This is a fanfiction based on Warriors, obviously, but also Wings of Fire. I got the idea from rereading poison jungle, and I hope you all like it!
Darkbriar watched the ShadeClan camp come alive from her hiding spot in the trees. She gave a snort, growling under her breath. A cream and black tom emerged from the warriors den, face tilted upwards in unmistakable authority. He padded forwards, eyes glinted, and peered up into the trees. Darkbriar stiffened. He couldn't possibly know she was there!
Better safe than dead.
She quietly clambered down the tree, throwing a glance back into the ShadeClan camp. The tom was still looking into the canopy. She breathed a sigh of relief, beginning to slink away. Once Darkbriar was out of sight, she broke into a full sprint out of the enemy Clan's territory. She headed for the tangle of thorns that was the first landmark to guide her home. She felt a sense of triumph, being able to sneak away. It was the same every time, every mission Vixenclaw sent her on.
Darkbriar passed the thorns and kept walking, keeping a close eye on the shadows. The ground felt springy under her paws, making it hard in keep in the right direction. She started to run, pelting through the forest as fast as she could. A shiver ran down her spine as she spotted an owl winging it's way back to it's nest, eyes glinting. She wanted to get back to EmberClan camp, and fast. Darkbriar lost track of time, her thoughts distracted and cloudy. She stopped after a a seemingly short time and lifted her face to the sun. It was maybe halfway across the sky. She padded cautiously forwards. I could see a dark shadow in the ground, the entrance to her home.
She followed the dip in the earth, emerging into a world of shadow. Darkbriar had the sense to keep quiet. Nothing was safe here. She gave a grim look at the cat stationed on guard, Smokefall. He returned with a challenging glare.
"Name," He growled.
"Smokefall," She hissed, "You know exactly who I am."
"Name," He repeated.
She lashed her tail, "Darkbriar."
"Rank," Smokefall asked, a gleam in his eyes. Did she see amusement flickering there?
"Warrior," She snorted.
"Enter," He nodded.
She did. Into EmberClan's camp, into darkness, and into her world.
Amberflame never did get used to the darkness. She wasn't even sure why EmberClan had made their camp here; it was so dark. It wasn't like the Clans by the lake were going to come looking for them, that was for sure. Not even a ShadeClan cat could find their way into this dank hole.
She sniffed, pricking her ears as the sound of pawsteps echoed down the slope. She stiffened, ready to pounce, but as the cat stepped into a patch of moonlight shining from a hole in the roof, she relaxed. It was only Darkbriar. The black she-cat nodded at Amberflame, her white-tipped ears glowing.
"My watch?" Amberflame asked, shaking her pelt as if to rid it of the clinging darkness.
"Yes," Darkbriar agreed, "I'm so tired I think I'm going to sleep right here."
"You'd better not," Amberflame growled.
"Amberflame," The black she-cat paused, "That was a joke."
"It wan't funny!" She flicked her tail, hot with embarrassment, "If Shadowjumper'd had found you, he'd flay your skin and give it to Ashstar!"
Darkbriar gave her a look, and padded off into the shadows. Amberflame shivered. Darkbriar had been her kithood friend, but now... She was mostly cold and distant.
Amberflame crept out into the moonlight, raising her head and looking into the sky. It was pitch black, only the faintest stars showing. She sat down, cautiously peering into the trees beyond. Nothing lurked there, as far as she could see. Her thoughts flickered to ShadeClan. A growing hatred ballooned inside of her. She hissed, swiping at the air and imagining her claws slicing a line down that stupid cat, Inkstar's, face. A thrill of satisfaction shivered down her spine. If only it was that easy.
A distant hoot of an owl floated through the air, making Amberflame tense. She began pacing from one end of her patrol station to another, trying to keep her body warm. It was a cold night, but even the sliver of moon in the sky provided more comfort than the blackness of her home. She glanced behind her, eyeing the shallow dip in the earth that was the entrance to her camp. She padded back to her spot, disappointed to find that the grass was now cold.
"Ow, stupid thorns!" An indignant voice grumbled. Amberflame shot up, body tingling. The voice had come from the clump of trees to her left. She silently crept closer, seeing a flash of grey and black behind a thorn patch. Amberflame bared her teeth in a quiet snarl, launching herself forward and sinking her teeth into the cat's shoulder. It squirmed underneath her, and Amberflame realised her own belly was exposed. She tensed, expecting to feel the stranger's claws raking her stomach at any second, but the pain didn't come.
"Ouch, get off of me! We can settle this peacefully!" A distinctly female voice cried.
Amberflame growled, reluctantly letting her go. A grey and black cat struggled to her paws, shaking her head vigorously.
"Who are you?" Amberflame hissed, arching her back and snarling a warning.
"Ummmm," The cat shuffled her paws, "Swiftbrook. Cat of CreekClan."
Amberflame bristled, opening her eyes wide and taking a swipe, "Lake-cat!" She snarled.
"Nope!" Swiftbrook yelped, scrambling backwards, "Yeesh!"
Amberflame wanted to beat up this cat, she really did, but something about her made Amberflame hesitate. Something about the way her eyes sparkled... and her ears twitched. Amberflame shook herself, angry. This was just a random cat from the lake!
Just a random cat! She repeated fiercely in her mind, Just a random lake-cat!
Amberflame sat down with a bump, glaring at Swiftbrook. The pretty she-cat sat down too, nervously flicking her tail.
"So," Amberflame sniffed hauntily, "What does a lake-cat want with EmberClan?"
"Oh! So you are EmberClan!" She meowed.
"Yes," She gave the cat a look, "Answer the question. Who sent you?"
"I'm sort of... Okay, I wasn't sent. I just came," Swiftbrook admitted, "Umm."
Amberflame gaped. Maybe this lake-cat was not like the rest. Maybe she could be a spy for us.
"Then why are you here?" She asked.
Swiftbrook looked genuinely concerned, "I had a dream..."
Amberflame scoffed,"Some dream!"
"It was about... you."
Amberflame couldn't register what she'd said until moments later, "Excuse me?"
"I can't tell you!" Swiftbrook blurted out, "But I have the feeling... that we were meant to meet."
"That's ridiculous," Amberflame glared at her, "It's ridiculous."
Swiftbrook looked down, tail touching a dead leaf on the ground. It fluttered up, and landed at Amberflame's paws. She looked down at it and murmured something softly.
"What was that?" Amberflame narrowed her eyes.
"Nothing," Swiftbrook glanced at her nervously.
Amberflame blinked and turned around, "If you have nothing useful to say then leave."
"No!" The tabby she-cat exclaimed, and in a softer voice continued, "Meet me here. Tomorrow night at moon-high."
And then she turned and whisked away, vanishing into the trees like a spirit cat.
"Wait- no," Amberflame began, but Swiftbrook was already gone. She opened her mouth, and then closed it. Gone.
Surprisingly, no anger bubbled up to her surface. She only felt a strange pang of loss. Amberflame stared into the forest, feeling lost. She turned tail and padded back to her spot, but she couldn't focus on her guard job. Only heartbeats ago, she had been talking to a cat she barely knew. But something nagged at Amberflame's mind, and that was the fact that she did not feel angry. This was highly unusual, as Amberflame made a conscious effort to feel anger at every point in the day. Anger fueled her, and gave her a reason to live. Her sole purpose was to defeat the lake-cats, and take revenge for her mother's death.
Heronclaw, A soft voice whispered in her mind. That was her mother's name, and a name that no-one had spoken since last season. Her father, Thornstar, had outlawed it. He must have felt the pain dearly, as they were very close. Amberflame guessed that this had been the reason Thornstar had grown bitter, and risen to leader within a moon. He was set on destruction, and had raised his only daughter as a weapon.
Me. A weapon.
Everyone had known Amberflame had been special from the start. She didn't play with the other kits at the time, and rarely spoke to anyone else. They had soon found out that she had the strongest root-speak in the tribe. It was a skill that only EmberClan had developed, and it was a skill from their ancestors. Back when the Clan's name was LeafClan. This power enabled Amberflame to speak with plants, and raise them to her will. She had grown the strong thorn barrier around the most vulnerable part of the camp. She had made the forest stronger, and better.
All on her father's word.
Amberflame was running. The forest loomed around her, and the trees seemed to tower above. Her breath was coming quickly, in ragged gasps. She saw the thorn barrier coming up in front of her, but this was not the magnificent structure she had built. It was a torn-apart mass of thorns, with so many gaps. Cats were streaming through, eyes glinting. These cats were not lake-cats, either; these were vicious rogues, scrawny and bent on the end of the world. She let out a caterwaul of alarm, and opened up her root-speak. The pain of the thorn bushes screamed into her mind, and she barely kept on her paws.
Help us! They screeched.
Amberflame shuddered, closing it. She needed to focus on the task at hand. protecting her Clan. Her legs ached and her head pounded with fear. Anger was pulsating through her veins.
How dare they do this?
Amberflame ran harder than she'd ever ran in her life. She skidded to a stop and watched in horror as her Clanmates came out and froze in shock. Thornstar let out a screech as the cats piled on top of him. Darkbriar and Smoketooth vanished under a writhing mass of cats.
"No!" Amberflame desperately forced her way into the throng, clawing and slashing her way. She slipped, glancing down to see her paws sliding in blood.
Amberflame... You left us to die...
"Amberflame!" A voice snapped her out of her sleep. Stoneslash was prodding her.
"What?" She grumbled, shooting him an icy glare. She snorted as he signaled to his patrol partner, Iceshard. Amberflame knew what that meant.
It was time for a dawn patrol. She grumbled, shaking off the bitter remnants of her dream and prodding the cat next to her. His name was Stagfoot. He was her patrol partner.
"Let's go," she called loudly. Stagfoot's paw shot out and struck her in the nose. She flinched back, face stinging.
"What was that for?" she snarled, muzzle contorted in a growl.
"It was an accident, mouse-brain!" He snapped, pushing himself awake, "It's your fault, really."
"How?!' she demanded.
"Oh yeah," Stagfoot rolled his eyes, "You definitely didn't wake me up suddenly!"
Amberflame growled, narrowing her eyes. The dark brown tom gave her a look of extreme annoyance.
The dark striped brown tom gave her a dirty look. Amberflame growled, and it was a deep sound from her throat.