It all comes down to this. The Dark Forest and StarClan. The final battle. Many cats have died, and many cats have been betrayed. But there’s one thing standing in the way of StarClan’s victory. The Warrior Code. They must destroy everything they’ve learned to love, and everything they have loved.
And on top of all that, they must figure out how to restore StarClan and free all of the cats trapped in the Dark Forest. The first cats of the Clans know they have to throw away their honor, and everything they worked for, to save the Clans and StarClan. Cats will be forced to kill, betray, and sacrifice themselves, all for the good of the Clans.
Five cats sat up on the top of the alleyway. Thunderstar, Skystar, Windstar, Riverstar, and Shadowstar looked down on the five Clans. Gray Wing, Gorse Fur, Lightning Tail, Night, Sun Shadow, and Sparrow Fur sat right next to them. “What should we do about this?” Rasped Skystar. “We can’t just show up to the battle.” He shook his head, sadly.
“Why not?” Asked Thunderstar. “Because we have to win.” Replied Gray Wing. “For sure.” Some of their eyes widened, and they exchanged glances. Gray Wing continued, “We have to claw at their face, sneak up on them, and kill them, without hesitation.”
“But wouldn’t that mean throwing away all our honor?! Throwing away the Warrior Code? We’ll lose everything we’ve ever worked for.” Gasped Shadowstar. Riverstar closed his eyes. “I- I don’t know.” He said. “All our Clans have worked so hard for all of this. Why don’t we just go to the clearing and fight?” He asked.
“Because, it must be a trap. They wouldn’t expect StarClan and all the Clans to not show up to a planned battle. Because it would be what a rogue would do. It would be like what one of them would do.” Said Thunderstar. “My father and Gray Wing are right. We can’t show up. It’s a trap. We‘re staying in our territory. Patrol the borders, leave nothing untouched. Just keep our guard up.”
Lightning Tail nodded. “I think Thunderstar’s right. We should stay here. But what about when they attack us?”
“Then we do what I said. Kill, claw, blind, fight.” Snarled Gray Wing. “Keep our guard up. Don’t do anything. Just stay in our own territory. Guard it. Double the patrols, keep the camp well guarded. We’ll be ready for when they attack. We have to win this war at all costs. Even if it means throwing away everything we loved and have worked for.”
Dovewing listened to the five founders of the Clans, and bristled. They weren’t going to show up to the battle?! Why not? But she couldn’t help seeing sense in what they were saying. The Dark Forest was untrustworthy. And if they were ever going to beat them, they had no choice to stoop down to their level. She heard many cats begin to protest, yowling and hissing.
Shadowstar’s eyes blazed. “We’re doing it for the good of the Clans! Would you rather die, and be at their mercy, or stay alive, even if we’re no better than rogues?!” Everyone exchanged looks. “We’ll send out patrols of four.” Said Gray Wing. “Bluestar, you’ll lead a patrol with Crowfeather, Bumblestripe, and Dovewing. Patrol around the alley’s border. We could get attacked form behind as well.”
The four cats nodded. Dovewing was happy, that at least she got to go on patrol. She saw Crowfeather curl around his two kits. He had named them Leafkit and Strikekit. Strikekit was a black tom with brown eyes, and white ear tips. Crowfeather gave the two of them to Jayfeather to look after while the patrol was away.
“Let’s go!” Yowled Bluestar. The three cats followed her into the forest. Dovewing pricked her ears. Her hearing power was gone, but she could still hear okay. And she did hear something. Dovewing had a feeling to check it out. “I’ll catch up, you guys go ahead!” She yowled. Bluestar looked over her shoulder, and nodded. “Be quick.” She ordered. “I will!” Promised the gray she-cat over her shoulder.
She smelled a familiar scent, that was mingled with Dark Forest. Ivypool! She thought, angrily. Her sister had betrayed her along with the rest of the Clan. Why would she be so close to the border? Dovewing decided to scare her off. She couldn’t just sneak up and kill her. She couldn’t do that. Not to her own sister.
But she could give her a few scars to remember her by. She leapt, and Ivypool whirled around, just in time to see Dovewing. She let out a yowl of surprise, but was too slow to get out of the way, as Dovewing landed on her, clawing at her sides. “Get away from me!” Spat Ivypool. The two sisters fought like they never had before.
Dovewing pinned Ivypool, hissing a spitting. “Get away from here, you traitor!” She hissed. “Go back to the Dark Forest, where you belong!” Ivypool’s eyes widened. “No! I don’t! Let me ex-” She was cut off, by a wailing sound. Dovewing narrowed her eyes. “What’s that?” She demanded.
“N-nothing.” Stammered her sister. “I’m not stupid, Ivypool! Where is it coming from?” Ivypool didn’t answer, and didn’t meet Dovewing’s gaze.
“I’ll find out myself then.” Dovewing jumped off of her. Before Ivypool could react, Dovewing lunged under a bush, to find there kits yowling and whimpering. Their eyes were open. She saw a gray kit with a black tipped tail, and icy blue eyes. “Those eyes. . . .” Gasped Dovewing. “They look just like Hawkfrost’s.”
Ivypool shrank backwards. “Don’t hurt them, please.” She begged. “They’re mine and Hawkfrost’s.” Dovewing flinched. “Ivypool! That’s horrible! He’s dead!”
“He’s way older than you!”
“You don’t age in spirit form!”
“He gets me! Unlike you!” She hissed. Dovewing bared her teeth. “Go. Now. Before the patrol comes looking for me.” Ivypool looked stunned, but sprinted off. “Dovewing, are you there?” Called Bumblestripe. “Yes, I’m coming!” Said Dovewing. She took one last look where her sister, and her kits had gone, before catching up to the patrol.
Jayfeather brought the kits to the medicine cat den, and began to sort herbs. “Ow!” He exclaimed as he felt small teeth bite his tail. He turned around to see Strikekit mouthing it. Leafkit was asleep. “Go rest with your sister.” Grumbled Jayfeather. “But I want to hang out with you!” Exclaimed his little brother. Jayfeather sighed. “Fine.” He growled.
Strikekit explored the den, and found something shiny and silver. “Ooh, what’s this?” Jayfeather’s eyes widened. “Don’t touch that!” He snapped, ripping it from the kit’s grapes. Strikekit pinned his ears back against his head. “I’m sorry.” He squeaked. Jayfeather rolled his eyes.
Kits. He thought. He looked at the metal chain Rock had given him. He sighed, and closed his eyes. The leaders were being too cautious. He needed to get ride of Tigerstar now.
So I guess I’ll do it with or without them. Thought the blind medicine cat, bitterly. He grabbed the metallic chain in his jaws. He was going to the Moonpool. He knew he‘d need to cross Dark Forest territory, but he didn’t care. This had to be done. “Where you going?” He heard Strikekit squeak. “Nowhere.” He said. “Stay here with the others. Look after Leafkit.” He said.
The young cat blinked. “Okay.” He said. Jayfeather set off. He padded across StarClan territory, and arrived at the border. Taking a deep breath, he crossed the border, determination pumping through him. He crossed it, slipping under the bushes, and behind trees, trying to make sure he didn’t get caught. He heard voices talking. “What’s he gonna do?”
“He did it for a reason. Trust him!” Hissed another. Interested, Jayfeather pricked his ears, but a twig snapped beneath his paws. He didn’t recognize either of the voices. He faintly remembered the second one as Darkstripe. He wanted to stay and listen about what they were talking about, but he couldn’t risk getting caught. Especially not after snapping that twig. Sprinting away, still trying to keep quiet, he kept on going. Eventually Jayfeather arrived at the Moonpool. The voices. They were different.
At least . . . it felt different. As he arrived at the Moonpool, he touched his nose to the Moonpool. A few moments passed and he opened his eyes. He knew it had worked. He was asleep in reality. It just didn’t feel like it. He plunged into the Moonpool. He pushed forward. Shattered stars.
They were cutting into his flanks. He knew he was breaking it even more. Breaking the rules. But he needed to know. He had to know if everyone was still in that awful place. If that had disappeared yet along with the rest of StarClan. He pushed down further, lungs bursting. The blind medicine cat gritted his teeth, and kept going. He couldn’t see it. But he saw the flash of a golden pelt, and blood sprayed everywhere. He had made it.
Gasping for air, Jayfeather watched as Lionblaze was torn apart by the horrifying demon monster. He stayed silent. Lionblaze would be back. He could see now that he was in spirit form. Baring his teeth, he realized he couldn’t breathe. Toppling over, he started gasping for air. Something was being shoved down his throat. It was cold. Dark.
He woke up, eyes wide. He couldn’t see anymore. His head banged against the wall of the Moonpool. Fighting against the entity trying to take hold of him, he let out a snarl. “Get- out!” He gasped. “Why?!” He spat.
“They trust you.” Came the snarling response. His eyes widened. This is what they had been talking about. It was a trap. He knew what was possessing him.
Tigerstar. He thrashed about, hissing and sputtering. His claws and muscles flexed, and he smashed himself against the wall. Jayfeather fell onto the ground, twitching and spazzing out as he felt it beginning to take control of him. Eyes rolled back up in his head, his whole body shaking, and blood dripping from his mouth, he felt the other spirit beginning to take control of him.
This went on for awhile, Jayfeather desperately trying to fight it off, but it was no use. When Tigerstar had absolute control over him, he hissed, “How did you know I would come here?” His spirit was still inside his own body, he just couldn’t do anything. It was almost like sleep walking, except he was awake. Wide awake.
“I know a cat like you would be curious, and desperate for answers about StarClan.” Came the growling reply, from his own mouth. Tigerstar stepped forward, and looked around. “You have great hearing and sense of smell.” He said. “But terrible sight.”
“Well get used to it, Tigerstar. If you‘re gonna use my body, you’ll have to get used to it.” Snapped Jayfeather. Then an idea sprang up in his mind. “But I can help you. I can help you convince them that you’re actually me. I’ll tell you what I’d do, and it’d be me talking through you. You’d still get to spy, and leave me whenever you want to plan an attack or whatever, and I wouldn’t put up a fight.”
“And why, Jayfeather, would you help me?” Growled Tigerstar. “Well I’ll help you, on one condition. Kill Crowfeather and Squirrelflight.”
Lightning Tail spotted Thunderstar seated on a tree-branch overlooking the Clans’ former territory. The black tom climbed up it, and sat next to him. “What’s up?” He asked the orange leader. Thunderstar flicked an ear. “I need to know what happened to Violet Dawn.” He said. Lightning Tail looked at him in the eyes. “Thunderstar, she must be dead.”
“We haven’t found the body yet, Lightning Tail!” Snapped Thunderstar. Lightning Tail flinched, and his gaze softened. “Sorry.” He apologized. “You’re right. She must be dead. The Clans didn’t find her when they went and rescued their captives. She either ran off somehow, or they killed her. And Violet Dawn isn’t the type to just run away.”
Thunderstar shuffled his paws, and said, “At least I have you with me.” The heat rushed up to Lightning Tail’s face. “What does that mean?” He asked. “It means you’ve always been there for me, Lightning Tail. Whenever I needed you, you were there. And you sacrificed yourself to save me.” Said Thunderstar. “But what about Violet Dawn?”
Pinning his ears against his head, grief flashed across his friend’s face. “She must be . . . I mean there’s no other explanation. She’s probably dead. And she would want me to move on.” Lightning Tail nudged him, comfortingly. “I think she would to.” Said Lightning Tail. “But why me?” Thunderstar laughed. “You’re more than a brother to me, Lightning Tail. You know why. Do I have to give you any more reason than that?” He asked.
Lightning Tail smiled a little. “Well . . . I mean . . . I. . . .” He trailed off. Thunderstar placed his tail on his friend’s back. “It’s okay.” He said. “I know what you mean. And you’re wrong. You’re the best cat I’ve ever met. Besides Violet Dawn.” He added, quickly. “It’s kind of weird. Y’know, that we’re living again. Some cats are having kits now.” He said.
“Yeah.” Agreed Thunderstar. “It’s kind of weird.”
Skystar watched Thunderstar from afar, Storm by his side. He bared his teeth. “What’s he doing? Star-gazing with his little deputy?” He hissed. Storm laid her tail on his back, comfortingly. “Calm down, Skystar.” She told him. “Let him be. For once in your life don’t criticize him for who he is. For what he loves. For what he does, and what he’s doing and going to do.” She said.
Skystar flinched. “I’m not that bad, am I?” Storm shook her head. “You’re fine.” She assured him. “But you need to let our son be who he’s meant to be. He’s the founder of the almighty ThunderClan for StarClan’s sake!” She exclaimed. “Aren’t you proud of him? I know I am.” Skystar closed his eyes. “I am proud of him! And I wish I could’ve been a better father.” He said, sadly.
“Then why are you so hard on him?” She asked. “Because I want him to be the best cat he can be. And I don’t want to be like Gray Wing. I want to be my own self. Not all nice and perfect like my brother.” He huffed. “Gray Wing isn’t perfect, Skystar. You know that as well as I do.” She told him. He didn’t look at her in the eyes.
“I know.” He said, softly. “And you did get a chance to father Star Flower’s kits.” Added Storm. Skystar’s gaze darkened. “Yeah, Star Flower.” He said. “What’s wrong?”
“Star Flower . . . I liked her, but I didn’t love her. At least not as much as you and Bright Stream. It was more of a hopeless crush. I would choose you or my first mate over her any day.” He told her quietly. Storm pressed up against him, nuzzling Skystar.
Silverstream looked up, looking around for her mate. “Graystripe!” She called out, catching sight of the gray tom. “Silverstream!” He exclaimed, looking at her. “Where have you been?” Silverstream shrugged. “I was just visiting the medicine cat.” She replied. Graystripe’s eyes flashed with concern. “What? Why? Is something wrong?” He asked.
Silverstream smiled. “No, not really.” He cocked his head. “Well why then?” She looked at him hesitantly. His eyes widened. “You don’t mean. . . .” Silverstream nodded. “I’m pregnant!” Graystripe nuzzled her. “Really? That’s great!” He exclaimed. “How do you feel?”
“Great.” She replied, feeling the kits shift inside of her. “When are they due?” Asked Graystripe. “Pebble Heart says they’re due in a half-moon.” She said, looking at her swollen belly. “How many will there be? Are there a lot? Are you okay? Tired?” She nudged him again, laughing. “I’m not sure. We think three or four. And I’m fine! I already told you.”
Graystripe looked elated. “I’m going to be a father again. I promise I’ll do better this time.” He said, pressing up against her. “I won’t let anything happen to you this time.” Silverstream rested her head on his shoulder, as the two laid down. Graystripe yawned. “Better get to sleep. We have a long day tomorrow and you need to get some rest. And our kits.”
Silverstream purred. “Alright. Goodnight, Graystripe.”
“Goodnight.” He replied, as he began to snore. As Silverstream closed her eyes, she felt a tiny set of paws kick her side, and the kits rolled over again. Three. We’ll have three kits. She thought, wrapping her tail around her belly, protectively, as they moved around again. It’s because your father knows about you, isn’t it? Don’t worry I promise I won’t let anything happen to you.
She lapped her belly fur, smoothing it down, before going to sleep, feeling the kits gently kick out one more time, before settling down.
Sqiurrelflight sat beside the river, looking down into it. She heard a rustling behind her. Turning around, she saw a gray tabby tom slide out. “Jayfeather.” She murmured. He didn’t look to good. The young cat seemed exhausted, and his eyes had dark lines under them. “Are you okay?” Jayfeather hesitated. “I’m fine.” He hissed.
Squirrelflight resisted flinching. She should have known. Her nephew had a right to be angry at her. He had a right to be angry at everyone. Jayfeather looked at her, his blind gaze staring into her eyes. She felt a faint hope. Had he come here to forgive her? But she deep down she knew he didn’t, and he probably never would.
Jayfeather didn’t say a word. It was as if he wanted to talk, but didn’t know how to start. He finally looked away from her. Squirrelflight’s eyes widened a bit in realization. “Is this about Leafpool’s death?” She asked him. “Don’t say that!” Snapped the blind medicine cat, eyes blazing. She recoiled a bit. “Jayfeather, you have to accept she’s gone.” Her voice was hoarse. “She’s never coming back.”
He was trembling with . . . something . . . from his ears to his tail. “You know what, Squirrelflight? Your going to make this a lot easier.” He growled, his chest heaving. “I wanted to look for any reason not do this. I- I’m not a kit you can just push around.”
“Jayfeather! I know you’re not!”
“No. Apprently you don’t.”
Squirrelflight then realized what he had just said, and she looked at him. There was nothing but coldness in his blind blue eyes. “Jayfeather . . . what have you done?” She gasped. “I know where I belong.” He growled, unsheathing his claws. “Jayfeather, you don’t have to do this! StarClan is on your side! They love you, I love you!”
Jayfeather bared his teeth, and lunged at her, pinning her down. “If you loved me you wouldn’t have hurt me! If StarClan loves me, then why do they not care about me?” He stared into her eyes, and smiled. “And I’m not the only one who thinks this way.”
In seconds she was dead.
Goosefeather was there when Squirrelflight died. He had been watching the whole time. But he didn’t stop Jayfeather, because they were on the same side. When the deed was done, Jayfeather tensed up, and began wheezing, and sputtering.
In moments he was fine again, and his eyes flashed amber, before turning blue again. Goosefeather looked at Jayfeather in the eyes, even though he couldn’t see. “Crowfeather is next, I presume?” He said. Jayfeather nodded. “Yes, he’s next.”
“What about Brambleclaw?” Asked Goosefeather. The blind cat shook his head. “Brambleclaw did nothing to wrong me.” Goosefeather nodded, as he followed Jayfeather back to camp. He had joined the Dark Forest for almost the same reason as the young medicine cat. Because StarClan had hurt them both. And he wanted so desperately to hurt them back.
He did want good for the Clans, but the only way to do that was get rid of StarClan. StarClan cared nothing for him. They had used him as a messenger, driving him to the near edge of insanity for their own needs.
Not for him. They just wanted to preserve their creations no matter who got hurt. They just wanted to preserve the Clans at all costs. They didn’t care. Not. One. Bit.
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