Cover made by Dew
We still need some names for cats, if you have some please write them in the comments. Thank you in advance!
Form for the cats:
Other (if you really wish to Write what your cat looks like you can wright it here):
Medicine Cat: Mintpool
Queens: Bizzardfall, mother of Aspenkit and Riverkit
Medicine Cat: Stormfang
Queens: Petalstrike, expecting Crowscar's cubs
Medicine Cat: Peachfur
Brokenwhisker, app. Stormpaw
Leader: Redstar, app. Adderpaw
Medicine Cat: Kestrelwing
Silverpool app. Breezepaw
Queens: Hazelfrost, Kits:
Dustkit, Briarkit and Sorrelkit
Medicine Cat: Icewhisker
Reedbelly app. Marigoldpaw
Queens: Speckleflame, expecting Sloefur's kits
Medicine Cat: Larkwing
Adderclaw app. Yellowpaw
Quickstream app. Bristlepaw
Brookflame app. Quietpaw
Medicine Cat: Molepelt
Prologue - Dew
A faint breeze was stirring the trees and prey was whispering in the bushes but she didn't care. This was her dream and right now she wanted nothing more than to strech out in the sun and relax.
She sat down in a flat rock with the sea water lapping at her paws and the sun warming her golden spotted pelt.
"Now is not the time to sit in the sun, my dear," a voice sounded behind her. She turned and saw a big golden cat with a fluffy mane and a slightly dappled pelt.
She gasped. "Smokestar? Is it really you?" she asked staring at the beautiful half clan tom.
Smokestar nodded. "I have to warn you Mintpool," he meowed his voice deep, like that of his lion father. Mintpool pricked her ears, worried. "Is it sickness?" she asked. "Can I do anything about it? Which herbs do I nee-"
"It's not about sickness, it's about something far more deadly, listen carefully young medicine cat," he instructed.
"Send the golden cat with the purest of hearts and with him the hope that shines brighter than light. Together they will walk in our pawsteps, to find the blood that might still be spilled. But be warned one of them shall not return," Smokestar meowed, but it sounded as if many, many more cats were speaking.
Slowly Smokestar's spirit started to fade away. "Noo!" Mintpool cried. "Tell me more! Who's blood will be spilled?" But Smokestar had vanished.
Startled, Mintpool opened her eyes, to find herself curled up in the LeopardClan camp, with Smokestar's prophecy still ringing in her ears.
Shaking her head she got to her paws and paws and padded out of her den. Not many cats were still out in the clearing. Only a few apprentices mingled in front of their den. And Hopelight, the newly appointed warrior who was holding her silent vigil.
"And with him the hope that shines brighter than light," Smokestar's words rang in her ears.
Could it be? But no. StarClan would never entrust the safety of all three Clans onto the shoulders of this inexperienced warrior. "Send the golden cat with the purest of hearts." She would not be alone, the thought kept repeating itself in her head.
She shook herself, she knew what she had to do. Padding towards the camp entrance, and Hopelight, she meowed, "If anybody wonders where I am, tell them I had to speak to the other medicine cats." Hopelight nodded, her ears twiching nervously.
Mintpool pushed through the wall of reeds and stopped at the shore. It was a beautiful moment. The stars were twinkling above and the water was lapping at her paws. She would protect her home, whatever it might cost.
Chapter I - Ginger
Goldenheart yawned. He had just gotten back from dawn patrol, and he was still really tired. He wanted to go back to his nest, but knowing he probably shouldn’t, instead headed over to the Highledge, where Orangewing was sending out patrols.
"Are there any patrols for me to go on?" Goldenheart asked him.
"Yes," he replied "You can join Brokenwhisker, Sandstripe, and Stormpaw on a hunting patrol."
"Okay." At least this will wake me up a bit. He thought as he walked over to where the rest of the patrol was standing at the entrance to camp.
"I thought we might try the Twisted Tree." Brokenwhisker said to them "No one has hunted there in awhile."
"Well, then, let's go!" Stormpaw meowed, a little excitedly.
"Okay. There's no reason keep waiting here." Brokenwhisker said, and they started off out of camp.
After they stopped at the Twisted Tree, Goldenfheart stopped to stare at it. It's trunk was bending and curling in all sorts of directions, and it's roots were big and kind of came out of the ground. To him, it was very pretty.
"Stop standing there, Goldenheart!" Sandstripe said, snapping Goldenheart out of his trance "We found a mouse nest. Come help us dig it up!"
Goldenheart started to come over, but then stopped. He smelled something very faint, he couldn't make out what it was. It smelled kind of like foxes...
"Okay, okay, I'm coming."
Once they dug up the mouse nest, there were mice running everywhere. Goldenheart slapped his paw on one, instantly killing it. Then he saw one out of the corner of his eye, trying to escape, so he pounced on it, giving it a quick nip to the neck. He silently thanked Starclan for this prey, then turned around, seeing that Brokenwhisker had gotten three mice, Sandstripe had gotten two, just as he had, and Stormpaw had caught one.
"C'mon, we should probably go back now." Goldenheart said.
"Okay. Let's go." Brokenwhisker stated, and they started to walk back.
Goldenheart then heard thumping. Like some loud footsteps. He turned around to see to big black and white animals. Badgers! He thought. That's what that smell was! He saw that the other had turned around too. "Badgers!" Brokenwhisker snarled "Why'd it have to be badgers."
Goldenheart jumped at the first badger, leaping over him and biting his leg. It turned around, getting on its hind legs, but then Sandstripe jumped into the Its back, fastening her claws onto it. The badger tried shaking her off, eventually flinging her into a tree, but not before she gave it some scratches.
The badger then advanced on Goldenheart. He tried swiping his claws at it, but the blow never connected. The badger headbutted him, making him land on his back. He got up, and leapt at the badger, aiming for its eyes. He scratched it deep, but the badger shook him off, and Goldenheart was thrown to the ground again.
The last thing he saw before unconsciousness was the badger rearing up, ready to kill him....
Chapter II - Dew
Hopelight yawned and streched her aching muscles.
The LeopardClan deputy, Falconwing, padded towards her. "Your vigil is over. You can talk now."
"Oh thank StarClan," Hopelight breathed. "Can I go to my nest or am I needed for some patrol?"
Falconwing let out a deep rumbling purr. "You could go back to your nest if you want, but you look like you would rather go on patrol." She nodded.
"Well then you can join Hazelshade and Lilyfoot on the dawn patrol," he ordered. Hopelight nodded obediently and padded over to the two cats.
"Hey, Hopelight! What do you think of life as a warrior?" Hazelshade greeted her. "Nah haven't had long enough to decide," she joked and both cats purred.
Lilyfoot shook herself. "Let's go she meowed and the patrol nodded their agreement.
Hazelshade took the lead and led them between the thickly growing reeds towards the small strech of water, separating LeopardClan from the mainland.
Silently the three leopards slid into the water, propelling themselves forward with long rythmic kicks of their paws and sliding out of the water at the far bank with only so much as a whisper of droplets.
They didn't shake the water from the pelts. Why should they? The sun was already hot in the sky. TigerClan will complain about the heat again. Hopelight noticed.
Hazleshade broke into a swift run and led them along the coast towards the TigerClan border. As soon as the cooling shade of the trees touched Hopelight's paws she could smell an enemy patrol approaching.
Hazelshade held his tail low and silently swept it over the ground, Hopelight understood.
Moving forward with care she stood shoulder to shoulder with Hazelshade, Lilyfoot on the tom's other side.
The crunch of dead needles and the glimpse of an orange and black pelt announced the final arrival of the tigers.
Three shapes came out of the shadows and Hopelight recognized Crowscar,apparently the patrol leader, Hollytail and her apprentice Pinepaw.
Crowscar bared his teeth. "Well, well well, what do we have here?" he spat. "LeopardClan uhhh."
Hazelshade's fur bristled but his voice was calm. "Hello Crowscar, Hollytail, Pinepaw," he replied cooly. "How is your Clan doing?"
Crowscar huffed. "As if we will fall for that trick," he hissed. "Patrol we're leaving. This LeopardClan fox dung isn't worth it."
Quickly the three tigers melted back into the shadows of the trees, but Hopelight was sure they were still watching and it unnerved her.
"Those tigers really can't appreciate anything," Lilyfoot stated. "I agree," Hopelight confirmed.
Hazelshade shook his head. "Sometimes I would like to know what's going on in their heads," he sighed. "Anyway we have a patrol to finfish."
This time Lilyfoot took the lead, breaking into a run she turned and followed the edge of the trees until they reached a small swift flowing river. There the pale spotted leopard slowed her pace to sniff here and there, but her body language indicated that she wasn't as nervous as she had been at the TigerClan border and Hopelight understood. This was the part of their territory that bordered with LionClan.
The big golden cats were nothing like TigerClan they were funny and easygoing, it was easy to like them.
The patrol padded along the border, relaxed but ears pricked for any sound. Hopelight stiffened and sniffed the air. Badgers. She thought.
Padding on the stink distinguished until it was only a faint trace in the air but then the horrible screech sounded. It was more terrifying than anything Hopelight has heard before.
Hzelshade and Lilyfoot had heard it too and the three leopards stood perfectly still, listening. A grumbling sound came from the twisted tree, that was barely visible between the rolling hills of LionClan territory, followed by another screech.
"Their fighting," Hopelight realized. "We have to help them!" and without waiting for a reply she dived into the water swimming for the far bank.
Reaching it she pulled herself out of the water. Glancing backwards Hopelight saw that her Clanmates were hard on her paws.
Pushing through the tall grass that covered the whole of LionClan's territory she pelted forward.
Bursting into a clearing, in wich's middle the twisted tree was staning, Hopelight took the whole scene in with wide open eyes.
On the far side of the clearing a big dark golden male lion was standing over a remarkably smaller one, obviously an apprentice, fiercely protecting the young cat.
Hopelight could also make out a female lying between the roots if the twisted tree, unable to defend herself, but breathing.
A snarl caught her attention and she wiped around to see a mighty badger, on his hind legs, standing over another male lion, who was lying on the ground, unmoving.
"Oh no you won't!" Hopelight spat and charged at the badger leaping into its side. In the same moment she wondered wether she should have helped the lion between the trees roots. What if this one was dead already?
But the badger didn't give her time to think. It snarled at her, showing its big yellow teeth.
Hopelight thought fast. The badger was just as big as her wich meant she could use her wait as an advance. But the big grey creature wasn't as agile as she was.
The badger lunged but Hopelight was ready. Whisking aside she crouched down ready to spring. The badger lunged again. She jumped high into the air and the dump creature looked for her on the ground.
Hopelight landed on its back, flinging herself sideways with the badger still firmly between her paws. Now the creature was on top of her but it's belly was exposed to the claws of her Clanmates.
She heard pattering pawsteps and then the badher let out a grumble that was basically dripping with pain. She let go and the badger quickly limped away, grumbling and his companion followed.
Hopelight looked up to see her saviour. It was the female lion she had seen slumped between the roots of the twisted tree.
She smiled at her and the lion groaned. Her legs buckled and she fell to the ground. Hopelight jumped up and sniffed her. She lifted her head. "She's dead," Hopelight announced.
Chapter III - Ginger
Goldenheart woke up in a nest. A mix of sweet and sour scents filled his nose. Hmm, I must be in a medicine den. He tried sitting up, but he felt a sharp pang in his leg, so he quick lied back down.
"I would strongly advise against doing that."
Huh? He quickly turned his head to where the voice was coming from. He found a brownish she-cat standing at the den entrance. "Who are you, and what?"
"I'm Hopelight." The brown cat said "And, as I said, you shouldn't do that. Your medicine cat, Peachfur, said you broke your leg."
"That's good to know." He he replied sadly. Then he realized something."Wait, have you been watching me while I sleep?!"
"What? No! Of course not." She stated, a little taken aback "Peachfur told me to check on you while she treated Stormpaw. Actually, now that I think of it, I should probably notify her that you're awake."
"Wait! How's Stormpaw?" Goldenheart asked, but she'd already gone out.
A moment later Peachfur came in, carrying a vole. "Eat it." She ordered. He did while Peachfur checked his wounds. "Well, it looks like there's no sign of infection in your scratches," she told him "and it looks like your leg is healing up nicely. In a few days you'll be out of this den and back on warrior duties." Peachfur smiled at him, but her eyes looked sad.
What's wrong?" He asked. "Well, um-" she stopped, looking away.
"Sandstripe is dead." Hopelight finished for her, her voice full of sympathy.
"What?" Goldenheart roared as a bunch of emotions flew through his head. He curled up in his nest, full of grief. No. She can't be dead. She just can't. He thought. Sandstripe had been like a sister to him when they were young.
"Here eat these. They will help." Some cat whispered in his ear. He then saw a paw slide a couple of leaves and some seeds towards his nest. Thyme leaves and Poppy seeds, He thought. He quickly lapped them up, wishing for the pain to go away, then drifted off to sleep.
Chapter IV - Dew
Hopelight had sunken deep into her thoughts and didn't notice the tree ahead until it was to late.
Head first she ran into it cursing herself for not paying more attention. Hazelshade turned around and eyed her.
"Are you still thinking about that dead lion?" he asked and Hopelight nodded, why hide the truth?
"Maybe I could have saved her," she mumbled, but Hazelshade poked a claw at her nose.
"Don't," he instructed. "It's no use thinking who could have saved whom. What's important is that we tried to help and that none of us died."
Hopelight nodded, the older warrior was right. Walking on the two leopards broke into run and raced across the open land of their territory.
Hazelshade slowed his pace as soon as he saw the glistening strech of water that made the LeopardClan camp into an island, but Hopelight ran on.
Nearing the water Hopelight increased her speed and with all her young strength pushed off thy ground into a mighty leap.
She dived into the water like a fish and kicked out diving deeper and deeper.
Hopelight opened her eyes wide and could just make out the outlines of a mighty fish hovering a tail length below.
She kicked out with her hind paws swiftly grabbed it between her jaws and paddled for the surface.
With the fish struggling wildy she broke the surface and came face to face with Hazelshade, who was looking worried.
The dark leopard tom's eyes opened wide. "Whoa!" he exclaimed. "I thought you were drowning. But that... that is the biggest fish I've ever seen. Let me help you."
Hazelshade took a firm hold of the fish's flapping tail and side by side they paddled towards their island.
With Hazelshade beside her, Hopelight pulled herslef out of the water and dropped her end of the fish.
Immediately the big animal began to flap wildly again. Hopelight placed a firm paw on its thick and shine neck to hold its still. Then bent down and delivered the killing bite.
The creature stopped moving within hratbeats and Hazelshade dropped it's tail. "Phew," he panted. "That's a real big one you got there. You can be proud of yourself."
Hopelight purred at the older warrior's praise, it still felt good.
Together the two leopards pickd up the fish again and pushed their way through the reeds, into camp.
They laid down their burden on the fresh-kill pile and Hazelshade padded off with a tail flick of farewell.
Hopelight sat down between the reeds and began grooming herself, but she soon stopped. Her ears had picked up the voices of Mintpool and the LeopardClan leader Dawnstar.
"Dawnstar," Mintpool was meowing. "We have to do something."
"Yes, Mintpool I've got that part," Dawnstar responded. "But what do you want to do about it. We don't even know what it's about!"
"No we dont," Mintpool admitted. "But think about it. Hope that shines brighter than light. I am warning you Dawnstar our Clan is up to its shoulder in trouble."
Dawnstar huffed. "Okay okay," she meowed. "I've got it its important but again what do you want to do about it?"
Hopelight could picture the sleek medicine cat taking a deep thoughtful breath. "Let's tell them," Mintpool meowed. "Let's tell everyone at the Gathering tonight."
Dawnstar sighed. "Very well," she replied briskly. "We will but don't expect to much from the other leaders."
Hopelight sat back on her haunches. What had they been talking about? She wondered. She would fund out soon enough.
But somehow she couldn't shake the feeling that this day would change her life forever...
The full moon was high in the sky and the breath of her Clanmates stilled the night air.
LeopardClan was standing amongst her Clan waiting for Dawnstar to give the signal.
A flick of her leaders tail and the Clan was racing down the slope into a clearing lined with big boulders. There were three gaps in the stone wall, one led into LionClan territory, the other into TigerClan's territory and the last led to LeopardClan's.
Hopelight skidded to a halt beside Honeypetal. Looking around the clearing she noticed that LeopardClan was the last to arrive.
As always the tigers were sitting in the shadows, nearest to their exit. The lions were all bunched together in the middle of the hollow and LeopardClan spread throughout the clearing.
This will not be a Gathering to chat and share tounges. Hopelight thought, settling down with Acornheart on her left and Shellpaw, Duskpaw and Reedpaw on her righr side.
The three Clan leaders leaped onto the fallen oak and Dawnstar started speaking immediately.
Turning to Thislestar she meowed, "I am sorry for your loss but we cannot mourn Sandstripe now. We have important matters to discuss."
Next to her Ashstar grinned and Hopelight could see his lips moving but was to far off to understand what he was saying.
"What's more important than the death of one of my warriors?" Thislestar promted.
Dawnstar shot the LionClan leader a thankful glance took a deep breath and spoke, "Out medicine cat, Mintpool, has received a prophecy concerning the destruction of the three Clans!"
Chapter V - Ginger
Gasps of shock arose from the clans. Goldenheart was shocked as well. His leg had healed a few days earlier, and he had been chosen to go to the gathering. The destruction of the clans? He thought worriedly. What would be so big that it could destroy three whole clans?
“I have asked Mintpool to tell you what happened.” Dawnstar said, interrupting his thoughts.
He saw a spotted cat climb up onto the fallen oak. That must be Mintpool.
”One night, I was visited by Smokestar, our last leader.” She told everyone
”Well, we obviously know that he was their last leader. He did only die a couple moons ago.” Goldenheart heard a Tigerclan cat grumble. Ugh, I wish they weren’t so negative all the time.
Mintpool paid no attention as she continued. “He gave me a prophecy. Send the golden cat of purest hearts, and with him, the hope that shines brighter than light. Let them walk in our Pawsteps, to find the blood that might still be spilled.” She paused. “But be warned, one of them will not return.”
The clearing fell silent for a moment, then he heard some cats murmuring about the prophecy.
”Mintpool and I have been talking about the prophecy, and we think we know who the two cats might be.” Dawnstar said and the cats fell silent again.
Dawnstar took another breath and told them, “Hopelight,” Goldenheart heard whispers break out a little ways to the right of him.
Dawnstar glared in that direction, and the whispers stopped. “And Goldenheart.”
Me? He thought. Surely it couldn’t be him. He couldn’t even protect himself from a badger!
Some cats started talking, obviously about the prophecy, He heard a Leopardclan cat say, “Surely you’re making a mistake, right? I mean, Hopelight only just became a warrior!”
He saw Ashstar turn toward Dawnstar. “Yes, surely.” He meowed angrily. “Why isn’t one of our warriors mentioned?“
“Well, it’s probably because you’re mouse-hearts by thinking you’re better than ever than everyone else all the time!” A random apprentice shouted.
“We are not mouse-hearted!” He heard another Tigerclan appprentice snarl, and he saw an orange and black figure leap through the air and land on a spotted figure.
No! We can’t fight at a gathering! Goldenheart thought.
”Stop!“ He heard Thistlestar shout. “Ashstar and Dawnstar, I would like to talk to you. Orangewing, lead everyone back to camp. This gathering is over. He leaped off the tree, Dawnstar and Ashstar following.
”Come on, let’s go.” He saw Orangewing walk out the Lionclan exit, so he followed.
As they walked to camp, Goldenheart’s only thought was, I can’t be in the prophecy, can I?
Chapter VI - Dew
Hopelight stood there, paralized, staring up at the leaders on the Fallen Oak.
It can't be. The thought kept repeating itself in her head. Me? Why me? I've just become a warrior.
"Hopelight," someone meowed and Hopelight felt a cold nose nudge her. "Hopelight, we have to get home."
She got to her paws and let the other cat steer her out of the hollow. The warm familiar smell of her Clanmates comforted her, but it couldn't drive away the feeling of dread that was building in her belly.
She stumbled and felt a strong shoulder catch her. The scent of Hazelshade sorrounded her. "Thank you," she whispered and felt the toms warm breath on her ears.
Led by Falconwing the group of leopards trudged back to camp, Hopelight who was still in shock, leaning heavily on Hazelshade's shoulder.
Falconwing stopped and tensed, his Clanmates Formung a tight circle around the Elders, Apprentices and Hopelight.
"You can realx," came a familiar voice from the shadows. "It's just us."
Five leopards stepped out into the cold moonlight. Led by Shadowclaw and Frostcreek, with Rippleheart and Blizzardfall carrying the Queens cubs, Aspenkit and Riverkit. And behind them Brairtuft.
Falconwing looked surprised. "What are you doing here?"" he asked. "Weren't you supposed to stay in camp?"
Shadowclaw nodded. "Yes," he meowed. "And that's what we did, but we were attacked by badgers. Many, many, many badgers."
Hopelight's eyes widened. She gasped, not her Clan too. Then her legs buckled and she felt the ground rushing up to meet her.
Hopelight opened her eyes to total blackness. "Where am I," she asked. But didn't get an answer.
She saw a flash of light, it blinded her and she had to close her eyes, when she opened them again three cats were standing before her. "Who are you?" she asked.
One them answered. "We are the first leaders of LionClan, LeopardClan and TigerClan.
"But you all look the same!" Hopelight exclaimed. One of them nodded. "Yes we do and even though you don't look the same anymore, doesn't mean you don't have the same interests at heart. Hopelight you must-"
"Hopelight!" someone cried. Her eyes flew open. And she saw Hazelshade standing over her.
"Oh thank StarClan your awake," he breathed. "You just fainted!"
Hopelight scrambled to her paws, swaying slitghly. Shaking her head she meowed, "I know where we have to go now."
Every cat stared at her, but Falconwing nodded encouragingly. "Good," he meowed. "Tell us."
Hopelight took a deep breath. "To the LionClan camp."
Outraged yowls could be heard throuout the Clan, but Falconwing looked thoughtful. "She's right," he meowed. "We can't go back to our camp and I don't think the tigers will take us in."
"And," he added. "Like that we can have a thorough talk about the prophecy again. It's decided. We are going to LionClan!"
Chapter VII - Ginger
Lizardpaw shot a hateful glare at Ashstar, who was sharing tongues with Hollytail. He had gotten a quarter-moon of taking care of the elders after he attacked a Leopardclan apprentice at the gathering.
He deserved it! Lizardpaw thought, bristling with fury. No one calls Tigerclan mouse-hearts and gets away with it!
He clawed angrily at the moss he was taking to the elders. Great, now I have to get more bedding.
He walked over to the fallen tree that was the medicine den, going behind it to where they stored the moss. He grabbed some, then started padding back.
As he made his way over to the Elder's den, his mentor, Crowscar, called out to him. "Lizardpaw!"
Lizardpaw hurried over to him. "Yes?" He asked, trying to suppress an angry hiss.
"Come on, we're going on border patrol." Crowscar explained.
"Wait, we are?" Lizardpaw asked, surprised. Finally, I can get out of camp!
"Yes, now come on." Crowscar turned around, heading to where Wolftooth and Meadowfern were standing.
Wolftooth turned to speak to them. "We're going to mark the Leopardclan border, okay?" He waited until everyone responded. "Let's go." The patrol started out of camp.
As they walked along the border, Lizardpaw tried finding the Leopardclan scent marks, but they were very faint, like they haven't been marked in a while.
That's weird. He thought, but quickly dismissed it.
"Lizardpaw, come mark this tree." Crowscar interrupted his thought, flicking his tail towards a dark tree.
He quickly marked it, then followed the others to where the Lionclan border started. Lizardpaw then scented something strong coming from the other side of the border. He glanced into the trees, seeing a flash of golden fur.
Lionclan! Lizardpaw thought, but then saw another flash of spotted fur. Leopardclan as well! Lizardpaw curled his lip. Why are they with Lionclan? Oh wait, is must be because of that stupid 'prophecy'. Why else would they be together and excluding us?
"Come on, let's head back." He heard Wolftooth say, but ignored him, letting his anger boil up. He slid his claws out, sinking them into the soft grass.
"I will not let Tigerclan be shoved aside like useless crowfood just because of this prophecy." Lizardpaw muttered under his breath. "I'm going to help those prophecy cats, whether they like it or not."
Chapter VIII - Dew
"For StarClans sake, keep still," Peachfur growled. With quick movement, the golden lioness spread a green bulb across his hind leg.
Goldenheart laid back his ears but didn't protest while Peachfur continued to rub green bulb into his fur.
"Goldenheart?! Are you coming?" Hopelight's irritated meow sounded only second before she stuck her head into the medicine den. Goldenheart sighed. He had grown very familiar with this female leopard and he liked her, no question, but she was so horribly impatient.
"He will stay as long as I wish," Peachfur answered, before Goldenheart could. Hopelight rolled her eyes but she had already learned, that Peachfur wasn't a lion you want to get into an argument with. So she just huffed an inaudible reply and her head vanished.
For what seemed years, Peachfur continued to examine Goldenhearts leg, until finally she let him get up. "Now," she meowed. "Don't run your whole way, or you'll sprain it." And with that the small lioness tuned away.
Hastily Goldenheart padded out of the medicine den and away from horribly annoying Peahfur, only to collide with Hopeligt who had been waiting outside.
"Finally!" she exclaimed. "I thought she'd never let you go."
Goldenheart sighed but didn't protest instead he took a few more steps into the clearing and waved his tail at her. "What's up anyway?" he asked.
With an excited squeal, that Goldenheart had only heard from lion cubs so far, the female leopard jumped high into the air batting at invisible enemies. "We're going!"
Goldenheart cocked his head. "Err... going where, exactly?" he asked.
Hopelight gave an amused mrow of laughter, "That's the question, mouse brain!"
Slowly the large lion shook his head. How could a grown up leopard act like... that?
Even though Hopelight had begun to talk about something next to him, Goldenheart still heard Thislestar's commanding roar from the other side of the clearing. "Hopelight! Goldenheart!"
Lowering his head, Goldenheart padded across the clearing, with Hoplight happily bouncing along.
As soon as the two cats had reached Thislestar he began to talk, "We, Dawnstar and I, have decided to send you onto your quest."
Goldenheart flicked his ears, clearly confused. "Our quest?" he asked. "Didn't you say that you have no idea what the prophecy is about?"
"We did," Mintpool agreed, padding up behind them. "But we can't waste any more time. The badgers have taken in every inch of former LeopardClan territory and as far as we I know, they even got so far, as to chase TigerClan out of they're camp as well. StarClan knows where they are livin' now..."
Feeling a little nervous, Goldenheart dug a bit deeper, "How do we know where to go?"
Thislestar shuffled his big golden paws. "We belive that you will know where to go. StarClan has chosen you."
Finally, Hoplight took part in the conversation as well. "Why do we even have to go?" she asked. "It's not as if the three Clans haven't dealt with badgers before!"
Mintpool sighed sadly. "Yes," she meowed. "We have, but these badgers are different, they communicate with each other, they are one Clan like ours and overall they simply outnumber us."
"We will find a solution," Goldenheart growled quietly, more to himself than anyone else.
"Although," Hopelight added. "I still don't see why we have to be sent away for that. Goldenheart flicked his tail at her. "Leave it," he told her. "I don't get it either but remember StarClan told us to do so, we have to listen to our ancestors.
A small shadow, like a memory flickered across Hopelight's eyes, but then she nodded. "You're right."
Thislestar nodded. "Good," he meowed, his voice deep with pleasure. "Then that's settled. We'll have to announce your depatrue to the Clan. I mean the Clans." He added with a quick gance at Mintpool.
Goldenheart wanted to object but he knew he would have to leave anyway. In one graceful movement, Thislestar got to his paws and let out an earsplitting roar. Immediately the Clans chatter died down and silence covered the camp.
"Today two of our Clans warriors will leave on their quest," Thislestar declared and Goldenheart felt the eyes of countless lions and leopards rest on him.
If Hopelight could feel their gazes as well, she didn't let it show, instead she walked forward to touch her nose to Hazelshade's. "I'll miss you," she murmured. Goldenheart couldn't help but stare, he hadn't known that Hoplight had anything running with anyone. Maybe, maybe he thought maybe he's just a friend.
Goldenheart just kept standing where he was and noone came to say goodbye, they just murmured their good wishes but didn't meet his gaze. The big male lion felt like wailing at that moment.
Suddenly, a rather big female leopard pushed her way through the crowd of cats, Goldenheart recognized her as Dawnstar. "Wait one moment Thislestar," she growled through gritted teeth. "I did consider sending my warrior off onto that quest as well, but have you really forgotten the second part of the prophecy?"
Cold claws of fear sliced through Goldenheart as Dawnstar's words roused the memory of his last gathering; Mintpool standig on the fallen oak next to the leaders, cats whispering about the prophecy and the bone chilling last words of it, "... but be warned, one of them shall not return"
Thislestar nodded. "Of course I haven't forgotten it," he grumbled, clearly irritated. "But I think that we have to take the risk..."
Yowls of protest rose from the gathered lions and Goldenheart felt a sudden rush of relief.
With a quick flick of his tail, Thislestar silenced his Clan. "What I wanted to say, was; yes, the risk of losing a warrior is a great one. But I would rather lose one warrior than my whole Clan!"
Goldenheart gasped. Had he really just heard that? It cost a lot of self control to not leap at Thislestar and rip his throat out. By now, Goldenheart wasn't even sure if he wanted to complete a quest for these cats.
A long silence followed Thislestar's words that was finally broken by Dawnstar. "Although I do not agree with Thislestar I'm sure that we need to do something, and since I wasn't mentioned in the prophecy, I won't decide. Instead I will let Hope light decide."
Goldenheart briefly glanced at Hopelight, he could also hear her voice ring across the clearing, "I will go, Dawnstar. For LeopardClan." But everything seemed far away and surreal.
After what seemd like ages, someone pulled at his ear. Goldenheart looked up to see Hopelight standing beside him. "Come on," she meowed and gestured towards the camp entrance with her tail.
Goldenheart only gave a tired nod and followed the graceful leopard out of camp, with the good wishes of their Clanmates ringing behind them.
"Where are we even going?" Hope light aksed, trying to sound cheerful, but utterly failing.
Goldenheart sighed. "Dunno he mumbled. "I don't know hy I'm even going. My Clan leader just stated that he wouldn't even care..."
With a quick movement, Hopelight hopped in front of him and stared at him, a mixture of wisdom and playfulness written in her eyes.
"No!" she growled. "Don't think that way. Yes, Thislestar might have said that, bUT he didn't change your heart did he? Even if you're not leaving for LionClan, you are still leaving on this quest for yourself."
Suprise rippled through Goldenheart as Hopelight turned and started walking again, keeping a straight course away from the already setting sun.
She was right, he thought. He would complete this quest and return, dead or alive...
Chapter IX - Ginger
"Ouch!" Hopelight exclaimed as she felt something sharp poke her foot. She and Goldenheart had been traveling across the mountains that shelter Lionclan for some time, though Goldenheart seemed as depressed as ever, and Hopelight had been getting a little annoyed.
"How do you get hurt by every pebble?" Goldenheart asked, moving more gracefully up the steep slope. "It's not that hard, you know."
Hopelight rolled her eyes. "Well, I don't have hard pads like you do," she pointed out. "I bet you wouldn't last a second in the water, though."
Goldenheart stopped and glared at her, then continued climbing. Hopelight hissed angrily. Why did he have to be so rude?
When they reached the top, Hopelight flopped down on the grassy ground, panting, while Goldenheart looked as energized as ever.
"How are you not tired?" She asked. "Does Lionclan do this for fun?"
"No," Goldenheart answered. "Well, sometimes we come up here to hunt mountain goats."
Hopelight's eyes widened as he said this. She looked at the sky, and saw that it was now turning purple, and the stars were coming out. "Maybe we should stay here for the night," She reasoned. "That way I can get some rest, and you can stop bothering me by getting us some food."
Goldenheart rolled his eyes, and set off to find some food. When he came back, he was carrying two large hares. He gave one to her and they both wolfed them down. When they were finished, Hopelight yawned, feeling exhausted.
"I'll take first watch." Goldenheart offered, and Hopelight thanked him, before closing her eyes and falling to sleep.
Hopelight dreamed she was in a grassy field, with a thick forest behind her. She looked around, wondering why she was here, when a black tom with a starry pelt appeared in front of her.
"Wh-who are you?" She asked, startled.
"I am from Starclan," he told her. "And I am here to answer one question you have about the quest."
Without thinking, Hopelight asked, "Where are we supposed to go?"
The tom nodded, and said,"Go past the mountains, go to the forest, to find the clan who strikes like thunder, the clan who runs like the wind, the clan who swims in the river, and the clan who walks with the shadows. They will help you, but you must help them first."
As he finished, he started fading from view. Hopelight desperately tried to ask, "Wait! What are the clans? What do we need to help them with?"
But he was gone, and Hopelight woke up, with dull pains in her side. She groaned. "What?"
Goldenheart was standing beside her and prodding her, saying, "Wake up. It's time to get going."
Hopelight immediately sat up, quickly remembering her dream. She told Goldenheart everything, and when she finished, he said, "Well, now we know where we're going. Come on."
As they started walking, Hopelight thought she saw something in a crag of the mountain. She decided it was just a trick of the shadows, but she still had the feeling that someone was watching her.
Chapter X - Dew