"No one takes us seriously around here," Swiftpaw grumbled, flicking his tail, "No one." Brightpaw didn't say anything, but she silently agreed. Swiftpaw's eyes lit up eagerly. "We need to prove ourselves."
"How?" Brightpaw asked, shaking her head. "Because of the dogs, we're not even allowed to leave the camp. Unless we suddenly start spewing prophecy gunk, there's no way they'll let us within one pawstep of the exit."
Swiftpaw's eyes widened. "The dogs! I have an idea! We need to prove ourselves by finding the dogs, and getting rid of them!"
Brightpawhad her doubts, but she kept them to herself; Swiftpaw was usually right, and she trusted him. "Okay," She mewed firmly. "Let's go."
"Urgh," Brightpaw groaned groggily, Whitestorm was rousing her for the dawn patrol. "No-o," She grumbled, shifting in her sleep. Slowly, though, she drifted towards consciousness, and opened her eyes. At least, she tried. One of her eyes wouldn't open, as if it were glued shut.
Standing above her was not Whitestorm, but Cloudpaw and Fireheart, with Yellowfang and Cinderpaw bustling around behind them, and Brackenpaw and Thornpaw nervously peeking from behind Cloudpaw. The look on each feline's face was identical; fear, pity, and horror, with just a touch of repulsion.
"Wh - What is it?" She mewed quietly, slowly sitting up. Her face erupted in pain, and she winced, flattening her ears. She tried, but as with her eye, something was wrong. "What's wrong with my face?" She whimpered, panicking.
"Well, um," Cloudpaw said, clearing his throat, "When you went to fight the, the dogs, they attacked you and-" Brightpaw interrupted him. "Swiftpaw! Where is he? Where's Swiftpaw?" She demanded. Fireheart gave her a fond look, fondness tinged with sorrow. "He's beside you."
She turned her head - her eye was still not working - and let out s shrill shriek. Swiftpaw's usually well-groomed, sleek fur was caked with mud, dirt, grass, and dried blood, matting his fur. His face was crisscrossed with dozens of shallow cuts, which oozed pus.
"No!" She wailed. "No! No, no no..." The wail turned into a whimper. "Swiftpaw, Swiftpaw, I'm so sorry..." She sobbed. Cloudpaw's eyes seemed to narrow infinitessimally. "Swiftpaw...." She cried again, burying her face in her paws.
"He's alive," Cinderpaw piped up, blue eyes swimming with tears. "Just barely. We're treating him, but he's already infected and we don't have enough herbs..." Brightpaw's sister trailed off. Yellowfang shook her head. "It seems almost impossible for him to make a full recovery."
She squeezed her eye shut. "No." "I'm really sorry, Brightpaw..." Cloudpaw murmured, resting his tail on Brightpaw's shoulder. She bristled, and Cloudpaw flinched. There was a smatter of paws, and the felines watching over Brightpaw parted so Bluestar could pass through.
"StarClan, how could you let this happen?" Bluestar demanded angrily, glaring up at the ceiling of the den, Brightpaw assumed to the stars and sky. "Two apprentices, once so perfect, so innocent..." Her eyes fell on Brightpaw. "Your warrior ceremony is overdue," She snarled, storming out.
From inside the den, Brightpaw could see her leap on Highrock. Without bothering to decree the proper speech, Bluestar called out the summons. "Swiftpaw, from this day froward, you shall be known as Swiftblur. Brightpaw, from this day forward, you shall be known as," Bluestar swallowed angrily. "Lostface."