heart of diamonds
"the prophet has come"
prologue - non-believers
“Shut up, Lily!”
The small cream she-cat flinched at the harshness in her leader’s tone, flattening her ears to her head. A golden tabby sitting beside her stepped forward, dipping his head slightly in the presence of someone who outranked him.
“With all due respect, Storm, don’t you think you’re being irrational?” the tabby meowed. Storm bristled, and the tabby braced himself.
“You are the one being irrational, Orion,” Storm snarled, lashing his crooked tail. “There has been no signs of a Prophet in all of the years I’ve lived in the Alliance, or in all my father’s years, or his father’s years! You are all as blind as a newborn kit!”
“But what about the Testaments?” Lily asked shyly, concern lighting her gaze. Storm rolled his eyes.
“The Testaments were made so weak cats had something to cling to when they had lost their sense of self.” A shudder passed down Storm’s spine, as if he remembered a time when he was one of those weak cats.
A white she-cat with thick, long fur beside Storm nudged him. “Storm, surely you can’t be giving up hope yet. Maybe the Prophet will arrive soon.” Her orange eyes shimmered.
Storm’s gaze softened as he turned to look at the white she-cat. “Maybe so, Chelsea, but we can’t sit around waiting for some mystery cat to save us. We can’t contact our ancestors either with their sudden silence,” he sighed.
Orion twitched his whiskers. “Maybe we have to go seek out the Prophet ourselves?”
“No,” Storm growled, glaring at Orion. “There will be no such thing.” Lily shrank close to her brother and pressed her pelt to his as Storm’s stare hardened.
“The Prophet is not coming.”
chapter one - have you seen my mom?
“What are you doing, Daddy?”
Mistake was met with his father’s sharp, pine-green gaze as he looked up at him excitedly. He must have been going on an adventure! Every time his father went out, he returned happier, and with lots of food for them to feast on.
“I’m just… going out,” his father responded gruffly, looking away. “I’ll be back soon, runt.”
Mistake’s heart leapt in his chest. Another nickname from his father! He had never been called runt before, but he liked the way it sounded. Short and concise, and easier to say than Flea-pelt or even Mistake. He figured all the nicknames his father gave him were because of how much he loved his son.
“Can I come this time?” Mistake mewed, bouncing on his paws. His father frowned down at him, a telltale sign that he was going to say no. An image flashed through Mistake’s mind- His father, meeting with a pretty black and white she-cat, and the two hunting together. Mistake pouted. He always saw his father’s outings before he even left their camp, and this time, he didn’t see himself at his father’s side.
“No,” his father replied. He turned to leave, and then paused, a knowing expression coming over his face. He smiled slightly. “But I have something very important for you to do.”
“Really?” Mistake broke into a wide grin, his tail shooting into the air. “What is it? What is it?”
Mistake’s father crouched until he was level with his son, speaking slowly and quietly like he was telling a secret. “I want you to go find your mother. I just saw her near the large alder tree. You know the one.”
His mother! Mistake hadn’t seen his mother in two whole moons, because he had always lived with his father. His paw pads prickled with anticipation. “You did?” he meowed. Then he was interrupted by a vision- the alder his father spoke of, with parts of the bark cut through from when he and other cats climbed it. But there was no sign of his mother, or even of any cat living there. He wracked his brain but came up with nothing.
Disappointment came up to sit in the back of his throat. “I don’t see her.”
Mistake’s father looked at him funny, eyes narrowed. “What are you talking about, featherbrain? She’s not here, she’s at the alder tree.”
Mistake was about to protest, but he held his tongue. His vision must have been wrong. Why would his father want to lie to him? He shook his head.
“Okay,” he mewed. Mistake’s father looked satisfied.
“Come back when you’ve found her and no sooner,” he growled. Then he whirled around and stalked out of his camp, leaving his son in his wake, staring after him.
Mistake fluffed out his chest fur. “I’m going to find her,” he said, half to himself. His stomach grumbled softly, but he ignored the stab of hunger her felt. He turned away from where his father left, instead bounding in the opposite direction and fleeing through a bush. He let out a squeak as a stray twig scraped his flank.
“Eep!” he squealed, crashing into a sapling. He hadn’t been this way alone without his father to guide him. Mistake straightened and blew out a breath, composing himself. He still felt wobbly on his paws but he was determined to impress his father. He would find his mother.
His thoughts went to the alder tree again, and he focused hard on the image, searching for any cat that looked like his mother. He didn’t remember her very well, only that she was grey and white, like he was. Mistake prided himself on the fact that he and his father were both tabbies, even if his father was pale brown unlike him.
A flash of alarm seized him. He saw three cats approaching the tree. They were far away enough that he was sure he could reach it before them. There was a cream she-cat, a tortoiseshell, and a dark grey tom. For a moment, he felt apprehensive. They were all much bigger than him, and could easily beat him in a fight.
In a sudden burst of realization, their names sprang to the tip of his tongue. Thalassa. Lily. Breaker.
With a shake of his head he snapped back to reality. The alder tree and cats pursuing it disappeared, and faded away to an endless sea of bushes and young plant life. Mistake crouched and leapt forward with an excited gasp. His paws hit the ground and he nearly fell, but quickly put his back legs on the ground and kept running forward. His heart sped up.
His paws thrummed unevenly on the forest floor as he neared the alder tree. He spotted its thick brush dancing over the forest in the wind, and he felt relief surge through him. His heartbeat was rapid against his chest.
Mistake exploded out of the thicker foliage and skidded to a stop near one of the roots of the alder. Was his mother here? He raised his muzzle and started sniffing for any scents. He padded around the edges of the tree, jutting his chin forward to look for signs of life.
He felt a sense of fear grow in him as his thoughts told him that the three cats from the image were drawing closer. On his shaky legs, he crept forward, sticking his head into a bush. “Mommy?” he called. No response.
“Mommy?” he repeated, stepping away from the bush. “Mom?” his voice wavered as he sensed the cats drawing closer, then he saw their eyes widen as they noticed him.
“Halt!” the tortoisheshell -Thalassa- yelled. The trio dissipated from Mistake’s thoughts as they bounded towards him. Instinctively, he backed up. The cats were much larger than they had been in his mind, with muscles filling out their fur and shiny, glossy pelts.
“Who are you?” Breaker, the dark grey one, yielded in front of Mistake. He trembled slightly with fear. What if they kill me? I need to find Mom for Daddy! He stared down at the kit with narrow yellow eyes that struck fear into Mistake’s heart. He didn’t respond.
Thalassa stepped closer to him. “What’s your name, kit?” She bent down slightly. Mistake blinked at her confusedly. Why didn’t she know his name? He knew hers.
“M-Mistake,” he sputtered out. Thalassa’s amber eyes lit up with surprise.
“Your name is Mistake?” she asked inquisitively. Mistake jerked his head up and down.
“Yeah! At least that’s what Daddy always calls me,” he meowed proudly. He liked his name, and was happy with it. His father had given him a nice, strong name.
Thalassa’s face twisted with sympathy, and behind her, the cream she-cat, Lily, winced. Breaker’s eyes flashed. Why weren’t they saying anything?
“That’s not a name fit for a kitten,” Thalassa murmured. Mistake tipped his head. Why didn’t they think the name his father gave him was as impressive as he did? He licked his chest fur self-consciously, then raised his head to speak to the cats again.
“And your names are Thalassa, Lily, and Breaker, right?” he questioned, gazing up at them. A heartbeat of strained silence passed through the group, and the three of them looked back at him in awe. Lily’s mouth fell open as she regarded Mistake with wide green eyes.
“How do you know that?” Breaker growled suspiciously. He strode towards Mistake, baring his teeth menacingly. “Are you a spy from the Others?”
Mistake looked at him fearfully. “Why didn’t you know mine?” he mewed in a tiny voice, frightened.
“Breaker, stop it,” Thalassa hissed. “This kid can’t be any more than three moons. He’s not part of the Others.” Mistake shrank away from the cats.
“Have you seen my Mom?” he squeaked. Thalassa’s gaze turned to him again.
“Your mom?” Lily broke in, thrusting herself in front of Thalassa. “What happened to her?”
Mistake shrugged. “Nothing, I don’t think. But I need to find my Mom. Daddy sent me,” he explained. Thalassa and Lily exchanged glances. “He said she’d be here, but I can’t find her.”
Breaker looked down at the kit. “Where is your father now?” he asked.
“Daddy? He’s hunting with some black and white she-cat. I’ve never met her.” Mistake flicked his tail. Breaker looked at him strangely.
“How do you know what she looks like if you’ve never met her?” he inquired.
Mistake was so confused. They didn’t know his name, and now this? He stared up at them, perplexed. “I saw her,” he meowed slowly.
“Saw her… With your father?” Breaker meowed. Frustration made Mistake’s skin tingle beneath his knotty pelt. Did these cats know nothing?
“No!” he exclaimed, exasperated. “I saw her like I saw you, in my head! Do you guys not use that?”
Breaker’s gaze shifted from suspicion to shock. He glanced at Thalassa, and the two shared a bewildered look. Lily looked down at Mistake interestedly. The kitten suddenly felt shy in his pelt. “Is that not something you guys do?” He had always been able to imagine situations in his head. Was that not… normal? His father never said such things.
“He saw us in-” Thalassa murmured thoughtfully. Then her piercing amber eyes locked back onto Mistake, and he flinched. “Mistake,” she began, and then winced slightly as she addressed him. “Think of us, walking into camp- er, into a large gorge area.”
“Um,” Mistake stuttered. “Okay.” His eyes flitted half-shut and the three cats appeared in his mind, walking along an unfamiliar, worn path. There was a large gorge in front of them, and they all leaped in without hesitation. They landed on a patch of land where they were greeted by two tomcats- one was a muscular golden tabby, and the other was a slimmer, pale brown and white cat.
Mistake shivered as he was suddenly dragged out of his vision. His eyes opened to the expectant gazes of Breaker, Thalassa, and Lily.
“Uh,” he mewed uncertainly. “I saw this big thing. Like a huge hole in the ground, and you jumped into it. Then these two cats came up to you- a big golden tabby tom and a smaller brown and white tom.” He stared at his paws.
“Petal and Orion,” Lily mewed to Thalassa. Then her eyes widened to the size of twin moons and she stepped back slightly. “Do you think he’s-?”
Thalassa cut her off abruptly. “We have to take him to Storm.” Breaker nodded slightly, and Thalassa advanced towards him.
“What- What are you doing?” squealed Mistake. He tried to scramble away from the three cats but Thalassa quickly had his scruff fur in her teeth and was picking him up from the ground. Mistake felt sick as he was lifted from the forest floor. “Put me down!” he demanded, his voice trembling and breaking.
“We won’t hurt you,” Lily assured him in a kind voice. Mistake thrashed back and forth in Thalassa’s mouth, trying to free himself from her fangs. A feeling of dread wrapped itself around him.
“I don’t care!” he wailed. Fear sat like a rock in his stomach. He struggled to fight off panic.“I need to find my Mom!”