This is a short story for The Paths Trilogy. It is the first of the five prequels that will each surround one of the main characters in the series.
Bluepelt had always not been the best warrior in PebbleClan - because he had the dislike to fight. He didn't want to become a medicine cat, so being a warrior was all he could be. But when he is attacked alone, and narrowly flees, Bluepelt must forge up his own life outside the borders - and abandon all he has ever known.
Outside The Borders
My name is Bluepelt.
My path has been a constantly twisting one. I wasn't PebbleClan born. I was born in GrassClan, and after my six moons training in the apprentice training area, I was shifted.
This incident is highly unusual within the four Clans - PebbleClan, GrassClan, StreamClan, and FallClan. Usually cats return to their own Clans.
Despite this, I have adjusted well, but the one thing that I dislike is fighting. I avoid it at all costs. It sickens me to see cats fighting.
I know I don't want to be a medicine cat - herbs are not the way of path for me. But I don't want to be a warrior either. If it means war - especially between PebbleClan and GrassClan - I definitely do not want to be a part of it.
Maybe there's a better life outside the borders than within the Clan...
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
A yowl drifted me from sleep. Opening my eyes, I saw the warriors' den in PebbleClan unfold in my vision. Dark and murky, in the middle of pines, this was where PebbleClan lived.
I got out of my nest, and stretched each leg in turn. I wanted to be slow on purpose. The first cats up in the morning would be ordered to battle train by my leader, Moonstar.
Cats ambled past me, eager to go on battle training. For most PebbleClan cats, battle training was their favorite thing to do.
Me? Well, obviously not.
"Hurry up, Bluepelt!" hissed Iceheart, a sturdy gray-and-white warrior.
"Sorry," I huffed, striding out before Iceheart in reluctance.
The dawn sun shone weakly into the PebbleClan camp, blocked by the huge pine trees that surrounded it. Most of the cats were outside - except one.
"Where's Brightfeather?" asked Pearclaw, as the dark tabby went past the nursery.
"She's too close to her kitting," hissed Redspeck, the medicine cat. The ginger-and-white tom was unimpressed. "Her kits are due any day now."
Pearclaw nodded. The dark brown she-cat moved towards Moonstar, whose one black paw was dangling lightly in the cool breeze.
"I don't know how GrassClan can cope with the wind," Jaggedtail complained. The gray tabby was one of the newest PebbleClan warriors. "It must be cold."
I felt a small pang of homesickness at Jaggedtail's words. I missed GrassClan.
"Battle training. Now."
Moonstar's unimpressed snarl rang through the camp. I lifted my head apprehensively.
I could see Moonstar glaring fiercely at a group of cats at the camp entrance - the daily battle-training patrol. The silver tabby she-cat watched the patron go, and then snapped her yellow gaze back to the group of cats still surrounding her.
I wasn't in the group. I was lurking by the warriors' den. Don't catch me here, Moonstar...
I jumped. A dark brown cat had stepped up to me, her belly swollen with unborn kits. Her green eyes were bright as she stared at me.
"Tabbyflight," I whispered, nuzzling my mate.
Tabbyflight purred. "How are you doing today, Bluepelt? What are your duties planned?"
I fought to make something up. "Uhh... I'm hunting on my own today," he mewed quickly.
Tabbyflight nodded. "You'd better give a lot of prey for the Clan."
I nodded. "I will." Taking a last look at Tabbyflight, I turned away. I was going to hunt alone, without Moonstar seeing me!
Going behind the warriors' den, and seeing the gap, I jumped through it with grace, outside the camp, onto PebbleClan territory.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
The shadowy territory forced me to narrow my eyes. I had never really adjusted to its darkness. Growing up on GrassClan moors gave me the longing to feel the wind in my fur, to see the brightness of green grass. However, the mentors of the time had chosen PebbleClan.
I had never wondered why. The main cause of a shift is of a half-Clan heritage, or a parent shifting between Clans. But, no - my parents were never one of those cats.
Maybe it was just StarClan's fate.
I reached one of the borders - one of the borders that went on to a territory that no Clan cat claimed. I tasted the air, and stiffened.
There were rogues coming.
In worry, and in fury, I bushed out my fur. I hoped that the rogues would not attack me - I hated fighting.
A black cat and a gray tabby emerged from the mist. Unforgiving gazes stared at me. I tried to force myself to keep calm, but I couldn't. My fear of being attacked was too strong.
"Well, well, well," the black cat snickered, his amber gaze flitting over me. He turned to his gray companion. "Icicle, what do you think we should do with this runt?" The black cat flicked his long, skinny tail at me.
"Hmmm..." The gray tabby - Icicle - looked thoughtful. "I think we should attack, Noir."
Noir - the black rogue - stared at me cunningly. "Prepare to meet your death, Clan cat." He leapt at me, Icicle following close behind.
I dodged their blows, and sprinted. Speed helped, especially considering I was GrassClan born. "Catch me if you can," I hissed, stepping over the PebbleClan border.
I heisted. There were eyes staring at me from that bush. Big, worried yellow eyes, staring at me...
Then claws hit me, and I fell to the ground.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
"Those wounds those two cats made were brutal."
"I know. They were small, but deep. He could have been killed."
I fought to open my eyes. Pain was shooting across me - over my back.
Those rogues! I thought suddenly. Staring around wildly, though, I couldn't see them, only roofed den walls. But this wasn't PebbleClan, nor was it GrassClan.
These cats were rogues - I could smell their scent. Clan cats did not smell like that.
"Those two rogues," the first cat went on. "Icicle and Noir - those were their names, weren't they?" A black-and-white tom was speaking to a white she-cat.
"You are correct as always, Corvus," the white she-cat purred.
Corvus nodded. "They threaten our territory," he went on. "Us two alone are unable to defeat them. Maybe with the help of him, we will be able to at last."
Corvus' tail flicked towards me. I did my best effort to prove to them that I hadn't yet awoken from my wounds, caused by Noir and Icicle.
"Yes," the white she-cat replied. "Speaking of him -" the white she-cat flicked her tail at me - "is he a Clan cat? He smelt like one. I thought those Clan cats would be able to do something about those rogues. They often travel in groups, and peck off us rogues - but sometimes, to our delight, they pick off some of our enemies for us."
Corvus nodded. "I think so, Blanche."
The two cats continued to talk, but I couldn't stay awake no longer. Once again, I let my vision fold into blackness.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
"Shall we lay siege?"
Corvus' mew snapped me to attention. It had been a half-moon since Noir and Icicle had attacked me. Now, Corvus, Blanche, and I were going to lay revenge on them.
I didn't like fighting, but this was different. This was revenge. Not fury, like I had to face in PebbleClan.
Revenge was different.
"I'm sure," I replied, narrowing his eyes. "Noir and Icicle need to be stopped."
"They've been staying away from the Clan borders, too," Blanche sniffed. The white she-cat looked irritated. "Those Clan cats would have got them..." She shot a glance at me while she was speaking. Corvus and Blanche both knew that I used to be a part of PebbleClan. I knew that I wasn't going to return.
It was depressing, leaving behind Tabbyflight. She would be close to kitting by now. I would miss seeing my kits - and hers, too - but this was my life now. Living outside the Clan borders was more me.
"Let's go," Blanche hissed. At once, I leapt forwards with Corvus and Blanche, and leapt away into the distance, going to where Noir and Icicle hunted.
It's time for revenge.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Noir's and Icicle's scents were fresh as Corvus, Blanche, and I approached their camp. Crouching low, we made sure they weren't seen.
Meanwhile, I could hear the two toms - Noir and Icicle - bickering in their camp.
"Well," hissed Noir," it's not worth attacking the Clans, Icicle. They're a lot stronger than us. Remember the last time we wandered on their territory?"
"Yes, I know," Icicle replied dryly. "That silver tabby with the black paw hissed at us, and told us to get off their stinking territory. But do I care?"
Moonstar! My heart leap at the thought of the PebbleClan leader.
Noir was hissing in fury. "You'll get hurt!" he meowed.
"I don't care!" snarled Icicle, retorting to Noir's words. "I'm going to flay those cats!" He turned to stroll out of the camp - unwillingly knowing that Corvus and Blanche were waiting there, claws unsheathed, ready to attack.
As Icicle padded out, the two cats leapt on him. Icicle screeched in fury. "Noir!' he gasped out. "We're under attack!"
Noir was hissing at Icicle. "You idiot! It's your fault!"
"No, it isn't! It's yours!" Icicle spluttered out. The gray tom gagged as he pulled away from Corvus and Blanche. A wide gash slit his throat. Staring for a moment longer, Icicle staggered, and then fell to the ground.
"No!" Noir stumbled out of the camp, legs shaking. "Icicle!" He crumbled to the ground at the gray tabby's body.
Noir obviously hadn't noticed me. After spending a brief moment by Icicle's body, he looked up, his amber gaze blazing at Corvus and Blanche. Eyes blazing with fury, Noir leapt on Corvus, sounding a battle cry.
Sprinting as fast as I could, I took a flying lap onto Noir. The black tom was startled as he felt the extra weight land on his back.
His head turned, and his burning gaze met my eyes. "You!" he spluttered. "Clan ca -" His words were cut off as he collapsed to the ground.
I leapt away. Noir's blood was seeping around Blanche's paws. Noir's eyes had glazed over.
"He's gone," Corvus hissed. "Those rogues are gone. Good riddance, I say."
And now there will be peace, I thought.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
I rolled onto my back as I lounged in the sun. It beat down on me, giving me warmth.
I would have never been able to do this, back in the Clan.
Three moons had passed since the attack on Noir and Icicle. There had been peace. No attacks from the other rogues had taken place.
Looking out onto the moor, I wondered what would be happening to GrassClan. My father had died during my apprenticeship, so I knew he wouldn't be there. But my mother was another matter.
I had never known what had happened to my mother. She left GrassClan a few moons after my birth, running away to become a rogue. I had never seen my family since.
Right now, I was the only cat in my family.
Corvus and Blanche were lying in the sun lazily. They were relaxed. I wasn't that much so.
A rustling in the bushes alerted me to attention. Turning, I pricked my ears. Corvus and Blanche did the same.
A small, wiry gray she-cat padded out from beyond the bushes. Thick fur clung to her thin frame. Her blue eyes were wide as she stared at the three cats.
"I'm Spirit," the gray cat mewed. "I have travelled far and wide to be here. I have heard of the Clans that have lived around this area."
I stiffened. I used to be a Clan cat!
"We're not Clan cats," Corvus hissed, his green gaze burning into Spirit.
Spirit flinched. "Do you know who they are, then."
Reluctantly, I rose to my paws. "I was a Clan cat," he meowed, "but not any more. Come on. I'll show you one of the Clan's territories."
"Whose?" Spirit asked, her blue eyes lighting up.
"It's not far from here," I meowed, flicking my tail towards the woodland not far away. "FallClan."
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
As Spirit and I approached the FallClan camp, we took extra caution. The smell of FallClan was strong here. At once, I felt Spirit stiffen.
"We're not going in, are we?" she meowed.
"No," I asserted. "I've never been a member of FallClan. But I can sense trouble coming here. Climb up a tree and watch."
Together, Spirit and I climbed an oak tree that overhanged the FallClan camp. We looked down. Yowling had been chorusing the air since we came here - and I knew that I wanted to know what was going on, as did Spirit.
A golden-brown she-cat was in the center of the crowd, her amber eyes wide with fear as she stared up at her leader, who was at one end of the camp. Her short fur was bristling in panic.
The leader at the other end - Daisystar - was staring at the golden-brown she-cat with cold eyes. Silence now overtook the camp. Then Daisystar mewed:
"I have decided that you are a traitor, Goldenflight. You have endangered the safety of FallClan by helping an enemy Clan."
"But I wasn't!" Goldenflight yowled indignantly. "It was -"
A dark brown FallClan cat crashed into Goldenflight at full pelt, and pinned her down, holding her throat by a paw. Goldenflight gagged - she couldn't talk due to the cat's force.
Daisystar cut off Goldenflight. "You are exiled from FallClan," she hissed. "Never come back. Get off our territory at once."
The dark brown tom putting down Goldenflight let her go. She bounced from his trap at once, shaking.
"Goldenflight!" A light brown tabby came up to her - a young warrior, by the look of him. His blue eyes shone with emotion. "Don't go!"
"Tumblestep." Goldenflight replied heavily. "I know you are not my own, but you have grown up to be a fine warrior. It is time for me to go."
"But Goldenflight -" Tumblestep stammered.
Goldenflight only looked at Tumblestep with a look of emotion. "Goodbye, Tumblestep," she whispered. And for the last time, Goldenflight left the FallClan camp.
My eyes widened. I only just realized what had really happened.
A cat had just been exiled.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
I turned towards the cat calling my name. Her blue eyes stung into me. Spirit was staring at me intently.
"If I was to join a Clan," she purred, "what Clan do you think I should join?"
Spirit has a strong interest with those cats, I thought.
At least nine moons had passed since the day I had seen Goldenflight. My kits - wherever they were now - would be Clan warriors, eager to defend their Clan.
If they were still alive, that was.
"Well," I started off slowly. "What are your likes and dislikes about each Clan? What one would you rather join?"
A look of surprise swept onto Spirit's face, and she was silent. Finally, she replied: "Well... I don't want to learn how to swim. And PebbleClan's forest is a bit murky for my liking. FallClan..." Spirit faltered slightly, then continued: "Well, they weren't too nice to Goldenflight. GrassClan seems the most likely option."
An image op Goldenflight popped up in my head. I had seen her again - now running on GrassClan's moors. Her loyalties had changed.
"Go to GrassClan, then," I said quietly. "They are the most honorable of the four Clans. They will welcome you."
Spirit shook with fright. "But... are you sure they will welcome me?"
I nodded. "Take the risk, Spirit."
Our gazes met: blue on blue. Finally, she nodded slowly. "I'll take this risk. I'm a cat that belongs inside borders."
But I'm a cat that belongs outside them, I thought. Outside the borders. That's what being a rogue has taught me.
I belong outside the borders...
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
I watched from the undergrowth, my blue eyes narrowing in distaste. I couldn't bear to see those Clan cats squabbling, like he used to do, all those moons ago, when he was a warrior.
He couldn't bear to fight. This was why - what the PebbleClan cats thought, anyway - he had left them.
And now... I was here. Seeing them fight made me sick. But I had to see what was going on.
"You'd better stop this right now," a gray PebbleClan warrior hissed. His crooked tail flicked as he showed his teeth.
There was mixed reactions on the GrassClan patrol. Four of the cats were not willing to fight - a pale brown she-cat, a dark ginger tom with a white patch on his back, a dark brown tabby she-cat, and a thick-furred dark gray she-cat...
Wait! I thought. That gray she-cat's Spirit! Obviously her endeavor was successful.
The fifth cat - a ginger tom - was looking fiercely at the PebbleClan cats, rage burning in his amber eyes.
Spirit whispered something inaudible to me. The ginger tom yowled triumphantly in reply: "It is worth it! We need to teach this PebbleClan scum not to trespass."
The words chilled me to the bone, as the pale brown GrassClan she-cat replied to her Clanmate's words. "Fight yourself if you want to," she hissed, "but we're not helping you." She indicated towards her three Clanmates beside her.
"You'll commit yourself to your own death," growled the dark ginger tom with the white patch on his back.
This proved enough for the ginger tom facing the PebbleClan cats. Yowling an attack signal, he leapt on the PebbleClan cats - but none of his Clanmates joined his side. The PebbleClan cats eagerly leapt onto him, easily outnumbering the GrassClan warrior. When they pulled away, the body of the ginger cat was lying on the ground, blood seeping from his wounds, and ominously still.
"Yes, he was a silly tom, wasn't he?" snickered the gray PebbleClan cat. His paw was jabbing the body of the GrassClan cat, which was lying at his paws. He was grinning wildly at the four remaining GrassClan cats, who were staring back at him.
"Maybe now I should attack you now?" the gray tabby continued, taunting the GrassClan cats. Crooked tail lashing, he dropped into a crouch. "Because GrassClan lost a cat?"
I am going to stop this, I thought. That PebbleClan cat wanted to fight! Fighting - in my opinion - was obviously not the answer to everything.
As the gray tabby started to yowl his battle call, I intervened. "No," I hissed, as the gray tom started yowling..
I had made an impression, to my relief. Standing up, the gray tabby looked confused. "What was that? Who spoke?" he wondered aloud.
I knew that this was now the time to make his move. "I did," I growled, as I stepped out from behind the bush I was hiding behind. Corvus and Blanche were there, too - but they were more interested in watching what was going on, to the Clan cats themselves.
The gray tabby's mouth fell open. "Bluepelt?" he gasped, obviously shocked.
For the first time, I recognized the gray tabby.
I turned his gaze to him. "How is the Clan?" I mewed. Hastily, I added, "And Tabbyflight?"
One of the GrassClan warriors - the dark brown tabby - took a sharp intake of breath at his words. I was surprised. What did GrassClan have to do with me? That she-cat was a young warrior, by the looks of it.
About the age of my kits, to be exact...
Jaggedtail's gaze darkened at the mention of Tabbyflight. "Tabbyflight died after her kitting all those moons ago," he mewed, sadness evident in his tone. "And three of her kits."
No! - Hang on... "One - one survived?" I stammered, his eyes lighting up excitedly. "Where is it?" I want to meet my kit..." Grief hung in my mind. If I hadn't had left PebbleClan, Tabbyflight wouldn't have died...
It was a desire I had forgotten, that was for sure. But now that Tabbyflight was dead, I was the remaining parent. All I needed was for my kit to have a father in their life - no matter how late it was now. If he had known that was going to happen...
Jaggedtail sighed, obviously annoyed with him asking so many questions. "The fourth kit..." he began awkwardly, "is with GrassClan now. And she's right over there," he added, his tail flicking unmistakably in the direction of a cat on the GrassClan side.
And that cat was the dark brown tabby she-cat that had gasped earlier.
Silence followed Jaggedtail's words, and I kept it. A new thought was now echoing in my mind as I gazed at my daughter for the first time.
She's like me, but... maybe I don't belong outside the borders as much as I thought...
Did I make the wrong decision?
This was like, the first story I have made when the ending is not very happy, and it is unclear (ish) about what's going to happen.
If you're want to know what's going to happen next, read this.
The second short story will be focusing on Spirit! It is titled Desire.
Until next time,