Blurb: Three cats. Blood and kin. One a kit, one a 'paw, one a 'star. A suicide. Thought to be murder. Blamed on them. They must prove everyone wrong. Can they show everyone the truth before they are exiled or killed?
Prologue - Petalfur (Hope)
Bullies and fox hearts.
I deal with them every day.
Every sunrise, I wake up to their snickering and mean words.
I have a name and they think it is wrong.
The tom with a she-cats name.
Why are there even separate names for each gender?
We should all be equal.
I stand up and pad out into the clearing.
My mind blocks out all the snoring cats.
The ones who bullied me.
The ones who never cared.
I make my way to the river. The cold breeze ruffles my pelt.
Those are my last thoughts.
I leap into the river, not intending to make it out alive.
Chapter One - Amberstar (Ro)
I was sleeping quietly when something sharp prodded me in the side. I blinked my eyes open sleepily and saw that the guard on watch for the night, Squirreltail, was sitting next to me with an anxious look on her face. I sat up.
"What is it, Squirreltail?" I asked.
"Amberstar, Petalfur is dead. There are three cats with blood on their paws, including you," She responded.
I glanced at my paws. They were darker than I remembered. I looked closer and saw that it was dried blood. But why? I didn't murder Petalfur!
"I didn't do anything!" I exclaimed.
"And I believe you, but the rest of the Clan won't. I suggest that you wash your paws, at least," Squirreltail said. "Ashkit and Icepaw also have blood on their paws. I know they are your siblings as well."
I washed my paws, then checked my face for any drops of dried blood in the pool in my den, bu there was none. They I headed outside to check on Ashkit and Icepaw.
They were both still sleeping. I quietly prodded them awake, and brought them to my den to talk.
"Last night, Petalfur was killed. Each of us woke up with blood staining our paws. We were framed. I think that Petalfur might have committed suicide. I am the leader, and Askit, your a kit, so we're somewhat protected from the wrath of the Clan. But Icepaw, your an apprentice, and warriors and apprentices are normal cats in the Clan. I will protect you as much as I can, but that still might not be enough. The Clan will blame all three of us, so I will have little power over everyone that doesn't believe that we don't kill Petalfur. He was a likeable cat. I will miss him, but now we have to worry about keeping our paws on the ground," I explained. "Wash up, and then I will explain to the Clan."
Ashkit and Icepaw started grooming their fur, looking in my pool for any other blood stains. When they were finished, the three of us padded outside of my den to call the Clan and explain.
"Let cats older than 12 moons gather here beneath the Highledge to hear what I have to say."
I gave the cats a moment to gather before I continued.
"Last night, Petalfur was killed. I believe it was suicide. Ashkit, Icepaw, and I were all framed and we woke up with blood on our paws this morning. We all swear that we did not murder Petalfur. I don't expect all of you to believe us for now, but in time, I hope that we can prove that we are innocent."
Angry and frightened shouts rang across the clearing. "Murderers!" "Savages!" "Hide the kits!" "Kill them!" "Exile them!" "Run away!"
I sighed in exasperation. If only we could find the body of Petalfur... Oh well. I quieted the gathered cats.
"Like I said, I don't expect you all to believe us right away, but I hope that in time, we will earn back your trust," I repeated. "Clan dismissed!"
I turned and padded back into my den and plopped onto the floor with a heavy thump. Ashkit and Icepaw trailed in after me.
"I think that we should meet in secret, because if the Clan sees us together a lot, they will think that we did murder Petalfur," Icepaw piped up. "If we meet in secret in your den, every three nights, they might not notice that we are meeting. And we would be meeting only to discuss how the Clan has taken it so far."
"Yeah, I think that's a good idea," Ashkit squeaked.
"I agree," I said. "So, my den at moonhigh 3 days from now."
"Okay, now, go to your dens," I ordered. "This is going to be a long night."
As they left my den, I curled up in my nest to sleep. It came almost right away. I didn't realize how exhausted I was. I was falling, falling into the blackness of sleep.
Chapter Two - Ashkit (Hope)
Me, a murderer?
This couldn't be, right?
Those words kept me awake. How could I murder someone while I was asleep?
I rolled onto my back and my ears twitched at the slightest movement. It is so hard to sleep when you think you have done something wrong. Guilt was rising in my stomach and it soon overtook me.
Fidgeting, I walked out of the nursery and sat in the raw moonlight. It shined on my grey pelt as I sat down.
I didn't think any cat would actually believe that a kit could kill a full-grown warrior.
Poor Petalfur! Someone must have killed him!
Sadness overwhelmed me as I thought about Petalfur.
What if it is me?
That was a thought for another time.
I looked up at the moon. It was the brightest moon I have ever seen.
"Moon, did I kill Petalfur?" I asked it.
It seemed to shine even brighter.
Was that a sign?
I walked back to the nursery with my tail up high. Once I entered the nursery I heard the snores of my mother. She is such a loud sleeper. I wondered how I get any sleep.
I lay down on my bedding and curled up with my tail rested on my nose. I closed my eyes and a wave of sleep crashed over me. Soon, I was drowned in the sea of dreams.
Chapter Three - Amberstar (Hope)
Fear burned inside me.
It wasn't fair.
Why did my kin have to be framed?
It wasn't us. I was sure of it
Dawn was coming and I was scared. Cats would blame us.
Poor Petalfur. If only he was here to tell us what happened. Then, no cat could ever blame us for his death.
I walked out into the dawn light. My pelt shimmered in the light. I lick my paws, getting all the dirt and dust out of them. I then lay down, letting my pelt soak the sunlight like moss with water.
"What is the matter?" asked Birchheart, the medicine cat.
I stopped. Birchheart doesn't know that her brother died yet.
"Birchheart, Petalfur was killed." I cried to her.
Her eyes widened with sadness.
"No!" she argued.
I know she didn't want to believe it.
"I am sorry," I said to her.
She just turned her back and padded off to her den, her golden pelt slipping away into the shadows. I looked up at the rising sun.
Petalfur, please. Tell me what happened.
Chapter Four - Icepaw (Ro)
I flopped down in my nest to take a nap after dawn patrol. My mentor had been neglecting me since it was revealed that I had supposedly killed Petalfur. Slowly, my eyelids fell and sleep overtook me. When I woke up, I was in a clearing, lit with moonlight. I gazed around and saw another cat.
"Petalfur!" I called. I rushed over to see him.
"Icepaw," he spoke. "There is a prophecy that you need to know about.
There will be three, blood and kin.
Kit, paw, and star.
There will be one, who dies.
The three will be blamed, but they are not ashamed.
They did not kill the one who died.
They must prove their worth, before they too, are killed."
"What does this mean?" I prodded.
"You will see in time," Petalfur replied, fading slowly until he was out of sight.
I awoke with a start. I have to tell Amberstar and Ashkit! I thought. I rushed out of the apprentice's den and sprinted across the camp to Amberstar.
"Amberstar! I have to speak to you!" I called.
She turned around from her conversation with Birchheart. Birchheart turned and stormed back to her den, her tail swishing behind her.
"What is is, Icepaw?" she asked.
"I received a prophecy!" I exclaimed. "From Petalfur." I added with a whisper.
"Meet me in my den, I'll grab Ashkit," Amberstar ordered.
I clambered up the steep cliffside to Amberstar's den. A moment later, she padded in carrying a drowsy Ashkit.
"I already informed him that you had recieved a prophecy from Petalfur," Amberstar explained. "Tell us."
"There will be three, blood and kin.
Kit, paw, and star.
There will be one, who dies.
The three will be blamed, but they are not ashamed.
They did not kill the one who died.
They must prove their worth, before they too, are killed." I recited.
"I think we should take some time to think on this," Amberstar offered after a few awkward moment of silence. "Meet me back here in three days, when the moon is at its highest point in the sky."
Ashkit and I nodded in agreement. We padded back out of the leader's den and headed our separate ways.
Chapter Five - Amberstar (Ro)
I curled up in my nest. It was nearly sunset, and I wanted to get as much sleep as possible. I was exhausted. I let myself drift off into sleep. I awoke, back in my den, before me was Petalfur.
"Petalfur!" I exclaimed. "I should have done more to make you feel welcome. You were a good, likeable cat. I loved you. Why did you have to go?!?"
"I did not feel safe in this world anymore, my love," he murmured, nuzzling me. "But I came here to tell you something you must know. My sister must not be trusted. We believe Birchheart is the one who framed you and your siblings."
"Why would she do that?" I asked.
"She knows that we loved each other, and she does not support that. She was very protective of me, and she believes that you wanted to be my mate only so that you could hurt me further. I know better, though. I know you love me, and I love you, too. I know that we are now separated by the stars, but would you like to be my mate?"
"Yes!" I exclaimed, purring.
I nuzzled him, until he faded and I was alone in my den once again. I crawled to my nest, and curled up, still purring. When I awoke, the sun was just peeking over the horizon, so I decided I would lead the dawn patrol this morning. I padded into the clearing of the camp, and told my deputy, Skysight, that I would like to lead the dawn patrol. She nodded her head, and finished waking up the cats for the patrol. As we headed out of camp, I thought to myself. I couldn't be happier, even though the stars are a barrier between us. We just need to climb them.
A/N: Sorry for such a short chapter. :/
Chapter Six - Ashkit (Hope)
I rolled over onto my side. I still feel somewhat guilty about Petalfur's death even though I am sure I didn't do it.
Who was responsible for such a crime?
The crime of killing a brave and courageous warrior.
I squirmed in my den. Dawn was here.
I wanted to figure out who did it.
I wanted to figure out who killed Petalfur.
I walked out of the nursery and arch my back. The cats from the dawn patrol have already left.
I saw Icepaw and ran up to my sister.
"Hi Icepaw!" I greeted her with a grin.
"Hey Askkit!" she smiles back.
"Amberstar has gone on the patrol right?" I asked her.
"Yes." answered Icepaw.
I looked out into the forest. I will be out with them very soon.
I was very excited to be an apprentice. I always was. I used to play with Icepaw when I was younger and she used to tell me about her adventures as an apprentice. I always used to listen. It was one of the best times of the day!
Icepaw smiled and then walked off. I watched her leave.
She was still worried about Petalfur and the prophecy. Like me.
Chapter Seven - Icepaw (Ro)
I smiled. Ashkit was innocent. I was sure of it. So why would he be framed? And the leader? I understand why I was framed. I am just a lowly apprentice. There's nothing special about me, except that I'm the sister of the leader. But barely half the Clan knows that we are even related, nevermind sisters! And, who framed us?
The prophecy kept repeating itself in my head. I think that the three blood and kin mentioned are me, Amberstar, and Ashkit. And the one who dies, or who already died, was Petalfur. So that's half the prophecy. But why would we need to prove our worth? I guess we might have to prove that we aren't murderers, but that isn't proving your worth. That's just proving your innocent.
Knowing my Clan, though, they would want us to prove that we are important. That we are needed. Otherwise, they would kill or exile us.
Head still swimming with thoughts, I headed out to hunt. I decided to head to the stream that runs halfway through our territory to start. On my way there, I ran into Amberstar's patrol. She put Grasswhisker, a senior warrior, in charge of the patrol and waved them on, pulling me aside with an anxious look in her eyes.
Once they were out of earshot, she began to speak.
"I think I know who framed us," Amberstar began urgently.
"Who?" I asked, myself becoming anxious as well.
"Birchheart," she stated, a look of distress overcoming her face.
"Birchheart?!? The medicine cat?!?" I exclaimed, being careful to keep my voice down.
"Yes," Amberstar confirmed. "She is Petalfur's sister."
"But why? Why us? Why a kit? And why the leader of the Clan?" I fired off questions rapidly.
"Well, let me tell you a story," she says.
"Okay..." I gave her permission.
When Petalfur, Birchheart, and I were younger, Petalfur was teased for his name. He still was, until he died. Anyways, we had been crushing on each other for a while. One day, I decided to talk about it with Birchheart. She was surprised, and seemed pleased at the time," Amberstar began. "But overtime, Petalfur began to spend less and less time with her, and more and more time with me. Birchheart began to have a sour attitude whenever she was around me, or I was brought up in a conversation. She didn't support that Petalfur and me wanted to become mates. She thought that I only wanted to get to him and hurt him even further than the taunts and jokes made about Petalfur.
"Petalfur tried to make her understand, and she did, for a while. Then I became leader, and the teasing and bullying of Petalfur only grew worse. Birchheart tried to get me to make everyone stop, so I tried, but nothing I did worked. She blames his death on me. And to get back at me, we think she's the one framed me and two of my siblings, you and Ashkit. So, long story short: Birchheart hates me and blames the death of Petalfur on me, so she framed you, me and Ashkit as revenge."
"Ohh... So what we need to do is make a plan to convince her to stop?" I asked.
"I don't know what we are going to do, all I know is that we were innocent," Amberstar finished.
Together, we walked back to camp. I caught a mouse and a robin on the way there, because I had intended to go out hunting, but instead, I learned who framed us, which is also important. I padded to the nursery to tell Ashkit.
Chapter Eight - Amberstar (Hope)
My mind was still buzzing with thoughts.
Both happy and sad.
Petalfur is now my mate. The stars can never keep us apart.
Our love is too strong.
But why would Birchheart frame us?
She was a medicine cat.
Could we trust her anymore?
I walked into my den and breathe a sigh of relief. I laid down and my breathing slowed down.
I pictured Petalfur, my one true love. My heart ached because I was unable to see him here.
I was unable to show everyone my true love for him.
I licked my tortishell pelt clean. My rough tongue felt nice on my pelt. All the dust and dirt is gone and I yawn. The sun had risen fully and its rays now shined all over camp.
The wind seemed to have picked up a little which may have indicated that a storm was on its ways. But not for a while.
I heard pawsteps outside my den and I said, "Come in!"
Birchheart then walked in and glared. Her pale ginger pelt didn't sparkle like it used to. It used to shine but now she rarely cleaned herself.
I feel sorry for her. What would it be like losing your kin?
"I came to see you," she told me.
"What about?" I ask.
I didn't want to show her my suspicions.
"I know you killed him." she hissed.
I am shocked. I had no words.
No Birchheart, you killed him!
Chapter Nine - Amberstar (Ro)
I was hunting on a warm sunny day at the river, and somehow, everything had stars in it. I heard something and my head snapped up. A kit came padding out of a bush, stars glittering her pelt.
"Hopekit!" I exclaimed to my only kit, who came into the world still-born. "I missed you so much! Are you happy? Safe? Loved?"
"I'm fine, mother," Hopekit's tiny mew rang in my ears. "Came to confirm that Birchheart is the one who framed you, with the help of her other sister, Briarstem. Be careful of both of them, but don't let them know that you know that they are behind this. They could do something even worse."
Hopekit's wisdom seemed too grown up for her to be saying to a leader of a Clan, yet I nodded, knowing that I should listen. Hopekit had been born to me with Petalfur, but we hadn't become mates yet. I saw she had eyes like her father.
"Okay," I responded.
Hopekit faded before my eyes, and I woke up, blinking sleep out of my eyes. The sun was already high in the sky. I heaved myself up from my nest, and made my way into the clearing of the camp.
Skysight was already organizing the patrols for the day, and the fresh-kill pile was fully stocked. I could see that the apprentices' den was empty, and the elders were sharing tongues and stories with the kits. Queens lazed in the sunshine, and warriors were constantly coming and going from the camp. The constant buzz of activity was calming, and even reassuring I turned and padded to the entrance of the camp, and went to go hunting.
As I walked towards the river, the marsh was alive with scents and sounds and movements. When I got to the glittering river, I sat down and waited patiently for a fish to swim close enough to shore.
Then, I felt a shove from behind me, and I tumbled into the river. I was able to get my head above the surface for long enough to see that it was Briarstem that had pushed me. She had a smirk on her face as I, struggling, slipped below the surface, and lost consciousness.
When I woke, I saw stars around me and Hopekit came to me again. I knew I was losing a life, but I didn't really remember very well how many I had left.
"You are now on your sixth life," Hopekit explained, seeming to read my thoughts. "Use the life I gave you, for strength in battle."
"Okay," I replied.
My surroundings faded, and I was splayed out on a riverbank. I recognized the territory and realized with a sigh of relief that I was still on RiverClan territory. I heard a thunder of pawsteps and lifted my head up to see who or what was coming. It was Icepaw.
"Amberstar!"' she exclaimed breathlessly. "ThunderClan is attacking the camp!"
Chapter Ten- Icepaw (Hope)
I ran back to camp with Amberstar by my side. Our steps were in time as we made our way back to camp.
ThunderClan's scent was strong and I could hear the distant yowls.
Why at a time like this?
Once we arrived at camp, every cat was fighting.
"Icepaw," ordered Amberstar, "Make sure the kits are taken to the back of the nursery. Make sure you and the queens guard them."
I nodded and sprinted through the crowd of battling cats.
Once I made it to the nursery I grabbed Ashkit by the scruff and took him to the back of the nursery.
"But I want to fight!" he argued.
"No!" I ordered him and placed him down gently.
"Queens, take your kits to the back of the nursery and we will form a line so no cat can get past!" I ordered them.
They nodded and grabbed their kits. Duskheart ran past me with Littlekit but Spottedkit was still left behind. I grabbed Spottedkit by the scruff and raced to the back of the nursery.
Once I placed her down, I stood next to Duskheart who placed her tail on my shoulder.
"Thank you!" she nodded.
I smiled at her but then I was interrupted by a growl. A group of ThunderClan cats walked into the nursery.
"Now!" I screeched and the queens lept into battle.
I hope everyone will be alright!
Chapter Eleven - Ashkit (Ro)
I understood why Icepaw didn't want me to fight, but that didn't mean I liked it. Since I was the oldest of all the kits, I planted myself in front of them. I would be their last hope of survival if nobody came out of this fight alive.
We had been having trouble with ThunderClan for a while now, and everyone knew that sooner or later they would attack us. Well, SkyClan isn't going to give up that easily.
I saw a ThunderClan apprentice slink into the den and make her way past the fighting queens. I unsheathed my claws, only to realize that this apprentice looked hardly more than a kit. I narrowed my eyes in suspicion.
"Who are you, and what are you doing here?" I growled.
"I am sent on a mission by the leader of Thun-SkyClan to retrieve these kits to bring them to a safer place."
"No your not! I can smell the ThunderClan stench all over you! Your not SkyClan!" I exclaimed.
I pounced on her and we tussled. She must not have had much training, because she still fought like a kit. I, for one, had watched the apprentices practice the battle moves that they had just learned, and then go off and try them myself.
When I saw that she was starting to look tired, I gave one last hard push, and I came out on top.
"Fox-dung! Now what am I going to say when I tell them what happened?!? I was beaten by a kit?!?" she exclaimed.
"At least be glad I'm not gonna hurt you any further!" I fired back.
"Now, get out of SkyClan camp, off of SkyClan territory, and stay out!" I hissed.
I jumped off of her and she sprang up without hesitation and pelted out of the den. I turned back to the other kits, and found them huddled together, all of them wearing a look of awe or amazement on their faces. I nodded and took up my position in front of them again.
I saw that the ThunderClan warriors and SkyClan queens had broken apart. The warriors were racing out of the den, with Icepaw haring after them, getting in a few more good swipes. She turned back and saw me staring, so I quickly looked away, blushing.
She padded back in and gave instructions to the queens to get up to the leaders den. Icepaw showed them a secret passageway that leads up to the leader's den, and told them to take us kits up there and to make sure that the tunnel was safely hidden.
When my mother came over to pick me up, I quickly said that I can do it myself, after all, I was five moons old. I didn't need to be carried. I told her that she would be more useful helping one of the other queens with their kits. She nodded, tears brimming her eyes. I opened my mouth to say sorry, but I noticed she was smiling and realized that they were happy tears.
My mother padded over and picked up Littlekit. I walked over to the tunnel and pushed open the entrance, revealing a dark empty space. My mother went through first, with the other queens following and me bringing up the rear, making sure the passageway was securely closed.
I turned, and sucking in a breath, followed the queens and kits into the dark.
Chapter Twelve - Amberstar (Hope)
I watched the ThunderClan warriors rush out of the nursery. She decided it wasn't over for them.
I jumped on a grey warrior's back and batted him with unsheathed paws. He yelped and struggled free.
"Shows you right!" I hissed.
The group of ThunderClan cats ran off.
Why were they here anyway?
I shrugged and ran to the nursery making sure the kits were alright.
Please! Please! Please!
I ran in to see no cat in the den.
I rushed around frantically and then realised that there was a passageway. I ducked inside and it was dark. I was worried I would bump into something.
I heard muffled meows and I knew that I was close.
Brightness filled my eyes and I had to shut them so they could adjust.
"Who are you?" screeched one of the queens.
"It's Amberstar you idiot!" laughed another queen.
I smiled and knew that they were alright.
"Icepaw did well today Amberstar!" meowed my mother.
Maybe one day, there will be an Icestar!
Chapter Thirteen- (Ro)