Blurb: Rosefall adopted Wrenkit as her own - to protect her. But she wants to let it known.
Time and time again, Rosefall is on the brink. She wants to reveal it, but she can't. She doesn't want her to know.
When should Rosefall reveal her secret - now, or later?
This is a special edition of The Soaring Wren Series.
Rosefall was dozing in the nursery, her two kits, Harekit and Fennelkit, at her belly. It had been a long day, having to follow around the two young kits around the camp all day, and scolding them for just about everything they did.
They'll learn one day, she thought, as her ear twitched. Some cats - the sunset patrol - were entering the camp.
She heard Soaringstar meow: "Do you mind going and seeing Rosefall? We need to tell her to please take care of this kit. She will probably let you, but please ask her anyway."
"On my way," a voice mumbled, it sounded like Specklewing.
What's this about a kit? She opened her eyes and raised her head.
Specklewing was at the entrance, a dark brown tabby she-kit in her jaws. To make sure it wasn't Fennelkit, she looked down. Her tabby she-cat - with such a strikingly similar appearance - was at her bally, nestled near the light brown tom that was Harekit.
"Rosefall, can you please look after this kit?" Specklewing meowed, dropping the kit at her paws. The dark tabby mewled - she could smell the scent of milk on Rosefall.
"Why?" she asked.
"We found her alone while we were on patrol. There was stale cat scent around her. If she was left alone overnight, she would probably be dead by now.
"Of course I'll take her," Rosefall mewed. "What's her name?"
"Wren," the black-and-ginger she-cat meowed. "I'll let Soaringstar know about your decision." She then turned and padded out again.
Rosefall moved Wren close to her. The she-kit mewled, and moved towards her belly, pressing her small body onto Rosefall's belly.
She's so vulnerable. But she's not mine.
Should I tell her? a voice asked.
No. It would be her secret from her.
She watched the Clan cheer for her adopted kit. The dark tabby looked scared, nervous - not used to being around groups of cats.
Soaringstar, the Clan leader, dismissed the meeting after the newly named Wrenkit had edged back to her. Lilyleaf started to organize patrols:
"Sparrowsong! Take Rainpaw, Molewhisker, and Tangleleap with you on a hunting patrol."
The dark tabby tom - her mate - nodded to Lilyleaf, and Rainpaw, Molewhisker, and Tangleleap followed him swiftly out of camp.
Meanwhile, Harekit had started a play-fight with Wrenkit, and they were rolling around the camp - the middle of it.
"You two! Don't fight there!" Rosefall meowed. The two kits jumped apart, and scurried back to her.
Should I tell her now?
No. I won't.
Rosefall felt guilt.
She wished she had told Wrenkit before, before she had forgotten life before she came to the Clan.
Now she had.
Rosefall wanted to tell her, but it would be too much of a shock.
It had been three moons since Wrenkit had come to the Clan. She looked as strong as her foster littermates, Harekit and Fennelkit, and she looked just as Clan-born.
But she's not mine.
"Wit until you have your kits, Specklewing," she mewed to the she-cat beside her. "They'll be just like mine."
The black-and-ginger she-cat purred. "I hope I have a tom and a she-cat, just like you. Smallspeck and I would like that."
The chilly leaf-bare breeze chilled Rosefall to the bone. Harekit, Wrenkit, and Fennelkit seemed unfazed by it, making small pawprints in the snow, and rolling in it, getting the white flacked on their short fur.
"Are you kits all right?" Rosefall asked, as they got near her.
"Yes, we're fine!" Fennelkit squeaked, as she jumped in the snow again, landing dramatically.
"I wonder if my kits will be like that," Specklewing mewed wistfully. "I wish I had them now..."
"You won't look forward to it when they're young..."
Specklewing purred. "What, I know that already, remember? Soaringstar let me mentor my own son!" she added, as Finchsong ducked his head as he padded into the warrior's den.
"Yes, and you had a tom and a she-cat then, didn't you?"
"Oh, yes..." Specklewing meowed. "I just like a tom and a she-cat, that's all! When Raindapple and Finchsong were kits, they loved the snow. They loved to pester Molekit and Driftkit..." She sighed. "Memories."
"Oh, StarClan, those toms?" Rosefall purred. "I swear I've seen Raindapple and Driftwing mooning over each over..."
"You're joking!" Specklewing mewed. "Rainkit and Driftkit - well, Raindapple and Driftwing now - well, they badly disliked each other."
The three kits padded up to Rosefall.
"Mama, we're cold!" Harekit squeaked.
"Okay, let's head in," Rosefall mewed. "Fennelkit, go get some fresh-kill, please.
Without hesitation, the dark tabby she-kit padded to the pile, and grabbed some mice, their tails dangling in her jaws as she headed back.
Rosefall purred. This is how life was meant to be.
Except that the fact that Wrenkit didn't know about her past.
"Hey, be quiet, kits, this is a very important ceremony."
Rosefall curled her tail around Harekit, Fennelkit, and Wrenkit. Today, Newtpaw and Darkpaw were getting their warrior names.
"We've seen one before!" Harekit squeaked.
"Quiet," she hissed, as Soaringstar waved his tail for silence.
The pale ginger cat stood commandingly on the rock, beckoning the two cats forward. Newtpaw and Darkpaw's eyes shone with pride.
"Bluemist," Soaringstar meowed, directing his attention to the blue-gray she-cat, "do you agree that Darkpaw is ready to become a warrior?"
"He is ready, Soaringstar," Bluemist replied. "He caught a lot of fresh-kill for the Clan yesterday."
At Bluemist's words, Darkpaw puffed out his chest proudly.
"And Smallspeck?" Soaringstar asked, now turning his amber gaze to the gray tom. "Do you say the same of Newtpaw?"
"I do, Soaringstar," Smallspeck replied.
Newtpaw shot a glance at her mentor before Soaringstar started to say the ritual words:
"I, Soaringstar, leader of WillowClan, ask my warrior ancestors to look down on these two apprentices. They have trained hard to understand the ways of your noble code, and I commend them to you as warriors in their turn. Newtpaw, Darkpaw, do you promise to uphold the warrior code and to defend this Clan, even at the cost of your life?"
Specklewing's kits, Stormkit, Lightningkit, and Thunderkit, stared round-eyed at the WillowClan leader as he spoke those words.
"I do," Newtpaw gasped.
"I do." Darkpaw responded stronger than his sister.
"Then by the powers of StarClan, I give you your warrior names." Soaringstar beckoned Darkpaw forward. "Darkpaw, from this moment you shall be known as Darkshade. StarClan honors your courage and enterprise, and we welcome you as a full warrior of WillowClan."
Soaringstar leapt down from Bramblethorns so that Darkshade could lick his shoulder. The silver warrior licked his leader's shoulder, then backed away, his eyes shining with pride.
Newtpaw then stepped forward, meeting Soaringstar's amber gaze confidently.
"Newtpaw, from this moment you shall be known as Newtfoot. StarClan honors your eagerness and your cleverness, and we welcome you as a full warrior of WillowClan."
The black-flecked white she-cat stepped forward to lick her leader's shoulder. When she had done, Soaringstar leapt onto Bramblethorns, and the Clan cheered for the new warriors:
"Newtfoot! Darkshade! Newtfoot! Darkshade!"
Rosefall was happy.
But doubt pricked through her.
Should I tell Wrenkit about her past now?
Rosefall found it hard to push the temptation away, but she managed to.
No. It's not time yet.
Rosefall made sure the three kits' pelts were shining, sparkling, no sign of dust. She looked them over - they looked ready.
To become apprentices of WillowClan.
"You look great," she whispered quietly.
The three kits didn't say anything. They just fixed their eyes on Soaringstar, who had started to speak:
"Today I am doing a thing that I treasure highly; the making of new apprentices. Wrenkit, Fennelkit, and Harekit have reached their sixth moon, and they will become apprentices today." Soaringstar beckoned with his tail for Wrenkit, Fennelkit, and Harekit to come closer.
Rosefall let them go up. They didn't need her anymore.
"Wrenkit, Harekit, and Fennelkit," Soaringstar meowed. "please step forward."
The three kits stepped forward eagerly.
"From this day onwards, until you receive your warrior names, these apprentices will be known as Wrenpaw, Harepaw, and Fennelpaw."
Rosefall joined in with the cheering of the new names: "Wrenpaw! Fennelpaw! Harepaw!"
Rosefall wasn't a queen any longer. She was a warrior - and thankful for it. She enjoyed hunting her own prey, battling rogues - but she would miss nursing Harepaw, and Fennelpaw, even Wrenpaw - who wasn't her own. She hoped that her kits would enjoy being warriors as well.
"Harepaw, your mentor will be Tangleleap."
Tangleleap, a light brown she-cat with white dapples, purred as she made her way to Bramblethorns.
"This is your first apprentice," Soaringstar meowed, "but I can safely say that I am putting Harepaw in safe paws. Tangleleap, share your agility and sense of adventure with Harepaw."
Tangleleap and Harepaw touched noses. Harepaw looked delighted.
"Fennelpaw, your mentor will be Sunfrost."
Fennelpaw's amber eyes widened as Sunfrost came close.
"Sunfrost, share your speed and strength with Fennelpaw. You are a warrior that I can trust, and I trust you to pass on those skills to your apprentice."
Like Tangleleap and Harepaw before them, Sunfrost and Fennelpaw touched noses.
"Now," Soaringstar mewed thoughtfully. "Wrenpaw. Wrenpaw, Wrenpaw. I have thought long and hard on who shall mentor you. You are a cat which shows agility, strength, speed, and skill."
Rosefall held her breath. She knew who was going to mentor Wrenpaw. Soaringstar had told her already.
Soaringstar leapt off Bramblethorns and stepped up to Wrenpaw. Their gazes met, and Soaringstar took a deep breath.
"I will be your mentor."
Wrenpaw looked shocked with the words, her blue eyes round, and her mouth open.
Soaringstar said something inaudible to Wrenpaw, then raised his tail for silence. The cats of WillowClan did as their leader said.
After he had done that, Soaringstar bent his head to touch noses with Wrenpaw. The Clan exploded into cheers:
"Wrenpaw! Harepaw! Fennelpaw!"
Rosefall was content. But a thought niggled in her head.
Should I tell her?
She pushed the thought away. No - shouldn't ruin this day for her.
"Rogue in the camp! Rogue in the camp!"
A yowl alerted Rosefall to attention, from where she was sorting out her nest in the warrior's den.
"What is it this time?" she meowed back.
Darkshade stuck his head into the den, his blue eyes flashing. "Soaringstar let a rogue into the camp!" he breathed. "Is he mad?"
"Be quiet," Rosefall mewed. "You know what happened last time a rogue got into the camp."
"Yes," Darkshade replied, "but this cat looks like he's six moons old -"
"Six moons old?" Rosefall snorted. "Are you kidding. Is one six-moon old cat going to ruin the entire Clan? Be quiet for once."
Darkshade shot a furious look at Rosefall, but said no more. The dark silver warrior stomped out of the den.
Rosefall placed the finishing touches to her nest - on the outside of the den, but far away from the entrance - and then padded out. The bitter smell of rogue hit her tongue.
She turned her head. A thick-furred, dark gray tom with yellow eyes stared around the camp, often flicking his gaze to Wrenpaw, who was nearby.
Rosefall said nothing, but narrowed her eyes. She felt that this was suspicious. The rogue tom didn't look like Wrenpaw at all - he was large, with a big head and big paws - while Wrenpaw, on the other hand, was lithe, was long-legged, and her paws were small and delicate.
Yet that couldn't change Rosefall's perspective. The tom's scent reminded her of Wrenpaw when she had come to the Clan. They both had large, neat ears, and round, big eyes.
Could the tom be somehow related to Wrenpaw?
Soaringstar broke off a conversation he was having with Lilyleaf, the Clan deputy. "Tell every cat that there is a meeting at moonhigh," he mewed loudly.
"At moonhigh?" Molewhisker complained, shouldering his way to the front. "At moonhigh? Why?"
Soaringstar flicked his long tail angrily. "Something that I need to discuss with the Clan. Leave me alone."
Molewhisker shot a look of fury at Soaringstar, before padding to the warrior's den.
Rosefall watched the cats murmur to each other, wondering what the meeting would be about.
Meanwhile, Harepaw had come out of the apprentice's den. "There's a rogue in the camp!" he meowed loudly. "Wrenpaw and Nightpaw say so."
"There is," Tinywish mewed. "It's true. Harepaw, tell your friends in the apprentice's den that there is a meeting at moonhigh." The small white she-cat paused as Lilyleaf whispered something in her ear. "Oh, and Harepaw, Soaringstar wants to see you."
"Why?" Harepaw complained, as the young light brown tom padded over to the pale ginger leader.
"I wonder why," Molewhisker mewed bitterly.
Tension was arising in the WillowClan camp, Rosefall was sure of it. But what would happen at the meeting at moonhigh?
A voice whispered in her ear: Only StarClan knows.
Soaringstar's voice jolted Rosefall awake. It was the morning after the rogue attack. Grief ran through her as she remembered that Sparrowsong - her mate - was dead. What would she do without him?
"Rosefall!" Soaringstar repeated.
"What is it?" Rosefall murmured hazily. "Do you want me to help with burying the bodies?" As well as Sparrowsong dying, Fernkit, Raindapple's newborn daughter, and Amberspirit got killed. The whole Clan was grieving.
"No," Soaringstar mewed, flicking his long tail. "I need to speak with you."
"Oh, just something," Soaringstar mewed. "Something I must speak with you in private. Follow me."
What does he want me to speak with him about? Rosefall thought in surprise, as she padded behind the ginger leader. I haven't done anything wrong!
Sensing Rosefall's worry, Soaringstar turned around, and meowed, "It's not about you."
"Okay," Rosefall breathed, as they reached the entrance to Soaringstar's den.
Soaringstar dipped down, and slunk into the hole, Rosefall following. When they got to the end, she breathed a sigh of relief.
I hate holes!
Soaringstar pressed a paw down on his bedding. He sat down, and turned around.
"Why do you want to speak with me?" Rosefall asked.
"It's about Wrenpaw, mainly," Soaringstar mewed calmly. "And Dewpaw."
"Dewpaw?" Rosefall questioned. "Why does he have anything to do with this?" The young tom - a similar age to her own kits - had thrived since he'd joined the Clan one-and-a-half moons ago, and taken the apprentice name Dewpaw. Driftwing was being an able mentor to him, and Rosefall thought that they were both doing well.
"He had a talk to me last night about Wrenpaw," Soaringstar mewed absently.
"Why about Wrenpaw?" Rosefall asked.
"He knew that Wrenpaw wasn't Clanborn," Soaringstar replied.
Soaringstar leaned in closer to Rosefall. "Don't tell any cat what I'm about to say to you," Soaringstar mewed. "Do you understand?"
"It's confidential information," Soaringstar decided, shifting uncomfortably. "Do you understand?"
"Yes," Rosefall sighed absently.
"Good," Soaringstar mewed. "I told Dewpaw I wouldn't tell anyone this, but as you know Wrenpaw, I believe you should know as well."
"So then, what is it?" Rosefall challenged.
"Okay, then." Soaringstar took a deep breath, and continued: "Dewpaw is Wrenpaw's brother."
"Are you kidding me?" Rosefall gasped, aware that Soaringstar was watching.
Soaringstar twitched his ears. "Yes."
Could Soaringstar be right?
Rosefall didn't know whether to believe Soaringstar or not. What happened out there, seven moons ago, when Wrenpaw came to the Clan? What happened to Dewpaw?
Soaringstar continued: "He hold me," he repeated. "He told me, that one day, his father got scared off by some WillowClan warriors entering the training area." Soaringstar paused. "Actually, I'll restate that. Dewpaw thinks that it was WillowClan warriors."
"Oh." Rosefall mewed. "That's why -"
"Those warriors were complaining that day." Soaringstar finished Rosefall's sentence.
"And apprentices," Rosefall added.
Soaringstar curled his tail around his paws. "You are not to tell Wrenpaw."
"Why?" Rosefall mewed boldly.
Soaringstar fixed his amber gaze onto Rosefall's pelt. "She doesn't know! She thinks you and Sparrowsong are her parents! She grieved for Sparrowsong as much as your kits did! And you!"
Rosefall shrunk away, her haunches touching the cave wall.
Soaringstar stiffened as he saw Rosefall. "Sorry, I didn't mean to hurt you," he mewed quickly. "But it's true."
Rosefall glared at Soaringstar for a moment, then turned away.
"If you keep it," Soaringstar added, "I know your mother would be proud of you."
Rosefall pictured the cream-and-black she-cat in her mind. That cat was Rosefall's mother, Tansystar - the leader of WillowClan before Soaringstar.
"Are you kidding me?" Rosefall mewed in disbelief. "She was a Clan leader. I'll never be a Clan leader."
"But you have the undying bond," Soaringstar whispered. "Mother and daughter. Mates can split their separate ways, never with family."
"Never with family," Rosefall repeated.
"Even with Wrenpaw," Soaringstar whispered, as he shook himself. "Meeting dismissed. Time for patrols."
Rosefall yawned. "Patrols," she agreed.
Soaringstar stretched his legs in front of Rosefall, and then the pale ginger leader strode out of the den. Rosefall followed behind him.
Should I disobey his orders? Rosefall thought to herself.
Why should I disobey my Clan leader? another voice whispered.
It's not time yet.
The voice rang in Rosefall's voice. It's not time yet.
"Wrenfeather! Dewfrost! Hareswift! Fennelcloud!"
Rosefall cheered for the four new warriors, her fur tingling. Her kits were warriors at last.
And Wrenfeather, too.
In the moonlight, she could see Soaringstar sitting on Bramblethorns, his ginger pelt turned to silver. Hareswift, Fennelcloud, Dewfrost, and Wrenfeather sat below, basking in the cheers of their Clanmates.
Soaringstar flicked his tail for silence, and the Clan obeyed.
"In the tradition of our ancestors," Soaringstar meowed, "Fennelcloud, Wrenfeather, Hareswift, and Dewfrost will guard our camp tonight, while we sleep."
"We're going to get a good night's sleep tonight," Smallspeck growled.
"Agreed," Ravensong mewed cheerily from beside him. "I was lucky my vigil was in greenleaf."
Rosefall saw Soaringstar dismiss the meeting, and jump down from Bramblethorns. He started to herd them towards the camp entrance.
"Sparrowsong would be proud of you," Bluemist whispered, as the dark she-cat padded up to Rosefall. "His kits will make great warriors."
"I know," Rosefall mewed faintly. "When the younger cats..."
"Who do you mean?" Bluemist queried. "Specklewing's kits? Or Silverkit? Newtfoot's kits, perhaps?"
Rosefall ignored Bluemist, and padded away. The memory of Newtfoot's kits stung in her mind. Her thoughts trailed back to the day that they were born...
"They're beautiful, Newtfoot," Finchsong murmured, as the large tom padded into the den. "What are you going to name them?"
Rosefall watched from behind. One was ginger, with white ear tips and a white paw, and the other was black with ginger flecks.
"I would like to remember some cats today," Newtfoot murmured. "The ginger she-cat... will be Amberkit, in memory of Amberspirit."
"That's a good name," Specklewing acknowledged from her nest. "What about the other kit?"
Rosefall saw Finchsong look at Raindapple, then back at the black kit. "Our tom? I know. He shall be Sparrowkit."
"Sparrowkit?" Raindapple mewed. "Are you sure?"
"Yes," Finchsong whispered. "We have to remember our deceased ancestors."
Rosefall jolted awake as someone called her name. Turning, she saw the shape of Lilyleaf. The white deputy was looking at Rosefall curiously.
"Rosefall?' Lilyleaf repeated. "Are you coming?" She flicked her long tail towards the warriors' den
"Of course I'm coming," Rosefall sighed, despite her distraction of the naming of Sparrowkit.
Lilyleaf nodded and padded away.
Rosefall let her eyes adjust to the darkness, and watched her kits, Dewfrost, and Wrenfeather, sit vigil in the cold night.
They will survive, Rosefall thought to herself. They're Clan warriors now.
Rosefall approached the camp, the sunset patrol behind her. Straining her ears, she thought she heard yowling splitting the air:
"You don't belong here!"
"Wait, where's Soaringstar?"
"What's going on?" Ravensong complained. "Is there an intruder?"
"I don't know, Ravensong," Rosefall replied.
The four cats made their way into the camp. Dewfrost was standing in the center of the camp, a dark brown tabby that Rosefall didn't know was beside him. A few of the WillowClan cats had clustered in, and had started to shout abuse.
"He my brother," Dewfrost mewed loudly. "Don't harm him."
If Dewfrost is telling the truth, Rosefall thought, then this rogue tom is Wrenfeather's littermate, too.
Wrenfeather herself stepped out from the cats in the sunset patrol, and the she-cat padded towards the two toms, until she stood face-to-face with them. She crouched, and then snarled to the tabby rogue, "What are you doing here?"
Rosefall stiffened. I know you don't know that they're your brothers, but seriously, that wasn't very nice.
"I want to join the Clan," the rogue replied calmly. He had a deep voice, and was handsome. His dark brown tabby fur was sleek and shiny, and his amber eyes shone bright.
"You will not-" a voice started to yowl, but it was interrupted by the thrumming of pawsteps.
Soaringstar rushed into the camp, some mice in his mouth, his short fur bristling. He deposited his mice on the fresh-kill pile, and leaped swiftly onto Bramblethorns. Rosefall guessed he had heard the yowling before he'd gone into the camp, like she had.
"Stop! Be quiet!" the pale ginger leader yowled commandingly. All the cats in the clearing silenced at once.
"What is going on here?" Soaringstar continued, flicking his long tail.
Dewfrost stepped forward, his dark gray fur bristling nervously. "While on a solo hunt at sunhigh, I came across my brother, Adder, at the far border."
I suspected right, Rosefall thought, as she switched her gaze back to Adder - the rogue.
"He questioned me," Dewfrost continued, "and then asked me if he could join the Clan."
"Why did he question you?" Nightfleck yowled, as the WillowClan cats started to murmur between each other.
"None of your business!" Dewfrost snarled back.
"Silence!" Soaringstar yowled. "He will be allowed here!"
Rosefall felt a stroke of peace. Wrenfeather now had another secret piece of her heart in the Clan.
If only she knew.
Rosefall coughed dismally, trying to keep her eyes open. In the haze, she could see the black-and-white tom in his nest.
Rosefall heard Meadowcloud's voice:
"You're not -"
"Oh, no, I am," Toadleap croaked, as he coughed. "StarClan is coming... I can - feel - them."
"But Toadleap -"
"No." Toadleap repeated. "It your - turn to - continue - the medicine - cat - tradition."
Rosefall, even through the giddiness of the greencough, knew that Toadleap was dying. She probably was, too.
A thought hit her: But if I'm dying, shouldn't I tell Wrenfeather?
Should she know?
Rosefall shuddered as she painfully took another breath. She must tell Wrenfeather! It was her responsibility now.
After all, no other cat could tell her, and Sparrowsong was dead.
"Goodbye..." a voice whispered. Rosefall recognized Toadleap's voice.
"No!" Meadowcloud mewed painfully, her voice loud. "Toadleap - you can't - go -"
There was no reply. It was obvious to Rosefall that Toadleap had just died.
Rosefall wanted to sigh, but a fit of coughing overtook her. This had been one of the worst greencough epidemics the Clan had seen. Darkshade, Ravensong, and Sunfrost had died, as well as Toadleap.
Pawsteps thudded on the ground as Meadowcloud approached her. The dark gray she-cat was beside her, and Rosefall knew it. Even though her eyes were barely open, she could see her distinctly dappled fur.
"Hmm," Meadowcloud muttered. She stepped back. "You have a hard case, Rosefall. I, however, am afraid - unless I am most mistaken - that you are on your way to StarClan."
Rosefall felt her energy being sapped. If Meadowcloud was right, she had to tell Wrenfeather now! It was her only chance left.
"Fetch Wrenfeather," Rosefall mewed hazily.
Meadowcloud turned her green gaze onto Rosefall. "Did you say fetch Wrenfeather? I'll sort it." The dark gray medicine cat rushed out of the den, in the middle of the Clan meeting that was occurring.
For moments that Rosefall felt trickle by, Meadowcloud was out at the meeting. After a while, she came back into the den.
"Do you want me to get Wrenfeather now?" she meowed. "I haven't yet."
Without waiting for a reply, Meadowcloud poked her head out of the den, and called for Wrenfeather. Moments passed again, with Rosefall getting weaker as each passed.
Finally, Rosefall saw Wrenfeather enter the den. The dark brown she-cat was staring around.
"Wrenfeather," Rosefall croaked. "Come."
At the edge of her failing vision, Rosefall saw Wrenfeather edge closer. The dark brown she-cat looked down, with a look of pity.
She knows I'm dying, Rosefall thought.
"You are a great cat," she rasped. "I wish I could see your future."
"Thank you," Wrenfeather murmured softly.
Rosefall started to feel herself gasping for breath. She had to tell Wrenfeather!
"You were a great kit - I just wish..." she gasped.
"Wish what?" Wrenfeather mewed, obviously confused.
She did forget. It was obvious. Why would she be confused like that?
"That you were..." Rosefall coughed weakly as she stuttered out the words. "One of my kits."
A look of shock crept onto Wrenfeather's face. "What? You're my mother!"
"No, I'm not." Rosefall coughed again as she laid her head down on the bedding. "And Sparrowsong... was never your father. Hareswift and Fennelcloud... were mine - but you aren't." She gasped for breath after she had said that. She fought to keep her eyes open.
"This isn't true," Wrenfeather mewed hoarsely, staring at her.
"Yess... It is...." Rosefall murmured weakly. "Ask Soaringstar... if you don't... believe me." She closed her eyes as a dizzying blackness overtook her. "Goodbye....."
She let herself slip away.
"Rosefall, Rosefall... Wake up..."
She couldn't still be alive. How could she be. She opened her eyes.
Her prediction was correct. Below her, she saw the WillowClan camp.
From below, she saw Littlestep and Cinderdust, the Clan elders, come out of the medicine den. A cream shape was between them.
Over in the corner of the camp, she saw Wrenfeather, who was approaching Soaringstar. She mewed to him: "Was Rosefall ever my mother?"
Soaringstar paused for a moment, shocked, then replied: "No," he whispered. "She never was your mother - and Fennelcloud and Hareswift aren't your littermates. I am so, so sorry."
Turning her direction away from the camp, she saw a black-and-cream cat hiding. She knew who she was.
She climbed the slope ahead of her. Now it was time to reunite with the cats she loved.
"They're coming," a cat murmured, as the StarClan warriors looked down. "They're coming."
"They sure are," murmured Tansystar from the group of cats.
"Will she be able to manage?" a cat - Yellowlight, a former WillowClan medicine cat, mewed.
I'm sure she will, Rosefall thought, as she looked down. The two cats were approaching the Moonfall.
"Oh, dear." Soaringstar sighed and crouched, shaking, to the ground. "I hope..."
"Soaringstar!" Yellowlight called. "Are you worrying about your kits again?"
"Oh, no," Soaringstar mewed to the yellow tabby, straightening up again. "It's my mate, who is carrying my unborn kits."
All the cats then silenced, and turned their direction back to the living.
"Lie down and lick the Moonfall," Meadowcloud instructed, flicking her tail.
Her companion struggled to lie down. "Er... sorry. My kits..."
"Lie on your side, then," Meadowcloud growled. "I don't care."
"Cats who are giving lives, over here!"
Willow, the founder of WillowClan, was calling. Rosefall padded over.
"Okay..." Willow muttered, as the other eight cats gathered. "Rosefall, you're first. Sparrowsong, you're after her, then Fernkit."
Rosefall fixed her gaze on the kit. Her sister, Silverfern, had been Wrenfeather's apprentice.
"Ravensong, Amberspirit, and Littlestep."
Three more cats joined the line.
"Wolffoot... then Soaringstar... and last is obviously me." Willow finished the list. "Let's join the gathering."
The nine cats sat in the front. They waited, as the two cats appeared.
Meadowcloud was first. The dark gray she-cat mewed: "We bring you the new leader of WillowClan."
Rosefall shot a look at Soaringstar apprehensively.
Then the second cat appeared, her belly swollen. She stared among the ranks in awe.
Rosefall didn't hear what the StarClan warriors said, about this cat being ready to receive her nine lives. But when she said yes, Rosefall knew it was her time. She strode forward.
"Rosefall," the she-cat breathed, fixing her gaze on her.
I'm so happy for you, Rosefall thought, as their gazes locked. You found them.
After her death, she had found out who her parents were. They were now WillowClan warriors - by the names of Bramblefern and Rockshine.
"Wrenfeather," Rosefall replied, breathless. "You've done so well. If only you were mine." She stretched out her nose, so it touched her foster daughter's. "I give you a life for strength. When you don't know what to do, stay strong. You have the ability."
She meant those words as the life she gave poured into Wrenfeather. Wrenfeather gritted her teeth in reply.
As Wrenfeather relaxed, Rosefall shot a last look at Wrenfeather, and turned away.
Her secret was done. Now, a new generation would thrive.
Under Wrenstar, the cat she had helped to raise.
Wow, I enjoyed writing in Rosefall's POV. It gave a bit more of an insight into what Rosefall had to do, not telling Wrenfeather (well Wrenstar now, isn't she?) what it was.
Anyway, this is the end of the novel.
Click here to read the full series, and explore Wrenfeather, Bramblefern, Soaringstar, and Dewfrost entwine their lives in a prophecy. (Or you could read the second arc...)
Until next time,
--Beetlenose to Crookedpaw, Crookedstar's Promise 02:05, August 10, 2014 (UTC)