonpelt,” he snorted.
Moonpelt rounded up on him. “I am your mate,” she said. Her eyes were fiery now. “Do you not trust me? Do you think that I would lie to you? Say that to my face, fox dung!”
Starlingstrike broke in. “My mate’s sister has a chance of dying because of you! She got attacked by a SunClan warrior, and now, she’s kitting, and she can’t feed her kits. She looked dead for a while, and she is bleeding, and she has a stillborn!” Starlingstrike said.
“Have you no shame?” Moonpelt growled at Snarlface, and gathered herself, almost as if she were going to attack her former mate.
“Come on, Moonpelt. I was going to ask you if you could feed Snowpool’s remaining three kits,” Starlingstrike announced.
Moonpelt’s gaze softened. “I’d be happy to,” she said. “But my kits are hungry too,”
“Please, let them share. The kits will die if you don’t feed them. Snowpool can’t milk. She’s too tired giving birth. Please,” Starlingstrike pleaded.
“In that case, I will,” Moonpelt agreed.
“Thank you, Moonpelt! I will be right back with Jayspring, Eagleflower, Fernspring, and Snowpool,” Starlingstrike said happily. ‘And the kits,’ he thought. ‘If they’re still alive,’
Starlingstrike dashed outside to where the cats were crouching over the dazed new mother.
Jayspring turned around. “Snowpool’s next kit hasn’t come out yet,” he said, afraid. “What did Moonpelt say, though?”
“She said she would be happy to suckle them.” Starlingstrike confirmed. “But, it looked like she was ready to kill Snarlface,”
“I’d do anything to get my claws on that mange pelt!” Jayspring growled.
Starlingstrike nodded agreement.
“Come on, you two! We have to get her and the kits back to camp. She will be more comfortable kitting in the nursery,” Fernspring meowed.
Starlingstrike and Jayspring started carrying Snowpool to camp, and carried her into the nursery, while Eagleflower and Fernspring carried her kits by the scruffs of their necks.
“Good thing camp isn’t that far away!” Eagleflower commented.
Fernspring purred in agreement.
Once they had arrived at the nursery, Starlingstrike and Jayspring cautiously dropped her onto the soft, wet moss. Snowpool wearily lay down, and wheezed a little. With a loud “Oh!”, the kit wiggled out of Snowpool’s stomach a little more. It kicked its legs. Snowpool gave a loud breath and push, and the struggling kitten came out. Snowpool sadly nudged it towards Moonpelt, who lay next to her, trying to nurse all the kittens. She couldn’t nurse her own kits. She felt bad.
“OW! Last one!” she whispered loudly to herself. It was painful, the process of kitting. She yowled loudly.
“You’ll be fine,” Moonpelt comforted her. She nudged one of Snowpool’s kittens into place. Snowpool’s eyes flickered and her head fell. She didn’t move anymore.
“Snowpool? Are you okay?” Moonpelt moved a paw, making all of the kits move. Moonpelt touched Snowpool’s ear with her paw.
“EAGLEFLOWER!” Moonpelt yelled loudly. She purred nervously. Eagleflower came trotting over.
“How is it-” Eagleflower stopped. “What happened now?”
“She just...stopped!” Moonpelt said. Eagleflower felt Snowpool’s chest, tummy, and for some reason, her suckle.
“Her body is trying to produce milk,” Eagleflower confirmed. “She needs parsley!” he padded off into the medicine den and came back with a mouthful of the herb. He wedged Snowpool’s mouth open and dumped the parsley in. Snowpool’s eyes flickered open. She chewed.
“What’s thi-” she paused, swallowed, and took a breath. “OOP! Ooh, this is painful!” she gripped the moss with her claws, and squinted. It hurt so bad, she couldn’t even describe it.
“Why is it so hard for me? It was easy for Fernspring!” Snowpool moaned.
“You’re a smaller cat. It’s harder to kit,” Moonpelt said. She had already experienced this.
Suddenly, Snowpool groaned. “Eagleflower! Eagleflower! It’s too hard. My bellyache is worse! It’s too strong to bear!” Eagleflower immediately put his paw to her stomach.
“There’s-It seems-I think there’s more kits coming!” Eagleflower cried. He fished out an herb, and told Snowpool to chew it. She did as he said, and she felt a little better. But she spat, “What is this herb? It tastes like crow food!” Eagleflower answered, “It’s called watermint. It helps you when you have bellyache, or if you’re a kitting she-cat,” he explained.
Snowpool cursed. “Ewww!” she was going to continue complaining about the taste when she yowled again. “It still hurts!”
“This explains why your tummy was so big compared to other queens’ pregnancies!” Eagleflower said. “Oh, there’s your third! You’re doing great!” a light orange kit was laying there. Eagleflower moved it to the other kits.
“That one’s unusually small,” Moonpelt observed. “Very lucky to live.” Snowpool yelped loudly. REALLY loudly.
“AAH! It’s not going to-to work! I can’t do this! It’s too hard!”
“It’s now or never, though,” Moonpelt whispered. Snowpool and Eagleflower agreed with purring sounds. Everything went blank for Snowpool once more.
“She’s fallen asleep or unconscious,” said Moonpelt. “It’s happened to me too. I went unconscious as my second kit came out!” Eagleflower nodded and walked away, to Spotstar. He told her, “It’s a miracle! Snowpool has got multiple kits!”
Spotstar purred. “Good. How many are born?”
“One’s a stillborn, sadly, three are born. There are more, somehow!”
“Good job, Eagleflower. Your herb has worked,” she said. Eagleflower purred. If you’re wondering, Eagleflower fed Snowpool lavender while she lay asleep one day. They were that desperate for kits. They watched Snowpool struggle to have her fourth kit. She was yowling and growling nervously and painfully. She panted. She didn’t have much more willpower.
“Eagle-Eagleflower? Can I have more of that disgusting thing? Watermint?”
“Well, that’s only for bellyache,” Eagleflower said matter-of-factly.
“You don’t know how bad my belly is aching!” growled Snowpool. Kitting had put her in a bad mood that day. He fed her the watermint, then said, “I’ll give you borage for producing milk,” Snowpool nodded wearily, not hearing what he had said. He gave her the plant and then walked away. Moonpelt pushed the kittens over. They went to the nearest suckle and started suckling. Snowpool gasped. It felt good to have kits suckling. But it tickled.
“My...my...my kits! They’re suckling!” Snowpool mewed. But she stopped. She started to breath oddly again.
“One more?” Moonpelt asked. Snowpool mewed a yes. “My! I can’t believe you have four kits already!” Snowpool lay there. Kitting was LONG. She groaned in agony and pushed confidently. Another kitten came out. It was a red kitten, like a fox.
“Good job! That’s four now,” Moonpelt mewed. Snowpool started to sit up.
“Are there more?” she moaned as she dropped back down weakly. A kick pounded at her stomach. “Oh, mouse whiskers! There are more!” she pushed weakly, but once again her eyes fluttered and she fell. For StarClan’s sake, this is hard. This many kits? She woke up once more, pain stabbing at her.
“One more is out! It’s a she-cat! Let’s sort your cats out after you’re done,” Moonpelt mewed. She peeked at Snowpool’s birth canal and found another kit coming out. “How many will come?” just as she started to lick Snowpool’s sleepy face, Eagleflower entered.
“Five kittens! There’s-” he paused and peeked at Snowpool’s tummy. “More! And more! One kit’s coming out. There might be another. Sorry for this struggling time, Snowpool. That attack was very dumb of that horse-dung Flamewhisker.” Snowpool growled and pushed. She muttered, “Idiot, get out,” and Eagleflower walked away. Bad moods were known in Snowpool.
“The head’s out!” Moonpelt said happily. “It’s beautiful! Come on, Snowpool, you can do this.” Snowpool gave one last push. The kit struggled out and started suckling. Snowpool gave a happy mew, then fell back to let her kittens suckle. Fernspring entered just in time to see Snowpool saying, “There’s one-one more!”
“How many are there?” Fernspring stammered. She must have thought Moonpelt’s kittens were nursing from Snowpool too. But Moonpelt’s were sound asleep somewhere. Moonpelt said, “One more is arriving soon.” Fernspring sat down and started to sooth her sister.
“You’ll be fine, Snowpool. You’re doing great. Amazing,” Fernspring whispered. “You’re so brave.” the last kit struggled out.
“Tom!” Fernspring cried happily. Snowpool felt done. She sat up and slowly walked to the clearing.
“Jayspring-” Snowpool was interrupted with a loud lick.
“Done? Finally! I’ve been waiting to see you!” shouted Jayspring.
“Don’t go into the nursery. You can see the kits soon. After we get rest,” Snowpool said. Jayspring mewed sadly, but obeyed. “I’m going to the kits, though. They need to suckle!”
“I thought you can’t suckle,” Jayspring tilted his head.
“It’s a miracle! I was fed parsley and then borage, when I was distracted!” Snowpool purred. Jayspring groomed his mate-a little, to stop the blood from Flamewhisker’s attack. Snowpool padded back into the nursery and found her kits scrambling around.
“Kits, take rest,” she whispered. The kits scrabbled into a position after feeling their mother pad towards them. They waited to suckle. Snowpool sat down and the kits scrambled to her. She sat there, pushing the little kittens into a certain way. They all suckled, mewing occasionally. Snowpool closed her eyes and fell asleep, weary and sleepy after becoming a new mother.
Jayspring padded to the nursery to check on his mate, Snowpool.
‘When I get my paws on that piece of mouse dung, Snarlface,’ he thought. ‘He’ll wish he were never kitted!’
The kits were suckling at Jayspring’s sleepy mate’s belly. Snowpool occasionally nudged her kits into position. He rested his gaze on Snowpool who was looking right back at him, her eyes filled with weariness and love.
“Our kits are beautiful, right?” she murmured so quietly that Jayspring had to strain his ears to hear his mate’s meow.
“Yes,” Jayspring agreed. “Are you okay?”
“I’m okay,” she said. “I had a bellyache, but Eagleflower gave me watermint, and I’m feeling better now,”
Jayspring counted the kits, and said, “Moonpelt had two kits, right? And they’re over there!”
“Then why are there seven kits?”
“I… had four more,” Snowpool admitted nervously.
“You what?” Jayspring mewed happily.
“I had four more kits,” Snowpool said.
“We must name them, now that you’re feeling better,” Jayspring said.
“Can we name the first one that was born, other than our stillborn, Bumblekit? I’m in love with the name,” Snowpool asked.
“We can name her whatever you want,” Jayspring said. “But… can we name the stillborn Lovekit? That way she will go to StarClan with a name. And the one with the white coat Cloudkit? And, Snowpool, you probably have a record of most kits given birth to, in ThunderClan. You’re amazing,” Jayspring nuzzled his mate admiringly.
“Stop that!” Snowpool swatted Jayspring’s nose playfully, but then licked her mate’s cheek. “The one that looks like Fernspring, with the cream colored coat, will be Berrykit. And the blue-gray one will be Amberkit,”
“The gray one will be… Bramblekit. And the black one will be Moonkit, in honor of the queen who helped raise these kits. I want to name the last kit, the smaller one, Luckykit. I hope that Spotstar will name him Luckystripe when he becomes a warrior.” Sadness struck Snowpool’s eyes all of a sudden. “I really wish Lovekit were here. I want to know that Lovekit has reached StarClan. What about the burial?”
Then, Fernspring emerged with Starlingstrike and her three kits.
“We were going on a walk,” Starlingstrike said.
“Are you okay, Snowpool?” Fernspring asked her sister. When Starlingstrike observed Snowpool’s crowd, he asked “Who’s kits are those?”
“All are mine,” Snowpool stammered. Fernspring’s eyes went wide.
“What?” Fernspring asked. “You had seven kits?”
“That is so many! That’s why I saw all those kits!”
Snowpool nodded again. Her belly was swollen, and she smelled of herbs. Scars marked the attack of Flamewhisker.
“You’re amazing, Snowpool!” Starlingstrike remarked. “I don’t know if anyone has ever had 7 kits in one litter!”
Snowpool purred in response. “Eight, actually. One stillborn,”
“If you’ll excuse me,” Jayspring said. “I’m off to speak to Spotstar about Snarlface,”
“I’m coming with you!” Starlingstrike added. “I know how unacceptable Snarlface’s behavior was,”
Jayspring and Starlingstrike marched towards Spotstar’s den, where she was sharing tongues with Snarlface.
“Spotstar, we need to talk to you,” Jayspring said. He narrowed his eyes. “About something,”
Spotstar looked at Snarlface, in a look of dismissal, and Snarlface left the den.
“What is it?” Spotstar asked wearily.
“It’s about your deputy-” Starlingstrike began. But he was interrupted by Jayspring.
“Your deputy should not be trusted. He made an expectant queen go on a dawn patrol! Then a SunClan warrior attacked Snowpool and she fell unconscious. One of our kits died because of him!” he meowed. His voice got more bitter with every word. “He snaps at everyone and acts like a clan leader!”
“I see…” Spotstar said. “Snarlface is a good warrior, but for the past moon I have seen that he is not treating our warriors as they should be treated. And today… he proved it,”
Starlingstrike made a triumphant look.
“I will make my change of deputy now,” Spotstar said.
She padded out of her den abruptly.
“Let all cats old enough to catch their own prey join at the Highledge for a Clan Meeting!” Spotstar called.
Everyone started gathering around the ledge.
“Today, I will be appointing a new deputy,” Spotstar began. But before she could continue, yowls came from below.
‘They really love Snarlface…’ Jayspring thought.
“I know that you all might be wondering why I have decided to make this choice,” Spotstar continued. “Today, Snarlface sent a queen on a dawn patrol, Snowpool. Snowpool was attacked by a SunClan warrior, and she started kitting on the spot,”
Jayspring fixed Snarlface with a glare, who was looking around with eyes filled with fury.
“One of Snowpool’s kits died,” Spotstar’s eyes filled with sorrow. “This is why I will be replacing Snarlface,”
“I say these words before StarClan, so that the spirits of our warrior ancestors may hear and approve of my choice. Jayspring will be the new deputy of ThunderClan,” Spotstar said confidently.
A yowl of happiness came from outside of the nursery. Jayspring recognized his daughter, Cloudkit, running out of the nursery.
“Jayspring!” everyone yowled. “Jayspring!”
Jayspring could hear Snowpool joining in from where she was inside the nursery.
‘I’m so lucky to have a family that supports me,’ Jayspring thought.
“Let all cats old enough to catch their own prey come to the Highledge for a Clan Meeting!” called Spotstar from the Highledge.
Once everyone had gathered, Spotstar began to speak. “Today is a special day,” she began. “We have two kits ready to become apprentices,”
‘Moonpelt’s kits!’ Snowpool thought. ‘I owe her so much,’
Luckily, Snowpool was able to come out of the nursery. She had given birth to seven kits, and another who was with StarClan. She felt much better, and was now able to go on as many patrols as she liked.
“Flowerkit, please step forward,” Spotstar mewed.
Moonpelt nudged her kit to his paws, and Flowerkit padded up to Spotstar.
“Flowerkit, you have reached the age of six moons. It is time for you to be apprenticed. From now until you receive the honor of getting a warrior name, you will be known as Flowerpaw. Fernspring, you are ready for your first apprentice. You learned much from Starlingstrike and Cinderdawn, and I expect you to pass on all you know to him,” Flowerpaw gave Spotstar’s shoulder a respectful lick, and then touched noses with Fernspring, whose eyes were glimmering with happiness.
“Flamekit, please step forward.”
Flamekit padded forward.
“Flamekit, you are now six moons old, meaning that you are eligible to become an apprentice. From now, until you receive your warrior name, you will be known as Flamepaw. Snowpool, you are ready for your first apprentice. You learned a lot from Sparkstorm, and I expect for you to mentor your apprentice exceptionally.”
‘My first apprentice!’ Snowpool thought. ‘This is a wonderful day!’
Flamepaw licked Spotstar's shoulder in respect, and then touched noses with Snowpool.
“In addition to this, Flowerpaw, Flamepaw, Snowpool, Fernspring, Starlingstrike, Sparkstorm, Cinderdawn, Mistshade, I’d like you to attend the Gathering tomorrow,” Spotstar meowed.
The chosen cats smiled.
“We’ll be there, Spotstar!” Mistshade said.