Chapter One: The Rescue
As Sol climbed higher and higher into the mountains the sharp winds got more and more intense, as they threatened to push him to his doom. He could not turn back. He had no where else to go. The mountains were his last hope. Sol stumbled on a rock and his heart stopped for a moment, as he struggled to regain his balance. His stomach growled loudly, but it was nothing compared to the screeching of the wind as he pursued his destination. The sun began to set, and Sol quickened his pace, for he knew he would not be able to survive the night if he was stuck out here like this. All of a sudden a loud screeching noise was heard overhead. Sol froze. What was that? Is there someone out there?,he thought to himself. But for a few moments, all he could hear was the whooshing winds echoing through the mountains, so he continued on. SQUAW! There it was again. Sol stopped dead in his tracks as his heart pounded nervously. He looked up at the mountain sunset and saw his pursuer. It was an eagle. Sol's fur puffed up as he ran for his dear life. Sol was fast and agile. But the eagle was more than that. The eagle's sharp talons grabbed Sol's shoulders and dug into his flesh. He let out a screech of fury and pain. Suddenly, her heard the sound of paw steps thumping on stone. Someone was coming to save him. He called again, but the eagle began to lift him into the sky. Then he saw the cats. There were three cats in total. Two were muscular rock colored toms, and the other was a lean cream colored she-cat. The two muscular toms leaped up into the air and grabbed onto both of the eagles wings. The eagle screeched in fury and flapped wildly as it started to plummet to the ground. The she-cat scaled a nearby boulder and leaped up on top of the eagle. Sol had never seen someone so graceful and agile in his whole life, even the times he spent with the clans. The she-cat reared up and slammed her paws against the eagles back, causing it to let Sol go as it plummeted to the ground. Sol yowled in pain as he hit the cold rock with his bleeding shoulder. The two toms began to hoist the lifeless eagle onto their backs, while the she-cat raced over to him. "Are you alright? I've never seen you around. Are you from the forest?" Sol's mind was racing so fast he couldn't speak. "He's not speaking. I think he's in shock," the she-cat said to the two toms. She hoisted Sol up and positioned him so that he leaned on her shoulders, and slowly guided him on a narrow path behind a waterfall. Normally, Sol would have been terrified, but he was to exhausted to even think. As soon as he entered the small cavern and was set down he collapsed into a fitful sleep.
Chapter Two: The Crush
Sol awoke to a cluster of cats staring down at him. It was dark, and it was hard to see, but he could make out the she-cat he had seen earlier talking to an elderly cat in the back of the cave. She kept stealing uneasy glances at him while she spoke. After a few moments, the crowd parted to let the elder and the she cat through. The elder was carrying moss soaked with water toward him. "Drink," he said in a strange accent. Sol gratefully lapped up the water and managed to pull himself up. He noticed his shoulder was not so sore, and that someone had applied herbs to it. "Where am I?" Sol asked. "The Tribe Of Rushing Water. This is our camp. Who are you, and why are you here? Are you a clan cat? Because we don't want anything to do with clan cats," the elder mewed. "I'm not a clan cat, but I came from that place. They banished me after some difficulties, and I thought maybe I could make a home in the mountains, but apparently, life here is harder here then down in the forest," Sol growled. The elder turned and mumbled something in a black toms ear, and he ran to another side of the cave. He came back with a small rodent clamped in his jaws. "Eat," the tom said gruffly and stalked away. Gratefully, Sol gulped down the rodent and began to groom himself as the crowd of curious cats died down. Soon the only cats that remained, were the old cat and the young she-cat who had rescued him. "Thanks for saving me," he mewed to the she-cat. She shrugged, "It was what any honorable cat could do," Sol picked up a hint of embarrassment in her voice but he shook it away. "What's your name?" he asked. "Echo Of Running Water but most of my tribe-mates call me Echo. And yours?" "Sol," he replied. She smiled at sat down next to him. "I can see you've come a long way to find us," she mewed. "Yes, but I wasn't expecting this. Just a few strays maybe, but surely not a whole tribe!" he smiled back at her. Their eyes met and for a second Sol's heart skipped a beat. But as soon as their gazes locked she looked away, "I must go out and hunt before night falls again. See you around, Sol," she breathed as she hurried out. But Sol hardly noticed. He just wanted to know what he had just felt. Why his heart was beating so hard and why he felt as if he would burst. But he realized he knew the answer. The feeling was love. He was in love with the tribe cat.
Chapter Three: The Decision
After resting for hours, Sol began to feel anxious. No one
had visited him. No one had checked on him. He was just alone in the little stone room. Sol picked himself up and stretched. Surprisingly, his muscles did not hurt as bad as he thought they would have. Sol padded out of the small cavern and into the main cave, which was buzzing with commotion. Cats were talking, eating, grooming, playing everywhere! And there were so many cats! Suddenly, Sol felt very small. He looked around. Everyone here had a cat to talk to or a friend to share prey with. He had never had anything like that. Sol, first the first time in forever, truly felt alone. "Sol! Come over here! I have someone that you might want to meet!" Sol turned around to see Echo beckoning him over to her with her tail. She was sitting next to a lean black she-cat who seemed very amused. He briskly walked over to her and sat down. "Sol, this is Shadow That Lurks At Night," Echo mewed excitedly. "But you can call me Shadow," Shadow meowed with a smirk. "So you're the infamous Sol. I've heard you're from forest. I've always wanted to go there. Echo too. It seems like a beautiful place full of amazing things," Suddenly Echo jumped up into the air. "
You know the way to the forest ,right? And since you are planning to go back to the forest you MUST take us with you!" "That's a fantastic idea Echo!" Shadow mewed excitedly, "We could meet the REAL clans at last!" Sol was stunned. He couldn't go back to the forest. If he did he would be killed!"Whoa I'm not taking anyone anywhere!" he said. The two she-cats stopped jumping around. "What do you mean you can't take us?" Echo mewed, her voice sounding so crestfallen. Sol was stricken. His mind screamed No! Don't take her! It's a death trap! But at the same time his heart longed to be with Echo forever. And he realized that the only way for that to happen was take to take Echo back to the forest, and back to the one place he never wanted to see again. Sol let out a sigh, "Fine, I'll take you,"
Chapter Four: The Great Reveal
The she-cats let out a squeal. "When? When will you take us?" Shadow squealed. Sol hadn't thought of that. But Sol realized that he would need to do it soon. "In two sunrises I will take you. But won't your clan miss you?" he mewed. "Don't worry, I'll handle that," Shadow mewed confidently,"All I need for
you to do is to guide us there," Shadow padded over to the elderly cat who had given Sol the water the first night. Echo wrapped her tail around his shoulder, "Thank you," she mewed sweetly. Sol blushed, "I don't know. I guess I didn't want to be alone anymore," he shrugged. Echo giggled, "I'll never leave you, so now you'll never be alone," she mewed. Sol breathed in her sweet scent. Finally he thought I've found someone who truly loves me.
Chapter Five: The Death
Sol awoke to gentle whispering in his ear, "Wake up my love, it's time to go," Echo whispered. Sol stood up, streched his legs, and walked over to the mouth of the cave where Shadow was waiting for him with traveling herbs. "Here, eat these," she pushed the pile of herbs toward Sol, "Stoneteller wishes you the best of luck," Sol nods as he gulps down the last of the bitter tasting leaves. Suddenly, loud yowling pierced through the cavern, and it was coming from The Cave Of Pointed Stones. The three cats dashed to the cave to see what the matter was, and in the middle of the floor lay a barely breathing Stoneteller. "Stoneteller!" Echo gasped as she ran toward her dying leader. She curled her body around him. "Stonteller what's wrong? I can fix you! You can't leave us!" she wailed. Stoneteller curled his crooked tail and touched Echo's forhead with it, "You... you will be the next Stoneteller," he rasped. He eyes widened as shock as he began to say the words for the ritual that appoints a new stoneteller. "May The Tribe Of Endless Hunting light your path," he rasped feebly. Stoneteller's eyes rolled back in his head. He was gone.
Chapter Six: The Gift
Sunlight slowly began to filter in the cave as Echo told the stpry of Stoneteller's death
. The Tribe let out wails of dismay and shock as the news spread. When the crowd slowly dwindled, Sol padd
ed up to Echo. "I'm so sorry for your loss my love. Everything wil work out, don't worry," he meowed. To his surprise she drew back sharply, "No! Nothing will be the same! Now my dreams of EVER seeing the forest are shattered into little tiny bite-sized pieces! Don't you see! I can't leave the Tribe! That is why I can never ever see the forest!" she wailed in dismay. Tears streamed down her face as she ran into the Cave Of Pointed Stones. Sol tried to run after her but was stopped. He turned back to see Shadow. "Don't run after her. I think this time this is something she needs to face alone," she mewed gravely. Sol nodded and slowly walked to his nest. He looked at his nest and the nest beside his, Echo's old nest. He curled up in Echo's old nest and bathed in her sweet scent. Even with Echo so close, he never felt so far away from her. As soon as Sol closed his eyes, he found himself in a field of flowers. He turned to the sound of rustling to see a fa
milar flame colored tabby coming toward him. Sol backed up, "Firestar don't hurt her! Don't hurt me! I'll do anything!" he wailed as he backed up. Firestar smiled. "I'm not hear to hurt you Sol. I am here to help you," Sol's eyes widened in surprise. "I misjudged you Sol. I thought your were evil through and through. But now I see you have been wronged, and this wrong was the cause of your anger, which you could not control. But now, Echo has given you a light in your dark-dark world, and I want to help you make Echo's dream come true," Firestar mewed. "But she can't leave the cave!" Sol blurted out. "That is why I am going to bring the f
orest to her," he mewed. "How?" Sold asked, puzzled. "Follow me," mewed Firestar as he began to run. Sol chased after him, and soon they came to a edge of a huge forest. "This is the forest! But how-" Firetstar cut Sol off. "We are not really there. This is just a vision. But we are going to let Echo see this vision," Suddenly, a swirl of mist formed a tornado cloud next to Firestar,and when the mist faded there stood Echo. "The Forest!" she gasped, as she ran into the trees laughing with joy. "Echo wait-" Firetstar held Sol back. "She can't see us, but at least her dream has come true," Firetstar mewed and smiled. Suddenly, Sol's world went black, and he woke up. Echo came running from her cave to greet him. "Sol! Sol! I saw the forest! I really did!" she mewed. Sol smiled, and from the corner of his eye, he thought he could see Firestar smile back.