"That can't have happened."
"It did. That's what created you."
"But why did they shift you?"
"Me? I have a very twisted path, Brokenpath."
|The Paths Trilogy|
|Preceded by: |
|Merging Paths||Succeded by: |
NOTE: This is Book 2 in a trilogy. I would advise you to read Broken Paths first. (link is above :D)
All everything that Brokenpath knew about her family was a lie. Her father was never dead.
Brokenpath now knows a reason behind her placement in GrassClan. But getting Bluepelt to return there is an issue - he's torn between his GrassClan roots and his PebbleClan allegiance.
With the help of Dustyheart, Cloudspirit, and Goldenflight, can Brokenpath convince her father to join their side, as a rift with PebbleClan increases, and a war looming with them on the horizon?
This is the second book in The Paths Trilogy.
Hidden away, I chose to stay,
Away, watching, yet unknowing...
The blue-gray tom watched from the undergrowth, his blue eyes narrowing in distaste. He couldn't bear to see them squabbling - like those Clan cats did... like he used to do, all those moons ago...
He couldn't bear to fight. This was why he had faked his death. PebbleClan would have been sure to believe him.
And now... he was here. Seeing them fight made him sick. But he had to see what was going on. He missed Tabbyflight - the cat who was expecting kits when he left. They would be warriors by now. He wondered if she had told them about him.
"You'd better stop this right now," a gray PebbleClan warrior hissed. His crooked tail flicked as he showed his teeth.
There was mixed reactions on the GrassClan patrol. Four of the cats were not willing to fight - a pale brown she-cat, a thick-furred dark gray she-cat, a dark ginger tom with a white patch on his back, and a dark brown tabby she-cat. The fifth cat - a ginger tom - was looking fiercely at the PebbleClan cats, rage burning in his amber eyes.
The dark gray she-cat whispered something inaudible to the cat's words. The ginger tom yowled triumphantly in reply: "It is worth it! We need to teach this PebbleClan scum not to trespass."
The words chilled him to the bone, as the pale brown GrassClan she-cat replied to her Clanmate's words. "Fight yourself if you want to," she hissed, "but we're not helping you." She indicated towards her three Clanmates beside her.
"You'll commit yourself to your own death," growled the dark ginger tom with the white patch on his back.
This proved enough for the ginger tom facing the PebbleClan cats. Yowling an attack signal, he leapt on the PebbleClan cats - but none of his Clanmates joined his side. The PebbleClan cats eagerly leapt onto him, easily outnumbering the GrassClan warrior. When they pulled away, the body of the ginger cat was lying on the ground, blood seeping from his wounds, and ominously still.
"Yes, he was a silly tom, wasn't he?" snickered the gray PebbleClan cat. His paw was jabbing the body of the GrassClan cat, which was lying at his paws. He was grinning wildly at the four remaining GrassClan cats, who were staring back at him.
"Maybe now I should attack you now?" the gray cabby continued, taunting the GrassClan cats. Crooked tail lashing, he dropped into a crouch. "Because GrassClan lost a cat?"
He was going to stop this. That PebbleClan cat wanted to fight!
As the gray tabby started to yowl his battle call, the blue-gray tom intervened. "No," he hissed, as the gray tom started yowling..
He had made an impression, to his relief. Standing up, the gray tabby looked confused. "What was that? Who spoke?" he wondered aloud.
The tom knew that this was now the time to make his move. "I did," he growled, as he stepped out from behind a bush.
The gray tabby's mouth fell open. "Bluepelt?" he gasped, obviously shocked.
For the first time, Bluepelt recognized the gray tabby as Jaggedtail. He turned his gaze to him. "How is the Clan?" he mewed. Hastily, he added, "And Tabbyflight?"
One of the GrassClan warriors - the dark brown tabby - took a sharp intake of breath at his words. Bluepelt was surprised. What's her problem with me?
Jaggedtail's gaze darkened at the mention of Tabbyflight. "Tabbyflight died after her kitting all those moons ago," he mewed, sadness evident in his tone. "And three of her kits."
Hang on... "One - one survived?" Bluepelt stammered, his eyes lighting up excitedly. "Where is it?" I want to meet my kit...
It was a desire Bluepelt had forgotten, that was for sure. But now that Tabbyflight was dead, he was the remaining parent. All he needed was for his kit to have a father in the life - no matter how late it was.
Jaggedtail sighed, obviously annoyed with him asking so many questions. "The fourth kit..." he began awkwardly, "is with GrassClan now. And she's right over there," he added, his tail flicking unmistakably in the direction of a cat.
And that cat was the dark brown tabby she-cat that had gasped earlier.
While away from them, unknowing,
My life is now a lie...
There was a prolonged silence after Jaggedtail had flicked his tail and stayed still, gaze unwavering. In her mind, Brokenpath was fighting a war. Her life had been a lie. Not all her family was dead - not like how Brokenpath was brought up with.
She was brought up knowing that her mother, Tabbyflight, had died during birth. That part, at least still held true. However, the second part of it was a lie. Bluepelt - Brokenpath's father - was said to have been killed by rogues. Yet, here he was, standing right in front of her...
Her feeling were shared, as well. The only cat that didn't seem surprised was Cloudspirit. The dark gray she-cat fixed Bluepelt with a blue stare, then she moved towards the blue-gray tom.
"Bluepelt," she whispered, her tail whisking along his flank.
"So." Bluepelt's deep voice rang around the clearing. "Did you achieve your dream of becoming a GrassClan warrior?"
Cloudspirit ducked her head in embarrassment, and nodded stiffly. "My name's Cloudspirit now," she mewed in a small voice.
"So she did?" asked another voice.
Brokenpath shuffled. Obviously, despite his rogue status, Bluepelt did not hunt alone.
A black-and-white tom and a white she-cat made their way out of a small clump of ferns on the edge of PebbleClan territory. The black-and-white cat was staring at Bluepelt with an intense green gaze that, if Brokenpath was Bluepelt, she would have flinched away from. Bluepelt did not react.
"Yes, she did," Bluepelt mewed briskly, his tail sweeping the grass. "She said she'd always wanted to."
There was another silence after Bluepelt's words. Realizing her mouth was open, Brokenpath shut it quickly.
"I've never encountered a Clan cat before," the black-and-white cat went on. "Apart from him." His tail flicked in Bluepelt's direction.
"And why are we talking?' butted in a PebbleClan she-cat. With a jolt, Brokenpath recognized Pearclaw - one of the cats whom she had learnt from as an apprentice.
Bluepelt gave a furious hiss. "Go away, then. No cat said you have to stay."
Tail flicking, Jaggedtail led the PebbleClan cats into the midst of the pine forest. Eventually, only the three rogues and the GrassClan patrol remained - as well as the ginger body of a cat that was lying where the PebbleClan patrol used to be.
"How did that cat die?' asked the white she-cat, flicking her tail at the body.
There was an awkward silence within the GrassClan patrol. Finally, Brokenpath felt Redcloud push past the other cats. The dark ginger tom stood at the head of the patrol as he replied: "This stupid cat decided he would rather fight PebbleClan alone than with a group," he hissed.
"Won't you have to bring his body back to camp?" Bluepelt queried. His tail flicked at the body.
"Of course," Redcloud purred. His attention snapped back to the patrol. "Cloudspirit, Dustyheart, you will take Bounceclaw's body back to the camp."
Two cats swept past Brokenpath - one brown, one gray. She watched the two older she-cats pick up the body and place it on their backs, wincing.
"It smells bad already," Dustyheart hissed, her green eyes blazing.
The patrol stopped at Bluepelt's words. The blue-gray tom stared at the patrol with an intense stare.
"What?" Redcloud huffed. Brokenpath guessed that the broad-shouldered tom was getting impatient.
"Can us three come back with you to your camp?" Bluepelt mewed awkwardly. "We have no wish to join the Clan. We want to stay for a while." His tail flicked to the two cats that were standing behind him.
Redcloud paused, then nodded. "I'll head back to the camp. Brokenpath can lead back."
Brokenpath suppressed a gulp as Redcloud took off into the distance, and she was left at the front of the group. Gulping, she started to steadily lead the patrol back to the camp, all their gazes fixed on her.
It's a return on the unexpected,
That is always clouded by doubt...
Pawsteps thrummed along the moor, as the white tom lifted his head above the barrier. Life was perfect for his Clan - if only life was like this every day...
The white cat flicked an ear, uninterested in his name being called. Silently, he continued staring.
"Snowstar!" The same mew chorused again.
The white cat grumbled, still looking away. "What is it?" he huffed.
"Get down, Snowstar," mewed a cat. As he decided to look at the speaker, Snowstar recognized Redcloud, one of the cats who had been assigned onto the PebbleClan border patrol. His amber eyes were wide, and his fur was bushing in all directions.
Redcloud isn't usually like this, the GrassClan leader thought. I wonder what the problem is...
"What's going on, Redcloud?" he asked irritably. "You seem jumpy."
One of Redcloud's paws scuffled in the dust, as he mewed; "Bounceclaw accused the PebbleClan cats of trespassing on our territory," he mewed shakily. "He leapt into attack, but we didn't follow him. Snowstar, Bounceclaw is dead."
Snowstar snorted. "I thought Stoneleap had told him not to do that. Now it has cost us one of our warriors."
Redcloud nodded. "He did." Tail twitching, Redcloud continued: "That's not all. After the battle, Bluepelt came along and asked us if he could stay in camp for a while. Two of his rogue friends came along, too."
Bluepelt? Snowstar felt his fur rising in surprise. "That tom's GrassClan born, but he's PebbleClan, isn't he?" He gave a pause, then continued, remembering a report from a Gathering moons ago. "Oh, no... I thought that PebbleClan said that Bluepelt was dead at a Gathering."
Redcloud shook his head. "No, that cat was definitely Bluepelt. I would never forget him." Redcloud's amber eyes were full of grief. "Now, where's that patrol up to? I assigned Brokenpath to lead it back for me, as I had already assigned Cloudspirit and Dustyheart to carry Bounceclaw."
At that moment, there was a swishing of gorse at the edge of the camp, and seven cats piled in. An eighth - obviously Bounceclaw - was lying on the backs of Cloudspirit and Dustyheart, who were bringing hos body to the middle of the camp.
"Bluepelt!" Snowstar called, as he saw the blue-gray tom lurking at the edge of the camp. It's been so long since he was a kit, here in GrassClan...
Bluepelt's head shot up, and his blue gaze burned into Snowstar as he recognized him. "Yes, Snowstar?" he meowed.
"I want you to meet with me in my den," Snowstar meowed. "Bring your two rogue friends with you. Can I also have one member of the patrol that brought you back to camp?"
"Certainly," Bluepelt purred smoothly. "For the cat on the patrol, Brokenpath can come." At this, Brokenpath raised her head, and twitched her ears angrily at Bluepelt, and her tail started lashing.
What's her problem with Bluepelt? Snowstar thought. They haven't met before.
"Now," Snowstar added. "Brokenpath, that means you."
Bluepelt and his two rogue friends bounded over - one a black-and-white tom, the other a white she-cat. Brokenpath followed behind them, growling, and shooting annoyed gazes at Bluepelt at regular intervals.
"Brokenpath, stop that," Snowstar hissed, and the brown she-cat stopped herself at once. "Is everyone ready, then? Let's go in."
Snowstar led his way into his den, and the four other cats followed. Then he turned around, and the five cats formed a circle, ready to start the meeting.
And the tensions after the battle
Are always high and clouded...
Bluepelt's fur was bristling as he entered the den. With five cats in it, it was a tight squeeze. Corvus and Blanche - the friends he had made after leaving PebbleClan - were staring around the den, their eyes wide. Brokenpath had her green gaze fixed on him, her tail still lashing furiously.
Stop your hostility, Bluepelt thought, visualizing his daughter's furious glare. It's not my fault.
Slowly, he sat down. The place on his left was empty - Snowstar was going to be sitting next to him. Corvus was on Bluepelt's right - he could feel the black-and-white tom's fur brushing his side. Blanche was next to Corvus on his other side, and on Blanche's right sat Brokenpath, who was staring at her paws.
Snowstar entered the den, his tail twitching. The white-furred tom sat down, and Bluepelt stood up straight.
Snowstar acknowledged each cat with a nod, before he started to speak: "This patrol that we have just had has been a troubling one. What happened with the incident with Bounceclaw and PebbleClan, Brokenpath?" Snowstar's broad head swung towards the tabby she-cat.
Brokenpath was silent for a moment, then she raised her head. "When we came across the PebbleClan cats," she meowed, "they threatened us of being on their territory."
"Were you on their territory?" Snowstar intercepted sharply.
When Bluepelt pictured the incident in his mind, he was sure that the GrassClan cats had been staying off PebbleClan territory - but the PebbleClan cats weren't on GrassClan territory, either. By the way Bluepelt looked at it, they only said that to the GrassClan cats so they could pick a fight with them.
"No," Brokenpath meowed, as she stared at Snowstar with a fierce green gaze. "They weren't on our territory, either. Bounceclaw just overreacted when the PebbleClan cats accused us of trespassing."
That's what I thought, Bluepelt thought, his chest puffing out ever slightly. Brokenpath has my skill of observation, I can tell.
"And he attacked them, and tried to take the patrol with them?" Snowstar queried.
"Yes." Bluepelt turned to see Corvus speaking. "He tried to drag the whole patrol with him into attacking PebbleClan." When Snowstar shot a furious gaze at him, however, he tried to back away, saying: "Sorry... I watched the whole incident..." Corvus' voice trailed off.
Snowstar was evidently still unimpressed. He shot a furious amber gaze at Corvus, then turned to Brokenpath. "Is what this rogue says correct?"
As Brokenpath gave a small nod, Corvus meowed "It's Corvus," in reply to Snowstar's words to Brokenpath.
"Okay, then." He acknowledged Brokenpath's silent response with a nod, and Corvus' one with a silent, yet furious amber glare. "What happened after that?"
"The PebbleClan cats started mocking our patrol," Brokenpath hissed, unable to keep the anger out of her voice. "And then he turned up." Brokenpath shot a furious glance at Bluepelt, and her tail started lashing once more.
"Brokenpath, calm down." Snowstar mewed, then he turned to the three other cats that were in the den. "Do any of you know why Brokenpath is being so hostile? She wasn't like this before she went out on patrol."
"Probably because I told her I'm her father..." Bluepelt meowed, his voice trailing off. Snowstar should know...
That wasn't the wisest thing to say around Brokenpath, Bluepelt realized, as she shot another furious gaze at Bluepelt, and meowed: "Shut up!"
"Brokenpath!" Snowstar hissed. "Calm down." Brokenpath was still glaring angrily at Bluepelt when Snowstar continued: "You three are welcome to stay in our camp: however, I do request that you participate in warrior patrols. You can sleep in the warriors' den with the other warriors."
"Thank you." Bluepelt dipped head to Snowstar. "I know that me and my friends will help contribute to GrassClan, however long we're here." I don't know how long I can stay here for... but I'm not going to stay here forever...
Or maybe not. Bluepelt thought, as he pictured Cloudspirit in his head.
"Meeting dismissed." Snowstar flicked his tail. "I'll be calling a Clan meeting at sundown to discuss this with everyone."
Bluepelt rose to his paws, and started to pad of the den. He noticed Brokenpath hanging around, and Bluepelt felt the desire to talk to her, to tell her what had really happened in his life.
You're my daughter, Brokenpath. You need to know.
"Brokenpath?" Bluepelt called softly, and the dark she-cat spun around in response. Her green eyes were still blazing with fury, and her tail lashed from side to side.
"What?" Brokenpath hissed, evidently annoyed.
Bluepelt fought to keep his voice calm. "I want to talk to you about something."
"Fine," Brokenpath hissed, apparently forcing out every word. "Tell me."
They can uncover the darkest secrets
Hidden for moons on end...
"We'll move away from here first." Bluepelt's words rang in her ears as he spoke. "I don't want to be overheard."
Brokenpath twitched her tail impatiently as she watched Bluepelt head back towards the camp entrance. She was furious with him. If he hadn't left PebbleClan, her life would've been different.
She followed the blue-gray cat out of the camp, as he walked across the windswept moor. Bluepelt's fur hardly ruffled in the breeze - Brokenpath could tell that he had short fur. In front of her, Bluepelt walked for a while, and then sat down.
Brokenpath looked across the moor. She couldn't see the camp, but she knew she was in GrassClan territory, due to the occasional GrassClan scent that wreathed around the area. She could smell Shatteredheart, Crowgaze, Fernfrond, Lappingcreek... but their scents weren't as fresh as Bluepelt's and her own.
"Tell me," Brokenpath hissed, anger still in her voice. She was angry that Bluepelt had left her grow up alone. She had no family, until today. Today, Bluepelt had come back to the Clans' radar, and with it had come fury.
Bluepelt gave a small sigh. "My early life was never easy, Brokenpath," he said quietly. "I was born in GrassClan -"
What? "GrassClan?" Brokenpath spluttered, shocked. "That can't have happened."
Bluepelt nodded sadly. "Don't interrupt, and let me continue," he mewed briskly, and then he continued: "The first few moons were good enough. I had a father that cared for me, and my mother loved me as well. I was named Bluekit after my blue-gray fur." There was a moment of silence, then he continued: "But then tragedy struck. A few moons after I was born, my mother disappeared. No GrassClan cat could find her. A few days later, they found her outside GrassClan territory, and she told a patrol of GrassClan warriors that she wasn't returning to GrassClan. To her, she couldn't bear the burden of it any longer."
At least you had a chance to know your mother, Brokenpath thought scathingly. I didn't.
"I was upset, but I still had family," Bluepelt went on. "I still had my father - I had no littermates, so he was the last member of family left. I still stayed in the Clan for a couple more moons, then I went to the Apprentice's Training Ground and received my apprentice name, Bluepaw. I was happy there, learning all moves that all Clan apprentices learned." Bluepelt let off another weary sigh. "But then tragedy struck again."
This time, Brokenpath was pretty sure who had died. "Your father died," she mewed dryly.
Bluepelt scowled at Brokenpath, before continuing: "Yes, my father died. At eight moons old, to lose all your family was upsetting. But I continued training, and at my warrior ceremony - when I close the name Bluepelt - my life changed."
"You were put into PebbleClan instead of GrassClan, genius," Brokenpath hissed, but she couldn't resist pointing out. At once, she instantly regretted her words.
We both didn't return to our birth Clan...
"Of course, I met your mother there," Bluepelt continued. "About a half-moon before you were due to be born, however, my life changed again. I was off on a solo hunt when two rogues attacked me at the border." Brokenpath noticed that Bluepelt was almost spitting the words out. "I nearly died. Those two rogues that came into your camp with me - Corvus and Blanche - saved my life. We got our revenge on them soon after, and they died."
Brokenpath gave an impatient snort. "Are you done yet?"
"Nearly," Bluepelt huffed crossly. "I decided not to return to PebbleClan. Cloudspirit started getting an interest with the Clans, and I helped her to join them."
"Wait," Brokenpath meowed. "You helped Cloudspirit to join the Clans? Is she a spy?" Brokenpath unsheathed her claws in fury.
"No," Bluepelt soothed. "All she wanted to do was to be a Clan warrior, like you are. I decided to help her, given my wide knowledge about the Clans." Bluepelt took a deep breath, then continued: "Today is the end of my life story so far, and you know what happened then. Do you have anything you want to ask me?"
At Bluepelt's words, Brokenpath felt one idea pop into her head. "Yes," she mewed meekly. "Why did you get placed into PebbleClan, when you were GrassClan born?"
Bluepelt gave a weary sigh. "The truth is, Brokenpath," he meowed, "I don't know the answer to this question. All I can think of as an answer is that my placement was some sort of mistake."
For better or for worse, we don't know,
All we can do is wait...
"That can't have happened."
"It did. That's what created you."
"But why did they shift you?"
"Me? I have a very twisted path, Brokenpath."
Brokenpath noticed that Bluepelt had grimaced after he had spoken the last sentence. The blue-gray tom had more background than she had ever realized - and finally, Brokenpath knew a reason why she had been placed in GrassClan - her heritage. But why in the first place did the cats there do that sort of thing?
Who knows, the tabby thought. Is it just StarClan's fate?
"I'll never know why they decided to do that," Bluepelt went on, snapping Brokenpath back to attention. Her father was looking across the windswept moor, his tail raised, stiff like a stick. "Maybe something happened that I didn't know about."
Hesitantly, Brokenpath stepped forward, and stepped close enough to Bluepelt so that their pelts brushed. "Why didn't you return to PebbleClan in the first place, when you knew that Tabbyflight was having your kits?"
Brokenpath watched silently as she saw Bluepelt letting off a sigh. "Moonstar was too intent on fighting," he mewed. "I dislike fighting. I only like to fight when it was necessary. I just... didn't like life in PebbleClan, and after Corvus and Blanche showed me good hospitality, I stayed with them. But, to tell you the truth, after today, I think I regret that decision somewhat."
And why does he regret that decision? I thought, not wanting to know the answer. Is it me?
"Let's head back to camp," Brokenpath mewed, quickly trying to get herself away from this conversation. "Have you set up your nest in our warriors' den yet."
"Oh, whoops," Bluepelt mewed, flicking his ears at her. "Come on, Brokenpath, we need to head black to camp."
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Brokenpath narrowed her eyes as she watched Bluepelt enter the warriors' den, a wad of fresh moss in his mouth. In the camp, the sun was setting, casting shadows over it, and cats were moving around, picking prey off the pile.
"Hi, Brokenpath." A golden-brown shape flashed at the edge of Brokenpath's vision.
Brokenpath turned, and recognized the shape of Goldenflight at once. "What is it?' she mewed, and Brokenpath broke off with a yawn.
Goldenflight shrugged, and sat down beside her. "So what did Bluepelt have to say to you?" the GrassClan warrior mewed. "I heard what happened on the patrol." Goldenflight's gaze moved to the center of the camp, where Bounceclaw's ginger body laid, stretched out, in the clearing.
"Some stuff," Brokenpath mewed, shrugging. "About some stuff involving PebbleClan, and other stuff."
"Oh, all right, if you don't want to be specific," Goldenflight mewed scornfully. "I'm just saying, but there are actually quite a few cats in GrassClan who had other lives. Dustyheart, Cloudspirit, Bluepelt, yourself... even me."
What? "Wait... you weren't originally GrassClan?"
At this, Goldenflight's amber eyes widened. "I didn't tell you?" she mewed. "Well, Brokenpath, I'm originally from FallClan."
You never understood my sorrow, too,
It's much like yours, that is true...
For the next half moon, Goldenflight's conversation with Brokenpath seemed to haunt her. The memories of her time in FallClan seemed to come back to her, and in a way she regretted what had happened. She had left Tumblestep behind - the closest she'd ever had to being a mother. Now, he was a mentor - and Goldenflight had skipped her chance at being one, just to support Brokenpath.
The times have changed, Goldenflight reminded herself, looking back along the moor. She was sitting at the FallClan border, the silver moon - near the end of its time in the sky - behind her. She could still feel her previous ties to the Clan.
If I was there...
Goldenflight sighed. Since coming to GrassClan, she had slowly gotten rid of her thoughts, but when Brokenpath had brought it up, they all came flowing back. She was born there, was a warrior there, until Daisystar had accused her of betrayal. She had trained with her littermates, Leafheart - a mentor at the Training Ground with Tumblestep - and Ferretflash, the now-FallClan deputy. She still had family there.
Daisystar broke that apart, Goldenflight thought scornfully. It wasn't her fault that she had been exiled. It was another cat, who had since died. It wasn't worth going back for proof - they were now enemies, after all.
A light was rising at the edge of Goldenflight's vision, and she knew the sun was starting to rise. Looking behind her, the moon had touched the horizon. As warm light crept over Goldenflight, warming her, the golden-brown she-cat rose to her paws, and turned her back on the FallClan border.
Padding away from the line of trees that was FallClan territory, Goldenflight padded into the long grass, lightly soaked with dew. She went through it, and decided to head back to camp.
At once, Goldenflight heard a voice whisper in her head: Why are you heading back to camp? Snowstar will be disappointed if you came back with no news. Go do something useful.
Confused, Goldenflight looked out to the rapidly lightening sky. What was this voice trying to tell her?
As soon as she had asked herself that question, another voice in her head contradicted. It said: You should get back to camp. There are cats that appreciate your company there. They will be pleased to know that you're safe. What would happen if you never returned?
Stressed, Goldenflight felt her legs starting to shake, but she still decided to press on, still keeping her decision to head back to the GrassClan camp. Surely, it was wiser, to head back to where she belonged most? Or was it better to face the unknown, without any other cats' knowledge?
Immediately, Goldenflight felt herself freeze. Her paws stopped moving, and she felt as if she was frozen to the spot. The truth is, I don't know. I don't think I've ever been sure of myself since I left FallClan.
At that moment, it just got a bit too much for her. Goldenflight bolted away, in a direction that wasn't heading towards the GrassClan camp, not towards any other cats' borders, either. She was going to head to the one true place where she could clear her head - the border that lead to the cats outside the Clans.
That's the only place I want to go right now, Goldenflight thought sadly. She felt a tear fall down her face as she sprinted across the moor - she definitely wasn't the best, especially being from FallClan - but she was faster than the cats from the other three Clans. She ran, letting the thrum of her paws on the ground block out any other sound in the air, and she didn't stop until she smelt the stale GrassClan scent at the border.
Goldenflight screeched to a halt, and at once, she started to breathe rapidly. Was it really worth, taking this risk on this side of the border? She contemplated this in her mind, and looked back along the GrassClan moor.
To tell the truth, Goldenflight didn't have a true home anymore. FallClan had been it, but that privilege had been stripped unfairly. At the moment, to Goldenflight, there seemed to be only one place that she could go to.
I just need a break. I promise you I'll be back...
With one last look at GrassClan territory, and one last deep breath taken, Goldenflight turned, and padded into the depths of the territory outside GrassClan. All that she wanted now was a break from Clan life - and now, it seemed, she had found it.
But then you left, and hope was lost,
Yet there are others, that restart its fire...
"Hey! Get up!"
Tired, not willing to get up just because of Crowgaze's shouting, Brokenpath turned in her nest. She knew that she didn't wish to be getting up this early - only recently had the dawn light had begun to shaft into the warriors' den.
"Why are we all getting up?" asked a voice, which Brokenpawth recognized at Ravenclaw's. It seemed as if the black she-cat spoke for everyone - she knew that Ravenclaw, by the way she was speaking - felt the same as her.
"Is this about the search effort?" Ravenclaw continued. The noise of a tail whisking along the ground followed her words.
At this, a few cat moaned in response. There was a scuffling of paws on the ground, and then a voice spoke: "You didn't need to wake us all up, Crowgaze, with your racket." This time, Brokenpath recognized Corvus' voice. Even after more than a half-moon in GrassClan's camp, the rogues were still there - with no indication of leaving.
There was a snort in response. "Snowstar wants some cats to go out on another search party," he meowed, answering Ravenclaw's question. "And if you don't like it, you can always go back to your rogue life."
There was a moment of silence that followed, then Corvus snorted: "Well, you still don't need to shout." A padding of paws signified a few cats leaving.
Apart from the rogues, there was other matters on GrassClan's mind right now. Two sunrises ago, Goldenflight had disappeared without a trace. One search patrol - consisting of Stoneleap, Redcloud, Lappingcreek, and Dustyheart - had managed to find her scent, but it had disappeared when they ran into a patch of long grass.
"She must've been clever, if she thought about that," Dustyheart had told Brokenpath, as they talked about the search efforts the night before. "It's hard to detect scents on long grass."
This didn't life Brokenpath spirits at all - it only made her feel worse. Over the past few days, with all this drama, it had seemed as if Brokenpath had lost a piece of herself as well. She could really relate to Goldenflight, and she missed her. Even in the short time they had been together in GrassClan - so far - she had almost become a mentor to her.
Brokenpath switched her thoughts back to what was going on in the present. I'd better get up, before Crowgaze comes back and hoovers us all out of here, she thought, as she opened her green eyes, and slid out of her nest. Rising to her paws, she padded out of the warriors' den.
In the center of the GrassClan camp, Snowstar was pacing as Brokenpath came out. The white leader's amber eyes switched to his deputy, Stoneleap, and he meowed: "Stoneleap, do you mind if you choose some warriors to go on a search party to find Goldenflight? We'd better try for a bit longer at least - she might be dead for all we know."
At Snowstar's words, Brokenpath shivered. Goldenflight's not dead! she thought furiously, but almost as soon as she had thought that, she started to doubt her decision.
Meanwhile, Brokenpath watched as Stoneleap nodded in response to Snowstar. The blue-gray deputy turned to the rest of the Clan, and meowed: "Fernfrond can lead the patrol."
At once, Brokenpath saw the dappled gray she-cat stand up. Her green eyes moved to Stoneleap. "Who should I take?" she meowed.
"Flutteringwing can go," Stoneleap sniffed. "And -" Stoneleap was interrupted by the rustling noise, and Brokenpath turned to see Cloudspirit and Bluepelt coming out of the warriors' den, their tails entwined. "And.. er... Bluepelt and Cloudspirit, you can go as well," Stoneleap finished awkwardly, as Brokenpath turned back to Stoneleap.
"Wait, what's going on?" Bluepelt meowed, as Cloudspirit followed. Brokenpath could hear the dark gray warrior muttering about search patrols under her breath, and how bad they were. As the patrol headed out of the camp, Brokenpath saw Bluepelt scowling at Cloudspirit.
Brokenpath narrowed her eyes at the camp entrance, where the patrol had just been moments ago, and thought about Bluepelt and Cloudspirit. Over the past half-moon, she had noticed that the two cats had started to become increasingly close - and it seemed that every cat in the Clan was suspecting that as well.
A sudden thought struck Brokenpath. Is he abandoning Tabbyflight? Brokenpath shivered at the thought of her mother's name - the mother she had never met. But then she realized that Bluepelt wouldn't do such a thing.
As old paths die, new paths arise, Brokenpath thought serenely, as she continued to gaze at the gap. Maybe this would be good for Bluepelt - if they have kits, I hope they don't have the same fate as me.
I'm suffering in grief without you,
Drowning in grief - you have no idea...
A few days later, gray cloud cover had come and masked the normally blue skies around the four Clans, and soon after the rain had started falling. A small, almost silent thrumming turned into a roar - and then had gone back down again. The rainshowers had been tending to fluctuate, and no warrior knew when it was a good time to hunt.
It was in this rain that Brokenpath had ventured out of the camp, wanting to be alone. She had run though the long rash, shaking the rain off it, and making her own pelt even more soaking wet.
She was restless. The last time she had been calm was when Goldenflight was still there. Now, Brokenpath wondered where she was, and she missed the she-cat even more with each passing day. She was grateful that she still had Dustyheart and Coudspirit - what would she do without them? - but Brokenpath still cared for Goldenflight, and wanted her back.
The dark tabby stared at the ground, her paws close together. Brokenpath was by the border with FallClan, and it was troubling the young warrior. The leafy scent that wafted over made Brokenpath feel sick - homesick. Although she was nowhere near her former Clan's territory, the smell of FallClan's forest reminded Brokenpath of PebbleClan's pine forest.
I wonder why I was destined to go to GrassClan, and not them... Brokenpath thought sadly. Although she was loyal to GrassClan now, PebbleClan still had a soft spot in her heart. It was the place where she was born, and grown up for the first six moons of her life.
That, compared to GrassClan, was a lot more time.
Another sad sigh escaped from Brokenpath's lips, and she decided that she couldn't bear to stay here any longer. Around her, the rain turned into a roar again, the raindrops bucketing down, but Brokenpath didn't care to notice. Slowly, she crouched, and paced backwards - in the direction she came.
Eventually, she stood up straight, and turned away. Not looking back, she padded off once more, following her scent trail that had been weakened by the pouring rain. The she-cat followed it so far back until she reached a patch of long grass.
Brokenpath knew this patch of grass was familiar. She recalled the time that she and Brookclaw, the medicine cat, had argued over an issue that Brokenpath herself couldn't remember - and Brokenpath had stormed off, furious and upset. Goldenflight had come after her, and eventually coaxed her out of the patch of grass - but not before Brokenpath had cried for what seemed hours on end.
The rain then subsided into a drizzle, and only in this moment did Brokenpath realize that her dark tabby pelt was soaking wet. Shaking out her now-damp fur, the dark she-cat sighed. It wasn't nice to think of Goldenflight now - not in a time like this, when she wasn't here.
She shook her head, and tasted the air. In shock, she almost slipped back. She was expecting herself to be the only cat around here - but no.
She wasn't, apparently.
Brokenpath hissed furiously. I hope this cat wasn't eavesdropping on me.... thank StarClan I never said anything, or who knows what could've happened!? She tasted the air again - not an intruder, not a Clan cat at the moment. Brokenpath narrowed her green eyes in distaste: she wasn't a big fan of this cat that was nearby.
Bluepelt, Brokenpath thought distastefully, as she saw her father round the corner. The blue-gray tom's pelt was lightly soaked with drizzled rain, and his blue eyes were bright as he stared at his daughter.
For a long, long moment, Bluepelt stared at Brokenpath with an unwavering gaze, no cat saying a word to one another. There was a long silence before - finally - Bluepelt spoke. "Brokenpath... I have been looking for you."
Brokenpath, confused, cocked her head. And why do you want me?" she thought bitterly, but she didn't want to be sour with her father. Suddenly wary of what she was saying, she stammered: "Wh- Why? Do- Does it have any- anything to do with m- me?"
Bluepelt continued to stare, but Brokenpath could now detect a hint of sadness in her father's eyes. "It's not about you," he mewed slowly, the blue-gray tom shaking his broad head. "I's about me. Come on, now - I need to say what I have to say." Bluepelt stepped away, flicking his tail - indicating for Brokenpath to follow.
Reluctantly, the dark brown she-cat followed, feeling nervous about that her father was going to talk to her about. Brokenpath was feeling nervous.
Oh, please don't be bad... StarClan, don't let it be bad!
However, even in these darkest times,
There's joy that shines through - everywhere, everytime...
Brokenpath slowly followed Bluepelt across the sloping moor, her head still lowered as she padded along. While she walked, the dark tabby she-cat wondered why her father wanted to talk with her.
We both know that we do not get along great, she reflected, feeling her paws shuffle through the dry grass in reluctance. Even if we are related... So why does he want to talk with me, of all cats?
Meanwhile, in front of her, Brokenpath could see that Bluepelt did not seem to be put off by Brokenpath's sour thoughts - probably because he didn't know what his daughter was thinking - and the blue-gray tom continued to pad on, unnoticing. Back at herself, Brokenpath's paws seemed to drag even more with every step - she wanted to stop.
This vicious cycle seemed to take forever, that Brokenpath was just thinking of looking up at the sky to see how much time had passed, when in front of her, Bluepelt stopped abruptly. Brokenpath nearly crashed into her father in surprise, as he turned in her direction, narrowing his blue eyes.
Suddenly, all of Brokenpath's anger vanished, and the only emotion she felt was nerves. She shuffled her paws, and gulped in apprehension.
Bluepelt's tail started to twitch, and Brokenpath saw him inhale sharply as he started to speak: "Remember that time when I returned to GrassClan, Brokenpath? The time when I said I would be staying temporarily?"
Brokenpath nodded, her throat dry as her father brought this particular topic up. She wasn't expecting that! And the point of this is... she thought scathingly, suddenly suspicious.
"Well." Bluepelt suddenly rose to his paws, so now he was towering over Brokenpath due to his large size. He then started to pace in front of her, and his blue eyes suddenly seemed larger in the same moment. "I have decided as to how long this 'temporary' will be. See, I have made a decision - and I feel that it is time to make it."
Surpised, Brokenpath staggered backwards. Cocking her head, Brokenpath discovered the extent of his words, and now, she was sure that something bad was going to happen.
He's going to be leaving GrassClan, isn't he???
Brokenpath, although she wasn't overly close with her father, still didn't want him to leave GrassClan, especially since they'd only had a very short time together since they'd first met. She instantly felt time - the little time they'd had, all wasted...
Why did I choose to neglect time with Bluepelt? I should've spent more time with him all along, then this wouldn't have happened!!!
At once, without thinking, Brokenpath felt herself step forward, slowly at first, then gradually gaining speed as she made her way towards Bluepelt. Eventually she stood right below him - and craning to look up at his face, she mewed: "I know you're going to be leaving."
Bluepelt said nothing in reply to this his gaze still as stony as ever. His tail twitched slightly again.
"I'm sorry." Brokenpath continued, sensing a slight quaver in her voice. "I should've spent more time with you when you've been around me. I shouldn't have ignored you. I -"
This time, Bluepelt's tail flicked, and at once she fell silent. Bluepelt straightened up, before mewing slowly: "Calm down, Brokenpath, I haven't finished yet... calm down, let me speak... let me finish this out -"
However, Brokenpath refused to listen - she was breaking down. "I'm sorry!" she shrieked loudly, before she ran up to Bluepelt's side, and - for the first time - embraced him, as Brokenpath started to sob softly into Bluepelt's blue-gray fur.
Bluepelt rested his head on Brokenpath's shoulder. "Quiet, Brokenpath...." he soothed. "Don't worry, my daughter... what I really want to tell you is - actually - quite the opposite to what you're thinking right now."
Once again surprised, Brokenpath pulled away from her father at once - shocked, as she blinked her tears away. Scrambling away, she started to stare at him again from a fair distance once more. "You're... not... Leaving...?" she breathed, not daring to believe what she had just said. He's still leaving - I know he is! I don't believe this at all!
However, Bluepelt nodded slowly, much to Brokenpath's shock and delight. "Yes, Brokenpath, I'm not leaving," he mewed softly. "Corvus and Blanche haven't made up their minds, but... in the end, they'll make their own choices. And... Brokenpath, I'm going to be doing more than just staying."
Brokenpath sharply took in an intake of breath, and stared at her father with a wondorous glare. "Are you actually..."
"Yes," Bluepelt mewed, finishing off his daughter's question. "I'm going to stay permantly in GrassClan. I'm staying forever."
Now foredooming wait underlines two Clans,
The grass and the pebbles are now fragile...
Days passed, and soon enough Brokenpath found herself sent on a patrol to mark the PebbleClan border once more. A nonchalant Crowgaze was selected to lead the patrol, and apart from Brokenpath, Cloudspirit, Bluepelt, and Ravenclaw were also recruited.
She was curious as to why Stoneleap had decided to put Bluepelt, Cloudspirit, and herself on that particular patrol, seeing as we were involved in the previous incident on the PebbleClan border, and reports from multiple GrassClan cats that the PebbleClan warriors seemed extremely angry about something. However, Brokenpath had shrugged it off - what were the chances that they were going to come across a PebbleClan patrol, anyway?
"It doesn't matter," Stoneleap had mewed gruffly, when an annoyed Redcloud, who was sitting nearby, tried to judge the deputy's decision. "It's all fine, Redcloud." He then ordered a hunting patrol to go out - which Redcloud got assigned to - and the dark ginger tom had trailed out of camp, looking abashed and disappointed.
So now, Brokenpath had found herself at the unmistakeable border between pines and moor, and Brokenpath, as she tasted the air, was once again reminded of her old home, and felt sick at the thought.
Crowgaze, on the other paw, seemed to have no tolerance for laziness at that particular moment.
"Come on, Brokenpath, mark the border," he growled sharply all of a sudden, making Brokenpath jump. Shaking herself, Brokenpath hared after the rest of the patrol, while Crowgaze added: "I want to try and avoid PebbleClan warriors at the moment, after all this tension."
"We get it..." Ravenclaw moaned, as she shot a quick look in PebbleClan's direction while tasting the air.
Brokenpath had to agree with Ravenclaw, as she too switched her gaze to the shadowy pines. She found it hard to keep her gaze there... even though she didn't live there anymore, that used to be home...
No matter how Brokenpath seemed to get used to GrassClan, a small part of her still desired to be in PebbleClan, the place where she grew up.
"Crowgaze! PebbleClan patrol!"
Brokenpath's fur suddenly shot up as she heart a faint whisper from Cloudspirit nearby, and once again she scrabbled over, to see a group of four PebbleClan cats come over. One was black, another was also black, with dark ginger legs - Jumppaw and Jackdawpaw must've become warriors! Meanwhile, there was a gray-and-white tom - a mentor that she'd had, called Iceheart - and the fourth cat was reddish-brown. The sight of this cat tore Brokenpath's heart in two.
Pineshade. This tom had been her foster father as a kit, when she believed that Bluepelt was dead! Brokenpath looked at him, wanting to see a friendly gaze shot at her, but Pineshade was looking coldly at the GrassClan patrol, causing Brokenpath's heart to sink.
Iceheart was leading the patrol, and his gaze swung over to Crowgaze's as he saw him. "Crowgaze," he mewed slowly, his voice a growl.
"Iceheart." Crowgaze replied in the same way, his voice nearly a snarl at the PebbleClan cat. After this, there was silent.
After this, Brokenpath had this feeling. And that feeling was that something bad - really bad - was going to happen.
Then, Iceheart examined the GrassClan patrol. His gaze swept over the five of us - landing on Bluepelt first, who was next to Crowgaze, then on Brokenpath herself. She felt cold at once as Iceheart put her gaze on her, and she shivered.
Then, the gray-and-white cat turned back to Crowgaze, and mewed slyly: "You've got some stolen warriors on your patrol."
Crowgaze looked confused. "We never stole any of your warriors!" he hissed at Iceheart, who had bared his teeth at Crowgaze. Meanwhile, Pineshide, and Jumppaw and Jackdawpaw - Brokenpath didn't know their warrior names - were all sniggering softly under their breaths.
Iceheart snarled at Crowgaze. "Of course you did." And then - without warning - he leapt at Crowgaze, his claws unsheathed as he sank his claws into Crowgaze's throat.
The GrassClan patrol scrabbled backwards quickly, except for Crowgaze, who had no time to react. For a quick moment, Crowgaze's paws flailed, and then Iceheart pulled away, his white paws now soaked with blood as he licked his lips. Nearby, Crowgaze's body sat: oozing blood from its throat.
It was obvious at once that he was dead, and at this, Ravenclaw let out a stangled cry, and bounded up to his body. 'No!" she shrieked, looking at the tom's body with a crestfallen look.
Then, there was a pause, before Ravenclaw spoke again, and it was nothing that Brokenpath expected:
"Filthy PebbleClan scum! I swear vengeance on you - vengeance with war!"
Cliffhanger! HAH :D.
I personally don't think that this is one of my best works, and it also took a very long tome to write this (about ten months, to be exact). However, I am happy that I have (finally) finished this, and I am happy all the same! :D
The third and final book in this trilogy is Darkened Paths. >:D I have some great plans for this book...
As always, constructive criticism is appreciated, and I hoped you enjoyed this! :D
Until next time,