Awesome! I'm Roaring Like Fire 13:20, November 24, 2016 (UTC)
"StarClan has made a mistake!" A starry cat mewed.
"How can you be sure?" A black cat asked, suspiciously. "She has murdered cats before."
"But she just wanted to be with her kits. She did it to avenge them. It was our choice," The other cat mewed solemnly.
"Does this mean we can be with mommy again?" A starry kit asked.
"Hush, Larchkit. We'll handle this."
"But Daddy was mean to her, right?"
"Yes, Larchkit. Hush, now, little one."
"What can we do, Ravenwing?" The starry cat asked.
"I don't know, Aldersong. But I guess you're right," Ravenwing mewed, staring at the sky.
"We will give her 3 tasks, one for each of her kits. If she completes them, her home will be StarClan," Aldersong replied.
"Very well then, we will talk to her tonight," Ravenwing replied.
Petalkit hopped forward. "Mommy! Mommy! Mommy!" She squealed.
Aldersong bent over her.
"Yes, you will see your mommy."
Life in the Dark Forest
"No, no, no!" Thornwhisker hissed, slicing my shoulder.
"Ow!" I screeched in pain. The Dark Forest was way too battle-hungry for my taste.
"You've got it all wrong, Mapleshade!"
"Why do I need to know this if i'll never fight again?" I yowled.
"Because we like it," Thornwhisker grunted. "It's satisfying. Try this!" He bit my ear.
"Ugh!" I hissed, as blood trickled out. "Leave me alone!" I begged.
"Who's gonna stop me?" Thornwhisker taunted. Bunching up my shoulders, I leapt on him.
"ARGH!" He cried. I hopped off of him.
"See what you get!" I snorted, going off to my den. Here, in the Dark Forest, dens were made of prickly thorns and poisonous berries studded around them. Perfect for us. I mean, them. Everyday, I hate it more and more. Maybe to the point where I actually try to leave. But no one leaves the Dark Forest. This is my home forever, and there's nothing I can do about it.
Beetlewhisker walked over.
"Hi Mapleshade. What's wrong?" He asked. I padded a bit faster. "Tell me what's wrong!" He hissed.
"Leave me alone!" I screeched again. I pushed him against a rock. This cat had been bugging me ever since I'd died.
"Fine. Whatever," he meowed, annoyed. He stalked off to his own den. Pain shot through me. Not physical, but emotional. My kits were in StarClan. Kits should be able to look up to their mothers. But what had I done? I let them die.
I also killed Appledusk, and Ravenwing. Also, blinded Frecklewish. But I can't say that I regret that. StarClan had wanted me to avenge my kits. And that was what I'd done. I wish I could be in StarClan, but if any of the other Dark Forest cats knew that, I would be Crow-food in an instant. My battle skills were clever, but not nearly as good for Tigerstar or Hawkfrost. Those cats could kill me for a second time. And if they did, I would be gone for good.
My belly rumbled. I went to the fresh kill pile. Of course, we still hunted. I ran back to my den, and took a big bite of blackbird. But instantly, I felt something strange in my mouth. Spitting the bird out in disgust, I saw its body crawling with maggots! I tossed the bird away. StarClan probably had good food that didn't have maggots.
I felt my body crumple as something leapt upon it.
"Go away Hawkfrost!" I hissed, nipping his tail.
"Ha, silly she-cat," he teased. He prodded me playfully with his paw.
"Move it," I glared. Reluctantly, Hawkfrost left.
Soon, all of the Dark Forest cats had went into their dens to sleep. I joined them, since my bones ached from the battles and ambushes. I was very tired, but I couldn't sleep. Maybe my body was tired, but my mind still counted endless thoughts. Going on a walk was my decision. Quietly, I sat up. Crawling through the sharp prickly thorns, I made my way out of my den.
The tall ominous shadows loomed in front of me. Even though I saw them every day, they still made me depressed. The howling wind buffeted my fur, and the cold night softly surrounded me. Of course StarClan probably looked better than this creepy mysterious forest.
But suddenly, I saw a strange light. It was coming from behind a bush. Curiously, I padded softly towards it. I glimpsed a starry paw. Then, a tail tip. This was no ordinary Dark Forest cat.
"Come out, whoever you are," I hissed suspiciously. Then, the whole body came out. I gasped as a beautiful sight lit up my eyes. A starry cat with amber fur made its way towards me.
"W-who are y-you?" I stammered. The cat's eyes twinkled with shimmering light.
"My name," she meowed, "is Aldersong. Come with me." Eyes still wide, I followed Aldersong to a nearby tree. "Greetings Mapleshade," She mewed softly.
"H-how do y-you k-know my name?" I stammered again. She ducked.
"Shush, keep it down. If they catch me, I'm gone for good!" She hissed. Then, her green gaze turned serious.
"Mapleshade, do you want to be with your kits?" The whole world froze around me. Was this cat giving me an offer to be with my kits?
"More than ever!" I replied.
"Then, you can. But you must complete three tasks to help your clan before daylight," Aldersong told me. I took a deep breath.
"What are they?" I asked. Aldersong smiled. "I knew you would want this," she murmured softly. She told me the three tasks.
Chapter 1 the first task
"You must catch 4 pieces of fresh-kill for your clan," Aldersong mewed. I sighed.
"But I haven't hunted in ages!" I protested. Aldersong stared at me.
"You do want to be with your kits, don't you?" She asked. I nodded. Anything for my precious babies.
"I'll do it," I said.
"Come with me, and I'll take you to the real world," she mewed.
"How do I do that?" I asked.
"There's a special pool," Aldersong told me. I followed her to the portal between The Dark Forest and StarClan. Aldersong jumped through, and her starry pelt disappeared beyond.
"Do I jump in?" I asked reluctantly.
"Yes, just jump," she directed. I could just barely hear her voice from the outside of the portal.
I jumped in, and a flash of brilliant blue surrounded me. But it only lasted a second. Now, I was in StarClan. But I still had to prove my loyalty.
"So this is StarClan," I gasped.
"Yes. And if you complete your three tasks, this will be your home," Aldersong replied. The thought of living in this beautiful forest made my fur tingle. I would do my best on my tasks.
"I'll take you to the Star Pool," she said.
The Star Pool was a wide pool of Stars.
"This pool will connect you to the living world," Aldersong told me. "In order to get there, you must jump in."
"Ready," I meowed. I was used to water. I had already swam in it - but nearly drowned. My kits had. That was why I was doing this.
"Get ready, Mapleshade," Aldersong mewed. I stared at my reflection for a moment. In the reflection, my fur was starry. That was the way I wanted it. Without any more waiting, I hopped in.
As I plunged into the deep pool, I could barely make out what Aldersong was saying.
"Remember, Mapleshade. You only have until daylight." I knew I needed to do this. For a moment, stars swirled around me. I could feel myself turning upside down as fire burned my lungs. I needed air! As I struggled, everything went black.
THUD! I felt myself land on the ground. Trees swirled around me, and the soft chirps of crickets sounded in my ears. This was the real world. Shaking my head, I hopped up. I had some hunting to do. Quiet as a mouse, I crept to the hunting grounds I once knew. A pang of sadness swelled in my heart. I missed the freedom. I tasted the air. A mouse was lurking nearby. Dropping into a crouch, I quietly crawled after it. A small patchy brown shape flashed through the grass. Hopping up high, I pounced. But the mouse quickly scampered away.
Then, I remembered. I had to stay low. Quietly, I sniffed again. The scent of vole wafted into my nose. I saw it creeping through the bushes. Quickly, I pounced. Nipping its neck, the brown creature went limp. Good. Three more pieces to go. I looked up, and saw leaves blowing in a tree. Maybe I could catch a bird. I dug my sharp claws into the bark, and climbed up. Now, I could see all of ThunderClan, and the border to ShadowClan. I could also see a crow sitting on a branch, preening its feathers. I stalked towards it. The dark bird had no clue I was even there.
Then, I saw me. But before it could fly away, I sunk my fangs into its neck. It went limp in my jaws. Two more pieces of prey to go. The white tail of a rabbit bobbed up and down as it hopped innocently. Quickly, I ran after it. Rabbits were fast! The small creature hopped quickly, and soon out ran me. Drat. But a grey mouse crawled nearby. Swiftly, I slipped past a bush, and stalked after it. Keeping my tail low, I padded forward. I pounced on the mouse. It quickly went limp. Finally! One more piece.
Trees loomed ahead of me as I searched for prey. Leaves rustled, and the small lithe shape of a squirrel caught my eye. If I caught this, I was done with the first task. I dropped into a crouch. The small animal sniffed around for food. I was hidden. Without warning, I pounced on it and nipped its neck. I had caught my four pieces of fresh-kill!
I dropped the prey on the border of my former clan. No cat was awake, and they would be delighted to see that a "traitor" could give gifts. I heard paw steps behind me, and turned around. Aldersong was padding towards me.
"You have accomplished your first task," she mewed. "Your next task is to deliver a prophecy."
Chapter 2 the second task
"A prophecy?" I asked, tilting my head.
"Yes," Aldersong said. "Here it is," she meowed. She whispered the prophecy into my ear. "Darkness will come, and what once glowed will fade." I tilted my head.
"What's that supposed to mean?" I asked. Aldersong shook her head.
"That is something no cat knows. We will have to find out." I nodded.
"But which cat do I deliver the prophecy to?" I asked. She peered inside of the warriors den.
"You see that golden cat?" She asked. I nodded, eyes fixed on the rise and fall of the golden tom's back. "His name is Lionblaze. He is one of the three in the prophecy. You must tell him."
"OK," I meowed. Quietly, I padded to the warriors den.
"In order to activate a dream, touch your nose to his fur," Aldersong whispered. I touched my nose to his fur.
Instantly, the world glowed. Then, the light faded, but everything was starry like a dream. I shook Lionblaze. His reaction was looking around, then spotting me.
"Who are you?" He asked. I ignored him. I had to deliver the prophecy.
"I need to deliver a prophecy to you," I mewed. He stared at me. "You need to pay close attention, since you're one of the three," I added. He nodded.
"What is it?"
"Darkness will come, and what once glowed will fade," I whispered.
"Tell me more," he demanded. "Please, I must know..." He begged. But my fur was fading. I was leaving his dreams. The world went black, and I found myself next to Aldersong.
"Did I do it right?" I asked anxiously.
"Yes, Mapleshade," she nodded.
"But..." She meowed.
"But what?" I sighed. I was getting tired. The dark sky layed heavily on top of me, stars twinkling fiercely.
"You must tell this to two more cats," she said.
"Who?" I asked, shoulders slightly slumping.
"Jayfeather. He's a gray tabby, with blue eyes. He's blind when he's awake, but he can see in dreams."
"OK," I agreed wearily. I searched around for him. Snoring softly in the medicine den was the cat Aldersong had described. I padded to his den. Leaning over, I touched my nose to his gray tabby fur. The world went shiny again, and everything glittered with stars.
"Jayfeather," I mewed softly. I prodded him with my paw. Immediately, he looked up. His pool blue eyes snapped twice.
"Who are you?" He asked. I sighed.
"No time for that. I have a prophecy," I informed him.
"Then spit it out!" He hissed. This cat had more temper than the Dark Forest cats. But this was what I had to deal with.
"Darkness will come, and what once glowed will fade," I mewed. I started to fade away again.
"Come back! What does that mean?" Jayfeather snapped. But I didn't tell him. I was already disappearing. The world went black again, and I appeared next to Aldersong. She nodded.
"One more cat to go," she meowed.
"Who?" I asked.
"A she-cat named Dovewing."
"What does she look like?" I asked.
"She's a very pale gray with green eyes. She's a warrior, so look in the warriors den," Aldersong told me.
"If anything, she should be sleeping next to a tom named Bumblestripe."
"OK," I mewed.
"But she's not really mates with Bumblestripe. She's meeting with a ShadowClan cat," Aldersong told me. I shuffled my paws.
"Kind of...like me" I mumbled. She nodded.
"But this is your chance, Mapleshade."
"I'll do it," I told her confidently. Stepping over the other sleeping warriors, I touched my nose to Dovewing's fur. As usual, the world went bright and starry. Dovewing looked around, and rested her eyes on me.
"Who are you?" She asked. Same question. But that wasn't important.
"I have a prophecy," I mewed. Her green gaze locked into mine.
"What is it?" She asked.
"Darkness will come, and what once glowed will fade," I meowed. "What does tha-"
"I also have something to say to you," I interrupted.
"But you don't know me," she pointed out.
"But I know about you," I said. "You can't be meeting with Tigerheart." Her eyes widened.
"How did you know?" She gasped.
"I just do," I snapped. "Don't meet him. This will lead to pain, and suffering." Dovewing sighed.
"But-but I love him," she sighed sadly.
"Yes, I know," my gaze softened. "But you already have a tom mooning over you, and you're rude to him. Appreciate him, at least." Dovewing shuffled her paws.
"Forbidden love leads to pain," I whispered. She looked up.
Fading again, the starry dancing leaves disappeared. Aldersong stood by me.
"You gave her the right advice," she encouraged me. Sighing, I nodded.
"I know how she feels, but that's the way love is."
"Well, the thing that matters, is that you've delivered the prophecy." She meowed. But what about the prophecy? I really couldn't help wondering what it meant.
Chapter 3 the third task
"For this task, you must fight in battle," Aldersong mewed. My eyes went wide. Fighting?
"B-but, I haven't fought in years!" I moaned. Aldersong locked her gaze at me.
"How about all that training in the Dark Forest?" She pointed out. "You've surely refreshed your memory there." Shuffling my paws, I gave an anxious nod, even though I knew that Aldersong knew nothing of the Dark Forest. That battle training was violent- really violent. But...maybe that would help me in the real world. It had to.
"OK, but where and who will I fight?" I asked suspiciously. I would definitely regret fighting my home Clan, ThunderClan.
"Well, first of all, you will fight WindClan." I nodded. I was not part of WindClan, so this would be OK.
"You will fight in the tunnels."
"The tunnels?" I asked, tilting my head. "Where are they." Aldersong lowered her voice.
"The tunnels. They are caves underground, but one of the cats, Fallen Leaves, from the early Clans...he died in it." Eyes widened, I began to feel anxious. This proved that the tunnels could be dangerous.
"Well, they had things different back then," Aldersong reassured me. "He died trying to prove himself a worthy warrior..." Her voice trailed off as tears wet my eyes. He had tried to pro himself a wrior as I was trying to prove myself a true StarClan cat.
"I'll do it."
"Good. The battle will be tonight, so I can take you to the tunnels." Aldersong got to her paws, and headed for the trees. I followed. The moon glistened gorgeously above, and stars twinkled merrily. Those stars were the souls of the cats who had followed the brighter path, unlike me. But I wished more than ever to be one of them.
"There they are," Aldersong mewed, lowering her voice to a whisper. I padded briskly towards, and heard hostile whispers inside the rocky tunnels. Tension was high.
"Are you ready?" Aldersong asked.
"Yes," I took a deep breath. She nodded confidently.
"Here are some tips-" she started to say. But I interrupted. "No. I can do this on my own, and I am ready. Bye." I turned around, and trotted to the cave. I was ready to avenge my former Clan. But as I left, I heard Aldersong murmur something to herself.
"The true spirit of StarClan." Maybe she was talking about me, because I was positive that my soul had gotten brighter from recalling the real world I'd abandoned long ago.
I put my ear to the roof of the tunnel. Sure enough, the angry voice of a WindClan cat snapped at the others, but another voice sounded as well. A smooth calm voice that seemed disturbingly charming. Probably a trick. Anger shot through me, but I herd something else. The pounding of feet boomed behind me. Ducking behind a bush, I saw my old Clan.
"ThunderClan!" A ginger tom hissed. "Attack!" Tons of outraged cats poured into a dark hole, furious yowls clawing at the air. Once each cat was in the hole, I jumped in. This time, I was going to fight loyally. Baring my teeth, I leapt at a lean ginger tabby.
"Don't you mess with ThunderClan!" I yowled through a mouthful of fur. He swiped at me, but I ducked, kicking his belly in the action.
"Never! We will follow Sol!" That was obviously the name of the arrogant cat that I had heard.
I slammed into the tabby's belly, bowling him over. Teeth bared, he bit my shoulder. I howled in agony, but quickly recovered. But he knocked me down, clawing at my exposed belly. I knew I was losing the fight. I could flail my claws, but he was close to pinning me. But then, an idea formed in my head. Pretend that he is a Dark Forest cat!
I leapt back up, and let out a snarl of rage. The ginger tom gave me a surprised look, and stumbled back. I quickly ran my claw across his cheek. He gave a yowl of agony, and fled. Blood spattered the dark tunnel walls as I ran blindly through them.
A lean black she-cat pounced on me, but I ducked. A loud 'THUD' echoed the cave as her head knocked the roof. She fell back, and fell onto the ground, unconscious. I let out a cry of triumph, but a white tom bowled me over. I hopped back up, and battered at his belly with my feet. The big cat hissed and raked his claw over my nose. Scarlet drops trickled to the ground, but I whirled around, cornering him to the wall.
"Your Clan is wrong to take orders from a fool like Sol!" I screeched. His teeth glistened with blood as he faced me.
"Sol is helping us to fight against a foolish Clan like ThunderClan!"
"Well he'll take advantage of you! You'll see!" I ran my claws down the big cat's belly, and he howled as blood seeped out. He dashed off.
I ran through the cave, searching for cats in need of help. I spotted a gray tabby she-cat with green eyes struggle against a muscular gray tom. Her gaze looked exhausted, and I sped over to her. Just as the gray cat was about to slash at her forehead, I ran in between them. Instead, his claw hit my shoulder. I locked my teeth into his foreleg, and the cat cried in pain. With that, he fled.
"T-thanks!" The gray tabby panted.
"You're welcome," I meowed back.
"By the way, my name is Ivypool."
"Well, nice to meet you, Ivypool," I mewed as I ran off.
But for some reason, I recognized Ivypool. Had I seen her with Hawkfrost in the Dark Forest? I was pretty sure it was. But whatever happened, this cat needed to learn something.
"Ivypool!" I called. The gray she-cat turned to face me.
"Avoid the Dark Forest! There is always light where you remain. Don't give up."
Ivypool's eyes went wide, but she nodded at me. A new look of courage and hope lit up her sorrowful gaze. I knew that I had worked to change her destiny, and I was sure that she would end up on the light side. I hoped.
But as I turned around, i saw a black she-cat pinning Sol. That is Hollyleaf, Aldersong's voice whispered in my ear. She will be forgiven for murder.
"I would kill you, Sol," she meowed. "But that's not what a true warrior would do." With that, she let him go. Hollyleaf was a true warrior, the one I would look up to. She had a true StarClan cat spirit, and she would go there once she drew her last breath. I knew it.
But at that moment, stars faded into view. Everything clouded up, and all the cats slowly disappeared. The tunnel walls slowly fogged up. I closed my eyes, and then opened them to find myself standing in front of Aldersong. She gave a proud happy nod, and my heart began to beat fast with joy. Was it time? Would I become a true StarClan cat?
"Come on, Mapleshade," she mewed. "Let's go to StarClan."
Heart Of StarClan
I rushed exitedly after Aldersong as she climbed up the clouds to StarClan, but a nervous feeling washed over me.
"But...what if Frecklewish, Ravenwing, and Appledusk hate me?" I asked anxiously.
"StarClan cats are very forgiving. Don't worry," she reassured me. I nodded happily.
Milky dawn light flooded the forest as the sun took its first peeks through the tree branches. Clouds swirled around freely, absorbing the warmth. The stars still twinkled luminously in the pale pink sky. Dawn was here, and I had completed all of my tasks. StarClan would be my new home from now on. I watched as Aldersong led me through a glowing blue tunnel of light, surrounded by aqua clouds.
"This is really the way to StarClan?" I asked in awe.
"Yep. Here we are!" I let out a gasp as a beautiful sky stretched in front of me. The sun was rising brightly, and starry cats from all over shared tongues, brought back fresh-kill from a hunting trip, or dozed peacefully. StarClan was beautiful!
"Time for your ceremony," Aldersong smiled. She leapt onto a glittering silver rock with a shimmering pool of water next to it, and cleared her throat.
"I would like to call a Clan meeting!" The StarClan cats gathered beneath the huge rock, and Aldersong beckoned for me to join her on the rock. Giving a nervous but exited nod, I joined her.
"Meet Mapleshade," The ginger she-cat mewed. "Some of you know her, but she would like to fix her reputation. Mapleshade knows that she has murdered in the past, but she would like to apologize." Gathering my courage, I faced the whole Clan.
"I'm sorry," I blurted out. "I am sorry to Appledusk, Ravenwing, and Frecklewish for killing them. I am sorry to Birchface whom I have lied about, and my kits who have had no mother to look up to. I hope you all will accept me, but I don't blame you if you don't. I am here to make up for my sins."
Frecklewish met my gaze, and sympathy and faith shone in her eyes.
"I forgive you, Mapleshade," she mewed. Ravenwing, Birchface, and Appledusk nodded.
"We forgive you!"
Pride made me puff out my chest. Tears of thankfulness blurred my gaze. Aldersong smiled.
"Lap the water." My gaze flitted to the sparkling pool. Stepping forwards, I sipped it. A refreshing feeling bathed my tongue as the sweet water swirled in my mouth. I closed my eyes for a moment, cherishing the feeling. But when I opened them, Aldersong nodded at me.
"Look at your reflection."
I turned to the pool, and stared at my reflection. A starry ginger she-cat with shimmering eyes grinned back at me. I couldn't believe it! I was a true StarClan cat! This journey of effort, courage, and hope had shone a bright light in my soul. I was not the dark traitor every cat had known me as before. This was a whole new me.
But then i remembered about my kits! Three gleeful figures dashed towards me, and I ran back at them.
"Patchkit! Larchkit! Petalkit!"
I cuddled aound my kits, drinking in their sweet scents.
"Oh, my precious beautiful kits! How I've missed you!" I burst into happy tears of joy.
"We've missed you, Mommy!" They giggled back. I curled around the three squirming bundles happily. After so many years of longing, I finally had what I had been wishing for. My three precious kits.
But Aldersong padded up to me. I nodded at her.
"What's wrong?" I asked. Aldersong's gaze was troubled.
"About the prophecy...I have to tell you something."
"There is a terrible battle coming. The Dark Forest is planning a fight against the Clans, and we needto help them. It's a good thing we have you now." I felt proud to fight along StarClan where I could fight for what was true. I nodded at her, confidence gleaming in my gaze.
"I'll do my best."
I knew that I would be fighting for hope and freedom if I fought along StarClan. New hope bloomed in my heart as I became one of the stars.