This is Season 1 Episode 7 of Unstable Times, we're almost to the season finale! Song is Invincible by Ruelle.

Enjoy, read, and comment.

Dark Days

I see the look in your eyes

I know you're thirsting for blood

Snowfire's POV

I feel it stirring inside

But you got nothing on us

Snowfire was grooming herself in peace, a couple of moons had passed, along with gatherings. What took me more by surprise was Sparrowstar's... Passive action towards Windclan, he was one of the main instigators of the war, I wonder what changed... Age? She thought to herself as she sat in the leaders den.

She blinked when Emberleaf walked into her den, she bowed her head quickly, then muttered, "Hawkflight and a couple of warriors need to talk to you."

"About?" Snowfire asked, she narrowed her eyes when Emberleaf's ears went back nervously. "What, what is it?"

"I think it's best that you hear it from them." Emberleaf explained quietly. Snowfire sighed, and stood up, she followed her deputy out of the den, only to see a small group of warriors staring up at her.

She jumped down to meet Hawkflight, "What? What do you need?" She asked mildly, the warrior flicked his tail.

"There have been a couple of border patrols with Shadowclan that have been... Rather tense," he noticed her gaze darkening, "No fights, just verbal bites, listen, Snowstar-"

"Snowfire, I decided to keep my warrior name for now, go on." She pushed.

"Listen, we need to at least show Shadowclan that we're not in ruins, we're on our way to our former strength," he said calmly, "They've been getting too close into our borders, we need to show them."

Snowfire narrowed her eyes, "You want to risk restarting the war because they're getting a bit too confident?" She asked carefully.

Hawkflight nodded quickly, followed by the warriors behind him. Snowfire shook her head though, "No. No! The war is over, what's done is done, Darkstar has seen our strength in the past moons, he is no fool, he will not make the same mistakes he did last time," she snapped, "He'd rather wait for a perfect time to cut us out of the four clans, it's better to wait and prepare for that day, if it ever comes."

Hawkflight argued, "But-"

"I said no! I'm not restarting a war, if he comes, let him come, we'll show him who's the stronger clan." Snowfire growled, "I'm not going to attack first."

Hawkflight looked disappointed, "That passitivity will not save us, Snowfire." He growled dangerously.

"Watch your tongue, Hawkflight, Snowfire knows what she's doing." Emberleaf growled defensively, standing by her leader. Emberleaf had drawn herself up to full height, Hawkflight seemed intimidated by her, and quickly backed off.

Snowfire huffed, and looked at the other warriors, "I won't have preemptive strikes on Shadowclan, Spiderfang!" She called the older warrior over.

"Yep?" He asked rather happily. Snowfire twitched her whiskers.

"You and Emberleaf handle border patrols, make sure none of them get any ideas, we're outmatched right now. To act is to destroy all that we worked for." Snowfire ordered.

Spiderfang nodded and turned to the warriors, shooing them away. Emberleaf looked at Snowfire, "Don't worry about them, I'll have a talk with them."

Snowfire watched as the brother and sister went to do what Snowfire had asked, Vinespeck walked up to Snowfire and whispered under her breath, "I had another vision." Snowfire followed her back to the medicine cat den, Vinespeck flicked her tail nervously.

"What was it?" Snowfire asked curiously.

"It was rather plain compared to my other dreams, however..." Vinespeck looked up at the sky, "I was standing in Shadowclan territory, staring at the stony twin peaks. The two mountains blocking us from whatever is beyond it, it was in the middle of night." She looked down at the ground.

"What?" Snowfire pushed.

Vinespeck took in a breath, "It was... Something else, I was standing there, staring at the peaks, then the sun rose in a flash of light, ash filled the clearing, except I could breath fine and see clearly. Then, the dream ended."

"You think that means something?" Snowfire asked.

"I think there is something coming, Snowfire, something is coming from the peaks, and it's going to be coming soon." Vinespeck rasped.

Snowfire widened both her eyes, "Sun and ash seem to be a recurring theme for your visions." She pointed out.

Vinespeck gave a small laugh, "That is true."

Snowfire left the old medicine cat alone, and returned back to the leaders den. She sat in the silence, pondering on Vinespeck's dream until her vision seemed to blur from exhaustoin. She jumped when a deep voice murmured, "Snowfire."

She looked around quickly, and realised the entrence was blocked by darkness, she gaped when Jaystar walked out, nothing more then a mist, he stood over her, giving off the air of a powerful cat. Snowfire stammered, "Wh-What? Did I fall asleep?"

"Does it matter?" He asked quietly.

Snowfire looked down at his paws, "I guess not." She murmured.

Jaystar huffed, and she looked back up, Jaystar seemed to look back at the darkness behind him, "You are dreaming." He mumbled.

"Fath-Jaystar." She corrected herself, Jaystar looked back at her though, and twitched his whiskers.

"I am your father, Snowfire. That is a correct term to address me." He said with a laugh.

Snowfire bowed her head, Jaystar murmured, "I wish I came on a better note, but I am here for a reason."

Snowfire looked back up when the scene seemed to shift, she was laying by a crystal clear pond, Jaystar continued, "I know deep inside you want to dismiss Vinespeck's dreams as nothing but visions for the far future, I am warning you, my daughter," he growled, "This is not the case, you have the biggest test of your life on the horizon."

"Like the sun?" She asked.

She blinked when Jaystar's eyes widened, "The sun, huh? Yes, exactly like the sun, but, listen to me." He murmured.

Snowfire watched as he disturbed the water, many cats from her past appeared, enemy and friend. He growled, "The more you fight against the darkness, the more you refuse to acknowledge it, the more likely you will become what you despise," he looked at her, "You need to accept that darkness cannot be erased, that you just can't turn away from it and it'll disappear like a nightmare."

Snowfire watched as he disrupted the water again, showing the scene where Snowfire had witnessed Hawkfeather's brutal death, Jaystar whispered sadly, "The more you refuse to look up to the sky, the more you become what you hate."

Snowfire looked away from the pond, Jaystar looked back up, "Darkstar is the least of your problems, Snowfire." He whispered, and disappeared into the wind. She blinked when the leaders den returned.

If Darkstar is the least of my problems... Who is my problem? She thought quietly

You wanted war...

You don't know what you're asking for

Ashpaw's POV

Bring on the fire, bring on the storm

We'll still be here when it's all said and done

"I will admit," Fogheart muttered as Ashpaw finished a grueling battle session, "You've improved quite a bit."

"Thanks." Ashpaw said, he almost met Fogheart's eyes, I'm not quite there yet though! He thought excitedly, he stood on his smaller pads to meet Fogheart, who only leaned back.

"Don't get too excited, you still have a lot to learn before I'm done with you." Fogheart grumbled coldly.

Ashpaw joked, "You almost perfected complimenting me, you had to ruin it."

Foghear huffed, "You're lucky your naivety amuses me, I'm usually intolerant of that trait in anyone else." He flicked his tail and turned away from his apprentice.

"I feel so special." Ashpaw said sarcastically, this caused Fogheart to snort, and mumble, "Don't push it, Ashpaw."

Ashpaw flicked his tail, and followed his mentor to the willow tree, he had attended several of the meetings already, only learning that the cat was a Thunderclan cat unhappy with how things were being run and wanted something done about it. Fogheart took his seat, while Ashpaw sat beside him, eyeing the willow ferns again.

"You've also gotten better at paying attention." Fogheart mumbled as Thunderclan scent hit Ashpaw's nose.

The tabby appeared from the bushes, Fogheart asked, "How's it going?"

"It's starting to get to her, she's good at not showing it, but the pressure is rising, I've even convinced some of my clan-mates that the best course of action is to act against Shadowclan." The Thunderclan tom reported.

Fogheart nodded approvingly, but Ashpaw spoke up, "Against Shadowclan, Fogheart? That doesn't make sense."

Fogheart only eyed him, "Don't mind my apprentice, he's still at the age of being naive." He told the other cat, then flicked his tail at him to continue.

"I'm going to keep at her, she's got to break eventually." The tom mewed with finality. Ashpaw blinked when a hawk landed on a branch in a nearby tree, he felt a chill crawl down his spine, choosing to stare at the Thunderclan tom. The two older warriors kept talking, causing Ashpaw's gaze to drift to the hawk again.

Help me... He thought sadly.

The hawk seemed to narrow it's eyes, and only flew off into the sky, Ashpaw huffed, which caused Fogheart to eye him, "Is something on your mind, Ashpaw?"

Ashpaw didn't say anything for a while, and answered, "No, go on." He lied.

Fogheart didn't catch his lie, and only continued to speak with the older warrior, he felt his gaze drift towards the twin peaks. Shadowclan expressly forbaded any patrols over there, since the time of Gorsestar, no Shadowclan warrior had set foot in those mountains, but Littleleaf hinted at something, Ashpaw was curious on what she meant.

"Ashpaw, time to go." Fogheart grumbled, Ashpaw only followed him away from the Thunderclan tom mindlessly.

"Fogheart, do you know what's in the mountains?" Ashpaw asked as they headed deeper into the territory.

Fogheart narrowed his eyes, "What makes you ask?" He asked dangerously.

"Curiousity." Ashpaw mumbled.

Fogheart huffed, "Many perils, Gorsestar expressly forbade any warriors to go there because we lost many warriors to the mountains."

"Oh." Ashpaw mumbled, and narrowed his eyes suspiciously.

Fogheart nodded, Ashpaw realised he was leading him to the abandoned two-leg house, Ashpaw shivered, This place... Always gave me the creeps.

Fogheart scoffed, "We're just here to help out Littleleaf, we're running out of catnip, winter will be on us soon." He mumbled, and began gathering herbs.

Ashpaw kept watch, his fur was still shivering, Fogheart seemed to be getting the same feeling, "Ashpaw, keep your eyes open." He growled dangerously.

Ashpaw nodded fearfully, and kept in the corner, tail curled between his legs. Ashpaw gasped when a huge shadow leaped out of the darkness of the house, making a weird sharp noise.

Fogheart hissed, "Dog! Ashpaw, run!" He snapped.

Ashpaw could only watch as Fogheart ran without another look at the younger tom, leaving Ashpaw alone, he yelled, "Hey! You forgot something!"

Ashpaw quickly shut his mouth when the giant monster turned to him, eyes sharp and full of hatred. It began towards Ashpaw, who felt himself freeze up in fear.

The dog yelped when another shape landed on it, this one cat sized, Ashpaw gasped when the cat leaped of it and grabbed Ashpaw's scruff. The cat dragged Ashpaw up into the rafters, as the dog growled after them. The cat leaped out of the building, and carried Ashpaw away from the building and his home.

"Hey! Hey! You're going the wrong way, the Shadowclan camp is that way!" Ashpaw snapped.

He gasped when the cat threw him into a small cave. The cat followed him in and eyed the surroundings dangerously.

"I always thought Shadowclan never ran away from problems, I guess I was wrong." The tom said in a gruff voice.

Ashpaw licked out his bristled fur, he asked in a tone filled with a mixture of fear and attempted bravery, "Who are you?"

"Call me whatever, Rock, actually." Rock mewed coldly, Ashpaw finally took in his saviour, he was a huge stone-grey tom with flat amber eyes, but he looked like an aged tom, but not quite at elder age, he was even bigger than Fogheart, yet not as big as Hawkfeather had been.

"Rock, okay." Ashpaw mumbled, "Do you live here?"

"No, I live in the mountains, with my brother," he mumbled quietly, "I don't remember Shadowclan cats being so... Inquisitive, they just acted usually."

"They're not, it's just me." Ashpaw retorted.

Rock snorted at him, "Well, you're welcome for saving your sorry tail."

"Also, wait how would you-" Ashpaw stopped when Rock was already leaving the small cave, he snapped, "Hey, it's not polite to walk away when cats are talking to you!" He followed Rock out of the cave quickly.

"How would I know what Shadowclan cats are like? Little one, you have a lot to learn." Rock grumbled.

Ashpaw could only watch as Rock, the cat brave enough to take on a dog, left towards the mountain path. Ashpaw huffed, and decided to return home.

He growled, Fogheart just left me there! I could have died! So much for loyalty...

When he reached camp, Fogheart was no where to be seen, but Darkstar looked worried, he walked up to the apprentice, "You made it out of there alive, Fogheart made it sound like you didn't."

Ashpaw huffed, "Oh yeah, I'm sure he did."

He pushed past Darkstar, who only narrowed his eyes, he turned back to Ashpaw, "Is there something you need to say, young one?" He asked darkly.

"Your deputy has no sense of loyalty or honour." Ashpaw grumbled in irritation, and walked into the apprentices den, where Pinepaw was sleeping soundly.

Who am I to talk though... Shadowclan never had a sense of loyalty or honour apparently... He thought sadly, his anger quickly ebbing away, replaced with fear and embarresment.

Burn down the bridges and tear down the walls

We'll be standing invincible

Ravenwing's POV

Thunder in my chest

Adrenaline in my veins

"So, that gathering was interesting." Ravenwing chatted with Sootstar who nodded carefully.

"Yes, Snowfire was rather quiet though, she didn't look too well." Sootstar murmured quietly. Ravenwing flicked his tail at him in dismissal.

"Sure, she didn't look too hot, I guess she's still getting used to being leader to a ruined clan. Must take a lot out of you to repair that type of damage." Ravenwing commented.

Sootstar tipped his head, "Thunderclan has been in that state since Jaystar became leader, he was close to reversing it, but like I was already discussing with Ivyblossom, the other clans ruined it because his good heart got in the way of his self-pride." He pointed out.

"No good deed goes unpunished, I guess," Ivyblossom interjected, Ravenwing started to feel mildly uncomfortable, but ignored it, "All those good deeds got him killed and he ended up dragging his best friend down with him."

Sootstar scoffed, "Hawkfeather would have never seen it like that, actually, I think he's the reason that Jaystar decided to take action at all, the last gathering I last saw them. Hawkfeather spoke against Darkstar's methods for dealing with Riverclans temper, even called him out for being no different."

"That's what also got him killed." Ivyblossom grunted.

Ravenwing stepped in front of the two quarreling cats, "Whatever the case, we need to respect their memory and what they sacrificed their lives to do." He mewed dangerously.

Sootstar bowed his head, Ivyblossom only walked away in frustration. Ravenwing mused, "What's up with her? Lately she's been very... Outspoken."

"We're in a very tense time with the other clans, Sparrowstar has assured me he'll look past any misunderstanding for peace, it's my warriors that worry me," Sootstar explained. "A lot of them believe there is still more to be done and the only way to do that is to finish what they started."

Ravenwing joked tiredly, "We never learn?"

"You got it." Sootstar quipped back.

Ravenwing twitched his whiskers at his old friend, Sootstar sighed, "At any rate, you better go on another hunt, winter is almost upon us, I need some prey, not a lot of prey comes out in the cold months."

"You got it, those rabbits aren't getting away from me this time." Ravenwing mewed.

Ravenwing retreated from Sootstar's side and into the plains. He scented the air, the cold sharpness if the oncoming winter hitting his nose, which caused him to sneeze. He flicked his ear when there was a small scuttle in the heather, he got on his haunches and turned quietly towards the noise.

Thus begins the hunt. Ravenwing thought hungrily.

He felt his claws unsheath in anticipation, and readied himself for the chase. He finally leaped, startling the rabbit, but he was faster. He landed on it squarely and killed it swiftly. He huffed and stored it in a nearby thicket, he continued the hunt.

The day was nearly over after his hunting, he had stopped by the Riverclan border hopefully. Soon enough, Silvershade appeared, she joked calmly, "It seems we know each-other enough by now to know the schedule."

"Oh yeah, it's nice to see you, deputy of Riverclan, congratulations!" He laughed happily. Silvershade only twitched her whiskers.

"Thank you, you're still the best hunter of Windclan?" She asked. Ravenwing nodded and whipped his tail back and forth.

"You know those rabbits will never beat me." Ravenwing pointed out.

Silvershade snorted, but the two cats stopped when there was a rustle behind Ravenwing, he whipped around, heart beating fast, but Silvershade seemed confused.

Oh, did someone follow me out here? Things could get really ugly if it's Ivyblossom or Sootstar. He thought dangerously, raising his hackles protectively.

He gaped when it was only Nightshade, she had a confused look on her face. "Ravenwing? What are you doing out this late? Sootstar told me that you might need some help getting the prey back." She mused.

Ravenwing looked back at Silvershade, who narrowed her eyes, Nightshade, however, huffed, "That's not what I'm questioning, Ravenwing."

Ravenwing looked at Nightshade curiously, who stepped up to the Riverclan border, "So you're the new Riverclan deputy right? Silvershade? Nice to meet you, I was Ravenwing's apprentice, Nightshade." She introduced herself calmly, taking both Ravenwing and Silvershade by surprise.

"Nice to meet you too?" Silvershade mumbled, Ravenwing turned to Nightshade in confusion.

"I'm stuck on border patrols, remember? I can recognise your scent, even if it's faint, it's the strongest on the Riverclan border, no one else bothered to notice." Nightshade mewed calmly.

Ravenwing looked at Silvershade, "So... This doesn't bug you?" He asked.

Nightshade huffed, "Why would it? It seems to be the only good thing happening with the clans, you were at the last gathering, you could almost feel the need to fight."

Silvershade looked at Nightshade, "Is Windclan having problems?" She asked.

"Internally and externally," Nightshade answered simply, she looked at Ravenwing, "I'll leave you to it, just tell me where the prey is."

Ravenwing flicked his tail at the nearby thicket, Nightshade bowed once again and retreated. Silvershade asked, "Ravenwing? What did she mean by that?"

"Windclan is having internal strife, looks like my whole clan is almost as paranoid as your leader and you know how dangerous it can be when a group gets paranoid." Ravenwing murmured.

"Sparrowstar has calmed down." Silvershade mewed defensively, to which Ravenwing flicked his tail.

"I know, doesn't mean anyone else has. Snowfire..." Ravenwing mused, "She looked extremely paranoid last gathering. What was she so paranoid about?"

Silvershade shook her head, "I don't know, but from what Sparrowstar said to me after, sounds like he does." She mewed calmly.

"What was it?" Ravenwing asked.

Silvershade turned around to return home, "Herself." She mewed, Ravenwing could only watch as she disappeared into the reed. He finally sighed and turned to catch up to Nightshade, she was already coming for another batch, but Ravenwing stopped her.

"Here, I'll get the rest," he mewed, then added, "Thank you for not mentioning this."

"No problem." Nightshade said with a laugh, then they returned home to Windclan, prey in their paws.

You better bring your best

If you wanna play my game

Silvershade's POV

You wanted war

You don't know what you're asking for...

"Silvershade! How was your patrol?" Sandsplash asked quickly, Silvershade took a step back.

She answered, "Good. What's the rush?"

"It's Sparrowstar, his health is worsening." Sandsplash murmured the last part under her breath, Silvershade twitched her tail in confusion and followed Sandsplash to the leaders den.

Sparrowstar was on his side, the medicine cat looking him over critically, he mumbled, "Silvershade, you have returned."

"What is wrong?" Silvershade asked quietly.

Sparrowstar seemed to be looking up at the rock ceiling, he mumbled, "I can hear it, Starclan calling to me, my time is soon. I have lost a lot of things during my time on this land. My family, my only son, all that's left is my clan, I'm not sure if I'm ready to face my ancestors after the part I played in the war."

Silvreshade stared down at her old leader as he continued, "Silvershade, I'm trusting you with Riverclan's future, the future is unknown... This war is far from over, Silvershade, I feel it right to my core."

Silvershade mused, "The war ended whe Hawkfeather and Jaystar fell."

"Oh, oh no, that was just the beginning, mark my words Silvershade," he looked up at her carefully, "You have your work cut out for you when I go to face Starclan, you're going to be leading in a time of uncertainity, where the wrong step could destroy all of us. Are you ready for it?"

Silvershade took in a breath, then nodded calmly, "You can trust me, Sparrowstar. This clan will stand through the ages." She mewed determinedly.

"I am glad you have grown to be a strong-willed warrior, you're going to be a great leader when your time comes." Sparrowstar mewed calmly, Silvershade bowed when he flicked his tail at her in dismissal, her and Sandsplash walked out of the leaders den to face all of Riverclan looking up at Silvershade nervously.

Silvershade huffed then mewed strongly, "Do not worry, Sparrowstar is still alive," she looked over the warriors, "I understand your fear, our futures are always in question, our way of life as warriors always has us wnodering if we will see another day, but I promise you," she leaned forward, "Sparrowstar, me, any past leaders and future leaders, we will lead you where one thing is certain, that Riverclan will be like the river we're named after, flowing, constant, strong."

Some of the other warriors looked up hopefully, Silvershade twitched her whiskers at them, which seemed to help them relax, she looked at Sparrowstar, who was watching the whole thing unfold, instead of paranoia in his eyes, there was a certain sparkle of pride.

Silvershade jumped off the rock, "Now, we have work to do, prey to catch before winter hits, apprentices to train, to help each-other through one of the harshest seasons we face." She mewed to the other warriors and apprentices, who were bouncing up and down.

"Mothpaw, I've been rather lax with you, but now we're getting down to the stone." Silvershade looked down at her apprentice, Mothpaw looked up at her with wide eyes.

Silvershade looked back up at the warriors, who began nodding in unison. Silvershade huffed, "It's time then, let's get to work."

She set patrols up, with Silvershade leading the fishing patrols, to a younger warrior nammed Reedfur leading the Shadowclan border patrols. Silvershade explained, "As I said, I'll handle any of the Windclan patrols, they're rather relaxed right now, for now, let's focus on our Shadowclan Riverclan border."

The rest of the warriors nodded in agreement and disappeared. She looked at Mothpaw, who mewed, "What are we doing?"

"I'm going to teach you a couple of battle moves, you're already a fair fisher, but your balance needs work." Silvershade mewed.

Mothpaw nodded, Silvershade led her to the training stream, which was a reed covered clearing paired with a rather small stream. Silvershade flicked her tail at Mothpaw to take the other side.

Mothpaw obeyed, Silvershade took the other side, then she mewed, "Attack me with all you got."

Silvershade watched carefully as Mothpaw made her first assualt, as usual, she tripped up. Silvershade stood up on her hind legs, causing Mothpaw to back up a bit. Silvershade mewed, "Come on, Mothpaw, don't be afraid, I'm leaving you an opening."

Mothpaw whispered, "Sorry."

"Don't be, just need to learn to be brave even when it looks like you're outmatched." Silvershade whispered.

They trained long and hard until the day was nearly done. Mothpaw had finally tripped Silvershade up, Silvershade put her paw on her apprentices head, and mewed, "You're doing good!"

Mothpaw glowed, Silvershade laughed, "Come on, I'll treat you to dinner."

Mothpaw followed Silvershade closely back to Riverclan.

Burn down the bridges and tear down the walls

We'll still be here, invincible.

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