Bring down the open road
Maybe I'll ride
And fight back the undertow
To save my life
'Bring down, bre-breathe in the amber glow
Maybe I'll fly
I know where you wanna goWith the eagle eye
- -Kamikaze (Owl City)
In the Clans there was once peace and all boundaries were set, happy and pleasant.
All was calm and the lands were normal, forests, moorlands, rivers and marsh. Every place where it should be, Clan life normal, Leaf-Bares cold and Green-Leafs hot. The leaves would fall in Leaf-fall and the trees would blossom in New-Leaf.
Everything was absolutely...Boring. Maybe this was the way that StarClan wanted.
Until the Twolegs got bored themselves, and got interested in animals more than the Clans wanted. More monsters roamed around, cats were dissapearing, grieving families lost their beloved mates, parents, or siblings. The Clans moved, they were forced too or they would've lost everyone. And every cat feared that whatever the Twolegs had done with the cats, would destroy them forever.
They moved to a canyon land, where cats fought almost endlessly for food and the Clans almost went completely crazy with hunger, for power, and for land that they all shared. Finally, the remaining cats, just several from each Clan had seperated and gathered rogues, kittypets and loners to remake the Clans. The dead cats were burried and left in the canyons, and the new Clans were made.
Each Clan was named from the only things that had helped them survive after the seperation, the elements of the sky. RainClan, SunClan, CloudClan and MoonClan. The sun had helped them see the prey and hunt with the warmth of light, the clouds had protected them from when the sun had gotten too hot and harmful, the clouds provided rain and the rain had given them water in the dryest of times, the moon had lit the path at night and reminded them the stars were still there.
RainClan thrived near large water sources, marshy landscapes and their area had many ponds, and a river cutting their territory in half.
SunClan had a large, vast land dotted with few pine trees and thick, lush grasses and many different herbs.
CloudClan had long grass and many oak trees, the clouds giving them many shadows and cover from the harsh sun, yet that didn't effect their kind behavior and welcoming to the other Clans.
MoonClan did not sleep in the night, for their lives had lied in the night, the morning they had slept. Their land was normal, large oak trees and few water sources.
All was fine, cats had litters and the warrior code was embraced to the fullest. All until the cats that were taken found their way home. They held dieseases and killed off many cats in all the Clans. Soon, they themselves died and the survivors desperately took charge. Cats fought for leadership, and the ones who had survived it all had got to stay and thrive.
The Clans are now at complete peace, and boundaries were reset and the cats have grown back into their territories...
Chapter One: The Sun is the Fire
Graypaw flicked open his pale green eyes, he gave a long yawn and stretched, his dark grey pelt prickling.
My name is Graypaw, I live in SunClan. Here kits are told stories about the strong Clan of ThunderClan. All cats in my Clan know by heart the tales of the strong Firestar, who passed away heroicly after the long battle with the Dark Forest. I know everything from how he came as a kittypet, his best friends and how they helped him throughtout his life, and how he had destroyed BloodClan in a long drawn out battle. I am named after Graystripe, my sister is Sandpaw, named after the strong Sandstorm she is a light, creamy brown color, and my older brother, now a warrior is named Firestripe, he is named proudly after Firestar, and he has a dark ginger coat with darker stripes and a paler belly.
A slick silver she-cat slipped into the apprentice's den, her muzzle was slightly greying yet her eyes sparkled with an inner youth. She give her paw a delicate lick and nodded to Graypaw.
"Hello son." She murmured softly. "I must go check on Sandpaw, she came back from a patrol and got a nasty cut in her ear." Mistwhisker slowly shook her head. "With your father gone and all...I just don't know how to cope with my kits getting hurt."
My father's name was Nettlewhisker, he was a sleek flaming orange tom with sharp white claws and dark green eyes, he passed away in a fire that happened less than a moon ago. It was so sudden, and he was the only cat who had died.
Graypaw perked his ears and tilted his head, "How?" He stretched, gaining onto his paws.
She gave a small sigh, "Darkchest said the rabbit she was almost about to catch turned on her and gave her a scratch she wouldn't forget..." Mistwhisker's voice turned to a frail whisper, "I hope it heals."
"We can only hope." Graypaw padded swiftly past her, eyeing the fallen tree that Cloudears, the medicine cat, had chosen for his den after the previous one was burnt away into nothing. The apprentice wrinkled his nose as he padded in, the smell of sour herbs rising in his nostrils.
"Ah, Graypaw, is there anything I can do for you?" The white tom turned from mixing a very strong smelling recipe for belly aches. "Scrape? A slight scratch, maybe?" His mew was smooth and low.
He shook his head glancing at the inside of the hollow tree log, crumpled oak leaves left around for drying in the Greenleaf sun. Can't he even clean this place up..? The young tom bit back the words. "Where's Sandpaw?"
Cloudears flicked his tail, "She left back for training," He sat down. "Said something about how a nick in her ear wasn't going to effect her training. Too bad it was more than a nick though, a long scratch it was. Bleeding like no tomorrow, good thing I had plenty of cobwebs however."
"Stubborn she-cat." Graypaw purred softly. "Thanks anyways." He nodded to him and left, desperately inhaling the fresh air, his eyes buldging.
"I see you came out of the medicine den." A grey tom padded up with a shrew hanging out of his mouth, he ruffled his darker patches and gave a small smirk, dropping the shrew at Graypaw's paws.
"Oh shush Fogpaw..." Graypaw trailed off looking at the shrew expectantly, then back at Fogpaw.
The tom shrugged, "Have it, we found a whole nest of them. Our fresh-kill pile will be stocked for moons!" Fogpaw flicked his tail to the mound of kills.
Graypaw nodded and tore through the shrew hungrily, it was sweet and warm. "Who'd you go on the patrol with?" He swallowed the mouthful of prey.
"Just Skyspots, Darkchest, and Sandpaw." Foxpaw give his chest a few quick licks.
He perked his ears. "Skyspots?" Graypaw hunched his shoulders with a frown. "She said she was going to take me on a hunting patrol today!"
"Well we were going to," Foxpaw rolled his eyes, "but she said you seemed so tired from the hard training lesson the day before."
"That?" Graypaw huffed, "It was nothing, just a belly rake and duel battling..." He trailed off. "Did you see Sandpaw-"
"Get scratched by the rabbit?" Fogpaw completed the question. "Yeah, it was a laughing stock, until you know...You could see the full extent of the problem."
Graypaw's eyes widened, "Full extent?"
Fogpaw gave a quick nod, looking around to see if any cat was watcing before he leaned towards Graypaw. "She's going to have a torn ear now, it won't heal back like your mother wants it to."
"W-what?" The apprentice sat up straight, fully alert. "I know Sandpaw won't mind but Mistwhisker..."
"Yeah, I know, but you'd better see Skyspots, she isn't too happy you slept in all day." His friend murmured.
Graypaw thanked him and skittered off towards his speckled mentor.
"Is he the one?"
"Oh dear StarClan no, it is probably the other one from MoonClan."
"I beg to differ! The one from RainClan looks more promising!"
A starry, dappled ginger she-cat hissed for silence, "Stop your bickering. It is getting on my last nerve." Her eyes narrowed, clearing her throat. "Of course we have no idea who the one might be, but all of them are incoperated in this prophecy."
"I still say-"
"I don't care what you say!" The ginger she-cat snarled, her eyes blazing. "I demanded silence!"
"Fine Lightstar..." The starry tom muttered under his breath, glancing towards the others.
The she-cat slowly nodded and lifted her muzzle. "Now dear Graypaw shows such potential, yet we still have MoonClan, RainClan, and CloudClan to even consider. There will be four cats, even if one is the one we still have three others that must help it achieve the greatness and power that he or she is destined for. Understood?"
"Yes, Lightstar." The five other cats murmured in harmony.
"Good, you are dismissed." She nodded, and the others faded away.
He struggled onto his paws, pelt waterlogged, his fur dripping water with every move. He glanced up weakly, looking at the speckled silver she-cat that was giggling before him.
"Graypaw!" She sighed with a playful roll of her eyes, grabbing his scruff and dragging him out of the stream. "We all know we're SunClan cats, not RainClan. We swim like kits falling in a puddle for the first time." She shook her head with a laugh.
"Well, sorry..." Graypaw shook out his fur, attacking Skyspots with an array of water droplets. "I just...I wanted to swim liek Sandpaw. She has such sleek, soft fur that practically skims through water like a fish. Why can't I have that talent?" He huffed with envy.
Skyspots shrugged, then with a smirk she jumped and instantly pinned him town, her tail lightly grazing his thick belly fur. "Maybe because you're a fluff-ball? Made for hunting rather than to swim?"
"Hey! Get off!" He tried to keep a fierce glance, but couldn't hide the amusement in his eyes. He eventually pushed his young mentor off, and she rolled away springing to her paws, giving her fur a quick grooming.
Skyspots smiled, "Now that's how to flip off a Warrior." She praised with a nod.
"Really? Enough to flip off..." He paused then continued. "Let's say, a full grown MoonClan Warrior?"
"Maybe not that strong," she mused, "but definately strong enough for at least a full grown apprentice. Swimming may not be your strength, but hunting and fighting is most easily going to be your talent."
Pride warmed his fur and he nuzzled his mentor, realizing he was just a tad smaller than her. Maybe I am really Warrior material...
Chapter Two: Rain or Moon?
Dewfeather shook out her fur, carrying a trout, Runninghare purred.
"Great catch." He exclaimed, a sparkle in his eye. She knew he had a thing for her, and she couldn't help feeling slightly the same way back to him. It started out as apprentices, Runningpaw and Dewpaw. Each best friends and the elders used to say they would be madly in love some day. Of course they denied it... At that time.
Dewfeather dropped it at his paws and touched noses with the light brown tom, gazing into his beautiful yellow eyes. "I couldn't have done it without you, you scared the school of fish right into my claws." She smiled, pulling back slightly. "If you didn't, we'd be going home hungry." She glanced at the three trout they had caught.
"I am a natural at these types of things." He gave his chest a few embarrased licks, but his eyes had a sparkle of amusement and pride.
Dewfeather grabbed two of the trouts by the tail and held them high in her jaws. "Let's head back to camp, I'm sure Silverflight is starving by now."
"I don't understand why," Runninghare hooked the fish on his claw. "I got a perfectly good vole for her and all she wanted was the taste of fish on her tongue. It took me forever to catch it, and a bird was taking a fine look at it too! I could've lost it and she wasn't even greatful." He gave a simple shake of the head.
Dewfeather passed by and give his cheek a swift lick. "It'll be fine, she'll be happy once these fish are at her paws. Ready?"
"As I'll ever be." He sighed.
They padded back to camp, bursting through the ferns that encircled the clearing. She padded over to the hut of small bushes, made for the elders, but only one was there. Silverflight. The only elder of RainClan.
Dewfeather dropped the trout. "Happy?" She purred softly.
"Very." Silverflight retorted pleasingly.
Runninghare padded past muttering, "Better be..."
"I heard that!" Silverflight chuckled.
Dewfeather smiled to Silverflight, giving a small good-bye as she raced after Runninghare. "Hey," she started, eyeing him, "something up?"
"No, it's just..." Runninghare paused with a sigh, edging slowly out of earshot of the other cats. "I feel as if all I do is unappreciated." He sat down.
"What?" Dewfeather exclaimed. "You saw how Silverflight-"
"Silverflight!" He groaned, tail flicking back and force with annoyance. "That old badger needs to learn her place! She has no wisdom and it overly picky with her prey. It may be Green-leaf, but that doesn't change the fact we might not FIND a fish in Leaf-bare!"
Dewfeather started to back up a step, her white fur rising with a sudden awarement.
Runninghare kept going on. "This elder has only one eye and if she keeps it up, I'll claw it out!"
"Runninghare!" She had enough of this. "Watch your tongue! This is your clanmate you're talking about!" At the last word she realized his claws were unsheathed and her eyes widened.
"I...I'm sorry Dewfeather..." He trailed off, glancing towards the ground. "This she-cat is just...Agh."
"I know." The white-she cat give her grey paw a small lick and padded forward to nuzzle him. "It's fine to feel some anger, just don't... Do that again, okay?" She pulled back slightly.
He shook out his brown fur and gave a nod. "Okay, I will. For you."
"Thanks." She smiled.
Dewfeather rolled around uncomfortably in her damp moss nest, she slowly got up, giving herself a firm grooming and padding out to the starry evening. She was the only one awake, though she knew in MoonClan everyone would be wide eyed, bright, and eager to start training, hunting, or go on patrols.
The moon lit the small clearing that RainClan was set in, ferns ran around the outskirts of camp, and apart from the other trees, one willow lay on the edge.
She stretched out her back, reaching her front paws out in front of her with a small yawn, she rebounded and sat down looking back up to the sky. The night was beautiful, bright yet dark. The stars flecked the dark black in the sky, the translucent clouds like silk, threatening to lower down so far that they would soon be morning fog.
"If only I-" She cut herself off with a shake of the head. "Silly though, clear it from you mind Dewfeather...RainClan is perfect for you."
To be honest, it wasn't. The air was so humid in Greenleaf, the heat evaporating all the water that lay on the trees, the puddles, and river. The rain would never be a sprinkle, always a pour that made the ground squishy and soaked for days. The dew was even annoying, coating each cat's pelt with cold droplets of water that would make them uncomfortable the whole morning. It was amazing how she was even named after this thing.
She had visited MoonClan's territory once, she was a newly named apprentice, padding alongside Whiskerstar, Oaklegs, and her old mentor Streamfeet. They were sent to get herbs for a harsh Leaf-bare, where Yellowclaw couldn't even bare all the sick cats, getting worse by each day.
They went by night, and were escorted to camp by one of their 'Moonrise patrols'. The land was full of oak trees, short grass and leaves from past seasons coating patches of the ground. It was New-moon and even though the lack of the moon, the cats still went around like the sun was in the sky, lighting everything. The camp was full of life, cats chatting when in all the other Clans they'd be sleeping and apprenitces testing out some of their newly learned moves on eachother.
She was greated and asked to play by one of them, Streamfeet lightly shooed them away saying we were on an important mission to get herbs. Dewfeather, Dewpaw at the time, still watched them, tumble around and do moves she had never seen nor even though were possible. Everything was so different. And I liked it. Dewfeather sighed to herself. So where do I belong? Waterlogged in the rain? Or free by the light of the moon?
Chapter Three: Starlight, Star bright.
Her eyes were soft, dim yet vibrant, like delicate pearls floating softly in the ocean. She stared out at the forest, which was lit brightly from the large moon hanging in the sky.
Lightpaw's eyes were locked onto the orb that was the sun of the night. She was named for the moon, the light, bright whiteness that awakened the night for all of MoonClan. It was appraised, and she was definately glad to be named in honor the beautiful object that hung strongly in the dark, shadowed sky.
The light of the moon had let her mother carry to two kits to safety, Lightpaw and her brother, Robinpaw, named after the bird that gave their mother strength to defend her newborn kits after she had eaten it. Their mother, of course, was a loner with nothing but her name and kits to call her own. She was once a kittypet, yet her Twolegs passed away and she escaped the icy bars of the things Twolegs called a 'cage'. If she hadn't made the brave escape, she would've made a terrible trip to the cutter. She was weak though, from recently birthing kits, she had to make her way to the Clans. MoonClan was closest, she left the two in the warm paws of the Clan. From utter weakness and being ever-so lightheaded, she had fallen unconscious in camp. The medicine cat hurried to help her through the morning, in which all the other cats had slept, since MoonClan were 'night' cats. Her mother sadly, did not make it, leaving the newborn kits to grow up and become strong in MoonClan.
"Lightpaw?" The dark brown furred, tawny and cream speckled tom padded out from behind a cluster of collapsed trees that had recently fallen a moon ago.
She looked up from her thoughts, her large, light yellow eyes locking onto Robinpaw's matching onces. He had taken after their father, well, from what she knew. Her mother was a silky black she-cat, in which Lightpaw had also gained this look. Besides a light, cream ear that was all Lightpaw knew of what her mother had looked like. Herself. Robinpaw was like, truly, a speckled robin. Even though he was named after the bird that gave their mother strength, he was named well to become a 'robin' himself. In looks, of course.
"You okay?" Robinpaw nudged her ear with his nose. "When you didn't come back to camp after the Moonrise patrol-...I kinda got worried." His face grew hot with embarrassment.
Lightpaw glanced to him, smiling softly and giving his muzzle a quick lick. "You worry too much." She mewed simply and went gazing back up to the moon. "Do you ever wonder..?"
"'Bout what?" Robinpaw's whiskers twitched, his tail lightly sweeping along the dead leaves that littered the ground.
She shrugged. "Mother and father, I want to...Well, know them. Who our father really was, we could never question mother, since she passed away when we were just newborns." Lightpaw fought back a sigh.
His eyes were locked onto his paws, a frown on his muzzle. "Yes." He meowed quietly, almost like a whisper. "I do wonder. Almost everyday." He tilted his head slightly upward. "I mean, I know from what our Clanmates tell us that mother looked almost exactly like you. However, I wonder what dad looked like. Maybe like me?" He turned to her.
Lightpaw nodded. "I guess, you definately don't look like any other cat I've seen before." She joked giving his a shove with her shoulder. "Come on, I'm starving. Let's go get something from the Fresh-kill pile, shall we?"
"We shall." He laughed softly and entwined his tail with hers.
I'm really lucky to have such a brother. He's so close to me! It's probably because he's the only family he and I have. She purred quietly to herself, walking side-by-side with her brother into the camp.
Her paw pads brushed against the short, thin grass, it felt soft and comforting. "See if there's a vole in there," Lightpaw flicked her tail towards the fresh-kill pile.
"'Kay." Robinpaw nodded and bounded off, sniffing and lightly tossing over prey with a flick of his claw.
"Lightpaw." She heard a gruff, slightly agitated mew come from behind. Turning around, the black she-cat caught sight of her large mentor.
His grey tabby fur was unkept and matted, one of his claws missing from years of battles, his teeth yellow and both ears nicked. The spitting image of ugly. Just ugly in general, nothing else. Though Lightpaw could think of more words to describe his, retched, terrible, horrendous, a sight for not so sore eyes...Except they'd become sore once you saw him.
"Oh...Hey, Stonethroat." She coughed out the name, it seemed like a very displeasing name to say, not to mention a terrible name, period.
"Lightpaw!" He repeated with another hoarse growl. "Time for training."
She could barely look into his dull grey eyes, which looked like pits of swirling darkness that would swallow you up and fill you with grief. "Can I share a meal with my brother first?" Lightpaw tried to sound polite, but didn't know how convincing it sounded.
Stonethroat stamped his paws. "Fine! But don't leave me waiting!" His voice raised to a slightly angered yell. "You know how I hate waiting!" He turned and stomped off past an oak and into the hollow in which apprentices trained in.
"A real charmer, ain't he?" Robinpaw came back, his words muffled by the fur of a vole.
"Ooo, thanks!" Lightpaw meowed pleasingly, belly rumbling with hunger. "Took you long enough, I had to have a slightly decent conversation with Uglythroat."
Her brother laughed, eyes sparkling with humor. "I would barely call that a conversation! More like growls and other inaudible words he would bark out, almost like a dog, I would say."
"Robinpaw," She let out a small giggle, prodding him with her black paw. "Don't keep saying that, he might hear you one day."
"Ooh! So scary." He smiled, rolling his eyes. "The tom that growled an apprentice to death! Terrified for my life."
"You'd better be," Lightpaw started to sink her teeth inside the vole, still warm from the twilight it was caught during, "his breath might kill you before he can even 'growl' a word."
"Ah, now that's a good one. I'll have to remember that."
She snickered, swallowing the finishing bite from her vole. "I'd better go, Stonethroat is very impatient."
The stars glittered across the sky, and the small, lithe black she-cat with piercing yellow eyes looked up, her fur bathing in the crisp, bright moonlight.
"Stormy?" The voice startled the small she-cat, she looked over and supressed a gasp.
"Speckle!" Her eyes filled with tears, she ran over and was about to nuzzle him until he turned away.
She cocked her head to the side, confused and appaled. "Speckle? Speckle, come on, open your eyes! It's me, Stormy...Your mate." Her voice filled with the burden of sadness.
Her turned and touched noses with her, he felt...Cold. Not the welcoming warmth he once had. A bitter cold, why..?
"How long has your spirit been wandering?" He said softly, his voice cracking.
Stormy flattened her ears, eyes gazing into his. "A day or so. I've...I've been waiting for someone to find me. I couldn't bare to hover over the body that once was me....My kits silent, buried into another queen's fur. Why have I been given this burden, even as a spirit?" Her voice lowered to a mere whisper.
"It's time we go..."
"You mean you're dead too?" Her mouth gaped, eyes practically blinded with tears. "Speckle you were so strong, brave and healthy-"
The tom silenced her with a flick of his tail. "I attacked one of the twolegs. The ones the encaged us, after you escaped I needed to break out also. I tried clawing out their throat, they were so big though. I could never succeed. I was put into a forever slumber by one of their sharp thorns..."
"Enough questions my love, we must go to the promised land. We must now, or your spirit will be lost here forever." He dipped his head, voice monotoned.
"Forever..." Stormy sighed softly, she padded over, entwined her tail with her mate that once was, and they padded off together, drifting away to the dark sky.
Chapter Four: Exiled?
"Killer! Killer of Rushwater's litter! Murderer to be exiled!" The leader yowled out in the shadowed camp, a few slits of sunlight streaming in from the thick oak trees as he sat upon the tree stump.
"No!" Hawklight bared his teeth, eyes locking onto his leader.
Birchstar eyed the dark brown tabby, his growl low. "You dare defy me, Hawklight?" His eyes narrowed, the other members of CloudClan silent, mouths gaping in awe. "I'd expect this behavior from our sister...But you, brother?" He leaped down from the stump, facing the tom.
"You're a monster!" Hawklight snarled, his claws ready to unsheathe. "Accusing our own brother of killing my mate's kits! I know he didn't!" His voice rose, into an angered scream.
"I'm to monster?" His brother's voice calmed, turning dark and smooth. "Your kits are dead, and all you can suspect is that I'm lying?"
Hawklight lowed his head. "But you are, this is our brother...How can you accuse him?" His voice seemed hurt.
"Because the proof is in the nursery!" Birchstar spat, his claws unsheathed, tan tabby fur rising.
"What proof?!" The dark brown tom yelped, trying his best not to bite out the throat of his brother, and his leader. "Have you seen what I haven't?"
Birchstar turned to his medicine cat, eyes narrowed. "Go fetch," his eyes darted towards Hawklight "the proof." He murmured darkly.
The small, fluffy ginger she-cat's eyes widened, and she nodded quickly, fearing her leader's authority as she raced into the medicine den, running back out with a small leaf, folded and clutched in her jaws.
She stopped and dropped the leaf at Hawklight's paws, she looked into his eyes as if to say "Good luck" and backed off.
The leaf unfolded, showing the creamy, light tan fur of his brother, Thistlebreeze.
"Impossible!" Hawklight growled, looking towards Birchstar. "Where?! Where did you find this!"
He smirked, eyes narrowed. "The scene of the crime, brother." He flexed his claws. "Which reminds me, these were...Your kits, correct?"
"Y-yes." Hawklight mewed through clenched teeth.
"Yet you feel positively no grief? No mourning has been done by you. Could you have, ah...Maybe, possibly, helped in such a murderuous plot?" Birchstar's eyes narrowed, a smile on his muzzle.
The tom unsheathed his claws, and tore at Birchstar's face. "You say that one more time-"
"Hawklight!" Birchstar growled, bouncing back, blood dripping from four skinny, long scratches on his cheek. "Seize him. Sent him to the burrow with the traitor!" His hiss rippled across the camp, hushing all in sight.
Cats swarmed him, strong warriors, pinning him to the ground. His eyes widened with anger, thrashing and spitting, not able to even lay a paw on them. This was an unfair fight.
The warriors eyed him, despise and hatred in their icy glares. He could even pick out the toms and she-cats who were once his friends; turned on him in a matter of false accusation. They started to sink their fangs deep into his shoulder to yank him off towards the burrow which would probably imprison him until Birchstar thought of a fine punishment for his own brother.
He could feel the blood drain from his arms, he winced, letting out a half-hearted growl. He struggled against their rough grips; he would not be dragged away from this!
"Stop it! Stop!" A cat screamed in a shrill, furious voice.
Heads turned to a strong she-cat, her muscles rippling across her pelt as she pushed her way through the crowd to Hawklight . Her fur was thick and fluffy, a soft ginger colored with darker tabby stripes. Her navy blue eyes, once warm, were cold and angered.
"Let Hawklight go." She whipped towards Birchstar with a hard snarl. "He has done nothing to deserve this!"
Birchstar closed his eyes with a smile, slowly shaking his head. "Oh Rushwater," he murmured softly, his once cold voice replaced my a false warmth as he padded towards her, "Don't you grieve for the kits now lost? The small bundles of fur that could've been warriors one day?"
She turned away, eyes narrowed, then faced him. "I grieve for those kits, I grieve like any queen would if they lost their kits before their true time! But I would not dare suggest that my loyal mate, who fathered my kits, would even try to kill them. What is to gain?" Her voice never lowered, dropped, or rose. She kept it steady, it was chilling and some cats turned away so they didn't have to look at the cat who said it.
"Rushwater," Hawklight choked out, the jaws that gripped his shoulder releasing slowly, "Go. Don't get into this, I couldn't live with myself if you got-"
"Hurt?" She smirked with a emotionless laugh, unsheathing her claws she glared back at Birchstar. "If you take Hawklight, you'll have to take me, too."
Birchstar sighed. "Oh Rushwater...You shouldn't have said that." A dark gleam entered his eyes. "Imprison the spare. She's worthless, a beast in the making."
"What?" Hawklight scrambled to his paws. "No. Leave her be! Her milk will dry up soon...L-let her live a true live! Take me away. Imprison me- I...I don't care!"
Suddenly, he felt a blow to his head, he gasped, eyes trailing off to a dizzying blackness. All he heard before was: "No! No! Get off of me! I won't leave him, I won't-...!"
The voice had trailed off, he did not realize it was Rushwater's until soon after.
Chapter Five: Prophecies are for Leaders
He raced through the forest, giggling as Sandpaw toppled over him.
"You're it!" She squealed and ran off, dissapearing into the underbrush.
He was about to go after her until Firestripe ran up stopping me. "Graypaw, you need to get back to the camp."
"What? Why? This is the first time Skyspots let us out of the camp for so-"
"Go! I'll get Sandpaw. Just- go to camp! Quick!" Firestripe looked anxious, his eyes wider than a squirrel who had just realized it was being hunted.
He turned, racing off. It was better not to argue with your brother who was moons older than you. Graypaw burst into camp, and was rushed into Mistwhisker's nuzzling hold.
The silver she-cat burried her muzzle into his neck fur. "Dear, I'm so glad you're okay."
"What's happened?" Graypaw mewed with panic. "Why is everyone all unsettling?"
She looked around warily, wrapping her tail around her kit. "Two-legs. They've entered our territory. Only our bramble protected camp is safe enough to stay in. Once your brother and sister get back we're hiding in the dens."
"Mother...?" He swallowed hard, and couldn't help but to tremble. "We weren't always this scared of Two-legs. A few entereing our territory was nothing..." His voice shook.
She pressed against him wincing. "Yes my love..." Mistwhisker murmured softly. "Yet...They have something in their hands, it injured Liontail earlier. It looks like a straight, long tail. Shiny and silver, with a wooden part the Two-legs hold onto." She shuddered.
"What did it do?" Graypaw couldn't help but to ask.
"Dug a large hole into his paw in less than a second. Swifter than any warrior....They're practically camoflauged into the forest from what their wearing, a series of green, brown and moss colored pelts." His mother's eyes grew cloudy and distant. "It's frightening and every cat needs to stay close."
Firestripe burst into camp, Sandpaw not trailing far behind.
"Mother? Mother!" She said relieved, as she ran towards Mistwhisker. "Firestripe told me everything. I'm scared..."
"We all are." Firestripe padded up, his eyes stern and hard, like stones with dabs of Leaf-bare frost. "We have to get inside the dens right now."
Sandpaw looked up. "Are we supposed to go to our den?"
He nodded. "That's what Thorntail told me. Father, Breezeflower, and Lakefeather are going to be protecting you apprentices inside your den."
"What?" Foxpaw piped up from behind Brightleaf, he padded towards them. "It's so cramped in their already with the four of us!" He glared at Firestripe. "Adding three more warriors will just have us crammed against the walls."
"Would you rather be cramped or have us sit vigil for you at dawn?" Firestripe's voice grew low and agitated.
Foxpaw shrunk down, ears flattening. "S-sorry..."
"Go Graypaw, you and Sandpaw stick together. Nettlewhisker will be waiting for you guys." Mistwhisker touched noses with her kits one last time, and began quietly talking with Firestripe before they headed to protect the elder's den.
They padded in, and quickly crouched down next to their father. Foxpaw and Fogpaw were chatting in quiet, anxious voices. Graypaw could detect a hint of fear in each of their scents, but he didn't comment on it, he was too scared himself to even speak.
Sandpaw pressed against her brother, whispering in his ear. "This is worse than a battle with a rival Clan..During a battle, you feel pride and loyalty. But when you hide with from a Two-leg..."
"You feel terrified and cowardly." Graypaw murmured looking to the ground.
He closed his eyes, Graypaw didn't realize he dozed off, he just did. But he blinked his eyes open.
"Smoke!" He yelped, the polluted air entering his nostrils, burning his throat. Nettlewhisker was already on his paws.
"I'll go find your mother and brother!" He yelled over the screams and yowls of cats evacuating.
Sandpaw gathered to her paws, eyes wide with fear and terror. Breezeflower growled.
"Let's go!" She meowed. "Everyone out!"
Breezeflower and Lakefeather followed the apprentices out of their den, the four of them skirted across the camp, screaming and yelping at the sight of flames licking at the sky, reaching to the tree tops.
Ash poured down from leaves that were freshly burnt from a sycamore above, Sandpaw narrowly dodged most of it, flecks of ash coating her flank.
"What do we do?" She cried out.
"Escape!" Graypaw coughed harshly, inhaling the smoke. It stung more than accidentally breathing water up your nose.
Sandpaw flanked him and the two quickly dodged a branch that just broke from a flame-lit tree. Flames singed his fur and the two ran across the clearing, following the other's out. He caught sight of his mother, leading out Bramblefire. Her eyes locked onto his and he could just make out her saying "run"!
The two fleed, yet Sandpaw turned around to face the camp.
"What are you doing?" Graypaw's eyes stung and his lungs ached for fresh air.
"Nettlewhisker, father!" Sandpaw choked.
He gasped, seeing their father battle the flames, protecting Fogpaw from the fire that longed to burn them away to nothing.
"We have to go back for them!"
"No." Firestripe's voice rang in their ears, they whipped around to face their brother.
"No." He repeated, eyes narrowing. "They'll make it out, now come on!" He shoved them ahead.
Sandpaw blinked away the tears in her eyes, Graypaw noticing her true sadness and mournful expression.
We have to go back for them! Her desperate voice rang in his ears.
Graypaw turned and skirted back into camp, he could hear his sister yelp after him. He heard her frantic pawsteps behind him, along with Firestripe's.
"Graypaw!" Firestripe's voice grew more urgent.
The apprentice let out a gasp, the dark ash specked and smudged his grey fur, fear in his eyes as an inflamed tree came smashing to the ground. He gagged, giving into a series of coughs as smoke ripped away at his lungs. "Graypaw! Quick, get out!" He could hear his brother's cry, but it was too late. The apprentice fell to the ground, giving way to the flames that spread around him.
Graypaw lurhced up, his chest heaving. He looked around to see if there was smoke anywhere, but everything was...Fine.
"You okay...?" Fogpaw asked groggily, he was stretching, sitting up.
Graypaw looked towards him, he could practically see his friend with flames licking at his fur. Hissing and spitting with a dangerous, furious might. Ash coating Fogpaw's fur, tears streaming from his eyes, lungs burning like he had just swallowed deathberries.
Then in and instant, Nettlewhisker was in his mind. Protecting Fogpaw from the fire, growling and standing his ground. Graypaw had grown unconscious from the smoke that night, fainting beside the fallen and burning tree. He just heard that Firestripe had dragged him to safety with Sandpaw at his side, worried as ever.
The apprentice heard in the morning that Nettlewhisker had not made it out, his body was lying protectively beside Fogpaw's when they found them, branches entwining in their fur, ash almost burying half their pelts. They had thought Fogpaw had died, but he was breathing, just knocked out in the soot.
"Y-yeah...Just a nightmare." The tom swallowed hard, sitting in his soft-moss nest. The memory was so realistic, like he could actually feel the heat of the fire, the ash on his pelt, the smoke coating his eyes. So real...
"Wanna take a walk? It's almost dawn, we'll bring back a mouse or two to make it look like we just went hunting early."
Graypaw got up, blinking with a long, drawn out yawn. "Yeah, I could do with a walk." He smacked his jaws and nosed his way out of the den with Fogpaw following him.
Foxpaw sniffed around, eyeing some of the trees uneasily as they passed them by. Graypaw took notice in this. The trees like normal like they do everyday. Thick, dark brown, and...Rough. What's he seeing that I'm not..? The tom wondered silently in his head.
"Graypaw..." Foxpaw whispered, eyes widening. "I-I see something."
The young tom looked around, suddenly getting worried. He lowered his head, and slowly he took a step, his paw crinkling a dead leaf.
Something bright and white shot from the trees, scurrying back behind another dark, shadowed oak.
Fogpaw backed up nervously. "It could've been a pidgeon." He squeaked out.
"A pidgeon?" Graypaw tilted his head, eyeing Fogpaw. "That size?"
"Let's go Graypaw. We have to warn the cats at camp!"
"Nah, let's check it out." Graypaw smirked, and slowly stepped forward a few steps. He didn't hear Fogpaw following, with a roll of his eyes he turned around. "Come on, or I'll start calling you Fogkit."
He wasn't there.
"Fogpaw?" Graypaw glanced around, he finally resulted in turning his body in a full circle, but Fogpaw wasn't there. "Fogpaw? Come on, it isn't funny, let's go..."
"Fogpaw!" Graypaw yelped.
Mist began to roll in upon the trees, the apprentice's eyes were wide with horror as he backed up. "Help! Anyone! Please!" He let out a blood-curtling yowl.
"Help?" The voice whispered in the wind. "I think help was already given before." The tone was familiar to Graypaw, oddly familair...
A shape was formed in the mist. It was a cat, with it's eyes glimmering in the mist. The pelt of the cat was dotted with stars and his eyes were blank.
"Why are you here?" Graypaw tried to act brave. "I have no need for StarClan at the moment!" Fear suddenly entered his mind, what if he actually died? Maybe that was why Fogpaw was gone, he could've been shot by those Two-leg devices, fallen dead right there with a StarClan cat awaiting to bring him up and away.