Pups danced around their mothers, tripping over their own paws.
Elders panted in the moons light, conversing in low snaps and growls.
The leader watched it all from his rock.
His pack, the wonders of it all, were perfect.
Except for the territory.
Reeds, marshs, moors, and sunny forests were not for wolves.
Deep, secretive forests filled with danger and threats were.
Forests like the ones the cats of Shadow currently resided in.
Around the lake, soon after the full-moon gathering, the wolves began to howl.
Their leader lifted a blood-stained maw and glared at the moon.
He let out a series of barks, yaps, and growls, communicating with the pack.
His second-in-command repeated the message, and the male wolves scattered into the forest in pairs, searching for prey.
The leader's cold eyes narrowed at the shadowy woods.
They were currently... occupied.
He didn't care.
The woods would be his.
They had always been his.
And they would always be his.
Chapter One - Stone
Toadpelt was lying in his nest, deep in thought. Saddened, even.
Oh Starclan, why? Why did you bring us to this? Should I become an elder? I have so many questions. I know I said I wanted to go out fighting, but I still want to live a full life.
His thoughts were cut short by Whitenose entering the warriors den. She looked at him, sympathy in her gaze.
“Come on, Toadpelt,” she said in her soft voice. “Let’s go hunting. All of this worrying isn't good for you.”
They padded into the clearing, and Toadpelt made a promise to himself, the clan, and his Warrior ancestors.
I’m going to stop worrying, stop thinking about the past and future, and be happy with the present.
He straightened his posture, looked forward, determination in his eyes.
They hunted together from dawn with brisk, frosty air to sunhigh with it’s relaxing warmth.
As they arrived back at camp, he saw Starkshock and her apprentice, Saltpaw, leaving. He smiled to himself.
“I wonder what trouble Saltpaw will get into today,” he murmured amusedly to Whitenose.
Pinestar leaped onto the highrock, and shouted the words he knew so well,
“Cats of Shadowclan, please gather beneath the highrock for a clan meeting,”
Cats’ ears perked and they flowed out of the dens. Pinestar went on.
“We must fortify our camp walls if we are to...meet danger. Whitenose, Finchflight, you will help the queens fortify the nursery and the camp wall around it. Palewater and Beetlenose will add extra strength to the outside walls. Each of you, choose two cats to help with your assignment. Hawkeye, I’ll leave patrols up to you.”
With that, he stepped back from the ledge and dipped his head respectfully as Hawkeye stepped up.
Out of the corner of his eye, he saw Beetlenose walking towards him. Toadpelt rolled his eyes.
“What do you want?”
“You to help me with the camp walls. I have an idea,”
Toadpelt gestured with his tail for Beetlenose to go on.
“Can you maybe work on putting brambles at the entrance? I can make some mud for the walls around it.” He paused. “And where’s Starkshock?”
“Out training Saltpaw.” Toadpelt dipped his head and padded into the forest towards the Bramble-tree.
Chapter Two - Lyric
"Good job!" Saltpaw's eyes shone with the praise.
Starkshock smiled. "Come on, let's get back to camp. I think we need to fortify the walls."
Saltpaw nodded and walked out of the clearing. Starkshock prepared to follow her, but someone stopped her.
She froze. "What is it, Beetlenose?"
The tom nodded. "Can you help me, er, collect branches?"
Starkshock frowned. "For what?"
"Making a barrier to keep the wolves out," Beetlenose replied promptly.
Starkshock's jaw dropped. "It's that serious?"
Beetlenose shifted. "It's... I've never seen Pinestar look so scared."
The inky she-cat nodded. "Yes, of course. I'll help."
Thoughts racing, she followed the bracken-colored tom through the foliage to the dryer parts of the forest.
"This is good, right?" She asked him, jabbing at a large dry branch.
Beetlenose shrugged. "I wouldn't know, but I think so."
Starkshock nodded and pressed down on one end of the stick so the other rose and jutted into the air. She darted under it, groaning as it collapsed on her shoulders.
Beetlenose appeared with several large twigs and a few small branches on his back, a thin tree limb clasped in his jaws.
He raised an eyebrow, and Starkshock nodded, they were ready to go.
They walked back to the camp in silence, Starkshock straining under the crushing mass on her spine.
"Wow, Starkshock," Whitenose commented once they had returned to see a thriving wall in front of the camp. "That branch looks heavy."
Starkshock let out a mreow of amusement. "Believe me," She groaned. "It is."
She dropped it at Whitenose's paws.
Whitenose smiled. "Thank you."
"Sorry I could only bring this," She apologized.
"Don't worry!" Whitenose protested. "This is more than enough."
Starkshock nodded at the white she-cat and then padded around the wall, searching for a way to get into the camp.
"Starkshock! Over here!" Beetlenose called, sniffing a small, feline-sized hole near where the camp entrance had been.
She trotted over. "Oh, thank you," She mewed, squeezing through briskly.
Inside, business resumed as normal, although there were signifigantly less cats about, seeing as they needed as much manpower as possible for the wall.
Beetlenose started smearing mud on the base of the wall from a large puddle near the wall. Rolling her eyes at how dirty her paws would get, she sidled up besides Beetlenose and began to help him.
"Starkshock, could you help me?" Some cat mewed. She looked around. It was Finchflight, stacking branches on the other end of the wall.
She nodded, hurrying over, eager to escape the sticky mud.
"Alright, could you help me stack these?" He asked her.
Starkshock eyed them. "Of course."
As she worked, she wondered if it was a coincidence that the two toms both wanted their help, two toms that had confessed to having feelings for her.
She slumped her shoulders. When she was on probation, life was easy. Life was simple. Wake up, hunt, go back to camp, hunt more, lash out at Hawkeye, and return to camp.
Now, because of the wolves, she couldn't even leave camp for more than a few hours at a time.
Chapter Three - Stone
Toadpelt saw Starkshock and Saltpaw hop into camp through the hole Beetlenose made. Starkshock looked unusually confused.
Probably the fact that we need to fortify the camp so heavily, he assumed.
He left Whitenose with Finchflight and went to patch up the wall. Beetlenose would be done with the entrance soon enough.
As he was finishing up the wall, one of the hunting patrols Hawkeye sent out burst through the entrance with less prey than usual.
Greyfeather addressed the clan with a hint of authority in her voice.
“There is less prey than usual. We must begin preparing for leaf-bare. We also found rogue scent on the border with Riverclan.”
“The first snow is tomorrow,” Dapplefur remarked.
Pinestar gestured for the patrol to meet him in his den. Toadpelt overheard their conversation.
“The rogue scent was heading towards the marsh-”
She was cut off by a yowling sound from the camp entrance. The cats turned their heads curiously.
The second patrol walked in with prey and the scented rogue. His fur was an odd red color.
“Get off me you filthy clan cats!”
Beetlenose murmured something to Finchflight and he laughed.
Pinestar strode in front of the rogue.
“Do you know how dangerous it is to be in this territory? There are vicious animals that will kill any cat for their own entertainment!”
His voice rose from a cool mew to an enraged yowl. The rogue didn’t flinch.
“Wolves? Yeah. I know. They’re coming for you, you know. They cannot be stopped. I’m just here to warn you.”
The entire time he had a smirk on his face and his voice was calm. That made Pinestar hate him more. He slowed his breathing lowered his voice, and said coldly,
“We are Shadowclan. We are powerful. Stronger than any ‘unstoppable’ force.”
Addressing everyone, he added,
“The strength of all the clans is a hundred to nothing compared to the wolves. Get him out, and if you ever see him again, make him remember you.”
The patrol dropped their catch on the pile and grabbed him by the hind legs, dragging him out of camp.
“You won’t forget me! You’ll pay for this!”
He tore up the ground struggling away, but eventually gave up.
Toadpelt didn’t agree with this.
We have too many enemies these days, he thought. Toadpelt shook his head and took a piece from the Fresh-kill pile.
Chapter Four - Lyric
Starkshock had witnessed the calamity with the rogue.
There were two questions in her mind: Why was he on their territory, and why did Pinestar kick him out?
And that unstoppable force warning didn't bade well with Starkshock.
"Thanks for helping, Starkshock," Finchflight said.
She nodded. "Yes, of course."
She padded back to the warriors' den, hoping to catch some rest. It had been an exhausting day, and she wasn't in the mood for any of the clan's toms' shenanigans.
She rolled her eyes at her paws and curled up, her tail falling over her nose.
And sleep came.
In her dream, she was suddenly in a frosty, snow-covered forest.
"Where am I?" She asked, teeth chattering.
A white cat spoke from in front of her, and Starkshock jumped backwards, not having noticed them.
"Howling wolves will fight the clans. Clans can't run, must make a stand. Convince the Wind and Streams to stay, you might live to see another day."
She jolted out of the nightmareish dream, looking around, eyes glassy.
"Howling wolves will fight the clans. Clans can't run, must make a stand. Convince the Wind and Streams to stay, you might live to see another day." She mumbled to herself.
That was a prophecy.
She needed to tell Pinestar.
She rose and stretched, seeing that the sun had set and almost every warrior was in their nest.
"Starkshock? Where are you going?" Some cat mewed sleepily.
She shivered, it was Whitenose.
"Ah, to make dirt," She lied, hurrying out before the dewy white she-cat could ask any more questions.
"Pinestar?" She murmured once she was in his den.
The russet leader stirred. "What-"
"I received a prophecy from StarClan." Starkshock interrupted him.
"What is it?" He asked, sitting up.
She repeated the verses she had heard from the white cat.
Pinestar looked deeply troubled.
Starkshock dipped her head. "I'll go now.''
The inky she-cat padded out, hearing the last words Pinestar said before she was out of earshot:
"Maybe kicking out the rogue was a mistake..."
Chapter Five - Stone
Toadpelt was one of the first to wake up. He yawned and stretched in the sun, feeling the cold frost on his legs. It was almost perfect. Almost.
He strolled back to the den, happiness in his eyes, and woke up Greyfeather.
“Greyfeather, we’re on patrol this morning.”
“Huh? A little bit more sleep,” the reply came.
“Oh, come on, I’m older than you and still have a tighter schedule.”
Greyfeather heaved herself to her paws, and stretched. Then she flicked Toadpelt’s ear in mock annoyance.
“Palewater,” she said. “Palewater? Bring Galekit on patrol, and wake up Thorntail, please.”
Eventually, Palewater, her apprentice and Thorntail clambered out of the den.
Pinestar walked out of his den and called,
“Toadpelt, Whitenose, Ravenwing, Starkshock and Willowwing, please meet me in my den. We have much to discuss.” He dipped his head politely and walked into his den to wait.
Whitenose went to wake up Starkshock. Toadpelt met Willowwing outside Pinestar’s den. She looked at him, as if she was asking, What’s this for? He shrugged in response.
They padded into the den, joined a few moments later by Starkshock and Whitenose. Ravenwing was last to enter.
“As you know, Ravenwing, Toadpelt and Whitenose are my most senior warriors. I wanted to tell you that I am on my last life, and either sickness or fighting could kill me this Leaf-bare.”
“And now, we have more important matters to discuss,” he said, embarrassed.
“Willowwing, have you had any dreams lately?”
She shook her head.
“Well, last night, Starkshock had a dream.” he took a deep breath. “I think we should’ve kept the rogue.”
“There was more than I told you. The white cat said,‘Convince the wind and streams to stay, you may live to see another day.’”
“Does that mean there will be a drought? I must let the other clans know!”
She rushed out of camp as fast as she could. Pinestar continued.
“Windclan has closed their borders. Toadpelt, take your patrol to the Riverclan border, and gather information. Then, go to the Windclan border, and try to convince them to take you to their camp.”
Toadpelt left the den to catch up with his patrol.
When he finally did, he was out of breath. They turned their heads in surprise.
“Change of plans,” he huffed,
“We check out Riverclan from across the border, then cross Windclan and check on them. Willowwing is already there. Don’t ask questions.”
Chapter Six - Lyric
Muscles burning, chest heaving, Starkshock sprinted across the moor.
She was trespassing, and she knew it, but she wouldn't let ShadowClan be destroyed because WindClan and RiverClan were mousehearts.
She followed the scent of mud, deftly maneuvering around ferns and small stones in her way, until she had arrived at the makeshift WindClan camp.
"Stop!" Somecat yowled.
"Who's there?" A smoky gray tom demanded from atop a large boulder.
She peered up at him. "I'm Starkshock of ShadowClan. I have a message to deliver to your leader and medicine cats."
"ShadowClan meddlers," The tom complained, nimbly leaping down from the boulder. "I'll take you to Hailstar," He mewed irritably, flicking his tail.
Starkshock nodded, and the gray tom led her around the boulder. A small hole, big enough for a cat to fit in, was laying in the side.
Starkshock's paws began to sweat. She was never one for enclosed spaces, but if she was to deliver the message... She heaved a large sigh, held her breath, and squeezed through.
There was little light inside of the rock. Cats huddled together for warmth, breathing raspy and thick.
"Over here." The tom's mew was morose, solemn.
Starkshock followed him, trying not to trip over kits or elders.
"Crowfleet? What's the meaning of this?" Hailstar mewed, blue eyes sparking in annoyance.
"Starkshock of ShadowClan has a message to deliver to you and Rushreed." Crowfleet replied.
Hailstar nodded wearily. "Very well. Rushreed, come over, please."
A brown tabby cat padded over. "Yes, Hailstar?'
Hailstar tilted his head at Starkshock. "What is your message?"
She took a deep breath. "Last night, I recieved a prophecy from StarClan."
"What did it say?" Rushreed inquired.
"I was in a snowy forest. A white cat was in front of me, and I got startled. Then they said, Howling wolves will fight the clans. Clans can't run, must make a stand. Convince the Wind and Streams to stay, you might live to see another day."
"What does this have to do with WindClan?" Hailstar mewed impatiently.
"The Wind is WindClan, the Streams are RiverClan. We assume you're plannig to leave the lake?"
Hailstar and Rushreed exchanged a surprised look. "That would be a... valid assumption." Rushreed mewed slowly.
Starkshock nodded. "I, on behalf of all of the clans, beg you to stay."
Then he said, "If it will save my clan, so be it."
Starkshock smiled. That wasn't so hard, she thought to herself. Toadpelt's got RiverClan.
Elatedly, she added, Perhaps we'll stand a chance after all.
Chapter Seven - Stone
Waiting. For moons, it felt like.
Pinestar had given him strict orders to not cross the border under any condition.
Lately, Riverclan had not been too forgiving to patrols even getting near the border.
They looked skinnier too.
He wanted to cross the border, but knew that Pinestar wouldn’t be very happy with him. But then, does Pinestar ever show emotion anyway?
While Toadpelt let his mind wander, a rogue snuck up on him. He noticed, barely, in time to jump away from the flying attack.
It’s the one we threw out! I can hold him off until a patrol gets here, or Starkshock if she didn’t already pelt past me.
The two cats were circling each other, hissing, spitting.
“What’s your name anyway?” Toadpelt spat.
“Wouldn’t you like to know?” The rogue sneered. He tried to fake out Toadpelt by jumping left and jabbing right, but he was not nearly as coordinated as a clan kit. Toadpelt saw it from a mile away.
Riverclan had apparently heard them, because they appeared on the border, looking arrogant as ever.
The rogue turned his head, startled by more cats, and Toadpelt took this moment to leap.
He shoved the cat’s hindquarters forward, unbalancing him. The rogue tried to land a few weak blows and only one hit Toadpelt in the cheek.
Toadpelt shoved the cat’s face into the ground and stood on his back.
“Now will you tell us your name?”
Toadpelt dug his claws deep into the cat’s shoulders and kneaded them. He screeched in pain.
Toadpelt released his claws and the cat shot into the trees, limping heavily.
He turned his attention to the Riverclan cats.
“I must see your leader. I am Toadpelt of Shadowclan, and this is a very important message from Pinestar.”
An orange tabby sighed.
“If you must,” he said, sounding exasperated and just plain exhausted.
Toadpelt stepped across the border.
He followed the patrol to their hidden camp. He was led to their leader, who eyed him suspiciously.
“I am Toadpelt from-” she cut him off.
“I know who you are,” she replied.
Toadpelt was taken aback.
“Okay, well, the message is, a cat in our clan had a dream. Starclan visited her, and a cat said, Howling wolves will fight the clans. Clans can't run, must make a stand. Convince the Wind and Streams to stay, you might live to see another day. We believe that the Wind is Windclan, and-” she had cut him off again.
He was about ready to burst.
“Well,” she said, casually.
“Dismissed. Stripefur, please escort him to the border.”
Addressing him now, she stated,
“A dream that we do not have means nothing to us. Shadowclan are fox-breaths, get out.”
Stripefur shoved him out of the camp.
This is why I didn’t want to deal with Riverclan. There’s nothing I can do now.
He shook his head in defeat.
Heart sunken, he padded back to camp.
Chapter Eight - Lyric
Blood roared in Starkshock's ears.
"WHAT?" She snarled.
The RiverClan leader sneered. "I'll tell you the same thing I told the other ShadowClan fools: no."
"You're leaving the clans?" Starkshock asked.
She cocked her head. "We weren't... Good idea."
Her jaw dropped.
Had she really just convinced RiverClan to leave when the future of the clans depended on RiverClan staying?
Her gaze dropped to the leader's belly, and a smile quirked the inky she-cats lips upwards.
"Dogstar..." Starkshock mewed. "Think of your kits."
Dogstar's eyes widened. "How dare-"
"Don't deny it." Starkshock interrupted her.
She sighed. "RiverClan will stay a half-moon more. After that, we're leaving."
Starkshock took in a large breath. "That's a start."
Dogstar stared at her for a moment, then looked at her belly.
"Growltooth, please escort the ShadowClan cat off our territory." She finally mewed.
A bulky, broad-shouldered gray tom, presumably Growltooth, snarled at her and roughly shoved her away from Dogstar, then walking warily behind her until they reached the border.
Starkshock nodded at him. "Thank you," She mewed, before turning and striding over the border marking the territories.
As she walked back into ShadowClan camp, her head was swimming with elation.
She had succeded.
But she knew that was no gaurantee of the clans' safety.
The wolves were still out there, and a battle was looming on the horizon.
Chapter Nine - Stone
Toadpelt was seething at Dogstar, at Riverclan. He just didn‘t understand what fortune Riverclan saw in leaving the five clans.
He decided that today, he would try one last time. If he could not make them see sense, there would be only four clans.
He walked purposefully to Pinestar’s den, and asked,
“Shall I try to convince Riverclan to stay again?” With his mouth full, he responded,
“If you must.”
Toadpelt dipped his head and exited. He went straight to the Medicine den.
“Willowwing, do you have any poppyseeds?”
“Yes of course, why do you need them?”
“I have a plan. If you will let me, I will go to Riverclan and sneak some poppyseeds into Dogstar’s fresh-kill. I think she will be easier to convince that way.”
“That’s very sneaky. You don’t sound like you.” She said as she looked into the herb store.
“I will do anything I can to make the other clans stay.”
Willowwing handed him five poppyseeds. Two for the deputy, three for Dogstar.
Toadpelt made his way briskly through the forest, crossing the Riverclan border without thought and rolling in mud to hide his scent.
He snuck through a back entrance, heart pounding, and luckily, Dogstar was not in her den. He snuck in, sliced open the fresh-kill with his claw, and planted the five poppyseeds in it.
He shook off his disguise, strolled back around camp, and went back in, to the amazement of every cat.
He marched straight towards the leaders den, and when he entered, he saw what he liked.
The Riverclan leader had eaten the fresh-kill, and shared it with the deputy.
When he entered, they snapped back into reality for a split second.
“What are you doing here? I never said you could come in!”
She stood up, eyes burning with rage.
“I want to try to convince you to stay again. Think about what the clans did before. They defeated Bloodclan and The Dark Forest. They traveled to their new home. When one clan was in danger, the other clans helped. Without one of the clans, all attempts would‘ve failed. We need you to overcome this fear. Riverclan can not survive without us, and the clans cannot survive without you.”
He hoped the poppyseeds would make her more reasonable.
“I see what you mean. I will give thought to staying until the danger arrives. Then, and only then, will I decide. Now, you need to get out of my forest!”
Toadpelt dipped his head to her and exited the camp, feeling triumphant.
Chapter Ten - Lyric
"You did what?" Starkshock asked between laughs.
Toadpelt nodded, chuckling. "Yep."
Starkshock shook her head, squishing down a disaproving grin. "Wow," She snorted. "Nice one."
She nodded appraisingly at the older tom, padding towards Beetlenose expectantly.
"What's wrong?" The young tom mewed.
"Oh, nothing. Thought you might want to go hunting." She muttered.
Beetlenose glanced at the tree limbs he was stacking. "Maybe later?" He offered.
Starkshock smiled. "It's a date."
"Starkshock!" Someone mewed; Saltpaw.
She turned to her scrawny gray apprentice. "Yes?"
She held up a paw. A large thorn was in her paw.
"Go see Willowwing," Starkshock mewed worriedly.
Saltpaw shook her head.
And then, only then, Starkshock saw it.
The deep red juice smeared on the thorn's tip.
Chapter Eleven - Stone
All Toadpelt knew was that Starkshock sent Saltpaw to Willowwing’s den, and ran after her.
And now the whole clan. Was. Panicking.
Patrols all over the forest, cats running to other clans.
More wall fortification.
It seemed the entirety of the high ranks were paranoid, going to extremes to protect the clan.
He thought it was slightly excessive, but still admired it.
Now, there were more important questions to ponder.
Who - no, what did this? A cat wouldn’t have this cold a heart.
The patrol strolled into camp.
“Any news concerning...eh...it?” Toadpelt was practically hopping on his toes with anxiety.
“Yes, actually,”Greyfeather replied. “We found little deathberry thorns all over the forest. It’s a wonder nobody stepped on any before Saltpaw.” He paused.
“Would you like to take part in a cleanup patrol?”
“Of course,” Toadpelt replied. “Who will be coming with?” He added.
“Mousetail, Birdpaw and Owlnose. Willowwing might tag along. They’re waiting over there.” Greyfeather gestured to the left.
Toadpelt walked to the she-cat and her apprentice, and dipped his head in greeting.
They trekked into the forest, watching their paws.
Luckily, their search went well. None were injured, and they even caught a squirrel.
They disposed of countless thorns, but even while they were happy and proud, they bumped into trouble in it’s purest form.
The cats stood side to side, battle ready, Birdpaw in the middle. Toadpelt‘s eyes did not deceive him.
Chapter Twelve - Lyric
Saltpaw shuffled feebly in her state of sleep, eyelids flickered.
Her breathing was scarce, she was barely moving at all. Starkshock let out a whimper, hoping her young apprentice would recover soon.
"She's incredibly sick," Willowwing informed her. Well, her and Littlesnail, Saltpaw's mother. "The poison is in her bloodstream."
Starkshock nodded. "What does that mean?"
Willowwing winced. "It means... we'll have to put her out of her misery."
Starkshock's body went numb. It was like she couldn't process anything, everything.
Her apprentice would die either in misery, or slip away quietly.
Littlesnail nodded. "I can't bare to see her like this. Do it."
Willowwing slowly coaxed a greenish purple berry into Saltpaw's mouth, and massaged her throat until Saltpaw swallowed it.
Slowly, her breathing because shallower, her tense muscles relaxed.
And then there was nothing.
"She's gone." Willowwing murmured softly.
Starkshock's eyes filled with tears. "No-"
Willowwing nodded once.
"No!" Starkshock wailed. "NO!"
Littlesnail let out a wail, followed by Starkshock's.
The clan was in mourning, but there was nothing they could do for the grieving she-cats.
"My apprentice..." Starkshock whimpered, tears streaming down her face.
Beetlenose rested his tail on her shoulder. "She's in a better place now."
Starkshock couldn't handle it.
She turned and ran into the forest.
Chapter Thirteen - Stone
Toadpelt hoped fighting Wolves was like fighting foxes.
A loud “Arrrrroooooooo” rang out in the distance, and one of them ran away.
Good, four to one. Toadpelt thought with satisfaction.
He and Mousetail charged at the wolf’s flanks and scraped their claws across, but the wolf turned around faster then them and bad he’d Toadpelt‘s head with it’s huge paws.
The cats were ready to strike once more when a loud voice rang out.
“No! You’re not supposed to do that! That‘s your dumb move! I told you to use cat moves!”
The wolf whimpered and looked down as the Rogue appeared from around a tree.
“Get back to our camp, dumb dog.” The wolf whimpered once more and scampered away.
Toadpelt glared at the Rogue and growled,
“Get out of our territory now or I will kill you myself, you mangy coward.”
Toadpelt had had it at this point. He wouldn’t take any more of this cat’s pointless shenanigans.
“In front of our comrades?” He asked innocently.
He looked side to side and waved his tail, and ten to fifteen full-grown, snarling wolves appeared from behind him.
“I’m here to give you yet another chance to do it the easy way. Surrender now, and you can have our old camp. It’s a trade.”
He said this as if he really thought they’d accept his offer.
“Team huddle,” Toadpelt said. Once they were out of earshot of the Rogue, he continued in a whisper,
“I have a deathberry thorn between my claws that we didn’t pick up. Birdpaw, I need you to pretend to look up to him, pad around him, giving him compliments, and slip this thorn into his leg. I’m sure he’ll fall for it.” They broke up and padded back to the Rogue.
As a distraction, Mousetail said,
“We politely decline your offer.”
Now that Birdpaw had the thorn in her claws, she walked up to the Rogue and said,
“I want to join you,”
She circled him, looking up at him the whole time
“You seem like a good leader.”
Mousetail pretended to be angry, and shouted,
“Birdpaw! Get back here!”
She retook her place between the cats, and the Rogue concluded,
“We’ll leave now. Prepare for war.”
He wound up his wolves and they padded into the forest.