Allegiances

MintClan

Leader

Dapplestar
Deputy Redslash
Medicine Cat Mudlily
Warriors Bumblefoot
Stoneclaw
Patchface
Emberpath
Nettlethorn
Thistlewhisker
Squirreltail
Apprentices Larkpaw
Juniperpaw
Queens Lilypetal
Berrypatch
Kits Thrushkit
Sapphirekit
Nightkit
Darkkit
Elders Cavepelt

Dustfire


Prologue

Moonlight lit the clearing, staining the rocks and eerie, ghastly white. The trees' leaves were pale mint, and their bark was tan like dust.

A group of cats, six at most, rushed through the forest to the clearing. Caterwauls and screeches echoed throughout the trees. Barking followed closely. They were being chased by dogs, and the mutts were gaining. If they could only get to the clearing, they could climb beneath the rock...

Whimpers were heard, and abruptly cut off as a dog picked off the cat in the back and threw her to the side. The cat in the lead looked back.

"Sapphireeyes," he whispered. They finally made it to the rocks and dove underneath them. Much as the dogs tried, they couldn't fit through the gap. They tried and tried, but eventually gave up and went away.

The cats breathed a sigh of relief. They were safe, for now at least. But as soon as they cautiously exited the havens, the dogs turned around and rushed back. The cats were forced back under.

Suddenly, fur brushed against the leader's pelt. It wasn't one of his cats. He'd gone under a separate rock than the others. He looked around.

A blue-gray she-cat with midnight blue eyes stood in the cave, half transparent. "Hello, Darkstar," she said softly.

He gasped. It was Sapphireeyes! "My mate," he whispered.

"Yes," she answered. "My only regret in death is that we never had kits. But I will always visit you. Do not worry, my mate and leader..." Her voice trailed off, and her touch and scent disappeared.


Darkstar woke with a jolt. He peered through the brambles that guarded his den. Sunlight was filtering in throught the gaps between the thorns.

He breathed heavily. He was remembering a time, at least fifteen moons ago, that his beloved mate had died. He'd been a young leader, a new leader, then.

He wasn't sure how much time had passed, but it was enough that six lives had slipped from his grasp. He never forgot that day.

Fortunately, Sapphireeyes kept her promise. He saw her nearly every night. Unfortunately, the nights she didn't come, he had visions of the day she died.

Streching, Darkstar blinked away the sleep and padded out into the camp. It was bustling with activity already. His deputy, Juniperwish, was organizing patrols. "Thrushstorm, take Larksong and Dapplepelt to check the Roguewinds' border. I don't want any more trouble," he was saying as he walked up.

Tiny mewls erupted from the nursery, and a black bundle rolled out, hitting Juniperwish's leg and breaking apart.

"Midnightkit! Blackkit!" the leader scolded. "You should be more careful!"

There were way too many kits in the Clan- Midnightkit, Blackkit, Goldkit, Fernkit, Lichenkit, and Yellowkit. They were constantly spilling from the nursery.

"Sorry," Blackkit squeaked.

The kits' mother emerged into the clearing. "Kits," she admonished, "you shouldn't bother the deputy. He has important jobs to do. Come back to the nursery, and I'll tell you a story."

"Okay," the kits whined, and followed their mother back.

Darkstar sighed. When would they grow up? The medicine cat, Stonestem, came up behind him. "Beware," she whispered in a faraway voice. "The midnight's fangs and the blackness's claws will tear a hole in this Clan."

Darkstar turned back to see her casually glancing at the sky as she walked away.

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