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Essay
This page contains a fan fiction written by Forestpaw13.
This page contains the opinions of the original author(s), and is not patrolled for factual accuracy.
Remember that this story is non-canon. It may contain false characters, plots, or locations.
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Standards Specials
Jaggedpaw's Journey | Thorntail's Sister | Freedom at Last

Prologue

The darkness was weight, putting its weight on everything, everyone.
Eyes glittered like stars, appearing, pair by pair, from the night.
One single cat stood alone, at the head of them. Its form was barely visible, and, looking up, the waiting cat could only see a faint outline.
"Brother," the cat on the ledge called, his eyes glittering brighter. He leaped down, his form perfect.
The waiting cat nodded respectfully. "Why are you here?"
"I have a word for you to think about," the head tom said quietly, his gaze piercing.
The waiting tom nodded, anticipating the word that his brother would utter.
"Elite," the other cat whispered, his eyes shining. "What do you think about that, Deuce?"
"I'm not surprised, Deuce replied slowly. "But I have a word, too, brother, perhaps more powerful."
The other cat snorted, but pricked his ears.
"Trust," Deuce whispered, aware that he was winning.
His brother's eyes widened and narrowed. "What about trust, brother?" he asked smoothly.
Deuce approached slowly. "Do you trust me?" he asked, whispering. He touched his brother's face with his tail.
The other cat snapped back quickly and regained his control. "Enough to talk to you tonight," he whispered.
Deuce took a hesitant step backward, feeling heat pulse through him.
The cat nodded approvingly, then his eyes narrowed once more. "I doubt your loyalty to me."
"Brother," Deuce replied, "I have never been loyal to you."
The other cat's eyes narrowed.
"I know your goal," Deuce hissed, "and I'm not afraid to stop you. You and your little..." he paused.
"Leave." When Deuce didn't budge, the cat repeated, "Leave."
Deuce turned to leave.
"And, Deuce?" his brother called after him.
Deuce turned.
"If you ever touch me again, I'll kill you."
Deuce nodded and padded away, until he was sure his brother couldn't see him anymore.
But the clearing was lit by moonlight. Deuce could see his brother gasp and stumble. A cat raced down from the ledge and dove beneath him, trying to save their leader.
His brother nodded and stood. The cat that had caught him comforted him with their tail and looked into his eyes.
"Showing a weakness, huh?" Deuce murmured, feeling a rush of adrenaline pulse through him. "Well, brother, you'll need to overcome it if you want to defeat me."
With that, he was gone.


Freestep peered through the night, at the last cat stepping out of the circle.
He had just received eight of his lives, and the last one was coming.
He reviewed the lives he had gotten in his head: Dapplepaw, Thorntail's dead sister, had given him true sight, the ability to see right from wrong, truth from lies, and evil. Mouseclaw had given him love- the ability to love cats, as she had been betrayed by Smokefoot, the love of her life. Yellowfang had given him leadership, and the ability to make smart, leaderlike choices as he was leader.
He was going to be leader of ThunderClan. The thought struck him like a cat's claw. No, Smokefoot's claw.
He had finally won, finally triumphed against his enemy. The prophecy was over.
Smokefoot stepped from the ranks of the assembled cats.
Freestep blinked, and Smokefoot was replaced with Reedstar, the former leader. His eyes glinted from the light of the stars shining from the pelts of the other cats.
"Freestep," Reedstar purred. "Your last life." He appeared to think for a moment, then nodded and spoke. "I give you strength to lead your Clan through the most difficult times."
As Reedstar's nose made contact with Freestep's, Freestep felt a swirl of pain and confusion and pressure settle upon him, nothing he had ever felt before. He gasped for breath as the life swirled through him.
When he was finished, Reedstar straightened up. "I now deem you Freestar," he mewed proudly.
Freestar stood to face his old leader. "I will make you proud," he promised. "I swear."

Chapter 1

Freestar sighed. Another cold, miserable day in ThunderClan. He preferred the warmth, the season of growth and more prey.
He stood and shook his coat of any moss, then regretted it. It was freezing. He envied the cats with longer fur. They would be happier than him.
He padded out of his den, treading the familiar path he had gotten used to. He stood at the top of the ledge, sensing all the cats below him.
Ravenheart, the medicine cat, was caring for a cat in his den, assisted by his apprentice, Cloudpaw. Freestar sensed the heaving coughs of the sick cat and winced.
Rainpaw was prancing nervously around the clearing, obviously waiting for someone. Freestar felt the urge to tell him that his mentor was patrolling, but it didn't seem necessary. Petalpaw had come out of the apprentice den and had greeted Rainpaw.
"Petalpaw," Nettlefur, Freestar's mother, called, "time for training." Her voice was getting frail, Freestar noticed, time to start thinking about her becoming an elder.
Just then, the dawn patrol whisked into camp, led by the deputy, Thorntail. Blazetail and Jaggedfang followed.
Songpaw, Cloudpaw's sister, burst out of the apprentice den, her fur fluffed up, fear radiating from her. Freestar nervously read her mind, and heard Dream, dream, dream... echoing in her mind. Only a nightmare, he reassured himself.
He climbed down from the ledge, whispering for Yellowfang to aid in his vision. It automatically opened to light, and he blinked to adjust. Petalpaw was nuzzling a hurried goodbye to Rainpaw under Nettlefur's watchful glare.
Two cats came out of Ravenheart's den: Webpaw, led by Cloudpaw. "Come back if you feel any more pain," Cloudpaw told Webpaw. Pride radiated from him. Freestar couldn't help but twitch his whiskers in amusement.
Thorntail approached Freestar. "It's winter," he sighed.
Freestar nodded. "I know. It means more patrols," he added.
Thorntail nodded. "I have been increasing them, but it doesn't seem necessary..."
This was a normal conversation between the two cats. Occasionally one of the two would recall a memory- usually of Freestar- and then it would end. Thorntail or Freestar would have to deal with something or boredom would settle in.
Their relationship was not the same. The bond between mentor and apprentice was still there, but it had been overcome with the duties and responsibilities of a leader and his deputy. Freestar couldn't help but worry about just how close they were.
Jaggedfang approached them, just as Freestar replied, "It will be, don't worry."
"Did you tell him about the rogue we met?" Jaggedfang asked Thorntail quizzically.
Of course, Freestar had sensed it, but he had felt the rogue being driven out.
Thorntail shook his head, stepping back respectfully. "You go ahead," he invited Jaggedfang.
Jaggedfang turned to Freestar. "We met a rogue on patrol. He seemed very intent on coming here," he began.
"You should have let him," Freestar sighed.
"He seemed dangerous," Jaggedfang protested. After reconsidering, he added, "Actually, no, he was just desperate."
"For...?" Freestar prompted.
Jaggedfang swallowed nervously before continuing. "He wanted to talk to you."

Chapter 2

There was a stunned silence as this was processed.
"Jaggedfang," Freestar mewed slowly, "you should have let him come. Now I have to track him down."
"Leave," he murmured, directing it to a single cat. His vision closed, and his senses opened. He was grateful.
Jaggedfang was ashamed. "I'm sorry, Freestar. I wasn't thinking."
"No, you weren't," Freestar replied affectionately, flicking his friend's ear with his tail. "Go eat, you did well today."
Jaggedfang retreated gratefully, embarrassment hanging from his pelt, leaving Freestar alone with Thorntail.
"I'll send out patrols," Thorntail mewed. "After Jaggedfang eats, he'll lead one, Blazeheart can lead one, and I'll lead another."
Freestar nodded. "Good. I'll go with you. I know exactly where this rogue is."


Freestar led his patrol- consisting of himself, Thorntail, Brambletail, and his apprentice, Rainpaw- through the forest, knowing exactly where he was going. He could sense the rogue.
Sense him.
He could sense the desperation of the rogue as he walked along the border that separated ThunderClan from ShadowClan. He would stop every once in a while and smell the air to give an impression of a normal cat.
"He's this way," Freestar grunted after a while. He was so close to where he had last sensed the rogue.
"Hello," a quiet voice whispered behind him.
Freestar jumped and spun around, instantly regaining his composure. "Yes?" he asked.
"Are you Freestar?" the cat asked. It sounded like a tom.
"Yes, I am," Freestar replied. His heart pounded. What was going to happen? This cat seemed dangerous, not desperate.
"I need your help," the tom mewed. "And you can give it to me," he added.
Behind him, Freestar sensed Rainpaw cast a nervous look at Brambletail. Thorntail kneaded his front paws into the ground.
"What is your name?" Freestar asked, trying to sound dignified. He was not a scared Clan leader, especially with his Clanmates behind him.
"I am Deuce," the tom replied. "I've been roaming the lake lately, trying to find a Clan leader that will help me, and all three other Clans directed me to you."
Freestar resisted the urge to groan. This was his problem now. "Well, come back to camp with us. We can talk in my den."
Deuce nodded, gratefulness radiating from him, and fell into step beside Freestar as he led the way back to camp. The patrol was silent the way back.
When Freestar had crawled through the tunnel, he didn't respond to the Clan's stirring and protesting. He directed Rainpaw to lead Deuce to his den.
"Thorntail," Freestar murmured, "I want you to guard my den. Make sure no cat gets in, and I'll ask for help if I need it."
Thorntail nodded and followed Freestar loyally to his den.
Freestar gulped, and, his heart pounding, he stepped into his den.
Deuce was waiting patiently. His head was turning back and forth, and wonder radiated from him.
"Hello," Freestar said loudly. Feeling Deuce jump, he continued, "I apologize- I didn't mean to scare you, I only wanted to get your attention."
"It's fine," Deuce mewed.
"What do you need?" Freestar asked. He almost didn't want to know the strange rogue's reason for coming to him in desperation.
"It's... my brother." Deuce's voice rang. "His name is Asis. He's the leader of an elite army-"
"Fang?" Freestar blurted out. "Fang's army?"
"No... I've never heard of Fang," Deuce apologized. "Asis is the leader of an elite army that aims to take over the forest and the cats that live in it."
"No cat can take over the Clans," Freestar snapped. "Cats have tried and failed many times. It's impossible."
"You don't understand," Deuce pressed on. "Asis will do anything. He has hundreds of cats! You'll be overpowered, I promise you."
Freestar blinked, and a scene loomed in front of him. Yellowfang sat in a corner, a worried expression on her face, and in front of him sat a tom, much smaller than he expected. He was wiry with thin brown fur.
"Are you okay?" Deuce asked worriedly.
"Fine, fine..." Freestar dismissed it. "Are you hungry?" he asked.
"Hungry for revenge," Deuce growled. "Please, Freestar, save me, and protect your forest! StarClan sent me here to find you. They knew you could help and knew you would help."
"StarClan sent you here?" Freestar asked curiously.
"Yes," Deuce said dismissively. "I'm a descendant of the cats from the Old Forest and I traveled here not too long ago after hearing my brother had come."
Freestar considered. "Eat some fresh-kill."
"Will you help me?"
Freestar looked at him. "You'll need warrior training if you want to be a part of my army," he said. "I'm in."

Chapter 3

Freestar woke up to a blinding light and a very loud noise.
"Freestar! Freestar!" a cat was yowling. "Hurry!"
He could sense a lot of movement below. He jumped up from his nest, scattering the soft moss all over the den, and raced out.
"Yellowfang," he hissed. "Let me see."
She appeared before him, and a scene did, as well: a dead gray she-cat.
"Oh, StarClan!" he hissed.
"Do you know who it is?" Yellowfang asked.
Freestar scented the air. "Mistfur."
Mistfur had been a very quiet she-cat. Her two kits, Rainpaw and Webpaw, were wailing just outside the apprentices' den, with Petalpaw trying to comfort him.
Anger welled up within Freestar's blood. "Who did this?" he roared.
The whole clearing went silent and looked up at their leader.
"It's almost like he can see," somebody whispered.
Freestar ignored this. "Who did it?" he roared again. "I will rip them apart!"
"And I'll help," another gray tom yowled. Freestar recognized the voice of Stoneclaw.
With that, the whole Clan started to yowl. Pride ran through Freestar's blood.
A white tom stepped forward. "I saw who did it," he mewed.
The Clan hushed instantly. Freestar could hear a leaf blowing on the other side of the clearing.
Freestar twitched his tail at the medicine cat apprentice. "Go on, then."
"It was this... black tom. He was small and he had these evil green eyes..." Cloudpaw trailed off, hesitantly. "Mistfur was going to get fresh-kill. Thorntail had put her on the morning patrol and she was hungry, I guess... she was dead before she hit the ground."
Sad murmuring rippled through the Clan. Cats killed going to get fresh-kill?
"All right," Freestar decided. "Thorntail, we need to send out cats to look for this black cat. I'll lead one myself. Jaggedfang... you lead another. And Brambletail, the third.
"Thorntail, stay here and guard the camp. Apprentices, on your guard! This is your first battle, all of you. Fight for your life, because you may not see another day.
"And..." Freestar looked around. Softly, he said, "Stoneclaw, take care of yourself. Stay in the camp and mourn your mate in peace. We will hold a vigil for Mistfur tonight."
Patrols quickly formed. Freestar's patrol consisted of Briartail, a golden she-cat; Duskfoot, a golden-brown she-cat; Grayfoot, a white tom; Whitebelly, a long-furred gray tom; and Yellowfang.
"Bring any cat you find in the territory back to camp. Thorntail will guard them in the warriors' den," Freestar commanded.
Jaggedfang puffed his chest up. "Yes, Freestar," he said, "your Clan won't let you down."
Stirring met this statement; Jaggedfang was not yet an accepted member of ThunderClan.
"No, we won't," Thorntail mewed confidently.
"Then go," Freestar said. "Brambletail and Jaggedfang, you go first." Freestar noted that Amberfire was on Jaggedfang's patrol.
Yellowfang nodded to Freestar and disappeared through the tunnel, Freestar following her closely. Once each cat emerged from the tunnel, he said, "Okay, stay on your guard."
Silently, they padded through the forest. Freestar could scent Brambletail's patrol to his right and Jaggedfang's patrol to his left.
We'll get them, Freestar reassured himself. Whoever killed Mistfur will die.
A cry floated through the forest. "We've got somebody!"
Freestar looked at Yellowfang. "Go," she hissed.
He obeyed. He raced through the forest, his patrol hot on his heels. "I'm coming," he called.
Jaggedfang's patrol loomed in front of him. Jaggedfang had a cat pinned to the ground, a big black tom.
"Fang," Freestar gasped. "Wha...?"
"I was traveling through the forest and this mouse-brain stops me," Fang snapped. "Let me up!"
"Jaggedfang, off," Freestar commanded. Jaggedfang obeyed, and Freestar saw that two cats had been escorting Freestar through the forest. Two cats whose scent he recognized. A ginger tom and a reddish she-cat.
"Freestep," Fang greeted. "Meet Lion and Rowan of my Army."
Jaggedfang glared at Freestar, and Freestar said, "I'm Freestar now. The leader of ThunderClan."
Fang just shook his head. "Well, good for you," he mewed. "My Army has settled down."
"I need your help," Freestar mewed slowly. "Can you search the forest for a small, wiry black tom?"
"How do you know he's black?" Fang questioned.
Freestar flinched. "My Clan gave me information."
Fang nodded. "Of course, I can help you! Why do you need to find him?"
"He killed Mistfur," Freestar said shortly.
Fang nodded. "Yes, of course. Lion, Rowan, come with me. You heard Freestar's instructions."
Freestar glared at Lion and Rowan. The two cats had kept him from his leadership not long ago. "Search with everything you have," he said darkly.
"No need," a voice said behind Freestar. "I am here."

Chapter 4

Freestar spun around.
"It's a black tom," Jaggedfang told Freestar quietly. "He fits Cloudpaw's description perfectly."
Freestar could see the wiry black tom. Cloudpaw's description did match, but Cloudpaw had failed to mention the hunger for evil in the tom's green eyes.
"Should I kill him?" Jaggedfang whispered.
"No," Freestar told him. "Get strong cats and get him back to camp. I want to question him."
Freestar found it hard to believe that the tom standing in front of him made no move of resistance against Jaggedfang; Whitebelly; and Brambletail, whose patrol had shown up soon after Freestar's.
"Go," Freestar snapped at his hesitant warriors. "I'll follow."
Fang approached Freestar slowly. "Do you need any help?"
Freestar remembered his earlier deal with Deuce. "I need to speak with you," he told Fang. "Please, come back with me."
Fang nodded and turned to Lion and Rowan. "Tell the Army where I've gone and don't come following me." As the cats left, Fang turned back towards Freestar. "I won't pretend I haven't been to your camp before, but lead the way."
Freestar padded through the forest, listening to Jaggedfang's rough pawsteps as he tried to bring the black tom back with the help of his Clanmates.
Freestar was calm. Everything would turn out all right.


Freestar pushed into his den. "Deuce, come out here for a moment."
The brown tabby glanced up from where he had been laying on the ground. "Okay."
Freestar led Deuce into the main clearing, where there was commotion as the cats tried to watch the new tom and Fang at the same time.
"Fang's all right," Freestar called down. "Make sure that tom that killed Mistfur stays under control."
Deuce looked at Freestar. "I know who that black tom is."
Freestar's heart soared. It would be easier to get answers out of the tom with a name. "Who?"
Deuce took a breath. "You'll find out eventually, anyway... That tom is my brother, Asis."
"And he's in our camp," Freestar sighed. "Right. I'll put a stop to that right now."
Freestar leaped down from the ledge and as he landed his vision blackened. He thanked Yellowfang, as he would need his senses to interrogate this tom.
"You killed Mistfur," Freestar growled at Asis.
Asis looked at Freestar and Freestar directed his eyes right back.
"I did," Asis mewed eventually. "And I'm not sorry."
Freestar tightened his jaw. He wanted to ask Asis so many things, but he refrained.
"Why did you kill her? And why aren't you sorry?"
Freestar could sense Deuce beside him. He couldn't read Deuce at all, which scared him.
"I have no reason to kill her except my hatred of the Clans and the cats that live in them," Asis told Freestar.
"Why would you hate the Clans, Asis?" Freestar asked the tom. "We have a code that tells warriors not to harm rogues, and for the most part, it is obeyed."
Asis silently shook his head. "No need to know."
Freestar had only a heartbeat's warning as Asis jumped up and leaped at him. Freestar found that he hadn't moved quickly enough and that he was pinned beneath the rogue's claws.
"You know my name is Asis," Asis growled, "you have aligned yourself with my brother, and you are obviously blind. I'm not going to tell you anything else. Just know that I hate you and your Clans, and that you will be killed along with your friends."
Freestar growled and pushed up, throwing the warrior off of him. "After him!" he called to his warriors. "Chase him from our territory!"
Warriors pelted after him. Freestar purred to himself as he sensed the chase through the forest.
Deuce looked at Freestar. "What are you going to do, Freestar?"
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