How can Wish, a rogue, save the Clans that she’s been taught to hate since birth?
The silvery moonlight illuminated the small dip in the ground that Wish was inside, fast asleep. She had no family. No friends. Just herself and the forest. Wish had been born a rogue and had grown up hating the four Clans.
She never gave any thought to what has happening in them.
But something horrible was happening.
The Clans were dying.
As the clouds covered the moon, darkening the forest, the Clans were fighting for their survival.
Wish never thought that she would have to take part.
But since when does a rogue think about anything?
The small, brown mouse scurried across the forest floor, the dense grass hiding it.
The mouse was not hidden from Wish. It did not stand a chance.
Blood splattered the small rock the mouse had hidden behind as Wish dug her claws into its tiny body. She carried it in her mouth back to her makeshift “den”.
For Wish, life was perfect.
For the Clans, it wasn’t.
As she tucked into her freshly caught dinner, completely unaware of the Clan’s plight, Wish couldn’t help wondering what in the Clans there was worth hating.
The way of life.
The fact that they hate rogues.
But rogues hate them.
However, the Clan’s plight wasn’t the only thing Wish was unaware of.
She was also unaware of the stranger in the bush, its bright yellow eyes watching her every move.
As if it could attack any minute.
The strange cat continued to watch Wish through its sun coloured eyes.
Wish was just settling down, about to sleep. That's when the cat made its move.
It jumped out of the bush, hissing at Wish.
“Who are you and what do you want?” Wish snarled defensively.
“I am Claw, a rogue, just like you” The mysterious tom answered.
“Get away from me or I will kill you!” shrieked Wish at Claw.
“No” he said, not taking his eyes off Wish, “I think it is I that will kill you”
Wish jumped on Claw. He yelped in pain. However, he was not so easily defeated.
Claw lifted his paw and scratched Wish right down in the stomach. Now it was her turn to scream in pain.
Wish rolled over on one side and felt her vision begin to blur. Claw stood over her, ready to finish her off. This is the end, she thought, I am going to die.
She thought wrong.
A black shape jumped on Claw, knocking him away from Wish. It was a cat. They continued to fight, and even with Wish’s blurred vision she could see blood dripping from Claw’s neck.
The black cat had won. Wish closed her eyes, too in pain to do anything else.
Wish was lying on the moss-covered ground. Why is it covered in moss?
She opened her eyes. Standing above her was the black cat that had killed Claw.
“Hello, I’m Shadefire, warrior of WindClan” the black cat told her.
“WindClan!” hissed Wish, “get away from me!”
“Don’t worry” replied Shadefire, pushing Wish down to stop her attacking him. “You were wounded, but Willowsong is going to help you.”
“I don’t want help from any Clan cat!” Wish angrily stated, “I’d rather die than get help from one of you!”
A silver tabby she-cat entered the room, holding dock leaves in her mouth. Willowsong. Shadefire stepped aside.
“So, here’s the rogue I’ve heard so much about” said Willowsong, “what’s your name?”
“Wish” Wish replied, and instantly regretted it. Why was she telling a Clan cat her name?
“Well then, Wish, we are not trying to hurt you. We are trying to help you, so don’t hurt us” Willowsong said, while helping Shadefire hold down a hissing Wish.
“I’ve told you; I don’t want your help!” Wish shouted, breaking free of Shadefire and Willowsong’s restraints and running off. However, she fell over in pain.
“Fine” she grumbled, “You can help me this once”
“Willowsong? Shadefire?” Birchstar called. The two cats looked around. “Why are you helping this rogue? We’ve got our own problems. Night is coming, and with it, the Dark Forest.”
“Maybe the rogue, once she’s healed, could help us in the battle?” suggested a hopeful Shadefire.
“I don’t want to help you in any battle!” snarled Wish, still struggling to get up. “You heal me, and then I go!”
“Heal her, Willowsong, then let her go” instructed Birchstar. Willowsong nodded and helped a reluctant Wish back to the medicine den.
Wish looked down at her chest. It was still scratched, but not bloody anymore. Willowsong had healed her.
Wish got up to leave. It was now nightfall. She walked out of the medicine den and was quickly pushed back in by Shadefire. He was covered in several cuts, a few of which had blood dripping out of them.
“Don’t go out there, Wish!” he warned, “They’ll kill you! Birchstar’s already dead!”
“Who?” asked Wish, although she already knew the answer.
“The Dark Forest, of course” replied Shadefire. There was fear in his voice.
Wish thought this over for a while. Then she announced, “No cat scares me, least of all a dead one! You WindClan cats must be really weak, to be scared of a few ghosts”
“They’re not just ghosts, Wish” whispered Shadefire, “They’ve committed great crimes against their Clan, and are now back for revenge. You won’t understand.”
“So what?” announced Wish, “No warrior can tell me what to do! You said I could go!”
“Birchstar said you could go” corrected Shadefire, “but he is dead. I am doing this for your own safety, Wish. Do you want to die?”
Wish thought about this. “I’d rather die than take orders from a Clan cat” she finally replied.
Shadefire sighed. There was no shifting Wish. “Ok” he said, “go if you want to”
Wish sped out of the medicine den faster than light. I’m so glad that I’m out of that mangy medicine den, she thought, It really is horrible.
But what she saw next was much worse.
WindClan was losing.
Whatever, thought Wish, I’ll sneak out between all the fighting, they’ll never notice.
As she stepped over the dead body of Birchstar, Wish couldn’t help feeling sorry for the Clan, having to deal with all this.
No! she thought, Don’t feel sorry for the Clan cats! Don’t!
Wish kept that thought in her head as she snuck out of the Clan. She was just on the territory border when she saw Shadefire being pinned by a grey she-cat with piercing amber eyes. The she-cat had already scarred him across the eye and showed no signs of leaving Shadefire alone. He was on his last legs.
Wish didn’t really know why she did it.
One minute she was about to leave WindClan’s territory and continue her carefree life, the next she had killed the she-cat that was fighting Shadefire. Wish had saved his life.
“Wish… Wish…” he stuttered. His face was bloody and scratched. “Get… Willowsong…”
“Willowsong!” screamed Wish. “Willowsong!”
Willowsong ran over and took Shadefire to the medicine den. Wish followed.
What am I doing? She thought, caring for a Clan cat! Should’ve left him to die!
Willowsong was just as confused as Wish was. She kept looking at Wish, then at Shadefire, then back at Wish. She even dropped her Goldenrod.
Wish took that opportunity to get out of WindClan. “I’ll never think about that again” she assured herself.
But she was wrong.
The sun rose slowly that day, casting light in even the darkest of woodland. For Wish, everything was as it should be. Everything was perfect again.
But she could not stop thinking about Shadefire. He saved her life. She saved his. But he was a warrior, and she was a rogue.
Because he cared, that’s why.
But warriors do not care for rogues.
What if he’s different?
They’re all the same.
Not all of them.
“Get out my head!” screamed Wish so loud that several birds flew out of the trees, scared at the sound of her voice.
That seemed to do the trick. For the rest of the day, Shadefire was no longer in her mind.
But a different thought took its place.
A silvery white she-kit cowered nervously behind her mother; who’s pinkish pelt was stained with blood.
“Leave us alone!” the mother screamed, “we don’t want to hurt you!”
Still, the cream-coloured tom that was next to them continued to attack. He, too, was covered in marks. Claws unsheathed, the tom brought them down on the mother, who was still screaming.
“Run!” she told the tiny she-kit, “run for your life!”
With one last sad look at her mother, the kit ran off into the bushes. There, she couldn’t see the whole fight, but she could see the tom biting her mother’s neck, and walking away, having just killed her.
The kit cried herself to sleep that night.
“That was my mother…” Wish said quietly to herself, “My mother was that rogue. She was killed by a cream coloured tom…”
Wish paused. She had seen that cream coloured pelt before…
Birchstar was WindClan’s leader.
Birchstar had let Willowsong heal her.
Birchstar was a murderer.
If he weren't dead already I would kill him, Wish thought angrily, all her rage exploding inside her head.
She was right not to trust the Clans.
Wish walked alone. That’s how it was all her life. Now that’s what it was again.
And now dead himself…
Wish was so angry that she killed every mouse, rabbit, or bird she could see. Sometimes they got away. That made her angrier.
And now dead himself…
As night dawned, she could just make out the helpless remains of WindClan fighting for their lives.
Whatever, thought Wish, I don’t care about the Clans. Least of all that Shadefire.
But a little voice inside her head told her she was wrong.
She ignored it.
As a cold breeze swept throughout the Clans, it only seemed to lessen their chances of winning tonight’s battle.
Wish curled up, ready to fall asleep, when she heard rustling in the bushes, and a black cat emerged.
“What do you want?” Wish snarled at him.
“To say that WindClan means you no harm” Shadefire answered.
“No harm?! No harm?! Birchstar killed my mother!” said Wish, furious.
“Well, the new leader, Leopardstar, wouldn’t hurt any cat, least of all innocent rogues” replied a shocked Shadefire.
“But you… you killed Claw! See? You don’t even deny it!” hissed Wish.
“Only because he was going to kill you!” protested Shadefire.
“I can fend for myself, thank you” snapped Wish.
“I saw the way you took on that she-cat back at the camp, Wish. We could use cats like you” suggested Shadefire.
But Wish had gone.
Shadefire sighed and padded back to camp.
Wish walked over to the river. But when she bent down to take a drink, something caught her totally off-guard.
A cat with a starry cream-coloured pelt.
“Wish -” he began to say, but Wish cut him off.
“You murderer!” she shrieked, “Get away from me!”
“Wish -” he pleaded, but once again he was interrupted.
“Go back to StarClan, even though you don’t belong there!” she screamed.
“WindClan needs you” Birchstar said, before fading off back to StarClan.
“What do I care for WindClan? It’s just a Clan full of rogue-murderers, just like you” Wish hissed at him as he disappeared.
She then took her drink and walked off.
But what if Birchstar was right?
Birchstar could never be right. He’s a murderer.
But the others… could they really all be rogue murderers too?
Shadefire is. Birchstar definitely is.
Shadefire was trying to protect me. He killed Claw to save my life.
Wish hung her head, unsure of what to do next.
She looked to her left. She could clearly see the WindClan border. Wish blinked her deep brown eyes, trying to forget it was there.
But she could never forget.
Wish remembered the encounter with Claw, and how Shadefire brought her to the camp to heal. She also remembered saving him from the Dark Forest she-cat and running away when no one was looking. Then she remembered when he told her to go back to the Clan.
To save them.
To win this war.
Wish took a deep breath and padded towards the WindClan border.
"Wish? You returned?" said Shadefire, in awe.
Wish looked up at the sky. It was turning dark. Soon it would be night.
"Yes" Wish replied, looking at Shadefire. "NOW LET'S GO KICK SOME DARK FOREST BUTT!"
Night fell. The warriors of WindClan waited with bated breath as, one by one, the cats of the Dark Forest appeared.
It was time.
A large, fierce-looking tom stepped forward. There was pure evil in his eyes.
“Give up” he snarled, eyes narrowing, “I wanted my revenge and I got it. All this battle will bring is your death.”
“I’d rather die than surrender to you!” snapped back Leopardstar.
“Then you will have your wish” snarled the tom, and leaped on Leopardstar, tearing the fur on his shoulder, making him scream.
The tom laughed. Leopardstar slowly got up, and the tom pounced on his back.
Shadefire, another warrior called Adderdusk, and the deputy, Eagletalon, all reacted at once.
The tom leapt off Leopardstar in order to fight the three warriors. Now the battle was raging all around them.
Wish was battling the same she-cat that she had saved Shadefire from. Trying to ignore the pain in the paw that the she-cat slashed, Wish continued to fight.
But something stopped her.
A cry of pain.
Adderdusk had been killed.
Several heads turned to look at the tom, who was laughing at the dead body of Adderdusk under him. Shadefire and Eagletalon continued to fight, even though they were full of fear.
But without Adderdusk, they were losing.
They need a third cat, thought Wish. They need me.
She ran through the blood-stained camp, abandoning the she-cat, and joined Shadefire and Eagletalon.
“Who’s this?” joked the tom, “Adderdusk’s replacement?”
“My name is Wish” said Wish, “and I will kill you”
The tom turned his full attention on Wish. She hissed and snarled, circling around the tom. He did the same with her.
Then he attacked.
The tom jumped on Wish, but she struck him on the side, and he lost his balance. That gave Wish enough time to pin him.
But the tom wasn’t so easily defeated.
He lifted his paw, and cut her ear, splattering it with blood. He was about to strike her again when something pulled his tail.
“HEY! OVER HERE!” it was Shadefire.
The tom turned to look at him, and Wish, ear still bleeding, jumped on his back. The tom yowled in pain as Wish’s claws dug into his fur.
Then it was Shadefire’s turn.
He brought his claws down on the tom’s head. The tom growled, but it wasn’t too hard to tell that he was in pain.
But even the most injured can strike back.
The tom flipped over and pinned Wish. Still struggling, she tried to rake the tom’s chest.
But he was ready.
He batted her paw away, laughing. “Did you seriously think you could kill me?” he said, as Wish tried to get away.
But then she had an idea.
Wish stopped struggling and went limp under the tom. He stepped back.
“She’s dead!” he called to the WindClan warriors. “She’s dead! Surrender!”
“W-Wish?” whispered Shadefire, peering over Wish’s seemingly dead body. She did not move.
“Surrender!” called the tom again. The glint of evil in his eyes had returned.
“Never!” shouted back Leopardstar. The rest of WindClan murmured in agreement.
“Then I will have to -” started the tom, but he got cut off by something raking his stomach.
“What? How?” he said furiously, and tried to turn around, but Wish pulled herself up and, with all her might, bit his neck.
The tom disappeared back to the Dark Forest.
One by one, the other members of his army vanished too.
WindClan had won.
Wish collapsed, knowing that she had saved them all.
Wish opened her eyes to see three cats standing above her. One was black, one was a silver tabby, and the other was spotted.
Shadefire, Willowsong and Leopardstar.
Wish looked down. Her pelt had several cuts.
“It’s nothing bad” reassured Willowsong, “Only a few cuts and a torn ear. That Dark Forest tom got much worse.”
“Yeah” joked Wish, feeling better at last.
She got up and walked outside the medicine den. All the other cats seemed to be waiting for her.
“Wish! How did you do it?”
“Wish! Do you think they will come back?”
“Wish! Are you staying in the Clan?”
To get away from all the cats bombarding her with questions, Wish went hid behind a big oak tree.
Finally, she thought, no one around to bother me.
But she spoke to soon.
“Hi, Wish” said a black tom, who had appeared behind her.
“Oh, um, hi” she replied, “What do you want?”
“It’s just” mumbled Shadefire, “I’ve been trying to tell you all this time, but I just couldn’t get the words out. You see, I – I –”
“I love you too” laughed Wish.
Now she understood why she couldn’t stop thinking about Shadefire. It wasn’t hate.
It was the opposite.
As the sky turned a brilliant shade of gold, the two new mates nuzzled, happy at last.
For Wish, life was perfect.
For the Clans, it was too.