Fire alone will save the Clans. Firestar is the deputy of ThunderClan, and he is destined for greatness. But when he dies too soon, ThunderClan realizes that another fire will rise greater than the first...
Written by ToasterQwerty :) I'm too lazy to make allegiances but if you pop into the ones for The Dangerous Path, that will take place of the time I waste writing allegiances. ;-; I will put this on Wattpad later so if you want the link I'll put it in the comments. I try to update once a week.
Warning : Gore ahead.
Swiftpaw stalked out of the apprentices’ den, abandoning the rabbit haunch that he had left over from his meal. Bluestar had called a Clan meeting, and by the ecstatic look on Cloudpaw's face, Swiftpaw could tell it was the white former kittypet's warrior ceremony. The black-and-white tom lashed his tail. Swiftpaw had been apprenticed a few moons earlier than Cloudpaw, and Bluestar had extended his apprenticeship to eighteen moons, six whole moons longer than an average apprentice's apprenticeship. Goldenflower, Swiftpaw's mother, and his father, Patchpelt, did not look very happy. Longtail's usual kind face was replaced with a scowl.
“Come on, Swiftpaw,” Brightpaw mewed, nudging him with her nose. Swiftpaw sighed, flexing his half-unsheathed claws.
“Okay, okay,” he muttered. Swiftpaw knew that Brightpaw felt his gloom. Brightpaw brushed her tail on his forehead.
“Don't worry, Swiftpaw. We'll become warriors together.” Swiftpaw's amber eyes glinted slightly; he rather liked the ginger-and-white apprentice and hoped that he could become mates with her. However, Cloudpaw's greedy gaze fell upon the pretty she-cat multiple times a day, and Swiftpaw prayed to StarClan that he would win. Brightpaw lead Swiftpaw over to the crowd of ThunderClan warriors, but Swiftpaw crouched reluctantly at the edge of the mob. Swiftpaw glanced over at Cloudpaw, whose large blue eyes shone in the streaming sunlight. The ginger deputy, Fireheart, whispered something into the distant white tom's ear. Cloudpaw's eyes brightened and mewed a cheerful thanks to his mentor.
"Look!” a cat meowed. "Bluestar's stepping up!” Swiftpaw turned his gaze to the blue warrior, who had perched commandingly at the tip of the Highrock.
“Cloudpaw, you fought well against RiverClan this morning, and I have decided that the time has come for you to take your place as a warrior in ThunderClan.” The white tom faced the leader, his glossy snow-white pelt shimmering in the streaming golden sunlight. An excited look plastered his smug muzzle.
“I, Bluestar, leader of ThunderClan, call upon my warrior ancestors to look down on this apprentice,” Bluestar meowed. “He has trained hard to understand the ways of your noble code, and I commend him to you as a warrior in his turn.”
“I do,” Cloudpaw responded.
“Then by the powers of StarClan, I give you your warrior name,” Bluestar went on, each word harsh. “Cloudpaw, from this moment you will be known as Cloudtail. StarClan honors your courage and your independence, and we welcome you as a full warrior of ThunderClan.”
Bluestar jumped down from the Highrock and coldly rested her muzzle on Cloudtail's head. Cloudtail gave her a respectful lick on the shoulder.
These were now the moments that cats would chant the warrior's name. Uneasy murmurs rose from the ThunderClan cats. Swiftpaw could tell why - Bluestar’s spoke the ritual only because at every warrior ceremony it was spoken, not from her belief in StarClan. Brightpaw, Thornpaw, Ashpaw, and Fernpaw were all looking at their paws. Still disgruntled, Swiftpaw left. The apprentice caught Fireheart looking at him. He retreated to his nest, and didn’t touch his rabbit. Cheers of “Cloudpaw!” were beginning to pierce the silence, but Swiftpaw refused to join in.
Swiftpaw licked off the last scraps of meat off of his rabbit bone. His belly was warm and full of prey, but it felt hollow. Tonight, Cloudtail would earn his place in the warriors’ den and Swiftpaw would still be in the apprentices' den even though he should’ve been napping with the warriors long ago. Cloudtail was going to guard the camp tonight.
The idiot is a terrible guard, Swiftpaw thought to himself. He wouldn’t know if a monster roared through camp. The black-and-white tom padded out from the apprentices’ den and out towards the camp entrance.
“Going out to bury prey,” Swiftpaw muttered to Cloudtail. I’m at least a mouse-tail taller than him, Swiftpaw thought. He scrabbled his powerful paws at the fresh dirt and dumped his prey bones inside. Swiftly kicking dirt atop his trash, Swiftpaw trotted back to camp. He whiffed a disgusting scent.
“What is that?” he hissed to himself. He recalled his mentor, Longtail, showing him the same scent near Twolegplace, but he couldn’t quite remember what it was. There was also a faint mix of vole, rabbit, and Snakerocks. An idea popped up in Swiftpaw’s mind. It isn’t one that a cat will shake off or forget, Swiftpaw purred in his mind. That’s happening. This sunrise.
“Thornpaw,” Swiftpaw whispered to the golden-brown tabby. “Would you mind gathering Ashpaw and Brightpaw?”
“No problem,” the apprentice meowed, confused. “What for?”
“I have a plan,” Swiftpaw replied, hiding his smirk.
Thornpaw shrugged and called over Ashpaw and Brightpaw from their nests. Ashpaw was trying not to yawn. Brightpaw’s sapphire-blue eyes were clouded with sleep, and both apprentices’ coats were matted and covered in moss.
“What do you want?” Ashpaw groaned. “I was having a dream about catching a mouse.”
“This is important,” Swiftpaw meowed quietly. “You know how Cloudpaw became a warrior, and we didn’t?”
Ashpaw lashed his speckled grey tail. “Oh, you had to remind me!” he hissed softly. “I was Cloudtail’s brother, how could he be a warrior and not me?”
“I know, just listen,” Swiftpaw continued. “There’s a thing stealing prey at Snakerocks, and Fireheart doesn’t seem to care much. I had an idea - what if we go and kill the thing, and Bluestar makes us warriors? She can’t say no to that. Besides, what could go wrong? I heard from Dappletail that Thistleclaw fought a dog, alone, as an apprentice.”
Fernpaw shifted uncomfortably. “But what if it does go wrong? What if the dawn patrol catches us? If we’re out of camp and we get caught, Bluestar will keep us ‘paws till we’re a hundred moons old!”
Thornpaw nodded. “I agree with Fernpaw. We should just wait until Bluestar makes us warriors.” Ashpaw flicked his tail amicably.
“I want to go with Swiftpaw,” Brightpaw mewed.
Swiftpaw felt his heart rise. Perhaps… if none of the other apprentices wanted to go… perhaps he could confess his love to the beautiful she-cat?
“I want to keep Swiftpaw company,” continued Brightpaw. “Besides, he might need a helping paw. If there’s something too strong, maybe I can help.”
Swiftpaw ducked his head. “Thank you, Brightpaw. We’ll head out now.”
Brightpaw tensed. “Then how do we get past Cloudtail?”
Swiftpaw chuckled. “The fluffball wouldn’t notice a Twoleg monster roaring through camp. We can sneak out through the ferns by the elders’ den.” Swiftpaw crept out of the apprentices’ den, Brightpaw close behind. Cloudtail was guarding camp. His jaws stretched out into an enormous yawn, and he fiddled with a twig halfheartedly. Swiftpaw slunk towards the right of the elders’ den, where there was a thick patch of ferns. He ducked under the large leaves and crawled out. After Brightpaw had made it through, Swiftpaw turned to admire his first milestone. The apprentices were out of camp.
Swiftpaw had arrived at Snakerocks. It always gave him the feel of a sinister Sunningrocks. The terrible smell coated the stones and Swiftpaw swallowed a gag. Brightpaw sneezed, but didn’t say anything. A dead rabbit lay on the ground. Suddenly, there was a stomp. Swiftpaw and Brightpaw turned around to see what it was. An enormous dog was standing behind them. It was pale brown with a black muzzle. The monster let out a tremendous roar. Don’t get worried, Swiftpaw thought to himself. Thistleclaw fought one by himself. You can do it, you have Brightpaw here too. A growl rose in Swiftpaw’s throat, even though he was slightly trembling. Brightpaw shrieked. Swiftpaw turned quickly to see if anything had happened. The ginger-and-white she-cat was fine, but there were now five more dogs surrounding them.
“Brightpaw, this is going to be okay,” he breathed. “Just try as hard as you can.” Swiftpaw lunged at a copper-and-black dog, and scored his unsheathed claws across its tough coat. Brightpaw had taken on another ugly-looking brown dog, and had sunken her teeth into its muscular leg. Swiftpaw snapped his jaws shut on the copper-and-black dog’s ear, and pulled furiously. The dog let out a thunderous roar, and its packmate grasped onto Swiftpaw’s scruff. Swiftpaw yelped as he was thrown onto the scuffed earth. Excruciating pain shot up his leg continuously and his pelt was crimson and foamy, but Swiftpaw pushed on. He sprang onto another dog and set all of his claws into the canine’s pelt. The dog screeched and bucked Swiftpaw off. Swiftpaw’s head hurt. His leg was extremely painful at this point and his coat was wrapped in foul ribbons of blood, which made it hard to breathe. Brightpaw had left her opponent swathed in scarlet, and had continued to battle another dog. The apprentice’s usual silky, white-and-ginger pelt was matted and brown, and covered in scratches. Swiftpaw noticed that Brightpaw was beginning to get weak. The dogs were recuperating strong and fast, and were easily overpowering the tired apprentices.
“Brightpaw!” Swiftpaw yowled. “Run up a tree, I’ll take care of the dogs!”
“I - can’t - do - that!” she gasped. “What if you get killed? I need to help you!” Suddenly, a huge dog charged towards Swiftpaw. Oh StarClan, no… Swiftpaw braced himself and hoped that StarClan would accept him. “Swiftpaw!” Brightpaw barreled towards the black-and-white apprentice. The dog sank four sets of claws and a jaw full of teeth into the two apprentices. Swiftpaw and Brightpaw both collapsed onto the matted grass. Swiftpaw was sore and painful all over. His ear was frozen, and his tail felt like it had been ripped off. Brightpaw’s face was torn and bleeding, and there was only one crystal-blue eye left.
“Brightpaw?” Swiftpaw whispered. “A-are you there?” Brightpaw turned her head and gazed at Swiftpaw with her remaining eye. “I’m sorry. It’s all my fault.”
He found strength in his paws. Desperately, he charged at the dog in revenge...
But the cruel beast slammed into him. Then there was a flash of red. And everything went black.
“Swiftpaw!” Swiftpaw! Swiftpaw! Swiftpaw! He knew this voice so dearly, but his exhausted mind couldn’t wrap around it.
“Swiftpaw!” His eyes shot open, and fiercely flailed his paws. A giant, drooling creature roared triumphantly and slashed deep into his belly. Swiftpaw’s breath got knocked from his chest, and crimson liquid burst from his stomach. He gasped. The vicious canine’s muzzle was smudged with bright paste; the grass and trees were stained with the brownish red substance, and scarlet blood flowed into his eyes, nose, and mouth. All Swiftpaw could see was red. Blood pooled at his dying body, and his mouth was hanging open.
“Pack, pack!” he gasped. “Kill, kill!” Then all was dark, again.
“Swiftpaw?” meowed the familiar voice he had heard. It was Longtail. Swiftpaw’s yellow eyes flashed open. He wanted to pour out what he had seen and heard to the tom, but his mouth was too tired to do anything. He simply smiled at the striped tom. Longtail licked his forehead warmly. “I’m so lucky that you’re still alive. Cinderpelt is a very skilled medicine cat.” Swiftpaw nodded silently in agreement. At that moment, the grey she-cat limped into the den.
“Longtail is indeed very lucky that you are alive,” Cinderpelt confirmed quietly. “You would have died from blood loss if Fireheart hadn’t sent a search patrol. Still, your tail is missing a mouse-length and your ear has been completely torn in half.” Swiftpaw looked at Cinderpelt quizzically; he nor Brightpaw had uttered a word to any cat about the plan.
“Fernpaw told Dustpelt about this idea of yours,” Longtail meowed. Swiftpaw looked at his paws.
“Don’t be ashamed,” Cinderpelt mewed comfortingly. “I’ll bring you a mouse; you need to get energy.” The medicine cat swung out of the den. Swiftpaw’s ears drooped and he sighed. His plan could not have gone worse. Longtail seemed to read his mind.
“Don’t worry. You did a great job. By the time Fireheart and his patrol arrived, the dogs were so weak and loopy that a couple of slashes to the neck finished them off.”
Swiftpaw’s eyes opened wide. “Really?” he managed.
“Yes,” purred Longtail, wrapping his long tail around Swiftpaw’s weak body. By this time, Cinderpelt had returned with a plump mouse in her jaws. At the sight of the brown lump of meat and fur, Swiftpaw noticed the hunger rolling in his stomach. He swished his sore tail in acknowledgement and bent down to devour the rodent in ravenous gulps. Newfound energy pulsed through his body.
"Thanks, Cinderpelt,” he mewed. "How long have I been asleep for?"
“Two sunsets,” answered the medicine cat. Swiftpaw moved his paws uncomfortably.
“Is Brightpaw okay?” he asked. Longtail looked at the grey she-cat, who flicked her ears.
“She hasn't woken up yet," Cinderpelt meowed softly. “She might die, Swiftpaw, but we hope she lives." Swiftpaw gulped.
“May I visit her?” Swiftpaw mewed.
“Of course,” Cinderpelt meowed. “She's behind that patch of overgrown grass.” Swiftpaw painstakingly dragged himself around the grass to see what was left of the beautiful apprentice. Brightpaw lay in a mossy nest, paws splayed, tail fluffed up. Half of her face was torn up and covered in a green-yellow paste, and her one ear was shredded to half its original size.
“Hi, Brightpaw,” he meowed softly. Brightpaw didn't move. “It's me, Swiftpaw.” Brightpaw shifted her paw slightly, and Swiftpaw wrapped his short tail around her. “Look, I’m really sorry that -”
“I almost killed you and now you’re scarred forever?” a snarling voice interrupted. Cloudtail had stalked into the medicine den. “You know, mouse-brain, if you hadn’t whipped up that disgusting idea of yours, Brightpaw would still be well.”
Swiftpaw looked at the white tom, terrified. “I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to -”
“‘Sorry’ doesn’t catch prey!” spat Cloudtail. “Brightpaw can’t be physically beautiful now!” Tears slid from the warrior’s blue eyes, and his claws extended into the grass. “What will other cats think when they know I’m going to be mates with a one-eyed cat?” Swiftpaw stared at the white warrior. The Swiftpaw knew that Cloudtail could see his love for Brightpaw.
“Whatever,” Cloudtail hissed. “I’ll fetch a mouse for her. I caught a particularly plump one, I don’t believe that you can with your halved tail and lost ear, eh?” Before hurrying over to the fresh kill pile, Cloudtail slapped Swiftpaw’s back heavily with his tail. The apprentice nearly toppled over despite the white cat being smaller than him, but Swiftpaw momentarily blamed it on his injuries and turned back to Brightpaw. Not even a heartbeat later, there was an outraged screech from the center of camp. A furious Cloudtail stormed into the medicine den.
“Who ate the mouse I saved for Brightpaw?” Cloudtail stormed. “It was you, wasn’t it?” Cloudtail unsheathed his claws menacingly.
“Cloudtail, stop,” Cinderpelt ordered. Cloudtail sheathed his claws, but his muzzle was still covered in a furious scowl and neck fur stil spiked. “I know that you like Brightpaw and you want to care for her,” the medicine cat continued, "but you cannot have this disgusting attitude. Swiftpaw is still a cat and you may not harm him - or any other ThunderClan warrior. I brought him the mouse, so you might as well yell at me." Cinderpelt turned around and stalked back into the medicine den.
A raspy growl bubbled in Cloudtail's throat. "You got lucky this time.” The tom padded to Brightpaw moodily. Swiftpaw sighed. I don't know how to live with this fat feather.
Swiftpaw wolfed down the last of his thrush and watched Cloudtail pad over to Brightpaw lovingly for the umpteenth time since sunrise. He sighed and got up to his paws. How would he propose to the she-cat with Cloudtail resting his hairy chin on her every other second? Also, what would happen to his warrior ceremony? Bluestar was paranoid, on top of the fact that he had broken several laws of the Warrior Code while getting a cat seriously injured.
“Swiftpaw,” Longtail meowed sharply, jolting the black-and-white tom out of his daydreams. “Fireheart sent me out on a hunting patrol. Wanna come?”
“Sure,” Swiftpaw replied, flicking his good ear. He followed Longtail through the gorse tunnel. The warm forest air brushed his fur as he slunk through the forest. Swiftpaw spotted a small grey squirrel. He crouched down and prepared to spring when a yowl sounded. The squirrel darted quickly up a tree, and Swiftpaw turned to glare at his offender; Brackenfur.
“You scared my prey away,” Swiftpaw hissed to golden-brown tom.
“Hush, Swiftpaw,” the warrior meowed urgently. “I see Tigerclaw leading a band of rogues! Quick, warn the Clan!”
“No way,” Swiftpaw growled. “I want to stay and fight!” Brackenfur glared at Swiftpaw.
“Stop being a mouse-brain - fine, I’ll warn the Clan.” Brackenfur sprinted away, and in a couple of heartbeats, he was alone. A foul smell encased him; a mixture of the Twolegplace, dog, and… blood. The smell by itself traumatized the apprentice. Swiftpaw was frozen, and his stomach hurt more than ever. Run, run, run, Swiftpaw, don’t fight! Don’t get yourself into that situation again! Run! His body, however, did not cooperate.
“Swiftpaw, get back here,” Longtail’s panicked voice sounded. The striped warrior dragged Swiftpaw to his paws and from then all Swiftpaw could do was endlessly run from the smell. After the two half-brothers had safely escaped into the gorse tunnel, the entire camp was in chaos. Fireheart was yowling commands from the side of the Highrock, the warriors were busy getting in their dictated positions, the apprentices were nervously practicing their battle moves, and the queens and elders barricaded themselves in the now heavily-guarded nursery. Bluestar was standing on the tip of the Highrock, claws sliding in and out and furious stare hovering eternally over the camp entrance.
“Swiftpaw, Longtail! Medicine den!” Fireheart screamed. Swiftpaw hurried over to the medicine den, firmly planting himself beside Longtail - and in front of Brightpaw. Cloudtail, who was guarding the nursery, rooted his baleful blue gaze on Swiftpaw. As if he were saying, Don’t let Brightpaw get killed. Suddenly, a loud battle call roared through camp.
“ATTACK!” Everything was a blur of red as the foul-smelling cats spilled in camp. Swiftpaw could only feel his claws satisfyingly colliding with tough, thick flesh. The searing pain in his tail was forgotten as he slashed his claws - half in control, half out of control - at his enemies. A brown tabby tom lunged at him abruptly, and tried to score his nasty claws on Swiftpaw’s muzzle. Swiftpaw hastily dodged and slid his talons across the tom’s nose. Crimson liquid burst from his opponent’s muzzle. As the tom froze in shock momentarily, Swiftpaw whacked his face sharply which sent the offender crashing to the ground. He turned to see if any cat needed help, and was greeted by a yelp from Longtail.
“There’s a rogue in the medicine den!” the striped tom yowled. Swiftpaw glimpsed Cloudtail stiffen and dash into the fern tunnel. The black-and-white tom followed, and was met with a muscular, snaggly-furred gray tabby tom who was battling - and undoubtedly dominating against the now small-looking white tom. Without hesitation, Swiftpaw sprang at the gray tabby and scored his claws viciously across his shoulders. The tom pinned Swiftpaw down and sank his claws into Swiftpaw's shoulders. Swiftpaw scrabbled his claws angrily at his opponent's stomach but the tom seemed oblivious to the blood dripping from his belly. Humid, hot breath made Swiftpaw gag.
"Get off him!” Longtail screeched, barreling himself into the gray tabby. The rogue issued a shocked mrowr! but nevertheless tried to harm the striped tom. Swiftpaw lunged at the rogue and sliced his slanted yellow-green eyes. He screamed, eyes swelling grotesquely. The opponent stumbled out of camp, followed by several bleeding cats. Tigerclaw spat, annoyed, but continued battling the ThunderClan warriors alongside his several best fighters.
Soon, Tigerclaw had Bluestar pinned to the stone. The blue she-cat was struggling to breathe and was flailing her skinny limbs helplessly.
“Your reign has ended, Bluefur,” snarled the dark tabby tom.
Bluestar gripped Tigerclaw's wrists with unsheathed claws. Blood slithered down the tom's paws, but he was oblivious to the pain. “What do you mean!? Get off me!
"When you found that kittypet, I became nothing!” hissed Tigerclaw. His claws sank deeper into Bluestar's shoulder blades.
“Get off!” Bluestar shrieked, scrambling harder at the tom.
With one powerful swipe, oversized claws punctured fragile skin and blood spurted from Bluestar's throat.
"Bluestar! No!” Fireheart yowled. The flame-colored tabby sprang at Tigerclaw, knocking him off of the Highrock. It was hard for Swiftpaw to view the ex-deputy's expression, but by the high-pitched squeal that the cat had uttered, he knew that Tigerclaw was genuinely scared - which he had never done. The dark tom plummeted from the tip of the Highrock, and his head slammed into the stony foot of the giant structure.
A crisp crack echoed through the ThunderClan camp.
"Tigerstar is dead!” gasped Fireheart, as if Tigerclaw was an invincible Twoleg. The rogues stared in horror at their deceased leader, corpse splayed upon a jagged stone.
“Tigerstar is dead,” echoed the battle-worn cats. The rogues all made a run for the gorse tunnel, and no cat had enough energy to stop them. Fireheart turned to grieve Bluestar.
“You were a great leader, Bluestar,” he murmured, sinking his muzzle into her blue flanks. Whitestorm and Frostfur approached the she-cat and grieved as well. Swiftpaw dismissed the thought of grieving her alongside the mob of warriors but a pang of empathy told him to touch her coat with his muzzle. Swiftpaw padded up to the dead blue leader and brushed her pelt with his muzzle. He then quietly took himself to the medicine den - and watched Cloudtail fuss over Brightheart as Cinderpelt smeared paste on his scratches.