|The Forming of Lakeclan Series|
|Preceded by: |
|Lake and Flame Meet||Succeded by: |
Days of Dirt
The following story is rated Moderate.
Tensions are high as Flameclan prepares to wage war against Lakeclan, and Viperfire's hatred is only growing stronger. Lakewater knows that a storm is coming, one he fears he cannot stop. But just how far is Viperfire willing to go to defeat Lakeclan?
Leader: Lakewater-blue-gray tom with blue eyes.
Deputy: Mistwind-light gray she-cat with blue eyes.
Medicine Cat: Cloudsky-gray she-cat with a white left paw
Airwind-orange tom with green eyes.
Dustbreeze-brown tabby tom with green eyes.
Fireflame-reddish-orange she-cat with amber eyes.
Mudpelt-brown she-cat with green eyes.
Streakfur-white she-cat with gray tabby markings with blue eyes.
Snowtail- white she-cat with amber eyes.
Grassfur-dark gray tom with white underbelly and tip of tail and green eyes.
Sunnypaw- yellow she-cat with orange spots and green eyes.
Pebblepaw- gray tom with blue eyes.
Wavepaw- blueish gray tom with blue eyes.
Leader: Viperfire - brown tabby tom with piercing green eyes.
Deputy: Flameclaw - orange tom with dark orange ears, tail and paws and green eyes.
Medicine Cat: Tinybird - blue-gray she-cat with blue eyes.
Gorgefur - black tom with green eyes.
Nightpelt- black she-cat with green eyes.
Raccoonfeet- black she-cat with white paws and amber eyes.
Applefang - orange she-cat with blue eyes.
Grassclaw - gray tom with green eyes.
Blackpaw - black she-cat with amber eyes.
Badgerpaw - black tom with a white stripe running down his back and amber eyes.
Rabbitpaw - white tom with green eyes.
Treeflower - brown she-cat with white paws and green eyes.
A dark tabby ran along the shore. He stopped at the end of Lakeclan's territory. Quietly he snuck up on a rabbit. Using his quick reflexes he pounced on it and swiftly bit into it's neck. Then he found a spot where the Lakeclan scent was strong. He smeared the rabbit around the ground, covering it in Lakeclan scent and tearing the meat out. Then he quietly ran back into the Flameclan forest.
As he approached the camp, he dropped the rabbit and yowled, "Flameclaw! Flameclaw! And anyone who wants to see this! Come quickly!" Nearly all of Flameclan came rushing out, including Flameclaw.
"Look! Lakeclan has stolen our prey! the dark tabby said. Tinybird sniffed the prey.
"That is Lakeclan..." Tinybird said, a troubled look in her eyes.
"Where did you find it Viperfire?" Flameclaw said. "Are you sure it wasn't an accident?'
"I found it on the edge of our territory!" Viperfire hissed. "The rotten prey-stealers!"
"Maybe they just chased it into our territory without realizing it." Flameclaw said. "I don't think this needs to come to war or anything."
"They should have noticed!" Viperfire said. "They are going to pay for their thievery!"
"What are you going to do?" Flameclaw said. "Surely you won't go at-"
"War!" Viperfire said. "This is war! It was not just this rabbit! I saw three Lakeclan warriors running away with prey in their jaws! One turned around and sneered at me, saying "Should've joined Lakeclan when you had the chance!" They obviously came into our territory, ate the rabbit, hunted a bit more and left!" A few cats gasped.
"Stop!" someone yowled. Everyone turned to look at Tinybird, the medicine cat. She took a deep breath and said, "I don't think this is what Fireclan would want us to do." A few cats murmered in agreement.
"Was there a sign?" Viperfire asked.
"No, but-" Tinybird said, but was cut off.
"If there was no sign, you can't be sure." Viperfire said. "I want everyone to get in extra training this half moon! I want warriors to practice their battle moves and apprentices to be learning as many new battle moves as possible. You are dismissed." The cats slunk back into their dens, muttering to each other. There was tension in the air, but nobody dared to disobey Viperfire.
Flameclaw went up to the rabbit and sniffed it. He reeled back as he realized that there was a smell on there that did not belong to a Lakeclan warrior. Flameclaw shook his head in disbelief, but there was no denying it.
Viperfire had killed the rabbit.
Viperfire trotted back into his den and settled in his nest.
My plan is now in action! I'm going to get my revenge on Lake, and rule the forest. Everyone will answer to me. My clan has been fooled by the rabbit. He couldn't wait till he could get his revenge. He could picture the scene. Him jumping on Lakewater, wrestling with him till he pinned him down. Then biting him on his neck...he would fall limp, and then all of Lakeclan would surrender, and he would be the ultimate leader.
Lakeclan has no idea what they are about to deal with.
Lakewater trembled. Viper had just signaled war. Mistwind came up to him.
"Are you okay?" she whispered. Lakewater simply stood stock-still, his eyes gazing into the distance, his legs trembling.
"Do you know Viper?" he finally managed choke out. Mistwind nodded, a troubled look in her eyes. "He has just told me that we are at war."
"Oh no! Why?" Mistwind said.
"I don't know." Lakewater said. "Maybe one of our warriors chased prey into their territory. I don't even know where their territory is, so it's very possible."
"You need to tell the clan." Mistwind said. Lakewater nodded vaguely and jumped into the high tree.
"Lakeclan." He croaked out. "Today I have been told that Viper has waged war against us."
"Viper cannot defeat a whole clan!" Sunnypaw yowled. "We're a lot stronger than one puny little wimp!" There were murmurs of agreement.
"But that's the problem. I think Viper has created his own clan." Lakewater said. Wails erupted in the clearing. Lakewater raised his tail for silence and began talking again.
"We must prepare. Fireflame, train Sunnypaw. Dustbreeze, train Pebblepaw. Snowtail, train Wavepaw. Everyone else, practice battle skills as much as possible. This meeting is dismissed." Lakewater said. Then he went into his den. He curled up in his nest in despair. Waterclan, I need you now. Then he dropped into a restful sleep.
Lakewater opened his eyes and realized he was in the familiar starry field. He looked around the field. "Dad!" he yowled in delight as he spotted his father. His father smiled at him and approached.
"Father, what do I do? Viper has called war! Do you think one of our warriors might have accidentally taken prey from their territory without realizing it?" Lakewater said.
"Son, Viper has no reason for war but want of power and revenge. He wanted to be leader of Lakeclan. When he wasn't picked to be leader, the hatred he has had inside him since kithood grew even more. He then began his own clan. Now he has tricked his clan into hating your clan. Get ready for war." Smoky said. Then he started to fade.
"Father! Wait!" Lakewater said.
"Just remember. Blood and death are coming. But peace will come in the end..." Smoky said, and was gone.
Lakewater woke up with a jolt. Blood and death are coming, but peace will come in the end... The war was going to be harder than Lakewater had thought. I thought I knew Viper. He was my friend. Now...he's a monster. Luckily, Lakewater still had nine lives left. But what if?...No, it couldn't possibly happen...a horrifying thought struck Lakewater. What if Viper takes all nine lives from me? What if just as I regain consiousness, Viperfire kills me again? But Lakewater knew that the war was unavoidable. With a sigh, he exited his den.
Lakewater looked at Fireflame. Lately she hadn't been eating much, and she didn't have as much energy. Then he saw Dustbreeze walk up to her. He looked shocked. Then he went over to her and purred. Lakewater looked at Fireflame's belly. It was bulging. Of course! Fireflame was having Dustbreeze's kits! He purred. Soon their would be a new addition to their clan.
Viperfire paced back and forth around camp. His mate, Treeflower, was having his kits. He poked his head in and said, "You nearly done?"
"Yes Viperfire, be patient! Our kits need time." Treeflower said. Viperfire left the nursery and continued to pace. There was a screech from inside, and then the cry of a kit. Viperfire smiled. I have kin now.
Tinybird walked out of the nursery and approached Viperfire.
"What are you doing out here? Get back in there and help Treeflower give birth to the rest of my kits!" Viperfire hissed.
"She only had one kit Viperfire."
Viperfire looked shocked. "ONE kit?!" he said.
"Yes, one kit. Or would you rather have no kits?" Tinybird said. Viperfire calmed down.
"You have a point." Viperfire said.
"It's a tom." Tinybird said. "I'll give you and Treeflower a few minutes together, but then I have to come back to help Treeflower. Birthing is very painful." Viperfire nodded and slipped into the den.
"Viperfire." Treeflower purred. Viperfire simply nodded.
"Where's the kit?" Viperfire said. Treeflower nudged a little white kitten forward. He mewled weakly.
"What should his name be?" Treeflower asked.
"How about Whitekit?" Viperfire said.
"Perfect!" Treeflower said.
Viperfire looked at the white kitten. "He's perfect." Viperfire whispered.
Viperfire looked around camp with pride in his eyes. His clan was ready for battle, and they would definitely win! But it was time to get something with Tinybird straight.
"Tinybird?" Viperfire said, approaching her. "May I speak with you?"
"Of course." Tinybird said. Then the two cats went into the leader's den. Quickly before Tinybird had time to react, Viperfire pinned her down the floor. Tinybird opened her mouth the scream.
"Don't say anything you'll regret it." Viperfire hissed in her ear. Tinybird let out a whimper.
"You don't seem to like the idea of going into battle. You claim that Fireclan wouldn't want it." Viperfire hissed. "Well, I seem to think a bit differently. Tell the clan the Fireclan has agreed we should go to battle."
"But they didn't." Tinybird said.
Viperfire placed a paw on her throat. "I don't care if Fireclan said anything about the battle. You will tell the clan that we go into battle with Fireclan's blessing."
"Of course Viperfire." Tinybird croaked out.
"Good. I don't have to kill you." Viperfire said, releasing her. "Now go back to your duties." Tinybird nodded, fear in her eyes, and dashed out of the den.
Lakewater watched Dustbreeze pace around camp. Fireflame was having her kits. There was a groan from the nursery.
"She's done!" Cloudsky said, popping her head out of the bramble bushes. Dustbreeze ran into the nursery andLakewater followed him.
Three kits were tucked underneath Fireflames's belly. One was calico, one was white with orange splotches, and one was orange with a reddish tail. 'Did you already na-" Dustbreeze began.
"Don't worry. I only named one." Fireflame interupted. "I named the calico she-cat Softkit."
"I think that the white tom with orange splotches should be Cherrykit." Dustbreeze said.
"And the orange she-cat with the reddish tail should be...Redkit!" Fireflame said.
"Those are all perfect names!" Dustbreeze said. Then Lakewater heard a yowl, and dashed out of the nursery.
Lakewater stopped in pure shock as a brown tabby tom crossed the bridge onto Lakeclan's island. Lakeclan warriors surrounded him, their ears laid back and letting out deep growls from their throat.
"Viper! What are you doing here?!" Lakewater growled. "You know that you are not welcome in my clan. Not anymore."
"Viperfire. I am here to announce that we have found prey in Flameclan territory that was killed by Lakeclan warriors!" Viperfire hissed. There were yowls of protest.
"We haven't stolen anything Viperfire. Give it up." Lakewater growled.
"Fine. If you refuse to admit that you stole prey, I'm afraid it will come to war. Be prepared." Viperfire spat, then left the camp. Sunnypaw started to run after him.
"Don't Sunnypaw." Lakewater hissed. "That piece of filth isn't worth getting angry over."
Sunnypaw stalked back over, an angry look on her face. "I can't wait to rip some Flameclan pelts." she growled.
"Sunnypaw! I'd like to go out with you today. We should get some training done." Lakewater said grimly. Sunnypaw dashed over, her angry disappearing.
"Ok! Lets go!" Sunnypaw meowed happily. Lakewater lead her out of camp and they both disappeared into the bramble bushes.
Lakewater settled into his nest. Today had been hard work, and he was ready to settle down for the night. Starting tonight they had a cat guarding camp. The threat from Viperfire had become a real danger.
As Lakewater closed his eyes, he realized that his three kits would become warriors soon. What would a good warrior name each of them be? Sunnytail, Sunnyfur...Sunnyheart! That was a perfect name.
Pebblefoot, Pebblestream, Pebblesplash...Pebblesplash is probably the best one. Wavepelt, Waveshore, Wavestream, Wavesplash...Hmm...Wavestream is the best. There! Now I have their warrior names figured out! Sunnyheart, Pebblesplash and Wavestream! I hope they like them... Lakewater realized he had been pondering about their names till moonhigh. Finally, he rested his head down and fell asleep.
Flameclaw couldn't sleep. All night he had been thinking about the fake rabbit.
What made Viperfire change so much? Now he's tricking his own clan into going to war. What does he want to gain? Should I just run away? No, I'm in this clan, and loyal to it. I will stay here! Then he thought about the upcoming war. Could he really fight cats who had done him no wrong? Finally he decided that if he could prove that Viperfire killed the rabbit, the clan would have no choice but to call off the war.
I don't want to do this to Viperfire...but I have to stop this war.
He trotted out of his den and went up to the rabbit. Well, it sure smelled like Lakeclan....but what was that? A brown tuft of fur. Hmm, it looked like Viperfire's, but then again, Viperfire would say that a brown Lakeclan cat could have killed it. Then he noticed the trail of dried blood. Maybe if he followed it, he would find something to prove Viperfire was guilty.
He came up to a big blotch of dried blood. Well, whoever was hunting it must have killed it here, in Flameclan territory. That didn't help. Then he saw a trail of blood going up to to a big oak tree with Lakeclan's scent on it. Tufts of rabbit fur lay on the ground and some of the meat from it was laying on the ground. Someone had purposely rubbed the rabbit on a tree! He went up and smelled around the tree.
"Viperfire!" Flameclaw hissed angrily. Just then Viperfire jumped out of the bushes and pinned Flameclaw down.
"So you decided to try and prove me guilty!" Viperfire hissed, outraged. Flameclaw looked up at him.
This is the end. he thought. Viperfire is going to kill me. "Before you punish me, I want to know why you purposely caused war!" Flameclaw hissed.
"I wanted to be leader of the new clan. When I didn't become leader, I decided not to give up. I knew that I couldn't get revenge on my own. So I made a clan. A strong clan. A clan that could defeat weaklings, like you! But I knew my clan wouldn't go into battle without a reason. So I gave them a reason. After this battle Flameclan will rule the forest!" Viperfire growled.
"You are not the cat I thought I knew." Flameclaw said. "You're a monster."
"You are a weakling! If Lakeclan asked us for territory, you would cower beneath them and let them take our land and our prey! Soon there would be no more Flameclan, there would only be Lakeclan!" Viperfire hissed. "Only one clan can live in the same forest. And I plan that our clan will be that one."
"It doesn't have to be that way! We can live together in peace! But you are such a bloodthirsty monster that you can't see the truth when it's right in front of your nose!" Flameclaw spat back. Viperfire raised a claw.
This is the end.
But then he heard voices in the distance and he lowered the claw. "You're lucky that there are some cats around here that would have heard you screaming, or I would have killed you. I'm giving you one last chance. Say one word about what happened tonight, and you're dead." Viperfire said. Flameclaw nodded. Viperfire lifted his paw off him, and Flameclaw dashed into the bushes, his tail between his legs.
One word, and you're dead.. the words echoed in Flameclaw's head. He ran into the warriors den, his heart still pounding. He looked around at all of the cats around him. He felt so sorry for them. They would be going into battle for no reason, and he couldn't even tell them!
I can't stand here and let them die! If I stay here then I'll have no chance to help them, because Viperfire will never let me out of his sight. I have to leave. He turned around to leave the warriors den. Goodbye Flameclan. You were good to me. I'm sorry that I have to leave. But I promise that I won't let the battle happen.
Somehow, I will stop this.
Flameclaw settled down in his new nest. He had chosen a spot on nobody's territory. He had chosen a spot close to the border, where he could watch for a battle party leaving Flameclan territory. Slowly, he drifted into a troubled sleep.
He woke up in an unfamilar forest. Then he saw two cats heading towards him. "Mom! Dad!" he yowled and ran over to them."
"Hello Flameclaw." they purred.
"Are we in Fireclan?" Flameclaw asked, his jaws open in awe.
"Yes, we are part of Fireclan, your ancestors." His mother purred.
Then Flameclaw noticed a gloomy forest near to him. "What's that place?" he asked.
"That it the Forest of Eternal Night. It's where cats go when they lived an untrue life to their clan. You will never enter that forest." his dad said sternly. "Because once you go in, it's nearly impossible to get out."
"What should I do?" Flameclaw wailed. "The clans are going to fight, and nobody is going to stop them!"
"Remember Flameclaw, that sometimes you don't have to wait for a hero. Sometimes it's you that is the hero." his mother said. Then she turned away, and everything got darker and darker till it was black everywhere. Then Flameclaw woke up.
Lakewater paced around camp. The war was coming up soon, he could feel it. Everyone was tense as they waited for a battle patrol from Flameclan to enter Lakeclan territory.
Lakewater watched the new kits play. It had been about a moon since they were born. Softkit seemed to not want to fight. It troubled Lakewater. If she couldn't fight, how could she ever become a warrior?
"Good morning Lakewater." Cloudsky said as she sat down next to Lakewater. "Watching the kits?"
"Err, yes. And I have to ask you...have you noticed anything strange about Softkit?" Lakewater said.
"No. Do you think she's sick?" Cloudsky said, a worried look appearing on her face.
"No, I just noticed she dosn't want to fight. How could she ever be a warrior if she won't fight?" Lakewater said, deeply troubled.
"Have you ever thought that maybe she isn't going to follow the path of a warrior?" Cloudsky asked. Lakewater was suprised, but now that he thought about it, it made sense. Maybe Softkit was destined to be a medicine cat.
Cloudsky looked thoughtful. "I should be getting an apprentice soon." she said.
"As long as Softkit wants to do it, then I grant you permission to have her as an apprentice." Lakewater purred.
"Really? Thank you so much!" Softsky purred. Then she turned to Softkit. "Hey, Softkit!" she said.
"What?" Softkit said, abandoning the ball of moss she had been playing with.
"Do you want to help me sort some herbs? I could teach you a little bit about them." Cloudsky said.
"Sure! I'd love to!" Softkit said, her eyes dancing with excitement.
Softkit tumbled over to the medicine cat's den. She looked excited. Lakewater smiled. Softkit was going to be a great medicine cat. Then he thought about it. Softkit would be Softpaw until Cloudsky died, but that wouldn't be very fair...maybe when Cloudsky decided that Softpaw knew enough to heal cats on her own, then she could give her a medicine cat name. Softkit would still be her apprentice, but Softkit would have the same skill and get the same respect as a full-ranked medicine cat.
"Surrender, Flameclan hunter!" Redkit yowled. He had Cherrykit pinned down.
"Never!" Cherrykit yowled back.
"Then I'll have to defeat you!" Redkit yowled. They started to wrestle in the dirt. Softkit was already over in the medicine cat's den. Lakewater had been thinking about the kits. He couldn't just let them be apprentices when he chose. Maybe a rule...that was it! A kit had to be at least six moons old to become an apprentice! Well, that settled that. Then he thought about Flamefire. He'd probably need her in the war...maybe Cherrykit, Redkit and Softkit could stay behind with Cloudsky.
"Ok, ok you win." Cherrykit said.
"Ha! Lakeclan always wins!" Redkit yowled in triumph.
"Oww!" Redkit yowled in pain. Softkit burst out of the medicine cat's den and ran over.
"What's the matter?" she asked.
"I got a thorn stuck in my paw!" Redkit whimpered.
"Don't worry, just hold still." Softkit said. "Cloudsky showed me how to do this." Redkit tried to hold still. Softkit grabbed the thorn in her teeth, then pulled it out.
"Ouch! That hurt!" Redkit said.
"Just wait here." Softkit said. She ran into the medicine cat's den and came back with come cobwebs.
"This will stop the bleeding." she said. Then she placed them on Redkit's paw.
"Thanks Softkit." Redkit meowed. "You're really good with herbs. You should be a medicine cat."
"I hope that Cloudsky will let me." Softkit said. "Just think-someday I'd grow up to become Softsky!" The kit sighed happily.
Lakewater had seen the whole thing. Softkit was turning into a little medicine cat already. He looked over at the sunset. The kits would have to go to bed now. But he didn't feel very tired and stayed up until the sun completley disappeared and the stars began to appear.
Lakewater looked up at the almost full moon. Mistwind came out of the warrior's den.
"Worried about the war?" she said.
"Yes." Lakewater sighed.
"Don't worry. I'll be with you the whole way through. You and I will make it. Together." Mistwind said.
"Thank you." Lakewater purred. Then the two cats sat next to each other and gazed at the stars, feeling more content than they had for a long time.
"Tinybird has an announcement to make!"
Viperfire yowled from up on the high rock as the clan gathered around him. Tinybird shuffled her paws nervously. Viperfire stared at her and said. "Tinybird, please tell the clan what Fireclan have told you."
"Fireclan came to me in a dream..." Tinybird said. "They said that going to war is the right thing to do. We go into war with their blessing." Then Tinybird lowered her head and stared at the ground.
There were murmurs of relief as the cats all cheered up a bit.
"Fireclan's blessing, huh? That's good to know." Gorgefur smiled.
"Yes, I was a little bit worried that we weren't doing the right thing." Applefang said happily. Tinybird only lowered her head even more and sighed.
"Whitekit! Whitekit is missing!" Treeflower yowled in panick, bursting out of the nursery.
"Quickly! Find him!" Viperfire roared. Cats scattered around the camp and searched around for the white tom.
Treeflower went up to Viperfire and pressed herself against him. Tears were welling up in her eyes. However, Viperfire's face was nearly emotionless, only a hint of sadness showing in his eyes.
"Whitekit!" Applefang wailed. A crowd gathered around her. Viperfire pushed his way to the front and stared in horror at the motionless white kit.
"He's....dead." Treeflower sobbed.
"It looks as if he ate some of these deathberries." Tinybird said grimly, pointing the bush with the red berries growing on it.
Slowly the clan cats left, murming kind words to Viperfire and Treeflower. Once they were gone, Viperfire turned to Treeflower.
"You stupid she-cat! How could you let our kit eat deathberries!" Viperfire yowled angrily.
"I-I just left him alone for a second..." Treeflower stuttered, still sobbing.
"You should know better! Now Whitekit is dead, all because of you!" Viperfire spat.
"I-I didn't mean to let him wander away..." Treeflower said.
"You-" Viperfire started, but then he relaxed. "Alright you dim-witted she-cat. I'll give you a second chance. We are still mates."
"Thank you Viperfire!" Treeflower said. "I promise that I'll be a better mother this time."
"Good. Now you'd better do better this time-" Viperfire hissed. "Or we are done."
Viperfire slunk near the border, alert for any strange noise or scent. Then a orange and white she-cat emerged from the shadows.
"Viperfire!" the she-cat purred.
"Ah, Lash." Viperfire said.
"How goes the clan?" Lash asked.
"Pathetic. My kit just died because my dim-witted mate left him alone for a moment and he ate deathberries!" Viperfire spat. "The stupid she-cat!"
"So....are you two...you know...still mates?" Lash asked catiously.
"Well, I need some kin in my clan so I gave her a second chance." Viperfire said.
"Oh." Lash said. "That's.....nice....of you."
Viperfire looked at her curiously. Something seemed to be upsetting her. Him and the she-cat had been meeting up together for a moon now. He had successfully lured her into his clan. She had promised she would join. I can always use an extra warrior....
"What's wrong?" Viperfire asked.
"It's just....I'm not so sure if I can join your clan." Lash said.
"Why not?" Viperfire demanded. "You promised me you would join!"
"Well it's just..." Lash said, trailing off.
"Tell me!" Viperfire coaxed. "You can completley and totally trust me." As if.
"It's just...I'm going to have your kits!" Lash said. "And if I join the clan, then I'll totally ruin your reputation! And your probably really mad at me right now anyways. You probably hate me now."
Viperfire was shocked, but took a deep breath and said, "I don't hate you. My previous mate has proved that she is incapable of raising kits. If she has any more kits they will probably die from her stupidity as well. It's good that it's guarenteed that I'll have kin when I die."
"But that's a long ways off..." Lash said.
Viperfire had a grim look on his face. "I'm going into a battle soon, and it's not guarenteed that I will return. I want my kin to grow up and be strong warriors, even if I die. I must make sure my legacy continues."
Lash nodded. "But I still can't join your clan..."
Viperfire sighed. "That cannot be helped. But you have to promise me one thing Lash."
"Sure, anything I can do to make it up to you!" Lash said eagerly.
"You have to promise me that you will teach my kits about Flameclan." Viperfire said. "And most importantly, when they grow up..." Lash nodded eagerly and listened carefully.
"You have to bring them back to Flameclan."
Lakewater got up from his nest. The tenison in the air was nearly unbearable. He trembled at the thought of the upcoming war. After a quick stretch, he exited the den.
As he looked up at the morning sky, something caught his eye. A hawk was circling something on the ground! He looked down and saw Cherrykit, playing with some moss.
"Cherrykit, watch out, a HAWK!!!" Lakewater yowled. Cherrykit looked up at the hawk, and her eyes widened. She felt so afraid she couldn't move. Lakewater ran over, but the hawk picked Cherrykit up with it's long talons before Lakewater quite reached her. Cherrykit's screams rang through the forest.
"HELP!!!" she screeched. Cats raced out of their dens and stared in horror at the hawk.
As it started to fly upwards, Lakewater jumped up and caught the hawk in his paws. He began to claw it, but the hawk's talcons were digging deep into his flesh and he struggled to ignore the pain. Finally, the hawk let go of Cherrykit and Lakewater dropped down onto the ground with a thud. Cats quickly crowded around Cherrykit, asking if she was alright. But she ignored them and crawled over to Lakewater.
"Lakewater, wake up! It's not time to sleep!" Cherrykit said. Lakewater was gasping for breath. He had two deep, long cuts in his shoulders. Cloudsky raced out and began to put herbs on his wound. Lakewater's eyes were focused on nothing, as if he could see something no one else could. His breathing slowed down, until it acutally stopped.
"No!! I killed him!" Cherrykit wailed.
"Don't worry Cherrykit, he has many more lives, and you are not responsible for him losing a life. The hawk is." Cloudsky said. Suddenly she froze in terror. Cherrykit looked at her fearfully.
"Cloudsky, are you ok?" Cherrykit said worridly.
Cloudsky was seeing a vision, and she was frozen in terror as she watched the vision unfold. Cloudsky saw Viperfire and Lakewater battling in a clearing, and Lakewater had a large cut on his side. Lakewater fell to the ground and Viperfire yowled in triumph. Then many starry cats appeared. They raced into battle, yowling. They began to battle Flameclan. Then Lakewater got up on his paws again and charged into battle, racing next to the starry warriors.
"Cloudsky? Cloudsky!!" Cherrykit wailed.
"I'm here Cherrykit." Cloudsky said shaking her head as the scene faded away.
"Lakewater's waking up." Cherrykit said. Cloudsky gasped and began to work on his cuts.
"I'm..ok." Lakewater said between gasps.
"You need to rest, so tommorow you can be in battle." Cloudsky said.
"But..my..cl...an....nee..ds...me..." Lakewater said between gasps.
"Mist can surely handle the clan for one day." Cloudsky said. "Now, off you go into your den." Cloudsky ushered him into his treetop den.
Viperfire got up out of his nest. Today was the battle. Oh, how he had been waiting! He thought about Lash. She was a nice she-cat. It was too bad that she couldn't join the clan. The news that she was having his kits had shocked him. He shook the thoughts out of his head. That was over with. Right now he had to tend to the future.
He yowled for the clan to gather. "Flameclan, as you all know, today is the day we get our revenge. Lakeclan will fall!" Viperfire yowled. The rest of the clan yowled with him, obviously excited. Quickly the cats swarmed out of camp.
Tinybird trudged behind the group, bundles of herbs in her jaws. Blackpaw had been forced to help her carry them. "Look, I'm helping you now, but once we get to the battlefield I'm going to help fight!" Blackpaw growled. Tinybird rolled her eyes at the young tom. He's so excited for war. If only he knew what war is really like. Then he'd be trembling at the very thought of it. All these cats are so oblivious. This is going to be a hard battle for all of them.
Tinybird thought about Flameclaw. He had mysteriously disappeared. Viperfire hadn't bothered to name a new deputy. Tinybird sighed at the thought of Flameclaw. She had overheard them a few nights ago. That poor tom. He'd been terrorized. Viperfire was evil. Tinybird knew all his dark secrets. She felt sad as she thought about the dark tabby tom. He had had a horrible mother. I guess he had a a stronger will than me. He became tough under her pressure and constant disappointment.
I became weak.
Lakewater began to gather the cats for the war. A battle patrol had been spotted leaving Flameclan. "Cherrykit, Redkit, Softkit, farewell. I'll see you after the war." Fireflame said. She rubbed against each of them. A large thunder shook the ground, and the sky was covered in dark clouds.
"Lakewater, I have a message from Waterclan." Cloudsky said. "Waterclan will be with us the whole way through the battle." Lakewater nodded. Waterclan would be fighting with them, side by side. They had their blessing.
"Lakeclan, move out." Lakewater said. There were sad, tear-filled goodbyes as the cats left camp. Lakewater sighed. So many were leaving the camp behind.
And some of them will never see it again.
Flameclaw looked up at the sky. Dark clouds covered it. A boom of thunder shook the ground. A storm was coming. And in more than one way. He watched the battle unfold beneath him.
Viperfire looked over at Lakewater. Lightning flashed behind the brown tabby, and a rumble of thunder shook the ground. I am going to win this batttle.
Viperfire walked slowly towards the Lakeclan warriors. "You have one more chance Viperfire. End the battle" Lakewater growled.
"Never!" Viperfire hissed. "Lakeclan, attack!!" Lakewater yowled, and Lakeclan charged forward.
AN: (these next 4 paragraphs are the same moment for each cat.)
Sunnypaw yowled in pain. A Flameclan warrior pinned her down. "You prey stealer!" he hissed.
"I never stole your prey!" she gasped.
"Lier!" he hissed. He pinned a paw on her throat. "Admit you stole it!" he growled fiercly.
"Never!" she croaked.
"Then you will die a worthy death!" he growled. He raised a claw. Then Flameclaw's yowl split the air.
Pebblepaw hissed. He stalked a unsuspecting Flameclan warrior. "You lier!" he screeched as he scratched his hind leg.
"Let go of me you runt!" the warrior growled, attemping to throw him off.
"You never thought a apprentice would beat you, would you?" he sneered. He pinned the warrior down. "But you shouldn't be fighting here. Viperfire is to blame. I know what he did." he said softly. Just then Flameclaw's yowl split the air.
Wavepaw rushed into battle. He saw one Flameclan warrior turned around fighting Dustbreeze. Dustbreeze suddenly fell to the ground. Wavepaw howled in anger and leaped onto the Flameclan warrior. He dug his claws in deep.
"You killed Dustbreeze!" Wavepaw growled. "Now you must pay!"
The Flameclan warrior swept his paw behind him, but couldn't reach Wavepaw. Just then Flameclaw's yowl split the air.
Dustbreeze fought with all his strength. But the warrior was too quick.
"Is that the best you can do?" the Flameclan warrior sneered. "I could beat you in minutes!" Suddenly Dustbreeze couldn't take it any longer. He fell down.
"Fireflame..." he muttered.
The warrior growled and began to scratch his stomach, slitting it open. Blood began to gush out of the wound Dustbreeze didn't even have the energy to yowl. Then Flameclaw's yowl split the air and it grew silent. That was the last thing the brave warrior heard before the world turned black.
Flameclaw watched as Viperfire and Lakewater leapt on each other. Two groups merged into one and fought. He watched as brave warrriors fell to the ground. You know what is right... A voice whispered. Flameclaw summoned up every ounce of courage he had, then yelled,
Everyone stared at Flameclaw. The silence was almost deafening. Finally, Flameclaw gathered up his courage and began to speak. "Everyone, this battle is pointless! Viperfire has lied to you all! Lakeclan warriors never stole our prey! Viperfire made it look that way because he wanted revenge and power. This battle is for nothing!"
Viperfire roared furiously. A bolt of lightning light up the sky, and a boom of thunder roared. Viperfire leapt onto Lakewater, and bit him in the neck. Lakewater fell limp, lifeless. But the reaction wasn't what Viperfire had planned for. A few howls of grief split the air, and Lakeclan warriors charged back into battle, angry fueling their energy.
Viperfire leapt out of battle and pinned Flameclaw down. "You have told the truth about me. If I die, you will too!" he hissed in his ear. He raised a claw, and lightning flashed behind him. But then a cat pounced onto Viperfire and pinned him down.
"Lakewater!" Viperfire said. "But, you're DEAD!!"
"I'm not dead till I lose every one of my ten lives!" Lakewater yowled.
Viperfire's eyes grew large, and and he yowled, "Flameclan help!" But not one of the warriors came to his rescue. They all glared at him.
"You lied to us Viperfire." Gorgefur said. "You're on your own."
"Surley you won't kill me Lakewater?" Viperfire pleaded. "Remember when we were friends?"
"I'm sorry that I have to do this." Lakewater said, trembling. "But you've gone too far. Goodbye, Viperfire." Lakewater said. He raised a paw. Then, with one swift slash to Viperfire's throat, it was over.
Viperfire was dead.
The thunder and lightning had stopped, and all that was left was the peaceful patter of the rain. Viperfire lay limp on the ground. Everyone was silent with shock. Lakewater was trembling and huddled next to Mistwind.
"Viperfire doesn't deserve to be buried." Gorgefur hissed. Lakewater only shook his head.
"Viperfire...he used to be kind. I feel like maybe he never had a chance to heal. Maybe in another life, I could have helped him." Lakewater said sorrowfully. "We should respect the cat he could have been."
"But this muddy ground won't be a good place to bury him." Gorgefur pointed out. "Maybe we could just let him rest at the bottom of the lake."
Lakewater nodded. "The lake will forever hold the spirit of the cat Viperfire could have been." Then the cats slowly pushed Viperfire into the lake. Once they felt he was deep enough, they heaved a rock onto him. Slowly he sank out of view.
"Truce?" Lakewater asked.
"Truce." Flameclaw said.
"NO!!" Fireflame yowled. Lakewater jerked his head up. She was bent beside Dustbreeze. Lakewater rushed over.
"He's dead." Fireflame said, tears spilling from her eyes.
Lakewater bent down. "You were loyal and true, and I hope that you have a peaceful life in Waterclan." Lakewater said.
"Why did he have to die?" Fireflame moaned.
"He died for his clan." Lakewater said. "Doesn't that make you proud?"
"Yes, you are right. I'm very proud of him." Fireflame said. She bent down and started grooming his fur. A tear streaked down her cheek. But there was nothing Lakewater could do to help her. Fireflame grabbed his scruff and began to drag him back to camp.
Soon everyone left. Everyone but Flameclaw. "I thought I could trust you. But I couldn't. I'm sorry it had to end this way." Flameclaw whispered as he stood near Viperfire's watery grave. The rain soaked his pelt, and drenched his fur. His head was lowered near the water.
"I wish you peace, wherever your path leads you."
Lakewater leapt onto the high tree. "Clan meeting!" he yowled. "As you all know, we have won the war." Lakewater said. "But Dustbreeze had died protecting our clan. So tonight we will mourn over his loss. But first, Sunnypaw, Wavepaw and Pebblepaw, come forward."
The three apprentices looked surprised and excited. Sunnypaw raced forward, while Wavepaw and Pebblepaw walked slowly. "You have shown yourself to be true warriors by the way you fought in war" Lakewater said."Sunnypaw, Pebblepaw, Wavepaw, do you all accept the path of a warrior? And do you accept being a wariror, which means that you accept to follow the leaders word, and protect this clan, even at the cost of your life?" Lakewater said.
"I do" Sunnypaw said.
"I do" Pebblepaw said.
"I do" Wavepaw said.
"Then from this day on you shall be known as Sunnyheart, Pebblespash, and Wavestream." Lakewater said."Let Waterclan accept you as warriors!" Lakewater yowled.
The clan cheered. Sunnyheart smiled broadly. Pebblesplash puffed out his chest in pride. And Wavestream purred at loud as a lion.
"Sunnyheart! Pebblesplash! Wavestream!" Lakeclan yowled. Suddenly, a beam of sunlight broke through the clouds, and shone on the three new warriors.
"Waterclan has approved!" Lakewater yowled. Then the clan cheered louder. Viperfire was gone, and the clan was still standing proud and strong.
It's really all over now.
Flameclaw walked home. Now he was responsible for being leader. "Follow the river upstream. It's in Lakeclan territory, but they won't bother you. Find the Star Rocks. You'll know them when you see them. Touch your nose the them and close your eyes." a voice whispered in his ear. Flameclaw nodded. He would.
Flameclaw gasped as the rocks glowed in the moonlight. Catiously, he laid down, closed his eyes and touched his nose to the rock.
When he dared to open his eyes he was in Fireclan's hunting grounds. Then his mother and father came forward. "Cherry! Bird!" It's so good to see you!" Flameclaw purred. His parents smiled.
"We have come to give you your ten lives." His father Cherry said. "With this life I give you courage. Use it to guide your clan in hard times." Cherry said. Flameclaw felt like lightning had struck him. Quickly the feeling went away.
"With this life I give you honesty. Use it to tell your clan the truth, no matter how bad the news is." Cherry said. He felt like a badger had just attacked him. He gasped, wheezing for breath, then finally managed to regain his strength.
"With this life I give you loyalty. Use it to always be true to your clan." Cherry said. Flameclaw felt like something was slowly tearing him apart. After a moment the feeling went away.
"With this life I give you kindness. Use it to help others even when they have made you upset." Cherry said. This life was a bit easier didn't hurt as much.
"With this life I give you power. Use it to control your clan, but use it wisely, because sometimes it gets out of hand." Cherry said. Flameclaw felt like he was about to burst. When it was over, he was panting. He still had to go through five more. Can I make it?
His mother, Bird, stepped forward. "With this life I give you love. Use it to care for your clan, and your kin." Bird said. Flameclaw expected an easy life, but it was the opposite. It was the most painful one yet.
"With this life I give you loyalty. Use it to always think of your clan in your decisions." Bird said. Flameclaw felt like he was being pulled in a million different directions.
"With this life I give you appreciation. Use it to understand other points of view." Bird said. Flameclaw yowled in pain, but the pain quickly faded away.
"With this life I give you faith. Use it to believe in yourself and others." Bird said. Flameclaw felt like he was going to explode.
Suddenly a dark brown tabby cat appeared. His green eyes reflected images of his previous life. Flameclaw shuddered as he watched each horrible image pass by.
"Viperfire?" Flameclaw said.
"Yes, it is I. I will not remember this when I appear in the Forest of Eternal Darkness. Right now I am the Viperfire you used to know. The kind one." Viperfire said. Then he raised his voice. "With this life I give you life. Use it to remember how precious each soul is. Life is something to treasure my friend. Try to make a difference in every cat's life. You may even change their life completley. You may set them on the right path."
Flameclaw felt like a small flame lit up in him, and it grew larger and larger. He scrunched up his eyes till finally the feeling was gone. He was sweating and panting. Viperfire had disappared.
"Flamefire! Flamefire!" Cherry and Bird cheered.
"Did Viperfire really deserve the Forest of Eternal Darkness?" Flamefire asked sadly.
"Just remember that no matter how old or how young, every cat can be changed." Cherry said. "You just have to help them believe that they can change."
"Will Viperfire ever change?" Flamefire asked.
"Maybe someday..."Cherry said. "Maybe someday, the right person will come along. Maybe Viperfire still has a chance."
Flamefire smiled as the forest slowly faded away. His new name was Flamefire, and he was leader of Flameclan. A new era was beginning. As Flamefire woke up, Cherry's words echoed in his head.
Maybe Viperfire still has a chance.
Like this book? Then read the next one, Days of Dirt!