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This is the first book in the Dawn of Secrets series. It was originally written by Nighty, but then was adopted by Rainy, then returned to Nighty.

​ALLEGIANCES

BirdClan

Leader: Birdstar: tawny tabby she-cat with blue eyes and a white underbelly

Deputy: Talonheart: white she-cat with brown tabby stripes, green eyes, & a distintive brown heart on her chest

Medicine Cat: Robinfeather: Reddish-dark russet tom with a white undercoat,black stockings,and blue eyes

Medicine Cat Apprentice: Tigerpaw:light orange russet she-cat with black stockings on her front and back paws,she also has amber eyes

Warriors:

Poppyflower: tawny she cat with blue eyes and black flecks on her pelt

Moonchaser: white tom with light grey splotches and blue eyes

Hawkfeather: brown she cat with tawny lynx points and green eyes

Mudtail: Light Brown tom with a darker undercoat and yellow eyes

Gleamclaw:a silvery she cat with blue eyes,a white under coat,and white paws

Flamewing: Reddish Russet Tom with orange paws and undercoat he also has amber eyes

Swanflight: Albino she-cat (only one known to survive)

Eagletalons: Silvery tabby she cat with ice blue eyes and a white undercoat

Bramblethorn:Black tom with brown tabby stripes and stockings,also has green eyes

Phoniexfeather: orange she-cat with green eyes and russet paws

Sunbeam: Yellow she-cat with one blue eye and one amber eye she has orange paws also.

Apprentices:

Windpaw: silvery tom with one blind eye on the right and a blue one with sight (Hawkfeather)

Woodpaw: Light brown she cat with yellow eyes(Flamewing)

Finchpaw: Black tabby tom with a white under coat and brown stockings, also has green eyes(Eagletalons)

Blackpaw:black she-cat with amber eyes(Sunbeam)

Queens:

Spottedflower: tawny she-cat with whitw splotches and green eyes

Dovefeather:White she-cat with silver stripes and Blue Eyes

Kits:

Crowkit: black tom with grey paws and yellow eyes(Dovefeather)

Sandkit: small tawny she-cat with amber eyes and brown tail(spottedflower)

Falconkit: Smallest kit; tom with a brown tabby coat and blue eyes(Spottedflower)

SoilClan

Leader: Sunsetstar:orange tom with green eyes

Deputy: Mudstream: brown she cat with royal blue eyes

Medicine Cat: Lilypetal: light tawny she-cat with a white under coat,light brown flecks,and green eyes

Medicine Cat Apprentice: Cracklepaw: brown tom with an orange front left paw and amber eyes\

Warriors:

Swirlheart:dark grey she-cat with a with swirl on her chest and blue eyes

Duskblossom:a she-cat starting from brown on her head darkening to black by her hind legs with yellow eyes

Rainclaw:silvery tom with russet paw-tips and green eyes

Dirtfoot:brown tom with orange stockings and amber eyes

Swiftflight:orange she-catwith a black mask and blue eyes

Rosetail:light russet she-cat with orange tail tip and stocking, also has yellow eyes

Shadowheart:sleek black she-cat with blue eyes

Claytail: light brown tom with an orange tail tip and splotch over right eye, green eyes.

Mudheart:White she cat with brown legs and tail and blue eyes

Rainfur: Grey Tom with blue eyes

Soilfoot:light brown tom with darker muzzle and stockings, yellow eyes

Apprentices:

Streampaw: light grey she-cat with green eyes and brown paws

Icepaw:white tom with icey blue eyes

Creekpaw:black tom with silvery stockings

Shimmerpaw:white she-cat with a a silvery tabby mask and paws

Queens:

Silverpool:light grey tabby she cat with green eyes

Skyflower:White she-cat with blue eyes and silvery paws

Kits:

Bluekit: dark grey tom with blue eyes and orange stockings

Smallkit:black she-cat with yellow eyes(runt)

Snakekit:brown tom with a black muzzle and amber eyes

Brindlekit:Black tom with brown splotches one over his left eye and one brown paw(Front right)

Elders:

Silkheart:white she-cat with sleek smooth pelt that is starting to mat,blue eyes

Ravenfeather: Black tom with yellow eyes and a white paw front right

Antwhisker: Brown tom with scraggly matted pelt

FireClan

Leader:Scourchstar: russet tom with brown stockings and amber eyes

Deputy: Flameclaw: Orange she cat with yellow eyes and one russet spot over her right eye

Medicine Cat: Maplewhisker: slender she-cat with a white and orange tortieshell pelt and blue eyes

Medicine Cat Apprentice: Dovepaw: fluffy gray she-cat with amber eyes

Warriors:

Ashcloud:Grey she cat with blue eyes

Patchheart:White she cat with black splotches and yellow eyes

Dewfeather: Light gray tabby she-cat with green eyes

Dustwhisker: brown tom with long whiskers and green eyes

Blazingpelt: Ginger she-cat with a white muzzle and amber eyes

Cindertail: Dark gray she-cat with black flecks and deep blue eyes

Dawnstreak: Cream she-cat with an orange stripe down her flank and and green eyes

Stormheart: Stormy gray tom with a black tail tip and amber eyes

Apprentices:

Nightpaw: Black she cat with silvery splotches one over her right eye, green eyes.

Autumnpaw: orange-russet tom with white tabby stripes and amber eyes

Burnpaw: Orange tabby tom with green eyes

Sunpaw: Yellow tabby she-cat with yellow eyes

Queens:

Smokebreeze: Gray she-cat with white flecks and amber eyes

Whitewind: Silky white she-cat with green eyes

Kits:

Russetkit: Russet tabby tom with blue eyes (mother: Smokebreeze)

Bramblekit: brown she-cat with white paws and tail tip and amber eyes (mother: Smokebreeze)

Elders:

Twistedtail: orange tabby tom with a bent tail and blue eyes

Silverfur: silver she-cat with blue eyes


Special Thanks to NightshimmerXD Talon Wus Here :D (talk) 16:11, August 13, 2012 (UTC)

PROLOUGE

The sun rose slowly, illuminating the pine trees dotting BirdClan territory.
Sunsetstar sat on the the border of BirdClan on SoilClan territory, licking his paws. His back was to the BirdClan side of the border.
SoilClan warriors lounged in the sun, their paws over the border, reaching into enemy territory.They laughed and joked, unafraid. BirdClan was weak; they wouldn't dream of challenging them.
Behind Sunsetstar a bush rustled.The SoilClan leader continued grooming himself, unworried.
Suddenly, cats shot out of the bushes, screeching. Their claws extended, they raced toward the SoilClan, warriors hissing.
The lounging cats leaped up in suprise. They had just managed to unsheathe their claws when the BirdClan warriors toppled them over.
Sunsetstar saw a sleek tawny she-cat race towards him. Tabby stripes laced down her back, her blue eyes glinting with anger.
Sunsetstar leaped up and met her with outstretched claws.
"Birdstar!" he hissed. She replied with an angry roar, slashing her claws across his face.
Sunsetstar leapt backward, wincing at the taste of blood.
Birdstar lashed her tail. She leapt forward, her claws extended toward Sunsetstar's throat.
Suddenly, Sunsetstar heard a squeak. He glanced over to see a small brown SoilClan apprentice named Dirtpaw gripping Birdstar's tail with all his might.
Then the SoilClan leader saw his chance. He leapt forward, his claws glinting in the rising sunlight.
His paw connected with her throat, and knocked her backwards.He pinned her to the grass, his claws spiking her white underbelly. He raised his paw, and brought it down on her thoat. It was over.
A white-and-brown tabby she-cat dashed over to the dying body of Birdstar.
Birdstar gazed up at the she cat with half-open eyes."Talonheart..." she croaked.
Talonheart tried to flatten down her fur "Birdstar!" she cried, "I thought you were dead!"
Birdstar coughed, blood gurgling in her torn throat."Talonheart, you have been the best deputy I could have ever asked for. Serve my Clan well."
Talonheart's green eyes widened."But Birdstar, I'll still be your deputy! You're not going to die!"
Birdstar closed her eyes. "It is my time. Live up to your name,Talonstar."
Talonheart's breath quickened as she watched Birdstar go limp, and her chest stop rising and falling. Birdstar was dead.
Talonheart lashed her tail. She would get revenge, but not now. "BirdClan Retreat!" she yowled. The cats stopped fighting and grudgingly padded away from the SoilClan warriors.
With thier tail held high the SoilClan warriors padded over the border. Talonheart grasped Birdstar's scruff, and pulled her up onto her back.
With her leader slung across her back, she and the rest of BirdClan padded
DeathOfBirdstar

Birdstar's death

back to camp.

CHAPTER 1

Talonheart wrapped her tail around her paws.

"Eagletalon,can you come here please?" she meowed.

A few seconds later, Eagletalons's silver tabby head appeared.

"Yes, Talonheart?" she meowed.

Talonheart shifted her paws "You do know about Birdstar, right?"

Eagletalons momentarily flattened her ears, strangling back a hiss."I do. Sunsetstar, that fox-heart..." she muttered.

Talonheart pricked her ears. "What was that?" she meowed, tail twitching.

Eagletalons sighed. "Yes, I heard about it. I was there, in fact."

Talonheart nodded slowly. "We will get revenge on SoilClan and Sunsetstar soon.Your mother and leader's death will not go unavenged."

Eagletalon looked suprised."You know about her being my mother?"

Talonheart winked. "I have my sources," she meowed with a flick of her tail.

Eagletalon didn't move "So....was that it?"

Talonheart shook her head. "Actually, I was going to ask you to come with me to get my nine lives."

Eagletalons looked surprised."Don't only medicine cats get to do that?"

Talonheart ran a wet paw over her ear. "I'm sure Robinfeather will be fine with it. So,do you want to come?"

Eagletalon's snorted. "Are you kidding? Of course!"

"Good. We leave at sunrise tommorrow. Get some traveling herbs from Robinfeather."

Eagletalons nodded and padded off to her den. Talonheart padded after her to the warrior's den.

As she tucked her nose under her tail and closed her eyes, she wondered what would happen tommorrow.

Talonheart streatched in her nest yawning. She looked out of the warrior's den to find it was already sunrise. She took a deep breath,and padded out of the den. It was a big day. *****************************************************************************************************************

Talonstar padded wearily into camp, Eagletalon at her side.

Cats noticed her and greeted her with yowls of "Talonstar!", and "Good job, Talonstar!"

Talonstar leapt wearily onto the ClawTree, surveying her Clanmates.

"Cats of BirdClan," she yowled,"we all mourn deeply for Birdstar."

The BirdClan cats murmered to themselves, but Talonstar silenced them with a loud cough.

"It is time to move on though. I have taken Birdstar's place in leadership, and it is time for me to choose a new deputy."

The cats waited in expectant silence.

"StarClan, hear and approve my choice. The new deputy of BirdClan will be Eagletalon!"

"Eagletalon, Eagletalon,Eagletalon!"the cats chorused.

Eagletalon padded up to Talonstar, pressing her head onto her shoulder. Talonstar returned it with a lick.

Eagletalon stepped away, pride glowing in her icy blue eyes.

Talonstar leapt down from the ClawTree, Eagletalon following her. She summoned her new deputy with a flick of her tail, padding out of camp. Eagletalon scampered after her.

She stopped at a tiny brook, wrapping her tail around her paws. Eagletalon stopped also,waiting to hear what Talonstar had to say.

Talonstar stared at the brook.

"This brook is like BirdClan, Eagletalon," she meowed. "Always flowing, always continuing ,but when stopped by a rock, it does not flow."

Talonstar put her paw into the brook, pressing hard. The flow eventually stopped.

"If this brook represents BirdClan, then my paw,the rock, represents many things, anger, jealousy, want for revenge, Birdstar's death, things like that."

Then Talonstar plucked her paw out of the water and sat it on the ground wrapping her tail around it.

"But the never-ending flow will eventually knock the rock out of the water." She smiled,"With a little help from StarClan of course."

Eagletalon nodded with a smile.

Talonstar gently rubbed her tail down Eagletalons's back. "You were the only deputy I wanted," she murmured. "You will be a great leader."

Talonstar flicked her tail. "Go back to camp now," she meowed "Get some rest." Eagletalon nodded and ran off. Talonstar padded off in the other direction; she had someone to meet. ****************************************************************************************************************************

Talonstar paced along the BirdClan/FireClan border. Where is he?

Then she saw the flash of russet fur, and smelled a familiar scent.

A russet head poked out from behind a bush. His amber eyes glinted when he saw Talonstar.

"Scorchstar!" Talonstar meowed, glancing around to see if she was being followed. "Did anyone follow you?"

Scorchstar opened his jaws, tasting the the air.Finally he closed them, satisfied.

"No one" he meowed.

Talonstar sat at the very edege of the border, being careful not to cross it.

"I heard about the battle, what happened?"

Talonstar swallowed. "Birdstar...Birdstar was killed."

Scorchstar nuzzled her sympathetically."That's terrible!" he meowed, sadness in his amber eyes."So... I guess that means you're leader now?"

Talonstar nodded. She pressed her face against Scorchstar's

The two stood there for a while until Talonstar pulled back.

"I've got to go now," she meowed, stepping away from the border.

Scorchstar grinned. "Nice seeing you," he meowed.

Talonstar flicked her tail in reply. She had to get back to BirdClan now.

CHAPTER 2

"I bet I can run faster than you," Aumtumnpaw boasted, his reddish russet head held high.

Nightpaw kicked him playfully. "Can not!"

Autumnpaw smirked. "Can too!"

"Can not!"

"Can too!"

"Can not!"

"Okay, then lets race and see who's right!" Nightpaw nodded feverishly, and the two apprentices crouched down beside the warriors' den at the edge of camp.

"Whoever get to the nursery and back first wins!" she meowed, tail flicking back and forth.

"One, two, three, GO!" She sprung forward her black and silver paws churning up dust. She looked back to see Autumnpaw far behind her.

Almost there! Nightpaw skidded accross the grass trying not to crash into the nursery.She stopped leaping to her paws, seeing Autumnpaw in front of her!

Nightpaw sped away, her paws hardly touching the ground.

She soon saw Aumtumnpaw standing beside the warriors den, a smirk on his face.

Nightpaw tried to stop but collided with the den and flew inside, landing on an ash gray she-cat. Nightpaw flashed an apologetic smile."Uh, whoops. Sorry Ashcloud." she meowed quickly. Ashcloud groaned and rubbed her head.

Nightpaw padded out of the den,glaring at Autumnpaw.He giggled quietly. She quickly silenced him with a hiss.

Suddenly, Nightpaw heard the booming voice of Scorchstar. He stood on the FireTree, a tree half normal and half shriveled by fire.

"All cats old enough to catch thier own prey join beneath the FireTree for a Clan meeting!" Scorchstar yowled.

Cats stuck their heads out of their dens,wondering what was happening. Soon a good many cats had joined together in the clearing that was the FireClan camp.

"Autumnpaw and Nightpaw, come up to the FireTree" Scorchstar spoke in his booming voice.

The two apprentices scampered up to the FireTree hopping on a brach slightly below Scorchstar.

"These two apprentices," Scorchstar flicked his tail toward Nightpaw and Autumnpaw, "have trained very hard. They have passed thier final assesments and are ready to become warriors!"

The cats cheered.

"Nightpaw and Autumnpaw," Scorchstar meowed,"Do you promise to follow the warrior code, put weaker cats before yourself, and defend your Clan even at the cost of your life?"

"I do," the two apprentices chorused.

Scorchstar smiled. "Then by the powers of StarClan, I name you Autumnstorm and Nightshimmer. We welcome you two's speed, passion and loyalty.FireClan honors you you two as full warriors!"

"Nightshimmer! Autumnstorm! Nightshimmer! Autumnstorm!" the cats called. When the cheering died down, one tiny high-pitched voice rose up in the back of the crowd.

"Well I don't think shes fit to be a warrior," said the voice.

Nightshimmer clecnched her teeth. She hated to be teased. She was the smallest cat in the Clan; not much bigger than a newly apprenticed kit.

"Look at how small she is. She's not any bigger than a new apprentice!" The voice yowled.Nightshimmer craned her neck to see it was Burnpaw, a young apprentice just apprenticed last moon.

Burnpaw noticed Nightshimmer was look at him and glared at her.

Nightshimmer hopped down from the FireTree. Cats parted letting her passed. She stopped in front of Burnpaw, who smirked.

"Midget," he sneered.

That did it. Nightshimmer leapt forward with a roar, hurling herself at the young apprnetice. She kept her claws sheathed for a reason she didn't know.

She let her momentum smash her into Burnpaw, knocking him backwards. He lay still on the ground.

The cats stared in shocked silence. Nightshimmer just gaped at the motionless figure of Burnpaw. Suddenly, she heard a hiss.

She looked up to a black and white splotched she cat, dashing madly towards her screeching.

"Patchheart!" Nightshimmer cried.

Patchheart flung herself at Nightshimmer, her claws extended.

Nightshimmer instinctivly slammed her paw into Patchheart's black and white face. She leapt back, clutching her muzzle, then rushed over to Burnpaw.

"Burnpaw!" she cried as she licked his face frantically."Burnpaw, are you okay?"

His eyes flickered open and he coughed. "Mom?" he meowed weakly.

Patchheart's eyes lit up,and she started to licking her son furiously."He's okay" she yowled to the sky.

But instead of rejoicing, the cats started at Nightshimmer in shock.

Scorchstar had watched this all in growing horror. Nightshimmer wasn't evil. Why would she do this? Even so, she couldn't stay in FireClan.She might do this again.

Scorchstar closed his eyes and took a deep breath. He had to get this over with.

"Nightshimmer is here by banished from FireClan!" he yowled

Nightshimmer stood stock-still. Had she heard Scorchstar right? She guessed she had, seeing everyone as glaring at her. She looked at Autumnstorm hoping to see her friend's kind expression, but his back was to her.

She looked around camp, seeing all of her old friends faces looked strange and unfamiliar.

She couldn't take it any longer. All of this hate, taunts, and prejudice she had ever endured seemed to be snapping at her tail. She turned and fled. *****************************************************************************************************************************

Nightshimmer didn't know where she was going. She didn't care either. She just wanted to be away from FireClan.

She skidded around, almost running into a pine tree. She pelted through an opening in the pine trees, finding her self in a large gap between the trees.

She spotted a tree hollow,and leapt inside, hoping to be left alone.

She slowed her breathing, calming down, then opened her jaws and tasted the air.

She inhaled sharply. The was BirdClan scent. She was in the BirdClan Camp!

Nightshimmer's thoughts were innterrupted when she heard claws scratching on tree bark. She saw a white paw appear, groping at the inside of the hollow. Someone was coming in.

Nightshimmer moved to the back of the hollow, trying to disguise herself in the shadows clumped with pine needles.

The paw hauled up a the cat it was attached to up into the hollow.The cat's face appeared, and she was soon sitting in the hollow. Nightshimmer recognozied Talonstar, the new BirdClan leader.

She apparently noticed Nightshimmer and looked at her curiously."Nightpaw?'

Nightshimmer scooted farther back.

Talonstar sighed. "I know you're in there, you might as well come out."

Nightshimmer crept timidly out from the back of the hollow.

"What brings you here, Nightpaw?" Talonstar asked, wrapping her tail around her paws.

Nightshimmer lifted her head. "It's Nightshimmer now."

Talonstar nodded slowly. "You didn't answer my question."

Nightshimmer swallowed. Should she tell her? She was about to reply 'no reason' when words started spilling out. About being ridiculed, getting her warrior name, Burnpaw accusing her, her attacking Burnpaw, Patchheart trying to kill her, and being exiled. Talonstar nodded slowly during all of this.

When Nightshimmer fishished she sighed and looked at the ground. "I guess I should go now," she meowed quietly.

Talonstar blocked her way, a frown on her face."Something tells me you wouldn't make a good loner," she saidwith a scowl on her face.

Nightshimmer's tail lashed" What else could I do?" she hissed.

Talonstar's scowl turned to a smile. "How would you like to join BirdClan?" *********************************************************************************************************************************

Talonstar leapt onto the ClawTree. "All cats old enough to catch birds from the pines join under the ClawTree for a Clan meeting," she yowled.

Cats stuck their heads out of thier dens, wondering what all the commotion was about.

Soon, many cats were seated under the gnarled, spiky tree. Different colors of pelts spotted the ground.

Nightshimmer ran a wet paw over her ear for the sixth time, watching nervously.

"BirdClan needs more warriors," Talonstar meowed loudly, "and when a new cat comes our way, they must be the best."

Cats pricked their ears waiting for more.

"Nightshimmer, come to the ClawTree."

Gulping, Nightshimmer hopped to a lower branch.

"Cats of BirdClan, there is a new member among you today."

Cats milled around in confusion, murmuring quietly to themselves.

"Nightshimmer is now a member of BirdClan!"

Nightshimmer swallowed and smiled nervously. A few cats called her name happily, but most cats muttered in confusion or flattened their ear in hostility.

Talonstar leapt down from the ClawTree. "Clan Dismissed!" she yowled

The cats and the crowd grew gradually smaller. Nightshimmer leapt down from the ClawTree, and sighed. This was her life now, she'd better get used to it.

CHAPTER 3

"Nightshimmer," Talonstar whispered.

Nightshimmer, asleep, rolled over, mumbling something under her breath.

"Nightshimmer," Talonstar whispered loudly, prodding the black she cat marked with grey splotches.

Nightshimmer opened one eye. When she saw it was Talonstar, she sat up sleepily.

Three moons had passed since the day of her exile from FireClan. At first it was hard to adjust to BirdClan life. Leaping from limb-to-limb to catch prey was so different from shadow hunting techniques. However, she had finally gotten the hang of it.

Nightshimmer streched, and Talonstar beckoned her with her tail towards the leader's den.

Talonstar gracefully leapt into the tree hollow, while Nightshimmer scrambled clumsily up the bark.

Talonstar settled onto a moss nest in the middle of the hollow. Nightshimmer sat down on a clump of pine needles

Talonstar sighed. "Nightshimmer," she asked, "do you know who your mother is?"

Nightshimmer flicked her tail sadly. "Well, Scorchstar always said that my mother was some loner that gave me to FireClan. So,no."

Talonstar closed her eyes and took a deep breath. "Do you know your father is?"

"Also no."

Talonstar smiled "Your dad was a leader... of FireClan." Then she frowned. "Well, actually he is the leader of FireClan..."

Nightshimmer scowled in confusion."But Scorchstar is leader of FireClan, and he can't be...." She looked at Talonstar, her eyes lighting up. "Is he?"

Talonstar smiled. "You got it," she meowed.

"But why would Scorchstar have kits with a rogue?"

Talonstar looked away guiltily. "Well, ah, your mother was a Clan cat. I mean Clan leader. Is a Clan leader. Of BirdClan."

As Nightshimmer thought about this, a sickening feeling flooded over her. Her mother was the current Clan leader of BirdClan. Her mother was...

"You're my mother?!" she exclaimed. Head bowed, Talonstar nodded.

"I should've told you earlier..." she mumbled

But Nightshimmer didn't say anything in reply. She just sat there, dread filling in her stomach. She was half-Clan. And a half-Clan cats didn't make good warriors. Half-Clan cats were exiled.

CHAPTER 4

Sunsetstar winced, shifting around on his back. He looked once more at his chest, which was covered in cobwebs to stop the bleeding. Even so, the cobwebs were tinged red.

A light tawny she-cat dotted in pale brown flecks padded daintily up to the SoilClan leader. Her green eyes shone worriedly as she studied Sunsetstar's chest.

"This injury isn't getting much better," she scowled. "I hope you don't lose a life."

Sunsetstar smiled weakly. "Don't worry, Lilypetal. I'll be fine."

A light grey she cat with a swirl on her chest twitched her tail nervously. Her blue eyes occasionally darted back and forth.

Lilypetal padded up to the anxious she-cat. "Swirlheart, what's wrong?" she inquired. "You look nervous."

Swirlheart sighed. "I am nervous," she meowed tiredly," With it being greenleaf and our leader hurt, BirdClan might do a revenge invasion."

Lilypetal patted the worried she-cat with her tail. "Don't worry, that probably won't happen. If it does, we will be ready."

Swirlheart shivered. She could almost already hear the screeches and caterwauls of battling cats. "I hope so, Lilypetal. I hope so." **********************************************************************************************************************************

Cracklepaw peered at a dried yellow flower. He picked it up in his mouth and placed it on the mounds of flowers that looked the same.

Leaves and flowers flew beneath his paws, each ending up in neat piles..

"Yarrow, comfrey, thyme, marigold..." he muttered to himself as he sorted the herbs into piles.

Happiness surged through his paws. Cracklepaw loved being a medicine cat apprentice. He felt that he was doing something useful whenever he sorted herbs, treated a Clanmate, or assisted Lilypetal.

He was about finished when he heard a swish of fur.

"Hi Lilypetal," he meowed without looking up. But instead of Lilypetal's sweet, gentle voice he heard a hoarse, rough one instead.

"Cracklepaw," the voice rasped.

Cracklepaw's head snapped upward.

Standing before him was a scrawny gray tabby tom. Both of his eyes were green, but one skittered around madly, giving him an eerie, slightly insane look. The tabby's fur was rumpled and patchy and looked in desprate need for a good wash.

Cracklepaw instantly knew who this was. "Skittereye?" he asked timidly.

Skittereye stepped toward Cracklepaw, stars glittering in his rumpled fur. His jumpy eye stood still for a moment, twitching ever once in a while.

Cracklepaw stood stock-still. "What is it?" he inquired.

Skittereye stopped, and his eye resumed its jumpy status.

"A great battle is coming," he rasped.

Suddenly, Cracklepaw appeared on the scene of a battlefield. Cats writhed and hissed, claws extended. He saw Lilypetal being overwhelmed by a huge warrior, and Sunsetstar fall beneath the claws of two she-cats. Cracklepaw tried to race over to his leader, but his paws were rooted to the ground. He cried out to Lilypetal, but no one seemed to hear.

"Birds will destroy the flowers," Skittereye's voice whispered in the medicine apprentice's ear,"and the sunset will finally fade."

Cracklepaw was suddenly back in the real world. His eyes open wide. He would have to warn Lilypetal about this before it was too late. *********************************************************************************************************************************

Sunsetstar gritted his teeth. His wound had started to hurt again. Suddenly, he doubled over, coughing. Lilypetal and Swirlheart rushed up to him worriedly.

Sunsetstar moaned, hunched over in pain. His breath came in short quick gasps, and then he was still.

Lilypetal shook her head worriedly. "He's losing a life," she muttered.

Just as she said this, Sunsetstar staggered to his paws. He sat down, breathing heavily.

Swirlheart rushed over to him, wondering what was happening. There was more bad things to come; she could sense it. But SoilClan would be ready.

CHAPTER 5

Eagletalon paced BirdClan camp anxiously. She saw Talonstar, and bounded over to her.

"Talonstar," Eagletalon meowed. "When are we going to attack SoilClan? Our Clan is strong again."

Talonstar licked her paw and looked at her deputy. "Soon, Eagletalon,very Soon."

Talonstar sighed and stood up. "Come to my den," she meowed. "I have something to tell you."

The BirdClan leader then bounded off, leaping gracefully into the tree hollow.

Eagletalon followed closely behind her, and was soon sitting in the dimly-lit hollow.

"So, what did you want to tell me?" Eagletalon inquired.

Talonstar sighed. "I'm going back to FireClan," she meowed."After the attack on SoilClan of course."

Eagletalon's eyes grew wide."But I'm not ready!" she exclaimed.

Talonstar rubbed her tail along her deputy's back gently. "Yes you are," she murmured. "You will be a much better leader than me."

Eaglestar looked mournfully at Talonstar."I hope so." ******************************************************************************************************************************

Talonstar set down her catch, which was a plump vole. She looked over at Nightshimmer, who was burying a freshly caught mouse.

"Nightshimmer," Talonstar meowed.

Nightshimmer pricked her ears and lifted her head."Yes?" she meowed.

"Come over here," she replied. Nightshimmer padded over to the BirdClan leader.

Talonstar looked Nightshimmer straight in the eye. "I'm going back to FireClan after the attack on SoilClan. You can come with me, if you want."

Nightshimmer looked skeptical. "What if they don't want me back?"

Talonstar shrugged. "As I said, you don't have to come. It's your choice."

Nightshimmer nodded slowly. "I'll think about it," she meowed finally

Nightshimmer padded away slowly, thinking about Talonstar's offer.It would be a big decision for sure. But what if she made the wrong choice?

CHAPTER 6

"BirdClan, attack!"

Sunsetstar looked up from a small vole to see BirdClan warriors hurtling themselves towards the SoilClan camps. He jumped up in suprise.

"Invasion!" he screeched."Get ready!"

SoilClan warriors jumped out of their dens. They quickly unsheathed their claws.

The first BirdClan cat to hurtle herself in the camp was Talonstar. She hissed and screeched, her claws whipping out to meet the defending warriors.

Cats began streaming in the camp, yowling and spitting. Eagletalon lashed her forepaws out at a mud-brown tabby tom angrily. A snow white she-cat nipped the heels of a grey-and-white one.

Sunsetstar then saw Talonstar advancing towards him, mowing down any cats in her path.

Eagletalon tore herself away from the lithe brown tabby, and leaped towards Sunsetstar.

The two she-cats joined pace, eyes locked on the SoilClan leader. Eagletalon pulled ahead, racing towards Sunsetstar. Her paws flews out, battering the leader's ears.

Talonstar caught up with her deputy and raked her claws down the SoilClan leader's flank. He jumped and turned, but the she-cats never loosened their grip.

Eagletalons rammed her side into his, flipping him onto his back. Talonstar immediantly began slashing his exposed belly, Eagletalon falling into rythmn beside her.

They stopped when they saw him convulsing. He was losing a life.

He was still. This happened three, four, five, six times.On the seventh time he lay still and did not get up.

The two she-cats looked at each other in horror. They had just killed Sunsetstar seven times.

Suddenly, a gray she-cat leapt out of the shadows with a roar. The only thing Talonstar saw before she was knocked down was the white swirl on the cat's chest. Then a slash of claws, a stab of pain, and blackness. **************************************************************************************************************************

"To me, BirdClan!"

Eagletalon helped Talonstar up. Losing a life could be very disorienting.

They padded back to camp slowly. Talonstar sat down. She wondered what Nightshimmer's answer was.

"Nightshimmer," Talonstar meowed.

Nightshimmer turned her head toward the Clan leader. "Yes?"

She moved closer to the black-and-grey she-cat. "Have you decided yet?"

Nightshimmer nodded. "I'll go," she meowed quietly.

Talonstar flicked her tail and looked at the moon. "We need to and go ahead and go," she said.

The two padded out of camp and into the forest. Soon,they crossed over into FireClan territory. Nightshimmer took the lead now; she knew her way to camp by heart.

The two she-cats were now close to camp. Nightshimmer held up her tail,signaling for Talonstar to halt.The brown-and white leader halted and waited for further instructions from her daughter.

Nightshimmer padded silently up to the camp entrance, an opening in the densely packed bushes intertwined with kudzu and bracken vines. She unsheathed her claws and scratched the brittle weed gently, causing a harsh, dry sound. Nightshimmer waited.

Suddenly, Scorchstar appeared out of the shadows. He stepped out of the camp without a sound and glared at Nightshimmer.

"What are you doing?!" he hissed. Nightshimmer looked at him straight in the eye.

"We've come to join FireClan, and I know you're my father," she meowed matter-of-factly.

Scorchstar narrowed his eyes and hissed, "What makes you think I'll let you back in the Clan?"

Nightshimmer leaped toward him,claws inches from his throat. "If you don't let us join, you'll meet the same cat I was on my warriors ceremony," she hissed ominously.

Talonstar forced her body between the quarreling cats. "Guys, quit! This is madness!" She stared at Nightshimmer. "You should be ashamed, Nightshimmer," she scolded,"and Scorchstar, there is no need for this! What has gotten into you two?"

Scourchstar hung his head and murmured something under his breath. Nightshimmer lashed her tail back and forth in irritation.

Talonstar looked at Scorchstar in the eyes. "We've come to join FireClan. Will you accept us?"

"Fine." Scorchstar mumbled the word reluctantly."Ceremony'll be in the morning."

Talonstar nodded. "May we rest in camp?"

Scorchstar nodded. "In my den so strange scents won't float around the camp."

The two nodded, and stepped quietly inside FireClan camp. They padded up to the leader's den, a roomy fallen log, and lay down inside. Talonstar was exhausted. She closed her eyes and was immediately asleep.

When she opened her green eyes, she saw she was in a forest of tall pines. Golden sunlight streamed through the patches in the needles and making dancing patterns upon the ground.

She saw a cat leap nimbly out of the pines. Shimmering stars shone faintly through her tawny tabby pelt, and she took long, graceful strides towards Talonstar.

She recognized Birdstar. The leader padded up to Talonstar with a worried expression.

"Are you sure you want to join FireClan? There's no going back," she meowed ominously. Talonstar nodded.

Birdstar sighed and pressed her head agsinst Talonstar's. Then she drew back.

"Talonstar, leader of BirdClan," she meowed. "Do you object losing your leadership? Speak now or forever hold your peace."

Talonstar was silent. Birdstar continued with the ceremony."I may take away your name, but not your nine lives; you have proved yourself worthy to keep them."

Talonstar nodded. "I'm ready."

Birdstar stood before her former deputy, her green eyes reflected with starlight. Her pelt smelled of raging fire and cool ice, and the air surrrounding her smelt of racing, untamed wind, wild and free.

"As your precedecessor and member of StarClan, I take away your leadership, Talonstar, leader of BirdClan."

Talonstar felt herself rising into the air, surrounded by swirling mist. She felt a heavy burden lift from her heart, and felt a strange feeling. She wasn't leader. She wasn't a warrior. With no leader or warrior name, she was just Talon, a random cat. Then Birdstar spoke once more.

"Talon, by the powers of StarClan I name you Talonheart, warrior of FireClan, mother of Nightshimmer and mate of Scorchstar. Hear and approve my choice."

Talonheart felt the mist swirling away, and fell to the ground. Her heart filled with pride. Talonheart.

Suddenly, starry cats appeared from the shadows, chanting her name.

"Talonheart,Talonheart, Talonheart!" they called. Talonheart bristled with pride and happiness.

Birdstar padded back up to Talonheart."Go now," she said softly,"Be with your new Clan."

And Talonheart woke up.

CHAPTER 7

Eagletalon took a deep breath and looked dubiously at the cave in front of her.

"Is this it?" she asked.

"Yup," Robinfeather, the medicine cat, answered. He stepped inside the mouth of the cave, pausing to glance back at Eagletalon. "You coming?"

Eagletalons nodded and followed him nervously into the cave. They padded slowly through a long, narrow passage for what seemed like hours, and finally got to a big clearing in a cave. In the middle of the clearing was a small stream, glittering with unseen light.

"Crouch down and dab your paw in the water," Robinfeather instructed. Eagletalons did so, frozen by the touch of the bitter cold water. She closed her eyes and waited.

"Open your eyes, Eagletalon," a voice boomed.

Eagletalon blinked her eyes open slowly. Before her stood a hard-muscled tom with a glossy gray tabby coat and bright green eyes.

"Who are you?" Eagletalon asked.

"I am Birdstar, founder of BirdClan. Your Birdstar was named after me."

Eagletalon nodded, mystified. She was meeting the cat that had founded her Clan!

Birdstar beckoned her with his tail. "Come," he meowed. He padded off, with Eagletalon following behind. He reached a clearing surrounded by pines, and padded off into the shadows.

Then a different cat emerged into the clearing. Her tawny-tabby pelt was well groomed, and her blue eyes sparkled.

"Hello Eagletalon. Are you ready to recieve your nine lives?" she asked, her voice clear and musical.

"Yes,Birdstar," Eagletalon breathed.

Birdstar pressed her head against Eagletalon's."With this life I give you loyalty, use it well to lead your Clan."

Eagletalon felt a wracking pain course through her body. She saw every cat she had ever met and felt a powerful surge of loyalty shoot through her at each face.

Birdstar drew back her head, and Eagletalon's slumped to the ground. She took a deep breath and stood back up as Birdstar walked away.

As Birdstar dissappeared, a golden she-cat stepped towards her, pelt glowing like the sun's rays. The she-cat's green eyes sparkled like firecrackers. Her plumed tail twitched.

Eagletalons dashed up and nuzzled her. "Sunfeather!" she cried.

Sunfeather nuzzled her in reply."Hello, sister."She pressed her head againts Eagletalon's. "With this life I give you courage. Use it well to defeat the darkest terrors."

Eagletalon was standing on top of a hill, fighting a badger. Even though the creature was two times her size, she felt no fear. She felt an agonizing surge of pain as the badger's claws struck her side.

She opened her eyes and saw her sister padding away. "Sunfeather!" she cried. Sunfeather turned to look at her, smiled, then vaporized.

A young cat appeared at Eagletalon's side. His brown fur rustled in the slight breeze,and dark spots surrounding his amber eyes gave him an eerie look.

"My name is Owlpaw," the apprentice meowed. "With this life I give you fierceness, use it well to defend your Clan."

Pain surged through her, and she gritted her teeth. She saw huge, slavering dogs standing over her. She lashed out at them continuously, driving them away.

She opened her eyes to see Owlpaw still standing there with a mournful look. "I lost my life because of the dogs."

Eagletalon's blue eyes met his amber ones. "You will not!"

He turned away and faded into the mist.

In his place stood a grey tortiseshell tom with jagged, spiked whiskers. His green eyes shone as he padded up to Eagletalon.

"Thistlewhisker!" she exclaimed. "Mentor," she added.

Thistlewhisker pressed his nose to her's."With this life I give you mentoring," he meowed.

Eagletalons felt a surge of protectiveness go through her. She saw young cats grow and grow untill they became warriors. She opened her eyes,and Thistlewhisker was gone.

A tiny kit padded towards her instead. His brown tabby fur rustled gently and he looked solemnly at Eagletalon with his yellow eyes.

"I am your brother. I was born dead. My name would have been Hawkkit," he meowed. Eagletalons nodded and crouched down.

Hawkkit stretched as far as he could and touched his sister's nose. "With this life I give you justice," he meowed.

This life felt strange to Eagletalon. She felt very, very small. Just one tiny piece in a huge puzzle.

In Hawkkit's place stood a ginger-and-white she-cat with green eyes. Eagletalons eyes grew wide with shock.

"Brightwing!" she exclaimed happily.

The she-cat strowed gracefully towards Eagletalon. "With this life I give you friendship."

Eagletalon saw cats sitting in BirdClan camp, talking under the glowing sun.

When she reopened her eyes, Brightwing had been replaced, and in her place stood a dark gray splotched tom with icy blue eyes.

"Dad!" she screeched, trying to dash forward. Eagletalon still remained standing, stationary.

"With this life I give you tireless energy," Ospreyswoop said, stepping forward and touched his nose to her's.

She found herself dashing across the battlefield, clawing every cat in sight, but didn't feel the least bit tired.

After that, a silvery she-cat with green eyes looked at her. "With this life I give you gentleness."

Eagletalon felt warm and kind inside, and light as a feather. She felt like a small kit again. "Thank you Silverwind!" she exclaimed.

A brown tabby tom walked up with his yellow eyes sparkling.

Eagletalons looked into his eyes and suddenly remembered her old crush.

"With this life I give you love," he said.

Eagletalons felt like she was with Duskowl all over again. Like a love-struck apprentice. Then she looked up to see nine cats around her.

"Eaglestar! Eaglestar! Eaglestar!" they chanted.

She felt delighted yet scared. Would she be good enough?

Then she was awake.

CHAPTER 8

Eaglestar raced through the trees overhead, newfound energy coursing through her veins. She felt as light as a feather yet stronger than a hundred badgers.

She leaped nimbly over a fallen log and still kept her pace. Eaglestar felt like she had eaten three tons of traveling herbs.

She inhaled the crisp, clear scent of BirdClan border markers. She was almost home; she had better step on it. She had a Clan to look after!

Eagletstar stopped dead in her tracks. A SoilClan cat was on BirdClan territory. The leader sniffed again. Swirlheart!

Eaglestar dashed towards the border, spotting Swirlhear basking in the sun - on the BirdClan side of the marker!

Eaglestar leapt towards the SoilClan she-cat. "Get off BirdClan terriotry!" the leader hissed. Swirlheart bared her teeth and landed a short blow on Eaglestar's shoulder.

The BirdClan she-cat unsheathed her jagged claws and swiped them across her foe's face. Blood spurting from her muzzle, Swirlheart whimpered and dashed away. ******************************************************************************************************************************** Blood splattered from her face as she dashed through the swath of trees.Limbs battering her side,she ran farther and farther from the sight of the confrontation.

She dashed up an old oak tree on the brink of the BirdClan/SoilClan border.As she licked her paw and wiped gently across her red,sticky face.

Suddenly,she heard a snap of a tree limb,She slid down towards the end of the limb,and Swirlheart grasped the limb tightly,sinked her claws into the bark.She dangled loosely from the snapping tree limb.

"StarClan Help me!"She screeched in agony as,little by little, she felt the branch bowing under her weight.She heard it snap again and let out another yowl.

Soon after her crys for help a starry figure of a cat appeared on the ground.Her tawny stripes intervened with bright stars."StarClan doesn't light your path anymore,Swirlheart."the she-cat meowed smoothly.

"Wh-what do you mean?"The grey she-cat stammered nervously,as she grasped tightly onto the breaking branch.

"You have violated the Warrior Code more than once,and you aren't on StarClan's side anymore,you will so

Swilrheart Falling

on join the chosen one that denied his ability to save the clans.Soon all of the clans will be doomed by a trechery they cannot handle,we will all die!All because of Sunsetstar."the she-cat explained,and she evaporated into the mist.

Swirlheart hung there in confusion.Was this true did her mate actually destroy the clans by not following his destiny?

The branch cracked again,then gave in,Swirlheart plumetted to the ground.She layed motionless on the ground with the branch ontop of her.

CHAPTER 9

Where am I?

Swirlheart blinked at the dark,dead looking pines surrounding her.A heavy stench of despair and rot swept past her,and she staggered back.

"Swirlheart." Swirlheart jumped at the from the bush at her right flank.Her head snapped towards a cat emerging from the thorny chasm.An ash grey tabby she-cat stepped towards her.A black swirl spiraled across her grey chest,she gazed into her deep blue eyes. Swirl heart felt a jolt of pain as she recognized the strange she-cat.

"A-ashfrost?" Ashfrost nodded gently, her blue eyes flashing.

"Sister,"she replied cordially.

"Wh-what happened? Am I asleep? In a coma?" Swirlheart meowed nervously,glancing at the omino

us gloom that surrounded her.

"You are dead. Your soul has entered the Dark Forest and will stay for all eternity" Swirlheart was taken aback by her sister's coldness.

"So I..I..-"Swirlheart stopped.She was stuck here. Her eyes met her sister's.

"Get used to it. I won't always be here to help you, sister," Ashfrost spat,and stalked away.

Sirlheart slumped to the ground quietly. A faint scent caught the breeze and she stiffened.Leaping to her paws,she blindly followed it, ignoring the brambles and hollies, snagging her pelt. She slid to a stop in the clearing.

"Sunsetstar!" she snarled.Sunsetstar whirled around face to face."You fool!" she screeched,her sharp claws tearing into his pelt."You ignored your destiny, and now we're all paying for your badger-brained actions!" Sunsetstar flung her off his back.

"My destiny?! I was just a kit.I wasn't ready!" he roared,flinging Swirlheart into thorn bush. Swirlheart winced as the thorns pricked her skin. He would pay for ignoring his destiny.

CHAPTER 9

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