Remember, this story has been rated Extreme for a reason.
Please proceed with caution. Thank you :)
Firestar is dead. The Dark Forest has won the Great Battle. The spirits of both of StarClan and the Dark Forest that have survived the battle are now mortal again. But the cats who didn’t survive the Great Battle are nowhere to be found. No one can find their spirits. The Dark Forest has taken over, and they have taken both Clan and StarClan cats as slaves.
But the refugees who survived must find a way to save their Clanmates, but first they need to leave the forest, to be safe. But as they leave secrets begin to unfold, and loyalties are tested. The world is suddenly turned upside down and inside out if it already wasn’t. There is only one way to get rid of the Dark Forest forever . . . for it to work, every cat from every Clan, and even StarClan must put their differences aside, and band together to make them disappear.
They have one shot to get rid of Tigerstar and take back their home. But what they must do is next to impossible.
Firestar lunged for Tigerstar's throat, hissing and snarling. Tigerstar dodged it, and clawed at Firestar's side. Blood flowed from the open wound. No! I can't die! I have to save my Clan! Thought Firestar as he landed. He weakly tried to get up on shaky legs, but he felt a giant paw slam down on him. He looked out of the corner of his eye to see Tigerstar snarling and ready to kill him. "Firestar!"
A heartbroken cry echoed through the air. Sandstorm. Graystripe. Squirrelflight. Leafpool. He thought, as he heard them trying to save them. He turned his head to see them all. He tried to call out a warning, as he saw Dark Forest cats sneaking up on them. "Watch out!" He tried to wail. But all he could manage was a husky gasp.
His eyes widened as Graystripe lunged forward, but Brokenstar pounced on Graystripe's back holding him down. Hawkfrost jumped on Brambleclaw, and many Dark Forest cats began to overpower the Clan cats. He watched in sadness and horror, as even Ivypool and Blossomfall, his own Clan, helped the cats from the Place of No Stars. "Your time is over." He heard Tigerstar snarl in his ear.
Firestar desperately tried to get him off, but Tigerstar was too strong. All Firestar could do was watch as his last life ebbed away. He closed his eyes. The prophecy...it failed! StarClan failed! We failed! I'm so so sorry...I should've been stronger. He thought, as he felt the pain subsiding, and darkness consumed him for the last time.
Lionblaze watched in horror. "B-b-but the prophecy! I-it-it should've worked! I mean...the Dark Forest..." Jayfeather padded up beside him. "They won." He said, his mew thick with grief. "The Dark Forest has won."
Graystripe let out a wail. "Firestar!" He cried. "No!" Sandstorm, Firestar's mate, was already running towards his deceased form. Tigerstar put a paw on Firestar. He looked up at all the Dark Forest cats. "GET THEM! TAKE THEM AS OUR SLAVES!" He roared. The cats from the Place of No Stars immediately lunged for the Clan and StarClan cats, dragging them away from their families and friends.
Dovewing watched in horror. Wails of cats filled her ears. Her powers weren't gone yet. "RUN! RUN! RUN!"
"No! Don't take her!"
"I promise I'll find you again! NOW RUN!"
Dovewing let out a wail as she saw her owns sister, Ivypool working with the cats of the Dark Forest. Ivypool spotted her and lunged for her. Dovewing shot away from her sister. Ivypool began to chase Dovewing through the forest. "Ivypool! Stop!" She tried to wail, but Ivypool wasn't listening.
Crookedstar jumped into the river. "Willowbreeze! Come one! Hurry!" He called out to his mate. Willowbreeze ran, but Mapleshade pounced on her, wrestling her to the ground. "Willowbreeze, no!" Wailed Crookedstar. "Crookedstar, run!" Hissed Willowbreeze. "I'll escape I promise!" Mapleshade laughed. "In your dreams little kitty." She snarled, as she dragged Willowbreeze away. "NO!"
Brackenfur swiped at Breezepelt. Breezepelt snarled, and lunged at him. Brackenfur ducked down, and clawed at the black tom's underbelly. Breezepelt let out a yowl of pain, and fury. "Sorreltail, run!" Gasped Brackenfur as Breezepelt, managed to jump on him. He began to drag Brackenfur towards where all the other Dark Forest cats were headed.
Sorreltail spun around, grabbing both Lilykit and Seedkit by the scruff. She tried to run, but something jumped on top of her. It was Blossomfall. "No!" She cried. "No, don't do this!" But Blossomfall merely glared at her. "I'm with the Dark Forest now!" She snarled. "They're my true Clan." Sorreltail whirled around, but Blossomfall snatched her tail.
Sorreltail gasped in pain, as she felt it dislocate. She whirled around, and bit at her. Blossomfall then snatched Seedkit from her. "Seedkit!" She cried. Seedkit wailed, and thrashed around. "Unless you want to ever see this kit again, you'll come with me." Hissed Blossomfall. Sorreltail was horrified by Blossomfall's words, but she merely nodded, and followed Blossomfall.
Lionblaze shoved Jayfeather into the river. "Jayfeather go!" He yowled. "I won't lose you too!" Jayfeather began to swim in the river, and Lionblaze quickly followed him. Tigerstar had been chasing them. "You fool!" Roared Tigerstar, turning his amber glare on Lionblaze. "You could have had power! You could have ruled the forest by my side!" He hissed. "I would rather die than follow you!" Snapped Lionblaze.
Crowfeather tried to dart away from a Dark Forest cat, but they were too fast. They pounced on Crowfeather. Crowfeather was about to try and buck them off, when another cat slammed into the Dark Forest cat. "Crowfeather, run!" It was Leafpool. Crowfeather leaped to his paws, and watched in horror, as the Dark Forest cat swiped at Leafpool, knocking the pretty she-cat unconscious.
Crowfeather lunged for the cat, but another one bit at Crowfeather's neck. Crowfeather instinctivly froze. "Good choice." Murmured the cat, as they began to drag him away.
Blackstar watched in horror, from his hiding place, as families and Clans were torn apart by Tigerstar's followers. "Oh no. How will we ever survive?"
Brambleclaw collapsed coughing, and sputtering, and gasping for air. Hawkfrost laughed. They were in Hawkfrost's part of the tunnels. That's right. Underground tunnels. "Oh, dear. Brother, you make me laugh." Brambleclaw glared at him. Hawkfrost had just finished beating him. He rose to his paws. "Brambleclaw, I have some news that you may like to hear." Brambleclaw's ears pricked. News? "What is it?" He asked.
"I'll be right back." Said Hawkfrost, leaving Brambleclaw on his own for a little while. When Hawkfrost came back, he was dragging something with him. He dropped it at Brambleclaw's paws. It was the body of a Dark Forest cat. Brambleclaw staggered backwards. "But how?! You're spirits!" He exclaimed. Hawkfrost laughed. "Not anymore, Brambleclaw!" He said. "We've been here for so long, that we're mortal again!"
Brambleclaw's eyes widened, as Hawkfrost continued, "That means we need prey, and water, and oxygen to survive, and we can have kits, and many other things that a living cat can do." He said. Brambleclaw blinked. "What?! Really?!" Hawkfrost nodded. "Yep." Brambleclaw blinked. Hawkfrost then glanced at Brambleclaw. "Why I go hunting, while you clean up? And go bury this disgusting thing while you're at it."
Hawkfrost gestured toward the body. Brambleclaw glared at his brother. "Why should I?" He demanded. Hawkfrost's eyes turned cold. "Because if you ever want to see your family again, you'll listen to me." He said, with unmistakable coldness. "Where are they?!" Demanded Brambleclaw, lunging forward, but he was jerked backwards. He had forgotten that he was held back by the vines that Hawkfrost had tied him up by.
Brambleclaw's paws were tied up, and it was strapped over his chest and neck as well. Hawkfrost laughed as Brambleclaw tried to lunge forward. "Goldenflower, your mother, is Tigerstar's...personal...worker." He said. Brambleclaw glared at him. You mean slave. "And, well, Tawnypelt, I'm sure she's having fun being ordered around with all the others by all my Dark Forest friends."
Hawkfrost paused a moment before continuing, "And for your mate, Squirrelflight. Well...I really shouldn't say." His eyes flashed, maliciously. Brambleclaw looked up at him, pleadingly. "Please, Hawkfrost! Tell me where Squirrelflight is!" He cried. Hawkfrost looked at him. "I think it'd be better if you didn't know." He said, smoothly. Brambleclaw's eyes widened. Squirrelflight must be somewhere horrible! I have to get her out of here!
He thought, desperately. Hawkfrost then untied him. "And you know what happens if you try to escape." He said. Brambleclaw dipped his head and nodded. If Brambleclaw ever dared try to escape, Hawkfrost would send word to Tigerstar, and they would both torture the ones Brambleclaw loved.
He dipped his head to Hawkfrost, as Hawkfrost left to the surface of the tunnels. Brambleclaw sighed.
Graystripe looked at the remnants of ThunderClan. He looked away, and closed his eyes. The memory of Firestar's death was much too fresh in his mind. He remembered how he had tried to lunge forward to help Firestar, but he had been pinned down by a Dark Forest warrior. I was nearly killed. He thought. He turned back to ThunderClan.
Jayfeather was treating the injured cats, and all the warriors were talking, or being treated. Lionblaze was pretty much deputy of the Clan now. We have to get our Clanmates back! But how? He wondered. The Dark Forest patrolled the entire forest, now. There were three cats up in a tree, keeping watch for a patrol to come by. If one did, they would warn the Clan, and everyone would hide.
"Graystripe." Said a familiar voice. Graystripe turned his head. Silverstream was standing in front of him. "Silverstream." He said. Graystripe had seen the RiverClan she-cat during the battle, but he hadn't been able to actually talk to her. Silverstream nuzzled him. "They're waiting for your orders." She said, gesturing toward all of ThunderClan. Graystripe sighed.
"I don't know if I can lead them." He said, grimly. "Of course you can! You're the only one here, who's had the most experience!" She said. Graystripe sighed again. "Okay." He said. "I'll try." He caught sight of Millie watching them, jealousy burning in her gaze, out of the corner of his eye. He ignored her. Millie had been very difficult lately. Graystripe was beginning to doubt his decision, taking Millie as a mate.
"Cats of ThunderClan!" Called Graystripe. Everyone gathered under him. "I know we have had major losses, but we must focus on surviving, and not getting caught by the Dark Forest right now!" He took a deep breath. "Before we can devise a plan to save our Clanmates, we must make sure we are safe. The only way to stay safe right now, is leaving the forest." Gasps of shock ran through the Clan.
"What are you talking about?!" Hissed Jayfeather. "We can't make another Great Journey!" Graystripe looked at Jayfeather. "I mean, not far, but just out of it's borders, so that we don't get caught by the Dark Forest." He said. This calmed some of them down, but not too many of them. "But what about the other Clans?" Asked Lionblaze. "I'll send out three groups of three to find the other Clans, and ask them to come with us." He said.
Murmurs of agreement and disapproval swept through the ThunderClan cats. Sandstorm stood up. "I think it's a good idea." The sand colored she-cat said. "That way, we can stay safe, while we devise a plan to take down the Dark Forest." Jayfeather cocked his head. "I guess that's understandable." He grumbled. Graystripe nodded. "Then I'll send them now." But Graystripe ended up choosing three groups of two cats to go.
After they had left, Graystripe turned to ThunderClan again. "Okay, Lionblaze, keep track of what cats are keeping watch." He said. Lionblaze nodded. "Okay." Graystripe added, "Once we rescue Brambleclaw, he will become leader." He announced. "Just want to clear that up, incase any of you were wondering." Lionblaze began to send out small hunting patrols. Graystripe walked away.
"Graystripe!" He heard Jayfeather say. "Let me check you for wounds." Graystripe rolled his eyes. "Fine." He said. After Jayfeather was finished checking him, him and Silverstream left camp. Silverstream looked at him. "I know you'll be able to save them." She said. Graystripe smiled. "Maybe we could live together again. Since your mortal now..." He trailed off. Silverstream looked down. "Possibly." She said.
Goldenflower narrowed her eyes as Tigerstar re-entered the tunnels. "What do you want?" She growled. Hurt flashed in Tigerstar's eyes. She couldn't tell if he was just acting, or if it was real. "Oh, Goldenflower." He said. "What happened to you? What happened to us?" He asked. Goldenflower lashed her tail. "You happened, Tigerstar." She said. "You hurt me and our kits more than you could imagine."
"Give me another chance." Said Tigerstar, going up to be by her side. Goldenflower pulled away from the brown tom. "You've had your second chance! I would rather die than be with you!" She spat. Anger flared up in Tigerstar's gaze. He glared at her. "Fine!" He spat. "I guess I'll just send word to Hawkfrost." Pain stabbed at Goldenflower, as she remembered that Tigerstar had mated with Sasha as well.
She shook herself. Stop it! He's evil! Who cares what he did?! She forced the words out. "What are you going to do to Brambleclaw?" Tigerstar looked at her. "Oh, nothing. Just when he's all healed I'll have Hawkfrost work him twice as hard. And maybe a few other things." Panic shot through Goldenflower. "What are you going to do to him?" She cried, unable to keep the desperation out of her voice.
Tigerstar laughed. "Do you want to see him?" He asked. "Yes!" She pleaded. "Fine." Growled Tigerstar. He untied her, and said, "Wait here. Let me go get Hawkfrost." He said. "And I know I shouldn't have to warn you but...do not try and escape...or there will be consequences." Goldenflower nodded, curtly.
Tigerstar sprinted over to Hawkfrost's tunnel. "Hawkfrost!" He called. Hawkfrost popped his head out of the entrance. "What is it, Tigerstar?" He asked. Tigerstar lashed his tail. "Goldenflower wants to see Brambleclaw." He growled. Hawkfrost's eyes flashed with excitement. "What do you want to me to do?" Tigerstar smiled. "Make him go unconscious, make him look beaten and bloody and battered." He demanded.
Hawkfrost nodded. "Of course." He turned and went into his tunnel. Tigerstar turned and sprinted away, before Brambleclaw's horrible scream of pain could reach his ears.
Goldenflower was pacing, anxiously as Tigerstar came back. "Let's go." He said. He led Goldenflower over to Hawkfrost's tunnels. Goldenflower let out a wail as she saw her son's body, laying crippled and unconscious on the floor. "Brambleclaw!" She cried. Goldenflower surged forward, but Tigerstar held her back. "Let me go to him!" She wailed. Tigerstar turned on Hawkfrost, amber eyes flashing. "Why did you do this to him?" He demanded, icily.
Surprise flashed through Hawkfrost's eyes, but quickly faded. "Tigerstar," he began calmly, "the brute jumped at me, obviously angry, and tried to attack me." He said. "I had warned him there'd be consequences for disobeying, but he attacked me." Said Hawkfrost. "But not just that, he has been very rebellious lately as well." He added. Tigerstar sighed, and nodded. "You did what you had to do." He murmured.
"I'm sure he'll be okay." Tigerstar added to Goldenflower gently. The tabby she-cat looked away, squeezing her eyes shut, as Tigerstar led her back out of the tunnels.
Lionblaze's eyes drooped. He snapped himself awake. He had been awake for two days straight, and he was on watch from the top of the tree. The golden tom stretched and coughed harshly. "Lionblaze?" He heard his brother, Jayfeather, call. "Come down here!" Lionblaze sighed, and jumped down the tree. "What is..." He trailed off as he saw Blackstar, Reedwhisker, and Onestar.
"Did you get our message?" Questioned Graystripe. They all nodded. "We've all been actually thinking the same thing." Said Reedwhisker. "And RiverClan will come with you." Graystripe looked at Blackstar and Onestar. "ShadowClan will come as well." Said Blackstar. Onestar hesitated before saying, "So will WindClan." Graystripe nodded. "When should we get going?" He asked.
"What about tomorrow at sunrise?" Suggested Blackstar. The others nodded in agreement. "That sounds good." Said Reedwhisker. Jayfeather looked at Lionblaze. "I need to talk to you." He said. Lionblaze nodded, and followed Jayfeather away from camp. "You need to rest." Said Jayfeather. "But-" Jayfeather cut him off. "No! No 'buts'! Lionblaze you need rest." Lionblaze knew there was no getting out of this.
He sighed and nodded. "Okay." But before Lionblaze could go to the warrior's den, he caught a familiar scent. "Tigerstar!" He exclaimed, just as cats sounded the alarm, from the top of the tree. "Wait!" Growled Tigerstar, apparently hearing. "I might have something of your interest." Tigerstar and Hawkfrost came out of the shadows. Tigerstar was carrying Seedkit, and Hawkfrost was carrying Lilykit.
"What?! Where are Sorreltail and Brackenfur!" Exclaimed Graystripe. "They are hard working warriors." Said Tigerstar. "We have come to trade in these two kits for something a little more...useful." Lionblaze's eyes widened. They're using those kits as bargaining chips! He realized in horror. Bumblestripe moved forward. "I'll go." He said. "No!" Screeched Millie. Graystripe held her back.
He looked into his son's eyes, and then Tigerstar's. "But what about milk? Those kits need it!" Tigerstar grinned. "Just chew up their food for them it works." He said. Graystripe looked at Bumblestripe. "Are you sure?" He asked. Bumblestripe nodded. "I'm sure." Tigerstar didn't hand over the kits. "I have two kits here. I need two warriors. Two for two." Said Tigerstar, smirking.
Graystripe's eyes flashed with anger. Icecloud stepped forward. "I'll go too." She said. Graystripe sighed. "Okay." His voice was full of pain. Tigerstar handed over Seedkit and Lilykit. Icecloud and Bumblestripe went over to Tigerstar and Hawkfrost. "Don't you dare try to escape. If you do there'll be consequences, for you and your Clan." Growled Hawkfrost. Icecloud and Bumblestripe exchanged a glance and nodded.
As the four cats walked off, everything was silent for a few minutes. "Let's...let's...prepare for the...journey." Said Reedwhisker. Everyone nodded in agreement. "Okay." Jayfeather gave Lionblaze a look that said, I'm keeping an eye on you. Lionblaze nodded, but went to talk to Graystripe first. "Don't you think it's weird they didn't attack us?" Said Lionblaze. Graystripe nodded.
"But they could be sending patrols to scout this area right now." Said Onestar. "Or maybe they know we're leaving." Added Blackstar. Graystripe sighed. "Let's still wait until tomorrow sunrise." They nodded in agreement. Lionblaze padded into the warrior's den and fell asleep.
Jayfeather blinked open his eyes. He stretched out and yawned, glancing outside. Everyone was just beginning to wake up. Except for Lionblaze. Jayfeather bit back an agitated hiss. He knows he’s overworking himself! He thought, angrily. He padded into the warrior’s den where Lionblaze was sleeping. He nudged him, not gently, and said, “Get up.”
Lionblaze blinked open his eyes. “Why? What‘s today?” Jayfeather sighed. “You mouse-brain, we’re leaving! Remember?” Lionblaze nodded. “Oh yeah.” Sadness suddenly filled his eyes, and his head seemed to droop. “The prophecy was wrong. We should’ve won.” Jayfeather suddenly flashed back to when Ivypool was dragging Hollyleaf’s bloodied body into the ThunderClan camp.
Grief tore at Jayfeather’s heart. Him and Lionblaze had only just gotten Hollyleaf back, before she was taken away again. “Let’s go.” Said Jayfeather, making sure to keep the grief out of his mew. The Clan leaders were already beginning to lead everyone away. Jayfeather followed them, images of Hollyleaf flashing through his mind. He shook himself.
They had been walking for awhile, and everyone decided to rest. Jayfeather was hot, and exhausted. He looked around for a place to rest, and to his own surprise, he decided to slide into a stream. The water was warm, and it went up to his chest. Someone slid in beside him. Their scent was unfamiliar. “Who are you?” Asked Jayfeather, moving away from the stranger, warily.
”I’m from StarClan. You wouldn’t know me. My name is Crookedstar.” Said the cat. “Oh, okay.” Said Jayfeather, becoming uninterested. ”I’m surprised a cat like you has come into the water. But it is surprisingly warm.” Said Crookedstar. Jayfeather glanced at him. “Yeah.” He said, absently, still wrapped in his own thoughts of grief. He shook them off.
Crookedstar must have sensed his grief, or something. “I’m sorry.” Said Crookedstar. “For what?” Growled Jayfeather. “For all the pain you’ve had to go through.” Replied the former leader of RiverClan. “How do you know what I’ve been through.” Snarled Jayfeather, getting defensive. “I’m from StarClan. I saw everything.
”Stop talking!” Snapped Jayfeather. “I know how you feel.” Crookedstar continued. “HOW?! You don’t know how I feel!” He spat. “I know because I lost everyone I loved and cared about.” Jayfeather stopped talking. “Why?“ He asked, quietly. “Because, I was cursed.“ Said Crookedstar. “I was young, and foolish, and I felt rejected, so I made a promise.”
Jayfeather could tell he didn’t want to talk about it so he said, “But you said you lost everyone. I still have Lionblaze, and... and...” Who? Leafpool maybe loves you, okay, well probably, but she LIED to you! Crowfeather hates me, Squirrelflight probably does because Hollyleaf ruined her life. Brambleclaw probably doesn’t care about us because we aren’t his kits... I guess I just have Lionblaze.
”Well, just Lionblaze.” Said Jayfeather. “But still, I at least have one cat who’s close to me.” Something flashed through Crookedstar. ”What?” Asked Jayfeather, tensely. “What is it?” Crookedstar was silent for a few moments before saying, “Oh, nothing. I’m just happy that you have Lionblaze.” He said, but his voice was strained, and Jayfeather could tell he wanted to say more.
Before Jayfeather could say anything, Crookedstar came out of the stream. “We’d better get back to our Clans. It looks like we’re about to get going again soon.” Before Jayfeather could say anything he heard Blackstar call out, “Time to get going again!” Everyone began to move with their Clans, and Crookedstar was lost in the crowd.
Jayfeather followed Graystripe, deep in thought. What did Crookedstar not tell me? And why didn’t he?
Squirrelflight let out an outraged hiss, as Mapleshade circled her, antagonizing her, laughing. Squirrelflight glared at her. “Is there anything worse you could possible do?” She grumbled. “Oh yes there is.” Said Mapleshade. “I could show you our new visitor, and we could do have you do battle training with him.” She said. Squirrelflight frowned.
She had been hearing a lot about this “new visitor”. For all she new it was a he. Squirrelflight then narrowed her eyes, ”Who is he?” She asked. ”Want to see?” Teased the tortoiseshell she-cat. Squirrelflight wasn’t really sure that she did really want to see who it was. But at the same time she did. ”Fine.” Said Squirrelflight, defiantly. “Take me to him.”
Mapleshade gave her an odd look. “Alright.” She said. “I heard that you two have an interesting history together.” Squirrelflight blinked. I know him? She thought, as Mapleshade led her out of the tunnels they were in. They walked for awhile, and eventually got to another set of tunnels. Squirrelflight began to follow Mapleshade in, but the Dark Forest warrior told her wait outside.
Squirrelflight obeyed, knowing there would be consequences if she didn’t. And not just for her. She eventually heard Mapleshade call for her to come in. Squirrelflight slid into the tunnels. Two toms were waiting beside Mapleshade. Tigerstar and Hawkfrost. ”You want to see our new recruit?” Said Tigerstar. Squirrelflight nodded. “Yes.”
Hawkfrost laughed. “When you see him, we can’t just let this whole thing go to waste! How about you two do battle training together after this?” He said. Squirrelflight had been expecting something like this. “Sure.” She said, flatly. Tigerstar looked at Hawkfrost. “Bring him out here.” He demanded. Hawkfrost nodded, and disappeared around a corner.
When he came back, the cat following Hawkfrost was Ashfur. “Ashfur!” Hissed Squirrelflight, leaping up into attack position, bristling, hissing, and snarling. ”You fox-heart! I thought you were in StarClan!” Ashfur smiled. “I didn’t really feel like I belonged there.” He said. “I belong here, with other cats who are like me.” He said, still smiling. “Now what about that battle training?”
”I’d be happy to.” Spat the ginger she-cat. More than anything, Squirrelflight wanted to dig her claws into Ashfur’s throat, and watch him die. ”Remember no killing.” Said Tigerstar looking directly at Squirrelflight. “But claws unsheathed.“ He added. The five cats went outside. “GO!” Yowled Tigerstar, when Ashfur and Squirrelflight were in attack position.
Ashfur lunged, at Squirrelflight, but Squirrelflight ducked down. When the gray tom was directly overhead, Squirrelflight reared up on her hind legs, and clawed at his underbelly. She saw a look of fear and surprise on Tigerstar’s face. Squirrelflight managed to make a large gash in Ashfur’s stomach. Ashfur screeched in pain. Squirrelflight glanced at Tigerstar again and felt a wave of confusion wash over her.
The brown tabby’s face was twisted into an expression of pure horror, anger, and fear. Ashfur landed on the ground with a thud! Ashfur then heaved himself back on to his paws, and lunged at Squirrelflight, barreling into her, and pinning her. Squirrelflight shrieked in anger, and clawed at his face, as he bit at her face. Ashfur hissed, and staggered backwards, off of her.
Ashfur then rammed into her, so hard, and moved so fast, Squirrelflight was flung off of her paws, and felt herself slam against a tree, and then land on the stone ground. Stars swarmed her vision. “Squirrelflight!” She heard someone shriek. Brambleclaw? No. It couldn’t be. “Someone get Leafpool!” She heard the voice wail again. It is Brambleclaw. She realized, as she blacked out.
One Moon Later
Sandstorm padded back to camp, with a mouse in her jaws, trying to ignore the anger and hate pricking at her. Ever since Firestar had been killed, and Squirrelflight and Leafpool had been captured she couldn’t stop thinking about them. Especially her daughters. Were they dead? Were they still alive? If so, what was Tigerstar doing to them?
Sandstorm tried to shrug off all her questions and worries, as she got back to the camp. Well, not exactly a camp. More like a base. The four Clans all lived on the edge of the Twolegplace. You didn’t have to travel long to get into the forest, but it was still weird, and it felt unnatural. They all lived in four different alleyways that all connected.
If you go to one end, there’s a stone wall, and the other, just cuts you off, and makes you through to the other ones. Sandstorm made it back to camp, and dropped the mouse in the prey pile. “Sandstorm. Just in time.” The ginger she-cat looked up. “For what, Graystripe?” She asked. “Follow me. We’re having a Gathering.” Sandstorm blinked, confused, but decided to not ask any questions, and just follow Graystripe.
All cats from all Clans were there. Well, most of them. “There she is.” Said Blackstar. “Are you sure she’s the right one for the job?” Graystripe nodded. “Positive.” He said. Sandstorm frowned. “What job? What are you talking about?” She asked. Reedwhisker looked down at her. “We were discussing that maybe we should have a few cats from each Clan spy on the Dark Forest for us.”
He began. Before Sandstorm could say anything, Onestar took his place and continued, “We need to know where they’re base is, where they’re keeping they’re prisoners, and what they‘re plans are. We need a few of the stealthiest, best cats to spy on them.“ Sandstorm blinked. “And you want me to be one of them?” Graystripe nodded. “Yes.” He said.
Sandstorm looked around. “Who else is doing it?” She asked. “I am, for ShadowClan.” Said Blackstar. “I am for WindClan.” Said Sedgewhisker. “I am for RiverClan.” Said Sunstrike. Sandstorm nodded. “Okay.” She said. “And I will for ThunderClan.” Graystripe smiled. “Thank you. It’s coming night, after you eat, you can get going.”
Sandstorm padded along with the other three cats into the forest. Eventually they came to the former ThunderClan border. Blackstar led them through the forest not making a noise. “Wait!” Came a mew from Sedgewhisker. “I smell cat scent.” Sandstorm sniffed the air. Tigerstar. She thought, hate and grief surging through her, as she caught sight of the brown tabby.
”Don’t move.” Hissed Blackstar, almost too quiet for her to hear. She was about to snap something at him, when she realized that she was digging her claws into the ground, and tensing in preparation to spring. Sandstorm managed to calm herself. Blackstar nodded, and began to follow Tigerstar, as he began to pad off. Sandstorm never took her eye off Tigerstar, not even for a second.
Eventually Tigerstar then suddenly just disappeared. Sunstrike’s jaw dropped. “How did he do that?” He hissed, quietly. “I think I have an idea.” Whispered Sandstorm. “Stay here. All of you. Trust me.” She slid through the undergrowth, and right next to where Tigerstar had been, just moments ago. There in front of her, was a tunnel leading underground.
Sandstorm sighed. I have to do this. I have to find out what Tigerstar came down here for, and why. She slid into the tunnels after him. The tunnels twisted and turned, violently, and there were multiple entrances and exits. Sandstorm made sure to follow Tigerstar’s scent. Multiple voices suddenly made her skid to a stop. “No, no, no, no, no. Do it again. All of you.”
Tigerstar’s voice said. Sandstorm peeked around the corner, and nearly gasped. The prisoners! There were so many of them. All of them looked tired and beaten and starving. It was a small clearing in the tunnels. The Dark Forest cats stood on tall rocks, watching the prisoners. There were three cats that were standing next to Tigerstar. Ashfur, Mapleshade, and Hawkfrost, of course.
Sandstorm watched as the prisoners all sighed, grumbling in anger. “If they don’t find him soon,” she heard Tigerstar hiss under his breath, “I’ll rip them limb from limb. I need those chains.” Confusion struck Sandstorm like lightning. Who? What is he talking about? What are these ‘chains’? She watched as Hawkfrost whispered something to Tigerstar.
Tigerstar’s face lit up. “You’re sure?” He asked. Hawkfrost nodded, mutely. Tigerstar smiled, then it’s time to attack.” Sandstorm blinked. The brown tabby could only mean the surviving refugees. As she backed away, a twig snapped under her paws. “Who’s there?” She heard Tigerstar exclaim. “I’ll get them!” Ashfur’s voice. Sandstorm then turned and ran, faster than she had ever ran in her life.
“I see someone!” Called Ashfur. Sandstorm gritted her teeth, and sprinted towards the exit. But she never made it.
Jayfeather twitched his tail, impatiently waiting for Sandstorm, Blackstar, Sunstrike, and Sedgewhisker. They had been gone for quite awhile now. Something bad must have happened. “I knew this wasn’t a good idea.” Jayfeather hissed, just as he caught scent of three cats. Blackstar, Sunstrike, and Sedgewhisker burst into camp. “Where’s Sandstorm?” Jayfeather snapped, as he realized she wasn’t with them.
”We don’t know!” Cried Sunstrike. “She went into the tunnels, and the Dark Forest cats were chasing her, and she just disappeared! We know they didn’t catch her, because they were asking each other if they saw her, or if they saw where she went, or stuff like that!” Jayfeather blinked, taken aback. “Calm down, and tell us everything from the beginning.”
Lionblaze padded around a corner. He looked at Jayfeather. “You don’t have to be so harsh.” He said. Jayfeather rolled his eyes. “Whatever.” Sunstrike nodded, taking a few deep breaths to calm herself down. “Okay, so we found Tigerstar’s scent, and eventually caught sight of him. We decided to follow him, so we did. He didn’t see us the entire time.” She pause for a second.
”And then he suddenly just disappeared! He didn’t even turn a corner just disappeared! So we looked at where he was standing, and he went down the tunnels!” Jayfeather sucked in a breath, and he sensed Lionblaze tense. The memory of Hollyleaf falling down the collapsing tunnels was all too clear in his and Lionblaze’s minds.
Sunstrike continued, “Sandstorm said she’d go, so we let her, reluctantly. The next time we saw her she was running towards calling out something about Tigerstar wanting to find a chain, and something about the Dark Forest wanting to attack, and then something else about their prisoners.” Lionblaze nodded. ”Sandstorm said that the prisoners were being used to try and find something.” Said Blackstar.
”But...where did she go? You said she just disappeared.” Said Jayfeather. Sedgewhisker nodded. “It’s true. Her voice suddenly just stopped, and the Dark Forest cats were confused too. We could tell.” She said. Jayfeather bit his lip and he realized that all the cats from all the Clans were listening in. “Well,“ began Reedwhisker, “you’ve done well. You can rest now.”
The spies nodded and laid down. Jayfeather numbly, padded towards his own sleeping spot. “Are you okay?” He heard Lionblaze ask, faintly. “I’m fine.” He said, flatly. He then curled up and went to sleep.
The wind battered his face, flattening his fur. Jayfeather narrowed his eyes, trying to see what was going on. He then realized, he could see! He was in a dream for sure. “Hello.” Said a voice behind him. Jayfeather whirled around. “Rock.” He said to the hairless blind tom. Rock nodded in greeting. “Jayfeather.” He said to him. “What do you want?” Snapped the gray tom.
Rock sighed. “You failed. The Three failed.” Anger surged through Jayfeather. “You think we don’t know that mouse-brain?!” He hissed at Rock. Rock had no reaction. He kept staring at him, blankly. “Jayfeather, you can’t kill Tigerstar. He’ll just keep coming back.” Said Rock. Before Jayfeather could say anything, he continued.
”But I have something you can use...you can use it...to not kill Tigerstar...but...but...but get rid of him... forever.” Jayfeather frowned. “And what is that?” He asked. Rock, grabbed something, and put it in front of the blind medicine cat. “A chain?” Said Jayfeather, feeling confused. “What? You want him to wear it as a necklace?”
”Exactly. Once he puts this on it will put him to sleep, and he will never wake up.” Said Rock. Jayfeather’s eyes widened. “Really?” He said. Rock nodded. Then he remembered how Sunstrike had said something about a chain. “Tigerstar knows about this, though.” Said Jayfeather. Rock nodded. “You still have a chance. Put Tigerstar to sleep. Save the Clans. Get rid of him for good.”
When Jayfeather blinked open his eyes he was blind again. He felt around his nest, and felt it. The chain. We still have a chance. Thought Jayfeather. We can still defeat Tigerstar.
Hawkfrost watched the prisoners wail in pain, as they dug. He flicked his tongue in and out of his mouth, like a snake, watching with zero pity. He watched them with hate pure in his eyes, smiling. He then let out a snarl, “Faster, faster! What are you, slugs?!” The prisoners gave him apologetic looks. “We’ll go faster.” Brackenfur promised, shoveling a pile of rock away.
Hawkfrost saw Sorreltail roll her eyes. “We barely have claws anymore.” She grumbled. Hawkfrost lunged towards her. ”What did you say?” He asked. Sorreltail shrank back. “Nothing, sir!” She said, quickly. “I- I- I was just- talking about. . . how this is a little hard- but that’s not a problem at all!” She added, quickly. Anger flashed through Hawkfrost, but he decided to let her go with a warning.
”Watch your words.” He growled, as he padded back, to sit by Tigerstar. He glared at the prisoners in anger. He watched as they glanced at him, nervously. He thought he could almost hear their thoughts. He knew that they always wondered why he was so evil, and mean. Hawkfrost closed his eyes, trying not to let the anger and grief overcome him, as he usually did.
Tigerstar’s voice aroused him from his thoughts, “Come on, Hawkfrost. Let’s get some sleep.” Hawkfrost nodded, and looked at Thistleclaw. “Keep an eye on the prisoners.” Thistleclaw nodded. “Yes, Hawkfrost.” He said. Hawkfrost padded into his nest, closed his eyes, and went to sleep.
”What do you mean?!” Cried Mothwing. Hawkfrost pinned his ears back against his head, in horror. “But. . . Mother. . . why?” Hawkfrost whimpered. Sasha looked at them, sadly. “I- I- I can’t stay here with the Clans. I’m a loner. But you will stay here with RiverClan, and become a warrior.“ She said. Hawkfrost felt pure anger rise up inside up. “So you’re abandoning us?!” He wailed.
Sasha sighed, and looked away from the two kits. “If you call it that. . . then I guess.” She said. Hurt piled up inside of Hawkfrost. “Sasha-“ he began. But Sasha cut him off, “I’ve talked to Leopardstar, and she promises that she’ll make sure you never turn out like. . . him.“ She said. Hawkfrost and Mothwing knew exactly who “him” was. Tigerstar.
Hawkfrost felt tears begin to stream down his eyes. “Mom. . . don’t leave us here!! Take us with you at least!” Screeched Mothwing. Sasha sailed nothing. She merely walked away. “SASHA!!!!!” Shrieked Mothwing. “She’s gone!” Said Hawkfrost. “Stop! Stop it! She left us!” Wailed Hawkfrost. Mothwing threw herself into his chest, and buried her muzzle in his neck.
Hawkfrost’s eyes flew wide open, and his head shot up, as he gasped for air. Grief surged through him. “If only Mothwing had come with me.” He muttered. “Followed in Tigerstar’s pawsteps.” Mothwing and Hawkfrost had always been there for each other. He had made her medicine cat, and she kept his secret. They had always been there for each other after Sasha left.
Until now. Hawkfrost walked outside, and looked up into the night sky. “I miss you so, so much. . .”
One Moon and a Half Later. . .
Jayfeather padded alongside the group, his breath coming quick and shallow. It had been over a moon since Sandstorm’s disappearance. Graystripe had taken her place as a spy. He didn’t go all the time though. He only went part time. But they were ready. What was rest of the four Clans was coming to take the prisoners back, and get rid of the Dark Forest.
The spies had finally gotten enough information about the Dark Forest, and what they were planning. Jayfeather knew Tigerstar knew about the chain he had gotten from Rock. Tigerstar didn’t know where it was, but he knew what it was. Jayfeather hadn’t brought it with him. He had a feeling to leave it behind. It was dead of night. The moon shone high overhead.
The blind medicine cat glanced up at the sky. Even though he couldn’t see, he could tell that the stars and moon were shining brightly, giving the others light so they could travel. “We’re here!” Came Lionblaze’s hiss. Everyone stopped. Blackstar gave orders, “Graystripe, you take ThunderClan, and go through the north tunnel, Reedwhisker, go through this tunnel, Onestar you go though the south tunnel, and me and ShadowClan will find the east tunnel.”
Everyone nodded, agreeing. Even Onestar. The four Clans split up, and went to their opening tunnels. Graystripe led ThunderClan to the north tunnel. Graystripe and Lionblaze nodded to each other. “Let’s go.” Said Graystripe. Graystripe led the way, with Lionblaze and Jayfeather close behind him. As they entered the tunnels, and enclosed feeling came over Jayfeather.
He could sense Lionblaze’s unease, as the walls closed in around them. “I’ll show you where the prisoners are held at night.” He said. They followed him quietly. Jayfeather then asked, “But how do you know Tigerstar doesn’t make them work at night?” Lionblaze hesitated before saying, “Tigerstar lets them sleep every other night.” He said. “Tonight’s their resting night.”
Jayfeather nodded. Lionblaze slowed down, as they neared the room. Graystripe slowed. “There are guards.” Said Lionblaze. Graystripe nodded. Him and Lionblaze crept forward side by side. The guards barely had time to take a breath, before they were dead. Lionblaze and Graystripe each pounced on one, ripping out their throats, without making a noise.
Eventually they got into the prison. Jayfeather was the only one who came with them, while the rest stood guard. But a few warriors insisted they come. “Pssst.” Whispered Jayfeather shaking Leafpool up as he caught sight of her. “Leafpool. Wake up.” He whispered. Leafpool blinked open her eyes. “Wha-? Jayfeather?!” She exclaimed. Jayfeather slammed his tail over her mouth.
Jayfeather narrowed his eyes. “Shh!” He hissed. Leafpool’s eyes widened with understanding as she nodded, quickly. He then helped wake others up, with the help of Lionblaze and Graystripe. But when Graystripe went to wake up Crowfeather, he stepped on his tail, and the black tom let out a yowl of pain. “OUCH!” A few moments later Blackstar burst into the room, not even trying to be quiet.
“The Dark Forest cats heard us! They’re coming! And fast!” The rest of the prisoners were awake now, and angry yowls were sounding from the Dark Forest cats. “Run!” Hissed Lionblaze. “They’ll just follow our scent!” Snapped Jayfeather. “Well the prisoners’ scent.” The Clan cats had covered their scent, before they went into the tunnels.
“No they won’t!” Said Squirrelflight. “We smell just like the tunnels and them!“ She said. Jayfeather then sniffed, realizing she was right. “You’re right.” He said. “Now let’s just go!” Hissed Blackstar. “RUN! NOW! FAST!” The Clan cats began to run through the tunnels, panicking beyond measure. They had all forgotten where to go, and which corners to turn, and everyone was being separated.
All Jayfeather knew, was that he was right beside Lionblaze, Leafpool, Crowfeather, Blackstar, Graystripe, Squirrelfight, Onestar, and some others. “Our groups have split up!” Hissed Jayfeather. “And Tigerstar and his group is gaining on us. We won’t be able to take them all! We’ll just all be captured!” Everyone realized he was right. They had no idea where to go, and the Dark Forest was stronger, and they knew the tunnels way better.
“They won’t capture all of us.” Said Lionblaze. “What if a couple of us go, and hold them off, running in circles, and delaying this group, while the rest of us run, and make sure they don’t follow.” He said. Before anyone could say anything, he added, “I’ll go. As of the moment, I’m invincible. Who else will come?” His voice was thick with grief, and Jayfeather realized something.
If he does this, he’ll die. Before Jayfeather could protest, Onestar said, “I’ll go too.” The two cats ran before anyone could say anything. Jayfeather stared. NO! NO! NO! I can’t lose my brother too! NO! NO! NO! I have to stop him! He’ll die! He can’t be a hero! Doesn’t that mouse-brain realize what he’s doing? THAT IDIOT IS DYING TO SAVE US! I HATE HIM SO MUCH! LIONBLAZE GET BACK HERE!
Jayfeather could hear the sounds and screeches of battle. He heard the taunts coming from Lionblaze and Onestar as they fought off the Dark Forest cats. The gray tabby heard one Dark Forest cat begin, “Guys, where are the rest?” But the others, including Tigerstar, were so enraged by the other two, they ignored him, and were focusing on trying to kill Lionblaze and Onestar.
“Where are the others?!” He heard Tigerstar roar. “You’ll never find them! Especially as dumb as you are!” Tigerstar let out an outraged roar, as he lunged for him. There were screeches and yowls and screams. Most coming from his brother. Jayfeather couldn’t take it. He whipped around the corner, and began to jump, letting out a cry. “LION-!” He was cut off.
Someone wrapped their paw around his mouth and chest, dragging him back. He landed on his back with a thud. He tried to cry Lionblaze’s name but he couldn’t. GET OFF OF ME! Thought Jayfeather, trying to squirm out of their grip. MY BROTHER IS GOING TO DIE! “Jayfeather! Come on! Make Lionblaze’s death worth it!” Came the cry, that was thick with grief and pain.
Leafpool. Jayfeather nodded, and got to his paws, tears flowing down his eyes. No! This can’t be happening, this can’t be happening, this can’t be- His thoughts were cut off, as he realized he was running forward blindly. The rock crumbled from beneath his feet, and he felt himself fall downwards. His body jerked upright, then kept falling.
He couldn’t say a thing. But he could see. He saw his body hanging from the rock. Then many words, so many words flashed before his eyes,
“They are not my kits.”
“Squirrelflight and Brambleclaw are not our true parents! Crowfeather of WindClan, and Leafpool of ThunderClan are!”
“NO! They are not my kits! They mean nothing to me! NOTHING! Breezepelt is my only son, and Nightcloud is my only mate! YOU ARE NOTHING TO ME!”
“I can’t understand how you failed to see the blood.”
“There are still Three!”
“There will be three, kin of your kin, who hold the power of the stars in their paws.”
“We are more powerful than even StarClan!”
“Now you’ll never be able to tell anyone anything.”
“How could you lie to me?! Did you think I wouldn’t help!?”
“NO! She’s not a murderer!”
“I did it! I killed Ashfur!”
“I’ll tell everyone everything at the Gathering!”
“I’ll wait for you forever.”
And then there was darkness. A terrible pain, and then just darkness.
Leafpool let out a gasp of shock, as the rock crumbled beneath Jayfeather’s feet, and plunged into the darkness of the underground ravine. Just as he was falling, Crowfeather jumped, and caught him, just barely. “Rrrrrgh!” Grunted the black tom. Leafpool’s eyes widened, as she rushed over to help pull Jayfeather up. Disbelief fled through her.
Crowfeather saved Jayfeather’s life. I thought he hated our kits. She thought. “Hurry! We have to run!” Cried Dovewing. Leafpool nodded. Crowfeather looked up at her. “Help me carry him.” He said. Without saying a word, she grabbed his scruff, and heaved him on to her back. Crowfeather carried half of him, and Leafpool carried the other half.
After nonstop running, everyone eventually made it back to camp. Leafpool set Jayfeather down, and examined him, feverishly. “He doesn’t seem too badly hurt.” She said. But there was something odd about him. He was unconscious, and his creating was light. Jayfeather’s body was also as cold as stone. Like a dead body.
How is he nearly dead? Wondered the brown and white she-cat. He doesn’t have a scratch on him, and he’s perfectly fine. “Leafpool?” Came Crowfeather’s voice. “What is it?” She asked, curtly. “Is- is- is he okay?” He asked. Shock struck Leafpool like lightning striking a tree. “Why do you want to know?” She growled. Crowfeather pinned his ears against his skull, and had a hurt expression on his face.
“I- I- I just want to- to know.” He stammered. “Why do you want to know? I thought Breezepelt was your only son.” Crowfeather sucked in a breath of air. “I didn’t mean it.” He began. “I was just so surprised, and I didn’t know. And I wanted WindClan to trust me.” Leafpool glared at him. “So that gives you the right to say that, and expect me to forgive you?” She snapped.
“I don’t love Nightcloud.” He said. “I only love you.” Leafpool stalked past him. “Well that’s too bad then.” Pain shot through Leafpool as she said those words, but she couldn’t help it. “Leafpool, wait.” Said Crowfeather. She stopped and turned around. “What?” The WindClan tom’s words seemed genuine and full of pain.
“I really do love you, Leafpool. And I’m so sorry Lionblaze and Hollyleaf are both dead. And I don’t want Jayfeather to die too. That would hurt you too much.” Tears pricked at Leafpool’s eyes. “You have no idea how much it hurt to leave you and go back to ThunderClan.” She said. “I love you. But I can’t right now. There’s too much to do.”
Crowfeather came up beside her, and pressed his muzzle into her neck. “I want to be with you.” He said, sadly. “So do I. I want that more than anything. But I also want to be loyal to my Clan.” She pulled away from her former mate. “I’m so sorry, Leafpool. If I could go back in time, I would’ve never taken Nightcloud as a mate. I would’ve never said those words. I would’ve never left you.”
Leafpool closed her eyes. “Jayfeather is half dead. I don’t understand Why. He was barely hurt.” Crowfeather’s eyes widened. “Can you heal him?” He asked. Leafpool opened her eyes. “I don’t know.” She said. “I don’t know.” The black tom looked away. “Just know,” he began, “that I love you more than anything. And I would do anything to be with you again. I would do anything to make you happy. I would do anything for you.”
“I can’t believe you! What is wrong with you!” Roared Tigerstar. He raised a paw, and swiped Darkstripe and Sparrowtail across the muzzle. There were few remaining prisoners. Hawkfrost narrowed his eyes at them, and lunged at Crookedstar. He bit into Crookedstar’s shoulder. Crookedstar let out a yowl. He had tried to escape, but had failed.
“Let my people go!” Cried the brown tabby. Hawkfrost swiped him across the face. “I will never let your people go!” Crookedstar lunged at Hawkfrost, and bit into his throat. Ivypool came from the side, and pushed Crookedstar off of Hawkfrost, snarling. The silver she-cat, loomed over the former leader of RiverClan. “Should I kill him?”
“DO IT!” Crookedstar’s eyes widened, as Ivypool bit into his throat, ending his life. Crookedstar made one last feeble attempt to get away, but the light went out of his eyes, and he fell on to his side. He reached his paw outwards, as if wanting to grab something, but went limp. Tigerstar slammed a RiverClan cat into the wall. They cried out, making Tigerstar laugh.
They’re eyes widened as Tigerstar said, “Show me your tongue!” They obeyed, sticking they’re tongue out. Tigerstar ripped it off, violently, and blood sprayed everywhere, causing the cat to shriek in pain. There were only eight prisoners left, excluding Crookedstar who had just died. Tigerstar glared at the Dark Forest cats. “You’re all done for the day!” He snapped. “SCRAM!”
He then glared at Sparrowtail and Darkstripe. “Except for you two.” His amber eyes glinted, evilly. “You stay here.” They were shaking, but they obeyed. Hawkfrost looked at Ivypool. “Care to go somewhere a little more pleasant?” She nodded. “Yes. Let’s go.” She said, smiling. The two cats walked into another chamber in the tunnels. Ivypool looked at him. “I know what you’re thinking.” She said.
“You sexy devil.” Hawkfrost laughed. “You do?” He asked. She nodded. “I do.” Ivypool pressed herself against his chest. He smiled again. “We barely have alone time. Or free time. We’d better make the best of it.” Ivypool nodded again. “We’d better.”
Lionblaze ran through the horrible barren land. Everything was gray, and it was freezing. There was no prey at all. Everything was gray and a blunt light blue. The ground looked like ash. He was starving. There was no food. Except I’m the food. He thought as he heard a horrible crackling noise. It was high pitched and slow, and jerky. They’re coming!
Lionblaze gasped, as he dove under a bush, eyes wide. He watched as the horrible creature walked right by. It walked on two legs like a Twoleg. But it ran on all fours. It’s skin was a horrible blue and gray color like the color of veins. And you could see it’s veins that ran along it’s body. It looked slimy, and horrible. It’s paws were had odd toes like Twolegs, but they were long and clawed.
There were two things that overlapped each other towards the bottom of it’s face. When it opened them, they opened left and right, like a flower. Inside them were sharp needles, that it could shoot out, and hit you. Under those were sharp, terrible teeth, and under that was a tongue. It was horrible. It also had no ears. It was hunting for him.
He closed his eyes, and tears pricked at the corners of them. He was scared. So scared. This was where all the Dark Forest spirits would go once they faded, or once they’re spirits were killed. But the one for StarClan had disappeared. Because that one didn’t have monsters in it. This one did. Now that there was no StarClan or Dark Forest everyone who died came here.
Lionblaze had no idea if there’d ever be a StarClan place again. This was the only place any spirits could go. All faded spirits were here. Spottedleaf was here. Since she had been killed as a spirit in the Great Battle. I wish I was in StarClan instead. Thought Lionblaze, sadly. He had met some Dark Forest spirits in this spirit realm.
They had said getting eaten was horrible. You were eaten, and then you came back to life, and just were placed somewhere random, and had to try not to get eaten again. They couldn’t die of freezing, starvation, or thirst, but they still felt it. It was terrible. Horrible. But this place was also odd. Very odd. It was exactly like the forest. But not. The landscape was like the forest.
There was a forest and a camp, exactly like the ThunderClan camp. Same with the other three Clans. Lionblaze shuddered. He could hear the echoing cries and screams of other cats here. When the monster had passed, Lionblaze crept out of his hiding place. He saw something move. Something familiar. “Who’s there?” Growled Lionblaze.
Jayfeather’s head came up, his blue eyes stretched wide. “What was that thing?” He asked. Lionblaze ignored the question. “Jayfeather! Why are you here? Are you dead too?” Jayfeather shook his head. “No! I don’t know what happened. I- I- I . . .” He trailed off, as he collapsed. “Jayfeather!” Exclaimed Lionblaze. But he backed away, as Jayfeather’s body disappeared. Lionblaze sat there for hours, and it reappeared.
“Where did you go?” He asked his brother. Jayfeather looked at him. “I can travel between worlds.” He said. “This world, and the real world.” Lionblaze’s eyes widened. “What happened to you? If you aren’t dead, then why are you here?” Jayfeather told him everything. About how he had nearly fallen, but Crowfeather had caught him, and his spirit had seemed to fall out of his body.
“I think back in the real world, I think I’m half dead.” Said Jayfeather. Lionblaze nodded. “You’re probably right.” He said. “That means, you can’t die, or you’ll be dead for real. You can’t get caught.” He said. Jayfeather froze with terror. “By those horrible gray things?” He asked. Lionblaze nodded, but then stopped. “You can see?”
“Yes. I’m in spirit form. I can see.” Said Jayfeather.
Two Moons Later. . .
Graystripe looked up at the night sky. His face hardened in determination. They would do this. They would take back their home. The Dark Forest had launched attacks killing at least two cats per one. They had launched in between five and eight. The Clans had to fight back. They had to. Jayfeather wasn’t dead. He had woken up, just barely.
Jayfeather would stay awake for not too long, before falling unconscious again. But he was fully awake now. After two moons. But when he did finally wake up, he seemed heartbroken. No one had any idea why. Jayfeather had told everyone about the chain. About Rock. They knew everything now. Well almost. Graystripe knew he was hiding something.
He had to find out. That’s why he was going to visit him. Graystripe padded into the Medicine Cat den. “What’s wrong?” Asked Jayfeather, briskly. “I‘m here to ask you some questions, that you are going to answer, Jayfeather.” Said Graystripe, his voice low and dangerous. Jayfeather turned on him. Before he could say anything, Graystripe continued,
“I know you‘re hiding something.” He growled. “Tell me. Now.” Jayfeather sighed. “What are your questions, Graystripe?” Graystripe narrowed his eyes. “First of all, why were you so depressed when you woke up?” Pain flashed through Jayfeather’s blind blue eyes. “For many reasons.” He said. “But first I’ll have to explain something to you, for you to understand.”
So Jayfeather told him. He told him about Half Moon and about him being Jay’s Wing, and about the place Lionblaze was in, with all the other spirits who had died recently. “I was sad, when I came back,” he said, “because I had to leave Half Moon. Forever. I could’ve stayed a spirit, and gone with her. But I couldn’t. I couldn’t. I knew I had to come back and help you.” He said, sadly.
“I gave up the love of my life for my Clan. I had to. I couldn’t go with Half Moon.” Graystripe‘s gaze softened. “I’m sorry.” He said. Jayfeather looked away. “Don‘t say anything about it. Now leave.” Graystripe sighed, but didn’t move. “Jayfeather, we need a battle plan. We need to attack the Dark Forest, and soon.” Jayfeather sighed, and rolled his eyes.
“We can’t! They outnumber us! Many of our cats are dead! They have each other, and more cats who are loyal to them, including some rogues and loners!” Graystripe’s eyes flashed. “I have an idea.” He said. “We gather rogues and loners, just like them. Then they’ll fight with us, against the Dark Forest.” Jayfeather looked up at him. “How do you expect to get them to fight with us?” He growled.
“Don’t worry.” Said Graystripe. “I have an idea for that. But we must attack them on the night of the darkest skies. The night of no moon.” Jayfeather nodded. “Okay.” He said. “We should tell everyone.”
Tigerstar glared at Hawkfrost. “Do you trust me?” Hawkfrost nodded, vigorously. “Of course I trust you, Tigerstar!” He exclaimed. “Good. Then come with me. I have an idea. I’ve seen this happen with Twolegs.” Hawkfrost frowned. “Twolegs? What good will they do us?” Tigerstar grinned. “You’ll see.” He said, coolly. Tigerstar led the way, towards the Twolegplace.
“This is where the Clans live.” Said Hawkfrost. “I know that! You mouse-brain!” Snapped Tigerstar. “Just follow me. I have a plan to get rid of the rest of the Clans in one hit.” Hawkfrost was stunned, but he followed his father through the Twolegplace. He gagged, as they neared a Twolegplace, where monsters were standing, probably resting.
“The stench of Twolegs.” Said Tigerstar, sarcastically. “I’d do anything to smell it.” It was the middle of the night. There were few monsters. Hawkfrost didn’t move. Tigerstar rolled his eyes. “Oh come on! You mouse! Just stay near that big thing the monsters are sleeping by. They won’t even notice you.” Hawkfrost nodded, and then asked. “What are we doing here?”
“I’m going to show you my plan.” Replied the brown tabby. “I’ve seen this work many times.” He growled. “Black liquid will seep out of the monsters, and on to the floor. If fire touches it, it explodes and kills anyone in sight!” He exclaimed. Hawkfrost shrank back. “So what’s your plan?” Tigerstar laughed. “I’m going to blackmail the Clan cats into coming here.” He paused.
“They won’t have a choice. So the Clan cats will come here, and meet here, because we told them to. We send one of our warriors to get fire, somehow. When they’re all here, we’ll put on the black liquid, and boom! The Clan cats die.” Hawkfrost frowned. “Who will the Dark Forest cat be?” He questioned. “The one, or two, who set it off?”
“Sparrowtail and Darkstripe.” Snarled Tigerstar. Hawkfrost nodded, grinning. Those were the two who had allowed the prisoners to escape. “Good idea.” He said. “When do we call the Clans over?” Tigerstar ignored the question, saying, “Let’s get back to camp and tell everyone about it.” He snarled. Hawkfrost nodded and followed his father away from the Twolegplace.
When they got back Tigerstar told everyone about his plan. Everyone seemed most confident in it. “But at first,” he began, “we’ll all go, and help set it up, but then the ones to light it will be not just Sparrowtail and Darkstripe, but Ashfur as well for a test of loyalty.” Ashfur seemed both shocked and outraged, but he kept his voice steady as he said, “I’ve been with you for a moon or over. Surely this isn’t necessary?”
“Oh it sure is.” Growled Tigerstar. “Unless you want to go back to the Clans and StarClan.” Ashfur’s eyes widened, and he shook his head, vigorously. The Clans wouldn’t accept him, and they would hate him. Hawkfrost knew that much. “Tonight we will attack.” Growled Tigerstar. “Tonight we strike!” Yowls of agreement erupted around him, and he smiled.
Tigerstar and Hawkfrost sent the message to the Clans. They knew they had to come. “If you’re not there by moon high, we will hunt you down and kill you.” Added Tigerstar as an afterthought as he and Hawkfrost left them to watch in fear and awe.
Crowfeather felt shock and fear jolt through him at Tigerstar’s words. Instinctively he looked at Leafpool, who was beside him. Fear shined in her eyes. It was a risky move, but Crowfeather didn’t care. He laid his tail on her back, and wrapped around her, pulling her close. “It’s okay.” He said to her. “I’ll make sure he doesn’t hurt you.” He murmured.
Leafpool looked at him, but didn’t resist and leaned on him, letting out a soft groan of pain. Fear lurched through Crowfeather, making him shudder. He knew what was going on. Leafpool couldn’t hide it from him this time. Ever since he had saved Jayfeather’s life, they had been spending a lot of time together. Even before that, when they were Tigerstar’s prisoners.
Crowfeather wasn’t absolutely sure, but he was almost positive that Leafpool was carrying his kits again. “I know.” He said to her. “I’ve known for about a moon or so.” Fear sparked in Leafpool’s eyes but quickly diminished. She isn’t scared anymore. He thought. She isn’t scared of me anymore. He thought. “When will they be born?” He questioned.
“Either today or in a few days.” She said. This question surprised Crowfeather. He didn’t expect them to be coming so soon. Everyone knew she was expecting his kits now, though. She couldn’t keep it a secret forever. But luckily for both him and her no one said anything about it. “I think I’ll miss this meeting with Tigerstar.” Said Leafpool. “He’s up to something and I don’t want the kits to get hurt.”
“Where will you go?” Leafpool looked at him. “Somewhere in the forest.” She said. “I have a feeling their coming tonight.” Crowfeather blinked, and glanced at her swollen belly. He pressed his muzzle against her neck. “I’ll come with you.” He said. Leafpool looked up at him, in surprise, but there was gratitude in her eyes. “Thank you, Crowfeather.” She said.
“Let’s leave right now.” She added. Crowfeather nodded, and he followed her out of camp. He let her lean on him as they traveled out of the Twolegplace. They found a hollow in a gorse bush. The two mates hid in it. Crowfeather laid down beside her back, and pressed his paw to her stomach. He hadn’t got to experience his last kits’ birth. He wanted to experience this one.
Leafpool looked at him in the eyes. “What do you think?” The question confused him. “What do I think what?” She gave him a tired smile. “Do you think they’re coming tonight.” Crowfeather frowned. “How do you expect me to answer that? I‘m not a medicine cat!” This just made Leafpool roll her eyes, in good humor. “You don’t have to be a medicine cat to feel if you think the kits are coming.”
Crowfeather shrugged. He pressed down a little. He felt the movement under his paw. “I think tonight.” He said. “I think you were right.” Leafpool laid her head down, and laid down next to her. He quickly awoke, to feeling her moving, uncomfortably. Leafpool’s tail was wrapped around her belly, and her eyes were wide with shock and fear.
But there wasn’t much pain in them. “Leafpool!” Said Crowfeather. “Is it the kits? Are they coming?” Leafpool nodded. “It’s the kits.” She panted. Eventually— with his help — Leafpool gave birth to two beautiful kits. “They’re perfect!” He gasped. Leafpool wrapped her tail around them. Then there was a noise. A beeping noise. “Leafpool, no!” Crowfeather threw himself to bend over her and the kits, but it was too late. There was a flash of red and everything went dark.
A Few Hours Earlier
“Has anyone seen Leafpool?” Asked Jayfeather. “She’s not here.” Brambleclaw looked at him, and shook his head. “I’m guessing she wanted to be away from the Dark Forest while she was expecting.” He said. Jayfeather sighed and nodded. “I think you’re right.” He said. “Well, it’s time to go and see whatever Tigestar’s doing this time.”
Brambleclaw nodded. “Let’s go, everyone!” He yowled. The Clan cats stretched, and began following him, to where Tigerstar had told them to meet him. When they got there, they sat, uncomfortably shifting, and turning to murmur to each other. Squirrelflight looked around. She sat beside Brambleclaw. “What do you think Tigerstar wants?” She asked.
Brambleclaw shook his head. “I don’t know.” He said. “No one knows with Tigerstar.” Squirrelflight sighed, and looked up. Eventually five cats appeared. Sparrowtail, Darkstripe, Ashfur, Hawkfrost, and Tigerstar all sat by the odd Twoleg Den. “Hello Clan cats. I’m glad you decided to come.” Said Tigerstar, smiling. He looked at Darkstripe, Ashfur, and Sparrowtail, deliberately.
Ashfur and Sparrowtail exchanged a glance before disappearing. Darkstripe looked at Hawkfrost, and TIgerstar said, “I’ll let Darkstripe and Hawkfrost take it from here.” He slipped away. The StarClan and Clan cats let out small gasps of fear, looking at each other, and murmuring to each other. What is going on? What is Tigerstar planning? Thought Squirrelflight, fearfully.
Hawkfrost lashed his tail, not speaking for a long time. He looked back and smiled, before looking back at the Clans. “You have a choice. You can come and be our prisoners, and this time not be difficult, or you can pay the consequences. I’ll give you five minutes to decide.” He slipped away. “We’ll never join you!” Yowled Blackstar.
Yowls of agreement rang across the Clans, but nothing happened. But the time seemed to go by, and everyone was scared, pressed against each other. It was like a bomb waiting to go off. Hawkfrost reappeared. “We won’t join you.” Said Mistystar. “And I think I speak for all of us, when I say that.” The others nodded in agreement. Hawkfrost laughed. “Suit yourselves.”
He disappeared again. Then it happened. There was the sound of grunts, and snaps of anger, from behind the rock where the Clan cats couldn’t see. Brambleclaw opened his mouth to speak, but before he could say anything the odd Twoleg Den exploded. Screeches of fear and pain filled Squirrelflight’s ears, as she felt herself be forced backwards by the blow.
She was just barely conscious when she hit something, before landing on the floor. She gasped, but only inhaled smoke, and she exhaled choking and coughing. She looked around, with watering eyes. She couldn’t see anything but smoke and fire. “Brambleclaw!” She yowled. “Jayfeather!” She looked from left to right. She could see no other cat.
Then she remembered, about how Leafpool and Crowfeather went missing a while before the meeting. “Leafpool!” She gasped. Squirrelflight had to find her. She remembered how she had been carrying Crowfeather’s kits, close to kitting. She knew they had gone somewhere in the forest. She had to find them. The ginger she-cat scrambled to her paws, and began to pelt away from the Twolegplace.
But something stopped her. A body. It was dead. It was Ashfur. Squirrelflight let out a cry of horror, as she saw how mangled he looked. His jaw was hanging by only was side of his mouth, and one eye was hanging out of it’s socket, only attached by a cord of red muscle. His body was twisted completely backwards, and one of his ears was torn off.
The rest of him was just mangled, and too horrible to describe. She darted away from him, only then realizing her injuries. Blood pumped from a wound on her flank, and her front paw was dangling at an awkward angle, and pouring blood. She could feel her ear too, part of it had been torn off. There were multiple other bruises, scratches, and cuts on her, but she considered herself lucky compared to Ashfur.
She shook herself, before continuing forward. Squirrelflight had no idea how she would find Crowfeather and Leafpool. She didn’t know where they went. Then the ThunderClan she-cat heard a wail. She gasped, recognizing the voice as Crowfeather. That must mean something had happened. She began to sprint towards the noise, dodging flaming trunks, and diving through walls of fire.
Finally Squirrelflight broke through a clump of ferns, to see Crowfeather, leaning over a body, eyes wide with horror and grief. Squirrelflight looked at the body. “Leafpool.”
Brambleclaw let out a strangled yowl of fear, as he realized he couldn’t move and couldn’t breathe. “Help!” He gasped, trying to push the debris off of him. He let out a strangled cough. He coughed and coughed, coughing up blood. Black spots began to dot his vision. “No!” He gasped, which was barely a breath. “Help!” He squirmed and kicked at the debris.
Suddenly it was lifted, and he could breath again. He took in gulps of hot, smoky air. He looked up to see who it was. “Jayfeather! Thank you!” He said. Jayfeather’s blind blue gaze stared into him. “Well, I couldn’t just let out die now.” He said. Brambleclaw shook himself. “I guess you couldn’t.” He murmured. He raised his head, looking from left to right.
“Where is everyone? Where is Squirrelflight?” Jayfeather’s blind blue eyes flashed with puzzlement. Brambleclaw felt a pang. He thinks I’m still mad at Squirrelflight for lying to me. He think I still don’t like her. He thinks I still don’t want her to be my mate. “I have no idea.” The medicine cat murmured. Then jerked his head up. “But I have an idea!” Brambleclaw frowned. “About what?”
Jayfeather ignored his question. “Leafpool didn’t come. Squirrelflight would obviously be most worried about her, so she must have went to find her and Crowfeather! Come on!” Brambleclaw blinked, and hurried after him. Jayfeather would prick his ears, and then race ahead, and then pause, and then race ahead again. They passed the body of Ashfur, and Brambleclaw shuddered.
“How can you catch her scent in this?” Yowled the dark brown tom. “My nose is better than yours. There’s a few perks to being blind. But I can still just barely catch it. She must have—” He was cut off as a loud wail sounded, echoing off the walls of the Twolegplace. “That’s Squirrelflight! We must be close to the forest!” The two toms sprinted in the direction of the sound.
Eventually they both skidded to a halt. There they were. Squirrelflight, Crowfeather, and Leafpool. Except Leafpool was unmoving, and not breathing. “She’s dead.” Choked Jayfeather. Crowfeather’s eyes were filled with tears and his tail was wrapped around something. His muzzle was buried into her fur.
Squirrelflight was shaking with sobs and she buried her entire face into her deceased sister’s flank. Jayfeather’s steady stance began to tremble, as he looked at her, terrible sorrow and grief brimming in his eyes. “No . . . she can’t be dead. Not Leafpool. Not my mother.” Crowfeather looked up. “And especially since she just had kits.” Everyone turned towards the black WindClan tom.
He revealed two small kits, wailing and squirming. “A male and a female. I named this one Leafkit.” His voice was shaky. He gestured toward a small female kit who was black with a white tail tip, a white chest and neck, and white paws. “The other one I haven’t named yet.” Jayfeather glared at his father, opening his jaws to let out a loud hiss of anger.
“Maybe you shouldn’t name it! Maybe someone else should!” He spat. “You couldn’t protect her! First, you break the Warrior Code to mate with her, and have us, and when you find out, you hate us more than any other cat in the forest! And then suddenly you love us, and want us to forgive you, and then you get Leafpool killed! What kind of worthless cat are you, Crowfeather? What kind of father are you? What kind of warrior are you? What kind of Clanmate? What kind of mate?!”
Brambleclaw was stunned by Jayfeather’s sudden outburst. The blind medicine cat continued, “It’s your fault she’s dead! Maybe you shouldn’t be the one to raise these kits! Tigerstar was a better cat than you could ever be.” His words dripped with hate and venom. Anger surged through Brambleclaw. “Tigerstar was a horrible cat! The worst in the forest!”
Jayfeather glared at him. “Oh, you really think that, do you?! You really have no idea, do you Bramblekit.” Squirrelflight gasped and Crowfeather just looked hurt and sad. Jayfeather glared at them. “None of you know! None of you can know!” He dug his claws into the ground. “Jayfeather,” began Brambleclaw, “I know you’re sad but—”
“Sad? Sad? You think I’m just sad?! How ignorant can you be, Brambleclaw!” He turned and stalked away. Brambleclaw glared at him. “He has no idea what he’s talking about! He’s mad! Crazy! He has no idea what Tigerstar is capable of!” Squirrelflight gave him a sharp look. “Oh, so now it’s all about Tigerstar, is it!” Brambleclaw shook with fury. “No, it isn’t! I’m trying to help you! Jayfeather doesn’t know what he’s saying!! How about you stop being an annoying apprentice for once, and just listen to me!” And with that Brambleclaw whisked away, in the opposite direction of Jayfeather and the others.
Jayfeather stalked away, lashing his tail pain and grief blinding him. “I can’t believe Crowfeather. That arrogant flea-bag just expects me to forgive him?! He should have protected Leafpool, he—” He cut himself off, realizing he was talking to himself. “Great. I’m losing it. Just like Hollyleaf!” He let out a wail of outrage and pain, as he began to sprint through the forest.
I’ve lost everything! My two siblings, my love, my mother, and I never really had a father to begin with! And everyone treats me like I’m a hungry badger! Jayfeather dug his claws into the ground, when he heard a noise. He realized the fire was raging around him. A branch fell from a flaming tree, right on to him. He let out a wail. Luckily it was a small one.
He kicked, and desperately bit, tugging and pushing, trying to get it off of him. “Arghhh!” It eventually rolled off. The blind medicine cat groaned. His side throbbed horribly and he was exhausted. He looked up. How had that branch fallen? There were no trees with branches this healthy and sturdy around him. It must have been . . . either someone . . . or something.
Then the air was knocked out of him, and flew off of his paws, landing on his shoulder, awkwardly. Pain flashed through him. He let out a yowl of pain and fear. He got to his paws. He felt his throat suddenly flare with pain, and he staggered backwards. “Who’s there?” He rasped. “You know how to destroy me! You and Graystripe at least!” Jayfeather’s eyes widened.
“Tigerstar!” He gasped, staggering to his paws, but falling again. Tigerstar hit him in the head, and sent him spiraling next to a large ravine. “Bye bye, little kitty.” Growled the dark brown tabby. He raised his paw, and hit his head, making him fall. “Oh and by the way, tell your Clan we’re striking the final attack at midnight in about a quarter moon. Oh wait you can’t! You’ll be dead!”
The last thing Jayfeather heard was Tigerstar’s wretched laugh, before he hit stony ground, and blacked out.
“Who are you?” Croaked Jayfeather. Judging by his scent he was at least a RiverClan cat. “Who am I? I’m Riverstar. The founder of RiverClan.” He said. Jayfeather’s blind blue eyes widened. “You’re Riverstar?” The RiverClan leader nodded. “Thank you for saving me.” Said Jayfeather. Riverstar flicked an ear. “No problem. I would’ve done the same for any cat.”
Jayfeather tried to stand, but collapsed. Riverstar’s eyes widened. “You’d better lay low for a little while. You took a pretty bad fall. Luckily Tigerstar didn’t know there was a river at the bottom of this.” Jayfeather frowned. “How do you know Tigerstar pushed me?” He growled. “Because I watched.” Said Riverstar, but he hurried on before Jayfeather could say anything.
“I knew it would just get us both killed, if I jumped in. So when I saw you were about to fall, I managed to find a way to get down here, so I could try and save you.” He explained. “Fine.” Spat Jayfeather, standing up, shakily. “Let’s get out of here.” He and Riverstar reached the top of the gorge, when Jayfeather voices. “Shh! Stop!” He hissed. He slid into the undergrowth.
Suddenly he could see. Tigerstar, Hawkfrost, and all the other Dark Forest cats were gathered around. “This has gone on long enough! We will end StarClan once and for all! We just need some help.” He said. He murmured something softly, around a pattern he had traced in the ground. There was a striking darkness, and a small black tom with a white paw and ice blue eyes appeared.
He had a purple collar, with dog teeth sticking out of it. His claws were so sharp, he could kill a cat with a flick of his paw. “Scourge.” Said Tigerstar, dipping his head. “You’re back.” Scourge narrowed his eyes. “What do you want from me?” He hissed. “Why did you bring me back?!” Tigerstar gave him an angry glare. “Scourge, you hate the Clans as much as I do.” He began.
“I want you to help me defeat them. As you can see I have the whole Dark Forest on my side. We already outnumber them. But we need your help.” Scourge nodded curtly, surprising Jayfeather. More rogue cats appeared. There was one ragged tom cat with one eye, and another tom by his side Jayfeather had never heard of before. He glanced at Riverstar.
Riverstar’s eyes were wide with grief and horror. “We have to go. Now.”