Season 1, Episode 5 of War
"Badgerstrike, that's not fair."
"Life isn't fair." Badgerstrike's water gray eyes glare into mine. "I'm your Commander, we have important orders, and no time to be running after a pity missions for some kits who almost killed Oakclaw."
"And Brookfall!" the golden warrior huffs. Shadowsong snorts with laughter and Silverflower rolls her eyes.
"But there are WaterClan warriors out there who need our help!" I look from the faces to faces of my squadmates who each look at their paws, or refuse to meet my eyes. "This isn't right!" I meow, but the strength has gone out of my voice.
"Look, Brookfall, I'm sorry." And Badgerstrike is. "But-"
"Wait," Gorsefur's voice cuts through out conversations. "I have an idea."
"What?" Badgerstrike's nostrils flare and everyone tenses up a little. Seconds aren't meant to contradict their Commander like this- they can voice their opinion in private and it will hold a little more sway, but to publicly interrupt a Commander when he's chewing out one of his warriors?
I mean, I'm grateful and all. Nice to know Gorsefur cares enough about me not to let me become Badgerstriike-chow.
Gorsefur realizes he's treading on dangerous ground and his golden eyes are cautious. "Well, I know the mission is important, but it might be ruined if one of the warrior's doesn't have her heart in it. I suggest we split-up."
I think Badgerstrike might jump on him. I honestly do. "Split. Up?"
Gorsefur's golden gaze is unwavering, "Yes. Brookfall and I will go into FireClan territory and try and locate those kits' parents. You and the others can go start the mission and we'll rendezvous back up with you there."
"I know what I'm doing," his eyes meet his Commander's like an apprentice disobeying their mentor for the first time. "Please?"
Gorsefur takes a deep breath and everyone leans forward for a moment.
Gorsefur and I said goodbye and left. He headed away from the forest we'd been making our way through and I followed, woefully unaware of where exactly we were or where FireClan was.
Almost as if he'd sensed my thoughts, Gorsefur turned and smiled, "We just left the Silver Forest. The FireClan border is this way."
"Named after Silverflower, naturally?"
Gorsefur purred and my heart lifted. "She would probably think so. Never mind the fact that the Silver Rive runs through there."
I feel a little awkward. Growing up far away from Main Camp meant that I had a mostly sheltered life, but I also lacked much of the fancier education cats like Gorsefur would have gotten. We walked in silence for a while.
Suddenly we stopped.
The land around us was mostly barren, a few scraggly trees fighting to hold on. A few rocks and boulders were splattered about as well. It was eerily silent. And there was a terrible, terrible smell in the air. Blood and torn fur and fear and...something else. Something I instinctively feared. Dried blood splattered the sand and grass and fur was scattered here and there. This place had seen too much war.
"What is this place?" I whispered. As I spoke, a small patrol broke out of the bushes a little while away. They're light fur fluttered in the slight breeze, yellow, amber, and green eyes were narrowed and then walked with a purpose. A chill crept up my spine.
"This," Gorsefur meowed, "Is the least protected part of FireClan's borders.
"So, when do we get to find out what this mission is?" Oakclaw asked, not for the first time.
"He obviously doesn't think a buffoon like you can know it yet, so just shut up, would you?" Adderscar growled. Silverflower let out a tinkling laugh, then stopped, looking surprised at herself. Oakclaw rolled his eyes.
"Not in so many words, but yes." Badgerstrike sighed. Young cats... "I'll tell you when we get closer to the border."
"The border?" Shadowsong tipped her head. In Gorsefur's absence, Badgerstrike was probably going to rely heavily on her. He just hoped she could stop flirting with Oakclaw long enough to pay attention. "And why, Dear Commander, are we being sent to the front lines? Has Main decided that we've served our purpose and we're FireClan fodder?"
"You'll see when we get there," Badgerstrike growled. The others took the hint and they walked in silence for sometime.
Badgerstrike could see the place up ahead and he led the squad behind a boulder. It was time to tell them.
"Well this is a lovely place." Adderscar looked around the desolate landscape, speckled with a few dead trees. He looked for a moment and Silverflower, as if he expected another laugh. She studiously ignored him.
"It's the FireClan border smart one," Shadowsong hissed.
"You think I didn't know-"
"Hush up!" Badgerstrike sighed.
"Why are we here?" Silverflower asked. Her perfect blue eyes widened, "Oh StarClan, have we been sent to the front lines? Are we going to die? I just knew something was-"
"No!" Badgerstrike sighed. They never talked this much when Gorsefur was around.
"Then enlighten us," Shadowsong meowed drily.
"One of our spies inside FireClan has pulled some strings. We are now FireClan squad, selected by our fur color and WaterClan appearances to go and spy there. Our mission is over and we need to report to Main FireClan Camp."
"But why do we want to get into Main FireClan Camp?" Oakclaw meowed, looking confused.
"Because," Badgerstrike meowed, "Our mission is to kill Firestar."