This is the fifth (and final) of the prequels for all five of the main characters in The Paths Trilogy. The other four are Outside The Borders, Desire, Orphaned, and Calling of the Grass, if you want to look at them (you can read them in any order btw c:).
Goldenflight was always a loyal FallClan warrior - always. She was the one that could be trusted. But when her biggest enemy in the Clan blames her on helping StreamClan in the middle of war between the two Clans, Goldenflight is forced out. Her loyalties are gone and shattered, and there's nothing left to do, but to forge new ones instead.
My name is Goldenflight.
I remember the times, many moons ago, when I had no worries in the world. In the cover of trees, with golden leaves crackling under my paws, that was my home. I was happy there.
Until my worst nightmares came true.
I really shudder to think of those days. Every time it comes back to me, it makes me scared. It gives me a scarring towards the future. I'm struggling to move on with life, although I know I must.
My loyalties have fallen. Now, with my new alliance, I must build them back.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
"Hey, Goldenpaw! Race you to the bush!"
It was the night before it was time, time to become a warrior under the four Clans. I could see my tabby sister, Leafpaw, ahead of me as she flicked her tail at me.
"Sure," I replied, my eyes bright. It felt so good to be accepted by my older siblings.
I was the last born of us three, and came a fair way after them. The oldest, Ferretpaw, likes to tease me - but I know he only does it to joke around. My brother has a good heart, after all.
Leafpaw, on the other paw, was more welcoming to me than Ferretpaw. We hung out together most of the time, and she always stuck up for me. It helped when snooty PebbleClan cats came along and decided to cause trouble half the time.
I trotted over to Leafpaw, my golden-brown tail flicking. I joined my sister, crouching down.
"We found a cat to judge us, by the way," Leafpaw whispered to me, her green eyes narrowed. "You know that cat Bluepaw, from GrassClan? He's becoming a warrior next moon. I asked him to inspect us."
I snorted. "At least it's not a PebbleClan cat, I'll grant you that," I whispered back, as I glanced to the front. I saw Bluepaw poke his head out from a nearby tree, the GrassClan apprentice's blue eyes bright.
"Are you both ready?" Bluepaw asked, cocking his head.
I looked beside me to see Leafpaw mew dryly: "Yes, Bluepaw, I'm ready..." while for a moment, I hesitated, bunching my muscles a little bit more as I waited. Finally, I gave the signal with a flick of my tail to show that I was ready too.
Bluepaw nodded. The large tom raised his tail, and started to count down. "Three... two... one..." His tail then started plummeting to the ground. "Go! Go on - run!"
I spang forward. Unfortunately, Leafpaw already was ahead of me, and sprinting fast. I wasn't a great sprinter - but she was.
She arrived at the bush, yowling triumphantly. I came after her, panting. Bluepaw nodded, and then he winked at Leafpaw, before he added: "Leafpaw won, sorry Goldenpaw. Good race, you guys."
I nodded, while Leafpaw swatted her tail at me. "Maybe you'll win next time, slowpoke," she teased, whacking me with her tail lightly.
"You bet I will!" I yowled back at my sister, trotting off after her. I wasn't hurt - there were better things to do tomorrow.
Like becoming a warrior, for instance.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
I shuddered as I looked up at the starry sky hazily as I padded through a long chamber. Two words rang loudly in my ears: I do... I do... I do...
Those were the words that I had spoken just moments before, in front of the StreamClan mentor that was conducting the ceremony. He'd told us to say those words of a warrior, before my name was called, first of them all.
All that I knew about the whole thing was that once the new warrior had disappeared down this tunnel of trees that supposedly led to where the cats were given their names, was that they never returned. This made me shudder greatly in fear, in unknowing.
What awaits me at the end of this track? I thought to myself, as I started to grow weary. I hope it's not too long to go...
Just then, the space opened up, and I found myself in a very small clearing, where the other StreamClan mentor was waiting for me.
The she-cat was ageing, and silver hairs were noticeably on her muzzle. Her dark gray fur was slightly patchy, and her white chest - which I guessed would've been bright in her youth - was slightly faded. I knew that her name was Softcloud, and I thought that it suited her.
"Goldenpaw," Softcloud rasped, as I approached. "Sit down, will you?"
Shaking slightly on my paws, I sat down in front of Softcloud, feeling extremely nervous.
Softcloud glared at me with her sky-blue eyes for a moment, before clearing her throat and mewing: "Goldenpaw, it is time for you to receive your warrior name. Your choices will be either Goldenwing, Goldenflight, Goldendawn, or Goldenfur."
As she finished, Softcloud's tail twitched slightly, and I gulped softly as I thought of the four names in my head.
Not Goldenfur, I thought, as I eliminated the first name. And Goldendawn - it sounds a little cliché... I don't think I want that...
That meant that there was only two names left: Goldenwing and Goldenflight. Both of them didn't sound completely realistic, but that didn't bother me at all... not at all...
However, I then decided that Goldenwing didn't suit me very well. I wouldn't think I'd suit a name like that - the other name suited me better.
Now I knew what my name was going to be.
"My name will be Goldenflight."
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
As I expected, I ended up returning to my home Clan, FallClan. It was great to be home, and this time, I found it extremely enjoyable to be a warrior for my Clan. I loved it there.
But then everything went wrong...
...and all the trust I had in my Clan fell away.
It was all a misunderstanding... all an accident... I couldn't believe what had happened. I did nothing wrong - I was innocent. I hate the cat who did it to me...
...I wish he would be gotten back for what he did.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Around that time, FallClan had been fighting with StreamClan, one of our neighboring Clans. They had been claiming that FallClan had been trespassing in their Clan's territory - but we didn't know who. Their leader - Whisperstar - was a wizened old tom who had given many moons of service to the Clan - but his deputy, a young tom named Wavestorm, was a real jerk if I had to say so myself. He was always seeming to find ways to blame FallClan for something or another.
In the forest, StreamClan and FallClan often fought, as well as PebbleClan and GrassClan. It seemed to be how the Clans were formatted, seemed to be. Not that anyone in the Clans ever questioned that - it was just how it was.
I remember straying by that border on one particular day, about six seasons after I had become a warrior - on a journey alone. Greenleaf was in full bloom, the trees of the forest lush with green leaves above my head. Pausing at the edge of the end of the trees which signified the border, I sat down, tasting the air warily.
I'd better not get caught by StreamClan warriors, I thought worriedly, looking at a glance over StreamClan's flat, treeless territory. At least I'll see them if they're coming.
That was when that dreaded cat decided to show up.
I picked up his scent the moment before I saw him. "Hey, Goldenflight." I then heard his soft, smoothed-out purr, as the spike-furred tabby trotted out from a bush behind me.
His name was Needlefur - and indeed, his name definitely suited his looks and temperament. A rather secretive warrior, when it cames to things, he was quick to blame, and hated lots of cats.
It was to my knowledge that I was one of the cats that he hated the most.
"What're you doing?" he asked me, his eyes wide.
I snorted crossly, as I knew Needlefur was putting this on. Stupid tom. "Just looking over at StreamClan," I mewed casually, looking over at their territory uneasily. "I was..."
I was cut off by Needlefur snorting at me. "Are you sure? You don't sound very convincing, Goldenflight. Are you hiding something?"
"N-No." I stammered slightly in the shock that the gray tom would even try to accuse me of something like that. Sure, I hated him, but regardless it was a shock. I'm loyal to my Clan, fool!
At my response, Needlefur arched his back. Hearing his claws unsheathe, I staggered backwards. You are not going to attack me, I thought, bracing myself.
"You're lying." Needlefur's voice was cold, deceiving. I knew he was lying. "You're lying, Goldenflight, and I know it." He continued to step forward threateningly, and I continued to move back at his every move. I was so scared that when he finally stopped, it didn't occur to me what he'd actually been trying to do.
Without a word, he quickly turned tail and fled.
For a moment, I paused, confused at why he had left. Too deep in my own thoughts, I arose, wanting to go after him. However, before I could move, I could feel someone breathing on my ear.
"You. What are you doing on StreamClan territory?"
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
I don't remember much of what happened next - although I remember that to my extreme dislike, Wavestorm happened to be on the patrol. The StreamClan deputy had been quick to blame me before I could say a word, and next thing I knew, he'd dragged me back to my own camp and reported to Daisystar what had happened.
I'd been forced outside while that meeting was taking place - and nearby, I could see Needlefur, giving me a cold, unforgiving gaze at me. You've been caught now, Goldenflight, it dared to say, as the gray tom looked into my eyes - unblinking, unflinching.
Afterwards, I was told one fact: I was getting an eye on until tomorrow, and then my fate would be decided. Two warriors dragged me towards an empty den at the side of camp, and I struggled in their grip as they heaved me over. Eventually, I gave up - seeing that my task was pointless.
One day remained. Now, I feared, it could be my last.
Thanks a lot, Needlefur. I really appreciate what you've done - not.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
The day of the trial dawned slowly, painfully. The night had been uncomfortable, having being bundled in the deserted den, and now I was exhausted.
In fact, I wasn't even brought out until sunhigh. By then, I'd become tired of waiting, had enough of it all. It was almost a relief when I heard Daisystar's call ring across camp:
Hearing the scuffle of paws on dusty ground, I rose to my paws, nearly bumping my head on the low den roof. Stooping, I tried to peer out - but due to the fact that a couple of warriors were standing in the way, I couldn't see much of anything.
The noises stopped. Silence followed. Then, I caught Daisystar's cold voice ring through the clearing:
"Bring her out."
At once, the two warriors blocking my view turned into the den. "C'mon," one of them growled - Hawkflight, the Clan deputy. "You need to get outta here now. Daisystar's verdict beckons."
Slowly, I shuffled towards the entrance. As I reached it, I felt a cat shove me, and I stumbled. A few cats jeered at this as I slowly made my way to the center of the clearing, looking into Daisystar's eyes worriedly.
It wasn't me, I wanted to say. However, I knew that it was too late to do such a thing now.
A long silence - a long, long silence - followed. Finally, I saw Daisystar take in one deep breath, and speak:
"I have decided that you are a traitor, Goldenflight. You have endangered the safety of FallClan by helping an enemy Clan."
I'm not a traitor, was the first thought that came to my head after Daisystar's words. I did nothing. Without thinking, I mewed, "It wasn't me! It was -"
Thankfully, for my sake, I was cut off there - because I didn't even know who was the cat who had been telling StreamClan all of our secrets. However, much to my misfortune, the reason that I had been cut off was because a cat had come and pinned me down.
I recognized him by his dark pelt at once. This was Stagspring. Of course, I knew that he wasn't trying to cause harm to me - after all, his claws were sheathed - but the amount of force that he placed on my throat left me speechless for the meanwhile.
That was the moment she gave her verdict. "You are exiled from FallClan," I heard Daisystar mew from above me. "Never come back. Get off our territory at once."
...No! You can't! I thought indignantly. I've done nothing! I felt Stagspring let go of me, and at once, I jumped to my paws, shaking. This wasn't happening. This wasn't happening.
I didn't want to believe it.
A soft voice brought me back to reality, and I jumped as I saw a pale brown tabby pad towards me. "Don't go!" His blue eyes shone with sadness as he stared me in the eye, his gaze soft.
I sighed slowly, softly. This was another reason why I didn't want to leave. Tumblestep... Three moons after my warrior ceremony, his mother kitted and lost her life, along with his littermates. I'd taken to looking after him, treating him as if he were my own son. I didn't hide the truth from him... but it nearly felt like he was my own kit.
"Tumblestep," I mewed, my voice heavy. I knew, at that moment, that it was time to let him go. He was a warrior now, after all - no longer did he need me by his side. "I know you are not my own, but you have grown up to be a fine warrior. It is time for me to go."
Tumblestep's eyes rounded. "But Goldenflight -" he stammered, but I quickly cut him off.
"Goodbye, Tumblestep," I whispered, giving him one last, long look. And before I could take another glance at him, before my world could come crashing down on me, I turned around...
...and left my life in FallClan behind.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
For a moon, I wandered beyond all four Clans' territories - alone, without companionship. However, for me, I found it unbearable to live without other cats beside me. I rarely saw other cats, and it hurt.
That was when I decided I couldn't turn my back on the Clans. They'd offered so much to me... FallClan had provided me with a lot in the time that I was there. That time had passed now, and I could never go back there: and they wouldn't welcome her back.
There was only one option left for me... and that was to join a different Clan.
I pondered the options in my mind. StreamClan, PebbleClan, GrassClan. The other three Clans. All different to FallClan.
PebbleClan was the most like FallClan, on the basis that they had trees. However, I wasn't so sure about them. I'd heard rumors about their leader, Moonstar - and apparently, she wasn't that sympathetic to other cats that weren't placed into her Clan after their warrior ceremony. Plus, their territory was apparently very shady - much shadier than FallClan's. And I didn't like the shade that much.
That kicked one option down.
Then, there was StreamClan and GrassClan. However, what were the chances that she'd even be allowed into StreamClan? After the incident at the border, they would treat her suspiciously. To add on to that, she'd gone past PebbleClan territory the other day, and heard some of their warriors discussing the fact that Whisperstar had recently died... and that Wavestorm, now Wavestar, was the new leader.
Wavestar hated me. That eliminated that Clan.
Now, there was only one option left. That would be my choice.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
As soon as I had made my decision, I had padded off to the border to find a GrassClan patrol. To my fortune, one such patrol was going around at the time, and I had approached them. They'd taken me back to their camp reluctantly, and told me to wait for Snowstar.
I'd never been inside the GrassClan camp before. It was beautiful, with the gorse bushes outlining the entrance, the wind seeming to make the camp seem so calm. The territory, too, seemed more tranquil than FallClan's: more calm.
At that moment, I realized that maybe I could forge myself a place here.
"You're that cat Shatteredheart's patrol found at the border, yes?"
I heard someone speak, and I turned to see a white shape pad past. Snowstar, the GrassClan leader, had brushed past me, his amber eyes narrowed as he took in what he was seeing. Quickly, I nodded as I reply, not wanted to offend him.
Snowstar flicked his tail as I replied. "Come into my den. Your name's Goldenflight, isn't it?" I nodded again at his as I was led into Snowstar's den. Not really paying attention to what it looked like, I turned to face Snowstar, shuffling my paws worriedly.
"What is it you wish then, Goldenflight?' he asked when I had settled down. "Shatteredheart has told me that you wish to join GrassClan."
Slowly, I dipped my head. "This is what I wish."
There was a pause. I heard Snowstar inhale, then exhale, before turning to me. "I believe you're from FallClan?" As I nodded, he cocked his head. "Okay... so why do you wish to join us?"
At this, I told him everything.
I told him about Needlefur, the unjust exile. I told him of my anxiety without a group. Although I barely knew the tom, I had put my trust in him. I told him all that I knew...
"...And that is why I wish to join," I finished, shuffling my paws once more.
Looking into Snowstar's eyes, I waited for a response. He was silent, meeting my gaze for a few moments, before he finally dipped his head.
"Very well, Goldenflight. You can join. I will announce this to the Clan."
I breathed a long sigh of relief. Thank StarClan! "Thank you," I mewed quietly, dipping my head as I saw Snowstar leave the den.
I followed soon after, my tail twitching happily. Now, I had been accepted again.
I had a new loyalty to follow, and this time, I knew I wasn't going to let it die.
I have finally finished the prequel series, wohoo! :D
It took a while, but I'm finally done. I'm really happy about it.
As always, constructive criticism is appreciated. :D
Until next time,