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Fading Stars

The story of two warriors and two apprentices

Allegiances



This is a collab by Moo and Pumpkin.

Moons ago, a seemingly loyal and hard-working deputy rose to become leader. His name was Wavestorm, but once he became Wavestar, he wanted control. Soon enough, he had harmed all four Clans: NightClan, DawnClan, MorningClan, and his own Clan, DuskClan. He and his allies had taken the lives of many, until the other three Clans joined together, united and finally killed Wavestar and a few of his allies less than half-moon ago. Now his spirit lurks in the Place of No Stars, yet his brutal reign has left a deep scar on the history of the Clans. Even now, the other Clans still distrust DuskClan, and their taunts are getting even harsher every day. In the midst of the storm of back and forth battles, come in two she-cats: Riversky and Sparrowsong. Although they may not have a great destiny, they do play part in the destiny of their apprentices: Briarpaw and Leafpaw.

Even chapters such as 2, 4, 6, 8, etc are written by Moo.

Odd chapters such as 1, 3, 5, 7, etc are written by Pumpkin.

Prologue - Moo

A hazy, dusky sky blue and pastel pink shimmer swirled over a cluster of tall, leaf-less trees like mist. Among the tree tops sat a fluffy ginger tabby tom with a ruff of thick fur around his neck, stars woven into his soft fur. His pelt was glittering with stars, and facing him was a furious, small black and white tuxedo she-cat with pretty golden eyes, her large pink and black nose twitching angrily.

"I'm tired of all these signs and omens. Why can't we just shut up for once and give the Clans peace?" The tuxedo she-cat complained loudly. Her pretty golden eyes sparked furiously, and her fur too was coated in a sheen of shiny white stars.

"Because if we wait, they will fall into dark clutches," The golden tom blinked, his voice was hard and grim but he ran his tail over the tuxedo she-cat's back soothingly.

"You out of all cats should know this, Lionclaw." The tuxedo she-cat hissed. Lionclaw shook his great starry head sadly.

"Don't bite his tail off, Blackwhisper." A calm, serene voice sounded. A fluffy pale grey she-cat with big blue eyes and sleek grey paws stepped forward, her eyes glittering.

"Silentwing!" Lionclaw cried in joy. Silentwing gave a little half-hearted smile in response, the stars in her fur shining dazzlingly like gentle moonlight. Her sky-blue eyes suddenly glowed eerily, and she murmured, her soft voice echoing,

"A sign has been sent to us from the Shooting Star Lake."

Blackwhisper's ears pricked, "What is it?"

"Briar leaves will fly up into the sky and the singing sparrow will guide their way to clear the river of blood." Silentwing meowed, her eyes staring up into the clear sky.

Lionclaw's eyes widened, and then he glanced down at the soft shimmering grass below. "We have a visitor."

Silentwing flicked her fluffy tail, "Then we shall deliver the sign to them." The three StarClan cats bounded down the trees and landed gracefully on the ground. The young, small greyish-white she-cat in front of them dipped her head respectfully, her sparkling blue eyes fixed on the three starry cats in front of her.

"Greetings, Willowfrost." Blackwhisper meowed. The medicine cat blinked in shock,

"Blackwhisper, Lionclaw! You two look like you were never in that battle with Wavestar." Willowfrost meowed politely.

"We bring you a sign," Silentwing murmured, weaving around Willowfrost. "Briar leaves will fly up into the sky and the singing sparrow will guide their way to clear the river of blood."

Willowfrost inclined her head, "I see." she murmured. "Does this have to do with Wavestar's reign and the other Clan's distrust of us?" she asked.

"Perhaps." Lionclaw agreed. Willowfrost nodded,

"Thank you StarClan." There was an uncertain glint in her blue eyes. The three StarClan cats let the shiny, swirling mist swallow them up as Willowfrost slowly returned to her consciousness.

"Let's go," Silentwing meowed briskly, turning to head back, further into StarClan territory.

Chapter 1 - Pumpkin

The sun shone on the pale sky, shimmering on the thick white snow that covered the DuskClan camp. Sparrowsong poked inside the apprentice's den, her green eyes searching the den for a fluff of brown tabby fur.

"Leafpaw?" The small apprentice’s head shot up, orange eyes wide with excitement.

"Yes Sparrowsong?"

"We, Riversky and Brairpaw are going on a hunting patrol. Smoketail needs milk for her kits, and she doesn’t have enough prey to make her milk flow." At the last part, one thought plopped out in Sparrowsong’s head: Who would?

Ever since Wavestar’s death, the other Clans treated DuskClan as if they were rogues. Sparrowsong was aware that Wavestar harmed them badly, but why should DuskClan pay? They were never with him, and most of the Clan was lead by fear, not loyality. MorningClan and DawnClan hunted freely on DuskClan’s territory, but what could DuskClan do? They weren’t strong enough to fight off a patrol of strong, well-fed warriors. Apprentices‘ den and nursery were the only things left after a savage attack on their camp from NightClan. They took the life of a medicine cat, Silentwing. Willowfrost was now the one taking care of sick cats (and since greencough plague spread through the Clans, she had her paws full). Not even mentioning how Brookpaw and Eaglepaw found their catmint patch destroyed by MorningClan, or that DuskClan had no leader or deputy. Senior warriors shared the place of a deputy, deciding on the patrols. Tonight was the first Gathering since Wavestar’s death, and Sparrowsong hoped she will be chosen. Riversky’s voice behind her snapped Sparrowsong out of her thoughts.

"Are you coming?" asked the warrior, Briarpaw pacing next to her. Leafpaw charged out of the den.

"We are!" she yowled. Sparrowsong wondered where was her apprentice getting so much energy from. Her, like all her Clanmates' bodies was thinner than a withered fern leaf, and her ribs were sticking out quite a lot. As they walked over to the camp entrance past the nursery, they heard wails out of the nursery.

"Mom! I'm hungry! Where did your milk go?"

"Me too!"

"Shh sweethearts, hunting patrol will come soon back with a lot of prey." Sparrowsong recognized Smoketail's voice. Pain jabbed her heart. She couldn't let her Clan down. Ever. Anger rose inside her chest. Why did the other Clan distrust them so much? She didn't know. After all, they didn’t do anything wrong. She padded in the snow, Leafpaw behind her.

"Do you think we are going to catch anything?" she asked.

"Of course we do! It’s our duty!" replied Sparrowsong. Riversky gave her an approving nod.

"Sparrowsong is right. We have to take care of the camp," she meowed. Leafpaw hopped over the stones, padding next to her mentor. They padded in the direction DawnClan border, sniffing. Sparrowsong's eyes widened.

"DawnClan!" yowled Briarpaw. Sparrowsong unsheathed her claws and padded forward, eyes narrowed. They came over to one of the rivers in DuskClan territory, this one was border between DuskClan and DawnClan. Two apprentices and three warriors hunted in the river, and what made it worse, they were standing on the stepping stones.

"Hey!" screeched Riversky. "This river is ours!" A brown tabby tom lifted his gaze.

"And what are you going to do about it?" he growled. The gray-and-white apprentice looked at Brairpaw and Leafpaw.

"These are your apprentices? I can beat both of them with two paws and claws sheathed!" he mocked. Briarpaw's fur started to rise.

"Want to come and try?" she growled. Sparrowsong lashed her tail to silence them.

"Isn't there enough prey on our territory?" she growled, narrowing her eyes into tiny slits.

"Of course it is, but when we have free prey here, why not?" growled dappled black she-cat, amber eyes glittering.

"There is no free prey here! This is DuskClan prey!" yowled Riversky, fury shining in her eyes. Another tabby tom's eyes narrowed.

"Cats that supported Wavestar don't deserve to be called Clan! You are just rogues! I'm surprised we haven't chased you out yet!" he spat. His apprentice, a flecked gray she-cat nodded.

"You are just foxes is cats' pelt!" she snarled. Leafpaw looked as if she was about to leap on Dapplepaw and fight her, but Sparrowsong rested her tail on her back.

"Don't do it. They are not worth it," she growled.

"I bet none of you will make it to StarClan," growled the dappled black she-cat, Hollysong, once again. Sparrowsong turned around, bristling.

"When it comes to it," she growled, "StarClan will choose who goes to StarClan and who not. Now think whatever you want, but when it comes, you will see." Only reaction she got were smirks from the DawnClan cats. The DuskClan patrol turned away.

"Come on," growled Riversky to the apprentices. "We will hunt somewhere else."

~

Sparrowsong dropped the scrawny vole in front of Smoketail.

"This is all?" asked the dark gray she-cat. Sparrowsong slowly nodded, sighing. "Thanks anyways." Sparrowsong watched Riversky give Colorpelt a somewhat plumper finch. The calico nodded and started eating, her kits huddled close to her.

"Will you feed us then?" wailed Honeykit. Colorpelt gave her a lick.

"Of course I will, but don't expect too much," she meowed sadly. Riversky and Sparrowsong exchanged glances, padding out of the nursery. The fresh-kill pile was pitifully small. Riversky took a scrawny squirrel.

"Shall we share?" she asked. Sparrowsong nodded and lied down to eat. Riversky unsheathed her claws and sliced the squirrel into half. She took one half and started eating. Sparrowsong ripped a chunk of meat off the squirrel. The feet was musky, but at least it was prey. A yowl sounded from the Highlog.

"Let all cats old enough to catch their own prey gather here under the Highlog for a Clan meeting!" called Willowfrost, voice hoarse. She cleared her throat before continuing. "Cats that will go to the gathering are Foxscar, Leafpaw, Quickfish, Stormlightning, Sparrowsong, Briarpaw, Mallowheart and Riversky," she called. The chosen cats gathered, and Sparrowsong felt excitement fill her veins. They chose me.

Chapter 2 - Moo

Riversky glanced around wearily at her Clanmates as they entered the Four Boulders hollow. It was a large dip in between all the territories, and was surrounded by four large boulders, each boulder of each Clan leader. Willowfrost gulped and glanced nervously up the two empty boulders.

"There's a ledge there you can climb on," Riversky heard Foxscar whisper to the young she-cat. Willowfrost nodded and heaved herself up, and with a pang of anxiety Riversky noticed how thin all her Clanmates were. Riversky had always been quite slender, but her Clanmates were always quite plump with shiny, thick coats due to their watery prey from the river. Now they were skinny with ragged, unkempt coats due to having no watery prey - or any prey for that matter - at all.

The other Clan cats snarled and unsheathed their claws, and spat all kind of curses to the DuskClan cats.

"It's your fault that Wavestar was a bad leader!" A NightClan senior warrior growled.

"Eat crowfood and go straight to the Place of No Stars!" A DawnClan cat yowled.

"You should rename your Clan to EvilClan!" A NightClan apprentice jeered. 

"MorningClan is absent," Featherstar meowed, her pale grey fur silver in the moonlight. 

"Might as well start without them," Russetstar grunted, her tortoiseshell and white fur bathed in moonlight. She shot a hostile glare to Willowfrost, "Is DuskClan now so weak that they need an apprentice to speak for them?"

"I'm the medicine cat," Willowfrost mewed, her voice shaking. Featherstar's eyes gleamed with amusement,

"If MorningClan's absent, we might as well make DuskClan absent as well." she purred silkily. Tingles of sharp, cold fear shot down Riversky's spine. What is she talking about? The rest of the DuskClan patrol fluffed up their fur furiously and flexed their claws, the thorn-sharp tips flashing and gleaming in the starlight. 

"No need to get fiesty!" Russetstar sneered. She fixed her cold gaze on the DuskClan cats, "I suggest you go back to camp now. There is a situation you might want to check out." Riversky's blood ran cold. 

Willowfrost eyes widened, as if she suddenly discovered something. "Sorry to break this lovely truce, Featherstar and Russetstar, but DuskClan and myself must go now." she struggled to hide the anxiety in her voice. Sparrowsong stiffened beside Riversky,

"Why does Willowfrost look so troubled?" she murmured. Riversky couldn't shake the cold feeling racketing through her veins.

"I don't know." she lied. "But I think it might have something to do with MorningClan." Riversky's predictions became correct as Willowfrost leaped down and began to guide the patrol away,

"Come on guys, we must leave - now." she hissed.

"Why?" Briarpaw asked, the light in her eyes dimming.

"Wonder why MorningClan is missing tonight?" Willowfrost mused, now she was trotting out of the Four Boulders hollow, the patrol following hastily. Briarpaw paused for a moment, her eyes turning cold. Leafpaw, her sister, gave her a sharp nudge, 

"Come on, Briarpaw, get moving!"

Suddenly, the acrid, sharp stench of blood hit Riversky's throat. The black and white she-cat gagged, and Willowfrost yowled,

"Faster!" The patrol ran across the landscape, their paws drumming against soft soil and brittle grass as they skirted tangled tendrils and spiky brambles. They paused at the river, which was flowing as swiftly as ever. The screeches of battle were far away, and in camp. Riversky could smell MorningClan's stink from where she was standing at the pebbly shore. DuskClan's camp was on a stretch of land that went from one side of the river to another. The patrol would just leap up and join in the battle if they could, but the slope was too steep and it would be a terrible fall. So they had to go the long way. 

"DuskClan, attack!" Willowfrost yowled, plunging into the river. Quickfish and Stormlightning leaped in after her, and Riversky jumped back, shaking her head to clear her eyes of the silver droplets that had scattered into her face. Tensing her hindquarters, Riversky leaped and plummeted into the river with an enormous splash. Ripples cascaded around the she-cat as Briarpaw, Leafpaw, and Sparrowsong jumped in after her. Riversky took a deep breath and dove her head underneath the swift black river, the more drenched she was, the more slippery her fur would be and the harder it would be for the MorningClan cats to grab a hold on her. Her Clanmates paddled beside and behind her, as her strong muscles pushed through. One at a time, each foreleg rose out of the river then crashed into the water again, pushing herself forward. When she was drawing close to the shore, Riversky used a jagged pebble at the bottom of the stream as a launching pad, her head rising above the surface slightly. Her muzzle and lips still remained under water, blowing bubbles. Riversky slowly bobbed toward the shore, and sinking her claws into the powdery sand, she hauled herself up, every inch of her body dripping wet. Sparrowsong, Briarpaw and Leafpaw sliding out of the river beside her, Riversky broke into a run, streaking across the reeds, the dry stalks rattling from the force.

With a yowl of rage, Riversky burst through camp with the rest of the patrol at her heels. She and Briarpaw chased a MorningClan black-and-white she-cat across camp, satisfying themselves with a quick slice of claws across their enemy's nose before they bolted beneath a clump of ferns. Spinning around, Riversky saw a bigger tortoiseshell she-cat springing at her, and she leaped into the air to meet his attack. The two grappled briefly in mid-air with their forelegs, the tortoiseshell struggling to get a grip on Riversky's wet fur. As she knocked down the long-haired she-cat, the she-cat's claws ripped through her eyelid, blood streaking her fur. 

Riversky heaved herself up slowly, she licked a paw and ran it over the cut above her eye. Her opponent was distracted; seizing the opportunity, Riversky pinned the tortoiseshell down and held her in a paw lock.

"Don't you ever attack our camp again!" she hissed into her face. The tortoiseshell snorted in amusement, raking her sharp claws across Riversky's muzzle. Letting out a yowl of pain, Riversky quickly slashed her ears and leaped back to let the warrior scramble to his paws. With a final hiss, she turned tail and ran to help a Clanmate. 

Riversky looked up, and spotted a fluffy tan tom with long, drooping whiskers cowering in a corner. She recognised him as Cloudwhisker from the Gatherings. Riversky sprung forward, and a pair of bright, terrified green eyes met hers,

"Stay away from me, fish-fur!" Cloudwhisker bleated.

"Then you shouldn't attack our camp," Riversky hissed.

The tan tom's expression changed, he curled his lip into a wordless snarl and flattened his ears. Riversky raised a paw, ready to strike, until two sleek-furred and lean shapes knocked her down. Riversky growled as the first cat's paw thrust down on her neck, and the second cat growled,

"This is for belonging to Wavestar's Clan." Riversky grunted in pain as the first cat's massive paw pressed down harder on her neck, harder and harder, until...

"Get off her and fight a cat your own size!" A screech sounded down below. Sparrowsong! Riversky caught a glimpse of her tortoiseshell and white fur before she leaped, crashing straight into the first cat holding Riversky down. Scrambling to her paws, Riversky saw the cat that was holding her down - a black tom with white paws and a unique white star-like shape on his forehead - was on top of Sparrowsong's back, ready to inflict severe body wounds. Cloudwhisker's eyes gleamed in delight as he darted beneath Sparrowsong's belly, pummelling the soft flesh with his front claws. 

"No!" A voice shrieked - Leafpaw! The brown tabby knocked the black tom off her mentor, and began to swipe at him ferociously. Bright red streaks blossomed in their soft fur as they fought fearlessly, as hard as they could. The cat that had growled in Riversky's ear must've turned tail and ran, but she was proven wrong as paws swiped Riversky's paws from beneath her body and rolled her over. The black and white she-cat stared into the green eyes of a light brown tabby tom with a nicked ear - it must've been Sedgebrook.

"StarClan has deemed DuskClan as the bad Clan! They must be driven out!" Sedgebrook hissed, his eyes blazing as he pressed a paw down on Riversky's throat. Riversky recognised that voice - he was the one who threatened her earlier. 

"Yeah, right!" Riversky retorted. Thorn-sharp pain coursed through her, and her senses closed around her, darkness ebbing her vision and the shapes before her now seemed fuzzy. Fighting the struggle, Riversky kicked Sedgebrook off.

"Don't you dare come near me!" Riversky spat as she turned to protect the nursery. Her heart skipped a beat when she spotted Sparrowsong's limp body beside the nursery. The entrance was ripped open and it was deadly silent in there - bad sign. Dark red smears dotted Sparrowsong's pelt, and Riversky gave her friend a nudge. Bright green eyes flickered open and stared straight at her,

"It's too late!" she croaked hoarsely. Baffled, Riversky glanced at the curve of her belly. There was a tiny motionless bundle of wet, blood-stained fur,

"Breezekit!" Riversky wailed. She stepped back, tripping over another limp body, glancing to her side, she examined the other dead body beside her. "Smoketail!"

Turning, she saw a white she-cat with a single black paw which was now stained with blood - the blood of Breezekit and Smoketail. The white she-cat had her blood-streaked paw raised, ready to strike down and kill little Featherkit mewling desperately. 

"No!" Riversky cried. She intervened, and claws shredded through her chest pain-stakingly. Wincing, Riversky stumbled and faced the white she-cat boldly. "You. Did you kill Breezekit and Smoketail?" she meowed, struggling to keep her voice calm as she gestured toward the two dead cats. "And did you hurt Sparrowsong?"

"Of course I did," the white she-cat scoffed. "Who else could've done it?" with a screech, she sprang at Riversky, the fur standing along her spine. Riversky dodged, sweeping Featherkit out of the way with her tail. Spinning around, Riversky sunk her claws into the white she-cat's back as she crashed into the ground face-first. The black and white she-cat felt her teeth sink into the white she-cat's short fur, and she dragged the white she-cat until the spitting she-cat was hovering over the edge of camp, ready to drop the white she-cat's body into the rushing river.  

"P-please don't drop me!" The she-cat begged, trembling. Feeling a pang of sympathy for the MorningClan cat, Riversky took a step back, but suddenly the she-cat felt heavy. Staggering, Riversky regained her balance. She tried to take another step back but failed, stumbling over her own paws and then...  

"No!" the she-cat yowled, crashing into the river below.  

"No!" Riversky called out too, hot shame washing beneath her pelt, her belly on the ground. It was an accident! Please don't hate me.

Turning around, Riversky strode over to a crouching smoky grey tom with faint tabby stripes, who was stalking Briarpaw. Riversky landed squarely on his back, and then she yowled, "Briarpaw! Come help me out!" The long-haired she-cat freed the smoky tom for a moment, before Briarpaw joined her by her side. The two she-cats slashed at the tom toward the edge of the camp. Deciding not to risk it, the grey tom let out a spit of disgust and hurtled away.

"Retreat, MorningClan! Retreat!"

A mournful yowl sounded from camp as Foxscar hunched over the body of Smoketail and Breezekit. "No, Smoketail! Don't leave me!"

Chapter 3 - Pumpkin

Sparrowsong opened her green eyes, closing it immediately again. She felt insane pain in her belly where Skyleaf mercilessly swiped her until she collapsed. She let out a groan of pain.

"Sparrowsong!" yowled a voice. Leafpaw darted to her mentor, eyes watering. "I was so scared you were dead!" she cried. Sparrowsong chuckled.

"Thought you were going to get rid off me so easily?" she smirked sarcastically. Leafpaw nudged her mentor, letting out a purr. A blood dripped next to her eye from a cut over it, beginning to swell.

"Can you get up?" asked the apprentice. Sparrowsong moaned in pain.

"I will try," she growled, trying to get up, only to fall back down. Leafpaw pressed to her, supporting her mentor. Sparrowsong narrowed her eyes and scrambled up, gaining a little strength in her legs thanks to her apprentice.

Sparrowsong's gaz travelled over her Clanmates. They were all ragged and half-dead, but okay. Foxscar was staring at bodies of Smoketail and Breezekit, murmuring something, half to them, half to himself. Featherkit's clear blue eyes stared at he bodies of her mother and sister, trembling. Th silver kit tumbled over to Foxscar.

"Daddy?" she whispered, whiskers trembling. Foxscar gave her a stare. The coldness in his eyes shocked Sparrowsong. Shouldn't he be overjoyed that his daughter has survived? Featherkit stared at him, eyes watering. She rested her soft muzzle on Smoketail's flank. Sparrowsong sighed and stood up padding over to the kit.

"Come on," she purred soothingly, wrapping her tail around Featherkit. Featherkit's huge eyes were clouded with sadness. Sparrowsong's heard panged. I know that pain, little one. Suddenly, she realized Swanfeather was missing. She looked frantically around, not seeing the white she-cat anywhere. Thinking about that, she couldn't see Willowfrost either. She turned on Leafpaw. "Go find Riversky and Briarpaw," she told her, lifting herself up and padding around. The Clan gathered near the Highlog and the rest of Clan seemed to be deserted.

She suddenly saw a movement in torn, destroyed nursery. Sparrowsong narrowed her eyes. Did one of MorningClan cats still inside? She unsheathed her claws, narrowing her eyes. She charged inside, hissing and spitting. That was until she noticed there was no intruder in there. What she did see though was Swanfeather under a remains of a bush. Her snowy-white fur was dusty and ragged, bleeding on several places. But she was alive. Not only that, but a tiny, thin kit was pressed to her chest. She held it tightly close to herself, her eyes shining with strength and love. Sparrowsong stared at her in disbelief.

"Y-you kitted?" she stuttered, eyes wide.

"Yes," sighed Swanfeather, pulling her only kit even closer to herself. The kit let out a tiny wail. It was tiny and thin, but with DuskClan's situation, it wasn't that surprising. Sparrowsong gave a slow, yet shocked nod.

"Should I call Willowfrost?"

"No, I'm fine," meowed Swanfeather. Her kit let out a loud wail, its tiny voice echoing in the nursery. "I will handle it." Sparrowsong nodded and padded out. She saw Willowfrost, standing over Smoketail's and Breezekit's bodies. She looked so... broken. Her back was bent, and her eyes were full of pain. Sparrowsong padded to her, resting her tortoiseshell-and-white tail on Willowfrost's shoulder. Willowfrost lifted her sparky blue gaze at her.

"Sparrowsong... I'm trying but... We need something... A leader..." she whispered. Suddenly, her eyes lit up. "Wait... I..." Sparrowsong stared at the she-cat in confusion.

"Wha?" she asked. Willowfrost stared at her, blinked a few times and shook her head.

"Uh, sorry," she murmured. She quickly padded up to the leader's rock. She climbed it up, her little body lost in the shadows. As she climbed at the very tom, the moonlight shone on her grayish-white pelt, making her look like a StarClan cat. "Let all cats old enough to catch their own prey gather here under the Sunset Rock for a Clan meeting!" she called. The cats gathered, their ragged pelts gleaming in the moonlight. "We suffered a big attack today," started Willowfrost, pain laced in her throat. "And we lost two Clanmates. Does anyone know who is the murderer?" Riversky stepped forward.

"It was Skyleaf. She had a nice swim in the river," she snarled. Riversky's tone made chills ripple down Sparrowsong's spine.

"Good," meowed Willowfrost. "We are all grieving for Smoketail and Breezekit - however, I think one apprentice has fought brave as a warrior. Brookpaw, step forward. I talked with Quickfish before the battle and she agrees that you are ready to be made a warrior. I, Willowfrost, leader of DuskClan, call upon my warrior ancestors to look down on this apprentice. She has trained hard to understand the ways of your noble code, and I commend her to you as warrior in their turn. Brookpaw, do you promise to uphold the warrior code and to protect and defend this Clan, even at the cost of your life?" Pretty accurate.

"I am," meowed Brookpaw, her amber eyes fixed on Willowfrost.

"Then by the powers of StarClan I give you your warrior name: Brookpaw, from this moment you will be known as Brooksplash. StarClan honors your bravery and strength, and we welcome you as a full warrior of DuskClan."

"Brooksplash! Brooksplash!" DuskClan cheered. Sparrowsong joined them.

"Also, Swanfeather kitted. She has one kit, which she named Dewkit," meowed Willowfrost. "Now, I will treat you all in the medicine cat's den." The cats lined up I front of Willowfrost's den, and just before Riversky and Sparrowsong joined them, Willowfrost stopped them.

"What is it?" asked Riversky.

"We need to talk," meowed Riversky and Sparrowsong exchanged glances as Willowfrost padded away to treat the cats.

What?

Chapter 4 - Moo

The sharp stench of herbs stung in Riversky's throat. She had sat there patiently with Sparrowsong the entire time, having to wait for Willowfrost to treat every cat who had fought. Foxscar was crouched in the corner, muttering curses to himself. A pile of small, delicate, fresh green leaves lay in front of him.

There was another makeshift nest, with Stoatstripe sleeping soundly in it. His dark brown tabby flank rose and fell rhythmically, large pink and blue petals pressed against a deep gash in his side. Streamsplash rose to her paws and left the den, her shoulder packed with cobwebs, yet scarlet drops still showed through.

Willowfrost gestured for the next cat to come forward, Clawslash. The tom only had a few minor scratches, which were easily fixed with small marigold poultices. "All done," the she-cat said confidently.

Birchfeather looked panicked, and the medicine cat gazed at the pale brown tom sympathetically. He fell into a spare nest, his face contorting into a look of pain. He was chewing on dandelion leaves, dandelion seeds, and poppy seeds. Quickfish sat down, curling her tail over her paws. She spoke to Ivyleaf while a cut along her back was getting patched up, bragging about how well her apprentice, now warrior, Brooksplash fought.

Stormlightning glanced over at Riversky and Sparrowsong, and he asked, "What are you two doing here?" A slash along his side was still dripping with blood.

"Willowfrost said she had to speak with us, so we're just waiting." Riversky responded as Stormlightning turned to Willowfrost to get treated. Sparrowsong sighed,

"We'll be here all night at this rate." her tail-tip lashed furiously and impatiently. Riversky butted the tortoiseshell-and-white's shoulder with her nose sympathetically,

"I know. But there's not much longer to go," she glanced at Darkstone, who was ranting to Mallowheart about MorningClan. Both toms were getting treated at once, goldenrod poultices plastered to Darkstone's cuts and Mallowheart chewing on goatweed to calm his anxiety. The two toms left together, still talking. Willowfrost looked up at Riversky and Sparrowsong, then meowed,

"Almost done. I'm so sorry. Everyone was fighting in this battle; go to your dens and get some rest." The two she-cats nodded, hauling themselves up onto their sore paws, rough pads rubbing painfully against the stone floor of the medicine cat den as they left. The she-cats flopped into their nests, quickly falling asleep.

~

"Wake up, wake up!" an urgent whisper broke into Riversky's terrible dream of a river soaked with blood, a briar tree standing tall with its leaves flying up into the sky... Some crazy stuff. Blinking open her bright green eyes, the black and white she-cat asked,

"Yes?"

"Wake up Sparrowsong for me. Talk in the medicine cat den. Now, let's go!" Willowfrost's blue eyes blazed with wildfire. Riversky nodded as the medicine cat left, nudging Sparrowsong with her paw... A little too roughly. Her friend bumped into the sleeping Sweetnose beside her, and the cream tabby jumped. Sparrowsong's bright green eyes opened wide, and so did Sweetnose's.

"Sorry," Riversky mewed apologetically. "Willowfrost wants to speak to us."

Sparrowsong slowly nodded, and glanced to Sweetnose, who looked slightly bothered. "Sorry!" she whispered. Sweetnose nodded sleepily,

"It's fine." the gentle she-cat dropped her finely-shaped head onto her paws again and drifted off into sleep once more. Riversky stood up slowly, carefully shaking and grooming bits and pieces of moss scraps and feather tufts out of her long fur. Sparrowsong got up, and followed her friend as the they carefully clambered over the sleeping bodies of their Clanmates.

Riversky paused and stared at Brooksplash in condolence. It was the greyish-brown she-cat's first time in the warriors den, and she was having the most fitful sleep. The newly named warrior was mumbling to herself, whispering of dead kittens and queens, enemy warriors drowning in the rushing river, and DuskClan being driven out. Riversky also knew Sparrowsong was watching her sadly too.

"Let's go," Riversky whispered. The two picked their way out of the warriors den and plodded on to the medicine cat den.

"Shouldn't Brooksplash be guarding the camp for vigil?" Sparrowsong muttered. "The night holds unpredictable horrors now that we're the other Clans' so-called 'enemy'."

"Yeah, and we should be holding vigil for Smoketail and Breezekit as well," Riversky pushed her way into the medicine den. "But I guess-"

"We're doing their vigil tomorrow. DuskClan is too gravely weakened to even move around camp. Well, you guys are okay." A voice broke into their talking. The two she-cats froze in terror, but relaxed as they saw it was Willowfrost. With an anxious pang, Riversky realised how exhausted the she-cat looked. Every word sounded like it was being dragged out of her like a dead body. "And Brooksplash will do her vigil when she's recovered her strength."

"She might need something to ease her mind," Sparrowsong commented, "She looked like she was having a rather uncomfortable sleep."

Willowfrost flicked her ears, "Hmm. I'll see to that... tomorrow." she yawned.

"You need some rest too," Riversky put in.

"Enough of that," Willowfrost snapped. "I woke up you two for a reason. Our great warrior ancestors have spoken to me."

The two warriors were silent, exchanging glances.

Willowfrost took a deep breath, "Lionclaw, Blackwhisper, and Silentwing." The two she-cats stiffened. Sparrowsong in particular looked lost, her green eyes pools of despair and sadness. Lionclaw had been her mentor. Riversky felt the same way, as Blackwhisper was her mentor. Both were brave warriors killed in the battle against Wavestar, and Silentwing was the previous medicine cat and Willowfrost's mentor.

Does that mean... We're connected? Or am I wrong? Riversky thought. "What did they say?" she asked.

Willowfrost raised her head high, her blue eyes fixed far ahead of them. Riversky thought she could see the swirl of stars in them as she recited the words, "Briar leaves will fly up to the sky and the singing sparrow will guide their way to clear the river of blood." There was a blinding flash in Willowfrost's eyes, and the medicine cat gasped. She froze and her mew was barely more than a whisper, "StarClan... cat..."

Riversky and Sparrowsong stood still, bewildered. When the sparkle in the medicine cat's eyes finally faded, she turned her head to blink slowly at the two she-cats before her.

"Why tell us?" Sparrowsong asked.

"Because I think it has something to do with you two," Willowfrost said. "But mainly your apprentices."

Riversky froze. She knew Briarpaw excelled in the area of hunting, and she was talented in fighting. Some of her other areas such as teamwork needed some extra training, as well as learning the warrior code. While Briarpaw had a good memory, she usually let her heart win instead of the code.

But she never thought her apprentice would be starred in a prophecy. Riversky could also tell that Sparrowsong was feeling the same way about Leafpaw.

"Dismissed." Willowfrost meowed. Riversky and Sparrowsong dipped their heads and mewed their thanks, before leaving to go back to sleep.

Are Briarpaw and Leafpaw more special than they seem? Is Willowfrost mistaken?

Riversky rolled over in her bedding, her pale green gaze sweeping over Stonefang snuggling up with his mate, Sweetnose.

And more importantly... What do me and Sparrowsong have to do with it?

Chapter 5 - Pumpkin

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