- 1 This fanfiction is now FINSIHED!!!! Hope you enjoyed book one of Silence of the stars, as I really enjoyed writing it! Get ready for book 2, SHATTERED ECHOES!!
- 2 Allegiances
- 3 Thunderclan
- 4 Riverclan
- 5 Shadowclan
- 6 Windclan
- 7 Rougeclan
- 8 Cats outside the clans
- 9 Silence of the Stars - Night Shadows
- 9.1 Blurb
- 9.2 Prologue
- 9.3 Chapter 1
- 9.4 Chapter 2
- 9.5 Chapter 3
- 9.6 Chapter 4
- 9.7 Chapter 5
- 9.8 Chapter 6
- 9.9 Chapter 7
- 9.10 Chapter 8
- 9.11 Chapter 9
- 9.12 Chapter 10
- 9.13 Chapter 11
- 9.14 Chapter 12
- 9.15 Chapter 13
- 9.16 Chapter 14
- 9.17 Chapter 15
- 9.18 Chapter 16
- 9.19 Chapter 17
- 9.20 Chapter 18
- 9.21 Chapter 19
- 9.22 Chapter 20
- 9.23 Chapter 21
- 9.24 Chapter 22
- 9.25 Chapter 23
This fanfiction is now FINSIHED!!!! Hope you enjoyed book one of Silence of the stars, as I really enjoyed writing it! Get ready for book 2, SHATTERED ECHOES!!
Leader: Sorrelstar - Gray she-cat with red splotches
Deputy: Grassleaf - Tortoiseshell and white tom with big red paws
Medicine cat: Bearleap - Dark brown she-cat with amber eyes
Firewhisker - Ginger and white tabby tom with blue eyes
Redflower - Black she-cat with dark ginger splotches and green eyes
Shadepelt - Dark gray tom with blue eyes
Badgerclaw - Black and white tom amber eyes
Brackenstep - Brown tabby tom with green eyes
Whitefang - White she-cat with yellow eyes
Spottedflower - Cream she-cat with brown spots and blue eyes
Sludgefur - Brown tabby tom with amber eyes
Stempaw - Golden tabby she-cat with amber eyes
Amberpaw - Black she-cat with amber eyes
Shadowpaw - Gray and white tom with blue eyes
Fangpaw - White tom with green eyes
Brightpool - Calico she-cat with blue eyes, mother of Firewhisker's kits, Flamekit (Ginger tabby she-cat with yellow eyes), Snowkit (White tom with green eyes), and Scorchkit (Dark gray tabby tom with amber eyes)
Feathersight - Light gray she-cat with green eyes, expecting Shadepelt's kits
Pineflight - Dark ginger tabby tom
White-eyes - Completely blind tortoiseshell she-cat
Leader: Reedstar - Dark ginger and white tom with blue eyes
Deputy: Pikestem - Brown tom with amber eyes
Squirrelpool - Ginger tabby tom with blue eyes
Lakeshimmer - Silver tabby she-cat with ice blue eyes
Troutleap - Brown tabby she-cat with yellow eyes
Beechflight - Golden tabby tom with blue eyes
Lightclaw - Golden yellow and white tabby she-cat with green eyes
Sunflower - Brown tabby tom with yellow eyes
Finchshade - Tortoiseshell tom with one blue eye, and one green eye
Skyshadow - Black and white tom with blue eyes
Hawkpaw - Silver tabby tom with green eyes
Wavepaw - Blue gray tabby she-cat with amber eyes
Dustpaw - Brown tabby tom with yellow eyes
Flowerpaw - Cream tabby she-cat
Ottershine - Black she-cat with green eyes, mother of Sunflower's kits, Greenkit (Brown tabby tom with green eyes), and Silverkit (Silver tabby she-cat with amber eyes)
Thrushheart - Brown tabby tom with yellow eyes
Leader: Larkstar - Black tom with blue eyes
Deputy: Vineflight - Cream she-cat with blue eyes
Shadeheart - Gray tabby tom with blue eyes
Oakleap - Brown tom with amber eyes
Windclaw - Light gray tabby she-cat with amber eyes
Volewhisker - Dark brown tabby tom with blue eyes
Barklight - Brown tabby she-cat with green eyes
Redclaw - Dark ginger she-cat with green eyes
Gray-eye - Half blind white she-cat
Silverstorm - Silver tabby tom with blue eyes
Brokenpaw - Golden tabby tom with green eyes
Mousepaw - Gray and white she-cat with blue eyes
Fireflight - Ginger she-cat with yellow eyes, mother of Oakleap's kit Petalkit
Yellowspring - Golden tabby she-cat with blue eyes, mother of Silverstorm's kits Moonkit (Gray and white tom with blue eyes), Featherkit (Light gray tabby tom with green eyes), Grasskit (Golden tabby tom with green eyes), and Hollykit (Golden and white she-cat with blue eyes)
Lionclaw - Golden tabby tom with amber eyes
Poppyfur - Ginger and white she-cat with blue eyes
Leader: Kestrelstar - Brown and White tom with amber eyes
Deputy: Pineshadow - Black she-cat with green eyes
Liondawn - Golden tabby she-cat with blue eyes
Ferntail - Gray and white she-cat with blue eyes
Goldenheart - Golden she-cat with amber eyes
Antflower - Dark brown tabby she-cat with yellow eyes
Featherflight - Gray tabby tom with green eyes
Blackshade - Black tom with gray splotches and blue eyes
Ambershine - Golden tabby tom with amber eyes
Shimmerclaw - Gray tabby tom with blue eyes
Heatherpaw - Brown tabby she-cat with blue eyes
Leafpaw - Tortioseshell and white tom with blue eyes
Rosepaw - Ginger she-cat with a pink tint to her fur and blue eyes
Sweetflower - Cream she-cat with blue eyes, mother of Kestrelstar's kits, Whitekit (White tom with green eyes), Stormkit (Dark gray tabby tom with blue eyes) , and Bluekit (Gray tabby she-cat with ice blue eyes)
Treeleap - Brown she-cat with green eyes, mother of Featherflight's kit, Mudkit
Crowleap - Black tom with green eyes
Speckleflight - Cream she-cat with brown splotches
Bramblestrike - Brown she-cat with amber eyes
Oreo - Black and white she-cat with blue eyes
Cream - Cream colored she-cat with brown eyes
Spark - Ginger tabby tom with yellow eyes
Night - Black she-cat with with a white muzzle and blue eyes
Max - Brown tabby tom with amber eyes
Raven - Black tom with blue eyes
Star - Light gray tabby she-cat with amber eyes
Slash - Dark brown tabby tom with yellow eyes
Cats outside the clans
Crystal - Pale ginger she-cat with ice blue eyes
Socks - Gray and white she-cat with green eyes
Shade - Gray tabby tom with green eyes
Silence of the Stars - Night Shadows
"Darkness is coming, and it will shatter the hearts of the clans. But there will be a flame, a blaze so strong that it will guide the lives of four, and shape the destinies of the clans forever. There will be two, Fire and Night, together, they will save the clans."
Darkness dawns on the 4 warrior clans, sending clan life into shambles, but a prophecy of 5 is sent by Starclan, and Flamekit, a young warrior, must learn to accept her prophecy, and search for the other four cats, but the stars have gone silent. Starclan hasn't spoken to the four warrior clans in moons. Flamekit worries that she is the only hope to save her clan, as Starclan has come to her. She is eager to become a warrior and fulfill her destiny, but the darkness is coming, and Flamekit will have to choose between light and dark.
Sorrelstar sat alone in the clearing, staring up at the night sky. The forest was quiet, and a cool breeze was blowing leaves off the trees. She sighed at the thought of leaf bare approaching, and all the sickness that would come with it.
The bushes rustled behind her, and she turned to watch Bearleap emerge from the bushes. Bearleap nodded at her and padded up behind her.
"The stars are restless." Bearleap sighed. "Starclan hasn't spoken to me in a moon, I fear something bad is coming, something that will destroy the clans." Bearleap shifted her paws, shivering from the cold.
"The clans have already fallen once," Sorrelstar added. "But we rebuilt ourselves, established new leaders, set new boarders, we don't have to worry about the clans shattering."
"We lost Skyclan!" Bearleap replied, distressed. "We can't afford to lose another! The clans must stay together, and live as four, just like it used to be." She added sadly.
"You're right Bearleap, I've been so foolish! I've been a terrible leader! I could never live up to Flowerstar, she always knew what to do! And now that the stars are silent, I am lost. I cannot lead a clan like this. I am not the leader Flowerstar thought I would be- I let her down." Sorrelstar blurted out. "I'm a failure."
"Bearleap stared at her for a minute, then replied. "You're not a failure! Flowerstar would be proud of you! These past seasons have been have brought hardship, but Thunderclan still stands! We have survived through it all, and we will continue to live on. I believe in you, and so does your clan."
Sorrelstar closed her eyes and breathed in the scents of the forest. "You're right Bearleap, you've always been right. I only doubt myself- because I lost her. I could've saved Flowerstar! It's my fault she died! If she knew what I'd done, I'd never be leader. I would've been exiled! Oh Bearleap! What can I do? I have to save this clan, but leaf bare is coming- and Starclan won't speak with us!"
Bearleap saw the sorrow in Sorrelstar's eyes and brushed her fur up against hers. "It wasn't your fault. Haretail lead the foxes straight to her! He betrayed the clans, and it's his fault that she died."
"But I should've saved her! I could've warned her of Haretail's plans! I knew his ambition since I was a kit! And I was mouse-brained to ever trust him. He murdered so many innocent cats- he almost killed me and... I wish he got away with it." Sorrelstar replied sadly, looking at the ground.
"Sometimes, there's nothing you can do to change the future, Starclan decides our futures. It was their time. It was written in the stars." Bearleap responded. "And it's not our clan's time, Starclan will protect us."
"But Starclan had abandoned us! They haven't spoken to us in a moon! The stars are restless, leaf bare is coming, and my clan is starving! Bearleap please! I need you!" Sorrelstar wailed.
"Who say's I'm not here for you?" Bearleap responded. "I'm here to help you, but I'm afraid there's not much I can do. I'm a medicine cat, not a Starclan warrior. All we can do, is continue to train out young warriors, protect our borders, and hunt for the clan. Starclan will protect us, they have not abandoned us."
"You're right." Sorrelstar sighed. "I just wish Starclan would send us a sign."
Bearleap shifted her paws, and stood up to leave. She watched as Sorrelstar continued to stare at the night sky. She jumped as a loud crack split the air, a bolt of lightning shot down through the sky, hitting a tree with an earsplitting crack.
Bearleap watched as the tree caught flames around her. Thunder sounded in the distance and rain began to fall soon after, putting out the flames.
"Bearleap?" Sorrelstar asked. "What does it mean?"
"Darkness is coming, but a flame will come to the forest, a blaze so strong, it will guide the lives of four, and shape the destinies of the clans." Bearleap answered in awe. "Starclan has sent us a sign, a sign that we will survive."
Flamekit blinked her eyes open and breathed in the warm scent of the nursery. Her littlermates, Snowkit, and Scorchkit snoring softly next to her. She shivered as a cold breeze blew into a gap in the nursery, and nuzzled closer to her mother's warm belly. Just behind her Snowkit and Scorchkit stirred and stretched out beside her.
"Brightpool!" Scorchkit whined to his mother. "I'm hungry!"
Flamekit licked her paws as she watched Snowkit bat at Scorchkit with his paw.
"Mouse-brain!" Snowkit teased. "We just woke up! Come on! Let's go play!" He chirped.
Scorchkit leaped on top of Snowkit and wrestled with him. "Who's the mouse-brain now?" He teased as he pinned Snowkit down.
"I am!" He meowed dramatically. "Please let me go! Don't hurt me!" He cried.
Flamekit laughed at her mouse brained siblings and continued the wash her paws. Her littermates were always play fighting, they were eager to become apprentices. It would be only two moons before they became apprentices, and Flamekit was enjoying her time in the nursery.
Brightpool got up from her warm nest and headed towards the fresh kill pile outside the den, grabbing a fat shrew and a thrush.
"Scorchkit! Snowkit!" Flamekit called. "Brightpool's bringing us fresh kill! Now stop play fighting you mouse brains!" She teased. Flamekit hobbled out of the nursery and walked over towards Brightpool. "Brightpool!" She called to her. "Can I help?"
Brightpool smiled at her and put the shrew down in front of her. "You can carry that if you want." She responded. "It's for Feathersight."
Flamekit excitedly picked up the shrew and started dragging it towards the nursery. "It's heavier than I thought!" Flamekit mewed through a mouth full of fur.
Brightpool smiled at her. "My strong little warrior!" She praised.
Flamekit smiled and continued to drag the shrew to the nursery. She put the shrew down in front of her littlemates, her eyes gleaming.
Snowkit's eyes widened as he watched Flamekit put down the shrew. "Wow!" Snowkit praised. "That's a big shrew!"
Scorchkit pounced on the shrew and kicked it with his back paws rapidly.
"Scorchkit?" Flamekit asked. "What are you doing?"
"I'm battle training!" Scorchkit beamed. "I'm going to be the best warrior ever!"
"I'm sure you will!" Brightpool smiled. "You'll all be my brave little warriors!"
Flamekit blinked her eyes at the setting sun shining into the den. She turned around to see Feathersight sleeping in her nest, her belly was very swollen, and her kits would be coming soon. Flamekit's eyes lit up at the thought of more kits to play with.
Feathersight stirred in her nest and smiled at Flamekit. "Hi Flamekit!" She mewed cheerfully.
Flamekit grabbed the shrew and carried it over to Feathersight. "I brought you a shrew!" She squeaked.
"Thank you! Feathersight praised.
Flamekit smiled and ran outside the den towards her littermates who were play fighting. She watched Amberpaw and Shadowpaw walk down the slope towards the elder's den. "Snowkit! Scorchkit! Do you want to play mossball?" Amberpaw and Shadowpaw brought fresh moss!"
Amberpaw's ears pricked and she walked over towards her, her eyes shining. She had a ball of moss in her jaws. "Here you go Flamekit!" Amberpaw meowed as she set the moss down in front of her.
"Thanks Amberpaw!" Flamekit squeaked.. "Snowkit! Scorchkit! Come play mossball with me!
Snowkit and Scorchkit bounded over to Flamekit and batted the ball away. "You can't catch it!" Snowkit teased.
Flamekit laughed and ran over to the ball and pushed it over towards Scorchkit. "Now who can't get it?" She teased.
"Hey!" Snowkit yowled. "That's not fair!"
Scorchkit pushed the ball to Flamekit and giggled. "Catch it if you can Snowkit!" He mewed.
"Kits!" Brightpool called. "Time to go to sleep!"
"Coming Brightpool!" Flamekit called as she pushed the mossball towards the nursery. "Come on Snowkit! Come on Scorchkit! We have to go to sleep!"
Snowkit and Scorchkit stumbled towards the nursery sleepily.
Flamekit snuggled close to Brightpool's belly and fell into the darkness of sleep.
Flamekit opened her eyes to see a star filled clearing, scared and confused she called out to the empty clearing. "Hello?" She cried. "Where am I? A starry figure padded out of the bushes infront of her.
"Hello Flamekit." The starry cat said. "I am Flowerstar, Thunderclan's leader before Sorrelstar."
"Flowerstar?" Flamekit gasped. "I've heard the elder tell stories about you! They said you rebuilt Thunderclan!"
Flowerstar smiled at Flamekit. "Yes, I did. But that was many moons ago, and I couldn't save Skyclan." She added sadly. "Skyclan fell apart- and it's my fault."
Flamekit stared up at the great leader. "But you saved Thunderclan!" Flamekit reminded her.
"I know, but sometimes- I feel like my efforts weren't enough. Beware Flamekit, for a great darkness is coming, it will shatter the hearts of the clans. There will be a flame, a blaze so strong that it will guide the lives of four, and shape the destinies of the clans forever. Beware of darkness, beware!" Flowerstar warned as she started to fade.
"Wait!" Flamekit cried. "Don't leave me! What do you mean!"
Flamekit paced eagerly outside the nursery, flattening her ears when Feathersight yowled in pain. Bearleap was standing in the entrance telling Stempaw what to do. Feathersight's yowls of pain rang across the clearing. "Brightpool?" Flamekit asked. "What's wrong with Feathersight? Can we see the kits yet?"
"Not yet." Brightpool answered. "Give Feathersight time."
Flamekit continued to pace outside the nursery, listening to Bearleap giving instructions to Stempaw.
"Last one!" Bearleap called to Stempaw.
Feathersight let out one last yowl, and Flamekit flattened her ears at the earsplitting shriek. "Is Feathersight ok?" Flamekit asked her mother nervously.
"Yes." Brightpool replied, staring into the nursery. "Here comes Bearleap and Stempaw."
"Four beautiful kits!" Bearleap yowled triumphantly. "Stempaw, you did well." She added.
"Can we go see the kits?" Flamekit chirped.
"Let's let Shadepelt see his kits first." Bearleap responded. "And Sorrelstar will want to come and see them as well." She added.
Snowkit was jumping up and down on his paws excitedly. "There haven't been any other kits in the nursery for moons!" He mewed happily. "Now we have more to play with!"
"You might want to wait a while until you play with them." Stempaw replied nervously. "They're very small."
"Stempaw is right." Brightpool murmured. "We don't want to hurt Feathersight's kits. After they get a little bigger you can play with them."
Snowkit's tail drooped and he padded towards Scorchkit. "Hey Scorchkit!" Snowkit called. "I found a moss ball! Wanna play?"
"Yes!" Scorchkit chirped as he pushed the ball towards Snowkit. "I can't wait to see Feathersight's kits!" He added cheerfully.
Flamekit walked away from her littermates and stared towards the nursery and saw Shadepelt entering, followed by Sorrelstar. Flamekit creeped up behind them to hear what they were saying.
"Two toms and two she-cats!" Feathersight declared proudly.
"They're beautiful." Shadepelt said breathlessly."
Flamekit watched Sorrelstar smile down upon the four kits. She was clearly pleased that the clan had been thriving after the harsh leaf bare. Flamekit couldn't help but feel bad for her, Sorrelstar had been down ever since Flowerstar died. Flamekit didn't know why, and she wouldn't say anything to the rest of the clan.
"Flamekit!" Brightpool yowled. "Come here, and let them have some time alone! Shadepelt needs time to name his kits!"
"Sorry." Flamekit's tail drooped, "I just wanted to see them."
Brightpool sighed. "I understand, now come over here and play with your littermates."
Flamekit nodded and pounced on Scorchkit's tail. "Got you!" She laughed.
Scorchkit batted at her with his paws, claws sheathed. "I'm going to get you! You better run!" He growled playfully.
"Never!" Flamekit hissed jokingly as she jumped on his shoulders. "Ha! I got you!" She declared.
Scorchkit rolled over on back and kicked her back with his paws. "Can't get me!" He teased.
Snowkit leaped on top of him and wrestled with him. "But I can get you!" Snowkit laughed.
Flamekit's tail drooped. Snowkit was much better at battle moves than she was.
Brightpool padded over to Flamekit and brushed her fur up to hers. "What's wrong little one?" She asked.
"Snowkit is a much better warrior than I am! He's able to tackle Scorchkit but I'm not! What if I'll never be a warrior? What if I have to be a medicine cat!" Flamekit cried. "Even Scorchkit is better than me!" She added sadly.
"Don't worry about it little one." Brightpool responded. "Come on. Let's go see Feathersight's kits while Snowkit and Scorchkit are busy. Flamekit's eyes sparkled as she followed her mother into the nursery. Shadepelt was walking towards the entrance smiling.
"Hi Shadepelt!" Flamekit mewed.
Shadepelt smiled down at Flamekit. "Hi Flamekit!" He responded. "The kits are beautiful!"
Flamekit looked at him excitedly as she bounded over to Feathersight's nest.
"Hi Flamekit!" Feathersight mewed softly.
Flamekit walked over to look at the kits, two smoke gray, a light gray, and a tortoiseshell. "What are their names?" Flamekit asked.
"The two toms are Smokekit and Ashkit, and the two she cats are Willowkit and Patchkit." She replied.
Flamekit shifted her paws as she stared at the four kits, they were so small! Flamekit turned to see Brightpool walking over to Feathersight with a squirrel in her jaws.
"Here." Brightpool murmured as she pushed the squirrel over to Feathersight. "You must be starving."
Feathersight looked at her gratefully.
Snowkit and Scorchkit tumbled into the den and stumbled over to Feathersight. They stared in awe at the tiny kits. They were snuggled up next to their mother's belly.
Flamekit padded over to her nest sleepily. Yawning, she laid down in her nest, shivering as a cold breeze blew through a hole in the nursery wall. Flamekit blinked open her eyes to see Brightpool coming towards her. She snuggled next to her in the nest. Flamekit smiled and breathed in her mother's warm scent. She blinked her eyes shut and feel into the darkness of sleep.
Flamekit blinked her eyes open, she was in the starry clearing again. Flamekit looked around the clearing for Flowerstar, but it was empty, and she couldn't scent other cats nearby. Flamekit stared at the clearly confused. "Flowerstar?" She called. "Where are you?"
"Darkness is coming. Beware." A mysterious voice sounded.
"Who are you? What do you mean?" Flamekit cried, but the clearing around her started to fade, and she blinked her eyes open to find herself in her nest. What do these Starclan cats want from me? Flamekit thought. Why is Starclan telling this to me? I'm only a kit! Flamekit closed her eyes, letting all her thoughts slip away into sleep.
"From this day on, until you receive your warrior name, you will be known as Flamepaw." Sorrelstar declared. "Brackenstep, you are ready to take on your first apprentice, I hope you pass down all you learned from Grassleaf to this young apprentice." She finished.
Flamepaw walked forward to nuzzle Brackenstep, as the clan exploded in cheers.
"Flamepaw! Snowpaw! Scorchpaw!" The clan yowled.
Brightpool and Firewhisker stepped forward and nuzzled Flamepaw. "I'm proud of you, my little warrior." Brightpool praised.
Firewhisker padded over to Snowpaw and Scorchpaw who were laughing together. "I'm proud of you!" Firewhisker murmured. "You'll make great warriors! I know that Spottedflower and Badgerclaw will be great mentors! He added.
Flamepaw looked at Brackenstep excitedly. "What will we do first?" She asked eagerly. "I want to learn everything!"
Brackenstep smiled at her enthusiasm. "First, I will take you a tour of the territory." He answered. "But not until we all have some fresh kill. I will go ask Badgerclaw and Spottedflower if Snowpaw and Scorchpaw can come with us." He added.
Flamepaw padded over to the fresh kill pile excitedly. I'm finally an apprentice! And I get to sleep in the apprentice's den now!
In the past few moons the Apprentice den had been empty, Amberflight, Shadowfeather, and Fangwhisker were all warriors now, and there were no more apprentices left in the den, and it would still be moons before Feathersight's kits would be ready to be apprenticed.
Flamepaw grabbed a starling off the fresh kill pile. She wasn't very hungry, but she knew that the territory was large, and there would be no time to hunt in between. Besides, I don't know how to hunt yet!
Flamepaw followed Brackenstep, Spottedflower, and Badgerclaw up the steep slope out of camp, followed by Snowpaw and Scorchpaw.
"Stay close to us." Brackenstep instructed.
"There could be enemy patrols at the borders." Badgerclaw added.
Flamepaw nodded at them and breathed in the scents of the forest. There was a familiar scent in the air, was it squirrel? Flamepaw watched as the squirrel sifted through the leaves looking for nuts. Flamepaw instinctively dropped into a hunting crouch, she remembered when Amberflight had taught her littermates how to do the hunting crouch. Flamepaw focused on the squirrel, noticing that her mentor had already gone ahead.
"Flamepaw?" Brackenstep called. "What are you doing?"
Flamepaw ignored him and creeped forward, being as quiet on her paws as she could. A leaf crunched under her paw and the squirrel lifted it's head, spotting her it started running for the nearest tree. Flamepaw broke into a run and chased to squirrel down, clawing it off the base on a tree and biting it's neck. The squirrel went limp under her feet and she picked it up in her jaws. She turned around to see Brackenstep, Spottedflower, Badgerclaw, Snowpaw, and Scorchpaw all staring at her in awe.
"How did you do that?" Scorchpaw gasped. "We haven't even been training for a day!"
Brackenstep walked over to Flamepaw and stared at the squirrel. "You put up quite the chase Flamepaw. I'm proud of you."
"How did you know how to do the hunting crouch?" Spottedflower asked in awe.
Flamepaw shifted her paws, she didn't like all the attention she was getting. Amberflight taught us a few moons ago- I just remembered what she told us to do.
"But how did you scent out the prey?" Snowpaw asked. "It's our first time out in the forest!"
"I remember the scent from the fresh kill pile." She replied awkwardly.
Brackenstep's eyes gleamed. "You'll make a good hunter." He stated. "But now we must go finish touring the territory."
Spottedflower nodded in agreement. "It's more important to know our territory than praise Flamepaw over a squirrel all day!" She mewed jokingly. "Come on! The Riverclan border is just up ahead!
Flamepaw grabbed the squirrel in her jaws and raced forward towards the Riverclan border. "Wow!" Flamepaw gasped through a mouth full of fur. "Is that the river? It's beautiful!"
Snowpaw stared in awe as the sun shone on the river, causing a bright shimmering reflection. "Look!" He mewed. "You can see the forest in the river!"
Flamepaw looked at her reflection in the pool, her thick ginger fur was blowing through the breeze. She narrowed her eyes at the reflection and noticed her unusual stripe pattern on her face. Is that a lightning bolt across my eye? She blinked the imagine of her face away and turned around. "Where do we go next?" She asked eagerly. "Shadowclan? Windclan? The old Skyclan border?
"We'll go to Shadow rock." Brackenstep decided. "Then follow the Shadow Trail to Shadowclan territory."
"The Shadow Trail?" Snowpaw gasped. "But it's said to be a place of no stars! It blocks out the moonlight and Starclan can't reach us!" He wailed.
"You have nothing to fear Snowpaw." His mentor, Spottedflower assured him.
Scorchpaw rolled his eyes at his littermate. "Mouse brain!" He teased. "The Shadow Trail has been used for moons! There's nothing to fear!"
Flamepaw followed her mentor in the direction of the Shadow rock, unimpressed by her littermate's teasing. "Scorchpaw! Snowpaw! Hurry up! You're holding us back! Don't you want to see the whole territory today?"
Snowpaw and Scorchpaw nodded at her, and followed.
Flamepaw bounded forward towards the Shadow Rock, its dark rocky surface was warm on her paws. She stood at the top and looked out over the horizon. There were mountains, hills, rivers, trees, clouds! And the scent of something foul. What is that? Flamepaw thought as she curled her nose. It smells foul! She turned towards the direction of the Shadow Trail and spotted a russet colored tail through the bushes. She narrowed her eyes at the bushes and spotted big beady eyes peaking out, gleaming with rage. "Fox!" Flamepaw cried to Brackenstep.
"Where?" Brackenstep called back, distressed.
"Over by the Shadow Trail!" Flamepaw responded. "Hiding in the bushes!"
"Stay back." Spottedflower instructed. "We have to chase it off."
Badgerclaw growled at the bushes, waiting for the fox to leap.
Flamepaw stared down the fox in the bushes, it's eyes on her. The fox leaped out of the bushes, lunging for Flamepaw, but Flamepaw was too fast. She shifted out of the way and the Fox tumbled down the other side of Shadow Rock. Flamepaw hissed at it, unsheathing her claws.
"Flamepaw!" Brackenstep ordered. "Stay out of this! We will chase it off!"
Flamepaw sheathed her claws, disappointed that she wouldn't get to fight to protect her clanmates. She watched as Badgerclaw raked his claws across the foxes face. The fox leaped for Spottedflower, clamping it's jaws down on her shoulder. Spottedflower clawed it down it's neck and squirmed under the fox's weight, but the fox was ready for her. It grabbed her hind leg in its jaws. Spottedflower yowled in pain and Badgerclaw raked the fox's flank. But the fox didn't move. It kept it's grip on Spottedflower and dug its claws into her flank.
"Spottedflower! Badgerclaw gasped.
Flamepaw watched Brackenstep rake the fox's face. Raging, the fox clawed at his eye, blood dripped down his face as he bit down on the fox's hind leg, distracting it. Letting go of Spottedflower the fox whipped around and clawed at Brackenstep's shoulder. Brackenfoot collapsed, and the fox was lunging for Brackenstep's neck, about to deliver a killing blow. Hissing, Flamepaw jumped down off of Shadow rock onto the fox's back, claws unsheathed she raked the fox's back with her claws, and bit down on it's shoulder. Badgerclaw ran forward and raked across the fox's muzzle. Flamepaw dislodged from the fox and clawed at its flank. Scared and confused, the fox fled back to the Shadow Trail, whimpering the whole way there.
"That's right you mouse heart! Flee!" Badgerclaw hissed.
"Brackenstep! Spottedflower!" Flamepaw gasped. They were lying still on the bloodstained grass, heavily wounded.
"We have to get them back to Bearleap and Stemfeather!" Snowpaw gasped.
"There's not enough time!" Flamepaw mewed, distressed. "Stemfeather told me that cobwebs are good to use for bleeding! If we can find enough we can stop the bleeding!" Flamepaw yowled.
"Snowpaw! Scorchpaw! Go look for cobwebs! Flamepaw, you stay here with me!" Badgerclaw ordered.
Snowpaw and Scorchpaw sprinted away to find cobwebs, and Flamepaw began licking at Brackenstep's wounds. "Badgerclaw!" Flamepaw ordered. "Start licking at Spottedflower's wounds! Stemfeather told me it's a good way to clean them!"
Badgerclaw hesitated, but them started licking Spottedflower's wounds.
Flamepaw was licking blood from her paws when Snowpaw and Scorchpaw arrived with cobwebs.
"Put the cobwebs over their wounds!" Flamepaw ordered. "We have to save them!" Flamepaw looked at her mentor, his blood splayed the grass around them, but he was still breathing. Please don't die on me Brackenstep! I need you!
"Spottedflower?" Badgerclaw sounded dismayed. "Spottedflower please! You can't die!"
Flamepaw noticed how shallow Spottedflower's breaths were. "There's nothing we can do Badgerclaw. We don't have time to get her to Bearleap. I'm sorry." She replied sadly.
"Spottedflower!" He wailed. "I failed you, I couldn't save you! I love you."
Flamepaw watched Badgerclaw lie down next to her and nuzzle her cheek. "We have to get her back to camp." Flamepaw murmured to him. "She's with Starclan now.
Flamepaw, Snowpaw, Scorchpaw, and Badgerclaw all arrived back at camp, Flamepaw was leaning against Brackenstep, helping him walk, and Badgerclaw, Snowpaw, and Scorchpaw were carrying Spottedflower down the slope to the camp. Flamepaw lead Brackenstep to the medicine cat den and sat down. "Bearleap? Stemfeather?" Flamepaw called into the den. But there was no response. Where are they? Flamepaw thought.
Bearleap and Stemfeather walked up behind Flamepaw from the nursery and stared at Brackenstep. "What happened?" Bearleap gasped.
"A fox." Flamepaw responded angrily. "It killed Spottedflower!"
"Spottedflower's dead?" Stemfeather responded surprised. Stemfeather's tail drooped.
Flamepaw looked at Brackenfoot with worry. "Can you help him?" She asked Bearleap. "I don't want to lose him too! I tried to save Spottedflower, but I couldn't! Stemfeather please forgive me! I tried my best!" She cried.
"I don't blame you." Stemfeather responded. You tried your best. I- will go sit vigil for her now." She added.
I'm sorry Spottedflower! I tried to save you! Overwhelmed and confused Flamepaw headed for the apprentice's den, tail drooping. Scorchpaw was already there, washing the blood off his paws. "Where's Snowpaw?" Flamepaw asked.
"Sitting vigil for Spottedflower." He responded. "She was his mentor after all."
Flamepaw growled at the memory of the fox, its beady eyes staring out from the bushes. I will avenge you Spottedflower! I promise!
Flamepaw awoke in her nest, the scent of rain filled her nostrils. She looked around the room to see Snowpaw and Scorchpaw stirring in their nests. Flamepaw batted her paw at Scorchpaw's ear. "Hey!" She whispered. "Wake up!"
"What do you want Flamepaw." Scorchpaw moaned. "I'm trying to get some sleep!"
"It's nearly dawn!" Flamepaw responded. "Do you think one of us will be picked to go on the dawn patrol?"
"We just became apprentices! We haven't even seen the whole territory yet! Why would Grassleaf choose us for a patrol? Especially after yesterday!" Scorchpaw reasoned. "Now let me get some sleep!" He huffed.
Flamepaw sighed and padded out of the den. She watched as rain dripped off the leaf canopy overhead, she was glad that the camp had shelter from the rain. Flamepaw arched her back in a stretch and headed towards the medicine den.
Bearleap was inside sorting herbs, and Stemfeather was mixing a poultice for Brackenstep. Bearleap lifted her head to see Flamepaw standing in the entrance of the den. "Flamepaw!" She praised. "What can I do for you?"
"I came to check on Brackenstep." She admitted. "I want to make sure he's ok. The fox almost killed him!"
Stemfeather padded over to Brackenstep and started applying the poultice to Brackenstep's wounds. "He'll be fine." She assured. "But I'm afraid he can't train with you today. I want to give his wounds a little more time to heal before he goes back to his warrior duties. We can't have his wounds getting infected." She added.
Flamepaw dipped her head at Stemfeather and padded over to Brackenstep. "How are you feeling?" She asked sympathetically.
"I'll be fine." He assured. "The wounds only sting a little."
Flamepaw smiled at her mentor. He's so brave! She thought.
"Thank you." Brackenstep mewed.
"What for?" Flamepaw asked in awe.
"You saved my life!" Brackenstep responded. "It would have delivered a killing blow if you hadn't stopped it! You're a brave apprentice, you'll make a great warrior. You're courageous, quick witted, fierce, and stubborn. The qualities that only the best warriors have. I'm proud of you, and so is your clan."
Flamepaw stared at the ground and shifted her paws, embarrassed by his praise.
"I asked Grassleaf if you could go on the dawn patrol today since I won't be able to train with you. He said you could, and they'll be leaving soon. You better go find Grassleaf." He ordered.
"Thank you Brackenstep!" Flamepaw chirped. Flamepaw turned to exit the medicine den as Sorrelstar stopped her. "Oh! Sorry Sorrelstar." She apologized.
"Flamepaw! There you are!." Sorrelstar responded. "I would like to see you in my den before you leave with the dawn patrol."
Flamepaw stared at her, confused. Sorrelstar wants me in her den? Did I do something wrong? She questioned. "Ok, coming!" She replied nervously. Flamepaw bounded towards Sorrelstar's den under the Great Maple Tree, it was a small cozy den made in a hollow in the tree base. Flamepaw walked into the den, nervous of what Sorrelstar wanted to tell her.
"Flamepaw!" Sorrelstar began. "Brackenstep tells me you saved his life yesterday. He also tells me that you caught a squirrel." She stated. "He says you also attempted to save Spottedflower's life. I'm proud of what you accomplished on your first day of training. You will make a great warrior." She finished.
Flamepaw stared at the ground embarrassed. "I only knew what to do because of Amberflight and Stemfeather, they both taught me a few things as a kit-" She began.
"But you also chased off a fox did you not?" Sorrelstar questioned. "That took courage, and skill."
Flamepaw nodded at her, but the look in Sorrelstar's eyes made her uncomfortable. Does she know something that I don't? Flamepaw wondered. Does it have something to do with the prophecy Starclan gave me?
"You are dismissed." Sorrelstar meowed.
Flamepaw hurried out of the den to join the rest of the dawn patrol, Redflower, Whitefang, and Amberflight.
"Hi Flamepaw!" Amberflight greeted.
Flamepaw nervously dipped her head at Amberflight, following behind as Whitefang lead the patrol up the slope out of camp.
"We're checking the Shadowclan border to make sure that fox is gone." Whitefang explained. "The evening patrol said there was no fresh fox scent there, but we have to be sure.
The patrol agreed with Whitefang, and Flamepaw followed.
The patrol was nearing Shadow rock when a Shadowclan patrol appeared from the Shadow Trail, all confidently standing in a line.
Whitefang and Redflower stepped forward and growled at them.
"This is Thunderclan territory!" Whitefang hissed. "You shouldn't be here!"
"Oh, but is it?" A light gray tabby she-cat questioned.
"Windclaw!" A Brown tabby tom called to her get back here!"
Windclaw obeyed the tabby and stepped back with the patrol.
Flamepaw watched as the line up of cats unsheathed their claws. They want our territory! Flamepaw thought. Well they won't get it! I won't let them! Flamepaw unsheathed her claws and watched from the back of the patrol, they were outnumbered.
"You won't take out territory from us! You have your own you mangy furballs!" Whitefang growled.
The brown tabby growled at Whitefang. "This territory belongs to us!" He hissed. "And we will fight for it if we have to!"
Flamepaw growled at the Shadowclan patrol. How mouse brained are these cats? Do they really think we'll give up our territory that easily?
The brown tabby leaped at Whitefang, raking his claws down her flank. Whitefang yowled in pain and wrested the tabby onto his back and raking her claws down his belly. Windclaw ran at Whitefang, knocking her back off of the brown tabby.
Flamepaw hissed as a golden tabby apprentice leaped at her, claws unsheathed. Flamepaw rolled out of the way and lunged for the tabby, raking her claws across his muzzle. The golden tabby shrieked and bit down on her hind leg. Flamepaw kicked her leg back, and the apprentice was knocked backwards. Flamepaw used the opportunity to rake her claws down his belly. Hissing with rage the tabby kicked Flamepaw with his back legs, knocking her backwards across the clearing. Refusing to give up, Flamepaw rushed at the golden tabby and bit down on his shoulder, keeping a strong grip on him. The tabby fought to shake her off, and clawed Flamepaw's flank. Angry, Flamepaw jumped onto the tabby's back and raked her claws down his back. Growling at her, the tabby backed off and ran back into the Shadow Trail.
Flamepaw turned to see Amberflight wrestling with a ginger she-cat. A brown tom was coming up behind her, and Flamepaw leaped at his shoulder, sinking her teeth in. The tom hissed at her, leaping at her he pinned her down, belly exposed, she clawed the tom's neck and shifted under his weight. Clawing his face with many blows, the tom had blood dripping into his eyes. Seeing he was half blinded, Flamepaw tried her best to pin him down, but the tom was stronger than she was, and pushed her backwards. Flamepaw raked her claws across the tom's muzzle, raging, the tom clawed Flamepaw down her back. Yowling in pain, Flamepaw collapsed before the tom.
"It is not your time yet Flamepaw, you must keep fighting!" Flowerstar's voice sounded inside her mind.
Standing back up, Flamepaw took the brown warrior by surprise and raked her claws down his flank. Screeching in pain the warrior racked his claws across her ear. Flamepaw growled at him and clawed him across his face. Blood dripped into the warriors eyes, and he stumbled backwards.
"Oakstep!" The brown tabby yowled. "Retreat!"
Oakstep narrowed his eyes at Flamepaw, and growled. "This isn't over apprentice!" He hissed as he retreated towards the Shadow Trail.
Whitefang hissed at the brown tabby tom, and Amberflight chased the ginger she-cat back into the Shadow Trail.
"Mangy fleebags!" Whitefang hissed.
Flamepaw's wounds stung, and blood was dripping down her muzzle. She stared around at the blood stained clearing, Flowerstar's words rung in her head, It is not your time yet. Wounded and tired, the patrol headed back towards camp.
As the patrol arrived back in camp, Bearleap was assessing battle wounds of the hunting patrol. Confused, Flamepaw bounded over to Bearleap. "What happened? She asked.
"That fox again." Bearleap hissed angrily. "It attacked the hunting patrol, lucky, there weren't too many injuries. But what happened to you? The entire patrol is battle wounded!" Bearleap questioned.
"A Shadowclan patrol attacked." Flamepaw sighed.
"But you chased them off I assume?" Bearleap asked.
"Yes. They fled back towards the Shadow Trail." Flamepaw responded while cleaning blood off her pelt.
"Stemfeather!" Bearleap called. "I need you to make more poultice! We have four more injured cats to tend to before we leave for the Moon Crystal!"
Flamepaw sat down and continued to clean the blood off her fur while she waited for Stemfeather to come by and tend to her wounds.
Snowpaw, Scorchpaw, Badgerclaw, and Shadepelt walked into the camp, noticing all the wounded cats in the clearing. Snowpaw and Scorchpaw bounded over to Flamepaw, worried.
"What happened to you?" Snowpaw gasped. "Are you ok?"
"I'm fine." Flamepaw assured him. "A Shadowclan patrol attacked us, but we chased them off, as for the hunting patrol, the fox attacked them, but there were no major injuries." She answered.
Scorchpaw flattened his ears. "If I see that fox, I'm going to shred it!" She growled.
"We won't be shredding any foxes today." Badgerclaw ordered. "You, Snowpaw, and Flamepaw need to go get dry bedding and change the elder's bedding. Pineflight and White-eyes will be grateful."
Stemfeather walked over to Flamepaw and started applying the poultice to Flamepaw's wounds. It stings! Flamepaw winced a little. She sat patiently as Stemfeather stuck cobwebs onto her fur. "Thanks Stemfeather!" She mewed.
Stemfeather nodded at her in return as she went to treat Redflower's wounds.
Flamepaw watched as Whitefang exited Sorrelstar's den. She must've just told Sorrelstar what happened. Flamepaw guessed.
"Flamepaw!" Badgerclaw ordered. "Come help your littermates collect dry bedding for the elders!"
Flamepaw hurried up the slope with her littermates, turning towards the nearest tree.
"Let me show you the easiest way to collect dry moss!" Badgerclaw mewed, as he clawed a piece of moss off the tree. Slice the moss off the tree with your claws!" He ordered.
Flamepaw looked at the moss infront of her and clawed it off with a simple paw motion. "Hey! It's not so bad!" Flamepaw called to her littermates. She continued to claw the rest of the moss off the base of the tree, and she rolled it up into a ball. Grabbing the moss in her jaws, Flamepaw carried it down towards the elder's den, Snowpaw followed behind her. Flamepaw padded into the elders den and set the ball of moss down. "Snowpaw!" Flamepaw mewed.
What if I change the bedding and you take the old bedding out? Flamepaw asked. "It'll be much faster!" She added cheerfully.
Snowpaw nodded at her, and they both clawed the old bedding out of the nests. Pineflight and White-eyes were gossiping around the fresh kill pile. Maybe we can surprise them with new bedding! Flamepaw thought. Snowpaw grabbed a ball of the old bedding and carried it up the slope and out of camp. Flamepaw began lining the nest with moss as Scorchpaw walked in with more moss.
"Scorchpaw!" Badgerclaw called out. "Use that bedding to change out the nursery! Feathersight and her kits will be very grateful!"
Scorchpaw mumbled something under his breath but obeyed his mentor and took his wad of moss over to the nursery.
Flamepaw continued to work on the elder's nests as Snowpaw came back and grabbed another wad of old bedding and carried it out of camp. Flamepaw grabbed another wad of moss and began working on the other nest. Snowpaw raced back down into the camp, panting.
"Snowpaw? What's the matter?" Badgerclaw questioned.
Snowpaw struggled to catch his breath. "It's Shadowclan! They're coming to invade the camp!"
"Sorrelstar!" Badgerclaw called to the leader. "Shadowclan is invading our territory!"
"Grassleaf!" Sorrelstar summoned. "You lead a patrol to the top of the ravine! Every other warrior, line up at the bottom of the slope and protect the camp! Apprentices, protect the nursery!" Sorrelstar instructed.
"Redflower, Badgerclaw, Shadepelt, Whitefang! Follow me up to the top of the ravine! Sludgefur, Brightpool, Amberflight, Shadowfeather, and Firewhisker! Stay in camp and don't let Shadowclan invade the camp! "Flamepaw, Snowpaw, Scorchpaw, and Brackenstep! Protect the nursery!" Grassleaf ordered.
Flamepaw nodded at Grassleaf and followed Brackenstep to the nursery. Feathersight was moving her kits behind her in the far corner of the nursery. Flamepaw listened as cats started screeching at the top of the ravine.
"Brackenstep!" Bearleap yowled. "You need to stay in the medicine den! Your wound is infected! You can't fight in this battle."
Brackenstep hesitated, but followed Bearleap back into the den.
"What do we do now?" Snowpaw questioned. "We can't defend the nursery by ourselves! Our mentors haven't taught us battle moves us!"
"Just unsheathe your claws and try to claw them!" Flamepaw answered. "Even if we haven't been trained, we still have claws!"
"Flamepaw!" Scorchpaw hissed. "They're coming into the camp!"
Flamepaw looked towards the entrance of the camp, noticing her clanmates wresting with the Shadowclan warriors. Flamepaw growled at the Shadowclan warriors. You think you can invade our camp? Well then be prepared to feel my claws! She growled.
The bushes rustled behind the three apprentices and a gray and white tom walked up behind them.
"Pssst! Guys!" He whispered.
Scorchpaw turned around and hissed at him. "What do you want you Shadowclan fleebag!" He growled. "Tell your mangy clan to get off our territory!"
Flamepaw stood in her spot staring at the apprentice. He's so- handsome! Flamepaw thought. No. He's from an enemy clan! Flamepaw blinked and noticed that the gray apprentice had locked eyes with her. She looked at the ground, feeling guilty.
Snowpaw stepped forward and narrowed his eyes at the young tom, unsheathing his claws. "Go back to your own territory!" He growled. "You and your clan don't belong here!"
The tom stepped forward and glared at Flamepaw. "Please! Just listen to me!" He reasoned.
Flamepaw padded up to him and nodded. "Tell us." She replied calmly.
"Shadowclan is planning to bring a fox into your camp! They're hoping all the noise of the battle will lure it in, and they're weakening your warriors! Be careful!" He replied.
Flamepaw's eyes grew wide after hearing Shadowclan's plan. But why is he telling us this? She questioned.
Scorchpaw narrowed his eyes and flicked his tail, not believing what the young apprentice was telling him.
"Why are you telling us this?" Flamepaw questioned suspiciously. "You're hurting your clan by telling us this!"
"I know!" He replied. "But I can't bare seeing more innocent cats get killed by foxes! My littermates were taken by a fox! The clan went looking for them, following the fox's scent- but, they found them lying dead in a clearing. He added sadly.
Flamepaw couldn't help but feel bad for the apprentice. She couldn't imagine living without her littermates, and the memory of Spottedflower's death filled her mind. "Your clan will be wondering where you are." She told him. "Go before they catch you!"
The apprentice ran back up the slope in the back of the ravine and circled around to the front.
Flamepaw watched as the Shadowclan warriors started to flee out of the camp, retreating towards the forest. She followed her clan and chased the Shadowclan warriors out of camp. Flamepaw pricked her ears and heard the bark of a fox in the distance. "Snowpaw! Scorchpaw!" She cried. "Shadowclan's plan has worked! There's a fox coming!"
Scorchpaw jumped up on his feet and growled. "They won't get away with this!"
"Scorchpaw! Come with me to help track down and stop the fox before it gets here! Snowpaw! Cover for us!" Flamepaw ordered.
Snowpaw nodded and Scorchpaw followed Flamepaw out of the back of the ravine.
The barking of the fox grew louder, and Flamepaw looked down in the ravine to see her clanmates guarding the entrance, battle wounded. Flamepaw broke into a run, and the barking grew louder. She crouched down behind a bush and signaled to Scorchpaw to hide. Flamepaw scanned the area for the fox's russet colored pelt.
"Flamepaw!" Scorchpaw whispered. "There it is!"
Flamepaw narrowed her eyes at the bushes ahead of her, a fox lurked through the bushes, spotting the Thunderclan camp. "It's seen the camp!" She hissed to Scorchpaw. "We have to lure it away now!"
"Let's go!" Scorchpaw whispered.
Flamepaw burst out of the bushes, surprising the fox. The fox started barking and ran after her, teeth bared. Scorchpaw chased behind, keeping pace with the fox. Flamepaw ran towards the Riverclan border, hoping to get the fox close enough to the river to push it in. The fox clamped it's jaws shut on Flamepaw's tail. Growling, Flamepaw whipped around and clawed the fox down its muzzle. Barking in rage, the fox let go of Flamepaw's tail and bit down on her hind leg.
"Let her go you mouse heart!" Scorchpaw screeched as he leaped on top of the fox, raking his claws down its back.
"Scorchpaw!" Flamepaw cried. "Let go!"
Scorchpaw ignored her and bit down on the fox's shoulder. Raging, the shook Scorchpaw off, biting down on his neck.
Flamepaw ran for the fox's side and shoved it backwards. Angry, the fox continued to chase Flamepaw towards the river. Flamepaw's legs ached but she had to keep going. My clan is depending on me! She thought. Nearing the river, Flamepaw skidded to a halt at the edge, almost slipping in. Growling, the fox stopped in front of her, baring its teeth. Flamepaw hissed and backed up as much as she could. My plan didn't work! She thought fearfully. Thinking fast, she ducked under the fox's belly and raked her claws down it. Barking in pain the fox growled at her. Angrily, Flamepaw ran towards the fox, pushing it into the river, but the fox shut it's jaws on her hind leg and dragged her in with it. Flailing her paws in fear, Flamepaw struggled to keep her head above the surface. The fox barked as it ran into a branch floating on the river. Dislodging Flamepaw's leg, Flamepaw kicked her legs to try and stay above the surface. She heard a yowl from in the bushes, and a cat leaped out. Scorchpaw! Flamepaw thought relived.
Scorchpaw grabbed ahold of Flamepaw's scruff and tried to drag her out of the river, but the current was too strong. Scorchpaw tumbled into the river with Flamepaw, flailing his legs. Flamepaw looked around, panicking. She spotted a large branch on the river bank ahead and kicked her legs, trying to reach Scorchpaw. The current was strong, but Flamepaw grabbed onto Scorchpaw's scruff and floated down towards the branch. She dug her claws into the branch and dragged herself onto it. Holding Scorchpaw by the scruff she pulled him up onto the branch and dragged him to the river.
Unconscious, Scorchpaw was bleeding from the fox bite.
Flamepaw heard the fox's muffled barking further down the river, until it grew silent. Panicking, Flamepaw grabbed ahold of Scorchpaw's scruff and started dragging him towards camp.
Flamepaw arrived with Scorchpaw back at camp. Dragging him down the slope Brightpool came running towards them.
"Flamepaw! Where have you been? Firewhisker and I were so worried! You're soaking wet!" Looking down at Scorchpaw her eyes saddened. "What happened to him?" She gasped.
"There- was a fox headed towards camp." Flamepaw started. "A Shadowclan apprentice came and warned us that Shadowclan was trying to lure the fox here-"
Brightpool cut her off. "And you believed them?" She gasped. "Shadowclan are liars!
"I was right to believe him." Flamepaw responded. "He was telling the truth! The fox was looking right at the camp! We had to do something!"
"Flamepaw! You should've let the warriors handle it!" Firewhisker snapped as he walked up to them. "Getting rid of foxes are no job for an apprentice! You could've gotten yourself killed! And it looks like you got your brother killed in the process!" He growled.
"He's not dead!" Flamepaw hissed.
"He looks like he is!" Firewhisker snapped.
"Go and get Bearleap!" Brightpool cried.
Flamepaw hurried over to Bearleap's den, worried for her brother. "Bearleap!" She called. "Scorchpaw is injured!"
Bearleap padded out of the ferns hiding the medicine supply and followed behind her. Bearleap studied Scorchpaw and responded, "He'll be ok. It would have been a lot worse if the fox had been able to get a killing blow."
Bearleap called for Stemfeather to come and apply a poultice to his wound, and Flamepaw turned away and walked into the camp.
"Flamepaw!" Brackenstep gasped. "Where have you been? You're soaked!"
"Leading a fox out of the territory." Flamepaw responded, embarrassed. "A Shadowclan apprentice told me that Shadowclan was planning on leading it here with the noise of the battle. It had found the camp!"
Brackenstep was taken aback by her words. "Where did you lead it to? Is it still lurking around the territory?" He questioned.
"We lead it to the river." Flamepaw responded while licking the water off her fur.
"We?" Brackenstep questioned.
Scorchpaw and I, we lead it to the river, and I pushed it in. But it bit Scorchpaw's neck. Flamepaw answered.
"He's dead?" Brackenstep gasped.
"No!" Flamepaw replied. "I stopped it from killing him!"
"How did you do that?" I haven't taught you any battle moves yet!" Brackenstep questioned.
"It's not that hard to use teeth and claws." Flamepaw replied jokingly.
"So how did you get all wet then?" Brackenstep asked.
"The fox dragged me in, but Scorchpaw tried to save me. Although the current was too strong and we both got pulled in, I grabbed onto a branch and dragged Scorchpaw up." She explained.
Brackenstep was shocked at what Flamepaw had just told him. "You're a brave apprentice." He murmured. "But you still have a lot to learn."
Flamepaw smiled at him, she was glad that Brackenstep was her mentor. I can't wait to get back to training! She thought.
Flamepaw padded towards the apprentice's den, relieved to see Scorchpaw snuggled in a nest next to Snowpaw. Flamepaw padded over to her nest and shut her eyes, and the world fading into the blackness of sleep.
Flamepaw woke to a paw prodding at her flank, it was Snowpaw. Flamepaw blinked her eyes open the stretched out in her nest. "What Snowpaw?" She asked sleepily.
"Brackenstep, Shadepelt, and Badgerclaw want us at the training ditch." Snowpaw answered. "Scorchpaw is already there."
"Scorchpaw?" Flamepaw questioned. "I thought Bearleap said he had a chill."
"He does, but Bearleap said he would be fine to go out today." Snowpaw replied.
"But doesn't she think he should be resting?" Flamepaw meowed.
"She said it'd be fine and that it was a minor chill, and that it'll go away soon." Snowpaw cited.
Flamepaw blinked at the dawn light shining into the den. She stood up and followed Snowpaw to up the slope and out of the ravine. Flamepaw trekked though the undergrowth, Snowpaw following close behind. Brackenstep came into view and Flamepaw bounded over to the training ditch to greet him.
"Flamepaw! There you are!" Brackenstep meowed.
"Hi Brackenstep." Flamepaw replied. "What are we doing today?" She asked.
"Hunting." Badgerclaw answered. "But first, you three need to learn how to sneak up on prey."
Shadepelt nodded. "Yes, you need to learn how to stalk each type of prey."
"First, I want you three to show me your best hunting crouch." Brackenstep ordered.
Flamepaw dropped into a hunt crouch, making sure to keep her tail low, stepping forward she kept as much weight off her paws as she could, stalking forward on the dry leaves silently. She watched as Snowpaw copied her, keeping his tail low, but crunching the leaves under his paws. Scorchpaw awkwardly placed his paws below and stalked forward, keeping his tail high.
Brackenstep studied the three apprentice's crouch and corrected them. "Snowpaw, try and keep the weight off your paws. The prey will hear you coming if the leaves crunch below you." He instructed. "Scorchpaw, place your paws in front of you and keep your tail down. We don't want the prey to see your tail before you can pounce on them."
Flamepaw was distracted by a mouse sniffing among the tree roots. Flamepaw crept forward towards the tree at the edge of the ditch, treading lightly on her paws. Flamepaw leaped forward and landed just in front of the mouse. The mouse scurried into a hole in the tree trunk before Flamepaw could reach it. Mouse dung! Flamepaw thought, disappointed. Brackenstep was observing Flamepaw at the middle of the training ditch, watching her stick her paw in the tree trunk to feel for the mouse. Flamepaw felt a few clumps of fur in the edge of the tree trunk. Flamepaw sunk her claws into one of the mice in the corner and dragged it out of the den, killing it with a swift bite to its neck.
"Nice catch!" Snowpaw praised.
Scorchpaw rolled his eyes at her. Why did she have to be such a show-off?
Flamepaw reached her paws back into the mouse nest and grabbed another mouse in her claws, quickly snapping it's neck. She reached in again, scooping out two more mice, biting their necks. Flamepaw covered the mice in leaves and padded back over to her mentor.
Scorchpaw narrowed his eyes at her, jealous of the praise she was receiving from her mentor. He swallowed a growl and pricked his ears, hearing movement from the bushes. Following the advice the Brackenstep gave him, he dropped into a hunting crouch and stalked forward towards the bush, spotting a starling eating berries from the bush. Scorchpaw leaped, but instead of landing on the starling, he crashed into the bush, and the starling shrieked and started flying upwards.
Thinking fast Flamepaw leaped into the air and grabbed the starling by its wings. The bird flutter its wings to try and escape, but Flamepaw sunk her teeth into it's neck. The bird went limp under her paws and Flamepaw carried it over to the mice and buried it under the leaves with them.
Angered and disappointed, Scorchpaw pushed his way out of the bush and sat down by his mentor.
Flamepaw noticed his anger and looked at the ground guiltily. I'm being such a show-off! She thought.
It was nearly sunhigh and Brackenstep summoned the apprentices with a flick of his tail. "Until sunset." He began. "You three will be hunting. We will be assessing what you have learned so far."
Shadepelt and Badgerclaw nodded.
"We need to assess your hunting skills so that we know how to help you improve." Shadepelt added.
Flamepaw and Snowpaw nodded, but Scorchpaw's eyes blazed. He glared at Flamepaw with hostility, clearing wanting to prove himself to their mentors.
"Flamepaw! You hunt in the maple grove. Snowpaw! You hunt in the trees along the Riverclan border! Scorchpaw! You hunt in the areas around shadow rock!" Brackenstep ordered. "Meet back in the training ditch at sunset!"
Flamepaw nodded and headed for the maple grove at the Windclan border. Shadepelt had recently showed her and her littermates the rest of the territory while Brackenstep's wounds were healing. As she approached the maple grove, Flamepaw heard a squirrel rustling through the leaves. Flamepaw dropped into a hunting crouch and used the undergrowth for cover as she snuck up on the squirrel. Getting in range of the squirrel, Flamepaw leaped forwards, landing on the squirrel's tail. The squirrel tried to run, but Flamepaw was too fast. She hooked the squirrel's tail with her claws and dragged it towards her, cleanly biting down on its neck. Flamepaw scooped up some maple leaves and covered the squirrel.
Flamepaw continued to wander into the maple grove, spotting the Windclan border she stopped. Ears pricked, she watched a rabbit eat a patch of grass nearby. Crouched, Flamepaw snuck up on the rabbit, but the rabbit heard her coming. It started to run towards the Windclan border as fast as it could. Flamepaw strained her muscles and she picked up the speed, keeping pace with the rabbit. Just before it crossed into Windclan territory, Flamepaw grabbed the rabbit's scruff in her jaws. The rabbit started kicking at her, but Flamepaw set it down and killed it before it could run. Pleased with herself, Flamepaw padded over the the spot where she buried her squirrel and covered the rabbit in leaves. Panting, Flamepaw sat down and scanned the area for more prey, noticing a shrew scampering in the leaves, Flamepaw leaped, landing on the shrew and killing it with a clean bite.
Brackenstep was observing from a bush nearby. Spotted him, Flamepaw started to worry. What if my catch wasn't good enough? I need to find more prey!
Hearing a squirrel climbing among the trees, Flamepaw sunk her claws into the maple tree, determined the catch it.
"Wait! Flamepaw!" Brackenstep called desperately.
But Flamepaw ignored him. She was determined to catch the squirrel hiding in the tree. Scurrying up to the hole in the tree, Flamepaw stuck one of her paws into the hole and reached for the squirrel, hooking it with her claws. Dragging it towards herself she bit down on its neck. The squirrel went limp and Flamepaw dropped it down the tree. I'm really high up! Flamepaw thought.
Watching her attempt to climb down the tree, Brackenstep called to her. "Be careful!" He yowled.
Flamepaw kept her claws in the tree bark and slowly made her way down to the ground, picking the squirrel up and burying it.
"Flamepaw!" Brackenstep gasped. "Don't scare me like that! I thought you were going to fall!"
"I'm sorry." Flamepaw replied, embarrassed. "I just wanted to get that squirrel."
Brackenstep studied her pile of prey and nodded. "Let's go meet back up with the others, it's almost sunset."
Flamepaw nodded and picked up a squirrel and a shrew in her jaws. She watched as Brackenstep grabbed a squirrel and the rabbit in her jaws. Flamepaw followed Brackenstep back towards the training ditch and pushed her way through the undergrowth. She narrowed her eyes to see Snowpaw and Shadepelt sitting in the training ditch, waiting for them to get back. Flamepaw dropped her prey in the ditch and greeted them.
"Hi Snowpaw!" Flamepaw mewed.
"Hi Flamepaw! Have any luck?" He questioned.
"Yes!" She replied cheerfully. "The maple grove is rich with prey!"
Hearing the bushes rustle in front of her, she watched Scorchpaw and Badgerclaw emerge from the undergrowth and pad into the ditch with them.
"Scorchpaw is an excellent hunter!" Badgerclaw smiled. "He caught two shrews and a vole!"
"Snowpaw did well too. He caught a finch and a squirrel!" Shadepelt exclaimed.
"Flamepaw is a natural hunter!" Brackenstep praised. "She's great at tracking down prey! She even climbed a tree to catch a squirrel!"
"Really?" Snowpaw questioned in awe. "How did you get down?"
"I used my claws to climb down slowly." She admitted. "And besides, the squirrel was hiding inside a hole in the tree."
Brackenstep smiled at how modest Flamepaw was, and finally spoke. "Sorrelstar will be pleased." He meowed. "Let's get back to camp and add this to the fresh kill pile."
Flamepaw grabbed her squirrel and her shrew in her jaws as Brackenstep grabbed the other squirrel and the rabbit in his jaws. She noticed how Scorchpaw was glaring at her, and felt uncomfortable. What's the matter with him? She questioned. Is he mad at me? Erasing the thoughts from her mind, she followed Brackenstep down the slope into the ravine, followed by Snowpaw and Shadepelt. Badgerclaw and Scorchpaw followed farther behind.
"Welcome back!" Amberflight greeted Flamepaw, eying the prey she and Brackenstep were carrying. "Did you catch that all by yourself?" She gasped. "That's impressive!"
Flamepaw nodded at her and dropped her prey on the fresh kill pile. "Snowpaw and Scorchpaw also did well." Flamepaw mentioned.
Snowpaw and Shadepelt dropped his catch on the fresh kill pile, and Snowpaw padded over to Flamepaw. "But you did the best." Snowpaw replied. "You climbed a tree to catch a squirrel!"
"You climbed a tree?" Amberflight questioned, shocked. "That's amazing!"
Flamepaw nodded, and noticed the look she was getting from Scorchpaw. Why is he giving me that look? She questioned. Flamepaw grabbed her squirrel from the fresh kill pile and lied down next to Amberflight and Snowpaw. She watched as Amberflight and Snowpaw each took a shrew from the pile and started eating.
Brackenstep was headed towards the entrance when Flamepaw got up and stopped him. "Brackenstep?" She asked. "Where are you going?"
"To grab the prey we left a the training ditch." He replied. "A good warrior never lets prey be wasted."
Flamepaw nodded at him, and watched as he walked up the slope.
She walked back over the Amberflight and Snowpaw who were almost done with their shrews. Flamepaw took a bite of the squirrel then pushed it away.
"Flamepaw?" Amberflight asked. "What's the matter?"
"I'm not hungry." Flamepaw replied.
She watched as Amberflight stared up at the stars that were appearing in the night sky. "Do you think Spottedflower can see us?" She asked sadly. "I wish I could see her again."
Flamepaw brushed her fur against Amberflight's and nodded. "I'm sure she can see you, and that she's proud of you." She responded.
"But Starclan is silent." Amberflight sighed. "How can we be sure that any of them can see us?"
Flamepaw remembered when Starclan had visited her to tell her about the prophecy, but chose not to say anything. "I'm sure they see us, but have nothing to say to us." She assured her. "They won't abandon us."
Amberflight looked towards Flamepaw and smiled. "I always knew you would turn out to be a wise warrior, ever since you were a kit." She responded.
Flamepaw looked at the ground, embarrassed, and she got up to walked to the apprentice den, Snowpaw following close behind. Scorchpaw was already inside, eyes blazing as he watched Flamepaw enter. Flamepaw was too tired to question why and she laid down in her nest, tired from the days training. She blinked her eyes shut and watched the world fade.
Flamepaw blinked her eyes open in the starry clearing, she was dreaming again. "Hello? Flowerstar?" She meowed. "Are you there?"
Flowerstar appeared from the bushed in front of her and dipped her head. "Hello Flamepaw." She greeted. "I am here to warn you."
"Warn me?" Flamepaw questioned. "About what?"
"I cannot tell you that." Flowerstar responded. "But I can tell you this."
Flamepaw stared at Flowerstar, waiting for her to tell her what she wanted to.
"Beware Flamepaw, the darkness is coming! Beware of a cat you cannot trust, for they will try to destroy the flame that will save the clans." Flowerstar warned as she faded. "Beware!"
Flamepaw shivered as she repeated Flowerstar's words in her head. Beware of a warrior you cannot trust, for they will try to destroy the flame that will save the clans. Who is the warrior I cannot trust? Flamepaw questioned. And what- is the flame that will save the clans?
"Use your tail to balance!" Brackenstep ordered. "You need to learn how to balance so that you have the advantage over the enemy warriors."
Flamepaw nodded and stood up on her hind legs, front paws out. She kept her tail down and made many blows across Brackenstep's muzzle, claws sheathed. Triumphantly, Flamepaw dropped down onto her paws, waiting for Brackenstep to assess her.
"Very good!" Brackenstep praised. "Now you need to learn how to balance on all your paws."
Flamepaw stared at him, confused. Suddenly, Brackenstep knocked her back paw out from under her and Flamepaw collapsed. Dazed, Flamepaw stood back up, ready for him. Brackenstep lunged for her leg and Flamepaw swerved out of the way, sending Brackenstep crashing into the ground.
"Better, but now let me pull your leg out from under you, you need to be ready for warriors who are quicker than you." He instructed.
Flamepaw nodded and stood infront of him, tail down. Quickly, Brackenstep lunged for her hind leg and unbalanced it. Shifting weight to her front leg, Flamepaw stood steadily on the ground, repositioning her hind leg. She lunged forward, landing on her hind legs, claws sheathed, she landed many blow on his muzzle. She dropped back down to her paws and sat down. "How'd I do that time?" She asked.
"Great!" Brackenstep responded. "But you need to work on rebalancing quicker, a trained warrior will take the opportunity to pin you down."
Flamepaw nodded and waited for Brackenstep to unbalance her leg. This time, he unbalanced her other hind leg, Flamepaw quickly put weight on her front paw and repositioned her leg, she lunged for Brackenstep's shoulder, but Brackenstep was too quick. He shifted out of the way and Flamepaw crashed into the ground.
"Don't focus your eyes on what you are leaping for. Focus your eyes on what you aren't so that the warrior isn't ready for you." Brackenstep instructed. "Try again, but this time, don't look at what you're leaping for."
Determined, Flamepaw focused on Brackenstep as he shoved her hind leg out from under her. Unbalanced, Flamepaw quickly positioned her tail to balance herself. Focusing on Brackenstep's leg, Flamepaw lunged for his shoulder, teeth bared. Brackenstep moved sideways, allowing Flamepaw to land a blow on his shoulder.
"Much better." Brackenstep nodded. "Let's get back to camp. There should be a hunting patrol leaving soon, and I want you to join them."
Flamepaw followed Brackenstep out of the training ditch, surprised by what Brackenstep had told her. A hunting patrol? Without him? She questioned.
As they arrived back in camp Grassleaf greeted them. "Flamepaw!" He summoned. "Amberflight wants you to join her hunting patrol. I told her you would be back soon."
Flamepaw nodded and padded over to Amberflight, Snowpaw, and Fangwhisker who were sitting at the entrance of the apprentice den.
"Flamepaw!" Amberflight greeted. "There you are!"
"Hi Amberflight!" Flamepaw nodded.
"Were heading to the forest territory along the old Skyclan border." Amberflight instructed.
Flamepaw stood up and followed the patrol up the slope towards the old Skyclan border. The forest was quiet, there were no bird singing, just the occasional mouse scuffling among the leaves. As they arrived at the oaks surrounding the old Skyclan border, there was bushes rustling up ahead. Flamepaw narrowed her eyes at the bushes, spotting three pairs of eyes peering out.
Blinking the image out of her head, she listened around for any nearby prey. Hearing the bushes rustle behind her, Flamepaw dropped into a crouch and stalked forward silently, keeping her tail down. She spotted a gray pelt under the bushes. Scenting Shadowclan she kept her guard up, checking behind. As she crept up on the bush the scent of Shadowclan grew stronger, and Flamepaw noticed the gray and white apprentice under the bush.
The apprentice was staring at her, his blue eyes wide.
"What are you doing?" She whispered. "You shouldn't be here!"
"I know." He replied. "But I had to speak with you. There's something special about you, but Starclan won't tell me what!"
"Starclan has spoken to you as well?" She gasped.
"Yes." The apprentice replied. "But I don't want to tell the rest of Shadowclan. Especially now that Starclan hasn't spoken to any of the medicine cats in moons!" He shifted his paws awkwardly and looked at the ground.
"Darkness is coming." Flamepaw cited Flowerstar's words. "But a flame will come, and it will guide the lives of four, and shape the destinies of the clans."
"But beware." The apprentice added. "Beware of a cat you cannot trust. For he will try to destroy the flame that will save the clans. Two must become one, Fire and Night, together, they will protect the clans."
"Two must become one?" Flamepaw questioned. "Flowerstar never told me that!"
"Maplestar didn't tell me about the flame." The apprentice added.
"Flamepaw!" Amberflight called. "Where did you go?"
"You need to leave!" Flamepaw hissed.
"Wait! I never got your name!" He meowed as he crossed over the Skyclan border.
"Flamepaw." She responded. "What's yours?"
"Moonpaw." He responded as he ducked under the bushes.
Moonpaw. Flamepaw repeated. Maybe he can help me! We each know of a different prophecy, maybe they're connected!
She was cut off by Amberflight he was walking towards her, leaves crunching under her paws. "Flamepaw?" Amberflight questioned. "Are you ok? You look as thought you've just seen a Starclan cat!"
"I'm fine." Flamepaw assured her. "I just, thought I saw something in those bushes." She looked towards the bushes, but the eyes weren't there anymore. Were they spying on us? Flamepaw thought. And if they were, what did they want from us?
"Well then come on. We have to get enough prey for the clan." Amberflight meowed.
Flamepaw obeyed and followed her towards the others.
"There you are!" Fangwhisker nodded to Flamepaw. "We thought you got lost!"
Flamepaw looked at the ground and shifted her paws. Her ears pricked as she heard a mouse scuffling through the leaves. She spotted it and dropped into a hunting crouch, slowly creeping up on it. Flamepaw pounced and landed on top of it, swiftly killing it. She buried the mouse in the leaves to pick up later and padded through the undergrowth. She heard a starling chirping nearby and scanned the area. Spotting it under a bush she slinked into the undergrowth, staying close to the ground. She silently crept up behind it and leaped. The bird flapped its wings to ty and escape, but it was to late. Flamepaw bit down on its neck, and the bird went limp under her paws. Satisfied with her catch, Flamepaw padded back towards the patrol, grabbing her mouse on the way.
"It's nearly sunset." Fangwhisker noticed. "We should head back to camp."
Amberflight nodded and started leading the patrol back towards camp, prey in her jaws.
Flamepaw followed close behind, Moonpaw was fresh in her mind. What if we need to help each other? What if our prophecies are connected? Flamepaw wondered.
Arriving back in camp, the patrol dropped their catch on the fresh kill pile. Flamepaw noticed that Redflower was heading towards the nursery. Is she expecting kits? She's been around Sludgefur a lot lately. She stared at Redflower and noticed her belly was swollen. Flamepaw grabbed a squirrel and a thrush off the fresh kill pile and carried it towards the nursery. Flamepaw breathed in the warm milky scent of the nursery and remembered her days as a kit. It was easy then. But now, I get to serve for my clan!
Feathersight nodded her head at Flamepaw as she set the squirrel down in front of her. Her kits were snuggled close to her belly.
"Flamepaw!" Redflower greeted.
"Hi Redflower! I assume your expecting Sludgefur's kits?"
"Yes!" She replied happily. "They'll be brave warriors, just like him."
Flamepaw nodded and dropped the thrush in front of her.
"Thanks Flamepaw! I'm starving!" Redflower mewed.
Flamepaw smiled and headed towards the apprentice den, exhausted. She saw Scorchpaw cleaning his paws inside. "Hi Scorchpaw. What'd you do today?"
"I had to clean out the nursery and the elder's den with Snowpaw!" He growled. "But after Snowpaw left Badgerclaw took me to the training ditch to practice battle moves."
Flamepaw winced at her littermate's hostility. "Nobody likes cleaning out the elder's den." She sighed. "Brackenstep took me to the training ditch at dawn and taught me a few battle moves. Then Snowpaw and I left with the hunting patrol."
Scorchpaw rolled his eyes and laid down in his nest. "I'm going to sleep." He meowed, glaring at Flamepaw once more.
Flamepaw sighed, and soon after Snowpaw walked in, carrying a shrew. He pushed it over to Flamepaw.
"Here." He mewed. "You didn't get anything for yourself.
Flamepaw noticed that her belly was rumbling and she thanked Snowpaw. She took quickly finished off the shrew and dug a small hole to bury the bones. She couldn't stop thinking about Moonpaw and what he had told her. Two must become one, fire and night, together, they will save the clans. But who are the two? Flamepaw questioned. And why are we being called to find them?
"Flamepaw!" A voice called from outside the apprentice den.
Flamepaw blinked open her eyes and saw Snowpaw's bright white pelt against the dawn light. She stretched out in her nest and sat down in front of him. "What?" She asked sleepily.
"Sorrelstar wants to see you in her den." He answered as he licked his paws.
Flamepaw nodded at him in thanks and padded over towards Sorrelstar's den. Her paws crunched on the leaves below the Highbranch and she ducked into Sorrelstar's den. "Sorrelstar?" Flamepaw questioned. "Is something wrong?"
"Flamepaw." Sorrelstar greeted. "Scorchpaw tells me you were talking with a Shadowclan apprentice on the hunting patrol yesterday."
"Scorchpaw?" Flamepaw asked. He wasn't even on the patrol! Was he one of the cats spying from the bushes?
"Flamepaw, is this true?" She demanded. "Scorchpaw tells he you let him go unharmed."
Flamepaw nodded at her sadly. "I'm sorry, Sorrelstar! I didn't mean any harm!"
"I understand." She answered. "But I'm going to have to punish you. For the next quarter moon, you are responsible for caring for the elders."
Flamepaw respectfully nodded at her. "Yes Sorrelstar."
"You may come to the gathering tonight, along with Snowpaw and Scorchpaw." Sorrelstar finished. "You are dismissed."
Why would Scorchpaw tell her? But more importantly, who and why was he spying on me from the bushes? Flamepaw thought angrily.
"Tuck your tail in!" Brackenstep instructed. "It'll give the enemy less to grab onto!"
Flamepaw nodded and tucked her tail underneath herself. She studied Brackenstep as he focused on her paws. Flamepaw knew what he was up to, and as Brackenstep leaped Flamepaw shifted to the side and Brackenstep crashed into the ground. Using the crash to her advantage, Flamepaw pinned Brackenstep to the ground. Struggling under her weight Brackenstep landing a blow on her muzzle, claws sheathed. Flamepaw clawed across his belly, making sure they were sheathed. Brackenstep went limp underneath her and Flamepaw smiled in triumph.
Suddenly, Brackenstep thrust upwards and knocked Flamepaw backwards. Dazed, Flamepaw stood up and looked at Brackenstep, waiting for him to instruct her.
"Never think you've won against your opponent. They will sometimes trick you into thinking they're defeated." Brackenstep meowed. "Try again."
Flamepaw obeyed and tucked her tail underneath herself, focusing on Brackenstep. Brackenstep leaped at Flamepaw, crashing into her. Flamepaw pushed him off and leaped on top of him, pinning him down. Brackenstep went limp underneath her and Flamepaw raked her paw across his belly, claws sheathed. Brackenstep struggled under her weight and landed a blow across her neck, keeping his claws sheathed. Flamepaw kept her weight on top of him until Brackenstep instructed her to stop.
"Very good!" Brackenstep praised. "But now you should head back to camp the care for the elders, it's almost sunhigh and you have to go to the gathering tonight."
Flamepaw nodded and climbed out of the ditch and headed towards the trees outside camp. Breaking into a run, the camp came into view and Flamepaw stopped at a tree and scanned it for fresh moss. Spotting a clump, Flamepaw clawed it off the tree and rolled it into a ball. Grabbing it in her jaws Flamepaw padded down the slope into camp and headed towards the elder's den.
"Flamepaw." Pineflight greeted. "Here to clean out the nests I assume?"
Flamepaw padded over to Pineflight's nest and nodded. Pineflight padded over to White-eyes's nest, his red pelt glowing in the sun. Flamepaw scraped the old moss up with her claws and rolled it into a ball, grabbing a fresh wad from the entrance of the den. She started lining Pineflight's nest when Scorchpaw came up behind her and smirked.
"Look who has to care for the elders." He teased.
Flamepaw rolled her eyes and ignored him, continuing to fill Pineflight's nest with fresh moss. At least I get to stay out of the Greenleaf sun. Flamepaw thought.
Scorchpaw angrily turned around and padded towards Badgerclaw who was standing at the entrance of camp.
Flamepaw triumphantly smiled. I won't let him get to me.
"Flamepaw?" Snowpaw asked from the entrance of the elder's den. "I thought you might want some help." She mewed as he dropped a wad of moss in front of her.
"Thank you Snowpaw!" Flamepaw gasped.
Snowpaw nodded and laid down in the entrance of the den. "I heard Scorchpaw ratted you out of talking that Shadowclan apprentice." Snowpaw began. "I saw the way you were looking at him when he came to the camp. You know you're not allowed to have a half clan relationship, especially with Shadowclan! Think of what your clanmates would say!" He stated.
"It's not like that!" Flamepaw blushed. "We're just friends!"
Snowpaw stared at her disbelievingly and nodded. "Your secret is safe with me."
"Thank you." Flamepaw mewed as she gathered up the remaining bedding and rolled it into a ball. She followed Snowpaw out of the elder's den, and headed towards the dirtplace. Snowpaw padded towards Shadepelt, Shadowfeather, and Brightpool who were at the entrance of the camp, about to leave on the sunhigh patrol.
Flamepaw walked through the dirtplace tunnel and dropped the old bedding on the sandy floor. She kicked a few lumps of sand on top and curled her nose as she headed back towards the elder's den. Pineflight signaled to White-eyes to move out of her nest, and to follow him to the corner of the den.
White-eyes padded towards the back of the den with ease, despite being blind.
How does she know where to go? Flamepaw wondered. And what would it be like being blind? Blinking the questions out of her mind, the image of the eyes spying on her came into her mind. Two amber, one yellow. She remembered. Scorchpaw was one of them, but, who else? What is he planning, and why am I his first target...
Flamepaw joined the group of cats leaving for the gathering in the center of the clearing. Snowpaw and Scorchpaw walked with her up the slope and out of camp as Sorrelstar lead the cats to the Five Great Oaks. Flamepaw glanced at Scorchpaw as he was glaring at her angrily. Flamepaw stared at the ground and walked forward, trying to avoid him. Sorrelstar signaled with her tail for everyone to follow her into the clearing. The scent of Windclan and Riverclan was heavy, and many cats sat below the Oaks, waiting on Shadowclan and Thunderclan to arrive.
Sorrelstar climbed onto one of the trees and sat in a low branch, nodding to the leaders who sat on the other trees. The bushes rustled behind and Shadowclan padded into the clearing. A large black tom hopped onto one of the trees and nodded to the others.
Flamepaw studied the clearing around her and noticed a charred tree on the edge of the clearing. Is that Skyclan's oak? She wondered. What happened to it? Did it catch on fire? She erased the thoughts from her mind as she saw Moonpaw on the edge of the clearing with a golden tabby. I have to get him over here and warn him about Scorchpaw! Flamepaw thought as she signaled to him with her tail to come towards her. Moonpaw got up as a golden and white apprentice walked up to them.
"Moonpaw!" Flamepaw whispered. "Moonpaw over here!"
Moonpaw approached her steadily and ducked behind the sea of cats. "What?" He asked. "I can't be seen with you!"
"Did you notice any Thunderclan scent near the old Skyclan border yesterday?" She questioned. "I think Scorchpaw was spying on our meeting!"
Moonpaw nodded. "Larkstar plans to talk about it tonight."
"This is bad!" Flamepaw mewed. "This could ruin the full moon truce! And Sorrelstar will blame me! Scorchpaw told her I had been talking to you, and now I have to care for the elders for a quarter moon!"
Moonpaw paced back and forth, thinking about what they could do. "Wait! Remember what Maplestar told me?" He gasped.
"Two must become one, fire and night, to protect the clans?" She asked.
"No it wasn't that. He told me to beware of a warrior you cannot trust." Do you think he meant Scorchpaw?" Moonpaw questioned.
"I don't know." Flamepaw answered. "But there was more than one cat spying on us. Perhaps we each have a warrior was cannot trust. Did anybody tell Larkstar that you were meeting with me?" She questioned.
Moonpaw nodded and was about to speak, but he was cut off by the Windclan leader.
"Let the gathering, begin!" His yowl rang across the clearing.
"All is well in Thunderclan." Sorrelstar mewed. "The prey is running well, and this Greenleaf has brought new kits, along with three new apprentices! Flamepaw, Snowpaw and Scorchpaw!" She finished.
The Riverclan leader went next and reported the news of his clan. "Greenleaf has also been well to us." He began. "The fish are plentiful, and there will be new kits soon!" He nodded to the Windclan leader who went next.
"The prey is well in Windclan as well, and to this gathering we also bring three new apprentices! Whitepaw, Stormpaw, and Bluepaw!" The brown and white leader stated. He nodded to Larkstar, the Shadowclan leader and he began to give Shadowclan's news.
"The prey in the pine forest is plentiful, and we bring four new apprentices to this gathering! Moonpaw, Featherpaw, Grasspaw, and Hollypaw!" He began. "But, we have also scented Thunderclan in our territory. Sorrelstar, what do you have to say about this."
Sorrelstar flashed a quick glance at Flamepaw and responded. "I assure you that none of my warriors have crossed your border. You must be scenting our scent markers blowing across the border."
"My clan knows a fresh Thunderclan scent across our border when we smell it! We will be watching, and will not hesitate to attack anyone who puts so much as a paw across our border!" Larkstar growled.
"I will speak to my warriors about it at the end of the gathering." Sorrelstar nodded.
"Good." Larkstar hissed. "This gathering is over, Shadowclan, follow me."
"Wait!" Flamepaw cried. "Tell me who it was!" But Moonpaw had already left with the rest of his clan. Flamepaw's tail drooped as she thought about what Scorchpaw had done. That Foxheart!
"Thunderclan!" Sorrelstar yowled. "Follow Grassleaf back to camp. I will catch up."
The rest of the clan nodded and followed behind Grassleaf, heading towards the camp.
"Flamepaw!" Sorrelstar hissed. "Scorchpaw told me you had been talking with the Shadowclan apprentice, but he didn't tell me you were across the border!"
Flamepaw stared at Sorrelstar in disbelief. "You think I crossed the border?
"Yes! Who else would it have been? You can't go crossing into enemy territory! You could get yourself killed, or even drive Shadowclan to attack us!" Sorrelstar growled.
"I didn't cross the border!" Flamepaw cried. "I did nothing wrong! The Shadowclan apprentice crossed our border!"
"I saw you talking with him before the gathering." Sorrelstar meowed angrily. "Stay away from him, or I will have to punish you again!" She stalked off and headed towards the group of Thunderclan cats headed towards the camp.
Flamepaw's tail drooped. I didn't do anything wrong! Why is Scorchpaw framing me? Could he be the cat Starclan is talking about? Is he the warrior I cannot trust...?
"Flamepaw!" Scorchpaw hissed deviously. "Sorrelstar wants to see you, right now!"
Oh no. Flamepaw thought. What has Scorchpaw told her now? Flamepaw got out of her nest to hear the quiet sounds of rain drops hitting the canopy above the camp. She walked nervously into Sorrelstar's den and sat down.
"Flamepaw." She mewed. "Brackenstep has told me that you are a quick learner, and that you are picking up on battle moves very quickly. I'm proud of you, and I'm sorry about what I said." She added sadly. "I should've believed you. Scorchpaw told me that he had gotten it wrong, and after you left with Amberflight he accidently crossed the border chasing the apprentice away."
"Oh." Flamepaw meowed. "Scorchpaw told you that?"
"Yes." Sorrelstar nodded. "I believe you now, and you don't have to care for the elders by yourself for the next quarter moon anymore. That being said, stay away from that Shadowclan apprentice. He is nothing but bad news."
Flamepaw nodded sadly and padded out of the den. Maybe Scorchpaw wasn't hiding in the bush, what if it really was kittypets? But Scorchpaw didn't chase Moonpaw across the border, unless Moonpaw came back looking for me? Confused, Flamepaw headed for the entrance of the camp, but Brackenstep stopped her.
"Grassleaf wants us to join him and Shadowfeather on the dawn patrol." He stated. "We're heading to the Riverclan border to renew the scent marks."
Flamepaw nodded and followed him towards the entrance of camp where Grassleaf and Shadowfeather were standing. Flamepaw followed them up the slope and out of camp. The sounds of the river came closer and shivered, remembering when she lead the fox into the river and saved Scorchpaw. Surely after that Scorchpaw wouldn't be the warrior I cant trust, why would he become a traitor after I saved his life?
"Flamepaw!" Brackenstep called. "Are you coming?"
Flamepaw blinked and stared at Brackenstep. "Y-yes! Sorry." She stammered.
"Well, hurry up!" Brackenstep ordered. "You're holding us back!"
Flamepaw padded towards the rest of the patrol and stopped at the edge of the river. The Maple Grove was up ahead and Flamepaw spotted Snowpaw's white pelt through the trees. Is he hunting? Flamepaw wondered. The rest of the patrol had turned to the other way and were headed for the old Skyclan border. Flamepaw glanced back at Snowpaw and spotted a blue pelt through the trees. There's no Thunderclan cat with blue fur! Is that a Riverclan cat? Is Snowpaw in love with a Riverclan cat? Blinking the image out of her mind, Flamepaw caught up the the patrol up ahead, brushing her scent against the border as she walked along.
"Hey tree climbers." A Riverclan cat teased.
"Skyshadow!" Shadowfeather growled. "What are you doing on this side of the river?"
"One of our apprentices, Wavepaw, was seen on your side of the border. What have you done with her?" Skyshadow asked suspiciously.
"How dare you accuse us of stealing one of your fish-eating apprentices!" Shadowfeather hissed. "We did no such thing!"
Blue gray apprentice? But wasn't there an apprentice with... Snowpaw! Flamepaw thought. I have to warn him! "I'll be right back." Flamepaw mewed nervously. "I think I hear a mouse over there." She pointed towards the Maple Grove with her tail.
Shadowfeather narrowed his eyes at her then shrugged. "Ok, but be fast." He hissed. "This Riverclan fish eater won't go away."
Flamepaw nodded and bounded towards the direction of the Maple Grove. She dropped into a hunting crouch, aware of Shadowfeather's gaze on her pelt. She crept into the bushes, out of sight and scanned the area for Snowpaw.
"Wavepaw!" Snowpaw hissed. "Someone's coming! Hide!"
"Snowpaw!" Flamepaw whispered. "Snowpaw come out!"
Snowpaw crawled out of the bushes and nervously padded over to Flamepaw. "Hey Flamepaw." He stammered. "I thought you were supposed to be on patrol."
Wavepaw's amber eyes peered through the bushes and Flamepaw rolled her eyes. "You're a terrible liar." She stated.
Snowpaw lowered his head in shame. "I'm sorry! He cried. "Wavepaw and I met at the gathering- and she's so... pretty! And sweet. And-"
"I understand." Flamepaw mewed. "But you both have to leave! Now!"
"What? Why?" Wavepaw questioned. "I want to stay here! With Snowpaw!"
"I know. But Riverclan warriors are coming to find you! You have to leave!" Flamepaw ordered. Leaves crunched behind her and Flamepaw panicked. "Snowpaw! Wavepaw! Hide!"
Snowpaw lead Wavepaw under a bush near a clump of toadstools to mask their scent.
"Flamepaw." Brackenstep summoned. "What are you still doing over here? We told you to be quick."
"Yes, sorry." Flamepaw stammered. "The mouse got away and I just got distracted." She shifted her paws and stared at the patrol of Riverclan cats at the border up ahead. They're coming to look for Wavepaw! She panicked.
"Well then hurry up." Brackenstep called. "We have trouble with Riverclan."
"Coming!" Flamepaw mewed. "Wavepaw! You need to leave! Now!" She hissed. "We can't risk warriors getting hurt for no reason!"
"Ok." She mewed sadly. Her tail drooped as she padded through the bushes towards the Riverclan border. "Bye Snowpaw!" She called. "I'll see you at the Five Great Oaks at moonhigh?"
"Of course!" Snowpaw smiled while looking at Flamepaw. "You won't say anything, will you?" He pleaded. "I'm keeping your secret about Moonpaw! Please don't tell Sorrelstar!"
"I won't, I promise." She murmured.
"Flamepaw!" Brackenstep called.
"Coming!" She mewed. "Be careful going back to camp. You might want to catch a few pieces of fresh kill. We don't want Scorchpaw getting suspicious of you and telling Sorrelstar."
Snowpaw nodded and bounded off towards the strip of forest at the Windclan border.
Flamepaw padded towards Brackenstep and the rest of the patrol carefully. Skyshadow was in front of a patrol of warriors, he was growling at Brackenstep.
"Where is she?" He hissed.. "One of our apprentices, Flowerpaw, said that she saw Wavepaw came across your border. What did you do with her?"
"We didn't do anything!" Flamepaw mewed. "I saw her on your side of the border at the Maple Grove! She was crossing the river, probably heading back to camp."
Skyshadow narrowed his eyes but finally agreed. "Troutleap! Beechflight! Go check if Wavepaw is at the camp, and hurry!" He hissed.
Flamepaw shifted her paws as three Riverclan warriors continued to growl at them. Why do they think we took Wavepaw a prisoner? She was just visiting Snowpaw! Flamepaw looked towards the Maple Grove to see Snowpaw padding out of the trees with a fat squirrel in his jaws. Maybe now he won't get caught. Flamepaw thought.
A brown tabby ran up the Skyshadow, panting. "Wavepaw is in camp." She stated. "I told her to wait at the side of the River near the camp. I'll make sure she stay near the camp, I'm going to take her fishing."
"Troutleap." Skyshadow sighed. "My love. How did Wavepaw get over the Thunderclan border and back, I thought you were supposed to be training her."
"No, I told Lightclaw to take her with Dustpaw to train!" She responded.
Rolling her eyes, Flamepaw followed the patrol along the border, rubbing her scent along the undergrowth. She stared across the Old Skyclan border to see the same three pairs of eyes staring out of a bush. Scorchpaw, what are you doing this time? Flamepaw narrowed her eyes to see Moonpaw's gray and white pelt in the bushes up ahead. Flamepaw longed to go over to him, but she knew Scorchpaw was watching, and she couldn't leave the patrol.
"Flamepaw." Brackenstep began. "You seem distracted. What's wrong?"
"I'm-" Flamepaw began, searching for the correct words to say. "I'm just a little disappointed I lost that mouse." She lied.
"You and Brackenstep can go hunting if you want." Grassleaf meowed. "We're heading back to camp now anyways."
Flamepaw nodded happily and followed Brackenstep into the forest along the Shadowclan border. "You can go up ahead." Flamepaw mewed. "I think I hear a squirrel up ahead."
Brackenstep nodded and went ahead towards the Shadow Trail.
Flamepaw turned around and padded back to the Skyclan border. She watched the cats who were spying on her and narrowed her eyes. Not this time, Scorchpaw! Flamepaw pricked her ears and heard a mouse in the leaves, Flamepaw pretended to flick her tail and signaled for Moonpaw to sneak behind. Flamepaw crept up on the mouse and pounced, killing it with a swift bite. She grabbed the mouse and ducked behind the undergrowth where Moonpaw was.
"Sorry!" He whispered. "I almost got us caught!"
"We would've been caught anyways." Flamepaw hissed. "Scorchpaw is hiding in the bushes again, with the same other cats he was with before! I don't want him to overhear us again!"
Moonpaw nodded and laid down in the dry leaves. "Why is Scorchpaw doing this?" He asked.
"I don't know! But Sorrelstar lifted my punishment, apparently Scorchpaw told Sorrelstar that he meant to say that I left with Amberflight, and that he crossed the border chasing you back across. Did you come back to look for me?" Flamepaw questioned.
"Yes." Moonpaw admitted. "But nobody chased me back across the border. So if it wasn't you who crossed the border, and Scorchpaw is lying about crossing it, who would've done it?"
"It had to have been Scorchpaw! There's no other warrior who was around to cross it!" Flamepaw reasoned. "But why is he covering for me now? It makes no sense!"
"I don't know." Moonpaw stated. "But I do know, that Brokenpaw told Larkstar that I had been meeting with you. Do you think he is he warrior I can't trust? And what if you can't trust Scorchpaw! What if he isn't really covering for you?" He questioned.
"I never thought of it that way, but maybe there are other warriors we can't trust. Other warriors who want to destroy the fire and the night? But who else would know about the prophecy? It seems like Starclan hasn't spoken to any of the medicine cats in moons!" Flamepaw added. "What if... we can't even trust Starclan."
Flamepaw walked into camp, a squirrel and a mouse in her jaws. She dropped her catch on the fresh kill pile and stared up at the sky. Nearly sunset. She noticed. The Sunhigh patrol should be back soon.
"Sorrelstar!" Stemfeather cried. "Sorrelstar come quick!"
Confused, Flamepaw padded over to where her old friend was standing. "Stemfeather?" Flamepaw questioned.
Sorrelstar ran to the medicine den, worry in her eyes. "Stemfeather? What's wrong?" She asked.
"Bearleap- she's..." Stemfeather began.
"She's what?" Sorrelstar demanded.
"She's dead!" Stemfeather cried. Her yowl rang across the camp.
"She can't be dead!" Sorrelstar cried. "She's been in camp all day, how could this have happened?"
"I saw a pile of deathberries laying in front of her, I- think somebody used them to kill her." Stemfeather wailed.
"But that would mean..." Sorrelstar began.
"That a Thunderclan cat has done this." Flamepaw finished sadly.
Sorrelstar looked down at Flamepaw suspiciously, then she looked at Scorchpaw, who had just arrived back in camp, alone. "Scorchpaw!" Sorrelstar called. "Where have you been? You were supposed to be back with Badgerclaw at sunhigh!"
Scorchpaw nervously thought of an excuse. "I was just..."
"Nevermind that! Bearleap is dead!" Stemfeather cried.
"Dead?" Scorchpaw gasped.
Flamepaw narrowed her eyes with suspicion. He left after he saw Moonpaw cross the border back over to Shadowclan! Where was he the entire day? She shook her head. No! Scorchpaw would never purposely kill another warrior, would he? Surely there's another cat who killed Bearleap! But who in this clan has such evil intentions... and who can I not trust.
"Flamepaw." Flowerstar greeted urgently. There is a shadow brewing over Thunderclan, a shadow that will strike as the sun rises. Beware! For the dark warrior is rising, he will bring ruin to the clans, and do anything for power! Please Flamepaw! You are the only one that can stop him!
"Wait!" Flamepaw cried out. "Flowerstar what do you mean?" But Flowerstar had already faded into mist. Who is the dark warrior? Flamepaw wondered. And what is he planning at sunrise...?
Flamepaw blinked awake, hoping that is wasn't sunrise yet. I have to stop the dark warrior! But she was too late, it was dawn. She started panicking as she realized that Scorchpaw and Snowpaw were gone. She scanned the den, seeing if anything had happened inside. Flamepaw's eyes widened as she saw a trail of deathberries leading out of the den, and her paws were scarlet and reeked of blood. She saw a heaping pile of deathberries lying on Scorchpaw's nest, and a scarlet juice was staining the moss. Flamepaw blinked, her eyes open, and the images all disappeared.
I was dreaming! She thought. It's only just after Moonhigh! I'm not too late! She crept out of the den and scanned the clearing. When is the dark warrior coming? She questioned. And what can I do to stop them? I'm only an apprentice! Suddenly, a golden tabby pelt creeped out of the bushes, followed by a gray tabby. Scorchpaw! But who is he with? Is that Brokenpaw? She wondered.
"Brokenpaw!" Scorchpaw whispered. "You bring a bundle of deathberries to Flamepaw's nest! We want Sorrelstar to think she's behind this."
Flamepaw pricked her ears and hissed. They are framing me! But why? Scorchpaw bounded towards the warriors den, a bundle of deathberries in his jaws. What is he doing? She wondered as she watched him sneak through the gorse barrier of the warriors den. Flamepaw snuck out of the apprentices, hiding in the shadows as Brokenpaw passed. Brokenpaw padded out and scanned the clearing, noticing she was gone. He padded towards the warriors den where Scorchpaw was, panicked. He doesn't want me to know what they're doing! She gasped. A coughing spasm broke out in the warriors den and Scorchpaw snuck out and ran towards the apprentice den. Brokenpaw crept through the bushes and out of the back of the camp, dropping the deathberry stem. Flamepaw gasped as she realized what they had done. They gave Brackenstep deathberries!
"Stemfeather!" Flamepaw cried. "Brackenstep has been fed deathberries! You have to help him!"
Stemfeather's eyes widened as she padded out of the medicine den, a bundle of leaves in her jaws. A fire burned in her eyes, and she ran for the warriors den, which was alive with the yowls of other warriors.
Sorrelstar padded out of her den, seeing the deathberry stem on the ground. "What happened?" She asked Flamepaw. "Did you do this?"
"No!" Flamepaw cried.
"Well then who did? You were the one awake to call for Stemfeather! You had to have seen who did this!" Sorrelstar hissed.
Flamepaw wanted to tell her who did it, but she knew Sorrelstar would never believe her. "It was a gray tabby." She lied. "It smelled like a rouge."
Sorrelstar narrowed her eyes then sighed. "We're losing so many warriors, and it isn't even Leafbare yet. But what can I do without Starclan to guide me? What would Bearleap do?" She wailed.
Flamepaw's eyes blazed with anger. This is all Scorchpaw's fault! He has brought ruin to this clan! But what can I do, nobody will ever believe me! Not after they already don't trust me for meeting with Moonpaw!
Scorchpaw and Snowpaw padded out of the apprentice den to see what was going on. "What happened?" Snowpaw mewed.
"Somebody." Flamepaw started as she glanced accusingly at Scorchpaw. "Gave Brackenstep deathberries. Stemfeather is doing what she can, but he might die..."
Scorchpaw's eyes burned with rage as he realized what Flamepaw had seen. "You were out here." Scorchpaw accused. "How do we know you didn't do it?"
"You think I would try to kill my own mentor?" Flamepaw gasped.
"It could've been anyone." Snowpaw assured Scorchpaw. "I'm sure Flamepaw wouldn't try to poison Brackenstep, and I'm sure she caught a glimpse of who did." Snowpaw looked at Flamepaw waiting for her to answer.
"Then why." Scorchpaw began. "Did Flamepaw have a bundle of deathberries in her nest?"
Sorrelstar whipped her head around to stare at Flamepaw. "You had deathberries in your nest? Is that why you keep running off on patrols? To collect deathberries?"
"No!" Flamepaw cried. "I didn't put them there! Another cat must have snuck into the den and put them there while I was watching the rouge!"
"And why didn't you stop him?" Sorrelstar accused. "You let him walk right into the warriors den and give Brackenstep deathberries! For all we know you're a traitor who's working with the rouges!"
Flamepaw arched her back at Sorrelstar and hissed. "Fine! Do you really want to hear the truth?" She growled. "Because I will tell you exactly who did this."
Scorchpaw padded forward and covered her mouth with his tail. "Sorrelstar." Scorchpaw dipped his head. "I just remembered that It wasn't Flamepaw, I saw a light gray tabby sneak into the den and lay a deathberry stem in Flamepaw's nest."
Liar! Flamepaw thought angrily. You may think you've won Scorchpaw, but I will not give up until everybody knows the truth! You won't get away with any of this! Blinded by rage, Flamepaw stared at Scorchpaw and stomped back to the apprentice den, ignoring the clan's yowls from the warriors den. She closed her eyes, and the den faded into the Starry clearing, where she was greeted by Brackenstep.
"Flamepaw." He greeted. "I'm sorry, but I cannot guide your paw steps any longer. But I will always be here for you. Whenever you need me."
"Brackenstep!" Flamepaw cried. "Please! You can't die! You can't let Scorchpaw win!"
Brackenstep sadly looked up down at her. "There's nothing we can do, I'm with Starclan now. You were the best apprentice I could ask for, I'm proud of you."
Flamepaw's tail drooped as Flowerstar replaced Brackenstep, a small kit at her paws.
"Flamepaw." Flowerstar greeted sadly. "I'm sorry. There was nothing we could do to save him."
Flamepaw looked up at Flowerstar, her eyes filled with hatred. "This is all Scorchpaw's fault! He has brought a curse to this clan, but they'll never believe me! Sorrelstar thinks that I'm a traitor! Flowerstar please! You have to help me!"
Flowerstar looked down at the tiny ginger and white kit below her. "Flamepaw." She started. "This is Mothkit, your littermate."
"Littermate?" Flamepaw questioned. "But I thought Scorchpaw and Snowpaw were my littermates!"
"They are." Flowerstar answered with uncertainty in her eyes. "But Mothkit died at birth, and you wouldn't have remembered her."
Flamepaw noticed something in Flowerstar's voice, was it, sadness? But why would Flowerstar be so upset about Mothkit? Does she have a special connection to the prophecy?
"Hi Flamepaw!" Mothkit squeaked. "I come with a warning."
Flowerstar nodded at her encouragingly and the kit padded towards her.
"The darkness will fall, but the spark of night will be hidden by the shadows that overcome them. Beware Flamepaw. Beware of the shadows in the night. They will destroy the clans, and there will be nobody to stop them!" Mothkit warned. "Beware of the shadows!"
A moon had passed since Brackenstep had died, and Grassleaf had been training Flamepaw ever since. He was harder on her, but was a good mentor. In the time that had passed Flamepaw had improved her tree climbing skills, and Snowpaw had stopped meeting with Wavepaw. Flamepaw felt a little bit of pity for Snowpaw, as she had kept meeting with Moonpaw, but they had moved to the Five Great Oaks. Scorchpaw hadn't been around Flamepaw in awhile, but he still flashed her angry glances when she was around.
"Flamepaw!" Grassleaf called. "I think I found a mouse nest in the hollow part of this tree! Come help me catch them!"
Flamepaw nodded and padded towards the tree that he was standing near. She reached her paw in and felt a small lump of fur cowering in the corner. She hooked it in her claws and pulled it out, killing it with a swift, clean bite. Grassleaf stuck his paw in next and hooked two small mice in his claws. He tossed one over to Flamepaw and she killed it before it could run. Satisfied with what they had caught, Grassleaf signaled to Flamepaw to grab the prey she had buried and meet him back at camp. Flamepaw nodded and padded towards the spot where she had buried her thrush, only to find that it was gone. Where did it go? She wondered. Fresh kill can't just get up and walk away! Confused, she padded towards the spot where she had buried her squirrel and dug through the leaves. It's gone too! What could've taken it?
Dipping her head in shame, Flamepaw grabbed the two mice she had gotten from the tree and padded towards the camp. I don't understand! What could've stolen my prey?
"Flamepaw?" Grassleaf questioned as she entered the camp. "I told you to grab the other prey you had buried! What happened?"
"It's gone." Flamepaw responded.
"What could have taken it?" He questioned. "You didn't take it somewhere, did you?"
"No!" Flamepaw gasped. "It just wasn't there! It vanished!"
"I'll go look for it. Shadepelt offered. But Grassleaf shook his head.
"There could be a fox in the forest stealing the prey. No cat should leave the camp by their selves." Grassleaf instructed.
Scorchpaw padded into the camp with Badgerclaw, a squirrel an a thrush in his jaws. Wait! Flamepaw gasped. Was it Scorchpaw who stole my prey? Surely not! But then she remembered the gray tabby who gave Brackenstep deathberries. It had to have been Scorchpaw, right? What other gray tabby has such open access to our camp? She thought. But what if it wasn't him? What if Scorchpaw isn't lying after all!
Flamepaw padded into the elder's den, Snowpaw following close behind. They each dropped a wad of moss on the ground and Scorchpaw stomped into the den angrily, a piece of moss with mouse bile on it was handing from the tip of his mouth.
"I hate caring for the elder's!" He hissed.
"Look who's talking!" Flamepaw teased. "The one who accidently got Sorrelstar to punish me with caring for the elders!"
Snowpaw giggled, but Scorchpaw rolled his eyes. "Whatever." He growled. "I'll be getting Pineflight and White-eyes's ticks off if you need me."
Flamepaw headed for Pineflight's nest while Snowpaw headed for White-eyes's. Flamepaw started scraping at the old bedding, getting dirt and moss under her claws. She rolled the bedding into a ball and pushed it to the side for later. She kept pace with Snowpaw and started to line Pineflight's nest with fresh moss, mixing in a few feathers from the finch she had eaten earlier. She pushed a bundle of feather towards Snowpaw and continued to fill the nest with moss.
Scorchpaw was moaning in the back of the den as he pushed the mouse bile against the elder's ticks. Flamepaw rolled her eyes at him as she finished up the nest, piling a few more feathers inside. She grabbed the old bedding in her jaws and followed Snowpaw to the dirtplace to bury it. She heard Redflower screech in pain and she stopped cold in her tracks. She wasn't fed deathberries was she? Flamepaw gasped. She has kits on the way we can't have them die too!
Stemfeather rushed out of her den towards the nursery. Flamepaw dropped the wad of bedding and walked towards the nursery to see what was wrong.
Half of the clan was gathered around the nursery, worried.
"It's Redflower's kits!" Stemfeather panted. "They're coming!"
Flamepaw paced around the clearing, hearing the shrieks of pain from the nursery. She peeked inside the nursery to see Stemfeather panicking, she had never delivered kits on her own before. Flamepaw watched Sludgefur burst into the camp, followed by Amberflight and Snowpaw.
Snowpaw padded towards Flamepaw, flattening his ears. "That apprentice, Moonpaw, was hiding at the border of our territory!" He hissed quietly. "You can't keep seeing him! For the good of the clans!"
"I can't stop seeing him!" Flamepaw gasped.
"I stopped seeing Wavepaw! There's no reason you can't stop seeing him!" Snowpaw mewed.
"You don't understand!" Flamepaw responded, flinching as Redflower let out another yowl. "It's not what you think!"
Snowpaw rolled his eyes and glanced at Scorchpaw. "If you don't stop seeing him, Scorchpaw will find out! He's already suspicious of you!" He hissed.
Flamepaw's tail drooped and she padded towards a shaded spot near the apprentice den. She narrowed her eyes at the nursery as Redflower's yowls softened. Flamepaw sighed at the thought of more kits in the camp. Even more warriors that will die... Just like Brackenstep.
"Flamepaw!" Icekit squeaked. "Did you bring us any moss?"
Flamepaw smiled at the tiny kit and nodded. She dropped a small clump of moss infront of her and she blinked at her in thanks.
"Applekit look! Flamepaw brought us a moss ball! Let's play!" Icekit mewed.
Flamepaw turned around and padded towards the apprentice den. She scanned the den to see if Snowpaw and Scorchpaw were inside getting the moss Flamepaw had gathered. She saw Snowpaw's white pelt among the ferns and she dropped the moss in front of the den. "Snowpaw!" She called into the den. "Where's Scorchpaw? He's supposed to be helping you change the elder's bedding."
"He's getting more moss." Snowpaw muttered. "I just don't understand why you don't have to help us."
"Grassleaf wants to take us to visit the Mooncrystal." Flamepaw admitted. "But first he wants to take me hunting. He said that I'm one of the best he's seen." She added as she shifted her paws on the ground.
"Of course he did." Scorchpaw muttered. "He thinks you're some perfect warrior from Starclan, even Brackenstep didn't give you this much attention!"
"No." Flamepaw mewed sadly. "He didn't. At least when he was alive."
"When he was alive? Has Brackenstep been speaking to you from Starclan?" Snowpaw gasped. "Only leaders and medicine cats receive dreams from Starclan!"
"N-no." Flamepaw stammered. "I was just saying that... Brackenstep probably didn't want to give me too much attention when I was training you." She lied. "I'm sure Brackenstep didn't want to give me so much attention that he began to ignore you."
Scorchpaw snorted and signaled to Snowpaw to follow him to the elder's den. He grabbed the bedding that Flamepaw had left into the entrance of the den and disappeared through the ferns outside the den. Flamepaw blinked her eyes at the sun as she padded out of the den towards Grassleaf, who was waiting at the slope out of camp.
"Flamepaw! There you are!" He greeted. "We're going hunting in the Oak forest beside the Windclan border. With Leaf-fall close it will be rich with prey."
Flamepaw nodded and walked up the slope behind him, the forest was alive with prey scuffling through the undergrowth, searching for nuts and seeds. She ran after Grassleaf, who was at the creek that marked the border between Windclan and Thunderclan. Flamepaw scanned the oaks for prey, and she caught sight of a squirrel sniffing among the roots of a tree, searching for nuts. Flamepaw lowered into a hunting crouch and crept through the undergrowth. A breeze blew by and she shivered, rustling the undergrowth. The squirrel perked its head up and spotted Flamepaw hiding in front of it. The squirrel dropped the nut it was holding and started scurrying up the tree. Flamepaw ran forward and leaped onto the tree, keeping a tight grip, she climbed up the tree and grabbed the squirrel in her jaws. She bit down on it, and the squirrel went limp. She dropped it down the tree and climbed back down.
Grassleaf padded over to her, a mouse and a shrew in his jaws. He dropped them in the leaves and started up at the sun. Nearly sunhigh. "We better get back to camp if we want to make it to the Mooncrystal by moonhigh."
Flamepaw nodded and grabbed her squirrel. She padded though the undergrowth behind Grassleaf, his huge paws crunching the leaves below, stirring the nearby prey into hiding. Flamepaw bounded towards the camp entrance, skidding to a halt at the top as she smelled the tang of blood down the slope into the camp. Flamepaw scanned the area, seeing the dirt stained scarlet. Grassleaf padded up behind her, stopping cold at the top of the camp. He dropped his prey and sprinted into camp. Flamepaw grabbed they prey and carried it down into the camp with caution. She stopped at the bottom of the ravine, gasping in horror.
Sorrelstar lay splayed out in the middle of the clearing, the sandy floor around her was stained scarlet, her eyes unseeing. She's losing a life! Flamepaw thought. But how many does she have left? Surely this isn't her last!
Suddenly, Sorrelstar lifted up off the ground, revealing a dark gray kit laying dead on the ground beside her. Smokekit!
Sorrelstar coughed violently as she turned around to look at Smokekit. Feathersight ran out of the nursery, frantically calling Smokekit's name.
"Smokekit! Smokekit where are you?" She called. Feathersight ran towards the cats gathered in the middle of the camp, spotting Smokekit laying in the middle of the clearing. She gasped in horror as she realized that he was dead. "Smokekit!" She cried. "What happened? Who did this?" Feathersight demanded.
"I- I don't know." Sorrelstar stammered. "It all happened so quick. I tried to save him... but-"
"But what?" Feathersight demanded. "Tell me what happened!"
"A ginger- almost yellow warrior killed us." She finished sadly. "I am on my fifth life."
Scorchpaw glared at Flamepaw, a devious smile on his face
Does he think I did this? Does he want the clan to think I did this? Flamepaw wondered. She turned towards the apprentice den as Sorrelstar summoned the clan.
"Let all cats old enough to catch their own prey, join here beneath Highbranch." Sorrelstar summoned.
The clan gathered under Highbranch, whispering among each other. Sorrelstar signaled for the clan to be silent, and the noise stopped.
"We have lost many lives over these past moons." She began. "I did not want to have to do this earlier than it should be. Ashkit, Willowkit, Patchkit, come here." Sorrelstar ordered.
The kits nervously padded forwards, clearly not knowing what was happening.
"From this day forward, until he has earned his warrior name, this apprentice shall be called Ashpaw." Sorrelstar mewed. "Firewhisker, you are ready to take on another apprentice, and I expect you will pass down all that Birchwing taught you to this young apprentice."
Firewhisker nodded and walked up to Ashpaw, putting his nose up against his. Ashpaw excitedly smiled and sat down next to his mentor.
"Willowkit, come forward." Sorrelstar commanded.
Willowkit nodded and stepped forward, sitting under the Highbranch.
"From this day forward, until she has earned her warrior name, this apprentice shall be called Willowpaw. Amberflight, you are ready to take on your first apprentice, I expect you to pass down all you learned from Badgerclaw to this young apprentice." Sorrelstar mewed.
Amberflight smiled at Willowpaw as she padded forward and pressed her nose against hers. "I'll make you into the best warrior this forest has ever seen." She whispered to her. "I'll be proud of you, no matter what you do."
Sorrelstar looked at Patchkit who was in front of the gathering cats. "Patchkit, until you have earned your warrior name, you shall be known as Patchpaw. Shadowfeather, you are ready for your first apprentice, and I expect you to pass down all you learned from Whitefang to this young apprentice.'" She stated.
Shadowfeather padded towards Patchpaw and touched noses with her. "I will mentor you the best I can." He promised.
Flamepaw watched Sorrelstar jumped off the Highbranch and padded into her den. The gathered cats disbanded and Grassleaf started organizing the Sunhigh and evening patrols. Snowpaw walked towards Flamepaw, excited for their trip to the Mooncrystal.
"We're leaving soon!" He mewed. "We're finally going to get to see the Mooncrystal!"
Flamepaw nodded and padded over to Grassleaf. He turned around the nodded at Flamepaw.
"Flamepaw." He greeted. "Go see if Stemfeather has our traveling herbs ready."
Flamepaw obeyed and padded over the Stemfeather's den. She walked in and smelled the sharp tang of herbs all around her. Stemfeather emerged from a small section of the den hidden by ferns. She had a few bundles of herbs in her jaws, and set them down in front of Flamepaw.
"These are the herbs for the six of you traveling to the Mooncrystal. They taste bitter, but that will help you make the journey across Skyclan's old territory." Stemfeather mewed.
Flamepaw nodded and grabbed the herbs in her jaws. She carried it out towards her littermates and their mentors. Flamepaw dropped the herbs in front of them and gave each of them a bundle. "Stemfeather told us to eat these." She told Snowpaw and Scorchpaw.
Scorchpaw rolled his eyes and and grabbed the herbs, he started to eat them and he curled his nose. "Gross!" He huffed.
Flamepaw sighed as she swallowed the herbs, the bitter taste hung in her mouth.
"We better leave soon." Shadepelt mewed. "It's sunhigh and we want to be back by dawn."
Grassleaf nodded and headed for the entrance of the camp. Flamepaw followed close behind, walking up the slope beside Snowpaw. The patrol of cats headed for the Skyclan border, stalking through the undergrowth. The patrol neared the Skyclan border, and Flamepaw spotted two pairs of eyes in the bushes ahead. The same cats that were spying on me and Moonpaw before we moved to the Great Oaks! Flamepaw realized. The patrol picked up the pace and walked over the border, the trees thinned out as they trekked deeper into the territory. The bushes rustled behind them and a group of cats walked out. They snarled at the patrol, as a large brown tabby walked to the front of the group.
"What are you doing here?" He snarled. "This is Rouge territory, and you shouldn't be here!"
"We're just passing through." Grassleaf mewed. "We have to cross this territory to get to the Mooncrystal."
"Oh. You're not going anywhere." He smiled. "Not without a fight."
Oh no! Flamepaw panicked. How are we supposed to fight them? We're outnumbered!
The rouge at the front of the group stepped forward and snarled. "What do you say, clan cats? We out number you, and unless you leave our territory and never come back, one of you will die, and I can promise you that." He hissed.
Flamepaw arched her back and watched Grassleaf walk up face to face with the rouge.
"I am Grassleaf, Deputy of Thunderclan." He began. "And our clan has to right to use this territory to go to the Mooncrystal, it has been this way for moons, and we will not stand to change it."
"Slash." The rouge stated. "Leader of the rouges. We rightfully claimed this territory for our group, it has not been used for moons, and you are trespassing. I suggest you and your little group flee back into your little forest territory and all of us will unharmed." He spat.
"Never!" Grassleaf hissed as he lunged at Slash. Grassleaf raked his claws down Slash's muzzle, hissing. Slash leaped forward and crashed into him, struggling to hold him down,
"This is our territory now! We are Rougeclan, and we will not allow trespassers on our territory!" Slash hissed.
"Rougeclan?" A small cream colored she-cat mewed.
"Yes." Slash meowed triumphantly. "Rougeclan; that is who we are."
* * *
"To this gathering, we bring three new apprentices." Sorrelstar began. "Ashpaw, Willowpaw, and Patchpaw." She nodded to Riverclan's leader, Reedstar as she finished.
Reedstar stepped forward and opened his mouth to speak. "The fish are running well, and leaf-fall has not stopped our prey supply. And we bring three new warriors, and our medicine cat apprentice has received his full name. We bring Hawkleaf, Waveflight, Dustleap, and Flowerfur." He stated.
Larkstar went next and began the news of his clan. We bring a new apprentice and two new warriors to this gathering. "Petalpaw, Brokenwing, and Mousepelt." He mewed.
Kestrelstar went next, announcing his news. As he finished, Flamepaw padded over to Moonpaw. She scanned the area to see if Scorchpaw was nearby ducking behind the mass of cats in front of her.
"Hi Flamepaw!" He chimed, smiling.
"Moonpaw!" She greeted happily.
"There's a group of rouges in Skyclan's old territory by our borders. They attack any cats that cross!" Moonpaw replied. "They're a threat to the clans! What if Skyclan comes back? What if not all of them died?"
"I- I don't know." Flamepaw stammered. "How could Skyclan be alive? They're entire camp was swarmed by dogs! You know what Haretail did! He killed Flowerstar and all of Skyclan!"
"But what if some of them survived? What if some of them escaped out of clan territory?" He stated. "They might have moved back to the old territories! There's still a small patch of forest left."
"Flowerstar..." Flamepaw mewed. "I feel like I remember her when she was alive, but, Sorrelstar was already leader ."
Moonpaw purred in laughter, then his voice saddened. "I know, sometimes I feel like Maplestar is still alive, but he's not." He mewed.
Flamepaw nodded as Sorrelstar called for the clan to gather to leave. Flamepaw signaled goodbye to Moonpaw and padded over to the rest of her clan.
Flamepaw sleepily padded towards the apprentice den and sat down in her nest. She began washing her paws as Snowpaw blinked open his eyes and stared at her.
"How was the gathering?" He mewed softly.
"It was ok, there wasn't too much news." She responded. "Just new warriors and apprentices."
"No mention of Rougeclan?" Snowpaw gasped, shocked.
"No." Willowpaw meowed as she walked into the den, followed by Patchpaw and Ashpaw.
She padded over to her nest beside Flamepaw's and curled up. Flamepaw blinked her eyes sleepily and laid down in her nest. Closing her eyes, she watched the world fade into a dark clearing. She looked around, stunned. This isn't Starclan! She gasped. She stared up at the night sky to see a vision of two cats in the stars. Ginger and gray, what could it mean? Flamepaw wondered.
"There will be two." A voice echoed across the clearing. "Fire and night. You are the fire, and he is the night."
"Who?" Flamepaw mewed desperately.
"You are the flame, you will save us all, and uncover a truth that refuses to be told. He is fooling you all! Beware of the shadows, for they will destroy the clans." The cat warned. "You are the flame, use your power wisely."
Flamepaw blinked her eyes open, seeing the dawn light filter into the den. I am the fire? And the flame? Has the prophecy been about me all this time? But who is the night, and what secret must I reveal...?
"No! You're doing it wrong!" Grassleaf hissed. "Plant your paws on my shoulders, not my back!"
"Sorry." Flamepaw mewed, embarrassed. She shifted her paws forward onto Grassleaf's shoulders and pushed down, unstabilizing his front paws, sending him crashing to the ground. Flamepaw leapt forward and twisted around in the air, landing on his back. She ran her paws down his back, claws sheathed.
"Better." Grassleaf nodded as he lifted up under Flamepaw's weight. "Now hurry back to camp and join the evening patrol, the Windclan border hasn't been patrolled in awhile."
Flamepaw lifted up off the ground and stumbled backwards as she nodded. She jumped out of the training ditch, rustling the leaves below her. She shivered as a cold wind blew across the forest, and leaves floated down from the trees. Flamepaw sighed as a leaf landed on her nose. Almost leafbare... and so many of our warriors have been killed by Scorchpaw that is. But why? Why would he kill Brackenstep? And Bearleap! Flamepaw blinked her eyes as she heard battle cries break out in the camp.
Snowpaw raced out of the camp, panting. "Oh Flamepaw! Thank Starclan! Is Grassleaf with you?" He choked out.
"No." Flamepaw responded simply. "He went to find the hunting patrol I think."
"They've already returned! And Rougeclan is attacking our camp!" Snowpaw panted.
Flamepaw darted into the camp, ignoring Snowpaw's desperate calls. He'll have to find Grassleaf alone. Right now, my clan needs me.
"Flamepaw!" Badgerclaw ordered. "Protect the nursery! They're trying to get Redflower's kits!"
Flamepaw nodded angrily. They won't take her kits! I won't let them! She thought as she ran over to the nursery, leaping onto a fluffy cream colored she-cat as she headed into the nursery entrance. Shadepelt and Scorchpaw were in front, locked in battle with a large black tom. Flamepaw raked her claws down the cream cat's flank, as she wrestled her across the ground. The cream she-cat hissed, and stood up in front of Flamepaw. Flamepaw planted her paws on the cat's shoulders and pressed down, the she-cat fell to the ground and panted. Flamepaw leaped onto her back and rapidly raked her claws down her back, hissing. "You won't steal these kits! They belong in Thunderclan!" Flamepaw spat.
"Wait!" The she-cat cried. "Please don't hurt me! I wasn't trying to steal the kits! I was trying to save them from being stolen by Raven and Slash!"
"And why should I trust you?" Flamepaw mewed suspiciously.
"My name is Cream, and I'm not working with Rougeclan! I only joined because I heard about how amazing clan life is! But I didn't think Slash would be such a controlling leader! I don't want this! But if you leave, you will be killed!" She mewed desperately. "Please, let me go! I won't hurt you, or any other cat!"
Flamepaw lifted one paw off Cream nervously. "After I let you go, leave before one of my clanmates shreds you!" Flamepaw ordered.
Cream nodded and darted out of the camp, followed by a small silver she-cat. Flamepaw looked around the camp, noticing a few more Rougeclan cats wresting with her clanmates. Blood stained the sandy floor, and Flamepaw remembered when Sorrelstar lost a life in the middle of the clearing. I won't let that happen again! I won't let anymore clanmates die!
Suddenly, Patchpaw let out a shriek, and Flamepaw watched as she fell to the ground, a black she-cat standing over her. Raging, Flamepaw ran for her, slamming her body into the she-cat knocking her off of Patchpaw. "Leave her alone!" Flamepaw growled as she cornered the she-cat into a wall.
Patchpaw struggled to her feet behind Flamepaw, blood dripping down her pelt. She stumbled backwards into a ginger tabby, his pelt stained scarlet. He snarled at Patchpaw and leapt on top of her, knocking her to the ground, and clawing at her flank.
"No! Patchpaw!" Flamepaw cried as she leapt forward, but the black she-cat grabbed her hind leg in her jaws. Flamepaw angrily kicked backwards, and the black she-cat stumbled backwards in shook, letting go of Flamepaw. Flamepaw lunged at the ginger tabby and flipped him on his back. Holding him down the best she could, Flamepaw raked her claws down his belly. The ginger tom let out a yowl and ran towards the briar tunnel, followed by the black she-cat.
Grassleaf ran into the camp with Snowpaw, bleeding badly. The rest of the Rougeclan cats began to flee as they stalked into the camp.
"Grassleaf!" Flamepaw gasped. "What happened?"
Grassleaf walked to the middle of the clearing, and began to explain. "We were ambushed by a Windclan patrol! They have crossed our borders, and are hunting on our territory! They must be stopped!"
Flamepaw growled. How dare they hunt on our territory! Windclan must be stopped! For the good of all the clans survival!
"Flamepaw." Flowerstar greeted urgently. "You don't have much time left! The darkness is too strong, and there's nothing Starclan can do about it! There's a cat you worry about, a cat you think you love, who is a threat to you and the clans. The clans will join together, light and dark, one against the other! They will try to take the forest for themselves!" She warned.
Flamepaw looked up at her solemnly. "Flowerstar, is there nothing more you can tell me? Please! Is Scorchpaw the cat who I worry about? Is he the dark warrior?"
"I do not know. Some information, not even Starclan has. We cannot solve every problem for you, but a secret will be revealed soon. One that will shock the clan, and one cat will be exiled." Flowerstar mewed.
Surely it's Scorchpaw's secret? Flamepaw thought. Will I be the one to tell Sorrelstar what he's done? Or is there another secret held by another cat... possibly one, about me.
Flamepaw looked her eyes with Scorchpaw's, planning the best way to surprise attack him. She pretended to unfocus briefly, and as she did Scorchpaw lunged for her. Flamepaw grinned and crashed herself into him with all her strength. Scorchpaw flailed his paws underneath her, kicked at her with his back legs. I won't let you go, you murderer! She thought, angrily.
Unsheathing his claws, Scorchpaw raked his claws down Flamepaw's throat. Staggering backwards in shock, Flamepaw tried to focus back on Scorchpaw as he leapt at her throat. Panicking Flamepaw thrust upwards, and Scorchpaw twisted around, crashing into a tree. Flamepaw growled at him. "You don't stand a chance! You won't get away with anything you've done! I won't let you!" She hissed.
"Then you know too much." Scorchpaw answered simply. "And now, you must die."
"Come and try." She threatened as Scorchpaw crashed into her, tearing at her belly. Flamepaw gasped in shock, and Scorchpaw stood overtop of her, preparing a killing bite.
"You fool! Thinking that I wouldn't be able to get away with this!" Scorchpaw laughed.
Flamepaw blinked her eyes closed, ready to see her life fade away, but suddenly, the clearing faded into the apprentice's den, and Flamepaw whipped her eyes open.
I'm not dead! She gasped. It was a dream! Or possibly a warning from Starclan... No! She reasoned. Surely Scorchpaw wouldn't try and kill me? Maybe he had reasoning for killing Brackenstep! Or maybe, it wasn't him at all.
* * *
Flamepaw stared up at the moon lit sky, sitting under the Great Oaks. She closed her eyes and breathed in the forest scents. The starlight sprinkled the clearing with faded light, and a cool breeze blew across the forest.
Moonpaw padded into the clearing, smiling as he spotted Flamepaw sitting in the clearing.
"Moonpaw!" Flamepaw greeted happily.
Moonpaw walked over to Flamepaw and sat down, staring into her eyes. "Almost Leafbare." He sighed.
Flamepaw nodded and turned her head away from his gaze. "Grassleaf told us that we would take our final assessment at the next half moon." Flamepaw stated, awkwardly.
"I'm almost at six moons of training." Moonpaw mewed enthusiastically. "I should have my assessment soon too."
Flamepaw smiled at Moonpaw, and shifted her paws as he locked gazes with her. "Moonpaw-" Flamepaw began. "Th-there's something I've wanted to tell you." She finished nervously.
"There's also something I want to tell you..." Moonpaw admitted. "I-"
"I love you!" Flamepaw blurted out. "I know I'm breaking the warrior code by seeing you! And I'm sorry! But I can't stop seeing you! I just can't!"
Moonpaw stared at her for a short moment before he shifted closer to her, brushing his fur against hers. "I love you too." He confessed. "And I won't stop seeing you either, it doesn't matter if we break the warrior code. I don't care! Nothing will stop me from seeing you!"
Flamepaw's eyes widened as she listened to Moonpaw's words. She suddenly remembered the dream she had about Scorchpaw. "Moonpaw!" She gasped. "Starclan gave me a warning! I had a dream about Scorchpaw, he was attacking me- and... he almost killed me."
Moonpaw looked at her thoughtfully. "What if it wasn't from Starclan? What if Scorchpaw found a way into your dream? What if he was trying to kill you where nobody else could see him?"
"You mean... he was trying to kill me from Starclan? But how would Scorchpaw be able to walk in dreams! Unless... the Dark Forest taught him how." Flamepaw gasped. "Scorchpaw is training in the Dark Forest!"
"Then he is the dark warrior. Which means he's behind Rougeclan! Just like Maplestar said!" Moonpaw exclaimed. "He's also the reason why Vineflight is dead! Because Brokenwing is working with him to get rid of Shadowclan's leadership!"
"That must be why he got rid of Brackenstep! Because he was more fit for deputy than any other warrior!" Flamepaw realized. "Which means Grassleaf is next!"
"Then so is Gray-eye! They must be trying to take the deputy position for themselves!" Moonpaw added.
Suddenly, a crack split the air and a branch fell to the ground. A dark tabby tail stuck out from the leaves, attempting to hide himself in the few leaves left on the tree.
"That's Scorchpaw!" Flamepaw whispered. "He followed me! And now he knows everything!"
Moonpaw stalked over to the tree and hissed. "Hey Scorchpaw! Get down here and fight us if you dare! You shouldn't be here, and neither should your little group you call Rougeclan! We know everything!"
Scorchpaw didn't respond, he instead climbed down the back of the tree and slipped into the shadows.
"Don't worry Moonpaw. He'll come down after we leave, Sorrelstar will punish him if he's not in camp by the time we leave for training, unless he can give a good enough excuse." Flamepaw reassured.
Moonpaw nodded and stared up at the sky, the moon was slowly setting, and he said his goodbyes to Flamepaw.
Flamepaw smiled and bounded back towards camp, careful to take the back exit back into camp. Leaves crunched under her paws as she ran, but as she reached the entrance she slowly walked down the steep rocky slope down towards the nursery. She lightly walked the the apprentice den, careful not to be seen. To her surprise, Scorchpaw was inside, snoring softly. Confused, Flamepaw padded over to her nest, watching for Willowpaw's tail. She laid down carefully and drifted off to sleep before she had to leave for training at dawn.
"Flamepaw!" Snowpaw hissed. "Wake up! Grassleaf wants you to help Willowpaw with battle training today, she needs somebody to test her moves on."
Flamepaw sighed and nodded simply. "Well then what will you and Scorchpaw be doing?" She questioned. "Surely both of you aren't going out on the dawn patrol?"
"Scorchpaw is, and I'm going hunting with Shadepelt and Patchpaw." Snowpaw explained. "And Ashpaw will be battle training with Firewhisker on the other side of the Training Ditch."
Flamepaw flicked her tail in thanks and headed towards the camp entrance. Grassleaf, Scorchpaw, Badgerclaw, and Brightpool all stood at the entrance. Grassleaf looked towards Flamepaw and walked forward.
"Sorry I couldn't take you on patrol today Flamepaw. Grassleaf mewed. "But Willowpaw needed someone to test her skills on; I promise tomorrow I'll take you out on the Sunhigh patrol."
Flamepaw wasn't paying much attention and murmured a thank you under her breath. She walked up the slope carefully, cautious of any rocks that might slip out from under her. A snowflake drifted down from the sky and landed on her nose. She shivered at the thought of Leafbare coming so soon. What if Redflower's kits die? Flamepaw panicked. What if the clan starves? Prey will be scarce!
"Flamepaw?" A voice questioned.
Flamepaw looked up to see Willowpaw standing in front of her. She stood up straight quickly, eyes wide. "S-sorry." She stammered. "I got distracted by the snowflakes."
Willowpaw's eyes softened as she locked gazes with Flamepaw. "Come on then." She murmured. "Amberflight wants to assess what I've learned so far."
Flamepaw nodded at the once small and playful kit. She smiled down at her, realizing how grown up she seemed.
Willowpaw ran forwards, darting through the trees.
Flamepaw followed, crunching all the leaves beneath her paws as more snowflakes began to fall. Catching up to Willowpaw, she pounced on her, tackling her friend with a smile. "Got you!" Flamepaw laughed.
Laughing, Willowpaw reached her paw out from under Flamepaw and swatted at her nose.
Flamepaw lifted off of Willowpaw and looked down at her as she got up. "I bet I'll make it to the training ditch first!" Flamepaw mewed. "I'll race you there!"
Nodding, Willowpaw watched as Flamepaw began to run, and sprinted through the trees.
Willowpaw was ahead of Flamepaw, almost at the training ditch. Flamepaw sped up, leaves flew up from the ground all around her, and Willowpaw came into sight. "I'm gonna beat you!" Flamepaw panted.
Willowpaw shook her head and raced forward, leaping down into the training ditch. Flamepaw followed behind, landing shortly after Willowpaw.
"Ha! I beat you!" Willowpaw meowed triumphantly.
Flamepaw looked at her happily. "Now let's get your training done." She sounded.
Nodding, Willowpaw padded over to where Amberflight was standing, she was smiling at the two apprentices playfully. "Yes! Let's do some training before all of us forget!" She teased.
Flamepaw laughed and stood in front of Willowpaw, waiting for Amberflight to give command.
"Willowpaw, I want you to try and outwit Flamepaw with some of your battle moves. There will be times where more experienced warriors will fight you, and you need to know how to fight them." Amberflight explained.
Willowpaw nodded and focused on Flamepaw, narrowing her eyes, she leaped. Flamepaw jumped out of the way, and Willowpaw crashed into the ground. Refusing to give up, Willowpaw quickly got back onto her paws and leaped on Flamepaw from behind, making sure her claws were sheathed, she raked them down her back.
Flamepaw shook her off and pinned her down, waiting for her to make a move. Willowpaw kicked at Flamepaw with her back legs, shoving her off as she thrust upwards. Flamepaw jumped back on her paws and watched as Willowpaw lined up to leap at her. She rolled out of the way as Willowpaw jumped upwards, landing on the ground in front of Flamepaw. Seeing her chance, Flamepaw knocked Willowpaw's hind leg out from under her, sliding under her belly, raking her sheathed claws down it.
Willowpaw dropped down off her paws and landed on Flamepaw, clawing down her muzzle with sheathed claws. Flamepaw hissed and went limp under her, tricking Willowpaw into thinking she had given up. Willowpaw smiled at her in triumph, using all her strength, Flamepaw pushed upwards, knocking Willowpaw on her back. In shock, she stumbled backwards.
Flamepaw jumped up onto her hind legs and clawed across her muzzle careful to keep her claws sheathed.
Amberflight signaled for them to stop and grabbed Willowpaw by the scruff and dragged her backwards. "You did good, Willowpaw. Especially against a trained apprentice.
Willowpaw smiled at her, and Flamepaw walked up behind her, brushing her tail against Willowpaw's. Amberflight nodded to her and jumped up out of the ditch. "Let's go hunting before Flamepaw has to leave on the Sunhigh patrol." She meowed.
Flamepaw and Willowpaw agreed and followed Amberflight out of the training area and towards the Riverclan border. Ashpaw and Firewhisker were training in the Training Ditch up ahead, and Willowpaw stopped to greet her litermate.
Flamepaw ran on ahead towards the river, the sound of the current sounded ahead. It had stopped snowing snow, and Flamepaw skidded to a halt in the sand that bordered the river. Her paws sand into the cold sand, and Waveflight stood at the other side of the river, watching as a school of fish passed.
Amberflight and Willowpaw padded up behind Flamepaw, making her jump. Willowpaw laughed and stalked forward quietly, listening for prey.
Flamepaw watched as Waveflight slunk into the water skillfully, diving beneath its murky depths. Flamepaw focused on hunting and scanned the area along the river, spotting a water vole nibbling on a small patch of grass. Flamepaw stalked forward, her paws sinking into the sand silently. As she leaped, a large group of cats pounced out of the shadows, cornering the hunting party against the border.
Flamepaw narrowed her eyes at them and saw a cream pelt among them, her face unsure. Cream! Flamepaw thought, studying the other cats. The cats of Rougeclan all circled around them, closing in and snarling.
Angry, Flamepaw leaped forwards and raked her claws down Slash's muzzle, ducking as he tried to grab her scruff.
"Flamepaw!" Amberflight ordered. "Get back here, now!"
Flamepaw glanced at Amberflight, but ignored her, leaping upwards onto Slash's back. The cats of Rougeclan began coming in from all sides, attacking Flamepaw, but she didn't care. She tore at Slash's ear, keeping a strong grip on his back.
Willowpaw lunged forward, ripping a small pale gray she-cat off Flamepaw. Amberflight followed, grabbing a dark tabby tom by his scruff, followed by a ginger tabby tom.
Flamepaw continued to ignore them, tearing her claws across Slash's back, blood welling onto his pelt.
Screeching in pain, Slash tried his best to fling her her off, but Flamepaw's grip was too strong and she blew rapid blows at Slash's flank. He dropped to the ground and rolled over, dropping Flamepaw off.
Two more cats stood behind him, ready to pounce. Amberflight and Willowpaw were busy fighting with the other Rougeclan cats, joined by Firewhisker and Ashpaw. Realizing she was alone, Flamepaw panicked.
She looked at the cats looming over her, Slash, a black and white she-cat, and a black she-cat. She recognized them from the battle, hissing, she jumped at Slash's shoulder, focusing on his paws.
Taken by surprise, Slash staggered backwards, falling to the ground. The black she cat pounced on Flamepaw, raking her claws down her back, but Flamepaw didn't care, she tore at Slash's ear, ripping it badly. Blood stained his pelt, and he struggled below Flamepaw's weight. Flamepaw let him go and grabbed his hind leg, her wounds stung, and the black she cat was still ripping her claws down Flamepaw's pelt.
Paws stained scarlet, Flamepaw turned away from Slash and raked her claws down the she-cat cats face, tearing across her eye. Realizing that she had half blinded the black she-cat, Flamepaw backed up, waiting for her to spit in rage. But instead, the she-cat walked away from them, Slash followed, his pelt stained with blood. Slash called for the other Rougeclan cats to follow, and they obeyed, walking away from the battle they had been fighting. Cream looked back at her worriedly, and the black and white she-cat did the same before the rest of Rougeclan crossed back over the border, disappearing.
Amberflight, Willowpaw, Firewhisker, and Ashpaw padded over to her, a worried look in her father's eyes. Flamepaw looked at them, blood dripping off of her pelt and staining the sand.
Willowpaw ran over to her, worried. "Flamepaw!" She gasped. Are you ok? There were three Rougeclan cats on top of you!"
"I'm fine." Flamepaw murmured, wincing a bit from her wounds. She began to lick them clean, and they stung as she touched them. She remembered what Stemfeather had told her about herbs, and she looked around the group of cats to see if any of them were injured terribly. Seeing no major injuries, Flamepaw got up, surprised to be greeted by the Sunhigh patrol.
"Flamepaw! What happened?" Grassleaf questioned, shocked.
"Rougeclan happened." Amberflight hissed.
"Why can't they just leave us alone?" Snowpaw asked, angry.
"Because, they want Thunderclan gone so that they can hunt here! We all know that most of the old Skyclan territory isn't safe! There's still dogs living on the far side of the border!" Flamepaw answered.
Grassleaf nodded at her and studied her wounds. Blood stained her paws, and large claw marks shot across her back. "Let's get all of you back to camp." Grassleaf meowed. "All of you need to have your wounds checked."
Amberflight and Firewhisker both nodded in agreement as they followed the sunhigh patrol back towards the direction of camp.
Snowpaw walked back towards Flamepaw, keeping a steady pace with her. "Are you sure you're ok?" Snowpaw asked, anxiously.
"I'm fine!" Flamepaw promised, her wounds still stinging.
Snowpaw padded forwards with the rest of the patrol, glancing back at Flamepaw every so often. Flamepaw rolled her eyes and thought about the attack Rougeclan had planned for the small patrol of cats. The entire clan jumped out on our small patrol of cats! But why? Did Scorchpaw tell them to? Is he behind all of this? Is he trying to get rid of me...? But why me? Does he know something that I don't?
"Flamepaw!" Grassleaf's call shook her out of her thoughts. "Hurry up!"
"Coming!" Flamepaw answered back, picking up the pace. Well, if Rougeclan wants to try and take our territory, then we'll just have to drive them out.
"Those Foxhearted Rougeclan cats!" Badgerclaw spat as Amberflight explained the attack.
Flamepaw rolled her eyes at the arrogant warrior, his face hot with rage. Stemfeather padded over towards Flamepaw, a large bundle of herbs in her jaws. Flamepaw noticed how tired she seemed, her tail sagging, and her paw steps heavy. She has to take care of the entire clan! Of course she's tired! Flamepaw thought. Maybe Icekit or Applekit will become her apprentice, she needs somebody to help her tend to the clan!
Patchpaw was watching Stemfeather nervously, clearing noticing how tired the young cat seemed. Patchpaw's eyes softened as she walked over to Stemfeather, helping her walk forward.
Surprised, Flamepaw watched Patchpaw in awe. Patchpaw turned her head away from her gaze and looked at Stemfeather, grabbing the herbs from her. Stemfeather opened her mouth to protest, but Patchpaw brushed her tail over her mouth.
"Let me help you!" Patchpaw offered, her mews muffled by the herbs. "You're clearly too tired to do this alone!"
Stemfeather nodded simply and sat down in front of Flamepaw, inspecting her wounds. She instructed Patchpaw to chew the herbs into a poultice and to plaster it on Flamepaw's wounds. Patchpaw followed her instructions and began to mix the herbs into a poultice.
Stemfeather ran back to her den and grabbed a wad of cobwebs, hurrying back out as Patchpaw began to put the poultice over Flamepaw's wounds.
Flamepaw winced, the herbs stung as they pressed against her wounds.
Stemfeather began gently pressing cobwebs over her wounds, careful to secure the poultice on her wounds. Patchpaw studied Flamepaw, checking to make sure all of her wounds were tended to.
Stemfeather praised Patchpaw as they moved on to Ashpaw, inspecting his wounds. Flamepaw stood up and padded over to Willowpaw, her pale tabby fur pelted with cobwebs.
Willowpaw greeted her happily and pushed a half eaten squirrel over to her. Flamepaw gratefully took a bite and pushed it back over to her, looking up at the thin canopy overtop of the edge of the camp. Dark clouds across the sky, and small snowflakes began falling onto the protective canopy of the camp. She remembered when she was a kit, playing outside the nursery in the snow, and how worried Brightpool was when they were outside, calling them in so they wouldn't freeze.
Firewhisker padded over to where Flamepaw and Willowpaw were sitting, his gaze locked on Flamepaw. "Amberflight said you fought of three Rougeclan cats all at once, I'm proud of you."
Flamepaw stared at him in shock. He's never told me that! He only has ever been proud of Snowpaw and Scorchpaw!
Firewhisker's gaze softened, and there was a pang of sadness in his eyes. "I'm sorry Flamepaw. I know I give your littermates all my attention, and I wish I didn't" He began. You're one of the best apprentices this forest has ever seen! Brackenstep and Grassleaf are both proud of you, whether in Starclan or not. You'll make a great warrior, maybe even leader someday. Something neither Snowpaw or Scorchpaw can be capable of..." He murmured.
Flamepaw was still staring at him, pure shock in her eyes. "T-thank you." She stammered, unsure of what to say. Willowpaw smiled at her, agreeing with what Firewhisker had said.
Scorchpaw was walking over towards Flamepaw angrily. "Now Firewhisker is giving you his attention? Why can't he and Brightpool give me attention?" He hissed. "We can be just as good warriors as you! And I will become leader! I'll prove it to both of them, I'll prove to them that you're nothing more than a weak kit!" Pausing to take a breath, he started growling at her again. "I don't care if you have a prophecy about greatness! I don't care if all of Starclan knows what I've done to you!"
Flamepaw glanced over to Willowpaw nervously, her eyes wide. Why would Scorchpaw tell Willowpaw all of this? Now she knows about the prophecy!
"I'll make sure all of Thunderclan thinks you killed Brackenstep! I'll make all of them think that you're nothing more than an ambitious murderer! I'll tell them all that you and Moonpaw are in love! None of your secrets are safe now! None of them!" Scorchpaw finished, finally noticing that Willowpaw had been sitting next to Flamepaw the entire time. He nervously looked at her, but them turned and stalked to the apprentice's den.
Willowpaw looked at Flamepaw slowly, shocked by what she had just heard. "Prophecy?" She questioned. "Flamepaw, what do you know about this?"
Realizing there was nothing she could do to stop Willowpaw from asking her, she reluctantly answered. "When I was a kit-" She began. "Starclan gave me a prophecy... A prophecy about me."
Willowpaw's jaws gaped as she heard what Flamepaw was saying, realizing that she could speak with Starclan.
"Ever since then... Scorchpaw has been nothing but mad at me. He- wants to get me killed. He wants to make sure I can't get in the way of what he wants! He wants to destroy the prophecy... and by doing so, he will doom the clans." Flamepaw explained. "If he gets away with it... the prophecy is destroyed."
Willowpaw stared at her for a minute, then responded. "I won't tell anyone." She promised. "But how are you going to get rid of Scorchpaw?"
"I-I don't know." Flamepaw stammered. "I don't know."
Flamepaw cautiously padded into the clearing of the Great Oaks, greeted by Cream and a fluffy black and white she-cat.
"Hi Flamepaw!" Cream mewed enthusiastically. "This is Oreo, my best friend!"
"Oreo-?" Flamepaw echoed. "What a strange name."
"It's a twoleg food." Oreo explained. "It's a black circular disc with white filling inside. My twolegs loved them."
Cream swatted at Oreo's face with her paw playfully. "Even I know that Oreos are cookies mouse-brain!" She laughed, her fluffy cream colored fur blowing in the wind as large snowflakes began to fall.
Flamepaw sat in the middle of the clearing, waiting for Cream to explain her plan. A gray and white pelt moved through the bushes, emerging in front of Flamepaw and glaring at Cream.
"Flamepaw?" He questioned. "Who is this?" Noticing Oreo standing further back, his eyes widened.
"Moonpaw!" Flamepaw greeted.
"Actually," He began to correct her. "It's Moonflight now."
Eyes wide, Flamepaw stood up and padded over to him, licking the fur on top of his head. "You're finally a warrior!" She smiled. "And it won't be long until I get my warrior name!"
Moonflight brushed his fur against hers, sitting down next to her. "So," He stated. "Who are these two? They look like Rougeclan cats!" Moonflight hissed.
"They're here to help us!" Flamepaw assured. "They have a plan to get rid of Slash! Which will spilt Rougeclan apart. They won't know what to do without a leader!" She laughed.
Moonflight's gaze softened and he looked at Cream, waiting for her to explain her plan.
Cream began to speak, getting the attention of Flamepaw. "Rougeclan depends on Slash to make decisions for them, and they don't have any other cat who will fill in as leader on such short notice." She stated. "Slash doesn't expect that Oreo and I would betray him, so once we start attacking him, he won't suspect a thing, especially since he recruited three kittypets, Crystal, Socks, and Shade to help attack your camp at the next sunrise."
Flamepaw nodded, and continued to listen to her plan.
"All we need now, is a way to make sure Slash believes Oreo and I are fighting for Rougeclan before we attack him." Cream meowed.
Moonflight opened his mouth to speak, but Flamepaw began first. "I know how you can fool Slash!" She gasped. "And Willowpaw can help! All you have to do, is act like you're attacking us!"
"Yes!" Oreo yowled. "Perfect!"
Cream nodded, happy with the plan. "Willowpaw... she's the pale gray she-cat isn't she? The one in the patrol with you when we attacked?"
"Yes." Flamepaw mewed. "And she will help us with this plan, I know she will. Now you two should get back to your camp, Slash will become suspicious if you don't get back soon." She remarked, looking at Oreo and Cream.
They agreed and hurried across the border, entering Rougeclan territory.
Flamepaw was left alone in the clearing with Moonflight, and she remembered what Scorchpaw had said the day before. "Moonflight-" Flamepaw began. "Scorchpaw is really mad at me now... and he told Willowpaw and I his plans..."
"He told Willowpaw what?" Moonflight gasped.
"He- told her about the prophecy- but he didn't seem to realize she was there. He was threatening me right in front of her." Flamepaw explained nervously.
"Willowpaw knows about the prophecy now?" He breathed. "That's bad! What if she tells the clans about it? What if they figure out that it's about you?" Moonflight panicked.
"She won't." Flamepaw reassured him. "She wouldn't do that to me, and she now knows what Scorchpaw is capable of."
"I trust you." Moonflight promised. "But you better go tell Willowpaw the plan, it's nearly sunset, and the snow is getting heavy."
Flamepaw nodded in agreement and lifted her paws off the ground, chilled by the cold. Her thick ginger fur blew in the wind, and she meowed her goodbyes to Moonflight, smiling at him happily.
She padded into the bushes, listening to the wind blow the branches in the forest. It was snowing harder now, and Flamepaw hurried back to camp, greeted by Shadowfeather at the entrance.
"Where have you been?" He asked suspiciously.
"Planning an attack on Rougeclan." She growled. "They're coming to attack us tomorrow at Sunhigh."
Shadowfeather's eyes widened and he moved to let Flamepaw into the camp. She padded down the rocky steps that lead into the camp and saw a hunting patrol placing their catch on the fresh kill pile. Flamepaw watched as Snowpaw brought a skinny mouse and a shrew to the elder's den, dropping it inside.
Scorchpaw was inside the den, glaring at Flamepaw, anger in his eyes. She ignored him and rolled her eyes, feeling an occasional snowflake fall onto her back, quickly melted on the warmth of her fur. Flamepaw padded over to Willowpaw, she was sitting in a sheltered spot by the apprentice den, shivering. Flamepaw sat next to her and wrapped her tail around her, ready to explain the plan.
"So?" Willowpaw asked. "What'd you find out?"
"Rougeclan will attack us at sunhigh tomorrow, and they have three new clanmates to help them.." Flamepaw began. "But, if Slash isn't there to guide them, the clan will break off, and the cats will go back to their kittypet and loner ways."
"But how will we get rid of Slash?" She questioned. "All of Rougeclan will be trying to protect them! I mean look at your wounds from yesterday! That black she-cat was trying to protect her leader!"
"Don't worry about getting rid of Slash." Flamepaw mewed. "I have a plan."
"Willowpaw and I will walk over into Rougeclan's territory, waiting for Oreo and Cream to bring us the camp a prisioner." Flamepaw explained as she drew out Rougeclan's territory in the sand with her claws.
Sorrelstar walked closer and studied the map, drawing a circle towards the edge. "I'll lead a patrol to hide and follow you to their camp." She instructed.
Flamepaw nodded and drew another circle close to the middle of the territory. "Grassleaf will lead a patrol along the Shadowclan border, waiting until Willowpaw and I have been taken into the camp." She mewed. "A smaller patrol will stay here and guard the camp incase any Rougeclan cats try and steal the kits."
Sorrelstar agreed and Willowpaw walked forward, drawing a line off of one of the patrols. "One patrol will jump into the camp and begin the battle. Flamepaw and I will join you and begin the fight." She meowed. "And when Rougeclan least expects it, the second patrol will jump in and start attacking."
"Willowpaw and I will distract Slash, and focus on attacking him. But, the Rougeclan cats will be trying to protect him, so, a small group of cats need to block the Rougeclan cats from getting to us while we signal to Oreo and Cream to jump out and help us kill him." Flamepaw ordered. "Once Slash is dead, Rougeclan will break apart."
Willowpaw nodded and finished the map, waiting for Sorrelstar to organize patrols. "If Rougeclan wishes to attack us at sunhigh, then you two better leave now." She nodded to Flamepaw and Willowpaw. Flamepaw followed Willowpaw to the entrance of the camp, listening as Sorrelstar began constructing the patrols.
"Amberflight, Whitefang, Sludgefur, and Fangwhisker." She summoned. "You will join my patrol and follow Flamepaw and Willowpaw into Rougeclan's camp."
The patrol of cats grouped up at the entrance of camp, waiting for Sorrelstar's command.
"Grassleaf." She began. "You will take Firewhisker, Snowpaw, Shadepelt, Badgerclaw, and Feathersight with you, and leap into attack at my signal."
Grassleaf reluctantly agreed, gathering his patrol.
"Scorchpaw, Shadowfeather, and Brightpool, you will defend the elder's and the kits incase any Rougeclan cats come to attack." Sorrelstar commanded.
Everyone was ready to leave, ready to drive Rougeclan out of the forest. Flamepaw smiled at Willowpaw and ran up and out of the camp, it was nearing sunhigh, and the Rougeclan patrols would be leaving soon. Flamepaw picked up the speed, running as fast as she could in the snow, it was much thicker here than it was in the Thunderclan camp.
Willowpaw ran behind, kicking up snow from behind her.
The Rougeclan border came into view, and Flamepaw burst through the undergrowth and across the border where Oreo and Cream sat, happy to see that they had arrived.
"We thought you weren't coming!" Oreo gasped, shivering. "It's freezing out her! And we have to hurry! If we don't get back soon, Rougeclan will leave without us!"
Flamepaw nodded and stood next to Willowpaw as they were escorted to the Rougeclan camp, Sorrelstar's patrol creeping behind them, hiding in the thin undergrowth.
The forest began to thicken, and a small dip in the earth came into view, and bramble dens poked out of it. Watching as the camp stirred, Flamepaw nervously creeped forward, eyeing Cream.
"We have to do this." Cream assured. "Or Rougeclan will keep trying to take over your territory!"
Flamepaw followed her into the camp, followed by Willowpaw and Oreo. Slash looked over to them, eyes wide.
"Cream." He greeted. "What is this? Why have brought these Thunderclan cats here?"
Flamepaw realized that the ear she had torn was missing, replaced by a small jagged stub.
"I found them across our border!" Cream growled, acting like she was mad at them. "They were hunting on our territory! And it's already hard enough to get enough prey for the entire clan!"
Slash agreed and stared at Flamepaw, rage in his eyes. "You." He hissed. "You're the one who gave me this missing ear! Raven! Star! He called. Take her to the den at the edge of the camp and guard it!"
"Coward!" Flamepaw growled. "You're too scared to fight me! What has Scorchpaw told you to make you fear me?"
"You don't need to know anything!" Slash snapped. "You're a threat to my clan! And I won't let you hurt then like you hurt me! Or your litermate!"
"I did nothing to Scorchpaw! He's been lying to you!" Flamepaw responded, angry. "He blames all his scars and wounds on me! He thinks he can get Sorrelstar to exile me! Prophecy and everything!" She snarled. "Don't listen to him!"
"Why should I do what you say, you Skyclan cat?" Slash hissed as Raven and Star began dragging Flamepaw to the edge of the camp.
Skyclan? Flamepaw thought as Slash jumped on her, digging his claws into her neck. "Willowpaw!" Flamepaw cried. "Help me!"
Suddenly, Sorrelstar's cry split the air. "Thunderclan! Attack!" She called out.
Flamepaw pushed away from Raven's grasp, running over to Slash and knocking him off of Willowpaw, growling at him. "So you think you and Scorchpaw can get away with anything you want? Killing Willowpaw? Killing Brackenstep?" She hissed. "Both of you are fools! And if I have to die killing you, then I will. Nothing will stop me from defending this forest from the treachery you and Scorchpaw have caused."
Slash laughed and bared his teeth at her, lunging for her throat. Flamepaw ducked out of the way, grasping Slash in her claws before he hit the ground. Her clanmates yowls and screeched were mixed with Rougeclan's, and Grassleaf's patrol burst into the camp, rushing into battle.
Willowpaw, Cream, and Oreo ran up behind Flamepaw, ready to lunge into battle, but Willowpaw stopped. "Stop!" She ordered. "This is Flamepaw's fight. The best we can do is defend her from cats coming to save Slash."
Cream nodded and watched as a Gray tabby ran over to her. "Shade!" She hissed, unsheathing her claws. "Back up!"
"What are you doing?" He gasped, but he got no response as Cream leaped on him, clawing at his back.
Flamepaw was locked in battle with Slash, landing blow after blow on this back, before Slash could throw her off and rake his claws down Flamepaw's face. Blood dripping into her eyes, Flamepaw hissed at Slash, backing him up against a tree, hopping up onto her hind legs and digging her claws into his muzzle.
Raging, Slash shot forward and bit down on Flamepaw's neck, knocking her over, unconscious. Slash stood over her body in triumph as Flamepaw saw herself fading into Starclan, where she was greeted by Flowerstar.
"I won't let you die!" She choked, brushing her muzzle against Flamepaw's. "You must wake up! You can't join us yet, there's much more you must do!"
Flamepaw blinked her eyes open, the battle screeches had stopped, and the fighting cats were surrounding her, both from her clan, and Rougeclan. Flamepaw staggered onto her paws, taking Slash by surprise, he stumbled backwards, crashing into a tree.
The clan cats were staring at Flamepaw in awe, watching as she stalked up to Slash, her eyes filled with rage. "You really thought you could kill me so easily!" She growled, grabbing his skin in her claws, waiting for his response.
"How aren't you dead?" Slash hissed. "That blow should've killed you!"
"You don't need to know that." She assured. "And neither do the rest of you!"
The cats surrounding her glanced around nervously, not sure what to do. Willowpaw was looking at Flamepaw encouragingly, and Flamepaw sadly looked at Slash, knowing what she had to do. But suddenly, the roars of battle broke out again as the Rougeclan cats began to attack the Thunderclan cats. Slash did the same, leaping onto Flamepaw and rapidly clawing across her back.
Flamepaw dropped and rolled over, knocking Slash off and pinning him to the ground on his back. He flailed his paws, clawing at Flamepaw's chest. Flamepaw dug her claws into Slash's belly and raked her claws down it, stopped by a black she-cat who had previously protected Slash from Flamepaw.
"Night!" Slash coughed. "Get rid of this apprentice!"
Flamepaw rolled off of Slash, dragging Night with her, and kicking her hind legs into her belly. Willowpaw and Cream leaped forward, grabbing Night by the scruff and yanking her off, wrestling with her angrily.
Focusing back on Slash, Flamepaw watched as he got back onto his paws, snarling. Flamepaw ducked under his belly and raked her claws down it again, standing back up in front of him, Slash grabbed Flamepaw's ear and ripped at it, angry.
Flamepaw lifted her hind legs off the ground and leaped upwards, landing on Slash's shoulders, knocking him to the ground. Her neck was still bleeding, and her pelt was stained scarlet. Flamepaw lunged for Slash's throat, ready to kill him, but Slash was lifting up under Flamepaw's weight.
"Oreo!" Flamepaw called to the Rougeclan cat was was standing there, watching her fight. "Help me hold him down!"
Obeying, Oreo jumped onto Slash, pressing all her weight down on his back. Flamepaw gratefully glanced at her then looked down at the ragged leader, hissing at him. "You never should have agreed to Scorchpaw's plans! Or tried to kill me! All this has done is put you in danger, and the only thing I can do now, is kill you. Kill you and feel your blood on my paws. Make you regret ever believing Scorchpaw, make you regret killing me once!" Flamepaw spat.
"Then kill me." Slash hissed, reaching his claws up at Flamepaw's neck.
Flamepaw moved her head down and bit down on Slash's neck, his cry earsplitting. The fighting stopped, and the entire group of cats watched as Flamepaw dislodge her jaws from Slash's neck.
"You haven't won this yet Flamepaw!" He choked out, his words muffled by his coughing. "Scorchpaw won't give up until your dead!" He gurgled, his breaths drawing short. Soon after, he went limp, blood staining the ground around his pelt, and Willowpaw rushed over to Flamepaw, panting.
"He's dead?" She questioned, locking gazes with Flamepaw.
"Yes." She mewed. "And he and his clan will never be a threat to this forest again."
Flamepaw proudly padded to the front of the gather cats with her littermates, her pelt plastered with cobwebs. Willowpaw and Amberflight sat in the front, happily watching as Sorrelstar began the ceremony.
"Flamepaw." She summoned. "You fought like a warrior today, with more strength and courage this forest has ever seen! Thanks to you, Slash is dead, and Rougeclan is no longer a threat to us." Sorrelstar mewed.
Flamepaw looked up at where Sorrelstar was sitting on Highbranch and smiled, excited that she would finally become a warrior.
"Flamepaw, do you promise to uphold the warrior code and defend your clan, even at the cost of your life?" Sorrelstar asked.
"I do." Flamepaw answered, excitedly.
"Then from this day forward, you shall be known as Flamestorm. Starclan honors your courage and skill, and welcomes you as a full warrior of Thunderclan." Sorrelstar cited.
"Snowpaw!" Sorrelstar began. "You have proved yourself a great warrior, and you fought well in the battle today. Do you promise to uphold the warrior code and defend your clan, even at the cost of your life?" Sorrelstar meowed.
Snowpaw nodded and looked up at Sorrelstar. "I do."
"Then from this day forward, you shall be known as Snowblaze. Starclan honors your bravery and skill in hunting." She mewed.
"And finally, Scorchpaw." Sorrelstar nodded. "While you didn't fight in the battle today, you have proven yourself a loyal warrior. Do you promise to uphold the warrior code and defend your clan, even at the cost of your life?" She questioned.
"I do." Scorchpaw mumbled.
"Then from this day forward, you shall be known as Scorchleaf. Starclan honors your Skill and determination, and we welcome you as a full warrior of Thunderclan." Sorrelstar finished.
"Flamestorm! Snowblaze! Scorchleaf!" The clan cheered, congratulating them.
Applekit and Icekit watched in awe from the back of the crowd, realizing that they would also be up there someday, receiving their own warrior name. Suddenly, Patchpaw jumped onto Highbranch and whispered something to Sorrelstar, Stemfeather watching her happily.
"We have one more ceremony to perform!" Sorrelstar yowled. "Stemfeather, come here." Stemfeather obeyed and walked to the front of the crowd, Flamestorm shifted back to make room for Patchpaw. "Patchpaw wishes to become Stemfeather's apprentice." Sorrelstar began. "Stemfeather, do you accept Patchpaw as your apprentice?"
"Yes!" Stemfeather mewed excitedly. "I do!"
Patchpaw ran excitedly over to Stemfeather, pressing her muzzle up to hers.
Shadowfeather looked at Patchpaw sadly, upset to lose his apprentice. Sorrelstar looked at him with understanding, jumping down from the Highbranch. "Clan dismissed." She mewed, padding over to Shadowfeather.
Flamestorm looked at her littermates excitedly, watching as the sun began to set though the canopy. She grabbed a small mouse from the fresh-kill pile as a cold breeze blew through the camp. Clouds were beginning to form overhead, it would start snowing soon.
Amberflight padded over to Flamestorm and smiled. "A warrior at last." She mewed. "Your vigil will be cold tonight."
Flamestorm nodded and walked over to Snowblaze and Scorchleaf, who were eating scrawny prey by the entrance of camp, awaiting the evening patrol to get back. Flamestorm set down her mouse and tore into its tender flesh.
Grassleaf padded over to them, gazing happily at Flamestorm. "I'm so proud of you!" He meowed. "Even after losing Brackenstep, you still proved yourself a great warrior."
Blushing, Flamestorm turned her head away from Grassleaf, reminded of Scorchleaf's plans. Flamestorm angrily glared at Scorchleaf, and he returned her gaze. Flamestorm sighed and and walked up the slope to the top, spotting the evening patrol returning.
The evening patrol greeted the new warriors, and Shadowfeather padded over to Sorrelstar to deliver the news.
Flamestorm shivered as snowflakes began to fall, bringing a cold wind with them. An occasional snowflake fell through the canopy and landed on her pelt, and Sorrelstar walked over to them, head held high.
"As then newest warriors, you three shall guard the camp until dawn. I expect that I can trust you not to talk, or fall asleep, as this is an important part of being a warrior." She ordered.
Flamestorm nodded, and Scorchleaf just simply snorted at her. Flamestorm rolled her eyes and padded to the top of the camp, signaling to Scorchleaf and Snowblaze to stay at the bottom.
Scorchleaf narrowed his eyes, then smiled. He knew what she was planning to do, and he would catch her in the act, using it against her.
Flamestorm looked down into the camp, making sure everyone was asleep. Checking one last time to make sure Scorchleaf and Snowblaze wouldn't see her, Flamestorm bounded away from the camp, heading for the great oaks. I promised Moonflight I'd see him, and that's exactly what I'll do! Whether I have to sit vigil or not!
* * *
Flamestorm bounced through the stream, kicking water up behind her. Moonflight followed, freezing water splashing his face. Flamestorm looked behind and laughed, nothing could stop them from being together, not even Starclan.
"You're as slow as a slug!" Flamestorm teased, twisting around and leaping on top of Moonflight, laughing as she flipped him over onto his back. Moonlight illuminated his pelt, and it glowed silver.
Flamestorm's thick ginger pelt was blowing in the wind, and the snow was getting heavier, but she didn't care.
"Flamestorm?" Moonflight asked, worry in his gaze. "Shouldn't you be getting back to your vigil? You don't want anyone finding out you left, Sorrelstar will be really mad-"
He began as Flamestorm cut him off with a purr. "I know." She mewed. "I just wanted to spend more time with you, since, I don't know the next time I'll get to see you." She finished sadly. "I'm sure being in the warriors den will cause sneaking off to see you be difficult- at least Willowpaw used to cover for me."
"You'll find a way." Moonflight mewed. "You always know what to do, just like Maplestar..." His voice trailed off as he narrowed his eyes at the heavy snow that was rapidly flaking down.
"I'll see you at the Great Oaks at moonhigh tomorrow." Flamestorm promised as she ran across the freezing stream, chilling her and soaking her belly fur. I will see you tomorrow at the Great Oaks Moonflight! And I won't let anything change that!
The sun was beginning to rise from the horizon, filling the sky with thin dawn light. Flamestorm let out a sigh of relief that her vigil was over, and that she could go curl up in her nest and sleep. The night had been freezing, and snow coated the ground outside the camp. Flamestorm looked into the camp to see Scorchleaf approaching, glaring at her accusingly.
"I know what you did last night! Don't think you snuck away so easily! You can't fool me Flamestorm, nor can you get rid of the shadows and secrets that loom over you." He spat. "Don't think I didn't mean what I said! No longer will you get all the attention, soon, it'll all be mine!"
Flamestorm gasped in shock as she heard the words Scorchleaf spoke, and panicked as she saw Grassleaf padding out of the warriors den, shaking snow from his paws as he walked.
"I'll be the next deputy! Once I get an apprentice, Brokenwing will kill Grassleaf, just like he killed Brackenstep!" Scorchleaf hissed. "I'm not going to hold back anymore Flamestorm, even if you know all my secrets, I'll make sure Sorrelstar doesn't believe a word you say!" He finished as he stalked down the rocky steps into camp, flicking his tail as Grassleaf passed him, avoiding a thick pile of snow that had fallen off the canopy.
"Snowblaze, Flamestorm." He greeted, nodding to them solemnly. "You may go sleep in the warrior's den, but I expect both of you to be awake at sunhigh, you'll be starting you warrior's duties today."
Flamestorm nodded and bounded down the slope, kicking snow up behind her. Snowblaze bared his teeth and shook snow off his nose. The camp was covered in a thin glaze of snow, and large heaping piles of snow and ice were scattered across the camp.
Flamestorm placed her paw infront of her and slipped across the ice that hid underneath the snow. Face hot, Flamestorm embarrassedly walked into the warrior's den, ignoring Scorchleaf's teasing gaze.
Amberflight greeted her with a smile and guided her to an unused nest. Flamestorm gratefully looked at her and rested her head on her paws, thinking of what Scorchleaf had told her. Should I tell Sorrelstar about his plans? But what if she doesn't believe me? She panicked. What if it causes her to believe Scorchleaf? If he tells her what I've done, the clan will never respect me again!
She briefly closed her eyes and blinked them open to see Scorchleaf sneaking out of the den. Flamestorm opened her mouth to challenge him, but sighed and closed her eyes, and drifted off to sleep.
* * *
Flamestorm opened her eyes to see Sorrelstar standing over her, growling.
"Flamestorm!" She hissed, loudly. "Scorchleaf told me you snuck off on vigil last night. He said you went to see a Shadowclan cat, Moonflight was it? I expected better from you Flamestorm, I thought you could be my next deputy, maybe even leader. But you've proved to me, that you can't handle warrior duties, and because of this, you are to help do all the apprentice duties for the next moon, and are confined to camp until then." She ordered.
Flamestorm shrunk back into the corner of the den, feeling all her strength drain at each word Sorrelstar spoke. "I-" She began, but was cut off by Sorrelstar, who was still yowling at her.
"If any one of your clanmates catches you sneaking out to go see that Shadowclan cat, don't expect to be sent on any warrior's missions until Redflower's kits become apprentices." She finished angrily.
Flamestorm stepped forward, eyes blazing. "And you think you can believe Scorchleaf?"
"Why shouldn't I? He's a loyal warrior, unlike you." She growled.
Flamestorm hissed and ignored her, walking out of the den into the sunhigh light. At least Willowpaw believes me. She thought. But I have to make Sorrelstar believe me, if Scorchleaf becomes the next deputy- Thunderclan is doomed.
Flamestorm curled her nose in disgust as she grabbed the elder's bedding in her claws and striped it from the nest frame. Willowpaw sighed as she watched Flamestorm continue doing apprentice duties, angry at Sorrelstar.
"I still don't see why you have to do this alone!" Willowpaw huffed. "It's not fair, we should be allowed to help you!"
"Believe me, you don't want to help." Flamestorm mumbled, half focused on her apprentice duties. She stared up at den roof and stepped forward, stepping on Pineflight's paw.
"Watch it, Flamestorm! Not even the kits are this clumsy!" Pineflight spat, his voice cold.
Flamestorm's jaws widened, and she backed out of the den slowly, feeling as if the gazes of every cat in the forest were on her. Ice was cracking under her paws, and the snow that coated the sandy flooring of the camp melted under paws. Her paws were numb, and she stepped into the sunlight the shined through the canopy of the camp, her pelt exploding into a flame color, and her eyes shining as bright as the sun.
Sorrelstar stepped out of the den and stared at her, angry. "Flamestorm!" She snapped. "What are you doing out here? You're supposed to be cleaning out the elder's bedding!"
Flamestorm turned to face her, felling all of her feelings build up inside of her. Her face was hot with anger, and she ran towards the entrance of the camp, exploding out of the fern tunnel that surrounded the camp entrance. She heard paw steps behind her, and she ran faster, hoping to get away from her clanmates. Finally, she came to a dead end in the trees, and turned around to face the at chasing her, claws unsheathed. "What do you want?" She hissed, her gaze staring at the snow covered she-cat. Realizing it was Willowpaw, her eyes softened and she shealthed her claws.
Willowpaw shook the snow from her pelt and looked up at Flamestorm, her eyes worried. "Flamestorm?" She asked, realizing how tired she looked. "Are you ok?"
"I'm fine!" She reasoned, angrily. "And I don't want to talk to any of you! For all I know, the entire clan could be turned against me, blind to Scorchleaf's lies!" Flamestorm spat. "Maybe even you..." Her voice trailed off at the thought of Willowpaw betraying her.
"Flamestorm please!" Willowpaw begged. "Come back to camp with me, the clan needs you!"
"Sorrelstar doesn't." She growled. "She's a mousebrain to believe Scorchleaf, and pretty soon, he'll tell her everything!" Flamestorm shifted her paws on the ground as snow melted from underneath them. She ignored the scuffle of a mouse in the snow, still unconvinced that her clan wanted her.
Willowpaw's eyes saddened, and she stared at Flamestorm with a pleading look. "Flamestorm please..." She started, her voice rasping. "Maybe some of your clanmates don't need you, but I do. You can prove to them that Scorchleaf is wrong! You can prove that you're a loyal warrior of Thunderclan! Don't give up yet." She mewed, sadly.
Flamestorm nodded, agreeing to come back to the clan. Willowpaw's right! I can prove to my clan that Scorchleaf is wrong! I can prove to them that I'm a loyal warrior! As Flamestorm and Willowpaw left the small grassy clearing, a voice called out from in the trees.
"Willowpaw! Flamestorm! Where are you?" The tom cats voice called out through the trees, clearly following the paw prints that scattered across the snow.
"Snowblaze?" Flamestorm called over the sound of the wind, snow was coming. Flamestorm ran through the snow, following the paw steps back through the forest, and narrowing her eyes as a white heap of fur came into view. It had begun snowing, and thick flakes began snowing down from the gray clouds overhead.
"Flamestorm!" Snowblaze gasped. "There you are! Where's Willowpaw-?" He asked, realizing she wasn't with her.
"She's right behind me-" Flamestorm stated, stopping as she realized Willowpaw was gone. Frantic, Flamestorm ran back along the path in the snow, tripping over roots that stuck out from the ground. Her legs ached, and she heard snow being turned up behind her. "Willowpaw!" Flamestorm yowled, the sound of the wind drowning out her cries.
"Flamestorm, we're nearing the Riverclan border." Snowblaze warned. "If we don't find her soon, then we'll have to go back to camp and get a search party to find her."
"No!" She hissed. "What if she's lying wounded and hurt? What if she can't move? It'll take too long to get back to camp, she'll freeze in this weather! It's not safe to be out here, the snow is too heavy!" Flamestorm's voice was muffled by the wind. "And I won't let her die out here in the cold! Even if I have to die finding her!"
Snowblaze's eyes widened, and he locked eyes with Flamestorm. "I knew it." He mewed quietly, the wind making his mews sound silent. "Scorchleaf is lying to Sorrelstar, and I was a fool to believe anything he's told me. And if you're willing to die saving Willowpaw, then I'm willing to die saving you."
"Save me-? Save me from what?" Flamestorm questioned as she continued to walk towards the Riverclan border, keeping her eyes alert for Willowpaw.
As they neared the Riverclan border, Snowblaze stopped to answer her question. "Save you, from this." He mewed before Scorchleaf leapt out of a small willow tree that border the river.
"So, you came looking for Willowpaw did you?" Scorchleaf laughed. "I knew you would, you'd do anything for her. And I'm sorry to admit, that the entire clan wants you dead, including your dear favorite littermate."
"No!" Snowblaze screeched as Scorchleaf ran forward to push Flamestorm into the freezing river, bumping Flamestorm out of the way. Scorchleaf rammed against Snowblaze, pushing him off the sandy shore and into the freezing depths of the river, thin ice lining the top.
"Snowblaze! No!" Flamestorm cried, watching as he tried his best to swim.
"Go save Willowpaw, don't worry about me, there's nothing-" But his mew was drowned out as the current dropped him below the water, thicker ice lining the top as he was swept further and further away.
"You." Flamestorm hissed, glaring at Scorchleaf. "You killed your own littermate!"
"He's not the only one who's dying, I won't stop, until you give back what you took from me!" Scorchleaf hissed. "But I know that you're too stubborn to agree to my demands. So you leave me no choice, but to get rid of you." He laughed.
Flamestorm flexed her claws in the sand, rearing up and slashing her claws across Scorchleaf's face. "Tell me where Willowpaw is!" She growled, grabbing Scorchleaf's throat in her claws.
"She's been infront of you the whole time you mouse brain!" Scorchleaf responded.
Flamestorm turned around to notice Willowpaw's pale gray fur splayed out infront of the willow tree, her fur was soaked in cold water, and her breathing was shallow. "Willowpaw! Willowpaw wake up!" She cried as she licked her fur to help warm it up. The wind had died down, but there was still heavy snow falling through the sunset light of the sky.
Scorchleaf was looming over Flamestorm, his claws unsheathed. He lunged forward and clung to her back, but Flamestorm threw him off, sending him crashing to the ground. Flamestorm ran over to Willowpaw and grabbed her scruff, dragging her across the snow as fast as she could. I have to get back to camp before Scorchleaf kills us both! She panicked, listening from the sounds of paw steps behind her.
Willowpaw blinked her eyes open, shaking her head slightly before realizing she was being carried. "Flamestorm!" She gasped, twisting out of her grip, keeping pace with her the best she could. "What happened? Where are we going?"
"Willowpaw! Thank Starclan you're ok!" Flamestorm gasped.
"It's freezing out here!" Willowpaw shivered.
"I know, but we have to get back to camp." Flamestorm yowled as she heard Scorchleaf running behind them. "We have to hurry! If we get back to camp, Scorchleaf can't hurt us!"
Willowpaw nodded and picked up the pace, sprinting across the forest as snow fell from the trees. Flamestorm followed, her legs burning. She glanced back to see Scorchleaf still chasing them, his face angry. The camp came into view and they rushed to the entrance of the camp as Scorchleaf stopped running. Flamestorm and Willowpaw burst into the camp, panting.
Sorrelstar's ears pricked as she saw the two snow covered cats emerge from the fern tunnel that lead out of the slope. "Flamestorm? Willowpaw?"
Flamestorm gasped in a breath, but before she could speak, Scorchleaf leapt out of the fern tunnel and yowled, "Flamestorm is a traitor!"
The entire clan focused their attention on Flamestorm, gasping in shock. Flamestorm backed against the wall, her fur standing straight up. Willowpaw defensively stood infront of her, hissing as Sorrelstar stepped forward, her face angry.
"So, you have been betraying the clan? I thought I could give you another chance, I thought Scorchleaf was wrong, I thought you were the chosen one." Sorrelstar's mew was disappointed. "I'm such a foolish leader... "
"I am no traitor!" Flamestorm hissed, pushing Willowpaw out of the way and facing the leader. "Scorchleaf is the only traitor in this clan! He's threatened to kill me so many times."
"Lies!" Scorchleaf screeched, jumping on Flamestorm and pinning her to the ground, evilly smiling at her. "You tried to kill me at the river after I came looking for you with Snowblaze."
Willowpaw shoved Scorchleaf off of Flamestorm, her heart heavy. "To think you tried to kill me..." She whispered, anger in her tone.
"Flamestorm, explain yourself!" Grassleaf's loud mew sounded from the other side of the camp. As he approached, Flamestorm stood up higher, her expression unknown.
"I have nothing to explain." She mewed coldly. "If you choose to believe Scorchleaf's lies, then all of you are doomed. You will be pulled into battles you cannot win, and the strength of this clan will be drained moon by moon. Thunderclan will be no more."
Scorchleaf shoved Flamestorm out of the way, facing the entire clan. "She's lying!" He hissed. "She killed Snowblaze as he tried to protect me, and almost Killed Willowpaw. If I hadn't have saved her, she would have died to the cold."
"Snowblaze!" Brightpool's devastated mew rang across the camp, echoing across the walls. "My poor kit!" She cried, flashing Flamestorm a look that she couldn't read.
"Flamestorm!" Sorrelstar hissed, glaring at her coldly. "You killed your own clanmate?"
"She also killed Bearleap- and Brackenstep." Scorchleaf mewed dramatically. "And she created Rougeclan! Only to pretend to kill their leader after they had taken our prey and attacked us..."
"You killed Bearleap?" Sorrelstar gasped, her eyes sad. "You- killed my best friend! She was the only one in this clan who could tell me the right thing to do. And then you caused your whole clan to suffer to Rougeclan's greedy claws! Now I have nothing!" She cried. "Get out of my clan." She growled, "And never come back."
"Sorrelstar no-" Willowpaw pleaded, but was cut of by Flamestorm.
"Fine! If all of you are so mouse brained to believe this liar, then maybe I don't want to be in this clan of gullible bee brained warriors!" She hissed, casting an apologetic glance at Willowpaw.
"The only bee brain in this clan is you!" Brightpool hissed, stomping forward.
The entire clan burst out into chants as Flamestorm growled at her. "Exile! Exile! Exile!"
"Don't worry my warriors, I'll make sure she never shows her face in this clan! But first, we have a ceremony to preform." Sorrelstar mewed, jumping onto the Highbranch. "Willowpaw, and Ashpaw, come forward." She ordered.
They obeyed and stepped forward, standing under the Highbranch.
"Thunderclan needs more loyal warriors, and these two apprentices have proved their worth to our clan in their five moons of training. Although this might be too soon, we need to prove that Thunderclan is strong, and that no traitor can get rid of us!" Sorrelstar yowled. "Ashpaw, do you promise to uphold the warrior code, and defend this clan, even at the cost of your life?"
"I do." Ashpaw mewed half-heartedly.
"Then by the powers of Starclan, I give you your warrior name." Sorrelstar began. "Ashpaw, from this day forward, you shall be known as Ashtail, Starclan honors your courage and determination." She finished.
Willowpaw nervously jumped onto the Highbranch and whispered something to Sorrelstar. Flamestorm confusedly looked at her, and Willowpaw returned her gaze, her eyes soft.
"Willowpaw has requested her warrior name, in honor of the days when she thought Flamestorm was her friend." Sorrelstar explained.
Flamestorm gasped in shock at Willowpaw's request, smiling up at her.
"Willowpaw, do you promise to uphold the warrior code, and defend this clan, even at the cost of your life?" Sorrelstar asked.
"I do!" Willowpaw answered.
"Then from this day forward, you shall be known as Willowflame, Starclan honors your determination and skill." Sorrelstar flicked her tail to dismiss the clan. "Even will only four and a half moons of training, I know you'll both be great warriors." She meowed before padding over to Flamestorm.
"So, you made apprentices warriors before their required six moons of training?" Flamestorm questioned. "I thought you as the leader, were supposed to care about how much training your warriors got."
"My duties as leader have nothing to do with you!" She replied sharply. "Now leave this territory, and don't expect me to take you in if you come back crawling for help!"
"I don't need anyone's help!" She growled, flicking her tail angrily. "And I'm not coming back! Once you see the mistake you've made, it'll be you crawling back to me for help Remember that Sorrelstar. Remember the flame, the flame that will save this forest."
Flamestorm trekked across Thunderclan territory, her paw steps heavy. The snow had made her paws go numb, and her legs were tired from the day's events. She was determined to find Moonflight at the Great Oaks tonight, after all, she had promised to see him. I just can't believe Sorrelstar made Willowflame and Ashtail warriors! And only a day after I was made one! They're far too young... But Flamestorm's thoughts were interrupted by a growl from the bushes.
"Hey!" Flamestorm hissed, staring towards the sound. "Show yourself!"
Scorchleaf padded out of the bushes, a smirk on his face. "So, the holy prophecy cat is gone now. Which means that I get to be the new one, Sorrelstar will never know, nobody knows my plans. No one, but Willowflame." He laughed, his expression full of evil.
"What are you going to do to her?" Flamestorm demanded. "Kill her? Kill her and gaze up at the stars in triumph? Tell all of Starclan that you've won?"
"Kill her?" He questioned. "Oh Flamestorm, you can be such a mousebrain. Why would I kill her, when I can make her do anything I say, unless she wants to die that is."
Flamestorm flicked her tail in frustration, she felt like lunging onto him and killing him, right in Thunderclan territory. "You beebrain! You should know that-"
But she was cut off by a Thunderclan patrol walking over to them, consisting of Ashtail, Grassleaf, and Firewhisker. They formed a half circle around her, hissing.
"What are you still doing here?" Grassleaf hissed. "Sorrelstar told you to leave!"
"Who's to say I don't want to leave?" She retorted, her mew sharp. "Who's to say I ever wanted to live in a clan who can't even see past a young warrior's lies! All of Starclan will know who's right, they'll all know how stupid this clan is!"
"Get off of our territory before we kill you!" Firewhisker hissed.
"Fine!" Flamestorm spat angrily, turning toward the great oaks. "Let Thunderclan suffer! See how much I care if you all suffer!" She finished, running away from the patrol, and stopping in the snowy clearing of the great oaks. It was sunset now, and Moonflight would be here soon. Flamestorm knew she had to tell him that she had been exiled, and she could only hope that he would come with her, and find a new home where they could live, away from the clans, and away from Scorchleaf's chaos and ruin.
* * *
"Flamestorm!" A voice hissed from the other side of the clearing. "Flamestorm what are you doing here?"
"Who are you?" Flamestorm questioned, trying to locate where the voice had come from. "And, where are you?" She asked, scanning the clearing. Suddenly, a fluffy white tom emerged from the undergrowth, his bright green eyes wide. "S-Snowblaze?" Flamestorm asked, her jaw dropping. "I thought you drowned!"
"No. Waveflight saved me-" He admitted, blushing. "S-she found me when the ice was thin, and Squirrelpool gave me herbs for my chill before I left. And... I told Riverclan not to tell Thunderclan I was alive. I- I can't go back, not knowing what Scorchleaf will do to me." Snowblaze mewed sadly.
"Moonflight will be here soon. I don't know if Shadowclan will accept two Thunderclan cats, especially not with Brokenwing conspiring with Scorchleaf. He'll only give Larkstar an excuse to cast us out." Flamestorm meowed.
"Brokenwing?" Snowblaze echoed, confused. "Brokenwing was in on this?"
"Yes." Moonflight answered, walking into the clearing from the Shadowclan border. "Brokenwing was in on all of it, and now the entire clan doesn't trust me, all because I've been meeting with you Flamestorm."
"Scorchleaf made the entire clan not trust me, so much that Sorrelstar exiled me. He accused me of everything that he had done, and gained the trust of Sorrelstar, taking advantage of the fact that she had been suspicious of me." Flamestorm replied, shaking her head. "Thunderclan was so foolish, so foolish not to see through Scorchleaf's lies. And now, they will kill me if I even put one paw on their territory."
Moonflight shook his head in sadness, closing his eyes. "They've lost all trust in the prophecy. It's so obvious that they don't believe in it anymore, after all, the medicine cats have stopped going to the Mooncrystal. They think Starclan has abandoned them."
"They haven't." Snowblaze growled. "They would never abandon us, no matter how many moons it's been since they've shared with us. Maybe, there's nothing to say, and what needed to be said, has already been said."
"Hey!" A voice hissed from across the Shadowclan border. "What are you three doing? You shouldn't be together! And Moonflight, stay out of our clan!" They hissed as a patrol of cats walked up behind, growling.
"So, you've decided to exile me Larkstar? I expected you to believe that beebrained liar." Moonflight answered, angry. "And why should I care if you've lost a loyal warrior? It'll only hurt your clan!"
"Loyal?" Larkstar laughed. "Just look at you! Flirting with a Thunderclan warrior, and as Brokenwing says, you've been doing this since you were an apprentice!"
"I'm not the first Shadowclan cat to be in love with a Thunderclan warrior, and I won't be the last! And I don't care, I'm leaving with Flamestorm and Snowblaze, at least they're not mousebrained fools like the rest of Shadowclan!"
"So, two Thunderclan warriors were exiled with you? Ha, pathetic." Oakleap laughed.
"Flamestorm?" A fluffy cream cat gasped. "You were exiled? Why?"
"Cream!" Flamestorm exclaimed, running up to her friend. "Where's Oreo?"
"She's right behind me, she's just being slowed down by Max and Crystal." Cream explained, looking back to see Oreo's black and white pelt.
"Max and Crystal? You mean Rougeclan cats?" Flamestorm asked, ignoring the growling Shadowclan patrol. "How can you trust them? And why are you traveling with them?"
"Max and Crystal are mates, and Crystal's expecting kits, so, we offered to help hunt for them. But, we heard cats talking, so we decided to investigate." Cream mewed, licking her paw. "And now I hear that you've been exiled? Along with Moonflight and Snowblaze. But why?"
"Scorchleaf." Flamestorm hissed, realizing the Shadowclan patrol had moved on, irritated with being ignored. "It's all his fault that this happened! And now, none of us can step foot on clan territory!"
"I can." Snowblaze admitted. "But I don't want to, I protected Flamestorm from Scorchleaf, he almost killed me. And he would've, if Waveflight hadn't found me and saved me. And I'm to only cat in the way of his plans now, and he'll kill me with teeth and claws if I go back." He finished.
"Actually-" Flamestorm began. "Willowflame knows his evil plans too..."
"Willowflame?" Snowblaze questioned. "Isn't she too young to be a warrior? I mean, we only got our warrior names yesterday!"
"Sorrelstar did it to prove that Thunderclan is strong, and to keep me away." Flamestorm explained, watching as snow fell from the moonlit sky. "I don't know where I'll go, but, if you want to come with me, all of you are welcome." She finished, looking towards Oreo, Crystal, and Max, who emerged from the trees.
"Of course we're coming with you Flamestorm!" Cream exclaimed. "We're not going to leave you alone in the forest to take care of yourself! We'll start our own group, and find our own territory!"
"Yes!" Snowblaze meowed. "We can leave clan territory and make our own clan! With no warrior code or anything to keep us from doing what we want, which means you too can be together!" He mewed happily, looking at Flamestorm and Moonflight.
"Then it's settled, we'll travel together until we find a new territory, and start a new life there. The clans will see the mistake they've made once Thunderclan and Shadowclan fall apart in the paws of Scorchleaf and Brokenwing." Flamestorm decided.
The gathered cats nodded and followed behind Flamestorm as she began walking away from clan territory, and towards the home they would make for themselves.
I will lead us to our new home. Flamestorm thought. I promise you my new clanmates, I won't let you down, no matter the risks I have to take to protect you.