Dark of Night
I am Dark of Night, perhaps it was more than a "job" to serve Ash. She was a kind, caring she-cat who controlled the Tribe well. We were called this "Spy Army" and I had been a kit when it first started. I guess the Spy Army went pretty well, for example, we were a very civilized group, and all of us were loyal.
Occasionally there were Clan attacks, but when I was born, it dwindled to nearly no attacks at all. Piles of the Falling Ash, otherwise known as Ash, kept us together. She was a great leader, and never failed to listen to a Tribemate's words.
None of us yearned for power, for it meant doing all the plans, fending off Clan attacks, meeting with all the Clan leaders during a Peace.
In fact, it was Ash that went to the nearest Clan, asking them for a Peace. It had started even before I was born, when Ash hadn't even been leader yet. Her mate, Eagle that Swoops had helped. He in fact was the leader before Ash. Together, they went to BrushClan, where they asked for a Peace. The Clan agreed, and spread the news to the other Clans during a "Gathering".
To us, we didn't have Gatherings. The Clans met every full moon, and shared news and gossips. We had Peaces. A Peace was the time to gossip and mingle with the Clan cats, be with different cultures for once, make new friends.
It only happened every three moons, and the Clans only welcomed us in their territory on this day. It lasted the whole day, until moonhigh. Then the Peace ended, and the Tribe was to leave. It was all so peaceful, and I loved the life Ash and Eagle gave us.
This was me, when I was a kit to when I became a soldier to serve.
"Dark of Night!"
I whirled around, tail fluffed up. "What?"
"I told you," My mother mewed stermly. "Not to go near those rocks!" She glared at me, my skinny legs, my frail tail. I knew she was just worried about me, but I wasn't worried at all. "It's fine, Mother!"
She grabbed me gently, and dragged me to the Hollow Tunnel. "Play in here with the other kits, Dark."
I sighed. It wasn't that I didn't like to play in the Hollow Tunnel. It was just boring. I only padded in, knowing I would have to wait before I got to play at the Pile of Stones.
"Hey Dark of Night!" Squealed my best friend, Flight of Hawk.
She purred and brushed against me. "I was wondering when you were going to come play with us!" I didn't really reply, just ducked away and headed deeper into the tunnel. Flight padded after me, jabbering about the "fun" they had.
"So Mother told me to tell you that your Mother is planning something big! Probably some cool hunting technique, or a fighting drill. Maybe even how to play! Isn't it great? Isn't it?" Flight of Hawk turned in circles eagerly. "I really hope she teaches us more playing skills!"
My mother was Piles of the Falling Ash, or just Ash, and she was the leader of the Tribe. My father, Eagle that Swoops died, and she became more of a solitary figure, and a more protective figure. And today, she was going to call a huge meeting.
"Dark! Dark! Look at this stone we found!"
I turned, and glanced at the stone they were playing with. It was amber, and it glowed in the faint light. "Wow..." I breathed, reaching to touch it. It was smooth, and didn't make a sound as I slid it around. I was fasinated by the sight, and the others were too. This wasn't something we usually found in the Hollow Tunnel.
"Should we put this at the Pile of Stones?" One of the older kits, Flame Spirit asked. I shook my head, and so did Flight.
"If you put it over there, then we can't play with it. Mother won't let me." I pointed out. "We should keep it here, where we can watch over it." Flight also nodded, explaining what her mother, Stream of Rushing Water had said. Flame only sighed, and dropped it back on the ground.
It dropped without a sound, not even a clatter that wouldn't show that it was even dropped. It just spun around a few times, then stopped, and sat there.
We stared, tranfixed by the object. "Why does it never make a sound?" I whispered to the others. But they had no answer. No idea why this stone was so special.
"Let all cats, even kits, gather now!"
All of us turned, and dashed out of the Hollow Tunnel. "I'm getting there first!" I squealed, swerving about a corner and skidded to a halt next to Flight's mother. Slipping and sliding, I sqeaked and crashed into Stream's side.
"Steady, young'un, don't go too fast on this rocky floor." Flight's mother purred, licking my head. I squirmed away, and settled down. Flight skidded to a halt next to me, and the rest of the kits filed in behind us.
"So today, I have brought you here to witness the apprenticing of Flame Spirit, Ice of the Rocks, and Wind of the Mountains." Ash mewed proudly. "The Spy Army will live on!"
I had never understood this "Spy Army". We weren't spies. Spies were cowards, and we weren't cowards. Plus, we hadn't fought a war with the Clans in moons. I heard that the Clans were dangerous cats, and that we needed to rid of them, but Ash decided not to.
"Stream, why are we called the 'Spy Army'?" I asked Flight's mother. She smoothed my fur, then replied.
"We are a tribe, that sneaks through the earth because the Clans have taken the plains where we had lived. From then on, we were spies, patrolling the area secretly, and of course, slowly conquering our area back."
In my mind, everything didn't register. We shouldn't be spies, true warriors fought in the open to show their skills. But those were my thoughts.
Those were the times when I was a kit. I was so young and lively, yet so innocent. The more I learned about the Clans and what we really were, I became more distant, and more outgoing.
Even Flight of Hawk, my best friend, knew the differences in my attitude. Till this day now, I always look back, and notice the difference in my behavior as my life went on and changed.
The next will show my thoughts and my experiences when I was an apprentice, and was just learning the meanings of being a "Spy Army" warrior.
"Dark of Night, are you ready to go out to see the territory?" My mentor, Flash of the Beam asked, certainly irritated.
I had been sitting with my back to the entrance for a long time now. I hated the idea of now becoming a "Spy Army apprentice." I didn't want to be a "spy" because I thought they were cowards. And now being called one? Just no.
"Dark, I'm sorry to disappoint your sulking time, but it's time we set out so you, not me, can see our territory."
I sighed, and got up glumly and stomped out past my mentor. And almost immediately, I fell off a cliff. I let out a yelp, suddenly feeling the ground disappear under me. "Help!" I shouted.
Then teeth grabbed my scruff, and pulled me up. "And what did I saw right after the ceremony?" Flash asked, obviously annoyed now.
I muttered mutinously. "You told me to follow you."
"Exactly! Now if you weren't my apprentice, then I wouldn't have saved you." That was reasurring. I only hung my head, gritted my teeth, and silently cursed about how stupid I had been. Then without another word, Flash whipped around, and started and a brisk pace towards the borders.
I glumly followed behind him, wishing I actually had a better mentor, and that he would actually care. Flash kind of just stalked away, after I had nearly fallen to my death! One day I was so going to get him back.
Stumbling along, I trudged after him until we stopped by a river. "So, we're going to learn how to fish today, since you don't have the attitude to patrol the whole area today." He glared at me.
I only lowered my head, still defiant about his attitude. Whenever he asked me if I got it, I only nodded, not in the mood to talk to him. The lesson went on and on, and when the sun set, I still had not caught a single fish. Feeling very frustrated, I smacked my paw down on the river, making the water splash all around me.
Flash, who hadn't changed his attitude, snapped. "You can only learn when a beating happens. Come on, Dark of Night, just try again one more time." ~*~
In my mind, nothing would be right again. I hated fishing, I hated those stupid fishes. And yes, that was how immature I was back then. More and more happened when I was just an apprentice.
The Peace is next, and I was certainly excited for it. I had heard of these "Peace Meetings" where we got to meet the Clan cats. And I thought the Peace was pretty entertaining, it was my first time meeting those different cats.
"Today's the Peace!" Flight shouted excitedly. I sat, my tail flicking back and forth. We had been apprentices for two moons now, and I was eight moons old. Today was something called the Peace. It was the day we got to meet the Clans, and share info about the lands and stuff.
To be honest, I was quite interested. Frankly, I was always interested in meeting these "Clan cats". I wondered what they were like.
Last night, I had a dream where I met these Clan cats and we chatted. But in the end, a dark cloud passes overhead, and the rain poured down hard. After that, the Clans had shouted something like. "StarClan blames us for letting you on our territory! Never shall we meet in a Peace again!"
But that was a dream. This was real. My mother, Ash, called for everyone to gather. "Those attending the Peace gather now! We shall leave when the sun reaches the mountains." This was even better. We were going to leave soon.
Flash of the Beam, my mentor, snorted behind me. "Are you excited Dark of Night?" He asked.
I only nodded, my paws scuffling impatiently. He snorted again, and laughed. "I had never thought I would see you, Dark of Night, be excited about something."
Swiping amusingly at Flash, I purred. "I have something called emotions Flash, I do believe you lack that."
That wasn't entirely true, since Flash is always irritated and annoyed by what I do, no matter what I do. Flash only tapped me softly with his tail, eyes amused, and just walked away.
I heard Ash's calls to head for the Big Oak, and I scurried off. Flight was racing next to me, her short legs keeping her from going any faster. Impatient, I strengthened my stride, and scooted ahead of Flight. My friend only yowled in frustration, and tried to keep up.
The wind whistled around me, blowing back my fur, I felt it touch me, feel me, and bind around me, getting comfortable with my speed. It was almost as if the wind was trying to be my friend.
And then I reached it. The great Big Oaks. This was where the Clans met every full moon, and every three moons, we would come over in a Peace.
"Welcome Tribe." Flamestar rumbled. He was russet colored tom with blazing yellow eyes. "It seems you are doing well."
Piles of the Falling Ash nodded. "Yes, we are doing fine. I assume SummerClan is doing well?" Her gaze traveled over the swarm of cats.
"Fine. We're doing fine." Flamestar mewed coolly.
A calico she-cat padded over. "Welcome, Ash. It's been three moons."
Ash dipped her head. "Yes it has, Briarstar. Is HailClan well?" The calico she-cat's face was half black and half orange, her pelt patched with colors.
"All is well. Is your Tribe well-fed?" Ash nodded. "We are."
I fluffed out my fur. "Flight, there's so many cats here!" My friend nodded, her eyes eyed, and her tail was bushed. "I didn't know there were so many Clans!"
"You didn't? Are you new?" A voice mewed curiously. I whirled around, eyes wide with fear. "Who are you?"
A gray tom with sapphire blue eyes was standing in front of me. His shoulders rippled, and his tail swung in a wide arc. "I'm Stonepaw. Who are you two?"
"Flight of Hawk, but you can just call me Flight." My friend mewed. Her round yellow eyes were glancing at Stonepaw with curiousity.
Stonepaw purred. "Lovely name you got there, Flight. What about you?" His blue eyes surveyed me. I lifted my head, and glared defiantly at him. "Dark of Night."
"Otherwise known as Dark." My mentor Flash came over. "I see you've grown Stonepaw."
They gray tom nodded. "I was just an apprentice when we first met, Flash of the Beam." The tom dipped his head politely.
Flash let out a purr. "Ah yes. Now is my apprentice bothering you? She's quite rude." My mentor's striped tail rested on my shoulders. I growled softly, and scowled at him.
Stonepaw stifled a purr. "No, I bothered her I believe."
My mentor only shrugged, and wished Stonepaw good hunting. The gray tom glanced back at me. "So it's Dark?" I nodded stiffly. "Yup, Dark of Night."
Flight swished her tail in excitement. "Stonepaw, do you know how many Clans there are?"
The gray tom glanced at the clearing filled with cats. "Lots." He murmured. "Even I don't know." Then he offered. "Would you like to meet Shimmertail?" I shook my head. "I think I'll stay here for now." Stonepaw nodded. "See you around then."
Flight raised her tail, waving it like a tree in strong wind. Stonepaw dipped his head again, then turned to trot towards the main clearing.
Flame Spirit came bounding over. "Come on, Flight, Dark! This way!"
We bounded after him, following him to a sheltered bush. "Look." Flight mewed. "There's so many here!"
Cats milled around the area, mingling around. "Flame," I muttered. "What do we even do in a Peace?" The older tom glanced over at me. "Oh, we just mingle and chat with whoever we want. That huge rock over there is only so that the leaders can gather their Clans and go without leaving anyone behind."
"How many Clans are there." I mewed, getting more curious.
Flame Spirit swished his tail. "I would say... maybe... I have no idea. There's so many that even the leaders don't bother counting. They live all over the plains and mountains. It's amazing!"
It was. I curled my tail, thinking about all these wonderful cats. Maybe these Clan cats weren't all so bad. An orange tabby came over. "Hey Flame Spirit."
"Oh hey, Gingerpaw." The older Tribe cat purred. "How's it going in SunClan?"
"It's great! Prey's been running well, and our closest neighbor, RuneClan hasn't been doing much around us. We must be scary." Gingerpaw purred. When Flame snorted, Gingerpaw bared her teeth. "Scarier?"
Flame pretended to cower in fear. "Oh! Too scary! Don't hurt me!" I laughed, seeing that Gingerpaw and Flame were good friends. She seemed nice too. Her brilliant green eyes shone brightly in the sunlight.
Flight tugged me away as Gingerpaw and Flame continued to tease one another. "Minnowpaw!" Flight called. A brown she-cat with dark green eyes turned around. "Oh there you are, Flight!"
The two met, touching noses briefly. "Who's this?" Minnowpaw asked curiously. "Are you Dark?"
"Dark of Night." I mewed curtly.
Flight purred. "She always says that. But we all call her Dark."
Minnowpaw's eyes flashed amusingly. "A race to the rabbit warrens?" She suggested. When we both looked confused, she mewed. "Those ferns over there. Behind them are where the rabbits live. And just past there is my Clan, SwiftClan."
SwiftClan... "Let's race." I mewed, eyes shining. I was kind of fast, though I'm sure I could beat this SwiftClan cat in a race to the warrens."
Minnowpaw smiled. "Ready... Set... GO!"
Together, we dashed down the hill, charging for the rabbit warrens. Minnowpaw's legs skimmed over the wet grass, and she slowly pulled ahead of me. I pushed hard, desperate to beat Minnowpaw. But in the end, she still beat me to it.
The Peace was fun, I have to admit, and I certainly enjoyed my day there. I smiled as I thought about all those apprentices who laughed, and joked with me. My paws were weary now, and I was tired from mingling and chatting for the day.
I never forgot those days where we had Peaces and how the Clan cats were so kind to us. There were so many of the Clans, and I didn't meet so many before the disaster happened.
This next part shows how the Spy Torture split away from the Clans. I was a warrior when this next part happened. Flash still teases me about how impatient I was back when I was an apprentice, and I'd reply by saying "I'm still impatient, what are you talking about?"
It was quite sad, seeing the Peace fall apart and the moons we spent with the Clans lost. Though it's probably better for you to see this yourself.
"Let's go hunt, Dark!"
Flight was circling me impatiently. "I want to go hunting today!"
"We don't decide what we do everyday, Flight." I laughed. "We have to wait and see what Ash says."
"Fine." She mewed, pretending to pout.
"Actually," Ash mewed padding over. "You two go hunt with Flame Spirit."
Flight's eyes shone with excitement, and she raced over to our denmate, Flame. "Come on! We're going hunting!"
My best friend, Flight of Hawk still acted like the kit she was twelve moons ago. Twelve moons since we were born as kits, twelve moons and she's still as playful as she was when we were kits. Flash said I had grown more mature, but still as impatient as a hog.
"Let's go!" Flight shouted, twirling around us. "You two are as slow as mice!"
"Mice are quite fast." Flame mewed, whiskers twitching. He had been a full-grown cat for four moons now, and Flight and I had only been made warriors two moons ago.
"Not fast enough so that we can't catch them!" Flight exclaimed. Flame shrugged, his eyes alight with amusement, and ambled after the brown she-cat.
I scurried after them and sniffed the air. "There's birds 'round here." I pointed out when I noticed Flight circling the area.
Flight rolled her eyes, and mewed. "Yeah well, I want some fish."
"You can't catch fish on land, Flight." I snorted, walking over to the river. I watched the riverbank and dove in. The water rushed around me, and the bubbles rose. I dove deeper, and reached a school of fish. Grabbing for one, I rose to the surface.
Flight was chatting with Flame, her ears growing red and her cheeks blushing. I huddled in the water, and listened. "Flight... Will you be my mate?"
"Yes." My best friend breathed. "Please."
They came together, and I just stood there in the shallows, not knowing what to do. Seeming useless in this scene, I dove back down for more fish.
The bright green minnows darted about, oblivious of my arrival. I also saw schools of carp moving together in unison. I grabbed a carp and a minnow then went up for breath.
By now, Flight and Flame were cuddled together, still cooing at each other. Love. I rolled my eyes.
I scooped up the three fish I caught and passed two to the still murmuring Flight and Flame. They looked up in surprise, and Flight pouted. "Dark! You had to ruin the moment."
I shrugged, and padded back to camp with the carp in my jaws. The Tribe was murmuring about something, and I regonized the young warrior, Snarl. He padded to my mother, and growled. "The Clans have been crosing the borders! They should be driven out!"
Ash mewed. "We are not barbarians. We will not act until the Peace. We must see what the others have to say.
Snarl seemed to hiss in frustration, then stalked away, tail lashing. He seemed to be a good Tribe warrior, but his temper and his need to kill the Clans were overwhelming.
"Dark of Night."
I glanced back, and saw Ash padding over. "I want you to be in the patrol with Smoke of the Bright Fire, he is getting old, and I want him to see that you have the makings of a great warrior." I nodded, and got a little excited. Ash wanted me to be deputy next!
Smoke was gathering his patrol, and called to me. "You coming, Dark?"
I nodded and scampered over, dropping the carp by th pile of fresh-kill. Dashing over to Smoke, the deputy flicked his tail for us to head out.
Snarl was there too, and he kept asking about the Clans. Smoke snarled. "We're heading over, okay?"
Snarl shrugged, but kept on bugging the others. He's always asking for attention. I snorted. Snarl whipped his head around and glared at me. I glared back, and raised an eyebrow. He growled a bit before turning back to the border.
"There's scentmarks here!" Snarl yowled, sniffing about. Smoke walked over, and nodded. "True, but we're close to the borders. It probably drifted over in the winds."
"No," Snarl hissed. "Clan cats crossed over."
I rolled my eyes and sniffed the air myself. "The scent's stale." I pointed out. Snarl glared at me once more, obviously angry that I pointed that out. Smoke nodded. "It's nothing to worry about, they aren't doing any wrong."
But when we patroled FireClan territory, Snarl sniffed loudly. "There is definetly scent here."
Smoke once again apraised him for pointing that out. I sniffed too, then realized it was the wind. "It's just the wind." I smirked. Smoke then took my remark to consideration. "It does smell like the wind carried it over..."
Snarl hissed softly, then padded towards the next border. It happened over and over, until in the end, I snarled. "Stop asking for attention! The Clans have done nothing wrong." But this time, I made a mistake. GorseClan had most definitely been crossing the border, but I was just fed up with Snarl.
Smoke narrowed his eyes. "Dark, show some respect. Snarl actually found some true evidence."
"He could have done it himself to make him look good." I mewed hotly. Smoke's eyes blazed. "That's enough, Dark. Ash said you would have been a good deputy, but you're too stubborn to see past the outline of a cat."
Then I realized what went wrong. By voicing my opinion, I had ruined my only chance at deputy. I had pretty much failed my mother...
It was Peace day now, and I sullenly padded behind Flight. I was sulking because I had cost myself I chance to be a great leader. Now it was too late.
Ash had begun to assign factions, and I was assigned to a low duty faction. The leader was a oung she-cat who had been born after Dark. Her name was Shard of Ice. Her brothers and sisters were also part of this faction, along with Shard's mentor.
I had never been more disappointed with myself. As the Peace went on, I only saw the faces I knew, then. "I declare the Tribes guilty!"
Ash's eyes blazed. "How are you? DeepClan have been crossing the borders!"
The fight went on and on, but my head only drooped down. It was like my dream before, the destruction of the Peace.
But when we went back to camp, it ended. My peaceful life. Snarl snuck up behind my mother, ending her life right before our eyes. Tears welled as I watched him throw my mother's body away like trash. I padded over, and mourned for the great leader.
Life as I knew it had ended, and now I was just a warrior serving for Shard of Ice's cause, The Rebellion.