Author's Note/ Blurb; This story is set when the Clans have died out. Barely any cats from that time remain, and those who do have given up on StarClan entirely. A new generation has been born- but can they help save the traditions of old?
Characters: List will be updated as story proceeds.
Sparrow- Lithe, brown and cream she-cat. Born to Dawnleaf.
Raven- Black she-cat with blue eyes. Born to Dawnleaf.
Jay- Pale ginger and white tom. Born to Dawnleaf.
Dawnleaf- Black and cream she-cat. Formerly of WindClan.
Eel- Mangy tom with yellow fur. Would have been considered an elder. Lived beside the clans as a rogue.
Nettle- She-kit, born to Splashfur.
Carnelian- She-cat with bright eyes and russet fur.
Amber- Dark grey tom with amber eyes. The same age as Dawnleaf's kits.
Cedardusk- Amber and Leaf's father. Formerly of ShadowClan.
Leaf- Green eyed white and black tom.
Moonpaw- Former ThunderClan apprentice; Warrior age, refused to take a new name. White tom.
Dawnleaf tucked her tail over her paws, watching Splashfur's kit play in the leaves. Nettle whisked around the clearing, tearing up grass and generally causing havoc. Eel, next to her, gazed into the canopy, as if searching for prey.
Splashfur padded across the grass and grabbed the kit by the scruff. Dawnleaf purred as the kit squirmed in her mothers grasp. She looked down at her own belly- soon she would have kits of her own. Sadness darkened her gaze. She had hoped her own kits would be born in a Clan. But it wasn't possible. The Clans had died out and that was that.
"But I am being good!" Nettle was protesting as her mother swung her backwards and set her down beside Eel and Dawnleaf.
"Look after her, will you?" Splashfur asked anxiously, "I need to hunt."
"No problem-" Eel began, but Dawnleaf sprang up.
"No, no, I can hunt for you!" She exclaimed, desperate for a chance to go out.
"Thankyou," Splashfur sank down and began grooming Nettle.
"It's no trouble," Dawnleaf purred, trotting out of the clearing and heading in the direction of the moor, where her old clan used to roam. She headed in the direction of the abandoned camp, hoping to see familiar faces. When she reached it, she spotted Carnelian and Sandspring.
"Sandspring!" She mewed joyfully, racing to greet her old friend and denmate. He lifted his head and his eyes lit up. "You're okay!"
Dawnleaf hadn't seen Sandspring since a moon ago, when the clans collapsed. It was good to see that some of WindClan had survived.
"Dawnleaf," He meowed warmly, and both cats purred.
"You want to hunt?"She asked, glancing at Carnelian, "Both of you?"
"Sure," Carnelian responded, nudging Sandspring, "StarClan, I'm hungry."
After a brief discussion about where to go, they ended up at a clump of gorse that had always been good for prey. Sandspring was the first to scent prey, and he dropped down, hiding himself as much as possible. Then he let out a yowl and charged after a rabbit as it bolted out of the leafy plant's shelter. He pelted as fast as Dawnleaf would have been able to go, and flung himself on top of his prey, killing it with a swift bite to the neck.
Carnelian and Dawnleaf meowed their congratulations, padding to reach him.
"Want to share?" Sandspring asked his companions.
Alarm flashed into Dawnleaf's eyes. Had he already forgotten the warrior code?
"Sandspring, the warrior code! We have to take it back," She exclaimed.
"Dawnleaf, " He meowed, eyes dark, "The warrior code is dead. We must feed ourselves, for only the toughest will survive."
Note: This story IS set around the lake, but I have changed many features of the Clan's territories.
Chapter One- Sparrow
Sparrow shifted her tail over her nose and tucked her paws under her. Dawn light was filtering through the leaves of the leafy ferns she slept under. Jay stirred beside her, sleepily peering at her from under half-closed eyelids. He sat up and glanced at Sparrow.
"Don't wake Raven," She whispered. She deserves sleep.
"Wasn't planning on it," Jay mewed, motioning to the outside with his tail. Both cats left the den.
Sparrow stretched. She glanced around the forest, taking in the musky scents that she'd become familiar with. Dawnleaf had wanted to stay on the moor, but Sparrow had opted to go to the forest. So had Raven, so Dawnleaf had moved them all under the trees.
"Hunting?" Jay asked
"Sure!" Sparrow purred, and they padded toward a beech tree and flattened themselves into hunting crouches. Even though their mother had been born on the moor, Jay, Raven and Sparrow hunted well under trees as well. Jay lifted his muzzle, parting his jaws to taste the air. Sparrow had long since scented a mouse, but she decided to let her brother take this catch.
Jay crept forward, setting his paws down lightly and keeping his tail low. Sparrow watched as he leapt and slammed his paws down on a bundle of grey fur, and came up with the mouse dangling from his jaws.
"Great catch," She commented.
"Thanks," Jay replied, "Lets go this way." He pointed with his tail. Soon after, Sparrow scented rabbit. Excitement flared in her stomach. She stalked as close as she dared, seeing the furry creature nibbling on some stalks, not aware of anything but it's meal. She suddenly burst from the undergrowth and sent it bolting, following the rabbit as fast as she could. While her prey tripped on every bramble, she jumped over them with ease. Soon enough, she had cornered it. With a pounce, it was trapped under her paws.
After lugging it back to Jay, she padded back to her nest. Dawnleaf and Cedardusk were sharing tongues by the small pool that lay a few fox-lengths from the dens. Amber and Leaf were playing find the pebble beside a clump of bracken.
"Hey," She meowed," Amber, Leaf."
Both toms looked up. Amber blinked warmly at her, while Leaf nodded his greetings.
"Where have you been?" Amber called.
"Hunting with Jay," Sparrow replied, proudly displaying her rabbit.
"Nice," The grey tom mewed, sliding the pebble to Leaf and padding over to her.
"I want to show you something," He told her. Sparrow tipped her head.
Sparrow followed him along a well-worn twoleg path. They travelled until they passed a stream which had sun-baked rocks on one side.
"Where are we going?" She asked. By the looks of it, this was RiverClan's old territory, from Dawnleaf's stories.
"You'll see," He responded, quickening his pace, "We're close."
They rounded a corner and followed a dip in the earth. She began to hear the tinkling of soft water. Amber led the way through a patch of tough undergrowth and disappeared. Alarmed, Sparrow rushed after him.
"Amber!" She called, distress making her voice rise.
"Down here," Amber's voice replied. Sparrow followed the sound and, with a thump, fell into a hole. Darkness shrouded her vision as Amber's pelt brushed along her side. She peered hard, letting her gaze adjust.
"Where are we?" She asked loudly, her paws still shuddering from the fall. The air smelt dank and musty, but with a slight water smell intertwined with it.
"Come on," Amber led her further in, Sparrow following the scent trail as not to lose herself in the darkness. The water-scent grew stronger as they padded on. She was about to ask about where they were again, but then she heard the sound of water. She raced ahead, leaving Amber behind, until she drew up by the source of the noise.
It was a small stream with tiny fish swimming along the bottom. Sparrow sniffed along the base. Amber had been here many times. The grey tom came up beside her. He nudged her playfully.
"This is it," He told her, "Look."
He carefully dipped a paw into the sparkling stream. It seemed to be lit up despite the gloom. Amber stirred the sand at the bottom, disturbing the silvery fish. Suddenly his eyes glowed white, just for a second, and then stumbled back.
"What happened?" Sparrow gasped.
He blinked, breaking into a purr, "You try."
She shook her head, "It looks dangerous."
She padded forward, lowering his paw down. She flinched as the cold bit her pads, but leaned down and stirred up the sand with a claw. Out of the blue, Sparrow felt herself fade into darkness. She seemed to whirl through thick fog, going up, before wind stirred her fur and she plummeted.
A flash of pain in her paws brought her to her senses. She blinked her eyes open, feeling like a newborn kit. Colours blurred together before coming into sharp focus. She was in a greenleaf forest, the sky so blue with perfect white clouds scudding across the huge expanse. The grass under her paws was soft and springy. Cats were padding towards her; six of them.
"Welcome, young Sparrow," One meowed as they reached her. His flame-coloured pelt shimmered in the sun.
"Who are you?" She hissed, her hackles rising.
"Do not fear," A grey, thick-furred she-cat with a flat muzzle meowed. She swept her fluffy tail over the ground.
Something inside her told Sparrow to trust these cats. She let her hackles flatten.
"My name is Firestar," The flame-coloured one mewed, "This is Yellowfang." He gestured to the grey she-cat.
"I am Onestar," A tom nodded, and Sparrow gasped. Dawnleaf had told her kits about the WindClan leader from many seasons ago before Dawnleaf was even born!
Onestar noticed her gasp, and purred.
He should be dead!
Then... am I dead too?
"My name is Blackstar," Meowed a huge white tom with black paws.
"And I am Leafstar," A she-cat purred, "And this is Mistystar."
"We are the cats of StarClan," They meowed as one, "And you must help us."
Chapter Two- Raven
`The sun was high in the sky when Raven finally woke up. She padded blearily from her nest, noting as she went that both her littermates were gone. Dawnleaf welcomed her with a brisk lick over her daughter's ears.
"You slept in," Dawnleaf mewed.
"I was tired from yesterday's hunt," Raven replied, moving into a patch of shade. She yawned, putting her head on her paws. Cedardusk and Leaf were sharing tongues by the bramble patch, and Nettle was careening around her mother, Splashfur. The yellow-eyed queen purred, taking a lazy swipe at her kit. Raven noticed a fat rabbit lying beside Splashfur's den. She licked her lips.
I wonder if anyone will care if I ate some?
She stood, walking over to the fresh-kill. She picked it up by the scruff and carried it back to her resting place. Leaf immediately bounded over, eyes on the rabbit. He settled down beside her. Soon Dawnleaf was padding over, and all three cats shared the meal. Satisfaction dulled Raven's senses. She knew she must get out into the forest and hunt. It wasn't good for any cat to be blinded by the good things in life, only to be disappointed by the bad. Raven heaved herself to her paws, licking the blood from her muzzle.
"I'm going hunting," She told her companions, hoping they would not offer to come. She preferred to hunt alone. Luckily, Leaf only blinked warmly and wished her luck. Dawnleaf nodded, resting her tail over her muzzle and closing her eyes.
Raven padded out of the clearing and took a deep breath, letting scents flood her jaws. She picked up squirrel. Fresh. The black she-cat stalked forward, pinpointing her prey. She spotted it chittering among the branches of an old oak. She slyly crept up on it and bunched her muscles to leap, but a robin burst into song nearby, alerting the squirrel which scampered away. Angry, she rounded on the bird. It was high up in a tree. There was no way she was climbing up to it. Her legs shuddered at the thought. Instead, she waited for it to fly and swiftly followed it. The stupid thing was still warbling its song, flying close to the ground. Raven got ready to pounce, but a sudden pain in her paws distracted her. She felt a tugging, and her paws walked themselves back to the oak. She panicked, trying to stop, but her paws kept going.
No! What's happening!?
A voiced stirred her ear fur, Climb the tree...
Wildly, Raven twisted to see who spoke. No cat was there. Only a faint scent lingered in the air, Climb...
"I can't!" She wailed. Fear crowded for space in her mind. Suddenly, her front paw planted itself on the base of the tree.
Climb now. Or we will have to make you... I am sorry, Raven. Confront your fear and all will be well...
Raven crouched down, trying to dig her claws into the ground. Her vision spun, fear making her dizzy. The one thing she was terrified of... climbing. She wanted to wail for Dawnleaf like a kit, but she steeled herself. She was not a kit anymore. Raven hesitated, for a moment to long. Her paws began to lead her up the tree. Her fear blurred the moments into one, she could barely remember what happened as her claws dug into the trunk and she began to haul herself up. She found herself in the crook of a branch, shivering. A cold wind blew across her fur, making her turn. She, dizzy with fear, saw a hole in the tree, maybe an abandoned owl nest. Raven clambered into it, coldness gripping her with icy talons.
"StarClan, let me get through this," She whispered aloud.
A light shone at the edge of her vision, and she peered backwards. It was a pebble, shimmering like a star. She nosed it, curious. And she found herself spinning away, darkness claiming her as it's own.
Raven was falling, cold air rushing against her pelt and stars dancing in her vision. She panicked, flailing her paws in an attempt to get free. Darkness clamped its jaws on her scruff and dragged her away...
Dizzy, she blinked. Sunlight flooded her vision and she cringed away. She was in a small clearing under sheltered trees and marshy land under her feet. A black and white cat had her teeth fastened in Raven's scruff.
"Who are you?" Raven gasped, pulling away.
"My name," The she-cat lifted her chin, "Is Shadowstar."
A distant memory stirred in Raven's mind.
"What did they do?" It was Sparrow.
Dawnleaf purred, eyes warm with affection. Her kits burrowed closer to her belly. Raven looked at her mother with wide eyes.