Episode Three, Season Two, of Solitary.
This episode is dedicated to Blazey, for continuing to follow Solitary, and just being a great friend on this wiki. I hope you enjoy this episode! <3
I was still shaking after a few moments of silence, and by now, my silver-gray fur had started to bush out in anxiety. The TreeClan and ForestClan cats were still staring at me with curiosity, and although they all knew who I was, their eyes were still wary.
Finally, Hawkstar pushed to the head of the group of TreeClan cats, and she stared me in the eye. “Are you sure about this, Wisp?” the brown tabby she-cat meowed. “TreeClan and ForestClan will only ask you to do this if you’re really sure you can help us – and if you are confident to do so.” In the background, I also saw Whitestar nodding in agreement to Hawkstar’s words, his green eyes shining with curiosity.
“I’m sure,” I replied, dipping my head. “You still don’t know the territory around the Clans better than I do, so wouldn’t there be any harm if I tagged along?”
There was another moment of silence, ending with a few TreeClan warriors murmuring to one another and shooting me suspicious glances. Whitestar pushed through his group of ForestClan cats, so that he joined Hawkstar, facing me. “True,” the black leader meowed, nodding. “We haven’t exactly done much exploring beyond our boundaries.”
I nodded, my throat dry. I was speechless – did this mean that Hawkstar and Whitestar were going to accept my offer, on behalf of their Clans? It sounded like it…
Make your minds up, I urged silently, looking up to meet Hawkstar’s gaze squarely. There has to be a decision made here – you can’t leave me on a cliffhanger this time!
Finally, after what seemed three sunrises had come and gone, Whitestar and Hawkstar looked at each other, and nodded. Hawkstar then turned to me, her amber gaze warm.
“We have made our choice, Wisp,” Hawkstar meowed, her voice clear and calm. “Wisp, we have accepted your offer of you helping us.”
After this, there was some scattered murmuring from some of the Clan warriors, but Whitestar saw them, and silenced then with a flick of his dark tail. Meanwhile, Hawkstar had turned to the Clan cats, and mewed:
“All cats that have been selected to travel to find a Gathering place, we will gather at sunhigh, a quarter-moon from now. The leader will accompany them to the border, but after that, they will be on their own.” She then turned to me, and added: “This applies to you too, Wisp.”
I nodded, silently agreeing. A quarter-moon was easily enough time to prepare for a journey like this – a journey with a foreseeable start, but not an ending of the same way.
“Is there any more news?”
Whitestar’s mew jolted me out of my trance, and I looked up. The black leader’s face was moving in all directions, as he looked for cats that might have any more things to discuss. When no cat replied – from both TreeClan and ForestClan – Whitestar dipped his head, and mewed: “The Gathering is over for another moon. May StarClan light every cat’s path, and hopefully by the next full moon, we will have a permanent place to hold our Gatherings.”
There were a few cats nodding after this speech, as Hawkstar flicked her tail for the TreeClan cats to follow her back to camp. Once they had left, Whitestar swept his tail for ForestClan to come together as well, and soon, they had left as well. I was left there, looking along the empty border, my eyes narrowed.
Soon, I turned my back, and I left the border myself, making it a place where no cat was. I started to make my way back to my den, thoughts whirling through my head once more.
I don’t want to let Hawkstar and Whitestar down, I thought, raising my head. They must have a better Gathering place than the one – the temporary one – which they have now…
The clearing was silent, but it was not undisturbed. Two cats stood there, looking into each other’s eyes, unspeaking. The air was tense, and an owl hooted, breaking the silence.
As the moon rose in the sky, one of the cats – a dark-furred cat – flicked his tail as he spoke to one of his followers. His eyes narrowed, as the cat stood before him. “So, do you have any news to report?” the cat meowed.
The other cat hesitated. He was smaller than the other cat, and his sleek fur had turned to silver in the moonlight. “Those Clan cats are going to find a Gathering place,” he breathed out, his eyes wide. “They’re going to take over more of our -”
He was interrupted, as the first cat spat on the ground in fury. The cat’s claws unsheathed, as he turned to look at his follower. “That’s ridiculous!” the cat spat. “Those filthy Clan cats can’t take over our land!” Shaking his head, he looked his follower in the eye, and mewed: “I hope you haven’t interfered with the situation.”
“N-No, sir,” the cat stammered, looking up shyly. “I haven’t done anything to mess with their plans. Are we going to wait before we proceed?”
The dark cat had started to pace around the other cat, and he nodded in reply. “Let them calm down from the first battle,” he mewed. “When they head off, we’ll get to them, and we’ll stop them. They must not take any more of our land!”
The second cat hesitated, and then he gave his leader a brief nod. “Yes, sir,” he meowed obediently, his bright eyes fixed on the other cat.
In approval, the first cat nodded. “That’s good.” They exchanged a few more moments of silence, and then the dark cat spoke once more. “Are you going to head back?” he asked his follower. “Someone will get suspicious of you if you stay with me too long.”
“Um, yes sir, I’d better go, before I get caught.” The follower shot a glance at his leader, before he disappeared into the trees, the foliage rustling as he went past, and then it fell silent again.
The first cat smiled as he watched his follower go. Soon, the Clans would pay for what they had done in the first battle.
I shivered in the dawn light as I padded away from my den. My mission at the moment was to hunt for myself, before I relaxed, and thought about tomorrow. And in that sense, tomorrow was a very important day – the day that he and the six Clan cats would head off on their journey to find a Gathering place.
The last day of my solitary life, in a way, I thought sadly, as I padded through the forest, tasting the air. It’s the end of an era. Tomorrow, I will start a new era, as a cat that walks alongside others.
I stopped suddenly, as a scent hit my tongue. It was not prey – it was another cat. My fur lifted, not recognizing the scent at first, but then my fur relaxed.
There were two cats there, and even though I hadn’t talked much to either of them, I knew them both. They also shouldn’t have been there – on their Clan’s terms, they should’ve stayed in their own territory.
“Wisp, it’s great to see you.” The first cat – a black-and-white she-cat – spoke, and I recognized Havenstrike, a ForestClan warrior. Havenstrike was flicking her tail frantically, and I knew at once that there was an issue. Sensing my surprise, she dipped her head to me. “We know we wouldn’t usually be here, but we were sent to find you by Whitestar.”
Whitestar? What’s the big issue, then? I stared, confused, at Havenstrike. “Why did Whitestar send you to find me, Havenstrike?” I mewed slowly, my gaze fixed squarely on her. “I thought your Clans’ representatives, along with TreeClan’s and myself, weren’t meant to leave until tomorrow?”
The second cat – who was Tawnydapple, and unlike Havenstrike, would be joining me on this journey – shook her head at me. The tortoiseshell she-cat shuffled her paws anxiously as she mewed: “I’m sorry, Wisp, but… the plans have been changed for the journey.”
At once, my fur lifted in shock. The plans have changed? I turned to stare at Tawnydapple, and I asked: “Why have the plans changed? Has anything happened?”
There was a moment of silence from Tawnydapple, who exchanged glances with Havenstrike in the process. Turning back to me, she mewed in reply: “Um, no, nothing has happened, Wisp… It’s just that Pouncestep convinced Whitestar that we should leave today instead of tomorrow last night, because he said that we had to make sure that we got a Gathering place as soon as possible.” Tawnydapple sniffed, and then she added: “I don’t even know why Whitestar decided to side alongside him… I don’t think our deputy, Swallowwing, really trusts him, and I know I don’t either, but for some reason Whitestar thought it was a fair point – he seems to respect Pouncestep as if he’s been a warrior for ages, which really annoys me.”
I gave an annoyed sniff. When I first saw Pouncestep on that ForestClan patrol over a quarter-moon ago, I thought he looked shifty – suspicious, in a way – and I could definitely sympathize with Tawnydapple, as I didn’t really trust him either, judging from that incident.
“We have to meet at the border now,” Havenstrike meowed, jolting me out of my thoughts. “I know I’m not going, but I want to send my wishes to you all. Come on, then – let’s get going before Whitestar snaps at us for being late. He’s sent a patrol over to TreeClan as well… we’ll be heading off now rather than later, as of the first plan.”
Now? I felt a bit rushed, but if Whitestar had sorted this, it was obviously the right thing to do, to follow Tawnydapple and Havenstrike to the border. I nodded, my throat dry. “Let’s go,” I mewed hoarsely.
At once, Tawnydapple flicked her tail for Havenstrike and I to follow. I joined the small group, my body numb. The end of the era I was expecting came a lot sooner than I was expecting.
Oh, well, let’s just stop this journey from looming over me… Let’s start the search.
Once again, the moon was rising as the sleek cat went to find his leader. So much had happened that night, and he felt a thrill of exhilaration as he ran through the forest. This was a huge development – his master would be proud of him!
Tasting his master’s scent, the tom tracked the scent, until he saw him lurking in the sane clearing as the previous night. He hesitated, before he called quietly: “My master, I have news.”
In the distance, the sleek cat saw his master turn. “Ah, my follower,” his master purred, padding towards him. “This is unexpected, yes… but do you have news for me? Is this the reason why have you come?”
Breathing in his master’s scent, he mewed: “Yes… the Clan cats have changed their schedule. I must say, their leader is very gullible. He’s oblivious to the real nature of the change.” The master of the cat purred. “And that is what we want, is it not?” he mewed. “They must pay for the first battle… and that Wisp, he must pay too, for siding with those territory-stealers. He’s joined that group, correct?”
The follower nodded, keeping a steady gaze on his master. “Yes, he has,” he mewed.
At once, the master, let out a shrill, cold purr, that sounded unnatural, even to the sleek cat’s ears. “Perfect,” he meowed silkily. “He will pay, that Wisp. I can’t deny that… he will feel especially sorry once we attack his cats. You know, that Wisp used to fear every cat? It’s because his mother got killed, may moons ago.”
The follower nodded. “I heard,” he replied.
At that, the leader leaned in, his gaze drawn to his follower. His dark gaze was narrowed as he spoke: “Don’t forget to tell me if anything changes. I’m pleased you accepted my offer to do this, and once this has been done, you will be rewarded.”
The sleek cat nodded, and dipped his head. “Thank you, Master… I won’t let you down.”
However, little did the two cats know that the whole time, another cat had watched the whole situation unfold. Black-pawed and nimble, the she-cat’s eyes narrowed. She didn’t like this talk, but she felt powerless.
I’ll keep this my secret, the she-cat thought, as she retreated away, and padded away. No cat will know what I’ve just seen… not even them. All I can say is that this will be bad…