OTTERHEART'S LEGACY - by Bunnygia

Nothing will ever be the same...

Comments are much appreciated! ❤

Allegiances - Riverclan

Leader

Nettlestar - Small tortoiseshell she-cat with green eyes and messy fur

Deputy

Lakesong - Strikingly beautiful blue she-cat with orange eyes

Medicine Cat

Frostwing - Large white tom with icy-blue eyes and sleek fur (Apprentice: Lilypaw)

Warriors (toms and she-cats without kits

Buzzardfur - Huge brown tom with matted fur, brown eyes and an overbite (Apprentice: Stormpaw)

Heronwhisker - Tall tabby grey she-cat with dark blue eyes

Eelfoot - Tiny black tom with lithe fur and light green eyes

Toadleap - Light grey tom with brown eyes

Greenburr - Orange tabby tom with green eyes

Dapplelake - Dark brown she-cat with white spots and light blue eyes, blind in left eye

Wolfbite - Muscular tabby black/grey tom with amber eyes, half of face ripped off by wolves.

Icepelt - Beautiful white she-cat with green eyes (Apprentice: Ripplepaw)

Darkpond - Large black she-cat with striking light blue eyes (Apprentice: Otterpaw)

Snowbreeze - White tabby she-cat with unusually long claws and brown eyes

Dewstripe - Blue/grey tom with bright green eyes (Apprentice: Gorsepaw)

Echoflake - Small dark-brown tom with amber eyes and one ear

Blueshade - Blue she-cat with grey eyes (Apprentice: Thornpaw)

Spidershine - Muscular black tom with abnormally long legs and green eyes

Apprentices (more than six moons old, in training to become warriors)

Ripplepaw - Tabby she-cat with blue eyes

Gorsepaw - Dark grey tom with white-tipped ears and brown eyes

Otterpaw - Light brown she-cat with amber/orange eyes and a bobtail

Stormpaw - Strong tabby grey tom with amber eyes

Thornpaw - Light brown tom with green eyes

Lilypaw - Cream she-cat with dark blue eyes and white feet

Queens (She-cats expecting or nursing kits)

Foxblossom - Beautiful red she-cat with a white, bushy tail and amber eyes (Kits: Otterkit, Thornkit)

Slatestream - Tiny grey she-cat with pitch-black eyes (Kits: Beekit, Stormkit, Lilykit)

Goosefern - Calico she-cat with blue and green eyes (Kits: Willowkit, Cherrykit, Poolkit)

Elders (Former warriors and queens, now retired)

Silverstripe - Small light grey she-cat with dark blue eyes

Primrosepelt - Orange she-cat with white paws and amber eyes

Volefur - Brown tom with light green eyes, virtually deaf.

Chapter 1

Otterkit slowly stalked her helpess, tiny prey one foot at a time, lightly crushing the undergrowth burried underneath her tiny paws. The prey was oblivious to its ever-so-soon fate, standing dead still, taking in the golden beams of sunlight. Otterkit took one more pawstep, and...

"Got you!"

Otterkit howled in triumph as she held the play mossball inbetween her small jaws. Her bobtail was twitching with pride as all the other kits murmured about her success. "Told you I could catch the mossball faster than you, Thornkit!" She meowed as Thornkit stared in awe. "Mousedung!" He wailed while the other kits continued playing with the moss. Foxblossom's ears perked up and she immediately turned facing Thornkit. "How many times have I told you not to say that word?" She snapped. Thornkit looked down at the ground while licking his paw, his fur hot with embarrassment.

"You think you're so special, don't you, Otterkit?" Stormkit sneered while Foxblossom, Slatestream, and Goosefern were chatting away right outside of the nursery. Otterkit's fur stood on end. Just hearing Stormkit's voice annoyed her. Otterkit turned around and faced Stormkit eye to eye. "This has nothing to do with you. Why do you always have to ruin everything I do, Stormkit?" Otterkit replied with fury. Stormkit laughed and plopped down next to his best friend, Poolkit. Otterkit knew that both of the toms were much larger and stronger than her, but she refused to back down.

"Like you guys are gonna intimidate me! I could beat you one clawed with my eyes closed." Otterkit yowled.

"Aww, what are you gonna do? Cry to your daddy? Oh wait, I forgot, you can't because he's dead!"

He and Poolkit then broke into laughter.

"Flea-chewer!"

Stormkit's eyes suddenly shot open in fury. All the kits remember the horrible event when Stormkit bit an entire chunk of his fur off trying to nip at a flea to this day.

"Dirt-eater!" He yowled back, all of his fur on end.

"Dog-lover!"

"Toad-licker!"

"Foxdung!"

All of the other kits jaws nearly dropped to the floor while Otterkit swayed her tail in victory. However, almost out of nowhere, Foxblossom pawed Otterkit's tiny ear. "What did you just say...?" She hissed. Otterkit jumped up and flopped over in surprise. "N-Nothing!" Otterkit wailed. "I heard you loud and clear. You know I yell at your brother all the time because of that. Now stay with me, Goosefern and Foxblossom." Foxblossom growled. Otterkit grudgingly agreed, holding back tears as everyone stared and laughed at her.

Lilykit's ears perked up and she pounced over to her best friend. "What happened over there, Otterkit?" She asked, sitting down next to Otterkit.

"He thinks he's all that when he's not! I want to rip his grey stripes right off of his fur."

"Just imagine sleeping in the same nest as the grouchy furball like me!"

Otterkit smiled and looked over at Foxblossom, whom was no longer paying attention to the little kits. "I say we go back into the nursery and play mossball tag!" She declared while racing with the mossball inbetween her jaws. Lilykit stood up and matched Otterkit's speed while running back inside.

Stormkit was interrupted while proudly boasting about meaningless events as Otterkit violently threw the mossball at his back. "HEY! Who did that?!" He yowled. Otterkit fluffed her tail and taunted Stormkit, coaxing her paw to her direction. Stormkit hissed and chased after her with the mossball. And thus, for the rest of the night, the entire band of kits spent their time chasing after eachother with a tiny mossball.

...

Otterkit woke up early in the morning with a shiver. She peered over, noticing that her brother was shivering in his deep sleep. Even the warmth of Foxblossom's red fur wasn't enough to block out the sudden drop in temperature. Otterkit's tiny ears peered up as she slowly regained her balance trying to stand in the freezing cold. She nudged Lilykit up with her tiny pebble-black nose and commanded her to follow Otterkit outside. "It's.. So.. Cold!" Lilykit groaned, moving as if she was stuck to the ground. "Shh, Lilykit! You'll wake up every cat in RiverClan if you keep hollering like that!" Otterkit replied while crawling lowly, her belly touching the freezing cold moss ground. Upon getting closer and closer to the entrance of the mini hollowed-out cave, white flakes began sticking to Otterkit's glossy, smooth fur. She looked down at her frozen white flake-covered flank and jumped up in alarm. "Lily.. What is this stuff?!" She cried, licking as hard as she could to get it off. However, upon looking up, Otterkit noticed Lilykit playing outside of the nursery, kicking into the air like a wingless sparrow. Otterkit cautiously peered out of the nursery and noticed something incredible, something she's only heard stories of.

Snow!

Otterkit raced out into the powdered white mass like a squirrel. "It's snowing!" Lilykit cheered, burying her paws into a mound of snow. Icicles hung off the entrance of every den, and everything that touched light was covered in the beautiful frozen snow. Even the small river that divided the two sides of RiverClan was frozen solid into nothing but another part of the crushed shrubs and herbs. Otterkit jumped and kicked and laughed in the never-seen-before white clouds. She raced over to the entrance of the nursery and yelled, "Wake up guys! It's snowing!". Before Otterkit could even say 'mouse', the entirety of the kits in the nursery came running out like a pack of wild dogs. Otterkit slithered over to Lilykit and whispered, "Let's throw a pile of snow right into Stormkit's mousebrain little face!". Lilykit laughed and began rolling up snows with her tiny paws. Otterkit scanned the entire camp to find Stormkit, but couldn't find his fluffy grey-tabby fur nor his peculiar yellow eyes anywhere!

Otterkit peered over at Lilykit, who was still occupying herself trying to roll a giant ball of snow. Otterkit then tried opening her mouth and breathing in to find Stormkit with his scent like the warriors do, but Otterkit fell back in surprise as she was hit with the scent of every cat and animal in the entire forest! However, almost out of nowhere, Otterkit noticed a bushy, grey striped tail disappearing from the center of camp. Stormkit! Otterkit meowed to herself in triumph. She hopped off of the snow-covered log that she was searching on and raced after the suspicious tail.

Otterkit noticed that she was almost drowned in snow trying to skip to the tail's path. Her usually lithe, silky fur was now matted with snow, ice, and mud. "Mousedung!" She hissed to herself while hopping from snow mound to snow mound. However, upon following the strange tail, Otterkit noticed a large cave above the horizon, a few tail lengths away from camp. Almost there... She silently thought, when suddenly...

BOOM!

Otterkit found herself being buried under a huge hole, suffocating herself in snow. Her screams for help were muffled by ice covering her mouth. Everything turned black as she was falling farther into the near-invisible hole. The only part of her body that she could feel on the surface was her tiny bob tail. The more that she tried to squirm free of the freezing ice's grip, the farther below surface she would go. If it wasn't the suffocation that would kill her, feeling every tiny snowflake fill up her mouth and nose, then it would be the dastardly freezing cold that was already covering her from tail to snout. Otterkit could feel her breath being snatched away from her lungs, and she knew that this would be her end.

I wasn't able to say goodbye...

I was never able to become a warrior...

I've never even met my father...

Almost out of no where, however, she felt a sharp pull tug at her tail, like a huge pair of jaws. Air! She silently cried as she was pulled up onto the cold surface. Her entire body was drenched with melted snow and ice, and she was trying to catch her breath so hard that she was choking. "Otterkit, what happened?!" She heard a voice roar, but her eyes were filled with solid snow and everything was black and blurry. "Otterkit snap out of it!" She heard the voice yell again, and she felt a prickly tongue licking at all of the snow. Finally, her vision started clearing up, but her entire face was numb with cold. She looked up to see who was ever-so viciously cleaning her, and to her surprise, she saw Stormkit!

"Get off of me!" Otterkit hissed, trying to regain her balance. Stormkit bounced back in surprise, most likely thinking that Otterkit was dead.

"Ugh, it's YOU!"

Otterkit's tiny eyes narrowed. "Who did you think it was, mousebrain?"

Stormkit was licking his paw, obviously embarrassed. "I wish that it wasn't you. Your fur was so white covered in snow that you looked exactly like Poolkit!" He quickly replied, every single one of his hairs on end.

Otterkit knew that he was lying since he clearly called out her name, but she didn't bother to argue. "What are you doing out here, anyway?" Otterkit sneered, licking of the excess snow.

"Not that it's any of your business, but I found an abandoned badger hole last moon. Now I can finally explore it!" Stormkit replied, bouncing up to his paws. Otterkit twitched her tail, intrigued by Stormkit's uninvited-invitation. "Well then, let's get to exploring."

Otterkit cheered, matching up to his speed. Stormkit stood in a halt and hissed, "I didn't invite you, toad-licker.". Otterkit continued walking to the black abyss, free of any snow or sticky mud, and meowed, "I know; I invited myself just now!". And thus, Stormkit reluctantly trotted over next to Otterkit. "She-cats first." Stormkit insisted, nudging her into the shadowy hole.

Chapter 2

Despite the fact that there was no freezing snow in the cave, the temperature was just as cold. Otterkit could still feel the clenched snow and mud stuck to her fur, which sent a shiver down her spine, reminding her of her near-death encounter.

"Do you see anything?" Stormkit cautiously asked from the base of the cave. "Don't be such a scaredy mouse, Stormkit!" Otterkit hollered back, crawling deeper inside of the small cave. Stormkit sighed and began following Otterkit into the gloomy, cold cave. "ACK!" Stormkit screeched, bouncing up. "I just stepped in badger dirt!" He cried, flicking his paw up and down. Otterkit fell back and began laughing like there was no tomorrow. However, the smell of badger compelled Otterkit and the fresh badger dirt told her that a badger may still live in the cave. She started to sway her tail nervously and meowed, "Stormkit.. What if a badger is still in here?" Stormkit scoffed and replied, "Then they need to clean up their dirt!". Otterkit rolled her eyes and pulled him back inside of the cave. "If we find a badger," Otterkit hissed, "Then you're going to be eaten first.". Stormkit sneered back as they crawled deeper and deeper into the unfamiliar, small cave.

"Stop!" Stormkit quietly hissed. "I hear something." Otterkit perked her ears up, and she too heard something, almost like a loud snore. Otterkit's fur stood on end as she realized that they were getting closer to the loud, obnoxious noise.

Up ahead, Otterkit noticed a large opening in the cave. She carefully crept up, with her belly touching damp, dirty ground. The tunnel was filled with cobwebs and the sickening aroma of badger dirt made it hard to breath. Otterkit was still frostbitten from her encounter with death. She reached the entrance of the opening and poked her tiny black nose into the unfamiliar area. To her horror, however, she spotted something that she had only heard in scary stories, given by the wise elders. It was a badger.

The fat, lumpy animal was sleeping. It looked more like a really big, grouchy elder than a terrifying beast, but Otterkit knew that badgers were nothing to trust, let alone be anywhere near. She turned to Stormkit, who was far behind her, trying to pick off the badger dirt.

"Get out, there's a badger!" Otterkit quietly wailed.

"What was that, Otterkit?" Stormkit replied, more occupied in picking at badger dirt on his rough pink pads.

"There's a badger!"

"You have to be louder!" Stormkit yelled, successfully picking off the last piece of badger dirt.

Suddenly, the sleeping badger awoke with a mighty roar, revealing its blade-like teeth. Otterkit stared in horror and raced away from the awakening badger. "There's a badger! Get out of here!" Otterkit cried, running out of the death-trap tunnels. Stormkit took a moment to process what Otterkit was saying, until he realized that the humongous, terrifying badger was running right behind him.

Otterkit sped to the front of the badger nest before realizing that the entrance was too steep to pounce out of. She turned behind her, just to see Stormkit being chased by the blood-curling beast. When Stormkit finally met up with Otterkit, he too realized the predicament that they were in. The two stood there, staring at the approaching badger that would most likely take their lives in one swipe, when suddenly, Stormkit bounced up to his paws and yelled, "Get onto my back and jump up!"

Otterkit's tiny amber/orange eyes widened in surprise. "What about you?" She wailed, putting her paws on the steep slope of the entrance. "..Just pull me up!" He slowly replied, ducking his back down. Otterkit gulped and leaped up on his back. She then hopped up onto the entrance of the deathly nest and grabbed his paws. Stormkit was far heavier than Otterkit thought, and it felt as though he was putting no effort into getting pulled up at all. "Try to climb up, you mousebrain!" She yelled, trying her very best not to drop him. Even outside of the tunnels, Otterkit could see the ravenous badger approaching Stormkit. Seeing any kit, even if it was Stormkit, getting viciously killed by a badger made Otterkit's blood boil. Almost out of nowhere, Otterkit had a wave of strength, and she managed to pull Stormkit up with one swift tug. The both came rolling out of the cave, and Otterkit heard the badger's vicious roar of defeat.

Stormkit stared at Otterkit as she was cleaning off the badger dirt from her belly. "T-Thanks for saving me." He stuttered, refusing to move an inch. Otterkit rolled her eyes and hissed, "If it wasn't for you, then we wouldn't have almost died in the first place! We have to tell Nettlestar that there's a badger den close to camp immediately, and that's that." Stormkit frowned at her harsh words, and ran back to camp alone. Otterkit scoffed and cautiously walked through the cold, sprinkled snow.

Upon reaching camp, Otterkit found the warriors helplessly scrambling to collect fish for leaf-bare. Even Echoflake, who usually kept to himself and didn't collaborate with others, was working together with Lakesong to bring trout and salmon to the freshkill pile. Otterkit couldn't help but smile at the entire clan in one spot, working together as a clan should.

Out of nowhere, Lilykit pounced onto Otterkit's back, shoving her into the sticky, wet snow. "We're becoming apprentices today!" She cheered, bouncing up and down. Otterkit, although annoyed at Lilykit's sudden 'attack', was filled with ecstasy at the idea of becoming an apprentice in a few moments! "That's wonderful!" Otterkit purred, shoving a ball of snow into Lilykit's snout. Mid-playing, however, Otterkit had a horrifying thought.

If I tell Neddlestar about the badger nest, then I won't become an apprentice!

She shoved Lilykit off of her belly and ran after Stormkit, whom was with Poolkit and Thornkit just outside of the elder's den. "Stormkit!" She cried, just barely running into his back. Stormkit turned around and hissed.

"What do you want?"

"I need to talk to you.. In private."

Poolkit sneered and retorted, "Aww, are you gonna ask him out? He's never going to love a pile of foxdung like you!". Otterkit cuffed him right inbetween his ears and coaxed Stormkit behind the elder's den.

"What do you need? I don't have time to talk to you." Stormkit meowed, his fur burning with annoyance. Otterkit sighed and explained that if Stormkit tells Nettlestar about their discovery and how the two kits explored it, then they would never ever become apprentices. "We can tell her eventually, but not right now." She finished, waiting for Stormkit to respond. Stormkit simply hissed and replied, "Whatever. I don't care. Now leave me alone!".

Otterkit purred in relief, and zoned out the area to make sure that no other cat was listening. She spotted Wolfbite staring dead in Stormkit and Otterkit's direction, but Otterkit concluded that he was too far away to hear what the two kits were discussing. Just looking at Wolfbite sent shivers down Otterkit's spines. She heard far too many stories about his terrifying encounter with wolves, having half of his face ripped out by the savage dogs, not to mention the many scars running down his body. Nonetheless, Otterkit admired him for being strong, independent warrior, who proved his strength by surviving when all others thought that it would be impossible. Despite his terrifying appearance, Otterkit wouldn't mind having the courageous warrior as a mentor. It did however strike Otterkit with curiosity as to why he was looking in her direction if he wouldn't be able to hear what she was saying. Otterkit quickly brushed off the thought and padded back over to Lilykit, waiting for Nettlestar to assess a clan meeting.

...

"May all cats who swim under Starclan's light gather for a clan meeting!" Nettlestar yowled, Standing on top of the towering rock in the middle of the clan's small pond with both Frostwing and Lakesong by her side. Both Foxblossom and Slatestream came rushing out of the nursery like kits, while Goosefern stayed behind to nurture the new kit's needs. "I'm so so so proud of you, Otterkit and Thornkit!" Foxblossom purred while trying to clean both of their sleek, light brown furs simultaneously. Eventually, the two soon-to-be apprentices slipped away from their mother's powerful grasp and huddled next to the other near-apprentices.

"Today is a great day for Riverclan," Nettlestar purred. "With the introduction of leaf-bare, we are prepared for whatever the cruel season will throw at us, thanks to the amazing hunting skills of our warriors. Speaking of warriors, we have a brave, old apprentice who is ready to become a warrior for himself! Spiderpaw, please approach the poolrock to recieve your warrior name." Otterkit watched on as Spiderpaw leaped onto the poolrock, his fur itching with excitement. While Otterkit has heard apprentices recieving their warrior names before while she silently listened from the safety of her nursery, this was the first time that Otterkit saw a warrior ceremony with her own eyes! Finally, Spiderpaw stood in front of Nettlestar while his tail swished from side to side nervously.

"My dear Spiderpaw." Nettlestar began. "I, Nettlestar, leader of RiverClan, call upon my warrior ancestors to look down on this apprentice. He has trained hard to understand the ways of your noble code, and I commend him to you as a warrior in his turn." Otterkit could see tears of happiness welling up in Spiderpaw's eyes, which made her silently chuckle with amusement.

"Spiderpaw, do you promise to uphold the warrior code and to protect and defend your Clan, even at the cost of your life?"

"I do."

"Then by the powers of StarClan, I give you your warrior name. Spiderpaw, from this moment you will be known as Spidershine. StarClan honors your loyalty, and we welcome you as a full warrior of RiverClan."

Otterkit smiled as the entire clan cheered with Spidershine's new name. Spidershine! Spidershine! the crowd roared, and Otterkit decided to join in, as well. "Are you ready?" Thornkit whispered, leaning close to Otterkit. She nodded her head, wanting to leap onto the gigantic grey rock immediately. She too began to sway her tail in nervousness.

"With the addition of a new warrior, we also bring three new rambunctious apprentices! Stormkit, Thornkit, and Otterkit, please approach the poolrock." Nettlestar meowed. The three kits ran onto the rock like a pack of dogs, and Otterkit soon became embarrassed by her childish behavior. Despite this, it appeared as though Nettlestar didn't mind. However, it suddenly struck Otterkit that Nettlestar didn't call her best friend, Lilykit. She peered down from the rock to find Lilykit, just to see her in tears.

"Otterkit, Thornkit, Stormkit, you have all reached the age of six moons, and it is time for you to be apprenticed. From this day on, until you receive your warrior name, you will be known as Otterpaw, Thornpaw, and Stormpaw. Otterpaw, your mentor will be Darkpond. Thornpaw, your mentor will be Blueshade. And finally, Stormpaw, your mentor will be Buzzardfur. I hope Darkpond, Blueshade, and Buzzardfur, will pass down all they know on to you." Nettlestar purred as the three new apprentices took turns touching her nose. Despite the fact that she was now an apprentice, on her way to become a loyal, strong warrior, everything was a blur for Otterkit. Why wasn't Lilykit called? She silently thought to herself, before clumsily jumping down from the pool-rock with the rest of her clanmates.

Otterpaw decided that it was best to sit away from Lilykit, and instead sat near the ledge of the pool-rock to hear whatever else that Nettlestar had to say. To her surprise, however, Frostwing approached next to Nettlestar as Lakesong jumped down, and Nettlestar opened her mouth to speak.

"We have one more special apprentice ceremony. Lilykit, please approach the poolrock."

Otterkit peered over at Lilykit, who was frozen with shock. Slatestream pushed her up with her nose, and Lilykit bounced up like a badger chasing a clan. Finally, Lilykit stood face-to-face with the small calico leader.

"Lilykityou have reached the age of six moons, and it is time for you to be apprenticed. From this day on, until you receive your medicine cat name, you will be known as Lilypaw. Your mentor will be none other than Frostwing. I hope Frostwing will pass down all he knows on to you. You two may go down to the moonpool tomorrow morning." Nettlestar purred, before concluding the clan meeting.

Otterpaw was so proud of her best friend, but she knew that it was not yet time to celebrate. She picked up her paws, which were tingling with excitement, and padded over to her new mentor, Darkpond.

Chapter 3

Otterpaw yawned and shifted her little feet, just barely poking out of her warm, small moss bed. Although it was very different from sharing an extravagantly huge moss bed with her brother, blanketed by her mother's comforting red fur, it felt nice to be alone, never again having the fear of being awoken by her brother's obnoxious, loud snoring. My first day as an apprentice... Otterpaw silently thought to herself, counting the huge seashells and oysters that surrounded the den. Finally, she stretched once more and lazily padded out of the den like a big fat fox.

She breathed in the earthy air, taking in the warm golden beams of sunlight. Everything felt perfect now that she was free from the grasp of her cramped, bland nursery. She cocked her ears and bounded towards the direction of her new mentor, Darkpond. Although Otterpaw didn't know much about Darkpond, she heard stories about how she was an amazing hunter, one of the best in the clan. Apparently, Darkpond managed to snag a salmon big enough to feed the entire clan when she was only an apprentice. Otterpaw knew that her mentor would teach her great things, and she too yearned to do something that the entire clan would remember.

Upon approaching her mentor, she underestimated how intimidating Darkpond really was. Her onix-black fur almost sent Otterpaw into a panic, and her icy-blue eyes made it seem as if the mentor could freeze cats just by looking at them, if she truly desired to do so. "So, you're my new apprentice, eh?" She meowed while stuffing a huge freshwater snapper into her mouth. "I think you'll do RiverClan some good with some training." Otterpaw was expecting much more than that, but she purred and took what she could get.

Otterpaw picked up a small salmon and tried to scoop it down as fast as possible while Darkpond was instructing her where they would go for their first training sentence. Even merely discussing battling and training made Otterpaw's fur prickle with excitement. Soon, Otterpaw would even go on her first patrol! Everything was happening so soon, and yet, it was taking so long...

Finally, after what felt like moons, Otterpaw finished eating and Darkpond was ready to leave the camp. The two she-cats stuck together side by side as they warily crept out of camp boundaries. This was Otterpaw's first time ever turning her back behind camp. The freezing cold snow and ice dampened the mood, but it didn't affect Otterpaw's cheerful, bouncy mood. Eventually, the two met up with the other two groups of apprentices, while the other two senior apprentices, Ripplepaw and Gorsepaw, were preparing for their assessments elsewhere. Otterpaw was especially ecstatic to rake her claws, unsheathed or not, into Stormpaw's bossy little back. Darkpool and Buzzardfur instructed the small group to form an unorganized circle while Blueshade sat quietly on the sidelines.

Nobody knew much about Blueshade. She was WindClan born, but she was exiled a few moons before Otterpaw was born for refusing to kill a ShadowClan queen in a horrifying, blood-curling battle. She was eventually accepted into RiverClan after realizing that she had no other place to go, but she kept to herself and is still to this day considered an outsider by many. Nettlestar turning Blueshade into a mentor was a very daring, controversial choice, but Otterpaw didn't mind. She simply hoped for the best for both Blueshade and Thornpaw.

"Alright, everyone!" Darkpond began. Her voice was loud and stern, and her crystal-blue eyes were mesmerizing. "Welcome to your first training session. May StarClan bless you with the... knowledge and the- erm, s-strength that you will need to become courageous, fearsome RiverClan warriors." Otterpaw could smell the nervousness coming off of her fur, and Buzzardfur quickly took the lead of speaking.

"We'll be learning some simple moves today. They'll gradually get harder as training progresses... For most of you." Buzzardfur meowed. "We'll start with an easy move known as a back-kick. With this move, you will first start by hiding under something... Like a pile of leaves. You must then estimate how far away your enemy is, and when they're in the right spot, you kick them with your back legs as hard as possible. Thornpaw, you demonstrate this move with Stormpaw."

Mousedung! Otterpaw silently spat while Stormpaw and Thornpaw approached the middle of their circle. Well, Thornpaw better give him a good kick... Otterpaw thought to herself once again as she took mental notes of the move. Thornpaw hid himself under a pile of dead leaves, his creamy brown fur making it seem as though he had disappeared. He turned around, positioning his hind paws like a set of fox's jaws. Stormpaw came creeping up in front of the leaves, knowing that he would soon be tackled by one of his best friend's. For training... Otterpaw reminded herself, watching as Stormpaw marched on. Finally, Stormpaw stood right in front of Thornpaw's reach, and...

Whack!

Thornpaw gave Stormpaw a good kick in the jaws. "Now jump on him and put your paw hard on his head, and pretend they're unsheathed!" Blueshade suddenly cheered, standing up on all-fours. The two fighting apprentices obliged and weren't paying much attention to else. However, Otterpaw noticed both Darkpool and Buzzardfur hissing and spitting at Blueshade. They must be part of the non-believers.. Otterpaw silently concluded. Thornpaw proved to be a powerful fighter, and soon after, the group learned moves as to how to fight back. Finally, before ending the training session, Darkpond taught Otterpaw a few simple training moves.

By the time that the two she-cats returned, it was already sundown, and Lakesong was assigning cats for the evening border patrol. Darkpond, along with Toadleap and Greenburr, were appointed to the final patrol for the day. Darkpond had promised Otterpaw that she could accompany her during the patrol, and Otterpaw's tail was itching with excitement.

However, to Otterpaw's absolute horror, Eelfoot came crashing inside the camp with a frantic, horrific look in his tiny green eyes. Finally, after catching his breath, he screeched something that Otterpaw couldn't imagine hearing in a million years.

"Thornpaw was kidnapped!"

Chapter 4

Otterpaw nearly fell to the ground in awe. She started up to the sky, trying to find a sign of StarClan. Why... Why would you do this to me?! Otterpaw wailed, flopping into the ground. She peered over to Foxblossom, who recently returned to her warrior duties, just to find her in complete shock and tears. Nettlestar glared her eyes and jumped almost immediately onto the poolrock, and without having to call a clan meeting, every warrior, elder, apprentice, and queen marched over in terror.

"Tell us everything you know, Eelfoot." Nettlestar meowed, glancing at Eelfoot, who was still standing frozenl at the entrance of the camp. The tiny black tom gulped before moving near the poolrock, where he announced what happened during the short-lived patrol.

"W-We were out hunting with Dapplelake, and.. and.. We heard a yowl, a loud, piercing yowl, which I-I could only assume was Tho-ornpaw! W-We raced over there, and... He was gone!" Eelfoot frantically shouted, lost in his own words. Otterpaw looked around, trying to fix her eyesight, but for some reason, everything was a blur. Every cat, water droplet, and plant looked like a lifeless blob.

My own brother... Who would do such a thing?

Before realizing what was going on, Otterpaw heard Heronwhisker jump onto a small tree-stump and yowled, "It was ShadowClan! It had to be! They've always been jealous of us." Otterpaw shook her head at the crazy idea before a mass of warriors yelled at her. Before Otterpaw could even say mouse, the entire clan was in a huge cluster of spitting and hissing, arguing over what could have possibly happened to her beloved brother.

"EVERYONE STOP!" Nettlestar yowled, sending every single hair in Otterpaw's body standing up on end. The entirety of RiverClan stopped and stared up at their leader, along with Otterpaw. "The gathering is tomorrow. We'll try and get any information from the other clans there. Until then, Lakesong will assemble a search patrol for Thornpaw. But, we cannot go against our own clan in the process!" She hissed, before jumping off the poolrock and into her large den. The clan stood silent for a few moments before returning to their duties. Lakesong then began appointing warriors to join the search patrol. Otterpaw began to walk backwards, rushing into her small apprentice den. She dove into her moss bed before falling into an immense pool of tears. Thoughts and memories began swirling through the poor apprentice's mind before she eventually fell into a dream.

Otterpaw darted up with a flash, staring at the unfamiliar area around her. Fields of heather and barley swirled around her as far as she could see. It was a clear blue day, the sun shining hot on her back, and not a single cloud could be seen. everything seemed pure and beautiful, until Otterpaw realized that she had no idea where she was! "Hello?" Otterpaw yowled, scanning the area for another sign of life. However, there was not a single reply back, not even the ear-splitting Screee! of a bird. Otterpaw muttered something under her breath before noticing a small brown tom with blinding green eyes. She narrowed her eyes, trying to focus on the unfamiliar cat, trying to get a good look from her location. However, she soon realized who it was, and howled in relief.

"Thornpaw!" She cried, preparing to leap to her recently-lost brother. "I found you finally!"

Unfortunately, Otterpaw realized that she was stuck in her position, unable to move a hair.

"Help!!!" She screamed, desperately trying to leave her place. However, despite her best attempts, she was still frozen solid to the prickly, heather-filled ground. "Thornpaw! Get over here!" She yelled again, but her brother refused to move. Instead, the once beautiful daylight was quickly replaced with a cloudy, motionless night, with no moon to be seen. A huge, muscular, dark brown tom, covered with battle scars and bite marks, sat down next to her brother, and the two began sneering and laughing at Otterpaw's panics. A huge wave of cats, from tiny kits to old, wise elders, began stampeding towards Otterpaw, screaming with terrified expressions. Otterpaw watched with horror as the cats left a trail of blood, heading right in front of Otterpaw. She turned in every direction, before the huge brown tom stared face-to-face at Otterpaw and whispered, "Kin will not be kin for long..." before disappearing in a chilling, white mist. Otterpaw turned around once again, the strange tom's words being hammered into her every thought, before waking up in her warm moss bed once again.

She bounced up, sending the down and seashells in her bed flying everywhere around the apprentice's den. She spun around, staring up at Stormpaw, who was hissing at her since she had woken up.

"You were twisting and turning more than a sleeping badger!" He hissed, licking off down that had clung to his tabby grey fur. Otterpaw stared at him for a quick moment before jumping on him in happiness. "I'm alive! You're alive! I'm back in RiverClan!" She cheered, realizing that her horrifying dream was simply a nightmare. "Get off of me, you crazy mousebrain!" Stormpaw retorted before storming out of the apprentice's den.

Despite what had happened in her blood-curling nightmare, Otterpaw sighed with relief that she had returned to her cozy, warm nest. However, her relief was soon replaced with sadness upon remembering once again that her brother was no longer by her side. She crawled out of the apprentice's den and bounded towards the front of the medicine cat den, where Lilypaw was quietly sunbathing. Surely at a time like this, Lilypaw would be the one to cheer up Otterpaw, right?

TO BE CONTINUED

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