-This is a Short Story for my fanfic series; Shadows in Our Blood

-Blood and death warning




Skydawn looked down at the three tiny bundles of fur at her belly. They were the most beautiful things in the world, and she would devote her life to making sure her kits grew up into fine, strong cats. Except for Dovekit, who had died earlier that morning. Skydawn felt a pang of fresh grief as she remembered looking at the tiny, limp body of her precious kit. She turned her attention back to her surviving three. They were perfect. The two little toms were strong and healthy, and the she-cat was beautiful and sleek. One of the toms, who she had decided to call Snakekit, looked exactly like his father, Ivythorn, deputy of VineClan. She had decided to call the other tom Juniperkit, but the she-cat still had no name. Skydawn was waiting for Ivythorn to do that. The kits’ father pushed his way into the nursery.

               “How are my little warriors faring?” He asked fondly. His eyes shone with love as he padded up to her.

               “The she-cat still needs a name, but the toms are Snakekit,” she motioned with her tail to the handsome tabby tom, “and Juniperkit.” Skydawn licked Juniperkit’s head. “I wanted you to name her.” She explained.

                “What about Shimmerkit?” He pondered half to himself. Skydawn purred.

                “That’s a lovely name. Shimmerkit.” She echoed. “Thank you.”

                “Ivythorn! Who’s going on the dawn patrol?” A cat called from camp. Ivythorn sighed.

                “Sorry, I have to go. Take care!” He turned around and brushed past the fern entrance, pelting toward the cats gathered at the base of the Clanstump.

*****

“Juniperpaw, your mentor will be me. May you learn all you can and be the best warrior you can be” Vinestar announced. Juniperpaw took his place beside the Clanstump  and Vinestar who’s eyes were shining with pride and joy at having an apprentice. Ivythorn was sitting beneath the Clanstump, tail twitching with joy at his kit finally being an apprentice. Skydawn purred loudly, her kit was on his way to becoming the warrior she knew he could be. But the memory of Dovekit and Snakekit, and Shimmerkit who had been torn apart cruelly in the jaws of an invading badger floated in her head, pushing her happiness lower. Juniperpaw’s excited meow startled her out of her thoughts.

                “Well?” Juniperpaw looked at her expectantly. “Do you want to come or not?” Skydawn must have not heard her.

                “Come with you? On your tour? Is Ivythorn coming too?” Skydawn asked. Juniperpaw nodded. “Then yes. I’ll come.” Juniperpaw gave an excited mrrrow and pelted for the entrance, Juniperpaw tailing her. Vinestar and Larkthorn followed, while Ivythorn padded along beside Skydawn.

                “Our kits have grown up so much.” His eyes suddenly changed from joy to grief. “I miss Snakekit, Shimmerkit, and Dovekit so much.” He admitted, echoing Skydawn’s own thoughts.

               “I do too, but we have to keep going to remember them. I will always be grateful for the time I spent with them, but let’s put our paws in the future. We can’t keep living in what is past us.” The wisdom of the words she had been pondering for days surprised her. Skydawn turned her attention back to Ivythorn, who was sniffing a clump of grass, and Juniperpaw, whose ears were pricked as if listening to something. He is so strong and handsome.

                “I smell something funny.” Juniperpaw declared. Skydawn sniffed the clump old grass.

                “Fox. A young one, and the scent is fresh.” Almost as if summoned, a young fox leaped out of the brambles and grasped Juniperpaw’s neck in its cruel jaws. Skydawn leaped forward, scratching the fox’s nose. The fox dropped her kit and ran off into the bushes.

                “Follow it,” Vinestar commanded Ivythorn and Larkthorn, “make sure it

leaves our territory.” She turned to Skydawn as they ran off into the bushes, “is he okay?” Skydawn leaned down and sniffed her kit. He wasn’t moving or breathing. A dark pit opened up inside her. Another kit of hers was gone. Grief threatened to overwhelm her.

                 “He’s dead.” She croaked. Vinestar said something about taking his body back to camp, but Skydawn barely heard. Her heart was hardening into an ice cold void, and there was nothing that could warm it or melt the frosty stone that was now spreading through her entire body. I vow to avenge my poor kits. I will bring infinite pain on those who had a chance to raise healthy kits. This I swear!

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