Drip, drop, drip, drop, drip, drip, drop...
And it all came crashing down...
I doubted my leader, but we are safe now. But the timing's off. We should've made this move earlier.
Much, much earlier.
It should've never reached that level. Buzzardstar knew what he was doing.
But it's gone.
The Clan that I lived in and love is gone.
I regret the day we left. The warm smell of the pine forest was comforting, as opposed to this cold, barren space. It may be heaven to some cats, but after a while, it can get boring.
Even now, as I fade away slowly, lost from the minds of the cats of today, I remember.
Then again, I never forget.
Every cat I've lead to the safety of my new Clan. Every cat we've taken in.
May you not join us for a long time, visitor.
It was a gray rainy morning.
Rain was pouring down. Leaf-bare's heavy snow had been replaced with New-leaf's fresh rains.
It was one of the downsides to the new territory, with all the rain.
But I was excited. I bounded up to the HighRock. Everyone knew today was the day I would become a medicine cat apprentice!
I've wanted this position since I was a tiny kit. I'm rather small to be a warrior, and I really don't like fighting. I'm actually rather happy. My calico fur is fluffed out against the cold though, as the wind is blowing hard.
My mum is shaking her head at me, I get pounced on by Cherrykit's muddy paws. Wildkit then leaps on Cherrykit, and the 3 of us are playing fighting.
We still don't know what happened to our father, Owlstar. He was the greatest leader ever! Well, after Thunderstar. But that's the only other leader, so we don't have a choice. He started the clans 8 seasons ago. He lost his last life fighting rats. Don't ask me why. I wouldn't know.
My mum, Nightfrost, was his friend, and she was one of the most senior warriors. Now she's deputy, but she took a break to nurse us. There's some controversy over her returning to her position, but Redstar has reassured them it's the right move.
But she's slipped into this sadness sometimes. Like, we'll play fight, and she'll nod and half respond, but she'll have this far away look in her eyes.
We really didn't know our father. He died just days after we were born. Or so we were told.
"Brookshade, are you willing to take on this apprentice?"
The medicine cat nods greatfully.
She pads up, her long sleek tail gently swishing from side to side. We touched noses.
Wildkit and Cherrykit - I mean Wildpaw and Cherrypaw - have Crystalfall and Whitetail. His tail's not actually white, only the end of it is.
They trot off with their new mentors to explore the territory.
I look up to Brookshade. "What are we doing first?"
She looks down at me, and an idea must've come to mind. "Come with me." She tells me, "And don't look back."
"CHERRYPAW!" my mentor yelled at me whilst I rolled a ball of moss into camp. "Use your jaws!"
I picked up the moss ball, and, with my chin in the air, trot into camp.
I can see my mentor roll his eyes, and I let out a purr of delight. It's funny, annoying him with all my get ups.
His name's Whitetail, and I find it funny. Why would you call your kit "Whitekit" if he was all black except for part of his tail? I pity the poor mother who had to deal with him. I wouldn't be surprised if a tom named him.
More likely than not.
As far as I'm concerned, toms are headache. Sometimes we'll see loners stumble in with their kits, starving due to lack of hunting because their "mates" took off. I'm not letting a tom ruin me like that. No way.
I trot into the medicine den, squealing. "CLEARPAW!"
A calico head popped out of the den. "Yes?"
I plop the moss ball down in front of her. "Your moss has arrived."
She let out a small purr. "Can you bring it in? I'm busy."
"Doing what?" I asked. "Sorting herbs?"
"According to Brookshade, there's no such thing as being too organized, " she purred, cuffing my ear gently.
Something was off about her, and I can't say what. I brought in the moss.
"Thank you!" she said, and disappeared into the den.
"Weird." I muttered.
I turned back, and I was headed towards when a flash of brown and white flew into me.
"HELP...Oh hi Wildpaw."
Wildpaw got up and shook her fluffy brown and white pelt out. She looked like a mushroom. I held back a purr.
"You're pelt's a poof and your legs are the opposite." I purred loudly.
"Oh, be quiet!" she flicked my ear with her tail.
I purred, and half-wished we could always stay on these terms with each other.
I pounced on the mouse, and gave it a bite to the neck. There. Nothing for Crystalfall to complain about this time.
Ahahahahaha. Fat chance.
She'd always find something wrong with me, no matter what. It was either my tail to high, or my paws weren't stepping lightly enough, or I wasn't focused, or straight, or downwind of the prey...the list goes on. I'm trying my hardest. But it's nearly been a moon of apprenticeship, and I'm taking down lots of prey, but she's still irritated at me.
Oh well. Serves her right. She waves her butt in the air when she stalks, and I can't comment on that? How fair is that?
And the one time I did, well, that didn't settle well. Some of her warrior friends defended her, I was stuck in camp for 7 sunhighs. Worst days ever. I spent most of the day teaching kits the stalking position, and cleaned ticks off the elders. It was not fair.
So. Now she can ramble on about techniques I'll never understand because they'll never accommodate to my smaller size and whatnot. Humph. I'll ALWAYS be the quietest. Just you wait and see. I mean, I know I'm not the quietest of my littermates. That award goes to Clearpaw, who can be quiet for 5 days. Trust me, we had that competition when we were kits. We'd play fight in silence, but Cherrypaw was the first to speak. I was only declared the loser when I fell ill and mewled for my mother in the middle of the night.
I buried my mouse, and open my mouth to check for more scents.
All of the scents I can smelled are quickly fading.
I'm alarmed at this. This is the most prey rich part of the forest! Why is there suddenly no prey?
My mind begins to wander. Perhaps it's a flood? A fire? Maybe even an earthquake?
I whirled around.
Of course, it was the idiot cat.
Sorry, my mentor.
"What are you doing?"
"Oh, I uhh, was, uhh, waiting for you."
"You could've been hunting!"
I turn back and head down the ravine.
She calls after me. "Do the elder's ticks, would you!"
I stalk towards the medicine den in an angry huff, because I need mouse bile, and I still have a bit of moss leftover from last time. When I arrive, Clearpaw swishes around from what she was doing. "Yes?" she answers immediately.
"Can I come in?" I ask.
"Come in? No, no...What do you need?" she asked.
"Mouse bile." I said, placing the moss down in front of her. "But why can't I come in?"
"Well..." she began.
"I'll get it, you're clearly busy," I said, and shouldered my way through.
My stomach clenched, and I nearly toppled over at what I saw.
Oh squee. Lucky me.
Dawn patrol. Again? Ugh, I'm never going to be able to go to a gathering. Both of my siblings have already been, and I'm yet to go. No fair!
I stalk along the path to the top of the ravine. I mean, I knew the route to FourTrees so well. The territory wasn't that hard to trek along. And I'm the most well behaved apprentice in the den. What am I doing wrong?
I guess my behavior was obvious, as Whitetail padded up to me.
"Look," he began.
"I know. You're going to lecture me on some minor thing that I haven't done for 3 moons that you saw I did when I was a kit," I muttered, lashing my tail.
"Well, no..." He started.
"Then what?" I stopped, and looked him in the eye.
He flinched, then relaxed.
A sudden pounce from behind cause me to bowel into him.
I got up and shook my head.
Shrewpaw sat there, purring at me, his amber eyes twinkling with mischief.
I narrowed my eyes. That prankster. "Are you coming with us?"
"Then come on, mousebrain." And with that, I took off, waiting for him to give chase.
As I reached the Great Sycamore, I sat there, waiting for Shrewpaw.
The brown tabby trotted up. "Why did you just take off?"
"It implies a race, mousebrain!"
"You knew that, didn't you?"
"Well, who else would I be talking to?"
He let out a small purr. "Fine."
I saw that Whitetail was racing to keep up, as well as to mark the borders. "We should be marking border, mousebrain!" I purred and cuffed his ear.
"Well you aren't exactly doing that, are you?"
"Nope!" I mewed as I trotted up the slope.
I could just feel his gaze follow me. Maybe today wasn't going to be that bad!
I stumble backwards out of the medicine den, not sure which way is up or down.
Clearpaw rushes forward to catch me. Her blue eyes were filled with sorrow. "I'm sorry."
I somehow nodded, and slipped out of the medicine den, through the lichen. I'm positive I looked like the most insane cat on the planet.
Cherrypaw bounded in through the gorse tunnel just then. "Hey Wildpaw!" she squealed. "Want to come hunting?"
Shrewpaw raced in afterwards. "Aren't you tired?"
"Not particularly." She flicked his ear with her tail.
I narrowed my eyes. Shrewpaw. That annoying, arrogant furball. If Cherrypaw's padding after him, I'm doomed.
I turned away, and still feeling dizzy, I head back to the apprentices den. Maybe if I sleep enough I'll forget everything I've seen today. Maybe this is all a dream.
Please, StarClan, say it's a dream.
I dreamt of strange things that night.
I was running, shadows chasing me. I don't know where I was running to. Dark treetops rushed by, above me.
I was so focused on the shadows chasing me that I scarcely noticed the shadow in front of me.
I slammed into the ginger and white tom with all my might. Oops.
"What are you doing here?" he asked furiously.
I didn't know who he was, so I stammered, "...I d-don't know."
The ferocity in his eyes wound down a little. "Are you an apprentice?" he asked softly.
"Y-yes..." I stammered.
He let out a purr. "Good, good. Tigertail!" he snapped. A dark tabby slipped out of the bushes.
Dark cats began to emerge from the shadows. "W-who are you?"
"We are," the tom smiled. "Your allies."
After spending the night worrying about Wildpaw, I came to the conclusion that it would be okay. I mean, sooner or later the entire clan would know.
I trotted out of the medicine den to the fresh kill pile.
"Clearpaw!" my mentor called to me. I turned around to face her.
"The herbs are a mess!" Brookshade said. "Please clean it up before you get something to eat."
I padded back to the den, cleaned up and then headed back out again. I select a sparrow from the pile, then look around. Several cats were sharing tongues. I sat down next to Cherrypaw.
"Hi," I meowed. I take a bite of the sparrow. I take a few more bites as she finished the mouse she was having.
"Hi!" She squeaked. "Darn it. I sound like a kit. I hope he didn't hear that..."
"Hear what?" asked a voice from behind me. I turned around. Shrewpaw.
"Oh! You're here already," My sister said, looking at him with this lovey-dovey gaze. A slight pang of jealousy came over me as I realized that it would never be me, which would save stress, but it would also be kind of nice. Oh well.
Cherrypaw waves her tail onwards to me, encouraging me to get moving. Politely say goodbye and move onwards.
Wildpaw glared at me from across the camp. I'm pretty sure she was annoyed at me for showing her what was in the den, but she would recover soon enough.