Dusty lives a good life in the valley, and she's sure she can't live anywhere else. But when she receives a sign that she is required elsewhere, she must move towards a place which she has never been before, leaving her life behind her. With her kits, she has to find the Clans...
Calling of the Grass
My name is Dusty.
It seems like I have lived in the valley for a while now, even though it hasn't been forever. My family was raised here, and I have travelled past its confines. But now... I just don't know what to do.
I had two kits with a cat I didn't like, and they remind me so hauntingly of him. They both have his dark brown pelt, his amber eyes. I don't want them to be near their father, wherever he is now. I don't know where he went.
But now it seems that I must cut my ties. The valley isn't what my home seemed like before. Now, I feel that there is a new place is calling me.
It seems as if the grass is calling me into the unknown...
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
"Hey Mama," one of my kits asked me, amber eyes like suns. "Tell me about the valley."
I looked down at the smaller, yet the older of my two kits. She was nestled against my side, dark eyes looking up at me. It reminded me so much of her father, the one that she would never know.
"Oh, Dust," I whispered under my breath. To hide the pain from me, I gave her a name so close to mine. "The valley has been here since the beginning of time, I can tell you that much. I don't know how it got here, how it is what it is. All that I know is that it's been here since the earth was made, and will be here forever."
Dust gave a yawn. Her younger sister Dusk - who was the bigger of the two kits - had simply flicked her ears at them, obviously uninterested. Five moons had passed since the day I had given birth to them, and I couldn't believe how big they had grown.
I wonder what they will be like one day, I thought. What will they be, when they're like me? All I hope is that they don't make the mistakes that I made.
"Will we stay in the valley forever, Mama?" Dust asked me again. Her amber gaze turned back to me.
"Of course not, Dust." Dusk moved over to her sister, and sat down beside her. "I'm sure that we'll travel beyond it someday. Right, Mother?" she added, as she turned to me as well.
"Bet we'll stay in the valley forever," Dust snorted. The smaller she-cat turned to leap at her sister, and surprisingly managing to bowl her over. The two she-cats squabbled in the tangle of grassy ground, emitting occasional high-pitched squeaks of delight. Eventually, Dusk had pinned Dust down, and was looking triumphant.
"I won!" Dusk yowled. "That means we won't stay in the valley forever!"
I padded over to my two daughters, and at once Dusk scrambled off Dust in the panic. Dust stood up, shaking her short fur rapidly. I had noted that they often disagreed about things - it was rare when they thought the same way. They sat down side by side, staring up at me.
"You two, all I can say now is that one will be right one day, and one will be wrong. Maybe both of you will be right, or maybe both of you will be wrong. You just have to wait and see where destiny brings you. Who knows what will happen?"
"I still think I'm right, thought," Dusk hissed, baring small, sharp white teeth at Dust.
I quickly silenced the two kits before they could do anything more. "You just have to wait and see, you two. You just never know."
Dust and Dusk stared at me in silence for a moment, then they nodded in unison. "Yes, Mama," they mewed together.
I gave a relieved sigh at that. They now understood that. But their playfight still rang in my mind, and then I really started to wonder about who was right.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
I opened my eyes to find myself alone.
At once, I felt a surge of panic shoot through me. Where are my kits? I took a good look around me. I knew that I hadn't been here before...
Looking down, I gasped. It was the valley, right below my paws! I scrabbled at the ground, but it didn't budge. I felt trapped.
What am I doing up here? Oh, no...
"Dusty, calm down." A voice sounded from behind me, and I trembled, refusing to turn around. "Your kits are safe. I just have a message for you."
I trembled again, and turned slowly. A dark brown tabby she-cat was there, her green eyes sympathetic as she looked at me. Three kits - one gray, one brown, the third a mix of the two colourings - were by her paws, swarming around them and shooting scared looks at me.
"Mama?" The gray kit looked up at me, her blue eyes round. "Why is this weird cat here?"
I tried hard not to be furious at the young kit, but I held my tongue. After all, I wouldn't have been so harsh to my own kits - and doing that to another wasn't the way to treat them.
"Mistkit, just leave me alone, and play with your brothers," the dark brown she-cat replied, her tone brusque. In reply, Mistkit squealed, and started to run away. The two other kits followed soon after, their small paws not making a sound on the ground.
The dark brown she-cat turned back to me. Her green eyes looked tired as she spoke to me. "I'm sorry, Dusty, for that..." she sighed. "I'm sure my kits didn't mean it."
I was getting nervous now. How does this she-cat know my name? I stepped forward, shaking. "How do you know my name?" I stammered, not looking the she-cat in the eye.
In reply, the she-cat did a small nod. "Every living cat answers that question," she sighed. "My name is Tabbyflight. I come from the skies of StarClan, who looks over the four Clans that walk the living land. Usually, I woundn't be allowed to come here, but Dusty - I have to give you a message from us."
Living Clans? At once, a cold sensation of dread crept through me. "Are you..." I whispered.
Tabbyflight hesitated, before she nodded. "I died giving birth to my four kits. These three," she flicked her tail towards the three kits that were playing nearby, "are all mine, but they died alongside me." She sighed, before she continued: "Only one of my kits lived."
If this happened with Dusk or Dust, I would have been really upset... "I'm sorry..." I whispered, my voice breaking.
Tabbyflight shook her head in reply. "Don't grieve for me," she replied softly. Then her gaze hardened up so suddenly, I almost flinched. Taking a step closer to me, she mewed darkly: "You must follow your calling, Dusty - your calling to the grass. This is where your destiny lies. Take care of the broken path, because her life will always be marred..." Her eyes had turned dark as well, and this time, I actually flinched.
"What - what are you doing...?" I mewed, in a strangled and high-pitched voice. "Tabbyflight... are you all right?" I took a few steps back in my fear, and crouched. Tabbyflight wouldn't attack me - well, she shouldn't attack me, anyway...
"Dusty, why are you back there?" Tabbyflight asked me, her green gaze wide. "Is there anything wrong?" Her voice was worried, and her eyes were round as she stared at me.
"...No, there's nothing wrong," I lied. I was sure Tabbyflight didn't understand. She didn't hear herself saying those dark messages, did she..?
But I'll never know, I thought sadly, as I decided to leave, I padded away, my footsteps dragging - I didn't need to know this Tabbyflight anymore.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
I wake up with a jolt, my eyes being felt as if they were being stretched wide for what I saw. I turn to my belly, to where Dusk and Dust are sleeping, and I echo a silent purr as I try to calm down myself.
I know that I must make a decision. Should I make the decision to trust...
... Or should I stay here?
I look forward, narrowing my eyes, keeping my tail gently around Dusk and Dust as I try to keep them silent, and asleep. I see the grass beside me, lightly swaying in the breeze. In a way it seems as if... it's calling. Calling to me.
I can hear it. It's ringing in my ears, very loudly... but as I look beside me once more, expecting to see my kits awake, Dusk and Dust are still asleep. I listen closer to the voice.
Find your calling, Dusty... it seems to echo. Follow the calling of the grass...
And that was the moment that I know that I had to listen to that strange cat - Tabbyflight.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Half a moon later...
It was painful to leave all my family behind, I'm sure of that. But now, I look onto this moor, where the grass is echoing to me again:
This is where you belong, Dusty. Your destiny belongs here.
The journey had been hard, and now it all seemed as if it was coming to an end. I bent down to nuzzle Dust, who was beside me. My kits had made the journey with me - and as they looked onto the moor, I heard Dusk ask:
"Is this our new home?"
I looked down at the young kit, and I noticed that her amber eyes were round at me. Reminded once more of their father, I gulped. But they were different to him... I couldn't dare to put that very burden on them...
"Yes," I answered, replying to Dusk. "This will be our new home."
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Shortly after, I'd found myself thrusted into my new Clan with great force. After a short time, I was accepted - but maybe that was because some of the cats in this Clan - GrassClan - were not all that pure-blooded.
But this isn't the time to fuss, I thought, shaking my head. In the clearing nearby, I heard the cats calling my kits' new names. They would be staying here for the next six moons away while they trained, away from the rest of the Clan, and with all the other apprentices from the four Clans. I gulped.
"Come on, Dustyheart." I heard my new name - still fresh in my mind after a quarter-moon - and I turned. The GrassClan deputy, Stoneleap, was staring at me in the eye. "We have to see if GrassClan has any new warriors this time."
I nodded shakily, joining Stoneleap. At that moment, I also remembered that none of the cats that had become warriors were actually from GrassClan originally. "Stoneleap..? None of the cats that were made warriors are from GrassClan."
Stoneleap turned to me, a twinkle in his blue eyes. "That doesn't mean that there will be any new cats coming to GrassClan." he mewed, as we padded into yet another clearing.
The three new warriors were lying on the ground, unconscious. Two cats - StreamClan warriors, by the names of Strongfoot and Sloedusk, if I remembered correctly - were going in between the cats. They were by the two FallClan cats currently, while two FallClan warriors - one dark gray with golden-brown legs and face, two others brown - waited in the wings.
I saw Sloedusk flick her tail by the one she was by - Duckwater, if I remembered correctly. "FallClan," she mewed.
Strongfoot looked up as his Clanmate spoke. "This one too," he mewed. At that moment, the three FallClan cats swarmed around their warriors, and soon enough, they were gone.
Now there was only the dark tabby she-cat rom PebbleClan. Stoneleap and I approached, as well as two PebbleClan cats - one orange tabby, one reddish-brown. Sloedusk was examining the she-cat's paw with great interest, and then she stood up, and backed the two PebbleClan cats away.
"She's come up with a GrassClan result," she hissed, lashing her tail. In response, the two PebbleClan cats hissed before they both fled.
I turned at Stoneleap, who was staring at me again. "See?" he mewed simply. "Come on, let's go take her back to camp." The blue-gray tom mewed to one side of the unconscious she-cat, and he picked her up and laid her across his back with difficulty.
I did the same, and we padded off. And in that moment, I knew I had made the right decision.
The calling of the grass was the right one.
I wasn't expecting to spend so much time on that...
I love Dustyheart all right <3
I have my plans for Dustyheart in the last book of the trilogy, and that dark tabby she-cat at the end for that matter. c:
The fifth (and final) book is for a cat that didn't appear in this story, but one of the lines in the last part was aimed at her. It will be titled Fallen Loyalties, and if you read it will probably clarify that line. c:
As always, constructive criticism is appreciated (please do use it, I don't want the admins to hunt you down c:)
Until next time,